Episode 106

Navigating the Shopify App Ecosystem in 2020

Chase Clymer - Honest eCommerce
February 5, 2020
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Shopify apps are great.  Someone else spends hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, developing functionality that you can use for just $30 per month.   Apps on Shopify are so easy to install and so seemingly harmless that many store owners install dozens and dozens of apps - many of which they uninstall or never use.  This approach can have serious unintended consequences.

In this episode we dive into a smarter approach to apps that can help any Shopify store owner.  Here’s a look at what we cover:

  • How to determine if it’s better to use an app or hire a developer to hard code a desired functionality. 
  • What category of apps are best to consider now for Shopify
  • What apps are almost always a bad idea
  • How to tell if you have app conflict
  • When should you consider apps vs. just switching to Shopify Plus
  • Plus more!

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Mentioned in this Episode:
Klaviyo - Marketing Automation & eMail Platform for eCommerce
Aten Software
Gorgias - More Than Just a Gorgeous Helpdesk
Zendesk - Customer Support Ticket System and Sales CRM Software Company
Magento - Best eCommerce Software for Selling Online
BigCommerce - The Future of Commerce is Yours
Klarna US - Buy Now and Pay Later. No Interest. No Fees.
Afterpay - Shop Now. Enjoy Now. Pay Later.
4Pay ABM - A Cloud ABM Company
Shopify Plus
Shopify Pay - Shop Your Way, Pay Your Way
Shopify Flow - eCommerce Plugins for Online Stores
Zapier - The Easiest Way to Automate Your Work

Episode Transcript

Brett:

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the eCommerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce, and today we're talking about a topic that we have never discussed at length on this show. We've certainly broached the subject, but we have not zeroed in on this. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. So we're talking about the app ecosystem for 2020, what do you need to know? What should you consider? Do you need an app? Do you not need an app?

Brett:

Hey eCommerce Evolution listeners, Brett Curry here. I have a really cool announcement and an invite just for you. In February, OMG Commerce is hosting an exclusive invite only event at the Google and YouTube offices in Los Angeles. Now, if you've never experienced the Google office, they really do live up to the hype, and the Google offices in LA are some of the most unique around. More on the venue in a minute but first, let me give you the scoop on the event itself. It's called YouTube Ads for eCommerce–Building Full Funnel Growth with YouTube Ads.

Brett:

I'll be speaking at this event, sharing some of our best YouTube ad strategies, some of our most successful YouTube ad templates and more, and you'll get to hear directly from some amazing YouTube team members, including some incredible content from the Unskippable Labs team. Now, I've seen this content before and it's amazing. I'm so excited about this event, but here's the best part, it's free, but it is invite only, and you do have to apply, and be approved to attend, because seating is limited, so sorry. No agencies, no service providers, this is just for eCommerce companies.

Brett:

Now, as promised, more about the venue. This will be held at the Spruce Goose Hangar. This Hangar was initially built by the mogul Howard Hughes, and if you ever seen the movie, The Aviator with Leonardo DiCaprio, then you know all about Howard Hughes, and his Spruce Goose. This Hangar was recently renovated in true Google fashion. Now, it's a cutting edge YouTube studio, and Google offices, and that's where we're holding this event. It's going to be amazing. So to find out more, then check out the application. Go to omgcommerce.com/youtube-event. Again, that's omgcommerce.com/youtube-event. I'll also link to the event page in the show notes of this show, and I hope to see you in LA.

Brett:

Really excited to welcome my guest onto the show today. My guest is Chase Clymer. He's the co-founder of Electric Eye, and he's also the host, he's a fellow podcast host. Love meeting other podcast hosts, but he hosts the Honest Ecommerce, hope I get that right, Podcast, and so with that Chase, welcome to the show man. How are you doing?

Chase:

I'm doing fantastic today. You made it through, you build me right. 10 out of 10 so far.

Brett:

Yes, fantastic. We're really excited. So excited to talk apps and look at the app ecosystem, I think it's going to be super informative and really help give people the info they need to walk in with confidence and navigate the app ecosystem. Before we do that though, how did you get to this place? So give us the 90 second background on how you founded Electric Eye, but how you got into eCommerce in the first place?

Chase:

Yeah. So way back when I was in a punk rock band and that didn't pay the bill at all.

Brett:

Yeah, you were. Awesome.

Chase:

So I learned web design, I started to learn advertising, I started to learn, get a little closer to the money as they stay. I started to kind of dive into eCommerce when my business partner left his company and we were teaming a bunch of projects together. We asked each other like, "Do you want to start something real here?" And like, "Oh, we're having fun freelancing."

