Product Recommendations with Jay

an interview with Jay Myers.

Product recommendations can be one of the most powerful things you add to your store to increase sales, but sometimes your recommendations fall flat. On this week at Commerce Tea, we're exploring how to sell more by utilizing the product recommendations that your customers truly want. We finish this episode by interviewing Jay Myers, co-founder of Bold Commerce and do a deeper dive into one of the most popular Shopify app companies.


Jay Myers is the co-founder and VP Growth at Bold Commerce, one of the fastest growing tech companies in Canada. With over 100,000 customers, Bold has become a leading ecommerce technology provider to many of the largest brands in the world. 

Bold has grown from a basement to over 350 employees, inspired by an unwavering commitment to customer care and energized by a culture of continuous innovation.

Bold has been ranked one of Canada's Top Medium Sized Employers, ranked in the top 50 fastest growing companies in Canada by Deloitte multiple years, a 2019 Top Growing Company in Canada by the Globe and Mail, and an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner.    


Clocked in a time clock for Shopify.

With Clockedin 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. 

show notes.

(01:24) Are Tuesdays the new Wednesdays?

(02:04) What are product recommendations?

(03:32) What is a flow?

(04:31) What are upsells?

(05:12) Cross/ Upsell?

(11:27) Why Primal Kitchen is a good example of product recommendations

(12:17) Introduction of Jay Myers of Bold Commerce

(13:45) How Bold Commerce started

(17:29) When Bold launched Upsell

(19:33) Bold, as it scaled

(21:17) Are apps like Lego?

(23:21) Bold Brain- what is it?

(28:57) Kelly is being punny

(29:34) Upsells vs Cross-sells ( yes, again)

(35:20) Conversion rate and mustard

(37:47) Funnels

(40:41) Store Shoutouts

(46:44) Shopify is the new lemonade stand





Pit Viper Sunglasses

Primal Kitchen

Bold Upsell

Bold Brain 

Liquid Death

Bold Commerce



Rhian (00:00):

Product recommendations can be one of the most powerful things you add to your store to increase sales, but sometimes your recommendations fall flat. On this week at Commerce Tea, we're exploring how to sell more by utilizing the product recommendations that your customers truly want. We finish this episode by interviewing Jay Myers, co-founder of Bold Commerce and do a deeper dive into one of the most popular Shopify app companies.

Rhian (00:23):

Plus, we also get Jay's take on how to make a store's product recommendations really stand out. Let's sip the tea.

Rhian (00:32):

Welcome to Commerce Tea. A podcast to help you succeed on Shopify. I'm Rhian.

Kelly (00:37):

And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and join us as we talk about all things commerce.

Rhian (00:54):

Hey Kelly, how are you doing today?

Kelly (00:56):

I am doing wonderful. How are you doing on this fine Tuesday?

Rhian (01:00):

Ah, well, I love Tuesdays, don't you?

Kelly (01:03):

Tuesdays are actually my least favorite day of the week.

Rhian (01:06):

Why's that?

Kelly (01:07):

Because I always feel super productive on Mondays because everyone else hates Mondays. I just want it to be different, but then by the time I get to Tuesday I'm just like, "Oh, I just worked all day yesterday. And I have to do this four more days this week?"

Rhian (01:24):

Your hump day, so to speak, is Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

Kelly (01:27):


Rhian (01:28):

That's an early hump day of the week.

Kelly (01:29):

That's a real early hump day, which kind of goes to show how not productive I am on Fridays.

Rhian (01:37):

I sort of love that shift of mentality, though. I can get behind that. Right now, especially as every day feels like the next day it's a challenge for sure.

Kelly (01:51):

Especially right now, yeah.

Rhian (01:52):

Especially right now. Kelly, today we're going to talk about product recommendations which you know way more about than I do. Let's first can you just define what a product recommendation is?

Kelly (02:04):

Yeah, so a product recommendation is going to be a product that is complimentary or an upgrade to a current product that a customer is viewing that would improve their purchasing experience or increase the average order value of the total order for the merchants side.

Rhian (02:25):

Why would someone want to do that?

Kelly (02:27):

Because you make more money, first.

Rhian (02:29):

Love making more money.

Kelly (02:30):

Everyone loves making more money.

Rhian (02:32):

No one hears that and is like, "Mmm, no, not that. I don't want to do that."

Kelly (02:36):

Nevermind. No, I think one of the really important parts of product recommendations especially when you have a lot of products in your store is it can become really daunting for your customers to sift through everything that you have to offer on that store and find what's actually going to make them happy with their purchase.

Kelly (02:54):

Product recommendations allow you to really guide the customer to other products that they might be interested in based on the product they're viewing or based on what's already in their cart.

Rhian (03:05):

What are the measurable outputs of this.

Kelly (03:08):

First off, your average order value will increase if customers are adding related products to the cart. That's going to be the most immediate thing that you're going to see. Second, you can see your return customer rate actually increase because you can utilize product recommendations not only in their current order but also recommend products and the post purchase flow to get them back to your store.

Kelly (03:30):

And in turn [crosstalk 00:03:32]

Rhian (03:31):

Real quick, real quick.

Kelly (03:32):


Rhian (03:32):

When you say flow what do you mean?

