Milk Bottle Shopify Podcast

Episode 32: Shopify Reunite with Keir Whitaker

Episode Summary

At the end of May, Shopify folk would have gathered at the Shopify Unite conference in Toronto. Due to the global pandemic, Reunite was streamed into people's homes where Shopify made it's latest announcements for new releases that are in the pipeline for the ecommerce platform. In this episode, Keith chats with Keir about Shopify's planned innovations.

Episode Notes

For merchants or anyone that may have missed Reunite and Shopify's announcements here is what is discussed in this episode:

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Episode Transcription

Episode 32 Milk Bottle Shopify Podcast with Keir Whitaker

Keir: [00:00:00] Few weeks ago, Shopify did a live stream, an hour and a half event online, which was actually directed at merchants in contrast to the unites event, the physical event we've both been to over the years and which was directly aimed at people like me and you, who working in the industry who worked with merchants.

[00:00:21] Welcome to the Milk Bottle Shopify Ecommerce Podcast brought to you by Milk Bottle Labs, Ireland's top rated Shopify experts, Milk Bottle Labs, build, upgrade, migrate and market Shopify and Shopify Plus stores all over the world. Milk Bottle will migrate you onto Shopify with zero interruption guaranteed, or optimize your Shopify store and maximize store sales. This podcast is kindly supported by our favourite Shopify app and the only app we install in every store. is the leading backup solution for your Shopify store. We'll talk more about Rewind later now over to your host, founder of Milk Bottle Labs Keith Matthews.

[00:01:06] Keith: [00:01:06] Hey folks. Welcome back.

[00:01:08] My guest today is a good friend of the team at Milk Bottle Labs, Mr Keir Whitaker  based in the UK. Keir is the founder of Default HQ, which is a consultancy and professional services firm which you work with members of the Shopify partner ecosystem. Keir  is also a former employee of Shopify where he curated the Shopify partner program for nearly seven years.

[00:01:33] Keir Whitaker. How are you?

[00:01:35] Keir: [00:01:35] I'm very well. I'm very well. I was one of many who helped work on  the partner program. This small piece of the pie. We did some good stuff. We had the pleasure of meeting as a result of that as well. How are you?

[00:01:48] Keith: [00:01:48] I'm good. I'm good. Like everybody else we're in lockdown mode team is 100% distributed look as like everybody else's suppose it's the same family challenge is trying to run a business and get as many errors worked on the day, but we're, uh, we're coping and we're really, really busy.

[00:02:03] And kind of excited about that the rest of the year. And one of the reasons that we're excited of course, is the recent announcements that Shopify made. And we get to that in a few minutes. Keir, you hold a record for the podcast. You know what that record is?

[00:02:15] Keir: [00:02:15] Oh, blimey. Surely, surely not most appearances. I think this is 3, I think it could be.

[00:02:20] Keith: [00:02:20] It is. It is. So congratulations.

[00:02:23] Keir: [00:02:23] Thank you.

[00:02:23] I trust the prize will be winging this way from Ireland across the water shortly.

[00:02:28] Keith: [00:02:28] There's a pigeon carrying it as we speak.

[00:02:34] The other record that you hold is that that is the first intro that I've ever recorded as part of the interview, because, because I've done it three times twice before. So I said, I'll have a go at doing it there, so it wasn't too bad.

[00:02:48] Thanks. Thanks. Keir always a pleasure to have you on the chat with you. You can talk about general things. We can talk about Shopify things, conversations as always is always an interesting one. So Reunite, you were involved in this, you hosted part of it. So just give the listeners a recap on why it was called reunite and why it was virtual.

[00:03:07] Keir: [00:03:07] Yeah. So you're right. That I had a little small part to pay to play. I should say the partner side of it few weeks ago. Shopify did a live stream, uh, hour and a half event online, which was actually directed at merchants in contrast to the unites events, the physical event that we've, we've both been to over the years and which was directly aimed at people who were working in the industry who worked with merchants, who are based on the Shopify platform.

[00:03:32] So they, they kind of spun it around a bit this year. I think with all the. With everything going on, they, they decided obviously to rightly council the physical event, they would then go to do something online. They decided against it and then sort of did a 180 and thought that they would put something out there, which they did a few weeks ago.

[00:03:49] And again, I think, you know, most of us watched that and there was a lot of kind of high level announcements, all aimed at people who use shop on a daily basis, merchants as we call them. And then a week later they kind of asked me to host a panel with some agency partners from around the world to sort of dissect those from our perspective.

[00:04:08] So what does that mean for agency land? What does it mean for people working in the app space as well? So again, a small parts play a week after the big announcements, we kind of. Delve a little deeper into what the ramifications of some of those both good and bad and you know, some questions as well. I had free rein to take the conversation in the direction that we felt was, was relevant and it was sort of 40 minute chat with some three other agency owners out there.

[00:04:33] And yeah, that was broadcasted a week after and yeah some interesting opinions out there.

[00:04:39] Keith: [00:04:39] The exclusivity of unites, I suppose, was much reduced because it was open to everybody. I thought it was interesting that you could only log in through your partner dashboard. So again, it was kind of semi exclusive I suppose, because it was kind of restrictive.

[00:04:52] There was an April announcements at that and we knew I had been to one of the percentage of ants and Amsterdam. And there was some announcements mentioned that, that, so I just wanted to run, I suppose, run through them at a high level. For me, Shopify Balance was the most interesting because it looks like they're opening up banking facilities for Shopify store owners.

