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Episode 67 - Let's Review Some Shopify Stores

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Transcript

Hey, Scott Austin here.

In this episode, I'm going to review some websites. The websites I'm reviewing are ones that I've never seen before. So what I did is I just went on to a website called Shopify spy.com and typed in three different keywords. I think they were wallet, organic and beard, and came up with a Shopify store for each one of those categories that I'd never seen or heard of before. And just open them up. And then I'm going to walk you through my first impressions of them. Now, each one of these stores has an Alexa rank 200,000 or greater, which means they have lots of traffic to their sites. I'm assuming that each one, and it's just an assumption, but I'm assuming that each one of these stores is doing seven figures in revenue annually. And in other words, they're their successful stores. They may not be the most successful in their category, but they definitely seem to be doing fairly well.

And what I'm going to do for this review is I'm going to only look at the websites in mobile, which I gotta be honest when I'm looking at it on a desktop right now, forcing myself to look at them in mobile only is really hard because these websites all look way better on desktop, which is true for every website, right? There's lots of content in these sites and you know, the desktop is a better screen size for that. But since most customers are coming to your stores through mobile, I'm going to force myself to just look at these websites on mobile. And while I'm doing this, I'm recording a screen capture. So in the show notes, you can go and look at the YouTube link, which will give you the video of this whole podcast episode. Also, if you want to follow along visually, but I'll try to explain what I'm seeing for you.

So let's get started. I'm gonna start with the store, the highest Alexa volume, which is called Exeter, which is a what they call a smart wallet. So thin minimalist wallet. They have a bunch of different wallets and a lot of stuff for men for everyday, everyday carry category. The first thing I see when I go to this website is a full screen pop-up modal email signup, right? And it says, claim your free cash clip. I am not a fan of getting in front of people's faces before they even see your store. I'm going to assume that these guys have data that shows that this converts really well for them and that kind of stuff, but I'm just not a fan of that. So I'm going to get rid of that full screen thing. And now I can see their homepage. Their theme is very much, you know, their, their color, their brand is very much gray, slate, gray, and it actually looks nice and they've got gold for their accent color.

And I've also got a cookies modal down at the bottom of the page. I'm going to click except to get rid of that. And now they've got a chat bot down there, their page, you know, just the first impression is it actually looks fairly nice. It's put together well. And as I record this, it's November six. If you're looking at this way in the future, it's also a 2021. And for those, if the future is different in 2021 holiday was really weird because we have the supply chain issues caused by a number of different things, including COVID all the supply chain issues have made. Most of the retailers this holiday season start their holiday sales way earlier. So right here I see on this website, black Friday sales, the first thing I see, and it's not even close to black Friday, it's like three weeks away.

But this holiday season started really, really early this year for a bunch of different reasons, including the supply chain stuff. And what's really nice about their black Friday promotions really clear 30% off on all orders, 40% off on orders, you know, $200 or greater, so big discount and it's right in the header. So no matter what page you land on, you're going to see that information. And right below that they've got a little scrolling thing. It says free shipping free returns, and also talks about try it risk-free for forty-five days. And it also gives them a 4.7 out of five with Google reviews. So building lots of credibility and value props in that header, which I like now for each of the sites that I look at, I'm probably going to look at the collection page, the product page and the about page and the homepage.

So let's first look at the homepage on this one, an Exeter. I don't know what that word stands for. What I really like is they own the domain, extra.com. So it's not like shop extra.com. They've got the.com domain. And as I scroll down, I can see that, you know, they're promoting black Friday and their banner, which assumes that everybody knows what it is that they sell. And I had never heard of these guys before, but I would have put something more like, you know, the best wallets, yada, yada yada kind of thing, but it is their holiday promotion. So most of their traffic may already know who they are on the next, you know, image down. They actually do say, you know, they have the smartest wallet and talk a little bit about the value props behind them. They've got a nice little video on the home page because their wall, it's very unique.

It's, it's thin, and it's got a couple of unique value props and they've got this video. It's trying to explain those to you. So I really like looking at that video right now because it does a really good job way better than just photography and imagery, you know, could, or with words, they're actually showing you what's going on with their wallets and why they're so different and unique. So I like that a lot. And they've got some, you know, branding images, probably it looks like it's a Instagram feed. It may not be. And then they've got some reviews in the homepage, some, some really long ones and they've got, oh my God, they got a 22,000 reviews. So that's some really good street cred for them. You know, they've, they've sold, you know, hundreds of thousands of units, if not millions to get that many reviews.

So that's awesome. They're finishing out in their footer with their slate, gray branding, which is really nice. And they've got some press icons, logos, like business insider, CBS, ABC, and that kind of stuff. And they're blended in to fit their themes. So it's not just the generic CNN red logo. It's the CNN logo done in their brand's colors, which is really a nice touch and same thing with their social icons and even their payment icons, all of them, you know, the, the art is updated to be their brands, colors. Like I said, I really love that touch. It just, it just shows it spending time and energy in building their brand and building the experience and making it complete and holistic. So let's walk into the the navigation at the top for shopping here and what, oh, that's, that's really nice. So their fly out menu under the hamburger go straight to products.

