When should you upgrade?
In this Ask Us Anything episode, we answer listener questions.
...and more. Somewhat more. Most of it is even Shopify related.
The Unofficial Shopify Podcast
Kurt Elster: All right.
Paul Reda: All right. We have big updates and more news about a previous topic we’ve been going over on this show that is of interest to all of you. The new Mario Golf stinks.
Kurt Elster: Oh, no!
Paul Reda: It’s not good. It’s not good. I’m very disappointed. It wrecked my summer. This was gonna be a big summer and the worst thing that’s going on during this summer is the new Mario Golf is bad.
Kurt Elster: I’m sorry.
Paul Reda: It’s bad. Get new sounds, by the way.
Kurt Elster: I’m not. No. I’m just committed to the old sounds.
Paul Reda: You’re committed to the same five.
Kurt Elster: I was trying to get some sounds a week ago and you’re like, “You gotta give it up.” I was going through the sound board. Because I gotta wade through tremendous garbage just to get these six good ones.
Paul Reda: You need new ones. No. Please, God. Yeah. I have headphones now so I can hear this garbage. I don’t know why I put these headphones on.
Kurt Elster: What are we discussing today on The Unofficial Shopify Podcast?
Paul Reda: How Mario Golf switched from three button hits to swing to two button hits and it really-
Kurt Elster: No, wrong show.
Paul Reda: God damn it! I want that show.
Kurt Elster: No. That’s your own show. You go start that. Today, we’re going through, we’re playing 20 questions with our Facebook group of Shopify merchants, as we posted yet another call for questions, an AMA, and got some good questions, and this time we even went through the effort of grouping them. Yeah. They’re loosely grouped together into topics. Aren’t I fancy?
Paul Reda: Sure.
Kurt Elster: You know, the more you knock me down, the worse this gets.
Paul Reda: I’ve seen what happens to you when you get too confident and I don’t like hanging out with that guy, so I gotta keep you down.
Kurt Elster: That doesn’t sound good. All right, my job here is just to keep knocking you down a peg.
Paul Reda: Well, you know, it’s like my girl, she holds me down, like kind of like that. I just want to hold-
Kurt Elster: That meant support.
Paul Reda: You know, it’s keeping you grounded.
Kurt Elster: No.
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: That’s not what that means.
Paul Reda: I don’t want you to get lost in the sauce.
Kurt Elster: Oh. Well, okay, that I appreciate.
Paul Reda: See? There you go.
Kurt Elster: Thank you. Okay. Do we have any other non sequiturs and off topics? Or do we want to-
Paul Reda: No. Online store 2.0. Matthew Stuart wants to know, “I started with Shopify 8 months ago, have just been using Debut and want to upgrade. Should I wait for 2.0 themes to come out or just get Turbo right now?” You can roll with Dawn right now. I think, right?
Kurt Elster: Yeah.
Paul Reda: Or does he have to… How do you get it? Is it available on the theme store now? Because he already has an existing store.
Kurt Elster: Well, I know, like 100% you just go get it from GitHub.
Paul Reda: Yeah. He could download the zip from GitHub and then upload the zip file like any other theme he would have purchased. It’s the same thing he would have to do if he bought Turbo.
Kurt Elster: But I know as of like some date that may or may not have already passed… I’m not spinning up new Shopify stores outside of my partner account. I don’t know if that’s the default currently.
Paul Reda: It is.
Kurt Elster: It is?
Paul Reda: Yes.
Kurt Elster: Okay.
Paul Reda: And you talked to some people who know things in terms of Turbo timelines.
Kurt Elster: So, currently, as far as I know, with the exception of Dawn, no theme is fully online store 2.0 compatible.
Paul Reda: Okay.
Kurt Elster: That’s where we’re at right now. But it’s what everybody’s working toward, obviously. Shopify’s deadline is everybody’s gotta do it before January 1st.
Paul Reda: The theme developers have to… You can’t be releasing new themes that aren’t 2.0 after January 1st.
Kurt Elster: Yes.
Paul Reda: All right.
Kurt Elster: But we know themes are gonna start showing up with 2.0 support probably next month.
Paul Reda: Okay.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. So, I don’t know what the right answer is. He said, “I’ve been using Debut theme and I want to upgrade.”
Paul Reda: Why?
Kurt Elster: “Should I wait for the 2.0 themes to come out or just get Turbo now?”
Paul Reda: If you’re not happy with Debut because you think it’s not enough, I’ll be honest with you, Dawn is also not gonna be enough for you.
Kurt Elster: That’s true.
Paul Reda: Dawn is bare bones. So, you could buy Turbo now. I’m sure they will give you… I can’t say I’m sure. I don’t know. They’re generally very good at updating their themes, Out of the Sandbox, and you get updates for free, and you get the theme updater tool which you can pay for, so if you bought Turbo now, my bet would be they would let you… You would just upgrade it when they upgrade it.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. That’s a safe-
Paul Reda: If you don’t poke at it.
Kurt Elster: Safe assumption.
Paul Reda: If you don’t poke at it too much and you’re not making a bunch of code changes.
Kurt Elster: In which case you could still update it, but good luck.
Paul Reda: Good luck. It’s gonna suck.
Kurt Elster: Yeah.
