In today’s Shopify eCommerce podcast, my guest is Brett Bernstein, the CEO and Co-Founder of Gatsby, a Shopify influencer app. They help ecommerce marketers to scale their micro-influencer and ambassador programs directly inside Klaviyo, Gorgias, Yotpo, Omnisend, and more. This is an excellent conversation with tons of learnings on how to scale influencers and brand ambassadors with your Shopify-powered store.
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This episode is brought to you by Recharge, the leading subscription management solution, helping eCommerce merchants of all sizes launch and scale subscription offerings. The subscription market is predicted to grow to nearly $500 billion by 2025. As the fastest growing area in commerce, subscription holds tremendous opportunities to build a community of customers who share your values. Recharge powers the growth of thousands of subscription merchants and their communities turning one-time transactions into long-term customer relationships.
With subscriptions, merchants are able to experience predictable revenue, increased customer loyalty, and higher average order values. Whether you are a direct consumer business or an omnichannel brand subscriptions strengthen your brand’s relationships with your customers and make it easy for consumers to make repeat purchases. Turn transactions into relationships and experience seamless subscription commerce with recharge. Get started now with a subscription payment solution trusted by over 45 million subscribers worldwide. You can check them out at RechargePayments.com/fastlane.
What You Will Learn Today
- What is Gatsby.ai?
- How do you make your business or brand scalable?
- How do you engage and retain customers through community?
- How does Gatsby.ai connect to platforms?
Links And Resources Mentioned
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Play
- Episode 15 with Gatsby
- Promix Nutrition
- Petal & Pup
Connect with Gatsby.ai
- Email: [email protected]
- Facebook: facebook.com/thinkgatsby
- Instagram: instagram.com/gatsby.ai
- Twitter: twitter.com/thinkgatsby
- TikTok: firstname.lastname@example.org
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/7592102/admin/
About Our Ecommerce Podcast Guest: Brett Bernstein
I’m the founder and CEO of Gatsby. We’ve been a Shopify partner since 2017, helping merchants scale up their ambassador programs using easy, smart automation. The Gatsby app, adds Instagram and TikTok insights to the apps you’re already using every day, like Klaviyo, and Klaviyo Flows, along with Omnisend, Sailthru, Gorgias, Yotpo and more.
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This episode is brought to you by Recharge, the leading subscription payment solution for Shopify brands.
The subscription market is predicted to grow to nearly $500 billion by 2025. As the fastest growing area in commerce, subscription holds tremendous opportunities to build a community of customers who share your values. Recharge powers the growth of thousands of subscription merchants and their communities, turning one-time transactions into long-term customer relationships.
With subscriptions, merchants are able to experience predictable revenue, increased customer loyalty, and higher average order values. Whether you are a direct consumer business or an omnichannel brand, subscriptions strengthen your brand’s relationships with your customers and make it easy for consumers to make repeat purchases. Turn transactions into relationships and experience seamless subscription commerce with recharge. Get started now with a subscription payment solution trusted by over 45 million subscribers worldwide. You can check them out at RechargePayments.com/fastlane.
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In this episode, my guest is Brett Bernstein. He’s the CEO and Cofounder of a company called Gatsby.ai. They are a high-scale influencer app and what they do is help marketers to scale their micro and their ambassador programs directly connected to other great tools that you are using. It could be Klaviyo, Gorgias, Yotpo or Omnisend. They have a list of technology partners that Gatsby connects to.
This is going to be an excellent conversation. I know people are trying to figure out a way like retention marketing, “How can I scale an influencer or a brand ambassador program through my existing customers and maybe through social?” It was a very interesting conversation. Brett, welcome again to the show.
I want to jump right in on something. We had a call with a Shopify Plus merchant who is a customer of ours. He was going along about different ways he’s using our product. He used the phrase, “Community at scale.” It’s stuck with me. That’s what we are doing for him. He said we enabled the ability to scale their community. They have so many inbound DMs and people wanting to engage with them, an ambassador program or influencer program and they have to figure out a way to scale it. Our software does that for them.
I guarantee you this episode is going to be a lot of notes. I guess that’s why I love this show. I learned so much. I like to share out to the wild and even the brands that I manage. I would love to know a little further and unpack more about the Gatsby app. I know what it does because I have many brands that I recommend it to over the years but it keeps iterating and you keep expanding your reach with a lot of brands. Let’s talk about some of the problems you are solving.