And the first thing I see is all wallets. I see an image of the wallet. I see swatches for what colors it's available in, what they do a really good job of here is explaining the differences in the wallets. So I can see one's aluminum, one's carbon. Another one is leather and how many cards they hold and all that kind of stuff. So their menu is a good decision-making engine, much better than, than most stores do. I'm really impressed by this. And then I can see beyond their walls. So they've got all their products listed in there in their fly out menu, just one big, long list of them. They've probably got 15 products or so, so with a small catalog like that, that can actually do that, but they're doing a really good job and explain the differences. Let's say, oh, I like a metal wallet.

Let me go for the aluminum cardholder. I'm going to click on that product. And the first thing I see is a product carousel. And as I scroll through the carousel, unfortunately there's no video there. I really love to see a video. Like I saw on the homepage right there showing me how, how this wallet is so great. And what's so different about it. This product has 5,000 plus reviews on it, which is really cool to see. And they've also got, because now they're got their black Friday sale going on with 30% off all orders. They're showing me right here on the product page that it's normally $79 because their black Friday sale is going to be $55. So that that's really nice. And they've got a little, a bundling capability for a add a tracker card. And a tracker card is actually like a little fake credit card with like a tracker chip in it.

So if you lose your wallet, you can look it up on your phone and see where it went. So that's, that's really nicely done. And if I click on that element without adding it yet, it explain, it has a little modal that pops up and explains what this feature and card or product is all about. So that's really nice explaining what the bundle product or added product is going to be and what it does. They've also got some accordion functionality. I'm a big fan of accordions over tabs, especially on mobile, because they're way more responsive. So I can click on features and it expands and shows them to me. I can click on features again, it closes up and I can see the other items like product reviews, shipping, and delivery. And I like on a product page showing things like shipping and delivery and returns.

I don't see returns on this one right now. Oh, no, they do have as, as an icon. So they're right. The product page, I get to learn about shipping that it's free in the us. I get to learn about returns. I get free returns in 45 days. There's a warranty on all products. And I've got some icons that explain those value props. The icons are done with their branding, so that those are nice. I would just move those icons above the product description and the accordance and put it right next to the add to cart button. But that's, that's just a stylistic thing. So that got fairly long product page, which I am a big fan of. They started off with the typical product form, showing the variance of the colors, the ability to add the tracker. Let's just call that a bundle or a cross sell.

They've got the accordions for all the information. They've got the icons for the value props. And now I've got this second carousel. So the first carousel is pure. What I call Amazon product photos. It's the product done with a white background. And then down below, they've got another carousel of the product in use, you know, with backgrounds and some hands in them. Nowhere do I see yet? Or have I seen a person's face yet? So, so far on the homepage, I don't think I did in here on the product page and on that navigation page, I didn't see a human face yet. It seems to be, you know, they have really good photography, really good, for example, on a green lifestyle photo of the green wallet, they'll show a green background or a green Jeep and the blue wall has a blue background. So some really nice job putting together the full composite of the photo.

Now below that I've got a carousel of, you may also like, and I can't stand this in stores. So I have navigated to the aluminum wallet page and halfway through my shopping experience, they're trying to sell me something else. I've already clicked twice on the site and different people are going to get to this page, different ways. I get that. But when your product catalog is less than 15 items, you should have confidence that people are on your product page got there because they want to see that product. So why I'm looking at the aluminum wallet, why are you showing me the carbon fiber one? I made that decision or in the navigation menu, and then even even worse than that. So they're showing me some products below that there's a button for all collections, which basically click on that, see what happens. Yeah. It takes me back to the top of the shopping experience.

I'm starting all over again. So I'm not a fan of that going back to my product page, you know, so they did the cross promotion stuff, which I don't like, but it's there. And now they're back into the product. So what I love here is they've got different images and texts talking about the different value props, all done within their brand and theme quite well, really like what I'm seeing here. And now they've even got some press stuff going on and they show reviews. They've got reviews twice on this page, for some reason, let's see what happens. And I go up to the top and I click on the product form the reviews, where does it take me? It takes me to the reviews at the bottom. And so that link works. That's good. And then what they also have on this, and it must be done with an app or some custom code is on this product page.

This is a long product page. There's a lot going on. And when I first load up the page and I'm viewing it on a large phone screen, it's a pixel two XL dimensions of 411 pixels wide by 823 pixels tall. What I see in the, in, in the, above the fold right there in the opening screen, on the product form, I see the add to cart button, and it's a gray matching the theme of, of the branding colors. But as I scroll, they then pinned to the bottom, a green add to cart button. So it tells you what product it is that you're buying, what the price is and an add to cart there. So if you get lost on the page, somehow there's an add to cart at the bottom the whole time. So I actually liked that because they have such a long product pages and I'm just testing right now.

