The Sales Analytics Guide for Ecommerce Retailers

ShopifyPlus Blog Sales Analytics Guide

In omnichannel retail, sales analytics serve as a control tower, harmonizing data from various touch points like web and mobile devices. This data informs day-to-day operations and long-term strategies that can make or break a retailer. With ever-changing consumer expectations, the right analytics can help you refine pricing strategies, optimize inventory, and enhance the ecommerce customer experience.

Fine-tuning your analytics capabilities is especially crucial when your operation spans many channels and geographic locations. Making effective use of this data increases sales forecasting accuracy and risk mitigation. Ultimately, it can help your business respond quickly to shifts in markets, economic fluctuations, and changes in consumer tastes. 

What is sales analytics?

Sales analytics refers to systematically analyzing and interpreting sales data and key performance indicators (KPIs) to improve sales strategies. This process involves collecting data from multiple sources—customer interactions, sales transactions, and market trends—and analyzing it to generate actionable insights.

Sales analytics is vital for large retailers operating across various channels and markets. It goes beyond mere number-crunching to offer a nuanced understanding of consumer behavior trends, market dynamics, and operational efficiency. By leveraging advanced analytics, retailers can make more informed decisions that affect everything from inventory management to the customer experience.

Categories of sales analytics

  • Descriptive 
  • Diagnostic
  • Predictive
  • Prescriptive 

To develop a comprehensive sales analytics strategy that can offer unique insights into your sales process, learn about these four core categories:


Descriptive sales analytics offers a snapshot of past performance by analyzing historical sales data. For example, sales reports might show that Q4 revenue growth exceeded expectations. This information is essential for sales teams to understand what has or hasn’t worked in the past.


Diagnostic analytics dissects the “why” behind key sales metrics. Sales managers may use analytics tools to investigate customer behavior and market trends. Understanding these factors can help explain a spike in customer acquisition costs during a specific month.


Predictive analytics uses existing sales data to make projections about future sales. Sales representatives might use predictive analytics tools to forecast that the current sales pipeline is likely to translate into increased total revenue for the next quarter. This is crucial for sales and marketing efforts aiming to allocate resources efficiently.


Prescriptive analytics offers actionable insights on resolving specific issues or achieving desired outcomes. For instance, data analysts may suggest reallocating marketing efforts toward a certain sales channel to improve customer retention and drive revenue growth. Sales analytics software may even automate these recommendations for you.

Important sales analytics metrics to watch

These metrics offer a quantitative measure of sales performance and serve as a compass for refining sales strategies:

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value quantifies the total revenue a customer contributes across their entire relationship with a retailer. This metric is vital for strategizing customer retention and targeting sales efforts. 

Formula: (Average Value of a Sale) x (Number of Repeat Transactions) x (Average Retention Time) = Average CLV

Sales conversion rate

The sales conversion rate measures what percentage of visitors end up making a purchase. It’s instrumental for gauging the efficiency of your sales funnel. 

Formula: (Number of Sales / Number of Visitors) x 100 = Average Sales Conversion Rate

Average deal size

Average deal size calculates the average revenue per sales deal. This is vital for assessing the effectiveness of sales activities and team performance. 

Formula: Total Revenue / Number of Deals = Average Deal Size

Sales cycle length

The sales cycle length indicates the duration to close a deal from first contact to final sale. Understanding this cycle is essential for inventory planning and fine-tuning sales processes. You typically measure it in days, weeks, or months.Formula: Total Number of Days for All Sales Cycles / Total Number of Successful Conversions = Average Sales Cycle Length

Sales growth rate

The sales growth rate indicates the speed at which sales revenue increases over a specific period. This metric is essential for evaluating the success of your sales strategies. 

Formula: (Current Period Revenue – Previous Period Revenue) / Previous Period Revenue = Sales Growth Rate

Churn rate

The churn rate in ecommerce represents the percentage of customers who leave within a defined period. It’s crucial for customer retention and revenue growth strategies. 

Formula: (Number of Customers Lost During Period / Number of Customers at Start of Period) x 100 = Average Churn Rate

Cost per acquisition (CPA)

Cost per acquisition tells you the cost to gain a single customer. This metric is vital for assessing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns

Formula: Total Cost of Acquisition / Number of New Customers = Average CPA

Revenue per sales rep

Revenue per sales rep measures the performance of each sales representative. This metric can help you make informed decisions about resource allocation—including staffing and budget distribution—to optimize sales efforts.

Formula: Total Revenue / Number of Sales Reps = Average Revenue Per Rep

Lead-to-opportunity ratio

This measures the percentage of leads that turn into opportunities. This is critical for forecasting future sales. 

Formula: Number of Opportunities / Number of Leads = LTO Ratio

Inventory turnover

Inventory turnover shows how often inventory is sold and replaced within a given period. This is crucial for efficient inventory management. 