Paul Reda: Should I drop a hot take right now? You don’t need to rush to upgrade.
Kurt Elster: I agree.
Paul Reda: You’re not gaining a lot.
Kurt Elster: I would wait.
Paul Reda: You’re honestly not really gaining a lot.
Kurt Elster: Well, because the 2.0 theme editor, that’s just live now. Everybody got that.
Paul Reda: And the new metafield stuff.
Kurt Elster: Metafield support you just get.
Paul Reda: You just get. And writing metafields in the code, which again, you’re not doing. The store owners listening to this. So, what do you care? What you see between having Turbo now and what you’re gonna have in Turbo in six months, who cares?
Kurt Elster: I know. It’s so close. It’s right around the corner. And you’re already surviving on Debut. I would wait and just do it right and get the full features. Because even if it’s stuff you’re not gonna use all the time or 100% gonna use, you still want app sections. You’re gonna want that support going forward. I view it as future proofing. You’re viewing it more as like, “Well, I’m not that committed.” Is all the waiting worth just getting sections on all pages?
Paul Reda: Yeah. You’re gonna wanna be on it because you’re gonna wanna be current and not be on a deprecated old system, so like at some point, you’re going to have to transition to it. I’m saying the mindset of, “I gotta get across that finish line because I gotta get access to all these great new features,” slow down. Because it’s not gonna make a big, material difference.
Kurt Elster: Yes. Yeah. You could upgrade. Most of the gains you’re gonna get from getting away from Debut or Dawn to like a really big, fancy, extensible, customizable theme, is really just because you switched themes.
Paul Reda: Yeah. Going from Dawn-
Kurt Elster: Not because you got those additional features.
Paul Reda: Yeah. Going from Dawn to Turbo, like you’re going from like three to 10, the transition from Turbo now to Turbo three months from now is going from 10 to 11. Like okay, it’s fine.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Like look, I’ve been driving around this Toyota Yaris, I’m really… I’m gonna pull the trigger on my new Tesla, but do I just… The 2022 is right around the corner. Do I wait? That’s essentially what’s going on here. It’s like most of the gain is coming from the upgrade to a premium theme, not necessarily that you waited for these extra features.
Paul Reda: Yeah. Yeah. You can roll… Anyone listening to this, whatever you got right now, and if you’re happy with what you have right now, just roll with it through Christmas. It’s fine.
Kurt Elster: Yeah.
Paul Reda: There is nothing where it’s like, “Oh, I only made… I could have made an extra $100,000 if I only had that new theme on Black Friday.” That’s not gonna happen.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Yeah, it’s really… It’s like administration, CMS, quality of life improvements for managing it more so than like revenue generating on site stuff, I think is what’s going on here.
Paul Reda: Exactly.
Kurt Elster: Okay. We spent a lot of time on this do I upgrade question because I think a lot of people are wondering it. The other thing we’ve been hearing that goes along with do I upgrade is, “Hey, should I be looking at headless solutions?” Because it sounded when we listened to Shopify Unite, it sounded like they’re embracing headless as a potential option for merchants. That’s what I got out of that. And so, Clifford asks, “What’s the big difference between headless eCommerce versus eCommerce? Quite confused.” Some of the big Shopify stores are talking headless, Shopify Plus was talking up headless. I assume he’s referring to Unite.
And yeah, what in the heck is the difference? What is a headless eCommerce store?
Paul Reda: I’ve been thinking about it, and I think the way of putting it is a normal Shopify store is on Shopify, whereas a-
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Purely on Shopify.
Paul Reda: Whereas a headless Shopify store uses Shopify. And the way I mean that is you’re built… A normal store is built on Shopify, within the Shopify theme editor, using Shopify themes. There’s the whole Shopify. There’s the systems, Liquid, that work on your theme, on your store, when you log into the Shopify backend.
Headless Shopify is you are building an entire eCommerce store from scratch. The whole website idea is a from scratch website. But then it uses various APIs, .json, GraphQL type stuff, to call into Shopify to run sort of the eCommerce backend. But you know, like every page you see, like the layouts, how the variants work and all that sort of stuff, you’re writing all of that from scratch.
Kurt Elster: Okay. So, Shopify has this hub and spoke model is how it’s been designed for years in that Shopify itself is an admin tool for running retail, and I have then different channels I could plug into it. Your online store is just one of those channels.
Paul Reda: Yeah. Shopify POS.
Kurt Elster: Point of sale. And then like I could plug in marketplaces into it. So, online store is just one piece of your sales, of these orders coming through, of all this stuff. And the idea is simply, “Hey, we don’t necessarily have to use Shopify for that online store channel. Maybe I need something really bespoke because I’ve got some unusual requirements, or I just want to develop it myself because I’m fancy, or I just… I want it to be bleeding edge fast and I don’t want to have to wait for Shopify to develop it. I’m just gonna do it myself.” Shopify is now saying, “Hey, not only can you do that, we’ll support you in that effort and plug in whatever solution you want.”
And so, there’s stores like Nomad, Beardbrand, those are the two I’m familiar with.
Paul Reda: Pretty sure Chubbies is.
Kurt Elster: I don’t know, but I also would not be surprised.
