- Let’s Chat D2C: The Future of Ads - Apple, Retail Media, Direct Mail, and A Lot Less Competition.
- What I’m Thinking about this Week: Creating a Thriving Business that isn’t Founder-Reliant through Delegation.
- The D2Z Podcast: In this week’s episode, I sat down with Pranay Prakash, Founder of Windsor.io, an AI video-marketing platform that helps D2C brands acquire, grow, and retain their customers through personalized videos at scale.
- App Highlights: 4 New Rebuy Smart Cart Apps, Shopify Flow Update, Klaviyo Updates, Loyalty Lion’s Points Modifier, Gorgias Updates, and Amazon Ads with Triple Whale.
- Upcoming Events: I’m speaking at EEE Miami on February 23rd at the East Hotel! Ecommerce Experience Evolution is an annual event in Miami gathering leaders in the Ecommerce space to connect, share knowledge, and learn! Use the code SP-ELECTRIC-20 at checkout for 20% off your pass!
Random tip: You can’t be an expert in everything. Find your niche and go deep.
Let's Chat D2C: The Future of Ads
The days of spending millions of dollars on Facebook are over. According to Insider Intelligence, brands cut their spending by 8% in January 2022 compared to January 2021, and it’s only decreasing more. So what’s next?
Apple recently posted over 110+ jobs to build out a more robust ads platform. The iOS14 updates around consumer privacy were not just a good selling point. It allowed them to push out major ad networks like Meta and position Apple to have a monopoly over their own ad network.
We have no idea what the first iteration of Apple Ads will look like, but I guess that in 3-5 years, they’ll have one of the largest ad platforms in the world, especially in the US market, where the iOS device market share is the highest. I expect that their consumer targeting will parallel the heyday of Meta’s ad platform, where brands could get hyper-specific with the audiences they want to reach.
Retailers are taking notice of advertising giant Amazon (currently raking in $30 billion a year!) and trying to catch up! CVS, Target, Walmart, and Instacart are all taking notice and expanding their partner programs to make it easier for brands to join in.
Retailers find it more challenging to sell in-store, so this is a great way to tap into their audience and network to make money. Still, despite the increase in the number of retail media networks available, revenue is nascent. Walmart’s media and advertising business only brought in 1.4% of its annual revenue. But now that these platforms have been around for a few years and retailers have been investing significant resources in making the platforms better, I can see 2023 being the year when these platforms will take off.
DTC brands simply can’t target shoppers on advertising platforms as they used to after Apple’s privacy updates. Like everything in life, what used to be old school is now making a comeback. Traditional market tactics like catalogs, postcards, and brochures are increasing in popularity as brands try and figure out how to connect to new, relevant audiences.
Offline marketing has grown from about 12% of DTC brands’ ad budget in early 2021 to over 15% at the start of 2022.
From 2020 to 2021, the number of Shopify stores doubled!!! In 2022, we saw a significant decrease in ecommerce revenue for most brands, and the impact continues into 2023. Brands are going out of business after growth skyrocketed during the Pandemic, and there is less and less competition for ads. Coupled with the looming threat of a recession, the number of advertisers and their ad spend is shrinking.
What I’m Thinking About This Week: Creating a Thriving Business that isn’t Founder-Reliant
If you’re a business owner of a startup, more likely than not, your goal is to scale it to a successful exit. But, too many founders are so deeply intertwined into every aspect of their business that if they weren't there anymore, the organization wouldn’t function. As a potential acquirer, that’s one of the biggest hurdles and red flags when assessing acquisition potential.
Delegation is Not Optional
We can’t do everything, and we shouldn’t try.
Entrepreneurs like to do everything. If we’re being honest, we could even say that entrepreneurs feel like they have to do everything. It is ingrained into our social fabric that the brave young business owner works 20 hours a day building their dream. We wear a million hats and wear each of them as a badge of honor. The more we bleed and sweat, the more effective we are.
The First Step
As an entrepreneur, no matter who we are or why we started this journey, we went into it knowing we’d be wearing many hats.
But it honestly doesn’t need to be this way. Yes, we might wear many hats, but we should be rigorous about taking those hats off and putting them on other people we trust.
I found the best way to do this is to write down everything I do. I spent a solid week doing this. I wrote down everything–whether it was a one-off random item, a meeting, handling payroll, or taking client work. Whatever it was. I listed everything.
I was shocked about how many random tasks were on that list that would be better suited to be delegated to someone who is an expert in that role. I mean, should I really be doing bookkeeping?
After that week, I made a priority list from 1 to 10. Those were the top ten things I’m best at. Everything else needed to go to someone else. So the next mountain was about figuring out how to move those tasks onto someone in the team right away and, for items I couldn’t do, creating a timeline to do it.
Biggest Mistake in Delegating
There is a flip side to the delegation coin.
Assuming you do what I did and ruthlessly culled your daily activities by offloading tasks to your team, you may find yourself in a situation where the person you entrusted these tasks to didn’t take those tasks as seriously as you would have.
I made that mistake. I identified the proper role for the tasks but not the right person to fill that role. So I quickly promoted them internally into a position like management before they were ready for that position. Once in place, I offloaded my tasks onto their desks and became very confused when things didn’t work out the way I expected.
