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Pulling The Right Growth And Retention Levers For Your Shopify Store With Paul Rogers And Josh Duggan of Vervaunt

Ecommerce fastlane 234 - optimizing your store with Paul Rogers and Josh Duggan of Vervaunt.

In today’s episode, I was joined by Paul Rogers and Josh Duggan from Vervaunt, an award-winning paid media agency and an ecommerce consultancy for Shopify-powered brands.

As a Shopify Plus Agency Partner, they help brands to grow and scale.

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​​Our North Star is to inspire founders and marketers to accelerate growth through podcasts and strategic insights. Each week Steve Hutt and his Shopify Expert guest discuss the latest marketing strategies and current marketing tactics to accelerate growth and scale in 2022. You’ll learn how to improve efficiencies, profitably grow revenue, and build lifetime customer loyalty for your Shopify-powered online store. Today’s episode gets you one step closer to learning from those who are winning in e-commerce!

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Welcome to season five of eCommerce Fastlane. This podcast helps resilient entrepreneurs, marketers, and founders to accelerate growth and thrive with Shopify. And now onto episode 243.

You’re listening to eCommerce Fastlane, the podcast show to help you build, manage, grow, and scale a successful and thriving company powered by Shopify. Listen to real conversations with partners and subject matter experts as they. Proven practical strategies, platforms and the best Shopify apps to help you accelerate your business. The time is now, now for you to improve efficiencies, grow revenue, profit, and lifetime customer loyalty. Please welcome your host startup, founder and strategic advisor. Steve Hutt.

Before today’s episode. I have a question for you. How many marketing experiments have you done in the last four weeks? How about in the last year? Now, look, if you’re doing seven or eight figures in revenue on your website or more, and you’re not doing conversion optimization, you’re leaving a ton of cash on the table. You won’t scale to the next level, and you’re going to get your lunch eaten by the competition over the next 12 months. Now our sponsor Conversion Fanatics runs thousands, I mean that, thousands of experiments each year for clients like Clorox, Burt’s Bees, NBC sports. We have a whole list here, golf channel Harper, Collins, ClickFunnels. I can rattle off a ton. There’s an incredible amount of brands, including Shopify brands that they run these experiments. Now what Conversion Fanatics does, is it optimizes your Shopify store. So you can get a lot more customers to scale up your traffic much faster and see a lot more profit fall into your bottom line. And they make it. And they handle everything. So go to conversionfanatics.com for a free site proposal today and tell them eCommerce Fastlane sent you because traffic without maximizing conversions, in my opinion, is sad. 

Well, hey there, it’s Steve Hutt. And welcome back to season five of eCommerce Fastlane. Whether this is your first time listening or you’re a weekly subscriber, I seriously appreciate you taking time today and listening to the show. I know there’s plenty of podcast choices, kind of out there in e-commerce and direct-to-consumer marketing. And the fact that you’re here today really does mean the world to me and definitely to my featured guests today. And if this is your first time listening, we’re an e-commerce show. We have honest and transparent conversations about building and thriving with your store powered by Shopify or Shopify. Plus if you’re an ambitious, lifelong learner, which you likely are since you’re here today, you’re definitely in the right place. Now new episodes, like I said, are available twice weekly that are available from all your favorite podcast apps like apple and Spotify. I highly recommend that you click through to the show notes for today’s episode, it’s at ecommercefastlane.com and there you’ll have the show transcript, the links and all the resources and things that we mentioned today.

Now on my episode for today, I’m excited to actually have two guests, very rare, but it’s actually awesome. It’s Paul Rogers and Josh Duggan, who are from a company called Revant. They’re an agency partner, and Paul is the managing director of Revant. And he’s joined by his business partner, Josh. Just as a side note, Revant is an award-winning paid media agency and an e-commerce consultancy and they work with a number of incredible Shopify brands to really help them grow and scale. So hello, Paul and Josh. Welcome to eCommerce Fastlane.

Paul Rogers: Hi. Yeah. Nice to be on. Yeah, we’re really excited to join it. 

Josh Duggan: Yeah. Thanks for having us, Steve. 

My pleasure. And I know our time zones are significantly different. You being in the UK at the moment, me being in Vancouver, and I know it’s evening time for you and mid-morning for me, but whether there’s talent, I wanna make sure that we all come together and get a great recording. And I’ve looked over some of the Q and A that I’ve kind of prepared for today. And I’m hoping to unpack a lot of interesting questions that brands are having around. Media, I think is one of the big topics right now, just the ROAS being so high. But let’s talk a little bit on the high level first. Let’s educate those listeners. Like what does Revant do and why do a lot of Shopify brands choose your agency to help them grow and scale? 