Paul Reda: I think Chubbies is. Because Chubbies, we were looking at Chubbies for someone this week, and they have a wild setup where every size of a pair of shorts is its own product, but then they all have different variants, so if you click on the sizing thing, it actually takes you to a different product page. You know, a lot of stores have that.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Chubbies’ implementation is really cool.
Paul Reda: Yeah, where the variant selector on the product page is actually links to entirely different products on the store. So, I mean, it’s really… Headless is for if you are crazy and you have crazy needs of exactly… Maybe you need to like build products, like you have a product bundler, like people are throwing things into boxes with 10 different random items and you gotta keep track of all that. I mean, if you’re getting really, really hardcore, and you have a thing that is not working currently on Shopify-
Kurt Elster: And really, it’s in many instances, in most of these instances, I think it’s Shogun frontend is really what they’re using to power, to replace the online store channel in Shopify. And then to modify that, then you need to have a react developer on retainer.
Paul Reda: Yeah. I mean, and that’s the other thing, is I don’t even know what we would charge if we were trying to do a headless setup. We’ve never done it before.
Kurt Elster: I’ve never done it.
Paul Reda: But like, it would not be crazy for us to be like, “Well, it’s $100,000.”
Kurt Elster: Yeah. No, you’re moving into… I wouldn’t be moving, I wouldn’t be considering it until you’re like, “Look, I really, I’m feeling the limitations of Shopify’s traditional online store channel.” And okay, you’ll know when you’re feeling it and then it’s time to move to headless.
Paul Reda: And I think it might be Ollie Alpin who is asking our next question-
Kurt Elster: He’s been on the show.
Paul Reda: He just wanted further detail. Yeah. He asked about, and he’s like, “We’re really thinking about headless.” And he sells… He has 2 SKUs.
Kurt Elster: Journals. Yeah.
Paul Reda: He sells two journals. And you know, hey, it’s a free country. Ollie can do with his business whatever he wants. Ollie, I’m sorry. Ollie can do whatever he wants with his business. But I think him going headless is way overboard. Like I would have advised against it. I don’t… You don’t need that. You don’t need that giant capital outlay. And continual capital outlay because anything you want to do on the store, you’re not doing that. You gotta have a guy who is in your business that does it.
Kurt Elster: The moment you’re phrasing the question as, “Do I go headless?” And then there’s no follow up… The answer is no. If it’s, “I want to go headless because honestly, my team prefers react.” Oh, okay. That’s great. I want to go headless because I just need bleeding edge performance. All right, that’s gonna be-
Paul Reda: I would say you maybe don’t need it that bleeding edge if you’re like… Because again, the capital outlay, continual capital outlays required is like… Okay, you’re making millions of dollars a year so now you should do this? Okay. We could talk.
Kurt Elster: Yeah.
Paul Reda: But if you’re not doing millions of dollars a year in revenue, you shouldn’t even think about headless.
Kurt Elster: I think we need someone who’s done it, who has a headless store, and who wants to talk us through it.
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: As a guest.
Paul Reda: Okay. That’s on you.
Kurt Elster: Eric from Beardbrand would be good. One of the guys from Nomad Goods has been on the show before.
Paul Reda: Yeah, and I mean again, like Nomad Goods, they have a bunch of crazy stuff on their product pages. That’s probably a lot easier to maintain. Sections Anywhere is a helpful move towards that direction, but to have these special bespoke pages for every single different product on the store type of thing, I mean, you could do that in Shopify, but it’s unwieldy and a huge pain in the ass. Whereas headless, you could figure out different solutions for it.
Kurt Elster: Our next and last online store 2.0 question for the day, Anthea Digby-Smith, the new metafields. What are they? What are they and how would I use them? Give me an example.
Paul Reda: I have an example. It might be live when you hear this, but for Black Diamond Coatings-
Kurt Elster: BlackDiamondCoatings.com.
Paul Reda: BlackDiamondCoatings.com, I’m doing a new product page for them, and so some of the little things we have on that page is like we have a product video. We’re gonna have like a before and after comparison of after you apply the Black Diamond Coating to your patio. And the way I set that up is you go to your settings on your store, where you had like files, and your account, and all that sort of stuff. There’s gonna be a new area called metafields. We did a video on this. You should find the video. Kurt will link to it in the show notes. And you can watch it and I walk you through it.
So, you go into metafields, and you create a metafield that’s like product video, and so now that’s a metafield and that will appear. There will be a field on every product listing on your backend that, along with all the other old ones, like descript title, description, price, vendor, all that sort of stuff, there will just be a new one that’s just product video, and then you could upload a video into that, and then you need someone to go in the code on your product page and put in the Liquid to call that metafield. It’s like product.metafield.myfields.video.
Kurt Elster: So, traditionally in Shopify I had a description field for a product.
Paul Reda: Yep.
Kurt Elster: And let’s say I had a tab description, right? So, I’ve got like details, size guide-
Paul Reda: Instructions.
Kurt Elster: Instructions. Okay. How do I then populate the other tabs that aren’t the straight description? And that was always an issue, like where am I gonna store this? And metafields were an option, but like you had to install an app to do it, and you essentially had to like go manage it separately. This is native support for metafields which were there the whole time in the background quietly, but now… So, when I picture this, I’ll have like my… I’m editing a product on my admin. It goes title, description, and now I’ve got other bonus fields I could just define.
