Why we migrated to microservices from Meteor

Growth always means change. As Socrates once said, “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” At Littledata, we’re always innovating our app and building the new. To us, that means finding better and faster ways to make necessary improvements and changes. Our app relies on a sophisticated combination of backend and frontend technologies. The biggest challenge for us right now is upscaling the app so we can integrate with other ecommerce platforms. At the moment, our platform consists of separate services and one monolith, the Meteor app, as depicted below: The architecture worked well for us for a while, and we enjoyed the speed of engineering Meteor offered to us. But, at the same time, we faced many limitations which became obstacles in our path to scaling. What are the problems with Meteor? There’s a handful of limitations we’ve faced using Meteor that pushed our decision to switch away. 1. Overall architecture and maintainability The idea of having the overall architecture communicate easily from frontend with backend definitely has many benefits. This includes only requiring a low level of necessary code-writing knowledge, as well as speed of delivery on new solutions. However, in the long term, it causes many problems with maintaining the app — things like code readability, hard unit testing, and slow production bundle deployment. The deployment slowness is a good example of the architecture problem overall. We recently migrated to CircleCI in order to fix the problem, but are stuck with a meteor limitation. 12 minutes to build and deploy … that’s a lot of time when you need fast iteration and delivery. 2. The Meteor community is isolated Meteor moves via a self-defined path, quite differently from standard industry tendencies. In some ways, that’s a good thing. But if you want to add a new approach or library to your Meteor setup, you could face a handful of unexpected problems. One limitation we’ve encountered is that, instead of promises, Meteor surprisingly uses a callback to async functions with the following syntax: Another is its old school template system based on the traditional template approach. That was great for 2000-2010, but in 2021 and beyond, we have much more efficient techniques to work with frontends such as React, VueJS, and Angular. Moreover, it’s becoming harder and harder to find an engineer who wants to work with a traditional template system nowadays. 3. Difficulty finding engineers to work with Meteor It’s a challenge to find engineers willing to stick with Meteor. They usually tend to work with newer, more well-known tools — ones with more perceived value in the market. When evaluating the labour market for front-end and back-end engineers today, we’ve seen that Meteor is not the main framework for JavaScript development. Frontend engineers have consistently preferred to work with frontend-oriented frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.JS because they provide a wide range of instruments. Unlike the Meteor template system in Vue.JS, we can use the whole power of JavaScript inside our frontend applications without being limited to a mere few template commands. Moreover, we can use many helpful engineering tools such as autocomplete, linting, and type checking in Vue.JS in order to make our engineering process more efficient and enjoyable. The biggest benefit for us, though, shows in Vue.JS’ much better scaling. It has robust routing management, which is important for a large application like ours. Meteor, on the other hand, has been steadily losing its popularity as a framework for backend technology since 2016. That makes it harder and harder for us to find engineers willing to work with Meteor in the future. How did we migrate away from Meteor? Though rewriting everything away from Meteor sounded like a good solution in theory, we realised that path significantly postponed our main objectives. So, we had only one solution: to rewrite portionally. Like many software companies today, and especially fellow startups, we decided the best solution was to use separate microservices to maintain and scale our platform. In part 2 of this post, I’ll share which microservices we chose, how we use them, and detail the full migration process away from Meteor. [wonderplugin_popup id=8]

2021-10-20

Why stores are using Facebook’s Conversions API

Over three million businesses worldwide use Facebook Ads. Their massive reach ensures they play a part in every ecommerce store’s marketing strategy. Of course, the key to a successful Facebook Ads strategy comes down to creating ads and targeting audiences based on good data. If you want to measure the return on investment from your Facebook Ads accurately, you need to share page-view and conversion events with Facebook. In the past, Facebook recommended you add Facebook Pixel onto all your web pages to enable this event tracking, which triggers a ping to Facebook’s servers. Originally this ping was in a request for a single white pixel loaded at the bottom of the page (hence ‘Pixel’), but nowadays the ping is usually sent from Facebook’s Javascript. In this post we’ll explain: Why you need to set up Conversions API today to improve your marketing How this extra tracking opens up more advertising options How you can implement the Conversions API on a Shopify store What’s wrong with Facebook Pixel? Over the 10 years since Pixel’s launch, three big trends have reduced its effectiveness at tracking return on Facebook Ad spend: Usage of ad blockers to stop third-party scripts from known advertising platforms (like Facebook) from sending a ping Browsers (e.g. Safari’s ITP) restricting what third-party scripts and cookies can track The increasing share of clicks from Facebook’s mobile app, exacerbating the 2nd trend The introduction of GDPR and similar regulation requiring that customers opt into being tracked in their web browser presents the latest obstacle, and perhaps the biggest yet. The combined effect is that a smaller percentage of Facebook users who click on your ad can be tracked on subsequent web sessions. So a smaller percentage of the purchases which resulted from Facebook Ads can be attributed to Facebook. [tip] Want to dig deeper into the challenges of measuring ROI from Facebook? See our recent webinar.[/tip] Why did Facebook launch Conversions API? The lack of marketing attribution is a big problem for Facebook, as it makes their Ads look relatively less effective and more expensive than other channels. To combat these trends Facebook launched the Conversions API (CAPI) in 2020, and in 2021 expanded it to enable tracking of any event (not just the purchase) directly on Facebook’s servers. In contrast to Pixel, Facebook Conversions API is a server-to-server data connection, allowing events linked to a visitor from Facebook to be sent independent of the browser sessions. What's the advantage of CAPI over Pixel? Firstly, the server-side events are not sent from the customer’s browser, so they are not interrupted by the web browsing and privacy trends mentioned above. Close to 100% of the purchases from your store can be shared with Facebook via CAPI. Secondly, even if the customer has opted out of marketing cookies — meaning the purchase cannot be attributed via Facebook’s Pixel ID — CAPI can send some extra user identifiers like email address, physical address and phone number. These give Facebook a better chance of linking the purchase to a user, and from there to the Ad the user clicked on. See more on user data below. This personally identifiable data is sent securely from Shopify to Facebook via a SSL connection, so there is no risk of security leaks. Conversions API also gives stores the ability to link delayed conversions back to the original ad campaign. A good example is subscription commerce (see Facebook’s case study), where stores need to see the 2nd or 3rd purchase to evaluate if the Facebook campaign is effective. [tip]Littledata’s connectors capture recurring payments from the Shopify checkout automatically.[/tip] Using CAPI might not fix all your attribution issues, but one agency reported a 25% to 35% boost in attribution for Shopify stores using this technique. If you are a big Facebook spender, even a 20% improvement in attribution might be worth thousands of dollars of implementation costs. How should I use CAPI on my Shopify store? Facebook recommends you use a partner integration work with CAPI, and there are three ways to integrate Conversions API with your Shopify store: Shopify’s inbuilt Facebook channel Server-side Google Tag Manager (sGTM) Littledata + Segment To help you decide which is right for you, here is a quick comparison table. Integration route CAPI used for Supports all FB account and campaign setups Complexity of setup Cost of maintenance Shopify’s Facebook channel Just conversions No Low  Low sGTM All events triggered in GTM Yes High High Littledata + Segment All server-side events from Littledata Yes Low Low You might be alright using Shopify’s Facebook channel if your campaign structure is simple, uses just one Facebook account, and you only target based on first-time purchases. Otherwise you should look at Segment’s Facebook CAPI destination or sGTM. sGTM is a version of Google Tag Manager where a trigger on the browser (e.g. the customer viewing a checkout step) is passed on to a dedicated cloud server, where the GTM container logic decides which events to trigger. So it’s a hybrid of client and server side tracking. [tip]Learn how to use server-side tracking to improve customer loyalty and lifetime value.[/tip] What are the limitations of using sGTM? You might have been told server-side GTM (sGTM) is the best way to work with CAPI. I disagree. Firstly, you have a complex setup to get all the events triggered from the browser in a way that the GTM server can handle. An analytics agency will typically charge you a few thousand dollars to get this working. Then you have to spin up your own GTM server in Google Cloud. That’s not a big cost - probably a few hundred dollars a month - but it is a maintenance headache. Who is going to check the server is up and running as expected? There are some limitations of where you can add the GTM container on the Shopify storefront. Unless you are using Shopify Plus, you can’t add to the checkout pages - so you can’t capture the checkout steps in the example above. Finally, you have to consider all the many changes Facebook makes to its APIs every year. Typically there is an update every few months that whoever maintains the GTM container would need to work with. With the other integration options this is included in the subscription fee. Yes, sGTM is flexible and will allow you to send similar event data to other destinations - but that’s also something that Segment does at no additional cost. Server-side tracking for Shopify stores Littledata’s solution is to send comprehensive event data from Shopify to Segment, and include event properties that are compatible with Segment’s Facebook CAPI destination. The setup is as easy as: Create a workspace on Segment.com Install Littledata’s Shopify app for Segment Configure Segment’s Facebook destination What this brings you - in addition to the purchase event sent from Shopify’s integration - is complete server-side tracking of Add to Cart and Checkout Step events to Facebook, all linked back to the users on Facebook. These extra events can be used to target users who abandon cart or checkout. You can use Segment’s Facebook audience sync to build even more powerful retargeting audiences - e.g. a lookalike audience of your most valuable customers. Things to note on custom user information Sending the Facebook events direct from server to server allows Littledata to add a number of customer user identifiers, so Facebook can better match the event to which Ad was clicked on. User properties that are automatically mapped to Facebook include: Email Phone number City state ZIP Country Client IP address Click ID (fbc) Browser ID (fbp) You can control which properties are passed on to Facebook in Segment Protocols, so better manage customer privacy choices. Conclusion If Facebook Ads is an important part of your store’s marketing strategy then Facebook CAPI is an essential tool to start using. The trends that make it more reliable that Facebook Pixel are ongoing, so if you don’t think you need it now you may well need it in a few months time. Your options to integrate Facebook on a Shopify store include Shopify’s in-built Facebook channel and server-side GTM, but we recommend using Littledata’s Shopify source plus Segment’s Facebook destination for quick setup and easy maintenance. Then you can get: More accurate attribution of Ads Better retargeting for abandoned carts Better audience matching in Facebook. Give it a try and see what better results you can achieve! [wonderplugin_popup id=8]

