Lunch with Littledata: Why a headless build is right for your store with Nacelle

Want to learn from DTC founders and entrepreneurs shaking up their industries? Check out the other entries in our Lunch with Littledata series. Ecommerce stores need to have a storefront build that’s not just engaging and aesthetically pleasing, but technically sound. Add to this the growing interest in headless setups, and choosing the right site architecture becomes one of the most critical decisions for a store owner to get right. Littledata partner Nacelle powers storefronts that stand out from the competition, offering headless website builds backed by a robust data stack. Focused on Progressive Web App (PWA) technology, Nacelle builds super clean, fast and responsive sites for modern DTC brands. They secured $50 million in Series B round funding from Tiger Global, proving investors see a promising future ahead. In this installment of our Lunch with Littledata series, we sat down with Devin Saxon, Senior Sales Engineer at Nacelle, to talk through the benefits of headless setups, when the right time is to try one, and how ecommerce is still evolving due to the COVID shift online. LD: In one sentence: what is headless? DS: Headless commerce is a flexible ecommerce architecture where your website’s back-end systems are fully decoupled from your website’s storefront (what your shoppers interact with). [tip]Littledata and Nacelle have partnered to create a build that gives you the full headless experience while keeping your Shopify Plus tech stack intact.[/tip] What exactly does Nacelle do? Nacelle is an easy way to build high-performing headless sites. Nacelle acts as the “abstraction layer” within a headless commerce architecture. Our product fully removes all interdependencies between the back end and the front end. It uses graphQL API endpoints with no rate limits for first indexing data (i.e. products, collections, and content), then delivering that data to your storefront. This ensures that you don’t run into any eventual consistency issues and dramatically decreases the complexity of a headless build. Nacelle is not an all-in-one, end-to-end solution. It’s structured to enable a true “headless” architecture, designed — and priced — for flexibility. It allows for customization and the opportunity for merchants to embrace their best options across the board. That includes everything from their ideal digital ecommerce agency partner to their preferred CMS system, third-party applications, hosting, and ecommerce platform at the core for their business. Is the headless build process dramatically different for brands with a good number of SKUs/products (like Something Navy) vs. stores with a few products selling by subscription (like Ballsy)? Every headless build is unique. Not because of catalogue size, but due to what the merchant’s goals and needs are for their front end and overall architecture. The process itself is not dramatically different. We align with the customer on the build scoping process, including their goals, integration, and workflow needs, which can be the biggest determinant of the timeline. It’s best to work this out far before they start building, though, to mitigate any issues from coming up during the build. When should you NOT move to a headless build? I would say it largely depends on the merchant’s goals and how they view their technology. Going headless can be a big expense upfront. So it’s beneficial to understand if you have the development resources to support the build itself, maintain your current site, and then maintain the headless site once complete. This is where it’s beneficial to work with a headless commerce platform. You’ll save time and resources while building out an efficient frontend and systems to differentiate your brand from the piping and plumbing of your headless architecture. “If a brand views their technology and engineering resources as ways to differentiate vs. a cost center, they are ready to make the move into headless.” You can also outsource development resources through an agency. We have typically seen success with brands who are $10-20m over annual revenue, or venture-backed and technology-forward. If the brand views their technology and engineering resources as ways to differentiate vs. a cost center, they are ready to make the move into headless. How has COVID affected your work at Nacelle? It seems like you’ve been hiring quite a bit! We are currently completely distributed as a company, and we have been hiring rapidly! We recently passed the 50 employee mark and we’re going to continue to grow that through the rest of the year. COVID’s effect on the ecommerce space has forced many businesses to reevaluate their tech stacks, which has led to a lot of positive opportunities for us. What about your merchants? Are things getting back to "normal"? The pandemic has definitely accelerated the conversation as ecommerce brands see the need to truly invest in their online presence. With that, headless really aligns with the philosophy of enabling DTC brands to better tell their story through their web storefront and shape the customer experience. Nacelle aligns well with DTC brands here because we remove the complexities of connecting your storefront with your back end. Instead, we allow you to completely focus on your front end with better development practices and less tech debt. Conversations have been really positive and engaging with merchants. It seems like things are actually cranking up more so than returning to normal. [tip]DTC brands with the right strategy can harness Shopify Plus to multiply their revenue and drive growth. Check out these 5 DTC stores fueling their success on Shopify Plus[/tip] Are agency partnerships a big part of your business model? Yes. We believe a strong technical implementation is best for any merchant going headless, and agencies are part of that equation. The agencies we work with have tremendous experience with headless builds and using Nacelle proves to be invaluable to brands who partner with them. What data points are important for your customers? I'm guessing site speed is a big metric? Site speed is always one that’s top of mind for customers. I’d also say conversion rate, average order value, pages per session, mobile conversion rate, and page-to-page speeds come up frequently. “Site speed is a data point that’s always top of mind for customers.” To give an example, Something Navy uses a drop model so their site will get aggressive amounts of traffic when they release something new. So, they wanted to see the number of unique sessions supported within the first 30 minutes of that product drop. We have a lot of different case studies with current customers that cover these points of data. What's the best resource for a Shopify store wanting to explore headless options? Hard to answer this and not be a little biased! Our marketing team put together some great content around this since we have a good amount of current customers on Shopify. Here’s a handful of links to some of my favorite resources they’ve created: Lessons From Over 20 Shopify Plus Headless Commerce Builds Get The Headless Experience Without Overhauling Your Shopify Plus Tech Stack What is Headless Commerce (And is it right for your store?) 7 Reasons to Consider a Headless Commerce Solution Going Headless on Shopify for the ecommerce Developer 5 Common Headless Commerce Questions, Answered Lastly, a bit technical, but what is the relationship between Nacelle and Netlify — or the "Jamstack"? Nacelle and Netlify work in tandem. Netlify delivers your online storefront to your customers' browsers by taking your website’s HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files and making them available online. Nacelle connects your back-end systems, syncs all of the data, and delivers it to the front end. Your Progressive Web App (PWA) calls Nacelle’s graphQL API endpoint in order to get all of the content and product/collection data for your site’s build. As for how we pair with the “Jamstack” — we help manage your back-end infrastructure and make static generation for the modern ecommerce store a breeze. With our back-end API, we are able to integrate directly with your systems (or ecommerce platform) that handle your PIM, OMS, CRM to index your products, and collect information for your front-end build. We also have pre-built integrations into Contentful and Sanity, so developers can leverage that same back-end API to integrate the CMS of their choice. With the front end, our APIs and Javascript SDK are robust and flexible. Our direct integrations into Nuxt and Next are intuitive and easy to use, and our API pairs flawlessly with Gatsby. Finally, we are compatible with over 30 popular ecommerce tools and easily integrate with new systems through APIs to keep up with evolving needs. Quick links: Dive deeper into headless tracking for Shopify Learn step by step how to add Google Analytics to your Shopify store Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics: Why don't they match? Try the Littledata Grow plan — for stores focused on data-driven growth

