From Amazon to Shopify: Catherine Smith’s Blueprint to E-Commerce Success

Episode 205

Ready to unravel the secrets of successful e-commerce businesses? Prepare to be enthralled as we sit down with the founder of Walton Birch, Catherine Smith, a real game-changer in the e-commerce field. Catherine doesn’t just understand the industry; she shapes it, and she’s here to guide us through the maze of online selling, specifically focusing on the power of having a standalone website, even when your major sales are through platforms like Amazon.

Catherine opens the door to the world of Shopify, an e-commerce platform with built-in marketing features and affordable pricing plans ideally suited for budding entrepreneurs. She skillfully navigates us through the ease of transitioning from a marketplace to Shopify and why it’s a move worth considering. With Catherine leading the way, we delve into the nitty-gritty of optimizing product listings for an unbeatable customer experience and how to maximize both marketplace and Shopify stores for better margins and discoverability.

Switching gears, Catherine lets us peek into her personal life, sharing her favorite book – “The Sum of Us” by Heather Riggie, and her love for paper crafting and diamond painting. We also lightly touch on the open layout floor plans in offices and why it’s something she doesn’t miss. Finally, Catherine underscores the essence of persistence and patience in achieving e-commerce success and generously offers a free website audit through her company, Walton Birch. So why wait? Take the first step to transform your e-commerce business today. Tune in and let Catherine Smith guide you to success!

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00;00;24;03 – 00;00;46;11
Unknown
Welcome, everyone to the Firing the Man Podcast. On today’s episode, we had the privilege to interview Katherine Smith. Katherine is the founder and principal consultant of Walton Burch, a web development and digital marketing consulting firm based in Marietta, Georgia. Walton Burch help small businesses show up credibly and professionally online with expertly built websites, online stores and marketing campaigns.

00;00;46;14 – 00;01;07;29
Unknown
Since 2019, Katherine has helped dozens of small businesses and entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. She was recently named to the Georgia Tech Alumni 40 under 40 list for her work serving women and underestimated founders. Through her work, she is helping to rethink and invent new ways to support entrepreneurs and small businesses. Welcome to the show, Katherine. Thank you so much for having me.

00;01;08;00 – 00;01;26;04
Unknown
Yes, absolutely. So let’s kick it off by sharing with the audience a little bit about your background and what got you to where you are today. So full disclosure, I never planned to be an entrepreneur. I worked in corporate America for almost ten years and took what I thought would be a temporary break from corporate America in 2019 and founded Walsenburg.

00;01;26;06 – 00;01;44;01
Unknown
During that time, I’m dealing with some health issues and I thought I would just I’ll take a quick break. Not knowing that there was a global pandemic on the way and have just, you know, kind of stuck with entrepreneurship since then. So my corporate background was in marketing and web development, and I got my MBA in business analytics in 2016.

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00;01;44;01 – 00;02;01;27
Unknown
When I started Walsenburg to 2019, I thought I would be in marketing research, but the universe had other plans, and so I fell back on those web development skills and he re awesome. And so I’ve got some web development background from a former life. And so it will be a fun show, will dig into the weeds and get around to it.

00;02;01;27 – 00;02;22;21
Unknown
So what role does a website play for e-commerce businesses that sell primarily on marketplaces like Amazon? That’s a great question and I get it a lot. So I think the rules for each marketplace platform are different. Some allow you to kind of have standalone websites, some allow, some do not in the interest of competition. But either way, I think that having a website is a good thing.

00;02;22;21 – 00;02;55;23
Unknown
So from a branding perspective, it allows you to tell the story of your brand online. I’ve seen e-commerce brands that are primarily on marketplace platforms to list new products there or have product information or product specs based on their website, even if they’re not selling directly on their website. Also, customer service. So when people Google your brand or Google your product and you know they’re not able to submit, you know, support tickets through the marketplace platform, your website is in another place that they can kind of reach you to ask questions about the product or ask questions about orders as well.

00;02;55;23 – 00;03;17;02
Unknown
So I feel like there is a role, there’s a space for a website in e-commerce brands, even if you sell primarily on a market. Yeah, absolutely. It’s kind of like your your identity, right? Like a marketplace is a sales channel and in your it’s kind of like your identity. So why do you recommend Shopify to e-commerce entrepreneurs over the other free ones like WordPress or WooCommerce that I use?

