Season 2 Episode 5: There’s a gap between customer expectation and merchant expectation


On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Andy Warren, Senior Director of Strategy at Tomorrow Agency, an ecommerce focused digital agency based in New York City and official Shopify Plus Agency Partner. We chat about;

  • Enterprise level methodology for both creative and technical strategy
  • What enterprise brands are looking at
  • How enterprise and SMB brands differ in documentation of strategy
  • Data metrics that show conversion and revenue generated
  • The gap between customer expectation and merchant expectation
  • Why ‘Micro Personalization’ is attainable for everyone

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

Subscribe to Retention Chronicles on Apple Podcasts


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


shopify, people, build, clients, customer, brands, point, magento, personalization, site, retention, website, unique, ecosystem, driven, work, clv, love, experience, agency


Noah Rahimzadeh, Mariah Parsons, Andy Warren

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:05

Hey retention pros. I'm Noah Rahimzadeh and I lead partnerships here at Malomo. I'm super pumped to continue to chat with ecosystem experts alongside Mariah 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 focus brands in the Shopify ecosystem.

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:24

But we don't just feature grants, we also feature some great thought leaders in the Shopify ecosystem that served us brands.

Mariah Parsons 00:31

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

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:39

We hope you'll stick around to learn and laugh.

Mariah Parsons 00:42

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 episodes at Bo Welcome to retention Chronicles. So excited for our guests today. I know Noah and I have both been looking forward to this a lot. So Andy, hello, thank you for joining. Andy is the Senior Director of Strategy at tomorrow agency. Noah, do you want to kick us off with this episode?

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:17

Okay, let's just dive in. Let's do it. What was this week? What makes this week so crazy? For you all?

Andy Warren 01:24

Oh, we've just got a lot going on. You know, we've got which is great. But it's I think part of being in like an exciting, fast growing business is just, there's there's always stuff going on. And you know, q4 is like, what, 10 days away now. And so, with our clients being primarily in the retail vertical, it's, that's kind of like, that's the end all be all for 2022 is making sure that you hit q4. So we've just got a lot of projects that are kind of going on concurrently, we've got a lot of I've personally got a lot of research projects that I'm trying to get. get wrapped up here in the next week, we've got to onsite that it's happening in New York next week. And you know, I haven't traveled since COVID started. So well that's I mean, I've traveled for personal but I haven't like traveled for business Since COVID started. And so like, we were talking on Slack about travel and like I was like how to how do I do this? What are the rules for traveling? And what do people what do what do people were like I don't even know, like, it's been so long since I've interacted with a client and like a real physical space. So that's been a trip, like trying to figure out all that stuff. And I had to figure out my TSA PreCheck number again, just all the stuff that goes with it. So yeah, just just a lot man slog going on, which which is fun. But it also makes it tough to, to balance some things sometimes. And of course, this is the week my mom decided to come to town to visit. So throw that throw that out. I love seeing my mom, but you know, it's just another thing that we got to balance.

Mariah Parsons 03:20

It's stressful hosting, like anyone. So yeah. Question. Did you get that question answered of what's aware? I'm curious. These events.

Andy Warren 03:34

So I let me see if I can find it. Because it was funny, the weird talking through it on Slack. And one of the guys I work with was like, Oh, I don't know, business casual, I guess. And I was like, what is that? Like, what is that sweat pants? I don't like I had no idea. Like, and so I think we decided that like, jeans are okay. And I think it's going to be cool enough in New York to where I can wear a sweater. But like, I don't know. So I don't know, it feels like that's kind of go to like, you can't really go too wrong with that. But I'm definitely not showing up in a suit. I know that much.

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:14

Yeah, those days are behind most of us. I hope so. So I haven't done a ton of travel. But I have done some since COVID. And I even did some I think like in between period of the variant where like things open back up for a month or two. And just, it's definitely like an adjustment. Like brace yourself a little bit. Give yourself some grace because it's like, you know, it's like almost like, you know, you got to practice that kind of stuff to be comfortable in those environments. I feel like and it's definitely an adjustment getting back but we're going to New York for 10 UPS conference in two weeks and we're just going to do But yeah, that'll be the first one we've done. First big conference, we've done some shop talk, which was the second week I started. And I was asked to go on like, this Saturday after my first week, and I left the next day, I think to Vegas. to it, but it was awesome. It was. Yeah, there's nothing like like building relationships in person, especially for you. This is a great segue like, you aren't? You haven't been at tomorrow for super long. Right. So. So this will be the first time meeting the team in person I would imagine and, and all that. Yeah.

Andy Warren 05:35

Yeah. I mean, which makes like my clothing selections, even more important, even. I've got two sets of people I've got to impress. No, I've been with tomorrow since May. And so this will be the first time that I've met most of the folks off camera. One of the one of the women that I used to work with, at my last company, actually told me about the opportunity at tomorrow. And so I've I've seen her in person before, but everybody else, this will be the first time. So it's exciting, you know, it's been, gosh, four months now, where I've just been, you know, building relationships over zoom and Google Hangout, or what, you know, whatever, whatever the tool that we're using is, and it's exciting to be able to get an opportunity to actually kind of shake hands, and I just don't like I don't feel you can form those, like, really deep relationships with people over zoom. Like I just, I just don't feel like you can do it. Like, you got to break bread with people and shake their hands, you know, and like, actually, like, get to know them as people. And I'm excited about that. Because that's something that it's probably the only thing I miss about going into the office is like actually seeing people and talking to people and like being able to interact with with people in real life. So it'll be nice to get back into that mix a little bit. But then also be able to come back to my, to my house and work there after the the weeks over. So

