S3 E13: Breaking down different digital channels with Chelsea Jones & Rachel Saul (Co-Founders, Chelsea & Rachel Co.)


On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Chelsea Jones and Rachel Saul, Co-Founders of Chelsea & Rachel Co, a women-owned agency specializing in eCommerce strategy, UX/UI design & Shopify development. On this episode we specifically talk about:

  • how Chelsea & Rachel started their company and how their professional background influenced how their agency stands out,
  • choosing a subscription program,
  • the biggest trends in ecommerce for 2023 such as serving customers holistically,
  • breaking down different digital channels,
  • understanding the crossover between Amazon and Shopify,
  • & more!

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

Subscribe to Retention Chronicles on Apple Podcasts


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


brands, rachel, subscription, shopify, retention, agency, strategy, amazon, big, people, skiing, founders, grow, talking, business, ecosystem, chelsea, work, rolling, called


Noah Rahimzadeh, Rachel Saul, Mariah Parsons, Chelsea Jones

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:04

Hey retention pros. I'm Noah Rahimzadeh and I lead partnerships here at Malomo. I'm super pumped to continue to chat with ecosystem experts alongside Mariah, 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 they are today.

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:39

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 00:58

Awesome, okay, Chelsea and Rachel, it's been a long time coming. Super excited to have you on the podcast today. For a little bit of context for our listeners, Chelsea and Rachel are of course co founders of the agency Chelsea and Rachel, great partner of ours here at Malomo. We've worked together for for a long time now. But since the first time for since my second week at Malomo. I think we we met and started working together we got to meet live in Vegas for Shop Talk, which was very cool, a great way to kind of kick off the gig and hit the ground running with you both. Super excited to have you on for so many different reasons. One being you're one of a few I think women own Shopify agencies in the space, which is exciting, but a lot of room to grow there, obviously, but really interesting perspective and have just done amazing things with amazing clients. We're onboarding a new joint client right now, which is super exciting. So just a great time all around to have you on really appreciate you taking some time. With that, I want to I want to pass it over to you for intros. And we always like to start our episodes before we get into like the shop talk on the personal side. So with your intros, one or two things that you're excited about in your personal lives would be awesome.

Chelsea Jones 02:23

Love it. Thanks. No, it's great to be here. We so yes, we've been running our agency for eight and a half years now going on nine. And it's been exciting to just see the growth in the space and ecommerce. We love all things in this space. So on a personal note, I'm a very active extreme sport enthusiast. So I take my kids skiing and took them on a double black diamond for the first time last weekend that was really special in the Southern California mountains. And for those skiing snowboarding enthusiasts, I actually snowboard. So I'm still like on a board and they're on skis and spent a lot of fun. But I also just really enjoy when I'm not on my computer to be talking to people and doing things outside fresh air. The beach is a happy place in the mountains. So that's a little bit about me.

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:12

That's amazing. Rachel, before we passed to you, I have so many questions. One. How old? Are your kids doing these double black diamonds on skis?

Chelsea Jones 03:24

Yeah, they're eight and 10 I and like they're with me full time. So it's been a whole adventure of like, oh, what else can we do and push the boundaries on but they're really athletic. And it's been fun to Yeah, just get them on the mountain and try new things.

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:40

How do you like Do you are you going about the same pace like I don't really know what the conversion between snowboarding is and like how that all works going down an insane track like that. So once

Chelsea Jones 03:55

Yeah, well historically, skiers are faster than snowboarders. But I used to race snowboarding and slalom and giant slalom fun fact I was on the shred team in high school. So I did so I actually am pretty fast on a snowboard and so I can I can tread down and like just catch up on different things and it was their first time doing a big like mountain like that like sight it was a small one it was in Southern California wasn't like a big mountain in in Colorado or anything so but they did a great job for us super pressed. Super fun. Awesome.

Mariah Parsons 04:27

I'm so envious that you can snowboard because I grew up skiing and I I always tell myself I'm like all try it out. And I never do. Oh yeah.

Chelsea Jones 04:37

I also love to paddleboard and surf so snowboarding kind of goes with it in that realm.

Mariah Parsons 04:43

Yes, for sure.

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:45

I'm the same way Mariah. I have tried though. I'm actually a little bit different. I have tried and I just, you know,

Mariah Parsons 04:51

not your thing.

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:53

All the way down the mountain with the skiing. But I always enjoy we do a big trip to Brecon reg every year and it's always one of the highlights.

Chelsea Jones 05:02

So I love that Breck is great. It's one of my favorite places.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:05

So cool. So fun, even beyond the skiing. It's amazing. All right, Rachel, pass over to you.

Rachel Saul 05:13

Hi, I'm Rachel. I'm co founder Chelsea Rachel company. And my personal line right now is I have a puppy. Oh my gosh, beautiful dog. And his name is Atlas. And he's five months old. And he's super sweet.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:27


Rachel Saul 05:28

I want to show him off.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:29

How long ago did you get Atlas?

