3 deep dives into customer lifetime value for ecommerce sites

Subscription ecommerce has continued to scale throughout the pandemic, with consumables like beverages and meal kits rising particularly fast in North America. Shopify sites selling by subscription have always been a core part of our customer base at Littledata, and with even traditionally brick-and-mortar retailers moving online and trying out subscription ideas, we've got our hands full with new subscription sites these days. It might be easier than ever to start a subscription box (companies like Bulu have transformed the market), but getting accurate data about marketing attribution and customer lifetime value is difficult without the right data setup. So with Black Friday Cyber Monday coming up, we thought it would be useful to share some of our top posts this year about subscription analytics. Here are our top three posts this year. Enjoy! 1. How to calculate LTV for ecommerce subscriptions Lifetime value is a core metric for many online companies these days. This is especially important for ecommerce sites, because whether you're focusing on repeat purchases or actual subscriptions, marketing to (and product alignment with) the highest LTV customers can make or break a DTC brand today. In this post, our founder breaks down the basics of LTV calculations for ecommerce, focused on Shopify stores using ReCharge for subscriptions. https://blog.littledata.io/2020/01/14/how-to-calculate-lifetime-value-ltv-for-subscription-ecommerce-in-google-analytics/ 2. How to use Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics to increase subscription sales Custom Dimensions are a remarkably powerful feature in Google Analytics, often overlooked because they can be complicated to set up manually (also, they "sound complicated"). But the truth is that with a little background research, custom dimensions are easy to understand, and -- more importantly -- to apply to your daily, weekly and monthly reports in order to get a clear view of different order types, repeat purchasing behavior, and more. https://blog.littledata.io/2019/09/19/quick-tips-for-subscription-stores-using-custom-dimensions-in-google-analytics/ In this detailed post, our lead analyst dives into the complications of modern DTC brands selling a mix of product types and subscriptions. He focuses on how to reconcile differences in different reporting tools, and how to create segments and reports to fit your unique business model. After all, talk is cheap. How can you put LTV calculations to work for your business? [note]Did you know? Littledata automatically tracks first-time and recurring purchases and ties them back to the original marketing source.[/note] 3. The ultimate guide to LTV tracking In this popular guest post on the Shogun blog, we take a look at everything you need to know about LTV. When you know your LTV, you can: Know which kinds of products your high-LTV customers want more of Know how much to spend to acquire a “similar” customer and still make a profit based on their projected buying habits Promote the products with the highest profitability Increase your marketing budget and inbound efforts to attract your most profitable types of customers [subscribe]

by Ari
2020-09-30

Why does shop.app appear as a referral source in Google Analytics?

You may have noticed a new referral source appearing in your Google Analytics, or an increase in sales from the 'Referral' channel. This is a change Shopify made with the launch of the new Shop app, and can be easily fixed. What is Shop.app? SHOP by Shopify is a consumer mobile app, aggregating products and experiences from many Shopify merchants. It is heavily integrated with ShopPay, and so Shopify is now directing one-click checkout traffic to the shop.app domain instead of pay.shopify.com. How would SHOP fit into the user journey? There are two scenarios: 1. Customer is using Shop.app for checkout and payment Example journey: User clicks on Facebook Ad Lands on myshop.myshopify.com?utm_source=facebook Selects a product Logged in, and directed to shop.app for checkout Returns to myshop.myshopify.com for order confirmation In this scenario we should exclude shop.app as a referrer, as the original source of the order is really Facebook 2. End customer is using Shop.app for browsing / product discovery Example journey: User discovers product on shop.app Clicks product link to myshop.myshopify.com?utm_source=shop_app Logged in, and directed to shop.app for checkout Returns to myshop.myshopify.com for order confirmation Here, shop.app is the referrer but it will show up with UTM source How do I see the true source of the referral in Google Analytics? Firstly, you need to exclude shop.app as a referral source. Only in scenario 2 is SHOP genuinely a source of customers, and there the UTM source tag will ensure it appears as a referrer. Littledata's latest tracking script sets this up automatically. The second fix is harder. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Shopify only sets utm_source=shop_app in the URL query parameters in scenario 2, and Google Analytics won't consider this a referral unless utm_medium is also set. So it appears under the (not set) channel. I've written a patch for our tracking script so that we set utm_medium as referral if only the source is specified, but you can also edit the default channel grouping in GA so that shop_app is grouped as a referral. Thirdly, you want to differentiate orders going through shop.app from the normal Shopify checkout. Littledata's Shopify app does this by translating the order tag shop_app into the transaction affiliation in Google Analytics, so the affiliation is Shopify, Shop App. Conclusion So if you're a Littledata customer: our app has got you covered. And if not there's a few changes you'll need to make in Google Analytics settings to make sure shop.app traffic is treated correctly.