Chase:

So obviously six months later we had an agency with a full thing of clients and we had no idea what we were doing. Luckily that was five years ago. Now, we do know what we're doing.

Brett:

And it's beautiful.

Chase:

It took awhile but we figured it out, so now we've got a fun solid team, a fully remote agency. We really like that lifestyle as well. But all we're doing out here is helping eCommerce brands grow with smart marketing and beautiful design and kind of through that, I started the podcast to talk to people like yourself and other agency and just be in this space and get to know stuff. It keeps me on my toes.

Brett:

Yep. I love it. I love doing podcasts for a lot of reasons. One of them is just connecting with great people. So you've been aggressive though. How long have you been doing the podcast and how many episodes do you have now?

Chase:

I've been doing the podcast for just over a year. I think we're at like episode 60 is coming out this week.

Brett:

Beautiful.

Chase:

So we do a podcast a week and it was a big undertaking, but I've got some people that helped me out on the inside. So all I have to do is find the cool people and hopefully have a okay conversation.

Brett:

Yeah, I'm the same way. There is quite a bit of work in launching a podcast. It really is better if you have a team. You don't have to, but I'm the same way. I just show up and hopefully conduct a good interview and I've got a team that runs the rest, which is beautiful. So hey, I got to know. What was the name of your punk rock band?

Chase:

Okay, so this was when I was younger, so I'll take it with a grain of salt. So me and a bunch of buddies were in a band called City Lights out of Columbus, Ohio, this pop punk.

Brett:

City Lights.

Chase:

We kind of hit glass ceiling. Everyone had better opportunities and funny enough, some of the people that were in that band are in other giant bands now and one of them is currently a client.

Brett:

That's awesome, that's awesome. I was just thinking, do you watch the show Parks and Rec?

Chase:

I do.

Brett:

I think it's the first season, Chris Pratt, his character is going through the evolution of all the names of... So anytime I talk to someone about the name of their band, I always go back to Chris Pratt rattling off the 15 names his band had. I was just trying to remember some of the names but I can't remember, but they were hilarious.

Chase:

Yeah, I think they settled on Mouse Rat was the name for the longest time.

Brett:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. They went back and forth on Mouse Rat and anyway, yeah. Good times I'm pretty sure that-

Chase:

I luckily had nothing to do with the name. I'm pretty sure it came from someone putting it into that hero game and it looked cool on the TV and they're like, yeah, that's a good band name. Yeah, let's do it.

Brett:

... Yeah, okay. Awesome. So let's dive in man. Let's talk about this topic, the app ecosystem right now. What should we be considering? What should we be thinking about? And so as we approach this subject, what are kind of, well do you want to frame the app ecosystem at all and then do that, but then let's talk about, hey, what are the first things you need to consider when you're looking at an app?

Chase:

Absolutely. Sure, so this came up, we had a pre-interview a few weeks ago and this was right after I had done a lot of kind of quick consulting gigs for a bunch of brands, and it was essentially, I'll just run into their website in and out, giving just my first thoughts and what I was noticing was repeating with all these accounts I was looking at is they had way too many apps installed, and that is a trend that I see across almost every store I look at, any client we're helping, it's usually they have way too many apps installed and people don't understand that that is actually a detriment to your store and it's probably affecting your conversion rate. You're probably paying for stuff you don't need to be paying for.

Chase:

So that's kind of where the idea for this podcast came from. Just to kind of set the tone. So yeah, we're talking kind of very specifically about the Shopify ecosystem here, but I'm sure that you can take some of this and apply it to-

Brett:

Absolutely.

Chase:

... Any of the platforms that are out there, and then-

Brett:

Yep, yep. So we focus on Shopify. But the same concept applies whether you're on Woo or you're looking at extensions from Magento or whatever the case may be. So a lot of these principles will hold true.

Chase:

... Absolutely.

Brett:

Yep. Yep. And so, I kind of had a flashback to the old Apple commercials, pushing the iPad and the iPhone and the, hey, there's an app for that, right? And that's the way it is in the Shopify ecosystem and so many benefits to apps. We'll talk about those. But I think we as store owners can get this mindset of, oh, I'll just add this app, I'll add that app, oh, man, I'll just go app crazy man because there's an app for everything. And why not try it?

Brett:

Well you talk about having too many apps will hurt your conversion rate and it could be impacting your site. Talk about some of the drawbacks to having too many apps.

