Hey! Ezra here behind the scenes at Shopify Unite 2018.
I’m representing Zipfiy Apps at Shopify’s Partner & Developer Conference, where they’re going to unveil their roadmap for the next few years and what we as collaborators can expect from them as a company…
Including a sneak peek at some awesome new tools like augmented reality, multi-currency checkout, BOGO offers and more.
So let me to take you around, introduce you to some people, and show you what you can expect from Shopify in the near future.
Tobi Lütke, Founder & CEO
I’ll be honest: I fanboyed out a little here, because I’m a big fan of Tobi’s. As the Founder and CEO of Shopify he oversees such a massive operation, so I wanted to know what he’s most excited about and how he’s able to step back and give people autonomy.
Q: You’ve announced a lot of stuff this year. What are you most most excited about?
A: Usually I’m very involved… This year [at Unite] my team just went to me and said, “You do your keynote, you be you… We got this.” So I did my thing and then I got to step back and actually watch presentations that I’ve never seen about all the cool things that Shopify is doing.
We wanted to give people an appreciation for where Shopify is coming from. We are a Canadian company and there are some values that come from this… Canada as a country has a mindset that says, “Hey, make sure my neighbors are doing better,” rather than “I’m going to go out and win this no matter what…”
So we are really committed to this partner ecosystem. This is really important to us. There’s no strategy here. There’s just authenticity, and in today’s tech industry, that’s rare.
Q: My team is now 75 people, and I’ve struggled personally with letting go of control. You have done that on a major scale… How has that gone for you personally, stepping back and letting people have autonomy?
A: There’s this concept — this metaphor — of the trust battery. If you recently charged your phone, you’re not thinking about your battery. But if your phone is like 20% left, then you [are]… So we try to get people to 100% and then say, “You’re really excited about this… Go do your best.”
It is tough as a leader. You need to learn how to fall backwards and just know that someone’s going to catch you. I had the privilege of doing this Shopify thing surrounded by absolutely brilliant people for over a decade, and it’s one of the most wonderful feelings to be on a journey surrounded by friends…
My tagline in business is “Serve the world unselfishly and profit,” and I think Tobi and the rest of Shopify really live that idea.
Cassie Kaiser, UX Researcher & Designer
I like to mingle at events, and Shopify Unite was no different…
But I noticed I kept having to ask for people’s names because their lanyards had accidentally flipped over.
So when I saw that Cassie had the foresight to optimize her lanyard to show her name on both sides(!), I knew she’d have some great insight to share on UX research and design.
Q: What makes you most enthusiastic about UX, and what kind of value does it add to merchants?
A: I spoke about UX research and provided a framework for app developers to use in their app creation process… Whether that be starting from what problem to solve and what to build, or iterating on a current app concept.
At Shopify, we always say UX is not owned by one team. It’s actually something that everyone’s responsible for, because it’s what our merchants experience. A poor UX means a poor experience for them.
So how research fits in is that we help project that message by bringing in the merchants’ voice and also the partners’ voice into all of our projects so that there’s that consideration when we’re making decisions.
Kurt Elster, Host of The Unofficial Shopify Podcast
Kurt is a prominent figure in our community, with an awesome podcast and a Shopify agency (Ethercycle) that I highly recommend.
He has the opportunity to see what a lot of the big stores are paying attention to, so I definitely wanted to hear what he had to say.
Q: What are the trends right now?
A: The thing [business owners] are investing in is using automation to find every roadblock in their business, whether it’s in their operation or for their customers, and kicking it out of the way…
Which is one of the coolest things. Because here we have Flow… and now we have dynamic checkout buttons which is a huge friction point.
Q: Straight from product page to checkout, that’s working really well for you guys?
A: It’s unbelievable. I thought it would hurt average order value, and it doesn’t. In fact it increases impulse purchases, so AOV ticks up often.
It isn’t [a problem] because the cart is an opportunity for people to rethink that purchase, whereas with dynamic checkout, you can be in and out in less than 10 seconds.