2021-08-13

How Littledata’s product sprints fuel innovation

Littledata thrives on innovation. As a top data connector with a complex backend and seamless frontend, we're always looking for ways to innovate faster and smarter. To fuel that innovation, we use focused development sprints to ship high-quality features and updates. Over the years, we’ve learned that: 1) having clear objectives, 2) removing unknowns, and 3) delivering value in smaller chunks is key to an impactful product development process. That's why we start projects by first clarifying our goals, then discussing the scope of features and their impact. That way, we can break them down into meaningful chunks and prioritize them for implementation. Delivering value in small chunks is key to impactful product development We arrived at this process after several trials and errors over many arduous months. Our north star metric all along has been sprint velocity. We measure that metric using total story points, which focus on a task’s worth of value delivered to customers rather than working time spent. We believe teams that most often deliver value to their customers have a higher chance of success in the long run. All that said, we recognize every team dynamic is different. Each team should test what works best for them. Littledata’s process — laid out below — helped us double our velocity per developer, per sprint. We highly recommend it to any product team that wants to try it out. To show you why our process works, let’s dive deeper into it. Choosing Goals and Objectives How to set Annual and Quarterly OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) We begin each year by stating our overall goals and objectives using the OKR framework. These annual OKRs are then broken down into quarterly OKRs and translated to fit each team. Using Team Initiatives / Epics Once each team clearly understands their OKRs for the quarter, they break them down into epics (or initiatives). Epics are bodies of work that, when completed, push the team closer to achieving their goals for the quarter. For example, in one quarter, our product team identified trial conversion rate as a key metric that, if improved, could help Littledata move closer to its business goals. To boost the trial conversion rate, the team used first principles thinking, user research and feedback, and user experimentation to help identify root issues that prevented users from completing the trial. Littledata breaks goals down into epics, which help us work together on clear initiatives Using that data, the team came up with several epics like creating a “getting started” campaign, improving the onboarding experience for users, and launching a feature to educate users about the product. Each epic contained clearly defined user stories (specific tasks) to help resolve the root issues identified. Epics breakdown We want to be able to start delivering value to our users as soon as we can. So, once we have a clear understanding of our target epics (or initiatives) for a quarter, we break them down further into valuable, independently deployable iterations: 1HOUR iteration 1DAY iteration 1SPRINT iteration FINAL iteration Each of these iterations is deployable on its own and adds value to our customers. Work starts using the smallest possible version of the epic that we could build and deploy while still adding value to users. We continue building to reach the final iteration: a fully-featured spec that has all the bells and whistles we’d initially planned for. Breaking an epic down into these iterations means that: We start adding value to our users sooner than later. Instead of waiting for a couple of sprints, we start delivering value in hours (literally.) We can measure impact a lot earlier. This helps keep us agile, letting us shift strategies if our proposed solution or the identified problem is not aligned with our users' needs. We increase perceived velocity. This helps keep team spirits and momentum high. We try to stack a mix of epics in every sprint to continue delivering value to customers across multiple fronts. The full Littledata sprint process Our sprint development cycle begins well before an actual sprint starts — ideally about two sprints in advance. We hold a few planning and estimation sessions beforehand to make sure we’ve clarified all the unknowns and aligned the entire team on the deliverables for the sprint. Then, it’s on to the epic planning. Planning epics We plan epics for a couple of sprints at a time. Each Littledata sprint lasts two weeks, which we’ve found to be short enough to accurately forecast the roadmap, yet long enough to enable us to take on larger features. For each epic planning discussion, we involve the Product Manager (PM), Engineering Manager (EM), and Technical Program Manager (TPM). Writing specs After we’ve aligned the desired outcomes for the PM, EM, and TPM for each epic and prioritised them into the sprint, the TPM works with the engineering team to break the epic down into smaller tickets that make sense from an implementation perspective. Estimating tasks Our EM works with the engineering team on a daily basis to discuss tickets specified by the TPM and estimate their complexity using story points (and following industry best practices.) Although complexity estimation is arbitrary and differs from team to team, as long as the team remains consistent in its estimations, we believe it adds a lot of objectivity to estimating sprint velocity. This further helps us plan each sprint, know the team capacity per developer per sprint, and aids us in our hiring decisions. Pre-sprint planning The PM, EM, and TPM meet again prior to the sprint’s start to discuss the now estimated epics. They negotiate and prioritize work based on the team’s capacity, as well as the value added to our customers and the business. This is where we lock in the work for an upcoming sprint. The entire product team connects at the start of each sprint to align on the epics and their desired outcomes. Ideally, this is more of an alignment meeting. By this point, everyone on the team will have gone through specs and will be quite familiar with the expectations. There should be no unknowns at this stage; the entire focus should be on execution. The sprint At Littledata, we follow an agile, two-week sprint model. We use Jira tickets to track progress, with each ticket flowing through the following stages: TODO: Prioritized ticket, assigned to a particular developer IN PROGRESS: The developer has picked up the ticket and is working on it. Ideally, there shouldn't be more than one ticket per developer in this column at any given point in time. CODE REVIEW: The developer has moved the ticket for peer review to make sure there aren’t any code quality issues. QA: After a ticket passes code review, our QA analyst makes sure the implementation matches the acceptance criteria specified on the ticket. DEPLOYMENT: If there are no dependencies, the ticket gets deployed to production after it passes QA. We try to deploy to production several times in a given sprint. Sprint review When we reach the end of each sprint, we wrap up with a review meeting. We talk through the sprint velocity, discuss what the blockers were, and brainstorm how we can improve in the next sprint. Many key Littledata features and product innovations have come from this sprint process, with sprint reviews feeding directly back into sprint planning for the next cycle. Those innovations include: A complete refresh of our popular ecommerce analytics audit checks Innovation in how Littledata handles userID for Shopify and Segment New transaction monitoring to help our own dev team as well as our customers, such as the uptime and status monitor Rapid iteration around additional app integrations, such as Zipify and Shogun landing page tracking And so much more! Indeed, the cycle continues to work on and on, from the next sprint to the one after... Try our process for yourself Has our product development process piqued your interest? Could you see yourself thriving in a collaborative work environment as part of a growing team dedicated to making a difference in customers’ lives? At Littledata we're building the top ecommerce data platform on the planet, with customers — and teammates — around the world. Take a look at our open positions, and don't forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Plus, if you're using development sprints in an innovative way, let us know and you might even get featured on the blog!

