Category : Data Strategy
Tracking the online customer journey for luxury ecommerce
Today I'm excited to be participating in the Innovation Meets Fashion event in Lugano, Switzerland. As an increasing amount of luxury and fashion retail moves online, high-end brands are finding it complicated to track the complete customer journey. In many cases, difficulties in tracking customers through to eventual purchase are holding back investment in the digital experience and online marketing. But it doesn't have to be this way. We've found a straightforward correlation in ecommerce between the average ticket price of the item being purchased and the number of web pages or sessions before that purchase is made. Simply put, customers spend longer considering big ticket items than they do with smaller ticket items and impulse purchases. [subscribe] Luxury retail involves many touch points with the brand across your websites, social sites and physical stores. The problem is that the longer than online customer journey, the harder it is to get consistent data on which top-of-funnel experiences are leading to purchasing. So first the bad news: since many potential customers browse anonymously, perfect ecommerce tracking across a long online and offline journey is not possible. Tracking browsers based on first-party cookies (such as Google Analytics) will fail when customers use multiple devices, clear their cookies or browse in-app (such as from Facebook). Yet there are three ways we have seen retailers selling high value items increase the reliability of their online behavioural data. 1. Track online shopping behaviour in detail Understanding whether customers browse certain products, view the detail of product variants and even add-to-cart is a good proxy for seeing which campaigns eventually convert. Does your brand have a good understanding of how each marketing channel influences browsing behaviour, after the landing page but before the checkout? 2. Offer a good reason to get customers to login before buying VIP offers, registering for events and discounts all offer a good way of getting customers to login from different devices. With the correct analytics setup, this login information can be used (without infringing the users’ privacy) to link together different interactions they make across multiple devices 3. Make the most of your email list Even without having a login before purchase, customers clicking through links in a marketing email can allow the same stitching together of sessions. This means that if a customer visits a link from their mobile device, and on another week from their home laptop, these two devices can be linked as belonging to the same email – and therefore the same person. Luxury online retail involves a complex journey. Littledata is here to make your tracking and reporting both easy and accurate. Sign up today to get started with our complete analytics suite, and feel free to reach out to our Google Analytics consultants with questions about best practices for luxury ecommerce. Your success is our success!
GDPR compliance for ecommerce businesses
Ecommerce companies typically store lots of personally identifiable information (PII), so how can you make compliance easier without compromising analysis? With the deadline for GDPR compliance looming, I wanted to expand on my previous article on GDPR and Google Analytics to focus on ecommerce. Firstly, who does this apply to? GDPR is European Union legislation that applies to any company trading in Europe: so if you sell online and deliver to European Union member countries, the regulations apply to you. It's essential that you understand how your online business is collecting and storing PII. Splitting PII from anonymous data points Your goal should be to maintain two separate data stores: one that contains customer details, from where you can look up what a specific customer bought, and one that contains anonymous data points, from where you can see performance and trends. The data store for the customer details will typically be your ecommerce back-end and/or CRM (see below). This will include name, email, address, purchase history, etc. It will link those with a customer number and orders numbers. If a customer wants the right of access all the relevant details should be in this store. We use Google Analytics as the anonymous data store (although you may have a different ecommerce analytics platform). There you can store data which only refers to the customer record. These are called pseudo-anonymous data points under GDPR: they are only identifiable to a customer if you can link the customer number or order number back to your ecommerce back-end. Pseudo-anonymous data points you can safely send to Google Analytics include: Order number / transaction ID Order value / transaction amount Tax & shipping Product names and quantities Customer number Hashed email address (possibly a more flexible to link back to the customer record) If a customer exercises their right to removal, removing them from the ecommerce back-end will be sufficient. You do not also have to remove them from your Google Analytics, since the order number and customer number now have nothing to refer to. You do still need due process to ensure access to Google Analytics is limited, as in extreme circumstances a combination of dimensions such as products, country / city and browser, could identify the customer. [subscribe] Isn’t it simpler to just have one store? Every extra data store you maintain