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!
Updated Facebook Ad Costs to Google Analytics connection
As part of Littledata’s focus on Facebook Ads data this year, we have rebuilt our Facebook Ad Costs connection to be more dynamic and more robust. If you've been asking how to track Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads in Google Analytics -- or doing cost imports manually with Google Sheets and other tools -- your life just got a whole lot easier. Littledata's new and improved Facebook Ad Costs connection automatically imports cost and campaign data from Facebook Ads to Google Analytics, giving Shopify merchants an unbiased view of multi-channel marketing attribution, user journeys and real ROI on PPC campaigns. The Facebook Ads to Google Analytics connection now has added functionality including: Handles up to 100,000 active Facebook Ads, imported daily to Google Analytics Interprets dynamic campaign parameters Imports up to 90 days of campaign history on the first import Works for both Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads Import multiple Facebook Ad accounts to one Google Analytics property Import one Facebook Ad account to one multiple Google Analytics properties Recommends improved campaign URL parameters when none are given Of course the core functionality remains the same: easily pull campaign details and cost data into GA from your FB Ad accounts. Thank you to our customers who gave feedback to help improve the connection -- we couldn't have done it without you. The updated Facebook Ad Costs connection is available on all paid plans at no additional cost. Start a free trial today and start analyzing your campaigns more accurately.
How to migrate your subscription business to Shopify
Migrating your website from any platform requires a well thought-out plan and strategy to ensure you continue providing a quality user experience and you don’t risk losing any acquisition channels in the process. This is especially true when migrating your subscription business to Shopify. In this article we'll discuss the benefits of moving from one platform to Shopify. We’ll also explore some of the pitfalls that brands make when migrating, how to avoid them and best practices when migrating. Why migrate your subscription brand to Shopify? Traditional ecommerce platforms such as Magento or WooCommerce require hosting and security updates to be done on a regular basis. When you factor the time required, the cost of maintaining a quality infrastructure and the inflexibility of hosting these platforms, many brands make the move to Shopify. This is because Shopify is a SaaS (Software as a Service) which means any hosting requirements are automatically applied to the site along with any security updates. This means less time and money invested in simply having an online store and more time and money invested in making it profitable. Using Shopify means less time and money invested in simply having an online store and more time and money invested in making it profitable. Shopify’s ecosystem of apps and technology partners means that integrating a marketing tool or specific functionality is much easier than other platforms. Combining Shopify’s platform with ReCharge for subscription management and payments creates a powerful online store that’s easy to manage and guarantees a quality user experience for your customers. [tip]Do you trust your subscription tracking? Littledata's ReCharge connection guide can help.[/tip] How to migrate your subscription store to Shopify Design The design of your site is important to your brand; it’s how you showcase your personality. The design will also impact the way that users interact with your site. When you migrate from a platform to Shopify or Shopify Plus, there’s no direct way of converting your site design. Rather, it requires choosing a theme from the Shopify theme directory, or rebuilding it using the help of a Shopify developer. However, the development cost of a Shopify site is often much lower than other ecommerce platforms. This usually gives brands the opportunity to take stock of their ecommerce site pre-migration and make design updates to their UX to further capitalise on their migration investment. Design and UX best practices are updated constantly, and if a brand is moving from an out-dated platform to Shopify then they’re likely to have outdated UX. Using the migration as an opportunity to refresh the user journey, design elements and the mobile experience will help boost the conversion rates of the new site. [tip]See how your store stacks up when it comes to conversion rates[/tip] Functionality An ecommerce site is not about just looking good, the functionality of the site has to be considered when migrating to Shopify. Similar to the site design, Shopify has its own template language called Liquid, which isn’t used by any other ecommerce platform. This means that any functionality within the code will need to be re-written. Again, this gives brands an opportunity to iterate and improve upon existing functionality and performance. To extend the ecommerce functionality even further, Shopify has a very active ecosystem of technology partners. This means implementing functionality such as loyalty points, deferred payments, personalisation, onsite search, UGC and more is very easy to set up. If you have specific requirements that can’t be fulfilled by one of the apps available on the Shopify market, then custom apps can be built to handle any of your requirements. Subscription functionality As a subscription ecommerce business, getting the subscription functionality right is absolutely paramount to the success of your platform migration. While there are various subscription tools available on the Shopify and Shopify Plus platform, none come close to the functionality and scalability as ReCharge. ReCharge has devised an easy 3 step plan to help merchants migrate over to their subscription solution. Step 1 - Setup ReCharge and test Without making the site publically available, set up all the products within ReCharge and optimise them until you’re happy with how they look. Make sure your shipping, taxes and payment details are correct. Once you’ve done this, run a test subscription transaction and contact ReCharge to make sure it’s come through correctly. Biomel, for instance, is a Littledata customer using Shopify for their ecommerce platform and ReCharge for their checkout. In this case you'd want to check that the product and subscription type are correct after placing a test order. Step 2 - Compile all the data ReCharge has a handy spreadsheet template that you can use to fill in your existing subscription data. It’s imperative that this is filled in correctly and that all the customer payment information is correct. ReCharge will then review this data to ensure that this is correct. Step 3 - Set a date While your existing platform will continue to service the subscriptions until the point of switching over, ReCharge can advise the optimum date to avoid any interruption. On the day of the switch, you will cancel your existing subscription platform and ReCharge will go live. This ensures that none of your customers are double charged and there is a seamless transition between