April 1, 2020

Ep. 25 – The Real Value Of Shopify Plus – With Edward Wimmer

You have to love what you’re selling. You
gotta love it so much, that you feel like you’d be doing the world a disservice if you
didn’t bring it to them. Welcome to Honest eCommerce where we are dedicated
to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. I’m your host, Chase Clymer And I’m your host, Annette Grant. And we believe running an online business
does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. If you’re struggling to scale your sales,
Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us. visit electriceye.io/connect
to learn more. And let’s get on with the show. In today’s episode of Honest eCommerce, we
welcome the CEO and founder of ROAD ID as he shares with us how his company saved $1
million a year moving to Shopify Plus. Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode
of Honest eCommerce. I am sitting here next to Annette Grant who can’t plug-in wires.
And today… (laughs) (laughs) So we’re delayed getting started. Yeah. Because I messed every single wire up that
we could. But we’re live now. We’re here. We’re back with another founder’s’ story.
These are awesome. These are super fun. You get to hear from people that have a real-life
business. This isn’t fake. So anyway, without further ado, I would love
to welcome Edward to the show, another Ohioan. Edward comes to us from ROAD ID. It’s an amazing
product and he’s going to give us that history right now. So take us back 19 years to the
start of the business and what brought you here today, I guess. Chase, Annette, thank you for having me on
the show. I do want to correct one thing. You called me in Ohioan. (laughs) Oh, no… I am very near the city of Cincinnati, Ohio,
but I am on the bourbon side of the river. So I’m on the Kentucky side. Oh okay. I did know that either. Awesome. I’m a proud Kentuckian and happy to be here
today. Thanks for teeing up the “how it all started” conversation. That’s a story I love
talking about because it’s pretty fun for me to look back 19 years, almost 20 years
now. So in the world of eCommerce, you would consider us a dinosaur, but a dinosaur that
hasn’t gone extinct yet. So we’re ever-evolving and trying to continue
to persevere in the world of digital commerce. It was 1999. I was a college senior training
for a marathon. And because I was a good college student, I would make that obligatory call
home to the folks every couple of weeks or so. And during one of those calls, I told
my dad that I was training for a marathon and his first response was, “Mari-what?!” (laughs) And I had to assure him that it was a marathon
training and his immediate reaction was, “That sounds kinda silly. You’re training to run
26.2 miles and you’re doing it on these country roads out in the middle of nowhere 16-18 miles
at a time on a weekend.” And I assured him that I was being safe and taking all the necessary
precautions. But he didn’t necessarily believe me. He had a selfish concern which was, “If you
have an accident while out there training on these country roads, how would I, as your
father, even know about it? How would they contact me?” And he was right. When you go
for a run, you pick your running shoes and shorts and a T-shirt and that’s it. You’re
certainly not carrying any ID with you. And back in those days. You didn’t have an
iPhone, you had your Walkman most likely with you. So no one really knows who you are. There’s
no like ICE in your iPhone, that they can call in case of emergency. That’s right. Yeah, that didn’t exist. So
there I was, training on a rural road in Kentucky. We got plenty of those around here. And it
was an 18-mile Saturday run. It was the weekend. The Saturday after I had that call with my
dad where he was worried about my safety. And he actually asked me to take an ID with
me in case I had an accident. And on a country road, (the) speed limit (is)
55 miles an hour, I see this truck coming towards me. And it keeps coming and it doesn’t
seem to be getting over and it keeps getting closer and still doesn’t seem to be moving
and it keeps getting closer. And at the last minute, I realized, “Oh my
god. This truck doesn’t see me.” So, to avoid being hit, I jump off the side of the road.
I find myself in a ditch thinking, “Oh my god. That was close.” I had two very scary
realizations that day. One was, I could have been hit by that truck.
I could have been unconscious, maybe (at) the local hospital, fighting for my life –literally
at a time when you would want people by your side– and nobody would know who I was. They wouldn’t know how to contact my folks
or my friends or other family members. They wouldn’t know how to access medical information.
