One look at your traffic sources will likely tell you that mobile shopping is becoming the new normal. And with this shift in consumer behavior comes the growing importance of mobile-first conversion rate optimization.
In this episode of Shopify Masters, you’ll hear from Michael Levy, CMO of Pete & Pedro, about how they created a mobile website with a 4.5% conversion rate.
Pete & Pedro is a company that sells premium grooming products to help men become more confident and look their best.
We all sit at our laptops all day, so we think about desktop first. You kind of take your phone for granted. But the first thought should be, "Actually let me look at it on my phone. How is the phone experience going to be?"
Tune in to learn
- How to address and handle negative reviews
- The most important parts of a mobile page
- Why you should change your offer depending on the source of the traffic
- Store: Pete & Pedro
- Social Profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Recommendations: Judge.me (Shopify app) Product Recommendations (Shopify app) Privy (Shopify app) CrazyEgg
Felix: Today, I’m joined by Michael Levy, marketing director from Pete and Pedro. Pete and Pedro sells premium men’s grooming products to help men become more confident and look their best. It was started in 2013 and based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Welcome, Michael.
Michael: Hey, Felix. How are you doing?
Felix: Good, good. So you are, like I mentioned, the marketing director. Tell us more about how you got introduced to the company.
Michael: Sure. So the company was started by Aaron Marino. His nickname is Alpha M. He is one of the biggest men’s influencers on YouTube. In my prior company I worked with, called Grooming Lounge, we had done some sponsorships with him way back when he was just getting started, and we had a lot of success and basically kind of formed a friendship. And over the years, I saw his businesses grow and saw Pete and Pedro grow, and we just kind of chatted. Basically, he wanted to take Pete and Pedro to the next level. I’ve been in the men’s grooming space for a long time, and it just kind of fit. So Aaron asked me if I wanted to come on board, and I did.
Felix: Awesome. You mentioned to me offline that you joined later in the company, but you are good friends with … You basically know the founding stories. Tell us a little bit more about that. How did the idea behind the business come?
Michael: Yes. Aaron, he does men’s influencer stuff, the lifestyle, fitness, grooming. He’s all about making guys feel more confident, and basically he was in the image business. And obviously, if you want to have a good image, usually you want to have nice hair and nice products that you’re using to look your best. So he basically kind of launched Pete and Pedro on a whim with his barber. They got together, and he was like, “Hey, let’s get some good hair products out here. All the stuff that’s currently in the market is not that great, or it’s not for my hair.”
So he looked around, and basically, after a year, they launched a couple of products basically in his garage. His first order was like 20 units of each product. It was kind of just on a whim, to see how it goes, and it just basically exploded from there just because he had a great following, and the products are really good. Basically, guys would try it, and it just became kind of like a big hit instantly.
Felix: Got it. So the company, as we mentioned, was started in 2013. When did you join?
Michael: I joined a little bit less than a year ago. The company was doing well before, so my mission is to take the company from doing well to doing fantastic. We’re doing great, but we have bigger hopes and dreams, and we want to scale it up. So basically, I jumped on board to see if we can take it to the next level. Aaron has a lot of different businesses, and part of it was he was kind of like giving me the keys to take it to the next level and grow it out. So while he’s doing a variety of projects, he was like, “Mike, why don’t you take it over and see if you can make it and take it to the place that we want it to be?”
Felix: Right, so when you are coming into a business that’s already successful, has a great brand, lots of exposure from the figurehead essentially of the business, and you’re coming in, what kind of things do you see that you can add most immediately? What kind of work is required to take it to the next level, like you’re saying?
Michael: Yeah. I mean, I think the thing that was great for Pete and Pedro was there was a solid business, but there was a lot of stuff that wasn’t happening. So for me, it was really all about first diving into kind of the low-hanging fruit and basically building up the business from the inside out. So my mission, this whole first year, was really all about converting the website, getting the traffic that we already have to convert at a much higher rate than it currently was. And we actually have a pretty high conversion rate, but what can we do to make it better?
