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Successful Shopify Stores Have Customer Experience As Their Cornerstone For Customer Acquisition And Customer Retention With Adam Pearce Of Blend Commerce

Ecommerce fastlane ep 223 - Adam Pearce discusses successful Shopify stores and customer experience.

In today’s Shopify ecommerce podcast, my guest is Adam Pearce, the Co-founder & CEO of Blend Commerce. They’re an on-demand digital team focused on helping Shopify brands to grow and scale.

They have experts in many areas that DTC Shopify brand needs including CX Designers, Front & Backend Developers, Conversion Rate Consultants, Growth Marketers, and Strategy Consultants.

They offer Shopify brands the right amount of capacity to not only maintain a Shopify ecommerce store but to also improve the business outcomes month-over-month.

Let’s learn more about how Blend Commerce has created a paradigm shift in the traditional agency model.

Listen To Todays Ecommerce Podcast

This episode is sponsored by Okendo. The preferred customer marketing solution for high-growth Shopify brands. Click here to learn more.

What You Will Learn Today

  • What Blend Commerce is and how it helps Shopify brands
  • Why do agencies have a bad reputation?
  • Maintaining a relationship with your customers

Links And Resources Mentioned

Connect With Blend Commerce

  • Email: adam@blendcommerce.com
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlendCommerce
  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blend_commerce/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/blend_commerce
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/blendcommerceltd

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Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode is brought to you by Okendo. The preferred customer marketing solution for high-growth Shopify brands.

Okendo provides all the tools you need to leverage your most valuable asset– your customers. Build shopper trust & excitement, showcase customer experiences, and compel buying action with a little help from Okendo.

CLICK HERE to start your trial of Okendo

Well, Hey there, it’s Steve. And welcome back to season five of the e-commerce fast lane podcast. Now this is your first time listening. This is an e-commerce show where we have honest and transparent conversations about building and thriving with your store powered by Shopify or Shopify plus. Now, if you’re an ambitious, lifelong learner, which you probably are because you’re here today, you’re definitely in the right place.

Now new episodes are available twice weekly with your favorite podcast players like Apple podcast, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, and many more. You can also stream current episodes, including a very relevant back catalog directly from eCommerce Fast Lane.com. I think we’re up to 230 ish episodes. There’s a lot of amazing partners, a lot of amazing offers to go check out that back catalog.

Now in today’s episode, my guest is Adam Pearce, who’s the co-founder and CEO of an agency called Blend Commerce. And they’re an on-demand team really focused on helping Shopify brands to grow and scale and help build their customer experience. It’s very unique, what they do. They really are experts in many areas that I think DC Shopify brand owners need. 

Including things like customer experience designers, front and backend developers, there’s conversion rate optimization, consultants, growth marketers, strategy consultants. I mean, some of the things that I do inside Shopify with the brands that I manage, but even at a whole ‘nother scale. 

They offer just the right amount of capacity. You’ll learn about this to not only maintain an e-commerce store, but also to improve the business outcomes month over months. So it’s very unique angle of kind of how they deal with the traditional agency model. I’d argue that maybe it’s even a paradigm shift now of how the traditional agency model used to be and kind of what Blend Commerce is doing now. 

So I’m excited to have Adam on the show today. So welcome to e-commerce fastlane.

Steve, great to be here. Thank you so much having me.

Oh my pleasure. And I know our time zones are massively apart. It’s mid-morning for me here in Vancouver and British Columbia in Canada. And I know overseas it’s a little bit late for you, but I really appreciate us syncing calendars and getting on the show today.

Absolutely. No, as I was saying Steve, I just talked to you.

So I mentioned a little bit the top of the show, and I don’t like to mince words. It’s always great to kind of hear it in a founder’s own words. So let’s talk about Blend Commerce and let’s talk about maybe in a high level first, some of the problems that you’re solving today for Shopify brands.

Yeah, absolutely. The main thing that when Shopify business owners come to us is that they realize that there is an issue within something they’re providing to the clients or their customers and the way that they’re delivering it. And you know, for me, that’s kind of what I would classify as the customer experience.

So when Shopify business approach us to help them, they’re realizing actually look in terms of their financial goals. They’re not achieving what they want to, but they’ve also identified that something might not be quite right in terms of how they are delivering their products to a customer. And when I say delivering I mean before a sale, during a sale, and actually after a sale as well.

So they’re coming to us to, I guess, kind of help them diagnose further. Then to say that actually look based on what we found, here’s how we feel that you can actually fix that issue.

I see. And that makes sense, it’s very clear. And it’s nice, number one, just to realize the fact that there is a challenge and, you know, it’s the old saying again, and you can’t be the smartest person in the room.

And I think a lot of founders realize and marketers realize that there’s other great talent and maybe it almost like sometimes you think about, you know, you can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s nice to get some fresh eyes to look at a brand and understand say, Hey, what sort of things, what are the business outcomes that we want?

