The Ultimate Guide to Subscription Analytics
Now more than ever, subscriptions are a huge part of people’s daily lives. Not so long ago, ecommerce stores focused on one-off purchases to scale their businesses. But consumer buying preferences have shifted — brands and customers are focusing on relationship-driven ecommerce, and subscriptions are at the heart of that change. In fact, subscriptions are now the fastest growing area of ecommerce and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. The subscription ecommerce industry is projected to be worth over $246 billion by 2025 — scaling by more than 9,400% since 2016. In two years, Shopify Plus anticipates that 75% of direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses will offer subscriptions. In this post, we’ll cover... The benefits (and shortcomings) of adding a subscription service to your ecommerce store How to get accurate subscription tracking in Google Analytics Headless tracking for subscription stores The most important metrics and tools to get your subscription service off the ground Benefits of adding a subscription service If you're interested in growing your monthly sales and revenue, adding a subscription service is a great place to start. Subscriptions pose an exciting opportunity for ecommerce stores to unlock potential revenue, build long-lasting relationships with their customers, and create a community among consumers. One of the most notable benefits of subscription ecommerce is the consistent, recurring revenue. The predictable income that comes along with subscriptions allows management to: Plan and invest accordingly Order and manage inventory more effectively Project profits with ease and accuracy As Shopify Plus put it in their article on the benefits of subscription ecommerce, “on a deeper level, ecommerce subscriptions are about strong customer relationships. Subscriptions turn customers, who already see the value your company provides, into loyal followers who become reliable sources of recurring revenue.” In fact, the longer a customer uses your product or service, the more valuable they become to you. Plus, higher customer retention rates mean lower acquisition costs in the long term.” Where subscriptions fall short Unfortunately, Shopify stores offering subscriptions consistently fall short in one area — their analytics setups. Shopify Analytics gives you the baseline data, but doesn’t give you the full picture of your customer’s journey. That’s why many merchants rely on Google Analytics (GA) to dive deeper into their data. If you’re using Shopify’s native Google Analytics connection, you’ve probably run into a whole other set of issues. From data mismatches to aggregated orders, it’s evident that Shopify and Google Analytics don’t work well together on their own. We sampled a set of larger DTC brands on Shopify, processing over 50,000 monthly orders through a standard Shopify checkout, and found that on average only 88% of orders processed are recorded in Google Analytics. That’s a major loss; for every 100 Shopify orders, 12 go missing in Google Analytics. Subscription stores face even greater data discrepancies, with up to 70% of Shopify orders being tracked in Google Analytics on a good day and as little as 7% being tracked on, well, a not-so-good day. The major mismatches you see in subscription stores are due to the fact that orders are processed without any customer interaction. Data mismatches, no matter how big or small, hurt your bottom line. Whether it be marketing spend that can’t be attributed to sales or faulty retargeting campaigns, you can’t afford to make decisions based on inaccurate data. For data-driven DTC brands, accuracy is everything! Otherwise, you’re just leaving money on the table. Lucky for you, there is a solution to fix your subscription tracking in Google Analytics. Tracking subscriptions in Google Analytics Searching for a tool for tracking subscriptions that works right out of the box and ensures accurate reporting? Littledata is it. Using a combination of server-side and client-side tracking, Littledata captures data at every customer touchpoint. I know what you’re thinking — sounds too good to be true. So here’s the rundown on how the Littledata app works: Upon installation, Littledata adds a data layer onto your ecommerce site containing all Enhanced Ecommerce events — Google’s term for each crucial touchpoint in the customer journey. Littledata then adds a tracking script to capture each event as it happens. Finally, using combined client-side and server-side tracking, the app tracks all transactions and ensures 100% accuracy in reporting one-time orders, recurring payments, lifecycle events, and everything in between. We work with the top subscription services on Shopify and BigCommerce to empower your ecommerce store with complete data. Littledata automatically audits and fixes your data right at the source, bringing you complete and accurate data in Google Analytics, Segment, or any of your favorite reporting tools. Our plug-and-play solution is as simple as that. Minutes after installing, you’ll have access to truly meaningful data and the power to make your marketing dollars work better for your store. What does this mean for you? Make marketing and sales decisions backed by data that you can trust Track one-time orders, first-time payments, and recurring transactions Accurate marketing attribution data for one-time and subscription orders Measure LTV by product, channel, or source Track multiple checkout funnels with 100% accuracy Get the full picture of your customers’ journey with tracking at every touchpoint Complete tracking for headless setups Tracking subscriptions in other reporting tools While Google Analytics may be the most commonly used reporting tool, it's far from the only one on the market. The tools below are also widely popular for analytics tracking: Segment Google Data Studio Tableau Power BI The good news? Littledata's plug-and-play solution integrates automatically with these tools as well. Segment Segment’s data pipeline lets you collect, clean, push and pull customer data from one platform into dozens of others without the difficult engineering. Then you can utilize different connections, protocols, and personas (or single-user views) to analyze that data. Littledata's source for Shopify and Shopify Plus enables you to automatically send ecommerce events into any of Segment’s hundreds of destinations. Once you've set it up you'll be able to capture metrics from every customer touchpoint and attribute results from your Facebook and Google Ads spend with 100% accuracy thanks to our server-side tracking. Headless tracking for subscription stores Headless commerce doesn’t have to come at the cost of missing data. Whether your site uses a collection of headless landing pages or a full headless architecture implementation, Littledata's Shopify to Google Analytics connection is compatible with headless setups to capture Enhanced Ecommerce events and ensure a complete data match between Shopify and Google Analytics. What