Category : Ecommerce
How to protect your ecommerce website from cyber threats
Among the many positive things to have increased online since 2020, like entrepreneurship and ecommerce demand, cyberattacks unfortunately remain among the negatives to have increased as well. In fact, the average cost of a single attack increased in 2021 to $4.24 million per breach — in total costing the global economy around $1 trillion. While some companies—ecommerce merchants included—have searched for skilled developers to beef up their cybersecurity, McAfee found in 2020 that only 44% of companies had a response plan ready in case of an attack. With the ecommerce industry continuing to see record growth, strategies on how to protect not only customers but online stores as a whole from cyberattacks have become must-haves for store owners. Below we will discuss why cybersecurity is an essential part of a successful ecommerce website, the most common types of cyberattacks, and learn about the possible solution your business can implement to withstand cyberattacks. Why cybersecurity is important for the ecommerce industry It’s hard to overstate the importance of cyber security because so many things depend on it. Beyond vulnerable company information, your store also holds data on credit cards and other sensitive customer information. The frequency and severity of data breaches have significantly increased since the COVID pandemic, as most companies moved fully remote. IBM found when remote work was a factor in a cyberattack, the cost of the damage increased by $1.07 million compared to attacks when it was not a factor. You might already be familiar with some of the most high-profile cyberattacks, like when hackers gained access to Microsoft and the US Department of Defense’s SolarWinds servers, giving them remote access to users’ devices and sensitive data. In 2020, hackers exposed almost 500,000 Zoom accounts and posted them for sale on the dark web, including customer emails, passwords, personal meeting URLs, and even host keys. Taking everything into account, it’s clear how essential it is to pay attention to cybersecurity and not underestimate the dangers of poor cyber protection. Building a dependable cybersecurity infrastructure brings peace of mind to both your store and your customers. Cybersecurity threats for ecommerce websites Cyberattacks can take on many different disguises, but here are a few of the most common to keep watch for. Financial fraud Financial fraud happens when a hacker accesses your bank account, meaning they can steal money directly or use it for illegal purchases. This kind of fraud also takes place when hackers create fake return requests, leading stores to spend heavily on fraudulent delivery charges. To prevent financial fraud, it’s important not to allow any customer credit card or bank information to be visible at any step in the buying process. Phishing Phishing has long been one of the most popular types of cyberattacks. This kind of fraud uses mass email campaigns with senders pretending to be a legitimate website—most commonly a popular brand or even a social networking site. The emails are designed to trick recipients into entering sensitive data into a fake login or form, handing hackers access to whatever sensitive information lies behind the profile login, and in some cases even bank account details. The best way to help your team avoid this problem is by teaching them how to distinguish fraud messages from legitimate emails and avoid opening them. SQL injection Hackers use an SQL injection—or an injection of malicious code to a website—to get access to a database, then change records or steal sensitive data from it. This type of attack most commonly occurs using a malicious form or link. Because SQL injections pass through existing security measures, they allow hackers to modify, move, or even delete data from your database. Malware and ransomware Malware is a virus that hides in plain sight, pretending to be a legitimate application. Relying on undetectability, they give hackers access to a device and provide a pathway to steal sensitive data. Ransomware specifically is a type of malware that limits or locks users completely out of their access to files—and in some cases, an entire device or network—until the victim pays a ransom to the hacker to remove it. Using a good firewall is a strong deterrent for malware, and it never hurts to add a malware-checking program like Malwarebytes to scan your device for existing viruses. Designated Denial of Service (DDoS) attack DDoS attacks flood a victim's website with requests, making it impossible to access. Regular DDoS attacks can harm a website’s reputation and, in turn, the amount of real traffic it receives. Using a DDoS protection service, like Cloudflare, is the best deterrent here. E-skimming The attacks listed so far are common for many different kinds of websites, but e-skimming is the most popular among ecommerce websites. This occurs when hackers add skimming code to the payment processing page of a store. When a customer enters their payment details on the checkout page and proceeds with payment, hackers capture the information, including all personal data, card details, and account numbers. Preventing e-skimming comes down to keeping your store’s software up to date and strong data management, which we’ll touch on again later. Cross-site scripting Hackers use cross-site scripting attacks (XSS attacks) to insert malicious scripts into websites. These scripts can extract sensitive user data that must be protected by the web application. Often, these scripting attacks are not used for theft exactly, but instead to find out if a website has any vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity solutions to protect your ecommerce website Now that we're aware of the threats, the first step toward protection is done. Next, we need to know how to protect our ecommerce websites and keep both our stores and our customers safe. Here are some of the easiest—and most effective—prevention methods you can use to protect your store. Secure payment gateway If you want to keep your clients’ payment data secure, it’s best not to keep that information in your own database, unless you are sure you have strong security protecting it. Instead, use