Episode 42: Increasing Your CRO with CartHook CEO Jordan Gal
Learn how to increase your conversion rate with CartHook's Shopify app. This podcast features CartHook's CEO, Jordan Gal, and MuteSix's CEO, Steve Weiss.
00:21 Steve Weiss: Welcome to the Spend $10K a Day Podcast. We have an amazing guest today. We have Jordan from CartHook. I'll let Jordan introduce himself.
00:32 Jordan: Sure, I'm the co-founder and CEO of CartHook, and we offer a one page checkout and one click upsell app for Shopify.
00:43 SW: So as everyone knows, the most important thing is figuring out how do you generate the conversion rate over 3% on your traffic for each cohort. So as a Facebook marketer, as a paid acquisition marketer, as an e-commerce marketer, I wanna figure out how do I get the highest conversion rate on every piece of traffic I generate from my ads. Jordan's tool has allowed us, and a lot of other people in the Shopify ecosystem, to really get a much higher conversion rate and allow us to really get ahead of the game. So I'm super excited to have you man, thanks for jumping on. Tell us a little more about yourself, your background, how you became an expert at CRO, etcetera, etcetera.
01:19 Jordan: Sure, so I come from a classic immigrant entrepreneur household, so I watched my father be an entrepreneur as soon as we came to this country. So I got bit with the bug real early. And a few years ago, my brothers and I started an e-commerce company. This was before Facebook ads. We drove traffic predominantly from AdWords. And we sold niche products that were hard to find offline. So our most successful site sold solar lighting products. We had a store for hammocks, another store for electric fireplaces. So a very niche category...
01:52 SW: Wow.
01:53 Jordan: We were going along the hayneedle model, before they brought it onto one site. And in that experience, I was the person responsible for conversion. So one brother brought the traffic, I was in charge of conversion, and my younger brother was in charge of everything after the sale. So I basically spent a year just learning and implementing conversion rate optimization, and really all we wanted to do is get return on ad spend. So we started off with for every $100, we'd get $200 in revenue, then for every $100, we got $300, and then we ended up somewhere in five to one. So for every $100 we spent on an ad, we would get $500 in revenue. And then once that started working and clicking, then you're more comfortable spending money on ads, and then you make more money, and then you spend more money on ads, and so forth.
02:41 SW: [chuckle] Now, back in the day, back then, tell us a little more about some of the tactics or the tricks that you would use to optimize your funnel. I'm always very fascinated, I'm more of a paid acquisition type guy background, not a CRO background. So excited to hear some of your thoughts on that.
02:56 Jordan: Yeah, what we found is that we needed to get everything lined up. And what I mean by that is, we had to get the right ad with the right landing page that came after the ad with the right product, the right pictures, the right offer, and then the right check out process. And then once everything worked each step of the way, the return on ad spend and the conversion rate got up to where we wanted it to be. So we had to keep playing around, and so the biggest thing we did is, we listened to customers. Because not only did they tell us what they wanted and what products they were looking for, they told us what problems they were actually trying to solve. So our best selling product was a solar flag light. Okay.
03:41 SW: [chuckle] Solar flag light, wow.
03:41 Jordan: I'm from New York, I don't know what they were talking about. But a lot of people out in the country have a flag, it's very far away from their house, and the code for the flag is that it stays lit at night or you bring it home. So I didn't know this and I would never have known it unless I listened to people asking us, "Hey, will this solar light reach my flag?" And we were like, "What are you talking about?" Eventually, we heard it so often, we understood, oh there's a market there. So we took what we heard from phone calls and live chat and then built out a category specifically for solar flag lights, and addressed their needs in the bullet points at the very top of the product page, saying, "It'll reach 20 feet, it'll last all night long," all these things. And not surprisingly, that's when sales started taking off. Then we went further up the line, up the funnel, and made sure that our ads spoke directly to people who were looking for solar flag lights. Then the page that they hit was right for them, optimized the checkout process, with a bunch of a trust symbols, remove navigation, and so forth, and then that's how things start to get lined up and then we could pour more money into the ad spend.
04:46 SW: Dude, that's an awesome point. Literally, that's the first thing we do when we launch ads, is we read the comments of what people are saying from our ads. I don't think there's enough... You know, the conversion rate optimization is not as scientific as everyone makes it out to be, and I think that's the thing I wanted to spell on this podcast, is that you don't have to be a super technical human being to optimize your landing pages.
