Category : Events
Is it worth attending that ecommerce conference?
Ecommerce conference season is upon us. In the past few weeks, the Littledata team was at Shop.org in Las Vegas, Paris Retail Week, and the Google Expert Summit in Waterloo, Canada -- three very different events in three rather different countries. Then we also hit up Agile Cambridge and Technology for Marketing in the UK, the UPRISE fest in Dublin, TechDay LA in sunny Los Angeles and the BigCommerce partner summit in Austin. And while we unfortunately couldn't make ReCharge's Recur event for the subscription industry, or Hawke Media's Hawkefest, the ultimate anti-conference, many of our partners and merchants were there and had awesome things to say. But wait a second. Slow down! With so many exciting events to potentially attend during what is already one of the busiest times of year for those of us in the industry (Black Friday is just around the corner from a marketer's perspective), how do you choose? Is that conference you've been debating attending really worth it? If we've learned anything... Over the years I've had a mixed experience with conferences. But with Littledata we've found a good rhythm. Of course it helps that we're on the cutting edge of new technology, actually using AI and machine learning as opposed to just talking about it, and that we already have major customers around the world, even though we're technically still a 'startup'. This gives us a wide range of high-quality speaking and learning opportunities. But at the same time our productive conference experiences haven't happened by accident, whether for ecommerce or general tech events. We've found such a good conference rhythm -- a dance that produces a consistently high ROI on in-person events -- by looking closely at our own data on a quarterly and yearly basis. Our strategy is always evolving, but some stats have been consistent. For example, we discovered that at the right events: Though we don't necessarily have a higher win rate for enterprise leads from conferences, the sales cycle is condensed, on average 3x faster from meeting to close. This saves our sales team valuable time chasing down leads, and also helps us improve our product, pitches and processes at a faster rate. Agencies we meet in person are 4x more likely to refer us a customer within the next 30 days -- even if we never did a formal product demo. What's your company's take on conferences? Here are a few insights that might help you get more out of the conference experience, whether that means big tech industry events or smaller, focused meetups. There is no such thing as a must-attend conference The great irony with ecommerce conferences is that they tend to be scheduled at what are already busy times for those of us in the industry. Whether it's the shows we attended these past 6 weeks that overlapped with everyone getting back to work after summer holidays, or European standbys like NetComm Suisse's later fall events and One to One in Monaco every March, right after SXSW in Austin, it's either an embarrassment of riches or -- depending on your perspective -- a really confusing hodge podge of hard-to-classify opportunities. There are simply too many choices, and it's especially hard to decide whether to attend a tech conference or meetup if your company has never attended that particular show before. One thing I love about our industry is that merchants (stores and ecommerce managers) and vendors (apps, platforms, consultants, designers and agencies) are all in the same boat. In short, we have no time for BS. We want events that focus on real information, emerging technologies and human connection. So how do you decide? First things first, make your own list. There are a ton of blog posts out there about 'must attend' conferences, those 'not to miss'. Give me a break! Every business is unique, and you're only as viable as your buyer personas. So make a list of conferences, events and meetups that might help connect you with your prime customers and best partners. Brainstorm, look online, ask around. Make your own list and plan to review every quarter. Then once you've made that list, on paper or Trello or however you work best, go through the following checklist with as many members of your team as possible, especially if you can bring in decision makers from both Product and Marketing. A simple checklist When deciding if you should attend a conference for the first or second time, it's useful to have a checklist for quick, consistent analysis. The checklist I use is deceptively simple. It has only 5 indicators. Would one significant sale pay for itself in terms of customer acquisition cost (CAC)? If the conference did work out, is it something you would attend every year? Would it be the right place for you to speak, either now or in the future? Is this your scene, your community? Are there companies, merchants, agencies, vendors etc. attending whom you wouldn't see any other time this year? (Even just one counts, if sufficiently high-value.) In short, if you can tick all five boxes then you should attend the conference. If you can only tick four, it's probably worth attending but needs more debate. If this is the case, then considering point number one in detail -- looking at your current LTV/CAC ratio and considering how the conference could help improve or at least maintain it -- is essential. For ecommerce tech companies like our own, this generally means one big sale or partnership. For ecommerce sites it can also take the form of discovering new tech (like Littledata, Klickly or ReCharge) that will help increase sales and marketing ROI. If you can tick all five boxes then you should definitely attend the conference The checklist works even if you've already attended the conference in the past. Just consider point two already covered and proven! If you're in the ecommerce space, definitely consider platform-specific conferences. Shopify and Magento have regular events and meetups around the world, and word on the street is that BigCommerce will be really ramping up their local partner events in 2019. Shopify Unite has consistently been that rare conference that ticks all the boxes for us here at Littledata, but that doesn't mean we're ignoring others that only tick four. We've cast our net wide (using the checklist of course) and are still seeing results. If you want to get a head start on conference browsing for next year, Veeqo has created a calendar of best worldwide ecommerce conferences for 2019. Across the board remember this: success at a conference almost never comes in the form of expected outcomes. Yes, the best outcomes will be aligned with your sales and marketing goals, but sometime the biggest benefits will not be clear for 3, 6 or even 12 months down the line. That's why we do quarterly and yearly reviews of all in-person activities, from networking events to large conferences. I suggest you do the same. Most importantly, have fun! Gone are the days of boring trade shows. Show up. Make connections. And if we're there too, come say hi! Maybe nobody can make analytics sexy, but we at least promise to make them useful. And usefulness is a good place to start...