options like PayPal, Stripe, or Shop Pay, as they have invested in high levels of security for their databases. Multi-factor authentication Multi-factor authentication (MFA) helps keep user data safe by requiring not only a password to log in but additional information only the true account owner would have. Some of the most popular options for MFA include fingerprints, one-time passwords, and authentication codes. SSL certificates Adding an SSL certificate to your website (aka getting the https:// instead of http:// in your URL) encrypts all information shared between your website visitors and your store website. It’s not only essential to avoid browser-based warning screens telling visitors your site may be unsafe, but also helps to decrease the chances of fraud and other cyberattacks on your site. DDoS mitigation DDoS mitigation services like Cloudflare (mentioned above) protect your website from possible DDoS attacks by using specific network equipment connected to the cloud. This helps offload the effect of a DDoS attack to keep your site up and running. Data backup One of the best ways to protect your data is by backing it up regularly. It’s safest to do this on a separate server not located in your company’s office. It’s also a good choice to automate your data backups so you don’t lose anything in case of an emergency. Device encryption Keep your devices updated to the latest software version and encrypt them for better security. The keeps your devices ready and ahead of new potential threats and cyberattacks. Some devices have symmetric encryption that uses one key for the encryption. Using an asymmetric key increases the level of security of your device. Wrap up For ecommerce companies, protecting clients' data is essential. The more secure your store, the more trustworthy you are to any customer. Remember, being aware of the cyber threats described in this article is just the first step. Once you’ve educated your employees on cyber protection, prevention by backing up data, enabling website encryption, and using secure payment methods, should be high priority items for any store that has not already taken care of security. This is a guest post from Iryna Bilyk. Iryna is an expert content marketing manager at YouTeam — a marketplace for instant engineering team extension. She passionately discovers and writes about technology, innovations, and software development solutions.
How to scale your business faster using first-party data [Podcast]
Data matters now more than ever for ecommerce store owners. It forms the backbone of any strong decision-making process and gives an invaluable look at customers you can't find anywhere else. But data collection is changing, with new privacy regulations and major tracking changes through iOS 14 (and beyond) adding hurdles to gathering truly accurate data. The solution to maintaining good data? Server-side tracking. To shed more light on the topic, Littledata CEO Edward Upton appeared on two podcasts to show listeners the power that data has on stores' future prospects, why it's so critical to focus on, and how to make sure you're using good data to guide your store. Keeping your ecommerce data accurate in a first-party data world Ed also appeared on the 2X eCommerce podcast to chat with host Kunle Campbell about the big changes facing ecommerce data managers today. They dive into new restrictions on third-party data and how data managers can use tools like the new Facebook Conversions API (FB CAPI) and server-side tracking apps like Littledata to maximize ROI through data-backed decision-making. The conversation is a must-listen for any ecommerce store owner or data manager, particularly those spending significantly on acquiring customers through ads. They dive into: What events you should be tracking to get to know your customers betterHow you can still get the data you need without violating privacy lawsWhat the future of ecommerce tracking will look like, and how to prepare for it Hear the entire episode to get the guidance you need to make the right calls for your store. Listen on SpotifyListen on Apple PodcastsListen on Soundcloud How to use first-party data to improve loyalty and lifetime value Speaking with Flavilla Fongang from Tech Brains Talk, Ed shared how being able to analyze customer data correctly — using accurate metrics, of course — shows you the best paths to take for building both customer loyalty and lifetime value. Listen to the full conversation to hear how you can learn from your customers' behavior and make adjustments to your store design and promotion methods to drive more revenue and win more business. Listen on SpotifyListen on Apple Podcasts
Podcast: Turbocharge Your Growth With Trusted and Accurate Data
Before you make any big decisions for your Shopify store, you need to know if you're making them based on the best possible data. Having 100% confidence in your store's analytics leads to you making the right decisions to improve your store design, offerings, and promotion methods. It's also the backbone of a growth plan that will help you reach your store's revenue targets faster. In the 200th episode of the eCommerce Fastlane podcast, our CMO Ari Messer sat down with eCommerce Fastlane's Steve Hutt to talk about why there's a discrepancy between Google Analytics and other analytics sources, how that bad data can lead you down a wrong decision-making path, and what to do so you set your store up for growth instead. The episode also touches on: How to finally have 100% confidence in your data accuracyFirst-party, zero-party data, and why they're important to your storeHow to audit and fix Google Analytics to ensure accurate trackingHow to get accurate marketing attribution (including cross-domain and multi-currency)How to get accurate Facebook campaign tagging and campaign cost imported to Google Analytics Get a free analytics audit just for listening eCommerce Fastlane listeners can get a hands-on look at how to use Google Analytics, Segment, or any connected reporting tool to get more accurate data on their Shopify store. Get benchmarks for your store that help you analyze your place in the market, identify areas of improvement, and then plan a roadmap for building a better data stack that will supercharge your growth.