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:06

after the fun. Yeah, no, I totally agree. I was just telling somebody this. Like, last week, I was saying that I just mentioned the shop talk trip, it was my second week and a ton of our partners were there. And I really feel like we would not have been able to move as fast as we did in building the program. If I didn't get that FaceTime with them early on. Like, it just, I don't, I don't feel like you know, I can't build relationships over zoom or over slack or whatever. But I feel like that no matter what, like the relationship is up leveled when you meet in person. And it allows you to like build trust, and then work more collaboratively toward like a common goal once you've sort of established that. So I couldn't agree more. And it'll be it'll be a great experience for you. I'm sure as it was for for me early on.

Andy Warren 07:57

Yeah, I feel like, like actual relationships and like your connection with people is filled in in the time, like, between meetings on your calendar, you know what I mean? It's not like in those actual meetings, but that space that exists between there where you're like, Oh, we got 15 minutes, let's go get a cup of coffee, or let's sit around and shoot the breeze like, that's where relationships are formed. And when you're on Zoom is like, I've got a great relationship with my cat right now. That's about it. Like my dogs are okay. But, you know, other than that, like it's, and I say that jokingly because I've got a great relationship digitally with the folks that I work with, and we're all remote so everybody's kind of accustomed to it. But yeah, just getting that kind of like that feel for who they are as a person is gonna be real cool.

Mariah Parsons 08:45

I do love the good office, chit chat. Yeah, I think the two if I'm just gonna add on to what you've been saying of like, I think it's just the acceleration of the relationships if you're in person, it just happens a lot quicker. Like I think building the relationships is definitely possible via zoom and and now everyone accustomed to it. But I think the acceleration is like the part that I also love like India know you've been talking about?

Noah Rahimzadeh 09:12

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, Mariah is at our office right now, which is like a mile away from my house. And I think she she goes into two or three times a week and I go in like, maybe twice a month. So

Mariah Parsons 09:26

committed to the office. Yeah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 09:28

I might see Mariah more like, you know, out on a weekend than I do in Indianapolis than I do at the office. But it's nice to have that opportunity when you want to get some face time with the team. My problem is I'm an MD

Andy Warren 09:48

Yeah, I was a sports betting just became legal in Kansas. Oh, wow. This okay. And so I was like, thinking of and I got like, I don't know if you guys have sports betting in in India. Okay, like every, like every sports betting company is like, I would like to give you $200 for free and I'm like, What's this even like, possible? And so anyways, like, I got suckered into something and I had $25 to bet. And I was gonna bet on the lowest scoring team in the NFL for this last week. Like the ones gonna pick was the Colts just wasn't gonna do it, but I would want a lot of money if I would have picked them.

Noah Rahimzadeh 10:26

Yeah, zero big golden goose egg. I see. Your your boys are too. I know, though. The Chiefs, which is

Andy Warren 10:33

Yeah, we had a knock down drag out on Thursday. It was a chargers are legit, man. So I was happy that we walked away from that one because we've been maybe this the last two times at home? I think so. It was nice. Nice to be able to stop that streak.

Noah Rahimzadeh 10:50

For sure. For sure. Yeah, Mariah, we can probably just, like somehow figure out how to work the NFL into the name of this podcast because I think it's gonna be a reoccurring theme.

Mariah Parsons 11:04

And I'm gonna be like, yep, uh huh. Building relationships. Yep, that's all me. NFL. Got nothing to add.

Andy Warren 11:14

Just smile and nod. Yes. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 11:17

Colts. I know. There are teams here. And indeed, the max, I would know if Notre Dame football, but that's really still a small sliver of my knowledge. Not to what we should work. We should work on title.

Noah Rahimzadeh 11:32

Yeah. For sure. Okay, so you mentioned four months out tomorrow, we'd love to hear like a little bit about your career progression leading up to this role and now overseeing strategy at tomorrow. What all you're responsible for?

Andy Warren 11:51

Yeah. I've had kind of a crazy, crazy path, I guess nobody really has a normal path to where they end up. But my dad was kind of a serial entrepreneur when I was growing up. And so he owned a company that sold janitorial supplies. So his his saying was, you know, like, everybody can decide that they don't need a bicycle or a car. But everybody's always going to need toilet paper. So that's that's sold. I was actually talking to a company that sold toilet paper at one point. And they were like, you know, the, the market penetration for every product is not 100%. And that includes toilet paper. So I was like, that's terrifying and discussing at the same time. But he, so like, you know, when I was 13, I was working, cleaning the office that he had. And I just kind of grew up through the family business. And he moved into the shoe business at one point. And so I started working in in our shoe stores that we had, so we had five retail shoe stores. And over the course of oh gosh, from the time I was 17, till I was 35. So I guess almost 20 years, I worked in the shoe business. And at the end, I was running all of our businesses. And we were competing pretty heavily against Amazon and Zappos and Des Moines. And as you might imagine, they were winning. And so my brother and I decided that we should try to figure out how to sell stuff online. And so we, I think I Googled, like, at one point, like the name of our ERP and open source or something like that open source, ecommerce, and Magento came up. Okay, and so my brother and I, and we didn't know, PHP, XML, HTML, CSS, nothing. And so he and I worked for about six months, and built a Magento site, got it tied into our ERP, got orders come in through emails going out, I mean, basically set up like a whole digital ecosystem. And started selling stuff online. So that was kind of my first foray into selling things online.

