August 15, 2023

Superco: On Brand #4

More ecommerce insights, from GA4 to Shopify's product building process.
Hi from the Toms,

Superco and are hosting networking drinks at our co-working space, The Ministry, on August 30th. We’d like to invite all of our readers to come down from 6pm, just give us a heads up if we’ll see you there —you’ll find us on the terrace. Confirm your attendance here 🥂

See you all soon,
Tom & Tom

GA4 & Shopify 

It’s been 6 weeks since the industry said goodbye to GA3, and Shopify’s integration with Google’s latest analytics tool looks promising for brands on a rapid growth mission. 

Staying ahead in today’s market requires more than just data, merchants need actionable insights that can really drive change. Here’s where GA4 seems set to deliver:

Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking:
GA4 takes granularity to the next level, with 30 new ecommerce dimensions and metrics. It tracks detailed data like product views, cart interactions, wish lists, and more. This means an in-depth view of user actions that's invaluable for refining strategy.

Custom Event Tracking:
Flexibility reigns as custom event creation is very simple. Besides standard ecommerce events, track clicks, form submissions, returns, and much more, tailoring insights to your needs.

Audience Precision:
Forge laser-focused audiences by weaving Shopify's data into GA4. This enables tailored segmentation based on user behaviours and interactions, helping brands reach the right people with the right message.

Conversion Clarity:
Move beyond page views. GA4 unveils a detailed landscape of user actions, providing insights into every step of the journey. Gain deeper understanding and refine your conversion strategies accordingly.

Predictive Power:
The predictive prowess of GA4 opens new doors. Foresee potential revenue streams and user behaviours, equipping you with proactive strategies to stay ahead.

BFCM is coming

It’s that time of year again. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now in sight so it’s time to start preparing your online store for the biggest promotional period of the year. Although we’re sure your feeds are just as flooded as ours with advice and guidance on how to maximise sales, we thought it wouldn’t hurt to offer our specialist opinion, based on our years of supporting brands through that all important Q4. 

It will be no surprise that nailing this quarter is all about preparation. Ahead of time, make sure to create a list of all the features and functionality your site will require to guarantee a successful BFCM and Christmas. Inform your development team of your expectations, and always aim for launches to be at least two weeks early, to avoid issues and allow time for bug fixing. 

Use Launchpad. This app enables you to set up themes with new content and features ahead of time, to be published at midnight without having to manually enable them. Trust us, this is going to negate a lot of stress. We also recommend implementing code freezes, a week in advance of each key date. No development or deploys should be scheduled during this period — unless there are critical issues, such as checkout not being accessible. 

It might sound obvious, but don’t forget to share your expected uplift in sales with your warehouse to ensure they have the additional heads to cover, and pay close attention to your marketing and advertising, aligning promotional content with what’s available on site. This will avoid disappointing or confusing your customers. 

BFCM is incredibly competitive, and let’s face it, it’s not just a weekend, the market is saturated with discounts and deals for a full month. This means your offering needs to be really strong. 20-50% discounts will be seen across the board, so consider how your brand can add value so that consumers choose you over a competitor. Can you offer custom gift wrapping? Or ship directly to a giftee? Warranty and extended returns are also highly sought after during this period. 

The weeks after BFCM are crucial for securing additional revenue beyond the sales. The majority of your new customers won’t return, they’re just in it for the discount, so having their email address is your opportunity, make it count. Consider the messaging in your post-purchase flows and how it incentivises shoppers to become brand fans — extra loyalty points, birthday gifts or Christmas discount codes are often effective.

Finally, make sure you’ve got plenty of celebratory drinks around to reward your team when the stress is over. Q4 is a marathon, not a sprint, and all digital teams deserve something special when it finally ends!

How Shopify builds product

As the digital landscape evolves, so too does Shopify’s approach to building products that stand out in the marketplace. Formerly stuck in an annual planning process that would often fall victim to unexpected shifts, the platform has embraced a new chapter of adaptability and agility. 

Lenny Rachitsky recently interviewed Shopify’s VP of product Glen Coates, to learn more about the company’s experience scaling and optimising their product offering. Glen explained that their recent shift in strategy was triggered by the realisation that rigid, long-term planning was a charade in an ever-changing environment. 

Instead, Shopify now sets annual themes that encapsulate merchant needs, the themes are forged from the merchant’s viewpoint and mirror sentiments that they might share with a friend about their experience selling online. 

For example, one of this year’s themes was “Shopify keeps me on the cutting edge” and this vision is serving as a North Star, driving the creation of features that address a spectrum of challenges. Whether it’s AI, checkout optimisation, or staying compliant with regulations, Shopify aims to empower merchants to focus on their business by leading with innovation. 

There’s a practical element to the new approach too, with each top-level team deriving measurable objectives from the themes, shaping a six-month roadmap and aligning with Shopify’s biannual releases. This method fosters confidence in what’s to come while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to shifting tides. 