They wouldn’t even know what to call me. I’d be a John Doe on a local hospital and that
really, really freaked me out. Dad’s idea of carrying IDs started to make
a little bit of sense. Which leads me to the second and far scarier realization I had that
day, for the first time in 21 years of life, I might have to admit that my dad was actually
right about something. (laughs) So, if you’ve been there before, you know
how scary that can be. But a few months after that. Like I said, I’m a senior in college.
And I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I always knew I
wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know with what. And I had that love, that
entrepreneurial love because my father was one our whole life. He’s your prototypical visionary moving from
one idea to the next before one would get gain traction. He wasn’t necessarily financially
successful, but he loved what he did. So I saw that love in his eyes every day as a kid
and I knew I wanted some of that. So, armed with two credit cards –that’s all we had.
We were both broke. I was a broke college student. My dad was a broke adult.– but we
had these two credit cards that we got because –I filled out the credit card applications
outside the school cafeteria– because I wanted to free t-shirts that came with them. And
with these credit cards, we decided we were going to start a business. We were going to make a product. A wearable
ID that runners, cyclists, triathletes could wear, that would communicate who you are,
who to contact, and how to access medical information in an emergency. So we launched
our first eCommerce store a little bit after we launched the company. So in 2000, our first store went live. And
that night, we processed 19 orders. I woke up in the morning with my arms in the air
thinking, “Oh my god, this eCommerce thing is amazing. We’re going to be rich.” But I
realized pretty quickly that those 19 orders were actually one order. (laughs) I was gonna ask, how did you get
that much traffic that quick in 1999? Yeah, so the 19 orders is just one order duplicated
19 times. So my first order of business as an eCommerce entrepreneur was to figure out
how to credit a credit card 18 times. So my dad and I sat in this leaky basement
in Northern Kentucky and we thought, “Well, if we could just help one person in an accident,
one person gets the right help at the right time, improve the outcome of the accident
and emergency situation, then all the effort, the blood sweat, and tears, the working for
no money, the working two jobs just to pay the bills, all of that would be worth it if
we could help one person.” And so I’m going to flash way forward now.
Here it is, almost 20 years later in 2019. And it’s not an exaggeration when I say that
every day, somebody is reaching out to us saying, “Thank God for my ROAD ID.” and those
stories range and scale from, “I tripped over a curb. I was relatively okay, but I didn’t
want to answer all the first responders questions when they started peppering me with them.”
to parents who’ve told us that they’ve gotten reunited with their children at Disney or
a major theme parks because they got separated, –the kid’s wearing a ROAD ID. It has the
parents phone number on it.– to cyclists that have a car collision or collision with
a car and they said they wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the information on
the ROAD ID and the access that it gave first responders, to very tragic stories. We had a mom post on our Facebook page –and
these are hard for me to talk about– but a mom post on our Facebook page because her
son was wearing one when he got hit by a car, that she was able to get to the hospital to
have enough time to hold her son’s hand, to tell him that she loves him one last time. And so, not to take us to a very sad place
but we are very mission, “why-focused” here at ROAD ID and it’s because what we are doing
helps save lives. It fuels adventure and it brings lots of peace of mind to people. So
that’s how we started. We’re 19 years to 20 years later. We are an 8-figure eCom company
with about 40 folks and our stated dream or vision is to see the day when wearing ID is
as common as strapping on a seat belt. If you think about it, it’s a paradigm shift
that has occurred in recent decades. Not unlike wearing bike helmets. There’s a
paradigm shift in safety that has occurred recently. And even more recently, helmets
on the slopes is a paradigm shift in safety that has occurred just in the last half-decade. Yeah, that is a wild ride that you shared
with us there. Yeah. Okay. So I’ll let the listeners know that we met in Columbus, Ohio.
You came out to one of our meetups. And I heard this story before and I was like, “Alright.
