S4 E1: Why SMS is well positioned to retain customers with Mahdi Mahil (Partner Manager of Ecosystems at Attentive)


On this first episode of Season 4 of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Mahdi Mahil, Partner Manager of Ecosystems at Attentive. Mahdi, Mariah, and Noah discuss:

  • building long term relationships with customers and building out partnerships at Attentive,
  • how the SMS landscape has changed over the past 6 years and recognizing the potential of SMS,
  • how tech partners smooth out the rest of the customer journey,
  • adapting to customer demands,
  • how the Attentive team focuses on innovation,
  • deliverability, and compliance,
  • how SMS as a channel is well positioned to retain customers,
  • frictionless customer account creation, and more!

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.


sms, attentive, customers, brands, platform, shopify, people, good, experience, partners, merchants, space, retention, build, product, clients, podcast, day, new york, hear


Mariah Parsons, Mahdi Mahil, Noah Rahimzadeh

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.

Mahdi Mahil 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.

Mahdi Mahil 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

Mahdi Mahil 00:58

Welcome to season four. We are super super pumped to have the inaugural episode here be with my Hedy mohill. Attentive, we've been working together for quite some time. And it was only right to have him on the pod. We also have a lot of exciting partnership, things going on with the tenant right now. So yeah, like I said, just really excited to have a tenant represented especially by my heavy who has become a buddy and also joined today by Mariah so Hey, everyone. Thanks for Thanks for hopping on today. Thanks for having me. Yeah, I'm excited to be here.

Mariah Parsons 01:42

Yeah, first episode super excited. You know, kicking off the season four. Great to be here.

Mahdi Mahil 01:47

It's an honor to be in the season premiere. That's like usually the most watched episode of the season. So yeah, I think we even bumped you up. Right? Like we were like, dude, yes. Yeah, gotta record sooner. So we can we can have you be first. That's what you do. Yeah, that's wild. Mariah that we are on Season Four right now.

Mariah Parsons 02:07

I know. I know. When I was making the episode for yesterday. I was like, Oh my God. Like I kind of forgot. I started last week, but I was like, because usually for the end of the season, we'll have like a recap Episode One for the brand side. And then one or brand side and then one for the partner side. Yeah. So I was like, making it I was like, oh my god, it doesn't doesn't feel real that that was already a whole season went by. We have now. Yeah, another one to kick off, but it's exciting.

Mahdi Mahil 02:39

So another one had a thank you again, man. We you know the drill because I know that you've listened to a couple of these but we like to kick off before the all the talking shop with one or two things that you're excited about in your personal life. So it's summertime in New York, where you are jealous that we're here in Indianapolis. I was just talking to a buddy about a week long trip to New York this summer. Sometimes you need to do it. At least for a weekend and I will let you know ahead of time. But yeah, you know if it makes you feel any better. Summer in New York, you can smell the city before you see how jealous you actually have to be the rats are a little braver. The city has officially lost that fight there. Which, you know, they're they're they're they're New Yorkers now. They they run the city. We're just their guests here. But ya know, come on over New York is great in the summer. This is where everything happens.

Mariah Parsons 03:41

I'll have to have to ask Are you born and raised in New York?

Mahdi Mahil 03:45

No, no, I am born and raised a good 6000 miles east of New York I'm actually suited but I've come on transplanted here not via Ellis Island but you know JFK security line same thing.

Mariah Parsons 03:59

Yeah, they're terrible. Anyways, I asked because I am from New Jersey so very familiar with New York and summers in New York. Perfectly.

Mahdi Mahil 04:09

We don't love Jersey drivers but we love Jersey jersey is great. And they have the best view in the world. They get to see New York.

Mariah Parsons 04:15

Exactly. Yep, yep, there it is from the beach. I grew up going to you can see the Manhattan skyline that's like I mean an hour boat ride by ferry. so iconic. Very, very realistic. Yep. That's the only reason jersey is good, you know is

Mahdi Mahil 04:31

is that you get to see, you get you get a cheaper version of New York like close by. And when the smell gets too bad, you just hop over the Hudson. I mean, what more do you want?

Mariah Parsons 04:42

Yeah, great small town vibes, you know, ride your bikes,

Mahdi Mahil 04:46

lots of areas.

Mariah Parsons 04:49

All the good stuff.

Mahdi Mahil 04:50

I kind of talked about what I'm excited about, which is coming to New York this summer. But my head tell us Oh, you know, this is the best medium to do this, I actually do have a podcast that I have not released an episode for quite some time. And so I'm hoping to achieve the consistency which you guys have built here. I am going to hopefully start releasing episodes soon. That will be my season two, maybe not season four. But who knows? Yeah, maybe I'll have you on as a guest to talk about something other than E commerce. Maybe I cover news, world news and entertainment, which is great business, politics and entertainment, all that you need to know. And I'm hoping to do them in like 30 minute bites, so that people can listen to it's NPR only a lot more unprofessional. And you get to hear me instead of all the great journalists who actually studied journalism. Yeah, it's like, I'm just another dude with a with a podcast.

Mariah Parsons 05:48

You got to make it spicy. You know?

Mahdi Mahil 05:49

You got Yeah, I gotta I gotta make it spicy. I gotta I gotta be a hack, and interject wildly uninformed opinions. But hey, that's what makes it entertaining. But I'm excited. Yeah, I'm excited to get started again. And I'm hoping this time. I could I could do it for the long haul. For sure. I already have the mic.

Mariah Parsons 06:05

Yeah. That's the biggest hurdle, right? You need a season four, or season two to get to season four, though. So you're already on your way. I'm on season

Mahdi Mahil 06:13

four. And I don't even have a mic. So listen, you already have a fire premiere episode. You've set the bar high. No, I need I need I need something to top that. That's right.

Mariah Parsons 06:23

We can just end it here. This can be the full episode short.