00;03;17;05 – 00;03;47;15
Unknown
Well, disclosure, I am a huge Shopify fan. I’ve been building websites for a while since way before it was very user friendly to do so. And as as web development platforms kind of came online, they would have a little bit of functionality, but not a ton of functionality, especially not for what you were paying monthly. So I discovered Shopify in 2019, early 2020, right, during the early pandemic perhaps, and I was just blown away by the marketing features built into that basic subscription.

00;03;47;15 – 00;04;09;04
Unknown
So for me, you know, as someone that is very interested in creating successful outcomes for small businesses, having like the whole kitchen sink involved in the base subscription, so you’re not paying a ton of money a month to get like the tools that you need to be successful is extremely important. So I’m a huge fan of Shopify because it has those built in tools to help people be successful.

00;04;09;04 – 00;04;34;13
Unknown
So you’re not paying extra for email marketing, you’re not paying extra to, you know, have the theme kind of built in with the store. You’re not paying extra to have the analytics, you’re not paying extra to have the integration with Google Analytics or with Google Merchant Center, with Facebook Marketplace or Meta, I guess. And so all of those integrations and marketing channels and customer management like the CRM, all of those are built into the basic subscription.

00;04;34;13 – 00;04;54;05
Unknown
So needless to say, I am a huge fan of Shopify over some of those free platforms where the functionality is limited. Just because I fully believe that marketing and effective customer management and effective order management are huge parts of being successful in online business. For the listeners who are not on Shopify, what are the fees like? What is it cost?

00;04;54;08 – 00;05;13;20
Unknown
I think you mentioned a basic plan or there is a premium and plus and yeah, so Shopify has a couple different plans now and they’re kind of expanding. But the basic Shopify subscription I believe is $39 a month. So like if you literally just log on and you want a a store, so an online store, they have a couple of not full store options.

00;05;13;20 – 00;05;35;11
Unknown
So I buy now buttons that aren’t full store options, but like the basic store I believe is $39 a month. That includes all of the marketing features that I mentioned before. I believe that most e-commerce sellers are going to be okay on the basic plan, especially if you’re kind of new to Shopify especially or new to online selling, and especially if you’re not doing, you know, millions of dollars in business or millions of transactions.

00;05;35;15 – 00;05;59;17
Unknown
And so Shopify has a Shopify, there’s a basic plan, there’s a Shopify plan that I believe there’s Shopify Plus, So there are at least three and there may be some additional enterprise options where it’s kind of powered by Shopify, but it doesn’t have that same Shopify front end. So it scales very well. But if you’re some you know, if you’re an individual that’s running a business, for instance, or even a small business, I think for most people that basic Shopify plan is going to be sufficient.

00;05;59;18 – 00;06;15;23
Unknown
No, that’s awesome. And you had mentioned that it comes with a lot of stuff. Ah, I don’t know, it’s a free, but it comes with all of the marketing or like plug ins or what is Shopify call them or like, So that’s the thing. That’s another thing I really like about Shopify. Some of those basic things are built in, so they’re native to the platform.

00;06;15;23 – 00;06;40;07
Unknown
So if you’re familiar, I guess you are familiar with WordPress where you get WordPress and WordPress is like, Well, if you want to sell some stuff here, you got to install WooCommerce as a plug in. But Shopify is at its core an e-commerce platform, so you don’t have to install the e-commerce section it’s built in. So you are you have built in product functionality, you have built in email marketing functionality, and then you can get to extend that through integrations.

00;06;40;07 – 00;07;15;23
Unknown
So an example of an integration would be you can connect your Shopify store to Meta, which is Facebook and Instagram. You can connect your Shopify store to YouTube, which I didn’t know they had like a special YouTube partnership. So if you’re a seller on YouTube now, they have a special partnership with Shopify. You can connect your Shopify store through integrations to the Google Merchant Center to do, you know, things associated with the Google business Suite and Google ads and paid search and things like that so that you can manage all of that from within your Shopify dashboard from these accounts that you already have and some other integrations would be and this will be particularly

00;07;15;23 – 00;07;42;14
Unknown
relevant for sellers on Etsy and like WooCommerce are shipping integrations. So if you have an account with Tchibo or pirate ship, like those types of platforms, you can bring those accounts too with you to Shopify and integrate them in your dashboard. So you’re not like logging out of one platform, logging into the other platform. So base functionality is like email marketing, all the product management, the customer and the order management, all of that is built in.

