Feedback Friday: Shogun Talks the Importance of Landing Pages
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On December 28th, 2018 our own Andrew Maff sat down with Nick Raushenbush, Co-Founder of Shogun, to talk about what Shogun does and how it can help you easily and intuitively build landing pages that boost conversion.
Nick R.: Shogun is a really powerful page builder and visual content management system that allows people who don't know how to code to build a web page. Think of it like Wix or Weebly or Squarespace except for super powerful and native to Shopify, BigCommerce, and we're expanding to other e-commerce platforms in 2019. Even if you're somebody who doesn't know how to write any code, you can build a completely custom web page using Shogun. It works for landing pages, product pages, collection pages, blog pages, and so that's kind of the fundamental base.
Then, in 2019, at the start of next year, we're releasing things like A/B testing and other conversion rate optimization tools for you to actually perform CRO experiments and optimize your e-commerce website.
Andrew M.: Okay. Do you find it more useful for strictly the landing pages, or are you actually able to utilize it for the entire website like product pages, homepages [inaudible 00:01:11] as well?
Nick R.: Yeah, we find most people get started with landing pages and even the big companies, they end up using it for almost all of their web pages. There are some cases where they might decide, "Okay, I want Shogun just to manage my blog," or just landing pages for promotion. But, I think that as they build more and more in our software, they realize, "Oh, well, I could customize all my page types using this."
Andrew M.: Okay. There's a lot of theme builders out there, page builders, different pre-existing things. What is it that allows Shogun to stand out from all that other stuff?
Nick R.: Yeah, so if you're comparing us to something like Wix or Weebly or Squarespace, those are stand-alone builders. Ours is natively built-in to Shopify or BigCommerce.
When you go in and install our application, it basically really enhances Shopify's current page building capability, and it allows you to build pages that are then hosted and served up by Shopify. They're not sub-domained. It's not a separate website. These are your Shopify pages built with a more, a very, very robust add-on.
Andrew M.: Okay.
Nick R.: In terms of what differentiates us from other builders that are on Shopify is that Shogun is really, really powerful. It's adopted by ...
Case in point, I think when people think of page builders they think, "Oh, this is something small and limited, and it's only going to work if you're willing to stay within certain lines." Our clients that use Shogun include MVMT Watches, Chubbies Shorts, Leesa Mattresses, Gaiam Yoga Apparel.
Yeah, it's for, yes, it can be used for folks that are small and your own D-I-Y. But, it's powerful enough that these very, very large companies can use it as well. I would say power is our major differentiator and just quality of software engineering, yeah.
Andrew M.: Okay. What did you see in 2018 that was a big shift, or something you guys learned from 2018?
Nick R.: Yeah, so the major trends that I would say are movement towards personalization, so wanting to build online experiences that actually adapt to who is visiting your e-commerce website and speak to them in a personal way. A very basic version of this is recommended products. Someone takes a look at a product, then the site recalibrates to show the recommended products based on learning their product interest.
You're seeing them, more advanced versions of that with dynamic text replacements. When somebody is searching a term, then, all of a sudden, the words on the landing page that they'll reach will recalibrate to match what their search term was. Content can actually, there's technology out there to allow content to shift, to be personalized based on who the viewer is.
A continued trend towards mobile and mobile-first design and development. I think it was what? Shopify reported this past Black Friday that it was 66% mobile, right?
Andrew M.: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Nick R.: Just continuation of that trend. A switch from even designing desktop first to starting to design mobile first.
Yeah, just increased demand for shoppers to have very seamless, very smooth, very quick experiences on mobile and wanting to be able to seamlessly jump onto a page, view a product, and breeze through checkout easily. Watching technologies come out like digital wallets and more adoption there just to speed up that buy process. Those would be some of the main ones.
Andrew M.: You mentioned, you guys have 2.0 coming out next year, so like next week?
Nick R.: Yeah.
Andrew M.: Ish?
Nick R.: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's right, yup.
Andrew M.: Nice. What is it about 2.0 that's so different from the current product?
Nick R.: For sure, so, first of all, we're getting a bit of a facelift just like our UI system is changing. We actually back this summer had Shopify's former design director join us as our design director. He's revamped the look and feel of Shogun.
In addition to that, because we are going to be offering A/B testing, we needed to build an analytics suite to be able to power that A/B testing. We actually built that several months ago, and it's been running in the background. We've been conducting QA on it.
But, you'll be able to actually compare page to page performance off a variety of metrics, so off of things like traffic, add to carts, sales, email collections, things like that you can actually compare pages. You'll get snapshots of your top-performing pages and your worst-performing pages in your dashboard and, also, be able to view that in our analytics suite.
The nice thing about that is then you can go ahead take action on taking your worst-performing pages and, again, starting to run A/B testing on them to figure out how you can increase their performance.
Andrew M.: Nice.
Nick R.: That's the main stuff.
