In this podcast episode, we discuss how to make 2024 your best year on Shopify. Our featured guest on the show is Chase Clymer, Co-founder at electriceye.io and host of the Honest Ecommerce podcast.
Topics discussed in this episode:
- Importance of Mobile First Design
- Emphasizing the need for mobile-friendly and faster loading websites
- Impact of Shopify 2.0 capabilities on improving website performance
- Integration of AI in Ecommerce
- Use of heat mapping and user recordings to identify optimization opportunities
- Importance of being present on multiple channels and platforms
- Recommendations for Q1 2024 for Overhaul and Strategy
03:47 Shopify 2.0 boosts website speed for mobile
09:57 Advertisers facing challenges amid rising ad costs
12:59 Ensure it's worthwhile and informs app choices
13:50 Identify customer needs to optimize product design
17:21 Upgrade to Shopify 2.0 for performance
21:40 Focus shifts to margin and efficiency in 2024
Links & Resources
Special offer for our Listeners: Let the experts at Electric Eye find opportunities for your store. $1mm+ stores can mention the Ecommerce Coffee Break for a free Shopify Diagnostic in January 2024. Apply at https://electriceye.io/pages/services-shopify-diagnostic
About Our Podcast Guest: Chase Clymer
Chase Clymer is the Co-founder at Electric Eye where he and his team create Shopify-powered sales machines from strategic design and development decisions. He is also the host of Honest Ecommerce, a weekly podcast where we provide online store owners with honest, actionable advice to increase their sales and grow their business.
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Chase Clymer [00:00:00]:
This is episode two seven five of.
Claus Lauter [00:00:02]:
The ecommerce Coffee Break podcast.
Claus Lauter [00:00:03]:
Today, we want to find out how you can make 2024 your best year on Shopify yet. Joining me on the show is Chase.
Claus Lauter [00:00:10]:
Clymer, cofounder of Electriceye.io and also podcast host of the Honest Ecommerce podcast.
Claus Lauter [00:00:16]:
So let's dive right into it.
Claus Lauter [00:00:19]:
But before we get started, a big thank you to our sponsors for supporting today's episode.
Claus Lauter [00:00:24]:
Loyalty Lion is a leading loyalty platform helping Shopify brands rocket returning customers with their own loyalty programs. With Loyalty Lion, it's quick and easy to create a program that uses points and rewards to engage shoppers, secure more second purchases, and drive up lifetime value. Loyalty Lion has been increasing returning customer rates for thousands of Shopify stores for over ten years. Visit loyaltylion.com to find out more. Find the link in the show notes.
Claus Lauter [00:00:50]:
Have you heard about partner Hero? They're experts in support on the ecommerce industry, known for their outstanding team building skills. Their main pillars, quality people and culture makes them a great fit for your company. Learn more on partnerhero.com or click the link in the show notes.
Voice over [00:01:05]:
Voice over [00:01:06]:
The e commerce Coffee Break, a top rated Shopify growth podcast dedicated to Shopify merchants and business owners looking to grow their online stores. Learn how to survive in the fast changing ecommerce world with your host, Claus Lauter, and get marketing advice you can't find on Google. Welcome to the show.
Claus Lauter [00:01:32]:
Hello and welcome to another episode of the ecommerce Coffee Break podcast. Today we want to talk about New Year, new store, how to make 2024 the best year for your Shopify business. Now, this is a big topic, and we will dive a little bit deeper into this with another fellow podcast host. So what's better than one podcast host? Two podcast hosts? I will have with me Chase Clymer. He's the co founder of Electrici IO and he and his team create Shopify powered sales machines for strategic design and development decisions. More importantly, he's the host of the Honest ecommerce podcast, a weekly podcast where he provides online store owners with honest, actual advice to increase their sales and grow their business. So let's welcome him to the show. Hi Chase.
Claus Lauter [00:02:11]:
How are you today?
Chase Clymer [00:02:12]:
I'm doing fantastic. Thanks for having me.
