Why Shopify is still the best ecommerce platform for larger merchants
It's no accident that Shopify is the cream of the crop in the world of enterprise ecommerce. But what do Shopify's major announcements last week mean for the platform's growth going forward? To remain on top, Shopify must continue investing in areas of opportunity and customer need. That's exactly what they're doing, including major investment in an independent fulfillment network, multi-currency and multiple-store/multi-site improvements for Shopify Plus, and a stunning new range of developer-friendly APIs. In this post, I'll look at: Which types of ecommerce merchants are using the major platforms Shopify's announcements at the Shopify Unite conference 2019 What these announcements mean for larger retailers, Shopify experts and agencies Who's using what: ecommerce platforms by size and use I've been crunching the numbers in several different ways these past few weeks, and my findings were consistent: Shopify is the platform of choice for mid-sized to large stores globally. Last week at the annual Shopify Unite partner event, Shopify announced the plans that will keep Shopify leading the pack (Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, BigCommerce, etc.). Shopify's recent announcements confirm my research findings. Shopify will continue to be the ecommerce platform with the strongest growth in larger stores. At first I looked at trend data from BuiltWith that showed the number of net installs on each platform over the past year. Only the top 1 million websites were measured (as defined by BuiltWith.com). When it came to pure volume of installs, WooCommerce came out on top. However, the average WooCommerce store is much smaller and less active than the average Shopify store. I confirmed this by looking at our own data set of over 4,000 stores on these ecommerce platforms: The bars represent range from the bottom to top quartile of store sizes, with the purple marker representing median store size. While Magento 2 and Salesforce Commerce Cloud had higher median store sizes (32k and 107k monthly visits, respectively), Shopify had a very consistent interquartile range of 6,000 to 60,000 monthly visits. By contrast, WooCommerce only had one quarter of stores receiving over 10,000 monthly visits — and zero stores doing more than 2.5 million visits in our data set. In other words, if this trend continues, Shopify is positioned to take on a big share of the stores migrating from Magento 1 over the next year or so. And that's not all. What this means for merchants using Littledata These larger stores will need a range of robust apps to extend Shopify’s platform, especially when it comes to analytics. We've responded to this need in a many ways, including: Launching the only recommended Segment connection for Shopify and Shopify Plus Rebuilding our Shopify data layer and tracking script for speed and performance at scale Standardising Littledata's Enterprise Plans to provide account management and SLAs Working with select clients to build private connectors and apps to bridge legacy systems In other words, Littledata's commitment to Shopify's ecosystem has only continued to grow. We hope the pattern continues as we hone our popular Shopify integrations like ReCharge for subscription analytics, and continue to improve our better smart connections for other popular apps (CartHook, Refersion, Bold Cashier) over the coming months. [subscribe heading="Try Littledata free for 14 days" background_color="green" button_text="get started"] What this means for Shopify users Enterprise-grade features In the past, global brands running a network of stores in multiple countries have been frustrated by the simplicity of Shopify’s setup. The launch of features such as multi-currency, multi-language and multi-store login from a single Shopify Plus dashboard will go a long way in quelling those user frustrations — all while making Shopify Plus an attractive alternative for current users of Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Fulfillment network to compete head-to-head with Amazon (FBA) Fulfillment is the biggest headache for DTC brands selling globally, and FBA is currently the only game in town for end-to-end purchasing and logistics. However, as ecommerce brands scale, more and more are looking to "own the experience" from start to finish. This includes branded packaging and visibility of delivery on the customers' end. Both of these things may very well have a better solution in Shopify Fulfillment Network: Amazon vs Shopify. @aobtweetz says Shopify is like retail entertainment: consumers who want to read the blog, engage with the brand and then buy - not just buy a commodity on Amazon @debriefevent #ShopifyUnite — Edward Upton (@eUpton) June 21, 2019 The network will start in the US. While it will take time to scale, early looks indicate it will be a sensible way for Shopify to spend its large pile of cash