In Reviews We Trust

Ep. 14: Managing people, brand and partnerships in a rapidly changing tech landscape

September 14, 2022 Callum Mckeefery Season 1 Episode 14
In Reviews We Trust
Ep. 14: Managing people, brand and partnerships in a rapidly changing tech landscape
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode Callum McKeefery show host and  CEO of talks to Nic Dunn CEO and Founder of Charle the Shopify Expert Accredited Agency

They discuss the value in the unlikely move from paramedic to eCommerce entrepreneur, the challenges of hiring and retaining staff in the current market and what changes may present themselves in the coming year,  pricing strategies in the event of a recession, how to maintain a unique brand and customer experience when the format of many online stores is becoming so uniform, the importance of strong brand communications and identity for any start-up - not taking the lead of the de-branding trend adopted by many of the larger companies and the importance of trust and strong relationships when it comes to agency and tech stack partnerships.

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Callum McKeefery:

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Callum: So today on the In Reviews We Trust podcast I have Nic Dunn. Nic is the founder and CEO of Charle. Charle is an award-winning Shopify plus agency, based in London. They have worked on several leading brands, including Samsung, Billionaire's Boy Club, Candy Kittens, and many more. Nick, thanks for being on.

Nic: Ah, don't worry. Thank you for having me Callum, super pleasure to, to be here. 

Callum: Tell, tell the listeners how, how you got involved in eCommerce, how you came to found Charle, what was the journey?

Nic: Yeah. Do you know what my journey's been a bit of a rogue one, actually. I think to be honest with you since being amongst the community, I, everyone I speak to at e-commerce has sort of ended up here in a really weird and wonderful way.

It's not quite the "I went to uni and studied this, and then I did this." It's normally like "when I did this job and then I ended up doing that and I like this." So, actually as a teenager, I taught myself a little bit of frontend code. Now, developers in my team probably laugh at my abilities to code. So no way, [00:01:00] means, shape or form could I count myself as a developer, but and I think that kind of got, got me into the flow of like websites and online experiences. And I remember when I was at uni, I went on Alibaba and bought loads of like watches. I was like, convinced we're gonna be the next biggest brand, I thought I'm gonna take on Rolex let's do it.

And I built a website that connected with Stripe and I managed to take payments and looking back, I'm sure anybody probably could have hacked it in about two minutes, but I think that was probably like my first step into the world of selling online. Yeah. And it wasn't quite the new Amazon, but there we are. Then I went and I became a paramedic for a bit as you do, you know? 

Callum: That's an interesting one. That's what, yeah. What was that like? 

Nic: Crazy. What a job! I, I take my hat off to, to my very dear friends who are still out on the front line, in the ambulance service now. But I think. I think it taught me a lot, actually that I still use. I'm always, quoting my days as a paramedic and what I do now because it's all about people. Everything in as a paramedic is about dealing with people and [00:02:00] providing an experience in what is often the worst times for the general public. But I often take a lot of that. That it's the same in online. If we have to provide an experience for different scenarios, that very different, and obviously the night shifts took their toll on me as a paramedic.

I was, I just don't think I can do this night shift business anymore. Amazing job. And like I said, absolutely take my hat off to my friends in the NHS who are serving to this day. But actually I was like, what can I do now? I'm not sure I can carry on with this paramedic business. And that was kind of where Charle was born.

Really? I said, I'm gonna start an agency and take on the world. so, to my friends and families kind of were a bit like, well, the hell are you doing quitting a great job as a paramedic? I kind of quit my job overnight and was like, Charle is born, and there we are. 

Callum: So why Charle, why Charle? 

Nic: Oh, do you know what we get asked this all the time. And everyone always says, oh, where does the name come from? It's actually just my middle name without the 's' on the end. However, I feel like I need to work on a much better story about where the name came from. 

Callum: No, that's cool. That's cool. It looks good. [00:03:00] You know, it looks good. Sounds good. And yeah, branding looks great. So roll with it. Roll with it. That's awesome. So jumping from the, in a paramedic, to the CEO of a Shopify plus web agency. I mean, talk about career changes. We had a guest on, who, who was a policeman, who then went on to , run a major security app, which I thought was kind of a, big jump.