Chase:

Absolutely. So the first and foremost, the biggest drawback, and this is one that people don't get until someone specifically tells them, is that when you install an app into your store, it's installing code into your theme, and I want to test this app out. I'm just going to install it and I'm going to get rid of it. And no one's the wiser, nothing bad has happened, right? Well, honestly, you're not thinking it all the way through. The second you click on install, that app no longer has access to your store and that code is still there. It's still in that theme file.

Chase:

So now if you just take this a step further and you're testing an app a week, you've got so much junk just in the file of your theme that's slowing it down and you're like, oh, it's just a few lines of code. Well, sometimes, but sometimes it's calling a JavaScript file from somewhere else. Oftentimes it's calling the same JavaScript file. A lot of these things are built on the same frameworks, but they'll be calling two or three of the same file because there's two, three apps doing almost the same thing.

Chase:

All of this is slowing down the performance of your store, and there's a lot of research done out there that the faster your store, the higher your conversion rate, and then the inverse is also true. So if you're just looking at it from a straight performance perspective, an extra line of code is a detriment to your store. So you want it to be zippy.

Brett:

Without a doubt. We see that all the time. We operate as an agency on the traffic side, driving Google search shopping, a lot of YouTube traffic and if a client's site slows down and we've seen this before, when it slows down, we'll feel the impact in all of our paid campaigns. So if you think about that and losing a second in speed and that's a decent amount, even losing milliseconds in speed can I have a pretty dramatic impact on your conversion rate. I've seen a second, can be 20, 30% drop in conversion rate. When you take that then we have clients that are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on various ad platforms and channels, that is extremely significant, right?

Brett:

So you may look at an app and say that's only 30 bucks a month, no big deal, and it's going to do all these things. Let me just try it, right? I'll just install the app, no harm. Yeah, but you get too many of those. You start installing an app a week as you mentioned, or even less, and if they're not really serving a purpose that you need, it's slowing the site down. What is that costing you? Both in terms of your paid traffic conversion rate decreasing, also organic traffic and everything else.

Brett:

So yes, so really valuable to think that through and think, okay, I'm adding this app, is it worth the potential loss of performance in terms of speed to add this functionality with the app? And so one thing that I think might be useful and then I want to dig into maybe some apps that people don't need, right? This may be useful just to say, hey, you probably don't need this app, so let's talk that through in just a second. But before we do, are there areas of the site that are more risky than others? And I think I know the answer to this, but are there types of apps that you should really consider? You're like, man, I don't know that I need this. My thought is any app related to the cart itself. Is that the riskiest place to place an app or any thoughts on that?

Chase:

I'm probably going to take the coward's way out on that question. It's like, I don't know test it because it really depends on the customer base, but I would say what people end up doing, and we just had this happen the other day with a client of ours, is they were looking for an upsell solution and they were a go getter and they were doing stuff on their own and I believe there was five or six that they tested in the week before they said they wanted to use one and there was lines of code in that upsell app leftover in there and then the one that they wanted to use, there was conflicts and then it cost us hours of time digging in there, cleaning it up, making it work. That's another byproduct of this.

Chase:

All that extra code is going to interfere with other apps as well. But going back to your direct question, where do you think that what's most detriment? I would say the further down the funnel you are, absolutely the more streamlined you want that experience and the less that you want to play around with stuff.

Brett:

And one thing I'll mention just really quickly, and again this is coming from our perspective because we drive lots and lots of traffic for eCommerce companies but you do something in the cart, where you do an upsell, a cross-sell, whatever type of app. And we know some of the developers of some of those apps and some of them are great but there are considerations you have to have. If you're not careful, it'll screw up your conversion tracking, right?

Brett:

So now I've got my Facebook pixel, I've got my Google pixel, I've got all these conversion codes firing. Now all of a sudden, and I'm using automated bidding, right? Which most people are now. So now I installed this new app, it changes my conversion tracking. Now my campaigns are screwed up. Now my campaigns don't have good data. I don't have good data now. Now things are getting messy. So yeah, just lots of considerations here.

Brett:

So anyway, let's though talk about and you mentioned to me, hey, the first question you have to ask is, do I need an app? Right? So I want this functionality but do I need an app or is there another way? So what are some apps you probably don't need? So if you're on Shopify, these are some apps you can probably get away with or get away without having.

Chase:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So that's probably the first thing. So anytime we bring on a new client or we're talking about maybe some CRO stuff or some performance stuff we're like, we're going to, let's take a look at the apps. That's the easiest win is to see what's going on in there, and we just run a basic audit, right? We copy and paste it into a Google spreadsheet and we go, what's this app do? Is it important? And we kind of just start from there.

