Episode 3: Brand stories, performance goals, subscriptions, oh my!

Podcast 3

In this episode, Sarah and Mariah welcome our first customer guest, Bryan Smith. Bryan is Head of Ecommerce at Ned & Co, a D2C brand that specializes in hemp products. We dive right in and talk about the importance of a brand’s story, possible touchpoints with customers, tempering expectations, performance goals, and incorporating user-generated content. One awesome topic we discuss is everything that surrounds a subscription model- in the e-commerce world, there can be negative connotations that surround this business structure. But luckily for us, Bryan walks Sarah and Mariah through the very successful structure of Ned’s subscription and how they’re winning in their customer experience by looking into the nuances around cancellation policies and messaging frequency. Bryan also shares the different and easy platforms that Ned uses to grow different avenues of their business, so stay tuned and subscribe for more customer guests to come!

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Mariah Parsons, Sarah Leitz, Bryan Smith

Mariah Parsons 00:02

Welcome to retention Chronicles, a podcast sponsored by Malomo, a shipment tracking platform that helps ecommerce brands turn order tracking from a cost center into a profitable marketing channel. Here at Malomo, one of our core values is to constantly be learning about something new. So our marketing team consisting of Sarah Leitz, our Head of Marketing here at Malomo, and I'm Mariah Parsons have set out to do exactly that. And we hope that you join us, we will be discussing everything that surrounds customer retention, what it is, why it's important, how it fluctuates, how it grows, what you can get out of it, and so much more. Today Sarah and I welcome Bryan Smith, who's the head of Ecommerce at NED & Co, a hemp DTC brand, we dive right in and talk about the importance of a brand story possible touchpoints, with customers, tempering expectations, performance goals and incorporating user generated content. One awesome topic that we also dive into is everything that surrounds subscription models. In the Ecommerce world, there's sometimes that negative connotation that surrounds a subscription model just due to, you know, difficult cancellation policies and customers not wanting an extra order when it isn't the correct time. And so Bryan really walks us through their very successful structure that Ned has implemented, and how they're winning in their customer experience by really diving in and looking at those different nuances that surround cancellation policies and their messaging frequency. And then Brian also shares some different and easy platforms that Ned has been using to grow different avenues of their business. So with that, let's roll the audio Please enjoy. Today, Sarah and I are joined by Bryan at Ned, and CO he's the head of Ecommerce. So welcome, Bryan, and thank you for joining us, we're so happy that you're here today.

Bryan Smith 02:07

Thanks for having me.

Mariah Parsons 02:08

So as head of E commerce, you know, there's as I can imagine a lot of initiatives that you have to focus on. But here we're talking mostly about customer retention. So for you, you know, and your approach. What does customer retention do and how you let it affect your brand strategy?

Bryan Smith 02:27

Yeah, I mean, I think that one of the things that comes to mind is that there's this implicit message with retention that shows the brand, that their products are meaningful to the customer, and that they're high quality and that people want them. You know, and if you're a brand that struggles with retention, that doesn't mean your products aren't great. But I think for Ned, it's really been one of the foundational things for our brand was like super high quality products, take the steps necessary to keep it that way. And and, you know, I think that resonates when you look at some of the some of the retention data that we have,

Mariah Parsons 03:06

for sure. Yeah. And that's one of the things you know, it's hard, of course, to maintain a customer when you don't have that quality product. So one of the things I was curious about to ask you is how do you convey that that quality of product to your customers even before they meet the first buy?

Bryan Smith 03:23

That's a good question. You know, and I think for me, I'm definitely not the right person to speak to that at Ned, in part, because I'm so much I'm so biased towards, like the performance and revenue side of our business. But what I can say is that, you know, I think telling the story of like, why, why the brand exists, and sort of not explicitly saying it, but trying to understand like, what your right to win is. And, you know, for me that that right to win is just like, the question I would ask is, well, what right does Ned have to win compared to competitors or like fit in the market in a certain way? And really like putting that forward and being consistent, and making that part of your marketing message is something that I think is way more important today than it was 10 years ago.

Sarah Leitz 04:20

Yeah, like how you tell the story.

