Selling Season is Now: BFCM Best Practices and Predictions

BFCM best practices

Check out how companies like Thread, Nomad, and Pura Vida prepare for BFCM

NOVEMBER 19 2021

It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year which means that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching. Is your brand ready? Whether you need a brand new BFCM strategy or are just looking for a few things to round out your strategy, we’ve got you covered. Our two-part panel discussion will bring together amazing insights from all different industries with one common goal: to make this the best holiday season yet. We will reflect on BFCM best practices and predictions for the upcoming 2021 holiday season.

During the event, you will:

  • Discover new, unique approaches to BFCM strategy
  • Understand how to proactively reduce customer support questions
  • Learn how to ensure your support team is ready to mitigate issues throughout the holiday season
  • See if your brand is ready for the uptick in product and shipment fulfillment
  • Hear predictions for the holiday season from leaders in the ecommerce industry


This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


customers, pura vida, people, black friday, brand, purchase, question, year, shipping, ads, nevin, early, email, dan, cyber monday, sms, ios, chuck, offer, performed


Nevin Jethmalani, Jesse Bern, Mariah Parsons, Chuck Melber, Dan Brady, McKenzie Bauer, Sarah Leitz

Sarah Leitz 00:00

For everybody who hasn't met me, I'm Sarah lights. I'm the Head of Marketing here at Malomo. I'm gonna be moderating our awesome panel discussion here today. We've got a lot of great brands and agencies. We did have a couple of last minute changes. Unfortunately the Brian's from Ned and overnight oats had some conflicts that couldn't be avoided. So they won't be able to join us today on the panel, but we still have a lot of really great people joining us today. First we have Dan from he's the customer success manager at Pura Vida, a jewelry and lifestyle brand. Prior to Pura Vida Dan was a team lead at a DTC startup called mash tech that sold supplements. A fun fact about Dan is he lived and studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain for four months in college and was also the captain of the soccer team. Next we have Mackenzie Bauer, who is currently not in her seat is running around, but we're going to serve up the first question later today because she's a little bit busy run around with kids. In 2015, Mackenzie and her husband Colby founded thread wallets through their venture, they have been able to find an irreplaceable sense of freedom and happiness as they've seen their vision unfold. She also went to college in Hawaii. Our next panelist is Nevin Jethmalani. He's the founder and CEO of Vaughn Chang growth, a New York based consulting firm that works with a lot of DTC brands. Before starting bond chain growth. He led e commerce at Tusk a DTC leather good brand, and Nevin recently visited California for the first time, right and Evan does it the first time or just doesn't? okay. Okay. So that was your fun fact. We have Jesse Byrne is the founder of red beer conversions. And he works with brands like twillery, and he's obsessed with breakfast breakfast burritos, and he even created a detailed rating system. And we have yet to seen this, but I'm sure he'll be happy to share that with a lot of you. He evaluates them on a taste quality ingredients and value. Last but not least, we have Chuck Melber and he's the marketing director at Nomad goods. He's been with Nomad for the last seven years, and he's been overseeing all aspects of digital marketing and PR, his fun fact, which is a little more concerning, and I still haven't gotten all the facts. So we're gonna have to get we're gonna have to learn more about this joke. But he nearly drowned in Honduras trying to chase down a road jetski during a storm. So, Chuck, we'll have to reconnect some time after this to learn more about that

Chuck Melber 02:47

after story best over a beer.

Sarah Leitz 02:49

Okay, okay, a few housekeeping things. And with some logistics. We have a couple of prepared questions for each of our panelists. And then after we go through those, we'll take some questions from the chat. So feel free to ask questions. If you're addressing a specific panelist, make sure you say who you're addressing in the chat. And then for everybody who stays on until the end, we'll be selecting a participant to win a free set of air pods. So we'll reach out to you at the end to get your address so we could ship those to you. And then the event is recorded. So we'll share that to everyone at the end. And then with that, Mackenzie, I promised we'd give you the first question. So here goes. How does breadwallet stand out and grab your customers attention during this busy holiday season?

