S4 E10: Brumate, SuitShop, & Raaka Chocolate LIVE on BFCM prep from a marketing & customer experience POV

S4 E10 PODCAST 1

Today we have a special episode for you!

On sept 7th 2023, Malomo hosted our fist ever live podcast with some amazing partners of ours. This live podcast is broken up into two sessions and this is the second of two. Part 1 was focused on how to best prep for Black Friday/Cyber Monday (or BFCM) from both a marketing and CX brand perspective while part 2 was focused on how to best retain holiday customers from a brand and SaaS POV.

A special thank you to our panelists: Colin Waters, Assistant Director of Customer Experience at Brumate, Katy Eriks, Director of CX at SuitShop, Max Conley, Director of Ecommerce at Raaka Chocolate, Ryan Powell, Group Director of Marketing & Partnerships at Ryder Ecommerce, Vaishali Ravi, Product Marketing Manager at Loop, and Malomo’s very own Noah Rahimzadeh and Yaw Aning!

Malomo is currently running our Tracking Page Contest until 10/2/2023 and it is open to all Shopify/Shopify+ brands and agencies. Check it out here: https://gomalomo.com/tracking-page-contest

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

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Check out this summary blog for a quick recap of all the tips & strategy plays from our Shopify experts. They had plenty to share around customer experience, retention, & more!

TRANSCRIPT

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

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

customers, products, gift, holiday, chocolate, cx, year, items, october, brand, purchase, max, subscription, questions, order, focus, tracking, customer experience, great, team

SPEAKERS

Yaw Aning, Katy Eriks, Max Conley, Mariah Parsons, Colin Waters

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space 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 other episodes at go malomo.com. Hey, everyone, it's your host, Mariah here again. Today we have a very special episode for you. On September 7 2023 Malama hosted our first live podcast with some amazing partners of ours. This live podcast is broken up into two episodes. So this is part one, and it was focused on how to best prep for Black Friday Cyber Monday or bfcm. From both a marketing and CX brand perspective, while Part Two was focused on how to best retain holiday customers from a brand and SAS perspective. A special thank you to our panelists Colin waters assistant director of customer experience at bromate Katie Eric's director of customer experience at Sweet Shop. Max Conley, Director of E commerce at rocket chocolate Ryan Powell Group Director of Marketing and partnerships at Ryder e commerce by scholly Ravi Product Marketing Manager at loop MLM was very own no over him today in yow inning. One more thing before we get started at the beginning, you'll hear y'all mentioned the tracking page contest that we are currently running until October 2 2023. I wanted to emphasize that it's open to any and all Shopify and Shopify Plus brands and agencies. So you can check that out at Go malomo.com/tracking-page-contest or by following the link in our bio. Hope you enjoy this awesome episode.

Yaw Aning 02:35

Welcome, everybody, it looks like people are filtering in are super excited to have you we can get started. Welcome everybody, to a very special special session we have planned today. So this is a recording. This is a live, we're calling the live podcast, we got some video, obviously. So those listening via audio will get to see all of our beautiful faces. But we're excited to bring together three wonderful, wonderful operators in the E commerce space. Before we get started, there's a couple of things I got to make sure I mentioned Earl Mariah might murder me. So first off, we just launched at Malomo, our new two click tracking page creator. So just in time for bfcm. We're super pumped about this new feature. The celebrate the release, we just launched sort of a pretty huge design contest. And Mariah hopefully will drop some of the details in the chat. But there's more than $1,000 in cash up for grabs, plus a bunch of prizes from some of our other partners for the best design tracking page, using that feature. And the new merchants to Malomo will get free access to Malomo now through the contest deadline, which is the first week of October. So we're super pumped lots of lots of fun stuff you can win. Be sure to try to enter that. And then announcement number two, we're in a very giving mood today. We're also giving away a shopping spree during this webinar. So there's $100 gift card up for grabs for the most engaged attendee across both fashion. So whoever is the most active in chat throughout both sessions will win make sure you stay to the end and engage in the chat q&a. So I am bummed I tried to convince more I should get that gift card for preemptively doing such a good job hosting but got vetoed. So cool. Let's get started. So in this first session, we're gonna be talking all about prepping for bfcm and then second session. We'll talk about how we're going to retain those customers after the holidays So I'm joined by three amazing guests. We've got Katie Eric, from SU shot Max Conley from rocket chocolate and Colin waters from brew mate. I'll have each of them introduce themselves. Katie, why don't why don't we have youth guard just tell the fluid about your role suit shop and a little bit about your journey to get to get here?