2021-08-12

Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics: Why don't they match?

If you're a Shopify store owner using both Shopify analytics and Google Analytics, you're probably familiar with the often large discrepancies between the two tracking systems. What you might not know is that this happens in part because Shopify's default analytics misses tracking on 12 out of every 100 orders. That leaves you unaware of your true sales performance and marketing attribution, and what actions your customers are taking at key touchpoints along their buying journey. Layering expensive data dashboards and connectors on top of this, as many stores often do, just compounds the problem and leads to more wasted marketing spend. It's never a good idea to make decisions based on bad data. An insider's guide to fixing your Shopify store analytics The first step to fixing your Shopify tracking is understanding where it fails. You know the data is missing, but what's going on behind the scenes to cause it? And is there a better way? Fortunately, there is. Our free guide on why Google Analytics doesn't match Shopify analytics dives into: The main reasons why transactions go missing in GA How a data mismatch affects your bottom line A comparison of different tracking methods What you can do to fix Shopify analytics Read the ebook >>> Adding Google Analytics to Shopify If you're not already using Google Analytics with your Shopify store, getting it set up should be your first step toward improved data accuracy. Though Shopify does have a default GA integration, it misses tracking many key metrics.  We have a full walkthrough on setting up Google Analytics on your Shopify store, which covers what to look out for after you've set up GA as well. Using the methods in our guide will help you ensure you get a full and accurate picture of your data in GA. For a fast way to connect them automatically, try out Littledata's GA to Shopify connection for free. The trial allows you to get an accurate snapshot of your key metrics, and you'll still own that data in GA whether you continue using our advanced data connections or not. [subscribe]