Paul Rogers: Yeah, so essentially Revant is a four-year-old kind of eCommerce consultancy and performance marketing agency. As you said, Josh set it. We have two sides to the business. So the eCommerce consultancy side and the performance marketing. So they operate pretty separately, but they do actually cross over a lot more than they used to. And then in terms of kind of offerings. So the first one I’ve already kind of talked about is performance marketing, primarily paid search and paid social. We have a big focus on creative testing and onsite experience. So, you know, there’s a lot of agencies that have that as well but will come onto why we’re slightly different. And then my side, which is the eCommerce consultancy side is focused on three key areas. So we do a lot of re-platforming projects, so not just with Shopify, but we’ll usually be bought in quite early. We’ll do the kind of initial BA process we’ll help to build the business case. We’ll build out the tech stack, all of the requirements. We’ll kind of work with different stakeholders on that process, select the SI and then we’ll deliver the project and kind of govern the project. So that’s kind of one area which is kind of where we started, but we’ll come onto. A bit later, we then do a lot of road mapping. And as part of that, we kind of prioritize and accelerate the delivery of items on the roadmap. So we don’t actually do any development work, but we do kind of all of the BA work associated with that. We scope everything out. We do quite often a lot of the solution architecting around that. And then we’ll work with one of the shops by partners or different platform agencies to deliver. And then we do a lot of strategy work as well, so slightly higher level, you know, we’ll work with more senior stakeholders and we’ll kind of support in prioritizing investments and budgeting and building teams, all of that kind of stuff.

Josh Duggan: Just like from a credit perspective. So with the highest level of Google partner, And the highest level of Facebook partner, I guess just the, in terms of like our focus, we only work with eCommerce brands and we typically work with both a mixture of established brands. And so like Joseph Moton Brown, Stussy, many others. But we also work for a number of, kind of like fast-growing D2C eCommerce-only clients. So yeah, hopefully, we can kind of like give some good context and value in the podcast. 

Beautiful. Well, thank you both for sharing kind of what you do. Cause I think when you say the word, you know, marketing agency and it turns out that you’re much more depth than just that. And when you talk about just, you know, the acquisition side, but then the business kind of operations side of the kind of understanding the business and, and really getting involved and unpacking how the business can actually operate and how it can improve itself. I think the more brands you work with, you’re able to leverage a lot of knowledge and that power and pass it down to the next brands that you start to work with. One thing I wanna mention before we kind of go on my next question, I want to give you a big shout-out and congrats, um, on winning the kind of e-commerce agency of the year award for 2021, like it’s what does that mean to you and the team to kind of get this kind of public recognition?

Paul Rogers: Yeah, it’s great. To be honest, like it’s just really nice to win those kinds of awards, like historically. To be perfectly honest. I didn’t love awards, you know, and I didn’t really think too much of them. Yeah. It is just good recognition. Isn’t it? Really? And yeah, like both sides of the business contributed. I think a lot of it was around, you know, how we service clients, something else. So yeah, we love it. 

Mm-hmm, so what do you specifically believe are some of the reasons why you were nominated and then subsequently won? Cause I’m sure there are some variables and a bunch of people in a pool. Then, you know, the cream kind of rises to the top. And so like, what do you think kind of, you know, the judges, in the end, have chosen Revant as the winner.

Paul Rogers: I mean, the team’s a big one. We’ve got a really strong team and I think we’ve grown quite quickly over the last 18 months, but I think one of the things we’ve done is kind of investing in good people and also kind of nurtured good talent. So I think that’s a big part of it. I think we’re quite unique as well. So you talked about it a second ago, but you know, the consultancy side is kind of pure consultancy, which is still quite rare these days. And then yeah, the paid side as well. I think we’re quite unique in kind of how we’re working with different clients.

Josh Duggan: I guess globally advertisers are moving towards automation and we’re relying more on the Facebook and Google platforms and kind of like any other platform out there. The big focus for us has been adding much more value beyond just kind of like day-to-day optimization. So all of our team are, are able to kind of like go into a CRM system. They can kind of like look at customer data. They can look at trends and they can adapt marketing straps too. Off the back of it, we all look into kind of like lifetime value. A big focus for the agency is how we can scale brands internationally. So we have a big focus within the team in terms of, you know, kind of like what payment gateways are needed per market and just being much more technical. So as an agency we’re, yeah, very focused on aspects of eCommerce beyond just paid media, I think we had a couple of specific award entries with panga or a couple clients swap brew quite quickly. Yeah. I think just for us, we, we’ve just got a big focus beyond just paid, which is quite useful. 

That’s lovely. So let’s talk a bit about the origin story. I’m always fascinated why people build what they build or how they come together. In some cases, a SAS product, sometimes in your particular case, it’s more of a consultancy slash kind of like, you know, pure-play kind of marketing kind of direct-to-consumer opportunities. And so how did the pieces come together for the founding team, both you and Josh, like where did the desire, where do the expertise come from to want to build this agency? 