Katy Eriks 05:21

Yeah, I'm Katie, I'm director of customer experience at suit shop. For anyone not familiar with us, we are an inclusive suiting company. They start at 199 to own. So we have suits for men, women, non binary folks and kids. We are primarily online based. So we have a lot of tech tools for sizing. So you don't need to get measured or visit a store. But we are lucky to have five stores. And we'll be opening a six in October, which we're really excited about. My background was in retail management and sales, before joining suit shop than I actually used our company for my wedding the year before I started as a founding team member, so it's been cool to be with the company pretty much from the beginning as a customer and then an employee.

Yaw Aning 06:13

Yeah, it's awesome. Good to see both sides, the inside and the outside yet. Amazing, Max, why don't we go to you?

Max Conley 06:21

Awesome. Hey, I'm the director of ecommerce, rocket chocolate. We are a small batch bean to bar chocolate company based in Brooklyn, New York. That really focuses on crafting unique flavors of chocolate using unroasted cacao and everything's vegan, organic and kosher. So I've been in E commerce for about the last seven years with six of that specifically in food in the last two and a half years in chocolate. was selling chocolate on the internet and, you know, challenges that come with it. And

Yaw Aning 07:06

yeah, yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, you live chocolate for a lot of your professional life. Yeah. So bad. Not a bad place to be. And then the the your background, I gotta we gotta mention this is the actual rocket Chocolate Factory.

07:22

Yeah, that's the original factory that we started making chocolate at back in 2010. Everything today still made in Brooklyn.

Yaw Aning 07:33

Awesome. Very good. Well, thanks for joining max. And then Colin.

Colin Waters 07:37

Yeah, hi, everyone. I'm calling waters. I'm the associate director of customer experience at brew mate. And if you don't know, brew mate is we are innovative coolers and water bottles. We're expanding slowly in the different areas there. So you know, I'm sure there'll be more to come. I've been doing DTC retail for about five years now. And I don't consider myself a traditional retail ecommerce. Customer Experience employee, like my background was in athletics. And then also I worked for the state of Colorado, in the prison system, the lottery and the DMV. So your favorite three state run offices, I kind of gravitated towards doing CX because I think I was just really good at managing people. And obviously, situations that would would pop up that were a little bit challenging. So I'm happy to be in the role that I am. I have a great team and really enjoy what I do. And I'm happy to share some some nuggets with you all today.

Yaw Aning 08:36

Yeah, that's amazing. So how did you? How did you make the leap from those three areas into econ?

08:44

I don't know. I'm just I guess I'm multitalented. The first day I worked at the DMV, they said you're too happy to work here. And I realized that that probably was not the place for me. So I need to find some place where I can stretch my wings a little bit more and be myself.

Yaw Aning 08:58

Yeah, exactly. A little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you all for joining. We're, we've got a jam packed session, I'm excited to dig in. We're going to split the session actually into kind of two parts. One, we'll talk about sort of bfcm marketing tactics with the all here what what strategies your teams are sort of putting into place to make bfcm success. And then, for the second part, we'll talk more about like the strategies and what you're putting in place now to create a wonderful experience for your customers. But first, I thought it'd be interesting to really quick, you know, walk through bfcm behavior from a consumer perspective. So getting I'm actually going to kick things off with you. What draws your attention to a brand during the holidays, like are you making lists of things to buy right now? What draws in your attention?

Kristen Tomasonis 09:49

Yeah, I mean, no matter what time of year it is, I shop almost 100% online, so clothes, groceries, all of it. I'm always on there looking For things, I think, right now, I started thinking about Christmas presents. And making a list of who I need to shop for trying to find the best deals for my four year old because I'm not trying to spend a ton of money on toys and things like that. But I think what really draws me to like new brands and, you know, trying out new things, as always, social media and UGC ads, those really always grabbed my attention.

Yaw Aning 10:28

Yes, yeah. Maxima you.

10:32

Yeah, making a list of products I want brands I want to check out. For me, Black Friday is looking for some of those more premium brands that don't normally offer discounts during the year. And taking that as an opportunity to either buy something I've been wanting for a while, or get gifts for friends and family. I'm very much someone that will think and sit on it for a long time before I want it. And I think Black Friday, Cyber Monday is kind of that day of action, where if I'm gonna buy it, now's the time.

