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adam pearce increasing customer lifetime value ecommerce podcast episode

Hosted by Richard Hill

Ep 106:
Adam Pearce:
Focusing on the Little Touches to Improve the Customer Experience and Increase your Customer’s Lifetime Value

One of the most critical kegs in the eCommerce wheel is customer experience. A word many people know and understand, so why is it done so poorly?

Adam shares all in this week’s eCommerce podcast! 

Taking the time to understand your customers at a deeper level will make your business stand the test of time. 

In a world of mass production, the only way you will keep your customers coming back is by giving them a banging experience with your whole business mix (social media, website, delivery). 

eCom@One Presents:

Adam Pearce

Adam Pearce is the CEO of Blend Commerce, one of the UK’s fastest-growing Shopify and Klaviyo agencies specialising in customer experience. He helps some of Shopify’s best-loved brands deliver an insane eCommerce adventure on their website to increase their sales, average order value, retention and customer lifetime value.

In this episode, he discusses why a business should focus time and resources on improving the user experience on their site and the key areas to achieve this. He shares the importance of addressing the fears of your customers and how to replace the annoying pop-up with something a lot more personalised.

One of the most important aspects of eCommerce lies within fulfilment and post-purchase. Adam shares how brands should act depending on the emotions of their customers to keep them happy and coming back for more. He divulges exactly what is killing your customers off, hint, it’s something we constantly bang on about. 

Find out what customer lifetime value is, how to improve it and how to measure it in this week’s eCommerce podcast.

Topics Covered:

1:37 – How he entered the world of eCommerce 

4:47 – Why customer experience is so important

7:05 – Addressing the fears of your customers 

9:12 – Replacing the annoying pop-up with size personalisation 

13:00 – Use an on-site quiz

15:03 – Emotions people go through after purchase and how businesses should act

19:28 – Poorly executed loyalty programmes

20:03 – How to create a tiered loyalty programme 

24:20 – Personalise your packaging with Penny Black

26:39 – Focusing on improving by 1% to increase a customers’ lifetime value 

31:14 – How to figure out how much a customer is worth (CLV/LTV)

37:00 – Things that are killing sales on your website

39:27 – Don’t overwhelm your customers with too many filters 

41:35 – Design for mobile 

43:54 – Adding video content to your product pages

46:20 – The future lies within zero-party data and focusing on improving the customer lifetime value 

49:15 – Book recommendation

 

Richard Hill:
Hi there. I'm Richard Hill, the host of eCom@One. Welcome to episode 106. In this episode, I speak with Adam Pearce, CEO of Blend Commerce. Adam specializes in all things customer experience and eCommerce. Myself and Adam talk why should a business focus time and resources on improving the customer experience of their website, what key areas impact the customer experience on a website on what you can do about it, Adam's top underrated tip for improving customer experience and where does Adam see the future of digital going. If you enjoy this episode, hit the subscribe or follow button wherever you are listening to this podcast so you're always the first to know when a new episode is released. Now, let's head over to this fantastic episode.

Richard Hill:
This episode is brought to you by eComOne, eCommerce marketing agency. EComOne works purely with eCommerce stores, scaling their Google shopping, SEO, Google search and Facebook ads through a proven performance-driven approach. Go to eComOne.com/resources for a host of amazing resources to grow your paid and organic channels.

Richard Hill:
Hi, and welcome to another episode of eCom@One. Today's guest, Adam Pearce, CEO of Blend Commerce. How you doing, Adam?

Adam Pearce:
Very well, Richard. Yourself?

Richard Hill:
I am very good. Very good. Had a cracking day, to be fair. Yeah, looking forward to this. I know we've had to move things around a couple of times to get you on, so I'm really thrilled to get you on and look forward to having a chat. So let's get straight in.

Adam Pearce:
Me, too.

Richard Hill:
Let's get straight into it. I think eCommerce, something I've been involved with for a lifetime, I would say, pretty much. How did you get into it? How did you get into eComm?

Adam Pearce:
I think, like a lot of people, fell into it. When I was at school, in university, had always thought about running my own business and I think a lot of people didn't probably have the balls to say, "Well, actually, look, I'm going to go and do it." When I left university, I had dollar signs on the back of my eyelids, wanted to go to London and make my fortune. I think as a lot of people realize when they go and work for a professional services firm, doesn't really happen that way. I actually left, I left a consulting firm to go and be a teacher. Did teach for a few years. You're going to see a pattern here, three years again. Thought, "No, not for me."

Adam Pearce:
I wanted something that was kind of in between, so I went to work for an educational app company. And at that time, I then sort of slowly fell into digital marketing. At that time as well, my brother-in-law had said to me, "Oh, there's this great new thing called Shopify. I'm going to start learning how to code it." And like with most things that come from North America, you go, "Yeah, okay. It's going to be these tech things that comes and goes, blah, blah." I've never been so happy to be wrong, especially to my brother-in-law.

Adam Pearce:
He and I got together, had a few drinks one night and said, "Look, we're doing this." Next day, I just rang him and make sure that he wasn't too drunk night before when we said yes, and literally five years, sorry, six years ago, we started off literally two fat blokes around a kitchen table and we've now got a team of 17.

Richard Hill:
Wow.

Adam Pearce:
Working obviously with Shopify stores across the world. So yeah, like I say, and that's why I love eCommerce, because I think there's lots of different people from different background and you don't get that old boys club that you get with other industries.

Richard Hill:
I've got to ask, then, what's it like working with your brother-in-law?

