S3 E10: Understanding your customer’s buying cadence with Molly Kerrigan (Dir. of Retention, Shinesty)

S3 e10 PODCAST

On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Molly Kerrigan, Director of Retention at Shinesty. This week, we talk about:

  • Shinesty’s background,
  • their primary goal of entertaining their customers and having that shine through in their brand,
  • educating the customer about products in a fun way,
  • how to approach retention in terms of what products you’re offering,
  • fomo marketing,
  • the value of a subscription model for underwear,
  • how to segment the customer experience,
  • email & SMS strategy,
  • how to remove friction in returns & exchanges, & 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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TRANSCRIPT

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

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, customers, retention, subscription, brand, underwear, email, product, exchanges, catalog, purchase, prints, channels, bit, sms, returns, buy, sense, cooling, talking

SPEAKERS

Mariah Parsons, Molly Kerrigan

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go. malomo.com. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to retention Chronicles. Today I am joined by Molly Kerrigan, thank you so much for being here, Molly's super excited to learn about you your expertise, your background and shyness D. So can you say hi, and give us a little bit of your background to start us off?

Molly Kerrigan 01:15

Yeah, for sure. So I'm Molly, I am director of retention at Shinesty. My background, I kind of picked up retention early, I started as a Email Marketing Associate at a startup. However, many years ago, from their email being like the primary retention channel, like especially back then, I just kind of started grabbing everything I could that was related to the customer experience and finding ways to make them come back. And two years ago, I joined dynasty as director of retention, which has been pretty interesting, focusing on subscription. And just like making sure those people stay with us and reducing our churn rate. So it's been it's been a journey. And now I am selling underwear to people on a monthly basis. So yeah,

Mariah Parsons 02:08

I love that. What an intro. Yeah, it's interesting, like you said, email was like, I feel like, retention was email, like, they were one of the same. And I feel like that's like broadened a little bit, you're shaking your head, can you? Can you give us like your thoughts around that?

02:24

100% It was, I mean, we're talking like, seven, eight years ago or whatever, when, like, I think Marketo was like the platform. Right? Like it was all about getting certified in that and learning how to like, set up special segmentations in order to talk to customers when one on one, well, then you start realizing that like, maybe email isn't the only way people are engaging, there's like, so many different ways for people to access your content. So I think in the past few years, SMS has obviously become a huge channel search is a huge opportunity, even for returning customers. You can't really just rely on people opening an email in their inbox, because it has become so flooded. It is such a popular channel at this point. And it's, you know, a lower cost channel. So a lot of people, a lot of companies tend to focus on that first. So, over the past few years, it's been definitely trying to find those opportunities and those additional channels like we're trying direct mail, we're trying, which is kind of an old school channel, but still really fun. Like we do catalogs every year, and our customers absolutely love it. That probably gets like some of our top engagement for the year. Well,

Mariah Parsons 03:44

that's really cool. Okay, I want to dive into all those different channels. But before we do to give our listeners context, can you give like a boilerplate of Shinesty, and what you all do?

03:55

Yeah, so shiny. Shiny steel has actually been a really interesting company. It's started I want to say eight years ago. I joined two years ago, it's kind of had several different phases of, of the business. We primarily focused, we were like a suiting company not too long ago, like primarily exuding company, we are still a suiting company, we still have plenty of suits available, anything that's wacky. But during the pandemic, we kind of had a shift our focus and underwear just became the thing. As a company, our goal is to actually just have people kind of take like, a little less seriously, we want to be that kind of humor that people get. And then we identify these like, really great products as opportunities to convey that to the world. So it's, we call ourselves in a reverent clothing brand. I love that right? In our, our ultimate goal, our primary focus is entertainment. We want you to be entertained by every piece of content you receive. And we want to pleasure the customer, which is one of our core values. And that just means that like, we want to make you laugh, we want to engage with you. And then we also want to deliver you like really high quality products, whatever that may be.

Mariah Parsons 05:24

That okay, that I get that sense, like just through your website, and social and everything surrounding your brand of like entertainment comes first. And I don't know if I've had an interaction like through this podcast or through other brands in the space where they would say, like, that's their first pillar, or like, their primary goal is entertainment. So I think that's like a really interesting take to hear. Like, what you want to do, and it's, of course, centered around other brands, like you want to make sure you're taking care of the customer, right, but to like, have entertainment be the core, I think that's a, that's a really fun take. I'm sure there's a lot that you get to play around with in that arena as well.