increases the risk of data breaches and complexity of compliance – so why not just analyse a single customer data store? I can think of three reasons not to do so: Marketing agencies (and other third parties) need access to the ecommerce conversion data, but not the underlying customer data Removing a customer’s order history on request would impact your historic revenue and purchase volumes – not desirable Your CRM / ecommerce platform is not built for large scale analysis: it may lack the tools, speed and integrations needed to get meaningful insights Beware of accidental transfers There are a few danger areas where you may inadvertently be sending PII data to Google Analytics: Customer emails captured in a signup event A customised product name – e.g. ‘engraving for Edward Upton’ Address or name captured in a custom dimension Our PII audit check is a quick, free way to make sure that’s not happening. Multiple stores of customer details GDPR compliance becomes difficult when your customer record is fragmented across multiple data stores. For example, you may have product and order information in your ecommerce database, with further customer contact details in a CRM. The simplest advice is to set up automatic two-way integrations between the data stores, so updating the CRM updates the ecommerce platform and visa-versa. Removing customer records from one system should remove them from the other. If that’s not possible, then you need clear processes to update both systems when customer details change, so you can comply with the right to rectification. Conclusion GDPR compliance need not require changing analytics tools or databases, just a clear process for separating out personally identifiable information – and training for the staff involved in handing that data. I hope this brief overview has been helpful. For further advice on how your ecommerce systems comply, please contact us for a free consultation. Littledata has experience with every major analytics platform and a wide range of custom setups. However, as a number of global companies are concurrently prepping for compliance, we highly recommend that you get in touch sooner rather than later!
How to drive more traffic to your ecommerce site
Are you following a strategy to increase ecommerce site traffic, or are you shooting in the dark? In this guest post, Courtney McGhee outlines proven ways to get more web visitors. So you’ve created your ecommerce site and you’ve set up your social media profiles. Why isn’t your audience flocking to your site, cash in hand? The truth is, creating your website and social presence is only the first step toward generating traffic. Your strategies on these platforms will ultimately determine the amount of traffic that lands on your pages. You need to invest time, create relationships and sometimes even invest some money if you want to boost your numbers. In this guide, I'll show you proven ways to drive ecommerce site traffic. Step 1: Decide how many daily visitors you need Setting a clear, attainable goal should be the first step if you want to increase your traffic. Marketing strategies can be overwhelming if you don’t first determine what your goal should be. First, decide how much annual revenue you are looking to earn. Let’s look at the example of $350,000. Next, divide your total annual sales by the value of your average order. Let’s say your average order costs $50. This calculation gives you the number of annual orders you will need to reach your sales goal. For our example, that number would be 7000, or about 19 orders each day. Let’s realistically assume that 19 orders per day come from a conversion rate of 2%. That means you will need around 960 daily visitors if you are going to have 19 orders each day. These numbers will show you how much time you need to spend on generating traffic and can help you set attainable and measurable goals. Once you've decided on the amount of traffic you're shooting for, make sure your Google Analytics setup is giving you accurate data about all of your websites (including microsites) and isn't duplicating visitors. You'll also want to set up goals for specific events, such as when a customer adds items to their cart, signs up for your email list or completes a checkout. It's better to set up this tracking early before launching your new strategy--otherwise you won't know whether or not your new strategy worked! [subscribe] Step 2: Start your search engine optimization (SEO) Search engines are (or should be) one of the biggest sources of your traffic. Now, it’s time to milk them for all they’re worth. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be a main focus to drive organic traffic to your site. Whether or not you have just launched your ecommerce store, you should make a habit of reviewing each page and product on your site. To do this, you need to start an SEO audit. Enter your URL on an SEO tool like WooRank, and start an Advanced Review. You can add up to three competitors here to take your SEO up a notch. Add keywords you want to track in the Keyword Tool, and choose the location where you want to focus on. In the keyword tool, you will be able to see the volume and rank for each keyword and how you are doing against your competition. There are plenty of free keyword research tools available if you aren’t sure which ones you should be targeting. Now that you have chosen your keywords to use for optimization efforts, you should make sure you are using them in a consistent and natural