Is there a possibility that Blend or another agency, can they help us and look and see, and then give some strategic advice and then maybe even execute on that advice. So I think you’re going down the right journey here. 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, that’s always from, I think one of the biggest questions for a lot of Shopify merchants who maybe have seen quite lot of growth.

Is that they understand that they need to be better and they understand need to improve. But you know, when you have your own business, you know, that’s something that’s very personal to you. That’s something that you own, you know, essentially it’s your baby. So having that confidence, you know, to actually go out there and say, look, I need an Excel eye on this to have a look at it and to help me, you know, can be a big step.

It is a big step. Yeah. A hundred percent. It reminds me of this podcast alone, like in the early days, I mean, I edited every single episode myself, you know, it took me three or four hours and then it was very challenging to hire an editor because I just believe that no one could do it as good as me, but the reality is they actually do it better than me now. 

But I just didn’t wanna loosen the reigns off. So that’s the true sign of a great leader is someone that understands that, you know, there’s a need to improve the business metrics or the profitability or whatever it is, any efficiencies. And then just pausing for a moment, taking the intentional space and going, okay, let’s have someone  else have a look and see where we’re at and saying that’s very notable, kinda what Blend Commerce is doing.

I wanna pivot a bit to the origin story, because I think it’s very fascinating to me. I’m in an interesting position where I get to talk to lots of agency partners and the SAS partners, both the app and marketing platform kind of ecosystem. And I’m always interested about how all the pieces come together, your co-founder.

And I just like to understand, like the desire and the expertise, like where did all this come from to become, I guess, almost a trusted advisor now for Shopify brands and build this Blend Commerce company? 

Yeah. I mean, I think the great thing about Shopify just generally see, as you know, where the community is, that a lot of people who are in the Shopify community now didn’t obviously kind of start out to even be e-commerce or, or to be within Shopify. Because we are in such, you know, a new industry, a new niche that’s kind of grown massively.

So probably about sort of eight years ago, my brother-in-law excuse me, came to me. So look, there’s this great new Canadian platform I’ve started, you know, actually working with someone to kind of build Shopify stores or build eCommerce stores of people. And I really think it’s something you look at because at the time, you know, he was actually moving from being a county surveyor into being a developer.

And Shopify kind of came around at the time when it was kind of very brand new and there was a lot of need, obviously for a lot of American brands of smaller businesses starting up to have that kind of service. Now I’d have been in sort of sales and marketing for about 10 years. And actually prior to that, I’d been a teacher.

So I’ve had kind of, I guess, quite a few very roles, but at the time, you know, I was working for actually educational app company as a margin director. And I kind of looked to what Peter’s doing and I was kinda saying well look, this does seem like it is some of the interesting, and we were seeing at that timeness so many years ago, the rapid growth that was happening.

Obviously nothing compared the past couple of years, but we looked around in the UK at what was being offered. And realistically, you know, there weren’t too many people around who even knew what Shopify was. You know, if you, you asked the general product, now that term Shopify is pretty well known and it’s interesting.

Oh, I even feel like the word eCommerce becoming replaced with Shopify. We kind of say, look, actually there isn’t anyone out there who is providing both that development piece and also kind of the specific marketing advice for those users of that tool. So really that’s kinda where the learning began.

And we started actually with a very small shop who was based out in California, who are still going, which is great to see. And we actually helped them to redesign their store on Shopify using an app Sandboxing. Really just kind of went from there and obviously as time went on, yeah. I think the needs of Shopify merchants changed, obviously, you know, at the time there were, I think there are a couple of hundred Shopify apps, you know, we’re now in that space where I think we are three and a half thousand, you know, even sort of now.

So, you know, for us, it was a very much a kind of an opportunity we spotted. Something that we want to get involved with that Shopify, as I’ve always been, had been a great company to be, to kind of have our ecosystem.

You know, it’s interesting. You made a comment about, it seems like Shopify might be synonymous with e-commerce for some reason. I mean, I think there’s quite a moat that’s being built with Shopify. Thanks to agency partners like yourself and the app and marketing platform partners that are building right on top of Shopify. And people are building pretty sustainable and incredible businesses on top of Shopify. It is a win-win situation for both the merchants and those people that are building both the SAS tools that kind of partner up nicely with Shopify.

And then obviously the agency side of it. I’d just love the fact that you went down the development road first and then said, Hey, you know what, let’s see what it can do. Let’s get an out of the Sandbox theme. Let’s try something, a premium theme, and let’s see if we can start building. You know, it’s just one building block after another, and then all of a sudden, wow, you get to know other partners in the ecosystem, you learn about Attentive for SMS or Postscript. You learn about Klaviyo. You learn about Dotdigital, a UK company. 

I mean, you learn about lots of great companies that are doing very unique things that bolt on quite nicely and our necessary pieces of tech. So it’s great that you’re aligning yourself around the development side, but then can appreciate both the technology and then the marketing strategy that goes along with that.

