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Ep. 7 - How to use Turbo to Set Your Shopify Store up for Success in 2019 with Sean Campbell

Sean Campbell is a Project Manager with Out of the Sandbox, which you are likely already familiar with if you are currently a Shopify user (and if you aren’t, your life is about to get a whole lot easier).

Out of the Sandbox has been designing robust and revolutionary themes for the Shopify ecommerce platform since 2011. They create feature-rich, flexible, and beautiful themes that not only make your shop look professional, but also perform to high standards and convert to sales – including Turbo, which is quite possibly the best Shopify theme out there.

And in this episode, Sean shares some secrets that will help us get the most out of Turbo.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [3:30] OOTS isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel; they’re just offering highly flexible options for best practices eCommerce
  • [6:30] What you can expect when you first install Turbo
  • [17:30] The pricing model for premium themes
  • [18:00] The Turbo theme updating app
  • [22:00] Top support requests received by the Turbo team
  • [25:00] Problems that the Turbo team can and can’t help with
  • [27:15] How you can get the most out of Shopify in 2019

You can get a 20% discount on the Turbo theme using code “honestecommerce” at outofthesandbox.com/collections/turbo-theme.

Resources:

If you’re enjoying the show, we’d love it if you left Honest Ecommerce a review on Apple Podcasts. It makes a huge impact on the success of the podcast, and we love reading every one of your reviews!

Transcript:

Sean Campbell  

I think that's what really completes the story, a theme. What really ends up making one merchant who uses our theme, completely different from another merchant that uses our theme, is the story that they're telling through their high-quality photography.

 

Annette Grant  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce where we are dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners.

 

Chase Clymer  

I'm your host, Chase Clymer.

 

Annette Grant  

And I'm your host, Annette Grant.

 

Chase Clymer  

And we believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game.

 

Annette Grant  

If you're struggling to scale your sales electric is here to help to apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/Connect to learn more.

 

Chase Clymer  

And let's get on with the show. 

 

In this episode of Honest Ecommerce, we talked to Sean Campbell, the project manager of Out of the Sandbox about the Turbo Theme. 

 

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce. I am here with Annette Grant, my lovely co-host, and we're welcoming to the show today, Sean Campbell, the project manager from Out of the Sandbox

 

Most of you should be familiar with Out of the Sandbox. They have the, quite possibly, the best Shopify theme out there, the Turbo Theme. So today we've got Sean. He is going to share some secrets on how to best utilize that theme. So Sean, quickly though, why should we listen to you?

 

Sean Campbell  

Thanks a ton, Chase. Again, thanks for having me on the show and why you should listen to me? Well, I'd like to think that I have seen my fair share of online stores in various states of repair, in various states of completion, and various states of success. 

 

So, from my years with Out of the Sandbox, I've been a project manager here for a little over a year. But I've been involved with their support department since, I believe, 2014. 

 

And in that time, I have access to thousands and thousands of Shopify stores to take a look at what's going on. 

 

To see what the best solution is for the query that they're sending into our support department, and to try to figure out the fastest track to success and to complete setup for a high number of merchants. Before that, I was a project manager at another Shopify agency at Pointer Creative

 

Also doing the support component for Out of the Sandbox. I've been making video documentation for Out of the Sandbox products now for a number of years. 

 

So, I'd like to think that I'm quite sort of fluent in this ecosystem. I have met many partners, many merchants, and I've just seen so many stores that I'd like to think that I know a thing or two about a thing or two.

 

Chase Clymer  

No, I'm just kidding. I absolutely. You definitely know more than I do about Turbo, which is saying a lot. I'll let our listeners behind the veil. 

 

Every custom store we build is based on the Turbo Theme so if you want to work with us, you want to get us a step ahead just install Turbo and you save us 20 minutes’ work.

 

Annette Grant  

And a disclaimer, I also use the Turbo Theme because Chase, of course, helped me with my shop. So I'm a big fan.

 

Sean Campbell  

Just hearing that from you two individually, is just so inspiring to hear that this is sort of your jumping-off point for any of your custom builds is that you turn to Turbo, knowing that it's this solid product that has a high capability for being customized, whether it's with what we offer with the built-in settings, or with what you will offer with your customization services. 