We’re starting a podcast. You have to be on our podcast. You have to share that with our
audience.” Yeah, I feel like we could… This could probably
be broken down into six episodes because that could be an episode in itself. Just the beginning
there. I do have a question. Did you finish your first marathon? I did. Awesome. It wasn’t very fast. I was right at the four-hour
mark, but I did finish it. Katana Ad
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first three months of a paid subscription, Check out Katana today. So in the pre-show, somehow Edward got out
of my process and we actually didn’t have any notes for this episode. And we’re like
doing it on a whim. But you know, we’re honest over here, it’s in the name. (laughs) So they are now on Shopify, but you weren’t
before and tell us about building your own eCommerce solution. Yeah. If you think about it, the year 2000,
as I indicated, our first store, there were no platforms. If you wanted to sell online,
you had to build it. Shopify, I think, was launched in 2006. And Magento came online
in 2008. So, they weren’t around. They weren’t even conceived of at that time, nor was any
platform for that matter. So if you want to sell online, you had to
build it yourself. So we did. And even as platforms started evolving, they weren’t a
great fit for us because we sell a customized product. You have to key in 5 to 7 lines of
customized text that allow your ROAD ID to be produced. So for a long time, we just thought
we’re going to be custom bespoke forever. And it wasn’t just our store. It was our pick, pack, and ship software,
it was our order management, it was our engraving software, everything that it takes to run
an eCommerce business, we built from the ground up. This meant that it was highly tuned for
our specific needs and for our customers’ specific needs. It also meant that it was
really expensive. As we add to a theme, if I think back to,
I don’t know, 2010 or so, we probably had 6 or 8 engineers on staff, building our suite
of applications. And so about 2016, we started to say, “Okay. Well, maybe a platform will
work for us.” And we did a really deep dive into lots of different platforms from Magento
to Shopify to BigCommerce. And if you can name it, we tried it. And we went down a particular path of something
that we thought was going to be really good for us and really extendable for us. And it
was an enterprise solution. And it was really expensive. I think we had $300,000 invested in it before
we realized that it just wasn’t going to work for us and we pulled the plug. So, $300,000
down the tubes or mostly down the tubes. We did learn a few things. I want to stop you right there. Yeah. How mad are you about spending that money
to know… Right now, knowing that pulling the plug on that was the right business move? Oh. I don’t think about it at all. If you
were to tee up a question and say (something) like, “What are one of your biggest business
mistakes?”, that might make the list. But probably not. I mean, it’s just part of the
learning process of being in business. We thought this was the right step. We went
down that path. It ended up being the right step. The very important lesson for us was
that you have to be disciplined enough to realize you’ve made a mistake. Yep. So that’s the lesson. Oh yeah. I want to pull that out right there. That’s
the lesson right there. The first lesson of the episode is, “It doesn’t matter how far
down the rabbit hole you’ve gone, you can always pivot and fail fast.” You don’t want
to be failing for five years. You want to realize you failed and pivot and
move on to the next iteration of whatever the concept or idea… But yeah, just because
you’ve invested a big amount of money in it –if in your gut, you know it’s wrong– pull
the plug. And I want to ask. Normally, when someone
has a custom-built site, they never even look at a different solution. I feel like they
have an ego about it. When I talk to people about Shopify sometimes they’re like, “Oh,
my site’s custom. It’s custom.” Like, their one developer is going to be better
than this, amazing ecosystem that Shopify is built. So I want to know why you even transition,
to think there was a different solution, besides the custom that you worked for. –it sounded
like, what, 16 years or so at this point in time– to build. Like, why were you pivoting
away from your custom solution in the first place? Yeah, that’s an easy answer. The answer is
that we were so early to eCommerce –in 2000– that we were setting convention. I like to