The Ultimate Guide to Subscription Analytics
Now more than ever, subscriptions are a huge part of people’s daily lives. Not so long ago, ecommerce stores focused on one-off purchases to scale their businesses. But consumer buying preferences have shifted — brands and customers are focusing on relationship-driven ecommerce, and subscriptions are at the heart of that change. In fact, subscriptions are now the fastest growing area of ecommerce and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. The subscription ecommerce industry is projected to be worth over $246 billion by 2025 — scaling by more than 9,400% since 2016. In two years, Shopify Plus anticipates that 75% of direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses will offer subscriptions. In this post, we’ll cover... The benefits (and shortcomings) of adding a subscription service to your ecommerce storeHow to get accurate subscription tracking in Google AnalyticsHeadless tracking for subscription storesThe most important metrics and tools to get your subscription service off the ground Benefits of adding a subscription service If you're interested in growing your monthly sales and revenue, adding a subscription service is a great place to start. Subscriptions pose an exciting opportunity for ecommerce stores to unlock potential revenue, build long-lasting relationships with their customers, and create a community among consumers. One of the most notable benefits of subscription ecommerce is the consistent, recurring revenue. The predictable income that comes along with subscriptions allows management to: Plan and invest accordinglyOrder and manage inventory more effectivelyProject profits with ease and accuracy As Shopify Plus put it in their article on the benefits of subscription ecommerce, “on a deeper level, ecommerce subscriptions are about strong customer relationships. Subscriptions turn customers, who already see the value your company provides, into loyal followers who become reliable sources of recurring revenue.” In fact, the longer a customer uses your product or service, the more valuable they become to you. Plus, higher customer retention rates mean lower acquisition costs in the long term.” Where subscriptions fall short Unfortunately, Shopify stores offering subscriptions consistently fall short in one area — their analytics setups. Shopify Analytics gives you the baseline data, but doesn’t give you the full picture of your customer’s journey. That’s why many merchants rely on Google Analytics (GA) to dive deeper into their data. If you’re using Shopify’s native Google Analytics connection, you’ve probably run into a whole other set of issues. From data mismatches to aggregated orders, it’s evident that Shopify and Google Analytics don’t work well together on their own. We sampled a set of larger DTC brands on Shopify, processing over 50,000 monthly orders through a standard Shopify checkout, and found that on average only 88% of orders processed are recorded in Google Analytics. That’s a major loss; for every 100 Shopify orders, 12 go missing in Google Analytics. Subscription stores face even greater data discrepancies, with up to 70% of Shopify orders being tracked in Google Analytics on a good day and as little as 7% being tracked on, well, a not-so-good day. The major mismatches you see in subscription stores are due to the fact that orders are processed without any customer interaction. Data mismatches, no matter how big or small, hurt your bottom line. Whether it be marketing spend that can’t be attributed to sales or faulty retargeting campaigns, you can’t afford to make decisions based on inaccurate data. For data-driven DTC brands, accuracy is everything! Otherwise, you’re just leaving money on the table. Lucky for you, there is a solution to fix your subscription tracking in Google Analytics. Tracking subscriptions in Google Analytics Searching for a tool for tracking subscriptions that works right out of the box and ensures accurate reporting? Littledata is it. Using a combination of server-side and client-side tracking, Littledata captures data at every customer touchpoint. I know what you’re thinking — sounds too good to be true. So here’s the rundown on how the Littledata app works: Upon installation, Littledata adds a data layer onto your ecommerce site containing all Enhanced Ecommerce events — Google’s term for each crucial touchpoint in the customer journey. Littledata then adds a tracking script to capture each event as it happens.Finally, using combined client-side and server-side tracking, the app tracks all transactions and ensures 100% accuracy in reporting one-time orders, recurring payments, lifecycle events, and everything in between. We work with the top subscription services on Shopify and BigCommerce to