Yaw Aning 11:06

Yeah, yeah, I love it. So like, it almost sounds like to you that like some of this is like discovering new brands, and like, that's a good time to sort of like test them out before you like, you make a larger commitment to them. I've got a, like a bookmark tool that I've used. And then I just, whenever I'm finding stuff from tag and everything, like when I think of like, Oh, my sister love that I tag it or like, Oh, my wife loved that I tagging. Colin, what about you,

11:34

I think I'm in the same cut of, you know, from from Max, like, I am a very slow decision maker. And I will typically start my, I guess, interest in a product or for somebody else, like months in advance of Black Friday, Cyber Monday. So it's, oh, it's kind of interesting that I see, you know, another Instagram ad or something else on my feed, right? And I'm like, oh, you know, actually, I could really use that, right. So it's starting to make that connection with me. But I'm very particular about a lot of things and for a lot of the people I buy for, so I don't want to go too big, right and buy hundreds of dollars worth of items. So like, I tend to sometimes gravitate towards either a good deal, or potentially like a low like shipping threshold or something that is easy to kind of dip my toe into see if I really do like it. And then I can kind of explore from there.

Yaw Aning 12:28

Yeah, yep. I think that's like, it's pretty interesting to like, think about the consumer behavior there. And like the psychology there, like more people, when I when I first got an E commerce, this is going to date myself, probably seven, eight years ago. People started talking about Black Friday, Cyber Monday in the summer, I was like, What are you guys talking about? Like, we're so far away from that, like, we're not even. It's not even Halloween yet. We haven't even talked about Thanksgiving yet. I used to think like that, that was so far away. But then you think about how people shop for that holiday. Like they're just thinking about those things year round. And I think it's important to like think through how are you actually messaging to that moment, that might occur months from now, because you only have, you know, everybody's got limited wallet, that they're that they're making purchases from limited budget. And so you're not only competing with maybe other brands in your market, but you know, anything that that consumer might might want to buy for themselves or their friends. Colin I know brew mate has, you know, some some pretty killer sales during bfcm Like how I was approached it's bfcm strategy this year.

13:39

So, typically, you know, we are looking at acquiring new customers once we have a customer like we're about a 5050 split on our purchases, right versus a new versus an old customer. So from from a marketing standpoint, like we're trying to really actively engage people who are I mean, like we just talked about, right, that are maybe familiar with the brand a little bit or like we're trying to pull them in a little bit more. So October is our are typically our strongest, like retention month overall. So we've got to draw them in and we want to, we want to yes, we've got probably a product just for you like it's made for you it's like it's made for this right. But we need to really find a way to kind of get you in the door and then continue to keep you in the door. So we we typically see a lot of people who are purchasing and I mean, you know, this is probably going to be pretty standard is like they're looking for the best deal even if it's a deals and steals or something that was heavily marked off. Maybe it doesn't even really work for them, but we're trying to just expose people to our brand specifically this year. We have like three products that are going to I think they're innovative, there's nothing else like them, right? They're gonna drive a lot of people to the site, we might not capture them on those products but like we need to position our other products like I know our just our King coolers our normal water bottles, you know our whatever else We have, we have to position all of that around it. So they have somewhere to go. And they don't, you know, we basically help them make the decision, right? Here's a map, here's a gift guide, this is maybe a little bit too expensive for you. Well, we've got another option, right? So we're definitely gonna lean into those three products to help drive traffic. And I think the products are great, but like, I would not be surprised if, if maybe they don't enter there, but they start somewhere else.

Yaw Aning 15:24

Okay, so like, what what do you feel like is unique about those three products, then? I'm curious.

15:30

Yeah, I mean, so two of the products are like leak proof water bottles that nobody else has, right? One is a touch free straw, where you don't have to touch the straw at all. So think about like doctors, offices, nurses, right? Places where you're not really physically wanting to kind of put your dirty fingers like on that. The second one is the first leak proof. Straw, tumbler, right? It is completely 100% leak proof, like, think about moms on the go throwing something in their bag, it stays cold all day, and it doesn't leak on any of their papers or get you know any of their bags wet and stuff like that. So like, we have the that product specifically is the era we launched. We've had well, I guess two phases to that already. And we have sold out immediately. So there's already a lot of hype around that. We just got to tap into that and keep kind of going from there.

