A Guide to Email Analytics for Small Retail Business Owners

A Guide to Email Analytics for Small Retail Business Owners
Email analytics for retail

Owning a small retail business is an exciting endeavor. It’s your opportunity to make an impact, share your products with the world, and solve real pain points for real people. However, offering quality goods and services is only one piece of the retail puzzle. You must also craft engaging marketing campaigns. Marketing includes many channels, from social media ads to blogs. And then there’s email — arguably the most effective marketing segment. Tracking email analytics is essential to your retail success.

Email marketing has a very high return on investment (ROI), earning an average of $40 for every dollar spent. Email is an iterative process, and email marketing analytics help you determine what’s working — and growing your customer base — and what isn’t.

A comprehensive overview of email analytics

There are many metrics involved in email campaign analytics. The most valuable ones depend on your goals for your small retail business. Before diving into analytics, it’s essential to define your priorities. Are you trying to increase sales? Expand your outreach through shares? Boost engagement with existing customers? Answering questions like these will determine which email metrics are most important, but the following list gives you the big picture of your options.


The most crucial part of email marketing is ensuring your emails reach customers’ inboxes. Email service providers (for instance, Gmail) assess each email to protect their users from spam, phishing scams, and more. Using a low-quality email service may render all of your marketing efforts useless.

SendWP ensures a 99.5% or higher deliverability rate by establishing trust with internet service providers (ISPs) and authenticating your domain, so you can focus on the content of your marketing emails instead of deliverability. SendWP also offers detailed analytics and reporting on the metrics covered in the rest of this article.

Bounce rate

Bounce is another deliverability concern. Instead of failed deliverability due to privacy, security, or other ISP issues, bounced emails happen on the user’s side. There are soft and hard bounces. Soft bounces can occur when a recipient’s inbox is full, or their email server is experiencing problems. These are temporary issues.

On the other hand, hard bounces are permanent — usually due to invalid email addresses or closed accounts. Always remove hard-bounced email addresses from your subscriber lists, as they can skew your metrics. Even worse, ISPs see frequent hard bounces as red flags and may block your emails to protect recipients.

Calculate your bounce rate: (Bounced emails ÷ sent emails) x 100

Click-through rate

Your email successfully arrived in your subscribers’ inboxes, but were the contents of that email engaging? The click-through rate (CTR) reveals the answer. This rate is the percentage of recipients who clicked a link (or several links) in your email. You can calculate unique clicks or total clicks. Unique clicks count each recipient’s click on a link within an email only once, even if the recipient clicked on the same link multiple times. Total clicks is the sum of all clicks, even if one subscriber clicks the same link repeatedly. Both metrics have value and can inform your marketing strategies.

If you have an incredible sale or want to suggest products based on purchase history, links give customers (and potential customers) the chance to take advantage. If your CTR is low, you know something about your email isn’t compelling them to act, and it’s time to reassess your strategies.

Calculate your CTR: (Clicks ÷ delivered emails) x 100

Click-to-open rate (CTOR)

While the CTR calculates clicks based on the number of emails delivered, the click-to-open rate (CTOR) calculates clicks based on the emails opened by subscribers. It’s a subtle but powerful difference. There will always be shoppers who subscribe yet never open marketing emails. It’s simply the nature of email marketing. If you only focus on CTR, you may falsely believe your email content isn’t engaging. CTOR gives a more accurate impression of how your emails impact people who actually read them.

If you notice your CTR is much lower than your CTOR, it may be time to enact a sunset policy — purging subscribers from your list after a certain period of inactivity. It’s a fairly common email management best practice because it gives you a better picture of your email content success.

Calculate your CTOR: (Clicks ÷ opened emails) x 100

Conversion rate

Conversion rates take CTR and CTOR metrics a step further. As a retail business owner, your goal is sales. Conversion rates reveal how many recipients completed a desired action after clicking through. For example, buying one of your products after following a link for a flash sale. If your CTR/CTOR is high, but your conversion rate is low, you know something is preventing your customers from taking that final essential step. Then, you can analyze your product listings, prices, website interface, and other potential pain points.

