S3 E7: Stealth-Launching New Brands and Taking Others from 8 to 9 Figures with Ari Murray from Sharma Brands

S3 E7 podcast

On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Ari Murray, VP of Growth at Sharma Brands and author of Go-To-Millions newsletter, which is all about getting smarter on how to successfully scale a brand to its highest potential. We’ve had the pleasure of working with both Ari and Nik Sharma at Sharma Brands, so it’s safe to say this episode is jam packed with tons of content. We cover:

  • how Sharma Brands approaches Growth from both a client perspective and for their own in-house brands,
  • which ecommerce verticals have a high repeat purchase rate,
  • not sacrificing quality for the sake of growth,
  • stealth-launching new Shopify brands and taking other DTC Shopify brands from 8 to 9 figures,
  • focusing on the customer experience rather than acquisition numbers,
  • quality sensitivity, AI, and much 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


brands, client, launch, year, retention, buy, people, agency, sharma, nick, growth, customers, team, product, side, question, partner, excited, happening, experience


Noah Rahimzadeh, Ari Murray, Mariah Parsons

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 00:40

We hope you'll stick around to learn and laugh with us retention Chronicles

Mariah Parsons 00:43

is sponsored by Malomo a shipment in order tracking platform improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our episodes at go malomo.com.

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:59

Well, here we go. Welcome back, everyone to our newest episode of retention Chronicles. We are super pumped today. I feel like one of the cool kids Mariah,

Mariah Parsons 01:08

I do too.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:09

Ari Murray, one of the best I just subscribed recently, like a month ago, but one of the best marketing newsletters for E commerce, overall called go to millions. It's like one of three that I read every single time it hits my inbox. So thank you for blah rank. Oh, yeah. That already super, super pumped to have you. So thanks so much for giving us some time.

Ari Murray 01:39

Well, thanks for having me. And I paid no way to say that. So I'm glad you went far. But yeah, it means a lot. And thanks for eating.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:47

Of course. Yes. I think you're launching a new podcast to which we might we might get to that super exciting, but a little bit of context on you know, our relationship. I know Yao and Nick, founder of charmer brands go way back I think Sharma I think Nick was involved in like early days of Malomo and sort of ideation and was a great resource for Yao as as he was launching Malomo. And since then, we've worked together on a ton of brands, I think, Ara, you've been personally involved in a few of the implementations of Malomo. You've been able to set up Malema with a couple of Sharma has in house brands as well, which is super exciting. And I think, a couple in progress right now. So that is awesome. We want to get into the weeds on all that a little bit more. But before we do that, we always like to ask you, our guests. What are one or two things that you're excited about in your personal life before? Talking? Shall

Ari Murray 02:45

I love that? I think I'm most excited. So kind of a newlywed like I got married last year. So I've almost been living in Austin with my husband for a year. So very excited about just our new life here and moving into a new apartment. You know, that's going to be great. Always fun. Yeah, just like a move on the bucks. It's the same building. So I don't think it really counts. But I'll lean into like, it's a whole new energy. So yeah, that's it. That's kind of all I need. Yeah, just a new a brand new version of the same thing. And then just my new life and Austin is is serving me. So that's kind of what I'm doing.

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:22

Were you were you in New York before?

Ari Murray 03:24

I was in LA. So always. This is the first for way for a for whatever the word is not living in Los Angeles.

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:35

Good. So what sparked the move to Austin? I love Austin. I've been there a few times. And I know it's like everybody and their mom or

Mariah Parsons 03:44

mouse I need I like have been told him like go to Austin. I'm like, maybe it's an accent. Yeah.

Ari Murray 03:51

Yeah, so my husband and I each wrote down five cities we would move to and the only place that we both wrote down. So that's the whole story. Wow. Like, decided in like an hour. And then we flew here and got an apartment and never looked back.

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:05

Wow. That is very cool. So had you had you both been many times before?

Ari Murray 04:11

So we well, we had we almost got married here. So we were doing a lot of wedding planning. And then we decided we couldn't have a big wedding because it panics me. But we had just like come here a lot and had fun. And so it was the only place that overlapped. I wanted to move to New York or Boston. He wanted to move to Miami. And this is way better than that. So

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:30

yeah, you kind of be in the middle there. Yeah. It's hard to it's hard to have like that. Yeah, northeast vibes don't necessarily mesh very well with Miami.

Ari Murray 04:42

I'll take this over Miami any day, so I'm not gonna complain.

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:47

You did well, they're very cool. Well, hopefully I Austin's on our on our shortlist of cities. We'd like to do an event in like a partner event or something like that this year so we'll certainly keep you posted on that if we make it down. But that's very, very exciting. So real quick like why why the move to a new apartment? Is it just better location

Ari Murray 05:14

better better view and then it has just like better stuff in it so just better the same verb like like a bathtub in our room like it just cooler. Wow, that's nice.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:26

Did you like look at houses at all because I know the housing market there's just

Ari Murray 05:30

so I have this thing where I like want so many things in life my wish list is overflowing and I have no deep desire to like buy a house so we we it's just not on my like list of requests at this time. I can barely handle my apartment. Slowly but surely it give me like three years to like, be an adult.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:50

I feel you on that I bought my house like two years ago and is it was like the biggest shock of all time when I moved in here. And I was like, oh my god, I'm not. I'm not mature enough for that. Yeah,

Ari Murray 06:02

I just I know myself. i If something breaks, I like what would I do? You know, I am not ready.

Mariah Parsons 06:09

You gotta call maintenance.

