Bold Commerce has helped more Shopify store owners make more sales this year with their suite of Shopify Apps including the Bold Upsell App.
In part 2 of this wonderful chat with co-founder Jay Myers, Jay describes the growth of Bold gives solid advice to any app developer planning to enter the app business.
About Milk Bottle Labs
Episode 19 Milk Bottle Shopify Ecommerce Podcast with Jay Myers
[00:00:00] Jay: [00:00:00] We've had people just put on the subscribe button on products just to turn it on just to see like it doesn't, I mean, you might as well like, and then people turn it on and lo and behold, they've someone subscribed to a product they never thought they would have.
Intro: [00:00:19] Welcome to the Milk Bottle Shopify Ecommerce Podcast brought to you by Milk Bottle Labs, Ireland's top-rated Shopify experts, Milk Bottle Labs, build, upgrade, migrate and market Shopify and Shopify Plus stores all over the world. Milk Bottle will migrate you onto Shopify with zero interruption guaranteed, or optimize your Shopify store and maximize store sales. This podcast is kindly supported by our favourite Shopify app and the only app we install in every store. Rewind.io is the leading backup solution for your Shopify store. We'll talk more about Rewind later now over to your host, founder of Milk Bottle Labs Keith Matthews.
Keith: [00:01:07] Hey folks. Welcome back to part two of my interview with Jay Meyers of Bold apps, the largest app development company within the Shopify ecosystem. Jay is an absolute gent and I really enjoyed this one in this episode. Jay explains to us the challenges he encountered when scaling the business and offer some sound advice for any would be Shopify app developer.
Jay also shares his favourite Bold app. Make sure you check out the episode notes on no labs.com and take advantage of two months free from Bold. So here goes. I'm going to ask you a question completely from left field. What's your favourite app.
Jay: [00:01:38] Our Bold subscriptions app is really, I mean, it's hard to say like that one. I just feel as a near and dear to my heart. Like we've, early on I was really involved in, I mean, I'm still very involved in a lot of the products, but we have amazing product managers now for all of our apps that they do all the market research. They talk to all the customers and the, you know, getting feedback and building features.
But, [00:02:00] you know, early on, I was involved in intimately, and then, you know, that was one of the last ones I was like intimately involved in the beginning on, obviously it's changed a ton right now, but it's my favourite app for, I guess a couple of reasons. One is I, I think the app is a solid app and, but I love the, like the effect that it has for merchants when a merchant starts doing recurring revenue and they didn't before.
It's such a stabilising factor on their business to have predictable month over month revenue. It allows them to grow. It allows them to secure financing cause banks look like it allows them to have better inventory forecasting. Like they know what to order. I've seen stores go from not doing any recurring revenue to layering in some type of a subscription aspect.
Sometimes it's a membership, sometimes it's they sell. You know, products that you don't even think it could be sold as subscriptions, like, like you have like [00:03:00] sunglasses and iPhone cases. Like there's one person iPhone case of the month, like I wouldn't buy an iPhone case every month, but some people spend 29 bucks a month and they get a new iPhone case and you know, they've turned their store from one time sales into subscription and it's like made such a difference in their bottom line.
Keith: [00:03:18] It's funny you mentioned that because subscription services are not particularly, well, they're not popular in Ireland cause I mean it's a small market, you know. I mean, Dublin, the capital city of Ireland only has probably over a million people. Of course, we're across the water from the UK and it's popular there.
But you mentioned your primary market is the US would you see that subscription model being very popular in the US more than anywhere else?
Jay: [00:03:39] I guess it probably is like a lot of, the biggest box subscription box companies are based in the US so I imagine it is, and it's becoming more and more a, so there are three types of subscriptions it boils down to a boils down. There's a, what you call a replenishment, curation and access. So replenishment is, I [00:04:00] want this shampoo every month. It's the same product. It's just replenishing.
Curation is, a good example is like your box of the month, you don't know what you're going to get. So like Birchbox beauty box, their curation, you, you get a sample box of a bunch of different beauty products, but it could be anything. It could be, it could be clothing, could be underwear, it could be fishing tackle, it could be something. But it's, you know, you don't know what you're going to get. You're getting curated too. You're paying for the product, but you're also kind of paying for the curation. So some people, it's an outfit a month. You get pants and a top and whatever you in some type of style.
