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Founder Chat: Launching Shopify Reward Campaigns

Go behind the scenes as we deliver on a customer request for integration with Shopify. Learn how we validated the work what concerns we had building this feature.

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Key Takeaways!

Build features that make life easier for paying customers.

Source Support Questions

Are customers asking questions about a specific feature or catagory of feature?

Make Something Hard Easy

Pick something customers are struggling with and make it 10X easier.

Money Talks

Are you building something for people already spending money around the problem space?

Are Customers Doing it Anyway?

Is there something you really didn't design for that people are making work anyway?

Support Risks?

New features add a support burden to your product. Is it worth it?

Launch Experiments

Treat each feature like an MVP. We gave ourselves a week and prioritized.

Full Transcript

Josh: Alright, so eight years in, KickoffLabs. We've always grown by listening to people who are paying customers. We've gone from really simple landing pages with some referral tracking to supporting over eight types of lead generation campaigns. Really just a key part of the top of the funnel for people's marketing. By the time you hear this, we'll have released a new set of features aimed at expanding that reach. And in this episode, Scott and I are going to walk through what it's been like working on that feature. So, Scott, how's the last week been for you?

Scott: It's been pretty good. House is much more quiet now since we shipped you out, but apart from that, it's been good. You?

Josh: Good. It was fun. We actually, so Scott and I usually work, we're a remote company and so I'm in Seattle and Scott is in New Jersey and so we did spend last week in New Jersey at his place together working on this feature. I know that I woke up this morning and I saw there's going to be new noise canceling AirPods. I was pretty excited about that.

Scott: Yeah, I was looking for that because they label it as music like you've never heard before or something. And I really just want my computer to work, I was joking, like never before, but actually I like it to work how it did before where it just worked and I didn't have to worry about keeping the keyboard clean, and a touch bar that's in the way and stuff. So I'm still hopeful we'll get something new in the coming weeks but we'll say the years could be over pretty soon.

Josh: Yeah. I would also go for a real escape key and a non-touch bar MacBook but I'll take my pro AirPods with the noise canceling.

Josh:So back to KickoffLab stuff. Our new feature is called, at the moment, Shopify Rewards and the idea is that you can turn dollars spent by your customers into points within a KickoffLabs campaign. Previously, we'd kind of limited points to more social actions, like referring friends, getting people to sign up for your newsletter, follow you on Facebook. We had released the concept of lead tags, which I think was a good entry into this step where you could tag people for any random action.

Our new feature is called Shopify Rewards and the idea is that you can turn dollars spent by your customers (or their friends) into points within a KickoffLabs campaign.



Josh: But we started to see people just consistently getting a lot of requests for... I want to reward people for making a purchase. Like when somebody buys something on my Shopify store, how do I give them points? How do I recognize somebody for buying things? And the question was coming up over and over again. And I think that was the first really good indicator that we needed to create a new feature around that. Do you feel the same way that, as we've released smaller bits of a feature, that customers have kind of led us in a direction?

How do I recognize somebody for buying things? And the question was coming up over and over again. And I think that was the first really good indicator that we needed to create a new feature around that.



Scott: No, absolutely. And we did see a couple of people try really hard to kind of shoehorn themselves into a similar experience where they were using tags and trying to customize it and just we're working really hard to do something that should be easy to go along with everything else we've done from the beginning. We really tried our best over the last eight years to see things people wanted and were trying to do and then to make that as easy as possible for them. And the folks that were using Shopify today were just working way too hard to make it work.

We really tried our best over the last eight years to see things people wanted and were trying to do and then to make that as easy as possible for them.



Josh: Yeah. And I think that there's kind of two indicators there that I usually like to look for when knowing that we should invest in a feature like this. And I think one is, are people trying to shoehorn it in? And in this case, there definitely were, I mean, we had a lot of support requests for people that were, like you said, just kind of banging their head against a wall trying to make it work. And some people had been successful, some people weren't. And the ones that had been successful, it seemed like it was working pretty well for them. And the cases where it wasn't, you could tell they still wanted it. And the other thing was were these people paying us? So it wasn't just a bunch of people using the free account, getting in. These are people paying us. In one case, I think they paid for like two months and they didn't even have it up and running yet because they were still kept trying to do it. But we kind of refunded them and kind of got them up and running in the right way.

Scott: Well plus the other interesting thing for others who are building their own products and listening to this, the other kind of key indicator too, right, is that they're usually, in almost every case, paying Shopify as well. So they've demonstrated a willingness to spend money that helps them be successful, which is usually a pretty good indicator that you're talking to people who believe in spending money to help them make money. And it's usually folks you want to have as customers. Those who, if you can show that you're going to help them be successful, they're willing to reward you with their own hard earned dollars and cents.

They're paying Shopify as well. So they've demonstrated a willingness to spend money that helps them be successful, which is usually a pretty good indicator that you're talking to people who believe in spending money to help them make money. And it's usually folks you want to have as customers.



