We're partnering with Dwight Funding to help brands scale the smart way
Littledata is excited to announce a new partnership with Dwight Funding, a leader in the DTC funding space, to help brands scale faster with flexible funding and hands-on support. Founded in 2015, Dwight provides capital to growth-stage ecommerce businesses to build out inventory, bridge gaps in the cash conversion cycle, and extend runway ahead of an equity raise. Having worked with brands like Cleancult and Chubbies, Dwight has remarkable industry knowledge and relationships, making it a natural fit with Littledata's customer base, which includes brands like Athletic Brewing and Laundry Sauce. What’s more, Dwight and Littledata both take a data-driven approach to helping brands scale. "For best-in-class businesses, being well-funded and spending sustainably go hand in hand. Littledata shares our commitment to data-driven growth and has been successful in giving DTC brands an accurate view across Shopify, GA and Facebook so that their marketing yields the best results." - Ben Brachot, Dwight Funding Co-Founder & Managing Director As privacy standards and the economic environment shift, Littledata and Dwight are here to help. Our shared mission is to empower growing DTC brands to thrive by providing them with seamless access to the tools they need—whether it be capital, expertise, or data to drive decision-making and growth strategy. Whether or not you're already a Littledata or Dwight Funding customer, contact us to learn more about: Optimizing marketing ROI with server-side tracking to "beat the ad blockers" and syncing Shopify data with GA Shoring up your financing in today’s economy How to create a high performing, data-driven culture “We're delighted to welcome Dwight Funding to the Littledata family as we team up to bring thriving DTC brands the tools they need to reach new heights. Littledata itself is in part financed by debt, and we understand the value of borrowing against tomorrow's revenues to fund growth today. Equally, these same fast-growing brands need accurate data to make decisions — accurate data that Littledata can provide for any brand using Shopify or BigCommerce.” - Edward Upton, Littledata CEO We're especially looking forward to collaborating with the Dwight team on resource development around best practices for optimizing cash flow across the balance sheet, from inventory management to marketing spend, including paid channels like Facebook Ads and email channels like Klaviyo. In the coming months, we'll be sharing updates on the blog and in our email newsletter. Ready to scale the smart way? Learn more about Littledata and Dwight Funding.
Google Veteran Margaret Sherer Joins Littledata Advisory Board
London, UK – May 26, 2022 – Littledata, an ecommerce data platform based in the UK, is expanding its advisory board with the addition of Margaret Sherer as Marketing Advisor. Sherer, who has held managerial positions at Google, Microsoft, and presently at MIRACL, is also founder and CEO of Cittadina Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency based in London. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring on Margaret in a formal advisory capacity,” says Littledata co-founder and CMO Ari Messer. “She has a remarkable breadth of industry knowledge and shares our bias towards action. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together as we accelerate Littledata’s growth with brands and marketing agencies around the world.” Littledata is building a formal advisory board in order to help align its growing team on strategic goals, including go-to-market plans for new technical integrations such as Facebook Conversions API and GA4, the newest version of Google Analytics. The startup supports modern direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands selling on Shopify, and recently launched on BigCommerce as well. “Modern marketing success derives from rich data first insights. Littledata’s ability to reclaim data that goes missing in the ecommerce connection infrastructure in order to return insights to companies is invaluable. As first-party data and user insights grow in importance, Littledata will be a key player to enabling smarter, faster growth,” says Sherer. “I’ve loved working with the team so far and look forward to our continued collaboration as an Advisor.” "As first-party data and user insights grow in importance, Littledata will be a key player to enabling smarter, faster growth" After 15+ years working in marketing for Google and Microsoft and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management, Sherer founded Cittadina Marketing in 2017 with the aim to create and execute beautiful marketing campaigns led by strategy and supported with insight. Cittadina has worked with fast-growth tech companies such as Temporall, PepperSq, MIRACL and eDesk, and established blue-chip organizations like Google. Sherer also advises a range of startups and sits on the Advisory boards for Surrey IDEA and Westminster Business School. Learn more about Margaret Sherer, Cittadina Marketing and Littledata.
