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Value-Based Design with Nick Disabato - Honest Ecommerce Ep. 2

Nick Disabato is the writer and designer behind independent interaction design consultancy Draft and the newly released book Value-Based Design.

If you are a designer in any kind of organization, or if you run an organization that hires designers, this book is a must-read.

It’ll help you understand how a designer proves their worth, turning design from a qualitative concept that you just feel to a quantitative business element that we can measure and experiment with to improve business metrics.

This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [0:00] Intro
  • [3:15] Nick’s inspiration for writing the book
  • [4:40] Who should read Value-Based Design
  • [5:20] Making design quantitative
  • [11:00] Treating your online store as a tech company
  • [12:50] Learning to identify & analyze the data from your online store
  • [14:30] The most common mistakes people make when running an online store
  • [17:40] User testing: How breaking best practices to be cool can bite you in the butt
  • [22:23] Sponsor: Simplr: simplr.ai/honest
  • [23:12] Embracing mobile-first design
  • [28:00] Leveraging user testing (and other creative ideas) to increase revenue
  • [32:00] Nick’s advice for solopreneur store owners


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 everyone!


Nick Disabato
For any designer, if you're in house, if you're in the agency, whatever you do, how do you practice design in a way that it focuses on the economic value that you're capable of generating for a business?

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 scaling your sales electric guy 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.

On today's episode of honest eCommerce, we talked to Nick Disabato of Draft Revise about Conversion Rate Optimization.

Hey everybody, this is Chase Clymer, and Annette Grant from Honest Ecommerce coming to you today with yet another Chicagoan. Today we've got Nick Disabato from Draft Revise, talking about his new book, planning CRO and execution through 2019. How are you doing today Nick?

Nick Disabato
Doing great. Thank you so much for having me on.

Annette Grant
Thank you for being here.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, you've got a lot of value to share. And I will tell you that I've been a fan of yours for way longer than you've known about me. Yeah, no, no so so quick backstory on me.

You probably don't know this. I was in a band forever. Like eight years, I was in a band. I toured the country it was fun. And doing that did not pay the bills. So I started

I was yeah, I was marketing is what I was doing. And I was kind of doing everything for money as you would when you're living a van and you need to pay rent.

So I've been a fan of Draft Revise forever and productize consulting, kind of through Brian Casel and then following what you've been doing. So I've been a fan of you forever.

Nick Disabato
That's awesome. Well, thank you so much.

Chase Clymer
Yeah and then nowadays I'm running a Shopify consultancy it's fun.

Nick Disabato
It's basically direct through-line from being in a band play.

Chase Clymer
Absolutely. There's a lot of parallels in being in a band and being an entrepreneur. There's a lot of faith there's a lot of going for it and that DIY attitude.

Nick Disabato
Yeah, I feel that. Yeah. Like a little bit of loneliness to. Like sometimes you just need other people to be around and like, support you through all of that, like the social support group you get.

Chase Clymer
Absolutely. Yeah, I still love music. My roommate is in a pretty big band, and I actually hit the road with them randomly enough. So I love the freedom that my agency gives me and I can go out there and relive the glory days.

Annette Grant
Actually he's playing in Chicago soon.

Chase Clymer
Alright, so my band is an actually-my old band is playing a show in Chicago in like three weeks and after we learn all the songs.

Nick Disabato
Amazing. Well, you're gonna have to, we've got to get a beer sometime.

Chase Clymer
Oh, absolutely. Cool. So you wrote a book. Tell me about your book.

Nick Disabato
So I wrote a book. It is called Value-Based Design. Some of you listening to this podcast might know a thing in consulting about like value-based pricing or value-based work, whatever have you.

And my book applies kind of some of those principles to answer the question of how a designer can prove their worth in any organization.

So it's not necessarily specific to Ecommerce, it's for any designer, if you're in house, if you're in an agency, whatever you do, how do you practice design in a way that it focuses on the economic value that you're capable of generating for a business?

Because I don't, I kind of outright reject the idea that design is this kind of squishy qualitative thing that people seem to believe and make a case at the beginning of the book for design directly serving business and also having the ability to measure and experiment with design decisions in order to improve the business metrics.

