This week's guest, Chase Clymer, is host of Honest Ecommerce, a weekly podcast that gives advice to growing your ecommerce business. In addition, he is co-founder of Electric Eye where he and his team create Shopify-powered sales machines from strategic design, development and marketing decisions.
Listen as Chase describes why his agency decided to exclusively specialize in using Shopify as an eCommerce platform and how Shopify can be the go-to platform for merchants including how to best optimize Shopify for conversions.
In addition, hear some advice on how to increase your conversion rates using Shopify including optimizing the customer journey and streamlining the user experience.
Within this episode Andy and Chase discuss how the level of professionalism that your websites extends into the world and equates to the value that is perceived by your visitors. However, even the most beautiful and functional website won't convert if there is no demand for the product being sold.
Worried about the page load speed of your Shopify website? Listen to why your Shopify website may be slow and how you can increase the page load speed. In addition, learn which apps are must for your Shopify website.
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ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy 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.
Andy Splichal 0:03
Make Each Click Count Podcast. This is your host, Andy Splichal. And today, we're happy to welcome our next guest to discuss the topic of growing your business on shopify. This guest is the host of honest ecommerce a weekly podcast that gives advice to growing your Ecommerce business. In addition, he is the co-founder of Electric Eye where he and his team create Shopify Power Sales Machine from strategic design, development and marketing decisions. Say hello to our guests Chase Clymer. Hi Chase.
Chase Clymer 1:18
Hey, thanks for having me today.
Andy Splichal 1:20
Well, thanks for joining us. Now, before we dive into today's topic, which is growing your business on Shopify, Let's first hear your backstory and what ultimately led you to do what you're doing now?
Chase Clymer 1:34
I've been in the Ecommerce space now going on seven or eight years. But before that, I kind of always had been in digital marketing and just the creative space kind of grew up with computers and always loved them. And before for Ecommerce and before it kind of just marketing was my career. I was wanting to be rock star and I was a band and that didn't do it that didn't pay the bills. And so the whole time I was doing that and touring the country, I was kind of sharpening my my tools, when it came to doing digital marketing, and kept getting closer to the money, as they say, started to pick up more with marketing and advertising, learning kind of the value behind those activities. You know how to drive traffic and profitably and all that stuff. And once kind of hung up my rockstar hat, I kind of went all in on digital marketing, around the same time that my business partner exited his Ecommerce company. And we, you know, just started tag team in some projects together. And we said we didn't want to start an agency, we both wanted to do our own thing. And then six months later, we had an agency with about a dozen retainer clients and the rest is history.
Andy Splichal 2:41
Interesting. Where are you based out of?
Chase Clymer 2:45
I'm in Columbus, Ohio.
Andy Splichal 2:46
Okay, and it was Rocky Ohio, where were you all over the place?
Chase Clymer 2:50
I was all over the place I saw through in those days, I saw pretty much everything in the continental United States did some tours in Canada. We had some offers to go overseas, but it were like too small for it to be profitable.
Andy Splichal 3:04
Now let me ask you something. So you guys especially specialize in Shopify? There's there's quite a few ecommerce platforms out there. Why Why have you really zeroed in on Shopify?
Chase Clymer 3:14
You know, it honestly comes down to the community that was behind it. And we were young in the game when we started to really dive into this agency space and becoming service providers and learning all this stuff. And Shopify really had an amazing partner community. And what really sealed the deal for us was about three months into like the birth of our agency, we ended up going to a Shopify event in New York, I believe. And at that event, we spoke with some people that, you know, were two, three steps ahead of us in their business lifecycle, and they were just so helpful, and just gave us all sorts of awesome advice and just the sense of community that we found. And our questions were getting answered. We were like, alright, this is the space we definitely know we want to play in. And then as we got smarter and a little bit more business savvy, we're like, hey, processes, SOPs, frameworks, all that stuff is a lot easier when you only have one technology like platform to tie it to only one process only one way to back stuff up on the one on the one on the one things get a lot easier, more repeatable way more efficient.
Andy Splichal 4:15
Now, let me tell you, when I first got into to ecommerce, it was back in the early 2000s. In had a lot of partners who worked on Yahoo, small business platforms, who you know, today fast forward, their platforms almost obsolete. Do you have any worry that something like that could happen to Shopify by concentrating just on one platform?
