[BONUS] Do I need a custom app for my Shopify store?

an interview with Gavin Ballard.

We all know there are a multitude of Shopify apps in the App Store for what seems like every need possible. But what if you can’t find an app that does exactly what you need? If you have more unique needs, you may find that you need a custom app built.

For this month’s Shopify Plus bonus episode, we’re chatting with Gavin Ballard, CEO of Disco Labs and Shopify Plus partner based in Melbourne, Australia. Gavin’s our resident expert on all things custom apps: advantages, disadvantages, and what to expect from costs to buildout.  

Grab a mug and join in.



Gavin Ballard looking to his left

Gavin Ballard is the founder and CEO of Disco, one of the world’s leading Shopify Plus partner agencies with a focus on helping merchants solve problems and increase their bottom line. He’s the author of The Definitive Guide to Shopify Themes, a number of popular Shopify frameworks like Bootstrap for Shopify and Cart.js, and numerous articles for publications like net magazine.

He can often be seen popping up on Shopify podcasts and blogs across the internet, or in person speaking at meetups and conferences around the world.




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show notes.

  • [2:04] Who is Gavin Ballard and what does he do?
  • [4:19] What is a custom app?
  • [7:15] How much does a custom app cost?
  • [8:15] How long is a piece of string?
  • [12:58] When do I need a custom app?
  • [17:51] Lead time is crucial
  • [21:15] An epic pre-sale custom app
  • [25:05] Rhian made a mistake
  • [26:36] Google does what Google does
  • [27:23] Lightweight alternatives to custom apps
  • [32:02] Fan favorite
  • [33:33] Gavin's stores of the week: Sheet Society + Frank Body
  • [35:17] Rhian's store of the week: Summersault 
  • [36:47] Kelly's store of the week: Citizen Supply




Kelly (00:00):
We all know there are a multitude of Shopify apps in the app store, for what seems like every need possible. But what if you can't find an app that fits exactly what you need? If you have more unique needs, you may find that you need a custom app built. For this month Shopify Plus bonus episode, we're chatting with Gavin Ballard, CEO of Disco Labs and Shopify Plus partner based in Melbourne, Australia. Gavin's our resident expert on all things custom apps, their advantages, disadvantages, and what to expect from the cost to the build-out process. Grab a mug and join in.

Rhian (00:33):
Welcome to Commerce Tea, a podcast to help you succeed on Shopify. I'm Rhian.

Kelly (00:38):
And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and join us, as we talk about all things commerce

Rhian (00:42):
Hey, Kelly. How can I get to know my customers better?

Kelly (00:51):
By using Octane AI's new Shoppable Quiz, you can easily create beautiful quizzes to learn more about your customers and help them find products you know they'll love.

Rhian (01:00):
What kind of results can I expect from building a quiz?

Kelly (01:02):
You'll see increases in your conversions and average order value, growth in your marketing lists and higher engagement on your marketing campaigns by using the personalization data you're collecting. And the results are profound. Brands on Shopify with a shoppable quiz, have collected 16 times more emails and discovered segments of customers for the 75% higher AOV than the average customer.

Rhian (01:25):
That's so rad.

Kelly (01:27):
Yeah, plus, Octane AI passes the quiz responses into the marketing tools you already use, like Klaviyo and Privy. You'll also get to use this personalization data with Octane AI's powerful Facebook messenger and SMS automations.

Rhian (01:40):
Where can I learn more?

Kelly (01:42):
Visit octaneai.com/quiz to learn more and request an invite for early access. Hi, Gavin. How are you doing today?

Gavin (01:55):
I'm very well. Thank you.

Rhian (01:56):
Thanks so much for joining us today. We're going to kick things off by learning a little bit more about you. So who are you and what do you do?