Paul Reda: It’s all the way at the bottom.
Kurt Elster: But yeah, I’ve got-
Paul Reda: But it’s there. Yeah.
Kurt Elster: Yeah, so I can just scroll down to the bottom of that page and now, oh, here’s one, a metafield named size guide. And so, I can link to my size guide.
Paul Reda: Yeah. You upload the .jpeg probably you have of the size guide, like the image of the size guide, and you just put that in there, and then you or someone who edits your pages for you goes into the page template and puts that in where it should go on the page. But now every single… You just had to write it in the code once and now you, the store owner, you, whenever you create a new product, or change your products, you just upload the appropriate size guide for that product into the product itself.
Kurt Elster: Cool.
Paul Reda: Yeah. It’s really good. And it did that with the video, the before and after on Black Diamond. They’re just gonna upload a before image and then an after image and then it’ll auto populate, and all set up. So, that’s really good. It’s a way of having different content for different products but still only having one product template, so you’re not running into the problem that KeySmart had, where KeySmart has these great, awesome, bespoke product pages, but they have 80 different page templates in their backend and they’re a bitch to manage.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. And so, metafields is one solution around that.
Paul Reda: Anyway, metafields are cool and your friendly neighborhood Shopify expert should be able to leverage them for you in a very easy fashion.
Kurt Elster: Yes. Oh, yeah. What’s nice about metafields, they’re not at all… If you’re a theme developer, at least, they’re very easy to implement.
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: So, if you’re like, “Well, I want to do it. It sounds neat. But I don’t want to mess with theme code.” You really should not have difficulty finding a theme developer who can assist you with this.
Paul Reda: Yeah, who could just whip it out. I mean, and it’s really powerful, like they get to have a different video on every single product now and like a different comparison slider guy, and all these different content areas on every product page. It can be different on every single product page. And they get to maintain that from the individual product listing in the admin. It’s great.
Kurt Elster: Now, one thing that we don’t know because we haven’t tried it yet is in Shopify, sometimes for bulk updates, I just want to export all my products as a CSV and reimport them. And that’s just a native feature in Shopify. But previously, metafields didn’t come with that. I had to go get a separate app to do that. Do you think metafields are gonna show up in that product CSV now?
Paul Reda: I hope so. We should have checked that before we started recording.
Kurt Elster: Honestly, I don’t know. I haven’t heard.
Paul Reda: But yeah, that’s the one thing, like we did a lot of this crazy stuff, but we did it triggered by tags, and so when then you imported and exported the products, the tags would come along with it. So, I would certainly hope as we transition to metafields that the metafields come along with it.
Kurt Elster: Yeah.
Paul Reda: Because if not, that’s gonna suck.
Kurt Elster: Well, because then yeah, you’d still be back to like, “Well, I still have to go get a metafields editor app to do it.”
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: Which… I don’t know. Maybe it’s in like metafield settings. I don’t know. I gotta look into this. Okay. We had several questions, a lot of questions people are asking this right now about what’s up with my Facebook ads. A lot of people who were previously successful with Facebook ads are now seeing their return on ad spend dwindle. And that’s scary for people. I totally get it.
So, I’m seeing this question come up a lot in our group, just in discussions, people asking me, and number one, you’re not alone. And the issue is iOS 14’s privacy focus broke a lot of Facebook’s algorithmic tracking of people. And so, we have a question here from Sou Heila who says, “What are you doing differently with Facebook ads in relation to the Apple update? I do my own ads, relied heavily on Facebook audiences. I understand the need to wean off of Facebook, but I did really well. Lookalikes were a gold mine and now they’re coal mines. It seems our rep doesn’t even know what to do. He tells me to expand the audience, go broad, combine ad sets into one ad set, combine retargeting and cold audiences. Everything I learned has been thrown out the window.”
All right, I get the frustration for sure. I think this is a transitional period. I don’t think it’s going to stay bad like this. But this is where I think it would be helpful to manage expectations and just keep plugging away at it. But truthfully, I don’t know. I’m waiting for the silver bullet myself. And someone else in the group said, “Hey, I’m having success with it and here’s how.” So, he has a much saner answer, a much more cogent tactical answer than I did, and so Tariq Ahmed says, “For folks asking about FB ads, I’m no expert but just ran our first cold prospecting ad post-iOS 14 and had success doing very little targeting. We just excluded all purchasers via a Klaviyo list, our pixel, and a Shopify export.” That’s smart. “And let the Facebook algorithm do its thing.”
Hmm. Okay, so that sounds like he’s using lookalike ads by just taking, “All right, here’s all our past purchasers, people who visited the site,” and just dumping all the source data he had to Facebook and letting them build a new lookalike audience out of it. And he said, “Our version of success if breaking even on new customer acquisition on their first sale.” That’s not unusual. “Now, some of these customers are returning and we’re seeing the ad go into the green versus just breaking even. The biggest thing we learned, make a dedicated landing page for cold audiences so they don’t need to parse all the industry jargon we get used to speaking in.”