metrics are the most important for subscription stores? Analytics really matters when it comes to subscription ecommerce, which is why identifying key metrics is that much more important. The three most important metrics, which indicate your store’s performance, growth, and longevity are: Average order value (AOV) Customer lifetime value (LTV) Churn These metrics will guide your sales and marketing decisions and ultimately determine the fate of your store. Average Order Value AOV — the average amount spent by customers when they place an order — measures sales trends and reflects customer behavior and buying preferences. This can be one of the trickiest metrics to increase. Boosting AOV is a priority goal for ecommerce teams as it directly impacts profits (and customer lifetime value). Order value can be maximized with upsells and cross-sells, but there’s a fine line between encouraging and annoying your customers. Ecommerce tools like CartHook and subscription apps like ReCharge specialize in incorporating unobtrusive upselling into your customers’ buying experience, providing an easy solution to one of our customers’ biggest feats. Find out if your AOV is in good shape: benchmark your ecommerce store against thousands of other brands in your sector. Customer Lifetime Value LTV is considered a “universal indicator;” it’s a comprehensive metric that encompasses the overall health of your subscription store. LTV is the best indicator of churn, best projector of profit, and best aid in decision making. When it comes to marketing and sales decisions, LTV helps you easily identify which products and channels are your top performers and bring you your most valuable customers. Find out how you can use Littledata’s custom dimensions to calculate customer lifetime value with your data in Google Analytics. Churn For subscription stores especially, Shopify stores live and die by churn — the rate at which subscribers stop subscribing to your store. Churn is the flip side of your retention rate, revealing how many customers shopped with you and didn't return. Your churn rate is a critical indicator of the health of your subscription business, reflecting its overall viability in the long run. Where to see the data Data is everywhere. But at Littledata, we believe that you should have full ownership of your own ecommerce data. Unlike reporting tools that focus on external data storage or complicated interfaces, Littledata automatically audits your setup, fixes your tracking, and leaves it where it should be: with you. From discovery at the source to events throughout their shopping experience — our combined server-side and client-side tracking captures data at every touchpoint and sends that data directly to Google Analytics or Segment. If you’re using our Google Analytics app for Shopify, you can see that data directly in Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, or your favorite reporting tool that works with GA, like Google Data Studio. If you’re using our Segment app for Shopify, you can send data to hundreds of Segment destinations for analysis or remarketing. Apps to fuel your ecommerce subscriptions Both Shopify and BigCommerce have a wide array of plug-and-play subscription apps that make it easy to boost your store’s performance; Littledata has built connections with the top subscription services in ecommerce to equip your team with the tools needed to make data-driven decisions. ReCharge ReCharge is a leading subscription management app, designed to let your store offer subscriptions with a few clicks. Since 2014, merchants of all sizes have used ReCharge’s billing and payment solutions to grow their business by increasing customer lifetime value and reducing customer churn. ReCharge has helped to power the growth of industry-leading brands like Wild and Grind through their revenue-boosting tools like upsells, SMS and email notifications, and actionable subscription insights. Check out our interview with Teddy Robinson, CMO and Creative Director of Grind, and find out how they harnessed accurate data to grow their monthly subscriptions by 50x in just three months. Bold Subscriptions Bold Subscriptions helps merchants to generate predictable recurring revenue and build customer loyalty with a customizable subscription program that’s unique to your business. The app is compatible with multiple ecommerce platforms, integrates with over a dozen payment gateways, and allows merchants to craft any subscription program with API customization. Bold Subscriptions is widely used across ecommerce platforms by brands like Wulf’s Fish and Staples Canada. Ordergroove Ordergroove is a recurring billing solution that helps merchants maximize subscriber enrollment, grow their AOV, and boost customer retention. Ordergroove allows customers to create a personalized subscriber experience through promotions, rewards programs, and more. It’s a popular solution for larger brands — like Yankee Candle and Kind Snacks — and offers a range of integrations to help brands scale. Smartrr Smartrr’s subscription ecommerce app is designed for Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants to offer personalized subscriptions to their customer base, allowing subscribers to manage their recurring orders, providing gifting options, and offering upsell add-ons and product swaps that increase customer satisfaction. Their no-code approach makes it easy for early-stage ecommerce stores — like Misfits Market and Sanzo — to hit the ground running with subscriptions. Paywhirl PayWhirl provides powerful widgets & tools to manage your recurring billing. Paywhirl helps ecommerce stores sell subscriptions, pre-orders, payment plans, and more. Rebillia Rebillia makes subscription easy by giving customers the option to save payment information for future purchases, subscribe to their favorite products or services, and send powerful, automatic recommendation emails according to purchase history. Rebillia empowers major brands like Charmin and Gillette to sell by subscription. Should you use Google Tag Manager (GTM)? This depends primarily on the marketing tags that you plan to use and the sources you want to collect data from. If you're looking for an automated solution, Littledata's connections can easily replace GTM tags for Google Analytics and Google Ads through server-side tracking. Littledata takes care of tracking for other data destinations like email marketing tools and CRMs as well. But, if you plan to use other marketing tags (like TikTok, Pinterest, or Twitter) then you will need to set them up using GTM. For this solution, Littledata offers a plus plan that includes a full GTM setup to make sure you have accurate tracking. So what's next? The rise in subscription ecommerce is just heating up; what better time than now to launch your subscription store? From subscription management to analytics and more — there are tons of apps across Shopify and BigCommerce to help you scale your business.Take the first step towards making data-backed decisions with your 30-day free trial with Littledata.