 

So great to hear that any agency, any freelancer is using Turbo as sort of their jumping-off point as well as hearing about our merchants who are sort of doing it themselves and are able to use the built-in components of Turbo to get all set-up.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I would just like to point out; The reasoning behind why we use Turbo is A - the customer support is amazing. You're not reinventing the wheel with anything you're selling online, and I guarantee that someone on Out of the Sandbox has had your question come up before and they've got documentation on how to help you out there. 

 

But B -  we believe in, you know, agility and being quick to market and custom developing. You guys, out of the box, it's like 95% of all of the stuff you're going to need for an online store. Work smarter, not harder. "Let's not custom code that let's get a base in there.  And then let's re-skin the cat and make it look and feel how we want."

 

Sean Campbell  

You're totally on point, Chase. And I mean, you nailed it by saying that we're not really reinventing the wheel. I know that might be contrary to the name Out of the Sandbox. 

 

But I'd like to think that we're not really doing anything that's too crazy and out there. We're just offering highly flexible options for best practices in Ecommerce. And that's what we see when we look at the Turbo Theme. 

 

None of it seems to be wild and crazy, but all of it is exactly what you would expect as a shopper and exactly what you'd expect as a merchant. 

 

Then with all of the settings that you would need to hopefully tweak it into what you have in mind as far as functionality or as far as appearance and if not, and you can reach out to an agency such as your own to have this adjusted to suit.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, and I just also want to go on record here. Well, I'm not being paid by Out of the Sandbox to boast Turbo. It's just, it's our honest opinion. It's what we use for the small to medium-sized business that is a fantastic starting point. 

 

Once you start getting to medium and you know, enterprise and out there, that's when custom is king. All those milliseconds matter with your load times with your website. And that's a whole different conversation, but for most SMBs, turbo is going to do you justice.

 

Sean Campbell  

Again, you're completely on point Chase and I feel that our merchants own self-awareness with where they are in the ecosystem as far as the size of their business. 

 

What's necessary as far as customization to their storefront is a good thing to know, it's a very good thing to know for your own budget, is this something that you could take care of completely on your own using a fully-featured theme with a ton of settings, or is the level of expectation that you have, to the degree that you should have somebody handling all these things on your behalf, whether they're small tasks from small tasks as experts, or whether they're larger full builds from an agency.

 

Annette Grant  

And for our listeners, before I switched to the Turbo Theme, I had a list of probably like 100 changes I needed to make to my old theme, and instead of paying a developer to do all of that, we just made the theme switch and that list got thrown away and we never had a look back and they were things that I thought should have been inherent and just there and my other theme and they weren't. 

 

So they weren't big changes. They were things that I just knew that my customer was looking for. So yeah, I mean hours and thousands of dollars just wiped out by simply purchasing the theme, so thank you for that.

 

Sean Campbell  

That puts a huge smile on my face. And to tell you the truth, I want to see that list of 100 things.

 

Annette Grant  

I still have it my Slack. So let me, I can go back and show you.

 

Sean Campbell  

Our Turbo sales pitch will just add those 100 points. 

 

Annette Grant  

There we go.

 

Chase Clymer  

Cool. So I believe that you know, at this point someone listening is like, you know, I'm gonna check out Turbo see what it's about. But what Shopify merchant will expect when they're switching over to Turbo?

 

Sean Campbell  

Sure thing. I would imagine that if you are already - I find it unlikely that someone will hear about the Turbo Theme if it's their first day being involved in the Shopify platform. It's not necessarily even marketed to people who are just discovering the Shopify platform on its own, this is really something for people who have figured out the platform may be a weekend. 

 

Maybe they've toyed around with one of the free themes that Shopify offers and sees what's possible with the platform, what the differences between the platform itself and the theme that you're running on it, and then start to get ideas of what else would I like this storefront to be able to do, how else would I like it to look, and what other functionality would I like to add. It's in that questioning that you would discover the premium theme market

 

And I would hope that you would also discover the Turbo Theme at that point. And what you would discover after running the trial or after installing Turbo, I would say the most apparent thing would be the number of settings. 

 

There are far more settings than you would expect in a theme if you take a look at the number of themes and far more settings than what you'll see in a Shopify free theme. 

