eCommerce Webinar

Webinar: How a Great User Journey Can Boost Your Sales Conversions with Shannon Shaffer

Shannon Shaffer explains how to create a great user journey to drive sales. Learn how a positive user experience increases conversions.

Improving Your User's Experience on Your eCommerce Website Will Increase Your Sales

Watch the replay as Cory Miller of Commerce Journey interviews Shannon Shaffer, the director and founder of Purple Finch Studios. Shannon and Cory discuss how user experience on eCommerce sites always impacts sales conversions. Then they answered the essential question: “What makes a good user journey — on your website?”

“What makes a good user journey — on your website?”

When you are building a new eCommerce site or redesigning your existing online store, user experience directly impacts your sales, so get it right! Even small modifications can have a big effect — for good or bad results in your revenue.

A Good User Journey Leads Beyond Your Checkout Screen

What it's actually like for your customers to use your site is a constant and critical experience to understand and consider. As an eCommerce site owner, have you asked yourself the following questions:

When you've begun to look at your online storefront the way your customers do, these are the kind of questions you'll ask. Asking and answering them is essential to your customers' user journey — and your business's success.

Learn More About Shannon Shaffer

Shannon Shaffer, founder of Purple Finch Studios

Shannon has successfully started three businesses since 2006, including FTM Media, a brand that has garnered over 150 million website visitors. Shannon also leads Purple Finch Studios, which has designed and developed over 200 websites since 2015.

You can follow Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter, or visit her Purple Finch Studios.

Machine Transcript

Cory Miller: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to another webinar. I've got my friend and also we've been working together for the last good grief since last 2020 or so on a project that we may talk about as part of this is Shannon Shafer, I've got on the call today, I've been excited because I know just from the project current, I've worked on that. I like I could talk to her for another couple of hours. Just mining her for good information. So Shannon, thank you for being here today.

[00:00:32] Shannon Shaffer: Thank you for having me.

[00:00:34] Cory Miller: Okay. So we're going to be talking about user journey and that's so critical, but I want to first start with your story because it's so much is a part of this user journey thing, and you'll see why Shannon is the person to be talking about this.

[00:00:47]Shannon. Okay. I know you have currently a an agency called purple Finch studios. If you want to tell us a little bit about that, but I want to also. Like your gig right before this, which is so awesome too, that led into purple Finch city and all the work you're doing, how we're working together on this other project.

[00:01:04] So what would you tell us a little bit about yourself? Yeah.

[00:01:06]Shannon Shaffer: Purple Finch studios is a small agency. I'm based out of the Philadelphia area. I've had propulsive studios since 2014. We focused on membership sites, we'll commerce those type of bills. I have a great team. There's 11 of us and they all do great things and get, take credit for it.

[00:01:23] It's all done. And I'm just here. Stirring pot. So it's a great little group that we have and yeah we work, we're like a little family that business is good. It runs itself and it's been it's been a really good experience. But prior to that, and actually the reason that I started purple fish studios I will say that I am not a developer.

[00:01:42]I like to pretend to be like one Saturday afternoon, but I'm not. And, but I am. I have a marketing background and started online back as I was telling Cory and the wild West of the online space. And I started a blog many months ago that got some traction and took off and Back in the early days of when there wasn't really an influencer.

[00:02:04] That's really what I became was an influencer online and had millions of visitors, women targeted towards women, specifically moms. And I spent a lot of time writing lots of content for them and. Ultimately, the goal of that content was to get them to purchase things then to appeal to certain brands.

[00:02:24] And so in that process of doing that for seven years before I sold it to a media company, learned a lot about how people interact online and you've matured over the last 10 years since five, Oh seven years since I've visited that space. But I think at the heart of it, we're still the same.

[00:02:41] We all want the same things. It's just the technology. It's becoming more sophisticated. So in growing and growing that blog and meeting lots of people and having a lot of users on my website, I learned so much about how people interact with websites. And if you think about back to 2010, 2012, we didn't even have the speeds and things that we have now.

[00:03:02] And so they were demanding, but our users are so much more demanding now. That whole experience because I was not a developer. I relied on a development team, that let's just say wasn't very ethical. And when I sold that business, I decided that I was going to start something to help small businesses, medium sized businesses with their website.

[00:03:22] So we've ended up working with a lot of like entrepreneurs who, if you read the copy on my website, it's specifically that you started your business to run it, not to manage your website. So we really started focusing there. And that's really the niche that we were, we've been in for a long time.

[00:03:39] And it's slowly expanded as the world has changed. With COVID people no longer can just have a brochure website. They've gotta be selling something online, if not have the person ready to make the sale when they walk in their door. So…

[00:03:52] Cory Miller: they're missing out. If they don't

[00:03:54] Shannon Shaffer: Yeah exactly. We've evolved with that over the last three to four years, we've really evolved into because whether or not you were selling a product on your website, like you're actually taking the credit card.

[00:04:05] It is my opinion. That every website is making a sale of some sort, even if I have to come in and give you my credit card. So I think we are all moving towards more of e-commerce, whether it's a physical product, digital product, look at restaurant in 2020, they went from, a lot of them having a tablet that they broke down to…

[00:04:24] I know that's more than you asked me,

[00:04:28]Cory Miller: I told Shannon before this, I was like, so we met years ago at a conference called CaboPress, but then we've been working together with this project, her agency and other awesome agency. And on a website. Relaunched and all that redesign, relaunched, all that.