06:10

I mean, the meetings with the creative team, like we have an amazing creative team, and everybody has their own opinion. And to be completely honest, like everyone here is a bit of a weirdo. But like, in the best way. And I think that really helps us engage with our customers, because like they're building off of our customers, we're, we're fishing for that kind of response, we want people to, like, interact with us, and like feed us that information of like, what they're looking for, and like what makes them laugh and what kind of like, keeps them going. Like, even if you're not necessarily purchasing from us, like right off the bat, we're still going to send you content, and we're gonna, like interact with you in a way that like, hopefully at least brings a smile to your face or like, gives you that kind of break from like how serious the world is currently. And just like gives you a little chuckle. Right.

Mariah Parsons 07:01

Yeah. And also, it makes sense around because I didn't know the background, behind you all being concentrated in concentrated in suits before the pandemic. But it also makes sense that when the company shifted, during the pandemic, in terms of like your product catalog, the thing that still like rain true for your company was the entertainment factor. And like people during the pandemic needed, exactly what you just said like something a little bit more lighthearted, something that was easily digestible, and like put a smile on your face. So I'm sure would you say like that kind of like, I feel like that matched very well with just what was going on in our world.

07:43

Yeah, and honestly, people loved it. I mean, not. Not everyone loves it, right? Like, No, everyone joins a brand and is like, wow, yeah, I'm here for the jokes. Like, no, they're here for the products. And like, sometimes it's off putting, because we are we're taking those moments where like, some people just you know, have serious things going on in their lives. And like some people find comfort in humor, others don't. And we're totally respectful of that, right? We want people to, we want everyone to enjoy our brand. But I think during yet, I mean, that was our philosophy before the pandemic, and then post it just like stuck with us and really helped us and it brought joy to like us as well as our customer base.

Mariah Parsons 08:30

Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I can't wait to like dive further into all of that. But like I said, I wanted to go into those different channels. And you mentioned like the mailer, which I've on this podcast heard, I think to other brands, who are exploring, or at the time, I guess I should say at the time, we're exploring direct mailers. And it's kind of funny because we I feel like we transitioned from direct mailers to email once things started going online. And now it's like, oh, we're kind of going back a little bit to direct mailers and some, like a, like a physical catalog, like paper catalogs. So can you walk us through what that whole experience has been like?

09:09

Yeah, so when I joined the catalog was just like something that we did, it's like this is happening every year and we will continue to do it. It gives us the opportunity because we do have such a wide range of products to really like highlight each and every one of those, but each page is like has this basis of some type of humor or some type of story behind it. And we get more responses both negative and positive about receiving these pieces in the mail right because they are shocking or unsubscribe list is. People really let us know why they unsubscribed and it's more like you know we have like a saying like trying to stay not a porn site, right like it's not vulgar or like anything in a way that like us, like what our brand stands for, right, but it is kind of like in people's faces, I guess. And we do a huge mailing every holiday, we usually do about two drops. This is something that isn't new for the company, but something that we will stick to doing because our customers love it so much. It's, it is a huge lift on our creative team. So we do need to make sure that we're making sure we have the correct resources for it. Like we need to make sure we have our photographers and like our copywriters get pulled and are very focused on this, our designers like absolutely crush it, it basically takes up a good amount of our time. But in the end, it's truly worth it to just have that kind of customer engagement. Obviously, there's the sales aspect of it. And it does continue to perform well, which is like totally great and allows us to continue to do it. But the approach is strictly like usually just engagement. It's like how do we get our customers to engage? How do we get them to respond, and we get an insane amount of responses, both positive and negative. And then what that allows us to do is that allows us to feed additional content through additional channels, right, like, we will highlight our catalog on social will highlight our catalog via email, we kind of get to do these kind of recaps, which are stories from our customers. And this gets people really stoked to sign up for it. Right. Like if you saw that we had this catalog and you want to receive it next year, just let us know. And we're going to add you to that list. So it allows us to like grow our customer base in that way. Because they see the responses. And they like pick the side that they kind of lean towards more. And either they can be like, I never want this in my inbox. See a lot of like, please sign me up for that, like so we have people asking us to deliver them physical mail, and we do our best to like make sure that's in their inbox next year.

Mariah Parsons 12:01

Yeah, that's really interesting. It kind of like plays into FOMO marketing of it. It's like, because you see someone and like great UGC, as well, or have great social proof where you have like a testimonial from one of your exam and people who are getting the catalog. And they're like, oh my god, this is so great. I love it, or the other people who is not their jam. And if you're seeing that, as a consumer, you're like, what are they? What are they getting? I want to I want to see what they're getting. Right? Like, if they have it, I want it. So I love using that like, catalog as a piece of entertainment, but then also as a piece to grow your outreach and grow your list because I could I mean, I could see that working on me, right? Like it's kind of working on me, the way you're pitching it honestly is like I'm like, Oh my gosh, I want to see it. Yeah. I'm like, bring it out right now.