So there’s been five to 10 things that I’ve done in the first six months here to really get that up and re-invigorate the business so that it can get to the next level, kind of putting in the building blocks that it didn’t have. As I said, Aaron, he’s done an amazing job, but he does a lot of different jobs in different companies, so he wanted somebody who can really focus on the business entirely while he can be kind of the pitch man and the leader of the organization from the marketing side of that.
Felix: Got it. So like you mentioned, you are kind of focused on the mid and bottom of the funnel, taking the traffic that’s coming in and converting them, but let’s talk about the top of the funnel too. So most of the traffic is coming from Aaron’s Alpha M. YouTube channel?
Michael: Yeah. He’s got a 5-million-plus YouTube channel, and most of the traffic is coming from YouTube. So part of my thing is diversifying that a little bit, to start building up the social media on Facebook and Instagram. One of the other key areas was the email. There really wasn’t too much email marketing going on except for an occasional newsletter here and there. So one of my first initiatives was really getting together the email and starting to build the foundation for leveraging an email list and not just getting people to the website. So there wasn’t too much going on on the email front, and obviously that email can be 20% of your sales if you’re doing it correctly, and basically when I came on it was 1%. So right now, there’s already been a big jump into the email front success of the revenue that we’re getting, and there’s still a lot more that we can do with automation and so forth with our email program.
So yeah, I’m seeing … One of my goals over the next month or two is actually to really revamp our email programs, getting all the automation in, so that our customers who are very engaged are really looking at all the products, or they’re upselling or cross-selling, all the opportunities that are out there that we’re not taking advantage of.
Felix: Got it. I think one of the mistakes that you see with entrepreneurs is that they might focus on the top of the funnel, and then also once traffic gets to the site as two separate things, but they’re really related, right? The kind of traffic that you bring in can have a big impact on the conversion rate. Can you say a little bit more about how you would focus on things? Like, social media with Facebook and Instagram, how can that affect conversion rates later?
Michael: Yeah. I think where your traffic is coming from is definitely going to affect your conversion rate. YouTube, he’s getting a lot of guys who’ve been following him for a while, so they kind of know Pete and Pedro. They’ve looked around. But there’s also a ton of new guys who are joining up to his subscriber base, and then they come over, and then they basically don’t even know that Pete and Pedro is one of his products, and they’re totally like, “Whoa! There’s a whole grooming world of products that he has.”
For Facebook and Instagram, these are guys who are much more committed to the brand. These are the truly … We’ve got people who love the company, and they really want to follow the success and grow with the brand and be part of its success. Now, if it’s the ads, you’re kind of getting them into the door, so they don’t know who they are, and you’re going to get a lower conversion rate. The hope is that the conversion rate is justified by the sale to get them in, and then hopefully they become a long-term customer and a long-term fan. So you might lose a little bit on the cost to get them in the door, but as long as they’re bringing in the revenue for us down the line, it’s going to help out.
Felix: Right. So what you’re getting at is that there are two paths for a customer to be introduced to the products. One is through the brand that Aaron and the YouTube channel has built, and the other is kind of more like a direct response, like showing an ad, getting someone to click on it, and then selling them basically on the product alone outside of just the brand. So once someone does come in that route where they are just experiencing the product for the first time, doesn’t know much about the brand yet, how do you, I guess, backfill that afterward? How do you get them to be introduced to the brand after they’ve made their initial purchase, or maybe not even a purchase, but just got their initial exposure to the products, but doesn’t know anything yet about Aaron or the YouTube channel or Alpha M?
Michael: Yeah. That’s been the big thing that I’ve started off doing, was really trying to build the credibility and education for the website. When I started, the main product that we sell was called … It’s a putty, and it’s a hair product, and it had 10 reviews, but thousands of people were buying it. So there were no reviews on the website. So my first thing that I did was I launched an app from Shopify called Judge Me and basically built a reviews program for all our products. If you go to the putty now, you’ll see there’s over a thousand reviews of the putty. So just imagine if you’re a new customer that’s never heard of the product or brand, and they go there and you see a thousand reviews and they’re all four or five stars, you’re going to have a lot more faith that this is a solid product.
