Stripe to Tableau

This page provides you with instructions on how to extract data from Stripe and analyze it in Tableau. (If the mechanics of extracting data from Stripe seem too complex or difficult to maintain, check out Stitch, which can do all the heavy lifting for you in just a few clicks.)

What is Stripe?

Stripe is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that lets businesses accept payments online and in mobile apps.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is one of the world's most popular analysis platforms. The software helps companies model, explore, and visualize their data. It also offers cloud capabilities that allow analyses to be shared via the web or company intranets, and its offerings are available as both installed software and as a SaaS platform. Tableau is widely known for its robust and flexible visualization capabilities, which include dozens of specialized chart types.

In addition to its business software, Tableau also offers a free product called Tableau Public for analyzing open data sets. If you're new to Tableau, this offering is a great way to experience Tableau's capabilities at no cost and share your work publicly.

Getting data out of Stripe

You can get data off of Stripe's servers using the Stripe REST API, which exposes information about core resources, payment methods, subscriptions, and more. To get a list of all customers, for instance, you could call GET /v1/customers.

Sample Stripe data

The Stripe API returns JSON-formatted data. Data from a call to retrieve customers might look like this.

{
  "object": "list",
  "url": "/v1/customers",
  "has_more": false,
  "data": [
    {
      "id": "cus_BykTW2x4M6Yrrt",
      "object": "customer",
      "account_balance": 0,
      "created": 1513697132,
      "currency": "usd",
      "default_source": null,
      "delinquent": false,
      "description": null,
      "discount": null,
      "email": null,
      "livemode": false,
      "metadata": {
      },
      "shipping": null,
      "sources": {
        "object": "list",
        "data": [
    
        ],
        "has_more": false,
        "total_count": 0,
        "url": "/v1/customers/cus_BykTW2x4M6Yrrt/sources"
      },
      "subscriptions": {
        "object": "list",
        "data": [
    
        ],
        "has_more": false,
        "total_count": 0,
        "url": "/v1/customers/cus_BykTW2x4M6Yrrt/subscriptions"
      }
    },
    {...},
    {...}
  ]
}

Preparing Stripe data

Now you need to parse the JSON in the API response and map each column to a corresponding field in a table in the destination database. You'll have to know the datatypes for each field. The Stitch Stripe Docs can give you a sense of what datatypes will come through the API.

Loading Data into Tableau

Analyzing data in Tableau requires putting it into a format that Tableau can read. Depending on the data source, you may have options for achieving this goal, but the best practice among most businesses is to build a data warehouse that contains the data, and then connect that data warehouse to Tableau.

Tableau provides an easy-to-use Connect menu that allows you to connect data from flat files, direct data sources, and data warehouses. In most cases, connecting these sources is simply a matter of creating and providing credentials to the relevant services.

Once the data is connected, Tableau offers an option for locally caching your data to speed up queries. This can make a big difference when working with slower database platforms or flat files, but is typically not necessary when using a scalable data warehouse platform. Tableau's flexibility and speed in these areas are among its major differentiators in the industry.

Analyzing Data in Tableau

Tableau's report-building interface may seem intimidating at first, but it's one of the most powerful and intuitive analytics UIs on the market. Once you understand its workflow, it offers fast and nearly limitless options for building reports and dashboards.

If you're familiar with Pivot Tables in Excel, the Tableau report building experience may feel somewhat familiar. The process involves selecting the rows and columns desired in the resulting data set, along with the aggregate functions used to populate the data cells. Users can also specify filters to be applied to the data and choose a visualization type to use for the report.

You can learn how to build a report from scratch for free (although a sign-in is required) from the Tableau documentation.

Keeping Stripe data up to date

So, now what? You've built a script that pulls data from Stripe and loads it to your destination, but what happens tomorrow when you have hundreds of new transactions?

The key is to build your script in such a way that it can also identify incremental updates to your data. Thankfully, Stripe's API results include fields like "created" that allow you to identify records that are new since your last update (or since the newest record you've copied). Once you've taken new transactions into account, you can set up your script as a cron job or continuous loop to keep pulling down new data as it appears.

From Stripe to your data warehouse: An easier solution

As mentioned earlier, the best practice for analyzing Stripe data in Tableau is to store that data inside a data warehousing platform alongside data from your other databases and 3rd party sources. You can find instructions for doing these extractions for leading warehouses on our sister sites Stripe to Redshift, Stripe to BigQuery, and Stripe to Snowflake.

Easier yet, however, is using a solution that does all that work for you. Products like Stitch were built to solve this problem automatically. With just a few clicks, Stitch starts extracting your Stripe data via the API, structuring it in a way that is optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into a data warehouse that can be easily accessed and analyzed by Tableau.