[00:04:45]And, but I really, haven't got to talk real in-depth with Shannon until these calls in our first call. I remember Shannon. I was like in two minutes, go and we're in the right place. Shannon knows her stuff. I have 500 questions. I want to ask your monitor for truth. Now I get to do it through Commerce Journey.

[00:04:59]Okay. And also, Shannon, this is a sidebar for our, like just our buddy talk when we do our one-on-one that we need to do soon is we have so many parallels for our stories. I was like, Holy crap. Even time, some of these time periods matched up. But the fact that you sold your business, Yup. And now I followed you a couple of years later, but 2006, you mentioned that.

[00:05:21] And that's when I started my first blog. Now my, I told you I did not make money from that. Now, did I make what you just said a sale, even if it didn't register with the website? Absolutely. It was my snowball… started my snowball for momentum, for everything I've done since then, I can trace back to that blog and publishing every day.

[00:05:40] And I think that's part of your story too. I go quick. A question before we get into the user journey, what platform did you start your blog on? Cause I have a confession blogger. See me too. So you know how many times, how many times I get associated with WordPress and then I'll say, here's my confession. I started on blogger, but in 2006, they had this core function that you could put, you could create it on the site and it would publish to FTP. Now at the time, I didn't even know what FTP stood for and probably still don't, but I love that. And then about few months later discovered this thing called WordPress and the rest is history. So we have the same dirty.

[00:06:23]Shannon Shaffer: Yeah. It started, it all started for me on Blogger and with Evie and the RSS feed, the feed was huge back then, had their feed readers. And I had no technical background, so it was really simple to set up.

[00:06:36] I quickly realized though that it, when I decided that there was an opportunity for this to be a business because I remember coming home from some event that I attended and I said to my husband, I met a woman today who is making $10,000 a month online. And he just laughed at me and he was like, Oh, okay.

[00:06:57] I said, I'm going to do that. And sure enough did that. Surpassed that. But I knew that blogger, wasn't the tool to do that. How I chose WordPress I don't really know, that's where I ended up.

[00:07:09]Cory Miller: Yeah. So what I love about we have people like you on this is telling the story that it can happen to you. If you put yourself out there, if you do things and you go, you see something working, you start with just putting your first post or two out there where it feels raw. Oh man, somebody's going to disagree. And the imposter syndrome sets in, at least for me.

[00:07:32] Shannon Shaffer: Don't worry. On your first one or two posts, it's just your mom or like your aunt or your grandma really? Anyway. So they're going to tell you how fabulous it is.

[00:07:41] Cory Miller: I always said my mom and her cat, my mom didn't even have cats, but they were subscribers. They were, somehow feed subscribers.

[00:07:47] Shannon Shaffer: My mom commented on every single post I did for the first six months. It was really cute.

[00:07:54] Cory Miller: Yeah. Moms are the best.

[00:07:55] Shannon Shaffer: Yeah, they are.

[00:07:56]Cory Miller: Okay. So you created this blog that became insanely popular and built, you were telling me you were I think it was CVS. Through this blog, you one made a full-time and then some living. But then you also had all this exposure. Could you tell me a little bit about that too?

[00:08:14] Shannon Shaffer: Before there was like these official influencer relationships that we know that everybody has, it was one of those things that just happened by chance. We were just talking about me being a social media flunky, which is the honest to goodness truth, but my largest opportunity came on Twitter many years ago from just.

[00:08:33] Tweeting a couple of small things. I ended up connecting with lifetime TV back then in 2009, they had a program called lifetime moms and it connected a group of moms who were online at the time, blogging. And we ended up with opportunities. I've traveled tons of places back then tried lots of products, had all these different opportunities as CVS, you mentioned.

[00:08:57] Did a whole product thing where I was total home that was on their website for a few years as like their brand ambassador for that. So it just opened up a lot of opportunities. Yeah. And at that time, there was only a small amount of opportunities. Today you can be a micro-influencer with a very small audience and do, in fact, I'm a huge fan of micro influence, cause you're really influencing the right people.

[00:09:17] So at that it was just a free for all. So the opportunities I think are even more now. So I think it's amazing if you just put yourself out there and I have one word that I would say that is the most important is consistency. If you just do it instantly. Things will change for you,

[00:09:33] Cory Miller: so true. It is the absolute formula. So tough and that's what most don't end up doing it, grand dreams, but she showed up every day of those years for that blog business. And just like you're dealing with Purple Finch Studios too today. Okay. So segue in and I'm sure we'll have some questions. If you have a question for Shannon, put those in the Q&A button right below our video here, but let's segue into eCommerce and the user journey.

[00:10:02] What impressed me at our first conversation. For this project as you had went through the entire process. And you're like, here's five things. You're like, okay. Hey, and what that spoke back to me was. I'll tell everybody else the story real quick, but we launched Vida Bars last year.

[00:10:17] And then nine months or less we hit like a hundred thousand sales. So we just got things out there and started selling. And we're too busy trying to figure out how to like make the product, ship the product, get things out there first. But what struck me was you really were thinking about this holistic experience for the person getting the bar. In fact, you even bought some of the bars, so you could see the experience and then pointed out some things that we have to do. And it's still on my list, but I loved your perspective because you really thought through empathetically, the customer experience, which is I think what we're talking about today, the user path or the user journey through the website that evolved obviously for the blog and your marketing background and everything else. What are your thoughts about the overall, this expense, or this user journey?

