The rise of Google Analytics 4 and sunsetting of Universal Analytics
Last week, Google formally announced that they will be “sunsetting” Universal Analytics and pushing all users to move to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) by the second half of 2023. Does this mean that you should drop everything now and start fully embracing GA4? Actually, things are a bit more complicated. Like everything in the world of data, we recommend a methodical approach to the change. We’ve already outlined Littledata’s approach to GA4 for ecommerce stores. So in this article, we’ll take a deeper look at what Google just announced, what this means for your analytics setup, and recommend next steps for merchants using Google Analytics with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. What’s happening to Universal Analytics? The summer of 2023 may very well be remembered across the ecommerce industry for the rise of GA4, as Google is officially sunsetting its predecessor, Universal Analytics (aka UA, GA3, or the “old version” of Google Analytics). Google’s official announcement, which you can read in full on their blog. This announcement may have come as a bit of a surprise to some. GA4 has been available for a while but wasn’t made a priority before. Fortunately, moving from UA to GA4 doesn't have to be a headache for your team—as long as you have the right setup in place. Littledata already has a GA4 connection in beta that select customers have been using for months. Google promises GA4 will bring an adjustment to more granular data, giving users more insights and better control over customers' privacy. That second point is especially important as the industry makes a major shift away from cookies toward embracing first-party data across platforms. [note]Setting up GA4 on your ecommerce store only takes a few clicks with Littledata. New and existing users can set up GA4 on their store free and ensure they're ready for the new era of analytics.[/note] What we know about GA4 On July 1, 2023, Google will stop standard Universal Analytics properties from processing data. Your Universal Analytics reports will remain visible for a short period after the change (Google hasn't specified how long) but new data will only flow into GA4 properties. In other words, if you haven’t already, you need to create a GA4 property ASAP. With the switch to GA4, Google promises several significant changes aimed at making its Analytics tool more “consumer-focused” overall. This, among other features, includes: A privacy-centric design to maintain key insights despite cookie blockers and privacy regulations A new UI designed to showcase customer behavior through key events, and out-of-the-box capability to track those events (without requiring set up through Google Tag Manager) Machine learning models that automatically identify trends in data, such as churn probability, potential revenue from customer groups, and demand increases Measurement of both app and web interactions to snapshot the effectiveness of each of your marketing efforts Data export to your BigQuery data warehouse [tip]See Littledata’s 10 reasons to move to GA4 for ecommerce analytics.[/tip] At the heart of GA4, Google says, is your customer—and more specifically how they interact with your business. This marks a move away from the old platform-centric measurement to instead track via User ID. The change should give a better picture of what actions customers took after discovering your business and track the whole lifecycle from first impression to final sale more effectively. Potential GA4 user concerns While there’s a lot to be excited about with GA4, the change from UA brings a few uncertainties for longtime users. Early versions of GA4, while positively received, did contain their share of bugs. As the platform won’t be rolling out at 100% perfection, we’ll help answer a handful of the most frequently asked questions we’ve seen around GA4. Will I be able to import historical data from UA to GA4? Most likely, the answer here is no. While you can run UA and GA4 in parallel as you make the switch, Google is launching GA4 as a new platform completely separate from UA. How difficult will it be to use the new interface? There’s no doubt users will experience a learning curve when migrating to GA4’s new UI. In essence, it will come down to thinking differently about what data you’re looking for and then creating reports around that. While this was a common concern in the early beta launch of GA4, Google has already added a number of template reports on funnels, user paths, and cohort exploration. We’re excited to see what’s next! To help our customers with the transition, we’ve already begun building our own Monetization and Retention reports in GA4 that will take over from Enhanced Ecommerce reporting in UA. Google does provide help documents and introductory courses on using the new interface. However, an easier (and more time-efficient) solution may be to have an analytics expert help set up a GA4 integration directly to your Shopify or BigCommerce store. Is GA4 going to be a privacy law compliant, long-term solution for my business? This is one big area where GA4 is not just a solution right now, but in the future as well. Many of the changes made—from the new event-based UI to the learning machine-powered core—are built to adapt and grow alongside the global expansion in privacy laws. In other words, as you venture into the world of first-party data, GA4 will be your loyal guide along the way. What you should do now Our Shopify and Big Commerce stores and agency partners know that when it comes to Google Analytics, you can always count on Littledata as a single source of truth for truly accurate ecommerce data. This will remain true with GA4, and we’re excited about the flexible reporting capabilities in the newest version of Google Analytics. Our recommendation is to add a GA4 property now, but not to rely on it entirely. Instead, Littledata recommends continuing to use UA and GA4 in parallel until at least early 2023. This means that you will be able to explore GA4 while still having accurate, actionable data in Universal Analytics, including Enhanced Ecommerce reports, lifetime value reporting, and subscription analytics. All Shopify and Shopify Plus stores will soon be able to activate both UA and GA4 connections directly from their Littledata dashboards. [tip]Remember, setting up a GA4 connection for Shopify on your store has never been easier than with Littledata! Get expert advice on everything you need to know to make the switch.[/tip]
Lunch with Littledata: Jumping into GA4 with Google Analytics Expert Krista Seiden
The rise of Google Analytics 4, the newest version of the world’s most popular analytics service, is predictably a very big deal in the world of data. As we move full steam ahead toward a cookie-less future and leave third-party data behind, Google has revamped its Analytics service to give users both a new look and new tools to check on the health of their businesses. Changes as big as this, though, always come with a learning curve. That’s when it helps to have an expert that can smooth the transition. In this edition of Lunch with Littledata, I spoke with KS Digital founder and former Evangelist for Google Analytics at Google, Krista Seiden about what GA users can expect from GA4, which reports come out of the box and which require more effort to build, and what to do to set yourself up for success starting today. Edward from Littledata: You're obviously a well-known evangelist for Google Analytics (GA). Could you tell me a bit about how you got into the world of analytics? Krista Seiden: I like to consider my journey into analytics a bit of an accident (laughs). I was working at Adobe Systems way back in 2009 when my happy accident started. One of my responsibilities as a business analyst was to put together a monthly dashboard for the CEO, which included about 30 different metrics from around the business unit. I had to email probably 30 different people every month to get these metrics and put them together. It was very old school. And I realized that probably about half of the metrics I was collecting every month actually came from Omniture, which was their analytics solution at the time. I thought, “Well, this is silly. Why am I emailing all these people?” So I went to the web analytics team and said, “Hey, just teach me how to do this.” I spent some time with them and I learned how to pull the data myself. That was really helpful. Then Adobe bought Omniture, and all of a sudden all of that training that they had—which is generally really expensive—was available for free. So I thought, “Sweet. I'm going to learn all of this in more detail so I can be more useful in my current job.” And then as time went on, my job evolved and they asked me to just take on Web Analytics full time. So it was, I like to say, a happy accident because it kind of evolved into that new position, but it also just sparked from my interest in trying to make things more efficient and not have to bother everyone. So I spent some time at Adobe doing analytics, then I went to the Apollo Group and did analytics there using the free version of GA on a site that had millions and millions of users. This was predating even GA premium, so it was awful sampling. It was a horrible experience. I had to figure out all sorts of hacks and ways to try to