Podcast

Learn from Fast Growing 7-8 Figure Online Retailers and eCommerce Experts

EPISODE 56 74 mins

Turning Ecommerce Customers to Advocates and Influencers w/ AddShoppers’ Chad Ledford

Posted on 14th January 2016 ,
by Kunle Campbell


About the guests

Chad Ledford

Kunle Campbell

Chad is Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at AddShoppers - as a 3X entrepreneur, Chad has founded successful ecommerce businesses and is now a SaaS entrepreneur. He co-founded AddShoppers because of a need in his previous eCommerce company - they couldn't figure out how to drive revenue from social media.



Social media is increasingly altering the face of e-commerce and marketing. Chad Ledford is situated at the forefront of this change as co-founder of AddShoppers, a social media referral SaaS platform for e-commerce.

Today’s show is full of expert insight and advice, so much so that you will likely see social media and e-commerce in a much different light after listening to this episode. We start with Chad’s early enterprising days, drop shipping with 3tailer, and where the seeds of AddShoppers were sown.

Chad then takes us step by step from the very beginnings of understanding social media’s meeting-point with e-commerce right through to the cutting edge of one-to-one targeting, getting referrals, and finding influencers. We also explore in detail the need to know who your customers are and how to take advantage of mobile’s new positioning as a growth lever.

So if you’d like to learn how to drive more traffic to your site and increase conversions, as well as know how you can start to future-proof your website, then this episode is for you.

Key Points in E-commerce Email Marketing Success

1: 3etailer.com

It was just sort of a mass drop ship website. So we would get an order, it would get sent to the distributor, they would ship it out on our behalf, and then we would sort of sit in the middle as the drop shipper. Before we sold it we ended up with over 250 distributors who were selling, and it was a little over 200,000 SKUs that we were managing on Magento. The basic idea was we got really good at connecting suppliers into our platform. And it wasn’t necessarily a marketplace but we always treated it like a marketplace.

Running Lean:

We always kept the team really lean. I was more on the marketing and operations side and my cofounder Jon was more on the development and also helped out with operations. We had two engineers, one designer, and then mostly a team of client-success people on the front-end. So we always kept the marketing and engineering team at the smaller side, around five or six people.

Growth:

In 2011 we were probably in the 3 to 4 million range in revenue. It was a drop ship business so the margins were always slim but we got really good at the automation side of it and really good at growing the revenue through adding new distributors and things like that.

Customer Service + Drop Shipping:

you can’t control anything after you get the order so you have to make sure that you have great partners for that. And with any of our drop ship partners we almost always had some sort of drop ship agreement where they had a service level that they had to maintain and a few other things just to make sure the quality was there. But you definitely lose a lot of tracking, accountability, and inventory tracking and things like that once you decide to do drop shipping.

2: AddShoppers and Social Networks

Starting off

In the early to mid 2000s, if you were good at search engine marketing, were able to rank for things and get it pay per click, you could drive a solid business. But around 2010, you heard of companies were starting to take advantage of Facebook and Twitter and some of these other social networks. It seems crazy now but at the time no one had really figured out how to make money from social network. So we saw this as a new channel that was up-and-coming and there were companies like Groupon and Rue La La and others that were popping up with this real social focus. And we couldn’t find a product out there that we really liked so we decided to start building one as a side project. So that’s kind of the early days of AddShoppers, it was a need where we saw this up-and-coming channel but had no idea how to make money for it for our business.

Integrating Social

The Problems and Solutions: The initial problems were basically just getting an understanding of what’s actually happening.

  1. If someone comes your e-commerce site, is anyone sharing out your brand? Are they talking about your brand?
  2. What we found is that to really get the most out of social, it has to be ingrained in pretty much everything else that you’re doing.
  3. Social login: having things like ‘Sign-in with Facebook’ on your website. Once a customer signs in with Facebook then you as the retailer are able to capture that information and push that back into your email provider.
  4. Now you can start to do things like a birthday campaign because you were able to capture their birthday from that. Or now you know that this group of people are male and this group of people are female so you can send them different promotions from your email marketing.
  5. Then you can also take into account any kind of signals that these people are giving you when they’re on their site. So a basic example would be if someone’s on your site and they click a Facebook Like button, they’re showing a lot more intent for that product than somebody who just looked at it. So tying that in to your Facebook retargeting and your other type of retargeting that you’re doing so that you can show those people more ads or more relevant ads based off of what they said they liked.