Adam Pearce:
He's probably listening so I've got to be careful, haven't I? Look, in all seriousness, there's always a lot of talks about should you work with your family? For a time, it was actually me, my brother-in-law, his wife, my sister-in-law and my wife. And I think the thing is, is that on the one hand you can sort of push buttons that you probably couldn't push if you didn't know, you've got a business partner, but at the same time, you also have to remember that you're going to be going out to dinner with them with your kids on a Friday night. Sugar coat it, but at the same time, he knows me very well and I know him very well and we celebrate the wins, we mourn the losses and we do that together. So yeah, it's been great, but not without its challenges.

Richard Hill:
Oh, I can only imagine. Yeah. It's quite a very successful agency. I know you obviously focus on a couple of things and we were just chatting before you came on and sort of been looking at that offer and realigning things and really focusing in certain areas, but customer experience is an area that I know you guys focus on. Why would you say, to the listeners that are listening in, I think it's an area, it's a huge area. We've done quite a lot of episodes on it, very specific episodes. Why should a store focus on customer experience? Why is it so important?

Adam Pearce:
I think the first thing with customer experience actually is, because when a lot of people hear it, it's fluffy terminology, marketing kind of speak, but in reality, when we talk about customer experience, what we're talking about is what is it like before, during, immediately after and the long-term after being a customer of a company? How do all those parts fit together?

Adam Pearce:
I think the thing is that a lot of time, and even probably with yourself and myself, Richard, with our own businesses, we're always thinking about, look, how do we acquire that next client? How do we get them to that point where they're signing that first invoice? The problem is, is that from a customer's point of view, their experience doesn't really start with you, the real meaty bit doesn't start with you until you've actually signed on the dotted line.

Adam Pearce:
And I think what the problem is is that a lot of companies, they kind of forget about that process afterwards of saying, "Well, actually, what do we do with those customers immediately after and how do we kind of keep them happy?" And I think particularly over the past 12, 24 months, acquiring customers have become more expensive. Google haven't really helped us, iOS hasn't really helped us and what we now need to say is, "Well, look, rather than keep plugging money constantly into all of these paid media platforms, when we keep people in, when we bring people in, let's keep them. Let's keep them happy so we don't then have to go out and obviously rent an audience, buy an audience from these paid platforms."

Adam Pearce:
This isn't a Facebook-bashing thing or a Google-bashing thing. Those things are still as important to our clients today as they always were, but it's the level of what they're being used for and it's then saying, well, actually, look, right from the point of which they search you on Google to the point they commit their last order, what is it like being with you? Is it good? Is it bad? What can we change in that process?

Richard Hill:
So we've got people on a site and then they've purchased, so there's this piece, and then there's what happens after. So let's maybe stick with the... okay. What are some of the core things you would say that are really important on the website experience piece that our listeners are sort of listening now thinking, "Okay, fair comment. Yeah, we're really crap at following up with people," and we'll dive into that in a minute, but okay, we've got them on the site, we're trying to get that conversion, that first conversion. What are some of the things that you see time and time again that are problematic that listeners should be looking at?

Adam Pearce:
Some very simple things. First of all, if you look at your site in the moment and on your homepage, on your about us page, you've got guarantees, you have got made in the UK, you've got things about your production process. A lot of the time, those things don't get put onto the product page and a lot of the time, those things don't get put anywhere near the call to action button. So for example, if you do have those, putting those directly below is going to be addressing that core fear that someone has got about buying with you, because ultimately that's what it's about. Are you addressing the fears of those customers?

Adam Pearce:
So from an experience point of view, are you saying, "Look, I'm holding your hand here. Everything is going to be okay. Here are three things that are really great about working with us and here's why you can trust us." So I think as a quick win, everyone can probably go and do that literally end of listening to this podcast.

Richard Hill:
Especially if you're running ads. If you're running ads, shopping ads for example, those ads, you're not even seeing the about us page and the homepage. You're going straight to a product page.

Adam Pearce:
Absolutely.

Richard Hill:
Done a good job in maybe the brochure pages, but ultimately, those visitors aren't even seeing those. They're going straight to Nike size 12 in purple. That was actually something I was looking at yesterday and if they don't know all the hard work you've maybe done on those other pages, do they? So duplicating that or adding that in just clarifies that, whether that say, that made in UK or the various stamps of approval that could be on there. Yeah. That's a real quick win, isn't it?

Adam Pearce:
No, absolutely. It's a circle. And like you say, I think the problem is when we sites, and I see this a lot when you have brands that are online or been brick and mortar for years, their view of a website is more, like you said, that where people leaf through, you can have a look at it.. And like you say, when you're referring them in, you send them to that PDP page. They're not really going to look at the home or the about us page. You got to get that in.

Adam Pearce:
But I think beyond that, the other thing that you can do, which we're seeing a lot of brands doing now, is that a lot of people will say, "Look, stick a popup on the side, 10% off your first order, you're on." Every site that you go to, you are going to probably get that discount and we all know we gamify it. Some of us have got our own web email addresses that we do that with, but what about actually if you could offer them something a bit better than that?So let's say for example clothing brands.

Adam Pearce:
One of the other things that you can do is by saying, "Well, look, can we actually give customers on the site something a little bit more than that popup experience?" So whether it might be... let's say that you and I, Richard, we start a clothing company, we might ask for email address and ask them for their size. So in that very simple thing, what you can then do is the welcome email flow that goes out, you can then send them some products you have in stock that are in that medium size group. So look, simple thing, but again, you haven't got that frustration that customers have when they click on something that's out of stock.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. That is very annoying, isn't it? Very annoying.

