Episode #13: How Shopify Made It Too Easy for Me to Impulsively Spend £150

Science fiction, collectible toys, and a frictionless online shopping come together to create a customer experience perfect storm — in a good way. In today’s episode we look at how Shopify is removing online shopping barriers to make it easier to succumb to impulse purchases. Because who doesn’t need a Space 1999 stun gun and comlock?

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Right, welcome back to the CXM Experience, where experience is the new brand. I’m Grad Conn and today we’re going to talk about shopping experiences.

You know, we’ve all had a chance to enjoy the online shopping experience. Sometimes with merchants who’ve not had a chance to optimize that process. It’s been a pretty amazing six months in terms of how digital transformation is taking hold across the retail universe. But I want to talk a little bit about Shopify. Shopify is an amazing company, it’s first of all, it’s a Canadian company based in Ottawa. And what Shopify has done is pretty amazing, because they’re creating a network for their merchants, which makes it as easy or potentially easier, as an independent merchant, to sell goods with the Shopify platform, as you would with, say, the Amazon platform.

So I’m going to geek out for a few minutes here and just talk a little bit about something I saw today. I actually retweeted this, so you can actually see it in my Twitter feed. So as you probably now I’m a pretty big space fan. Most people default to Star Wars as I’m a big Star Wars fan, which is true, but not like, it misses the subtlety of my overall space fandom. And one of the shows that’s nearest and dearest to my heart is a show called Space 1999. And Space 1999 is a show which was produced by Gerry Anderson. And Gerry Anderson, is sort of a famous producer of shows. A lot of them were with puppets. If you think about shows like The Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet. A couple other ones I can’t remember right now… they’ll come to me. Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet are two of my favorites.

He produced all those, but they were always puppet shows. And so, in the late 1960s, he decided that he wanted to start moving into human beings. And so he produced a TV series called UFO or as it was pronounced in Great Britain, UFO. And it’s an amazing series about a group, privately fighting against the secret UFO invasion. And there’s a whole set of dinky toys based on it, it was like amazing. And then following that, that show closed down in the early 70s, he did a show called Space 1999. And Space 1999 was probably the most inaccurate show from a scientific standpoint, but pretty amusing in many other ways. And the basic idea of it was that there’s a nuclear explosion on the moon, and it pushes the moon out of orbit and starts to fly through space. That in itself is actually pretty cool idea. But in this particular universe, it’s flying at hyperspeed. And in every episode, they encounter a new planet in a new star system, which is obviously you know, completely impossible. But it was a fun way of introducing a lot of really interesting characters to the show, versus just a group of people slowly dying in space from the moon as it leaves the solar system. And it was really good about the moon. I’ve always been a big moon fan. And so it was a fun show that way.

Other shows that Gerry did were Fireball XL5, Supercar, which is a pretty cool show, Stingray. And Captain Scarlet which was correctly called Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. And for many years, the Captain Scarlet SPV vehicle was my rosebud. Now I have like 20 of them. But that was something that until eBay came along was something I had searched for in vain.

And so… I’m a Space 1999 fan. So along comes this post on Twitter. And it’s basically someone has decided, under license, to produce a deluxe to scale Space 1999 electric stun gun — and they’re very cool stun guns that kind of fit around your hand — and a comlock. The comlock is very innovative device. Essentially it’s an iPhone. I don’t know how else to put it, you can talk to people on video, you can unlock things… like all this stuff you can do an iPhone, you can do with a comlock.

So they’re making this. It’s reasonably expensive, you know, several hundred pounds, but it’s screen accurate, the have lights, original sound effects, communication screens, actual dialogue from the show. There are both stun and kill settings on the stun gun, always keep it on kill, obviously, but there they have stun just there. And there’s collector stands and it’s made from plastic and electronic components and you can put batteries in and they light up and they do all sorts of cool things. And so I saw this and I was like Merry Christmas Grad. And, you know, I see stuff like this and I’ll just be like, I’m not gonna wait for someone to think they want to buy it for me, I just get it.