And then the last type is access. And that's paying for access to something, access to better prices, access to better loyalty points, access to exclusive products, access to exclusive content. So some type of access. Curation is a roughly 30 because I think it's like 32% access is around 13% and curation [00:05:00] is close to 60% it's like 58% of our merchants are doing the curation. So that's a big trend. And I think it's, it's indicative of a larger trend, like when you think about what music you listen to, I don't. I don't turn on Spotify and pick a song. I pick a playlist because I want to be curated too. I want to be, you know, and I, and how our people are getting their meals.
Like every Friday we get like at our office, probably 40 or 50 boxes of the various weekly meal clubs and select, most of them are. Most of our staff are millennials and they all don't shop anymore. They just get once a week, they get all their meals shipped and they, they all get them shipped to work, so like they're getting all their food curated to them and it's just in every aspect of life, I think people are going to start seeing more and more of it where they don't want to pay to make the decision.
Keith: [00:05:56] That's an interesting point you made about the fact that the reason you picked it as one of your favourite apps was [00:06:00] because of the reaction of some store owners. And that's something that I think people should take note of the fact that, so what you're saying is there are actual store owners that are selling single products, you know, orders to customers when in actual fact, you're saying that they could actually be a subscription service.
Jay: [00:06:17] 100% and I think actually. I'm going to one day do a blog post on like all the subscription companies that you would never imagine are a subscription, like of the things that people sell subscriptions to. And a lot of times it's just access. So maybe you don't even have, you have absolutely nothing that someone would subscribe to, but if you have any type of repeat customers, you can have them subscribe to either advanced, like when products come out, they get, you know, advanced before, like a month before anyone else gets it. Or different tiers of loyalty or rewards points, or, there's a lot of things you can layer in. There's an interest, like, so when, when you, when you talked about [00:07:00] subscriptions, there's a word and that's churn and that's churn is when someone subscribes to a product and they cancel, that's churning.
There's only one reason anyone ever churns or cancels a subscription, and that's when perceived value is no longer greater than the cost. So like if you think about your Netflix subscription as if you don't watch Netflix for a couple months you're going to start thinking, Oh, do I really need this subscription? Do I really need Netflix? Do I really need this cable subscription? I haven't used it in months, because to you all the value that Netflix is, is just something to watch. So what we've challenged merchants with a lot is how can you layer in more value? So if a subscription can have, okay, yes, you're subscribes to this product. But maybe because you're a subscriber also, once a month you get a 50% off [00:08:00] coupon for something, or you get access to products that other members don't, or you get double the loyalty points or you get double some. You get exclusive content or you get like, so now you're just not getting deodorant to once a month for $10.
You're getting like $30 worth of all this other value. So then you, then people don't cancel. So are much less likely to cancel. I guess so. Yeah. It's an interesting thing. And then the thing is too, like if you have recurring revenue, just, you know, from a business standpoint, investors, you know, typically value companies doing recurring revenue.
You know, this depends on the market, but anywhere from six to 10 X multiplier on their top-line revenue. So when, when Dollar Shave Club sold to Unilever, they were doing roughly a hundred million in sales and they sold for a billion. So 10 times. Their top line, not their revenue, not their EBIDTA, not their profit, 10 times top-line [00:09:00] revenue.
So that's like what software companies get, you know like Shopify is trading at 30 X, it's revenue, but now this is companies selling physical goods, physical products, which historically investors have always valued those companies at three to four times. EBIDTA. I don't know if you guys do refer to these.
So like basically, and that's been the way that. Investors that have valued physical good companies forever, but subscription-based companies get valued very similar to SaaS software companies.
Keith: [00:09:34] Just to summarize, based on your experience and in the market, what you're saying is if you can build a successful standard eCommerce store, everybody should consider a subscription service and then in the future, ultimately your business could be worth more money in the long run.
Jay: [00:09:47] Yeah, absolutely. I, you know, we've, we've had people just put on the subscribe button on products just to turn it on just to see like, it doesn't, I mean, you might as well like, and then people turn [00:10:00] it on and. Lo and behold, they've, someone's subscribed to a product they never thought they would have. So,
Keith: [00:10:05] and Jay just to the dive slide into another one of your apps, which I'm personally very impressed with, is your cashier app. You mentioned that you're the, you just discussed there, the subscription app. Do you have to stack the cashier app with the subscription app? Do you use it or is there a, is there any benefit to using the cashier? Like if you use the cashier app with a subscription, you're obviously wanting to get your one-page checkout.