2021-10-07

11 Ways to Increase Customer Retention for Ecommerce Stores

Customer retention at its simplest is the ability of a business to keep its customer base loyal. It’s also a vitally important metric — one that businesses rigorously track to see if their customers rebuy the same products, resubscribe to the same services, or continue to engage with their brand one way or another. But, keeping current customers happy is not easy — just ask an ecommerce store owner! Businesses lose significant revenue every year when customers jump ship to competitors. Why customer retention is crucial A good customer retention strategy helps a business create a solid plan for increasing customer value and nurtures the sales funnel. Focusing on customer retention can yield many benefits. Here are just a handful: Bigger growth potential - you need customers engaged and interested in your offerings to grow your business, including new products and services. Lower customer acquisition cost - always remember it costs more to acquire a new customer than to keep your current customers happy and buying. Higher customer lifetime value - making relentless efforts to retain customers creates an emotional bond that strengthens the buying relationship, which will result in a more engaged customer base. The “wow” factor - a satisfying customer experience can help boost word-of-mouth marketing, since 87% of customers share their good experiences with others. Of course, you need a well-planned, long-view strategy to nurture your customers and build strong relationships that achieve these benefits. Below are 11 highly effective strategies to help you build a customer retention plan that will boost loyalty and drive revenue. 1. Educate customers about your business One of the best things about ecommerce is that your customers’ relationship with your business is almost completely online. So, they’ll likely be more receptive to hearing about your products and services via online promotion. Not every customer, particularly first-time buyers, will be aware of what your business is all about. Likewise, their loyalty will depend on how much they know about — and trust — your brand and products. Your website, social media pages, and ecommerce store should have accessible, high-quality content that: Explains how your products are used Demonstrates their benefits Answers customers’ frequently asked questions For example, this online mannequin seller went to great lengths in making sure their website is packed with detailed information, including product specifications, reviews, a detailed company history, shipping information, their lowest prices guarantee, bestseller lists, and FAQs. All their current promotions are displayed strategically, and they even have a “Why Buy From Us” page. To excel at educating new customers, follow these basics: Keep it simple by writing your product information so it’s easy to understand. Use unique strategies for your buyer personas which vary in age, preferences, and buying behavior. Start blogging to provide education and value to customers while also explaining your products and services. Hold webinars to answer buyer questions, demonstrate how your services work, and gather user feedback to make improvements. 2. Optimize your website for user experience Now that you’ve taken steps to boost your content and educate your customers, it’s time to enhance their user experience. This goes beyond basic information — it’s all about making your online store user-friendly, easy to navigate, and memorable, which will win customer loyalty. Using one of the top ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify or BigCommerce, is the best way to achieve this. They’re designed for flexibility and offer the plugins you need to optimize your online store. To optimize your store even further, you could enlist the help of expert User Exerience (UX) and User Interface (UI) designers to shape specific elements of your website and improve its navigation. A UX designer is responsible for making sure your website will function the way it should, while a UI designer designs the appearance of your website. A great user interface and user experience both have a huge impact on any visitor’s buying decision. Just how big, you ask? Consider this: It only takes about 0.05 seconds for visitors to form an opinion about your website (and whether they’ll stay or leave) 88% of visitors are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience 75% of online shoppers admit to making judgments on the credibility of a business based on its website design The key to making a strong first impression is to always optimize, optimize, optimize. Here are a few extra things you can do to make sure your new and current customers will have a great experience navigating your site: Minimize pop-ups by only using exit pop-ups to reduce cart abandonment rate. Simplify your check-out process (this is critical!) Reduce the steps customers need to take before making a purchase (i.e. use shorter fill-out forms and minimize clicks for completing transactions.) Ensure your site loads in five seconds or less. Optimize your site design for mobile devices, as most traffic comes from them. Highlight pieces of content that are dynamic and of high quality. 3. Build a strong social media strategy According to a data collected by Statista, almost 92% of US marketers in large companies use social media for marketing purposes. These big companies spend a huge chunk of their marketing budget on paid social media ads. Source: Oberlo Facebook and YouTube are the two most popular social media platforms in the world right now. On just these two alone, you can share new products and establish a brand culture by engaging in conversations with potential customers. Whether you’re working with a social media marketing agency or running campaigns yourself, keep these strategies in mind to harness the full power of social media: Showcase your personality. Don’t just post content for the sake of it. Build a brand persona that makes it easier for potential customers to remember and recognize you. Use hashtags, mentions, and direct comments to monitor your customers. Hashtags serve as “identifiers” associated with your ecommerce store. The ultimate goal is to make your unique hashtags as popular as the brand itself. Form collaborations. Team up with a social media influencer your audience loves or another brand from your industry that isn’t your competitor. Collaborations can expose your store to new audiences and will also strengthen your credibility with loyal customers. Share content created by your customers. Positive feedback from your satisfied customers acts as social proof for potential buyers. Encourage your happy customers to share pictures and videos featuring your products to their social media, tagging your brand. Wild, a sustainable deodorant maker in the United Kingdom, regularly shares their customers’ Instagram photos featuring the product. This is a great example of user-generated content marketing. Just make sure you’re not violating any social media privacy policies. To be on the safe side, always let the account owner know you’re using their content. 4. Provide multiple delivery options Customers always love more options and convenience — especially when it comes to delivery. Many ecommerce stores provide same-day or expedited shipping options for customers who want to receive their orders as soon as possible. For example, this online lingerie store offers free shipping for orders over $80. That’s pretty common, right? However, they also offer free international shipping on orders over $150, as well as same-day shipping if you place your order before 4 PM EST (not including holidays). They even have a discreet shipping option that makes the package safe to ship to home or work. Making these options available will make your customers feel like they’re truly cared for. You can also consider expanding options for returns and payments, as well. 5. Incentivize customer referrals Putting together a customer referral program brings two benefits with one action; it attracts potential customers and rewards your current customers. In terms of sales potential, referral programs can be significantly more valuable than other strategies. And they’re not that expensive, either! In fact, 54% of businesses say it costs less than other marketing channels. Take for example this amazing customer referral program by self-showing rental company Showmojo. This is how it works: They give their customers a referral link When a new user signs up with that link, they immediately save $50 The customer who originally referred them also gets a $50 credit if the referral stays with ShowMojo for 45 days The customer gets another $50 credit if the referral stays with ShowMojo for 145 days Customers can repeat this referral process as many times as they’d like Source: ShowMojo By rewarding both a current and new referral customer, you build a stronger bond with both, thus increasing loyalty. 6. Use targeted and personal marketing campaigns Personalization has always been one of the strongest marketing tactics, and with good reason — the effects of putting out a more personalized message are long-term. In fact, 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their personal needs influences their loyalty. So, simply using your customer’s name or making that extra effort to collect more personal information can make your advertising copy, push notifications, or email campaigns more effective. Below are simple yet powerful examples of personalized marketing you can try to boost customer retention: Display personalized offers to returning visitors Change store navigation based on visitors’ preferences Send personalized emails or notifications based on customers’ behavior Sort recent products by level of interest Recommend product categories based on browsing behavior Remind shoppers of recent engagements Suggest complementary products or show product recommendations 7. Offer excellent customer support Studies have shown that only 1 out of 26 ecommerce customers will complain if they’ve received bad customer service. The other 25 will most likely just leave without saying anything. Source: SuperOffice So, if you want to acquire and retain customers, ensure you offer them the stellar support they need. What are some of the ways to improve your customer support? Build a customer care team for inquiries, complaints, and clarification. Give customers an easy way to reach you, or try using a contact center. Streamline your order fulfillment processes to reduce common problems. Actively listen to customers so you can identify issues and create a solution. 8. Start a customer loyalty program Starting a customer loyalty or reward program is as straightforward as customer retention gets. Through cashback, discounts, and other perks, you’re incentivizing customers to do business with you. Some of the effective loyalty programs that you can include in your customer retention strategy are: Exclusive deals to loyal customers Exclusive lifetime membership Coupons Cash-back offers Welcome gifts to new shoppers Rewards points for redeemable products or perks When launching a loyalty program, make sure to only adopt personalized programs that make the customer appreciate your brand. 9. Don’t just engage for the sake of it Engaging with customers becomes more real to them if you show the desire for genuine interaction. Effective communication is the hallmark of brand loyalty. Communication can be encouraged by sending text messages, surveys, and social media invites to your customers. You should also provide information on other ways they can reach out to you, but make sure you’re willing to answer those messages. Place social media icons and integrate a chatbot on your store website to make this process easier. 10. Learn more about your most loyal customers To understand more about loyal customers’ average spend and frequency of store visits, most marketers use the Recency, Frequency, Monetary (RFM) model. The metric establishes consumer behavior using those three quantitative measures to determine how customers behave when navigating through a store. Using the RFM model, you can rank a customer on a scale of 1-5. The most valuable customer is the one with the highest score in each category. 11. Use a subscription model Following a subscription (or recurring revenue) model is becoming increasingly popular in many industries, not just ecommerce. Source: Subscribed Institute Subscription models can come in many forms, and have gained traction across a wave of industries, from coffee to fashion and beauty. If you are going to commit to a subscription model, you should prepare to track key touchpoints of your website in a different way so that you maximize the value from your most important subscription metrics. Conclusion Retaining your customers boils down to one crucial goal: making your business the obvious choice for customers over anyone else. That means you should always be willing to try new approaches — as long as they help keep your existing customers coming back. Remember, it’s easier to make current customers happy than to look for new ones. What are the steps you’ve taken to make sure your customers are loyal to you? This is a guest post from Burkhard Berger, founder of Novum. You can follow him on his journey from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on novumhq.com. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.

2021-10-06

Lunch with Littledata: How Grind pivoted from brick and mortar to £500,000 monthly ecommerce revenue