Rachel Saul 05:32

I got Atlas in November of last year. So he's been with us for a few months. And he's so cute. I have a cat too. And they've just become best friends. They play together and they do everything together. So it's been great. And like Chelsea, I have four kids. And it's, it's like really nice to see like when a pet like really makes a good fit into the family. How you know, it's just such a nice addition. So it's been fun to see my kids interact with the dog and the cuddles and and like all the fun things that happen. So he's eating he's eating my hand right now. That's not

Mariah Parsons 06:12

that's not ideal. I'm impressed. Um, my so I had a French Bulldog. Her name was Bree. And then we also had a cat and they did not get along. Like when we were growing up, it took them years for you know it to settle down. So I'm surprised like your your pets are getting along. That's great.

Rachel Saul 06:31

Yeah, um, my, my cat and I are like this, like BFFs. And actually, they're trying to play right, right now together. But I, and that was my biggest concern. Will the dog disrupt my relationship with my cat? Because me and my cat are so close. And I was so surprised. I think it's because of the same size that definitely like the cat doesn't feel as intimidated by the dog, because they're kind of like at the same height. But we'll see. We'll see how it progresses. But so far, so good. They even struggle with each other sometimes that this picture of the two of them both laying in my lap together. Sleeping. It's amazing. So priceless. Yeah, I cried a little bit when it happens.

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:19

Yeah, I feel like that that pet and Kid integration that you've struck. That's just that's jackpot status. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Very cool. Thanks for sharing some some personal life updates. Let's move over obviously, we have to ask about the founding story having the founders with us. So we'd love to move to Chelsea and Rachel here a little bit about what you were doing leading up to co founding the agency together. And then maybe we can get into a little bit about what what makes Chelsey and Rachel unique in the Shopify ecosystem?

Chelsea Jones 07:57

Sure, absolutely. I didn't know we could both jump into this. So I started my background. This is Chelsea on a digital creative front. So my degree from Pepperdine is actually in fine art and multimedia design with a minor. So I focused in the advertising agency around in graphic design and account management and really like seeing like it from a visual standpoint. I got into web development a bit because I wanted my designs to work on line got into Shopify in that ecosystem. And Rachel has a background in digital marketing and strategy worked in advertising realm and agency world as well. We both got pulled in on a project for a startup about nine years ago. And at the time, I was like, Okay, well, like focus on this, we'll get the Shopify site up the design. So I did the logo and the brand and the whole thing. And she focused on the digital marketing and the strategy, and we realized how well we loved working together. And in three weeks time, we launched an entire company, and wow, it starters are like if we can do this, we can do anything.

Noah Rahimzadeh 09:03

That is why I did not I honestly do not know that story. That is crazy. So were you were you working as individual consultants at the time just brought into the project? Or how did that work? Yeah,

Chelsea Jones 09:15

great question. So like, um, like Rachel said, she has four kids and I have to at the time I had a baby and was pregnant with my son and was freelancing at the time being home. And so I just like was saying Rachel had also a collaboration around around being like a freelancer as well. And so we both just got pulled down on this project after being in that the big agency world for a while and moved into Yeah, let's launch this brand. And then we just loved our our brains worked really well uncomplimentary on like oh, the ideas and this and like the components and then how we could launch so it was great.

Noah Rahimzadeh 09:55

Wow, that is a hell of a story. Rachel, would you add anything

Rachel Saul 10:00

Yeah, I mean, I think that I think the key to that story is the fact that, you know, two founders having very complementary skill sets really allows for so much more to happen. And quickly. You know, I think we always get a lot of questions around the business partnership and having co founders and CO CEOs of our company. And so it's a unique situation. But I think one where the fact that our skill sets were not opposite, but just there was barely any overlap. So that allowed for us to really be more holistic in the way that we approached the work that we did from from the very beginning. And that just what gave us the foothold to grow our agency in a way that was very comprehensive is kind of really set us up for what we do best today. And how we've been able to really create this, like World Class way of going about the work that we do for brands.

Noah Rahimzadeh 10:55

Yeah, absolutely, I can see how that would be like very, very mutually beneficial, both to you both, like not getting in each other's hair, but also to clients. Just the balance of the balance of skill sets can be really beneficial. I think. So that's great. I'm curious when you Okay, so you started the company? Like, what was the first thing you did? How did you attract customers? Did you? You know, did you have a customer like another one that you were gonna team up on right away? Or were you just like, Oh, my God, if we can do this project together, we're just gonna go use this as sort of a case study and go go from there, like, what was the what was the go to market when you launched that? That company right away.

Chelsea Jones 11:42

So at the time, I was having a lot of like, freelance requests for web development, and like different brands that needed think. And after Rachel and I did that project together, I was like, why don't we serve brands together? Like, let's like, they need your skills? Let's just do this. Like, what if we started our own piece and agency and she as an entrepreneur was also thinking of these other business ideas at the time. And it was so funny, because the business idea she had was like around a product that we kind of saw on like Shark Tank, basically, that had made it like after that. And the thought was like, Well, why don't we just start serving? And she was like, Okay, what should we call it? I was like, I don't know about Chelsea and Rachel and Vlad company on it. We're a company and it's stuck. And it's been that way, kind of ever since.