make the data more usable. Just as I was onboarding Omniture there, I was tapped by Google to come run analytics and optimization for what's now the Google Cloud Group, what was then the Google Apps Group. Edward: Speaking of GA, I wanted to talk specifically about GA4 which is just launching. Now that its arrival has been officially announced and it's out of beta, do you think it’s ready for a high scale brand to use as their primary analytics tool? Krista: That's a good question. I think the answer is going to depend on who you ask. If you ask Google, they're going to say yes, it’s fully ready. If you ask somebody outside of Google, depending on their love or hate relationship with it, you will get a varying degree of answers. From where I stand, I think the answer is yes—but I think the answer is yes because Universal Analytics has a deprecation date (July 1, 2023). You don't really have a choice at this point, you need to start migrating (to GA4). For big companies especially, if you're going to need year-over-year data, you need to have GA4 set up and collecting data properly before the end of June 2022. That being said, there are features that are still missing, especially when it comes to ecommerce. We don't have our item scope custom dimensions yet, which is definitely a big problem for a lot of big ecommerce clients. There are ways that you can use other available dimensions to kind of fill that gap for now. It’s not the best, certainly. There are other features that are missing. But there's also a long roadmap and I'm pretty comfortable with where that roadmap is going in terms of the end product of what GA4 will eventually look like when a lot of that has rolled out. I think it's made a lot of progress in the last six months in particular, and it's a lot more ready now than it was not that long ago. [tip]See 10 benefits you can get from making the move to GA4 now[/tip] Edward: I do understand Google's dilemma that they want to sunset UA, but they simply can't launch everything now—there are a lot of features to build out. How are you advising brands go about making the transition to GA4? Is it about double-tracking using UA and GA4 for now? Krista: I think the narrative for the past year and a half has really been let's dual tag, get GA4 set up, start collecting historical data, and start getting used to it. My business, KS Digital, has stopped doing any sort of UA work. We actually stopped at the beginning of 2022, so we haven't taken on any new UA-specific clients since late last year. Our offerings now, when people come to us, are around getting them set up with a solution design and implementation for GA4. We’ll look at their UA data and maybe do a lightweight audit so that we at least have an understanding of what they're collecting, how they're doing it, and what we may be able to carry forward. But we're not really advising on UA anymore. That being said, I do still think dual tagging is a good idea if you are a current UA user and I will continue to recommend that all the way through the sunset. I think it's important to have that side by side, although I do also think it leads to a bit too much of a reliance on UA when people do need to start transitioning to GA4. So it's a little bit of a battle there, but I think it's important for data continuity. Edward: Yes, because the data collection migration has got to happen first, but then people have got to move over the reporting dependence. Krista: Yep. Edward: What are the biggest unexpected challenges you've seen with established brands who are transitioning to GA4? Krista: There are obviously some feature gaps and those have been challenges. But I think the biggest challenge is really just the mindset—getting people used to a brand new tool. GA4 looks and feels very different. You might log in and look at any of the reports that are out of the box and you see this very ugly scatterplot and you're like, “What am I supposed to do with this?” I think a lot of people don't fully realize what they can do with GA4. So, for example, you can completely customize the UI. You can change the visuals. You can add or remove reports that are important to you. You can organize them any way you want. You could never do that in UA—so you can really make GA4 your own. I think that's going to be really important to help people get more comfortable and want to move over. But I think the biggest hindrance is really just a lack of training, a lack of knowing what to do with the product, and just a bit of fear over that unknown. Edward: It’s deceptive because the UI looks very similar at first glance. But then when you start digging, you realize there’s a lot of stuff that’s very different. Krista: (laughs) Yeah. Edward: As you said earlier, obviously there are some feature gaps, particularly around e-commerce. A lot of the out-of-the-box ecommerce reports are missing. For us, the most obvious gaps are around the shopping behavior funnel and checkout completion funnel. But they also exist around the product level analysis which, as you say, is blocked by the lack of item scope dimensions. Are you seeing brands able to replicate some of those using the explorations module? Krista: Yes. So I have several large ecommerce clients that are working on GA4 and we have replicated a lot of those reports within Explorations. The nice thing about that is you actually get to be a lot more specific about what you want in those funnel reports. You can break them down, you can add multiple segments side by side. You can do things like showing the elapsed time between steps or making it an open and closed funnel. So I do think there are actually a lot of benefits to doing that way, but it’s more work to set it up out of the box. “The nice thing about (GA4’s Explorations feature) is you actually get to be a lot more specific about what you want in those funnel reports. You can break them down, you can add multiple segments side by side. there are actually a lot of benefits to (creating reports) that way, but it’s more work to set it up out of the box.” And because of the way that the Explorations permissions work right now, it's very frustrating. You can't actually share access to a report. You can share the report, but then somebody has to make a copy of it and edit it to make it their own. You can't have a shared report that anybody can, for example, change the date on or add a segment to. I think that that's limiting, so I'm hopeful that those permissions will change and become more friendly over time. Edward: Yeah, because the other thing that’s obviously lacking is any ability to share report templates. As ecommerce specialists, we have to build ecommerce template reports. Can you see Google opening up the template galleries to third parties? Or was their Custom Report Gallery not seen as a success? Krista: I don't know that they didn't see the Custom Report Gallery as a success. I don't think it was really top of mind for them. I hope that there will be some sort of a template gallery for Explorations. I think that as more and more people move to GA4 and see that they have to do a lot more in Explorations, that demand will bubble up. I guess we'll see, but I'm hopeful that we will see something like that. Edward: I think it would be a solution because as you say, the problem is not that you can't build analysis reports. The problem is that it just takes some analytics knowledge to build the report. Krista: And you can't do the same type of funnel visuals within Google Data Studio, for example, where you could ship that template because it doesn't have the same processing due to how data studio gets that data from the API. So it's not easily replicable in a shareable fashion. Edward: What about GA4’s connection with Google Ads? How do you think getting accurate data in GA4 helps brands make the most of Google Ads? Krista: I think it's similar to how brands are utilizing Universal Analytics with Google ads, right? It's that conversion data—so goals in UA or conversions in GA4. Then with Google Ads, you can link those conversions and optimize your campaigns that way. I think one of the hidden benefits that maybe isn’t very well known within GA4 is that conversion data is now essentially calculated based on data-driven attribution for everyone. So you can actually change that model and choose what you want if you don't want data-driven. But if you think data-driven is a good model for you, then your ads are now bidding to conversions that are based on that. So that's a difference, but it depends on how impactful that really is for your business. Other than that, I think GA4 operates pretty similarly to UA. [tip]Move your ad strategy to first-party data solutions all around by running dynamic Facebook ads with the new Conversions API.