Category : Ecommerce
Lunch with Littledata: Q&A with Chad Rubin, CEO of Skubana
This week, we're kicking off a new Q&A-style segment on the blog: Lunch with Littledata! We sat down (virtually) with Chad Rubin, Co-founder and CEO of Skubana, a multi-channel inventory management and ERP software working largely in the Shopify ecosystem. Let's dive right in! Q: How are your customers handling COVID-19? Thriving? In a drought? Somewhere in between? What we're seeing is essentials thrive. Brands that are providing non-discretionary necessities in the household are doing exceptionally well, and that's where we're building our pipeline. But also it's how Skubana has historically been built, through customers selling essential finished goods across multiple channels with multiple warehouses. Overall, what you're seeing in ecommerce is a shift of spending behavior. With quarantine in effect, the only way to purchase right now is online, not in store. So while ecommerce isn't necessarily immune to recessions, given the pandemic, we're seeing customers on the Skubana platform behaving in a way that is inconsistent with what we'd expect in an economic downturn. Q: How has Skubana adapted to the pandemic era? Honestly, as a retail operations platform, we're at the epicenter of this rush to be online and supply this surge in demand. Skubana enables both brick-and-mortar and online purchases, whether that's on Shopify, Amazon, eBay, you name it. As a business, we're also extremely focused on our employees. Once the risk of COVID-19 was made clear in early March, we implemented a company-wide work from home policy. It was the first time we allowed that to happen. And I believe that it's going to become the future of this company, to flourish "remotely." [note]At Littledata, here's why we believe remote work is more productive[/note] We've been able to adapt pretty quickly from a company perspective, but it's not all rosy. We've already had some disappointing casualties from customers who have been on our platform for years. So while there's a lot of momentum and encouragement, there are some cases where customers have closed-up overnight or have sought relief. And we work with those individual customers to help them see this through, given the circumstances. We've been very action-oriented and proactive in our efforts to make sure that they come out of this alive and in business. Q: You also run your own DTC store on Shopify. As a seller, how do you mitigate the costs of unpredictable shopper behavior, both before and after checkout? In addition to co-founding Skubana, I also run a direct-to-consumer home essentials e-commerce business called ThinkCrucial. So it's great that ThinkCrucial is an "essential" business. We supply home appliance parts and accessories. Again, we're right in the epicenter of panic buying, of people stocking up. And a symptom of that could be stock-outs. Luckily, we have Skubana to forecast the demand, to mitigate if we're running low on certain channels, to allow us to be flexible with inventory deployment, and so on. So that's been just an incredible case study for us. It has automated our entire business and allowed us to be more efficient and resilient. I initially built Skubana because of these issues I was experiencing with ThinkCrucial. I was unable to find a solution that could help me with all of these things at once. Another cool thing that we've done is implement the Bold Upsell app. Within the Skubana platform, it's easy to identify high-velocity products that people are buying all the time, especially in this environment. And we've been upselling those people with additional products that they should be buying as well. And that strategy has worked very well for us. That's a simple app that we've installed that we didn't have pre-COVID that has increased AOV for us. [tip]Did you know Littledata has an advanced Google Analytics connection for Shopify and Bold subscriptions?[/tip] Q: What are some "hidden" challenges of cross-border ecommerce? And some underrated solutions? First, I just want to shout out one more app that I think we've been leveraging more heavily during this time which is called Tone. It's a Shopify app that leverages SMS to re-engage customers who abandon their cart. So as people abandon their carts, we've enabled this app to catch that customer that left to get them back into the sales funnel, which also lowers acquisition costs. We've been able to recover lost dollars and lost baskets because of it. [tip]Struggling to reduce cart abandonment? We have you covered[/tip] In terms of cross-border commerce, it's been just business as usual for us. I think everyone's well aware that there are fulfillment delays during this time as warehouse employees are social distancing, and air cargo availability has decreased. The most important thing you can do is make sure you have the infrastructure to enable the movement of parcels. And of course, we use Skubana to make that happen. [tip]4 tips for Shopify Plus merchants selling internationally[/tip] Q: What are some "tricks of the trade" larger stores use (especially those running on Shopify Plus) to handle busy shopping seasons? This virus is preying on weak businesses. We've seen that COVID-19 is having the biggest impact on retailers that don't have their operations buttoned up, and still working with inefficiencies. One of those weaknesses is that people aren't leveraging technology to replace low-value, repetitive tasks. Right now, people should be leveraging any downtime to reinforce and build the foundation of their business with resilient operational software. That means implementing software that is nimble, agile, and not painful to deploy. Software that connects to all of their channels and warehouses to properly forecast and demand plan. That's table stakes right now. On top of that, brands need to focus on technology that facilitates customer connection and retention. You need to reach out to those customers and communicate with them to convert them into buyers. And not just one-time buyers, but consistent repeat buyers, which of course, extends their lifetime value (LTV). We're looking at new apps all the time on Shopify. We already have our foundation built on Skubana, but we're constantly trying to figure out how we "one-up" others and excel or accelerate our progress in this environment. Q: How does ecommerce look different for larger Shopify stores vs. smaller/mid-sized stores right now? So I think this downturn has been beneficial for many small businesses. I see good and bad with these unprecedented circumstances. We know that Shopify stores have been seeing Black Friday traffic every day of this pandemic. Additionally, we saw Amazon restrict certain items to FBA, which ultimately reinforces the need for diversification and a multi-channel strategy. Those that are positioned and diversified across multiple channels that have the right infrastructure to be able to support this uptick have been able to benefit. And a lot of those SMBs have built their sites on Shopify, so I think that's a huge positive for the small to medium-sized businesses. We saw sellers who focused exclusively on Amazon become significantly