Noah Rahimzadeh 14:12

And was that was that the shoes only? Yeah, did you?

Andy Warren 14:17

Okay, yeah. And unfortunately, it wasn't the silver bullet that we needed it to be. We didn't become the next Zappos. But we I ended up needing another job and found a place up here in Kansas City that was a Magento shop. And so I started as a business analyst, and then kind of worked my way through from the technical side, you know, defining database fields and how this form needs to work and how you know, user stories and all of that through to our strategy practice. And went into our strategic planning group, which was kind of cross channel like, looking at from acquisition engagement retention, like All sides of the funnel. And what we need to do within each one of the channels that we're operating in, in order to execute campaigns, and then effectively execute things on the website. And so spent a lot of time doing that, and working with, you know, some really great fortune 500 brands trying to bring some of their DTC aspirations to life. And then I moved into our director position of E commerce and was kind of leading up that team and working on the strategy component, and our strategy offering there as well. And there's a lot of consolidation that was happening in the industry at that time, we got acquired, and it just wasn't quite the fit that I was looking for. And so my friend that was at my last company ended up going over to tomorrow. And she actually one of our friends, it still worked at the company I was at said, Hey, I heard from Sarah, that this thing is open. And so I looked at it, and it was kind of history from there. So I got to interview with Joe and Marco and Olivia, who are the co founders of the company, and I just really enjoyed chatting with them and the direction that they were going with things and came on board back in back in May.

Noah Rahimzadeh 16:15

Yeah, we we met Marco a couple months ago. He's an awesome guy. Yeah, and that is quite the story. I'm curious how, like, in all of your experience, how you ended up like gaining the technical knowledge to take on that first analyst role, because it sounds like if you were, you know, involved in like, data formatting and all that stuff, building out forums, like you picked up some technical prowess along the way. So like, what do you attribute that to? Or did you just once you got that role, like, figure it out, once you got there? I

Andy Warren 16:53

I'm surprised that like my head is still around, because I think my head against the wall all the time. So like, I'll just sit there and I will do something over and over and over again. Until I get it figured out. I my wife and we lived in Wichita when I worked for my my family's business. And there was one time where my wife and I were driving up to Kansas City. We were going to a concert, I think, and she was driving the car and I had my laptop open. And I was literally reading the Magento manual, as well as dry, like, like the handbook for magenta. And I just read a lot. And I am not overly scared to try things. And so, you know, I'll read and try something out and see what happens. And if it doesn't work the way that I want it to, then I'll try it again. And you know, at some point, I'll either say, Well, this is an absolutely colossal waste of time. And, or, you know, I'll end up with something pretty cool. So and a lot of the time I end up with something that's pretty cool. But I got to admit, there is a lot of the time where it ends up being a colossal waste of time, but at least I learned something in the process,

Noah Rahimzadeh 18:04

right? Absolutely. And I'm sure you know, running your own businesses sort of force you that have that mindset of like, there's no other option, but to just dig in and figure this out.

Andy Warren 18:16

Yeah, I mean, when your mom's sitting there telling you to do something, you're like, Well, okay, I guess I'll figure out how to do.

Mariah Parsons 18:23

So that's a real motivator,

Andy Warren 18:25

right? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Like just remembering when she when I didn't do what she asked when I was a child. Okay, well, I'll do that. Now. Mom, you got it.

Noah Rahimzadeh 18:33

And now she's there visiting this week and nothing's changed. Yeah,

Andy Warren 18:37

exactly. Yeah. No, I just have to drive her around. Her driving me around.

Noah Rahimzadeh 18:44

That's great. Okay, so let's, let's shift focus a little bit to tomorrow. You're there now been there for four months. Talk a little bit about your role and sort of like what you feel makes tomorrow unique. Obviously, like, for us, we partner with a lot of agencies, we focus on sort of the top tier Shopify and clay vo shops. So obviously, like, you know, building your way up, or your reputation up in those ecosystems and getting the badges and all that is great, but like, we're really, we're really curious to know what our agency partners that come on the podcast, like really, truly feel their their differentiators in the space, given that it's so crowded?