Ari Murray 06:10

Yeah, I gotta put in a little service request and

Mariah Parsons 06:14

I'll deal with it. Yeah, perfect.

Noah Rahimzadeh 06:16

I've like most people don't do this. But I've when when I bought my house it came with a home warranty policy. So like if anything happened in that first year, the home warranty would cover it for a small fee. I've renewed it now through twice so for three years because I want to be able to put in my maintenance request if a faucets leaking because I have no idea how to fix that.

Mariah Parsons 06:37

That makes me feel better like being in an apartment currently and I am not going to buy a house for a while. Yeah, I feel that

Noah Rahimzadeh 06:47

Okay, awesome. Well, congrats on the new place. Congrats, Austin that is very awesome. And getting married as well. All right, let's get into let's get into Sharma so well, I'd love to I know you have a really interesting background. So I'd love to sort of start there like what what you were doing before Sharma I think it was a few different things and and what led you to Sharma and sort of what's the day to day life like now as head of growth?

Ari Murray 07:14

Yeah, so before charmer brands, I had always been brand aside. And as an E commerce manager, or just on the E commerce team at some really cool brands helped me to launch them. And I met Nick when I was working at poosh. He reached out to me, and we went on like one zoom call. And he made me get a Twitter on the call. And my first tweet in 2020 was like Nick Sharma made me do this. And then I didn't open it again for two years. But then I was at a brand and Nick posted a role for I think it was director of growth and my husband is friends with Nick and a few of the people that I just know, we're good friends with Nick. So I made them all text him in the same second to be like Ari would kill it as your drawl. He texted me and was like, Oh, I keep hearing your name. I was like, Oh, really. I think I like signed my offer the next day. So it was very quick. And now I've been here for a little over a year and a half. And now I'm VP of growth just managing our clients and making sure that for all of them, we make them really really rich. So every landing page every ad every launch rolls into that main goal of making them really successful. And so I have my hands on all of that and just managing the team and working to kind of act as like the growth arm charmer brands and just that it all comes true for them. Sure.

Noah Rahimzadeh 08:43

I know you had a ton of growth last year and I think you're opening a new office in New York is that right? Yes it's almost ready writing so how many people are on your team on the growth team

Ari Murray 08:55

on my team it it's kind of hard because I guess the entire team is growth but I have like a few like a growth manager a to account coordinators and then we have an account manager and so we have 15 people in total at travel brands that work on our clients

Noah Rahimzadeh 09:13

amazing amazing yeah, I just see like all the time it looks like people you know the teams growing and offices building and brands so a lot going on. Do you still do anything with push Are you are you like friends

Ari Murray 09:30

now so for all of my past brands I was always full time and in house and then moving just from in house to in house. So this is my first like foray into oh I learned the word for a I do know how to use it cool. It's my first like agency side gig where I help like dozens of brands in a year which is really cool.

Noah Rahimzadeh 09:53

Yeah, yeah. That's great. So that Sharma I know So, you know, we talked a little bit earlier about there are some brands that you've, you're working on like in house, I think own owned by Sharma. And there are others who you take on and like a consulting capacity. I'm curious. You? Well, I have a few questions about that, but sort of how do you balance that in terms of, like workload? And and, you know, are you constantly evaluating brands to sort of take ownership of? Or is most of the strategy just to, like help other brands grow? Like, what's the sort of what's the dynamic there for Sharma brands,

Ari Murray 10:34

I think the goal is just growth overall. So if that means taking over a brand and making it our own, or if it means bringing on like, a really cool client that we can learn something with, I don't think that one takes precedent over the other. And the beauty is the same team works on both. So whatever we can accomplish for our clients, we can then do for our own own brands. And they help each other because we're able, via our client industry to see like exactly what's happening across verticals, see where the opportunity may be. And then with our own brands, we're able to experiment with our own money and test our own thing. So it makes us better for the client. It's a little like the ecosystem, but the same team touches both, which I think makes them stronger. And it keeps it fresh.

Noah Rahimzadeh 11:20

Yeah, I mean, I think that we see the value in that even from, you know, our partnership side, where oftentimes, like for your in house brands, we're able to like offer some sort of, you know, preferred pricing or something just because we we know how far that goes. And like making sure that your brands are successful, but also that it becomes sort of promotion, right?

Ari Murray 11:40

It's like its own ecosystem incubators.

Noah Rahimzadeh 11:43

Yeah. What like, I'm always curious about this. But what would make you you know, you and Nick excited about potentially acquiring a brand or like launching something new? Are there specific verticals that you're really excited about? Like, what are the circumstances that lead you to say, like, let's actually take this on, like in in more of an ownership capacity,

Ari Murray 12:04

it really depends. I think I am kind of like the wet blanket of the group where there might be like, a really cool brand. And then I'm like, cool, like, let's look at the p&l like the margin. Like, I don't like this. I don't like this vertical only leaves us like $9 on an order or whatever. And then I kind of like crushed the dream. But it's a good balance, because Nick has just so many deals that come across this plate. And then yes, me to be like, this is a good idea. This is scary. I don't want you to touch this.

Noah Rahimzadeh 12:35

Sure. Sure. That makes sense. I feel like you kind of need the good cop. Good Cop Bad Cop. And that's,

Ari Murray 12:43

yeah, I'm definitely bad cop. And it's, it's a good I wear it with pride. So it's okay.