Paul Rogers: Yeah, so we kind of did it accidentally. So I was operating as an independent consultant to start off with, and I was working on a lot of re-platforming projects, kind of on retainer with some eCommerce brands that were starting to take direct-to-consumer seriously. And I was more focused on the kind of technology and roadmap side. And then Josh was my best friend. So we met in school, basically like years and years ago, he was working for a large media agency on big clients. And I guess maybe with questioning the service that was being delivered, everything else. And then Josh started doing some freelance for me on the side, helping a couple of brands like, okay, Neil’s beyond retro to start off with. I think they were the first two kind of prove the concept of paid and some other brands actually as well, that were going direct. We did a lot of work around kind of justifying bidding on brand when this is a long time ago. So we were kind of working together and then one day, you know, we were getting so much demand and the pro you know, the work was going really well. So we were like, actually, there’s an opportunity here. And it wasn’t that we went to market as an agency. Initially the plan was, we’d be a consultancy and we’d go into businesses together and we’d be really ingrained. We’d go and sit down with the marketing team. You know, e-com team, the IT team, and the finance team, et cetera. And we would essentially like build the programs and, you know, then start to push paid and grow e-com and kind of work with the eco team as well on my side. And then over time, we just became a little bit more like a traditional agency, I guess. So the paid side’s much bigger, so that’s become a little bit more traditional agency. And then on my side started working with Shopify about five years ago, did a project of Bulletproof, which was a really good project for me. And then kind of carried on, on that side and then gradually built out a team that was a bit more Shopify focused. So we hired a full stack developer who operates as a solution architect, we’ve got a product owner, who’s got a bit of Shopify experience and then we’ve built out from there. And now we have a team of six and then the paid side has kind of developed from there. We work really closely together. We do a lot of support work for the paid. So our average paid clients, you know, we will have inputs into their UX and their roadmap. And, you know, we do a lot around international and the eco team will do a lot around kind of international payments or, you know, tax and duties or whatever else. So we’ve kind of developed this combined offering, I guess, from there really? 

Ah, it’s lovely. I know, when you mentioned Bulletproof, that’s one of the accounts that I manage. So there’s another Josh over there who is my main point of contact, but I know all the team over there and I just love, and I’m not sure if you were part of it, but I just love the fact that they’re running WordPress on their front end is their content strategy, but then they’re running a sub-domain. Identical looking website. And I just love how they’re able to have their search functionality reveal from two CMSs. So we have the WordPress CMS, and then you have the Shopify CMS, and they’re able to reveal both content and product recommendations in real-time. No matter what CMS. The site visitor lands on, and I’m sure there’s lots of other UX improvements and things that, that, that you guys, and they’ve been done over the years, but yeah. Love Bulletproof. 

Paul Rogers: Yeah. They were a great client actually. Yeah. I was a part of that initially. So yeah. I migrated them a long time ago and they had a really solid in-house team and yeah, I did some of the initial kind of due diligence on shop buy. They were reviewing Shopify Salesforce, and then yeah, they launched that in about 10 weeks and that was a really good project. And then I carried on working. A few heads of ECOS over the years, but we don’t do too much of them now, but yeah, they’re a great business and I know Josh quite well and he’s great as well. 

So let’s talk a little bit about the paid advertising because I know it’s a little bit of a sore spot for a lot of brands. I mean, now with, you know, iOS is 14.5 update and people have to manually opt-in to be tracked. And so the default is to don’t track. And so knowing that it’s causing a lot of challenges and I have a lot of brands messaging me saying, how do we deal with ROAS now? Like, is, is. Just a blended ROAS like I spent this, I got this and is there no granularity? So there’s lots of like, kind of what-if scenarios in this cookie list future, and like all these crazy things that are going on in the world right now, GDPR kind of where you’re, you know, CCPA, there’s lots of stuff going on. So I maybe I know there’s kind of a loaded question, but what are you seeing with the brands that you’re currently working with right now around maybe allocating their spend or are there any trends that you want to kind of share with our listeners today? 

