S4 E21: E-commerce marketing strategies and customer retention with Blake Imperl (Former VP of Marketing, Carro)


Blake Imperl, former VP of Marketing at Carro and current VP of Marketing at Digioh, joins Retention Chronicles for episode 21 of season 4. Noah, Mariah, & Blake kick off the episode with Blake’s birthday running tradition, starting his career consulting for digital marketing, and working with paid media across multiple brands to drive $13 million in email & SMS retention marketing.

Now of course, we recognize the ecommerce community is probably very familiar with Blake Imperl, but if you’re not, we highly recommend you tune in to hear his opinions around how the Shopify & Shopify Plus ecosystem works and is constantly changing.

Blake shares how the Shopify & Shopify Plus ecosystem is currently seeking more of an emphasis on customer retention because now it’s difficult to be profitable whereas before, brands could make up the difference on the backend. Blake provides examples of how Carro helps brands increase LTV (lifetime value) and AOV (average order volume) while lowering CAC (customer acquisition cost) by getting in front of customers in a more efficient way.

Humanizing the shopping experience so there’s a deep connection with customers brings an element to DTC brands that retailers don’t often experience, and there’s a lot that goes into it. It might be a difficult thing to measure, but it’s worth pursuing. Blake shares how showing up in the social feed and having something interesting to say captivates a lot of attention, and it’s valuable attention.

We’re in the thick of the holiday season, so Blake shares his BFCM brand must-haves. He recommends brands set up their transactional emails and SMS marketing campaigns in a smart way. Don’t risk it all, SMS automations are expensive, so be intentional with your segmentation and design and don’t bombard your customers. Every unsubscribe in 2023 is lost revenue in 2024.

Episode Timestamps:

Running, ultra-marathons, and personal limits: 4:07

Career path and e-commerce experience: 7:25

Unconventional career path in marketing and partnerships: 13:27

Applying b2c marketing strategies to b2b marketing: 16:29

Humanizing B2B content through authenticity and emotion: 22:01

Leveraging collaborative commerce platform to increase sales and reduce costs: 25:12

Using marketplace to drive sales and growth: 30:05

Using marketplaces to test new products and increase revenue: 32:55

E-commerce marketing strategies and customer retention: 40:25

Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing strategies: 43:53

LinkedIn strategy and content creation: 49:16

Did you know that 20% of your website traffic hits the order tracking experience? Turn all of that customer engagement into customer loyalty. Malomo helps you get ahead of shipping issues, brand your order tracking experience, and reconvert shoppers while they wait for their package to arrive.

To see what your custom mockup of branded order tracking and transactional email/SMS would look like, fill out this form & we’ll send your custom design right to your inbox!

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


brands, shopify, customers, retention, products, attentive, talking, partnerships, blake, people, day, b2b, side, work, marketing, add, create, thought, team, commerce


Noah Rahimzadeh, Mariah Parsons, Blake Imperl

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:04

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

Mariah Parsons 00:16

Hey, everyone, as you probably know, retention Chronicles likes to bring in some of the best retention focused brands in the Shopify ecosystem.

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:24

Well, we don't just feature brands, we also feature some great thought leaders in the Shopify ecosystem that serve brands.

Mariah Parsons 00:31

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

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:39

they are today. We hope you'll stick around to learn and laugh with us retention Chronicles

Mariah Parsons 00:43

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 Go malomo.com

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:59

Okay, this one I'm excited for. We've got my buddy Blake, VP of Marketing at karo longtime coming like most of these are, but Blake and I are actually pretty good friends now. So it's always cool to record with with buddies. I think it well it's kind of an interesting friendship story because we were friends then we were enemies. And then our it's good to be on the on the brighter side with you, my man, thanks so much for joining and always great to see you. Pleasure

Blake Imperl 01:33

to be here. Yeah, thanks so much. And I'm glad we're no longer frenemies. We're on friendlier ground here that we're, we're here. But no, it was a pleasure to be on a big fan of the pod. Now we've got history and then we go back to attentive, the three of us, I think, and when we all met, so yeah, awesome to be here. I'm really excited to chat with you guys today. Yes,

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:53

I definitely want to dive into the journey and the attentive days for you seem like you know, a millennium ago for me. So I imagine that it feels even longer ago for you. We will definitely get into all of that. We also have Mariah here today.

Mariah Parsons 02:11

Hi, everyone. I just waved as if people could see me. You have no are you a first? Yeah, exactly. So to be on here,

Noah Rahimzadeh 02:23

so we, Blake, I'm sure that you've you've listened to before, hopefully. But one thing we like to do is we always like to start off with one or two things. You're excited about your personal life. Before we dive into the biz talk.

Blake Imperl 02:37

I was stoked when I saw this question I was reading through I was like, Man, how do I find one or two? I think number one I'm really stoked on right now. So turning 29 In December, I ran 28 miles from my 28th last year. Oh, I told myself I would never do it again. And the other day, I'm like, Man, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna I'm gonna go for 29. So mentally now getting myself there, but also starting to train a little bit more for it. So shout out to Philip Jackson and future commerce. When he turned 42 I think it was last year the year before. I was like it Philip can do it. Like I have no excuse not to run, you know, 28 miles from i 28. So 29 We'll see. I'm really stoked on that. And then I'm also really excited for the NFL season to start here. I'm a big Packers fan. It's a big year for us. Minus Aaron Rodgers. So we'll see what happens if we have a terrible season or not. can't jump ship on on the Packers.

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:29

Okay, lots of questions. One I've seen personally I've only ever run 5015 or 16 I can't remember. But after I did that, I kind of felt like I might die. And I definitely want to work up to a marathon someday. It's bonkers to me that anybody would do that. Let alone go beyond it. 28 How did that feel? Was that the longest you've ever done? And what do you think inspired you to decide after you said you would never do it again to do it again one mile further this year?

