You know what I went as for Halloween this year?
A hard-working entrepreneur … same as last year. Yes, whilst mere mortals were donning costumes and attending parties, here I sit answering customer emails and writing your favorite eCommerce newsletter. Witches and goblins ain't scary ... profit and loss, that's scary.
I don’t really feel sorry for myself. It’s part of the gig. If you worked on Halloween too, then I salute you. If you managed to take a little time off, well … good for you too.
And although I did slave-away at the keyboard, I also managed to meet the kids at the door and hand out some candy. And I am REALLY good at handing out candy.
Do I hand out candy corn? Nope.
Do I hand out those cheap toffee things? Nope.
Do I hand out “healthy” snacks like malted-soy-milk balls and mini granola clusters? That should be illegal!
I get a few of those industrial jumbo packs of mini M&Ms and Hersey chocolates. And I don’t parse these treats out one at a time, either. I grab a full handful and chuck it into the bag of each and every rug-rat door-knocker in a Baby Yoda costume. In fact, there’s the doorbell now, so excuse me a minute while I go be the Halloween hero we all need for a minute.
OK … I’m back. And the kid in the Ironman outfit told me that the cute woman at the house up the street is dressed like Queen Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones and handing out granola. So, I would like to take this opportunity to say that I am sorry for disrespecting the honorable and even laudable practice of handing out healthy snacks on Halloween.
Let’s get this newsletter done because I suddenly have a craving for granola clusters … purely for medicinal purposes. Do you think she’s into tech entrepreneurs?
I found a Shopify site that is deep into the Halloween stuff, so let’s check ‘em out.
This Week’s Shopify Audit: CostumeBox.com
There have been a lot of Australia-based Shopify sites in this newsletter recently. Kind of a trend. Completely arbitrary. I search for something using Shopify search tools and up pop all these down-under sites.
Anyway … these guys sell a lot of costumes. And although they sell costumes all year long, Halloween is their biggest time of the year. Our analytics suggest that they are on track to break $2 million in sales this year. They launched their Shopify store in 2018 and moved up to Shopify Plus in 2020. The dark COVID years took a chunk out of their business, but traffic seems to be returning. They have a full social media strategy..
The Shopify Theme That They Use
I am proud of these guys. Take notes.
Here they are, cresting $2 million per year and a Shopify Plus site … and they have built their mask and costume empire on a good, solid premium theme that cost … nothing. They are using the Debut theme from Shopify and then added apps and customizations on top of it to make it do what they want it to do.
What They Do Well
I’ve pointed this kind of thing out before, but look at how this website gets down to business. EVERYTHING on this site is geared toward getting folks to find the costumes and party supplies that they want as soon as possible with as few clicks as possible. There is no wasted space in the main menu navigation. Everything is products and easy to identify categories.
They have a fun and likely a VERY successful social media strategy. There are games and “vote for the best costume” things. We’ll talk about this and more in the Marketing section below.
The photography and image compositions are fun and on-target.
Dang … their product pages are nearly perfect. They have hundreds of products and each has solid SEO that does not cut corners, good customized product descriptions for each one, social proof … the whole package. They have earned their traffic.
What Needs to Be Improved
Nowhere on the site could I find the reason that the business is called AutoPumpkin. This is a This is a “good news / bad news” story. When you run the automated bot analytics, the site “scores” as a slower-loading site. Now, those reports are TECHNICALLY accurate. That’s because there are a few slow-loading elements and such. But … and this is important … from a user experience point of view the site loads quickly. It renders above the fold quickly and lets folks start engaging with the site while some of the slow stuff keeps loading in the background. It’s one of those times when actual experience beats automated analytics.
The Shopify Apps They Use
If you see an app or widget on their site that you like, you might be able to identify the specific tool they are using here in this section. We used our top-secret Shopify scanning tools to determine that this site is using the following apps and plugins:
- DotDigital — User engagement.
- CrazyEgg — Visualized analytics.
- Fastly — Real time analytics.
- Smile IO — Customer loyalty program.
- SearchSpring — eCommerce search app.
- Foursixty — Instagram content integration.
- Zendesk — Customer service app.
- Webkul — eCommerce app development tool.
- Feefo — Customer reviews.
- Bugsnag — The snagger of bugs of the coding kind.
- Recurate — Resales.
- PayPal/Shopify Pay/Apple Pay — Express payment options.
- Klarna — Installment payments.
- ReturnGo — Customer returns management.
- Doubleclick — Ad network.
- Commission Factory — Affiliate marketing.
As we said, the visual appearance is a fast-loading Shopify website. All these apps you see listed here? They are slowing down the back end and hurting their speed scores. The masters at Google are likely penalizing them a bit on this in search.
Marketing Stuff They Do
These folks do a ton of social media and content marketing. They have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube. Although, they are severely neglecting their Twitter account. They also to a good job at website content marketing, on their blog, for example. Just take a look at the content for yourself.
Even better … it looks like they have fun doing it.
They also do affiliate marketing. This has to be net positive for them. They are paying actual people instead of Mark Zuckerberg’s app-bots. But the reports suggest that affiliate marketing only accounts for about 1% of traffic. Their organic efforts are where they shine.
They do some paid search (examples shown below), and they MAY be doing some paid social (there is some hidden data there). But overall, their organic social and organic content strategies are paying off. This site is in the top 1% of all Shopify sites in traffic and 82% comes from search and 17% comes from direct navigation (likely repeat business). And the repeat business may in part be due to their email marketing campaigns.
Seriously good for these guys.
Want to Take the Mask Off Your Shopify Success?
Let us help you make your Shopify dress up and shine. If you need help making Shopify website tweaks or fixing those little nagging things on your Shopify store, let’s get stuff done. Tell us what you want to do, get a quote, and get it done