Chase Clymer 4:39
You know, that's always the worry when you hit your business to kind of like a one horse. I think that all of our processes that we've built into the business and all the stuff that we bring to the table would allow us to be pretty agile to shift focus to maybe other platforms or technologies or other specialties kind of within the same wheelhouse. A lot of it is could be copy and paste But funny enough going back to you mentioning Yahoo commerce, that platform was so bad I, I had someone reach out a couple months ago, and I was trying to pull some main KPIs out of the store. So I could, like, you know, kind of help paint the picture be like, This is what's doing now, this is what it could happen. And you can't get you can't get your conversion rate down those stores. Like I think only thing it showed you was gross sales, and, and traffic, and that was it. So no average order value that you can pull out of it, and no conversion rate that you pull out of it.
Andy Splichal 5:29
Now, let's talk a little bit with one of your services you mentioned is development and marketing decisions for Yahoo, for shops, for Shopify stores. But let's talk about design. First, what are some of the elements when you do replatforming or, or even near start a new store, new Shopify store for a client? What are some of the most important elements you find to create an initial solid conversion rate?
Chase Clymer 5:59
I mean, it is it we're not reinventing the wheel here, the internet knows innately How to Shop an e commerce Store. So first and foremost is don't try to get too creative with it or too tricky with it, you can build a beautiful store with an amazing user experience. But it kind of needs to follow that same natural flow, and the patterns that are learned from using the internet and shopping right now. So my first advice is, don't try to reinvent the wheel. Like that's going to be detrimental to your conversion rate. My next advice is just every page should have a goal. And most of those goals should be moving the customer one step forward, one step down the path of that customer journey. And the one way I kind of the way we envision the customer journey at electric guy is there's the homepage, its goal is to get someone to the collection page, the collection pages goal is to help someone get to the product fast as possible product pages goal is to get that product in the cart, cart to check out check out, you're done, right, that's the customer journey. Anytime that you have any sort of issues in that journey, that's an opportunity for the customer to get fed up, get confused. Maybe your page isn't loading fast enough, they get fed up and they leave, you know, all of the extra steps in that journey are going to slow down that process. And that's going to lead to a lower conversion rate. So streamlining that experience is really crucial. Honestly, when we're taking on clients and doing projects, there's just so much fundamentals that aren't in place. We're working with clients that are a little further along in their journey. So they're not much startups anymore. They're they're kind of established and figured out their product market fit. But you know, they don't have a technical partner, they don't understand UX, user experience, user design, customer experience, and how these things translate to what a website should look like. You know, most of the times they're there, they're buying or using a free theme from, you know, the ecosystem that exists around Shopify, and they're doing it themselves or their buddy who wants to, you know, that doesn't, it's, it isn't done professionally. And there's one thing when it's you don't understand why things should be the way they should, oftentimes, mistakes are made. And those mistakes oftentimes add up to where you know, it's really detrimental to what's happening on your store.So oftentimes, when we come in, it is a pretty big lift on the design side of redoing the user experience, again, to the design in general, the level of professionalism that your website extends into the world equates to the value that is perceived by your visitors. So there's just like, almost an on like, unquantifiable result that comes from just having a beautiful like a well designed website. And then having a well designed website that does user experience is almost like second nature to your visitors. Just does the thing correctly. But none of that really helps. If people don't want your product, a great website, great marketing, great design isn't going to help sell a product and nobody cares about.
Andy Splichal 9:01
Sure. Sure that makes sense. After you develop a website, do you spend timeoptimizing different elements, testing different elements to see if they affect conversion?
Chase Clymer 9:15
Yeah, that's kind of the second piece of the puzzle is well, it's there's a piece of puzzle that most listeners or people that get into this space seem to just realize from the get go, your website's never done. It can always be better. Things can always be improved. So that's just the nature of the beast. It's the industry that we're in. So we're there's always things to test out to change to try new technologies, emerging new marketing channels emerging in that makes it fun. You know what I mean?
Andy Splichal 9:44
Now, one of the drawbacks, from Shopify stores from what I've heard is that just the nature of them based on theme makes them a little bit less responsive in terms of speed. Now with this new Google algorithm page experience update coming out? How would you address that as far as is Shopify, perhaps being a little bit slower in page load time?
Chase Clymer 10:13
Andy Splichal 12:09
So you had mentioned earlier, well, within that that answer that people typically just download existing themes that have been changed when you're taking on a client. Are you doing something different? Or are you removing stuff from a theme? What's your process there?