Blake Imperl 04:07

Yeah, I think a bit of insanity. But I think a little bit of just like I've always like told myself like do things if you're really uncomfortable like you set it out in the universe and you have to just do it so like when I said that 20 years I was like okay, like I don't know how we'll figure this out the most I had ran before that we think was 14 but I San Diego's a great running city it's really flat here so it's a little bit more forgiving I think on unlike the long distance but when you get out to get to like miles 16 to 25 you're like I'm gonna die this sucks. I don't want to be here like maybe like I would I was just like, it was the goal. I wanted it to hit so I think pushing through but also running or the running when it's cold. All the things that you can do just saved yourself. But I mean, I'm humbled that people who are an ultra marathon so 28 is like nothing for like the bigger picture. I know. But I think I realized, like when I got done with it If I didn't feel well, and I was okay, maybe maybe like, you know, I'll stop. This isn't like for this, maybe this wasn't for me, maybe I'll bike you know, 29 for my 29th. But I don't know, I just sort of started to realize I wanted to keep it going. So we'll see how many birthdays I can go. Maybe when I get into my 40s. I won't be saying the same thing here. But yeah, well see.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:19

That's awesome, man. Also, I caught a little nugget in there of you saying like, 28 has nothing to the bigger picture, meaning like ultra marathon. And it's just, you know, a testament to who you are, I

Mariah Parsons 05:31

think and what a comparison.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:34

You know, you went from 14 and 28. There's no way I can do 28 You did 28. And then you're like, that's nothing, you know? Nothing to 50

Blake Imperl 05:44

It's, it's doesn't hold up. I'm doing it for short. I think it was funny. I like I told by the company, that at the time, I was like, Hey, I'm taking the day off. And they were like, Oh, you probably can like personal day, whatever. I'm like, now I'm just kind of running some some miles from my birthday. And when I told everyone, they were like, wow, you're insane to do that on a day off. So I don't know. I always I've always embraced it. But I will say, I think anyone can do a marathon. I think it's just you got to like find it within you to stay calm. I think that that's like the thing I've found like, You got to find your happy place and to stay there. But runner's high is very real for me. So shout out to Greg Bauman. Partnership legend. He got me into running a couple years back,

Noah Rahimzadeh 06:24

man, that's a good reminder. I got to check in on Greg. It's been also

Mariah Parsons 06:29

well, you're making a note to check in. I have one of my college coaches did a similar thing, but would row like on the rowing machine, the indoor rowing machine. And 52 did a 52k which is like an hour and a like 40 minutes, maybe hour and a half of like earning. And I ever since. No, I know I will not be that person. But maybe for running. That would be Yeah, that'd be something else.

Noah Rahimzadeh 06:57

But it was a half of rowing.

Mariah Parsons 07:01

Yeah. Yeah. Which, cuz like the most we would do would be like, that's like a test piece is like a 40k. Or sorry, a 10k. Which is like 40 minutes. So yeah, I can't even imagine.

Blake Imperl 07:15

Yeah, that's a man's back strength right there.

Mariah Parsons 07:19

Yeah, yeah. Crazy. But when you were saying that, like oh my god, I know someone who Yeah. Ah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:25

believable. happy early birthday, Blake. And on the run, obviously, I expect to see that the Instagram feed blow up when you went on for the

Blake Imperl 07:36

social that's always good is that it's all about the social and not

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:43

what's the Packers out like? Outlook like without Aaron? I do. Yeah. About their their squad now was

Blake Imperl 07:51

listening to a pod yesterday. I think the oldest player of a team is like 31 or 32. Like they're very young team. Jordan love their quarterback. Big fan. And when they drafted him and kind of everyone wasn't really happy about it, you know, taking a QB in the first round. When you've got the goat Aaron Rodgers still on the team, but I think it's paid off. We'll see. You know, tough division, tough. I think this tough kind of conference in general, even to where they're at. So we'll see. I mean, maybe we're looking at a foreign 12 season and I'll cry myself inside to sleep a little bit. But, you know, you got to stay faithful to your team. And well, we'll hope for the best I guess.

Noah Rahimzadeh 08:28

We can always use more cold supporters. So if that happening, just jump ship. It's all good. That's good, though. Yeah, it's interesting how that all played out with him. And in Jordan love. We'll see. Colts are kind of in a similar position, I think. wouldn't have been as much without our team trash talking Jonathan Taylor, our best player and him then requesting a trade. But, you know, such as the NFL, so what can you do? Yeah, well, I'm

Blake Imperl 09:01

rooting for the Colts they're they're good AFC team. Always a fallback for me. I still think about like the the pain of Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison days for me. Those were like the glory days of the Colts. I feel like I don't want to wait. So you know, good. indies, a great, great sports city on the last two.

Mariah Parsons 09:16

Yes. Personnel. Yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 09:20

All right. Let's get into it. So we also like to start to just set the stage before we get into karo. And we'll we'll tease a little Black Friday, Cyber Monday stuff a little later. But tell us about your career to date. And all the way leading up to joining the car team.

