The Power of Post-Purchase Offers with Jordan Gal (Carthook)

In this episode, we talk to Jordan Gal, the founder of a Shopify app called Carthook, about the million dollar potential in post-purchase offers, and how merchants can capitalize on that opportunity quickly and easily. We cover everything from how to structure your offer, the best time to present it to your customers, and the results that real brands are seeing by adding this to their marketing stack.

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About this episode:

For many Ecommerce brands, converting a prospect into a customer is the holy grail. But too many merchants consider their job done once that first order is placed, which results in them leaving millions (literally) of dollars on the table.

In this episode, we talk to Jordan Gal, the founder of a Shopify app called Carthook, about the million dollar potential in post-purchase offers, and how merchants can capitalize on that opportunity quickly and easily. We cover everything from how to structure your offer, the best time to present it to your customers, and the results that real brands are seeing by adding this to their marketing stack.

Want to be a guest on our show? Have feedback or ideas for how we can improve? Send your thoughts over to podcast@thegood.com. We’ll be keeping an eye on that inbox. 🙂

The Ecommerce Insights Show is brought to you by The Good, a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) consultancy specializing in helping ecommerce businesses accelerate their growth through better research, testing, and design. Learn more about our team, our work, and our services at www.thegood.com.

Episode Transcript:

TEIS – Jordan Gal – Audio Only

James Sowers: [00:00:00] A little red button now, hopefully. And we’re good to go. Okay. Cool. All right. Well, Jordan, thanks so much for coming on the show. Really excited to have you, and I appreciate you taking time out of your day to join us here for a little bit too. Talk about all things, cart, hook, and post-purchase offers and a little exciting development on your front with Shopify and a bunch of other stuff.

[00:00:12] So I know everybody’s just itching to hear what you have to say today, but maybe let’s just start with maybe a two or three sentence overview of who you are, what you do and what you guys are doing over there at hook. 

[00:00:22] Jordan Gal: [00:00:22] Sounds good. And James, thanks very much for having me on for you in the good. Yeah. Uh, yes.

[00:00:27] I am excited to talk about a lot of these developments. Uh, very briefly. What cart hook does is allows Shopify merchants to make post-purchase offers. And what that means is the ability to make an offer after the checkout is completed. And before the thank you page is presented, so in between those and that is a new space for merchant soft and that’s what we’ve been focused on.

[00:00:53] And I’m happy to. Talk about what we, the way we used to do it and the way we’re about to start doing it now, alongside Shopify. 

[00:00:59] James Sowers: [00:00:59] Yeah. Awesome. So our listeners are primarily e-commerce founders and senior leaders at eCommerce brands. And so that’s why this is important to them. And this is usually the point in the show where I say, Hey, what’s a project or feature or a campaign you’re really excited to work on.

[00:01:13]And I’ll let you kind of wonder, but I have a feeling, I know what you’re gonna say. So why don’t we talk about like the big news around Shopify and just use that as kind of icebreaker to kick things off? 

[00:01:20] Jordan Gal: [00:01:20] Sure. So it requires a bit of context. So if we take a few steps back, we, we saw what was happening in the digital marketing space, right?

[00:01:30] That was starting to be ushered into the physical product space through ClickFunnels. So ClickFunnels came out with a checkout system that allowed digital marketers to do post-purchase offers and landing pages. And that platform took off like crazy. And a lot of the sellers there were selling physical products.

[00:01:49] And the issue with that is that ClickFunnels was not made to sell physical products. It doesn’t have the concepts of inventory and fulfillment and shipping built in. Natively. And so as marketers started to sell physical products there at any type of scale, even a hundred products a day, it turned into a huge mess for them of exporting Excel, spreadsheets and CSV.

[00:02:11] And. Very quickly though. Sellers started migrating over to Shopify, which has a far better system for selling physical products. When they made that move, they lost the ability to do a lot of things that they were able to do in click funnels. Most prominently, the ability to self post-purchase offers. And so we saw that opportunity and wanted to bring that functionality to Shopify and saw it as our job to really take that from the digital marketing world and bring it toward the direct to consumer world where brands are much more focused on the relationship with their shoppers, as opposed to just purely transactional and basically maximizing AOP.

[00:02:47] So. We saw maximizing AOVs obviously important, but doing it in such a way where you treated the shopper properly so that your brand value was maintained. Right. So that’d be two. That’s where we started. 

[00:03:00] James Sowers: [00:03:00] Well, to give the listeners like a concrete example, if they’re not familiar with click funnels, like, I think it was pretty much designed for digital products, right?

[00:03:06] Like, um, info products, like webinars or eBooks or maybe coaching services or whatever. So somebody would. I have a funnel where you would buy, let’s say you bought their online course. Then during checkout, they would say, Hey, do you want to add a copy of my ebook for nine bucks? And that is the post-purchase offer that happened, but where they broke down was.

[00:03:24] People who were trying to sell physical goods, using the ClickFunnels kind of infrastructure. And that’s where the opportunity for cart hook came. Is that right? 

[00:03:30] Jordan Gal: [00:03:30] That’s the that’s right. And so that’s where we started and we wanted to bring purchase upsells to Shopify. The difficulty in that was that we couldn’t do it with the Shopify checkout.

[00:03:41] So in order to accomplish post-purchase upsells, we had to do the actual checkout ourselves. The actual payment processing, because that’s what provides you with the payment token, from the checkout page that can be reused used on the post-purchase upsells to make it truly one-click so that the shopper didn’t have to reenter any of their payment info, which made it a true one click up sell, which is why the conversion rate was so good.

[00:04:04] And so we. Really, without knowing what we were getting into, all of a sudden, our product turned into a checkout product, which was a monster to maintain. We wanted to accomplish this upsell functionality, but have to do the entire checkout process ourselves. And that’s. That’s kind of where everything started for us.

[00:04:24] Uh, it turned out to be a really difficult product to get, right. It took us a good year to get right. But once we did, the ROI is so good for merchants that our product took off. And our checkout, you know, went to all the way up to $80 million a month in GMV. Um, And, and that’s kind of where we were a few months ago.

[00:04:45] And then from here we can get into the deal with Shopify. 