Mahdi Mahil 06:26

We've checked out my head his podcast, what's it called? What's it called? It's called breaking the net? Only thing I'm breaking is dozens of people's earphones currently, but I'm hoping to expand that to hundreds.

Mariah Parsons 06:39

I love it. Yeah. Big goals, big goals, big goals.

Mahdi Mahil 06:43

Is there like? Is that like whatever's in the news that week? Or are there specific topics that you're more passionate about? And talk about on a recurring basis? Like how do you decide what the content is going to be for the week? Yeah, no, that's actually an excellent question. So if there's like a huge breaking line story, then I'll probably want to cover it for the week. But most of it is recurring news stories that happen. I mean, you know, a news story doesn't just stop in maybe our attention span is that short, but it doesn't just stop in that week. It's usually part of a bigger story that's happening. And so I tried to, like cover those and give updates on them. You know, in the past, I've had New York Times Wall Street Journal and Washington Post journalists, the head of some think tanks come on. And they like, you know, some of these journalists been covering the same stories for years, if not decades, right. Some of them have like these amazing contacts and sources just built over a lifetime of, you know, reporting. And I've been able to talk to them about some of the work that they've been doing. And you know, these stories are never ending. They've been reporting on those same things. But new things happen. And so yeah, I'll cover like a little bit of these things like what the public needs to know, maybe. And by the public again, I mean, my dozens and dozens of listeners who may expand again to like hundreds now that I've announced this on your podcasts, so yeah. Let's hope we'd love to help you with that, man. Very cool. Excited to check out season two of that. I don't really watch the news, because it's so depressing. So I don't know how much value I can add. But I will definitely check it out. And ya know, for sure. Good way to stay up to date without having to watch the news. Yeah, I read all the depressing headlines. So you don't have to that's

Mariah Parsons 08:29

that's what I need to I'm the same way.

Mahdi Mahil 08:31

Yeah, that's my page. I delivered her in bite size, sound bites. And so you listen to it and you feel just as bouncy as you were. Maybe I'm a little bit gloomy, but that's fine. That's a sacrifice. Yeah. Sacrificing for the greater good over there. Sacrifice is such a martyr. Okay, so we need you. Yeah, we obviously now you're at attentive. But tell us a little bit about the career today and your current role. And then we'll get into attentive as a platform and a company. Sure thing. Yeah. So I started working at attentive for at almost three years now. It's gonna be three years this fall. And I started as part of the sales team. And then I moved on to partnerships, just because I love talking to people. And I love investing in long term relationships. I think that's that's a skill that's often underrated. And I think, you know, partnerships team at every organization, whether I mean, luckily, at attentive, we have some bite, and we've been able to make a splash, but a lot of organizations, they're an essential team, but they're often misunderstood. No one can tell you outside of the partnerships team. Well, partnerships does. And that intrigued me. I'm a person who loves asking questions. And so I joined the partnerships team. I joined the tech partner side where we handle integrations. I manage partners, like Malomo, mostly in the Shopify and Bigcommerce ecosystems. I also have a number of SI Partners who do a lot of development in those ecosystems. And so yeah, it's fun. I get to make friends who live in Indianapolis and who will hopefully one day take me to the Indy 500. And hint. But yeah, it's been great because you know, with with companies like attentive the growth spurt, that happened during the pandemic was really something to behold, right. I think when I joined the company, I was employee number 400. And now we are at 1100. Total headcount. And that's incredible, and almost nothing to the increase, we've seen in the usage of the platform, the changes that have happened to the platform itself, the number of new partners that we've on boarded the number of really gracious that we've launched. And so it's like been being on a rocket ship. And, you know, I can confidently say, I probably will not experience something like this in my career, again, unless I'm very, very, very fortunate, you know, these things come once in a lifetime. But it's great. And I love that I started partnerships at a company like attentive because the product is very, very good, makes it easy to have. Yeah, product good. Also, just like, I feel like the attentive ethos is very partner first, like a lot of yes, the strategy of attentive and like, focusing on one core channel that you sort of build the rest of the platform around, that being SMS has lended itself probably really nicely to tech partners, specifically, because, you know, you have to fill you have to fill feature gaps outside of your core platform. And like, what better way to do that with partners who are already Best In Breed at what they do, and really, really, really focused on that. Right. Any like, thoughts on that? Would you agree? Yeah, no, I would 100% agree. You know, if you've ever sat down and attentive demo pitch, we we start telling you about like our attentive history, and part of the reason we include that is because it's important to understand how widely the landscape has changed in just six, seven years, right? When attended first started doing SMS. People didn't know what SMS was right. The last they'd heard of SMS was sometime in the 2000s. Back when it was, you know, a part of a bundle she'd see on ads for Ryzen, at&t, like pay this much. And you get this many minutes and this many text messages, a lot of people didn't have understand the channel and understand the potential of the channel. There were not a lot of SMS players in this space, there were a few very clunky enterprise solutions. And so attentive really filled the gap there in conversational commerce for and provided a way for merchants directly reach their customers, which wasn't something that I think we've had experience with, you know, asides from the telemarketing of the 90s, I think. And so part of the success of attentive and the longevity of it, asides from the platform is exactly that. It understood the space and understood the need that it needed to fill. But it also understood that while we do SMS very well, that in itself is not alone, to satisfy like our customers and make our customer enjoy a very, or at least like the end consumer enjoy a very smooth shopping journey. And so that's where our tech partners come in, right, they help complement the attentive solution, which is a powerful solution on its own. But with a lot of our tech partners, a lot of our integration partners, it becomes a stickier solution. And it also solves for more problems, right? It solves for more use cases, and also innovates, the way that marketers think about, hey, how am I approaching my customer, right? We are just stuffing suffice to say we are like a far ways away from the pray and spray days of it and see who converts, right. And a lot of those tech partnerships. And a lot of times we did look at our for, to our tech partners for you know, product development roadmaps just because they're also in the same space, and they all filled with specific product niches, and they all solve for specific problems like Malomo. And having those solutions speak to attentive and having those platforms work together. So seamlessly, not only benefits the consumer, but it's also slowly changing the way we do ecommerce. It's changing the way people shop is changing the expectations of people when they shop and it's changing the way that brands are talking to their customers, right? We don't depend on billboards anymore. It's mostly digital nowadays. But even in the digital space, like the competition for the inbox is so fierce, you have to find ways to innovate and those who innovate, survive, and those who don't fall by the wayside. And I think that's what's so exciting about our space is that companies like attentive and Malomo are constantly innovating, right? The Malomo of 2023 is probably not going to be the Malomo of 2024. Right there probably be changes the attentive of 2023 is not going to be the attentive of 2024 there are going to be changes there. And that's just part of anticipating and adapting to customer demands, making sure that they have a good user experience overall. Yes, yeah, I'm excited. We're gonna be releasing our SMS capabilities pretty soon and that's going to be really tight. I'm just kidding. Let's say God, we have Yeah, he has been thrown a kick off season for support. But you know, competition. I mean, it's part of the space competition is a thing. It exists at the brand and merchant level. It exists at the tech platform level. For a consumer, it's good because it offers choice. And, you know, part of our job is to educate them like, Hey, this is how we're different. This is how our solution is superior. Here's how it can solve your solution, your problem differently than than other solutions. And, you know, the the choice is up to them. But competition is healthy, it keeps you spray. Yeah, absolutely. Is