Kelly (03:33):

A post purchase flow, what I mean is just sending them an email, sending them SMS, like a text message or something to continue the conversation after they've already placed an order.

Rhian (03:44):


Kelly (03:45):

If you are continuing the conversation they go back to your store, buy one of those related products, you're increasing the lifetime value of that customer every single time they're buying something else from your store.

Rhian (03:58):

I think I've seen this many different ways on online stores. I know there's a difference between a cross-sell and an upsell, but I feel like most of the time I'm seeing cross-sells. [crosstalk 00:04:11]

Kelly (04:11):

That's absolutely right.

Rhian (04:11):

Is that just my imagination? Is that a real thing? What's the difference?

Kelly (04:14):

Yeah, so they're often actually used interchangeably, the terms are, but they are quite different. You're right, you're usually seeing cross-sells. Those are going to be your you may also like, or complete the set. You're recommending complimentary products.

Kelly (04:31):

For upsells, it's a little bit different. In the case of an upsell you're increasing the value of an existing item in the cart. You are replacing an item that's already in the cart with something better. Some examples of this might be if you are a coffee company and you are selling a one pound bag of coffee. I add that bag of coffee to my cart and they're like, "Hey, we think you drink more coffee than this. Why don't you upgrade to the five pound bag, instead?"

Rhian (04:59):

Which is a valid thing.

Kelly (05:01):

Oh, totally.

Rhian (05:01):

I mean, first of all, rude. Second of all, yes. You're right. Send me five pounds of coffee immediately.

Kelly (05:06):

It works because I am that person who says this. I do need five pounds of coffee.

Rhian (05:09):

Yeah, you're like good point.

Kelly (05:12):

Another good example and this one, it kind of teeters that line between cross-sell and upsell would be adding a vase to a bouquet of flowers that you're buying. You're already buying the flowers but you now want something to put those flowers in. Especially if you're buying it as a gift for somebody else. You don't just assume somebody has a vase, otherwise, you're going to be like me and you're going to pull out a pint glass and put the flowers in there.

Rhian (05:38):

That's so true. One thing I have been thinking about is upsells to me sound a lot like subscriptions. Is that real? Is that in my head?

Kelly (05:49):

It's an example of an upsell.

Rhian (05:51):


Kelly (05:51):

That's actually a really good example and we'll dig into like a real life example of a brand here in a moment. Another example of upsell would be to switch your one time purchase to a subscription. Even if you're giving let's say a 10% discount for them subscribing to a monthly subscription it is an upsell because they're going to continue to purchase from you automatically because they're now subscribed to that product.

Rhian (06:18):

And who doesn't like recurring revenue like that.

Kelly (06:21):

Oh, totally. I hope everybody loves recurring revenue.

Rhian (06:26):

It's my favorite thing, actually. We were talking about this it actually just popped something into my head. At my house, we have two athletes. I am not one of them. There are three people in my house. We drink this product called DripDrop ORS, which is like an oral rehydrating solution. They were like, "It feels like you have athletes in your house. Would you like an upgrade?" And we totally did. We have a box of this stuff shipped to us once a month and it was because they offered that upon checkout.

Kelly (06:58):

I love that. See? That is the perfect example of upselling because now you're going to continue to be a happy customer. You don't need to think about it because it's now literally on autoplay and the store is now making more money from you. They've increased your customer lifetime value and it depends on if there was a discount on the subscription or not, but if there was you might have seen like a slight drop in the average order value but overall you're making more money.

Rhian (07:29):

Yeah, win, win, win. Absolutely.

Kelly (07:30):


Rhian (07:32):

Why don't we talk about, and this is another brand that we really like in my house and that's Primal Kitchen which is a paleo gluten free healthy option for sauces and oils and I don't know, we use their dressing and their mayo and all sorts of things. They do this really well.

Kelly (07:56):

They do.

Rhian (07:57):

Can you talk a little bit about how they do this really well?

Kelly (07:59):

Yeah, so Primal Kitchen does both cross-sells and upsells really well. I currently have one of their products pulled up. It is the roasted garlic marinara sauce because I love spaghetti.

Rhian (08:14):

Spaghetti is very on brand for Kelly.

Kelly (08:16):

Yes, I talk about spaghetti way too much during my life. Also, side note, I decided to us Instacart today to order groceries from our local grocery store instead of going through Amazon Fresh. I finally got my favorite pasta sauce which it wasn't available through Amazon.

Kelly (08:35):

I literally had like, I was tearing up when I saw that jar of MIDS pasta sauce and my husband was like, "I'm happy for you, but you need to chill."

Rhian (08:47):

Hey, you know, it's the little things right now, though, right? Like if pasta sauce brings you joy eat all the pasta you want.

Kelly (08:54):


Rhian (08:54):

One of the things that brings my daughter joy is salads, which do not bring me joy at all, and she really likes the, let me make sure I get the name right. It is the sesame ginger vinegarette and marinade by Primal Kitchen.

Kelly (09:14):

Oh, that sounds delicious.

Rhian (09:15):

Oh, it ... Okay, and considering I don't like salads I actually love this dressing.

Kelly (09:20):

Okay, so I'm going to pull up this product to be the example instead of my marinara sauce.