Yeah, absolutely. And I completely echo what you say Steve, about, you know, the community. And I think that the beautiful thing now about being part of this ecosystem is that if a client has an idea of something they want to achieve, or if we have an idea of something they want to do, either there is gonna be an app that can help achieve as part of that or all of it, or there will be an opportunity to develop that.

And I think that’s really been the great thing, I guess, in the past couple of years of being involved with Shopify is that the starting point, the were limitations. And I feel like now, you know, we’re in a space where, you know, those limitations have literally been completely blown out the way, because there’s been that investment by Shopify, obviously by the app partners and made sure there is always a solution depending on obviously what that client needs.

Absolutely. So I’m gonna argue a little bit here. I think we’re actually cut from the same cloth. The reason I say that is because prior to Shopify and this podcast, for that matter, I worked for four years. At the largest kind, digital marketing and web development agency in Vancouver and British Columbia and Canada where I live.

So I was there for four years. Prior to that, I had a startup, an optical, took an exit, got married. I mean, it’s a whole crazy story. But it’s interesting that I kind of got going and myself learned a lot about Shopify, met Toby and Harley and the whole crew, like the COO. And it’s just so interesting that I got to go to Ottawa and learn about Shopify.

But I’d also argue a little bit that I think agencies have a little bit of bad reputation because I was involved in the sales side and did marketing strategy. I mean, the reason I would be on the sales side is because I had a lot of merchant empathy. Like I understood what it took to build a brand, you know, to seven figures and take an exit.

And I like, I understand the whole journey. It’s so interesting trying to figure out what your acquisition costs are and building all the customer experience. It was very challenging and I wasn’t built on Shopify. It was on NetSuite way back in the day and NetSuite’s great, I mean a lot of people using that as their ERP now.

And that’s just great for inventory and financial kind of parts of the business. But I’m curious from your side, because you are kind of in the, I’d say the pseudo agency world a little bit, a little bit different than typical agency, but like, why do you think that agencies typically have a bad reputation?

Yeah. I mean, I think, yeah, the, the initial part kind of sends back to what I was saying before about the fact that, you know, when you have created something yourself, or when you’ve had your own business, it’s trying to get that element of trust and being confident to say, look, I’m prepared to have another set of eyes, look at this and kind of welcome in those people.

And I think that the issue becomes is that a lot of the times, I think, you know, the agency order’s very guilty of not been aligning the sales of marketing teams. And what I mean by that is that look, you know, when you are in a position as a marketer for an agency, you know, effectively what you are trying to do is to explain the experience that you’re gonna have with that agency.

And I think the problem is sometimes is, you know, that sales within any profession unit is gonna be driven by that bottom line number. And the problem is, is that when you are gonna set particular, you know, expectations that people are gonna have or what it’s gonna be like to work in a marketing context, that isn’t always very close and followed by the sales team.

So, you know, I think sometimes what can happen is that, you know, you’ll go to, you know, have a look at an agency site and you’ll see the case that they’ve done. But then when you speak to that salesperson or who you’re dealing with in terms of what they’re telling you, they’re gonna do for you, it seems like there’s a little bit of a mismatch.

And, you know, I don’t think that that’s always the case for agencies, but I think particularly, you know, that when you are kind of starting out as agency, you are looking to obviously go and tell people you can solve that problem. But if you haven’t got as much experience as they actually doing. That leaves a little bit of a gap between the actual sales team and being able to describe what the project will actually involve. So I think that’s kind of the part of it.

The other part of it as well, you know, is kind of over promising, that can happen. And within any service industry, you know, we’re not talking about kind of that physical product CEO, a product is what it is. With a service, problem is here is that the expectation of a merchant is probably gonna be very different to what it is within the agency.

I think this is where kind of the concept of making sure that you have very open communication, very open conversations with the agency you potentially gonna work with. Because it stops that kind of over-promising situation from the start. The agency is very clear about the service they offer and what that’ll potentially do for you.

They’ll get that from the cases, the work they’ve done to be able to say, look, you know, last year, for example, you know, on average clients increase their (inaudible) value by X percentage. So you’ve got that expectation that benchmark as a merchant didn want, and equally from your point of view, if you define the problem that you want and the actual number that you want to achieve, then I think that is also really important.

And I think, that point I mentioned there about having that number, that also is very key because a lot of the time, you know, when we think about eCommerce stores and we think about optimization typically speaking your mind will initially jump to well, it’s conversion rate. And look, I’m not gonna argue that conversion rate is an important number.

Look speaking, I don’t have to tell you it’s not necessarily the most important number. And I think making sure that, you know, when you are in that position, and agencies talking to you, right? The most key number for you with your goals as a merchant is to increase the longterm value, increase revenue, make sure that our profit line is X percentage.

That for me is why sometimes, you know, agencies can have that better reputation. So if you’re not hearing those types of things in the initial conversation, Those are the things that I’ll encourage merchants to kind of push out well, pull out of agencies to get that initial clarity, to make sure you’re gonna have a good experience.

