S2 E22: Mariah & Noah discuss the influence of social media and social proof


On this episode of Retention Chronicles, Noah and Mariah discuss;

  • how Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2022 went and what trends we saw,
  • predictions for 2023,
  • the macroeconomic impact on consumer behavior,
  • TikTok being banned in certain US states,
  • and the influence of social media and social proof.

Be sure to subscribe to our pod to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands.

Subscribe to Retention Chronicles on Apple Podcasts


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


people, black friday, tick tock, year, fun, tik tok, shopify, algorithms, hear, influence, brands, pullback, gifts, board, curious, government, super, ecosystem, app, tic tock


Noah Rahimzadeh, Mariah Parsons

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:05

Hey retention pros. I'm Noah Rahimzadeh and I lead partnerships here at Malomo. I'm super pumped to continue to chat with ecosystem experts alongside Mariah you all already know and love, say hi, Mariah,

Mariah Parsons 00:16

Hey, everyone, as you probably no potential Chronicles likes to bring in some of the best retention focus brands in the Shopify ecosystem.

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:24

But we don't just feature grants, we also feature some great thought leaders in the Shopify ecosystem that served us brands.

Mariah Parsons 00:31

And because we always want these conversations to be fun, you'll hear us talk to our guests about what they're excited about, and let's help them get to where they are today.

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:39

We hope you'll stick around to learn and laugh.

Mariah Parsons 00:42

Retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo a shipment in order tracking platform improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our episodes at Bo malomo.com. Okay, so, I know we're in person. All right. This is one. Okay, um, where? Okay, yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:08

A mile away from

Mariah Parsons 01:10

I know, it's a shame. Um, but it is more fun to do it in person. We'll have to see how it works out with the audio. Um, but okay, we have from our last chitchat, we have a couple of things that we said we're going to do. And I'm curious if we actually did them. I don't think we didn't tell you probably. Also know for me, did you try out Google multi search? No, neither did I

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:34

did. I think I did spend like 10 minutes right after that, like, looking at

Mariah Parsons 01:38

it a little, like trying stuff.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:40

And I'm like, still surprised that we're not hearing more about it.

Mariah Parsons 01:44

Yeah, I wonder if it's, like, gonna become a new way or if it'll just be like, convenient for people who use it, you know, like, kinda like, Siri. Like, I forget sometimes that we have Siri. Yeah. And then it's like, or like, and then you see tags using? Yeah, I'm gonna like, oh, my gosh, you use that more? Yeah. Yeah. And you're like, No, I do. Or like the speak to text features. Or it's like, you can just like, spit it out. Yeah. But sometimes they just forget about it. Because like, we're not used to it. So I wonder if Google multi search will be

Noah Rahimzadeh 02:21

just take some getting used to? Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 02:23

Yes. I think so. Okay. And these are just really quick. So I was gonna run through these but, um, okay, in the mean, like from last episode, we said, we were making the TIC tock about board cow. You haven't released it yet? Because the board tau episode just came out yesterday. So it's gonna come out this week, like the actual tic toc. Um, but thoughts on making I mean, I know you weren't really like on the editing side, but just doing it. I really

Noah Rahimzadeh 02:53

enjoy. brands want to send us any fantastic tasting milk. You know, food, food and beverages are this is a fun fact. For listeners. Surprise me. fridge is our number one vertical in terms of brands that we serve. Yeah. Which surprised me because I thought it would have been like fashion and apparel or cosmetics. Or actually to improve food and beverage is number one. So yeah, any other f&b brands? gonna send us some samples or take? Yeah, take your time to the office and record. Yes. Together. Yeah. Get give legit reviews. Yeah, I think the good news for for the cow is it was very highly rated by all three of us.

