Shopify's new and upcoming features revealed, plus a teardown.
This episode is also available with video on YouTube.
Last week at Shopify Re-Unite, a webinar keynote, Shopify's leadership team revealed new and upcoming features. Paul and I attended and will give you the run down today.
After that, we do a teardown of Pit Vipers, a store that is equal parts impressive and ridiculous.
Kurt Elster: Today on The Unofficial Shopify Podcast-
Paul Reda: On today’s episode of The Unofficial Shopify Podcast, blah, blah, blah!
Kurt Elster: Accurate. Today on The Unofficial Shopify Podcast, we are discussing new features! Oh my gosh, everyone likes shiny new toys, bells and whistles, so we’re gonna talk about all the new stuff coming to Shopify that they announced exactly a week ago, last Wednesday, and we’ll go through that. We’ll give you the straight dope on what’s coming, and what to care about, and what it means for your store. And then we are going to do a store teardown of a super cool store I found. I think we’re gonna do more of these dual-man double teardowns on these websites, because they go well. They’re fun. And we learn a lot. Yeah. Hey, this is about edutainment.
Okay, Mr. Reda. How are you doing, sir?
Paul Reda: I’m good. It’s a nice day outside. I’m feeling good.
Kurt Elster: It is feeling-
Paul Reda: We had a good stats day for all the Illinois health stuff, so we get to go places next week.
Kurt Elster: Whoa! I’m not there yet. Like I really want to get a big boy haircut, but that scares me.
Paul Reda: Well, get a pair of clippers and have your lovely wife just run them over your head, as that’s what happened to me last weekend.
Kurt Elster: I also… I’ve been cutting my own hair, but I can’t do the back, so Julie has to do the back for me. But so far it’s turned out pretty good, because what I’ve done is avoid the top. I just don’t mess with the top. I do the sides and back and hope for the best.
Paul Reda: You’re just trying to get that 1994 Conan, just really high up-
Kurt Elster: No. Well, that’s the problem. Now it’s too long. The weight keeps me from doing the big pompadour like Conan. I like my pompadour loud. But it’s got too much weight to it, so it’s just kind of slicked back now. Like watch, we could go full 2004 emo. You want it?
Paul Reda: No.
Kurt Elster: I’m gonna do it.
Paul Reda: No.
Kurt Elster: It’s happening.
Paul Reda: No.
Kurt Elster: All right, I’ll skip it.
Paul Reda: All right. Good. I shamed you. I love that.
Kurt Elster: Just like Flock of Seagulls, just push that forward. That was the haircut I had. It was not a good idea. It’s a terrible idea. I got a new desk. I’m pretty excited about it.
Paul Reda: Yeah, I know. You tweeted it and then you directly DM’d me, and then also posted it in our business Slack, and in all these other places. I’ve seen this desk like four times today.
Kurt Elster: And it’s awesome, right?
Paul Reda: It really was just more of a photo of computers. I didn’t really see what was good about the desk.
Kurt Elster: Okay. Well, I can send you the desk separately. I have a different photo. I’ll send you the desk.
Paul Reda: Oh, good. Because-
Kurt Elster: Pretty awesome desk.
Paul Reda: That’s what I wanted.
Kurt Elster: What was I gonna say? Oh, so in client work, we launched a site. We had all these really big sites launching, and over the weekend, Carcaine Supply launched. Carcaine Supply. What the heck is Carcaine Supply? It’s Hoonigan, the automotive lifestyle brand, partnered with another company, and we worked with it, and this is a thing that got put into the works last October when I met with these people in Vegas for SEMA. Now, this is cool, because if you head to carcainesupply.com, it’ll redirect you to Hoonigan’s Shopify store, and we built inside of their existing Shopify store a separate store with over 100,000 products. We’d never done such a thing before, and what’s cool about it is the pages somehow still manage to load in two seconds, even though we have 100,000 products. That, I’m very proud of. I’ve never managed a store with this many products and have it work out so nicely.
Paul Reda: Yeah, and I mean, kudos to… Who did we get to do that sidebar filtering with all the collections? What app is that?
Kurt Elster: All right, so the apps we used, Booster app’s Product Filter & Search is really, really good. That is my go-to filter and search app.
Paul Reda: And it is really great. It is loading this gigantic catalog, and it’s happening right away. It works on a level that I’m shocked, that I was like, “Wow, that worked well.” Because I thought it would be bad.
Kurt Elster: Well, initially, we did everything we could to try and make it work without an app, and it was like, “Okay, collection page takes 20 to 30 seconds to load.” So, we knew right away that it wasn’t gonna work. And like maybe I could have made it work with GraphQL, but also could just get away with it using the app.
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: Yeah, the app, it’s pretty cool. Just from a just purely thinking about the performance, and managing and searching through a catalog of that size. So, I’ll throw that in the show notes, carcainesupply.com.
Paul Reda: And I just think it’s just a great addition to their business, because the power of Hoonigan is all this great content they create, all these great videos, and so on the vlog pages that they’re launching the videos on, they can then… They now have that synergy of like, “Well, here’s all the parts we used in this cool car build. You can now buy these parts directly on our own website.” And I think that that’s like… I think that’s gonna be huge for them.
Kurt Elster: Yeah, so like some background there, Hoonigan’s an automotive lifestyle brand, so they have a combined 20 million subscribers across all their social channels, and they create a lot of content around like crazy car builds, and they sell a bunch of apparel related to it that does well, and they have sponsorships. We’re not involved with the media and sponsorship side, but what they’ve done to really expand on things is add, make all these… The products that they were talking about just naturally, organically, as part of their videos, now they can link to those in their own store and sell them. It’s very cool, so we learned a lot on that one.
