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)  

by Nico
2020-05-19

Connecting Shopify to Segment: a smarter solution with Littledata

A few months back, we ran down a list of popular ecommerce reporting tools that Littledata integrates with. Today, we'll take a look at one tool in particular: Segment. When it comes to data, one thing is clear: every business should be using more of it. At Littledata, we believe data is your single biggest tool for success, whether it's breaking down your marketing channel attribution or deciding on a new campaign for your repeat buyers. Not only does data help you nail down what's working for your store and what's not right now—it also helps you make decisions for future success. With a flood of data tools on the market for Shopify stores (data lakes, business intelligence and dashboarding, funnels and segments) the search for the perfect data tool to fit within your tech stack can be overwhelming. It can also be tough to find a tool with all the right features for the right price. Fashion stores sell differently than coffee subscription stores, so it can be tempting to either build a custom tool yourself or hire an analytics consultant to do the heavy lifting for you. Maintaining multiple connections and integrations can also become a task in itself. This can lead to data fatigue, causing confusion and even costing you time and money. But whether or not you use an app for better Shopify tracking or you go with a consultant, one thing is clear for Shopify stores: driving your decision-making with data is no longer optional if you want to succeed in the current ecommerce marketplace. Plain and simple, accurate data is the best way to ensure you're getting the maximum ROI for your business. While our Google Analytics connection is popular among Shopify stores, thousands of Shopify stores (and Littledata customers) use Segment as their main tracking tool, including brands like Nuun, ROMWOD, Kin, Cellucor, and more. Why do Shopify sellers use Segment? Segment is a streamlined way to clean, collect, push and pull customer data. The company has raised over $280 million and it continues to grow especially fast in the commerce vertical. Segment's Customer Data Infrastructure (CDI) is built around connections, protocols and personas (single user views), and the platform organizes connections in terms of sources and destinations. In other words, you can think about Segment as a single API for all of your customer data. [subscribe heading="Try the only recommended Shopify app for Segment" background_color="grey" button_text="Learn more" button_link="https://apps.shopify.com/segment-com-by-littledata?_ga=2.230718111.1271051167.1588608356-1545539486.1571747621"] As Shopify continues to push features for enterprise ecommerce, you don’t have to be front-page news to take advantage of Segment’s functionality; tons of mid-sized Shopify brands currently use Segment together with Shopify. But why? How do Shopify stores benefit from integrating Segment with their store? Benefits of connecting Shopify with Segment 1) Capture every customer touchpoint Littledata's Segment connection lets you use Shopify as Segment source. In other words, merchants can now automatically track every ecommerce touchpoint on your Shopify store, including: User/browsing behaviour Checkout steps Sales & refunds Customer lifetime value (LTV) Marketing metrics like customer acquisition cost (CAC) When merchants integrate Segment with Shopify, no touchpoint in the customer journey goes untracked. This includes multiple checkout steps, sales conversion data and lifetime value (LTV), arguably the holy grail of ecommerce metrics. What about subscriptions? If you are a subscription business using ReCharge for your checkout then you’ll understand how difficult it is to attribute your recurring orders back to the original marketing source. Furthermore it’s hard to keep track of what revenue is coming from first time orders versus recurring revenue. By using Littledata with Segment you can correctly attribute your ReCharge orders including the use of custom dimensions such as order count and  customer LTV as well as lifecycle events such as customer created and subscription cancelled. [tip]Learn how to track subscriptions on Shopify with 100% accuracy[/tip] For those running a subscription store, the app integrates with ReCharge and Google Analytics so you can track all your subscription data. It also connects to your Facebook Ads and Google Ads for accurate marketing attribution and customer journey tracking. This way, you know which campaigns are actually working (and maybe more importantly, which ones are not). Tip: Hey, subscription stores! Now you can track all your subscription lifecycle events 2) Server-side tracking for complete accuracy Speaking of tracking, Littledata’s server-side tracking approach within Google Analytics beats out Shopify’s native reporting platform. For Segment users, server-side tracking ensures data is 100% reliable, which means better analysis and decision-making. 3) Quick setup Quick integrations should never be undervalued. Within minutes, Shopify merchants can have their stores armed with a steady data flow in Segment. Automated ecommerce tracking Like the popular Google Analytics connection for Shopify stores, Littledata's Segment connection uses server-side tracking to capture every step in your checkout flow, plus sales, refunds, product variants, and more. It’s the easiest way to ensure accurate, detailed data about sales and shopping behaviour. In fact, Littledata is the only recommended Segment integration for Shopify and Shopify Plus. Benefits include: Works with any Shopify or Shopify Plus store Server-side tracking for 100% accuracy Captures every touch point, including checkout steps, sales data and customer lifetime value (LTV) Analytics audit to check for accurate tracking The connection captures what happens on your Shopify store, then pushes that data to Segment so you can send it to hundreds of Segment destinations: Putting the data to use So what are some ways you can use this raw data as actionable insights? Better marketing automation Personalize and hyper-target your campaigns even more General ecommerce CRO Better reporting and analysis For example, you can push your Shopify data to tools including Hubspot, Salesforce, Mixpanel and Google Analytics. [note]Browse our Segment help guides for details about which events you can track with our Segment connection.[/note] Better actionable insights is really why Littledata built a single Shopify connection to be used as a source for Segment. By centralizing your data with Segment, you can ensure that you have data consistency when using the data across multiple destinations like Google Analytics, Klaviyo, Facebook, Friendbuy and Hotjar. Not only will this save 100s of development hours building and maintaining multiple integrations, but it also frees you to adapt your data stack for any opportunity, like debugging, testing and reviewing your data collection. Welcome to a truly smarter solution! Like we mentioned, Littledata is the only recommended Shopify connector for Segment. Want to give it a try? Our new 30-day free trials will give you a full month of accurate data so you can feel the difference for yourself. Our enterprise plans also include the option for custom Segment data audits, setup and reporting. We’re here to help you scale!