Mariah Parsons 15:20

it fun, you know, gives us something to talk about in the podcast, of course.

Mahdi Mahil 15:26

Ya know, I know that I know that all too well, like I was at airship a couple couple jobs before this, which, you know, we integrated with Salesforce, but Salesforce also had basically like a much lighter weight, you know, very similar solution. So we were very much frenemies on that regard. We were also partnered with a tenant, then, you know, we built an A lightweight SMS solution that wasn't anywhere near attendance capabilities. But we partnered, but luckily, we're not going to have that problem with Malomo and attentive this time around, but it is, it is an interesting balance the whole idea of like, partners who are frenemies, and figuring out, you know, how you go to market around that. I'm an optimist, I will say this, there is like always a ray of sunlight. Because despite the competition, the end goal is to provide a good experience for your customers. And, you know, even if even if, even if you're competitive with someone, you know, at the end of the day, that overarching goal, that ultimate goal is gonna make you work together, and you can make it work and we've made it work. You've made it work. Yeah, more than most, I would say at a tentative and in a better sort of, we believe in partnerships. Yeah, you don't have to convince me, man. Let's take a step back. I know that you just talked a lot about it. But at a high level, for those who don't like no attentive most well, probably 99% of the listeners, can you just give like the high level, the high level 10 of pitch and overview. And then talk a little bit about how it's differentiated. Because to your point, you know, there are new SMS products popping up every day, some, you know, core SMS, others being added on, you know, SMS offerings being added on to legacy solutions that didn't always play in the SMS space. So what love like the high level overview and what sort of makes a tenant differentiated? Yeah, sure, thanks. So at a high level overview, assuming that you don't work in the E commerce space, attentive is an SMS first marketing platform, we also do email that allows you to connect you as a merchant being allows you to connect to your customers, we mostly work within the b2c space or b2c space, so direct to consumer space. We work with a lot of verticals, from fashion and apparel to retail, beauty, health and wellness, FMB entertainment and media, we're starting to break into some new verticals as well. Basically, any company that requires communic communication with its customers, attentive is the solution for you. And we do that by SMS messages. we've perfected this over the 8000 clients that we work with. So we've perfected our approach, we've had a lot of learnings. You know, in the olden days, we've made mistakes we've learned from them. And we've really focused on building one a robust platform, but to a service level offering that really supports the customer who's onboarding SMS. You know, we speak about SMS right now. And it's the hot thing in E commerce, and we all are familiar with it. But that wasn't always the case. And there's still like a lot of customers that don't recognize the value of SMS. They know what it is, at a technical level, a brand sending someone a text message, but they may not recognize this potential. And I think that's one of the areas that attentive Israel differentiate itself in is in the support and the knowledge base its provides to its merchants. And you know, I'm at the same conferences you are, I talk to clients occasionally. And I talked to partners, and one of the things that comes up a lot about attentive is, oh, God, I love the support you guys provide. I love the way that your UI is intuitive to use, you know, because it's designed for marketer use not for developer use. And that's a very important key piece that I think a lot of people may skate over when when they're looking at vendors. Um, you know, a lot of times when I talk to clients, it's not the associated bells and whistles of a platform that convinces them to buy, even though I will say attentive has some incredibly impressive and powerful bells and whistles. It's usually the level of robustness of the platform, how well the platform performs and works just like at a basic level, does it crashed all the time? Does it do what I'm asking it to do? Do you send text messages? Right? The answer is yes, we're attentive. Are the text messages getting to the people that are supposed to get to is it arriving to the intended audience? And then deliverability attentive is excellent, too. And then how much support am I going to get? Right? If I have a question about SMS? will you respond right or will I be left to navigate the deep waters on my own? I always like to draw this analogy to rap concerts and performances because I've been too quiet A few some are good and some are hilariously bad. Right? So there's a difference between someone who's a good rapper in a studio and a good performer who's prepared, right, a good rapper would go up on stage, you know, your team has done the setup for you, nothing has gone wrong. But then the moment something does go wrong, you know, a fan rushes up the stage or sound equipment malfunctions, you choke and trip up. And then it's just not a good experience for your fans. But those who are prepared, not just even rappers, just singers as well, right? If you are prepared, right, if your earpiece goes up, you're ready to perform, right, if the visuals behind you go out, you're ready to perform. If you trip and fall or one of your background dances, different fall, you're ready to perform or and this is I'm referring to a specific memory here, you extend your mic out to the audience, and they don't know the words, you're able to get the audience, you know, ramped up and hype again, and you're ready to perform. And that's what I like to say about the attentive platform at a very basic level, it's always ready to perform. Right. And this is true on every day of the year. This is true on the days where we see a lot more activity, you know, the holiday campaigns, your Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, Father's Day, your Black Friday, Cyber Monday is your memorial days, where a lot of brands make their offers and sell an incredible amount of inventory. That's where you test the mettle of how robust a platform is. and attentive like any good rapper slash performer is always ready to perform. Nice. I love that analogy. Yeah. With what tickets I buy nowadays, believe me, I've been burned before.