We also launched Proven Winners Direct, so if you’ve ever purchased plants at Home Depot, you probably bought Proven Winners, this famous national plant brand. They’re very good. They sell a lot of stuff on Amazon, as well. And we launched them, got them a new site, provenwinnersdirect.com, and we used some of the learnings from the Hoonigan Carcaine project, and that, I liked that Filter and Search app so much, and they’ve got hundreds of products. Not 100,000 products. But they’re all very specific, like you want these one… I want this one specific kind of plant for my garden.
So, this Filter and Search app made that work really nicely, so it’s kind of cool to see like the same app work well in these two completely different use cases. Brand wise, anyway.
Paul Reda: Yes.
Kurt Elster: And I think… Proven Winners is such a beautiful looking site, but I’ll throw that in there. I don’t know, I wanted to pat ourselves on the back, toot our horn. The other big news is there was some keynote, some webinar from some guy, some Canadian company, did you hear about this?
Paul Reda: I don’t pay attention to Canadian companies. Only like-
Kurt Elster: No?
Paul Reda: … real American companies. Yeah, I don’t-
Kurt Elster: Oh, I see.
Paul Reda: Yeah. Screw Blackberry. I outlived Blackberry. Eat it.
Kurt Elster: Yes. How could I forget your long-running feud with Blackberry?
Paul Reda: I never owned one, did I?
Kurt Elster: No. You’re right. You did not. I just want the weird one-off versions of domestic cars that they sold in Canada under different names. I don’t know why they did this, but there are several, like Ford would do this especially. But they would sell just like the same car in Canada with a slightly different name. I don’t know why.
Paul Reda: As part of Canadian content regulations? Like that’s an arm of CanCon we don’t know about?
Kurt Elster: Is CanCon a thing?
Paul Reda: Do you know-
Kurt Elster: I know that like they have to make Canadian TV.
Paul Reda: Yeah. That’s what that’s called, where it’s like a show needs to have X number of Canadian content in it, and your radio station needs to play X number of songs by Canadian artists. That’s why-
Kurt Elster: And that’s how we end up with fabulous television productions like Schitt’s Creek. That’s a wonderful show.
Paul Reda: No, that’s just… No, what I’m talking… I’m not sure what the regulation was, but that’s why Bob & Doug existed in SCTV, is because they had like, “You need to have X amount of Canadian content.” So, they were like, “Well, let’s just make it the most stereotypically Canadian thing there is.”
Kurt Elster: I did not know that.
Paul Reda: Yes.
Kurt Elster: So, of course I’m talking about Shopify Reunite. So, annually they do a developer conference called Shopify Unite. This also happens to be where they do their big keynote that’s an hour long, where they pack us all into a conference center and various Shopify leadership come out and explain new products, or new features, new products, on the Shopify product roadmap. And we get updates on that stuff.
And then, of course, the bad thing happened, and they cancelled the conference. Every conference disappeared very quickly, and they said, “Well, we don’t know what we’re gonna do.” And instead, they did a webinar called Shopify Reunite. Even though it was virtual, and it was coming at this strange time, there was no shortage of announcements in it. Would you like to review those with me?
Paul Reda: We gotta fill the content hole somehow, so might as well.
Kurt Elster: What? Get excited!
Paul Reda: I have to-
Kurt Elster: I need you to match… You gotta mirror and match my energy.
Paul Reda: No, I need to be the exact opposite of whatever you are. If you are too excited, I need to be… If you’re at 20, I gotta be at negative 20. We gotta keep it even.
Kurt Elster: All right, I’m gonna reverse it, then. I don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention. They announced some stuff. Talk like my 10-year-old, when you ask him if he practiced his instrument. So, I’m gonna run through these, because there’s quite a few. First one, and I’m doing… These are roughly in the order they announced them. There’s no particular order here.
Installment payments. Installment payments we know, like Affirm, Klarna, Sezzle. You do this wonderful thing, it bumps the average order value, in which you’re able to offer people zero percent financing with no credit check. This is great for people who don’t necessarily have access to credit cards, which is more common than you’d think. And now Sezzle, or Sezzle… Shopify is offering that natively as part of Shopify Pay.
Paul Reda: So, I have a question about this. When they announced it, they said… I caught the phrase, “We’re working with a partner on implementing that.” And I can’t… I know that that’s how… That was part of the… I think that everyone scanned over that. So, this is kind of how Shopify does stuff. I think this is kind of what they announced with the checkout last year, that they were working with… Who were the two big checkout?
Kurt Elster: Oh, last year they said, “Hey, we’re working with ReCharge and Bold to add native subscriptions.
Paul Reda: To checkout. So, and I feel like this is another one of those, but they didn’t say who it was they were working with. There’s three big names, but they only said, “A partner,” so someone is in and two are out.
Kurt Elster: For all we know, it could have been Stripe.
Paul Reda: Oh, it could have been Stripe. Okay.
Kurt Elster: Because Stripe, they partnered with Stripe to do Shopify Payments.
Paul Reda: All right, then I took that as like, “We like Affirm. Affirm is now,” or Sezzle, or whoever, has now been selected.
Kurt Elster: Yeah, one of them gets the blessing.
Paul Reda: Yeah, and everyone else, get out.
Kurt Elster: No, I don’t know. I’m sure we’ll figure it out eventually, but no, but I’ve seen… The thing with these payment gateways is number one, the objection is, “Well, oh, we’re just giving people more ways to go into debt.” But right now, they’re all paying with a credit card, and the interest rate on a credit card is bonkers. Like a good credit card interest rate’s 16%.