Andrew M.: Yeah, so you obviously have a very large launch coming up. When is, is that coming out like literally 2019, so next week?
Nick R.: Yeah, the new dashboard should be out for, and analytics should start to be out for about 25% of our client base right now. When we do roll-outs, we just make sure to not hit everybody at once, so we can collect the feedback there. But, A/B testing is, engineering is telling me January which means that probably February.
Andrew M.: February, yeah, I know that.
Nick R.: But, yeah, very, very soon, within the next probably four to eight weeks.
Andrew M.: Nice. Obviously, that's plenty, but is there anything else you guys are expecting to start rolling out in 2019 that you'd be willing to share?
Nick R.: Yeah, there is, just stuff, especially in the first half, is not well, I don't know how to, I think it's still pretty exciting. One thing that we don't want to lose sight of as we're building out our conversion suite is the importance of our robust page building capability. We're going to be going and doing a pass on the editor and looking at every single individual element and asking ourselves, "What more in terms of styling controls, configurations, and features can we add to this to make it even more robust?"
We're going to be adding new elements to Shogun as well, so just more power in the editor. We know that page building is the bedrock that Shogun's been built on, so we want to keep that extra, extra strong.
Andrew M.: We know you're on Shopify and BigCommerce, but you mention you're coming out on other platforms as well soon?
Nick R.: Yup.
Andrew M.: Which ones are you guys thinking about releasing on?
Nick R.: We have plans for Commerce Cloud, next is Salesforce, and then we'll probably go and do Magento after that.
Andrew M.: Nice. I'm sure there will be some Magento people that will be happy to hear that.
Nick R.: Yeah.
Andrew M.: Is the majority, I can guess, but I'm assuming a majority of your sellers are on Shopify right now?
Nick R.: That's correct Shopify and BigCommerce. But, because we have a funny story. Shogun initially was for a completely different purpose. It was a page builder for Ruby on Rails. We found Shopify as a happy accident in 2015, but we didn't even realize the potential that was there until 2017. That's when we started to really take off. We started work on the project full-time in the spring of 2017.
We didn't do, we didn't make it multi-platform until fall of 2017.
Andrew M.: Wow.
Nick R.: It's been just over a year now. Because of that, most of our user base is Shopify, most of our client base is Shopify. But, we're seeing strong, strong adoption in BigCommerce. We do, Shogun is a multi-platform software, so we'll support all of them.
Andrew M.: When someone first starts with Shogun, so I'm a new client, great, let's use it. What are usually the first things you suggest them to start looking into that tends to be the lowest-hanging fruit for most? What's that easy win that a seller can typically get with Shogun?
Nick R.: Yeah, the easy win is to take a look at some of our templates. We went and got inspiration from a lot of stores long-form sales templates that we felt would work pretty well. Checking out the templates to see if that's a good starting point, especially if you've never designed a web page before.
Otherwise, in my mind, the low-hanging fruit is being able to build a page, and all of our elements are responsive by design. But, really going, and you can preview your page for widescreen, laptop, tablet, and mobile, and going and really fine-tuning your mobile page to make sure that you have a custom mobile experience that works really, really well.
You actually don't need to have the same experience for a laptop version and the mobile version in Shogun. You would build the page normally in mobile or in desktop. But then, if there are things that you want to fine-tune, every element has a screen settings feature, so you can actually decide to turn that element to show on or off based on the screen size. In doing that, you can build a completely custom mobile experience.
Andrew M.: Nice.
Nick R.: Yeah.
Andrew M.: I don't want to take up anymore of your Friday. I really appreciate it.
Nick R.: Oh-
Andrew M.: I always try to make these quick and painless for you.
Nick R.: You're saving me from lots of boring operations work and state filing stuff, so it's no bother at all.
Andrew M.: Oh, then you're welcome. Would you mind ... I'm sure you know, we put these up on YouTube and our blog and all that fun stuff. Would you mind giving us just a nice little, where everyone can find more information about Shogun and give us your closing statement here?
Nick R.: Yeah, absolutely. You can find Shogun in the Shopify app store, if you just search for Shogun, and you can also find us in the BigCommerce app store, if you again search for Shogun.
What I'm actually going to do is right after this, I'm going to create a discount code for those who are fans of Seller's Choice that's going to give 20% off any Shogun plan for life. It will give you 20% off every month, and I'm going to go ahead and grab that code, and I'm going to drop it in the comments after this.
If you click that, it will take you to the Shopify app store. The price won't be reduced there. But, if you install, you're going to see the prices are on, the discount's reflected on the pick a plan page. That's just a little holiday something for folks who are following Seller's Choice.
Andrew M.: Nice. Nick, appreciate that. Thank you so much for your time. Good luck-
Nick R.: Awesome.
Andrew M.: ... in 2019. I'm sure I'll talk to you again. Have a good one.
Nick R.: Thanks, Andrew, appreciate it.
Andrew M.: Yeah.