12:46

Got stacks of them right here. I'll send one directly to you. Oh, amazing.

Mariah Parsons 12:50

And I and you said like customers will share like their stories and give feedback. Are there any that like, are more wild, like stand out? Like any that you remember? If, like have having gone through those responses? It's okay. If not,

13:07

I mean, I do remember, in 2021. So like, you know, the, the people who are not so happy tend to stand out a little bit more. That's like, you know, we don't take it personally, we're like, okay, you didn't want to receive it, we won't do it again. We actually had a man write a script, like a to unsubscribe, I think it ended up being 1200 times. So they wrote this kind of like bot that like, would constantly like flood us with unsubscribes. And he's like, if you're sending this to me, I'm sending this to you. And

Mariah Parsons 13:51

the comp time, the time that must have taken

13:54

like it like, yeah, we opened up this list of unsubscribes you know, because do not mail lists, like once that we follow those. And just to read this over and over again. And like the comments would get like more and more heated and it's like, I promise we're going to take care of this. But that that did feed a lot of content because it's like if this person is so anti this catalog, people are like, we use that an email marketing that was like part of our, our search for leads, right? Like we referenced. I don't remember the first name of this person, but we're like, person unsubscribed. 1200 times, and oh, I need I need that in my I need that in my

Mariah Parsons 14:38

that sounds exactly what I need.

14:40

So it worked for us. And we did take them off the list. So they're taken care of. And then our customers get a little a little chuckle about it, you know? Yeah. So we know

Mariah Parsons 14:57

it's good that you all like I feel like you couldn't work at a brand like Shinesty without having, like without having the ability to say like, like, not take it personally, right? Because like you said, like, it's it can just be something that's people look at. And they're like, they decided immediately like, this is for me, this is not for me, whatever. And I feel like it would be really tough if you and your team or like being like, Oh, they don't want to be part of our brand. Like that sucks, like really taking it personally. So I feel like you kind of have to have that, like armor or that barrier, that wall or that acceptance that it's like, we're going to find our people and they're going to be our people. And there's going to be others who aren't.

15:37

Yeah. And to be honest, we just want like we're aiming for people to know we exist. And like what side you are on is okay, by us. We're going to try to like we want to make people happy, right? Like, that's our ultimate goal. But like, it doesn't, it doesn't work for everyone. And that's kind of just something we've accepted. And we're a little self deprecating, like, we'll admit to our mistakes. We present this as a mistake, like, Oops, we didn't mean, we didn't mean to upset people this much. But it just it ended up happening.

Mariah Parsons 16:10

Yeah, yeah, that's, that's a great way to put it. I would hope, like listeners, I'm sure can, like can agree or can see the relatability factor that lies within that,

16:23

I would hope. So it's like your ultimate goal, especially like as a company should be to make sure that like your people are taking care of you don't want to, like knock anyone down or anything like that. I mean, we're self deprecating do like, we know, like, we're not perfect. And we will call those things out, right? So it's not like we're we're aiming, we're not aiming to attack anyone or anything like that, right? It's just like, you can't always be for everyone. And you want to just approach that in a way that's like, understanding, but also like, gives our customer base like, what they need as well. We're not going to kind of like mute ourselves in a way that would impact the people who are truly enjoying it.

Mariah Parsons 17:18

Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And i i to think like, as we're talking about how your branding is centered around entertainment, and putting a smile on someone's face, I also feel like at least this was my perspective, was like, their entertainment, like the delivery of education around like, what your brand is about is through the lens of like humor, right? But you still are able to understand like, what you all do, what is important to you, how you stand out what your products are all about? And so I want to talk about kind of like, how do you find that balance of trying to educate the consumer around, like, Hey, this is why we're important. This is like, what, what we promise to you as a brand, like the quality of great product. I know there's like the what is it paradise, like ball hammock pouch, cooling underwear, like that whole phrase, it's like, on your website, front and center, right? But then you have all these different image images, and these videos that are funny, but also communicate what your product is. So how do you strike that balance between the two?

18:35

Yeah, it's tough, because you don't want to come off as like, we, we get a or we used to get a lot of feedback or like, we do get a lot of feedback that like I bought my husband or my significant other this as a joke. And then they turned out, they loved it, right? So we kind of use those testimonials, right? Where it's like, I bought this because I thought it would be funny. And then they were the product and it was like, they loved it and they become a subscriber.

