What's new in our Shopify apps for Google Analytics and Segment
Littledata is always improving. Over the last 6 months, we’ve worked on numerous features to enhance the accuracy and availability of our ecommerce data analysis for Shopify merchants. Littledata's smart connections make it easy to get accurate data in Google Analytics or Segment. The changes below affect both of our Shopify apps (Segment and Google Analytics for Shopify), marking the biggest major update to our Shopify tracking script and server-side tracking since we released V8 last year. [tip]Check out our release notes for regular updates![/tip] Attribution for email marketing signups In order to provide enhanced email attribution, we've linked 'customer created' and 'customer updated' events back to the original source. Stores building a customer email list can now analyze where those email signups originally came from. By linking customer creation or update events on Shopify’s servers to the original campaign or referrer to the store, Littledata customers can now accurately track the source of email signups. Merchants can now also segment these signup events by whether or not the customer opted into marketing. Checkout steps Tracking checkout steps is essential for ecommerce analytics, but Shopify's native tracking is incomplete and inaccurate. Littledata's Shopify connections solve checkout tracking issues automatically. With recent updates, we’ve made the tracking of checkout steps even more reliable, coping with situations where a user is already logged in, or abandons the cart and then returns later. [note]Did you know by sending the data to Google Analytics, you can easily track your Shopify payments gateway during checkout?[/note] With the help of the full Enhanced Ecommerce specification, you can: track exactly which products follow in each step calculate the value of opportunities to improve each step [subscribe] ReCharge connection, recharged As subscription ecommerce sites continue to scale, they need even more detailed data about the user journey, especially lifecycle events. [tip]Do you trust your subscription tracking in Shopify? Learn how to get accurate tracking for repeat orders[/tip] With our new ReCharge v2 connection, subscription stores can now track the full subscription lifecycle including: subscription updates cancellations failed payments product edits customer profile / information edits [note]See the full slate of ecommerce events you can now track with ReCharge v2[/note] Geolocation of server-side events Stores need accurate information on the location of their customers to retarget campaigns around top-performing regions or cities. The extra events above, plus all the standard order data, are sent from our servers in Virginia, US. But, of course, in your analytics, you want to see them linked to the customers' real location. We now have a belt-and-braces solution for correctly geolocating customer events, passing on the browser's IP address where known, or else sending the shipping address (default customer address) to Google Analytics as a 'Geographical Criteria ID'. CartHook and Bold Cashier We've always supported other checkouts for Shopify, as we know some stores need flexibility with payment, upsell and recurring billing options. And for the most popular checkout solutions, we're always looking at ways to provide advanced tracking automatically. So in the past 6 months Littledata has launched more robust integrations with CartHook and Bold Cashier. New Google Optimize connection Google Optimize is a powerful A/B testing and personalization platform used within and beyond ecommerce. [note]Connect your Shopify store to Google Optimize to test your product pages, store content and messaging with 100% accuracy.[/note] Now, we have an out-of-the-box setup for Shopify, including an anti-flicker snippet. And coming soon... In Q1 2020, we're working on connections for Iterable's email marketing platform, plus a more consistent way of handling Segment's anonymous ID for stores which don't use Google Analytics. Is there something you're eager to see in Littledata? We're always happy to hear feature suggestions — get in touch with our team today!
