Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hey, guys! This is Erman, an entrepreneur and a 12+ year veteran in digital marketing. Not long ago, in 2017, I co-founded a company named Solverhood that offers productized services for companies and entrepreneurs in Upwork. Up until now, we have already completed over 300 projects and passed $500K+ in revenue with a 100% proven success rate and only positive feedback.
However, I am here to tell you the story of Analyzify.app - our latest product. Analyzify is a Shopify app that helps merchants have an accurate and reliable data tracking setup using data layers, Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, and many other tools.
At Solverhood, we’ve been receiving many data-analytics-related requests from Shopify stores. As a result, we decided to create our own Shopify Data Analytics app. We did not expect these numbers at all. Analyzify empowers over 350 Shopify stores and generates $12K+/month only after 7 months since the launch - and with the first version of the app.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
The Internet has always been my biggest focus of interest ever since I was a kid. I managed to make some money by making websites, selling perfumes online, and writing some blogs in the first years of university. Later on, my best friends and I became business partners and we had a few different small start-ups - all based on the internet. We ended up founding a boutique digital agency and mainly serving SEM clients in our local market, Turkey. But in the end, we both wanted to expand our lives and live abroad. That’s how our relationship with Turkish clients ended and we founded Selfinvest while we were in Peru. Solverhood, my current company, was born as a Selfinvest project in 2017. You can read the full story here.
I firmly believe that our #1 advantage is our principles of customer relations and happiness.
DataPack, Solverhood’s productized offer for data-analytics-related projects, had received too many requests from Shopify stores. So we decided to create a standalone product for the Shopify market. We knew it would be successful - but we didn’t expect it would receive this much demand. More importantly, I didn’t expect I would stay focused ONLY on this project for almost 8 months now.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
In the beginning, it only seemed like a 1-month project for us. We would find a Ruby & Rails developer (that’s what we have heard as the best practice for a Shopify app); have a simple, clean UI. The app would inject data layers, Google Tag Manager codes into the store - and provide a tailored Google Tag Manager container for the merchants to import. It seemed that simple. We already had everything - we just needed to turn it into a product.
The coding, creating data layers, making it globally work with most Shopify themes, and preparing Google Tag Manager containers took more than 3 months. 2 senior data specialists and 1 senior developer were involved - mostly outsourced.
Every time we tested the app on a new store, we found more elements that were not working as expected. Shopify is a simple environment for merchants and end-users, but unfortunately, it is not the case for developers and partners. The apps and themes constantly conflict with each other. As the new one in the market, you need to make your app compatible with all of them - even though the mistake is totally on their end sometimes.
We finally felt ready and submitted the app for the Shopify App Store’s approval process.
All was ready to launch…
Describe the process of launching the business.
It wasn’t ready. I thought it was - because we have never created a SaaS product before. The other products we have are “productized services” - totally different. Here we are trying to make a solution that would work in 1000s of stores.
I realized the product was not ready once I started building the website. Writing the content and our features made me go through the app over and over. Every time I tried something new - it just didn’t work. I always got positive feedback from the team - but it seemed like only I was trying so hard. And I felt like I was the only one who could get this set up and running.
People bought our app with zero reviews because they didn’t have any other choice. No other solution worked, no other professional solved their problem. And we did solve their problem.
Every week I was telling myself and the team - “it will be ready next week” and it wasn’t—again. Finally, everything was ready - including our first version of the website. 2 months of software builds + another 4 months for tests, and other things (website, help materials, video docs, etc).
I was so proud of the website - and everything else. We got rejected a few times by Shopify App Store, mostly for not-valid reasons.
The Shopify Partners team was very helpful and it was finally approved. Now we need SALES!
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We knew the Shopify App Store itself was not an adequate distribution channel - especially for a new app. An opportunity sparkled in my head. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was recently launched, and Shopify didn’t (still doesn’t) have a native integration with GA4. The videos on Youtube only showed basic implementation. None of them covered e-commerce features. We decided to make a freemium version of our product where you can make GA4 work in your store—at no cost. We called it “Analyzify GA4 Wizard”, a simple WordPress form that generates a few lines of code.
We made a Youtube video on this topic:
It was the first tutorial video that made GA4 Ecommerce features running on Shopify—without an app.