Yeah, absolutely. I know at my former agency, like, you know, the big thing was timelines and I think was a big challenge for development salesperson kind of, you know, over promising how long is actually gonna take for production and then not spelling things out very detailed. And then industry term is scope creep.

And then all of a sudden there’s other things that are just not quite kind of planned for. And usually there’s, you know, like a 10% buffer, usually in a lot of these kind of development contracts, just say, Hey, there’s a contingency clause on purpose because there could be some scope creep, things that none of us thought about.

And that’s from the development side. I agree with you too, on maybe the expectations of the customer merchant, thinking about just a, a finite number about what’s gonna happen. I think at the end of the day, it’s more about a holistic approach to the business and saying, you know, what are the business outcomes?

What are you trying to achieve? Where are we today? Let’s benchmark it right now. Where do you fit in the marketplace today? Competition wise, you know, I mean, yes, we’ll look at all the main KPI. You’re speaking to the choir here about all this cuz this is what I do as part of my job at Shopify on my monitor.

I have three things of what I need to do to help brands improve efficiencies. So whatever that is, there’s lots of things to improve efficiencies, profitably, grow revenue. And so that’s part of the revenue side of it and then build lifetime customer loyalty. That is where, you know, you’re really getting the most amount of value out of the brand is just maximizing acquisition costs, maximizing LTV.

So you and I are speaking to the scene, my language here, and I think hopefully those listening today that they understand that too, that you know, working with an agency is not a bad thing, but. Interesting though, is just asking and understanding the right questions and then having the agency present the fact and becoming almost like a community and almost like an extension.

And I think that’s kind of the unique thing about Blend Commerce is that really you are an on demand. I don’t wanna put words in your mouth feels like very on-demand, very customer experience-related kind of services that you offer both development and the marketing side, but very specifically tailored towards where are you today?

What’s your maturity? What’s your complexity. What are you trying to achieve this quarter or the next two quarters? I think that’s where you kind of fit into that mix.

Yeah, definitely, Steve. And I think, you know, the, the thing for us is that, you know, when we talk about being, you know, sort of on demand. For us, that that’s really kind of about being lean and being efficient.

Because, you know, ultimately you could spend, you know, 24 hours a day, seven days a week working on a Shopify tool to optimize it.

Yes. 

You know, let’s face it. You could, there are so many options in terms of different aspects of a Shopify tool, the business that you can test and tweak, but it’s about that like you say, to, of getting back to those for you, those three core metrics and saying, right, what are the things that we could potentially do that are gonna actually turn those dials?

And I think for us, that’s the thing it’s about that efficiency of saying right. Being open with a client saying, we know we’ve talked about maybe 15 or 20 different ideas, but actually, you know, with our experience and based on the dates that we are in your store, we feel that these top three things are the things that are gonna move. Those three core needles you wanna move.

Yeah, just right words outta my mouth. I just wrote down, move the needle because I think that’s the key. I tell them my merchants all the time, let’s talk together right now. And what sort of things can we do that can move the needle to a KPI that’s important? And let’s have a 90 day sprint and let’s work on this together.

And so pretty exciting. That’s kind of where you’re headed. So. I wanna pivot a bit over to maybe your ideal customer, because there are people listening today. That’s saying, Hey, you know what? I’m not necessarily completely satisfied with the speed of my growth, or maybe I don’t even know what my lifetime value actually is or my conversion rate.

I mean, I can look at some of the, you know, vanity metrics, summarize a few things, okay. I need to improve this, this, this, and this, but at the end of the day, I’m just curious about like how you acquired the right, I guess, mix of merchants that you’re able to support. I don’t know. I just, I’m just curious to understand, like what an ideal customer is for Blend Commerce and those listening today might think, Hey, maybe blend is right for me also because I fit into that similar kind of situation.

Yeah. I think it’s a great question. I think different agencies kind of look at this from different perspective. From our point of view, it kind of evolves around three things we’re looking for. And, and I’ll give you the headlines there. And it’s about being open, it’s about being specific, and it’s about being vulnerable.

And I think people were listening might be saying, well, are you not talking about particular niche or, you know, particular revenue number. For us, those things are actually less important because when I talk about being open, the way that I’ve described this before is that, you know, if, you know, say Steve, you were gonna commission an architect to build the dream house for you.

If you had that conversation with the architect, what you’re gonna be saying is you’ll be going into very minute detail of saying, you know, We really hate our current home at the moment because the kitchen’s too small. You know, we can’t cook dinner with the kids, doing the homework in the kitchen at the same time.

And you’re going to all this very like openly sort of intimate detail about your life, because ultimately what you’re trying to do is to create your dream home. And I think it’s the same thing that when it comes to working with agency, you know, for us, we want people to come in and merchants, come and say, right. Ideally, this is what we want to get to.