Tracking Bold Subscriptions in Google Analytics
With over 1,700 positive reviews in the Shopify app store, Bold Subscriptions is a popular solution for Shopify merchants selling by subscription. It's plug-and-play but highly scalable for Shopify Plus. In order to really scale your subscription business, you need complete sales and marketing data. This doesn't just help with improving marketing ROI, but also increasing engagement and delighting your customers, which in turn leads to higher AOV and LTV. But whether you're on Shopify or Shopify Plus, subscription analytics can be complicated to set up manually -- not to mention ongoing maintenance and QA of your custom scripts and GTM containers. With that in mind, we are especially excited to announce an updated Bold integration that works for both Bold Subscriptions and Bold Cashier. Littledata's Bold Subscriptions connection enables advanced Google Analytics tracking so you can make sales and marketing decisions based on accurate data. Setup takes less than 15 minutes. Bold Subscriptions tracking Subscription customers are notoriously difficult to acquire, so it's especially important to figure out how to predict which new subscribers will stick with your business for years to come. Sales and marketing decisions ultimately come down to data about sales channels and retention. But do you trust your marketing channel breakdown? What about your LTV cohorts? Littledata's Bold connection works in tandem with our main Shopify connection to ensure complete data about subscription sales. Our Shopify app for Google Analytics and Shopify app for Segment both use a combination of server-side and client-side tracking to capture everything that happens in your Shopify store. You can connect your Bold checkout with just a few extra steps to get complete tracking. This includes: First-time subscription orders One-off purchases (regular Shopify sales) Recurring orders Refunds Not only that, but we stitch sessions together automatically so that the first-time purchase and recurring purchases are tied back to the original marketing channel. During the integration setup, we'll also ask you to create additional Views in GA so you can easily analyze subscriber behavior (like how a particular cohort of subscription box customers behaves over time) vs. first-time purchases (which channels or campaigns led to that initial sale). [tip]Once you install Littledata, take advantage of our custom dimensions for tracking repeat repeat purchases and lifetime value. Learn more about our unique approach to LTV.[/tip] The data is available directly in Google Analytics or Segment (or any connected tools and platforms you might be using, such as Glew, Data Studio or Tableau). And our data layer works easily with GTM (Google Tag Manager). Marketing attribution The question we hear most often at Littledata is, "Why doesn't my Shopify data match Google Analytics?" This is just as true for Shopify as for Shopify Plus. As we've optimized our tracking solution for Shopify Plus (scalability, multi-currency tracking, cross-domain tracking, etc), we've found that marketing attribution is still a major pain point for stores that aren't using Littledata. Shopify is a phenomenal platform, it just needs a few extra integrations to make the plug-and-play apps work well with your data setup. Before Littledata Unless you have full-time developers who have built a custom solution for your Shopify tracking, you will likely see a lot of traffic attributed to "Direct" in Google Analytics, sometimes as much as 99%. We have found that 88% of Shopify stores have inaccurate data in Google Analytics, and the direct-traffic issue is especially bad, off by at least 20% for a majority of those stores! This means that without Littledata, your marketing analysis can feel a lot like guesswork (or endless hours piecing data together in Excel from all hour different ad platforms and sales tools). After Littledata Littledata's smart tech stitches sessions together automatically so that you'll see a much more accurate view of marketing channels, including email, PPC, paid search and referrals. Our Shopify apps use a combination of client-side and server-side tracking ensure that every user touch point is captured and sent back to Google Analytics. Adding the Bold Subscriptions integration extends this tracking to recurring Bold orders as well. See our help center for documentation about how Littledata's tracking works, or watch a quick demo video. [subscribe]
How to get accurate Shopify data in Google Analytics (VIDEO)