I already mentioned one of them, which is if you are a high-growth Shopify store, you do get a lot of inbound requests for people that want to talk about your product online and it gets some incentive. I know the processes to manage that are very challenging. A lot of companies we work with are mega stores but are still using spreadsheets and their Instagram app manage this. It’s not scalable. It costs way more money that way with staff and hiring. We do automate that approach for them.
We have released a ton of features since we last spoke. It was probably mid-pandemic or even before the pandemic. We are able to do things now like automatically tracking every Instagram Story your brand is mentioned. Save all the high-resolution UGC content from media and posts you are tagged in. We are releasing some amazing functionality around generating Shopify coupon codes on the fly, assigning them to all of your micro-influencers, and setting that data over to Klaviyo, Omnisend or Sailthru so you can distribute those codes to your influencers automatically.
You can scale your community by acquiring the right customers to work with and doing all the outreach to them at scale.Click To Tweet
Also, revenue tracking. You can scale your community like this client was saying by acquiring the right customers to work with, and doing all the outreach to them at scale through Klaviyo flows, Omnisend, Sailthru journeys or other tools you might be using. We are releasing an integration with Rejoiner, another ESP, for the same use case. I don’t want to get too far along on this one but there are a lot of use cases here that really are designed to run at scale, scaling merchants, helping them to build that community, and having to hire a ton of people to do so.
Let’s talk a little about the origin story. Some people are reading may not have heard of Gatsby before. Go to my back catalog and maybe read the original parts but I would love to know the refreshed version, the TLDR on how did you got started? How did the founding team come together, the desire and the expertise to even want to build this platform?
The interesting thing here is I feel that I was ahead of the curve a little bit because when I sought out what I wanted to do next. A little background on me first. I first started a company right out of college in a very different space. I can relate to merchants when it comes to managing physical goods. I had a vending machine operation designed to help school districts vend healthier products.
We had a healthy vending machine business throughout California. We have school districts in the Bay Area in San Diego. I was doing that for a while. It ended up getting too big and I couldn’t manage that growth. We got three major school districts in the same month. It was an RFP process and we won the RFP bids. Long story short, I sold that first business. I was living in the Bay Area and went to work for the next four years of my career at a company called Box up in Silicon Valley.
I was there pre and post-IPO and had an amazing experience learning all about software and how to build products based on customer feedback. When I decided to leave there and come back down to Southern California, where I’m from close to family, I launched Gatsby and where I was going with Gatsby. The origin of my background is I wanted to find a solution that was unique to my background. The legend goes, I came across this concept called social media vending machines. That got me down this train of understanding how brands are acquiring consumers for their eCommerce stores.
What I found was there were only two primary ways that brands, Shopify merchants, especially we are acquiring customers at scale. This is back in 2015, and 2016. It was Facebook and Google ads. There were other things like SEO and influencer marketing on the riff. It wasn’t that spigot turn-on, turn-off super scalable approach. When I was looking at these social media vending machines, the concept was converting foot traffic at your retail store into social media awareness.
It got me down this train of looking into this social media marketing strategy. This is what started Gatsby. I wanted to figure out a way to make influencer marketing as scalable as Facebook ads. That was the premise. If Facebook ads become less desirable or less available or the margins don’t work like what we are seeing now in 2022, would there be a viable third channel to customers at scale?
That was the whole premise. I started diving into this idea and it all started with an apotheosis. It started with the apotheosis that a consumer on a website sees a pop-up window asking for their email address. “Get 20% off. Give us your email address.” Go into your Klaviyo welcome series. The next thing that came about was phone numbers and SMS capture. The apotheosis was if you start collecting Instagram handles and linking those back to that customer’s email address, 1) Would customers give their Instagram handle, and 2) Could you make it valuable?
We launched that. We pioneered this idea of collecting Instagram handles and providing value to them. That’s what we started with. We had a pop-up builder. It was pretty elementary in 2016 or 2017 but we allowed you to capture Instagram handles on your website, link them back to that customer’s email address, drop them into your Klaviyo flows, and start to identify people to work with. It has been snowballing ever since based on customer feedback about how they want to use this solution.
Let’s talk about maybe another CMS or a partner that connects to Shopify. Gorgias is another technology partner that’s very popular for those in their CRM. Is there a decent connection with Gorgias and how does that implementation work?
