Using Conversation Commerce To Build Long Term Relationships

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Katie Krische (00:06):

We'll be talking today about conversational commerce. So today Octane AI and Polysleep are talking about conversational commerce to build long term relationships. So typically we see brands are emailing or setting one way communications. But Polysleep has done something really different and they've done a fantastic job of it, which is talking directly with their customers. So I'm super excited to ask Jeremiah some questions. I'll just give some brief intro about myself and then give it to Jeremiah. So I'm Katie. I'm on the Octane AI team. Octane AI is a Facebook messenger and SMS marketing automation platform. So Polysleep is one of our customers that is using us really, really well for Facebook messenger and engaging with their customers. I'll hand it over to Jeremiah.

Jeremiah Curvers (02:10):

Hi everyone. My name is Jeremiah kurvers. I am the founder and CEO of PolySleep. We are a direct to conser mattress and sleep product company. I'll talk about a bit of my background, I've been working with a trade desk, digital agency and technology company, leveraging data to create solutions for large national brands, in my past life. Now it's all about making sure we help Canadians and people in the United States sleep better, basically.

Katie Krische (02:41):

Awesome. So why don't you tell us a little bit about how Polysleep sleep started and how you launched it?

Jeremiah Curvers (02:48):

It is a bit of a funny story. Long story short originally, when we thought about starting Polysleep-sci with the article founder, who have lot of experience in foam manufacturing. I was on board with the project to really kick start this project, but I was not expecting, continuing with it. Then a double herniated disc, got me bedridden for a couple of months and I realized how important a sleeping surface can be. So after that, I really decided to go full time, investing myself into building a brand that's going to last, in an era where mattress in a box, we're really taking space, making noise in a very stagnant industry. Our approach was a little bit different. We wanted to build a brand that would last, cause as many of you probably are aware. If I were to ask the question to everybody in the audience, most people don't even know the brand of what they're sleeping on right now. And we wanted to disrupt that by having a better product and marketing strategies and a connection with our customer, where if someone would ask them, what are you sleeping on? They would gladly answer, “Oh, it's a Polysleep.” So that's what we're really working towards. From a marketing standpoin and from a story standpoint, obviously trying to get the best product possible out a fair price for our customers. This is what I use to describe Polysleep sleep basically.

Katie Krische (04:23):

Awesome. So when you started marketing Polysleep, what were the first avenues that you took it to?

Jeremiah Curvers (04:32):

So direct to consumer was very appealing for the sole reason that it was allowing us to really focus our efforts toward research and development for our products rather than seeking investment to open traditional stores, brick and mortar, find employees and all the costs related to that, which really adds up quickly. Running a business online was something very interesting. That being said at the time when we started, the technology, the roll pack technology that basically allows you to put the mattress in a box was still quite new. So that was a little bit of a logistical effort to find the right partners, to create our products and allow us to ship it directly to the consumer. This is what made the most sense to us based on our mission, the idea that we have a policy to cut all unnecessary expenses that ultimately really don't help our customers sleep better. Transport was obviously one of the biggest drawbacks. It costs a fortune just like brick and mortar. We realized how hard it is to sell a ticket item that is often over a thousand dollars to a consumer where can't usually even interact with touch the item. This is where storytelling and marketing efforts come in place.

Katie Krische (06:01):

So when you launched marketing. What was the first channel that you opened up to? Was it like email or Facebook ads? And what were the metrics that you guys really cared about when you first started

Jeremiah Curvers (06:17):

At the beginning obviously we wanted to get recognition. You're a new brand that sells a thousand dollar mattress. Nobody has heard of you. So right from the get go, we knew referral marketing and ambassador and affiliation would be one way to go. So this is where we massively invested. There's a lot of websites that offer reviews in order for small commissions, their affiliate partners, and they drive a lot of traffic. So rather than investing massive amounts into Facebook and Google advertisements, we really tried to showcase that we had a better product or a product that is different, and that could really fit with some customer and a customer base that is probably seeking for that too. This website attracts millions of visitors every month and that's what we did. That was really the first channel we hit with that, obviously our email marketing strategies and then the typical Google ad words, Facebook ads followed.