Want to learn from DTC founders and entrepreneurs shaking up their industries? Check out the other entries in our Lunch with Littledata series. Making the leap to start an ecommerce store is a challenge. Doing it while pivoting from a strictly brick and mortar business at the height of a pandemic is a whole other challenge. That’s exactly what Grind did when launching their DTC store offering compostable coffee pods. Theirs is a story about finding value in your customers’ passion, relying on your team’s adaptability and resolve, and learning from your peers to drive exponential revenue growth. In this installment of Lunch with Littledata, Grind CMO and Creative Director Teddy Robinson sat down to talk through how the company launched its DTC store, as well as the data stack and promotion methods that combined to help them scale to 50x revenue in just a few months. Ari from Littledata: When we first met a few years back you were just transitioning into the online world. But I used to drink coffee from Grind in London years before that! Could you tell us how Grind launched? Teddy Robinson: Yes! It feels like kind of a long and winding journey now. The story goes way back to coffee shops in East London in 2011. It was such a profound year of change for coffee. For most of the 10 years previous you had Starbucks as the star, and then all of a sudden you had a boom of small indie coffee shops. That boom for us came at a really big time because it also followed the integration of social media for business. When I started at Grind in 2012, it seemed strange that you’d have an Instagram page for your business, because the thought was “people have Instagram, not businesses.” It’s phenomenal the way that's changed — now Instagram is the way that we market anything and the way we acquire customers.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Grind (@grind)   Before lockdown, we had 11 cafes and restaurants around London serving coffee and cocktails, with some of them doing a thousand cups of coffee a day just in take away. Our brand became a bit of a backbone to the startup culture in East London and Central London that arrived around us. People would have their product launches and funding rounds celebrating in our little coffee shops. At the same time, we stopped meeting people in real life for the first time and increasingly found ourselves meeting them online and then bringing them into stores. Digital content began leading the business to a point where when we were building a restaurant, we’d be going “oh, my God, this is going to be a great photo for Instagram.” So what kept you focused on growing from standalone coffee shops to finally going online? Over the years we built an incredible brand through brick and mortar stores and newsletters. We became a part of people's lives in a really meaningful, authentic way. As time went on, we realized increasingly that the business model of trying to get our hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers — often from around the world — to one of nine brick and mortar locations was really, really unsustainable. But at the same time, we built an incredible pedigree for being able to serve great coffee. People saw themselves as being a Grind customer rather than a Starbucks customer. At about the end of 2018, we started working on what would be become our first DTC project. At that point, DTC was in full swing. So we set up a Shopify store offering compostable coffee pods for Nespresso machines. The sustainability aspect was really important to us, and after being in the coffee industry for ten years, our expertise about coffee and roasting helped us say, “wow, we can do something different and really meaningful and use our supply chain in a way that other businesses just can't.” At the same time, we've got this brand pedigree that we can leverage for helping people make better, more sustainable coffee at home. That’s great you were able to adapt and introduce an online version of Grind coffee so quickly. Do you feel the Grind community is still growing on the ground in London as well? Running a hospitality business in London is really difficult and has become much more difficult in the last 10 years, let alone the last year. The idea of selling coffee to people at £3 a cup is nothing short of a volume game. But with that said, now there’s much more of a self-sustaining coffee culture. It was all twenty-five-year-old art students ten years ago, and now my mum won't drink a coffee unless they’ll give her a flat white.     View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Grind (@grind)   And obviously, the big thing with the storefronts is the pandemic. We went into lockdown last year and — although we were able to move all our staff on furlough — effectively the business as we knew it just kind of evaporated overnight. We were closing the doors on all these locations in a way that we would never have ever considered doing in the past, and it just felt like the end of the world in a lot of ways. How much of Grind was already online at the beginning of the pandemic? I think less than half of a percent. Before lockdown, we had a business of about three hundred people. The only ones who were working on the DTC project were me and the founder. For us, it was really just good fun and a bit of a side project. That was also a point where we'd never spent a penny on ads. We were really just leveraging a tiny number of our customers. Basically, when people asked about our ecommerce store, we’d send them to it. It was a long time of just finding a few hours a week together to figure out setting up Shopify, setting up Littledata, and pulling all the pieces there to allow us to grow it bigger. [tip]Start your ecommerce journey using accurate data with a complimentary data analysis when you try Littledata free for 30 days.[/tip] How did you begin to build the audience for your ecommerce site? Did you already have an email list? Yes, and I think we were really lucky in that so much of our CRM was already built. We had a quarter of a million people's email addresses and 150,000 Instagram followers before we even had a Shopify site. We used things like the good old-fashioned WiFi email sign-up form to build the list. And then obviously lockdown arrived and we came to a point where around 95 percent of the business went into furlough. We gave those remaining on staff the option to choose furlough or pivot to help us with roles we needed to get the Shopify store up and running, things like email automation. And actually, we had a really incredible response in terms of the number of people who re-skilled in the last year. People were willing to try on a different hat and have become really passionate about something they never imagined doing a year ago. Also at that point, we were already working on what would what our first Facebook ads would look like. Once we’d closed all the physical doors and revenue went to zero, immediately the plan went from taking a two-month run at starting Facebook ads to two days. And they picked up really quickly. In terms of revenue, we went from doing £10,000 a month in February to doing £500,000 a month by May or June. Without DTC, this business would have died in lockdown. The fact that we went 50x in three months I think was down to loyalty. That was also a sink or swim moment for the business. I’m certain the funding that we’ve been able to secure since then has very much come off the back of that revenue growth — it genuinely saved the business as a whole. Without DTC, this business would have died in lockdown. Wow, it’s incredible you were able to scale conversions so quickly. Was your social promotion mostly concentrated on Facebook? Or were you also doing Pinterest and other channels? We hit the ground running and had to figure out Facebook, Pinterest, and Google to begin with. Then we had the challenge of figuring out what our ads should look like, while at the same time building the data stack underneath to track attribution. The ability to plug in off-the-shelf services like ReCharge to offer our subscription service, then build very strong Shopify store themes and plug that all together with Google Analytics by Littledata was really the foundation of the entire ecommerce business. We certainly couldn’t have done it without that. The ability to remain agile at the point where we most needed it was entirely built on a foundation of attaching these various off-the-shelf tools together with Littledata. It’s great to hear our GA connection was such a big piece of your growth. As you started to learn those different promotion channels like email marketing, did you look at any specific top-level stats? For subscription orders, definitely measuring the differences in customer LTV for subscribers versus “one-time purchasers.” In the early stages, though, revenue and return on ad spend (ROAS) were really the biggest top-line metrics for us. The challenge of having to build a data foundation while also building the house (the store) on top of it felt almost like life or death. The plug and playability of Littledata’s reporting tools is really what allowed us to do it. Is the main chunk of the business still going through coffee subscriptions? I’d say although we're not a “mono-product business,” a huge amount of our revenue is just through our compostable coffee pods. We're roasting a huge amount of our coffee ourselves and we can then grind that for people. I guess you could say the coffee pods are kind of our hero product; it's just an incredibly convenient way to to to make a really great, sustainable coffee at home. And since you're roasting it all yourself it’s always high quality. Oh, yeah. We have a high level of control there. Investing significantly in things like our supply chain and roasting equipment definitely allowed much of our growth in the early stages. There's a lot of bad advice out there on how to bootstrap a business in 30, 90, or 120 days. But actually, it just comes down to getting on with it, finding the right tools, and gathering people smart people enough to figure those tools out. With DTC as a whole, there's a bit of a roadmap now, right? People have done this thing before. And there are so many tools, whether it’s you guys at Littledata, or Shopify, or ReCharge, people have walked through these issues before. And in our experience, the people building those tools have always been happy to help out and to make things work for us. Bootstrapping a DTC brand just comes down to getting on with it, finding the right tools, and gathering people smart people enough to figure those tools out. Do you have any kind of advisory board or do you talk with other brands to help your growth? I know some people do and some don’t. It’s funny — when you're spending so much time looking at growth metrics, it's really easy to look at everyone as competition. But actually, there’s an incredibly interesting community of people (in DTC) and we're all on quite similar journeys. So I wouldn't say I’d call what we have an advisory board, but there's certainly a lot of people around London or even the U.K. who are at different stages on the same journey as us. Because this process is so online, it can sometimes feel solitary. But actually, there are people in the same place who are really keen to help out. And then the competition helps fuel the conversation. Quick links Build better Facebook Ad audiences by targeting the most valuable leads Boost customer LTV by tracking subscriptions in the checkout Is a headless setup righty for your store, and how do you track it? Learn everything you need to know about Shopify Analytics