Yeah. They, they do a good job in transitioning. It's not. So the add to cart button from the product form goes off the screen that, that green add to cart button at the bottom shows up. So that's really nicely done. I want to look at the about page, right? Cause a lot of people care about the story or the brand of the company and the people behind it and want to read a little bit about that. So they've got a link in their footer and it's called our story, which I love. Now, I look at that and it opens up with these nine photos of obviously, you know, men's wet dreams just, you know, helicopters, off-road vehicles, motorcycles. It's a, it's a little over the top to be honest with you, but maybe that's, you know, what their audience is going after. Now. I scroll down beyond that and I see a picture of three guys who I'm going to assume are the owners or founders of this company.

And I don't see their names anywhere. It, nowhere says that these are the owners and they are sitting on a, probably $150,000 off-road vehicle. So it's just, you know, over the top, but it also is not personal. So it starts off I'm, I'm looking above and below that what I want to see is that can I see their names or a little bit of their story, right? Who are these guys? How did they invent this? You know, what was the inspiration for them? And it's all, it's not personal. It's what started out as a rag tag team of dreamers has turned into the biggest smart wallet brand in the world, hauled into success by the crowdfunded support of millions. That sounds like a story, but I want to hear more about it. How did they get into that? You know, what w what did their first product look like?

Where did it go, yada, yada yada. So I'm not impressed with their, our story page. Now they, beyond that, they talk a little bit more about their brand values, like a road to sustainability. They talk about carbon offsetting, solar and all, all that, which is really nice stuff. But in my, my mind, this page could do with a little bit more human connection, instead of just talking about the brand and being very aspirational in their photography. But that's, that's probably a little bit too critical, right? Cause I actually think these guys are, and I assume it's it's guys running this company. Cause I see this, this image of three men. I assume the people at this company, the people who just come through, you're doing a really good job. This website totally impresses me. So the negative criticisms I'm giving are very nit-picky.

Overall I think they're doing a fabulous job. So let's move off of Exeter and go to my second brand, which was based on searching for the keyword organic. So Kula, when I open up their screen on a phone, I get the accept cookies modal at the bottom, which takes up a third of the page, you know, which, you know, I don't know if you can shorten those or not, but you know that those are kind of legally required. So they're, they're kind of a pain, but you got to live with it. But what they've also got going on is they've got a top bar. So then they've got one of those full banner photos are full with photos that the hamburger and the logo are over the top of there's some contrast issues with that, where the hamburger and the Cola logo, our Kula logo are in white and even the shopping bag is in white.

And the top of that photo is also very white. So it's hard to see those in contrast, but above it, they've got a, let's just call it top bar message that is scrolling. The first one is free shipping on orders over $50. The second one is carrier disruptions, may delay shipping track order. So right there, you know, they're, they're warning you, you know, you may not get what you're looking for. I would, I like the fact that I lied to track orders. I wouldn't put it at the top of the page on every page, but this top bar I'm going to assume on desktop, it's a nice, thin little bar on mobile. It is huge, right? It takes up quite a bit of space. So I would optimize that maybe even not show it on mobile and have that nice branded image show up a little better.

And as I scroll, they keep a Kula, a header, a dock the whole time I'm scrolling, which, you know, once again, that's kind of a waste of space on a phone because space is so tight on the phone. I don't like pinning anything to the top or bottom, even though on extra, they had that add to cart pin to the bottom. That seemed very contextual to me. It wasn't on every page and it was very well timed on the product page here, having the header pins at the top the whole time, I wouldn't waste that real estate because real estate is really a premium on a phone, on their homepage. You know, I see the words, great skin. So I'm going to make the assumption that they're about skincare, which would probably really valid assumptions because we've all got a photo of a woman applying some kind of lotions who are faced.

So at least when I land on their homepage, I know what they sell text underneath that is shop products that will transform your skincare into self care. So I, I think they're doing a good enough job explaining what, what they're really not doing for me is explaining, you know, why they're different, why they're better, why I should stay on this site. I just landed on kula.com for whatever reason, you know, tell me why I should stay here. They got a little bit that with great skin, but you know, they, they could explain a little bit of what they believe their differentiator to be. Let's go through the homepage. They talk about some new products the images or different aspect ratios. So it's a little disjointed of an experience. They've got a store finder. So that's, you know, that's actually really good to let me know that they're big enough brand that they're they're stocked in places like target.