by Nico
2020-05-08

Resources for COVID-19 and ecommerce

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world appears to have changed dramatically. But remember: we're all in this together. With hundreds of Shopify apps and agencies around the world joining forces to make a difference, there are plenty of free resources available to help you stay afloat and try to get a handle on what to do -- and what comes next. In this post we look at where merchants can turn for help, share some resources for honest projections about the industry, and ask what the crisis really means for ecommerce, especially Shopify stores that rely on subscriptions for revenue. Ecommerce trends John Kenneth Galbraith once said that the function of economic forecasting is "to make astrology look respectable." In the wake of the chaos invoked in markets by the novel coronavirus, nobody knows for sure what will happen, but there are many in the ecommerce world who are looking closely at the data on a daily basis to figure out where the overall trends might be. At Littledata, we've been analyzing our own benchmark data in more detail (see our open access ecommerce benchmarks), broken down by industry sector. In our first round of analysis we found that around 30-35% of Shopify stores overall are actually seeing an uptick in revenue & order volume, especially in the Food & Drink and Health & Fitness sectors -- even if revenue is growing at a slower pace. This matches Klaviyo's findings below, where about a third of ecommerce sites were seeing higher revenue after the first month of stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Yet there are still a few unknowns, as well as a range of outliers in certain verticals, like seemingly random successes in online fashion during the crisis. That said, the major unknown in my view is still the supply chain timeline: When will we feel the first major "supply chain hit" across sectors? As brands adapt wholesale strategies to the new environment, will over-discounting or confused omnichannel strategies come back to bite them? On the flip side, can independent warehouses like Perishable Shipping Solutions (PSS), which focuses on food and beverage, and even Shopify's own fulfillment network, handle the major uplift in demand? Even if customers adapt to purchasing gift certificates, exclusive pre-orders and other "delayed" products, will restaurants and retailers be able to fulfill the demand once things open up again? And some labels are flexible. Pantry staples are growing in several categories and there's been a lot of industry chatter about "DTC pantry" products, especially among millennials and wealthy urbanites. But this is pretty broad. What defines a DTC pantry staple? Subscription coffee brands like Dripkit and Groundwork should obviously be there, but what about adult beverages like Kin? [subscribe heading="A note about Littledata and COVID-19" background_color="grey" button_text="Read More" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/covid19"] So maybe it's not actually about the sector at all. Brands that have paid attention to truly speaking directly to consumers (not just in their product marketing but literally in their messaging) -- along with those who have moved production and fulfillment closer to home -- are doing the best right now. Maybe they'll even give Amazon a run for its money. Key resources for ecommerce news during the pandemic Perhaps it's ironic that there actually is a lot of fake news out there. And that's not the worst of it. Everyone on Facebook is suddenly an armchair epidemiologist, and economists are changing their predictions every few minutes. So where can you turn for accurate ecommerce news? In addition to essential ecommerce newsletters like LeanLuxe and 2PM, these five online resources are absolutely essential for brands that want to stay on top of Shopify news and ecommerce trends during the crisis: Shopify's COVID-19 response page Shopify's COVID-19 response has been really amazing. They're offering $200 million in small business funding, a community forum, plus extended features like gift cards and localized delivery options. They have also set up a dedicated weekly email newsletter for case studies and insights relating to COVID-19 (You can sign up on the main page linked above). Klaviyo insights Klaviyo is a popular email marketing tool used by many of our enterprise customers. Through surveys and analysis, Klaviyo is "taking a daily pulse on what’s happening in the ecommerce world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic". The best part: you can submit your own info to take part in the analysis. See daily trends and how it all fits together. Modern Retail Modern Retail always does a stellar job keeping track of major trends, especially for larger DTC brands and innovators. And that reporting power continues through the crisis. They are paying attention to everything from warehouse conditions to high-ticket DTC exercise brands and the remarkable surge in alcohol delivery in the US (it's been a long time coming). Flow.io blog As we see an increasing number of merchants moving toward multi-currency sales, Flow Commerce has become an essential Littledata integration partner. Flow's blog is an excellent resource for anyone wondering how international payments, shipping and supply chains will be affected by COVID-19. WeMakeWebsites blog WeMakeWebsites isn't just one of our favorite agency partners, they're also insightful analysts of their own data as one of the best-known Shopify Plus agencies in London and New York City. On the WMW blog, they have been paying special attention to purpose-driven brands are differentiating themselves in the current climate. How we're adapting at Littledata At Littledata we've always been a remote-first culture, but now, like many, we've gone totally remote. We're dedicated to sharing as much of our knowledge as possible via this blog and our ebooks and other public resources, like our podcast interviews and help center. We've made some significant changes very quickly: Extended free trial from 14 to 30 days on all plans Free consultations for merchants on any platform Involvement in multiple agency relief programs for struggling brands and the Offline2On initiative, helping merchants get online fast Curating lists of brands giving back during coronavirus (is your brand doing something unique to help? Get in touch!) During the time of coronavirus, we're adapting our products, services and work culture, and supporting our customers and employees in every way possible. Find out more about Littledata's response to COVID-19.

