Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) – What it is and 6 strategies to improve it

Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) – What it is and 6 strategies to improve it

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Alison Wiltshire

15 Aug 2022

What is revenue per visitor?

Revenue per visitor (RPV) is a key metric for retailers and brands and is measured by the amount of revenue (and therefore value) generated by each visitor. This is calculated by the total revenue divided by the total visitor numbers. 

RPV is often confused with Average Order Value (AOV). In short, AOV focuses on the average value of each unique conversion whilst RPV measures the average revenue of each website visitor.

RPV is a critical key performance indicator (KPI) for eCommerce brands and should be measured alongside other key metrics such as Conversion Rate, AOV, Cost Per Acquisition, and Cart Abandonment Rates (amongst others). For example, a 50% sale on a key product line will likely see your Conversion Rates and Total Order numbers increase but your RPV and margins will see a big dip. Of course, this is not to say “don’t run sales” but these metrics should never be reviewed in isolation as this could lead to incorrect conclusions being made about the company’s performance. 

Key watchout: visits is not the same as visitors. We would highly recommend that you have two separate RPVs. One which looks at unique visitors and another that looks at total visitors. This will give you much more valuable data to compare, with the former being a more accurate reflection on the revenue per individual visitor. 

How is it calculated?

RPV is calculated by dividing total revenue by visitors over a given time period. This can be measured at any time interval whether this be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly or for specific time periods (such as sales periods) where you want to isolate the data for more in-depth analysis. 

Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) =  Total Revenue / Total Visitors

As mentioned above, we would recommend reporting on two separate metrics: revenue per unique visitor and revenue per all visitors/visits.

For example, if your eCommerce web sales for a given month totalled £50,000 and you had 8,000 unique visitors and 10,000 total visitors, your RPVs would be as follows: 

Revenue per unique visitor = £6.25
Revenue per all visitors/visits
= £5.00 

Key watchout: Be mindful of choosing enough data to be statistically significant and consider whether one off larger orders may be skewing results.

Why is Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) important?

RPV is a key indicator of the long-term health of your brand. Understanding the RPV and how this varies over time helps businesses evaluate the impact of key influences such as:  

  • The audiences they’re attracting

  • The product mix they’re promoting

  • The impact of promotions

  • How RPV changes as visitor numbers increase and decrease

  • How effective the sales funnel is (including cross-sell/up-sell efforts)

  • The impact of seasonality

As with other performance metrics, RPV can provide valuable context and insight for eCommerce brands. Understanding how much an average customer spends helps brands shape not only their marketing efforts, such as campaigns, up-sell/cross-sell tactics, but also future product strategy and resources. 

For example, if running a discounted offer on a specific product but with the intention of cross-selling other items, does the RPV indicate that customers only purchased that product, or did they add other non-discounted products to basket?

By tracking the Revenue Per Visitor, alongside other key metrics, you have an indicator as to the efficacy of your campaign efforts.

Increase revenue per visitor (RPV) graphic


How can you improve your Revenue Per Visitor?

Much like AOV, finding ways to increase your Revenue Per Visitor maximises  the overall ROI of marketing efforts. 

We have compiled 6 key strategies designed to maximise RPV: 

  1. Build trust with social proof (whilst also helping increase cross-sell/up-sell opportunities and conversion rates)

  2. Up-Sell / Cross-Sell Tactics

  3. Product Bundles

  4. Conversion Rate Optimisation

  5. Refine your targeting and channel mix

  6. Retarget audiences to bring them back into the buying journey

Build Trust with Social Proof: 

The last few years has seen a huge upturn in eCommerce activity and accelerated digital transformation.

However, this period also paved the way for less honest retailers to try and capitalise on this shift using “pressure selling” techniques. This in turn has inevitably led to increased shopper distrust towards brands.

This is where Social Proof comes in. On the whole, people trust each other – more than they trust brands. Their purchasing decisions are informed by the actions of others – for example by family and friends, by influencers or by sales assistants. 

Social Proof using real-time behavioural data can be added into each step of the buying journey, helping shoppers with both product discovery and purchasing decisions. Social Proof Messages can include trending items, top-rated items, specific reviewer feedback (e.g. size/fit), how many of that item are currently in people’s baskets, sustainability metrics – and many more : 

There are many types of social proof, to see more examples, have a look at our ‘What is Social Proof’ page.