[00:11:05] Shannon Shaffer: So I read something and I want to start with you guys because I read something recently. And I think it was even like on a Shopify article and I'm a WooCommerce girl, but I wanna give credit. I think I read something that said something about experiences are now more important than the actual products. The experience is the product. And I think that really so true, because I think we're so caught up when we're doing these eCommerce sites, we want a person to buy the product, but the product is the important part, give me your money, that we forget about all of the other things that come along to this journey. And I think as an owner, as a small business owner, of course you need somebody to put it in the car, you need them to check out and we'll just pick on the Vida Bars because you brought it up first.

[00:11:49] But whenever I look at a website, yes, it's great to see what it looks like, but unless you go through that entire checkout process, and for me, I feel like that journey  extends into shipping. It extends into aftermarket what do I get as follow up email? What loyalty is there?

[00:12:06]What kind of loyalty programs, what kind of loyalty, newsletters, things like that, just to see the entire process, because honestly, That loyalty is two things. It's a repeat customer and then it's potentially referring other customers back in. So I think looking at that entire process, when it come to the site from the time that I get my, get your product in my hands, I review your product and then you follow up with me.

[00:12:32]I think people get, and you look at the whole scale like this, people get caught up on what's happening right here and freaking out about these two atoms. It's easy for me to to look at somebody else's journey and say, Oh, this is where the things are going wrong, but my own it's really hard. And I think that's where it's always important to have somebody else who isn't so close to your product look at that entire journey. I don't know if that answered your question.

[00:12:56]Cory Miller:  It so much does. I want to scroll back to what you said about the experience of the product. A hundred percent agree, because if it's this and I'm going to butcher this kind of quote, but it's like, people don't buy a drill.

[00:13:09] They buy a hole in the wall or whatever, it's the outcome. What you're saying too is  how does this make me feel? Yeah. How does this make me think? How does this make me look? What does this do for me in the end? It's complicating. Like I was going back to jobs to be done type philosophy.

[00:13:26] It's competing with luck always a Harvard breath anyway, and I was like, that's so good to come back to, we hire something to, we hire products for a job in her life in some way. And so when we look at the Vida Bars is it's not just the. Technical aspect of what you put in your hair. It's so much more to that.

[00:13:47] And I think we, we miss that holistic view so many times I have to go back to it, anchor myself back to it. So I appreciate that. And I want to make a mention too, like when you're talking about I remember you saying the box and I got the box open, you pulled this and everything and it made me think.

[00:14:03] Apple when I get an a new iPhone or a laptop and bring it home. You're like, you can't help. But think this, the box itself was engineered, right? Like it's got there's no, you can almost barely bring it up. Cause it's got that, it's like the box in itself is worth something to them.

[00:14:21] Shannon Shaffer: But even if you think, even if you go further back, when you go on.

[00:14:25] Maybe it's just me. I'm weird person, but when I'm on the website and I'm looking, I just bought a new one back in December and I was looking through the way that you interact, whether you like Apple or don't like Apple, the way that you interact with their website. I can already picture myself, like opening up my new Mac and what it was going to be like.

[00:14:45] And they build that, it's a sexy product. It's sexy packaging. And you get a feeling on the website, like when you are buying, feel your for Vida Bars, You feel like you're a part of something because I think that's one of the things like the phases of going through buying something. You're aware that you have a product problem and you have a consideration, and then we have to acquire these customers. And how do we do that? We make them feel like they're a part of something and then they put it in the cart and they checkout. And then, they're waiting, anticipating, like getting this package in the mail. There's nothing worse than when your package gets lost.

[00:15:17]To tag onto that is that our part of our user journey, we have to consider as service. And I think we talked about that as well for Vida Bars, because I'm like, Hey, what is my package got lost in the Valley? I look at the website. I have no idea how to signed out in the last thing we want is. Sally going on Instagram, Hey, my bad that she never shown up or, my thinking damaged. So that's a part of your, that's a part of the journey too.

[00:15:42] I think we forget that those things have to be clear and concise and easy to find on the website so that we don't have. Angry customers showing up in our social channels. Do we have a chat available that they can get some immediate answers? So there's all these things that kind of play in together in that entire journey.

[00:15:59] Cory Miller: So how do we start? So how do we start? How do you start mapping out the user journey? And then I think there, I'm going to assume or proposed there's maybe two parts, like one is before you even start building.

[00:16:12] Shannon Shaffer: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:16:13]Cory Miller: So how would you do that from let's say let's start with a startup, maybe it's a year ago and we're just thinking about Vida Bars and that whole thing.

[00:16:21]Shannon Shaffer: I think there's two different approaches. So when you're starting there is, what are call touch points, in your customer journey, and I like to start with what are the touch points that my customers are going to have? Is it something where so first and foremost, they have to find out about a product, right? So if we think about that first touch point, they're finding out about on Facebook and then where do they come on your site when they click through?

[00:16:44] So I always like to think about where are. People finding me, is it cold on Google? Is it going to be mostly social media? Is it, where are they coming from? And then that's your first touch point, right? Is when they come to your website, is where are they landing and what are they going to experience when they land?

[00:17:03] So thinking about that awareness of the brand, what do they need to know? If somebody is coming from, if you find that a large percentage of your people are coming in cold from Google, that are just searching a keyword. They don't really know much about you versus the situation. Like the Vida Bars, where Ana has built up an audience, they all know her and we've had this conversation.

[00:17:23] Those are two different people. Should they be coming into the same landing page? Do they have the same exact experience? And that's something that you need to decide. So that would be your first thing is like, where are they coming from? And where will they land on your page?