But yours is probably even bigger. 

What did you do at uni? 

Nic: So I did paramedic science. So absolutely nothing to do with marketing. Absolutely. Nothing to do with eCommerce or tech. Yeah. So my entire like, educational journey was super focused towards being a paramedic and I got there and actually I was like, hang on a minute.

I wanna go back to the days where I was building watch websites to take on the world. And I think that was really the passion inside. It was like, ah, this is what really gets me excited, which really took me back to my roots of coding in my [00:04:00] bedroom as a teenager really. 

Callum: That is mad, absolutely mad, but because, you know, like most people I ask that question to have done, gone off and done, you know, gone to business school or they've done business studies courses and university and stuff like that. And so we go from doing a paramedics course then to being a CEO of, of a Shopify agency is awesome. It's just such a, it gives you probably such a unique perspective, you know, compared to everybody else.

And it's such a good story. You should use it more in all your marketing. You know what I mean? 

Nic: Yeah. I think one, one thing I've noticed Callum is the comparative level of a website down compared to a nan down, honestly, a website wins every time the stress levels are up here. When that website crashes, I can promise you.

Callum: So I thought you'd be able to handle it better because like the other side is life and death. 

Nic: Well, that's it. You, that's what I always kind of. I was like, well, nobody's dying here. And I was like, oh my God, those email changed to what they are. 

Callum: Yeah, this is worse. This is worse. This is not death, [00:05:00] but we're down.

Yeah, oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. So let's talk about Charle, how many's in the team. 

Nic: So we are 11 now, with three open vacancies. So growing pretty damn quick right now, which is exciting. 

Callum: Yeah. That is strong, strong. So are you remote or back in the office or how do you, how do you how's the team spread out?

Nic: Yeah, absolutely. So, so we've got a HQ office in central London. however, we really grew quite heavily through the pandemic in terms of our hiring strategy, meaning that actually we needed to find amazing people and we need to find amazing people really quickly. Yeah. So we made the decision to kind of not really be too focused on location, but purely hire based on cultural fit to the business and also perceived skills within that interview process. So, our team has spread all over the UK from Worcester down to Northampton, quite a few of us here in London. Yeah. So we are a completely [00:06:00] remote first business with the option to come into the office. In central London, if you want to, the only one thing we do every month is you have to come into the office for a big team day.

We don't do any client work. We just do team building challenges, coming together, working on what we're doing, how we can try and improve and be the best agency possible. 

Callum: Okay. Okay. That's interesting. That's interesting. And how have you found hiring in the current market? 

Nic: Yeah, it's a real challenge. I, I think it's a very unique period of time right now where I personally feel we're in a bit of an employee's world. There's so much choice, especially in our industry in terms of 

Callum: yeah. 

Nic: Opportunity. There's amazing opportunities out there and a lot of jobs within our market, meaning that actually there's a real need for employers like me to make the job opportunities really appealing and yeah, but also be amazing when you join as well, because it's one thing, hiring somebody, but retaining great amazing people who not only can deliver what [00:07:00] you need to deliver to meet the need to the business, but also be a really good cultural fit so that we retain and build that family life structure.

Callum: Retaining talent is super hard in tech, you know, because grass is always greener. Recruitment agencies are super, super aggressive. They're cold calling your staff right now and, you know, trying to get them to move to another company just because it suits their hiring process, you know, like their, their project that they're working on. So yeah. Retain, retaining staff is, is difficult in this industry right now.

Nic: I do wonder with the kind of potential upcoming recession that we're seeing. And obviously we're seeing, yeah, we're in our space, a lot of redundancies right now. It feels like every other day, I'm just seeing more and more people's unfortunate threads of losing jobs. I do wonder whether we will see a bit of a change in, in, in the current, you know, the way that people are looking at jobs, the amount of potential, amazing people that are available to be hired.

Yeah. however, I do think that there is a generational aspect of people knowing [00:08:00] what they want and knowing their expectations for that role. And actually not taking any lesson there, which I am a quite strong believer in as well. I think. 

Callum: Yeah. I agree. I agree. I think we're definitely seeing, I think the recession will push more people onto the market.