Support For Social Logins:

Any of the website systems that you host, so Magento or OS Commerce or systems that you can download and put on your own servers and your own codebase – those are always easier to deploy a solution like social login. A lot of the SaaS solutions like Shopify and Big Commerc, they’re getting better at opening up their API so that you can create accounts. And we have connectors for all those but that’s been pretty recent over the past 12 or 18 months that those guys have actually started to open up their APIs where providers like us can connect into their systems.

  • In general if your audience is 18 to 40 range, they’re going to be more likely to use social login. Social login would include sign in with Facebook, sign in with Google, signing with PayPal, Amazon… if you have a couple different solutions or options like that you’re going to see close to 60 or 70% of people use those options. If your demographic is over 40, that number’s going to down to the 30 to 40% range who are comfortable actually using it.

AddShoppers Value Proposition:

We help you grow your average revenue per user. So we break that down into four different categories.

  1. AddAnalytics is going to tell us what’s happening on your website.
  2. AddSocial is about plugging in social infrastructure, so that’s going to include things like sharing buttons, social login, trending content; and it’s more just infrastructure pieces that you need to run your store.
  3. AddReferrals is about incentivizing customers to perform some sort of social action, whether that’s using the social login buttons, sharing out with their friend, or referring a friend back to the store.
  4. AddTargeting, the one that we’re really excited about, is about treating different customers differently based off of what we know about them. Whenever someone uses social login, they’re giving you access to a lot of data, and with our ad targeting products we can show different promotions to customers based off of what we know. So if you come to our site and it’s your birthday, then we can show you a pop-up modal or a banner that says, ‘Happy Birthday! Here’s a promotion to get $10 off.’ Or if we know that you’re a male or female, we can show you different promotions based off all the data that we captured from social login and sharing.

Targeting

We have technology where it’ll show promotions to people as they are showing some sort of intent to leave and we can personalize those modals and things that people see. But we take that a step further with one-to-one targeting. So there’s basically two different ways to personalize or to target people.

  1. There’s cohort targeting which would be things like anyone who comes from Facebook we’d show them this promotion or anyone who comes from email marketing let’s show them this promotion.
  2. And then the next part of that would be one-to-one targeting, which would be super or hyper personalized targeting based on an individual. So if we know you’re a male and it’s your birthday: showing you this promotion. So it’s more of that one-to-one targeting instead of cohort targeting based off of where people came from or if they’re about to abandon their cart.

Analytics

There are a lot of different styling options for how you show people things. Most of the clients we work with aren’t huge fans of modals anymore. I think consumers and marketers in general they’ve just seen too many pop-ups in their life and they’re getting used to just X-ing those out. So it’s not limited to just showing a pop-up or just showing something that takes up the whole screen. You can show different types of banners or you can show a bar across the bottom of the side or some sort of slide out and things like that.

If you look at any traditional last-click tracking tool like Google Analytics, it’s really hard to get a good picture of how social is performing because it kind of gets lost in the mix. Especially whenever you pull in a mobile device.

