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Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

The cost incurred by a business to acquire one new customer, commonly used in ecommerce to measure marketing effectiveness.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is a metric used by businesses to determine the average cost of acquiring a new customer. It is an important factor in determining the profitability and sustainability of a business. In this article, we will explore how CAC applies to ecommerce, how to implement it in a Shopify store, and why it is important for Shopify stores.

What is Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)?

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the total cost that a business incurs in order to acquire a new customer. This includes all marketing and sales expenses associated with attracting and converting a prospect into a paying customer. CAC is calculated by dividing the total acquisition costs by the number of customers acquired during a specific time period.

How Does CAC Apply to Ecommerce?

In the world of ecommerce, customer acquisition is a crucial aspect of running a successful online store. Ecommerce businesses rely heavily on attracting and converting new customers in order to drive revenue and grow their business. CAC helps ecommerce businesses understand how much it costs to acquire new customers, allowing them to make informed decisions about their marketing and sales strategies.

Implementing CAC in a Shopify Store

Implementing CAC tracking in a Shopify store involves a few key steps:

  1. Define your acquisition channels: Determine the different channels or platforms through which you acquire customers, such as social media ads, search engine marketing, email marketing, or influencer partnerships.

  2. Track your marketing and sales expenses: Keep a record of all marketing and sales-related expenses for each acquisition channel. This includes the cost of running ads, paying influencers, hiring marketing agencies, or any other expenses directly related to customer acquisition.

  3. Collect data on customer acquisition: Use analytics tools to track the number of customers acquired from each channel and the associated costs. These tools can be integrated with your Shopify store to provide accurate data on customer acquisition.

  4. Calculate CAC: Divide the total acquisition costs by the number of customers acquired during a specific time period to calculate your customer acquisition cost. This will give you an average cost per customer for each acquisition channel.

  5. Analyze and optimize: Use the insights from your CAC calculations to understand the profitability of each acquisition channel and identify areas for improvement. This will help you allocate your marketing budget more effectively and optimize your customer acquisition strategies.

Why is CAC Important for Shopify Stores?

Understanding and monitoring CAC is crucial for the success of Shopify stores for several reasons:

Cost control: By tracking CAC, Shopify store owners can gain better control over their marketing and sales expenses. This allows them to identify expensive acquisition channels and make adjustments to optimize their spending.

Profitability analysis: CAC helps Shopify store owners evaluate the profitability of their customer acquisition efforts. By comparing the CAC to the average lifetime value (LTV) of a customer, they can determine whether their marketing efforts are generating sufficient returns.

Budget allocation: By knowing the cost of acquiring customers through different channels, Shopify store owners can allocate their marketing budget more effectively. They can invest more in channels that deliver a lower CAC and higher customer lifetime value.

Performance tracking: CAC allows Shopify store owners to track the performance of their marketing campaigns and sales efforts. By comparing CAC over time, they can evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and make data-driven decisions for future campaigns.

Business growth: By understanding the cost of acquiring customers, Shopify store owners can identify opportunities for growth. They can focus on scaling the most cost-effective acquisition channels and optimize their overall customer acquisition process.


What is a good CAC for a Shopify store?

A good CAC for a Shopify store depends on various factors such as industry, target audience, and business model. Generally, a lower CAC is desirable, but it is important to compare it with the average lifetime value (LTV) of a customer to ensure profitability.

How can I reduce CAC in my Shopify store? To reduce CAC, you can focus on optimizing your marketing and sales strategies. This includes improving targeting, refining messaging, enhancing user experience, and leveraging organic channels like SEO and customer referrals.

How often should I calculate CAC for my Shopify store? It is recommended to calculate CAC on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly, to track changes over time and make timely adjustments to your customer acquisition strategies.

  1. What other metrics should I consider alongside CAC? Alongside CAC, you should consider metrics such as customer lifetime value (LTV), conversion rate, average order value (AOV), and return on ad spend (ROAS) to get a comprehensive understanding of your overall business performance.

Can CAC vary across different customer segments? Yes, CAC can vary across different customer segments, as different segments may require different marketing channels or efforts to acquire. It is important to analyze CAC for each segment individually to make effective targeting decisions.

Is it possible to have negative CAC? While it is technically possible to have negative CAC if the revenue generated from a customer exceeds the acquisition cost, it is rare and not sustainable in the long run.


Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is a crucial metric for Shopify stores, providing insights into the cost of acquiring new customers and helping make informed decisions about marketing strategies. By implementing CAC tracking, Shopify store owners can gain better control over their marketing expenses, evaluate profitability, allocate budgets effectively, track performance, and drive business growth. Monitoring CAC alongside other key metrics is essential for maintaining a successful ecommerce business. So, if you’re a Shopify store owner, make sure you pay attention to your CAC and use it as a guide to optimize your customer acquisition efforts.

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