empower your ecommerce store with complete data. Littledata automatically audits and fixes your data right at the source, bringing you complete and accurate data in Google Analytics, Segment, or any of your favorite reporting tools. Our plug-and-play solution is as simple as that. Minutes after installing, you’ll have access to truly meaningful data and the power to make your marketing dollars work better for your store. What does this mean for you? Make marketing and sales decisions backed by data that you can trustTrack one-time orders, first-time payments, and recurring transactionsAccurate marketing attribution data for one-time and subscription ordersMeasure LTV by product, channel, or sourceTrack multiple checkout funnels with 100% accuracyGet the full picture of your customers’ journey with tracking at every touchpointComplete tracking for headless setups Tip: Follow our simple guide to start tracking Ordergroove subscriptions in Google Analytics. Tracking subscriptions in other reporting tools While Google Analytics may be the most commonly used reporting tool, it's far from the only one on the market. The tools below are also widely popular for analytics tracking: SegmentGoogle Data StudioTableauPower BI The good news? Littledata's plug-and-play solution integrates automatically with these tools as well. Segment Segment’s data pipeline lets you collect, clean, push and pull customer data from one platform into dozens of others without the difficult engineering. Then you can utilize different connections, protocols, and personas (or single-user views) to analyze that data. Littledata's source for Shopify and Shopify Plus enables you to automatically send ecommerce events into any of Segment’s hundreds of destinations. Once you've set it up you'll be able to capture metrics from every customer touchpoint and attribute results from your Facebook and Google Ads spend with 100% accuracy thanks to our server-side tracking. Headless tracking for subscription stores Headless commerce doesn’t have to come at the cost of missing data. Whether your site uses a collection of headless landing pages or a full headless architecture implementation, Littledata's Shopify to Google Analytics connection is compatible with headless setups to capture Enhanced Ecommerce events and ensure a complete data match between Shopify and Google Analytics. What metrics are the most important for subscription stores? Analytics really matters when it comes to subscription ecommerce, which is why identifying key metrics is that much more important. The three most important metrics, which indicate your store’s performance, growth, and longevity are: Average order value (AOV)Customer lifetime value (LTV)Churn These metrics will guide your sales and marketing decisions and ultimately determine the fate of your store. Average Order Value AOV — the average amount spent by customers when they place an order — measures sales trends and reflects customer behavior and buying preferences. This can be one of the trickiest metrics to increase. Boosting AOV is a priority goal for ecommerce teams as it directly impacts profits (and customer lifetime value). Order value can be maximized with upsells and cross-sells, but there’s a fine line between encouraging and annoying your customers. Ecommerce tools like CartHook and subscription apps like ReCharge specialize in incorporating unobtrusive upselling into your customers’ buying experience, providing an easy solution to one of our customers’ biggest feats. Tip: Find out if your AOV is in good shape: benchmark your ecommerce store against thousands of other brands in your sector. Customer Lifetime Value LTV is considered a “universal indicator;” it’s a comprehensive metric that encompasses the overall health of your subscription store. LTV is the best indicator of churn, best projector of profit, and best aid in decision making. When it comes to marketing and sales decisions, LTV helps you easily identify which products and channels are your top performers and bring you your most valuable customers. Find out how you can use Littledata’s custom dimensions to calculate customer lifetime value with your data in Google Analytics. Churn For subscription stores especially, Shopify stores live and die by churn — the rate at which subscribers stop subscribing to your store. Churn is the flip side of your retention rate, revealing how many customers shopped with you and didn't return. Your churn rate is a critical indicator of the health of your subscription business, reflecting its overall viability in the long run. Where to see the data Data is everywhere. But at Littledata, we believe that you should have full ownership of your own ecommerce data. Unlike reporting tools that focus on external data storage or complicated