Yaw Aning 16:23

Okay, yeah, that's interesting. So obviously, like gifting is a pretty integral part of bfcm. I saw tap cart route recently released a study that said roughly 70% of consumer purchases are gifts for others, well, 30% are for themselves. So obviously, like, consumers are buying, buying for others and for themselves. Like do you call and you try to understand the split between those those those customers at all? Or remake trying to identify those people who are shopping for themselves versus buying gifts? Yeah,

16:59

I mean, I think it's difficult to tell right, especially in our our hemisphere is that we have a lot of loyal customers. So if they are loyal customers and their repeat purchases of items that have been out for a while, like we assume that that is probably from a gifting standpoint, or they're just building their collection. I think the the best way to judge that right is to meet those customers where they're at, like through live chat channel or SMS, right is to hate before I can help you basically, you're being the personalized shopper for them, right? What are you shopping for is this for you or somebody else, if it's for somebody else, we've got a gift guide created, like we're trying to make those decisions, like very easy, and we segment those, it's like, alright, this is a person who really loves the outdoors. This is a person who's more about, you know, their workout plan and their their hydration, right, here's somebody who's kind of the weekend barbecue or so like, we break it into segments, that kind of resonate with people, if we can meet them where we're at, to write for having a live conversation, while they're on our site, potentially, like, you know, a sales or we even have like holiday gifting, like we can really engage with them, and then drive them towards a product that is a little bit more tailored to, let's say universal use, or they know who they're buying for. Right? We don't want to make that gift land like perfectly for them.

Yaw Aning 18:11

Yeah, yep, that makes a lot of sense. Max, are you are you all introducing any like particular products that you know, you're targeting kind of new customers? Or like, you know, hey, this is a hero product that's great for prospecting into new customers versus the rest of the catalogs and maybe different are curious to hear how you guys approach that?

18:31

Yeah, so we launched quite a few products in q4. And during the holidays, a lot of seasonal flavors, we're probably going to have about almost 12 new products coming out over October through December. And that ranges from your fall seasonal items to your winter seasonal items plus limited batch white chocolate bar, which we can actually only do during the winter because they melt a lot easier than dark chocolate. So we're only able to really ship those q4 and q1, wow. But temperatures are low. So we release all those products that we've found have done a really good job of bringing in new customers to our website. And the trick for us has been converting those customers who came in and bought a pumpkin flavored bar or a candy cane bar in that first order. How do we then get them to switch over to one of our year round items and stay a subscriber or repeat customer through the summer when we're turning off a good chunk of our acquisition to really focus on maintaining that core customer base. So we leverage quite a few tactics to try and recapture those customers once they've come convert them from something similar to a white chocolate or something similar to the candy cane bar into one of our core

Yaw Aning 20:00

platform and products. Yeah, that's, that's really interesting, I'm going to actually come back to that particular area later with you. So real quick inflation kind of had a massive impact on bfcm. Last year. So, around this time last year, inflation was that an astonishing a percent. When we were looking and analyzing some of the data inside of Malomo, and our Merchant base, we saw that, you know, consumer spending seemed like it was at a standstill, up until November, when the dam just broke, and everyone was finally shopping again, really, because they knew they could get a really good deal. Almost feels like he can't say bfcm Without saying discount, you know, is the FCM strategy to really exercise and who can give the biggest discount, like what's the what's a good strategy? If you're not maybe discounting? Katie, I'd love to maybe go to you here and hear a little bit about, you know, suit shop doesn't really do a big bfcm Sort of like, dedicated sale, I believe, maybe could you talk a little about Yeah, suit shop strategy and how you've approached bfcm? Yeah.

Kristen Tomasonis 21:09

I think like, for us, we've kind of set it as a standard that we don't do discounts. So no matter what time of year it is, we want everyone to get the same price. No matter what day they're shopping with us. What we do try to leverage this time of year, though, is our sale products. And we have that up all the time that if you go on our website right now, check the banner at the top, it says we have products for sale 35% off. And that's really important for us to promote, because the stale products, our inventory, we're trying to offload. So it's all of these items that are at our warehouse, just costing us money to keep there. And really, you know, hurting our profit margins. So rather than offering sales, on products that majority of our customers have to buy because they're in a wedding and their friend has told them this is the suit you have to get. So we have not really gaining anything from giving them a discount, because they may not come back until you know, three years later when they're getting married themselves anyway. But so we focus more on pushing the products that we need to get rid of.