[/tip] Edward: That’s interesting. I see data-driven attribution as one of the big perks of GA4 because it was previously a GA 360-limited feature that is now available for all. So what you're saying is that not only can you run the data-driven attribution within GA4, but you can basically do that within Google ads as well? Krista: Using your conversions right from GA4, if those conversions are being calculated using data-driven attribution, then that will flow through to Google ads. Edward: Cynically, one of the problems we come against is brands whose agencies want to see the conversions directly in Google Ads. Because the attribution model is more greedy, and obviously from the agency's point of view, it makes their campaigns look better (laughs). Krista: Yeah, I've always wanted to say absolutely not. My conversions will be based on GA—but to each their own. Edward: The other big advantage for GA4—which gets our bigger customers excited—is the BigQuery sync or the “ensemble data export.” The question there is, do you think that will be a “free forever” feature? Because that was previously a big plus of upgrading to GA 360. Krista: I do think it'll be a “free forever” feature. However, in the past couple of months, Google has started to enforce the data limits of the free export. I think that limit is a million per day. So if you go over, then that's probably an upgrading type path for you. Honestly, if you have that much data, there are probably other reasons why you might want to upgrade as well. But I do think it'll be free forever. That's one of the big value props of GA4, that everybody now has access to this raw end data. Edward: Yeah. As you say, it's really just that they're just enforcing what was already consistent with regards to volume. Krista: Mm-hmm. But they have actually released the ability to filter the data that you export into BigQuery. So even if you are going over that limit, you can choose what data you want to export to stay under that limit. I think that's actually a really nice additional feature there that helps to make that BigQuery export continually usable, even for businesses with high volume. Edward: Are there any other big features we haven't talked about that you think would be beneficial to an e-commerce brand that made the switch? Krista: Yeah, one feature that I love that's actually beneficial to all types of businesses is enhanced measurement. I love enhanced measurement because out of the box, it's six additional events (well, five if you don’t count page views) that are just collected on your behalf if you allow Google to do it, and you can toggle them on or off. In my opinion, it really helps to democratize data because a lot of businesses were not going to have the resources or the time or effort to be able to go add those types of events. And now they're just going to get them out of the box, which gives them a lot more insight into what's going on on their sites. “I love enhanced measurement because out of the box, it's six additional events that are just collected on your behalf… it really helps to democratize data because a lot of businesses were not going to have the resources or the time or effort to be able to go add those types of events.” Edward: Back in the day when we were doing Google Tag Manager setups, these metrics used to be on the standard list of stuff that you’d say the brand could invest in for enhanced tracking, but it was all manual steps to do so. So it's nice that it's out of the box. Krista: Totally. Edward: Is there anything else you think might be interesting for our audience to know? Krista: Just one word of wisdom, really a warning to people—you're going to need to figure out how to save your historical data. Google said that at least six months after the deprecation date, views will still be available to look at. But after that point, access to them is going to go away. So you won't have access to that historical data after potentially January 1st, 2024. That means brands need to think about how they're going to export their data from Universal Analytics and keep that historical data. It is possible, and there are a lot of ways to do it. I think there's a big business opportunity. We're going to see a lot of new businesses going into this space here. We may see some helpful tools from Google as well. Who knows? But I think that's something to just keep in mind as we get closer to that deprecation date. Edward: I totally agree. I was recently chatting with a customer about the ways to do it. Ultimately it boils down to what analysis you’ll want to do with that data. Because using the reporting API, you can’t export every historical event. You need to decide ahead of time what you want to compare. I told the customer that ultimately you're going to want to do some kind of historical analysis, maybe year-on-year type comparisons. What’s tricky is, as you say, either businesses have got to take a greedy approach and export as much as possible before the close-off or really decide what they're going to want to compare after it. Krista: Yeah. I think for most of my customers, I'll probably recommend a simpler route where we narrow down what their key reporting metrics are (or have been) and focus on exporting those. The sooner you get GA4 set up, the more historical data you'll have there. I've been running GA4 for about three years now. But obviously, not everybody is. If you get it set up before June of this year, though, you'll have your historical data. Edward: Which for most brands is good enough. Krista: Right. There are some brands that want more. But realistically, how often are you actually looking back at that data from five years ago? Not very often. If you are, it's looking at very high-level metrics like how many users or sessions or page views you had and what you’re at now. Edward: Most brands I know have changed the tracking implementation multiple times within that five years. So it's not really valid to look back that far. Krista: Yeah. I think it's more of a shock factor that you're losing access to the data rather than something that people actually need and use all that often. Edward: To wrap up on something we discussed at the very beginning—as you say, the investment brands need to make in GA4 is more in learning how to use this new tool. Are there other particularly good resources you’d recommend for people to learn about how to build their reports? Krista: Yeah, I think there are a lot of great blog posts out there from so many different people in the analytics community. Selfishly, I'll say I have some great GA4 courses from KS Digital. My students have been very happy. You get to learn directly from me and they include live Slack access and office hours. So it's not just video learning but direct interaction where I'll answer all your tough GA4 questions. Google has some resources and there are other great courses out there as well. I've always learned so much just from following blogs and social media on the topic. Quick links: Get ready for the rise of Google Analytics 4 and sunsetting of Universal Analytics Learn why data is critical to your DTC growth strategy See We Make Websites ideal headless tech stack, featuring Littledata’s Google Analytics connector Read 10 benefits you can enjoy when you make the move to GA4
How to get the most out of your Google Analytics setup
There are seemingly countless analytics solutions on the market today for ecommerce merchants to choose from. None, however, have overtaken the undisputed leader in the data world—Google Analytics. In order to get the most out of GA, though, you have to know a thing or two about what capabilities the tool affords you. As you may have noticed if you've read our content before, we're big fans of GA here at Littledata. Our team of experts help clients get accurate, reliable data through the platform every day. To help you decide where to begin optimizing your GA setup and improve the reporting you're capable of, here are three blog posts answering questions we recommend you ask yourself about GA. Is now the time to move to Google Aanalytics 4 (GA4)? YES! Google has already announced they are sunsetting Universal Analytics (UA), a.k.a the old version of GA, for good on July 1, 2023. If you're just starting a GA property now, GA4 is the way to go. But the coming deprecation of UA isn't the only reason to embrace GA4—far from it. We have 10 reasons you should make the switch now and the benefits GA4's new features offer from an analytics expert's perspective. https://blog.littledata.io/2021/02/04/10-reasons-to-move-to-ga4-for-ecommerce-analytics/ [note]Littledata's GA4 connection gives you complete and accurate data in your GA4 property in just one click. Find out how to set it up on your store.[/note] Should I use GA to track my email campaigns? Email campaigns are a frequently used promotional tool for ecommerce merchants. The name to know when it comes to ecommerce email is Klaviyo, as it's one of the most popular marketing platforms in the entire industry. The best way to optimize your email campaigns for success is of course to track their performance. Google Analytics is not only a dynamic solution for this but an easy one to set up too. In this article, Littledata CEO Edward Upton walks you through how to get your email campaign reporting up and running in GA so you can get the most from your campaigns using data-driven decision-making. https://blog.littledata.io/2020/11/25/how-to-track-klaviyo-flows-and-email-campaigns-in-google-analytics/ Should I get a Google Analytics expert to help with my Shopify data? Google Analytics is the leader in analytics reporting, so of course, that means it's easy to use—right? In most cases, if you've armed yourself with a bit of data knowledge, this is true. However, if you're looking to really unlock the full capabilities of the platform, you need more than just the standard level of GA know-how. While gaining that knowledge is a great learning experience, it also takes a lot of hours—time that busy business owners and marketing teams don't always have. If you want to go beyond the basic revenue/transaction checks and ad campaign monitoring to unlock deeper insights into your customers' behavior, a GA expert could be just the right solution. We have a full article explaining everything a GA expert can help you gain access to in your reporting so you can see if it's the right next step up for your analytics setup. https://blog.littledata.io/2020/02/25/do-you-need-a-google-analytics-expert-to-help-with-your-shopify-data/ [subscribe]