00;07;42;14 – 00;08;02;28
Unknown
But you can extend that to the platforms that you already have, like Facebook and Instagram or the Medici YouTube. But Tik Tok, Pinterest, if you are a job sipper, there’s a couple of plug ins and platforms for that print on demand, but all of that is through the integrations and now that’s awesome. I was sharing with Catherine before the show that in our company we have kind of a mix.

00;08;03;03 – 00;08;31;19
Unknown
It’s kind of funny. We used to be on Shopify for a couple of and we migrated over to WordPress, WooCommerce, and so now we’re kind of in that we’re planning an implementation going back to Shopify. And so I think a lot of the fringe in our circle is like Shopify is just the beginning of e-commerce, you know, it’s like, it’s like the or the Queen or whatever, you wanna look at it, but it’s like the best and so you think all of the other platforms like WooCommerce and are just going to fade out and Shopify is going to stay on top, what do you think’s going to happen over the next 3 to 5 years?

00;08;31;21 – 00;08;52;08
Unknown
Well, I think that is a good question. It’s really hard to make predictions in the tech space, but both Shopify and WooCommerce have been around for a while. So if I had to bet, I would say that both of them will continue being around and I’ve seen both of them evolve. And the thing that I think makes Shopify very powerful is that you had you don’t have to have any kind of technical knowledge.

00;08;52;08 – 00;09;12;22
Unknown
You don’t have to know what a hosting company is like. You got to know, you know, what a custom domain is to get on Shopify and start selling. Whereas I think that there are people who either have existing WordPress websites and they’re like, Listen, I built up a lot of domain authority here. I’m not just going to give that up for a Shopify website and have like a hybrid solution, which I’ve done one of those recently.

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00;09;12;22 – 00;09;34;11
Unknown
I have a client that has a WordPress website from 2008 and was like, I don’t want to give up my WordPress website. And also there’s not really a good way to migrate all of this content from this WordPress website to Shopify. So there is still a WordPress website and then there’s a shout out, you know, her URL so that she can integrate that Shopify store while keeping the domain authority that she has with her domains.

00;09;34;11 – 00;09;53;20
Unknown
And that way WordPress at least, and some of my work together very well. So I think that things like that, you know, Shopify is rolling out a new platform to kind of allow for more flexible building. But there are people that have been on, you know, WordPress and other platforms for years or decades now, and they don’t necessarily want to give up, you know, what they built there.

00;09;53;20 – 00;10;18;12
Unknown
And there are some features of functionality to WordPress, the the kind of open source nature of it. So the ability to kind of create a custom build like that’s right sized for your organization, whatever that organization looks like, I think that that will remain important. And so I think that people that have a high level of technical expertise and or in-house web development teams will not shy away from solutions like WordPress.

00;10;18;12 – 00;10;37;24
Unknown
Whereas I think, you know, people that don’t have any technical experience, their expertise or people that are running very small and agile teams or people that just really don’t want the hassle of having to manage a website will continue to kind of move towards solutions like Shopify. And I think that both of those platforms clearly differentiate their value proposition to each of those audiences.

00;10;37;24 – 00;10;55;02
Unknown
They will evolve kind of a way from each other so that they’re not necessarily cannibalizing each other. They’re saying like, This is why we are not Shopify or this is why we’re not WordPress and WooCommerce. So I don’t think that they’ll necessarily go away. I think that they will evolve to kind of match their audiences a little bit better.

00;10;55;05 – 00;11;15;27
Unknown
I like that answer. I definitely agree. Yeah, I think WordPress, where I think there’s more websites on WordPress and the other platforms on the internet and the enjoyed, right, right. But to the point of ecommerce, it was not designed for that. And so it’s kind of been molded to that with, you know, WooCommerce, BigCommerce things like that. Whereas Shopify I think was kind of developed just for that.

