Check Out Our All New Podcast Resource Center!
July 9, 2020

Discussing Search Solutions With Your Store Wizards, Don Cole

Discussing Search Solutions With Your Store Wizards, Don Cole

In this episode, Andy discusses the benefits of using a 3rd party search tool with Don Cole, the owner and operator of Your Store Wizards.

Discover how including a 3rd party search tool can help increase your conversion rate on your eCommerce website. By knowing the difference between browsers and searchers, you will soon discover the importance of having a robust search solution that helps searchers find what they are looking for within your web store.

Your Store Wizards has just launched a new 3rd party search tool named Search Magic. Search Magic is an affordable solution substantially less than industry competitors. By using Search Magic, eCommerce retailers can increase their conversion rates thus helping to improve overall profitability while substantially saving money versus using other popular search solutions.

ABOUT THE HOST:

Andy Splichal - Make Each Click Count PodcastAndy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.

New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.

Transcript

Andy Splichal  0:01  

Welcome to the Make Each Click Count Podcast. This is your host, Andy Splichal. And today I'm joined by Don Cole, owner and operator of Your Store Wizards. Now before we dive into today's subject, can you take a few minutes and tell us about yourself and the history behind Your Store Wizards on?

 

Don Cole  1:05  

Thanks, Sandy. Yeah, actually, it's one of those things that I was a computer geek and a programmer back in 1999, back in the early days, and it was literally I was supposed to be making money off the internet. So I actually started in retail online. And one other thing led to another, I'm lazy. That's what I call myself. I'm a geek, so I'm lazy. And so I started to automate things I did, and then figured out that I could offer that to other store owners. And that's really sort of where it started. I'd like to say start with some grand plan. But it really didn't. It started off with me just finding a niche that I could help store owners out. And at the time essence I was a store owner it helped me to about about what year was that? was back in 1999. I literally remember opening my first store. It was a week before we hit the year 2000. And the world was supposed to end is the computers supposed to all die on us. And we survived it all. So I'm happy about that.

 

Andy Splichal  1:07  

Yeah, that's a good thing. Now jumping forward from 1999 to 2000. What what specialties is your store wizards offering ecommerce retailers today?

 

Don Cole  2:12  

We I I by nature, like I said, I'm a geek, I'm lazy, but I love puzzles. And it's sort of the nature of who we've become. I, my best days, my worst days are when a store owner comes to us and says you can't do something. Because it's my it's my best day because I'd love a puzzle to solve. It's my worst day because I won't be getting much sleep until I figure it out. And so we've sort of found ourselves we are in a niche, it's a little different than a lot of developers, a lot of developers focus on you need a whole new store, you need a whole new revamp, we sort of specialize in the aftermarket, I like to call it you know, we're not the guy that's gonna sell you the new car that we can we have those services available. But we sort of specialize a lot in, you need something improved on your store, you need something to operate better, or you just have an idea that you need to figure out how to make this work. And so that's sort of a lot of what we've done as a lot of the services we've built, whether it be feeds or search or things like this are all come from that same problem solving background.

 

Andy Splichal  3:22  

Well, that's great. Now, before we jump into today's topic, is there any interesting facts that most people might not know about you?

 

Don Cole  3:31  

Boy, let's see. Well, I do have a lovely wife and for boys. But the most interesting of that is fact that I have actually triplet nine year old boys. So that's keeps my life a little on the busy side.

 

Andy Splichal  3:46  

Now I can imagine how old are they?

 

Don Cole  3:49  

Well, I've got my oldest boy is 22 just turned 22. And then the triplets are nine to turn 10 in about a month. So they they keep us busy. But because of having all those. The other thing that surprises a lot of people is I actually have a small piece of thrill seeker in the me in that I have gone skydiving and ziplining and scuba diving, and that type of stuff. And a lot of people don't expect that from the geek side of me.

 

Andy Splichal  4:17  

Great. Well, why I wanted to have you on is over the last few podcast episodes, I've been speaking quite a bit on increasing customer value. And one of the quickest ways to do this is to increase your conversion rate on your website. And I recently saw that you had introduced your own search solution at Your Store Wizards and I was hoping to learn a bit more about that. Now, before we jump into what you're offering, why would you say that accompany should invest in a third party search instead of using what's right out of the box?

 

Don Cole  4:54  

But you know, when you're starting out a small store you're using what's out of the box is fine. I mean it's it's simple. It's basic. But you know, you don't need a whole lot of bells and whistles initially. But the problem is as your store grows, you want to be able to address all of your customers and help them find products. Every store has got really two types of visitors, you have the browsers that are going to use the navigation and organization of your store. And you have the searchers, and the searchers are the ones who I'm looking for this specific product. Now, there are less of those than there are browsers. But they convert at a higher rate, sometimes double to triple the rate. So being able to provide a search that not only helps him find the products, have some drill down with filtering, things like this can really help your conversion as a whole. And so I think it's really important, especially as you get to a larger store. I mean, I cannot imagine personally going to Amazon and trying to browse through category by category by category down where I want, I hit that search box, and a lot of people do, especially when you get a larger store.

