Keith Matthews: Starting off Right with Shopify

Starting on Shopify is simple enough for anyone. At a certain point, however, brands need professional expertise. Keith Matthews discusses.

Keith Matthews was quoted about £600k for an eCommerce store back in the 90s. Oh, how times have changed! Shopify truly revolutionized the online retail industry, making eCommerce accessible to anyone with a bit of patience and basic technical knowledge.

Cue the pandemic in 2020 and we saw more newcomers to the online world than at any period before. While a Shopify store is simple enough to get started without any advanced coding skills, it would benefit from professional development and expertise at a certain point in a company’s life cycle.

In last week’s episode, we chatted with the Director of Digital and Strategy and Founder of Milk Bottle Labs, Keith Matthews, and Brendan Hughes, Optily’s CEO, about the expert tactics that can help brands stand out from the crowd.

Among the topics we discussed were:

  • The value of professional development and maintenance
  • The importance of project management tools
  • Email marketing and direct client communication


If you have a half-hour to spare, it’s always best to hear things straight from the horse’s mouth. If not, we’ve summarized the main bits below for you to get a quick overview or you can check out the short snippet from our chat.




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When does your Shopify store need a professional touch?

Keith praises Shopify for being this amazing bridge between domains, development, and payment processing that empowered so many people to go online with their products. It’s an amazing solution that has truly democratized eCommerce. That being said, there are oftentimes gaps in the self-building process that need to be addressed once a business scales beyond a certain point. 

On top of that, during the pandemic, Shopify released Online Store 2, so customers need to be upgraded from the old version to this new front-end one.

The last major piece of professional assistance that Milk Bottle Labs provides is outsourced eCommerce management which maintains the Shopify store and ensures everything continues to work smoothly. Given the overall struggle for staff across the online retail industry (and really most industries at this point), they provide this Shopify Performance Management piece that enables small businesses to avoid staff hires, while freeing up their time for other aspects of their business.

Project management to keep you on track

Simplicity in project management is the key to success, according to Keith. The team lives and breathes Basecamp, which helps them easily streamline their onboarding process, minimize email clutter, and stay focused on the tasks at hand.

While still the default for client communication, email can get very messy. Simply by avoiding long chains where important information or documents are easily missed, a project management solution like Basecamp help keep all assets and tasks in one place, while clearly listing out who is responsible for what.

Email marketing and customized emails to keep your customers happy

While he’s not a fan of email for coordinating projects, it’s quite the opposite feeling when it comes to customer communication. Keith and the team at Milk Bottle Labs understand the huge impact a good email automation campaign can have on the bottom line. 

The team loves using Klaviyo with all their customers, but they stress the importance of having it professionally set up. It’s important to do this bit right. 

In terms of a specific email, they’ve found that works really well, is the oddly specific Courier-font “Thank You” message. Once someone places an order, seeing what looks like a customized, non-templatized (even though it is) email from the owner or customer success manager makes them much more likely to shop again.


Partnership Announcement: Conjura

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with the Conjura, the eCommerce analysis platform for profit powered by data.

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