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Unprepared Ep 59 - Why You Can’t Always Use Customer Journey Buying From Day One with Ross Allchorn


  • [00:00] - Sponsor: Rewind
  • [00:40] - Intro
  • [02:02] - What is the journey buying concept?
  • [03:00] - Where to use customer journey buying
  • [04:00] - Journey buying vs cross-sells/upsell
  • [06:55] - Types of merchants for journey buying
  • [10:40] - Building customer journey experiences
  • [12:25] - Where to find Ross


Key Points

  • Customer journey buying is where brands give their customers the ability to follow a journey through certain criteria or the volume of the products they want and get discounts. 
  • Customer journey buying can also ensure that the consumer takes advantage of all your offers and it gives a little virtual white-glove experience.
  • It takes away the thinking from the customer standpoint and is a more strategic approach to cross-sells or upsells to raise AOV. 
  • Customer journey buying may not be for everyone and is not recommended on Day 1 of your business. But there are certain business models that may find it useful.
  • The process between the upsells, cross-sell, and customer journey buying is similar, but it's on the other side of the funnel. You start the journey buying with some defining audience characteristics.
  • Merchants leverage collections and show the audience things that are related to the item like gift-wrapping or the higher the volume of your purchase, the more discount you get.
  • There are benefits to this outside of just discounting because some people just want to make it easier for the customer to order the thing correctly. 
  • Merchants who would benefit from customer journey buying require a certain amount of trade already happening or simply an established store.
  • Customer journey buying has the attribution of sales somewhere around 20% which means it may resonate with the audience. 
  • ShopCreatify has contemplated building an app with certain limitations around Shopify, with a discounting side of things that doesn't circumvent the Plus mechanism.


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Chase Clymer  

Hey everybody, welcome to an episode of Unprepared. I'm your host Chase Clymer and today welcoming to the show all the way from South Africa, one of my good friends, Ross, a fellow Magic: The Gathering nerd, and another Shopify Ecommerce agency owner. 

And today Ross is going to share with me and the rest of your customer journey buying and without further ado, Ross, the floor is yours. 

Ross Allchorn  

Oh, wow. Yeah, just give me the stage. How are you doing, Chase?

Chase Clymer  

I'm doing good. Other than that cough. That's why I gave you the stage. I'm trying to not have, not cough.

Ross Allchorn  

Yeah, yeah. Well, if you don't mention it to people won't I know. Because you can just edit it outside. It's all good. 

Chase Clymer  

That's true. 

Ross Allchorn  

Yeah, and I think you might have mentioned Magic: The Gathering last time. It's and I think I might have said that I'd wear my mana shirt, which I didn't today. 

Chase Clymer  

We'll have to do another one then. 

Ross Allchorn  

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, as the title of your podcast is Unprepared, I'm completely not, which is fine. So we can kind of wing it. And if I stumble, you can edit it out. And if if I have a good run of interesting things for merchants to take away that all the better and all the easier for your editor. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I'm sure you will. 

Ross Allchorn  

For sure. So yeah, off the cuff. As you just asked me, what should we talk about? And the thing that's probably freshest on my mind right now since we're doing a fair bit of it and, actually did it quite successfully last year for Black Friday is this journey buying concept.  

Whether it's a known term, it's one that we use internally. Journey buying where we've been asked a few times over the years and more recently, we've actually started building them for these merchant clients of ours. Where they give their customers the ability to follow a journey through the choice of certain criteria, potentially, or you know, just choosing the volume of products that they want in their cart, and maybe they get a discount. 

That obviously applies more to the Shopify Plus merchants, but you know, if they're not or if discounting isn't the name of the game, it's maybe a case of grouping. You know, the stereotypical example would be camera lens, batteries, or something like that, you know, were made with the one that we're building at the moment. 

For instance, as gifts, where you know, you can choose your gift or gifts, then you get the option of choosing a nice gift bag, you get the option of choosing the wrapping paper that you want, you get to choose the card type of message that goes in the card. 

Bam. You add all of that to the cart in one go. And then you can go and create another one if you want to. And it's a pretty cool way of ensuring that the consumer firstly takes advantage of all the things that you've got to offer. But I think it's a nice little virtual white-glove experience. It takes the customer through, you know, it takes away the thinking.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I mean, the way that we think about that, at our agency is kind of a more strategic approach to bundling and cross-sells, and upsells. And all of those efforts are gonna help raise AOV. 

Is that something that you guys are considering when you're taking on those projects?

Ross Allchorn  

Yeah, I mean, it actually does come up. The difference between the journey buying and I mean, we had a chat about it last night with a merchant where the concept of upselling or cross-selling posts, adding to cart whatever the case is, is similar in a way, except that this is on the other side of the funnel, if that's the correct term to use, where you actually start your journey by selecting some defining characteristic of that audience. 

So it might be that you're buying. So you know, using the gifts as an example, you might be very specifically ordering something for a 10-year-old boy, for instance. In which case, you know, you're the products that are shown to you, you're then so which was, you know, obviously done via leveraging collections and obviously, the merchant can specify which collections are associated with that selection, and then subsequently, show them things related to that. 

If it's a gifting thing, you know, the packaging, the gift wrapping, and the card or whatever the case is. But a good example is a client of ours in Salt Lake City called Grip Six. If you have a look at their site, I think it's actually the masthead banner is the multipack builder, which allows people to order a certain number of products. And the more products you place in your cart through the multipack builder, the higher the discount is that you get. 

So you can go and use the four-pack builder and get X, I don't know exactly what the discount numbers were, but get a higher discount than if you were to go and order a product just directly from the product page kind of thing. So it incentivizes increasing your average cart value, you know. 