think that we invented a few eCommerce conventions that exist today. Like shopping cart abandonment,
I’ll just use that example. That came about because I walked into our senior developer’s
office, and I said, “Hey, we capture email addresses for people as they move through
the purchase journey, right?” “Yeah.” “Well, if they don’t finish their order, would
we be able to send them a link and have them come back to the store and recreate that for
them?” “Yeah.” “How long would that take?” “I don’t know, I could probably have it done
this afternoon.” “Well, let’s do that.” And so this wasn’t something that we saw or
experienced somewhere else. It was something that just came to our minds, and I’m sure
we weren’t the only ones who invented it at that time. Things have a tendency of being
thought about in different places in the world at the same time. But we did our own shopping
cart abandonment. Which really, is an example to say that we were driving… We were moving faster than platforms were
moving. Back in 2006, Shopify comes on board. 2008, Magento. We were already ahead of that
until we weren’t. So then things start happening. Like, browse abandonment or “customers also
love.” Yeah, we could do that. We could build all that. But it’s not on the roadmap right now and
there are more important things in front of it. So then you get a few conventions to come
and they pass you by and you start getting frustrated. You could say, “We could probably
solve this by throwing a few more engineers at the problem. But that’s really expensive.” So it becomes a cost-benefit… It became
a cost-benefit analysis and the need to keep up. So your point Annette about switching
to a platform where they have big teams of people working hard on the platforms to stay
current and to drive convention, we started seeing that. So we knew we needed to switch
because we didn’t want to keep falling behind. And by 2015, we were definitely falling behind. So is that when you made the switch? Was (it)
2015? 2015 is when the search began. Okay. And then so when did you guys end up
on Shopify? We ended up on Shopify, in… We launched
our store in September of ’17. So it took a little while. Remember, we had that mistake,
where we invested all that money on an enterprise solution. That made us a little bit gunshy.
We came back in and said, “Well, maybe it’s just best if we keep innovating our existing
platform.” And then what we did… The real turning point for us was, we had
a smaller store where we ran an event sponsorship program out of. It was really outdated but
we were never going to get around to it because it wasn’t forward to our business. And what we did was to say, “Okay. Let’s test
Shopify with that little store.” And two days later, we had a store up and running. So we’re
like, “Huh. That was easy. Could we possibly do our custom product on Shopify also?” So, we became a Shopify Plus customer instead
of building a store that could take our… We had to extend Shopify a bit, to do the
customization of our IDs but that was relatively easy, too. So, now we get the massive advantage of having
a company with dozens, if not, more engineers working every day on innovating and extending
a platform, along with a massive audience of app developers and that all comes for free. We don’t have to have a team of 6/8/10 software
engineers driving it. So this would be my, perhaps the second, “Write this down” moment
of this conversation which is, if you’re not on Shopify, you’re making a big mistake. Simplr Ad
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trial at simplr.ai/honest. Can you fathom some numbers here? The savings
going to (Shopify) Plus on just salaries alone for those employees. How much are you saving
a year? And then you can even take out the cost of Plus a month. And I mean also, you should probably add in
the savings of not having to pay for your server space anymore, not having to pay for
your SSLs and all the traffic stuff. What do you think your net gain from this move
was? As far as savings? It’s at least a million dollars minimum. A year? Is that a million a year you were
saving making this switch? Yes. (laughs) That’s why you don’t want to do anything custom.
When people come to us all the time, asking, they’re like, “We got this really awesome
idea that I want to do this thing on my website.” And we’re like. “Cool. Yeah. We can do that.
We’re gonna use this to solve for it.” And they’re like, “Oh, why don’t we do a custom?”