So Aaron’s getting them over, getting them to take a look. I view myself as can I close the sale by making the website experience even better? So the reviews has been really huge for us. We’re getting a lot of buy-in. And the best thing about reviews also is, when you do get the negative feedback … Not everybody’s going to love the product, but basically, me or somebody within the company reads every single review we get. And I love getting sometimes negative reviews because those customers are the ones you can really turn, integrate, [inaudible] of the brand, or get them a product that they like.
They might not like a certain hair product, so we’ll give them a deal to try another product to make sure that they’re happy. We think there’s a product for everybody. So not only are you converting customers with the reviews, you’re also making unhappy customers happy, so it’s a double benefit. That’s been really big for us. It sounds simple, of course, reviews, but if you’re not doing it, you’ve really got to leverage it.
Some of the other things that we’ve done, the product recommendations. So if you’re on any page, you really want to have recommendations on there so that if they like a shampoo, then you really need to leverage conditioner. That’s been really successful for us to really leverage the most closely associated product.
Felix: Right. I think an important thing about the negative reviews is that a lot of brand new stores, when they start seeing that, they kind of think like, “Oh, man, the game’s over. People don’t like what I have,” but you’re saying that’s just a great opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one and potentially a loyal and maybe even an evangelist for you. So when you do get a negative review, how do you recommend people address the review publicly, and then also how do you handle that kind of feedback internally?
Michael: Yeah. For me, one of the big things for me is customer service. I think the best marketing companies today are the ones who have the best customer service. So every experience that guys have, every interaction they have is all about making the experience better and making them trust and know that there’s somebody on their side to make sure that their experience is the best. As you said, if it’s a negative experience, I actually view that in two ways. One, okay, we have things that we need to work on. What can we improve to make this experience better?
For example, our putty is actually a pretty unique product. You have to actually know how to use it. So we have a lot of guys who think it’s not good, but it’s really they don’t know how to use it. So we’ve made a lot of educational videos. If you go to the website, video is huge now, so every product has a video. We have a video section and our advice section. So we want to make sure these guys are educated and they know how to use the products.
We also have a hair tool and a selfie image tool as well, where people actually can send in a picture of themselves for their hair, and then we’ll actually give them a recommendation of which hair product they should use. That’s a pretty big leap for most websites, but we have a pretty strong trust factor with our customers who are willing to do it, and then we’re able to give them strong feedback on which product they can use.
But internally for customer service wise, I’ll read the reviews. I’ll talk to our customer service team. We’ll strategize on what we think is the best thing to do. For example, we might give somebody 50% off of the purchase that they just made and also then give them 50% off of another product that they want, so essentially they’re getting another free product to try to give it a go. But every scenario is different.
We also have a rewards program that I launched recently. Guys love their points. It builds loyalty. It gives them free stuff. There’s a referral program to grow out the business, and it helps with the brand building. So that’s been really good as well so that people create an account. When they create an account, the chances of them staying or sticking with you are significantly higher. It’s easier to grow your business with your current customers than it is to get new ones, which might cost three or four times more. So getting your current customers to try new stuff is way easier than getting the new guy, who’s never heard of you, to basically give it a shot.
Felix: Right. When you do get this kind of a negative review, it sounds like it’s either true improvements that can be made, which are going to take longer to implement, but a lot of times the miscommunication. You’re able to solve that through education or try to avoid it altogether by having more content around video and ways to service a customer and make it clear what product they should get, what’s a good fit for them. So once you are able to fix that kind of issue, where you get them the right product that’s actually a better fit for them, or you explain how to use the product to them and they get it and they are happy, can they update their review? How does that get addressed more publicly so that you're…because, like you said, credibility is important, so if you are putting the work into fixing an issue, how do you make sure that your audience is up to date on the customer service that you’ve provided?
Michael: Yeah, I mean, they do have the ability to update a review if … Or we’ll ask them, if it is a really negative review, to update it. For the most part, we really don’t change the reviews that we get really at all. We’re okay with that because getting negative reviews actually brings a lot more credibility because not everybody is going to love your product. But the positive ones significantly stand out more. So if we’re getting a thousand reviews and 950 of them are four and five stars and 50 of them are one stars, then I’m going to believe the four or five stars.
