Category : Shopify
The end of the ecommerce 'thank you' page
For two decades, the ecommerce customer journey has stayed roughly the same. Customers browse, add to cart, checkout, and then see a page confirming their purchase: the 'thank you' page. That last step is changing, and this is no small change as it threatens to break how many sites measure purchases. Ecommerce stores that stop using a final 'thank you' page without adjusting their analytics setup accordingly are in danger of getting inaccurate purchase data, or even losing track of shoppers altogether. [note]Check out these 9 essential elements of a high-converting landing page from our friends at Sleeknote.[/note] In order to help our customers get ahead of the curve, we've gone through a number of test cases to find short and long term fixes to this issue. But first, a little history. In the old days... In the early days of ecommerce the biggest barrier during checkout was trust. Retailers paid to be certified as ‘hack-proof’ and customers wanted to make quite sure when and how their money was taken. Fast forward twenty years to today, and in the developed world most consumers have transacted online hundreds of times. They are familiar with the process, expect a seamless user experience, and confident that when they click 'buy' their payment will be taken and the products delivered. Online shoppers are so confident, in fact, that an increasing number we observe don’t even bother waiting for that ‘thank you for your order’ page. That page is becoming redundant for three reasons: Almost every checkout process captures an email address to send an order receipt to, and the email acts as a better type of confirmation: one that can be searched and referenced. Seriously, when was the last time you opted to ‘print the confirmation page’ for your records? Many retailers are forced to compete with the superb customer support offered by Amazon. This includes refunds for products that were ordered in error, and quick handling of failed payments. So from a customer's perspective there’s little point in waiting for the confirmation page when any issues will be flagged up later. Which leads to the third reason: as retailers improve the speed of checkout, the payment confirmation step is often the slowest, and so the one where customers are most likely to drop out on a slow mobile connection. This is no small issue, as mobile revenues are expected to overtake desktop revenues for ecommerce businesses globally this year. What does this mean for ecommerce sites? The issue is that for many sites the linking of sales to marketing campaigns is measured by views of that ‘thank you' page. In the marketing analysis, a ‘purchase’ is really a view of that 'thank you' page - or an event recorded on the customer’s browser with the sale. If customers don’t view the page, then no sale is recorded. If you have ever been frustrated by the lack of consistency between Google Analytics and your own payment/back-end records, this is the most likely issue. A dependency on viewing the 'thank you' page brings other problems too: a buggy script, perhaps from another marketing tag, will block the recording of sales. This is another source of the type of analytics inaccuracy which the Littledata app combats automatically. [subscribe] How to adjust your ecommerce tracking The short-term fix is to tweak the firing order of marketing tags on the 'thank you' page, so that even customers who see the page for fractions of a second will be recorded. Sites with a large number of marketing tags will have the greatest room for improvement. But in the long term, as this trend continues, the analytics solution is to link the marketing campaigns to the actual payments taken. This removes the need for the customer to see any type of 'thank you' or confirmation page, and also removes discrepancies between what your marketing platform tells you was purchased and what actually got bought. This is known as server-side tracking. The good news for those of you on the Shopify platform is that our Shopify reporting app does this already - and solves a lot of other analytics problems in one install. For those on other stores, please do contact us for advice. The Littledata team has worked with ecommerce businesses to set up integrations with Magento, DemandWare and numerous custom platforms. Not only can we help fix your analytics setup for accurate tracking, but our app then automates the audit and reporting process for all of your sites going forward.
Intro to the Littledata app (VIDEO)
How does the Littledata app work? It's magic! Or at least it feels that way. This new video gives a quick overview of how it all fits together. Our ecommerce analytics app is the only one on the planet to both fix your tracking and automate reporting. Our customers see dramatic growth, from higher add-to-cart rates to better return on paid search. But what happens first, and what happens next? If you're an ecommerce marketer using Google Analytics, Littledata will make your job a whole lot easier. The process breaks down to four core steps, which you can repeat as often as you'd like. First you connect your analytics account, marketing channels like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, and website data from tools like Shopify, ReCharge and CartHook. (And yes, we'll help you comply with GDPR). Then you use the Littledata app to audit your analytics setup and fix your tracking. Shopify stores can fix tracking automatically -- other sites get clear recommendations on what to do. [subscribe] If your goals include higher marketing ROI and increased conversions, the next step is to automate reporting with report packs and a smart dashboard, available directly in the app. And then it's time to optimise revenue with industry benchmarks, enhanced reporting and buyer personas, all built automatically. Sign up today for a free audit of your analytics setup, or book a demo to learn more. A complete picture of your ecommerce business is just around the corner!