Chase:

So the number one thing that we usually see, which is hilarious, is people have two apps that do the exact same thing. Even to the point where they have two upsell apps installed at the same time. Most of the time they don't have them both firing. They're not both live but they still have the demo app installed, they had the trial run there and then they just let it go and it's still installed in the store, that's still installed in your theme, that's still loading up when your website loads up. You know what I mean?

Chase:

So just leaving that stuff in there is a terrible idea. So the number one thing that I find funny is when you have two apps that do the same thing. Oftentimes there are some other ones that are doing the same thing. So people maybe they'll have a free shipping banner or a promotion bar at the top of the page and there's something built into their theme that already does that. You know what I mean?

Brett:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chase:

Why do you have two solutions that do the same thing? Another one that's kind of happens all the time is restock alerts. One of their marketing apps, which we'll talk about that later, but one of their marketing apps will have a restock alert, but they add just an app that does that specific one little thing. It's again, just going back to, don't have two apps doing the same thing. So really run through your stuff and audit it. The other two that I have written down here, that people usually have two of the same one is again, abandoned carts. Those notifications doing two of the same exact things.

Chase:

If one's doing SMS, one's doing email, that makes sense. But you've got two different apps both doing emails, why not just use one app to do it twice if that's how you want to run it.

Brett:

Yep. It makes sense. And then, I think you talked about things like form builders and other pop-ups and stuff like that. Yeah.

Chase:

Yeah, just beyond the, using two apps to do the same thing or just two functionalities. Just go and create a relationship with a good developer or a good agency or a consultant or a freelancer or what have you to help you just build in some of these simple code elements into your site. You don't need an app for a form builder. You can just hard-code a form and drop that into your site. That'll load lightning fast compared to an app that has to load JavaScript and then load the form, and that's a bad loop that you know it's a slower user experience as well.

Chase:

Other things that you can just have your developers build in, pop-ups. Heck, half the time your better marketing apps have build in pop-ups solutions that you can customize out the wazoo. You don't need a specific app for pop-ups, and then if you just start talking about conversion rates, that's a whole other conversation about pop-ups.

Brett:

Sure, sure.

Chase:

But often times on the product page is where I see people go out of control with things that you don't really need. So they'll have apps that are installing trust badges or installing tabs on the product page. Just hire a developer to code it out and you're going to be paying a couple a hundred bucks for a smaller task, give or take your market, but then you're not paying a monthly fee for it and it's going to look exactly how you want and it's going to be lightening fast and it's not going to be interfering with anything.

Brett:

Yep, yep. Yeah, I think sometimes we don't think about the overall costs that the total cost of ownership, if you will, and the cost of unintended consequences with apps. So yeah, it's 30 bucks a month, but you're paying that forever and if you can just hire a developer to build something to put it into the theme, what is that going to be benefiting you in terms of improved speed and performance and then yeah you only pay the fee once. So totally, totally makes sense.

Brett:

Cool, you talk about identifying apps that are fighting with each other, right? And this is something we used to do quite a bit of work in the Magento space. We were never developers always on the marketing side, but then a lot of Magento clients and this is something we'd see all the time. Like, hey, they installed, we called it extensions at the time in the Magento space, but hey, they installed these extensions, they break the site or they conflict with each other, everything blows up, right? How do you identify if apps are fighting with each other?

Chase:

Oh, I mean, that's a difficult one, and that is usually the result of people doing what we're saying here is just installing stuff willy-nilly and not really having a good track record of what's going on in there. So it usually ends up that we have to have a senior developer go in there, take some backups and just start doing operation, finding out which lines of codes are having errors with it, and then just reverse engineering what's supposed to be happening. And usually during the growth phase of these companies, these eCommerce brands, it's usually during the growth phase that they're switching on apps, they're getting more powerful solutions, there's a lot of stuff happening really quickly. So they're not really using the best practices.

Chase:

So you kind of end up with a theme when they're starting to hit their growth, they're passing a million dollars in sales. Their theme is usually terrible around that time in their life just because it wasn't something they were thinking about. So once they start thinking about performance and all this stuff, it's usually a good idea to refactor the theme is a nerdy way of saying like rebuild it from the ground up code wise to make it really fast and make it not have any of those errors and it's just something that's going to happen in the life cycle of your brand that if you want to keep the design same and you want to speed it up, you're probably going to have someone with a good architectural mindset about how these things are supposed to be built, retheme it to get rid of all that old code.

