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Episode 71 - Consult with 4th Moon Toys

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Scott Austin:

For this episode, I've got Mike Freeman with me, who is the owner of fourth moon toys, which if you don't know, the reference is a star wars reference. So he's, he's selling authentic old, like old when I was a kid from the seventies and early eighties star war toys and not all the new stuff. So it's very rare scarce items that are in high demand by collectors. I mean, he's, he's had this business going for a little bit and he's actually got quite a bit of revenue flowing through it and a good customer base. So it's welcome Mike to the show.

Mike Freeman:

Thanks a lot for having me.

Scott Austin:

So Mike, can you just gimme, you know, quick little, like one, two minute update on how you got started? What is the background playing the fourth moon reference for those who don't know what it is sure. And where you're at today in a Shopify

Mike Freeman:

Store. Okay. Yeah. so fourth moon in star wars, the end of star wars when the death stars coming in to blow up the rebels, their base is on the fourth moon of the planet Yan. So I went with that. I kind of wanted a name that wouldn't trigger any trademark issues down the road <laugh> and Lucas and Disney, you know, really like their terms and they've trademarked like every single word in the star wars universe. Yep. So I tried to go with something that hardcore fans would recognize immediately, but that didn't say star wars in it.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. That makes total sense. And you've got a little bit of a star war icon, although the, the four and the N aren't star wars, but the, the M definitely

Mike Freeman:

Is, yeah. I was lucky to get a designer who was a star wars fan to do my logo. So he kinda got it and, you know, real, I really like it. I've been collecting star wars stuff myself for a long time. I started to sell stuff. I kind of always sold stuff, but I started getting serious in order to fund my own collecting and not have it be an issue of the household money going towards these old toys. Then about 18 months ago, I decided to do it full-time and really focused full-time on doing it and set up the Shopify store was also, I sell a lot through Facebook and Instagram is growing as well. I don't actually use eBay hardly at all for, I use it for buying, but not for selling. Yeah. And so in the last 18 months, it's really grown.

Mike Freeman:

I have a very loyal group of customers. So one, once I get a customer, the kind of ease of buying and avoiding scams and the pitfalls and stuff, people tend to really like to continue buying from me. So I, I really like that. And I like being part of being part of the community as well. So people know who I am and that I own this store. I interact as myself on face and do selling there that goes back in through the store. But you know, I'm trying to build the brand of the store, so people know about it.

Scott Austin:

So you went full time, 18 months ago and you were doing part-time before that. Yeah. And, and what, what triggered you? Cause that's a big commitment, right? To make this, your, your whole livelihood, was there some trigger 18 months ago that did you hit a, a revenue number or did some life event happen? Why was that the, the time you went full time?

Mike Freeman:

My wife and I had taken some time off because she had a series of surgeries. She had to have and we had a five year old daughter at the time. And then shortly after that we had twins. So we had taken yeah, <laugh> work. Yeah. We had taken some time off to kinda focus on the family. And then when we were kind of getting out of that, it was time to, you know, get a job or bring money in, in some way in fashion. And, you know, I kind of had the time to try it out. And, you know, in my mind was like, if this doesn't work after six months, if it's not, you know, I built the spreadsheet with like some projection numbers. And I was like, if this isn't gonna be working after six months, I'll go and find a real job.

Mike Freeman:

Or I can even look for a real job while I'm doing this. But I was able to keep growing and like, I, I think of those numbers I put in that spreadsheet at the beginning, you know, I was selling a couple thousand dollars a month in sales. And so the thought of getting to those numbers seemed kind of impossible, but it kind of cumulative kind of, you know, 10 to 20% growth month over month. It, it adds up. And I was able to, to get it to a point now where it is, you know, my full-time

Scott Austin:

Income. That's, that's awesome. And you know, there's a lot of expressions for it, right. The one that I love is, you know, it it's, it's a marathon, not a race or not a sprint kind of, and half of success is literally just showing up every day, you gotta do the right stuff. But yeah, it just takes time. And a lot of people get frustrated or anxious or whatever, and bail out before they get to see the payback of all the energy they put in in

Mike Freeman:

The early days. Yeah. And, and that's also one of the reasons I avoid eBay is because you're not building an, it's a lot of one off sales, so you don't have access to your customers and stuff like that. And, and that's why email marketing for me is my biggest revenue source by far

Scott Austin:

Now, what is like the biggest challenge for you in your business right now?

Mike Freeman:

My biggest challenge is getting inventory. That's what I was thinking. Yeah. Yeah. So unlike you know, most Shopify stores where you can order a thousand of any particular item. Yep. I'm always scrounging to find items to sell. So, you know, I'm buying childhood collections or older collectors who are getting out of it, it or buying pieces here or there, or, or even now buying for my own customers who, you know, have stuff they no longer want. And so they wanna sell it to me in, in exchange for store credit or for cash, getting people to sell me their stuff is the biggest thing. I price my things at a market price, which is kind of to be one of my differentiators. A lot of people, price things really high, and they expect you to negotiate down and do this dance and all that I price at at market prices. And my stuff sells very quickly. So the selling, you know, I always wanna do more selling certainly, but the most time and effort goes into buying stuff.

Scott Austin:

So in, in the supply demand curve where most people have infinite supply and they have to worry about demand, you have the exact opposite problem where there's plenty of demand. Yes. And your challenge is meeting their, their needs with supply.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah, exactly. And be consistent.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. That, that is unique. Right. I can totally see in the future where you might get some really rare product and you might auction that off you setting market price, but I could easily see you getting the whatever thing right. And saying, all right, folks, this, I have an audience of, of all of you already said, you want this, let let's, let's do a little bidding here.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. That's something actually I've considered like for the next year is moving to more of an owned auction scenario with high bid or something like that. Or if there is Shopify plugins that allow it where I can own the auction experience, maybe once a month for some of those higher end items.

Scott Austin:

Yep. No, I, I can see that being a great way to you increase profit. Right. Cause you know, you've got limited supplies. You gotta maximize per transaction, which not a lot of people have that problem. Right. A lot of people make it up in scale. You cannot make it up in scale. Yeah.

Mike Freeman:

And, and like, you know, a lot of the advice in Shopify circles is about discounting and yep. Doing stuff like that to get sales. And, and for me, that's just leaving money on the table cause I'm gonna sell that item at full price eventually. Yep. So I need to kind of figure out different ways to up order values or, or get new customers in

Scott Austin:

Well and, you know, increasing average order value. A lot of people focus on that one really quickly. The first question I was asking myself is, is that the right thing to be focusing on it? Right. Or is it actually customer lifetime value? And for you, my gut tells me customer lifetime value is a way more important metric to be focused on than AOV.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, I, I have people I send out a Friday email, you know, and I have people who buy almost every week. So they, you know that could be a, a $50 item. It could be a $500 item, but you know, they're not necessarily checking out the site every day. But when that email hits on Friday, they go in, pick out a couple things and, and buy it.

Scott Austin:

What are you using for email?

Mike Freeman:

I use Clavio or pronounce it.

Scott Austin:

I use both pronunciations all this time. I don't think anybody knows the that's. Cause I, I like play view a lot. I also see you're using judge me for reviews, which I like a lot. So you've got the right tools in your toolbox too, which is really nice.

Mike Freeman:

Well, a lot of that from advice from your podcast probably judge me for sure. Yeah.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. Well judge me, I don't know how they do it. Cause it used to be reviews were expensive. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and all a sudden judge came along and said for 20 bucks a month or whatever their flat fee is. Yeah. Unlimited reviews. And to me it just changed the review world overnight. Right. Yeah. Really disruptive business model on their side. But that's, that's why I use them because it's, it's, it's faster, very predictable

Mike Freeman:

And so easy to use. Like you set it up and it, you know, I've just never had a problem. It just does its thing.