2021-07-30

Segment Q2 Updates

Shopify to Segment is one of our most popular connections, so we're always making improvements that give users the capabilities they need to optimize revenue. This update adds key tracking tools that give stores greater insight into customer checkout behavior, Facebook marketing attribution, recurring billing, and more. Supporting subscriptions in the checkout Littledata’s Shopify source is now fully compatible with most common subscription billing apps using Shopify’s checkout. Our app captures all recurring orders — linking them back to the user who first purchased if possible — and tags the events to differentiate between one-time purchases, first-time subscription orders and recurring orders. You can now use Littledata to send event data from subscription apps in the Shopify checkout, including: ReChargeBoldOrdergrooveSmartrr If you are using ReCharge you can take advantage of the subscription lifecycle event tracking as well. Learn more about the subscription lifecycle events we push to Segment for churn analysis, including Subscription Created, Subscription Updated, Subscription Cancelled and Payment Method Updated. Facebook Conversions API destination Segment’s cloud-mode Facebook destination is now out of beta, and becoming increasingly popular with marketers looking to more accurately target their Facebook Ads in the face of increasing browser limitations. Next month Littledata will be adding all the extra event parameters needed for Facebook CAPI, so please contact us if you’d like to join the private beta. Opting out of client-side events We understand some of our customers want to instrument their own event tracking (maybe using Littledata’s Google Tag Manager data layer), but retain the server-side events from Shopify. In this case, Littledata’s tracking script is still needed on the Shopify storefront to initialise Segment AnalyticsJS library and capture the anonymous ID for server-side events. But, you can add disableClientSideEvents: true or disablePageviews: true in a manual settings update. GDPR cookie compliance If your store is using a Shopify-compatible cookie banner (or using a consent management platform like OneTrust or TrustArc), the Littledata’s tracker can respect your users’ choices by switching just one setting. For OneTrust we also push the user consent choices as a user trait, so you can control which personas are shared with other platforms. Simpler accepts_marketing flag User traits for all events where the user is known now contain a simple true/false accepts_marketing field — useful in CRM destinations for email marketing. This is in addition to the marketing_opt_in_level field, which can give more detail on whether this was a single or double opt-in for marketing. How to get Littledata's Shopify source for Segment If you aren't yet a Littledata user, you can start a free trial directly from the Shopify app store. If you already have a Littledata account, you can activate the Shopify-to-Segment connection directly in the Littledata app. On Shopify Plus? Learn more about Littledata Plus.

2021-07-23

Littledata announces Google Analytics integration for BigCommerce

We are excited to announce that Littledata will soon be available to BigCommerce merchants. Like our popular Shopify app for Google Analytics, our BigCommerce connection for Google Analytics will ensure accurate sales and marketing data across the user journey. BigCommerce will be Littledata's first ecommerce platform integration outside of Shopify. With brands like Superdry, Skull Candy and 5-hour Energy now on BigCommerce, the timing couldn't be better. Read on to see what we've been working on, the benefits for ecommerce marketers and data scientists, and how to get early access. Why BigCommerce? Founded in 2009, BigCommerce has seen remarkable growth over the last couple of years, especially in North America. A year ago when they went public, BigCommerce was already powering over 60,000 online stores in 120 countries. They have focused on additional sales channels such as Amazon since early on, and recently announced a major partnership with Amazon for fulfillment, and another with Mercado Libre for extension into the Latin American market. Everyone needs accurate data to make data-driven decisions. We're excited to be extending our ecommerce data platform to work with BigCommerce. We chose BC because it's a great fit with our customer base which are typically successful DTC brands looking to scale faster and smarter. In addition, there's a growing amount of overlap with our technology partners and agency partners around the world. Advanced Google Analytics integration Accurate data is essential for ecommerce growth, but ecommerce tracking is notoriously difficult. As the top data platform specifically designed for ecommerce, our upcoming release in the BigCommerce app store will change the game. Littledata's advanced Google Analytics connector for BigCommerce stores will give you accurate data, automatically. Whether you are an ecommerce manager looking for accurate data to drive decision making, or a CTO or web developer looking for a seamless tracking solution, we're here to make your job easier. Benefits include: Complete sales dataAccurate marketing attributionCheckout funnel trackingOwn the data in Google Analytics As with all Littledata connections, Littledata's BigCommerce Google Analytics integration has the added benefit of enabling accurate data in any connected BI dashboard or reporting tool. What's more, the integration will work with custom themes and headless BigCommerce setups! Subscription analytics Tracking recurring orders is one of Littledata's key benefits and one of the most-cited features in our five-star reviews. We are especially excited about extending our subscription analytics to BC stores, enabling accurate data about recurring transactions and customer lifetime value (LTV). Our first subscription analytics integration will be with our longtime integration partner ReCharge, who also recently launched on BigCommerce. Sign up here for early access. How to get early access Are you doing at least $1M in annual online revenue? If so, you can apply for early access to Littledata's BigCommerce integration for Google Analytics. Early adopters will not only get access to our data connector - they will also have a key role to play in shaping additional features and integrations. Note: if you are interested in connecting BigCommerce with GA4 (the newest version of Google Analytics), reach out to us about our beta program.