 

Andy Splichal  6:00  

Sure, no, no, that makes complete sense. Now, what are some of the features that a third party search brings over the out of the box solutions that can help increase those sales?

 

Don Cole  6:12  

I think there's a lot of things that are really key to this, I mean, some of them are pretty standard, and you get used to these things like autocomplete. So when your customer is typing in and start typing in something, something that's going to instantly show some instant results, right there on the page is nice, the ability when they get to a results page, or even you can use this sometimes on Section pages to allow what they call filtering or layered navigation. So a customer can say, oh, I want a 16 inch TV, that is you know, got this kind of connector and this price range. And anything that helps them drill that down. But but in the back end, a lot of things that really are helpful, are all have to do with being able to customize the experience. If your customer, you know, the searching your store, finds those can include everything from synonyms, to being able to change the logic, make custom landing pages, you know, being able to look and see what your customers are doing and adjust your results. And the activities to that. I mean, it's it's huge, because it allows you to really make the experience rather than just a generic, here's a bunch of products, you can really help them go you know what you're searching for this particular term, we happen to know this particular term, you should we only go to this page. And so things like that being able to do that is is huge.

 

Andy Splichal  7:34  

Okay, great. Now I see that your third party solution is called Search Magic. Now, how did you come up with that name?

 

Don Cole  7:42  

Well, it's actually funny, because when we were building our search, we actually went through a lot of different names, I actually bought a different domain for it originally, just because we were just tossing around ideas. And none of them seemed to really fit. And then honestly, we sort of fell back to well wait a minute, we are your hosts are wizards. We have a lot of things that are related to us magic and wizards. And we sort of went back to it. I'm like, what the funny part is, you would think that would be the first thing we would have thought of. And it was not we like went through every other idea for first and then came back to it. Wait a minute, it's right here. What? Why are we making this so hard?

 

Andy Splichal  8:17  

You know, that's funny that that makes complete sense. But when I was thinking of that question, it didn't even occur to me, the connection between our Store Wizards and magic. That's great. Now with search magic, where does it fall in the in the search landscape, where is it versus the lower end or the higher end as far as the the fees or even the free one?

 

Don Cole  8:40  

You know, we when we came up with this, our whole goal was to try to find something that was economical, but powerful. You know, we looked at what was out there. And there's a lot of inexpensive options out there. There's a lot of obviously three options built into every platform. But we wanted to call it something that could get you 80% of the advanced features without paying for it. Because when you go for the really advanced features, you're talking a lot larger dollars on your expenses for it. And there were so many customers that were like, I need better than what's out there. But I can't afford the next step up. And so we wanted to provide that middle ground that gave them a lot of control a lot of good usage, you know, all the things that they would use, you know, when you have something you buy that has 400 features, but you only use 20, then why were you paying for all those you never use? So that was sort of our goal.

 

Andy Splichal  9:38  

Right, right. And I know that makes sense. I've had a lot of my private clients that use like Searchspring or Next-topia, and I know their services are running you know, between 5 6 $700 a month and then only using a fraction of that. Now as far as pricing Are you like a flat fee or are you using based on how many products? How do you price price your service?

 

Don Cole  10:02  

Our services is strictly priced based off of number of products, there are a lot of other things that honestly go into our costs. If we have a store that's got the same number of products and has 500 times the visit visitors, it costs us more running. But to us, that was too much complexity, we didn't want to make that hard for a store owner, we wanted to make it simple, you have this many products, this is how much it costs. It's very simple. It's very straightforward. And it helps. Because over time over the course, all the stores, it works out for us, it's fine. You know, the the main goal is we want to make it easy. And don't want you to have to like go through a lot of loops to figure out what they're going to cost me.

 

Andy Splichal  10:41  

And where where can they find information on your pricing?

 

Don Cole  10:45  

Well, we have pricing pages on our site, we actually have for both Your Store Wizards site has a link to it. We also have a site for Search Magic, we do have different pricing, we're supporting multiple platforms. And so they each got a little bit different pricing structure based on a number of different factors. But honestly, easiest, just drop us an email. And we can give you all the details. And it's really simple and easy. No, no big hard sell. And we just you know, we'd like to be in touch with people. And we'd like to be able to make sure it works for them well.

 

Andy Splichal  11:18  

Okay, great. And now, for some of the listeners who might be too lazy or able to give kind of a ballpark or, you know?

