Before we dive into this week's Shopifreaks newsletter, I have a question for you. How can I reach more Shopify store owners and e-commerce industry professionals like yourself?
Today I'm sending the 14th edition, and while I love writing these newsletters and offering industry value to our community regardless of its size, I also need to continue growing the list.
I've shared Shopifreaks in a few communities, ran ads on Reddit and Facebook, did some interviews and article contributions to promote the newsletter, and I also contribute regularly on the Shopify forums with the newsletter URL in my signature.
Even so, it's been slower growth than anticipated, so I'd love your ideas. Please let me know if you've got any suggestions for me in regards to subscriber growth strategies or have connections to publications that I can be featured in to offer e-commerce related value and promote the newsletter.
And as always, I appreciate when you share the newsletter with your networks and in your favorite online e-commerce communities. Thanks for helping us grow!
And now, onto the 14th edition of Shopifreaks newsletter….
? Stock News
Mon, April 19th – Open: $1,192.00 – Close: $1,145.78
Fri, Apr 23rd – Open: $1,103.85 – Close: $1,099.03
Today (Apr 26th) – Open: $1,111.69
1) Bearish: As you learned in last week's Shopifreaks newsletter, several of Shopify's top execs have announced their departure from the company. Shopify has not yet announced their replacements. The stock dipped after news of the C-suite exodus was announced, which caused concern for some investors, while others took it as an opportunity to increase their positions.
2) Bullish: Analysts are predicting that another expected earnings beat is around the corner for Shopify who are announcing their 2021 Q1 earnings this Wed, April 28, 2021. For the previous quarter, Shopify was expected to post earnings of $1.21 per share, but reported $1.58 instead, representing a surprise of 30.58%. On the quarter before that, analysts estimated $0.50 earnings per share, but Shopify knocked it out the park with $1.13 per share, a surprise of 126%. Will they keep up with the surprises? Or have analysts caught up with their expectations? We'll find out this Wednesday, and I will of course share the earnings in next week's Shopifreaks newsletter.
? E-commerce News
1) Cardano (ADA) payments are now available to Shopify and WooCommerce via their NowPayments integrations.
Last week we reported that NOWPayments launched a Shopify App that allows merchants to accept cryptocurrency payments using 70+ coins, and it seems like they are adding new coins to the list each week.
2) Amazon is testing a pilot program that allows select merchants to communicate with customers who opt-in to receive e-mails.
These companies will be able to notify those customers when they launch a new product or promotion.
Amazon is notorious for heavily guarding their customer list and prohibiting merchants from messaging their customers except for communications about the status of their order or refunds/exchanges.
However in recent months, Amazon has been rolling out several tools to help businesses build a presence on their platform as it faces competition from Shopify, who historically have taken the polar opposite approach and empowered merchants to own their customer lists.
3) Shopify added Amazon order tracking to its Shop App.
The app launched in 2020 to make it easy for customers to view orders from multiple Shopify stores and track the delivery of their packages. Originally just for Shopify orders, Shop App later expanded to tracking packages found in Gmail and Outlook and now supports tracking for over 600+ carriers, including most recently, the option to link an Amazon account.
Jon Henshaw of Coywolf notes, “Amazon and Outlook are noticeably absent from the Privacy Statement, and it’s unclear what data Shopify has access to. Shopify may have prioritized the tracking feature for Shop because they can use the data to analyze people’s shopping interests and habits.”
4) You're going to be hearing a lot about the battle between Amazon and Shopify in the coming years as both companies have their eyes set on the other's market share.
Last year, Amazon acquired Selz, a Shopify competitor, to offer merchants their own storefronts, while Shopify launched Shop Pay and Shop App to consolidate the buying experience across multiple Shopify stores. Rafael Lourenco of Multichannel Merchant further comments on the heat up.
5) The Shopify Commerce Awards recognizes the best in development, design, and innovation in the Shopify ecosystem.
Winners for 2020 include Off Limits (Best Custom Storefront), Natreve (Best Mobile Store Experience), Wild Cosmetics (Best Custom Product Page), Sesami (Best Omnichannel Experience), Octaine AI (Best Storefront App), Pangaia (Best Store Rebuild), Fika Swedish Kitchen (Best Store Migration), and Old Souls (Best Offline to Online).
Check those links out for some store inspiration, and then grab a blank check because those design projects weren't cheap!