Scott Austin:

Yep. Yep. And I see you got 180 reviews already. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and a lot of your comments are about your service, right? Yeah. And like you throw extra freebies in the bag and people delight about that and you know, it's interesting to see, I, I love reading reviews to really understand what customers value about you. Yeah. and you know, this is true for a lot of stores. They talk a lot about the service and you, your customers are definitely doing that same thing where they could get this product in a number of different places, but they're buying from you because the truck and you've established. Right?

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. Yeah. And just making it easy for folks, you know, like a lot of people buy off eBay, but eBay's kind of like a crapshoot, right. Cause you don't know who's selling it. It could be some random guy who found something in his basement and he's gonna stick a, and I've had this happen a thousand dollars action figure, never been open for 40 years. And someone sticks it in, in not even a bubble envelope, but just like a regular envelope, sticks it in the mail and sends it out. And you know, it's eBay, you can get your refund and all that stuff. But for us star wars collectors, it actually like it, it hurts our heart when something like that is damaged. Yep. Cause there, you know, there's, they don't exist. So just things like that really helps me build loyal, repeat customers that they, they know, they know their expectations and that there's not gonna be, there's always gonna be a happy unboxing experience.

Mike Freeman:

And I, yep. I, I focus on that too. I you know, I have my own boxes with my logo on them. Just stamped on them for oh, that's nice. Yeah. For the small stuff, for the bigger stuff, I'm, you know, grabbing boxes wherever I can. But for the small stuff, you know, I do that. I have a thank you note a freebie and a branded sticker that goes in every package. So it's like an actual people aren't used to a real retail. Its when buying vintage star wars, they're used to a hobbyist experience. Yep. So I'll try and give 'em kind of the same experience. Like almost like an apple store, like unboxing experience.

Scott Austin:

Yep. Absolutely. And, and like I have one client I'll show you here, authentic vintage posters. Yeah. And they have, you know, very similar to you, but their inventory is even way older. Right. So their stuff was hundred of years old. One of the things that we did, let me see if I can find it real quick. So this has been here, the owner store mm-hmm <affirmative> and one of the things that he did was, you know, cause people in his reviews talked about the shipping and the quality of the shipping and how it was packed. So yeah. So he recorded a video which just showed how he packed his posters. Right. Yeah. And like the care he cause his, some of his posters are a couple thousand dollars mm-hmm <affirmative> and the last thing you want is an extra little tear to be, you know, added to the poster.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. Which is, you know, so he, he goes through like, you know, here's how we wrap it, we bubble wrap it, we triple wrap it. Here's what the end caps look like. And yada Y cause that is so important to people and just shows that he understands what they care about. Right. Yeah. And, and I'm a huge fan of, of video and, and this is, this is a nice for you. I would challenge, I did the same thing with VIN. I actually challenge him one day. I was like, I want you to create your first video mm-hmm <affirmative> before we talk again. And he did the next day and I was like, so impressed. Like he set it up on a tripod it's really nicely done. Like, and now it's just, you know, keep creating more and I could see for you the same sort of tutorial video, this is how we package your product. Right. We're gonna take extra good care of it. Right. This the is baby 60 years old or is 40 years old for most of your stuff. And you know, it's not gonna get any more damage, you know, getting shipped out to you kinda thing.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. I know video is definitely on my to-do list for 22 and you know, there's with my business too. There's a very kind of defined customer journey when someone becomes a collector. Yep. And they usually start out with the loose figures and doing that run, which is that's my loose run right behind me there. Yep. Which is 99 figures and is, you know, about six, $7,000 minimum, if you, if you do that whole run. So I, I know I need to do video two towards new collectors because when I get one of those customers in their lifetime value is huge.

Scott Austin:

Yeah, absolutely. And you know, as you build your brand and reputation, right. You know, and this is the stuff you're already doing, your reviews show it, you know, you're trying to be known as, you know, a person, a human being yeah. That has free cred is legitimate and care and it's gonna be your customer's partner in their collector journey with star wars. Right. Yeah, exactly. And you know, so I'm gonna shift gears right now, turn in, look at your site. Right. And first thing I'm gonna say is if you agree with it, I just said your site does not match that yet. Right? Yes. And that is, were not coming across yet enough in my humble opinion. Right? Yeah. A as the friendly, caring, passionate expert guy that you, that you appear to be. Right. Yeah. And you know, so all of my, my thinking right now is about how to establish even more brand.

Scott Austin:

Cause your branding is great, right? Yeah. Like you said, your, your custom logo, all that kind stuff. There's consistency here. You're the fact that you're shooting so many photos for a product you can only sell once is amazing. Right? <laugh> you got a $40 figure here, the emperor sealed baggy and you took three photos of him and you're only making $40 off of that, you know, and that's, that's revenue, your photography and, and you're treating other, the products is really well done. And you know, it's just one of those cost of your business is you have to do a photo shoot for every single unit that you sell, which is just, you know, mind boggling for most store owners to conceive of. Right. And, and you're doing a, the great job at that. Right. So, you know, your store is very product focused right now.

Mike Freeman:

Exactly. Yeah.

Scott Austin:

Which is not a bad thing. It's a great place to start. Right. Let's talk about your first problem, which is the fact that you don't have a lot of inventory and some things are sold out. I'm looking at a collection page right now. I'm not seeing a sold out on this collect and page.

Mike Freeman:

I, I used to have sold outs on those. Yeah. And I I've removed them across a lot of the site because you know, I was, I was trying to do that balance of like, oh, stuff does sell out quick. So buy it now. But when you go into a collection and there's five, a items available and 25 items sold out you know, it just, it, it looks even worse. I need to fight against it. Just even that this is an active site because in my, in my niche there's sites that come and go and sites that stay up that don't, don't, aren't running businesses anymore. Yep. So I, I, I need to, you know, I don't want everything to look sold out, so that's yeah. A balance. I don't know where to land on. Exactly. I

Scott Austin:

Forget. What was the watch a movement watches. Right. They were famous for every one of their collection pages showed one product sold out. Yeah. Right. Which is a complete lie. Right. There's just a marketing tool. And you know, you can say that's, that's, that's, you know, pretty slick and savvy. It creates that sense of urgency and all that, which that's a new products. Right. So that best practice I wouldn't apply to your store. I think it's clear to all of your customers, how small your inventory is. Now you could take that to the next level and on a product page. Right. So let's go into a product page. You could hear say, you know, this is one of one. Yeah. I dunno if that's what this means, category one coin.

Mike Freeman:

Oh, that's just the

Scott Austin:

Rarity, you know, on, on like this collection or this store over here. Yeah. Where she's selling ancient beads. Right. She's the exact same problem you do. Yeah. Actually her problems even worse. Cause most likely on the Rita ranch store when she has this, you know, 5,000 year old be she's not ever getting another one back. Right. This is the only one that's gonna, so we do here is we actually a product, right? We've also some other products where it's like a find and that so products to visually reinforce the inventory on another store here, the game steward they're pre-selling board games. And they have a limited inventory. Right. Cause it's a, pre-sale the Kickstarter. So if, if they let's say they get a hundred of them to the Kickstarter, that's all they've got is a hundred. Just like you talked about, you don't want discounts.