affected because they couldn't replenish the products during the FBA block. Also, Amazon didn't let you add new listings to their catalog for some time. So actually, we saw sellers move to Walmart and eBay because they were able to accept new products onto their platform. So a lot of new merchants and brands embraced other channels during this period and opened up. Another thing to note is that Google started offering free product listings. So I think that there might be a shift coming out of Coronavirus to expand as an SMB across many other channels. Q: How important is it to have accurate Shopify tracking & reporting? It's essential. If you're using multiple point solutions, like a purchase order app or a forecasting app, and you're just duct-taping them together, but they were never meant to talk to each other, your data is not going to be accurate. If you're using multiple point solutions, and you're just duct-taping them together, but they were never meant to talk to each other, your data is not going to be accurate. I've tried every other software out there. I developed Skubana out of the pain that I've experienced deploying those other point solutions and those fragmented pieces of software. Having everything in one place is vital so that you're able to ensure your products are in-stock and making you money. It means you are not spending your precious time doing manual labor to calculate how much inventory to reorder, when to buy, where to ship that new inventory to, which vendor needs the most lead time, etc. [note]Here's how you can get 100% accurate Shopify tracking[/note] Q: How do Skubana customers (merchants) use tracking to optimize performance? When you have a holistic solution for every part of your business, you're able to make more decisive decisions regarding growth, expansion, replenishment, and even cutting back. When you have a holistic solution for every part of your business, you're able to make more decisive decisions regarding growth, expansion, replenishment, and even cutting back. You need to have accurate data not just on orders coming in but on the inventory available across all warehouses, 3PLs, FBA, and fulfillment operations. Automating that is invaluable. And replacing human labor so you can have your team doing higher-value activities is the name of the game. To survive this, you need a resilient business that can scale as needed. As a retailer, you have to be more efficient with your staff and your business, and that's what Skubana merchants are doing with our platform. Quick links What you can track with Littledata's Google Analytics app for Shopify Littledata's top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify Try Littledata free for 30 days (full month of accurate Shopify data)
How COVID-19 has affected Shopify stores so far
In the wake of COVID-19, things in the ecommerce world are hanging in balance. We've been encouraged by businesses and agencies in the Shopify ecosystem stepping up to pool their resources and talents to help more vulnerable store owners (e.g. see how Shopify is helping, as well as Offline2On, an initiative we're involved with at Littledata). But, since we're analysts at heart, we wanted to take a closer look at recent sales trends among Shopify stores to see the impact COVID-19 is actually having on shopping behavior. Shopping behavior during COVID-19 While some stores have seen a surge of shopping activity and orders, others have struggled to match their normal volume. With no end in sight to the global pandemic, many shoppers are choosing to be frugal with non-essential spending. To find out how many Shopify stores were either surging or struggling to stay afloat, we broke down the data, week over week, from Q1 2020 (8 weeks total). We focused on: Order volume Average order value (AOV) We chose these metrics in particular because they're two of the strongest indicators of overall shopping behavior. We sampled 200 Shopify stores from across 5 different industries: Beauty Food and drink Health and fitness Pets Style and fashion But before we drill down data by industry, let's look at ecommerce as a whole. Global ecommerce trends and observations While global ecommerce has experienced an increase in order volume over the past 2 months, you can see the recent, steady decline in AOV during the same period (though it has mostly remained unchanged since Feb). It's possible the spike in order volume is due to social distancing, as country after country institutes their own version of stay-at-home orders. Interestingly, AOV's decline could be due to shoppers squeezing their wallets a bit tighter during the pandemic. With uncertainty looming in just about every area of life, some marketers believe shoppers are more reluctant to spend more per order; they're mostly sticking to "essential" purchases. Shopify order volume & AOV by industry The first graph below shows change in order volume by industry. The second graph illustrates changes by average order value, also segmented by industry. Beauty From the middle of February to now, the beauty industry seems to have leveled out in terms of orders. This is a pretty standard showing for beauty, which does not seem to be drastically affected by COVID-19 so far. The beauty industry's AOV may have seen an early drop, but has been steady since. Food and drink Food and drink likely experienced the rise in order volume the past few weeks due a the surge of worrisome shoppers; global uncertainty about the pandemic means grocery stores and supermarkets were packed for weeks as people stocked up as much as possible. Many subscription boxes (and meal replacement brands such as Soylent and Huel) have also seen a surge in order volume. However, the industry has hit a steep decline in the week since. A slight increase in order value overall, but nothing alarming or surprising here. Health and fitness Similar to food and drink, health and fitness saw a spike in AOV a few weeks ago that has since led to a steady decline. With no end in sight to the pandemic, this may continue as people opt to do their workouts at home and spend less on non-essential nutrition supplements and apparel. Pets Interestingly, the pets industry sank into a trough through most of February and March in terms of order volume, but has remained steady in terms of AOV. Style and fashion Style and fashion is looking like the "trendiest" industry (bad pun, I know) since early February, with a sudden spike in order volume (about a month ago) followed by a sudden drop. Style and fashion stores may see a resurgence soon, but it's too early to tell if this shopper behavior was due to COVID-19. As you can see, average order value has increased over the past few months in this space. So what's next? Over the next few months, we'll analyze the data from Q2 for a bigger picture of COVID-19's affect on Shopify stores. In the meantime, check out our benchmarks for Shopify stores and general website performance benchmarks. These tools are designed to help you gauge your site performance, as well as metrics like AOV, ecommerce conversion rate, mobile search bounce rate, server response time, and more. Stay tuned for new Shopify data analysis soon!