Working remotely, together! A recap of our Spring 2022 company offsite
As a remote team, our normal workdays at Littledata consist of lots of Slack messages and quick video chats. From sharing ideas to celebrating sales, offering help to posting memes—our team’s strong connection is fostered in the virtual world first. Twice a year, though, we’re treated to a company offsite where each employee gathers together to work in person. While we usually embark on a design sprint during offsite events, our most recent one was set up as a chance for our team to focus on both working together in person and learning from each other. I’m coming up on completing my first full year with Littledata, and the offsites are without a doubt one of my favorite perks I’ve enjoyed at any company I’ve worked for. To show you exactly why these experiences are so special—and why they mean so much to me and the rest of our team—here is a recap of our latest offsite. Bringing remote work to the real world Our offsite took place in the beautiful city of Athens, Greece. We stayed as a team at a hotel in a town on the outskirts of the city called Vouliagmeni. Aside from the amazing hotel complete with conference rooms, meals throughout the day, and outdoor coworking areas to enjoy the weather, the location gave us access to some truly amazing views of the Greek coast. After welcoming a few new joiners and enjoying the first night of dinner together as a team, we jumped into the “working together” part of the offsite. In the first half of the week, that took the form of several 45-minute learning sessions conducted by team members from different departments. The learning sessions covered specifics about our product and roadmap, new challenges on the horizon, and best practices from each department. Usually, we’d spend the first few days of an offsite design sprint mapping out a problem and thinking creatively to sketch potential prototypes that solve it. Essentially, we’re working together in teams and stretching our design muscles to ideate and improve on the group’s best ideas. This offsite, we still focused on working together, but by sharing our great ideas and knowledge with the rest of our team. Because team members from different departments conducted the learning sessions, our whole team got the opportunity to attend talks that helped them learn new skills or gain deeper insight into key areas of our industry. Among my favorite sessions were the deep dives on Google Analytics 4, Shopify Plus, and our current connections. I was also able to add to my own personal skills by learning about thought leadership on social media from my teammate and social media superuser Blake Wisz. Overall, the learning sessions were a big hit across our team. Many of us had similar feedback when recapping the offsite that they were a great chance to deepen our knowledge of the Littledata product, the ecommerce analytics industry, and how we can each grow our own skills. Feeling the Littledata culture—in person! The second half of the week, we set aside time to just work together as colleagues. Kind of like you would picture working in an office with teammates—if that office was a resort on the picturesque Greek coast with nothing but sunshine, that is. This time together helped us not only truly feel the deep connection we have as coworkers, but build on it. When working, we talked through problems just as we would on Slack or in calls, with the added bonus of being able to feel each other’s energy in person. Our wonderful HR team set up fun activities for us to enjoy while on the offsite that also helped us stay relaxed, like morning yoga. We also broke up the collaborative work time with some well-earned R&R, specifically to visit the amazing sights and scenery Athens has to offer. We took an open-top bus tour and stopped to take in the city, see the famed Acropolis, and enjoy other historic sights. Each night after we’d wrapped up for the day and had dinner together, we’d gather outside to share a few drinks and swap stories, learn about each other’s cultures, and just enjoy being together as one big family. In my opinion, though the sights and atmosphere in each destination we choose for our offsites are second to none, these end-of-day hangouts are truly the most special moments. Being able to come together as an international team, learn about each other's lives, find common interests, and build lasting friendships is what makes Littledata more than just a company you work for. It truly is a family. Want to join us on our next adventure? This offsite experience was just one of two that we’ll get to enjoy as a team in 2022. We’re back to running a design sprint in our next offsite, and we’re excited that we’ll have even more new team members to welcome joining us. Want to be a part of a workplace that goes beyond the regular 9 to 5 and offers something more? Somewhere to grow professionally and personally, surrounded by teammates who make you feel at home wherever you are in the world? Check out our open positions and apply to become part of the special culture we’ve fostered at Littledata!
How Velir and Littledata helped johnnie-O build a delightful customer experience
Creating a truly special customer experience—in today’s market—comes down to knowing your customers well. You can collect data to learn about your buyers in a number of ways. But without the tools to analyze these insights and act upon them, you won’t get much farther than where you started. A customer data platform (CDP) like Segment is a good place to start, but without using an ecommerce data platform on top of your CDP, you will inevitably hit a wall. Ideally, the pieces in your stack will each serve a clear purpose and play nicely together as well. This is where many stores -- maybe even your own -- run into unexpected limitations. You could have your ecommerce platform, email/SMS tools, analytics tracking, and A/B testing platforms all up and running. Getting them all integrated and talking to each other, though, is another beast entirely. Popular apparel brand johnnie-O found themselves in this exact spot. As our agency partner Velir explained in their case study on the brand, using Littledata's Shopify source for Segment, they aligned their tools and leveraged their improved stack to develop a truly special experience for their customers. Leveraging Littledata’s Shopify source for Segment Velir explains in the case study that johnnie-O knew they needed to address their customer data challenges, but weren’t sure how. After uncovering all of johnnie-O’s relevant data sources, data destinations, and use cases, Velir put together a custom data stack for the brand using complementary tools. The lineup of tools included Klaviyo and Fivetran, among others. But a key piece was Segment, which allowed real-time website interaction data to appear in Snowflake, their data warehouse. To get that tracking up and running, Velir turned to Littledata’s Shopify to Segment connection. “Segment's native connector to Snowflake meant that real-time website interactions could appear in the data warehouse within seconds.This real-time integration leveraged Littledata's Shopify-Segment connector which saved johnnie-O the effort of coding the Shopify event tracking."- Velir on Littledata’s Shopify to Segment connection In addition to powering their interaction data reporting, Velir says “Segment’s catalog of over 300 out-of-box connectors was useful in integrating tools like Google Ads and Klaviyo.” How the Shopify to Segment connector can fit in your tech stack As Velir shows in their setup for johnnie-O, adding Segment gives your store a powerful tool to capture accurate data at every touch point while connecting other key integrations of your tech stack. But that's not where the benefits of Segment end. Create Facebook lookalike audiences of your top-spending customers The world of ad tracking may be rapidly changing. But even in the new first-party data world, social ads are a major promotional tool for successful businesses. In one of Segment's most popular recipes, they detail how you can find more customers just like your highest lifetime value buyers, then retarget them through social ads. Using rules-based audiences, you can increase revenue by pinpointing new customers who profile just like your best existing ones. Read the full recipe to learn how to: Create an audience in Segment Personas of your highest spending customersAutomatically sync that audience with Facebook AdsCreate a lookalike audience in Facebook Ads to find more high-value customers Want a hand in trying the Shopify to Segment connector for your store? Have an analytics expert walk you through how to set it up and the benefits you’ll see as soon as it’s live on your store. Try Littledata free for 30 days, including our Shopify-Segment connector and see the benefits it can bring to your store.
