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Shopify Re-Unite keynote wrapped up this morning. In it, Shopify's leadership team revealed new and upcoming features. I took notes.

Here are the big announcements:

  • Installment payments coming to Shopify Pay later this year. (works like Affirm/Klarna/Sezzle.)
  • Product States: Instead of just published/unpublished, there are now Draft and Archive status.
  • Sounded like Sections Everywhere just got reannounced. Independent sections in all templates. Sections Everywhere is currently in Partner Beta
  • Shopify Fulfillment Network no longer in beta. Also, its staffed by robot utility carts.
  • Shopify Email has been used to send 30 million emails since its surprise launch two months ago.
  • SHOPIFY BALANCE will let you pay bills, track expenses, and get funding from your Shopify admin. Shopify is your new bank. No fees, no minimums, and you get a Shopify ATM card.
  • Several new features coming to Shopify and POS to support curbside delivery, tipping, etc.
  • New Order Index page makes managing orders easier. Rolling out now.
  • Performance Dashboard will show you how fast (or slow) your store is over time so that you can identify issues detrimental to performance.
  • Product pages now support "Page activity," you can see who else is working on the same product as you and avoid losing work. Coming to other areas later.
  • New storefront renderer decrease time to first byte, making your site more performant with no extra effort
  • Cross-Border Domains, coming later this year, will allow currency and language switching based using multiple domain for a single store

This is a partial list, and timelines are subject change. Some features are rolling out now, others we won't see until next year. Keep an eye out in your Shopify dashboard, the Shopify newsletter, and the Shopify blog for announcements as new features roll out.

Not sure what all this means? We discussed it in-depth on The Unofficial Shopify Podcast.

An entirely unsolicited website teardown of Allbirds.com

Allbirds is a DTC ecommerce darling. Let's poke around their website and see what we can learn.

"Allbirds is a New Zealand-American footwear company that uses a direct-to-consumer approach and is aimed at designing environment-friendly footwear."

Logistics and Audience

Retargeting

A good place to start is remarketing. Focus on the warm traffic that’s already visited the site but hasn’t bought, because it is dramatically easier than trying to get cold traffic to convert. The dynamic ads make content a lot easier.

Prospecting

Make a conversion campaign optimized for purchase, and if it’s a new ad account, start by targeting interests. You can track which interests are working well and which ones aren’t. Take one interest per ad set. So, if you want to test three different interests against each other, then you would have three ad sets.

A/B Testing

To keep things simple, start with the same two ads in each of those interest based ad sets. Then, keep the copy the same in both ads and just change the image in each of them, so that you’re limiting the number of variables. Square images show up across Facebook and Instagram really well and fits in pretty much all placements. Run those ads for five days and choose the winning ad.

Budget

A good rule of thumb here is 1 - 1.5X your average order value and run it for 5-7 days to see how it does. If you increase your spend, you can run it for a shorter amount of time.

Selecting Images

Select images with pretty different concepts, not just a color change. This will really give you insight and learnings as to what works better.

This particular topic came from someone running a mattress store. This is an extremely competitive space and tight market. Despite being in a difficult market, there are still some tips that can apply to everyone.

  • strong>Analyze the quality of your traffic. Where are they being directed from? If it’s all cold, you’re going to have problems with conversion.
  • Is your store set up ideally for your target audience? If you are an international store, make sure your currency converters are functioning and that your product descriptions are welcoming to those different markets. Clean graphics and overall brand guidelines give a more polished professional feel as well.
  • Talk to those who aren’t purchasing. Set up a live chat widget on your site that’s manned by someone. This way you can address objections in real time. After 30 days analyze the data and see if any common questions came up to address.
  • Utilize an exit intent pop up. The free Hotjar plan is my favorite for this. The way it works is when the person’s mouse goes up out of the browser viewport, a window pops open. You ask them one question, “If you didn’t make a purchase today, why not?”

First, an affiliate program is a scenario where a website that reviews the best tech gadgets, recommends their favorites, then tells you where to buy them.

On the plus side you are letting others sell for you and it’s another advertising channel. On the down side, you usually need to seek out these opportunities and do the work to find partners. There are apps that will help you facilitate this process, but they won’t do the work for you.

Affiliate partners always get a portion of the sale through their website.The percentage will depend on the product, the niche and the industry. Use common sense here and figure out what makes sense for you. My personal affiliate links on Amazon range between 2-8%.

Pro tip: My personal preference for affiliate program apps is Refersion. I’ve set this app up for several stores, big and small. I’ve also been an affiliate on the receiving end. I know it does exactly what it says it’ll do. It’s really easy to set up and will give you a couple options for promotions. For example, someone can use a coupon code to promote your site.

This all depends on your financial position as an entrepreneur and as a company. In a perfect world, you can find a phenomenal SEO consultant who will probably use some SEO apps in order to best implement their SEO strategy, right? But, a good SEO consultant costs a lot of money and if they don’t cost a lot of money, they’re not that good. That’s where I think it’s important to realize a lot of SEO can be learned and then you can implement your DIY strategy through use of a good app.

An important thing to remember is that an app is the tool, it doesn’t do the work for you.

If you’re on a budget, the best option is to hire a consultant to do a strategy plan for you and then you implement the plan yourself. That way you’re not hiring the consultant and paying for every hour that they’re working on your store and you’re just hiring for that initial action plan.

Now, if you’re a major brand, Plus store, you’re selling $10 million, and you’re trying to rank up against Nike for example, that’s a whole different story.