05:07 Jordan: No. No, you have to think about is... Right, it's... The analogy is offline. When you come in to a store and you're looking to buy a stereo, you have questions. If you don't answer my questions, I walk out of the store without buying. It's the same thing online, you need to provide someone with the information they need in order to make a buying decision. And so as you test things out, as you test the page, as you test the ads, you need to make sure that people have what they need before they make a buying decision. And then you need to gain enough trust for them to pull out their credit card. Yeah, so there's all different pieces. Reviews will help you. A great about page with pictures, making things feel like a real company, that will help you. So all of these individuals pieces contribute and improve things. It's a process, it's not just nailing it off the bat. If you expect to be profitable with paid ads on one specific campaign right off the bat, you will most likely be disappointed.
06:03 SW: So what are the ways that an e-commerce site who is not an expert at conversion rate optimization can best listen to their customers? Obviously what we do is, we read the comments of all our ads, sometimes we'll call up past customers. But in your opinion, if you really wanna dig deep and really figure out why people are converting or why they aren't converting, what would you say are the top five ways you could listen to your customers?
06:27 Jordan: The single best way that we found was talking to people on the phone. It sounds old-school and might be annoying, but at first, there's nothing better than actually talking to people on the phone. So I think that's the number one way, if you wanna learn fast what your customers want, what they don't want, and why they wanna buy your product to begin with, get your phone number up on a page and getting people on the phone, you learn more at that way than any other way. The second is live chat, and live chat I see as serving two functions. Not only do people ask questions, and oftentimes as soon as you hear a question more than once, the answer to that should probably be somewhere on the page. The second thing that live chat does, is it shows you what page people are on and ideally it shows you the path that they took, and you learn things from that.
07:17 Jordan: So, for example, one of the things that we learned was that we weren't building enough trust. So we'd see people go from the product page to the cart and then they'd go to the about page, basically saying, "Who the hell am I about to buy a solar light for $150 from?" [chuckle] And then they'd leave. And so what'd we do? We optimize the about us page and made it look like a trustworthy company with pictures of ourselves and a pledge and testimonials and then we'd see people go to the about page and then back to the cart and then into the check out. So it's different points. So live chat is good, phone is good, checking out what your competition is doing, read comments.
07:53 SW: Facebook comments, interesting. No, this is all really... This is what goes into scaling a Facebook ad. Our whole podcast always talk about what goes into spending five, 10, 15, $25,000 a day besides having a great product and I think this is what in my opinion the most important element of Facebook ads is your conversion rate optimization. Understanding the expectations of your users once they come to your website and I think you've done an amazing job, Jordan, of explaining that on this podcast. Number two, tell us a little more about CartHook. I'd love to share a little bit more intel with our readers. What was your inspiration behind the product? What pain point did you solve and then lastly how could one of our podcast listeners actually integrate CartHook to really grow their conversion rate on their website?
08:44 Jordan: Yes, we started in the right place. A few years ago in the e-commerce experience, being the person responsible for conversion and optimization, I spent a lot of time optimizing the checkout process, the cart page, the check out page, the trust symbols, the testimonials, all these different pieces that contribute to a better conversion rate. Now I was running CartHook and our first product was a cart abandonment app. So we were selling cart abandonment app for a while and then what happened was when we started to work with the Shopify platform, what we noticed that you can't do anything with the check out process. And given my experience at how much work I put into our checkout process, it did not make sense to me. This is the fastest growing most popular platform, but you can't touch the most important page. So that was really the inspiration and that's why we built a customizable one page check out, because I think one page is better. The truth is I think the thumb print is gonna win overall and eventually there won't be any fields by default on a checkout page.
09:48 Jordan: It'll just be which thumb print device do you wanna use. So that was the inspiration and what happened from there is we listen to our customers and what they told us was, "This is great. We get to optimize our checkout page. It's all in one page. It looks good on mobile. I can put my logo and my testimonials and trust symbols, but I wanna increase my average order value with one click upsells." And one click upsell, just to run through that concept really quick. Everyone is familiar with Amazon pre-purchase upsells. That's the, "You bought a boot, you have a boot in your cart, you might also like a pair of socks." That's pre-purchase because you haven't actually made the purchase yet they're asking you to add something to the basket to increase your average order value, but what that does is it adds friction to the process. What post-purchase upsells do is it lets you buy the boot, let's you bring it to the checkout page, put your information down, put your payment information and hit buy.
10:42 Jordan: And then instead of sending you to the thank you page, you can set the sequence of offers based on what the person bought. So if your customer bought a boot and you say, "Oh, along with the boot, I wanna offer a pair of socks after the checkout page, after they've already put in their payment info and hit buy, then they'll see an offer page." And for them to accept that offer, all they have to do is click yes. They don't have to re-enter their payment information. So somewhere between 10 and 20% of your customers after they buy will say yes to your upsell offers and that increases your average order value which increases your return on ad spend then you can spend more on ads and make more money and spend more on ads and so on. So really the inspiration came from a years ago and then it led into the checkout page, led into the upsells, and that's kind of why we've kinda grown very quickly.
