3 deep dives into customer lifetime value for ecommerce sites
Subscription ecommerce has continued to scale throughout the pandemic, with consumables like beverages and meal kits rising particularly fast in North America. Shopify sites selling by subscription have always been a core part of our customer base at Littledata, and with even traditionally brick-and-mortar retailers moving online and trying out subscription ideas, we've got our hands full with new subscription sites these days. It might be easier than ever to start a subscription box (companies like Bulu have transformed the market), but getting accurate data about marketing attribution and customer lifetime value is difficult without the right data setup. So with Black Friday Cyber Monday coming up, we thought it would be useful to share some of our top posts this year about subscription analytics. Here are our top three posts this year. Enjoy! 1. How to calculate LTV for ecommerce subscriptions Lifetime value is a core metric for many online companies these days. This is especially important for ecommerce sites, because whether you're focusing on repeat purchases or actual subscriptions, marketing to (and product alignment with) the highest LTV customers can make or break a DTC brand today. In this post, our founder breaks down the basics of LTV calculations for ecommerce, focused on Shopify stores using ReCharge for subscriptions. https://blog.littledata.io/2020/01/14/how-to-calculate-lifetime-value-ltv-for-subscription-ecommerce-in-google-analytics/ 2. How to use Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics to increase subscription sales Custom Dimensions are a remarkably powerful feature in Google Analytics, often overlooked because they can be complicated to set up manually (also, they "sound complicated"). But the truth is that with a little background research, custom dimensions are easy to understand, and -- more importantly -- to apply to your daily, weekly and monthly reports in order to get a clear view of different order types, repeat purchasing behavior, and more. https://blog.littledata.io/2019/09/19/quick-tips-for-subscription-stores-using-custom-dimensions-in-google-analytics/ In this detailed post, our lead analyst dives into the complications of modern DTC brands selling a mix of product types and subscriptions. He focuses on how to reconcile differences in different reporting tools, and how to create segments and reports to fit your unique business model. After all, talk is cheap. How can you put LTV calculations to work for your business? [note]Did you know? Littledata automatically tracks first-time and recurring purchases and ties them back to the original marketing source.[/note] 3. The ultimate guide to LTV tracking In this popular guest post on the Shogun blog, we take a look at everything you need to know about LTV. When you know your LTV, you can: Know which kinds of products your high-LTV customers want more of Know how much to spend to acquire a “similar” customer and still make a profit based on their projected buying habits Promote the products with the highest profitability Increase your marketing budget and inbound efforts to attract your most profitable types of customers [subscribe]
The Shopify merchant's guide to reducing cart abandonment
For many Shopify stores, it's an all-too-familiar question: why do online shoppers decide last-minute not to buy a product? Whether you're on Shopify or Shopify Plus, shopping cart abandonment is a serious issue. But surprisingly the main reasons for visitors and even current customers abandoning their carts (ie not making it all the way through your checkout flow) are actually shared by many merchants. On the plus side, so are the ways to reduce cart abandonment! Cart abandonment is not a mystery. While not every reason a shopper abandons their cart is within your control, some things are in your hands. When your cart abandonment rate is high, there are active steps you can take toward minimizing it. [tip]Download the Shopify merchant's guide to reducing cart abandonment for free[/tip] Maybe you've spotted lower checkout completion rates on mobile, or maybe it's a cross-device issue. Maybe it's a significant issue for paid traffic, organic, or both. But first, let's explore cart abandonment from the ground up: What it is Why it matters Why it's a crucial metric, not a mystery What causes cart abandonment? While there’s no quick answer, carts get abandoned for a variety of reasons — although a lower abandonment rate tends to reveal a more intuitive customer experience and a more trustworthy store. Many shoppers may browse your store in hopes of finding a hidden discount, to compare prices, or to see how your product stacks up against similar products. Some shoppers might even be building a wishlist for the future, with no intention of purchasing right now. For this type of shopper, there’s not much you can do to compel a purchase. This means your focus should be on the shoppers who are willing to buy but haven’t, maybe due to a website element or step in the checkout process that sent them scurrying away. As part of the same cart abandonment study, the Baymard Institute conducted a survey of over 4,500 US adults asking why they abandoned their purchase after passing the add-to-cart stage: Many of the factors above can be countered by making tweaks to the checkout process. (We cover as many as possible in our free cart abandonment ebook.) For