the 2 platforms. Migrating the data Once you’ve switched over your subscription data, the bulk of your work is done. But if you also sell one-off products, then you’ll want to migrate that data over too. While there is no quick way of migrating your data from legacy platforms to Shopify, it’s important that data fields are matched correctly. Within the data migration process, you can import past order history data, customer account data and much more. The only exception to this, is importing customer passwords. However, this does give brands an opportunity to reach out and ask customers to change their password, usually, this can tie in with a promotional campaign. Back office processes 3PL, stock management, warehousing and other back office processes can be a tricky task to get right. Thankfully, due to Shopify’s API and extensive ecosystem of technology partners, there is a solution out there for almost every brand. Automating these processes as much as possible will help brands save time, reduce the risks of mistakes and make it easier to scale. SEO One of the biggest worries that brands have when they migrate to a new platform is the impact it will have on their SEO efforts. For established brands that have invested a lot of time and effort into getting decent organic visibility, their SEO state could be the main source of income for the brand. The key to successfully maintaining and improving the SEO efforts of a site during a platform migration is planning. If it’s planned correctly, there should be no reason as to why a site would lose any ranking. Redirects No two platform URL structures are alike, and moving over to Shopify will likely change the structure of your site. If you don’t tell search engines that you’ve changed the URLs of your site, then it will assume that all of the new pages are new content and will try to rank them as such. It will then see a series of 404’s on the highly ranked pages, and demote them as they no longer offer quality content. However, if you invest your time and effort into a proper 301 redirect strategy, you can tell search engines that your new URL is in fact the old one. This will help maintain a steady organic traffic flow while Google updates its listings and will also serve a better user experience for anyone visiting a legacy link. It’s also worth noting that by putting in a 301 redirect link, you’re also passing over any backlink weight or “link juice” as it’s commonly known. Content Search engines try to rank sites that offer the best quality content for a specific query. By ensuring that your content on the new site closely matches the old platform, you’re ensuring the same quality content that was previously being ranked for. Brands will usually take the time to improve on their content at this stage, as it gives them an opportunity to invest more into their organic offering. Speed Speed is key to a good user experience and Google and other search engines recognize this. That’s why improving the speed of your site can help improve your organic ranking. Because Shopify is SaaS, the loading speed of the platform is handled by Shopify themselves. This means that the platform is always fast and will scale as more traffic comes onto the site. Usually, merchants moving from a self hosting platform, such as Magento, to Shopify will often see a huge difference in the performance of the site. Shopify is constantly improving the rendering engine, which means sites will actually get faster over time. [tip]Thinking about migrating from Magento? Here is a comparison of Shopify vs Magento.[/tip] Analytics Finally, no ecommerce site can be truly improved without first studying the analytics of the site. While Shopify itself has an inbuilt dashboard for internal analytics, the industry standard is to use Google Analytics. By using the same GA tracking code on the legacy site and the new site, you’ll be able to compare the difference data pre-launch vs post-launch. And of course, for a better understanding of your ecommerce data across subscriptions, install Littledata. This will ensure that the data you’re seeing is correct and consistent with what’s actually happening in your store, including subscription ecommerce events: The first part is just getting your tracking right, so you can make data-driven decisions about subscription packages and product marketing on your site. Then comes the fun part: increasing not just overall sales and conversions, but optimizing for customer lifetime value. At Underwaterpistol, we’ve had nearly two decades working at the forefront of ecommerce and as Shopify Plus partners. Our status only reinforces our knowledge of platform migrations, so do get in touch if we can help with your mirgration! This is a guest post from Will Lynch. Will heads up the partnership program at Underwaterpistol who have been building Shopify stores for over 14 years. Specialising in theme builds, custom development and high-volume SKU migrations, Underwaterpistol think outside the box, helping you build a brand as well as grow your business. Underwaterpistol (UWP) is a Littledata agency partner.
Littledata named a 'Top Seed Company to Watch' by e.ventures
Ecommerce is growing faster than ever before, and Littledata is here to support Shopify merchants around the world. We're happy to be included in e.ventures' Top Seed Companies to Watch for May 2020. Littledata is featured alongside startups including Checkly (total raised: $2.25M) and Wise ($5.7M). A truly global VC fund, e.ventures has offices in San Francisco, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo and Sao Paolo. Founded in 1998, they are known for their founders-first investment philosophy, with a major portfolio that includes such luminaries as Groupon, Sonos, The RealReal, and Littledata tech partner Segment. In the Top Seed Companies feature, Brendan Wales notes that there are no viable competitors for what Littledata is doing with fixing ecommerce tracking from the ground up. Wales sees a particularly strong market opportunity for ecommerce analytics in the current climate: Full funnel visibility has always been difficult within Shopify. Littledata solves that problem and also layers on consulting services for when people hit a roadblock. Large growing market opportunity. Despite these uncertain times, Littledata continues to scale. We are supporting merchants throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of our clients are actually doing better than ever (here's a look at the data). We recently scaled up our solutions for subscription ecommerce and headless Shopify setups, and revamped our agency partner program and Enterprise Plus plans for Shopify Plus stores. Last week we also announced a major acquisition of two Shopify apps for Facebook marketing. Best-in-class customer support remains at the core of our mission. Littledata's Shopify apps for Segment and Google Analytics continue to receive 5-star reviews, most recently from Jimmy Joy, Biomel and Snow Teeth Whitening, with merchants noting the 'must-have' tech for 'insights' and 'accurate data' in Google Analytics, as well as the 'top notch' support and account management. If you are interested to learn more about Littledata's growth strategy, please get in touch.
