Measurement Protocol connection for Shopify stores
We are excited to announce the beta release of a new Measurement Protocol connection for Shopify stores. As we continue to optimize Littledata for Shopify Plus, our team is always on the lookout for ways to help larger brands ensure a complete data pipeline, whatever your data stack might look like. Being able to send server-side events is one of the core benefits of the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol, so it was a natural next step to extend our advanced tracking for Shopify stores to work in a more flexible way for advanced data teams. With the beta release of this new connection, Littledata is now extensible for a range of ETLs, data collection platforms (like Snowplow) and data warehouses (like Google BigQuery). [subscribe heading="Learn more about Littledata Plus" button_text="learn more" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/enterprise"] Our new Measurement Protocol connection makes it easy to get complete sales and marketing data, just as you would with Littledata's Shopify to Google Analytics connection, but in a data warehouse of your choice. Benefits include: Capture and send complete client-side (browser) and server-side events, in a unified format, following the Google Analytics standardSpecify any endpoint for data collectionRelay exactly the same events as you see in Google AnalyticsExport real-time data to Google BigQuery, without paying for GA 360Pipe into a data warehouse using tools such as OWOX and Snowplow Read the developer docs here. The connection is currently in private beta for Littledata Plus customers (Plus and Enterprise Plus plans). Please contact us for early access.
Events this week: Shoptalk, Episode 1, IDEAS
It might still be the era of COVID, but online events are in full swing. This week Littledata will be at a number of virtual events for partners, investors, and data scientists. Here's a quick overview. We were busy with customer-focused events in September, and also saw a surge in new customer reviews (coincidence?). In any case, October is turning out to be focused on events around strategic planning -- good timing with our current job openings and upcoming funding round! IDEAS Global AI Conference IDEAS has put on a number of events and hackathons over the years, but none is more popular than their Global AI conference. Littledata CEO Edward Upton is speaking at this year's global conference today. He'll be looking at the technical aspects of how to track and model customer lifetime value for ecommerce sites, especially those with a mix of one-off and subscription revenue. The Seed Stage pitch event from Episode 1 We're excited to pitch at The Seed Stage this week, a unique pitch event organized by Episode 1, a seed stage Venture Capital fund based in London. What makes it unique? It's a demo-day-like experience, but outside of the accelerator context. Clearly there's a lot for interest in this type of event, as the last event included five funds in addition to Episode 1: True, Playfair, Fuel, Ascension, JamJar, and Wayra. It was an honor to be selected to participate -- apparently there were more than 800 applicants for 20 slots -- and we look forward to continuing conversations both during and after the virtual event. Shoptalk Meetup Everyone in the DTC community looks forward to Shoptalk, so we were really excited to see the new format for Shoptalk Meetup, an entirely virtual event. As Shoptalk pitches it, Shoptalk Meetup is retail's "first digitally native event." Just as ecommerce has adapted at lightning speed in response to the pandemic, with new features, apps and functionality to help brands reach customers outside of traditional shopping experiences (eg apps for coordinating curbside pickup), the events industry has adapted as well. Our partner organizations like SUBTA have helped create meaningful online interactions with new virtual event formats this year, and with Shoptalk Meetup we have an event that is entirely based on live meetings. They've put together a fantastic guest list of brands, retailers, tech partners, analysts, and agencies, and we're looking forward to connecting with Shopify Plus brands, media outlets, and a lot of old friends and colleagues! Will you be at Shoptalk? Let us know on Twitter.
