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Updated April 12, 2022

Shopify Shopify Playbook: Tips & Metrics For Ecommerce Growth

Shopify Playbook: Tips & Metrics For Ecommerce Growth

Before you can grow your Shopify store, you need to know what to track and how to track it. Review this playbook to get 12 tips to grow your store fast.

If you’re using Shopify for your ecommerce store, you already know that as far as platforms go, it’s one of the best.

Shopify's platform makes it easier than ever to get your store up and running. But growing your business isn't as straightforward...

It’s all about marketing and finding the right merchant solutions to get more sales.

Follow these tips to start selling more on your Shopify store ASAP.

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • Shopify store growth statistics 
  • Shopify growth metrics to track 
  • How to track your Shopify store growth 
  • 12 tips to grow your Shopify store

Shopify store growth statistics

With the coronavirus, the last year has shifted the ecommerce landscape forever. Just ask Shopify's President, Harley Finkelstein. 

The entrepreneurial gold rush is no joke. From the heart of New York to Canada and everywhere in between, the number of merchants popping up worldwide is astounding. And there has truly never been a better time to be in the ecommerce space. And these stats prove it.

Shopify is responsible for 11% of the total ecommerce market.

If ecommerce is a pie, Shopify business owners have access to a huge slice (Source: Statista). 

Just think about the number of ecommerce transactions there are every single day. The fact that Shopify is responsible for 11% of the total ecommerce market is incredible.

Shoppers who bought from Shopify stores increased by 52% from 2019 to 2020.

Online shopping is on the rise, a side-effect of the pandemic, yes, but it’s been on the rise for several years (Source: Shopify). 

As the market shifted more and more online, Shopify helped merchants capitalize on it with the roll out of Facebook Shops, Walmart, and Pinterest sales channels and the TikTok marketing channel.

In 2019, global online sales increased by 21%, for Shopify businesses it was by 50%.

Consumer spending is way up when it comes to ecommerce, but the Shopify market is growing at a faster pace than the market at large. It’s the perfect time to be right where you are (Source: Statista).

Shopify growth metrics to track

You've already chosen the perfect ecommerce platform to find success as a founder.

But knowing which metrics you should be tracking to measure your success is another story.

So if you're serious about revenue growth and consistent improvement, use these 5 metrics as a starting point. So you'll be able to compare your store to the other million startups already on Shopify.

Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

If you have a subscription business model, this is one of the most important metrics you can track. 

As you've shopped with other Shopify merchants, chances are, you've seen the option to subscribe to certain products for a slightly cheaper price than purchasing the product one time only.

This is because founders want to lock in that monthly recurring revenue (MRR). It's guaranteed income. Yes, you have to keep those customers happy so they don't cancel their subscription, but if there's a way to tap into a subscription model for your business, it's a no brainer.

Conversion rate

Your conversion rate measures how many people made a purchase, vs. how much traffic you’re getting to your site.

So if you’re getting lots of traffic, but have a low conversion rate, it means your site is either reaching irrelevant traffic or it’s not accurately targeting your ideal customer with specific landing pages, targeted product offers, and messaging.

On the flip side, if you’re getting low traffic, but have a high conversion rate, this means you’ve targeted the right people — but need to scale up your marketing and SEO to get more eyes on your store and content.

Ultimately, the higher your conversion rate is, the more visitors you're converting into paying customers. So pay special attention to this one.

Average order value (AOV)

Your average order value is exactly what you'd expect. It's the average amount your customers are spending for every purchase on your store. 

When you have a sense of your AOV, it will help you understand more about your customers’ behavior so you can make targeted offers that aim to increase it. 

Your free shipping threshold, for example, is a great way to influence your AOV. Just think about how many times you've added something else to an order just because you didn't want to have to pay for shipping.

So keep a close eye on your AOV every single month and always be testing out new ways to give it a boost. Even minor improvements can have a big impact as you scale.

Shopping cart abandonment rate

On average, cart abandonment is 69% across all industries. So don't get discouraged if yours seems too high. It's human nature.

Just think about the times you've gotten to the checkout page and seen a $20 shipping fee, so you bounce...

