In the past few weeks we've acquired new readers from the exec teams of Shopify, BigCommerce, Prodigy, Automattic, and Amazon, plus some well known digital marketing agencies. Welcome to Shopifreaks! How can I best serve you with these newsletters? What are your favorite parts and/or what else would you like to see?
Hit reply to this e-mail and let me know. Alternatively if you ever have news you'd like to share with our community, you can reach me at [email protected].
And now, onto the 17th edition of Shopifreaks newsletter….
? SHOP Stock News
Mon, May 10th – Open: $1,099.00 – Close: $1,080.24
Fri, May 14th – Open: $1,067.01 – Close: $1,085.01
Today (May 17th) – Open: $1,076.52
1) $SHOP is (almost) back!
SHOP dipped over 15% last week from its recent highs, reaching as low as $1,025.07 on Thursday. However Friday and today are showing upward trending. If you're like me and long on Shopify, then the dips are of no concern. (Just buying opps.) As they say in Ecuador, “¡No pasa nada!”
2) Who's bullish on SHOP?
Of the 33 analysts tracking Shopify at Marketbeat, 18 are BUY, 14 are HOLD, and 1 is SELL. Notable investors bullish on SHOP include Roth Capital, Loop Capital, Worm Capital, Lerner Group, and Paul Drecksler. (Full Disclosure: I am Paul Drecksler. ?)
? E-commerce News
1) Global-E Online priced their IPO at $25
Last week we reported that the Shopify-backed international compliance company, Global-E Online, was gearing up for their IPO. On Wednesday, GLBE offered 15M shares at $25 with an underwriter's over-allotment of 2.25M shares. The stock has fluctuated between a low of $24.22 and high of $27.91 since launch.
CEO Amir Schlachet told Seeking Alpha that “in a market that is bright red with a lot of tech stocks tanking, I think pricing at the top of the range and holding that issuance price — all things considered, we're happy.”
2) Business Insider leaked a memo from Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke
The memo was from Aug 2020 and written to managers to outline Shopify's stance on leadership and social issues. A few highlights from the memo:
- Shopify is a business. “We are trying to create a world class product that gives superpowers to the merchants that we are obsessed over.”
- Team. Not family. “The dangers of “family thinking” are that it becomes incredibly hard to let poor performers go.”
- Not the government. “We cannot solve every societal problem here. We are part of an ecosystem, of economies, of culture, and of actual countries.”
- Collective success. “Everyone that engages in endless Slack trolling, victimhood thinking, us-vs-them divisiveness, and zero sum thinking must be seen for the threat they are: they break teams.”
Some of the news outlets that reported on the leaked memo cherry picked parts of it in order to liken it to the recent events around Basecamp and Coinbase, however, segments of the memo out of context do not accurately portray the message (not excluding my highlight attempt above), so I encourage you to read the full memo before weighing in.
3) Affirm stock tanked after reporting fiscal Q3 earnings
In January we reported on Affirm's IPO (of which Shopify owns 8%). The stock jumped 99% at launch and then reached a high of $139.99. AFRM later dropped 50% followed by another 18% drop last week after announcing a net loss per share of $1.06. The recent Pelotan recall didn't help either given that Pelotan accounts for 30% of Affirm's total sales.
4) Former Shopify employees turned founders / investors
Remember the PayPal Mafia? The OGs of Silicon Valley who took their PayPal fortunes and went on to launch Tesla, LinkedIn, Kiva, YouTube, and Yelp (among others).
Well, it's time we coin a new term for the former Shopify employees who have moved on to launch companies that are creating big impact on their respective industries (and the world). How about — the Shopify Saints?
TechCrunch writer Connie Loizos highlighted some of the projects that former Shopify employees have launched since moving on from the company including:
- Craig Miller (former chief product officer): Housecall Pro, Planetary Hydrogen
- Michael Perry (former product director): Maple
- Helen Tran (former product design): Jupiter
- Andrew Peek (former director of product labs): Delphia
- Effie Anolik (former app and product team): Afterword
- Arati Sharma (former director of product marketing): Ghlee, Backbone Angels
- Atlee Clark (current director of partner program): PikaLayers
- Adam McNamara (former VP of product) & Joshua Tessier (former head of core product engineering): Ramen Ventures
5) NFTify also wants to be the Shopify of NFTs
Last week we reported that San Francisco-based Bitski raised $19M in a Series A to become the “Shopify for NFTs”. Well, there's another company on the horizon with similar aspirations.
