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

2021-09-21

Shopify Analytics: Everything You Need to Know

Every good business runs on good data. It doesn’t matter if you’re choosing a store design, analyzing your marketing, or setting revenue targets, it all comes back to what the data tells you. On the flip side, running on bad data can lead to your store whiffing on those big decisions. That’s where, if you’re a Shopify store, Shopify Analytics (and other analytics options) come into play. In this post, we’re going to: Break down what Shopify Analytics does Discuss Shopify Analytics’ limitations Share tools that can give you deep, accurate data and drive revenue Show you how to add powerful data tools to your ecommerce store What does Shopify Analytics do? Built within its platform, Shopify has an analytics tracker that allows you to generate data based on your store’s performance. This data includes high-level metrics like your total store sessions, number of sales, returning customers, and the average value of orders placed. [caption id="attachment_13280" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Shopify Analytics' overview dashboard gives you a snapshot of your store's high-level metrics.[/caption] Metrics like these help you get a snapshot of how visitors are interacting with your store. That way, you can pinpoint elements of your website to tweak or update based on what the data is telling you and continue to improve your metrics overall. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular metrics that Shopify Analytics displays within its overview dashboard: Total Sales: This metric displays the total revenue your store has generated over a specific date range minus costs like shipping and taxes. Online Store Sessions: The online store sessions metric counts the total number of customers who visited your site in a given date range, including repeat visitors. Returning Customer Rate: Returning customer rate shows the percentage of customers who have purchased from your store more than once. These customers are valuable due to their loyalty and subsequent higher lifetime value. Online Store Conversion Rate: Conversion rate tracks the number of visits that led to a purchase. Average Order Value (AOV): Average order value is calculated by taking your total order revenue and dividing it by the number of orders. The first step to using these metrics to improve your store is knowing where to find them. How to use Shopify Analytics Shopify displays data and reports about your store’s performance within its “Overview Dashboard.” The Overview Dashboard also allows you to carry out a range of basic data analyses. This includes: Comparing the value of your current sales to a previous date range Tracking how many sales you receive from a variety of marketing channels Generating your AOV Tracking your site trends over time To access this Overview Dashboard, start from your Shopify admin page and go to Analytics > Dashboards. The dashboard will display data generated from today and compare it to the day before. You can change this date range by selecting the date menu. You can also change the comparison period for this data by clicking compare to previous dates, then Apply and your data will be generated. You can then select “View report,” which gives you a more detailed analysis of your chosen metric. Be aware, however, that not all metrics will generate in your report. The metrics you can see will depend on the Shopify plan you are currently on. What analytics are in Shopify If your store uses Shopify Lite, your analytics report will show you a basic range of metrics, including the overview dashboard, finance reports, and analytics about your products. To access detailed reports like visitor behavior analysis or marketing and sales reports, you will need to upgrade to the Basic Shopify plan or higher. Shopify Analytics can generate a few other metrics beyond the most high-level ones mentioned above. Incorporating these into your data strategy is also important to maximize marketing attribution and revenue. Sales Metrics Some of the most valuable sales metrics generated through Shopify Analytics include: Total sales - the amount of revenue that was generated through your online store or your Point Of Sale if you have a physical storefront. Sales Source - this lists the sources from which your sales generated (i.e. social media channels, ads, or direct traffic.) Total orders - this metric displays the total number of orders generated through both your ecommerce store and your physical store. Customer Metrics Top products by units sold - This metric shows the items in your store which sold the most by volume, helping you identify your most popular offerings. Top site landing pages - This indentifies the most frequent landing pages on your site where visitors started a session. Returning customer rate - This gives the percentage of customers who have bought from you repeatedly in a selected time period. Shopify Behavior Reports Shopify also provides behavior reports which record customer actions on your site and allow you to: Track how your online store conversions have changed over time. Determine the top online searches for your product. Track how your product recommendations change over a given period. [caption id="attachment_13295" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Shopify Analytics' behavior reports help you drill down into how key metrics have changed over time.[/caption] All these metrics can play a key part in your overall marketing strategy and help you improve marketing attribution. But to make the best decisions for your business, you need truly accurate data — something Shopify Analytics has a spotty record with. Is Shopify Analytics good? Shopify Analytics is a good tool overall for what it is: an out-of-the-box solution for basic analytics tracking on your ecommerce store. Shopify Analytics provides the top-level metrics to give you a broad snapshot of your store’s health and customer behavior. But it lacks the detailed reports of a more robust analytics service like Google Analytics. What is Shopify analytics lacking? Unfortunately, Shopify Analytics also has a poor history when it comes to accuracy. Shopify Analytics’ tracking has shown to be both unreliable and incomplete. In fact, an analysis conducted of Shopify Analytics found that for every 100 orders tracked in Shopify Analytics, 12 go missing. There are a handful of other shortcomings those who rely on Shopify Analytics as their main data source face, as well. These include: Cross-domain tracking being setup incorrectly Server-side tracking is missing Sales data doesn't segment between first-time purchases and recurring transactions (subscriptions) Refunds not included in Google Analytics Many of Shopify Analytics’ shortcomings obscure traffic sources and disrupt attribution tracking. As an example, when customers check out on your Shopify store they’re redirected to a Shopify domain, causing the visitor’s session to end suddenly — even if they are in the process of buying an item. This affects what Shopify Analytics shows as their last click and takes away from the power of the data you’re collecting. So, is there a better way to track referrals sources, collect customer behavior metrics, and ensure accurate analytics? Yes: using a more powerful analytics tool like Google Analytics. Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics Google Analytics (GA) is a household name for analytics reporting across nearly every industry. In fact, it’s the world’s most popular marketing analytics platform, used by 98% of online stores. While both Shopify Analytics and GA offer unique benefits, store owners who opt for GA get more data for their dollar. We can see this first hand on a metric like sales by traffic source. [tip]Read our full ebook on why Shopify Analytics and Google Analytics don't match, plus how to fix it for your store.[/tip] Littledata looked at 180,000 orders from 10 Shopify stores, and the marketing channels in Shopify Analytics were as follows: Direct 83.5% Social 9% Search 4.5% Unknown (other websites, not social or search) 3% Email ~0.1% The Direct channel sticks out like a sore thumb, mainly because it dwarfs every other source of traffic. Compare this with the last-click attribution of sales from GA, and the difference in accuracy becomes clear: To put it simply, Shopify Analytics lacks both the accuracy and specificity of data that a tool like GA provides. How to add Google Analytics to Shopify While GA doesn’t work automatically with Shopify, it’s not difficult to set up for your store. There are multiple ways you can add Google Analytics to Shopify, and the method you choose will depend both on your technical skill and the time you have to dedicate to set up. Once you’ve created a Google Analytics property for Shopify, you can follow your preferred method to add GA to your store and start getting full, accurate data. Read on to discover which method will work best for adding GA to your store. For Universal Analytics Before 2020, Universal Analytics was the Google Analytics default. To find out if your store has Universal Analytics, check your web property ID. A universal analytics web property ID will start with ‘UA’. If you’re using Universal Analytics, the two options we’d recommend to connect GA to your Shopify store are: Using Shopify’s built-in tracking, found in-store preferences Using Littledata’s advanced Shopify to Google Analytics app For Google Analytics 4 Since late 2020, GA4 has operated as the default Google Analytics property. There are a handful of benefits to using GA4, not least of which being that it provides more thorough reports delivered within a faster timeline. Shopify does not yet support Google Analytics 4, so the built-in tracking feature is not an option here. However, you can try using GA4 and Shopify Analytics in parallel to test the performance of both and see the differences yourself. The “least hassle” option If you want to add GA to your store and you’re looking to save time and get things done correctly, implementing Littledata is likely your best bet. Littledata provides a Getting Started guide to help you add Google Analytics to your Shopify store. Once connected, the Littledata app gives you a thorough data overview and sends weekly updates as Google and Shopify add new features. [tip]Try Littledata's Google Analytics connection free for 30 days to see how it can fix your tracking while integrating with your other Shopify apps.[/tip] Using Google Analytics with Shopify Analytics GA and Shopify Analytics can be used in conjunction with one another, as each have their uses. As an example, you could use Shopify Analytics as a quick overview dashboard for store performance while relying on GA for a complete analysis of sales and marketing efforts. In depth data decisionmaking will still most likely be coming from what you see in GA, but you can still rely on Shopify Analytics to capture big picture metrics. Connecting dashboards and reporting tools The most successful modern DTC stores operate not with GA alone, but with a full data stack that helps them cover each step of the customer journey. They increase the scope of their data coverage by connecting other data dashboards and tools. ReCharge A great tool to connect to your store, especially if you offer subscriptions, is the ReCharge Connection. This connection is an advanced GA integration that helps you to track subscription ecommerce behavior. Connecting Shopify and ReCharge with Google Analytics allows you to obtain accurate sales data, including first-time orders, recurring payments, and subscription lifecycle events. It also allows you to obtain accurate marketing attribution for first-time orders, recurring payments, and subscription lifecycle events. Segment A further tool you could use to track your Shopify data is the Segment app connection, which allows you to track each customer touchpoint within your website, including the checkout steps taken by customers, sales information, and the lifetime value of a specific customer. Segment is a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that makes it easy to combine customer data with marketing data, then send that data to other platforms you use, whether that’s a data warehouse or an email marketing tool. As such, Segment isn’t just for analysis. It’s also a popular way to build new marketing audiences, such as building lookalike audiences in Facebook from your highest-spending Shopify customers. Google Ads and Facebook Ads Online advertising is a major source of traffic for modern DTC brands. To ensure your making the best decisions in your advertising strategy, you need accurate data. That’s where the Facebook Ads and Google Ads connections can play a key part in your overall analytics stack. The Facebook Ads connection fixes campaign tagging and allows for importing ad costs so you can drill down marketing attribution costs. The Google Ads connection is ideal for tracking sales expenses in reports and connecting marketing data with ecommerce performance. Wrapping it all up Now that you know exactly what Shopify Analytics can provide for you, what analytics strategy will you implement to ensure you’re making smart business decisions for your store? Using Google Analytics with your Shopify store gives you: a thorough view of the data a complete snapshot of the entire customer journey advanced metrics you need to improve attribution and boost revenue Using these, you can plan changes to your store and product offerings based on accurate data while improving your visibility by taking control of your analytics tracking. And once you’ve connected other powerful reporting tools and dashboards like Littledata’s ReCharge and Segment apps, you’ll have all the information you need to dial up your store’s growth. Take the first step by getting a free data audit when you start your 30-day free trial with Littledata. [subscribe]