[00:04:48]James Sowers: [00:04:48] Yeah, sure. So I guess the whole, if I’m understanding correctly, the reason you guys had to be a standalone product was a limitation of the API and creating that token so that you could even manipulate like that immediate post-purchase screen that the customer sees.

[00:04:59] And so that’s why you didn’t build a Shopify app from the start, right? Because it just, the API had some limitations around what, how flexible you could be and what you could offer your merchants is that. Accurate. 

[00:05:09] Jordan Gal: [00:05:09] Well, we did, we did build a private Shopify app, but you’re right in that we couldn’t build an app for the app store, because if you think about our platform, it was, it was asking merchants to process through our checkout instead of Shopify checkout.

[00:05:24] So it is very understandable from Shopify point of view, not to promote that because their business is predominantly a checkout and a payment processing service wrapped into the platform. And so we. We had, we had a difficult balance where we were serving a pretty niche audience of large merchants, and it was a difficult thing to accomplish.

[00:05:46] So we charged a lot of money and it just was not very accessible to most merchants. It was, it made a lot of sense for merchants that were making a lot of money and spending a lot on ads and. The increase in the average order value and the resulting return on ad spend improvement basically made it so that it didn’t even really matter how much they paid us.

[00:06:06] They were making so much more anyway that we had this, it was much more of a partnership and a service than what people traditionally think of as a SAS. SAS people think of like, don’t talk to me, let me just sign up. I’ll use your product, a pay you every month. That’s it. We w our relationship was very different.

[00:06:24] We had an application process and demos and built up a relationship, and we did it that way for a long time. 

[00:06:30]James Sowers: [00:06:30] Yeah. So it wasn’t like some of these tools that you might see out there where it’s like, um, it helps you schedule your Instagram posts because Instagram doesn’t natively support that. Well, you are a hundred percent reliant on Instagram as the platform, as your lifeblood.

[00:06:42] If they decide to build your feature into their tool. You’re done for. And so what you’re describing to me is not quite the same. Like you guys had a relationship upfront, you had some demos, you know, from the start, they knew that the checkout was a critical function for them to maintain control over.

[00:06:55] And you knew that like, Hey, we have to tread lightly a little bit here because we’re trying to impact that in some way. And they’re right. To be risk averse or the right to have concern around like what we’re doing over here. So the most recent development is that relationship, I guess, for lack of a better term, got a little more intimate, right?

[00:07:10] Like you guys are working more closely together. So maybe describe the change from. The immediate past to where you’re at today. 

[00:07:16] Jordan Gal: [00:07:16] Sure. So we’re right in the middle of that transition, which is super, super exciting for us. So a few months ago, Shopify came to us and effectively said, we want to allow merchants to do this, but we want them to do it in such a way that is consistent with the rest of the Shopify platform.

[00:07:34] Right? One of the amazing things that Shopify has done is provided an unbelievably reliable checkout. And payment system for e-commerce we, if, if you venture off Shopify from time to time and buy things elsewhere, you immediately encounter how much more difficult it is to check out than on the Shopify store.

[00:07:53]It’s it’s really, it’s, it’s a big difference. Um, I remember I tried to buy one of those, like, uh, El Gato key lights. No to like, make my zoom calls better. I could not buy this thing. I could not give this company my money. I tried repeatedly every few days they would go out of stock. Then I would buy it. It would tell me it was a successful transaction, but would send me back to the forms to fill out my credit card info.

[00:08:17] And, and you, you, you forget how big of a feat that was that Shopify accomplished. And so they want that for everyone on their platform. And so what they did is came to us and said, let’s work together to make this functionality of post-purchase offers possible, but through the Shopify checkout. And so we did a deal, we basically said, okay, cart hook is going to stop taking on new customers for their checkout product.

[00:08:42] And instead. Shopify will build out the API functionality that allows us to accomplish post-purchase offers inside the native Shopify checkout and where this conversation is right now between you and I is, we are gearing up to launch that version of our product in a few weeks at the end of this month, at the end of October, just in time for black Friday.

[00:09:02]James Sowers: [00:09:02] Yeah. Okay. Well, that’s awesome. Congratulations. Cause that’s a huge step and you know, e-commerce in general has seen a large uptick in the last few months with everything going on and it’s kind of like, you guys are latched onto a rocket ship and you just got to try to hold on. Right. It’s kind of how it feels to me, me, but I guess you got to this point where it was like, Hey, Shopify is either going to build this themselves.

[00:09:19] They’re going to try it acquire you guys. Or, you know, maybe there’s an option to see that I’m not. Thinking of, but like, this seems like the best possible outcome, I guess. And it’s, I want to be clear. It’s not an acquisition. It’s not a merger. It’s more like a partnership or it’s, there’s no equity transfer here, right?

[00:09:34] Jordan Gal: [00:09:34] There’s nothing. No, no, no. And we’re not the only ones that are going to be able to do this. There will be a handful of others. It’s just that because of the sensitive nature of the functionality, right. Having to do with the checkout and the payment token, Shopify rightfully has to keep this relatively closed.

[00:09:51] Make sure it’s fully buttoned up before they open up the API to others. Right. So we’re really just getting in there early. And from the past few years of what we’ve done, a cart hook, we have a lot of expertise. So we are sharing a lot of that expertise with Shopify around how things should be done and why, uh, So it’s just, yeah, it’s just really exciting to be very, very early on it.

[00:10:13] And yeah, like you said, right. They could have, it could have killed us, could have acquired us. It could have been messier. And I think this is, this is the best possible outcome. And we have a lot to be proud of in, in that we did accomplish what we wanted to, which is to bring this concept of post-purchase offers.

[00:10:34] Upward toward the direct to consumer market. So we’ve right. We started off with just the drop shipping crowd and there’s nothing wrong with drop shipping. It’s just that the relationship of a dropshipping store usually to its shoppers, isn’t nearly yeah. As intimate and as important as it is to a direct to consumer company.

[00:10:51] It’s more transactional than relational. And we wanted to move up that arc from transactional to relationship based. And that’s that we’ve been able to do to the point where Shopify effectively agreed. Okay. This is important functionality. People want it. Let’s let’s, let’s make it possible the right way.