Mariah Parsons 12:49

I was gonna say like, good for you for knowing and being like, oh, like, this isn't what we should do. Like, I think that also feeds really well into like being VP of growth, like you have to, you can't say yes to everything all the time. Right? So like, how do you make sure that you're making informed decisions? I know myself and I would fall into the category that it seems like Nick is in where it's like, so exciting. Like, yeah, I would love to do this. But that's not what you can do.

Ari Murray 13:13

Yeah, it's a good balance. And like, the great news is, is everyone on our team has different experience. So some of us have been in agencies our whole career, some of us have been brand side. So I think being brand side, it teaches me also how scary it is if you live and die by one brand only, and how that every brand that comes into our fold has to make sense, because otherwise we'll just eventually run into a mountain. So it's like to understand the pressure of a single brand. And each brand has to work for it to be worth our time.

Mariah Parsons 13:47

Are you finding real quick like those margins where you're, you're looking at a brand and going like we should pursue this we shouldn't? Is that like in house that you're taking that from? Or is that from your previous previous experience? On the brand side of things where you're just like, I know, this industry, this vertical is not not the way to go?

Ari Murray 14:03

I think it's well. So in my past, I've only really been in CPG or in beauty and beauty is just its own beast. And that's what I know most. And then from CPG I think you can see all types of different brands sizes, and it really just depends but definitely even in our client business, we see what verticals are on fire and where there's room in marketing budgets and just where it makes sense. So brands with either like high velocity or high repeat orders, those are the brands that are really exciting because just the LTV of it all starts to make more sense but it's also really fun to work on something that's more expensive because it's just a customer that I know well and that I really love to engage with but you just have to have the right product to sell to them so it's its own world but it's a good balance in the entire team has like really strong opinions and really good backgrounds for it.

Mariah Parsons 14:56

Makes sense? Yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 14:58

And in coming from the brand Inside I would imagine that and now you know, VP of growth on a huge agency that has its has its hands in so many different buckets. Growth means so many different things. Now, I'm curious, like, what what was the most challenging thing that like you didn't have the skill set in when you join Sharma to sort of get really, really good at because I imagine that you are more a little bit more focused in some of them. holes in here, it's like, holy cow, we have to do everything. Yeah.

Ari Murray 15:30

What's think this is like the first client business I've ever been in. And like a client facing role, which it works well, because I'm a ham. But I think that I, in my previous life, have always spent my meetings with my team or, like, with vendors, but never trying to serve a client. So that's its own world. But I my first job ever after, like, after I dropped out of law school was as a e commerce customer service agent. So that's like serving customers and its own world, but I crushed like, over 100 tickets a day. So I this is like a cakewalk compared to like an influx of tickets. So that's what I tell myself every time I go into a client meeting that at least it's you know, like a relationship with words. And you can actually like, talk to them and work with them together. So that was just the biggest change is like, having clients that you owe deliverables to and that you are accountable to versus having just one team that you work.

Noah Rahimzadeh 16:30

Yeah, that makes sense. Plus, like, you know, if you're just support or if you're just handling like hundreds of tickets a day, it's like all negative stuff that you can troubleshoot all over. And now you're like, now you're on the flip side of like, bringing exciting, yeah, definitely exciting. Solutions, not like, Hey, what the hell is going on? Where's my order?

Ari Murray 16:51

Where's my order? I don't like the way this tastes. I don't need so it's all it's all a cakewalk comparatively?

Noah Rahimzadeh 16:59

Awesome. Awesome. Okay, so between you and Nick and I'm sure others on the team, but we're most familiar with YouTube. Like I said, you have to go to millions newsletter, super popular. Very active on Twitter to which Mariah probably knows a little bit more about than me because I still haven't created a new Twitter since deleting my college age. I am

Ari Murray 17:21

happy for you. Don't come to the side.

Noah Rahimzadeh 17:27

But and then obviously next following as well, is is equally humongous. So I'm curious, you know, that's one thing. But getting to that point is something totally different. And I think what hopefully are what most likely has helped you get there is because Sharma brands does have a little bit of a unique approach compared to other agencies and, you know, agency brands in the Shopify ecosystem. In your in your sort of opinion. What do you think makes Sharma brands stick out from the pack? You know, there's like a new 20 Agent 20 New agencies entering the Shopify ecosystem every day, it seems like so how have you been able to sort of cut out like, a good following? Yeah. And also, yeah, results speak for themselves, too. And I know you all produce those. So

Ari Murray 18:22

the beauty of it is, is we are never going to be an agency that scales up and loses its sort of level of service, or the quality of the people who work here because that's not the model. So this isn't a come one come all charmer brands can help your brand. It's like there's a waiting list. And there's a full like, ICP of who our client should be. And we only work with that client. And it's not because we don't have interest in other verticals or brands of other sizes. It's more that we don't want to scale the team to the point where we lose the heart of why this is a special place to be and why it's special place to have worked for you. Because if our agency loses like the hands that touch these brands, or if we get too busy, or if we have to bring in too many people in one year, then we won't have the same caliber. So it's just a like, Chavez isn't competing for the work, the work is coming and then we just assess if we can take it on with the right team and do a good job for the client. So it's it's definitely its own little like slice of heaven in that way where we're not like pitching our asses off for clients.

Noah Rahimzadeh 19:37

Yeah, it sounds like there's some like employee satisfaction mixed in there. Do you?