Q: How’d your agency start doing business with Jay Leno’s Garage?
A: I commented on a post that one of their people put in the Shopify Plus Facebook Group. I just said, “Hey, I’m a big car guy and I love what you do.” And that turned into a conversation, turned into a relationship, turned into a client. So again, my favorite Shopify feature: community.
Q: Do you have one specific example of someone using automation in a way that’s helpful?
A: You want to get relevant messages to people — get the right message to the right person at the right time. And you can add some of that personalization using Shopify Flow.
Let’s say you sell apparel. Look at what things a person has bought, tag them based on that, figure out what gender they’re buying for, and what they’re buying commonly. Then put that stuff into various collections, and when they log back in and return to your store… have that on the homepage.
Flow and automation are an easy way to add personalization, and that should be the end game there.
Q: What in 2018 has inspired you after seeing the keynotes?
A: The elephant in the room is Amazon. People are going to go there if they want convenience, but if you want to hear the brand’s story, and buy from a person, that’s what these tools are going to let you do.
We have automated labor so you can do more of what you love. We have automated conversations… and all of that is there so that instead of doing these “jobs to be done” and worrying about them, we’re just delegating them to the Tesla autopilot of ecommerce.
Now get out there and tell your story. I say it all the time, “People buy from people, not brands.” Amazon is just one big ugly brand. You go be you. Put yourself in your business.
Jenny Izaguirre, Content Manager
Jenny is Shopify’s Content Manager for Spanish-speaking users…
And at Unite, Shopify announced the translation of their admin into a number of languages, including Spanish.
Q: How do you think that affects ecommerce in general, and Shopify specifically?
A: It’s a game changer. People are so thankful that they can finally understand… If you open a business and you cannot understand the core of the platform because of the language, it’s the hardest thing to do. So right now they can use their native language to understand the processes and all the different components of their store.
Gerard Pinto, Agency Partnerships
Gerard is new to the Shopify team and it’s his first time on camera, so take it easy on him!
He’s a Brooklyn-based employee who handles overseas agency partnerships on the east coast. Let’s see what he has to say.
Q: Tell us a little about what you do at Shopify.
A: We work with a lot of Plus agencies based in New York, so I get to go hang out with them and talk about their businesses. Everyone is super excited to be working with Shopify and particularly Plus, and it’s just a great ecosystem.
Q: One of the things I really appreciate about Shopify is how well they treat their partners. Here at Unite, what are you really excited about for the coming years?
A: Seeing a lot of my partners come to together and be willing to share all that knowledge with other agencies is really exciting to me.
Because we’re at a point with Shopify where there’s so much business, and everyone’s going to win when they work with us. Looking at other partner programs other there, there’s a very limited scarcity mindset. They’re like, “Oh I’m not going to share any of my secrets.”
Like what you do with Smart Marketer: you open to default. And that’s something that we value a lot with our agencies and partners. Strengthening the collaboration between all of them is going to be so amazing.
Wow, what an amazing event. And let me tell you: a lot of care went into Shopify Unite.
Shopify didn’t have to go whole hog on their Partner & Developer Conference, but they did because they care about their community, which is why I think they have such a great group of people.
2:24 Shopify is really committed to this partner ecosystem
5:09 UX is not owned by one team
6:45 The cart is an opportunity for people to re-think their purchase, whereas dynamic checkout, you can be in and out in less than 10 seconds
8:02 Flow, and then automation is an easy way to add personalization
9:39 Shopify announced the translation of their admin into a number of languages
11:14 Seeing my partners come together and be willing to share all the knowledge with other agencies is really exciting
Click Here For Video Transcript
Pepijn: Hi, everybody.
Ezra: You know, this is Shopify’s Partner Developer Conference, where basically, they’re kinda unveiling their road-map for the next year. What’s coming down the line, what we can expect as collaborators with them as a company. It’s really a cool thing to do. I mean, there’s a lot of cool stuff coming. There’s augmented reality, discounts…
Pepijn: Buy one, Get one free, like, all that kind of stuff.