Rhian (09:26):

Oh, perfect. Sorry about that. I just ... [crosstalk 00:09:27]

Kelly (09:27):

No, this is perfect.

Rhian (09:28):

... the conversation.

Kelly (09:29):

Okay, so I have the sesame ginger vinegarette and marinade product up. Two things I'm noticing are I you scroll down to the, like lower down the page there's a recommended section. Customers who bought this item also bought. There's, I see ranch dressing, I see mayo, I see two other dressings and like a barbecue sauce. I added one more thing in there that I didn't need. There are only four items there, I named five. I'm still learning how to count.

Rhian (09:58):

I haven't eaten lunch yet and now I'm really hungry.

Kelly (10:02):

Okay, I am always hungry. I have eaten lunch but we'll move on from that one. No, but this is a really good example of a cross-sell because if I am shopping for a salad dressing I might be interested in trying a different kind of salad dressing. Or, also this is used as a marinade, as well. Maybe I want to get some barbecue sauce to improve the, you know, switch things up because I'm always using the same barbecue sauce for everything. It is Fox Brothers out of Atlanta. It's delicious.

Kelly (10:36):

Another thing on this page, back to the top, is the one time purchase or subscribe and save 10%, so this is going to be your subscription flow. This is not part of the upsell necessarily because you have not added it to the cart yet, but it shows that you can subscribe just from the product page.

Kelly (10:54):

They also have build your own bundle and get free shipping.

Rhian (10:59):

Oh, nice.

Kelly (10:59):

If you add four salad dressings to your cart you will get free shipping. This is a really great example of an upsell because I am buying more things but I'm replacing the shipping cost with free shipping now.

Rhian (11:15):

I love that.

Kelly (11:18):

I'm going to add the item to my cart just as a one time purchase. Now, I see on the cart, which is one of my absolute favorite side of the carts.

Rhian (11:25):

Yeah, I was just on, this is so cool, this is so cool.

Kelly (11:27):

I see those product recommendations again but I also see a button that says upgrade to subscription and save 10%. I clicked that button and now I'm going to be subscribing to the sesame ginger vinegarette and marinade. They now have me on the hook to deliver every single month and they've successfully just upsold this product to me.

Kelly (11:49):

Primal Kitchen is a really, really great example of how to do both product recommendations as a cross-sell and as an upsell. We'll lead to Primal Kitchen in the show notes so you can see the example for yourself. The two of us could talk about product recommendations all day, but let's hear from an expert in the industry instead.

Rhian (12:17):

We're excited to have Jay Myers, co-founder and Lord Business of Bold Commerce to join us on why product recommendations are so powerful and how one of his apps bold upsell helps facilitate this process.

Jay (12:31):

Thank you, thank you so much for having me on. I'm going to make sure I play this for my six-year-old daughter and tell her that, "Yes, see? Daddy actually is Lord business," so she knows.

Kelly (12:42):

I completely missed the reference and I'm really glad that the two of you had a conversation about it because otherwise, I would have been very lost.

Rhian (12:49):

Kelly, you need to watch the Lego movie immediately.

Kelly (12:53):

Okay, I'm just going to leave this now. Bye.

Jay (12:58):

It's actually pretty funny. It's good. Lord Business tries to make everyone follow the rules and build Lego by the instructions. Good times. Watch Lego [crosstalk 00:13:05]

Kelly (13:05):

Okay, I'm so now watching it.

Jay (13:10):

Yeah, that's all you need to know. It's good.

Rhian (13:12):

It's good.

Kelly (13:13):

I'm going to go, I'm going to go when it's time to decide that I'm watching a movie tonight I'm just going to be like, "Daniel, it's going to be the Lego movie."

Jay (13:21):

Yeah. You've get to watch these awesome shows when you have kids.

Kelly (13:25):

Yeah, we're just, we're not there yet so I have to watch them all by myself. I am a kid.

Rhian (13:31):

We can have viewing parties, Kelly. We can have viewing parties.

Kelly (13:33):

Oh, thank you. Just to kick things off, we'd love to just have you tell us about yourself and tell us about Bold Commerce, as well. Because you have quite a history.

Jay (13:45):

Yeah, so Bold ... Well, we, well I guess okay, so myself? I've actually been, I launched my first e-commerce store in 1998 so that'll date me. I turn 40 this year. I was 18 years old. I grew up in a family business. We actually sold archery supplies. I was a national archery competitor so I started selling that stuff online in '98 using Microsoft Front Page. I built first website. We didn't have a shopping cart but I had a phone number and I remember I was at the first, like at a house party and my phone rang. I had this big brick I carried on my hip. I took an order and I wrote it down on a napkin and it was super PCI compliant.

Jay (14:27):

Yeah, that was when I got into e-commerce. Obviously, it expanded and got more sophisticated since then. In 2010, we moved one of the stores onto Shopify and I saw the App Store. Back at the time the app store was very much integrations. There was probably 40 apps in it and they were all integrate with UPS, integrate with QuickBooks, integrate with ... And that was the way the app store was originally designed was just to connect stores with third party stuff.

Jay (15:05):

But me being a sophisticated e-commerce owner writing credit cards on napkins I thought this app store could make merchants more money. Honestly, it was originally to help myself. The first app we wanted to build was Product Comparison App because we sold outdoor stuff and so you know when you collect a bunch of backpacks and you can compare the size and whatever?