way. Using them in your title tags, meta descriptions and body content will help you become more visible to your target audience. To really optimize your keyword strategy, I recommend setting up site-search tracking to see what visitors are searching for on your site and also monitoring how keywords convert on your site by adding Search Console to your Google Analytics account before moving onto the next step. Step 3: Craft your content...carefully Even for an ecommerce site, it is essential to have useful, relevant and authoritative content. Of course, it is critical to have product images, but product descriptions will really help you boost your traffic. With product descriptions, you can weave in the keywords you can easily rank for that can also drive conversions. It’s actually easier to rank higher for long tail, localized keywords that will align with your visitors’ search queries. If you are selling garden supplies and you can rank highly for “planter for tomatoes”, the produce descriptions should use “planter for tomatoes”. Include that phrase in the title, as well. The product images need to be clear and representative of the actual product you are selling. Don’t forget to include the alt text with every image you use. This should go without saying, but don’t use images you downloaded from the internet that aren’t pictures of what you are actually selling. Also, you can create content like product reviews or comparisons of different brands and models that are optimized for “planter for tomatoes”. You can experiment with other types of content on social media, like videos, that can help you rank highly on search results. Videos related to the product that can also be embedded on your site is another easy way to incorporate your keywords in your content. Step 4: Tap into social media influencers In terms of brand engagement, Instagram is one of the best platforms. There is a whopping 25% more engagement on Instagram compared to other social media platforms. Also, studies show that nearly 25% of online shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations. In order to tap into the influencer market, you need to find the people who are willing to feature your products to their many followers. Finding those people, though, is easier said than done. A tool like WEBSTA can help you find the most popular Instagram hashtags and accounts. Once you find the influencer with a substantial amount of followers that aligns with your general category, you can contact him or her and ask for your product to be featured. Step 5: Entice visitors with contests Let’s be honest: everyone loves a good freebie. Does your site have a gift that your customers will find worthwhile? Use your social media profiles, your website and your influencers to get the word out that you are having a contest for free goodies. If your potential customers think your gift is valuable, they will share it with their friends and families. The only con to this strategy is attracting people who are only interested in free stuff. These users will likely never convert to customers, so use this option only when it makes sense for your brand. Step 6: Publish user reviews Search Engine Land noted that 88% of shoppers trust reviews they read online. You can encourage your users to leave reviews on your website and social media accounts. Reviews will help you rank higher in search results, and users are more likely to click on your site/social media pages. User reviews ensure fresh, relevant content - a big plus in Google’s eyes. Here are some more stats from Econsultancy on why user reviews are so valuable: Bad reviews improve conversions by 67% 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a website with user reviews Reviews generate an average boost in sales of 18% Step 7: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising At least 43% of ecommerce traffic, on average, comes from Google search (organic). But, more than a quarter of traffic is coming from Google AdWords, according to Wolfgang Digital. So, it’s important to have both your SEO and PPC set up correctly. As mentioned above, during your keyword research find the keyword your audience uses most, like “tomato planters”. This includes the long tail keywords, too, like “best planters for tomatoes”. Now, run a PPC campaign including both keywords. Primary keywords will generate more traffic, while long tail keywords will drive less traffic but higher conversion rates. To increase conversions even more, you can link your AdWords account to your Analytics account, then use Buyer Personas for specific marketing channels to target those users that are more likely to spend money on your site. So, are you ready for real growth? Bringing traffic to your ecommerce sites all starts with setting a clearly-defined goal. You need to know where your existing traffic is coming from, and optimize all of your platforms for your visitors and search engine bots. Incorporating other strategies, when done correctly, will help you bring more eyes to your site. Contests and PPC advertising are great ways to get your product in front of your target audience. I hope this guide helps take your online store to the next level! Courtney McGhee is on the Marketing Team at WooRank, an SEO audit tool that has helped millions of websites with their SEO efforts. A former journalist in North Carolina, Courtney shifted gears and entered the digital marketing world in Brussels, Belgium.
Is Google Analytics compliant with GDPR?