So that gives them a lot of street cred and they got some nice icons that talk about their value props of farm to phase cruelty-free, plant protection, different things like that. And the icons are automatically the same. They look, they look and feel like a set. So they fit into the brand really well. And the nice thing is if I click on any one of them, it pops up a little modal, which explains it a little bit more. So for example, on the Hawaii reef compliant logo, I'm like, what does that mean? I click on it. When I get a little modal that says all of our products comply with the Hawaii act 1 0 4, which was passed to protect coral reefs. It means that these formulas do not continue coral, harming chemicals, oxybenzone, and seen knock seat. Hopefully I pronounced that relatively correctly, but that's really good that they're telling you something with an icon, but backing it up with a little bit more information about it.

That's nicely done. And then there I'm showing a product on the homepage, which I don't know how many products they have, but it looks to me like they've got a line of skincare products. Let's say dozens of them. I wouldn't promote a single product on a homepage if I had a catalog that large, just because I don't know what's right for you. I don't know from the homepage, why you're here. So I want you to tell me something about you before I start pushing a product to you. So I wouldn't promote a single product in the homepage. If I had a catalog of a lot of products, if you only got one or two products, yes, you absolutely on the homepage start promoting a product, but not if you have a larger catalog. And then below that they actually start talking about top categories. I like that kind of merchandising better because now I'm saying, oh, I'm interested in sun care or skincare or sunless tan.

And that now the customer is saying, this is what I want. So the store can give the results back that are appropriate for that. And then they've got below that, another product for sale. Like I said, I'm not a fan of that. Then they got more products under the bucket of fan favorites. Then they'd got some industry press, you know, vanity fair and style logos that looks nice. They've got an Instagram feed and then they go into the footer. So I think there's too many products on this top level I would do if I was them. Right? Cause the top categories I mentioned, which are sunless tan skincare and sun care, which when I look at their hamburger, nav is all of their categories. It's not their top categories. It's all of them. That, to me, those are in a slider, right? So I would just have those three laid out as images that I can scroll through instead of swiping through.

So I wouldn't make them a slider. I'd make each one its own element vertically so that someone can look at the different ones and make the decision for which one is right for them. And those are probably self-explanatory enough. They don't even need much more text behind that. So let me drop into the sun care collection, which is a collection and they've got some filters at the top and now I've got another pop-up this is get 10% off your first order. So I'm going to assume that however they're doing this privy clivia whatever they'd got it set up. So on the second page view, it automatically pops up. That's a little more respectful than just popping up on the page. You remember, we're on a phone. So a lot of us are used to exit intent popups, which are, you know, pretty elegant in the customer experience, but those only work on desktop.

So having it set up on your second page, you getting this pop-up is not such a bad experience. Now I'm on a sunscreen page and I can filter by different things like category which isn't bad SPF, which is awesome. Right? Do I want 30, 50 or 70 formula classic or mineral? I don't know what those are. I don't, if their customers would understand that difference, fragrance, that's pretty intuitive, naturally censored or fragrance-free and application lotion, spray lips moisturizer. That makes total sense. So they've got some, some decent filters there. Some that are kind of confusing to me, but as I look at the page, they're not doing the best job in explaining the differences between the products. Oh, and in the middle, they've got a, oh, that's not bad. So I'm looking on the collection page. There's one product to product. And the third place for products is get the scoop on SPF.

How much protection do you really need learn more? And that takes me to a page, an education page that's really nicely done. So if I don't know, you know, which sunscreen product I want while I'm looking at all the products, they're dropping me off to an education page. And as I look at that, I'm not that impressed by it yet. I like the fact they're trying to do that, but you know, what are you view? It gives you information. And then I see a button says shop UV protection. Okay. So they are subcategories. Nope. I think it just drops me at the top level of the products again. So I would have expected that if it educated me on something, it would show me a filter to list of those products that have just educated me about, but it doesn't seem to be doing that.

But once you get on a phone, it's really hard to tell what's going on sometimes. And one of the things I see here on their products is that, you know, they've got these, these nice colors and branding going on in their pack. They're showing their packaging. They've got, like I said before, I called the Amazon style photos where they've got the white background and each product has a different color scheme to it, which is kind of nice. I want to, if I go in, here's a purple colored products. Yeah. They're not carrying that through. Sometimes what I do is when color is a strong part of each product, I'll actually have the product page support that color scheme also. So I'm just checking out two different product pages and two different colored products. And the color scheme stayed the same on those. So not supporting that at the product page level.

Not that they need you, that's like a really nice touch when you can do that. So I'm looking at this collection page and I'm not that impressed by it. It's hard to understand it and what's going on. But like I said, half of that's because we're on a phone and a lot of their customers, I'm going to assume we're going to know what they're looking for. And the photos support. Like I can easily see I'm looking at these SPF so I can easily see which ones are lotions. And this was our sprays based on the photo. So let's just go into a product. And there I talked before about how they're a top bar is too tall. It's also got some serious loading problems where as I load it up, it's twice as big as it should be. And there's some Klarna stuff in there.