Introducing Littledata's agency partner program
We're excited to announce a new partner program for agencies! The pilot version was a huge success, so now we're opening up the program to any agency looking for a smarter ecommerce analytics solution. If you're using a BI dashboard and maybe some tools like Data Studio and Supermetrics, that's great, but you still need an advanced analytics solution like Littledata. Our app takes data science to the next level by actually fixing your customers' Google Analytics setups to ensure accurate tracking at every customer touch point. Then the app uses that data to automatically build smart, relevant reports. Additional benefits for partners include advanced setup with GTM and Facebook Pixel, custom reporting and analytics training. It's a win-win! If you're a digital agency with ecommerce clients, Littledata will make your job a whole lot easier. Ecommerce analytics for agencies Partnerships are at the centre of our business. At Shopify Unite this year, we announced the pilot phase of this new program that makes it easier for marketing agencies and ecommerce site developers to bring accurate analytics to their clients. But while Shopify is our most extensive integration, our agency partner program is designed for anyone working the ecommerce space, whether your clients are on Shopify Plus, Magento, Demandware, another platform or a custom build. As long as they're using Google Analytics to track marketing and shopping behaviour, Littledata will help you help them. Key benefits for agencies: Guarantee accurate data for your customers Save time by automating Google Analytics setup and reporting Automated reporting with proven results for ecommerce growth Custom views and dimensions in GA that you can use however you want Google-certified account managers to answer customer questions about analytics Easy access to client reports with our team members feature Analytics training for your team Complete ecommerce analytics suite: Scan and fix tracking issues with our industry-leading analytics audit tool Automate reporting with both pre-built report packs and custom reports for your client base Smart marketing tools, including buyer personas and Enhanced Ecommerce tracking for more effective AdWords retargeting Web and ecommerce benchmarks, plus an option for private benchmarks among your clients Subscription analytics for clients selling subscription boxes or offering subscription plans (we offer the only advanced Google Analytics integration for ReCharge stores) Easy integrations with apps like Refersion and Carthook How it works Our onboarding process for ecommerce agencies is very straightforward. It starts with a conversation where we can learn about each other's businesses. If it's a good match, we move on to sign a partnership agreement with clear terms for referrals and revenue share, then get you started with a test account for your first referral. The Littledata app creates a test property so that you - and your client, if you wish - can see how our tracking compares against the current Google Analytics setup. Once you go live with the new tracking, we work directly with your team to help you get the most out of the app's functionality, and begin to develop custom reports and private benchmarks, depending on what's most relevant to your agency business model. We also build a co-marketing plan with your team to help the partnership reach the right customers at the right time. And then - you got it - we grow together to take over the universe! Or at least we help growing ecommerce sites reach exponential levels of growth. (Read some customer stories.) Littledata's agency partner program is highly selective, but we do try to respond to all inquiries. So if you're looking for better ecommerce analytics for your clients, please do get in touch. [subscribe]
Six challenges in developing a Shopify integration
At the start of 2017 Littledata released its first Shopify app. A year on, here are my observations on the technical challenges we’ve overcome. This week we're at Shopify Unite in Toronto, and it's no surprise that their app ecosystem continues to grow. We chose Shopify as our first platform partner due to their open APIs, quality documentation and enthusiasm from other developers. Much of that has been as expected, but to help all of you looking to build your own Shopify app I’ll share some of our learnings on the hidden challenges. Littledata's Shopify app makes it a one-click process for stores to set up for Enhanced Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics, and then get actionable insights based on the Google Analytics data. It has to hook into Shopify orders and products, as well and modify the store's theme and process ongoing transactions. 