while pulling itself away from the crowded pack of SaaS ecommerce. Developer-first attitude We developers love companies that don’t forget their product-first roots. Much of Shopify’s growth has been due to making the platform easy to extend while encouraging a vibrant yet curated app store. Shopify continues to exercise caution when offering its existing app partners access to new core features (subscription billing, opening up new APIs for partners to develop on). A staggering 11 new APIs were announced at this Unite alone. While Shopify clearly believes that core experiences like checkout and payment should be owned and developed by Shopify itself, many non-core features (including many types of reporting) are actively pushed to partners with a relevant app or service. A living example of Shopify's developer-first approach? Their new Shopify app CLI, which speeds up timetables for new app launches. Where does Shopify go next? After more than doubling its number of active stores over the last two years, Shopify's current haul of 820,000 active stores is in good position to surpass 1.5 million stores within the next two years. For many larger Shopify partners, perhaps the more important pattern of growth isn't Shopify's standard offerings — it's Shopify Plus. [subscribe heading="Try Littledata free for 14 days" background_color="green" button_text="get started"] At a recent Commerce Plus event in London (organised by Shopify Plus), the main "complaint" was that Shopify’s sales reps "can’t onboard shops fast enough". With a newly revamped, user-centered design, Shopify Plus is an exciting platform to be a part of right now. It's only going up from here. If you didn't get a chance to read about everything Shopify announced last week in Toronto, don't worry. We have you covered! Check out our full recap of announcements. Also, check out our award-winning Google Analytics Shopify app. With AI-based tech, the app fixes your Shopify analytics by providing: Website benchmarks by industry Ecommerce benchmarking Shopify reporting Customer lifetime value Average order value Other crucial data metrics Wondering how your site compares? Check out our list of essential benchmarks for Shopify stores.
6 essential benchmarks for Shopify stores
Understanding how your website performs versus similar sites is the best way to prioritise what to improve. In this post we take a look at 6 top benchmarks for optimising Shopify store performance. Accurate benchmark data is especially useful to the increasing number of ecommerce companies using web performance benchmarks, such as bounce rates and home page reliance, as core elements of their sales and marketing KPIs. Understanding benchmarks is a key to success. To put together this new benchmarking report, we analysed current data from 470 Shopify retailers. If you're wondering how you compare, check out our Shopify analytics app. Average order value Average order value (AOV) or Average revenue per paying user (ARPU) is the total monthly revenue divided by the number of users which transacted that month. It is a measure of how well you are up-selling and cross-selling your products, depending on your product mix. What is a good average order value for Shopify stores? The benchmark is $69. The average is slightly lower ($63.50) if you are a smaller Shopify store. More than $120 AOV would put you in the top quartile, and one of our top-performing stores in the luxury ecommerce sector is averaging $2,080 per order! If your Shopify store has a lower AOV than the benchmark, you might try increasing your average checkout value by cross-selling other products, offering free shipping above a minimum threshold or increasing pricing on selected products. [subscribe heading="How do you compare?" button_text="BENCHMARK YOUR SITE"] Ecommerce conversion rate Ecommerce conversion is the number of purchases divided by the total number of sessions. Most visitors will take more than one session to decide to purchase, but this is the standard measure of conversion rate. It is a measure of how good a fit your traffic is for your products, and how well your site converts this traffic into customers. What is a good ecommerce conversion rate for Shopify stores? The benchmark is 1.75%. Larger stores have pushed this to 1.85%, and if you are more than 2.8% you are in the top quartile. The highest conversion rate we’ve seen on Shopify is 8%. Can you increase the conversion rate with more attractive product displays, or improving the checkout process? Enhanced ecommerce tracking will help you identify exactly where the blockers lie. Bounce rate from mobile search Since more than 60% of Google searches are now done on mobile, ensuring your site design works on a small screen is important for branding and sales. Bounce rate is the percent of visits of only one page – and will be high if your landing pages do not engage. Google will even adjust your mobile ranking for a given keyword