Noah Rahimzadeh 12:28

Wow, unreal, unreal story. I love it. I'm curious now, like, fast forward to today. You said that was about nine years ago. Is that right? So, you know, how have things changed today, you obviously have a much bigger team. And I would imagine that your skill sets have had to adjust a lot and grow a lot as you've started to bring on more and more people, more and more brands and a lot of amazing brands in the Shopify ecosystem. So you know, what sort of different today than it was than it was nine years ago? You can't say everything?

Rachel Saul 13:07

Well, I think, you know, there's some, there's always like pivotal moments like in the journey that happen, things that take you to the next level, a lot of things are, you know, we look back, and we had a client that, you know, the way that we looked at it at that point, you know, they they trusted us to do to do this work for them. And this was Bobo's oat bars and that client, and the work that we work with them for, I think, two years, put us on the map, because it was like that moment, which, as you're, as you're an entrepreneur, and you're fully capable of the work that you do, but you're building a business, you know, in going from like zero, negative five to one. There's these moments where it's almost like, the client just puts their faith in you and you're able to show up and do the work and the incredible, like mind and strategy and development work that you know you're capable of. And it just takes you to that next plane. It tells me I'll never forget the ability to work with a brand like Bobo's. And be able to work with them in a phase of their business where they went from small to large, it was so cool to be a part of that. It really was one of those pivotal moments. And then over the years I get you know, those types of experiences continue to come and you know, used to be like every time like oh my god, I love this brand. They eat their food every day or i It's so cool because we have had such an opportunity to work with brands that we personally consume. We eat, we wear we use and there's nothing cooler because not only are we as founders like massive brand fans, it's just ability to like recognize that there's so much more level of impact What we get to do? So, fast forward to today, you know, we have a really strong team, we've been able to develop our development team, we have, we call them wizards. Truly, I think that the most exceptional Shopify developers on the planet, the things they can do front and back end and all around and all different tech stack that we do is our is like our secret sauce for sure. And, and be able to blast strategy team or project management team, out copy creative team, it's really been phenomenal to see what we've been able to develop. And, you know, kind of I personally have had this dream since I was little girl. You know, I think most kids, like when you ask him we would do when you grew up, like, oh, I want to be an astronaut or I want to be a doctor. And they don't really know like, you know, kind of like these ideas. But when I was 10, I, like I want to own advertising agency, like I don't know what was in my head. I would flip through Vogue magazine, and I would just be in enthralled with all of the ads in there. And that's all I wanted to do. I went to college for advertising, like there was nothing else my parents were doctors, it was like the antithesis of the legacy in front of me. And so being able to be in that place. Whereas today, I get to see the childhood dreams come to fruition through a team and in people getting to work on these amazing projects, these smart people that we have around us. It's just really rad. Yeah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 16:34

it is. It is so cool. And I mean, I've I've never met anybody who said at age 10, they wanted to be the same. That is unique, and I'm sure serving you very well, even today. So awesome. Was that? Was that the case? For you? Chelsea, were you were you always into it from the jump? Or did you sort of find out later.

Chelsea Jones 16:56

So I was always an entrepreneur from a kid I age I like did the like probably made the lemonade stands and like all the things from early on. And I was always trying to figure out new ways to problem solve. So like problem solving, like has been like a jam for me early on, but also ways that we could do it within business. So I was always that like, person that would sell all the like cookies at the events or the different, you know, Girl Scout things or all this stuff and just try to figure out what are ways that we can like serve people better. And I was always a curious kid. So I like to figure out new ideas. And I think, you know, my my college reunion, like when I was eight years old, I told my parents I wanted to go to Pepperdine University, because it was in Malibu, and they were like, okay, but I did like I worked really hard and got the scholarships and was able to go and like I think that like to me in that journey also kind of catapulted me to be like, I want to do something in the in the business and creative space. I've always loved the arts. But I was like, how do you make this into into a career and a life journey because you know, most of the artists I knew were dead. So I just Yeah, I positioned into like my, like Rachel and I are very big components of self growth and leveling up personally, as well as professionally and one of the areas that we talk about as a team is like mindset in like your genius zone, like do what you were created to do and do it really well. So our level of standards in our team and in our work has always been like extremely high and excellent because it's how we hold ourselves to that. But I think what I've also learned in this journey is as I've done design and development and stuff, I actually we have much better designers and developers on my team now that I can just communicate and lead and what I love to do. It's talking with the brands, and visioning what that next step is how do we reverse engineer this, what do we do in terms of the action and that bigger vision is like, very exciting to me. And it's so fun to see the growth trajectory of some of these companies on E comm that can go from zero to 100 very fast. And then also the ones that are going slower like we as an agency have grown slower, but we've done it methodically because we want this to be done in a way that's like best in class and also like supports our team and our people without kind of the burnout hustle that's like most in the culture to

Noah Rahimzadeh 19:17

totally when you were talking about that last part and you were talking about methodically growing slowly I went back to what you said just a couple of seconds ago which is like we focus on mindset and and mental health and all that stuff, which I think is pretty unique in today's like hustle culture and very cool like, I think Mariah and I are very lucky that our founders have a very similar mindset. We have a four day work week at Malomo. So we're like technically off on Fridays. It doesn't always work out that way. You know for me, but or Mariah, but it's an option. It's there if we need if we need a long weekend and little things like that go a long way I think so very cool that you've been able to take that approach as well.