How to make data-driven decisions for Shopify plus stores [ebook]
As your ecommerce store grows and your revenues increase, knowing where to spend and how to scale your customer base becomes crucial. Getting the biggest decisions right — from choosing marketing channels to determining your most valuable customers — comes down to how accurate and reliable your data is. Of course, you're more than likely already using some kind of reporting tool to analyze your buyers' behavior and make improvements to your store. But Shopify's own reporting tools can be inaccurate, with orders going missing and attribution data lacking the clarity you need to plot a profitable path forward for your store. More importantly, if you're not tapping into the power of the wide array of data tools available to you as a Shopify store, you're leaving money on the table. To get a complete picture of your sales and marketing data and capture actionable metrics from each customer touch point, your store can rely on adding smart connections with the help of Littledata. Through a combination of server-side tracking and tools that analyze shopping behavior and offer multi-channel marketing attribution, Littledata's smart connections show you the full picture of your shoppers' behavior. No matter if you're using a headless setup, offer subscriptions, or focus entirely on Facebook and Google ads, the connections shared in this guide will give you truly accurate data to inform the most important decisions you make for your store. Free ebook on accelerating Shopify store growth by leveraging 100% accurate data Adding proven integrations to your data stack, channeled through the 100% accurate tracking Littledata provides, can be the key to unlocking sales and exponential growth for your store. In the free Shopify smart connection guide, we'll show you how to: Optimize your Shopify product pages Track major ecommerce events on your store (adds to cart, checkouts, etc.) Calculate accurate marketing attribution Segment your orders by marketing channel You'll also learn how to compare your store against industry benchmarks that will help you set realistic targets for growth. The tools in this ebook are used by successful DTC Shopify businesses worldwide, and can help you accelerate your store's growth just as they have. Download the free ebook>>>
Connect Smartrr subscriptions with Google Analytics
If you want to do more with your subscriptions data, you're in luck. Littledata now integrates fully with Smartrr to capture marketing data, shopping behavior, subscriptions and LTV. You can send the data to Segment, Google Analytics, or any connected marketing destination or reporting tool. Yep, it's that easy. Or should we say...smartrr! What is Smartrr? Smartrr is a popular new subscription engine for Shopify stores. Their no-code solution allows merchants to offer curated subscriptions and memberships. Personally, I love their membership portal which encourages both retention and upsells. There are easy options for gifting, add-ons, and subscription changes, and subscribers can manage all of this from email or SMS (so much easier!), not just the web app. Our shared customers have all noted the membership portal as well, so it's safe to say it's a pretty popular feature. If you want to see Smartrr in action, brands already using both Littledata and Smartrr include Aura Bora and Som Sleep. What does the integration do? Smartrr's own analytics dashboard already has useful information about sales, conversions, and AOV (average order value). So why do you need an ecommerce data platform like Littledata? Littledata connects Smartrr data with Shopify data, marketing data, and behavior data so you have one source of truth. This helps with everything from meaningful analysis, to impactful action. It can be hard enough to make Shopify match Google Analytics, and once you add subscriptions to the mix things become even more complicated. In fact, before they started using Littledata, over 80% of the subscription ecommerce stores we audited this year couldn't differentiate between one-off purchases and recurring billing in Google Analytics! We built Littledata from the ground up with server-side tracking to enable accurate data at every customer touch point, including repeat purchases and refunds. Say goodbye to siloed data and hello to a unified, accurate data stream. Subscription tracking Littledata's Smartrr integration captures one-off purchases, first-time subscriptions, and recurring orders — and links those back with marketing channels and browsing behavior. It's a plug-and-play solution: Make Shopify revenue and Smartrr revenue match what you see in Google Analytics Say goodbye to "Direct" traffic in GA, and know where visitors are coming from See accurate conversion rates for first-time subscriptions vs. other kinds of orders Send Smartrr subscriptions data to Facebook Ads via the Facebook Conversions API (beta) Learn more about how the connection works to see the full scope of its benefits. We support headless setups, multi-currency sales, and anything else you might be doing! [tip]Not sure where to start? Book a demo and we'll audit your analytics setup and answer all your data questions[/tip] Customer lifetime value (LTV) Smartrr helps you delight your subscribers and turn them into loyal brand advocates. Littledata is here to help you make data-driven decisions to keep those subscribers delighted over the years — and to find more high-value customers where they already like to spend time. Littledata sends complete LTV data as a custom dimension in Google Analytics or a property in Segment. We capture both purchase count and total customer lifetime value so you can analyze any way you see fit. There are many uses for this data, depending on your business model and growth plans: Understanding your average customer lifetime value Improving return on ad spend (ROAS) by analyzing LTV by marketing channel Analyzing LTV by subscription product or product group Building LTV cohorts for advertising and remarketing (email, social, PPC) Our research has found that the most important subscription ecommerce metrics are AOV, LTV, and churn. But what good are those metrics if you can't connect them with the original marketing channel or customer touch point? Learn more in our ultimate guide to subscription analytics.
