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. [subscribe] 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...

by Ari
2018-10-23

New help center articles on Shopify tracking and ReCharge integration

We recently launched the Littledata Help Center to make it easier for customers to find the most relevant answers to their analytics questions. You can think of it as the more formal, technically-minded cousin of our popular analytics blog (which you're reading right now). With detailed new articles on Shopify tracking and how our ReCharge integration works, the Littledata Help Center is a go-to resource for current customers and ecommerce managers looking for a clearer view of how to use Google Analytics effectively. About our Help Center Like many startups, we began by using our blog as the main support resource, with articles on everything from Google Analytics to GDPR. Yet as we've grown, so have the number of setup guides and technical details we feel we should provide for a seamless user experience. In short, our support articles have outgrown the blog! Not to worry, blog fans. The blog will continue to be a resource for anyone interested in ecommerce analytics. We've been honoured at all the industry attention our blog has received, and we look forward to growing both resources side-by-side in the coming years. Shopify tracking Until you know what to look for, choosing the right Shopify reporting app can seem like a daunting process. There are a number of apps that are good at tracking just one thing, or helping you visualise some of the tracking you already have set up. Littledata's Shopify app is different. It's become especially popular with Shopify Plus stores and medium-sized Shopify sites on the enterprise growth path because it fixes your tracking and provides a full optimisation suite, including automated reports, benchmarks and buyer personas, to help optimise for dramatically higher revenue and conversions. New support articles help break down how this all-in-one solution works, including what you can track with our Shopify reporting app and setup guides for basic and custom installations. [subscribe] ReCharge integration Advanced Google Analytics integration for stores using ReCharge is one of our most popular integrations. It's a streamlined way to get accurate subscription analytics, including marketing attribution and LTV reporting. New support articles break down how ReCharge integration works with Littledata. You'll find guides on everything from how to check if the integration is working, to FAQs and more technical articles about tracking first-time versus recurring payments with GA views. We hope you take full advantage of Littledata's Help Center. Of course, you can always reach out to our support team directly from the Intercom popups on our blog, public site and app. We're available Monday to Friday in time zones around the world. Don't hesitate to get in touch, and remember -- your success is our success!

2018-08-21

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!

by Ari
2018-08-14

CartHook integration for tracking one-page checkouts and upsells

We're excited to announce that Littledata now fully integrates with CartHook. The integration provides automatic tracking for sales from CartHook's one-page checkout and connects that data to marketing channels and shopper behaviour. Littledata -- CartHook integration is the easiest way to get accurate data and smart reporting to improve sales and marketing ROI. All you need is a Shopify store with CartHook Checkout installed (even for just one product) and a Google Analytics account! What is CartHook? CartHook makes it easy for Shopify stores to add customisable one-page checkouts and post purchase one-click upsells. Their intuitive funnel builder lets any store customise the checkout process to increase conversions and decrease abandonment. Features include: Customisable one-page checkout One-click post-purchase upsells, including for subscription products (works great with our ReCharge integration) Product Funnels allow you to send traffic to a pre-loaded checkout page from any landing page Native Shopify integration means no custom coding required! How it works Integrating CartHook with Littledata ensures that all sales activity is tracking correctly in Google Analytics. Littledata weaves together your Shopify and CartHook data and connects it with your marketing channels and campaigns. Why spend developer time on custom scripts and events when you can just activate the integration in a couple of minutes? Benefits of CartHook integration: Sales tracking - Get automatic tracking for sales from CartHook, seamlessly synced with sales made via standard Shopify checkout Marketing attribution - Connect marketing channels and campaigns with shopping cart activity and buyer behaviour Optimisation - Scale the smart way with Littledata's industry-leading optimisation tools, including a personalised dashboard, report packs, benchmarks and buyer personas It's all about accurate data. Littledata's script runs in the background, pulling from CartHook, Shopify, and any other source you've connected to your analytics. If you're an advanced Google Analytics user, you can dig into the improved data collection directly in GA. Read more about why CartHook customers should use Littledata. [subscribe] Setup guide For the Littledata -- CartHook integration to work, you need to have both apps installed for your Shopify store, then connect them by activating the integration. Install CartHook and Littledata Follow these steps to activate the integration Yes, it's that easy! Shopify Plus If you run a larger Shopify store on Shopify Plus, we're here to help you scale. Both Littledata and CartHook offer enterprise plans that include custom setup and a dedicated account manager. Larger stores looking for an enterprise plan or managed services are encouraged to sign up directly and then contact us for a free consultation. If you're a digital agency with multiple customers on Shopify using CartHook, even better! Check out our agency partner program for Shopify experts.

by Ari
2018-07-24

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]  

by Ari
2018-06-28

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!

2018-05-07

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 ‘/url?email=myname@gmail.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.

2018-05-02

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.

by Ari
2018-04-04

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