Okay, so it sounds like his solution was rebuild the ad set. Just start over with it. Start with lookalike audience and give it as much data as you can to start. Try and just break even on the acquisition ad for the cold customer. Send them to a landing page, like a dedicated landing page for those people, and we’ve got a question about that coming up, so we’ll talk through that a little bit. And then from there, he had added, “Okay, now I just need to figure out retargeting.” So, and we know this gentleman is on Klaviyo, so it sounds like if I could acquire that first customer, okay, now I can move toward my own channels and start marketing to them that way.
So, Paul, I saw you fiddling with your computer while I was answering that.
Paul Reda: Okay, so while you were babbling about Facebook ads that I don’t care about, I went over to my Dawn test store, AKA Prairie Dawn, Sesame Street reference, and I exported my test products out of that theme that I have some metafields on, and the metafields didn’t come in the CSV. So, I would like it if they worked on that.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. It could be added.
Paul Reda: Yeah. I also have another minor complaint that the… On the product page, the metafields appear in the reverse order that you created them, so like the first one you made ends up at the bottom, and the most recent one you made ends up at the top.
Kurt Elster: And I can’t sort them?
Paul Reda: And you can’t sort them. So, it’s like it ends up as like as I’m creating them, as I go down the page design, the one that’s at the bottom of the page ends up being the first one, because that was the last one I made.
Kurt Elster: Okay.
Paul Reda: So, it’s like I feel like that’s gonna be confusing for the store owner. I would like to rearrange the order in which metafields appear on the product listing.
Kurt Elster: So, we have two feature requests related to metafields.
Paul Reda: That was my exact feature request. Shopify, please do that.
Kurt Elster: We got a question from Liz Watson.
Paul Reda: “I would love to know if you have some up-to-date resources on Google ads.” She wants to double down but can’t find anything published later than 2019. She wants to tweak her shopping search and retargeting campaigns.
Kurt Elster: Okay, so this is a wildly flippant response, but I Googled Google AdWords 2020 and Google AdWords 2021, and I found several recent and up-to-date resources. So, it’s not that I don’t think you couldn’t have done the same thing. Based on finding that and your question, I suspect you may be at a point where you got… You should consider hiring out for this. Where you’re running into the limits of your own skillset, is what it sounded like to me.
Paul Reda: Okay. Well, that’s mean.
Kurt Elster: No, I wasn’t. It wasn’t supposed to be mean. Well, that’s another common question we get is like, “How do I know when to hire out?” And I think this is one of those situations.
Paul Reda: Well, and if she’s searching for stuff and she’s like, “Well, none of this is new and it’s stuff I already know.” Now you gotta hire someone smarter than you.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Yeah. That’s I think the other issue with a lot of-
Paul Reda: I mean, that’s what we do. When we have to do something, we don’t know how to do, we just hire-
Kurt Elster: I need someone smarter than me.
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: No shame in that. I wasn’t being mean! I’m sorry, Liz. I mean, like based on that question, you already know more about AdWords than I do.
Paul Reda: Daniel Mendes, “What is your process when you structure the content layout for landing pages? Thanks, Kurt Paul.”
Kurt Elster: What’s up, Kurt Paul?
Paul Reda: Yeah. Kurt Paul. He’s an actor. Kurt Paul. I think it’s you just… It’s just diminishing importance of the stuff.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. It’s such an open-ended question, like what goes in a landing page? I don’t know, how much does a car cost? It’s kind of one of those, “It depends,” questions.
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: But if I’m thinking of this in terms of like a traditional sales page type landing page, then my favorite format is the one laid out by Sean D’Souza in his book, The Brain Audit, and it’s step one, agitate the pain, where you describe to them the problem that they’re having that your product solves. Paint a picture of a better future. What would life be like without that pain is paragraph two. Paragraph three, present your solution. And then paragraph four I think is like social proof. I don’t… There’s seven of these things. But there’s like social proof, and risk reversal. If you even just did that approach, that works really well.
But that could be in… You can present that. That format will work in a video. That format works as headlines. It works as longer paragraphs. That, and you don’t have to all of it, but when you do that stuff, depending… It is not gonna work for everything, like if I’m just selling Robocop t-shirts, this isn’t gonna work, right? And I’m sure some people have seen those Instagram ads.
Paul Reda: Is the pain or problem I don’t have enough Robocop t-shirts?
Kurt Elster: I currently own zero Robocop t-shirts.
Paul Reda: Which is shocking to me.
Kurt Elster: I have owned Robocop t-shirts in the past.
Paul Reda: All right. I just have one addition to that. I mean, I’m thinking about it in terms of a product page, I guess, and not a landing page, which is what he asked, but I think there should still be like a, “You could buy this right now,” ability right at the top of the page. Because this is like part… If this is part of a remarketing campaign, this is not cold traffic, these are new people.
Kurt Elster: Sticky product form.
Paul Reda: They might already be sold. I hate sticky things, though. They take up so much screen real estate.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. They eat up the viewport real quick.
Paul Reda: Especially on phones. Holy geez. Yeah. Up top, I want a quick little, “Oh, you just want to buy this right now? Buy it right now. I’m not gonna make you scroll down through 5,000 pixels worth of jabber before I let you buy it.” And then it becomes like, “All right, what’s the most likely reason they didn’t buy yet?” And then address that. And then, “Okay, what’s the most likely reason they didn’t buy after that?” Address that. And you just kind of work your way down busting objections as they go farther down the page.
Kurt Elster: I like that idea.