Kelly (15:32):


Jay (15:32):

But we thought that was too hard and we thought well what's the easiest app we can build? We thought ah, simple little upsell app. Let's do that. Turns out like eight years later we're still developing things on it. Now it uses AI and machine learning and upsell funnels and a lot more. Yeah, that was ...

Jay (15:51):

The thing was when we built it what we didn't know is we were really the first, and this was out of ignorance not out of brilliance, but we just used the APIs in a way, I guess you could say we hacked the APIs and we used the APIs on the front end of the store. Shopify actually wasn't happy with the way we used their APIs when we did it because every time a large time would have a sale, like theCHIVE used it early on. That was one of their first big stores on Shopify. All of Shopify would go down every single time.

Kelly (16:23):

Oh my God.

Jay (16:24):

There was no API throttling, there was no API limits at all. Obviously, all that's changed. Because we were using the APIs, we would do calls on the front end so 100,000 people would hit the store within minutes, take down all of Shopify.

Kelly (16:40):

That is some power.

Jay (16:44):

Yeah, well theCHIVE had a pretty good following and they would use our apps and then sold 100,000 page loads per minute and boom, it would take down everyone. Yeah, so actually Shopify was like apparently half the people were like no, this can't happen. You can't use the APIs on the front end and not bill for that. But then merchants loved it and so obviously, long story short, here we are now today like tons of apps live on the front end of a store. Shopify implemented a lot of ways that apps have to work. You can't take down a store now if you obviously have ... We have clients that have Super Bowl commercials and they don't take down stores so that's not an issue anymore.

Jay (17:29):

Yeah, 2012 we launched upsell. Today we have about 20ish public apps and probably a hundred private apps.

Rhian (17:41):

I didn't know that.

Jay (17:43):

Yeah, we have a ton of private apps.

Rhian (17:47):


Jay (17:47):

Yeah, like we haven't actually launched ... Like a lot of them, they're different. They could be as simple as another variation of an app that's like really for a custom use case. It's like heavily modified but it just lives as a private app so it's not listed in the app store or anything like that. A lot of large, like I mean, we launched Staples last year and they're using about eight private apps.

Jay (18:14):

Then, we have a lot of tools that plug into our apps that are actually an app and they're kind of like modules so it's not something you install. Our price rules engine, for example, is a good example of that. It's not something you can just install but it handles price logic for a lot of our apps. I mean, it is a private app but it works in a different way.

Jay (18:37):

Yeah, so, I don't know like in a nutshell we went from that to today where 350 ish people in two countries. We're in Canada and the US now. That's it. That's [crosstalk 00:18:50]

Kelly (18:50):

That's amazing. [crosstalk 00:18:51]

Rhian (18:50):

That's so [crosstalk 00:18:51]

Kelly (18:53):

I just hired my fifth employee.

Jay (18:56):

Well, I envy you in a lot of ways.

Rhian (19:00):

Jay, I have to say, I've known you now for I guess going on six years and I did not know your origin story until this moment. I'm really [crosstalk 00:19:13]

Jay (19:13):

Doesn't come up often, I guess.

Rhian (19:14):

I'm really excited about your origin story and I think we could also maybe reference Lego's once more in terms of the way it seems like your apps work together and kind of click on top of one another.

Jay (19:30):

[inaudible 00:19:30] if you don't want to?

Rhian (19:30):

Even better.

Jay (19:33):

That really is, you know, it's funny you mention it. We've obviously gone through phases. Every company does and you learn who you are and early on. Our name when we started was, there's four founders. I was like the e-commerce guy, two developers and a designer and we kind of got together and were like hey, let's build some software. I was like, "Yeah, I'll get an app to use in my store." The other guys were like, 'Yeah. Do something on the side and it was literally just like an experiment.

Jay (20:00):

We named our company bold innovation group because we thought we don't know how this is going to go but we can always build some other software. Like we had over the years, we've built Picticipate which is a photo sharing software which is basically exactly Google Photos and everything else so we scratched that. Google Photos copied us. We launched [crosstalk 00:20:20]

Rhian (20:19):

We've been been guilty of doing this exact same thing.

Jay (20:22):

Yeah, when Google and Apple and everyone else launches the same thing you just built you scrap it. Then we launched community info, which was like Facebook but for community so instead of having friends you join communities and by default everyone can talk to someone in the community, then Facebook kind of launched groups and that kind of got rid of that.

Jay (20:43):

We've had, or we actually even pitched a TV show to Ryan Seacrest, apps a million, which was going to be this like imagine Apprentice, Shark Tank mixed together.

Kelly (20:53):


Jay (20:53):

You're building apps. Then there's a third, an experience where, a third device experience, we called it, where you're on your iPad watching it on TV and you can vote at the same time as [inaudible 00:21:06] are building apps. We actually flew to Hollywood, pitched it to Seacrest and then when we were there [crosstalk 00:21:12]

Rhian (21:12):

I'm blown away right now, Jay. But keep going, I'm just so surprised.