Josh Duggan: Yeah, yeah. Spot on. I think that’s, um, a great question. And I guess just, cuz I could obviously talk about this for hours. I try and focus on a few key areas. Yeah. Big ones obviously kind of like the privacy piece. So the iOS changes being a pretty big fundamental one, obviously safari going cookie less and Chrome planning to kind of like follow suit. So a big focus for all advertisers, which I’m sure kind of like a lot of listeners will be aware of is essentially the importance of not necessarily just owned first-party data, but really well-managed data. So, you know, really understanding your consumer behavior, kind of like what are the triggers for people to purchase at what stage does kind of like the second purchase come into play. And when you, should you be retargeting consumers? So a big focus for brands should just be owning first-party data. So rather than being reliant. Facebook and Google kind of like targeting and data sets. You really wanna own as much data as possible. And that way you’ll always be able to retarget. So you’re not relying on the cookie or you’re not relying on any a form of remarketing. You’re simply fully using your own first-party data. So that’s an email address or kind of like a phone number or any form of opt-in data. You’ve got the ability to retarget those. Yeah. A big focus obviously would be kind of like uploading CRM lists, Facebook and Google and, and just making sure that’s possible just on the. Kind of like a privacy piece as well. So Google has actually reflected Facebook’s approach to measurement. So Facebook obviously introduced their conversions, API and service sidetracking about 12 months ago now. So in response to kind of like the initial iOS changes. And Google have essentially followed it. So a fundamental focus for all advertisers needs to be, to get that service side tracking set up and essentially the most basic way to explain that would be rather than monitoring the consumer with a cookie. And then kind of like triggering that the purchase confirmation page. What it does is it sends back the user data in a hash. And then it matches that to the adds, what was served. So it just means that you don’t need to be reliant on any kind of cookies or anything, which would no longer be tracked. You simply use your first-party data and pass that back to the platform. So yeah, definitely making sure server-side tracking set up is fundamental. I think it’s quite exciting. So a big change to Facebook has been moving away from like highly targeted campaigns. So historically you would have multiple campaigns targeting different audiences. Serving different creative. And I think the biggest change. Here is that the Facebook algorithm has just got so strong and it’s so effective that you’re better off actually targeting a broad audience and allowing Facebook to identify the people most likely to buy. And what that’s caused is like a big shift in conversations, moving away from audiences. So we’re not talking about. Audience one versus audience two. We’re now talking about creativity and it is every brand’s purpose should really be to understand what creative resonates with a broad audience. And it, and it kind of follows like how marketing worked 10 years ago. You know what you would run on TV, you’d target broad audiences. You would AB test creative. And I think, change, which is kind of like slowly coming into play, but definitely something to be considering and equally something which I don’t think is discussed enough within the paid landscape, but it’s the customer experience. Make sure you are fundamentally testing landing pages, at least across different stages of the funnel. So if you’ve got a completely cold prospect, should they be taken through the brand story and kind of like an introduction for brand’s purpose and or should it be simply, you know, the product collection and really being focused out. And then I guess just such on might the iOS piece. It’s quite an interesting one. So Facebook came out and said that they’ve seen a 15% drop in conversion rates following the iOS changes. So Facebook actually kind of like remodelled how they even tracked conversions back in September. So a lot of brands should have started to see an improvement in conversion rates from September onwards. But the biggest issue we are seeing is the CPMs. So our 30% more advertisers in 2021 versus 20. So Facebook’s just becoming much more competitive. And I think with COVID and stores being closed and locked down, many brands moved to advertising online. And for us as an agency, our biggest challenge is kind of tackling those higher CPMs. So for a lot of brands we’re paying, you know, 50% more to serve an ad. Whereas conversion rates dropped 15 cents of the biggest consideration for us has actually been CPMs recently. So we’ve tried to deploy a lot of strategies to improve engagement rates, which essentially lower CPMs across the account. And I think Facebook’s been brilliant as well in terms of introducing new things, to support advertisers. So for any listeners who have not tested data, essentially, it, it stands for dynamic ads for broad audiences. That’s a very effective way to. Good traffic and sales are low cost. And, um, BVO V iOS piece is significant. A  bigger consideration for us is the CPMs. And just my final point would be kind of like channel diversification. So just where Facebook has got so costly, you’ll slowly start to see a lot of brands moving for the likes of Snapchat. Obviously, TikTok is the most used platform now. So that’s definitely worth kind of like looking at understanding what consumers are on there and how to engage new customers. So, yeah, I realize that’s a bit of an essay and a brief question, but hopefully, I’ve touched on like a few fundamental areas for people to look into.

And I think that’s lovely. I think. I’ll add a little tiny bit to that. Also, I totally agree with you about, you know, the owned data side of it. That’s what I’m seeing too and the first-party data is extremely important. I think about RFM, this recency frequency monetization strategy, and I’ve had a few other partners on like segments and a few others that really understand the cohorts of Shopify. Site visitors and orders. And so they understand the first, the second, the third, they know at risk in loyal customers and you’re able to segment them and market to them based on the first-party data. So I would totally agree with you, whatever tools you’re using. I’ll put some links in the show notes, but there’s lots of great tools to kind of slice and dice your Shopify order data to then figure out how do I get my first sale to a second. And how do I cultivate and create campaigns around my most loyal customers that, my VIPs? And so it’s very interesting. So I would totally agree with you on that. I also, I want to add that, you know, those listening say, you may want to consider zero party data, which means how do I enrich my first party, which is my order data pretty much in Shopify. How do I get more information from my customers? From a marketing perspective. And I know I’ve had octane AI on in the past and they have a really good quiz solution. I know they’ve had a lot of case studies around. How do I ask the right questions to make sure that when I’m marketing to them, let’s say I’m a pet brand. I don’t wanna send dog food ads. To them, whatever the channels are. We’ll talk about the diversification a minute, but you don’t wanna send dog food ads if they’ve kind of self-selected as being a cat person. Right. So…

Josh Duggan: So I totally agree with you. First party, zero party, I think is really important. 

And then you mentioned about the social commerce. I think just the whole idea of diversifying outside of the typical channels. I know Shopify is, is, has been really doubled down, um, with Shopify payments and shop pay, and being able to be in. Pinterest in being in TikTok and being in Snapchat and all the networks that you know, and, and buying from within ads. Now, it’s so interesting from the things that are available and I think it’s diversifying and testing. Are, are you seeing that on your end? 