Claus Lauter [00:02:15]:
Chase. Right into 2024, we are December. It's just around the corner. We want to find out what store owners can do to make 2024 a win. Let's dive into different topics. First. One I want to look into is mobile first. I think that's something that's on the plate for a long time for a lot of merchants.
Claus Lauter [00:02:33]:
And a lot of merchants, I see, have not even started upgrading to Shopify 2.0. New themes. Let's dive a little bit. What's your take on that one?
Chase Clymer [00:02:42]:
Yeah, it's funny, mobile first still comes up all the time when we're talking to merchants, when we're usually discussing, like, a redesign project, and they're like, are your themes mobile friendly? And it's like, well, yeah, it's 2024. It's like, yes, if it's not mobile friendly, what are we doing here? It should almost be mobile first. And that's definitely a consideration for kind of all the projects that we do. And where that's stemming from is kind of with performance. Everyone's using their cell phone to look at these websites, and if I'm on my home wifi, it's going to be pretty quick and I'm going to be able to interact with most websites. But what actually is the thing you need to think about is when your customer doesn't have the best of service, they're in the middle of a cornfield somewhere, or driving, hopefully not using your website while they're driving. Someone else is driving, but they're somewhere that they don't have wi fi, they don't have the best connection, and you need to have a snappy website. And so what that means is Shopify has done a lot of really big pushes with their new online store 2.0 capabilities.
Chase Clymer [00:03:47]:
So those themes are really snappy, out of the box. And the way that those themes were built is just entirely different than the older themes that were kind of pre 2002. So I think a lot of merchants are going to start investing in new experiences that are built on kind of that Shopify 2.0 stuff which will help them have a faster website, which will help them kind of this mobile first thing. And I think performance in and of itself goes back to mobile and mobile design is people are using their phones. It depends on your products usually, but for the more common types of businesses, apparel, CPG, a lot of their visitors are coming mobile first. And if your store is slow and not performant, you're going to see a lot of people leaving the site because they're frustrated with things not loading. And so I think mobile is still a giant consideration in 2024.
Claus Lauter [00:04:41]:
Yeah, 100% correct. I saw a number that said about 75% of all shopping transactions will be on mobile. So that does not leave much for desktop. So I think, as you said, mobile first, not mobile friendly, but really mobile first on that one. Now, there is a lot of going on with AI right now, and a lot of apps are coming up for AI and a lot of merchants are thinking it's like, how can I facilitate that to make it easier for the shopper? How can I make it easier for me as a merchant? What's your take on that? How much AI will become part of a Shopify store?
Chase Clymer [00:05:17]:
That's a great question. I think AI is on the top of everyone's mind. I mean, I use it every day in kind of my work and home life to help me kind of solve common problems. But I think the one thing the merchants really need to consider is it's not there yet. It's not going to really replace subject matter experts. It's not going to replace important people in your business. A lot of people have been looking at how AI is going to impact content generation, and content is like the number one thing for SEO. All of that this AI generated content is doing is just regurgitating the same information without a unique point of view.
Chase Clymer [00:06:00]:
So I feel that to stand out in 2024 is you can use all of these amazing tools out there, but they need to still have a human editing component involved, have a unique point of view, have something to say. I feel it's really easy to recognize when something is generated by AI. We've been exposed to it for over a year now. Chachi BT came out about a year and like two or three weeks ago. So we're familiar with what this style of content looks like. And I think that just with anything in business, when you're cutting corners, it leads to a comeuppance at some point. So from a content perspective, I would use those tools to help, but not to do everything from other considerations. Within ecommerce is where we get a little more interesting.
Chase Clymer [00:06:48]:
I think that AI recommended products and AI recommended bundling, like all that stuff. I think that's going to be really interesting to see how that gets built out in the ecosystem in 2024. But I think a lot of stuff super new. I haven't been wowed yet by AI within kind of the commerce stack just yet. All of its kind of cheap tips and tricks. It's like, oh, you're using AI to generate a subject line for an email campaign. Cool. That's not really doing anything super crazy.