11:30 SW: And some ways that we've iterated measuring the power of a CartHook is looking inside a Facebook of your add to cart conversions. When you integrate an amazing tool like CartHook, which we've done for a number of clients, is we see that the add to cart conversion rate automatically goes up once we're able to customize this checkout page. So obviously the big pain point when you're on Facebook ad is you see all these people adding products to your shopping cart, but why is my ad to cart conversion rate 3, 4, 5%? They've already added it to the cart right? So it's really frustrating.
12:03 Jordan: Yeah. And you lose people each step of the way in that multi-step process. Now look, Shopify is a great platform. They have amazing resources. Their checkout, it works. It works well everywhere. It works on mobile and so forth. But if you tweak it, you can improve the conversion. And then if you add upsells, you can increase the average order value and your ROI, and overall, it makes you more profitable.
12:27 SW: Can you actually connect the offer on Facebook to a post-purchase upsell on CartHook? Have you had people positively connect that funnel together, where you're coming in with this offer, you might have seen an ad for this, and then you see that offer pop up or something similar. I just wanna understand how do people connect the CartHook experience to the Facebook ad?
12:48 Jordan: Sure. So people use our product. We have two main features, two main ways that people use the product. And so to connect it with an ad... So inside the Shopify store, the way people set up CartHook is they create upsell sequences that have a certain set of products being offered as upsells and down-sells, and then you're provided with a tag for that sequence of upsells. And then you take that tag and apply it to a product, to all your products or some of your products, or just one of your products, and when somebody buys that product, they will see that specific set of upsells. So you can link it directly to, if someone buys X, I want them to see this specific set of upsells. So if someone buys a single unit, I wanna connect them to an upsell and to a subscription of that same product. So things like that.
13:42 Jordan: The second way, and this is kind of like an insight from what we see on our site. What we see is our biggest selling merchants, the ones that are doing million dollars a month and up. What they'll do is once they identify a winner... So they'll run Facebook ads and they'll run it to product pages on their Shopify store, and they'll find a winner. And they'll say, "This product works." What they'll do then is they'll do more work to get the conversion. And by that, I mean they will build a separate landing page just for that product. So it goes beyond just what you have in the Shopify product page. They'll do more work. They'll put video. They'll put testimonials. They'll put more information. They'll put graphics. They'll put diagrams. And they will increase their conversion rate doing that. Now, the way they use CartHook with that is we have something called a product funnel feature, where you can link one specific product to a checkout page. So what you could do is you could run the Facebook ad to a landing page that then links over directly to a CartHook checkout and upsells, but the order still goes into your Shopify store. So your visitor never actually touches the Shopify store. They go from Facebook ad to landing page to CartHook checkout, CartHook upsells, CartHook thank you page, but the order still gets processed through your Shopify store to try to resolve the apps and so on.
15:03 SW: That's amazing. I didn't even know that feature existed. That's incredible.
15:06 Jordan: Yeah. We don't do a good job of identifying it, which we should, and we'll do more in the future.
15:11 SW: Just so we're clear...
15:13 Jordan: But that's powerful.
15:14 SW: Yeah, wow. I had no clue you could do it. Just so I'm clear, so how it works is let's say if I had a product, one of my thousand skews, I found an amazing product. And what I wanna do is I wanna run that product to it's own specific landing page experience. I wanna focus all my effort on selling this product. Well then what I could do is on that checkout page, there's gonna be a CartHook page number one, even though it's not on my Shopify store, and number two I could attach a custom post-purchase upsell to that specific landing page. And then I could run 10 different landing pages, all with unique upsells, all with your CartHook. Correct?
15:50 Jordan: Yes. And you can also customize each checkout page specific to that landing page. So you could have a testimonial of that product that you're selling, because you know the only people visiting this checkout page are the ones that hit the buy button on the landing page for that specific product. So you could keep doing work deeper and deeper into the funnel.
16:10 SW: That's amazing. That's been a big pain point for a lot of our readers. We work with a lot of companies who have work subscription billing apps. Obviously, we've seen Recharge, Bold, they all have different subscription billing apps, so we love Recharge, we work really closely with them, as well as working with Bold. But tell us, how do you integrate with all these other subscription billing apps on top of Shopify?
16:33 Jordan: So subscription billing, we love Recharge, we've worked with them for many years on the cart abandonment side, and now on the checkout side. And it's just the click of a button. It's just, any of the pages in CartHook that are connected to an individual product, let's say an upsell page, you just scroll down and hit a button that says, "Turn this into a Recharge product." And then when that's bought, the first purchase will go through our product, and then we'll talk to Recharge through the API and say, "Create a subscription for this product at this price."