2021-09-14

Tracking Subscriptions in Shopify Checkout: Everything You Need to Know

The checkout is one of the most important steps in the ecommerce buying process for merchants. “Of course,” you might say, “it’s where I get paid!” But there’s a lot more to a good checkout strategy than simply completing transactions, especially if you sell products by subscription. Many modern DTC brands sell by subscription. Whether offering everyday items such as deodorant or custom monthly offerings such as fashion boxes or craft beverages, ecommerce businesses use a subscription model to increase customer lifetime value (LTV), referrals, and retention. Shopify noticed this trend and made some major moves this past year to push subscriptions into the native checkout. Most importantly, the change allows Shopify app developers to build tools with greater support for subscription business models. You probably have a lot of questions about what this means for your business, especially if you are focused on data-driven growth. We’re happy to announce that Littledata now offers plug-and-play solutions for tracking subscriptions in the native Shopify checkout, including for headless builds. Our ecommerce data platform works seamlessly with apps like ReCharge, Ordergroove, Smartrr, and Bold, and you can send the data to Segment, Google Analytics (GA), or any connected reporting tool. In this post, we’ll answer common questions about subscriptions in the native Shopify checkout — from what this really means (what is a “unified checkout” anyway?) to what data is available or “exposed” for your ecommerce marketing team. This post covers: I. Why Shopify moved to a unified checkout II. The state of subscription ecommerce III. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) in the subscription industry IV. Tracking subscriptions in the Shopify checkout V. Subscription apps supported by Littledata I. Why Shopify moved to a unified checkout In the past, Shopify merchants who wanted to offer subscription products had to use third-party apps, such as ReCharge or Bold Subscriptions, where payment data can be stored and subscriptions managed. As a result, customers had to go through a different checkout process for subscriptions versus one-time orders. For example, customers would be redirected away from a Shopify store site to a separate ReCharge checkout, then return to the initial store they were on after completing payment. Last year, Shopify introduced new subscriptions APIs with the aim of creating a more seamless checkout experience for subscribers. Now, customers can start product subscriptions without leaving the store’s website, while the post-purchase management of the subscription is still handled by the subscription app. These new APIs bring a handful of additional benefits as well: Complete subscription data is stored by Shopify, allowing for improved reporting and analytics A faster, more streamlined checkout process for your customers More flexibility, so you can experiment with new subscription models Native checkout security provided by Shopify Shopify’s payment gateway does come with some limitations around product sales and region-based availability. If your store sells products that are outlawed in certain major markets (like cannabis) Shopify’s payment gateway will not offer support for your store. Likewise, if your store is not based in one of the countries Shopify lists under their umbrella of coverage, you’ll need to use another payment gateway to complete transactions. You can find more information on payment gateways to use by following the directions Shopify provides for stores outside their main regions of coverage. Note: Make sure to read both Shopify’s guide to setting up subscriptions and Littledata’s analytics setup guide for subscriptions in the Shopify checkout. There are several steps you need to take in each of a) Shopify’s admin, b) the subscription app you installed from the Shopify App Store, and c) Littledata in order to track everything correctly. II. The state of subscription ecommerce Not so long ago, ecommerce businesses focused on single transactions to grow their business. But the landscape has changed. Shoppers and brands are now focusing on relationship-driven ecommerce, and subscriptions are at the heart of the change. Many ecommerce customers now see the benefits of becoming a subscriber. It helps them stay ahead on the latest updates related to their favorite products and services. It also gives them flexibility to set up a steady flow of products when they want them, and the option to pause or swap subscriptions from a customer portal. Brands obviously see the value in loyal subscribers. Subscription ecommerce has never been growing so fast. Subscription payments app ReCharge analyzed data on more than 9,000 of their subscription customers and found an average of 90% growth in subscribers across all verticals, with an average LTV 
growth of 11%. [caption id="attachment_13180" align="aligncenter" width="735"] Source: ReCharge payments State of Subscription Commerce report (2021)[/caption] Growth was not limited to one specific vertical, either. In fact, Recharge’s report shows that nearly every vertical saw subscription merchant growth double in 2020. [caption id="attachment_13181" align="aligncenter" width="606"] Source: ReCharge payments State of Subscription Commerce report (2021)[/caption] Subscription ecommerce growth isn’t simply an effect of buyers worldwide shifting online due to the pandemic, though. A 2019 study from the Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA) found that the ecommerce subscription market experienced annual growth of 17.33% in the last five years. It also predicts three-quarters of DTC brands will offer subscriptions by 2023, while global ecommerce subscriptions will account for 18% of the total market share. Another recent survey by McKinsey showed that there is a 40% increase in consumers’ intent to spend online even after COVID. All this research concludes that the groundwork is set for continual growth in LTV and overall revenue for stores targeting subscription customers instead of maximizing one-time purchases. And those purchases often start with a discount. In a recent study, Bold Commerce found that discounts on subscriptions actually fuel monthly revenue growth, and smaller discounts (not too big and not too small) see the biggest return over time. With great growth comes greater competition The rush of new subscription ecommerce merchants in recent years is of course a huge benefit for buyers. It offers greater product diversity and more flexible buying options. But for sellers both old and new, the increased competition means they have to make smart decisions and truly know their audience to survive. The proven most efficient and powerful way to do that? A promotion strategy founded on accurate data. That’s where crucial metrics like return on ad spend (ROAS), average order value (AOV), and especially customer LTV come into play. III. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) in the subscription industry Customer LTV, or the value a customer contributes to your business over their lifetime, is the holy grail of ecommerce metrics. This stat begins tracking when a new customer first makes a purchase and ends with the “moment of churn,” when they decide to no longer buy. Focusing on LTV can help you define clear marketing goals and sales strategies to reduce acquisition costs, improve retention, and encourage existing customers to spend more over their lifetime with your business. Subscription customers add more to your store’s overall LTV as they make repeat purchases and can be upsold to add more revenue. Leading ecommerce stores know this, and are enjoying higher LTV as a result. The same ReCharge study referenced earlier found stores activated between 2019 and 2020 realized an average LTV growth of 11%. [caption id="attachment_13182" align="aligncenter" width="485"] Source: ReCharge payments State of Subscription Commerce report (2021)[/caption] Successful stores know to focus on metrics like LTV because it affords them the ability to deeply understand the needs of their customers. To do this well, though, you need accurate data and high engagement with buyers. As for calculating LTV for subscription customers, it isn’t difficult when using a powerful data tool like Google Analytics. In fact, we have a guide you can follow to calculate customer lifetime value in Google Analytics. If you’re looking for a true deep dive into LTV that covers calculation methods, multiple improvement strategies, and roadmaps for Shopify subscription success, jump into our ultimate Shopify guide to LTV tracking. III. Tracking subscriptions in the Shopify checkout Getting accurate data about your customers’ behaviour is especially difficult for subscription commerce. If you’re using Shopify’s default GA tracking, a significant percentage of your orders might be missing. This can lead you to form an incomplete picture of your marketing attribution and sales performance, and a lesser understanding of your customer’s behaviour. After sampling larger merchants on Shopify, we discovered that on average, for every 10,000 orders processed, 1,200 are missing in GA. However, these discrepancies look even worse for recurring orders, with the percentage of orders tracked ranging between 9% and 70%. This happens because recurring orders are processed without the customer interacting with your online store. Fortunately, there is a fix for this issue. Littledata’s Shopify app can repair these tracking disparities automatically upon install. It works by first adding a data layer onto your website containing all Enhanced Ecommerce events. Then, it adds a tracking script to capture each event as it happens. Finally, using robust server-side tracking, the app grabs all transactions and ensures 100% accurate ecommerce data. That allows you to see truly meaningful data that eliminates the worry of making incorrect decisions based on faulty numbers, while giving you the power to make your marketing dollars work better for your store. [tip]Try Littledata’s script on your store free for 30 days. Get a data audit of your current metrics and see the difference you could be missing on marketing attribution.[/tip] IV. Subscription apps supported by Littledata Stores using subscription apps to manage recurring orders set up in the Shopify checkout can track their recurring orders using Littledata’s Google Analytics and Segment apps in the Shopify app store. In fact, Littledata works automatically with all subscription apps used by Shopify stores. Here are a few of the most popular subscription apps to consider using for your store. ReCharge ReCharge is a subscription management app designed to let your store offer subscription products with a few clicks. In addition, it helps increase LTV by allowing customers to manage their own subscriptions while setting you up with revenue-boosting tools like upsells, SMS and email notifications, and actionable subscription insights. Bold Subscriptions Bold Subscriptions aims to help you establish predictable recurring revenue via better customer loyalty using customizable subscription programs. The app is compatible with multiple payment gateways, allows API customization, and features checkout integrations that further enhance your customizability, and in turn, the value you can provide to customers. Ordergroove Ordergroove is a tool to help you grow average order value (AOV) and maximize subscriber enrollment through promotions, retention rewards, and the ability to craft a custom subscriber experience. It’s a popular solution for larger brands and offers a range of integrations to help you scale. Smartrr Smartrr’s subscription ecommerce app offers a recurring revenue engine designed to help you offer curated subscriptions to members. That includes through methods like allowing subscribers to manage their recurring orders, gifting options, upsell addons, and even product swaps that increase consumer satisfaction. What’s next? Shopify’s new unified checkout has bolstered app developers to create more innovative products. Those apps in turn help you target subscriptions in your store checkout and use enhanced ecommerce metrics to get a full, accurate picture of your subscriber audience, then customize your checkout and promotion methods to reach your most valuable audience. But how can you scale a subscription store without accurate data? That’s where Littledata comes in. [tip]Take the first step in realizing the true potential of your ecommerce store and get accurate data from Littledata free in our 30-day trial.[/tip]