So I layout, how to do that for a designer. I lay out why that simple important and how you can work with other departments throughout an organization to get them on board with whatever design decisions you happen to be making, so.

Annette Grant
Nick? What was the inspiration for the book? Just the questions that you get, you know, batter with constantly or you just wanted to share?

Nick Disabato
There are like five main questions, I feel that everybody in design just hand rings about all the time and like the real big one is should designers code. I'm not going to answer that question on this podcast.

Um, another one is, how do I prove my worth in an organization. And people ask me this all the time because I seem to be doing it a lot like I run a consultancy called Draft and it's pretty successful.

And in a lot of ways, the value-based design is just a dramatic reading of my job description over 150 pages. Like, I don't feel like what I do is crazy or weird. I feel like what I do is normal and like our design should be.

And then I tell it to other designers and they think I have six heads and I would like them to not believe that. I would like what I do to be more normal throughout the industry. And I don't see any reason why it has to be.

Annette Grant

Chase Clymer
So what are some of those five questions that you're always getting asked?

Nick Disabato
Should designers code? Does user experience really focus on the user? How do I prove my worth in an organization? Design, how it looks or how it works? That's another big one.

And usually, it's like, do designers need to prototype like, that's another big one, too. They just need to make comps or do they make need to make like a functional prototype?

Annette Grant
Do you feel like the book is just for designers? Or is it also focused on people that hire designers or have designers on their team?

That if you hire designers, you should read this book. I think that if you are a developer, you might read this book and get some interesting things out of it and scratch your head a little bit.

But like other than that, it's probably for people who are working with designers directly, hiring them - sourcing that talent. Because if you read this book, it should give you a sense of what to look for in a designer, like what kind of skills would be helpful in your job search.

It's not just knowing, you know, graphical principles or layout and behavior like I do, I come from user experience design background. It's more having a sense of how the design actually has business ramifications.

And so if you are able to talk with marketing and sales effectively if you are able to dive into analytics and look at the like quantitative impact of your work.

If you're able to focus more on research, and by research, I mean, both talking to customers, talking to users, and going into analytics, going into heat maps, doing more quantitative passive types of research that a lot of people that might be more of a data science background.

If you are a designer who understands data and experimentation, then you are already pretty much all the way there to running a value-based design practice, even though you may not necessarily call it that, to answer your question directly about who could benefit from this. If you're hiring design talent, you would then know how to train people up because you would have.

Okay, well, maybe they have some background and research designers most frequently do. How you expand that to reflect other parts of your design practice, like, how do you take the research, synthesize it into interesting design decisions that could potentially move the needle for the business.

And then how do you roll them out in a way that allows you to measure impact and see if your hunch was correct?

How do you critique them effectively with a sense of the business metrics in mind, understand whether or not it would actually help the business? It's like moving one direction, like one step further in the right direction, to making sure that designers are actually focusing on, on the consequences of their actions, right?

It's not just I made a compliment, I handed it off to the developer. Whoo-hoo, that's great. There's something more to it, right? There's something there are consequences to what you do when you roll it out.

And designers are often insulated from that if they like launch a redesign and conversions drop, the honest doesn't really fall on the designer and I don't understand why. It's like it should. And that's a scary type of responsibility to be having that I think it's very important.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, I feel like your book actually would be super impactful for Ecommerce business owners.

You're going to be usually throughout the year many times talking to designers or making choices that are going to impact the user experience on your website and knowing how to properly approach design in an Ecommerce environment.

And i.e like the actions and the choices you make with the look and feel of your website directly correlate to the money that is being brought in from sales like a lot of people don't get that they think you can just switch stuff up willy nilly and nothing, you know, nothing's gonna happen.

Nick Disabato
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that like, that's something that I have to set up very early on. With my client engagement, so I have a welcome packet that I send along to all of my prospective clients.

And it basically says, you know, thank you so much for considering this. Here are all the dumb logistics, but also, I'm a CRO guy, but I'm not really like a marketing person, I'm a designer.

And so I believe that the things that I'm doing to actually increase revenue on your store are in many ways design decisions, and that can involve improving the user experience of your cart. Pretty classic CRO thing, right?