Upcoming events in London, New York and Los Angeles for Spring 2022
It seems like ecommerce events are all coming back at once. We're happy to have a team spread out around the world who is ready to meet up at IRL events across the globe. Nobody's sure if Shopify's infamous Shopify Unite event will ever come back in full force, but that's actually helped Shopify partners double down on other events. From partner meetups to investor networking events, it's going to be a busy Q2. Highlights include: D2C Live (April 29th in London)ChargeX (May 2nd-4th in Santa Monica)MeasureCamp (May 15th in London) It can be tough to figure out the exact ROI on ecommerce events, but over the years we've found the right ones for our business: places where data-driven DTC brands hang out and have honest discussions about growth, analytics, data science and community building. Tip: Looking for a quick read on data-driven ecommerce? Check out our free ebooks written by data experts. Here's where we're headed over the next month or so. We hope to see you there! Upcoming events in the UK London is our HQ, where it all started. It's also a great place to grab a pint and chat about data. We're sponsoring two events in London this quarter, and will also be at the XX partner meetup. D2C Live April 29, 2022London, UKLittledata founder and CEO Edward Upton will be on stage at D2C Live for a fireside chat with Teddy Robinson, CMO of the spectacularly popular GRIND coffee in London. The chat will focus on how to use data to drive decisions. D2C Live is one of the best places to learn about what's next in direct-to-consumer ecommerce. The conference focuses on Shopify merchants and always has a great mix of known brands, scale-ups and angel investors, and venture funds. We can't wait! MeasureCamp London May 14, 2022London, UKLittledata is excited to be sponsoring MeasureCamp London this year, and a number of our technical team members will be there to share knowledge, learn and grow. MeasureCamp is the ultimate "unconference" for analytics nerds. The schedule is created on the day and speakers are fellow attendees. Everyone is encouraged to discuss and participate in sessions, and even to lead sessions themselves. MeasureCamp (un)conferences have been highly reviewed by our Littledata Plus team (account managers, data experts and customer support rockstars). Will we see you in London? Let us know—our team would love to meet you there! Upcoming events in the US As our team is growing in the US, so are the number of events and meetups. We hope to see you soon on one coast or the other! Investor Networking with Entrepreneurs Collective April 28, 2022New York, NYLittledata co-founder and CMO Ari Messer will be co-hosting Entrepreneur Collective's first in-person event in New York City on April 28th. Entrepreneurs Collective (EC) is one of the most successful collectives in the UK, the leading private members club for Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs. And now they're taking New York by storm! (Hopefully not literally, as we're doing this first event on a rooftop with direct views of the Empire State Building...) EC events are known for their dynamic mix of founders, angel investors and VCs. I've been to a ton of these types of events over the years, and EC's are consistently the most rewarding. At this panel and networking event, we'll be focusing on a deceptively simple question: what do investors look for in a startup in 2022? Normally these events are invite-only, but we're happy to extend an invitation to the Littledata community. Get your ticket here. ChargeX May 2-4, 2022Santa Monica, CA Recharge is one of our oldest and most established tech partners at Littledata. ChargeX, their annual conference, was delayed due to the pandemic, but now it's back in sunny Santa Monica (on the west side of Los Angeles). At ChargeX this year, we're especially excited to be joining an esteemed roster of tech partners including Shogun, Nacelle, Klaviyo and Refersion. We're also sponsoring free bike rentals on the last day of the conference. See you there!