  1. A lot of retailers, whenever they look in their Google Analytics now they’re going to see a line item that says ‘Direct Traffic’ and that number has probably continued to go up the last 48 months. And the reason isn’t because people are going there and typing in your brand more, the reason is that they’re on a mobile device and whenever they click from Facebook on their mobile device it opens up a browser, types in whatever that URL is in the browser and then goes to the page so it looks like it was from a direct typing source.
  2. So if you’re looking to in Google Analytics and you’re trying to figure out what social’s worth, you’re basically giving no credit for anyone who comes from a mobile app and comes to a browser landing page on a mobile device.
  3. Once you get some sort of decent tracking in place and you get a pretty good attribution model in place then you can start to establish exactly what social’s worth.
  4. So let’s assume that now we can track people, but it still takes people 40 or 50 days before they actually complete a conversion because social is really good at driving traffic to people but a lot retailers don’t know how to get that traffic converted because what’ll usually happen is they come to the site, maybe they give you their email address, and then they go on to whatever they were doing. And then three weeks later you as the brand launch some sort of promotion and you get that customer back to the site, so it looks like email marketing should get 100% attribution for that order, but it was actually social that drove the person to sign up for the email and want to learn more about the brand. So if the retailer has some sort of attribution model like that in place, social can be anywhere from 15 up to 50% of the revenue depending on how they’re attributing that and how much credit they’re giving back toward social.

Attribution Model:

I like to give 25% credit for the first interaction and 25% for the last interaction and then everything else is distributed evenly with the touch points in-between. Because I assume the first one we want to do more things to get people at the top of the funnel and we want do more things to get more people at the bottom of the funnel, so the things in the middle we can just keep layering out over time.

  • AddShoppers Expansion: We are available to ecommerce websites of all kinds and we have a really popular WooCommerce/WordPress extension. I would say that 80% of our users and clients are traditional e-commerce companies but we have started building out use cases in other industries like travel, digital downloads, media, nonprofits and a few other places. Over the next 3 to 5 years you’ll see us pushing in a more categories and we’ll have things like AddShoppers for e-commerce and AddShoppers for nonprofits and other verticals.

Getting Referrals and Finding Influencers:

The biggest trends and the best way to get customers to refer you is to ask them. It’s super obvious but you’d be surprised how many people just never ask their customers to do it.

  1. So step one would obviously be to enable your clients or your customers the ability to share out and usually get some sort of incentive, like what Groupon did where you can get $10 for your friends and $10 for you. So once you figure out a promotion that is profitable and something that you can run, the best thing to do is offer the same promotion to the friend, as well as the advocate who originally shares out.
  1. And then from there it’s about integrating that into the entire purchase process. So the best time to ask for a referral was right after someone’s placed an order, because people traditionally want either brag about what they just purchased or they want to get confirmation from their friends that it was a good idea. So while your brand is top of mind, you want to have something… we have a Purchase Sharing App, so right after they place the order, the retailer can give the customer some sort of incentive to share out and join and become part of that referral program. So a couple other things you can do is include links in your order confirmation email, your order delivery email, any kind of follow-up series that you have in your email marketing.
  1. A lot of our clients continue to promote at least once a month throughout their social channels. Some of them even taken a step further and re-target people who have completed a purchase to get them back to the referral program. But once you have something in place that people can share out and talk about and get some sort of incentive, then it really is just asking them to do that and keeping it top of mind, whether it’s a packing slip, an email, or a banner that that person sees.
  1. Dedicated Referral Page: It’s always better to have a dedicated landing page. That way you can link to it from your email marketing and social media and things like that and you’ll be able to track how many people are coming to it, signing up, then activating from there.

Advanced Tips for Referrals with Social Media Shares:

Most retailers have some sort of email promotion for new customers who come to the site. As soon as you land on the site it’s going to say something like enter your email to get $10 off your first purchase.