Yaw Aning 22:26

Yeah, yeah, that's really smart. Yeah, that's really, really smart. And then do you is there targeted messaging? Like how did the messaging change from like, the Iran messaging? This is the sale to when bfcm starts? Does that change at all? Or is it kind of remain the same?

Kristen Tomasonis 22:41

Yeah, we'll send out emails that have gift guides, and will do a gift guide on our website and try to incorporate, you know, suiting for different occasions into our messaging. So maybe you need a quick tuxedo for like a gala on New Year's Eve, or maybe your you know, significant other needs a blazer for work or new socks, whatever it might be. So we do try to do that a little bit more through like a gift guide tactic.

Yaw Aning 23:13

Okay, yeah, that's good. Yeah, Max a call and I'd be curious to hear from you guys. Like are there any things that you will do beyond or in an alternative to discounting to preserve margins during this time of year, like I've heard some brands will do a lot of like bundling. So you know, hey, buy three, get it at this price. Or you can keep a Ovi high margins still in a good place, but still sort of make it seem like there is a good deal to be had anything that you guys are doing like that on that front.

23:50

Yeah, we want create anything, you make holiday bundles over using what we have kind of flavors we have already and packaging we have already and essentially rebrand that as holiday bundles at a discounted price. And then also, we're mindful how big of a percentage discount we can do during Black Friday Cyber Monday. But one thing we do have an added bonus will be a gift with purchase. So if you spend $50 or $100, adding on an extra item last year, I know for black during the Black Friday, Cyber Monday week, we used one of our pumpkin items that we had kind of leftover from October and everyone who spent $100 got that for free on their order. So a good way to move through some of that seasonal inventory you need to get rid of by December while still providing additional value to the customer.

24:50

Yeah, similar again to max right like we have kind of a threshold right spend X receive why? We've actually also added to a kind of a post Purchase, I guess, post purchase, right Shopify checkout? And it's like, oh, by the way, would you like this mystery item for $15, right? You don't know what you're going to get, it's going to be in, we can move inventory that's kind of stagnant, right? That is just sitting in our warehouse. And also, it also helps to, it's like, Hey, I get free shipping, if I get over $90, right. So I should probably go for this. The additional thing is, too is that if someone buys it, and they don't like it, it makes for a great gift, right? And brew mate, I think makes a great gift. I mean, similar in chocolate, I'm not sure suit would make a great gift and might not fit, right, they might have to tailor it, I have a gift card. We also have been very strategic about certain items that we bring back that have like a pent up demand, right? Or releasing like new color drops, for items that either have been very popular on maybe other ones in the past, right. So like, we we, we definitely tease that stuff leading up to, you know, the Black Friday period, which really is going to start like in October for us, right? It's just, hey, it's, it's sold out, but it might be coming back. Right and, and build this like kind of demand for attracting people. And then you know, these, getting them back into some of these other little teasers that we have, we have, we have a lot our digital project manager probably manages like, I'm not kidding, like 100 Different like scenarios that if you buy this, like we're going to upsell and cross sell you some straws or a different one that goes complete your collection. So we're very, very active in that manner. For sure.

Yaw Aning 26:32

Yeah, yes, I have. I have a ton of roommate drinkware. It is it is great gifts to give and great gifts to receive. So I love that. Max. So you guys have a pretty important part of your business, which is a subscription subscription side. And, you know, I'd be curious to hear how, how you weave any of that subscription business into your holiday campaigns or like, what's the strategy around like the one shot customers or subscribers that you have during bfcm?

27:11

Yeah, so we have a part of the month essentially subscription program where we create two new flavors every month, December will be our 10 year anniversary of that we found it's like that is one of our best ways to retain repeat customers, but then also engage new customers. And what we see a lot of during the holidays is that customers who already have a subscription with our first names borrow the month program than giving gift subscriptions to their friends and family. So they may have their own personal subscription plus three or four other subscriptions at any given time going off to Christmas gifts. So we really start to lead in, in November, with kind of a the last couple years we've done like a partnership with last year we did we partnered with Momofuku, to create some bars with them, to really incentivize people to one sign up for subscriptions, but also incentivize it as a great gift for foodies. So pushing them to gift out those three, six or 12 month subscriptions to their friends. And then, you know, people who aren't subscribers of theirs buying the single flavor bars, we kind of will follow up with them with either offering them some strive and save options of those year round standard flavors. Or even incentivize them to you know, try a three month subscription for themselves at a slight discount to get them in. And what we found is kind of once you're getting chocolate in your mailbox every month, it's very hard to stop.