00;11;15;27 – 00;11;33;28
Unknown
And so you have those, you know, the tools developed just for sellers. So I agree there and yeah, you’re right, like the websites that we have in our company is, have been around since 2017, 2018. They have a lot of domain authority, whereas WordPress does really, really good with SEO. And so whereas Shopify, I think they’re catching up, but it’s not designed for that.

00;11;33;28 – 00;11;51;07
Unknown
And so I like that hybrid solution that you had mentioned, kind of like having the, you know, the SEO piece of it on WordPress and then maybe the shop over there, that would be something for a hybrid solution for someone that wanted to migrate over. But for anybody new, your recommendation is just go directly to Shopify and start from there, Correct?

00;11;51;07 – 00;12;12;07
Unknown
If you’re strictly e-commerce, if you don’t have any type of content and content is not unusually important to you. Absolutely. I think Shopify is a great solution. Shopify has rolled out like a headless functionality, I’m going to call it. It’s not really a platform, is not really a feature. It’s like it’s headless. So which will allow Shopify to be kind of embedded in other types of context.

00;12;12;07 – 00;12;30;01
Unknown
So that that’s a TBD. I haven’t had a lot of time to explore it. So I think that could be the thing that we’re looking for where you’re saying like, listen, I have a lot of content and the concept is important and the SEO is important, but the e-commerce is also very important and it’s really important to have a robust kind of e-commerce support system.

00;12;30;01 – 00;12;46;09
Unknown
I think that that new headless functionality is going to kind of serve that purpose. But it remains to be seen. You know, it could take off and that will be what Shopify is in five years or it could flop and Shopify could go back to the core offering. But we’ll see. Yeah, sure. Now, does Shopify play nicely with Google Analytics?

00;12;46;09 – 00;13;02;26
Unknown
And there’s a new watch for out now. So does it all play nicely and have you use a whole bunch of those features? Yeah. So Shopify has a I’m going to, I’m going to call it native and may not be native, but it’s it’s darn close. If it’s not native integration with Google, like the whole entire Google suite.

00;13;02;26 – 00;13;31;11
Unknown
So the Google Merchant Center, Google Analytics, Google Search console, you know, so that you can run ad, you could do paid search, you can manage the Google my business other reviews that come along with that, you can have your products featured in the shopping section all through just your Google connections. So as close to natively supported as it can be, you know, Shopify has that built in which is great because you don’t have to, you know, you don’t have to click back and forth between the search console and the analytics and the Google Merchant Center.

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00;13;31;11 – 00;13;48;17
Unknown
And that Google might be the way it’s all Google merchants in are now, but you don’t have to click back and forth between those things and you’re able to, you know, get that same kind of Google Analytics reporting associated with your store. Because as much as I love Shopify Analytics on the basic plan, there remains to be thing, you know, a little bit of functionality.

00;13;48;17 – 00;14;09;11
Unknown
So on the upgraded tiers, the reporting is a little bit robust, but I don’t necessarily think that some of the sellers that are coming into e-commerce need to. I think that’s a little bit overkill for especially newer, smaller sellers is I think that Google Analytics can definitely still fill that gap for Shopify stores, you know, at least until, you know, it makes sense for you to upgrade to the plans with the more reporting.

00;14;09;11 – 00;14;27;18
Unknown
Now that’s that’s good at Google Analytics is probably the the de facto standard for finding out how things are functioning and how to improve. And so so for for someone let’s say they’re listening to the show they’ve got a brand they’re selling on Etsy or Amazon, but they don’t have their website yet. And so Shopify is you recommending Shopify?

00;14;27;18 – 00;14;52;20
Unknown
So what are some things that they can do to like, is it really easy to build their own shop as their themes? How do you can you kind of maybe step one, two and three get them moving in the right direction? Sure. I actually get that question a lot. I think there’s a lot of concerns with the way that kind of fees and competition occur on marketplace platforms, especially if you’re creating a product that you’re either kind of making by hand, you know, or you really just want better margins on it.

00;14;52;27 – 00;15;10;18
Unknown
It’s really kind of difficult to to get margins sometimes on marketplace platforms because there is so much competition. And so I get the question a lot of, you know, how do I either like, do I need to either have one or the other? So if I do, I need either need to have an Etsy store or a Shopify store or, you know, sell on Walmart or Shopify or can I have both.