Gavin (02:04):
I started my Shopify journey, I think it's about 10 years ago now, which is kind of scary. I have a background as a developer. I just started out freelancing on the platform, getting merchants set up, building apps, themes and things like that. Over time, that sort of morphed into getting more interested in the application side of things. So about four years ago, I started building out Disco Labs, which is an agency based here in Melbourne that's focused 100% on application development. And so that's what I've been doing for the last four years, running that and having a good time.

Rhian (02:39):
That's awesome. Can you tell us a little bit more about Disco Labs?

Gavin (02:43):
Absolutely. I mentioned earlier on, we're based here in Melbourne Australia. We do all of our development in-house. I described this as I was trying to build the Thoughtbot for Shopify. For anyone who's not familiar with Thoughtbot, they are a really well respected development company in the software space. And I think what that means for us is that we're a company that really focuses on engineering excellence, but also being really open about what we're doing, being really involved in the ecosystem. Teaching other people what we're doing, open sourcing stuff when we can. And that's in addition, obviously to building stuff that we're really proud of, that has an impact for clients and building the sort of company that we want to work for. So working sustainably and with people we lack and doing fun stuff.

Rhian (03:35):
I was going to say, I'm just always impressed by everything that you guys do over at Disco Labs.

Gavin (03:40):
Oh, that's very kind of you. Thank you. Yeah, I think we've done some pretty cool stuff and had a bit of fun along the way doing it, which is good. And where we are now, is that we are 100% focused on Shopify Plus merchants 100% focused on application stuff for those merchants. And within those apps, we sort of have a bit of a 50/50 split these days between products that we've worked on and sell to Shopify Plus merchants and 50% it's sort of customer builds and bespoke integrations.

Rhian (04:14):
Let's dig into custom apps a little bit more. What exactly is a custom app?

Gavin (04:21):
The Shopify app store exists, and that is a great place to get apps off the shelf. Things that are prebuilt to solve a particular problem, and it's usually a very easy one-click install process, you can get up and running and it's great to solve a specific problem. But often as you mentioned up top, there are times when you can't use something off the shelf. And there's a couple of reasons for that. It could be simply that no off-the-shelf app exists, and we see that quite often when a merchant's on Shopify and they want to be able to talk to an external system and that external system just doesn't have an integration. It could be because it's a really niche product or it's a really complex product. So often connecting those two systems is needed. But other times, it's a situation where there's an app in the store that gets you 80% of the way that you need for a particular merchant, but that extra 20% gap is actually costing you money and it's worthwhile to build something out that is 100% aligned with how your business works, what you do and how you want to integrate things.

Gavin (05:32):
And then a final reason that you might want to look at a custom app, and this is something that we come across more and more often with larger merchants but where there are regulatory concerns or concerns about volume and scale, which is, we need to have this data hosted in a particular country, or we need to have control of the infrastructure that has this data in it, or we need to be able to scale it up and down to match traffic patterns and things like that. On top of that as well, if you go through the process of building a custom app, then you're going to have a direct relationship with the agency that built it. That will usually mean that you've got much higher levels of support, which is again really important for some of the larger merchants.

Kelly (06:18):
I think touching on support is really important for app customers and as an app developer, but on the other side where I make SaaS apps and Gavin makes custom apps. That's something that is really challenging to scale. How have you been able to meet customers or merchants where they need to be in terms of support?

Gavin (06:42):
I know from everyone that I've ever spoken to, that runs apps in the Shopify app store, that support is almost always the biggest challenge and then being available and making that a profitable enterprise when you do have a lot of merchants that aren't necessarily paying huge amounts of money each month making that work for you. So I think the advantage of custom apps is that you'll have a direct relationship with the merchant. You know the people on that side, they know you, and there's a lot more direct trust because of that relationship. You've gone through the process of building an app with them so you get to know them. I think that level of trust actually is really powerful when you're dealing with support. It does mean that you often have pretty high support expectations, but that's what a retainer after the fact of building custom app is for. For us we've been pretty lucky in that because we've really invested a lot in the quality of what we're building. We don't have too many issues with downtime or things breaking. It happens, sure, but I think if you put the work in upfront, then that's less of an issue.