6) Pinterest is expanding its Shopify integration to 27 new countries to help merchants bring their products to their platform.
Pinterest's sweet spot in the world of social search is with product search, as many consumers utilize their platform for product curation and wish lists. Shopify merchants who advertise on Pinterest through Shopify will get access to their new Dynamic Retargeting feature as well as Multi-feed support for catalogs.
7) Vogue is hosting their first Sustainability Forum in partnership with Shopify.
You can virtually attend the half-day event on May 26th. The purpose of the forum is to offer sustainability advice, new perspectives, and alternative models and strategies for the fashion and beauty industry.You must be a Vogue Member to attend which costs $220/year.
8) Does your store have a press kit?
For those unfamiliar, a press kit (aka: media kit) is a page on your website that makes it easy for reporters to learn about your brand and products. Shopify published a guide to creating a press kit that that also includes a template to get started with.
9) More from the Shopify Blog:
? Tip of the Week
Each week we offer Shopify merchants a Tip of the Week to help them maximize the sales potential of their stores. If you've got a tip you'd like to share, shoot me an e-mail to [email protected] and I'll include it in an upcoming newsletter.
This week's tip is about post visit customer experience.
Are you 100% aware of every e-mail communication your customers are receiving after visiting your store?
Common examples of post visit communication includes:
- Abandoned cart e-mails to encourage checkout completion. (“We noticed that you didn't finish your purchase so we've saved your cart. Click here to complete checkout.”)
- New customer promotions. (“Join our newsletter for 10% off your first purchase.”)
- Review solicitation e-mails. (“What'd you think of your product? Click here to leave a review.”)
- Discount follow-up e-mails. (“Thanks for your purchase. Here's a discount code to use on your next one.”)
- Referral solicitations. (“Here's $10 to give to your friends. You'll earn $10 in store credit for every sale you refer.”)
- Social media follow requests. (“Thanks for your purchase. Join our community on Facebook to stay in the know about our products.”)
- Shipping updates. (“Your order has been sent! Click here for shipping updates.”)
While all those communications offer their own benefit to store owners — collectively they can be overwhelming for customers.Especially if they all come in within a few days of each other.
Relationships with brands are built over time. Make sure you're not trying to force expedite the relationship with too much e-mail communication in too short a period of time.
Also make sure that your e-mail triggers are working as intended. A few days ago, I ordered a carry-on bag from a brand I like, and about 2 hours later I received an e-mail notifying me that they saved my cart and encouraged me to complete checkout — followed by another reminder e-mail the next day.
The only problem was — I already bought the bag! Their abandoned cart software was not recognizing that I had completed the purchase and was triggering the e-mail anyway. This can be confusing to customers who may think that there was a problem with their order or that it didn't go through. It's also a waste of an e-mail touchpoint with customers and contributes to communication overload.
Common examples of post visit communication gone wrong:
- Does your abandoned cart e-mail go out to customers who already completed purchase? Even worse, does it offer them a discount as an incentive to complete an order they already paid full price for?!
- Does your new customer coupon go out immediately after someone joins your list? Or is it accidentally set to send the next day? Does it deliver the same promotion that you advertise on your site? Does the coupon code still work or has it expired?
- Do your e-mails requesting a product review go out BEFORE or AFTER the product arrives? Has the customer had a chance to use the product before you ask for a review? Does it offer an easy way to seek resolution such as a return or exchange if the customer is NOT happy with your product? Or is leaving a bad review the easiest option?
- Does your e-mail offering a discount on future orders come before your customer has received their first order? Do you expect repeat customers prior to completing their initial purchase experience? (ie: Before you've delivered your end of the deal.)
- So you want my referrals… have you made sure I'm satisfied with your product and customer service before asking me to send my friends your way? Is your product even shareable? Should a hemroid cream brand offer a referral program, or is that not the type of product customers are putting on social media despite your incentive? Same goes with B2B products… is your customer's social network the same as their professional network?
- Do the links to your social media profiles work or did you change social handles at one point and never update your e-mails? Are you asking me to join your most valued network first and foremost or sending me an e-mail with 15 social profile links and expecting me to follow along on every platform?
- Do your shipping updates provide all the information I need to track my order within the e-mail itself? Or do I have to login to your website with an account that I never created in order to view the updates?