example, let’s take the second most prevalent response — the site wanted me to create an account. By offering a guest checkout option where an account is not necessary, this 28% group would be one step closer to a purchase, helping you avoid an abandoned cart. How can you improve your checkout experience? Industry lingo like “streamline the checkout process” is often thrown around, but what does this actually mean? What are the parts of your site that eliminate friction in the checkout process rather than causing it? More specifically, we’re referring to the step after a user adds a product to his or her cart. Optimizing add-to-cart rate is, in itself, a separate stage in the purchase funnel that we have discussed before. In any case, here are a few things to consider for a better checkout experience... [subscribe heading="Don't wait to reduce cart abandonment" background_color="green" button_text="Download our free guide" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/cart-abandonment-ebook"]
Lunch with Littledata: Q&A with Anshey Bhatia, CEO of Verbal+Visual
This week, we're continuing our Q&A segment: Lunch with Littledata! We sat down (virtually) with Anshey Bhatia, founder and CEO of Verbal+Visual, to chat about the Shopify world, good design, and where things are going. V+V is one of our fantastic agency partners here at Littledata. They work closely with thoughtful brands that are dedicated to a seamless, user-centric experience on Shopify Plus. We share a number of customers with the agency and it was great to catch up during these crazy -- but also inspirational -- times here in NYC. Let's dive right in! Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your clients overall? Have they seen a boom in orders or AOV, or has order volume been normal? Our clients with higher cost per units for non-home items have been much more affected than everyone else. While no client has seen a major boom, only one client has seen a significant loss, and they are a high-ticket, night-on-the-town apparel company that launched in February. All in all, while there was a slight dip for most in March, ecommerce rebounded quickly. Q: How has V+V adapted to the pandemic era? We have taken on some new client work that is smaller in scope than our typical projects. We’ve done this to help the immediate needs of brands that were not positioned to adapt to the acceleration of e-commerce shopping that we’ve seen. When we saw the need for smaller development projects that could save brands thousands of dollars a day in lost sales, we realized it’s more efficient to solve those short term problems before addressing a full site redesign. We saw the need for smaller development projects that could save brands thousands of dollars a day in lost sales Harley Finkelstein, the COO of Shopify, recently referred to Shopify as a “Retail Operating System”, and we agree with that definition. Our agency is not just building ecommerce websites; we create the infrastructure needed for a brand to scale across many different online and offline channels. [note]Wondering how Littledata has adapted? Here's what we're doing in response to the crisis.[/note] Q: If you were going to start a DTC brand right now, what would it sell? We partner with brands that are mission-driven and are thoughtful about their supply chains and materials. We also love working with brands focused on other mission-driven areas such as health and wellness, and empowerment / equality initiatives. With that in mind, we would start a DTC brand that sources non-perishable ingredients from local restaurants and merchants. Restaurants have come up with inventive ways to sell food and other products while their establishments are shut down, so bringing locally sourced products like sauces, spices, and seasonings to a larger audience is a huge opportunity. For example, Bread makers have seen the second largest increase in purchases from March 2019 to March 2020 as a result of COVID-19, and I have a feeling our team could design a pretty kick-ass bread maker! Q: Sounds delicious! So you're a group of ecommerce design experts — visual design, experience design, etc. What's the most challenging part of creating great design experiences for businesses running on Shopify? Two important issues come to mind. Firstly, brands always want experiential sites, however they also want high conversion rates and AOV. The two don’t always go well together. It’s important that while going through the design process, the tightrope between brand equity and conversion focus is walked across gently and that we don’t go too far in either direction at the risk of losing the other. This is not endemic to Shopify necessarily, however most brands that are on Shopify care deeply about their brand. Secondly, all ecommerce sites need to be accessible to everyone, everywhere. We need to design sites with accessibility as a priority, as it’s not only the law, it’s the right thing to do. The trick is retaining a unique experience, ensuring shoppability, and allowing equal access, all at the same time. Q: What are some underrated elements of great ecommerce design that merchants should pay more attention to? We spend a lot of time thinking about the design elements that are not immediately noticeable. A lot of the new brands we see have certain elements that are trendy or in line with an agency’s signature style. For us, we focus our energies on creating scalable design systems that will bend but