The Unofficial Shopify Podcast

Black Friday 2020 Data Download

Episode Summary

Unpacking Shopify's $2.4bn Black Friday

Episode Notes

From the start of Black Friday in New Zealand through the end of Black Friday in California, Shopify merchants saw a 75% increase in sales from Black Friday in 2019. By 8:00am EST, merchants on Shopify collectively had crossed $1 billion in sales.

“We’re thrilled with the Black Friday sales generated by the businesses on Shopify. In just a single day, merchants around the world produced more than 80% of the sales of the entire holiday shopping weekend last year,” said Harley Finkelstein, President of Shopify.

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Episode Transcription

The Unofficial Shopify Podcast
BFCM 2020

Paul Reda: You gotta have a timer so it sets the camera or something.

Kurt Elster: Hey, Siri. Set a timer for 30 minutes.

Paul Reda: So our files aren’t over 4 gigs.

Kurt Elster: All right. I got this one running. All right. You’re locked and loaded. How is-

Paul Reda: We’re back!

Kurt Elster: We’re back. Oh God.

Paul Reda: I haven’t seen you in what, like two months?

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Well, it’s been so much-

Paul Reda: We’ve been locked.

Kurt Elster: We’ve been heads down, doing work!

Paul Reda: Yeah. It’s frickin’ Overlander, man. That’s been the only thing we’ve cared about for the last two months.

Kurt Elster: We worked on a huge project. It’s called Overlander. It’s a Shopify store. I designed it myself. Paul did all of the theme development with only like 1% a little bit of help on a few items from various app support.

Paul Reda: Yeah. Don’t-

Kurt Elster: Karl.

Paul Reda: Don’t negate Karl. Karl’s an integral… He’s a cog in the machine, man. We need Karl.

Kurt Elster: Karl Meisterheim is a JavaScript wizard, and anytime anything is painful with JavaScript, we’re like, “Put Karl on it!”

Paul Reda: Yep.

Kurt Elster: The man gets his own song. That’s… You know you’re good with JavaScript when they sing songs about your people.

Paul Reda: Yeah. We’re just like, “I could struggle with this or I could put Karl on it.”

Kurt Elster: Put Karl on it! Gonna need that as a sound drop soon. Anyway, It was this big, cool partnership where AutoAnything, established team, is providing inventory and fulfillment. They’re the owners. And Andrew Youderian from eCommerceFuel was project lead. A famous gentleman within the eCommerce circle. It’s true!

Paul Reda: A famous gentleman.

Kurt Elster: He is. Yes. Well, he’s a popular guy. And we did all the theme development, the store setup, and all that stuff, and the… Who else? Oh, and of course, it has a ton of amazing content. They have a content partner, Expedition Overland, so the site… We’re always saying, “Hey, you need video. Do video. Oh my gosh, do video.” They went above and beyond and so, like all the major key collections have videos that talk you through like, “Here’s the best gear.” Many of the products have it. They’ve got this really cool hero video. It’s very cool. It’s very video heavy. I like that site a lot.

How’d you build that thing? What’s that on?

Paul Reda: WordPress and Drupal.

Kurt Elster: Oh my God! Ah! Oh! WordPress.

Soundbite: Ew!

Paul Reda: ColdFusion?

Soundbite: Ew!

Kurt Elster: I’m gonna break the “Ew!” button!

Paul Reda: I just got feelings about those videos because I’m the only man in the world that understands aspect ratios.

Kurt Elster: Aren’t they in 16 by 10?

Paul Reda: They’re not. No.

Kurt Elster: What ratio are those in?

Paul Reda: They shot them in 2.35, which is what… They shot them in anamorphic, which is like if you’re shooting a movie today, like a pro movie and you’re like, “This movie is gonna be wider than normal,” that is what they shot them in.

Kurt Elster: So, you’re like, “Okay, Christopher Nolan. This has gotta go on my iPad.”

Paul Reda: Here’s the thing. Christopher Nolan likes shooting IMAX. IMAX is also much more squarish than what they shot. That’s not even what Christopher Nolan does.

Kurt Elster: So, if you were to advise people, “Hey, stop messing around with aspect ratios, because trying to…” Anytime we talk about aspect ratios and cropping images, like it just goes nuts.

Paul Reda: No one understands it. They’re always just-

Kurt Elster: And video, same problem. What would be the recommended aspect ratio?

Paul Reda: Well, I mean, well, it depends on the slot it’s going on.

Kurt Elster: Oh, okay.

Paul Reda: Because I mean, you know, phones are skyscraper, so it’s sort of like if it’s a mobile video, you kind of almost want it to be skyscraper.

Kurt Elster: I like for mobile, if it were like on a webpage, I like square.

Paul Reda: Yeah. Square, also a good idea. No reason you couldn’t just still be shooting 4x3 square. Also known as Academy ratio. We can go into this if you want.

Kurt Elster: Oh, boy. I’m not ready.

Paul Reda: But yeah, everything defaults to 16x9. 99 times out of 100, we get stuff comes to us as 16x9. Other than these dudes, who decided they were shooting Ben Hur about their car parts.

Kurt Elster: You know, I wonder if they’re shooting on a Red…

Paul Reda: Yeah, I mean you said that they have an Amazon show? Amazon Prime show?

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Oh no, they’re… the real deal.

Paul Reda: Yeah, so I’m guessing they just used the same team they’re using to shoot the Amazon show, and I don’t know, maybe the Amazon show is shot super widescreen, as well.