An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg from Littledata Founder, Edward Upton
Dear Zuck, You’re a developer. I’m a developer. And I thought Facebook was a developer-friendly company to work with — after all, you’re trying to recruit tens of thousands of engineers to work at Meta. But our experience trying to integrate with Facebook Ads makes me really doubt that. It’s been frustrating. At times, eyeball-gougingly frustrating. Littledata runs a popular data integration, allowing hundreds of ecommerce brands spending a LOT of money on Facebook Ads to export their cost and click data to better calculate return on advertising spend. Until October this Facebook app was running just fine, and our mutual customers were happy social marketers. The trouble started when Facebook needed to verify our business manager account earlier this year. We’ve heard that Facebook needs to know their business customers better — some of those Russians spending big on election Ads were not quite who they said they were. We understand. Littledata is trusted by thousands of Shopify stores around the world, so we’d be happy to show Facebook our company paperwork. The problem is the app in question is linked to a legacy business manager account with no admin user. Hands up, that was my fault — as someone who’s led a hyper-growth startup I hope you’ll see why sorting out a duplicate Facebook account never got prioritised. So, we never got the memo back in February 2021 that the business manager account was unverified and suspended. No Facebook message, email, push notification or carrier pigeon. Nada. This time bomb carried on ticking until 5th October when we needed to add back app permissions after an update to Facebook’s marketing API. But we were not able to do so without — you guessed it — a verified business manager account. On 5th October you probably had bigger fish to fry with Facebook’s network meltdown, but I hope a coder like you couldn’t fail to spot the classic infinite loop: Littledata can’t verify the Facebook business manager account, because there is no admin user with access to that business Facebook can’t add an admin to an unverified business when it's been inactive for more than 60 days We can’t move the app to another Facebook business, as there is no admin user with accesss Since October, I’ve been in contact with Facebook business support nearly every day because our Facebook advertiser customers are complaining every day. And over 8 weeks — EIGHT WEEKS — I have felt like I’m head-butting a concrete wall. Since this scenario isn’t one that was imagined by the business verifications team, it apparently just can’t be fixed. Maybe this is how those data centre managers felt on 5th October, locked out of their own building because Facebook’s authentication systems were offline? So now our app can’t be used. So advertisers spending tens of millions with Facebook Ads are upset too. I’m just a developer wanting to work with Facebook. Can you or anyone else get us out of this verification Meta-hole? Best regards, Edward Founder, Littledata P.S. If you can take a short break from the metaverse, it's support ticket 622162645450139
Maximize your Black Friday Cyber Monday ROI using a scalable data pipeline
Black Friday Cyber Monday is like the Super Bowl for ecommerce stores. It’s that one critical event where you need to perform your best, and often it can feel like your entire year depends on making the day a success. Of course, we know the sheer magnitude of shopping activity is what makes it so important. The NRF estimates that 158.3 million shoppers will be looking for Black Friday deals this year (over 66 million more people than watched the actual 2020 Super Bowl, funny enough.) It’s easy to get so lost on prepping and promotions for this monumental day that you miss the most important part of the whole event — gathering crucial sales data that will help you drive revenue all year long. Getting the most out of the data you collect from shoppers on Black Friday comes down to building a robust data pipeline for your store. After all, you need the right game plan if you’re going to take home the biggest trophy of the year. More importantly, though, you need to be able to stick to that winning formula if you want repeat success. We know a thing or two about building robust data pipelines ourselves. In this article, we’ll show you how you can beef up your data stack to get 100% accurate, infinitely useful metrics and turn your Black Friday strategy from a one-day win into a years-long triumph. Why data matters most for Black Friday Cyber Monday success As the saying goes, “give someone a fish and you feed them for a day, but teach them to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” That same principle is the basis for why data you collect from BFCM campaigns about valuable shoppers is the true prize. There are a few reasons why this is true. Competition As you no doubt are aware, your store will not be the only show in town for Black Friday shoppers. The high level of competition means you need to focus on finding promotions, pricing strategies, and product offerings that drive ROI. The best foundation for making these decisions is a detailed analysis of your customers’ buying habits and behavior when visiting your ecommerce store. You might pinpoint which groups out of all your BFCM shoppers have the highest customer lifetime value (LTV) or the ones with the lowest customer acquisition cost (CAC). If you’re changing prices with competitors in mind, track how many adds-to-cart certain products get and correlate that with buying behavior when the same product is not discounted. Use data to make decisions all year If a customer has engaged with your store and is familiar with your brand, the likelihood they will purchase from you again is much higher. Even better, they’ll come to you with a lower CAC and have a higher conversion rate than other visitors. Every piece of information you collect about customer behavior on your store will help inform not only your future marketing, but the audience you should target. Track cart abandonment rate to see who in your shopping audience is there to browse and use conversion rate to see which shoppers are most engaged and willing to buy. Once you know who your ideal shoppers are, you can build data-driven retargeting campaigns on Facebook, Google, and Twitter Ads that will give you the highest ROI. Black Friday discounting increases next season’s purchasing Back in 2016, we aggregated data from 143 retailers who participated most in that year’s Black Friday, versus 143 retailers who didn’t. What we found was that in the first 23 days of November 2017 – before the next Black Friday rolled around – stores that pushed discounts in 2016 had a median year-on-year increase in sales of 13%. The stores that didn’t participate only had 1% growth. The conclusion that sticks out from the data is that your promotion methods for this year’s Black Friday event will have effects, and seemingly positive ones, through the year that follows. If you don’t have a strong data pipeline in place to assess, segment, and target that higher-purchasing audience you’ve gained, you’ll lose out on the chance to continue growing your sales and keep the momentum from this Black Friday rolling for years to come. How to build a scalable and robust data pipeline Now that we’ve hopefully made it clear why you should focus on building a robust data pipeline to maximize your BFCM returns, let’s dive into how you can actually do it. Follow the right benchmarks When you start any kind of promotion, you should have a good goal in mind. Setting attainable targets that push store growth is key, and you definitely should not choose your goal metrics without a specific reason or pick unrealistic targets. A better strategy when setting goals for your store is to benchmark them against other ecommerce sites. We’ve surveyed thousands of ecommerce stores and gathered industry benchmarks that show the average for many of the most important ecommerce data points. Knowing how your store stacks up against the competition not only lets you plot a path toward growth, but also opens your view to areas where you’re exceeding and others where you need to focus. That will allow you to narrow your focus to a few key areas, saving you time and money. [tip]Get benchmarks tailored to your ecommerce store when you sign up for Littledata’s 30-day free trial.