Mariah Parsons 03:50

Yeah. Yeah. And Matt tried it to the next day. I don't know if you were in the office? I don't think so either. I think it was just Kurt actually. And so he made him like guess which each flavor it was like comparing it to almond milk. Yeah. So that was fun. For one of them. I think I poured way too much like chocolate syrup. Because I was just like, Man, this is what I got in my house. So it's like off the top of zero. And he was like, I really like I don't know, at first and he was like, but this one tastes better. And so I was like, well, that is the board cat wise, but I was like I think I overdid it with a chocolate on the other one that you're just straight up drinking chocolate syrup. Exactly. I was like I think I yeah, I didn't get the ratio. Right. But it was still really fun.

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:37

All very nice to have the doughnuts to go with.

Mariah Parsons 04:41

Yes. Yeah, those fries. I don't think so. No. No. Yeah, we could that could be an area of improvement for us. But some doughnuts, talk. Yeah, those were clutch there. So editing and all of them. Honestly, it was it took longer than I anticipated. And I also this is like, Duh on my part, but I realized we filmed it landscape instead of vertically. And I was like, That's so dumb on my part. Because like, yeah, because it's supposed to be your phone. So it's like, it looks fine. It's just like, we're, you know, it's like you slipped something landscape. And we're all three of us landscape. And that is somewhat to do with our office, just the office space, like to get us all in where we were sitting, we kind of had to do landscape. But when I was editing, I was like, Oh, yep, definitely forgot. Like, I know that but forgot about it. Um, and then yeah, piecing them together is also hard to like, line up. So it gets to be like a shorter video, but you're still getting like good pieces. So I found I had to, like, take out like a lot of little snippets with like pauses and stuff. So I definitely have a lot to learn on the like editing side of things of how you make. Like how you make that process more efficient. But it was it was still fun to put them together. And I think it's cute. It's not, you know, not super professional, but I like it. So it's fun. Nice. Yeah. And then, other follow up questions before we get more into like topic topics is and this can be the first topic but how do you think Black Friday Cyber Monday went? we've chatted about it with some partners on the podcast, but those episodes haven't been released yet. Yeah. So overall,

Noah Rahimzadeh 06:38

I think like, better than I expected based on like, some of the numbers that I've seen from Shopify and clay, VO and some of our other partners. I was like, honestly, that was my first ever Black Friday, Cyber Monday and ecommerce I didn't really know what to expect, plus all of the stuff happening in like the macro economy. I like had no idea what to expect. But I was kind of pessimistic. Yeah. And it's great to see like really strong results, it sounds like across the board. Like I don't think that there was any anything I saw that indicated a slowdown or a miss on, you know, what we were expecting, even in, you know, good case scenarios, which is great. That being said, I just had a call this morning where we were talking about like, how we feel going into next year in terms of like the macro economy and how it will trickle down to the Commerce Industry, in Shopify, in particular. And I'm kind of pessimistic. Interesting, a lot of the not that I think, like long term, ecommerce is here to stay and going to continue to do very, very well. But I could see a little bit of a pullback next year. And the reason for that is I don't think that a lot of like the job losses that we've seen across Tech have hit the economy yet in terms of like, consumer sentiment and spending. And I think that, you know, a lot of things that are purchased, at least in our ecosystem are, you know, nice to haves and not absolutely crucial in a lot of cases. So I can see that. You know, while there are still tons of jobs out there like that doesn't, that doesn't mitigate the fact that like 10s of 1000s of high paying jobs were lost this year. And I think that we all did a pretty good job of saving during the pandemic, but that trend is flipping on its head and re American savings across the board is way down recently, and credit card debt is way up. And at a certain point, like the nice to haves are aren't going to be as justifiable to spend on Yeah, so while you know Black Friday, Cyber Monday was awesome to see and long term prospects in E commerce. I couldn't be more bullish on. I think that in the short term, we could see a little pullback next year.

Mariah Parsons 09:17

Yeah. It's really interesting. I was I was thinking more from like the investor point of view of like, people, that's what I thought you meant initially is like, now that tech was overvalued and like Shopify, and like just with layoffs, I thought you were going down the road of Yeah, more like tech and software was going to not be as overvalued and then because of that, like it was going to hit the Shopify ecosystem, but I do think, yeah, the consumer market. That's why

Noah Rahimzadeh 09:50

I would totally agree with you, by the way, and I think that it's a flywheel. Yeah. Those you know, the lower valuations. And, you know, maybe that translates to lower comp compensation across the board or lower lower average comp. Like that has an effect on how we spend as consumers as well. Yeah. I think that they're I agree. And I think they're related. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 10:16

Yeah. So I'll put a bookmark in for this time next year.