Paul Reda: Yeah, it’s either they independently put it on a credit card and get banged out for 16 to 20%, or you offer payments natively yourself, in which case they don’t pay any interest rates. So, really, if you want to be the morality police patrolling other people’s debt choices, you should not take credit cards.
Kurt Elster: I know. That one always baffles me. But yeah, so with Shopify Payments, you will be able to offer zero percent financing to customers, so I like that one a lot, and I also like this feature, because this is one of those ones where it’s like you know it’s gonna be a checkbox. Go in settings, check out, and then there’s probably a checkbox in there where you turn it on.
Paul Reda: Yeah, and it’s an unmitigated win, because if it works like the other ones, you get all your money up front, and it dramatically increases your conversion rates. People love taking this option, and if that’s the thing they need to push them over the edge, it’ll definitely work.
Kurt Elster: All right. What else do we got here? Ooh, product states. So, product states, currently a product is either available or unavailable. All right, that’s fine until you’re dealing with a whole huge product catalog, especially when it changes a lot, different inventory. And they have added, in addition to published and unpublished, now there’s draft and archive. Archive is nice, because it means you can get the product out of the catalog without totally deleting it, because in the past, it would be like you just… The stuff just accumulates in your product catalog. So, it’s just like an easy pain point in the admin. A lot of focus on back end stuff, as opposed to front end stuff, but there will be front end stuff.
Paul Reda: I kind of don’t get this. Like it’s either it’s on the site, or it’s not. So, why do you need-
Kurt Elster: You like it very binary.
Paul Reda: If it’s draft, it’s also not on the site, and if’s archive, it’s also not on the site. So, we’ve added three not on the site.
Kurt Elster: But your work is all front end.
Paul Reda: I know.
Kurt Elster: You rarely have to mess with what they call the back office, the back end of Shopify.
Paul Reda: But how is draft different from unpublished? How is archive?
Kurt Elster: Draft indicates that it is a product not ready to be published.
Paul Reda: How is that different from just unpublished?
Kurt Elster: Well, when you’re dealing… If you’re a sole proprietor, you’re one person and you don’t hire anyone, then you can just keep it in your head. When there’s multiple people on it, it makes it much harder to figure out like what’s going on where. Like we’re working on a project, and there are a whole bunch of products that were unpublished that looked like they could be published, but I have no idea. If they were draft, then I’d know, “Okay, then those should not be published.” And archived, okay, good. They just go away, and I don’t have to worry about them.
The other thing that goes along with that, that I don’t know that I wrote down… Oh, yeah I did. Page activity. So, product pages now support page activity. You can see who else is working on the same product as you and avoid losing work. So, it sounds like it’ll keep you from saving over someone else. Like, let’s say your both editing the product. Who clicked save last is the one who gets it right. So, I think they added that, and that clearly goes along with these different product states. And then right now it’s just on product pages. Hopefully, they’re… Well, they said they’re gonna add it to other areas, but it’s nice, because you’ve got an activity log in Shopify, but the activity log really is only detailed particularly in orders. Beyond that, it’s a little limited.
So, seeing that activity log get expanded, I like. Because then you know who screwed it up, you know who broke what, or who touched it last, or who to ask about like, “Hey, can I mess with this?” It’s really like both of those features are for people working in teams.
Paul Reda: Yeah, and that’s also part of the new performance dashboard, which is the main thing that I’m very excited about, is there will be a thing you can check on in your admin that shows how fast or slow your store is over time, and you can… and it keeps track of it as a time series, so you could be like, “All right, on the 15th, what did we do? Because ever since we did that thing, our site speed has cratered.” And nine times out of 10-
Kurt Elster: Oh, I love this thing.
Paul Reda: It’s because you added a weird app. But yeah, I’m super into that, because all the time clients are like, “Make my site faster. It needs to be faster.” And it’s like, “Okay, well, let’s look at the history of your site. Why did you do that? What does that do?” And then we get to figure out what the bad boys are much easier, and who installed it, and what they did, and we can blame them.
Kurt Elster: Yeah, so like page activity and this performance dashboard, they’re both just for pointing fingers better.
Paul Reda: They’re just for blaming people, which I’m all about.
Kurt Elster: What’s cool about that performance dashboard, so they showed a screenshot of it, it’s like, all right, it looked like it had two metrics for site speed, like first paint, which is a measure of how fast the page renders. I forgot what the other one was. But what was clever about it is it let you view it historically, like as a timeline, so you, if you’re like, “Man, my site feels slow. Is that me or is it in my head?” You could just look at this dashboard, the performance dashboard, and see, “Oh, on May 9th, things seemed to suddenly slow down. Okay, what did we change on May 9th? Oh, we added this app.”
So, it makes it really easy, makes it a lot easier to figure out what’s going on, because traditionally the problem with performance is themes acquire cruft like barnacles to a ship, but you don’t know what’s what. When I say to a merchant, “Oh yeah, your site’s slow because it’s got 45 apps installed. What can we remove?” They go, “Well, I don’t know. I don’t even know what this does anymore.” So, I think this will make it a lot easier to troubleshoot these issues.
Yeah. This one excited me.
Paul Reda: I’m interested in seeing how granular it is, because I mean we… You could obviously see what sitewide problems are, just by loading the home page, but we’ve had problems where clients have done weird things to their collection pages, and so it’s like, “Oh, it’s actually this weird collection page thing you did that’s creating a huge problem.” Or a weird thing you’ve done on your product pages, so it’s like will we be able to look at these things on a page-by-page basis? I hope so, fingers crossed.
