In this podcast episode, we discuss the advantages of Shopify's Checkout Extensibility, what it is, why it's important. Our featured guest on the show is Kyle Truong, founder of keylayapps.com.
On the Show Today, You’ll Learn:
- Why is the checkout process crucial for e-commerce conversions
- What recent changes has Shopify made to its checkout system
- What UI components can be added to optimize the checkout page
- What's the implementation process for adding extensions to the checkout page
- What's the significance of using Shopify's infrastructure for checkout customizations
- What impact can adding cross-sells have on average order values during checkout
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guest: Kyle Truong
Kyle Truong quit his job as a Software Developer in 2019 to build Shopify Apps full-time. He loves creating solutions that bring value to others. His most popular and daily-focused product is Checkout Buddy, a Shopify app designed for checkout customization.
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Claus Lauter: Hello and welcome to another episode of the e commerce coffee break podcast. Today, we want to talk about checkout accessibility means. What can you do to improve your checkout for more conversions? Very important topic. And a lot of Shopify merchants might not know about that. There is a lot of potential for you in there to improve your checkout.
So with me on the show today, I have Kyle Truong. He is a software developer, has built Shopify apps, since 2019. And he brings a love of building more value to stores, to other merchants. We want to talk about his app Checkout Buddy, which is a Shopify build to optimize your checkout. So let's dive right into it.
Hi, Kyle. How are you today?
Kyle Truong: Really well. Thank you.
Claus Lauter: I'll tell me check out something that a lot of merchants in the past did not or could not access to optimize it now that has changed and there is a lot of opportunities in there. Give me an idea why the last step in a customer journey to check out is so important.
Kyle Truong: It is the final process of the shopping experience and. A lot of businesses, they spend a lot of time just with customer acquisition and product research and market research. And you really want to make sure that that last step, that checkout experience is good because like, , if you put in all that work and it doesn't work out, then they drop off for whatever reason, whether it's like performance reasons, or they just have a question that's not answered, that's the idea of checkout extensibility that you extend and customize your checkout in a way that's optimized for your customers so that you can get that conversion in.
Claus Lauter: Now, in the past, you had the three step check out in Shopify and there was not much you could change there, but that has changed. Give me an overview. What are the recent changes within Shopify?
Kyle Truong: it's pretty big. Like there's a lot of different areas in which it's changed and a lot of things that have gone underneath the hood that we don't really see, but it's gotten a lot of infrastructure upgrades that make the latency speed a lot faster and just a lot of higher converting benefits, but basically the things that we can see is for the past. The past decade or so, like we've had the three step checkout as standard.
It works, but then it's not really optimal. So, lately, chopper has been adding things like shop pay, which has a higher conversion rate and a one page checkout, which a lot of merchants have been asking for. A lot of people have been wanting to customize Checkout and before it was only available to Shopify Plus through Checkout.
liquid. So it's like it's just this one file and it's like every time you want to make a customization, you have to go into the code and you have to make a adjustment. So you have to hire a developer or have somebody make that change for you. And it's not really, optimal, I guess. And so now they're offering Checkout extensibility.
So they're just making Checkout into a platform. So developers like me, they can make apps and then. Basically, one app can serve, as many Shopify plus merchants, and you don't have to have your own dev to make your own specific customizations.
Claus Lauter: Now give me a bit of an idea, what kind of optimizations or what kinds of extensions you can use in your checkout now?
Kyle Truong: the kind of customizations that all ties into check of sensibility, which is like a combination of multiple technologies that enables the extension and of your checkout. So one branch of these customizations, I like to call them UI components. So basically, cross cells up cells, trust badges links, if you want to add a custom form field or like.
A bunch of foreign fields. Those are the kind of widgets that you can add. And they're always adding more stuff too. Like if you want to add a date picker, if you want to schedule your order or shipping or anything like that. So that's one category of orders, but there's also, I mean, one order of customizations, but there's also more customizations that we can talk
Claus Lauter: about to give me a real life example of a store who's using extensions and what the thinking behind it is.
So why do they pick specific
Kyle Truong: features? on the simple side, most basic customizations, like just If you want to add , extra, if you want to increase your average order value, you just add a cross sell to your checkout. So it's like, really easy if you're selling a shoe and then you want to like upsell something, like, let's say a shoe cleaner, it's an easy upsell.