by Ari
2021-09-21

Build a website that your marketing and legal teams will both love

When it comes to data privacy law compliance, are your marketing or legal team’s priorities more important? For companies operating globally — or even those whose websites merely reach visitors in different locations — this question has consumed significant time and valuable resources, with one or both parties generally feeling aggrieved. What if rather than this relationship being competitive, it could be collaborative and lead to better outcomes for your customers and company? This optimization isn’t hypothetical; it exists today for those in the know. In this post, we’ll show you how you can utilize Littledata’s integration with industry-leading data privacy compliance platform Clym to make this a reality for your website. First, though, we’ll need to survey the current landscape of privacy laws and how they affect what you can have on your website. How do data privacy laws affect your website? Modern data privacy laws originated in 2018 when Europe implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). Other jurisdictions have followed in the past few years as consumers increasingly grow concerned about their individual privacy. At their core, data privacy laws affect companies that collect and/or process the personally identifiable information (“PII”) of individuals, such as one’s name, email address, phone number or other information that can be readily attributable to a person. These laws dictate and restrict the way that PII is collected, processed and stored. Their restrictions often depend on a consumer’s consent to these actions, and are generally implemented to cover the geographic location of the consumer, rather than the location of the company to which they apply. One commonly overlooked piece of PII is the IP address of a website visitor that gets collected by cookies and tracking scripts. However, regulators are increasingly reviewing websites to assess data privacy law violations, and private advocacy groups have picked up the enforcement slack by lodging complaints against companies in multiple jurisdictions. Complaints regarding noncompliant websites range from companies implementing a cookie wall, relying on “legitimate interest” for consent or violating the principle and requirements of granular consent. Are all privacy laws the same? No, and that’s a problem for marketing professionals focusing on data-driven growth. Privacy laws are different around the world: in the US alone, a fragmented landscape of regulations is emerging on a state-by-state level, with California, Virginia and Colorado being first to adopt comprehensive laws for their residents. Most states aren’t far behind, and already-implemented laws are changing with a high level of frequency. [caption id="attachment_13314" align="aligncenter" width="600"] US State Privacy Legislation Map, Source: iapp.org[/caption] Data privacy isn’t limited to the US and EU. Countries such as Brazil and China have implemented their own laws, each with their own nuances and penalties for noncompliance. As consumer awareness regarding privacy continues to expand, expect these laws to proliferate, with enforcement following closely behind. If you’re targeting consumers in any location where a data privacy law exists, you need to ensure compliance with that jurisdiction’s regulation. My website has a cookie banner, so I’m good to go, right? The unfortunate reality is that many cookie banners are noncompliant for purposes of modern data privacy law, putting you at risk for penalties. Others only offer a static, inflexible UI that either creates friction for visitors or restricts the flow of data to your marketing team. The consent standards for each jurisdiction play a major role in how marketers can collect data from consumers. GDPR is an explicit consent or “opt-in” regulation, meaning that a consumer must provide specific and affirmative consent before you can collect their PII. CCPA, on the other hand, is an implicit or “opt-out” regulation, meaning that you can collect data from consumers assuming their consent, but must provide a way for them to retract that consent. These are mutually exclusive frameworks that require marketers to adopt a flexible approach. Further, to achieve compliance your website should have up-to-date policies (e.g., privacy, terms of use, etc.) and a mechanism to respond to data subject access requests (“DSARs”). Companies who fail to implement a scalable DSAR solution can become overwhelmed with consumer requests that are time-consuming and expensive. What’s the solution? Marketers rarely take a one-size-fits-all approach, and the same mindset should apply to data privacy compliance. There is no global standard, and adopting a static framework will put your company at risk of legal noncompliance, restrict the amount of legally-obtainable data flowing to your marketing team, or both. That’s why Littledata has an integration with Clym, a global leader in global website data privacy compliance management. To make things even easier, this integration can be deployed whether you’re only concerned with one site or if you leverage cross-domain tracking. Clym believes in striking a balance between legal compliance and business needs, which is why they provide Littledata companies with a cost-effective, scalable and flexible platform to comply with LGPD, GDPR, CCPA and other laws as they come online. Clym’s platform provides consumers with an effective and easy-to-navigate way to opt-out of data collection while not infringing upon the website UI that businesses rely on to drive revenues. Check out Littledata’s integration with Clym today to help manage your data privacy regulation compliance from a global perspective without sacrificing the valuable data your marketing team relies on for its digital strategy. This is a guest post from Michael Williams, Partner at Clym, a leading provider of data privacy law consent management software. After starting his career with Ernst & Young, Michael has provided executive leadership to multiple organizations with a focus on long-term strategy, day-to-day financial management and legal concerns (especially privacy!) Michael is a California-licensed attorney with his J.D. from the University of Connecticut and an M.B.A. from Bryant University.