Chelsea Jones 19:59

Great. Were the only agency rolling out a four day work week that we know.

Noah Rahimzadeh 20:04

So are you gonna do Friday's off? Is that?

Chelsea Jones 20:07

So same? Yeah, go ahead. Rach can probably talk on it more but same kind of concept of like, let's roll this out and make it where it's effective because we believe that, you know you We are experts in our field. But that takes thinking time, which is emotionally mentally draining at time. So how do we then become our best when we're doing it in a way that is we're actually doing a trial with a company to?

Noah Rahimzadeh 20:30

Oh, cool. So like, somebody's gonna help me like, help you figure out what are the results of this trial period? Is that Is that what the trial is like a trial,

Rachel Saul 20:40

it's actually what the organization called the four day workweek. It's like the official organization, and we're doing a North American pilots program. And it's all science or research based, the entire like thesis around it, and they roll these out in six month increments. And so it's really formulated in a more methodical way. And it's challenging in in the service based industry, how do you do that. But I'm really confident that we have some really simple tactics that are easy to just manage. And I think that, you know, when you're in the business of servicing clients and developing work, there's always a dance to play in terms of leading, and listening. And I think that you know, what the right with the right management, and the right set up for success, then these things are totally possible. I mean, the research says that most people spend 11.2 hours a week on mindless meetings, tasks and unnecessary actions, that's more than one full day of work out the door. So I think it's a really cool mental shift. I'm excited to see what happens as our team gravitates towards it. And, yeah, I mean, we solve lots of complex problems, you know, and our team are rockstars. And in order for us to continue to always perform at the level that we do on a consistent basis and on in a way, that's always excellently we've got to protect our brains in in better ways. So let's just, we'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Noah Rahimzadeh 22:23

For sure. Super curious. If you have like, the results that we saw, we started with a trial as well. It was, I think it was six months Mariah.

Mariah Parsons 22:33

So it was yeah, it was we had a one month trial in September, and then we went to a six month trial. And then now we've completely rolled it out. But I'm very glad we're talking about this, because I think 40 workweek might have, like shouted us out on LinkedIn, or like commented on our post, when we first announced it or something like I know, it sounds really familiar. And I remember when we first announced it as a company, like just helping with the blog post, or the press release, whichever we did. And there was like that still, to this day is like one of our most trafficked pages. And it just like, everyone is super interested in our approach. And like, we've gotten brands of ours who will reach out to us and be like, Hey, we're actually thinking about rolling this out, like, Do you have any documentation around it that would help us and we rarely get to talk about it on the podcast. So it's super interesting, but I remember my, like, my viewpoint and my perspective shifting because a lot of people obviously were like asking you about it, and it's not that you're doing like, less work. It's just you're doing more efficient work, like you're just using your time better. And I think that's something that is like always stuck by where it's like, especially my friends who are like, Oh my God, you're off on Fridays, like work is like not hard. And I'm like, well, let's like through that first second because like you're grinding on the other four days, right? And like sometimes whatever you're working on those Fridays, but it's it's also a great relief at the end of the week to know like, Okay, I'm going to work really hard I'm not going to just be on my laptop wasting 45 minutes at the end of the day, because like, I'm going to start this huge project. I'm not going to start at the end of the day, right like just hold off until tomorrow. So I love that you guys are rolling it out that's that's so fun.

Noah Rahimzadeh 24:23

I know for us like we've seen the results we saw to like convince our leadership team to keep it rolling was like insane productivity increases everybody reported feeling like way better about work life balance. For me it's funny because when now our CEO is trying to get me to come over and obviously successfully did he was selling me hard on four day work week and I'm like, Man, I will not use that like I'll be working every Friday it's not even a selling point. And that but now like which is true most most Fridays I work but it is so nice not to have like the constant slack. You know? Yeah, it's it's Okay, just work on Friday that you work a couple hours and get a ton done because there are no calls on the calendar. And it's a great time to sort of work on your own time and at your own pace. And it's, it's been awesome. So very curious to hear how it goes for your team, hopefully very similar to us. Okay, we've we talked about like a ton of these things. But I'm curious. I always like to ask, you know, with the 1000s of new agency entrants every day, it seems like in the Shopify ecosystem, like I said, you've talked about a couple of them already, I think, how would you both say, Chelsea and Rachel is differentiated from some of the others in the space?