Adam Pearce:
Even if I take it a bit further... no, absolutely. Absolutely, and I think there are apps that you can use that kind of try and make sure that you don't promote things that are out of stock, but ultimately as a customer, you want that first email that you get to be like, "Right, okay, here's the thing for me. I feel like this brand is actually talking to me with something what I want." It's a huge thing. You can go even further.

Richard Hill:
That size thing, though, obviously in stock/out of stock you would think will be an obvious option, but just that size thing, the difference... I'm a big chap. I'm 6'7", size 12 shoes. I start looking at shoes, it's like 12. There's 12s. So if you're showing me 40 different shoes that are all not in stock that are a size 12, I am fed up. I'm gone. I'm not coming back. I was on, I think it was Gant's website the other day looking at Gant shirts. As soon as I had put in the size I was after, it only showed me size... XXL is my size. They only showed me those sizes. Same with shoe, a lot of shoe brands that obviously do do it right, but there's still obviously firms that don't have that ability or are just not thinking that through with the sizing thing. Very frustrating in apparel and fashion, isn't it?

Adam Pearce:
Absolutely. I think the thing that you mentioned there, again with the size thing, is personalisation tools now, it's so simple to set something up that we'll remember the fact that you're looking for that XL size, so that when you go to that site the customer isn't even thinking about worrying the fact that isn't in stock because what they're seeing is in your size. It's those little touches that stop that friction, that stop that, "Oh," you know?

Richard Hill:
Yeah.

Adam Pearce:
I'm a size 11, Richard, so I know the feeling. Usually with shoes you don't get anything or you get the bright yellow lace-ups that nobody ever wanted because they got lace on them.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you feel my pain. Yeah. Well, it works quite well sometimes when you're going into a store and you know they've got a load of size 12s in the back room they couldn't sell for the last three years, so I say, "Go and get them all out the back room and we'll see what you've got."

Adam Pearce:
Yeah.

Richard Hill:
I usually wear I guess fairly loud stuff. I don't mind all that, so quite often I come out with the most randomest things. Size 12 purple-

Adam Pearce:
Pair of ice skates.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, exactly that. Okay, so we've talked about putting those things within the product pages that are maybe not there because you think that people are going to spend the time or look at your about us page. We talked about that personalization around what you're seeing around size and things like that, have you got one more for us? Obviously I know there's a lot more, but if there's one more you were going to give our listeners, what would that be on the actual site?

Adam Pearce:
The other one I would recommend is using an onsite quiz, and I want to caveat this because when I say quiz, most people squirm and think, "Oh, it's going to be one of those Facebook things where they tell you what Disney character you are." No, no, no, no, no. Let me give an example of this. We work with a brand who are kind of a condiments brand for people that follow paleo diet, carnivore diets, different types of diets. But ultimately when you go to their site, they have a lot of different products by ingredients, by diet. If the general, Average Joe goes to that site and they look at their navigation, they're going, "I'm not really sure what I need or what I want."

Adam Pearce:
So just actually below the navigation, we put a link into a quiz and to do that. What it does is that it basically takes that person through a series of questions, in this case six or seven, and it then will recommend to them the products that they sell that fit in A, with their diet, B, with their taste in terms of if they like spicy or they like barbecue or they like garlic, and then what it will do, it will give them a curated group of products that is a good fit for them. When we did that, the conversion rate of people taking that quiz is actually 25%. So it works from a sale point of view, but also you've got that data that you're then storing to then market better to them in terms of the welcome flow.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, I think quizzes is something that is coming out more and more, but I think it's something I've been very aware of from internet marketing products and you go down one or two paths and end up maybe even in the same place in some instances in the olden days, but now eCommerce stores adopting that quiz methodology to obviously deliver a better personalized service, I don't think we see it enough so that's really interesting you said that, because I think it's not that common and it is very common in my world, I guess, but we just don't see it too much out there on stores, I don't think.

Richard Hill:
Okay, so there's a few things to be thinking about there with the site. Ultimately then, okay, they've made that purchase. What are some of the things, then, in terms of experience we should be doing? Some of the things that our listeners should be doing.

Adam Pearce:
When I talk with brands like this, what I get into think about is that what are the different emotions? What are the different things that people are going to do from the point of which they commit their details to the point in which they get the product and they use it the first few times? For example, let's take a food brand. So let's say we've got a chocolate brand. Now, when that person's purchased, the immediate thing is going to be, in their mind, is look, is it going to get to me? Is it going to taste any good? Is it going to be as good as it is? When's it going to arrive? All those things are going through their mind.

Adam Pearce:
Now, the emails that you can then send out to them, typically eCommerce companies can be very bad at this. "Your order will arrive by X day. Thank you for your order. Please leave us a review." Well, wait a minute. I haven't even tasted the chocolate yet. Why are you asking me for a review?

Richard Hill:
Slow down.

Adam Pearce:
Exactly. And if you break it down a bit more, you can make that process a bit easier. Look, they're really looking forward to the taste of the chocolate. Yes, you can send that thank you, but maybe you can describe it or maybe you can show some videos or some social content of maybe people trying that chocolate or eating that chocolate or it being used in kind of different settings. And then equally, you as that merchant will know when that chocolate bar has been delivered to them. So realistically, if I get a bar of chocolate through the post, first thing I'm doing is I'm snapping corner off and I'm tasting it.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, yeah.

Adam Pearce:
Now, what you can then do is say, well, look, if I know that's going to happen when it's been delivered, I need to get an email out to them literally within probably say three or four hours of that delivery saying, "It's delivered," to say, "How was the first bite?" Because at that point what you're doing is if there are any problems, you can give them that link back to customer service and correct those issues early doors.