Scott Austin:

These guys are the same ways. Like we only have a limited inventory, like discounting doesn't make sense. What we do here is we have an almost gone page now for these guys they're doing, you know, bulk quantities of a hundred or whatever. So the almost gone is just a collection that shows everything in their store that has three or less inventory. And the great thing is, is every time I look at this page, the number of games is different, right? Yeah. So this actually drives sales. So these are the, the ones with only one left, we say only one left, right? Little farther down, we'll say only two left and a little farther down, we'll say only three left kind of things. Yeah. So being really clear with, of the scarcity of your product, you can do that in multiple ways and multiple times you should absolutely do it. I wouldn't do it in your store. Sold out products on the page. Right. I got a couple places where even your cause what you're doing is you have variance, you'll have yeah. One toy and those are variants in your Shopify store.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. Especially in figures. If you go to any of the figures there, so yeah. Like most of those figures will have. Yeah. So this guy's got three variants, two of which are sold out at the moment. So basically I leave that guy with three variants and when I get a new one in, I take the pictures, I delete the, I pick probably that top up one, I'll replace I'll delete those images, upload the new images, adjust the skew number which isn't shown to the customer, but is how I, I pick and pack. And then that top one will turn into not being sold out. And then I just leave the extra sold one there just cuz it's too much work going through, deleting them all all the time.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. I can see that there. And there's no perfect answer here. Right. So let's take a step back for a second. This Kenner toy set. I assume this is for like one of the movies. It says empire strikes back. Yeah. How many toys did Kenner make any, how many figures do they make for empire strikes back?

Mike Freeman:

So for empire would be about 30 ish

Scott Austin:

Figures. Yeah. So one of the things, if I was you, I would definitely add to your store. Cause right now you're very, this is what we have focused and which is makes total sentence. Right. You can't sell what you don't have. But think about this for a second. Imagine a page that showed all 30 of the Kenner empire strikes back toys that are in the universe. Yeah. That's a very known number for you. Right. You're you're in control of that, that knowledge. So you go to that collection page and it show you which ones you have in stock. Yeah. And the ones you don't have in stock, people can opt in for when you do have in stock. Right. So you today, but you're not using it for back in stock, email notifications.

Mike Freeman:

Yes. And that's because of the variant issue, I actually talked to their support. And what I understood was that the out of stock is tied to an actual variant. So as I say, I will go in and replace one of these variants. But I think my customers would like an out of stock notice whenever a new, say a new two, one B this figure is added. Even if there is one there and it's not necessarily outta stock, cuz I have some people who are looking for mint. Perfect, perfect figures that are obviously higher price. And then other people that you know, are, are different spots along that scale. So they, I may only have, you know, one that's in okay. Condition and a customer who's very specifically looking for that pit figure in mint condition. I'd love to have them be able to submit for out of stock. And then anytime a new one is added to it, they get an email.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. And you know, as you get deeper into CLA view, Clavos really powerful and has lots of, you know, cool things you can do with it. Yeah. But there's also real limits that you cannot, you know, get past kind of, of thing. And every time I do a claim invitation, we always hit those limits. So you gotta, you gotta play with that toolbox and, and use the facilities that it gives you. Yeah. And you know, all the dream scenarios, you just gotta let them, you know, wash away kind of thing now that, but that said your scenario, you could easily make a list. Right. So right now the back in stock functionality, which I love in play view, I, and I think for most of your situations, that's, you're gonna want that on your product page for when your product is sold out right now for when your product's not sold out. I would have just, I use accordions all the time. I would met more content underneath here. Right. yeah.

Mike Freeman:

You know, especially for mobile, like I don't love my site on a necessarily and, and not.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. Well, and so one of my accordions, right. That I would add is, do you wanna get notified when we have a min condition, one of these mm-hmm <affirmative> right. And you can build a list right now. This is a lot of work. Everything I'm saying by the way is a lot of work, right. To set off all the, Hey, I know there's, you know, this many toys for empire and this many for, for you know, force awakens or whatever, which ones you're doing. Right. It's all a lot of work to set it all up. What I see down, cuz you, you have collectors, right? Yeah. And let's say, I decide I'm gonna be a collector. And if this is not the way your customers work, let me know. But I'm assuming a collector's gonna go, I want the entire series of 10 or 12 inch empire strikes back figures.

Scott Austin:

And, and that's what I'm gonna focus my energy on for the next three years. Right? Yeah. If you come to your one page, it shows all 30 and only five in stock today, but they can go onto your page and see the other 25 that are not in stock. Yeah. And sign up with the back in stock. So when you do get one, then you can go, all right. You know, now I've got one of the, the back stock automatically goes out. So I have clients that when they do this, mm-hmm, <affirmative> all of a sudden they have this new intelligence about their audience they never had before. And that's not what they're buying. It's what they want, what they want.

Mike Freeman:

You

Scott Austin:

Go to your back in stock report, which will tell you by product, what people are signing up for. Yeah. And you see the number one thing on the list. There's 400 people that signed up for this R two D two rare thing from blah, blah, blah. Right. Yeah. And you're like, I'm gonna go get that product. Yeah. And I know that I'm gonna spend more than I normally would. Cuz I got 400 people who are gonna bid for it. Now I'm gonna auction the thing off to them. Yeah. Right. Yeah. All of a sudden you have this information about not just what you have, people are buying, but what you don't have that people wanna buy. Yeah. And I, I, I can see that being super powerful and then everybody's opting into these back and stock notifications. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and the second you drop that product, you know, you could drop products and have some sort of auction functionality.

Scott Austin:

So the 400 people that signed up, they come to that product page and it's like, you know, the buy now price is $25,000 or, you know, put in your bid price kind of thing. And that means custom code or an app would've to figure out, totally do functionality like that. And then, you know, in your back in stock, the two people signed up for it, then it's not an auction product. Right. Yeah. And you can use that demand to determine, do you just launch it as a product or do you launch it as an auction? Yeah,

Mike Freeman:

I think the kinda low tech way now that I do that in a way is I do a Friday newsletter where I, and I kind of focus all my new inventory do add some during the week, especially figures get added on Friday every Friday. And I did that because I could kind of see that people were like, you know, unsure where new products were or what had been added most recently. So that way on Fridays, I can be like, all right, I just added 50 new figures. So chances are the one you want is there right now, if you go quick and buy it. So that's kinda my low tech way for doing it. So maybe even before I get into the full redesign of the site and can custom code something like that, even just having that newsletter sign up right on that product page in an accordion would, would be a step up.

Scott Austin:

You definitely want that, but you also want the back in stock. Yeah. So that, you know, you know exactly what they want, you know, getting 'em to sign up for the generic one is great, nothing wrong with that at all. Getting them to sign up for the generic one and tell you what they're interested in is even better. Yeah. So, you know, basically you, you wanna be collecting email addresses all the time in any way that you possibly can, right? Yeah. Every and I do. Do you have an email pop up on your site? I don't remember seeing

Mike Freeman:

I do. I do have one that pops up like on about an 80% of the page scroll or

Scott Austin:

Something. Does it tell you that every Friday you're gonna get a, a newsletter with what's new. Yeah. It's great. That's great. So on this product page, right. I'm debating in my head, whether this is one product with three skews or three products separate. Right. Cause you've got that problem of each individual unit technically could be the same skew, but it's not cause they're different conditions. Right. They wanna

Mike Freeman:

Buy the exact one they're seeing,

Scott Austin:

Right? Yes. I don't like the scratch on that one. I want the one without the scratch and that totally makes sense kind of thing. Right? Yeah. So I would consider now, cause one of the things you don't really go into detail that I'm seeing is the condition. And I would actually rate the condition and show. So if we look at the poster one, right. If I go into one of his posters,

Mike Freeman:

I I've actually been on their site looking at star wars posters

Scott Austin:

Before. Oh really? Yeah. This is a new redesign a couple months ago. I, I love this site. I love the dark background, but here you can see condition, very good minor border wear and tear. So we're clear about what the condition of this product is. You notice we didn't make it a product seal. We debated that. Yeah. But the reason we didn't in this one is this is the only one available. We didn't wanna scare people away with the not mint ones, because a lot are very satisfied with, they're not mid posters because it's the only one available. These are even rare that than, you know, the stuff you guys are selling. Yep. So, you know, and that's why I always tell people, you gotta think about your business and your customer and make decisions. You just can't look at what a different business does in a different industry.

