S4 E12: Witnessing the power of transactional notifications and order tracking with George Kapernaros (Founder & CEO of YOCTO)


On this episode of Retention Chronicles we're joined by George Kapernaros, Founder & CEO of YOCTO. Noah, Mariah and George talk about how specialists at Yocto can only work with a maximum of 3 clients at once so they can closely spot gaps and inefficiencies in their strategy, his skepticism that consumers buy from transactional emails but was then proven wrong by insane engagement rates, how the engagement on transactional emails helps the deliverability of your marketing emails, believing the power of transactional messages and purchasing from the order tracking page, using the number of unique clicks to website from email as their main KPI, the areas that brand owners frequently neglect in their email & SMS marketing, & more!

Malomo is currently running our Tracking Page Contest until 10/2/2023 and it is open to all Shopify/Shopify+ brands and agencies. Check it out here:https://gomalomo.com/tracking-page-contest

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, work, yocto, client, retention, shopify, call, great, people, merchants, talk, email, good, company, products, partners, business, platform, order, tracking


George Kapernaros, Noah Rahimzadeh, Mariah Parsons

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:04

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

Mariah Parsons 00:16

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

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:24

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

Mariah Parsons 00:31

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

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:39

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

Mariah Parsons 00:43

is sponsored by Malomo a shipment in order tracking platform improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our episodes at go malomo.com. Hello, everyone, before we get started with today's episode, if you've been listening, you already know about the tracking page design contests that we are running here in Malomo. I wanted to emphasize that it's open to any and all Shopify and Shopify Plus brands and agencies. So you can check that out at Go malomo.com or by following the link in our bio. Hope you enjoy this awesome episode.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:28

George, great to see you, man, newest episode of retention Chronicles and we've rescheduled this like 10 times. It's great to have you on. You know, that's not a slide at you. We I think I rescheduled at least once or twice on my end. So it's been a minute. It's been a long time coming, but super, super pumped to have founder and CEO of Yocto. Agency hear George with us today. And we'll let him introduce himself. And George as part of introducing yourself. Don't tell the don't tell the Yocto story yet. But definitely tell us one or two things that you're excited about in your personal life.

George Kapernaros 02:08

Okay, first of all, thank you for for having me here. We did reschedule a couple of times. So as I told you, I think this podcast is haunted, I hope it worked it in the end, because it was really tough to to make it happen. So things I'm excited about. You mean like personal things are like work? Yeah, yeah, personal things, personal things. I've started taking care of my health. Because I have way more free time lately, because the business actually goes quite well. Right, which by extension allows me to focus more on you know, like, Fitness, Health, etc. Like, for example, I used to be a very heavy smoker. And I've quit smoking feeling.

Noah Rahimzadeh 02:52

Wow, did you supplement with any other like nicotine gum or anything like that, or totally just cold turkey?

George Kapernaros 03:00

I guess I should have but I'm like, I'm the type that just goes cold turkey and suffers for a week or two. And then that's it. So no, I quit cold turkey. I started going to the gym again, you know, like a bunch of things, eating more healthy, etc. I think one thing that happens when you kind of like really start focusing on businesses that you kind of deprioritize your health, which is the worst possible thing you can do, actually, because if you do that you have less energy. And if you have less energy, you do less for the business, which is like kind of a stupid thing. But we will do it in a sense. So very happy to to actually move out of that trap.

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:39

Yeah, absolutely. That's a that's a big unlock. I was with some E comm founders this weekend, and one of them was talking about how he's getting his business to the point where he can be sort of operationalizing it to the point where he can step away a lot more. And, you know, this is a young guy, probably somewhere in between around our ages. And he's like, I'll be honest, like I was I was concerned I wouldn't love not working and he's like, it's awesome. Man, it's just trying to optimize everything to work less but continue obviously running, you know, the successful business so it's great to hear that Yocto is in that position. Are you you do at any travel as well as part of this extra free time this summer?

George Kapernaros 04:32

I am planning to go to the grand is it called Grand Canaria, or Gran Canary. Gran Canaria. It's like islands in Spain. Basically. It's a really nice oh, I'm gonna stay for a while. Yeah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:45

I gotta look this up. Have you heard of it? I'm Mariah.

Mariah Parsons 04:48

Wait. Canary Islands is that?

George Kapernaros 04:50

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think I think that's how it's grown printed or something like that. Yeah. Yeah, I have to look it up specifically, but

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:59

Oh, this looks so awesome. Holy cow. Cool as

George Kapernaros 05:03

far as I heard, like, there is also like digital nomad type of community there. So it's gonna be like quite nice to also meet people and stuff.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:12

Very nice. Well, congrats on that.

