💡 My Top 5 Takeaways from DTCxRetain

The TL;DR:

    • Let’s Chat D2C: My top takeaways from DTCxRetain include the importance of having an authentic brand story and why enterprise tech platforms are in serious trouble.
    • What I’m Thinking about this Week: Understanding the difference between strategy and tactics can take your business to new heights. I walk through my approach to strategic planning and how I used it to scale Electriq by over 400% in 12 months.
    • The D2Z Podcast: I sat down with Marco Shinouda, Partnerships Manager at Gorgias, and covered everything from AI in ecommerce to turning your customer service into a revenue-generating channel!
    • App Updates: Fairing New Releases, PostPilot Shared Cardalogs, and a BIG Salesforce to Shopify Migration Promotion.
    • Upcoming Events: The Private Dodger Stadium Suite with Recharge was a HUGE success and so much fun! Stay tuned for the next one we’re doing in August. But before then, mark your calendars for the Transactional Email & SMS Master Class I’m hosting on June 28th with Malomo, where I’ll dive into how Electriq creates personalized transactional journeys that improve retention and increase LTV.

    Random tip: Use grayscale on your iPhone to reduce screen time. It’s crazy how boring your phone is when it’s in black and white!



    Let’s Chat D2C - My Top 5 Takeaways from DTCxRetain


    Authentic Storytelling

    The opening speaker, Aaron Spivak, is living proof of how authentic storytelling drives successful businesses. Customers of Hush aren’t just customers of the brand. They’re invested in his story and all of the ups and downs that came with building the business.


    This holds true in all verticals—for example, wine. There is a threshold for product quality, but once you’ve surpassed that threshold, how do you stand out to potential customers versus competitors?


    Enterprise Tech is in Trouble

    A groundswell is happening in ecommerce tech, and the platforms that have historically served the long tail of SMBs are coming for the enterprise giants. I don’t need to elaborate much on this point, but rather showcase a few examples of how this is happening and continues to progress:


    In each of these three examples, you have entrants to the market whose original target market was SMBs. Initially, their products were easy to use but lacked features and functionality that larger merchants needed, but in the past 2-3 years, these products have rapidly developed functionality for the enterprise market while maintaining the ease of use their products are known for.  It would appear it’s significantly more effective to work your way upmarket as a SaaS company than trying to work your way downmarket. 


    The Barrier to Entry Keeps Rising for Brands

    I am not envious of any entrepreneur who is trying to start their brand in 2023—inflation, the cost of capital, rising interest rates, a whacky job market, etc., are making things very difficult.


    Tech Overlap

    The Shopify merchant tech stack is getting messy. There is significant overlap between multiple industry players, some of which didn’t exist until just weeks ago:


    I know of multiple yet-to-be-announced products from various tech partners that are really going to force the hands of its merchants to make some hard decisions. Do you stick with an app that has performed well for you, or do you consolidate with one of your other partners who just released the same product?


    The apps I see facing stronger headwinds are those that are more so “features” than they are necessarily “platforms.”


    Growth Through Product Expansion or Market Expansion?

    There are three ways I see our tech partners approaching growth:

    • Product Expansion: Okendo released Okendo Surveys to complement its core reviews offering.
    • Market Expansion: Fairing now supports non-ecommerce stores with its newly released SDK.
    • Market Expansion & Product Expansion: Klaviyo is expanding beyond the Shopify ecosystem while releasing complementary products such as reviews.

    I’m following this closely to see who will be doubling down on ecommerce and who is setting their sights on other markets. Gorgias is one I think will be interesting to watch. Do they continue to stay within ecommerce or go after the larger TAM that Zendesk occupies?



    What I’m Thinking About This Week: The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics




    I’ve seen many businesses lose their way because they don’t understand the difference between strategy and tactics, focusing too often on tactics and not having a good framework for planning the business's long-term vision. This approach might not work for everyone, but it’s what I used at Electriq and will continue to use throughout my career. It entails three key components:

    1. How do you want to be viewed in a year, and where do you want to be?
    2. What are the strategies you’ll use to get there?
    3. What are the tactics you’ll deploy against your strategies?


