Shop Hacker Launches!

Shop Hacker allows any merchant to easily import digital products such as elearning courses, software, and games directly into their ecommerce store.

Shop Hacker is a team of ecommerce executives, elearning instructors, and hackers, who are passionate about the digital ecommerce world. We believe digital ecommerce is massively powerful yet currently underutilized by most ecommerce stores.

Our mission is to empower digital entrepreneurship around the world.

Problem

Problem - Merchant

Being an ecommerce entrepreneur is tough in an Amazon driven world. Battling 1000s of merchants on price is a constant challenge.

Add to the struggle low margins, logistical challenges, manufacturing issues and needless to say the ecommerce business is tough.

Shop Hacker is here to help. By expanding your ecommerce store into digital goods you are able to add hack the system. No longer are you competing on price with every product.

Digital products are not nearly as saturated as physical products are in the ecommerce landscape. A majority of the products offered by Shop Hacker are not even sold on Amazon.

Digital products will differentiate you from the competition, allow you to expand globally, increase your email list and so much more.

Enter the digital age and expand your merchandise mix into the digital product category with Shop Hacker.


If you are an existing merchant looking to expand into digital goods the process is daunting. The current process looks something like this:

  • Build or integrate digital fulfillment technology such as license delivery to end consumers
  • Hire digital sales account executive to begin securing digital product vendor partnerships
  • Build additional ecommerce technology to support multi vendor promotions ie bundles
  • Develop your digital merchandise mix strategy:
    • Price Points
    • Product Categories (Games, eLearning, SaaS, Mac/PC)
    • Promotional Structure (Freebies, Bundles, Solos)
    • Offer Structure (Margin, Subscription Term Length, Sales Duration)
    • Sales Page Images and Copy

Most ecommerce retailers do not expand into digital goods because a) they do not understand how digital products can greatly improve their merchandise mix b) the friction to actually set up the systems for digital goods sales success is too cumbersome.


If you are a new merchant, platforms like Shopify have made spinning up your store rather simple. The issue then becomes merchandise. What are you actually going to sell? Do you buy inventory? Do you set up drop ship partnerships? Do you use an app like Oberlo which can help you leverage products from Alibaba etc?

Drop ship partnerships and now leveraging Oberlo + Alibaba tend to be the quickest path to cash. As a new merchant just getting started, this is still a serious learning curve. Executing the prospecting to close drop ship vendors, having products shipped from China, dealing with tracking numbers and returns etc.

The Shop Hacker platform and our digital goods portfolio will allow merchants to be more successful as ecommece entrepreneurs. Higher margins, less operational burden, no vendor sales efforts, and one platform to manage all their digital products.


Our survey also indicated existing elearning instructors would be interested in having their own digital marketplace or course marketplace. While products like Teachable have made it simple to spin up your own course sales website these sites leave a lot of be desired. If you have one course does it make sense to have your own site? Probably not. But if you had 100+ courses around your given expertise now you have a more compelling product to invest marketing resources behind.

Problem - Vendor

Being a digital product entrepreneur is a wonderful high margin business if you have the marketing skills. If you struggle with marketing you may have trouble selling enough digital goods to sustain and grow your business.

While marketplaces like Udemy, Amazon, Creative Market, the Mac App Store etc are amazing sales channels they can be limited.

With Shop Hacker’s ecommerce network your digital goods can be marketed and sold to an entirely new audience.

By joining the Shop Hacker network you are supercharging your product for ecommerce

distribution. The minute you join the network your product can now be added to any ecommerce site in the world seamlessly.

Our network of ecommerce sites are excited about expanding into digital goods and are looking for digital products just like yours. These sites have email lists with millions of customers who are passionate about digital deals.

By joining the Shop Hacker network you instantly scale your own product distribution network.

Additional distribution means more sales for your business.


Distribution for digital products on the ecommerce side is still underdeveloped. If you are a physical product entrepreneur you can sell via Amazon, Big Box retail, other ecommerce retailers, distributors, and direct-to-consumer. If you are a digital product entrepreneur you are limited to direct-to-consumer efforts and a few vertical marketplaces like Udemy or the Mac App Store. While some e-tailers are dipping their toes into digital product sales like Living Social with 406 elearning offers, closing this partnership as digital entrepreneur takes an enterprise sales process yet the results tend to look more like an SMB deal. Digital entrepreneurs need more distribution and revenue as indicated by our survey results here.

Solution

Solution - Merchant

Here is our Shop Hacker Merchant deck. This sales deck is for merchants not using Shopify.

Shop Hacker’s app allows any ecommerce merchant to seamlessly add 1000s of digital products to their store instantly.

