Join us on this episode as we sit down with Will Waggenspack, co-founder of entaice.com, to discuss how optimizing collection pages can be the key to unlocking your Shopify store's conversion potential.
On the Show Today You’ll Learn:
- The best practices to improve your page rankings
- How to present information on your product page
- How to generate the right user experience
- How to optimize the collection page
- How to help users discover products they want to buy
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guest: Will Waggenspack
Will is an ecommerce and Shopify expert with more than 15 years of experience helping brands develop practical, elegant solutions to their most difficult challenges. As the cofounder of Entaice, he's worked with companies from Series A to Fortune 500 to optimize the conversion rates of their stores with programmatic merchandising that ensures customers see the products they're most likely to buy.
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Claus Lauter: Hello. Welcome to another episode of the E-Commerce Coffee Break. Today we want to talk about probably a page on your Shopify store that you do not put too much effort in, but you're missing out there. It's your collection page, your category page. Collection pages are sort of overlooked by a lot of merchants.
, for all the wrong reasons and it can make a huge difference if you put a little bit of more [00:02:00] work into that. So, talking about this, I have Will Waggenspack with me. He's the co-founder of entice.com. As an e-commerce and Shopify expert with more than 15 years of experience helping brands develop practical element solutions to their most difficult challenges.
As a co-founder of entire, he worked with companies from Series A to Fortune 500, optimize the conversion rates of their store with programmatic merchandisers in debt. Insurers, customers see the product they most likely to buy it, so let's say hello to Will. Hi Will, how are you today?
Will Waggenspack: Hey everybody.
Thanks for having.
Claus Lauter: Well, we're talking about conversion rate optimization and also about data today. Give me a bit of a background, what got you into focusing on collection pages?
Will Waggenspack: I started my career in e-commerce at Urban Outfitters and Free People, and we always had this really interesting, , thing happen every time we would release new products onto our website, we would see our sales like tank for a couple days.
And internally we would go through this process of trying to figure out, okay, what's going on? Did something. Break, , is the product not resonating as much? And as we started like [00:03:00] digging and digging and digging, what we realized is that the products that were actually driving the majority of sales on our website were getting pushed down on the collection pages, like to position, that these products had been in positions maybe like one through 10, and all of a sudden they were getting pushed down into positions like beyond position one.
And the thing that people don't realize is that like there's not actually a lot of scroll depth for your customers when they're coming onto your site. So they might browse the first like 20 or 40 products or 60 products, but by the time you're getting down into product 100, like those products aren't actually getting views, they aren't getting clicks, and as a result, they aren't selling.
And so what we realized is we needed like a more programmatic structured way to do, , the way that we rank our products within collection pages and make sure that we're showing our browsers and our shoppers things that they want to buy and really move to a more like automated merchandising system that pushed up all of the best selling products continuously.
And when we were seeing improvements in sales, just by re resorting the products of anywhere from like five to 10% every single [00:04:00] week, and then we started realizing. There's a whole world out there in the Shopify community where we can use the same sort of methodology and same technology and actually like give.
, to these tools that only big companies have to all the different, , retailers that are on Shopify. And so that's where the interest and like the development idea for entice came from. And then we've been working on that for the last three and a half years, , growing out our client base on Shopify.
And really just like digging in with merchandisers to understand, not only how can we automate and think really strategically about sorting, but also, Make your workflow and your life easier in Shopify where there's some things with product sorting that Shopify makes it like very, very hard to do.
We've been working very closely with the people who are actually in charge of putting the products on the site every day and understanding, , what can we do to make your life easier at the same time? And so we've blended this really great technological and algorithmic view of the world with a more editorial view of the world and, , brought those two things together in.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Makes total sense. I think there's a couple of things in there. , I'm a big fan of the Pareto Principle 80 20 rule, like [00:05:00] 20% of your products bring you 80% of your revenue. And then also in optimizing the collection page, because , it's not only a page that, , is there, by default, it generates traffic.