I see it's some really wacky drop JavaScript, HTML going on there as they load that up. It's a really bad experience. I'm just going to do it again here on the screen. Yeah. There's, there's all sorts of stuff going on on that top bar thing. So that's probably not a top bar from a theme. It's probably a app that's, you know, added on that's, you know, maybe not the best developed of apps. So here I'm looking at the product page, I've got the product carousel it's S SPF, right? It's sunscreen. So there's not a lot of the photos can do, they've got a lifestyle photo or two, you know, just, just like you would expect as they go through things, but you don't need a thousand photos of the product. Right. It's it's sunscreen, they've got a description and then they've got some icons which talks about the SPF.

Oh, they got a whole bunch of icons you can scroll through. Can I click on these? Yeah, I can click on these just like I could on the homepage. That's nice. And then below that they've got a one-time purchase in a subscribe to different size variants, and then add it to the cart. I'm a fan of putting the add to cart button above the product description. So it's easy for customers to find it right now. I've got to scroll and kind of find it on the page. And this site also has an add to cart button that docks itself to the bottom, but it shows up, it shows up when the add to cart button that shows up. So I have to scroll a little bit to find it. And now that we're, I'm looking at it on the page, I've got to add to cart buttons on the page.

So this one's implementation is not as elegant as implementation was on the extra wallet site, but it, you know, it's not bad once I scroll past it, there's only one add to cart button down at the bottom. So if I scroll past my add to cart form, now it's got a pairs well with, you know, which I'm assuming is, you know, some cross sell. That makes sense. And I'm just making that assumption. Right. So right now I'm looking at classic body, organic sunscreen spray, SPF 50 guava mango and in the cross sells. Oh, so it pairs well with itself in lotion format. So it's a different format. Yeah. I don't know why it's promoting these other ones and maybe there's some good logic behind it. And I can add these also, but as I said before, I'm not a fan of selling other products on the product page, unless you know, this, this pairs, well, concept sounds good.

But explain to me why, why do they pair, well, why do I want to get a lotion and a spray of the exact same thing? I mean, there might be a good reason for that, but I'd like to see that explained to me and if that's, so then make them a bundle instead of me having to add one and then the other separately, bundle them together for me and call it a program or a plan or whatever, and explain to me why you think they go well together. And then I've got a an accordion functionality here that I do not like. So it's got overview ingredients instructions. The reason I don't like it is I can click on ingredients for example, and expands that thing. But if I click on ingredients again, now that it's expanded it, doesn't unexpanded, I've got to click on overview to unexpanded ingredient.

Now overview is expanded. So I can't close them. All one is always open and it just makes it a little bit harder. And there's also very little CSS styling going on here, you know, moving things around. So it's hard to see what's opening and closing cause it's very jerky. And now they've got this consumer testing results block of content, which I love, right. It says a hundred percent of the people agree that it's not sticky, 90%, you know, 97% agree it's hydrating. So that's good customer feedback. And it says it's an independent consumer testing panel of 75 participants. So that's some really nice concept there. And they've got this thing in ingredient spotlight where they talk about the ingredients and they show little photos of that. That's nice. And they've just got some, you know, marketing text and, and photos going on of showing happy people using the product.

And then they've got a promotion for using their hashtag on Instagram. I wouldn't put that on a product page. I don't like distracting people. I talk about that a lot, maybe a little too much. And then they've got to reviews. This product is 222 reviews. So that's really just the number alone. Right. It's really great. And what I love about customer products is, or customer reviews is customers can say things about your products that you can't they can say it's the greatest thing in the world, right? You can't say that even if it's true. So it's, it's really nice to allow your customers to express themselves and give their opinions of things. So I like the fact, there's the customer reviews here. I can see what they have to say. And then there's the, you almost, you might also like, so another cross sell to other products.

Once again, I I'm about to swear. I'm so angry looking at that twice in the same page, but I'm going to hold my breath on that one. So, and you know, like I said before, this is really a nice site. This is really well put together. So I am totally nitpicking the heck out of it. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to their about page. Let's see if I can find that I'm in the footer. I got links to best-sellers face body. So those are shopping links. What should be in the header? I don't like that. I don't see. So I've got a privacy policy. I am not finding their about page. Let's see if it's in the hamburger. I got sun, sun care skincare. Sunless Tanner. Those are product categories. New and featured sounds like a product category.

Discover sounds like a product category holiday. I'm going to assume as a sale thing, login, create account and help maybe discover. Alright, so discover is about us and learn. So I wouldn't have named it discover, cause I thought it's about discovering products, not discovering the brand, but that's just me. Now. I'm going to click on there about, and there's an R purpose. I'm going to click on that page. Oh, that's a nice little effect. They've got so on their homepage, they've got this woman applying some lotion to her, face enough to mask or whatever, and her eyes are closed and you go to the, our purpose page and our eyes are open. So it's just a nice little it's I assume it's the same person. Just a nice little difference in that photo. I like that a lot. So in their, their purpose, they're talking about a more beautiful, healthy, or more beautiful, healthy, just that.