We Make Websites features Littledata in ideal headless tech stack
We Make Websites is one of our trusted agency partners at Littledata. The geniuses behind beautiful ecommerce experiences for Lauren Conrad Beauty, PANGAIA, and countless other Shopify Plus sites, We Make Websites are experts in headless builds. We were honored to be included in their new outline of a "perfect" headless tech stack for ecommerce merchants! Littledata's ecommerce data platform now supports any headless Shopify build, and we work together with top Shopify Plus agencies like WMW to help brands get accurate data to fuel their growth. The "perfect" headless tech stack Headless ecommerce isn't new, but the technology has improved across the board in recent years. With the rise of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and increasing popularity of React frameworks, it seems like headless platforms are everywhere you turn these days. Many brands are turning to sites that act like apps, and headless is a great way to do that. Even Shopify seems ready to go all-in with the launch of Hydrogen, which is focused on integrating React server components. As the WMW team explains, headless isn't for everyone. To really do it right (and keep maintenance costs down), you'll need a developer or agency with experience in Node.js and React/Vue as well as the Shopify ecosystem. When done right, headless sites like Recess and ILIA Beauty are lightning fast and provide personalized experiences for shoppers. In "Creating the Perfect Tech Stack for Your Headless Build", the We Make Websites team highlights top apps that work well in a headless environment, work well together, and "harmonize" with the wider tech stack. Here's their recommended stack. ShopifyLoyaltyLionKlevuYotpoNacelleNostoShogunRechargeLittledata Littledata is featured alongside some of our longtime integration partners Recharge (for selling by subscription) and Nacelle (for fast, flexible headless builds), as well as our friends at LoyaltyLion. So, this is an ideal stack for a customer-driven brand that is selling by subscription (at least in part) and is serious about data-driven growth. Note: Littledata also integrates with landing page builders like Shogun, Zipify Pages and Gem Pages Our headless tracking ensures that sessions are stitched together and linked to ecommerce events. We have also added default integrations with every major landing page builder, whether those pages act as your front-end or you're running hundreds of top-of-funnel landing pages. Should you go headless? As the WMW team puts it, one of the biggest reasons for going headless in the first place is the ability to pick and choose from modern commerce tools, including data platforms and CDP integrations: A headless architecture [lets you] employ a “best of breed” technology strategy. By harnessing the power and agility of APIs, headless websites allow you to create a tech stack that’s unique to, and perfect for, your business. We have certainly found that to be true in practice, especially with our merchants using Nacelle and Netlify. For the most part they have managed to keep their Shopify Plus tech stacks while improving speed and engagement . As Devin Saxon, senior sales engineer at Nacelle put it in our interview last year: Every headless build is unique. Not because of catalogue size, but due to what the merchant’s goals and needs are for their front end and overall architecture.The process itself is not dramatically different. We align with the customer on the build scoping process, including their goals, integration, and workflow needs, which can be the biggest determinant of the timeline. It’s best to work this out far before they start building, though, to mitigate any issues from coming up during the build. In our view, chief among those goals and workflows should be your data vision: what do you want to track, how do you want to track it, and who will be using the data? Check out our headless tracking demo to get sense for what's possible. If you're ready to start planning a headless build — or you've already launched are are ready to take data more seriously — let's chat.
Lunch with Littledata: How Rothy’s uses data across the company
Both visionary and practical, Rothy's is a digitally native brand that became a household name by selling beautifully designed, sustainable shoes, handbags, and accessories. They have continued to scale both online and offline, building a loyal customer base through personalized shopping experiences. Last year Brazilian footwear company Alpargatas acquired a large stake in the company, bringing their valuation to over $1 billion. But stellar growth doesn’t happen by accident. Both their decision-making when crafting their online store and choosing tools for their tech stack were critical to fueling success, as Rothy’s analytics engineer Matt McLean explains in the latest installment of our Lunch with Littledata series. Matt also shares his experience guiding the design and implementation of Rothy’s data strategy, the massive role data plays in their decision-making, and how Littledata has saved them time and enabled a more successful growth strategy. Ari from