I love the Gorgias Integration and the team there. That’s probably our second most popular integration right behind Klaviyo. The Gorgias Integration has a couple of different elements to it. The first thing is anytime a customer reaches out to you with a support issue and they generate a Gorgias ticket, if that customer has already opted in to give you their Instagram handle, your support rep will see exactly how much influence they have right on that ticket so they know, “This customer has a good or bad experience. There could be implications.” If they have a good experience, ask them to leave a review or talk about it on social media. If they have a bad experience, be prepared that this could have some reach.
There’s that element of information there to your support rep but where this has evolved and I love our customers who push us on feature requests. We have a client, Kulani Kinis, a successful swimwear brand out of Australia that’s using Gatsby and Gorgias very heavily. They are using us with automated DMs. Gorgias just released Instagram DM functionality, where you can set up rules and segments to automatically respond to incoming DMs. We are now working with the Gorgias team to be able to segment those DMs by influence.
You can send the appropriate message responses automatically at scale through Gorgias DMs. To give us some perspective, we have clients that are getting 1,000 DMs a day. Even 100 DMs a day is really overwhelming. You took a couple of hours for media, you come back to your phone, and you are sucked into responding. Using tools like Gatsby and Gorgias allows you to automate with intelligence that entire community building. It’s a great experience for merchants.
You made a mention about Instagram stories and as we all know, one of the challenges of this is the fact that they are gone in 24 hours. How does Gatsby connect to these platforms? How are we able to get out Instagram stories or understanding? I’m worried about brands having to be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and trying to find anybody that’s mentioning their brand and then saving a lot of this stuff into a war chest of potential UGC content being picture or video. Instagram stories bother me a bit because it’s not scalable to have a human being going in and double-checking nonstop every 6 hours, 7 days a week. How does Gatsby connect to help get this “war chest of UGC” that’s potentially usable?
Community is more important now than ever with the changes to the ability to acquire customers through ads.Click To Tweet
We are approved Facebook partners. Everything we are doing is above board or with the Facebook API. If the readers don’t know, Facebook and Instagram are connected. They are the same company. The Instagram stories come through the Instagram API. We can save all of the media. The images and videos that are done in posts need high resolution for repurposing and downloading. Instagram Stories, we saved the log that they happened, indefinitely.
The preview of them to the Instagram policies expires after 24 hours, still, you don’t lose that record. It’s there forever and that Instagram Story event, you being hide in Instagram Story, not only is it traceable in your Gatsby account but it then passes that event over to Klaviyo, Gorgias, and Yotpo Loyalty. You can trigger automation. A great use case is somebody mentioned to you in a Story, send them an automated email or SMS through Klaviyo saying, “Thank you. Here’s a code for your share.”
Another great use case is Volcom. They are a great customer of ours. They use us with Yotpo Loyalty. They released an update to their Yotpo Loyalty program where their Volcom Stone Rewards its customers. Their Volcom customers can get 20 loyalty points when they share a Volcom on their Instagram Story. We power that with Yotpo.
Let’s talk about some of the new features because I had a quick peek in my dashboard to see when the last time I had you on and it has been a while. You are on episode number 15 and we are 240 something now. I know what you do and I’ve been following you along for quite a few years but is there anything new? You mentioned the revenue tracking budget. We would love to understand what that is and how that’s working. What are some of the other connectors that you are launching now or very soon?
For the show we talked about, you have LoyaltyLion coming on or after me in the show queue. We are working on an integration with LoyaltyLion. It’s similar to the Yotpo Loyalty, where you can provide loyalty points for social media awareness which is going back to the original premise of Gatsby in the first place, with the vending machines, which is wonderful to see.
We also are rolling out a ton of new functionality. We are creating the ability to do dynamic segmentation. You can segment your customers by things like how many times they had mentioned to you, how many followers they have, and what the keywords in their bio include. It’s intelligent things. With the new segments, you can automatically generate customizable or unique and custom Shopify discount codes and automatically assign them to everybody in the segment.
This is powerful. You can say, “All my customers who have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, I want to give them a code worth $50 off that they can share with their followers. All of them get their unique code and they can go spread awareness about your brand. Back in Gatsby, you are going to see every order, every dollar that those customers drive back to your store. It’s not an affiliate program where you have to give them a commission off that. You are still going to be rewarding them through free merchandise, maybe exclusive access to a monthly Zoom call.
We have a great case study on our website with a company called Promix Nutrition which rolled out their ambassador program in part with Gatsby and they’ve now developed it so much further thanks to like this scale we’ve provided them with. They’ve renamed it from Ambassador Program to their Family Program and include a lot of intangible perks like early access to new features and a monthly Zoom call with their founder who’s also an influencer himself in the industry.