Kurt Elster: Well, based on how other reports work, where you’re able to add a column, and add your filters, I would expect that that’s a reasonable assumption, but we’ll see what happens when they roll it out. I’m happy with anything that helps us make sites faster, make them more performant.
Paul Reda: Yeah. 100%. Anything that-
Kurt Elster: And along with that, new storefront renderer. Did you catch that?
Paul Reda: I did not catch that. I see that in the notes. I don’t remember them talking about that. Tell me more.
So, without having to do anything else, this rolls out on your store in the background. You never think about it. You never worry about it. And magically, your store loads faster.
Couple cool notes. They said Shopify email has been used to send 30 million emails since its surprise launch just two months ago, and it really… The Shopify email does one thing and one thing well. It will send broadcast newsletters to people who accept marketing. They are adding scheduling to it. That was a feature that was suspiciously absent at launch, was being able to schedule a newsletter. That’s being added.
And the last admin one I want to talk about before we move forward is the new order index. So, this is rolling out now. I saw this in a client’s store the day before they announced it. So, everyone will be getting this soon. When you look at the orders page, which again, Paul doesn’t spend a lot of time on that. When you look at the orders page, it just has more columns to make it easier at a glance to see what’s going on with each order.
Paul Reda: I only care about things that affect me directly.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. You personally. I understand. Sections everywhere. Tell me about sections everywhere.
Paul Reda: Well, we talked about it last week in part of our wondering of what will happen-
Kurt Elster: When we were making our predictions?
Paul Reda: When we were making our predictions, which is that pages… If you’ve dealt with your home page in any way, it has sections on it that you could add, and place, and move around. But those are specific to the template on the back end, so once you set up a template with sections, it then looks exactly the same on all other things that use that template. Whereas with sections everywhere, or sections anywhere, I always get it wrong, you can create a section and move it around your site, and it can be different on different pages. This is huge. Really great. Excited for it to work. Still not available, I guess.
Kurt Elster: They said sections everywhere is currently in partner beta. So, if you dig around, you can find it and play with it, because I would love to know what it’s gonna take to retrofit this into some themes. Like picture this, for people who are like, “What the heck’s he talking about?” So, you can use home page, you can use a section on your home page. It works really well. And if it’s been implemented in individual templates, you can do it. But the catch is it only works in that one template. So, if I’ve got product.details, and I make a really fancy product page, and then I apply that template to 10 products, guess what? They all get exactly the same layout.
Sections everywhere fixes that, number one. And then number two, the sections, there’s not like a section that become… Currently, every section is specific to a template. You can… They then, they become universal. You can use them everywhere. And apps can add them. So, being able to use them everywhere is nice, because it’s like all right, if I’ve got this section that I like for my home page, oh, well, now I can use this on a blog post. Ah, finally we can solve the problem of, and this should maybe a little bit scare some of the page builder folks, but now it’s gonna make it a lot easier for themes to natively do much more custom stuff, and for merchants to do it, as well.
But I want to know, all right, future themes will have it built into it. I want to be able to add sections everywhere retroactively to some legacy themes, and I want to know like A, is that even feasible, and reasonable, and how much work is that gonna take?
Paul Reda: That’s my question, too, and I get the feeling it’s not gonna be feasible.
Kurt Elster: Well, it’s a complex thing. Like I can’t imagine.
Paul Reda: No, I’m not like, “Shopify is bad and lazy for not making it feasible.” I’m saying I’m not saying-
Kurt Elster: Now that’s in the transcript! Taken out of context. Paul Reda, Shopify’s bad and lazy. No!
Paul Reda: I’m saying it’s the opposite. I mean, that’s like a huge-
Kurt Elster: Oh, geez, Rick!
Paul Reda: It’s a huge, huge lift. And I don’t begrudge them at all if it’s unable to be done. It’s like the Mac had to dump the frickin’ floppy drive. Like at some point, you gotta dump the floppy drive.
Kurt Elster: Yes. Okay. The big one. So, if that was last year’s big, giant announcement, this year’s is Shopify Balance. Did that blow your mind?
Paul Reda: It didn’t directly affect me, so no.
Kurt Elster: This guy.
Paul Reda: Initially, it kind of didn’t, because the Apple move into Apple Card and banking-
Kurt Elster: Like Apple Wallet?
Paul Reda: Yeah. Well, the Apple credit card and Apple getting involved in banking, and I think there’s this world of like money, and we think of the credit card companies as being these sort of like separate entities, and they kind of have their own little stranglehold on things in terms of people’s finances. And I think there’s so much increase in people… I don’t know the right word for this, in like people being able to use money, it’s sort of like, “Okay, well-“
Kurt Elster: Liquidity has increased.
Paul Reda: People want to pay on their phone, use their phones to pay for things. Well, now in order for that to happen, Apple and Google kind of need to be involved in banking and payments a little bit. And you know, people want to buy things, and people are buying things online, and so if people are buying things online, the company that makes the software to sell things online should, probably also needs to be involved in banking online, and that sort of stuff. So, it’s just… This whole thing to make everything more liquid, and payments flow more freely, I think inevitably leads to a world where there are a lot more people involved in payments and banking.
Kurt Elster: We skipped over what Shopify Balance is. It is an attempt to add a bank account into your Shopify dashboard. So, your Shopify Payments, when you get that payout, ooh, I love that payout. It will get moved directly into your balance. Your Shopify Balance. And then that, from there, you could pay bills with it. And then on top of it, you get a debit card that you could use at an ATM and get cash out. So, you’d no longer, Shopify continues its integration, and it was really exciting and shocking when they had Shopify Payments, where they said, “All right, we’re gonna be your credit card processor, as well.”
