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7 Essential KPIs for Retail Marketers to Track

7 ways to measure the impact of your marketing efforts—and how to boost performance in every metric.

As retail marketing leaders—whether you’re in charge of a franchise brand, a multi-location outfit, or a single-store operation—you invest significant time, energy, and resources into creating and implementing marketing campaigns that build brand awareness, bring buyers into your store (or your e-commerce site), and encourage them to make purchases. But how do you know if your efforts are having an impact?

Marketing attribution can be tricky business, but here are seven key performance indicators (KPIs) retail marketers can look at to gauge their success—and tips for what to do if any of those results are falling short.

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is the measure of how many potential customers become actual customers over a given period.

Conversion Rate (%) = # of signups or purchases / # of Successfully Delivered Emails X 100

Measure this rate—across individual campaigns and your entire marketing strategy—to keep track of how many of those ideal prospects you’re able to convert into customers.

What to do if the conversion rate is a little low:

  • Look at your lead funnel. If all your collateral and outreach are designed to build awareness and/or interest, be sure to add some bottom-of-the-funnel outreach designed to encourage sales.
  • Try personalizing your marketing materials, as research shows that personalization increases conversion rates and revenue.

Customer Retention Rate

The customer retention rate measures how many one-time customers become repeat customers, coming back regularly to make additional purchases. You can calculate this by subtracting the total number of new customers acquired during a given period from the total number of customers that period, then dividing the result by the total number of customers.

Customer Retention Rate = ((Customers you have at end of period – Customers you acquired during period) / Customer you have at start of period) x 100

What to do if retention isn’t where you want it to be:

  • Try retargeting, either by showing customers ads for items related to what they’ve already purchased or sending them emails, postcards, etc. with recommendations based on their shopping histories.
  • Consider a loyalty program, offering something like $10 off after the tenth purchase, to entice them to keep coming in.


Traffic refers to the total number of entrances to the store (or, for digital platforms, total number of sessions) in a given period.

Traffic = Number of Entrances in Store

This metric is a useful indicator of whether users are familiar enough with your brand—and enticed enough by what they see online and in their mailboxes—to investigate your shop. (How many of those visitors make a purchase, on the other hand, that’s your conversion rate.)

What to do if traffic is low:

  • Check your calls to action. Are you using your marketing collateral to directly invite customers into your store? If not, don’t be afraid to be forward! Include a QR code that takes catalog readers directly to your e-commerce platform, or ask social media scrollers specifically to “Stop by this weekend to see what’s in store!”
  • Advertise your incentives. Are you donating a portion of your proceeds to a local charity this weekend? Is a never-on-sale item 10 percent off on Tuesday? Be sure potential customers know that, giving them extra incentive to stop scrolling and start shopping.

Average Transaction Value

The average transaction value divides the total sales from transactions by the total number of transactions to track how much, on average, customers are buying when they’re in the store.

Average Transaction Value = Sales / Number of Transactions

Why do marketers care? Because these numbers may highlight opportunities to boost revenue through marketing efforts designed to encourage customers to add more to their carts.

What to do if average transaction value could be higher:

  • Add overhead signage and shelf-talkers to point out in-demand items. Customers won’t buy something if they don’t notice it, so leverage in-store marketing opportunities to showcase a wider range of products shoppers can’t live without.
  • Create displays that match up complementary items for customers. Put cocktail napkins and bottle stoppers next to the on-sale wine, or display those no-show socks alongside the season’s bestselling sneakers. And, of course, don’t forget the signage—shelf-talkers, corrugated displays, etc.—that highlight these perfect pairings. These add-ons can really add up!

Sell-Through Rate

The sell-through rate is the percentage of any given item that was sold (as compared to the number available to sell).

Sell-Through Rate = (# of units sold / # of unity received) x 100

While inventory managers will use this data to make better buying decisions, marketers can use it, as well, to identify which products are selling well and which ones might need a little extra promotional love from the marketing team.

What to do if a product’s sell-through rate is low:

  • Feature it in your next social media campaign. Highlight the product, its value, and why customers will love it, so they’ll be on the lookout when they’re in your shop or on your website.
  • Create a promotion. Consider offering 10 percent off a slower-selling product when it’s purchased alongside another item that’s in higher demand. Advertise the promotion online and in store to drive sales.

Sales per Square Foot

Sales per square foot—calculated by dividing the net sales by the amount of sales space—is a great indicator of how effectively a store is merchandised.

Sales per Square Foot = Total Square Feet / Sales Space

Dig deeper into this data, using heat maps, inventory tracking, and other strategies to pinpoint which corners of the store are bringing that average down. Managers may rearrange merchandise accordingly, but marketers can help bring up those low-performing areas, too.

What to do with low-traffic parts of the store:

  • Use directional signage to drive customers to those areas. No matter how great the products, shoppers may need a little nudge to make it all the way to shelves in the back corner, so bring it to their attention with overhead signage or floor sticks that point the way.
  • Highlight your merchandise with shelf-talkers or corrugated displays designed to draw customers’ eyes to those little-noticed products or areas of the store.

Net Profit

Finally, net profit is the difference between gross revenue and total expenses.

Net Profit = Gross Profit – Operating Expenses – Tax

This doesn’t isolate marketing expenses or ROI, of course, but it does tell you whether margins are healthy or it’s time to look for ways to cut down on costs. If the latter is the case, every department should examine their balance sheet, but there are certain things marketing can do to minimize expenses without sacrificing quality.

What to do if margins are too tight for comfort:

  • Minimize collateral design expenses. If the marketing team is reaching out to its freelance designers and copywriters for every new Instagram graphic and point-of-sale brochure, those invoices are no doubt adding up. Leverage modular content to enable marketers to create high-quality collateral with minimal expense, saving the big bucks for high-value campaigns.
  • Eliminate wasted inventory. Whether you’re overproducing postcards to meet quantity minimums from your printer or paying for rush jobs because you didn’t realize how low your catalog stock had gotten, mismanaged marketing inventory can be a real drain on the budget. Embrace print-on-demand and real-time inventory management to minimize waste and make thoughtful, economical production decisions.

(Learn more about streamlining marketing costs in this blog post.)

Meet Every KPI with OneTouchPoint

In store and online, there’s no shortage of tactics for retail marketers to support their companies’ sales goals. OneTouchPoint is here to help, simplifying efforts (and streamlining budgets) with our end-to-end print and digital marketing execution services. Take a look, and

when you’re ready to learn how we can help your marketing team meet (or beat) every goal, contact us or request a quote on your next project. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.

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