Yeah. I think that that's a given, I think that it'll , change things a lot. I think people are gonna be, you know, put in a position where they're gonna be looking for a job, one that suits their them culturally, but also I think it's gonna come down to a lot of financials as, as well.

Nic: Hundred percent, hundred percent.

I think whether we see that retention piece, change because people maybe jump into jobs where perhaps, because they need to, because you know that yeah, those bills are coming around quicker than ever. And that buffer money that we've had in between jobs or whatever. I think it's an interesting time to see it's, it's gonna be a challenge for employers to actually really trying to identify amazing people that really wanna join you rather than are just desperate for a job, which is a scary time for sure.

Callum: A hundred [00:09:00] percent. Another thing on the, which I was thinking about today as well, was the so at, we, we, we charge on a monthly basis and I've been thinking a lot about inflation and how that's gonna affect our business and whether we should increase our prices, you know, because of inflation's increased.

How are you looking at that from an agency point of view? 

Nic: Yeah, I think, I think it's a challenge because you know, budget is always like the number one consideration for brands, right? Yeah. We always think people normally buy. Two things. They buy people, which normally is, in my experience, a dominant over price.

Quite often, people will normally choose product and service and worry about the cost later. But of course there's always that budget constraint for a lot of brands. My personal view is that that's gonna become stronger over the coming, over the coming months. And, and, and actually it's gonna put agencies like us in a position where, you know, the impact of inflation means that should we be charging more because 

Callum: yeah. 

Nic: Everything else for us is going up and it's a real difficult one, but actually there is [00:10:00] also the other side of things and going, will the demand reduce because actually brands are not willing to spend as much. 

Callum: Yeah.

Nic: Therefore, are we looking at a potential future of having, having to drop prices to ensure that we keep enough merchants within our current workflows, keep our team

Callum: yeah. 

Nic: Trait it with potential work. So I think there's probably two arguments there in the sense of, yes, we you talk prices. I'm always a, I'm always in favor of up in prices.

No, I'm actually kidding. I think it's always important to, to price based on value rather than time. but, but also be reactive to the markets if we are seeing yeah. Things aren't selling anymore, or actually things are selling too easy and actually what's your competition doing? I always try and be more driven by what's the market to the market, as opposed to what's BBC news telling me about when, when everyone's gonna die, you know.

Callum: , that's kind of how we are, but obviously we're, I'm looking at things going, Hmm, hold on a minute. If you know, we, you you've got cost of living going up, we've gonna have to pay our [00:11:00] team members more, which means to re you know, we're gonna have to charge. Essentially, but, or do we try and make cost savings in other places to try and keep our costs the same. So it is a juggle. And, and obviously I'm personally asking this as a CEO to another CEO, you know, to try and see whether you've got some on the insights on that. But yeah, I, I kind of agree with you. You've gotta go with what the market's doing. I mean, we're is in a funny position because our, our competitors, we are kind of, they actively increase their prices, you know, every few months, whereas we've always really kind of, kept our pricing quite stable and we don't go out to our past customers and go, "Hey, you've gotta pay us more." That's the, the thing. so maybe we've got a bit of margin probably to play with there that we, we could use.

What's a recent site that you've liked?

Nic: A recent site I really liked is Butternut Box. I've gotta bring brand. Oh, you have to. It's amazing. 

Callum: Butternut Box?

Nic: [00:12:00] Butternut Box. Yeah, absolutely pet food. Super expensive dog food. Quality of the food is amazing and they kind of have their founder and eating it on eating on a homepage, which I absolutely love.

I absolutely love the onsite experience now as a very proud and loved talking about a dog owner. The thing that I love about this, yeah it looks great. You've got great imagery, all that kind of stuff, really kind of animated moving and looks unique to them. Every little button that's really well thought about.

Callum: Yeah. 

Nic: The thing that I absolutely love is that buying experience is not like here's our food press 'add to cart', now press 'checkout'. They've completely, they've completely turned on his head and they've gone what breed are we gonna feed and you type in your dog breed. And then the next step is like, how active is your dog?

How much does it weigh? And yes, for them they're collecting heaps of data. Yeah. About ways to target me better in the future. But actually for me as a dog owner who gets very excited about talking about my dog, it's amazing. It's so engaging. And by the time I got to the end of it, I was like 70 quid for dog food, really? I was like, well, I'm gonna end up spending.