George Kapernaros 05:16

You know, like, I'm still wired up here and I live in Greece where

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:21

you gotta get the tan. Yeah, the 10 Yawn. It's great to hear Yocto is in that position. Let's that's a good sort of transition. Let's talk about your professional background leading up to Yocto. And then let's get into the agency and you know, what you who you guys serve, how you're differentiated, and I'll guide that part of the conversation. But we'd love to just start with like your, your background, George up until Yocto.

George Kapernaros 05:51

So I've been in E commerce for quite a long time. My first role actually was in Kobe, I was a corporate either a direct response copywriter for a company called Deep brands, it's an E commerce company quite successful. I was there quite early on. And basically, the company blew up, like we grew quite fast. And along with the company also started growing professionally like I became the CO creator had a team of copywriters, and I became like a marketing manager than a marketing director. And by the time I decided to leave the company, I was, besides the two owners of the company, I was like the highest ranking executive, at least from a marketing standpoint. And then I was a consultant for a time basically, went to a variety of companies, like shell them improve their marketing, not just from an email marketing slash retention slash CRM perspective. But also like CRO, I've done some work on paid media, I've done a bunch of things really, because my role was diverse. Eventually, I decided to focus in the retention space primarily because every single bit of demand there, and I had experience in that. And what happened basically was that I had too much work to do after a point as a consultant, and I said, you can either kind of stay doing what you're doing. And then because I was living a good life already, right, like I was making good money, it was relatively easy. Or you can try to build something bigger than yourself. And I decided to do the, the second think. So this is how Yocto was created. Initially, the brand name was me, it was like me as a consultant. I had like some, you know, contractors that were helping me with a bunch of things, but it was basically me. But I said, No, forget about George. And also, this is almost like a mindset change. Because initially, I wanted to be the expert. I wanted to be the guy that everybody would get into. But now I don't really care at all. I want to be the experts like that don't care about being popular or known our like, it's not important to me, I want Dr to be well known. So this happened actually last September. So Yocto is less than a year old. We do did you want to do you want me to start getting into the details.

Noah Rahimzadeh 08:21

Now that's, that's great. I am curious, like before you get into Jaco, because there's so many consultants, and there's a ton of agencies as well in the Shopify ecosystem. Like, how Why do you think it was that you hit this critical mass where you like, basically, either had to start an agency and hire to support all of your demand? Or be a lot more selective and stay where you were at? Like, what do you attribute that level of attention and success to before before you even started the agency?

George Kapernaros 08:57

A lot of people would say something along the lines of I am better, I'm more skilled, etc. The reality is that much of it is luck, really, you get wins, and then those wins leads to more wins. Like, for example, my initial success of the brands led to the first projects I had as a consultant. And then I guess, lucked out again, because I worked with a very big company called killer health. Like they're above 200 million in annual revenue, and that leads to more success. And it spirals out of control. And a big part of it is luck, because it's not that you are hardworking than everybody else. It's just that you are hard working, you might be smart or capable. And also the circumstances are right. So I would say luck is a big factor. And then obviously, there's probably an element of me knowing what I'm doing also. Right, right. And like if I were to give you a trade, I take I take The money that people pay me very seriously, meaning that I do try to go the extra mile, like, it's not that I try to, you know, deliver the value to the client as efficiently as possible for me necessarily, but I try to deliver the maximum value to the client. Those are not always the same.

Noah Rahimzadeh 10:18

Right? No, that's a great point. And in a unique perspective, yeah, why don't we get into Yocto? And one of the questions that I like to ask and you might, you might have just already answered it. But you know, not only who Yocto serves, but again, because there are so many different options when it comes to agency support and Shopify ecosystem, sort of what makes Yocto as an agency, you know, beyond just your personal traits, which I agree with a unique offering to Shopify merchants.