Paul Rogers: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I mean, I’m like the biggest advocate, Facebook and Instagram for the advertisers, but we were quite closely of Snapchat now and essentially their CPMs are three times live on. So even if your conversion rate is hard, free Snapchat, it’s gonna work out more profitable. And I think they’re seeing the opportunity as well. So for all of our clients, they’re offering a free test budget. So, you know, clients can come in and test for the system for free if they built some augmented reality assets for one of our clients for free. So, yeah, they’re definitely recognizing the opportunity in pushing equally. We’re done a lot more with Pinterest now and then tos an interesting one. So I, I don’t think it’s necessarily the best platform for conversions. Yeah, that should definitely be on like every brand’s radar. And, um, I’d say for about 15% of our clients who are doing ads currently, but obviously, that’s gonna grow quite a lot.

Josh Duggan: Just to add to that as well. We do have, we’ve got one client and I won’t say who it is, but we do have a client doing a pretty significant amount for Instagram checkout now, which I find really interesting. So I think our average client is kind of testing it. The US market, but we’ve got one client where they’ve Instagram have kind of incentivized them a little bit to push it. And I think they’ve provided some money maybe to allow for like promotions and stuff like that. But they’re doing well in the millions a year by Instagram checkout, which is quite interesting. 

Yeah, I love that. One thing I wanna touch on before I go to my next question was you were talking about the importance. I think Josh is probably more in your wheelhouse about the importance of creative and testing creative be just because CPMs and the Roaz kind of, you know, challenges and you banner blindness and all the different things that can happen. I find that a lot of brands get on this kind of unfortunate. Content hamster wheel a little bit. And I feel like it’s a never-ending process of having to come up with unique either UGC user-generated content or animated gifts. And there’s so many different types of creativity. I just wanted to hear, you know, your insights kind of on boots on the ground right now. Like what’s your thought on ad creative and any tips and things you can give our listeners? 

Paul Rogers: No, definitely. I mean, I think that’s a very valid point. I think all of our clients if you asked them would suggest that they want more creative, more regular dimensions kind of like there are lots of different types. So UGC kind of like video lifestyle, campaign visuals, product rich kind of like content. The big thing for us is we work very closely with kind of like creative design team with kind of like different teams of clients’ businesses. And a big focus for us is you can actually build without assets quite easily with minimal content. So I still agree that regular asset production is fundamental. We do a lot of analysis around a fatigue and you do it quite quickly. But after three to four weeks of running the same ad, you know, fatigue kicks in CTR drops, CPMs increase. So you definitely wanna be constantly iterating new versions of creative. And essentially the way we manage it is we would have say five assets running simultaneously and then every two weeks or so dependent on the spend. We’d pause the underperformers to say two versions, for example, and rotate in two new ones and then just retrospectively take learnings. So we would go in with an initial hypothesis. What we’re testing and so on, but what we’ve noticed, a lot of brands is a lot of clients have brilliant Instagram, organic content, and all you need to do to build a lot of assets is simply just put those into kind of like video content with different product features, different messages about the brands. So there’s actually a good case study between Facebook and Allbirds and essentially what all birds were trying to do was it was just trying to understand the percentage mix of messaging between the brand and the product. So if they started off initially with just. Completely branded messaging. So all about sustainability, all about the business goal and ambitions, and kind of like all about the broad product catalog. And then they slowly moved down to ads, which were just solely focused on individual product benefits. And their testing process was just to understand what form of messaging worked best. And a lot of the assets they used were just visual product assets, adjusted into a video with just different product, text overlays. So I definitely think it can be easier than what a lot of advertisers deem it be, but it should be a huge focus. But I think if you’ve got product images, you’ve got some right damages. You definitely can build a good brief to build out a lot of video content, just with a small amount of initial content. So that would be my initial response, cuz I’m very aware that I don’t think there’s any brand out there who have, you know, constantly got access to creative. That by one. 

Yeah, it kinda reminds me there’s, I’ll put the link in the show notes, but you know, one area of UGC, that’s interesting for a lot of brands is what’s going on on Instagram stories, which unfortunately the creative is only available for 24 hours. And, and, you know, you can’t be there right? Clicking and saving, you know, 24 hours a day, seven days a week when people are at mentioning your brand and for free, maybe. True influencers yet. And you know, and I think there’s some tools out there that are scraping in real time now and almost creating a war chest of UGC, Instagram story content that then can work on the rights management around that content and figure out how can I leverage that? How do I build a new relationship with, you know, someone who’s promoting my brand? That’s not even quote-unquote, officially on the books as an influencer. Have you seen that at all?

Paul Rogers: No, not too much, to be honest. So we, we actually don’t work too closely with organic content teams. So I think if we were to come across like an app like that, we would, you know, love the content to be sent to us. We could propose what might be used as paid assets. That’s actually a brilliant idea. We’ve not yet looked too much into that. Yeah. I can definitely see the value. 