Richard Hill:
Yeah.

Adam Pearce:
Now, again, once they've probably had that chocolate, they have it, they're going to eat it maybe the next day, maybe that's a point at which then you can say, "How was it? How would you rate out of five? Great." Now, on the other hand, if it's a child's toy, you might want to think a bit differently. Yes, you're going to give that toy maybe to a child as a gift, which may be kind of a week or two weeks down the line. From that point, then you want to actually see, well, is it still going? Is it still robust enough? How has it lasted that first month with them? Because sometimes if kids, like my kids, throw stuff all over the place, maybe it doesn't last. If there is a customer service issue, step in at that point.

Adam Pearce:
It's all about saying, "Look, with your particular product, what are those different emotions? What are those different uses going to be?" And checking in with them via that post-purchase flow to make sure everything is okay all those different steps.

Richard Hill:
Yep. No, that completely makes sense. I think that timing is absolutely key. If you get that wrong, you're asking for a review of something that 9 times out of 10 might not be used yet. So it's understanding obviously different timings, different segments, different times that those emails are getting sent based on what you are... yeah. I love the chocolate. If it's for yourself, absolutely, you're just straight in there, aren't you? I would imagine. Well, I would be. Yeah. Yeah. If it's that type of snack type thing.

Adam Pearce:
Well, same for me.

Richard Hill:
It would be gone. Yeah. I have to admit, I've been really impressed with a few of the different coffee subscription brands. Through lockdown I signed up for two, and the way that they do it is pretty similar, but at the time, you get the coffee, you put raw beans, you put the beans in the machine. Obviously the smell, the taste, it's just incredible. In that 24 hours, 48 hours afterwards, you're getting this email, very well-timed, I think, because as you open that bag and it's just like, "Oh my God," it's like fresh coffee beans. There's nothing quite like it. You never go back, I don't think, once you do that. And then obviously it's good coffee at the end of the day, or good chocolate or a good product. You've obviously got to deliver the service.

Richard Hill:
Okay, so timeliness of those first emails, and then what would be some of the next steps that we should be looking at? So we've included a few things on the site from you and now we've well-timed, depending on the product or depending on the, yeah, product, a well-timed thank you or a well-timed, "Oh, did you know this, this about the product?" What are some of the next steps, then, after that?

Adam Pearce:
After that point, what we're looking at is we've got that first purchase through. How do we then get them to that second, third, fourth? I'll talk a little bit about loyalty programs here. Loyalty programs by and large are done pretty poorly by eComm brands, and I think the reason is that a lot of people see it as something that is look, allow people to accumulate the points. They'll then come and spend the points. Everyone's a winner. Usually what happens is, as you know, Richard, that doesn't work that way. People accumulate the points, they don't know how many they've got. They don't spend with you and they don't end up being a loyal customer.

Adam Pearce:
The key thing with that is that you need to have a loyalty program that's tiered. So, what incentives are there to get to those next tiers and are you telling people what it might be? For example, if you do have a tiered program, what do they get? Do they get a discount? Do they get something physical? What do they need to do to get those different tiers? Have you made it clear to them what they need to do to get there?

Adam Pearce:
For me, one of the best examples of a loyalty program is Sephora, the beauty brand. Now, what they do is that they have a four-tier loyalty program. When you get to that fourth tier, which is essentially as loyal as most people are going to be, what they would class as their ambassadors, they send them a lipstick. This lipstick is called the secret lipstick and it is only available to people that are on the loyalty program. So what you've got there is, look, from a cost point of view, it costs them bugger all because they're producing at scale anyway. The customer's got a product that no one else can get unless they're on that, and of course, what do they do? They share on social media. It creates hype, it creates links back to the site. Perfect.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, I love that.

Adam Pearce:
For me, that's a great example because it does what it should do. It keeps that person loyal, but it's also then giving you that marketing opportunity from the loyalty program as well. So I think anything like that, and people listening, think about your product. Is there something that you could produce low-cost in a loyalty program that would do that?

Richard Hill:
Yeah.

Adam Pearce:
That would actually be less of a dent in your margins than giving $10 off, 10 pounds off, 20% off.

Richard Hill:
So it's unlocking a certain quite rare, unique, almost fun as well, social media shareable element within that top tier or different tiers that are out there. Maybe access to certain products before they're not even on the web. If you're a company that are selling products, certain brands, then obviously you get so much allocation for certain products. If you're in the top tier, you maybe get first dibs on almost a pre-launch.

Adam Pearce:
Yep.

Richard Hill:
But yeah, I love that, a lipstick. It's not quite the same, but I was thinking of the mythical Nando's Black Card.

Adam Pearce:
I know.

Richard Hill:
I don't even know if it's actually a thing, I've just seen it on social media. So I don't even know. Obviously, I think it was, who was it? Ed Sheeran and a couple of... yeah, this was years ago, but I don't actually know. Is it actually a real thing? I don't know. I actually don't know.

Adam Pearce:
I've never seen one, but yeah. But I think the thing, as well, is if us all listening here now, if think traditionally, what are the kind of loyalty brands that work really well? Air miles, hotels. Booking.com is a great example. They've got their genius levels.

Richard Hill:
Yeah.