So we don’t really make any changes to the negative reviews. We just want to make sure that those customers are really happy about their experience and make sure that they have an opportunity to come out of [inaudible]. I mean, like, okay, maybe this product wasn’t for me, but we know that we’re going to have new products, and there’s going to be new education and new stuff that they might be interested in down the line, and they might come back. So I feel like there’s a product for everybody.
When I started, we really just had hair products, so one of the key things that I’ve done in my short time here is really to grow the line. Since I’ve started, we’ve launched a shave line. We’ve launched a body-wash line. We’re launching new tools. So there’s a lot more opportunity to cross-sell and make sure that every guy has something to buy. One of our slogans is “Bueno Hair,” but now we’re like a complete grooming company with a variety of products. So we’ve really expanded what we offer and be our product as well. When you are able to offer more products, you’re also able to find something that everybody is interested in to give a shot.
Felix: Got it. One nice thing about this app that you’re using, Judge Me, I think a key to getting and building such a quick review program is around incentives and also timing. Do you offer any incentives, or do you recommend any incentives to encourage people to leave a review?
Michael: We don’t. We don’t really need them as much, just because we have a lot of guys who are more than willing to provide the reviews. But I think early on, if you’re really looking to get quick reviews onto the website and you feel like it’s a little slow, offering 10%, 15% to get those reviews definitely helps. Or you can do an email blast asking customers to do a review and give them a little bit of a deal to do it to get those reviews up to where you want. Or if there’s a new product that you’re specifically targeting, you can ask those guys directly, be like, “Okay, what did you think? And we’d love it if you could write a review.”
So Judge Me has been really good. I mean, there’s a lot of solid review companies out there. It’s nicely integrated with Shopify. It’s one of the bigger review companies. Most companies have reviews, but I think people, once you get to a certain size, you kind of take the reviews for granted. I think it’s actually the reverse. You should never, ever take your reviews for granted because that’s the most important thing about your business, is what your customers think.
Felix: Yeah, I almost, if I see a company that has a large brand, and I go and see they don’t have many reviews, a red flag, some kind of alarm goes off. I’m surprised that they don’t have more reviews. Something seems off, so I think you’re right. As you grow your views and the size, the number of reviews, I think, should grow with you. Otherwise, there can be a hit to credibility. What about on the timing side? Is there a certain time where asking for a review seems to convert better?
Michael: Yeah, that’s been interesting actually because of our shipping … We ship a lot of international orders, and our shipping, it can take a little bit more. It takes about two to three weeks for our international shipments to get to our customers, versus our United States orders can take one to four or five days. So you really want to make sure that you get requests which give the customer enough time to try out the product, but not too far away, where they kind of like don’t care anymore. I like to do it a couple of days after when I expect them to get the product. So if I expect they’ll get in seven days, I kind of like to do it on the 10-to–15-day range, so it’s pretty quickly after they get it, right when it’s fresh. Our guys really want to try out the product right away. Some businesses, maybe they won’t even open it up for a week.
But we also have … If it’s an international order and it’s been like three weeks, sometimes they’re like, “Hey, I haven’t gotten the package yet.” So that’s a good opportunity for us to take a look at the tracking, see what’s going on, interact with the customer, and tell them it’s on the way. But obviously, you want to make sure the review requests are coming in after they get the product and have a chance to try it. And you can always dabble with different days to see what type of conversion time frame you’re getting. We have pretty high success, so for right now it’s pretty solid for us.
Felix: Got it. You mentioned too that the key is to get existing customers to buy, rather than introducing new customers to your suite of products. When you do have a new product that you’re releasing, how do you typically like to … I guess, how do you launch to existing customers, and how is that different than the way you would launch to new customers?