It can involve improving the performance of the site, like reducing page load time and fixing a lot of bugs in your JavaScript. Like sometimes I'm just staring into the matrix. It can involve reworking the layout and behavior of your product pages.

That's a very frequent thing that I do. And that's a UX thing, right? Like I'm prototyping and then sending along with comp to people and you as a client, and as a store owner, I have to come to expect that from you right. It's you I'm going to be sending you comp and that I'm going to ask us to get on a calling critique that comp.

And people are surprised by that, I feel? They might already have a design resource on staff, they might be more focused on illustration. A lot of store owners believe that design is still a visual sheen, and not necessarily the type of underlying functionality that I focus on.

And so the consequence of this is that I have to like, redefine what they think the design might be or what they have come to believe design is their store, their team that doesn't, you know, I don't think it ends with a welcome pack. And I do think that's something that has to happen as you keep going on with the engagement.

But this is something that a lot of software companies practice, especially like online SAS type businesses, when they think about design, they think about it in the way that I think about design or when larger corporations think about design as it is not different from what I'm talking about, but I'm usually working with stores like they might be Shopify plus, but there are a team of like 30 tops and there might be three or four people actually focused on improving the actual store experience, the restaurant, the warehouse manufacturing, there's a weird disconnect between the actual like I'm making the products and selling the products and then there are not enough resources put in to the actual practice of the store and they don't treat it like, like a typical tech company would treat itself.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, I read a lot of the things that you're saying here. Funny enough come up in like the lean startup. That mentality of testing and making data-driven design decisions are actually found in that book, oddly enough, and it has nothing to do with design.

That type of approach to design is the correct approach, especially in the environment we're in the Ecommerce, you know, Shopify, Magento, all those things have metrics and analytics that are so easily testable. And you can see the impact that happens. Granted, if you have the traffic to give you those insights.

Nick Disabato
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And like I don't think that anybody listening to this podcast thinks that they have enough resources on their store, right? I don't think they have enough people working on it. If you do, that would be surprising, because I've never actually encountered that.

So if that's the case, you have to make the most of it. And if you're going to do that, honestly, lean startup is a good methodology to be pursuing. There's another book by Cennydd Bowles and James Box called Undercover User Experience Design. And it's on the face.

It's about how to do UX design when you don't have any administrative support or resources within the organization. How can do it on the fly? But really like, all of it is for zero dollars and in your spare time.

Okay, you can fit that into your process, you can hire me and then I have a process and I'll tell you about it. But more likely than not, you're probably not going to work with me and you need to figure out a way to do this because you're probably leaking revenue on your store and not knowing how or why?

Or that's going to happen at some point and you're going to want to have a process in place to actually put it into action. And I think that understanding treating your online store like it's a tech company a Shopify does, right?

Like they're a tech company and Magento does, you need to treat yours like it is too.

And that will allow you to create a process that is more legible to the people that work with you and results in the better product as in the actual stuff that's being put on your store, like the actual web pages and user experience of it, that will be shipped more frequently and at better quality.

And you probably want that I think everybody wants that but they don't know how to get to that.

Chase Clymer
I think it is a little bit of education on our part as consultants to explain that type of mentality and how they should be approaching their store and their design.

And I think most Ecommerce owners, like business owners or entrepreneurs and they, had a really cool idea, a really cool product and they worked out that product-market fit. They aren't thinking about the data that's available to them on their online store and how that can like translate to lost dollars.

Nick Disabato
Yeah, yeah, they don't even know that it's there, much less that they can analyze it, much less how to analyze it, much less how to take action on it.

And so if you were to read my book, dear store owner or subscribe to my mailing list or whatever have you, I basically spend my entire job trying to layout how to do that process and how to gain a greater understanding of how your customers operate, because I don't think customer service is the only channel you want to be using to understand how your customers operate and think and how they make purchasing decisions and what trips them up from UX capacity when they're going on to the store.

And I don't think a whole lot of stores-they might say they understand their customers, but then I come in with a bunch of stuff that surprises them. And I'm like, okay, now do you understand your customers? Like, oh, wait a minute, this has been shifting and we've been no.