Ari Murray 19:42

Totally. Yeah. Because the team has been this so when I came on, I was employee for and now we're at 15. And even that each new hire is like a really big deal to us. And we like basically only will bring in a new teammate. If We like are positive that a they like are the perfect fit for like the skill set. But it's actually like its own little friend group and its own way. So you have to like not ruin the energy of the agency because we just don't want to be this like 600 person agency where there's all these weird dynamics, it has to be like a group that enjoys each other. Because when we have fun, then the work is cool. And then the clients are happy. And if someone comes in and they're an asshole, it ruins the whole vibe. So it has to be really careful as we scale up, and I don't think the plan is to become huge ever.

Noah Rahimzadeh 20:35

Yeah, it's funny that you mentioned that because the podcasts that we the episode that we just released today, we're I was listening to at lunch. And we talked about how like at a certain point and some of the past companies I've been at, because I was on like the enterprise Mar tech side. At a certain point, the red tape becomes so frustrating because you've had to put all these standard processes in place that like don't account for the human aspect of like working with, in certain situations or under certain certain circumstances, everything takes so long to get done. And it sounds like you're intentionally trying to stay below that level for the need for the red tape. So that was

Ari Murray 21:15

number seven, like our clients, like have our phone numbers, and we will text with them and have like on launch day, were waking up at four in the morning with them and like on the phone celebrating with them. And if it ever loses that, then we're not better than any other agency, because we don't know how to have an agency of 400 people, we only know how to do this. So we have to keep it what it is. So it stays as it should be.

Noah Rahimzadeh 21:40

Yeah, that's awesome. That is definitely a unique approach. I think a lot of the agencies in the space are just like grow at all costs, and you know, take on any work that they can. And then obviously, there are some downsides to that. So

Ari Murray 21:55

totally, it depends on also like the scale of the client, some clients, they just need maybe one or two things or they need, like something that is like a good deal or whatever it might be. But this is more like a long term. Like full takeover situation. Yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 22:11

I'm happy you went there, because that was actually going to be my next question, kind of looping these two together, what is the what is the ICP, you talked a little bit about it earlier. And then what does a typical engagement look like from like, start to finish

Ari Murray 22:25

for sure. So ICP definitely is a brand that either has a big audience that's waiting for this product, let's say it's a creator brand that is self pre launched, that's perfect. That is what we do best. That's really our team's specialty is to take a brand, build the entire website, design it or handle the does bring it bring it all agencies set the brand up for launch, and then help it to scale. That's, that's the bread and butter. And then the other side is the growth stage companies that are doing like eight figures, and they have a specific problem. And they could use a partner to help them get to nine figures or that can help them to fix part of their funnel or something is either gone wrong, or there's just room to scale that hasn't been realized. That's also a great sweet spot. And for that client, it might be just taking over redoing their tech stack, introducing them to the right people building landing pages, building ads, redoing parts of their website, and just like optimizing the entire experience. That's the other client, but there's really nothing in between those two, you're either gonna be a big brand that's about to launch or you're a big brand that needs some help. And those are more perfect for us.

Noah Rahimzadeh 23:39

Got it. In terms of vertical. Would you say that there? Are any that sort of stick out? Or? No we

Ari Murray 23:47

do we've in the last year done CBG beauty alcohol. We've done apparel we've done like luggage, it really it doesn't matter, as long as they are like hungry to grow.

Noah Rahimzadeh 24:03

Got it. And then when you're especially on the pre launch side, but I guess the question can apply to both. You're doing a lot of what you kind of talked about was a lot of webs web dev and like acquisition side. So where does the retention component come in? Are you doing email, SMS and all that stuff, too?

Ari Murray 24:25

Yeah, so we don't, it depends. So we will typically each client we bring on if they're already existing, we'll do a full audit of their CRM and see this is experienced, these are the opportunities but then what we'll do is bring in our favorite email partner, bring in our favorite SMS agency and bring in the right tech behind it and then help to synchronize what's happening in retention with what's happening on the site, what's happening on paid acquisition and make it all seem together but we don't actually offer email and SMS as a core service. It's more we They'll bring you to the right people and then help to manage that with you. Got it? Okay, thanks so much makes total sense because we keep control of all of the agencies that we helped bring on. So we sit in those same meetings with the client, and oh, cool. It's really important to us that if we introduce you to someone that we still help to manage that relationship, just because we might know what's happening on paid more than the client might know. So we bring everyone together. And then we bring in our favorite partners, and we help to make it sing as group.

Noah Rahimzadeh 25:29

Yeah, yeah, one of our previous guests and partners of ours does kind of both acquisition and retention. And their argument for why they do that is because they're like, if you if you don't sort of coordinate or orchestrate those efforts across both sides of the funnel, like you're, you're probably going to be only measuring like, you're you're going to be measuring metrics and like a single sort of, like, tunnel vision, manner. And then like you don't realize, like, while you've beefed up adspend. And that's looking really, really good. Like, you might not realize the effects it's having on the other side on the retention side. And like with that, but but in your case, while you're not doing that, you're at least you're always at the table. So you can kind of do that without needing to own it fully.

Ari Murray 26:20

Yeah, we act as like pretending were the in house growth team. So pretending that I'm in a meeting with the media buyers, as if it was my own budget, I had to live and die by and be metric, Don. And that's how the entire team sits in these meetings, we pretend like it's our money and our brand and the only brand we ever think of. And then it helps you to be like passionate about what happens as a result. And then even if you if you only focus on the paid side, or you know, the top line metrics of this is our CAC or whatever, what if that's like a bad customer that isn't a fit that turns out and why wouldn't that be something that we think through too, because what does that actually do to benefit the brand? It's like, you have to see both sides of the numbers to know the truth. And then if both sides look good, then you've actually done a good job.