 

And this is really to add in that flexibility that we're talking about; That once you look at your store and you're making this list of things that you'd like change that you'd like adjusted, well then you can take a look at the Turbo settings and find that most of those ideas are already accounted for with something that you can enable or disable or configure in a certain way. 

 

So, the settings first and foremost would be what you would notice differently about the Turbo Theme. 

 

As I mentioned not reinventing the wheel as far as how it's presenting your Shopify content, but high levels of flexibility in the way homepage is set up in the way the product page, collection page is set up as well. 

 

I'd say though, that after sort of scratching the surface a little bit with the theme and discovering some of them even more in-depth special features. 

 

For instance, our .details templates are some components of the Turbo Theme that are sometimes missed in the first experiments with the Turbo Theme but are highly powerful templates that are far removed from what the regular page template and what the regular product template can do. 

 

And what we've done with these .details templates is created a way that in the Shopify settings editor, you can add and remove various content blocks, whether they be images, passages of text, to specific pages and to specific products. 

 

This is usually done with fairly static settings. Whereas we have added .details templates that you have full control over a certain portion of your product page over a full page template to sort of reposition elements as you choose and make a far more robust presentation of your brand. 

 

Besides that, I would say that these would be the sort of the settings and the configuration components that would be immediately apparent to merchants as they install Turbo. 

 

But how will that impact the merchant’s customers is, it would be in sort of the speed and the efficiency with which they operate that online store. So, there's such a focus on a speedy checkout flow and efficient navigation, that everything is just available in the position that you would expect for it to be available. 

 

And the number of steps that it takes to go from the homepage to the checkout is completely minimized to allow for as few blockers as possible within that process. So, just to name a few as far as navigation goes, the main menu being a major component of any online store. 

 

Our Turbo Theme has a mega menu component built into it without any need for additional applications to be installed, that allows for main menus that have dropped downs with images, multiple menus taken from the navigation settings and Shopify, additional content if you'd like to just make a highly robust drop-down, the type that you've seen on some of your favorite online stores that are, sort of, full builds. 

 

Besides that, I'm sure that a number of your guests have discussed the importance of searching and filtering in the online store experience. 

 

And to address that, we've added a multi-tag filter to the Turbo Theme, sort of the first of its kind within a theme itself. There have been apps that can do multi-tag filtering for a number of years. 

 

Well, we've added that capability directly to the Turbo Theme to, sort of, save you from having this search for an app to add to the theme, to save you from having to search for someone to add that app to the theme, it's all sort of included, along with our predictive search feature

 

So, as many merchants noticed, the Shopify search feature often leaves a little bit to be desired. It has a straight-up search, but it doesn't necessarily do the predictive component that is expected by a lot of shoppers. 

 

So, to combine that predictive search, with the multi-tag filtering component, and a robust mega menu, you have your navigation, filtering and searching all taken care of using built-in features as opposed to any features that need to be added afterward. 

 

So, those would be I guess, my first impressions, the first impressions I would like a merchant to have whenever they're accessing the Turbo Theme for the first time.

 

Annette Grant  

Do you normally see increased conversions, like within the first month of people switching over to the Turbo Theme, is that something that's pretty easy to pinpoint for your customers?

 

Sean Campbell  

It is not on our side. As far as the number of people that have the Turbo Theme out in the wild, and being able to reach out to them to get that data from them, that's unfortunately not something that we have on the go right now. 

 

But anecdotally, we hear from people all the time about how Turbo and say that it adjusted their conversion is scratching the surface. Turbo "changed my life", or "changed my online store", it "changed my branding", it "changed the way that my business is being presented to the world." 

 

And with that, we would like to think that their conversions are also moving up into the right, as it is said, especially with the expedited checkout flow that you can get from the homepage to the checkout, now, in a number of ways, with an individual click. 

 

For instance, having the dynamic payment buttons, enabled on a featured product on your homepage. would allow somebody to progress directly to the checkout without any additional steps. 

 

Now, this particular section is becoming more and more standard in Shopify themes. But understand that we're one of the first to have this as a feature on the homepage, and continue to look for ways that we can expedite the checkout flow. 

 

Even though we have it now down to just the one click.