[/tip] Check your current data pipeline for holes You’re most likely already using some kind of data reporting tool to check the health of your ecommerce store, even if it’s something as simple as Shopify Analytics or Google Analytics. But, as we mentioned earlier, you need to have the right game plan to win an event as big as BFCM, and that comes from using the right tools. First, you need to make sure you’re actually getting the right metrics in your reporting tool, not missing out on valuable data due to cookie blockers or mismatched data. After you’re sure you’re getting 100% accurate data in your reporting, make sure you’re using the right tools to track every kind of transaction on your store. For example, if you’re a subscription seller, then make sure you’re using a subscription data tool like ReCharge. It allows you to ensure correct attribution stats, track product views and shopping behavior, build checkout conversion funnels and understand who your repeat buyers are. You can also use a tool like Carthook to get a full picture of customer activity during checkout, as well as create powerful upsells and build a one-page checkout that saves customers hassle and improves conversions. There’s no shortage of tools you can implement into your data stack to build a complete and accurate picture of your store. Whether you want to improve your ability to acquire customers from social ads or test and optimize the perfect product page, make sure you have all the services you need in place to paint a clear picture of your ideal buyer so you can keep them coming back to your store. Use a powerful data platform like Segment Of all the tools to add to your data stack, Segment could be the most powerful. That’s because of its far reach allowing you to capture data from every customer touchpoint while integrating with your other data tools like ReCharge, Bold, or Ordergroove. Segment by Littledata can connect to your Shopify store in one click and begin automatically sending accurate data from Shopify to Segment using 100% accurate server-side tracking. Plus, that server-side tracking allows you to still receive valuable customer data without worrying about third-party cookies interfering with the accuracy. If you want support that will help you scale smart, you can pair Littledata’s Grow plan with your Segment connection and make sure your marketing dollars go toward fueling your store’s rapid growth. For even more hands-on support, Littledata offers a Plus plan with full account management to guide you through your data journey. Making the most of Black Friday Cyber Monday Maximizing your success this Black Friday Cyber Monday — and the months and years that follow — comes down to having a truly accurate and robust data pipeline to support your decision-making. Collecting data about BFCM shoppers at each touchpoint, using a service like Segment along with other data stack stars like ReCharge and Carthook, gives you the power to identify your most valuable customers and create a marketing strategy that will keep them shopping at your store far beyond when Black Friday ends. [subscribe]
9 Best Ecommerce Metrics to Track to Boost Your Sales
Starting up an online store is pretty effortless today. With convenient and inexpensive ecommerce solutions like Shopify, Magento, or Wix, anyone can create a clean-cut online store — even without coding skills — in a couple of hours. But few businesses can ultimately hope to square off with global retail giants like Amazon or eBay. One reason is ineffective and non-scalable business processes. Ecommerce profitability correlates strongly with a seller’s forethought and flexibility. Setting pricing, adding loyalty programs, choosing promotions, managing stock items — the more you control the details, the more predictable your revenues are. The best way to get the information you need to manage those details is by choosing the right metrics to monitor. In this article, we’re going to explore them and give you some practical optimization tips. How to determine which metrics matter for your business Your store’s size and the stage you’re at in its lifecycle will inform which specific metrics you need to pay the closest attention to. As an example, for a small store just starting out with a relatively low number of clients, it may be too early to obsess over average order value or customer lifetime value. On the flip side, for ecommerce giants that launch expensive advertising campaigns and spend millions handling sales and marketing teams, all types of “returns on” metrics may be key to consider. Choosing your “just-right” set of ecommerce indicators comes from experience. It’s neither a good idea to confine the number of metrics to one or two, nor to track several dozen benchmarks without a clear strategy. Likewise, poor analytics drawn from inaccurate data won’t provide enough information for you to make smart business decisions. Before you dive into the “universe” of ecommerce metrics, track where your store’s performance currently stands using the items below: Website traffic Total number of conversions Operational expenses Ad expenses Abandoned purchases These are the minimum data required for calculations. With these figures, you can define 3 groups of metrics: Gross (e.g. revenue or profit) Mean values (e.g. an average value of the order) Percentages (e.g. returns on advertising expenses) What are the key metrics for retail ecommerce? The nine indicators listed below fit any type of online retail business, regardless of size or industry. You can calculate these metrics as soon as you're done reading this article using Google Analytics or your preferred data reporting tool Total Sales (and Total Revenue) Revenue is the income from selling goods and services. In financial reports, it’s often referred to as a “top line” indicator. Revenue fluctuation reflects the pace of business development and proves that your company can generate profit, making it good for investment. In terms of accounting, sales may be either equal to revenue or simply one of its components if you have additional revenues from supplementary operations. Overall, this metric is a strong high-level indicator of growth and stagnation for your store. Conversion Rate (CR) A conversion is when your lead takes a specific desired action that you’re tracking. Store owners can treat conversions as certain events, such as a click on the “Book a call” button or filling in the contact form. In ecommerce, conversions most often mean the act of purchasing. However, the “total” conversion consists of several subsequent actions, each of