[00:11:09]James Sowers: [00:11:09] Yep. Um, sorry, I lost my train of thought there for a second, but what I was, what I was noodling on is that, like, I know that you are thoughtful and intentional about the moves that you make. So I imagine there’s not just a benefit to cart hook here. There’s also a benefit to your merchants. And I do know that the merchants that you’re already serving, it sounds, I’ve heard you say you’re going to continue to support them.

[00:11:20] Right. So cart hook. And it’s immediate past version does not disappear at least not right away, but you’re not accepting new customers right now. I don’t think until this new closer integration with Shopify is rolled out. And so I guess there were two parts of that question, one, making sure I get all those details right before somebody hears this and gets it wrong.

[00:11:38] And to, um, if you think about this opportunity or if you flash back to when you were considering it, what do you see as the upside? Not just for cart hook, but also for the merchants that you serve now and the ones who will continue to serve in the future. 

[00:11:49] Jordan Gal: [00:11:49] Yes. So you’re right. That our legacy software, uh, will continue to run and be maintained, or the truth is we’re, we’re adding some features into it that have been in the pipeline for awhile.

[00:12:01] Uh, so it’ll continue to move forward and the people that are on it will be able to stay on it. And a lot of those merchants really built their businesses around our product because it’s central. It is the checkout. It’s where the integrations happen. It’s a. Right. Involves payment processing involved strategy involves ad creative.

[00:12:19] All of it, uh, becomes very central to a lot of those businesses. So they’ll be able to continue functioning like normal at the same time, this new product. This is one of those scenarios, right? Bill Gates talks about, uh, creating an enormous amount of value in capturing a small fraction of it. It feels.

[00:12:38] Analogous to our situation because our banging up against the wall for four years and finally breaking through, and now the entire Shopify platform is going to have access to this through our app and our competitors’ apps, the amount of value generated. Is going to be astronomical and we are going to capture a very small fraction of it, which is that that’s satisfying.

[00:13:01] That’s, that’s kind of how it should be. Right. If you look at just our network, we have processed $1.5 billion through our checkout and 165 million of that. I think it’s 175 million now came from post-purchase offers. So it’s, it is a 11, almost 12% increase in revenue overall in aggregate through the entire network, which means some people had a lot more and some people had less.

[00:13:26]Right. If you, if you think about that at Shopify scale, it is just an unbelievable amount of value. And we are just going to be happy to capture our portion of it. And so are the other products and even better the merchants and then the shoppers also and Shopify itself. So it feels like one of those, like Milton Friedman, like speeches of like, Yes, the pie gets bigger.

[00:13:46] It’s not zero. So everybody’s going to windiness. 

[00:13:49] James Sowers: [00:13:49] Well, I’m sure you have case studies. Like I know I saw a few that were in the 10 to 15% range of increased average order value, purely from the post-purchase offers. I’m sure they go up to 30%, maybe. I don’t know, somewhere in there and like that. So low double digits, maybe even higher.

[00:14:02] And so what I’m hearing you say is like the minute we get listed in the app store as a native app, supported by Shopify, or however it’s going to be, maybe it’s rolled out as just a new native feature. Like you open that kind of potential up to. Thousands and thousands of additional merchants, because they didn’t know about you before and you right there in the top of the app store, or you’re the only result we’re one of three results for post-purchase offers that kind of thing.

[00:14:23] Jordan Gal: [00:14:23] Yeah. The, the fun thing is that when we first started out, when we first looked over at ClickFunnels and try to understand what was happening there exactly because we started the company. Where we did, which was an abandoned cart app. Right? So cart hook, the reason it’s called cart hook is because that makes a lot of sense for an abandoned cart app that sends out emails to Ben and carts.

[00:14:46] Right. That’s what, that was the first product. Yeah. In our suite, we have since sunset that product, but the experience of running that product. Was a huge lesson because when we started at least once a week or so, when there was every few days we would get a merchant be really upset. Like this is ridiculous.

[00:15:03] This is spam that you can’t do this. I would never do this. Go to hell. And within two years, we never heard that because it became a best practice because it went from what’s the strange thing you’re doing. I’m not sure if I want to do it to my customers to Oh, That makes a lot of sense. Now it’s up to me to do it properly.

[00:15:23] It’s just like email. You can be a jerk with email. You could be a jerk with any tool. If you do it the right way, there’s a right way and a wrong way. And a lot in between. As soon as we saw what was happening, ClickFunnels with post-purchase offers in my head, I knew it was the same trajectory. It was going to be looked at as this weird thing that people didn’t really understand and didn’t want to do because they thought it was like wrong for their customers or something because, because of the unknown, and as soon as people really understood what it was.

[00:15:51] Then you could do it the right way and then it would be adopted as a best practice. Cause it is straightforward just like abandoned carts. If you don’t email and the, of your abandoned carts, you will make zero money from it. If you email them 20% will come back and buy and then you will make more revenue.

[00:16:05] And a lot of those shoppers are going to be happy because they either maybe got a free discount or a free shipping offer or something else, or simply we reminded. And this is, this is the same thing. If you don’t offer anything. Post-purchase you won’t make any money post-purchase but if you do roughly 20% of those customers will PI and you’ll make more revenue, you’ll have better average order value, better return on ad spend, and then a lot of your shoppers going to be happy for it.

[00:16:29]James Sowers: [00:16:29] Yeah. And so I think for anybody listening out there, who’s not already doing this. This should be as obvious as abandoned carts. Like I think they have gotten to the point where it’s like, everybody’s doing it. If you’re not doing them, then. You’re just you’re, you’re messing up. You’re you are being irresponsible in the way that you’re running your eCommerce business.

[00:16:40] Right? Cause it’s like free money if you, if you set it up properly. Right. Um, I think this is going to be there very quickly where it’s like, if you let somebody who is in the moment, buying a product from you, get away without offering some kind of complimentary product and not in a spammy way, but in a genuinely.

[00:16:54] Like mutually beneficial. Hey, you bought X and Y happens to compliment that product very well. We offer it. You could add it to your cart right now, before your package ever goes out. Like that is going to feel like a no brainer really quickly. If it doesn’t already, uh, to some of these folks. So maybe that’s a good transition for us to talk about, like, why post-purchase offers where even a problem worth solving for you.