Andy Warren 19:29

Yeah, you know, I think there's, there's a couple we really are aligned well with in enterprise methodology to delivering our work to our clients. That was the thing that really attracted me to tomorrow. I mean, I've been working with large brands for a long time. And typically, when you think about Shopify, that hasn't been the first thing that comes to mind. Right? Like, it's typically been like, oh, the guy down the street needs to start selling, you know, his soap online or whatever. And so he goes, fine, but I think Shopify is doing a great job of positioning themselves to really be the the easy solution for companies that are looking to go direct to consumer to have that Avenue, and not have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get to the place to where they can actually have those transactions going through. And so, you know, from, from the tomorrow perspective, having that enterprise level methodology that we've brought from other disciplines, so Magento, and Salesforce commerce cloud, into the Shopify ecosystem, I think, has really been a breath of fresh air for some of those clients that are used to working that way. But haven't necessarily had the avenue through an agency to actually be able to operate in that capacity. So that's been, I think, that's been a big point of differentiation for, for us. You know, I think there's also this there's this really unique confluence of skills that we're building that is like really great creative, that's being driven by Marco and his team. And then really great technology that's being driven through Olivia and her team. And then really great strategy and analytics that's being driven through Joe and his team. And so I'm really, you know, proud of the fact that I get to help them build out those capabilities. And what we're working on now is a very strategically led way of going about guiding our clients to the work that we should do next for them. So there's, you know, there's the whole goal of like, I need to build a website, and everybody that comes to us is hoping to build a website, but that's really getting you to the starting line, right, that's not actually running the race. And so I think where we really excel is the ability to understand what our clients are looking to do. And then work with them across all of our different disciplines to build out a really robust roadmap that will help drive them towards those success metrics that they've identified. And so part of that is just like having smart people on your team, you know, like, you've got people that have experience, and they've done it before, and they know what's up and like how to go about getting this stuff done. But then the other side of it is having the data to support the work that they're trying to do. And so we're really working hard to build out that data infrastructure to allow us to, one recognize the decisions that need to be made. And then to make the decisions in a way that is not ensures but helps helps ensure I'll say the euphemistic thing there helps ensure that clients are moving towards the success that they've hired us to help them achieve.

Noah Rahimzadeh 23:03

Would you say the I had the question on the top of my head when you talked about the enterprise approach? Like what? What makes an enterprise approach different than like what the typical SMB and mid market Shopify stores have done? It sounds like they, you know, a more data focused approach as part of that. Would you agree? And like, would you add anything? Yeah. So

Andy Warren 23:27

when, when I first got into the agency world, I had just gotten done building, my brother and I had built the website that we had talked about. And I was interviewing with a guy. And I was actually initially interviewing for an E commerce strategy position. And he said, Well, I don't I don't think you have enough experience in E commerce strategy. We have a business analyst position open, would you would you be interested in that? And I, my response to him was, I really like business. And I really like analyzing things. So yes, I like let's talk. Because at that point, I just needed a job. Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it. And so he started talking to me about like, oh, well, what what documentation did you do for the website? And how did you go about doing the documentation, things like that. And that pointed behind me, I was, we didn't have like cool things like zoom at that point. And so you couldn't see me but pointing behind me. I said, Well, I've got a whiteboard that's got a bunch of notes on it. And that's basically what I worked on. And I think like, this is, this is anecdotal. So this is not my personal experience with with other development shops. But a lot of times there's a level of rigor that surrounds the documentation of the work that you're actually doing, that doesn't get done. And so when you come to a point to where you scale and you need to go to an agency and that agency needs to understand what it is that has been built on the website so that they can know what foundation they have Have, it's just not there. There's also, I think, a lack of documentation and a lack of transparency and what is happening during the build. And a lack of sign off from the from the client often leads to a set of deliverables or a set of features that are on the website that don't match to what they're actually looking for. So you know, you can work with them for four to six months, you deliver the website to them, and they're like, what, I needed it to do this, but it doesn't, doesn't do that. So I think that's part of it is, is the infrastructure that we have built around the the documentation requirements, gathering, understanding what it is that you need the site to, we also have a very robust approach to the way that we handle user experience and creative. And so the way that we go about identifying the modules that need to be built, and the ways in which they need to operate and like the the motion elements that are associated with them, all of that is really well executed on our team, which I think in the E commerce space is fairly unique, especially with larger brands. Because I think they tend to focus more on making sure this gets integrated into our ERP, and then it needs to flow to our WMS. And then it needs to go out to, you know, whoever's handling our fulfillment. So like, those are the things that people focus on. And the front end tends to get a little bit less less love and in that situation, so I think that's the, the creative side. And then from the technology side, we have a, a really experienced team that has, like, we're the we're basically the best devs in the Shopify ecosystem, if you ask me. I mean, we are, we have I think more of the top 10 Shopify clients at tomorrow than any other agency, we're invited to pretty much all of the the betas that they have going on for their new features that are coming up. They asked us to contribute to code review code, do different things on the technical side, and so I think we're well positioned there from just an experience, and just like developments, methodology to support what they're looking to do. And I don't, you know, in a more kind of mid tier environment, I don't think you're gonna get quite that level of experience within the developers that you're gonna get at tomorrow.

Noah Rahimzadeh 27:38

Right? Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's a great anecdotal evidence as well. But you guys have carved out a great sort of like niche in this space. And I know the first time you and I talked, I thought it was really interesting. That, you know, we sort of reflected on like your enterprise experience and how the Shopify ecosystem is different, because in the enterprise space, like there's a ton of consolidation, right? Like, you can build almost everything off of Salesforce, if you wanted to. Within the Salesforce ecosystem. Now,

Andy Warren 28:08

they want you to think you can for sure, sure.

Noah Rahimzadeh 28:13

And then brands are like, Well, why can't you just as my agency, go build it on Salesforce? And it's like, just not quite that easy. But in Java in the Shopify world, like there's an app for that, right? There's, there's 12 different apps that tomorrow's working with at least I'm sure. But they all offer different sort of, like datasets, right, that power, not just the site, but like, the marketing behind it. And, you know, I want to shift focus to retention here soon. But yeah, can you talk a little bit about how that has been, has been a change for you throughout the career and how you're thinking about it now that you're in the Shopify space.