Rhian (07:56):
So let's talk about the costs a little bit. Because not only do you have costs for building the app in the scoping process, the support ongoing, but also the infrastructure that's powering the app too. Can you kind of dig into a little bit more detail on what merchants might be able to expect in terms of receiving a quote for a custom app?

Gavin (08:15):
I think as always, there's a bit of, how long is a piece of string element to that? What we say to customers when we are studying out the scoping process, I guess the golden rule is always that whatever you spend on the custom app, has to be less than what is costing you to solve or what the cost of the problem is. I think the number one important part of going into a custom app scoping process is to understand what problem we're trying to solve and how painful is that for us at the moment. In the example I mentioned before, where you've got an app that is doing 80% of what you need and there's a 20% gap. Again, a more concrete example is a client of ours, Brooklinen, who we're using an off-the-shelf returns app. For them, that off-the-shelf app did 80% of what they needed to do, but there was some things that was lacking like having a lot of control over the customer return experience when they were submitting it on the front end of the website. It didn't integrate with Zendesk, which is their ticketing system and it didn't integrate with their shipping label provider.

Gavin (09:33):
Those three things combined were painful enough that it was costing them literally days. They had a team of... They still do have a team of 15 plus customer service reps and the amount of time that was spent dealing with those three lack of integrations was hours per person per day. So for them, there's a very clear need to do improve that and spending. They could have spent $250,000 on the app. That's not what it costs, but they could have spent that and it still would have worked out to be a net win for them. So really understanding the cost of the problem is important. But of course that's a bit of a hand-wavy answer. So to get a bit more concrete, I think it's definitely going to depend on obviously who you're getting to build it and what your needs are.

Gavin (10:25):
But I would say that typical custom app builds that I've seen would be starting at maybe 25,000 and then going all the way up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. We've done projects across that range. These days we would tend to focus on builds that are in that sort of 100K plus range. But we've been around for a while and doing it for a while, and we're lucky enough that we can be quite picky about the projects we take on. I think that I would definitely not go into a customer build expecting to spend anything less than 25K. If you were trying to do it cheaper than that, then I would be concerned about there not being enough time and thought put into things like QA and testing and UAT which is really important with custom apps, because you have to understand that you go into it spending money on the initial app build, but there is always going to be an ongoing cost.

Gavin (11:28):
You mentioned the hosting and maintenance, which is absolutely something to consider. It's usually not too expensive. I think for our hosting and maintenance of a lot of our apps, it might only be costing $50 to $100 a month for the actual server space for that merchant. But certainly what is more expensive is the retainer for us to sit around and be keeping an eye on things, monitoring it, making sure everything's still running. And then when things change like Shopify's APIs get updated, doing the work to update the app to support that, being around to answer any questions and things like that.

Kelly (12:08):
That makes sense. To keep you on deck in case there's a breaking change that comes from the API. It sounds pretty critical to the follow out of a customer.

Rhian (12:16):
Never heard of such a breaking change before.

Gavin (12:19):
It never happens.

Rhian (12:20):
Yeah, I've never had a breaking change bad enough that's taken us out for an entire day. Have you?

Gavin (12:30):
Yeah, we've had it. There are situations where things go wrong, obviously with the Shopify platform. It's rare, but it does happen with our app. Which is rare, but it does happen. Stars align and something goes wrong. For merchants that have spent the money on a custom app, it absolutely makes sense to expect to be paying ongoing to have those developers around to support you if something does go awry.

Rhian (12:59):
We talked a little bit about doing a cost benefit analysis in terms of your example with Brooklinen. Outside of doing a cost benefit analysis, if you're a Plus store, because that's kind of who in my head who's really using custom apps, when should you as a merchant say, "You know what? This needs to be a custom built. I cannot cobble together any more apps and put more and more and more code in my theme, that's invariably slowing it down." When is the time that we email someone like you or someone like Kelly and say, I need a customer?