[00:17:13] Like if you started with abandoned cart, there had to be some. Divine intervention, some moment of inspiration where you’re like, Hey, this is where we need to play the immediate post-purchase like right there in the checkout flow, as opposed to that email interaction or trying to recapture, like people who bought we’re going to buy something, but abandoned their cart.

[00:17:31] So like, why is post-purchase offer like something you want to dedicate your professional life to for the foreseeable future? 

[00:17:36] Jordan Gal: [00:17:36] So the reason. It goes back like 10 years when I ran my own eCommerce business and I, and with my brothers and I was responsible for a conversion. So like one of my brothers was responsible for traffic.

[00:17:51] I was responsible for conversion and my younger brother was responsible for it. Post-purchase like everything that happened with customer service and delivery and tracking. So I stared at our website for years and just thought everyday, how do I convert more? What do I need to do? What information do I need to convey?

[00:18:06] How do I improve my, about us page? How do I get more trust, what payment options? So all of these things factored in. So my brain was wired toward conversion. And what happens. Right. For a shopper that comes in is interested in buying something. Let’s say it. Let’s just say, for example, they clicked on an ad, right?

[00:18:22] The high stakes scenario, they clicked on an ad, which means you’ve already paid for the traffic. Then you got them to the product page and you got it to the point where they added to the cart. At that point in time, you want to get out of their way. Right. If this person has shown interest, you want to just grease the wheel the whole way and make everything trustworthy and everything’s smooth and everything that leads to the purchase.

[00:18:46] And so it is. Really important to increase your average order value. But if you make additional offers in between the time they put something in the cart and checking out, you are endangering the sale, you are adding another buying decision and you’re adding additional friction. And so that balance is tricky.

[00:19:08] You want to increase the average order value. You want them to see more of your products and buy more of it, but you also don’t want to get in the way and. Amazon has done this for a long time, right? You may also like right. You buy a coffee machine. You may also like these filters work with your coffee machine.

[00:19:25] Great. The issue is that it adds that buying friction the way to get around it. Is to take the offer and put it on the other side of the checkout page, right? That way the shopper can go in and buy the coffee machine without seeing any additional offers or having to make any additional buying decisions or read new reviews or, or get sidetracked in any way.

[00:19:45] And then after the checkout, because they bought that specific coffee machine, you can then offer them specific products that make sense for them like the coffee filters that fit that coffee machine and the sale’s already done. And so you as the merchant, you’re not adding any additional friction. And then for the shopper.

[00:20:05] The offer that you’re getting is very, very relevant and congruent with what you just bought because this post purchase yeah. Offers, you can show different offers based on what’s being bought. So if I bought something else, I wouldn’t see that same one. Right. So it’s very, very relevant. It’s very, very, uh, right.

[00:20:19] It doesn’t add any friction. And then on top of that, it’s one click. So it takes no time and no effort to add it to your, and then the other like little wrinkle is because you’ve already captured that revenue. You actually have the ability to make them a better offer. So you don’t have to charge the same amount.

[00:20:36] You can actually get, give them a true one time offer. That’s like a reward. For purchasing with you because you can afford to do that because it’s now being bundled into an order together with something else, as opposed to the prices that you need to set publicly on the store. Right. You can have different prices.

[00:20:52] So it’s really a onetime one.

[00:20:53]James Sowers: [00:20:53] So it’s all good people, right? It feels good to both parties. It’s like, I feel good getting the additional value, but they feel good because they get what is effectively like a wholesale rate or like our very best offer that nobody else there’s exclusivity and everything associated with that.

[00:21:06] So like the endorphins are flown on both sides. 

[00:21:08] Jordan Gal: [00:21:08] Yes, right. The, the, the timing of it, can’t be, uh, underestimated. When you buy something, when you just hit the click, the buy button, you are at your most euphoric, you are peak happiness, and that is a good time to make an offer. And if you make that offer in a way that is beneficial to both parties, all of a sudden everyone, everyone wants.

[00:21:28] James Sowers: [00:21:28] Yeah. And so that’s why this is even a, maybe it’s not a problem we’re solving, but this is why this is an area that’s even worth playing it, right. Is because of the upside and kind of the mutual value exchange that can happen across the board. And you are essentially like the facilitator of that interaction, right.

[00:21:43] You’re giving the merchant the tools to present the offer and you’re giving the customer. The tools to view the things that, cause this can get a little bit spammy real quick, if you’re not careful about it, right? Like we’re not trying to, when people say like, I want to maximize the value of every cart, like don’t lose sight that there’s a person there, but at the same time, like certain types of products, if you buy one thing, right.

[00:22:01] A complimentary or a supplementary product too, that can rich the value of the overall the original thing that you purchased. Right? So there’s a place for these things in the market that does truly add value for the customer beyond just like, Hey, I increase the total shopping cart value by another 15 bucks or whatever.

[00:22:15] Like it’s not as one-sided as it might present. Um, So like when you think about your work to date and some of the merchants you’ve already served in kind of the standalone cart hook world, or the chapter of the cart hook story, where you were a standalone app, what are some of the stories that stand out to you as like somebody who wasn’t doing this before implemented it?

[00:22:30] Maybe six months later had some really great results. Like I know you’ve got a bunch of case studies on your website, but is there one brand or one team that stands out as somebody who really like knocked it out of the park? 

[00:22:39] Jordan Gal: [00:22:39] You know, a really pivotal moment for the product and for the adoption overall of the concept was when native deodorant signed up, that really showed us that a brand of that caliber that cares that much about their brand and the relationship with the shoppers, uh, would be Intuit and could, could do it effectively.

[00:23:03] According to their high standards. And so we’re working with them and working with Moise, uh, was hugely helpful. And. One of my favorite parts of that story is the creativity that came out of it. So at first it was okay, what, what can we do here? That’s a win for both sides that increases the average order value that makes shoppers happy.

[00:23:26] So what they came up with was. Travel size. So if you went out and bought the men’s eucalyptus deodorant after buying it, you would be presented. There was an offer for the travel size version of the menu, clip this deodorant, and everybody bought it. It was the conversion rate was insane because it was low price.