And then I just… I’m just going to point them to this episode now. Right. (laughs) Yeah, no. I mean, by the time you
figure in the cost of hosting like you said, and the cost of the engineering team that’s
needed to do it, and just opportunity cost. How much of my time as founder and CEO was
spent trying to think of the roadmap? I don’t have the roadmap anymore. Yes, we still have a roadmap for Shopify,
but it’s a different type of roadmap. It’s a lot easier. Yeah, no. If you’re not Shopify,
massive mistake. Get on Shopify. It’s such a big disparity, Chase that I don’t even know
what we pay for Plus. Ha-ha! I love that! That’s it. It’s so small in comparison to what we were
paying, it doesn’t even register on my radar. That’s when you know you’re with the right
solution. When you don’t even think twice about what that monthly fee is. You’re like,
“I would pay it. It’s worth every penny even if they were to charge us more.” So that’s
a testament there, too. What is it? You guys probably know. It starts at $1000 a month. Yeah. So a $1000 month for Plus. (laughs) As opposed to more than a million a year. Yeah. Insane. So you made the switch, let’s
talk about the current day right now. What are you excited about? Because obviously,
you’ve chosen the right platform. You’re there. You’ve chosen the right product. You’re 20
years in. What are you excited about? How do you keep coming back to work every day?
What are the technology things that are keeping you wanting to come to work and not just sell
the whole company? Well, I think, first and foremost that’s why
we exist. So, we exist to save lives by the peace of mind and (to) fuel adventure and
I can’t understate that enough. That’s what… Everybody that comes to work here, that’s
why they show up every day. So we think very… If you’ve not seen Simon
Sinek’s Golden Circle video, go watch that because it really helps you understand why
you are in business. And we’re a very “why” focused company. So first and foremost, that. The other thing
that makes me excited and this comes from getting off track. We were for a little while
and then realizing we lost our way and had to get back. So we’ve been customer-obsessed
since day one. Obsessing about the customer journey. In fact,
the way we state it is that… At ROAD ID, our stated goal is to deliver a product, service
and customer journey so blindingly awesome, that our customers can’t help but share it.
This has been and will always be the most powerful growth lever that you can have. If you think about brands –and Shopify brands–
that have seemingly exploded overnight like Allbirds or ThirdLove or Pura Vida, do they
have effective digital marketing campaigns? Sure. A network of influencers? No doubt. But they’re not growing like crazy because
they’re really savvy digital marketers. They’re growing like crazy because their customers
love them. When the customers love you, they shout from the digital rooftops –social media–
and they will… I like to say they would show up to a knife-fight for you. And like, we coined “knife-fight customer
service” many years back because we had an experience where one of our customers was
slamming us in a forum. Several of our customers sent (messages) into our customer service
teams, “Hey, this guy is really beating you guys up over in this popular bike forum.” And I was immediately offended, having not
even read it. I went over the bike forum. I checked it out. This guy, what he said was
about us was emotionally painful for me. And I was getting ready to respond. But before
I responded, I looked at hundreds of comments from our customers that were coming to our
defense. And they were telling this guy, “Dude, you
got it all wrong. ROAD ID is an amazing company. If you have a problem with them, just reach
out to them they’re going to take care of it. It’s that simple.” And so I say, if you
treat your customers right, if you stand out in the sea of vanilla, then customers will
really show up to a knife fight for you. They will solve your problems because they’ll
want to communicate with you and say, “Hey, I noticed this thing that didn’t seem quite
right for you. I want to make sure you address it.” They will solve their customer… They’re
solving problems and help you grow your business and they’re gonna tell all their friends about
it. So I think it’s vitally important that you
do business as people and not as a business. Because customers, they don’t want to buy
from a company. They want to buy from people. And so I could go on and on about that point
specifically, but I started this by saying we kind of went wayward and we came back. So, for a couple of years, we got a little
vanilla. And guess what, business suffered. Because while we were still delivering a great
product at a great price and delivering sound service, we weren’t remarkable. When I say remarkable, I don’t mean great,
I mean remark worthy. You have to do customer service so well that if they nail the journey
so perfectly that people want to tell people about it. So, “why-focused”, obsessing about the customer
journey, those are the top two. The thing that has piqued my interest most recently…
And I’ll slow down if you want me to slow down. No. No. No. We’re just quietly… (laughs) You’re taking all of my talking points away
from me. I’m like, “Oh shit, that’s his show now.” Yeah, it’s good. Keep it going. Keep it going. (laughs) So like my latest discovery is that