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. And there’s no… You know, it’s very tough.
Paul Reda: It’s not a thing you’re gonna know unless… You know, obviously you have your value proposition that you’ve defined for your product, but you really can’t dial it in and do it perfectly and just whip it out whenever you want without knowing what the actual buyers thought about before they bought it.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. How you think about your product, turns out rarely what your buyers think.
Paul Reda: Like you have no idea. You actually have no idea what the top objection is. You think you know what it is, and you might be right, but you could be wrong, too.
Kurt Elster: That’s right. You gotta mine your live chat, talk to people, surveys.
Paul Reda: Yeah, you got post-purchase surveys, that sort of stuff, so you gotta know what decisions you need to trip in order to get people to do it. Anthony Watts, “How do you promote subscriptions without getting pushy?” Uh, get pushy.
Kurt Elster: Yeah.
Paul Reda: Define pushy. Sell people on it. Isn’t advertising pushy?
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Anytime someone would say like, “Well, I don’t want to be pushy.” Then you probably should not-
Paul Reda: They’re not gonna make it.
Kurt Elster: … be in marketing. You go with the… Marketing is in itself a little bit shameless in a best-case scenario, so define how… What level of shameless you’re comfortable with. Add 10% on that. Make yourself a little uncomfortable. And then go with that. But I think subscriptions are notoriously hard to sell because people understand it’s a much bigger commitment. It’s no longer a one-time purchase of 20 bucks. I’m now committing to giving you 20 bucks for the rest of forever in my head.
And so, I really think subscriptions are largely about convenience and being there at the right time. So, if I wanted to sell subscriptions without being pushy, the way I would do it is really by just following up consistently via email, so probably a Klaviyo flow, to people who have purchased in the past whatever product I’m offering on subscription. I think that’s the solution.
Paul Reda: This is a thing we talked about yesterday we were looking into a subscription box for someone. I feel like it’s really important that once you’ve done it for two months, you’ve already been running the subscription box, you gotta have on that page previous subscribers got, “Here’s what was in the box in March. Here’s what was in the box in April.” I want an idea of what I’m going to be getting for my money. Like an actual defined thing, not just like, “A fun bag of stuff every month.” Well, I don’t know, what’s a fun bag of stuff? You just send me marbles? Tell me exactly what I’m gonna be getting.
Kurt Elster: Do you have any subscriptions or subscription boxes? Like a physical good subscription?
Paul Reda: No. Never.
Kurt Elster: Okay. I have… We have our Hello Fresh, which really, we only got back into that when we stopped eating meat and we didn’t know what to eat, and so in that case, it solved a pain or problem for us. And that’s why we did the subscription. Outside of that, I’ve tried to do these convenience subscriptions where it’s like, “Oh, you’re gonna get coffee,” or I’m gonna subscribe and save to cat litter, and I never get the timing right. I always feel like I’ve got too much of the stuff, or too little, and so I always cancel it. I think subscriptions are really hard.
So, if you’re having trouble with it, I wouldn’t beat yourself up over it. I think it’s the nature of the beast.
Paul Reda: I think part of the magic of the classic subscription box like Bark Box and what was the makeup one?
Kurt Elster: Oh, I don’t remember.
Paul Reda: Part of the magic of those is like you’re getting a fun little surprise every month, and like who knows what it’s gonna be, but it’s gonna be great. But as part of the convincing them that it’s going to be a fun surprise every month, you gotta show them what came in the previous months, so they go, “Oh, that would be nice to get every month.” And not just like, “Trust me. Give me 20 bucks. Trust me.”
Kurt Elster: Yeah, this is one where you gotta lean on social proof and past wins if you’re doing one of those traditional boxes. I like doing a subscription box… We’ll move on from subscription boxes soon. I like the idea of doing it around a social theme. So, I saw one, was introduced to one yesterday by you and Jake Starr from Recycled Firefighter, the Burn Box, which is you pay a monthly fee and then you get a product or products from firefighter-owned businesses specifically. So, it’s like, “All right, I’m getting a cool thing that I like. I’m also supporting a cause or a person that I like.” I think that’s the other way to go around it.
Paul Reda: Yeah, and then you get like a firehouse sub that’s been sitting in a box for five days.
Kurt Elster: I don’t think they were sending sandwiches.
Paul Reda: Liz Watson is back. “Any advice on product demo videos? We have very short ones just showing what the product is like and getting it out of the box for 15 seconds. We are trying to work out whether we add in explainer videos straight to the camera talking about the product and what it can be used for that are friendly, or is it better to go with a lifestyle polished video?” Por que no dos?
Kurt Elster: Excellent espanol, Paul. I greatly enjoyed it. I’m sorry, Pablo. Well-
Paul Reda: Why not both?
Kurt Elster: Yeah. You’re absolutely right. Why not both? Probably just because the effort involved in producing the videos, in which case I’d say knock it down to your top three products, start there, and then just expand to the top 10% of your product catalog. But all right, if you really want, I liked your answer. When I looked at this question, my immediate thought was produce both videos for your top product, put them both on the page, and then I’m using Google Optimize to test which one performs best. Because you know what? I absolutely… I love Google Optimize.
The answer is always, “Test…” Oh man. Wrong one. I hit the wrong… Test it. Test it. Use Google. All right. I’m gonna lay down.