Okay, great. What do we do about it? No like this is a very common conversation for me to be having with people. I think that the more that you can do that, the more likely it is that you're going to find success.

Being online and having a store rather than running a brick and mortar, or whatever else operation you're going on Amazon giving up on life? I don't know.

Chase Clymer
Well, I mean, you've been doing this quite a while, CRO value-based design. What are some commonalities you see in the stores that you're working with?

Or maybe not even the stores that you're just working with? Just out there, like where people are making mistakes that, you know, you're constantly finding again and again?

Nick Disabato
Yeah, I mean, the "not researching your customers thing" is probably the biggest fundamental one, but like, over and over again, I see mobile lagging desktop by roughly two thirds and that sucks. So a lot of my job is spent, like improving the mobile experience.

Most Shopify themes out of the box are not mobile-first, most dev shops are not actually structured to be mobile-first, which is deeply unfortunate in the year of our Lord 2018.

I spend a lot of time trying to convince people that hey, 88% of your traffic is on mobile, and they're converting at 1.8. That's bad. And so at a very high level, that kind of sucks. I see a lot of problems with internationalization not only in terms of languages or currencies but also in terms of payment providers.

So a lot of the bill end up putting all of their ad spend into like a broader international bucket for whatever reason, and then people will come in from Brazil that will expect a specific payment method that just doesn't exist. It's not MasterCard, or I'll see that happen pretty frequently.

So, you know, the symptom could be that you didn't support that payment method. The cause would be also that you drove a lot of traffic in from Brazil, maybe you should get a better lock on your ad spend and figure out where your traffic is coming from and how you're promoting yourself.

Another thing that I see is a lack of queuing on email. And I know that sounds weird and sort of unrelated to CRO but you know that cart abandonment emails increase conversion rate.

And so if I'm here to increase conversion rate, I need to make sure your emails are actually firing, having opt-in boxes on cart abandonment in-stock notifications and your general orders.

Usually, get one or two not all three. So that is pretty common. Signing or buying a product with a dummy credit card going through the actual checkout flow and setting bugs on it.

No store on or actually does this. I would I'm sure someone out there is like actually Nick D or wrong I do it. That's great, you're very special. No store knows actually do this. I think those are the biggest ones that I see is, just people don't actually QA their own stores are too busy shipping costs. I get it.

That's totally fine. That's why I come in and QA your score for you, and then tell you all of these horrifying things and we can fix them. So yeah, I think that's that's it for the initial list.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, I think that everyone we talked about this last time with Kurt Elster.

Actually it was just like everyone, you know, have your mom, your brother, your sibling, run through your store, not only on their desktop computer, but on their cell phone too.

Give them your credit card, and just shut up and watch and you'll see the nightmares they unleash.

Nick Disabato
usertesting.com - that is your website. I'm not being paid by usertesting.com to do this, but there are startups that recruits and executes usability tests for you.

And you can literally put together a series of questions that say check out with a dummy credit card or my credit card or anything, and they will go through and do it and within three hours, I think it costs $250 for five participants, so it's like 49 a video You can set up these questions in probably about half an hour.

Sit back and wait. And then, you know, pour yourself a nice snifter of bourbon and get your iPad out and a pad of paper. And just take a very deep breath before you just watch people tear into your store. And they're strangers. They have no reason to be nice to you.

Annette Grant
No, that's an amazing resource for all of our listeners. Yeah, yeah, you might want to do that on a Friday night. So you have the whole weekend to regroup.

Nick Disabato
Yeah, like Saturday morning, you like you know, pour yourself some drink, meditate, and then just think about what you're going to do with your life. Like that's back.

Hi, the situation if you've never done it before, the first time will probably cause that app -

Annette Grant
Is it screen recordings?

Nick Disabato

Chase Clymer
Are they like, is there company audio of them just trash-talking?

Nick Disabato
Oh, yes. No, it's a voiceover of them. They are on a headset and they're talking. Their inner monologue through when they're doing a usability test. And you can ask them anything. They have a lot of prompt questions.

It's like Survey Monkey like you can build a canned thing. Unimaginative or don't know where to start.