If you're using Google Analytics to report on Shopify data, you need to watch this video. Ecommerce analytics were complicated, so we built a better way. Don't spend money on custom setups or expensive ETL configurations for your analytics. Just use this one automated tool. Check out this quick demo of Littledata's popular Shopify to Google Analytics connection, available in the Shopify app store. Littledata is the easiest way to automate Google Analytics for your Shopify store. By connecting your Shopify store to Google Analytics, get: Smart audits to check for accurate tracking Seamless connections with apps like ReCharge and CartHook Benchmarks against thousands of ecommerce sites Easily extensible via Google Tag Manager (GTM) Own the data in Google Analytics And that's not all. We also add custom dimensions to track LTV and payment gateways like Klarna, Paypal and ShopPay. In the video above, see how the Littledata Shopify app for Google Analytics fixes tracking automatically. Fix your tracking Littledata works behind the scenes to fix your Shopify tracking and ensure accurate data. From marketing channels to checkout steps, Littledata's automated audit checklist gives you a clear picture of what to track and how to track it, and how each integration works. [note] Why doesn't Shopify match Google Analytics? Get the Shopify analytics ebook. [/note] Benchmark your Shopify site Say goodbye to guessing games and start benchmarking your site against top performers with Littledata's automated benchmark tool. Filter by industry, location, website size and more. We look at technical factors like server response time, as well as classic ecommerce benchmarks like conversion rates by device (mobile vs desktop). Check out the top Shopify benchmarks to get started. Automatic tracking for marketing and checkout apps Scalable tracking for Shopify and Shopify Plus Automated import of Facebook Ad Costs and Instagram Ad Costs Checkout flows like CartHook Subscription ecommerce apps like ReCharge and Bold Subscriptions [note]Do you trust your Shopify tracking in GA? Here's a free guide to how you can[/note] If you're about to watch this video, chances are that you're still doing analytics by hand. Or you've tried other apps that were just connectors -- they didn't fix the tracking. Littledata works with popular reporting apps like Google Data Studio, Tableau and Power BI. Littledata's app for Shopify will give you an edge on the competition with accurate data across the entire customer life cycle. For ecommerce managers and developers With Littledata's smart script to fix your tracking, you can enjoy accurate data about marketing channels, product performance, transactions, revenue, shopper behavior and more! Check out our help center for documentation and free training on: Tracking the Shopify checkout funnel events The best GTM and Google Analytics data layer for Shopify How to use custom dimensions to calculate LTV We're here to help you make data-driven decisions based on accurate data. Let us keep up with the complications of webhooks, APIs and server-side tracking, so you can focus on scaling your business! Get started with a 30-day free trial for a full month of accurate Shopify data. [subscribe]
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
The state of mobile ecommerce for Shopify stores (VIDEO)
Is mobile a better channel than your current data suggests? We recently caught up with Will from Underwaterpistol and Claudia from Klevu to chat about the state of mobile ecommerce. The average mobile conversion rate tends to be only 1-2% for Shopify stores. But that's just the beginning of the story. Optimizing for mobile is an ongoing process. There isn't just one solution. In addition to technical factors like page load speed (time to first paint, etc.), you have to consider the entire user journey and optimize the flow accordingly. This includes social presence, the details of browsing behavior (eg. on-site search, product list views), and checkout funnel tracking, which can be difficult to do manually for Shopify stores. That said, unless you get marketing attribution right in the first place, you might be beating a dead horse. [note]How do you compare? Check out our list of essential benchmarks for Shopify stores, including average order value (AOV) and bounce rate from mobile search.[/note] Multi-touch attribution models are useful, but it's important to fix basic tracking issues first (such as cross-domain tracking in the checkout flow), and even once you get that tracking set up correctly, it's essential to understand how users are behaving at each touchpoint, rather than just giving each touchpoint a certain percentage of credit for the conversion. This is especially true for Shopify stores and DTC brands where popular mobile channels such as Instagram and Pinterest are a strong draw. For example, if your best (highest LTV) customers are actually coming from Instagram Ads on mobile devices, and then purchasing on desktop once they get into your brand story on a deeper level, then maybe your mobile site should focus on visual brand stories with an email signup CTA, instead of discounts and cart abandonment campaigns aimed at direct ecommerce conversions. Thanks to Underwaterpistol (UWP) for putting together the video chat! UWP is one of our Shopify Plus agency partners at Littledata. Do you run a team of Shopify experts that would like to use Littledata to fix tracking for your clients? Learn more about our partner program.