Noah Rahimzadeh 10:19

Yeah. We should be like maybe like a quarter of the holiday would be on about. Yeah, yeah. Where are we? But yeah, like, while I don't want to come off like negative Nancy over here. Yeah. No. It was right there. Come on. Maybe that's what I get it. Yeah, I think like I said, long term couldn't be more bullish short term. My, my prediction is, well, more, there's more pullback to be had. Yeah, even with all the reductions we've seen in

Mariah Parsons 10:57

like, it wasn't like, just get to Black Friday, and then everything will be fine. It was right. Yeah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 11:01

exactly. Yeah. So nice to have the strong results. I don't necessarily think that's an indication.

Mariah Parsons 11:10

Okay, one more thing about Black Friday, though, that I wanted to speak to is, I was we just had our town hall meeting internally for the company. And we tracked 4 million shipments. And so I was also because I haven't heard from like, partners. I haven't really spoken to version since Black Friday, Cyber Monday happened. So I was like, kind of like, Oh, I'm curious what they think when, like how it went. But just from like, Malomo. Our standpoint, it also went well, obviously, because our merchants are doing well. And what you were saying of like having spoken to partners and other people and just getting in touch with the people in the ecosystem. It makes sense that we would also be doing well. But do you think like most has your opinion come from like talking with partners? Or has it been for like reading stuff? Or social media? Like where do you think yeah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 12:09

so I've listened to like, a couple of podcasts about the economy more, yeah. stock stock investing. And there's this like, constant debate of whether or not we're in recession or not. And yeah, like the way that I see that is like, it doesn't really matter. Like, individual level, it doesn't really matter, like people are losing jobs, but consumer spending still, like tech companies like Malomo are continuing to grow. But valuations are still declining. And like so all of that just to say like, those are just a couple of examples of like, recessions only are like in the eye of the beholder in a way like that, or the impact of recession is really in the eye of the beholder. There's a lot of people in America right now that feel like we're in a horrible recession. Yeah. And there's a lot of people right now who feel I haven't even seen or felt the impacts of the macro economy trends yet. But I think that they will, most people will, yeah, outside of like the Uber wealthy, and even even they will probably see it eventually. So that's why I think like, we just haven't seen the result of some of the less good things that have happened this year to fruition. Everything's remained pretty great so far. And I think that we're still going to see the more pullback as a result of some things like major layoffs that we saw this year. Yeah. Okay, thanks. Oh, one more thing that I talked about earlier on, on the call that I mentioned, is I think that why like the Black Friday, Cyber Monday was huge. And like, like I said, I didn't see anything that point until toward, you know, negative results, or, you know, not as good results as even is branch wanting to see but I also think that this is like very pessimistic, but I think that a lot of people understand that like, you know, with inflation being up and wages or jobs being down. They had to buy on Black Friday, Cyber Monday because it's their chance to get gifts for themselves at the best possible price. Interesting. And so I'll be really interested to see like what happens shipment volume wise in December, more than you know, and comparing that Black Friday Cyber Monday because typically, I read something again, this my first year in it, but typically like you see a huge bump in Black Friday, Cyber Monday but you also see continued spending throughout December as we lead up to the holidays. And my my hot take is that that will be down this year. A lot of people spent on Black Friday Cyber Monday largely because they knew that that's when they could get the best deal. And their shopping. Shopping will will be down in December this this year compared to previous years. Right.

Mariah Parsons 15:23

Okay, interesting. So we'll, we'll see. Yeah, well, I

Noah Rahimzadeh 15:26

have to have no idea what I'm talking about.

Mariah Parsons 15:29

That'd be funny. If it's just like Lady Gaga, what we'd say.