depending on what proportion of visitors stick on your page - a good indication that your link was useful. What is a good bounce rate from mobile search for Shopify stores? The benchmark is 47.5%. The biggest Shopify stores have got this below 40%, and overall large retailers have 38% mobile bounce rate. So it’s not a problem with the Shopify platform, so much as a problem with the store theme – or how the options and products are displayed on a smaller screen. Can you improve the first impressions of the landing pages, put key content higher up the page, or decrease the page load speed to reduce that bounce rate? Delay before page content appears The delay between a page request by the user and them being to read or click on that page. This is more important than full page load speed for AJAX / lazy loading sites (also called the ‘DOM Interactive Time’). What is a good delay time before page content appears? The benchmark for Shopify stores is 2.75 seconds. Even larger retailers have this down to 2.8 seconds, so Shopify sites do well on this score. Anything less than 3 seconds is generally acceptable. Internet users are increasingly intolerant of slow sites. Your developers could look at Google PageSpeed Insights for more details. Often the delay will be down to extra scripts which could be delayed or removed. [subscribe heading="How do you compare?" button_text="BENCHMARK YOUR SITE"] Server response time This is the part of the page load speed which is entirely outside of your control – and due to the speed of the servers your site runs on. What is a good server response time for Shopify stores? The benchmark is 322ms. The average for larger ecommerce is 542ms – so Shopify’s server infrastructure is serving you well here. Reliance on the homepage This is the percent of visitors who land on your homepage. If this is below 40% you rely heavily on your homepage to capture brand or paid search traffic. Google increasingly rewards sites with a greater volume of landing pages targeting more specific keyword phrases. What is a good reliance on homepage percentage for Shopify stores? The benchmark is 32%. Larger Shopify stores, with many more landing pages, have reduced this to 7.3% of traffic landing on the homepage on average. Can you build out product landing pages and inbound links to copy their advantage? Ready to benchmark your own website, stop playing guessing games and start scaling your ecommerce business? Our Shopify reporting app is the easiest way to get accurate benchmarking. Install Littledata today and you'll get instant access to up to 20 relevant industry benchmarks for ecommerce sites, plus the tools you need to fix your analytics for accurate tracking, so you'll always know for sure where your website stands. It's all about smart data that helps you focus on making changes that drive revenue and increase conversions. We're here to help you grow!
Littledata’s V8 Shopify Tracking Code: faster and more versatile
Is Google Analytics accurate? 6 common issues and how to fix them
Google Analytics is used by tens of millions of websites and apps around the world to measure web visitor engagement. Due to some users choosing not to be tracked or blocking cookies, Google Analytics can't measure 100% of visitors. But when set up correctly, GA measures over 95% of genuine visitors (as opposed to web scrapers and bots). At Littledata, our customers come from a range of industries. But when they first come to the Littledata app for help fixing their analytics, we hear many of the same questions: Is Google Analytics accurate? How do I know if my Google Analytics setup is giving me reliable data? In this blog post, we dissect some common issues with Google Analytics before providing a solution to help your ecommerce tracking be as accurate as possible. 6 common issues with Google Analytics (and how to fix them) 1) Your tracking script is not implemented correctly There are two common issues with the actual tracking script setup: It's implemented twice on some pages It's missing completely from some pages When the script is duplicated, you’ll see an artificially low bounce rate (usually below 5%), since every page view is sending twice to Google Analytics. When the script is missing from pages, you’ll see self-referrals from your own website. How to fix it Our recommendation is to use Google Tag Manager across your whole site to ensure the tracking script is loaded with the right web property identifier at the right time during the page load. 2) Your account has lots of spam When it comes to web traffic and analytics setup, spam is a serious issue. Spammers send 'ghost' referrals to get your attention as a website owner. This means that the traffic you see in Google Analytics may not come from real people, even if you have selected to exclude bots. How to fix it Littledata’s app filters out all future spammers and Pro Reporting users benefit from having those filters updated weekly. 