by Ari
2020-04-16

New 30-day free trials!

In a month of grim news, we have some good news to share. Whoever you are, wherever you are, we think everyone deserves to make data-driven decisions We're excited to announce that we've extended Littledata's free trial from 14 days to 30 days. 🎉 The 30-day free trial is available to any Shopify merchant on any plan -- Shopify Plus? Multi-country setup? Selling by subscription? We've got you covered. Successful brands use Littledata to know the real return on their advertising spend (ROAS), calculate customer lifetime value (LTV or CLV), get complete marketing attribution, and much more. So as companies around the world move online and need to make data-driven decisions quickly, we're here for you. With the free trial, you can: Fix your Shopify tracking automatically: With just a few clicks, you'll see accurate data in Segment or Google Analytics within 24 hours. No more data discrepancies between Shopify and GA! Set up any number of connections: Add connections to track CartHook funnels, ReCharge subscription ecommerce, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and more, with our full range of connections and integrations. Get support from an analytics expert: We started as Google Analytics consultants and we're always here to help. Choose the plan that's right for you and your business, and get help with everything from data audits to custom setup, analytics training and GTM support. (And yes, we offer support during free trials!) Getting started with the trial You can get started here. After clicking Start Your Free Trial, you'll be brought to a sign up page to create your account. From there, just a few quick steps before accurate data starts flowing: Connect your Google Analytics account Connect Shopify to Google Analytics You're all set. Welcome to accurate Shopify tracking! If you have questions, get in touch with our team of Google Analytics consultants. We're here to help! Using Shopify and Segment? If you're looking for a way to send Shopify ecommerce data to your Segment workspace, you're in luck. Over the past year, we worked closely with Segment to create the ultimate tracking solution for Shopify stores. Our Segment connection is now available to all Shopify merchants, and we've extended the 30-day free trial to the Segment app for Shopify too. Connect Shopify to Segment with a free trial today. Selling by subscription? If you're selling products by subscription, you'll be pleased to know that the extended free trial includes unlimited access to our top-rated subscription ecommerce tracking tools. Use Littledata's ReCharge connection or Bold Subscriptions integration to fix your data today. Why wait? It's the most advanced solution on the market for Shopify stores that want to track recurring payments and subscription products -- yet remarkably simple to set up, and powerful from the get-go. Start your free trial today. Stay home. Stay calm. And say hello to accurate data! [subscribe]