Kurt Elster: It could be.

Paul Reda: Even though I-

Kurt Elster: Because it’s supposed to be like big, beautiful-

Paul Reda: But I’m telling you, it’s even wider than the normal movie ratio. It’s not at Ben Hur or How the West Was Won level, but it’s pretty frickin’ wide.

Kurt Elster: But yeah, check out Overlander. And especially if you have a Jeep, Tacoma, Tundra, 4Runner, I think those are the initial vehicles that we’re supporting at launch. But that… It’s a really cool example of a drop shipping website with private label stuff and phenomenal content. Very proud of it.

Paul Reda: Yeah. No, we are.

Kurt Elster: Came out really… It’s very strong.

Paul Reda: Yeah. If you look at it and you see any problems, feel free to NOT contact us, because I don’t want to look at that site for at least a month, because it’s all I’ve looked at.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Oh. Yeah, you get to that stage where it’s like, “I can’t.” You close your eyes, and you see it. Like, “No more. Make it stop.”

Paul Reda: Yeah. I mean, for the last four days, we’re recording this on Cyber Monday, the day you’re allowed to buy things online. Usually, you’re not allowed to buy things online, but today’s the one day. I haven’t done any work for four days and it’s honestly insane to me.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. We went to Michigan and stayed in a cabin for Thanksgiving, and the cabin had no internet, and I was relieved. I was pretty thrilled. I had… My phone worked, but the cabin itself did not have internet.

Paul Reda: Yeah. Maybe… Might have to question your timing there, Lou, because it was kind of the biggest four days of the year for our entire business and you were just like, “FYI guys, going to where no one can talk to me. Bye!” And you just left, and everyone freaked out.

Kurt Elster: Ah, they freak out every year. Last year I went to Disney World for a week.

Paul Reda: That’s right. They do freak out. So, no matter what you do, they’d freak out.

Kurt Elster: Yeah, so in my head I was like, “Well, last year we went to Thanksgiving for a week. This year, I’m only leaving for 3 days. This’ll be fine.” And it just happened to coincide with this big brand launch.

All right. Did you buy anything over Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or take advantage of any deals?

Paul Reda: No.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. I weirdly also-

Paul Reda: I bought nothing.

Kurt Elster: All our Christmas shopping, we did it in October. You know, I like to cite that stat that’s like 20% of… I forgot what it was. But it’s like 20% of people start in October, and many finish before Thanksgiving, which was why I’m always like, “Maybe run a sale earlier.” And yeah, no, we already… It’s all done. We did it.

Paul Reda: I’ve completed my… I think I’ve completed my Christmas shopping for my wife. I think all of Emily’s gifts have been purchased. They are currently shipping to the house as we speak. Maybe she’ll get one more thing. I don’t know.

Kurt Elster: LEGO had a rare sale. A lot of items were 20% off. You know that Steamboat Willie LEGO set that’s like way overpriced?

Paul Reda: Oh yeah, it’s crazy. It’s like not even that many pieces.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. It’s for the number of pieces-

Paul Reda: I’m sure Disney really hammered them on the licensing.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Oh, I’m sure they’re brutal. No, LEGO had a bunch of stuff 20% off, so that was a Black Friday purchase. And I bought on Oculus Quest 2 at full retail.

Paul Reda: Also, the Steamboat Willie set is like, “This block is white. This block is grey. This block is a different grey.”

Kurt Elster: It’s pretty monochrome. Yeah. Well, it’s from a black and white cartoon.

Paul Reda: No, all I did, honestly… Well, I take that back. I did buy… I bought two games on the Steam summer sale, so that’s it. I bought two computer games.

Kurt Elster: I bought a few Quest games.

Paul Reda: And I bought one computer game two weeks ago, early access, full price, which I never do, but I saw a YouTube video of it, and I was like, “I need to have this game.”

Kurt Elster: What’s the game?

Paul Reda: It’s called Teardown.

Kurt Elster: Oh. You were into that.

Paul Reda: It’s honestly… I can’t remember the last time I loved a game this much.

Kurt Elster: That’s quite the endorsement.

Paul Reda: Yeah. It’s incredibly, incredibly fun. And like I’m so into it and I already beat it, and so I’m re… I was like, “I want more content about this game I enjoy. I want to read about it, or news, or people talking about it.” So, then I made the mistake of reading forums about it.

Kurt Elster: Oh, no!

Paul Reda: And it’s just the worst shit you’ve ever heard in your life.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. You never want to read the comments.

Paul Reda: So, the game’s like a heist game, where it’s like you do all this stuff where you set up your heist, and then you have 60 seconds in order to complete it. That’s literally the game. Literally the game is a 60-second race with an infinite amount of setup time before that you can choose to use however you want. But yeah, all the forum stuff was like, “Is this game like a timer game? I would like it, but I don’t like the part where it’s like there’s a time limit.” It’s like, “That’s the game. The game is the time limit. If there was not a time limit, what is the point?”

Kurt Elster: Internet comments, reviews, forums, you shouldn’t use it to inform an opinion, because it’s such… like just a vocal minority often-

Paul Reda: Yeah. I just sit there reading them-

Kurt Elster: And had you just read that, would you have bought that game?

Paul Reda: Well, no. Well, those idiots had no thing, because I watched… There’s a game developer I like a lot. He made some YouTube videos playing it, because he was in the beta, and he’s like, “This game is awesome.” And it was just videos of him playing it and I was like, “Yeah, this sold me.” But yeah, no. The forum… I just sit there, I’m like, “Please, I hope the makers of this don’t listen to the forum people in any way whatsoever.”