What's new for ReCharge tracking
Are you ready for ReCharge v2.3? The latest version of Littledata's popular ReCharge connection is more powerful and extensible than ever. Subscription ecommerce is booming right now, especially for consumables like wine and coffee. Many Shopify stores are even seeing Black Friday-level traffic. But there's also more competition than ever. ShipBob has noted that subscription discounts are especially popular right now, during the seemingly endless days of COVID-19, as a way to bring new subscribers to your brand. This is a major opportunity -- but it also means that there's a lot more competition. Data is more important than ever to understanding your store performance and benchmarking your site, choosing the best marketing channels for your products and targeting the best customers with a higher lifetime value (LTV). Data is more important than ever to understanding your store performance So what exactly can you track with Littledata's ReCharge integration? ReCharge integration for Google Analytics Our ReCharge connection has gone through a lot of updates over the years, based on feedback from our customers, including smaller Shopify merchants, larger DTC brands on Shopify Plus, and our agency partners around the world. Earlier this year, ReCharge v2 saw the addition of subscription lifecycle events. ReCharge v2.3 is now available to all merchants, with the addition of events to track the ReCharge checkout funnel -- and segment by product and marketing channel. So what's new? Clearer segmentation of first time vs recurring orders When you add Littledata's ReCharge connection we now add three Views in Google Analytics to help segment the data: One-time orders and first-time subscriptions - A good way to track initial purchases. We automatically filter out duplicate and recurring orders from this view. All orders - All orders placed on your store, including one-time orders, first-time subscriptions, recurring orders, and prepaid orders. Raw backup - A raw data backup with no filters! This separation enables stores to easily calculate Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) on one-time orders and first-time subscriptions. Furthermore, for all the subscriptions that started after you installed Littledata’s ReCharge connection, you can group them by subscriber (Shopify customer ID) or by marketing channel or campaign for insightful Return on Investment (ROI) calculations. Read more about how Littledata works with Views and Filters. Checkout funnel events Starting from June 2020, stores on ReCharge v2.3 can see checkout step events to match the checkout events sent from the Shopify checkout. Littledata’s checkout tracking works without the need to add Google Tag Manager or other tracking scripts to the ReCharge checkout, simplifying implementation -- and reducing the risk that 3rd party script interrupt or intercept the sensitive payment details. Excluding prepaid subscriptions Stores generating prepaid subscriptions were seeing duplicate orders when that subscription eventually got processed. In the new One-time orders and first-time subscriptions view, we filter these duplicates out automatically. Custom dimensions for LTV and more Our ReCharge customers benefit from the same user-scope custom dimensions in Google Analytics that we have for all Shopify stores, allowing you to segment and retarget audiences based on data such as their lifetime spend, date of first subscription, or number of subscription payments. Marketing attribution All of these ReCharge v2.3 updates work with our smart tech for accurate marketing attribution. What's the real ROI on your Facebook Ads? Do customers who pick higher-value subscription bundles come from a particular channel? See how Littledata fixes marketing attribution automatically for Shopify stores, with a combination of client-side (browser) and server-side tracking. [tip]Read our reviews to see what ReCharge customers are saying about Littledata! [/tip] ReCharge integration for Segment Our ReCharge integration is now fully compatible with our Shopify to Segment connection, so if you want to send Shopify and ReCharge events to Segment, we've got you covered. This is a seamless way for ReCharge stores to get revenue and customer information into Segment's hundreds of destinations. Headless Shopify tracking for ReCharge ReCharge Connection v2.3 is fully compatible with Littledata's headless tracking solution. Stores using ReCharge's new Checkout API can use Littledata's headless demo to show you how to get the same seamless customer journey from storefront, through checkout to purchasing. Littledata is the only tracking solution compatible with headless ReCharge setups, including those built by our amazing tech partners like Nacelle. ReCharge in-app analytics ReCharge has also launched a powerful in-app analytics feature available to all users. ReCharge launched Enhanced Analytics for Pro customers in 2019 to allow cohort and metric tracking. This is a powerful feature, but it’s different from what Littledata does. The most successful brands are using both tools. ReCharge’s analytics feature offers easy ways to visualize your ReCharge data in the app, while Littledata fixes sales and marketing tracking and sends that data to Segment or Google Analytics. What you can do ReCharge Enhanced Analytics Littledata + Google Analytics Littledata + Segment Look at trends in subscription sign-ups and cancellations ✔ ✔ ✔ Analyze churn rate by cohort or product ✔ ✔ * ✔ * Visualize cohort retention ✔ Fetch last-click source and medium (UTM parameters) from subscription API ✔ Analyze multi-channel marketing contributions to subscription sales ✔ ✔ ✔ Attribute recurring orders back to marketing campaigns ✔ ✔ ✔ Analyze Customer Lifetime Value including non-ReCharge spend ✔ ✔ Track charge failures by any customer attribute ✔ ✔ Track subscription cancellations or upgrades by any customer attribute ✔ ✔ Track customer updates by any customer attribute ✔ ✔ Track usage of the customer portal on our site by any customer attribute ✔ ✔ See how any ReCharge customer event connects to the pre-checkout behaviour of the user ✔ ✔ Look at cancelation rate by marketing channel ✔ ✔ ✔ Trigger transactional emails based on changes to subscriptions ** ✔ Retarget segments of ReCharge audience in common marketing destinations ✔ * Requires additional analysis in a spreadsheet** In Segment destinations such as Iterable How do you get all this? If you're already a Littledata customer, you can update to ReCharge v2 directly in the app (just login and you'll be prompted to upgrade if you haven't already). New to Littledata? We now offer a 30-day free trial on all plans, and setup only take a few minutes. If you are looking for more support, like account management or analytics training, please contact us about enterprise plans.