Mariah Parsons 19:03

And then like, like, joke's on me.

19:07

So we use that kind of like people will send us we try to engage with our customers in every way possible, right? So if they send a video, and if they send an email, and we're responding, because we want to talk to them, like one on one. But when it comes to like product development, and like how seriously we take it, like customers feel very comfortable, like providing us feedback. So we're constantly taking that into consideration when it comes to product development. And they'll also we're trying to expand our line, right? We want to make sure that things make sense for our customer base. So like the paradise cooling boxers, actually it's underwear because we have women's products as well. But we were like what other What else do people need other than like the standard kind of motor Alfa fabric that we're using currently. And we just thought this was like a nice kind of expansion of our line right like They're great for working out. And they're great if you have like a job where you're kind of like more physical, right? Like more of like construction workers fire firemen, actually, I'm not sure about firemen, I think there might be some, like fire, like, I don't know. But any kind of like, more heated, anything that's gonna get your body moving a little bit, these cooling boxes are great for or if you just live in a warmer climate. And we worked really hard. We have like an excellent product team who were like exploring all these different fabrics. And we actually came up with this cooling fabric that I said Natalie is in the men's boxers, where we got to add that our ball hammock pouch, right, so we kept our signature kind of product in it and just like, like, did the next version. And then we created our women's line. So we have a women's thong, we have a women's Paulette with a paradise cooling fabric. And then we also incorporated it into our athletic shorts. So the liner is also that cooling paradise cooling fabric that we came up with, it keeps you cooler, which is like it just made sense for us. It's like, our customers will go to the gym or like, they'll want that kind of support that they get with our standard boxer. But then they'll want to expand it and like have the shorts that go with it. So like, it was just a product, it was a nice jump into something that like just made sense for our customer base.

Mariah Parsons 21:32

Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And how do you think, like, speaking of your role with retention? How do you think like all of this that we've been talking about, like branding and educating the customer and the brand awareness? How is that playing into how you're approaching retention?

21:55

Yeah, I mean, it is, like I said, it is tough, right? Like, we have to come off as the experts, but we also have to make you laugh. And when it comes to retention, we want people to be confident in what they're getting. Right? So I mean, the best and easiest way to retain a customer is to have a really solid quality product. Right? Yep. That's it. Like that's you want your core products and the things you're really pushing to really pleasure the customers and make sure that they're truly enjoying it. And then we also want to continue to provide variety, right? I think one of the, an interesting question is like, why do I need an underwear subscription? Right, like, so. It's like, there's the novelty of it, right, which comes off with like, our new prints that are released every month, right? Like, we have an excellent as design team that like is constantly coming up with things to either make you laugh or like something that you would want to wear, just like the newness. And then there is like this idea that you're actually supposed to replace your underwear every like six to 12 months, right, which most people don't know. So this is kind of like this nice opportunity to like, not set it and forget it, but like set it know that you're going to like completely refreshed your drawer every year. So like, from a retention standpoint, my approach is just really thinking about what makes sense for our customer and like, thinking about what they actually need in their life. Like, they're just humans, right? Like, we're all experiencing the same thing together. And like, I love the idea of making a good quality product extremely accessible, right? And something that they don't really need to think about, in a good way. So it's like, we're basically good quality, on a cadence that just makes sense for them. Right. And then to kind of like, overtake their, we want to, like overtake not just their underwear drawer, right? We want to provide like, we want that those shorts to be next. Oh, you've got like a funny special occasion. Like trust us we got like some solid suits. Like if you if you've entered from one product or another, like we want you to feel confident in their quality that you'll come back and like try something new from us. Because we are we are still a company and we are like serious and we do take our customer our customer the quality of our products very seriously.

Mariah Parsons 24:31

So yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I was going to actually ask you about like, how to how your team like approaches if you're rolling out like new patterns every month if you're if you're looking to expand your like catalog if that's if that plays into retention of like new releases, because I always think that's interesting with something. Like I think that's interesting in any category, but especially in apparel because it's like, you can always I feel like I find a new way a new way to wear something or a new, like a new pattern if you find that product that you love. Being able to have it in like multiple colors is always so fun. And I don't think you necessarily get that in other verticals. Maybe like the beauty industry where if you'd like, try different shades, but I think that's just super interesting to have the opportunity of like, when you're thinking about retention, how are your products lending themselves to wanting to making the customer wants to come back and like, buy, buy more things interact? With your brand, like see new launches? It's all so fascinating to me.