Josh: Yeah. And to be really specific, the thing that we've now made real easy is enabling people to create a reward program where people earn points for dollars spent. So if I go into a store, I might not even be part of a KickoffLabs campaign that you're running yet at your store, but if I buy something, you'll give me 25 points if I spend $25. And then the unique thing with KickoffLabs is, because then we're also, like anything else we do, we're tracking referrals. If I then share my link with Scott and he spends, he takes my link and goes to the store and he spends $50, now I've got 75 points because we're giving points at a one-to-one. Like somebody signed, you can give points, we have the option but you can give points at a one-to-one. So then Scott would get 50 points in that case and I'd be up to 75 points.

The unique thing with KickoffLabs is, because then we're also, like anything else we do, we're tracking referrals. If I then share my link with Scott and he spends, he takes my link and goes to the store and he spends $50, now I've got 75 points because we're giving points at a one-to-one.



Josh: And then what you can do with the points is really flexible. So I envision, based on what people have said so far, there's some people who want to just do simple sort of reward levels. Like somebody gets 50 points and they earn free shipping on their next order. And then some people want to tie it into a regular every other month contest that they're running with KickoffLabs where every point is another entry. And so if you spend money in the store, you get a whole bunch more entries that greatly increase your odds of winning. So you might get three or four points for referring some friends, but if they end up spending money, you're going to have a whole bunch more entries and really increased odds of winning the contest.

Josh: And so I think this can really help store owners just game-ify things a little bit better and tie it more directly to something that feels more tangible to them, which is dollars spent, which is one of the reasons I liked the idea. I wasn't sure if you felt the same way and the reasons that pulled you into the direction of doing this idea. Like was it also that sort of tying it to the dollars spent?

Scott: That and helping customer, because you think about it from a store perspective, and just landing pages as a whole generally you're advised to only have one conversion strategy for getting people to your site, to a page, to a landing page. And the way you would have had to do this in the past is you would have had to have some type of sign-up form and collect the email first and then walk through the checkout process and somehow kind of marry those together. And then one of the things that we are able to figure out and do last week was make it so that customers, you can ask somebody for an email if you want, but you don't even have to ask for the email upfront. You can just do the referral based upon sending somebody to any page in your website that our script's running on.

Scott: And they actually don't even have to sign up. They just have to check out. And so I think it keeps with the idea of that you can build these landing pages or you can build pages within Shopify and direct traffic there and you don't have to ask the people to do one thing to be part of your contest and then do this other thing, which actually makes you money in the short run. And so I think once we were able to demonstrate that we could have, we can kind of have our cake and eat it too. I was much more on board with the idea, despite all the effort. I mean Shopify is just a big well-established product and so there's just a lot to it. I think we spent the better part of the first day just figuring out where to inject the script and what pages and we could execute code on and what pages that it was just Shopify that could execute code on.

Josh: I think at one point you were trying to figure out how to change texts on a Shopify store and you had to just walk away and say, "You figure it out." It's a great platform. It is amazing, similar to us, but multiplied by a hundred that they've just expanded into so many different areas and have so many different options to figure out that finding these one singular points of integration we wanted was sort of like a needle in a haystack with their platform. What are the risks as you see it for anybody building products out there and like thinking about adding new features?

Scott: I mean it's just time, support. I think that was the other thing that kind of scared me with this is, Shopify is, to a certain extent, like a, black boxes, right? We haven't used it a lot ourselves yet. And so we're kind of learning as we're going and we've learned quite a bit over the last couple of years helping customers. But we, you and I, neither of us is, I know for me, I'm assuming you as well, don't have a physical product to sell in a store. It's something I would love to do because I just, I feel like it would be fun and it would be a good change of pace, but there's always risk in that. We're taking on something that's very important to our customers, tapping into their checkout process.

Scott: The time of year. I think now's a good time to release this. If we want to be to help customers in the short run within the, at least in the US, black Friday and Christmas and that kind of stuff coming up, you can love it or hate it, but this is the time of year where people are spending lots of money. So there's always risk in that. It's outside our comfort zone. It's got a wide surface area. But I, in this case, I really do think that the reward is, greatly trumps the risk, especially since, as we discussed, our customers are doing it anyway. And so I think we can streamline things for them, make it so they can focus on what's unique to their business and their products.

Our customers are doing it (Shopify Integration) anyway. So we already had a support burdon.



Josh: Yeah. For me, the risks, there was a lot of it in terms of, you kind of touched on, the complexity is just adding something. Anytime at the stage, you have a product that works and you say we're going to add something else to it. Just like how are we increasing the complexity, how does it work with the other features? And I think that there was no more better example of the fact that KickoffLabs is a very mature platform at this point for what we're doing.