[00:17:36] And then once they get there, we have what they're considering buying they're thinking about. So what do they do? Normally they click around, look at things. So in that consideration phase, I've a couple of tips. And I haven't written down because I just, I don't…

[00:17:52] Cory Miller: I'd love to hear them because I have a mental health startup project that we're assuming a lot. We don't have a lot of data to historical data to look back, we're learning as we go.

[00:18:02] Shannon Shaffer: So in your consideration where they're browsing your store, so to speak I think some of the biggest things that we miss this is first and foremost, you have to know your customer.

[00:18:11] So like we were just talking about where are they coming from? Who are they? It's really important that you know them, but once they get to your website I think first thing is you gotta make your products easy to find. There's nothing worse than getting to an e-commerce site. And the landing page or homepage is cluttered with all this information that is.

[00:18:30] Nothing miss look at some of your big brands, they go right into their product, right? So we want to make sure that we give you an opportunity to easily find them. I think that you have to allow for searching and filtering. There's nothing, you come to a site there's nothing worse than having to scroll.

[00:18:46] If you have 70 products, just scroll and find your different things. Once you, once they find what they're looking for, I think the most important page on your website is going to be your product pages. This is your opportunity to educate them about the differentiators of your product. They can learn about how their product, the product relates to them on these pages.

[00:19:07] So don't just, there's some sites that I go on that just have the product listed there and it says shoes $70, obviously give them some details. That's a big mistake that I see some companies make as there's not the product page is really just the product and a few little details.

[00:19:23]And by me, you're presuming that your client or customer is ready to buy that product and, doesn't need to be educated.

[00:19:30] Cory Miller: Okay. This is what trips me up. Because I get let's say on this startup project we're marketing to therapists, essentially. I think I go, I want to tackle every objection.

[00:19:41]And I've been trying to find a better framework to go, how much is enough, or is there a summary. And then a kitchen sink view. So when specifically you haven't got the historical type of data, what are your thoughts about how much information and what information should go on that product mix?

[00:19:58] Because like you said, I totally agree with you and I'm assuming product page means there's a buy now button that gets you into,

[00:20:03] Shannon Shaffer: Just think of your standard, buy down, pay your standard product page. There's usually an image, a small description and a price and add to cart, obviously have that at the top, make that available immediately for those that are ready to buy.

[00:20:14]Don't shove that down to the bottom because there are people who are going to come to your site, go to your landing page. They're ready to go. Another suggestion is from your landing page. I'm a huge fan of having an add to cart button so that they don't have to go to the product page if they don't want to if I'm ready to buy, don't make me do that extra click.

[00:20:31] So just throw that out there. But I think that if you give them the opportunity to buy early and often early and often, I don't know, if there's too much data, because if I am. I'm an early buyer I'm ready and right away, I have the opportunity to add to the card. I need to connect more.

[00:20:49] And I think it's depending on price points too, right? Obviously, if he has a $9 product, you don't want to have a 5,000 words. If I am signing up for your $10,000 workshop, you better give me to, you've got to give me some meat about what you're selling me. So I think if you. If you try to also break up your page and think about your page, from somebody who's ready to buy somebody who just needs a little warming up and then somebody who might need those really deep details that's a hard one not specifically knowing the product.


[00:21:24] Cory Miller: So yeah, it is too. And I learned from only we're building an e-commerce software in 2014, 15. Oh my God. There is an infinite variations of how people want to sell what they want to sell in line. I want a, t-shirt great. That's a physical product. We got to think about shipping and taxes and then membership.

[00:21:44] But I want to try on my membership and it's Oh my God. So I get you there. So I was just reading Chet Holmes, recently The Ultimate Sales Machine, and he talks about the stadium pitch. And he said, basically, this is what kind of, I think you're saying. There's some people, very slim margin typically.

[00:22:03]Credit cards out, just give me the dang product. There's and I think there's the three stages I've seen as awareness, they just somehow ended up on the page or your PA your site. And they're just not even in the buying stage consideration, which I think you're talking about now. And then there's this purchase side.

[00:22:22]If I get that yep. So that's the view of the product page, right? Is ho what are the key questions? What's enough information to put out there to see what your kind of like to put an experiment out.

[00:22:35] Shannon Shaffer: Correct. And I can look a product page to just. Not everybody's going to be ready to buy, if they're in that consideration stage.

[00:22:43] So how do we get them to perhaps engage with us? I think that product page also should have some other way. I'm not ready to buy today, but I'm really interested. Is there a newsletter, is there some kind of a social that I can join to learn more because not everybody is going to buy, especially if I'm randomly clicking through on a Friday night, a Facebook ad and I land on your page.

[00:23:07] So I think that's another key thing on these product pages that maybe wasn't such a consideration, five years ago, or even a fremium for some brands. But at least give those people, and I'm speaking more to the smaller businesses that give them an opportunity to engage with you in some other way, whether it's fine, you connect on social or, sign up for your email list, something there.

[00:23:30]But, unless I'm coming to you already in the buy phase. Cause some people are like those. Like we were talking about those people who have been influenced already on, on Instagram, they're ready to buy. And that's what we were talking about earlier. Do they even come in when you're putting those links on Instagram, are they coming into a different page?

[00:23:48]Because they don't need to know your whole life story. Cause they already they're ready. They're ready to go. And I think that's only something that you can find out by, Mapping what's going on in your website with analytics, down, down the line, if you're just getting started out.

[00:24:00] Cory Miller: So do you do something like a workflow or how do you actually tactically map the user projects? Spreadsheet

[00:24:08] Shannon Shaffer: it's really ugly. So I'm old, so it is my entire life lived in these.