The video started to receive 20-30 views, 8 -10 leads per day. And finally, we received our first sales. I would always think: Why would you buy an app with zero reviews? I learned the answer to that the hard way.
I was not happy enough because our product was rarely working properly. We needed to talk to each client, access their accounts, fix their unique problems. I was asking my team how we could sustain it and why the app was not working. Would it ever work? We owe a lot to our top 10 customers; thanks to them, I realized that we were taking on Shopify's toughest and most desperate cases. They bought an app with zero reviews because they didn’t have any other choice. No other solution worked, no other professional solved their problem. And we did solve their problem.
That’s why they adored us, and wrote amazing reviews. We started to attract “normal merchants” as well and finally started to enjoy our product - and the reactions we receive.
I kept getting in touch with each client, asking them their needs, helping them set up, giving them more information on GTM, GA, and Analyzify. I was learning a lot from them.
The ones that decided to purchase the app were so happy when I sent them a meeting request: “Wow - the guy from the videos”
In the meantime, that single Youtube video kept performing great and dominated search results. Honestly, I also loved making videos and creating content. After 2 months, I launched a video series: Shopify Google Tag Manager Course. I have provided a series of tutorials where merchants can set their GTM accounts and others by themselves. I paid a lot of attention to each video and did my best to create the best possible content with all my capabilities. I hired a few videographers and tried to create a professional video series. And that changed everything. The videos started to get 300+ daily views and were ranked well in search results.
We had a great promotion channel where hundreds of Shopify merchants or professionals engaged with our brand and me personally. The ones that decided to purchase the app were so happy when I sent them a meeting request: “Wow - the guy from the videos”.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Analyzify’s team currently consists of 6 people - 2 full-time and 4 part-time including me. We empower 400+ Shopify stores and generated $15K+ in the last two months on average. Our setup and support capacity has always been extreme, that’s why we haven’t been able to run a marketing campaign so far, we didn’t even send a single email to our 2000+ email subscribers.
We launched our first add-on: Shopify Server-Side Tagging and that made a very positive impact on our revenue.
We are profitable but we are also aware that we should lower our support load in case we want to grow to 1000s of stores in a short amount of time. We are working on automation and improving our app & systems for more of a self-service approach.
I still have a feeling like we are at the MVP phase with our app and we have a lot to improve. I plan to leave Analyzify to the team and get back to other Solverhood products in the next few months.
We have recently launched Analyzify Hub where we share valuable insights, tutorials, and the latest data analytics & marketing-related content for Shopify stores.
Our team is completely remote and here is a lovely photo from our first and last team meeting! Yes, we only had one so far.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I firmly believe that our #1 advantage is our principles of customer relations and happiness. Most companies/entrepreneurs would argue that what we are doing is wrong. Sometimes we spent 5+ hours for just one client - too much for a $139/one-time fee app. We love helping, we love seeing our clients spoiled and amazed. If that’s going to make us scale slower - let it be! That’s what we believed and applied in Solverhood, and we are very proud and happy to bring the same approach into the Shopify market.
Creating video content and engaging with clients before they purchase is another benefit we feel. Clients trust us in advance. We have already proven our expertise and goodwill through the videos. The relationship starts with appreciation from their side.
As a mistake, we didn’t invest enough in our self-service help center and we solved most of the client problems on our own. We learned a lot from it but we kept solving the same problems and spending a lot of time with the problems that were not even caused by our app.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
- HelpScout for Help Center - now switching to Zendesk
- Telegram for internal instant communication
- Notion for internal knowledge base and product management
- Cloudapp for screenshots and gifs (wow - amazing!)
- Vimeo to record and share client & internal videos
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Education Series: Startup Secrets by Michael Skok from Harvard Innovation Labs
Book: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
Podcast: The Jordan Peterson Podcast
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
I don’t feel in a position where I can give advice. I learn every day and realize how much I don’t know. I can only say what worked great for me. I urge entrepreneurs to create content in the topic that they are comfortable with, in the form (podcast, text, video) they feel ok. Creating content teaches me more than anything and it makes you visible in this crowded world. A lot of great products are getting lost due to errors in distribution.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are looking for a copywriter/content writer. We only need 10-12 hours/week. Responsibilities will be:
- Creating our email series,
- Rewriting our website content,
- Reviewing and proofreading our help center articles.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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