Category : Ecommerce
The Ultimate Guide to connecting Segment to Redshift (and other powerful analytics tools)
Cloud data warehouses offer a way for ecommerce companies to scale as the size of their data increases, promoting unlimited storage space, cost optimization and analytics horsepower. But where do you start? Are there no-code solutions that are also best-in-class? Segment is an increasingly popular way to connect website data to a data warehouse such as AWS Redshift. In this guide we'll take a close look at exactly how this works, and the pros and cons for your longterm company data needs. Using Segment to connect Shopify to AWS Redshift What is Segment? Segment is a powerful Customer Data Platform (CDP) solution, but it's also much more than that. Segment provides businesses the ability to organize customer activity events from various platforms to a broad range of destinations, One of those destinations can be a data warehouse - an ecosystem that serves as the centralized source of data collection. This includes the big three: BigQuery, Redshift, and Snowflake. The technology focuses on the tasks of collection, storage, and management of business data - with the purpose of turning operational data into meaningful information. For any company looking to harness the value of the activities gathered inside their CDP, it’s a no-brainer that bringing a data warehouse into the mix is the next best step. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its data warehouse offering, Redshift, remains the market leader in this space because of its compatibility with data integration pipelines and analytics tools. One of your Segment destinations can be a data warehouse such as AWS Redshift For ecommerce sites this can be difficult to implement manually (not to mention maintenance time, costs and complexity!), but Littledata's Shopify source for Segment does this automatically. With Littledata’s capabilities, you have the ability to direct, track, and identify custom events across all critical customer activities, including across your Shopify website, whether that's a simple Shopify instance, a headless Shopify setup or multiple country stores doing international sales. Coupling that with Segment’s unified CDP takes powerful data to activation, and the ability to direct platform data to marketing channels for increased engagement, conversion and retention. Whether you want to use a data warehouse for deep analysis, audience building or real-time recommendations, Littledata + Segment + Redshift is a proven solution for Shopify stores. Setting up your Redshift data warehouse Segment's documentation portal gives a step-by-step breakdown of provisioning a Redshift cluster, configuring a database user, securing data ingestion, and providing a path to data collection into your Redshift instance. Breaking the process down in digestible chunks, here are the necessary steps to go from data to data warehouse: Choose the best instance for your needs: Dense vs. Compute StorageProvision a new Redshift Cluster: 5 simple steps from start to finishCreate a database user: Creating a user to manage your instanceConnect Redshift to Segment: Select sources, credentials, and go Redshift allows users to start small and scale up on-demand as needs grow Collecting events in Segment Event tracking is a critical part of the data collection process. Creating a plan tracking plan associated with measurable business outcomes, such as acquiring new customers, increasing retention and activating new leads, and mapping those outcomes to business goals, is an important step in the data journey. Understanding this relationship will provide guidance to the relevant events or actions that must be configured to successfully track. With Littledata's automated solution, you can avoid the blocking-and-tackling of configuring the best-in-class event strategies surrounding (client side) device-mode and (server side) cloud-mode events: Device-Mode events include Cart Viewed, Page Viewed, Product Clicked, Product Image Clicked, Product List Viewed, Product Shared, Product Viewed, Products Searched, Registration Viewed, Thank you Page Viewed Cloud-Mode events include Checkout Started, Checkout Step Completed, Coupon Applied, Customer Created, Customer Enabled, Fulfillment Created, Fulfillment Updated, Ordered Cancelled, Order Completed, Order Refunded, POS Order Placed, Payment Failure, Payment Info Entered, Product Added, Product Removed To streamline the process for ecommerce sites, Littledata's tracking script automatically sends events to Segment through its analytics.js library, making it easy to collect all the critical event activities associated with a customer’s store journey - from browsing behavior through the checkout funnel and repeat purchases (including recurring billing for stores selling by subscription). Additionally, from every event where this is an identifiable customer (from both device-mode and cloud-mode), Littledata will send an Identify call - the identification of a customer when the customer logs into your storefront, a last step of the checkout process, with the order, and also after a purchase with a customer update. With Littledata’s streamlined modeling, data can be accurately represented and pushed to downstream destinations, such as marketing activation channels and data warehouses. [subscribe heading="Littledata connects Shopify to Segment and your data warehouse" button_text="Book a demo" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/enterprise"] Connecting Segment data to your data warehouse Now that your Redshift instance is up and running, the next step is to connect to Segment and start collecting data into your data warehouse. There are two ways to complete this step - one, through Segment’s native migration, and the other, utilizing no-code data pipeline tools (recommended). Whichever process you choose, you will have the opportunity to push data out of Segment into your data warehouse environment and start utilizing it across your business. Option 1: Segment’s native migration As mentioned, Redshift data warehouse is one of the many destinations that Segment can send data to. You can directly connect to Redshift from within Segment to stream event data. Segment’s catalog provides direct integration to best-in-class data warehouses Essentially, it’s as simple as: Login to your Segment App and proceed to the Catalog sectionIn the top menu, choose DestinationsSelect Redshift in the Storage Destinations list After configuring your user permissions and selecting the data sources you would like to sync, you’ll enter in your credentials and connect to your data warehouse. Voila! Data will now be continuously replicated into your Redshift instance based on your plan: Free: Data refreshed (synced) 1x per dayTeam: Data refreshed (synced) 2x per dayBusiness: Data refreshed (synced) as fast as hourly As for historical data, all plans will allow loading up to 2 months of your historical data, with the Business