Noah Rahimzadeh 15:33

Also, I'm taking the pessimistic view. So it's like, easy to hate me.

Mariah Parsons 15:39

Yeah, that's exactly why we're sitting on different sides of the table. So I think it's gonna go great. Um, no, I think also, it'll be interesting, because I feel like I was speaking to my friends about this. And I feel like this Black Friday, like, I just didn't get all my shopping done. I just like, it was kind of crazy. And so a couple of my friends felt that as well. They're like, I feel like I missed out on like, all the good deals. So curious, that's like, more on a lot if that's on a larger scale, too. I do think around the holidays as well. So unpredictable. Like if, like everyone would say, but I'm, I'm so intrigued by like, the social obligation of like gift giving around this time of year. And, like, people would be like, Okay, I like, like stock up on gifts to get for like later throughout the year, because that's something that like when I've a really good friend that she's great at giving guess. And it's because she's like, always thinking about gifts to get like the most important people in her life. So she has like a notes, like a notes in her notes out. Yeah, that's all about just like, like her top 10 people that they say something, she writes it down. And then like, six months later, it's like what you mentioned in one conversation is like my gut, like, how do you know, but it's just that like, piece of like picking up and like being intentional about gift giving. So I wonder if there's also a market for people like that, where they like, Okay, I know my like, obviously, get all these Christmas gifts. But I know my like family's birthdays are all throughout like the rest of the year, right? Like, I'm gonna get stuff during Black Friday, for just like six months, or wherever, whenever their birthday is that's also like, recently just come to the front of my mind, because I was like, had to start thinking about better gifts to get people because I'm like, I'm sick and tired of just having to, like, be flustered. Like, what do I get out? Well,

Noah Rahimzadeh 17:34

it's December 13. I'm going on vacation next week. So I have like, three days to buy literally

Mariah Parsons 17:44

know, so we can use some of that planning to? Probably be Yeah, and I wonder if like there's been any, like, if there's any numbers around that have like people just buying up? Like, on Black Friday, Cyber Monday for the holidays, or if it's like they're also buying for gifts in advance.

Noah Rahimzadeh 18:03

Right? That's a great. Yeah, not. But I did on one of the podcasts and listen to hear that. That suggestion of like, you should have a notes like one of your notes folder should be gift ideas. And like when your friends loved one say, Oh, I like this thing. Yeah. I mean, that's a big jump. From that to three days left by everybody.

Mariah Parsons 18:27

We can take babies that have no no. I like I'm one of those people that live in my notes like add lawyers just like, like if I have something I have to put it in there. I'll forget it. So like I have so many different things put in the frickin app. So yeah, definitely, definitely really funny. But that is like adulting at its finest I feel like would be to have like a Notes app dedicated to gifts this like, that would be impressive. Um, okay. Do you have any topics that you wanted to talk about? I know you mentioned one about our favorite topic, tic toc. Do you want to get into it? Okay, yeah. Okay. Um, so I only saw that Texas was

Noah Rahimzadeh 19:14

just saw on LinkedIn. Okay. There's like one of the news top news headlines. Is that two more states banned talk.

Mariah Parsons 19:22

Okay, so I didn't Okay, banning Tiktok. Now, do you know enough to like walk me through the decision because I just saw the headline notes like what the heck and then just scrolled past it.

Noah Rahimzadeh 19:33

I know. Like super high level our government officials are concerned about like China capturing this personal data. Okay. About Yeah, Americans right citizens. Okay, that's all I know,

Mariah Parsons 19:50

because I knew that was like a thing. Like, I don't know the timeline maybe a year ago or like when it first came out, and then I just hadn't heard of anything since About like banning Tiktok because I definitely remember kind of before I was on the app, I was like, I remember hearing about Tiktok and just being like, oh government, like the government might get involved and then just like, kind of feel like it fell off the face of the earth and maybe I just like stopped paying attention. Yeah, um, but that was like the last time I heard about it. And then I just saw maybe two weeks ago and Texas and decided, yeah, or was talking about it or something.