    That thinking leads me to a strategy or multiple strategies. From there, I can refine tactics–the actual things I need to do daily to get the agency toward the strategy, leading to the end goal.


    The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

    Strategy is a long-term plan to achieve a goal. It determines what needs to be done and why. Tactics are short-term actions taken to achieve that goal. Strategy is more difficult to change once it’s set in motion, whereas tactics are easier to adjust.


    Strategies define tactics and not the other way around.


    Let’s use Electriq as an example. This is the exact exercise I went through at the end of 2020.

    1. Where I wanted us to be in a year: The #1 Shopify Plus Retention Marketing Agency
    2. Strategies
      1. Changing Agency Perception
      2. Increase Revenue
      3. Become a Thought Leader in Ecommerce
    3. Tactics to Support These Strategies
      1. Create an agency 1-pager, build landing pages around our specific expertise, and update all messaging to be around our Retention-as-a-Service offering (Raas).
      2. Invest in team member training, revamp client-facing materials, achieve top-tier tech partner certifications, and update our contracts.
      3. Publish a weekly newsletter, launch a podcast, create white papers, and speak at conferences.


    Too often, businesses go straight into tactics and get lost in the day-to-day while losing sight of where they want to be heading and what strategies they need to develop to achieve their goal.


    I hope the above framework and example help you in any entrepreneurial endeavors! It’s not limited to the overall business either; you can use this within your department, in your personal life, and more.

    This Week’s The D2Z Podcast

    #63 – DTC Customer Service, Tech Integrations, and Retention with Gorgias’ Marco Shinouda

    🎧Listen Now 🎧

    In this week’s episode, I sat down with Marco Shinouda, Partnerships Manager at Gorgias, an ecommerce helpdesk platform. Specifically, we explored the following:

    💰 Customer service as a revenue-generating channel.

    📲 The importance of seamless integrations between your tech stack.

    😎 Legacy helpdesk platforms versus Gorgias.

    🚀 The impact of AI and how to leverage it in customer service.



    App Highlight - Fairing New Releases, PostPilot Shared Cardalogs, and a BIG Salesforce to Shopify Migration Promotion



    Fairing Target Questions by Product Purchased and Geography

    Fairing’s question stream now supports targeting customers based on the products they purchased or the state/province they’re in. With these new questions, we can understand why a customer bought a particular product or better market to a specific area.


    Fairing Customer Data with Pivoting Analytics

    Drill deeper into your data and extract shopper segment insights with pivoting analytics. For example, what % of your customers that are buying your product as a gift found you on Tiktok?


    Fairing Auto Suggest

    Enable your customers to get to their responses faster while reducing the number of other responses with predictive text.


    PostPilot Shared Cardalogs

    You can now split a Cardalog with other brands with a common target customer, allowing you to split the cost and maximize your value. For example, if you own a brand whose target customer is pet owners, you could share a cardalog with another brand whose target market is pet owners and sells a non-competing product.


    $12,000 Platform Fee Credit for Shopify Plus Migrations

    Merchants that migrate from SFCC to Shopify by 9/30/23 will receive a $12,000 platform fee credit. To be eligible for the credit, you must meet the following criteria:

    • Sign a contract for a 24-month term
    • $25M+ in GMV
    • Sign the contract in Q2 or Q3 2023


    If you’re on SFCC and want to take advantage of this offer, just reply to this email, and I’ll help you get started!


    Do you have an App to Highlight?

    Want your app to be highlighted in the next newsletter? Respond to this email with what you do, and let’s schedule a time to connect so I can learn more!



    Upcoming Events


    Transactional Email & SMS Master Class on June 28th with Malomo, where I’ll dive into how Electriq creates personalized transactional journeys that improve retention and increase LTV.


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