Littledata: How did you first find out about Littledata? From what I remember, Rothy’s was one of the first brands to implement our Shopify source for Segment. Matt: Once the company decided to rebuild the website, we were on a timeline. So we were looking for services that could cover some of our gaps and maybe put some critical funnel events into place for us without having to spend a lot of internal time and resources doing it. We work with external developers to build and maintain our website, and then I'm here to know what's going on, be familiar with the code, and then primarily to handle the analytics implementation. So that's really where Littledata came in to help. Tip: Get a free data audit for your ecommerce store and see how Littledata can help you drive revenue through accurate data. Ari: In short, what is the Rothy’s story? Matt: Our founders saw an opportunity to build a company that prioritizes sustainability and considers the entire product lifecycle — from far less wasteful manufacturing practices to life-extending features like washable products, without sacrificing style or comfort. Ari: Have you been on Shopify since the beginning? Matt: Yes, we’ve always been on Shopify. Ari: Are you using a custom theme? Has it been easy to get granular data about the checkout funnel? Matt: Our theme is pretty custom. But in the earlier days, we didn't always have resources to code and instrument with analytics. Now that we have that capability, I can go in and use Littledata to find those core funnel events — especially the ones that happen server-side. For an ecommerce website like us, there's a big emphasis on having those funnel sets be accurate. Things like adds to cart and order completed, of course, are events that happen on the server-side with Littledata. So we're always looking for that extra inch of accuracy. Then I can go in and supplement that in the theme code, like adding another event for something behavioral like a form submission or something specific to our theme UI that Littledata can't pick up. “Things like adds to cart and order completed are events that happen on the server-side with Littledata. Then I can go in and supplement that in the theme code, like adding another event for something behavioral like a form submission.” Ari: What would you consider your main Segment use case? Matt: We use Segment to deploy Google Tag Manager (GTM) so that Segment events and event data are available in the data layer. The other main use case is to send events and identifies to Iterable, where the info can be used to create better marketing communications. Ari: Are you tracking offline events at all? Matt: Luckily we use the Shopify POS platform for those purchases. Those reach us as well, so we don't have anything that's truly offline. Ari: With regard to products and the customer experience, how do you use Google Analytics? Matt: We tend to use GA for behavioral, clickstream-type events. As an example, if you have a product page and different types of content on it, we might track engagement with the content by tracking clicks or sometimes scroll depth. We’ll send those events to GA so that the Product, UX, and ecommerce teams can get a sense of what content is performing well. We do have enhanced ecommerce implemented for GA, and it's useful to be able to see things like if somebody interacted with the size chart on the Product Detail Page (PDP) because then we know that users who did that have [a particular] conversion rate. “It's useful (in GA) to be able to see things like if somebody interacted with the size chart on the Product Detail Page because then we know that users who did that have [a particular] conversion rate.” Ari: It's also interesting that you're using GTM for marketing tags like Pinterest. Has that been a limitation to Segment? Matt: I have personally found that to be a limitation. I think the Segment destinations are kind of designed to be plug-and-play. You just set it up, give your Pixel ID and you're off to the races. Which is great, especially for those with less technical aptitude or interest. I have just found that we often have pretty specific requirements for the type of data we want to send into those tags. And when you're using a Segment destination, you're often locked into the format they decided when they wrote that destination. Some of them have more configuration options to help you manage that and some of them don't. So it just becomes a bit of an inconsistent experience as a developer. Because what I want is — when I do my data layer push with everything that I need — to then just be able to pick and choose whatever each tag requires. Then on top of that, do whatever custom renaming of an event or combining of a couple of variables I need to do. I can do that as well with GTM. So it just gives me that extra-fine control that a Segment destination might not. Ari: For customers using our destination, we’ve built some templates for GTM for different marketing tags just to make sure they work with our event structure. But every client seems to have their own way they want to do it, and you were smart to do it in Segment to stitch sessions together across data