Ezra: And then multi-currency checkout. So they’ve announced a bunch of features which are cool, right?
Pepijn: The thing about augmented reality is super interesting, right? Because it’s something that everyone has been talking about. And now here at Unite, we saw a really great example of how you can actually use that in practical terms. So for example, you take out your phone and you point it in a room and all of a sudden, you see like, a display of for example, shoes. And you can zoom into those shoes. You can zoom out, you can like check out the inside, the outside, you could turn around, walk around it.
Ezra: One of the things that really struck me about this event was how much care has gone into this. Like, Shopify did not have to go this full out, at their partner developer conference. I mean, I just feel like they really care about their community. And that I think is why they have such a good community. #Canada, also.
Pepijn: #Canada, they got swagger here.
Ezra: Yeah, they’ve got some swagger in Canada. So we’re gonna take you around a little bit, hopefully interview some people, show you, kind of, give you a sense of the feel of this event. And let’s do it.
Hey, Ezra here with Toby the CEO and founder of Shopify. I’m super excited to talk to you. I’m a straight fan boy right now. Thank you so much for coming on. You know, you guys announced a lot of stuff this year. For you, what are you, kind of, most looking forward to, most excited about, most impressed by, for your team and what you guys have created.
Toby: This year, like usually I’m very involved in the entire things that are going on the main stage. This year, my team just went to me and said, “Okay, Toby, you do your keynote, you be you and we’ve got this.” So I actually did my thing and then I got to step back and actually watch presentations I’ve never seen about all the cool things that Shopify is doing. And we wanted to give people an appreciation for where Shopify is coming from. We’re a Canadian company, in fact, we’re fiercely Canadian. And there are some values that come from this. Canada as a country is often mindset that, “Hey, make sure my neighbors are doing better.” Rather than, “I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna win this no matter what. And if some people hate me along the way, that’s cool.” And so we’re really committed to this partner ecosystem, like, this is really important to us. And…
Ezra: I feel it.
Toby: Yeah, I hope so. Because it’s really, really general and we’re not, like, there’s no strategy here. There’s just authenticity. In today’s tech world, it’s rare, right?
Ezra: It is. Last personal question for you, my team is now 75 people and I’ve struggled personally with this sort of letting go of control. Now you, have done that on a major scale like, how, you know, you say your team did all this stuff but like, how has that gone for you personally like, kind of, stepping back and letting people have autonomy and run.
Toby: Yeah. That’s the thing. You probably heard this from other people at Shopify, we talk about this quite a bit, which is this concept, this metaphor of a trust battery, right? Like, so people walk towards the 80%, 100% and it’s just like a phone, right? If you have recently charged your phone, you’re not thinking about your battery, but if your phone is like 20% left, you know exactly, like, you probably know right now how much your phone has charged.
Ezra: A hundred percent.
Toby: You start thinking about this a lot. And so we try to get people to the, you know, 100% and then say you’re really excited about a space, go do your best. It is tough, right? As a leader, you need to learn how to, you know, fall backwards and just know that someone’s gonna catch you. And I had the privilege of doing this Shopify thing, surrounded by absolutely brilliant people now for over a decade. And it’s one of the most wonderful feelings to be on a journey surrounded by friends, working on things you care about. It’s something that I really, really hope everyone in the community gets to experience.
Ezra: And it’s making a difference in the world, you know.
Toby: Exactly. I think there’s no losers when Shopify success. So, the partner ecosystem gets bigger and people build good stores.
Ezra: My tagline in business is, “Serve the world unselfishly and profit.” And I think you guys live that. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Toby Luke, Ezra Firestone, Shopify Unite. Awkward hug. I’ll catch you later. Man. I’m here with Cassie Kaiser, ladies and gentlemen. Cassie, you have optimized your lanyard.