Join our virtual Shopify Meetup on July 15th
What are you doing on 15 July? Asking us Shopify questions, that's what! Join Littledata, CartHook and Electric Eye for a Shopify expert roundtable. This summer has seen virtual events galore for the Shopify world, and we really like the AMA (Ask Me Anything) format. So Littledata is excited to join our friends at CartHook and Electric Eye for a virtual Shopify meetup on July 15. It will be a Shopify expert roundtable with the option to submit questions in advance, and plenty of time to chat. At this meetup, the panel of Shopify experts—consisting of Jordan Gal of CartHook, Chase Clymer of Electric Eye and Honest Ecommerce, and our own Ari Messer—will answer questions asked by attendees. At the request of past Meetup attendees, the event will be held during the workday (so yes you can practically be paid to attend!). [tip]Have a question for the panel? Submit your questions online here.[/tip] Event details When: 1:30pm ET on 15 July 2020 Where: Zoom! Who: Ari Messer (Littledata) and Jordan Gal (CartHook), hosted by Chase Clymer (Electric Eye) Sponsored by Shopify and Klarna You can register for the event here About Shopify Meetups Shopify Meetups are hosted by Shopify Experts to share knowledge with the growing Shopify enthusiast community. This also includes those who work predominantly on Shopify Plus. The meetings are free and open to everyone. Education and value is the focus of these Meetups, with each event featuring speakers and offering networking opportunities. Attendees range from seasoned ecommerce experts to budding entrepreneurs. What to ask Really any Shopify questions are fair game. Actually, scratch that, anything about ecommerce in general is good too! Interested in ecommerce trends during COVID? We've got the data. Wondering how to choose the most important metrics for your store? Ask away. Looking for more technical details about how Shopify, CartHook and Littledata work (together or apart)? Now's your chance to dive in deep. How to register You can register for the event here. It's a free online event and anyone can register. See you then!
The Shopify merchant's guide to reducing cart abandonment
For many Shopify stores, it's an all-too-familiar question: why do online shoppers decide last-minute not to buy a product? Whether you're on Shopify or Shopify Plus, shopping cart abandonment is a serious issue. But surprisingly the main reasons for visitors and even current customers abandoning their carts (ie not making it all the way through your checkout flow) are actually shared by many merchants. On the plus side, so are the ways to reduce cart abandonment! Cart abandonment is not a mystery. While not every reason a shopper abandons their cart is within your control, some things are in your hands. When your cart abandonment rate is high, there are active steps you can take toward minimizing it. [tip]Download the Shopify merchant's guide to reducing cart abandonment for free[/tip] Maybe you've spotted lower checkout completion rates on mobile, or maybe it's a cross-device issue. Maybe it's a significant issue for paid traffic, organic, or both. But first, let's explore cart abandonment from the ground up: What it is Why it matters Why it's a crucial metric, not a mystery What causes cart abandonment? While there’s no quick answer, carts get abandoned for a variety of reasons — although a lower abandonment rate tends to reveal a more intuitive customer experience and a more trustworthy store. Many shoppers may browse your store in hopes of finding a hidden discount, to compare prices, or to see how your product stacks up against similar products. Some shoppers might even be building a wishlist for the future, with no intention of purchasing right now. For this type of shopper, there’s not much you can do to compel a purchase. This means your focus should be on the shoppers who are willing to buy but haven’t, maybe due to a website element or step in the checkout process that sent them scurrying away. As part of the same cart abandonment study, the Baymard Institute conducted a survey of over 4,500 US adults asking why they abandoned their purchase after passing the add-to-cart stage: Many of the factors above can be countered by making tweaks to the checkout process. (We cover as many as possible in our free cart abandonment ebook.) For example, let’s take the second most prevalent response — the site wanted me to create an account. By offering a guest checkout option where an account is not necessary, this 28% group would be one step closer to a purchase, helping you avoid an abandoned cart. How can you improve your checkout experience? Industry lingo like “streamline the checkout process” is often thrown around, but what does this actually mean? What are the parts of your site that eliminate friction in the checkout process rather than causing it? More specifically, we’re referring to the step after a user adds a product to his or her cart. Optimizing add-to-cart rate is, in itself, a separate stage in the purchase funnel that we have discussed before. In any case, here are a few things to consider for a better checkout experience... [subscribe heading="Don't wait to reduce cart abandonment" background_color="green" button_text="Download our free guide" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/cart-abandonment-ebook"]