Littledata acquires Facebook Feed and Pixel Perfect apps for Shopify
Littledata is pleased to announce the acquisition of two Shopify apps focused on Facebook advertising: Facebook Feed and Pixel Perfect. As customers increasingly turn to Facebook and Instagram for a seamless shopping experience, we're here to help stores give customers what they want: the right product at just the right time, no matter which marketing channel brought them in. Pixel Perfect automatically sets up an accurate Facebook Pixel for Shopify stores, along with numerous features to support dynamic product ads -- including a product catalog feed. If you're only looking to sync the Shopify product catalog, Facebook Feed is a smart product feed that supports unlimited products without timeouts or delays. Our expert analytics team is already providing customer support for both apps, and our product team is working to improve functionality for Facebook Pixel and Facebook catalog feeds, which are essential parts of running dynamic product ads across the Facebook network -- in other words, the keys to automated personalization. To quote Littledata's CEO, Edward Upton: "We believe stores investing tens of thousands in Facebook Ads need more reliable tools to target that spend. Littledata is able to improve upon the integration announced with Facebook and Instagram this week, and enable enterprise-scale stores to track their customer journey on Facebook." Shopify and Facebook Shopping Facebook and Shopify made major announcements recently about the many ways that customers find (and now purchase) products on Facebook and Instagram. They've emphasized that these new features will help small businesses succeed, and that's definitely a potential benefit. But let's be honest -- we all knew this was coming, COVID-19 or otherwise. There's just too much ad spend at stake. These updates and new features include: Facebook Shops: a new, complete storefront experience, integrated with Shopify (among other platforms, such as BigCommerce and Woo, Shopify is clearly the most significant: Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke was on the video call with Mark Zuckerberg) Instagram Checkout: a previously closed beta experience for direct shopping and checkout, now slowly rolling out for everyone At Littledata we're most excited about Instagram Shopping. It's not just a little experiment. Instagram's Vishal Shah told TechCrunch that almost 1 million stores are already signed up and ready to implement Instagram Checkout, so it's much more than its previous incarnation as a beta test with large brands like Zara and Adidas. Shopify is deprecating the Facebook Shop channel and will be pushing merchants to create these new Facebook shopping experiences (either ad campaigns or the full FB storefront). Stores that had product tagging set up through the Instagram channel before the announcement can already access Facebook Shops (the new feature -- different from the previous Facebook Shop channel, ahem...this is starting to get confusing). But like many Shopify announcements of the past, the overall timelines are unclear. And while they have improved the setup for their default Pixel implementation, we still see the same common issues like Product ID and revenue mismatches. Either way, these new features aren't necessarily a great fit for larger DTC brands by default -- they'll need something more reliable and customizable. That said, why not just go direct to the source? Facebook Dynamic Ads are already open to everyone, and they're a proven model for high-ROI retargeting and engagement. What do you need to run Dynamic Ads on Facebook for a Shopify store? Actually just a few things, which don't take long to set up if you haven't already: Facebook Business manager account Facebook Pixel (or SDK) on your site Product catalog feed That's where the new apps come in. Pixel Perfect Pixel Perfect is a popular Shopify app for automatically configuring a Facebook Pixel on your Shopify store. Facebook Pixel allows you to measure the impact of Facebook Ads on revenue, and calculate Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). It also allows you to build website custom audiences based on what users have seen or added to their shopping carts. Shopify has a native Facebook Pixel integration, but as noted it has numerous known issues, in areas such as product and revenue matching. Pixel Perfect fixes this automatically. Key benefits include: Send data to up to three Pixels (e.g. to use a backup pixel) Includes a matching catalog feed to serve Facebook Dynamic Ads 'Niche' product tags for building custom Facebook Audiences Order logs for comparative attribution Questions about Pixel Perfect features or how Shopify works with Facebook Ads? Read the Facebook Pixel Perfect FAQ in our help center. Facebook Feed If you're looking for a free product feed that works automatically with your Shopify product catalog, check out Facebook Feed. There are a number of Facebook catalog feed apps out there, but we were drawn to Facebook Feed because it is extensible and reliable. The app makes it easy to launch dynamic retargeting ads for Facebook users who engaged with your Shopify store. It works for product ads and catalog ads and it can support huge catalogs for Shopify Plus stores. Key benefits include: Up-to-date XML product catalog in the exact format recognized by Facebook Unlimited numbers of products and SKUs (no timeouts for large product sets!) Sync many products with Facebook and avoid pagination Compatible with Facebook page shops and Instagram Shopping Questions about setup or features? Read the Facebook Feed FAQ in our help center. What's next Littledata purchased Facebook Feed and Pixel Perfect from Tony Redfearn, an entrepreneur based in the UK. Tony is excited to see where we take the apps: "I am delighted to hand over the reigns to ensure success in this increasingly complex area. Littledata was the natural partner to take this tech to the next level!" As Littledata's Shopify customer base continues to grow, we are always looking at new connections and integrations. Our plan has always been to integrate Facebook Ads and Facebook Pixel more deeply into the Littledata ecosystem, and these popular apps turned out to be a great starting point. Our immediate plans are to improve both apps to make them even more powerful and extensible. Over time, we plan to fold this functionality into our core analytics app for Shopify merchants. For now, we are working closely with a broad range of merchants to understand their needs and how Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics can work in tandem for better ecommerce analytics, segmentation, remarketing and personalization. Audience building is one of our focuses, but we're also looking into the improved shopping experiences announced (ie Instagram Checkout), to see where events from our server-side Shopify tracking might best improve ROAS, AOV and customer LTV on these new channels and checkout experiences. Is there something you just can't wait to do with Shopify and Facebook? Let us know.