4 tips for Shopify Plus merchants selling internationally
Cross-border ecommerce for businesses using Shopify Plus is a simple and effective way to grow your business, boost sales and expand your brand’s global reach. However, a common mistake of many companies is quickly jumping into international ecommerce without taking time to develop a proper strategy for selling internationally (comparing couriers, targeting customers on a local level, etc.). Fortunately, top solutions like Easyship make cross-border logistics frictionless and simpler, as we partner with Shopify and offer access to a global network of shipping solutions with discounted rates. Here are 4 tips to help your Shopify Plus business sell internationally in a way that’s smarter and more cost-effective. Use multiple couriers to cut shipping costs In most cases, international shipping is naturally more expensive than domestic shipping. This means grappling with import taxes, duties, additional paperwork and other expenses that can quickly add up. Fortunately, there are solutions! To cut shipping costs and better protect your profits, you should always use multiple couriers to find and leverage the best shipping solutions available. Transparency with taxes and duties at checkout is also important, as they can quickly cut into your profits fast and complicate cross-border transactions for you and your buyers. Depending on the following factors, courier shipping costs can vary dramatically: the tax and import duty regime of the destination country delivery time and parcel size, weight and dimensions However, by comparing couriers transparently to see which offers the best deal for international shipping, you can lower your shipping costs and boost your bottom line in a simple, effective way. Offer global tracking When it comes to cross-border ecommerce and logistics, gaining customer trust is key. Because your products are being shipped internationally, the chances of delayed deliveries and potential damage to your shipments admittedly increase. This can cause buyer concern, which is no surprise. However, you can give your customers peace of mind and earn their trust by offering international parcel tracking. By leveraging tracking service apps like Aftership, you can effectively track shipments worldwide and relay the information to your customers, building a sense of trust and security as their orders move across country borders. Target shoppers on a local level When you target shoppers with familiar messaging (language, cultural isms, and local advertising) including the use of country-specific stores, you’re drastically increasing your chances for conversion. There are a few simple ways to do this: Create local versions of your online store Redirect your paid advertising channels Your advertising efforts on Google Ads and Facebook Ads can be redirected to send international shoppers to the specific store version of their country. This means shoppers can browse products and checkout in their native currency, increasing your chances to record a purchase. Local versions of websites can help make your online store feel more accessible for potential customers depending on their location. Online merchants should always use different URLs for different versions of their site as well as hreflang annotations and sitemaps to mark country-specific pages appropriately. Language localization is also critical for reaching international shoppers. Be sure your store visitors are able to access multiple languages. This is a feature specific to Shopify Plus. Airinum, an Easyship client, makes it simple to switch between languages and currencies on their website. Make sure your digital marketing efforts are also localized with language-specific email marketing campaigns and local SEO campaigns. Langify and Yappn Translation System are two viable services to use for effective language translation, though hiring native language writers often worth the added cost to ensure a more accurate translation of your website copy and marketing content. Accept local currency payments Finally, be sure that your online store can accept payments in local currencies. Forcing shoppers to pay in a currency they’re not familiar with could make them feel uncomfortable, especially when import taxes and duties are involved in conducting cross-border transactions. However, offering local currency payment options can help to build a sense of security and reassurance for international visitors by creating a localized, buyer-friendly user experience. More importantly, it’s an effective way to boost sales. 🚀 As a Shopify Plus user, you can use Shopify's payments feature to make transactions safe and easy. It gets even better — if your store presents prices in multiple currencies, Littledata’s Shopify app is 100% compatible with multi currency. Go global with Shopify Plus International ecommerce may seem complex and intimidating, even for experienced businesses with vast resources. But by implementing a strategy for cross-border ecommerce — including the use of multiple couriers to cut shipping costs, offering global tracking, targeting customers on a local level and accepting local currency payments — you can better prepare your business for global scale. By focusing on these areas, your business can appeal to shoppers on a hyper-local level while boosting your store revenue through increased sales and lower shipping costs. After all, that’s the key to success in the competitive world of international sales. This is a guest post by Steve Longo, the Content Writer for Easyship, the leading all-in-one shipping platform trusted by more than 40,000 clients worldwide to lower their shipping costs and break down the barriers of cross-border eCommerce and logistics.