[00:24:17] Yeah. So I hand map everything out just because that's how I have to think about it. And then it gets converted into someone else on my team will make it into a pretty flowchart. So I'm thinking about all the different ways. That somebody could go, that could come into the site, the different journeys that they could take where they might come back.

[00:24:39] And so that's what we call like that touch point list, or so where are all the touchpoints? Where are the, all the opportunities are you going to have to make an impression on them?

[00:24:49] Cory Miller: Okay. Gotcha. Okay. So I cut you off there, but so consideration, you said product page is the key priority page.

[00:24:57] Shannon Shaffer: I think for me, the product page is  a key thing. And I think that we sometimes overlook that. Cause you'll see a lot of product pages that will have the product picture and an add to cart button. Yes, lots of them.

[00:25:09] Cory Miller: So this is w I said it, but this is a weakness in my own thing. I'm good at flushing up product details and all that stuff. And I would say I'm definitely more marketing. Then technical for sure every single day, thinking about a product, think about a name. And the last thing I do is that product page. So we're exiting lots of new products to the mental health startup in probably a week or two.

[00:25:30] And I started thinking about the press, write the press release version before you get the product out that I think was popularized by maybe Amazon or something like that. Okay. We're at consideration product pages, the key what's next.

[00:25:43] Shannon Shaffer: So then we need to think about the what's called either the purchase acquisition stage of it. And that's where they go through. I wouldn't talk about everything about the product page really quick.

[00:25:54] Cory Miller: Yeah, yeah. Please do.

[00:25:55] Shannon Shaffer: Options ever been on a product page where you can pay 19 ways and there's 72 different price variations. Don't do it. Just jumped up because honestly, I have a client who we AB tested some pricing for awhile and the more complicated pricing which she felt would give people more options to buy led to significantly less sales.

[00:26:19] People need simple. They don't need another choice. So you have 10 products in nine different sense, and now you have different ways that you can buy six for, $119. You can buy five for, it was crazy. So keep your choices, relatively simple. I think the ways that you can pay No credit card, PayPal, all those different things.

[00:26:39] If you have more options, that's great. But the pricing really confusing for people with pricing is can make it tough for them to make a decision. And you can end up with an abandoned cart,

[00:26:49] Cory Miller: decision fatigue. And, I feel like I don't know your experience, Shannon, but I want to put this out there for your comment on it is I think we want to be led. Most of us want to be led. Particularly if I'm buying something of considerable… shoot, I was just buying hosting in the last two days. And I went and got feedback on it. I want to make sure I'm making the right process, but mostly I want to be led. I want to be given enough information and steered down there.

[00:27:14] So if you give me 10 options, I don't think you're leading me as a consumer as a user. So don't make me think. Lead me show you're the expert. Is my thoughts on that.

[00:27:25] Shannon Shaffer: I always talk with people about going to a higher end restaurant versus the diner and the venues. So when you go to a diner, I hate going to Daniel because you get like a 50 page menu.

[00:27:36] And I sit there and I'm like, cheesecake. Yeah. Do I want the Caesar salad? Or and then I can't make a decision about it's very overwhelming. And then I make a decision and then the entire dinner I'm like, can I get the wrong thing? Yeah, I keep making sure I haven't gotten the, unlike when I go to a higher end restaurant, they have seven things on the menu.

[00:27:56] I only one, so I knew I'd made the right choice, so I don't think about it ever again. I'm like this is great. Cause I made the right choice and not thinking. Cool. Would that fettuccine Alfredo better than, the whole time. So I don't fully enjoy the variance. So you don't want people to question what they're purchasing either, right?

[00:28:14]Did I make the right decision when I'm buying your product? Because you already have I'll go back to the universe again, but you already have like different bars that they can buy. You don't want to get to checkout and then say you can buy them, 10 other ways so

[00:28:26]Cory Miller: And this is a great example. I'm glad you brought it up, but we started out with four sets now we've got six and then we've added more skews. And the biggest question I guarantee we get, because I see Facebook and social replies and stuff like that is which bar for my hair. So we're trying to do some things to make that easier to less than one, our support burden, but also to help guide the customer to there.

[00:28:47] Because I go back, I give this example to a lot of people back in 2008, we were creating these themes and I would create a theme and I call it cubicle theme or something like that. And I was thinking it's just a business theme. It's just, and really it's just this design. I want to put it out. And people would buy it. Okay. And then I thought, huh, that could also be a real estate thing. So I just call it real estate team and people bought it more because there's a bigger market for specifically, tell me what it is now. Any of our themes could have been real estate theme, but all we did was slap a label on it.

[00:29:18] You know what I mean? And it's so interesting to this. What we're talking about here of guide laid people. Don't make them think kind of thing.

[00:29:27] Shannon Shaffer: People like self identify, we self identify with if you put five things, images on the screen, I'm going to pick. If you put five different women, different skin types, colors, whatever I'm going to identify with one of them.

[00:29:39]It's inherent that's who we are. So you always identify with a group or product or thing. I identify as I have my Apple watch my iPad. I'm Apple girl, and. Is that a thing I've made it a thing, it's just, it is it's who we are. I think it's human nature to want to fit into something and be a part of something.

[00:29:58] So as soon as we can, self-identify with something on your website or in your store, it's over you've been made the purchase. So that goes back to knowing your customers,

[00:30:07] Cory Miller: Exactly. The perspective of the customer. It's telling me that it's for me and what it is and why it helps me. We've all been driving on the road and we get billboard blindness, but there's that one that you're like, I wasn't even thinking about, getting my heart 44, 

[00:30:25] Shannon Shaffer: I didn't know I needed Botox.