Callum: But you've [00:13:00] invested this time now. So. 

Nic: I've invested the time I've got so excited by like watching founders, eat dog food. Cause it's human friendly dog food. And now I'm like, oh, I've got no choice. Now I'm gonna have to buy it. And then I think it was like two weeks later when I did actually have a little bit of a think about it.

I was like, then I received that deadly email. It was like, Hey, is 30% off for first three months. I was ah, here we go. You've got me. You've got me. 

Callum: So, so what, is that a shopify site? 

Nic: No. So I believe it's actually a fully headless build, to be honest with you. So it's not Shopify. I know how damn we speak about websites that are not on the Shopify platform and I...

Callum: Yeah, you're all right. You're all. 

Nic: I try and be fairly agnostic in my opinions of liking websites based on what platform they're on, even though Shopify is incredible platform. Yeah. This is definitely achievable within Shopify as well, for sure. With a really good dev team.

However, I think. My, my, one of the reasons I always really bring this site up is one that I absolutely love is because, I think we're going kind of online is gonna do a bit of a full circle. We saw it in retail. You know, [00:14:00] retail used to have loads of little bars of hanging up clothes. You go in. If you liked it, you go and try on and you can go and try it on and then you can purchase it.

Sorry. Whereas nowadays, especially as you walk down, Oxford Street, It's like, everything's about the experience, everything about unique moving lights, you know, you step on a square on the floor and it changes color or, you know, very much that Apple vibe of like, feeling very different. I personally think that brands are gonna need to make sure they adopt a similar approach online because yes, we know the retails brand has dropped, offline and it's improved online. Yeah. We've seen some dips post pandemic. Of course. We're gonna see a bit of a dip from that big peak, but yeah, the competition for brands popping up facilitated by the likes of Shopify is crazy. You know, huge becoming a new brand right now is terrifying because.

It's very hard to think of unique ideas. It's very hard to stand out online, and it is hard to, to really make a big impact quickly to merchants. So I think even us as [00:15:00] agencies, the challenge is on to build design and craft onsite experiences that. Really make a big impact on someone and don't look like our best sellers.

You know, this is our collection module, which allows you to click on men's women's or yeah. And so on those days are moving on now. And I think we need to be going to a place where. You land on the site and it's like, oh my goodness, I'm entering this world that this brand want me to be in, in the same way you would do in a more experiential style store on Oxford Street for example.

Callum: I, I was talking to someone the other day about the debranding. You know, everybody's gone through this debranding process. And, you know, if you look at the 10 top fashion sites, they're literally pixel for pixel the same, you know, everybody's got a black logo that, you know, in a bold font. It all looks the same.

And I think if you are out there and you're launching a new brand and you are choosing that black logo on a white background with black box and you, you you're really not [00:16:00] standing out. I think that it it's obviously I, I said to this guy and he was like all about, you know, debranding that's where it's at.

That's where it's at. I said, yeah, that's gonna change eventually. That's gonna flip and we're gonna go. Maybe to adding more personality in now, these big brands can take out personality and be left with just a core, because that's what Burberry, Calvin Klein and all these big brands can do. But smaller brands to get noticed. Can't do that. They have to go all brand. You know, I, I look at like, do you know the, the guys who do the protein, the collagen protein thing, Olipop. They do the same 

Nic: I do. 

Callum: I love what those guys have done. I love that where they've just gone all in all brand and, they've really stood out and they've done a great job and, you know, the sales prove it got a good product, got a good brand.

but if they went out with just a flat brand or a debranding, it, I don't think they'd have the same, same success. [00:17:00]

Nic: 100%. Another amazing brand that I've seen is Surreal Cereal, right now. 

Callum: Yeah. Yeah, they're doing great. 

Nic: You know, their onsite experience is amazing, cuz they've gone. Fuck this. We're just gonna make an amazing onsite experience that really embodies our mission and our brand. And you can literally feel the personality of their team. Yeah. Coming through to you. And you know, you mentioned some of the big boys like Calvin Klein and whatever who have got the more traditional style sites, black logo, one banner image, few products, a CTA that takes you through to the next phase of that buying journey.