McKenzie Bauer 03:44

Wow. Okay, so. So like, I felt like yeah, this is really tough. And on if I'm being honest, I stepped down from being the Chief Marketing Officer back in April. So and I read that this was my question. I was like, I don't know, how do we plan on doing this? Um, but I think for us, the biggest thing is you you have to prepare, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday Holiday Season can't be just like, I'm gonna send out a text now and hope it does well, or, Oh, we should do this. Like your strategy has to start and ours did back in August, July with list building tactics because once october november rolls around, trying to build your SMS list or your email list, whatever it is, it's too late. You've got to start early on. So even right now, I'm like, if you haven't started those efforts with creative giveaways, creative ad campaigns, whatever it is, start now because that list building is what's going to bring you success during that holiday season during Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend and then into excuse me into December and then honest Slee, you just have to be as creative as possible. We've been testing a lot of video recently, which is every I think video is like the hot topic we released like our first long form video ad this. This past year that we spent, it was our biggest purchase outside of purchase orders that we've ever had in our business. And so it was really risky. Like we didn't know if it would be beneficial in the long run, but we went for it. And it has been wonderful and performed really great. I wish I had all the statistics and data on it right now to share with you but I'm trying new things we at thread, call it Zig or zag when others are zigging. So there's actually a book by Marty Neumeier called zag. So just try to be as creative as possible, leading into this crazy time of year.

Sarah Leitz 05:58

Awesome, that's great advice. Chuck, what about you? What about you? Or Dan? Do you have any other advice?

Chuck Melber 06:07

Like like McKenzie said, You got to start early, prep early. Whatever your game plan is going to be that you're going to start getting all your ducks in a row ahead of time. Is Yeah, it's gonna be chaos. It always is chaos during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but this thinks maybe even more so. So just making sure you have your plan a ready to go. But then also plan B and possibly even plan C if something happens that throws an engineer in your game plan.

Sarah Leitz 06:30

How early? Do you guys really start prepping? I was seeing some brands starting to say that they're prepping them like June and July. You start prepping then earlier than that. What do you guys start thinking when you start thinking about Black Friday, Cyber Monday?

McKenzie Bauer 06:47

I think for us, I don't know if you were mentioning that question to chuck or back to me. But I think for us at thread wallets. We're maybe not sitting down saying this is what we're going to do for Black Friday as early as like June. But we

Chuck Melber 07:06

don't know. I'll jump in there. For us it nomadic kind of starts in January to a degree where we do a bit of a debrief on what happened here before. What we did, right what we did wrong, what we feel is successful and what wasn't. And then kind of filed that away until the best case scenario August, September, this year, really getting a little bit of a late start on things. So we're just kind of finalizing blackFriday plans at this moment. But I think it's really important to have that little retrospective look at what what you guys did the year before, just to make sure you a write down what worked but then also be cross things off the list. That didn't work.

Nevin Jethmalani 07:43

Yeah, yeah. I think that's a really good point, kind of doing a reflection on what worked and didn't work is really important. And yeah, I think we with the brands that I work with, we start planning in September, into early October, sometimes but September's I think, a good time to kind of really start getting ideas in terms of the offer set in stone.

Sarah Leitz 08:11

I'll do a little plug. That's why we're gonna do that. The second version of this in January, where we're going to do the retrospective to talk about you know, what worked and what didn't work?


Yeah. I think the other big thing that works that I'm seeing at least is that sales are starting early and earlier and earlier. So it was one of the brands that I'm working with. We're doing a sale in early November to try to get the customers to spend those dollars on US versus on other brands. And I've seen that be successful in past years as well, without doing much to like degrade the integrity of the brand. Totally.

Sarah Leitz 08:52

Well, the next question is for you, Dan, at pura vida. How do you guys reward loyal, loyal customers, while also, you know, offering perks to incentivize and retain new customers? How do you kind of do different approaches for these different types of customers?