And, so one of them is a five-second test where it literally flashes your homepage of the store on for five seconds and then disappears. It's like what is this? Tell me everything type as much as you want talk as much as you want.

Chase Clymer
There are so many stores out there that their landing page view on either even on desktop you don't know what the hell they're selling.

Nick Disabato
I had a client once that their masthead just said we just changed your life. And it was like a photo of the product but the text was over it so you couldn't really see what it was.

And all five of the usability test participants, like the name of the product was in the domain name and they still didn't know what the product was.

And I was like, this is all you need to do is changed it to we sell x you know? Just please, like beat you over the head x. Here it is to help your SEO to like, come on.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, I feel that goes back to this, you know, value-based design. Like, while design is cool and you want to like have a unique website, don't break best practices to try to be cool because all you're going to do is confuse the hell out of your customers.

Nick Disabato
Yeah, yeah, I mean, as Ecommerce grows more mature, interaction models become more and more familiar to customers.

And depending on your demographic, of course, like I work with a company that sells to mostly like senior-aged women, and so they don't know what a hamburger menu is.

So you have to make it very obvious. But that's the exception. Almost everybody who's listening to this podcast can probably like, discuss some of the things that are most comments the layout and behavior of an online store like where to expect the Add to Cart button where to expect the Image Gallery where to expect the Menu on mobile.

And people know that like your customers know that and so don't rock the boat too much don't do anything weird, like, just making it weird. Just be normal.

Chase Clymer
And by making it weird you're also letting your profits on fire.

Nick Disabato
Your lot yeah, you sure aren't you?

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Annette Grant
My concern right now is the store owner making sure I'm ready. I mean, most of my shoppers are on mobile.

How is that changing the way that you work with customers or that when you were writing the book, how quick do you think that that's changing and where everything will be focused on mobile?

Because like you said like Shopify, Magento, some of those platforms, mobile, still kind of secondary. When do you think it's going to shift over to will, where mobile will be primary. Concern it in the design, and I think that skews so many things.

Nick Disabato
I want to believe that mobile-first will be adopted in two weeks, you know, but like, Luke Wroblewski wrote his book "Mobile First" that was considered fairly influential in I think 2011? We got responsive to web design I'll say in 2009 and I can't tell you how much I've been sword brandishing about mobile.

And people don't seem to understand that, or they just accept it. They just assume that it's okay that mobile can be 1/3 desktop. You know, who's not accepting one third conversion rates on mobile? Amazon, Apple, Google, they're coming up with payment models that you can leverage better.

So one of the only truly amazing developments that has happened for Shopify is that it's gotten Google Pay and Apple Pay, natively integrated. And having that connected to your stripe merchant accounts.

I've seen that not turned on, on stores. And then I literally, go into your admin, click a checkbox, close the tab and become a wizard. Because all of a sudden, you're making way more money because people have iPhones and iPhones convert. I want more developers.

If you're a developer, and you're listening to this You're a designer and you're listening to this, like the number one thing you can do is have uncomfortable conversations with store owners about how mobile should be the first competent design.

And everybody critique stuff on the desktop. They, you know, if you need to shrink your browser window real tiny, like, please do it, like whatever it takes to get that breakpoint triggered so that you can get a hamburger menu and a different interaction model. I don't know like, at some point, desktop is going to dwindle to zero percent of your revenue.

And that's probably going to happen within the next 15 years. For a lot of my clients desktop or mobile is something like 88 to 90, something like that. That's the highest I've seen the lowest I've seen is 68 or so.

And like that's, still you shouldn't be rocking the boat on it. So to answer your question about when I mean, I hope soon it should have been five years ago, to be entirely frank.

You should be thinking about mobile before you think about desktop, even though it's sexier to think about desktop. It's less cramped and annoying to think about mobile. And it requires a different mindset. You need to start learning about that now.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, you just blew some minds over here.

Annette Grant
Yeah, I'm silent. Because like that I'm thinking.

I just, I know that I get stuck on my laptop. And then I look at how many of my users are on mobile. And I know the demographics of it.

And I mean, I don't even know if a lot of them have a desktop or a laptop, honestly. You know, they're working off of their explicitly off of their mobile device.