But if you want to get more specific, there's been a lot of Shopify businesses that are migrating from other platforms and they've had customized checkouts, but they don't have them in checkout because on Shopify checkout, because they just didn't have those customizations before. So. For example, one business, they were very heavy on the affiliates.
So basically, they have a network of thousands of affiliates, and these affiliates refer their customers to them. And in checkout, they had this option where they can say, like, were you referred by an affiliate? And if they were, they can type the name in, and then it matches against the database. And then if there's a match, it applies a discount to the cust for the customer.
And then it matches back to , the affiliate, so everybody wins. Those are a couple of examples of customizations in the checkout.
Claus Lauter: Now with the customizations, obviously one thing is building up more trust. So you can obviously use trust markers, badges, and some, something like that on the checkout page, which you couldn't use in the past.
What's the implementation process on getting these. extensions to work in the checkout
Kyle Truong: page. Yeah. So it's actually really simple. If you've ever used online store 2. 0, it's kind of like that. So basically there's a checkout editor. That's kind of like the storefront editor and you have a bunch of blocks and your sections.
So you can just use reusable blocks of apps. And then within this checkout editor, it's like a sandbox environment. So you can just add the block, remove it, move it to any section you want and customize the settings right in there and they can preview it. And if you don't like it, remove it.
If you like it, save it. And it publishes to your checkout. It's basically you install the app, make the component and then add it to the checkout editor and then you can preview it from there. From
Claus Lauter: your experience with your clients, is there a number of a maximum number of different features they should add?
Because a lot of merchants have done a shiny object syndrome and they add everything that's available. And then obviously that backfires.
Kyle Truong: Yeah, that has been quite an issue on the storefront. The more apps you add, the the longer it takes to load. That's been the experience on the storefront.
But actually, the really cool thing about checkout extensibility is that that's not really the case because the infrastructure and the loading speed is all handled by Shopify. When we make a component, we're using checkout extensibility, it's not really using the app server, it's using Shopify's The servers and all that stuff and that's like a really huge ship because infrastructure is really hard to problem shopify has spent like a decade, a decade of like resources just investing and improving checkout.
And this is the first time that we can actually as developers build on Shopify's infrastructure and I got, I can't express how big of a deal that is. Because before you have your own Shopify independent developers, they do their front end, they do the back end and they have to do their server infrastructure, which is really hard if you want to scale to the scale of businesses.
But now it's like it's all taken care of by Shopify. add as many checkout customizations as you want.
Claus Lauter: Okay, so it has no impact on the speed because Shopify takes care of
Kyle Truong: make a disclaimer for that because there are some Shopify extensions that make calls to networks and then those definitely slow down.
The checkout experience, and that's not really, , good, but then it depends on which checkout customization you're looking for. Some are very simple, very static. They don't need extra interactions with a network. So those customizations, they load really fast and they don't really don't impact your store speed or checkout speed.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Understood. Now, you gave an example with the affiliates. I have flexible display rules. So how does that work? How can you create it flexible on the checkout page?
Kyle Truong: Yeah. So that's something offered by checkout buddy. It's basically a lot of checkout customization search, like flat, you add a banner, you add a cross sell you add this like upseller checks, like it's form field, but sometimes merchants want more customized rules, like you're shipping to one country, but not another country, you want the customization to show for that country. So the display rule, you just kind of add the rule. It's very flexible. You can do like, and or rule. So basically, if it's in this country, and in this province, you show the customization.
If not, then it hides it. And that can work for payment customizations and delivery customizations too. People have been having a lot of fun with this, these customizations, , just like the shipping banners and just warning customers like we don't ship to this country for this product and they can like block the checkout in those cases.
So they have to remove the item before they can proceed.
Claus Lauter: It sounds like very helpful because with a flexible checkout, you basically prevent orders coming through that you cannot fulfill. So that's actually quite nice feature there. When it comes to AB testing, you want to find out which of the bits and pieces that you put in a checkout are really converting and adding to average order value, for instance, is there a B testing feature included in checkout buddy?
Kyle Truong: yeah, there's a B features for the cross cells and the upsells. data is important and you want to know how your promotions are doing how your components, how your cross cells are doing. So sometimes you want to. AB test, whether it's this product or that product, which one sells more.
And so it's like a 50, 50 split it would just AB test it. And then you'll see the stats in the analytics within the app.