Cassie: I have.
Ezra: Will you show us?
Cassie: Sure. So if it flips over, my name is on the side, too.
Ezra: There you go. You know, and I have been asking people this whole time, flip your…because it’s been flipped backwards. You know, show me your name. So, well done. Now, it does not surprise me considering you’ve optimized your lanyard that you’re a UX researcher and designer, user interface, for those not in the know. Tell me a little bit about, kind of, what you talked about here and also why you are excitedly enthusiastic about UX and what kind of value you think it adds to merchants?
Cassie: Sure. So I spoke about UX research and I provided a framework for app developers to use in their app creation process. So whether that be starting from, trying to figure out what problem to solve and what to build, to iterating on our current app concept. At Shopify, we always say that UX is not owned by one team. It’s actually something that like, everyone is responsible for, because it’s what our merchant’s experience. And a poor UX, it means a poor experience for them. So, how research, kind of, fits into that is we help, kind of, project that message by bringing in the merchant’s voice and also the partner’s voice into all of our projects, so that there’s that consideration when we’re making decisions.
Ezra: Thank you for coming on the show. Cassie Kaiser, ladies and gentlemen. I’m here with camouflage, Kurt Elster from the Unofficial Shopify podcast. If you don’t know about the Unofficial Shopify podcast, now you know. It’s a phenomenal podcast. Good job on that, by the way.
Kurt: Oh, thank you.
Ezra: Yeah, and welcome to the show.
Kurt: Happy to be here.
Ezra: You are someone who’s a very prominent figure in our community and you, you know, have an agency that I recommend all the time, Ether Cycle. And you have the opportunity to, kind of, see like, what a lot of big stores are paying attention to. What are the trends right now?
Kurt: The thing they’re investing in is using automation to find every roadblock in their business, whether it’s in their operations, or for their customers, and just kick it out of the way, using automation, which is like one of the coolest things, because here, we’ve got Flow and upgraded with Connect. And now we’ve got dynamic checkout buttons, which is a huge friction point.
Ezra: I saw you post about that straight from product page, so check out. That’s working really well for you guys?
Kurt: It’s unbelievable. And I thought it would hurt average order value it’s a really sphere, doesn’t. In fact, it increases impulse purchases, so average order value takes up a little bit often.
Ezra: And so you find like, just skip in the cart, no problem.
Kurt: It isn’t because the cart is an opportunity for people to re-think their purchase, whereas dynamic checkout, you can be in and out in less than 10 seconds.
Ezra: Let me ask you this, as a car guy, how did you get Jay Leno’s business? Because I like that show, I like looking at all those fancy cars. You know the Jay Leno garage on YouTube?
Kurt: Absolutely. All right, so here’s the trick. People wonder, “Oh how did you get in there? How did you know him? You got some kind of connect?” I commented on a post that one of their people put in the Shopify Plus Facebook group, and I just said, “Hey, I’m a big car guy. And I love what you do.” And it turned into a conversation, turned into a relationship, turned into a client. And so, again, my favorite Shopify feature, community.
Ezra: Yeah, you get in life what you have the courage to ask for. I mean, really. So, let me ask you this about the automation thing. Do you have like one specific example of someone using automation in a way that was helpful?
Kurt: So, you wanna get relevant messages to people? Get the right message, to the right person, at the right time. And you can add some of that personalization using, just like Shopify Flow, like say, let’s say you sell apparel, we’ll look at what things a person has bought, tag them based on that. You could figure out what gender they’re buying for and what items they’re buying commonly. And then put that stuff into like various collections, they log back in, they are logged in your store, they return to the store, so build it on the homepage, they can [crosstalk 00:07:59].
Ezra: Now it’s personalized.
Kurt: So it’s an easy like, Flow, and then automation is an easy way to add personalization.
Ezra: Got it.
Kurt: And that should be the end game there.
Ezra: Is Flow only for Plus?