by Ari
2021-07-22

How to add Google Analytics to Shopify

Google Analytics is the world’s most popular marketing analytics platform, used by 98% of online stores. Shopify is the world’s most popular ecommerce platform, used by over two million active merchants. But these two popular platforms don't work together automatically. We’ll show you how to get Shopify to work with Google Analytics, and some of the common problems and solutions when adding Google Analytics to Shopify. Read on to learn step by step how you can add Google Analytics to Shopify, or jump to the section that answers your question in the guide below. 1. What are the options for adding Google Analytics to Shopify?2. The First Step: Creating a Google Analytics property for Shopify3. Option 1: Shopify’s in-built tracker4. Option 2: Using Littledata5. Option 3: Adding GA tags within Google Tag Manager (via GTM)6. Handling refunds and recurring orders7. Top seven things to check after adding Google Analytics Why add Google Analytics to Shopify? With the advent of Shopify Analytics, some of our customers ask why they need Google Analytics (GA) at all. Yet, GA has continued to be the most popular choice for web analytics since launching in 2007. [tip]Download our free ebook to learn why Shopify Analytics data doesn’t match Google Analytics[/tip] Shopify Analytics can answer some questions about products and revenue on your store. But, there are many important questions Google Analytics is better at answering. Things like: How your orders correspond to multiple marketing touchpoints Who your web visitors are, segmented by location, demographics, and page interactions Which shopping behaviors and ecommerce funnels drive revenue (with more detail than Shopify Analytics) How to sync audiences or conversion data with Google Ads to improve ad targeting How your Shopify store’s performance compares with previous years on another ecommerce platform To get all that juicy extra reporting, you will need to first add Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce tracking to your store. What is Enhanced Ecommerce tracking? If you want to track your customers in Google Analytics, you don’t just need to track the page views—which is easy. You also need to see key parts of the buyer’s journey, especially the purchase itself (with the order value). Google calls this Enhanced Ecommerce tracking: measuring the full customer journey—and what products got to which stage of the journey—from the product listing page, through adding to cart, all the way to checkout and purchase. This type of ecommerce tracking is a bit harder to set up. You need data about your product variants, SKUs, prices, and quantities available to send to Google. Enhanced Ecommerce is Google’s best solution for ecommerce analytics. It gives you a way to analyze not just the campaigns that led to pageviews, but how users interacted with products and payments. What are the options for adding Google Analytics to Shopify? For Universal Analytics Universal Analytics (UA) was the default for GA prior to 2020. You can tell if your store has Universal Analytics already because your web property ID will start `UA-` and then a string of numbers. To connect Shopify to Universal Analytics, your options are: Using the built-in tracking in Shopify’s store preferences Using Littledata’s advanced Shopify to Google Analytics app (which we’ll explain more later) Adding GA tags within Google Tag Manager (via GTM)—which is possible in combination with option 1 Pasting the gtag snippet directly into your store layout (not our recommended option as it makes maintenance of the tracking hard) Adding Google Analytics 4 Since October 2020, GA4 has been the default when setting up any new Google Analytics properties. GA4 brings a number of advantages, including faster, smarter reports, but unfortunately GA4 is not yet supported by Shopify—so using their built-in tracking is not possible. Note: There is still a way to create a new Universal Analytics property (see below) so you can choose any option above. What is the best way to add Google Analytics to Shopify? The method you choose for adding Google analytics to Shopify depends on your need for data completeness and accuracy as well as how much time you have to configure the setup. Achieving a good GTM implementation can take many days of experimentation. Even then, it can be liable to break when making edits to your theme.   Time to set up Completeness of data Who maintains it Shopify in-built tracking MINUTES LOW - * Littledata’s app MINUTES HIGH LITTLEDATA Via GTM DAYS MEDIUM YOU * We haven’t seen any updates to Shopify’s GA tracking since they launched enhanced ecommerce reports back in 2016 The First Step: Creating a Google Analytics property for Shopify Whichever route you take, you’ll need to set up the web property in Google Analytics to receive the data. To do this, follow each step listed below: Under the admin settings (cog in the bottom left), click on the blue +CREATE PROPERTY button. If you don’t see the button, you need someone with edit permissions on the account to set this up for you Add a name for the property, and set the currency and timezone to match the currency and timezone in your Shopify store. This will ensure daily revenue and metrics closely match Shopify’s Click on the Show advanced options link and then toggle the switch on the right to Create a Universal Analytics property Then enter a website URL and opt to create a GA4 property as well if you need it Next, complete GA’s simple survey Once complete, Google will take you to the GA4 property first. So navigate back to the admin page, and find Property … Tracking Info … Tracking code Now you can copy the tracking ID starting with “UA-” Now that you have your GA property set up to receive data, it’s time to add Google Analytics to your Shopify store. Option 1: Shopify’s in-built tracker If you want to use Shopify admin to set up the tracking, you can paste that tracking ID straight in by following these steps: From Admin, go to Sales Channels .. Online Store … Preferences Paste in the tracking ID to Google Analytics account section and SAVE Note: You can ignore the "latest version" of Google Analytics. They mean Universal Analytics… see what I mean about it not being maintained? Option 2: Using Littledata You can follow Littledata's Getting Started guide to add Google Analytics to your Shopify store in a few minutes.  