Yaw Aning 28:57

That's the truth. That is the truth. Are you I'd also love to hear Are you doing anything? post purchase to promote subscriptions at all?

29:12

Yeah, so that plays into our post purchase flows we have with customers, where depending on what they purchased, if they didn't get a subscription from us, then on that tracking page that they go to, they will see option similar to what they purchased or what they purchased, promoting that subscription or even a incentive to sign up for a subscription on your next order. For us, we kind of look at it as like with post purchase. The first thing we want to do is make sure we're getting them into our marketing and then second, how do we get them to easily become a recurring subscriber?

Yaw Aning 29:54

Yeah, yeah, that's great. Yeah. That's fantastic. So I'm gonna we're gonna switch gears Little bit really quickly and kind of cover some more like CX related topics. And so I'd love to hear how people are preparing their CX teams and, and how you can, you know, turn those, those first time customers into, you know, repeat customers with with a great experience. So, Max, you already touched on this a little bit, but is there anything else that you guys are doing from a customer experience perspective to really nurture those first time customers, the ones that you you might acquire during bfcm, to turn them into those repeat customers?

30:39

Yeah, so like, the first thing we do when someone places an order from us for the first time is within 24 hours, they get an email from our a member of our customer support or fulfillment team, essentially introducing themselves introducing the brand. And then also letting them know that they will be their first point of contact, if there's any issues with their order. That way customers are, if they have a delivery issue, aren't looking for how to contact us they know right away who to email. No, chocolate can be somewhat difficult to ship. During the winter, it's easier, but we still have times where our chocolate will stand a very hot day on a UPS truck and arrive melted. And that's not the experience. We want customers that we can't control that but we can control kind of how we're able to respond to that and get that fixed for the customer. So we train them all on that. And then we also, one thing we started doing this year was giving our CES team essentially like the holiday playbook. Here's every email we're sending on every day, the promotions that are starting products that are launching, that way they can kind of best configure staffing for that. They know when when things will be busy, but then also help provide the best service to customers.

Yaw Aning 32:07

You Yeah, I love that a lot. I'm curious to chop and brew my D are either you doing something similar? Like do your CX teams? Are you guys well aware of what the marketing calendar and campaigns look like?

32:22

Yeah, from from our end, we have been talking bfcm Holiday since probably June. Trying to align that right. And just, it's, it's always kind of that season, right? So we're always preparing for that. So we've been in contact and you know, things are obviously going to change but like our key things like color drops, you know, before Cyber Monday sales. Like we've gotten into a good pattern, I think here at bromate. Like we kind of know that playbook. However, there are a lot of people who are always new to our team and CX and they don't understand that. So there's a lot of like, you know, dissemination of just information that we are kind of, alright, we're receiving a lot from marketing, we're not going to give you all that. Like, let's give you the main points and handle it like that.

Yaw Aning 33:09

Yeah, yeah. Makes a lot of sense. Katie, how about you? Oh, you might be muted.

Kristen Tomasonis 33:18

All right, we make sure everyone on our team is subscribed to our marketing emails. So as soon as something you know, goes out to the customer, our team is receiving that as well. That's definitely helpful in knowing what kind of questions might come in and what to respond to. And anytime something is changing, you know, whether like, we're offering something new, or we're using a different provider, whatever it might be, we make sure that our macros are up to date and let everyone know what the new macros are that to use. And that's super helpful.

Yaw Aning 33:54

Okay, yeah, yeah, like that a lot.

33:57

There's one thing we might try this year that is a little bit different. Like we've been typically, hey, everything's in Slack. Here's one spot on the Google Drive. Like we're thinking about just creating like a almost like Google Sites, that kind of just, I mean, I know that sounds really simple, but like, it's kind of whatever works during bfcm. And it's free. You don't have to think a whole lot about it. But it's a one stop shop for our for our team as well. Right? Because we we will definitely have our moments where someone is not informed. Right. And I think you all do. So you can say go look at that spot. And if you can't find it there then look harder. And then then yeah,

Kristen Tomasonis 34:31

we actually have that notion. We use notion. Oh, it's great. It is the Yes. The tell all of anything you need to know should be in there.