Andy Warren 28:51

It was it was a big change. And honestly, it wasn't one that I was really prepared for when I took this position. Because I mean, I remember we worked with a client for a number of years. This is my last agency, and we built out their entire subscription program for them. Like we built them a subscription platform in Magento. And, you know, you think about that now, and people are like, Why would you do that? Because it's just like, not, not our it wasn't really our bailiwick, you know, and but I don't think I realized when I came into the Shopify ecosystem, just how ingrained the difference applications were in just the functioning of the website overall. And so that's been really, really unique. And so it's been on one hand, it's been it's been great because I think there's more innovation that happens that way. Right? Like there's more competition within different parts of the customer experience, which I think then be gets more innovation within those spaces. But then it's also difficult from the agency side because it's hard. Like not only do I have to learn Shopify and all of the stuff that Shopify, and then all of the things that they're releasing all the time, but then it's like, oh, yeah, well, there's like 15 different things that you need to learn about as well, that surrounds Shopify. And all of those have really cool features, and really cool reporting and really cool ways to interact with them. And so it's, you know, as somebody that is helping clients identify choices that need to be made, and then the direction that will best help them succeed in those choices. It's, it's a big data set that we've got to kind of parse through in terms of like, what things we need to pick and where they need to be selected from. So it's, it's been a big shift. But it's, it's exciting, though, you know, it's with with Magento. And, and commerce, cloud, Salesforce commerce cloud, you know, it'd be six 810 1224 months before, like, you had something that you were able to release that was going to be able to work. And with Shopify, it's literally like, I just go and click that button. And it's like, well, that works now. Which is awesome.

Mariah Parsons 31:14

Yeah. Yeah. With that big data set that you mentioned, like there's so many different possibilities of like applications and just the Shopify ecosystem. Have you seen any kind of pattern that have emerged in terms of the what brands come to tomorrow? Do you and your team about in terms of what like, success looks like to them? Like, what metrics they're trying to solve? Or is there any kind of like pattern in the enterprise space? I think,

Andy Warren 31:47

yes. Convert to conversions, the one that we hear all the time, you know, like, everybody wants more conversions. And I think that's, that's good. Well, so revenue and conversions, I think are like, that's, that's the, the end all be all right. But I think when I look at it from a strategic standpoint, like I'm a math nerd, like at heart, and so like, when I think about it, in an E, commerce capacity, revenue is equal to sessions times your conversion rate times your average order value. And I think all of those things on the right hand side of that formula, are all intertwined, right? So it's like, I can really increase my conversion rate, super high. If I drop, my average order value in half, people are gonna be like, Whoa, yeah, okay, that seems like a good deal, I'm gonna buy that the conversion rates gonna go way up. Or if I increase my sessions by a lot more than likely conversion rates gonna go down, because there's not going to there's more eyeballs on it. But that doesn't necessarily mean that more people are going to purchase. And so I think that something that's a little bit more near and dear to my heart is a more kind of full funnel way of looking at metrics. So as opposed to just really focusing on the revenue side, what can we do to focus on that acquisition, that engagement, that retention side of things, and the one that I've worked on the longest and the most has been ClD pen, just trying to figure out like what customer lifetime value looks like. And I'm hearing that I'm hearing CLV, more and more and more as I talk to clients, but there isn't really a, there's not a great and consistent way to measure it. That has been established yet, especially within a retail context. So if you if you think about, like, I don't know, I was a customer, for I was a Sears customer at some point. Like, I bought stuff from Sears. And then over the course of time, I stopped buying stuff from Sears. You couldn't? I couldn't tell you when I went from Yes, I am a customer at first Sears to No, I am not a customer for Sears any longer. Like, I don't know when that happened. But it did. And so that kind of is a difficult thing for companies to try to reconcile with, especially within CLV is like, how do I recognize when a customer is no longer a customer? And then what do I do in order to try to switch them back over to being a customer? I don't think Sears is going to switch me back. But at some point, I'm sure they're gonna try.

Mariah Parsons 34:16

So they're obviously going to

Andy Warren 34:22

so I think that, that that, to me is really the, like the way of understanding your business in one kind of rolled up metric. And so I like the fact that people are talking about it more and more and more. But I think there's more of a generalized understanding of what that number is, as opposed to being like, really specific and being able to measure and track it over time. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 34:49

it's also tough because by industry, too, there's so many different specifics, but like you mentioned tears, right? Like that's like furniture, you're probably it's probably a long time period between you and Another repeat purchase, right? So it's like, even by industry, it gets even more specific, but I love that you brought up that DLP point because it is hard to track, especially in retail,

Andy Warren 35:11

or even like, look at Costco, right? Like I buy toilet paper from Costco, I don't know why I'm talking about toilet paper I buy toilet paper from Costco frequently, you know, but like, I've also bought appliances from Costco, not frequently. And so like even within categories within retailers, there's going to be different purchase cadences within those those different categories. So it's tough. I mean, it's hard to zero in on it and get an understanding of what it needs to look like. But I do like the fact that people are starting to talk about it more, because I think it is something that's impactful.