Brett:

Great. It makes sense. I think that's the advice of the day, right? If you had to zero in on this is the most important thing is, this is not one of those things where, hey I can just install it and then turn it off and it's all fine. I can just keep loading these up. No, the code stays and then there's some residual impacts there. Think before you install an app and dig in a little bit.

Brett:

So you mentioned getting a senior developer to get it back with the sign, kind of stress test a little bit to find if these apps are fighting with each other. Is there anything, any kind of symptoms that might be flaring up that a Shopify store owner could see that could possibly tip them off that, hey, I may have app conflict. I need to bring in a developer. Is it just site speed related? So now things are really slowing down, I need to, yeah.

Chase:

Well, I want to go back a little bit though. There's a way to avoid this completely.

Brett:

How's that?

Chase:

It's, from the start, just be knowledgeable, I'm not going to test these apps, I'm going to ask someone that knows what they're talking about, which app to use. So I don't have to buy twice to get to what I need. Just get the right one the first time. So that's talking to a consultant or a freelancer or someone in the ecosystem. I tweet stuff all the time. I'm like, "Hey, we're having problems. What's a good solution for this problem?" Just ask people smarter than you and they'll give you the answer.

Chase:

That's an easy way to do it, but if you do want to test something, just take a backup of your theme right then and there-

Brett:

Beautiful.

Chase:

... Don't install anything yet and then install it in the new theme and then you can revert it back to the previous version of it and it won't have any of that code in there. It's just a little bit extra legwork, but then you're saving yourself from having all of these lines of code added to your theme.

Brett:

Yeah, it's extra upfront legwork, right? And that feels painful, but it will save you so much time and headache, and heartache, but is totally worth it.

Chase:

Yeah, especially, like most the best thing about Shopify is it really allows entrepreneurs to just do it. Get out there, start selling stuff and having fun with it, which means that oftentimes the founding teams don't have a developer's mindset. I'm not a developer, but I know all of these issues because we run into them all the time now. There's usually not a developer on the team, there's probably nothing versioning the website, which means like taking backups and knowing where the new code's coming from and all the forks and all the fun stuff that you'll find on GitHub and similar solutions.

Chase:

There is no one doing that for these websites. So then you end up with something that's got all sorts of random lines of code in there. I guess that's something to think about with the ease of use of some of these sites. Then you ended up with these fun issues like that.

Brett:

Sure. It makes sense. So let's dive into when should you consider an app, right? So what types of functionality should you say? Okay, so these categories you're looking for this kind of functionality? Yeah, look at an app because it's going to be better for you then than hard-coding, or working with a developer.

Chase:

Yeah. So I think the first thing is kind of understanding the limitations of the platform you're on. Shopify is really, really, really good at their one competency, which is selling something to a customer online through their platform. That's it. That's the thing they're the best at. Everything that kind of gets a little bit further away from that, is a little outside of that sweet spot.

Chase:

So it usually comes in the form of kind of more robust systems that you want to add into your business. So, one right off the top of my head would be kind of want you to get past this sale, Shopify doesn't care anymore. So anything in the fulfillment development area. So you're talking about pick, pack, ship, getting the codes emailed to your customers about their tracking information, all that stuff, there are better solutions out there than what you're going to find natively on Shopify. So, that makes sense.

Chase:

I would probably say that's something you should probably have installed on your store. So a solution like a ShipStation or an OrderCup, there's a bunch of them in the fulfillment area. That makes sense because that kind of is outside of the core competency of the platform, and you're going to see kind of a theme here when I start talking about these other areas of a business that aren't the online store.

Chase:

So the next one would be like in marketing, there are a crap ton of reasons to use other platforms. Like your email marketing platforms, Shopify doesn't have that built-in and anyone that goes from Shopify's abandoned carts to a more robust abandoned cart solution will immediately be like, why didn't I do this on day one?

Brett:

Something like a Klaviyo as an example.

Chase:

Yeah, yeah, Klaviyo. There's a million of them out there, but I'm a big Klaviyo fan.

Brett:

Me too.

Chase:

If I'm going to tell you to pick right the first time, Klaviyo is the solution.

Brett:

Totally agree. Yeah, yeah. Followed Klaviyo from the very beginning. Primarily through of my buddies, Austin Brawner and Chad Vanags eCommerce influence. But yeah, they introduced me to Klaviyo years and years ago and it's just a great solution. And I want you to give more specifics here, but basically we're looking at is, if it's something that's outside the core competency of Shopify, that's when you look for an app.

Brett:

So what are some other areas? We've got fulfillment, things like ShipStation and whatnot, email answer, Klaviyo. What other areas, categories of things should you consider?