Gavin (13:39):
It's going to be a question of how bad you're feeling the pain, I guess. Is it the most painful thing in your business? If so, then get on that. If it's not, then focus on whatever it is. Again, I guess it's a bit of a hand in hand-wavy answer. But I think, if you have a really concrete idea of a problem that you have, which is... And I think one of the things you can do to identify some places where custom apps could be useful is just looking at your day-to-day process and understand where you and your team is spending time. And I think, especially for founders of E-comm businesses, once you've done the work to start delegating stuff to other people in your team, whether it's customer service or logistics or purchasing and that sort of stuff, it's easy to lose touch with the day-to-day processes that people are using to get stuff done. A lot of the time, if something's really inefficient, people will just be doing it and not surface that back up to you.

Gavin (14:45):
The classic example, I think, is always just people using manually managed spreadsheets to move data between places. And so a lot of our work is export, let's say SAP, do some stuff in Excel and then re-upload it. If you're not seeing that day to day, then you may not actually fully appreciate how much time is being wasted by that sort of thing. So I think really understanding the processes that people are using day-to-day in your business might flag to you, "Oh, this seems like a really inefficient way of doing this, so maybe we should look at this." And so it's talking to the people in your team and the different roles and understanding where their pain points are and things like, "Oh, every time a support ticket comes in I have to do this and this system and this and this system and this and this system." And that happens really quickly when you're scaling in a fast-growing E-comm business.

Rhian (15:47):
Kelly, I'm going to be really honest. I need to save time and make my marketing workflow more efficient. I don't want to continue to dump money into ads if I'm not converting it. Do you have any suggestion?

Kelly (15:57):
As a matter of fact, I do. With Justuno, you can capture segment and reach target your website visitors, then personalize their shopping experience. Why spend hours on writing email copy when you're not customized in the buyer journey?

Rhian (16:10):
Okay, I'm in, but does Justuno work with my marketing tool?

Kelly (16:14):
Yes, Justuno integrates with email tools like Klaviyo and Omnisend, as well as SMS providers such as Postscript and SMSBump. You could even capture both email and phone in the same pop-up. I recommend the Justuno Plus plan. It gives you access to their AI component, which creates smart product recommendations based on things like most purchased and most viewed. You also get access to a Justuno strategist who assists with the game plan and technical support.

Rhian (16:40):
Where can I learn more?

Kelly (16:41):
Go to justuno.com/tea to sign up and get 20% off your plan for the first year. Again, that's J-U-S-T-U-N-O.com/T-E-A.

Rhian (17:02):
I know it's going to vary by project just depending on the level of complexity, but I'm curious, what is the standard length of the project? Does it usually take 10 weeks to build, 20 weeks to build?

Gavin (17:19):
Again, how long is the piece of string, a little bit? I definitely would not be expecting to get... I think the worst thing you can do, and I speak probably on the agency owner side here, but the worst thing you can do is be like, "We need this app by this date." Because that probably indicates-

Rhian (17:40):
If you have a drop-dead date you've waited to-

Kelly (17:44):
I have always loved that. "We need this in a week." And you're like, "What? In one week? We're just figuring this out right now."

Gavin (17:52):
I think lead time is really important. And not only because whoever's building the app sort of needs that time, but if you don't have a hurried rush sense, you probably do a better job of the scoping process. And if who you're working with is doing their scoping job properly, they'll really be digging data to understand the core problem that you're actually solving and maybe thinking about other problems that isn't the immediate one that you were coming to people with. I think making sure you have the time to do that scoping process is really important. For us, if someone comes to us with a lead, as an agency, we work in three week cycles. And anything that comes in in the middle of that cycle, we don't even look at until the start of the next cycle.After as soon as really, if a way comes to us, then we're going to be starting the scoping process maybe a week, two weeks later. That scoping process usually does take three to four weeks. And at the end of that, we've got a pretty good idea of what sort of scale of that we're talking about and roughly how long it's going to take to build. And then the actual build process, we would never allow less than six weeks for a project delivery. That's probably for the stuff that's simpler and that we've done before.