Going headless while keeping your Shopify Plus stack
It seems like everyone's considering going headless lately. What do you need to know before you make the leap? This year, in addition to optimizing Littledata for Shopify Plus (including headless Shopify setups), we have extended our headless tracking to include ReCharge and Segment in addition to Google Analytics. And we have collaborated with Nacelle as our preferred tech partner for headless builds. Led by CEO Brian Anderson, Nacelle has raised around $4.8M in funding so far, including angel investment from Shopify and Klaviyo execs. A growing number of successful online brands seeking to go headless are using Nacelle for the build and Netlify for deployment, and it's been great to see remarkable performance improvements with shared customers like Ballsy, who saw a 28% conversion rate increase across the board after moving to a headless Nacelle setup with Littledata for analytics. So we were excited to contribute some ideas to the new Nacelle ebook on how to get the headless experience without overhauling your Shopify Plus tech stack. If you are using Shopify Plus (or planning a migration), we highly recommend downloading the free guide and sharing with your team internally -- as well as any external partners like ecommerce agencies and growth consultants. In the free guide, you’ll learn: How a headless PWA works in combination with top solutions including Shopify Plus, email, SMS marketing, reviews and user-generated content, affiliate marketing, subscriptions, analytics, and customer serviceWhat industry leaders in these respective categories have to say about going headless and enhancing functionality (including Littledata for analytics and some of our long-term partners like ReCharge for subscriptions and Refersion for affiliate sales)Real-world examples of merchant success To learn more, download the free guide from Nacelle. What about headless tracking? At Littledata, we do not see headless ecommerce as a passing fad. PWA tech has caught up to the needs of larger DTC brands, who want best-in-class technology at each customer touch point (eg. social microsites, one-click subscriptions, multi-currency payments, upsell funnels) alongside custom design and a deep cross-device user experience to match their brand story. As Nacelle explains, headless ecommerce now offers the possibility of not just integrating your current tools but actually improving the functionality of your Shopify Plus stack. Together we can build a shopping experience that is better, faster, more reliable, and more highly personalized. But without server-side tracking, getting accurate data about your headless Shopify setup can be extremely complicated. Check out our headless tracking demo to see how to automatically get complete sales and marketing data about your headless Shopify site in Segment or Google Analytics.
3 deep dives into customer lifetime value for ecommerce sites
Subscription ecommerce has continued to scale throughout the pandemic, with consumables like beverages and meal kits rising particularly fast in North America. Shopify sites selling by subscription have always been a core part of our customer base at Littledata, and with even traditionally brick-and-mortar retailers moving online and trying out subscription ideas, we've got our hands full with new subscription sites these days. It might be easier than ever to start a subscription box (companies like Bulu have transformed the market), but getting accurate data about marketing attribution and customer lifetime value is difficult without the right data setup. So with Black Friday Cyber Monday coming up, we thought it would be useful to share some of our top posts this year about subscription analytics. Here are our top three posts this year. Enjoy! 1. How to calculate LTV for ecommerce subscriptions Lifetime value is a core metric for many online companies these days. This is especially important for ecommerce sites, because whether you're focusing on repeat purchases or actual subscriptions, marketing to (and product alignment with) the highest LTV customers can make or break a DTC brand today. In this post, our founder breaks down the basics of LTV calculations for ecommerce, focused on Shopify stores using ReCharge for subscriptions. https://blog.littledata.io/2020/01/14/how-to-calculate-lifetime-value-ltv-for-subscription-ecommerce-in-google-analytics/ 2. How to use Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics to increase subscription sales Custom Dimensions are a remarkably powerful feature in Google Analytics, often overlooked because they can be complicated to set up manually (also, they "sound complicated"). But the truth is that with a little background research, custom dimensions are easy to understand, and -- more importantly -- to apply to your daily, weekly and monthly reports in order to get a clear view of different order types, repeat purchasing behavior, and more. https://blog.littledata.io/2019/09/19/quick-tips-for-subscription-stores-using-custom-dimensions-in-google-analytics/ In this detailed post, our lead analyst dives into the complications of modern DTC brands selling a mix of product types and subscriptions. He focuses on how to reconcile differences in different reporting tools, and how to create segments and reports to fit your unique business model. After all, talk is cheap. How can you put LTV calculations to work for your business? [note]Did you know? Littledata automatically tracks first-time and recurring purchases and ties them back to the original marketing source.[/note] 3. The ultimate guide to LTV tracking In this popular guest post on the Shogun blog, we take a look at everything you need to know about LTV. When you know your LTV, you can: Know which kinds of products your high-LTV customers want more of Know how much to spend to acquire a “similar” customer and still make a profit based on their projected buying habits Promote the products with the highest profitability Increase your marketing budget and inbound efforts to attract your most profitable types of customers [subscribe]