Dan Brady 09:13

Yeah, well, one thing we like to do is I'm sure this is very common, but we do offer the ability for customers to create their own account. And by doing so, every time they make a purchase, they're rewarded with what we call shore dollars, which can be redeemed for future discounts. And I think that's a great way to get repeat buyers. I know in my personal life, companies that have this type of program, I'm much more likely to do future business with something that I'm thinking about if I need like a new shirt or a new jacket, I'm thinking about, Hey, how can I get discounts and if I know a certain brand is offering me discounts based on past purchase history. You know, that's kind of the first brand that comes to mind when I'm thinking about making a future purchase. So just by offering some type of reward to incentivize these people to come back purchase from your brand, again, I think is key. And also, you know a lot of the things that we do in terms of marketing to get customers, especially these new customers, for example, just little things like signing up for our email list signing up for our SMS list for 20% off your future purchases, we want to constantly let customers know about what we have for new product releases new sales coming out. And this past year has been really a monumental year for Pura Vida as we just have dived into apparel, and backpacks and laptop cases. And a lot of these products are brand new for us. So it's just important to constantly listen for customer feedback, find out what we're doing well, areas of improvement. And just making sure that you know, the products that we're launching are stuff that are in demand customers are asking for. So a very simple change that we implemented this year, for example, is just offering more plus sizes, we got some feedback that the sizing that we had wasn't inclusive enough. And understandably. So we got that feedback. And so we were proud to now offer a lot more plus sizes. And so listening to customer feedback, I think is always super important for retention. Aside from that, you know, we do also have an ambassador program as well. And I think that's one of the things that Pura Vida has always done well, for many years now. I couldn't tell you how many ambassadors we have, but I know it's a lot. And it's a win win, where if someone is referred by an ambassador, and they provide their code, that person is getting 20% off their purchase. And in turn, the ambassador basically gets a 10% commission on that purchase. So just by letting others kind of do the marketing for you, I think is a great way to help acquire new customers. I'm sure everyone on this call knows the power of, you know, being referred by a friend or family member, you instantly have that trust and connection with the brand. And that's one thing that I think Pura Vida has always done well is just by having that Ambassador Program, it's a very easy way for us to get new customers and hopefully get future brand ambassadors as well, if people are super passionate about pura vida. And then I just wanted to also touch upon, we have two different subscriptions that we run. So we have like a bracelet club 1495 per month, and you can choose which bracelet packs you'd like. And then we also have a jewelry club 1995 a month, and you get a lot of beautiful jewelry sent right to you. And of course for that we have a lot of, you know, tactics, basically to help keep these people and if they do want to opt out, we're doing everything we can to offer them great perks to remain with us. So an example, one thing that we did this summer, which I thought was a big success is we've partnered with some popular brands like sun balm, for example. And we threw in like some cool sunburn products into the subscription box. And then we also partner with Ulta Beauty to throw in like coupons that customers can use in stores or online. So yeah, I think keeping your current customers is very important. And doing things to also, you know, acquire new customers is is very important, especially with all the ios 14 changes that I'm sure many brands have experienced over the past few months. So I know that was a very long winded answer, but tried to make sure I'm covering all the points that we had talked about.

Chuck Melber 13:14

What do you use for loyalty programs in swell? So okay, is it the same for your ambassador program to you? Or is that something?


I believe the ambassador program is through referrals? And Cool, thank you. Yep. Now I'm just kind of reading some of the questions here. I saw Matt through one and

Sarah Leitz 13:35

yet, Mackenzie and Chuck, do you guys also have a loyalty program?

McKenzie Bauer 13:44

We did have a loyalty program, but it we introduced it to help increase our returning customer rate and we didn't see it really affect that and we got our returning customer rate up to a place like without it like we took the loyalty program away and it stayed has stayed the same. And it's like right where we want it to be. So it just didn't perform the way that we'd hoped it did. So we got rid of it. But we do have us reversion as well for like an affiliate ambassador program.

Chuck Melber 14:15

We we didn't have one for a long time. But then running some post purchase surveys and seeing the data. It's like like Dan said, there's a ton of people who refer brands to their friends and family. So we're going to try and start capitalizing on that now we're working on an integration. Just hoping would be like for holiday, but I think it's gonna be more of a q1 thing.

Jesse Bern 14:35

Yeah, yeah,


we've seen a lot of success with the referral program. We haven't really implemented our loyalty program successfully and I opinion and this is for a brand called preventivo that I work with. But the referral program has done well. We do a pop up at the end of every purchase. And we've got we send out stuff through email as well post purchase

Sarah Leitz 15:00

Nevin, you talked a little bit about like starting the sales early and this kind of goes along that length with like the the container get in and all of these shipping issues. Are you guys starting to see some of that issue like with the container shipment crunch and creating all this chaos and the the shipping change? Have you started seeing some of the the impact? And, Chuck, I know you said that you have some some issues with that and some some experience. Do you want to start addressing that? That question first and then Nevin. Maybe I'll come back to you. Yeah,

Chuck Melber 15:37

yeah, I mean, luckily for November, we're pretty teed up at this point with holiday inventory. So the thing that makes me most concerned is the last mile delivery stuff, getting items from our warehouse to the customer via FedEx or USPS. I know FedEx is having a hard time employing enough people and drivers. I think I even saw an article that they're trying to push for like federal legalization of marijuana, so they can hire more people that they don't have to worry about testing for drugs, which I think is awesome and hilarious. But anyhow, I'm most concerned about final mile deliveries. But at the same time, there is always last minute hiccups that may occur. Maybe we need to air freight and a last minute shipment might not be air freight space available, we'll find out. But we're working on contingency plans now for that if it happens that we're out of a top selling ski or product, how are we going to address that and try to make something available to folks that they can purchase even if the number one thing they want isn't available on site? People want to but there's yeah, there's a whole myriad of things to chat about when it comes to Container getting or just shipping logistics and in general right now.