Scott Austin:

And copy it. You gotta look at it and use that as ideas and then know your customers and how they're thinking well and make really good concrete decisions about what works best for your customer. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> now what I've done for I'm showing you authentic vintage posters right now. I did the same thing for another store. I built a rogue mechanic where he actually has bicycle parts great for the manufacturer. But after, after he sold out, they don't exist anymore. Cause ma only stocks things for five years old. So if you have a 10 year old bicycle wheel, yeah. The only place can get parts is from this guy's website. And a lot of times he doesn't have them. And the same thing, you know, I was explaining with Rita Oak rent, these, these ancient bees when they're gone, they're gone. So for these stores and other stores that I, I work with with a limited inventory, the way I manage it is once a product, this sold, we put it into the gallery or past pieces or whatever you want to call it, but we keep it up.

Scott Austin:

Right. But we don't make it part of the main shopping experience. So yeah, when you're searching your posters right now you won't find, even if you search, you won't find the sold out once. Right. We, we just hide them, but they totally exist. And if I go into, down the bottom here past pieces, there's 385 past posters. And these are all ones that he sold and every one of them, when you click on it has the outta stock. So they have the outta stock. Right? Yeah. And that becomes very, very useful. And I do that across all, all these different stores because it helps them as we talked about already. Right. So for you, I would keep all of your products up and you may have products you've never had. Right. So of those 30 pieces for empire, you know, strikes back, maybe you've only had 29 of them come through your store, but you'll make that 30th one.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. And maybe that's a super rare one and people are gonna search for it. They're gonna come to your website. So it's an SEO thing. Right. But then what you wanna do with that page is you wanna get 'em to sign up. Right. That's the most important thing. Yeah. And then you also wanna get them to engage across the rest of your site. So in this site here, we tagged products by their age page, by their category, their country, their size. And then we allow, normally when I have these tag elements on a product page, I don't make them click clickable. Right. Yeah. If this product was for sale, I wouldn't allow people to click and see other elements like that because they made a decision to get to the product page or on yeah. But on a product page was sold out product. Then you have this clickability so I can see other things that are from 1951 to 1975. So in your store, right. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> I could totally see. Yes. You know, you have categories that you'd classify your products by mm-hmm <affirmative>, which might be manufacturer, might be size, you know, tenor 12 inch figurine. It could be empire back. It could be, you know, two, one B the character's name.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. A, the character is a big one.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. Yeah. So I could see all those classifications on your page. Yeah. And your sold out ones. So they, they realize that, you know, I love two B, for those of you who aren't seeing the screen, two, one B is actually a robot character in star wars. They click on the two, one B and see all other two, one B things. Right. You might have pins, posters, you know, handbags, whatever kinda stuff. Yeah. I actually think the shop by characters is definitely missing in your current navigation paradigm. Show me everything you have is Chewbacca. Show me everything you have on the C3 P that kind of stuff.

Mike Freeman:

Well, and so on, on the poster site, like that product obviously has more tags than just the ones you're showing to the end customer.

Scott Austin:

No, actually that was all we had. Oh, really? We're very tight in our taxonomy, but this one has a lot more tags, but they're all the same classifications we talked about. Okay. So

Mike Freeman:

You're just giving the full tag list than

Scott Austin:

Yep. Now you can filter that out easily also. Right? You, you could say don't show these tags or any tag that starts an underscore that's easy code, you know, it's custom code to make it happen, but you could only show certain tags if you wanted to.

Mike Freeman:

  1. That's definitely something I've I've wanted to do, but is beyond my very low coding abilities. Yeah. Cause I do have more backend tags that I don't wanna surface. Yeah. I didn't know how to how to hide those.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. There, there's a number of ways to do that. And, and as most things I'll always say, there's no right or wrong, just you pick a way to do it. And then you just follow those rules. Yeah. In, in your, your site, the, the sold out part of things I think get super, super valuable. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> it draws people in from SEO now on this product page. Right. You really don't have a lot of information. No. And, and that's because you don't want to sit here and write five pages of copy for every single product. Right. Yeah. Which makes total sense. But here's what you could be doing. You could start cookie cuttering some of this content. And what I mean by that is you could have a description about Kenner and say, Kenner is a toy company. And I don't know if they're still in existence or not.

Scott Austin:

And they did this and this from these many years, and they were known for their quality or they, they had the exclusive rights to star wars. So they put out a bunch of whole bunch of crap or whatever, whatever the story is. Right. Yeah. That people find interesting. You could have another one of standard content about two, one B and two B was the character that showed up. And the scene here where this thing happened, you could have another piece content about empire strikes back, right? Yeah. You could also have another piece of content about whatever we're gonna call this collection of empire strikes back 12 inch figurines from Kenner and all 30 of them or whatever the number is, but you could start creating these buckets of content so that when anybody lands on an, a, the more you put on the page, the more likely it's gonna register in SEO, right. It's gonna be, it's gonna have more information. It's gonna be better for SEO purposes. And then when they get there, it gives them all this information about the product. Now your collectors may know 90% of that already, and that's probably true, but for the 10% that don't, it's new information. And for the 90% that do it, got them to this page anyways, to the SEO purpose, you know, purpose of it. Is there

Mike Freeman:

A line on repeating that content that's too much like mostly from an SEO point of view, but let's say I have 30 empire strikes back figures and I have a, a, a boiler plate set of content for those having that same content on 30 pages, is that bad or,

Scott Austin:

Well, you're, you're probably alluding to these Google duplicate content rules. Right? Yeah. And I wouldn't worry about that at all. And because what they're looking for is the exact same page or exact same website duplicated. Right. Okay. If you're just copying paste in pieces and parts, that should not have any impact on duplicate content stuff. OK. I'm not a fan normally of cross merchandising. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And the reason I say that is most of my stores are small store owners. Right. They have a, let's just say they have a product line of 12 products. Yeah. There's not a lot of cross promotion going on there like that, that whole, you know, someone buys hats, you are for them go makes total sense. Right? Yeah. But most stores aren't selling like a whole store's worth of things. They have a very small limited product line mm-hmm <affirmative> and the reason, a lot of sites, Amazon being the worst defender in the world.

Scott Austin:

And, and, and, you know, I don't, if you've heard me say this before, but Amazon is the worst user experience shopping store or online today. Yeah. And Amazon is also the most valuable, highest revenue shopping store online in the history of the galaxy, right? Yes. And that's because people don't come to Amazon because of the great shopping experience, the shopping experience actually sucks. It is really hard to find what you're looking for, which is why they cross merchandise, everything all day long. And they put it in your job. Yeah. Spent two hours. <Laugh> finding the best spatula because they will tell you which spatulas the best one, right. People go to Amazon because they have everything in the world and you get it. Some, if not today. Yes. That's the value prop of Amazon. It is not, they give you a comfortable, good, confident shopping experience. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> so that's at Amazon and goes, well, Amazon puts a thousand other products on, on a product page, therefore I'm going to do it. And that's one of those they're not thinking about how their business is different. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. So here, real example for you, you, I'm looking at empire strikes back, I'm looking at two, one B, is this the best things to promote to me?

