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Ecommerce Dashboard: What it is, How to use it, and Why it matters

Looking at different ecommerce metrics is like gazing into the night sky: there are so many data points you can (and should) track that the information available feels...infinite. Connecting and integrating data across different channels and platforms can be a full-time job, and as a result, teams are constantly playing catch-up with all of the numbers and data points they’re tracking across spreadsheets and dashboards. Enter an ecommerce dashboard. 

Ecommerce Dashboard: What it is, How to use it, and Why it matters

Looking at different ecommerce metrics is like gazing into the night sky: there are so many data points  you can (and should) track that the information available feels...infinite.

Connecting and integrating data across different channels and platforms can be a full-time job, and as a result, teams are constantly playing catch-up with all of the numbers and data points they’re tracking across spreadsheets and dashboards. 

Almost half of the marketing leaders surveyed for the Gartner Marketing Analytics survey said that some of their most expensive and experienced analysts and data scientists spend their time preparing data to be analyzed rather than analyzing the data:

“Some of the most skilled analytics talent spends their time doing work that is necessary but not necessarily the work that will drive competitive differentiation and breakthrough insights. Analysts don’t have the time, tools, or processes to execute on their vision.”

The question is, what can businesses do to improve their ecommerce analytics efficiency? 

Enter an ecommerce dashboard. 

What is an ecommerce dashboard?

An ecommerce dashboard is a central report with all the essential key performance indicators (KPIs) that ecommerce businesses need to make informed decisions. 

Even digitally-native brands struggle to stay on top of the huge amount of data they gather on a daily basis. The role of an ecommerce dashboard is to centralize all the data businesses have to get a clear picture of the direction in which they are moving. 

Why do tech-savvy businesses need ecommerce analytics?

Managing a modern online business without ecommerce analytics can feel like walking in a dark tunnel. You won’t be able to reach your goal if you don’t have lights to guide you. 

Ecommerce analytics signal when something is not right, giving you the chance to fix issues and double down on initiatives that perform well. 

Here’re some of the fundamental reasons why businesses need ecommerce analytics:

Attract new customers

The ecommerce competition is fierce. No matter how the digital landscape evolves, attracting new customers remains an essential task for every online business. In order to attract customers, you have to understand their behavior as well as their needs and wants. 

Data is the key. Unlike in the past when businesses had limited insights about their customers, today, thanks to data analytics, tracking the buyer’s journey and analyzing how customers interact with a brand will help pave the way to new customers.  

Retain loyal customers

You can never fill a leaky bucket to the top. Finding the right formula for bringing new customers without the ability to make them stay is not enough. The influx of new businesses emphasized the importance of having a solid base of raving fans that want to stick around for the long run. 

But how do you convert one-time buyers to loyal customers? Meet (or better yet, exceed) their expectations. The only way to do so is data. Analyze insights to understand what matters to your target audience and streamline your strategy based on the feedback. 

Manage your inventory

Businesses that are incapable of handling their inventory fail fast without exception. Speed and convenience are two of the most important pillars of ecommerce. In a world of instant gratification, being unable to fulfill an order means losing customers. 

The good news is that data can help. Good inventory management depends on ecommerce analytics. From knowing when to reorder to forecasting and inventory planning, with ecommerce analytics, your business can stay on track. 

Create personalized experiences

Companies that fail to provide personalized shopping experiences will ultimately go out of business. Data from Accenture shows that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.

The truth is, personalization is not an easy task. Fortunately, with ecommerce analytics, companies can gather the insights they need to create special offers, targeted ads, cross-selling and up-selling strategies, and a myriad of other tailored experiences. 

Optimize your product portfolio

The best way to create a product portfolio that resonates with your target audience is to measure the pulse of your customers. Based on previous buyer behavior, businesses can make informed decisions for future product development. 

What are your bestsellers, and what are your worst performing products? Identifying them can help you optimize your product portfolio and set you for future growth. 

Make data-driven business decisions

Unlike retail, where you can use intuitive, experience-based methods, in ecommerce, data is the prerequisite for good decision-making. There’s no such thing as luck in ecommerce. 

Instead of taking a wild guess, tech-savvy businesses analyze insights, detect patterns, make data-driven decisions and optimize along the way.  

Future-proof your business 

Imagine if you had the tools and the capacity to predict the future. What would you do with that crystal ball? With ecommerce analytics, businesses can replace assumptions with data-backed plans for the future and boost the bottom line.  

4 KPI Categories to include in your ecommerce dashboard

When it comes to the KPIs that should be included in an ecommerce dashboard, marketing managers and ecommerce business owners often find themselves overwhelmed with numbers and categories. 

To make your life easier, we’ve put together a list of the most important KPIs that should be part of your ecommerce dashboard.  

Ecommerce Analytics

A good starting point is to get a global overview of your business and understand the basic KPIs that can make or break your business. Based on this information, you can make data-driven business decisions.  

  • Website traffic — the number of people that visit your website. Often called visits or sessions, this metric can help you understand how many people your online business is attracting. Bringing significant website traffic is a prerequisite for future growth.  
  • Conversion rate — the percentage of visitors converted. To get this metric, you have to divide the number of conversions by the total number of visitors. The conversion rate is the “holy grail” of ecommerce analytics. Every online business is focused on boosting this percentage, or in other words, increasing the number of people that click the “add to cart” button. 
  • Average Order Value — the average amount spent by a customer on a website. To get your company’s average order value, divide the total revenue by the number of orders. The AOV indicates how much customers spend on each transaction. By improving this metric, you’ll ultimately boost your bottom line. 
  • New and returning customers — the number of first-time buyers and buyers that have already purchased something in the past and are returning on your website. Customers are the lifeblood of your online business. Being able to attract new customers but at the same time engage them to become loyal over time is the only way to success.  