2021-09-15

Shopify Analytics: Everything You Need to Know

Every good business runs on good data. It doesn’t matter if you’re choosing a store design, analyzing your marketing, or setting revenue targets, it all comes back to what the data tells you. On the flip side, running on bad data can lead to your store whiffing on those big decisions. That’s where, if you’re a Shopify store, Shopify Analytics (and other analytics options) come into play. In this post, we’re going to: Break down what Shopify Analytics does Discuss Shopify Analytics’ limitations Share tools that can give you deep, accurate data and drive revenue Show you how to add powerful data tools to your ecommerce store What does Shopify Analytics do? Built within its platform, Shopify has an analytics tracker that allows you to generate data based on your store’s performance. This data includes high-level metrics like your total store sessions, number of sales, returning customers, and the average value of orders placed. [caption id="attachment_13280" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Shopify Analytics' overview dashboard gives you a snapshot of your store's high-level metrics.[/caption] Metrics like these help you get a snapshot of how visitors are interacting with your store. That way, you can pinpoint elements of your website to tweak or update based on what the data is telling you and continue to improve your metrics overall. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular metrics that Shopify Analytics displays within its overview dashboard: Total Sales: This metric displays the total revenue your store has generated over a specific date range minus costs like shipping and taxes. Online Store Sessions: The online store sessions metric counts the total number of customers who visited your site in a given date range, including repeat visitors. Returning Customer Rate: Returning customer rate shows the percentage of customers who have purchased from your store more than once. These customers are valuable due to their loyalty and subsequent higher lifetime value. Online Store Conversion Rate: Conversion rate tracks the number of visits that led to a purchase. Average Order Value (AOV): Average order value is calculated by taking your total order revenue and dividing it by the number of orders. The first step to using these metrics to improve your store is knowing where to find them. How to use Shopify Analytics Shopify displays data and reports about your store’s performance within its “Overview Dashboard.” The Overview Dashboard also allows you to carry out a range of basic data analyses. This includes: Comparing the value of your current sales to a previous date range Tracking how many sales you receive from a variety of marketing channels Generating your AOV Tracking your site trends over time To access this Overview Dashboard, start from your Shopify admin page and go to Analytics > Dashboards. The dashboard will display data generated from today and compare it to the day before. You can change this date range by selecting the date menu. You can also change the comparison period for this data by clicking compare to previous dates, then Apply and your data will be generated. You can then select “View report,” which gives you a more detailed analysis of your chosen metric. Be aware, however, that not all metrics will generate in your report. The metrics you can see will depend on the Shopify plan you are currently on. What analytics are in Shopify If your store uses Shopify Lite, your analytics report will show you a basic range of metrics, including the overview dashboard, finance reports, and analytics about your products. To access detailed reports like visitor behavior analysis or marketing and sales reports, you will need to upgrade to the Basic Shopify plan or higher. Shopify Analytics can generate a few other metrics beyond the most high-level ones mentioned above. Incorporating these into your data strategy is also important to maximize marketing attribution and revenue. Sales Metrics Some of the most valuable sales metrics generated through Shopify Analytics include: Total sales - the amount of revenue that was generated through your online store or your Point Of Sale if you have a physical storefront. Sales Source - this lists the sources from which your sales generated (i.e. social media channels, ads, or direct traffic.) Total orders - this metric displays the total number of orders generated through both your ecommerce store and your physical store. Customer Metrics Top products by units sold - This metric shows the items in your store which sold the most by volume, helping you identify your most popular offerings. Top site landing pages - This indentifies the most frequent landing pages on your site where visitors started a session. Returning customer rate - This gives the percentage of customers who have bought from you repeatedly in a selected time period. Shopify Behavior Reports Shopify also provides behavior reports which record customer actions on your site and allow you to: Track how your online store conversions have changed over time. Determine the top online searches for your product. Track how your product recommendations change over a given period. [caption id="attachment_13295" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Shopify Analytics' behavior reports help you drill down into how key metrics have changed over time.[/caption] All these metrics can play a key part in your overall marketing strategy and help you improve marketing attribution. But to make the best decisions for your business, you need truly accurate data — something Shopify Analytics has a spotty record with. Is Shopify Analytics good? Shopify Analytics is a good tool overall for what it is: an out-of-the-box solution for basic analytics tracking on your ecommerce store. Shopify Analytics provides the top-level metrics to give you a broad snapshot of your store’s health and customer behavior. But it lacks the detailed reports of a more robust analytics service like Google Analytics. What is Shopify analytics lacking? Unfortunately, Shopify Analytics also has a poor history when it comes to accuracy. Shopify Analytics’ tracking has shown to be both unreliable and incomplete. In fact, an analysis conducted of Shopify Analytics found that for every 100 orders tracked in Shopify Analytics, 12 go missing. There are a handful of other shortcomings those who rely on Shopify Analytics as their main data source face, as well. These include: Cross-domain tracking being setup incorrectly Server-side tracking is missing Sales data doesn't segment between first-time purchases and recurring transactions (subscriptions) Refunds not included in Google Analytics Many of Shopify Analytics’ shortcomings obscure traffic sources and disrupt attribution tracking. As an example, when customers check out on your Shopify store they’re redirected to a Shopify domain, causing the visitor’s session to end suddenly — even if they are in the process of buying an item. This affects what Shopify Analytics shows as their last click and takes away from the power of the data you’re collecting. So, is there a better way to track referrals sources, collect customer behavior metrics, and ensure accurate analytics? Yes: using a more powerful analytics tool like Google Analytics. Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics Google Analytics (GA) is a household name for analytics reporting across nearly every industry. In fact, it’s the world’s most popular marketing analytics platform, used by 98% of online stores. While both Shopify Analytics and GA offer unique benefits, store owners who opt for GA get more data for their dollar. We can see this first hand on a metric like sales by traffic source. [tip]Read our full ebook on why Shopify Analytics and Google Analytics don't match, plus how to fix it for your store.[/tip] Littledata looked at 180,000 orders from 10 Shopify stores, and the marketing channels in Shopify Analytics were as follows: Direct 83.5% Social 9% Search 4.5% Unknown (other websites, not social or search) 3% Email ~0.1% The Direct channel sticks out like a sore thumb, mainly because it dwarfs every other source of traffic. Compare this with the last-click attribution of sales from GA, and the difference in accuracy becomes clear: To put it simply, Shopify Analytics lacks both the accuracy and specificity of data that a tool like GA provides. How to add Google Analytics to Shopify While GA doesn’t work automatically with Shopify, it’s not difficult to set up for your store. There are multiple ways you can add Google Analytics to Shopify, and the method you choose will depend both on your technical skill and the time you have to dedicate to set up. Once you’ve created a Google Analytics property for Shopify, you can follow your preferred method to add GA to your store and start getting full, accurate data. Read on to discover which method will work best for adding GA to your store. For Universal Analytics Before 2020, Universal Analytics was the Google Analytics default. To find out if your store has Universal Analytics, check your web property ID. A universal analytics web property ID will start with ‘UA’. If you’re using Universal Analytics, the two options we’d recommend to connect GA to your Shopify store are: Using Shopify’s built-in tracking, found in-store preferences Using Littledata’s advanced Shopify to Google Analytics app For Google Analytics 4 Since late 2020, GA4 has operated as the default Google Analytics property. There are a handful of benefits to using GA4, not least of which being that it provides more thorough reports delivered within a faster timeline. Shopify does not yet support Google Analytics 4, so the built-in tracking feature is not an option here. However, you can try using GA4 and Shopify Analytics in parallel to test the performance of both and see the differences yourself. The “least hassle” option If you want to add GA to your store and you’re looking to save time and get things done correctly, implementing Littledata is likely your best bet. Littledata provides a Getting Started guide to help you add Google Analytics to your Shopify store. Once connected, the Littledata app gives you a thorough data overview and sends weekly updates as Google and Shopify add new features. [tip]Try Littledata's Google Analytics connection free for 30 days to see how it can fix your tracking while integrating with your other Shopify apps.[/tip] Using Google Analytics with Shopify Analytics GA and Shopify Analytics can be used in conjunction with one another, as each have their uses. As an example, you could use Shopify Analytics as a quick overview dashboard for store performance while relying on GA for a complete analysis of sales and marketing efforts. In depth data decisionmaking will still most likely be coming from what you see in GA, but you can still rely on Shopify Analytics to capture big picture metrics. Connecting dashboards and reporting tools The most successful modern DTC stores operate not with GA alone, but with a full data stack that helps them cover each step of the customer journey. They increase the scope of their data coverage by connecting other data dashboards and tools. ReCharge A great tool to connect to your store, especially if you offer subscriptions, is the ReCharge Connection. This connection is an advanced GA integration that helps you to track subscription ecommerce behavior. Connecting Shopify and ReCharge with Google Analytics allows you to obtain accurate sales data, including first-time orders, recurring payments, and subscription lifecycle events. It also allows you to obtain accurate marketing attribution for first-time orders, recurring payments, and subscription lifecycle events. Segment A further tool you could use to track your Shopify data is the Segment app connection, which allows you to track each customer touchpoint within your website, including the checkout steps taken by customers, sales information, and the lifetime value of a specific customer. Segment is a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that makes it easy to combine customer data with marketing data, then send that data to other platforms you use, whether that’s a data warehouse or an email marketing tool. As such, Segment isn’t just for analysis. It’s also a popular way to build new marketing audiences, such as building lookalike audiences in Facebook from your highest-spending Shopify customers. Google Ads and Facebook Ads Online advertising is a major source of traffic for modern DTC brands. To ensure your making the best decisions in your advertising strategy, you need accurate data. That’s where the Facebook Ads and Google Ads connections can play a key part in your overall analytics stack. The Facebook Ads connection fixes campaign tagging and allows for importing ad costs so you can drill down marketing attribution costs. The Google Ads connection is ideal for tracking sales expenses in reports and connecting marketing data with ecommerce performance. Wrapping it all up Now that you know exactly what Shopify Analytics can provide for you, what analytics strategy will you implement to ensure you’re making smart business decisions for your store? Using Google Analytics with your Shopify store gives you: a thorough view of the data a complete snapshot of the entire customer journey advanced metrics you need to improve attribution and boost revenue Using these, you can plan changes to your store and product offerings based on accurate data while improving your visibility by taking control of your analytics tracking. And once you’ve connected other powerful reporting tools and dashboards like Littledata’s ReCharge and Segment apps, you’ll have all the information you need to dial up your store’s growth. Take the first step by getting a free data audit when you start your 30-day free trial with Littledata. [subscribe]

by Greg
2021-09-14

Is it possible to track headless Shopify setups?