Gavin (19:26):
I think that something a lot of people don't appreciate with custom apps is, there is coding to be done for custom apps, but a lot of the time, it's not the code itself that is the time consuming part. It's the going back and forth between the merchant, us and a third party because we need to get API credentials or get things enabled on the account. So there's a lot of communication and then testing as well, which is something that we try to have quite a significant period. At least two weeks worth of pretty thorough UAT before launch and hence just that period of testing stuff and getting feedback and iterating is really important. Definitely I wouldn't be expecting to be standing something up in less than six weeks. And then we have projects that have six months, 12 months and then apps where we sort of break it down to a phase approach where we might try to launch something after three months, with the knowledge that we'll go straight into a phase two, that'll be another three months and that sort of stuff.

Kelly (20:40):
That makes a lot of sense. I know because I test apps frequently, albeit, again, the same app over and over and over. How important it is to test your apps before it goes to market. The running joke on my company is, hold on a minute, don't push to production. Just wait a second before... Even if it's a hot fix, let's make sure it works before it gets shipped to so many people. Gavin, can you give us some examples of custom apps that you have built at Disco Labs?

Gavin (21:15):
I think probably one of my favorite examples of a merchant that we're working with is a Hasbro, a toy manufacturer based up in Rhode Island. They launched their first direct consumer offering online at the start of 2019. I just had to do the math there. They manage a lot of really popular brands; the Transformers, Star Wars, Ghostbusters. A lot of really popular brands and figurines and things like that. They have a really fanatical fan base. When they release new lines of Star Wars toys, for example, they really see a massive wave of people that really want to buy it. And so for them, the pre-order model is really quite common. So they'll have people signing up and then maybe two, three months later they'll get charged and have the products shipped. And so that pre-order functionality doesn't really exist natively on Shopify. There are some apps that do presale stuff on Shopify, but they don't work super natively within the Shopify checkout. For Hasbro, that was kind of a deal breaker and they needed something custom. So that's where we came in, which was to build out a completely custom app that manages their pre-sale and crowdfunding process that will let them set up campaigns, define when their pre-sales end, the customer will go through the checkout, will capture the card details, and then when the presale ends, will charge the card to complete the order.

Gavin (23:04):
I think that was a really fun project to work on. Obviously, Hasbro has got a lot of interesting brands and it was a good test in volume because there are a lot of Star Wars fans out there and when they drop a new line, then they can obviously have some pretty intense sale periods. So it was quite interesting, and then that's actually led us into more custom apps with them. So they changed their fulfillment provider not too long ago and it was sort of that other situation I was talking about where they needed to integrate with the system, but there wasn't really anything out there that did that. So we built the middleware that sits between Shopify and their fulfillment system which is slightly less fun, but still quite useful for them.

Kelly (23:52):
Very important. And those are the types of projects that people... I think those ended up being a lot more useful because you don't really think about those third-party integrations and how they need to talk to each other. They're not the sexy projects, but they're very, very necessary.

Gavin (24:11):
Yeah, absolutely. And I think if anyone's out there as a developer, thinking about where they want to be spending their time, that I think definitely that back office sort of stuff is often the low hanging fruit and where a lot of the value is. Especially because, I think, there are a lot of challenges building any sort of app that interfaces with the front end of the store. I'm sure Rhian is well aware of the challenges. As soon as you start touching a Shopify store theme, and you get everything goes wrong with the theme, is the fault of your app.

Rhian (24:50):
Yes, we often get blamed when the blame is not on us yet, it is on us.

Gavin (24:57):
Yes. A very long time ago, I did have an app in the Shopify app store and it did some stuff with SEO.