5 (bad) reasons not to do a Google Analytics audit
Does this sound familiar? 'We know our data's bad, but we don't have the time or resources to fix it'. Or, even worse: 'I checked a bunch of other metrics and they didn't justify our current ad spend, so I think I'll just present that same old report at the meeting today...again. Luckily we haven't fixed our Google Analytics setup to track too much relevant data about other marketing channels, or to connect those channels directly to revenue, because then we might need to change our whole strategy!' There's still a lot of confusion out there about the role and scope of an analytics audit. With a free audit tool directly in the app, Littledata is on a mission to change this. Here are some (slightly exaggerated) versions of common objections to doing an analytics audit, and how to overcome them. 1. You don't know what a Google Analytics audit is Okay, not to start this somewhat ironic post with an entirely un-ironic objection, but not understanding the process is probably the only good reason not to audit your analytics setup. Luckily an analytics audit is actually very straightforward: it's simply a check of your analytics configuration and implementation. Some consultants and last-gen apps can make the audit process seem confusing and disorienting. If that's been your experience, we're here to help. Our free Google Analytics audit tool explains the process in real time. Not only that, but many tracking and reporting issues can be fixed automatically by the app (hello, intelligent algorithm!). 2. You don't believe in marketing ROI There are a lot of fluffy tools out there. Google Analytics isn't one of them. It's not that all digital marketers take action based on analytics, but a majority of the top ones do. That's what makes them the best. If you need convincing that accurate data is the secret sauce behind higher marketing ROI (return on investment), check out the recent Google Analytics research with Econsultancy, where they found that '60% of leading marketers routinely take action based on analytics, and are also 48% more likely than mainstream marketers to say their strategy is strongly data-driven'. 3. You trust everything you read online Failing to audit your analytics setup is basically the same as believing that everything you read online is true, no matter the source. Why? Because bad data produces bad reports. This is true no matter how fancy your reporting templates might be, or how much time you've spent making spreadsheets of Google Analytics data look accessible. Unless you regularly audit your analytics setup, how do you know if you're tracking the right things in the right manner? This is especially true if you're using an otherwise awesome ecommerce platform like Shopify, which has notoriously questionable tracking that also happens to be easy to fix with the right analytics app. [subscribe] 4. You think that the customer is always wrong Customer happiness isn't just a buzzword, it's increasingly what's driving the growth and expansion of online businesses, especially in the ecommerce space. Big players like Amazon learned this early on, and they built an effective - and addictive - customer experience around heaps of data on everything from affiliate ads to repeat buying activity. Think you don't have access to those same tools? Think again. If you want to build a better customer experience, it's essential to start with the correct Google Analytics setup and end the guessing games about where your leads and customers come from, and how they act. That's where the audit comes in. 5. You're betting on failure Are you betting that your own company will fail? Unless you secretly run an ecommerce hedge fund and have shorted your own startup, this is probably a bad idea. Auditing your data tracking across the customer life cycle is a sure way to see what's working, what's not, and what can be improved. Otherwise you're stuck with bad data and revenue tracking that might not have much to do with the reality - or the future - of your online business. Is there a better way? Look, we get it. Change can be scary, but choosing to stay stuck in the same data rut isn't the way forward. We've helped over a thousand online businesses fix their Google Analytics setup to capture accurate, relevant data. Littledata's industry-leading automated audit tool is free to run as often as you'd like. Sign up today and start trusting your data.