Everything you need to know from Shopify Reunite 2020
This time last year, we were enjoying a beautiful spring in Toronto, chock-full of new announcements for Shopify sellers around the world. But this year, COVID-19 had other plans. [note]Here's everything Shopify announced and updated from Unite 2019[/note] While we would have loved to be in Toronto, hats off to Shopify for making the most of a "lost" event. By restructuring and rebranding Shopify Unite to Shopify Reunite and taking the event virtual, Shopify has actually reached more sellers, agencies, partners and dev teams than by holding the event in-person. More than 100,000 people in the Shopify ecosystem attended the event! With our top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify adding new features and updates and ourSegment app gaining popularity in the app store (it's the only recommended Segment app for Shopify) our eyes and ears were open wide for this year's slate of announcements! [tip]Here's what's new in our Shopify apps for Google Analytics and Segment[/tip] We chatted with our agency partners to get feedback about which announcements might have the biggest impact on their business, from design and development to growth marketing for Shopify Plus stores. Here are six major updates: [subscribe heading="Top Google Analytics app for Shopify" button_text="Learn More" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/connections/shopify"] 1) Shopify Plus galore! Shopify Plus Admin upgrades New admin helps merchants expand into new countries, products, or brands by launching new stores Merchants can also copy existing data (i.e. themes, users, already-installed apps from existing stores) Offers a more complete overview of store performance COVID-friendly automation templates for Shopify Plus Automate ecommerce workflows and marketing campaigns across apps From Littledata: trace every order back to its original marketing channel with accurate attribution in Google Analytics New Flow and Scripts templates let sellers customize checkouts, automate tasks and build product promotions easily New templates for automation include: Shopify Flow templates specific to COVID-19 Shopify Scripts templates to optimize the checkout experience Shopify Flow Connectors to connect with tools like Launchpad, ReConvert, and Omnisend [tip]Did you know we launched the first Shopify Flow connector for Google Analytics?[/tip] Page activity Merchants can now see who else is working on the same product as you. If someone is currently editing a product page (or saves changes), you won't lose your place since everyone working on the page will be notified [tip]Littledata's enterprise plans are optimized for Shopify Plus[/tip] Storefront renderer Infrastructure upgrade to accelerate site speed Changes the way Shopify serves read requests Better server-side performance 2) New finance tools Shopify Capital Shopify gave away more than $1B in cash advances to merchants this year Extended financing availability beyond US (to Canada and UK stores) Shop Pay Installments Shoppers can now pay in installments (via "buy now, pay later"): 4 equal payments, interest-free, no additional fees Littledata also integrates with Sezzle, another popular "buy now, pay later" solution Shopify saw an 18% conversion rate increase and higher AOV from the added payment flexibility, especially during the economic stress brought on by COVID-19 Shop Pay installments will launch later this year in the US and all merchants currently using Shopify Payments are eligible [note]Easily track your Shop Pay / Shopify Payments data in Google Analytics[/note] Shopify Balance Includes a banking account offering faster access to funds Includes a Shopify Card (either physical or virtual) so businesses can spend flexibly Features a rewards program for everyday spending (Shopify apps, marketing, shipping) [subscribe heading="Top Google Analytics app for Shopify Plus" button_text="Learn More" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/connections/shopifyplus"] What about custom checkouts? For Shopify Plus, new custom checkout features include: Online tipping Cross-border duties Curbside pickup Local delivery settings [tip]Track every checkout step, sale and refund in Google Analytics[/tip] 3) Borderless ecommerce Cross-border domains for international selling Offers a localized shopping and checkout experience for international customers Tailor the currency and language based on customers' buying location [tip]Get accurate multi-currency tracking and better support for Shopify and Shopify Plus[/tip] Custom FX Merchants can set a price for each currency they sell in No more worrying about fluctuating exchange rates Merchants can advertise more effectively with Google Ads and Facebook Ads in every customers' local currency 4) Greater customer reach Shopify POS Better online customer experience at every touchpoint—"the most versatile and scalable POS we've ever built" says Shopify Creates room for popular fulfillment options: local pickup, delivery, or shipping Merchants can search for inventory across locations, set retail-specific staff permissions Local pickup Local delivery Google Shopping Merchants can now list their products with Google Shopping for free via Shopify's Google Shopping app (available only in USD for now) Shop app First-of-its-kind native shopping app developed by Shopify Already more than 16 million users 5) Ecommerce infrastructure Sections (beta) Merchants can now edit sections on all pages, not just homepage, plus drag and drop apps anywhere on their online store Currently in Partner Beta Product states Products now differentiated in draft, active or archive so merchants can filter and organize products by state more easily In other words, products can be saved as unpublished and worked on later 6) Fulfillment updates Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) Once this news broke last year, we watched Twitter run wild as store managers imagined the possibilities with Shopify's brand new Fulfillment Network. Designed to compete with the world's top fulfillment networks (Amazon, USPS, etc.), the network will be built across the United States at first before (hopefully) expanding across the Atlantic. Shopify will be pumping over a billion dollars into this infrastructure, expanding and improving the network. Now, in 2020, that expansion and improvement has arrived: Inventory intelligence: Shopify will make recommendations as to which inventory should be stored where so that it's close to customers More brand control: Branded packaging and marketing inserts More data control: better customer insights Simple integration: Shopify will install and help set up the Shopify Fulfillment app for you Same-day fulfillment: Orders received by 4 p.m. EST will be shipped out the same day As mentioned at Unite 2019, SFN will also support the following: Multiple channels: online store, retail, Instagram, eBay, Amazon, etc. Returns and exchanges Custom (branded) packaging Stores of all sizes: "shipping 10 to 10,000 products a day", aiming to get this to "3 to 30,000" per day in coming years Is there anything we missed? Let us know! Next up, Ed and Ari will break down the announcements and unpack what they mean for Shopify Partners, agencies, and for teams that rely on Littledata's smart connections for better marketing attribution and decision-making. Stay tuned! Photo credits: Littledata, Shopify
Lunch with Littledata: Q&A with Chad Rubin, CEO of Skubana
This week, we're kicking off a new Q&A-style segment on the blog: Lunch with Littledata! We sat down (virtually) with Chad Rubin, Co-founder and CEO of Skubana, a multi-channel inventory management and ERP software working largely in the Shopify ecosystem. Let's dive right in! Q: How are your customers handling COVID-19? Thriving? In a drought? Somewhere in between? What we're seeing is essentials thrive. Brands that are providing non-discretionary necessities in the household are doing exceptionally well, and that's where we're building our pipeline. But also it's how Skubana has historically been built, through customers selling essential finished goods across multiple channels with multiple warehouses. Overall, what you're seeing in ecommerce is a shift of spending behavior. With quarantine in effect, the only way to purchase right now is online, not in store. So while ecommerce isn't necessarily immune to recessions, given the pandemic, we're seeing customers on the Skubana platform behaving in a way that is inconsistent with what we'd expect in an economic downturn. Q: How has Skubana adapted to the pandemic era? Honestly, as a retail operations platform, we're at the epicenter of this rush to be online and supply this surge in demand. Skubana enables both brick-and-mortar and online purchases, whether that's on Shopify, Amazon, eBay, you name it. As a business, we're also extremely focused on our employees. Once the risk of COVID-19 was made clear in early March, we implemented a company-wide work from home policy. It was the first time we allowed that to happen. And I believe that it's going to become the future of this company, to flourish "remotely." [note]At Littledata, here's why we believe remote work is more productive[/note] We've been able to adapt pretty quickly from a company perspective, but it's not all rosy. We've already had some disappointing casualties from customers who have been on our platform for years. So while there's a lot of momentum and encouragement, there are some cases where customers have closed-up overnight or have sought relief. And we work with those individual customers to help them see this through, given the circumstances. We've been very action-oriented and proactive in our efforts to make sure that they come out of this alive and in business. Q: You also run your own DTC store on Shopify. As a seller, how do you mitigate the costs of unpredictable shopper behavior, both before and after checkout? In addition to co-founding Skubana, I also run a direct-to-consumer home essentials e-commerce business called ThinkCrucial. So it's great that ThinkCrucial is an "essential" business. We supply home appliance parts and accessories. Again, we're right in the epicenter of panic buying, of people stocking up. And a symptom of that could be stock-outs. Luckily, we have Skubana to forecast the demand, to mitigate if we're running low on certain channels, to allow us to be flexible with inventory deployment, and so on. So that's been just an incredible case study for us. It has automated our entire business and allowed us to be more efficient and resilient. I initially built Skubana because of these issues I was experiencing with ThinkCrucial. I was unable to find a solution that could help me with all of these things at once. Another cool thing that we've done is implement the Bold Upsell app. Within the Skubana platform, it's easy to identify high-velocity products that people are buying all the time, especially in this environment. And we've been upselling those people with additional products that they should be buying as well. And that strategy has worked very well for us. That's a simple app that we've installed that we didn't have pre-COVID that has increased AOV for us. [tip]Did you know Littledata has an advanced Google Analytics connection for Shopify and Bold subscriptions?[/tip] Q: What are some "hidden" challenges of cross-border ecommerce? And some underrated solutions? First, I just want to shout out one more app that I think we've been leveraging more heavily during this time which is called Tone. It's a Shopify app that leverages SMS to re-engage customers who abandon their cart. So as people abandon their carts, we've enabled this app to catch that customer that left to get them back into the sales funnel, which also lowers acquisition costs. We've been able to recover lost dollars and lost baskets because of it. [tip]Struggling to reduce cart abandonment? We have you covered[/tip] In terms of cross-border commerce, it's been just business as usual for us. I think everyone's well aware that there are fulfillment delays during this time as warehouse employees are social distancing, and air cargo availability has decreased. The most important thing you can do is make sure you have the infrastructure to enable the movement of parcels. And of course, we use Skubana to