2021-09-02

Segment Recipe: Create Facebook lookalike audiences of your top-spending customers

The promotional power of Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads is no secret. All of our customers use them. Smart ecommerce marketers, however, know that beyond their wide reach, the true value of these ads comes in using them to reach specific buyer personas. Targeting those who are most likely to make a purchase is a great way to boost sales, but how do you reach that audience over time? In short: How do you find more customers like your highest LTV customers? Littledata has worked with top DTC brands using Shopify and Segment, such as Rothy's and Sheertex, to enable data that lets you do exactly that. One key way is lookalike audiences. To help you dive into utilizing these audiences for your store, we've created an analytics recipe along with our partner Segment. The recipe is made to help you stop wasting time building audiences manually while still allowing you to reach your highest-value customers — the ones who are ready to buy and more likely to make bigger purchases over time. It explains step by step how to continuously target a similar audience to your top-spenders, so you'll start getting your ads in front of eager potential buyers. Lookalike audiences such as these are a staple in successful ecommerce brands' promotion strategies, as they widen your audience while ensuring you get the most value out of the advertising dollars you spend. Read the full post on Segment's blog to learn how you can start utilizing this recipe in your Facebook Ad strategy. We look at how to: Create an audience in Segment Personas of highest spending customers Automatically sync that audience with Facebook Ads Create a lookalike audience in Facebook Ads to find more high-value customers If you've wondered how to use rule-based audiences to increase revenue, this is the recipe for you. Do you know how accurate your ecommerce reporting is? Get a clearer picture with a full data audit from Littledata as part of our 30 day free trial to start owning your data and make decisions off truly accurate data. [subscribe]