Up-Sell / Cross-Sell Tactics: 

Throughout the buying journey, there are opportunities for cross and up-selling including: 

  • Product List Pages:

    Bestseller badges can be a great tool to nudge shoppers towards higher-value top-selling items within a category

Bestseller badges example on Crew Clothing website
  • Shopping Basket:

    • ‘Upgrade’ options can be particularly powerful for travel sectors

  • Product Description Page:

    • Suggest add-ons to the item (e.g. personalisation, extra features)

    • Fashion retailers often use this as an opportunity to ‘shop the look’ which includes all items in the outfit the model is wearing

    • ‘You may also like’ encourages shoppers to see recommendations based on previous shopper purchasing behaviours

  • Shopping Basket:

    • Promote products ‘Often bought with’ those in the customer’s basket (e.g. beach kaftan alongside a swimsuit)

    • Adding insurance options for high value items

  • Cart Abandonment Emails:

    • Bring users back into the buying journey by providing ‘recommended related’ items for those who have exited the basket without purchasing

Product Bundles:

Bundles can offer attractive offers for customers who are looking for better value (e.g. reduced P&P, discount on buying in bulk) or convenience. Not only can this encourage customers to spend more when they shop, it can also help brands who may have standalone items that are not selling as well. 

Here are a few strategies to use bundles to increase RPV:

  • Bundle related items:

    For example, this may be a selection of related beauty products which includes lipstick, eyeshadow, mascara and foundation

  • Bundle ‘often bought together’ items:

    A common example would be ink cartridges and paper to go with a printer or in the example below it’s a variety of curl control products from Very.com

Bundle products example from Very.com

If you’re unsure which products to bundle together, have a look at existing buyer behaviour. For example, if someone purchases a shelf, do they also purchase brackets? 

Conversion Rate Optimisation

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) refers to the process of increasing the percentage of conversions across your digital platforms (e.g. web, app, social) without needing to increase traffic. By identifying areas that can be optimised in the buyer journey, you can make every visit more valuable. 

Improving conversion rates is such a vital part of any eCommerce business that we have dedicated an entire section just on this topic. Head to our Conversion Rate Optimisation page to find valuable strategies to maximise the performance of your eCommerce website. 

Refine your audience targeting and channel mix

Review key metrics such as Bounce Rate, Pages Per Session, Revenue, Cost Per Acquisition and AOV by channel, audience, campaign and content type. This will give you valuable insights such as channels driving high Bounce Rates which could be an indicator of incorrect targeting, format issues, incorrect messaging or poor creative (or a mixture of all!).  

Key Watchout: Often Paid Social activity can drive high bounce rate visits due to accidental clicking so it is also important to look at other metrics (e.g. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)) for a holistic view of performance

Campaign Deep Dive: Are some campaigns working better than others? Why? Is it targeting? Messaging? Format? Placement? Identify the poorest performing areas and pause activity. Remember to focus on a mixture of metrics to analyse performance i.e. value as well as volume

Retarget Audiences 

Retargeting is a common way to reach out to customers who have left your site without converting in addition to reaching previous customers with new offers. Types of retargeting campaigns may include:  

  • Discounted / Limited time offers

  • Related products (people also viewed/purchased)

  • Alternative products

  • The same products viewed plus additional related or ‘shop the look’ products (a very common tactic)

There are a multitude of ways to improve your Revenue Per Visit but how do you choose which to focus on? 

A useful starting point is to map hypotheses you may have against an Ease Impact Matrix. This will help you identify which hypotheses will be the easiest to undertake and will deliver the largest impact for your business. The ‘ease’ is unique to each organisation as it depends on internal structures, technology being used, back-end infrastructure – to name a few. 

Measuring RPV alongside other eCommerce metrics
As with all eCommerce metrics, RPV should not be viewed in isolation. Common metrics to include within your reporting are: 

  • AOV: Average Order Value

  • Total order: All orders for the reporting period

  • Items per order: The average number of items per order

  • Conversion Rate (CR%): Orders per visit as a percentage

  • Return on Investment (ROI): Return on investment divides the net profit (or loss) from an investment by its cost

Depending on your business model, there may be additional metrics to monitor alongside the KPIs mentioned above. 



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