And the issues that we’re having at the moment is this, this, and this, we’re finding it very hard to manage these processes. We don’t have a member of staff within the team who can cover this base because what it means then is that look, you know, for us, we have got obviously a selection of different members of our team.

We can then place the better terms of the team within that particular joint team in terms of the project team with the climb. So to having the openness, to say, look, guys, this is what I’m struggling with here. This is the problem I’ve been trying to solve this for months or years, whatever it might be.

And I think the specificity, you know, being specific for me, what I mean by that is that, look, we love it. When emerge from, to say, you know what, I really want my profit margin to be 25%. That is what I need to do to help me to then actually sell this business in three years time or go retire in 10 years, however it might be.

So for us then, that’s super helpful for us because we can then look at where they’re sitting at present and extrapolate from that based on what we’ve done previously to their clients. Say, look, realistically, guys, we’re not gonna able to get you that, or we’re not the best agency or actually we do feel we can help you on that path.

Then actually we might be the agency for you. And I think the last one about vulnerability, it’s kind of, I guess, sort of going back to that idea again, of, you know, maybe an architect or maybe if you are kind of in, go see a doctor, you know, when we go to the doctor surgery, we are vulnerable in that state because we open up and we explain that specific problems that we’re having.

Again, that vulnerability helps us because we know then everything is on the table. We know exactly how that client’s feeling. And if we get all of those, we are then more confident as an agency that we’ll be able to help. If you take kind of more of a, I guess, sort of an economic view at this agencies are looking to work with brands that they feel that they can do good with and they feel they can get results to it because ultimately the better results you achieve for a client the more likely it is the other class don’t come to work with you.

So, you know, from that side of things too, by doing that. And by being open, it helps the merchant, but it also helps the agency and it gels the two together. So, you know, for me, you know, that’s what we are looking for when we’re looking to work with different Shopify merchants.

Yeah. I love it. I wrote some notes here, so be open. Be specific. I think that’s great. And then be vulnerable. I think those are some great points for those listening today. So, you know, if you’re gonna engage with any agency, those listening today, Blend Commerce included. The key is, is just to understand kind of like your strengths and weaknesses and just understand being specific about what sort of things you wanna do to move the needle.

Being that vulnerable, there could be an opportunity with a team member that has doubled down and really focused on that area. You know, maybe it’s like, Hey, I’m not doing social commerce at all right now. Okay. You know, are you on TikTok right now? No, you’re not. Okay. Do you know that Shopify has a tight connection with TikTok and you actually can buy from within video? No, I didn’t know that. Okay. 

So that opens up a dialogue there’s opportunity about maybe the creator economy opening up idea about getting influencers involved, thinking about TikTok ads. It’s so interesting. If you’re honest and open with the agency, that you really, it can open up the doors to some incredible opportunities. So pretty exciting that that’s kind of how you’re positioning Blend Commerce. 

So I wanna talk a little bit about a strategy or tactic. Now there’s some people that may be today hiring an agency is not necessarily on the radar for them yet. It could be their maturity, their maybe their early stage, maybe their boots strap in this thing.

And they’re not quite having the product market fit that they would hope, but they still wanna learn something from today’s episode. Because you have a lot of, I don’t know, industry knowledge, and I think you have a pulse of kind of what’s going on in direct to consumer and e-commerce so hopefully don’t put you on the spot here, but I just would love some advice, either a strategy or tactic that you believe is completely hot right now that if you owned a store and you want a takeaway from this episode today, like, like what would you recommend that someone do today? They wanna move the needle. They want to grow their business. What do you recommend? 

Yeah, I mean, to honestly, it’s actually a pretty easy question for me because it’s something that every single show of me needs to do, and that is making sure that you have an absolutely excellent welcome flow onboarding series as part of your email.

And it gets talked to that a lot, but I wanna kind of just go into a bit more detail on this because specifically when it comes to a welcome flow, when someone gives that opportunity to you to market to them, or when they’ve initially purchased a product, I think what a lot of the time that people forget about doing is that when people purchase a product, we often go into whats those, the, the remorse or the regret phase.

So once you purchase that border, it’s the same thing. If you go to a regular store and you, you buy a new. On the walk home, we are thinking, well, look, you know, maybe spent that much. Is it gonna fit properly? Does the color kind of match on skin tone? And it’s not until you do that short walk home, you put the shirt on that, you know, if that’s gonna be the case. Now, any commerce that obvious situation exacerbates it because sometimes it might be next day. Sometimes it might be a week. For some people, it might be two or three weeks that it’s a particular custom item.

So holding people’s hands all the way through the process to when they are being delivered a product and beyond that is super important. So I’ll give you an example on this. Let’s say, for example, you know, you are working with a brand that sells baby products, and let’s say, for example, you are a brand that is selling a kind of a nest that allow parents to put their child down, to have a sleep while they may be taking a shower. So they can kind of get on with their day.

If you think of that experience, the first thing is, is that, you know, they bought a product here that is about protecting something that is very important in their life, their child. So you wanna basically assume before they get that product that they’re super clear on exactly when that product’s gonna arrive and exactly how they should use it.