Chase Clymer 12:28
Yeah, and so I don't mean to say and I should get out ahead of this, I don't mean to say that any of the themes that are out there, the free ones are the more premium ones that are a couple 100 bucks, that they're bad, I think they have their place in the market. I think if you're a Startup, if you're under a million dollars a year in sales, I think you should use an off the shelf theme, save your money, don't hire us don't hire anyone else, you don't need anything cost them, you can get it done with what's off the shelf. Because your money, your time, your energy is better focused on working on getting eyes to your website and getting more sales. That should be when you're going from zero to one, I'd say you know, starting a business to like having a business and ecommerce, you know, if we want to call it numbers, like from $0 a year to about a million dollars a year, that whole time, you shouldn't really focus on your website, as much as you should focus on the offer and your marketing and trying to get something repeatable there. When you kind of get that figured out, you have product market fit, then it's worth investing in a website and hiring someone that knows what they're doing, you know, maybe an agency like ours or someone else's. And when someone comes in and works with us, what we're doing is we are doing a custom build, we're taking what they're like we go through an intense and intense I don't know, it's takes couple weeks. So we go through a whole strategy session, take a look at all the apps that they're using all the functionality that they need, talk about what their their customers actually need out of this experience. And we build a tailor made experience a tailor made theme, specifically to what those customers need. And what that does is it creates ideal lightning fast website, which just helps so much performance, and it's beautifully designed and all of the features that we can build into it and not make apps anymore built into it. A lot of work done to increase the conversion rate, there's a lot of work done a lot of work done to help increase average order value. And you know, those two pieces of the puzzle really, really help and that gives you a really, really solid foundation to then move into you know, paid media and owned marketing. So like the Facebook and Google ads and the email and SMS stuff.
Andy Splichal 14:34
Sure. Now let's let's talk about those Shopify apps for a second specially for those that that are just getting started may not be able to afford a custom theme. Now I see that that rewind is a sponsor of your podcast, but so I imagine you're going to say that's a must. But what are some other apps that you find that most Shopify stores should consider adding into their store.
Chase Clymer 15:01
Yeah, and that's a great question. And it's, again, it goes back to that whole statement of do you need that functionality like is the weight it gives to your website as kind of in terms of page load worth, the result it's gonna give you in terms of profit pulled from kind of that thing. So it is kind of a case by case things but a more generic specific answer to your question. Klaviyo is my favorite, like app that is related to Shopify out in the ecosystem for automated email marketing, and they're crushing it for SMS right now, too. That's a fantastic platform. If you're looking for just SMS, I think postscript does a really good job as well. You know, you need you need some, you need a good review platform as well, I think the free one is fine for quite a while. But there are some more robust ones that have better integrations, I think we're using Judge.me a lot these days on these projects. If you're looking or if you have a subscription style business, you know, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is real recharge. And it's pretty cool for what it does, they had a lot of updates lately, to kind of bring some cool stuff to the table there. And kind of for post purchase, like upsells, one click upsells. post purchase, there's a lot of few, there's a few new newcomers into the space. There's like apps like One Click Upsell, and post purchase promotions that can really try to help you do raise that AOV.
Andy Splichal 16:27
Say, you recommend the post post sale app?
Chase Clymer 16:32
Well, that's see that's the thing. It's just need to be an app or can your team custom build that thing like which one's going to be faster, which one is a isn't a better investment at the time, it goes back to the whole kind of it's a case by case thing, because it's so we're we're building those things into some themes within the custom build. And in some of them, it doesn't make more sense to use an off the shelf app. So the thing with these apps is you're kind of painted into a corner of what they want the functionality to be and you can't really change that. So sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't, because every ecommerce business is different.
Andy Splichal 17:06
Now for for the product review apps. What about Stamped.io, do you use that at all?
Chase Clymer 17:11
We've used that on a few projects before as well?
Andy Splichal 17:15
Yeah, no, I just had found really good luck, because they already have an XML feed that you can put in your Google Shopping Merchant Center, and be able to to easily show your product review. So I was excited to find that a few few weeks ago. So he talked a little bit about the email automations. And we've had quite a few guests lately discussing email marketing, and specifically automated emails. And I see that is a service that you guys you offer. What are some different email automations that that you recommend or SMS recommendations?
Chase Clymer 17:49
Absolutely, I mean, the first, the first one that everybody needs to have is you need to have a welcome series. Some people think that they're too cool for a welcome series, and you're just straight up leaving money on the table. I think a welcome series is a fantastic way to educate potential new customers about the brand about your values about your benefits, your features, all that stuff, the welcome series is the number one automation that you should have, right? It's like the first automation that ever existed for email marketing, and every branch should have it. Beyond that, you can get a little crazy with things. I mean, if you can dream it, you can build it within Klaviyo as long as you can tie it to a trigger. Some more creative things that we've seen as of late ones, one that's really fun that we like to do is a birthday email. If you know what the if you know what the clients birthdays or customers birthday is you can send them a birthday email with perhaps like a discount code or free gift purchase something like that. I mean, that's a really, really fun way to add more to the automation. You know, we've seen a lot of success with like, first purchase anniversaries or if you've got a consumable a see a lot of kind of automations around like, hey, that thing is running out. Maybe you need another one. We're trying to upsell them into a subscription through automations. Those are quite fun as well.