Adam Pearce:
I'm genius level two at the moment. I know that I've got to book three more nights before I get genius level three, so I'm frantically looking around going, "Right, what conferences can I go to? What meetings can I go and do?" And it's nuts because I don't really need to go to them. I want to get to that level so I get my free breakfast and I want to get the premium upgraded room. It's the same logic, but with products.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, same. The Hilton hotel, I often use the Hilton on the premiere room, but the Hilton, I signed up for that. I actually can't remember the name of it now.

Adam Pearce:
I think it is, yeah.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, yeah. I literally went to a conference probably two months ago in London and I got obviously so many points. It's like, "Oh, you're so many points away from getting X, Y," all right. So the next time I went to something else more local, I actually stayed in a Hilton, which I probably wouldn't have done, to be fair, but it was obviously to get what was probably the equivalent of about four quid's worth of... but actually, the Hilton's great. I don't mind either, but it definitely persuaded me, definitely swayed me to stay there.

Richard Hill:
Okay, so a couple of things there, then. Very much the loyalty and obviously encouraging people to come back to get access to or unlock maybe gated treats or gated benefits. What else is it, then? What else? We've bought, we're now trying to get them back. We have a well-timed email. We've now introduced and got them started on the ladder of the incentives. What else can we look at?

Adam Pearce:
I think the other thing is, and I think agencies are pretty crap at doing this, our sales included in this, is that we don't think about things like fulfillment, delivery, packaging, because look, traditionally speaking, a typical eCommerce agency like ourselves, we wouldn't really get too involved in that. But the point is, is that from an agency point of view, we are trying to help those clients increase their customer lifetime value. That's what we're trying to do. So if we're helping with those other things and that increases their customer lifetime value, we then will hopefully retain that customer longer.

Adam Pearce:
There's a really great new technology or app that's come about in the moment called Penny Black. What these guys do is that they actually allow you and enable you to personalize your packaging. So what it does is that it works with a fulfillment center or wherever you are printing your packaging, and it will look at the purchase history and the loyalty program that they're a part of and print different messages within different boxes. So for example, if it is the third order that someone has purchased and you know that when they do their fourth order they're going to get something extra, you can tell them inside of that packaging that you're going to send out to them.

Richard Hill:
Next time.

Adam Pearce:
So it's these little touches that make you more memorable. And even with packaging, making it a bit more fun. I remember seeing an example from a Dutch brand, who, they were very much just sending out a package that was a brown box. All they did is that they literally changed the color of the box to be blue and they put what looked like a zip on it. So basically what was happening is that when you pull what looked like a zip, it opened it up, you opened the package and there it was.

Adam Pearce:
Now, from a cost point of view, it only increased their cost by 3%, but what they found is that afterwards, then, the customer service issues they had went down by 20%, and secondly, their retention went through the roof because the whole experience of unboxing was made actually more fun. Rather than just being like getting a standard Amazon package through the post, you're giving them something a bit more about that experience. It's just these little touches that a lot of the time you go, "Yeah, but whatever. It's just a little thing," but this is a thing about customer experience, it's all these little one-percenters that then add up to bringing that lifetime value customer up and retaining them.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, that's mad. I have never heard, I don't think of... so we're talking about personalization if you haven't gathered by now, guys, but personalizing your packaging based on potentially the second, third, fourth order, or in your next order, you're going to hit the the premium tier and we're going to send you X, Y, Z. And that's mentioned within the packaging. Maybe you're opening it up. We're a big fan of lumpy mail in our agency. We use it in our own business. Obviously it's slightly different, but it's very much if you're used to sending maybe traditional... there's nothing wrong with email. Obviously email's brilliant, send the email, but obviously there's a lot of emails getting sent, but if you're sending something within the package or even additional package to... We send lumpy mail. We actually sent some out this week to some potential people, a very specific project that we're working on. We've had people definitely we would have never spoken to because of the way we've packaged things. Yeah, I think that's amazing.

Richard Hill:
So the service or the company that you mentioned, is it Penny Black?

Adam Pearce:
Penny Black, yeah. Yeah. But I agree with you, Richard, and I think the other thing is in this day and age whereby, like you say, I think there's like 333 billion emails are sent per month last year. It's crazy. We get it sometimes where companies want to sell us services as an agency will send us some the post. The thing is, when we only get three or four letters a day maximum, you're going to open it. You're going to have a look at it. You're going to be inquisitive. It's things like sending... people talk about handwritten notes a lot.

Adam Pearce:
There's even services now that you can get robots to write those notes for you and automate it with your email. So if, for example, someone opens a certain email, you can automate it so that a handwritten note's sent out to them. So I think there's something called Ignite Post that does that for you. So just these little touches are all about what it's all about.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. Is it DocSend or Doc something, they do a similar thing?

Adam Pearce:
Yes.

Richard Hill:
I used them probably eight years ago, where if somebody clicks on a PURL, a personalized URL, that then triggers an action for a postcard to be sent out. Obviously what you're talking about is a handwritten version of that. So things like that. Guys, when's the last time you sent out a handwritten note to a client? When's the last time you sent out a personalized package to a client? This is all stuff that obviously it fits different niches better than others, I think would be fair to say. What would you say on that, Adam? What do you think?

Adam Pearce:
Yeah, I think so. Like I say, it depends up on the product, but I think if you are... these touches I think work very well. Clothing it can work very well with, pet brands, oh my goodness. Anything that you send with that dog's name on or a gift for that dog is just absolutely golden. Vitamins, supplements, food, all those things are very, very good, but I think even if you, for example, are selling furniture online, thinking about in that particular context, yes, okay, probably not sending a handwritten note to say, "Look, thanks for buying a dining room table off us," but just being a bit clever with those messages that you send out, and what you might do is send them some direct mail which might give them then 10% off the chairs that accompany that table in a paper form. So again, it's like you're thinking about it, you're giving them something that they actually want.