Why Data is Critical to Your DTC Growth Strategy
When it’s time to think about data, our minds can often turn right to dull spreadsheets, dense reports, and stressful conversations around bottom lines. In reality, data and analytics have actually become far more approachable—and even exciting—in recent years, thanks in large part to the introduction of more intuitive reporting tools. From versatile apps like Google Analytics to specific tracking tools like Facebook’s Conversions API, being able to add precise tools to our tech stacks empowers the inner data geek in all of us. With the right setup, we’re able to learn far more about our buyers and their journeys—whether that be the channels that referred them or how many times they’ve come to our site. We can even track actions taken on our stores too and deep dive into what happens at the mighty check out. Ultimately, all this information helps us evaluate where we can improve the customer experience and understand what we need to do to amplify what’s working within our strategies. How data fuels your store’s growth Today, growth marketing takes many different forms, all with the goal to attract, engage, and delight customers. At its core, generating growth comes down to constantly monitoring and evaluating digital metrics—taking a pulse on the day-to-day so you know your business goals are being met and your customers are being heard. This is where Littledata swoops in to become your team’s ecommerce data platform and a single source of truth. It’s the central piece of your stack that brings everything together, letting you develop and implement sound growth strategies on Shopify and Big Commerce. Growth marketing can only work at its best with accurate and reliable data. An example from the real world Recently, I was chatting with a store owner for a Shopify DTC brand selling baby products. They were doing over $50,000 a month in sales on average in 2021—not a small brand by any means. When I asked about their tech stack and how the company monitors analytics, the owner told me, “(We have) Google Analytics, yes, but I have not learned how to analyze my business. Simple as that.” I shared how data is a journey for every store that helps store owners understand what customers are doing and where to spend to engage them. The store owner replied, “Totally, I was just in Google Analytics, and none of my AOVs match up with my channels. Good to know there are tools at least”. We see this every day from all-size brands—companies need to resolve these unhealthy errors in their reporting. How to fix your analytics Littledata got its start consulting for brands just like the one I spoke with. In doing so, we discovered a major problem with their reporting and analytics. Since then our mission has been to make it ridiculously easy to connect sales, marketing, and customer data. Top DTC brands around the world trust Littledata’s smart connections for accurate ecommerce analytics. Since launching our first Shopify app in 2017, we have empowered thousands of data-driven brands to make better decisions to accelerate growth. We do this not only through our new integrations, tools, and online resources for stores but also by partnering with notable agencies and tech providers around the globe. One area where data can be critical is the notorious checkout. Take, for example, a scenario where you notice many store visitors are reaching the checkout but seem to drop off during the actual completion or conversion point. Might it be helpful to know exactly where these folks are dropping off in the checkout flow? Let’s take a look at the user journey above. The checkout journey starts when a user clicks the checkout button and Littledata’s connector logs the events and labels them in your Google Analytics Destination. Being able to track these steps can be highly insightful into your customers’ behavior, why they drop off, or even for retargeting based on checkout with Adwords. In the end, all this works to help you make the right moves with your check-out flow for both one-off and recurring orders. Tip: Did you know 12 out of every 100 Shopify orders go missing in Shopify’s own analytics? See how to get them back. So what are some basics we can do to get started? How can we really grow our business with data? Do you start with AOV, LTV, CAC, or one of the many other ecommerce acronyms that keep us up at night? Littledata is here to serve you. Just as it did for the store owner I mentioned above, the solution starts with showing you if the data you’re using is valid or a dumpster fire. Here are a few resources to start evaluating and measuring if your data is accurate: Many of our customers start with reviewing their Shopify reporting against Google Analytics—here is an ebook to help you get started on that journey.Subscriptions are paving the way for the hyper-growth of DTC brands. If you’re using Recharge, Smartrr, Bold, or Segment in your stack and want to learn more about attribution to make data-driven decisions, you can learn more here.Bring in the right data from your existing tech stack—check out our integrations and connections.Look at our reviews on Shopify, Big Commerce, and G2. These are responses and insights from real DTC Stores. They might have a helpful perspective or have solved a problem using Littledata that you are facing now.Book a demo with our experts—we’re friendly, experienced, and have helped thousands of store owners just like you!Want to get started right this second? Easy. Jump in with a 30-Day Free Trial of Littledata. Your accurate data awaits you!
Upcoming events in London, New York and Los Angeles for Spring 2022
It seems like ecommerce events are all coming back at once. We're happy to have a team spread out around the world who is ready to meet up at IRL events across the globe. Nobody's sure if Shopify's infamous Shopify Unite event will ever come back in full force, but that's actually helped Shopify partners double down on other events. From partner meetups to investor networking events, it's going to be a busy Q2. Highlights include: D2C Live (April 29th in London)ChargeX (May 2nd-4th in Santa Monica)MeasureCamp (May 15th in London) It can be tough to figure out the exact ROI on ecommerce events, but over the years we've found the right ones for our business: places where data-driven DTC brands hang out and have honest discussions about growth, analytics, data science and community building. Tip: Looking for a quick read on data-driven ecommerce? Check out our free ebooks written by data experts. Here's where we're headed over the next month or so. We hope to see you there! Upcoming events in the UK London is our HQ, where it all started. It's also a great place to grab a pint and chat about data. We're sponsoring two events in London this quarter, and will also be at the XX partner meetup. D2C Live April 29, 2022London, UKLittledata founder and CEO Edward Upton will be on stage at D2C Live for a fireside chat with Teddy Robinson, CMO of the spectacularly popular GRIND coffee in London. The chat will focus on how to use data to drive decisions. D2C Live is one of the best places to learn about what's next in direct-to-consumer ecommerce. The conference focuses on Shopify merchants and always has a great mix of known brands, scale-ups and angel investors, and venture funds. We can't wait! MeasureCamp London May 14, 2022London, UKLittledata is excited to be sponsoring MeasureCamp London this year, and a number of our technical team members will be there to share knowledge, learn and grow. MeasureCamp is the ultimate "unconference" for analytics nerds. The schedule is created on the day and speakers are fellow attendees. Everyone is encouraged to discuss and participate in sessions, and even to lead sessions themselves. MeasureCamp (un)conferences have been highly reviewed by our Littledata Plus team (account managers, data experts and customer support rockstars). Will we see you in London? Let us know—our team would love to meet you there! Upcoming events in the US As our team is growing in the US, so are the number of events and meetups. We hope to see you soon on one coast or the other! Investor Networking with Entrepreneurs Collective April 28, 2022New York, NYLittledata co-founder and CMO Ari Messer will be co-hosting Entrepreneur Collective's first in-person event in New York City on April 28th. Entrepreneurs Collective (EC) is one of the most successful collectives in the UK, the leading private members club for Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs. And now they're taking New York by storm! (Hopefully not literally, as we're doing this first event on a rooftop with direct views of the Empire State Building...) EC events are known for their dynamic mix of founders, angel investors and VCs. I've been to a ton of these types of events over the years, and EC's are consistently the most rewarding. At this panel and networking event, we'll be focusing on a deceptively simple question: what do investors look for in a startup in 2022? Normally these events are invite-only, but we're happy to extend an invitation to the Littledata community. Get your ticket here. ChargeX May 2-4, 2022Santa Monica, CA Recharge is one of our oldest and most established tech partners at Littledata. ChargeX, their annual conference, was delayed due to the pandemic, but now it's back in sunny Santa Monica (on the west side of Los Angeles). At ChargeX this year, we're especially excited to be joining an esteemed roster of tech partners including Shogun, Nacelle, Klaviyo and Refersion. We're also sponsoring free bike rentals on the last day of the conference. See you there!
