E-commerce has revolutionized the business world by allowing sellers to move their products through online platforms. This may be in stark contrast to traditional retail, but there are plenty of similarities between the two modes of business as well. One common denominator is the use of KPIs or key performance indicators. Without these indicators, it’s much more difficult to gauge the success of your marketing campaigns on an objective level.
KPIs can only be effective if you understand what they are, how to choose the right ones, and why you should use them. They provide valuable insight that you can use to make better decisions and run your business more efficiently. Read this overview of KPIs so you can make the most of your performance indicators.
Understanding Key Performance Indicators
There are performance indicators and there are key performance indicators. The difference is that key performance indicators are the most relevant to your specific needs. You might outline dozens of performance indicators, but it helps to focus on a few KPIs that are specifically tailored to your goals.
KPIs provide a way to objectively measure the success of your campaign. If your goal is to improve sales, you’ll want to look at the quantifiable number of products sold to see if your campaign is working. That number serves as a KPI, as it shows whether or not you’re meeting your goals.
If your KPIs show that you’re meeting your goals, then you’re on the right track. If your KPIs suggest you’re falling short, you can use them to find out where you could be doing better. Knowing what works and what doesn’t is key when it comes to revising your strategy.
Identifying Your KPIs
Every business has different key performance indicators. What really matters are the ones you choose to focus on and the way you use them to reach your goals. The point of KPIs is to teach you about your business so you can recognize trends over time. Since there are so many different areas of a business to analyze and ways to do the analyzing, it’s helpful to choose the right KPIs. Think about your goals, which may involve anything from better customer relationships to more sales, and consider the indicators that best describe your progress.
Look at your business like a high-performing athlete. Athletes have different goals they set for themselves in practice or in a game that may not necessarily result directly in a win or loss, but help them monitor their progress in between games and seasons while also preparing them in getting to the ultimate goal of a win.
Different Types of Indicators
There are different kinds of KPIs, so choose the ones that make the most sense based on your goals. The categories include marketing, sales, customer service, manufacturing, and project management and each category uses different types of indicators. Here’s a closer look at some of the different pools.
- Marketing Campaigns: You should be measuring the success of your marketing campaigns as you run them and after they’ve finished so you can see what works and what doesn’t. This will help you craft your next campaign and will also give you an idea of what to expect from it. Before you can sell a product, you need to come up with a marketing campaign. KPIs for this category will help you analyze your marketing and advertising success, and they’ll show you which products are selling the best.
- Social Media Engagement
- Email Opens
- Sales and Conversions: It’s impossible to run a business if you have no idea how much of your inventory you’re selling. That’s where KPIs based on sales and conversions come in. These KPIs analyze your revenue, so you know how much is coming in as well as where exactly it’s coming from. You can get especially specific with sales KPIs; you can tailor them to individual employees, specific time periods, or different channels to learn about particular areas of your business.
- Total Transactions
- Product Relationship
- Conversion Rate
- Customer Service and Retention: Every sale helps, but it’s more helpful to keep your customers loyal so they continue to purchase from your store. Repeat customers will reliably patronize your business, and they’re more likely to tell their friends and family about you. This boosts exposure in addition to bringing in consistent revenue. Customer service KPIs look at your relationships with consumers by analyzing the amount of customer outreach and the time it takes to reach a solution.
- Customer Service Interaction
- Response Time
- Resolution Time
- Hit Rate
- Manufacturing Process: Without the actual manufacturing process, you wouldn’t have any products to sell. Safe and effective manufacturing and warehousing ensure that shipments go out according to plan. This keeps your whole operation on track and it keeps your customers happy. In terms of KPIs, you’ll want to look at things like how much inventory is being manufactured, how frequently accidents occur, and how long it takes to get a shipment out.
- Number of Incidents
- Cycle Time
- Labor Effectiveness
- Project Management: Sometimes it helps to put the higher-ups under the microscope as well. Every team needs a strong leader in order to succeed, and project management KPIs see how well your managers are doing when it comes to organizing and completing specific projects. You can look at indicators regarding the budget you have to work with, the amount of time you spent on the job, and how much of your investment is returned through sales or exposure.
- Time Worked
- Return on Investment
- Cost Differential
The proper use of KPIs can pave the way for you to reach your business goals. However, you still need to set reasonable, attainable goals for yourself. If you start with an unreasonable goal like tripling sales in a month, your KPIs won’t be as effective because your goal is so far-fetched in the first place. Instead, you can actually use your KPIs to set more realistic goals for yourself by analyzing the data in front of you. If you see growth in a certain area, find out what’s causing the growth and take advantage. Look at this growth and decide if it could be further improved, and then set your goal.
Checking Your Progress
Once you’ve set your goals for the future, then you can create a game plan. KPIs help you identify the most important aspects of your business, but what you do with that knowledge is ultimately up to you. Be sure to continually check in on your KPIs to see how you’re progressing. It’s not enough to simply identify them and look once; instead, set benchmarks so you can track them throughout your marketing campaigns. Then you can adjust as necessary until you’ve reached your goals.
Building Toward Your Future
As long as you use them the right way, KPIs can be exceedingly helpful to your understanding of your business. As much as you think you know about your company, there is always more to learn. Don’t forget to apply the information you learn. KPIs can highlight just about any aspect of your company, like what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. If you find out that part of your manufacturing process is losing you money, quickly make changes so you can save. If customers tend to call with complaints about a particular product, double check your inventory and get to the bottom of the issue. Use KPIs to get to know your business so you can make the necessary adjustments and reap the benefits.