Mike Freeman:

Probably not. So that's, that is a manual collection that I add things to, because when I started out, I tried doing the I don't know if it's the Shopify built in or, or whatever. We also recommend that's supposed to be related products. Yeah. And, and I just, my products, like aren't hats and gloves that directly interface that way. And it was just throwing up completely random.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. Totally look, because you have inventory of one, you know, and, and their algorithms is past sales do, and now it's sold out. So their algorithm goes, I got no data to use. Right. Yeah, exactly. So here's, here's a different way to think about this. Right. Cause I actually do think you should cross merchandise, just not that generic crap, right? Yes. And I, I would, you know, if I was you, I would build a custom cross merchandising solution, which isn't as hard as that just may have sounded. Right. Okay. So if, if we go into the game steward the, the board game one, I mentioned before, and I'm gonna go into a product that is part of what we call a franchise. So this franchise, you know, the Batman ones, a great example. Yeah. I'm gonna go into this Batman, this is a collection and these products are under this umbrella that we just call a franchise.

Scott Austin:

You can even see a, the URL. It says Batman franchise for the name of the collection, right? Yep. So what we did is we built logic throughout the site in multiple places that leverage that knowledge, that these products are related to each other. Right. And we, we had a taxonomy that we defined to make that happen. There's some meta fields that we use to determine that this product's part of collection. And then what I go on the product page, I have this see all Batman's game link. Right? Yeah. So what the logic of this page is doing it says is this game part of a franchise? And it goes, yes, it is. Okay. Are there more than one games in that franchise collection? Yes. There is. Then show the link. Right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and then in the footer of the page, we also show all those products right here. So the other two are already sold out, but we show that, Hey, the other two are already sold out. Cause they're part of the same franchise. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I wouldn't show sold out games in generic cross merchandising, but at franchise level, I definitely would. And that creates that sense of scarcity you're talking about. Right.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. And it's it's information it's, you know, and even in,

Scott Austin:

In this one here, when I click on this link, see all Batman games, this takes us to a custom view of the collection where I show all the available products and you can add them to your box right now and all the out stock. Right? Yeah. So imagine your, you know, on, on your two, one B, you got two different things here, right. One could be, this is part of this 30 piece collection, and let's go look at that collection and see what other products are available. And the other could be here's everything, two, one B existent. Right. And I can see both those being really important in your store. That

Mike Freeman:

Would be perfect. That would be what I would love. Yeah. Yeah. Well,

Scott Austin:

Let, let me just show off a little bit. Right. And I'm gonna add a product in my cart here. Yeah.

Scott Austin:

Actually the Batman one won't work. Let's see. It's already in my cart and yeah. So this is a part of a, a frame franchise also, and you can see in the cart, we also, so Liz Bo is the name of the franchise. Yeah. Right. One, heres a Liz Bo also mm-hmm <affirmative> so in the cart we do the exact same thing and we, we show products down below that only exist in the, you know, line items that are franchises in the cart. Yeah. So because what we, and, and once again, this was data driven. We, we, we looked at, before we built this, we looked at how many people were buying more than one game at a time. Yes. And were those games in the same franchise or different franchises? Yeah. A bulk of the time they were in the same franchise and were like, that's important to customers, so we're gonna do that. Right. Yeah. So for you getting on this page here, I would do some cross marketing, but it would be about the two accesses we talked about. Right. See everything that's two, one B. Yeah. And see everything that's part of this. And you gotta come up with a name for the, the, the 30 product collection, right? Yeah.

Mike Freeman:

I mean, I already, I mean, I already have that ad as a tag in the collection, so yep. You know, whatever collection that loose vintage, kinder star wars figures, like, so even just the tag ESB on that would, would bring up just those guys.

Scott Austin:

Yep. Your cross merchandising could be really useful that way. And then the other way to think about this right on the product level is you could make each one of these, a separate products or not. I definitely do not like the fact that I get on this page and two, my parents are sold out. And the reason for that is humans. We're really emotional and we're really fickle about certain things, right. Yeah. And the whole buyers remorse and regret and all that kind of stuff. So if I come here and I look at this one here and I'm like, you know, let's say this one was better conditioned than the photos just looked better. Yep. Well, I want that one. Yeah. I know. And, and it, but it's not for sale right now. I'm like, I don't want this one. This one's a piece of. Yeah. Good one. Right. And that's not the case in the example we're showing here, but you know, that's the kind of thing people can start. You're giving them a reason not to buy today.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. Do you think with custom code? I could have it just hide the sold out. Oh, got yeah.

Scott Austin:

Oh yeah. It's easy.

Mike Freeman:

Cause yeah, it it's like, you know, I have to balance on the backend, as you say, you know, I'm adding 50 to a hundred products a week. And so going through and deleting, sold out variants would be like a hell of a lot of work. But if it could just hide them, that would be, you know, the perfect solution,

Scott Austin:

Stuff like that. That's all custom code and a theme. Right. The, the beautiful about Shopify is, you know, the theme is 100% adjustable. Now the theme doesn't drive everything that goes on in your store. Right. There's a lot of Shopify code. Yeah. There's a lot of app code, but the theme, we have a lot of control with HTML, CSS, liquid, and JavaScript and all this stuff. You can do a lot of really powerful things. Yeah. And you know, so I spend a lot of my time with my clients as I build their store. It's not putting the theme in place and putting the branding up. That's the easy stuff. Yeah. The hard stuff. And the more fun stuff for me is the stuff we're talking about, which is how do we automate for your business, right. Yeah. How do we merchandise for your business? So I spend a lot of time with my clients, like figuring out how their customers think, how they shop and how we can help them on that journey.

Mike Freeman:

And, and I think like I have a much better handle on that now than when I built the site for instance. And that was just kind of going, going off of like, let's get it up. And like, and, and now a year and a half in it's like, you see your orders, you, you understand better people's mentality in a bit of a way. And, and

Scott Austin:

You have data now, you didn't have data in the beginning. You, you just had assumptions. So you put something, you know, stake in the ground. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, which is perfectly fine. Right. Yeah. And now you've actually proven that you're, you're generating enough revenue, that this is sustaining you and your family and you think you can grow it. So you want to invest in that, right? Yeah. Yeah. I, I think everything you've done to date is like all the right steps that all the right, right. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And, and the fact that we're talking now is cuz you're ready to, you know, go to the next level with your business.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah, exactly.

Scott Austin:

So a, another example of helping customers on their journey, and this is a small one, but it's one of my favorite tools in my toolbox. And it's a really simple one. So at the top of your nav, I've got this thing that says vintage 10 or toys and figures. And I click on that and it takes me nowhere. Yeah.

Scott Austin:

I click on the toys one or the non toy one. It, so what I like for those top level, so when you've got a top level nav item and this thing below, it has like 12 different sub menus, which is totally fine. Right. I would have that top level become what I call a list of collections page. Oh, okay. So what that looks like if I go to Bixby chocolate you can see in their header, I've got this one, you know, drop down chocolate and there's like 15 different types of chocolate, right? Yeah. When you click on the chocolate chocolate link, it does not take you to a collection of chocolates. Yeah. It takes you to a page whistles, all the collections under chocolate snack bars, PS need S novelty, brittle, that kind of thing. And if you scroll all the way down, there's an all chocolate button also.

Scott Austin:

But a list of collection page can be a visual representation or it's a decision making page. Yeah. Instead of saying, you know, I've got toys, here's all 500 of 'em good luck. You're like, what kinda toys you looking for? Do you want figures? Do you want vehicles? Do you want, you know, that kind of stuff? And you know, the more choices you give people along the way, the more steps, right? You give people the more qualified they are when they get down to the lower steps. So, you know, you'll, you'll hear a lot of best practices. And once again, it all goes back to you. I believe that most best practices are real. The only question is, are they real for you? Right? Yeah. So one best practice I've seen and heard from people. Like, I need to be three clicks to add to cart.