Blake Imperl 09:40

Yeah, so your question. So I graduated from San Diego State 2016 2017 I was a commercial real estate major. I didn't think I was gonna go into E commerce. I like that I started to get more involved in like the internship side of it and realized I wasn't that extroverted and like wasn't really like a cold. Caller. doing all those things so quickly decided that like, there wasn't for me. And so I actually just was like a graduate without a job but didn't know what I was going to do. And I started to just kind of consult for a person that I was interning with. He had a painting business, and he needed someone to do digital marketing. I was like, Oh, I can do this, like, sure. I'm creative. That sounds cool that SEOs are doing all the AdWords doing like all the, you know, on site stuff, and then found my way from there. into E commerce, I was like, Well, this is interesting. Like, I've kind of already been learning about this. And so I jumped into more of like a consulting kind of role, working with some local brands in the San Diego area, Southern California and then found my way to an agency where I kind of have a little more support around me was doing retention marketing, at the time, didn't really know what I was doing at all. You know, I kind of understood digital marketing, but very much a fake it till you make it mentality. And I learned an immense amount working on the agency side, just like getting to work with paid media getting to work with customer experience working across brands, it was just the coolest thing to be in that Shopify space. And that time, like 2017, to like 2020 ish, call it and it was there for a little while, doing email, SMS, marketing, all that stuff, drove about 13,000,002 years over email and SMS, which was really cool and fun to be a part of, but felt like I kind of plateaued, I was starting to grow a lot and the retention marketing side, there wasn't this awesome community that there is now I think, in like twitter, and like LinkedIn, and all this stuff that was there at the time. Now, but at the time, it really wasn't. But I started to get really active on LinkedIn. During this time, I'm talking about like SMS realizing that no one was talking about SMS that much. And attentive took notice. And I got featured in a couple of case studies, did some kind of, you know, kind of customer kind of like marketing stuff with them, and start even giving them like product feedback. There was another company at the time called tone really

Noah Rahimzadeh 11:58

quick was that, like, while you were working on brands and setting up their SMS programs?

Blake Imperl 12:04

Yep. Yeah. So I wasn't actually I was just a power user of attentive, I think they were like, Who's this guy drinking and driving crazy ROI. And these campaigns, like, we got to talk to him. And so it was just a cool thing. You know, I was passionate about SMS, which is like, I think like a theme, I always like, tell people I mentors, like, if you're passionate about something, and you can talk well about it like that will take you very far. And so I started to just kind of get more active in that tone was another SMS company that I was giving a lot of product feedback to. And as I started to get more and more product feedback, I realized I was like, a lot of these Sass companies don't have a marketer who's done this before, who's been in that seat understands how to talk the language, but also to like, think about ways the product could grow and evolve. So I gave so much product feedback to tell them that they were just like, hey, we want you to come join us. You can do growth marketing, we don't really know what that means for us. But you know, what we'll put, we'll make a seat on the bus and we'll see what happens. At the time. Yeah, very small, very, very small. Not a lot of money or runway left at the time. I think Teavana be fine with me saying that now. But they were just it was a great product. I think we were probably about 17 people, including engineers go to market was super small. But a great team honestly, like the best experience I could have had at that time. We got acquired like three months after I joined by attentive and they didn't they didn't tell me that in the interview process. I thought postscript was gonna buy us or something was gonna happen. Attempted buys us. And then I'm at this weird kind of crossroads of like, where do I go? Do like I've got this taste of sass. I like it. But do I go back to the brand side, I kind of sat in purgatory at attentive for like a month. I didn't know what to do with us at the time, I think the tone team but I had a very chance encounter with Allison Kelly, the VP of partnerships at attentive at the time. And I didn't want to go she was like, Hey, I'm in San Diego, like, you know, like, you should meet up T Vaughn was telling me to go. And this is another like kind of thing I always say is like, do things that make you uncomfortable, go take the risks, like you know, like, you have nothing to lose. So I go meet outside, didn't

Noah Rahimzadeh 14:03

you want to go, just out of curiosity.

Blake Imperl 14:05

I'm so antisocial. I feel like I'm like I'm so like, I just wanted to stay home and kind of like, but I think I grew a lot during this time. And I've actually become, I think more extroverted in a way through a lot of these kinds of things I pushed myself to do,

Noah Rahimzadeh 14:17

I was gonna, I don't get that from you all. And

Mariah Parsons 14:23

I feel like I know you very much social public setting, but that's proving your point and that you're putting yourself out there to do those things in the first place.

Blake Imperl 14:31

Ya know, no, it's I mean, there's no better way to get reps than just put yourself out there, I think. And so, Alison, and I hit it off, you know, she was like, I want you to join the partnerships team and we kind of crafted this roll around partner community which was getting to work across all of our agencies, our tech partners, and everything in between, but getting the draw on kind of my thought leadership and my subject matter expertise on SMS and getting the work across like partner marketing the partner managers and but also to like more on the leadership level. too. So it was a really a great kind of opportunity for me to grow in a lot of different ways. So I stayed attentive for a while, you know, and really, you got to, I think, learn a ton about partnerships. But I think getting to have that marketing mindset as well. It started to get me to think I really got this bug for marketing. And I wanted to kind of go down this marketing leadership role. And so was that attentive for a while got to work with, you know, awesome partners, like Malomo. And don't do all those kinds of fun things. But one of them a little bit more. So I joined a company called wonderment, we were there for a little while. And I started kind of even. And that opportunity realized, you know, I was doing more enablement, focused kind of things, but kind of owning marketing. And I wanted to actually kind of build a marketing team. So that kind of leads me to where I am now here at Colorado, getting to take all that partnerships experience, all that marketing experience, but also kind of all the early days of kind of where I was at and thinking about just like, I think the Shopify ecosystem is changing a lot. And getting to have a little bit more of like, an unconventional path here is I think, serving me pretty well and kind of how I think and kind of engage across different go to market kind of strategies and all that stuff. So long winded way of saying very unconventional path, but very much just like putting myself out there and, you know, seeing what sticks, honestly,

Noah Rahimzadeh 16:21

yes, the commercial real estate thing I knew nothing about that is why

Blake Imperl 16:28

I'm not commercial real estate material. I'll tell you that.

Mariah Parsons 16:31

We actually know I don't know what you studied. Now. I'm just curious. I start studied entrepreneurship, actually, did you Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Like, how about neuroscience? Because I was gonna say, my, my nature, so random, like, with where I am right now, too. So I was gonna see what yours was. But yeah, we're

Noah Rahimzadeh 16:50

learning a lot here about each other. No. Happens every time the three of us get together, I think, yes. I have a immediate question before we get into Carl. So I'm curious. You started. Basically consulting with brands, meaning you were doing a lot of D to C or b2c, whatever you want to say marketing. And now you're kind of in this position, and you have been, you know, wonderment, and then and then are sorry, attentive, then wonderment. Now, Cara, where? You know, you're doing dreht, or you're doing b2b marketing. And so I'm curious how you think those two things overlap, like what did you take from the b2c side that you're now implementing on be b2b that you think like more, especially like tech orgs, should be thinking about? Totally?