[00:05:12] Now, whether it's going to be, I would expect that it would be a Revolout or End 26 style mobile's first efficient banking system with cool cards and really efficient ways of receiving money and paying money. But I think for the future, It will be very, very interesting. If down the road, Shopify eventually becomes the place where you log on to check your balance and check your banking and make your payments.

[00:05:37] Because if it is, it's certainly a very, very large sign of things to come where Shopify will ultimately be the core platform for many aspects of your business, not just your online store. I mean, what's your, what's your take on

[00:05:51] that?

[00:05:51] Keir: [00:05:51] Yeah. It's threw me to be honest, it was a, I think they did that kind of, and there's one more thing, sort of Colombo statement at the end there.

[00:06:00] Yeah. I wasn't expecting that. I was very intrigued by it. And as you say, well, how would it fit into the sort of the work that you do with Shopify. I mean, one is assuming at the moment that you, you know, you have have a Shopify store in order to qualify for Shopify balance, or maybe that's not true. Maybe it's a greater ambition down the line is that this becomes a service that any entrepreneur, whether they're on Shopify or not can use.

[00:06:21] And I think if that is the case, then that obviously puts, Shopify find this sort of in an even greater position in the financial services sector as well. So yeah, we really interesting to see how it fits in if you are a Shopify merchant, whether it is available to you, if you're not. And if the two are coupled together, then, you know, is that a driver for more people to come onto the Shopify as a platform to sell because Shopify Balance gives you a better experience.

[00:06:46] Some of the more traditional quote unquote Banks out there.

[00:06:51] Well, I think it's still not live if I'm correct. Initially as with a lot of Shopify  products will be available only in the U S initially. Yeah. It'd be interesting to see if, and when that does expand to, to wider shores,

[00:07:04] Keith: [00:07:04] If it is a white label solution, they're pretty easy to launch initially. So in other words, you would just, it would just be.

[00:07:09] Like just like Shopify payments is backhanded by Stripe. Shopify Balance the service if it started out as just a card, it could be back ended by another card provider. So for me, I'm really interested to see how deep it is. Usually, as you said, it'll get, go to the States, probably Canada, Australia, and the UK.

[00:07:29] So I suppose from an Irish perspective, it might be awhile before we have this. It's one of the spaces that I'm going to continue to watch because it's a business game changer, not just a Shopify, game changer, I suppose, the best way to describe it.

[00:07:40] Keir: [00:07:40] No, I agree.

[00:07:41] And I think there's some things that they could do that would incentivise anyone on Shopify to use it.

[00:07:46] So maybe your Shopify payments will come out quicker, if you're in the partner space and you get your payout from the apps or themes that you sell, maybe there's benefit there. So they kind of captured market in a sense, both in terms of merchants, a million plus people working in the ecosystem who have a financial relationship with Shopify such as developers and theme developers.

[00:08:07] I think, you know, they're not going in cold to that space. And I think a lot of the experience that they've got over the last sort of 14, 15 years of working with entrepreneurs is all going to feed into that. So I'm, I'm, I'm very intrigued to see it. Obviously they they've got the lovely, shiny example of the branded card that I would show, you know, it's very appealing, but I think beyond that, it will be interesting to see how the products are coupled together or decoupled.

[00:08:32] And then as you say, I would hope they would come over to the UK and Ireland in not too, too long, a time.

[00:08:39] Keith: [00:08:39] Indeed. For me Keir one of the most interesting announcements was the Shopify Pay instalments. So for stores, I suppose one of the challenges in eCommerce is to increase your repeat order race, and also keep that repeat order value.

[00:08:53] Your average order value up as high as you possibly can. Yeah. And I think, I think what Covid has done for a lot of businesses, you know, with average order values in the thousands is that you know, they perception, for example, let's say within the furniture industry that, you know, customers wants to just touch and feel it before they purchase.

[00:09:11] We talked to quite a few furniture businesses over the last three months, and they're now racing to go online because they're realising an actual fact that customers actually will purchase provided that the site shows and conveys the product details to them on the product. You know, photography is decent and they can make a properly judged purchasing decision.

[00:09:31] So for, for transactions in the thousands, you know, buy now pay later has been that it's been around for a while. Klarna have been doing that in Europe and the States they've made a lot of success. So Shopify now has just an answer natively on the platform. So do you think, is it a game changer or was it always around the corner for Shopify?

[00:09:51] Keir: [00:09:51] I think it could be, as you say, with those higher value, if you started thinking, well, it's 500 pounds or a thousand euros, whatever, but it's. $125 a month for four months, that's a different proposition. So it may influence  that buying decision. And I think it's a game changer from the merchant side in as much as those arrangements would have been a lot harder to, to put into place, you'd have to have a relationship with a third party provider. Maybe there's more credit checks if your business has to be in a certain financial position in order to be able to offer that through that provider. So I think it's a levelling, at least through my understanding what's actually going to be offered is levelling that playing field. And I like that Shopify have sort of taking on the burden to bring on, to make sure those payments happen. So you get full purchase amount. I'm sure there's a cost involved in that. I'm not a hundred percent sure on the details.

[00:10:46] Maybe you are in terms of percentage, but yeah, I think it will enable people to offer higher value and make it look more attractive because you can spread that payments out. And as you say, it's more, more people go in line with the situation we're in for products that we would initially want to sort of go in and sit on and try out because that's not an option.

[00:11:06] I think this is very, very timely, but again, it puts people like you in the hot seat, Keith, where you have to make those sites very immersive. And how do you, how do you sell a sofa that you can't sit on? I guess, you know, that's a design challenge. That's a marketing challenge as well. And then with this added on, it makes it, I guess, for a lot of people, more financially viable, potentially as well.