Luckily, you can considerably decrease cart abandonment with the right tools, nudging customers to finalize their purchase with personalized messages and well-timed offers, like free shipping.

The best part? You can automate this.

With Privy, you can set up triggers for email reminders, popups, and targeted offers. Set it up once and watch your abandonment rate drop significantly.

Customer retention rate

Of course you always want to be thinking about ways to attract new customers, but getting repeat customers is paramount.

If you’re getting lots of one-time customers, but you’re not retaining them, you’re losing out on your biggest money makers.

To keep your customers coming back, you need to make sure you're building real relationships. Because when your customers feel a connection to you as the founder, they're so much more likely to come back.

Incentivize them to come back with a rewards program, send emails that make them feel special, make sure you're on top of your customer support.

There's so much you can be doing to improve customer retention and drive repeat purchases.

Track your Shopify store growth

Now that you know which metrics you should be paying attention to, how do you actually track them all? Where do you find them? And how can you make the process as painless as possible?

There are very manual ways to do it, of course. Creating spreadsheets, setting up complex formulas…

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Pair your Shopify Analytics with a robust platform like Privy, so you can focus on getting sales rather than generating reports.

Choose your Shopify growth KPIs

Setting up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is the cornerstone of any business – it will help you prioritize tasks, allocate budget, and stay on track.

You might want to spend all day making TikToks, but when you look back at your KPIs, realize that isn't the most important task on your plate. KPIs help you put your to-dos in nice little boxes like “nice to have,” “NEED to have,” or “maybe next year.”

So, first thing’s first.

You’ve got to define success for your business and marketing campaigns. What are your goals and how are you going to achieve them?

Make your KPIs as detailed as possible:


*Red X emoji* Get more customers

*Green check mark emoji* Grow our customer base by 20%

*Red X Emoji* Increase customer retention

*Green check mark emoji* Turn 30% of first-time shoppers into repeat customers

Then outline a plan to help you get there.

Don’t be afraid to get ambitious, if you've have achieved 100% of your KPIs, it's likely you didn't aim high enough.

Settle on a tracking cadence (and stick to it!)

The right cadence for tracking KPIs is different for everyone, but a great starting point is to check in on your KPIs on a quarterly basis, with a thorough check in at the halfway point to make sure you're staying on track.

What you want to avoid is setting them up in the first quarter, then forgetting about them for months until it's time to set next quarter's goals. Weekly or monthly check-ins will help.

But setting up quarterly goals allows you enough time to achieve them and stay nimble enough to steer things in a different direction if you need to pivot.

So if by the time the second, third, or fourth quarter rolls around, you need to make some changes, you can easily do so.

But, at the end of the day, your tracking cadence will really depend on your business, resources and goals.

The main takeaway here is that once you’ve decided on it, you should be diligent about following it through.

Track the performance of your marketing campaigns

I know. Another thing to track...

But you need to be able to answer questions like:

  • How much revenue are you generating from emails?
  • How much traffic are you getting from blogs and product pages?
  • How many new subscribers signed up from your social media giveaway campaign?

Otherwise, how will you know if your marketing efforts are working (and be able to make changes if they’re not)?

The right tools will make performance tracking a breeze. For example, Privy’s Revenue Reporting allows you to easily track the ROI of your marketing campaigns across multiple channels. Check it out here (Pssst, the first 15 days are free).

12 tips to grow your Shopify store

At this point, know which metrics you should be tracking, but you might be wondering exactly what you can be doing to influence growth and hit your goals.

Test out these 12 tips to improve customer retention, satisfaction, growth rates, and sell more.

1. Make sure your store is mobile friendly

According to SaleCycle, worldwide mobile traffic accounts for 68%, while desktop make up 32%.

The majority of your potential customers are browsing through your online store from their smartphones.

But when it comes to conversion rates, desktop sales actually convert at a slightly better rate than mobile...

Why? Ecommerce websites, as a general rule, aren’t as easy to navigate on mobile as they are on desktop. With payment forms, shipping addresses, images too small to appreciate on your phone, there are so many ways the mobile experience can fall short.

A surefire way to improve sales is to make your website as mobile friendly as possible. Especially at checkout, things like Shop Pay, pay later, buy now, and the ability to use pay installments can have a serious impact. 