But we also need to remember the amount. Unique and nearly knuckle marketing campaigns and millions of pounds that have been spent on these campaigns exactly. Have allowed them to do that. Yeah. Where. You know, they don't really need to convince somebody that they're a good brand. Everybody knows they're a good brand.

Yeah. Whereas newer people coming to the market, they've got a hard uphill climb to, to really start to going up. And unfortunately, you have gotta prove yourself. And when you're amongst a sea of people that look the same, deliver the same product in the same way with this very similar tech stack out there.

Yeah. You [00:18:00] know, as, as much as that tech stack is growing and it's very competitive and it's becoming amazing. Still picking as an agency and as brands are still picking for a, a, in the grand scheme of things, a small tech stack, but you know, way Shopify checkout feels or where, where I write reviews. I know you guys are doing so much amazing work on changing the face of reviews with things like video first.

Absolutely love it. Kieran popped over and gave us a good demo. Awesome. And that's what we need to be doing. It's really challenging the norm on what a site really should be like. And that's what we do as a team and what we are I'm pushing the team always to do its goal. So I always say there's one trick.

Put your hand over the logo. Cause it's still full like the brand. Number two, 


Logos are, are my least favorite part of any branding piece. Now all the branding agencies out there are gonna absolutely kill me for saying that. But yeah, it's an experience is so much more than the font type, the color, the logo, the placement of your navigation.

It's so much more than that. It's. it's the way a site feels the [00:19:00] way it interacts. When you put your mouse over something, those small little interactional wobbles, and it's these tiny little touches that can then support your social strategy, where you've got a really good tone of voice, and you are telling customers, come and buy your product.

Cause we're so much better than them next door and, and all that kind of stuff. It's those small touches that brands really need to be aware of when trying to convince customers that they're better. 

Callum: A hundred percent, a hundred percent. And I love that, you know, you're on board with, you know, kind of in the same realm as me that, you know, I, if you are starting out, don't look at the Burberrys, the Calvin Kleins, the Nordstroms, the, you know, don't look at those guys as inspiration because those guys have in their longer, they've spent billions of pounds building that brand. They've already got all the trust factors. Whereas if you go and look like them, you're not gonna have those same trust factors.

Nic: Hundred percent.

Callum: and obviously you've gotta build your, the front of the, site's gotta be the culture of the brand.[00:20:00] . I mean, the, I was, I was listening to a, a Shopify talk about it was just going into the pandemic and it was them talking about that it doesn't matter that all sites are gonna look the same, whether you go on.

Target a small retailer or a big retailer, they're all gonna have this same format. And I kind of disagreed with that because that that's gonna make the web and eCommerce so boring. Yeah. And I think we'll change. massively. Yeah. 

Nic: 100%. I think it, even from the merchants that we work with, and it's really great that we are seeing this is they ought to be different, which is great.

There's very much a real strong energy amongst our merchant base. But they're aware that when you're on a Shopify site, you know, you're on a Shopify site. Yeah. It's the site you land on and go, what site is this powered by? They're the sites are working harder because they're going, they don't have that feel.

They're not so. There is a feel about a Shopify template that you, you can recognize quite quickly. Yeah. And there is no reason for that feel [00:21:00] Shopify's frontend is literally built out of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Okay. Yeah. A few extra framework and languages along the way, but there's nothing to say that a Shopify theme needs to feel a certain way, which is what we pioneer.

There's an agency. We don't offer off the shelf template tweaks, because that's encouraging that culture of trying to create quick and fast websites that look and feel like everybody else. Yeah. But they're proven, they're not proven, they're proven five years ago, which is when they're building their brand out.

They're not proven anymore. I agree. And it is really exciting to see these new challenger brands that are really embodying that we are gonna be different. We don't give a shit what the book says. Yeah. Yeah. 

Callum: And, and they're the guys that are getting coverage. 

Nic: A hundred percent. One other thing I see really commonly across.

A lot of our merchant bases, just people not being to the point about what they're doing as well. You know, we'll see very long winded and gray kind of slogans about what the brand's doing. that, and actually when you are a new merchant, sorry, when you're a new customer to a new [00:22:00] brand, you've probably got about five to 10 seconds to tell that customer who you are, what you do and why you're good.