Chase Clymer [00:07:16]:
Now where I see this is less AI, this is machine learning and the power of data analysis. When you can take in cohort information about your customers purchasing patterns into a language model, as long as you do it the right way, where it's not revealing your customers information. You can find a lot of really interesting stuff out about your customers, and then you got to use your brain to then convert that into either marketing messages or campaigns or learning things to how to pivot your positioning of your product to appeal to those particular subsets of customers. That's really interesting.
Claus Lauter [00:07:53]:
I think AI right now works the best when it comes to sort of chatbots. In the past, they were sort of script driven and sort of static, and now it becomes more dynamic. And the answers that you get within the customer support experience on the store in real time, I think are much better than they were like a year ago.
Chase Clymer [00:08:11]:
I agree with you there. I just think that everyone's going to get an AI chat bot, and I think what's going to happen is customers are going to get frustrated that they're not talking to a real person when they have a real problem.
Claus Lauter [00:08:23]:
True. It depends on how deep the problem is. I think the majority of returning questions in customer support, I think AI bot can deal with that. And then there's like the 5% that are completely out of the ordinary. And then obviously a human needs to jump in when it comes to stores. A lot of stores facilitate video. Some do. Virtual reality, augmented reality.
Claus Lauter [00:08:45]:
What's your take on that one? Is that something that we will see more in the future?
Chase Clymer [00:08:49]:
I think that it's still expensive. Building an AI like an augmented reality model is tens of thousands of dollars. It might be a little bit cheaper, but last time I was looking into this, it's like super pricey to get that built out. And I just think it's not feasible for most merchants, especially merchants that have a higher sku count like fashion and apparel, they're releasing 70 products at a time or something. It's just not feasible to make that investment. But on the flip side, for merchants that have kind of a flagship product, it might make a little bit more sense to kind of lean more into those uncommon kind of technical things that you can do with augmented reality, like showing a desk in an office or something like that. I think that while cool, I don't know if that's going to make or break any business in 2024.
Claus Lauter [00:09:36]:
I want to jump ship a little bit and go into the world of advertising. 2024 will bring a couple of big changes. Third party cookies are falling away. Tracking will be much more complicated. And we talked before our chat here about rising ad costs never got cheaper. It only gets more expensive. But I want to look into Facebook advertising, meta advertising. What's your take on that?
Chase Clymer [00:09:57]:
I think that an advertiser's job is just getting harder and harder. Cookies are one thing and now they're doing some interesting stuff with emails as well. It's just making their job harder. So a lot of people are going into this direction of like first party data and building out client side pixels, which this is getting a little out of my subject matter expertise area, but I can still kind of talk about it. So I think what you're going to see is a lot of people are going to have their own cookies on their own website that aren't powered by a Facebook or Google, but it's like an owned element that allows them to gather that data. That's kind of how you circumvent a lot of this stuff, so you'll see a lot of investment in that. I think that, like you said, ad costs just keep going up. They rose dramatically during the pandemic and just haven't really gone down.
Chase Clymer [00:10:42]:
And I don't think they will go down because people are still spending money on it. So I think what you're going to see is merchants are going to look at other areas to either a spend that advertising money or b make that advertising spend more efficient. And so then that comes into kind of like conversion rate optimization, which is a lot of what we kind of do at our agency.
Claus Lauter [00:11:06]:
And now a quick break to thank the sponsors of today's episode. Tired of watching customer drift away after their first purchase? Then it's time to rocket your returning customer rates and drive six times more second purchases. With loyalty line as a leading loyalty platform in the Shopify space, loyalty line exists to make it as easy as possible for you to launch and manage your own loyalty program. They'll even build your loyalty page for you. With loyalty line, you unlock everything you need to engage shoppers with points and rewards and integrate loyalty data into your email, sms and help desk platforms. You also get a five star support as shown by the customer reviews on the Shopify App Store and g two. Visit loyaltyline.com to find out more and start your loyalty journey. Find the link in the show notes.