Jay (21:17):

We just come up with ideas and we try ... Well, then we eventually said no, we're a commerce company so we changed our name. It's Bold Commerce, so we don't do that crazy stuff anymore. But we had to, this goes back to the Lego building blocks. Yeah, like our strength is really commerce and we always experimented with things and never wanted ... People would sometimes call us the Swiss Army Knife of apps. It's like no, that's not what we want to be. We don't want to be a Swiss Army Knife, we want to build a suite of products that work really well together that solve hard problems, but the strength is this ecosystem of apps. We don't want to be like ... I don't even think we've released a new app in the app store in the last six months or a year.

Jay (22:07):

At one point, our goal was to release an app a month and it was like how many apps could we [crosstalk 00:22:12]

Rhian (22:12):

That is an aggressive goal.

Jay (22:14):

Yeah, well we pitched a movie to Ryan Seacrest, so we can release an app a month. I think we actually got up to at about 34 or 35 apps at one point in the app store and we've removed about a dozen over the last year to be more focused and really to try to solve a few core problems ad either apps fit into that or they don't.

Jay (22:41):

Yeah, so product recommendation like you were mentioning, that was one of the first ones we built and it's still a core thing we care about. We've built out a lot of things around that like have either of you used Bold Brain? Is that a ... Kelly, you used that you said?

Kelly (23:02):

No, I haven't had an opportunity to use it yet. I don't totally understand it, but that might be why. [crosstalk 00:23:11]

Jay (23:11):

I will bring that to my marketing team. [crosstalk 00:23:11]

Rhian (23:12):

It sounds smart, though, because it has brain in the title.

Kelly (23:17):

It does things.

Jay (23:21):

That's probably the problem. That's probably the name, we need to rename it. The brain is like, it was an experiment. We do hack days three times a year now where standard give employees a couple of days to do anything they want. Red Bull and pizza and pitch it at the end. Bold Brain was something that one of our staff said, "Hey, I think we can make our upsells smart so merchants can install it and they don't have to manually create upsell offers."

Jay (23:50):

They built a basic machine learning AI, whatever you want to call it. I'm not going to use those terms because then people can be like, "That's not actually AI," and whatever.

Rhian (24:01):

I have heard that about my app, as well. Strange.

Jay (24:04):

Yeah, it's not like if you install this app it won't just keep getting smarter and then turn your computer into a robot and then blow up your house because ... You're safe. It's not true AI, but it uses data to make your store smarter. Originally, that was just simple with upsells, but it actually integrates with a lot of our products like bundles and subscriptions and loyalties and all kinds of wraps.

Jay (24:36):

Obviously, bundles is another form of recommendations. Subscriptions it can be like would people buy this product over and over again? Are other people buying it over again? What frequencies are they buying it? Then, suggesting subscriptions. With UpSellit it actually creates the upsell offers ...

Kelly (24:54):

Oh, nice.

Jay (24:54):

... and what's really interesting is it's not ... Your typical thing you would think people would buy more of is products in the same category. Like, that's how we as people pair things up. Oh, you're buying the earrings so you're going to buy the matching bracelet, or you're going to buy whatever.

Jay (25:13):

But what we've learned is like the weirdest ... Perfect example, barbecue store installed it a year ago and I remember seeing them have this upsell that was converting like 79% and it was when you bought barbecue spatula it was recommending another spatula. Sounds stupid, but that's like as a merchant merchandising your store you're going to recommend the scraper or the seasoning salt or something else because we always think people want to buy products that way.

Jay (25:46):

But just using the data of what other people are buying of ... There's like a whole bunch of different algorithms that go into it. It's upsell was another spatula and it converted at 79%.

Rhian (25:58):

That is wild.

Jay (26:00):

Yeah, and there's things like that, that we wouldn't think as humans, not as humans, as simple beings not AI machines. We just try to pair things that go as a set, and that's often a mistake a lot of merchants make. They might have nothing to do with each other at all just because you buy a spatula the data might just show that, that person also buys something not related to the barbecue, right?

Jay (26:28):

The Brain removes all of that. I have a ton of interesting data, but you guys didn't give me these questions a couple of days before.

Rhian (26:39):

We sprung these questions on Jay about at the beginning of this podcast.

Jay (26:44):

Yeah, so I'm going to give you some stats that are probably wrong, but I do have these written down. Like the average store that uses The Brain versus trying to create, nobody outperforms using machinery. Sometimes you just want to have an experience that's like if you're buying something you want to manually create your own offer because it's something you want to sell with it or it's a product you're trying to clear out. You don't always want to just let The Brain go crazy and turn your computer into a robot.

Jay (27:20):

There's a lot of people that use it both ways, but yeah, it's leveraging data. This is going to be for sure a big way that stores sell more in the future is understanding how customers shop. It's not just like are they in the same category as some people bought? But like looking at color pallets, looking at if they're buying something that's a white tone, are they taking that into consideration? Because that's not even in product metadata on a site. But you can scrape the site, you can scrape the images, you can analyze that and The Brain can look at these kind of things and then recommend things that are more likely to convert.

Rhian (28:03):

I have a clarifying question for you. Is Brain working behind the scenes on upsell or do they work together?

Jay (28:11):

Right now, it's two different apps. It works behind scenes.

Rhian (28:16):

Got it.