9 ecommerce benchmarks to track during Black Friday Cyber Monday
With #BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) just a week away, we wanted to share recent data findings that should help you stay on track with your weekend sales goals. Whether you run your store on Shopify, Shopify Plus, Magento, BigCommerce or another platform, the following ecommerce performance metrics are prevalent to your store. [note]Want to know where your store stands during this holiday sales season? Check out our top 5 holiday ecommerce benchmarks. It's a free ebook![/note] From top-of-funnel shopper behavior to conversions and everything in between, know where you stand before the year's biggest sales weekend hits: Shopper behavior benchmarks Average add to cart rate Littledata surveyed 564 stores in October 2019 and found the average add-to-cart rate was 5.2%. What is a good add to cart rate? Anything more than 9.0% would put you in the best 20% of stores we benchmark for add-to-cart rate, and more than 12.4% would put you in the best 10%. What is a poor add to cart rate? Add-to-cart rate of less than 2.3% would put you in the worst 20% of stores, and less than 1.7% would put you in the worst-performing stores. How to optimize / Things to consider If your site is above 9.0%, you have an above average proportion of users adding products to their cart. If they are not following through with checkout, could they be checking prices or delivery options on other sites? To sell more, you must first boost the number of browsers considering purchasing. Reevaluate some of the more common problem areas: Pricing Images User reviews Delivery options Checkout completion rate Checkout completion rate is essentially the inverse (opposite) of add to cart rate, as it measures how many checkouts actually went through and were recorded as successful sales. Littledata surveyed 543 stores in October 2019 and found the average checkout completion rate was 45.2%. What is a good checkout completion rate? Anything more than 63.1% would put you in the best 20% of stores we benchmark for checkout completion rate, and more than 71.3% would put you in the best 10%. What is a poor checkout completion rate? Checkout completion rate (all devices) of less than 27.3% would put you in the worst 20% of stores, and less than 21.9% would put you in the worst-performing stores. Desktop vs. mobile If your site has a checkout completion rate (desktop) of between 34.1% and 66.1%, then you are average compared with this benchmark. With less than 25.9%, your store is definitely underperforming. For mobile, a rate between 23.9% and 57.5% is average, while any rate under 18.3% is underperforming. How to optimize / Things to consider If your checkout completion rate is hovering somewhere above 63.1%, you can focus more on increasing adds-to-cart. On the other hand, losing customers at the last hurdle is costly for your store. If you find your store below 27.3%, look in detail at payment options, delivery options and usability to ensure customers in all countries can complete the process. [subscribe] Ecommerce conversion rate benchmarks Average mobile conversion rate Littledata surveyed 1,107 stores in October 2019 and found the average mobile conversion rate was 0.9%. What is a good mobile conversion rate? Anything more than 2.2% would put you in the best 20% of stores we benchmark for mobile conversion rate, and more than 3.3% would put you in the best 10%. What is a poor mobile conversion rate? Mobile ecommerce conversion rate of less than 0.3% would put you in the worst 20% of stores, and less than 0.1% would put you in the worst-performing stores. How to optimize / Things to consider If your store's mobile conversion rate is already above 2.2%, trying to improve conversions beyond this rate may yield diminishing returns. If your current rate is lower than you'd like (whether before or after Black Friday sales), consider: Increase the conversion rate with more attractive product pages and product images Improve your checkout process and checkout flow Install Enhanced Ecommerce tracking to identify exactly where your blockers lie Average desktop conversion rate Littledata surveyed 1,095 stores in October 2019 and found the average desktop conversion rate was 2.0%. What is a good desktop conversion rate? Anything more than 4.8% would put you in the best 20% of stores we benchmark for desktop conversion rate, and more than 7.1% would put you in the best 10%. What is a poor desktop conversion rate? Desktop ecommerce conversion rate of less than 0.8% would put you in the worst 20% of stores, and less than 0.3% would put you in the worst-performing stores. How to optimize / Things to consider Similar to mobile conversions above, trying to improve conversions beyond a rate of 2.0% may yield diminishing returns. However, the same tips above for mobile also apply to desktop conversation rate optimization, including installing Enhanced Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics. Average revenue per customer Littledata surveyed 1,087 stores in October 2019 and found the average revenue per customer was $98 (USD). What is a good revenue per customer? Anything more than US$ 252 would put you in the best 20% of stores we benchmark for revenue per customer, and more than US$ 558 would put you in the best 10%. What is a poor revenue per customer? Revenue per customer of less than US$ 49 would put you in the worst 20% of stores, and less than US$ 36 would put you in the worst-performing stores. How to optimize / Things to consider If you're averaging more than $252 (USD) revenue per customer, your product price may be high. This does not necessarily skew the data, but is probably the reason you're in the top 20% of stores for this metric. On the other hand, if you find yourself making less than $49 (USD) per customer, consider doing the following: Increase the average checkout value by cross-selling other products? Offer free shipping above a minimum threshold Increase pricing on selected products Add and manage post checkout upsells through popular apps like CartHook [note]If you're looking to optimize your post checkout experience, our new and improved CartHook connection accurately segments your sales by source, medium and affiliation with 100% accuracy. 