10 Thriving Female-Founded DTC Businesses
From DTC brands to tech partners and agencies, female-run businesses are flourishing in the ecommerce landscape. In fact, 53% of Shopify stores are run by women! As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate a few of the female entrepreneurs who have inspired us with their innovative products and revolutionary technology. These women, alongside so many others, are helping to break the bias across the ecommerce and tech industries. Ecommerce Brands Sheertex After founding, leading, and selling two businesses — ShopLocket and Female Funders — Katherine Homuth decided to take her career in a different direction. Fed up with old-fashioned, disposable hosiery, Homuth set out to create a knit that could withstand the test of time. She founded Sheertex in 2019, which has since revolutionized the fashion industry with their “unbreakable tights.” In just two years, Katherine grew her team from 5 to 175 employees, raised over $60 million in capital, and guided the business to reach $18 million in annual sales. Homuth hasn’t stopped there. She has also written Funded: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Your First Round to help aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the ins and outs of venture capital. African Ancestry An entrepreneur since the age of eight, Dr. Gina Paige pioneered a new way of tracing African lineages using genetics, and in turn, a new marketplace for people of African descent looking to more accurately and reliably trace their roots. In co-founding African Ancestry, Paige was inspired by the crossover between culture, science, and business. Since 2003, African Ancestry has helped over 1,000,000 people of African descent discover and connect with their true family tree. They’ve also revealed the roots of the world’s leading icons, including Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, and The King Family. Gina has appeared in countless major news and media outlets herself to speak about African Ancestry, including Time Magazine, USA Today, 60 Minutes, The New York Times, and NPR. Aura Bora Tired of existing sparkling water flavors, Maddie Voge and her husband, Paul, turned their kitchen experiment into the unique sparkling water brand, Aura Bora. Aura Bora’s water is made with herbs, fruits, and flowers, setting them apart from the traditional, artificial, and dull sparkling water flavors on the market. Maddie and Paul Voge appeared on Shark Tank in 2020. After making a deal with Robert Herjavec, Aura Bora is now available in 1,200 retail locations across the US, with an expanded DTC storefront at AuraBora.com. FaceGym After years of experimenting with high-end aesthetics, fitness, and nutrition treatments as a beauty and wellness columnist for the Financial Times, Inge Theron decided there must be a better way to age gracefully and confidently. Following extensive research, Face Gym was born. Eight years and over 200,000 faces later FaceGym is available worldwide, with storefront locations in the UK and US. FaceGym’s product line has since expanded to include skincare products, facial tools, and online “workout” classes to keep your skin in tip-top shape. Love Wellness After identifying a key gap in the market that affected everyday women like herself, Lo Bosworth founded Love Wellness. She set out with the mission to create “natural solutions for natural problems.” From daily probiotics to personal care kits and more, Love Wellness offers clean products that actually work, paired with product education to help women understand their bodies better. Uqora After battling recurring UTIs in 2014, Jenna Ryan was inspired to get proactive about her urinary tract health. She collaborated with physicians and urologists to find the perfect mix of science-backed ingredients, and along came Uqora! Since its start in 2015, Uqora has helped over 60,000 people take a natural approach to staying healthy. Tech Partners and Agencies Data Culture Leah Weiss and Gabi Steele built their data implementation agency Data Culture on a simple principle: employees at every level should be able to identify opportunities for more informed decision making, then use data to quickly create solutions. Leah and Gabi work with organizations to bridge the gap between their data capabilities and how the business acts on that data. Smartrr What started as a means to help local small businesses pivot online at the height of the pandemic has since grown into one of the top recurring revenue engines for Shopify merchants. Founder Gabriella Yitzhaek built Smartrr to provide ecommerce merchants with a seamless, code-free subscription checkout experience. Smartrr helps to unlock your store’s potential with their best-in-class business management tools. Plus, customers include the aforementioned Aura Bora! Underwaterpistol Nicola Carruthers and her husband, Gary, started Underwaterpistol, a leading Shopify and Shopify Plus partner agency, nearly twenty years ago. Underwaterpistol’s expert team of marketers, designers, and developers take a creative, data-driven approach to building and growing best-in-class DTC brands. Their team has helped notable ecommerce brands — including Abbott Lyon, Omaze, and Brew Tea Co. — develop a distinct brand identity and unlock smart growth. The Working Party In 2011, Kelly Brown co-founded the Australia-based Shopify agency, The Working Party. She has since helped design and build best-in-class ecommerce websites for leading Shopify Plus brands. The Working Party specializes in providing advanced technical solutions and has launched brands like KOOKAÏ and Lovisa on Shopify Plus. Breaking the bias While there are more female entrepreneurs in the DTC space than ever before, female founders still face an uphill battle to succeed. There continue to be systemic biases throughout the ecommerce industry — especially when it comes to capital. In 2021, female-founded startups received only 2.2% of venture capital funding. Despite slow progress, since 2017 there has been a 250% jump in venture capital funds that have a gender mandate or consideration. Backbone Angels is among these funds. Launched by ten former management-level Shopify employees, Backbone Angels provides capital to women and non-binary founders, with a focus on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led companies. Since March 2021, they have backed 43 women-owned companies with over $2.3 million in capital. In addition to funds, Backbone Angels’ collective provides mentorship, expertise, and support to forward-thinking entrepreneurs. There are over 130 venture capital funds that are helping to unlock opportunities for growth for historically underrepresented groups and are working to break the bias against female entrepreneurs. Ladies of Littledata In addition to the exceptional founders mentioned above, we’re thrilled to celebrate the many skilled, supportive, and brilliant women behind Littledata. Day in and day out, the ladies of Littledata build innovative solutions, are the first point of contact for thousands of ecommerce merchants, and recruit best-in-class talent. As a global startup, our core values have always centered around inclusivity, collaboration, and dedication to learning. We are proud to not only have so many women in leadership positions but to promote so many of our managers from within. As Littledata continues to grow, we look forward to continuing to support our team in their personal and professional development and championing their every achievement.