 

Don Cole  11:26  

It varies a lot. I mean, we we've got everything down from I, I don't have the numbers in front of me to the bottom tier, I think is probably in the you know, 30 40 $50 range a month, depending on the platform. But it goes up once again, based on the platform, and we got some we got very customized products we love for them. And so that's the other strength that we bring is we can go in and modify it. Whereas a lot of those bulk search providers won't go in and do it, we will gladly handhold someone through it and help them get their settings set up, make tweaks for them, etc.

 

Andy Splichal  12:03  

That's great. Now, you mentioned that you are offering on just certain platforms right now what what platforms are those?

 

Don Cole  12:12  

Well, we do offer our search currently, on both Shopify, we've launched just recently, where we do offer on Yahoo merchant solutions, we are watching on BigCommerce, I would like to say in the next month or two, it's actually in process, we've just building up the dashboard for it. And after that, we're gonna have to see what the next targets we want to hit, we are going to look at some other platforms, probably the big names are obviously things like WooCommerce and Magento. But so if anyone has interest in particular platforms, they can certainly reach out and least gives us someone else to know to reach out when we start heading down that direction. 

 

Andy Splichal  12:48  

That's great. Those are definitely the the bigger ones. I know, most of my clients are on the Shopify, and then a few on BigCommerce. So if you're covering that in the auto, you're gonna cover probably 80% of of current retailers. Now, is there anything else that you'd like to add that maybe I missed that sets search magic, apart from some of the other third party search tools?

 

Don Cole  13:10  

I think the main thing for me, you know, we're a business, but it's, it's my name on the door. I mean, it doesn't show up there. But I always think of it that way. And so to me, most important thing for us is providing incredible support. We've got developers, you can actually talk to like, you know, speak and speak clearly and understand your business. And then we're able to, like I said, help you get set up, help you modify your results, anything like that we are, we're glad to be here. And I think to me, that's the big thing, that we can provide that really great support. Because, you know, a lot of the basics of some of these things are going to operate the same from from, you know, service to service. But what's key is being able to have someone that can help you when you need something changed, you have a problem, whatever that is that you got someone you can trust.

 

Andy Splichal  14:01  

Well, those are definitely a great points and definitely worth checking out if somebody's looking for a search tool for their website. So thank you for joining us today. Not that was great, very informative.

 

Don Cole  14:16  

Well, I appreciate the time and glad to be here and anyone can certainly reach out, you know, either to us as as the whole at our you know  for yourstorewizards.com or, you know, reach out to me direct, I have no problem answering, you know, and help it out.

 

Andy Splichal  14:32  

You know, I almost forgot before we go, why? Why is it that some of those other third party search tools like the Next-topia and Searchspring are charging so much more than you guys?

 

Don Cole  14:42  

Well, honestly, I think it's because they can. Do they have some features we don't have? Yeah, but the bulk of the price, I think is because they have that they have that market. They can get away with it, you know, and I know we've had customers that looked at them looked at us, you know, we're going to move because they can. So oh, you know, you guys go so much cheaper. And then Next-topia, you know, or  Searchspring points out features that they have. And to me, I'm like, Well, yeah, they're putting them out to you. Obviously, you've never used them through all these years with them, but you've been paying for them. And so I think comes down to it's just they have the opportunity, and I can't totally blame them for it. You know, they make more money, but it costs you. So right after wait, well, you need that.

 

Andy Splichal  15:31  

Now, do you ever run into the problem where people want to switch but they're on a contract?

 

Don Cole  15:37  

Yeah, actually, we do. A number of the larger vendors, all tidy when to an annual contract or multi year contracts. And so that's usually the biggest hiccup honestly, when they want to switch to us is, okay, we've got until March. So we need to wait till then. But if someone wants to do that, they can contact us we can get them scheduled and follow up and get them switched over when that comes around. Actually, they do tell you it. Do you not know once you're signed up and go and you want to quit one month? You can we don't have it happen. Usually, you know, we give you that option, because we don't want to have you tied in because you have to be we want you to be a customer of ours because you want to be.

 

Andy Splichal  16:17  

Well and honestly to they're charging so much that it might make sense. If you're looking to expire within a month or two or even three it might make sense financially to to make the switch even before the contract expires I would think.

 

We've had cases where well, you know what, they make me pay a penalty, but I'll save more paying the penalty and paying you the sticking it out. So there you go.

 

Oh, for sure. Yeah, that's great. Well, that is it for this episode. And remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave a five star review. And if you're looking for better results from our online marketing request to join our new private Facebook group, Make Each Click Count the Facebook group. And we keep expanding in fact Don just joined the group yesterday. And if you ask him nicely, he may be willing to answer a question or to that you have regarding the advantages of using a third party search system within that Facebook group. Do you think it'd be willing to do that Don?

 

Don Cole  17:11  

Oh yes, that or anything else ecommerce related. Glad to help out.

 

Andy Splichal  17:15  

Well, thank you very much. Well, that's it for today. Remember to stay safe, keep healthy and we will catch you in our next episode.