[00:11:27] So I think it's an interesting move. I, again, wasn't convinced that this would necessarily be an ask because these are typically things that are provided by third party apps, as you mentioned.

[00:11:37] And I do feel one of the things that we saw through these announcements is that Shopify is moving into a space. Maybe we'll talk about this with the other announcements, that has been catered for by third party app providers. And so I think, you know, is there a little bit of a free and a little bit of friction there perhaps for the ecosystem potentially, but it remains to be seen how deep these products go. And if people want for want of a better phrase, more fully featured feature set, then there is still, I would argue space for these providers that are in space,  come into the space to offer again in quotes, a richer experience.

[00:12:12] Keith: [00:12:12] I suppose the threat to the ecosystem is always there. When you have a platform with Shopify, especially as it's growing such a rate with over a million customers. My experience, which is same as yours, I suppose, is that when an announcement like that is, is announced, the feature is generally fairly light, you know, so anybody is making a living off an app, which is now going to be called native.

[00:12:36] There's still, I suppose, a little bit of a runway there, or maybe a, a timeline where they can. Where they can adjust and make changes because the chances are whatever is launched as, as a kind of a, as a phase one would never be as rich as some of the, the high end apps that are there. The interesting thing that I find there is, is that there's a risk there that the actual platform provider Shopify is taken there.

[00:12:57] So there's a, there's an underwriting element. They've really thought this through like the providers of those servers at the moment are effectively using it. You know, banking institutions, which are being insurance, not transaction. Once the market gets the money, let's say $4,000 for a, for a piece of furniture without transaction then has to be insured to make sure that the cost to me, if the customer doesn't pay, somebody has to cover it.

[00:13:18] So while it seems to be kind of a, a feature which has also app related, it's also, you know, heavily connected to commerce and heavily connected to banking. So technically it's not necessarily feature rich, but from a, I suppose from a legal standpoint and from a banking standpoint, it's a major announcement, I suppose what I'd say.

[00:13:37] So

[00:13:38] Keir: [00:13:38] yeah, no, sir. I mean, that's a really valid point you made there that yeah. The financial instruments behind this, this probably is a hell of a lot more complicated. And again, I mean, maybe this leads into the fact that Shopify is moving more into that sort of financial banking arena, you know, with capital that was announced some time ago, balance and instalments.

[00:13:57] It does, it does lead to a strong sort of relationship between the platform as a, as a service to merchants, but also, you know, the financial side as well. So I think it'll be really interesting to see, see where that goes in time. Again, I'm just, I'm noting that starts off in the US later this year.

[00:14:14] And again, I think once they sort of roll that out and get some feedback from it, one would hope to see that that does sort of spread. But to that point, I think saying the payments or payments, it's not as simple. Like you can roll that feature out globally because the financial backing for different regions obviously have different legalities behind it.

[00:14:32] So I guess that may be the reason that it doesn't come to our shores quicker as, as was the case with payments.

[00:14:39] Keith: [00:14:39] good point.

[00:14:39] Absolutely. I think that the enhancement that I, that I found was, was probably easing into the app ecosystem even more was the local delivery.

[00:14:49] It's just, I

[00:14:50] don't know whether it's coincidence or not, but for the last six months we've been working very closely with the team and Zapiet who have a wonderful local delivery, pick up a local delivery app, which is.

[00:15:00] It is very complex on the back end behind the app and the integrations into Shopify is it's just so, so, so well thought of. And behold Shopify launched and also announced very, very recently about the local delivery service. And that's on assuming is because they're trying to eat into the food delivery business, which is obviously quite expensive if you use Deliveroo or JustEat in the UK or Ireland or the US. Have you looked at that feature?

[00:15:28] Have you played as at all? I mean, it is quite light.

[00:15:30] Keir: [00:15:30] Yeah, I have I'm would agree. And again, you know, I think some of these announcements questions, whether they were. On the roadmap prior to the situation, find ourselves in or their reaction to that. And that's perfectly valid of course, but as you say Zapiet, how you say it, great team behind it. And you know, they've, they've really focused in on that particular problem. And I think that's where sometimes when you choose to pay for app, maybe not part of the platform, what you're getting is someone who's focused, a team of people who have focused in, on a very, very specific problem. If you talk to Andy and the team there, they came from a position of pointing and one thing that comes to service themselves and wanting to understand how they could help merchants from different verticals, particularly food or floristry and all that kind of stuff to give a better service.

[00:16:17] So I think what you find with an app such as Zapiet is that. You know, they know that problem inside out, and that's, they've been working on that problem for a number of years. And I think with some of the features Shopify by bring to the table, that's not the case, but that's not to say that, you know, percentage of people, they will be perfectly fine.

[00:16:37] But you know, certainly having been in and around the space for a number of years, what you will find is that sometimes it can work in the app developers favour because someone gets turned on to an idea such as local delivery. But then they want time slot. So they want XYZ or they want to be able to communicate with join local to insight.

[00:16:56] What they then do is they migrate to the paid app, which they may never have thought of using because they were exposed to a feature sort of within Shopify. So I think it's an interesting relationship and I'm sure you'll be there to back me up on this when we've been in those announcements in the conference halls in Canada.

[00:17:14] When you're standing next to an app developer and features get announced, know there's a sort of polite relief when their app isn't being encroached on and there's other people looking around...

[00:17:27] Keith: [00:17:27] I think

[00:17:27] I mentioned it on one of the first podcasts. Somebody was actually the one I spoke to you a long time ago, but I remember sitting beside an app developer and there was some announcements made and they turned around to us in the middle of the hall in Toronto and said, well, that's three of our ideas now on a roadmap are gone.