Blake Imperl 17:47

I? It's a good question. I think, like, there's so many parallels that, like, at the end of the day, like, you're just trying to connect with people. And sure, sales cycles are different store consideration, like all the things that fall are different, but at the end of the day, like, what I learned that was really cool about b2c was like, there's just this immediate, more intimate connection that you can make with a customer. And I think in b2b, like, we're so transactional, we're like, everything's like, you know, just, you know, more drawn out processes and like, varies by org, how you think about things like attentive, our sales cycles are pretty long, but like, getting to look at, you know, just sort of like, the approach that I always had was like, be customer centric, like kind of break down barriers and sort of be more human. I've always tried to think about the human aspect of it. And so like, even as I've come here to Cairo, it's been like, I want to humanize Cairo as much as we possibly can. So it's like, there is a deeper connection than just like this transactional nature of things and like, do you see like, it's human, that element, a human element of DTC is like the brand's story and the storytelling element of it like I, I'm a brand marketer, honestly, I think it's taken me a long time to admit that, but I very much like this to tell stories. And so I think like that storytelling aspect has always been something I've gravitated towards and brought to the conversation. And, you know, definitely, I think there's a lot more close parallels than, you know, kind of initially, you might see between b2c and b2b, for example, yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 19:18

Yeah, that's a great point. I feel like taking some of the humanistic elements of the brand side of DTC makes a lot of sense for b2b brands. And I would, I would probably, you know, toot our own horn at Malomo. A little bit on that, like, I think we do a pretty good job of keeping things like light and human and we very rarely take like a business tone, if ever, I think and like

Mariah Parsons 19:43

I feel like since I've been writing right very rare. I'm like always trying to go over the pawns emoji.

Blake Imperl 19:53

Those are the things that I mean, I've always admired that about you guys, Richard Ewing and Malomo and I think like it reminds me of a conversation I was just having With Mike manheimer, cmo of postscript, chasam, sending us over heat map now, and then we were talking more just about like the vibe check that you kind of have to focus on like, it's just unmeasurable metric, chase it away better than I'm about to say. But I think like he was saying, like, a lot of companies don't pass the vibe check in terms of like just being personable and having a human element to their business. And that says that, like the leadership level, honestly, like if you're, if your CEO is someone who's like that, if your C level is like that, it kind of trickles down the rest of the company. And I think the ones who pass that sort of like, you want to do business with people who you're you feel a connection to, I think that that is kind of like, you look at the ones who are crushing it right now. And those are typically I think, like what they're kind of doing and you can't measure vibes and HubSpot, but you definitely can, like, find signals that do that. And I think that's also like the partnerships kind of side of it as well, like partnerships is all about, you know, passing that vibe check. I saw such a, so sounds like such a Gen Z right now saying these things. But yeah, that's kind of something I've always thought about is like, you can definitely take that parallel, I think, too, and bring that from b2c to b2b too.

Noah Rahimzadeh 21:10

Yeah, I totally agree. And I've I've said, like the partnership side of that for a long time, even in like the enterprise space, where a lot of times like, just like brands have, you know, a plethora, especially in the Shopify ecosystem of options of apps that do similar things. Same thing for partnerships, like all partners, we have, we have the option to provide to partner with a ton of different email platforms, a ton of different recommendations, tools, a ton of different package protection tools. And like oftentimes, and it's the same same reflection back to myself and to you, Blake, and also to Mariah and marketing, like, who people partner with is a lot about who they enjoy working. The most close with, like, really is it's really about the human side, and like staying top of mind. Do you have any, like, I'm curious if you have any, like, hard examples of like, of bringing that humanistic element into into b2b? Because I feel like, we understand what it is right? Like at a high level, but like, what's an actual example of doing that? Yeah,

Blake Imperl 22:28

I think a good a good example of it is content. I think like when you look at D to see a lot of the content, whether you're talking about like sales funnels, we're talking about, you know, the retention content that you put out, like, there's usually a human kind of aspect to it, like there's the founder talking about, like the, the the story or, you know, the you've got like the the authentic, UGC, kind of like hitting you and really hitting on an emotional layer. You bring it over to b2b. Like, I think what you can do is, like, really have this idea and Dave Gerhardt talks a lot about this, but like founder brand, and like you can really, I don't think every b2b company is going to excel a founder brand if you don't have this, like, you know, founder who really wants to be external out there. But like, I think you look at the ones who are leaning into this. I think postscript is doing a fantastic job of this right now. You see, like what Alex is doing, you know, with the fondue acquisition, and like all that stuff, like they're really putting the founder at the, at the core of their content strategy. And it helps us to create, like, Oh, I know that I know, that person. I've seen that person around, like, this content really feels like it's not just, you know, someone sitting writing, which had GBT having, you know, some sort of like, kind of like, third person approach, like, I don't know, I just I just think we've kind of maybe lost sight as marketers and b2b of like, I just I think the way people engage with content and buy from content is not, you know, yes, you want to hit your SEO, you want to do all these things. But like, here's someone's gonna stay and watch something and engage with it. Like there needs to be a human element to it. So that's one of the closer parallels, I think, I think I would draw.