Chase Clymer
I know a lot of people that don't own personal computers now.

Annette Grant
Yeah, I think that's going away too. So, as far if a store owner comes to you, and mobile isn't in that conversation, do you sway that conversation immediately? Or how does that go?

Nick Disabato
Yeah, so usually, if we're in like the initial like prospecting phase, I'll often like very politely ask for access to your Google Analytics just so I can take a look at some numbers and just usually helps me like estimate with pricing and the justification I give as a CRO, guys because I need to understand if you have enough traffic and enough sales to get statistically significant, like AB tests.

So they're usually happy to do that. And they hand it to me. And then once you give me the keys to the Corolla, I can drive anywhere. So I'll go into your mobile tab, and I'm like, "Oh hey, it looks like 88% of your traffic is mobile, and it's converting at like, less than one-third of desktop."

Have you noticed this and they grown, but they've normalized the practice of ignoring it, or focusing on desktop. And so then I have to be like, well, would you like that to be 10 or 20%? Higher or more because we can do some things here and hopefully fix that and they're like, Oh yes, my god. I'm like okay great.

Well, the way you do this is by eating your vegetables and focusing on mobile, and a lot of people then it goes from okay, we're going to start saying we focus on mobile and then not do it.

To we're going to do it in this like slapdash piecemeal way. And then it usually takes like a couple months of me just gently suggesting to other people that they need to be going mobile-first. Because they don't have the processes in place, they don't have the mindset in place.

And that sort of comes about either by piecemeal tactics or by me if you know, in a perfect world, I sit everybody down in half an hour-long meeting about why mobile is important and how to do it.

And that's the biggest like low hanging fruit that I get as a CRO guy, I would love nothing more than to not have to half this conversation so that I can focus on, frankly, more interesting and weird topics.

Usually, I'll fix a lot of stuff on mobile for a store and then there's the now what question and then it gets really interesting, right? Like and I would rather have that sort of situation happened earlier.

Chase Clymer
That is yeah a new challenging thing. Once you've gotten all the like, All right, here's my checklist. I've fixed all these things. I checked all these things. Now it's now you're getting into like, how can I make this better? This now it's like the Wild West.

Nick Disabato
Yeah, yeah. And you have an opportunity to gain leverage over your other competitors because so many of them are messing this up. That should be enough to spur you to do it.

Chase Clymer
What is the most unique, you know, not necessarily split test, the most unique decision you've made on a store that you've seen that impacted their bottom line.

Nick Disabato
I had a client once who was selling like-they sold like key organizers. I have a case study for them on Draft site. They're called Keysmart and they're great they're wonderful people.

But they sold like 8 Keysmarts at one point and it's like a Swiss Army knife for your key chain like the flip-out these keys. It's really nice.

But they sold all these different products and I'm like, Well, okay, so what does the skew breakdown look like on this and I go into their GA and see that like their main flagship model is something like 78% of all the sales.

Like okay, so there's long tail here fine. Are they the most passionate customers? Well, kind of, but not really. What if we run an AB test that changes the whole website to only show this one model of Keysmart. What if? What would this look like? And I did it.

And the results were basically no drop in conversion rate, no drop in revenue, people kept buying just the normal version of the Keysmart. And I looked at that I took this and handed it to the CEO. I'm like, I know you might be wedded to these other products.

How much in manufacturing expenses, would you reduce your entire operation by if you got rid of these seven models today? It's like, oh, like 40%. Like, okay, so if you lose 40% of your expenses, what happens to your profit? Oh, it goes up by 40%. Okay, great. I'm going to roll this test out to everybody. I'm going to make your life a lot easier.

You have now one thing to produce, and then he did and so it wasn't even a test on revenue wasn't even test on conversion rate, the conversion rate was fine, was it? It was entirely on expenses.

They kept chasing different versions of this thing that they just frankly didn't need to be doing. It might have resulted in a brief like sugar high on their mailing list where they get a few sales of the new thing from their most passionate fans. But who needs more than one key organizer? Or I don't know. I don't.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, that's I love that whole concept there because it's like, it's outside the box. And that's why, you know, you're a consultant is like, that wasn't a traditional avenue that you usually explore. It's, well, you guys have all these products are 90% the same? Why do you have more than one? Yeah.