Yeah. Before you lost them. And actually I think the brands that we work with that do that really well. I will instantly get straight to the point. We can make amazing chocolate better with better ethics, better, better for the environment. And we're a good price, boo. Done interested. Yeah. I know what the USPs are.

I know what I'm getting receiving. Whereas we see, you know, we see these campaigns that are very like blurry and a little bit, not clear, but yeah, 

Callum: I know what you mean. I know exactly what you mean. 

Nic: And I think we need to embody that the power of copy is incredible compared to, 

Callum: oh my gosh. So how do you handle copy? Do you do that in house or do you work with, you know, copywriters in the industry?

Nic: Yeah. So as a general rule, a lot of our merchants will have their own copy teams, whether that's their own inhouse teams, right. Because actually what we sit thankfully, 99% of our brands also share our value of the power of copy.

And a it's often very personal with the brand B, it's really [00:23:00] important. so we cannot also get too involved in copy, however, Naturally, we end up being involved with copy because it, it is kind of, yeah. It flushes out everything that we do as an agency. So we are always kind of very much the heart of going, okay.

If we need to help you trying to make this page convert better, what are we not liking right now? And it's like, I don't know what your product is. I really don't understand it. we're actually working with an amazing diamond, lab growing diamond brand over in the US right now. And amongst their competitors, they have these really long winded and convoluted diamond finders.

I've learned so much about the diamond industry since being involved in this brand or amazing brand, but actually you there's only ever one diamond of there's only ever one diamond. Every diamond is completely unique, even in the lamb grown world. Yeah. So they, it's a, it's a selling challenge. They have to show every diamond that you're gonna get as an interest and their UI on some of their competitors is so confusing. And I remember I sat in an initial discovery call to try and figure out what the project was. And I went. I'm really sorry, but I literally cannot [00:24:00] work out how to buy this product because it's so confusing. So like, boom. Yeah. If I can't work out who works web website day long, 

Callum: no customer can 

Nic: then customer can't either. So, bring it out. 

Callum: Wow. Wow. And have you, have you, is that site completed? 

Nic: No, not yet. Come back to us in October and we'll be there. 

Callum: All right. All right. Just wanna touch on something we spoke about a second ago, which was tech stack. when you've, when a brand comes to you and says, right, we want to rebrand what, what's the, top five tools that you always look for and you make sure that they're in place really for that brand that you can't move out or you don't move out.

Nic: Yeah, 100%. So I think for us, first of all, it's about scope. So understanding the areas and the disciplines that we need to be delivering for, and then for each of those disciplines, having a tried, tested and trusted that that was a mouthful. Yeah. , partners that we can leverage to be able to deliver some of these amazing features.

When we talk, obviously. [00:25:00] Sorry. When we talk reviews, I gave the answer to that one already. Yeah. Yeah. When we talk reviews, of course, we're gonna be knocking on's door. Yeah. Actually I think as an agency, it's important to not pretend that we are the absolute experts of absolutely everything.

Callum: Everything. Yeah.

Nic: It's impossible. You know, I sat on a call with recharge this morning and found out some amazing things that are coming into their roadmap. And I was like, oh, she sat with our new business manager. I was like, my God, I feel like I'm getting outta date because of how quickly our tech partners are moving.

which is amazing. Yeah. So I think for us, it's about having really amazing relationships with these partners so that we can then go, we recommend this particular partner. And let's have a call with them altogether to talk about all the goals of the project. Exactly. The experts talk about the experts.

So, you know, as we, as I spoke about recharge for subscriptions is always our go to tried tested. Absolutely key pair within subscriptions within the Shopify ecosystem. for reviews, of course, and the amazing power of UGC and, and, and bringing some of that [00:26:00] social tools that you guys, have to offer, which I think is absolutely amazing.

We've seen it from our own split A/B tests of bringing in customer content, imagery, videos, copy absolute changes. The performance metrics that we're seeing on site from product pages all the way through to social channels as well, which is really, really powerful. I think. It is a challenge for us as an agency to really make sure we are a recommending the most amazing partners, as well, a lot of our clients always get very suspicious that we're just, we're just recommending everyone cause we get an amazing kickback on 

Callum: that's the that's that's one of the things, probably a misconception is these kickbacks. There's not many agencies take kickbacks, you know, like there really isn't. 