Lunch with Littledata: Q&A with Anshey Bhatia, CEO of Verbal+Visual
This week, we're continuing our Q&A segment: Lunch with Littledata! We sat down (virtually) with Anshey Bhatia, founder and CEO of Verbal+Visual, to chat about the Shopify world, good design, and where things are going. V+V is one of our fantastic agency partners here at Littledata. They work closely with thoughtful brands that are dedicated to a seamless, user-centric experience on Shopify Plus. We share a number of customers with the agency and it was great to catch up during these crazy -- but also inspirational -- times here in NYC. Let's dive right in! Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your clients overall? Have they seen a boom in orders or AOV, or has order volume been normal? Our clients with higher cost per units for non-home items have been much more affected than everyone else. While no client has seen a major boom, only one client has seen a significant loss, and they are a high-ticket, night-on-the-town apparel company that launched in February. All in all, while there was a slight dip for most in March, ecommerce rebounded quickly. Q: How has V+V adapted to the pandemic era? We have taken on some new client work that is smaller in scope than our typical projects. We’ve done this to help the immediate needs of brands that were not positioned to adapt to the acceleration of e-commerce shopping that we’ve seen. When we saw the need for smaller development projects that could save brands thousands of dollars a day in lost sales, we realized it’s more efficient to solve those short term problems before addressing a full site redesign. We saw the need for smaller development projects that could save brands thousands of dollars a day in lost sales Harley Finkelstein, the COO of Shopify, recently referred to Shopify as a “Retail Operating System”, and we agree with that definition. Our agency is not just building ecommerce websites; we create the infrastructure needed for a brand to scale across many different online and offline channels. [note]Wondering how Littledata has adapted? Here's what we're doing in response to the crisis.[/note] Q: If you were going to start a DTC brand right now, what would it sell? We partner with brands that are mission-driven and are thoughtful about their supply chains and materials. We also love working with brands focused on other mission-driven areas such as health and wellness, and empowerment / equality initiatives. With that in mind, we would start a DTC brand that sources non-perishable ingredients from local restaurants and merchants. Restaurants have come up with inventive ways to sell food and other products while their establishments are shut down, so bringing locally sourced products like sauces, spices, and seasonings to a larger audience is a huge opportunity. For example, Bread makers have seen the second largest increase in purchases from March 2019 to March 2020 as a result of COVID-19, and I have a feeling our team could design a pretty kick-ass bread maker! Q: Sounds delicious! So you're a group of ecommerce design experts — visual design, experience design, etc. What's the most challenging part of creating great design experiences for businesses running on Shopify? Two important issues come to mind. Firstly, brands always want experiential sites, however they also want high conversion rates and AOV. The two don’t always go well together. It’s important that while going through the design process, the tightrope between brand equity and conversion focus is walked across gently and that we don’t go too far in either direction at the risk of losing the other. This is not endemic to Shopify necessarily, however most brands that are on Shopify care deeply about their brand. Secondly, all ecommerce sites need to be accessible to everyone, everywhere. We need to design sites with accessibility as a priority, as it’s not only the law, it’s the right thing to do. The trick is retaining a unique experience, ensuring shoppability, and allowing equal access, all at the same time. Q: What are some underrated elements of great ecommerce design that merchants should pay more attention to? We spend a lot of time thinking about the design elements that are not immediately noticeable. A lot of the new brands we see have certain elements that are trendy or in line with an agency’s signature style. For us, we focus our energies on creating scalable design systems that will bend but not break as a company grows their enterprise. Sometimes that means we have to question the brand’s assumptions and really dig into their brand identity. It’s not always clear and then our job becomes designing a set of guidelines that can not only be applied to the digital experience, but elsewhere. While we don’t specifically focus