Ecommerce trends at Paris Retail Week
Physical or digital? We found merchants doubling down on both at Paris Retail Week. At the big event in Paris last month, we found retailers intent on merging the online and offline shopping experience in exciting new ways. See who we met and what the future of digital might hold for global ecommerce. Representatives from our European team had a great time at the big ecommerce event, one of the 'sectors' at Paris Retail Week. Outside of the event, it was great to have a chance to catch up with Maukau, our newest Shopify agency partner in France. (Bonjour!) Among the huge amount of digital sales and marketing trends we observed throughout the week, a few emerged again and again: mobile-first, phygital experience, and always-on, multi-channel marketing. Getting phygital Phygital? Is that a typo? Hardly. It’s the latest trend in ecommerce, and it was prevalent everywhere at Paris Retail Week. Phygital combines “physical” and “digital” experiences in a new ecosystem. This offers the consumer a full acquisition experience across different channels. From payment providers to marketing agencies, everyone was talking about going phygital. One of our favourite presentations was by AB Tasty. They focused on how optimising client experience can boost sales and conversions in the long-term. It’s not enough to promote your products, nor to link to an influencer for social proof -- you need to create a full customer experience. Starbucks and Nespresso are good examples of how this works offline, assuring that a customer who comes in to drink a coffee will linger around for the next 20-30 minutes. By keeping the customers in the shop, they will eventually order more. The goal is to reproduce this immediately sticky experience online too, and focusing on web engagement benchmarks is the best way to track your progress here. Using the example of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) for mobile apps, AB Tasty's Alexis Dugard highlighted how doing data-driven analysis of UI performance, on a very detailed level, can help clarify how mobile shopping connects with a wider brand experience. In the end, customer experience means knowing the customer. 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience. Brands that are reluctant to invest in customer experience, either online or offline, will hurt their bottom line, even if this isn't immediately apparent. Those brands that do invest in multi-channel customer experience are investing in long-term growth fuelled by higher Average Order Value (AOV). 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience -- the statistic speaks for itself! Another great talk was from Guillaume Cavaroc, a Facebook Academie representative, who discussed how mobile shopping now overlaps with offline shopping. He looked at experiments with how to track customers across their journeys, with mobile login as a focal point. In the Google Retail Reboot presentation, Loïc De Saint Andrieu, Cyril Grira and Salime Nassur pointed out the importance of data in retail. For ecommerce sites using the full Google stack, Google data represents the DNA of the companies and Google Cloud Platform is the motor of all the services, making multi-channel data more useful than ever in assisting with smart targeting and customer acquisition. The Google team also stated that online shopping experiences that don’t have enough data will turn to dust, unable to scale, and that in the future every website will become, in one way or another, a mobile app. In some ways, "phygital" really means mobile-first. This message that rang out clearly in France, which is a mobile-first country where a customer's first encounter with your brand or product is inevitably via mobile -- whether through a browser, specific app or social media feed. Multi-channel experience (and the data you need to optimise it) Physical marketing is making a comeback. Boxed CEO Chieh Huang and PebblePost founder Lewis Gersh presented the success of using online data for offline engagement, which then converts directly back on the original ecommerce site. Experimenting heavily in this area, they've seen personalised notes on invoices and Programmatic Direct Mail (with the notes based on viewed content) generate an increase of 28% in online conversion rate. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard, to name just a bit of the physical collateral that's becoming popular again -- and being done at a higher quality than in the years of generic direct mail. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard. However, data is still the backbone of retail. In 2017 Amazon spent approximately $16 billion (USD) on data analysis, and it was worth every penny, generating around $177 billion in revenue. Analysing declarative and customer behaviour data on the shopper’s path-to-purchase is a must for merchants to compete with Amazon. Creating an omni-channel experience for the user should be your goal. This means an integrated and cohesive customer shopping experience, no matter how or where a customer reaches out. Even if you can't yet support an omni-channel customer experience, you should double down on multi-channel ecommerce. When Littledata's customers have questions about the difference, we refer them to Aaron Orendorff's clear explanation of omni-channel versus multi-channel over on the Shopify Plus blog: Omni-channel ecommerce...unifies sales and marketing to create a single commerce experience across your brand. Multi-channel ecommerce...while less integrated, allows customers to purchase natively wherever they prefer to browse and shop. Definitions aside, the goal is to reduce friction in the shopping experience. In other words, you should use anonymous data