Isn't that right?
Jay: [00:10:27] Well, yeah, you'll get all the benefits. So you don't have to, but like we encourage people to, but you definitely don't have to. I'll give you the super quick history of cashier. So we used to have a big services side of our company. We, we've kind of, we're pretty much just product now.
We find partners for like, if anyone comes to trust and like wants like a site build, we would refer them to a partner. We don't really do anything on the services side anymore, but we used to do a lot. And it was quite common that merchants always needed some customization in the checkout.
We actually kept building multiple different [00:11:00] custom checkouts for larger brands. Like the first one we ever did was Time-Life wanted the ability to do five, five easy payments of 1999 because they sell DVD packages or sets and you know, so they need a time payment. So we built a custom checkup for them to do that.
And then we had Chef, which is a large food delivery place in New York. They needed stored accounts so customers could just select which payment method they wanted to use from preexisting ones. So we had to build them a custom checkout for that. And then it kept going on and on, and we had just had a whole bunch of these checkouts out there.
And one day we kind of just thought like, why don't we just build a checkout that's completely API driven that we can use internally. And then one day we can open up and then we can integrate all of our apps with that we can let other developers use, like there's other agencies that use it as a solution because it's very easy to build on top of, but it adds, so a number of apps integrate with it.
Like if you use our loyalty points app, you can use loyalty points just like a currency and the [00:12:00] checkout. You don't have to use a coupon code, so you can. You can pay with points. So you can pay with like a certain amount on your credit card a certain amount with loyalty points and you can still use a coupon code if you want.
Cause I know a lot of times you have to use a coupon code in there. If you use our multicurrency app, it can actually do the billing in the checkout with up to, I think it supports 153 different currencies and even different gateways. So the way we do it is that it actually swaps out the gateway. So like if you're charging in U S dollars, it may be, it uses Stripe.
If you're doing it in, if you're doing it in euros and maybe it uses authorize.net or you know, it actually switches the gateway. With upsell, it enables upselling all through and after the checkout, which has been. I mean upsells after checkout, triple the conversion of upsells before checkout.
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Keith: Just on that there. Do you find that that makes it very complicated for your customer? Does a lot of support acquired because I mean, obviously we're, you [00:14:00] know, we're installing apps and stores and your own apps on a regular basis, but you've just mentioned four apps there and the power of them.
For example, the average user would never know that an upsell towards the end of the transaction is more successful than prior to the prior to the checkout. So on, you've mentioned then if you use the multicurrency app, will then, that'll also, if a flip the currency straight away and it will move it across to a different gateway depending on the currency.
So very quickly it gets very complex. When we go back to the staff that you're hiring, are they primarily helping successful stores utilize those apps together more successfully? Is that the core, besides the development team, is there a large part of your hiring support and the basically consultancy?
Jay: [00:14:40] Yeah, it's, it's definitely a challenge for sure. You hit the nail on the head and yes, we are close to a hundred support staff now. I build, and if actually probably more if you count, so of that, we've actually split out. We have two teams. We have... Just call it merchant [00:15:00] success, but that's basically like helping anyone with any problems with any of the apps.
And then we have a dedicated onboarding team, which is separate of support. They just work when people are like getting onboarded. And then we have we could just, we call it HVM. It's the high-value merchant team. So basically like, I think it kicks in when you're doing like 2 million a year or more just to get like a dedicated account manager.
So the reason why we switched from, I say support, but it's like merchant success and it's a philosophical change that we don't, just like when you email our merchant success team, they don't try to just answer. They also tried to make suggestions of what might help cause you're right like it's very - not confusing and there's just like a lot of different ways the apps all work together and that's intentional.
It's intentional that. That apps have, they work by themselves, but they also just like loyalty [00:16:00] points and subscriptions, for example, is a great scenario where if you want to have like a Costco like membership where you pay 50 bucks a year and, or you can pay 100 bucks a year and depending on what you pay, you're on a different loyalty tier.
It all ties into the same customer tag and you know, you can do things like that. Same thing with customer pricing. You can use give VIP pricing to people that are members and like it. It's not super intuitive out of the box that like, Oh, these all apps all work together and I can use this and this and this.
