E-commerce tech scale-up OrderEditing waves goodbye to customer service emails on Shopify

E-commerce tech scale-up OrderEditing waves goodbye to customer service emails on Shopify

OrderEditing co-founder Hamish McKay. 

"Our whole bet is that in 12 months, you'll never contact support again because everyone will have a customer portal for order edits," says OrderEditing co-founder Hamish McKay.

The co-founder of a Melbourne startup tackling a common problem on Shopify describes his business as a "category of one", giving e-commerce customers the option to self-edit their orders after purchase.

The added bonus of OrderEditing is that sellers have the chance to upsell via an entirely new channel, not to mention the hours of customer service work saved alongside greater convenience for the customer. 

Whilst still a very early-stage startup, the platform already has more than 500 active customers and has seen its monthly recurring revenue surge 10-fold since the start of 2024, fuelled by the product and business development of co-founders Hamish McKay and Kiril Climson, as well as a very active presence on LinkedIn.

It all began in late 2021 when McKay made the hop across the ditch from Hamilton, New Zealand to Melbourne, "shadowing the CEO in effect" at an e-commerce creative merchandising company that works with some of the world's biggest YouTubers.

"One day I was doing customer service tickets and I noticed that there were like 10,000 unanswered emails," he tells Business News Australia.

"So I put up my hand and I said, 'let me take over this department. I'll hire a team of uni students, I'll hire some outsourced people, and I'll solve this big customer experience problem that we have,' lunging in to this managerial role a couple of months in," says McKay, himself still a uni student at the time as well.

The penny dropped for the entrepreneur-to-be while having one-on-one meetings with the customer service team.

"I asked all of them what they spent the most amount of time doing, and in nine out of 10 of these conversations they said it was changing customer addresses and changing the size of a product up to purpose because they made a mistake at check out," he says.

"When I heard that I just pulled the numbers out from our support help desk, and I found out that about 30 per cent of all of the customer service time we spent was on what you might call a one time edit, like changing an order for a customer. I knew that was about 60 hours a month worth of work we were spending doing this."

Through his contacts he got in touch with Climson, a Shopify app builder who is based in Toronto, Canada and would become the technical co-founder of OrderEditing.

"Essentially we used it ourselves for a year. We only went to market about 12 months ago in May 2023 as a side hustle," he says.

By the end of that year OrderEditing had 150 customers, and that number has since risen to more than 500 and is increasing rapidly.

McKay says around 60 per cent of users are in Australia, with the remainder split fairly evenly between the US and UK. The startup has a UK market lead in charge of sales, marketing and partnerships, while just this week the company formerly announced the launch of its US arm.

Customers highlighted on OrderEdiing's website include YouTube star MrBeast, wearable blanket The Oodie, designer bikini and swimwear company Moana Bikini, and pop culture T-shirt producer Threadheads.

The co-founder explains that a large chunk of the startup's clientele has come through his proactive strategy on LinkedIn, which has been a big part of the business plan from day one to generate interest.

"It's it's like 40 per cent of everyone we work with today came in from a post that I made or reached out to me on LinkedIn," he says.

"Now that the audience has grown, like 60 per cent of our pipeline is from LinkedIn - just word of mouth on their marketing in effect."

He says that OrderEditing's team of four still does the majority of onboarding themselves.

"The brand installs the app, we request some basic access to their store and just import a best practice set-up, throw in a couple of workflows that are working really well for similar brands, and they lock in 30 minutes in their diary to test it in a sandbox environment," McKay says.

"They might do a self-service cancellation, they might try and access an order that’s not editable – they just go through a few different scenarios, and then when they say 'this is beautiful', we lift the curtain and push it out live to everyone.

"In terms of getting the most out of it, like we have two data points that I lean on to account manage, and that's what percentage of total customers are editing their order? And how much upsell revenue do you make every time an order edit happens?"

"I know that if you’ve got 5 per cent of all of your customers editing their order right now, and you make $3 every time someone uses our app because they buy a product while they change their address, if we can double that frequency of use your revenue will double."

McKay doesn't believe there is anything else like it in the market.

"It’s a category of one pretty much. For the last 19 years of Shopify, if you bought something and made a mistake with your address, you would have to ring up customer service or email them," he says.

"Our whole bet is that in 12 months, you'll never contact support again about this, because everyone will have a customer portal for order edits."

When asked about how easy the platform would be to replicate, including from Shopify itself, the bootstrapped co-founder responds that this always the challenge with software - "everything is buildable".

"We’re lucky that the product has a lot of complexity underneath it," he says. 

"The MVP (minimum viable product) was quick to build but then adding in things like recalculating shipping rates based on the total weight of the order, or if they change their address, or what the tax infringement is on that, it is fairly arduous to build. We've got a good head start there.

"I think the personal brand, the fact that we’re growing through content and seemingly we have a very large audience, that's a good defence."

McKay, who only just paid himself his first salary from the business a month ago, concludes the strength of OrderEditing also lies in its relationships as a preferred partner to existing customers, which is also underpinned by the quality of the offering. And the next step? Exploring more data utilisation "to make you not want to leave the platform".

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