Yeah, we've definitely seen issues with it. I think the most important thing is at least this year for Black Friday, it was kind of a given that these issues were going to be there. So if you didn't plan your purchases early out enough, like it's kind of your own fault. Yeah, and I think we just did a good job with a couple brands that I work with, to make sure that everything was purchased well in advance. And then in terms of last mile delivery, I'm super worried about it as well, who knows what FedEx and all are going to do, and what it's going to be like, but it is what it is there's not really much you can do to mitigate those risks. And that is actually one of the reasons that we're doing stuff earlier in the month.

Chuck Melber 17:29

Yes, same year, we're going to start pushing our sales stuff from probably November 2 or so. And we're going to be super transparent with our messaging to talking about how like, you can expect there to be shipping shipping issues this year, you can expect stuff to run out early. So now's your chance to get it. While we haven't basically.


Yeah, exactly. We're doing the same exact messaging for our early sale. But I've heard mixed reviews on whether people are addressing the concern post purchase. Some people are saying like it is what it is, there's not really much that you can do it, you don't get much benefit from messaging about it. Other people are saying that it's better be transparent. So there I don't think there's a consensus on what the best practices for post purchase messaging about shipping. Yeah.

Sarah Leitz 18:15

Just ASI you came off mute. Do you have anything to talk about?

Jesse Bern 18:20

We I mean, definitely, like on the email, SMS side. That's I will be messaging that I do think it's, I mean, just the companies that I work with the support tickets that they're seeing a lot has to do even right now with shipping and deliveries. So I can only imagine it's gonna get worse. So we're, we're building some messaging into the Black Friday Cyber Monday flows. To kind of address that upfront.

Sarah Leitz 18:47

McKenzie and Danner Are you doing anything proactively to kind of deal with what you know, will already be Black Friday, Cyber Monday issues.

McKenzie Bauer 18:58

Um, I think it was last year, we talked to our warehouse team about like the amount of orders that we expected and it was still more and they weren't prepared. So this year, like making sure that everyone on the team at our warehouse is aware of like, what we're thinking our projections are and how many orders we think we'll be receiving. And then also, this is our first year using Malomo. And so I think really leaning into that because if customers are going to track where their package is making sure that those landing pages are built out with all the information that they'll need to make sure that they get their product on time and have the information necessary for that.


Yeah. Yeah, very similar. On our end, I have to give our warehouse a lot of credit. They did a wonderful job last year. And while I can't speak on the specifics this year, I'm sure they're making sure they're properly staffed and have an idea as to how much order volume they're looking at. And I'm of the opinion I think it's best Just be transparent with your customers and try and set proper expectations in your shipping related emails and just anywhere that the customers will see, you know, just ask for patience and understanding. Of course, we recognize there will be some carrier issues. But I'd recommend maybe considering like, letting customers know when it is appropriate to reach out like, hey, if your order hasn't arrived in X number of days, please feel free to contact us. But even just by setting the expectation, hopefully, on the CES side of things, you are able to reduce redundant, Hey, where's my order related inquiries? I think just by setting that expectation, I know myself as a customer, I appreciate that transparency. And, you know, just asking for patience, I think sometimes goes a long way. Like we're all in this together. We're all human, we understand it's going to be a very busy holiday season. But hopefully by just having that communication and transparency, it reduces the number of support tickets for where's my order? Yeah, definitely.

Sarah Leitz 20:59

Well, Jessie, this is a question for you with some of the brands that you work with. What are some of the special or unique approaches to Black Friday, Cyber Monday have stood out to you?