Noah Rahimzadeh 24:08


Mariah Parsons 24:10

I would also add to that, like zooming out of it, I think, just through like interviewing different brands for the podcast, and like, lifestyle creators, I've seen a similar parallel, where it's like, just seeing the human in front of someone that's now like, those are celebrities now, right, like in our day to day, and so the, like, want to see behind the scenes and like with social media, and having so much accessibility into people's lives, I feel like that is mirroring what you're seeing in commerce because people want to now they're used to just seeing like entertainment, they can get so close to who they're like watching on social media or celebrities or whatever else they get to see like behind the scenes, like additional content, almost like on their profile. And so if you don't have that with the people that you're buying from, but you're used to it in your like, daily scrolling or activities. It's there's like a little bit of a disconnect there is that if that makes sense with that, like the parallel between the two makes

Blake Imperl 25:12

total sense. I think you're spot on, right? Honestly, I think showing up and being in the feed, like in a value, like valuable value adds right away. I always thought about this, like when I started at attentive and I realized that no one was on social talking about like, attentive and it was like, I was like, How is this, you know, multibillion dollar company like not really investing in thought leadership, I was like, I'm going to be that guy that shows up every single damn day in the LinkedIn feed, and I'm gonna have all the salespeople engaging with it, and then that's going to amplify out to their prospects. And then suddenly, like, partners are seeing this and you create this community in this ecosystem, some ways and like, I just think that that's one of the valuable things of like having showing up in the feed a lot. And having like, something interesting to say, I think that's the key, like, having something interesting to say is, like, gonna be the great multiplier, but it's just something that I've always thought about. And you see a lot of like, the SAS companies are doing this really well or like, starting to kind of like pick up on that. But it's been like a tenant, I've always thought about, like, just not even like community, but really marketing at the end of the day. Like, you know, dark social was real. I think Chris Walker said it best like but like, it's, it's definitely something that I think that a lot of people should be thinking more about.

Noah Rahimzadeh 26:25

Yes, 100%, something we talked about all the time, actually.

Mariah Parsons 26:30

And try to tap into.

Noah Rahimzadeh 26:35

Okay, so let's, let's get to Caro. And maybe because you said you think the Shopify ecosystem is changing a lot right now, I'd love for that to sort of lead us into what you're up to it, Carl?

Blake Imperl 26:49

Yeah, totally. I think one thing that I've noticed a lot, I'll give you the boilerplate of kind of Cairo in a second. But I think like, just one thing I noticed a lot is that you're seeing more and more this emphasis on, like retention, but like, what is retention, like really mean is so like, diverse to a lot of brands. And I think like, you're hearing the themes over and over again, it's like, you know, acquisition is more expensive, it's harder to get in front of your customers, it's harder to stay profitable. Like now there's this really big emphasis on like, being profitable, and like being a real business. Whereas, like, before, it was okay to kind of like, you know, make up that difference in the back end. But, you know, I think consumer spending is changing the way in which we look at even like timeline of like, you know, payback on like your acquisition costs now, like that window is I think shrinking and a lot of ways like we're you know, go to market teams are saying hey, like, we need to be profitable in this customer, 90 days or whatever that is. So like, a Ovi becomes more important, you know, upsell becomes super important. But also like tapping into all the other kind of good and market kind of like functions as you can do like unlocking word of mouth, you know, all the things kind of kind of kind of come from that. So it was what drew me to Carl, I think a lot of ways was like, it was a, it was a platform that a lot of ways that was just something that we're not really talking a lot about, which is collaborative commerce. And so at a high level, like what Carter does, and what we do, we help brands to sell more together by really thinking about dropshipping in a whole different way, in approaching brand partnerships in a whole different way. So we connect Shopify merchants to a network of over 28,000 brands, giving them access to over a million products. So they can do things like your other average order value, customer lifetime value, while also reducing acquisition costs. And they do all this without having to handle all of the logistics of holding that physical inventory, having to create individual wholesale partnerships with brands. For them, it's just really a plug and play solution to be able to partner with other brands. So it's flexible for how you use cargo, you can either opt in as a retailer. So you've add curated products to your own store, that maybe your customers are asking for, maybe you want to test the waters and see if you add different products to your store, well that people buy them, but you don't want to invest in that inventory. So that's a great way to kind of do that. Or you can be a supplier in the network and just work with other brands to gain exposure, you know, from CO marketing with these other brands, but also to like as you make sales, you're acquiring that customer for just giving a rev share on your products. So you can do either of those or both within karo. We work with some really cool brands like super 73 Blend jet suit shop, I think some Aloma customer to actually, but it again gives them the opportunity to explore a new sales channel and new acquisition channel. But what really sets cargo apart? I mean, you see Shopify collected kind of come out last in July. But we are taking a different approach to collaborative commerce and that we want it to be like a bridge between all ecommerce platforms. So we're not thinking just how can brands on Shopify work together but how can a brand on Shopify and big commerce or Shopify and Salesforce commerce cloud work together? And so we are For my agnostic in that respect, which unlocks a lot of opportunities for brand partnerships with that. But I think I'm always big on examples, I think it kind of helps to kind of draw the narrative a little bit closer. Blend jets, one of my favorite customers to talk about with karo. So they're a hero product company, they sell blenders that are portable, they've totally invented this category, I think. But they realized that a lot of their customers were buying all the ingredients that go into blend jet on other stores go into Amazon, wherever that is. And so a blend jet wanted to do was be able to sell all these products and a marketplace. But when you're selling perishable goods, that's a logistical nightmare. You know, you gotta create inventory, kind of like, you know, considerations there. And then also like kind of all the wholesale stuff you have to do to figure out what the suppliers and minimums and all that stuff that kind of goes with it. But they also wanted to create recurring revenue through subscriptions. So kind of hitting all these things at once. They built a marketplace through Caro and they've able to partner with brands like Denso, the Soylent 310. Nutrition, and they sell all these products on what's called it the blend jet marketplace. And so as customers buy their blend jets, you know, they're going to add, hey, I want the you know, I want the you know, the protein powder, all this stuff is going in. So that's growing the AO V for blend jet, which is awesome. But on the other side, too, for like, you know, the protein powder company for Oatly, whatever it is, they're getting to market off the back of blend jet. So blend jet sends out an email blast or someone goes to the budget website, they're seeing these brands come up. And then when that sales made, they're acquiring that customer, they get all that information back. So it's, it's really like a new way for brands to think about revenue growth, but also like customer acquisition at the end of the day. So it's a small example, I think of how a car works. But we're really focused on like I said, At the onset of like, a OB is more important. LTV is more important. But CAC being really important to where we're the kind of seeing all these sorts of things play out in real time. And it's something we're really passionate kind of about helping more brands to explore the climate of commerce. Yes,