Michael: Yeah, that’s one of the things that we do, I think, a solid job with really leveraging our social media. So any of the new development with new products, when you’re working on the label for the product or coming up with the name, we really try to get our fans involved in the process so that it gets them excited to know that the products are on the way. Kind of talk about its benefits or what it can do for you. And also Aaron, on his channel or his Instagram, he’ll promote or mention something as well. So we really try to build up this energy to go along with it in our email or maybe at the top bar of the website and say, “Hey, coming soon, our new body washes.” So there’s a lot of energy that we try to promote for a new product.
For some of the products, we’ll also create kind of like a product in advance, where you can get a pre-order for the products. Like, the body washes was a really big launch for us, and we had a pre-order, out-of-stock notification thing where people could sign up, so that right when we did get it, we’d have email out to 500 new people, and boom, we don’t have to wait a week or two to get the word out. It’s literally right when you get it in stock, it opens up. Everybody gets an email. It’s automated, and boom, that first day, you’ve just got 50 orders that normally you might have to wait a week or two before you launch. There are some good apps in Shopify for that as well, that have some of these features to not make you want to wait.
But those are the key things. I don’t think there’s any magic formula. I think you just have to leverage all your marketing channels to get people excited and show pictures, do videos, create the pages, and then, from there, launch it via your key marketing channels.
Felix: When it comes to email, how do they get on the list? Are these just existing customers, or can they also be people that are just prospects and not having purchased yet?
Michael: Yeah. I think that’s one of the key things that I did. I launched a company called Pretty, which is kind of like an email-capture site sign-up service. If a guy comes to the website, before there wasn’t any ability to get onto the newsletter. Now there’s a pop-up, where if somebody will sign up they can get 15%. Or they’ll get close to the checkout, but at the last minute they’re like, “Eh, I’ll do this another time, or maybe I’ll go look somewhere else,” so we have an exit intent pop-up that says, “Hey, don’t leave. Here’s 5%. You have to finish up your order.” And also where they’re coming from. So if they’re coming from YouTube, we have a different offer, versus if they’re coming organically via Google, but they’re just coming to the website. It might be a different offer for different customers.
Felix: How does that work? How do you determine … I like this approach, where you are customizing the offer depending on where the traffic is coming from. How does it change? How do the offers change?
Michael: Well, right now, if they come to the website just organically, it actually will be 10%. If they come from YouTube at the current moment, it’s actually a 15% offer. So more than likely, if they’re coming from YouTube, it’s probably somebody who either has been familiar with Aaron’s channel or is coming there because they watched something. So they’re probably a little bit more engaged customer, and we want them to … The chances of them succeeding are much higher. They’re already activated by watching his videos and are willing to basically click over to check us out. So we’re actually giving a better offer to those guys. Now, that’s something we’ll have to evaluate. Maybe we drop that back down to 10 or bring up the first newsletter signup to 15.
Now, these are one-time signups. Once they sign up, they don’t get the popup anymore, so it’s generally like their first order. But basically, if they’re watching the YouTube series or videos, that’s a much more engaged customer, so we want them to convert at a higher percent, and so far we’re seeing that.
Felix: Yeah. I’d wonder … I would think that because the motivation or the buyer is much more motivated that comes from the YouTube channel, I would imagine that you would require less of an incentive to kind of push them over the line compared to someone that maybe doesn’t know much about the product or the brand and just came from Google Search. Is there data that you’ve seen that shows the opposite of that?
Michael: Well, I mean, I think you’re right. Some of this is new, so it’s not a matter of … I mean, I tend to agree with you. But you can actually do AB testing on the Privy, so I think anything is worthy of testing out. Maybe if you do 15%, you also get bigger orders.
Michael: So for the guy who he’s coming because he wants the putty, but now because he’s getting 15% off that first time, he might be like, “Oh, you know what? I’ll try out that shaving cream because I’m getting 15% off.” So you probably maybe lose a little bit on the percent discount, but the orders are higher. Everything’s a fine balance. Sometimes you can say the same thing for 5 to 10%, but if you give somebody 10%, they’re much more willing to spend more because they know they don’t have an opportunity to take advantage of it. So yeah, I’m okay with the 15% for right now, but I do agree in a couple of weeks, a month, let’s see how it does, and we can test them out to see which coupon is the bigger. But the Privy or anything, it’s always worth testing out and seeing which ones makes the most sense for your business.