Custom reporting for marketing agencies
Are you a digital marketing agency looking for new reporting solutions? As our agency partnerships continue to grow, we thought it would be useful to outline how Littledata's custom reporting helps forward-thinking agencies cut down on reporting time, visualise data and improve performance for their clients. The marketing landscape is complex, but your reporting doesn't have to be overly complicated. With such a wide range of channels and sites to track, many agencies struggle to find the best analytics tools. To you we say: Welcome, you've finally found a solution that both simplifies and enhances the reporting process. Smarter reporting and accurate analytics Do you produce regular campaign performance reports in Excel or Google Sheets for your clients? Have you rejected other reporting solutions as being too rigid or complex for your needs? Then Littledata’s custom reports could work well for you and your clients. We automate the data fetching and calculations you currently run manually, and display the results to clients in a streamlined web app. We'll even show you the most important metrics, and report on key changes - automatically. One key advantage over tools such as Tableau, Data Studio or Chartio is that you can define a template report and then roll it out for many different web properties (or segments of websites) with the click of a button. Compared with other solutions you may have considered we also offer: Full support in data setup, report design and client onboarding Branded report packs for your clients and customers Complete life cycle data on your clients' customers, from marketing attribution to repeat purchases (including for subscription-based businesses) 1st line support to end users Flexibility to calculate any metrics (using Google Sheets in our processing pipeline) Comparison to industry benchmarks for sales, marketing and web performance - or create private benchmarks amongst your own client base Actionable insights for any online business to improve marketing ROI and increase conversions, whether one large ecommerce site or a series of micro-sites Integration of Google Analytics with Google Search Console data for powerful SEO reports [subscribe] We’re also open to discussions about white-labelling the Littledata app. This type of partnership works best for agencies with at least 20 clients ready to take advantage of our intelligent analytics tools. Please contact us if you’d like a demo, to see how this has worked for existing customers, or to discuss a particular client’s needs. Get ready to love your analytics :)
What to test with Google Optimize
So you’ve got a brand new tool in your web performance kit – Google Optimize – and now you want to put it to good use. What can you test with Optimize and how does it work? Firstly, what are the different options for setting up an experiment? AB Test Using the in-page editor you can create an altered version of the page you wish to test. This could be a change of text copy, different styling, or swapping in a different image. You can also add new scripts or HTML if you’re familiar with coding. The way this works is Optimize adds a script after the page loads to manipulate the page text, images or styles. I recommend not switching header elements or large images using this method as, depending on your website setup, there may be a noticeable flicker– try a redirection test below. You can create many versions with subtly different changes (C, D and E versions if you want) – but remember you’ll need a large volume of traffic to spot significant differences between lots of variations. You can also limit the test to a certain segment of users – maybe only first time visitors, or those on mobile devices. Multivariate Test Similar to an AB test, a multivariate test is used when you have a few different aspects of the page to change (e.g. image and headline text) and you want to see which combination is most engaging. To get a significant result, you'll need a large volume of traffic - even more than testing many options in AB tests. Redirection Test This is where you have two different versions of a page – or a different flow you want to start users on. Optimize will split your visitors, so some see the original page and some are redirected to the B version. A redirection test is best when the page content or functionality is very different – perhaps using a whole different layout. The disadvantage is you’ll need a developer to build the B version of the page, which may limit the speed of cycling tests. Personalisation Personalisation is not officially supported by Optimize right now, but we’ve found it to be a useful tool. You can assign 99.9% of the visitors who match certain criteria to see the alternative version of the page. An example is where you have a special offer or local store in a particular city - see our step-by-step local personalisation example. You can ensure that all the visitors from that city see a different version of the page. Unfortunately on the free version of Google Optimize you are limited to 3 concurrent ‘experiments’ – so it won’t be a good solution if you want to run similar personalisation across lots of cities or groups of users. Next the question is where to start with tests... Start with the landing pages Landing pages get the greater volume of traffic, and are where small visual changes (as opposed to new product features) make the biggest difference to user engagement. This greater volume allows you to get a significant result quicker, meaning you can move on to the next test quicker. And keep on improving! So what exactly could you test using Google Optimize? Here are six ideas to get you going. 1. Could call-to-actions (CTA) be clearer? Changing the colour or contrast of a key button or link on the page (within your brand guidelines) usually results in more visitors clicking it. This might involve changing the style of the CTA itself, or removing elements close by on the page – to give the CTA more space to stand out. [subscribe] 2. Are you giving the user too many choices? In Steve Krug’s classic Don’t Make me Think he explains how any small confusion in the user’s mind can stop them making any choice. Every choice the user has to make is an opportunity for them to give up. Try hiding one of the options and seeing if more users overall choose any of the remaining options. 3. Is the mobile page too long? As many sites move to responsive designs that switch layout on smaller screens, this has led to mobile pages becoming very long. User may get ‘scroll fatigue’ before then get to critical elements on the page. Try cutting out non-essential sections for mobile users, or editing copy or images to make the page shorter. You could also try switching sections so that the call-to-action is higher up the page on mobile – although this is harder to achieve without a redirection test. 4. Is localisation important to your users? You may have discussed providing local language content for your users, and been unsure if it is worth the costs of translation and maintenance. Why not test the benefits for a single location? As with the personalisation tests, you can show a different local language (or local currency) version of the page to half the users in the single location (e.g. Spanish for visitors from Mexico) and see if they convert better. 5. Does the user need more reassurance before starting to buy? It easier to build experiments which remove elements to the page, but you should also consider adding extra explanation messages. A common problem on ecommerce stores is that visitors are unsure what the shipping charges or timing will be before adding to cart. Could you add a short sentence at the start of the journey (maybe on a product page) to give an outline of your shipping policy? Or maybe some logos of payment methods you accept? 6. Changing header navigation If your site has a complex mix of products that has evolved over time it may be time to try a radical new categorisation – maybe splitting products by gender or price point rather than by type. For this test, you’ll want to target only new visitors – so you don’t confuse regular visitors until you’re sure it’s permanent. You will also need to make the navigation changes on all pages across the site. Good luck! Littledata also offering consulting and AB testing support, so please contact us for any further advice.