plan allowing for full historical backfills. Since Segment provides an environment to support many, it requires a premium plan to collect complete history and sync data real-time. Segment’s infrastructure is suitable for instantaneous data collection to downstream points Option 2: Leverage data pipeline services The second way to get data out of Segment into your data warehouse is through data pipeline platforms. Data pipeline or ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) platforms, provide prebuilt integrations to over 100+ enterprise software sources, and focus on a maintenance-free structure where replica data is automatically transformed, standardized, and normalized on collection. The automated adjustment to schema and API changes, allows business users to streamline developer tasks in a no-coding required environment. Companies like Stitchdata ("Stitch") and Fivetran, leaders in the space, provide frictionless, subscription-based memberships that allow integrating data to data warehouse destinations convenient for any business size. ETL platforms streamline data from end-to-end and require limited technical lift To set up, simply sign into your console, click on the Segment icon in the available integrations, and enable. You will automatically be pushed into the Segment tool to confirm authorization and (another voila!) data will begin replicating. Stitchdata’s user-friendly interface for connecting platforms to destinations The benefits of cloud-ETL platforms, not only include their out-of-box integrations, but the list of features included to help visualize, maintain, and support ongoing data integration tasks: Over 100+ database and SaaS platform integrationsIn-app support including email alert monitoring and support SLAs14-day free trial to kick-off and vet the platform prior to fully onboardingSOC2 security compliant, encrypted communication and an AWS cloud backed environment Ecommerce data With the appropriate event tracking configured at data collection by Littledata, your data can be properly analyzed for ecommerce store performance. The downstream output can be properly displayed by: Customer behavior before, during and after purchaseOrder performance relative to average order value, add-to-carts, average order size, and cart abandonmentShopper engagement including product views and purchasesCoupon and discounting activitiesCustomer checkout funnel and stage of drop-offConversion rate and lifetime value With the emphasis on accuracy completed at the inception data collection stage, the ability to produce the above areas of performance becomes that much more straightforward. This means spending more time analyzing and visualizing data, then transforming and modeling data for analytical use. Empowering your data Once your data is available in your data warehouse, replicating frequently, and building history, it’s time to utilize it. That can come in a number of various opportunities, depending on your business needs. Most notably, companies will focus on transforming data into actionable blocks and pushing into business intelligence (BI) tools. Transformation To properly stitch event data together - say in the case to tie all interactions by a site visitor to achieve multi-channel attribution - companies can leverage existing packages that transform, marry and enrich data points. These packages - or prebuilt libraries - produce powerful results that end up restructuring data from their raw state to analysis-ready. Fishtown Analytics’ product dbt does just that, performing user-stitching, simplifying data structures, and speeding up data modeling to use instantly within reporting, analytics, or machine learning applications. Leveraging transformation can streamline data modeling and enrich data for analytical-use BI Tools Companies usually begin the conversation here, “I’d like to see a dashboard like X” or “Can we get a report showing Y?”. In fact, what they are looking for is a way to properly view data in digestible, actionable views. BI (Business Intelligence) tools do just that - whether it’s through data visualizations (dashboards), self-service analytics, or prebuilt reporting. Enterprise BI and SaaS tools like Looker and Tableau (like outlined in the table below) create the speedy path to data viewing. They can be simply connected to a data warehouse and publish dynamic views for instant performance tracking. Data can be presented in dashboards across many dynamic charts, tables, and graphs BI Tools Breakdown CategoryVendorsBreakdownMarket LeadersTableau, Looker, PowerBI, Mode, DatabricksEnterprise tier platforms with extended featuresRisersDomo, Klipfolio, Kissmetrics, SigmaSaaS-oriented products with cost on user and dashboard usePrebuiltGlew, Daasity, Dashthis, Rubix3Ecommerce focused with prebuilt visualsOpenDataStudio, MetabaseOpen-source/no-cost platforms So a straightforward reporting and visualization solution with the setup we've described in this article, would be to connect Shopify to Segment, then Segment to Redshift, then Redshift to Tableau. Learn more about how to connect BI tools to your Shopify data in Segment, whether as a Segment destination using alias calls or a dynamic view pulling from data in your warehouse. Another option is connecting reporting tools directly to Google Analytics data in parallel with your Redshift setup (for example, use Tableau on top of GA for marketing analysis and Looker on top of Redshift for deeper analysis and predictive analytics). Building for the future Companies that put an emphasis on building the foundational components of data ingestion, management and analytics early on see many benefits. Primarily, you are able to increase your ability to measure and understand your business properly. Data warehouses provide an opportunity to collect all of your store, site, customer, marketing, other relational data - all in one place. This creates a centralized view of your business and gives an upper hand to companies looking to take a data-driven approach to growth. Cloud tools and no-code options remove the need for technical resources, freeing up dollars that can go elsewhere without sacrificing the ability to use and analyze data. No matter the size of your business, taking data seriously is the first step to empowering your business for the future. Data warehouses are no longer the property of only mega enterprises. Want to build a modern ecommerce data stack but not sure where to start? Get in touch for a free consultation. [subscribe heading="Littledata connects Shopify to Segment and your data warehouse" button_text="Book a demo" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/enterprise"]
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)
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. [note]See how Littledata is responding to COVID-19 to help ecommerce sites survive and thrive during the crisis.[/note] 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.
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