Chase:

This is something you're probably very familiar with is getting a data feed out of Shopify and into your marketing platform of choice.

Brett:

Yeah, sure.

Chase:

Your paid platform of choice really is what I'm talking about here. So you're getting a good clean feed out of Shopify to import into Google or Pinterest or Facebook, however you want to do that.

Brett:

Yeah, what's interesting, and then I'll just because this is one of our areas, just one of the quick things to consider there is you can directly connect Shopify to Google ads as an example for Google Shopping, but it creates some pretty serious limitations in my opinion. So this is where some of the apps you invest in for a good data feed. Yes, there's often some monthly fees associated there, but the level of customization you can create and the cleanliness of the feed and just the, because the feed becomes your ad and Google Shopping as an example.

Brett:

So getting the right app to get a good feed into Google ads or Facebook or wherever, totally worth it. It's going to have a dramatic impact on your marketing efforts there. Where you're looking to save a couple bucks by doing the direct integration. It's not as good, at least not right now. It's not as good. So, yeah, fully agree with that one.

Chase:

We do Facebook advertising for a lot of clients and the first thing we do is replace their feed. The native integration between Shopify and Facebook is hilarious at best. Getting-

Brett:

Same as the Google Side, yeah.

Chase:

... Yeah, yeah, yeah. We recommend the same solution for both of them and it's a software called Aten Software. I don't know what you use, but that's the one we recommend. It's a good deal for what it does. But that's the one we usually recommend.

Brett:

Yeah, I've not used that one. We use DataFeedWatch a decent amount, GoDataFeed. There's a couple of good ones. Those are services as well. But Aten, I'll have to check it out.

Chase:

Absolutely.

Brett:

Sure, cool.

Chase:

To run down the list here. Ones that are pretty useful to have installed after a while. Any help desk solution, any ticketing system, that's never going to be on Shopify's radar. So we're talking about Gorgias, the number one player in the field is probably Zendesk. Click solutions like that to help with keeping your customers happy, keeping track of their inquiries with your business. Those are going to be things that make sense to have installed in your store.

Chase:

Some other stuff is if you have a inventory on your website, that changes a lot, that's when I think it's useful to have a smart search solution that's powered by an app. You can hard-code it in. If your inventory is 12 items long, like 12 skews, you don't need an app, you can just hard-code it. But if you've got thousands of skews that are changing daily, weekly, you've got sizes that are always running out. You probably want a solution that can update in real time, your search results within the website. We're talking about your mobile search.

Chase:

People are lazy, they're not going to go through your filters. They're going to type in what they want there. Having a solution that can quickly update that and get them to the product they want. That's always a good investment.

Brett:

Yeah, and one of the great things about some of those smart search apps and services is they will apply some basic machine learning but then JAI but I think it's probably more machine learning of looking at, okay, when people type in type of search, these are the results I show them. But what's clicked on the most and what leads to a better outcome and then they will adjust the results accordingly. And so that's one of those things you're not going to custom code that necessarily or get a developer to build that with any kind of cost efficiency, but some of these smart search apps and services will do that for you. Apply some machine learning to improve the results over time as results are observed. So yeah, love that. Love that recommendation.

Chase:

And just on the topic of smart searches, that right there is an easy win for anyone that doesn't have one on their store-

Brett:

Sure.

Chase:

... Especially on mobile. People are lazy like I said earlier. They're going to type in something and spell it the wrong way, and if your website can't get them to the product they want, they're going to bounce. That's just an easy quick CRO when is having like an auto search and a good user experience on mobile that can get them to a product, so.

Brett:

I love it. Just kind of a quick funny aside and I'm sure others listening are the same way, but I find myself now and when I go to a physical store and I love to shop online. I don't like going to physical stores in most cases, sometimes I do. But I find myself, I'm like, I'm wandering the grocery store. I've been lost for 15 minutes, and I'm like, why can't I just search? I just want to type, I just want to say the thing that I want and I want it to appear and I want to buy it, right? But a site without good site search, smart search is kind of the same way, right?

Brett:

I just want to find what I want to find but you're making it really, really difficult for me. And so if I'm already in a store, I'm not going to walk out in frustration too quickly because that's a waste of time. But if I'm online and I'm on a site and it's not giving me what I want, I'm gone, you know?

Chase:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brett:

So smart search, it's so important.

