Want a 600% Increase in Your Shopify Conversion Rate?
August 29, 2018
10 months ago
Check out my interview with Salka Armstrong, the owner of Soundly Sleeping Dragon.
With help from Storetasker expert Steven Hudspith, Salka was able increase her Shopify conversion rate by 600%!
Dann-Barrick: Alright, hey guys thanks for watching, this is another Storetasker case study. If this is the first time that you’re watching my name is Timothy Dann-Berrick, I’m the Digital Marketing Manager at Storetasker which is the fastest, easiest way to get in touch with a vetted Shopify expert who can help fix your store. Today because we’re doing a case study, I’m talking to a client, Salka Armstrong who is the owner of Soundly Sleeping Dragon. Salka thanks so much for joining us.
Salka Armstrong: Hey, good to be here.
Dann-Barrick: Awesome. Now folks who watch our YouTube channel will probably know that I’m located in Montreal, Canada. Where are you coming from? If you don’t mind my asking.
Salka Armstrong: Well, right now I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Salka Armstrong: But I’m originally from Finland.
Dann-Barrick: Oh nice! Okay. So I’ll go ahead and jump right into these questions. I’m really excited about this. So can you tell us more about what Soundly Sleeping Dragon is all about?
Salka Armstrong: So, Soundly Sleeping Dragon as of right now, is a single product store.
Salka Armstrong: The only thing we selling is a silk sleeping bag, or sleeping bag liner.
Salka Armstrong: Which, as you can tell, packs very small, it’s 4.2 ounces, but it’s actually pretty big. Like it fits a 6 foot guy, no problem. There’s nothing super special about the product itself. What is special about Soundly Sleeping Dragon is that it’s handmade by a single mother’s from a co-op, in Viet Nam. So the co-op was started in 2009. It’s funded by a group of single moms and the single mother’s group was originally started by a Finnish non-profit.
Dann-Barrick: There we go. Okay.
Salka Armstrong: And that all started back in ‘96.
Salka Armstrong: And all these women are farmers. They live pretty close to the airport in Hanoi. The areas been industrializing super fast.
Salka Armstrong: Mainly because of the location, so they finally went it’s literally disappearing. They have been making these since 2009. I spent six months helping them to get the production organized and going, did some branding with the first website back then.
Dann-Barrick: Very good.
Salka Armstrong: After my time in Vietnam I did sales and marketing for them in Finland.
Dann-Barrick: What was your inspiration to bring the product and the store to the U.S.?
Salka Armstrong: It had been in the back of my mind the whole time that I’ve been here. I moved to the U.S. 2014, so it’s been four years now. Then last summer I unexpectedly was out of work. While I was job hunting, I was like, this is the time. So I formed a business and imported the first batch, here, it’s been super exciting and motivating, and especially the recent improvements in store. And sales have really gotten me motivated.
Dann-Barrick: Nice, nice. Was it brand new to you, the world of e-commerce? Or had you worked in e-commerce before?
Salka Armstrong: No, I have a background in digital marketing project management.
Dann-Barrick: Oh, okay.
Salka Armstrong: So I worked for fairly large agencies for quite a few years. So while I haven’t really done much apart from content management myself, I’m very familiar with the process and the tools. I was pretty comfortable doing it, all on my own, and I knew what the steps were that I had to take to get things going. And I also have my degrees in international business, so getting all the import, export stuff going wasn’t too bad.
Dann-Barrick: Okay. I was gonna ask about that because that seems like a big undertaking. Especially if you’re new to a country, but then also to be importing things to that new country sounds like a lot.
Salka Armstrong: It’s actually pretty simple.
Salka Armstrong: It’s fairly small quantity that we talking about, and then I use UPS for shipping And they also have a customs service that takes care of most of the process.
Salka Armstrong: I just need to pay the duties on line and then they bring the package to my house, just like anything else.
Dann-Barrick: Oh, perfect. And one thing that I really like about your site is that you have pictures and stories of at least some of the women who actually work in the co-op. I thought that was really cool. Just getting some sort of information on who actually created the product, where as now a days, we live in a place where it’s like, you’ll have no idea who makes the things that you use everyday.
Salka Armstrong: Yeah, and that’s really the reason why I had all my faith in doing this. Besides Amazon having two hundred and fifty, silk, or so-called silk sleeping bag liners. But none of them tell a story.
Dann-Barrick: That makes a lot of sense, and I think it helps people connect really well with your store and your product as well. You mentioned that recently you worked with Storetasker, Steven Hudspith, our expert, and that kind of resulted in a nice bump in sales. Which is, that’s amazing. Can you tell me more about that job? And how that happened for you?
Salka Armstrong: Sure. So, this all started from a contact that I got, just randomly through the contacts I found on my website, from American Airlines On Flight magazine.