George Kapernaros 10:55

I would say, there's probably a lot of agencies that do good work out there. I wouldn't say that we are the best necessarily, but what I will say is that we are for sure, philosophically different, which makes us structurally different. And I'll tell you what I mean, when I say philosophically different, what I mean is that it's not really a once a week, touch base type of thing, we really do try to become an extension of the business of our clients, basically, the business of our clients becomes our business, will that make sense. And this philosophical difference makes us structurally different, which is the practical ways were different. So to make this concrete, I would say we have one of the best, if not the best, at least to my knowledge, strategies to client ratios, meaning that one strategist, can work with a maximum of three clients. It's often 710. What does this mean? It means that the time they give you is much less, and therefore the depth of the service is much smaller. Another, I think really important advantage we have is that we have what we call cross account audit, which means that one strategies for the work of another strategist for you as a client, this has no disruption at all, but you're really getting two brands for the price of one, as a huge advantage. It leads to net new ideas without any disruptions for you. Another way, we are different, we do what I call a technology audit. If you recall, when we started working together like as, as partners, I asked you very specifically and very intentionally, what technologies does Malomo work well with? That was because I have a big list of technology. And I want those companies to be synergistic between themselves have a big list of companies that can cover everything in the technology stack of a client. And when we start working with a client, we really do audit everything we have, from Popper, all the way to what happens after the sale. And by auditing this, we're able to spot calves, we're able to spot inefficiencies. And by extension, we're able to make recommendations and hear them implement what would add more value to them. And they don't pay extra for that. That's part of our service. Another advantage how people pay us, you know, in most cases, what happens is you start working with someone and they say, Hey, like this surfy, you need to pay like five 6000, you pay this and then we start, we don't realize that. And we don't do it like that, because we have a healthy business. We have cash flow, we don't care to collect upfront. Instead, we invoice you at the start of the next month. So we start today, but you pay the first of September. What does this mean? It means that you have a full month almost to make the moment that you're going to pay me. Yeah, there's a lot of advantages like that. And I would say that, again, there's I'm not saying we're the best necessarily. But if you think about our niche focus, which is health and wellness, we have a lot of experience in health and wellness. And if you think about a price point, we are for sure. One of the best.

Noah Rahimzadeh 14:15

Yeah, I've seen that come through and merchants we've worked on together like the you know, a lot of our agency partners, and I don't even think this is necessarily a bad thing. But a lot of them are pretty hands off when it comes to Malomo. Specifically, like I don't know how they are with their other technology partners, but a lot of times it's you know, where their preferred order tracking solution and they recommend Malomo And then they let the client or our team build the build out the post purchase experience. And like I said, we're really good at that. Some merchants are really good at that others need a lot more hand holding. But regardless, I think the added oversight that you've been able to provide your your merchants that we've worked on together has led to Some problems solution, resume, you know, identification and resolution. And it's helped us be more efficient and learn from one another. And it's helped the merchant get value more quickly because you are so sort of intricately looking at everything they have going on. With that in mind, you mentioned earlier your your focus on retention, and I want to make sure that our listeners are privy to exactly what services you're providing. So you're super hands on, but it's probably not every single aspect of the business, correct me if I'm wrong. So what what areas of the business are you typically focusing on at this level of debt? Yes, the October bonds

George Kapernaros 15:42

we are helping, we're managing rather, email and SMS for most of our clients, our biggest clients have a CRO component that's in addition to this, but we don't really offer this very frequently. Got a landing page test optimization that everything has got it. Yep. Which actually works well with email and SMS, because people don't really think about that. What happens after you click on the email is like, important, right? So

Noah Rahimzadeh 16:14

yeah, I mean, the, the obvious example for us is like, some merchants will come to us and say they already had their post purchase flows there order tracking flows in clay, VO. And that is great, right? Like, it's a good thing to do. Because you're able to bring in those templates a lot more easily that you are in Shopify, you're able to even put some, as we all know, put some marketing content in the bottom and drive some marketing results as a as a result of that. But if you're still linking out to UPS or FedEx from that email, you you've just basically wasted all of your time and effort, you know, moving those emails over to clay vo because you're not recapturing any of that web traffic. And therefore, you're not able to convert that web traffic into more sales, during order tracking or subscription program, signups during order tracking or, you know, leveraging your UGC for brand affinity. So, I think that that is absolutely a great call out that CRO and website optimization goes hand in hand with email and SMS, would you add anything to that?

George Kapernaros 17:25

I would just add that what you just said, about bringing the transactional email and SMS traffic back to the website is a major missed opportunity. I have to say this, like I was skeptical at first. Because, you know, like, the people are gonna really rebuy after the balls while they do actually. And they do it in great numbers. And the best thing for people like me that are in the, you know, even marketing space, and so on, those emails actually have insane engagement, insane the election, which you've never seen before, anywhere else, you've never seen that type of clicker, and you've never seen a day before. And every time this happens, like every time this happens, you're sending a positive signal of deliverability. So it really helps with everything else think that like it helps the customer, it helps the brand because you're getting return in traffic, you can educate them on the landing pages, you can get repeat orders, and also it helps the rest of your email marketing program. So it helps the marketer as well. It's it's really a no brainer, the price that you have is like really a no brainer. I would say like, I wouldn't be tempted. And I'm not saying this because I would be tempted to say that. If you're not doing this, you should do it shouldn't think you should just go ahead and do it.