[00:23:45] Impulse and beneficial and a great deal. And it was like, it was a no brainer. So that, that was very cool to see. And then to, to, to then watch them build that out for their entire suite and work. All these different flows into it was great. Then something creative happened on their end, where they said to themselves, okay, this is effectively a new space for us.

[00:24:07]This is my favorite way to think about what we do is we expand the optimization canvas. Right. A lot of brands look at right. The good focuses on conversion rate optimization. Right. And what you’re looking at is the ads and the ad creative and the audiences they’re being served to. And then you’re looking at email and you’re looking at the homepage and the product page and the bowtie everything’s on the front.

[00:24:28] But then it’s assumed that once you get to the checkout. You’ve done jobs done. Right? You’re done. You can’t optimize anymore. Right. And we open that up and all of a sudden it’s new canvas to optimize. And that’s, that’s like really exciting, especially because everybody that touches that canvas is a customer.

[00:24:43] It’s not like ambiguous. It’s like, they’ve already given you your money and that the best people to talk to and communicate with. So yeah. What they did is they looked at that canvas and they said, okay, what else can we do with this? And what they came up with was when they introduced a new line products, their toothpaste, everybody knew them for their deodorant.

[00:25:04] Now, all of a sudden they introduce toothpaste. How do you show people that you sell toothpaste? Now, what they did was everyone that bought deodorant, they would offer a free. Toothpaste in the post purchase offer. So it actually was not generating new revenue, but it was introducing everybody that was a loyal deodorant customer to a new, a new line of products.

[00:25:24]Right. So you could see how this, this space can be used for revenue maximization and all of a sudden it can be used for discovery as well. So that’s one of my favorite, my favorite stories to just kind of see what’s possible. 

[00:25:35] James Sowers: [00:25:35] Well, and that’s a great story because like I am actively. Trying to not say post-purchase upsells or order bumps or anything.

[00:25:42] Cause that’s the ClickFunnels world that I came from too. Like that’s, that’s my background as an internet marketer. Like I know it and that’s my default, but really it’s a post-purchase offer. It’s a more broad, it’s a broader, more general term. And you know, maybe that’s a good question to ask next is like, Uh, I’m curious if you’ve seen any creative ways that this has been deployed.

[00:25:59] I mean, I think nurse probably no cross-sells and so I was like, they don’t need the difference between those to explain, but like, I know I’ve seen an example where somebody will do it. Post-purchase offer for a subscription subscribe and save type of thing, or like maybe add a gift for somebody else, like around the gift buying season.

[00:26:14] It’s like, did you just buy this for yourself? Yeah. Add one for a friend, or did you buy it for a friend, add one for yourself? You know, treat yourself. Cause you’re doing a good thing. Like maybe I’d maybe I took all the good ideas. I doubt it. But do you have any other examples of like creative ways that’s being applied?

[00:26:26] Jordan Gal: [00:26:26] Yeah. You touched on a lot of them, so, so quantity breaks, right? Get a second one for cheaper. That type of thing. Whether it’s for yourself or a friend or whatever. Um, The I’ve seen people do mystery. Like let’s say a sock company. It’s like, let’s say they sell their socks normally for 18 bucks. So they’ll do a post purchase offer for $9 for a mystery sock.

[00:26:46]So that’s fun. Right. And so, you know, you don’t know what you’re going to get and you see people offer this sometimes as like an in cart upsell, but post-purchase, it works really well. And the space that you mentioned first is my favorite. The subscription interactions are super interesting because, well, let’s look at it.

[00:27:02] Let’s look at in a few different ways first way, going from a single unit to a subscription. So we all know and assume selling a subscription is harder than selling a one on one time. I mean, it’s just, it’s, it’s a bigger commitment now. What happens when you. Allow someone to purchase a single unit and then make them an offer into subscription is now the trust barrier.

[00:27:25] The are you willing to take out your credit card for a relationship that’s already been breached and now you’re making an offer for subscription, and maybe you can address some of the common objections, whether it be price or shipping or something else, you can bundle that into the offer, like subscribe to this product and we’ll give you that first one free.

[00:27:46] So now you just bought something for $30 and now someone’s making you an offer to give you that product for free if you subscribe. So that interaction is really interesting going from single unit to subscription, and it also works the other way. Usually in a subscription business, there’s also these ancillary products that you do want to sell one time.

[00:28:05] Let’s just say, um, you are supply right? The shaving company, and you want people to get onto the subscription for the razor. You also have been, have a bomb. Or, or a post shaving cream bomb or something like that. And that after someone buys the subscription, it’s a perfect time to offer them. Like now you basically bought into the supply family here.

[00:28:23] You’re going to be shaving with supply, moving forward. Maybe use a supply, shaving cream as well. 

[00:28:28] James Sowers: [00:28:28] Yeah. And we do enough tear downs to know that discovery is not always solved. Like people don’t even know that you have bomb. Yes when they buy the razor. Right. But if you present the bomb to them after they’ve already bought the razor, they’re like, Oh, I didn’t even know these, these folks did this.

[00:28:40] I didn’t know. They offered like after shave care products. And so the fact that it’s there in the moment already, like I already spent a little bit of money. If it’s an extra few bucks to add on some bomb, I’ll give it a try. Right. Because I didn’t even know it existed before, despite the fact that you have it.

[00:28:52] And your primary navigation and your footer. And you’ve got a section on your homepage. Like people just miss these things, they’re moving fast, they’re busy, they’re on their phone, whatever, like it happens. And this is another touch point because we all know we got to see a message like seven times to actually make a purchase or whatever.

[00:29:04] And so this can be the one of those seven that actually closes the deal. 

[00:29:08] Jordan Gal: [00:29:08] Yeah. This, this happens with companies that have a hero product that they’re known for, but let’s, let’s continue on with the supply example. They’re known for the racer. And like you said, you could have your site properly to make sure that people can discover it.

[00:29:21] But if someone hears from a friend about it goes to the site, sees the raiser goes, adds it to the cart. That’s, that’s perfect. That’s exactly what you want them to do because they’re effectively pre-sold before they get to the site through word of mouth or recommendation, in some ways what you could, the way you can think about it is that type of thing.

