Talking Shop How Shopify sells big ideas with Paste

Paste invites the Shopify marketing design team to throw ideas in, knowing that no slide is too precious

There’s a lot you can learn about someone based on their shopping habits, from panic-buying toilet paper, to the time of day we click ‘Buy’ on a web store. All these small, seemingly innocuous behaviors add up, revealing probably more of our personalities than a Myers-Briggs test ever could.

Shopify, an e-commerce platform that lets anyone launch their online store and sell their goods, knows exactly what it takes to set up shop in the digital world. Now, with the launch of their shopping app, Shop, they know how digitally native customers prefer to shop, too. Take myself, for example. As a mom of two living in New York, I routinely shop online –– but only when both kids are asleep. That is, in the dead of night, my face creepily illuminated by the glow of an iPhone.

To arrive at these insights and understand what speaks to customers, Shopify leans on team members like Jana de Klerk in Toronto. As Design Lead, Jana works closely with the company’s designers and content strategists who reside across Canada, the US, and Europe, to ensure every online expression of Shopify is on-brand and pixel perfect. Her team is responsible for the core marketing experience, from how Shopify looks to the feelings the brand evokes. “We focus on that first impression we make on our users around the world,” she says.

“With Paste we aren’t building presentations. We’re collaborating.”

Jana de Klerk, Shopify

With Shop, Jana and her team had a chance to make a fresh impression –– this time on customers. But to get to the Big Idea, she admits the road is littered with concepts that never reach the finish line: plans that don’t work out for one reason or another, and ideas that might appeal to one market, but wouldn’t resonate with all.

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To align her team and keep stakeholders informed, Jana says they collaborate on early concept development, from storyboards to visual style guides, right in Paste. Her team also uses Paste for brand audits that show competitive analysis and to present brand messaging in different countries. “Paste helps us stay focused instead of wasting time sweating the small stuff, like formatting slides,” she says. “The decks are easy to make and give our team a good overview of where opportunities lie.”

But getting to the top for that bird’s-eye view takes time, and it’s easy to get lost in the weeds and grow attached to ideas that develop along the way. When it comes to showing early concepts, Paste helps Jana and her team overcome the sunk cost fallacy. “The way Paste is designed invites you to go in, change stuff, drag and drop, and embed files,” she explains. “With other tools, people are scared to go in and make changes. They put so much effort and hours into the presentation, they don’t want to mess anything up.”

Let your ideas shine. Then let them go

For those of us building Paste, and one of its most avid users, we want the tool to enable how people naturally work together, from dropping in ideas to getting feedback, and making it easy to edit and move things around, so that ideas can be iterated on, but not feel overly precious. What’s more, we don’t want users wasting time making their decks look great. 

Here’s the secret — people don’t get attached to ideas. They get attached to the fact that they spent hours refining that one slide.

For Shopify’s marketing design team, “people aren’t usually enthusiastic about building a presentation. It’s not a fun thing to do,” Jana admits. “But Paste changed my team’s perception and keeps us engaged in our projects even as we’ve become more remote and distributed as a company,” she said during our call from Shopify’s Toronto headquarters mere weeks before Covid-19 spurred widespread adoption of remote work across the globe.

“With Paste we aren’t building presentations. We’re collaborating.”