by Nico
2020-04-14

How to manage multiple Shopify stores without sacrificing conversions

Even if you only run one business, that doesn’t mean you should only have one Shopify store.  Indeed, there are many reasons why you may want to start using multiple Shopify stores for your business: Remove obstacles from the buying process: If you have a large inventory, customers may need to navigate through cluttered menus or click through multiple category pages before they can find the product they want and place their order. Breaking your inventory up into different stores removes friction from this process and makes it easier for customers to purchase products from you. Create a personalized experience: If you sell to many different areas, developing a unique online storefront for each location allows you to create a more personalized experience for your customers. By peppering the sales copy on your sites with local references and colloquialisms, you’ll be able to catch the visitor’s attention and stand out from the competition.  Improve SEO: With the more streamlined and personalized experience that the multi-store approach provides, customers are encouraged to stay for longer periods of time. The average amount of time visitors spend on your site carries a lot of weight in search engine algorithms, so this should make your business more visible online.  But, there are challenges to managing multiple stores as well. We’ll show you how to overcome these challenges and use a multi-store approach to improve customer experience, increase traffic and make more sales.  Top challenges of managing multiple Shopify stores Perhaps the biggest drawback to the multi-store approach is that it makes managing your inventory and orders more difficult. Customers placing orders on the same pool of items from different sources can lead to confusion, delays and errors.  Another issue is that manually creating multiple sites and duplicating content when necessary can be a very time-consuming process. This is more than just frustrating — it pulls you away from all the other tasks you must complete to keep your business running smoothly.  Top Apps for Managing Multiple Stores The two challenges described above can both be addressed with a quick trip to the Shopify App Store.  With the SKULabs and Shogun add-ons, managing inventory and content for multiple stores is much easier.  SKULabs The SKULabs dashboard is designed to be especially intuitive and help users keep track of their inventory, orders and shipments for multiple channels. If you use solutions other than Shopify to sell your products (Amazon, eBay, etc.), SKULabs allows you to review the activity of those channels and your multiple Shopify stores all from the same place.  Other notable SKULabs features include low inventory alerts for preventing stockouts and barcode scanning for fast and human error-free inventory data entry.  Image source: Shopify Shogun Anyone can use Shogun’s large library of web-building elements and drag-and-drop interface to quickly create their own custom landing pages, product pages and blog posts. Shogun also has a Sync feature that’s quite useful for multiple stores — with Sync, you can copy a page from one store to another with just a single click.    Image source: Shogun Multi-store Shopify best practices In addition to taking advantage of these apps, you should keep the following best practices in mind when managing multiple stores: Consolidate customer support: Just as it helps to manage all your inventory from the same place, it helps to manage customer support for multiple stores from the same place, too. That way, it’s easier to monitor performance and ensure there are no support tickets slipping through the cracks.  Analyze your audience and discover new niches: Google Analytics andsimilar reporting tools can tell you a lot about the people who visit your store. With this information, you can determine which groups of people make up your core audience. If you’re popular with a certain group, you should consider creating a version of your store that’s designed just for them.  Pay attention to SEO: To make the most of the multi-store approach’s SEO benefits, be sure to include the keywords associated with each version of your store (for example, “California dry cleaning” might be targeted by a national dry cleaning service’s California site) in headings, page titles, image alt descriptions and any other area that’s picked up by search engine algorithms.  Managing Multiple Stores for Multiple Countries A multi-store approach is especially effective for businesses that attract a large amount of interest from international buyers.  Seventy-five percent of consumers who don’t speak English prefer to buy products in their native language, and 59% rarely or never make purchases on English-only stores.  There are many tools available for automatically translating the language used on your site to whatever’s used in the browser settings of the visitor. This is convenient, but these translations often contain errors. Machine translations may be mostly accurate — they just can’t process the context that’s required to get everything right.  While it does take more time and effort to develop manually translated versions of your site for the different regions you serve, this will provide a better experience for non-English speaking visitors and help you generate more international sales.  CRO Tips for Shopify and Shopify Plus Setting up multiple Shopify stores is an excellent method for conversion rate optimization (CRO). Using the following techniques will increase your conversion rate as well: Optimize for mobile: Since 2016, mobile devices have been a more popular way to browse the internet than desktop computers. If your site isn’t fully responsive, which means it automatically adjusts to the type of device that’s used by the visitor, you’re missing out on many potential conversions.  Maintain performance: Most visitors will only wait a few seconds for your site to load before they move on to one of their other options. Mobile users are particularly impatient — the majority of them will only wait three seconds for your site to load. High-end performance allows you to keep people on your site long enough to make conversions. Offer free shipping: The most attractive offer you can make to potential customers is free shipping. In fact, simply shifting the shipping fee to the price of the product in order to offer free shipping should lead to a significant improvement in your conversion rate.  By combining a multi-store approach with the above CRO techniques, you can jumpstart your conversion rate and set your business up for both short-term and long-term success. Shopify tracking for ecommerce success Of course, CRO is no good if you're not consistently tracking what's working (and what isn't). Luckily, Littledata's Google Analytics app fixes your Shopify tracking automatically, so you have accurate marketing attribution and shopping behavior at your fingertips (including ecommerce events like adds to cart, removes from cart, checkouts and more). You'll also get full access to data audits and ecommerce benchmarks so you can know exactly where your store stands among the competition.   Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.