Noah Rahimzadeh 18:44

Yeah, absolutely. appreciate you saying that we couldn't agree more. But yeah, it it's funny that like it does feel like such a no brainer for all Shopify merchants. I think that there's still a lot of education that needs to be done, to be honest, because of what you said, George, that, you know, most most brands who haven't thought about optimizing order tracking, either haven't thought about or don't believe the results that can be driven from it from a net new sales perspective. And I think for me, personally, there's a lot of stats that we talk about a lot like 15% of your order, or your web traffic hits the order tracking page, customers view their or track their order about five times on average per order. But the craziest stat that I've heard in my entire time at Malomo is that customers will buy more stuff while they have an order on the way to their house 3% of the time. So like, it doesn't sound like a crazy number at all. But for a lot of our merchants. Its high six figures low seven figures in annual revenue that they're doing just by providing upsell and cross sell opportunities on that order tracking page on They're on site. So I agree. I think that, you know, I didn't believe that, but now I've seen it firsthand, a year and a half. And it's a massive, massive opportunity.

George Kapernaros 20:11

I think you need to see this to believe this. But what what might be, I guess easier for people to digest is the polling. Like, if you think about retention, what is retention? Retention is an outcome of the customer trying and liking the product, right. That's what it is. Having a good experience, let's say and like achieving what they wanted to achieve with a product, that that's how retention happens. And if you start the relationship with the customer on the right foot, with giving a good transactional experience is exactly what you're doing, then you're coloring everything else in a positive light. So it, I think the implications and the impact it has actually goes way beyond what you see on the actual emails being sent themselves, it probably creates positive associations that trickle down the lifetime, like for a long time, because especially if you're buying something, it's like today, I bought an aura ring, I think would I think it's called like an expensive, like, I don't know, 400, something I don't recall much, but it's kind of expensive. Now, if I received no notification or anything, well, what happened? And I actually received an SMS that tells me, like, it's gonna live there. Like, I feel pretty much reassured that okay, I didn't get scammed, like, I can rest easy, you know, that I spend my money in a good way. And that feeling has a lot of value, even if you can't really quantify it so easily.

Noah Rahimzadeh 21:43

Right? Absolutely. Yeah, I think that's another challenge that we run into is, especially if merchants push back on order tracking being a revenue channel, which we've proven at this point. Take that away. And just think about driving 15% of your traffic to UPS and FedEx first back to your site where we she can provide a branded experience, like to your point, you know, merch, especially for those higher value merchants where you're buying expensive things, or you're trying anything for the first time. There's, there's a level of nervousness in that experience. And by providing a more tailored, personalized and branded experience, first a generic experience that's confusing, which is what Shopify on the boxes for for order tracking, you're, you're absolutely creating positive brand, brand affinity. So I couldn't agree more with you there. And appreciate you.

George Kapernaros 22:45

Because like, people pay a lot for a design agency to make a nice branded website. And then they're sending the notifications that look like garbage. You need to do that. But anyway, I think we made

Noah Rahimzadeh 23:01

it Yeah, we could talk about this for for hours. Okay, I want to get to like a recent project you've worked on that you're proud of, you don't have to say the client name or any sort of specific results. But if you can share name and or results, that's great. But first, email and SMS is an interesting space right now in terms of vendors, I know that you work closely with Klaviyo on the email side, are you leveraging them on the SMS side? Are you using another? And what are your thoughts about consolidating platforms around email and SMS?

George Kapernaros 23:37

It's a really good question. I'm very well connected with CLEVEO. Like they know me in my first name, like in the London offices, at least. However, however, for me, the priority is always the merchant, which means that if a merchant and this happened recently, actually, if a merchant is well entrenched on a platform like attentive, right, and they have basically no real reason to migrate from Magento, at this moment in time, I'm not going to force them to move to a view, I prefer play view. At the end, if guys, if you're sharing this, I'm sorry, but I prefer but I'm still wanting to work with them. I'm still gonna work with like sandline or like, whatever platform it is. I think generally speaking, consolidation is a great thing. If nothing else, because it makes the workflows of the teams that are working in the program easier. It's easier to have one place when everything leaves than have to like piece things together for three different platforms. It's just easier. That's one thing. The second thing is that it allows you to do things that are more effective, meaning if I have in my CLEVEO, let's say, the review data, like if someone said I appreciate This trade of that product, if I have this data stored on the profile level, then I can use that to create an automation, or like a campaign, it allows you to do more things to have everything in one place, rather than having it mess in your report or like another platform that would not be connected to my, to my profile. So I do believe in it. Yes. But fundamentally, I would say we're not married to CLEVEO. And we would always prioritize what is best for the merchant?