So there are definitely similarities to the upsell that happens, like after adding something to the cart. But then I think that's actually a good question. And like, you know, forcing me to think about it. It's actually a similar thing, but from the start, as opposed to from the end, you know? 

Chase Clymer  


Ross Allchorn  

So well, would you actually like to do this? Or, you know, would you like to change the product to that or add this thing to it? You kind of starting with the idea of like, let us guide you through the process of putting together this thing that's perfect for you and your needs, you know?

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I think that that approach is an amazing strategic way to increase average order value, which I think that a conversion rate, a lot of best practices, you know, tackling that KPI is pretty ingrained in any Ecommerce agency owner. 

Traffic is the easiest one to affect. But average order value is probably the most strategic one that you have to approach because products are so different, audiences are so different. There's no one size fits all opportunity to do it. So with that in mind, what kind of merchant is this approach useful for? I'm assuming, is it a merchant that's a little more mature in their business journey? You know, because I am assuming that this is a pretty custom solution.

Ross Allchorn  

It is quite custom. And it's a very valid question. That's the sort of the merchant that would probably get the most would that would get the most value out of this would require a certain amount of trade already happening on the store. 

I would say that I don't know what the exact numbers would be. And there are so many factors that would determine what the ROI on something would be. Margins differ, you know, and so on. 

But an established store with a specific need that suits this would definitely benefit. I mean, we've seen significant contributions or at least attribution of sales to these types of things somewhere in the region of 20%. So it definitely resonates with the audience, obviously, that can differ based on what you're selling, and how you're utilizing this type of idea. 

But, yeah, definitely, I wouldn't...that's not something that I recommend from day one, you know. I say that there could be instances where your entire business model might require a journey buying experience. 

I mean, we had a client a while back called PrettyLitter. That from day one, probably should and I think they did before engaging with us, have a journey buying experience where you literally are asked a question. 

It's not a navigation thing. It's like, how many cats do you have? And so on, and so forth. And whatever, drilled it down, and then they recommend, okay, you need this much litter, or whatever the cases. 

And you know, those use cases from day one, probably, but if you've got an Ecommerce store that is doing decent trade, and you can bundle things. I suppose bundling is maybe another synonymous concept and Ecommerce that you could compare to. 

Yeah, certainly that's a nice way of doing it. Bundling normally, though, I mean, I don't know how much you've done bundling on stores. But usually, you'd see that maybe on the product page where you're looking at the camera and then they've got the batteries and the case and whatever that you can buy this as a bundle and save X percent or X number of dollars or whatever the cases. 

Whereas this would be more a case of starting the journey with a selection of cameras, then being shown a bunch of different lenses and then being shown a bunch of options of cases that suit that camera and so on and so forth. You know, so it's taking you through with some conditional logic. 

If you choose that then filter down what you get shown next, you know, so that's pretty cool. We're quite enjoying it too.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I mean, it's definitely emulating the interaction that you'd have if you were like in an actual retail store. And you're having a salesperson helping you because they know people also buy this and this, you know, this goes with that. 

So I guess if you're a store owner listening to this, and it sounds interesting to you, that would be the way to start to formulate how you would build something like this into your business. 

It's like, I mean, I'm assuming a lot of the listeners probably only have an Ecommerce store, so they don't have a retail thing. But I guess the way I think about it would be if you're getting on like the phone, someone calls in, and you're going to sell them on the phone, like, what are you gonna be talking about? Like, what other things you're gonna bring up? 

That's probably where I'd start the iteration of the idea. Do you have any other suggestions for people to start thinking about building these customer journey types of experiences with their store?

Ross Allchorn  

I would assume that certain merchants would probably spot the opportunity immediately, just by hearing about the concept of being articulated to what it is and how it might benefit them. 

We're in the process of putting it together. We contemplated building an app with certain limitations around Shopify, with a discounting side of things that we don't want to circumvent the Plus mechanism. 

Because when we've set these things up in a Plus context, we use scripts. But then obviously, if you're using a non-plus license on Shopify, then you can't do it. And you can use discounts, or discount codes, which is great, but then you can only use it once because you can't stack discount codes. 

So there's sort of a few issues there. But, you know, there are benefits to this type of thing outside of just discounting because some people don't even want to discount. They just want to make it easier for the customer to order the thing correctly. And maybe it's just a pain for the merchant where, you know, people keep ordering the wrong thing with the wrong thing. 

I mean, this microphone I ordered before I knew that condenser mics don't all come in USP. (laughs) 

So I to send it back and get another one, and so on and so forth. You know, and that, if that's a frequent occurrence in the merchants’ life then it might be nice to have people guided through the process of ordering the right thing that goes with the other thing, 

That could be a strong opportunity, otherwise, discounting is also a good one. Well, you know, discounting itself, but increasing your average order value.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Now, if I'm interested in this, how do I get a hold of you to chat about it more?

Ross Allchorn  

ShopCreatify.com. And ShopCreatify in general if you Google that we're on most social. Not super active on all of them, but definitely Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. 

And yeah, speak to me, you're almost definitely come through to me, we're a small team. And we can talk about it. You know, it's maybe not going to be for everyone, as we've identified in this chat. I kind of knew that already, though. 

But, you know, people do see an opportunity in something like this. It's something that we've done a couple of times now quite successfully, and happy to chat even if it leads nowhere.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. I'll make sure to include links to that in the description of this show. Thanks for coming on today, Ross.

Ross Allchorn  

Awesome. (laughs)