make that happen. [tip]4 tips for Shopify Plus merchants selling internationally[/tip] Q: What are some "tricks of the trade" larger stores use (especially those running on Shopify Plus) to handle busy shopping seasons? This virus is preying on weak businesses. We've seen that COVID-19 is having the biggest impact on retailers that don't have their operations buttoned up, and still working with inefficiencies. One of those weaknesses is that people aren't leveraging technology to replace low-value, repetitive tasks. Right now, people should be leveraging any downtime to reinforce and build the foundation of their business with resilient operational software. That means implementing software that is nimble, agile, and not painful to deploy. Software that connects to all of their channels and warehouses to properly forecast and demand plan. That's table stakes right now. On top of that, brands need to focus on technology that facilitates customer connection and retention. You need to reach out to those customers and communicate with them to convert them into buyers. And not just one-time buyers, but consistent repeat buyers, which of course, extends their lifetime value (LTV). We're looking at new apps all the time on Shopify. We already have our foundation built on Skubana, but we're constantly trying to figure out how we "one-up" others and excel or accelerate our progress in this environment. Q: How does ecommerce look different for larger Shopify stores vs. smaller/mid-sized stores right now? So I think this downturn has been beneficial for many small businesses. I see good and bad with these unprecedented circumstances. We know that Shopify stores have been seeing Black Friday traffic every day of this pandemic. Additionally, we saw Amazon restrict certain items to FBA, which ultimately reinforces the need for diversification and a multi-channel strategy. Those that are positioned and diversified across multiple channels that have the right infrastructure to be able to support this uptick have been able to benefit. And a lot of those SMBs have built their sites on Shopify, so I think that's a huge positive for the small to medium-sized businesses. We saw sellers who focused exclusively on Amazon become significantly affected because they couldn't replenish the products during the FBA block. Also, Amazon didn't let you add new listings to their catalog for some time. So actually, we saw sellers move to Walmart and eBay because they were able to accept new products onto their platform. So a lot of new merchants and brands embraced other channels during this period and opened up. Another thing to note is that Google started offering free product listings. So I think that there might be a shift coming out of Coronavirus to expand as an SMB across many other channels. Q: How important is it to have accurate Shopify tracking & reporting? It's essential. If you're using multiple point solutions, like a purchase order app or a forecasting app, and you're just duct-taping them together, but they were never meant to talk to each other, your data is not going to be accurate. If you're using multiple point solutions, and you're just duct-taping them together, but they were never meant to talk to each other, your data is not going to be accurate. I've tried every other software out there. I developed Skubana out of the pain that I've experienced deploying those other point solutions and those fragmented pieces of software. Having everything in one place is vital so that you're able to ensure your products are in-stock and making you money. It means you are not spending your precious time doing manual labor to calculate how much inventory to reorder, when to buy, where to ship that new inventory to, which vendor needs the most lead time, etc. [note]Here's how you can get 100% accurate Shopify tracking[/note] Q: How do Skubana customers (merchants) use tracking to optimize performance? When you have a holistic solution for every part of your business, you're able to make more decisive decisions regarding growth, expansion, replenishment, and even cutting back. When you have a holistic solution for every part of your business, you're able to make more decisive decisions regarding growth, expansion, replenishment, and even cutting back. You need to have accurate data not just on orders coming in but on the inventory available across all warehouses, 3PLs, FBA, and fulfillment operations. Automating that is invaluable. And replacing human labor so you can have your team doing higher-value activities is the name of the game. To survive this, you need a resilient business that can scale as needed. As a retailer, you have to be more efficient with your staff and your business, and that's what Skubana merchants are doing with our platform. Quick links What you can track with Littledata's Google Analytics app for Shopify Littledata's top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify Try Littledata free for 30 days (full month of accurate Shopify data)
Connecting Shopify to Segment: a smarter solution with Littledata
A few months back, we ran down a list of popular ecommerce reporting tools that Littledata integrates with. Today, we'll take a look at one tool in particular: Segment. When it comes to data, one thing is clear: every business should be using more of it. At Littledata, we believe data is your single biggest tool for success, whether it's breaking down your marketing channel attribution or deciding on a new campaign for your repeat buyers. Not only does data help you nail down what's working for your store and what's not right now—it also helps you make decisions for future success. With a flood of data tools on the market for Shopify stores (data lakes, business intelligence and dashboarding, funnels and segments) the search for the perfect data tool to fit within your tech stack can be overwhelming. It can also be tough to find a tool with all the right features for the right price. Fashion stores sell differently than coffee subscription stores, so it can be tempting to either build a custom tool yourself or hire an analytics consultant to do the heavy lifting for you. Maintaining multiple