Scott Austin:

They land on my site no more than three clicks to add to the cart. And I'm like, that's absolutely fantastic for a one product business. Yeah. And most people with that best practice are literally selling one product. Right. So they don't have to have you choose between all their options. Yeah. Right. They, they, they have to, you know, get you to buy this one thing they have, that's all they've got. Right? Yeah. So, you know, the way I always say it is the number of clicks should be exactly how many it takes for the customer to be confident, the decision they're making. If, if you buy a diamond ring online, nobody's buying a diamond ring in three clicks. Yeah. There's spending tons of time and researching, you know, Justin sliders for the five CS and all that kinda stuff, understand prices. They spend a ton of time in that.

Scott Austin:

So in, in your business also where people care, right? Yeah. This is their, this is their passion. This is their hobby. They're gonna spend more time on your site than on the normal eCommerce site. Right? Yes. Like for the kitchen, this is, this is, this is their passion, right? Yeah. So you get the luxury of holding their hand and walking them through things more than most stores too. Yeah. So you could have that. And imagine that top level, I, I would break this out. You might have this, this very product way is, is, I don't know if it's interesting your customers, right. To me, it's it's movies and characters and, and probably product types also. Those are probably your three big buckets.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. I, those two basically toys and then stuff that isn't toys yeah. Is kinda collectors kind of divide into those two territories a bit. But I find the wording cumbersome. I, and I couldn't like, that's the best wording I could come up.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. The non toy vintage star war.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. It's not sexy.

Scott Austin:

But, and so let, let's take another step back. And, and that is what is the one line for your store? If you were to tell somebody what you do for business, and I mean, less than seven words, what is it?

Mike Freeman:

I mean, I sell vintage star wars, toys and other stuff. So the toys, those figures, you see there, they're

Scott Austin:

Words, what are they, what are your seven words?

Mike Freeman:

I sell old star wars toys.

Scott Austin:

How come it doesn't say that when I land on this homepage

Mike Freeman:

Cause it's too product focused and, and, and copy.

Scott Austin:

Totally, totally. Right. I call it a, you are here son, right? Yeah. So I believe that, you know, most homepage banners should not be selling product. Yeah. Should not be merchandising should not be talking about holiday promotions. Right. It should say you are here. So big speech shop chocolate chocolates made with a conscience. Yeah. They sell chocolates that are ethically sourced. If we go into the game steward, their, their thing is your trusted, your, your second chance at Kickstarter games, trusted quality and service. Yeah. No merchandising in here, right? Yeah. Authentic vintage posters. Their banner is own a unique piece of history. A hundred percent original, no modern reproductions. Yeah. This one's very similar to you. Right. Where you're not about re reproductions at all. They're all authentic and original. Yeah. This is the kind of thing. And, and by the way, notice his banner image is a collector. Right. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, there's five posters of up there. Yeah. Like, like I'm looking at your background right now and that's what your banner needs to be. Yeah. Right. You need to show somebody who's got that 98 piece complete set. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> cause that's, that's the Nirvana goal. These people are going after. Yeah.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. I think those last two are like two changes that will happen within a week after sure. That

Scott Austin:

It it's one of those, it, it changes your, your site overnight. Yeah. It really like, this is what we do, right. Yeah. And you're very clear already. You're just not, you know, putting in your, your, your messaging on the homepage, which you're very clear about this is the fences that I, they operate within. Yeah. I'm not past the original three movies and I'm not any reproduction stuff. It's all the old stuff from 76 to 83. And that's it. Yeah. I don't spend a lot of time on homepages to be very honest with you. They, they, they are not an important page. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> your most important page is your product page. Yeah. And I, I, I would just, I wish store owners would spend more time on their product page and not on their homepage. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and you know, so the homepage, anything you put up there is totally fine. I don't, I don't get emotional about homepages except for the, the, you are here sign. And then I also, I, I like to repeat my navigation, you know, I don't like putting products on a homepage. Yeah. I like putting collections and categories on a homepage, so we're not, not taking them two steps down. We go one step at a time. Right?

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. One thing I do find is like, so as I say, the, the toys and figures is, is the bread and butter. The other non toy, what I would call oddball stuff is the weird stuff. You would not think that people pay money for, but it's my most profitable stuff by far. And it is very much about discovery on those. So those could be things that you didn't even as a collector knew existed or were not on your radar of, Hey, I'm gonna buy one of those this week. Well, that's

Scott Austin:

Why cross merchandising by Chewbacca. Yeah. And two D two is gonna reveal those things, right? Yeah. Cause like a friend and, and she's just in storm troopers and I've bought her multiple storm trooper things. She has like storm trooper tattoo. Right. She's totally storm troopers. She doesn't care about anything else at star wars. Oh, she it's storm strippers. Right. So she's got, you know, a key chain with a storm trooper. She's got a storm trooper sticker and any storm strippers she'll look at. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And, and I assume that, you know, for some of your customers, that's true, like they're, Shabaka people or they're RTD two, and that's where your cross merchandising becomes really, really useful. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so when they're in the cart and they have the Shaba figure in the car and they see that show Jabba, you had this plushy thing that was, you know, kind of cute and funny somewhere on your site, like, they'd see that also kind like, oh, that's cute.

Scott Austin:

You know, I was for a figure, but I'm gonna get this other chewy stuff today too. And, and that's, you know, that's the AOV stuff that we talked about before, you know, I said, was it as important? And it's not right. Because mm-hmm <affirmative>, although if we make more money per order, there's nothing wrong with that at all. Yeah. But for your business, it's, it's that stuff all after the fact, like once you see somebody buy something chewy, then you should start making a chewy list. And by a list, I mean, a segment inside of Shopify for fans and one for R two D one for every single character. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so then you can start using that and merchandising that way.

Mike Freeman:

So would that be based on they've brought up, bought a product with a Chewbaca tag, correct. And that that's what adds them to that segment.

Scott Austin:

Yep, exactly. I, I think right. The value of your, your, your service to your customers is there's this collection of 96 pieces. Right. And they've got 92 of them. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and they, they're probably looking for the four that they're missing. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and they're also looking to upgrade the ones they've got from the poor quality quality one to the better quality one. So you've got all these different ways to look at it. Is it Shabaka, is it empire strikes back? Is it the canner collection? Yeah. And the more you use more, you have that information in your product catalog tagged that way, right? Yeah. Then the more you get to use that information downstream ECLA

Mike Freeman:

Yes, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Like I'm just picturing yeah. More segmented emails and stuff like that to totally, totally to, you know, if I add within a certain category of products, a whole bunch of inventory there that may be not of interest to 90% of, of my list, but the ability to easily punch out an email to those, just those people that would be good.

Scott Austin:

Well, and you can automate a lot of this. Right. So one of the negatives with CLE view is you can't do a lot of if van statements inside of an email. Okay. Yeah. But you can do if van statements inside of a flow. And what I mean by that is, yeah. You could have a flow that says post purchase, right. Someone just made a purchase and it'd be nice in the email. If you could say, if they bought Shabaka, then show this Shabaka collection, but you can't do that in the email, but you can do it in the flow. So the first, if then loop could be, if the product, you know, if the cart contents contains Shabaka yeah. Then show them this email and that email it's just other Chewbacca things. Yeah. Yeah. And then this flow could literally have a hundred. Yeah. If fame statements in it, if Chewbacca, if on, if Leia, if mark ham, all that stuff and to build that is really, really hard. Right. That's a lot of work, a lot of manual if Dan statements, but the great thing is once you do it yeah. It's dones fun and you get to benefit from that forever. Right? Yeah. So I would start out with like the top five characters or the, or the top five fringe characters, whatever, and build a little flow that does that and see if it engages people or not. Yeah. And if it does every week, you know, set of goal to add five more characters to that flow. Yeah.