You aren't Amazon. And chances are, your customers sought out your business exactly for that reason. But you need to make the mobile experience as seamless as possible.

2. Grow your email list with popup campaigns

I know. Popups have a bad rap as unwelcome disruptions. But here’s the thing. When they feel like a native part of your store and you're offering something that's truly valuable to your subscribers, the results are incredible.

Depending on your offer, you should expect to convert anywhere from 1-10% of your visitors into subscribers. And we've found that every email address you capture = $33 (up from $16 in 2019). Which means every new signup means revenue for your business.

But you can’t just throw up any arbitrary popup and expect it to convert. Your offer and the design matter.

  • Signup campaign (No coupon, just asking people to join your list): Convert 1% of visitors
  • Coupon campaign (Discount or code for free shipping): Convert 5% of visitors
  • Enter to win campaign (Gift certificate, free product, etc.): Convert 10% of visitors
  • The simplest way to launch a popup is to offer a coupon in exchange for an email address.

If the standard coupon popup is performing below average (5% conversion) for your ecommerce store, you should experiment with different offers based on the context of the page, where your visitors are in their journey, what they’ve browsed in the past, etc.

This way you can better target your visitors and give them a more personal experience.

You can also add a little fun by gamifying your popups with a spin to win. Everybody loves a chance to win a prize, and incorporating gamified elements into your popups is a great way to entice shoppers to sign up.

The bottom line is that you need popups to grow your email list so you can build long term relationships with your site visitors. Because it's probably pretty rare that someone comes to your site for the first time and makes a purchase. So you need a way to build trust over time. And capturing emails is where you start.

3. Use cart abandonment campaigns to save sales

69% of potential customers are leaving items behind in their carts! Which means there’s a huge opportunity to win some of them over and bring them back to complete the purchase.

By setting up automatic cart abandonment campaigns, you can save a portion of those sales while you sleep.

A reminder email an hour after abandonment ensures you're still top of mind. If that doesn't trigger a conversion, you can send 1-2 more emails 24 and 48 hours later, respectively.

If brands send a cart abandonment email at all, they're usually pretty cookie-cutter. Which means they don't stand a chance of capturing attention in a crowded inbox. 

So take the time to really make your abandoned cart emails stand out. Don't just include a photo of what was left behind, use it as a touchpoint to reinforce your relationship.

You can also include an incentive like, free shipping until midnight, 5% off your order for the next 24 hours, etc.

A cart saver is another amazing tool that uses exit intent technology to provide first-time buyers with a last minute nudge to get them to complete the purchase, or at the very least, sign up for your email list.

4. Use coupons to boost sales

Remember that regular signup campaigns that don't offer a coupon only convert 1% of traffic on average. But with an added incentive, like a discount or code for free shipping, that jumps to 5%. 

There's no denying it: coupons boost sales. But before you start giving out discounts left and right, ask yourself these 3 things:

1. What do your visitors care about?

Think about the visitors coming to your site. Why are they there in the first place? Are they driven by your mission? Your products? Word of mouth? Your offers should reflect what you know about their intentions.

2. What is the behavior you’re trying to drive?

With any onsite messaging, this is key. Are you trying to grow your email list? Drive short-term sales? Are you pushing a specific product? Having a goal and knowing what you are trying to achieve will help you come up with the right offer.

3. What can you afford to give?

You need to find the balance between giving something great to your customers and not bankrupting yourself in the process. The intersection of those two things make a great offer and reduce the amount of risk involved. If your offer isn’t obviously going to bring in more than it costs you to deliver, it’s probably not the best one for your business.

This means you have to understand the numbers. If you don't know the overall costs for making your products, you're not going to be able to make an informed decisions about the offers you should and shouldn't run.

So yes, use coupons and sales to drive sales, but only if they have a positive impact on the bottom line.

5. Drive repeat sales with winback emails

Customer winback emails are automatic emails that help you get that 2nd purchase.

These take minutes to set up and are the perfect emails to send either 30, 45, or 60 days after a customer's last purchase.

You can even segment these emails based on what product your customer bought, letting you cross-sell other products in your catalog.

Here’s a great example from Blume, who gives a 30% discount code that has to be used by midnight.