Kelly (25:06):
To this day, I regret not buying this app. I want to also just acknowledge that out loud. It hit the market, Gavin and I had a conversation, and I am notoriously very... How do I say? I'm conservative with my money spending it. And I was like, "Oh, no, I don't know." But to this day, it's like, "Man!" That was like, "I messed up, and we should've bought that app." Man, it is such a good app.

Gavin (25:34):
I've got some more, I can sell to you if you want.

Kelly (25:37):
We'll take that offline.

Gavin (25:41):
I forgot how we got. Oh, yes. The fact that that changed anything on the front end and in our app we were actually linking to Google's SEO validation tool. As soon as you install the app, people would validate their site to check that the app did what it said it did. Because a lot of Shopify themes had stuff that was broken by default, it would tell them that their site was broken and that would of course be our fault. Long story short, touching the front end of themes is always a bit challenging. And especially if you're working with larger merchants who are hiring you to do a custom app build in the first place, they'll often have a completely custom front end theme, so a lot of the stuff that people would often turn to apps for, can be managed through the theme anyway. Definitely that back end back office sort of stuff is where the value is for merchants a lot of the time.

Kelly (26:36):
One fact, Gavin, about that specific Google API, it no longer works and we know, because it took out one of the functionalities in our app in a very dramatic manner.

Gavin (26:54):
I'm so happy to not be involved in SEO in any way, shape or form these days.

Kelly (27:00):
Yeah, rapidly changing industries are fun. They're fun, but they have a unique set of challenges because they're always changing. I know there's some alternatives. Let's say you are sort of in between. Maybe you don't want to use an out-of-the-box app, but maybe you can't quite afford a custom app. What are your lightweight alternatives?

Gavin (27:29):
I think that's a really important thing to think about. And that's actually something that we'll try and do a bit before we dive in and hand over a bill for a hundred grand. Just to say, is there something a bit easier that you can solve this? A few options. If you are not a Shopify Plus merchant, then there's a couple of things that are worth exploring. One of those is something like Zapier or Zapier. I'm always unsure about how-

Kelly (27:55):
I have never known how it's pronounced.

Gavin (27:57):
I got my mind blowing when someone sort of told me it's Zapier, because it runs with happier. So that's sort of how it sticks in my head now, but I don't know. Anyway, something that's a no-code tool like Zapier that lets you link together systems and for things that are pretty straightforward, then that often works really well. Things like, I want to tag a customer with a particular tag when they purchase a particular product. And that's something that is quite achievable through Zapier. It takes a little bit of learning and hooking things up, but you're not having to dive into code and build stuff out. That's either something you, as a merchant, may be able to do yourself or someone on your team may be able to do yourself. Or again, if you're working with an agency, then that's often something that they'll have in their wheelhouse that they're able to help you with. Another option for non Plus merchants is Mechanize, which is an app that is designed to let merchants build their own sort of custom workflows. It is a pretty developer-focused tool. But again, if you're working with an agency that has experience with that, then you can quite often get stuff done reasonably quickly and not at the cost of a completely custom app.

Gavin (29:21):
If you're a Shopify Plus merchant, then, yes, you definitely have some other options, Shopify Flow probably being the major one, the workflow automation tool. That does quite a lot out of the box and that can again, solve problems like, I want to tag a customer when they buy a particular product. I want to fire a notification when our stock levels reaches at a certain threshold. Those sort of workflows are all quite achievable with Flow. I guess the next level beyond that would be looking at sort of what I'd call mini apps. And again, this is probably where your problem domain is quite simple and focused. And again, the things like, we just want to take an action based on something happening. Maybe it requires pulling in some data from a third party API or something like that. I would describe these as mini apps, so things that you can deploy quite easily to a serverless system like Lambda or Azure Functions or something like that.