It can rank organically and. The purpose there is to get people the quickest possible way to what they're looking for. And as you said, the sorting options in a lot of themes, they're a bit of boring or not really helpful. I love the one that says, , ranked by product name or when it was added.
No one ever searches for that, I reckon. , please tell me if I'm wrong now, when it comes to the ranking or , from your product category pages, what are the best practices, , to get the best results out of that?
Will Waggenspack: Oh, that is a fantastic question and I'm glad you brought up. The Pareto principle, where I think there's like actually two different versions of it that operate on collection pages.
The first is that, , maybe 20% of your collection pages actually drive majority of your sales. And so if you have a hundred different collections on your site, , 20 might be. Responsible for generating the majority of your sales, because pretty much everybody who comes to your site is actually [00:06:00] viewing a collection page.
And then within the collection page itself, , the top 20% of products may also be generating 80% of the sales. And so you've got that Preto principle happening at two different places. And so when you start thinking about, , What are the best practices in terms of actually ranking products and making sure that your products display in a way that's going to like power, like user discovery of things that they wanna buy?
You're exactly right where I don't think I've seen anybody ever shop alphabetically, , in my entire life. And so the fact that Shopify includes that as one of their default sorts, I think just shows you how far. This sort of like conversion rate optimization technique is from people's minds in general.
And so really what we do when we're trying to blend that like algorithmic view of the world with the editorial view of the world is, , we think through the merchandising process in four different passes. And so the first pass is just saying, What products on your site are completely outta stock, and let's push those, , products to the bottom.
And even something that's like, that simple can actually be fairly like nuanced and complicated on the [00:07:00] backend, where products can have multiple variants. And then you have to do checks to make sure all the variants are outta stock. And then you have to figure out, okay, well how do I check my inventory on a regular interval?
Interval? And then push it down to the bottom of the page. And so automating things like that can actually. Fairly difficult if you're just like dragging and dropping, cuz you have to go in and continuously pull your inventory data. And that's why we see people moving to apps in this space. So first things first, we move all of your out-of-stock products to the end of the collection.
Second thing is exactly what we said with this Predo principle of, how do we actually get the 20% of your products that are driving 80% of the sales to the top of the page. And here we're generally doing , a second pass that looks just at how many dollars in revenue has each product generated.
But the nuance relative to like Shopify's best selling sort is that we're looking at a given like time interval. And I think best practice wise, that's something you wanna make sure you're doing because. It's not necessarily super relevant for a lot of stores. If something was best selling three years ago.
E-commerce trends tend to move fairly quickly these days. , moving, we've seen clients move as far [00:08:00] down as like seven days if they have enough quarter volume coming for a collection or, more like on a quarterly basis tends to work well for most people. And so it's like what's sold best in the last quarter.
And really what we're doing there is like putting products into buckets of, here's the page, one of all the best selling items. Here's page two of everything that comes behind that, and here's page three of like, the more tertiary sellers. And once you get them into those buckets, what we're really trying to do is actually optimize for dollars per click.
And do like a refinement of that general revenue, , sorting because there are all sorts of times where revenue might not be the best indicator of what's selling most efficiently when clicked on. And so we do another pass that says, all right, now I'm gonna resort products that, , actually sell really efficiently when they get viewed and prioritize those over something that is just a pure revenue.
And the final pass that we go through is all the editorial edits that we need to do to actually power merchandiser's workflow, where there are considerations outside of revenue and outside of like essentially sales [00:09:00] efficiency that a merchandiser might have for what they wanna prioritize first. That particularly comes up.
, two things. Usually it's, , our clients wanna do like an email campaign and make sure those products appear at the top of a collection. And so pinning products to the top that actually like overwrite their revenue-based rankings. And then the second, , and probably like most common thing that we see with our clients is that there's as like aesthetic concerns outside of the.
Revenue concerns that they're really interested in driving. And so now you've got this super fascinating question that is very challenging to do algorithmically, which is like, how do we create a collection page that looks really great on our website? But in an automated way. And so we allow our clients to group by, product type, vendor, brand and color.