Noah Rahimzadeh 35:53

Yeah, I would argue that like, there is a pretty clear reason why CLV has become so much more in the forefront than ever before. And I would, I would argue that like, that's because acquisition is so much harder now. Especially in our space in the Shopify space, like it is a crowded set of merchants, right? And with acquisition costs going up, and it just being tougher, in general, more competitive, there's a bigger focus on like, retention, obviously. That's where we we focus a lot of our time and effort thinking about. But I'm curious, like, from the more holistic, including acquisition and retention, is there one, you know, coming from the math guy? Like, is there one formula that you use to evaluate or that you, you know, as clients used to evaluate CLV across the board? Or does it actually vary by client and industry vertical? What have you?

Andy Warren 37:00

Yeah, I mean, I think I think it varies, but typically, if you can get a data set that is robe robust enough and has enough data points in it, you can kind of start to tease out what those things need to look like. And you can start using predictive elements in order to predict what the CLV is going to look like for certain people. But I mean, you know, talking about retention, I always like to ask people, like for a value prop for their, for their e commerce site, like, and I always ask it specifically, like, what is the thing that's going to get a customer to your site to make the first purchase, but more importantly, what is the thing that's going to have them come back to make the second purchase, because you can always buy that first purchase, and you can, so you know, if your average order value is 140 bucks, and your cost of goods sold is $70, you're gonna make $70 in gross profit on that transaction. And you may be willing to spend $100 on media in order to get that $70 transaction, so you're going to lose 30 bucks on it, but with the anticipation that that person is going to come back and make subsequent purchases. So then like, what is the thing that's going to drive them to come back and make the that second, third, fourth and fifth purchase? And that's the hard question, right? Especially when you're working with direct to consumer companies that have been, like established companies that are looking to go to direct to consumer? What's the advantage that you're going to offer your customer that has not been offered from somebody like Amazon, or Target or Walmart or Sears? You know, like, what is that? What is that thing that you're going to provide them that they can't get somewhere else, it's not going to be pricing. So like, it's probably not going to be speed of delivery. And so really, it has to come down to the like, unique experiences that you can provide on the website, that are going to keep people coming back to purchase from you in the future. And people have a really hard time kind of thinking through that because it flips the business model on its head like it moves. It moves companies from being like a wholesaler. And all I have to do is get the stuff over to target to a position of where they actually have to make their own market and then continue to like, make sure people come back to that market to get the products.

Noah Rahimzadeh 39:18

Right. Yeah. From unique, unique experience perspective, I think I know how you'll answer this, but do you think about that more from like a product? Like how does my product stick out? From what I could go buy on Amazon? Or do you think about that more as like a user experience? Like when I'm shopping on the site? It's different from the big box retailers or an Amazon for because it's personalized in this banner? Or maybe it's a combination of both? Yeah, I

Andy Warren 39:47

think there's, you know, there's the endless aisles concept. Or like the the breadth and depth of product selection. So like if you're, I think Nike is a great example of this. They do this really well. So if you go to Dick's, and you're buying a pair of running shoes from Nike, you maybe have 12 to choose from right like that are on the wall at Dick's. And you know, maybe they've got eight of them in your size. If you go to Nike, online, then you've probably got 60. And so like, the breadth and depth of the product selection that they're offering is, is going to be unparalleled versus what you would be able to get at a traditional retailer. So I think that's that's one is like just making sure that you've got product that's available for for people to buy. I think the user experience part is really important. But I don't think this is one thing where I think that established companies could really pull from digitally native companies to start building out that user experience in a way that is unique and fresh, and something that they're not going to be able to get at Amazon. Like it or not, Amazon has basically trained everybody on how to shop on the internet, I go and I get a category page, and then I get a product detail page, it's going to be laid out like this, and the reviews are going to be at the bottom. And like everybody knows that. And at some point, Amazon gets to be kind of boring, like, there's not a lot of people that want to go and just like browse Amazon, it's just that that's kind of boring. And so like, I think one thing that you can do on your site is to have that browse ability component, or that discoverability component to it, that you're not going to be able to get from some of the competition. And so the user experience that supports that. One thing that we like often talked about in this is more for like, highly considered purchases. So think about things like, oh, I don't know, mattresses are the one that that comes to mind. For me. It's like, you're gonna have a mattress for like, 10 years or 12 years, right? Like, you're, and you're gonna sleep on it every night. And so I think that's why mattress companies were like, so popular for a while, and then Casper kind of like flip this on its head. But what you need with a mattress is like a salesperson that's on the website that can help guide you into the mattress that makes the most sense for you. And so one thing that we think that our customers can do that typically can't be replicated by Walmart, or Amazon or target in terms of a user experience. type of capability is like helping customers find products really well. And so you know, what questions would a salesperson answer? And how would they guide you to the product that makes the most sense for you. And so we're working on building out a lot of those unique experiences on on on sites to help people get to the product that they want, it's some of the stuff Shopify is doing like with React and like, the headless kind of infrastructure that they're building out, allows those things to be seamlessly like, woven into the experience. So like, I think there's gonna be a lot of cool stuff like that, that pops up to where like, it moves from, you know, just self exploration to where you come to the website. And the website really starts to act as the salesperson that helps guide you to the thing that you need.

Noah Rahimzadeh 43:16

Yeah, I love the I love the zero party data use cases like basically gamifying the capture of that by you know, unique quiz quiz like experiences and then navigating customers through the site based on their their preferences and from the answers that they provided you and willfully so right like, I think that that's going to become even more important beyond just personalization, it'll probably become more important from like a legal and compliance standpoint, as you know, cookies go away. And then second and third party data becomes like a thing of the past any any other tips and tricks on like personalizing the, the experience and sort of how you how you think about that? For for merchants?