2021-08-27

Lunch with Littledata: Why a headless build is right for your store with Nacelle

Want to learn from DTC founders and entrepreneurs shaking up their industries? Check out the other entries in our Lunch with Littledata series. Ecommerce stores need to have a storefront build that’s not just engaging and aesthetically pleasing, but technically sound. Add to this the growing interest in headless setups, and choosing the right site architecture becomes one of the most critical decisions for a store owner to get right. Littledata partner 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, Nacelle builds super clean, fast and responsive sites for modern DTC brands. They secured $50 million in Series B round funding from Tiger Global, proving investors see a promising future ahead. In this installment of our Lunch with Littledata series, we sat down with Devin Saxon, Senior Sales Engineer at Nacelle, to talk through the benefits of headless setups, when the right time is to try one, and how ecommerce is still evolving due to the COVID shift online. LD: In one sentence: what is headless? DS: Headless commerce is a flexible ecommerce architecture where your website’s back-end systems are fully decoupled from your website’s storefront (what your shoppers interact with). [tip]Littledata and Nacelle have partnered to create a build that gives you the full headless experience while keeping your Shopify Plus tech stack intact.[/tip] What exactly does Nacelle do? Nacelle is an easy way to build high-performing headless sites. Nacelle acts as the “abstraction layer” within a headless commerce architecture. Our product fully removes all interdependencies between the back end and the front end. It uses graphQL API endpoints with no rate limits for first indexing data (i.e. products, collections, and content), then delivering that data to your storefront. This ensures that you don’t run into any eventual consistency issues and dramatically decreases the complexity of a headless build. Nacelle is not an all-in-one, end-to-end solution. It’s structured to enable a true “headless” architecture, designed — and priced — for flexibility. It allows for customization and the opportunity for merchants to embrace their best options across the board. That includes everything from their ideal digital ecommerce agency partner to their preferred CMS system, third-party applications, hosting, and ecommerce platform at the core for their business. Is the headless build process dramatically different for brands with a good number of SKUs/products (like Something Navy) vs. stores with a few products selling by subscription (like Ballsy)? Every headless build is unique. Not because of catalogue size, but due to what the merchant’s goals and needs are for their front end and overall architecture. The process itself is not dramatically different. We align with the customer on the build scoping process, including their goals, integration, and workflow needs, which can be the biggest determinant of the timeline. It’s best to work this out far before they start building, though, to mitigate any issues from coming up during the build. When should you NOT move to a headless build? I would say it largely depends on the merchant’s goals and how they view their technology. Going headless can be a big expense upfront. So it’s beneficial to understand if you have the development resources to support the build itself, maintain your current site, and then maintain the headless site once complete. This is where it’s beneficial to work with a headless commerce platform. You’ll save time and resources while building out an efficient frontend and systems to differentiate your brand from the piping and plumbing of your headless architecture. “If a brand views their technology and engineering resources as ways to differentiate vs. a cost center, they are ready to make the move into headless.” You can also outsource development resources through an agency. We have typically seen success with brands who are $10-20m over annual revenue, or venture-backed and technology-forward. If the brand views their technology and engineering resources as ways to differentiate vs. a cost center, they are ready to make the move into headless. How has COVID affected your work at Nacelle? It seems like you’ve been hiring quite a bit! We are currently completely distributed as a company, and we have been hiring rapidly! We recently passed the 50 employee mark and we’re going to continue to grow that through the rest of the year. COVID’s effect on the ecommerce space has forced many businesses to reevaluate their tech stacks, which has led to a lot of positive opportunities for us. What about your merchants? Are things getting back to "normal"? The pandemic has definitely accelerated the conversation as ecommerce brands see the need to truly invest in their online presence. With that, headless really aligns with the philosophy of enabling DTC brands to better tell their story through their web storefront and shape the customer experience. Nacelle aligns well with DTC brands here because we remove the complexities of connecting your storefront with your back end. Instead, we allow you to completely focus on your front end with better development practices and less tech debt. Conversations have been really positive and engaging with merchants. It seems like things are actually cranking up more so than returning to normal. [tip]DTC brands with the right strategy can harness Shopify Plus to multiply their revenue and drive growth. Check out these 5 DTC stores fueling their success on Shopify Plus[/tip] Are agency partnerships a big part of your business model? Yes. We believe a strong technical implementation is best for any merchant going headless, and agencies are part of that equation. The agencies we work with have tremendous experience with headless builds and using Nacelle proves to be invaluable to brands who partner with them. What data points are important for your customers? I'm guessing site speed is a big metric? Site speed is always one that’s top of mind for customers. I’d also say conversion rate, average order value, pages per session, mobile conversion rate, and page-to-page speeds come up frequently. “Site speed is a data point that’s always top of mind for customers.” To give an example, Something Navy uses a drop model so their site will get aggressive amounts of traffic when they release something new. So, they wanted to see the number of unique sessions supported within the first 30 minutes of that product drop. We have a lot of different case studies with current customers that cover these points of data. What's the best resource for a Shopify store wanting to explore headless options? Hard to answer this and not be a little biased! Our marketing team put together some great content around this since we have a good amount of current customers on Shopify. Here’s a handful of links to some of my favorite resources they’ve created: Lessons From Over 20 Shopify Plus Headless Commerce Builds Get The Headless Experience Without Overhauling Your Shopify Plus Tech Stack What is Headless Commerce (And is it right for your store?) 7 Reasons to Consider a Headless Commerce Solution Going Headless on Shopify for the ecommerce Developer 5 Common Headless Commerce Questions, Answered Lastly, a bit technical, but what is the relationship between Nacelle and Netlify — or the "Jamstack"? Nacelle and Netlify work in tandem. Netlify delivers your online storefront to your customers' browsers by taking your website’s HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files and making them available online. Nacelle connects your back-end systems, syncs all of the data, and delivers it to the front end. Your Progressive Web App (PWA) calls Nacelle’s graphQL API endpoint in order to get all of the content and product/collection data for your site’s build. As for how we pair with the “Jamstack” — we help manage your back-end infrastructure and make static generation for the modern ecommerce store a breeze. With our back-end API, we are able to integrate directly with your systems (or ecommerce platform) that handle your PIM, OMS, CRM to index your products, and collect information for your front-end build. We also have pre-built integrations into Contentful and Sanity, so developers can leverage that same back-end API to integrate the CMS of their choice. With the front end, our APIs and Javascript SDK are robust and flexible. Our direct integrations into Nuxt and Next are intuitive and easy to use, and our API pairs flawlessly with Gatsby. Finally, we are compatible with over 30 popular ecommerce tools and easily integrate with new systems through APIs to keep up with evolving needs. Quick links: Dive deeper into headless tracking for Shopify Learn step by step how to add Google Analytics to your Shopify store Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics: Why don't they match? Try the Littledata Grow plan — for stores focused on data-driven growth

2021-08-13

Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics: Why don't they match?

If you're a Shopify store owner using both Shopify analytics and Google Analytics, you're probably familiar with the often large discrepancies between the two tracking systems. What you might not know is that this happens in part because Shopify's default analytics misses tracking on 12 out of every 100 orders. That leaves you unaware of your true sales performance and marketing attribution, and what actions your customers are taking at key touchpoints along their buying journey. Layering expensive data dashboards and connectors on top of this, as many stores often do, just compounds the problem and leads to more wasted marketing spend. It's never a good idea to make decisions based on bad data. An insider's guide to fixing your Shopify store analytics The first step to fixing your Shopify tracking is understanding where it fails. You know the data is missing, but what's going on behind the scenes to cause it? And is there a better way? Fortunately, there is. Our free guide on why Google Analytics doesn't match Shopify analytics dives into: The main reasons why transactions go missing in GA How a data mismatch affects your bottom line A comparison of different tracking methods What you can do to fix Shopify analytics Read the ebook >>> Adding Google Analytics to Shopify If you're not already using Google Analytics with your Shopify store, getting it set up should be your first step toward improved data accuracy. Though Shopify does have a default GA integration, it misses tracking many key metrics.  We have a full walkthrough on setting up Google Analytics on your Shopify store, which covers what to look out for after you've set up GA as well. Using the methods in our guide will help you ensure you get a full and accurate picture of your data in GA. For a fast way to connect them automatically, try out Littledata's GA to Shopify connection for free. The trial allows you to get an accurate snapshot of your key metrics, and you'll still own that data in GA whether you continue using our advanced data connections or not. [subscribe]

