Varos Glossary

Ecommerce Benchmarks

What Are Ecommerce Benchmarks?

If you run an online store, you likely look at metrics like sales, traffic, and conversion rates on a regular basis. But how do you know if your numbers are good or bad? This is where ecommerce benchmarks come in handy.

Ecommerce benchmarks are performance indicators and metrics that are typical for online retail businesses. They allow you to measure your store’s success in various areas against pre-established industry standards.

Ecommerce benchmarks may be derived from third-party research reports. However, these are often expensive and hard to get. Proprietary tools like Varos have data from over 4000 thousands of companies for you to review. Our platform allows you to filter by industry, business size, and more.

The key is that they provide standardized data points for comparison rather than just looking at your raw metrics in isolation. Knowing where you stand against benchmarks reveals problem areas and opportunities for improvement. It also helps you set realistic goals tailored to your vertical, size, and business model.

Why Do Ecommerce Benchmarks Matter?

Ecommerce benchmarks are invaluable for online retailers because they:

  • Provide Context for Your Metrics: By themselves, your website traffic, conversion rate, or other metrics don’t reveal much. Ecommerce benchmarks add context so you know if your numbers are truly good, bad, or average.
  • Help You Identify Issues: Significant gaps between your performance and industry benchmarks highlight areas for improvement. This allows you to zero in on problems dragging you down.
  • Enable Goal Setting: Armed with benchmark data, you can set achievable goals based on standards for businesses like yours. This makes your targets realistic and actionable.
  • Empower Data-Driven Decisions: Numbers don’t lie. Benchmarks help you divide resources and optimize campaigns backed by hard data, not guesswork.
  • Show You How You Compare: Benchmarks show how you stack up against rivals in your niche. This competitive intelligence fuels your strategy.

In summary, ecommerce benchmarks make your key metrics infinitely more valuable by adding context. You gain visibility into customer behavior and pinpoint weak spots. It allows you to set smart goals, enhance decision-making, and keep pace with competitors.

Now let’s explore some of the most critical ecommerce benchmarks online retailers should be monitoring.

Key Ecommerce Benchmarks to Track

Dozens of ecommerce benchmarks could provide value to your business. But unless you’re Amazon or Walmart, tracking them all will prove overwhelming.

Focus on a select group of metrics aligned with your current business objectives and growth areas. Here are some of the most useful ecommerce benchmarks to consider across four categories:

Traffic and Engagement Benchmarks

These metrics indicate how well you’re driving traffic and capturing attention:

  • Bounce Rate – Percentage of visitors who enter and leave your site without browsing beyond one page. High bounce rates can signal site issues.
  • Pages Per Session – Average page views during a visit. More pages indicate greater engagement.
  • Average Session Duration – Time visitors spend actively browsing your site. Longer is better.
  • Mobile vs. Desktop Traffic – Percentage breakdown of visitors by device type. Keep in mind that mobile usage continues to rise, with over 60% of users shopping on mobile.

Sales and Financial Benchmarks

Key indicators of sales performance and profitability:

  • Average Order Value – Total sales revenue divided by the number of orders. Higher AOVs boost revenue.
  • Conversion Rate – Percentage of visitors who complete a purchase. More conversions drive growth.
  • Revenue Growth – This percentage marks an increase in sales over time. Track weekly, monthly, and annually.
  • Gross Margin – Portion of revenue remaining after accounting for COGS. Higher is better.

Customer Benchmarks

Metrics revealing buyer loyalty, retention, and satisfaction:

  • Repeat Customer Rate – Percentage of customers who purchase again after their first order. Fosters loyalty.
  • Average Customer Lifetime Value – Total revenue expected per customer. Boost CLV to maximize profit.
  • Net Promoter Score – NPS is a measure of customer satisfaction and loyalty. This metric is based on the customer’s likelihood to recommend your product or services.
  • Cart Abandonment Rate – Percentage of carts started but not completed. Reducing cart abandonment equals more sales.

Marketing Benchmarks

Data showing how you’re performing across acquisition channels:

  • Traffic by Source – Visits driven by organic, paid, social, referral, email, etc. Optimize best channels.
  • Cost Per Click – CPC is the average amount you pay when users click PPC ads. Lower CPCs reduce campaign costs.
  • Email Open Rates – Percentage of sent emails that subscribers open. Higher open rates boost engagement.
  • Social Media Engagement – Likes, shares, clicks. Help gauge audience interest.

Operations Benchmarks

Performance metrics tied to site operations and infrastructure:

  • Shipping Times – Average speed of order fulfillment and delivery. Faster shipping improves the experience.
  • Shipping Accuracy – Percentage of orders shipped without errors. Minimize mistakes to reduce returns.
  • Page Load Times – Seconds for pages to fully render. Faster page loads enhance UX.
  • Server Response Times – Seconds for servers to respond to page requests. Speedy responses prevent lag.

Which of these ecommerce benchmarks you focus on will depend on your current business goals and needs. But tracking the right metrics against industry data is a proven way to boost sales, retention, and growth.

How to Use Ecommerce Benchmarks

Now that you know why ecommerce benchmarking matters, let’s discuss how to put this powerful tactic into practice:

Choose Relevant Benchmarks

With so many ecommerce metrics and KPIs to choose from, focus on benchmarks that matter most for your business goals and growth areas. Track too many, and you’ll get lost in the noise.

Collect Benchmark Data

Use tools like Varos to find benchmark data filtered for your product category, business size, location, and model. Comparing yourself to the broader market won’t provide an accurate picture.

Compare Your Performance

Stack your metrics up against corresponding benchmarks to identify gaps. Calculate variances and percentages to quantify how far above or below the standard you stand.

Analyze Trends and Differences

Don’t just compare numbers at face value. Dig into why benchmarks differ, examining factors like your product type, digital maturity, and marketing strategies.

Make Changes and Set Goals

Let insights uncovered from benchmarking shape your goals and drive website updates, campaign optimizations, and process improvements.

Ecommerce Benchmarking Enables Success

Thanks to ecommerce benchmarks, you no longer have to second-guess your website’s performance. Benchmarks add much-needed context, helping you set goals tailored to your business and empowering data-driven optimization.

Don’t leave growth and success to chance. Join thousands of online retailers who embrace benchmarking to drive results. With tools like Varos making benchmark data quick and easy to access, there’s no reason not to put this tactic to work for your ecommerce business.

Book a demo today to give it a try.

About the Author

Sarah Clowes-Walker 

Head of Marketing at Varos