At least in the last few years, subscription ecommerce has become one of the most popular business models.

The numbers don't lie: the return on investment, value per customer and buying frequency are higher for subscription businesses charging a recurring fee.

Everything in this article can be applied to subscription businesses, but Shopify stores already using ReCharge and Littledata's Google Analytics app will especially benefit!

Tip: Trust your subscription tracking with the ultimate ReCharge guide for Shopify

Getting started with ReCharge

ReCharge is the most widely-used recurring billing solution for Shopify, powering thousands of stores and processing tens of thousands of orders daily.

To create a "complete" recurring billing cycle for merchants, we built out a ReCharge smart connection within our Shopify app to provide accurate sales attribution via Google Analytics.

In other words, our app:

  • Fixes your data collection
  • Offers accurate marketing insights within Google Analytics (or Segment)
  • Provides the full Enhanced Ecommerce experience

Note: Easily track your subscription lifecycle events with ReCharge v2

Install the ReCharge app to get:

  • Proper marketing attribution in Google Analytics
  • Product views and shopping behavior
  • Checkout conversion funnels (including voucher usage)
  • Better understanding of repeat buyers

The initial steps to install the Google Analytics tracking for Shopify are illustrated here.

If you want advanced analysis of your buyers and their shopping behavior, you'll need to make the following setup:

Step 1 – Enable the feature in Google Analytics

First, go into Google Analytics (both your normal Google Analytics property and the property that has been created by Littledata) and enable the User-ID feature by going to Admin > Property > Tracking info > User-ID.

Click On, next, On, next, give the new view a name, and you're done.

Activate User ID in goolge Analytics

Note: The new view will start to collect data from the point of creation so you will need to wait a bit to use this report. The sources of the purchases will be collected from the point of creation so most of the orders will be shown in the first month from direct / (none).

Step 2 – Enable the Enhanced Ecommerce feature in Google Analytics

In Google Analytics, click Admin. In the right side under View, choose the new Registered Users view that you've created earlier and click Ecommerce Settings. Toggle to On and then click Next step. Toggle On for Enhanced Ecommerce, and click Save.

Enable Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics

Finding the initial source for recurring subscriptions

Using the Registered view, navigate on the sidebar to Acquisition -> All traffic -> Source/Medium or Channels. This report will show both new customers and recurring ones.

We need to apply a segment to this report in order to show only the recurring users. This is how you set up the segment to exclude first time buyers:

Create a segment to exclude the first time buyers

Now, with the above segment applied, you can check the original source of the sale for all transactions from repeat buyers.

View the source of the repeting buyers

The other helpful report is the Audience -> Cohort Analysis report. In this report, you can see user retention for each day, week or month.

Combining this report with an advanced segment that excludes first-time buyers AND includes only buyers that had their first transaction in December will:

  • provide number of users that started the subscription package in December
  • measure the actual retention of this group

Cohort analysis for the retention

Tracking subscription lifecycle events

ReCharge has always been one of Littledata’s most popular connections for ecommerce analytics. The new version of our ReCharge connection captures subscription lifecycle events for even more detailed tracking and attribution.

What’s new with v2

  • Track subscription lifecycle events, including subscription updates and cancellations
  • Get accurate marketing attribution for subscription lifecycle events
  • Include subscription lifecycle events in LTV calculations

Automatically track the following subscription lifecycle events:

  • Subscription Created
  • Subscription Cancelled
  • Subscription Updated
  • Order Processed
  • Customer Updated
  • Charge Failed
  • Payment Method Updated
  • Max Retries Reached

Advanced ReCharge tracking (such as LTV tracking and a separate view for recurring purchases) are still included in the ReCharge connection — we’ve simply expanded the functionality to capture even more data points.

Learn more about the connection with our ultimate ReCharge guide for Shopify.