Without any extra effort on your part, Littledata gives you much more complete data in GA and weekly updates to your tracking as Google and Shopify launch new features. If you want to also send data to GA4, then simply reach out to Littledata’s support team after installing. [tip]See how Littledata's Google Analytics connection helps you fix your tracking while integrating with your other Shopify apps.[/tip] Option 3: Adding GA tags within Google Tag Manager (via GTM) If you prefer total control of how you add Google Analytics to Shopify, then using GTM could be the best option. Set up a new web container in GTM Copy the GTM container code to use in your store EITHER… Add the GTM container snippet to the theme.liquid file, just before the closing </head> tag. This will include the container in all pages except for the checkout and order confirmation page. (Note: Shopify Plus stores can also add the snippet to the checkout.liquid file to add to the checkout page) OR... use the box for ‘Additional Javascript’ to add it to all pages, including the order confirmation page (though this is being phased out for new stores). You need to leave out the starting <script> and ending </script> tags as this box is for Javascript, not HTML Create a new Google Analytics settings variable and paste in your Google Analytics tracking ID from above Enable Enhanced Ecommerce tracking for that variable Create a trigger for when the page DOM loads. This is considered a more reliable measure of the user ‘viewing’ a page than just firing it when GTM first loads Create a pageview tag using those settings and a trigger Tracking the “thank you page” with GTM The “thank you page” (or order completed page) is most critical to track; not just the pageview but the purchase value itself. First, you have to add the GTM container. In Shopify store preferences, if you still see the Additional Javascript box you can add the container code there. If not, you can also add the container in the Additional Scripts section of the checkout page. From your Shopify admin, go to Settings > Checkout Under Order processing, go to the Additional scripts text box Paste in the GTM container To send ecommerce data such as the order value and product SKUs to Google Analytics as well, you need to build a data layer based on the Shopify Order object. That is out of scope for what this guide covers. For a valid enhanced ecommerce transaction event, you’ll need at least the following fields: Order ID Order value Product IDs (or SKUs) [tip]Did you know? Littledata's app provides a GTM data layer for the order object, and a ready-made variable template to use that data in GTM.[/tip] Handling refunds and recurring orders Some customer events (like refunds) happen without an accompanying page view and are impossible to track with GTM, as there is no browser trigger to hook into. The only way to send them to Google Analytics is with a server-side Google Analytics integration—which is how Littledata works. This is also true for subscriptions, where recurring orders are sent directly to Shopify’s servers and are not part of a web session. If you want to track the Customer Lifetime Value from a subscription, not just the first subscription order, then Littledata handles recurring orders too. Handling GDPR consent management One more topic to consider if you want to add Google Analytics to Shopify using GTM is how to respect customers opting out of tracking, as is their right under European GDPR legislation (Shopify and Littledata’s tracking handle GDPR cookie consent already). Google released some support for Consent Management this year, but there is no standard integration with Shopify’s customer privacy API. So, you would need to set up triggers for when customers have opted into cookies manually. Again, this is out of scope for this guide. Top seven things to check after adding Google Analytics to Shopify Whichever method you choose, here are my tips to make sure you get the most accurate tracking.  Do you have duplicate tracking? If you add more than one Google Analytics tracker (maybe one via Shopify admin and one via GTM), then you’ll see an artificially low bounce rate (usually below 5%), since every page view is sent twice to Google Analytics. Is Google Analytics added to every page? This can be hard to check, but you can run through a typical shopping journey and view the real-time pageviews in Google Analytics. The most common issue is with landing page builders (e.g. Gem Pages and Zipify) which don’t use the same Shopify layout. Are you using the same Currency and Timezone as Shopify? Check your currency and timezone settings in Shopify by going to “Settings” > “General”. For any view in Google Analytics, use these currency and timezone settings. We have seen several store owners worry their sales were inaccurate in Google Analytics compared to Shopify, when the problem was actually that sales were pushed differently between days due to the disparity in these settings. Are all your country stores tracked? If you have multiple country stores for your brand, then we recommend adding the same Google Analytics property ID to all your stores. You can then create segments in Google Analytics to look at customers in just one country/domain. Do you see revenue attributed to your top marketing campaigns? Accurate marketing attribution could be blocked by certain third-party checkouts or payment gateways. Go to Acquisition … All Traffic … Channels report in GA and check that all the top campaigns you would expect to be generating sales have sales recorded against them. Is your internal traffic skewing the reports in GA? Your web developers, content writers and marketers will be heavy users of your own site. You need to filter this traffic out from your Google Analytics data to get a view of genuine customers or prospects. Have you set up filtered views for reporting? So you can still test the data capture, we recommend you set up a “Raw data” view in GA without filters, then add filters (for spam, internal traffic, etc.) in a reporting view. How to get the most from connecting Google Analytics to Shopify Whichever method you choose to get the reporting in Google Analytics, remember that good analytics is not a one-time activity. Every time you make a change to your store layout, traffic acquisition, or checkout options, you need to think about how this will impact your data collection—and the ability to report on your website performance. For a maintained, robust tracking solution you can try out free trial of Littledata’s Google Analytics app. For even greater setup support, talk to us about account management on a Plus Plan.