It includes perks that are not like, “Here’s 10%.” What we find is that affiliate programs are great. Our customers use us with them in a lot of ways but it’s not designed for every customer to be in an affiliate program. Whereas with Gatsby, there are certain influence thresholds that you could theoretically provide every customer with the appropriate amount of incentive to get the word out and it doesn’t require affecting your PayPal account or a lengthy signup form. The actual incentive is a little more interesting to a smaller customer who might only get a 10% commission off of $100 or $10 versus somebody who feels that they are part of the community.
Going back to that original comment I made from this customer, that community is so important. It’s more important now than ever with the changes to the ability to acquire through ads. Just that retention and getting that customer loyalty. I know it’s almost a buzzword, loyalty. It’s brought up in so many different ways but having that customer be an advocate for you. It’s important to us. We barely do any marketing. We are driven through customer word of mouth. I know it’s important to our merchants as well that their customers could pour it out.
LoyaltyLion brought up that comment, “People are buying with their hearts and not their heads.” She hit home to a lot about how to engage and retain customers through community and that’s exactly what you are doing with your tools. You are helping you find these brand ambassadors and then with connected tech be it the Klaviyos and the Omnisends of the world, you are able to communicate with these potential brand ambassadors. It’s so interesting how this all works together. It’s amazing.
We have another thing coming out too on that point. I didn’t even mention all this stuff that came out. Instagram Stories came out also Instagram DM-ing, in our application. People can start to segment their customers and have a DM inbox specific to that cohort of customers. All of this has allowed for a cool update. We are calling it Global Media Tracking. Essentially, at the end of March 2022, we are tracking any time somebody who has opted into your program or given you their email and handle through a forum, mentioned you in a Story, a post or TikTok.
In this next release, we are going to start pulling in everybody across Instagram and TikTok who are mentioning your brand in media. If you don’t have their email address yet because they haven’t opted into your program, you can shoot them a quick DM. You see their media. “An awesome story. Do you want to be part of our ambassador program? Shoot me over your email. I will put you right in.” They can just DM you about their email address. You can update their email with one click and then they go right over to Klaviyo, Gorgias and Omnisend. Everything sinks through and you automate the entire program with them. Another channel to acquire ambassadors is directly through Instagram itself and automating that entire follow-through.
It totally makes sense and for me, all people that read this are always trying to figure out, “What is the next thing that I can do? How can I be almost first-mover advantage?” I love what you and your team are doing now because you are spearheading something. You had a great idea from the beginning, this social vending machine idea. It’s iterated over time, but you keep expanding on what the market needs. What brands need to grow and scale. We know that influencer marketing is the way to go. I don’t know what the latest stats are. I spoke to one influencer marketing platform and they said that almost 50 million people self-identify themselves as an influencer.
Customer loyalty is almost a buzzword. It's brought up in so many different ways, but having that customer be an advocate for you is important.Click To Tweet
That’s how they want to create a full-time living. There are 50 million people that self-identify as being influential of some sort, and want to and are earning a full-time living. It’s incredible the amount of opportunity around there but the challenge is I think this is where Gatsby fits into the mix. Is that because there are so many people and there are these big databases full of people that you could potentially work with, the challenge is of these database-type platforms out there, which is different than Gatsby is the fact that these influential people, do they love the brand?
I would call it even disingenuous because you are exchanging products or money and they are not even a customer yet. On the flip side, what Gatsby is doing is very unique in that it understands the social footprint and you can start building long-lasting relationships with influential people who are your customer or are soon to be your customer because you got the opt-ins. That’s an interesting distinction to talk about.
I love that there’s this opt-in component because there’s just this transparency between random consumers and influencers. You hit a good point there where what consumers want are acknowledgment and recognition. When they publish a piece of content about your brand, they don’t want $3. They want to know that that brand recognizes or maybe gives them some special treatment. They feel heard. I mention this client because they gave a testimonial on our website and in the App Store. Petal & Pup out of Australia. It is an awesome, amazing Shopify merchant and brand.
They have an ambassador program that leverages Gatsby because Instagram Stories are so plentiful. They built out an elegant Klaviyo flow that acknowledges when a Story takes place the 2nd, 3rd or 4th time. They don’t all include coupon codes. It’s more so about, “We hear you, see you, and we are tracking that you are doing this for us.” As that consumer builds that rapport with the brand, they move along internally, and eventually, they would be recognized for a one-on-one collaboration. It’s an elegant way to acknowledge your consumers and give them kudos for helping your brand equity.