Lunch with Littledata: How to take a Smartrr approach to subscriptions
Subscription ecommerce is booming. Sales in the industry are on pace to double since 2019, and Shopify expects the global subscription market to continue to skyrocket to $246 billion in worth by 2025. In addition to enormous growth, one of the most attractive aspects of subscription selling for merchants is the dependability it provides through recurring revenue. But to win customers, retain them, and secure your piece of that giant subscription sales pie, you need to delight your customers using the right strategies. In this edition of Lunch with Littledata, we talk about how to do just that with the team that knows best—Smartrr. Founder and CEO Gabriella Yitzhaek Tegen shares the mission behind Smartrr, how to best retain customers, what the future of subscriptions holds, and how stores can leverage data to ride the subscription wave to amazing heights. Greg from Littledata: Can you tell us the Smartrr story? Gabriella from Smartrr: Before Smartrr, I was working at a commercial real estate prop-tech company. Loved it. I scaled the sales org and got to work cross-functionally with product and engineering and marketing. But when COVID hit, it just started to feel slightly unfulfilling, as you can imagine selling commercial real estate data to Fortune 500 companies might. It felt like I wasn't necessarily appreciating the opportunity that I had to make a difference in the world. Not saying that subscriptions are making a huge difference. But at the foundation (of Smartrr), we wanted to try to help small businesses impacted by COVID. Even just locally, we thought about what shops were being affected, and that kind of pivoted and grew into me interviewing founders to understand what I could learn about Shopify, BigCommerce, and all these ecommerce platforms to try to help those small businesses turn their business online. But that brought light to a larger issue—subscriptions were really cumbersome, very expensive to launch, challenging to manage, and quite archaic in how they were being processed. As a salesperson, that really intrigued me. So Smartrr started off with the idea of “Let's try to help the small businesses,” and we definitely still try to do that. But we’ve also realized that we can help really large companies with the same issues. It's kind of crazy that companies of all sizes are facing the same problem. So that's how we started building our solution. Greg: What has it been like to see the subscription boom that's been happening over the past few years? Gabriella: I mean, it's happened everywhere. Recurring billing has blown up. B2B, B2C, you even see brick and mortar shops doing a ton of recurring purchases—floral shops, grocery companies, meal delivery companies. I think it's fascinating. It's showing us that people want convenience and they want to be loyal to a brand. For a while, shopping was about having as many choices as possible, like the “Amazon model” of being able to pick one out of a thousand soaps or one out of a thousand dog foods. But now, people want that singularity. So if we can help strengthen that brand affinity, then that obviously really helps brands overall. It's been interesting to watch, for sure. Greg: For stores that want to start selling subscriptions, do you have any advice on how they should go about it? Gabriella: Oh, man, I don't know if we have enough time. I feel like the guides out there now are very one-size-fits-all. That's likely in part due to how limited the tech stack has been pre-Smartrr. Not to toot our own horn here, but a lot of these online resources say to start with things like offering multiple products with a 20 percent discount, then launch and it will grow. But in reality, we've seen that that's not how it works, right? You really have to be in touch with what your business is. What about it is subscribable? Is it the experience that you provide? Is it convenience? Is it perk-related? Is it community-related? Then build on top of that. So what you'll see is a subscription business model that's successful for a cleaning company is going to be very different than for a caviar company, and you should be aware of that. "You really have to be in touch with what your business is. What about it is subscribable? Is it the experience that you provide? Is it convenience? Is it perk-related? Is it community-related? Then build on top of that." But high-level quick tips would be definitely free shipping, which we see converting at a really strong rate. Definitely setting up the engagement with that consumer and letting them have the flexibility to manage their subscription. And definitely rewarding them when they do prove that they have brand affinity, whether it's through referring the product to their friends and family, gifting it, or just being a long-term customer of yours. Greg: Dovetailing off that a little bit—what are the most successful subscription strategies you've seen besides the high-level ones you just mentioned? Anything specific brands have done that you’ve noticed really worked for them? Gabriella: Yeah, I mean, this one's very simple, but there is a direct correlation between the brands that have really great products and great customer service also having the most successful subscription business. It's not like turning on free shipping is going to magically make you be successful. Because you might convert those customers, but you're giving up AOV by giving a discount, and then not having them retain is actually worse for your business, right? So I would say having a great product is number one. Having a community is really powerful for brands, too. We work with a lot of women’s health and beauty companies, for example, that have this community where people are not only buying the product but then engaging with like-minded women and talking about their health stories or their fertility stories. It’s similar with pet products, too. You always want to kind of like have this community of pet owners, so that has been really interesting. And then gifting has been huge for our brands. This is not really the convenience-oriented companies like cleaning supply companies, for example, but more so jewelry companies or apparel companies or fun products that are now gifting subscriptions. So terminal subscriptions that end after three months or six months have been really powerful. "There is a direct correlation between the brands that have really great products and great customer service also having the most successful subscription business." Greg: How important would you say data is for subscription selling and for Smartrr users specifically? Gabriella: Great question. I think it goes back to brands thinking it's really easy to get customers to set up subscriptions and just forget that they exist, right? Which is kind of again touching on the low bar of expectation that has been set by the existing tech stack. Now you see companies like Smartrr and like Littledata showing that by understanding your business through both micro and macro levels, you can make for a smarter subscription business… Greg: (laughs) Nice. Gabriella: But no, jokes aside, we talk to brands all the time that don't know what products are more successful in their subscription business than others. So if we talk to, let's just say, a smoothie company or a meal delivery company that has no idea if their Chicken Marsala or their Chicken Parm are liked by their consumers. So other than generic reviews that are just touching on the high-level subscription, they have no idea if it's a successful product for them. They're not looking at margin necessarily or LTV or AOV. They're not looking at churn by product or by subscription type. They don't know if a six-week delivery of product or a four-week frequency is more successful. So, having that insight into your business can, if anything, just accelerate the rate at which you perfect your subscription model. [tip]See how you can connect Smartrr with Google Analytics on your store to make smart decisions using truly accurate data.