Chelsea Jones 25:43

I love this question so much, because I think yeah, there's all kinds of people out there and say that they do similar things, what really makes us different, is our approach to e commerce is holistic by nature. So we are strategy leads into good UX UI design leads into good development. And we are collaborators. So we are the agency for you, if you want collaboration, you want to learn together in taking you on this journey, and you want a best in class result where you don't have to feel like where's the people? Or what are they like? Where's the communication in the structure on that, like, we are humans talking to humans, but we are experts in the tech space to help you make those decisions that will ultimately grow your brand.

Noah Rahimzadeh 26:22

Amazing. You feel like you've said that before? It was

Mariah Parsons 26:27

so good. Very good. I

Noah Rahimzadeh 26:29

love it. I love it a lot of passion behind it, too. I think, Rachel, you are gonna say something.

Rachel Saul 26:35

Yeah, I mean, I think one thing that really sets us apart is the fact that we just stay in our lane, we keep our nose down. And we work like we're, we're not very concerned about what others are doing that are similar to us, we just do the work that we do really well. And we do it by our rules. You know, we're not trying to take someone else's model or anything like that. We're all self starters. And we're all incredibly talented, smart individuals. And we're all experts in the in the roles that we that we play at the agency. So we really lean into that. And I think because of that our results are so good. And the fact that we are such a strategy focused agency, and everything that we do is also really key because there are things that we develop and creates, that are just locked into very specific philosophies that we hold to the agency that are very key to just, you know, focusing on direct to consumer optimization, like I always say, you know, we are all we focus on optimizing your direct to consumer destination, that you can focus on sending qualified traffic, and all of the other things that you do to bring people to the store, let us optimize that experience, whether it's conversion, revenue, retention, all of that. That's really the core we do. And it's all strategy lead. And so I think that says it sets us apart a lot as well.

Noah Rahimzadeh 28:07

I would agree. And I think that that the lesson in there of like, control what you can control, focus on yourself, focus on what you're good at, can certainly be applied, I know actually, that it can be applied to, to us to, you know, every other app in the Shopify ecosystem, because there's so like, just like there's, you know, 1001 agencies, there's just as many if not more apps, and like, right now, it seems like there's just just as much if not more order tracking apps. And, you know, we're constantly fighting competitive pressures, but at the same time, like, we, I think we do our best work. And we, we have our heads on the most straight, when we're just focused on like, what we can control and being as best as we can, and what we know we're good at, I think that's a unique approach for agencies, especially ones who are like looking to grow. Because it's probably really hard to do. Like, frankly, there's, you know, we before we started recording, we were talking about travel and seeing all of these different agencies and, you know, competitors out there at these events we're going to be at. And so I just think that I totally agree, Rachel, like that is a very unique and awesome approach to sort of differentiation.

Chelsea Jones 29:22

I would say on that Noah, the real big thing that's very different about us. Like we just have a really cool group of people, like we become friends with the brands that we work with, you know, like there's something to be said about working with experts, but also like, up leveling your team and liking who your partners are. Like, I think that's really key.

Noah Rahimzadeh 29:40

For sure. And when you I'm curious on that note, like, I would imagine that you get a lot of inbound requests, you probably do some outbound as well. How like, what sort of what sort of merchants are you looking to looking to take on at Chelsea and Rachel, like, what's a really good fit for you?

Chelsea Jones 29:57

Yeah, it's such a great question. We've done A lot of research but our best fit are, are in one of two camps. They're either an emerging brand or venture backward. They want like experts to help them launch out really well, like we just launched a new to world product for elevate you, which is Steve Harvey's brand. And they scaled really quickly. So we can build out all the ecosystem on Shopify Plus and like what they need. The other is an established brand, or one that's newer to direct to consumer as a sales channel that wants to elevate their brand. So whether they're doing new packaging or new branding or new something, and they want to go from a JV to varsity level, and they know that direct to consumer is the route that they want to go, we're really good fit for that. So really educating on that we're, we've become experts in all things subscription, and even in migration to Shopify Plus, so if they're looking at any of those rounds, that's like our GM. And we're really good at like helping those brands grow in those ways. But a lot of brands that do like to work with us for a long time, are more in that like retainer growth model of like we're executing strategy and development for them on a continual basis, as opposed to just projects.

Noah Rahimzadeh 31:05

And as part of that strategy, I assume that means like growth as well, it's not necessarily just web development, because you talked about the subscription side, right.

Chelsea Jones 31:16

Yeah. Rachel, Dr. Strategy.

Rachel Saul 31:18

Yeah, we love to create subscription programs, or models of recurring revenue, whether it's membership or something along those lines. subscription is something that's been at the core of our agency for years, and we've been able to, you know, put up some really amazing subscription programs for brands who are of all different kinds, you know, whether it's food and beverage, or wellness or even beauty, being able to work with brands to really create some really specific strategies for subscription to hit KPI. So using data and using, you know, some of the metrics that we have access to and looking at whether LTV goals that they have for you, whether it's repeat purchase behavior, or subscriptions, lifetime value, putting in place a lot of strategies that help them to achieve that, besides just a vanilla standard subscription program. And so that's another area of the DTC world that we've truly mastered my opinion.

