How LilGadgets Built an Ultra-Custom Shopify Plus Checkout & Lifted Peak Conversions 38.3%

How LilGadgets Built an Ultra-Custom Shopify Plus Checkout & Lifted Peak Conversions 38.3%

When you’re two years old and going on a multi-country trip across Hong Kong and Southeast Asian from the USA …

The nearly twenty-hour flight from the U.S. is one not to be made without some time killing reinforcements. Her parents had packed coloring books, Dr. Seuss books, puzzles, a bunch of “new” things from the dollar store, and her iPad.

There was only one thing left: Jasmine needed a pair of headphones.

But what her parents discovered when they purchased Jasmine’s headphones for that transcontinental flight would ultimately spawn a business.

“It was a less than an ideal flight,” says Jasmine’s mother, Jacquie. “It made for a much more stressful flight than was necessary.”

For instance, Jasmine couldn’t move freely in her seat without snagging the headphone cord on her seatbelt. In fact, every time she turned her head Jasmine’s parents worried the cord would knock over and spill her drinks or get tangled around her as she tried to get comfortable

It made an already long flight feel even longer.

Jasmine’s parents, Jacquie and Jason Hembrey, had simply gone to Amazon and purchased the highest ranking headphones with good customer reviews. They were supposedly designed for small children, but it seemed like they were just smaller and not thought out for those settling in on a marathon flight.

Right then, more than thirty thousand feet above land and sea, the Hembreys hatched an idea that would change their lives forever.

It also meant Jasmine would soon be testing her logo design skills.

Shrink It Mom

After the trip, the Hembrey family returned home to New York to determine whether there was a market for Bluetooth headphones designed specifically for children.

“It wasn’t that a market didn’t exist,” Jacquie says. “It was that no one had built Bluetooth headphones specifically for children before.”

With Jasmine as their guinea pig ...

The Hembreys iterated on their original prototype, shrinking it to better fit children and testing it out on Jasmine. “She’d tell us the ears are too high or it was too small,” Jacquie says. “She is still the biggest critic of all our products.” And they kept the studio quality speakers because little ears deserve great sound too.

With a nearly perfect product the Hembreys were ready to launch LilGadgets, a brand selling beautifully designed headphones, earbuds, and accessories for children.

But there was a problem…

The whirlwind nine months between idea and execution left LilGadgets without something extremely important; a company logo. So after serving as the company’s chief product tester, Jasmine, now three years old, would step up and put her doodling skills on display for the world to see.

“Our first logo was a drawing Jasmine did when she was three. She might be the youngest person ever to have a trademarked design.”

Jacquie Hembrey, Co-Founder at LilGadgets

However, even with a cool logo, proud parents, and a great product to sell…

LilGadgets would soon run into another problem not even Jasmine could solve by herself.

A Checkout to Match the Brand

When LilGadgets launched in March 2014…

It sold its headphones exclusively on Amazon. The idea was to offer parents a choice they didn’t previously have in the children headphones market — a simple and clean look with amazing sound and premium components.

“We had the first batch of headphones delivered to our garage,” Jacquie says. “We forgot to include a carry pouch in the first lot we ordered so we’d repack them with pouches, stuff them back into the boxes in our living room, and send them to Amazon.”

The Hembreys had the first Bluetooth headphones designed specifically for kids…

But to stand out and create a competitive advantage, the Hembreys would need to build a brand, which meant developing a site of their own. So in November 2015, LilGadgets launched on Shopify Plus, in part, because it wanted to create an ultra-custom checkout.

Why was this so important?

Unfortunately, the checkout, according to Nick Austin, founder of ANY, LilGadgets’ creative agency, is where most people on any site drop-off. Specifically, Austin suggests the checkout is where the user is presented with a binary choice; engage 100% by entering generous amounts of highly personal information or exit the process altogether.

Since LilGadgets spends a lot of their creative energy building trust throughout their marketing funnel, the goal was to build on Shopify's already good default checkout experience to inject more of LilGadgets personality; thereby maintaining trust and building momentum throughout the checkout experience.

In Austin’s words:

“The checkout is where we see the highest rate of drop-off. But the checkout is also where we learn the most information about our customers. The problem is by the time we've converted a sale, we've lost two-out-of-three potential buyers.”

So Austin partnered with DBNY, a Shopify Plus Partner, to flex the Shopify Plus platform and build a custom checkout experience for LilGadgets shoppers. Specifically, LilGadgets offers desktop users a three step checkout experience on a single page that allows users to see exactly where they are in the process and what’s left to do to complete the checkout process.

"Streamlining the purchasing path was key in creating a conversion-driven experience," says DBNY's Amlan Das. "Focusing on clarity and usability, we built a feedback-triggered cart and a one-page checkout. From the moment a product is added to the cart, a visual confirmation is presented to the user. The human eye reacts to movement, so once a product is added to to the cart, the side-bar cart, which contains the contents of a customer’s cart, appears. In the checkout page, we decided to simplify data entry as much as possible and designed a 1-2-3 step flow for completing a transaction quickly and easily."

NOTE: Remember, each brand has a unique relationship with its customers. In our experience, three-page checkouts generally outperform one-page checkouts in terms of conversion rates. So before you blindly decide a one-page checkout is right for you and your customers, understand LilGadgets may be the exception to the rule.

For mobile users, each of the three steps in the checkout process- customer information, billing information, and order review- is converted into a single easy-to-navigate standalone page to be completed individually.

“Customers love it,” says LilGadgets’ co-founder Jacquie Hembrey.

“We don’t solicit feedback specifically about our checkout. But when we’re talking with customers about unrelated issues, they routinely compliment the simplicity and beauty of the checkout.”

The Dog Ate My Headphones?

While LilGadgets sees a future in retail and developing a wholesale channel…

The company is narrowly focused on further improving the checkout experience. Besides integrating the Google Maps API to verify shipping addresses and reduce user input errors and activating Shopify Pay, which allows customers to save their shipping and payment information and instantly check out with just one click or touch, LilGadgets’ ultra-custom checkout has resulted in the following:

  • A 38.3% lift in peak conversions
  • An average conversion rate of 8%
  • Conversions have risen despite advertising campaigns that have increased site traffic by 80%

“The checkout is simple, beautiful, and seamless just like our headphones,” Jacquie says. “It’s really reflective of the products we make and true to our brand. We want our customers to be aware of where they are in the process and they really appreciate that.”

Remember though, while LilGadgets has achieved amazing results with a one page checkout, our split tests consistently reveal that three page checkouts convert better for most merchants. Be sure you intimately understand your customers and their checkout behavior before assuming a one page checkout is right for you and your customers.

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It’s success Jasmine, now eight years old, has become extremely proud of, even when she disagrees with the way her parents handle certain customer service issues. For instance, when a customer called and blamed the family dog for chewing up their headphones and asked for another pair, Jasmine protested her mother’s generous decision to send the customer a new pair.

“She has really strong opinions and is very protective of us,” Jacquie says of Jasmine. “She felt it wasn’t our fault the dog ate the headphones. It was a teaching moment where we talked about having compassion for people. She’s really proud and has gained a lot of confidence seeing the progress we’ve made over the last few years. It really is a family business, and our youngest is testing our products just like her big sister.”

Editor's Note: Shopify is constantly improving the checkout experience for all of our merchants, and as such, merchants who make checkout customizations that are DOM dependent will have to be supported independently on an ongoing basis.

About the Author

Nick Winkler is a contributor to the Shopify Plus blog & founder of The Winkler Group, a strategic communications firm that provides content marketing services to the world's best know brands, businesses, and marketers. Get more from Nick here.