Jesse Bern 21:12

Yeah, that's a good question. This year, especially building up the SMS list ahead of time for like the Early Access sales, that's been a big initiative for all my clients, and also using reply emails as a strategy to help with engagement and helping our deliverability because with iOS 15, we're losing that visibility with the open rate metric. And I'm already seeing open rates inflate on a lot of my accounts. So to kind of combat that we're getting a little bit more conversational with some of our emails, having people respond, reply back, and just using some of those responses, for instance, a company that they sell men's apparel, we asked What does style mean to you? And people reply back short answers, long answers. And we just had like a ton a ton of responses, that helps with deliverability. And then we can go ahead and use some of the replies, as you know, with screenshots and use those in future messages as well. And that going into Blackfriars ceremony, I think this year especially is like figuring out ahead of time, what, what offers to make, and when you're going to make them and all my clients are starting early in November as well, like this is the earliest I've ever gotten like a Black Friday, Cyber Monday initiative off the ground. And a lot of it is due to some of the container shipping issues as well. Yeah, so those domains, ones that stand out. And then you know, if you have a loyalty program, referral program, leaning on, on those people, the VIPs on your list, reaching out to them early on, and giving them first access, I think that's super important. And also, if you know what you message last year, making sure that you know, they're, they're gonna probably remember, and even if they don't, it's important to know that going into, like, whichever offer you're gonna make, you can sweeten it a little bit more, however, that that looks for your brand.

Chuck Melber 23:11

Those reply emails, are you guys or your clients responding to the responses

Jesse Bern 23:16

are the exact same? It's a great question. So typically, we have them, most emails are forwarded to customer support, because it's just easier. I've had these ones go to me, and then I'll reply back, because I want to know what everybody's saying. So I have like a better sense and get a temperature check on the list. So is it like

Chuck Melber 23:36

are you not sure exact number is very only sending you to like, 10% of the list then so you don't just blow up

Jesse Bern 23:41

your inbox? Right? Yeah. So we're sending to the very most engaged people. So yeah, it's it's it probably like, honestly, like a one or 2% reply rate. It's not that high. But yeah, there's there's hundreds, if not 1000s of emails that I get flooded with. So we have like a separate our inbox that I'm checking with. Yeah.

Sarah Leitz 24:06

So kind of along that iOS 15 and 14. I know Matt kind of asked this in the chat, and I'm going off script a little bit. But how have you seen that kind of change your strategy with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Nevins and you're off mute. Maybe I'll ask you that first.


Yeah, sounds good. I mean, I think this goes back to just your overall strategy on how you're approaching ads. I don't think I don't know if this is specific to Black Friday, Cyber Monday. But we've just been focusing a lot more on how our overall blended metrics fit within our business to combat these higher CPMs essentially. So how much more we can afford to spend on prospecting ads to therefore still have a lifetime value positive customer in terms of relative to our cost of customer acquisition. And then what we've also tried to do is we tried to play around with the numbers to give us a little bit more buffer room in terms of like, if we get one customer, they refer and you know, maybe 5% of every new customer refers another customer, we can throw that into the lifetime value calculation as well. So we've a lot of it has just been playing with the numbers to see how much we how much more we can essentially spend to acquire new customers. And then the other thing is, I think it's just important to just even more so than ever focus on your retargeting efforts, and you're making sure that all your lists are optimized, making sure that your SMS campaigns are good. And you're using them to their fullest extent. Because if you're not doing all of that, then Unlike before, you may have been able to run a profitable business with doing a haphazard job on email or SMS. But that no longer is the case with these high CPMs.

Sarah Leitz 25:59

Anyone else want to jump in on their thoughts?

Jesse Bern 26:04

You know, I don't know too much about the iOS 14 stuff in terms of the advertising side, but with 15, iOS 15. And open rate Armageddon, really, really just building segments out that that don't have the open rate metric, and they're having to click engaged metric in their active on site viewed product in the last 30 to 90 days. So really playing with campaigns around that. And then I've also created segments, just the people who open on iOS devices or Apple devices, to just get a sense of when I'm sending campaigns to them, our metrics, increasing our open rate metrics inflated, and they they are for a lot of accounts. So I'm getting a sense still, for where that is. I mean, it's still very new, we're a couple of weeks into this update. And by the end of the year, most people will have updated their all their Apple devices, typically within three months most people have updated. So it's kind of TBD. Right now. I don't know, I'm not I'm not too concerned about opens the open rate metrics always been a vanity metric anyways, at the end of the day, it's clicks and sales. So yeah, that's really what I'm paying attention to.

Sarah Leitz 27:20

Chuck, I know you're in digital marketing, do you have any thoughts on iOS 14,

Chuck Melber 27:24

the mean, the, the lack of transparent or the lack of reporting, like in platform reporting, has kind of forced me to go more top of funnel with my spend. In the past, it's always been very, very conversion driven, like let's set up conversion based optimization on Facebook or Google or anything like that. But now that I'm losing that conversion tracking, it's given me the freedom to kind of expand and start testing new new avenues that are like I said, more top of funnel so like DTV ads, for example, or, excuse me, our podcast ads, stuff that is always been traditionally hard to track is now on a more of a level playing field with Facebook and the like. So I'm definitely going deeper in those, those other channels this year.