Absolutely. I’ll make sure I put everything in the show notes for that one. So let’s pivot a bit over to, I mean, I gonna be devil’s advocate here for a second about, you know, other marketing agencies maybe that are serving Shopify brands. I mean, I think my thought around this is that you know, where there’s competition there’s a business and it’s very clear with over 2 million brands on Shopify and massively growing DDC is here to stay. There appears to be an end or at least a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to what’s going on with the pandemic right now. But people are still love online shopping and the discovery part of. Still think there’s lots of opportunities. It’s a very blue ocean out there, but if you do a quick Google search or I’m sure you’ll find some notable peers or, you know, believe to be notable peers, kind of that are helping Shopify brands to grow and scale, but with your awards and just like your whole mindset around, you know, the consultancy and then the paid acquisition side, I just. Would like to understand a little bit of how you’re, I guess, intentionally different from others in the Shopify ecosystem, even though you’re serving potentially the same customers.

Josh Duggan: We obviously try and focus on a couple of like key differentiators. So a big one for us. As Paul mentioned at the start, we never intended to form an agency. So initially our goal was to just be a real strategic consultancy. We had spent two days a week in our client’s office and a big focus for us when we have scaled was to kind of keep that seniority within our account management. So all of our day-to-day account managers are typically much more experienced general agencies. So we would, you know, really upscale them around different elements of econ. They would all be able to go into Shopify, very advanced with shopping feeds. They would all be able to adjust image URLs for DPAs. All very kind of like technical around the Instagram shop and, and kind of like the ability to build product sets and everything else. We’ve always tried to build a bit of a niche for ourselves. So big focus recently has been like a technology push. So as we’ve spoke on the podcast and as kind of like rule aware is creatives just been a massive focus for brands. Recently, we start to see one challenge where if you go into the Facebook interface and you’ve got a number of campaigns targeting different regions, you’ve got different campaigns targeting different audiences. And you can end up with a complex array of ads within the interface. It’s quite difficult for anyone to go in and quickly understand what ads are working well. So we’ve pretty quickly built a creative reporting dashboard, which we share with clients that the team use every day. And it gives us a real-time view of aggregated ad data. So rather than looking. They’re kind of like the same ad in multiple instances within the interface, which is quite hard to analyze. It just gives you a single-line view of each ad’s performance. And then you, you know, you could filter by market. You could filter prospecting, but that’s like a really great solution where our client teams could just quickly go in and see their best ad. And, you know, that’s kind of something we. Identified as pretty key, which we built out, we built out a number of inventory trackers. So it sends alerts to clients and products gap start, we scrape compared to websites for price changes and kind of like when they go into promotion. Yeah. So we’ve always tried to build out quite a technical offerings. We do a lot around like GA and GTM as well. We also have a Shopify app, which I’m sure Paul would love to quickly introduce.

Paul Rogers: Yeah. We built an app that was initially designed for kind of onsite feedback and then it was gonna be on the order confirmation page where we started and also kind of grow into an onsite feedback form just where people can report bugs, et cetera. And then it gradually grew into kind of more attribution surveys. And then now trying to get more context from the customer that we can then pass into kind of CRMs and ESPs, et cetera. But yeah, we use that a lot with paid clients and that’s been really good. And we’ve got a nice little roadmap on that. We use it quite a lot for international as well. Like. Clients want to understand the barriers or like how customers have responded to barriers around kind of duties. Maybe that they communicate with the customer through the checkout process or shipping time scales, all that kind of stuff. But yeah, that’s been really good as well.

I didn’t realize this. So I’m actually in the Shopify app store right now having a peak at it. So I would totally agree with the benefits. It’s interesting where there’s a rule based post-purchase surveys. Cause I, I always recommend people at least, you know, corroborate your ad spend on. How did you hear about us and then maybe a follow up question? Oh, it was podcast. Oh, which podcast? Or, you know, so at least it helps corroborate some of your ad span opportunities. But then I think there’s other creative ways of having exit intense surveys and stuff. It looks like you have NPS scores and, and bugs and attribution things and UX feedback. There’s a lot of things that I see this tool can do that. I had no idea. So congrats on that. And so I wanna pivot a bit over to a story. I think it’s so interesting to me, there’s this education process and almost inspiration that comes around stories. And I’ve had a chance to kind of go Toons website and have a look. And you have quite a few case studies. Obviously Bulletproof is one of my brands, but there’s so many others and I hopefully don’t put you on the spot here, but it would be great if you could maybe share maybe a few stories of some, you know, recent Shopify brands that have worked with you. It could be strictly. Consultation side, and then they did the implementation on their end, or it could be on, you know, the performance side of actually paid social and, and paid ads and things like that. So I’ll kind of lead it up to you, how you wanna unpack some of your notable partners and, you know, DDC brands that you worked with. 