the customer journey is messier than I thought it was. If you think back to 1999, people
were still doing print ads a lot, newspapers a lot, radio a lot, TV a lot. And the only
way to measure all that stuff was to look at revenue and say, “Did it go up?” You just
measure it less. And then digital commerce came along like,
“Well, we can measure stuff now.” I remember when the predecessor to Google Ads came out
–this thing called Overture– I was like, “Oh my God! I can show other people’s search
results? And they can click that? And I know how much money I spent? And I can also know
how much I made? This is amazing!” And things were pretty straightforward for
more than a decade like you could… You knew… Attribution wasn’t hard. But because the customer
journey is messier than it has ever been, because there are so many devices, there’s
so many browsers, so many platforms, so many channels, and marketplaces. I mean, you’re not just selling on your eCommerce
store in many cases, you’re also on Etsy and eBay and Amazon, so attribution is nuts. I’ll
frame this up in a very real example that we had recently. We launched a product. And in fairness, it’s
a product that we have, but we never promoted. And so it was just riding along and then doing
a fair amount of, a low amount of sales for us. And we decided, “You know what, let’s
put some ad dollars behind.” And that was four months ago. In March, we did almost $100,000 of sales
over that product. It went from almost zero to $100,000 but we can only attribute… We
only have an attribution for about half of it. So as we know, Facebook, and Google and
everybody else were buying ads for, they want to claim responsibility for as much as they
can. Like Facebook. It’s taking credit for sales
that it shouldn’t be taking credit for. Google is doing the same thing. We know that is true.
And we have our internal own media, we’re sending out email, we have organic social
working for us, we have some influencers that are talking about it. But we can only attribute
about half of that. What does that mean now? If that’s real, then
perhaps our paid media targets need to be lower. So we have a ROAS goal for our paid
media, perhaps it needs to be lower. Perhaps there’s actually… Even as far as Facebook
and Google are working to take credit for every sale, maybe they’re not taking credit
or as much as they ought to be. But that is my latest discovery. The customer
journey is messier than I thought. As a result, attributions are harder than ever, and perhaps
we’re leaving money on the table. At ROAD ID, we find it hard to talk about
money because it’s not about money, it’s about making a difference in people’s lives. If
perhaps we’re not making as much a difference in people’s lives as we could be, maybe we
need to be spending more on paid media. Yeah, that sounds like a fun challenge. Data
is confusing if you don’t know what you’re reading. It’s the only place you can find
the truth about business though. That’s true. No. You gotta pay attention to
the numbers and we obsessed about data. We have a formula here that I’m always surprised
when eCommerce businesses don’t understand or don’t use it. But the formula for eCommerce is pretty simple.
It’s Sessions x Conversion Rate x Average Order Value=Revenue. That’s just simple.
Every dollar value is multiplied to those things together and out the other side. You
get revenue. Okay. So you know the proposal I was working
on… Annette was looking at our… That’s literally the page, it’s in all of our proposals.
eCommerce boils down to these three KPIs. And if you do that for your own site, you’re
like, “Well, these numbers don’t add up.” Because it averages. But it’s going to be
within a 20% margin of what you’re doing online is that… Yeah. Okay. Edward go over that. Say that one more
time for our listeners, though. Slow. Sessions x Conversion Rate x Average Order
Value=Revenue and you’ve got to obsess on them. If you’re big enough, you obsess on
them daily. If you’re not big enough to spend that time
on it, obsess about them weekly. And if you’re not able to obsess on them weekly, you’re
probably just getting started and your hair’s on fire and you don’t know what to obsess
about. But those three metrics are vital to the enduring
success of an eCommerce company. Let me break this down. I went to public school, so my
math isn’t all that great but let me see if I can break this down in an example. So let’s use round numbers. 100,00 monthly
visitors=Sessions. If your conversion rate is 2% and your average order value is $50,
the revenue is going to be $100,000. Right? So… No one’s checking your math, just letting
you know. Nobody’s checking your math over here. (laughs) So yes, you’re right, you’re correct. $100,00 in revenue. Yep. If you were able to move that conversion rate
to 3%, –from 2% to 3%- and the average order value from $50 to $55, your monthly revenue
goes up to $165,000. That’s a 65% increase in monthly revenue by focusing on two metrics,
conversion rate, and average order value. What most of us want to do as eCommerce entrepreneurs. We want to go out, we want to get more people
in the store. “Let’s tell the story to more people. Let’s buy… Let’s spend more money
on paid media. Let’s figure out how to get more people to visit us and buy our product.”