 

Chase Clymer  

I want to chime in here and discuss having all of those features built-in to the theme and what advantage that helps you with. 

 

Any feature you can custom build in, but starting with a theme that has that built-in, the reasoning behind why that's awesome is A - you don't have to pay for a developer to do that, B - Out of the Sandbox has QA'd (quality assurance’d), this theme to death. 

 

Whereas you know, if you have a developer custom code, you a particular feature, it may not work well with some of your plugins. 

 

Down the line, it might break. You might find something weird. And when you're using a premium theme, the updates that theme are going to fix any of those issues for free with your license, whereas some developers won't do those changes for free. If you know if it's some error with the code or you install a new app that breaks it.

 

Sean Campbell  

Completely correct Chase. I mean, that's one of the motivators for adding, --Sorry, I say one of the motivators-- three of the motivators. 

 

For baking these features directly in the theme, the cost of an app would be the most obvious issue that addresses in the sense that it wouldn't need to be searched for searching for an app that has that functionality. You'll be faced with maybe a dozen that offer similar functionality. 

 

And you're already using your own time to assess between these apps, which one is most appropriate for that functionality that I have in mind. Then you find the one that seems to check all those boxes, who install it on to your apps handle, with potentially a monthly fee associated with it. 

 

You cross your fingers that it is completely compatible right out of the box. But all that testing is happening on the merchant’s end. 

 

If a problem arises, which unfortunately with the app and theme adventure issues eventually arise as far as compatibility goes to then suss out who is the correct support department to reach out to both support departments will forward your request to the opposite support department. 

 

And you'll be caught in this badminton match between an app developer and a theme developer, just the headaches that come from implementing apps for a particular functionality. 

 

If we see that functionality as being something that is just being requested and requested and requested either through app installs or through what we hear on support, then it is a prime candidate for something that will be baked directly into the Turbo Theme. 

 

And then some of the more popular features that go into the Turbo Theme that we see a high amount of success with, eventually trickle down into the rest of our catalog as well, which is available on the shop. 

 

So between the cost, compatibility, figuring out who's going to solve these problems whenever they arise, those are all sort of solved in one fell swoop by adding app-related functionality to the theme itself. 

 

We do the quality assurance, like you said, we're the support department to reach out to if anything is going wrong with these features. And that is all included in the one time cost of the theme. 

 

So it just really checks all those boxes. And we're always on the hunt for that next feature that we can bake into the theme to, in a sense, save somebody from going down the rabbit hole. 

 

Now, I do want to give a ton of credit to our friends in the app ecosystem. There's so much that apps can do that themes cannot. 

 

And for any of the features that I just mentioned that are baked into the theme, if you are looking to do something slightly different with it, if you're looking for further flexibility on that feature, then perhaps an app would be the right way to go. And you would have sort of a more fully-featured version of that feature. 

 

But if you're looking for the straight-up mega menu, the straight-up multi-tech filter, do you want to have product suggested on your cart page, these types of things, then check out what the built-in version is like in the Turbo Theme and potentially save yourself a lot of time and headaches.

 

Annette Grant  

For listeners that are not on either Shopify or potentially are on a free theme. Can we just explain to them the fee base here and that it's a one time charge? Correct? Sean for the Turbo Theme?

 

Sean Campbell  

That's correct. Yes. 

 

Annette Grant  

And then, any updates that come out? Those are always those are free, also correct?

 

Sean Campbell  

Yes, we are offering, we do a year of free updates on  As far as that goes, yes. And we also have the first-of-its-kind Theme Updater App, which I would be remiss not to mention to this audience that we know. I mean, app installations, being a pain point for theme customers, that pales in comparison to the pains that come from updating a theme on Shopify. 

 

The Shopify Theme Updating Process involves taking a fresh copy of the theme, installing it on your themes panel, and starting over. There is no way of really carrying over your past setting configurations to the new version. 

 

If you've had code modifications happen to that version, they will need to be reapplied to the new version as well. So, it takes a lot of time, potentially some technical prowess as well, to go through the conventional updating process on Shopify. 

 

So, we have created an app that gets installed on the Shopify apps panel that will look through the themes that you have on your themes panel, identify any out of the sandbox themes, also this worked with Pixel Union themes, and it will automatically add the most recent version of that theme to your themes panel. 