Noah Rahimzadeh 25:32

Awesome. I'm always interested to get, you know, meeting agencies perspective on that, because I think there are pros and cons to both we work agnostically across Play vo attentive and postscript. And we've seen a lot of clients have success on all those platforms. So we're agnostic in that regard. But I always love to get your perspective. Okay.

George Kapernaros 25:57

That I think is important. It's very common, that we use technology as a crutch, almost like we say, oh, we should move to this tool because it has that feature or that feature. But the reality of the situation is that all of the leading platforms, they have so many features that are so robust, that it's very unlikely you're maximizing them in the first place. And if you're changing from one platform to another, all you're really doing is like trying to find a crash, basically. And if the pilot of the platform remains the same, it's doubtful that it will lead to better results. And yeah, like, this is especially true, I would say, for enterprise platforms, like, let's say, bigger than CLEVEO, because then things really become complicated. But why do you need this complexity? Do you really need this complexity? It's not an obvious answer.

Noah Rahimzadeh 26:53

Right? Yeah, that's a great point. I mean, there's a ton of I would imagine there's a lot of switching costs, right? Whether it's even if it's just amount of time, it's it's a pretty heavy amount of time, any sort of ESP migration is a big win. So yeah, that's a great call. I know, Chuck, we've got me, I know, you've done that. done that a few times felt that pain. Okay, tell us about a recent client project that you're particularly excited about? Again, you don't have to say the client name if you can't.

George Kapernaros 27:28

Yeah, okay. Yeah, let's do it. I'm really excited about. It's a fantastic brand. It's called my OB, it's in the UK, the father is one of the smartest people I know, like he worked on Google. He's a doctor, like he's a very bright guy. And it's not necessarily that I'm proud of the results would have worked for them. The results are great. We have a case study on the website, you have to do the agency you like everyone can take a look, the results are great. But what I really like is that it speaks to what I was saying earlier, right, like we showed them actually define the new products, they will develop for their brand. We did a lot of surveys, we discovered a lot of pain points for the audience. And now the brand is developing products to address those pain points. So it it what I like is that it feels like we have an actual impact on the business. It's not that we have like great open rates, click rates and stuff like we which is nice. It's always nice. It's always nice to see the dashboard and clever will work right. But that's, that's not the full business. That's your channel. And what matters is really helping the actual business. So seeing them launch five products, they're launching five products, and knowing that we've contributed to those products. It's like an amazing feeling.

Noah Rahimzadeh 28:47

Absolutely, that's, that's awesome. I think that might be one of the more unique things that we've heard, because, and again, nothing wrong with, you know, talking about your area of expertise and what you've been able to drive results wise there. But I love how you tie that back to the broader business goals. Like when you say you surveyed a bunch of people to figure out what these new products would be those were through your email and SMS campaigns, I imagine are different channels. Yeah. And did they specifically, you know, hire you you all to to do that specifically? Or did you do kind of identified opportunity to do some customer research? Like how did that come about?

George Kapernaros 29:27

Again, it speaks to how we're different from other agencies. Right, I'll answer your question. When we started working with a client, the first two weeks, specifically the first two weeks, we have what we call the strategy development phase. And the part of that is doing customer research. So we develop surveys, we run surveys, we analyze surveys, we produce reports, like we map everything in a structured way so that you can interpret the data. So that's we do this for every client, they don't pay extra for that. And again, I'm sure there's a A lot of people buy the woodwork. But I would say in our space, we know exactly what we're doing. And I'll tell you one thing that we're doing that I've never seen anybody else do. And I think it's actually clearly not unique, but like unusual and also beneficial to the listeners potentially, we use some time we play a lot with service. And one of the things we do is that we use the surveys to create what we call conversion claims, conversion statistics. So we ask questions that will lead to favorable numbers for the client something like, has your mental health improved, since starting to use a product, yes or no. And then this results in something like 88% of customers report mental health improvements. And then if you do this smartly, you can add a timeframe within the first 30 days. And this becomes a very powerful claim that you can use on the landing pages on your emails, even your ads, you need to have some disclaimers, obviously, but it's very powerful. And this is done through service.