Noah Rahimzadeh 27:09

Sure. Sure. Yep. That's all sorry,

Mariah Parsons 27:12

I have a quick question for you. So I know, this popped into my mind, because as we were talking about, like their instrument, or internal structure of Sharma with like, not growing too fast, or like knowing what you do really well. And now we're talking about the brand side of things and like your ICP, and do you think there's ever the same argument to be made about like a brand where they could grow too fast too quickly for like what they're trying to accomplish? Because I know you're working with you said like, either large brands about to launch or already large brands brands you want to continue to grow. So how do you like, Do you think there's something similar in there of what you've seen with Sharma at all,

Ari Murray 27:54

I think that's a great point. And I think that sometimes a brand will scale because of the circumstances of their product. So maybe it's like, I don't know, a sweat pants brand during COVID. Like, that's a great place to be. And you're definitely not prepared. And like the inventory snags, and all of those sort of beautiful headaches that arise with success. I think we see that play out all the time, too. And that's a beautiful problem to solve. And what's good too about our team is we, we have operations managers and people on our team, like I used to be an E commerce manager who used to sit and manage our three PL all day too. So there's people on our team that have deep experience there. And we have those relationships to help and those pitches, even if it's not our core service. But internally for us to we we have this happen to where we'll have maybe a fleet of 10 clients that we work on, and then one of them will, instead of needing seven landing pages a month, maybe they actually need 40 or 30. And that's a beautiful experience as an agency with like revenue goals. But it's also really scary with real people and real designers. And, you know, like the quality of work has to stay. And so we've also had to hire really quickly sometimes. And the beauty of it too, is we are all just living and breathing this space. So it's normally hiring a friend that we know or someone who is coming to us. So it's a bit safer to move more quickly. But we still it does happen. So I guess it's all meant to be slow. And so meant to be this beautiful plan. And the reality is sometimes it just has to move more quickly. But it's like the same growing pains. And it's better than if, you know, we were overstaffed. And if our clients had too much inventory, so we'll take it.

Mariah Parsons 29:36

Right. Yeah, good problem to have. I know, we felt it on our side of things to where it's like, it's really exciting when you get that kind of momentum and you're like, Okay, we gotta go, like, got to publish whatever this is. But it also can be like, once it's done, you're like, Whoa, that was a lot. And now we're on to the next thing.

Ari Murray 29:51

A lot of people and then like, what can we do to better plan?

Mariah Parsons 29:56

Yeah, yeah, it's a living breathing like dynamic. Like organism, maybe like

Ari Murray 30:01

whenever said,

Noah Rahimzadeh 30:02

yeah, like in my world, the translation is making sure that we have the agency partner bench of, you know, service partners that can help us if we get an influx of 20 new customers in a week, and they all want support in setting up Malomo. Like, it's a very real problem, good problem to have, yeah, champagne, it can be an issue, if you don't have that, sort of, you know, play on doubt in terms of how you would support that. So good problems to have, I'm happy we're experiencing them. And also happy that we're partnered on it to. Okay, switching focus a little bit to retention, you guys are super focused on the growth side. But as we all know, like acquisition costs going up in crazy ways. And like the focus on responsible growth is sort of ever increasing both for SaaS companies like us, but also DTC brands. So intentionally open in sort of a question, how do you think about retention and what are sort of like the most important drivers of it that you see and work with brands on?

Ari Murray 31:15

I think, for us, we like to just make sure we've set the stage to the customer, so they understand what's going to happen before they've given us a penny. And so we do that by over educating on our landing pages by not having those weird like sneaky offers, or we never default to subscription, when you come in to buy it for the first time, we just don't like to play that sort of cheap direct response game. Because we'd rather lose $2 In the beginning, and make that up by having someone have had the experience, you've said you were gonna get them. So we don't do pre order. We don't do like, you know, any sort of tricky offers, ever. It's against everything we've learned just from the scars of having tried that before. So it's just setting the right stage in the beginning. And then in our web design, and in all of our creative and all of our offers, it's just became clear, this is the brand you want to be a part of this is not a product you buy, but a community you join. And then following up on that. So if let's say they come in, and the first order is for, you know, like a $50, a OB, maybe we sneak like a handwritten note or a special a pair of socks or something that you didn't expect in that first order to get them to come back. And then just controlling the whole narrative so that they know that whatever they just bought, it's just the beginning of their experience with the brand. And we I personally love an acquisition offer that isn't like gonna fulfill every single need, because I don't think it should be too expensive. At the beginning, I think you should let someone get their feet wet and calm and have a positive experience with your best product and then bring them into the fold and let them explore from there. But I don't like to sell, you know, a seven item bundle. Sure. In the first minute, always I don't think that that's always the move. So it's just like wedding the customers appetite and then giving them more than they expect. And then just coming at them in a non aggressive but like very informational, heavy way for the rest of their journey.