[00:17:43] You know but your point is very valid there.

[00:17:45] It's a very, very important point. If you're an app developer listening in one way, many could see these announcements as a threat, but in actual fact, it also, in some cases can result in an opportunity.

[00:17:56] Keir: [00:17:56] I think so. Also, if you have a user base as well, I mean, the data will show that most people won't migrate down.

[00:18:03] If you see mean to this, introduce native in Shopify, especially once the business is established, you know, this way better than me, but you work with a merchant and they won't want to migrate that. You know, it's hard to migrate someone off their ecommerce platform because or particular app, because the time investment, the financial investment, the sort of mental investment of using that on a daily basis is going to cause it's going to cause problems.

[00:18:27] The end result, the end goal will be. Yeah, absolutely better, but there's still a process that you have to go through. That's difficult business process, financial, whatever to change. And so just because Shopify introduces that feature, it doesn't mean that people who use it, uh, no, no longer going to use it because.

[00:18:48] No, they will, because they were invested in that and it has the features and they've done their due diligence and installed it for the right reasons. So, yeah, I think it's an interesting, an interesting space. But to your point about the food, I think that was echoed through the fact that social price now released a new free thing called express, which is directly targeted at sort of food vendors as well.

[00:19:06] And I think that is definitely I would categorise as a result of this sort of, Covid experience we find

[00:19:14] ourselves

[00:19:14] in.

[00:19:14] Keith: [00:19:14] Yeah, I actually forgot about it. So we've spoken about Shopify balance, Shopify Pay instalments, which is obviously a big announcement, tipping heading for food, local delivery. You know, another, another feature we have also, we agreed that it's light, but native subscriptions is a major announcement. And one of the reasons it's a major announcement is because obviously it's a very, very popular and fast-growing feature that a lot of decent eCommerce stores if they have customers that are purchasing. That's the same product, you know, repeatedly that subscription can sort out, it can increase average order value. Obviously you can increase sales. I mean, it's, it's Christmas for a store if you have customers coming back on a subscription, but just like, you know, Shopify Pay instalments and just like local delivery, the infrastructure and architecture and the setup, and the time required to build out subscriptions is absolutely significant, you know, in terms of.

[00:20:10] What they announced. Is it light? Is it heavy? Any idea when it's going to be launched? Do you have any, any details on that?

[00:20:16] Keir: [00:20:16] No timescale, I think we were both present at Unite  last year when they announced checkout app extensions, but, but yeah, it hasn't really progressed in terms of the actual sort of features being announced.

[00:20:27] Yeah. It's an interesting one because I think what my third from last year, and this year is that you're still need a third party to help you work with those subscriptions where they're actually providing is sort of what they're calling an app extension, which allows someone like Recharge to integrate natively into the Shopify checkout.

[00:20:49] Now, this has a number of advantages for the merchant in as much as they can run one system. The checkout is hosted on Shopify, all the benefits of that and everything that they built around that, you know, rock solid check out, you know, it's the benefits maybe for recharges. They don't have to recreate that in terms of the subscription side, I'm still a little bit on say on what that relationship will look like. So has Shopify announced that you'll be able to have a subscription product native through the app or have they announced that they will be requiring third party subscription companies  like Recharge to integrate

[00:21:25] directly to that checkout. So I'm, I'm still a little bit unclear on, on that, or is it that, you know, you can have a product, it is recurring, but it's very, very basic. And if you want to be able to customise the box, customise the subscription, pause it, add one of items to it. Then you're going to still need an app as sort of alluded to earlier that hasn't really focused in on that one issue.

[00:21:47] That one problem, which you know, our friends at Recharge half done. The way that they work with merchants and sort of help collect the data that we can all learn from. They recently published a report on sort of the state of sort of subscription commerce. And, you know, they're really focused in, on, on that particular way of selling. So I, I'm still a bit unclear. What was your take on it?

[00:22:10] Keith: [00:22:10] Well, in working with the team at Recharge, the Recharge team have created a wonderful product, there's absolutely no doubt about that. I'm not trying to promote recharge still one that I'm familiar with, like there's a customer portal to be built so that customers can manage their subscriptions in terms of email, then Klaviyo has as well.

[00:22:24] So then you have to integrate with Klaviyo instead of Klaviyo, then .To, to send out reminders to send out any problems or any issues. Basically it's the communication tool is email. And then you have to build the app to decide on which products are for subscriptions. And then in some cases you have to revert to all of your subscription products to a different payment gateway.

[00:22:44] So

[00:22:45] in terms of complexity, you know, subscriptions is, is, sounds like a wonderful term is when you're, when you're running a successful store, it's very complex. Nothing is simple. In a way it's, it's way more complicated than local delivery. But if you use Zapiet to its full functionality with small customisations and work with the team, it also is very complex.

[00:23:05] So to the, to the user, I think, and maybe to the store owner, it's a wonderful announcement. And it's fantastic, but there's a significant amount of effort to set it up, set it up properly. So I didn't even think of the point you made earlier on that are they inviting people in to integrate with Shopify to, to plug their subscription app into, into the shelf, into a specific area within the platform or not?

[00:23:29] I don't know. You certainly couldn't launch it overnight, which is kind of the reason that it was, it was kind of whispered about a long time

[00:23:36] ago.

[00:23:37]Keir: [00:23:37] No, I agree with all that. I mean, I should probably confess that I've worked with Recharge over the last 12 months I have with their conference that they put on in Los Angeles.