Noah Rahimzadeh 32:00

the first thing? Well, first thing is everybody who's listening should just check out the blend jet site because like right away, you'll get a visual of exactly what Blake just talked about. Pretty awesome. There's a lot of our customers on here, which just brings me back to like on the marketplace, I should say, I don't think blend jet to customer. But it should be such a no brainer, you price to include the marketplace on their tracking page, right like it, it's a great spot to drive those additional. That additional like, I guess it wouldn't be order value, but additional sales and get exposure to the marketplace so that over time they are driving ARV up with those repeat purchasers we should definitely just figure that out as soon as possible, because it can't be that hard.

Blake Imperl 32:55

I think I think what the cool thing is about the tracking page, you know, with that, like we saw this, you know, when I was you do some transactional stuff with Wunderman. But like, I think it's interesting because even if it doesn't drive immediate revenue, you're introducing new products on that tracking page and taking advantage of that traffic. And I think like you're conditioning the behavior, like hey, like, you know, I just bought my you know, whatever. And now I'm getting, you know, additional opportunities to see other products that I might like, I know, for a lot of brands that are thinking, I don't have maybe products that upsell logically into this, or I'm struggling to, I want to upsell but I don't want to go, you know, spend in r&d or sourcing or doing all that. So it's not a replacement for your own products. But it's a great way to think about like just adding, you know, complementary things that would you're curating, you know what your customers are buying in their Amazon carts already in these other places. So the tracking page is a fantastic tool, I think to be able to take advantage of at least introducing new products, whether you're doing collaborative commerce or you know, your own products even to

Noah Rahimzadeh 33:58

let's stick on blend jet just to like clarify a few things. So one for blend jet, I imagine that they're kind of like getting a little kickback for sales made on the site. And then you mentioned a o v is the idea behind driving a OB up through additional products, not just the kickback, but also just like the psychology of I'm going to spend, you know, $80 on this site verse, verse 50, or 60, because I'm adding these products like is there any anything there Data Wise that you've seen?

Blake Imperl 34:31

Yeah, totally. On the reg rev split side, it's totally on a partnership level. So like, you know, for example, it might be the retailer takes you know, you know, 60% and the supplier takes 40% Or you know, anything in between, it's all customizable or whatever it fits. And, you know, again, like for both sides, you know, like they're not having to have that product being held in inventory. They're literally just putting it on their site. It's a one click add to their store super easy. And then this suppliers is handling, you know, the logistics like as it was as if it was a regular purchase. But for blend jet, it's pretty fascinating. You know, they grew a ov by 80%, with orders that had car products and their cart, which is huge. I mean, that's, you know, a significant bump of any brand would take that even if they're giving you a revenue split on that. But then also like they're creating that recurring revenue through subscriptions. So I've now got, you know, 310 nutrition on subscription, I bought it on the blended site bundles getting recurring revenue from that, and they don't even sell like, you know, I mean, they're just here a product. So that's pretty amazing to see. And then on the LTV side, I think we looked at the numbers last it was about 71% increase in LTV, through customers that went through Cairo specific orders. So again, you're creating more reasons for you to go back to Punjab, you're not just buying the thunder there, you're getting all the things that go into it, which is pretty fascinating to see. So, you know, I think like across the board, we see brands who are retailing really hit on both of those is that AOP growth and that LTV growth, which, you know, it's foundational, I think, to making customers, you know, more profitable for from an acquisition standpoint, too.

Noah Rahimzadeh 36:08

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. One thing you mentioned, too, was like, it's not necessarily replacement for your own products. But it does have all these other sort of benefits, right? I'm curious, have you seen brands like use the marketplace to test, you know, products that they're thinking about creating themselves? And I don't know if you talk about that at all?

Blake Imperl 36:31

Yeah, yeah, that's a great question. We work with a lot of brands who do that. So there's two that come to mind. So schoolyard snacks is a really cool one. They are keto snack brand. And they created this keto snack marketplace. So they have like their hero kind of products. But you know, for them, it's like a lot to go into r&d and figure out how to make it, you know, keto friendly figured out because it tastes good, all the things so being able to find other keto brands that they can just plug in and go, okay, like, Hey, does, you know keto chocolate work? Well, okay, cool, we're getting a lot of redemption. Like maybe we should go actually create that product and have it on our own. But rather than go spend, you know, a lot of money and time, let's test the waters to see if it works. Truffaut treats is another one that we work with, they're a vegan marketplace, and they've done the same thing. So they sell vegan chocolate. But chocolate isn't always purchased, like year round. And so like, rather than you have to go figure out how to build like, you know, 365 kind of calendar of vegan treats, like let's just go get a lot of, you know, brands that are doing things that we could be able to do ourselves, but being able to contest the waters on that. So it's literally I say, it's a zero risk way to figure out where your customers buy things. You know, even like, if you're doing like a survey tool, like no commerce, for example, at post purchase, and you're asking your customers like, what else would you like to see in the store, and then taking that and then maybe trying it with Cairo first or you know, whatever, you know, even if it's not with us, testing that out is never a bad way to approach it. And like, if you work with the complementary brands that you know, fits your brand profile, I think that's a really great way to keep it on brand and make sure it really kind of is adding to the customer experience at the end of the day. Super,