Annette Grant
Now, I think that also, again, because I hire consultants, freelancers, and that's also.

You can't just look at that from the hiring perspective of you're getting their expertise at looking at, you know, hundreds, potentially thousands, tens of thousands of stores and getting all of that information, all that learning that they have versus you looking at your one store and your product every day.

So that's, I think one of those selling points that sometimes it gets difficult sometimes when you're trying to hire and justify prices.

And that's what you have to really think about is that solution is probably something that never ever crossed their minds in hiring you for the task at hand. And you just completely changed their business and their lives actually outside of work.

Nick Disabato
Yeah, that guy went on a long vacation.

Chase Clymer
Sounds fantastic.

Annette Grant
Yeah, it's like wait, I can just like drop ship this from anywhere and be on a boat. No, that's I love that story. That's great.

Nick Disabato
Pretty much happened yeah.

Annette Grant
Know like that Chase had an excellent question and you even trumped them with the answer.

Chase Clymer
That's fantastic. So what are some other pieces of advice that you'd have for you know that solopreneur, churning out working on that product-market fit? You know, they're usually 90% of everything done within their business is done by themselves. Like, what are some pieces of advice that you have for them?

Nick Disabato
Are you talking about for store owner or for another Shopify consultant? Because I have different answers.

Got it. If you're a store owner, and you and you're wearing a bunch of different hats, one of the things that you can do is a lot of like, low involvement, like low resources type stuff.

So running heat maps, if you go to hotjar.com that's like the industry standard one. I believe their paid plan is $49 a month, you can probably afford that. If not, they have a trial, congratulations.

And it's literally you install some JavaScript on your theme. And you type in the URL of the heat map that you want, and then you wait a week and that's it. And then you get a sense of where people are tapping or clicking and not tapping and clicking and where people are not scrolling, so on and so forth.

That gives you a lot of different insights into how you can be improving the usability of your page. If you've hired out other developers as contractors or something like that, then you have a build queue for them. And you can say, okay, well do this, this, this and this.

And it's usually heat maps are good for like cleaning up pages, because it's like, well, people aren't caring about this, this, this and this. And while we're loading them, it's increasing page weight.

So the more you basically decrease page weight, the better your conversion rate, there's, you know at least at the beginning, so figure that out. Install image compression plugins on your Shopify store.

I can't believe I'm even just blindly recommending an app, but the one that I use is called Crush.pics. It runs super well and your images are the biggest page load issue on your store.

Go on usertesting.com get a few user tests in place. Note that I haven't even recommended you run an AB test yet if you're a solopreneur and you don't have enough traffic for your store.

You should be running AB tests, you should be improving the experience on-site and getting enough traffic eventually to get specifically significant.

Chase Clymer
So what number should they be shooting for?

Nick Disabato
Usually 500 per variations, so we're talking maybe maximum, like absolute minimum 1000 orders per month, something like that. I personally, I only work with Shopify plus stores.

So like, you know, keep that in mind in terms of the volumes that you might be thinking about. But that's also stores that would be able to hire a CRO and have somebody do that for them.

So, but like, you know everybody asked for the number I just generally say like 1000 you're in the safe territory to do at least one round a month. Keep in mind that when you have a active test running you cannot change the page at the time so if you're also-a like move fast and break things type person, AB testing is more of a move slow and fix things type process.

So that might not be for you from a like mindset standpoint, that would be a whole different podcast episode we talked about. Offer gift cards to customers and get on one phone call with them per month, and then give them like $100 gift card to your store for their time.

That is a very good way to end just ask them how they found out about you, if they ran into any issues with their purchase if they had any questions about assembly or if they had any objections, what other competitors they looked at. Why they went with you over those competitors.

This is what's commonly called a Jobs-to-be-Done interview and that's based off, of the Clayton Christensen like model that he came up with around the innovation and disruption.

If you Google "Jobs-to-be-Done interview" or JTBD interview you will find very good scripts to go through on a phone.

And everybody hates doing that. But I tell you, will sit there just transcribe the call and thank me later - you will come up with so much to change it will be amazing.