Bryan Smith 04:22

Yeah. I mean, to be honest, like, our story has pretty much stayed the same since, you know, I started working for Ned as a consultant. And I was doing that for about three years and started full time a year and a half ago. And that story really hasn't changed much. And that's really a credit to our founders, and, you know, Ret, Adrian and the, the message that they went to market with, you know, I do think that there's sort of for us, there's sort of this implied differentiation in the hemp space because we have a really strong relationship with our, with our farmer and all of our hemp comes from a single source in Paonia, Colorado. So, you know, it's difficult for me to say like how that story manifests itself in performance metrics that most people might think about. But we do know that there are some examples like for, you know, very specific examples, like in a welcome email flow. Like when we put the brand story forward, and we say, like, here's why we exist. And here's what we do to make our products better. That's going to perform at a higher rate than or that's going to perform better than if we come into a welcome series and say, You're going to love this product, here's 10%.

Sarah Leitz 05:48

That's pretty amazing that you started into the industry with the right story, because I mean, so many people really kind of struggle with that and trying to find what their brand voice is do you do find ways where you talked about, like, you know, telling your story in the in the welcome email, are there other points, kind of along the retention journey that you kind of highlight your story?

Bryan Smith 06:10

Yeah, it's, that's a good question. I think we need to do a better job of that. But that's a realization I've had in the last couple months. You know, just for example, we have a great About Us page. And I don't think that we've done enough to really like push people towards that page. So you know, in terms of like, layering the message in for me, I'm more of the facilitator between, like the brand vision that Adrian and Ret created. And then thankfully, I have a copy director or content director, Rory, who just always delivers copy in marketing campaigns that follows that story. And I don't have to be the one who, you know, decides how to explain that in different places. And there's so many, there's so many different touch points that that we could talk about, but I'm not the one who's had to make the message work in all those places, which I'm super happy about. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 07:15

that's a fair thing, that is a very difficult task to make sure you convey the brand story. And you mentioned that this had been something you know, in the last couple months, you maybe want to focus on more. So, you know, maybe this is something that Ned starts to do. But in an ideal world, what would you say, you know, what would be some of those touch points that you would like to grow? And really focus on in the future?

Bryan Smith 07:41

Yeah, you know, I think I always like to try to, like, I don't know what the exact right way to say it is. But I like to try to temper expectations and the thinking of how are businesses doing with performance data, which might be as simple as like, looking at Google Analytics and seeing that our About Us page doesn't get a lot of traffic. But once we like, review those kinds of things, and we take a step back, and we say, like, what's the appropriate place for us to promote this? I think that's like one of the things in retention other than having a great product and creating the right story that that matches up with the product and matters to the customer, I think it's really important to put yourself in their shoes when you communicate with them. So, you know, don't write an SMS campaign that welcomes someone to the list, if you wouldn't want to receive that. And don't email people four times a week, if you wouldn't want a brand to email you four times a week. So, you know, I'm, less on the brand side, and the storytelling and the copywriting and the content and more informing, like, Where can we reach these customers? And what's the goal for that touch point? And I, you know, I think most brands that are like Ned do a great job of, of, you know, not sending the wrong message in the wrong place at the wrong time. So that's a that's been fun to see. It's just not it's not something that happens too often, in my opinion.

Sarah Leitz 09:24

Yeah. I mean, you're just saying that if you don't want to get four emails a week, don't do that to your customer. I mean, that's, very different than I think a lot of people out there in the industry and seems like it's working for you.

Bryan Smith 09:39

Yeah, maybe and the other thing is like sitting where I said, maybe my, comment that doesn't happen a lot is probably because like, I've already filtered all those people out.

Sarah Leitz 09:49

Yeah. I probably sign up for all the coupons. That's my Yeah.

Bryan Smith 09:57

Yeah. And you know, I mean, I think I use my personal inbox, the promotions tab for me is only, like for professional use, I'm only following brands where I really want to see what they're doing with email, I really want to like benchmark their designs or brands that I'm actually purchasing from on a consistent basis. So, yeah, it might not be true that people don't abuse email. But I think that over the course of years, using channels really carefully is going to give you more revenue, like you may give up something in the short run, but over the long term, you're gonna have a better foundation if you use channels carefully.