Andy Warren 44:08

I think it's super important. My experience with personalization has been, it's been tough, you know, I think there's a I think there's a gap between the customer expectation and the or even even the the merchants expectation of personalization, and once able to currently be provided easily. And so I'm excited to kind of see what advancements are going to be made there. So like when you look at things like oh, how are CDP's going to reshape personalization on in the onsite experience and things like that. I think that's really cool and unique, but it has to be done in a way to where there's not like, the like We worked on personalization for a company, probably kind of four or five years ago, maybe before it was kind of like all all the buzz. And we went to our client and said, Okay, so we've got this great model that's built out. And we think we understand how the personalization aspect needs to work. And we can activate it for you on the website. But we're going to need your creative team to build out five times the assets that they're currently building. And they were like, yeah, they can barely get the number of assets out that we need right now. I'm not going to increase it fivefold. And so you know, I think there needs to be some solutions there in order for it to really start to make sense, like, how are we going to be able to do this without forcing people to, you know, increase their workload by fivefold to make it to make it happen? And I don't think we're quite there yet. But I'm excited to see where that goes. Because that's really going to be you know, I like that kind of your website has become your salesperson type of conversation. And I think that's, that's it, right? Like, how do we harness the data that we have about the customers that are coming and their intentions and what they've clicked on? And? And then how do I make that into a really unique set of recommendations for what it is that they're going to want or need to purchase? Like, I think that's that's the end all be all right?

Noah Rahimzadeh 46:21

Yeah, absolutely. I think. I think the other I love what you said about like, the human resource can component and the fact that personalization does take a lot of thinking through, I think but like, especially in the Shopify ecosystem, all of the apps, you know, that you're plugging in across the board have some components that allow for personalization, it's just about knowing how to connect the dots between them. I think that a lot of brands, though, think that it's going to be a much bigger undertaking, or they don't have the resources or they're not working with the right agencies, and then they result to just like focusing on Okay, well, it's like that average, or they do some like segmentation, that's pretty basic, that just like not really fitting into not really checking the box of, of to what you said, Andy of like, what the consumer expects, from a personalized experience. And I just think a lot of brands just think it's too hard. So they resort to the mean, rather than, like, understanding what they can accomplish with their, with their snack or, or with their agency partner.

Andy Warren 47:31

Yeah, I mean, there's even like, really basic stuff that I think companies have a really hard time. Like, I subscribe to an email list of a very large retailer. And they continue to send me only emails about women's clothes. And I've told him like five times like I, I'm a guy, I would prefer to have like men's clothes. Still, like they will not they will not change my preferences. And so you know, I think there's like, there's very, like base building blocks like that, that, like large companies have a hard time getting over. But yeah, I mean, I think one of the like, really nice things about Shopify, and the ecosystem of apps that surrounds it is that there, there are AI driven, unique, personalized elements that like, kind of can be plugged in out of the box. And maybe it's not going to change your entire site experience and make it so that, you know, like, I only see men's clothes when I go to the retailer's website, but it does give me unique references or unique products to pick from or, you know, recommendations that makes sense for me based off of my browsing patterns, and things like that. So I love that. I also think there's like really small personalization events that can happen, like I kind of framed it up as micro personalization, that one point to where, you know, is, is there a setting? Or can the site remember my size selection that I've made, as I've been browsing through, and then as I go to each PDP, only select that size on the PDP or have that size defaulted on the PDP when I get there, or, you know, we talked with you all about, like having a thing in the header to where if I've got something that's out for delivery, like how can I click on that? Have it automatically be there when I go to the site and then get information about my delivery and when it's going to be there? You know, I think there's just like there's loads of like little nuanced things like that, that could actually enhance the customer experience that aren't a complete flip of the website and making it so that, you know, there's there's a completely new experience for everyone that comes there, but it can make the user experience better. And like, I don't even think customers would know that that's a personalization thing. that's happening, you know, but but it is, I think Little things like that could be a game changer for, you know, for Shopify and other other sites.

Mariah Parsons 50:10

Yeah, I feel like even you saying like, the customer might not even realize like, it's a personal aspect that you feel it's unconsciously like that they've created like, less friction for you like the size, right? Like, it's like, oh, it's already auto filled or the like banner for your track. And you go on the website, and it's like, Oh, it's right there. Like, you might not be like, Oh my gosh, that's so personalizing, that's probably not like the narrative unless you're in this space, that you'd be thinking to yourself, and like, notice how efficient that is. But it's still aids in that, like, user experience of that, oh, that was actually a really nice shopping experience, even if you don't exactly know why you're, like have that descriptor, like, personalized to me. I love it. Yeah.