  1. Instead of just giving them that for an email, if you pair that with them sharing it out on social media you’re still able to capture their email address and their data but you’re also getting that incremental share pre-purchase.
  2. If you’re going to do a promotion, just make sure that it’s one that matches what you’re doing on the email marketing side to grow your list, and if you want to amplify that with social then you can do that pre-purchase.
  3. But a strategy that we’ve seen work even better than that is tying it into a contest or a giveaway. So if you want to do something pre-purchase that drives referrals, the best thing to do is to run a contest. So an example would be someone comes to your site and you’re giving away a $100 gift card each month. So customers can enter the contest, so maybe they enter using Sign in with Facebook. Once they’re entered, they’re added to your email database. Now you can then say something like, ‘Share out to get an additional entry into the contest,’ then that’s going to drive more people back to the site, so it’s going to help grow your email list. And that’s really the way to view pre-purchase, is more of like a customer acquisition in the sense of capturing more emails or capturing more customer data for people who are coming to the site. And then you’re going to have better success with increasing referrals post-purchase because that person’s already placed their order and now they just want to talk about it with all their friends.
  4. Note on Capturing Email Address with Shares using AddShopper: Initially whenever they share out, we ask customers to approve the Facebook app so that we can capture who they are. If they decide not to do that and then they share out then we’ll ask for their email after they share out because that’s the only way that we can let them know if they won the contest or not. So you either grab it pre-share or post share.

How to Set up AddShoppers on Your Site

It’s super easy. There’s basically two JavaScript codes that you have to drop in your template. There is one that goes on the footer of all your pages and then there’s one that goes on your checkout success page. And those two JavaScript codes power the entire platform and then each individual application, Social Login for example, is one additional code that you put wherever you want those social login buttons to show. If you want to implement the sharing buttons, there is one code that you put where you want the sharing buttons to load. And essentially there’s different codes for each app that you copy-paste in. So for most of our clients, after we agree on some of the strategies and things that they want to tackle, we can pull together an integration guide that just has the codes that they copy and paste in. And from there it’s literally all copy-paste, and then any style changes and optimization and stuff like that is done directly from our system after those codes are place.

A Good Influencer

This is someone who drives business results for you as the brand.

  1. The first step is just having some sort of tracking in place where you can see who the individuals are that are currently sharing out your brand and how they’re sharing it out, and if they’re actually driving sales for you.
  2. Then, we have integrations with a couple companies, like Klout, where it shows us who are the influencers of our influencers: from the people who are coming to our brand and they’re engaging with it, are there any recurring themes with new sites or bloggers or celebrities that those people engage with and follow on Twitter or Facebook or whatever else it is?
  3. So once you know who the influencers are of those people, then you can tap into that audience and help scale it up by going to those people direct.

Mobile as a Growth Lever

If you as a retailer can figure out how to get your conversion rates up on mobile then you can start really exploiting some new advertising options aside from just search engine marketing, and some of the other things that everyone is already doing and it’s starting to get really expensive. So if I was a retailer, my main focus would be just focusing on mobile and making mobile work because that’s really going to be the future going forward.

  1. Make your website, whether it’s responsive or an app, make it really easy to use and really easy to buy from. So whether that’s stripping out a lot of features and making it load faster and optimizing that total experience.
  1. If you think about companies like eBay, Amazon, and PayPal and the ones that are having a lot of success right now with mobile, it’s because they’re storing credit card information. So I know traditionally retailers have really shied away from securing and saving customer’s credit card information because of PCI compliance and things like that, but if you have a customer base that has a higher propensity for repeat purchases and things along those lines then you really do want to store and own that customer’s checkout experience. If you don’t, then you want to partner with someone like an Amazon or a PayPal because customers already have their information stored there.
  1. So once you have a fast site and it’s really easy to checkout, the next piece of that is just optimizing the funnel on mobile because it’s going to be different than the funnel on desktop. On mobile your focus should really be identifying who’s coming to your mobile site or your mobile app, so as to have the ability to remarket to that person. So you really have to identify who those people are and capture their email address.
  1. Minimizing Taps: people having to tap on things on their mobile device. Because that’s essentially the new click. So if you are optimizing conversions on desktop you would always want to remove how many things people have to click on before they can actually place a purchase. So by getting rid of things like pagination and more taps that people have to do, you’re reducing friction for that person to be able to checkout. So if you look at any popular app, so if you look at Pinterest and you look at Facebook, they don’t have pagination, you don’t scroll through your newsfeed and then have to do ‘next page’ to go to the next part of it. So you want to replicate the experience that people are used to on mobile and it’s going to allow them to discover more of your catalog.