Gavin (30:30):
Once you get to that stage, you're definitely in the custom app sort of space and you need someone who is able to code that and maintain it and document it. But often if you break down a problem enough, then you can often get something that's simple enough that'll work with that kind of set up. And if you can do that, then that's a really nice way to go about it because it will usually be very cheap to host and maintain. Reasonably simple, so that you can potentially take management over it in-house. If you've got a tech team, they can do it, and it doesn't necessarily require a lot of intricate knowledge of things like how Shopify app or system works or something like that. For anything that gets a bit more complicated, it needs to be storing its own data, it needs to be presenting a user interface to either a merchant or a customer, that's where you start to get into the full point of custom app space. There are definitely a lot of easier options that are worth exploring before you jump into that. Anyone who is going through that scoping process fully, you should definitely be looking at that as a first protocol rather than, "Hey, let's spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on this."

Kelly (31:54):
I've never heard of Mechanize before, and now I'm looking at it right now and I want to play with it.

Gavin (32:03):
Issac, who created the Locksmith app, which is a fan favorite of all Shopify merchants everywhere. It's pretty interesting. We haven't used it for a project because again, most of the merchants we're working with are Plus merchants, so they have access to Flow and we've built some extensions to Flow that help us get most of the way there. But it seems like a really funky tool and it's pretty comprehensive, I think. But it does require some pretty... It's got an interesting approach where you use Liquid to write logic that controls your store. So I think it makes it quite accessible to front end developers because they're familiar with Liquid. I think it's got some advantages there. Definitely worth checking out.

Kelly (32:58):
Yeah, for sure. We'll include a link to that in the show notes if you are into that kind of thing like I am, because I'm totally going to play around with it.

Rhian (33:05):
I am not.

Kelly (33:08):
You are not. [crosstalk 00:33:10] I'll just report back and let you know what I think. How about that? Perfect. We like to close out each of these episodes by each sharing a Shopify store that has impressed us, that we're proud of, because we built it, whatever it might be. So Gavin, I would love for you to share a store with us.

Gavin (33:33):
Absolutely, I've actually got two.

Kelly (33:36):
I love it.

Gavin (33:37):
I did pick one that I've worked on and then I felt a bit guilty about that. The first one that I want to share is the only bit of front-end work that we've done in the past year or so, but we're quite proud of it. It's for a brand called the Sheet Society here in Australia. They're a really big success story for Australia; husband and wife team, really nice people and building a business around really affordable but high quality sheets. We built a 3D bed builder for them. So you can pick your pillows and your quilt cover and your linen and that sort of stuff and say real time rendering of that. That was a bit of fun front-end work that we did, so I wanted to share that one. Link in the show notes, I assume.

Gavin (34:26):
And then the other one, which we had nothing to do with whatsoever, which I've been referring to quite a lot recently, is Frank Body, another Australian company. And the reason that I've been talking about them a fair bit recently is they have a really nice implementation of headless on Shopify Plus. The way that they've built out their site is very content heavy within WordPress, but then all of their checkout stuff goes through Shopify and I just think it's a really nice and clean approach. Their design is great and apparently their products are really good too.

Kelly (34:57):
Their products are really great. Ladies, if you are looking for a gift, or guys, whoever, it really doesn't matter. If you're looking for a gift and you don't know what to get them, something from Frank Body, it'll go over well. Trust me.

Rhian (35:11):
I'm going to be checking it out.

Gavin (35:16):
They're my two stores.

Kelly (35:17):
Perfect. Rhian, what's your store this week?

Rhian (35:19):
My store this week is Summersalt because I had a birthday recently and I got Summersalt pajamas. They're silky and they feel fabulous because they're leopard print. I also maybe did or did not wear them on a Zoom call earlier today and tried to just pass it off as regular fashion.

Kelly (35:40):
No shame.

Rhian (35:40):
It did happen, Kelly was there. I also really liked it that their site is performant, but it's also really asset heavy. And as we all know, that's a challenge. They have some cute animations in there. And I also love it that it's size inclusive. There's just so many things Summersalt does really well. And also now I know they make really comfy clothes or really comfy jammies, which is not how they started by the way. They started in swimwear. I think I skipped ahead in their brand narrative and I need to now backtrack into swimwear.