25:42

Yeah, it's, I mean, for something like underwear, or even suiting, right? Like, we have those customers who are totally dedicated, and we want to make sure that they're happy and still enjoying themselves and like getting that chuckle from like, us putting, you know, constellations, subtle constellations having intercourse on their underwear, right? Like, we it's such an interesting focus to sit there and like, think about what our customers, Rex, right? Like, how do we one up ourselves? Like how do we like, how do we get them excited about that next pair? And the, like I said, the quality's there. So now it's just like, Okay, put a new, put a new pattern on it and make them make them laugh. And we do focus emails, like every month about it, like we have focused ads about, like, the new prints each month. So we're hoping that like, those things will catch our customer, our existing customers. I mean, obviously, that's a great acquisition tool as well, but like, catching our existing customers eye and like having them. They like need that product, right? Like, they're already satisfied with the quality of it. And now it's like, I just want that, like, I want this new, fun design. Under my clothes, right, like, it's, it's exciting. Yeah, it's exciting. And it's like, kind of funny to just have the idea of like, you know, that you have a hot dog like, prints on your underwear, and you're like in a business meeting, I just think that's like, the weirdest funnest little like, joke that you can have for yourself.

Mariah Parsons 27:23

Yeah, it makes things a little bit lighter, which goes back to obviously what we were talking about in the beginning of the episode. It's also it reminds me of like, funky socks, you know, where people like, even if they're in more of a, like, I don't want to say uptight, but like posh or like, more professional setting. You know, you can just see like a little pattern, like a sock peeking out. And you're like, oh, that's fine, or like ties where it's like a little intimate. It's kind of similar. I mean, obviously, what people probably aren't, say, are seeing your underwear in the same way. But maybe they are, you know, don't judge. But it's like, kind of like that little hint to yourself or like, oh, like, this makes it adds just a little bit of nuance to each day. Because you're like, Oh, I'm picking out my outfit. Which pair am I going to wear? Yeah, it makes

28:13

you think about it. And it's like you can open your drawer and truly have your favorite pair of underwear. Base based on like, a pattern or like whatever your vibe is for that day?

Mariah Parsons 28:23

Or have it be like a good luck term to like, yeah, I see that 1,000% You also mentioned the, like, component of shyness of having like subscriptions, like a subscription offering and being able to kind of take that weight off of the consumer of like, Hey, you don't have to think about this. But your underwear does need to be replaced every few months. And so, um, am I correct in saying like, you have like one off sales? And then you also offer subscription? Correct?

28:57

Yeah, we have. We do both. Subscription doesn't fit for everybody. Right? I think that is an interesting part of retention, right? Where someone comes in and they buy a single pair, or like they come in and they buy a single pair and they then like a month later they buy another single pair, right? Or is it? Are you a pack purchaser where you're buying three at once three or six at once you know, so not everyone fits the same mold. And from a retention standpoint, basically what we're trying to figure out is like what makes the most sense for you. So if you're like coming in your new purchase or you haven't committed to like a pack, you haven't committed to a subscription, you're kind of just laying there and like, I don't know what I want to do next. Our goal is to present you with like your best buying options like this makes sense for you. Because obviously there's like incentives and to however which way you want to buy, right? If you want to buy, if you want the novelty and you want the fondness and newness every month, like I think presenting you with a subscription is going to make the most sense, because it's like, you kind of get this discount, you get this something, something exciting in the mail every day, you're kind of looking for it every month, you're looking for this, like, kind of fun aspect of it. If you're just like, I see six prints that I like on that it's like, then go in, like build a pack builder, like we're going to present you with that option, right, we're going to give you incentives to building, you know, a six pack or like a three pack or whatever you're looking for in that moment. So it's like finding those things that just make sense for the type of buyer that you are, right, we're not going to force you to be a subscriber, there's going to be benefits to being a subscriber and maybe that fits your personality, we're not going to force you to buy a pack. But like, in reality, this is probably best for you. Because of the discount you get it's like done, and then your drawers refreshed all at once. And then you can come back and like six to 12 months whenever you need something new. And shop the same way. So it's like, there's different paths that people can take. There's people who will never be a subscriber. And that's totally fine. We're not going to make you commit to that. But we're going to present that to you because we believe this is the best way to buy like as a consumer. Right? And do

Mariah Parsons 31:24

you happen to know off the top of your head? Where like the divide is like, do you typically see most people fall within the subscription category? Or most people are like, bundling? Do you know the?