We are nearing the end of the show but let’s talk about the future of the product. There are lots of things that are coming out. There are a few things that have been officially released but let’s talk about the North Star, the remainder of 22, and any other partner alignment or connectors. At the end of the day, I want to know how you continue to iterate the platform and how you are going to offer value and assistance for brands looking to expand into this community of raving fans that exist out there.
With this release, I’m recognizing that a lot of the value we provide is for merchants that are doing over $3 million in revenue annually. It’s because, at that point, there is a real scale issue that you can’t accomplish easily. We are building a lot of tools for that use case. A lot of our automation and integrations and connectors, more ways to leverage the data. One of my biggest concerns or things that keep me up at night is when we have a new merchant come in and they don’t go live. There are too many steps involved, setting up Klaviyo flows, the targeting with the right segmentation in those flows or the logic.
We are working with ways to make that easier. I want that process of going live to be simpler. After this release with revenue tracking, TikTok, media segmentation, global tracking, all of that’s coming out. I’m going to focus next on scaling up the ability to go live faster. That’s one of our next major initiatives. In addition to all of that, more platforms. We launched with Instagram. We now have TikTok. We are getting requests for other platforms like YouTube and other ones even Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It depends upon the vertical our clients are in is what they are asking for. Any more and more platforms as well are going to be another big initiative for us.
I went to their tech partners’ page and a lot of these notable partners, I’m going to rattle off a few of them now because if I had them a lot on the show like Attentive for SMS, Cart Hawk for post-purchase experience and upsells. We talked about Gorgias, just UNO, which is a phenomenal solution. I love Octane for how they are able to do quizzes. I think they have a phenomenal product. Omnisends has listed pretty, just rattling a few here like Refersion, for managing and tracking your influencer sale through. ShipBob is interesting to me. How does the ShipBob connector work for those that use them as their 3PL?
ShipBob and I have met a number of times over the years. We are trying to figure out more of a partnership perspective rather than integration. There have been talks about being able to automatically ship out the product through logistics for influencers. We are leveraging Shopify coupon codes for that, $100 for all foods. There’s not an official technical integration there. We are a supporter of that company and they like us as well.
We did speak before recording and understand they are just based on the technology stack and how it’s expanding. There are going to be some pricing changes but we are able to maybe potentially grandfather in a few things. Maybe you can discuss those reading now that instead of kicking the tires, get going on this and see what Gatsby’s all about.
Everything you said about the additional cost on our end to just the development of all of these new features, but also around the customer that’s most successful with Gatsby being not early in their life cycle. Also, we are still a lean team ourselves. To be able to provide the support and the services, we have 76 or almost 80. The reviews in the App Store were five stars. A lot of them mentioned our customer success by name. We want to give a premium service to every customer regardless of whatever they are paying us. We care about success.
We are going to be increasing our starting package. It’s $90 a month. I don’t want to give the current pricing away until it’s completely 100% solid and confirmed, but it will be increasing. We do have the legacy pricing that customers and merchants can lock in and then afterward, they are going to be higher pricing.
If it’s over a threshold of potential pricing changes based on when people are reading, then I will give them an opportunity to message your team or their [email protected]. Mention the show and then from there, I’m sure we can come up with a solution to help them out for at least a few weeks post new pricing. It sounds like a great opportunity because the platform has iterated so much and you are doing such great work. You have some amazing case studies.
It’s very clear that you are onto something. You are definitely a first-mover advantage when it comes to wanting to get the Instagram handles as a starting point, instead of just an email and SMS. There are lots of interesting things now as your platform continues to grow. I’m super excited about where the future continues to lead you. I want to personally thank you as part of the Shopify world, you are doing a phenomenal job. Kudos to you and the team. I wish you tremendous luck and success in the future. Thanks for coming on the show for the third time.
Thanks, Steve. I have chills hearing that. I appreciate your show and your support as well.
Thank you so much. Have yourself a great day.
That’s it for this episode. I would like to thank you, readers. It’s my hope that this show 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 and reading the show. I’m so proud and excited that you have a growth mindset and are our constant learner. I truly appreciate you and your entrepreneurial journey. Enjoy the rest of the week and keep thriving with Shopify.