We recommend reading the full interview for insight into the journey that Shopify has been on. There’s a lot to be learnt from their style of working which essentially mirrors the benefits of their platform — flexible, adaptable, and relentlessly customer-focused. Just as BFCM marks the culmination of a year’s commerce efforts, Shopify’s new approach marks the culmination of years of learning and adapting to craft the ultimate merchant experience 

Stuff we’re talking about

Shopify extended its Metafields function to include Metaobjects, allowing users to group useful data together to be displayed in store. For example, a custom metaobject could be created for an F&B product, including the ingredients, title, image, description and health benefits. In the past, small pieces of information needed their own page and template, so this solution is a huge time saver. 

Lee Houston delivered a keynote session at MAD//Fest London and we’re backing her poignant statement that the apparent current market disruptions as a result of the cost of living are “Not a storm, but the weather from now on”. She went on to talk about getting to know your customers, understanding their motivations and leveraging the power of creative excellence to drive ROI. 

ASOS joins forces with Rokt for AI-powered post-purchase promotions in 15 markets. The partnership focuses on delivering relevant and personalised non-endemic offers, to enrich the user experience. 

Colgate is piloting a generative AI tool to optimise their PDPs. The brand is in a beta program which aims to efficiently extract data and insights to determine marketing decisions. The test should save resources and make their hundreds of product pages pop. 

SlideRuleAnalytics is currently doing the rounds on LinkedIn and receiving a lot of praise. If you’re struggling with your GA4 Shopify sync, this is going to help.

Ecommerce giant THG has sold two loss making businesses in an effort to reverse “lacklustre performance”. THG On Demand and ProBikeKit are both moving on after a turbulent period for the former ‘The Hut Group’, which has seen losses balloon and shares plunge. 

The Economist questions whether the ecommerce industry has seen its peak, as Amazon reports 11% YoY growth, a fraction of sales from the same quarter in 2020, and slower than pre pandemic trends. A slowing economy is said to only be part of the problem.

Auction house Phillips is moving into ecommerce, launching Dropshop, a buy-now platform for collectors looking for fine art. As one of the world’s oldest auction houses, they’ll be joining the likes of Avant Arte, David Zwirner, Arsham Editions and KAWS.

Aidaptive’s “Black Friday” anthem has done the rounds and as a rap we’ll choose not to comment —  as some easy ecom related entertainment, get stuck in, listen and laugh. 

Brands we’re watching

💄REFY’s online experience feels so familiar because the brand has built such a strong aesthetic. It’s impossible to not recognise their imagery when you see it in the wild. 

🫧 Aesop carefully think through every click. The user experience is as clean and classy as their products. 

🥣Surreal is a brand that you can’t help but have a sweet spot for. And we don’t just recommend a quick scroll — sign up to their emails, check out their LinkedIn, and follow them on Insta, they are nailing every touchpoint.

Rebuy just dropped their BFCM playbook — tactical advice from some of the brightest minds in ecommerce. The guide also includes data-driven insights from last year’s Black Friday Cyber Monday, and predictions on how they will impact this year. 

Gorgias is offering a huge promo for merchants in the run up to BFCM. Brands can get 2 months free when signing up before November 15th, or 4 months free when signing up on an annual plan. This time of year is notoriously busy with tickets and inquiries, so it’s a great time to be enhancing your customer support experience.

Gorgias has also just launched their August product updates, with a number of interesting new features. Whatsapp message templates, a show or hide chat function, flows to create custom multi-step chat responses, as well as three pre-built ticket fields. Get in touch if you’d like us to make an introduction. 

Events 🪩

As mentioned above, we’ll be hosting with on August 30th at our co-working space The Ministry, and we’d love for you to join us. Expect drinks on the terrace and let us know that you’re attending here

Dot Digital is throwing a summer party sponsored by Yotpo, Gorgias, PennyBlack, Storyblok and Brightpearl. It’s set to be a great evening at Arch 33 on the 17th August. 

We’re throwing an Ecommerce Leaders Brunch in partnership with Reload Digital. If you want to join us at Tower Bridge on September 6th, please let us know.

Meet Superco:

How did you end up here?

After graduating from my master’s degree in computer science I didn’t really know what I wanted to do next. I was challenged to “digitize” my family business, a textile warehouse, and build an online store. I checked all the e-commerce platforms available and It was love at first sight with Shopify. Now I knew that I wanted to become a Shopify Developer. After finishing my first project I worked for one year at an agency in Portugal where I increased my knowledge of Shopify, then I started looking for more challenging opportunities abroad and that’s how I started working remotely at Superco in April last year.

Words to live by

If I had to pick one word that would be consistency, meaning don’t try to learn and improve everything at once, instead consistently train and repeat every day to become a better person and professional. Big goals are not reached in a single day. They need consistent effort.

What are you most proud of?

The work-life balance I achieve by working remotely at Superco. I am able to plan and manage my time and energy so I can be at the “top of my game” at work while being able to take care of my family and nourish myself.

You will catch me listening to/watching

When I am geeking out and learning new skills on courses and on youtube the main channels I follow are: @WebDevSimplified, @KevinPowell, and @CodingWithJan (This last was my main source of inspiration to become a Shopify developer I have listened for many years)

When I am “off duty” and just enjoying myself I listen to news podcasts, watch football (SL Benfica fan here), and watch tv series. One of my favorite ones is The Office (although I work remotely ba-dum tss)

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