Jay (28:17):

It's free, by the way. Like to use it with upsell, but you can also use the Brain 100% by itself and you can do very sophisticated product recommendations on the page. It's like the Widget like you may also like. You can stick them different places. You can put them in the car or put them on the page or whatever. That's the thing, nobody knows that app does that. It's just built in and I don't know, we don't market it. Most people use the brain, I bet you 90% of the people who have the Brain installed are using it with bundles with upsell or with subscriptions or something else. You could just install the Brain and use it for product recommendations, too.

Kelly (28:57):

I hate to say this but it seems like using Bold Brain is pretty much a no brainer for a merchant.

Rhian (29:04):

She can't help herself, she can't help herself. There's a pun available.

Kelly (29:11):

It has arrived and I just need to let it happen.

Jay (29:14):

Yes, you can't force a good pun it just comes.

Kelly (29:19):

Exactly, so I want to kind of go into some more examples of a really smart upsell offer. Upsells or even just product recommendations in general, it could be a cross-sell or it can be an upsell, so that barbecue store example was really a good one. Can you give us a few more examples from other stores?

Jay (29:34):

Yeah, well I'm trying to think of specific examples but I think taking a step back there's different types. Just to clarify, there's upsells and there's cross-sells and again, out of our ignorance when we launched this app we called it Product Upsell. It actually didn't do upsells. What it did was cross-sells, but everyone calls them upsells. An upsell is if you're buying a one pound bag of coffee and then the offer is would you like the two pound bag of coffee for $5 more. Or you're buying a TV and it's like would you like this better TV? Then if you accept it, it removes the originally added item and replaces it with a new one.

Jay (30:18):

A cross-sell is would you also like this? Then it adds it to the cart and then you get to the cart and you have both items in the cart.

Kelly (30:25):


Jay (30:26):

Our app now does both so it actually is not like false advertising. I don't actually think there's very many apps that do true upsells that actually replace. There's a couple out there, but most of them actually do cross-sells where it adds products to the cart. Upsells convert about 20 times better than a cross-sell. First and foremost I think, there's a lot of examples of this, but what most merchants do is they go to cross-sells by default. They always think the best way to increase the average order volume is to add another product when 80% of the time it's actually to recommend a slightly better or slightly more expensive product.

Jay (31:12):

If they're already buying something, people are more willing to spend a little bit more on something else and whatever that can be to make it better. It can be extended warranties or a little bit better service, or a little bit the premium version of it. I would encourage anyone who has different levels of products that you would consider starter, basic, medium, premium or whatever or packages that they move up with. That should be the first thing that you tackle because they actually convert 20 times better than cross-sells.

Kelly (31:46):


Jay (31:47):

Cross-sells, you're convincing someone to add another product to the cart. An upsell, you have one and you get to the check out you still have one you just have a slightly better version of one. People convert way better on those. Sorry, that's not a specific example. [crosstalk 00:32:03]

Kelly (32:02):

No, but I mean that makes sense. And it's interesting that it's not really something we often think about doing.

Jay (32:09):

Yeah, it's I think ... Because every store we go into like brick and mortar store, it's a cross-sell at the checkout, right? But we use the terminology we call them last minute upsells, but it's really a cross-sell. You're in the line and there's a pack of gum or there's something else or like would you like this? It's over conditioned to do and it's not really easy to do in traditional shopping because like if I'm walking up to the counter with a TV and I'm going to buy it at Best Buy and then the person says, "Oh, would you like this other one for $50 more?" Lug the TV to the back ...

Jay (32:43):

But in e-commerce it's a piece of cake to do that, right? We don't do that for some reason when we should because the web makes that super easy to do. You don't have to carry the item back or whatever. But yeah, it's definitely something. And not every store lends itself to that, you have to have products, have natural ones that do better. That's one thing I would say for sure.

Jay (33:07):

The other thing, again, these aren't specific examples but as far as cross-sells go the ones that we see convert the best are when the product they're adding is around 10-15% the cost of the original one. There are outliers to this. We have a store that actually just [inaudible 00:33:32] this last week. This converting it's like, it's crazy, it's like 60% and the product that they're upselling is like three times as expensive. I'm sorry, cross-selling as the original item. That's super rare, it's never the case.

Jay (33:47):

If you're buying something for $100, you want the product that you asked them to add to be around $15. That's just a mistake a lot of stores make is they get over zealous and then try to recommend really expensive things. But to spend another 10-15% is not a major decision. That and give three ranges, because people self identify as I'm a bargain person. I always go at the middle or I'm a premium guy and I just will always buy the best.

Jay (34:21):

If you're going to recommend, what's that, a barbecue store? If you were recommending like grill spray cleaner or something, have the basic, have the mid and have the expensive. Three is the key. People think that oh man, I actually just want to remove this feature from the app but you can add as many products as you want. It's like, I don't know, if I was buying something and then an upsell comes up and says, "Here's 20 other items you might like." I'd be like, "Oh my God."

Kelly (34:49):

It's too many, too many.

Rhian (34:51):

That's right.

Jay (34:51):

Yeah, but merchants insist that they have that feature, so you can do it but we don't recommend it.

Kelly (34:59):

How many do you recommend?

Jay (35:03):

One or three seems to be really good. I usually do one. Because there's a concept that's called The Paradox of choice. Kelly, you know it I guess?

Kelly (35:18):

Yeah, I have a psychology background.