to optimise ad spend and product marketing. For marketers, this means going beyond pretty dashboards to look at more sophisticated attribution models. We've definitely seen this trend with Littledata's most successful enterprise customers. Ecommerce directors are now using comparative attribution models more than ever before, along with AI-based tools for deeper marketing insights, like understanding the real ROI on their Facebook Ads. The new seasonality So where do we go from here? In the world of ecommerce, seasonality no longer means just the fashion trends of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Online events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday (#BFCM) define offline shopping trends as well, and your marketing must match. "Black Friday" saw 125% more searches in 2017, and "Back to School" searches were up 100%. And it isn't just about the short game. Our own research last year found that Black Friday discounting is actually linked to next-season purchasing. Phygital or otherwise, are you ready to optimise your multi-channel marketing? If not, you're missing out on a ton of potential revenue -- and shoppers will move on to the next best thing.
The World Cup guide to marketing attribution
It’s World Cup fever here at Littledata. Although two of the nationalities in our global team didn’t get through the qualifiers (US & Romania) we still have England and Russia to support in the next round. And I think the World Cup is a perfect time to explain how marketing attribution works through the medium of football. In football (or what our NYC office calls 'soccer'), scoring a goal is a team effort. Strikers put the ball in the net, but you need an incisive midfield pass to cut through the opposition, and a good move starts from the back row. ‘Route one’ goals scored from a direct punt up the pitch are rare; usually teams hit the goal from a string of passes to open up the opportunity. So imagine each touch of the ball is a marketing campaign on your site, and the goal is a visitor purchasing. You have to string a series of marketing ‘touches’ together to get the visitor in the back of the net. For most ecommerce sites it is 3 to 6 touches, but it may be more for high value items. Now imagine that each player is a different channel. The move may start with a good distribution from the Display Ads defender, then a little cut back from nimble Instagram in the middle. Facebook Ads does the running up the wing, but passes it back to Instagram for another pass out to the other wing for Email. Email takes a couple of touches and then crosses the ball inside for AdWords to score a goal – which spins if off the opposing defender (Direct). GOAL!!! In this neat marketing-football move all the players contribute, but who gets credit for the goal? Well that depends on the attribution model you are using. Marketing attribution as a series of football passes Last interaction This is a simplest model, but less informative for the marketing team. In this model the opposing defender Direct gets all the credit – even though he knew nothing about the end goal! Last non-direct click This is the attribution model used by Google Analytics (and other tools) by default. In this model, we attribute all of the goal to the last campaign which wasn’t a Direct (or session with unknown source). In the move above this is AdWords, who was the last marketing player to touch the ball. But AdWords is a greedy little striker, so do we want him to take all the credit for this team goal? First interaction You may be most interested in the campaign that first brought visitors to your website. In this model, Display ads would take all the credit as the first touch. Display often performs best when measured as first interaction (or first click), but then as a ‘defender’ it is unlikely to put the ball in the net on its own – you need striker campaigns as well. Time decay This model shares the goal between the different marketing players. It may seem weird that a player can have a fraction of a goal, but it makes it easy to sum up performance across lots of goals. The player who was closest to the goal gets the highest share, and then it decays as we go back in time from the goal. So AdWords would get 0.4, Email 0.5 (for the 2 touches before) and Instagram gets 0.1. Data-driven attribution This is a model available to Google Analytics 360 customers only. What the Data-driven model does is run through thousands of different goals scored and look at the contribution of each player to the move. So if the team was equally likely to score a goal without Facebook Ads run down the wing it will give Facebook less credit for the goal. By contrast, if very few goals get scored without that pass from Instagram in the midfield then Instagram gets more credit for the goal. This should be the fairest way to attribute campaigns, but the limitation is it only considers the last 4 touches before the goal. You may have marketing moves which are longer than 4 touches. Position based Finally you can define your own attribution weighting in Position Based model, based on which position the campaign was in before the goal. For example, you may want to give some weight to the first interaction and some to the last, but little to the campaigns in between. Still confused? Maybe you need a Littledata analytics expert to help build a suitable model for you. Or the advice of our automated coach known as the analytics audit. After all, every strategy could use a good audit to make sure it's complete and up-to-date. So go enjoy the football, and every time someone talks of that ‘great assist’ from the winger, think of how you can better track all the uncredited marketing campaigns helping convert customers on your site.