Sarah Leitz 10:40

Yeah, I think I think that's so true. I mean, you think about the brands even personally, that you'll use for a long time, I think it goes exactly to what you're saying that the brands that communicate to you purposefully and intentionally and at the right time are the brands that you'll continue purchasing for and the other ones are, like I said, Before, the ones you sign up for a coupon, and then probably put that unsubscribe and never contact them again.

Bryan Smith 11:06

Yeah, and there's, I just think, like that brand story, and what to say, and where's really intuitive. There are performance metrics that we can use to say, like, that didn't work, or that did work. But um, you know, that's really where it's more of an art than a science, in my opinion. And and, yeah, I think you're right, like, the brands that I'm always gonna buy from, if they have a sale, or, you know, the people that I'm waiting for during the holidays, those are the brands that do it right for me, and they don't, you know, they don't annoy me, and they don't do things that I hate. So,

Sarah Leitz 11:41

and we may be a little biased being in the industry, but still, I feel like, you know, it's not like we're the only ones who feel this way.

Bryan Smith 11:47

Yeah, I mean, and, you know, my comment earlier about, I think, the brand and the storytelling, I don't know recently, and I, I do think that thought, it obviously depends on who your audiences and who your customer personas are, our setup and how that's divided. But, you know, when we speak to people that we work with, they really, they really recommend like kind of more of a soft selling us content to sell the product and try to position yourself as the solution to a problem through content, and not just the, you know, I don't want to call anyone out. But if you look at like, nationwide, big box retailers, most of the emails I get are just like, at the most, they're seasonality. But they're not, you know, they're not trying to, like, use content to sell their products, they're just saying, here's the thing, you should buy it. So, recently, we've heard a lot of people that are just advocating for us to really dig into that content and tell the story of the brand and the product without getting too biased towards the by this now. And you know, but that, that by this now, trap is kind of a, it's understandable, because some brands just need, you know, like you, you have to make money, and everybody has goals. And And oftentimes, you know, I think people get stuck in kind of a negative feedback loop where they're sending emails to earn money and keep the business going.

Mariah Parsons 13:16

I would definitely say, you know, as we've been talking about, figuring out what your brand can connect with, and the brand story, I definitely agree that that soft sell I think is becoming way more relevant and just, you know, content that's generated by customers. So, you know, having reviews from customers, because there's an element of, you know, trust that if you're buying a product and an unbiased opinion, saying, No, I vouch for the product, there's a lot of value in that. And I noticed that Ned does do some of that, you know, with publishing the customer reviews on your homepage, I really commend that soft sell. Because even for me, I haven't tried any products or any CBD products, but I really want to so, you know, trying to navigate that customer experience is just very helpful to have, you know, customer reviews and have that element, you know, of a stranger saying, Oh, I give this product five stars, I really think that's where a lot of the trends are continuing to grow. Yeah,

Bryan Smith 14:13

I mean, it's what comes to mind for me. On the review side of it, it's primarily two things. One is that there's there's a lot of really, really quick and easy ways for for small brands to automate reviews and make it easy for customers to submit reviews, you know, and at the same time, we have found that with our with our size and our resources, it's been really hard to like use those resources, use the reviews more effectively on a product page. So you know, we have like some basic hot jar data and we've done some testing on product pages and, you know, reviews are an area that we need to look into and really try to like make that more a part of the buying expense. That's not to say it is now. But people really engage with that little review link that we have near the buy box on our site. And, you know, always looking for new ways to tie that to the purchase and make it easier to get into. Like to add to cart to checkout funnel.

Mariah Parsons 15:21

Yeah. And I'm curious as well, that's great to hear. And I know, it's, you know, we've moved to more's more like influencers and micro influencers, and you know, that user generated content. So, I'm curious, have you guys thought at all about using that avenue to grow customer retention? Or really just reviews at this point? Because it is, I mean, you know, having other people build for your brand. I, I expect that there's more stress that could come along with that. But yeah, I would love to know more about that brand, strategy and Avenue.