Mike Freeman:

So, well, and I can definitely see it, like under that non toy section, like there's those sections there where there's hardcore people who are enter those things. Like I vintage vinyl from Europe, vintage records and people are into that very, into it. Other people, not at all. So just, yeah, just setting up a flow even just for that category of items. Yep. That would be huge

Scott Austin:

In your world of CLV, which is more important than AOV, right? Yeah. The only CLV tool you have is your email.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah.

Scott Austin:

Leverage it to the max. Your flows should be extremely complex. Yeah.

Mike Freeman:

Go ahead. I thought social is a, is also a driver of lifetime value just in that. Yes. You know, I, I, people, I guess prefer getting their updates that way or whatever, but are consistent customers. And I can tell they're coming after social posts and coming

Scott Austin:

Back here. No, that, that makes total sense. I was just thinking all you're totally right. Your, your, your social networks are, are also good CV tools, but I, I would see your CLA flow as being very complex, but no one makes complex flows overnight. Exactly. Yeah. You evolve them, you come up with an idea, like we were just talking about and you test it, you don't do the whole thing. Yeah. You test it and see if it works. And, you know, people click in, people are buying that. They're like, oh, this sounds like it's. And then you keep adding more and more and more mm-hmm <affirmative>, but your business, I could see, you know, building out these landing pages for the different, you know, the, the canner empire strikes back. Yeah. You know, design that to be more than just a collection page, but a little bit of a landing page, which talks about that, you know, series of products, you know, the pros and cons about them. I'd find a couple YouTube videos that talk about it and just embed them in your site. Yeah. About that stuff. Cause I'm sure that stuff exists out there, even if you didn't create it and just make that more complete and more holistic for them.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. I can see that collections pages as more landing pages has been something I've I've wanted to do. And, and just up the content on a collections page from a, an education point of view. Yes, yes. Like really useful content and, and reinforces the brand and just even helps bring newbie collectors kind of make them a little more willing to spend money.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. And education. Right. You know, I'm a full believer in education, education, education. Right. Which you obviously see cuz I do a podcast. Right. I share information, but, but I find that, you know, it benefits me and my customer. Yeah. Cause you know, not everybody likes me. Right. I'm very direct about certain things. And very matter to the fact, and I'm not the, the right agency for some people, but they get to see that ahead of time by, by like, I like the, this guy sounds or I don't. Right. It's one of those self filtering mechanisms. The more you put out there, the better the conversations you have, because you've already put yourself out there and filter out the, you don't wanna have conversations

Mike Freeman:

With yeah. You're attracting the right crowd. Yeah.

Scott Austin:

Let's talk, you know, two more things I wanna talk about before I let you go here. We've, we've been jabbing for a little bit of time. The first one is your street crib. And, and what I mean by that, I thinking about page is super important and what I always say to my clients and, and I mean, this literally is I want to see babies and dogs on your about page. Cause you're about page is about human beings. Right? So if I go to survival, for example, I gave them that advice. I wanna see. And, and if I go to their about page, what I'm gonna see is baby. Yeah.

Mike Freeman:

Kids, family,

Scott Austin:

Wildlife, dog, dog, with the people also. But these people seem really authentic and real way better than, you know, a corporate photo does, right? Yes. In your business, there is probably a lot of fake stores out there or a lot of fly by night scams. You even mentioned them earlier. So you know, what you trying to do here? Go ahead.

Mike Freeman:

I was just gonna say oftentimes too in my niche stores and people who do this as a living are seen as greedy anti collector sort of people. And I'm, I'm very much not that. And, and obviously wanna position myself that way.

Scott Austin:

So here I, you already told me you got a daughter and then two twins and you got a wife and you're living in Canada. None of that's coming through here.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah, no, I, I wrote that 18 months ago when I was building the site and I don't think I have touched it since which is bad. Yeah. And, and

Scott Austin:

You got two things here. There's two about pages you need to build. One is about you about Mike, about the people at the company. If your kids are packing boxes, I would show photos of that. Right. Wife is the accountant. I would show that cause you know, a lot of stores try to seem bigger than they are. Yeah. When the exact opposite is what your customer wants. Yeah. If your customer wants some big anonymous company, they're gonna be on Amazon or eBay. Exactly. Yeah. They're not there today. They're on your store cuz they don't want that big anonymous, corporate crap. They wanna deal with a human being. So be a human being. Yeah. I mean you are right. You come across really well and, and I'm sure you have a great story. Just, you know, double down on it here. And then your second about page could be about your process.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. Where you get your things, you know, it's only authentic stuff. It's only vintage. It's guaranteed. It's warranted. You know, if we look at these guys here, the, the game steward, they built this, what we do page for them to explain to people. Well, we participate in a Kickstarter pre-order ecosystem could be a complex thing to wrap your head around. Yeah. So they go through this big, long page of beautiful graphics. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> which explains the whole process step by step. Yep. And then the beautiful thing is once they built this, we got to use this like in their, their welcome series for email flow, we broke up into four or five emails and send it out in the welcome series to educate them and that kind of stuff. So you may wanna talk about you, you know, you and the people at your company and then your process and how you get products, how you price them and be transparent about those kind of things. Yeah. so those can be two different about pages among right.

Mike Freeman:

Well, and two birds with Glenstone, cuz I do also need to improve my welcome series from the generic one. It is right now <laugh>

Scott Austin:

Well, and that's a beautiful thing. Once you build all this content, everything you put on your website, you're putting in your emails also, right? Yeah. The hard part about all of this is creating content. Yes, exactly. And all my customers, they nod their head all the time, have these conversations, like this is great. This is great. This is great. But then when it comes to creating the content, I'm showing you that my clients who do create the content cause a lot of 'em don't cause it's hard takes time. Right? Yeah. And in reality, you just can't outsource that you can't hire somebody on Upwork to write your about page for you. Yes. It's not up that they could get the job done, but it's not gonna be authentic. Cause they, they don't know your space. They don't know your customers and all the little nuances and the vernacular that you, you know, star wars, each use and all that kinda stuff. You, you need to write a lot of that yourself. Yeah.

Mike Freeman:

It's a, I think one of my goals for this year too, is carving out the time a way from the day to day business stuff, to be doing the growing the business stuff like this. Like you, you get, you know, so caught up with answering emails and, and doing this little thing or that little thing.

Scott Austin:

I totally agree. So for me, right. I do a podcast episode every other week. Yeah. And I'm not allowed to go to bed on Sunday night. My podcast sits out on Wednesday. I can't go to bed Sunday night until my podcast is done. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> right. And that is the only way it gets done. Yeah. If I just, you know, waited until I felt like I had time, it would never happen. Yeah. So for you, I, I would, you know, open up your calendar block out four hours on Tuesday morning. Yeah. Cause Monday you're too busy getting ready for the week, Thursday, Friday, you're too busy closing out the week, Tuesday morning, block out four hours and call it content creation and force yourself to only do that. Yeah. During that timeframe or an hour or whatever the right amount, how time is, but totally put it in your calendar. I call that operationalizing it because if you don't, it's not gonna happen. Right. It's always important, but it's never urgent.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. Well that's, that's kind of how I fell into a Friday email was it kind of forced me to get all the new products up by Friday and I don't leave work until that email,

Scott Austin:

So. Yep. Yep. No forcing functions are absolutely fantastic. Yeah. So the other thing I wanted to mention here is your branding below your header. There's no branding in your store now on yours. I don't recommend this a lot, but I've started recommending it more. I would go a aggressive in branding mm-hmm <affirmative> so by aggressive and branding, like the game steward went in my mind, aggressive in branding, right. They, they hired a graphic artist that like drew all their imagery. They're just absolutely beautiful. And you know, we have these dominant colors that are strong, you know, and these, you can see the colors and the header and the footer and that kind of stuff on authentic vintage poster. We went dark background, which I absolutely love in this store. It works really, really well. But you know, when you see this page, it, it like smacks you like, you know where you're at.

