Cart abandonment is costing online stores thousands, if not millions, of dollars every year. Here are 7 ways to stop the madness and rest easier.
5 Questions with Ambaum's Chad Fisher and David Stober
Ambaum’s Chad Fisher and David Stober share tips on how to grow your store and win in the new era of ecommerce.
- Ambaum gives Shopify Plus users the tools to make their stores excel, working integrations into custom templates to improve performance metrics.
- Refresh your Shopify store’s template every three to four years to keep up with software updates and increase performance metrics.
- Social selling on platforms like Facebook or Instagram can be helpful for top-of-funnel awareness, but Shopify merchants are best served driving traffic to their online store.
- In the future, ecommerce tech stacks will have to be pliable and fluid, able to respond to changing trends quickly.
Perhaps your Shopify Plus store has performed well for a while, but it’s starting to fall flat. Or maybe your needs as a seller have changed, and now you need customizable shipping options.
Seattle-based Ambaum is a Shopify Plus-dedicated agency (and a Rebuy agency partner) that helps sellers get the most out of their stores. Thanks to their rich experience as merchants, founder Chad Fisher feels Ambaum takes a unique approach to supporting sellers.
“We see ourselves not only as former merchants but current merchants. We can sit in the same seat that almost all of our customers are in. It gives us a really different perspective,” Fisher says.
Ambaum also knows exactly what it is as an agency — and what it’s not. It doesn’t take an “everything-goes” approach, offering branding, SEO, or pay-per-click. Ambaum is its customers’ go-to Shopify Plus agency.
In an interview with Rebuy’s Miles Shattuck, Fisher is joined by Ambaum's COO David Stober to chat about Ambaum's unique approach to helping merchants, tips to improve your online store, killer tech stacks, and the future of ecommerce.
1. Rebuy: Let’s start with the basics. How is Ambaum different from other agencies?
Ambaum: We see ourselves not only as former merchants but as current merchants. We can sit in the same seat that almost all of our customers are in, giving us a really different perspective.
As a team of seasoned merchants, operators, and highly-skilled developers, Ambaum’s service is much more focused than a typical agency. While competitors will stretch their services toward branding, paid advertising, seo, etc. and development, Ambaum takes a unique merchant-first approach and specializes specifically in Shopify and Shopify plus development.
We've got our own custom theme that we can build, and that's what a lot of our merchants are looking for, especially on the Plus side. They want to differentiate themselves from just a regular off-the-shelf theme. We're an outsourced CTO and consultant for our merchants who can also execute on development.
Launching has never been easier, but building an enduring ecommerce business requires foundational knowledge, experience, and bandwidth. Within the development arena, our skills break down into the following four areas:
- New theme builds
- Migrations from other platforms
- Integrations to other software via Shopify APIs
- Custom Shopify apps
At Ambaum, we solve complex business problems through technology. We have been a Shopify Plus solutions partner for almost 6 years now. We know the platform and the app ecosystem inside and out, and that gives us a leg up on the more generalist agencies. We are a US-based team of professionals with a single purpose of helping clients maximize the world’s most powerful ecommerce growth engine in the world - Shopify and Shopify Plus.
“Everyone wants to talk about these super sexy, high-flying D2C brands. But where we see a lot of growth for Shopify, and for us as an agency, is with these forgotten-about legacy businesses like auto parts, traditional bakeries, and furniture.”
2. What kinds of clients does Ambaum work with?
Our merchants come to us at that $1 million to $1.5 million revenue mark. Most have DIYed it to that point. They started off, threw a theme out there, got a store running, got some traction, and probably worked with freelancers to do a little bit of development work. They hacked around. And they quickly realized, ‘I'm over my skis a little bit here.’
Some common needs at that inflection point are landing pages for marketing initiatives, setting up B2B selling, and integrating subscriptions. That’s our perfect fit.
We've also carved out a bit of a niche in the carts and automotive space. There's some work we've been doing with tractor parts and automotive parts. Businesses that sound kind of stodgy and have been around a long time. It's, paradoxically, one of the biggest business opportunities. Because these brands need help figuring out how to set up a store and get their B2B customers to order online.
Everyone wants to talk about these super sexy, high-flying D2C brands. But where we see a lot of growth for Shopify, and for us as an agency, is with these forgotten-about legacy businesses like auto parts, traditional bakeries, and furniture.