Felix: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I think you’ve raised a good point that not every customer is the same, right? A customer that’s coming from the YouTube channel might respond better and purchase a greater volume, have a larger cart value than someone that comes from Google Search, and the higher incentive might encourage them to be more likely to add more to their cart. So yeah, I think you’re right, that it’s not just which one is going to become a customer, which one’s more likely to buy or become a customer. You’ve got to look at things like what is the actual lifetime value of that particular customer, so I totally agree. Now I want to talk a little about the recommendations. I think this is a great way to do things, like increase the order value. What app do you use, and how customized … How do you, I guess, teach it, or how do you customize it so that it recommends the right product?
Michael: The app really does most of the recommendations based on data analysis, so it’s looking at our data and realizing if they bought a body wash, then you should be mentioning another body wash. For example, our two main products are our putty and our salt. The salt’s a pre-styler, and then you use the putty. So that’s been one big thing for us. It’s basically kind of like a combo type of one-two bang with those two products because every guy who’s getting the putty has a good chance of getting the salt.
So if you go down to that product, you’ll see that the salt is the first recommendation that’s there, and also there might be one or two other options. You don’t want to have too many options. It’s kind of like too many choices is a bad thing. It’s just having the right amount of products that they actually really, really are likely to buy is what you want down there. So I won’t have more than three other products to buy as an option. One to three is usually the best, but they’re frequently bought together. The app has been really big. You can see … If you go into the data, you can see what percentage of guys are adding to their carts and so forth, and we know that guys are doing it right there. So the less pages they have to go through the site looking, the better.
Felix: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Now, what about…I actually want to jump back to the email capture. So once you are capturing their email, what does the email kind of odd responders, what do they start receiving from you guys?
Michael: Right now, we don’t have too much of the email chains going in. That’s definitely on the top of my radar, is we want to build up a lot of the welcome series and basically a whole chain of emails that really introduces them to the company and what our top sellers are, and who Aaron is, and what’s new, and anything and everything about Pete and Pedro. That’s definitely one of the first things that somebody should be doing, and I’ve been evaluating email programs and will be jumping on to creating those automations that are out there, so that you kind of have a whole streamlined experience of what Pete and Pedro is all about.
So if they sign up for a coupon right now, the coupon tells them right then and there what the code is. I think that’s important actually. You don’t want a lot of guys to come off the website. You want them to stay on the website. Now, it’s not bad to get an email. I think that’s good, but at the same time, a lot of these programs, it might take two to five minutes to sometimes get. It can be kind of annoying, and then basically annoying turns into leaving and I’ll go look elsewhere. So I actually like having the coupon right there on the website because they copy the code and then they can place the order they want.
Felix: Got it. When it comes to the design of the website, have you done any kind of overhauling since joining? Have you made any significant changes there yet?
Michael: Yeah. I mean, that was one of my first main projects, as I thought that the website needed an overhaul, especially on the mobile side. Our mobile traffic is growing exponentially, just like everybody else. It can be almost two-thirds of our traffic, and our mobile site is really not up to par in my opinion. And the same for the desktop as well. I’m a big believer in looking at data. We use an app called Crazy Egg, which basically tells you where people are clicking on the website. It gives you a lot of data, hot spots …
Felix: Can you give an example of something that you might have seen through Crazy Egg that made you guys make some kind of change?
Michael: Yeah. Like, the home page right now, we added in, for example, the Shark Tank. Pete and Pedro have actually been on Shark Tank, which is obviously huge. It’s a very unique thing about the company. So when I went to Crazy Egg, I noticed a lot of people … The Shark Tank actually image wasn’t even clickable, but guys would kind of scroll over it. They’d try to click it, and I noticed that. So if you click on the Shark Tank image, there’s actually … It’ll take you to a whole page where people can watch the whole Shark Tank experience.