Yaw Aning 34:40

Yes. Yeah. There's, it's on this topic. There's there's obviously there's there's a big shift happening from more like reactive customer support, where you're waiting for issues that pop up and kind of playing Whack a Mole with your teams to address them to more of like a proactive approach to trying to Yeah, knock these issues out before they even reach your your CX team. Katie, I'd love to hear if you are employing any strategies today to sort of like get ahead of issues before, you know, one of your team members needs to step in. Yeah,

Kristen Tomasonis 35:19

I think we do a good job of this in our Malomo tracking page. We've tried to make it as informative and self service as possible. So, you know, it's easy to set up your return or exchange from there because we're integrated with blue. But we also have linked blog articles for like next steps. So someone arrives, and they weren't sure that the pants were going to be unhemmed. Now they have instructions on what to do with their product next. We also link to our Help Center rather than a contact us. So we try to direct them that way first, and then we have flows set up through our gorgeous chat. So ideally, that will answer their questions also, before they actually reach out to someone.

Yaw Aning 36:09

Yeah, I love that. Yeah, I think you do a great job with your experience trying to just, hey, here's what to expect when you're when your products on the way here. So expect when it arrives, that something's wrong, here's what to do next, like guiding the customer, step by step along that whole journey, I think you guys do a really good job of that. And then, so obviously, like, the goal is to try to deflect as many tickets as you can and answer customer questions before they become complaints. But not, that doesn't always happen. And sometimes customers just reach out. I love to hear how you guys think about staffing your teams over this period. Like what what is the what's the strategies that you that you use to make sure that you have the right people in place? As the holidays approach? Calling? Maybe I'll start with you around this topic. Yeah.

37:03

This is like, front of mind right now, right? I mean, we we currently have, we're about to go through bfcm dry run, we have 30,000 pre orders on this one item I was telling you about and they are all about to ship and then like a six day period. So it is like a Black Friday in September for us, right? We're going to receive a lot of you know, a lot of related issues to products and shipping and things like that. And what we basically have done or will do for the next couple of weeks is kind of divide and conquer, right? We're going to play to our strengths, we're going to hot we've we're hiring kind of already for holiday that we're not going to train you on the entire handbook, we're going to train you on two things, we're going to use our gorgeous, you know, system to flow tickets into this one, two, maybe three views. And that's all you have to do, right. And then if you're done with that great we can help you transition into another spot right? But for now we're instead of we used to play kind of man to man, we're going to play zone defense. And, you know, go after the we've already got macros created, we're ready to go, we may not use all 10 macros, we might only use two 1000 times and everything else only adds up to 10. Like, you have to just over over over prepare. And that's what we'll do this year, you know, try to build out a staff that we might overstaffed. Right, we've always tried to overstaffed for the holidays kind of expecting the worst and 2020 we had probably the worst shipping thing I've ever experienced I've ever I've ever had. We were in the process of getting Malomo started right before then. And if we had it, we would have been saved, we didn't. So I think you need to also just utilize like anything that you can in your Malomo flows and on your tracking pages, to alert customers before they reach out to you. Right? Even if it's bad news, like I'd rather you get that bad news from us than you come and send a ticket that my team has to individually read and respond to and react. Right. So it's a lot about its proactiveness. But it's proactive, more like a critical care plan to ensure that your team doesn't walk into a 4000 5000 ticket day. That has certainly happened to us before. So

Yaw Aning 39:07

yeah, yeah, it's almost like preventative care. Like

Colin Waters 39:12

it's maintenance. Maintenance. Yeah, exactly.

Yaw Aning 39:14

No, that's that's fantastic. So I just thought the time that it went really quick, I want to make sure that we open it up to some q&a, because I saw a lot of questions find by so I'm gonna I'm gonna pass to Mariah as she's collecting some of the questions there.

Mariah Parsons 39:32

Yes, we have a lot to get through. So we're gonna try and rapid fire through them. So the first question is from Zack, does your brand increase social media and ad spend during October to drive new visitor traffic? So for this q&a, anyone who wants to pop in into that question, that'd be perfect. And then we'll go on to the next one.