Because they’re like, “The timer’s too hard.” It’s like, “No, actually the timer is perfect, because if you do it correctly, and figure it out, you finish by the barest skin of your teeth every time,” and it’s like frantic and fun. It’s so much fun.

Kurt Elster: So, this is The Unofficial Shopify Podcast. I’m your host, Kurt Elster. I am joined today by my cohost, Paul Reda, who is the uncredited coinventor of Festivus, according to me. And-

Paul Reda: Did you write that? Are you real proud of yourself for writing that?

Kurt Elster: You know, I try and write something every time and that one’s not my strongest.

Paul Reda: No, it’s not.

Kurt Elster: You have a better one?

Paul Reda: No.

Kurt Elster: No?

Paul Reda: I just don’t do things I’m not good at.

Kurt Elster: Oh my God! I need to lie down. That was painful. So, today we are gonna discuss a Black Friday data download. We have Black Friday data from Adobe Analytics, some retail news source, from Shopify, and from 10 merchants, so we’re gonna go through and we’re gonna unpack the data. We’ll see where that takes us and then depending on how long we go on that, we may or may not do a teardown. No promises.

Okay, well, in housekeeping notes, our holiday email guide this year, the 2020 holiday email guide outsold the previous three years combined. I’m pretty proud of that. And it really… It was doing early bird pricing. That was like the magic. So, if you’re considering an email promo for yourself, or a product launch really, try doing that early bird pricing, because it gives you… It creates legitimate urgency, because no one wants to wait and pay more. So, I really… I like that strategy a lot. And clearly it worked for us.

Paul Reda: Yeah, people got scared. They wanted to lock in the low prices. And I think that’s a great way of doing it, was locking in low prices.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. It’s such a great motivator. It works. And it’s better than like someone… You know, the early adopter pays full price and then you discount it. It’s better like, “All right, you showed up early. You get rewarded for it in the form of a discount.”

Paul Reda: Yeah. Yeah, that is a good way of doing it.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. I’m completely converted to early bird pricing. It makes so much more sense.

Paul Reda: Well, the other way is that the early adopters were gonna buy it anyway, and like they needed it. It’s like everyone buying a PS5 now. So, it’s like you could charge whatever you want, because those dodos were gonna buy it no matter what.

Kurt Elster: I see. Also, okay, yeah. Well, scalpers. Scalpers are a big problem there.

Paul Reda: That’s the problem with that. Yeah. Also, you called out, I saw on Twitter Andy Bedell, KeySmart genius Andy Bedell, for not extending his sale and then sending out an email that was just like, “The sale ends at midnight. We’re not kidding. It will end at midnight. We’re not gonna do some BS about how the sale’s been extended. If you wait until after midnight, there will be no more sale.”

Kurt Elster: It was a really good email.

Paul Reda: Yeah. It was a great email.

Kurt Elster: It was plain text and it said, “This sale…” It’s like, “This sale doesn’t extend.” And because everybody assumes like, “Oh, I can wait, because they’ll just keep running that sale.” Or, “I can ask customer service for the coupon code or whatever.” And so, you get… Because so many people have used false urgency and false scarcity, there’s the assumption that it will be true of all sales. And yeah, he had this wonderful plain text email that was like, “We’re for real ending the sale at this time,” and then it was like, “Here’s just a list, an unordered list.” Like, “Okay, this is 25% off. This bundle’s 20 off.” Whatever it was.

That worked really well.

Paul Reda: Yeah. No, it was great.

Kurt Elster: No. No, I don’t even want to bring up the specter of another lockdown.

Paul Reda: Oh, there’s not gonna be another lockdown. No way.

Kurt Elster: You don’t think so?

Paul Reda: No, because there’s no… No one in the government has the balls to do it.

Kurt Elster: Just because if there were another lockdown and it were in some way enforced, I would assume that would be a boom for eCommerce.

Paul Reda: There would. I assume so. Again, like we saw in the spring, but I just don’t think… There’s no political will to do it anymore. And you know, it’s not like the Senate’s gonna be sending anyone money, either. So, you know, whatever it’s been like the last two months, we’re just gonna muddle that way through for the rest of the time. That’s what I think.

Kurt Elster: I don’t know what to think.

Paul Reda: I think stuff… I think it’s really gonna blow up after the vaccine starts getting handed out.

Kurt Elster: What do you mean?

Paul Reda: I mean, like call me being optimistic, like I hope I’m not being too optimistic, but I think everyone’s gonna be really happy. I think everyone’s gonna be going out. I think restaurants are gonna blow up. I think it’ll be just a renewed era of good feelings, and I think during that time period, I still think online sales will be up, because everyone will be getting their jobs back. The economy’s gonna be getting going again and people are gonna be buying stuff again.

Kurt Elster: My personal anecdotal experience says that’s totally plausible. Because we went to this cabin for 72 hours only to come back and have all five people in my household absolutely thrilled and still riding the high of we left our house.

Paul Reda: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Because I’ve been in my house since March.

Paul Reda: You’re on the leading edge of not leaving your house.

Kurt Elster: I am terrified of outsiders. Stay away from me. Anyone who gets within 10 feet gets pepper sprayed.

Paul Reda: I know.

Kurt Elster: That’s my social distancing policy.