 

And it will detect all of your setting configurations and have them apply to automatically to the new version of the theme, it will even attempt to detect all of the code modifications that have happened to your previous version, and then attempt to apply that to the new version of the theme as well. 

 

So if people have maybe just a few customizations, especially those that are just part of the style sheet, those will automatically transfer over to that new version of the theme, to hopefully retain all of your setting customizations, and then all of your additional code modifications as well, to hopefully address that updating pain point. 

 

And to show that there is sort of this better way this other way of doing it. That isn't quite as manual. So, thanks for letting me get that plugin for the Theme Updater App. A very helpful tool that saves time for merchants all over the place.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, that app is amazing. It's so frustrating, the original way which I've dealt with a million times. So hopefully every other theme house gets on board out there. 

 

Sean Campbell  

That means a lot coming from you Chase, just because if it's for custom builds, we might not necessarily suggest using the Theme Updater App if there have been in-depth, widespread modifications to the code. A lot of that would just need to be carried over manually anyway, can still run an update for sure. 

 

And it will still do as many of the automatic processes as it can. But if there are drastic changes between the version that's being updated and the default version, you're almost just as far along to do the manual version or the manual updating process. So, to hear that you guys are able to leverage it to some degree on your end is great to hear. 

 

Chase Clymer  

I will be very honest here. Our custom clients are SOL on that but the ones that are we're just using Turbo and helping them set it up the right way for conversions, those they can push a button, everything's fine. 

But yeah, once you start getting custom, it's more manual And we always look at what is changing with the new update. And taking that into consideration, is it worth venturing down that rabbit hole to update?

 

Sean Campbell  

For sure. And that's the process that the app is almost trying to do algorithmically. And as you know, the challenges of sort of identifying what was the purpose of this customization originally; Does the update address that purpose? 

 

Does this really need to be reapplied? There's a lot of human logic that's still involved in that portion of the updating process. So, if the app can get smarter and smarter over time, so be it but you're right for big custom builds, the app wouldn't introduce.

 

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I've got a fun question here. So you, you know, as a project manager, and I'm sure that you have overseen a lot of support requests coming in what are some of the like the top requests that you hear coming in about, you know, the Turbo Theme,

 

Sean Campbell  

A lot of them would be, I would say that a lot of support requests that we receive are looking to do, what people would be reaching out to your agency to do or what people would be reaching out optimally to a small task expert to do. 

 

And these would be things that are just slightly out of the bounds of what the built-in settings are able to do. 

 

And we love to receive those tickets because we do want to detail for these merchants, what their next best option is with the built-in features, but then also provide for them a reference to some of our favorite small task experts that can take a look at their more particular queries. 

 

So that's a lot of the support we receive are, unfortunately, out of scope questions that regard things that the built-in settings can't do right now. But we often take them also as feature requests. Sort of taking, we create an issue with that feature, and we start adding any tickets that are requesting that feature. 

 

We add them as references to, in a sense, have our merchants vote on these features, and then qualify them for our subsequent updates. So we're very happy to receive those queries, even if we're not able to address them directly. 

 

Besides that, there are app conflicts that seem to be one that comes in fairly often, people will have an older app installed, that could be reinstalled and resolve all their issues. But the first stop is often our own support department. 

 

And then we, hopefully, can identify what app or what change is conflicting with the default operation of the theme, and then direct them to the correct department as such, besides that, so yeah, customization requests a lot of app-related questions. 

 

But what we're finding less and less our questions in regards to the actual setup and operation of the theme, and I think that might be a testament to our documentation, and our videos that we have out there that hopefully walk people through all of the in-scope possibilities with the theme, and answer their questions before they have written into our support department. 

 

If they're writing in with a question, that is something that's explained in our documentation, we love to provide that documentation. 

 

And at that point, they have access and an eye on answers to other questions they might potentially have. So, that's what we would love to have to come into our support department are in scope questions about the built-in settings and features of the theme. 

 

But because those are all being addressed proactively with our documentation, with our video support, we don't get as many of those questions and the questions we receive are often looking for a different place to direct the question whether it be a small task expert Shopify themselves, or up to an agency.