Jay (35:20):

Yeah, so all these nutty's with ... There's this store in New York, they did this test, I think it's mustard? They have like, have you read this post? There was a Ted Talk on it and there was like, this story has like 500 types of mustard. It's like, I don't know, it's a really unique store and you can get every type of mustard in the world.

Jay (35:42):

The problem was, so they did this test where at the entrance of the store they had a table and it was specials and they would put 20 types of mustard on it and then have like, I can't remember if it was 20 or 15 or something. It was a high number. Then have the prices, they would all be a certain amount off. Then they did the same one where they had three and they were like a cheap mid and premium version of the mustard.

Jay (36:11):

The conversion rate of people buying the mustard when they walked in was triple for the table with three versus the table with 20. There's a lot to be said for guiding your customers into a decision. Customers don't actually want the amount of decision that we think they do. They want to be curated to.

Kelly (36:33):

Exactly, because once you pass into the paradox of choice and you are into analysis paralysis we're all like I have to many options. It's like when you go to a restaurant and their menu is like eight pages long.

Rhian (36:46):

Like Cheesecake Factory.

Kelly (36:49):

Yes, like Cheesecake Factory. Exactly. I don't want to sit there and make that decision. Give me a one pager and then let me choose from like 10 things and I'm done.

Jay (36:58):

And you'll always find something you like. Even on like when you go to a fancy restaurant, there's like four options and that's it. Yeah, but dang that Cheesecake Factory. I've read books shorter than their menu.

Rhian (37:11):

Yeah, that's a beefy menu, but that's how I feel with Netflix, right? You're like okay, everybody let's pick a movie. My family of three takes an hour or two to pick the movie and we could have already watched it because we have that decision paralysis where there's just too many options. We just want it laid out for us.

Rhian (37:29):

I think that's a really great takeaway for the merchants listening today because I think we always want to give more options, right? We want to provide our customers more choice but ultimately, if it doesn't work and it doesn't convert, give them one to three options. Or one or three options.

Jay (37:47):

Yeah, and you can do it ... We have a feature called Funnels and what that does is it does down-sells or upsells. Basically, if you want to have one product, which I think is a really good way to go, based off of they say yes or no it can show them another product. Let's say you offer them a mid range product, whatever, flipper. Barbecue flipper. Then if they say no, then you can say, "Okay, how about this one?" It can be a cheaper one. Or if they say, "Yes," you've got a person there who's buying. They're clearly not a sucker, but they're buying so why not offer them something else?

Jay (38:28):

Then if they say, "Yes." "Great, how about this steak spice, too." "Yes." "Great, how about this, too?" Because if they buy one they're very likely to buy another one and another one. They're bought in on you, they're bought in on your product, your brand. Then it just goes on from there.

Jay (38:46):

If they're going to buy there you might want to offer them something on the cart. You might want to offer them something on the thank you page. You've got to do it in a tactful way and it's like with anything, some merchants will get out of control and they'll put an offer on every product and that isn't good either because then you're getting in the way of the buying process and it's not ideal. But if you do it tastefully, not on every single product, you can create a way that you will increase your average order value.

Jay (39:16):

Man, we have stores like 30-40% like within a week. When I read through the reviews on the app there's nothing more satisfying people say, "This is how it paid for itself in the first five minutes." Or, "This is how it paid for itself ..." Because it's like yeah, if you create an upsell people want to buy from you, you just have to give them the option to do it. I don't know, maybe a lot of merchants maybe feel like there's nothing they have to upsell.

Jay (39:44):

You'd be surprised, too, it's used in so many unique ways. People use it for taking donations, or upselling extended warranty plans or service plans. It doesn't have to be products. A lot of times people think like well I don't really have products that go well together. It doesn't have to be product based, it can be just some type of add on.

Kelly (40:08):

That's fascinating. Jay, you know what? I think we could talk all day and I can't wait for you to come back on again and talk with us more about everything. Because you've been in the ecosystem for so long, you have so much value to add. If people would listen to our podcast for five hours I would want to keep ... Grab some more tea. Jay, right now, has the cutest tea cup, by the way. Way cuter than mine. Mine is just a coffee mug.

Jay (40:35):

It's from my [Baba 00:40:40].

Kelly (40:41):

Jay, thank you so much for coming. We're right now, we're ending every episode by calling out a Shopify store that's caught our attention. Whether it's a good user experience or a cool product and we'd love your take. What's your favorite Shopify store right now?

Jay (40:59):

Well, until today, I mean honestly there's so many and every day we have a list. I saw a really awesome one today. Can I name two?

Kelly (41:07):


Rhian (41:07):


Jay (41:09):

Okay, so the one I saw today is, actually I saw it posted in [Allister's 00:41:15] Facebook group. Pit Viper Sunglasses, so it's This is just an example of ... There's another store I saw the other day, I think it's called liquid death.

Rhian (41:30):

Liquid death, yeah.

Kelly (41:32):

Oh, we were getting that when we were still in office.

Jay (41:35):

Oh yeah? Okay.

Rhian (41:36):

Yeah, canned water?