Claus Lauter [00:11:49]:
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Claus Lauter [00:12:16]:
Now, conversion rate optimization is a difficult topic because it takes a lot of a b testing before you come to a result that really moves the needles. What's your approach there? If somebody comes to you with a, I don't know, not optimized website, what's the first step you do?
Chase Clymer [00:12:31]:
Absolutely. People come to us with not optimized websites every day. And the first step is usually we'll kind of walk them through what we call a shopify diagnostic. And it's just a fancy name for a bunch of audits that we do. And we're going to look at three main areas on their website. We're going to look at the front end ux of their website. So this is kind of like the design and just choices of their navigation and how the website looks and feels and the interactions there. We're going to look at the back end of their website, specifically their code.
Chase Clymer [00:12:59]:
Make sure that it's not like a mess and just spaghetti, as some people like to say, make sure it's worth working on that thing. And then we also look at their app choices because that kind of informs a lot of other decisions within the code stuff and the UX stuff. And what we're looking for at the end of the day with this audit is to point us in a direction. Either do we need to do a redesign of this thing to actually have a functional website or web store that's actually selling the products that we need to sell that make sense for our customers, or this is a great starting point. Let's get more into that kind of a b testing stuff. But to comment on what you said right before this about it takes a lot of a b testing at a certain point. There's like layers to optimization. And I've been doing this building optimized websites for over eight years, specifically ecommerce.
Chase Clymer [00:13:50]:
And there's like the heuristic stuff where I can just be like, that's wrong and it needs to change. I don't need to test that. That's a waste of time, right? A lot of that stuff you can get out of the way with a good redesign. Then you get into the more interesting stuff, which comes into helping your customers overcome the fears, uncertainties and doubts that they have about buying your product. A lot of that has to do with your offer, it has to do with your bundling. It has to do less with what you say and it's what you're not saying. And you learn that through some more nerdy strategical stuff like customer interviews or user recordings, maybe you'll notice a pattern where on a certain product page, people keep leaving that page and going to, and looking at your returns policy and then coming back and it's like, what's that telling you? It's telling you that they're really interested in the returns policy. Maybe that should just be on that product page as a modal or as like a call out right next to add to cart button.
Chase Clymer [00:14:46]:
So you learn all this interesting stuff, and those are things that you should definitely split test. But when something's broken, you don't need to split test the fix. You just need to fix it.
Claus Lauter [00:14:55]:
Makes perfect sense. Now, this episode will come out in January, 2024, and January is normally a bit of a quieter season for a lot of merchants. After Q four, what would be your recommendation to optimize, to get started with to make 2024 a winner?
Chase Clymer [00:15:12]:
Yeah. So first and foremost, hopefully every listener had a heat mapping software installed, like a hot jar or heatmap.com. There's a bunch of them out there. Those are my favorites. So they have all this data from the busiest season to look at. Right? You guys have all that? Well, if you don't get that, that's really important for anything any partner is going to do for you. That stuff's really important. So you have that.
Chase Clymer [00:15:38]:
January is usually where a lot of the bigger projects seem to kick off in our industry. They're going to do either the redesign or they're going to fix the broken thing or they're going to add some more advanced features to their website that they just couldn't get done before Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or they're going to actually migrate from another platform over to shopify if that's the right solution for them. So that's usually like when those things are getting started. Is Q one of 2024 or Q one of any year? Right. Q four, for most ecommerce merchants is like code Freeze, and we're not doing anything. So coming into the new year, hopefully they had a great holiday. They've got a little bit of money in the bank, and they're looking to reinvest that with a partner to help them kind of solve some goals that they have around their kind of performance of their website. And it can go kind of multiple directions.