Nic: And honestly, the kickbacks are not that exciting are being completely frank you know, all right. You might get a couple of percent, per quarter for it.

Yeah. It's not gonna change the business like a rummage. You might buy you a few beers at the end of the month, but what really excites us and brings value for a really good partnership is [00:27:00] great product. So that actually our, our amazing clients really see value in, in what we're receiving and also really nice team to be able to refer on and go, Hey, have a chat with these guys.

They're the absolute killers within that community. And they will really help you get a really good return on your investment into subscriptions reviews, loyalty, for example.

Callum: Yeah. Yeah, no, definitely. Definitely. What any changes you think are gonna come up in the next 12 months with Shopify? Anything that you know, the guys listening should be looking out for?

Nic: Yeah. I mean, I think there's gonna be a continuation of the way that we sell globally. 100%. Yeah, we've already, we've already seen that with like Shopify markets, allowing merchants to log into the Shopify store, create a new market and boom, you're selling all way, all the way around the world.

there's that historical split store setup that we see, I know, I feel very confident. There will be something in the past for any listeners that might not have kind of explored, [00:28:00] global selling yet is the, you know, for enterprise level businesses, they will normally have a separated store for every different territory and they will run very, separately in their own logistics, marketing.

And so on right now, if you were to do something like Shopify markets, which allows you to change currency, language, product pricing based on a territory, you still can't really change content massively. So I can't be like, I wanna change my banner hero stuff to be very tailored toward US markets. For example.

I think that's gonna change. And I think we are gonna see a much more optimized approach to having one single store from that's gonna really target multiple areas with unique content. But I think the whole tech stack is gonna have to do some catching up with that Google specifically, in a way that we are ranked, where, how Google Google's now, how, how are those crawlers gonna be ensuring that relevant content from one store is still localized, as opposed to it's gonna be the same homepage in the same that's well,

Callum: that's, that's always been the big challenge, hasn't it? You know, the duplicate content and, [00:29:00] and ranking in different regions. I mean, you can do it with the href lang that that's how I think hundred Shopify does it now.

Yeah. but there is, that is one of the risks of running multi-brand and I think you're right. I think that that is a challenge. Both Google needs to catch up on and, and brands need to be aware of. 

Nic: Yeah. And I, I think when it goes single store, I think when we go single store, it's gonna be a challenge as well, because now how are we gonna be able to tell amazing search price, like Google that provide human huge amounts of revenues for a lot of brands. How are we gonna be able to go this homepage? Which has exactly the same URL, is for this particular territory, but then the content changes completely. We know the current US crawlers, they're all in the US. Right. Which is why we don't want those horrible redirects between sites. So how do we how's that gonna change? So I think there's gonna be a lot of catching up to do. I also think we're gonna see consolidation amongst the tech stack as well. We're [00:30:00] already seeing it. We're seeing so many tech partners bringing out more offering under one roof.

Yeah. Which to be honest with you, I think is gonna be a real blessing because it means that we probably can subsidize some costs for merchants. So they're spending less on lots of separate providers. Yeah. Also the tech stacks are pretty messy when you've got the same JavaScript library being loaded about 200 times from every single provider.

Yeah, which I think is interesting. I think I probably go back to what I was saying before is I think merchants that are gonna succeed through current times and what's gonna change in the eCommerce spaces that focus on experience rather than selling. All about experience, diverse content across pages, making uniqueness, and also tapping into areas of the site that often get forgotten like that my account area, or, yeah, or the experience when the parcel arrives at the door.

I think. I won't start talking about logistics right now, but I think there's gonna be a real movement in that [00:31:00] experience for the way that we receive products. 

Callum: Yeah. Logistics is one of the big untouched areas because it's so damn expensive to do. Yeah. 

Nic: Yeah, one just a real quick example. Patch Plants, key kind of player in home plants.

They have all their own vans and they turn up and their driver will let you give you their plant. Tell you about the plant. And it's like an amazing experience like that personality of online is now at my door as at my, literally my door. I think that's gonna be a real interesting one to see how brands scale, something like that.

