Enterprise Ecommerce / How to Sell Online

One powerful formula to help reach your online sales goals and #SellMore

Katey Ferenzi / 2 min read
Table of Contents

    Do you know how much traffic you need to get for your online store to be “successful” throughout the year? No? What about this holiday season? No?

    Whoa! I get that flying blind can be a thrill, but if you’re in business for yourself, you need to get your wits about you and set some goals. Without having goals your are far more susceptible to losing altitude without even knowing or when it’s too late.

    Crash. Boom!  We want none of that.

    Watch this week’s #SellMore video to find out the magic formula to calculate how much traffic your business will need to reach your ecommerce goals. You’ll be far more likely to experience clear skies and fair weather ahead for your small business. After you finish watching, scroll down the page for a deeper dive.

    The secret formula to selling online


    The following formula is simple. I’ve selected some straight forward numbers to drive home the concept but you can plug and play the metrics for your online business. From there, you’ll understand the number of visitors your specific store will need to hit your sales goals. This formula will also help you identify what metrics and aspects of your business need improving so you can succeed in hitting your target and selling more products online.

    Here’s the magic formula to reach your online sales goals

    1. Set a revenue goal. Be reasonable or be crazy, it’s up to you. My example will be with something simple. Let’s say $100,000/year for my business.

    2. Calculate your number of orders. Divide your goal by your average order value. Again, for easy math, I’ll say my average order value is $25.00. This will help you determine the number of orders you’ll need over the course of the year.

    $100,000 [Goal] / $25.00 [AOV] = 4,000 [Order per year which is ~11 a day across the full year]

    3. Determine amount of visitors: In order to find the number of visitors needed to achieve this level of sales we need to “solve for x” which we all loved in Algebra. Let’s assuming a 2% conversion rate for your business.

    “X” [# of visitors] * 2% [Conversion rate] = 4,000 [Number of orders]

    Great, now we need to solve for “X.” I always had a love hate relationship with algebra. It’s not pleasant, but it can help you tremendously. You’ll divide both your conversion rate and #of orders by your conversion rate. This will give you:

    X * 1 [because 2%/2% gives you 1] = 200,000 [#of visitors]

    So, your total will be 200,000 visitors per year to reach your ecommerce goals. Make sense? This is incredibly important for you do so you have an understanding of your business and know whether or not you’re on target or veering in the wrong direction.

    If you have questions want to suggest a topic for a future #SellMore video, tweet @Bigcommerce or comment below to let us know! Tune in next week for our next #SellMore video for tips just like this!

    secret formula to sell more


    Katey Ferenzi

    Katey Ferenzi

    Katey Ferenzi has lived and breathed ecommerce for +10 years. In the mid-2000s, she and her husband started their own online business and successfully exited so they may come to Bigcommerce to teach other SMBs how to do the same. Currently, she's consulting for Jasper PIM, a Product Information Management (PIM) solution focused on unifying back-office operations with front-end shopping experiences for mid-market and enterprise businesses looking to scale.

    View all posts by Katey Ferenzi

    9 comments on “One powerful formula to help reach your online sales goals and #SellMore

    1. Katey Ferenzi
    2. Chandler Peterson on


      It would be of value to your customers if you combined your lesson with Paul’s recommendation of a spreadsheet and built that interactive sheet into a marketing tools tab in the back-end of each of your customers websites so they could run scenarios right inside their Bigcommerce admin panel.

    3. Steve Howard on

      This is great help. I do think that you meant to say 4,000 orders per year. At least that’s how the math comes out. I appreciate your help as well as all of the helpful tools that I can get through BigCommerce.

    4. Kat McKinnon on

      Sure! You can contact me via katrina at small revolution dot com

      Your article is super-useful, especially for people who feel overwhelmed by the thought of increasing their sales. I think once you break it down into a formula, as you’ve done, it can seem so much more attainable.

      Then it’s a matter of ‘eating an elephant’ one bite at a time.

    5. Katey Ferenzi
    6. Kat McKinnon on

      Katey, this is a great topic. Always seems to be lots of questions about how to get traffic in the Bigcommerce forums too.

      Further to what you’ve described we create a spreadsheet and list all the bloggers in our store’s niche and estimate how much traffic they have each month. Sometimes they will publish these stats on their blog or share with us, if we ask nicely.

      Depending on how engaged their audience is, we then make a guess as to how many visitors we might receive. If they are a ‘guru’ blogger then we estimate perhaps around 4% or 5% click through rate. If they are a more generic blog-type then we lower that to around 1% to 2%.

      This then gives us a feel for which websites to approach for co-promotions first, and which ones to work really hard to get on-board. And also how many bloggers we need to approach in order to get the number (eg: 200,000 in your example) of visitors for our store conversion rate.

    7. Paul Rice on

      For others, I will share that profit, not revenue, is the best starting point. How
      much profit do you need or want to make? Once you know that you can use your
      average margin to calculate your revenue goal and other goals as you have
      explained above.
      Keep all of your goals and metrics in a spreadsheet and alter
      each metric to see the final impact. In your example you need to drive 200K
      visitors, but if you can increase conversion rate by just .2% then you only
      need to drive 181K visitors, for example.
      Having everything in a spreadsheet will allow you to decide
      which levers to work on moving and by how much. When you have profit in the
      equation you can then assign a cost to moving those levers and understand the
      ROI of any activity you perform.

    8. Katey Ferenzi
      Katey Ferenzi on


      We should have you on for a follow up segment ;) I wish I had a “like” button so I could like that comment! Funny you bring up profit margin, that topic is planned for Jan 2015. We’re finally to a point where we can really build out this curriculum. Anything else you want to hear about or have learned along your journey with ecommerce that you feel would be helpful to folks out there?

    9. Paul Rice on

      Now take it a step further and calculate your profit margin per order and then figure out how much you would be willing to spend to drive some of those 200,000 visitors per year.

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