On the merchant side, the Shop Hacker solution supports both Shopify and non-Shopify Merchants. So essentially any ecommece shop on the globe can leverage the Shop Hacker platform. Now that the Shop Hacker product is built for non-Shopify merchants we plan on building and launching the Shopify app in December. We decided to build a non-Shopify version as well because while Shopify has 600K merchants, there are millions of ecommerce websites using other platforms and we wanted to optimize for maximum distribution for our vendors.

Solution - Vendors

Here is our Shop Hacker Vendor deck.

Shop Hacker’s app allows any vendor to have their digital products added to 1000s of ecommerce stores.

Demo

You can view the full Shop Hacker product at https://shophacker.com. You can sign up as a vendor, merchant, or consumer.

Shop Hacker Tech

Shop Hacker was built using Ruby on Rails for the application framework and both Postgres and Redis databases. It is deployed to the Heroku app engine, which sits on top of AWS.

It enables merchants to add products and bundles to their store, along with uploading sale reports to track sales. The system also allows merchants to build full digital bundles of products that can be added to their own stores.Shop Hacker enables digital goods vendors to add their products to the marketplace, including the ability to track sales and receive payouts.

Lastly, customers that purchase digital goods on third party sites are sent, via email, a full set of redemption instructions for each product that they purchase.

Community Building During Hackathon

No question here this was our weaknesses area of execution. Due to our backgrounds as elearning instructors, developers, and ecommerce entrepreneurs/consultants we leveraged our time to build the product, the sales material, landing pages etc. Matt (Shop Hacker’s CEO) has ecommerce clients who have been asking for a solution like Shop Hacker for the last 6 months. And Matt is essentially executing the Shop Hacker solution via his manual consulting efforts. Advising companies how to setup the digital ecommerce tech, doing the vendor partnerships, etc. We felt good about our customer discovery data due to our backgrounds and experience. Therefore we took a risk. We optimized to build a real platform product and have a full MVP versus hustling to market a half-baked product. This may be a cardinal sin in startups by not obsessing over early customer feedback or marketing a product we “are embarrassed of” but we felt that we had the advantage of piggybacking off our existing businesses. Jordan (Shop Hacker CTO) founded devCamp (a dev bootcamp) and is a top Udemy instructor. Matt’s (Shop Hacker CEO) current business (Full Stack Sales) works with several ecommerce companies and 100s of digital product vendors. The experience, relationships, and infrastructure we have from our full-time jobs allowed us to enter the Hackathon with our own “community” so we felt like we did not not need to optimize for this piece of criteria. It is a risk we hope pays off by the quality of this deliverable and the actual product.

Is Shop Hacker truly unique?

A few ways to determine the uniqueness of the Shop Hacker solution.

Evaluate Shopify App Store

Currently in the Shopify App Store there are:

  • 63 Apps in the “Product Sourcing” category
  • 350 Apps in the “Marketing” category
  • 404 Apps in the “Sales” category
  • 112 Apps in the “Social Media” category
  • 186 Apps in the “Shipping” category
  • 118 Apps in the “Inventory” category
  • 116 Apps in the “Customer Service” category
  • 53 Apps in the “Accounting” category
  • 738 Apps in the “Tools” category
  • 80 Apps in the “Reporting” category
  • 20 Apps in the “Sales Channel” category

Therefore the total amount of apps in the Shopify App Store is 2,240. Therefore from a pure ecosystem and visibility standpoint Shop Hacker is in a solid strategic position. We did not create another “me too” iOS app. We are competing for eyeballs in a pool of 2K apps so that in of itself is unique. Further breaking down the Shopify App Store by category highlights how there are only 63 Apps in the “Product Sourcing” category. The leader in the space is Oberlo who was just purchased by Shopify for $15M. Therefore once again Shop Hacker is battling against 63 other apps versus 1000s in the iOS or Android app stores. Of the 63 Shopify apps none of them are offering digital products for resale by Shopify Merchants.

Existing Solutions

The vertical digital product marketplaces want the sales to happen via their platform. Affiliate platforms like Commission Junction focus on driving sales for the vendor via backlinks and have no solution for an ecommece merchant. And most of the digital product fulfillment web apps are focused on facilitating the redemption of the digital product versus supplying the redemption tech and the merchandise.

Closing

Shop Hacker is the ideal candidate to win the Hackathon because the missions of Product Hunt, Angel List, and Shop Hacker are aligned. We want to help great product entrepreneurs and startups succeed. And we want to empower technology entrepreneurship worldwide. Thanks and good luck to all the other teams. Regardless of the outcome of the Hackathon, the Shop Hacker team will push forward. Cheers!