And basically that creates like a really nice looking visual assortment where they can put product groups like into two or four based on how wide, the row is on their Shopify collection page so that when a browser comes to the website and is like actually shopping on a collection page, you see like [00:10:00] consistent rows of products and it's like, oh, somebody actually took the time to think through and merchandise this strategically.
And so now you've got this like brilliant blend of, all right, well I've taken care of out of stock. I've ranked all of my products by revenue and best selling. And then I've also taken into account the visual and more like programmatic concerns that I have. And mixing all of those together is like where the real like.
The art and the science come together.
Claus Lauter: Okay. I like the flexibility that your app gives, that you can. Have manual moderated content on the top if you have run a promotion running, and then obviously the AI sorting in, in the right order to make the most revenue for you. Now give me a bit of an, , insight or some tips called nuggets on what kind of information actually on the collection page, on the product level, , should be shown.
, I see a lot of stores that have not really best practices there, so they have like, I don't know, five small images, thumbnails in a row, and then just a prize or something like that. What, what's best practice there?
Will Waggenspack: There's actually this like fascinating, , [00:11:00] thing with , specifically product imagery that I don't know enough people like take advantage of.
And that's the fact that, , When shoppers are looking through a collection page, the thing , that tends to get a lot of interest and drive clicks on a product is like lifestyle and aspirational imagery. And what I mean by that is like if you put a product and show it the way that it's like meant to be used in real life and you show something that users.
Oh, like, that'd be really cool if I had it, but isn't necessarily like something they might buy. And so we would see this example all the time at Free People where users would like click on like really high fashion dresses that, , on a collection page, they might not wear every day and they might be in like, colors that are brighter and in patterns that they wouldn't normally wear.
But then when you actually like click into the product, the thing that everybody tends to buy is. The products that are, maybe a little bit more like basic in their nature. And so like the colors are neutrals or it's like a piece that fits in every, a furniture piece that fits in everywhere in your house.
And so the thing that [00:12:00] gets that garners interests on the collection page at first. Is something like very lifestyle oriented and then like when people are actually shopping on a product detail page, what they're actually like clicking through and buying is really helpful when you like tone down all those lifestyle elements and show like a little bit more of the like neutral palette so that people doesn't feel as difficult for them to integrate in their life. And I think that's like one of those nuances that it's really hard to capture unless you've done a lot of product imagery testing. , and just like a really sort of cool thing about the way that people shop and tend to buy.
Claus Lauter: One question on data. Obviously you need to have a little bit of data before your algorithm or your AI can kick in. , for what kind of store size and what kind of traffic, , is your app the best? .
Will Waggenspack: We tend to see, , like you said, when the algorithm like kicks in, helpful to have a certain volume of orders and so like we typically see clients, any client that has like more than a million dollars in revenue tends to be a good fit for like some form of algorithmic merchandising.
And the reason that it happens is, , you've got enough order volume coming through to at least get some understanding of, , what's driving sales within your store. And then I think as clients like grow past that million dollar. Annual revenue touchpoint. You have this sort of like period between 1 million and maybe 10 or 15 million in revenue where you might not have a full e-commerce team, like built out and dedicated to just things like product sorting.
And so staying on top of your inventory and staying on [00:15:00] top of all of your sales data when you're trying to. Do everything else that it takes to run and operate a store can be like really, really time consuming. We've seen people who we've been working with, they're like, oh, I was spending like half of my time at Shopify dragging and dropping products into like a specific sort order that I wanted.
And like that is just a painful job to have. And if we could just make it so that people don't have to do that, that would be a win. Outside of improving that, the quality of life improvements there, obviously we wanna see increased revenue on the stores. And then I think as we see clients like grow past the like 15 million point in annual revenue, that's the point where you're starting to have just so many collection pages that you like actually, and so many SKUs and styles that you can't actually staff against.
Trying. Optimize each page individually. Actually generating custom product rankings because like, that's like too much work for any one human. And so then you also need a more like algorithmic and like automated approach to how you're approaching merchandising. Okay. No. Makes
Claus Lauter: total sense.