Well, what happens to that money after it moves out of the credit card processing? It goes to your bank. All right, well, now Shopify’s the bank, too. It’s cool. I assume it’s one of those things where the convenience is what will make people use it. Hey, do you want your payout faster? Use Shopify Balance. And then, of course it’s no fee, and no minimum. It’s just part of your bill. Go ahead.
Paul Reda: I’m sure it does. I just wonder, because there’s a whole thing, I just remember probably about 10 or 15 years ago, like Walmart has always tried to become, get involved in banking, and financial services, and they always kind of kept going right up to the line of what constituted a financial service before they tripped all the various federal regulations around banking and financial services. And so, they keep going forward and pulling back, and so I know there’s a realm that you as a provider cannot step into without triggering this giant federal look at you, and so I don’t know where that line is and I’m wondering how Shopify is straddling it.
Because, I mean they give you loans, right? They give loans, they-
Kurt Elster: Shopify Capital. Yeah, it gives loans.
Paul Reda: Yeah, so it’s sort of like okay, well, when are we a bank now? Like when are you legally a bank? I don’t know.
Kurt Elster: Well, I mean flat out, Shopify’s chief product officer, Craig Miller, who was describing it, really described it as an attempt to rethink the bank account to better suit a business’s needs.
Paul Reda: Yeah, so-
Kurt Elster: Here’s the literal quote, “The traditional products offered by banks were created in a world that’s very different.”
Paul Reda: So, yeah.
Kurt Elster: He’s talking about… Yeah, it is. Yes. They’re becoming a bank.
Paul Reda: Okay. Well, maybe they’re fine with getting looked at. Maybe they figured that all out. I don’t know. Could Shopify be smarter than me? Jury’s still out.
Kurt Elster: All right, a bold assertion that I am unwilling to support. Mr. Tobias Lutke seems like he could probably talk circles around us. Just saying. Yeah. No, I’m not going toe to toe with a Canadian billionaire who has piercing blue eyes, all right?
Paul Reda: Multiple Canadian billionaires.
Instead, cross border domains will let you run multiple domains on your Shopify store, which you could do now, but it will switch the language and currency based on it. But you no longer have this hassle of like, “I have to run and maintain multiple stores.” I think it’s cool. I mean, it saves us some work in setting that stuff up for clients. What’s the… The only thing I don’t think we got an update on was multistore dashboard?
Paul Reda: Oh yeah. I remember that.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Like cross border domains solves a lot of the headache that would cause you to have a multistore system and need a multistore dashboard, but last year we got… There was a multistore dashboard announced. I don’t know what happened to that.
Paul Reda: I don’t know.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Oh well. And that was… I think that was one of my predictions two weeks ago, was, “Oh, we’re gonna get updates on these things,” and multistore dashboard was one of them. But the rest, I don’t know, I think we were like, “Oh, we’ll get an update on sections everywhere.” I don’t know. We didn’t get crazy with our announcement, with our predictions, but certainly none of us guessed Shopify becomes your bank.
Paul Reda: Yeah. Didn’t see that coming. I mean, right after they said it, it made total sense, but didn’t see it coming.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. No, I was impressed. Any other thoughts, et cetera, before we do a teardown?
Paul Reda: Everything sounded great. I would like to know when it launches, because it’s all coming soon.
Kurt Elster: Oh, good point.
Paul Reda: As someone who’s into PC gaming, soon has a very wide definition.
Kurt Elster: Yes. They… Every year at Unite, it’s like, “Coming soon.” It’s, “Coming later this year,” is the phrase they use. And whether or not it arrives later this year, flip a coin. You know, like I get that these are ridiculously complex tasks that I would have no hope of ever implementing myself, so I understand it. I’m not criticizing. But yeah, that coming soon or coming later this year, that could mean anything. And some of the stuff’s rolling out now, like the order index update, the product page states. But yeah, you gotta check back. Usually just being on their newsletter is the best way to get those updates.
So, I want to do a teardown, good sir.
Paul Reda: I know. You’ve been really into these dudes, and I had to hear all about it.
Kurt Elster: Oh! Well, I did. I bought a pair of glasses from them, but they have not arrived yet.
Paul Reda: That’s no good, because you bought those glasses like over a week ago, didn’t you?
Kurt Elster: No. Well, so here… I sent the site to my wife and I said, “If you’re looking for Father’s Day ideas, get me a pair of sunglasses from here, from these guys.” And what, tell me, my description will be different than yours. Let’s hear your description of what our next teardown candidate sells.
Paul Reda: They sell… Well, eighties rad sunglasses, like you’re the bad guy douche in an eighties teen movie, and you’re skiing. These are what you wear.
Kurt Elster: Okay. Yes. That is perfect. I do not have to offer a description, because you nailed it. It’s Chubby’s for sunglasses, or Shinesty for sunglasses. And what’s so cool about their site is they have absolutely just taken a deep dive into aesthetics. This site is styled like what operating system?
Paul Reda: I believe this is Windows 95.
Kurt Elster: Yes.
Paul Reda: So, we’re talking about… He didn’t say who it was. We’re talking about Pit Viper Sunglasses.
Kurt Elster: PitViperSunglasses.com. Load it up and follow along.
Paul Reda: It’s all one word. Yeah. And also, before we get into it, you saw this site, lost your mind, and then made me reskin your now page on your personal site to also make it retro.
Kurt Elster: Yes.
Paul Reda: So, just pimp your kurtelster.com/now, and that is also a cool eighties thing now.