Andy Splichal 19:01
How have you seen email perform versus SMS?
Chase Clymer 19:05
Oh man, if you have a good if you have a good strategy behind it, email is extremely crucial, it should be about 30% of your revenue. And we have seen lately SMS like almost match it on some brands that depends on kind of the customer seg segmenting and you know how they feel about phones. But SMS is wild right now. It's definitely a big channel for the year, I believe but I believe marketers are going to ruin it. And it's going to get it's going to go down a bit but you know if you're tasteful with your outreach on SMS, I think you can almost get as close to your email as far as returns go.
Andy Splichal 19:51
Now one of the services I see you guys offers migration services. Can you share a success story that might come to mind of a company that you guys helped migrate into the Shopify platform some broad range before and after numbers.
Chase Clymer 20:08
I can't really be numbers per se, as far as sales go, but I can give you some I can give you like a story about a legacy company migrating to Shopify. So they had been around for over 10 10 years selling products online. And they were on Magento 1. And this was a pretty custom build, and it was breaking all the time. And just they're kind of maintenance costs. Every month, we're, we're in the 1000s of dollars. You know, and this wasn't, this wasn't a huge company, you know, they were they were sub a million dollars a year. But you know, that's, that's a lot of money to maintain a website that should just work, you know what I mean? Um, and they had a vast, vast product catalog. And once once they internally made the decision that they wanted to move over to Shopify, we helped them on that adventure. And the second things were up and running, the maintenance expenses just disappeared. If you have everything on Shopify, and it's working, it's not going to break. You know, that's the that's the beauty of a hosted solution. You know, when you have Magento, there's a lot more moving parts, there's a lot more things in the in the mix that can break. And I'm not saying Magento sucks, and Shopify is better. I'm just saying there are, there are reasons that there are different platforms out there, because it's all different goals. So with them, just just moving to Shopify, cut their expenses for web drastically. So they reinvested all that money into paid media, and had the best year that they've ever had.
Andy Splichal 21:45
Did they see any increase in conversion rate making that change?
Chase Clymer 21:50
They actually did. But it's not, it's not a one for one thing, and that's something that that's, that's something that people need to understand is just because you move from Magento to Shopify, and your conversion rate goes up. And it's because one was worse than the other if, like, the test needs to be the same thing, you're changing so many variables within a migration, because I guarantee you're redesigning it during a migration as well. And the features are going to be just a little bit different, cuz there's not a one for one feature match. So we Yes, their conversion rate did go up. But I mean, the entire website is was different, a completely different look and feel a completely different redesigned kind of navigational structure and how the product hierarchy works, and all sorts of stuff. So it was a really big change. And actually, like the day it went live, the conversion rate was lower than it was historically on the old website. Because all the old customers that were returning to the website to shop for, like how to hex this thing work, it's so new. That happens with every with every migration, but once people get used to it, they saw a surge and they came out on top.
Andy Splichal 22:55
When you're migrating a company, what are some of the common mistakes that you have come to notice? As you review the layout, what they're doing, that you can put in place to solve?
Chase Clymer 23:08
Well, I think one of the number one common mistakes that people are experiencing when they're migrating is they're migrating for the wrong reasons. As better isn't a reason to migrate? I mean, you got to have this phased in, like an a binary decision that, like you're gonna get the outcome that you want. So what's the what's the reason that you want to migrate? You know what I mean? And oftentimes, it's like, well, we were not happy with our sales. That's like, Okay, well, the platform might not be the answer, you know, you know, I mean, there's probably an underlying issue of why you're not happy with your sales, it probably has something to do with your marketing or your offer or your product or something like that. platform would solve those things. But say, there are good reasons for the migration, and it makes sense to move platforms. You know, one thing to just set expectations out there, migrations are more difficult than just starting over from scratch. And the kind of investment in levels will match that just to kind of put expectations out there we will. I think one thing that people do wrong with migrations is that they just disregard SEO redirects, which just tanked their organic overnight. So don't do that. Make sure that you're setting up redirects from all of your old web pages to all your new web pages, because every product URL is going to change. Also, something that happens during that is there is all of your paid ads are going to the wrong place when you make that shift and people oftentimes overlook it. So make sure you're updating your product feeds like the same time you go live with your new webstore.