Yeah. Cool. It's cool. Just really quickly to touch on Jesse's point about email tracking on iOS 15. Clay vo I don't think he's even figured out what they're doing properly. So it's kind of like when iOS 14 came out with Facebook and Facebook was kind of flying blind. I think levy was kind of in the same boat right now. And they're still trying to figure things out. So hopefully, it gets better in terms of reporting that they offer in a couple of months.

Jesse Bern 28:35

Yeah, that's a good point.

Chuck Melber 28:37

I was actually wrestling with that yesterday. So that's funny, you bring it up?


Yeah. Just one thing I wanted to add on Pura Vida is and we're kind of going back to our grassroots and what we did before digital marketing kind of blew up. So I think a lot of people know that Pura Vida has worked with a lot of big influencers this past year, probably most notably. Tik Tok star, Charlie Amelio, a star from the Outer Banks Show, Madison Bailey, we're actually now trying to work with, I guess, micro influencers, if you'd call them like people with under 20,000 followers, and basically just like offering to send them product if they posted on their page, and just kind of getting some brand exposure through these people. We have some extra inventory, it's always good to see working with smaller influencers. So I know my team has been working on adding micro influencers to a list and we're going to reach out to these people see if we can send them some product in exchange for some marketing. So I just thought it was worth noting that we're kind of going back to some of the original strategies that Pierre Vita implemented when, you know, back 10 years ago, so


yeah, even for 2022 We're doing a lot on that side as well. Yeah.

Sarah Leitz 29:52

It's really interesting. Well, Nevin, this is another question for you. You work with a lot of brands and a lot of you have a lot of perspective. So what are your predictions for this holiday season? And what kind of trends do you anticipate? I know we've kind of touched on that a little bit. Yeah,


I feel like I've gone over a lot. But yeah, in my opinion, Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a targeting your existing user base or customer base, your email base, your SMS base, right, that's where you're gonna get a bulk of your orders from. And even if you're getting new first time customers, I don't know how many of those new customers are coming from ads like polled haven't heard about you seeing your ads for the first time during the sale and making a purchase. It's gonna be minimal, in my opinion, either. They've heard about you somewhere and they're seeing a retargeting ad, or even the cold prospecting ads that you're running, they've probably heard about you seeing an ad from somewhere or seeing your products in some store and that are making a purchase from you. So I think it's more important than ever to basically focus on email and optimizing, as I mentioned before all your campaigns and when I say campaigns, I don't just mean like your general like, Hey, here's a Black Friday sale, I'm talking about like even all your flows, updating those flows, your retargeting flows to have your Black Friday offer have Black Friday copy on them, your SMS retargeting the same thing there. And then really leaning into SMS this year, I think it's going to be bigger than it has been every every other year, probably because list sizes are also growing. But I think SMS is going to be huge, and we've seen a ton of success with it over the last year. And then ads are gonna be super expensive as they always are like, it's not going to be anything crazier relative to the increase in in CPMs. Last year, at least that's my opinion on it. But CPMs are higher than last year, so they're gonna be even higher going into Black Friday. And then I think the biggest thing is to lean on your loyal customers as well. If you have a loyalty program, it's really not that and just getting the highest ROI out of people that are already exists, engaging with your brand. Awesome, thanks.

Sarah Leitz 31:58

Anyone else want to talk about trends or their predictions for the cheer? Or is that something we want to talk about in January? What we saw,

Chuck Melber 32:10

I don't envy you, Dan. Or anybody here that works in CES.


I mean, on our end, we we start like doing seasonal hires, we basically start lining that stuff up in late August, September is kind of used as an onboarding and training months. So we have about 32 full time members for our CES team and non seasonal months. And then we essentially double our team size. So we have 30 people who are like kind of going through training right now. And just, of course, all hands on deck for November, December. So but yeah, I think as far as trends are concerned, I think the obvious thing that many people are pointing out is that it's just happening earlier and earlier this year. I know even I had like a group text with my family. And they're like, Hey, let's start, like getting these gifts out the door now sooner than later. And here we are mid October. So I think everyone's anticipating these shipping delays and just doing the best they can to weather the storm and get out ahead of it to the best of their ability.