2020-04-08

How COVID-19 has affected Shopify stores so far

In the wake of COVID-19, things in the ecommerce world are hanging in balance. We've been encouraged by businesses and agencies in the Shopify ecosystem stepping up to pool their resources and talents to help more vulnerable store owners (e.g. see how Shopify is helping, as well as Offline2On, an initiative we're involved with at Littledata). But, since we're analysts at heart, we wanted to take a closer look at recent sales trends among Shopify stores to see the impact COVID-19 is actually having on shopping behavior. Shopping behavior during COVID-19 While some stores have seen a surge of shopping activity and orders, others have struggled to match their normal volume. With no end in sight to the global pandemic, many shoppers are choosing to be frugal with non-essential spending. To find out how many Shopify stores were either surging or struggling to stay afloat, we broke down the data, week over week, from Q1 2020 (8 weeks total). We focused on: Order volume Average order value (AOV) We chose these metrics in particular because they're two of the strongest indicators of overall shopping behavior. [note]See how Littledata is responding to COVID-19 to help ecommerce sites survive and thrive during the crisis.[/note] We sampled 200 Shopify stores from across 5 different industries: Beauty Food and drink Health and fitness Pets Style and fashion But before we drill down data by industry, let's look at ecommerce as a whole. Global ecommerce trends and observations While global ecommerce has experienced an increase in order volume over the past 2 months, you can see the recent, steady decline in AOV during the same period (though it has mostly remained unchanged since Feb). It's possible the spike in order volume is due to social distancing, as country after country institutes their own version of stay-at-home orders. Interestingly, AOV's decline could be due to shoppers squeezing their wallets a bit tighter during the pandemic. With uncertainty looming in just about every area of life, some marketers believe shoppers are more reluctant to spend more per order; they're mostly sticking to "essential" purchases. Shopify order volume & AOV by industry The first graph below shows change in order volume by industry. The second graph illustrates changes by average order value, also segmented by industry. Beauty From the middle of February to now, the beauty industry seems to have leveled out in terms of orders. This is a pretty standard showing for beauty, which does not seem to be drastically affected by COVID-19 so far. The beauty industry's AOV may have seen an early drop, but has been steady since. Food and drink Food and drink likely experienced the rise in order volume the past few weeks due a the surge of worrisome shoppers; global uncertainty about the pandemic means grocery stores and supermarkets were packed for weeks as people stocked up as much as possible. Many subscription boxes (and meal replacement brands such as Soylent and Huel) have also seen a surge in order volume. However, the industry has hit a steep decline in the week since. A slight increase in order value overall, but nothing alarming or surprising here. Health and fitness Similar to food and drink, health and fitness saw a spike in AOV a few weeks ago that has since led to a steady decline. With no end in sight to the pandemic, this may continue as people opt to do their workouts at home and spend less on non-essential nutrition supplements and apparel. Pets Interestingly, the pets industry sank into a trough through most of February and March in terms of order volume, but has remained steady in terms of AOV. Style and fashion Style and fashion is looking like the "trendiest" industry (bad pun, I know) since early February, with a sudden spike in order volume (about a month ago) followed by a sudden drop. Style and fashion stores may see a resurgence soon, but it's too early to tell if this shopper behavior was due to COVID-19. As you can see, average order value has increased over the past few months in this space. So what's next? Over the next few months, we'll analyze the data from Q2 for a bigger picture of COVID-19's affect on Shopify stores. In the meantime, check out our benchmarks for Shopify stores and general website performance benchmarks. These tools are designed to help you gauge your site performance, as well as metrics like AOV, ecommerce conversion rate, mobile search bounce rate, server response time, and more. Stay tuned for new Shopify data analysis soon!