6. Drive repeat sales with early access to new products

Not every offer has to be a discount. In fact, it shouldn't always be a discount! Otherwise, why are your subscribers and customers ever going to pay full price?

Sometimes just giving your customers early access to new products is enough to make them feel valued. Take this example from Beardbrand:

They give their content list access to their latest product launch before anyone else. If you loved a brand, isn't that a list you'd want to be part of?

7. Promote with text message marketing

Another great way to keep customers engaged is to lean into the personal nature of SMS.

Open rates for SMS are sky high (higher than any other channel, as a matter of fact) but, much like abandoned cart emails, it’s a privilege that cannot be abused.

If a customer opts in to receive text messages from you, they’re letting you into the place where they have conversations with their friends and family on a daily basis. Keep this in mind when drafting your comms.

Make sure you're taking advantage of the almost immediate, 98% read rate, for information and promotions that won't make your subscribers think twice about being in your list. Things like, order updates, abandoned cart messages, flash sales, new arrivals, personalized content-driven communication with info about how to take full advantage of their new purchase.  

8. Retain customers with a loyalty program

Loyalty programs help keep your brand top of mind for consumers. In fact, loyalty programs have been shown to increase revenue from customers by as much as 18%.

Think about it. If you're going to be rewarded for purchasing a product from a specific store, wouldn't you go there first? 

When you treat repeat customers like VIPs, it makes a huge difference. Whether it's through your emails, text messages, or loyalty program. Make your most loyal customers feel special and they'll keep coming back.

9. Reuse successful marketing campaigns

One of the reasons it’s so important to track your marketing campaign performance is so you can replicate what’s working.

If a particular offer, email series, social media campaign, etc, did exceptionally well, double down on it until something changes. Always be open to new tests, but don't put pressure on yourself to reinvent the wheel if you know what works well for your brand because you have the data to back it up.

10. Test different messaging

Test everything: email subject lines, visuals, website heroes, product descriptions, CTAs, tone, everything.

The more you test, the more information you’ll have about your customer preferences and attitudes and the more targeted you can make the experience for your segments.

11. Add a quiz to your Shopify store

A quiz can be invaluable for ecommerce brands when it comes to gathering data directly from customers, guiding them to the most relevant product, and capturing email leads.

Customers have a tendency to tune out generic, non-targeted marketing campaigns. But 83% of shoppers are willing to share personal information in order to create a personalized shopping experience, with the expectation that in return, they will receive relevant messages, offers, and value.

Quizzes can work as a hook to get traffic to your landing page and lock in high intent email subscribers.

They can also be used as educational resources to reduce confusion about your products to point visitors in the right direction when it comes to sizing or the right product for them.

12. Keep the door open for customer feedback

A big part of customer engagement and retention is making communication a two way street.

Let your audience know they can reply to your emails, make sure you have product reviews, and make it a prominent characteristic of your business.

The easier it is for your customers to actually communicate with you, the better their experience will be (and the more likely they'll keep coming back).

Again, you're not Amazon. As a small businesses, you're at a scale where communicating with customers in authentic ways is still possible. Take advantage!

Shopify Growth FAQ

Got questions about growing your Shopify store?

How do I market my Shopify store?

The opportunities are endless! To successfully market your Shopify store, you should be thinking about a variety of channels: social media, email, organic content, and even text messaging. These should make up an ecosystem that feels cohesive for your audience. When you start tracking the results of different campaigns, you'll be able to double down on what's working.

Which ecommerce metric should I use to track Shopify growth?

You should be tracking average order value (AOV), cart abandonment rate, customer retention rate, email list subscribers, traffic, and if it's relevant, monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

What is a good growth rate to aim for my Shopify business?

This is different for every business. When you start tracking your metrics, you'll be able to come up with a growth rate that feels attainable. Having a benchmark from other stores is great, but ultimately, you need to find what works for you. It's not a one-size-fits all scenario.

How can I get my Shopify store noticed?

A personalized shopping experience will set you apart. Things like quizzes to determine the best product for visitors and specific product pages with targeted offers will increase relevant organic traffic. Don’t forget about using all the digital channels at your disposal, including social media and email to deliver free value, and share new products, updates, and so much more.

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