Andy Warren 50:56

Like, I'm, I'm six foot four. And I can't wear like normal sized clothes. And so like, if, you know, this, the sites where I buy clothes, like if I could go back to that site, and not have to hit that freaking filter, like, every single time that I go there, that'd be great. I would love it. And it's, it's just a small thing. You know, it's like, bring your wife flowers on a on a Wednesday afternoon, you know, it's just small things that make them happy. And

Noah Rahimzadeh 51:25

yeah, it's, it's funny, like I, I listen to a ton of like, our recorded sales and customer success calls just because especially as I like, got on board. And he's very similar to you, like I was new to e commerce, I came from the enterprise space. So and like in partnerships, I have to know all of the apps, what they do, how they work with all the rest of the stack, what agencies like to work with what apps and where it will be like a good fit for them based on that stack. So I found like the call recordings to be really helpful in that. And one of the interesting things I found early on for new for new sales conversations was brands would say, like, we'd show like, an experience of a client that we work with, or like our logo page, and a brand would say, you know, the director of ecommerce or the, the founder of the brand would be like, Oh, now that you show me that, like I had a great experience with Bill the other day, but he didn't know right, like you don't consciously know, I'm going to back to the built site to track my package bursa UPS site a lot of times, but the experience itself is so good and seamless, that it actually sticks with you and drives repeat purchases really without you even knowing that they sent you down a different experience than most ecommerce brands are currently powering. So but you know, sort of by default, so I find that intersection of like, what the client or the, the, the customer is actually aware of, and then like driving behavior, really, really interesting.

Andy Warren 53:02

Yeah, I mean, a touchpoint, with the customers and touchpoint with the customer, you know, and if you're not taking advantage of those touch points and trying to maximize them where you can get them, it's, it's hard to get somebody to come to your website, like, it is super hard. And it's expensive. And so you know, the more that you can kind of capitalize on each of those touch points that you can get, and you're basically getting those for free, you know, like you might as well take advantage of it when that happens. So I think that's where you guys do a great job is you're able to take those things that are, you know, a lot of customers would consider to be mundane, but then turning them into something that is exceptional versus what they become accustomed to. And then also giving brands the chance to to actually have that interaction point with that customer. Again, I think it's awesome.

Noah Rahimzadeh 53:52

Love to hear that. Appreciate that. We like to make search. So we're just wrapping up here, give us one tip or trick or piece of advice that's helped you throughout your career. Um,

Andy Warren 54:10

I don't know if I can swear on here. I don't even know if this is work. But I tell my, I've got I got two kids, they're 17 and 13. So they're, I guess, like, technically, like, old enough to, like, use swear words at this point. But I tell them all the time. Like just don't be a dick. Like, that's like It's like half of it, you know, like it is? I don't know, I was I was always like, mildly intelligent growing up. And you know, I think there's some some benefits there. But if especially in a services type of business, if you can make it so that like people enjoy working with you. So you do smart things. But people actually like working with you. They're going to come back and ask you to do more smart things. If you do smart things and you're just addicted people, people are gonna be like, Man, now, there's like another smart guy over there, I'll go talk to him, you know, and like, they're not going to come back. And I feel like it's, I don't know, I'm probably older than than both of you combined. But when I, when I was a kid, it there was like this whole, like, ethos within the business world of just like, you have to be ruthless. And like, you have to, like, just squeeze blood from a rock. You know, like, that was like, the mantra behind things. And I feel like there's, there's been big changes within, like, the way people work. And I love to see that because it is more inviting, and it is more open, and it is more collaborative and enjoyable than what it used to be. And, you know, I think that as time goes on, I hope you can see, I hope to continue to see that happen, because it just, it makes life so much better if you're just not addicted people and then probably won't be a dick back to you, you know, and it's just like, alright, well, this worked out. Okay.

Noah Rahimzadeh 56:02

This is kind of nice hormone. Yes, exactly. I totally agree with that advice. I think that it's like, at least half the battle. And I I'm gonna draw comparison back to my role here at Malomo. I've been in partnerships. So for, I mean, really, I started a company out of school. And a big part of my role is running that was partnerships early on. So it's really been my entire career has has had to do with partnerships. And one thing you notice, like kind of early on is there are multiple solutions that in like, whatever ecosystem you're in, your partners have options, most likely, like there are very few platforms that have the luxury of being like you have to either work with us or like you can't solve for this joint value prop. So I feel that so much because it's like, on both sides, like I want to make sure that I you know, make people's day better when they talk to me so that they don't go talk to a competitor, or at least like I'm staying top of mind, more so than the competitor, right. And vice versa. Like if I'm talking to, to a potential partner or a couple of them that do sort of the same thing. We can solve the same joint value prop together, like a huge part of who we end up working with is going to be how we work together, how how enjoyable it is to work together, especially when there's like feature parity, right. So I'm very in tune with that advice. And I think it's I think good, some some great stuff.

Andy Warren 57:33

Awesome. I always like to talk to people that like being nice.

Mariah Parsons 57:42

Because we love it too. Full circle. It's been very enjoyable to get to talk with you. And yeah, it's been great. I feel the I'm from East Coast. And so I feel like being in the Midwest now with the mentality of like very cutthroat on East Coast. Definitely would have seen that a little bit like on Wall stuff and then so I completely agree I've seen that shift like that. I hope that it continues to come directly because I think everyone's just happier and I

Andy Warren 58:18

there's a there's the whole like Kansas City nice thing I'm sure there's Indianapolis nice and Minneapolis. My brother lives up in Minneapolis and they've got the Minneapolis nice thing. So I'm like, Hey, it works. You know, I'm

Mariah Parsons 58:33

in western values. All the way. Right. Yeah, exactly.

Noah Rahimzadeh 58:38

All right, man, thank you so much for joining. Really appreciate it. Can't wait to get this out to the to the audience.

Andy Warren 58:45

Yeah. Awesome. Thanks, guys. It's been really fun. Appreciate it. Thanks.