Noah Rahimzadeh 33:19

Yeah. Yeah. I love the approach to education. I think, a use case that like we probably don't talk enough about at Malomo is, and it was like one of the first use cases to be honest, as would be when Yao and Anthony started the company. Really, their entire goal was to just reduce customer churn, post purchase, like right, most customers won't come back after just one bad order tracking or order experience, shipping experience. So like, the first goal was just like, let's keep these that was before we realized like this could be an actual revenue driving channel that brands are losing are leaving, you know, six, seven figures on the table if they're not, you know, upselling and cross selling through through the post purchase journey, but that kind of all came later. And one of the initial use cases that some brands still use as their hero use case with Malema today is simply product education. So for a brand like caraway, who makes really nice, but on the more expensive side pots and pans. They they realize that, like they would get complaints and try to customers will try to return hands that were like ruined because they weren't cared for properly. And like you shouldn't put Caraway pants on a dishwasher but people were doing that and the pants weren't lasting but they had spent a couple $100 So they're now they're pissed because so now carriageways main use case on a Malomo page is just like, here's how to care for the pan and get the most out of it when it arrives, and like that alone is such a great retention driver because it means that their customers are getting more or bang for their buck, they're getting more out of the product. And now they're more likely to come back and buy, you know, the other accessories that Caraway makes for the kitchen.

Ari Murray 35:08

I love that. And I think to even just clicking the link to your tracking and learning, it's a branded experience, even if there's nothing more than it's like colors. I'm just like, oh, cool, like, they care. Like, this is cute. This is like, I'm glad I bought, I bought this brand, like, I think it's going to be a good product because they pay attention to detail, even if it's nothing past that, um, I still think that that in itself is a good look. And even if that was the only function for the cost, it does like pay for itself just for that positive experience when someone's checking their order. And it's not like a USPS page that no one wants to see.

Noah Rahimzadeh 35:45

I've been talking about that so much lately. Like, you don't have to overthink this, just by bringing customers back to your website, you're gonna track their order, you are recapturing 15% of your web traffic, like 15% of all web traffic on E commerce sites goes to the order tracking page. So if you're sending them to UPS, you're literally just losing 50% of your web traffic. So could not agree more with that. Ari.

Mariah Parsons 36:08

I have a quick question about like are you said there's certain like moves or like a playbook that you all follow? And like doing things like bundling and trying to get like pre order tickets before a launch? Can you like explain a little bit more about the preorder? It's like a smaller question. But I feel like we don't normally have brands or guests on this podcast, where it's like they're dealing with pre launched brands. So I'm just curious, like, yeah, why is that maybe something that you don't personally like or that you all don't go? Like, don't go down that route with?

Ari Murray 36:50

Yeah, so pre launch is really fun. Because often, at least in my experience here, and just in my experience, in my past, you aren't known to anyone, like when I worked for about face beauty, we were so stealth to the point that that our email addresses when we were working with our partners, it was the holding companies name, no one knew the celebrity no one knew even the vertical and each partner was just told the information, they needed our packaging on the outside of the cardboard boxes labeled without the brand name just because like you just do, you just have this launch moment, you can only have that once, and you have to come on to the Earth once. And so when you are self like that, there's just such a pressure to have testing the entire experience. And for me, if there's going to be this launch moment of momentum of this is us like hello world, I'd love for that person to then be able to pay right then and to buy their thing and to get it in three days so that they can tell someone else it's actually good. And so when you start taking people's money, and you don't ship out for weeks, or you, let's say even if you're unknown brand who's going out of stock on a hero SKU unless you're shipping in the next week, I want like a pre order button, or I'd rather a Notify Me button because I don't like to hold people's money and not give them the thing that they need because people get really pissed. And I get really pissed. And I have an example personally where I ordered a treadmill in August and it didn't say it was out of stock. It didn't say that it was shipping late. No, I literally sent a screenshot of it to my husband because I was like, Can I get this? So that's the reason I have like the proof that it didn't say this, like I'm not crazy. And it's coming this week, and it's February, and oh my god, I am pissed. And I yeah, they gave me like $100 back, blah, blah, blah, but I'm really pissed. And I would have canceled my order. But I really want this treadmill and this whole thing where I don't need that because guess what, I'm never buying it again. I'm never recommending it. I've like talked shit about it to everyone I've ever met. And I don't think as a brand who's coming like into the earth, you need any of that pressure. So for me unless it's either in warehouse received or in a pallet waiting to be received. I don't want it for sale. And that's how I live and breathe. And that's how we advise our clients live and breathe because the pay off is not worth it. And even if someone knows they're going to wait, what if you have to wait two more weeks? Then you've like lied? And you don't need that and if you don't know where the product is and if it's not in your hands you don't actually know the timeline. So yeah, it's a very passionate opinion that I don't want to be a part of anything that is you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars or millions of dollars in our books that we have sold and not one client has received it I don't need to sleep like that. I don't want

Mariah Parsons 39:33

you probably wouldn't be asleep like customer service me like I don't I don't really see me out. Yeah, that game seems very finicky to play and like not having any experience in that industry at all of like pre launch but it seems like to like unless you you don't know pre launch of like, what it's going to even take on the like logistical side of things. You could have a huge influx of people right and then think that you're going to ship something out like next week, like you're saying, and then you, you know, it's a successful launch and you have way more momentum going into it. So that that makes a lot of sense. I also think it's really cool to have that opinion of, if you're like, in this stealth mode, you're trying to, like you're going to like every possible length that you can to keep it a secret. I think generating all that momentum and someone being able to like, while they're the most excited, click on that buy button and buy right then and then know it's on its way rather than a preorder and having to wait for it. It also and this taps into like Malomo Our expertise of it Malomo It like continuously keeps exciting, someone because they're they're getting reminded that their that their gift or their product is on the way, right. But if something's in pre order, then you could lose some of that excitement. And then that might feel like what that excitement might translate into is like, buyer's remorse, or like guilt around buying is you're like, why did why was I so excited about this thing? Because you already know about it now. And say it's like two months have passed, or like you said, From August to February, right? Um, yeah, that makes a lot of sense with the, just what we see with Malomo, where it's like a week goes by or like a couple of days, right. And it's like, still like,