which can be monitored separately: Adding an item to the wishlist Adding an item to a shopping cart Proceeding with a shopping cart to a checkout Finalizing payment Conversion Rate is calculated as the number of conversions to the total number of online store visitors. It’s a good metric to judge how relevant your website traffic is. You may have many unique visitors, but if the majority of them leave without a purchase, start investigating your ad targeting and lead generation to make improvements. Average Order Value (AOV) AOV shows how much your leads spend on a single purchase, making it a good indicator for use in revenue predictions. All else being equal, growing traffic will positively influence your total income. But what's more important, AOV shows how commercially successful your product assortment is. If the dynamics for an average order value are negative, it’s time to review your product assortment and pricing strategies. There are some common tactics to increase AOV, and most target actions in the checkout: discounts, upselling, cross-selling, free shipping, and others. You can track checkout actions as well to get an even more complete picture and improve your AOV. Purchase Frequency This metric shows how many times an average customer buys something at your online store within a given period of time. To have meaningful value, you should calculate the metric for a considerable time frame — like six months to a year. Purchase frequency shows the share of repeat customers, as well. If the indicator is greater than 1, it means every lead makes more than one purchase in your online store, on average. Customer Retention Rate (CRR) Aside from acquiring customers, another big issue for ecommerce businesses is retaining them. That’s because nurturing existing clients is much cheaper than gaining new ones. The higher the retention rate is, the fewer expenses a company will need to impose to maintain and increase revenues in the future. You can use various techniques to re-engage online store visitors, with email marketing being one of the most popular retention channels. Create a sequence of nurturing emails or refer to drip campaign examples, e.g. ones by Snov.io, and send out interesting mass emails to clients. These may be assortment updates, reminders, special offers, or exclusive deals. The goal is to keep leads engaged and stay top of mind to drive sales. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) CLV shows how much revenue a lead generates during their entire history as a client. In other words, this is a predicted sum of money that a customer will spend on products or services. CLV is closely connected with returns on acquisition expenses. If the lifetime value doesn’t cover and (ideally) exceed acquisition costs, the business won’t be profitable in the long term. You can determine CLV in a couple different ways: 1. Cohort analysis Divide your clients into groups with similar characteristics, e.g. upon the time they made the first purchase. Then, calculate the average revenue per user, per every cohort. 2. Individualized CLV Rather than calculating aggregated indicators, you can measure CLV for individual customers. This method requires more time, yet is more precise. Cart Abandonment Rate This metric shows the share of uncompleted shopping deals. An abandoned online shopping cart means your customers picked out items but left the website without purchasing them. Obviously, the higher the rate is, the more potential revenue you’ll lose because of an unclosed funnel. Users may be unable to complete the purchase due to technical issues, e.g. when the link to the checkout page doesn’t work, or due to the nature of goods. So, it makes sense that online stores selling luxury items have, on average, a higher cart abandonment rate than grocery stores. Although it’s impossible to reduce this metric to zero, keep it at 40% or lower and you’ll be in decent shape. Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) ROAS shows the overall effectiveness of ad campaigns. It is usually calculated for different ad groups to compare the ratio of revenue and costs to earn it. ROAS less than 1 (or 100%) means a company loses money, as it spends more to acquire customers than it earns from them. Cost per Acquisition (CPA) CPA shows an average cost associated with a single conversion. CPA differs from ROAS in that it doesn’t take into account the money a company earns due to a conversion. Consider an example. An advertiser launched 2 ad campaigns and set a budget of $1,000 each. The first campaign resulted in 10 leads and $1,500 revenue, and the second yielded 10 leads and $2,000 revenue. The two campaigns will have equal CPAs ($1,000/10 leads = $100 per lead), but different ROAS (150% and 200%, respectively). Do you need to track all these metrics? It’s up to you which ecommerce metrics to track. Most of them are interrelated or complementary, so if something goes wrong, you’ll notice the issue anyway. For example, if CRR increases over time, the lifetime value and average order value will most likely increase as well. Or, at least, they won’t worsen. Small retailers that don’t run regular ad campaigns can neglect some indicators, e.g. CPA or ROAS. But as you reach a mid-sized level or plan expansion, it’s better to put analysis back on track and monitor all nine metrics. Ecommerce metrics: important questions to ask What’s the most important KPI for online retailers? Every business comes up with a unique set of KPIs, ultimately. However, CLV and Average Order Value are the top 2 metrics to monitor for the majority of retailers. How to increase conversions on an ecommerce website? First, use responsive styles for your online store. Make sure all images are well-optimized so that they look good and don’t worsen website loading speed. It’s also advisable to implement an online chat and a callback option. In the end, planning and development are impossible without frequently assessing performance. The nine metrics we’ve disclosed are basic for the majority of retailers. With these, you’ll see the big picture and have the intelligence to make informed business decisions. This is a guest post from Yulia Zubova, Outreach Specialist from Snov.io. [subscribe]
Track Ordergroove subscriptions in Google Analytics [ebook]
Ordergroove is a popular tool for ecommerce stores, especially those interested in scaling their subscription services faster and smarter. But fast-paced growth is nearly impossible when you're making strategic decisions based on bad data. Ordergroove sets itself apart from other subscription solutions by focusing on growing your subscription service, which has made them a favorite among larger direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, like Yankee Candle and Love Wellness. Despite Ordergroove’s tools designed to boost your store’s average order value (AOV) and customer retention, Shopify’s native Google Analytics (GA) integration stands in the way of many merchants' goals to achieve data-driven growth. While Shopify Analytics satisfies the need for basic analytics metrics, Shopify’s faulty integration with GA prevents merchants from diving into a deeper analysis of their data. On top of that, for every 100 orders in Shopify, 12 go missing in GA. This has major implications for DTC brands, who find themselves making decisions based on incomplete and incorrect data. Unfortunately, the results are even worse for stores selling by subscription, who face aggregated orders in addition to even larger data discrepancies. Subscription analytics can be intimidating, which is why we wrote the complete guide to tracking Ordergroove subscriptions in Google Analytics. Free ebook on tracking Ordergroove subscriptions in Google Analytics Fine-tune your tracking setup so subscription analytics pose no threat. In this ebook, we dive into our Ordergroove + Google Analytics connection and how it can help your store achieve data-driven growth in no time. The Ordergroove Smart Connection Guide covers how to: Track one-off, first-time and recurring ordersCalculate customer lifetime value (LTV) with our custom dimensionsTie subscription orders back to the original sourceGet complete marketing attribution insightsMake data-driven decisions for your store Download the free ebook>>>