00;15;10;18 – 00;15;31;26
Unknown
And so to that, I say that the process of migrating, so moving your entire store from a marketplace platform, I’m going to use Etsy because I do Etsy the most often. So migrating from Etsy to Shopify is relatively simple. You can actually export all of your Etsy orders and into a CSP, like a literal file and then upload them into Shopify.

00;15;31;26 – 00;15;47;26
Unknown
And so they make that very easy to just kind of take full sail, take your products and move them. However, there is a little bit of setup on the Shopify end, so you absolutely need to install a theme which you didn’t have to do with Etsy. So the theme just controls the look and feel. You have to determine what color you want your website to be.

00;15;47;26 – 00;16;11;15
Unknown
You have to, you know, add some photos and, you know, images and text and content to the website. So you have to actually build a website to kind of go along with that. But in terms of transferring the products over, that part is easy. Another challenge that I’ve seen marketplace sellers kind of experience moving to Shopify is that for marketplaces, the way that you optimize product listings to be seen on marketplaces is a lot different.

00;16;11;15 – 00;16;28;18
Unknown
So with Etsy specifically, and I’m using Etsy just because I get a lot of questions about that, it’s essentially kind of keyword spam. And whereas Shopify is more like a website on the web, So instead of just having keyword spam, you have to actually kind of create content for your website to help it be found by search engine.

00;16;28;18 – 00;16;48;15
Unknown
So in 100% of cases coming from Etsy specifically, you will have to optimize your product descriptions and the other content for your website for a Shopify store in order for it to be found by website. So SEO is a thing like just it has to happen. You will have to invest in it, just be prepared for that. Also updating the look and feel of your store and adding additional images.

00;16;48;15 – 00;17;06;01
Unknown
So like lifestyle images, not necessarily product images. And I think that just you have to create a good experience for the customers coming to your website. So it is a store, but it is also a website. So those are the two things that you have to kind of think about when you’re moving from a marketplace platform to your own platform.

00;17;06;01 – 00;17;26;20
Unknown
But that said, if your platform allows it, so if like Etsy, for example, allows you to sell your products on your own website in addition to Etsy, I would definitely leave a few of your more popular or kind of high volume items on Etsy because it does have that inherent kind of discoverability. The way that Etsy search is set up, like it’s a lot easier for people to find your products.

00;17;26;20 – 00;17;44;12
Unknown
And so if you have a story, you’re having one or two products on there and people say, that’s really cool, let me see you. Let me Google that name and see if there’s an actual website. Then you can offer other products on your website that are either higher margin products or products that cost a little bit more for shipping or products that are just not priced as competitively.

00;17;44;12 – 00;18;11;06
Unknown
Because on marketplace platforms you tend to have to price products pretty competitively. So it’s the question you didn’t ask. I think what I absolutely think that where your marketplace allow that you can have a marketplace store and a Shopify store migrating from a marketplace to a Shopify store is usually pretty simple, but there’s a little bit of setup required to create a positive customer experience and make sure that your store gets found by search engines and by people are looking for it.

00;18;11;06 – 00;18;28;20
Unknown
Fair enough. Now that’s a great answer. And yeah, it doesn’t sound like it’s too complicated, but it’s definitely some steps there. And if you’re already on a marketplace, you can you had mentioned, you know, you can repurpose a lot of that stuff. Probably need to do a little bit more SEO research and apply it so that, you know, it’s your website, but images and copy and stuff, you can use a lot of that.

00;18;28;20 – 00;18;46;00
Unknown
So now let’s fast forward, let’s say six months, the, the seller, they let’s say they were on Etsy primarily, they created a Shopify store. You know, let’s say they sell jewelry, they sell five different kinds of jewelry. They they created a Shopify store and now they’re selling jewelry. Sales are starting to come in. They’ve got some data flowing in.

00;18;46;00 – 00;19;04;23
Unknown
Now, one of the things that I really focus on is conversion rates. So I think e-commerce conversion rate sometimes gets overlooked. I think it’s a massive KPI to be to keep an eye on. What are some suggestions that you make to, you know, to your clients on, you know, if they’re six months or a year and they’ve got a bunch of data to look at now what are a few things that they can do to increase conversion rate?