If you scroll a little bit farther down, you’ll see the bestsellers on the website. So we noticed that guys want to go quickly directed to their top picks, so we added in the bestsellers to the home page as well. What you find also is most guys will shop at the top of the website, of course, but they also scroll down to the bottom. So when I started, the bottom of the website really didn’t have any information. I think people actually take that for granted or they [crosstalk].
Felix: They’ll skip the entire middle? They’ll read the top and then skip the middle?
Michael: Yeah, yeah. So the bottom and the top are going to be … probably are going to be your two most heavy spots. So if you scroll to the bottom of our website, you can see it’s got all the information that you need. Tried to make it nice and clean, and it directs people to where they want to go. If they want to learn more about us or shipping policies, and we have a lot of international customers, return policy, so we really try to split it all up and make it nice and clean. Those are some basic strategies. It sounds simple, but … Everybody should be doing it, but they’re not doing it. Put the social media tabs up at the top because the social for us is really big, and then looked to see anything and everything that was going on on the page.
So actually, if they’re on the home page right now, the second level slider right under the main square, I was actually shocked that that right arrow on the first slider there was actually our heaviest clicked thing on the entire page, which I couldn’t believe. So I was actually going to get rid of it. If you see where it has the putty with the right slider there, I was … I’m like, “This is kind of stupid because I don’t see any value add,” and the next thing I know, I did the Crazy Egg, and that’s where everybody was clicking. So I think good marketing is using your instincts but also looking at the data. So use the data, but also use our instincts. Sometimes the data matches up with our instincts, and sometimes it just tells you the exact opposite.
Felix: Which one wins in that case if it’s competing, where your instinct says one thing, but then the data shows something different?
Michael: What do you do in that case?
Felix: Yeah. How do you like to handle that situation?
Michael: I think if it’s clearcut, you stick with the data. If it’s somewhere in that 50–50, 60–40 range where you’re like, all right, what’s going to make our experience better for our customer, then I think you go with your gut instinct. Yeah, so I think every person has to decide is that important to their business, is that important to their website or their brand. But if the data is conclusive, then I think you’ve just got to roll with the data, even if it’s the opposite of what you think. The data doesn’t lie. Good instincts will go far, but data can sometimes go farther.
Michael: So that’s been big. But the main thing was really, not only just the desktop, but it was really doing the mobile completely. So I researched … I would go to like 25 other mobile websites of other retail businesses and see what they’re doing and kind of take a best practices type of thing and mesh that with my own frame for our current customers and rebuilt the mobile site, which I thought would make it much more mobile friendly and easier to get around and shop, and so I think that’s been really huge. Like I said, my goal in the first six months here was how I can improve the conversion rate of the business, and I’ve basically improved the conversion rate by about 0.5%. We already have a really high conversion rate of about, let’s say, 4%, which is significantly high for retail. Now we’re at like 4.5, which is a monster. So just doing those little changes can make some big, big differences if you’re getting a lot of traffic.
Felix: Definitely. When it came to overhauling the mobile design, did you have to completely build a thing from scratch, or did you just look for spots where you could plug in or move things that made the difference?
Michael: We used the current template that we’re using within Shopify, but essentially I redesigned every single page on the site. So the product pages we redesigned. The home page, the look, the drop-down category on the left side, the shopping cart, pretty much essentially … I’d mock up how I wanted it to look, and then our designer/tech team would create it, and we would evaluate it and go from there. I mean, we had categories and so forth, so a lot of different things that people just take for granted, but if you actually look at the thing, you’ll see that it’s … I think it’s pretty clean, and we’re seeing the conversion rate jumped up pretty quickly, and I think that had a huge part of it because the mobile experience is just way, way better now than it used to be.
Michael: Because I think it’s actually interesting … We all sit at our desks or our laptops all day, so we think about the desktop because when I’m emailing customers, when I’m emailing you or talking to somebody, you’re always in front of your desktop, and you kind of take your phone for granted, but I think actually marketing now is … The first thing should be actually let me look at my phone. How is the phone experience going to be? And then actually relate it back to the desktop. The conversion rates on mobile are lower. People still convert much higher on desktop because that’s where it’s more comfortable. It’s a little bit easier experience, but the mobile gets more traffic, so the more and more we can to convert the mobile, the better it’s going to be.