BigCommerce Analytics: The key metrics you need to grow
Growth is a key goal in any entrepreneur's mind. But if you’re not paying attention to the right signals, you could be stuck spinning your wheels. The big decisions you make about your business should be informed by specific metrics that show its health in different areas. Each area has its own performance indicators. Analyzing the right ones — and doing it with the right tools — lets you actualize what’s working and what isn't. As business management master Peter Drucker once said, “What’s measured, improves.” In this article, we’ll cover five key metrics that BigCommerce stores should definitely be tracking in order to fuel growth, why they matter, and how to track them. So, without further adieu, let’s jump into the data. 5 key metrics you need to grow 1. Add to cart rate What is add to cart rate? The total percentage of visitors to your store who added at least one item to their cart while browsing. Why is it important? Tracking the add to cart rate helps you get a strong overview of both your store layout and the appeal of your products. When looking at this metric in Google Analytics you can use it to deduce: How well your products stand out to visitors If your site design and marketing help promote certain products How attractive your store offerings are overall With this data, you can make changes to your store, switch up your marketing for specific products, or even cut supply to create demand for specific products. You could also try product recommendations and personalization to help improve the add to cart rate on your store. 2. Cart abandonment rate What is cart abandonment rate? How many of your visitors added items to their cart and left the store before completing checkout and making a purchase. Why is it important? Cart abandonment could stem from a handful of issues. A slowdown of the checkout process, lower prices being offered for items elsewhere, or even requiring shoppers to make an account before buying are all potential obstacles that cause visitors to leave their carts behind. Knowing how often this occurs can help you streamline your checkout process by pinpointing common dropoff points. To reduce cart abandonment, you’ll want to make the checkout process as intuitive and trustworthy as possible. 3. Customer lifetime value What is revenue per customer? The amount generated from a single customer during their entire relationship with your business. Why is it important? Understanding the lifetime value (LTV) of each customer is critical for your decision-making process. It tells you how much you should spend on attracting new customers, shows you which kind of customers to target, and gives you a benchmark to spend on retaining highly valuable customers. Once you’ve calculated the LTV for your customers, you can also pinpoint which of your products high-LTV customers want more of, and promote the ones with the highest profitability. 4. Conversation rate What is conversation rate? The number of visitors who took a specific action on your store (typically making a transaction) divided by the total amount of sessions then multiplied by 100. Why is it important? Tracking this rate helps you measure overall performance and activity on your website. It also helps you gauge if your store is set up so you meet your sales targets. And best of all, when you improve your conversion rate you’ll also automatically improve your revenue generation. Conversion rate is a flexible metric as well in that you can choose which specific customer action you want to track. It could be subscriptions, purchases, newsletter signups, coupon redemptions, or anything else you want data on. 5. Pages per session What are pages per session? The average number of pages a visitor reaches on your site during a session. Why are they important? It’s a great tool to determine how engaging the pages on your store are. Users may find certain pages due to sheer interest and captivation, then move on to recommended ones if you set your design up well. Depending on how long you can engage a single user, you can create deeper connections and drive more revenue. How to track key metrics for your ecommerce store Analyzing your data with the right tools is just as important as knowing which metrics to prioritize. As a BigCommerce user, you have a few options for where to see the metrics we’ve listed above. Ecommerce Analytics from BigCommerce BigCommerce’s Ecommerce Analytics comes included in every BigCommerce plan. Ecommerce Analytics offers Store Overview reports, Real-Time reports, Marketing reports, and Orders reports, along with other more in-depth information like Abandoned Cart and Abandoned cart recovery reports. These can offer a good baseline of reporting for your store, but to get high levels of customization and 100% accurate reporting, there is another solution. Littledata Advanced Google Analytics integration for BigCommerce You can view data through Google Analytics, the most widely used analytics platform, and ensure accurate sales and marketing data across the user journey with Littledata’s Google Analytics plugin for BigCommerce. Adding Littledata’s platform to your BigCommerce store enables you to track ecommerce events like product list views, adds-to-cart, all checkout steps, and orders/refunds. Tracking these along with each step of the customer journey is not only critical to calculating the metrics listed above but also gives you a truly complete picture of your store’s health. The Littledata app works with many themes as well, including headless setups, and utilizes more robust tracking than a GTM implementation. You can add the other apps in your data stack onto Littledata’s app as well, including services like ReCharge for subscriptions. Conclusion Your store’s health depends on your ability to track key events and metrics that offer insight into your customers’ behavior along with the success of your product offerings and marketing initiatives. The five metrics we shared above are among the most critical to monitor for your store, as they provide actionable insights that can help you tweak your store and promotion methods to drive greater revenue. Remember, though, that your data is only as good as the tools you’re using to report it. Whether you use BigCommerce’s in-built reporting tools or Littledata’s Advanced integration for BigCommerce, make sure that you’re getting a full picture of your customers' behavior and using accurate data to make decisions on the future of your store. This is a guest post from Rithesh Raghavan, Director at Acodez, a Digital Agency in India. Having a rich experience of 15+ years in Digital Marketing, Rithesh loves to write up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development.