So you can do that pre-education piece before the products arrive. So explain to ’em what they’re gonna get in the box, explain to how they can set it up. Maybe send them over a video and your email flow, which just shows kind of an inboxing of it and what to expect. Now, once they’ve been delivered that product, the first thing they’re gonna do is get out and they’re gonna feed it.

They’re gonna touch it and you want to have the experience, but then they’re gonna put their child in it. So at that point we wanna be checking in with them. So maybe WhatsApp delivery notifications gone, that they got the product, or the shipment has arrived shooting in that email would say, Hey, how are you finding it so far?

Did it get there all okay? How’s it looking for you at this moment in time? The next thing is gonna be the next day. Well, maybe, you know, they’ve had the opportunity to take a shower. They’ve put the baby within that sleep nest. They’ve had that experience. How was that first experience for you? You know, if you maybe collected the child’s name as part of your signup procedure, having subject line, how did Sarah sleep on her first night in the baby net? For example.

So from that point, then you could then build up to those more common things about reviews. About kind of, you know, then getting them to refer them to your friend. And I think a lot of the time what we do in e-commerce is that we sort of rush through that process. And the more that you can hold people’s hand through that and extend that welcome onboarding process, the higher possibility you a got of that customer retaining as a long term customer to buy other products, but also about them recommending.

So I think just being there with that welcome sequence, extending that out more, being in contact with useful information and getting that feedback and being open to that feedback is absolutely critical. And because the fact that competition is so, so high, regardless of what niche you in, you know, that’s happened over the past few years, you can do that to segment cyber part because believe you me and you I’m sure we’ll know this as well, Steve. A lot of [00:30:00] brands are not focusing on that custom experience on onboarding enough and that’s where people can set themselves the side and they can do that all by themselves. Just need to think about that exceptional journey. You want your customer to go on. From the point to which they’d be on your site to the point in which they’d been, you know, using your product for a year, two years down the line.

 Yeah. When I have a brand that I take on, let’s say they have, I don’t know, graduated out from Shopify core. They’re on Shopify advanced they’ve grown over a million dollars in sales. So they got product market fit, things are rolling, but they can see the benefits of getting to Shopify plus and all the extra perks and benefits you get on the plus side of Shopify. And that’s one of the first things I do, other than talking about the plus exclusive features, like what’s launchpad and what’s flow and what’s scripts.

And you know, what does that mean to have an increased API calls? What are some of the basic things extra that you get with Shopify plus. And once I get that education outta the way, the next thing that I do is I slam for their newsletter. And I also pretend to go and buy something. In some cases, I actually go buy something.

Cause I think their products are kind of cool, but it’s interesting to see the whole flow because nothing better than actually being a customer. Even if you’re not a customer, at least add something to the cart and go around the website, enjoy, go back a second day. And so I’m very intentional on that because I wanna see what happens.

Both sides, both from a purchase perspective. Are they following exactly what you just said here, this whole welcome sequence and holding hands and going through the whole process. Are they in fact doing that? I think that’s, it’s brilliant that you’ve made these comments. I think it’s not done well, even from brands that are at 50 million a year, I’ve even noticed that they don’t follow these rules, you know, or they have a duct tape solution of, you know, text messaging somebody when the product arrived, but it hasn’t led up to building a customer experience around it.

And so I think that’s very interesting that you brought that up and hopefully that’s a good takeaway for those today. You literally can create a flow chart. I know like Klaviyo and other tools, Omnisend, they have the technology built into them to help you. Get started with that, but you just need to have the intentional space to say, Hey, with my products, let’s think about from the customer’s perspective, you know, from making a purchase and going through the whole journey, chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk, and think about it.

And then there is software and tools that can help you craft your voice and your language and what you’re trying to do. And it just works the customer through that whole journey. It avoids churn, it avoids returns. It just overall, just overall better experience. So kudos to you and thank you for sharing that cause I think that’s spot on. 

So let’s get into a story now. Cause I think we’re all pretty motivated with stories. I mean, I love reading case studies. I went to your website just before recording today and you have quite a few brands that you’ve worked with. And so it’d be great if we could talk a little bit about a recent case study that you can share publicly. You can share the brand if you have authorization to do so, but end of the day, I’m just curious, you know, where was this brand maybe prior to Blend ? How did they find you? That discovery part’s very interesting. 

And then what were their weaknesses then? What did you do to help them obviously eating your own dog food here? Like asking the right questions, being open, being specific, being vulnerable, but I’m just curious to see, like what happened on the other end with this particular brand?

Yeah. I’d like to talk about a brand called Hunter and Gatherer. So Hunter and Gatherer are actually a food and condiment brand who are based in the UK. When we first engaged with them, they were, were doing pretty well already. So they had a DTC store via Shopify, which is being managed by another great agency that we partner with from a development point of view.

