Shaun Broughton from Shopify and Zhoe Low from July: Black Friday Results & 2023 eCommerce Predictions | #253

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Shaun and Zhoe talk the year that was and dust off their crystal balls!

EP 253
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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

As APAC Managing Director, Shaun is spearheading Shopify’s expanding presence in the world’s largest market for retail eCommerce amounting to nearly $2.992 trillion in 2021. Under his leadership, Shopify teams across APAC are on a mission to make commerce better for everyone by providing local businesses with the technology tools, apps and services they need to easily sell and scale online and tap into the continued growth of ecommerce.


Zhoe Low is the General Manager of direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand July. Joining the business in 2019, Zhoe has delivered data-driven creative campaigns that have helped the business grow exponentially. Prior, she developed deep expertise in digital marketing, communications and customer acquisition as Marketing Lead at CoinJar, Australia's leading cryptocurrency platform. Zhoe’s stewardship is a key reason July continues to grow and impress across Australia, US, and the world.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we dissect the year that was 2022 and look forward to what 2023 may bring with  Shaun Broughton, Managing Director for APAC and Japan from Shopify. With previous roles at Lego and Microsoft, Shaun is now spearheading Shopify’s expanding presence in the world’s largest market for retail eCommerce, amounting to nearly $2.9 trillion in 2021.  Joining Shaun is Zhoe Low, General Manager of July.  Launching in 2019,  the brand was soon catapulted into a 90% loss of revenue due to the pandemic, but bounced back with revenue now reaching ten times higher than pre-COVID figures.  Zhoe has delivered the data-driven creative campaigns behind this phenomenal growth.  Now, I made sure I asked the pointed questions in this chat and my guests didn’t disappoint.  We deconstruct the year that’s been and  get predictions around value propositions, key channels and tech going into next year.  Shaun gives us all the important (and often surprising) stats, he shares why value and longevity will be key going forward and we hear his plans for a spot of revenge travel in 2023.  Zhoe shares the affiliate marketing platforms she’s most interested in, how she thinks sexual wellness is a category worth watching in 2023 and why she spent Black Friday on a yacht in the Andaman Sea.

People shopped…I mean we saw 53 million shoppers from around the world spend over $11 billion Australian dollars.

Shaun Broughton

Connection in 2023

(Shaun) “I think when times get tough too you want to feel joy and sometimes feeling joy is being connected to the brands you love. You might not necessarily have to spend as much as you did, but that joy in being connected. So I think being connected through socials and things like that to brands that people love, I think is a big thing.  And you mentioned just considered shoppers, looking for value. We see 69% want quality and 74% are looking for value. Those are big numbers. 

Let’s nerd out on some stats. We’ve found also just in our recent surveys about being conscious – 51% shop sustainably and 39% are actually willing to pay more.  Which is also a pretty big number. And so people wanna feel good about what they’re buying. So when we think about channels where people are gonna shop, people are looking 69% more on going to social, and 92% of retailers are telling us that direct relationship is going to be so critical for that to happen.

And so this movement to being connected, even though you hear these stories like everything’s invasive, technology’s getting invasive. But every time you ask people, and you look at the the total numbers of of any kind of statistics, people are enjoying being connected.  They just want to be connected to the things that add value to them.”

Partner With July!

(Zhoe) “I went to New York a few months ago with Athan and we were talking to someone about direct mail.  I’m talking old school snail mail, right?  I know it exists in the US and I think it would work so well here because I read all of my mail, unlike my email. I’ll scan the subject lines or pick all of them, select all, and then just delete. But in my mail, I actually have to physically go through it. So I really wanna test that next year with our team. And I really think the return will be super high because like SMS,, I think we’re gonna see the same results.They’ll definitely look at it. 

So I’m looking for a vendor to help with that. And I don’t think we should just do it with us. I wanna pair up and group up with other amazing Aussie brands like us to do a little envelope…hey, here are some really cool brands you should hear about.  That’s my wild card, I haven’t tested it yet, so if you’re listening and you think you’d work well with us let’s talk.”

The Pink Batman

(Nathan) “Last Friday we went for drinks here in Brisbane and had a bunch of the old digital crew and we actually had Paul Goldson from the Shopify team come along.  And you can tell when Paul is onto something good, cause he’s got this little glint in his eyes.  He’s discovered something and he is been up for nights, like playing and exploring. He says, “Boys, Open AI have just released their chatbot.” And it’s this new iteration of a chatbot from Open AI, which is like a Microsoft project. And it’s pretty cool. Anyone can go in there and have a play. And he says “We’re gonna do some stuff with this today”.

And where it ended up getting to is that he asked this Open AI chatbot to create a cocktail that was summery and involved blue and give me a recipe and Open AI chat gave one and named it The Pink Batman, and so he took it to the bar, this and it was a recipe that doesn’t exist anywhere on the internet.  It was a brand new recipe. Took it to the bar and asked the bar staff. Hey guys, can you make this?  And they made it, it was the most disgusting cocktail ever!  But he drank it. 

And then I actually played around with it a little bit more, and it’s the best chatbot I’ve ever played with.  On an episode last week, I’m interviewing this person and they have a background in this, this, and this and they specialize in this. Can you give me a list of questions to ask? It spat out 10 questions and I used two of them.”

Questions answered in this episode include
  • What were Black Friday results like for July? 
  • What is the marketing channel that will give retailers exceptional returns in 2023?
  • What are your 2023 picks for technology or apps that retailers should have on their radar for experimentation?

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