Noah Rahimzadeh 20:33

So this is what this is what the LinkedIn headline says the state's decision, which is okay, more states taking action. Alabama and Utah have now joined Texas, Maryland, Nebraska, South Carolina and South Dakota. Wow. Okay. In prohibiting the short form video app. The state's decision come after director FBI Director warned that Tik Tok owned by Chinese company bid dance as the ability to control the apps algorithm to quote manipulate content and if they want to use it for influence operations. Okay, which is fast,

Mariah Parsons 21:12

fascinating. Okay, so it is very interesting. Now my like, the more pessimistic um, maybe we just titled this pessimism. But like, okay, my devil's advocate here, like both sides. How is Tik Tok? Different from other social medias. Because like Facebook, also their algorithm, right? Like, if that's, um, yeah, like the influence is a big, big portion. And I definitely think people have to be aware of the influence and algorithms and just like educating people around like, okay, just so you know, this is why you're agreeing with your content is because it knows what you love. Yes. And so there's that side where it's like, okay, is it truly like tick tock is that much better? Like you're so much better at predicting algorithms? Or predicting what someone wants to hear then like Facebook, or YouTube or Instagram? Like, is that what is putting the heat on tick tock? And then really know if it's a counterpoint but like, are also like, well, first, let me pause. Twitter also, like that has been more of a politicized platform as well. And so I'm curious if like, this, maybe starts a chain of events where other social media platforms are included in this where it's like, okay, we do not want to have algorithms that are really good at predicting people's behavior because of confirmation bias, and it just leads to more polarization, or is it the fact that it's a different government has information? And I think that's probably the latter, probably what's more important, um, and I read, do you know, Pete Buttigieg, he was the right, yeah, so president elect. And so he, I read his book called trust, great book, okay. Um, and it basically walks you through, like how we've lost trust throughout our nation's history, and where you can kind of pinpoint those things happening. And one of the elements that he touches upon is like the media, whether it's like traditional news channels, and then now more social media, and how algorithms have played into dividing people and how that's been. Like how it's been either conspiracy or proven that other governments have played into our elections or our like National standings on different things in in the past couple of years. And I think it's super interesting that even though like Twitter was very much like part of the 2016 elections with Russia, that that is not being investigated, rather than picked up. So it's super interesting.

Noah Rahimzadeh 24:16

It's fascinating. I'm like, It's except, like exciting and weird way because I'm reading a book right now called

Mariah Parsons 24:24

influence. Okay. Yes.

Noah Rahimzadeh 24:26

It's also an awesome book. Like it's probably like the seventh book I've read on, like, social psychology. Yeah. Influence People. And literally, in the chapter that I'm reading right now, which is called the chapters called consistency and commitment. It talks about how the Chinese in previous wars when they've had like American prisoners of war Yeah, if they've used like these extremely It's not extremely sophisticated, I shouldn't say that, but like very intentional influence tactics to get them to, like, understand their communist beliefs, and not only to have influence them to, like spread that word amongst their colleagues, which like, takes in other accounts of influence, like social proof, people that you know, and like think that you think, like are now telling you like, actually communism isn't that bad, right? Yeah. And and they did that very like in a very manipulative and like I said, my friend intentional manner to the point where when those prisoners of war were at least, and they did like, post more interviews with our government. A lot of them came back with like, positive views about communist spreading. And so the Chinese have always like, yeah, done that. Yeah. Going back before technology. And so it's really fascinating to see that, like, that's the thing now that we are super concerned about. Yeah, with tick tock. And then I and then I also think that I think because of the history that our government is like, right to at least be wary. Yeah, I don't know. I mean, nowhere near enough information to say whether or not it should be banned or whatnot. But yeah. But I do think like the difference between tick tock and Twitter as you can get Elon Musk up in front of in front of Congress to answer questions you can't get the bit dance CEO Yeah. In front of Congress to answer. Same with Mark Zuckerberg.