on branding, it’s important that we understand the fundamental building blocks of the brands’ visual identity, so that we can bring that brand to life across digital touch points. We also pay attention to interactions, animations, and page transitions. These animations are not always noticeable and sometimes they are designed to be that way. If a PDP is image-heavy by design, we’ll create loading animations for those images, with the understanding that it will take a little longer to load some of those images as users scroll down the page. Q: What's your advice for merchants who may not realize that a great shopper experience is stalling their growth? A lot of brands are selling a great product, they’re creating compelling ads on Facebook and Instagram which tells the story of the brand. Then potential customers click on those ads and end up on a site that does not align with the touch points they’ve had with the brand so far. A digital experience that doesn’t align with the brand’s identity will immediately reduce trust between the customer and the brand. It’s important to have a seamless customer journey from delivering ads, to the website, to emails and even into the receipt of the packages. If parts of the customer experience don’t feel connected, you are more likely to lose your customer or lose their potential LTV. Q: How does ecommerce look different for standard Shopify stores vs. Shopify Plus stores right now? There are so many new brands appearing in different verticals right now. Shopify does a great job of giving brands the tools to get off the ground and running. However, when brands need to start to differentiate themselves, they break out of the templated design that Shopify is best for. From a design perspective, you can accomplish pretty much anything you want on a Shopify store all the way up to a Shopify Plus store. Shopify Plus stores, though, are able to elevate the holistic digital experience to another level. Shopify Plus offers significantly more functionality for brands that are going international and are expanding via physical retail or other channels. Shopify Plus is built to provide an entire commerce infrastructure, while Shopify is built for a starter level e-commerce experience. Shopify Plus also offers white glove customer service, which is hugely important for brands serious about their long term growth. Q: Is omnichannel selling a thing of the past? On the contrary, omnichannel is the future of commerce. Some people think of omnichannel as the relationship between offline and online shopping. We view omnichannel as any touch point your customer can buy at. COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of ecommerce, but ecommerce still sits at under 30% of total commerce. While most first-time ecommerce shoppers are going to large marketplaces like Amazon, Target, and Walmart, many of them are also exploring DTC brands for the first time. Brands are looking to shift to big marketplaces while also experimenting with new channels like TikTok and mobile gaming platforms. Additionally, we’re seeing traditionally offline businesses like restaurants looking for additional revenue streams. Shopify’s updates for Shopify POS have addressed the short term safety issues surrounding COVID-19, and we believe these updates will also help to improve the dynamic between online and offline, and make more shoppers comfortable with the idea of omnichannel. Ultimately, brands want to be where their customers are. We don’t always know what channels are going to be popular, but we do know all brands need a strong digital infrastructure in place to adapt and scale. Q: How crucial is it for Shopify Plus merchants to trust their tracking? In other words, how important is accurate Shopify tracking and reporting to a store's success? We use data to drive our design process, inform the user experience, and our ecommerce strategy recommendations. As mentioned before, one of the main problems we see with brands is the misalignment between their marketing campaigns, creative content, their website, and the unboxing experience. We use data to drive our design process and inform the user experience It’s critical for us to know where customers are coming from, how they are converting, how much they are spending, and their lifetime value. This not only helps our clients’ marketing efforts, but it allows their ecommerce team to make informed decisions. We can understand what changes need to be made to landing pages, PDPs, and path to purchase, and we can attribute customers to the correct marketing channels so that teams can align around shared goals. Accurate Shopify reporting ultimately leads to clarity around ownership of the data and accountability, so we can’t stress enough the importance of being able to read and interpret these data points. Thanks again to Anshey and the Verbal+Visual team for hanging out with us online. Looking for more Lunch with Littledata? Last month we sat down with Chad Rubin, CEO of Skubana (and a Shopify seller too!).
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