Chase Clymer [00:16:26]:
Right. If the website is a great starting place, they're on a 2.0 theme. It's pretty clean code in there. There isn't really anything too wrong that could be a great starting point for optimization and running through kind of the UX audits like I talked about before, learning from their customers and learning from the brand themselves about goals, right? So a lot of optimizations that you could do on a website would be like ways to increase the average order value, right? So you've got upsells, cross sells, bundling. There's always a lot of low hanging fruit there for a lot of merchants to try to increase that kind of aov there. I would say kind of in similar vein, you can do some LTV stuff through memberships and subscription and making that part of a business make a lot more sense. And even like lowering churn on subscription is another thing that keeps kind of your LTV high. So that's a lot of stuff you could focus on and optimize on around conversion rate.
Chase Clymer [00:17:21]:
Performance is a big thing. So if you've got like a legacy theme that's got a bunch of spaghetti code in there, and it's not a 2.0 theme, like upgrading to a new design will help with the UX stuff, but also just a performance increase there, that might make a lot of sense to merchants. Something we're seeing a lot more lately these days and tying back into helping increase efficiency on marketing spend is landing pages, and you can build landing pages using Shopify 2.0. At least we do it for our merchants. It doesn't require any third party soft or anything like that. You can just build it within 2.0 theme and you can start sending your traffic there if you want to get a little more fancy with it. You can do some really cool stuff with split testing. Obviously you're going to have a heat mapping and use a recording software on there as well to learn how people are interacting with it.
Chase Clymer [00:18:08]:
But there's awesome tools in the Shopify ecosystem like intelligence or Shoplift, where you can split test right within your theme without having to use a more expensive solution like VWO. Obviously, Google Optimize has now been sunset, so you can't really do that anymore for free. But there's some cool solutions out there that can empower merchants there.
Claus Lauter [00:18:27]:
A lot of golden nuggets there, and I'm with you. I think January should be basically for a lot of merchants taking a step back, looking on what they have and then making a plan, a strategy on what they can optimize, and then taking the bits and pieces to basically bring it into place on that. Once you have your Shopify store sorted out and everything is fine, I think the multichannel approach is quite important in 2024. So basically, as a brand being visible on every platform that is out there. And then at the end, hopefully you bring them back to Shopify to get the customer data. Biggest problem with Amazon, they don't do that. So what's your take on this one? I see TikTok shop popping up. I see the immigration of Amazon prime payments and so on into Shopify.
Claus Lauter [00:19:13]:
What do you think about omnichannel omni marketplace strategies?
Chase Clymer [00:19:17]:
I think it makes sense once you've won one of them. Right. And what I mean by that is you've built a business on Shopify. I think that you're leaving more money on the table than the margin you're going to give Amazon by not being on Amazon. And I actually saw a other agency owner in the space had a really cool agency that he had built in kind of performance marketing and then he started to buy and build his own brands and they were spending quite a lot of money on paid traffic through Facebook down to just their Shopify store. And he said one of the biggest mistakes that he made in 2023 was not launching on Amazon sooner. They were doing eight hundred k a month on the Shopify store and sending all traffic to the Shopify store. And they just launched their Amazon store without any paid traffic.
Chase Clymer [00:20:06]:
Really. It was just like they just wanted to get it done and then they were going to focus on it a little bit later once they got it launched. Just the ancillary marketing awareness of this product and it being available on that channel. They were making one hundred k a month on Amazon just because it was there. So if you're spending a lot of money on paid ads and the awareness is there, not being on Amazon I think is a detriment to you. Obviously Amazon is a complete monster in and of its own. And I talk about this a lot when I'm on Amazon podcasts. I don't know anything about Amazon.
Chase Clymer [00:20:37]:
Like don't hire me to help you with Amazon. Amazon is a completely different thing than shopify. The strategies that work for Shopify and direct consumer and a platform that you own that you can manipulate and do really cool stuff with, that's different than a marketplace solution and it requires a different specialty. And I think that's something to consider when you're looking into expanding into different markets. I used obviously Amazon as an example here, but hire subject matter experts that have done it before and know how those markets work. Don't pay people to learn on your dime.