Noah Rahimzadeh 32:20

Yeah, speaking of new entrants, all the time, the subscription, the subscription category seems to get a new solution, you know, weekly, what, what platforms or platform Do you prefer? And why? And have you looked into any of the new entrants?

Rachel Saul 32:39

Yeah, so it's a great question. We are premiere partners with recharge, and we've been working with recharge for a number of years. But and recharge has a phenomenal platform. They have an extensive API, they have a theme engine, customer portal that's fully customizable. There's so many in they've just released a whole lot of new features rolling out in q1 q2 of this year, which really create the experiences that we do that are very custom, more accessible to merchants, which is really cool. It's great innovation for the platform. But we do also work with other subscription platforms, it really is, it's really what the brands are most interested in. What I love about the Shopify checkout integration, is that now no matter what these subscription program comes out, that what they do is essentially the same. It's all unified at this point. And so you're just really looking at, you know, what are some of the ancillary features that a subscription program might have that could benefit the brands, and, you know, it's all different, um, a couple of the ones that we do like are smarter SEO redirection, which is, I think, now called CI now, but um, those ones you want to look for ones that have proven themselves in the marketplace, have features that are maybe extending beyond just repeat purchase payment processing, on subscription contracts, essentially, that's what it is. But there's some cool things, some, some are integrating some rewards and loyalty features, and we're integrating from SKU swapping. There's some really neat, really neat stuff happening in this description of space right now.

Noah Rahimzadeh 34:19

Yeah, I want to I want to stay on it for just one at least one more question. Sorry. Because I know it's sort of a core offering for you. And you have a unique perspective on it standing it up for a ton of the largest brands in the ecosystem. What you know, when I think about subscription, I think about it at the highest level, it's a subscription program, you opt in and like now you get this thing or these things every month or whatever the the timeline is, like, what do brands miss when they think through that? What is like a couple of things that can make your subscription program stand out. Want to get a little bit tactical here?

Rachel Saul 34:58

Sure. So Like, I think that the first thing that should go out the door is assumptions. A lot of times brands think they assume what their customers want. They assume frequency options, they assume quantity selections, they assume product mixes, they assume price differences, they, there's a lot of assumptions that go in because a subscription platform is like set it like this, set it and forget, it is totally non existent is not something that we ever, that we really advise against, because you'll you'll never grow a program that way. So I think it's really becoming very intentional beat this kind of as an overarching theme in any type of DTC like strategies. Just think like your customer is actually really simple. Like don't like take off your marketing hat or your founder hat or your, you know, operations hat and just be your customer and think about the things that your customer truly actually wants. A subscription model might not be the answer. And that's okay. Because you know what, there's some really cool other, like suggestions out there that are helpful people, just because they're not on subscription doesn't mean they want to purchase your product again, and again. And again, it's just, they prefer to do it on their own terms. And so that's where things like membership might be a better viable option that allows for you to create a quarterly fee or an annual fee that someone pays for. And with that they get subscription, like discounts on every product that they purchase, whether it's frequently or it's one time, whatever it is, or even thinking about things like there's a cool app called get repeat, where it's an AI driven messaging platform that says based on your past purchase history, it recognizes that in about 35 days, Rachel, do you want more midday squares? Or no, I don't, you know, like it's more AI driven. I think those types of things is the next level of of retention across DTC is really making sure that you are not thinking that you know, every answer, you're really listening to your customers, and you're really crafting those journeys that reflect exactly what your customer wants.

Noah Rahimzadeh 37:11

mazing that led me right to the next question, which is more about retention overall. You just gave a couple of really awesome use cases. Is there anything else top of mind before we move into to trends? Because I want to get your your thoughts on that as well. Overall, regarding retention that you think a lot of brands don't think about or miss? Or are there specific apps like a get repeat who we've, we've spoken with recently as well, that brands should be considering when they're thinking about retention in the new age when it's so important, more important than ever, probably right to keep your customers that you acquire for these ungodly costs.

Rachel Saul 37:54

Well, I think that if I were to tack on another tool in the toolbox that we love, and I think it's important because it's another tool to think about differently, is the use of an app or tap cart, you know, Shopify stores, because you're able to use a channel, specifically for retention. And it's intentional. And you're able to curate experiences, and releases and sales and drops on a channel like that, to actually increase LTV. So it's not necessarily a top of funnel strategy, people are going to download an app for your store, they're going to be repeat purchasers. And the reason to download needs to be really incentivizing for them. But what an amazing way to curate an experience and I mean, tap cart, their, their your push notifications are free those like you're not paying for text messaging, and they've opted in, and so they just get them on their phone. So I think is a really amazing tool to do that. And we've been able to do some pretty neat things with some of our brands. And one of our strategies this year in 2023 is really increasing personalization across all channels that we're working on. And then, you know, I think there's a lot of really cool things in the mobile space with personalization that can really, you know, increase retention.