Noah Rahimzadeh 31:02

Right. Yeah, I love that example. I think it shows sort of how you all think outside the box, when it comes to email and SMS rather than just thinking about, you know, click through rates and conversions, you're thinking about how can how can these channels drive a bigger impact on the business? Would you agree with

George Kapernaros 31:20

that? Exactly. And I, I mean, since we were discussing this, I'm going to go on record and say that, honestly, most of them are marketing metrics don't even matter. At the end of the day, like what matters, the actual email metric that matters is the number of unique clicks, that you're driving to the website. That's what actually matters. Because if that number goes up, the value you're contributing to the business actually likely goes up. That's the best correlation that is like things like what open rate do I have? Or like, how how much is like the bounce rate and stuff like that? Yes, they matter to an extent, but kind of not really

Noah Rahimzadeh 32:03

interesting. So you take the Northstar metric, so to speak, is that unique open rate? It's not that you're it's not that you're not

George Kapernaros 32:11

unique clicks, is how many people you bring to the web, right? Like, that's that, if that number is going up? Good things are likely happening. You should be checking a lot more things. It's not just this, but I'm just saying that the emphasis on things like, like open rates, for example, I would say it's not as important as people make it out to be, especially now that it's like mostly inflated and fake anyway.

Noah Rahimzadeh 32:36

And yeah, it's just it's kind of complicated. But yeah, great call out. Yeah, I'd be remiss not to not to also mention the case study we did together with mirror care. And you know that I think that that one shows clearly what you were talking about earlier, which is the click through rates from those emails, being so much higher than most brands would think any any email campaign could be. But there are these order tracking emails that almost every customer cares about, right? So they want to know the packages and when it will warn.

George Kapernaros 33:14

One point about Medicare, I want to say, first of all, they have been a partner of ours for a long time, like over a year. And we've renewed our contract. I don't see a path we're in, we're stopping anytime soon. I want to use this as an opportunity to say that, since Yocto, started doing business in last September. We've actually, it may sound like it's fake, but it's not we've actually never lost a client. We've only stopped working with one client. But I made the decision there. Everybody else we've worked with, we're still working with them. Or the project, like if it was like a project like implementation type of thing, start and finish like all retainer clients that still with us. And again, saying this in the big to answer your question how we're different. Well, I

Noah Rahimzadeh 34:09

guess that Yeah, yeah. We're doing something good. I think that's a great call out. Yeah. And we've seen that on our end, too. So what do you what would you say you attribute that to? Is it your Is it the approach that you talked about earlier? Is there anything else that you would call out on that note?

George Kapernaros 34:27

Much of it is what I described already, I would say there are some things that are a little bit harder to point to. I might be wrong, but I think for example, the fact that I have personally have frequent, open, transparent communication with our clients like on a how can we improve perspective? Are we doing what has value for you like? Let's call them pulse checks. I have politics with clients every couple of months. And I do that very intentionally. There's like a checklist of questions that go through that has like down to earth practical things like, Do you see the use of value now report in like, from one to five? How would you read the report, you see value in like this and that. And then based off those discussions that are like outcomes is that we are in the right course, in which ways we continue to double down on what we're doing, can we make course corrections. So I would say that this also plays a big role. And I would also say, this is more for the agency owners that listening, I think a big part is also knowing who to work with. Yeah. You can't necessarily erase, too, be the first every time right like a horse race, but you can learn to select the right horse so that you have a higher probability of racing first, if that makes sense. And I think it's the same with the brands you work with, you shouldn't be working with everybody, you shouldn't be working with broken businesses that want you to fix them, you shouldn't be working with companies that have a plan, a real value proposition, a real you know, like, target audience, and knowledgeable team, actual companies that know what they're doing. What I see a lot of agency owners do is that they take everything, they will say that, we're going to take your money, and we are going to figure it out that that's not a good thing. Because it can't have a good outcome, it can work temporarily. But what we'll end up doing is that the project will break down, the clients won't be happy, because you can't really fix a broken business, then your team won't be happy, because they're gonna be like, Why are we working with those who like, I didn't sign up for these, right. And this has like chain effects that affect everything. And it basically affects your reputation. Also, like there's a bunch of things. So I would say that this is another thing we've been selective of who we are working with. And we've been lucky, also of who we're working with, both in our clients. And in our tech partners, I want to say this, this is a call for people like you, you've been incredible in how responsive you are in like, I'm a difficult person to work with sometimes, but like, you

Noah Rahimzadeh 37:31

know, man, first of all, thank you for saying that I don't think you're difficult at all. But a couple of things that I've noticed to return some some compliments, but they're very real one, you had, I've noticed your selection, your selectivity around merchants that you work with, I know there was a there have been a couple that we've talked about the you've ultimately passed on working with, which I you know, you don't hear a lot, especially early on, right. Like, I think to your point, a lot of agencies will take on a merchant, and then maybe firing them a month or two in, but you do a lot more diligence on the front end to make sure that it's a good fit from the jump. And if they're not, I think you're a little bit more happy to say, Let me punch you in a different direction, right. And then on the partner side, same thing, you're pretty selective on that to a lot of, again, there's nothing wrong with this, but a lot of agencies have 1520, some even have more, you know, tech partners. And there's nothing wrong with that. But you you've been really selective and I know that when we started working together, I think you were just trying to work with Malomo and clay VO for a quarter or so just to see how that how we can really, you know, go really deep rather than wide for you in your in your first sort of foray into building type partnerships. So definitely two unique approaches there for you and the Yocto team, I think that I've seen.