And then their standards farm to face, you know, plant protection, vegan. So there are purposes in that long, it takes you to a couple of other pages. But what I don't see here is who they are, where are they from? What's their pedigree? What is their, you know, why should I be buying from them? Right. let's see what the other discover thing was. Learn. Nope. That's about their products. Yeah. So I have no idea what there's companies from like is this a Swedish healthcare, a skincare company, an American skincare company, or a Antarctic skincare company? I don't know, write a little, a little more information about them, the people and their credibility, especially if this is stuff that's about my health, I'm applying directly to my body. I'd want to have a little more confidence in who and what they are. And I'm not seeing that my quick little cursory check out of their site.

So if I was them, I would beat the bowed up about us with not just their purpose, but about who they are and why they are experts in skincare, the human story, the scientific story, the CRA accreditation education, whatever that stuff is how they got started, you know, all that good stuff. I'm not seeing any of that here, but once again a nice nice site they do open. That's kind of interesting. Clicking on support takes you off to a different website with slightly different branding. Messes up the paradigm and the navigation a little bit, but you know, that's what happens. You know, most of us have a support, a portal that's a little bit separate. That's kind of a normal thing, but nice site. So let's, let's go on to our third one. And the third one is just over the top and I mean that in a good way, remember I said the third category was beard and I saw this one that the site was called the beard struggle.

So I went and checked it out and I landed on the homepage and I was just stunned. So they've got this biking theme, which they just never let go of. They have a ton of photography. I don't know if it's the employees or just some really masculine looking men and really, you know, tough looking women dressed as Vikings, like in, in mid guard villages. And it's just unbelievable. So these guys and gals pick for their brand, this biking theme, and just totally ran with it. It shows up in a lot of their stuff. So on the homepage, you know, it says no shave November, show your support for men's health and save on your favorite beard care products. They spell favorite with a use. So I'm going to guess they're Canadian or British as opposed to American and or they may even be Swedish or something like that.

Because they have this whole Viking theme going on. And what they're doing is they picked a black background for their website. And they did a really good job. They've got a black background and then they also do what I call like a card, a look and feel. Whereas they bring a box of content together, an image, and some texts. They make it look like a card by changing the background slightly to a dark gray from the black, so that you know, that this text and this image go together. And it's really, it looks really, really nice. It's even got a little thin gray outline on those cards, wrapping that stuff together. So their site looks really, really well polished more so than the other two stores. And by the way, when I looked at the Alexa traffic, this store had the least amount of traffic of the three of them.

But th they do a really good job in making their site look like this holistic, you know, incomplete experience and brand. And even their photography has a consistency to it where they've, you know, applied some filters and softened everything up, then, you know, give it a little bit more depth. And it just, there's a consistency to this whole thing throughout that's really, really nicely gone. And, you know, the fact that they shot photography on obvious photo shoots out in, in like just Atlanta, their homepage image is a bunch of it. It looks like is that out of a TV show? And maybe it actually is. I don't know, like they've got these huge mountains in the background. You know, there's like thatched roofs and, and guys, and women with leather and cloaks and firs. And it's just, it's just insane in a good way. So these guys are selling beer products and they went with this Nordic theme, you know, biking's are popular these days.

There's lots of Viking TV shows and the Marvel universe has got Thor and every understands a lot of that mythology. It's kind of cool and trendy, so not a bad choice for them to make this. Now, if we scroll through their homepage, you know, the, the banner I talked about was the no shave November. They talk about VIP access for their black Friday, you know, early access. That's nice, they've got some images, it looks like their, their motto is better, is always better. So they're just embracing that whole Viking, Nordic tone throughout what they're doing, which is really nice. And even, you know, in some of their texts, we aim to create the best men's grooming and beard care products in mid guard. So they're just, they're totally embracing that brand that they've picked up and just running with it throughout everything they do.

And, and they've also got over 30,000 reviews and they they've got a slider on the homepage show in that, and notice all three of those sites talked about the total number of reviews that they had in their store, because their numbers are so large. It just shows that they sell out a product and then selling it for years. It's another way of establishing street crib. Now they do some bestsellers customer favorites on the homepage. I've already mentioned. I do not like products on the homepage. If you have a lot of them, let me look in, oh my God, their mobile menu is beautiful, but it looks like they have lots of products. So probably so many products. I wouldn't put them on the homepage. I would, I would do more at the collection level. You know, you're looking for something for your beard, or you're looking for something for your mustache or, you know, shaving kits or whatever kind of stuff.