Noah Rahimzadeh 39:17

Yeah, that's, that's awesome, because we haven't heard that or I don't think we haven't heard the tap current use case is something that can stick out for retention. But I've spoken with the tap car team very recently, and we're kinda ideating some some joint value prop. So it's top of mind for me. And I love that answer. Moving on, more broadly to 2023 trends, there's a ton going on in our space right now. I was I know that you work with a lot of, you know, more upmarket bigger brands, venture backed all that good stuff. So I'm curious to get your thoughts on what you think the biggest trends of the year are. I've seen recently like I think today or this week Shopify just released like 100 new features or something insane like that. Like, I can't imagine having to keep up with that, which I'm sure you both have to do all the time. I mean, not as much components was launched earlier this year for for enterprise merchants, and I'm sure that is on your mind. So what are you thinking about in terms of the way the world is going in the Shopify ecosystem? What's going to stick out and be? You know, big, big trends to look out for this year?

Chelsea Jones 40:29

Well, I think Shopify made it really clear they're going after retail in a very big way. So the the big components of that is literally the components announcement was to go after larger retail think the mall companies of the worlds that malls are starting to disintegrate or become more boutique key, how do we then have the online sales channel really like rev with that I think there's always going to be a place for in store shopping. But now the online experience has to match and even evolved better. So it's that much more of how do we make Shopify ecosystem and online web presence that much more to impact in store brands and sales? We see this a lot when it comes to some of the features they've rolled out with shop pay. So like the single click Checkout, a lot of the ability to now explore other brands through this, what does it look like to have tracking authorized and like two day delivery or less, you know, are a lot of the things that we've seen in the ecosystem of online sales. Now Shopify is gearing up to make available for that much more. So I would say, as far as trends go for the platform itself, it's more so in to this space of like, we're in 2023, brands need to not only have to have an online presence, but they have to optimize it. And if they're not, they're not going to be in existence in the next, you know, 510 years. So it's that much more of like, what platform are they actually due to and on there's other platforms in the space like Magento, and Salesforce commerce and a lot of things that can really get traction, but where Shopify has, is really taking a stake in this they say they're 10% of all e commerce sales in the US right now is they're going to, to service more of these brands and retail and those that have a storefront.

Noah Rahimzadeh 42:14

Right? How like, I'm curious how you think or how brands currently are thinking about the omni channel approach, and especially for a brand diving into the E commerce side of the business for the first time traditionally been in, you know, brick and mortar retail, like, is the idea that you sort of mimic the exact same experience online that you have in the store, which I imagine is really hard to do. Is this an opportunity to sort of, you know, brand, refresh and do something cool and unique in your online presence? Like, how do you think brands should? should think about that? Like taking that big step?

Chelsea Jones 42:52

Yeah, I love this conversation. Because to me, Omni channel became the trendy buzzword from bunch of marketers, but the reality is when it comes to business, and when it comes to like retail itself, it's it's been trying to figure out how do we make this more accessible online, because historically, retail brands, it was the lion's share of, you know, the foot traffic. So I think exactly what you were saying, you have to be a lot more innovative. And you have to be a lot more creative on how you're presenting your brand that much more online. Because your consumer buyers expect that right? It's a perfect example is like Apple and Apple products right now, so many of us have iPhones and you get used to the updates in the user experience like on a massive scale. But the apple.com website is very different on your desktop versus your mobile. And it was done that intentionally you have to have a simplistic user experience design for how you're working on mobile versus how you're working on desktop, etc. And I think retail, it's the same way how your storefront needs to reflect and your mobile needs to reflect in your desktop, but it has to be positioned to your customer at that buying path right there. So to make it easier, and to make it like in flow. That's what I think is top of mind for a lot of these brands looking at omni channel, it's less about the term omni channel as it is about how do we really serve customers holistically in this and then have it simple to check out whether it's on our store in our site, you know, on our mobile device, all of that should be connected and should be more seamless. So it's more of like how are these channels becoming simplified and more seamless?

Noah Rahimzadeh 44:19

Yeah, yeah, I love that Apple example. Because I'm like thinking through putting in a support request for my air pods. And it's like, I know exactly what you're saying. I was back and forth between the computer and the mobile experience. And that's not top of mind. Like you don't a lot of times you don't even realize it right, because they do such a good job making it seamless in between the different interfaces. Rachel, would you add anything to trends?