Formula: Cost of Goods Sold (COGs) / Average Inventory = Average Inventory Turnover

How to analyze sales data

  1. Identify relevant metrics
  2. Use specialized analytics tools
  3. Incorporate data from multiple sources
  4. Analyze sales trends
  5. Take action based on insights

Here’s how to harness the capabilities of sales analytics tools to make data-driven decisions:

1. Identify relevant metrics

Choosing the appropriate metrics to focus on is crucial for meaningful sales data analysis. The metrics should align with your specific sales goals, whether it’s to improve customer retention or drive revenue growth. Sales performance and sales revenue are examples of key metrics that can provide a comprehensive picture of your business health. 

For example, to maximize sales during the winter holidays, an ecommerce company that also sells its candles in brick-and-mortar locations could focus on key metrics such as average deal size and overall sales volume.

2. Use specialized analytics tools

Specialized sales analytics tools simplify the data interpretation process with features like real-time tracking of key metrics and sophisticated data visualization techniques. Opting for sales analytics software that integrates seamlessly with your existing system can significantly improve the efficiency of your data analysis. 

Tools like Google Analytics, Shopify Analytics, Zoho Analytics, or Microsoft’s Power BI can help you monitor your ecommerce site traffic, user behavior, and sales funnel. Shopify Audiences offers benchmark data to see how your ad performance stacks up next to merchants with similar shops in the same industry over the past 30 days.

The candle company might employ real-time tracking of sales metrics, closely tracking daily sales volume, cart abandonment rates, and inventory levels across their online store and in-person boutiques. 

3. Incorporate data from multiple sources

Aggregating data from multiple sales channels provides a 360-degree view of your sales activities. This comprehensive approach includes blending data from in-store transactions, online sales, and customer interactions. It enriches your sales analytics data, making your analysis more robust and insightful.

By aggregating data from both online sales and in-store visits, the candle company identifies that gift sets are its strength, while individual candles lag.

4. Analyze sales trends

Compare sales trends over various time frames to understand your customer behavior and market dynamics. Use your sales analytics system to scrutinize historical sales data and pinpoint trends that can inform future sales forecasts. Regularly generate sales reports on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to understand micro and macro trends.

For the candle company, trend analysis reveals that the second week of December consistently experiences a surge in gift set purchases. 

5. Take action based on insights

After data analysis, actionable insights should guide your sales strategies and efforts. These could range from adjusting marketing campaigns to revising sales processes. The ultimate aim is to align your actions with the insights generated, ensuring you meet or exceed your sales targets.

Leveraging its data, the company increases its email marketing frequency for December and introduces a special “Holiday Trio” candle bundle to outperform last year’s sales figures. 

What to look for in sales analytics tools

  • Ease of integration
  • Real-time reporting
  • User-friendly interface
  • Predictive analysis features
  • Customizability 

Selecting the right sales analytics tool is a critical decision for a sales manager trying to improve their sales team’s performance. The tool should offer robust sales analytics and align well with your overall sales strategy. With various options on the market, such as Tableau, Looker, Salesforce, HubSpot, and Microsoft Power BI, the optimal choice is the one that best meets the unique needs of your business and offers the specific features you require.

Ease of integration

A sales analytics tool should easily integrate with your existing sales analytics systems. This ensures a seamless flow of data and aids in making sales forecasts that are based on comprehensive information. Smooth integration is essential for aiding sales management effectively.

Real-time reporting

The ability to generate real-time sales analytics reports is indispensable. Sales managers can track KPIs instantly, enabling them to react swiftly to market changes. Real-time reporting is vital for predicting sales trends and adapting your sales strategy accordingly.

User-friendly interface

A good sales analytics tool should offer a user-friendly interface that your sales team can easily navigate. This ensures more time is spent on selling activities rather than grappling with a complicated system. A straightforward interface is beneficial for quickly analyzing key sales metrics.

Predictive analysis features

Predictive analysis capabilities help sales teams anticipate market trends and customer behavior. By predicting sales trends, sales reps can better allocate their time and resources, ensuring a more focused approach to gaining paying customers. Predictive features support future sales efforts and guide the sales team toward meeting targets.


Customizability allows the sales analytics solution to adapt to your unique needs. Tailoring the tool to specific sales metrics or performance indicators enables a more personalized approach to sales management. This feature supports a dynamic sales strategy and improves overall sales performance.

Sales analytics guide FAQ

How does sales analytics help my pipeline?

Sales analytics provides actionable insights into your sales process, allowing you to identify trends and bottlenecks. The benefits of sales analytics include improved sales forecasting and a more effective allocation of resources to advance leads through the pipeline.

Do I need software to run a sales analysis?

While it’s possible to analyze key sales metrics manually, software solutions make the process more efficient and accurate. A dedicated sales analytics tool can provide more comprehensive data and predictive capabilities, enhancing sales forecasting.

How often should I run a sales analysis?

The frequency of sales analysis depends on your sales cycle and business needs. However, consistent analysis—weekly, monthly, or quarterly—is crucial for adapting your strategy and reaping the benefits of sales analytics.