🚪Going fulltime on a Shopify SaaS Startup
The No-Code Success Story of James Devonport and Userloop
Katt here. Welcome to 158 new subscribers 👯
For the next months you will see this newsletter on a 2-weekly basis. I will be travelling with my husband and 2 kids with a camper through the USA (California - Arizona - Utah). So less computer time and more adventure & quality time because… they grow up so fast 🐥🐥. If you have any USA travel advice, always welcome.
This week I talked again with James Devonport. I interviewed him in one of the first No-Code Exits issues. This time he is back to share the story of his profitable startup Userloop. Learn:
💪 How it all started with a first version built during Christmas
🏗️ He niched down on a specific platform
💸 How his product processed over a million pieces of customer feedback
🧪 He is using ChatGPT-4 to improve customer onboarding and retention.
Enjoy it and happy building my friends!
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🔥 Maker Interview
Hello James, tell us a little bit about yourself
I'm a serial founder and product manager. I've both run VC backed startups and worked at them as a product manager for the last 10 years. I've been using visual website builders for as long as I can remember, and stumbled across Bubble in 2017. Since then I've been building apps for fun and since very recently as my full time job.
Tell us about your product that you made?
I'm currently working on a startup called UserLoop, it's a Shopify app that helps merchants collect and analyze feedback from their customers at checkout and by email.
Which tools did you use?
The app is primarily built in Bubble, with a few other services connected to do specific things. The other APIs I have integrated are:
Mux for video processing and storage
Tiny Bird for large-scale database storage and analytics
OpenAI GPT-4 for summarization
Postmark for outbound email
What went into building the initial product?
I built the initial version of the product over Christmas time. It was very basic and actually wasn't a Shopify app at all to begin with. The first version simply let you ask a single question to customers and send an email to collect the responses. Since then the app has grown massively to allow collecting of feedback at checkout, multiple questions, multiple surveys, video questions, AI summaries and of course the Shopify integration.
I chose to focus on Shopify users because of access to their app store and willing paying customers, as well as by using their APIs I could make the onboarding and setup fully automatic.
How did AI make your product better?
Implementing ChatGPT4 improved my onboarding and is helping people to automatically set up their accounts.
I trained the AI on the best practices for e-commerce survey techniques. This new feature I called Survey Copilot and is embedded throughout the product. It helps merchants writing questions and answers, writing high converting email subject lines and CTA’a and summarize all the survey responses.
What's your business model and how have you grown your revenue?
It’s a standard SaaS business model where I charge a monthly fee based on the plan the user selects. I limit certain features between plans and have usage-based limits on things like outbound email and AI summaries.
How have you attracted users and grown your product?
Shopify App Store (Some tips here)
SEO content targeted at Shopify store owners (Example)
Paid ads, currently focussed mainly on Shopify App Store ads.
The product has grown purely based on feedback from merchants, we've added a huge amount of functionality based on what they are asking for.
Building with No-Code has let us adapt to customer needs quickly and iterate the product much faster than our competitors.
Conversely, we've also removed lots of features which didn't resonate.
What are the biggest challenges you've faced and how did you overcome them?
As with many startups, our main challenge has been signing up users and converting them into paying customers. We've made a lot of changes to the product and our pricing along the way to Product-Market Fit and we still have a huge amount to learn. Whilst No-Code allows you to build and iterate your product quickly and at low cost - you still have to put the effort in to market your product and get it in front of customers.
Can you share some numbers/stats?
We're currently installed on hundreds of Shopify stores, including some of the biggest brands in the world. We've processed over a million pieces of customer feedback and have been growing month over month.
What's your advice for No-Code Makers who are just starting out?
The most important thing is to build something and ship it to get customer feedback early on. When I look at the first version of UserLoop I cringe a bit as it was so basic, but I'm still glad I launched it early and started getting feedback. It's often tempting to keep building something and improving it before sharing it, but the earlier you share it and start getting feedback it can stop you going down the wrong path, building features nobody actually wants or will pay for.
Where can we go to learn more about you?
You can follow me on Twitter
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