If you’ve done the work to build an app for your ecommerce site, then it might seem like you’re able to sit back, relax, and watch the sales come in. Unfortunately, your work is really just beginning.
Once your app gets up and running, getting it into the hands of your customers, helping them build a habit with your app so that they use it, and leaving them feeling good about their experience with your brand is an ongoing battle.
While that can feel like a lot of work, luckily, you’re not out there in the dark. Every action your customer makes leaves a trail of data, and by collecting enough of the RIGHT metrics you can begin to tell when your customers are unhappy, what they like and want more of, and where in your service there is room for growth and improvement.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of metrics that you could choose to focus on with any given ecommerce app, and if you know how long your users are spending on your app, but aren’t sure if they’re actually buying your products or coming back to buy from it again, you’re fighting a losing battle.
Since this is the case, we thought we’d help you tackle this subject head-on by showing you which five metrics you should track with your ecommerce app to give you the most bang for your buck.
First things first, paying attention to your retention and churn rates is key to understanding how your customers feel about your app experience and how successful your app will be at making sales.
Your churn rate is simply defined as the number of users who do not return to your app within the first 30 days, while your retention rate is the number of users who continue to come back after downloading.
These metrics are particularly important for several reasons:
1 — While evaluating your retention and churn rates may feel like putting the cart before the horse, it’s key to have your retention strategy in place BEFORE spending precious time and money on the acquisition.
In fact, for the past few years, customer acquisition has been seen as a leading metric for all mobile apps (not strictly ecommerce apps) but with 23% of users abandoning an app after one use and 75% of app users churning with 90 days (across industries) things are beginning to change, especially for ecommerce apps.Acquisition is nothing if the users forget or discontinue using the app. Click To Tweet
Acquisition is nothing if the users forget or discontinue using the app. Therefore, by focusing on the churn and retention, you’re able to monitor the lifetime actions and the real value of your customers instead of how many people download the app.
2 — It’s a commonly toted statistic that it’s five to seven times more expensive to find new customers than it is to retain an old one. While it’s an easy statistic to gloss over, it’s an important one to consider for your ecommerce app — especially with the high churn rates mentioned above.
Unless you focus on app retention, you’ll be tasked with finding a continuous stream of new customers to download your app AND use it, instead of utilizing the asset that is those who have already downloaded it.
3 — To this end, convincing users to come back to make a purchase a second time will always be significantly easier because they already know, like, and trust your business. In some cases, the numbers can be as high as a user being 60-70% as likely to make in-app purchases, as compared to the 5-20% of selling to new users.
Improving your retention rate can be as easy as employing simple marketing strategies to create touch points with your customer base. Such things as in-app and personalized messaging (based on previous purchases or location,) push notifications, or abandoned cart reminders can all be excellent ways to get your users back to your app and making purchases.
The next metric that is particularly beneficial for your native ecommerce app is which acquisition channel is the most profitable for the overall growth of your business.
As we mentioned above, retaining repeat customers will save you money in the long run; however, you will never make a sale if people aren’t downloading your app. Furthermore, if you’re spending an arm and a leg to get them through the door, you’re not saving yourself a lot of money either.
In particular, deciding which channel acquires the most valuable lifetime customers to your store will depend on a number of factors, such as your average cost per lead or acquisition cost, cost-per-click, average customer revenue etc.
Ultimately, once you begin to evaluate these metrics, you can start looking deeper into your spending for any given channel to determine not only if you’re spending too much to obtain a new customer, but if maintaining and hosting a native app is a good marketing endeavor for your business.
For example: If you see that customers who find your app organically through the app store are less likely to become repeat customers, you can use this data to put more money into promoting desktop sales in the attempts to get those customers to make the switch to mobile.
The more you can hone in on the exact channels that are bringing in the greatest number of customers for the lowest amount, the more you can scale your marketing efforts in those areas and begin bringing in customers at a predictable rate.
Looking at your metrics around purchases is not only one of the necessary metrics to monitor, but it’s (typically) one of the most enjoyable.
When it comes to evaluating customer purchases there are two main metrics to look at, 1) average customer revenue, or how much your average customer currently spends in your app, and 2) their lifetime values, or the projected value of your customers before they stop using your app.
While these metrics offer two different perspectives, they are both particularly helpful in determining if you’ll hit your overall revenue targets, if you’re spending too much time on acquisition vs. retention (vice versa), and determining which marketing efforts need restructuring, etc.
Since running an ecommerce app means that the average customer revenue will be determined by how much each customer spends per order, if your numbers are low, you can look at the type of sales you’re making, evaluate if promoting upsells or cross-sells could positively impact those numbers, and then project that out to see how that could affect your lifetime revenue.
Likewise, if you’re looking to improve the lifetime value of your users, listening to their feedback and concerns, and staying engaged in their interests as you release updates helps build user trust and engagement and keeps people using your app for longer.
The average amount of time a customer spends during each session on your app can be an excellent indicator of the overall customer experiences and how engaged your users are in what you have to offer. For example, if you have a high bounce rate during your checkout time, it might be because your checkout process is too complicated.
While there is no hard and fast rule for evaluating session length, for ecommerce apps, an obvious goal is to end up with a purchase at the end of every session. While that is certainly not always an attainable goal, at the least this will result in you having more people with items in their carts and more opportunities to bring them back to the app.
Remember, the further they go into your app and the more time is spent on it per session, the more opportunities you have to continue to nurture the sale, and the more engaged your users are with your products.
Likewise, by mapping your user’s behaviors, you can make changes to your app that align with those behaviors and send push notifications between sessions to improve popular features.
Since monitoring session lengths can be helpful for understanding user engagement, if your session lengths are longer or shorter than you want them to be, go back to your customer testing and feedback. See if there are features that cause a problem or a delay in loading your products.
In the end, if you can make your app the best user experience possible, it will reflect in your session length.
Lastly, paying attention to the functionality of your app is key regardless of the kind of app you have, but ensuring that your app can load multiple items and process transactions is essential for an ecommerce app.Ensuring that your app can load multiple items and process transactions is essential for an ecommerce app. Click To Tweet
Slow load times are extremely aggravating on the user end and do nothing to inspire your users to continue using the app, let alone buy your products. Because of this, it’s important to treat your app speed as an essential feature of your app. As noted above, this is where testing it regularly to ensure it can keep up with user demands and collecting feedback from your users with their thoughts on how it works is essential.
If your app is slow or if you are getting complaints, there are several things you can do to speed it up including, turning off time-consuming or difficult-to-process functions, or trying a diagnostic tool to help find the problem, etc.
Overall, anything you can do to make sure that each of your products load on an aggregate page and when clicked by the user, will do a tremendous deal to helping your overall sales and client retention.
It can feel difficult and overwhelming to make the most of your metrics, but in the end, it is well worth the effort put in. Metrics offer you a simple and functional look at how your customers see not only your app, but your products, and even your brand.
However, a metric on its own means nothing if it’s not helping you grow your business, scale your services, or reach new customers. That’s why, when it comes to your metrics, the most important thing is to align them with your ultimate goals. This will ensure that you and your ecommerce app move in a direction that that’s good for your business.
Author: Emily Gomez & Einar Vollset, Corresponding Author: [email protected].
For each teardown we collect over 200 data points, including UX best practices, search capabilities, payment integrations as well as re-engagement tactics and social/engagement features. Each teardown includes an overall score, along with the score for each of the 20+ categories we collect data under. We then provides either video and/or slideshow content of the actual app, highlighting important parts of the app along with particularly good, bad or surprising functionality.