Paul Reda: Yeah. Every time I come to the door I’m waiting to get screamed at.

Kurt Elster: We get the temperature gun out, start scanning. All right, so we got some data, so we’re gonna drill down on data here. I’m going with like the national trends with retail data, then Shopify’s data, and then our own. Does that make sense?

All right. Paul, I know you’re excited, but calm down. Gonna dive into this data.

Paul Reda: Okay. Read your press release.

Kurt Elster: All right. Well, no. This is from… A lot of this is from Adobe Analytics, but all right, so in-store visits dropped 52% year over year, which that’s what we expected. That’s not a bad thing. That is calibrated strategy. That’s the hurt that’s supposed to happen. And instead, we have people spending 22% more nationwide on Black Friday, so it was $9 billion in retail sales this year. Last year was $7.4 billion, making Friday assuredly the biggest shopping day of 2020.

So, nothing unexpected there, and Thanksgiving itself, though, traffic to stores down 95%. So, let’s assume… Well, what happens next year I think is the question. Are they gonna start this crap again where the Black Friday sales start on Thanksgiving and stores are open on Thanksgiving?

Paul Reda: I mean, the backlash to that was already forming for the last two years. People didn’t like it. So, I get the feeling it’ll-

Kurt Elster: I don’t think that one’ll come back.

Paul Reda: Well, I don’t think it’ll come back to where it was like 2017 levels, but I think it’ll come back from down 95%.

Kurt Elster: Okay, so it’ll be a mixed bag.

Paul Reda: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: And so, we’re recording this on Monday, but Adobe expects Monday to be the largest Cyber Monday, largest online sales day in U.S. history, with an estimated spending of $10.8 to $12.7 billion. Whew! That is a spicy meatball. And they said naturally big retailers like Walmart and Target benefitted, but small did as well. Sales at big stores surged 400% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday compared to the daily average in October. Sales at smaller retailers also grew 350%. I don’t know that we had like our stores specifically doing 350% more over the previous year. And then that… Well, that’s the-

Paul Reda: Compared to the daily average in October.

Kurt Elster: Oh, okay. Our stats were year over year.

Paul Reda: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Okay, so that’s probably correct.

Paul Reda: Yeah, I could see that.

Kurt Elster: That feels right.

Paul Reda: I could see that.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. All right, that gets us through our Adobe Analytics data, which is what… Any of the news sources you hear, any of the news articles, I went through a whole bunch of them, they pretty much all cited the same Adobe press release. So, that’s where those figures are coming from.

All right, so Shopify itself does this cool thing, they do a live map, and they show you like here are the number, this is current revenue across all of Shopify by the minute. And I’ll put the link up for that. I don’t know if it’ll still be live, but it’s Anyway, according to that data, Shopify’s own data and then their subsequent press release, $2.4 billion in Black Friday sales globally. 75% up over the previous year. So, that’s network wide on Shopify is the standard growth, 75% up. So, I’ll be curious to see how this compares with our own sample of client stores.

New York, London, L.A., top-selling cities worldwide on Black Friday. Top-selling country, U.S., U.K., Canada. I don’t think there’s any surprise there.

Paul Reda: I mean, those are the places that have Black Friday.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. That’s where Black Friday lives. But again, just points to it… The in-store sales have just shifted online. Mobile sales, 67% compared to 33% of sales made on desktop, so it’s two out of three are on mobile. All right, pretty good. Hope you got those dynamic checkout buttons set up.

Paul Reda: I think that’s interesting in that when we know… I mean, it just goes back to this is like the main congenital problem we have an issue with, is that we know that 85% of the traffic is on mobile.

Kurt Elster: Yes.

Paul Reda: So then, like 85% of the traffic is on mobile, but it’s only 67% of the sales.

Kurt Elster: Yeah, and last year-

Paul Reda: So, it’s just like-

Kurt Elster: And last year it was higher. It was 69%.

Paul Reda: So, it’s just like that continuing issue of conversion rate on mobile is just congenitally lower than it is on desktop. And we still haven’t figured-

Kurt Elster: Who, no one wants to type in their credit card.

Paul Reda: We still haven’t figured out how to fix it. Like we add, we do so much to try and fix it, and we can never get it to parity.

Kurt Elster: I think we just need a long-form letter when you land on the site that’s like, “Look, we know shopping on mobile sucks. We promise it’s better now. It’s 2020. 2021. And just give it a shot. Please, just try dynamic checkout buttons.”

Paul Reda: Yeah. I don’t know what to do about it.

Kurt Elster: I mean, Apple Pay makes it so easy.

Paul Reda: Well, and I think the other… I mean, if I get really nuts and if I had nothing to do, what I would do is one of the issues, and we searched this out. There was an old podcast episode where we talked about it, I know it was this year, was that so much people use Instagram and Facebook on their phones.

Kurt Elster: Yeah.

Paul Reda: That’s top of funnel traffic. They’re on their phone on Instagram and Facebook. They hit the website. They’re at the top of the funnel. They’re least likely to buy. That then hurts the mobile conversion rate, because all your top of funnel traffic is happening on mobile. And then the traffic that is happening in later iterations of their visits is probably more likely to happen on desktop. So, what I would like to see is desktop conversion rate subtracting out Facebook and Instagram, and then mobile conversion rate subtracting out Facebook and Instagram. And then compare them to see what the true difference is.

Kurt Elster: You could do this in Google Analytics. It would be a big pain.