Mariah Parsons 26:45

Yeah, right. Right. They're more like, yeah, they're founded here, right? Yeah. And more

Noah Rahimzadeh 26:49

accountable to the US government and law enforcement. Huh,

Mariah Parsons 26:54

that's a good point. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, cuz I definitely remember. It was like rumors were leaked out like the US would try and just make like their own tic tock platform. This was whenever a while back when I seen like, oh, is Tik Tok going to be allowed or is it going to be banned? So yeah, very, very interesting. Very curious to hear. I think. I feel like just for like, the commerce side, I would be so intrigued because so many are hitting it big on Tik Tok betting on it. Yeah. And like our, like entertainment industry, and like celebrities and influencers are now like aligning more with tick tock, yeah, influencers, where it's like, now you see all these people on tick tock with reality TV shows, and on the red carpet and interviewing, you know, celebrities who are traditionally like, actors. Yeah. So I'd be very curious to see what that would look like.

Noah Rahimzadeh 28:06

Yeah, I totally agree. I, I think that we need to do a little more research and come back with your opinions. Because like I said, I have no idea. Like, if I, you know, yeah, this is kind of Yeah, if I think that it's good that we're blocking it. I know. Ashley does not because Ashley has recently like basically gone viral on Tiktok and I tell you this, I don't

Mariah Parsons 28:32

think so. I knew you told me that she was trying to um,

Noah Rahimzadeh 28:36

she thought she had this one. I pulled it up. Oh my gosh, has it literally has 4 million views.

Mariah Parsons 28:42

Oh my god.

Noah Rahimzadeh 28:45

It's like, just like, very basic

Mariah Parsons 28:52

Oh my god. So yeah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 28:54

that's it. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 28:55

It's just a contract.

Noah Rahimzadeh 28:56

It's like she oversharing at work. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, so now she's like no way that can take us away from getting like there's probably a lot of brands who invest time and money in building their brand. And I'm sure to your point like they are absolutely freaking out.

Mariah Parsons 29:15

Yeah, and a lot of people go there for like their news source to like there's like trusted individuals who are like very knowledgeable about different things and people are like, now I go to them instead of like these media, multimedia conglomerate, multimillion media or whatever conglomerate news channels because they're like, this individual is just doing this because they have a knowledge like not because they're biased by money or backed by political people. So it would be very interesting to see how it all works out.

Noah Rahimzadeh 29:44

Or you know that you just recently started but like, Are you are you so into it that like you would be pretty bummed?

Mariah Parsons 29:53

I mean, I would definitely be bummed like but I wouldn't be distraught over it because it is I mean, it is a lot of fun. Like, I purely go on the platform and it's like comical. Um, and you do it is very educational. Like I'm a big believer in that. And I don't love to listen to or like watch the news or just listen to podcasts that are about the news because I find them depressing. I'm just like, Okay, thanks, Doc, I can go on and it's like a little bit more lighthearted. But you still get a good tidbit of information about what's going on. And I'm sure there'll be some that would say, that's not trustworthy. But you know what? I have survived until this point. So yeah, I think it would be it would be a bummer. It would be a change for sure. Because I do think I, I know I like relying on the platform to give me information. And also just like, for a break in the day, I'm like, tick tock for like 15 minutes. Like that's my report. Rather than like watching a Netflix show or something. You know,

Noah Rahimzadeh 31:06

I do that on Instagram. I'm not on tick tock but Yeah, same thing. But I also think like if Instagram are taken away, I my mental health would be

Mariah Parsons 31:18

I would probably be reading a book and you know,

Noah Rahimzadeh 31:22

but yeah, that's that's the realest to me. I would be I would be annoyed. Yeah, we're just like, no more Instagram.

Mariah Parsons 31:30

Yeah. And like I would get it but come on, it would be like a like a kid with like, their mama. You can't do that. And you're like, but why? Yeah, explain like a really good reason you're like, but I still want to do it. And I'm like, God. Yeah. So it'd be like that where it'd be like, fine. I'll accept it but not happily. So yeah, this has been fun though. Um, we'll have some more things to chat about on our next one, that's for sure.

Noah Rahimzadeh 31:51

Okay, good to be in person. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 31:54

yeah. Could be in person.