Have you noticed that it can be tough to transition back into non-holiday thinking and behavior after the holidays?
Heck … it’s January 10 and my content team is still playing Christmas carols in their corner of the virtual office and we have half a fruitcake in the fridge. Plus, we have been running those “Best of 2022” emails and issuing reports and stuff … which is cool and all, but it feels like time to get back to the serious delirious business of looking at Shopify websites and commenting like a crazy person.
Yes, you read that correctly. We have HALF of a fruitcake in the fridge and it will gradually whittle down to zero fruitcake in the fridge because there ARE good ones that you actually want to eat — or at least I do.
Anyway … I sat down and reflected on the news and events of the last few months in order to get some inspiration for this week and it hit me. There is one big news story we have not poked fun at from Q4 (because we were busy).
TRIGGER WARNING: Whether or not you like or dislike the next topic, we are going to talk about it like a business … back off man, I’m a scientist.
Let’s talk about crypto.
You think you had a tough year? Crypto has had a tough year. OK … that’s like a HUGE understatement.
Depending on which coin you may or may not follow — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, DooffusCoin, or whatever — the entire market is down 2/3 or more in 2022. And a bunch of crypto businesses have gone the “way of the Dodo bird,” as they say. AND the biggest crypto exchange and investment fund (FTX and Alemeda respectively) turned out to be great big 10 billion dollar Ponzi schemes and tarnishing the reputations and future endorsement marketability of celebrities and pseudo-celebrities from Tom Brady to Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful — Kevin O’Leary.
That’s a tough year.
By the way, quarterback GOAT Tom Brady and Mr. Wonderful may soon have the opportunity to learn a new legal term … “disgorgement.”
There are a few crypto and crypto-adjacent businesses on the Shopify platform, a few that are fairly successful. Let’s meet one, shall we?
This Week’s Shopify Business Audit Target: Ellipal.com
f there is one thing that the recent “crypto unpleasantness” has taught us it’s that — if you should choose to buy and/or use crypto — keep your keys in your own wallet.
Think you know what a wallet is? I thought I knew what a wallet is too, but evidently I did not. So, while me and my Dad think a wallet is a folding leather pouch for holding cash, credit cards, and that student ID from college ten years ago that you stick in your pocket, in the context of crypto a “wallet” is either a piece of software or a physical device where you store all the bits and bytes and access codes and passwords for your crypto. This is important because if someone else has all those digits, then they can just take your stuff (crypto).
It's sort of like if someone could steal the paper dollar in your pocket by knowing the serial number on the bill.
Anyway … Ellipal makes physical crypto wallets. And even though “physical crypto wallet” sounds like an oxymoron, it basically means a little computer and hard drive that you can use to store, manage, and trade your crypto and NFTs with other people who you will never meet … ever … or even know their names … but are probably a middle-aged Russian IT guy, a Chinese intelligence officer, or a twenty-something restaurant worker in Florida.
That said, Ellipal makes a cool little device and the sell a lot of them. The failure of FTX and the arrest of it’s CEO — Sam Beckman-Fraud I mean Sam Beckman-Fried — has actually been a plus for Ellipal because all the folks who were keeping the crypto digits inside companies like FTX have suddenly realized the financial imperative of NOT using businesses like that. Thus, they need a place to put their stuff. So, what’s in your wallet?
We can see a pop up in social media and website traffic as the news was being released. They have less than 2 dozen products and variants and their average product price is just over $101. The analytics engine estimates annual sales of about $4 million, but that is likely skewed due the controversy and holiday season. They are ranked as Shopify’s 16,247th merchant by sales and in the top 90k of eCommerce sites. They ship worldwide.
The Shopify Theme That They Use
Here is another example of a multi-million-dollar Shopify merchant using an inexpensive or free theme. They get the extra features and functionalities they want by use of tweaks and minor development tasks.
In this case, Ellipal is using Shopify’s Dawn them — the fully updated version. You can see this base theme for yourself here.
What They Do Well
They have this wonderful trust badge at the top of the homepage where they show that they were listed in a Forbes “Best Of” report. This is great stuff. Unfortunately, it gets cut off at the top on both desktop and mobile. Even a quick user test should have noticed that.
The site has clean design layout. The blue and honey-yellow color pallet is consistently used. The photography is great and disciplined for style. It feels like a professional designer is on the team.
The main menu navigation is spot on and clean as well. There are no distractions from the product and services. All the About Us and Media Kit and Yadda Yadda Yadda stuff is in the footer where it belongs.
They have one Collections page. In the middle of all the images they put a Free Shipping message. I like that a lot.
I like their product pages — here is an example. Love the trust badges and trust messages, color selector, decent SEO, and notice how all the additional sell-journey messaging appears as you scroll down. Solid and clean.
Page speed is really good. Google Page Speed Insights loves them. We scanned it using 2 additional tools and it consistently got high marks. Great job, guys.
What Needs to Be Improved
When you look at the home page rotating hero images at the top the overlayed text is hard to read. This is because of the uneven light and dark tones of the background images. This is fixable. It looks great on mobile because their designed was thoughtful enough to NOT overlay text on those image, instead placing that text below the image (good best practice for mobile sites).
There is not a lot “wrong” here. The site was professionally developed and maintained.
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:
- Chatra — Live Chat and chatbot.
- MailMunch — Email management and automation.
- PushOwl — Push notifications ( I always opt out, but obviously some folks allow it).
- Frequently Bought Together — An app whos name tells the story.
- Loox — Product reviews.
- Refersion — Affiliate marketing.
- DoubleClick — Ad network.
- PayPal — They have just one Express payment option and this is it.
- Care Cart — Cart analytics.
- Optimonk — User analytics.
- Lucky Orange — Real time analytics.
- Omnisend — Marketing automation.
- Bugsnag — The snagger of bugs of the coding kind.
- Crypto.com — This is a payment system so crypto folks can pay with crypto. It would be odd of these guys did NOT have this, right?
One of the reasons that this site is so fast and clean is that there are just a dozen or so apps deployed on it. They are intentionally keeping to a minimalist philosophy where it comes to these things.
Apps are great, apps are cool, but too many apps make you the fool (I just made that up). Some apps can even be replaced with Shopify theme customizations that are super fast.
Marketing Stuff They Do
They have an active email marketing campaign going at all times. They aggressively collect email addresses and also do push notifications. There is evidence that they are running some sort of paid advertising, but it is likely just banner ads and such as opposed to paid search.
Organic search yields 36% of traffic, direct navigation is 44%, Referrals is 11%, Social is 8%, paid referrals is less than 2%.
Does Your Shopify Site Generate Cash?
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