Paul Reda: I know, but I would like to-

Kurt Elster: Someone else needs to put this together for us.

Paul Reda: No, but I mean I would. I would go in the Shopify Analytics and I’d like pull… I’d copy it into spreadsheets and figure it out. Because I want to know what the actual difference is, because you’re comparing two different universes.

Kurt Elster: So, you’re trying to figure out conversion rate by traffic source.

Paul Reda: Well, I just want to remove out the two main traffic sources that are killing the conversion rate. I mean, it’s just… It’s Facebook on phone is a huge percentage of overall traffic. And no one buys off of that directly.

Kurt Elster: And it’s lowest converting.

Paul Reda: It’s the lowest converting.

Kurt Elster: Okay. And part of it’s like you’re in the… Not only are you on mobile, you’re in the Facebook browser on mobile.

Paul Reda: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Which just is… It is not going to be as clean an experience.

Paul Reda: So, it’s like so you, it’s like it’s worse on mobile the conversion rate, but it’s also not a one-to-one comparison, because the universe of the traffic is very much different.

Kurt Elster: Well, now we have to dive into this next.

Paul Reda: All right. I know. It derailed us by like talking about problems.

Kurt Elster: A good idea.

Paul Reda: I know.

Kurt Elster: All right, so top product categories, apparel and accessories, health and beauty, home and garden. That’s the same that we saw in 2020, or the start of the pandemic, when we were shocked when certain brands and categories were doing really well. That’s unchanged, but I think apparel and accessories, or like fashion and accessories, has always been a top category on Shopify. So, I don’t know that that one’s necessarily like 2020.

Average cart, $90, and increase of 11%. Okay, people are spending more online. They’re buying more stuff more often online. 14% cross border, so you got people buying from Canada. And they also offset carbon emissions, which I appreciate, because I’m big on sustainability. All right, after that exciting readthrough of a press release, wow!

Paul Reda: See? You’re getting on my side now.

Kurt Elster: Well, how else am I supposed to present facts and figures for Black Friday?

Paul Reda: I know. Listen, it’s not my job to solve the problem. It’s just to sit in the balcony like Statler and Waldorf and tell you you’re bad.

Kurt Elster: All right. Do your impression. Let’s-

Paul Reda: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Kurt Elster: That’s excellent. Now I need that as a sound drop. Let’s load up-

Paul Reda: So, Kurt messaged me 10… He just ran off the top of his head 10 of our favorite children that are our clients, and I pulled the year-over-year November data for what they did. It’s November 2019 to November 2020. That’s good for two reasons. One, because obviously Thanksgiving and Black Friday are on different days every year. Two, like we hammer to everyone, you want to be priming everyone and having sales all throughout November. Three, last year’s Cyber Monday was December 1st, and this year’s Cyber Monday, we don’t have data for, because it’s literally happening as we speak, so just doing November to November makes it a little bit more equal.

Kurt Elster: Okay.

Paul Reda: In that you don’t have… They’re both missing the Cyber Monday.

Kurt Elster: Okay. Perfect. That makes sense. And we can go through an exciting resuscitation of Cyber Monday facts in two weeks. Or we can just be like, “People sold stuff.”

Paul Reda: It was good.

Kurt Elster: They bought some stuff. It was good.

Paul Reda: I’ll never get over Cyber Monday, the fakest thing in the world.

Kurt Elster: Tell me. Please riff on this.

Paul Reda: No, it’s just I think Cyber Monday, it exists because they were like, “Okay, some people don’t have computers at their houses. They only have them at work. And they screw around at work by shopping, so Black Friday, obviously they’re going to the physical stores. Then they spend all weekend at home not on their computer, because no one has a computer at home. Then when they go back to work on Monday, they do more shopping because they’re finally at a computer again.” Cyber Monday.

Kurt Elster: That was the theory.

Paul Reda: That’s the theory.

Kurt Elster: Well, I-

Paul Reda: Which is clearly, obviously, which was insane then and has only become more insane.

Kurt Elster: Especially now, when it’s like work from home, but I think it’s more about people procrastinating and screwing around at work. Shopping online is just an easy thing to do instead of working.

Paul Reda: No, that’s true. I mean, we see it all the time. I mean, sales drop amongst all of our stores on the weekends.

Kurt Elster: On the weekends. Yeah.

Paul Reda: Because people have lives. But-

Kurt Elster: But when they’re supposed to be working.

Paul Reda: Yeah, but when they were supposed to be working, they’re killing time.

Kurt Elster: Okay.

Paul Reda: But the thought process was also they don’t have computers at home.

Kurt Elster: Those rascals. So, what do you see? We’ve got our nine stores here.

Paul Reda: We got our nine stores. Overall, we’re up 51%, which I believe was almost right on the money according to one of those numbers.

Kurt Elster: All right, so Adobe Analytics on Black Friday said up 22%.

Paul Reda: Oh, so we did better.

Kurt Elster: It was retail-

Paul Reda: Sales was down 50% in store.

Kurt Elster: I’m sorry. Visits to stores. So, literally foot traffic.

Paul Reda: Yeah, so yeah, they were up 22%. Our clients were up 50%, because we’re that good. Yeah. Traffic was up 24%. The conversion rate was up 22%.

Kurt Elster: Wild.

Paul Reda: I’m saying that was because of us, the conversion rate.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. I’ll take credit for it. 100%.

Paul Reda: Because they spent all year with us increasing their conversion rates and so now they’re reaping the benefits.