Chase:

Absolutely. I've got three more that I have written down on this list here. So the next one would be product reviews. That the built-in one to Shopify is extremely lacking and there are some great solutions out there for product reviews. That is one, just having social proof on your website helps regardless. There are apps out there that do it very well and this is across the board. I know that there are solutions that are on Magento as well and also on BigCommerce, the same players are in that space as well. But yeah, having the social proof with those product review apps is definitely something to consider and I just want to have an aside here that like, don't fake your reviews, it's trashy because people are going to find out and Google is going to blacklist you.

Brett:

Yeah, yeah. Such a bad idea for sure. Good, what about something like product financing? This is something that we're seeing a little bit more of and I think especially for high-at-stake items, it can make a lot of sense. We've also seen, I've had a another guest on the show talking about those apps specifically, talking about how millennials and Gen Z often don't have credit cards, but they have debit cards and so they like having these payment plans and stuff. But any thoughts on product financing apps?

Chase:

Yeah, no, that's another quick one like the smart search solutions we were talking about, that's going to overnight change your conversion rate. Those are very helpful, and you should definitely consider having one. There's apps like Klarna, Afterpay, I think there's 4Pay is another one of them. There's many solutions out there. They all kind of do the same thing, but what they really all do is they do increase your conversion rate and that's something that Shopify is never going to offer.

Brett:

Yep, yep. It totally makes sense. Okay, awesome. So this has been super helpful and enlightening. Kind of as we wrap up here a little bit. What about when do I begin considering, okay, do I need another app or another handful of apps or do I just need to go to Shopify Plus? If I'm on Basic Shopify, do I need to pull together a bunch of apps and then I can win that way? When should I consider Shopify plus?

Chase:

I think from the financial perspective, if you're using Shopify Pay, there is a straight legit threshold that you're going to hit to where Shopify Pay and the discount that you're going to get from moving from Advanced to Pay on your payment processing fee. So I believe it goes from 2.7% down to 2.4%, I don't know what it is right now. I don't have it in front of me, but those are the numbers I have in my head. It's somewhere around the $2 million mark of annual sales through your website a year to where just moving to Plus will offset the cost of having Plus just from that discount.

Chase:

So that's a quick just litmus test to see what am I sales like yet? Anything below that you need to have a very specific reason of why you need the functionality of Plus. And so there are three that always come to mind for me, and the first one I just talked about is having that discount on your payment processing. That's a big thing. The next one is going to be access to Shopify Flow, which is essentially Shopify's built-in automation solution.

Chase:

It's kind of like a Zapier or an if this then that just lives inside your Shopify store. So it's really cool. Once you build a business that gets to the point where you start to realize you can start pushing data around and pushing processes around outside of the eCommerce store. So sending specific things to your fulfillment warehouse or splitting up inventory in your warehouse. There's a lot of, it's very specific use cases, so I'm probably not going to say one right now that matters to anyone else listening. But needing that level of automation and having Shopify Flow is really there is a reason to think about it. And then another one is if you have really specific kind of sales that you want to do and there are apps out there that do those sales, but you can get rid of them all if you can move to Plus and you can use the scripts that are built-in because then you can just code the exact sale and it will work right every time and then you won't have an issue with whatever solution you were using to make that sale happen, it'll just happen.

Chase:

And then another one out there that I've been actually using a lot more lately is, I think it's part of Flow or maybe, I'm drawing a blank on what it's called, but it's a solution to schedule things to happen on your store, which is really cool.

Brett:

Nice.

Chase:

So instead of having to stay up until midnight to launch that sale, you can just schedule it and it'll happen-

Brett:

That's beautiful.

Chase:

... And then it'll turn off. And then that just happens. So once you kind of start getting into building those systems within your business, some of those automations make sense that you kind of want to have access to them. And then the Holy grail that everybody wants when they move into Plus is having access to the cart, which I'd say having access to the cart is a good thing and a bad thing.

Brett:

Yeah, for sure, for sure.

Chase:

Make sure you always test it and make sure you-

Brett:

A lot of damage there if you don't know what you're doing or you do too much.

Chase:

... Shopify has got the number one most trusted default cart in the world because-

Brett:

For a reason.

Chase:

... because everybody is used to it. So anything you're doing there can be scary.

Brett:

Yep, yep. For sure. That's one of those things where don't want to reinvent the wheel. If you've got something you're going to test on the cart, have a good reason for it. You should likely have some other case studies and use cases from people you've talked to that have said, yes we made this shift and it worked and then you better be prepared to test it and see how it works for you, for sure, so.

Chase:

Absolutely test it. Don't just throw it in there because someone else did it and said it worked, I've tried-

Brett:

Yeah, yeah, yeah because-

Chase:

... There are very popular gurus out there that are like, these are the five tweaks that I did to my cart and this is what happened. Those are the five winning tweaks out of the 500 tweaks that they tried that year.