00;19;04;25 – 00;19;22;12
Unknown
that’s a great question. There are a lot of things that go into conversion rate. So for example, it could be that a million people are coming to your website because they saw you on the local news, they saw you on like a TikTok, like 97% of them are bouncing because, you know, they weren’t interested in buying your product.

00;19;22;12 – 00;19;42;05
Unknown
But 1% of a million is still a lot of people. I think it’s kind of relative. But if you’re getting pretty steady traffic, that’s the first thing that I would look at. So the traffic is fairly steady. Given kind of your understanding of how your industry or seasonality goes for your product. So your traffic is pretty steady, but you’re noticing that your conversion rate is low.

00;19;42;05 – 00;20;05;05
Unknown
So there are a lot of people coming, but nobody’s buying. The very first thing that I would check would be for technical errors. Shopify does a lot to kind of eliminate the technical error aspect from your store, but I’ve seen it and we’ve all seen it like on like TikTok and Instagram and things like that where either somebody left their store in test mode so all of their products were free or they did like calculated shipping.

00;20;05;05 – 00;20;21;24
Unknown
And shipping is showing up as like $57 or they only have local shipping turned on. So it’s selling people outside of your state that they can’t check out. So check for technical errors first and watch Shopify. There are a few things that could be kind of standing in the way from that perspective, other than that from a conversion rate perspective.

00;20;21;24 – 00;20;42;23
Unknown
And I think this is unique to Shopify and my only bid is one of my only criticism, but one of my criticism of Shopify is like it’s it’s super easy to build stores, but it’s super easy to build the same store. A lot of shop advisors look the same like you’ll see and be like, That’s what’s up. I stopped so in that instance, your customer doesn’t have a great online experience.

00;20;42;23 – 00;21;00;05
Unknown
And so I definitely think that spending a little time and energy to create a great experience are not just listing your products all on a single page, especially there are more than like ten of them is important for conversion rate optimization. So give people the opportunity to buy the product, but also kind of lead them down the path.

00;21;00;05 – 00;21;26;20
Unknown
So give them the product information, give them some high resolution photos and like a 360 image of the product, if you’re selling something large like furniture, do one of those little 3D model things where they can see how it fits into their house, you know, like give them a great buying experience so that they spend a lot of time on the site and then be kind of led down the path to say, yes, this is absolutely something that I want or something that I need.

00;21;26;21 – 00;21;45;10
Unknown
Allow them to buy it. So make sure your shipping is calculating correctly. Make sure you don’t have a local delivery as your only fulfillment option. You know, just make sure that your store is not in test mode, for instance, and that it accepts credit cards and things like that. So provide a good experience. You know, make the buying part easy.

00;21;45;10 – 00;22;00;04
Unknown
So give people an opportunity to add to cart or buy now and then make sure your checkout works. I think those are the three biggest things. Those are not the only things, but I think those are the three most common things that I have to look at from a Shopify store perspective when it comes to conversion rate optimization now.

00;22;00;04 – 00;22;23;20
Unknown
Excellent. I really like that. I like how you had mentioned, you know, taking the visitor or the customer through a path or a journey to the product. Like sometimes I go to websites and they’re just cluttered with everything. It’s like, where do I even start? And then, you know, your bounce rates go up, right? And so, you know, kind of like holding their hand, though, some of the best ones I’ve seen where when you land on the homepage and they have more than one product, they ask you a question or like, are you looking to research or are you looking to buy?

00;22;23;20 – 00;22;42;00
Unknown
And then it takes you directly. Those are I think those are brilliant. The other thing you said I wanted to highlight was you had mentioned and this is something on the psychology piece of it, I think with online purchasing. I think the last statistic was 2022. I think e-commerce had 15% penetration in all of retail and I think we’re looking for to go to 20 in the next couple of years.

00;22;42;01 – 00;22;59;00
Unknown
One of the things that stops people from buying online is that they can’t touch an item, feel an item, like they can’t picture it in their room. And you had mentioned that the 3D model of the couch, it’s a perfect example because you know, you can then you could just go into your living room, take a picture of it, throw it up there and put the couch on there and see what it’s going to look like.