Callum: That's huge. That's huge. That's really interesting. That is really interesting. I mean, when you look at, if brands can I, I, we work with a couple of brands that own. You know, almost a part of their business is a logistics firm. So say someone like AO in the UK, a big online appliances, retailer, they own their own vans, the people delivering are their own staff.

And I think those team members, if they can be involved [00:32:00] in the culture and the processing of that company and deliver a personalized message when they're delivering, you know, like right. Here's your delivery. Like you say, this is how you use it, or just some tips. Like, you know, if, if you're going to store this in, in your garage, don't do this.

Don't do that. You know, like not just throwing it through the gate or the, on the door and just going, see you later. I think if you could do a little bit more on the, the delivery process, but logistics is, is a big challenge. I think, Shopify is, is getting more and more involved in the logistics. who did they just purchase?

They purchased one of the three PL companies, one of the big ones. I can't, I think of their name, not ship station, ship stations. The other guy 

Nic: Avico. Oh, no Amazon purchase Avico actually, didn't they? 

Callum: Yeah, it wasn't was it, I'm just gonna check, I am gonna, I don't normally do this on the podcast, but , it is bugging me so.

Nic: It's bugging me as well. it's deliver, I think it was Deliverr. 

Callum: The one with two r's, [00:33:00] deliver with 

Nic: yeah, yeah, 

Callum: yeah, yeah. That's right. Yeah. So obviously with them purchasing, that was a massive purchase. I think a couple of billion. 

Nic: Yeah. 2.1, 2.1 billion.

Callum: Yeah. 2.1 billion. I mean, they have an opportunity there to change logistics and they 

Nic: I think 

Callum: probably work as like a, you know, roll that out to get more merchants in that, in their own logistics platforms, similar to what you do with it, fulfilled by Amazon FBA.

Nic: Literally what I was just gonna say actually is it's almost like a, Hey, you know, Amazon, you've got logistics now, so can we, but actually we're still gonna allow merchants to have their very own experiences, which I think is really, really interesting. And it's nice to keep, keep us away from that department store focused that eCommerce could go down.

I think the one, one point I will just add on that. I, you mentioned kind of what we think's gonna change in the future. One focus we see massively is obviously automation brands always wanna automate as much as possible. I really hope we see a change of yes, automation is possible. We know it's so [00:34:00] important.

We, we know that for keeping margins, keeping margins, right. And and allowing businesses to scale. But also we want to kind of take a step back and make sure that we're still being very personal in our experiences. Our local coffee shop near where I live is just installed these touch screens that allow me to order my latte and a touch screen.

I'm like the whole thing about a coffee shop is going in saying hello to somebody ordering my coffee, and waiting for it and just watching and being around people. I hope we can bring some of that to the web. Yeah. And not put screen of automation in place of it because. It's like those touch points that you can really push that brand personality.

They're the things that make me excited about buying. And as soon as we put too many automations in place, you know, it starts starting to feel very dehumanized in that buying experience. 

Callum: Yeah. Yeah. No, I agree. I, I totally agree. People wanna buy from people, even if they're blinding online, they wanna know that there's someone there if they need help. Yeah. Yeah. And it's not just gonna be [00:35:00] an automated bot, a chat bot. Yeah. And I, I totally agree with that. 

Nick, thank you so much for being on today's podcast. Honestly, we could talk to you all day. Been amazing. I'm gonna add so many show notes for this episode, because I think we've you know, spoke about so many good things. If you're an eCommerce, if you're running an eCommerce or there is so many insights that we've, we've spoken about today that people can learn from, I really appreciate it. Nick. Hope to meet you in person. honestly, Nick, thanks for being on, been a superstar as always, and I hope to catch up soon.

Absolutely. Nick. 

Nic: Thanks.

Callum: I'll see you later. I'll add all the show notes. Thanks very much, Nick. 

Nic: Cheers. Bye-bye.

Callum: Cheers. Bye.

Callum: Thank you for listening today. In reviews we trust is a bi-weekly podcast where I hope to be bringing you advice and insights from brands that are taking the e-commerce world by storm.