Ari Murray 41:19

experiences like Malomo. And all of your welcome flows, all of your post purchase flows, none of those are built for, you know, 19 days between order and ship. None of them are built for 90 days, actually, it's 42. But we got to tell them on day 18. Like nothing is set up like that, because that's a terrible experience. So none of your partners, none of your software are best optimized when you have that experience. And the only reason that Brian would jump the gun and do it preorder is because they need the cash, which is short sighted. Because you're going to oversell or you're going to sell and then you're gonna have to return a lot of that money, or no matter what that customer is never coming back, even if you can somehow get them to hang on. And it's just you need to do everything in your power to have enough runway for those like little receiving errors or fulfillment errors or whatever it's going to be that could push you back. It's not an excuse to jump the gun and launch something that's not ready. Right, in my opinion.

Noah Rahimzadeh 42:15

Right? Oh, that's really interesting. On the on the pre launch side, I obviously you're like protecting the brand identity and all of that. But do brands like? Or have you seen brands? do you advise the brands do any sort of like testing pre launch to get like market validation and drum up some excitement about this new thing? Or is it like is STEALTH Stealth and you don't even you do nothing until the brands actually launched?

Ari Murray 42:41

So that's such a good question. In the brands I've touched, it's normally like our lips are sealed, this product is great. We've you know, shipped tested it we've gotten, you know, maybe send it to two of your friends or whatever. But there's no like soft launch into the market. But in a brand that we're working on internally, we are soft launching, and we're not putting our name on it. And we are fully letting the market dictate, you know, what this will end up looking like? And once it starts to scale is when eventually maybe we'll claim it maybe not. But we I think there's a great beauty in soft launching when you can if you don't have the pressure on VCs and, you know, maybe like celebrity clients who might like if they launch something, there's no such thing as a soft launch, because we'll find out YouTube or whoever it might be. But I think it's my perfect world. I'd rather bring something to market test how I wouldn't even name it, like, what I what colorways what price, what demographic, I show it to whatever it is, I would rather and I think you'll have a better result if you can do that. But we have been blessed with the golden handcuffs of just like a ton of traffic on launch day, which is it's really fun. And it's also like it makes you want to throw up because you're like, I haven't tested the system. We just took the password off. This happened to us last week where like the brand announced via like a really important news article at 9am. Eastern, so at 857 We took the password off. And like it's stressful because like what if? What if it's just we forgot one thing or what if you know, and then the second is born, there's like 30,000 visitors, right? It's just it's just a different feeling. It makes you sick, but then it's really cool. When it works.

Mariah Parsons 44:24

I spent those, I bet those three minutes, take out the bathroom and just waiting or like the longest minutes of your life. It's not

Ari Murray 44:31

only that, it's like there's always a time when it's like a very self brand where somehow a part of it like becomes more public than it was meant to be. And then you look at your team. You're like Did anyone say anything? Like who did you email and then we realized they like look at like the patent that was filed and it's no one's fault. You're like, Okay, forget like it's not as no problem. So there's just all those little moments that lead up to a launch but then when it does go well it's like

Noah Rahimzadeh 44:54

heaven. Yeah, yeah, that's awesome. Well, congrats last week and they One. Yeah. Oh, now our head of strategy who I've clearly had drinks with before and was like, no, she was like, No, it's already got the pre made Espresso Martini on the way.

Ari Murray 45:14

I love it. Love it, recommend. That's the one that's shipping to me right now recommend.

Noah Rahimzadeh 45:20

Awesome. That's awesome. Yes, we'll definitely have to check it out. Okay, just a few minutes left I, I would be remiss not to ask you about 2023 trends. So last year, I kind of talked about one, which is like, kind of a shift from acquisition to retention being a bigger thing, I think, for brands and it has been in years past just because of the rising ad costs and need for profitability. What else are you thinking about in terms of what will sort of lead the Shopify ecosystem through this year?

Ari Murray 45:56

I think that as people are more concerned with just what's happening in the world, or even with just their own responsibility, maybe right now, everything's Gucci, but they're scared of the future, I think there's going to be a shift into fewer better, which is my favorite way to shop anyways, where maybe you buy fewer things, but you buy things that are built to last or that you've thought more deeply about and maybe, you know, just like a random ad doesn't get you you need a recommendation from an influencer that you really trust. But I think that more expensive won't be what breaks brands right now. It'll be brands that don't fulfill on the better part of the viewer better. So I think the brands that have a product that says and does what they say it will do, and that is actually quality, we'll make it out of this year even stronger, because people will be more trusting to give them their money again. So fewer better is the best way I think to treat a downturn or whatever is going to happen this year because people will still shop it'll still feel really important to buy things and they'll still have wants and needs but they don't want to regret the things they bought because life's already hard. Right?

Noah Rahimzadeh 47:06

Yeah, I think that hits on a couple of really important aspects to a lot of people and it's not just the the economics of fewer better I think it's also like the economic effects if you are better and the ease of you are better like when you don't have to bought like I buy I buy nicer clothes like I buy Lulu Lululemon is my favorite clothing brand and the stuff is expensive, but it lasts forever.

Ari Murray 47:36

Cost Per wear, I can justify anything shoes you divided by two, like it's perfect. So I think yeah, I think the Lululemon or the equivalent, or I just bought a pair of leggings from Set Active and I they're not cheap, they're not expensive. I just bought them because I heard they were amazing. And I think that's why people are gonna buy things. It's less price sensitivity and more quality sensitivity, which is like how we should have been running this all along anyways, like, no one should be buying crap. So I'm excited to see the brands that that put the product first.