[00:29:40] A company that type of a product you normally would leave the discovery of these other ancillary products. You would leave that job for email. Right. So two weeks later you send them an email a month later, you send them on an email accelerates that interaction and that transaction all, all the way up immediately to be bundled into this same transaction.

[00:30:00] Right? So if, if your plan is to sell them razor, and then 30 days later saves sell them the bomb, you could introduce that interaction. At the same time that can make a huge impact on your business. 

[00:30:12] James Sowers: [00:30:12] Yeah, because in their case, I would imagine they probably put a sample like in the box or some kind of direct mailer type of insert in the box.

[00:30:18] And like that’s where somebody learns about the bond, but it’s already been five to seven days for them to get that package and then they try it out and then they buy it anyway. But you can accelerate that timeline and bring it all the way up to the point of the original purchase, which is kind of a no brainer in my mind.

[00:30:32]Um, you know, one thing I want to make sure that we touch on it is an actual feature and like without making it a sales pitch, I mean, the fact of the matter is we’re talking about post-purchase offers in general, like in theory and how valuable they are and an aspect of that, that cart hook offers that I saw was personalization.

[00:30:44] So it’s like I can contextualize the product that’s recommended based on the product that they purchased. Um, can you talk about like, I mean, it should be fairly obvious why that’s important, but maybe some concrete examples. Maybe we stick with the supply one. Or maybe we use something else, but like examples of personalization and how that helps to further maximize like the average order value and the conversion rate and things like that.

[00:31:04] Post-purchase 

[00:31:05] Jordan Gal: [00:31:05] yeah. That to us, that’s, that’s non negotiable. You can’t just blast someone with a random offer and hope a certain percentage buy that’s. Right. That’s a recipe for getting your customers to be mad at you and right. That that’s right. So we. This is one of the really exciting things about the new version of the product that works with the Shopify.

[00:31:25] We used to have a tagging system in the legacy software, where you put a tag on your product in the Shopify. And, and when that tag was present, a certain set of upsells would be shown. And that was somewhat flexible, but it wasn’t great. What we have now is a criteria builder. And so you have much more ability to customize.

[00:31:49] So you can set something up, like if product a and B are in the cart and the value is over a hundred dollars. And the quantity overall of all the products in the cart is less than five, then showed this set of offers. Right? So it gets much more granular and. Over time, you can optimize that over and over to just make all these offers more and more relevant as you go.

[00:32:14] So that’s, that’s a critical feature. If you care about your shoppers, which we want to work with brands that do care about their shoppers, uh, you want to make it as. Congruent and as relevant as possible, you don’t want to just throw things out there. That’s like sending random emails. It doesn’t work.

[00:32:29] James Sowers: [00:32:29] Well, maybe one concrete example. I have no idea if they’re a card hooked vendor. So, um, that I’ll just throw that out there, but like, uh, the guys at four by 400 are friends of mine and they have a product in their portfolio called slick products and it’s all, um, I think it’s ATV carrots, like waxes and stuff like that.

[00:32:42] But I can imagine a scenario where like, um, One of their products can not be used without a foundational layer of something else. Like you can’t use the shine until you have the wax on. So if somebody tries to buy the shine, you might use a post-purchase offer to say like, Hey, this product is not going to work.

[00:32:56] In fact, it can damage your paint or something like that. If you don’t also put the wax on. So we strongly recommend you consider buying the wax to like, maybe that’s an example of like personalization where like, if they bought anything other than the shine. The wax doesn’t necessarily have to get presented, but because they have that, and it’s a prerequisite to have a layer of wax down without damaging your vehicle, then you would definitely wanna put that in front of them.

[00:33:14] And it’s a genuinely helpful way or time to present that information. So, um, yeah. I just wanted to share that as, as an example, I guess

[00:33:17]Jordan Gal: [00:33:17] that’s a perfect example of the customer focused mindset. 

[00:33:20]

[00:33:20] I didn’t even ask you guys charge like a percentage of revenue volume or is it going to be a subscription, like a monthly subscription, a flat fee?

[00:33:20] How do you price your product? We have not made that public yet. Okay. And so that’s, uh, so strategic in nature that it makes sense to hold off until, until we launch. Uh, but we will make it much more accessible to merchants are our pricing for the legacy software was $500 a month plus half a percent of all revenue.

[00:33:20] And so that, that’s a pretty high starting point. Um, and we’re. Really excited to be able to bring that way down, uh, because we don’t have to do the checkout. We don’t have to do the payment processing. We can be much more focus just on the, on the post-purchase offers. And so we’ll make the pricing much more accessible.

[00:33:20] And the way we, the way we always operate is we want to participate in the upside, along with our merchants. We want to make it so that when we only succeed, when our merchants succeed, Right. Yep. Yeah. I mean, by default, most smart software companies yeah. Want to pay for themselves and then some right. And a significant amount on top of that.

[00:33:20] So we are enabling more additional revenue to cover the cost of our monthly subscription or whatever it ends up being plus some extra. So you’re still coming out ahead of the game. So we still want it. The math to be a no brainer. We want people to get ROI. That’s astronomical. And that’s what we did with our previous software.

[00:33:20] I’m wanna stick with that. And, um, yeah, that worked out for us. We, we don’t compete on price. I don’t have any issues being more expensive. We just make sure that it’s worth it. And. In our opinion, this is your checkout. This is not something that you want to go cheap with. And so we just worked really hard to have the most premium offering in the market possible.

[00:33:20] Uh, but now with the partnership with shop flight, we can also do that for significantly lower entry point. Awesome. Yeah. And I think that’s a sign of a, somebody who’s confident in their product. Like we charge what we charge and we know we’re worth it. And then some, and it’s still a great deal. So, um, Take it or leave it.

[00:33:20] And I think that’s a strong sense to have. So, um, cool. So what other kinds of, if we, if we shift, if we put a pin in the post purchase offer concept, I think everybody gets it and we shift gears a little bit. Like what is some other e-commerce tech or like any eCommerce trend that’s kind of got you excited.

[00:33:30] James Sowers: [00:33:30] Maybe the future, if you want to look ahead, even beyond Q4. Cause we’ll get to that. Everybody’s thinking about it. It’s top of mind right now, but like longer term or midterm, like on the horizon. What do you see in this kind of exciting and the eCommerce tech space? 