destinations. Matt: I know our team at Rothy’s has made a lot of requests of the Littledata team because there are so many things that we do in a particular way. And your team is always really responsive with that sort of stuff, which we appreciate. Ari: That's good to hear. Actually, I think one of those requests to our CEO Ed was when we first started building identify calls so that you could use the events to trigger email campaigns. Matt: When we were looking to relaunch the site, that was one of our big feature requests for Littledata. Because we wanted that continuity, we wanted to make sure that if somebody had been identified prior to the site relaunch, they could be identified again after and be considered the same to ensure their record essentially makes sense. Rothy’s has opened retail locations around the country. Ari: So what's next for Rothy’s? It's obvious the brand has really been a success story in the DTC world. Anything exciting on the horizon you can share? Matt: One thing I do know is that because of our success online, we've been able to expand our retail operations. We've been able to open stores even though the pandemic has been happening. And that's all the other teams at the company doing excellent work. The ecommerce experience is still central, though, and that supports all of the other aspects of the business. Ari: It's like a whole new world where digitally native brands are now getting the best retail space. It's definitely like that here in New York. Every time I go for a walk downtown, I see more of our digitally native customers taking over boutiques that used to house legacy brands. Matt: Yeah. I mean, when I was a kid, it was always like, “Oh, do you have a website? Can I visit your website?” Now it's the other way around. You make your presence known, you offer a good product and a good company philosophy, and that’s what gets people talking about it. That’s what enables you to reach out into those other arenas. It’s really interesting. Quick links: See the full event schema with Littledata for Shopfiy and SegmentGet more from Facebook ads with this recipe to build lookalike audiences of your top spendersLearn about the top tools for ecommerce brands and how to build a tooling stack from 1-800-D2CSee why ecommerce stores are adopting Facebook’s new Conversions API
New Recharge integration for BigCommerce stores
In the DTC world, subscription ecommerce used to thrive mainly on Shopify or custom solutions. But times have changed. Although Cyber Week was flat or down for many online retailers, BigCommerce merchants saw a year-over-year GMV increase of 15%. We're excited to announce that Littledata's BigCommerce app for Google Analytics now includes a plug-and-play integration with Recharge, the leading subscription payments solution. The new connection makes it easy for subscription brands on BigCommerce to get granular data about online orders, marketing channels and subscriber behavior in Google Analytics. The subscriptions analytics connection for BigCommerce lets you: Track browsing behaviorTrack shopping cart events, orders, recurring orders, and refundsImprove marketing attributionDifferentiate one-off orders, first-time subscriptions, and recurring orders in Google Analytics Data-driven growth has to start with accurate data. Littledata's magic combination of client-side and server-side tracking works behind the scenes so you can get back to business. We're here to help subscription analytics be less complicated and more useful. Recharge is now used by over 15,000 brands around the world. Our Recharge integration for Shopify is one of our oldest — and most popular — integrations at Littledata. We're eager to keep helping Recharge merchants get accurate, actionable data, whichever ecommerce platform or custom setup they might be using. Tip: The BigCommerce Recharge integration works automatically without any extra setup steps (if you're using Recharge and BC, we'll automatically track subscriptions for you). Try it for free today! For the data geeks out there, we've also added data pipeline settings such as a domain linker and IP Anonymization (or IP masking). And yes, Littledata works with custom themes and headless BigCommerce setups! Adapting to the new world of first-party data and hurdling obstacles like iOS changes and Facebook Ads' switch to a Conversions API becomes much easier with the powerful server-side tracking of Littledata's analytics connection. The app is designed for Universal Analytics (UA), but coming soon for GA4. Not sure where to start? See 5 things that change in Google Analytics when you install Littledata.
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 AnalyticsSay goodbye to "Direct" traffic in GA, and know where visitors are coming fromSee accurate conversion rates for first-time subscriptions vs. other kinds of ordersSend Smartrr subscriptions datato 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 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 valueImproving return on ad spend (ROAS) by analyzing LTV by marketing channelAnalyzing LTV by subscription product or product groupBuilding 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.