Bryan Smith 15:53

Yeah, I mean, I think influences are have been, it's an area that we focus on a lot. We found it difficult to make it scalable, in a cost effective way. But we have worked with a bunch of influencers in the past who do who do great work for Ned. And we also do a lot of work on podcasts, which I think is similar in the sense that what we found is, is really like working with that partner to tell your story. And, and try to make it meaningful on the brand side, as opposed to, you know, hey, buy this product, there's a two for one today, or some other more promotional focus. So, yeah, I mean, influencers are great. I don't, you know, I don't really view it as much as retention as I do acquisition and sort of like the broad, like, reach that we might have as a brand. But it can be, especially with new product launches. You know, and if we had, I think, if we had gotten the influencer program where it was a little bit easier to manage, there might be some retention focus there. But for now, it's mostly been acquisition and, and really like increasing brand reach with with new products and, and telling that story.

Mariah Parsons 17:16

I love that perspective. Because, you know, for me, I just had the perspective of retention, because I'm way more willing as a customer to buy and continue buying from brands that I've either heard friends or family or influencers that I follow, you know, continue that relationship for myself. So I love hearing, you know, from your perspective of just how it helps acquisition, and it definitely does. Thank you for sharing that. I mean, that's awesome.

Bryan Smith 17:39

Yeah. And I think like, I should say, as well, that, as it relates to like customer reviews and customers who might advocate for us, we do have like a referral program that works pretty well for us. And you know, a lot of those are really low cost, and really easy to implement. You know, there's, there's like one really cool thing that I've seen recently that we haven't implemented yet. And it's a service called Gatsby. But what Gatsby does is they actually integrate with Klaviyo , and they allow your customers to be rewarded for something like an Instagram post.

Sarah Leitz 18:17

Oh, that's super cool. Awesome.

Bryan Smith 18:19

Yeah. So I think there's this influencer conversation on acquisition, which is like we go out with, you know, someone like Julie Bower at PaleOMG, and we work with her to promote our brand and our products. That's kind of more in the acquisition funnel for me, and, and in terms of really getting our customers out there and promoting the brand on Instagram or Facebook. It's, it's something we're working on. You know, I'd love to work with Gatsby in the future. And, and there's a few other things that, you know, you can do with loyalty programs that incentivize that. But all of its happened organically for us. So we're not really, you know, encouraging customers to talk about net or posts for some, some other some other type of reward.

Sarah Leitz 19:06

So what are some of the best things that you're doing for retention? If you want to give away those secrets?

Bryan Smith 19:13

Yeah, well, I mean, I'm not sure that their secrets, I think, the best thing that we're doing for retention, you know, we have a great subscription program, I think that fits our product really well. So you know, subscription and direct consumer definitely has kind of like a negative connotation among people who are in it. Like, like for the two of you, like, do you subscribe to products?

Sarah Leitz 19:38

The ones I really like?

Mariah Parsons 19:39

Yeah, I'd say the same.

Bryan Smith 19:42

Got it. Yeah. I mean, I'm like a Netflix subscriber, obviously. And, you know, I might subscribe to some other services. But I hear a lot of conversation about, you know, the subscription side of our industry as as being negative. But we think that our progress has just been great for customers. And that's the biggest thing we've done for retention is really focus on building a great subscription program and putting the customer first and allowing them to have the control like, don't, you know, I subscribe to a major news publication that I won't name and canceling was the worst thing ever. And I'll never go back. So that's I think the first thing we've done is we've built a great subscription program. And then the second thing on retention is getting back to that, like, don't send a message you wouldn't want to receive and trying to use, like purchase interval data to get better at, you know, like, if I'm going to Mariah, if I'm going to send you an email saying like, Hey, you might want more of this product. If I can deliver that email closer to the time when you're ready. That's going to be less annoying than if I do it. Like right after you got your first order.

Mariah Parsons 21:00

For sure. Before you even tried the product. Right?

Bryan Smith 21:03

Yeah, yeah. And that's, you know, that's sort of like, maybe that's segmentation. One a one is, I don't know, maybe it's second semester segmentation. But trying to, on that note, like trying to make sure that the people you're reaching out to to reorder, like, make sure they don't have an order in transit. You know, like, if someone just ordered for you, and they're waiting for a product, you really want to be careful that you don't ask them to like spend more in the wrong way. And yeah, I think we've done a good job at at trying to keep the messages generally, like lower and more focused on when people want more, as opposed to like when we want them to buy.