Sessions isn’t always the problem. It’s still conversion rate and average order value or
2. Sessions isn’t the problem. And then when you get those three things dialed
in, you have a regular process, continual improvement process for those three metrics,
then you start thinking about things like lifetime value. Because it’s all ways your customer back than
it is to earn them the first time. And the referral rate. Get them shouting from the
digital rooftops about you. Get them to promoting about your brand. So, it’s five metrics that
we think about. But far away, the most popular is that first equation. Do you have a loyalty program with your customers? We do and we are actually just bringing it
back. Okay. It was… We were looking… When we migrated
to Shopify, it was one of the things that we lost. We had this very finely tuned loyalty
program that we custom-built like everything else. It was great. And it worked really well.
We were looking at some data from 2015, 2016, and 2017, or 2015 and 2016 and some holiday
data recently. We were trying to figure out what drove the
most revenue in those years. And one of the top revenue drivers in those years was our
referral program, our loyalty program. I guess referral and loyalty are a little bit different,
but let’s talk about in terms of referral. It’s one of the most… One of the biggest
revenue drivers for us. And then when we moved to Shopify, we lost
that because it was custom. And we tried a few…, We tried one app that didn’t work
all that well for us. And we actually just recently launched with Friendbuy. And I’m
really excited about Friendbuy’s capabilities. One of the unique things that they’re allowing
us to do –that I didn’t see with any other referral program– was the ability to create
a personal URL, –that’s the thing you share– for every customer as they buy. So we’re going to hit an API on purchase.
And we’re going to sync that and they’re going to send back that personal URL. And then we’re
going to sync that personal URL to our email service provider. And then every time we send an email to that
customer, we’re going to include the personal URL. It’s not even bold or in your face but
we’re going to remind customers with every email send –whether it’s transactional or
promotional nature– that, “Oh by the way, here’s a URL that you can share. But if you share, you earn something your
friend earns something. But we’re going to be careful not to make it about the “you get
something, they get something.” What we’re going to try to do is lean into the fact that
“You should do this because it can make a difference in somebody’s life.” That’s awesome positioning for a referral
program. The personalization is crazy. I didn’t even
know that was possible. Everybody likes their name on things. Yeah. So we were talking about… Just now,
we’re talking about some tips and tricks for what you guys have going on in the business. Is there anything else that you’d want to
share that you found is really working for you guys and your eCommerce success? Two or
three things that you know, people that are just getting started out on their journey
or they found that traction and they’re trying to turn up the heat. What they should be thinking
about or working on? Well, I talked about what’s newest for me,
that’s the messy customer journey thing. I think the thing before the app that was newest
is SMS. I would say SMS and messenger. But I really think the opportunity is with SMS. This is another one of those things that if
you’re not actively building your SMS list, you’re going to miss the window of opportunity
to leverage that channel. Because –Gary Vee says it all the time– but as marketers, we
love to ruin things. And SMS, we’re going to ruin real fast. (laughs) But right now, we are getting a 20% click-through
rate… We’re getting a 70% click-through rate that is earning about 40 cents every
time we send an SMS message to somebody. It’ll be… We’ve got some creative ways we’re thinking
about growing that list, but it’s the thing that’s happening right now. SMS marketing is something that people are
tolerating. And if you’re listening and you’re not tolerating… Like, you think that this
is an abhorrent way to receive marketing messages, you’re over 40 years old, I guarantee it. (laughs) Yeah, I think SMS is going to be the new wild
west. Mm-hmm. Agreed. Are you using a specific app for that? Oh. We’ve leveraged Attentive. They are not…
They don’t… They integrate really well with Shopify. They don’t have, –If you go to the
App Store, I don’t think you would find them there– So it’s attentive.io. We’ve had great
success with them. We will likely start syncing these messages
with our email service provider which also gives us the capability to send SMS messages.