Paul Reda: Well, my thought, that’s a better thought. First of all, you could just know what the better answer is right there. All you do is just make two videos. Pick one product. Make the friendly video and then make the cool video. And Google Optimize split test one and see which one sells more. My thought process is as a rule of thumb, the closer they’re getting to the purchase moment, you want the friendlier video. So, I think the cool stylish lifestyle polished video, that’s on like your homepage, but on the product page, we’re now your friend and we’re showing you how this can improve your life.
Kurt Elster: Or you put the lifestyle video on the collection page, too. Could work.
Paul Reda: Yeah. Lifestyle page and the collection page. Yeah. What I’m saying is I think on the product page, I’ve already been kind of sold that I’m now intrigued by this, and now let’s let the rubber hit the road and actually learn some real shit about it.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Give me the specs.
Paul Reda: The hard specs. Whereas farther away from the purchase moment, you need to convince me to even be more interested in this. I just pulled that out of my ass, though, so just Google Optimize split test it and prove me wrong.
Kurt Elster: Split test it’s always the answer.
Paul Reda: Love split testing so much.
Kurt Elster: Andrew Paul has two separate questions. Number one… Actually, here. I’m gonna give this one to you. Number two, “You’ve mentioned having advertisements, promotions lead to dedicated landing pages.” All right. Yeah, we talked about that. “We regularly host sales on specific collections.” Okay. “How would you suggest creating a dedicated sales page for a collection that converts well without messing with theme code, i.e. duplicating templates?”
Paul Reda: You don’t. You don’t. You either get to have a cool, dedicated sales page on your collection listing, or you don’t mess with your collection listing. You can’t have a cool, dedicated, special collection listing page, and not also change it. I don’t know what you want from me.
Kurt Elster: You could build… Yeah, I think no matter what, you’re messing with theme templates and code.
Paul Reda: Yeah. Make a new template and if you… I mean, you could make all your collection pages look this way if you want to, which is fine by me, but I mean, it’s not gonna be like a special dedicated-
Kurt Elster: Well, this also, I mean this really depends on… we don’t know what he’s trying to do. And so, if it’s like a special, “Oh, we have a dedicated flash sale page,” it sounds like.
Paul Reda: I’ll just tell you right now. The standard collection template, all it has is the collection title, you get like a banner image, and then you get the collection description, and then it’s a grid of products. If you want more than that on a collection page, you gotta make a new collection page.
Kurt Elster: An alternate collection template.
Paul Reda: Yeah. Or you gotta make a separate page in Zipify or whatever or hire someone to make a page template and set it all out.
Kurt Elster: If I want this thing to really pop, really the only… In this specific scenario, I think the only thing I need here is a countdown timer indicating that this sale is temporary and going to end, and I could probably just jam that into the collection description.
Kurt Elster: Aha! I’m gonna use a free service I love called Sendtric. S-E-N-D-T-R-I-C. It will generate a styled countdown timer for me using by… It just makes an animated .gif counting down based on when it was loaded. And then I just put that image right into my collection description. Boom.
Paul Reda: That is gross.
Kurt Elster: Oh, no. It works so well. It’s clean. It’s straightforward.
Paul Reda: I would-
Kurt Elster: It works.
Paul Reda: Gross. But no, I love the idea, dude, but yeah, edit your theme templates. You’re not gonna get around this problem without editing a template. Sorry.
Kurt Elster: Well, and he didn’t want to duplicate templates. That one’s not bad. Like Out of the Sandbox has an article on how to do it. It has a screencast video showing you how. I promise, if you’re gonna start with theme editing, which is scary, I get it, this is the task to try it with.
Paul Reda: But I’m just saying in terms of a collection template, what he really wants is a page template. He doesn’t want a collection template. But if he does want to do a collection template, he’s gonna have to make a duplicate and hack the shit out of it. Because the current collection template gives you four things. There you go. You get your four things.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Or throw a landing page builder at it.
Paul Reda: Yeah, exactly. But he also wanted to know about the opportunity of mega menus. Can you give an explain-it-to-a-five-year-old definition of a mega menu and any examples of sites doing it really well? A mega menu is just when you hover over the main navigation, there’s like a dropdown, but instead of it being five text links, it’s a giant, full screen block of like multiple lists of text links, or images, or straight up product listings and stuff like that. The hover dropdown in your menu is a big, wide thing with a bunch of cool shit in it. That’s a mega menu.
I’ve explained it to the five-year-old.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. The difference is a standard menu is a list and if we’re fancy, occasionally it has sublists in it. The mega menu, meaning we took that same concept and now we really designed the heck out of it with like it has its own little custom layouts, it’s like cards that open, that show you what’s available as opposed to just a text list.
Paul Reda: Okay.
Kurt Elster: The other half of that question was any examples of sites doing it really well. I don’t know. My brain’s fried on that one. I don’t know. Huckberry?
Paul Reda: Asutra’s got a nice one. Adam’s has a good one.
Kurt Elster: Adam’s Polishes. Asutra.com.
Paul Reda: Asutra.com.
Kurt Elster: Check out Huckberry’s is really like… It opens and it’s a series of nicely laid out lists. It’s a pretty straightforward mega menu. You could build something similar in a modern theme, like Turbo or Flex.