And then they've got it grow a beard worthy of the gods, which takes you to some beard health score. So, you know, they're, they're running you through some sort of questionnaire. And then they've got, you know, more products where I would be talking more about collections than I would in that. Now down at the bottom of the collections and their collection, photos are just unbelievable. Like you've got these Nordic looking guys that are totally out of a movie set, hairstyles, leather chain, mails, sorts of stuff going on. And you know, it's really, it's really cool. You gotta check this site out. These guys must have a lot of fun shooting their photography. And then they've also got, you know, the icons that match their branding perfectly never tested on animals 90 day promise, money bag, natural ingredients, small batch handmade. This is the first one of the three that talks about how they make their products, small batch handmade.

And then even in their footer, they've got the payment icons that matched their theme. So they're using that really dark gray instead of the white background for the credit cards and all that kind of stuff. So, you know, when you land on this site, you, you definitely get a feel like you're, you're in a, in a different universe. It's, it's kind of cool. So let's go into the hamburger menu. And I opened that up a minute ago and said like, wow, it's beautiful. It is beautiful. You've got to check this one out. Who's what they've got is when you open up the hamburger, I'm going, I'm going to guess these are their collections kits in bundles, sampler kits, beard growth. And they've got that card look and feel. I talked about before with the dark gray. So there's just a consistency in everything that you're doing.

That's really nicely done. And I'm just going to click on, let's just pick beard oil as a collection. I can sort my beard oil, but I can not. It, there are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 different beard oils. And at the bottom they've got whether it's for SEO purposes or for merchandising, they've got a lot of copy about their beard oil. So maybe that helps explain it. But once again, you know, this is just a list of products. There's not a lot here on this page. You tell me why I would pick one over the other and maybe their customers know their products well enough or understand, you know, the generic general beard oil world well enough that they don't have to explain it. But like, I don't know. Well, I see there's a day liquid tonic and a night liquid elixir, oh, I can get those together.

So here, here, they're doing some bundling of, of two products that go together as a bundle. And I liked that a lot. I mentioned that before on the coolest site, they weren't doing that here on the beard site. The beard struggle, they are doing that. So I see there's a day wheel or a day tonic and a night elixir. And then there's a third product, which is those two bundled together with a discounted price for buying both at the same time. So that's really nicely done. Now, let's go into a product page. They've got this black background going. So their Amazon photos are of black backgrounds, not white backgrounds. And they just totally pop, even though the product I'm looking at the day, liquid tonic is a black bottle product. It's got such good lighting and highlighting on it, even though it's probably a Photoshop mock-up, it's got such good highlighting on the edges that it pops off the black background.

So that looks really nice. Now we've got some buttons for scrolling, but they've only got one photo. So that's kind of unnecessary. And they also show show 745 reviews. And then they drop right into their description and specifications. They've got those as tabs. There's a lot of information going on there. It gets a little confusing because when I click on specifications and actually it looks like there are no specifications. So it takes me right up to the purchase form where I can buy the one up well that's ingredients. That is part of it. So it is a little bit confusing to me, just looking at the first time, what is part of the description and specifications and what's part of the product form. And they could do a little bit better job with color differentiation between what is content and what is the product form to help me understand that a little bit better.

They also show the price, you know, they got I conference in 1990 day money back guarantee. But I have to scroll once again to get to that, add to cart button. So this one here, the add to cart button on default is a couple of scrolls away, like two page lengths away to get it. And one of the nice things here is they, they tell me, so I don't know if they're doing IP lookup or just assuming they tell me that shipping to the United States. So I don't think they're an American company based on the fact that they're adding use to a different words that, you know, the Brits and Canadians add to use to, I assume they're not in America, but they know that I'm in America. So shipping to the United States order today and get it by Tuesday, November 9th, 2021. So that's really nice that they're there setting expectations, especially in these times where availability and shipping are, are highly unknown.

They're giving me a lot of confidence about that. And then below that they talk about their ingredients. I've got a little scroll or a different images, really nicely done that little card effect I talked about there is some wackiness on the page on spacing and some things not, you know, or the margins, not being, not having any margin at all. There's cause there's this thing, all factory pleasure. And it took me a second to realize that it, cause it looks like it's hidden over on the, on the left-hand side, like under the page about what it's not, it's just, there's some margin issues that make that happen and they got more detailed reviews on this product page. I mean check and just make sure. Yeah. So this is the first of the three where I get to a product page and they're just selling me on that product.

They're not trying to sell me on other products that are related or unrelated to bestselling or whatever they could on this one. Talk about the bundle that I could also purchase this one on this is that day liquid tonic. It also comes in the bundle with the night. They could show that right here as an option. And I would actually like that, but they're not. But I like the fact they're not selling me a whole bunch of other things like, Hey, look at these other things that we do that are completely unrelated to the products you're looking at right now. Now, if I go back to their menu, they had a Kitson bundles collection. I like this a lot because, and this is what I talked about before the cooler where the skincare one where it's like, what's the regime, what's the program. What are all the things I need?