[00:30:30] Cory Miller: But I love that you said self-identify because it is tell people. It's for you, that person, even if there's different audience segments or something in your customer base, the more it seems like we can say your rating, my email me, the self identifies like, Oh, that's for me, I'm going to gravitate toward here. You reduce that friction to someone. Perfect. Exactly.

[00:30:53]Shannon Shaffer: That's a whole other conversation, but personalization in your store is not I don't mean. Cut personal life shirts. Like personalized experiences is a whole other conversation, but having user experiences based on the ideal client personal, there is a website that was shared with me recently where you typed in your name and then. The whole thing was like asking. It was like, Hey Shannon, do…

[00:31:19] Cory Miller: Okay, that's our third conversation we got to have now or fourth,

[00:31:23] Shannon Shaffer: I'm keeping notes

[00:31:24] Cory Miller: As I started thinking about the feature websites, this was a while back. And then just recently it's what is the purpose of website it's supposed to be like this kiosk like you go up and it should get, you should be able to, it should be able to read your mind for one, I think eventually, and go, this is what you're looking for, Cory, so I love that kind of perspective, but I'm getting way off here. So again, this needs to be like, now it's a five hour conversation.

[00:31:46]Okay, so we've talked

[00:31:48] Shannon Shaffer: tropical, is that

[00:31:50] Cory Miller: yes. Let's see, Virgin islands think it needs to be like a cover first type, mastermind, Portugal. Now you're reading my mind for sure.

[00:32:00] Shannon Shaffer: Yeah, let's do that. Could you can get Lindsey on board with that?

[00:32:04] Cory Miller: Every day. Okay. While I have your time, I want to mine you more for some more information. So we've talked about consideration. And then you where do you want to go next? Do we want to talk about purchase and acquisition?

[00:32:17] Shannon Shaffer: We purchased an acquisition In that particular part of the phases, easy checkout, and all those barriers at checkout, you don't need their social security number, their mother's maiden name.

[00:32:30] Yeah. Ask them as little as possible to properly, give them the product and then any important questions that might segment them on your list. You already know a lot about them by what they're buying. So what. Or you could do I don't know if you've ever seen it where it's profiling, where you.

[00:32:49] Ask one or two questions each time they check out. And then the next time, if they've already answered those questions, you can ask them something different. But have you ever gotten the checkout where they want to know every single thing about you and yes, don't do that. Let people give you their money.

[00:33:04]So if you can, build their profile. Profiled by progressive profiling, basically. If you already have their name and when they put their email address in, it's awesome. If their name could fill out, that they know when they're coming back to the site. So once they get through checkout, so important, make sure you have that thank you page. Make sure you acknowledge their per purchase. There's nothing worse than putting your credit card and hitting submit. And then you get a white screen. You're like. Did we go through? That creates support load for you or people on social media. So always make sure that you do that thank you page at the end. Redirect to a thank you page in email, saying, Hey, email or texts, we got your order. It's on the way. And then obviously when it ships again, send them something, you're let them know that it's on its way to them. You're excited. We talked about, even us, we talked about video on the thank you page for personalization.

[00:33:56] Just do something that stands out in their mind that you actually did thank them. So once you get through that thank you process, then it all becomes about service and loyalty. And I think that's where a lot of people fall off on their journey. Is that they think for one, two, three, they get that, all that done and everything, but then they don't think about what happens if they want to return her product?

[00:34:20] What happens if a product, does it make it there, all those service based questions. So have those answers easy to find on your website? Don't make them dig because there's nothing worse than wanting to return something and then feeling like I can't return it because I don't know how, and then the time passes.

[00:34:39] And then you were like, Oh yeah, that company that I spent $60 on and then I never could return it. And I just ate that $60. You've lost that every purchase and then you've lost an advocate who might tell five other people about you. Because they might've been able to return it and get something else that they loved and became a brand advocate.

[00:34:57] So that's something to think about. And what that looks like is it could be a chat. It could be FAQ's, it could be A whole thing that, that they will be able to find on your website really easy via a form or something like that. It could be a lane that's already in their order notification. Hey, if you have any product problems with your order, click here to let us know that type of thing.

[00:35:19]Cory Miller:  So, I recently we were trying to figure out how to add some tracking code and the software that we're using that you're aware of and pulling our hair out. I lost even more hair right here, which I can interview, but I went through our checkout process and I learned some things like this was the thing I always knew in my head.

[00:35:37] Even over 10 plus years at iThemes building software, I was like, somebody we actually go through the checkout process and just see what the experience is. It's too often, we set it up and forget it, and just hope that the spicket is running properly. Going through that. I found out it wasn't going through WordPress. The checkout experience, it was going back to the big commerce to the big commerce software. And that was probably better than the experience on the site, but it was like this epiphany of I thought everything was happening on site. So just going through that process, and I would say when you're saying, let's just, how would you think, like in the Vida Bars process, you went through the thing and so let's assume it makes me think Shannon, from what you're saying, I go be cynical a little bit. Low on the trust scale, but I have put my money in enough. And I put my money in and it says blank, white screen. Then I start to worry. Somebody just stole 25, 30 bucks of my money, and I think you were even saying that too is when you got it, making sure the tracking, the invoice, the reasonable amount of time, like what would you expect from the user side?

[00:36:48] And I gotta tell you, I think this is mostly, I don't know how you find it from your clients. It's the last thing we think about? Absolutely. As entrepreneurs and store owners, it's the last part of the process that we think about?