39:55

Yeah, go ahead, Max. Oh, yeah. bid for chocolate, October is a very big month for us. But we also do that as a way to get customers at a slightly cheaper acquisition cost. And we're gonna get them in November, December. So yeah, we really kind of ramp up our marketing spend in October trying to capture Halloween customers knowing that after that, we can get them on Black Friday, when you get them at Christmas, Valentine's Day, and then we hit them on all those power windows, you're pretty much golden through the summer, and you have a whole customer.

40:36

Yeah, I think like I mentioned earlier, like October is our bread and butter season to acquire new customers. And we do that through, you know, a bunch of different ad spins, right, either through Google, or, you know, we've been working really closely with a team from Mehta to really focus our customer segments, and obviously try to tap into their knowledge as opposed to us just kind of trying to guess what's going on, which I know is seems to be the case a lot of times when you're dealing with the social media ads, but yeah, we definitely increase our ad spend. And we've drawn it down quite a bit this year. And we will, we will try to get behind some of the viral illness of a couple of our products, right. So we'll definitely have to do that through social media,

Kristen Tomasonis 41:17

we actually significantly decrease spending this time of year, because our business is heavily focused on wedding after October, we just kind of fall off until you know, engagement season is over. And wedding season picks back up next spring. So it's not smart for us to spend the higher prices and during the holidays to acquire customers. So we really pull back and then ramp things back up in January.

Mariah Parsons 41:47

Wonderful, thank you. Okay, next question is from Brooke, how do you approach audience segmentation for standard audiences who buy for themselves versus bfcm audiences who buy for others?

41:59

That's a great question. I think it's really tough sometimes, right? I mean, you can look at customer segments. I mean, here's an example for what we're trying to do, like on our post purchase flows, right. And again, this is just a small example of something that's I think, just about everybody who uses Malomo. And has, you know, a sophisticated system set up is that like, we change that post purchase flows for different customers, right, if you're a new customer, this is what you're gonna see, if you're receiving customer, here's what you're gonna receive from buying for others to like, again, we are tapping into that those segments, right and dragging them to different spots, like on our website, like if you are, you know, a 7x buyer, right, you've got you know, $1,000 worth of our product, like, we're going to kind of send you towards, you know, maybe some of our larger, more expensive newer items. If you're new, we might send you to like that gift guide, right. And just kind of looking at your kind of your your periods of, of how long and how often you're buying and what you're buying. That really helps us. So we have a we have a very strange break, we have people who are incredibly, incredibly loyal. And then there's this middle tier, and then it's a lot of new customers. So we're really focused on that. That first time buyer, whether it's a gift or not, so I leave that up to the to the growth and analytics team to kind of really go after that from the CX side, like we approach it with gorgeous, if you are 1x buyer, you get priority over somebody who's purchased maybe five times right, because we want to make sure that their issues are resolved, you know, expeditiously so they can continue to use the product and have a good experience with our brand.

Mariah Parsons 43:36

Love it, Max and Katie, is there anything you'd add on to let Collinson?

43:40

Yeah, I think we've taken a pretty similar approach there. For us, we've really tried to dig deep into segmenting out orders based off of if they're a gift or not. If someone orders a gift box or gift subscription, it's easy to tell when they're ordering other products that can be a little more challenging to figure out, are they ordering it for themselves or ordering it for someone else. So we leverage that with our tracking page, and then try and get them to share that tracking information. With the gift receiver. We also just introduced a new feature on the site where you can get a subscription, enter that receivers contact info so that we can then send them tracking details and information on their order. And leverage those transactional emails to be able to potentially market them try and get them to subscribe to our own marketing list. And then once their gift subscription is over, or we believe they might be out of that product, we approach them and get them to sign up for their own personal subscription.

Kristen Tomasonis 44:39

We don't do anything around, you know, gifting customers, I will say we just you know, actively when we're reaching out to our own audience, we just engage them with gift card messaging that we don't usually send any other time unless it's a holiday.

Mariah Parsons 44:55

Love it. I know we have more questions to get to. But we're going to switch Check out our panelists and wrap up this first session. We might get to the other questions in the next session. So yeah, if you want to wrap this all up, that'd be great. Yeah,

Yaw Aning 45:08

yeah. So thank you all for joining Katie Cullen, Max, appreciate your insights around this. Obviously, we touched on a lot of like really important subject and got a lot of questions that that funneled in.

Kristen Tomasonis 45:22

Thank you.

Colin Waters 45:24

Thank you, everyone.

Yaw Aning 45:25

Good luck this year. Yes, everybody go crush it