Mariah Parsons 21:29

That's a good, good thing to know. I think it's so interesting that you like call out the seasonality to have like having whatever, like Labor Day, whatever, because whatever holiday you're talking about, and functionality of the platform, because I think it's really easy for merchants to maybe look at like the individual scale of like, okay, I'm doing my sale here, right? But then you're actually thinking about on the larger scale so many more people who are doing all of those different things. And like different promotions, but they're still promoting and sending everyone these SMS text messages with all these different CTAs and everything. But I think that's a really cool point that you make that I haven't necessarily heard articulated on the podcast before.

Mahdi Mahil 22:16

Yeah, sure thing. I mean, that's, that's the measure. What do they tell you a friend in need is a friend indeed, right? If you're friends with me on my good days, but when I'm feeling a little down, you're just nowhere to be found. And you're not a super reliable friend. I think the same concept relies on any piece of technology you use, right? How well does your phone work after you've gotten a little bit, right. And on those high volume Sundays, that's when the True Metal of like the engineering, the product management services, and just like at the service level, offering what I was talking about earlier, are incredible client success and Customer Success teams, how responsive they are. That's what comes to test right some platforms buckle under it under under the stress, they haven't adequately prepared. Again, they don't know they don't know the the count or the beat of the song in their heads, and they can keep on wrapping up their EPS goes up on some like attentive do, right? They know that, hey, you can be a great platform. But you can like choke on one of those like easy engineering technical fix points, right. And that's that's what we we do take care to make sure that we rate out. So deliverability is actually one of our like main focuses. I'll also say that another thing is, you don't have to deliberately make a mistake, but being on the safe side is always good, especially for brands. So with us compliance has also been a huge piece text for all the listeners who don't know, is a very, very litigious space. It's unique and all the marketing challenges that it's intensely regulated. You know, the way TV ads were regulated in the past, there are federal laws, there agency regulations, but then they're also regulations from industry bodies, right. So all the carriers that control the phone numbers that control SMS messages when they get sent, how they get sent. And so just being on the right side of all those compliance or regulatory concerns, right, being on the right side of all those regulations, keeping in constant contact with the people who are setting the rules, right, the FTC, the FCC, the carrier groups and industry groups, right, just making sure that you have lawyers in house to understand all the different laws and statutes that govern what you do. It's not something we think about often, but it's something that can trip people up, right, we, you know, if you're, again, back back to my analogy, if you're a rapper, and you're performing, you don't expect for somebody to rush the stage. But if somebody does, you have to be ready to step aside, let security handle it and keep on with your performance. Right. And that's what we prepare our clients sports, maybe a bit of an inadequate analogy, but that's what we're preparing our clients for. Right? I always tell people, especially when it comes to compliance, if you do everything right, you may not get cookies, right. But if you do one thing bad, that's not a situation you ever want to deal with. And so those I would say are like the main differentiators that make attend to really stand out in the SMS space. That and you know, of course, we're always listening to our customers and our partners for product updates. And, you know, we don't just build a product for the sake of building the product. I think it's super important to right recognize where there's a need or anticipate a need for for where customers are filling. For instance, we saw the AI thing coming right. And so now we have machine learning algorithms and AI products that make the SMS marketing program much easier to manage, it makes it a lot more effective at targeting customers, it makes it perform a lot better. And that was something built with an eye to how the industry is shifting. Right? We you know, and it takes careful calculations, because AI could have been a fad. But we made the calculation, and we made the judgment that no, this is an area worth investing in. And so we invested in that. And I think just having an eye to that, and having a really good product roadmap, maybe not something that a client thinks of asking you at the end of the day, they just want technology that works. But it's also something that's going to separate you again, from you being able to continue as a technology service provider and those technology servers but providers that go out of business just because they did not anticipate where everything's going. And the way we see things conversational commerce is your role. And attentive is is in place to serve as customers and and take over when that happens. Yeah, I was just listening to Motley Fool podcast at lunch about ice. It was like the Amazon versus Walmart debate. And how both are like so keen on conversational commerce. Obviously. It was really good teams. Check that out. It was like the one from two days ago or something. But yeah, it's real. Yeah, it's been super impressive, obviously, to watch attendance drives, like I've, I've been kind of in the attendance ecosystem for for better or worse word choice there for since you started at least had a so for years plus. And it's been incredible to see not just like, the growth of a tentative but also all of the innovation with the platform like, you know, at the high level, attentive is at least started as an SMS platform. And now it's like, you know that that is doing it a disservice to call it an SMS platform, I think because it's so much more and so powerful these days. Well, as opposed to is a great channel to so that Oh, no, totally, but like, you know, it's sort of shortchanges you just because I think on the surface, you just think oh, I'm like, it helps me get text from brands or as a brand and helping text my customers. And really, it's a lot more sort of sophisticated than than just that. One of the things that stuck out to me when you were describing differentiation is like support. And because it kind of surprised me when I came from, like the enterprise space to the shop fi ecosystem, which is obviously traditionally downmarket. How much support like merchants need, you know, I think you think about Shopify, making it really, really easy for merchants to build their stores and the third party apps like seamlessly plugging in. And while everybody does a really good job of that, from a technical standpoint, the fact of the matter is like any any human capital needed, right to work on an integration or to work on setting up campaigns or to work on how to integrate Malomo with all of your other apps and build a tracking page. Like all obviously, not everything is automated yet. So it does require some time. And what I was surprised by is like the amount of support the Shopify merchants need, because, you know, what I realized is like, they are so limited on bandwidth, and they're being pulled in so many different directions. A lot of them have really small teams. And I think, frankly, like, I think that's a differentiator for Malomo as well, we have a CS team, and even a sales team who get like really, really involved with our clients to make sure they set up process their, their Malama Malomo. Experienced, so like the absolute best that it can be. And we have kind of a saying here that it's like, you know, the tech is only as good as how it gets enabled within your ecosystem, as I like that. Yeah. And so, you know, that stuck out is something that I think we sort of share, and I do recognize that a tentative has gone above and beyond for for the mutual clients that we've served. I'm curious, like, this is really just a question for me. Do you see the same thing, the same challenge sort of spanning ecosystems? Or is it like super is, you know, the need for support really concentrated in the Shopify space specifically? Yeah, I think that's it. That's an excellent question. I think there's two parts here, right. The first is that Shopify is unique in how easy it made it to set up your online store. You rarely like I mean, if you're just looking to set up and start selling inventory, you can get set up pretty quickly and to do it pretty quickly. But that also allowed for a lot of smaller entrepreneurs and business owners to start their own. shops. And usually it's what I like to call Papa mom Shopify, right. So you have the owner who's