The list of examples of ways that companies can blunder e-mail communication goes on and on, but hopefully this gives you an idea of what to look for with your own e-mail communications.
As an online store owner, you need to be your own “Undercover Boss” and shop at your store so that you can experience the entire shopping journey and post visit experience that your customers are having with your brand. You might discover that it's not as streamlined as you'd like and that you may be guilty of communication overload.
Are you guilty of any of those e-mail blunders? After you test your store, hit reply to this e-mail and let me know how you improved your customer's post visit experience.
? Shopify Apps
Last week Shopify added 49 new apps to the Shopify App store. Here are a few that look promising.
1) BYOB: Build Your Own Bundle – Allow your customers to create their own bundles and pay a discounted price. Free.
2) ViewZilla – Makes your Shopify store pop with social proofing. Show customers how many people are viewing a product via product page widgets. $7.99/month.
3) Simple Subscriptions – Offer weekly, bi-weekly or monthly subscription plans with optional discounts to increase recurring order volume. $19/month + 1% of recurring orders.
4) Leadster Gamification Popups – Uses real physics games within popups to create intriguing and attention grabbing promotional offers. Free – $29/month.
5) Mustard – Deliver more search results to your customers with AI powered search that matches customer intention versus soley keywords. Free.
6) Wanna FB Poster – Schedule products with multiple images to publish on Facebook right from your Shopify backend. Free.
7) Gravity Variant Swatches – Allow customers to view all product variants at a glance with automatically created variant swatches. $9.99/month.
8) Locket – Add password protection to individual products by assigning password protection to vendors, collections, or individual products. $5.00/month.
9) Automatic Free Gifts – Add free products to your customer's orders based on rules you set like discount code usage or minimum purchase amount. Free.
10) Email Me Jokes – Every day the app hand picks a popular joke for your newsletter. (LOL -Are they better than the jokes I include at the bottom of all our Shopifreaks newsletters??) $4.95/month for up to 1,500 e-mails. $0.001 per extra email.
? Community Talk
1) What's the worst thing about Shopify? This question was posted in the r/Shopify subreddit last week. Answers included having to pay for apps for basic e-commerce functionality, inability to easily customize your thank you page, Shopify's URL structure, lack of serial number inventory fields, charging Canadian customers in USD even though they're a Canadian company, lack of support for multiple discount codes per checkout, and the inability to adjust customer orders. My addition to the thread was that I feel like their blog feature is an afterthought. Shopify doesn't seem to value the role that content marketing can bring to small businesses by offering a robust blogging platform. What are your thoughts? Hit reply and let me know.
2) Shoutout to Oliver over at Switchboard – “the OG of toll-free number apps.” Switchboard offers a pay-as-you-go model for toll free phone numbers. The app lets merchants customize their schedule and voicemail and forward calls to international numbers. Thanks for being a Shopifreaks reader, Oliver, and good luck with your app.
3) Hello to Nima at Shopgram – a data aggregator website that compiles traffic and sales data from Shopify stores and allows merchants to discover similar stores in their category as well as winning products. Nima and his team are working to expand their product offering to store owners to best serve them with their data. If you've got an idea on how to utilize their data to help your store or app, give Nima a shout.
If you've got news or a project to share with the community, shoot me an e-mail to [email protected] and I'll include it in an upcoming newsletter.
Every week in the Shopifreaks newsletter, I feature a Shopify store with a positive mission. If you'd like to nominate a store, e-mail [email protected] or hit reply to any of my newsletters and share their website and story.
? Shop of the Week
This week's Shop of the Week award goes to AuntGoodie.com – a creativity-fueled gift shop designed to delight kids and fun-loving adults with screen-free ways to connect with each other.
Founder, Nancy Martirawe, is a real-life fun auntie to 17 nieces and nephews across the country. She believes that every toy is for every kid. Aunt Goodie doesn't use gendered language or classifications like “Birthday Gifts for Girls” and strives to be inclusive and affirming of all families.
? Thanks for being a Shopifreak!
If you have any Shopify or e-commerce related news that's worthy of sharing in our next newsletter, e-mail [email protected] or hit ‘Reply' to this e-mail.
If you found this newsletter valuable, please share it with your favorite Shopify & e-commerce communities and help us grow.
See you next Monday!
Paul E. Drecksler
PS: The WiFi at home went down for 5 minutes the other night, and I had a conversation with my family. They seem like nice people.