Paul Reda: Nathan James. Free shipping. “We offer free shipping. We’re contemplating adding a minimum threshold for free shipping. Any orders under the threshold will pay a small fee, like five bucks. Our concern is that could push customers to instead purchase from Amazon where shipping is free and blah, blah, blah. Are we overthinking this?” Well, I mean, I assume you’re doing it, you’re adding the minimum threshold because you’re gonna lose money on the order, and if the alternative to I don’t want to lose money on the order but then they might go to Amazon… Well, you don’t want them to buy where you lose money on it, so who cares?
And I mean, yeah, minimum shipping threshold, that’s fine.
Kurt Elster: Well, I think they’re thinking of it in terms of total top line revenue as a function of average order value. The idea being that if I have a higher free shipping threshold, that increases my average order value and my overall revenue. He’s saying like, “Okay, my total number of orders won’t change but my average order value will drop.” And I think that thinking is dangerous because the chances are your total number… Your average order value may drop but your total number of orders will probably go up. Because we have lowered the barrier to entry.
Shipping, unexpected shipping cost is the thing that gets people to abandon checkouts.
Paul Reda: But I don’t think he has. He’s already giving free shipping. He’s just now gonna put in a threshold for free shipping. Now you have to order… He’s currently doing free shipping for everyone and now he’s thinking like, “Okay, you gotta be higher than 10 bucks to get free shipping.” And he’s worried that that’ll make people mad and leave.
And what I’m saying is if on orders less than 10 bucks or whatever the number is… He says to protect our margins. Well, if your margin is getting eliminated, those were shitty people that were costing you money anyways, so who cares if they leave?
Kurt Elster: Yeah, good point. Yeah. I misunderstood. You’re right. The free shipping threshold is zero dollars currently and they’re saying, “Hey, should we just raise it and everything below that is just a flat fixed cost of five bucks?” And the answer is yes.
Paul Reda: Yeah. The answer is yes, do that.
Kurt Elster: That would be very typical. And even like okay, if you’re at zero now and this freaks you out, move it to $25. I bet it makes zero difference. But really, like I would look at your average order value now and use your average order value as your guiding light. Whatever the AOV is, that becomes your free shipping threshold.
Paul Reda: Well, that leads us into our next question from Tariq Ahmed. “After analyzing a year’s worth of shipping data, we’ve realized we can reduce our minimum order threshold for free shipping significantly. We can cut it from 150 bucks to 75 bucks to get free shipping,” which holy shit, what are you selling that it’s 150 bucks to get free shipping? Geez.
“I’m worried that we’ll see an AOV drop without a commensurate increase in orders. How do we determine if lowering our shipping threshold is the right move?” I recall there was a rule of thumb at this that your free shipping threshold should be like five bucks more than your average order value, and then that pays off in the end because people will buy another 10 bucks of stuff to just get over the free shipping.
Kurt Elster: Yes.
Paul Reda: But that might be wrong. Oh no, that’s the thing you should do?
Kurt Elster: Yes.
Paul Reda: All right.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Again. Use that average order value.
Paul Reda: There’s the answer for everyone.
Kurt Elster: And yeah, the 150 freaked you out. Tactical Baby Gear, the free shipping threshold is 100 bucks. It’s 99.
Paul Reda: Well, but you’re not walking out of there.
Kurt Elster: But yeah, their products are about 100 bucks.
Paul Reda: Their flagship products are like 100 bucks. I mean, they do sell stuff that’s only like 15, but they’re like accessories.
Kurt Elster: Yeah.
Paul Reda: All right, so wait, so let’s just… I like-
Kurt Elster: You know there’s an app to figure this out.
Paul Reda: Okay.
Kurt Elster: ShipScout it’s called. I’ve used it. It works as advertised. You have to be on Plus. At least when I used it, it required Plus, and it absolutely worked to let you split test free shipping thresholds. Now, there’s other ways to split test free shipping thresholds inside Google Optimize, but none is great. None is like really clean. And I wouldn’t necessarily trust the data. I think this is one of those things if you’re on Plus, use ShipScout to figure it out. If you’re not on Plus, just use your AOV as your guide and compare months and take it with a grain of salt.
Paul Reda: Let’s go with more than a month, but… So, I like walking away with an actionable rule of thumb that we’re gonna start with, that’s like our first… Our initial thought. So, our initial thought is take whatever your average order value is, add five bucks, 10%, do you have an idea?
Kurt Elster: $5 or 10%. It should be a round number.
Paul Reda: Okay. $5 or 10%. And that is now your free shipping threshold. If your average order value is 50 bucks, your free shipping threshold is now 55 bucks. And that will nudge everyone to spend a little bit more and it raises your average order value.
Kurt Elster: Yes.
Paul Reda: And unlike Nathan, you’re not gonna get killed on your margins getting slaughtered by people making low revenue purchases.
Kurt Elster: Both cameras just stopped.
Paul Reda: Okay. Well, bye YouTube.
Kurt Elster: Bye! Bye, YouTube. Okay. Yeah. Let’s wrap it up there, fine sir.
Paul Reda: All right, that sounds good.
Kurt Elster: All right. Bye, Paul.
Paul Reda: All right, bye.