31:37

Yeah, I mean, I would say it's a lot of subscription, right? Like, it's a lot of subscription a lot of people are looking for that. People who liked the fun loud prints are like usually down for subscription, we do have like a plastic subscription, which maybe doesn't take up as much of our customer base. But like, it's still an option for people. A lot of pack builders tend to be I don't wanna say more classic, but maybe a mix of like more classic solid prints. Like you're there for the strictly for the you love this product, and you're strictly there for the quality of it. So you're like, purchasing more at once, or like subscription gets you like the newness and like excitement of every of the seasonal prints and stuff like that. So it's like more how I look at it. It's more like, based on what you want that experience to be. Do you want it to be fun and exciting every month? Or do you just like, want to pick your prints? And like, continue on with with your year?

Mariah Parsons 32:39

Yeah, right. Right. Okay, that makes sense. I was kind of gathering that probably more would fall within the subscription. customer profile. So yeah, super interesting stuff. And then I know for us, at least in like the post purchase experience. Like segmentation is a big part of meeting customers where you're at and making sure that like if some of this was Guyver, versus if someone's a repeat purchaser or first time buyer, customizing that experience to see what to just relay the correct information to each person. So is that something you all are doing it trying to see? If so, can you walk us through it?

33:24

Yeah, for sure. And there, I would like to say there's always opportunity to do more, right? Like we're learning more and more. So like, improving those kinds of experiences is something we're focused on. But I mean, for a post purchase flow, right? Like we have a couple that exists just based on like your what you purchased, right? Like, if you purchase one from us and haven't purchased again and say you just purchased an E comm order, you didn't purchase a subscription or a we don't have like a ton of information on you, we're going to drop you into a flow that's kind of going to explain your options, right? Like the first flow, the first email that's going to come is explaining the benefits of subscription, right, we're going to like hope that they enjoyed their pair, which we have like review requests and stuff like that we do have that type of follow up. But then this is just presenting your options to buy it's like a opportunity to educate, right? We have this large catalog. So like, this is what we think would be best for you. And we usually start with subscription, right because in our eyes, that's our best deal. It builds the excitement. Next, we're going to move into packs, right? Well like explain that like we have this pack options, pack builders pretty great, right? You get that experience, you get to select what you want, you don't have to like you don't have to like get a mixed pack like you get to pick every single pair and just build your pack and the more you add the larger the discount becomes and then we ship it off to you. So that would be like our second option because we believe that is a excellent way for you to purchase through our site. And then if you're just like not feeling it right now, like say you don't want to purchase just yet, but like you want to stay engage with our content, we're just going to kind of start like talking to you in a way that's like, we're going to continue to just like entertain you, until you're ready to make that purchase. Because everyone's kind of on a different buying cadence, right? Like, maybe this was a treat for yourself, and you purchased at once, maybe it was a gift for somebody, and you're not ready to purchase for yourself just yet. That doesn't mean like, Okay, we tried, and we're done, we're gonna, like, move you into like our campaign flows. Or if we see like browsing on site, then we get a little more, then we'll get a little more targeted and just kind of like, talk to you in a way and like, show you some things that we think you might be interested in. We do a lot of work with wunderkin, we have been expanding with them lately, to figure out ways to like, provide customers with things that we think they would like, based on their interaction and previous purchases with us. So we're trying to get smarter. And there's constantly the opportunity to get, like more targeted to really provide people what they want, based on their behaviors.

Mariah Parsons 36:19

Yeah, yeah, I'm glad I'm not super familiar with wunderkin. But that sounds super awesome. And like, the fact that you're able to have all the data behind what your customer looks like. And you said, like, if they're searching on your website, and able to segment the experience, I know as a consumer, when I receive those emails, or SMS or whatever, however you're communicating with the customers. It goes a long way. Because it just shows extra intentionality. But I also like that you all that you also have the approach of recognizing, like, hey, maybe this was a gift or a one off purchase, or like a treat yourself moment, and you're like, we still want to be present, even if you're not like, the top 1% of our consumers, right? Like, we'll still entertain you. It's like a friend like being like, oh, keep in touch. We'll still like provide you these benefits, even if you know, you're not part of these different customer

37:23

profiles. Yeah. And that just like, that just might mean that they're just not ready at the moment. But like, there's still some interest in engaging with us as a brand, right? So we're going to keep them around. And we want to make sure that they they're getting what they want from us, at least, you know, and hopefully, we hopefully they've enjoyed the product, or they've received feedback on the product that they've given as a gift. And like when they're ready. They'll make that move and get there. Either get themselves in it or get them selves a refresh.