3) Your own company traffic is not excluded Your web developers, content writers and marketers will be heavy users of your own site, and you need to filter this traffic from your Google Analytics to get a view of genuine customers or prospects. How to fix it You can do this based on location (e.g. IP address) or pages they visit (e.g. admin pages). [subscribe] 4) One person shows up as two or more users Fight Club aside (spoiler alert), when the same person re-visits our site, we expect them to look the same each time. Web analytics are more complicated. When Google Analytics speaks of 'users', what it's really tracking is a visit from a particular device or browser instance. For example, if I have a smartphone and a laptop computer and visit your site from both devices (without cross-device linking), I’ll appear as two users. Even more confusingly, if I visit your site from the Facebook app on my phone and then from the Twitter app, I’ll appear as two users — the two apps use two different internet browser instances. How to fix it While Google is looking at ways to use its accounts system (Gmail, Chrome, etc.), there's not a lot which can be done to fix this at the moment. 5) Marketing campaigns are not attributed to revenue or conversions If the journey of visitors on your site proceeds via another payment processor or gateway, you could be losing the link between the sale (or goal conversion) and the original marketing campaigns. You will see sales attributed to Direct or Referral traffic, when theyactually came from somewhere else. How to fix it This is a remarkably common issue with Shopify stores. That’s why we built a popular Shopify reporting app that solves the issue automatically. [subscribe heading="Get the Littledata Shopify reporting app" background_color="grey" button_text="get the app" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/shopify"] For other kinds of sites, the issue can often be resolved by setting up cross-domain tracking. 6) You aren't capturing key events (like purchases or button clicks) Google Analytics only tracks views of a page by default, which may not be meaningful if you have a highly interactive website or app. How to fix it Sending custom events is the key to ensuring your tracking is both accurate and relevant. Google Tag Manager makes this easier than it would be otherwise. However, you may need to speak to a qualified Google Analytics consultant to decide what to track. For better certainty that your analytics are fully accurate, try Littledata's free Google Analytics audit or get in touch for a quick consultation. We ❤️ analytics and we're always here to help.
How to fix marketing attribution for Safari ITP 2.3
The latest version of Safari limits the ability for Google Analytics (and any other marketing tags) to track users across domains, and between visits more than a day apart. Here’s how to get this fixed for your site. This article was updated 3rd October to clarify changes for ITP 2.3. How does this affect my analytics? Safari's Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) dramatically changes how you can attribute marketing on one of the web's most popular browsers, and ITP 2.1 makes this even more difficult. How will the changes affect your analytics? Currently your marketing attribution in Google Analytics (GA) relies on tracking users across different visits on the same browser with a first-party user cookie - set on your domain by the GA tracking code. GA assigns every visitor an anonymous ‘client ID’ so that the user browsing your website on Saturday can be linked to the same browser that comes back on Monday to purchase. In theory this user-tracking cookie can last up to 2 years from the date of the first visit (in practice, many users clear their cookies more frequently than that), but anything more than one month is good enough for most marketing attribution. ITP breaks that user tracking in two major ways: Any cookie set by the browser, will be deleted after 7 days (ITP 2.1)Any cookie set by the browser, after the user has come from a cross-domain link, will be deleted after one day (ITP 2.2)Any local storage set when the user comes from a cross domain link is wiped after 7 days of inactivity (ITP 2.3) This will disrupt your marketing attribution. Let’s take two examples. Visitor A comes from an affiliate on Saturday, and then comes back the next Saturday to purchase: Before ITP: sale is attributed to AffiliateAfter ITP: sale is attributed to ‘Direct’Why: 2nd visit is more than one day after the 1st Visitor B comes from a Facebook Ad to your latest blog post on myblog.com, and goes on to purchase: Before ITP: sale is attribute to FacebookAfter ITP: sale is attributed to ‘Direct’Why: the visit to the blog is not linked to the visit on another domain The overall effect will be an apparent increase in users and sessions from Safari, as the same number of user journeys are broken in down into more, shorter