Sarah Leitz 21:46

Yeah, it's it's funny that you say this, Bryan, because I'm like, allthat you're saying always seems so easy to figure out. Right? But so many people aren't doing it. And it always seems to be like, Okay, this is a no brainer, why don't you provide content that really matters to the people when it matters, but it's amazing how few of people are actually doing it and doing well, maybe not in the DTC kind of field. I think a lot of people, they're starting to get really better at that. But you're right, some of the big box stores, I don't know, if it's just a volume thing where they're like, hey, it doesn't really matter if you purchase from us again, because there's so many other people that are purchasing from us, or what it is, but it's just awesome to hear that, you know, people are actually, in my thought, doing the right thing when they're messaging people.

Bryan Smith 22:36

Yeah, I mean, one of the things that comes to mind for me is like, there's this beautiful little sweet spot that we sit in, where we have access to all these services. So we have access to all these services like Malomo like Klaviyo, you know, we use we use something called Repeat that really helps us like validate purchase intervals. And we use a reporting software called Audacity that can publish information through to Klaviyo or Facebook ads, and you know, all these things are like, ridiculously cheap. I mean, compared to like the the things that REI would be using, or you know, Nordstrom or something like that. They're so easy to use, and they're so cheap that, you know, I think a lot of brands that are on the Shopify platform, and let's say under $15 million in revenue a year like, that's the key is like find those the the software packages and just make sure you're ready to use them and leverage them to their fullest.

Mariah Parsons 23:39

And I think that's great. You know, you mentioned the negative subscription, you know, I guess mentality or stereotype that there is so with your subscription program that's been working, what would you say? What about it, you know, has really been successful, like what characteristics help it grow and, you know, really help your customers and the intention?

Bryan Smith 24:02

Yeah, I mean, I think that on the surface, you're gonna see like, we give a discount we offer free shipping, we also offer gifts, and those customers are net we call them Ned Norstar members, and through that gifting program, I think we've really added a lot of value that goes beyond the cost savings. So you know, instead of putting so much focus on the X% off you get with recurring shipments, we're trying to add value in other ways. And you know, we have a great customer happiness team that is Breanna Carlin and Hannah and they're, they just do a great job of working with people and helping them you know, have the best experience they can. You know, I think the membership adding value outside the discount is really important. And then you know, just let the customer be in charge like if you make it impossible to cancel or change the shipment date. You're like, you're never gonna get that person back. But if you make that experience of canceling their subscription for whatever reason, if you make that great, like, they're probably going to come back, you know, you've already, if you think about customer buckets, you have, like, we have people that have been around forever, and they're super high value. And, you know, they're probably going to stick around. But one of the things I'd like to do going forward is really try to reactivate these people who are subscription customers that might have lapsed or cancelled, because they're still, they're still going to be more valuable to us, compared to like people who have never subscribed. And, you know, I think we can engage that group of people, because it might be that it might be that some of those people canceled because they hated our product, or it didn't work, or, you know, they had a bad experience, but there's going to be the majority of them who might come back at some point. And that's one of the most important things with subscription is like, let them let them handle their, their subscription, how they want to and, and also, like, do whatever you can to avoid the accidental renewal, which is that like, that's why a subscription gets a bad name, right? Because, you know, Mariah, Sarah, you might be a subscriber to Ned, and all of a sudden, you have like, half a bottle of one of our products, and then you get charged for your next one. And you're like, Oh, that sucks. So, you know, we're, we're actually making some some major changes right now that I hope will help us like, avoid that, you know, had half the product left, got a new shipment, because that's just not what we're looking for.

Sarah Leitz 26:45

That's awesome. And I won't say what brand this happens to me. But I just purchased something recently. And I had no idea that I would be automatically enrolled in a subscription. Like it wasn't, it wasn't on, maybe it was in the fine print. And that's my fault for not seeing it. I don't know what it was, but they automatically rolled me into subscription. And I had to like, just barely notice it in the email confirmation. So then I reached out to them, but it wasn't an easy cancel, and I had to text them or call them and then their text widget wasn't working. And I'm like, this is the biggest hassle ever. And I'm probably gonna like their product. But I haven't even gotten it yet. And they already caused this giant hassle, which made me be like, Yeah, I'll probably go somewhere else. And it happens all the time.