usually doing all the sales, all the marketing all the inventory, and so they have limited bandwidth there. So that's where Shopify created a need. In the past, if you recall from your past lives before Malomo, if you needed to onboard a technology platform or an E commerce platform, or even if it was a custom build, it took a while, right, just getting the scope of work done alone took months, the actual implementation took even more months. And then onboarding, the teams add the companies on how to use and navigate the E commerce platform in their own site to a few more weeks and months. And that necessitated that it was only available to the biggest companies, right? The ones who could afford it, or the ones who had like some sort of startup capital to begin with, right. And so I think, in that sense, from just from a bandwidth perspective, yes, that was somewhat unique to Shopify. But when you're talking about like the channel itself, it's new to everyone, right? If you are a big company, and like, for instance, we work with b2c, which is a Crate and Barrel brand. CTB, I'm sorry, CB two, wow, my, my, my my, we work with these, CB two and their Crate and Barrel. Brandon, obviously, they're a huge team. But you know, they never really used SMS in the way that attentive uses it, right. And that's like a special offering and that you needed support and service for regardless of your size, right. And so you come up with the situation is where the technology update is new, right? And it's rapid. And that's the way the customers are going. That's the way the wind is blowing, you're going to need support, regardless of your size. I think one of the things that attentive has done really well is that we've applied a choose your own learning style model. So if you are the kind of person who's familiar with SMS, you've done it in a previous life, or you're just like a quick learner, you want to dig into it, and you have the bandwidth and resources. And again, it's a super easy channel to manage. I mean, it comes with a lot of best practices. But it's not rocket science at the end of the day, right, you're sending a text message, we provide you with the resources to succeed, the platform has enough self serve functions that you can manage it yourself, if you do need a little bit of more support a little bit more strategy thinking we provide that as well. Right? And so there's no one size fits all solution here. It's really dependent on the brand. It's also dependent kind of on the vertical, sometimes it's dependent on the specific team that has managed it, have they encountered this marketing channel and use it before? Do they have a background in performance marketing? Do they not right, how comfortable they are with using technologies? Again, most of the UIs I mean, all of the UI is really intuitive designed for marketer use, and who needs that extra level of support and is actually going to get some value out of it right? And then you know, on the back end is just based on how your own company is structured, like you're at attentive, we do reviews for our clients, and we we look at their programs, okay, how are their programs performing? Where could they be doing better? If they could be doing better? We are proactive, one of our values is defaulting to action, right? So we are proactive in reaching out to that client and saying, Hey, I saw that you were doing great on SMS, you could be doing better. Here are some a few tips, right? And sometimes they're really involved teams, right? Who want that hand holding treatment, or who wants to work hand in hand with our client success managers. And we have quarterly reviews with them. And we're like, Alright, how did we think it was going to perform? This is how it performed? Where do you see areas of improvement? Or what do you think and a lot of times, I'm proud to say that there aren't a lot of notes, just because, you know, they're pretty impressed by by how the program works. But I think there's something to be said here for not being complacent, always defaulting to action. It's not good to always be reactive to customer concerns, being proactive with saying like, Hey, we're the experts. Here. We see how you're performing. We think there's room for improvement. And that learning option is good. Because some people don't like that, right? Some people are like, don't hover, I can figure it out on myself. And they do and provide them with every single resource they need to succeed. We have great Knowledge Libraries, it's really like a University of learning. And I think that's really what sets good technology platforms from technology platforms that really take the ThinkOrSwim approach. Like Alright, you've now signed a contract with us, you figure it out. Of course, you know, we're we're in this for the long haul, we want you to succeed, we want you to remain a long term client. A lot. Part of that is the support again, they care a lot less about bells and whistles, right than they do about getting their questions answered or making sure that technology just works at the very, very basic level. The bells and whistles are important of course to but you need to you need to put the horse before the cart and not the other way around. Yeah, yeah. When you were before you said proactive reactive and it's thinking that like I think that's the ultimate goal of any CS team is to like be able to figure out how to be proactive rather than reactive and like, the reality is it takes a while and like a lot of processes and a lot of a Um, a lot of, you know, cycles, right? Before you figure out like, how can we do this in some sort of automated fashion because you can't have CES, like going in manually building reports for every single customer all the time. But it's something we're thinking about a lot right now below. So I might lean on you a little bit and run some ideas by you love our partners, and we want to see them succeed, because when they succeed, we succeed as well. That's the official party line. But it's your buddy, I got you. You know, SMS and email evaluations will be a key tenant of those of those reports. So 100% will lean on you for that. And I think it's all you know, again, goes to show how attendance has been a leader in the space from a support standpoint, because you're already doing a lot of that. Okay, the podcast is called retention Chronicles. So let's shift focus to retention. Now's the real stuff. This is this is the climax of the episode. Okay, at a high level, talk to us about like, what retention means to you how you think about it, and where you think sort of attentive fits into the retention practice of an E commerce merchant retention to me? That's That's an excellent question. I love this question. Because I think this year in specifically there, there's a lot of focus on retention and loyalty amongst all the brands that are looking circ surviving on certain macroeconomic environment. I think retention to me begins with a good customer experience. If I have a favorable memory view, and this this has nothing to do with E commerce, this just has something to do with human nature. If I have a favorable memory of you, I'm like to, I'm likely to come back right, I'm likely to want to experience that again, I'm likely to tell my friends about it, right? Like, let's say if Malomo had a storefront, and I went and bought something and it was super easy. I'll tell my friends, Hey, you want to share it, you go to Malomo storefront, they were great, the customers are like experience was wonderful. Like I didn't have to struggle to get to the checkout, I wasn't overwhelmed by choice, or, you know, their search function worked well, or their communication with me was seamless. Those are the first impressions you make. And those first impressions are the most important. And they determine whether that client is going to purchase to begin with, are they a one and done purchase, or if they're going to be a repeat client. I think SMS is uniquely positioned really to drive an amplifier loyalty and retention channels for a couple of reasons. One, there is the nature of the channel itself, right, you only give your phone number to people you want to hear back from. And so you know that anybody you're sending SMS messages to, like, for instance, if they're signed up to an attentive program, those are high intent buyers, right? They want to hear from you. And they're expecting to hear from you because they surrendered their most intimate communication channel their phone number to you. Right, so that's one, two, because you're communicating directly with the customer throughout all the noise, right? And because you understand a lot of the customer, and that's what a lot of the attendant platform is built around understanding who your customers are collecting, you know, those zero party data, first party data and points by understanding what their product browsing behavior was, what did they look at before, what kind of shopper Are they are they the kind to spend a long time on your site, are they the kind to want to buy