journeys. How big is the problem? This is a big problem! Depending on your traffic sources it is likely to affect between a quarter and a half of all your visits. The update (ITP 2.1) is included in Safari version 12.1 onwards for Mac OS and Safari Mobile. It does not affect Safari in-app browsing. Apple released iOS 12.2 and Mac OS 10.14.4 on 25th March 2019, and at the time of writing around 30% of all web visits came from these two browser versions on a sample of larger sites. The volume for your site may vary; you can apply this Google Analytics segment to see exactly how. The affected traffic will be greater if you have high mobile use or more usage in the US (where iPhones are more popular). Why is Apple making these changes? Apple has made a strong point of user privacy over the last few years. Their billboard ad at the CES conference in Las Vegas earlier this year makes that point clearly! Although Google Chrome has overtaken Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox in popularity on the desktop, Safari maintains a very dominant position in mobile browsing due to the ubiquitous iPhone. Apple develops Safari to provide a secure web interface for their users, and with Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) they intended to reduce creepy retargeting ads following you around the web. Genuine web analytics has just been caught in the cross-fire. Unfortunately this is likely not to be the last attack on web analytics, and a permanent solution may not be around for some time. Our belief is that users expect companies to track them across their own branded websites and so the workarounds below are ethical and not violating the user privacy that Apple is trying to protect. How to fix this There are three outline fixes I would recommend. I’m grateful to Simo Ahava for his research on all the possible solutions. The right solution for your site depends on your server setup and the development resources you have available. If you’re lucky enough to use our Shopify app the next version of our script will include solution 1 below. Contact our support team if you'd like to test the private beta version. For each solution, I’ve rated them out of three in these areas: Quick setup: how much development time it will take to solveCompatibility: how likely this is to work with different domain setupsLongevity: how likely this is to work for future updates to Safari ITP Update: Solutions 1 and 2, using local storage will no longer work with ITP 2.3 Solution 3: Server-side cookie service Quick setup * Compatibility *** Longevity *** In the long term, ITP may target the local storage API itself (which is already blocked in Private browsing mode). In ITP 2.3, the local storage is wiped after 7 days, along with cookies. So solution 3 securely sets the HTTPS cookie from your web server itself, rather than via a browser script. This also has the advantage of making sure any cross-domain links tracked using GA's linker plugin can last more than one day after the click-through with ITP 2.3. The downside is this requires either adapting your servers, proxy servers or CDN to serve a cookie for GA and adapt the GA client-side libraries to work on a web server. If your company uses Node.js servers or a CDN like Amazon CloudFront or Cloudflare this may be significantly easier to achieve. If you don’t have direct control of your server infrastructure it’s a non-starter. Also, a caveat is that Apple recommends settings cookies as HttpOnly to be fully future proof - but those would then be inaccessible by the GA client tracking. Full technical details. What about other marketing tags working on Safari? All other marketing tags which track users across more than one session or one subdomain are going to experience the same problem. With Google Ads the best solution is to link your Ad account to Google Analytics, since this enables Google to use the GA cookie to better attribute conversion in Google Ads reporting. Facebook will no doubt provide a solution of their own, but in the meantime you can also attribute Facebook spend in GA using Littledata’s connection for Facebook Ads. Are there any downsides of making these changes? As with any technical solution, there are upsides and downsides. The main downside here is again with user privacy. Legally, you might start over-tracking users. By resetting cookies from the local storage that the user previously requested to be deleted, this could be violating a user’s right to be forgotten under GDPR. The problem with ITP is it is actually overriding the user’s preference to keep the cookie in usual circumstances, so there is no way of knowing the cookie was deleted by the user … or by Safari supposed looking out for the user! Unfortunately as with any customisation to the tracking code it brings more complexity to maintain, but I feel this is well worth the effort to maintain marketing attribution on one of the world's most popular browsers.