2021-07-30

5 DTC brands using Shopify Plus to fuel their success

Do you want to make more money with your ecommerce store? Of course! The better question is: do you know which services can get you over the hump?  The Shopify Plus plan is an enterprise-level platform designed to be the launchpad for your ecommerce business. Whether you’re launching a new brand or migrating to Shopify from a custom build or a platform like Magento, Shopify is a streamlined ecommerce option, and Shopify Plus offers even more functionality and support. Shopify Plus gives you access to:  Advanced apps designed for high growth Customized checkout and better control over branding Ability to sell globally in multiple currencies Shopify’s organization admin to manage all your stores from a single location These features could help you unlock sales and bring exponential growth to your store. Advanced app connections, specifically, can help you optimize key areas of your promotion strategy. Here at Littledata, we’ve seen many successful brands use these to their advantage.  So we thought, what better way to help you choose if Shopify Plus is right for you than by showing you who has already succeeded using it.  Here’s a look at five standout ecommerce stores that you can look to for inspiration when deciding if Shopify plus is right for your ecommerce store.  #1 - Rothy’s Popular San Francisco-based startup Rothy’s makes stylish machine-washable shoes and bags. Sustainability is key to their mission, so they use recycled and natural materials in manufacturing. That includes repurposing items like discarded plastic bottles and algae to craft shoe inserts and soles. Rothy’s offers a wide range of colorways and designs for their shoes and other products. So, customers browse the website longer and hit various touchpoints before checking out. With Shopify plus, Rothy’s were able to design a streamlined path for customers to follow on their buying journeys.  To ensure they capture valuable data on each touchpoint, Rothy’s uses Littledata’s Segment data destination. This gives full visibility of customer behavior through 100% accurate server-side tracking. Rothy’s can use the add-on to find what offerings grab the most clicks, use the data to make real-time product recommendations, and even adjust future designs and pricing based on popularity and customer engagement. They can also see customer activity during checkout and fine-tune the process to optimize their conversion rate. #2 - Sheertex One of the fastest rising ecommerce brands, Sheertex went from one founder’s bold idea to becoming one of TIME magazine’s best inventions. The company makes ultra-durable tights and pantyhose using award-winning fabric. They bring in a range of customers thanks to marketing their product as being “made for everyone.” Like many of the most successful Shopify Plus brands, Sheertex uses both Segment and Google Analytics in their data stack. They use Segment to personalize the customer experience, from emails to ads, and Google Analytics to analyze marketing data and make data-driven decisions.  Shopify Plus has been a great fit for Sheertex in general as they have a large number of products and product variants. Using the Shopify source for Segment helps them customize the user experience so shoppers get more of what they love! #3 - Athletic Brewing You might think, “beer for athletes, really?” But this brand is different. Athletic Brewing makes award-winning, non-alcoholic craft beer for more health-conscious beer lovers. Their brews earned them features in The Wall Street Journal, BBC, and Bloomberg, and partnerships with the Ironman and USA triathlon events. Testing different store layouts, marketing strategies, and new product lines is a staple of ecommerce. To get the most from their own experiments, Athletic Brewing uses the Google Optimize connection on their Shopify Plus store. This connection gives them accurate results from A/B tests, plus the ability to segment tests by products viewed, adds to cart, and other key metrics. The result is a fully optimized store crafted to drive sales and earn customers. The more data Athletic Brewing can capture about this diverse audience, the better they can optimize sales. That’s why they connected Google Analytics (GA) to their store. While Shopify offers a basic analytics option, for every 100 orders it tracks 12 go missing.  Littledata’s GA connection and advanced ReCharge tracking give subscription brands like Athletic Brewing accurate data about sales, buyer behavior, and customer lifetime value (CLV/LTV). They can also compare their site benchmarks against over 12,000 ecommerce sites and set goals for faster growth. #4 - SodaSense Homemade soda rose as a trend in the mid to late 2010s, and has continued to boast a passionate community since. As homemade soda drinkers know, the biggest hassle for this hobby is often getting more CO2 for your soda maker.  So, Shopify Plus user SodaSense stepped in with their own retail-based solution: a CO2 refill and exchange program. It gives subscribers the ability to exchange their CO2 canisters, no matter the brand, for freshly filled ones. For $12.99, SodaSense users can exchange empty canisters for a refilled canister of the brand of their choice. To manage these payments, which can be one-time or recurring, Sodasense uses the reCharge add on for their Shopify store.  This connection allows them to track first-time payments, recurring transactions, and subscription lifecycle events. It also captures the marketing attribution for their subscription revenue. This data is key for determining CLV/LTV and maximizing their overall revenue. #5 -  African Ancestry New DNA kits and ancestry test companies are arriving often as the genealogy industry has grown. Increased availability of genealogy kits for non-eurocentric people is one major benefit of the industry’s rise. African Ancestry is one great example of this. Their test kit uncovers the users’ country of origin and even the tribe they descended from. As with any growing industry, though, standing out from the crowd is essential to growth. Social media advertising can be a powerful tool for making that crucial impression with customers. Of course, the success of social ads depends on executing campaigns correctly.  To get this just right, African Ancestry linked their Shopify Plus store with the Facebook Ads connection. It allows them to ensure accurate campaign tagging and tracking, making sure they aren’t missing data and paying more for less reach. Should I get Shopify Plus for my ecommerce store? In short, the answer to this question depends on the goals you have.  If you’re in a growth stage and looking to increase revenue, then Shopify Plus offers crucial tools and connections that will help you achieve it.  As the stores above demonstrate, there are many functions of your business you can focus on to boost growth. Customer acquisition, attribution, and lifetime value are all key metrics to consider.  Leveraging Shopify Plus connections, along with the right approach to data evaluation, can be the key to unlocking your store’s true revenue potential.  Want to make sure you have the right data guiding your ecommerce growth journey? Give Littledata's 30-day free trial a spin and find where you can optimize your promotional approach for the best results. [tip]Did you know? Littledata Plus is a turnkey data pipeline designed specifically for Shopify Plus, with account management from an analytics expert[/tip]