Jay (41:38):

They use our subscriptions app and I was scrolling through stores the other day. Their branding is just really on point. Then, last week they ... Well, maybe a couple weeks ago. They took all the negative Facebook comments that people have written on their ... Someone wrote like, "Fire your marketing guy, this sucks, this is embarrassing." On their social media they took all of those comments and they turned it into a death metal album.

Kelly (42:10):

That's amazing.

Jay (42:10):

It's actually really good. If you like death metal, Google Liquid Death. I think it's called heat? Aw man, heat metal? Liquid death? It's hilarious.

Kelly (42:24):

We'll also [inaudible 00:42:25] through it in our show notes.

Jay (42:27):

Okay, perfect. I just enjoy stores that have a brand or a persona and they just really stick with it. It's very easy for a store to just be surface level with that. Anyways, these two stores, they do that through and through. Through their email marketing, through everything.

Jay (42:49):

Another one that I wanted to mention was Kencko, and I think it's just Kencko? Yeah, I usually have one at my desk. It's fruit that they turn into a powder, I have one every single day. A, it's a really good product but they're site ... I don't mean to like self promote but I happen to like see people that use Bold products.

Kelly (43:21):


Jay (43:22):

They are a subscriptions customer and they have done, they have the best flow I've ever seen of sign up and then the email communication. They put all the, the email goes out it's like you have the option to snooze it in the email or like change, in my admin where I manage I can change the day. I won't go down the rabbit trail because I don't want to sound like I'm talking about features of the app but they've ...

Jay (43:52):

Everything has features. Shopify has features. It's how you use it as a merchant. It's not, and they've just done a really good job. I would actually encourage anyone to check out that site and go through Assign a Process and see how they do it. They do a really good job of it.

Kelly (44:07):

Awesome. Cool, yeah, we'll definitely include links to both of those. Rhian, what is your shoutout?

Rhian (44:13):

My shoutout is to [Jolynn 00:44:14]. It is a swimwear company that's really disrupting the competitive swimwear market. They're up against Speedo and TYR in this arena and these huge brands. I do have to say, I know about it from my daughter who is an elite water polo player so she's a super fan and initially they were doing pop ops at every single event we ever went to. Now their online presence and their email marketing presence is awesome. They feature different athletes every few weeks. It's athletes from different sports. It's water polo, it's swim, it's beach volleyball, it's runners, it's triathletes, it's all sorts of different women with different body types. I love it.

Rhian (44:59):

It's amazing. Their store is beautiful, their marketing campaign is amazing and they have really shook the market up and I can appreciate that.

Kelly (45:09):

Awesome. Mine is a little different this week. There is a guy named Matt Nelson who works for Shopify and his daughter decided to start her own Shopify store. It was just like I have this idea and now I want to turn it into ... She said, "I'm going to start a Shopify store and sell fashion."

Kelly (45:33):

This past Sunday she launched her first product. The store is called Ellow, E-l-l-o-w, and they're the most adorable socks that she just wrote girl power on them. They're colorful and it's super cute. They sold out in like 90 seconds. She made six pairs of socks.

Rhian (45:52):

Yeah, they're very limited.

Kelly (45:54):

They're in high demand. [crosstalk 00:45:56]

Rhian (45:56):

Harder to get the supreme.

Kelly (45:59):

Exactly. I don't know, I love this because it's easy enough for a nine-year-old to start her own Shopify store and immediately start selling products. It's adorable, it's super cute and even if the socks would never in a million years fit me, I would still totally support a store like this.

Rhian (46:21):

Eloise, if you're listening, we would really like to get two pairs of socks for the co-hosts of Commerce Team. Please. Please, please, please.

Kelly (46:30):

Especially if you want to design them to say like Commerce Tea or something like that.

Rhian (46:34):

Oh, that would be epic. Yeah, absolutely. We're on board. We will buy them.

Kelly (46:39):


Jay (46:40):

It's like the new lemonade stand.

Rhian (46:42):


Kelly (46:43):

It is the new lemonade stand.

Jay (46:44):

Yeah. My six-year-old daughter, like I'm going to teach her how to spin up a store and then I'll just email all my family relatives and people will buy from her and I don't have to sit out on the street selling lemonade.

Kelly (46:59):

Keep stocking the store to go to college. I got a lot of things to look forward to. Well, Jay, thank you again so much for joining us on one of our very first episodes that are very, very early into our podcast. We're really excited to have you on board and to talk about all things Bold. I'm obviously a very huge fan of Bold and all the apps that you're putting out.

Jay (47:23):

Awe, thank you.

Kelly (47:24):

Excited to finally dig into Bold Brain, as well.

Jay (47:27):

Thank you so much for having me on, you guys. This is awesome and I think you're two of the more amazing and present people in this space and just thought leaders. The two of you doing this podcast together I think it's going to be awesome. Thank you. An honor to be on.

Kelly (47:44):

Thank you so much.

Rhian (47:45):

Thank you so much.

Kelly (47:50):

Thanks for tuning in and thanks again to our sponsors for supporting this episode. You can subscribe to Commerce Tea on your favorite podcasting service. We post new episodes every Tuesday, so grab your mug and join us. See you next week.

Rhian (48:10):

ClockedIn is a time clock for Shopify. With ClockedIn, your team members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your teams hours as they work remotely with an intuitive interface that can been used from desktop, tablet or mobile. Check it out at or in the Shopify app store.


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