🚀[/note] Marketing campaign benchmarks Average bounce rate from email campaigns Littledata surveyed 2,110 sites in October 2019 and found the average bounce rate from all email campaigns was 44.9%. What is a good email campaign bounce rate? Anything less than 30.3% would put you in the best 20% of sites we benchmark for bounce rate from all email campaigns, and less than 22.2% would put you in the best 10%. What is a poor email campaign bounce rate? Bounce rate from all email campaigns of more than 60.5% would put you in the worst 20% of sites, and more than 69.4% would put you in the worst-performing sites. Desktop vs. mobile If your site has a bounce rate from email campaigns (desktop) between 55.5% and 25.5%, you're within the industry average. If your campaign bounce rate is above 66%, your campaigns are underperforming. On the other hand, if your campaigns on mobile are experiencing bounce rates between 63.5% and 36.2%, you're in the middle of the pack. Any bounce rate over 72% is underperforming for this benchmark. How to optimize / Things to consider If your campaign bounce rate is under 30%, chances are you either you have a highly engaged email list, or your messages and landing pages are well-designed and written; your visitors are sticking around! If your bounce rate is worse than 60.5%, your emails may be driving traffic, but quality of traffic is far more important than quantity of traffic. If you're not driving high-potential buyers through your campaigns and to your product pages, you're not giving yourself the best chance at a conversion. Average bounce rate from Google Ads Littledata surveyed 1,351 sites in October 2019 and found the average bounce rate from Adwords on desktop device was 39.7%. What is a good Google Ads bounce rate? Anything less than 22.8% would put you in the best 20% of sites we benchmark for bounce rate from Adwords on desktop device, and less than 15.8% would put you in the best 10%. What is a poor Google Ads bounce rate? Bounce rate from Adwords on desktop device of more than 60.6% would put you in the worst 20% of sites, and more than 70.0% would put you in the worst-performing sites. How to optimize / Things to consider If your site's desktop bounce rate is sitting below 23%, a solid portion of your Google Ads traffic are engaging on your landing pages (which means your chances for conversion increase). However, if your Google Ads bounce rate is above 60%, there are a few things to focus on: Improve the first impressions of your landing pages (copy, product listings, images, etc.) Move key content higher up the page Increase the page load speed [note]With a smart analytics audit from Littledata, you can see where you stand with key performance metrics like page load speed.[/note] Average referral rate from Facebook By 'referral rate from Facebook', we're referring to a certain volume of traffic, either from Facebook's website or tagged with Facebook (Facebook is now the second biggest referrer after Google). Littledata surveyed 2,035 sites in October 2019 and found the average referral rate from Facebook was 2.9%. What is a good referral rate from Facebook? Anything more than 9.0% would put you in the best 20% of sites we benchmark for referrals from Facebook, and more than 20.1% would put you in the best 10%. What is a poor referral rate from Facebook? Referrals from Facebook of less than 1.4% would put you in the worst 20% of sites, and less than 1.2% would put you in the worst-performing sites. How to optimize / Things to consider If your Facebook referral rate is above 9%, you may have an underestimated figure. Unfortunately, Google Analytics tracks untagged Facebook app traffic as "Direct". Luckily, our Shopify app fixes this problem by properly attributing marketing traffic and conversions so you exactly which channels are working for your store. On the other hand, if your referral rate is less than 1.4%, consider your ad spend on Facebook: is it targeted at the right type of shopper? Are you utilizing retargeting to bring visitors back to your site? Average referrals from Twitter Littledata surveyed 189 sites in October 2019 and found the average referral rate from Twitter was 2.0%. What is a good referral rate from Twitter? Anything more than 4.1% would put you in the best 20% of sites we benchmark for referrals from Twitter, and more than 7.8% would put you in the best 10%. What is a poor referral rate from Twitter? Referrals from Twitter of less than 1.3% would put you in the worst 20% of sites, and less than 1.2% would put you in the worst-performing sites. How to optimize / Things to consider If your referral rate is less than 1.3%, go back to social marketing basics: are you targeting the right audience? Are you utilizing retargeting or perhaps lookalike audiences? Twitter targeting is slightly more precise than Facebook (since you can target specific keywords, keyword groups or actual account followers). During #BFCM, don't just take these benchmarks as arbitrary numbers — treat them as goals! Just a week from the chaos, remember to track your progress closely. You can even try Littledata free for 14 days to test its powerful tracking fixes during even the busiest shopping weekend of the year.
