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

by Ari
2022-02-04

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.

by Ari
2021-12-21

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.

by Ari
2021-12-02

Why we migrated to microservices from Meteor

Growth always means change. As Socrates once said, “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” At Littledata, we’re always innovating our app and building the new. To us, that means finding better and faster ways to make necessary improvements and changes. Our app relies on a sophisticated combination of backend and frontend technologies. The biggest challenge for us right now is upscaling the app so we can integrate with other ecommerce platforms. At the moment, our platform consists of separate services and one monolith, the Meteor app, as depicted below: The architecture worked well for us for a while, and we enjoyed the speed of engineering Meteor offered to us. But, at the same time, we faced many limitations which became obstacles in our path to scaling. What are the problems with Meteor? There’s a handful of limitations we’ve faced using Meteor that pushed our decision to switch away. 1. Overall architecture and maintainability The idea of having the overall architecture communicate easily from frontend with backend definitely has many benefits. This includes only requiring a low level of necessary code-writing knowledge, as well as speed of delivery on new solutions. However, in the long term, it causes many problems with maintaining the app — things like code readability, hard unit testing, and slow production bundle deployment. The deployment slowness is a good example of the architecture problem overall. We recently migrated to CircleCI in order to fix the problem, but are stuck with a meteor limitation. 12 minutes to build and deploy … that’s a lot of time when you need fast iteration and delivery. 2. The Meteor community is isolated Meteor moves via a self-defined path, quite differently from standard industry tendencies. In some ways, that’s a good thing. But if you want to add a new approach or library to your Meteor setup, you could face a handful of unexpected problems. One limitation we’ve encountered is that, instead of promises, Meteor surprisingly uses a callback to async functions with the following syntax: Another is its old school template system based on the traditional template approach. That was great for 2000-2010, but in 2021 and beyond, we have much more efficient techniques to work with frontends such as React, VueJS, and Angular. Moreover, it’s becoming harder and harder to find an engineer who wants to work with a traditional template system nowadays. 3. Difficulty finding engineers to work with Meteor It’s a challenge to find engineers willing to stick with Meteor. They usually tend to work with newer, more well-known tools — ones with more perceived value in the market. When evaluating the labour market for front-end and back-end engineers today, we’ve seen that Meteor is not the main framework for JavaScript development. Frontend engineers have consistently preferred to work with frontend-oriented frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.JS because they provide a wide range of instruments. Unlike the Meteor template system in Vue.JS, we can use the whole power of JavaScript inside our frontend applications without being limited to a mere few template commands. Moreover, we can use many helpful engineering tools such as autocomplete, linting, and type checking in Vue.JS in order to make our engineering process more efficient and enjoyable. The biggest benefit for us, though, shows in Vue.JS’ much better scaling. It has robust routing management, which is important for a large application like ours. Meteor, on the other hand, has been steadily losing its popularity as a framework for backend technology since 2016. That makes it harder and harder for us to find engineers willing to work with Meteor in the future. How did we migrate away from Meteor? Though rewriting everything away from Meteor sounded like a good solution in theory, we realised that path significantly postponed our main objectives. So, we had only one solution: to rewrite portionally. Like many software companies today, and especially fellow startups, we decided the best solution was to use separate microservices to maintain and scale our platform. In part 2 of this post, I’ll share which microservices we chose, how we use them, and detail the full migration process away from Meteor.

by Ari
2021-10-20

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.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Grind (@grind) 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. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Grind (@grind) 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.[/tip] 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 leads Boost customer LTV by tracking subscriptions in the checkout Is a headless setup righty for your store, and how do you track it? Learn everything you need to know about Shopify Analytics  

by Ari
2021-09-21

Is it possible to track headless Shopify setups?