You’ll need to create unique UTM links for your emails to measure conversion rates. UTMs track where customers accessed the link (for example, email versus a social media post).

Calculate your conversion rate: (Desired actions completed ÷ emails delivered) x 100

List growth and unsubscribe rates

As a small retail business owner, you’re undoubtedly concerned with growth — you want more customers and more sales, after all. Often, subscriber list growth translates directly to overall business growth. List growth and unsubscribe rates are essential to email analytics because they reveal how effective your emails are at increasing your reach.

You’ll need to assess new subscribers versus unsubscribes, and your goal is for the former to outpace the latter. If your list is stagnating for a long time or subscribers are dropping like flies, your email content may not be effective. You should also assess email frequency and your overall position in the retail market. Are your unique selling points (USPs) clear to shoppers, and are you adding value to their lives?

While both rates are helpful, growth rate offers more accurate insight into your customers’ thought processes. Unsubscribe rates are a good comparison metric, but remember that some recipients don’t bother to officially unsubscribe and may simply not open or engage with your emails.

Calculate your list growth rate: [{(New subscribers) – (unsubscribes + spam complaints)} ÷ Total subscriber list] X 100

Calculate your unsubscribe rate: (Unsubscribes ÷ emails delivered) X 100

Share rate

Customers are often our best sales reps. Shoppers have many options at their fingertips. Remember the last time you shopped for a new vacuum cleaner? You probably read dozens of reviews, compared price points, and scoured brand details like customer support, return policies, and warranties. Still, the doubts linger. But if a trusted friend recommended a particular vacuum, you’d be more inclined to trust their opinion over internet research. That’s why your email share and forward rates matter and why you should include them in your email analytics.

When subscribers click a link to share your email or forward it to a friend, they act as your brand ambassador. Thus, analyzing the email content and CTAs that garner the highest share rates is vital.

Calculate your share rate: (Share/forward clicks ÷ emails delivered) X 100

Spam rate

Spam is the bane of any email user’s existence. We all receive spam; it’s annoying and time-consuming. The worst kind of spam is unsolicited emails. You may think, “But wait, didn’t all of my subscribers choose to do just that — subscribe?” Yes, they’ve willingly opted in if you follow best email marketing practices. Still, some will mark your messages as spam.

It’s unavoidable to a certain degree, but if your spam rates are excessive, something’s not right. Your email campaigns may be too generic or irrelevant to your audience. Or, perhaps your emails are too frequent, which annoys recipients. Monitoring spam rates in email campaign analytics helps you recognize red flags and course-correct before your customers stop engaging or start unsubscribing in droves.

Calculate your spam rate: (Spam complaints ÷ emails delivered) X 100

Return on investment (ROI)

Marketing is a business expense. It costs time and resources. Some email campaigns have a higher return on investment (ROI) than others, so analyzing ROI helps hone your strategies. You’ll know which methods worked well and which ones to avoid in the future.

The first step is determining how much an email marketing campaign costs. This calculation looks different for every company. For example, did you spend hours marketing your own retail brand or pay a team of marketers to lead the charge? Another essential step is differentiating between organic sales and sales related to emails (use your conversion rates, as discussed above).

Once you know how much you invested in email marketing, you can measure your ROI.

Calculate your ROI: [(Sales related to the campaign – campaign costs) ÷ campaign costs] X 100

Gain valuable insight with SendWP

There are many aspects of email analytics to consider. The prospect of calculating these metrics may be intimidating — and that’s before you even start to analyze them and make changes to your email campaigns.

SendWP blue logo with paper airplane

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here’s some excellent news: You don’t have to face email marketing analytics alone. Besides guaranteeing an astounding 99.5% delivery rate, SendWP also offers insightful reports and analytics on your emails. You’ll know all the essentials, from CTRs to conversion rates to share rates, and be able to take actionable steps to boost your retail sales.

Knowledge is power, and SendWP puts that power in your hands. With analytics off your plate, you’ll have more time to focus on your products, services, and outreach.

What are you waiting for? Get started with SendWP today!

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