Paul Rogers: There’s a few that I talk about quite often. So self-portrait is a really nice one. So. A global fashion brand. So we recently migrated them over to the Shopify app about a month ago, which has been a really good project. They were pretty, I guess, intertwined with Magento before they don’t have too many kind of back office systems. It was a complex project to make it work for Shopify. So that was a really good one. David Austin roses, which was probably about free. Years ago. I had a really small team also on Magento. We did a lot of complex work with a PIM with them, and we also did a lot of, kind of quite heavy customization with shop via, via kind of private apps. We built like a kind of fake parent-child relationship to handle some complexity around their catalogue. So that was a really good one. And then totems one that I personally really like, just because it’s a really good brand experience. And at the time when we were reviewing the platforms, One of the concerns from their internal team was around Shopify being able to kind of yeah. Deliver on that kind of unique brand experience. And this is pre-2.0 as well. And yeah, it’s a really good site. We did that. We met websites, but yeah, Bremont is another one actually that we’ve launched fairly recently that’s really good. 

Josh Duggan: A story we kind of like often reference back to is Pangaea. So they essentially were kind of like a relatively small client around two and a half years ago. And they’re now one of our biggest brands. They’re kind of like our biggest spender in the paid media space. And we, with those, we’ve basically worked very aggressively to target new customers. So we worked quite closely on customer ion costs and lifetime value to really use a new way of measurement. We rolled out some really cool tactics. So we. Serve the equivalent of organic content to existing customers. So we would get a lot of engagement, a lot of comments we would ask what color hoodie people used, and then we would serve that to new customers. So essentially it was a, a socially proof ad with the likes and comments. We basically had like hundreds of ideas like that. We, we had country-specific content. We were pushing, we had localized shopping feeds. So I think that’s a brilliant story where they went from spending. Yeah. Kind of like in the thousands of pounds a month to, you know, during black Friday months up to millions. Yeah, just a really good story where we, we like actively, you know, scaled the account across multiple markets, but I, I also think it’s quite nice to touch on some of the larger brands we work with that. Worked with initially as in a proof of concept stage and then have, have kind of like proven the value of paid media. So Muji is quite a nice example, global brand kind of like stores, you know, globally across the world. Initially with them, we started off with just PPC in the UK. At scale to global paid search and paid social management. So we’ve already proven the value of paid media. We’ve done that for quite a few other brands. So Stasi, for example, we started working with earlier this year, you know, kind of like really proven the value of paid we’ve moved into. , for generic space and paid search, we’re pushing Google shopping much more with lush. For example, we managed their first-ever paid search activity. So yeah, I think nice thing for us is also not only working with the fast-growing brands, but also really introducing the value of paid to some of them, all established clients who work with.

Well, thank you for sharing that. I’ll make sure I put all those links in the show note, just so you can go back and take a look to see, you know, just once again, it’s the story is great. And then the growth is great, but it’s nice to actually go in and have you take a look and say, Hey, what does great look like today? And I think that’s what inspires a lot of people that are listening. One thing I wanna just touch on a bit is about maybe. The future of Revant. I, I know that I had one question here that I always like to ask, because you know, here we are, we’re in mid-20, 22 right now we’re in probably may by the time this is being released in Q2. And I, I’m always curious on the north star, it’s very clear that you kind of positioned yourself as being, you know, um, deeply entrenched in D TOC, both from a consultancy side and the paid acquisition side, and aligning yourself with some partners from the development side to help with UX improvements and things like that, but just would like to understand. Where do you see the future of your company and how are you gonna continue to offer value and assistance for Shopify brands? 

Paul Rogers: Yeah, I don’t think Josh and I necessarily have the answer to this. Like we’ve never really had like a massive vision. I think, you know, we’ve got two sides to the business. We both wanna be the best. We’ve grown a lot recently, which is the ways of challenge. And I think we just wanna keep strengthening. We wanna work with cool, like particularly on the E eco side, we almost intentionally have kept it very small so we can pick and choose cool brands. We work with work on cool projects, you know, like I want to be working with, you know, web free projects. I wanna do more kind of like really advanced CRM stuff. I want to push more kind of multichannel stuff. Like I want to definitely be continuing to work on new stuff. Yeah. And then I wanna continue building out our own technology. I’m sure. Josh will talk a little bit more about creative, but yeah. Ultimately I just wanna continue doing. Cool stuff more so than kind of growing the team or growing financially. I think that may well kind of happen in line with those two things. I think just working with cool brands has always been the thing that motivates us probably the most. Will you agree with that, Josh?

Josh Duggan: Yeah, exactly. And I think for us, it’s, you know, we just want to be involved in the best projects. I think Paul mentioned that, you know, it’s quite exciting now we working much more closely with your Snapchat. As I mentioned, you know, who we had kind of wrote off a couple of years ago when performance wasn’t there, but you, you, yeah, definitely. A big opportunity for us to introduce new channels to clients, to diversify in some areas. So a big focus for us is, you know, just so we spoke so much about creative. We’re, we’re actively hiring for someone to kind of like own our creative offering. And I think a lot of that role will just be added value to existing clients. So just. Making those small tweaks to creative what I mentioned. So just making slight adjustments to allow us to test and to iterate and, you know, build out creative. So I think that would be a big focus for us, but yeah, we’re just very much, as Paul mentioned, we’re not kind of like led by financials. We just wanna make sure we’re, you know, building a good brand, all clients, you know, really respect us and appreciate working with us. So that’s kind of our overall.