[00:37:00] Shannon Shaffer: No. I think everybody is, and you have to be concerned about making the sale, right?

[00:37:05] We want to make the sale. You have to make the sales stay in business, but I don't think people think that the service and the loyalty part of this journey. Is as important as the product page as the checkout experience. And I would say that, it is from a surface standpoint, not every buyer likes to communicate the same way.

[00:37:26]So if you only have one option, let's say you have, the only option you have is to fill a form and wait a week for a response back for some people they don't like that. That is that your buyer? I don't know. But in your, is your buyer 19 years old and they don't use email now, should we be texting them confirmation?

[00:37:46]Is your buyer somebody who's going to want a, is it a 68 year old who's nervous and you need to have a live chat so they can say hi, I gave you my money and you can immediately say, Oh Mrs. Smith, your money's fine. Relax. What does your what communication preference works for your particular buyer?

[00:38:07] So some of us, I don't want to get texts, I like email, but if I'm not your target market and I would never do live chat. I don't have the patience to wait for somebody to keep responding to me. I just want to shoot an email often and get a response, but. What does your audience need? Don't give your audience the wrong tool because they'll look at it the same as having no tool.

[00:38:29] Cory Miller: Okay. So Kristen has a question about this too. How do you test, how do you find out if beyond doing it, maybe yourself how would you suggest figuring out if visitors are having a good experience?

[00:38:42] Shannon Shaffer: So two things early on when you are just getting started and I suggest that you use family and friends who don't know about your product. Not the ones that you've been telling about your product for the last five years is thing that you haven't been brewing. Go ask your aunt who you've never told about your product or ask your 16 year old nephew or whoever, a bunch of different people to try it.

[00:39:06] And here's the caveat to that though. All of them are probably going to give you different information than it's all good information to consider, but the people that are closest to your target market are the ones who really want to hear, because there will still be people in your, on the fringes. So early on, I just, the Jeff having. Anybody that, do your checkout process. And then I know you're immediately thinking they're not going to want to buy my product. So this is where we do early on. And we'll do dumping testing with coupon codes to allow them to go through on manufacturing.

[00:39:36] You can also turn Stripe if you use Stripe or something like Stripe into a test mode where you can use a dummy credit card. I've heard that so many times. Like my mom has one to buy my product or, 10 people don't have the money to buy my product. Just give them a dummy credit card through Stripe or something where you do a coupon code, let them go through the process.

[00:39:56] And let them be brutally honest with you. And, I always tried to thank those same people because even though their family or friends, they still have managed to get out. They still can be advocates, even if they try your experience, but it was good for that. They might tell a friend or family member.

[00:40:11]And then if you are, if your business is up and running and you are doing, actual business already, there are lots of tools out there. That you can use. Not to get too far down a rabbit hole, but abandoned cart is a big measurement of how well you were doing with this whole process.

[00:40:29] So if you use abandoned cart software if you use automation for abandoned carts, I'm a fan of saying I'm just going to being honest. If somebody leaves your website and be like, Hey Jen, you were on our site and you had XYZ in your cart. What happened? Hit reply. And let me know, just real casual to ask them. You'll be surprised how many people reply.

[00:40:54] Cory Miller: Sample size data, the first couple of like we're getting in with the mental health startup is really good and we're, but we're also trying not to weight it too heavily, but I want to get sample size data, enough data to go there's trends here that we're seeing. Something like you just talked about could be an exit intent, pop up with a couple of buttons that says.

[00:41:13] I'm not ready to buy. I'm confused. Those are the, some of the things that I thought about. And we've done on a couple of our sales pages over there too, just to get data. I love data. This is why I love doing e-commerce while I love doing web work. It's it's the best video game mater ever invented for me.

[00:41:29] Shannon Shaffer: Yeah. And then last, if you are running really successful E-commerce then you're looking to grow or you're having some pain points. That's when, I think you have somebody who does this, take a look at it and go through the journey. I always, whenever we're starting to, not even when we are engaged to work with the clients, before we even quote a client, I go through their process.

[00:41:54]And I actually make a purchase. I don't tell them that upfront that I'm doing that. Comes through like any other order and I get to experience it from the customer end. And it's an interesting process because they, no, that way, you're not like, Oh, and I make sure sometimes they don't, they know that it's me, I'm making the name's different or an address is different.

[00:42:15] So working with somebody to help you go through that process is also good. Once you've reached. Yeah. Like where you are right now with you to bars it has an owner doing it themselves. Cause they're too close to it

[00:42:28] Cory Miller: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So we get  a couple of minutes left.

[00:42:33] If you have questions for Shannon Shafer, please post those in the Q&A app. But Shannon what are the things what's next? What are the things haven't we talked about that you want to talk about in the user path, on the user experience. Leaving them to that sell in the promised land and keeping going and being repaired loyalty.

[00:42:52]Shannon Shaffer: Because that's a huge part of the journey. So we want our customers to talk about us. We want our customers to B be advocates for us, do the hard work for us, right? So you've given them this great experience and now the product is in their hands. So they love the product and how can they help, help you help you sell your product, really what it comes down to.

[00:43:16] And I think this is where we. Need to think about making sure that reviews happen, asking for reviews. I think that, we do things like newsletters. We do things like again, we asked Jen why shouldn't buy the product. Now Jens bought the product. What do you think that the product, let us know.

[00:43:35]And here's a good little tip for segmenting people. So after purchase, newsletter after purchase, you can set it to depending on what your product is. If it's something they're going to use in 10 days or some products, you need three, four months to really experience the product.