George Kapernaros 39:00

And if I were to give some advice, perhaps to people that are listening, I would say that they should probably do the same thing. Like if you want to. I'm not an expert by any means in tech partnerships. You are way more knowledgeable than me in this. But I would say that probably you guys are having enough calls with people that are kind of wasting your time. Hey, we want to partner but like without really having a plan without really having any lead just to talk basically. Right? So if you do this times 30. What is the outcome if you multiply 30 by zero, it's still zero. So there's no point in them. I would say that it's much more sensible to find companies we picked Malama we pick to play with but it can be any other company find companies that you really believe in and then really try to do something with them. Like in the first month, the first two months max, have a joint client have a case study. That's what builds momentum and momentum builds more momentum actually. So that's like I would highly suggest to avoid Going for the 30 tech partners, because it's not going to work unless you have, like, I don't know, like, tons of leads coming, in which case you're going to be able to work with a lot of tech partners. I will not suggest you do that.

Noah Rahimzadeh 40:14

Yeah, yeah, I think it's I think it's good advice, especially for folks like you who are a little bit newer, like, did it, you know, you're, you're establishing these tech partners as the foundation for what you'll eventually build on, it's really hard to do that, if you sign up 10 tech partners right away, I actually just gave that advice to an agency I talked to you that's just getting started. And they had like, 15 apps that they talk they asked me about, and I was like, all of those are great apps, but you're building a business while trying to partner with 15 different other companies, it's like, it's gonna be impossible to build really good, solid, deep partnerships with any of them. If you stretch yourself that

George Kapernaros 40:58

whole point here, I would say that people should look for two trades, when they're looking for partners, they should look for either companies that kind of, I guess dominate the market, like clay, VO clever is a good company to partner with because they've penetrated the market. So if you work with clay, VO, you can work with a lot of people, that's a good trait to have. The second thing is a team that's flexible and cares. So if you should go there with a really big ones, or I guess, like the more small ones, because then you're going to get more support are going to have a more personal relationship. Like I'm talking to no, I'm not talking to the Secretary of the separate the other day with the secretary.

Noah Rahimzadeh 41:38

That really the thing. Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I think it's, it's awesome for me too, because I get to have those conversations. But having three secretaries would also be pretty cool one day. Okay, so you talked about retention earlier, this podcast is focused on retention called retention Chronicles. And we've we've talked about some tactical retention strategies, I think, already. But one of the things that you mentioned, I think you summed it up by saying retention is an outcome of trying and liking a product. We always like to ask, you know, what does retention retention mean to you? It sounds like it's that but feel free to add anything. And then on top of that, what what do you feel is like an area of retention in E commerce that brands regularly neglect.

George Kapernaros 42:37

Area of retention that brands regularly neglect. It's not 100% tension, but it is related to the post purchase. So again, how we are different. When we start working with a client, we purchase the products. So when we purchase the products, what we often see is that there's a lot of jarring things that are happening. Like for example, a common one, the Shopify notifications, the post purchase notifications, they overlap with klavier emails. So you're getting Shopify notifications. And now you're getting a clearer view that basically says the same thing. Oh, hey, like you purchase this. Thank you Allah. So it's the same thing. Or there's like inconsistencies in like, branding. So the Shopify ones have a different from name than, like, clever ones. Or there's just illogical things happening. Basically, I think one very neglected area, is that the operators don't really buy the products they promote. And they don't really see what the users see. And that's a very big problem. Because if you don't see how can you improve how you can empathize with what they see. So what we do for this is that they said, we buy the products, and we map everything in a visual way not to use mirror for this, but the tools doesn't matter. We map everything. And we literally try to trigger every single path. So not just purchasing the products, but also like signing up through referral things. Popups footers, check out check everything to see exactly what happens when someone enters the brand's universe. So that's one thing. I would say that. Another thing that I see is that there's a lot of talk, a lot of talk about retention, and LTV and all of those things. But I don't really see a lot of it in the real world. I see people talk about it a lot. But I don't see a lot of doing that. It is really interesting to me like I sometimes called LinkedIn and I see all of these talks about like cohort analysis and I'm like, wow, everybody must be crushing it right, like what the hell, but then I see what's actually happening and it's not that So, I would say, probably educational gaps, like we kind of need to upskill ourselves a little bit more than how we do things to go like from theory to practice. And, like, attack, like a very tactical thing that you can do is find the average days between the first and the second order, and then use that time, the messages. So for example, you can say that, let's say that the second order happens within the first 45 days, like, I'm just going to give you an example. You can have your regular emails going out within that period of time. And then if the user doesn't purchase again, right, so they don't exhibit the expected behavior deviate from the expected behavior, that's when you have a promotion. And you can have something like, Hey, $5, created, added to your account, something like that. And then they are going to be incentivized to place the sacred order. But that is the right moment. It's not random or accidental.