Richard Hill:
So it's a very specific product, but delivered and recommended in a very certain way rather than maybe hitting the inbox the same old way.

Adam Pearce:
Yeah.

Richard Hill:
Okay, so we made the purchase, we've got them to buy and buy and buy and buy. That's the dream, isn't it? That's where everyone, every business on the planet, eComm agencies, I know we've got a lot of agencies listening in, it's the dream, isn't it? They come in for Klaviyo support and they end up with a whole shebang and they're there for seven years and everyone's happy. That's the dream.

Adam Pearce:
If only it was that easy, eh?

Richard Hill:
That said, in terms of as an agency, what would you say to clients that are trying to work out what a customer is worth to them? Obviously that initial purchase is one thing, but obviously then if a client is potentially coming back and buying four, five, six, seven times, how do you word that out and what would you say to our listeners about how to work that out, what the lifetime value of a client is worth?

Adam Pearce:
Yeah, so depending on where you really look, there are different calculations that people would look at for lifetime value or CLV. LTV, CLV, essentially we're all the same thing, but what we would look at is CLV for us incorporates the purchase frequency, the average order value, the gross margin and the cuffs in the lifespan. And what you're basically doing is saying if you look at those four metrics, those are the things that are going to give you that indicator to what the actual customer lifetime value is. And then from that, what you're essentially doing is saying right, if we know that that's the current value, to increase that we need to focus on certain segments of it.

Adam Pearce:
So what we would say is, well, look, let's look at our customers on the basis of recency of last purchase, the frequency of purchases and the monetary value. And what we basically do, we'll score them usually between one to five in each of those things, and then we'll fit them into different groups. For example, if you have someone who has recently purchased, they've frequently purchased four or five times and they've spent a lot of money with you, they're going to get fives across the board.

Adam Pearce:
Now, what do you do with that? Well, the point is, is that if they come in with a customer service issue, so if they contact you and you're using help desk what's happening, you know that person has got to get that number one service from you. On the other hand, if you've got someone who is getting ones all the way across the board and basically is a pretty crack customer... now, I'm not saying that you leave them alone to die a horrible death, but what I am saying is that you need to put less emphasis on those customers than you do on the other ones, and it's exactly the same with email marketing, is that, look, if you know that you've got someone that perhaps is a frequent purchaser, but from a monetary point of view they don't spend a lot, you got two tacts there. You can either just keep firing the products out and to keep them purchasing, or what you can do is try and then eek up that monetary value with that group of people in your segment to then maybe offer them an add-on. Give them something that then brings up that AOV slightly for them.

Richard Hill:
Yeah.

Adam Pearce:
Now, if you're making these tweaks all across your segments, obviously what's happening is your overall number's going up and up and up, your revenue's going up, your lifetime value's going up, the health of your business, your profit margin is also going up because you're also not focusing on your acquisition. You're focused on your retention. Retention's always going to be cheaper.

Richard Hill:
And then am I right in thinking, then, that obviously if you've got all that dialed in, you can then afford to probably spend more on the acquisition of then your competitors, therefore they're thinking, "How the hell can they afford to spend this much on ads," essentially, maybe even lose on that first order and obviously get that money back if you know those numbers, you've got that, but usually the company that can afford to spend the most on marketing to acquire that customer potentially wins the race quite often, I think. So I think obviously dying in all those steps and knowing those numbers, and yeah, different products, different segments are going to have different numbers, absolutely, but I think some of the products that we know and are talking about, quite often a certain product leads to another purchase. What if that certain product there's a big volume for it, big, big volume for it?

Richard Hill:
Now, if that has to be a really, really tight margin, it obviously depends on the business and the model, but you know then they're going to go, "Here, here, here, here, here," now to acquire those customers. We've got clients in all sorts of space, but one of the spaces I know is nutraceuticals, vitamins, things like that, a huge space for repurchase. Once you've bought your, whatever it may be, your cod liver oil, your turmeric, whatever it may be.

Richard Hill:
I was on yesterday buying a type of a wheat grass and I ended up buying three lots of different sorts of new wheat grasses, and the the next thing I know, if one of these I really like as a new flavor, if I love a new brand, I'm pretty loyal to those brands and I know I will buy that. The last one I've been buying for about nine years, so what they've had off of me for nine years. So yeah, being able to then spend more on your marketing up front means you're getting more in the front end, as well. It's exciting stuff, isn't it?

Richard Hill:
How many people are listening now that are thinking, "Do you know what? We're so obsessed with acquisition, getting new people through the funnel, but hang on a minute, let's just stop for a minute, spend some time on these different elements." I mean, that personalized packaging piece, that's got me thinking about all sorts of things. It's all sorts of things. My sons are looking at setting up an eComm store, they're going to be, with a bit of help from me and my team here, and that personalized packaging piece is going to be insane for the products. I'm not going to say what the products are on the episode, but we'll probably do an episode with them in 12 months, maybe, and see how they're getting on. But-

Adam Pearce:
Excellent.

Richard Hill:
... in terms of the personal packaging, it's quite a personal product that they're going to be selling, that will really be amazing and it's got a real potential for repeat purchases of this particular product. I'll maybe tell you at the end of the episode.

Adam Pearce:
Excellent.