Headless commerce is not a new concept, but it's an increasingly popular solution. As larger brands continue to move to streamlined ecommerce checkouts such as Shopify and BigCommerce, they look to headless setups as a way to maintain speed or flexibility. An increasing number of those bigger DTC brands are going headless, whether that means a collection of landing pages leading directly to a Shopify checkout, or a full-on headless architecture implementation with a dynamic CMS. The question today is less whether you should consider headless in the first place (everyone is at least considering it), but more about your overall tech stack. When looking at the details of your stack (cost, functionality, maintenance, etc), it's important to consider headless pros and cons in general. But it's often even more useful to highlight specific use cases. We've previously written about how it's now possible to maintain your favorite Shopify Plus tech stack with a headless Shopify architecture. But what about your data stack? Does headless mean that your analysts will be dealing with a snow storm of anonymous IDs? Are there sacrifices to data accuracy, such as marketing attribution for recurring orders? With the right tools and plug-ins, you can still capture the complete headless journey on your headless site. In this post we look at headless Shopify tracking from several different angles and share resources for further reading. Why headless? DTC brands with a headless Shopify Plus setup now include Inkbox, Rothy's, Verishop, Allbirds, Recess, and many more. So why do merchants go headless? Headless commerce overview from Shopify Plus The main reason is speed, or site speed to be precise. When built the right way, modern headless sites are insanely fast. Ballsy increased conversion rates by 28% after going headless, thanks to dramatically faster page load times. (The average Shopify site sees around 4 seconds to full page load). At the same time, as our agency partner We Make Websites has noted, "extreme performance" isn't for everybody. Sometimes it can be like "the difference between buying a BMW or Audi, versus buying a Ferrari". Additional reasons for going headless include flexibility of controlling and customizing the complete frontend (with a CMS or other content framework). Of course, there are also limitations. When it comes to headless Shopify sites specifically, some trade-offs are the need to maintain multiple technologies or platforms, and the fact that Shopify's Storefront API uses GraphQL (there's currently no REST API for Storefront). Without the right tools, the other limitation is data accuracy and completeness. That can include: Marketing channels (paid channels, organic social communities, SEO)Browsing behavior (landing pages, product lists, website, mobile apps)Sales data (checkout behavior; one-off, first-time and repeat purchases)Ecommerce data from additional checkout apps (subscriptions and upsell flows) Headless tracking in Google Analytics / GTM It's no secret that Shopify and GA need some help to play well together. For every 10,000 orders processed on Shopify, 1,200 go missing in Google Analytics. For your average headless site, the stats are even worse. By default, different customer interactions with your brand — ppc campaigns, product lists, adds-to-cart, checkouts, refunds, recurring orders and subscriptions, email campaigns — are often either not tracked at all or not linked to the original user or session. In that way, you can end up with siloed data in different apps and platforms. Or even worse, everything could show up as anonymous activity or "Direct" traffic, even for repeat purchases. This isn't Las Vegas; what happens in the checkout should definitely not stay in the checkout! We have solved this problem by extending Littledata's server-side tracking to stitch sessions together from the client-side events captured on headless frontends . . . which is a rather technical way of saying that our Google Analytics app for Shopify now tracks headless sites automatically, from browsing behavior through the checkout funnel and beyond (we even capture subscriptions such as ReCharge payments!) This guarantees accurate sales and marketing data for any headless Shopify site. Check out Littledata's headless demo to see how our headless Shopify tracking works for Google Analytics. Tip: Using Google Tag Manager? Read more about our GTM / Data Layer spec. Headless tracking in Segment As mentioned, we have offered server-side tracking for Shopify since the beginning, and automatically linked this with client-side events. Now this is available for any headless setup as well. In theory, it should be easy to send data from additional cloud sources to Segment. Each part of your headless frontend stack can just plug right in. But in practice this means manually adding a hodgepodge of client-side and server-side event tracking, and maintaining this as you scale. If you're using Segment as your CDP — or considering using Segment — rest assured that Littledata's headless tracking now fully supports Segment as a data destination. You can try to set this up yourself, but it's much easier (not to mention cheaper and more reliable) to just use our Shopify source for Segment to track your checkout. With Littledata, you can automatically send sales and marketing data from a headless Shopify site to your Segment workspace. We also recently added more flexibility around which fields to send as the userId for known customers. Check out our headless tracking demo to see how our headless Shopify tracking works for Segment. Tracking landing page builders Not every headless site is using a Content Management System (CMS). For those who do, Contentful is the most popular with straightforward headless Shopify builds. There are also "soft headless" sites that rely on a series of landing pages or similar flows, which then lead to the main Shopify site or even directly to the checkout. In the first case, where the landing pages are truly landing pages and lead to your main site, you can use the default settings in Littledata's Shopify app and generally do not need to take the headless install route. For cases where landing pages go directly to the checkout, see the headless tracking demo linked above. We also need to take landing pages seriously. It can actually be just as difficult to get complete marketing attribution or even to link sessions together and track the purchases customers make after landing on one of these pages. To solve this problem, Littledata's automated tracking now tracks landing pages as "additional apps" on top of our main Shopify connections for Segment and Google Analytics. As long as the Littledata script is loading on those landing pages, everything will link together automatically. We have tested this functionality with three of the most popular landing page builders for Shopify stores: Shogun PagesZipify Pages Gem Pages  Drop us a line if you have any questions about additional apps or special requests for landing page tracking. Preferred headless tech partner: Nacelle Our merchants looking for a complete headless Shopify solution often choose our tech partner Nacelle. Nacelle powers storefronts that stand out from the competition, offering headless website builds backed by a robust data stack. Focused on Progressive Web App (PWA) technology, they build lightning-fast, responsive sites for modern DTC brands. We've been working closely with Nacelle on tracking setup for some initial merchants (many brands you would recognize...) and are excited to now be able to offer headless tracking for any Nacelle customer. Read our shared ebook on going headlessExplore our headless tracking demoCheck out our NPM package for grabbing client IDs [or forward this to your developer!] Littledata's Nacelle tracking works automatically once you follow a few simple setup steps. Plus, the data can be sent to Segment, Google Analytics, or any connected data warehouse or reporting tool.