Ecommerce events not to miss this September
It's that time of year again: ecommerce conference season. And despite the "new normal," there seems to be more going on than ever. Even the best virtual events seem now to be totally free to attend, where in the past there would have been a ticket cost plus travel and expenses. At Littledata we've adapted to COVID-19 by going totally remote (we were already remote-first, and were lucky to have an easy transition), and for our customers we've presented a range of offers, including a full 30-day trial on all analytics plans for Shopify stores. But like many of our customers and partners around the world, the Littledata team all went through a bit of a virtual burnout earlier this year. Or rather, a real burnout from virtual-interaction overload -- too many video calls and online events. But now we're feeling a surge of new energy, and next week we're doing our first totally virtual design sprint. [subscribe] We always look forward to doing design sprints in person, as it's a chance to get to know our teammates from around the world, as well as sketching, building and testing some new ideas (our Why Littledata? page is an example of a great design sprint outcome, not to mention numerous aspects of our Google Analytics Shopify app UX design). But we're excited for the online collaboration too -- it's a chance to really hone in, focus, and work together to create something new and useful. And if you're like us, you're ready to start getting back into the swing of online events too. Shopify has been hosting some great online events and meetups, but you probably already know about those. So we wanted to focus on some free events from leading apps and platforms in the extended Shopify ecosystem. Don't miss these online DTC ecommerce events There are a number of events we'll be checking out this fall. Here are some highlights from our partner network. ChargeX (September 2nd - 3rd) Headless Ecommerce Summit (September 3rd) Retail Renaissance (September 15th - 17th) Women in Subscription (September 24th) ChargeX (September 2nd - 3rd) ReCharge is taking their popular user conference online this year. ChargeX includes an agency day on September 2 and a merchant day on September 3. There will be speakers from brands such as Smol and Myro, and merchants who attended last year include Dr. Axe, Manscaped, and Lola. This year ChargeX will focus on how to create rich user experiences for your customers, what data you should be tracking every day to maximize revenue, and how to adapt using real takeaways from live customers to grow your business. ReCharge is one of our most popular analytics integrations at Littledata. A number of our customers and Shopify Plus agency partners will be attending ChargeX again this year, and we look forward to catching up with everyone! Headless Ecommerce Summit (September 3rd) The Headless Ecommerce Summit, presented by Netlify, is a free four-hour event covering modern headless stacks, no matter what checkout you'll be using (BigCommerce, SAP, Salesforce CC, Shopify, etc). Everyone knows that headless sites are super-fast. But how does it all fit together? Join decision makers, technologists, and e-commerce experts for a one-day deep dive into how you can leverage the Jamstack to take advantage of this new headless approach. Whether you’re just learning about headless e-commerce, you’ve already started to go headless, or you're a Jamstack pro, this conference will give you insights and actionable information to make your site and your business move faster. For more about how to how to track checkouts for headless Shopify setups, see our headless tracking demo. Retail Renaissance (September 15th - 17th) Retail Renaissance is the flagship conference from Emarsys. This year they're going big and going global (including talks en français!). We have re-imagined the conventional conference, creating a digital-first festival to help marketers, ecommerce and digital leaders in retail across the globe learn from their peers, engage with the wider community and contribute across a 3 day, timezone busting, global agenda. We're looking forward to a lot of high-level Shopify Plus content about omnichannel ecommerce and personalization. Which makes sense, as Emarsys is an omnichannel customer engagement platform popular with larger Shopify merchants (including many Littledata customers). [tip]Should you attend that ecommerce event? Check out our free conference checklist[/tip] Women in Subscription (September 24th) The Women in Subscription conference is a free virtual event with talks from leading innovators in the subscription industry. It's the industry's first woman-focused subscription event, with speakers from Bulu, All Girl Shave Club and more. If you haven't looked into Bulu, check it out -- really smart productization of the subscription box concept, from Paul and Stephanie Jarrett. If you're doing subscription ecommerce and interested in combining the latest trends in subscription boxes with data-driven subscription analytics to power your growth, Women in Subscription is an event not to miss. SUBTA, the subscription trade association, did an excellent job with their last virtual event, and we're looking forward to another engaging experience. https://subta.com/women-in-subscription/