Felix: What was the … You said you redesigned each page from scratch. If you were to rank in order maybe the top three pages, what would they be? What would you recommend people focus their time on first if they are to redesign their site for mobile one page at a time?
Michael: I think having a solid navigation is important, so start there, really thinking about … Like, if you want the customer to get on your website, make sure the navigation is nice and easy, so they can click the menu tab and get to everywhere they need to be quickly and easily. So have a nice navigation window. I mean, you have limited space on the mobile, so making sure the navigation at the top is there for them.
And then, of course, you’re going to want to have nice and clean product pages and an easy checkout. I think those are kind of like the three. So make sure it’s easy to get around with the navigation. Make sure the product pages are not filled with just excess information. Keep them nice and clean and formatted and have nice pictures. Don’t try to do too much on them. And then three, boom, the checkout. If the checkout is not a good experience, you might have done everything and then they’re just basically … They can’t figure out how to get to checkout or put in their credit card or skip a line or whatever it is. So you should be placing 10 to 20 test orders yourself and asking yourself, “Was that easy?” I’m obsessive with doing test orders and trying stuff out and seeing, like, “Was that easy?”
Felix: Is less better in that case, for the checkout process?
Michael: Yeah. I mean, you can have a one-step checkout. It could be a two-step page checkout. A lot of people go both ways, but the less amount of steps the better obviously. But it’s just got to be easy, so people can put in their information and not miss something, especially mobile, where it’s a little bit … You have less room to work with, so people miss stuff a lot more frequently, and people get annoyed, so they’ll leave.
One of the things that we also did was add a lot of different payment options. I added Amazon payments, so we have a solid Amazon business. Amazon payments has been really solid for us because it builds an easier conversion because they can log into their Amazon credentials but still buy on your website. So that’s been supported. Google Pay, Apple Pay, anything in all those different types of payment conversion things all add up to a lot of success if you bundle them all together.
Felix: You mentioned navigation was the main focus, and you also said that the top and bottom of a mobile website are the key aspects. There’s navigation in both sections, so how do you decide what should … because you obviously can’t include and should not include everything. So how do you decide what should go in for navigation on the top or bottom of a mobile site?
Michael: I mean, you want to have the most important stuff, so you want to have the shop, the shopping categories the first. I mean, I would put them at the top, because that’s where people are more than likely to go. You should have your shopping cart at the top right. Or it depends on how you want it, the top right or top left. Your login and contact information. And those are going to be your key things. The categories for shopping, your contact/login/account are going to be … Keep something that everything that people want access to quickly and easily that they’re going to use.
What are the top five pages that people go to? That’s what you’re going to want them to have easy access to. It could be your bestsellers or … I’m not sure … or whatever it is. Maybe there’s a lot of people who want to find out what your shipping policies are, and you want to have your ship in there. You just never know, but see what … Go into your Google Analytics and see what your top 10 pages are, and those are the things that should be easily accessible.
Felix: Peteandpedro.com is the website. What is the next big project that you want to focus on to keep on increasing the conversion rates?
Michael: I think the big thing for me right now is we need to upgrade our email experience. When I came on, there just wasn’t too much going on in the email front unfortunately, which is a good opportunity. So the first thing I did was really kind of re-engineer our list and put it all together. The second stage here is I’ve been looking at improving all the email automations and experiences that customers are getting. Email can be 20% of your revenue if you’re doing it successfully, maybe more. Right now, it’s a smaller piece, so that gives us a lot of opportunity to grow and really build on the customers that we’re working with.
So I really want to build the welcome series and the win-back series and improve the shopping cart at [inaudible] and the browse in [inaudible], all these different series of things that people get when with their emails that really just basically kind of leverage the machine a little bit. So really getting all those in place will be a huge, huge piece to our puzzle and that we’re currently not doing. So I’m looking forward to doing that and seeing how it does, because I think really leveraging more than just newsletters is a huge piece that I think a lot of companies probably don’t do, but they probably should be doing.
Felix: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time, Michael.
Michael: Yeah, my pleasure.