2021-07-01

Podcast: How to fix your Shopify analytics with Littledata

How do you know if you're seeing the whole picture when it comes to your ecommerce analytics? Our CEO Edward Upton joined Keith Matthews, founder of Milk Bottle Labs, on their Shopify podcast to share how stores can conquer their data dilemmas and achieve exponential growth using accurate metrics. Listen to the full episode: Episode #48: Fix your analytics with Littledata As Shopify experts, Milk Bottle understands the critical role that analytics play in building a successful Shopify store. They're Ireland's only fully dedicated Shopify agency, but like many of our Shopify agency partners at Littledata, they help clients from around the world find the tools and information needed to craft the best Shopify store possible. During their chat, Edward and Keith discuss: How Littledata's years of experience as a fully remote company have helped us thrive What Littledata' Google Analytics connection brings to your store that Shopify's analytics dashboard doesn't What customer activity is important to track leading up to an order The importance of knowing your customers' lifetime value How General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy policies have impacted ecommerce stores What does Littledata show that Shopify's analytics dashboard doesn't? Early in the episode, Edward and Keith discuss why a store should add Littledata in the first place. The answer? It gives you critical information about the customer journey that Shopify's analytics dashboard doesn't. As Edward explains, Shopify's dashboard "does give you all the basics, like which products are sold, how many, how much you earned. But the problem is that it doesn't really give you enough detail on the actual customer journey to do serious conversion rate optimization or any sort of marketing mix analysis. So you just don't get deep enough about what series of events led up to an order and what were the different customer touchpoints. Yeah, you can see the last click that pulled (a customer) to an order. But, if someone buys a thousand-dollar couch, they don't just click on a Google ad and pay. It's a very considered decision, typically 15 or so touchpoints on average before someone would make a purchase. So knowing the last thing that pulled the customer there is almost useless. What you need to do is look at the whole journey in the marketing mix, all the different kinds of prospecting, retargeting, and engagement campaigns that got them to the eventual sale. And this is true for subscription e-commerce businesses, as well. It's very unlikely to be a sort of impulse purchase." How do cookie-blocking policies like GDPR affect Shopify store owners? New privacy policies like the EU's GDPR and California's Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) have restricted the ability for store owners to use cookies that track important customer activity. While the industry has been hurrying to adjust, Edward says that Littledata's server-side tracking is a strong solution for compliance. "Apple's basic belief — and I think Google's a bit on the fence, but may go down that path for Chrome as well — is that basically by default, users shouldn't be tracked. That as much of the sort of analytics-type tracking should be blocked as possible, which from the store owner's point of view is a disaster. Because, yeah, they don't want to track personal information about the user necessarily, but they do want to know in aggregate, 'how is my store performing?' and what [advertising] spend leads to sales. I think this is driving more and more stores into our arms because Littledata offers something quite different, which is server-side tracking, which doesn't rely on any of these. It bypasses these browser limitations." [subscribe] The Shopify podcast that helps you supercharge your store's analytics tracking Edward and Keith's conversation is filled with actionable insights that Shopify store owners can implement straight into their marketing efforts. Listen to the full episode to see how you can apply their advice to your store, or reach out to set up a demo with Littledata and learn how our powerful data connecters can springboard your ecommerce sales. After all, what good is a data-driven decision without accurate — or complete — ecommerce data?

2021-06-24

Try the top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify stores

Get a 30-day free trial of Littledata for Google Analytics or Segment