1. Handling re-installs gracefully The great advantage of Shopify’s app store over, say, Magento marketplace, is that any store admin can install and pay for an app with a couple of clicks. The disadvantage is that stores can be as quick to uninstall as install. Store admins may start, realise they don’t have permissions, time or energy to continue and roll back to try again later in the day. Since our app inserts a snippet into the store’s theme layout (see point two below), uninstalling removes the web-hooks we set up but does not remove the inserted snippet. When a store re-installs our app has to work out what state they were in when they uninstalled (audit, test mode or live), whether the script snippet is still there and what settings have been changed in the meantime. It took us a few months to get a handle on all the possible user flows, and we’ve found automated end-to-end tests to really speed up running through the different scenarios. In our Meteor framework we use Chimp [link] to run tests through Selenium on localhost and on our staging server. We've also found it essential to track our own stats of 'installs + activations' (including the date of first install and time to finally uninstall) rather than relying on the Shopify Partner stats of uninstalls and installs, which can hide the detail in between. 2. Working with script tags The other side-effect of making apps easy to install is that you can assume the early-adopter stores who will try your app already have lots of other installs. Shopify recommends using the Script Tag API to handle scripts linked to the app, so that when a store uninstalls your app it also removes any client-side scripts from the store. Unfortunately, in early tests we found the load latency to be unacceptably high: on some stores, only 50% of the page load events were getting fired before the user moved off the page. So plan B was add a snippet to the store theme, and then load this snippet at the top of the <body> element on all the layout templates. This has worked much more predictably, except when theme editors remove the snippet reference without enquiring what the Littledata app does (see our fifth challenge). [subscribe] 3. Charge activation vs authorisation Now a very simple gotcha. In our first month we had around 60 installs at a flat price of $20/month, but apparently no revenue. After investigation we found we had not activated the recurring charges after the store admin had authorised them. Doh! We're still not sure why an app would want to have authorised charges which are not activated -- seems like over-engineering on Shopify's side -- but luckily it was easy to correct without asking for more user permissions. 4. Tracking adds-to-cart The first version of our app tried to run the script when customers got to the ‘/cart’ page of a store. The problem here is that many stores have AJAX or ‘mini’ carts where customers can checkout without every visiting the cart page. We looked to trigger the script before the user got to the cart the page, but this appeared to run too many risks of interfering with the customer actually adding the item. Our final solution has been to poll the Shopify store for the current cart, and see if products have been added (or removed) since we last polled (and stored the previous cart contents in memory). This is somewhat inefficient, as it requires continuous network activity to grab the cart JSON from Shopify, but we’ve reduced the network requests to one every 4 seconds – judging that customers are very unlikely to add a product and checkout in less than 4 seconds. This cart polling has proved more reliable across different store templates. 5. Integrating with other Shopify apps I mentioned that early-adopter stores tend to have lots of other apps: and those apps have loyal customers who push to make Littledata's app to work their chosen app (not just vanilla Shopify). The challenge is that most of these app development companies run a very Agile process, constantly changing how their app works (hopefully to improve the experience for store owners). An integration that worked a few months ago may no longer work. We've found the best solution to be open developer-to-developer communications, via a Slack guest channel. Having the developers implementing the features on each side talk to each other really cuts down the delays caused by a well-meaning project manager slightly misinterpreting the requirement. 6. Handling ongoing updates As tested improved client-side tracking scripts, we needed to update the script in the store theme (see point 2 above). This creates a small risk for the store, as there is no UAT or test environment for most stores to check before going live with the new script. The store theme may also get edited, creating new layout templates where the Littledata snippet is not loaded. In the first version of our app we tried to update and re-insert the latest Littledata snippet automatically on a weekly cycle. However, once we reached hundreds of active installs this became unmanageable and also opaque for the store admins. In the latest version we now allow store admins to UPGRADE to the latest script, and then we check all the correct Google Analytics events are being fired afterwards. Giving the end user control of updates seems a better way of maintaining trust in our brand and also removing risk: if the update goes wrong, it’s quicker for us to alert the store owner on how to fix. Conclusion I’m still sure we made the right choice with Shopify as a platform, as their APIs, partner support and commercial traction are all number one in the ecommerce world. But I hope that by sharing some of the hidden challenges in developing Shopify integrations, we can all build better apps for the community. Have you built something for the Shopify app store? Are there development problems you’ve encountered which I haven’t shared here? PS. Are you a developer interested in joining an innovative analytics company? We're hiring in multiple locations!