something quickly, right, and you're in direct communication with them, and they can respond back to you, which is a key piece here that SMS I think is unique in your like, the channel is well positioned to retain your customers and for and help the brands form long term partnerships with them and make sure that, you know, they don't lose them to competitors on the competition for the months, I always say this is fierce. This is something we hear at basically every trade show. But what I don't hear as often is how you can actually differentiate yourself in that inbox. Right? And, you know, you hear a lot of vague expensive words like personalization, and we targeting and when back journeys, but at a very, very basic level, you know, because a lot of these buzz words mean nothing for merchants, but at a very basic level, making the experience as seamless and as smooth as possible. If the customer can go into your store, sign up your SMS program and get what they want in record time, they're likely to come back. That's a fact. That's just human nature, right? If they can find what they're looking for, right? And if they can get an answer to their questions quickly and in a medium that they use the most. And again, your text messaging apps are the most used on your phone, they're likely to come back if a customer struggles if they're stuck in your helpdesk queue. Right if they can't find the product or if the product is let's say sold out and they don't get for instance text messages telling them hey, like we will inform you when you know we have back in stock like are the inventories back up, right then they're likely to move on. Right we only have limited attention spans, there are millions of brands we can possibly pay attention to them and so you have a very short window with which one to capture the customer and to to Keep them. And an excellent way to do that, again, is SMS because one, you know, they're gonna see your message to it's an incredibly high engagement channel, you know, they're gonna click on that message. And three, they're high intent buyers, because they gave you their most personal data point asides from a social security number, their phone numbers, something that doesn't really change very often. And so you know, they're gonna buy something, and so you, if you can capitalize on all three, and if you use the channel, the way it's intended to be used, right, then you retain that customer. Um, you know, it's better the thing you know them things you don't know, people don't go around looking for new brands to shop from, unless previous brands have disappointed them or do not have what they need. That's just human nature, we like I get overwhelmed when I open Netflix, and there's like 100 billion shows, and then I just end up going what watching the same three sitcoms the most watched, right. And so and if I don't find something on Netflix, I leave that platform, and then I don't go back for a very, very long time, right until there's a show on there that I want again. And so it's it's it's challenging, but it doesn't have to be an SMS provides you like a unique avenue to keep them there. Um, so that's how I think about retention. I think SMS was one piece of it, email is definitely a certainly still powerful channel, because we are used to email. I think the challenge overall, that all brands and merchants and everybody in Congress is going to face is that we're slowly and I've noticed this about myself as well, we're slowly becoming inured to the amount of advertising we're faced. So you're gonna have to be smarter about those customers that you do reach out to, and the customers that you do target, you're going to have to be smart about it a little bit more considered. Because a lot of times that one touch that you're you're gonna get from them might be your only one, right? So you might as well make that shot worth it. Yeah, that's really how I think about retention. Yeah, we, Mariah and I have been noodling on this idea of like frictionless commerce. And it actually came up as a result of our integration with status accounts. I don't know if you guys work with them at all. But they basically provide like customer accounts for E commerce merchant. So whenever you log on to, you know, a site that you've been to in the past, you're now signed in shopper with a one click Sort of like magic link. And it's much easier for them to be able then to like, track all of your behavior and your saved items and your wish lists and your loyalty status and your subscription status and your tracking page for any products that you have on the way to you. And it just makes everything like super frictionless. And I think a lot of what you just described, is that right? Like, you want to feel like it's at least as good as shopping in person. Like it's at least as easy, unless exhausting person. Yes. And so maybe more to come on that if we end up doing this webinar that we're talking about. But But yeah, I think a lot of the themes that you talked about, were just like making as seamless as possible, right and experience for your customer. Because as soon as they're faced with any sort of like adversity or roadblocks in the buyer journey, like simple things, like, you know, asking somebody for their name twice, both for their for their credit card information, and their address is like, a huge No, no, apparently, to me, I really care but like, like conversion rates dropped by however many percent if you do that, and like, if that little thing is gonna hurt your conversion rate, imagine what like, a bad messaging experiences can is gonna affect or a bad tracking experience. Like you're literally churning customers hand over fist, if you're not thinking about those things. That's exactly it. And I would say like, there are so many more options, right? Like the competition is fierce, you slip up someone else's butt on that frictionless piece. I think that's a very excellent point. Because for us, it starts from like, the first moment you see SMS, right? Like, that's one of the things I liked about the attentive experience, just as a shopper, not even as, as person who works in partnerships here. When you go into one of our patented two tap signup flows, the reason it's designed to be a two tap is to make it as frictionless as possible. At no point do you actually have to enter your phone number, because you find that there's, there's a significant attrition rate, right, if you have to enter your email manually, right, and then you have to enter another data point manually, you're gonna see a lot of drop off. People might even say, You know what, I'm willing to pay an extra 10%. I don't want that offer anymore. And so starting at the very, very, very beginning, just from like your first point of contact with the customer, having you be super quick and seamless. You tap once you're redirected to their messaging app, you tap again, boom, you're signed up, and you don't actually have to exert that much effort or navigate as much in between pages or different apps. That's a huge game changer. That's a huge huge game changer. And yeah, and it makes a difference between turning customers hand over fist and providing good experience and having them come back and buy something again. Yes, yeah. Love it. Okay, what is like getting a little bit more tax To call while it's an underused, or, you know, like undervalued SMS use case that you think more brands should adopt. And, you know, if they're, if they're, you know, if it's specific to a vertical or a market segment, that's totally fine. But just make sure that you let us know who that who can best use it. Oh, that's an actually good question, an underused SMS use case. I think when people first use SMS, they're thinking, let me begin with how people use SMS. They're thinking a lot of the ways they use email or other marketing channels. And obviously, you need to approach it a little differently. Just because again, SMS is more intimate people have their phones on the more most of the time, if you send that first SMS welcome journey that has like the highest, I think, a 99% open rate, they're going to read it. And I think one of the maybe not under you, underused, but underrated parts of SMS is that welcome journey, I think, right? Because that is like one of the highest converting pieces of your entire SMS program. And so making sure that your offer is right there, right and center like your the whatever link you include, in that welcome journey redirects you to something that either redeems the offer immediately, right, or we redirect the shopper to the same product page, they were on just that little piece of it, that's gonna set the tone. And obviously, you know, it's it's not like a deal breaker, but that can set the tone for how the rest of the how the rest of your customer journey is gonna go. Right. So if you as a customer sign up to, let's say, Malomo storefront. Let's say you, you guys, you guys have to start something now. I've manifested. We have the swag store. I mean, where do you think I got this t shirt?