by Nico
2020-04-03

6 FAQs you may have asked during a Littledata demo

Like many SaaS companies (and Shopify app developers), we get a LOT of merchants writing in with questions. Big, small, new, old, Shopify Plus, Shopify basic, headless Shopify, platform migrations from Magento...you name it. But some questions stand out for every Shopify store. For those of you who've gone through a demo with our support or sales team, it is highly likely that you asked one of the following questions about Littledata, Shopify and Google Analytics (GA): When's the right time to install Littledata? Do you fix marketing attribution? Should we use Segment? Why doesn't my Shopify data match what I see in GA? How do you capture complete revenue data? What's included in enterprise plans? And there's a reason why — these are the questions we get the most from merchants like you. In this post, we'll break down the answers as clearly and directly as possible. Plus, we'll give you the resources you need for more detailed answers. (Rather talk directly to a human? Book a demo). [subscribe] 1) When's the right time to install Littledata? In short, it really depends on your internal process. What do we mean by process? Let's put like this: why do you need accurate data? What will you do with it? If you're still working on your checkout architecture, it's probably not the right time. If you generally don't trust data to help make decisions about CRO, marketing plans, online product merchandising, retargeting, etc., then it's definitely not the right time (nor a good fit in general). But if you just don't trust your Shopify data in Google Analytics and want to trust it, then it definitely IS time. And if you're still shopping around for Shopify Plus development agencies, it's probably not the right time (though we can help recommend one). But in most cases, the time is NOW! Every ecommerce site and DTC brand has their own internal process for moving toward data-driven decision making, and whether you're ju or already en route to scale insanely fast, we're here to help. But don't take it from us. Here are some of the cases where clients have said they were really glad they started a free trial of Littledata then and didn't wait to fix their tracking: Migrating from another ecommerce platform (most often Magento) to Shopify Ramping up paid spend and want to make sure the data is accurate (most often Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads) Recently redesigned the site or checkout -- or added products by subscription -- and want to ensure complete sales data and better segmentation in Google Analytics Recently launched multi-currency (multiple "stores" in Shopify-speak) and looking for a way to segment marketing campaigns and track sales in Google Analytics And one of my favorites: "We were actually already loving Littledata but upgraded for analytics training and extra support!" [tip]Testing your new setup in a dev store or production site before moving to a live site? Let us know and we'll set up a free test account[/tip] 2) Do you fix marketing attribution? Yes. Littledata is uniquely suited to stores that really care about getting their data right, and that's especially true if you want accurate marketing attribution. Our app fixes attribution for Shopify stores automatically with a combination of server-side and client-side tracking. We stitch sessions together to make sure nothing's lost, so you can rely on Google Analytics or Segment (our current data destinations) as the single source of truth for both pre-click and post-click data, as well as more complex stuff like segmented remarketing, comparative attribution models and LTV calculations for subscription ecommerce. Our script uses gtag and GTM data layer, and can easily supplement and improve your GTM setup (though many clients find that they no longer need GTM). So if you're asking questions like "Why is an absurd amount of my traffic showing as Direct?" or "Is it possible to see the LTV by channel for our Shopify store?", we've got you covered. As our CEO puts it, "What's the real ROI on your Facebook Ads?" [tip]Get accurate campaign tracking and know your true ROAS with our connections for Facebook Ads and Google Ads[/tip] As an added bonus, we have ecommerce benchmarks in the app. So once you have accurate data, you can see if your Facebook referrals are higher or lower than average, as well as if there are technical factors such as page load speed affecting conversions. 3) Should we use Segment? If you're considering different data pipeline and customer data solution, we highly recommend Segment. It's a powerful, clean way to track customer data alongside anonymous browsing behavior, ad performance and more. In fact, we love Segment so much that we built the only recommended Segment connection for Shopify stores. Here's what one customer has to say about it: "This app seamlessly integrated Shopify with Segment. All of our data is flowing seamlessly from Shopify into all of our destinations via Segment." If you're comparing Segment against other CDPs like mParticle and Stitch, we're happy to chat about the pros and cons and give you an honest opinion about what's best for your ecommerce business. One thing our larger Segment users find particularly useful about Segment is that once a source is set up, it tends to run really smoothly. So Segment becomes a single source of truth in a way that few other data platforms can offer, with literally hundreds of destinations for using, acting on and modeling that data. [note]Using a Headless Shopify setup? Littledata fixes tracking for headless Shopify in Segment or Google Analytics. See the headless tracking demo for more details.