Annette Grant
How many stores do you think really do that? Honestly,

Nick Disabato

Annette Grant
Okay, I actually, interestingly enough, I gave that advice to a store owner on Friday and I had a look in the mirror today going I've never done that even though I recommended it.

I think that's excellent like to especially a solopreneur I mean, it's time and it can probably you probably also create a lifetime customer and that person that you call on the phone, you know?

And they'll probably start, you know, just emailing you randomly like, "Hey, this doesn't work or do this or do that." You know they're almost like a free consultant for you and your store, have a loyal customer that I was taking rigorous notes during the snapshot of all those things that you had as a solopreneur or just a smaller store owner to get up, you know, to get their revenue up to speed to be able to hire out but those are all excellent things that I'm going to have to start doing tomorrow or tonight.

Chase Clymer
i mean, you should not do anything this week.

For those of you that don't know that, yeah. Black Friday is in four days.

Nick Disabato
Happy Black Friday season everybody.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, this is gonna come out of the third week of January.

Annette Grant
Yeah, but and when is Black Friday going to go away? That's for another episode.

Nick Disabato
As a concept. When Singles' Day takes over.

Chase Clymer
Well, and what now?

Singles Day. It's the shopping day in China its November 11th.

Annette Grant
Well, we're getting closer to it,

Nick Disabato
It's like over 1 trillion of sales in a day. Google "Singles Day Sunday"

Annette Grant
I thought it was some dating app that was like gonna take over Singles Day. I've never heard of it either.

Nick Disabato
It's the like anti-Valentine's Day, but then it became the huge gift-giving holiday and it's because 11 11 look like individual people - 1111

I know the mind boggles.

Chase Clymer
So you think there's going to be a big shift in marketing in the next couple of years to and then that's going to become an American thing?

Nick Disabato
Oh, no, I was just joking.

Everybody wants, I think people actually respond well to the like group think of having one big shopping holiday and so I don't think it's going to go away and I think it only got magnified by the internet.

Like Prime Day is another big one right like and what happened with Prime Day, Amazon came up with the idea of Prime Day and now it does like a bajillion dollars.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, but that's only if you are selling through Prime Day. I don't know if anyone's successfully doing sales campaigns through their own store on Prime Day.

Nick Disabato
Oh, no, no, no, I'm just saying they, like came up with the idea that it's only two years old. And the idea of a collectivist shopping holiday. Like, it can be anything right "Me Small Business Saturday".

Chase Clymer
Yeah. You know the thing is, I like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I like this month. I like working. So you know, we had a lot of fun and a lot of conversations with our clients this month. So I enjoyed it.

Nick Disabato
Yeah, my partner works for the food banks like giving Tuesday's her like, D day that's next week.

Annette Grant
So yeah, I think that's a good place to wrap up since you just crushed it at the end.

Nick Disabato
How will I top it?

Annette Grant
Well, let's plug your book one more time. Let's tell everybody where to find you. And where they'll be able to the book if you can let us know.

Nick Disabato
So the book is called Value-based design. If you go to value-based design that's two d's in a row dot org.

Or you go to draft.nu/value, you will be able to go and by the time this podcast comes out, you'll be able to order the book and hopefully it will be helpful for you-for the designers you hire or the designer that you are, if you are one.

Really, grateful for the opportunity to be on this today. Thank you so much for having me.

Annette Grant
And you also have a free newsletter. Correct?

Nick Disabato
Oh, yeah, go to draftsletters.com or draft.nu/letters - those letters are going to be very focused on value-based design around the time that you listened to this. If you listen to right when it came out, but they tend to run the gamut.

Like one time I just talked about a sandwich I wrote once in time I yelled about pasta sauce.

Chase Clymer
You are a very creative writer when it comes to your newsletter. I enjoy reading them.

Nick Disabato
Thank you.

Chase Clymer
Cool, thank you so much for your time today and hopefully, everyone's got a lot of action items on their to do list after this.

Nick Disabato
Awesome thank you so much.

Chase Clymer
Alrighty, take care.

Annette Grant
Thank you.

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 electrieye.io/connect.

Annette Grant 

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