Katie Krische (07:20):

Awesome. Yeah. I don't think that you could buy a mattress, especially in Canada and not see Polysleep if you're doing your research for sure.

Jeremiah Curvers (07:29):

Yes, definitely.

Katie Krische (07:32):

Ttell us a bit about why you went that way to facebook marketing and what the challenge was that you were seeing.

Jeremiah Curvers (07:50):

Yes, the biggest challenge across every marketing platform or media, platforms such as Facebook, Google, or, or email marketing, it's always one way, you either send the promotion or try to educate the customer or give them valuable information, but for the person to interact with you, it's really hard to get an interaction that is in real time, let's say a Facebook ad you'll have some comments or the person might actually hit you on messenger, but often it's quite rare. Or when you send an email as a rule, it's always from an email that a base where the person I always see do not [email protected] or do not reply at something, which creates complexity around the real thing that matter to me, which is having a conversation just like when you go in a store, when you go into a store, you do expect to interact with the product and someone who can give you valuable information. And we were really scratching our heads on how to do that efficiently without ramping , headcounts or costs. And, and this is where Octane technology can come in handy. But yeah, email, the problem is just It's one way.

Katie Krische (09:12):

Awesome. Every brand is trying to avoid having an inbox of emails that are being used by all brands, but I think Facebook messenger is being used really well by only a handful of brands. Poly Sleep is doing a fantastic job there. I noticed that Polysleep sleep has live chat onsite. So this is a really great way that your customer support team helps customers. But I think I wanted to know from you like how this helps your support team or what this allows you to learn from your customers.

Jeremiah Curvers (09:49):

Yes. So the live chat on the website, we took the decision to really keep it with a person behind there's no automation involved for the sole reason that most of the question happened now, especially with our team before the customer lands on our website. And this is where automation can be very helpful when they go on the website. Often it's going to be something a lot more technical and these questions need to be answered by someone for the sole reason that this creates a great opportunity to convert the actual, potential customer. So that's our approach everywhere on our website, and it's really non-intrusive if someone wants to chat, it's quite visible, but the chat window will not open asking, Hey, we saw you've been doing this or that. We think people are intelligent and used to that enough nowadays to really go there. If they want to just like the full number you can see, is always accessible. So if someone prefers to talk with us, they can call us , we thought we have an auto way to re interact with them in case someone leaves their screen or there's no direct interaction with a product page or, or things like that. So that's our approach at the moment for the chat itself.

Katie Krische (11:14):

That's awesome. I think that makes total sense. One of the things that Poly Sleep is doing here is keeping customer support on the site itself. Cause I think you said it perfectly where questions will be a lot more technical and then on Facebook it's actually automated. , so I think PolySleep sleep has really great FAQ set up in Facebook messenger that are completely automated. , if this goes in answered, then it can send to customer support itself. So why don't you tell us a bit about the actual messenger

Jeremiah Curvers (11:54):

Side of it and what you found really works well there? Yes. , generally speaking, throughout the years, helping different brands and I applied that to Polysleep sleep. The one thing a customer don't like is cross-platform interaction when there's no meaningful reason to do that. So if you are on Facebook and navigating through your friends posts and already being exposed to quite a bunch of ads, the last thing you want is to have a conversation popping up that doesn't make a lot of sense that drives you to something else than Facebook. So when we sat down with Octane team our objective was really to create a seamless experience where all the information we have on our website is accessible for the user on messenger. So right now If you navigate on the homepage or if you go to the product page, the same exact information have been replicated with simple ways to navigate between pages using Octane and our chatbot. And at the same time, you always have the capacity to talk to a live agent. And this is where you bring your you're brought to the website because at that point, the person really wants to push forward. If they're not interested, that's when we're going to re-interact with them, but still it's going to be on messenger on Facebook, inside the platform rather than pulling them out somewhere else.

Katie Krische (13:24):

Awesome. I think launching different channels, whether it's like using live chat for customer support and then also using Facebook messenger and email. I think that's something that when I've talked to brands, it's a very intimidating thing to launch, like to add another channel where customers can interact. What were your main concerns before implementing Facebook messenger as a channel?