How Littledata helps Shopify stores comply with GDPR
When the GDPR regulation comes into effect later this month, it will impact all websites trading with EU citizens. That means any ecommerce site with customers in Europe! Is your Shopify store ready to comply? We recently updated our Shopify app (since release 7.8) to help Shopify stores which use Google Analytics comply with GDPR. In addition to automatic fixes to help your store comply, we include recommendations for how to update your site content (such as Terms and Conditions), and how to deal with the new 'two year rule'. If you're running a Shopify store, the time to act is now. Automatic fixes with our Shopify app The first two steps are done automatically when you install our GDPR-ready Shopify app. If you're already using Littledata's Shopify app, these two fixes can be applied when you upgrade to our latest tracking script (version 3.2). Here's what they address. 1. Anonymise customer IP addresses The IP address of your website visitor is considered personal information under GDPR, and to remove any risk that this is sent to Google’s servers in the USA, our script scrambles the last few digits of the IP address. Google already promises not to store the IP address, so this step is an extra level of safety. This slightly reduces the accuracy of tracking which city your visitor came from -- but we believe that this is a small price to pay for ensuring anonymity. 2. Filter personal emails and ZIP/postcodes from pageviews Many sites accidentally send personal data in the page URLs or titles tracked by Google Analytics. For example, apps with their own checkout often send the user email as a URL parameter like ‘/email@example.com’. Our script now filters that personal data out at source, so the page path you’ll see in Google Analytics is ‘/url?email=REMOVED’. Additional manual steps There are two additional manual steps to ensure that Google Analytics for your Shopify store is GDPR-compliant. 3. Update your terms and conditions You need to update your website T&Cs to ensure users are aware of the Google Analytics Advertising Features that our Shopify app activates and Google uses to identify user demographics, such as gender and interests. We are not lawyers, but we suggest using something similar to these sentences to describe what data is collected, how you (and we) use the data, and how how users can opt out: Our site uses Google Analytics Advertising Features to deduce your gender, age group and interests based on other types of websites you have visited. We use this in aggregate to understand which demographics engage with areas of our website. You can opt out with Google's browser add-on. 4. Remove user-specific information after 2 years You should also change the data retention period for your Google Analytics web property, so that Google removes all user-specific information from their database after 2 years. To make this change, logging to your GA account and go to the Settings cog, and then Property > Tracking info > Data Retention. Use the 'data retention' drop-down menu to select to keep user data for 26 months, and mark 'reset on new activity' to ON. This means that after 26 months, if the user has not come back to your website, any user cookie will be deleted. We think this sensible to comply with the Right to Erasure without making any practical limits to your analysis. [subscribe] Right to Erasure feature coming soon! We're also working on a feature to help websites comply with the Right to Erasure or Right to be Forgotten. Here's a summary of that aspect of the regulation, from the summary of key changes at EUGDPR.org. Right to be Forgotten Also known as Data Erasure, the right to be forgotten entitles the data subject to have the data controller erase his/her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data. The conditions for erasure, as outlined in article 17, include the data no longer being relevant to original purposes for processing, or a data subject's withdrawing consent. It should also be noted that this right requires controllers to compare the subjects' rights to "the public interest in the availability of the data" when considering such requests. Littledata's Right to Erasure feature will ensure that when you delete a customer from your Shopify admin interface, any references to that customer are deleted from Google Analytics. This won’t affect aggregate reporting, such as number of web sessions or transactions. When do GDPR regulations take effect? The official enforcement date for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is 25 May 2018. At that time any organisations in non-compliance may face heavy fines. In short, we recommend implementing the fixes above ASAP for your Shopify store. All you need is Google Analytics account and our Shopify app. And do check our blog regularly for updates. This is the best place to hear about new Littledata features relating to GDPR, as well as news and analysis about how the regulations affect different types of online businesses, including ecommerce websites, subscription businesses, and membership-based sites such as large charities and nonprofits. Looking for additional support? Contact us about GDPR consulting for analytics setup.
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. [subscribe] 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.
How to add Littledata's code snippet to your Shopify store templates
Treasure hunting tools for Shopify stores (VIDEO)
These days, you can sell just about anything online. From subscription boxes to charities, everyone is using websites and mobile apps to enhance the customer journey. But even if you advertise on the right channels, how do you know if your marketing is working? And how do you connect that traffic to revenue? Watch this quick video to see how the right analytics setup will help you avoid getting shipwrecked on the seas of ecommerce, whatever you might be 'selling' online. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE4nzZycVLE Google Analytics can take you much deeper than Shopify’s native reporting, but setting it up correctly is difficult without the right tools. Littledata gives growing Shopify stores a clear map of shopper behaviour, from marketing campaigns -- how people find you -- to the intricacies of buying behaviour: what customers buy, how they buy it, and who will want to buy more. Our Shopify reporting app automatically audits your Google Analytics setup to make sure you’re tracking everything you should be, and tracking it correctly. [subscribe] We give you accurate data and smart reports on everything from marketing channels like Google AdWords, Facebook and Twitter, to product performance and shopping cart activity, including details like checkout steps and voucher codes. The app makes it easy to tie every aspect of your store back to revenue, so you can make decisions like a captain instead of drifting along in the back of the boat and drawing the map as you float along. And we integrate seamlessly with other popular Shopify apps, including ReCharge and Refersion, so your analytics will always match every touch point in the customer journey. Sign up for free today and we’ll start building a personal treasure map for your Shopify store. Pricing is based on transaction volumes (but you're free to upgrade to a higher plan at any time), and all plans include a free 14-day trial!
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