[/tip] Greg: Right. Just going back and looking at your methods, always learning and improving. Gabriella: Right, but also cutting down on the time. You could say that theoretically, with enough time, anyone can figure out what works for their business. But if we can cut down on that time, that could make or break a business. Greg: True, that's a great point. Especially for smaller bootstrapped ecommerce businesses, they don't have a lot of time to dedicate to those things. Gabriella: Exactly, exactly. And you don't have a lot of resources, right? Some of our larger brands have a data manager or an analyst. But a lot of brands, even brands, frankly, that have 10,000 or 20,000 subscribers that are using Smartrr don't have someone internally for that. So having tools that can also just simplify the data they're getting and make it more accessible for the average user has been really powerful, too. Greg: Do you see any of your users—maybe your more data-savvy users—leveraging personas at all, maybe by identifying their top buyers and then trying to retarget them? Gabriella: Yeah, that’s interesting. Like you said, it’s definitely for the more sophisticated client base. I think even just having basic information, which we provide, such as attribution around subscription is helpful. Knowing that X amount of sales came from Facebook as a channel, or that X amount came from direct traffic allows them to invest more into the channels, not just with spend but with an understanding of something like “OK, 50 percent of our business is coming from gifting.” Converting into subscribers like that is the kind of insight that has been game-changing for brands that might not be at that stage where they have the capability of understanding personas. Greg: Right, that makes sense. To make personas, you have to know your attribution and which channels are working before you can segment buyers. Gabriella: Yeah. So most commonly, our users are looking at what their top products are, both from a sales and a retention standpoint. We have a really cool retention matrix that lets them see based on cohort how products—and in general their subscription business—is doing. They're looking not only at how many subscribers they have at any given moment but also how that trend has grown or not over time. Another thing our customers look at often that we recently came out with is smart cancellation. It gives brands the ability to ask customers for specific reasons why they want to cancel a subscription. So let's say my product is flavored water, and one of the reasons a customer canceled is that they don't like their flavor. Another might be that they have too much product already. Or maybe they’re going on vacation. Now, through the Smartrr dashboard, customers are able to cancel their subscription, but before doing so, it'll ask you select the reason why. So, for the person receiving too many products, it’ll prompt them with the option to skip an order or delay by three months. For the customer who would select that they don't like their flavor, it'll ask them if they want to swap. For the customer going on vacation, it'll ask them if they want to gift their item to a friend or family member. And we now collect data on each of those cases so our brands can see what is causing churn and what exit prompts have actually been successful in retaining customers. That's been really helpful for our users. One other one I can mention is Smartrr users being able to see what frequency and price are most successful for a subscription. It's almost like A/B testing, but instead of having them both run congruent, you can see in one six-month period versus another six-month period that subscriptions were healthier when you charged three dollars less, for example. Greg: Do you see any major challenges that subscription merchants are facing right now? Or any that you see on the horizon? Gabriella: Yeah, I think firstly the transition from the “subscribe and forget” model to what we're trying to do with Smartrr, which is create better engagement with the consumer to better understand who our consumers—both for one-time and subscription purchases— are. There are other issues that really face all DTC brands but heavily hit the subscription side. One very obvious one is around supply. We have a lot of our clients selling out of products, which sounds like a good issue to have on the surface level. But in actuality, it’s stopping their growth. It’s cool from a PR perspective, but ultimately, if you can sell product, obviously you prefer to do that. We have one client that we launched with and in a couple of days, they sold over 100,000 units, which was their entire first batch. It was supposed to last them for months, but they went viral and that was that. So now they have to wait for a new product to be built and made, and they don't know how long that will take. Greg: That's an interesting one—definitely something that could happen if you grow more quickly than planned or if you're limited by something that's outside your control. Do you have advice for a business that’s put into that situation? Gabriella: Yeah, that's a great question, actually. Another one of our brands that recently sold out is doing something quite interesting—which we can do for brands across the board—but they're developing a waitlist for their subscription. So they’re a subscription-only business, and you can only buy their product with a refill involved. What they're doing is rather than charging customers now for the full amount, given that they don't have the product, they're going to charge one dollar upfront that locks you in for the refill. Then when the product is back in stock and they start shipping again, that consumer gets charged the full amount and their subscription begins. So I think creating hype around the lack of supply is good. Then on top of that, making sure that you're not missing out on the hype at the moment because you don't know who's going to remember your brand when you are back in stock. Get them on the hook now for a dollar or samples or a free trial. If you have something else that you can provide them, that’s the best idea to follow. Greg: Right, and just keeping them in the community. Gabriella: It's just being transparent with your customers. That adds to brand affinity and allows people to be more loyal to these brands initially. They are aware that there’s a waitlist and this is a pre-order, but they're so excited and so bought into that brand that they want to stay engaged and the merchant’s helping them understand why they don't have a product quite yet. It's just about being super transparent and helping your customers know that you're going to keep them in the loop about everything to have a more honest relationship. [tip]Learn about your community of buyers and build a stronger relationship with them using data from Littledata and Smartrr's native integration.[/tip] Greg: Have you seen any significant trends taking over in subscription ecommerce? Gabriella: We build Smartrr functionality based on what brands are striving for. So just speaking to what we have seen, there are a lot of trends around digital subscriptions. You're seeing physical products come out with an app component. Another big one is gifting. A terminal subscription can be a good idea for engaging the kind of outlier network of your consumers. For example, Sock Fancy is a brand that we launched where you can gift a subscription directly to your friends and family. So for Valentine's Day, I gifted my husband a subscription to socks. They're beautiful socks, super high quality. It's a great experience. He received an email that I had put together days ahead but that was sent on Valentine's Day. Then he was able to redeem his gift and loved the surprise. From the brand's perspective, it's interesting because they then collect not just my email address, but my husband’s as well. So obviously when that subscription ends, they can target him to buy an auto-renewal subscription. Plus that approach works nicely with the majority of products. Greg: What's your hiring strategy at Smartrr? Do you focus on recruiting people with previous ecommerce experience? Gabriella: Hiring is definitely important for us. I would love to have a team of experts, but honestly, I don't think it's required. What we're building at Smartrr and what our community, in general, is built around is something that's very intuitive in my mind: we're all consumers. We all experience what it is to buy something online—what it is to manage something online. We all have subscriptions, right? So that feels like a natural fit, regardless of whether or not someone worked in ecommerce. My experience was as a real estate director, and I actually worked in fintech before that.For us, honestly, we want really smart people. I have no doubt that a smart person can learn everything that I learned in the last year or two by diving in. We’ve also learned so much through our partners and through events where we've gone to meet partners and form relationships. Everyone is so willing to jump on a call and just chat through different situations. That makes the learning curve so much easier because again, we're hiring motivated individuals and, intrinsically, they are excited to learn more. It really creates a best-case scenario for moving from a different industry into the space. So I don't necessarily think ecommerce experience is a requirement for us. It's more about finding out—are you smart? Are you driven? Are you fun to work with? We want a good group of people and we've been (knock on wood) really, really fortunate in being able to hire people that fill all of those things for us. Greg: I've noticed that myself coming from a non-ecommerce background. The industry is so welcoming and people really want to help each other out. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. Gabriella: Yeah, I love that. Greg: Last question, anything coming down the road for Smartrr that you’d like to share? Gabriella: Oh, man, we have a lot. We've made some recent vendor portal enhancements to make it easier for our clients to do more with subscriptions for their business. We launched new functionality like full-on gifting and prepaid subscriptions. And we have a couple more surprises coming down, but I won't spoil them quite yet. [tip]Book a demo with an analytics expert to find out how you can fit Smartrr in your subscription tech stack and power growth with Littledata's data platform.[/tip] Quick links: Elevar vs Littledata: which is right for your store? Learn how $1 billion digitally native brand Rothy’s uses data to grow See We Make Websites “perfect” headless tech stack, Littledata included Get the step by step guide to running dynamic Facebook ads using Facebook’s conversions API
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