by Ari
2021-09-10

Littledata announces Google Analytics integration for BigCommerce

We are excited to announce that Littledata is available to BigCommerce merchants. Like our popular Shopify app for Google Analytics, our BigCommerce connection for Google Analytics ensures accurate sales and marketing data across the user journey. BigCommerce is Littledata's first ecommerce platform integration outside of Shopify. With brands like Superdry, Skull Candy and 5-hour Energy now on BigCommerce, the timing couldn't be better. Read on to see what we've added to the app and the benefits for ecommerce marketers and data scientists—or download now from the BigCommerce app store. Why BigCommerce? Founded in 2009, BigCommerce has seen remarkable growth over the last couple of years, especially in North America. A year ago when they went public, BigCommerce was already powering over 60,000 online stores in 120 countries. They have focused on additional sales channels such as Amazon since early on, and recently announced a major partnership with Amazon for fulfillment, and another with Mercado Libre for extension into the Latin American market. Everyone needs accurate data to make data-driven decisions. We're excited to be extending our ecommerce data platform to work with BigCommerce. We chose BC because it's a great fit with our customer base which are typically successful DTC brands looking to scale faster and smarter. In addition, there's a growing amount of overlap with our technology partners and agency partners around the world. Advanced Google Analytics integration Accurate data is essential for ecommerce growth, but ecommerce tracking is notoriously difficult. As the top data platform specifically designed for ecommerce, our upcoming release in the BigCommerce app store will change the game. Littledata's advanced Google Analytics connector for BigCommerce stores will give you accurate data, automatically. Whether you are an ecommerce manager looking for accurate data to drive decision making, or a CTO or web developer looking for a seamless tracking solution, we're here to make your job easier. Benefits include: Complete sales data Accurate marketing attribution Checkout funnel tracking Own the data in Google Analytics As with all Littledata connections, Littledata's BigCommerce Google Analytics integration has the added benefit of enabling accurate data in any connected BI dashboard or reporting tool. What's more, the integration will work with custom themes and headless BigCommerce setups! Subscription analytics Tracking recurring orders is one of Littledata's key benefits and one of the most-cited features in our five-star reviews. We are especially excited about extending our subscription analytics to BC stores, enabling accurate data about recurring transactions and customer lifetime value (LTV). Our first subscription analytics integration will be with our longtime integration partner ReCharge, who also recently launched on BigCommerce. Head to the BigCommerce app store to add Littledata to your tech stack stoday. [note]If you are interested in connecting BigCommerce with GA4 (the newest version of Google Analytics), reach out to us about our beta program.[/note]