Headless commerce is not a new concept, but it's an increasingly popular solution. As larger brands continue to move to streamlined ecommerce checkouts such as Shopify and BigCommerce, they look to headless setups as a way to maintain speed or flexibility. An increasing number of those bigger DTC brands are going headless, whether that means a collection of landing pages leading directly to a Shopify checkout, or a full-on headless architecture implementation with a dynamic CMS. The question today is less whether you should consider headless in the first place (everyone is at least considering it), but more about your overall tech stack. When looking at the details of your stack (cost, functionality, maintenance, etc), it's important to consider headless pros and cons in general. But it's often even more useful to highlight specific use cases. We've previously written about how it's now possible to maintain your favorite Shopify Plus tech stack with a headless Shopify architecture. But what about your data stack? Does headless mean that your analysts will be dealing with a snow storm of anonymous IDs? Are there sacrifices to data accuracy, such as marketing attribution for recurring orders? With the right tools and plug-ins, you can still capture the complete headless journey on your headless site. In this post we look at headless Shopify tracking from several different angles and share resources for further reading. Why headless? DTC brands with a headless Shopify Plus setup now include Inkbox, Rothy's, Verishop, Allbirds, Recess, and many more. So why do merchants go headless? [caption id="attachment_10778" align="aligncenter" width="419"] Headless commerce overview from Shopify Plus[/caption] The main reason is speed, or site speed to be precise. When built the right way, modern headless sites are insanely fast. Ballsy increased conversion rates by 28% after going headless, thanks to dramatically faster page load times. (The average Shopify site sees around 4 seconds to full page load). At the same time, as our agency partner We Make Websites has noted, "extreme performance" isn't for everybody. Sometimes it can be like "the difference between buying a BMW or Audi, versus buying a Ferrari". Additional reasons for going headless include flexibility of controlling and customizing the complete frontend (with a CMS or other content framework). Of course, there are also limitations. When it comes to headless Shopify sites specifically, some trade-offs are the need to maintain multiple technologies or platforms, and the fact that Shopify's Storefront API uses GraphQL (there's currently no REST API for Storefront). Without the right tools, the other limitation is data accuracy and completeness. That can include: Marketing channels (paid channels, organic social communities, SEO) Browsing behavior (landing pages, product lists, website, mobile apps) Sales data (checkout behavior; one-off, first-time and repeat purchases) Ecommerce data from additional checkout apps (subscriptions and upsell flows) Headless tracking in Google Analytics / GTM It's no secret that Shopify and GA need some help to play well together. For every 10,000 orders processed on Shopify, 1,200 go missing in Google Analytics. For your average headless site, the stats are even worse. By default, different customer interactions with your brand — ppc campaigns, product lists, adds-to-cart, checkouts, refunds, recurring orders and subscriptions, email campaigns — are often either not tracked at all or not linked to the original user or session. In that way, you can end up with siloed data in different apps and platforms. Or even worse, everything could show up as anonymous activity or "Direct" traffic, even for repeat purchases. This isn't Las Vegas; what happens in the checkout should definitely not stay in the checkout! We have solved this problem by extending Littledata's server-side tracking to stitch sessions together from the client-side events captured on headless frontends . . . which is a rather technical way of saying that our Google Analytics app for Shopify now tracks headless sites automatically, from browsing behavior through the checkout funnel and beyond (we even capture subscriptions such as ReCharge payments!) This guarantees accurate sales and marketing data for any headless Shopify site. Check out Littledata's headless demo to see how our headless Shopify tracking works for Google Analytics. [tip]Using Google Tag Manager? Read more about our GTM / Data Layer spec.[/tip] Headless tracking in Segment As mentioned, we have offered server-side tracking for Shopify since the beginning, and automatically linked this with client-side events. Now this is available for any headless setup as well. In theory, it should be easy to send data from additional cloud sources to Segment. Each part of your headless frontend stack can just plug right in. But in practice this means manually adding a hodgepodge of client-side and server-side event tracking, and maintaining this as you scale. If you're using Segment as your CDP — or considering using Segment — rest assured that Littledata's headless tracking now fully supports Segment as a data destination. You can try to set this up yourself, but it's much easier (not to mention cheaper and more reliable) to just use our Shopify source for Segment to track your checkout. With Littledata, you can automatically send sales and marketing data from a headless Shopify site to your Segment workspace. We also recently added more flexibility around which fields to send as the userId for known customers. Check out our headless tracking demo to see how our headless Shopify tracking works for Segment. Tracking landing page builders Not every headless site is using a Content Management System (CMS). For those who do, Contentful is the most popular with straightforward headless Shopify builds. There are also "soft headless" sites that rely on a series of landing pages or similar flows, which then lead to the main Shopify site or even directly to the checkout. In the first case, where the landing pages are truly landing pages and lead to your main site, you can use the default settings in Littledata's Shopify app and generally do not need to take the headless install route. For cases where landing pages go directly to the checkout, see the headless tracking demo linked above. We also need to take landing pages seriously. It can actually be just as difficult to get complete marketing attribution or even to link sessions together and track the purchases customers make after landing on one of these pages. To solve this problem, Littledata's automated tracking now tracks landing pages as "additional apps" on top of our main Shopify connections for Segment and Google Analytics. As long as the Littledata script is loading on those landing pages, everything will link together automatically. We have tested this functionality with three of the most popular landing page builders for Shopify stores: Shogun Pages Zipify Pages  Gem Pages  Drop us a line if you have any questions about additional apps or special requests for landing page tracking. Preferred headless tech partner: Nacelle Our merchants looking for a complete headless Shopify solution often choose our tech partner Nacelle. Nacelle powers storefronts that stand out from the competition, offering headless website builds backed by a robust data stack. Focused on Progressive Web App (PWA) technology, they build lightning-fast, responsive sites for modern DTC brands. We've been working closely with Nacelle on tracking setup for some initial merchants (many brands you would recognize...) and are excited to now be able to offer headless tracking for any Nacelle customer. Read our shared ebook on going headless Explore our headless tracking demo Check out our NPM package for grabbing client IDs [or forward this to your developer!] Littledata's Nacelle tracking works automatically once you follow a few simple setup steps. Plus, the data can be sent to Segment, Google Analytics, or any connected data warehouse or reporting tool. [subscribe heading="Learn more about headless tracking" button_text="book a demo" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/get-free-trial"]