not break as a company grows their enterprise. Sometimes that means we have to question the brand’s assumptions and really dig into their brand identity. It’s not always clear and then our job becomes designing a set of guidelines that can not only be applied to the digital experience, but elsewhere. While we don’t specifically focus on branding, it’s important that we understand the fundamental building blocks of the brands’ visual identity, so that we can bring that brand to life across digital touch points. We also pay attention to interactions, animations, and page transitions. These animations are not always noticeable and sometimes they are designed to be that way. If a PDP is image-heavy by design, we’ll create loading animations for those images, with the understanding that it will take a little longer to load some of those images as users scroll down the page. Q: What's your advice for merchants who may not realize that a great shopper experience is stalling their growth? A lot of brands are selling a great product, they’re creating compelling ads on Facebook and Instagram which tells the story of the brand. Then potential customers click on those ads and end up on a site that does not align with the touch points they’ve had with the brand so far. A digital experience that doesn’t align with the brand’s identity will immediately reduce trust between the customer and the brand. It’s important to have a seamless customer journey from delivering ads, to the website, to emails and even into the receipt of the packages. If parts of the customer experience don’t feel connected, you are more likely to lose your customer or lose their potential LTV. Q: How does ecommerce look different for standard Shopify stores vs. Shopify Plus stores right now? There are so many new brands appearing in different verticals right now. Shopify does a great job of giving brands the tools to get off the ground and running. However, when brands need to start to differentiate themselves, they break out of the templated design that Shopify is best for. From a design perspective, you can accomplish pretty much anything you want on a Shopify store all the way up to a Shopify Plus store. Shopify Plus stores, though, are able to elevate the holistic digital experience to another level. Shopify Plus offers significantly more functionality for brands that are going international and are expanding via physical retail or other channels. Shopify Plus is built to provide an entire commerce infrastructure, while Shopify is built for a starter level e-commerce experience. Shopify Plus also offers white glove customer service, which is hugely important for brands serious about their long term growth. Q: Is omnichannel selling a thing of the past? On the contrary, omnichannel is the future of commerce. Some people think of omnichannel as the relationship between offline and online shopping. We view omnichannel as any touch point your customer can buy at. COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of ecommerce, but ecommerce still sits at under 30% of total commerce. While most first-time ecommerce shoppers are going to large marketplaces like Amazon, Target, and Walmart, many of them are also exploring DTC brands for the first time. Brands are looking to shift to big marketplaces while also experimenting with new channels like TikTok and mobile gaming platforms. Additionally, we’re seeing traditionally offline businesses like restaurants looking for additional revenue streams. Shopify’s updates for Shopify POS have addressed the short term safety issues surrounding COVID-19, and we believe these updates will also help to improve the dynamic between online and offline, and make more shoppers comfortable with the idea of omnichannel. Ultimately, brands want to be where their customers are. We don’t always know what channels are going to be popular, but we do know all brands need a strong digital infrastructure in place to adapt and scale. Q: How crucial is it for Shopify Plus merchants to trust their tracking? In other words, how important is accurate Shopify tracking and reporting to a store's success? We use data to drive our design process, inform the user experience, and our ecommerce strategy recommendations. As mentioned before, one of the main problems we see with brands is the misalignment between their marketing campaigns, creative content, their website, and the unboxing experience. We use data to drive our design process and inform the user experience It’s critical for us to know where customers are coming from, how they are converting, how much they are spending, and their lifetime value. This not only helps our clients’ marketing efforts, but it allows their ecommerce team to make informed decisions. We can understand what changes need to be made to landing pages, PDPs, and path to purchase, and we can attribute customers to the correct marketing channels so that teams can align around shared goals. Accurate Shopify reporting ultimately leads to clarity around ownership of the data and accountability, so we can’t stress enough the importance of being able to read and interpret these data points. Thanks again to Anshey and the Verbal+Visual team for hanging out with us online. Looking for more Lunch with Littledata? Last month we sat down with Chad Rubin, CEO of Skubana (and a Shopify seller too!).
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)
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