Shopify vs Magento: Ecommerce performance
Whether you're choosing a new enterprise ecommerce platform for your online business, or considering a platform migration, choosing Shopify vs Magento is not an easy choice. But when it comes to ecommerce performance, it pays to take a look at the data. Littledata has a range of customers on different ecommerce platforms, with a majority of larger stores using Shopify Plus or Magento. So which platform has the best ecommerce performance? For this post, we crunched data from 1,600 Shopify and Magento stores to see where the platforms typically perform best, from technical performance essentials like site speed, to ecommerce essentials like conversion rate and average order value. Ecommerce benchmarks Littledata benchmarks stores using our platform on 30 key metrics. Any merchant can sign up to benchmark their ecommerce website, and we like to dive into the benchmark data to find key stats and unexpected trends. Comparing Shopify vs Magento benchmarks, we looked at the median performance of stores of all sizes in all sectors, and then just larger stores (those getting more than 20,000 sessions per month). The headline news is that Shopify converts more visitors into customers than Magento, mainly due to better add-to-cart rate, but also slightly more efficient checkout conversion rate. Shopify stores have a higher Average Conversion Rate, but Magento stores have a higher Average Order Value However, since Magento stores have a larger average order (maybe because stores selling high value items are put off by Shopify’s percentage pricing) the Magento stores get more revenue per visit. And it is really the higher customer lifetime value that you should care about (Shopify agrees). Magento stores outperform on landing page engagement and marketing, and have a significantly higher usage of product search. Shopify vs Magento: a benchmark-by-benchmark comparison Average conversion rate The headline ecommerce conversion rate is better on Shopify (2% vs 1.7%) and this actually widens for larger stores (2.3% Shopify vs 1.5% on Magento). This is reflected in Shopify being better on both underlying metrics of performance: add-to-cart rate (5.5% vs 4.6%) and the percent of those starting to checkout. [subscribe button_text="benchmark your site"] The checkout completion rate is actually better on most Magento stores (48.6% vs 51.3%), although for larger stores this is flipped around (50.0% Magento vs 48.7% Shopify). Average order value Average revenue per customer is much higher for the Magento stores surveyed (and this difference persists for larger sites) - $75 USD per customer on Shopify vs $161 on Magento. This is driven by both a higher average order value, and more repeat purchasing on Magento stores. This extra money per order more than compensates for the lower conversion rate on Magento, and means Magento stores get an average $2.79 per visit versus $1.52 for Shopify store visits. Site speed There are two factors to website speed - how long the server takes to response, and how long the page takes to render in the browser. Shopify's cloud infrastructure is better at the former (609 milliseconds versus 967 milliseconds average server response time on Magento), but for the more important delay before page content appears there is little difference between the platforms (2.6 seconds for Shopify vs 2.8 seconds for Magento). Larger Shopify stores do typically install lots of 3rd party apps, which can increase the script load time, and so the time to full page load is higher on larger Shopify stores (6.8 seconds vs 6.0 seconds on Magento). Marketing channels There are some big differences between how Shopify and Magento store owners go about Marketing. Shopify stores get a far higher proportion of traffic from Facebook (5.8% vs 2.7%), but this is still below the global average for Facebook referrals. Shopify stores also had a greater reliance on the homepage - showing a lack on content marketing sophistication (34% on Shopify vs 25% on Magento). User engagement (site search and email marketing) The interesting difference is a much higher use of site search for Magento stores (3.1% Shopify vs 10.8% Magento). This may that Magento themes make it easier to implement site search, or that Magento stores with larger numbers of SKUs. And Magento marketers manage to get a lower bounce rate from emails: 50% on Shopify vs 44% on Magento. This is maybe due to a greater variety of email landing pages or campaigns. What about Shopify Plus vs Magento Enterprise? Many of the same differences are there for Shopify Plus (the equivalent of Magento Enterprise Edition for larger stores). Shopify plus stores manage a higher conversion rate (2.6% vs 1.6% for Magento EE), and but still have a lower average value per session ($2.12 on Shopify Plus vs $3.23 on Magento). And Plus stores, with more customised themes, still get a higher bounce rate from mobile search (55% vs 51% for Magento). If you're looking for more info, we have a useful post on the general differences between Shopify and Magento, and our friends at Electric Eye have an extensive breakdown of how Shopify and Magento pricing and implementation really work for merchants seeking the best ecommerce platform for their business. For an in-depth look at enterprise ecommerce options, we recommend checking out the big Magento 2 Commerce vs Shopify Plus comparison by Paul Rogers. An expert in ecommerce replatforming, Rogers has worked with Magento brands including O’Neills, Agent Provocateur, Waterford, Royal Doulton, and Shopify Plus brands including Bulletproof, Trotters, Oco, Current Body and ESC. Learn more Looking for more performance data? If you're interested in the topic of Magento vs Shopify performance, you can view our public listing of detailed Shopify benchmarks and Magento benchmarks. We've made it easy for anyone to dive into the data for themselves. And if you have an ecommerce website, sign up to benchmark your site for free! [subscribe button_text="benchmark your site"]
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