Mariah Parsons 37:55

Yeah, and I like to ask as well, along with segmentation, because I know this has come up with other guests along the lines of like, you have email and SMS, if you're just talking about those two channels alone, and you're segmenting for the customer experience. How are you all approaching? Like how they're working together in terms of like, are you sending majority of your communications through email? With those different experiences that you just walked through? Are you kind of coupling them with SMS? How are you? How are you approaching that? Yeah,

38:29

it's been, it's been actually really interesting. In the past, like a year and a half, it's we've seen this kind of like, shift in like, what channels people are prioritizing, right. So as of right now, we think last year, we were prioritizing, maybe SMS a bit more like if we had your, if we had your phone number, we would focus on that. But then we started to realize that maybe email was dropping off a little bit more than we'd like. So we kind of are having them work together at this point. Like, I don't think it's terrible to send people the kind of, it's not the exact same message, but like, the same information through both channels, right, as long as you're delivering it in a different way. Because there are so many times where I miss an email, but I'll get a text message, right? Like people aren't engaging with every type of content that you send them, like, your open rate is never going to be 100%. Right? So it's like giving them multiple touchpoints is i is okay, as long as you're not like just copy and pasting. Like, I sent you this email and then basically I sent you the exact same thing and attacks like, we're going to feed you like some sense of humor in both. And like, if you happen to open both, hopefully you got like, at least the joke through you know, like you got that human factor from both um, But that we do as of right now that we aren't prioritizing one over the other. Because people's engagement and like, what channels they're focused on is constantly shifting, it's been more apparent, I think the past like, two years, year and a half of just like, SMS taking off, maybe email block inboxes getting a little too flooded, that you need those multiple touch points in order to make sure that like, you're having the opportunity to talk to your customer.

Mariah Parsons 40:35

Yeah, right. And to if it's information that is beneficial, like you want information to be delivered to the consumer, I don't think like, I'm of the same personal standpoint, just as a consumer, it's like, I'm okay with someone emailing me and texting or sending SMS. As long as it's like valuable, right? Like, if it's not valuable, and it's annoying, then nobody, I think nobody would want that right now.

41:02

And like, it's not our goal to like spam you in any way. In order to qualify for those types of texts and emails, right? You have to like, have behaved with us in a way that we believe that like, this is what's going to make most sense for you right now. Right? Like, we're honestly, it's coming from a it's coming from a place of like, wanting to help the customers. Yeah, right. Like, there's a lot of stuff online, there's a lot of stuff on our site, and we're just trying to like, help you make that decision a bit more like and serve you relevant content. So it's like, if someone was just spamming me and like sending me like, buy this black pair of underwear, can you buy this black pair of underwear? How about this black? Yeah, like, that would drive me. That would drive me nuts. Right? Like, yeah, and I, I don't want to do that to our customer base. But if it's like you came in, and we can see that you're interested in subscription, but maybe like you don't fully understand it, or like you need a little more information on it, we want to provide that to you. If you want to consume that via an email great, or we're going to try to like drop you on a page on the website that's going to explain the subscription benefits to you. And that's like strictly for customer educational purposes, right? Like, we want you to be informed about what you're looking for. And we're making our best guess at like, based on your behaviors of like, what we can serve you.

Mariah Parsons 42:30

Right? Yeah. And I think that's what shows up with the brands that are taking that approach, like you all are aware, it's like, okay, we're trying to use all the information we possibly can to predict like, what makes the most sense for you at this time at this customer stage. And I think that's where people are going to start to, if they're not already in the boat of like, oh, send me an SMS along with an email, because I'll just see which one I opened first, or like, say I get an SMS about it. And then I'm like, Okay, awesome. And then I see that I have an email and has more information around it. Like that's then up to me, and I get to choose how I'm interacting with the content, but it's the the accessibility or the ease of usability, where it's like, okay, I don't have to go look through a website for something that I want. And like, take time out of my day to go find these answers, like someone's just serving them up on a silver platter for me to consume.

43:31

Exactly, it's just about, like getting you the correct information that we think you're looking for, to help you make a decision and hopefully serve you products that you are truly interested in. And like I say, we're constantly improving that kind of like understanding of our customer base. And it's like, if you let if, like, past customers have loved this, they've also loved that, you know, like, customers who behave like you or like have resonated with like similar products, like, we think this would be great for you. Because we were taking the approach that like, if you're still interested, there is something about a product that you loved, or like you really enjoyed. And you're just looking for that next one. And like I said, like, people don't have a ton of time to like go through websites, right? Like, if you're shopping online. It's like maybe 10 minutes of my day, and I need to go and make a decision, submit the order and move on with my life. Right? Like, people aren't spending like hours. They're like scrolling on their phone for a few minutes and like that, that's their opportunity to shop.