I like that you say that people are wasting too much time on their [00:16:00] task. That does not really bring them a lot of money. . So again, another 80 20 rule there. Focus on the things that make your money. When it comes to integration into Shopify, know, I know you have a Shopify Apples and ties. , how does it work?
Any issues with, I don't know, the old themes, the, , online shopping 2.0 version? How does the integration
Will Waggenspack: work? Yeah, so our integration is directly through Shopify's API specifically to solve all the theme problems that you're, , talking about. Where, our general perspective is that an app shouldn't take over the look and feel of your store unless it's specifically designed to.
Manage the look and feel of your store. And so we do everything on the backend and we only update the product order through the API on the collection, like object itself. And so basically we don't touch the look of your store. We can work with any theme, we can work with, , people who are using like headless implementations and Shopify, which I think.
Is probably where people are headed over time. And so like our perspective is this should all happen seamlessly in the background and shouldn't interfere with anything else that you're trying to achieve on your store.[00:17:00] That's been a really successful approach for us is like we've seen multiple clients either ream like while they've been, , clients and not had any trouble, like adjusting to the new theme or clients who are like approaching headless, , and trying to figure out, oh, well the other apps and other tools that.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Now we have obviously a ton of clients using already. Do you have any gold nuggets of what they did very well, where they got the most out of it? Sort of a case study in regards of results?
Will Waggenspack: The clients that tend to do really well with us are, , twofold. They're clients who.
A lot of collection pages and they have a lot of products within their collection pages, which makes sense based on everything that we've been talking about. And I think the other thing that, [00:18:00] we've seen for clients who tend to do really well is like they have a really good understanding of the frequency and the cadence at which their buyers are coming back and how they're shopping, where all the different ways that we allow our users to.
The sorting algorithm more editorially, like something like what is the look back window that we use for calculating revenue on a collection page? It's like when you know that most of your shoppers are on like a quarterly cadence, or that you have, an every month workflow around updating products on your collection page, then they're able to accept the variables correctly that you know, ultimately.
I think create a really compelling user experience at the end of the day. And that's where like we've always focused is like how do you generate the right user experience? How do you help users discover products they wanna buy? And so like the more our retailers know that, then the better, I think they tend to do with the app itself because they're able to set all the parameters to achieve results that are consistent with what their buyers are looking for.
Claus Lauter: obviously [00:19:00] it's not for free. What's kind of the pricing, , structure that you have in.
Will Waggenspack: We basically think about it in three different tiers. We have essentially like a startup pricing program where any store is under like $250,000 a year in revenue. We have a $30 a month plan. Any stores between that 250,000 and 1 million a year in revenue is a hundred dollars a month.
And then after that, we basically price on revenue with the idea that we should be scaling our impact to your revenue. The incremental demand generated by getting additional clicks for your products should drive incremental sales. And so we try to keep like roughly generally like a 20 ish to one return on spend where people should be generating 20 times the revenue, , that they're paying us for.
And so we charge a hundred dollars per month, per million dollars in revenue after. I think ultimately the other place that we come down is like, what would somebody have to pay someone in order to do this process on their site every day? Like if you had to hire somebody. , also like trying to keep that, like keep the price appropriate for like the value that we're providing.
, and then make it [00:20:00] so that people can have an automate, like a what is a really challenging workflow in Shopify.
Claus Lauter: Okay. collection pages are massively overlooked by a lot of merchants, and I think you have the perfect solution to change that and really make, , on a very, very straightforward way more money, more revenue for transactions.
Where can people find out more about you?
Will Waggenspack: People can find out more about us either on our firstname.lastname@example.org, E N T A I ce. We're not the best at marketing occasionally, so it's with the AI in the middle of the name.
And then, on the Shopify app store. You can find us at slash entice. I will put
Claus Lauter: the links in the show notes. As always, then you just won. Click away. Will, thanks so much for giving us an overview on how you can optimize the collection page. I think it's a really insightful, , help there and I hope that a of people will try out your app.
Thanks so much for your time.
Will Waggenspack: Thanks Claus, great talking with you.
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