2020-09-22

The growing Polish ecommerce market

What does the future of ecommerce look like in Poland? This week, I was honored to be invited onto a panel discussing ‘Riding the Wave of Ecommerce into the Future’ as part of the Ecommerce Trends Summit. Organized by MIT Sloan Management Institute Polska and the ICAN Institute, the summit offered a timely forum about ecommerce for a country rapidly undergoing digital transformation. As with all countries, Poland has seen a massive shift online post-Covid, and predominantly offline companies are scrambling to catch up with online-first retailers. These laggards were behind on use of modern ecommerce platforms like Shopify, but are now catching up fast as they understand the true cost of maintaining an excellent web channel. Since Shopify launched local language versions of their store admin in 2019 it has been a more popular choice for Europe-based companies, and Shopify is now heavily marketing in France, Germany and other countries. Many brands are extending across these markets, and at Littledata we've built multi-currency tracking into our main SaaS product for Shopify merchants. In the Shopify world, each country site is a separate-but-connected "country store" for localized shopping and payments. I’d expect more Polish companies to migrate to Shopify or other cloud solutions (WooCommerce, BigCommerce, etc) in the near future. The larger brands will likely choose Shopify Plus. [note]See the ecommerce trends we've identified during the COVID-19 crisis[/note] The other themes of the panel were more general to retailers globally: stores need smarter marketing, better personalization and a more unique sales proposition as competition heats up. In addition, Amazon.de (Amazon Germany) is just as big a threat to individual brands as elsewhere, but that makes it just as important for stores to own their own customer channel and direct brand experience. And that means running their own online store. Let’s hope Littledata gets to do more business with Polish ecommerce sites soon! [tip]Book Littledata CEO Edward Upton as an expert ecommerce speaker at your next online event[/tip]

2020-09-11

Ecommerce events not to miss this September

It's that time of year again: ecommerce conference season. And despite the "new normal," there seems to be more going on than ever. Even the best virtual events seem now to be totally free to attend, where in the past there would have been a ticket cost plus travel and expenses. At Littledata we've adapted to COVID-19 by going totally remote (we were already remote-first, and were lucky to have an easy transition), and for our customers we've presented a range of offers, including a full 30-day trial on all analytics plans for Shopify stores. But like many of our customers and partners around the world, the Littledata team all went through a bit of a virtual burnout earlier this year. Or rather, a real burnout from virtual-interaction overload -- too many video calls and online events. But now we're feeling a surge of new energy, and next week we're doing our first totally virtual design sprint. [subscribe] We always look forward to doing design sprints in person, as it's a chance to get to know our teammates from around the world, as well as sketching, building and testing some new ideas (our Why Littledata? page is an example of a great design sprint outcome, not to mention numerous aspects of our Google Analytics Shopify app UX design). But we're excited for the online collaboration too -- it's a chance to really hone in, focus, and work together to create something new and useful. And if you're like us, you're ready to start getting back into the swing of online events too. Shopify has been hosting some great online events and meetups, but you probably already know about those. So we wanted to focus on some free events from leading apps and platforms in the extended Shopify ecosystem. Don't miss these online DTC ecommerce events There are a number of events we'll be checking out this fall. Here are some highlights from our partner network. ChargeX (September 2nd - 3rd) Headless Ecommerce Summit (September 3rd) Retail Renaissance (September 15th - 17th) Women in Subscription (September 24th) ChargeX (September 2nd - 3rd) ReCharge is taking their popular user conference online this year. ChargeX includes an agency day on September 2 and a merchant day on September 3. There will be speakers from brands such as Smol and Myro, and merchants who attended last year include Dr. Axe, Manscaped, and Lola. This year ChargeX will focus on how to create rich user experiences for your customers, what data you should be tracking every day to maximize revenue, and how to adapt using real takeaways from live customers to grow your business. ReCharge is one of our most popular analytics integrations at Littledata. A number of our customers and Shopify Plus agency partners will be attending ChargeX again this year, and we look forward to catching up with everyone! Headless Ecommerce Summit (September 3rd) The Headless Ecommerce Summit, presented by Netlify, is a free four-hour event covering modern headless stacks, no matter what checkout you'll be using (BigCommerce, SAP, Salesforce CC, Shopify, etc). Everyone knows that headless sites are super-fast. But how does it all fit together? Join decision makers, technologists, and e-commerce experts for a one-day deep dive into how you can leverage the Jamstack to take advantage of this new headless approach. Whether you’re just learning about headless e-commerce, you’ve already started to go headless, or you're a Jamstack pro, this conference will give you insights and actionable information to make your site and your business move faster. For more about how to how to track checkouts for headless Shopify setups, see our headless tracking demo. Retail Renaissance (September 15th - 17th) Retail Renaissance is the flagship conference from Emarsys. This year they're going big and going global (including talks en français!). We have re-imagined the conventional conference, creating a digital-first festival to help marketers, ecommerce and digital leaders in retail across the globe learn from their peers, engage with the wider community and contribute across a 3 day, timezone busting, global agenda. We're looking forward to a lot of high-level Shopify Plus content about omnichannel ecommerce and personalization. Which makes sense, as Emarsys is an omnichannel customer engagement platform popular with larger Shopify merchants (including many Littledata customers). [tip]Should you attend that ecommerce event? Check out our free conference checklist[/tip] Women in Subscription (September 24th) The Women in Subscription conference is a free virtual event with talks from leading innovators in the subscription industry. It's the industry's first woman-focused subscription event, with speakers from Bulu, All Girl Shave Club and more. If you haven't looked into Bulu, check it out -- really smart productization of the subscription box concept, from Paul and Stephanie Jarrett. If you're doing subscription ecommerce and interested in combining the latest trends in subscription boxes with data-driven subscription analytics to power your growth, Women in Subscription is an event not to miss. SUBTA, the subscription trade association, did an excellent job with their last virtual event, and we're looking forward to another engaging experience. https://subta.com/women-in-subscription/  