Beautiful. And Josh, I had a quick peek to see that tool that does, UGC scraping from, Instagram stories. And it was episode 226. I’ll put it in the show notes. So the company is called archive.com and Paul Benny, Jerry is the co-founder and CEO of that company. So archive.com and have a peek at that really neat solution that just runs full-time once again. Gives you a war chest of UGC content based on hashtags and other different mentions and things, some known people and some unknown people. And then the rights management around that content and how you can repurpose it into social ads and things like that. And that’s not necessarily in your wheelhouse, but it’s interesting way to potentially expand your creative mix through UGC. So… 

Josh Duggan: That sounds brilliant. To be honest, as I mentioned, I think all of our clients would appreciate the ability to source more content. You know, this is just gonna be providing, you know, UGC creative, which we can just flick through and reach out to anyone relevant. 

Paul Rogers: Josh. We do work with a few other companies, , with some of our clients that have been probably I’ve worked with more than you, but some of our clients are doing similar things with UGC, but more of like QE and some of those companies. And then they’re just trying, I think this is probably more designed to do it as scale and download the assets and stuff like. 

Yeah. And it gives you a war chest. I think part of their deal is, is that they, I know this is more about you guys, but it’s an interesting topic about, you know, just creative in that hamster wheel we talked about and just, just another way of you’re right. Having, they call it a war chest of potential UGC content, and some can go on PDP pages. Some could go into social ads. There’s lots of different ways. And then, you know, even worse case scenario it’s or better case, I guess, is learning. Who’s actually loving your brand and cuz a lot, you’d be really surprised. It’s not just the influencers that are being paid with product or some kind of campaigns. They just generally love the product and they just wanna get their 50 minutes of fame. They at mention brands on purpose, but then a lot of times they’re missed in Instagram stories. It gives you a much more, better real estate in the app itself than just having to go through the regular Instagram feed. Right. That’ll be in the show notes for sure. Before we kinda lead off for the rest of this episode, I just would like to know where should we send people? So we understand what you do. Is there any place particular that they should go, I guess revant.com would be number one. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Paul Rogers: I think that’s probably it. I spend a newsletter that I spend a lot of time doing, which can be found on vivant.com. Yeah. I’ve got my personal blog, Paul M. Rogers, but I don’t update that anyway. I knew I should do. Yeah. The vad.com is definitely, the best place. 

All right. Very cool. And I’ll make sure I put links to all that. Same to your app for surveys. I’ll make sure that’s in the show notes. So I just wanted to thank you both for coming on the show today. It’s, it’s always fun and unique to have two guests on together, but it’s nice that you’ve kind of, kind of put yourself in your own kind of specialty areas and something. I just really appreciate that. And once again, congrats on your wind. Congrats on being aligned, you know, quite tightly now with Shopify. And I really appreciate that. I know you’re mostly dealing. Based on geography, you know, more in the European markets, but I just see there’s sounds like there’s some great opportunity for North American brands for Revant to even outside of time zones and things. So just, I think maybe you can unpack that. Just let me know if that’s something where you see yourself expanding on that.

Paul Rogers: It’s interesting. You say that we’ve got our colleagues. So our head of performance marketing is in the US for the next three months assessing the market. Yes. If she’s in New York maintain lots of people working. We do have a lot of clients in particularly East Coast, US. And then I do consultancy for quite a lot of brands in the west coast as well. But yeah, it’s definitely on the roadmap just because. Yeah, Josh and I both love the US. There’s a lot of great brands over there and yeah, we’ve got existing clients, so yeah, it’s something we’re actually working on very recently. So BFA moved over last week or temporarily moved over. 

That’s lovely. Cuz I’m part of the revenue west organization. So anything kind of east, the east, west of the Mississippi, I guess. And I’ve lots of brands in California. So this is great. This is great that you’re kind of offering your potentially offering more service. And time zone friendly kind of opportunities for client meetings and things like that. So that’s awesome. Well, both, I just thank you guys for coming on the show today. I really appreciate it. You know, one thing that I know, you know, this, but Shopify has a mission and it really is to make commerce better for everyone. And it’s, you know, very clear based on this kind of conversation today, you guys really are tight alignment with wanting to help Shopify brands in a lot of areas. You. Efficiencies and revenue and lifetime value and all through either consultancy or through, you know, acquisition strategies and performance marketing. I just really appreciate that. And thanks for sharing your knowledge and your vision and just, I guess the end of the day, just giving back to the shop by ecosystem. 

Paul Rogers: Yeah. Great. No, we’ve really, well I’ve certainly really enjoyed it. I’m sure Josh has too 

Josh Duggan: Yeah. Thanks so much for having us, Steve and, yeah, I really appreciate it.

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Well, that’s it for today’s episode, I’d like to thank you. A loyal listener of e-commerce fast. 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.

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