[00:33:41] Jordan Gal: [00:33:41] So I am, I’m enamored with what’s happening in headless.

[00:33:46] And I’m so curious on where it’s going and what, and what happens because, so let’s just define it for a second, right? Headless, uh, my version of the definition is the separation between front end and backend. Yeah, that’s that’s from there, we can get all types of detail, but generally speaking, it is the separation between the front end, the storefront and the backend API order management, customer management.

[00:34:14] And so historically platforms have been built very, very tightly coupled so that the front end, the storefront was really just a visual representation of what was in the database. Right? So all the product pages look the same because you need a page. That’s considered to be a product page. And from the database, you take the image or images and you put it in the same place and you take the description and you put it in the same place in the pages, all the other pages and, and that that’s changing so rapidly, uh, where those two parts, the storefront and the back end are being torn apart.

[00:34:47] And what that does, the reason it’s happening. Isn’t just because the tech is getting better. It’s because merchants want it. And so this is a demand driven. Change in the market. These are merchants who acknowledge the importance of the shopper experience, or if you look over it, a Castro mattress, if you look over a Warby Parker, you look at the companies with real resources and the power to do this.

[00:35:14] They’re crafting shopper experiences that are amazing, and that are tailored for their brand and their audience. And. When you get into the context of a, of a hosted platform that doesn’t give you all that flexibility. That’s when you start to stretch it and you start to say, well, we need more power. We need more flexibility on the front end, especially at the higher end.

[00:35:35] And so what’s happening at the higher end of the Shopify ecosystem is. Merchants don’t want to give up the benefits of Shopify and the hosted experience and the checkout and so on, but they do want more flexibility on the front end. So there are, there are new products, like a builder.io and Shogun, and they sell and Nyla that are starting to allow merchants to build front ends that are separate from the backend.

[00:36:01] And that is. That’s one of those pieces of technology that starts to move. And no one knows where that, where that goes. 

[00:36:10] James Sowers: [00:36:10] Is it oversimplifying it to say this is similar to what Elementor has done for WordPress, right. Or any of the Elementor like Beaver builder or any of those competitors. It’s, it’s more nuanced than that.

[00:36:19] But conceptually is that similar? 

[00:36:21] Jordan Gal: [00:36:21] It’s, it’s not a, that’s not a bad analogy. It’s not exact. Yeah. Uh, because no, it’s really not a bad analogy at all, because WordPress does have a front end. That’s very, very tightly coupled with its backend and those, those builders let you. Get some separation between the two and build whatever you want on the front end that still keeps things consistent with the backend in such a way.

[00:36:43] Yeah. The site still works, right. So it’s, it’s not, it’s not a bad description. All right. What, uh, the complicating factor around selling things and selling physical products specifically is that you still need the backend. Right to do a lot of work, all the order management and the hosting of the product information, customer information and so on.

[00:37:06] And so that the interaction between the front end, the backend. Um, so it is a good analogy in an eCommerce setting. Yes. Yes. It’s like, it’s pretty gnarly and it all comes together right at the point of checkout. Um, 

[00:37:15] James Sowers: [00:37:15] so what would maybe be like a tactical. Application of a headless instance that like is a big benefit for the brand itself.

[00:37:22] Like one thing when you said Casper, I thought maybe, maybe the difference would be, um, when you click to purchase a mattress or something, it takes you to a dynamic like personalization survey type of thing instead of just straight to the checkout. And it’s like, Let’s actually get your mattress dialed in and let you find the right one for you, or would like, I’m sure they’re already doing this in some way, but maybe, I don’t know.

[00:37:39] I’m trying to quantify this as a nontechnical marketing guy. Like how does headless make that experience better either for the customer or the brand?  

[00:37:46] Jordan Gal: [00:37:46] It’s both visual and, and performance. So, and, and development, really. If you have your own development team and they’re looking at you and saying, just let me build on whatever.

[00:37:59] Frameworks. We want to build on why are we stuck building on this specific liquid framework within this context, within this theme, like take the shackles off. So there’s an element of that and there’s also performance. Uh, so as you know, for larger stores, speed makes. A huge difference. And every bit of speed makes a very large impact on revenue.

[00:38:22] Um, we’re about to walk into black Friday, cyber Monday coming up, and that is critical. Uh, so speed, uh, performance, uh, the ability to integrate with new products, with new products and partners, uh, the design, like you said, the being able to build your own, uh, Subscription companies have this a lot. Like if you want to build out your own subscription box that that’s really complicated to do on Shopify right there.

[00:38:49] There’s a platform called Cratejoy back in the day was like taking off like crazy because they allowed that functionality that you could build your own box and then it would go into the backend properly so that the fulfillment knew this PR this product specifically for James. Needs to include this number of skews in these variants, these sizes and so on.

James Sowers: [00:39:08] Um, cool. So you mentioned black Friday briefly.

[00:39:10] I think people would burn me at the stake if I don’t mention it because it’s top of mind now I know typically like other eCommerce brands, like this would be your super bowl. I don’t know how different that might be this year. So part of the question I was going to ask is like, how are you guys gearing up to help your merchants hit a new revenue goal or whatever?

[00:39:25] Um, maybe that’s a little bit less of a priority right now because of the transition. That’s totally fine. Um, so that’s the one part, like, how are you preparing and then what advice do you have for merchants as they prepare for what’s supposed to be a volatile Q four and we don’t really know what to expect.

[00:39:37] Um, do you have anything from, from your seat that you want to share with the listeners? 

Jordan Gal: [00:39:40] We are expecting it to just be bigger, whatever you expect it to be bigger than that, because the truth is there is something, uh, There’s something ingrained in American culture that when the holidays come around and I used to do it too, I buy everything online, but not really everything.

[00:40:01] Cause I’m still heading out to the stores when I need set either something last minute. And a lot of people are not buying nearly as much online. And the fact that the physical ability to go out to physical stores will be greatly diminished. Uh, and everyone just got real warmed up on the way to where they buy things online over the past few months.