NFTify, who literally call themselves “The Shopify for NFT” in their meta-title, is gearing up to launch their marketplace built on the Polkadot parachain. (Disclosure: Polkadot is one of my favorite blockchain platforms and I'm invested in DOT and several substrate projects.)
NFTify aims to help small businesses to create their own NFT store without coding. Their NFTify token, N1, hit the open market last week through an Initial Dex Offering (IDO) and soon will be available on Uniswap.
6) Dovetale closes on seed round and takes Shopify app out of beta
Influencer marketing platform, Dovetale, announced that they closed an undisclosed seed round and launched their Shopify app, which has been in Beta for the past several months. Dovetail launched their affiliate platform in 2017 to help online merchants recruit and manage influencers to promote their products.
7) eBay is launching an internal lending program for UK-based merchants
Capital for eBay Business Sellers (CEBS) will be offered in partnership with YouLend, an embedded finance platform, and will make loans available to eBay's 300,000+ UK merchants ranging from £500 to £1 million. The loan amounts will be calculated through a mix of sales volumes and operating longevity and repaid through percentages of daily sales.
This is following in the footsteps of Shopify Capital, which has provided $2 billion in funding to merchants in the past 5 years, and Goldman Sachs, which struck a deal with Amazon and Walmart last year to offer internal lending to merchants through its direct bank Marcus.
8) New from the Shopify Blog:
Last week Shopify writers published guides to creating online videos for your marketing (without the use of a professional videographer) and marketing products to existing customers.
They also published resources about choosing a domain registrar, an SEO Checklist to help rank your store #1 on Google, as well as a quiz about dealing with rejection based on your Zodiac sign and a case study about Fanjoy, a market that sells Creator-designed merch.
? 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 how NOT to send all your customers to Amazon.
I'm going to talk about a recent negative experience I had with a large company as an example of what NOT to do, but please know that I have no personal vendetta with this brand. I love their pants! I just hated my recent experience with ordering two new pairs and would never order from their site again — and that's a problem for companies.
In a previous tip of the week, I wrote about shopping on your own website to test your post visit customer experience so that you can receive your company's e-mail communications through the eyes of a customer.
This week I'd like to encourage you to take that same “Undercover Boss” mentality you took with your follow-up e-mails and apply that to your entire customer journey.
Here's my story: Last week I purchased two pairs of my favorite travel pants from Wrangler. For years, I've been buying these same travel pants from a local store in Asheville whenever I'm back in the country, but the store closed up during the pandemic, so I ordered directly from Wrangler.com.
I realized after placing my order that “Standard Shipping” didn't mean the standard 2-3 day shipping that I've grown accustomed to with other retailers. Since I'm headed back to Ecuador shortly and needed those pants sooner than 8 days, I decided to cancel my order and buy the same pants from Amazon or Walmart (either who could offer guaranteed 2 day shipping).
Only here's the big problem I ran into… Orders could only be canceled on the phone within 2 hours after purchase. However when I called their customer support line, I received a message that their phone lines were down and to try again later. I tried periodically for the next 45 minutes until I finally received a new recording, “Sorry, our customer service department is closed. Try us again during normal business hours Monday thru Friday 8am – 7pm EST.”
So essentially Wrangler.com has created a shopping environment where any orders placed after 7pm EST cannot be canceled or amended because the only department who can do so within their allotted 2 hour window are closed. Sucks for any evening shoppers!
I had also tried to create an account on their website during checkout, but ran into a system error that prevented me from doing so. Eventually I was able to create an account, but my order didn't appear until several hours later, and there was no option to cancel it.
I replied to an e-mail I had received from Wrangler, but it bounced back. I messaged their Facebook page, but didn't hear back until 13 hours later. As a customer, I felt very stuck.
Here are a few ways this could have been avoided by Wrangler:
- Communicate your shipping practices. If I had known during checkout that “Standard Shipping” took up to 8 days, I could have paid for Expedited. Granted, that information is offered on their Shipping page buried in the footer, but I didn't dig that deep and neither will most customers. It was my error, but one that could have been avoided.