[/note] 4) Why doesn't my Shopify data match what I see in Google Analytics? [tip]There's a free resource for that! Learn how to fix Shopify <> GA data differences in our free ebook[/tip] The truth is that Google Analytics (GA) and Shopify need a little help to play nice. Most marketers use GA to track performance, but having a good data setup — even for bare essentials like transactions and revenue — is harder than it looks. In some cases, you may need the help of a Google Analytics consultant or GA expert. For other stores (especially teams well-versed in GA tracking) don't need the help of an expert. There are many reasons for differences in tracking results, but let’s take a look at the top 6 reasons. a) Orders are never recorded in Google Analytics Usually, this happens because your customer never sees the order confirmation page. More commonly, this is caused by payment gateways not sending users back to the order "thank you" page. b) The Analytics / Google Tag Manager integration contains errors Shopify's integration with Google Analytics is a pretty basic one, tracking just a few of all the possible ecommerce events and micro-moments required for a complete picture. Although Shopify’s integration is designed to work for most standard stores, there are those who build a more personalised theme. In this case, they would require a custom integration with Google Analytics. But with Littledata's Shopify app, here's what you can track. c) A script in the page prevents tracking to work on your order thank you page Many websites have various dynamics on the thank you page in order to improve user experience and increase retention. But these scripts can sometimes fail and create a domino effect, preventing other modules from executing. d) Too many products included in one transaction Every time a page on your website loads, Google Analytics sends a hit-payload to its servers which contains by default a lot of user data starting from source, path, keywords etc. combined with the data for viewed or purchased products (name, brand, category, etc). This data query can grow quite long if the user adds products with long names and descriptions. But there is a size limit for each hit-payload of 8kb, which can include information for about 20 products. When this limit is reached, GA will not send the payload to its servers, resulting in lost purchase data. e) Too many interactions have been tracked in one session This inconsistency is not encountered as often, but it needs to be taken into account when setting up Google Analytics tracking. One of GA's limitations for standard tracking is that a session can contain only 500 hits. This means that interactions taking place after the hit limit is reached will be missed by Google Analytics. 5) How do you capture complete revenue data? It's magic. Or at least it might feel that way. Once you put our tracking script in your theme and install the relevant connections, Littledata uses a savvy combination of client-side and server-side tracking to capture every shopper interaction with your online store. Because our server-side tracking sends revenue data with purchase and refund events directly to your chosen data destination (Google Analytics or Segment), it's much more reliable than waiting for an event to fire when a confirmation page loads completely, or trying to hack together a way to capture revenue data with GTM from third-party checkouts. Our app often fixes revenue variance of 20-30%, even for large retailers! Behind the scenes the setup looks something like this: Not only does Littledata capture complete sales data, including refunds, but our Shopify integration also sets up custom dimensions in your Google Analytics account for smarter segmentation and long-term tracking. After all, smart ecommerce businesses know that revenue isn't just about the first purchase numbers -- you need to track what types of customers purchase more over time. For example, do customers who come from a particular marketing channel tend to make a number of smaller purchases that actually add up to higher lifetime revenue than those one-off big spenders? So we add custom dimensions including: Lifetime value (LTV) Last order date Shopify customer ID If you're using ReCharge for subscriptions, note that we also track subscription lifecycle events such as payment method updates and subscription updates, so you can do deep dives into not just revenue changes but the reasons for those changes. [tip]Do you really know which marketing channels bring you profitable customers? Learn from our CEO how to accurately calculate lifetime value[/tip] 6) What's included in Enterprise plans? At Littledata, we've been lucky to have a chance to scale along with Shopify. Larger brands have been increasingly drawn to the platform's ease of use, and Shopify Plus merchants now include Leesa, Bulletproof Coffee, LeSportsac and Gymshark. But even with Shopify's growth, there's a consistent problem: questionable analytics. One thing I really love about working at Littledata is that we’ve managed to keep the core tracking tools extremely affordable, while also offering a wider range of enterprise plans at approximately 1/10 the cost of hiring outside consultants or someone in-house. We have a range of options for enterprise plans to fit your needs and budget, grouped around two enterprise "tiers": enterprise basic and enterprise plus. Basic enterprise Basic enterprise plans can be paid monthly or annually. They include: Dedicated account manager Shopify Plus support Unlimited connections Unlimited country stores Every account manager at Littledata is an analytics expert. They can help to ensure accurate setup of your Segment or Google Analytics tracking, and recommend proven implementation and optimization strategies for Shopify Plus. After all, once you know that you can trust your data, focusing on the right metrics can make a world of difference. Enterprise Plus Enterprise Plus plans include everything in basic Enterprise plans, such as support from an analytics expert, plus custom setup and training to fit your needs. Options include: Custom setup Analytics training Manual data audits Segment support, including solutions engineering Google Tag Manager support Analytics 360 Suite support And a whole lot more. See what’s included in our enterprise analytics plans. In short, we’re here to make sure that you can trust your data — and use that data for actionable results. If you’d like to get started with the app, you can try it free for 30 days. We're also happy to walk you through the app — just book a demo with us online!