[00:43:50]Make sure that you're sending that at the right time. So I'll use something like a facial oil that I bought. I got the facial oil and on their product it says use for 60 to 90 days to see your results. Two weeks after I bought the product, what do you think of our product? You told me that I needed to wait 90 days to see the results, but you're asking me at two weeks.

[00:44:14] So be careful not to, if you have a product that is something that has a longer life and or something that you that you're not going to really receive results, you're going to get net. If you're asking me two weeks, I've not seen any change in my skin. So you're going to get a negative review for me.

[00:44:30]Ask me and I gave him a negative review. I was like, why are you asking me at two weeks? Yeah. And maybe not, everybody's going to do that, but make sure that you're asking your people at the appropriate time, following up. Sure. You can send up a follow-up email, Hey Jen, you've been using, sun glow now for 45 days.

[00:44:44] We hope your skin is amazing. Give us a review now, because Jen will have something positive to say about your product. If your product is something that is, if you make cakes and somebody gets your cake and they eat it on Saturday, do not send them a request for review two months later, send it on like Tuesday, just depending on your product. I want to make sure your automation is appropriate timing.

[00:45:05] Cory Miller: Lined up. Yeah. I remember asking Anawhen, how many uses can we reasonably do? And making it more congruent than what 60 to 90 days is two weeks I have. Yeah.

[00:45:22] Shannon Shaffer: Is that if our clients or customers don't come back to us, then a certain amount of time, if there is, if you have a product that they should be rebuying that has a short lifecycle that they need to rebuy and they don't hit that, give them incentive to come back. Cause that's part of the journey.

[00:45:38] So what I see a lot of people doing is let's use the bars again, sorry guys, but it's product that we both know. And let's say that the shampoos should last two months and it is three months and I haven't purchased yet. Send me some communication, the coupon code, then don't wait until it's six, nine months, because then I forget  and that's what a lot of people do.

[00:46:01] They're like maybe they're just not ready to purchase yet. And they hedge their bets on that. They're going to come back and then you lose that customer because. They tried some other shampoo in the meantime, when, if they would've got your $10 off coupon, they would've probably purchased and stayed with you.

[00:46:16] And the longer you use something and it becomes more part of your team. Just think about that. Like when you're setting up those automations, make sure your trigger points for that are smart as well.

[00:46:27] Cory Miller: Yep. Absolutely. Alrighty, love it all. And, as we're talking, I'm making my Vida Bar to do list even longer.

[00:46:39] Shannon Shaffer: I wanted to think before we stopped talking about this. So this is another thing that I read that I wanted to share. I should shared it early on that make sure that you're considering what device coming on, because I read something the other day that. It was so well stated that the first device experience, if it's negative, they won't try you on another device.

[00:46:57] So a lot of people will create amazing stores if I'm using my 15 inch Mac book, but it's horrible on my phone or my iPad. So just keep into consideration that you get one shot, like for these people. And it has to work beautifully on every device.

[00:47:16] Cory Miller: So I'll tell you a quick assumption about Vida Bars. Instagram is where Ana who is the founder started to build a huge audience, almost 40,000 followers.

[00:47:24] So I assumed Shannon. There's two things. One is admitted a mistake. When I built the site and I built it and it's not, that's why we're having Shannon and Katie do it. So if you go to, you're going to see Cory's real amateur work. It's got us to this part. That's why we've engaged Shannon and Katie. But the first mistake was I didn't, until the end, I didn't even test it on mobile. That's just how long it's been since I've built websites too, but here's the assumption. So that was admitted a mistake, but second is, I thought coming from Instagram and the making assumptions. Good bad indifferent.

[00:48:01] I made some assumptions and I thought mobile traffic would be really high, but it would be more Android. When I was looking at year to date. It was really heavily skewed to iPhone, which is interesting little assumption. Fact for me is just to look back and go, when you're talking about device experience, the takeaway for me is just get data and test those assumptions.

[00:48:21] Don't let them keep going and then review the data. So you don't be locked in on something as we go, but it was really interesting to see iPhone. So when you're talking about first experience in life then. Let's figure it out. Let's go through the checkout experience on iPhone. And that particularly, the median user

[00:48:46] I tease her about it all the time. Ana does. Okay, maybe that's where I got mine. Assumption is just, it was going to be mostly Android, but with our price point, you were quick to pick this out too. It's a little bit higher than a typical one. I began making really broad and big assumptions here, but it was just interesting to just look back and go.

[00:49:07] I thought it might be a little bit even, but it was very heavily skewed. Okay. Any parting thoughts? Thank you for your time today. Shannon Shafer, you can go to and check out her work there, by the way. She's not accepting clients except by referrals. So it's a reflection of her success of what she's done with her business.

[00:49:25] Any parting thoughts for you? Shannon.

[00:49:27] Shannon Shaffer: I just think if you can keep remembering that the experience is just as if not in these days more as important as the product. I really think that if you can keep that in mind that the experience can help you sell the product and putting the energy that you do into your product development, into your experience development can really pay off for you in the long run.

[00:49:48] Cory Miller: Absolutely. I'll leave it there Shannon I know you're busy, you have things going on. But thanks for your time here today. And I've got mapped out all the series that I'm going to do with Shannon Shafer now, and then I would need to follow up when you do some one-on-ones. Thanks again, my friend. I appreciate your time. Sharing your expertise so openly.

[00:50:07] Shannon Shaffer: Thank you.

[00:50:09] Cory Miller: All right. Thanks for being here today everybody. We'll see you later.

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