by Ari
2021-07-22

Lunch with Littledata: How Wild built an industry-leading brand in 2 years

Want to learn from DTC founders and entrepreneurs shaking up their industries? Check out the other entries in our Lunch with Littledata series. Lunch with Littledata is back! This time, we sat down with Charlie Bowes-Lyon, co-founder of natural deodorant brand Wild. Founded by industry veterans, Wild became a Littledata customer early on to supercharge their growth. Through savvy market moves and a strong growth vision, Wild became the biggest brand in the UK natural deodorant market. They’ve added more than 140,000 customers in just two years after launch, with plans to build on their impressive growth. In our Q&A below, Charlie shares his thoughts on choosing growth channels, going global, and which data points are crucial for any DTC business to be on top of. Tip: Learn how to track every order on your subscription store and tie them to your marketing campaigns with our guide to complete ReCharge data in Google Analytics. LD: Wild has grown a ton since you signed up. When we first talked it was right after you’d closed the funding round. CBL: Yes, I think it was when we were launching International, right after we'd raised funding. So it was early days last summer. Back then you just had one country store? Yeah! It feels like a long time since then… (laughs) Are you mostly reliant on paid spend for growth strategy overall? Yes, we're very performance-led as a business. We operate over a variety of different marketing channels and, as a result of those channels, gain brand awareness. We've also operated a very community-centric and “social first” approach. So, when we initially designed the product we made sure that, at least from our point of view, we were creating something that was very shareable over channels like Instagram. Something that people would really want to talk about and show off to their friends. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Wild (@wildrefill) And I think we achieved that in quite a good way. We've managed to grow on social pretty quickly. In the space of a year and a couple of months, we’re coming up to about 115,000 followers on Instagram. The other side of that approach is nurturing the community. So we have VIP Facebook groups for people who really want to stay involved and be a part of the decision making. For example, we often have polls on things like what scent we should put out next. I think that's been big in helping people to feel like they're involved in decision making. So, it's not just us guessing what customers actually want. It's based on a more data-led approach. A lot of our customers at Littledata want to build those communities, but it’s hard to get the initial traction. Are your engagements mostly coming from current customers or from new customers too? It's both. Referrals account for about a third of all of our sales. So, it's about nurturing that community, being very genuine with them, and really involving them in everything we do. Then as a result of that, people are happy to share and recommend us to their family and friends. That's the organic growth side of it. But at the same time, we're constantly building growth heavily into our CRM. We have landing pages, and we do ads to push that growth along. Do you offer a gifting option? We're not big on gifting, to be honest. In our referral program, if you refer a friend, they get a free case. So it’s really an intro offer. Yes, essentially. Because it can be expensive for people who haven’t heard of our brand to pay £12 for a deodorant. So, letting them see what the product's all about and test it first is a good way. Then we rely on the product being high quality and good enough to retain them as customers. “We rely on the product being high quality and good enough to retain(free trial users) as customers.” Hopefully the ReCharge tracking add on has been helpful to you. Yeah! Without it, we can't see anything on Google Analytics or anywhere. So yeah, it's pretty vital. Who on your team uses the data that Littledata sends to GA? Well, it's used across a variety of things. Myself and the marketing team use GA for top-line statistics and data on different marketing campaigns and so on. It's also hooked into our analytics platform, so a lot of the data that they gather obviously comes from GA as well. That’s being used for things like measuring LTV, but also looking at the operations side of the business and working out different cogs and margins on products we’re selling. Have you built one core dashboard, or is it more of an ad hoc process where you dive into the data and build reports as needed? Yeah, there's a couple of different dashboards we use. Generally, we've got pretty good oversight of data. And Littledata definitely connects that bridge between Shopify and ReCharge for us, which when it's off everything goes completely wrong and doesn't work. So it has been quite important for us. Tip: Learn how to connect ReCharge with Google Analytics for accurate data about your recurring transactions. Wild has focused on sustainability since the beginning. I've had a lot of talks with founders recently here in the US who feel like they're having a hard time. Sustainability is definitely a buzzword here, but putting it into practice is a whole different story. Some DTC verticals have caught on, but in a way Europe in general is more progressive in terms of customers backing that commitment up with their purchasing behavior. Yeah—it's a funny one because I think you're right in terms of sustainability. I think Europe and the UK are ahead and people are a little bit more aware. It's a bigger subject that we're constantly focused on, both in politics and our wider society. There's been a lot of quite good changes that have been made. But likewise, in the US with the likes of Elon Musk and Tesla, for example, there's a lot of companies that are doing some quite