What we learned at Techsylvania 2018
New webinar: Google Analytics for Shopify stores
Have you ever been browsing the Shopify app store and wished that you could hear directly from founders and app developers about how their products work? Our new free webinar lets you do exactly that! We're dedicated to providing free learning tools for Shopify stores. In the webinar recording below, you'll hear directly from our CEO and Product Director about how the Littledata reporting app works for Shopify sites on the growth path. Interested in automating your Google Analytics reporting? Great. Confused about how to connect your marketing campaigns to checkout steps and buying behaviour? No problem - we've got you covered. Problems are our business :) Google Analytics made easy for Shopify stores Join Edward Upton to get the lowdown on optimising Google Analytics for Shopify. Put on your thinking caps and get ready for Shopify Reporting 101. In the recorded webinar, Ed gives a product overview and covers a range of FAQs: Common issues with Shopify's native reporting How to get accurate data across the customer life cycle with Google Analytics Who uses Littledata How our automated reporting works The connection between marketing and revenue Our live webinars are designed for ecommerce sites, marketing agencies and everyone in between. We adapt the content based on questions from participants, so please don't hesitate to reach out with questions and suggestions. Ready for smarter growth? Sign up for a free trial of our Shopify reporting app today! The trials extend to all plans, so you can fix your analytics and fully test our feature set. PS. If you're looking for info on our Shopify app integration partners, check out these posts on ReCharge and Refersion.
Tracking the online customer journey for luxury ecommerce
Today I'm excited to be participating in the Innovation Meets Fashion event in Lugano, Switzerland. As an increasing amount of luxury and fashion retail moves online, high-end brands are finding it complicated to track the complete customer journey. In many cases, difficulties in tracking customers through to eventual purchase are holding back investment in the digital experience and online marketing. But it doesn't have to be this way. We've found a straightforward correlation in ecommerce between the average ticket price of the item being purchased and the number of web pages or sessions before that purchase is made. Simply put, customers spend longer considering big ticket items than they do with smaller ticket items and impulse purchases. Luxury retail involves many touch points with the brand across your websites, social sites and physical stores. The problem is that the longer than online customer journey, the harder it is to get consistent data on which top-of-funnel experiences are leading to purchasing. So first the bad news: since many potential customers browse anonymously, perfect ecommerce tracking across a long online and offline journey is not possible. Tracking browsers based on first-party cookies (such as Google Analytics) will fail when customers use multiple devices, clear their cookies or browse in-app (such as from Facebook). Yet there are three ways we have seen retailers selling high value items increase the reliability of their online behavioural data. 1. Track online shopping behaviour in detail Understanding whether customers browse certain products, view the detail of product variants and even add-to-cart is a good proxy for seeing which campaigns eventually convert. Does your brand have a good understanding of how each marketing channel influences browsing behaviour, after the landing page but before the checkout? 2. Offer a good reason to get customers to login before buying VIP offers, registering for events and discounts all offer a good way of getting customers to login from different devices. With the correct analytics setup, this login information can be used (without infringing the users’ privacy) to link together different interactions they make across multiple devices 3. Make the most of your email list Even without having a login before purchase, customers clicking through links in a marketing email can allow the same stitching together of sessions. This means that if a customer visits a link from their mobile device, and on another week from their home laptop, these two devices can be linked as belonging to the same email – and therefore the same person. Luxury online retail involves a complex journey. Littledata is here to make your tracking and reporting both easy and accurate. Sign up today to get started with our complete analytics suite, and feel free to reach out to our Google Analytics consultants with questions about best practices for luxury ecommerce. Your success is our success!