Kurt Elster: We also have a cool client, who we’re gonna… This is what he wants to do. He wants a website. He wants his product page for one of his products, that are… It’s retro themed. It makes sense for this. Wants to have a page template for just that page that makes it retro, like an eighties computer terminal, which… So, we’d essentially use a similar or the same style that you wrote for my personal website.
Paul Reda: Yeah, so it’s cool as hell.
Kurt Elster: So, if you’re into like… As a recovering web designer, the websites that are really beautiful, high style, don’t necessarily interest me. They impress me, but I’m not interested, in love with them. Like a site like Ugly Drinks is really gorgeous, but sometimes like this is too much. It’s taking itself too seriously I think is my personal issue, and that’s purely subjective and me.
This site is not taking itself seriously, but they have put in as much effort or more as those really well-designed sites. So, load up for me PitViperSunglasses.com. I’ve got it open on my screen. I’m screen recording it. What do you got?
Paul Reda: I got it open too. Yeah. And yeah, it’s Windows 95. It’s crazy. They made choices. I think that’s what you’re into. You’re into someone who’s like, “I’m making a choice and we’re going through it.”
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Someone who’s decisive and goes, “Look, this entire website is going to look like Windows 95, and we are committing 100% to that.” Also, we’re gonna use profanity. A bold choice, but I like it. It fits with the theme. Essentially, like this is one of those products that you look confident, you feel confident because you know you look like an asshole. That’s… There’s a category of menswear that fits into that area. Pit Viper Sunglasses is one of them. And I truly mean that in the best way possible. These kinds of products appeal to me. I’m not sure what that says about myself.
Paul Reda: No comment.
Kurt Elster: All right. First impressions.
Paul Reda: I don’t like it.
Kurt Elster: No! Pull the dagger from my heart. Why? Why do you not like it?
Paul Reda: It’s too busy and too weird. I don’t like these. I would never buy these sunglasses. And I’m kind of just like… It’s not about selling. I understand it’s about building an aesthetic. But I just… I don’t know. I’m just like, “All right, I get it. You’re silly. Okay, bye.”
Kurt Elster: So, that’s the advantage.
Paul Reda: It impresses me on a technical level that they achieved it very much.
Kurt Elster: Yes.
Paul Reda: On a conversion rate level, I am not… I remain unconvinced.
Kurt Elster: You know, and this is not a client, we don’t know them. Hey, I’d love to work with them. But we don’t know what those stats are.
Paul Reda: Again, I’m sure they make a ton of money and I’m wrong.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. I just noticed they have a… Travis Pastrana is one of their sponsored athletes. That’s cool if you’re into… Nitro Circus was his thing back in the day. Okay, so on this site, it still follows the typical layout, like there’s… The title bar of the Windows window is an announcement bar that says, “We’re still taking precautions and still shipping. Fuck you, COVID-19.” All right, bold, but they… We talked about this. You have to address are you shipping or not, because people don’t… can’t assume it anymore.
Paul Reda: This is silly, but if you click the close button on that bar, they took, again, they took way too much time, and it like-
Kurt Elster: Whoa!
Paul Reda: It loads different little-
Kurt Elster: Phrases.
Paul Reda: Little taglines and phrases, which is like-
Kurt Elster: What’s yours say?
Paul Reda: The optimal blend of style and whatever, and then it yells at you to stop clicking on the X.
Kurt Elster: Mine says, “Demand respect and authority,” which I believe is their tagline. If I click it again. Yeah. All right. I’m trying to get it to yell at me. Quit clicking the X, it’s hard to come up with more material. Okay, you get the idea. The site’s very fun.
They’ve got this… Their hero image is this glorious looped background video that’s like 10 seconds.
Paul Reda: It’s not even. It’s three seconds. It’s nothing.
Kurt Elster: It’s a guy doing slot car racing. It’s three seconds?
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: It’s very… It works really well. It’s clever. And it’s got the product on there, like immediately you know you’re in for a ride when you see this thing.
Paul Reda: And the weird thing for me is if you view the video, they didn’t pull the audio out of it. They just have it muted. But if you look at the video itself, he’s yelling. He’s really going like, “Yeah!” Like out loud.
Kurt Elster: Oh, I did not realize. Then if you scroll down, they’ve got a horizontal scroller, and again, the scroll bars have been styled like Windows 95, and then they’ve got their… I assume their bestsellers, and they say, “Get a load of these!” And what’s funny, you see the second one? The Night Fall Polarized Double Wide, right?
Paul Reda: Yeah, the hover state’s like a grandma wearing them.
Kurt Elster: Yeah, the hover state’s somebody’s grandma. It’s great. Oh, it’s so fun. And they have… They do this thing where in addition to the product title, they give you like a little tagline. It’s like, “The Double Wides,” and that’s where they’re showing you the style. I wonder if that’s like they set that as the vendor? I see a lot of time people do that. It’s a cheat. Or maybe it’s a metafield.
Paul Reda: I think that’s kind of in… That’s like the collection it’s in. There’s like the 2000s is like that collection, and that sort of stuff.
Kurt Elster: Okay. And then as you scroll down, it’s another… A featured collection that’s apparel that matches. It’s all like bike apparel that’s really ridiculous. And they got an email signup form, another featured collection. You see on these sites, it’s a lot of these really powerful sites have very long home pages, and it’s a lot of featured collections and then content. Like lifestyle content to go with it.
And then when you finally get to the bottom, what do we got here? Oh, an Instagram feed that is something else. This thing… “Voted 69th best sunglass brand page by your mom. Think you’ve got something worthy enough for us to throw up on our social media? Go ahead, try us.” Okay, maybe trying a little too hard with that one.