Lunch with Littledata: Q&A with Casey Armstrong, CMO at ShipBob
This week, we're continuing our Q&A segment: Lunch with Littledata! We recently caught up with Casey Armstrong, CMO at ShipBob, to chat about the Shopify world, fulfillment, decision-making during COVID, Shopify analytics, and more. ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL that fulfills ecommerce orders for DTC brands; their mission is to make Shopify stores feel more successful online by providing reliable fulfillment solutions, warehouses near customers to help transit times, shipping costs, and the overall delivery experience. ShipBob also has a strong Shopify integration. [tip]Check out Littledata's top-rated Shopify app for Google Analytics -- with advanced tracking for Shopify Plus[/tip] Let's dive right in! Q: Has ShipBob’s core market changed during the crisis? Our core market has not changed since the COVID-19 pandemic started, but our core market has grown considerably. The reliance on selling direct-to-consumer and ecommerce has been steadily increasing year-over-year and now everybody who was hesitant or putting it off has to adapt immediately. "The reliance on selling direct-to-consumer has been steadily increasing" In addition, buyers are creating habits and becoming more comfortable buying online. This will impact retail forever. There is no going back to the percentage of retail occurring offline in the US. Q: Are you still seeing a big uptick in AOV when customers migrate to using ShipBob's fulfillment solution? This varies greatly by merchant, but by offering free shipping, fast shipping, or fast and free shipping, we have seen merchants see increases in AOV from 17% and up to 98% in extreme cases. Q: If you were personally to start an ecommerce business in North America right now, what would you sell? Happiness :) Q: What's the most common misconception ecommerce businesses have about fulfillment, or just 3PL solutions in general? The biggest misconception is that they have to be doing a lot of volume. That is not the case. In fact, ShipBob was built to democratize fulfillment for all ecommerce merchants. We have customers that are doing 50 shipments per month and customers that are doing well over 50,000 shipments per month. They both have access to the same fulfillment center network, run by the same warehouse management system, and they see everything in the same merchant application. Plus, we charge $0 for all of our software, including all integrations and our analytics tools. Q: Are a number of your Shopify merchants selling by subscription? Which apps are they using? Yes, we have a lot of merchants utilizing subscription offerings, so they can increase customer LTV and have a more predictable revenue stream. The most common applications we see now are ReCharge and Bold Subscriptions. [tip]See how you can track your subscription data with complete accuracy.[/tip] Q: Any tips for merchants who might be new to ecommerce? Know your numbers: COGS, customer acquisition costs, and fulfillment costs. Sounds basic, but if you don’t know your numbers, you can't efficiently scale your business or know which levers to focus on! Quick links Littledata's partner program for Shopify Plus agencies and tech partners Free ebooks about how to improve Shopify analytics Headless Shopify tracking with Littledata
Tracking Bold Subscriptions in Google Analytics
With over 1,700 positive reviews in the Shopify app store, Bold Subscriptions is a popular solution for Shopify merchants selling by subscription. It's plug-and-play but highly scalable for Shopify Plus. In order to really scale your subscription business, you need complete sales and marketing data. This doesn't just help with improving marketing ROI, but also increasing engagement and delighting your customers, which in turn leads to higher AOV and LTV. But whether you're on Shopify or Shopify Plus, subscription analytics can be complicated to set up manually -- not to mention ongoing maintenance and QA of your custom scripts and GTM containers. With that in mind, we are especially excited to announce an updated Bold integration that works for both Bold Subscriptions and Bold Cashier. Littledata's Bold Subscriptions connection enables advanced Google Analytics tracking so you can make sales and marketing decisions based on accurate data. Setup takes less than 15 minutes. Bold Subscriptions tracking Subscription customers are notoriously difficult to acquire, so it's especially important to figure out how to predict which new subscribers will stick with your business for years to come. Sales and marketing decisions ultimately come down to data about sales channels and retention. But do you trust your marketing channel