17:03 SW: Because that's been the biggest pain point that I've gotten from talking to so many of our partners, is the ability and with some of these subscription billing apps to customize that shopping cart experience. And even once they make a purchase, really create an experience where they're getting specific segments of emails based on their prior purchase behavior. Do you guys integrate with Klaviyo or any of these other ESPs?
17:26 Jordan: We do. We integrate with Klaviyo for abandoned carts, and what we do differently is because we have control of the checkout page, we capture the email address as soon as it's typed. So instead of waiting for the visitor to go from step one to step two in the checkout process, as soon as they type it into the email field on the one page checkout, we capture the email. And then if they don't complete the purchase, we send that email over to Klaviyo. We also send it over to our own cart abandonment app that we offer for free to anyone who uses our checkout, and anyone who uses Klaviyo can continue to use that. We also have an API with all the page events so people get that, you can even get the phone number sent into to your Klaviyo account, you know we are kinda developing this as people tell us what they wanna see.
18:10 SW: You just throwing down knowledge bombs over there, Jordan, you're crushing it, man. I didn't even know this existed. So let me get this straight. So, I type my email in and then say I didn't type any of the other fields and I just forget about it and I just close the window. You're actually gonna copy that email, even though I didn't like finish anything, I didn't put in the proper press submit, you're actually gonna copy that email into a cart abandonment series, correct?
18:35 Jordan: Yes, as soon as you tap out of the field, the email's captured.
18:38 SW: Wow, that's huge. I don't know any other system that does... I mean that's huge. I mean, passing that data back to Facebook, passing that data back to Klaviyo, it's amazing.
18:48 Jordan: Yep, you can connect it with Klaviyo, you connect it with your custom facebook audience that you're re-targeting based on their abandoned art; and of course the email that goes out has the cart data of that visitor so you can... In the email it's showing the product that they abandoned with, so it all kinda connected and makes sense which...
19:08 SW: So this is awesome man, I learned a lot on this podcast and always think that I know everything and I'm always wrong, I don't know anything. There's so much stuff that I learn from doing these podcasts. So number one, thanks so much man for taking the time out of your busy day. We love CartHook, you guys doing an amazing work. But I gotta ask you one question, man. What's going on the future, man? Give us a sneak peek of what you guys are thinking about, what you guys are doing in the laboratory. We are all excited to hear what's the future of CRO is and kinda drop a couple more knowledge bombs. What we could do better as marketers?
19:42 Jordan: Sure, so our philosophy is that the marketer knows better than we do and that the technology should not be in the way of the marketer. So our whole ambition with this product is to just let the marketer and the merchant have control over everything. So everything we do is toward that, so we are launching a new editor in September, we are launching an updated admin, just more functionality. Everything is just to hand more and more control to the merchant. So right now we have a WYSIWYG editor, you can drag and drop stuff onto the checkout page. We just want to keep going in that direction because we think that... At least our audience they are coming to us they already know what they want to do. It's just up to us in terms of content, teaching it's really kinda teaching what we are learning from the merchants, they are way ahead. They are just telling us, "Just let us do what we want to do." So that's our whole philosophy, just give control back over the most important pages on the site back over to the merchant.
20:46 SW: So if any of our listeners wanna reach out to CartHook, tell us like what's the best way to get in touch with you or someone in your team if they have questions, if they just want to chat with you about CRO, man, what's the best... How do they, besides see you in Shopify app store obviously, how do they get hold of someone in your team or an expert just like you?
21:05 Jordan: We're actually not in the app store.
21:07 SW: Oh, you're not? Okay.
21:08 Jordan: No.
21:08 SW: Good to know, there you go, good to know. [chuckle]
21:10 Jordan: Yeah, that's right. We are a private app that you have access to once you sign up. Best way is just go to carthook.com/checkout. You'll find more about the product and our support team is amazing and we have invested a lot in that so they are really good about answering questions through the chat and then you can reach out to me directly it's just email@example.com with any questions or just to say hi, or partnerships whatever. This is what I like to do, just talking shop, so I'm open to people email.
21:41 SW: Awesome man, you crushed it, you probably have a ton of experience doing podcasting, I can tell man, you are just nailing every single point.
21:50 Jordan: If you wanna talk business I have a podcast called Bootstrapped Web. That's what I do regularly with my buddy and that's kinda like trials and tribulations of the journey sort of thing so.
22:00 SW: I knew you have some experience, I knew you were... But thanks man for taking time out of your day, once again, Jordan from CartHook joined us today in this "Spend $10K a Day" podcast, Steve Weiss, MuteSix.com. If you guys have any questions feel free to reach out to me Steve at MuteSix and Jordan at CartHook.
22:15 Jordan: Cheers. Thanks so much.
22:16 SW: Thanks.