Shopify Marketing Events vs Google Analytics
At the Shopify Unite conference today I heard plenty of great ideas such as ShopifyPay but the most interesting for me as a data specialist was the marketing events API. Since we launched our Fix Google Analytics Shopify app earlier this year we’ve known that reporting was a weak spot in Shopify’s platform offering, and they admit that ‘understanding marketing campaign performance’ is one of the biggest challenges of Shopify merchants right now. The ability for other Shopify apps to plug their campaign cost and attribution data into Shopify (via the marketing events API) is a logical step to building Shopify’s own analytics capability, but I don’t believe it will be a substitute for Google Analytics (GA) anytime soon. Here’s why: 1. Google Analytics is the industry standard Every online marketer has used Google Analytics, and many have favourite reports they’ve learned to interpret. Moving them to use a whole new analysis platform will take time– and it’s taken GA 10 years to achieve that dominance. 2. GA provides platform-agnostic data collection For a store using Shopify as their only source of insights, moving away from Shopify would mean losing all the historic marketing performance data – so it would be very hard to make like-for-like comparisons between the old platform and the new. Many of our customers have used GA during and after a platform shift to get continuous historical data. Which ties into my first point that over 85% of businesses have a history of data in GA. 3. Incomplete marketing tagging will still cause issues Making valid analysis on multi-channel marketing performance relies on having ALL the campaigns captured - which is why our GA audit tool checks for completeness of campaign tagging. Shopify’s tracking relies on the same ‘utm_campaign’ parameters as GA, and campaigns that are not properly tagged at the time cannot be altered retrospectively. [subscribe] 4. Google is rapidly developing Google Analytics I’d like to see the Shopify marketing event collection evolve from its launch yesterday, but Google already has a team of hundreds working on Google Analytics, and it seems unlikely that Shopify will be able to dedicate resources to keep up with the functionality that power users need. 5. More integrations are needed for full campaign coverage Shopify’s marketing analysis will only be available for apps that upgrade to using the new API. Marketing Events has launched with integrations for Mailchimp and Facebook (via Kit) but it won’t cover many of the major channels (other emails, AdWords, DoubleClick for Publishers) that stores use. Those integrations will get built in time, but until then any attribution will be skewed. 6. GA has many third-party integrations Our experience is that any store interested in their campaign attribution quickly wants more custom analysis or cuts of the data. Being able to export the data into Littledata’s custom reports (or Google Sheets or Excel) is a popular feature – and right now Shopify lacks a reporting API to provide the same customisations. You can only pull raw event data back out. That said, there are flaws with how GA attribution works. Importing campaign cost data is difficult and time consuming in GA – apart from the seamless integration with AdWords – and as a result hardly any of the stores we monitor do so. If Shopify can encourage those costs to be imported along with the campaign dates, then the return on investment calculations will be much easier for merchants. I also think Shopify has taken the right pragmatic approach to attribution windows. It counts a campaign as ‘assisting’ the sale if it happens within 30 days of the campaign, and also whether it was ‘last click’ or ‘first click’. I’ve never seen a good reason to get more complicated than that with multi-channel reports in GA, and it’s unlikely that many customers remember a campaign longer than 30 days ago. In conclusion, we love that Shopify is starting to take marketing attribution seriously, and we look forward to helping improve the marketing events feature from its launch yesterday, but we recommend anyone with a serious interest in their marketing performance sticks to Google Analytics in the meantime (and use our Shopify app to do so).
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