eCommerce: Calculate Cost of Customer Acquisition

calculate cost of customer acquisition

Calculating the cost of customer acquisition is an extremely important metric to have not only for your eCommerce store but for your business as a whole.

Please keep in mind that this formula for calculating eCommerce cost of customer acquisition is going to be slightly different than doing it for a normal business.

In past blog posts we’ve gone over how to calculate CTR (click through rate) as well as conversion rate for a website which was a very successful post, and are planning on doing a lot more “how to” type posts in the future.

Choose a range of dates

The first thing you need to do is decide over what period of time you want to use to determine your cost of customer acquisition. 2013 will most definitely look different than 2015. Do you want to calculate your average cost since you have been in business? Or do you want to calculate your average cost over the last 6 months? Whatever you choose, stick to it.

In the next step when you are gathering your data, you need to stick to the same set of dates. You can’t select 18 months of data for one parameter and 6 months for another one.

What you need: gathering data

Before you are able to calculate the cost of customer acquisition, you need to gather some data. Be prepared to crack open your books.  Just remember, the more accurate and honest you are with yourself the more accurate your results are going to be.

It does not matter how you categorize the 4 items above, as long as you include them. For instance, if you include your hosting costs in your “marketing costs” that is OK.

Customers obtained – The total number of customers you have obtained. This one should be easy. You can generally get this number from the backed of your eCommerce site.

Once you have all of this information available, you are ready to move onto the next step.

The formula: calculating cost of customer acquisition

Once you have all of this information, you are ready to calculate the cost of customer acquisition. This is a very basic principle. Essentially you are just adding up your costs and dividing them by the number of customers that you have. If you are just looking for a round number, feel free to make a few guesses and round things off. If you want an exact number you may need to spend a few days gathering this information.

cost of customer acquisition formula

In the end, what does this all mean? With this number you can do a lot. There are a number of other eCommerce business metrics you can calculate. It is also good to have for investors or if you ever go to sell your company, this is one of the first questions anyone will ask you.

Download Excel Calculator for Calculating Cost of Customer Acquisition

If you are an Excel person and wish to download the spreadsheet for calculating cost of customer acquisition you may do so here.

If you have any questions or think I missed anything, please feel free to give me a shout!

Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe is the founder and CEO of Elite Strategies Llc. Patrick takes a hands on approach to managing Elite Strategies and loves to get involved with technical projects relating to clients inbound marketing needs.
Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe
Analytics Blog

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