Troubleshooting your Google Analytics goals setup (VIDEO)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGY013J9QGg So you've got your new sales plan in action and you've set up unique goals in Google Analytics. Are they tracking what you think they're tracking? Are you sure they're giving you reliable data? If you've audited your analytics setup, you might have noticed any number of incorrect audit checks about how you've set up custom events for your Google Analytics (GA) goals. Goals are used to make important business decisions, such as where to focus your design or advertising spend, so it's essential to get accurate data about them. In this quick video we cover common issues with setting up Google Analytics goals, including: Tracking pageviews rather than completed actions Selecting the wrong match type Inconsistent naming when tagging marketing campaigns Filters in your GA view rewriting URLs (so what you see in the browser is different from what you see in GA) Issues with cross-domain tracking In GA, a goal is any type of completed activity on your site or app. GA is a remarkably flexible platform, so you can use it to measure many different types of user behaviour. This could be visitors clicking a subscribe button, completing a purchase, signing up for membership -- known as 'conversion goals' -- or other types of goals such as 'destination goals', when a specific page loads, and 'duration goals', when a user spends over a particular amount of time on a page or set of pages. That all sounds well and good, but trouble comes if you simply set up goals and then trust the data they give you in GA, without double-checking to make sure that data's consistent and reliable. We hope you find the video useful. And don't despair -- even a little extra time spent on your GA setup can yield awesome results. Sign up for the Littledata app to audit your site for free, and let us know if you've experienced other common issues with setting up goals in GA.
TechHub London demo roundup
Last night we gave a live demo of the Littledata app at TechHub London's Tuesday demo night. It's always exciting to share Littledata with other entrepreneurs and business owners, and to get their feedback about Google Analytics issues (everybody has some!). But in this post I'm putting our app aside for a moment in order to share some thoughts on the other company demos from the event. After all, isn't sharing feedback and ideas what the TechHub community is all about? My Film Buzz MyFilmBuzz is an early stage mobile app – launched eight weeks ago with 150 users. The user interface is really intuitive; making use of great visuals from movies and Tinder-style swiping to rate movies. The commercial problem is competing with established players like Rotten Tomatoes with big established audiences. Can a better interface tempt film viewers away? HeathClub TV HeathClub TV offers personalised training videos and exercises, selling via personal trainers who create their own profile and packages. A bit like Udemy for personal training courses, the trainers take a cut of the course fees. Again personal fitness is a very competitive market – the founder said one competitor spent £1.5m on their first version mobile app. I’ve personally enjoyed the 8-fit mobile app, with a similar mix of video exercises but without the marketplace for trainers to produce content. It will be interesting to see if the user generated content model wins out in this market. Trevor.io Trevor helps companies visualise data sources from their own business, such as SQL databases. The user interface makes a good job of simplifying a complex task, switching between table and graph views. As a data geek, I love it! We thought about a similar product in the early stages of Littledata, so my big question is: how many users have the analytical knowledge to create the data integrations, but aren’t comfortable using SQL or similar. At Littledata, most of our analysts progress to coding, because it makes them quicker to do the analysis – but then we are an unusually techy company. Grocemania Grocemania allows customers to place orders from local retailers, charging a small delivery fee (£2.50) and small minimum order (£10) subsidised by 15% commission from the retailers. They have launched a pilot in Surrey with nine retailers. The strategy seems to be to undercut other delivery companies, with lower delivery costs from freelancers and passing stock control onto the retailers. The presenters got a groan for highlighting how they reduce employment costs, but my real concern is how they can profitably undercut companies like Amazon who are ruthless pros at retail and delivery. Worksheet Systems Similar to Trevor, Worksheet Systems aims to solve the problem of storing lots of data in interconnected spreadsheets. Their idea is to split the user interface and database inherent in a complex spreadsheet, and present as a kind of Google Sheet – rather than the customer building an actual database. It looks really powerful, but I wasn't clear what it can do that Google Sheets doesn’t; we use Sheets for lots of smaller ‘databases’ in Littledata, and it’s both simple and powerful. Crowd.Science Crowdfunding for scientific projects, helping scientists raise money from individual donations, business sponsorship and charitable trusts. They take 5 – 10% commission of the money raised. It seems like a great model: crowdfunding is well proven in other areas, and some scientific projects have real public benefit. As the trustee of a grant-giving trust, I know the way we find projects is fairly inefficient, so this platform would be a great benefit as it takes off. Realisable Realisable is an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) tool, with a visual business rules editor to transform a data source. Their live demo uses a job to transform unshipped orders from Shopify into a format that can be exporting to an accounting package, adding a customer ID to the transactions. I investigated this market in 2016, and there are some very big companies in the ETL market. Many of their products suck - a great opportunity - but there are ones with better user interfaces like Stitch Data. Talking to the founders afterwards, their strategy is to dominate a channel (in their case, Sage consultants); I know this has really worked for another ETL tool, Matillion for Amazon RedShift. Conclusion What’s my favourite idea (outside of Littledata)? Crowd.Science has the biggest potential commercially I think, but I do love Trevor’s product.
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