Richard Hill:
Okay, so where should we go next? Let me have a think. I think a lot of cool things there. Obviously you're dealing with a lot of different brands with a very focused agency, there. What would you say are some of the biggest things or the most common things that you see wrong with that customer experience piece? I know you've touched on quite a lot of things already, but for every 10 inquiries that come your way, you're probably going, "Oh, they're not doing this. They're not doing that. The website's this." What are some of the things that really hamper the customer experience and therefore the conversion rate?

Adam Pearce:
Easy peasy, first one's speed.

Richard Hill:
Speed? Yeah?

Adam Pearce:
A lot of the time, it is purely just down to image optimization. The problem is, and I'm not criticizing you guys who are listening, but you've probably gone out there, you've found a fantastic photographer who's created some fantastic shots for you. You've taken the high res images and you stuck them onto your site. Kaboom, there we go. You're already at a four or five second load on the page and it's all gone to toffee already. So I would say the first thing is people just need to go use one of these simple image optimization tools to get that down. That's the first thing.

Adam Pearce:
The second thing I think, usually, and I'd be interested in your take in this one, Richard, is navigation, because I often feel that... and I get it, it's difficult, because look, when you're a brand, you want to make sure that everyone knows about all of your products, but I think what we've got to remember is that that navigation, you are essentially laying those breadcrumbs to get those customers to go somewhere. You're putting those signs out to get them to the party. And a lot of the time, we see navigations come through where you've got 12 or 13 top line items, and then in terms of those 12 or 13 top line items, there are then between eight and nine options in each one. All I want to do is buy some vitamins. Where do I go? What do I do? What's it for?

Adam Pearce:
I think nowadays, a lot of people are going more down this road of you've got four different options. I want to improve my skin. I want to improve my hair. I want to improve my fitness. Great, so back to that, get to those products. So I think that's the other one. And I think the other one... sorry, Richard.

Richard Hill:
Do you think there's in having, or what would your thoughts be on having both options? Well, maybe not the first option, but okay, sort by condition, maybe, is the... I don't know if condition's the right terminology, but health, fitness, skin. That's probably not quite right, but then would you then want to have... what other sort of nabs do you think in terms of structure? Obviously different products are going to have different... so you've got by brand, for example.

Adam Pearce:
Yeah. I think, look, by brand is great, but I think with those options, I think the key thing is either you invest in a good search tool for your site, so something that is a little bit more intelligent that will give you recommendations based on what other people have typed in or something with a bare minimum that will be giving suggestions as that person types, but I think also things like quizzes obviously can help that we spoke about earlier on, because it navigates that person to it. But very simply put, just having some decent filters on the top, because often what we see with filters is that people have left-hand side filters and there will be maybe eight or nine different filters on there, and from a customer that's a little bit imposing.

Adam Pearce:
I'll tell you a great example of filter that I really like is Airbnb, because what Airbnb do is they give you three things that they're saying are most important, which I think is number of people, location, and date. And then what they do is they put that little button in there that says apply more filters. If you give the option, they've got much more opportunity say, "Well, I've got some things here that look all right, but actually, I know I want to be a little bit more specific here." So don't just chuck all of the filter options at them, give them that choice and then get more info.

Richard Hill:
Option in effect, so you can just go with the simple or you can refine, yeah, so you give them both.

Adam Pearce:
Yeah.

Richard Hill:
Okay, so site speed. I think that covers... not many SEO people on that haven't mentioned site speed. I think we've been talking about it for about nine years in our age, but it's so surprising still. Every, single project. I think we started three or four new SEO projects last, couple of weeks ago, and every, single site, yeah, those very simple things to fix when it comes to site speed. Some obviously need a little bit more work on the dev side, but just simply reoptimizing those images and things like GT metrics, you can pretty much it'll do it for you almost blindfolded in terms of tell you what to do, how to do it, and I think it even resizes the images for you, from memory, I can't remember, and then puts it back in. Navigation. What would be one more?

Adam Pearce:
I think the other one that I probably should mention would also be about making sure that you do design for mobile. I know it kind of sound a little bit of a cliché, but yes, again, the amount of big... I would say the biggest brands that we work with in here, and we don't work with huge, huge brands, but the biggest ones, when you look at their site on mobile, it tends to be atrocious. I would say on average now, the clients we work with, between 75 to 85% of traffic is coming from mobile. And it's just little things like for example, the search feature. You'll have a search feature on the site that isn't built for mobile.

Adam Pearce:
The most frustrating thing in the world when you're out and about in the car and you're trying to search for something, and actually you can't get your fingers because it's too big for the pixels that you've got on the page. So it's that, again. I honestly feel like there's so many simple things. Yeah, okay, there's some great things you can point to Shopify and some brilliant apps and this, that, and the other. You can make it fancy, but those three simple things I think could change so many businesses overnight. It's unbelievable.

Richard Hill:
Brilliant, brilliant. I actually had that this morning on a site. I'm not going to say who they were, but I was on a site and their messenger at the bottom right was just blocking everything on the site. It was like, "Oh, man." You don't even realize how much business you're losing. It was a big business. Their chat was bottom right, it was like an inch high, an inch wide on a mobile phone. It's just like, "Wow."

Richard Hill:
So, while we're there, I think we have a lot of people that run ads that listen to the podcast, a lot of people. We do a lot with ads. So in terms of UX and improving conversions on product pages specifically, what advice would you give on that? I know right at the beginning of the episode, we talked about having some specific information on there that might be typically found on the about us and home page and things like that, but is there any other elements of the... I know there's loads, but on a product page particularly, I think that is obviously so, so key.

