Add Muscle to Your Hustle: Increase Conversions with Customizable Discounts Using Shopify Scripts

Add Muscle to Your Hustle: Increase Conversions with Customizable Discounts Using Shopify Scripts

It’s an awful feeling. Knowing that you could have converted a new customer had the special offer or price been right.

Love it or hate it, consumers are fickle, and they can be swayed by time-limited discounts and free shipping.

Zack Honarvar, Enterprise Ecommerce Consultant at Shopify Plus explains:

“Over 25% of shoppers will abandon their cart if presented with an unexpected shipping cost.” Likewise, “99% of users who don’t actively look for products to buy admit that time-bound offers encourage them to make a purchase.”

If you don’t have the technical knowledge, how do you set-up custom offers like free gifts with a minimum purchase and other unique discounts on the Shopify Plus platform?

We enlisted some developers, both in-house and at agencies, to explain what is possible and how it can be done using the newly released Shopify Scripts

What’s Possible with Shopify Scripts Today?

Shopify Scripts give you the freedom to write your own custom code that is hosted on Shopify’s servers. Your developer or Shopify Plus partner can write them in Ruby to create unique discounts and special offers for customers that will keep them converting with your store.

In essence, Scripts enable you to apply the same functionality that you can get with other ecommerce platforms like Magento (minus the cost of Aspirin to manage your headache). 

And Shopify Plus merchants are already playing around with what is possible. Here are some examples:

1. GoPole ran a summer promotion where customers could add a free gift to their cart if they spent more than $10, or more than $50.

2. Campus Protein offered a combo promotion for the BPI brand which provides a free gift of the customer’s choosing, PLUS a 15% off discount using a coupon code.

 3. MMA Warehouse recently ran a Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) sale with a limited time offer that displayed a countdown clock to urge the customer to buy now.

What You Can and Cannot Do with a Script

Today, Shopify Plus merchants can apply line item Scripts and discount Scripts to your themes which will affect the price of a customer’s cart. 

Free shipping Scripts will also be added in the near future, as will the ability to schedule Scripts to run on specific dates.

The script editor enables you to preview what your promotion will look like on your actual online store and you can walk through the steps a customer takes (e.g. select a product, add it to cart, then verify that the product gets the appropriate discount) to ensure it is working properly before you publish.

You can find templates for basic discount Scripts (e.g. % off, amount off, or both) in Getting Started with Shopify Scripts: A Practical Walkthrough.

In order to make Scripts run as fast as possible and optimize the customer experience, Shopify currently limits merchants to running one script at a time. BUT, if you have an existing discount code in your shop admin, you can combine/stack it with a script.

For example, you can look to see if a discount code has already been applied on the cart, and then use a script to decide not to add any more discounts.

Also, you could choose to exclude certain products (via tags) so that a customer cannot get a discount on them. Or, isolate specific customer groups (e.g. with specified email or shipping addresses) to only apply a discount to their orders.

In the future, you’ll also be able to apply an input validation at checkout to ensure you don’t ship to a specific type of customer or location.

Current restrictions include:

  • There is no current option to remove free items from the cart. This is to protect the customer so that they do not get charged for shipping on free items. So, if you offer this feature, ensure that you specify early on if there will be shipping charges applied to that item.
  • You cannot discount an entire collection. This restriction applies because some merchants have infinite items in one product collection.
  • No option to blanket discount the entire cart. Scripts require you to apply the discount by line item because of local tax implications. You can discount your entire shop, BUT the script applies discounts on every single cart line item automatically.

Benefits of Using Scripts with or Instead of Apps & Admin Discounts

Some merchants have asked why they need to use Scripts, rather than find an app that can help them power their site promotions.

While apps are certainly helpful, Scripts live inside the Shopify platform which gives you more control to react quickly to variables like who exactly is in your cart in real-time.

Scripts are faster than apps (which connect to the Shopify platform via an API) because everything happens within the platform itself.

As a result, Scripts offer merchants a future-proof solution that can adapt as Scripts, and the ability for merchants to manipulate more promotional offers within their themes, improve over time.

Here are three ways to think about the key benefit of using Scripts:

1. More Control

With Scripts, you own the code because it lives on the Shopify servers. You can also adapt Scripts to meet your online store’s business logic. In other words, as your sales strategies change, so too can the Scripts that you use.

Also, you’re able to create more complex discounts on the back-end while still showing your customers a simple UX on the front-end.

 2. Growth

Using Shopify Scripts gives your store the ability to scale over time and you can evolve them with your business strategy. 

It’s also an opportunity to offer your in-house developer(s) a career growth opportunity as they are able to learn new skills to increase customer conversions, versus just working on day-to-day site maintenance.

Finally, you can increase your average order value because Scripts makes it possible to offer promotions like buy 3, get 10% off your purchase.

 3. Flexibility

You can customize and create your own Scripts from scratch -- enabling you to design your own discount logic based on your business goals.

And as mentioned before, you can combineScripts with other theme customizations and admin discounts. Overall, Scripts offer a more fluid customer experience versus having to send them a promo code to receive a discount.

How Shopify Plus Partners Can Help

By working with a Shopify Plus partner to develop custom discount solutions for your online store, you’re benefiting from a network effect of Scripts knowledge and best practices.

Tyler Shambora, Senior Front End Internet Cultivator at Shopify Plus partner agency BVAccel explains that “agencies work with clients across different ecommerce platforms. We also work with other developers who’ve had unique experiences with your ecommerce peers and can share that knowledge and braintrust.”

They can also help you build out the additional promotional assets required to let your customers know that a specific promotion is happening.

Proposed Partner and Merchant Workflow

You identify your discount needs based on your current business goals and seek out a Shopify Plus partner to help you develop the Script.

Once the developer or partner has built a solution based on your requirements, we recommend that you then spend an hour together to make sure everything is clear, that the developer/partner trains you on how to publish the script, and provides guidelines on how to modify the script in the future if you want to publish a similar promotion again.

This Is Only the Beginning

The long-term goal is to make Scripts as easy as possible for merchants to customize as is possible with current Shopify apps and themes. But Shopify needs your input and feedback to get there.

If you have a question or concern about how to customize and implement unique Scripts for your store, please reach out to your Merchant Success Manager, or contact us directly.

About the Author

Andrea Wahbe is a freelance B2B marketing strategist and corporate storyteller who writes about Canadian SMEs, marketing, and digital media trends. Follow her on Twitter.