Claus Lauter [00:21:09]:
That's a very good advice and I'm with you. I think the beast of Amazon is massively important for your business. There is a lot of synergy between your Shopify store and Amazon, but you need to have an expert as you. I'm not an expert at Amazon at all because it's just a complete different universe out there with Amazon and what's happening there. But finding somebody who can do the job for you is probably a good idea. Now, before we come to the end of the coffee break today, is there anything else that you want to touch on to make 2024 more successful for Shopify merchants?
Chase Clymer [00:21:40]:
I think that everyone's really focused on margin and efficiencies in 2024. However you feel about the political climate, you can't argue that the money is expensive, the interest rates are super high, so everyone's really focused on their margin and their business making sense and being profitable. So I think we're going to see a lot of people focus on their business and the internals, as opposed to maybe in the pandemic, we were in more of like a scale for the sake of scaling mentality. So I think a lot of people are going to be very cognizant of their expenses. They're going to be looking for those incremental increases in their margins, and they're going to really try to just be as profitable as they can.
Claus Lauter [00:22:27]:
Makes perfect sense. Now, working with a lot of merchants out there, and I think we gave a lot of good reasons out why January might be the most important time of the year to get an overhaul of your Shopify store. Where can people find out more about you and what you do?
Chase Clymer [00:22:41]:
If you like what I'm saying, you can listen to me talk to people every week I put out a podcast called honest e commerce. We interview merchants telling kind of their founder story, where the idea come from, how they get their first customers, how they scale up from there. It's a fantastic little interview series. I also do subject matter experts as bonus episodes every once in a while. I'll have claws on here soon. It'll be fantastic. So that's all the content that we're putting out. And then if you're curious to learn more about the agency, you can check us out at electrici IO.
Chase Clymer [00:23:12]:
A lot of the stuff I talked about, about what should I do or new year new me stuff, it kind of comes out of our Shopify diagnostic that we do. And I am allowed to give a few of those away for free. So reach out quickly until my business partner tells me no. But yeah, that's something we could potentially help you out with.
Claus Lauter [00:23:27]:
Cool. I will put the links in the show notes and for our listeners out there. I'm listening to Chase podcast every week, so best recommendation I can give listen to his podcast, not only to the e commerce coffee break podcast. Chase, thanks so much for your time today and I hope to talk to you soon.
Chase Clymer [00:23:41]:
Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Claus Lauter [00:23:43]:
Hey Klaus here.
Claus Lauter [00:23:44]:
Thanks for joining me on another episode of the e commerce Coffee Break podcast.
Claus Lauter [00:23:48]:
Before you go, I'd like to ask.
Claus Lauter [00:23:49]:
Two things from you. First, please help me with the algorithm so I can bring more impactful guests on the show. It will make it also easier for others to discover the podcast, simply like comment and subscribe in the app you're using to listen to the podcast and even better if you could leave a rating. Secondly, please take a moment to check out today's episode sponsors. They play a crucial role in keeping the show in our newsletter available to you for free. Thanks again and I'll catch you in the next episode.
Claus Lauter [00:24:12]:
Have a good one. Before you leave, don't forget to visit.
Claus Lauter [00:24:15]:
The sponsor of today's episode. Have you heard about partner Hero? They're experts in support on the e commerce industry, known for their outstanding team building skills. Their main pillars, quality people and culture makes them a great fit for your company. Learn more on partnerhero.com or click the.
Claus Lauter [00:24:30]:
Link in the show notes Loyalty lion is a leading loyalty platform helping Shopify brands rocket returning customers with their own loyalty programs. With Loyalty lion, it's quick and easy to create a program that uses points and rewards to engage shoppers, secure more second purchases, and drive up lifetime value. Loyalty lion has been increasing returning customer rates for thousands of Shopify stores for over ten years. Visit loyaltyline.com to find out more. Find the link in the show notes.
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