connections and integrations can also become a task in itself. This can lead to data fatigue, causing confusion and even costing you time and money. But whether or not you use an app for better Shopify tracking or you go with a consultant, one thing is clear for Shopify stores: driving your decision-making with data is no longer optional if you want to succeed in the current ecommerce marketplace. Plain and simple, accurate data is the best way to ensure you're getting the maximum ROI for your business. While our Google Analytics connection is popular among Shopify stores, thousands of Shopify stores (and Littledata customers) use Segment as their main tracking tool, including brands like Nuun, ROMWOD, Kin, Cellucor, and more. Why do Shopify sellers use Segment? Segment is a streamlined way to clean, collect, push and pull customer data. The company has raised over $280 million and it continues to grow especially fast in the commerce vertical. Segment's Customer Data Infrastructure (CDI) is built around connections, protocols and personas (single user views), and the platform organizes connections in terms of sources and destinations. In other words, you can think about Segment as a single API for all of your customer data. [subscribe heading="Try the only recommended Shopify app for Segment" background_color="grey" button_text="Learn more" button_link="https://apps.shopify.com/segment-com-by-littledata?_ga=2.230718111.1271051167.1588608356-1545539486.1571747621"] As Shopify continues to push features for enterprise ecommerce, you don’t have to be front-page news to take advantage of Segment’s functionality; tons of mid-sized Shopify brands currently use Segment together with Shopify. But why? How do Shopify stores benefit from integrating Segment with their store? Benefits of connecting Shopify with Segment 1) Capture every customer touchpoint Littledata's Segment connection lets you use Shopify as Segment source. In other words, merchants can now automatically track every ecommerce touchpoint on your Shopify store, including: User/browsing behaviour Checkout steps Sales & refunds Customer lifetime value (LTV) Marketing metrics like customer acquisition cost (CAC) When merchants integrate Segment with Shopify, no touchpoint in the customer journey goes untracked. This includes multiple checkout steps, sales conversion data and lifetime value (LTV), arguably the holy grail of ecommerce metrics. What about subscriptions? If you are a subscription business using ReCharge for your checkout then you’ll understand how difficult it is to attribute your recurring orders back to the original marketing source. Furthermore it’s hard to keep track of what revenue is coming from first time orders versus recurring revenue. By using Littledata with Segment you can correctly attribute your ReCharge orders including the use of custom dimensions such as order count and customer LTV as well as lifecycle events such as customer created and subscription cancelled. [tip]Learn how to track subscriptions on Shopify with 100% accuracy[/tip] For those running a subscription store, the app integrates with ReCharge and Google Analytics so you can track all your subscription data. It also connects to your Facebook Ads and Google Ads for accurate marketing attribution and customer journey tracking. This way, you know which campaigns are actually working (and maybe more importantly, which ones are not). Tip: Hey, subscription stores! Now you can track all your subscription lifecycle events 2) Server-side tracking for complete accuracy Speaking of tracking, Littledata’s server-side tracking approach within Google Analytics beats out Shopify’s native reporting platform. For Segment users, server-side tracking ensures data is 100% reliable, which means better analysis and decision-making. 3) Quick setup Quick integrations should never be undervalued. Within minutes, Shopify merchants can have their stores armed with a steady data flow in Segment. Automated ecommerce tracking Like the popular Google Analytics connection for Shopify stores, Littledata's Segment connection uses server-side tracking to capture every step in your checkout flow, plus sales, refunds, product variants, and more. It’s the easiest way to ensure accurate, detailed data about sales and shopping behaviour. In fact, Littledata is the only recommended Segment integration for Shopify and Shopify Plus. Benefits include: Works with any Shopify or Shopify Plus store Server-side tracking for 100% accuracy Captures every touch point, including checkout steps, sales data and customer lifetime value (LTV) Analytics audit to check for accurate tracking The connection captures what happens on your Shopify store, then pushes that data to Segment so you can send it to hundreds of Segment destinations: Putting the data to use So what are some ways you can use this raw data as actionable insights? Better marketing automation Personalize and hyper-target your campaigns even more General ecommerce CRO Better reporting and analysis For example, you can push your Shopify data to tools including Hubspot, Salesforce, Mixpanel and Google Analytics. [note]Browse our Segment help guides for details about which events you can track with our Segment connection.[/note] Better actionable insights is really why Littledata built a single Shopify connection to be used as a source for Segment. By centralizing your data with Segment, you can ensure that you have data consistency when using the data across multiple destinations like Google Analytics, Klaviyo, Facebook, Friendbuy and Hotjar. Not only will this save 100s of development hours building and maintaining multiple integrations, but it also frees you to adapt your data stack for any opportunity, like debugging, testing and reviewing your data collection. Welcome to a truly smarter solution! Like we mentioned, Littledata is the only recommended Shopify connector for Segment. Want to give it a try? Our new 30-day free trials will give you a full month of accurate data so you can feel the difference for yourself. Our enterprise plans also include the option for custom Segment data audits, setup and reporting. We’re here to help you scale!