A lot of sites sell products. What they're not doing is helping you understand how their products come together to create a solution. So here, like I see the ultimate kit, the ultimate beard care kit. And I click on that and it tells me all the products that are in it. There's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8 things in that product that I'm going to get, that they put together as a kit that tells me, Hey, if you're growing a beard, here's the stuff you need. So I don't have to go figure it out on my own. Do I need this, that, and the other thing, they're putting it together as a kit. Now I may consume those different consumables at different durations. So I may want to replenish them individually, which is why I can buy them individually also. But the fact that they're telling me that this is a kit that goes together.

Well, I really like, and not enough stores do this and go back to that kitten, bundles and salmon, and they've got 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. It has like 12 or 13 different bundles. That's that's a lot of them. That's nice, really nicely done. Now let's go look at their about page. I'm going to look for it in the footer under info, best beard care products, beard care, not there. I'm going to go under navigation, home, shop shopping links in the footer. But no, the the about is under helpful links. I wouldn't have thought that intuitively, but that's okay. I found it and I click on the, about link in the footer and nothing happens. Oh, it's finally coming up. Okay. Oh, so they're about image. It's been quite a voyage is what it says. It is over the top. It is a Viking ship landing on the shore, guys jumping out of it.

Like they're going to go raid in English village or something like that. I don't know how they created that, but it's over the top and totally on their brand. I love that. The beard struggle difference. So they talk about their mission better is always better creating to the future code of conduct. They definitely do not let go of this whole Viking theming throughout there's photos and photos. So I finally scroll down and I see a pay a photo that I'm going to assume as the team, because they're not all completely in mid guard attire. Some people wearing hoodie. So it looks like it might've been like at their photo shoot. They took a group photo of everybody. But once again, I don't know where these people are. I don't know who these people are. I don't know how they got started.

They do talk about small batch production while demand is morphed us from a micro production business to a company that uses to much larger facilities. Our goals remain the same, but they don't give me, I want more. Right. I want more story, especially for a brand who is so over the top in their branding, give me more of that background. Like why did you guys pick Viking for example, are you of Nordic background or not? Or do you just think it's cool and you wanted to, you know, role player or whatever. Give me more of the story because if I'm, you know, using your product and I'm showing somebody else, so I like that, you know, nighttime elixir or whatever. If you give me a story to tell about you and your brand, I'm going to repeat that. If you don't give me a story, tell I can't repeat it.

So you've got to give them more story for them to repeat that story. You know, if a friend comes over and you know, he sees my night elixir bottle or something on the, on the counter, you know, and he like, well, what's that, you know, I could say, well, it's a night elixir. It's good for my beard, yada, yada, yada, that's a boring conversation. If I go, oh, it's this Knight elixir thing for my beard. And it's made by these, these people called the beer struggle. And then I tell the story about the beer struggle brand. That's more interesting and more fun and something that, that person's going to remember. So I'm a big believer in telling stories. Every brand has a story. Even if you don't think you do, everybody's got a story and telling it allows people to retell it. You know, for example, I get asked often, how did you come up with the name JadePuma?

And when I tell that story, people laugh because there's a little bit of funny to it, but they also, now they know, right. And they know where that name came from. And they could repeat that if they wanted to, where if I had just, you know, said some blah, blah, blah thing, it memorable that wouldn't be able to repeat it. So all in all, I just, you know, reviewed three websites all are really, really good. I nitpick them quite a bit, but I'm impressed with all three of them. Now, what I didn't look at was like what themes they were using. I couldn't find what themes they were using. They all had a custom names on their themes. I couldn't, you know, quickly just tell what themes they were in, but they all do a really good job in presenting contents. Lots of words, lots of icons, lots of graphics, right?

Lots of photos. Some of them are really good bespoke photos to their brands, others a little bit more generic, not a lot of video in all three of these. I'm a huge fan of video. And I saw very little video, actually. I think, let me go back to the, the Nordic one, the beard struggle on their homepage banner. I've got this, watch our no shave video. I'm dying to see that, right. So I click on it. Like I want to see more about these people. And it brings up a page, which is interesting because it says it's not in the URL. It just says the beer struggle.com for slash no shave. So I don't know how they got that there without having it be a page, a collection or a product. But I don't see the video. I see this faded or this blurry thing image, which might be the video, but it's not clickable.

o unfortunately on their homepage, they've got a link to a video which does not appear to work. It takes you to a page where I do not see a video on it, but the point being is I think all three of these sites could do better in telling their story, who the people are, who the human beings at this company, why they got into this space, why I should, you know, trust them with these products that they're making for me and where they're from their background and all that kind of stuff. And a great way to do that as video, I'm a huge believer in, you know, more video, more video, more video. I'm not seeing enough in these stores would be my, my biggest two biggest critiques, not enough video and not enough story. They do great jobs with their products, their value props merchandising and all that good stuff. The site experiences are really well done.

So hopefully that was interesting to you.  Thanks for listening.


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