interfaces, Littledata automatically audits your setup, fixes your tracking, and leaves it where it should be: with you. From discovery at the source to events throughout their shopping experience — our combined server-side and client-side tracking captures data at every touchpoint and sends that data directly to Google Analytics or Segment. If you’re using our Google Analytics app for Shopify, you can see that data directly in Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, or your favorite reporting tool that works with GA, like Google Data Studio. If you’re using our Segment app for Shopify, you can send data to hundreds of Segment destinations for analysis or remarketing. Tip: Read our free guide on how to make data-driven decisions for Shopify plus stores and grow your store with better metrics. Apps to fuel your ecommerce subscriptions Both Shopify and BigCommerce have a wide array of plug-and-play subscription apps that make it easy to boost your store’s performance; Littledata has built connections with the top subscription services in ecommerce to equip your team with the tools needed to make data-driven decisions. ReCharge ReCharge is a leading subscription management app, designed to let your store offer subscriptions with a few clicks. Since 2014, merchants of all sizes have used ReCharge’s billing and payment solutions to grow their business by increasing customer lifetime value and reducing customer churn. ReCharge has helped to power the growth of industry-leading brands like Wild and Grind through their revenue-boosting tools like upsells, SMS and email notifications, and actionable subscription insights. Check out our interview with Teddy Robinson, CMO and Creative Director of Grind, and find out how they harnessed accurate data to grow their monthly subscriptions by 50x in just three months. Bold Subscriptions Bold Subscriptions helps merchants to generate predictable recurring revenue and build customer loyalty with a customizable subscription program that’s unique to your business. The app is compatible with multiple ecommerce platforms, integrates with over a dozen payment gateways, and allows merchants to craft any subscription program with API customization. Bold Subscriptions is widely used across ecommerce platforms by brands like Wulf’s Fish and Staples Canada. Ordergroove Ordergroove is a recurring billing solution that helps merchants maximize subscriber enrollment, grow their AOV, and boost customer retention. Ordergroove allows customers to create a personalized subscriber experience through promotions, rewards programs, and more. It’s a popular solution for larger brands — like Yankee Candle and Kind Snacks — and offers a range of integrations to help brands scale. Smartrr Smartrr’s subscription ecommerce app is designed for Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants to offer personalized subscriptions to their customer base, allowing subscribers to manage their recurring orders, providing gifting options, and offering upsell add-ons and product swaps that increase customer satisfaction. Their no-code approach makes it easy for early-stage ecommerce stores — like Misfits Market and Sanzo — to hit the ground running with subscriptions. Paywhirl PayWhirl provides powerful widgets & tools to manage your recurring billing. Paywhirl helps ecommerce stores sell subscriptions, pre-orders, payment plans, and more. Rebillia Rebillia makes subscription easy by giving customers the option to save payment information for future purchases, subscribe to their favorite products or services, and send powerful, automatic recommendation emails according to purchase history. Rebillia empowers major brands like Charmin and Gillette to sell by subscription. Should you use Google Tag Manager (GTM)? This depends primarily on the marketing tags that you plan to use and the sources you want to collect data from. If you're looking for an automated solution, Littledata's connections can easily replace GTM tags for Google Analytics and Google Ads through server-side tracking. Littledata takes care of tracking for other data destinations like email marketing tools and CRMs as well. But, if you plan to use other marketing tags (like TikTok, Pinterest, or Twitter) then you will need to set them up using GTM. For this solution, Littledata offers a plus plan that includes a full GTM setup to make sure you have accurate tracking. So what's next? The rise in subscription ecommerce is just heating up; what better time than now to launch your subscription store? From subscription management to analytics and more — there are tons of apps across Shopify and BigCommerce to help you scale your business.Take the first step towards making data-backed decisions with your 30-day free trial with Littledata.