[00:23:47] As part of that work, I sat in on the calls when we were sort of curating the content with a lot of agencies and merchants who use subscriptions. SOme started purely based on subscriptions, others added subscriptions and yeah, it's not, it's not a quick win. It can be very, very profitable. It really isn't the case of just sort of checking a box and adding subscriptions, there's a whole host of work, not least around the marketing cost of acquisition.

[00:24:13] And how many months does it require you to sort of pay back that initial acquisition and all of these things. And some people are doing really amazing stuff in the space. The people that we interviewed tended to be very sort of very niche. Well, at least to me, sort of markets, you know, we have people who like making mushroom coffee or people who were doing sort of men's hygiene products, or there was a lot of Tito stuff.

[00:24:36] And so, you know, they, the people that. They really know their market and then the subscriptions are really working to them. So I don't think it's a quick win as you rightly point out. And once you're out in the customer portal and what does that look like? And these are the complexities of something I recharge allows you to do relatively easily.

[00:24:53] Okay. You know, as soon as you say, well, I want you to subscription, but then I want three of those things. And two of those things. Shopify doesn't currently work well like that, you know, is this idea of single products and then pushing off the subscriptions to an app. And then you get this kind of hybrid scenario with checkouts. And so I think unifying, the checkout experience is really positive and those app extensions will allow someone like Recharge to take advantage of that and integrate their app in much more.

[00:25:19] I mean, seamless now, if Rob is listening, I hasten to add. I guess there's pros and cons for Recharge as a company as well, because I'm sure there's some benefits to them owning that checkout experience on their side as well, fundamentally, you know, will, will the merchant benefit from this app integration? I think, yes. Will it be a quick win?

[00:25:38] Anyone wanting to add subscriptions to your point? I don't think so.

[00:25:41] Keith: [00:25:41]Let's take a short break and I'll share the one app we installed on every Shopify build. The team at have developed the leading backup solution for Shopify. Did you know there is no way of recovering lost data from the Shopify store? automatically backs up your store data in the event of a data loss, usually due to human error. Rewind enables you to rewind your store back to its previous state. It's so simple, and it's used by some of the world's leading Shopify agencies, such as Kurt Elster of Ethercycle and Kelly Vaughn at the Taproom. If your store is gaining traction, you may have multiple users making changes. Often store owners allow theme or app developers enter a store to add code. Sometimes mistakes happen and data gets deleted. You can reduce your business risk today and prevent a costly catastrophe by installing the app on your Shopify store. Get your first month of rewind for free by simply responding to any of the welcome messages or emails you receive after you begin your seven day trial and mentioned this podcast. Now. Back to the interview.

[00:26:49] One of the big criticisms of Shopify is the requirement if you want to move internationally, let's say you're not on Plus and you want to a US store with US pricing. For a good few customers we've actually built multiple stores as a result of that requirements.

[00:27:02] Yeah. Now on May 20th at Reunite, they announced the feature custom local domains. Now I haven't dug into this. So my understanding is, is that as it was announced, they said that if you have a UK store, you can then place your second domain. Let's say you're a domain in your store. And if somebody logs on from the UK, then the UK domain comes up on the URL and effectively the customer experiences, the fact that they feel.

[00:27:32] As if they're in a UK store,

[00:27:34] is it as simple as that?

[00:27:36] Keir: [00:27:36] I would hope so. But I fear not. Yeah. again, this was, this is one thing that really, really caught my eye. And I think it caught a lot of people's working in the Shopify ecosystem eye. But I'm just left with a lot of questions, I think at this time, how, how does this work? What does it, what does it look like?

[00:27:53] Is it simply. No a mapping of the same themes, you know, can I use different language as in, you know, the way I describe a product to, to an American customer, to a UK customer or an Irish customer, or if we're talking about changing the language as well, maybe I would want to describe that in a slight different way to a French market or a German market.

[00:28:14] So I feel that this will be huge, but again, I'm not really sure on the details because there's not too many knocking around. My hope would be that we could have, you know, if we mapping domains and sort of setting a language parameter to those that we could describe products in different ways for those different markets, you know, but what does that look like on the product admin?

[00:28:35] What does it look like in the store admin? How much control will I have over descriptions and titles and, you know, a URL parameters for that individual product? So I think my initial reaction was hugely positive. Still is but again it's still a little bit unclear on what that means for the merchant. Is it tick a box by domain?

[00:28:58] We're good to go. Or again,  as with a lot of these things sort of expertise that someone like Milk Bottle and other agencies offer clients come in, come to the fore and be required because the implications of maybe not doing it, quote unquote correctly could be negative. Things that they mentioned in the article, sort of rounding .Up these announcements.

[00:29:17] Can a positive contribution, SEO ranking, if you have a particular local domain. So conversely getting that wrong could have a negative impact as well. So

[00:29:27] Keith: [00:29:27] I think it's only going to be effectively a vanity URL, not well to the user, it, the be the UK URL or the whatever, you know, whatever is your non local URL decide to use.

[00:29:38] So if you're an Irish store, it'd be dot I E. And then the idea is, is that you can add a co uK. Domain to users in the UK. I suppose the feature that we need is the fact that, you know, you need to be able to then offer a separate pricing. If the users in the UK. Now that's so easy to explain and so easy to say in a podcast it's obviously extremely complex to reprice all of your products in the, in the store and, you know, link them only to that domain, if that customer is in that location. But I would suspect initially that it's just, again, as I say, the light version of just being, having the ability. But look I'll have to say it's a good start because. If you're using Shopify payments on a free app, like multi-currency well then it'll flip the domain straight away on the platform platform multi-currency.