In retrospect, I should have asked. People will tell you if they don’t believe they are ready. And you can talk with them about what they need to get to that point so you can lift them up and help them get there. People will be honest if you open the conversation up, and sometimes they’d prefer you hire externally rather than put them in a position where they know they can’t be successful.
I work hard to make sure I’m setting up my team for success. Certain people work very well with ambiguity and the freedom to build their own processes and way. But others prefer structure and guidance. I try to avoid making assumptions that everyone is like me. It might sound obvious, but when you’re in the moment of scaling a business, sometimes you can forget team members are individuals with different wants and needs.
Good to know and good to remember!
This Week's The D2Z Podcast
#44 – SaaS Entrepreneurship and the Shopify Ecosystem with Pranay Prakash, Founder & CEO at Windsor.io
🎧Listen Now 🎧
In this week’s episode, I sat down with Pranay Prakash, Founder of Windsor.io, an AI video-marketing platform that helps D2C brands acquire, grow, and retain their customers through personalized videos at scale. Using their tech, a founder or marketer can record a single video and send out millions of personalized copies to their customers in seconds. We explore the following:
💰 Fundraising component of entrepreneurship in a venture-backed technology company
📲 Opportunities for app developers to grow in the Shopify marketplace
😎 Balancing the various skill sets needed as an Entrepreneur
🚀 The best way to learn is to jump in and start doing!
🎧Listen Now 🎧
App Highlight - Rebuy Smart Cart Apps, Shopify Flow Update, Klaviyo Updates, Loyalty Lion’s Points Modifier, Gorgias Updates, and Amazon Ads with Triple Whale
4 New Rebuy Smart Cart Apps
Make SMS opt-in seamless with the Attentive + Smart Cart integration.
OrderProtection provides premium shipping protection and effortless claim resolution.
Showcase customer and product reviews directly in the cart.
Collect zero-party data via mini-surveys directly in the cart without a single line of code.
Shopify Flow Update
We can now schedule workflows based on time as opposed to ecommerce events.
Klaviyo Product Updates
New Quick Search Capabilities from the Main Search Bar
From your admin console in Klaviyo, you can now quickly search for campaigns, flows, forms, customers, and more. Press Command-K on a Mac or Control-K on a PC to immediately pull up the search bar from anywhere in Klaviyo.
Optimize SMS Opt-in for Mobile and Desktop Shoppers
Use dynamic blocks to build one form that shows mobile and desktop shoppers the best way to sign up for texts.
Get Organized with the Ability to Archive Flows
Gone are the days of Klaviyo accounts with 100+ flows in “Draft” mode. Now, you can archive your flows to keep your account more organized but not lose any data. For reporting, you can also exclude or include archived flow data!
A/B Testing in SMS Flows
Before this update, to test SMS variations, we had to create 50/50 random sample conditional splits in the flow and set up two different texts, but now we can leverage the same A/B testing functionality available to us for an email with SMS!
Easily add SMS Disclosure Language to Signup Forms
Simply drag n’ drop the SMS Disclosure block onto any signup form to maintain TCPA compliance.
Create Personalized Product Feeds in the Email Template Editor
Easily create custom product feeds within the email editor to make recommendations for products based on your customer’s behavior – like what they recently viewed, something they added to their cart, or a best-selling product they might like. You can add filters – like price and inventory – to ensure you aren’t recommending products with low stock or items out of a customer’s price range.
Loyalty Lion Points Modifier
Loyalty Lion’s new Points Modifier feature allows merchants to apply different point configurations to individual products and collections.
Why Does this Matter and How Should you Use It?
Points Modifier allows brands to adjust and tailor their loyalty program to better align with their internal financials and business goals. For example, you could:
- Reduce the number of points customers earn on low-margin items
- Apply extra points to incentivize shoppers to buy higher-margin items or items that have excess inventory you need to sell through
Modifiers can be stacked in order of priority, and if you have a tiered program, the conditions of those tiers will be automatically applied.
Gorgias Product Updates
Embed Video Links in the Chat
Engage your customers better! You can now embed videos directly into chat messages and chat campaigns. With one click, site visitors can play the video directly in the chat widget or from the campaign bubble. Here are the video providers supported:
- Direct link to a file
This is also a great way to boost your Youtube SEO!
Match Chat to your Brand
By going to Chat settings > Appearances > Customize copy, you can now match your brand’s tone of voice in the chat widget at every stage of the customer journey.
Improved Chat Appearance for Readability
Chat now auto-adjusts the color of the in-line text to match the chat banner color.
Real-time Views of Agent Availability
You can now see the four availability options from the user settings page:
- Available: Agent is online with availability toggle set to on
- In a call: Agent is actively connected with a customer in a call
- Ringing: Agent is dialing an outbound or being rung inbound
- Unavailable: Agent is offline or has their availability toggle set to off
Triple Whale Update
You can now connect your Amazon Seller Central and Amazon Ads accounts to Triple Whale to see:
- Ecosystem ROAS
- Overall profitability
- Specific net profit from Amazon
- Overall expenses
- Amazon-specific expenses
- Amazon ROAS
I’m speaking at EEE Miami on February 23rd at the East Hotel! Ecommerce Experience Evolution is an annual event in Miami gathering leaders in the Ecommerce space to connect, share knowledge, and learn!
Use the code SP-ELECTRIC-20 at checkout for 20% off your pass!
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