Resources for COVID-19 and ecommerce
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world appears to have changed dramatically. But remember: we're all in this together. With hundreds of Shopify apps and agencies around the world joining forces to make a difference, there are plenty of free resources available to help you stay afloat and try to get a handle on what to do -- and what comes next. In this post we look at where merchants can turn for help, share some resources for honest projections about the industry, and ask what the crisis really means for ecommerce, especially Shopify stores that rely on subscriptions for revenue. Ecommerce trends John Kenneth Galbraith once said that the function of economic forecasting is "to make astrology look respectable." In the wake of the chaos invoked in markets by the novel coronavirus, nobody knows for sure what will happen, but there are many in the ecommerce world who are looking closely at the data on a daily basis to figure out where the overall trends might be. At Littledata, we've been analyzing our own benchmark data in more detail (see our open access ecommerce benchmarks), broken down by industry sector. In our first round of analysis we found that around 30-35% of Shopify stores overall are actually seeing an uptick in revenue & order volume, especially in the Food & Drink and Health & Fitness sectors -- even if revenue is growing at a slower pace. This matches Klaviyo's findings below, where about a third of ecommerce sites were seeing higher revenue after the first month of stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Yet there are still a few unknowns, as well as a range of outliers in certain verticals, like seemingly random successes in online fashion during the crisis. That said, the major unknown in my view is still the supply chain timeline: When will we feel the first major "supply chain hit" across sectors? As brands adapt wholesale strategies to the new environment, will over-discounting or confused omnichannel strategies come back to bite them? On the flip side, can independent warehouses like Perishable Shipping Solutions (PSS), which focuses on food and beverage, and even Shopify's own fulfillment network, handle the major uplift in demand? Even if customers adapt to purchasing gift certificates, exclusive pre-orders and other "delayed" products, will restaurants and retailers be able to fulfill the demand once things open up again? And some labels are flexible. Pantry staples are growing in several categories and there's been a lot of industry chatter about "DTC pantry" products, especially among millennials and wealthy urbanites. But this is pretty broad. What defines a DTC pantry staple? Subscription coffee brands like Dripkit and Groundwork should obviously be there, but what about adult beverages like Kin? [subscribe heading="A note about Littledata and COVID-19" background_color="grey" button_text="Read More" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/covid19"] So maybe it's not actually about the sector at all. Brands that have paid attention to truly speaking directly to consumers (not just in their product marketing but literally in their messaging) -- along with those who have moved production and fulfillment closer to home -- are doing the best right now. Maybe they'll even give Amazon a run for its money. Key resources for ecommerce news during the pandemic Perhaps it's ironic that there actually is a lot of fake news out there. And that's not the worst of it. Everyone on Facebook is suddenly an armchair epidemiologist, and economists are changing their predictions every few minutes. So where can you turn for accurate ecommerce news? In addition to essential ecommerce newsletters like LeanLuxe and 2PM, these five online resources are absolutely essential for brands that want to stay on top of Shopify news and ecommerce trends during the crisis: Shopify's COVID-19 response page Shopify's COVID-19 response has been really amazing. They're offering $200 million in small business funding, a community forum, plus extended features like gift cards and localized delivery options. They have also set up a dedicated weekly email newsletter for case studies and insights relating to COVID-19 (You can sign up on the main page linked above). Klaviyo insights Klaviyo is a popular email marketing tool used by many of our enterprise customers. Through surveys and analysis, Klaviyo is "taking a daily pulse on what’s happening in the ecommerce world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic". The best part: you can submit your own info to take part in the analysis. See daily trends and how it all fits together. Modern Retail Modern Retail always does a stellar job keeping track of major trends, especially for larger DTC brands and innovators. And that reporting power continues through the crisis. They are paying attention to everything from warehouse conditions to high-ticket DTC exercise brands and the remarkable surge in alcohol delivery in the US (it's been a long time coming). Flow.io blog As we see an increasing number of merchants moving toward multi-currency sales, Flow Commerce has become an essential Littledata integration partner. Flow's blog is an excellent resource for anyone wondering how international payments, shipping and supply chains will be affected by COVID-19. WeMakeWebsites blog WeMakeWebsites isn't just one of our favorite agency partners, they're also insightful analysts of their own data as one of the best-known Shopify Plus agencies in London and New York City. On the WMW blog, they have been paying special attention to purpose-driven brands are differentiating themselves in the current climate. How we're adapting at Littledata At Littledata we've always been a remote-first culture, but now, like many, we've gone totally remote. We're dedicated to sharing as much of our knowledge as possible via this blog and our ebooks and other public resources, like our podcast interviews and help center. We've made some significant changes very quickly: Extended free trial from 14 to 30 days on all plans Free consultations for merchants on any platform Involvement in multiple agency relief programs for struggling brands and the Offline2On initiative, helping merchants get online fast Curating lists of brands giving back during coronavirus (is your brand doing something unique to help? Get in touch!) During the time of coronavirus, we're adapting our products, services and work culture, and supporting our customers and employees in every way possible. Find out more about Littledata's response to COVID-19.
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