Rachel Saul 44:44

Yeah, I think that there should be a breaking down between different digital channels for brands. So I know that for example, like you've got your DTC store, you got your Amazon business, you have your marketplace business and a lot of them We operate very independently of one another. But there's things like Amazon and Shopify, that there's such a connection between the buyer in those two platforms. And there should be an understanding and a breaking down of walls between both of those two core channels specifically, because what we've seen with our brands who are stealing both DTC and Amazon, is that there is a crossover journey that exists in there, if they're paying, you know, if you're buying ads for Amazon, and you're buying ads for the Shopify store. And we're already dealing with blended blended metrics at this point, there's like a, there should also be a consideration of blending the, the interpretation of the data between Amazon and Shopify because they, they're they early are kind of working in conjunction with one another. So for example, we've seen that, you know, the first time purchase for a product will probably most happen if live if it lives on Amazon, search for an Amazon and perhaps bought, they're just whether they want to try it, they want the two day shipping, they want like the really loose commitment, and very unbranded experience. But then as they take as they get the product, and there's more to it, there's more versions or more flavors, or are like there's a series of things that go along with it. They're brought into the brand, because where do they find that information on the direct to consumer website. And so you've got this crossover of shopper. And there's also this understanding that the shopping buying patterns for a single person are very diversified, based on needs based on what is shopped for, like I Chelsea knows, I am a serial online shopper. I call it research. That's what I do,

Noah Rahimzadeh 46:47

order to the car.

Rachel Saul 46:49

But there's but I'm so fixated on the ways of understanding how brands are communicating the journey. What do I get? What is my experience is all the things I'm learning. And as much as I am a brand fan shopping directly on their websites. I am also a really big Amazon shopper, too. And so it just is understanding that there should be a breaking down of Kenny's preconceived ideas. The channels are exclusive to one another, I think that they're very much more so connected. In many ways.

Noah Rahimzadeh 47:22

This will show my ignorance, I'm sure but like, I think a big gripe about Amazon is the lack of data that you're able to pull out of it as a brand. Is there. Do you have any strategies for how brands can start thinking about like, leveraging Amazon for more tailored experiences or the whatever data there that is available? Being able to identify that traffic and target them in unique ways?

Chelsea Jones 47:48

So it's interesting you say that, yes, Amazon locks it down for a reason. Right? So are we actually have a good relationship with a partner agency that only does Amazon called elevate in some of our cross brands, like they work on keywords, and there's and then we focus on the keyword strategy for their SEO and their growth on their data on their Shopify. So it's, instead of the mindset of thinking of it as competition, you need to think of it as how does we all rise together. So there are things that impact both, even as consumers we can buy on Amazon or buy direct from brands, but your brand loyalists, the ones that are buying on your Shopify site that are in your ecosystem, you get not only more data, you can test out more features, you can do more specific specific things as a brand rollout or VIP that you can't do on Amazon. So the goal with Amazon is, is interest and then the goal of your Shopify site should be more depth and content and becoming the expert in that space for owning that. But the keywords can cross there's a lot of things that you can collaborate on. And a well rounded brand that wants to grow usually has a position on both and they have strategies around both to scale but they should be talking to one another.

Noah Rahimzadeh 49:00

Got it. Wow. This hour flew by like looking at the clock. How did we get through this hour so quickly? Super awesome. Thank you so much. Incredible, incredible insights, some tactical stuff, which is always really really great for the listeners, before we before we send you to your one o'clock and four o'clock depending on where you are. Give us one or two things that's helped you throughout your career. So you've had an amazing run so far, only only up from here as well. So what is one or two things that that you both have sort of leaned on that you want to share with our audience?

Chelsea Jones 49:44

I mean, my gut reaction first off says you can't do it alone. You need to have mentors you need to have people in this space to learn from you need to have a growth mindset yourself to like always be up leveling and learning. Ecommerce is a rough industry. Like you have to be on your game to want to learn and want to grow And then I think, to for us, it's been adaptable to change, like we kind of say this flex powder, right, like change is gonna happen, but it's more so how you show up and be human in the midst of it. But I know for myself and in our growth in our, in our company has has really been a lot of that, like hard stuffs gonna happen. It's how we show up each day that matters.

Rachel Saul 50:22

Love that. And I mean, I think too, you know, I think, in EECOM in, in being founders and all of the things that come along with that, just knowing that, one, I'm alive. There's always been better that's more important than, than business, right? There's life and there's, there's, there's joy, there's family, there's all these things, and try to stay grounded in those things for the good and the bad. You know, I think that the last few years, I think for many, many people, it has been a real sense of like heaviness and burden and burnout across the board. And I've had reminders for myself to remember to lock in on the things that really matter most. And those aren't the things that are annoying or hard or difficult in business or just small potatoes some days to the things that are more important in life. So perspective,

Noah Rahimzadeh 51:20

how it's come full circle, we started talking about mindset and mental health and all that stuff and wrapping it up with that it's super important to us Malomo And top of mind, for many, I think in our space because everything is moving so fast. And I swear I get like brain zaps because of it. So it's very, very important. I love that. Thank you so much for coming, Rachel and Chelsea switching up the you know, the order there, but really appreciate it. This was an awesome episode. And I know our listeners will love it too. So thanks again.

Rachel Saul 51:59

Thank you so much for having us. Really appreciate it. Thank you guys.