The growing Polish ecommerce market
What does the future of ecommerce look like in Poland? This week, I was honored to be invited onto a panel discussing ‘Riding the Wave of Ecommerce into the Future’ as part of the Ecommerce Trends Summit. Organized by MIT Sloan Management Institute Polska and the ICAN Institute, the summit offered a timely forum about ecommerce for a country rapidly undergoing digital transformation. As with all countries, Poland has seen a massive shift online post-Covid, and predominantly offline companies are scrambling to catch up with online-first retailers. These laggards were behind on use of modern ecommerce platforms like Shopify, but are now catching up fast as they understand the true cost of maintaining an excellent web channel. Since Shopify launched local language versions of their store admin in 2019 it has been a more popular choice for Europe-based companies, and Shopify is now heavily marketing in France, Germany and other countries. Many brands are extending across these markets, and at Littledata we've built multi-currency tracking into our main SaaS product for Shopify merchants. In the Shopify world, each country site is a separate-but-connected "country store" for localized shopping and payments. I’d expect more Polish companies to migrate to Shopify or other cloud solutions (WooCommerce, BigCommerce, etc) in the near future. The larger brands will likely choose Shopify Plus. [note]See the ecommerce trends we've identified during the COVID-19 crisis[/note] The other themes of the panel were more general to retailers globally: stores need smarter marketing, better personalization and a more unique sales proposition as competition heats up. In addition, Amazon.de (Amazon Germany) is just as big a threat to individual brands as elsewhere, but that makes it just as important for stores to own their own customer channel and direct brand experience. And that means running their own online store. Let’s hope Littledata gets to do more business with Polish ecommerce sites soon! [tip]Book Littledata CEO Edward Upton as an expert ecommerce speaker at your next online event[/tip]
Lunch with Littledata: Q&A with Casey Armstrong, CMO at ShipBob
This week, we're continuing our Q&A segment: Lunch with Littledata! We recently caught up with Casey Armstrong, CMO at ShipBob, to chat about the Shopify world, fulfillment, decision-making during COVID, Shopify analytics, and more. ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL that fulfills ecommerce orders for DTC brands; their mission is to make Shopify stores feel more successful online by providing reliable fulfillment solutions, warehouses near customers to help transit times, shipping costs, and the overall delivery experience. ShipBob also has a strong Shopify integration. [tip]Check out Littledata's top-rated Shopify app for Google Analytics -- with advanced tracking for Shopify Plus[/tip] Let's dive right in! Q: Has ShipBob’s core market changed during the crisis? Our core market has not changed since the COVID-19 pandemic started, but our core market has grown considerably. The reliance on selling direct-to-consumer and ecommerce has been steadily increasing year-over-year and now everybody who was hesitant or putting it off has to adapt immediately. "The reliance on selling direct-to-consumer has been steadily increasing" In addition, buyers are creating habits and becoming more comfortable buying online. This will impact retail forever. There is no going back to the percentage of retail occurring offline in the US. Q: Are you still seeing a big uptick in AOV when customers migrate to using ShipBob's fulfillment solution? This varies greatly by merchant, but by offering free shipping, fast shipping, or fast and free shipping, we have seen merchants see increases in AOV from 17% and up to 98% in extreme cases. Q: If you were personally to start an ecommerce business in North America right now, what would you sell? Happiness :) Q: What's the most common misconception ecommerce businesses have about fulfillment, or just 3PL solutions in general? The biggest misconception is that they have to be doing a lot of volume. That is not the case. In fact, ShipBob was built to democratize fulfillment for all ecommerce merchants. We have customers that are doing 50 shipments per month and customers that are doing well over 50,000 shipments per month. They both have access to the same fulfillment center network, run by the same warehouse management system, and they see everything in the same merchant application. Plus, we charge $0 for all of our software, including all integrations and our analytics tools. Q: Are a number of your Shopify merchants selling by subscription? Which apps are they using? Yes, we have a lot of merchants utilizing subscription offerings, so they can increase customer LTV and have a more predictable revenue stream. The most common applications we see now are ReCharge and Bold Subscriptions. [tip]See how you can track your subscription data with complete accuracy.[/tip] Q: Any tips for merchants who might be new to ecommerce? Know your numbers: COGS, customer acquisition costs, and fulfillment costs. Sounds basic, but if you don’t know your numbers, you can't efficiently scale your business or know which levers to focus on! Quick links Littledata's partner program for Shopify Plus agencies and tech partners Free ebooks about how to improve Shopify analytics Headless Shopify tracking with Littledata