And they were also selling directly to some of the, kind of the large supermarkets in the UK. But the issue that they were having is that with their particular product, they have different condiments for different types of diet. So paleo, keto, carnivore, they have different types of flavors. They have supplements.

And the issue that they’re having is that when people were coming to the store, some people were very switched on to the fact that yes, I follow paleo. Other people were just a little bit more inquisitive. Other people were coming there because they’d heard a friend recommend it. And they liked the sound of the tastes of a particular product.

So the issue was is that they had an email capture situation on the site where they were just using a very simple popup to give people a very small discount off their initial order. And obviously that’s great. You know, sometimes discounts can work very well, but what they were saying is that people were signing up, but they weren’t actually then using those discounts.

And even with kind of reaching out to them, you know, multiple times to get ’em to use that discount, they were kind of saying, well, why is this the case? And what we kind of discuss with them is that look, you know, when it comes to this store, You have a lot of options and there are some options on there which seem a little bit scary to people, particularly kind of on the supplement side of, you know, what actually is it that these things do? What do I need? And where’s it created from?

So what the overall goal was is to say that they wanted to get more conversion from the site from a direct consumer point of view, because obviously the margins there were bigger, but they wanted people to start actually buying the product rather than just signing up.

So, what we did is that we talked to them about using a tool would obtain our online shop quiz. And I’m sure many people listen, will be familiar with this, but essentially what it does is it allows you to build onsite a simple quiz that will ask a number of questions to that end user and then give them recommendations.

So the way that this works for Hunter and Gatherer is that when you go to the main navigation on their side, what you’ll see is all the different options that are available. What we did is that we put a little sort of message bar below that navigation says not sure what you’re looking for. Take our quiz.

So on that clip, what you’re then doing is you are asking the customer a series of questions. So are you looking to follow a particular diet, paleo, keto, weight loss, whatever it might be. And then we kind of go through that with kind of eight or nine different questions about the tastes, the type of meals that they cook, the amount of people that they’re cooking for in their family.

And just before we kind of come to the end of that process, we’re then saying, Hey, we’d love to send you recommendations via email and within that then they’re gonna be putting in that email address. Or in fact, what you can do is put in your Toppi member as well.

Now, the magic thing with this for us is that twofold one is that it gives a personalized recommendation to that user to say, Hey, based on what you’ve told us, these are the kind of products that actually typical customers like you would buy. These are the products you think would serve you best. But secondly, all of that data that has been entered is actually integrated with Klaviyo and then pulls into Klaviyo. So let’s say for example, Steve, you know, you’ve told that quiz that you are doing a paleo diet. You like barbecue, you like garlic and you are cooking with two people. What’s gonna happen is that all that information is still in Klaviyo.

And we can then go out to you with a very personalized welcome flag. So saying Steve, you know, welcome to Hunter and Gatherer here’s the products that you may enjoy. And here is actually a recipe card for a week’s worth of meals for two people. So straight away you’ve got that sorted. But the great thing about this is that when it comes to actually, you know, people using it all, a lot of people might say, well, look, that’s great.

You know, it sounds fantastic, but did actually work? And the interesting thing was that previously in terms of signups, they were getting about four to 5% of sign up, signing up with the standard popup. That then went to new users to 17%. Now of those people then using the tool, 68% of them were completing it, its entirety.

And the really, you know, mind blowing thing for us is that we didn’t expect this, but actually of that percentage, 25% of them were converting to a sale there and then. That, so, you know, if you compare that to obviously look, you know, your average conversion rate, you’re looking somewhere between maybe what, three and 5%.

25% convers rate. Yes. Look its for a smaller number, but you know, those are fantastic results and we’ve seen it as well with, we got other brands using this tool, but for me, it’s the fact that you have those two chances. You have the chance to give that personalized recommendation. And then you also then get a chance to go out to that welcome flow, being super personalizing, giving them something that they actually want.

Yeah, this is lovely. I actually had Ben and Matt from while Ben was on for the second time for Octane AI. I’ll make sure I put that in the show notes, but phenomenal tool originally started off with more the conversational commerce side of a chat body kind of thing, but then really made a significant pivot over to the quiz side of the business.

And so, so interesting. Some of the anecdotes and stories that he talked about on his episode, I’ll link it up in the show notes too, but yeah, hunterandgatherererfoods.com, I’m actually followed along as you were speaking here and it’s well executed, so good on you that, you know, I just love the shop and then the banner and take the quiz and just, cuz honestly, people just really need to know what they might need.

And this actually, you know, brings out zero party data out of the equation. So you’re actually, you know, you can dig deep into, you know, the, the lifestyle of the person and then start using that data towards your marketing initiatives. And then with the connection to Klaviyo, as you mentioned, this whole thing flows really well.

So that’s a great story to share. And I think a lot of people can learn from that about, is there an opportunity. The same thing, like if you’re walking to a traditional retail store, the first thing that, you know, Welcoming you to the store is, you know, so what brings you in today? And then start asking intelligent questions about trying, you know, cuz it can be overwhelming in a store trying to find something other than just perusing around and you’re asking all the right questions.