If you look at the bottom, in the footer link, read the links. I did not catch this last time.
Paul Reda: Oh, what? Like shitty hats?
Kurt Elster: Yeah, shittyhats.com, they got a P.E.N.15 Club, A/S/L, which is their about us page, so maybe they’re going a little too far on some of these things, where it’s not obvious. Like I only know that A/S/L is their about page because you hover over it. But they’re 100% committed, and I respect it.
So, let’s go into a collection page. If you hover over that mega menu, oh, mega menu still works. Still styled like everything else.
Paul Reda: It’s got gifs.
Kurt Elster: And it looks like… Yes, they’ve got animated gifs on here. I have not seen that before, an animated gif in a mega menu.
Paul Reda: Well, and the best thing is that they can really like pixelate the hell out of it and stomp on it, and it still fits with the aesthetic.
Kurt Elster: Oh, good point. Yes, they can. Yeah, the site’s very fast. So, which of these glasses do you enjoy, Mr. Reda? When we pick a collection?
Paul Reda: All right, let’s go to the 2000s. Let’s just go to those. See what we got.
Kurt Elster: All right. We’ll head to the 2000s. I remember being like seven years old and thinking this style sunglasses was so cool. Especially if they were mirrored.
Paul Reda: You know, so they-
Kurt Elster: I don’t know why I thought those were so cool.
Paul Reda: The absolute top endorser they could get is if they got like an official Bret the Hitman Hart. Branding, that would-
Kurt Elster: Yes. Yeah. Okay, that’s a good description.
Paul Reda: If they had like official Bret Hart ones, that would I think really blow it up for them.
Kurt Elster: So, once you’re on the collection page, they go three wide, really big image. I love when people have really big product photos on the collection page, and to do that, you could only… You need three columns and that’s it. Makes it easier to see what you’re looking at. I think it’s the smart way to go. They’ve got filtering on the left side, and now that I’m really into filter apps for collections, I would kill to know what app runs this. And then the only thing I don’t agree with is their choice to use Quick Shop. Eh, they’re $100 sunglasses, I don’t think you’re just gonna use Quick Shop to buy them. What’s wrong with going to the product page?
Paul Reda: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: If you scroll further down, they do the thing you love. There is featured, just featured content in there.
Paul Reda: Oh yeah, they got a little thing popped in there.
Kurt Elster: But what’s smart is in the third row of this collection, which is five rows long, is an image of different sunglasses from a different collection, and it says shop Grand Prix. This is smart. They’re doing internal linking between all of the collections. They know you’re only gonna… You’re probably only buying one pair of sunglasses. If you just pick a style, go through it, and you’re halfway through it and don’t see anything you like, well, you’re probably not gonna make it to the bottom and find something.
So, they’re offering you in the collection the next set. I think that’s very clever.
Paul Reda: Yeah, I think it’s good. I mean, I think they have like a… There’s like a base form factor they have, like these are the 2000s form factor, and the only difference is the coloring on the rims and the lenses. So, yeah, and like you said, if they went halfway down the page and are realizing they don’t like the form factor or they don’t like the color ways, it’s like, “Oh, well, maybe if you try these. Maybe you like those.” They just don’t want to lose you.
Kurt Elster: Yes. And I’ve not seen anyone do a collection like this, and I think it’s really smart. This is like the big takeaway from this. All right, so let’s click it. I’m gonna click Shop Grand Prix.
Paul Reda: Click on the filter boxes on the left. They’re instantaneous.
Kurt Elster: So, I’m gonna… I only want mirrored glasses. Why would you want anything else? And face width, they’ve got pretty normal and kind of big. All right, so I’m clicking kind of big and mirror. And boom. All right, it worked. Gave me fewer sunglasses, but yeah, it is instant.
Paul Reda: Yeah, it’s like it runs so fast, I’m also wondering if it’s like the other ones are… Oh no, it’s actually removing them. I thought it was like maybe they were just like hiding them, like making them display none, but no, they’re actually adding and removing them out of the document. Which is crazy.
Kurt Elster: So, is it-
Paul Reda: It’s crazy.
Kurt Elster: You think that’s built into the theme? Or that’s an app?
Paul Reda: I’d have to poke around more.
Kurt Elster: Let’s head to a product page. Let’s go… Which one do you click on?
Paul Reda: The America 2000.
Kurt Elster: Oh, and we’ve got our product photo. It’s a carousel. Clicking on it does nothing. That’s not smart. So, if I want to zoom, so we know this from Baymard Institute studies. At least a third of people, if not more, when they land on a product page, the absolute first thing they do is zoom in on the photo. So, you always want to make sure like on hover it zooms in, or it opens in a lightbox if I click it. Here, they do neither. But they also have a larger than normal photo.
Paul Reda: It’s a pretty big image. I think… I don’t think you need any more than that.
Kurt Elster: Yes, and they don’t have thumbnails here, but they… Instead of the thumbnails, they have very clear, very obvious, like scroll left-right buttons.
Paul Reda: And there’s only three. I mean, you’re not scrolling through 100 images.
Kurt Elster: Yeah, how many photos do I really need for sunglasses. And then when you scroll-
Paul Reda: More, because they have like the action photos below that, but they’re always on and always there, which I think is a really great choice.
Kurt Elster: A row of four lifestyle photos. Action photos. Look amazing, fit with the brand, they’re fun. And then when you scroll down further, you get to a stats section that says… The title is details_for_nerds.exe. And then it gives you the stats, and this is the stuff that’s probably in like a metafield or tags.