 

Chase Clymer  

So, if you could try to help educate our listeners, what would be a way to understand the difference between in-scope/out of scope with the requests that come in? And let me rephrase that question. 

 

What would be maybe an example or an identifier of a task that wouldn't be, you wouldn't be able to help with it, Out of the Sandbox and that you would need to hire out an expert in the field?

 

Sean Campbell  

Sure thing, I think, one sort of topic that would be prevalent in that sense would be anything that needs to be changed about one particular product, or one particular link. All of these themes are sort of setup using templates. 

 

So, all of the products that you have on the Shopify platform would be using one of a few various product templates. 

 

So, if you want the... this is totally a random example, but you'd like the product title of one of your products to appear in purple, whereas all the other product titles you want to appear in blue, there is no way within the built-in theme settings to target that one product individually to change the color of that one product title wherever it happens to appear on the site. So, this would be something quite specific. 

 

So, something that it's often that the merchant has thought about it or thought it up, come up with this idea themselves, or read about it on a blog somewhere, and then reach out to say, "Hey, can I change this one thing, this one possible way?" 

 

A good way for them to qualify that themselves would be to explore through the theme settings. That, if it's possible with the theme settings, that's ultimately the solution. And if it's not possible with the built-in theme settings, then it's likely out of scope. 

 

But as I said, we love to receive those questions to suss it out, see if there's the next best solution that we can offer within the product itself, and then provide a reference for deferring the question to a small task expert. 

 

So I would say that the more familiarity that you have with the settings of the theme and how this theme is set up, the more familiarity you would have with what we would consider in scope and out of scope. 

 

We have a fairly robust support policy as well, that can define what we consider in and out of scope. But we would never want that to discourage someone from writing in so that we could still give them the next best answer.

 

Chase Clymer  

That's a fantastic answer. So looking out, you know, we're recording this in January 2019. I hope it's out in February. We've got a few in the can now but I'm so looking out for 2019, what would you say are some tips that you want to give merchants to get the best out of Shopify this year?

 

Sean Campbell  

Absolutely. And first, I mean, congratulations on getting this many episodes taped in a hurry, can't wait for this one to be out in the wild. As far as tips for 2019, I feel that some of them we have we've discussed as far as having your navigation, filtering and search as configured components that are ready to go that you're happy with how they appear. 

 

But I do I think I have got two other points that can set you up for success in 2019. 

 

I believe listening to Kurt, give us a talk in your first episode, the importance of an email newsletter pop up to capture the opt-ins to capture those email addresses of interest customers, as I discussed on Kurt's podcast or sorry on Kurt's live chat.

 

I personally don't like pop-ups, but that's because we access it all day long and pop-ups really just get in the way, whereas shoppers are actually interested in getting this additional information. 

 

And the reviews are in their data. It is out there of how effective pop-ups are for capturing email addresses. Besides having a pop up though to have other opportunities throughout the experience on the site, where the shopper can enter their email address, I think it is important. 

 

And the Turbo Theme itself, as you load up the homepage, you can be presented with the newsletter pop up, but additionally, you can also have a section of the homepage contain an additional newsletter signup field. And then finally the footer as well can contain that newsletter signup fields. 

 

So sort of this three-pronged approach to capturing email addresses right from the initial engagement with the storefront.

 

So, that I think to have all of those enabled and configured could potentially capture more and more email addresses, which is the front end of your email marketing campaign, that I figure that anyone listening to this is already tuned into. I don't have any advice on what you want to do with your email marketing campaign. 

 

But as far as capturing those addresses, the Turbo Theme and our hope catalog actually have the capability of grabbing those email addresses from a multiple from multiple locations on the homepage. 

 

So, prevalent newsletter signups would be a tip for the new year. Then finally, this one is just a classic tip. I think I've been saying this from before turbo was out in the wild before our artists and team were out in the wild is the importance of high-quality photography. 

 

This would apply to your product images, as well as your lifestyle images or your banner images that the theme is already designed. It's already developed. And now it's up to you. 

 

I hate to use the term "it's yours to lose". But, now it's just up to you to add in the best photography that you have. 

 

And now all of your Shopify content will be displayed, optimally in a way that has been sort of best practice tested in a way that isn't reinventing the wheel, but is giving shoppers exactly what they expect, as far as navigation, searching, filtering and buying. 