There are a few loyalty programs on Shopify, but the one I like best is Smile.io. I’ve never had a bad experience with it, the support is good and it is insanely easy to set up. It’s just a widget launcher that you can easily customize. It is a no code solution that works well.

The catch with loyalty programs is that you have to promote it. You can’t just put it up there and expect it will just work for you. Make sure you have a web page explaining it. Include information about it as part of your welcome and post purchase sequences. It will also integrate with Klaviyo, so that you can make sure you’re not just sending people things or inviting them to the loyalty program if they’re already a member.

The key idea is to reward your best customers and then do a good job explaining and promoting it.

For an example of this in action, check out Hoonigan. They are all in on their Smile.io loyalty program. They have a really nice explainer page that easily shows what you get out of the program.

Other options: Swell Rewards that were bought by Yotpo and LoyaltyLion

This is a guest post from Annisa Davila at POW! Photography.

Creating a new brand is one of the most challenging and rewarding processes. From perfecting your product and branding to finding or developing the perfect Shopify store theme. The to-do list can feel never-ending. When you’re finally ready to launch your product it’s tempting to think snapping a few DIY shots of your product and uploading them to your Shopify store will suffice but imagery is an incredibly powerful tool for displaying brand aesthetic and quality and when used correctly can connect with your target audience and sell your product at first glance. Whether or not you decide to create the images yourself or hire a professional it's important to think about the usage and placement of your images before you start creating.

Not all photography is created equal. The photography on your Shopify site can be divided into 3 categories; Creative Branding Images, Ecommerce Listing Images & DIY images. Each approach is different depending on where the images will ‘live’ on your site. In this article we will go over the ‘3 different types of images your Shopify store needs to bring your brand to life and win the trust of potential customers.

Creative Branding Images

Let's start with ‘Creative brand images’. These are professionally created stylized images that relate the story of your brand, identify your audience & compel your customers to buy. These images should be highly directed with your target audience in mind. The best way to do this is to take the time to research and gather lots of photo inspiration and create a concept that suits your brand.

Utilizing props and unique backgrounds are highly recommended as they help to create the atmosphere.

These images are far more expensive and time-consuming from a production standpoint than any other style of images but that is because these images are used for some of the most important placements of your website. These images are some of the first things customers see when they land on your website. They are the ‘hero’ that live as banner images and page headers. They also make incredibly useful marketing assets that can be used for anything from print ads to social media.

Ecommerce listing images

Ecommerce listing photos are the next image style your Shopify store needs and is arguably the most important when it comes to selling products online. You will need to approach this type of image differently than creative images because your goal for this photo is focused around showing the customer what the product is instead of impressing them with your creativity.

The white background eCommerce product image is the standard style for anyone selling online and you can get lots of uses out of this photo. These images need to be clean without any props or other distractions. These are the only examples of your product your customer will see online before they buy, so you better make your product look great!

Creating white background images is harder than it may seem and considering how important these photos are, you should really hire a professional photographer to shoot these photos for you. Companies like POW! Photography will shoot them for you for $40 or less per photo and they offer a free test photo to get you started. It will be virtually impossible to reach the level of a professional without spending $1000s on equipment and training. Hiring a professional just makes sense.

Self Created or UCG Imagery

The last image category of image your Shopify store needs to have is actually 2 different image styles, Self created or User Generated Content (UGC). The photography style for both is simple DIY images that you don’t have to put too much effort into because their placements are secondary. They can be used on the brands ‘about’ page or depending on the quality can be used on the listing pages to show usage.

These images are used to bring personality and realism to your brand. One of the challenging aspects of selling online is building trust with your customers that you will never interact with in real life. Showing behind the scenes shots of your company's employees and workplace brings your brand to life to potential customers and builds confidence. UGC images are also really powerful for building trust with customers because it allows you to take advantage of the social proof or influence of your brand's current customers and fans.

Now It's Time To Get Creating!

When it comes to selling products online, image is everything. Now that you know the different categories of images your Shopify store needs now it's time to start creating. Although creating the right images for your Shopify store may seem overwhelming, having a game plan on what images you need and where they will live will help take the guesswork of the equation and help your store succeed.

The best abandoned cart subject lines are ones that are short, customer service focused and unexpected.

1. Can I help you?

Why: Ideally you are sending three or four emails in your abandoned cart sequence. It’s important that the first one is not a discount offer. The customer was interested, then something happened, maybe the phone rang, the baby woke up from a nap or they just had a question that stopped the process. A good customer service experience from the very beginning will set you apart. The follow up email subject I like to use is, “Hey, if you had any questions, just hit reply. I’m happy to help.”

2. Do you have any questions about [insert product category]?

Why: This title is longer, but gives opportunity for more personalization. Beware! This example can be tricky to set up. If you want it to be dynamic, you will need to set up liquid “if” statements in the subject line based on product. Alternatively, you can simplify it by using a generic descriptor like your niche.

3. Your incomplete order

Why: It’s three words and unexpected. People are used to seeing “Your order is complete.” This subject plays on that in a new way. A business in our community that suggested this line has a 55% open rate.

4. Your order is NOT on the way

Why: This one is a bit tongue and cheek. Another business in our community that suggested this line says it gets a lot of engagement and customers enjoy the joke.

Pro tip: Split test subject lines using Klaviyo. See which ones get better response rates from your audience.

An entirely unsolicited website teardown of Chubbies.com, the Chubbies Shorts Shopify store.

Chubbies has both built a shorts empire on Shopify and established themselves as one of the best marketers in the DTC space.

I've long admired their website, and spent hundreds with them, so it's about time we did a store teardown of Chubbies to see what we can learn.