good awareness around it. On the flipside for us, the US has had good natural deodorant companies for four or five years. We were the first one in the UK launching just over a year ago. So the US market is probably a bit more developed when it comes to what natural products are and why they might be better. It’s all still pretty new for us over here, so that means we have a lot more education that we have to do for potential customers. Whereas potentially in the US, that piece of education's already been done to some extent. And was that part of the impetus for choosing this concept as your brand alone? Yeah, definitely. We saw some successful companies in the US who had done a great job with a fundamentally good product (i.e. natural deodorant that worked). But outside of that, their packaging was very simple and plastic. The brand was pretty bland. We looked at it and thought: “we can add in sustainability and create a better, fun-looking product.” Do you have a community of other brands and founders doing similar things that you personally interact with, or are you more lone wolves? Yeah, we speak to a lot of different people every week really. Both my co-founder Fred and I are lucky that we have pretty good networks from our previous jobs. We certainly get really good oversight of what other companies are doing and how they're doing it and what's working for them. Sometimes, though, what works for others won't work for us and vice versa. It's an interesting time at the moment. I think to be honest, we've probably just been through the best year of ecommerce that anyone's going to see for some time. And I imagine that the next year is going to be quite difficult as a result because, you know, everyone's coming out of lockdown, iOS 14 updates on Facebook, all these kind of small things are adding up to make life a little bit more difficult. And people are heading back into traditional stores as well. So, it'll be interesting to see what happens. But in a way, it's a good thing for us. We see it as hopefully a competitive advantage if things get a bit more tricky and we're able to execute better than others. Tip: Use Littledata’s guide to GDPR cookie banner compliance to ensure your store isn’t hit with a non-compliance fine. Do you expect the business model to change at all, maybe to pull in wholesale? Yes, we've just gone live about a month ago into retail in the U.K., and we're now Sainsbury's. I think it's been a really good start so far. Potentially that will be a big channel for us. But really, we're very focused on two things. One is delivering the best natural deodorant we can and always iterating on that. The second is diversifying both our marketing channel mix and our strategy by going properly international. We're already in Europe, but we're dabbling in the US and Australia as well and testing other markets. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Wild (@wildrefill) I think the danger that’s present for ecommerce companies at the moment is that we could see a channel just stop working one day. Something like Facebook, suddenly people's customer acquisition costs could double on Facebook. For example, the UK has had really high adoption of the iOS 14 update from Facebook. I believe it’s somewhere around 30 percent of people (in the UK) are opting in for ads, whereas in Europe it's closer to 60 percent of people opting in. But because we have that diversification of countries we can advertise in, we can immediately move some of our advertising spend to Europe and we'll probably get better customer acquisition costs as a result. Being in Sainsbury's and hopefully other retail outlets in the future just gives us another channel where we can focus, spend on marketing, and diversify. And I think as well, to be honest, once we can, we'll probably do a lot of events and try to get out and get to offline channels. It just gives us another angle of approach. Is the goal that in-store shopping will be the first touchpoint for new online subscribers? Not necessarily, no. We're fairly channel-agnostic. So we don't really mind if someone's online buying from us or shopping in brick-and-mortar retail. “We're fairly channel agnostic. So we don't really mind if someone's onlinebuying from us or shopping in brick-and-mortar retail.” Wild offers a slightly complex product where some explanation is required to kind of understand who we are and what we're doing. And often if you go into a retail store, you're not really looking for something new. You’ve basically got a second where you glance at the products on a shelf. So it's hard to know. But I do think that the brand awareness we've created over the last year has massively improved the retail results that we've had today. Plus, they both will just feed off each other. Some people don't like to order online, or they forget about it. They might want to just go into the shop and grab a refill. Likewise, some people might make their first purchase in a shop and then sign up on the website and get an online subscription. I think the key is just giving customers options. Do you plan to expand globally? And if so, do you plan to hire specific country managers? There are lots of subtle things that can make a difference. Yeah, massively so. We're barely touching the surface of the potential in Europe. And there's a huge market in the US and Australia for us as well. That said, we plan to choose a couple of markets, focus in on them, and make it work there before trying to do too much at once. We’re hiring a German country manager at the moment, so that's going to be our starting point. Quick links Littledata's partner program for Shopify Plus agencies and tech partnersHeadless Shopify tracking with LittledataEnsuring GDPR cookie banner compliance for your ecommerce storeCalculate customer lifetime value for ecommerce using Google Analytics data

by Ari
2021-07-14

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