breakdown? What about your LTV cohorts? Littledata's Bold connection works in tandem with our main Shopify connection to ensure complete data about subscription sales. Our Shopify app for Google Analytics and Shopify app for Segment both use a combination of server-side and client-side tracking to capture everything that happens in your Shopify store. You can connect your Bold checkout with just a few extra steps to get complete tracking. This includes: First-time subscription orders One-off purchases (regular Shopify sales) Recurring orders Refunds Not only that, but we stitch sessions together automatically so that the first-time purchase and recurring purchases are tied back to the original marketing channel. During the integration setup, we'll also ask you to create additional Views in GA so you can easily analyze subscriber behavior (like how a particular cohort of subscription box customers behaves over time) vs. first-time purchases (which channels or campaigns led to that initial sale). [tip]Once you install Littledata, take advantage of our custom dimensions for tracking repeat repeat purchases and lifetime value. Learn more about our unique approach to LTV.[/tip] The data is available directly in Google Analytics or Segment (or any connected tools and platforms you might be using, such as Glew, Data Studio or Tableau). And our data layer works easily with GTM (Google Tag Manager). Marketing attribution The question we hear most often at Littledata is, "Why doesn't my Shopify data match Google Analytics?" This is just as true for Shopify as for Shopify Plus. As we've optimized our tracking solution for Shopify Plus (scalability, multi-currency tracking, cross-domain tracking, etc), we've found that marketing attribution is still a major pain point for stores that aren't using Littledata. Shopify is a phenomenal platform, it just needs a few extra integrations to make the plug-and-play apps work well with your data setup. Before Littledata Unless you have full-time developers who have built a custom solution for your Shopify tracking, you will likely see a lot of traffic attributed to "Direct" in Google Analytics, sometimes as much as 99%. We have found that 88% of Shopify stores have inaccurate data in Google Analytics, and the direct-traffic issue is especially bad, off by at least 20% for a majority of those stores! This means that without Littledata, your marketing analysis can feel a lot like guesswork (or endless hours piecing data together in Excel from all hour different ad platforms and sales tools). After Littledata Littledata's smart tech stitches sessions together automatically so that you'll see a much more accurate view of marketing channels, including email, PPC, paid search and referrals. Our Shopify apps use a combination of client-side and server-side tracking ensure that every user touch point is captured and sent back to Google Analytics. Adding the Bold Subscriptions integration extends this tracking to recurring Bold orders as well. See our help center for documentation about how Littledata's tracking works, or watch a quick demo video. [subscribe]
The state of mobile ecommerce for Shopify stores (VIDEO)
Is mobile a better channel than your current data suggests? We recently caught up with Will from Underwaterpistol and Claudia from Klevu to chat about the state of mobile ecommerce. The average mobile conversion rate tends to be only 1-2% for Shopify stores. But that's just the beginning of the story. Optimizing for mobile is an ongoing process. There isn't just one solution. In addition to technical factors like page load speed (time to first paint, etc.), you have to consider the entire user journey and optimize the flow accordingly. This includes social presence, the details of browsing behavior (eg. on-site search, product list views), and checkout funnel tracking, which can be difficult to do manually for Shopify stores. That said, unless you get marketing attribution right in the first place, you might be beating a dead horse. [note]How do you compare? Check out our list of essential benchmarks for Shopify stores, including average order value (AOV) and bounce rate from mobile search.[/note] Multi-touch attribution models are useful, but it's important to fix basic tracking issues first (such as cross-domain tracking in the checkout flow), and even once you get that tracking set up correctly, it's essential to understand how users are behaving at each touchpoint, rather than just giving each touchpoint a certain percentage of credit for the conversion. This is especially true for Shopify stores and DTC brands where popular mobile channels such as Instagram and Pinterest are a strong draw. For example, if your best (highest LTV) customers are actually coming from Instagram Ads on mobile devices, and then purchasing on desktop once they get into your brand story on a deeper level, then maybe your mobile site should focus on visual brand stories with an email signup CTA, instead of discounts and cart abandonment campaigns aimed at direct ecommerce conversions. Thanks to Underwaterpistol (UWP) for putting together the video chat! UWP is one of our Shopify Plus agency partners at Littledata. Do you run a team of Shopify experts that would like to use Littledata to fix tracking for your clients? Learn more about our partner program.
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