For merchants who run subscription-based businesses, accuracy is crucial for tracking recurring orders.
The problem: popular platforms like Shopify provide merchants with native analytics that are broken. In other words, these platforms don’t offer a complete picture (or an accurate one) of data that subscription-based stores depend on.
There are many potential blockers for these store owners, but we narrowed it down to three:
1) Customisable orders & levels of membership
Many successful subscription-based stores allow shoppers to customise their monthly orders. While this is an effective draw for consumers, it causes all kinds of headaches for the teams that manage the orders.
The ability for customers to customise monthly orders adds layers of complexity for teams who manage product inventory, fulfillment and logistics in the back end.
Perhaps the best example is from the hugely popular Dollar Shave Club. Known for their humor-driven marketing approach, the brand constantly encourages its subscribers add more and more products to their monthly shipments, which go out at different times each month.
Due to the brand’s meteoric growth over the past five years, this creates headaches — imagine fulfilling dynamic orders each month (different cart sizes, products and membership levels) for hundreds of thousands of customers across America.
The ‘curated box package’ is another common subscription model. StitchFix, a curated clothing company for men and women, surprises its customers each month with a package containing ‘personalised’ new outfits.
While the surprise factor might not be a draw for some, the brand’s main appeal is the diversity of its products. Every month, StitchFix’s variety is what appeals to its majority millennial market.
Whether your store offers dynamic monthly ordering (where customers can change the contents of their cart) or follows a more traditional subscription model, it’s crucial to have data you can trust. This means finding an ecommerce solution built to handle both customer changes and increased payload as your store scales.
Automatically track your subscription orders
Affiliate marketing & partnerships
It’s common for subscription-based stores to partner with affiliate marketers to generate an additional source of revenue and tap into new customer groups.
However, with more customers comes more demand, and the importance of accurate data only increases — this includes tracking sales made through affiliate partners, commission owed on each sale, etc.
2) Customer loyalty & reward programs
When done right, effective customer loyalty programs create more loyal customers, boost customer retention and increase sales.
These programs aren’t used by every subscription-based brand, but for the brands that use them, they really do work, according to LoyaltyLion.
However, as high shopper expectations continue to soar, the landscape for rewards programs is getting more competitive. Shoppers know that if they don’t absolutely love one aspect of a brand’s rewards program, they can easily run to a competitor that offers what they’re looking for — whether it be a cheaper price tag, better discounts or more rewards available.
Mark Hook, Head of PR and Communications for retail management software Brightpearl, had this to say:
Over two-fifths of millennial shoppers (45%) admit to being less loyal to brands when compared to a year ago, and are quicker to abandon buying from companies that don’t meet expectations
A great example of a rewards program within a subscription is Nike+. By putting the mobile shopping experience at the top of its priority list, Nike has developed multiple apps that work hand-in-hand with the Nike+ loyalty program by allowing its members to ‘take the brand wherever you go.’
By offering easy member access to the program, Nike gets higher engagement from community members and increased brand loyalty from repeat buyers.
However, for merchants, a successful customer loyalty program hinges on back end analytics and whether or not it’s set up properly. For merchants relying on Google Analytics for tracking, do you have custom dimensions set up? Are there parameters to track recurring orders, free trial offers, promo codes or even brand events?
3) Payment security & order changes
Ecommerce businesses not operating on a subscription model typically receive credit card information every time a transaction is made.
On the other hand, subscription-based businesses store data for recurring purchases, which simplifies the user experience and helps encourage users to continue paying each month.
With potentially millions of credit card numbers stored in a database, brands are constantly at risk for large-scale fraud. This forces brands to invest in airtight security measures to protect your own revenue and the sensitive data of your customers.
Merchants need to stay prepared for orders with expired credit card info, subscription cancellations and changes to recurring orders — all of which make it tougher to accurately track individual events and transactions.
Running a subscription-based store with data you can trust
Even with these hurdles, there’s a shiny silver lining for merchants who rely on subscriptions. Littledata’s plug-and-play ReCharge integration connects with Shopify and Google Analytics to do the following:
- Automatically track first-time payments and recurring transactions
- Provide accurate marketing attribution for subscription revenue
- Segment performance by payment source, subscription plan type and product category
- Benchmark your site and offer access to professional-level subscription analytics tools
With Littledata’s Shopify ReCharge integration, there’s a better way forward for merchants who manage subscription orders.
BullyMax, a popular nutrition and muscle-building supplement for dogs, and Dry Farm Wines, a health-focused natural wine club, are two top subscription brands that have seen great success with Littledata’s Shopify ReCharge connection. Read more about our topintegration for subscription analytics.
In a follow-up post, we discuss a fool-proof solution for Shopify merchants who manage subscription orders. Check it out!