 

I would triple down on your photography initiative, whatever you can do to get your product and your essence, I mean, we call it the branding, but it's really what are you trying to get across? What do people want to be whenever they get your thing? 

 

Well, that's what your lifestyle photography is trying to show them is like, this is what you want to be. “Do you want to be this? Buy this thing and you can buy it right here from the homepage.”

 

So I think that that's what really completes the story with a theme. What really ends up making one merchant who uses our theme, completely different from another merchant that uses our theme is the story that they're telling through their high-quality photography.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I have had a few projects come along, where we were using Turbo to help them along the way and we'd have to put it on pause and say we need to do a photoshoot here. 

 

Because it doesn't matter how amazing the website design is, if the photography is subpar, your website is subpar. There's no way to fake it.

 

Sean Campbell  

Completely right. And if you were to look at even custom builds that don't start with a particular theme, is there a jumping-off point, if you were to break down what is this site without the high-quality photography, you would notice that it has not reinvented the wheel that the menu is exactly where you thought it would be. 

 

We've got things in a three-up layout that's responsive. None of this stuff is that far fetched? Whenever we looked at custom builds compared to themes. What makes it stand apart is the photography and how the photography is implemented with the theme or with the custom build.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, and if we just take a step back from that, as the goal here with this web design, you know Shopify using Turbo, not using Turbo, custom site, doesn't matter. The goal is to sell something and the Amazons, the Walmart's the Targets those giants, you know, behemoths that are selling stuff all day long, they are training people how to buy online. 

 

You don't want to reinvent the wheel, you don't want your website to be so different. People are going to get there get confused, you're gonna lose sales. So in a sense, you want to go with the flow. And then secondary to that is tell your brand story. 

 

With high-quality photography. Obviously, there are a million other ways to do that videography your About Us page, you know, what you guys are doing on social can help with that story. 

 

But as far as the functionality that user experience on your site, if you're drifting further and further away from what these big companies are doing, your conversions are also going to start going down.

 

Sean Campbell  

And we'd like to think that if you're swinging away from the built-in components of the theme, that you're often going down unknown territory as well. I mean, there's such a robust app environment that there's a lot of very appropriate additional functionality, but whatever it is, we want to hear about it. 

 

Because we'd like to have that as part of your merchant experience when using the theme, then have that translate to the shopper’s experience. And that's one thing I mean, for the audience listening now like you look at your site more than anybody will ever look at it, and you may compare your site to another site. 

 

Or you may compare it to another site using the same theme as yours, and start to "Oh, this looks very similar to their version of this or this is looking like..." Well just understand that shoppers do not experience Ecommerce in the same way. Shoppers do not stare at sites for hours on end. 

 

Making these qualitative comparisons, they're looking to assess whether or not they want to buy a product, and then proceed with that purchase. 

 

And to really narrow it down to those basic steps and put yourself directly into the shoppers perspective, as opposed to the merchant perspective, but we're thinking about all the time, you know, how is our product going to be used by merchant, what's the merchant going to think of our job here? Well, let's think about what they should be thinking about. 

 

And that's the shopper’s perspective on all of this stuff. And it's really about getting your product and your story, front, and center with a way of purchasing it immediately. And if you keep your eye on the prize, that way, you can save yourself a ton of additional work, and additional effort in trying to customize something into what your mind's eye would like to see for your site. 

 

Maybe take it down a notch to: "What would your shopper want to see from the site?" And how can your shopper most effectively buy this product? So that's just my little rant about customer perspective and how we often forget about what it's actually like to be an online shopper when we stare at websites for hours and hours a day.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head there. And I think that if you're thinking about redesigning your website, and I don't want to call anybody out here, this has not happened. 

 

So don't take this personally if you think it sounds like you, but if you like you're in your gut, you're like, I want this custom, beautiful website. I want... We need... That's the wrong way to think about it. What does your customer want? What does your customer need? Because at the end of the day, they're the ones that are making the purchases.

 

Sean Campbell  

Totally right. And I mean, there are definitely types of businesses or types of entrepreneurs that are looking to create an artful masterpiece of a storefront. And there are definitely agencies out there to help you with that thing. 