Noah Rahimzadeh 38:08

super interesting. That's awesome. Okay, and then last question on Quora, specifically before we move on to some retention questions. Oh, man, I just lost it. Oh, platform was so I feel like it's rare these days that, you know, Shopify apps are cross platform, I think like everybody wants to get there eventually. But there's so much, you know, there's so much to chew on in the Shopify ecosystem alone, that a lot of times it doesn't make sense until you've sort of won this market. I'm curious. So if I'm on Salesforce commerce cloud, I could add products from a Shopify store, and vice versa, or only, like, if I'm on Shopify, I can add products from other platforms like, how does that work? Great

Blake Imperl 38:59

question. Yeah, so we So Carlos started as a Shopify app. So we built for Shopify, we're in the app store all that stuff. But with a lot of advancements that we made over the last couple of months, like we have gone agnostic from the retailer perspective. So for our retailers, you can be at any platform and retail products, but only from Shopify brands at the moment, we are working, I think, at a later date for suppliers to be able to work across all platforms. But it's really that bridge, if you will, between Shopify and the rest of E commerce, like you've got this amazing kind of catalog. And even outside of that we're working on two things here. Like we just passed a million products in the catalog. And so like, you know, like we're also talking about some things here that aren't even Shopify brands that you'll still get access to like your Nikes or Adidas or Versace. So like this really cool brands that, again, not going to fit every kind of profile of like what you're trying to sell. But there are really opportunities for retailers across any ecommerce platform to test the waters on on something like this

Noah Rahimzadeh 39:58

amazing, amazing Okay, so podcasts called retention Chronicles, we got to ask about retention. The Overview question is, you know, what does, how do you think about retention? What does it mean to you? And then you mentioned LTV earlier that obviously is a big sort of retention metric. But how does Karros specifically help drive retention for brands?

Blake Imperl 40:25

Totally. Yeah, I think, you know, for us, I mentioned, you know what, what Blanchette has been doing and this isn't just like unique to blend yet with me LTV side, we have a lot of customers who are, you know, growing LTV through through being able to sell additional products in their store. But I think it's like, one of the ways in which you can keep the store fresh and keep customers coming back. So you think about your email campaigns that go out and being able to test the waters on a new brand partnership. So you know, say you are a T Shirt Company who wants to suddenly test the waters on shoes, and you want to partner with a really great shoe brand and create some sort of a complimentary offer. Like, that's a great way to engage customers and keep them coming back. So we see a lot of traction with stuff like that across brands that the samples I've mentioned, you know, some of that other stuff there. So that's definitely a big piece of it. But I think to like, this idea of like, the marketplace is becoming really, really cool with Cairo. Like some of the examples that I've mentioned, like you're creating a marketplace that has everything a customer can need from your brand. So if you are, you know, that clothing company who wants to sell other apparel items, like, you can create a place where you can curate the whole look. And suddenly, like, you're able to sell all these different products to that customer at different times, or in that one sale, but not having to worry about like, I gotta go find like a shoe manufacturer. And then I gotta go find someone to make the hats and do all that stuff. So again, like great ways to think about disengaging, testing, get this product market fit all that stuff. And then on the supplier side, I think it's really interesting because for suppliers working with these retailers, they're able to get in front of I think, like, what would be very expensive traffic to get on Facebook meta, or you know, whatever platform you're advertising on, like, rather than be sandwiched between photos of dogs and other things on the feed. Like why not just co market with other brands who share that same look alike audience like for 310 nutrition, like they're gonna want to be selling to blend jet customers, because they've got their wallet out there ready to purchase like this blend jet. Like, that's a great upsell to be able to add. So familiar retention standpoint, you're acquiring, I think customers who are more of a true user of your product, but you're getting in front of them, I think in a much more cost effective way than paying on the paid ad side. So I'm not saying like, don't do ads anymore. But I think it's a great strategy to test out to acquire more customers that way too. I

Noah Rahimzadeh 42:46

love that example. It's one we haven't heard, which is like, thinking about or being more strategic, or yeah, maybe that's, that's probably not the best word. But be more strategic about who you acquire is a great way to think about retention. Because just like in, you know, b2b SaaS, we think a lot about ICP, and we know there's a certain type of merchant that just like isn't a great fit for the long term for Malomo, like these are high, high churn volume merchants. I think Shopify merchants and ecommerce merchants can think very similarly about the customers that they acquire. And that to your point, Blake, is a huge, huge impact on retention, because if you're acquiring the wrong customers, they're not gonna stick around long. And now, you know, given that days of first purchase profitability are long gone, if you acquire the the, the wrong customer, you're probably just straight up losing money. That cohort. So love that example.

Blake Imperl 43:53

Totally. And I think like it's, it's a good parallel to draw to SAS, you know, thinking about the customer that you want to get in front of is like, really important. We think about the end retention and that long tail, kind of like, they get it, they understand the value like, yes, you're gonna need to educate your customers consistently across now, even after they violate doesn't stop at purchase. But I think it's really critical to try to get in front of the best customers that you can do the lowest hanging fruit, but they're also the ones who typically like, I think you're going to be advocates for the brand if they liked the product, and all the other things that kind of fall around that too. So yeah, I can read a thesis on on this, but I think it's high level. That's definitely definitely some of my thoughts there.