Lunch with Littledata: Q&A with Chase Clymer, Co-Founder of Electric Eye
This week, we're continuing our Q&A segment: Lunch with Littledata! We recently caught up with Chase Clymer, Co-founder of Electric Eye, to chat about the Shopify world, headless commerce, decision-making during COVID, Shopify analytics, and more. Chase also leads the charge at Honest Ecommerce, a weekly podcast where he provides store owners with honest, actionable advice to grow their business. A number of Electric Eye's clients use our Shopify app for Google Analytics, and as a matter of fact,we recently partnered with Honest Ecommerce to assemble a list of the 8 best apps to help you scale in 2020, whether you run on Shopify or Shopify Plus. Let's dive right in! Q: How did you start Electric Eye? We borrowed the name from a Judas Priest song when clients got confused who to send money to for projects. We started the way most agencies start -- by complete accident. My partner Shawn and I ended up with a handful of freelance ecommerce clients, all on Shopify. We were tackling improvements and marketing and eventually it evolved into a business. That was about 5 years ago. We still have the same core values, with a few extra now. We started because we wanted to run a business that made us happy and truly helped people. Q: Has your offering changed during the pandemic? Our focus has been on ecommerce and the pandemic has really highlighted the importance of ecommerce, so we've been a bit busier lately. Our offer has not changed at all: we increase sales for ecommerce brands. We create Shopify-powered sales machines with strategic design, development and marketing decisions. We have been a little more friendly when it comes to terms for our clients, as some of them need to make investments now to pay off later. Q: Is headless ecommerce just a passing fad? That's a great question. I don't think headless ecommerce is a fad. I've been learning all about it lately from our Lead Developer. It has its place, but like everything in technology, it's just a tool. No tool will fix underlying issues. Using all the buzzwords on your store build won't make your product not suck or fix your marketing. Focus energy there. Using all the buzzwords on your store build won't make your product not suck or fix your marketing. Focus energy there. [tip]Did you know Littledata tracks headless Shopify setups in both Google Analytics and Segment?[/tip] Q: What's one episode you'd recommend for merchants who haven't yet heard your Honest Ecommerce podcast, and why? I'd probably recommend our most popular episode with Joe from Speedboostr where we talk about optimizing Shopify stores and automation. In this one, I feel like I've finally hit my stride and as someone who can actually host the podcast (haha). Q: And one more just for good luck? Our second most popular episode is actually the first episode we ever recorded with Kurt Elster. We chat about 'revenue optimization' for Shopify stores -- and who doesn't want to make more money? [tip]Check out Littledata's co-founder Ari Messer's chat with Chase in Honest Ecommerce episode #21[/tip] Q: Why are so many musicians interested in tech? I think it comes down to the DIY nature of most bands. You're so broke, you have to learn things just to get them done. I believe a lot of brands should do that too. Learn the basics about anything you're going to hire out so you can talk effectively about how your investment is going to create a positive ROI. Q: When's the best time to hire a Shopify expert? After you've found product / market fit. Simply put, this means you're seeing real sales from actual customers. This would be a good sign you've got an actual business. Nobody is going to build a business for you. It takes hard work, and you've got to do that work, or you're not going to get any results. Q: How important are analytics to your clients? What tools do they use? Analytics are extremely important and I could rant all day about certain ones in certain places, but in short, we try and focus on three main KPIs: Conversion rate Average order value (AOV) Traffic These three numbers run an ecommerce business. I've got a video on YouTube where I go more in-depth about it. Improving those metrics is where you should focus your time and energy. Shout out to lifetime value (LTV / CLV) as well, but that's getting a bit more complex haha. [tip]Selling by subscription? Here's how you can calculate LTV in Google Analytics for your Shopify subscription store[/tip] As far as tools go, Google Analytics is an amazing tool. It's free and more robust than almost anything else on the market. It's just a bit overwhelming to set up and use correctly. We also pull a lot of numbers straight from native applications or advertising solutions, such as Klaviyo and Facebook Advertising. Quick links Littledata's partner program for Shopify Plus agencies and tech partners Headless Shopify tracking with Littledata Import Facebook Ad Costs to Google Analytics for complete marketing data Resources for COVID-19 and 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)
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