Kurt: Flow is Plus exclusive, though if you wanna play with it, development stores can install Plus.
Ezra: Got it, cool. And then final question, thank you. I know I’m keeping here longer than I told you I was gonna but, you know, Shopify Unite, man, this is my first year. I didn’t make it any of the years before, I tried, couldn’t do it.
Kurt: We missed you.
Ezra: Thank you. What this year, 2018, sort of, like has struck you or inspired you or like, that you’re kind of stoked on after sitting through the keynotes.
Kurt: Oh, well, the focus here…so they didn’t say it. But the elephant in the room is Amazon, right? And…
Ezra: They didn’t say it, but they alluded during…
Kurt: They didn’t say it but we all knew it, Amazon is…people are gonna go there if they want convenience with Amazon. But if you want to hear the brand story, to buy from a person, that’s what these tools are gonna let you do. We’re now, “Oh my gosh, we’ve got automated labor so you can do more of what you love. We’ve got automated conversations with ping and kit. And what all of that is there so that instead of doing these jobs to be done and worrying about them, we’re just delegating them to the Tesla Autopilot of e-commerce and now get out there, tell your story. I said all the time, people buy from people not brands. Amazon is just one big ugly brand. You go be you, put yourself in your business.
Ezra: Right on. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Appreciate it.
Kurt: Thank you.
Ezra: Hey, I’m here with Jenny Izaguirre.
Jenny: Yes, perfect.
Ezra: You gotta roll the r’s.
Ezra: Who’s the Content Manager for all Spanish speaking countries, Latin America…
Jenny: U.S. Hispanics.
Jenny: All of them, 20 of them.
Ezra: And Shopify announced the translation of their admin into a number of languages including Spanish. How do you feel that, that affects ecommerce in general, and also Shopify?
Jenny: It’s a game changer. People are so thankful they can finally understand. If you open a business and you cannot understand the core of it, because of the language, it’s the hardest thing to do, right? So right now they can use their native language to understand the processes and other products and understand all of the different things and components of your store. So it’s going to be a game changer.
Ezra: Gracias, Shopify.
Jenny: [foreign language 00:10:11]
Ezra: Thank you for coming on the show. And thank you for this pen. She gave me a fancy Shopify swag. I’ve been wanting one of these, so…
Jenny: Well, now it’s yours.
Ezra: Thank you.
Ezra: Hey, I’m here with jumping Gerard Pinto. And you don’t know this, who is cool, calm, and collected first time on camera. Tell us a little bit about what you do at Shopify.
Gerard: Yeah, so I just recently joined the Shopify team. I oversee our agency partnerships on the East Coast.
Ezra: Okay, so you’re like in Brooklyn out there, like kind of engaging with agencies?
Gerard: Yeah, I live in Brooklyn. And we work with a lot of Plus agencies based in New York. And so I get to go and hang out with them, talk about their business. Everyone’s super excited to be working with Shopify and particularly with Plus and it’s just a great ecosystem.
Ezra: So one of the things that I really appreciate about Shopify is how well they treat their partners. I was talking about earlier. Tell me this, here at Unite, what has been something that’s like you’re really excited about for the coming year? Like, what kinda struck you as something that you’re stoked about?
Gerard: Well, I think there have been a lot of great features that have been released. But seeing my partners come together and be willing to share all the knowledge with other agencies is really exciting to me. Because we’re at a point with Shopify, where there’s so much business. Everyone is going to win when they work with us. I think looking at other partner programs out there, there used to be a very limited scarcity mindset where people were like, “Oh, I’m not gonna share any of my secrets.” But what do you do with smart marketer? You open to default. And that’s something that we value a lot with our agency’s partners and strengthening the collaboration between all of them is gonna be so amazing.
Ezra: Yeah, rising tides raise all ships. Gerard Pinto, thank you so much, man, I appreciate it.
Gerard: Thank you, thank you.
Ezra: Yeah, thanks for coming to the show.