Bryan Smith 27:33

Yeah, there's all I mean, when you say that it makes me I get like, you know, this little creeping anxiety? Because I wonder like, what,

Sarah Leitz 27:43

we're not doing that? Yeah.

Bryan Smith 27:46

Because people at the at the end of the day, like, it's easy to miss that stuff. And when you're shopping online, you don't always pay attention to every detail. In terms of like, you bought something, Sarah, and you didn't know you were subscribed. Like that can be easy to miss. It's not. Yeah, it's not it's not on the it's not on our customer to figure that out. It's on us to like, talk to them about it and make sure they know how to, you know, use the service we're offering. Yeah. But also, if we made it impossible to cancel, I guarantee you we would have a bigger business today.

Sarah Leitz 28:23

Yeah, it's like, those short term and long term growth too, right. Like, you probably have a much bigger business. But what but it wouldn't last. And I think that's a hard balance to as a marketer.

Bryan Smith 28:35

I mean, I guess I'm, I'm just fortunate that I, you know, we're a small company, and we're all aligned in the sense that we don't want to have that kind of subscription. Like, yeah, yeah, I'm always like, I do occasionally say, like, well, you know, if we remove that email, it we will do better on retention, just because I think sometimes it has to be said. But it's always coming back to me like, well, that doesn't seem right, we should just leave it in there. Because the customer wants to get that, you know, they want to know, every every time you can you you communicate with a subscription customer, you're offering that person a chance to jump off, which is much harder than just ignoring the communication altogether.

Sarah Leitz 29:18

Yeah. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 29:20

Right. So important.

Sarah Leitz 29:23

Doing it the right way to your point, Bryan is like, you're worried that more people will jump off if you are communicating to them because you are making it easier. But you also don't want to be you know, like that big gym that will not be named that it's so hard to cancel, but it's only $10. So I'm gonna keep paying it for three years kind of thing.

Bryan Smith 29:44

Yeah, yeah, it's that's so true. And I guess there is a certain element of like, where you fall on price point. Like, if I paid $10 a month from Netflix, I think that issue of accidental renewal is less of a big deal than it is. Because, you know, at Ned, we're, you know, we're a premium product. And we offer a customer experience that, well, we try to offer a customer experience that always matches that. But so for us, it's just not, you know, if you're spending $85 a month to get one of our products, that accidental renewal thing, just, it just can't happen.

Sarah Leitz 30:22

Yeah, it's not something that people are going to be like, Oh, it's 10 bucks, it's not that big of a deal. It's something people can probably be upset about if it happened.

Bryan Smith 30:31

Yeah, yeah. And you know, the other thing that we do is we try to encourage subscription starts after trial. So, you know, I talk a lot about, we talk a lot about like, the quality of traffic, when we look at things like conversion rate, and new customer acquisition, in the sense that, yeah, like, you can bring 1000 people to your website, if they're all like completely uninterested in your product, your conversion rates gonna suck. And it's the same way with retention, like really trying to evaluate who becomes a high value customer and, and leading new customers into that with product trial, or, you know, we recommend this product, and then at the right time, offer the subscription, that's something that we have done and definitely need to continue to do going forward, because we'd rather have fewer subscribers that are high quality, then a larger subscriber group that cancels after their first order.

Mariah Parsons 31:36

And, Bryan, I'm curious, would you say that there has to be sometimes like a little bit of a mindset, adoption of, you know, as you're in the space, trying to find the balance of what is too much and too little. And in terms of communication? Do you have to sometimes think, you know, like, if a customer has already made up their mind that they're going to cancel you, you have to just let that customer go and focus on the customers, you know, that are really loyal to your brand and really excited about it.

Bryan Smith 32:05

Yeah, for sure. For us, like, you know, letting them go is more of a function of bandwidth and the resources, we have to execute things with the updates we're making do our subscription, the one thing that we're trying to do is learn more from those people at the time of cancellation. And to my comment earlier about using these really low cost, high impact software packages, like we can get all that information through to Klaviyo. And if we if we had more bandwidth, we would be using that information more effectively, I think. But yeah, we're not, you know, someone who cancels, we're not going to like keep begging forever. But I do think that if we had more time and more people to really execute those kind of the wind backside of it, we we'd be doing th at for sure.