Kurt Elster: I see. Okay.

Paul Reda: That’s how that works.

Kurt Elster: I’ll take that plug. So, what was our… Give me some of our averages here.

Paul Reda: That’s literally what I just said.

Kurt Elster: Oh, you did run through all those numbers. Any outliers?

Paul Reda: Well, I mean, I can’t say the name.

Kurt Elster: Give it a category.

Paul Reda: All right, there’s someone in the beauty category was up 764% in revenue, from $37,000 to $327,000.

Kurt Elster: That dog will hunt.

Paul Reda: In the month of November.

Kurt Elster: Wow!

Paul Reda: I feel like that’s because they weren’t really… They weren’t as much of a going concern last year. Am I wrong?

Kurt Elster: I think in this case, this brand experienced explosive growth throughout the rest of the year.

Paul Reda: Yeah. I’m sure they did.

Kurt Elster: And so, okay, so we do have that outlier in there.

Paul Reda: They also increased their traffic by 900% year over year, so-

Kurt Elster: I see a store in here with a very high average order value that went up 155%.

Paul Reda: Yeah, that’s a big one.

Kurt Elster: And we had redone their theme.

Paul Reda: Yeah. They have a new theme, so that-

Kurt Elster: Yeah, so it’s kind of funny to see that. So, our data is like questionable, but-

Paul Reda: It’s good. I think it’s good in that… All right, so one store was just getting… has just been revving up. The other one got a new theme and saw 150% increase in sales, whereas the average-

Kurt Elster: Now, if your theme’s already good, this same effect will not apply to you.

Paul Reda: Their old theme was horrendous, but we… If you go from horrendous to great, now it’s-

Kurt Elster: Yeah, sometimes that could work out pretty well.

Paul Reda: You go up 150%.

Kurt Elster: Assuming like everything else is good and that was the bottleneck.

Paul Reda: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: And it was. But even like the really… You know, the biggest brand last year managed almost a 70% increase this year. I think what’s interesting to me is seeing that everybody’s traffic, six out of nine stores had their traffic go up, and two were-

Paul Reda: Two were flat.

Kurt Elster: Two were unchanged, one was lower. But of the… Looking at these stores on the revenue increase, it’s eight out of nine had significantly better revenue.

Paul Reda: Oh, yeah.

Kurt Elster: So, that’s exciting to see, that on the… On less traffic overall, a significant increase in performance. I wonder what’s going on there.

Paul Reda: It’s just the story of 2020.

Kurt Elster: Just more people shopping online?

Paul Reda: Yeah. I mean, it’s just… We’ve been seeing it all year, I think.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. It has… It’s been getting easier all year. You want to try calling Sully? I don’t know who else to call. I could try calling Andy.

Paul Reda: You can call Andy.

Kurt Elster: Call Andy? All right, here we go.

Paul Reda: You can call Beav. I mean, Beav did great.

Kurt Elster: All right, well, let’s try. I’m just gonna start calling merchants.

Paul Reda: What up?

Kurt Elster: Hey, Siri. Set a timer for 29 minutes. All right, let’s just start calling. Dialing for dollars. See what we get. Just gonna call merchants till someone answers.

Paul Reda: All right, how about we just do the NUGGS?

Kurt Elster: You guys wanna be on a podcast? Hey?

Automated: Your call has been forwarded to an automatic voice message system. 8-4-7-8-

Kurt Elster: All right, well, I’m gonna record a voicemail and we’re leaving this bit in.

Paul Reda: Oh, we’re leaving this part in.

Automated: …is not available. At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up or press one for more options.

Kurt Elster: Andy Bedell, it’s Kurt Elster. I’m doing the worst thing a millennial can do to another millennial, I’m leaving you voicemail and it is solely because we’re recording a podcast at the moment and I need some content, so yeah.

Paul Reda: You’re too late.

Kurt Elster: Call me back in the next five minutes. All right, we did Andy. Should we try another one or should we just-

Paul Reda: Just give up.

Kurt Elster: Just give up on-

Paul Reda: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: All right.

Paul Reda: I don’t think this is thrilling people.

Kurt Elster: No? All right, let’s do…

Paul Reda: Anyway, all our clients were up 50%. That’s more than average, meaning that was entirely due to us, so if you hire us, you will outperform the average Shopify store.

Kurt Elster: Let me see. And so, are you familiar with NUGGS?

Paul Reda: Like McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets?

Kurt Elster: Yeah, sort of. NUGGS as in the brand of vegetarian vegan chicken nuggets. They’re simulated meat. But they’re real… They’re delicious. I don’t eat meat. I love them. I love NUGGS. And so, I think we should do a teardown of the NUGGS website,

Paul Reda: The Tesla of chicken.

Kurt Elster: The Tesla of chicken.

Paul Reda: I hate them already.

Kurt Elster: Let me start my screen recording. My screen recording has begun. I’m on, the Tesla of chicken. How do you feel about this?

Paul Reda: I mean, I’m happy to-

Kurt Elster: Andy Bedell’s calling back.

Paul Reda: All right, derail this, go back to Andy.

Kurt Elster: Andy?

Andy Bedell: Hey, how’s it going?

Kurt Elster: Pretty good. We are recording a podcast. You’re actually being recorded at the moment.

Paul Reda: We have to say that, because it’s a two-party consent state in Illinois.

Kurt Elster: Yeah.

Andy Bedell: I’m in California.

Kurt Elster: Oh, sweet. Never mind. Not recording this.