by Ari
2021-09-10

5 Still Effective Tactics to Boost Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization

Running an ecommerce business is a particular challenge. As a booming market, the industry landscape becomes more and more competitive each day. Customers are constantly setting higher demands for merchants to meet. Of course, ecommerce store owners strive for one thing above all — maximizing sales. In today’s market, that means achieving the highest rate of conversion. What does conversion rate signify, and how can you improve it? What tactics can help you get the most from the traffic you’re generating and increase online sales? That’s exactly what we plan to discuss in this article. The basics of conversion rate optimization (CRO) Business efficiency is not a transient entity; it’s actually quite measurable when you have accurate data on hand. A complete data picture helps you to build promotion strategies, test their efficacy, then change direction in real-time based on the behavior you see from your audience. Perhaps the most important indicator in this analysis will be your conversion rate, as it directly affects sales volume. Your conversion rate is based on the goals you’ve set for your business. In the case of an online store, one conversion is most often a unique sale of a product. So, for example, if 4 in 100 visitors to your page complete a purchase, your store's conversion rate will be 4%. However, you may choose to track other customer actions, like subscription signups, ebook downloads, promotion redemptions, or any number of actions as a conversion. Whatever you choose, the formula remains the same: take the number of times visitors took the desired action and divide it by the total number of visitors being measured in your chosen time period. # of desired actions taken ÷ # total visitors in sample = conversion rate There are, however, a few things to note which affect conversion rate beyond the simple calculation. 3 A’s of ecommerce conversion rate optimization Accessibility Each ecommerce website must be easily understandable. Don’t expect visitors to “learn” how to navigate a complicated layout. They’ll just leave for a competitor’s site. To give your visitors the best experience and turn them into customers, make sure your website has: high page load speeds a mobile-friendly design clear product listings descriptions for special offers access to a Contact Us page with multiple forms of contact access to a FAQ page When it comes to accessibility, the trick is not to provide too much information per page. Pages with pop-ups, numerous calls to action (CTA), and lots of text can be distracting and offputting for potential buyers. Attention After you have a convenient and accessible website, you need to find ways to grab visitors’ attention and motivate them to purchase. This can be a challenge for any marketer. Work on choosing your attention-grabbing website features before you launch your online store. Experiment with appealing CTAs on logically structured pages. Make pages scan-friendly, since people usually skim through pages and rarely read them carefully. [caption id="attachment_13207" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Example of how people usually view web pages (Source: CXL)[/caption] Of course, visuals will be of great help to get and hold the attention of visitors as well. Authority Online retailers must fight not only for recognition but also for a good name. After expending major efforts on gaining a group of initial buyers, it is important to build a community that will recommend products or services to others. The better your image among existing users, the more positively your potential customers will perceive you. Promotion is the first step, but trust is built among customers, emphasizing your values and customer service. Motivate buyers to share reviews by providing rewards, gather customer feedback, analyze it, collaborate with trusted brands/experts, and build an overall positive customer experience. Now that we know exactly what conversion rate is and what goes into shaping it, let’s dive into the ways you can optimize it. 5 tactics to improve ecommerce conversion rate optimization Establish competitive prices 88% of shoppers in the United States use coupons. Nearly half of in-store consumers use their phones to compare prices in search of a better deal. This gives a good insight into shopper psychology: price matters. At the same time, pricing strategy can be one of the most difficult issues for online store owners to solve. One key way to determine your acceptable pricing range is to analyze competitors’ prices and outgoing costs. Knowing your supplier charges and other operational expenses, you can select a potential margin and make prices appealing to consumers. With the power of AI and modern pricing solutions, you can build a competitive pricing strategy, optimize your stock, and better understand the purchasing habits of your target audience. Appealing prices are undoubtedly a huge advantage in the eyes of customers. Remember that promotions, sales, free delivery, and discounts are all great ways to encourage customers to choose you over competitors as well. Create valuable content: quality over quantity The next approach suggests providing value to your customers through content. You might develop a blog with tutorials and practical insights, or utilize helpful product reviews (not just product descriptions). From time to time, it is worth reviewing and updating blog articles (if you have a blog already) based on traffic and reader engagement. And remember, a person decides after a few seconds whether to stay on a given page or not. Give your content-filled pages an attractive appearance and utilize strategic placement of CTAs on each page. On product pages, use good-quality photos and give unique descriptions that encourage customers to choose higher-value items. [caption id="attachment_13210" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Example of high-quality product photos (Source: Herschel)[/caption] Emphasize customer safety and security When people buy from your store, they’re trusting you with their money. So, it’s essential you carry out transactions with the highest security. For this, you need to guarantee the safety of customer’s data and assure them of your credibility. A good place to start is to add an SSL certificate to your website (if you don’t have one already). Be sure you’re compliant with GDPR and DPA, write a privacy policy, and follow other security best practices. These ensure trust between you and visitors browsing your site, making them feel safe enough to complete a purchase. When starting your online business, you should also work on your social reputation. Start by setting up company profiles on major social media channels. Then, collect and share customer testimonials to spread the word about your products. These positive reviews are the best advertisement of your reliability to potential buyers. [caption id="attachment_13196" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Example of real customer testimonials (Source: Casper)[/caption] Make purchasing as easy as possible To optimize your ecommerce conversions, you need to make sure that you provide visitors with the best checkout experience possible. Start by allowing your customers to purchase in a few clicks. [caption id="attachment_13197" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Example of buy-in-1-click approach by Amazon (Source: Quadlayers)[/caption] Don't forget about payment methods. They influence whether potential customers will finalize their purchase or leave. Consider accepting as many popular payment methods as you’re able to so shoppers aren’t too constrained when it comes time to buy. Even the appearance of the shopping cart has a huge impact. Make clear suggestions on how to register, log in, or purchase without registration. Add elements encouraging buyers to finalize their order, and give clarity of the total cost and its components. Inform customers about the methods, time, and cost of shipping. All are important to providing a good checkout experience If you plan to offer a subscription product on your store, you can improve your conversion rates by using the Littledata guide to begin tracking subscriptions right in the Shopify checkout. Test, analyze, improve No two stores are alike. Tactics that worked for one store in one period will not necessarily work for others. The best way to ramp up conversion rate optimization in ecommerce is to analyze the results of your marketing and experiment with new approaches. One of the basic testing tactics we recommend is A/B testing. It focuses on an experiment between two variations of the same elements on a segment of users. For example, say you need to decide on the color and placement of a signup button. You can create a few versions and see how they perform. Based on the results achieved, you can select the more effective “winning” version. Then, you can test other elements, e.g., an offer form, landing page, or even the content of the product description. Additional testing tactics that give you powerful decision-making data include: multivariate tests website heatmaps video recordings of user sessions customer behavior funnel analysis testing the speed and correctness of your website's operation All these approaches help you to find the best working tactics specifically for your business. The important thing here is to gather data and analyze it. Doing experiments without a clear evaluation of outcomes brings low value. You have to collect all your experiments, visualize results, and then make reports based on insights. For this purpose, use data analyzing and automating tools. For example, suppose you're using Shopify as your store platform. In that case, you can export data to Google Sheets and use it for other data analyzing/reporting tools to polish your CRO strategy. Bonuses These are two honorable mentions that are present in various tactics above. Even better, they are boosters you can use right away with little hassle. Personalization Personalization is one of the most important marketing trends in recent years. Customers are more likely to engage with content and offers that relate directly to them. So, use personalization to empower your marketing. For example, personalization can help you provide offers based on visitor locations, recommend additional/similar items, or send personalized emails as a part of your content strategy. Customer communication Customers appreciate when their requests can be processed right here, right now. Using a live chat blinking at the bottom of the page expresses your concern for users, readiness to help immediately, and can dispel shopper’s doubts regarding the legitimacy of a purchase. Contact with the store is often a critical element that determines whether the user becomes a customer. Apart from the Contact Us page, it is worth implementing chatbots and multiple channels to communicate with visitors. Wrapping it all up There are no 100% sure-fire tactics when it comes to ecommerce CRO. As we mentioned before, something that works for one company may not necessarily work for another. However, the above article should help you understand that conversion rate optimization is a constant process of trial and learning. The tactics described are easy to start and definitely worth trying. Don't be afraid to experiment with each tactic above to create a unique CRO optimization strategy that works for your store. This is a guest post from Dmytro Zaichenko. Dmytro is a Marketing Specialist at Coupler.io, a service helping to import data to Excel, GSheets, BigQuery from various data sources. He has 6+ years of experience in content making. Apart from writing, he's passionate about networking and the NBA.

2021-09-03

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