Sarah Leitz 33:09

Yeah. So Dan, kind of along those lines, are there? Is there anything like specifically you do to proactively kind of reduce those customer support questions? Can you talk a little bit about just like being really transparent, but


a little bit? I mean, I think I think anywhere that you're communicating with your customers, whether it's email content, or like social media, or anywhere, just kind of doing the best you can to communicate some of these anticipated delays. And then one thing on the CS side of things is, we like to update all of our knowledge base articles. So I think anytime a customer can serve themselves and get a question answered by hopping on and maybe googling a question or going to your site, and then getting into your help desk and viewing some of these self service articles through your knowledge base. I think that's important, just basically doing whatever you can to have customers be able to get their question answered without reaching out to you. So yeah, we like to make sure we're updating all of our knowledge base articles, just communicating with customers through our marketing emails, or tracking related emails and just setting proper expectations and hopefully letting them be able to serve themselves when possible.

Nevin Jethmalani 34:19

Yeah, yeah. What do you guys use for your tickets?

Dan Brady 34:23

Customers our helpdesk, okay, yep.

Sarah Leitz 34:29

McKenzie, and Chuck, do you guys do any, like proactive kind of communication to help mitigate some of those support tickets?

McKenzie Bauer 34:39

That's a good question. I know we have like our customer service team, Customer Experience team is always like proactively building out ways and I know that they've even started taking on like, calling customers like a few a week, you know, and just trying to see, like, check in with them and stuff to see if there's any holes that were missing. But yeah, very similar to what Dan was saying, starting early training people making sure that all the resources are built out whether it's through the post purchase flows on your email that they're getting all the information that they can receive, when it's appropriate for them to be receiving that information.

Chuck Melber 35:21

For us, it's always a struggle to keep everyone informed. I feel like he can put a notification about shipping delays on five different parts of the website. And people will see it five different times to transactional emails, but they'll never actually see it. Yeah. So yeah, usually on the PDPs, we'll have shipping delay notification on our product pages, we'll have shipping expectations set on the transactional email post purchase, of course, have Malomo. And then, like, we're kind of debating how we're going to handle like shipping cut offs this year. Traditionally, I've always been very wary of it just because I don't like setting an expectation and missing it. I'd rather leave it ambiguous, to be honest. But I think we're going to do is we're going to take whatever the projections are we get from FedEx or our shipping partners, and then add a week to it probably. And then maybe add that as like a notification bar on the website, just telling people like, Hey, if you want this in time for Christmas, you better order by December 1, or something like that.


And it's always a like, chicken or egg issue. Because if you say it, then people know that they're not gonna get it by Christmas, even if they place their order after but if you don't say it, then they could still help. So yeah, exactly.

Chuck Melber 36:29

To be honest to you, like if we go back order on some products, even if we think it's going to ship by like December 20, maybe we're definitely going to say like January one ship date. Yeah, just to try and alleviate those concerns of people that are like, Oh, you said I would ship by December 20. And it shipped on December 21. And in May in time for Christmas, or some I'd rather


I issue with that is always like, are you losing a sale? Because you say it type of thing? No, I totally agree. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Sarah Leitz 36:56

Jesse and Neverland? Are there things that you recommend to your customers that they definitely do to proactively communicate to their customers or or not do? Jessie, you want

Jesse Bern 37:09

to take this? Yeah, sure. You know, in in, in a post purchase flow, I think messaging, obviously, the timing and things like that, like expectations, again, setting setting those expectations. And kind of to what Dan was saying, having having it be as self serve as possible, we can to like an FAQ page, or if there's like a knowledge base or something like that. Those are the main ones that come to mind.


Yeah, I mean, to be honest, as I mentioned before, I'm still not entirely sure what the best approach is on terms of the shipping in terms of shipping notifications, like whether to message it or not, like we just haven't 100% decided on what we want to do yet. Yeah, because it's, it really comes down to like, the last few days before Christmas, that this really just becomes an issue. Before that. I feel like people are more tolerant towards like not getting their order by like a week later, during Black Friday or something like that. It's really just the Christmas feeds where it becomes a concern. And I'm sure we're going to do something to indicate it, if we see it earlier in a month is becoming a major issue. But if it's not, then you have to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what we're going to do right now.

Sarah Leitz 38:27

Makes sense? Well, just wanted to throw out there. We only have a couple minutes left. If anybody does have questions for our panelists, make sure you put it in the chat. If not, I'll just keep asking everybody questions. A couple more questions I have for you guys, kind of as you're prepping for Black Friday. So Cyber Monday, is there one thing that you're kind of really excited about doing that kind of went really well on your preparation? And then you know, on the flip side, is there one thing that you're really worried about or maybe didn't go? Well as you're preparing for Black Friday, and I'll just kind of open it up to everybody on the panel. Anybody who wants to go first? As I wait for anyone to go off mute.