Salka Armstrong: And they were doing a sleep special and they asked me if I wanted to be in this sleep product showcase. And I debated about it, it was a lot of money for me. And it’s a magazine, yeah they have 17 million people in a month that fly American and it’s every back seat pocket. But still like, it’s risky.
Salka Armstrong: With an online business. It’s a big magazine, but then it’s like well, it’s a unique opportunity. And it still wasn’t that much money that it would risk anything, significant for me. So I decided to go for it. And that really got me going. It’s like, alright I really gotta get this site polished. I gotta really get my ducks in line, before first of June. When this magazine is out. And I did. So I posted a job on Storetasker just asking to add the stories of the women to the home page, and to the our story page.
Salka Armstrong: I felt like the Shopify area is great for the home page, but then the actual content pages, it’s so basic.
Salka Armstrong: And I know some page, basic HTML, but it was just looking so homemade. That was my job posting. And Stephen picked it up, and was like hey, how about we just update the theme? Do a paid theme, and that will solve all of this. Like won’t need to do any custom work, and it will help you in many other ways as well. So he helped me to pick a theme from Out of the Sandbox.
Dann-Barrick: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Salka Armstrong: It was the best 180 dollars I’ve ever spent.
Salka Armstrong: He did it for me, I did some, well formatting and just that made the store look so much better. Like it actually looked professionally made instead of homemade.
Salka Armstrong: My conversion rate went up by 150%.
Salka Armstrong: And, this gets better, because now today, I was preparing for this interview, I was really crunching my numbers. So now the conversion rate has gone from, so before, with the old thing, it was 0.5%.
Salka Armstrong: Now it’s 3.17%.
Dann-Barrick: Awesome, that’s amazing!
Salka Armstrong: And industry average according to Shopify is like 1.5.
Salka Armstrong: And that’s where it was before I put those stories out, so I was like, that’s a 600% improvement.
Dann-Barrick: Yeah, well and especially if you’re starting to invest in advertising. Like, that makes so much, like an actual, like financial difference.
Salka Armstrong: Oh completely. My volumes are still pretty small, so …
Salka Armstrong: I’m not getting rich here, anytime to soon at this rate. But it gives me so much courage, that I’m doing things right. I’m gonna be going to Viet Nam in November to work with the women to bring on more products.
Salka Armstrong: That are less niche. And if I can keep my numbers right and just bring the volume up …
Dann-Barrick: Yeah. Could really scale.
Salka Armstrong: Totally. So, I’m pretty excited.
Dann-Barrick: That’s awesome. Would you recommend to other folks to think about selling travel related products in American Airline’s magazine? How do you feel about that experience?
Salka Armstrong: It’s so hard to track print. My direct direct traffic went up by like 200%. Which I can probably connect to that.
Salka Armstrong: A lot of my traffic actually comes from Google now.
Salka Armstrong: And I don’t know, I probably would not recommend doing it, at least not spending the full price. We had a pretty good conversation about it, the Shopify entrepreneurs Facebook group. There were people that had used airline magazines which success some hadn’t, but like, had used them but it wasn’t successful.
And I actually had a pretty interesting contact come through a couple of days ago, from a main stream TV thing.
Dann-Barrick: Nice, yeah.
Salka Armstrong: And I’m having a call with them tomorrow, I don’t know how they found me. They just said that Soundly Sleeping Dragon was brought to our attention.
But I’m super interested to hear what they have to offer, and maybe I can do it further down the road. But I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody from their side saw it on the airline magazine.
Dann-Barrick: Any big goals for the next year, for your store?
Salka Armstrong: Yes, as I mentioned before, I’m working on adding some new products. They still going to be somewhat sleep related.
Salka Armstrong: We’re gonna add some baby products.
Salka Armstrong: We, I got some extra large sleeping bags coming. I’m gonna add children’s size to the same sleeping bag.
But I’m hoping also to do some like baby sleep sacks and some swaddles. What really motivates me in this is what I do touches a lot of lives. And it can touch even more lives and right now, I’m the only one that’s doing any sales for this group.
Dann-Barrick: Oh, wow! That’s a lot of responsibility.
Salka Armstrong: Yeah, so there’s 170 women in the group, not in the co-op, but in the group right now.
And all of them would like to get involved and get a piece of the pie.
Salka Armstrong: If I can make things happen and grow it, they’re all on board. It’s a pretty big motivator.
Dann-Barrick: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Salka Armstrong: So, I just want to encourage people to think where, thing they consume, whether it’s food, or products. Where do they come from?
Salka Armstrong: Like are they in this world of plenty, we just gotta be conscious about our choices really.
Dann-Barrick: Well, thanks so much for talking to me today. It was really great to have you, and I hope that folks learn a lot from you and really, really excited to see you as you continue to succeed.
Salka Armstrong: Hey, thanks for taking the time. This was good.