[00:30:24] And then the multi-currency will flip the currency straight away when it notices where the customer is, and then they can check out on Shopify payments using Sterling. So when you add up all the incremental features that you can add to the store, there is a solution that will get you probably 75% of the way already.

[00:30:41] Keir: [00:30:41] Yeah, exactly. Like most of these features they're are going to be something that you wouldn't have considered before. So let's try it and see how big an impact it can make on my business is finding to be very, very influential in, in, in the profit margin. Then maybe we upgrade it. Slightly different apps or different tech, but to your point around, around that sort of pricing, they also announced as I'm sure you saw that this notion of sort of customer effects foreign exchange where I think correct me, cause you've done this more than me, but even with plus they sort of rounded out.

[00:31:11] So if it's 10, 10 pounds, they may put it at $14 or what have you. So you didn't necessarily have too much of a control over that pricing with those other stores. But I think what everyone would like to see is this idea that, well, you know, if I have particular products in the States in order to be competitive, it has to be 15% cheaper then I charge them a UK store. And there's, there's a whole bunch of reasons for that. Where it's shipped from and what that particular market will pay for products. And so in having multi-currency and then sort of having that effects rate worked out for you in a particular market. So I think having control of that price for a particular market or local domain in this case is going to be key to the success of this, because I want to charge $10 in America. I want to charge £20 in the UK because that's what the market dictates or that's what the market can stand. And so I think these are the things that I hear people coming back to when it comes to multi-store multi-currency is having that control over the pricing. You know the language around it. I think you mentioned earlier that you were in Pursuit in Amsterdam and an agency there talks about how that they taken a headless approach, which I know something you talked about with, with Kelly Vaughn recently, because they wanted to control the language use.

[00:32:27] They wanted to control the title that was used in Danish. Sorry the Dutch store, The Netherlands against the French store against the English store. And so I think these are the things that especially big brands will want to control. And so it'd be interesting to see how far. Those concepts are integrated into nonplus if you will.

[00:32:48] Keith: [00:32:48] Yeah, absolutely. And again, you know, we're discussing big issues, you know, I mean, you're dealing with FX and fixed pricing depending on multiple locations. There's a complex underlying their technology there to manage that. So as I say, would most announcements that Shopify make they're generally, always going in the right direction, which is a good thing.

[00:33:05] Keir: [00:33:05] A hundred percent. Yeah. I think one feature announcements isn't there because on the one hand we all get excited by it that they're coming soon. But then on the other hand, I know from speaking to people, like when your clients hear of it, they want it tomorrow. And then when it does arrive, maybe it's, you know, it's not where they expect it to be or it's more so I wouldn't even know where to start product render like that.

[00:33:30] You know? Do you announce. Do a big reveal is all ready to go, keep people interested on the journey.

[00:33:36] Keith: [00:33:36] Yeah. But look, there's a, there's a trend in eCommerce as well. The people will complain about things that they don't have on the platform. And because it's, as if they just need to complain about something and very often these features come out, and then people realise, nah, I don't need that.

[00:33:50] All they can do is keep announcing and keep trying, I guess, two more things to talk about, but email on sections everywhere. Of course they didn't call it sections everywhere. They call this. An update on the new online store design experience.

[00:34:04] Keir: [00:34:04] Yes. Formerly know as...

[00:34:07] Keith: [00:34:07] was that somebody covering themselves for the fact that it didn't come out 12 months ago when they announced it? I wonder, I know what it is. We've been talking about it on this thing, but as for quite a while, but when it does come out, I mean, it is, it's a massive game changer. So just, just explain to the listeners exactly what Sections Everywhere will be.

[00:34:28] Whenever it comes out.

[00:34:29] Keir: [00:34:29] Yeah. I mean, it's huge as someone who sort of started building Shopify themes, sort of 10 plus years ago, one of the things that attracted me to them was they were relatively constrained and they were relatively simple. There was, it was very easy to get started and as time has passed, you know, the requirements and merchants understandably have got more, they want more control over the way that a particular page looks or interacts with customers.

[00:34:54] And so new features have started to be added over the years. And one of these was sections, which were allowed you to drag and drop different sort of content blocks, predefined content blocks onto the homepage. So you say, I want a carousel here. I want this, I want maybe a blog post feature there. They allow you to do that.

[00:35:10] And this was very powerful and it's an idiom that many people who've used online services are used to. You know I can drag things up from a sort of side panel, drop it in. That'll update the page. Goes live on my site. And obviously then once people got used to this, they want, why can't I do that on a product page? Why can't I just create a simple landing page?

[00:35:29] Why can't I do X, Y, and Z. So products started to fill this space, you know, Shogun page builder, very, very powerful tool that integrates with Shopify allows me to create landing pages, custom pages, and have them integrate directly into your Shopify store. So there's definitely demand for it. So Sections Everywhere is basically.

[00:35:46] You know, the ambition to be able to drag and drop elements of your store onto any page. So if you wanted a particular product to have a very specific product detail page, yes, you can do that. You can create a custom template and assign it to a particular product, but that's all in the code, right? That's something that you would have to do, whereas sections everywhere, it gives that potential power back to the merchants and where I think agencies and designers can benefit is, is building up that kind of long list of components that can be added to those pages. So there's still work. And a lot of complexity and agencies will still be required design thinking, but it will allow you to hand over that control and ownership to the merchant. So it is, it is a huge game changer. Technically it's a huge game changer.

[00:36:33] Conceptually, it's a huge game changer in terms of how these themes are constructed. I'm very intrigued to see whether they'll mandate that. All the themes in the theme store will need to become a Sections Everywhere theme or not. But I think the other big thing for me is that it allows app sections. So previously, when you wanted to add an app to a theme, you may have had to customise the code, go in there, tidy up other people's code and all of that kind of stuff that's being left behind because you can't delete it programmatically, whereas this, you say, okay, I've got a particular app that does X it's in the app section.