by Ari
2020-09-01

Lunch with Littledata: Q&A with Casey Armstrong, CMO at ShipBob

This week, we're continuing our Q&A segment: Lunch with Littledata! We recently caught up with Casey Armstrong, CMO at ShipBob, to chat about the Shopify world, fulfillment, decision-making during COVID, Shopify analytics, and more. ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL that fulfills ecommerce orders for DTC brands; their mission is to make Shopify stores feel more successful online by providing reliable fulfillment solutions, warehouses near customers to help transit times, shipping costs, and the overall delivery experience. ShipBob also has a strong Shopify integration. [tip]Check out Littledata's top-rated Shopify app for Google Analytics -- with advanced tracking for Shopify Plus[/tip] Let's dive right in! Q: Has ShipBob’s core market changed during the crisis? Our core market has not changed since the COVID-19 pandemic started, but our core market has grown considerably. The reliance on selling direct-to-consumer and ecommerce has been steadily increasing year-over-year and now everybody who was hesitant or putting it off has to adapt immediately. "The reliance on selling direct-to-consumer has been steadily increasing" In addition, buyers are creating habits and becoming more comfortable buying online. This will impact retail forever. There is no going back to the percentage of retail occurring offline in the US. Q: Are you still seeing a big uptick in AOV when customers migrate to using ShipBob's fulfillment solution? This varies greatly by merchant, but by offering free shipping, fast shipping, or fast and free shipping, we have seen merchants see increases in AOV from 17% and up to 98% in extreme cases. Q: If you were personally to start an ecommerce business in North America right now, what would you sell? Happiness :) Q: What's the most common misconception ecommerce businesses have about fulfillment, or just 3PL solutions in general? The biggest misconception is that they have to be doing a lot of volume. That is not the case. In fact, ShipBob was built to democratize fulfillment for all ecommerce merchants. We have customers that are doing 50 shipments per month and customers that are doing well over 50,000 shipments per month. They both have access to the same fulfillment center network, run by the same warehouse management system, and they see everything in the same merchant application. Plus, we charge $0 for all of our software, including all integrations and our analytics tools. Q: Are a number of your Shopify merchants selling by subscription? Which apps are they using? Yes, we have a lot of merchants utilizing subscription offerings, so they can increase customer LTV and have a more predictable revenue stream. The most common applications we see now are ReCharge and Bold Subscriptions. [tip]See how you can track your subscription data with complete accuracy.[/tip] Q: Any tips for merchants who might be new to ecommerce? Know your numbers: COGS, customer acquisition costs, and fulfillment costs. Sounds basic, but if you don’t know your numbers, you can't efficiently scale your business or know which levers to focus on!   Quick links Littledata's partner program for Shopify Plus agencies and tech partners Free ebooks about how to improve Shopify analytics Headless Shopify tracking with Littledata

by Ari
2020-08-20

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]  

by Ari
2020-08-13

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]

by Nico
2020-07-30

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

by Nico
2020-07-16

Try the top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify stores

Get a 30-day free trial of Littledata for Google Analytics or Segment