Claus Lauter: How does it look like for internationalization? So for multi currency, multi language stores, how does that work there?
Kyle Truong: That's pretty big feature of, Shopify plus you have different markets.
One market may be English. One may be French. One may be. German or something. So CheckoutBuddy does have that built into, translations and it's based on the language of the checkout. you make your primary component or customization and then you go to the translations tab and basically if you have a certain market that you want to translate for, you can add that customization.
So when the language of the checkout changes, it shows that language instead of the primary language. And there's also a lot of market based, customization. So some merchants want specific customization for specific markets. So not just on a language level, but on a market level and type of customization.
And so I'm building that into.
Claus Lauter: Checkout buddy is only for Shopify plus, if I understand that right, what's the decision making process going from a normal Shopify plan, to Shopify plus just talk me through that. All
Kyle Truong: right. So Shopify plus it is like a premium feature. It costs quite a bit of money compared to the regular Shopify features.
If you want to customize checkout with these UI components, it's only available on Shopify plus. So like before you had checkout. dot liquid and that was only available for Shopify plus customers. It's the same idea here with checkout extensibility, the checkout UI components that allow you to check out to customize checkout with these components.
They're only available for Shopify Plus merchants. We've asked the Shopify team there's any plans to make that available for everybody, but So far they've been adamant in saying no, but on the plus side, there are also a lot of customizations like order status page customizations that are coming soon.
And the functions customizations that allow you to modify things like shipping and delivery and payment. So if you want, I can give some examples later, but basically there's a lot of, customizing. There's a lot of features coming to checkout that allow you to customize it that don't require Shopify plus.
And I'm going to make that available to every merchant too.
Claus Lauter: No, that's not definitely good. Having a customized checkout can have a huge impact on your conversion rates because that's where people are the closest to their credit card. You got, as you said in the beginning, you got them all the way through paid traffic through the product pages, card, and all the steps.
And now you have them on the checkout page and obviously there, you want to make sure that you have the right trust building elements, the right upsell elements and so on and so forth to get the most out of it. Bring them really to the confirmation page. So make them a customer. Tell me a little bit about the implementation process.
What's the onboarding? the installation? How does that work?
Kyle Truong: So it's really simple. It's like basically three steps to install the app and then you create your component and then you add it to the checkout editor
Claus Lauter: Yeah. Is there kind of learning curve when it comes to training or when to get started?
What do you need to do stepwise to get everything working?
Kyle Truong: It's really big for Shopify as a whole. It affects Shopify, affects our developers and affects Shopify merchants. The key thing I think here is that extensibility enabling customizing of checkout by essentially turning checkout into a platform.
It's offering new primitives to checkout. So it's not readily available to Shopify merchants. It's developers like me and apps like Checkout Buddy that have to fill in the gap and take these primitives and make them available. going to take some time to just like build integrations and build support.
Checkout sensibility is not really readily available for Shopify Plus merchants, but it is pretty much everything. It's gonna be the future for moving forward with customizing checkout, because checkout liquid is deprecating next year, August 13th, and then All you got are checkout extensibility and it's apps.
Claus Lauter: Okay. It makes perfect sense. Tell me a little bit about the pricing. How do you charge for the
Kyle Truong: app? So I got two plans right now. , the first plan is free if you want to try it out forever or as long as you want, you can try it out and you can just use it too. If you make a lot of money with it, that's fantastic.
It's free. But the free version is limited to one component. There's also a plus plan. That's 49 a month. You can have as many customizations as you want as many components and all the customization settings. I am also introducing a new plan that's much cheaper as available for all Shopify plus merchants.
All Shopify merchants is those are the customizations that are not plus exclusive and just. Because I just now talking about where the payment methods, delivery methods, fulfillment, and a lot of more functions. And those, that will be 19 a month.
Claus Lauter: Well, can people find out more about, check
Kyle Truong: out button?
It's on the Shopify app store, just shirts up check out buddy and it'll be
Claus Lauter: there. Well, I will put the links in the show notes as always, and then it's just one click away. Okay, thanks so much for giving us an overview of the Shopify extensions that you can do on the checkout. I really like the idea that you can really work on it and make it better than it was in the past.
As you said in the beginning, it was always a little bit hard coded and you needed to have a developer and it was a bit of a pain in the neck. It has become so much easier now. Thanks so much for your time.
Kyle Truong: Thank you.
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