Mariah Parsons 32:57

Yeah, I think that's a great perspective, you know, just being aware of your own brand and saying, this is potentially you know, what is going on in each situation. And going along that same thought of being aware of where your brand is, in the bandwidth, you have talked about the software's that you use, like Malomo and Daasity and Repeat. So in the process of enabling those different programs, how did you know that Ned was kind of ready to take on that step? And really be able to utilize that software?

Bryan Smith 33:32

Um, that's a good question. We have so much going on right now, for quarter four, and the holidays that I think we may have, like, gotten ahead of ourselves.

Mariah Parsons 33:44

Very true. I love that awareness.

Bryan Smith 33:48

But, you know, I think it's specifically like, for us, our sort of journey to launching with Malomo was, you know, we kind of spec to a competitor. And one of the things that really helped was that Malomo had, like we worked with Josh and the lift for us to get, like from start to finish in terms of actually getting the the transactional program switched from some sort of poor version of Shopify emails over to Klaviyo with Malomo, that process was, was really seamless, because we had help. And we're doing the same thing with two other service providers that we use where, you know, we're paying for an account that offers us guidance and help in terms of getting that program started. So I'm not saying like money doesn't grow on trees, but for us, working with people who offer that type of service, the service that take some of the lift out of out of like off our plates, that's been a huge help.

Mariah Parsons 34:58

Well, we love hearing that. Obviously and also Josh's awesome. Shout out to him and to, you know, going into the post purchase experience, what would you say, you know, what has been one of the best post purchase experiences that your customers, perhaps I'm hoping have shared in that, you know, that helps with their retention? You know, have you seen a lot more customers coming back after a certain time period after they make their first purchase? Or after they, you know, sign up for that? subscription model?

Bryan Smith 35:31

Yeah, I mean, like, we're so on the, one of the things that we see right now is like, we're so new with Malomo, and your transactional emails, that there's been a very obvious lift in terms of performance and, and, and the engagement that we're seeing, compared to what we had previously, one of the things that comes to mind is that it adds additional inventory for us to use that supports retention. So you know, we're showing different email content. And we're, we're giving a different message to people who are different customers, I think that's going to pay off a lot for us in the future. And it's been so easy to do with malema, that compared to the previous option was just like everybody got the exact same order confirmation, and everybody got the exact same out for Delivery Email, everybody saw the same tracking page. And, you know, it was the carrier's tracking page. So that's been, I think, super helpful. But in terms of retention, I don't know if we can really say, you know, it's hard to say in the first like, 60 to 90 days, whether or not that's moving the needle. And, you know, on the on the revenue and reporting side, like one of the pain points is that you really have to, like evaluate where you're seeing that performance come from, because everyone interprets it differently. You know, like Klaviyo is gonna report it differently than then Google Analytics, obviously, and Daasity will be closer to Klaviyo but you know, for now, it's been more of a customer experience when and and not sure, on retention in the long run, it'll definitely help retention.

Mariah Parsons 37:18

Yeah, that aspect of personalization to each customer, I think is going to become more and more important. You know, as that becomes the expectation, you know, as more and more brands start to pick up on it, I think outside of you know, do you see, just with all the access we have at our fingertips, it's gonna be awesome.

Bryan Smith 37:39

The, you know, the one thing I wanted to say on retention is that the act, I think, the actual experience of receiving the order, I think we do a great job. So compared to like the worst possible scenario, which is like ordering deodorant on Amazon or something. I think we've done a good job at making that making that the order and experience that the customer is like looking forward to and really enjoys, which isn't super easy for, you know, we handle all of our own fulfillment. And if I need to add something to 100 orders, like I can go back and talk to Matthew and Vita in our warehouse. And, you know, if we were using third party fulfillment, that would be a much different story. But I personally think that obviously, everything we're talking about digitally, like delivering different emails, different customer types, that matters, but if you can also make the experience of receiving that order Great. That's your first step in in building more, I would say like making it habitual or making it easier for you to retain customers because if you go the Amazon deodorant route like there's nothing there right it's like a huge bo x with like an air bubble or malar and like a deodorant so

Sarah Leitz 39:06

no receipt, nothing anymore.

Bryan Smith 39:07

Yeah, yeah.