Black Friday discounting increases next season’s purchasing
Black Friday Cyber Monday appears to be big business for ecommerce merchants. But what happens after the promotions? I knew Black Friday had reached ‘late adopter’ stage when a company I’d bought fencing panels from – fencing panels – emailed me their holiday season promotions. But the real question is this: will all these promotions actually drive customer loyalty, or only attract bargain hunters? Looking at the data At Littledata, we looked at aggregate data from 143 retailers who participated most in 2016 Black Friday, versus 143 retailers who did not. For the first 23 days of November 2017 – before Black Friday – the median year-on-year increase in sales was 13% for those pushing discounts the previous year, versus only 1% growth for those avoiding Black Friday discounting *. Our conclusion is that retailers who discounted most heavily on Black Friday 2016 saw a lasting benefit in extra sales a year after the sales period. However, we don’t know whether these extra sales were profitable enough to pay for the seasonal promotions. Another possible explanation is that higher-growth retailers are more active in marketing Black Friday, but in either event the discount season has done them no harm over the following year. Looking at 2016, it seems Black Friday was bigger than the year before for our cohort of 270 UK retailers – but at the expense of sales later in the season. Yet in the UK, we are not close to US levels of hysteria yet, where a much greater proportion of the last quarter’s sales are done on that weekend. What sectors does Black Friday affect? The other interesting question is what sectors does Black Friday affect? It may be a surprise that the biggest boost of over 100% average increase in sales comes for Health & Beauty stores, whereas technology and computer stores saw an average boost of 40% for the week. The graph below shows the difference with the average sales volumes in November & December 2016, by sector, for 3 selected weeks: Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised by those fencing panels: business and industrial sites saw a big boost too! Interested in tracking online sales activity for your own site this holiday shopping season? Littledata's ecommerce analytics software provides accurate data and automated reporting to help you track promotions and drive conversions and customer loyalty. [subscribe] *The statistical detail I took a group of 573 retailers we have tracked for at least 2 years, and looked at the ratio of Black Friday weekend sales (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday) to the 2 month average for November and December. Those in the top quartile (trading 2.6 times above average during the Black Friday season) were deemed to have participated; those in the bottom quartile, showing a dip in trading over that weekend were deemed not to have participated. I then looked at the year-on-year growth in revenue between November 2016 (first 23 days) and the same period in November 2017, for the discount versus non-discount group. A t-test between the groups found an 18% probability that the two groups had the same mean, not allowing us to dismiss the null hypothesis. [note]This Black Friday ecommerce strategy post was originally published in November 2017 but has since been updated.[/note]
How Shopify stores can get the most out of Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM)
Black Friday and Cyber Monday, often referred to as BFCM, make up the biggest weekend in the calendar year for ecommerce stores. With sales topping $10B in 2018, that number is widely expected to increase in 2019, especially with this year’s dates falling much closer to payday. The pie is very large indeed, and every Shopify and Shopify Plus merchant wants a piece. But to reap the benefits of BFCM and enjoy a big sales weekend, there is much preparation necessary, including using the entire ecommerce marketing toolbox. Here are four foolproof tips for a successful BFCM weekend for your Shopify store. These tips are especially relevant for Shopify Plus merchants, as the competition is really heating up this year, with more money on the table--to win or to lose. Especially with the help of accurate reporting, you can make the largest gains without drowning under increased customer demand. Make data-driven decisions to drive ROI With increased competition to gain the attention of potential customers, tight marketing budgets and high customer acquisition costs, the dependence on high-quality data has never been more crucial. The foundation of your planning should be driven by analysis on your customers, their personas, their buying habits and their digital behaviour. Using historical data of your customers with the highest lifetime value (LTV) and the lowest customer acquisition cost (CAC), you can refine your target audience ahead of BFCM in order to drive high-volume, targeted traffic to your store with campaigns that have the highest potential ROI. Google Analytics is a great place to start your digging. With the raw data in GA, you can build reports in Google Data Studio, which will display the metrics you need to build your audiences. Littledata’s Shopify app does just that. By ensuring your store data is 100% accurate when you see it in Google Analytics, the app helps Shopify and Shopify Plus stores make better, data-driven decisions before, during and after BFCM sales. [subscribe] Focus on remarketing campaigns It’s more than likely your prospective customers are already shopping around and conducting product research ahead of BFCM. Most online shoppers in 2019 make smarter purchasing decisions and spend more time finding both the right product and the best deal before making purchases. Engaged customers who have already visited your store and are familiar with your brand are more likely to purchase from you. They’ll also have a lower CAC and higher conversion rates. Data-driven retargeting campaigns on Facebook Ads, Google Display Network and Twitter Ads will give you the best ROI, which is why planning ahead and collecting accurate data in the weeks leading up to BFCM is crucial. Pay particular attention to recent email subscribers, abandoned cart users and frequently returning visitors — these are the people with your product fresh in mind. Optimize your site with A/B tests Test, test and test again. Whilst many ecommerce businesses make large changes once or twice a year, the most successful stores are continuously