Noah Rahimzadeh 44:36

That's awesome. Okay, rapid fire. We've got a couple of minutes left. Black Friday, Cyber Monday is right around the corner. What are two or three of the most important things that brands should think about? With you know, the Superbowl of shopping? Just a couple of months away now? Yeah,

Blake Imperl 44:55

I was just on a panel with Lupe and asrb in one in one hour. And we were to Talking about this, a couple of things, your transactional channel, like, if you're not set up, like do it, well, then what makes it super easy. So you should be definitely doing that. I think like this, the stats speak for themselves around all the things, they're from an engagement standpoint, but also for like your CX team sanity, this bfcm in q4, like, set it up, make sure it's optimized. I also think in second one, I would say, on SMS marketing campaigns are very expensive. So I would actually really encourage people to think about their automations more this kind of time of year. You know, like, you look at the ROI and SMS campaigns, and they can be really hard to hit, if you're blasting through the whole list, and that list is unqualified, or there's other considerations there. So like, even adding emojis or gifts, or all the things that SMS vendors will tell you to do, which, you know, kudos to them for upselling you on that, but like, also, it can be very expensive. So keep it simple. Think about automations, that you're gonna get way more ROI and automations, and you will on your campaigns, but campaigns can be effective. So I think, you know, I'm not saying one or the other, but just really have an emphasis there. And then I think the last thing, don't risk it all. It's something I always tell people like don't send like 50 campaigns, because you're going to drive money, like, yes, it can work and a lot of people do, but then you're really you're really sacrificing every unsubscribe that you have on your retention list. This q4 will be lost revenue next year. So I think like you think about it, yes, it's inevitable, you're going to have unsubscribes like I'm not saying like, that's some fairy fairy tale world in which I think you can live in but like you really want to think about just like, everything you send out is going to have some of that lost revenue. Like postscript talks a lot about this with customer lifetime value on their SMS subscribers. And so understanding that can really be a big kind of like, good gut check to think about should I send this campaign or this is not really like, you know, I don't need to tell the customer for the 15th time about the sale that we're having just to try to get a little bit more money out of them. So three cliche things, but I think three very, very important things.

Noah Rahimzadeh 47:07

I don't think so at all, I think that they're super tactical. And I agree wholeheartedly with all of them, especially the first special.

Mariah Parsons 47:15

I wonder what

Noah Rahimzadeh 47:20

man? Okay, so last question, I would ask a bunch of questions about what you just said. And we could go on for hours about that. But I do, I do really, truly agree with you on all three of those. Bringing it back to the personal side, you've dropped a couple of nuggets throughout, but what's one tip or trick or resource that's sort of helped guide you throughout your super impressive career and it's really just getting started. So you know, it's it's super impressive, man.

Blake Imperl 47:48

I appreciate that, man. I mean, a lot. I think Mariah and I talked about this actually, when I was on pod A while ago, way back when season one. Oh, yeah, um, yeah, well, throwback.

Noah Rahimzadeh 48:02

A second time, I didn't even know you

Mariah Parsons 48:03

didn't know. Oh, my God, no, Blake and I go way, way past.

Noah Rahimzadeh 48:08

I think. I think Blake is only the second second timer. Wow. It's been Brandon. Oh, one brand. Maybe. Random boy, Blake. Was there a brand? That's been?

Mariah Parsons 48:23

I don't think so. Maybe a webinar and a podcast, but I don't think a brand. Okay. Oh, good. Good company. Four seasons later. Yeah. So

Blake Imperl 48:34

my, my tip would be to anybody to invest in, in telling your story and LinkedIn and being a thought leader, if you have the appetite to do it. I think anyone can do it and have something interesting to say. But I think LinkedIn has changed my life. And like every single way imaginable, which is kind of bananas to think about, like, a couple years ago, I was you know, literally sitting in an office doing SEO for a painting company. And here I am now. So I just think like, so much opportunity, never a better time to get started. And today I literally tell every person I'm mentoring at San Diego State like do it do it now. And you'll never regret the decision to do it. So yeah, LinkedIn changed my life. I think you can change people's lives for sure. I

Noah Rahimzadeh 49:16

love that we get a lot of really good advice most is like higher level you just gave like a very tactical thing. Also, I would love to know if you have any resources I'll hit you up personally for like that helped guide your LinkedIn strategy. I totally agree. Like when I'm when I'm posting every day or every other day it just it has crazy effects that like honestly can't even be described probably, at least not in the next 20 seconds. And when I'm not like I'm not right now because I have so much other stuff going on. I feel like I'm just missing out like I just feels like make time for this because clearly you know how important it is. so well love if you have any resources like on, on strategy that's helped you. But great, great,

Blake Imperl 50:07

I'll just say has been really quick. The thing that's helped me the most is just as to write as much as you can. So I have I have a Monday folder, I just write every time I have an idea. And I felt like I'm there. And most are most are terrible, but some are good. And I think it's just like any kind of like creative outlet. You get better as you keep doing it. So I look up a lot to people like, you know, I did get art. I've done this for a while. But I think yeah, just showing up is like the hardest thing to do, but also like the most important thing. Yes.

Noah Rahimzadeh 50:34

Awesome. Awesome. Well, this has been great. flew by I honestly feel like that's awesome.

Mariah Parsons 50:41

Yeah, yeah. No, I was looking at the time was like, Oh, that's

Noah Rahimzadeh 50:45

it. Like, thank you so much, man. And it'd be remiss not to mention too that yeah, I was gonna be on your podcast, the 2% podcast, which is also very, very great. Pretty soon here as well, they might go out before this one.

Mariah Parsons 51:01

I'm not sure it is. Yes, correct. I got those dates locked and loaded. Definitely

Noah Rahimzadeh 51:07

another pod that that all of our listeners should check out because it will definitely be relevant to them. But like, appreciate you making the time man. We know how busy you are. Mariah, thanks so much as well. And I'll see you both very soon.

Blake Imperl 51:22

Awesome. I appreciate you both. This is an amazing podcast. Amazing questions. Yeah, I just can't say enough good things. So I had a great time. This hour flew by. But thank you both. And I'm so excited to also air the episode that we just did with y'all. So much good stuff there too, that we dived into about Malomo. So I'm excited to share that with everyone too. Yes,

Mariah Parsons 51:41

we'll just have to have you back for a third time, but

Blake Imperl 51:45

I'll get the number one spot that that's amazing about Brandon.

Mariah Parsons 51:48

There you go. Yeah, thank you.

Noah Rahimzadeh 51:53

Thanks. Thanks. Thanks, everyone.

Mariah Parsons 51:54

Bye bye.