Kelly (36:22):
I think it's been a little while since I mentioned Allbirds in an episode.

Rhian (36:24):
Oh my God!

Kelly (36:24):
So I think it's a really great example of-

Rhian (36:24):
It's been an episode.

Kelly (36:27):
Just introducing underwear. For some reason, I somehow find a way to slip Allbirds into every episode we talk about it because it's too economic.

Rhian (36:34):
We're just having [inaudible 00:36:35] sponsorship. It can be any kind, Allbirds. It can just be shoes. We're not actually picky. Kelly wants 10 pairs of Allbirds, it's fine.

Gavin (36:47):
It is a very nice store.

Kelly (36:48):
It is. It's not actually my store shout out this week though, because I feel like I can only do that once every six months. So my store shout out this week is... Rhian, don't touch me. My store shout out is called Citizen Supply. And it's actually a local storage of Atlanta. I absolutely love their clothing. Basically, their whole setup is they do have a brick and mortar location. They only recently started selling online, I think last year. They support small businesses makers, all the small brands and you can kind of purchase. You can rent space in there to sell your stuff. The way that the products are curated in there, they really find a fun way to combine different makers brands into one display. They have a front display that always shows the different... I'm blanking on examples. Soaps and candles that are from two different makers, but they pair very well together. I've bought a lot of their clothing, especially their sweatshirts. They have a shirt that's like the phonetics spelling of Atlanta because we don't pronounce that last T. So it's A-T-L-A-N-N-U-H. And I love wearing it everywhere I go. It's also just a nice store. I haven't been inside a store in a very long time, thanks to COVID. So I was just dreaming about revisiting Citizen Supply.

Rhian (38:16):
That's great. And that's one thing I think really takes E-commerce stores to the next level, is when they can really reproduce that in store effect.

Kelly (38:24):

Rhian (38:25):
And we know that through conversion and everything. It's like, "Oh, yes, I'm shopping." Not just, "Oh, I'm here to do a thing." So I'm going to check that store as well. Whenever we talk about all these store recommendations, I always end up buying something after we record the episode.

Kelly (38:46):
I try to shut out stores I've bought something from before, just to prevent me from spending more money on their store because I know that I already like their products.

Rhian (38:56):
That's a real issue.

Kelly (38:57):
It is a real issue. This podcast is going to get really expensive really fast.

Gavin (39:02):
I feel like this clip is the bit that you take when you're trying to get sponsorship for the podcast. And it's like, "Hey, I always tend to buy something."

Kelly (39:08):
I buy your stuff.

Rhian (39:09):
Here's hints.

Kelly (39:13):
So Gavin, last thing, where can we find you on the internet?

Rhian (39:18):
You can find me on Twitter. I'm @GavinBallard or if you want to check out the Disco Labs website, which is in bad native and update, I accept that. We are at www.discolabs.com.

Kelly (39:30):
Perfect. Gavin, thank you so much for joining us. I love talking all things, custom apps way more than I do. So I get to learn all kinds of things from these types of episodes.

Rhian (39:42):
Absolutely, I just learned so much. I need to Google some acronyms if we're being totally transparent. So thank you.

Kelly (39:48):
And if there are any acronyms that you need to Google, we'll include those in the show notes.

Rhian (39:53):
Yes, we will. Because I feel like I should know this, but alas, I do not. Thank you Gavin for joining us today, bright and early from Melbourne, Australia. We appreciate you and we hope to have you back soon.

Gavin (40:08):
Thank you so much. It's been a blast.

Kelly (40:14):
Thanks so much for listening to this bonus episode. You can subscribe at Commerce Tea on your favorite podcasting service. We post new episodes every Tuesday, so grab your mug and join us then. See you next week.

Rhian (40:26):
Clocked In is a time clock for Shopify. With Clocked In, your team members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your team's hours as they work remotely, with an intuitive interface that can be used from desktop, tablet, or mobile. Check it out at clockedin.io, or in the Shopify app store.

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