 

But to think that that correlates necessarily with converting is a conversation that you may want to have with your team or with whomever you're in business with. Because the focus should be on selling this product not necessarily winning an award for the beautiful website of the year.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. All right, Sean, so I think we've danced around it. Turbo is one hell of a theme.

 

Sean Campbell  

I'm glad to hear it and glad to hear that you guys are using it as this jumping-off point. 

 

I'll put in a plug for the future: We are creating a theme that is working on the same flexibility concept that we've added to Turbo, to allow it to be this jumping-off point, we are definitely doubling down on that approach with our next theme to have it as a highly, highly flexible, almost a builder of themes, something that can be used by agencies and merchants alike, agencies to use it as this jumping-off point, or for merchants themselves to almost make themselves into a little agency with all kinds of options for configuring the layouts and the general templates of the storefront. 

 

So, we're really looking forward to that in the first part of this year, we'll have a new theme, hopefully taking over the market. And it's definitely working off of what we're hearing from agencies like your own. 

 

First, the flexibility, the prototyping tool that Turbo has become. It started as a performance focus theme with flexibility. Now, it's turned into a flexible prototyping tool with this added benefit of having very high-performance statistics. 

 

So we're going to continue down that path of offering flexibility as the main proposition of our products.

 

Chase Clymer  

If I could put a bug in your ear for two requests that I'd like to see, or one because one would work just fine. 

 

As an agency, you know, if we could see Turbo or just any of the themes that you guys bring to market in the future, if we could have the availability as partners to get either the sketch files or like a PSD, Oh my gosh!

 

Sean Campbell  

I thought you had two requests. (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

Well, they're different files. There are two different files there. 

 

Sean Campbell  

Got it, got it. (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

But one of them will work for me though. (laughs)

 

Sean Campbell  

I've taken notes, and that is definitely in the cards for this agency related theme, to have as much documentation available for developers and for agencies such as your own, to be able to really get into the guts of the theme and do with it what you wish whatever is not already, in a sense built into it, we would still like that process to be even more accessible for our developer friends.

 

Chase Clymer  

That is amazing. I am excited. I'm not gonna hold you to it. But you know what, how long are we talking? 

 

Sean Campbell  

Well, I'm not sure if you're going to be at Unite this year. But we hope to be at Unite and we hope to have great news there.

 

Chase Clymer  

We will absolutely be in Unite. It's one of our favorites that Shopify puts on. Let's be real, if it's close to us, we're going. We go to all the events.

 

Sean Campbell  

You got to come to visit us up here in Canada.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. I love it up there. Alrighty. And Annette, before the show, Annette made this happen while I was dealing with technical difficulties. But with that being said, I\is there any specific you know, discount code or link or anything that you want to shout out about?

 

Sean Campbell  

Absolutely. For your listeners today. We have a special discount code. It's HONESTECOMMERCE, all one word, the name of the podcast and that will get you a 20% discount. 

 

It applies to the Turbo Theme, specifically as we can't do the same type of discounting on themes that are also available on the Shopify theme store, and with the premium status of Turbo, it's available specifically on outofthesandbox.com and you can use the HONESTECOMMERCE, all one word, discount code for 20% off with that title.

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. I can't thank you enough for being on the show. You know if our customers want to reach out directly to you, how do they find you online? 

 

Sean Campbell  

Sure thing. I believe I'm @SeanpHCampbell on Twitter. It would be a decent way of getting in touch for sure. Additionally, sean@outofthesandbox.com if you wanted to send me an email that is not support related, be fairly specific that you'll get faster, better service if you submit your support request through our normal channels.

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Sean. 

 

Annette Grant  

Thank you, Sean

 

Sean Campbell  

It was really my pleasure. Shout out to Pixel Union, shout to The Unofficial Shopify Podcast and Kurt Elster, Ethercycle, Mike at Shopify, Storetasker, Blend, Spently, all of our friends had to give that quick shout out of course.

 

Annette Grant  

No problem. Thank you, Sean.

 

Sean Campbell  

Thanks for having me on the show, guys.

 

Chase Clymer  

We can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing the truth. links and more will be available in the show notes. If you found any actionable advice in this podcast that you'd like to apply to your business, please reach out at electriceye.io/connect.

 

Annette Grant  

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