00;22;59;00 – 00;23;14;04
Unknown
And you’re and that’s I think that’s brilliant. You know, kind of like getting through that gap of, hey, what is it? What is it going to look like, you know, on stuff like that. So those are great, great examples. One follow on question that I have and I think this I think we learn the most from our mistakes.

00;23;14;04 – 00;23;37;28
Unknown
And so, you know, from from you working with a bunch of clients like what are like some of the top two or three mistakes that people make whenever they start building their website or get into ecommerce, do two of the biggest mistakes zero product images or especially in print on demand, like the default images that come with the products just not trading them or not including any images and no product description.

00;23;38;01 – 00;23;55;15
Unknown
The product is out here. It’s just kind of like, Hey, do you want to buy it or not? But I don’t. It’s so much more pervasive, you know? I mean, as I start, I need a 3D model of was built in my house and I need a comparison. I call it the wish effect like and because that happens, I wish you’re just like, this chair was like $2, I’m going to buy it.

00;23;55;15 – 00;24;16;29
Unknown
And then the chairs the size of my head and you’re like, So, like, those are the two biggest mistake that I see in a because like, if there are no there are no product descriptions. If there are no words on your website, obviously it’s not showing up in search engine results anyway. So if you do somehow manage to get people to your website, know product descriptions, give them zero information about business them, is this the size that they’re expecting it to be?

00;24;16;29 – 00;24;41;15
Unknown
Is it otherwise what they are expecting it to be? So those are big mistakes. And then also a little known mistake, not updating your website or your product. So this is kind of complicated to explain. So search engines, reward websites just generally for updating with like for updating the content frequently. So if it goes stale, they’re just going to say like, listen, this is not relevant from a search engine perspective.

00;24;41;15 – 00;25;15;22
Unknown
And I know that seems kind of contrary for e-commerce sites because products should theoretically be always relevant. But if you’re not adding new products or updating your product descriptions, you will see a drop in your website traffic, organic traffic, anyway, and engagement. And then also if you’re not reaching out to your customers. So Shopify have built in email marketing, you really just don’t have an excuse not to be talking to people about, you know, to the extent that you can reach out to people, tell them what’s going on with your company, tell them, you know, what new products that you have and, you know, occasionally do promotions.

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00;25;15;22 – 00;25;34;07
Unknown
I don’t necessarily recommend promotions all the time for everybody. But, you know, to the extent that you can use those marketing features to engage with your customers. And so sometimes people come to me and they’re like, you know, people I’ve had great success with my website. I have a steady clientele, but my my views and purchases have dropped off dramatically.

00;25;34;07 – 00;25;48;23
Unknown
What can I do? And my very first thing is like, are you sending emails? Have you talked to people in a while? And that for me is the low hanging fruit of in terms of trying to do, you know, conversion rate optimization or get people reengaged with your brand and your products is reach out to them, talk to them.

00;25;48;23 – 00;26;10;06
Unknown
You know, the ones that are subscribed to your email list, like send them an email, even if it’s just an update with what’s going on with the company. And of course, update your website. So update your photos, update your product descriptions, add some blogs, so make sure that the date stamps on your websites are being updated periodically. So I guess those will be my big three and I’m going to put the first two into different categories because they are important images.

00;26;10;08 – 00;26;32;12
Unknown
Product image. You have to have a product image. It’s so important. I’m going to listen in its own category, product images, descriptive product images. And then second would be product descriptions, actual words, at least 300 of them, but more, you know, actual sentences and descriptions of what the product provides. And then, of course, engaging with your customer clientele and updating your website on a regular basis.

00;26;32;12 – 00;26;52;11
Unknown
I would put that into the kind of the same category staying relevant basically in front of mind for your customers. Now, I like those all and definitely the all like moved the needle, you know, email marketing, updating your product descriptions, having images that are relevant and updated. I like that. And funny is funny. Sorry. When you said that earlier, it triggered a memory of mine.

00;26;52;11 – 00;27;09;20
Unknown
I got wished, if you will, two years ago for Christmas. I was saying my kids rich dad, poor dad. You know, I always buy my kids a book for Christmas and I bought and I saw it. I was shopping on Amazon and I bought four of them and they came in and they were pocket sized editions. And I was like, Are you kidding me?