Performance Marketing KPIs

Measuring performance should be at the core of every ecommerce business. Monitoring acquisition, retention, and profitability should be the baseline for measuring your marketing performance. 

  • Customer Acquisition Cost — the cost of acquiring a new customer. To calculate the CAC, you should divide the costs spent on acquiring more customers by the number of customers acquired in the period the money was spent. 
  • Lifetime Value — an estimated revenue that a company will generate from a customer throughout their customer lifespan.
  • Blended and Paid ROAS — attributing return on ad spend. Depending on the approach, blended ROAS is attributing conversions to both paid and organic channels. On the other hand, paid ROAS is attributing conversions to paid activity only. 

Engagement KPIs 

Businesses that want to succeed in a digital-first world have to focus on keeping customers engaged. Based on their engagement, you’ll be able to personalize their experience and retain loyal customers. 

  • Open rates — the percentage of people who open an email. Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s toolbox. Staying top of mind requires constant communication with customers and prospects. 
  • Click rates — the percentage of people who click on a specific link. To calculate this percentage, you should divide the number of clicks by the number of opens/impressions. Analyzing click rates will help you understand what type of content, offers, and promotions resonate with your audience. 
  • Unsubscribe rates — the percentage of users who opt out from the mailing list after an email campaign. By tracking the unsubscribe rate, you can spot red flags in terms of the relevance of the campaign for your target audience. 
  • Churn rate — the percentage of subscribers who cancel their subscriptions within a given period. This metric is especially important for subscription brands because it represents the health of the company. 
  • Retention rate — the percentage of customers the business has retained over a specific period. To identify what makes customers stay, companies can perform cohort analysis. Cohort analysis for retention helps you understand how many customers continue to be active users over a specific period.

Product KPIs 

Being aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your products is the catalyst to optimizing your product portfolio and strategically managing inventory. Companies that don’t track product KPIs end up guessing the winners and losers in their portfolio.

  • Product data — relevant information about a product. Attributes such as title, image, category, and product type are just some of the information that should be part of your product feed.
  • Product reviews — customer feedback for a particular product. Gathering and analyzing product reviews will not only help your customers make a purchasing decision, but it will also give you invaluable information on your product portfolio.

Why is building a full-stack ecommerce dashboard hard?

Now that you know all the essential KPIs that you should be tracking, the next step is building an ecommerce dashboard. However, many ecommerce businesses struggle with this task. 

Why is that the case?

You need to pull together fragmented tools

Today’s data infrastructure is increasingly complex. Tech-savvy businesses are juggling tools and platforms to track, collect, and analyze data that will ultimately equip them to make informed decisions and future-proof their business. 

Unifying all the data can seem like an impossible task. From Connectors, Data Modelers, and Cloud Data Warehouses to Visualization tools and AI Assistants—dealing with complex software systems can cause marketers even more confusion. 

Staying on top of all these tools is either costly (no less than $100,000 per year) or low quality (because of the limitations in free tools).

Requires technical knowledge and a team of data engineers to implement

Complex data systems require technical skills and knowledge. One way to handle this is by hiring a team of data analysts, data engineers, and machine learning engineers to take charge of the data infrastructure. 

But even when you do so, because of the complexity they will dedicate most of their time to gathering data and unifying all the information, instead of analyzing. 

Complete manual process that takes all of your time

Tackling data manually is another way to approach building an ecommerce dashboard. However, this approach can take you days and even whole weeks. It’s inefficient, daunting, and it can be a horrorshow.

The good news is that there’s a smarter way to approach ecommerce analytics. 

Stay on top of your analytics with a full-stack ecommerce dashboard

Now you can build your marketing dashboard by integrating data, visualizing it, and getting smart insights all in one app. 

Polar Analytics is an intelligent dashboard where you can connect all your marketing data, easily analyze them and get actionable insights. Here’re some of the ecommerce dashboard best practices that you automatically get with Polar Analytics: 

  • Data-integration — Gather all marketing data in one place

To build an ecommerce dashboard, you need to integrate data from multiple sources, which is time-consuming and difficult. Polar Analytics comes with 17+ pre-built integrations like Shopify, GA, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Recharge, Klaviyo, and more.

  • Data-visualization — Monitor your metrics in real-time with ready-made advanced templates 

In a great ecommerce dashboard, there is data on CAC and LTV because these are the lifeblood of D2C. Polar Analytics automatically aggregates marketing spend to have CAC day by day and model Lifetime Value and Cohorts seamlessly without manual work. 

  • Data-science — Use smart alerts and insights to never miss a thing

An ecommerce dashboard is static, but your business is moving. Polar Analytics comes with daily reports, dynamic alerts, and insights so that you never miss an issue affecting your revenue or customer experience ever again. This way, you get a better monitoring and forecasting model.

What’s next?

Without ecommerce analytics, understanding online customer behavior can feel like a black box. 

Though gathering data is vital for every ecommerce brand, the only way to improve your business performance is to understand the insights and take action on what you learn. 

Now you can create your ecommerce dashboard in five minutes. Schedule your free demo and learn how.

Join 2,700+ leading Shopify brands around the world using Polar Analytics to stop manually compiling their data

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