Jeremiah Curvers (13:49):

The format. We had to start working on responsive designs to fit a certain mobile screen. You have a limited amount of character before it becomes too much. So you really need to see that as a completely separate line of business, just like a marketplace. You know, if you do sell your product on, let's say Amazon, you will not necessarily put the same information at the same spot because that will have an impact on the user navigation flow and conversion rate. So the best exercise is to ask yourself as a consumer, replacing your own product with something else. How would I like to navigate through this and what information is the most valuable firsthand, and then where you add these different layers of complexity to add and improve the experience, generally speaking that's really how our approach is, with messenger. And if we even look at Asia, for example, there's great examples of that on Wechat, for example where people can have seamless experience and actually even buy the product completely without leaving the platform. So it's just another way of creating a storefront. It's just that this storefront lives off on messenger.

Katie Krische (15:16):

I think you guys do a great job. Like you can jump into messenger, start talking with Polysleep sleep, and then it sends you to the site and helps you answer your questions while still giving you every opportunity to see all the information. And you actually just gave me the perfect segway. So, here's just some messenger statistic before I move forward. I think something that you guys also do really well is set customer expectations. So when you actually talk with Polysleep sleep on Facebook messenger there's a bot that basically says, Hey, I'm a bot. I'm not the customer support person , but when you talk to the bot a bit more, it gives you every opportunity to then go and talk to a real person, what was your approach to really setting customer expectations? And why was that important to you guys?

Jeremiah Curvers (16:15):

Yeah as a background when we started working on the brand itself if we had to put a persona behind our brand looking at who are the persona we're going after, we ended up with….I would say, a mix between Tina Fey and Ellen Degeneres. And from there all our initiatives were gravitating around that and looking at the audience that is on Facebook, we realized by looking at other chatbots, that it's a very nice door for trollers. God knows the internet has a lot of them. And, and the one thing we didn't want to do is to open a door where we lose control. So if you go back to the previous slide, actually, that's why we created a different persona that is fun. And it's the first virtual cat bot. And we call him snooze and throughout your whole experience, right from the get go snooze, tellsl you” I'm a cat, but I'm a virtual assistance, and I'm not a real person. So you can expect that everything will not necessarily be perfect. That being said at any time, if you want to speak with someone someone is available you can either call them or chat with them on our website.” That allows you to really set the tone and, and also make some funny stuff throughout the conversation without necessarily having someone full time behind a desk, answering the hundreds of people every day, who interact with it.

Katie Krische (17:54):

Right. I think you guys do such a good job of that. , and that's where you really, you do customize the conversation experience to your brand. I think I'll show the carousel that you have here. So you're able to easily click from Facebook messenger into the website, compare Polysleep sleep. Most of these links here as well, launched different conversations with the cat bot and there's different per emojis and like language that's used. So like simple language, like adding a smiley face, or even like a yay in a purple heart helps emphasize the brand. Now, how did you, how did you determine that Tina Fey and Ella Degeneras were the voice of the cat bot?

Jeremiah Curvers (18:40):

We really want someone who is humane and has this sense of humor while being respected and, and consider, you know, highly intelligent. In our product development, we do have the same approach. As I said, we're a fun brand. We use fun colors, our customer service and our relationship with the people who our customers interact with go beyond just selling a product. We really want them to be part of the Polysleep family, and these two people, these two celebrities where we're actually a good fit for that. And that just make it so much easier going forward when, when you build the website even your CSR and, you know, the way we deal with returns, for example , is going through a local charity to, to help people who are in need rather than sending it back to our factory and then re redistributing it to larger companies that would either destroyed or, or give it back to other organism or even sell it. All across our different channels, we use that approach and simple conversation, something that is understood by everybody seems simple for the user, but is often what is the most complex to come up with. And, and that is something we really appreciated with Octane AI. I have to say because there are some other solutions available in the market, but you either have a full service opportunity where you do not have access to the platform, or you have access to a platform to create your own chatbot. This is where we had a great opportunity with Octane. You have access to the platform, but at the same time, you have an account manager. If you have one that will really help you and guide you through all the necessary steps to do it, because as you said earlier, having the idea is one thing, but implementing it correctly can seem overwhelming, especially at the beginning, because let's face it , nobody wants to invest into a platform and then add an extra resource when they're not entirely sure the revenue stream that's going to generate. So Octane does a great job. You don't have to pay fortune to start working with a platform. And I have someone helping you set everything up, and by the time everything is done, you already see the revenue coming in, and then you can decide, am I onboarding someone internally full time to manage that?