Mariah Parsons 46:52

Why don't we do have a swag store? Yeah,

Mahdi Mahil 46:53

no, I expect one in the mail 35 days. So let's say you have a Malomo store friend that somebody signs up to your SMS program. And I opted in while I was looking at the sweatshirts. If that link redirects me directly to the sweatshirts, or redirect me directly to products that I know as the brand owner have the highest conversion rate, you're more likely to close out right, you're more likely to get a converted customer. But if it redirects me maybe to the homepage, or if it's a little bit more laborious. And again, there's no exact science. So this every brand is different, or it's a little bit more laborious to navigate back to where I was, or I was already at the checkout stages. And I remembered I wanted the offer, right, and I wasn't able to redeem it properly. Or if your welcome message was like, just welcome to our SMS program. And that's it like there's no call to action that follows through that may impact how people view your program, they're gonna be like, well, there's nothing in this for me, they just wanted my phone number so they can like message me about their stuff. Right. And so I think, I don't think this is under use, because of course, every SMS program has an SMS user journey, but I think is one of the underrated pieces, really getting the language there, right, making sure you know what your intention is, as a brand art, like the mobile storefront, you know who your customers are, like, you have an idea and you want to find out more. Having an idea and intention for what you want that experience to be, is super, super, super important. And if you don't know, because that's the message for us. For you. That's that's where I tend to step in. And we have a lot of suggestions. We've reiterated 1000 times that we can help you in across multiple verticals, there you go. But I think that's that's one of like the most like, it's the most common message you received. But it's also one of the underrated use cases. The other thing I would say is that transactional is what Malomo excels in. That's a huge piece, there are a lot of brands right now that don't do that, um, this, I think is an actual underused thing, because I think every single study research survey has shown that people prefer to get their tracking updates on their phone, which they use and they're holding anyways, then having to take a tracking number and plug it into a tracking software and then having to keep that tab open and refreshing the page, etc. So we found that I think somewhere around 97% Our internal data shows that people want to get transactional messaging out there. So it's outside of the SMS welcome journey is our one of our most popular flows, right? And that's just part again, of creating a good user experience. If I bought something I want to know when it's gonna get here. I want to know that if it did get here, I will get to it before the porch pirates do, right. And a good like post purchase experience like a Malomo tentative integration is really a key part of that. And some brands may not may not be thinking about that they're like are they bought I shipped the product, it's in UPS or FedEx his hands now like, and that's an insane revenue stream lost right there. Right. And it may cause like, dissatisfaction with the brand. And they might cause like some some drop off in revenue. Like we're talking about retention earlier. You want to retain your customers. They're gonna be like, Oh my god, I ordered something from Malomo I got this sweatshirt and they updated me every step of the way. Hey, it's in the warehouse in New York. Rosie hates downstairs. Right. And that that is like super, super important, super powerful. So little things like that, I would say. Yeah, I love that. Well, first of all, thank you for the transactional shout out. Appreciate it. I love you all. And on that really quick before I go back to the welcome series, the delivered metric, like the deliver delivered message that is triggered by Malomo through our messaging platform partners should always be a text message, like, feel free to send that email too. But it should always also be a text message. Because of the reason you just said Maddie like you'll see it that package before that. The porch pirates are crazy these days. So yes. And also anecdotally, I get so happy when I see it delivered message regardless of its year. Yeah, so you get a rush of endorphins, if nothing else, total. I think that's like that's like scientifically proven. But anyway, yeah, the welcome series use case is interesting. It makes me think, too, that probably brands don't always think about where that link is going as like a core tenant of the SMS use case across the board, right? It's probably not just for the welcome series. But to your point, I love how like you specifically called out you know, if I've already been to the site, I signed up on a PDP Why would you take me back to the homepage from the wealth from the SMS welcome series, why not bring me right back to that product I was already viewing maybe with a little discount if you really want to get me to compare it. Right. That always works. And so yeah, just being intentional I think with with all all your marketing efforts, it goes a long way I think is the message there for sure. Love it. Mariah, any questions on your end or thoughts before we move to our last little segment here.