Andy Splichal 24:41
Ok, that's a great, those are great tips. Now another question I have for you so e commerce I mean it's just continuing to grow in and it's been accelerated even more with with COVID over the last year plus, where do you see ecommerce going from here? How how big a percentage do you see ecommerce been?
Chase Clymer 25:00
And I just see it continuing to go up. I think that ecommerce got a lot of people as not ecommerce, I feel like that the COVID got a lot of people shopping online that historically weren't. And then they realize the ease of it. And then you can see like how more traditional retailers are now cloning out aspects of the Ecommerce experience, to a more traditional brick and mortar with like the the rise of like, click and pickup or local delivery. I think it's only going to get better for consumers honestly. And if you're, if you're not willing to evolve, with how the world is going and the direction that everything's heading, I'd be worried about your business.
Andy Splichal 25:11
Let me ask you a question about your own personal journey. Are there any business books out there that you may attribute for any of your success?
Chase Clymer 25:55
That's what really sealed the deal with digital marketing and content marketing for me, it was DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson. What did what did it for our agency where we finally kind of pulled our heads out of our butts and got things going was Traction by Gino Wickman, that really, that changed the game for us. Once we established like, we started to use the EOS framework. And we had an operating system to running our business, which I didn't realize we needed, because I didn't realize the concept existed. That changed the game for us. The way that we run our finances at the agency is kind of based upon Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. For sales, I mean, Ultimate Sales Machine was a really good book to kind of learn just how sales work and how to be disciplined within sales. I'm I'm glossing over a bunch of them. I mean, I, I read a lot of business books. And not because I favor them. It's just because I would prefer to do the best that I can of what we're doing.
Andy Splichal 27:04
Well, those are some great great recommendations for people agency or or ecommerce professionals to meet for sure. What is your favorite type of ecommerce company to work with? Do you have give a particular vertical that you guys specialize in? Or something that you that you like, what really gets you going?
Chase Clymer 27:25
Yeah, I mean, you know, when I was younger, in this business, I probably would have said like a cool brand, like they do skateboarding or something like that, right. But that's, that's a lie these days. What excites me is companies that we know we can help. And the people on the other end of our calls are nice, genuine human beings, they respect and value us, they listen to the things that we want to do, then we're constantly iterating and pushing things forward. And really, you know, blowing things out for him. That's what's exciting for me, I could kind of care less about the product, per se, because I'm more. I liked the impact that we can make. And I liked the collaboration between our teams. That's what excites me.
Andy Splichal 28:02
So how can a listener right now learn more about you or your podcast? Or your agency if they want to to hear more?
Chase Clymer 28:10
Yeah, I mean, if you want to hear me ramble a lot more, there's hundreds of episodes of our podcast available on whatever podcasting you like, you can check that out at honestecommerce.co. And if you think you might be a good fit for Electric Eye, if you just want to kind of reach out and we can have a quick chat to and I'll let you know if I think we're a good fit. You can just check out the agency at electriceye.io.
Andy Splichal 28:35
Great. Before we go today, what would you like to say to a business owner listening there right now that would be saying I've been struggling to grow my business, and I'm already using Shopify platform. How could you help me?
Chase Clymer 28:50
Yeah, I mean, that's the that's a great question. I mean, we basically focus on three fundamental KPIs conversion rate, average order value inspections, and if you don't have a strategy between iterating and improving upon each of those KPIs or growing them, you probably should get one.
Andy Splichal 29:10
Okay, and what about the business owner? who's struggling who's not using the Shopify platform?
Chase Clymer 29:17
I mean, again, it goes back to Shopify is just a tool. If you don't have a strategy, it's not going to do anything for you. I mean, I think if you're looking to launch an Ecommerce Shopify is the hands down the easiest way to get started. And I see if you haven't started you just do it just put the product on line, start the store and just get the ball rolling. Because time is the one construct that like all of us have to face and it's it there's never going to be more time so the best time to start your business was yesterday.
Andy Splichal 29:43
So that's great. Is there anything else I might have forgotten to ask you before we wrap it up today?
Chase Clymer 29:49
Um, no, I don't think so. I mean, this is a super fun time to be in ecommerce. There's a lot of stuff happening really fast but you know, you can take it, you can just break it down and make it really simple. You know, you got to put put on You put on blinders focus on your goal, focus on your vision, and just work with people smarter than you to help you do that.
Andy Splichal 30:06
Well, great. Well, thanks for joining us today. Now remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcast and leave an honest review and if you're looking for more information regarding Chase or connecting with him, you can connect through how we just mentioned I will put links to everything in the show notes. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business using paid ads request to join the Make Each Click Count Facebook group, I've been releasing some all new free live trainings and more will be happening soon. And in the meantime, remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.