by Ari
2020-03-27

How to engage returning visitors on your Shopify store

As a store owner, you’ve probably already heard the arguments for engaging returning visitors. You know that it costs 25 times more to win a new client than to win repeat business. You know that increasing customer retention by a mere 5% can boost your sales by 25% - 30%.  And you’ve also heard that returning visitors are more likely to add products to the cart, complete the purchase, and even spend more than first-time visitors.  The problem? How do you ensure that it all happens on your site? How do you engage returning visitors and convince them to continue buying from you?  [subscribe] In this guide, I’ll show you 5 strategies that will help you engage returning visitors and strengthen their connection with your store.  Before we dive in, let’s take a look at how Shopify stores typically engage visitors.  The state of visitor engagement on Shopify stores  Close to the end of 2018, we conducted a research study to identify the level of visitor engagement among Shopify stores.  We were pleasantly surprised that 62% of stores use at least one engagement strategy. Brilliant! The most popular strategies include popups, live chat, and social proof notifications.  But we also discovered that the majority of stores do not use these strategies to their full potential.  For example, 76% of the stores we researched fire off a popup immediately after a visitor lands on their site. At the same time, we know that timing and segmentation can multiply conversion rates and drive more signups.  Similarly, for many stores, a live chat is nothing but another customer service channel. Yet, those who use it as a sales tool tend to report better results and conversion rates.  To maximize your potential to convert returning visitors, try out these 5 strategies: Strategy #1. Acknowledge the returning visitor This is a simple trick that can drive conversions. When setting up your call to action, acknowledge the person’s return visit, and use it to engage them with your brand.  Medium, although not an ecommerce brand, does this wonderfully. Take a look at the popup example below. Note how candid the company is about its intentions. After all, since the visitor has been on the site before, why not openly ask them to create an account?  A similar strategy in ecommerce would involve creating a “Welcome back” popup, acknowledging the return visit and offering value to the visitor.  Strategy #2. Evoke the returning visitor’s curiosity When you think about it; engaging returning visitors is as challenging as ensuring that anyone visiting your site for the first time wants to buy from you.  Now, it’s true; returning visitors don’t feel anxious about buying from you anymore. But because they have bought from you before, it’s also harder to fire up their interest. At the same time, it’s that same interest that can keep them engaged with your store… Luckily, there is a way to do it – Evoke the shopper’s natural curiosity. You don’t have to do much to achieve it, either. Ask a returning visitor about themselves, for example. This will naturally make the person’s antennas go up. They might think whether you’re asking because you know something about them they don’t know. And that natural curiosity will engage them with your offer.  (Note, whether they’ll convert will rely on the offer, of course. But the curiosity will get them to notice.) Here’s a popup using this strategy to get a visitor to read the rest of the offer.  Strategy #3. Create special offers for returning visitors only Another powerful strategy. This one, however, relies on you showing returning visitors how much you care about them and their repeat business.  In this strategy, the goal is to engage those visitors by rewarding them for their loyalty.  How, by creating an offer - a discount, typically - that applies to them only, and rewards them for their subsequent purchase.  PureCycles, for example, displays a popup offering a hefty 15% discount for the next purchase.  But your offer doesn’t have to involve discounts, of course. At Wisepops, we've found offers to attract the highest engagement. Still, you could offer access to exclusive product lines before anyone else is able to purchase those. Or even the ability to purchase products that will never be released to the public store.  The key is to offer returning visitors something unique for them, something they can’t get unless they do come back to the site over and over again.  Strategy #4. Run a contest aimed at returning visitors Contests are one of the most popular ways of engaging visitors. They’re fun, promise getting something in return, and offer you a chance of your brand going viral.  But what if you run a contest designed for returning visitors only? What if you advertise it as such, and present it only to people who visit your site for the nth time?  I’d imagine they’d be quite intrigued by the concept (and engage with it immediately, at that.) Native, who uses Littledata's Google Analytics connection, ran this time-limited contest on their site, promoted with a clever Shopify popup.   Strategy #5. Show returning visitors the downside of not buying from you The final strategy works particularly well on visitors who tend to sit on their purchase. Instead of completing it, they add products to the cart, then wander off, contemplating their next action.  It happens all the time, sadly.  One way to engage them and gently “push” towards the sale is by showing the downside of not acting now.  Gaiam, for example, uses a simple scare tactic. The site tells visitors how popular a product is (one the shopper is thinking about buying), and how likely it is to sell out before they get it.  Many hotels and travel sites use a similar strategy to convince visitors to act now in a similar way. They display the current interest in a given property or a room to evoke fear in visitors and push them to act. Trust your Shopify tracking This isn't technically in the top 5 strategies, but it's perhaps the most crucial part of the shopper re-engagement process. Tracking your returning visitors tells you exactly which of your marketing channels are working (and which are not), which campaigns are converting, and the re-engagement methods (email campaigns, etc.) that work best for your store. Without proper tracking, you're stabbing in the dark. Unfortunately, many Shopify merchants rely on the broken tracking of Shopify's native analytics or the incomplete attribution in Google Analytics. Have you experienced these data discrepancies between Shopify and GA? They can be extremely frustrating, especially since they have a negative impact on your decision-making. [note]Here's why your Shopify data doesn't match what you see in Google Analytics[/note] Luckily, Littledata provides an ideal solution. Their Shopify app, which automatically fixes your tracking. That means accurate data for shopper behavior, marketing attribution and more. [tip]Get a full month of accurate data — try Littledata free for 30 days[/tip] Not to mention, the app offers daily data audits and ecommerce benchmarks, so you can know exactly how your store stacks up against similar products. Wrapping up Returning visitors offer an incredible business opportunity. They are far more likely to buy and spend more on their purchases at that.   However, to increase those repeat purchases, you need to engage returning visitors and keep them close to your brand.  All that’s left is to start implementing the ones you liked the most in your store.  Good luck!   This is a guest post by Greg d’Aboville, Head of Growth at WisePops, a popup app. Greg has helped major brands like Fender, Nissan, and Skechers maximize lead generation strategies and 10X their results.

2020-03-19
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