Katie Krische (21:33):

That's awesome. Yeah. I think we've touched a lot on customer support and that two way conversation, and that really helps build the relationship and have somebody get to know Polysleep in the language and what it's like. I think something that helps generate a ton of revenue are the ongoing campaigns. So whether it's for a giveaway or for a new product launch any promotion that's being run. So actually I noticed that policy is running a really great giveaway. So maybe tell us a little bit about how you use two way marketing for giveaways or one time promotions.

Jeremiah Curvers (22:12):

This strategy is really piggyback on gamification aspects. You can see in video games when you start, you learned the mechanicals, how to control your character, and you have instant gratification by moving along different levels. This is the same approach we have when you, when we try to speak with someone, we somehow still value the time they have, and we ask them to do something they did not originally intended to do. So our approach is to say, “Hey, you see an ad from us, might as well give you something in return.” And often this is where contests are interesting. The problem with contests is that you do not only want to attract the specific people who are running after them. You really want to touch as many people as possible who are not necessarily contest run runners. So how we do it is let's say in this case we do give two free pillows in a contest, but this is highly targeted towards people who will have kids using specific audience targeting on Facebook.

So if let's say they start liking brands like Pampers, or are looking for cribs or things that indicate they're going to be parents soon, they're going to see those ads. So seeing that ads, we asked them to click on the ads to participate when they click. This is where the message shows up and say, “thank you for your interest in this. Would you like to participate? Yes. Count me in.” And this is where we add the second layer of gamification and gratification saying, congratulations on, you're a new member of the family. At the same time, we would like to share with you a little gift and we give them an extra percentage on what might interest them, which in this case is the crib mattress. And we have the same approach based on the different persona we're targeting , with, with our every product. The idea is really to say,” give me something, here's your gift” Ultimately, well, when we look at hard metrics, such as conversion rates or return on ad spend, the one thing we tend to forget is that time itself is an investment coming from the consumer. And we need that in order to move the funnel along. So at every step of the process, we always ask them, would you like to have something in return? And that truly helps with conversion rates at the end.

Katie Krische (24:57):

Awesome. And then I think how it typically works, like any sort of giveaway like this in a typical situation, it would be like a landing page at an ad that goes to a landing page and then sends an email after someone submit some sort of form, but the power of this is now if I'm clicking on this ad, I'm entering this giveaway, I'm actually opted into messenger. So now I can also be retargeted with direct messages instead of ads, which is a really cool trick.

Jeremiah Curvers (25:26):

Yeah. I, like you said, the good thing about that is that we don't pull the person outside of the platform they remain on Facebook.

Katie Krische (25:34):

Exactly. And then, yeah, I just wanted to quickly mention

Katie Krische (25:42):

That one of the main concerns, I think a lot of brands had and I'm sure that Polysleep sleep had is how this works with email? I think it's really intimidating to try and instead of all of these flows, but it's really not. I think our team is there to definitely help. And what you can do is integrate it with your email provider so you don't have to contact everybody on all channels at all times. You can start segmenting based on the data that you have and make sure that you're talking to people on messenger and not on email and making sure that it's really customized to the person you're talking to. Lastly lets look at some takeaways. Some takeaways are conversational marketing. It does allow you to build a better relationship, but the customer can talk back and forth. You can send them direct messages, you can have conversations with them and learn about them. Really key things to pay attention to are setting customer expectations. So they know that it's not the support rep building specific brand language to make sure that you have some sort of personality that's really interacting with the customer and Then lastly using ongoing campaigns that re-engage people on messenger and allow you to have those conversations. Thank you so much, Jeremiah. This is fantastic.

Jeremiah Curvers (31:58):

Thank you, Katie. Thank you everybody. Perfect.