[00:40:22] Right. I think it’s going to be huge. So we are preparing on our end by being extremely cautious with our legacy product. Extreme caution. We have code freezes well, well in advance of the big weekend. So our job is to get out of the way and make sure we never hurt a merchant sales, right? That’s like in the way we do deployments and the way we’re doing QA and the risk that we’re willing to take for new features, all of that goes toward reliability and safety.

[00:40:51] Um, and it’ll be the same for our new. App. And the truth is we are, we are expecting a lot of attention for when it launches, especially because it’s going to be a few weeks before black, Friday and cyber Monday. And we expect a big, a big rush to get, to get for people to get set up. Uh, so on our end is just extreme caution and like the number one thing in our mind is, do not get in the way of a sale, uh, on the merchant side is it’s, it’s tricky because as a merchant, I would see the tendency toward.

[00:41:23] Maximizing revenue, but you have to balance that with shopper experience and you also have to balance it with. You don’t want to acquire customers. Unprofitably of not, not to too high of a degree. If you have the resources, then yes, it makes sense to acquire as many customers as possible. Uh, and the.

[00:41:44] Actual profit from those customers is not that important for this season because you’re acquiring actual customers that you can market to over the rest of the year. But if you don’t have big resources, you need to be careful because you’re in a, you’re an environment that’s extremely competitive and discount driven.

[00:42:00] And you can hurt your brand. You can hurt your bottom line by giving up too many discounts and you can exhaust your inventory. You can exhaust your team by doing a lot of work. So generally speaking, I would, I would try to make sure that you’re not doing in such a way that you’re just basically increasing the speed on the treadmill.

[00:42:15]You do want to acquire customers. You want to look at the context of your company and how many resources you have. Are you just getting started? Is this holiday season meant to make a profit or is it to expand your customer base? So you really need to think about your position and what you’re trying to accomplish before you lay out your strategy, as opposed to just let’s get as much revenue spot.

[00:42:33] James Sowers: [00:42:33] I think, I think that season is the operative term this year, more than any other. And the thing I keep hearing over and over again is if you historically have thought literally black Friday cyber Monday, and that’s the push, maybe this year is the year to think about it as the holiday season and think of it in terms of months.

[00:42:48] Not days or weeks. Right. Just because we don’t know where shipping is going to be at, you know, consumer purchasing behaviors are all over the place. Some folks aren’t buying as much. Like you said, some folks ran into one click checkout and they’re just click happy. Right. Like they’re buying everything.

[00:43:01] Right. Because it’s like, sometimes I buy things. I don’t realize that bought it, you know, like I click for shop pay or something and it just happens. Right. And it’s like, yeah, Oh, okay. I guess that’s on the way to the house now, you know? So, um, yeah, just, it is going to be unpredictable, but I would just say, I started thinking about it now because technically like November 1st, all the way through the end of the year is the season.

[00:43:20] And so you got to kind of like build your strategy around that. So maybe I was actually thinking if you guys are targeting, drawing a line in the sand and saying, you know, maybe yeah, right before black Friday, we’re going to roll out this, this more tighter integration with Shopify, like. Is that enough time if somebody is starting from zero for these post-purchase offers to get set up and get rolling, or is that maybe a little bit too risky to try to get it turned around in, let’s call it two to four weeks before black Friday itself.

[00:43:42]Is that too fast, too ambitious to try to incorporate post-purchase offers before this holiday. 

Jordan Gal: [00:43:46] Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. Uh, it’s a very, very big difference between our legacy software and the new one, the legacy software we would tell people just don’t even attempt it anywhere near the holidays, because replacing your entire checkout and your tracking and your in, in your integrations and your payment processing.

[00:44:04] And that’s just too much risk. The beauty of this new product that works with the Shopify checkout is it have any of those risks? And so you can get up and running within, I mean, an hour is like an exaggeration. You don’t need an hour, you would be in it in five minutes and you can be making your first offer literally within a few minutes and you don’t need to worry about all that risk.

[00:44:28] So, you know, yes, it’s self serving, but it’s also true that there’s plenty of time. You can get up and running pretty quickly. It doesn’t have nearly the same risk profile as our checkout product, uh, from, you know, that we were running previously.

[00:44:41]James Sowers: [00:44:41] that’s amazing. Yeah, that’s a great step forward.

[00:44:43] And, I can’t be happier for you and everything that’s going on. It’s great to talk to you in any context, but I’m especially appreciative of you coming to share your insights. Around post-purchase offers and the future of eCommerce tech and everything else today.

[00:44:54] Um, so before I let you go, like where can folks go to learn more about you? And if you don’t mention bootstrap web, then I certainly will. So if you want to get that one out first, you can do everything else for that. 

[00:45:02]

[00:45:02] Jordan Gal: [00:45:02] Yes. So James is talking about the podcast I do with my very good friend, Brian castle called bootstrapped web.

[00:45:08] Yeah. We call it the low-light podcast. We did not talk about just highlights and all the good things. We talk about all the struggles, everything we’re learning, what we’re up against, what we’re facing in the coming week, what we’ve learned from it, painful things and also celebration. So that’s cool.

[00:45:24] SportsCenter, not top 10 of podcasts, right? Yes. We, I don’t know. I would, I couldn’t do it any other way. I can’t talk about just highlights that I find that stuff boring. Right? Um, so on Twitter, I’m at Jordan Goll. That’s kind of where I live in my spare time when I’m not taking care of my business, my wife or my kids.

[00:45:41] And of course the business side, if you’re a merchant, if you’re an agency we want to work with you go to cart, hook.com. Right now it’s just going to be a coming soon where you can. Uh, sign up for the early access list and get some special deals and some special offers ahead of everybody else. So do that.

[00:45:58] Uh, and that’s it. Awesome. Thanks. Thanks so much for coming on the show, man. This was, this was amazing. And we’ll have to have you back sometime after the big launch and talk about how things are going and what you’re seeing with, with your new merchants and some of their success stories. So I’d love to have you back for your open into it.

[00:46:12] I would love to. Thanks very much. Awesome. Thank you.

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James Sowers

About the Author

James Sowers

James Sowers is the Director of Marketing at The Good. He has more than a decade of experience helping software and ecommerce companies accelerate their growth and improve their customer experience.