And so I saw this, and I clicked on it to add to cart. And to my delight, it turns out that this is a Shopify merchant. And you know, it’s so amazing now with Shopify, because all I need to do is enter my email address, they send a code to my cell phone, I enter the code, and then boom, I’m in my account. I don’t have to remember a login. They’ve gotten away from the login. Right? So I don’t have to remember my password. I don’t remember a user ID. Just put in my email, I get a code, I enter the code, I’m in my account. I pick my addresses, it’s already connected to PayPal, and within a minute, maybe less, my deluxe one to one Space 1999 electric stun gun and comlock are on the way. Also, by the way, they had an add on, which was a Captain Scarlett facemask. So that was pretty awesome. And I added that as well.

But what was interesting to me is that I think that if I had… this is  definitely an indulgent purchase. I’m not gonna sugarcoat that. I know that I’m having a little bit of fun here. But if I was maybe more thoughtful, or maybe it was in the morning, or maybe I was busy, I might have looked at this and thought, Oh, that’s really cool. And then just forgotten about it. And what Shopify has done is they’ve allowed me to pursue my impulse to the maximum extent possible. And I think that this is part of the key experience. Experience has got to be able to capture the impulse, and allow you to ride down the hill on the sled, and enjoy the ride the whole way, and almost like laugh at the end… Oh, my gosh, what a ridiculous thing I just did. And it’s done. And it’s on its way, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

And I do think there’s something about many shopping sites and many shopping processes, where they continuously ask you questions, they continuously try to confirm things, or they make you login or add things or change your addresses. And all the way through that process at some point, you’ve got an opportunity to keep changing your mind. And often you do. You say, you know what, this is silly, what am I doing this for? My God, you know, 150 pounds for a couple pieces of plastic. That’s ridiculous, right?

And so you get to a point where you might change your mind and get off the train. And it is surprising to me that as many merchants as there are, that they do this. Surprising to me that so many merchants allow their process to be something that can be broken, and can be a broken flow. And that is, I think part of where people run into some challenges where they look at abandoned shopping carts. You want to get it to a point where it’s not a chance for that shopping cart to be abandoned. Because people are so excited to be part of that motion. And so that’s my story for today.

I’m very excited about Christmas.I might even wrap them up and give them to myself, which is something I have done before. Or maybe I’ll just put them on the shelf. But they’re very exciting to have them come my way. And you know, as you think about your shopping processes, and you think about the experiences you’re landing with people think about impulse. How do I achieve an impulse and then allow that impulse to be satisfied as quickly as possible? How do I make sure that I am instantly gratifying that need and getting people to a point where they’re happy about the fact that even though it may have been impulsive and it may have been silly, it may have been indulgent, that the satisfaction of being able to satisfy that indulgence, so quickly, far outweighs any regret, of having satisfied an indulgence.

And I think these days when we spend so much time locked inside and virtual prisoners in our own homes, cooking the same meals, and having the same experiences over and over again, anything that we can find that is an indulgence, where we can find some release, I think you can get a lot of satisfaction out of that. So kudos to Shopify. They are doing things that I would say in many ways, the Shopify platform, which millions of merchants can use, is slowly becoming superior to the Amazon platform, because if you lose your login to Amazon on it can be byzantine, trying to get it back. So I think Shopify is doing some really great stuff. Amazon needs to take notice, Walmart needs to take notice, and anyone else who’s trying to drive a shopping experience, and there have been some crazy ones out there, please take notice. I will say that the people who are… I’ve several times purchased things, and then I’m then given a phone call… a voice call. And, of course, I never answer those because they’re from someone I don’t know. And then they leave a message saying, please call us back to confirm your purchase. If you’re doing that in your shopping process right now. Please stop it. Like stop it right now. Because like, that’s not working. It’s got to be all digital. It’s got to be super impulsive. And you got to get me to my end goal as fast as you possibly can.

And for the CXM Experience, this is Grad Conn. See you tomorrow.