So, but honestly, it's an area I think we need to work on because it's, I don't know that everyone knows all the different intricacies of how the apps all work together. So that's something we're trying to improve as it is a challenge.
Keith: [00:16:46] Yeah. And the, I suppose the more apps you develop, the more you have to do that.
I personally think that you guys are doing a great job. We go into stores Jay with, you know, 20, 30 40 apps added, and that's not good cause it's going to slow down your store. There's excess [00:17:00] codes that, you know, that's not required. But also a lot of the time there's multiple apps. That's if they were ripped out.
They just don't have any requirements. And there's other apps that are in the store that actually have the same attributes and the same functionality of what customers don't even know. So a lot of time we advise everybody to do an app audit at least once a quarter, to get rid of not only excess costs.
But also code that's making your store, you know, heavy and slow. For you guys, it's going to be a constant role to educate. It doesn't have more apps.
Jay: [00:17:33] What's also challenging for us is, I think like the way that merchants find apps, it's, you know, through primarily through the app store. It's not, Shopify's jobs who consult merchants on apps.
Like they do. Like if you email a Shopify guru, they'll do their best to suggest an app. But to be fair, they can't know all 3000 different apps that there's just no way. So they might know one or two, but like there isn't an app [00:18:00] concierge out there that you can email or talk to and just say like, Hey, this is the problem I'm trying to solve.
How should I do it? Who independently could recommend all these apps? So then merchants just go to the app store and they search and they look at some reviews and look at a price and take their best guess. And it is a bit. Hard, and maybe there's an opportunity there for someone to be a, some type of a concierge.
Keith: [00:18:25] We find ourselves doing that. So a lot of, you know, a lot of customers, you know, a lot of Shopify stores are self-built and Shopify is wonderful at marketing the fact that it's so easy to use. But I mean, I, I do believe that one ultimate benefit of any Shopify agency or partner is actually, we're generally on top of the apps that operate offer a good price, but also offer a good return. So I think there's, there's partners all over the world that aren't providing that kind of consultancy as part of their build and as part of their service. You know, you know, you obviously raised money, you know, you've gone from, you know, four [00:19:00] guys in a basement to, you know, a very successful company.
Like where, where do you see Bold going on? Where do you see e-commerce going in general? An easy answer to that question is just to say, you know, there's room for infinite growth. Do you see any niches or do you see any particular product that you haven't launched? Or do you see any change in direction?
You know, if you don't, if you have them or you don't think there is, you know, it's no problem. But do you have any insights into where things will change in the next couple of years?
Jay: [00:19:27] Like I think for the most part, things will continue as they are, but I do. There are maybe three things that I think I believe curation will become more and more a part of the way people buy.
So we talked a little bit about this with on the subscription side, but like I just see it in like in myself, in people I know and everyone I talk to, whether it's art, clothes, food, beauty products like [00:20:00] people want to be curated too. And they, and they care about who's during the, during the curation.
So I think there's actually going to be a big market that opens up for curators. So, you know, like often you can look at what do the celebrities and the ultra-wealthy have in a few years that will become available to everyone. Right? And so, celebrities and the ultra-wealthy have private shoppers who bring them a whole bunch of clothes. They try them on. They keep the ones they want. They take them back. They have access to private, like personalization and curation for a lot of aspects of what they buy. I think that will eventually become available to everybody, to the masses. So that's one for sure.
I would say like, the thing like that we're focusing on a little bit is we, I don't know how like people, I think we'll [00:21:00] start to become more and more comfortable kind of shopping anywhere. It doesn't necessarily have to be on a website, and I know this has kind of failed in the past, but I still believe it will be a trend.
Like, you know, like Facebook launched Facebook stores a few years ago and that was kind of like a big flop. Twitter tried selling in their tweets and that was a bit of a flop. Maybe it's not social media, maybe it's not. Maybe it's in video games, maybe it's in movies, maybe it's in clicking on like you're watching Netflix and being able to click on a shirt, someone's buying the show and see what shirt that is and add it to your cart in Netflix and like, check out the end of the movie.
Or like, you know, that would completely get rid of commercials. Maybe like if you had in a movie. Anyways, like I, I do think that commerce is going to be enabled and more. Places and maybe social media is not like Instagram seems to be doing okay. [00:22:00] Time will tell likely they just launched their ability to check out on Instagram and we'll see how that does.