Mariah Parsons 44:36

Right? Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. And as we're talking about segmentation and subscriptions and just meeting the customer where they're at, I also wanted to ask you if you know off the top of your head, because So majority are a lot of your customers fall in that bucket of subscriptions. Can you describe to us what it looks like? Trying to see for returns or exchanges, because I know this is super top of mind, just as we just launched our integration with loop. So like I this is now something that I personally haven't thought a ton about. But it's super interesting for me to now ask brand reps like yourself like, how does that filter into, you know, the post purchase experience and what we're talking about with, like, wanting to make sure customers are informed and wanting to communicate and segment experiences based off of what's going on in the customer journey.

45:32

Yeah, I mean, returns has been like, returns and exchanges is going to be like a huge focus of mine this year, which I'm working with loop and like figuring out those rules and how to make that like ease of a return or an exchange easier. But what's interesting is like, we're actually taking that information, right, like we used to do, we launched a new sub tech in September of last year, right, because we wanted to improve their customer experience. From a subscription standpoint, if you got a print that you didn't enjoy, you could go in and exchange it. But you can still do that. But based on that information, and what we were seeing in terms of returns and exchanges, is that we built this new sub Tech where you can actually go in and select your print before it even shipped. Right. So like we've built it in a way that like we're no longer assigning something to you. And that was some education that we learned through the return and exchange program. That would be a reason why a lot of people wanted to exchange like, our friends are loud, you know, or like, like, find some funny and not others. Funny, right? Like, and we always wanted to provide the customer with what they want, right? So like, instead of, like, using that kind of like loop returned in recording to understand that, like customers were a lot of customers were exchanging just based on the print, right? Let's like solve that. And like, Let's build a sub sub tech that actually allows us allows the customer to select what they want before it sends out and remove that like point of friction. But yeah, and like other than that with like returns and exchanges, it's, we want it, we offer free returns and exchanges in the US, right. So we're constantly trying to make sure that like, because our product catalog is so big, like there has to be different rules for like every type of product, right, which gets kind of complicated. But like, we want people to feel comfortable. Like if they needed a new size, or they needed, they wanted to like exchange for a new pattern, we want to make sure that that is readily available at their tips and like loop has done a pretty solid job of like, giving us that flexibility. We also are working on like integrating loop directly into our CX platform, you know, just so we can like quickly take care of that for the customer. So there's a lot of opportunity there. And that's going to be a huge focus in 2023.

Mariah Parsons 48:01

Yeah, super interesting. Thank you for like giving us details around that. Because I've I've also seen, I think we're trending towards that where it's like, okay, returns and exchanges are going to be very important are going to be like now another deal breaker or now another way to impress your consumer base. And I'm so glad that you brought this up in that you're working to, like remove the friction point that you described of someone getting a pattern that just isn't for them. Because I almost asked that earlier, then I was like, Okay, now we're having such a good conversation. So I just dropped it off. But I was going to ask if people can like if people can select before they get their package sent to them which patterns they want. So I think I love hearing that. Just like super, super interesting to me to kind of get like a insider view of how brands are working through using their data for returns and exchanges, and then how they're using that to inform their strategy going forward.

49:04

Yeah, and I think there's still huge opportunity there, right? Like, you're, you're ordering offline, right? You're not trying things on, you're not seeing them in person for the first time. Like you're getting them delivered to your home. Right. And so you might think this is your size, you order the incorrect one. So it's like, you want a company that you feel comfortable with, like, just quickly, easily making that exchange. Right. So that's, that is our goal. And I think that should be basically the goal for any e commerce. Great. It's like, let's just, let's just like how do you kind of, they're not in a store, they can't just like walk out of the dressing room and go select a different size. How do we ease that tension and like, make that as seamless as possible in order for them to get the product that they actually wanted or that they will actually use?

Mariah Parsons 49:57

Yeah, I love that. And I think that very Well encompasses everything that we've been talking about for this whole episode in terms of just meeting customers where they're at and making sure that what you're doing reduces friction and provides, like the best experience that you all can possibly give. So I know we're at time, I wish we could keep talking because this has been so amazing. But thank you so much, Molly, for sharing your expertise. And for coming on the podcast today. It's been wonderful.

50:24

Yeah, for sure. This is totally great. It was great talking with you. And yeah, check us out at Shinesty.com

Mariah Parsons 50:31

Love it. Love it. Thank you