3. What are some things merchants can do to improve their online store?
Take a data-driven approach to funnel improvement
We focus on decision making around best practices and data-proven recommendations. We strive to optimize and support all aspects of the customer journey through the marketing funnel, then increase recurring revenue by nurturing customer relationships and loyalty. We work with merchants to implement, execute, test, review, and repeat. As the ecommerce world continues to change, we’re committed to adapting through consistent and constant improvement.
Add subscriptions and up-sells
We could go on and on about the importance of subscriptions and up-sells. Baseline, these tools increase conversion and recurring revenue, and we have helped a plethora of merchants across brand categories customize and employ their subscription solutions. We have top-tier Shopify Plus tech partners that we work with constantly to provide the best results.
“Modern brands will have a stack that is very pliable and fluid, ready to execute. You’ll have to be ready for those marketing moments, trends, and business opportunities with your tech stack.”
Be aware of social selling
Another point to examine is social selling, like selling through Facebook or Instagram ads. While those might be helpful for top-of-funnel awareness, revenue is lost to the costs of being on those platforms. The more you can drive customers to your Shopify store, the more money stays in your business.
We separate platforms out as renter platforms and owner platforms. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon are renter platforms. Merchants that walk on their turf are renters, and those platforms take a heavy toll. If you're transacting on those platforms, they'll take 10-20%. If you're on Shopify, you're an owner. And you pay 3% or less and if you're on Plus, it's 2.15%.
There's this idea of letting consumers transact wherever they want to transact. But at the end of the day our brands are still all about getting them onto their property and transacting on their property.
Integrations are everything!
Integrations allow merchants to reach their customers in a variety of different ways, making them more likely to stick around. They also help to differentiate you from the competition. Some things that help merchants are SMS messaging, subscriptions, and customized shipping. Another piece of that is leveraging co-branding and partnerships with other companies.
It’s important to refresh your store’s design every three to four years. Why? If you leave it as is, you could be leaving money on the table. A refresh ensures that any Shopify upgrades are working correctly, such as speed enhancements.
“The folks that will win in the future will be the ones that can fight on multiple battlefronts.”
4. Tell us about a project you're working on now.
We are seeing a big lift in regulated industries brands, specifically beer, wine, and spirits. The alcohol industry is something new to Shopify itself, so there has been a lot to unpack in terms of regulations and use cases. Alcohol is the consumer packaged goods category with the fastest growing e-commerce sector, up over 234% in a seven-week period, according to a 2020 Nielsen survey. The biggest volume gains have been in spirits (32%), followed by wine (27%), and beer (15%). Currently, we are building two new websites for alcohol brands.
The first is a small regional brewery in the Pacific Northwest. What has made this project interesting is that this brewery has a number of different locations. This creates some complexities relative to local pickup at the various locations, as well as the rules limiting shipments once a ship-from location is established.
The second is a small upstart canned cocktail brand in the Mid-Atlantic. Due to the federal government's three-tier system for spirits, we have had to introduce a system that facilitates a wholesale clearing house along with a retail partner that legally can ship direct to the various states they are allowed to ship to.
5. What excites you about the future of ecommerce?
I like to step back and look at where ecommerce was and where we're at now and then where we're headed. Amazon was derided and ridiculed for a long time, but they normalized ecommerce.
In the 2010s, Magento gave small businesses a way to enter the space. From 2015 to 2020, we have the era of SaaS, where ecommerce was a big winner. That's where Shopify has changed the game. Instead of making it super difficult to get a store, it's actually very egalitarian. For literally $20 a month you can start a store and if you want to put the work in, within years, you can be in the seven-figure range.
Now the competition has shifted up the stack. You have to differentiate yourself. You need to think about what you have from a stack perspective that really makes you stand out.
Modern brands will have a stack that is very pliable and fluid, ready to execute. You’ll have to be ready for those marketing moments, trends, and business opportunities with your tech stack.
The folks that will win in the future will be the ones that can fight on multiple battlefronts. You can be an ecommerce manager but you're going to have to think about retail sales, social strategy, and engagement. That's what's exciting for us because it's constantly evolving and we get to be at the forefront of it with some really cool, awesome brands.
💻 Watch the full interview on our YouTube channel here.
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