Mariah Parsons 51:55

While I was just thinking the like the PDP I feel, like I was trying to think through, there was some experience or just went through, it might have been like loop earplugs, I just went to the Taylor Swift concert. So I had to get my mom and I some safety earplugs and they're so cute. But I think they're their experience. Like I it's rare that I usually go directly from an ad just like from a consumers point of view, go from an ad and purchase something but I think that was the probably the most recent product that I've done so where it's like an ad got me and then I purchased right away. And just like timely because obviously I had the concert to go to in a couple of months but I think their their welcomes dream or like their their CTA from their ad was like directly to the ones that I was looking at, right, because they have like different colors different. Like different events or different reasons that you'd get the earplugs for. And mine was like for concert specifically. And so just like, while you were talking through more of the like, technical aspects, I was thinking about that memory that I probably had about, like two months ago at this point,

Mahdi Mahil 53:11

and you're likely to buy from them again, right?

Mariah Parsons 53:12

Oh, yeah, I mean, I got yeah, like I my sister to um, she's now on like, just bought a pair. I've been telling everyone left and right like just wear them to the Queen concert to and Indianapolis so which, you know, I know you went to a couple years back but yeah, I mean, that's great. Because they're it's super convenient, like attached to my keys. Great. Great product in general. And I've been seeing them pop up all over. But yeah, like now I'm now I'm an advocate for other brands. So loop earplugs. If you're listening to this,

Mahdi Mahil 53:46

sponsor her sponsor this podcast. Shop, I should probably have

Mariah Parsons 53:52

him on the podcast, they are on Shopify, I have actually reached out to them to see. So if anyone who is listening to this live your plugs, help a girl out. Um, but yeah, they're very much up and coming like I've been seeing. I feel like they're in their spot right now where they're at least like going viral, like trending or about two, because I've been seeing them pop up all over the place. Maybe that's just my algorithm, but I also feel like it's some added element of virality. But yeah, they are on Shopify, so I would love to have him on.

Mahdi Mahil 54:26

Yeah, that's awesome. Okay, I'm a heavy one minute left. Last question. You've had an awesome run at attentive, done some awesome things throughout your career. What's one tip or trick or resource you've had that sort of helped you or guide you throughout the way that you share with the audience? That's a good question I was just talking with about this with a friend of mine. I think when you're starting out in your career, a lot of people give you really good advice like listen and ask questions, which I think are really really important pieces of advice. You know, you should listen you should ask Good questions. But none of that matters. If you don't follow through, right, you can listen all you want. But if you don't do anything with the information that you listen to, or that you get back, might as well not have listened, you can ask all the good questions that make you sound smart and like you're paying attention. But if you don't follow it through with some action, then might as well just stay quiet and sip your Capri Sun, right? And I, one of the things I really like about attentive is one of our values is default to action. You learn by doing right, you can listen to hundreds of podcasts or read hundreds of papers about mistakes people have made, and you can avoid them. But you need to make your own mistakes. And that's really the way you learn. Right. And just in relation to that start by doing, you need to start by doing whether it's like a podcast, and you've never done it before. You don't need to spend months and months researching other podcasts and marketing metrics and all that. No start recording, start recording yourself, just put speaking, get comfortable with it, right. And then if you feel like something is good enough, you can upload it so that other people can give you judgment as well. I think those just those two key pieces really take you far in your career. It's important to be a listener, it's important to ask good questions, but it's most important, I think of all to follow through, do something with the knowledge you gained. And I think it's important to start by doing almost a call to action, always make sure that you're ready to jump headfirst into something if you're not if you're scared about it, that means it's probably good that you're doing it. If you're not scared enough, that means you're like a little bit in a safe space. And you may need to take some risks for for you to learn we only learn from the things that make your stomach punch a little bit. So that would be my advice. That's what has worked for me so far. Hopefully it will work for me moving forward. But I have strong faith in that man. That's awesome. I heard you're very clearly very action oriented. Could you mention action or some version of it? Many times throughout that clearly came through. So that's great, great advice. Great episode. Great tactical, you know, takeaways for the audience. Really appreciate you joining us and kicking off season four so strong. Yeah, it's it's got to be up from here, man. So I appreciate it. Thanks so much. Thank you and thank you so much for having me, you guys. Thanks for Thank you