Paul Reda: Let’s get back up. In the product form, all the things they do right. One, $99 or four payments of $24.75 with afterpay, so they offer the payment plans like we were talking about before. That helps their conversion rate. Two, right up there, size chart. You can click on the size chart, it takes you down in the page, you got a big photo of the product-
Kurt Elster: Oh, look at that.
Paul Reda: And it gives you the sizing.
Kurt Elster: You’re right. And they list it in imperial and metric, and they refer to imperial as Merika. And then at the bottom, check out their featured products. The like, “You may also be interested in,” is a section called unrelated products, and they very first thing it offers me is a kegel exerciser, and then a UV light, giant wiggle eyes, can I buy this stuff?
Paul Reda: It’s links to Amazon. It’s just like an…
Kurt Elster: Oh my… and they’re affiliate links.
Paul Reda: They’re random Amazon products.
Kurt Elster: They’re random Amazon affiliate links. That’s diabolical.
Paul Reda: That’s crazy.
Kurt Elster: Wow.
Paul Reda: I’m-
Kurt Elster: Okay, that I’ve never seen.
Paul Reda: I’m offered a fake butt.
Kurt Elster: I wonder how they populate it, or if it’s just like random on load.
Paul Reda: I bet it’s like random stupid stuff they found that pulls from a list.
Kurt Elster: They have like a pre-selected list.
Paul Reda: Yeah, and it’s unrelated products.
Kurt Elster: That’s very cool. In the footer, all their policies have the heading of cranky people stuff. That’s where their contact us is. Oh boy.
Paul Reda: Let’s scroll back up, here.
Kurt Elster: All right.
Paul Reda: When you look at that data for nerds box, data_for_nerds.exe.
Kurt Elster: Got it.
Paul Reda: It’s got, “I’M SOLD – BUY NOW!” You got an add to cart button in that box. Then you got good reviews. Scroll down. “Hey, this is great, blah, blah, blah.” We got a little bit of text content down here. After the text content, add to cart button. I mean, they… There’s-
Kurt Elster: Oh, you’re right. Yeah, there’s three add to cart buttons on this page. Smart. And if you click add to cart, this drawer cart opens, and it is sweet. They have… There’s a progress bar in here, so my cart is $148 right now. I got two pairs of glasses in here. And at the top it says, “Add $2 to activate free shit.” And there’s a progress bar that goes along with it. That’s smart.
And then below it, their cross sell is literally a little box that says, “Give us more money,” and is advertising a similar pair of sunglasses.
Paul Reda: Yeah-
Kurt Elster: Like a different style, but the same color.
Paul Reda: All right, is that an upsell?
Kurt Elster: Cross sell.
Paul Reda: All right. Well, I have a cross sell for like a lanyard, I think, that attaches to your sunglasses. An $8 lanyard.
Kurt Elster: All right, so when I added… I added the cross sell. Now my cart is at $207, in case I’ve completely lost my mind, and at the top it says, “Great success. Select your FREE shit below.” And down here it says, “Select Your Free Shit,” and it’s a little scroller, I can choose three different things, and one of them is a lanyard, so I’m gonna add the lanyard. The cross sell is still there, but it’s just showing different glasses. Maybe it’s random, because it’s showing me three different ones right now. And then at the bottom it says… The checkout button is my favorite label, it’s the one that Amazon uses, it says proceed to checkout. And then below that it says, “You get free US shipping. Booyah.”
Now, the one thing I disagree with is they use a lot of blue text to fit this theme. The problem is blue traditionally means this is a link. They’re using as like a highlight, or things… Text in bold is blue and bold, so it makes it look like I could click here, but-
Paul Reda: Yeah, I’ve been clicking on stuff being like, or hovering over it being like, “Where does that link go?” And it’s not a link.
Kurt Elster: Yeah, so one… That’s a minor issue. I mean, just doing a different color, it wouldn’t be quite as bad. And then once we head into the checkout, it’s styled but not like extraordinarily so, to match the site, but they have this nice little custom message in here. “Expect delivery delays with all services. Fuck you, COVID-19. USPS Priority, now three to four business days.” I like that they just casually keep saying this.
Paul Reda: Well, and that uses like a Monospace old computer font there to keeping with the aesthetic.
Kurt Elster: Yes. But if like you’re gonna customize the checkout, you could probably make the whole thing that Monospace. Or at least do the headings. I think that would be cool.
Paul Reda: I would change the colors, like I would make the colors really wild.
Kurt Elster: Yeah, or just a background. I don’t know. Maybe the checkout is sacred to even these people.
Paul Reda: Yeah, good point.
Kurt Elster: But yeah, no, this just… For pure ridiculousness, style, and execution, I greatly enjoy this site. It is a ton of fun. And I’m sure was really quite difficult and took someone a lot of work to do. I’d love to know who did it. If somebody knows, reach out. Just so I could say, “Wow, that was cool.”
Paul Reda: Yeah. No, it is an achievement. I will give it that.
Kurt Elster: All right, Mr. Reda. Any closing thoughts? Anything else you would like to say before we wrap it up? We’ve gone a little long.
Paul Reda: No. No, this is fine. No, that’s it. Everyone keep on keeping on.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. Join our Facebook group. There’s just been a lot of activity. A lot of stuff going on. Search Unofficial Shopify Podcast Insiders on there, and as well… Well, what else did I have to say? Oh, you know what? That’s it. Just join our Facebook group and I will see you there.
Paul Reda: All right. Bye, everyone.
Kurt Elster: Let’s get out of here.
Paul Reda: Oh, you love those.