Lunch with Littledata: How Grind pivoted from brick and mortar to £500,000 monthly ecommerce revenue
Want to learn from DTC founders and entrepreneurs shaking up their industries? Check out the other entries in our Lunch with Littledata series. Making the leap to start an ecommerce store is a challenge. Doing it while pivoting from a strictly brick and mortar business at the height of a pandemic is a whole other challenge. That’s exactly what Grind did when launching their DTC store offering compostable coffee pods. Theirs is a story about finding value in your customers’ passion, relying on your team’s adaptability and resolve, and learning from your peers to drive exponential revenue growth. In this installment of Lunch with Littledata, Grind CMO and Creative Director Teddy Robinson sat down to talk through how the company launched its DTC store, as well as the data stack and promotion methods that combined to help them scale to 50x revenue in just a few months. Ari from Littledata: When we first met a few years back you were just transitioning into the online world. But I used to drink coffee from Grind in London years before that! Could you tell us how Grind launched? Teddy Robinson: Yes! It feels like kind of a long and winding journey now. The story goes way back to coffee shops in East London in 2011. It was such a profound year of change for coffee. For most of the 10 years previous you had Starbucks as the star, and then all of a sudden you had a boom of small indie coffee shops. That boom for us came at a really big time because it also followed the integration of social media for business. When I started at Grind in 2012, it seemed strange that you’d have an Instagram page for your business, because the thought was “people have Instagram, not businesses.” It’s phenomenal the way that's changed — now Instagram is the way that we market anything and the way we acquire customers.https://blog.littledata.io/wp-admin/Lunch%20with%20Littledata_%20GRIND_files/saved_resource.html Before lockdown, we had 11 cafes and restaurants around London serving coffee and cocktails, with some of them doing a thousand cups of coffee a day just in take away. Our brand became a bit of a backbone to the startup culture in East London and Central London that arrived around us. People would have their product launches and funding rounds celebrating in our little coffee shops. At the same time, we stopped meeting people in real life for the first time and increasingly found ourselves meeting them online and then bringing them into stores. Digital content began leading the business to a point where when we were building a restaurant, we’d be going “oh, my God, this is going to be a great photo for Instagram.” So what kept you focused on growing from standalone coffee shops to finally going online? Over the years we built an incredible brand through brick and mortar stores and newsletters. We became a part of people's lives in a really meaningful, authentic way. As time went on, we realized increasingly that the business model of trying to get our hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers — often from around the world — to one of nine brick and mortar locations was really, really unsustainable. But at the same time, we built an incredible pedigree for being able to serve great coffee. People saw themselves as being a Grind customer rather than a Starbucks customer. At about the end of 2018, we started working on what would be become our first DTC project. At that point, DTC was in full swing. So we set up a Shopify store offering compostable coffee pods for Nespresso machines. The sustainability aspect was really important to us, and after being in the coffee industry for ten years, our expertise about coffee and roasting helped us say, “wow, we can do something different and really meaningful and use our supply chain in a way that other businesses just can't.” At the same time, we've got this brand pedigree that we can leverage for helping people make better, more sustainable coffee at home. That’s great you were able to adapt and introduce an online version of Grind coffee so quickly. Do you feel the Grind community is still growing on the ground in London as well? Running a hospitality business in London is really difficult and has become much more difficult in the last 10 years, let alone the last year. The idea of selling coffee to people at £3 a cup is nothing short of a volume game. But with that said, now there’s much more of a self-sustaining coffee culture. It was all twenty-five-year-old art students ten years ago, and now my mum won't drink a coffee unless they’ll give her a flat white.https://blog.littledata.io/wp-admin/Lunch%20with%20Littledata_%20GRIND_files/saved_resource(1).html And obviously, the big thing with the storefronts is the pandemic. We went into lockdown last year and — although we were able to move all our staff on furlough — effectively the business as we knew it just kind of evaporated overnight. We were closing the doors on all these locations in a way that we would never have ever considered doing in the past, and it just felt like the end of the world in a lot of ways. How much of Grind was already online at the beginning of the pandemic? I think less than half of a percent. Before lockdown, we had a business of about three hundred people. The only ones who were working on the DTC project were me and the founder. For us, it was really just good fun and a bit of a side project. That was also a point where we'd never spent a penny on ads. We were really just leveraging a tiny number of our customers. Basically, when people asked about our ecommerce store, we’d send them to it. It was a long time of just finding a few hours a week together to figure out setting up Shopify, setting up Littledata, and pulling all the pieces there to allow us to grow it bigger. Tip: Start your ecommerce journey using accurate data with