Josh: And I think, down the end, the key parts of the Shopify integration, I think you said are maybe like 10 or 15 lines of code to get the meat of it getting done what we have done. But then you talk about, okay, well ideally this feature ties in with the activity feed of a lead within KickoffLabs. It ties in with notifications, it ties in with web hooks, it ties in with tagging of leads that somebody made a purchase and then all of that stuff, I don't know how many files you said you ended up touching, but it was, we went from like 10 lines of code to like had to touch 10 to 20 files total within the project. And all of that is just this added complexity, which it can increase the support costs and it just increases just the breadth of what the product does.

Scott: Yeah, I agree.

Josh: And we'll see how, I think it's going to turn out to be great for customers. Like you said, it's a good time of year to kind of roll out a feature like this and people were doing it anyway. So we already had the support costs of people doing it anyway. So if we can, maybe it will actually lower the support cost to a certain extent for at least each customer. I think it was because of all those reasons. I mean at first I was really tempted to build it into a new product, just focus the new product on the stores. But then that has a whole other set of challenges in terms of getting attention on a new product. And we have thousands of people that visit KickoffLabs pages every month. And so taking that traffic and saying it's got to be divided somehow, that also feels like a huge challenge. And this gives us a great way to kind of experiment within KickoffLabs and add a feature and we can still make changes down the line if needed.

It's like anything else, the sooner you can get it in front of people, the sooner you can learn.



Scott: Yeah, it was extracted and it helps streamline the experience for people in the future. It's like anything else, the sooner you can get it in front of people, the sooner you can learn and to build it on its own and convince people to find another thing, to trust another product, to be willing to take out their credit card for another product. For us to market and manage and support it, I really think it just made sense to kind of get it in front of people as quickly and as simply as possible. And then you can always grow from there and see where the winds kind of take you.

Josh: Yeah. I think you just hit on the big thing that convinced me to go with it. Because I went into the week saying I want to ship something within the week. Like if we're going to spend the week working together, let's get something out the door. And this was the fastest way to ship the feature as an experiment and say like, let's get it out the door, let's see what people think about it, and let's just iterate on it as quickly as possible. And building something else from scratch, there's a whole lot more that goes into that.

Josh: So while we did have to integrate it with a bunch of places within the product, it did help us get it out the door within eight days or whatever of sitting down and first kind of walking through what it meant to ship this. And so I think that's still what I love about being at a tiny company as well as kind of a great model for shipping things. What are you looking for? To see and judge. When we ship something, what do you look for for success of was it worth spending the time and the effort behind a feature like this?

Scott: I guess just how quickly people are able to see results themselves from it. How much effort it takes them to get it installed, up and running. All new features, it's always that slow uptake. I remember when we first started, you'd agonize over should we ship today or should we wait until Monday or should we wait until Tuesday or two weeks or whatever. And reality is you can ship whatever it is you want today and it's going to be a couple days to a couple weeks, depending upon the product and stuff, that people really start using it. A lot of times people set up campaigns and they go about their life and can keep working on the rest of their business and they're not living inside your product.

Scott: So just how quickly, I guess to sum up, just how quickly we can start seeing results and get a couple of people up and using it. That's really what I'm looking for. I'm confident people want it. Even sometimes then you're not 100% sure, but our support channels, over the last couple of years, shows that there's definitely a need for it. And I think we've made it as simple as we can make it within the parameters that we get to play in. So it'll be interesting to see what the next couple weeks look like with this, especially as we're, like I said before, approaching the holiday season.

Josh: Yeah. For me, I think it's the same thing. It's uptake. Do we start getting questions about it? Are the questions meaningful? That are showing us that people are doing other things. It's one of the things that once you've got an existing set of customers, the support channel, having it all recorded, is a great way to look up. I was surprised. When we went back and I did a search for Shopify and there were just hundreds of questions about Shopify and they weren't all necessarily people saying they wanted to set up a campaign like this, but it just was a good indicator where it's like, oh our customers, they're thinking about Shopify, whether it's this or some other feature. There's a lot of thought around Shopify and overlap between our customer base and people who want to set up a store within Shopify, which is a good proof point.

So I'm hoping to see, my goal is if by the end of the year we've got a couple people that have run successful campaigns with this.



Josh: And now it's, sort of, it becomes a challenge to see how quickly we can get people to have successful campaigns and experiments with it. So I'm hoping to see, my goal is if by the end of the year we've got a couple people that have run successful campaigns with this, that we can then do case studies with and show like, hey this worked for this person in this way and here's how you set up something exactly like they did. So it'll work for you too.

Scott: Yeah, I agree.

Josh: Cool. This was a really quick podcast. I just wanted to get a kind of... I thought it'd be fun to talk through one of our new feature releases as a podcast episode and then also kind of walk through the things that we think about when we're doing a feature release and why we build a feature and the considerations we have before it goes out the door and what success means. And so if you find it helpful, go ahead and let us know. You can review us in any of your podcast apps or send an email back to Josh@kickofflabs.com. Later, everyone.

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