Scott Austin:

Yeah. And when the emails come out and they have the same backgrounds and the same colors, you know, where you're at for yours, right. You've got the blue and then that blue is kind of a rebel color. I would, you know, I would put it with a little bit of orange also. I don't know why I'm thinking blue and orange, but I think maybe the whites have blue in orange or so blue, orange and white, but I would even on this, right. If you want, so I would go blue, orange, white, or I would go Jeff and star wars, you know, black and yellow, right. For colors. Right. So you could do this type of stuff. Right. I actually found this star wars, font generator. Right? Yeah. You could have this type of thing going on. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and it's really easy to put in backgrounds that don't infringe on star wars, IP, which you're very aware of, you know, you cannot do.

Scott Austin:

Right. Cause you know, Disney will come after you and crush yourself. So, but if you go on shutter stock, mm-hmm <affirmative> and just search for star wars background, you get a whole bunch of generic things. Yeah. For these I think are fabulous. Right? Yeah. Yeah. I can even see making cuz you know, you got the X-Wing fighters and they've got these little panels and lines and stuff. Yeah. I can even see making a background. Yeah. That looks sort of like an X-Wing fighter zoomed in a little bit, you got textures and Brits and that kind of. Yeah. And just bringing that home. So this page, which is very, very, very white and background, you know, if you had just a slight, you know, background thing or if you just put it in the footer, in the background or in the header in the background, but I would use a little bit of imagery to really set the tone and make me feel like I'm a little more immersed in the star wars environment.

Mike Freeman:

One thing I was thinking of for the redesign was having kind of not kind of background images, but kind of like those paras between section images and reaching out to you know, there's a lot of guys on Instagram doing really cool photography of the toys

Scott Austin:

I've seen the Lego guys, the,

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. So it's kind of the same thing where they got them set up doing a scene and stuff and like super cool lighting and angles totally. And putting some of that in the site.

Scott Austin:

So on this store here, this is years ago, I built this store, VI art ink. He does it's it's drawings that he draws with a pen, right. It's just with ink and different colored pens. And it's really meticulous sitting there for hours drawing these little lines. But the cool thing is when you look at a drawing of a space needle or something yep. Inside that drawing a space needle, there's all these little sub images in all the lines. So for his, if you can see it on, on this site. Yeah. I see the background image is actually the line. So, and you, you can look at it like there's a statue of Liberty in there there's this and that. And it really sets a tone. You <affirmative>, and it's really subtle, right? Yes. But it's just a more complete and a more holistic experiment. Your store today looks like I have a whole bunch of products I wanna sell you.

Scott Austin:

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, which is fine. That is the fact. Right. But to take that to the next level and go from a store that sells star wars products, you think about take that branding. Right. And, and you know, the way I explain it to, to my clients is cuz we spend a lot of time and energy on these things with some of my clients is, and, and they're like, is this really worth all the time? You know, to build out this about page and you know, make these graphics and all this other stuff. And you know, if you're a store making, you know, a thousand dollars a month, no, it's not with your time energy mm-hmm <affirmative>. But if you're a store making, you know, $50,000 a month, this is how you differentiate yourself from the, your competition. Right? Yeah. Cause very few stores do not have competition. Some have complete direct competition and I bet you in your space, there's people doing the exact same thing that you're doing

Mike Freeman:

Well, I, the white is kind of and app to be the antithesis of the other sites in my industry are mostly very like, you know, old PHP super busy online stores with, you know, 42 banners, flashing different things and three side bars and all that sort of thing. So I get consciously when I was building it and also due to skill level go with very clean and, and neat. But bringing the branding, the forefront is, is something I've wanted to do for a long time. And the way you describe it, it makes me think like I jokingly write my emails and, and a lot of the copy, like as if we're, you know, in the rebel base on the fourth move, like that's, that's where the store is located. Oh. In a tongue in cheek sort of way. But I could see bringing that aspect in like that last background you just showed me and, and and, and kind of that kind of a abstracty thing that makes it look like it it's part of the star wars universe itself.

Scott Austin:

Totally agree. Right. Cause one of the things star wars is famous for right. Is three environments per movie. Yeah. Now one of them is usually snowy, but you don't have an environment here. Right. In star wars, you always feel like you're immersed on this desert planet, this ocean planet, this frozen planet here. I don't feel immersed. So yeah. You know, very right. Because it's star wars I'd make it more immersive. Okay. Yeah. Well, yeah, but that's, that's, you know, if you wanted to keep it white, there's nothing wrong with that either, right?

Mike Freeman:

Yeah. No, I think I'd probably stay white E but I, I like that, like what you were talking about, the close up of the panels and stuff like that. I could totally see something cool like that, that, yeah. I like, I would love it to feel like it's a store in the star wars universe.

Scott Austin:

Yes, yes. Absolutely. Like, like you've got here with this image here at the, I, I love that. Right. That is so cool. That, that kind of stuff is, it's just fun. Right? Yeah. And what happens is, you know, does that get you a sale today versus your car competition? Maybe. Maybe not, but you're subconsciously your customers notice the difference. Yeah. Right. I don't think they consciously notice these things. I think it's subconscious. Like when you go to a store you're like they spend time and money doing this. I can tell. Yeah. And that means their quality, right? Like if you go to Allbirds and, and look at their website, they just went public for like 2 billion, some right. They're on Shopify. It's beautiful. Their website is amazing. The amount of time they spend for one page, you're like, oh my God, this is unbelievable.

Scott Austin:

But that's how you get to be a billion dollar business. Yeah. And you know, you do it a step at a time. Right. And you you're at the point now where, you know, I actually think the merchandising stuff we talked about is way more important than the branding thinks. Mm-Hmm, <affirmative> like letting people find the products. I would make that first step. Right. If I was to prioritize your goal for 2022, I'd say, you know, look at the merchandising, things that we talked about with, you know, the concept of franchises or characters and, and cross merchandising and tagging figure all that stuff out, do a redesign around that, get those tools in place. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And then, you know, if you do, you know, branding at the same time or later, but

Mike Freeman:

Well, no, I think I need, I want to structurally get it to where I want to so that I can do kind of the redesign and moving to a new theme and, and all that investment with the stuff that can be figured out ahead of time, figured out ahead of time, you know, rather than like necessarily sticking everything in a copy deck, I might as well upgrade what I got on the site now. And then take that content over to the new red dev site. Yeah.

Scott Austin:

The way I figure out most of this stuff is not ahead of time. It's in the middle of the store, right? Yeah. Like I have clients all the time who like, I wanna do this and that. And I'm like, I need products. Right. If I don't have products, I can't do anything. Cause you know, you'll have a concept, we're gonna do this thing and you do it. But then you put the real data inside that thing and it doesn't work. Right. So yeah. I find it's always easier to, to build inside of your store and you know, you can have, you know, a new, offline theme off to the side, so nobody sees it kind of thing, but you need to have that, that product data there to see the result of what you're doing. Yeah. So I'm not a fan of like whiteboarding the, the navigation paradigm and all that kind of stuff. I'd rather do it in the store and iterate on it's definitely.

Mike Freeman:

Yeah, for

Scott Austin:

Sure. All right. We are I'm about wrapping up here. We've been going forever. Well, it was really good talking to you today. I, I appreciate you spending the time.

Mike Freeman:

Well, I appreciate it too. I I've got you know, I got a, a list of notes here and a bunch with really big stars next to them that are the priorities to get on. So I, I really, really appreciate

Scott Austin:

I'm I'm glad it was useful for you.

 

 


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