Noah Rahimzadeh 46:07

Right? So yeah, yeah, man, I love that. That tactical use case. That's good stuff. Merchants listening, get a lot of value out of. Yeah. It's funny you say that, like, people talk a lot about, about, yeah, these different LTV and retention tactics. And it's, it really is fascinating to me to think about, like, what percentage of people are actually doing or, you know, even like, did the person who just posted this? Are they actually doing this? I'll tell you, they're doing

George Kapernaros 46:40

one thing, and I'm guilty with this as well. Like, one thing that's kind of popular is like challenge, like you should be doing challenges. And I've done a lot of challenges, actually. So I actually know what I'm talking about. And they can work. But challenges make sense for certain products, like you can make a challenge for a supplement like to take daily, like improve, like that type of thing. It works. But how do you do a challenge for shocks? So if you're selling books, what do you do? You have no retention? No. Right? So a lot of the advice people give is very theoretical. And to make this like to actually answer what I'm saying, how do you sell socks? You, you don't really need to incentivize users to wear the socks that are going to wear the socks, what you need to do from a brand perspective is captured a portion of the mental availability they have. So you need to be basically in front of their faces. What does this mean? It needs to be having, you need to have enough excuses to be sending them enough emails frequently. Like that's what you need to do. Which what does this mean? It means you need to producing content, have nice collaborations with like, influencers or whatever, show that you have excuse to send content. That's how you would approach that attention that it's not a challenge.

Noah Rahimzadeh 47:57

Yeah. Wow. Again, great, great tactical example. And it's like, yeah, I agree. I think, you know, I think that same thing for subscriptions, right, like most brands can find a way to have a subscription program. But since that's probably the most talked about, lever for retention, and, you know, a sock brand may have similar challenges. I'm sure that there are subscriptions for sock brands, but they have to find other levers, other levers to pull, right. Okay, we're wrapping up here. This has been awesome. It flew by George, you've had an awesome career that you've just kind of walked us through throughout the last hour. So I was like to end these episodes with one tip or trick or piece of advice that sort of stuck with you and helped you get to where you are today and where you're heading into the future.

George Kapernaros 48:55

I would say that the most important thing by far, by far, it's, it's gonna sound like weird, but the most important thing is to have faith in yourself. That's the most important thing, trusting your gut, basically. Because you, I think you need to be slightly delusional to succeed, you need to be kind of seeing like the difficulties and the challenges and be like, it's gonna work out, it's fine. To have that sort of attitude. Because otherwise, like Realistically speaking, you shouldn't be taking loads of risky life. Like for example, business has a lot of risk. Right? Talking about probabilities, you probably should not start a business. It's probably much easier to me like to live a good life working for a good company that when they respect you and stuff. So if you go by what feel safe, and you're not gonna live an extraordinary life, I guess so trust your gut. Take risks and have faith in yourself that no matter what you're gonna perform,

Noah Rahimzadeh 50:06

I love that advice. It's actually very timely for me because I, I've been reading a book called Thinking Fast and Slow. And it's, like, Nobel Prize winning economist talks about exactly what you just said that like, you pretty much have to be crazy to be an entrepreneur, like from us, if you looked at it from a statistical standpoint, nobody would do it really. Or they would just ignore the statistics. I, I'm like two thirds through the book. And I don't think I'm going to read any more of it, because it's like, it just, it's way too logical. And like, I would prefer to kind of take your advice, George and trust the gut. And, you know, the reality is people who have massive success, right? They, they do that and they don't look at the statistics, or or maybe they're aware of the statistics, but they, they believe that they can defy them. And I think that's really awesome advice. I appreciate you. sharing that. My pleasure. Awesome. All right. Well, we're right at the hour. I've got a hard stop. So we're gonna let you go, George. Thank you so much, man. It's been a long time coming, but well worth the wait. And thank you Mariah as always. Yeah, this is great. Thank you, George. Thank you for having me.