Andy Bedell: I think California’s even worse, probably, actually.

Kurt Elster: Safe guess. So, do you have any interest in giving us your expectations and opinions around Black Friday?

Andy Bedell: Yeah, sure. I mean, I can just talk about what we were… For KeySmart, we had a good Black Friday. We actually… I know Shopify was up like 80%. We were actually… I think we were down a little bit over last year. Our emails ran really well. Our ads did not run as well. And we did just launch… Kind of complicated, we did just launched a brand new product, the KeySmart Max. That is starting to do well for ads. But a lot of our other products did not do as well for ads, which is not super surprised…

To be 100% honest, we’ve always scaled out after Black Friday, because the… We usually see the… Everybody’s doing all these huge deals, and so we find that those deals work well for our email list, but to advertise them out, sometimes you’re just giving away too much to start and everybody’s looking for a huge deal. We found that we can just cut the deals and that we generally do better after Black Friday, and that we kind of scale up our ad spends after Black Friday. But with the one caveat being that this year is a weird year because they’re talking about shipageddon and how everything’s gonna… You can’t ship as long, so we usually kind of cut it right at the edge where our biggest days are in December, but then we’re like it’s kind of… It’s like at some point you have to kind of cut it off, because you’re-

Kurt Elster: So, you use that shipping urgency.

Andy Bedell: Well, we don’t, it’s not as much that we do. So, in the past, here’s what we found, is that our ads work well, and then we scale them up kind of like on a 10 to 20% twice a day or so as they’re running well, so we’ll jump as we see the ROAS go up. So, when I ran ads just this last weekend, the ROAS was honestly like a two and a half or so on retargeting, which isn’t very good.

Kurt Elster: Yeah, on retargeting that’s a little rough.

Andy Bedell: Yeah, yeah, and prospecting. We did really well on emails, but the prospecting, our retargeting wasn’t all that good, and our prospecting was running not very well either. But it’s not… We’ve found this happen before and then have after Black Friday, for whatever reason, like after Cyber Monday, have our ROAS start to pick up, and then we jam up the spend, and then like I’ve done this to the point where then we’ve gotten into like $35,000 a day and then just increasing that 10 to 20% twice a day. And so, if you’re increasing, like if you’re increasing 20% twice a day, you’re gonna double your spend in like two days, or like two and a half days.

So, yeah, so we’ve found that we’ve been able to scale up that way after Black Friday on the prospecting side, and that has worked really well for us, but actual Black Friday and Cyber Monday has never been all that good for us for actual prospecting, but it is a great way for emails, for email blasting our customers, and we did see that the email blasts worked really well.

Paul Reda: Yeah. You guys were down year over year, because I looked into it. Last year, you guys launched the KeySmart Pro with Tile earlier in November, which I would probably argue is your flagship product, so-

Andy Bedell: We actually just launched new colors of the KeySmart Pro with Tile at that time, because we did launch… KeySmart Pro with Tile, remember we did the KeySmart Pro with Tile was that prelaunch we did with you guys like three years ago, right?

Paul Reda: Oh, that’s right. That’s right.

Andy Bedell: Right? Remember that?

Kurt Elster: Yeah.

Andy Bedell: So, that was like three years ago, but we did launch new colors, and to tell you the truth, we had some really good… Well, Alyssa on my team had written some really good ads at that time and those ads were just really scaling. But as we all know, you run into ad fatigue at some point, and those ads just didn’t… kind of scaled down, and now they’re not working very well.

Kurt Elster: Oh no.

Paul Reda: Still, yeah, it was sort of a relaunch.

Andy Bedell: Yeah. Yeah. So, but that happens. We’re used to knowing that ads will… Especially if you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because when they work, we spend a lot of money on them, and then eventually they stop working. So, we’re not really worried about that. We know that we kind of… I haven’t been seeing good prospecting numbers for the last few weeks, so I wasn’t really expecting too much, so now we’re starting to see. We’re seeing our new KeySmart Max, I think it got like a 5 ROAS yesterday, so we’re jacking up the spend on that. You know, that’s our new flagship.

You know, at KeySmart we have all these products coming out, but at the same time, I personally would love to be more on the Apple strategy. Not saying that we’re not doing a good job with the new products, but I’d love to be able to sit where we had a new model come out every year, because just having a new model, that’s our kind of tried and true, and then it’s like if we had a new model coming out every year, or every year and a half or something like that, with the new Tile, like expanded, expanded capabilities, then we see the model upgrades are the biggest. By far the biggest sellers.

So, if we did that and then we layered in other products and stuff like that, I’m kind of rambling. So, the KeySmart Max is gonna be good. Buy the KeySmart Max is what I’m trying to say.

Kurt Elster: Well, I’ll link to the KeySmart website in the show notes, and it is beautiful, and I love… I always love your photography. That’s all one guy, right?

Andy Bedell: Keith? Yeah, Keith is one guy.

Kurt Elster: I follow him on Instagram. He’s really good.

Andy Bedell: Yeah, Keith is cool. Keith… Keith is now becoming more and more of a manager, too, because he’s got now… He’s got Michelle that works with him and then we hired three new videographers. We have Josh, Josiah, and Brian, and then we just hired Ryder, so we’re building out our video team and our video capabilities, so yeah, more and more… Most of the stuff you see is probably… The stuff you see on the website is probably Keith, and then we’re doing more and more ads with the new guys and Michelle.