testing and optimising small changes, which lead to big results over time. Optimising your Shopify or Shopify Plus store in the weeks leading up to BFCM is critical; spend time running A/B tests with tools like Google Optimize, which allows you to seamlessly run multivariate tests and property tests. With these types of test results for your product pages and CTAs, you’ll have sufficient data to either prove or discount your assumptions on user behaviour and web design elements like button color, calls to action, site copy and more. The best marketers never assume or guess shopper tendencies; instead, use measurable data from A/B testing to make data-driven decisions. You data should also inform the types of tests you run. For example, if 70% of your traffic is coming from mobile, then spend most of your time optimising and testing for mobile. If you actually are optimising for mobile, some quick tips: make sure your navigation is clear and easy to use and the checkout is smooth. Shopify data shows that more purchases were made on mobile than desktop in both 2017 and 2018. Supercharge your page speed Website speed is incredibly important for BFCM. Shoppers are looking to get in quick and are more likely to leave your store with a load time over three seconds. To combat slow-loading pages (including your Shopify product pages), use tools like Google Lighthouse and Page Speed Test to get a loose idea of your average site performance. [note] For a more in-depth benchmark and for step-by-step tips on improving page speed, check out this recent case study.[/note] Small fixes such as compressing images and videos can help, but some stores go further — shutting off all non-essential apps or creating superfast AMP landing pages just for BFCM weekend. The oft-forgotten speed metric? Your customer support response time. With a mammoth increase in traffic and more orders coming through your pipeline, you’re bound to see a spike in customer inquiries. It may be necessary to increase your support team size for BFCM in order to deal with these requests quickly. This will help ensure that no inquiry goes untouched and your cart abandonment rate is minimised. [note] Cart abandonment is no joke, especially on the biggest day of the year for online retail. Check out these 8 tips for minimising your cart abandonment.[/note] Get the most out of BFCM with data you can trust In order to make the most of BFCM, Shopify stores and Shopify Plus stores need to plan ahead this month to ensure they’re working from trustworthy data. Not only does data drive persona building and decision-making, but it’s the bedrock for successful ecommerce. Littledata’s Shopify app provides the data solution that merchants need for everyday store performance, accurate marketing attribution and user behaviour trends. Try Littledata for free today so you have plenty of time to operate with accurate data before BFCM — it’s just around the corner! Installing the app takes just 5 minutes, and you’ll see accurate numbers in Google Analytics within 24 hours. [subscribe]
Does Littledata work with my ecommerce reporting tool?
We often get asked if Littledata works with certain reporting tools that are popular among merchants. Here's the short answer: if your tool can pull data from Google Analytics or Segment, then our smart connections will help you get accurate data to use with those reporting or data insight tools. Here’s exactly how we work with each platform. The Establishment These are the main ecommerce reporting tools. If you're using one of these tools, you're in luck. Littledata integrates with them automatically. These products include: Google Analytics Google Data Studio Tableau Segment Power BI Read on to see how Littledata works with these data insights tools to improve the accuracy of your data and the usefulness of your reporting. Google Analytics The world’s most popular analytics tool gets even better when paired with Littledata’s smart connections and full audit to enhance the ecommerce event data captured from your store. GA is the core tool to which Littledata connects, allowing you to connect to other dashboards below, such as Tableau and Data Studio. [subscribe] Segment Segment’s data pipeline is a trusted way to get analytics from one platform into dozens of others without complex engineering. Our source for Shopify and Shopify Plus helps you automatically send ecommerce events into any of Segment’s hundreds of destinations. Once the Segment connection is set up, you never lift a finger. Google Data Studio Data Studio is our dashboard tool of choice for more custom-designed reports. Because Data Studio integrates with Google Analytics, Littledata’s connections can all be exported from GA into Data Studio. While it can be slow to generate reports at scale, its unlimited free reporting makes it hard to beat for ad-hoc analysis. [note]Have you done something unique with Data Studio and Littledata? We'd love to hear about it. Reach out and let us know.[/note] Tableau Tableau, now part of the Salesforce family, was one of the first tools to provide a smart, easy setup dashboard. Their connection with Google Analytics is well established, and as with Data Studio you can access the Littledata events from there. Power BI Microsoft’s popular reporting tool can also import data from Google Analytics, so anything Littledata pushes to GA is available in Power BI. Power BI is especially useful if you want to visually explore your ecommerce data, as the platform offers interactive visualizations and a range of business intelligence (BI) insights. They also allow on-premises report deployment (behind a firewall), which is great for larger brands with large in-house teams. Newer solutions In addition to the 'establishment' above, Littledata seamlessly integrates with a number of newer reporting tools that offer Google Analytics insights and visualizations. These apps and reporting tools include: Glew Glow Yaguara These tools are especially popular with Shopify and Shopify Plus stores. Glew Glew provides some cleverly-curated ecommerce reports, but any of the underlying data on marketing attribution or customer behaviour pulled from Google Analytics will require Littledata’s improved tracking for full accuracy. Here’s a more detailed guide of the differences between Glew and Littledata. Grow Grow is a newer dashboard tool with hundreds of reporting sources, of which Google Analytics is their ‘most popular’. While some of the detail from Littledata’s connections