a complimentary data analysis when you try Littledata free for 30 days. How did you begin to build the audience for your ecommerce site? Did you already have an email list? Yes, and I think we were really lucky in that so much of our CRM was already built. We had a quarter of a million people's email addresses and 150,000 Instagram followers before we even had a Shopify site. We used things like the good old-fashioned WiFi email sign-up form to build the list. And then obviously lockdown arrived and we came to a point where around 95 percent of the business went into furlough. We gave those remaining on staff the option to choose furlough or pivot to help us with roles we needed to get the Shopify store up and running, things like email automation. And actually, we had a really incredible response in terms of the number of people who re-skilled in the last year. People were willing to try on a different hat and have become really passionate about something they never imagined doing a year ago. Also at that point, we were already working on what would what our first Facebook ads would look like. Once we’d closed all the physical doors and revenue went to zero, immediately the plan went from taking a two-month run at starting Facebook ads to two days. And they picked up really quickly. In terms of revenue, we went from doing £10,000 a month in February to doing £500,000 a month by May or June. Without DTC, this business would have died in lockdown. The fact that we went 50x in three months I think was down to loyalty. That was also a sink or swim moment for the business. I’m certain the funding that we’ve been able to secure since then has very much come off the back of that revenue growth — it genuinely saved the business as a whole. Without DTC, this business would have died in lockdown. Wow, it’s incredible you were able to scale conversions so quickly. Was your social promotion mostly concentrated on Facebook? Or were you also doing Pinterest and other channels? We hit the ground running and had to figure out Facebook, Pinterest, and Google to begin with. Then we had the challenge of figuring out what our ads should look like, while at the same time building the data stack underneath to track attribution. The ability to plug in off-the-shelf services like ReCharge to offer our subscription service, then build very strong Shopify store themes and plug that all together with Google Analytics by Littledata was really the foundation of the entire ecommerce business. We certainly couldn’t have done it without that. The ability to remain agile at the point where we most needed it was entirely built on a foundation of attaching these various off-the-shelf tools together with Littledata. It’s great to hear our GA connection was such a big piece of your growth. As you started to learn those different promotion channels like email marketing, did you look at any specific top-level stats? For subscription orders, definitely measuring the differences in customer LTV for subscribers versus “one-time purchasers.” In the early stages, though, revenue and return on ad spend (ROAS) were really the biggest top-line metrics for us. The challenge of having to build a data foundation while also building the house (the store) on top of it felt almost like life or death. The plug and playability of Littledata’s reporting tools is really what allowed us to do it. Is the main chunk of the business still going through coffee subscriptions? I’d say although we're not a “mono-product business,” a huge amount of our revenue is just through our compostable coffee pods. We're roasting a huge amount of our coffee ourselves and we can then grind that for people. I guess you could say the coffee pods are kind of our hero product; it's just an incredibly convenient way to to to make a really great, sustainable coffee at home. And since you're roasting it all yourself it’s always high quality. Oh, yeah. We have a high level of control there. Investing significantly in things like our supply chain and roasting equipment definitely allowed much of our growth in the early stages. There's a lot of bad advice out there on how to bootstrap a business in 30, 90, or 120 days. But actually, it just comes down to getting on with it, finding the right tools, and gathering people smart people enough to figure those tools out. With DTC as a whole, there's a bit of a roadmap now, right? People have done this thing before. And there are so many tools, whether it’s you guys at Littledata, or Shopify, or ReCharge, people have walked through these issues before. And in our experience, the people building those tools have always been happy to help out and to make things work for us. Bootstrapping a DTC brand just comes down to getting on with it, finding the right tools, and gathering people smart people enough to figure those tools out. Do you have any kind of advisory board or do you talk with other brands to help your growth? I know some people do and some don’t. It’s funny — when you're spending so much time looking at growth metrics, it's really easy to look at everyone as competition. But actually, there’s an incredibly interesting community of people (in DTC) and we're all on quite similar journeys. So I wouldn't say I’d call what we have an advisory board, but there's certainly a lot of people around London or even the U.K. who are at different stages on the same journey as us. Because this process is so online, it can sometimes feel solitary. But actually, there are people in the same place who are really keen to help out. And then the competition helps fuel the conversation. Quick links Build better Facebook Ad audiences by targeting the most valuable leadsBoost customer LTV by tracking subscriptions in the checkoutIs a headless setup righty for your store, and how do you track it?Learn everything you need to know about Shopify Analytics
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