I'm super curious to see what ads are like to be honest. I think this has been one of the highest like talked about issues just because of how many changes there are on Facebook and Instagram, Instagram marketing and everything. But I'm just really curious to see what they're like this year, whether it's it's all hype, or whether they're actually really expensive.

Sarah Leitz 39:34

Yeah. And McKenzie, you talked about the long form video, was that specifically for Black Friday? Or was that just kind of something you did this year? Um,

McKenzie Bauer 39:42

well, one of our biggest like talking points over the past this year and even into the year prior was diversification. And I think COVID taught us that with retail. And then iOS 14 taught us that with ads that you have to have a diverse like marketing channels to reach out to your customers. And we've been so reliant on Facebook ads and Instagram ads. So getting more into YouTube, Google things like that is one of the main reasons why we invested in this video. And it has performed wonderfully for us. And so I'm really excited. Looking into Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is the first year that we've had something like this in our arsenal, and it's opened up more channels for us. And so we're really excited to see how this performs throughout the next few months.


What was the video? Like? Was it like a highly produced video?

McKenzie Bauer 40:37

Yeah, so we spent, like, over 100 grand on it. And it was like, we flew out to Hawaii, we had like, big talent, filming it and writing the script. And it was its origin story video, we wanted it to be something that could be evergreen, and live on after a certain collection, you know, comes and goes. So it's our origin story. And I can I'll send, I'll put the link in the messages. But yeah, it's performed really well. It's kind of cheesy, but still on brand. Now. funny jokes. But yeah, it's done really? Well. I'll grab the link really quick and send it over in the comments.

Nevin Jethmalani 41:17

Yeah, where are you seeing it perform? Well,

McKenzie Bauer 41:20

um, you know, I couldn't give you the specifics on that. Because I am. I'm not our ecommerce manager is the one that like, keeps tabs on all of that. But probably like, I mean, I would say YouTube and Google, it's doing really well, Facebook, it's also done well, just across the board. It's done. Well, I can get you an email and I can get you like the better data and statistics on it. Another reason


I'm asking is because we try this as well earlier in the earlier in the year, like a highly produced video. It wasn't an origin story type of videos, more of just like showing our products, but it was like very highly produced. And we've seen unfortunately, just not really good results with it. Especially unpaid social, and paid search, even on YouTube. It's just not performed as well as we were expecting it to. And like some of the horror organic, like selfie style videos have just performed way better than some of the highly produced ones.

McKenzie Bauer 42:11

Yeah, interesting. Yeah, this one. I mean, on YouTube alone, it has over 1.3 million views. I know that in one of our last shooting sorry. It had across all channels, we've just passed 14 million views. Oh, wow. So it

Sarah Leitz 42:28

is it is really cute, Mackenzie.

McKenzie Bauer 42:32

I'm sending it over right now. And I'm sorry, I'm not a more competent founder. And I don't know all the time.


And are all those views organic? Or were they like views that you use that you got paid?

McKenzie Bauer 42:46

No, we were running ads to it for sure. Looking at right now you can all watch it and see me and my husband are poor acting skills. Okay, nice.

Sarah Leitz 43:05

Okay, well, I think we're gonna probably announce the winner. I know, we said we would try to keep it short. I know everybody's super busy with Black Friday, Cyber Monday. So we are going to try to keep it to 45 minutes instead of an hour. So I will let Mariah announced the air pods winner and then I will follow up with a short little thing at the end. And Mariah, take it away.

Mariah Parsons 43:26

Yes, so hello, everyone. I'm Mariah. I work on marketing with Sarah and I get to do the lucky giveaway. So thank you first for everyone who attended this awesome webinar. But unfortunately, there can only be one winner. So with that, Laura Clark, you're our winner for today. Congratulations. I'll be reaching out to you to get your information. So be on the lookout for that. And with that, Sarah, take us home. Awesome.

Sarah Leitz 43:53

Well, thanks, everyone, for joining us on the webinar. panelist, thank you so much for your time for your thoughtful answers. We really, really appreciated you guys taking the time out of your day to join us. And again, just for being part of today. One last thing we are offering a purple Friday deal for any new customers. I'm not sure if we have any new people who are joining us today, but if there are and if there aren't, share it with your friends. And then make sure to stay tuned for part two in January. We'll share that with everybody where we're going to do a recap on what went right and what went wrong and if any of our predictions came true and how everything turned out. So see you all then thanks, guys. Awesome.

Jesse Bern 44:37

Thanks, y'all. Bye