[00:37:07] I'll drag it on. And this will appear on this particular product only, or it will appear on this particular collection page. And so it's huge in essence, and I think, yeah, conceptually huge big shift, but also in terms of the technical aspects of this, if you think about. If you can drag 1,000,001 million plus the 20 sections onto a page, how does that impact performance?

[00:37:30] How does that Shopify pushing that round very quickly? I'm intrigued to see how they will sort of scope it. And how much we're allowed to add to a particular page. And I think they're going to be very conscious of how this impacts the performance. And by that, I mean, how quickly the page renders, you know, if you start adding 15 video sections to a page, It's going to be relatively slow and that's going to affect conversions.

[00:37:57] And then people say, well, Shopify is slow. Well no Shopify is not, your page has got 15 videos on it. So I think there's a lot of learning on both sides. How do, how do agencies educate merchants to get the most from the platform that's relevant for a particular product or that particular store? And how does Shopify sort of temper enthusiasm, if you will, to put everything on a single page.

[00:38:18] So it doesn't impact performance.

[00:38:20] Keith: [00:38:20] To make a

[00:38:21] change. If that scale is that an effectively a platform rebuild.

[00:38:25] Keir: [00:38:25] I wouldn't even begin to hazard how complex it is, you know, on the surface, it feels not trivial to me at least, but it feels like, well, they've had sections on the home page surely, it's just expanding it.

[00:38:36] But I think, I mean, under the hood, I'm sure this is beyond to work out.

[00:38:43] And when you think about the implications of app extensions coming in there as well, they've done a huge amount of work, actually. Shopify on speeding up. Liquid now liquid is this sort of template language used in themes, and they've, they've increased the way, the speed that the platform sort of goes through the templates and renders the page.

[00:39:04] And so I think that work may have had to be done, or maybe they realise it should be done in order to help sections everywhere come to fruition because otherwise, you know, these pages. Maybe would be taking too many seconds to render which again, huge impact on conversions people, click and leave and go somewhere else.

[00:39:21] So I think, I think it's a huge technical challenge. And maybe that's why from the announcement last year to now the developments sort of have to ramp up and they've had to sort of beef up the platform in certain areas. I'd be hopeful of seeing it this year. It's in beta at the moment. You can play with it.

[00:39:37] But again, that doesn't necessarily mean that will be the finished product, just cause it's in beta. So

[00:39:44] So Keir, the last

[00:39:45] Keith: [00:39:45] major announcement, it actually happens prior to it. Three United events was Shopify Email and I've been in there, have used us. I've played with this and, you know, in our experience, separate to the actual Shopify platform, your choice of email platform is absolutely by, I firmly believe that the second most important choice when running an eCommerce store and now they've brought it in natively.

[00:40:08] So what's your view on that?

[00:40:10] Keir: [00:40:10] I think it's a really interesting move, not unsurprised that this has come to fruition of late. I think it was, it's been on the cards if you've kind of read between the lines for a while, and obviously the announcement was teased some months back. And I think we saw a further demonstration of it, at Pursuit in Amsterdam already this year from the Technical CTO of Shopify.

[00:40:31] I think it repeat 's a great move. And I think again, I think to your point, Will it be for every merchant out there? I don't, I don't think so. I think a lot of people will have the ability now to do some sort of low level email. And it may well work for a lot of merchants out there who would never progress onto a, onto a bigger platform, as you mentioned.

[00:40:49] But also I think it will allow people to see the power of email marketing. That's the thing you said before. If you talk to anyone in the agency game, who's working in Shopify or e-commerce in general, email is one of the biggest drivers. If not the biggest, please do correct me. All sort of repeat business.

[00:41:03] So, you know, it's a key. The key tool in your arsenal to drive traffic and drive repeat business and drive sort of that average order value as well. So I think it'd be really interesting to see how it goes. I wasn't sure at first, whether they would have it as a, an add on to the plans and it would be their sort of, you know, just available for anyone without an added cost, but it appears that they're running it free.

[00:41:23] I think till October, and then. That will be an incremental cost. Thousands of emails sent. So the more you use it more you'll pay, but I think the rates were very competitive, but yeah, I liked the way it integrated, you know, you can drag your products in a specific products or, you know, very familiar interface.

[00:41:40] If you've worked with the sort of store editor where you can drag things in and sort of create segments. So, um, yeah, I think it's an interesting move, but if I was Klaviyo or Omnisend, would I be worried? Probably not too much at this point, because I think it's a great next step. Those platforms, once you sort of got a taste of what's possible, those platforms are going to kind of supercharge your business anyway.

[00:42:03] So again, I think it falls into that sort of category that now would it take away business from the bigger vendors? Maybe a very, very, very small percentage, but I also think it will sort of as a gateway drug to people who want to get really, really strong on email.

[00:42:19] Keith: [00:42:19] Yeah, that's good. That's good points.

[00:42:20] I suppose, for our listeners, there's been we've, I've known a lot. Firstly noticed a very interesting trend in our Klaviyo accounts where we've got some customers that are doing, you know, 10 or 20 million a year. And then we have other customers that are on Klaviyo and Shopify. And then we've got smaller customers that are doing 50 K a year.