Kurt Elster: So, let me phrase it this way. If you had to do anything differently in November, if you could go back and do it over, would you have done anything differently?

Andy Bedell: Not really. No. I mean, I think the biggest… To be 100% honest, what I would have done differently would be get the KeySmart Max in earlier, but we just had… We kind of dropped the ball on the dates. We have so many products this year that kind of blew up-

Kurt Elster: You have so many-

Andy Bedell: Clean Key-

Kurt Elster: … cool products right now. It’s wild.

Paul Reda: Yeah. You did so well the rest of the year that you like exhausted your ad… You emptied your clip before Black Friday hit.

Kurt Elster: That’s a good problem to have.

Andy Bedell: I think the biggest thing that we did was just that we had so many new products this year that we… From a production standpoint, we just dropped the ball on making sure the KeySmart Max was coming in. And it should have been here like in September. If it was here in September, I would have had a lot more time to work on the actual KeySmart Max launch and we’d be in a better spot for Black Friday. Because the KeySmart Max would be… You generally don’t want to launch. Some people, I’ve seen some people launch like limited editions. I saw you had the Hoonigan bat?

Kurt Elster: Oh yeah. Hoonigan did a limited edition baseball bat.

Andy Bedell: Yeah, but you generally don’t want to launch a flagship product like on… Sony PlayStation stuff, they’re launching early November, right? They’re not launching in the thick of Black Friday.

Kurt Elster: Right.

Andy Bedell: So, you know what I mean? We also just didn’t know when… Actually, they’re in stock right now and they’re shipping, but we also at one point weren’t sure that they would actually come in in the right time, because you never know. You don’t want to… So, we didn’t want to do… We would generally have done like a month-long presale, but we thought it would have been just a lot to ask to tell our customers that we’re gonna have a presale and right before Christmas, and then what if it doesn’t come in? And for whatever reason, or it doesn’t pass, might not pass a certification at some point, or get stuck in customs, or whatever, and then you’re stuck and then you have to basically apologize to everybody.

Kurt Elster: So, even KeySmart occasionally gets caught up by manufacturer’s delays. This just happens to everybody.

Andy Bedell: We get caught up all the time. It’s like we are very, very, very… We have delays all the time. So, it happens. I mean, now, I use to kind of get upset about it, because I’m like the marketing guy, and it’s like, “You know, you guys said it was supposed to be here.” But as you grow up, as I’ve grown up and learned a little bit more, you realize that this is outside of your control. There’s just so many things that are going on that even the biggest companies miss deadlines.

Kurt Elster: Absolutely. That’s a good way to look at it. You’re wise for letting that one go. So, do you have any advice for people in December? Because what I was hearing was, “Hey, even if Black Friday didn’t go as well as you think, you still… The game is not over.”

Andy Bedell: Yeah, I’d say quick advice would be make sure you know your shipping deadlines, obviously. Keep track of those. But check out if you’re… I saw the people on Twitter were talking about how their Christmas ads didn’t work very well. You don’t need to have Christmas ads. Just go back to the ads that work the best during the year. Find your best performing ads. Run those. Run them at a couple hundred dollars or whatever you feel comfortable with, but if you’re seeing good return on ad spend, then don’t be afraid to increase those spends. Because right now, I’m pretty sure the actual biggest day, eBay had a Green Tuesday or something like that. I don’t know if you guys know what I’m talking about.

eBay has some day in December that they say that’s actually their biggest day. It’s not Cyber Monday. So, there’s other days of the year that actually continue-

Kurt Elster: Those are just scalpers.

Andy Bedell: That could be. But the thing is most companies do see continued growth, but the one thing, be careful about just your shipping deadlines, because shipping is supposed to be more delayed this year, so be careful about that, but don’t worry about if you didn’t have a good Black Friday, because that’s the day that’s like everybody wants a deal and the CPC or the cost per clicks go way up, or the CPMs that you’re paying go way up, so it’s kind of like a double whammy.

If you’re paying more to acquire customers and you’re discounting, so you might have big revenue days, but you didn’t have a good profit day. So, I’d rather get people to buy at less discount and then do less on Black Friday but do more later and have a more healthy and profitable holiday season as a whole.

Kurt Elster: Andy, that is excellent advice and perspective and I’m gonna let you go there, because you’re not gonna do better than that. Just go out on the high note.

Andy Bedell: All right, sounds good. I’m George Costanza. I’m out.

Kurt Elster: See you. Thank you, Andy.

Paul Reda: Thanks, Andy.

Kurt Elster: See, now my Festivus joke works, because he said… He made a George Costanza reference.

Paul Reda: You’re right, you’re right. I take it all back.

Kurt Elster: I was texting him, I’m like, “Okay, you gotta make a reference.”

Paul Reda: You’re like, “Save me.”

Kurt Elster: Make this work. Make this stupid joke work.

Paul Reda: I’ll look like an idiot.

Kurt Elster: Oh, Paul made me look stupid.

Paul Reda: All right, I think that’s enough. We got enough. We got enough. You’re gonna buy Teardown right now and we’re gonna install it on that computer, because I’m an evangelist for this game.

Kurt Elster: All right, we’ll go play your game. Let’s call it quits there. As usual, I would love for you to join our Facebook group. Search Unofficial Shopify Podcast Insiders on Facebook and you can post your questions there. Oftentimes, that content ends up making its way into the show. So, thank you for listening. As always, I appreciate it. Good luck.

Paul Reda: Bye-bye.