So as this evolves for us, we may change the way that we send certain types of messages.
So it won’t just… Won’t have the ability… Shopify tries out of the box the ability to
do some transactional messages via SMS. But we like to send all of our transactional
and promotional emails out of the same platform so that we really understand the whole communication
picture better. And, you know, doing SMS out of that platform will help. So that’s maybe
something we do eventually. Yeah, that’s interesting to think about. You
definitely want… It helps to sync the data in one place. You don’t want to send necessarily a promotional…
We got our spring sale coming up, for example. The few times we just got our product in a
year. And the danger we’re gonna run into is that our email service platform is not
really synced with our SMS platform at this point, somebody can get our SMS notification
and our email or we do SMS abandoned cart. So you can get our abandoned cart email and
our abandoned cart SMS. Now, some people would say, “Don’t worry about it. That’s no big
deal. It’s a different channel. Some people will want to see both. And it’s a better opportunity
to reach them if you send those in the right.” But it is something that we think about. We’re very sensitive to our customers’ inboxes
and messenger inboxes. We don’t want to barnstorm them. We want to be the uninvited guests that
when we show we show up, it’s welcomed in the house. Not that the lights get turned
out and they hide behind the doors so they don’t see it. We’re very sensitive to the
amount that we message. Yeah, smart sending and making sure you’re
not annoying the person that is giving you the green light to communicate with them is
crucial. I think it involves that when brands evolve. Yeah, so before the show, we spoke. They don’t do many sales, but they’re going
to do a coupon code for our listeners if you go check out their amazing product. It’s gonna
be HONESTECOMMERCE. It’s the coupon code. No space. Edward, this was probably one of the “funner”
ones. I’m not belittling any of our other guests. But I really enjoyed this one. Is
there anything else that you want to share with our audience today? I think something that I’ve known inherently
for a long time that I only recently found the ability to articulate was that you have
to love what you’re selling. You gotta love it so much that you feel like you’d be doing
the world a disservice if you didn’t bring it to them. And I think that’s, that’s important
for a lot of reasons. Because you’re going to get knocked down a
few times. I mentioned the $300,000 hit that we took on the platform, that’s just one of
many mistakes that we’ve made. You’re gonna make mistakes, business is hopefully going
to have some great times. But it’s undoubtedly going to have some hard
times. And if you don’t love what you’re selling, you’re not going to be able to get through
those hard times. And you’re not going to be bold enough to tell your customers why
it’s so great. S o love what you’re selling. If you truly love
it, it’ll get you through the rough startup point. It’ll get you through the lows that
naturally come with the business. And it will give you the nerve that it takes to tell the
customer that they have to have it. That’s a great ending point for our episode.
Thank you so much for being on the show today. Awesome. Thank you, Edward. We appreciate
it. Check out ROAD ID. Awesome. Yeah. Thanks, guys. I really appreciate it.
That HONESTECOMMERCE coupon will be good for $5 off any ROAD ID you’ll ever choose. Thank you. We can’t thank our guests enough for coming
on the show and sharing the truth. links and more will be available in the show notes.
If you found any actionable advice in this podcast that you’d like to apply to your business,
please reach out at electriceye.io/connect. Please make sure to subscribe to Apple Podcasts,
Spotify or your podcast app of choice.

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