[00:42:39] And there's a trend. They are all doing up on 20, 30 and 40%. On automated email. Yeah. It's interesting. When you're talking to customers, when you're, let's say, when you're talking to them in the first, first round of chats about a potential Shopify build, they just don't get emails. They've got budget assigned for ad words, budget assigned for Google shopping budget, assigned for social media, and then you suggest to them well, in actual fact, The investment in properly setting up Klaviyo  will pay for your entire investment in your online site.

[00:43:12] And they actually don't get it. So as you say, this, we'll kind of tease people and maybe help people to prioritise email as part of the project at the start rather than an

[00:43:23] afterthought.

[00:43:24] Keir: [00:43:24] Yeah, no, I couldn't agree more. And I think it's also easy to, to forget how kind of demanding any channel of marketing and eCommerce and email being the one that does yield results.

[00:43:38] I mean, I'm sure you counsel that that should be the thing that most sort of merchants, if they have not embraced it, do start on it, but I'm sure you guys at Milk Bottle will advise on what those flows would be. I think sometimes people get disappointed with any marketing channel, especially when it's easy to quote unquote, turn on, like Shopify email or Shopify by Facebook and all this kind of stuff that you can kind of flip the switch and it will work. I think it's like anything, the people that have success, they have the right tool, they have the right strategy and they put the effort into it. I think email's no different. It is. It is something that you have to sort of try out. What's the tone of voice, how what's the frequency, what offers work and all those kinds of things.

[00:44:16] And it is time demanding. So the tools in themselves aren't necessarily the big win. And you still have to put the effort in, but the tools you make it a lot simpler than you know, ever before. So I think, yeah, as long as , I'm sure you do this, you know, you buys these people on, on the right thing to do the frequency, the kind of, sort of newsletter strategy, tone of voice, all those things leading into it at the beginning, then you're going to have a successful campaign.

[00:44:37] I think I've spoken to a lot of merchants over the years and where we tried email. What do you mean you tried email? We turn on abandoned cars, couple of percent, one month, and then we just kinda left it. I'm like, okay, well, You changed your website dealer? Yet? We change thinking around like what what's working with email, but like anything, it takes a lot of time.

[00:44:57] And I think that's where agencies have a real advantage working with merchants like yourselves, because you've got all that data of working with a whole broad range of people over the years. And you can say, well, Fashion, you know, we've worked with 10 fashion brands and this tends to be the flows and frequency that works really well.

[00:45:13] So, let's start there, let's increment.

[00:45:16] Yeah, I suppose before we finished just on that, so that the most successful Klaviyo  series that we ever see as a welcome series, which is something that people don't do is basically somebody signs up for your newsletter, say hello to them, introduce yourselves, and then send them a series of soft touch emails, maybe even a discount on the third.

[00:45:33] Keith: [00:45:33] Something like that. In actual fact, we see so much success with Klaviyo  that we actually go into our high performing accounts two or three times a year to optimise,

[00:45:42] right.

[00:45:43] And that's in addition to, you know, a local, uh, business, having a local person, also creating newsletters and creating content. So the addition to the email is certainly very, very welcome.

[00:45:53] I played with it on the product at the moment is again, I suppose, without repeating myself a little bit light, but of course. There's a roadmap for improvement. There are no doubt was when we watch us, we will certainly watch its progress. And ultimately for the, especially for individuals that are starting out on Shopify to have email in there natively could only be an advantage in the long run. So

[00:46:17] it's

[00:46:17] Keir: [00:46:17] kind of like Shopify are putting all of the constituent parts together in one convenient package. Now, I think that, you know, you've seen this trend over the years, what, with payment gateways, which was huge. I mean, you'll, you'll remember as well as myself, you know, those trips to the bank, literally going into the bank and asking to see the manager and sort of giving over a business plan.

[00:46:35] So we'll say you've not got a store. You want a merchant school, that's going to be risky, you know, I mean, all of these things have changed dramatically over the last sort of five, six, seven years. And I think, you know, all of these tools under one roof just makes getting started. Just so much easier. I mean, if you think back to, to the early days of Shopify and all the things you have to plumb into it to make it really effective, even though it was very effective at what I did at the time, it's so much easier now that the sort of gains are huge with all the integrations and channels and everything.

[00:47:08] And, um, yeah, it just seems to be sort of getting wrapped up, but a bit more of a, you know, a bigger, bigger bow, if you will, over the top of it all these days. So it will be interesting to see how these products do develop, but, you know, Who's to say whether Shopify even flies with it you know, they may decide that. You know what it'll work for a small percentage of merchants and most people who really want to supercharge it will move to bigger platforms. It's will be interesting to see.

[00:47:31] Keith: [00:47:31] Yeah, absolutely. Well, Keir, it's been an absolute pleasure. We will talk soon as we'll meet, when everything comes down. Yeah. Face to face is certainly needed. Especially within the ecosystem. We obviously miss Unite this year and luckily enough, I got to Amsterdam to Pursuit. Such a nice thing to meet everybody face to face, even if it's only once or twice a year.

[00:47:50] So, thanks again, and we will have you on at some point in the future and in the meantime, best of luck with Default HQ.

[00:47:56] Keir: [00:47:56] Thank you so much. And I look forward to extending the most appearances on the Milk Bottle Labs podcast in the the future. I don't want to let that title go.

[00:48:05] Keith: [00:48:05] No problem. We'll make sure you keep that title.

[00:48:08] Keir: [00:48:08] Thanks for listening to the Milk Bottles Shopify Ecommerce Podcast. All of our episodes are available on Spotify and iTunes. We really appreciate the support of our sponsor., the leading backup solution for your Shopify store. Get your first month of Rewind for free. Just to respond to any of the welcome messages or emails after you begin your seven day free trial and mention our podcast until the next time. Take care.