- Or could it have? Even though I was willing to pay for Expedited Shipping, and their shipping pages shows that it's offered, I learned later while testing their website that there's actually never an option to upgrade to Expedited at any point during the checkout process. (However at least if I had known that shipping takes up to 8 days during checkout, I could have ordered the pants elsewhere via a retailer that satisfied my shipping needs.)
- Automated order cancellation process. If Shopify store owners (with the help of an app) can allow their customers to cancel / edit their orders, there's no excuse for a company as large as Wrangler not to offer the same. Maybe they should switch to Shopify. LOL.
- Set autoresponders for your social media. Customers nowadays use social media like a help desk, however, not every company is able to offer that type of on-demand support (and that's okay). If your store is unable to respond to customer service inquiries via social media in a timely manner, perhaps utilize an auto-responder to inform customers of the proper channel to take their support request.
Wrangler has created an unwelcoming shopping environment for customers on their website, which means that we're most likely to shop elsewhere, and that's a big problem.
Pushing customers to shop for their products on Amazon or Walmart is not a profitable scenario for Wrangler. Here are a few reasons why:
- Wrangler gives up 15% straight off the bat in seller fees. Why give Amazon that 15% when they didn't bring the customer? I was already looking to buy Wrangler.
- While shopping on Amazon for Wrangler pants, I might end up comparing them to a different brand that Amazon presents to me, and Wrangler could lose my sale / brand loyalty — a scenario that doesn't exist when shopping directly on their website.
- Wrangler loses the ability to remarket customers. When I place an order on Amazon, Wrangler does not receive my e-mail address. Amazon now owns their customer.
Whether we like it or not as merchants, Amazon has created the new normal when it comes to customer expectations. While it's understandable that small online businesses may not be able to offer everything Amazon does (like 2 day shipping or free return shipping), it's still possible to create a welcoming and facilitating shopping environment that doesn't leave your customers helpless.
When was the last time you tested your customer journey? Hit reply to this e-mail and let me know if you plan on shopping with your store as a customer soon and finding gaps in the process.
PS: I spoke to Wrangler the next day and they offered me a free shipping return label. That way I could order the pants from Walmart and receive them in 2 days, and return the ones I bought from Wrangler. They definitely came through and didn't leave me stranded, so don't take this story as hating on Wrangler. This story is just an example of how experiencing your website as a customer can help create a better shopping experience.
? Shopify Apps
Last week Shopify added 39 new apps to the Shopify App store. Here are eight that look promising.
1) Shipizy: Pickup & Delivery – Allow your customers to choose custom delivery date or pickup date for their orders with blackout dates & times. Free – $24.99/month.
2) EasySync – Sync inventory quantity across your products and variants including your bundles, kits, sets, and multipacks. Free – $9.99/month.
3) Theme on Time – Schedule a specific date and time you'd like your new theme to go live to help ensure that your sales and promotions start/end on time. $5/month.
4) Sync Google Sheet – Automatically push every new Shopify order to a new row in a Google Sheet and customize the template to your specific needs. $4.95/month.
5) ShagunBox: 21+ Apps In One – Streamline your apps usage and save money with these 21+ apps into one platform including Sales Popup, Color Swatch, Store Locator, Product Reviews, IP Log, and more. Free – $9.99/month.
6) BlingRush Gamification – Create contests and engage your shoppers with contests and skill based games. Free – $250/month.
7) Stateset AI Responder – Use artificial intelligence to improve your customer service through automated responses. $50+/month.
8) Awesome Collection Cart Button – Make the shopping process at your store easier by adding “Add to cart” buttons on your collection pages. Free – $3.99/month.
? Shop of the Week
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. You can view our previously recognized stores here.
This week's Shop of the Week award goes to Shroomeats.co – a shitake mushroom based meat alternative company on a mission to bring the health benefits of mushrooms to kitchens around the world.
Long time friends and founders Dissaya, Mary, and Pamas want to introduce the power of mushrooms to everyone, devoted vegans and proud carnivores alike.
Their Thailand grown mushroom meat alternative comes in patties, balls, and shredded forms so that chefs everywhere can design countless dishes with Shroomeats.
Check out their shop and show them some love on Instagram & Facebook.
? 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: I have a joke about peanut butter, but I can't tell you because you'll spread it.