may be lost in ‘basic reporting’ from GA, their multi-channel marketing reports are useful. Yaguara Yagura provides a series of templates to gain insights into your ecommerce business. One of their key integrations is with Google Analytics, and so the extra insights from Littledata’s tracking can be pulled into a Yaguara dashboard. Tools we don't work with directly The following tools don't connect with Littledata, and we aren't planning an integration. Conversific Conversific is an analytics tool for Shopify, with similar reporting to Littledata. While Conversific doesn’t offer the same smart connections as Littledata, it’s unlikely you’d need to use the two together. Metrilo Metrilo offers to optimize marketing channels for ecommerce. While their guide says Metrilo is a good alternative to Google Analytics, it won’t replace the reporting that Littledata provides. Zaius Zaius is an ecommerce CRM, allowing you to personalise and automate marketing based on customer interactions. As such, it needs its own event data capture, and can’t integrate with Littledata reporting. [note]Have you built custom reports using Littledata? We'd love to hear about it. Give us a shout and let us know.[/note]
Top 10 ecommerce sites using Refersion
By now I'm sure you've heard of Refersion. They're on a mission to make advanced affiliate marketing accessible to every online store. Littledata's Refersion integration quickly became one of our most popular connections since first launching it in the early days of our first Shopify app. Why? Because... It works automatically The need for accurate data grows exponentially as your affiliate campaigns take off! If you're thinking of using Refersion or getting started with Littledata (or both), I'll offer a brief overview plus 10 great examples of ecommerce sites using Refersion to outperform the competition. What is Refersion? Refersion is smart affiliate marketing. They make it easy to manage, track and grow your affiliate network and promotions. Refersion offers: A personalised affiliate portal Unlimited commission structures Easy ecommerce platform integrations Automatic approvals for affiliates & orders And much more... ...which is all really awesome. But how do you know if those affiliate campaigns are leading to the right kinds of sales? What's the lifetime value from each campaign or affiliate? [subscribe heading="Integrate Shopify, Refersion and Google Analytics"] The answer is simple: the most successful sites using Refersion also use Littledata to power their analytics. Littledata's Refersion connection makes it easy to track affiliate marketing ROI in Google Analytics, so you can do whatever you want with the data. Benefits of the advanced Refersion-Google Analytics integration include: Accurate tracking for affiliate marketing channels and campaigns Detailed analytics about sales, refunds, user behaviour and product performance Smart audit to check for accurate tracking Benchmarks against other ecommerce sites Without further ado, let's get into some great examples of top ecommerce sites using Refersion. [note]Did you know that Littledata and Refersion both now integrate with Segment?[/note] 10 merchants using Refersion for ecommerce growth 1. Bokksu Bokksu is a popular Japanese snack subscription that handpicks snacks Japanese people eat regularly and curate them into themed monthly box deliveries. Bokksu is also the only Japanese subscription box that includes a Tea Pairing designed to complement each month's snack selections. 2. Primally Pure Primally Pure is a skincare company offering 100% natural and toxin-free products that support "radiant skin, a healthy body + a happy self." The company sells a variety of body oils, natural deodorants, facial sprays and more. They also have a flourishing influencer community which they use to promote product incentives, referral programs, loyalty programs and more. 3. Athletic Greens Athletic Greens spent 10 years of research to develop a tasty supplement drink with better nutritional density than anything else on the market. With 75 vitamins, minerals and carefully sourced ingredients, the company is a leader in the fast-growing nutritional supplement industry. But here's what really sets them apart. As a subscription-based company, they only sell their product online to monthly subscribers, which they call ‘long term nutritional insurance plans’. They also run their online storefront on Shopify and use ReCharge for managing subscriptions, which helps them maintain a smooth operations flow and make decisions based on consistent, accurate data. Learn more about how Athletic Greens continues to grow. 4. CultureFly For fans of pop culture both casual and extreme, CultureFly creates subscription boxes, collectibles, and apparel. They also sell apparel for both men and women, valuable collectibles and accessories from pet outfits to headwear. Partner brands include Pusheen, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Game of Thrones and more. 5. Rocketbook Rocketbook, AKA "The Neverending Notebook" is designed for classrooms, offices and personal work items. The company's most popular product, The Fusion, is a reusable pen and paper notebook with seven different page templates that connect to cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Slack, iCloud, Apple Mail and more. The notebook has "42 pages packed with calendars, to-do lists, and notetaking layouts." 6. Pura Vida Pura Vida is a jewelry store founded in Costa Rica that helps provide full-time jobs for "artisans worldwide." Many of company's bracelets, rings, necklaces and accessories are handmade. 7. Dry Farm Wines Dry Farm Wines make and sell artisan, handcrafted wines that are "the only health-focused Natural Wines in the world." Their wines are free of chemicals and artificial additives, sugar-free and contain low alcohol content. 8. DX Racer DX Racer manufactures and sells popular gaming chairs and office chairs. They also offer a line of computer desks, branded accessories and apparel. 9. KontrolFreek KontrolFreek develops performance gaming gear and controller accessories for serious gamers. They sell performance thumbsticks and gear for PlayStation, Xbox and other popular gaming systems. 10. Luxe Fitness Luxe Fitness is an Australia-based collagen protein supplement for women. The company sells supplements, such as vegan protein powder, keto-friendly powder, an ice cream mix, a matcha mix and daily protein capsules.
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