Mariah Parsons 39:09

Yeah, I'm so happy you touched upon that because you're completely right you know, the experience of just receiving that order and Yaw, our CEO is actually on a webinar earlier today. And he was speaking to the psychology of just awaiting an order that you receive online and the release of dopamine that you get because you have this anticipated a package coming your way you know, it's kind of kind of like a fun game or you know, a little gift to yourself where you're imagining and you want to know where that packages so when you actually finally get it you know, if the experience isn't it doesn't meet your expectations or you know, your anticipation falls. I can I've had experiences you know, similar to the deodorant in Amazon or it's just like, oh, like that's not what I wanted or what I ordered or, you know, it doesn't matter meet your What you want it in your expectations? So, I love that you brought up that point. And, you know, this is one question that we like to ask our guests, Bryan. So it's a little bit, you know of a more meta type of question. But what would you if you had to pinpoint what would be one tidbit of information or advice that you think is crucial for, you know, helping to grow and learn about your brands? Customer retention?

Bryan Smith 40:28


Mariah Parsons 40:29

See, I told you, I'd be a hard hitter.

Sarah Leitz 40:32

And then we ended with that, too.

Bryan Smith 40:35

Man, like so. So one thing that is going to improve retention, or is going to set you up for better retention? The simple answer is something like use these cheap and easy tools that are available to you. And understand who buys what and when the more complicated answer, I think, is something that I mentioned earlier, which is like, I'm not really sure why this is working, but we think it's working. And that would be the quality of the product, you kind of have to just gamble that like the product you're selling, especially early on, you have to just gamble that people are gonna like this product. And you kind of have to gamble that the story you're going with works. So I think on the retention side of brands, can really think critically about the products they're selling. And understand like what those products are doing for people, that that's the biggest thing. And I, I can't maybe you can measure that. But most of the time, it's just sort of this intuitive sense of, you know, what does it taste like? What does it what does it make you feel like, like, really think about what that customer is experiencing, and try to try to build a product around that.

Mariah Parsons 41:46

Yeah, trusting your gut, I think it's so difficult at times, but so appreciated, you know, when you when you sometimes just have to say, you know, we're going to try it out, and hopefully other people feel as passionate as your product as you do. And I think that's a great note to end on. I know, we've discussed so many different things. But it has been so wonderful. And thank you so much for sending you know, a little bit of your day with us. It's been awesome to get to know you. And we're super grateful for this opportunity. So thank you prime.

Bryan Smith 42:19

You're welcome. Thank you, thank you so much for having me. And thank you for you know, offering the service that you do and being a part of that team. It's it's really been. It's been a huge win for me in the last three months. And so that's always nice to have, you know, moving into phase two of working with myeloma and trying to do more with it. You know, that's part of the reason why I'm here is because it's been so great. So thank you for that.

Sarah Leitz 42:45

Thanks, Bryan. We love hearing that.

Mariah Parsons 42:51

And so now it's time for a fact check. Bryan tells us about all the amazing things that net is doing. And he briefly mentions in the beginning the origin story, that net is kept the same from the very start. So I just wanted to go ahead and share a little bit about that story. Ned was founded by Ret and Adrian, who both wanted to reconnect with nature and leave the life that they currently knew and get into him space. So their hemp is all from the same farm in Colorado, and they even have the certifications from third party labs on their website, which really just showcases their commitment to transparency that their origin story also speaks to. And now for more of the facts from the episode itself. Bryan tells us a lot about the different platforms that Ned is using such as Gatsby, Malomo, Klaviyo, Repeat and Daasity. And we assume that most of you are familiar with Malomo, we hope but in case that you're not, we're a shipment tracking platform that integrates with Klaviyo and Klaviyo is an email and SMS marketing platform. And clay vo also integrates with the other platforms that Bryan being that Bryan brings up during the episode. So Gatsby is a platform that allows brands to track and reward micro influencers for their social media engagement and posts. Repeat is a platform that allows brands to track and validate purchase intervals to better equip a brand in their customers behavior. And Daasity allows brands to view all their data in one place and how to use that data in different ways. That's it for this episode's fact, check in. As always, please remember to subscribe and follow on socials to tell us all about your thoughts and takeaways.