Adam Pearce:
Yeah. I think, look, a lot of people will probably say very similar things that I would in terms of making sure that you've got the call to action throughout the fold, making sure you've got those trust indicators below the call to action, that sort of stuff, but one of the things that we definitely have seen working very well at the moment is using video content within the gallery.

Adam Pearce:
Now, you might be saying, "Well, hang on, Adam. You were talking about speed. Doesn't that impact on speed?" The nice thing is, is that there are quite a few tools out there now that allow you to have essentially what looks like it is an embedded video on the site, but it's actually being housed by the platform separately. So when you click on that video to play, that's actually not running through the site itself and it's actually running from a third party player.

Adam Pearce:
The one that we've been working with recently is a company called VideoWise, who have been a great company, but what I like about them in particular is that any video content that you have, it turns into shoppable content. So if, say for example, I have done a very quick Instagram reel of me showing off my, and I should do a little plug here, my wife's children's hair bands that she sells on Etsy, she might then be able to below that say, "Buy now," below that. Equally, if you... another great thing with that tool is that it also scours the internet for videos of your product.

Adam Pearce:
Now, I don't know how many times people listening have done this, you Googled your product or you've gone to YouTube and typed the name of your product. You'll see those unboxing videos. You'll see that people have tagged you in videos, all this stuff that you might not actually know about or probably care about. But the point is, is that with this tool, it can pull all of those in for you and say, "Would you like to display these videos on your store, yes or no?" And it can create a section on your product page with those videos in it.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. It's pulling them through from social with the text.

Adam Pearce:
Exactly. Fantastic social proof.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, that's brilliant. That's brilliant. That's a great one. Thank you for that. That's real good. Real good. Almost finished. I feel that we have... it's gone so quick, Adam. I think the last couple of questions. Okay, crystal ball time. We sat here in 18 months, I think with the sort of UX stroke lifetime value hat on. We've talked about quite a lot of elements there in that journey of getting people to come back. If you were back on the podcast in 18 months, what specifically do you think we'll be talking about and what... so those things are the sort of things that our listers need to get in front of now to improve their lifetime value. What are some of the things that you think we need to be keeping an eye on?

Adam Pearce:
So I think definitely in 12 or 18 months' time, there will definitely be a switch onto zero party data. So things like using quizzes, for example, because all that's going to happen in the next 12 to 18 months is the paid ad cost is going to just keep increasing. That's a given. It's going to happen. What I would say, though, is that I think that the switching on to customer lifetime value is going to take a lot longer than 12 to 18 months. I still think that if you invite me back at that time, Richard, I will be talking about this concept and still brands, again, "Oh yeah, I think we should do that."

Adam Pearce:
The reason I believe that is because we have been fascinated in eCommerce for so long with conversion rate, average order value, and we've, "Watch conversion rate, watch conversion rate," but we've got to give it time for brands to be able to kind of step away from that comfort blanket. So I think if you are a brand that is trying to push forward, thinking about that now is going to help you, because if you're thinking about CLV, you've got to think about customer experience. If you're just going to look at conversion rate, fine, but eventually you will get overtaken by the brands that are looking at the whole piece because conversion-based brands are brands that are looking at purely acquisition and purely that product page, what can we get them to convert that first time? They're not thinking about that bigger picture of keeping them in the loop so that they are a regular repeating customer at a lower CAC.

Richard Hill:
So there needs to be a shift in the thinking around the customer lifetime value. Is that what you see is going to be a focus?

Adam Pearce:
Yeah. I think if you look at the discussion and the rhetoric at the moment from Shopify themselves, a lot of the apps that work with it, obviously we work with Celigo as well, as a lot of people do. They've started talking about lifetime value, customer lifetime value, and I think the more that happens, the more there's going to be a trickle-down effect to brands, but ultimately because I work with eCommerce brands, yeah, you might have the eCommerce manager or the global head of eCommerce switched onto it, but you've also got to convince the MD, you've also got to convince the CEO, the CFO, the COO, because all those guys are obviously looking at different metrics that they're tracking themselves, and how actually does that CLV play into that?

Adam Pearce:
I think that's the time it's going to take, a couple of years, to be able to say, "Right, okay." Yes, you can still track this CFO in terms of your top-level metrics, but it's going to be this part of CLV that you're looking at to see what the value of a company is going to be within five to six years' time. So I think that's why it's going to take more time than just eComm managers and head of eCommerce going, "Right, yeah, we get this. We're onto it."

Richard Hill:
Yeah. Brilliant, brilliant. Well, thanks, Adam. It's been an absolute blast. I like to finish every episode with a book recommendation. Have you got a recommendation for our listeners?

Adam Pearce:
Absolutely. Mike Michalowicz, The Pumpkin Plan. An absolutely fantastic read if you are planning a business now, if you have a current business, really just make you look at how you operate as an entrepreneur.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. That's brilliant, actually. I think we should get Mike on, actually. I think he'd be a brilliant guest so thank you for that. For the guys that want to reach out to you, find out more about yourself and Blend, what's the best way to do that?

Adam Pearce:
Yeah, sure thing. You can email me adam@blendcommerce.com or just set me up on LinkedIn, Adam Pearce. You'll see my face and yeah, you can just connect with me there.

Richard Hill:
Brilliant. Well, thanks for being on the show. I look forward to speaking to you again.

Adam Pearce:
Thanks so much, Richard.

Richard Hill:
Thank you. Thank you for listening to the eCom@One eCommerce podcast. If you enjoyed today's show, please hit subscribe and don't forget to sign up to our eCommerce newsletter and leave us a review on iTunes. This podcast has been brought to you by our team here at eComOne, the eCommerce marketing agency.

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