2021-07-20

Lunch with Littledata: How Wild built an industry-leading brand in 2 years

Want to learn from DTC founders and entrepreneurs shaking up their industries? Check out the other entries in our Lunch with Littledata series. Lunch with Littledata is back! This time, we sat down with Charlie Bowes-Lyon, co-founder of natural deodorant brand Wild. Founded by industry veterans, Wild became a Littledata customer early on to supercharge their growth. Through savvy market moves and a strong growth vision, Wild became the biggest brand in the UK natural deodorant market. They’ve added more than 140,000 customers in just two years after launch, with plans to build on their impressive growth. In our Q&A below, Charlie shares his thoughts on choosing growth channels, going global, and which data points are crucial for any DTC business to be on top of. [tip]Learn how to track every order on your subscription store and tie them to your marketing campaigns with our guide to complete ReCharge data in Google Analytics.[/tip] LD: Wild has grown a ton since you signed up. When we first talked it was right after you’d closed the funding round. CBL: Yes, I think it was when we were launching International, right after we'd raised funding. So it was early days last summer. Back then you just had one country store? Yeah! It feels like a long time since then… (laughs) Are you mostly reliant on paid spend for growth strategy overall? Yes, we're very performance-led as a business. We operate over a variety of different marketing channels and, as a result of those channels, gain brand awareness. We've also operated a very community-centric and “social first” approach. So, when we initially designed the product we made sure that, at least from our point of view, we were creating something that was very shareable over channels like Instagram. Something that people would really want to talk about and show off to their friends.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Wild (@wildrefill) And I think we achieved that in quite a good way. We've managed to grow on social pretty quickly. In the space of a year and a couple of months, we’re coming up to about 115,000 followers on Instagram. The other side of that approach is nurturing the community. So we have VIP Facebook groups for people who really want to stay involved and be a part of the decision making. For example, we often have polls on things like what scent we should put out next. I think that's been big in helping people to feel like they're involved in decision making. So, it's not just us guessing what customers actually want. It's based on a more data-led approach. A lot of our customers at Littledata want to build those communities, but it’s hard to get the initial traction. Are your engagements mostly coming from current customers or from new customers too? It's both. Referrals account for about a third of all of our sales. So, it's about nurturing that community, being very genuine with them, and really involving them in everything we do. Then as a result of that, people are happy to share and recommend us to their family and friends. That's the organic growth side of it. But at the same time, we're constantly building growth heavily into our CRM. We have landing pages, and we do ads to push that growth along. Do you offer a gifting option? We're not big on gifting, to be honest. In our referral program, if you refer a friend, they get a free case. So it’s really an intro offer. Yes, essentially. Because it can be expensive for people who haven’t heard of our brand to pay £12 for a deodorant. So, letting them see what the product's all about and test it first is a good way. Then we rely on the product being high quality and good enough to retain them as customers. “We rely on the product being high quality and good enough to retain (free trial users) as customers.” Hopefully the ReCharge tracking add on has been helpful to you. Yeah! Without it, we can't see anything on Google Analytics or anywhere. So yeah, it's pretty vital. Who on your team uses the data that Littledata sends to GA? Well, it's used across a variety of things. Myself and the marketing team use GA for top-line statistics and data on different marketing campaigns and so on. It's also hooked into our analytics platform, so a lot of the data that they gather obviously comes from GA as well. That’s being used for things like measuring LTV, but also looking at the operations side of the business and working out different cogs and margins on products we’re selling. Have you built one core dashboard, or is it more of an ad hoc process where you dive into the data and build reports as needed? Yeah, there's a couple of different dashboards we use. Generally, we've got pretty good oversight of data. And Littledata definitely connects that bridge between Shopify and ReCharge for us, which when it's off everything goes completely wrong and doesn't work. So it has been quite important for us. [tip]Learn how to connect ReCharge with Google Analytics for accurate data about your recurring transactions.[/tip] Wild has focused on sustainability since the beginning. I've had a lot of talks with founders recently here in the US who feel like they're having a hard time. Sustainability is definitely a buzzword here, but putting it into practice is a whole different story. Some DTC verticals have caught on, but in a way Europe in general is more progressive in terms of customers backing that commitment up with their purchasing behavior. Yeah—it's a funny one because I think you're right in terms of sustainability. I think Europe and the UK are ahead and people are a little bit more aware. It's a bigger subject that we're constantly focused on, both in politics and our wider society. There's been a lot of quite good changes that have been made. But likewise, in the US with the likes of Elon Musk and Tesla, for example, there's a lot of companies that are doing some quite good awareness around it. On the flipside for us, the US has had good natural deodorant companies for four or five years. We were the first one in the UK launching just over a year ago. So the US market is probably a bit more developed when it comes to what natural products are and why they might be better. It’s all still pretty new for us over here, so that means we have a lot more education that we have to do for potential customers. Whereas potentially in the US, that piece of education's already been done to some extent. And was that part of the impetus for choosing this concept as your brand alone? Yeah, definitely. We saw some successful companies in the US who had done a great job with a fundamentally good product (i.e. natural deodorant that worked). But outside of that, their packaging was very simple and plastic. The brand was pretty bland. We looked at it and thought: “we can add in sustainability and create a better, fun-looking product.” Do you have a community of other brands and founders doing similar things that you personally interact with, or are you more lone wolves? Yeah, we speak to a lot of different people every week really. Both my co-founder Fred and I are lucky that we have pretty good networks from our previous jobs. We certainly get really good oversight of what other companies are doing and how they're doing it and what's working for them. Sometimes, though, what works for others won't work for us and vice versa. It's an interesting time at the moment. I think to be honest, we've probably just been through the best year of ecommerce that anyone's going to see for some time. And I imagine that the next year is going to be quite difficult as a result because, you know, everyone's coming out of lockdown, iOS 14 updates on Facebook, all these kind of small things are adding up to make life a little bit more difficult. And people are heading back into traditional stores as well. So, it'll be interesting to see what happens. But in a way, it's a good thing for us. We see it as hopefully a competitive advantage if things get a bit more tricky and we're able to execute better than others. [tip]Use Littledata’s guide to GDPR cookie banner compliance to ensure your store isn’t hit with a non-compliance fine.[/tip] Do you expect the business model to change at all, maybe to pull in wholesale? Yes, we've just gone live about a month ago into retail in the U.K., and we're now Sainsbury's. I think it's been a really good start so far. Potentially that will be a big channel for us. But really, we're very focused on two things. One is delivering the best natural deodorant we can and always iterating on that. The second is diversifying both our marketing channel mix and our strategy by going properly international. We're already in Europe, but we're dabbling in the US and Australia as well and testing other markets.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Wild (@wildrefill) I think the danger that’s present for ecommerce companies at the moment is that we could see a channel just stop working one day. Something like Facebook, suddenly people's customer acquisition costs could double on Facebook. For example, the UK has had really high adoption of the iOS 14 update from Facebook. I believe it’s somewhere around 30 percent of people (in the UK) are opting in for ads, whereas in Europe it's closer to 60 percent of people opting in. But because we have that diversification of countries we can advertise in, we can immediately move some of our advertising spend to Europe and we'll probably get better customer acquisition costs as a result. Being in Sainsbury's and hopefully other retail outlets in the future just gives us another channel where we can focus, spend on marketing, and diversify. And I think as well, to be honest, once we can, we'll probably do a lot of events and try to get out and get to offline channels. It just gives us another angle of approach. Is the goal that in-store shopping will be the first touchpoint for new online subscribers? Not necessarily, no. We're fairly channel-agnostic. So we don't really mind if someone's online buying from us or shopping in brick-and-mortar retail. “We're fairly channel agnostic. So we don't really mind if someone's online buying from us or shopping in brick-and-mortar retail.” Wild offers a slightly complex product where some explanation is required to kind of understand who we are and what we're doing. And often if you go into a retail store, you're not really looking for something new. You’ve basically got a second where you glance at the products on a shelf. So it's hard to know. But I do think that the brand awareness we've created over the last year has massively improved the retail results that we've had today. Plus, they both will just feed off each other. Some people don't like to order online, or they forget about it. They might want to just go into the shop and grab a refill. Likewise, some people might make their first purchase in a shop and then sign up on the website and get an online subscription. I think the key is just giving customers options. Do you plan to expand globally? And if so, do you plan to hire specific country managers? There are lots of subtle things that can make a difference. Yeah, massively so. We're barely touching the surface of the potential in Europe. And there's a huge market in the US and Australia for us as well. That said, we plan to choose a couple of markets, focus in on them, and make it work there before trying to do too much at once. We’re hiring a German country manager at the moment, so that's going to be our starting point. Quick links Littledata's partner program for Shopify Plus agencies and tech partners Headless Shopify tracking with Littledata Ensuring GDPR cookie banner compliance for your ecommerce store Calculate customer lifetime value for ecommerce using Google Analytics data