Lunch with Littledata: The keys to smart growth with Shopify Plus Agency UWP
Want to learn from DTC founders and entrepreneurs shaking up their industries? Check out the other entries in our Lunch with Littledata series. A lot goes into growing a Shopify store. Building an engaged following, creating and optimizing your store, and finding the best marketing tools that help you reach your ideal audience are just the start. It can feel overwhelming for some store owners, especially if you’re not a natural when it comes to promotion and marketing. That’s where getting the help of a Shopify Plus agency, like Underwaterpistol (UWP), could be the crucial decision that brings exponential growth to your store. UWP built one of the first 90 Shopify stores all the way back in 2006. They've since grown to help brands from many different verticals, including clients like Omaze, Patou, and Brewdog exceed their potential and become market leaders. To get a better picture of how an agency works with Shopify stores to help them achieve their true potential, we caught up with UWP’s co-founder Gary Carruthers, who shared what UWP does for clients, the best tactics for driving growth, and where he sees the ecommerce market going in 2022 and beyond. Ari from Littledata: We’ve seen subscriptions really take off in ecommerce over the last couple of years. How important are subscription brands to your business? Gary Carruthers: Subscriptions are very close to our hearts. We enjoy subscription work because it's sustainable. It's measurable. You can build a business off of it. The type of verticals that employ subscriptions — like food and drink, etc. — lend themselves well to our skill sets, and our interests as well, since part of our business model is placing a big emphasis on returns and work. Do you usually start those clients with one set contract and then move to a retainer if possible? Exactly. And that's true for a variety of reasons. But, the main goal is to get rid of those peaks and troughs and create nice, steady, reliable, sustainable growth. I always encourage the brands that we work with — if they don't employ subscriptions already — to definitely consider it because of the various advantages. And I think increasingly people are receptive to that. Likewise, the public and customers are receptive to it thanks to the convenience involved. It’s ideal to match the sort of inherent laziness of certain shoppers, you know, like myself (laughs). [tip]Get a full picture of subscription analytics for your store in our ultimate guide to subscription analytics.[/tip] As UWP has grown, how have things at the agency changed? Our structure has changed in the last year or two. We were always a very small and flat organization. We've had to add a bit more structure and hierarchy because now we’re a sort of “in-between size” agency. We've now got both a client services team and delivery team and they work closely together. Not every single account needs an Account Manager and a Project Manager, but for clients of a certain size and complexity, we would have those roles impact their accounts. That's a bit of a game-changer compared to back in the day. We used to have more of a hybrid approach where the delivery and the client services function was one in the same. We're trying to break those out now too and it's complicated, but it seems to be helping. It is complicated. And I think — like with any business’ growth spurt — there are a couple of key hires who bring about that light bulb moment when you realize “perhaps we should have been doing it this way for the last several years.” But it sort of grows organically, doesn't it? You learn from your mistakes and try to learn from reading and seeing what other organizations are doing. But sometimes it's just that key hire or individual who brings the right perspective to make the right changes. "Sometimes it's just that key hire or individual who brings the right perspective to make the right changes." Does your current structure go beyond assigning those two roles on an account? And do you fill those roles externally or internally? We do everything in house. In the past, we’ve used contractors for copywriting and development to break past bottlenecks and for the most part, it hasn't worked out particularly well in the long term. We always say to ourselves that we need to make sure we're properly resourced so those bottlenecks don't occur in the first place. But it’s easy to say that. That was a bit of a steep curve in itself — making sure we had the team to do as good a job as we wanted to do. That's why the team started growing. We didn’t want to be hoovering up as much work as possible and then onboarding staff. It was basically us asking, "are we happy with the quality of the work?" If we weren't and needed to become more specialist and onboard, say, a channel lead, that's what we did. It's interesting because something that's consistent with your clients — and definitely with our shared clients — is that they're using a really strong brand voice. Part of that is obviously what they hire UWP to help build out. How is that built into the relationship and how you pitch your services? Basically we try to have a holistic approach. Even if we're only selling one service or looking after one channel, that is impacted by other channels and you have to join it up. For example, if we’re looking after somebody’s SEO, that needs to be informed by the other channels at play. Then hopefully we'll do a great job and upsell other services. But each of our channel leaders needs to know what the other ones are doing, how they do it, and what impact that has on what they're doing. Then we need to communicate that back to the client to make sure we’re covering all bases and that the client is getting the most out of everything. "We want to be leading our clients to what's happening next quarter, and the quarter after that, and the year after that. So they've got some targets to aim for." A lot of clients may not have reached a mature enough stage that they can employ all those various channels. So they need to cherry-pick the ones that are going to move the needle the most. But, the overall plan is that we want to be leading them to what's happening the next quarter, and the quarter after that, and the year after that. So they've got some targets to aim for and a path to plot. Do you see those teams grow as they're on retainer with you? Yeah, and that's really rewarding in itself. It's great to go on that journey with clients. But with the Shopify landscape changing as you said, merchants coming to us now are increasingly savvy and knowledgeable. It really keeps us on our toes. That's when we need to keep hiring very, very well to meet those exacting demands from merchants. We just can't keep on churning out more of the same. We need to keep growing and getting better, otherwise, we'll just be overlooked and left behind. Being that UWP was early to the Shopify space, has your relationship with the platform continued to be positive? It has, and that's been an interesting journey as well to see how things change. Our developers were dizzy with excitement about new announcements from Shopify Unite this year. You can see the platform is growing and extending itself. Funnily enough, talking about clients getting savvier, I just read a message earlier today from a client asking about the changes to the storefront and technical changes Shopify announced. In the past, I wouldn't have expected a client like this to even be aware of these developments. People just want to know as much as possible about how they can push their businesses on. Shopify provides tools to agencies and merchants alike, so they really understand the landscape. [tip]Learn to fuel your success on Shopify Plus from 5 successful DTC brands.[/tip] Yeah, they seem to be moving fast and we have to make sure we keep up. So what's next for UWP’s plan to keep growing? Is there a chance of launching in the US at some point? We had a bit of an idea to do that a while ago. We've always worked with brands in the US and further afield, but we’ve never actually had boots on the ground. For a variety of reasons we decided to just consolidate where we are in the UK and Europe, so the jury's out on US expansion for now. We’ll continue to work with brands all over the world and keep an open mind about the geographical expansion. We are obviously interested in working with people outside the U.K. — always have been. As for different verticals, we're always keeping an eye out for new and interesting ones. But we've got our hands pretty full with the existing ones as well. One thing we’ve been doing is more complex integrations with third-party systems. We're doing some stuff with NFTs as well, which is really exciting. And the blockchain space interests us generally too. Final question: are you still dealing with a lot of migrations to Shopify or has that slowed down? We've seen it less ourselves, but they've been much bigger clients. Yeah, that's exactly what we've seen as well. We've got a couple on at the moment. We like that work. We like the subscription migrations as well. Thankfully, I don't do the data migration myself (laughs) I don't envy that job. But we really enjoy the re-platforming from Magento and others because you get to flex your muscles in a variety of areas. There's UX, SEO, UI, the data migration itself, the development, the optimization of systems, the tech stack, decision making — it just ticks all the boxes for us. So we like a big meaty migration, definitely. Quick links The ins and outs of tracking headless Shopify setups Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics: Why don't they match? Learn to create Facebook lookalike audiences of your top-spending customers How to build a website that your marketing and legal teams will both love
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