It's still in private beta for just some like big brands, but I believe that like it's going to become more and more decentralized where people shop. I do see that as a trend and I also think that the marketplace concept is, I think there's going to be more amalgamations of marketplaces. Like I actually think of Shopify could figure out a way to do like fulfillment by Shopify.
Like I try to support Shopify stores whenever I can, but it's so darn convenient ordering from Amazon. Like I have to stop myself and search and go, okay, let me try to find this product from a Shopify merchant. But like I go into Amazon, I'm signed in, my credit card information is there. I know shipping is going to be free.
I know I'm going to get an in two days. I [00:23:00] know I'm going to like that convenience factor is strong, very strong. And if Shopify could figure out a way to use the power of their 800 plus merchants. While still giving them their own sense of brand, because that is a big selling point to not like to have a Shopify store versus just selling on Amazon like you're a brand.
Keith: [00:23:25] Jay, just on that, that's interesting. You know, because we deal with a fulfillment center in Dublin, we know of three fulfillment centers in Ireland that have actually moved. They have moved all of their customers over to Shopify. And Milk Bottle Labs have advised on that, and one of them is now trying to figure out, the solution is not Shopify.
So every Shopify store is API into their warehouse management system now, and one of them is in the process of trying to figure out, it would probably have to come from middleware, from the warehouse management system into middleware, and then the Shopify API is, [00:24:00] would have to go into the middleware and then actually pull everything together, possibly into a single Shopify store.
It's very interesting that you've mentioned that because in a way it kind of sounds like a contradiction as to what Toby is trying to achieve. But if they could actually provide some sort of solution to the us, that would be a major winner. So I'm with you on that.
Jay: [00:24:20] Well, they launched Shopify payments right now, like you're shopping across multiple stores, and I can shop on store one checkout. Save my payment information with Shopify payments, check out on a completely different store that I've never been to before, and my payment information is saved there. So I don't think it's a stretch for them to take that a step further and say like, they have like Shopify prime. It's literally like Amazon prime, but it's Shopify prime.
And you know, like if I could somehow. Shop across those stores and have [00:25:00] like, just be able to just click and, and know that my order is going to be in anyways. Like I, I think whatever, like those barriers that are between like the very, very small pieces of friction that make your thumb go to Amazon versus, you know, like the web and searching, when you're buying products.
Like, I think if they could help remove that, that would be. I think so. I don't know. I could be wrong, but I just, I feel like that's, for me personally, that is sometimes why I'll buy from Amazon. Cause it's, it literally just, you know, I don't want to, it's that extra few minutes of shopping or searching somewhere else.
I think you're around the same vintage as me. I mean, the generation behind us, it's all about convenience. I mean, you already mentioned about the staff in your office, you know, they get their precooked meals or ingredients is delivered to the office. So either way we agree that it's exciting times and the next 10 years are going to be wonderful for growth and also wonderful for everybody.
Keith: [00:25:56] Wonderful for the merchants on wonderful for the consumer. So it's going to be good.
Jay: [00:25:59] Yeah, I [00:26:00] I think so. And I think we're still, even though like, you know, we're heavily involved in eCommerce space, so like to us it seems mainstream, but when I look at, I kind of always have like the my parents factor, I'm like, well.
Are they buying everything online? It will know. They buy like one out of a hundred purchases they'll buy online. I look at like that generation, and so I like, I still think there's a lot of potential. And then when you consider the generation coming up, they're like... I have friends that have never stepped in a grocery store, like they just, they order everything online or like the closest they'll get to it is they'll do the click and collect where they order it.
They go to the parking lot and someone comes out and brings it to their car and like, there'll be a generation coming up that doesn't really, like, they've got no reason to go in store is almost like it's, so, I still think the potential of growth is huge.
Keith: [00:26:56] Jay, it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you today.
I really, really appreciate your [00:27:00] time. I'm looking forward to see where Bold ends up in the next five years.
Jay: [00:27:03] Well, thank you so much, Keith. Thanks for having me on.
Outro: [00:27:06] Thanks for listening to the Milk Bottles Shopify Ecommerce Podcast. All of our episodes are available on Spotify and iTunes. We really appreciate the support of our sponsor. Rewind.io, the leading backup solution for your Shopify store. Get your first month of rewind for free. Just to respond to any of the welcome messages or emails after you begin your seven day free trial and mention our podcast until the next time. Take care.