Noah Rahimzadeh 48:07

Yes, absolutely. That's a great one.

Mariah Parsons 48:11

I also think real quick to add to that, like, I know, I've seen trends around like decluttering to like higher quality stuff. Like I just feel like everyone right now is in that mindset of where it's like, okay, what do I really need? And what do I just have that like, I don't know why I have this or like I bought it a long time ago. I feel like it also like fewer better also lends itself into that. Because it's just like, Okay, I like the idea of like minimalism or minimalistic. Like whether it's something with like furniture in the closet. Yeah, like just having only essential items. And I've also now seen on Tik Tok of just like, the influencing and being like, you don't need all of these things. Like, just get these core products that you actually need. And like people being like, this is just like a hot trend, right? Like, fast fashion or whatever, is gonna be dead. I feel like now people are like, Okay, go into, like, lean into what you actually need and what you actually want and what's essential.

Noah Rahimzadeh 49:15

Love it. Yeah, that's a great point. Mariah. AI is another thing that's come up often when we've asked this question, are you all at Sharma doing anything with it yet? Are there ideas floating around about how you might be able to leverage it to do more efficient work or what's the general? So?

Ari Murray 49:36

It's a tricky question. I think there's a place for it. And I think it eventually will become even bigger in our current life of what we do. But like, we have a client that's a really small team and they are standing up a blog for SEO and why couldn't the like chat GBT? Write like 1000 articles for them? That would be cool. They don't have to hire someone but I think that some of our like, deepest out copy our landing page copy. I think we aren't ready to fork that over. But on just like the social side or landing page, like landing page testing of different headlines, how could we rewrite this? I think you could feed it. And it just depends on what you feed it. And if you feed it with the right rules, then there's a lot of opportunity and my husband, he has like a really big newsletter and he will use chat GBT to help him. Like, make sure that whatever he's saying is clear. And if chat, GBT can spit it out. And it makes sense, then he's like, Okay, how I input it was clear. So this is good. So maybe he'll take his version, maybe he'll take theirs. But he like if it can output what you mean for each output, then whatever you fed, it was correct. So I think there's a stake in that too, and even just add coffee and things like that. But I didn't forget what the program a little more.

Mariah Parsons 50:53

I like the use case of like using AI as kind of like a spell check.

Ari Murray 50:58

Test. Yeah, it's a good way to expand on something. But I think it's also a good way to be like pretty generic unless you feed it the right things or take it or take it and don't just give what it spit out as final form and take a spin like what the human on it. But it's definitely a thing. I just need to figure out how we can use it in a smarter way.

Noah Rahimzadeh 51:18

Oh, I think I think the cool thing about that answer is it's like things that brands who are listening could actually implement like today.

Ari Murray 51:27

First thing is clutch because no one's reading that. So go ahead. It makes some keywords.

Noah Rahimzadeh 51:35

Okay, we're coming up right to time. So last question. You've obviously had just an awesome career so far, Ari. So you'd like to ask like, what's one tip or trick that you've used throughout it, to sort of get you to where you are today and, and continues to guide?

Ari Murray 51:53

Work. I am a proud reformed Job Hopper. So when I was coming up in my career, I worked at four brands in two years. And I am proud of that. And I think that advice would be stick at a brand or stick in a job for, you know, two years and get promoted. But you can do anything you want, if it teaches you more and pays you more in the next step. And so I think that you should just like pave your own path. And I'm a law school dropout. So I don't mind to quit something if I know something's better for me on the other side. So just like don't be scared to just not do what everyone says you're supposed to do. And it will serve you and just once you find something you like, like just double down on it.

Noah Rahimzadeh 52:36

Absolutely love that unconventional advice. I think most quit your job, right? Bye, buy, buy, buy a lot of the same like I joined Malomo I've been friends and worked with Yao and Anthony in the past. But it's I've been really close to them for a long time. The last job I was at was awesome. But I left after a year because they called and it was

Ari Murray 53:02

better opportunity that hits your heart. It's fine. It'll work out.

Mariah Parsons 53:06

Sorry, I totally thought for a second. I was like, I wonder if I was gonna say starting the Twitter that Nick had said like soever long ago if that was going to be your advice be like that changed at all?

Ari Murray 53:18

Know, I still to this day. I hate Twitter. I absolutely I'm one of those food that like puts my thing up and I run away and I don't come back tracking on it. Like I if I don't like yourself on Twitter, it's because I haven't seen it. I fully I don't I don't want to be there. I just do my thing and I run away and

Mariah Parsons 53:37

my obligation I have to do it.

Ari Murray 53:39

This isn't sparking joy, but we're gonna just deploy and run away. But yeah, Twitter is not a what I owe my life to I refuse. I won't give it any credit.

Mariah Parsons 53:49

job hopping sounds way more fun.

Ari Murray 53:52

Honestly, it's worked really well.

Noah Rahimzadeh 53:56

Right. All right, kids quit the job.

Mariah Parsons 53:59

Perfect already here first.

Noah Rahimzadeh 54:01

Thanks so much for joining. Really appreciate it. We took the whole hour. So it was a great conversation. And I really, really appreciate you giving us and the listeners an hour of your very precious time.

Ari Murray 54:12

Well, thanks for having me. I had a ball and I'm really excited for you guys to do an offsite in Austin and then to move here full time. So looking for love it. Yes. Great. All right. Bye