Brett:

... Yep.

Chase:

And they worked for his business because of their specific customer reacted to it the right way. They probably won't work for your business. You should be testing everything.

Brett:

Without a doubt, without a doubt. Awesome. Chase, this has been fantastic. I love getting some insight here on the app ecosystem. This is an area that people just have to proceed with caution. If you approach this with some wisdom and a strategy, it can be amazing. If you don't, if you're kind of willy-nilly to use your phrase, I think that actually fits in this case, bad things could be on the horizon for sure. So hey, let's talk about your podcast.

Chase:

Absolutely.

Brett:

You're now 60 episodes in, congrats on that. That's amazing. So you're being very consistent and just a little over a year in, that's awesome. Why should we listen? Why should we tune in other than you just being a really cool guy, why should we tune in?

Chase:

Absolutely, so I'm interviewing kind of a lot of people in this app ecosystem is one thing. If you're ever curious about a certain app I would say the ones that I use I have on podcast and I get some really good information out of them. None of the episodes are a sales pitch though. It's why do these apps exist? What's the use case for using apps like these? And then at the end, oh my gosh, sure. Give us five details about your app that people might like.

Chase:

I'm also interviewing other agency owners, other consultants out there in this space. At the end of the day I'm all about being honest. I don't want to, that's kind of where the name came from is like I, there's that shady get rich quick scheme element to eCommerce that I have a disdain for and I want to be a voice of truth and reason within this ecosystem. So that's kind of why I do the podcast, and then I've been getting into a lot more interviewing actual brand owners, some very notable brand owners or people in those departments, and just getting it from them, from the source of what they did and the mistakes they even made along the way to how they built that business.

Brett:

Yep. I love it, I love it. I'm excited to dig deeper and kind of binge listen to some of the episodes myself, so that's awesome. And then, yeah. What about your agency? Talk a little bit about what you guys do there at Electric Eye and how can people find out more about both about the agency and about the podcast?

Chase:

Absolutely. So I'm the co-founder of Electric Eye. If you have a website, you've got your product market fit figured out and you're kind of trying to figure out what more you can do, that's kind of the right fit for us. We like to help people with beautiful website designs and smart marketing. We have this app ecosystem nailed down. If you questions about that, you can reach out.

Chase:

If anyone listening to this podcast wants me to run through their site and give them an audit just say, I heard you on this podcast, I'll do that for free. That's not a problem at all.

Brett:

Awesome.

Chase:

If you want that, it's not a landing page or anything, just reach out the right way. The normal way through our website, it's electriceye.io/connect, and I'll do that for anybody listening and then if you like the sound of my voice, which I don't, but if you do, you can find more of the podcast at honesteCommerce.co, that's .C-O.

Brett:

How many people actually like the sound of their voice, right? It just doesn't happen very often. I will say that, I'm not sure if you're at this point, maybe you are, that's 60 episodes, but there was definitely a time in my life and I was like, oh man, I hate the sound of my voice. Do I really sound like that? That's so annoying.

Brett:

I ended up doing quite a bit of public speaking, first at church and then business events and stuff like that and then podcasting and so now there is this switch that that flips at some point where now, I sound the same in my head as I do when I hear my voice, so I don't know if you got to that point yet or not. It's all the same to me. It's just whatever. It not good or bad, it's just the same thing.

Chase:

Not quite yet, but sometimes I'll catch some of our podcasts and I'll be listening to it and I'll be like, wow, I don't sound like an idiot.

Brett:

Yeah. It's like eventually it just calibrates. You hear yourself recording and through a PA system enough, and then anyway, that's only relevant to some, but it is an interesting phenomenon for sure. So fantastic. And then Honest Ecommerce, wherever podcasts are downloaded or synced to that's where people can find you?

Chase:

Absolutely.

Brett:

Awesome. Chase Clymer ladies and gentlemen chase. Chase, thanks for coming on man. This has been a lot of fun. Thanks for helping us tackle a topic we have not explored in detail on this show and we will have to connect again, my friend.

Chase:

Sounds good. Thank you so much for having me.

Brett:

Awesome, thank you, and as always, we would love your feedback. Let us know different show ideas you'd like us to explore. We'd love your feedback. We would love your review on iTunes. So if you're enjoying what you're listening to, that five-star review does help other people discover the podcast so if you're so inclined, it'll help us a lot. Go ahead and do that, and with that, until next time, thank you for listening.

Brett:

All right that is a wrap.

Chase:

Yeah.

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