00;27;09;20 – 00;27;26;24
Unknown
I went to the Amazon listing and it and sure enough, on the third image it showed like three. And I’m like, my God, because I just like, look. So it happens more often than power, it seems. But yeah, it never worked. Yeah. I’m just glad it and buy a couch or something And then I get like a little by the couch.

00;27;26;27 – 00;27;47;25
Unknown
We’ve covered a lot Shopify how to start it. You know, Shopify is the premium, how to start a Shopify store, What not to do are, are there any other topics that I didn’t ask you that you want to share with the audience today? I don’t earn time to think about questions that I get frequently. I think the the theme thing, especially for people coming from WordPress, WooCommerce, is usually daunting.

00;27;47;25 – 00;28;07;05
Unknown
They’re like, Do I need a developer designer? Like, do I need to buy a theme? And no, you absolutely don’t need to buy a theme. Shopify at any given time has like 12 free themes kind of involved and they’re pretty user friendly. You’re absolutely if you’re not a web developer, you’re going to spend a little bit of time kind of clicking around and making things look the way that, you know you want it to look.

00;28;07;06 – 00;28;26;07
Unknown
But you can absolutely do this with zero technical ability if you can use, you know, a PowerPoint or like a, you know, any kind of image processing word document type thing. You can use the Shopify page builder. So that’s not something that you need to worry about. You will absolutely need to start from scratch. That’s not something that you can import, especially from like a WooCommerce.

00;28;26;07 – 00;28;42;29
Unknown
So that’s the question that I get asked about a lot. But other than that, I don’t think I have anything else to had. So yeah, if you are planning on migrating to Shopify or start your own Shopify store, there’s free things you can use. So don’t worry about that. So Katherine, we put all of our guests through the ringer and we call it the fire round.

00;28;42;29 – 00;29;01;13
Unknown
Are you ready? Yes. All right. What is your favorite book? the Some of US by Heather McGhee talks about cross-racial mobilizing around non racial issues. And I think it’s super helpful in terms of thinking about creating equity and equality in opportunity. Awesome. I’m going to put that on my list. What are your hobbies? And lots of hobbies.

00;29;01;18 – 00;29;23;06
Unknown
Paper crafting is ones I create 3D paper sculptures from like cardstock, which is exciting. Also, I love like diamond painting and rhinestone and being the little small detail oriented task like that. Now that sounds fun. What is one thing that you do not miss about working for the man who opened layout floor plans? That’s really where do you get enough office?

00;29;23;06 – 00;29;44;19
Unknown
There’s just not great for me. I’m a person that kind of needs to silence to be able to hear my own thoughts. And so the switch to openly outdoor plans was really difficult for me in the workplace and just generally working with a ton of people, it just wasn’t it for me. I agree with you. I had a job once where they switched the company I was working for switched to the I think like the three foot cubicle walls and then you could literally see area.

00;29;44;19 – 00;30;01;14
Unknown
I’m just like, this is not good, not okay. All right. Last one. What do you think sets apart successful e-commerce entrepreneurs from those who give up fail or never get started or assistants like you have to show up every day and do at least one thing that gets you closer to where you need to be. And patience, I guess.

00;30;01;14 – 00;30;29;12
Unknown
Persistence and patience. It’s seasonal. There are a lot of people out here kind of doing the same thing. And you know, despite the stories of people going viral, I don’t think that that is the typical experience and not a whole lot of people talk about that. So I think showing up every day consistently doing one thing to get you closer to where you want to be, being patient and looking for those slow and steady results is the difference because it will absolutely take a while and sometimes you will absolutely go viral, but you have to put in the work to be prepared for when that happens.

00;30;29;14 – 00;30;54;11
Unknown
So, Catherine, before the show, we went over an offer to the guest. You want to share that with the guests? My company, Walsenburg, provides website audit. So if you have a question, if you’re just like, Hey, is this right? Doing the right thing? Or like, will this be a very difficult website to, you know, migrate or transfer? And we do free website audit so you can reach out to us through our website, which is Walsenburg Qcom sign up for a free audit or just perhaps I get some time on my calendar.

00;30;54;11 – 00;31;02;00
Unknown
I mean, that’s awesome. And really appreciate it. I want to thank you for being guests on the Firing of Man podcast and looking forward to staying in touch. Yeah, thank you so much.

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