I think that’s phenomenal through digital using a tool like Octane AI and then help that. Customer go down the right journey and then revealing some products that could be suitable. And it obviously is case in point conversion lift is just phenomenal by people completing the quiz. That’s fantastic.

Yeah, absolutely. And I completely echo your, your points about Ben and Matt. Great guys, and, and definitely worth. Taking a look at the, the great stuff that they do.

Oh, that’s lovely. So let’s talk about the future for Blend Commerce. I mean, you shared a lot of great knowledge today, but I’m just was curious about maybe what your north star is gonna be for the remainder of ’22.

I know there’s been a little bit of a pivot to, you know, the e-commerce kind of customer experience side of Blend Commerce, but just partner alignment or innovation just end of the day. I just nice to be able to understand where you believe you’re offering the most amount of value moving through ’22.

Yeah. So 22 for us really is we are gonna be, like you say, sort of very much focusing on how we can help brands specifically on that customer experience. And one things for us as an agency is that we also kind of wanna live by the same rules. So we are gonna be putting on quite a number of events in 2022 and into 23. Which will be focusing on getting actually merchants together with some of, kind of the best in CFI apps that are there and showing them how they can use them to improve customer experience.

So we’re gonna be doing event in 2022 in New York, where we’re gonna be having about 300 merchants all in the same place with some really great app partners to do some very practical hands on workshops around how those tools can be used from the customer experience point of view, but also doing some local events here in the UK as well.

We’ve kind of using specific tools like Klaviyo, Looking at those very specific to how do we use these from a customer experience point of view.

This is lovely. So how can people learn more about Blend Commerce? Where do you wanna send people today? 

Yeah. So please do go check out blendcommerce.com.

You can also obviously find me on LinkedIn, Adam Pearce, P-E-A-R-C-E, and absolutely, of course, we are at Shopify expert. So if you go to experts.shopify.com, just search for Blend Commerce on there. You’d be able to see some information about the kind of things that we provide and, and the kind of work that we’ve done.

And I know we spoke in the green room before recording today, and I understand that you would like to share kind of a listener only bonus or a special little offer for those listening in.

Yeah, absolutely. And, and guys, we would love to offer you a free SMS audit. Now SMS is obviously being hot. Everyone’s lip, I think for the past couple of years. Yeah. And if you guys would like to take advantage of that, this is an exclusive offer just for fast lane listeners. So go ahead and go to blendcommerce.com/fastlane, and you can find all the information you need about how to get hold of that.

All right. Beautiful. Well, thank you so much, Adam. I really appreciate that. I know that I would agree with you. SMS is hot. There are some legal requirements and there’s some, some best practices. There’s some, a lot of great tools. There that are helping do that. I’m obviously Klaviyo has their own recently added SMS solution built into it.

But think of companies like attentive, think about Postscript. There’s a few others out there, they’re doing some phenomenal work in helping people with the SMS side. I’m sure that you’re aligning yourself with those tools also, but it really comes down to a strategy also. And so I appreciate you doing that audit just to see where you’re at today.

And is there a way of how you can help them improve that? How do we get the opt-ins and how do we engage with our merchants? So I’ll make sure that I put all that in the show notes. I just wanted to thank you again for the time zone difference in getting on this recording today. I just, you know, one thing that I guess is clear to me and you know, this, that Shopify really is on a mission to make commerce better for everyone.

And, you know, I’d argue maybe even to build a path that leads to more entrepreneurs and more independent retail. And I just wanted to thank you for coming on the show. I believe. You’re very aligned with wanting to help brands to, as I mentioned, maybe the top, this, the efficiency, improving growing revenue, this lifetime customer loyalty.

I think you’ve got it all together. And just the whole customer experience mantra that you have, I think is spot on. I just wanted to thank you for, for being part of the Shopify experts community. And hopefully this podcast will help you uncover and find some new brands that you can serve and help them grow and scale.

Thank you, Steve. Absolute pleasure. And, and thank you very much having me as a guest today.

All right. Have yourself a great evening. 

Today’s episode is brought to you by Okendo, the preferred customer marketing solution for high-growth Shopify brands. Okendo provides all the tools you need to leverage your most valuable asset.

Your customers build shopper, trust and excitement, showcase customer experiences and compel buying action with a little help from Okendo. Start your free trial today at okendo.io. That’s O-K-E-N-D-O dot IO. 

Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I’d like to thank you a loyal listener of e-commerce fast lane. It’s my hope that this podcast is offering you a ton of value through growth strategies, tactics, and exclusive insider tips on the best Shopify apps and marketing platforms.

All with my personal goal, to help you build launch, grow and scale with Shopify. Thanks for investing some time today and listening to the show. I’m so proud and excited that you have a growth mindset and are a constant learner. I truly appreciate you and your entrepreneurial journey.
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