by Ari
2021-07-14

Focusing on data-driven growth? There's a plan for that

We've spent a lot of time on the blog lately focusing on Littledata's Plus plans made for larger DTC brands, including headless setups. But what about those merchants who are not quite there yet, but poised for rapid growth? You guessed it, there's a plan for that. Littledata's new Grow plan is now available for Shopify stores sending data to Segment or Google Analytics. It comes with some solid perks, including priority support and the ability to track up to three country stores for one low price. [subscribe] How do you know if it's the right plan for your Shopify brand? As a modern data platform focused solely on ecommerce, Littledata tracks over 5 million orders per month for ecommerce brands around the world. So you might say we've seen it all. But there's no one-size-fits-all solution. There are a few different things to consider before choosing a modern data platform, and it's important to pick the right plan on that platform to make sure you have the support you need without any hidden fees or surcharges. Grow isn't designed for account management or analytics training. Those are only available on Littledata Plus. But it is designed to unlock the full potential of our data pipeline, at a lower cost. The ideal Grow plan user has a solid customer base, a proven product mix, and is ready for the next phase of growth. You are probably a good fit for Grow if: You have identified accurate data as a KPI or OKR (ie. have a company initiative to take data seriously, whether that came from identifying a Shopify/GA mismatch or a more general drive to make data-driven decisions this year) You have an in-house analyst or ecommerce manager who can make use of the data we send You are doing 7-10k orders per month (the Grow plan currently supports anywhere from 6-12k monthly orders, and in our experience 10k is the "sweet spot", an inflection point for DTC success) Are prepared (or preparing...) for rapid growth! Maybe you're planning a global expansion or getting ready to launch a long-awaited subscription product. Maybe you're just doubling down on marketing spend, but aren't yet sure how to track and understand your customer lifetime value. Grow plans are here to help you get accurate data so you can make better decisions, eliminate wasted spend, and double down on the ecommerce marketing that's working best. (How do you know what's working best? That's why we built Littledata). Learn more about Littledata pricing and find the plan that's right for you.

by Ari
2021-07-09

Try the top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify stores

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