3: Types of Conversions

value of a secondary conversion

Traditionally retailers would track conversions as someone placing a purchase, so all the advertising that you did, pay-per-click, SEO, things like that, you would be able to say someone came from this ad, they came to the site, and then they placed an order. And that was fine but if you’re measuring that way now you’re going to be missing out on a lot of marketing opportunities and a lot of chance to grow

  1. Have conversion events for secondary conversion. If we want email sign-ups and we can do a media buy on Facebook and we’re able to say what each email is worth, say based on the numbers it’s $1.50 or whatever, then it’s easier to start running campaigns on things that sit higher up in the funnel like content marketing and media buys across different networks and things like that.
  2. But really focusing on what those secondary conversions are worth, whether it’s that email, or being able to drop a cookie on someone who shows a certain amount of intent, or getting a customer to create an account with your brand. Whatever those conversions are, I know those conversions directly don’t make you more money, but indirectly how much are those worth? So if you said, ‘If we got 100 new email subscribers, we know at least two of those people are going to convert and it’s going to be worth at least $230, then out of all those emails we know that each one is worth at least two dollars.
  3. So by looking at some of those different conversion types and being able to assign those of value; you’re not going to get it right the first or probably even the second time, but as you hone in on what those conversion values are worth then you’re going to be able to do additional creative marketing outside of just pay-per-click ads and PLA’s and things like that.


There’s actually some up-and-coming companies who are setting up retail co-ops of data. So if you’re a retailer and you know who your customers are, what they can do is take that customer’s cookie or who that customer’s computer is and tie that back to an email address so that whenever that customer is on another retailer’s website they can pass data about that customer back and forth. So that you can treat customers differently based off of not only what they’ve done on your site and where they came from, but what else they’ve done across other people who are part of that data co-op.

Search Intent vs Customer Understanding:

Google’s search intent is good because it lets you know that someone is looking for something but it doesn’t tell you ahead of time what that person is going to be searching for. Whereas once you know the identity of that person, we can ask what do we know about that person in the past in relation to other brands? Once you know who the customer is and you know other things that they’ve purchased and other things that they’ve looked at and liked in the past, then you can start to get predictive about what that person is going to do next.

4: Parting Advice

Hiring:

Our best hires always come from other people who we’ve already worked with, but in general the number one trait that we look for is the general person who wants to learn the most. Because if we take an expert who’s already done something, they’re going to come in with a preconceived notion of how things need to be done. But we would rather have people who have been good at other things in the past and they’re willing to learn and try new things whenever they come onboard.

Three Essential Tools we use:

  1. QuickBooks is a good one from a financial standpoint.
  2. Salesforce to manage our entire sales process
  3. Slack for all of our internal communication

Best Mistake To Date:

Some of the things that we talked about around personalization and being able to pull in a lot of that customer data was actually a mistake that we found in our code. So inside of our JavaScript we realized that we were able to pull things that we had stored in our database in real-time. After the initial confusion, we realized we can run triggers based off of all the data that we have stored and access that data pipe from, like the influencer CRM that we have, to things on the frontend. So it brought us to the early stages of that one-to-one targeting that we’ve been talking about.

Advice to E-tailers looking to 2X or 3X:

Make sure all your newest initiatives are focused on mobile. Like I said before, if you can figure out mobile then you’re going to have a leg up on anyone else out there. I think the people who are doing it well aren’t traditional e-commerce companies right now, people like Pinterest and Uber and Postmates, people who are encapsulating all the power of a mobile device to make people’s lives easier. But I haven’t really seen one that wowed me on a mobile device yet.

Best Resource

A blog called SaaStr by Jason Lemkin. Just because we’re totally new to e-commerce, totally new to building out an enterprise sales team and how to sell a SaaS solution.

Key Takeaways

(11:53) Introducing Chad Ledford

(16:35) 3tailer.com

(21:11) AddShoppers and Social Networks

(40:47) Getting Referrals,Finding Influencers

(52:44) Growth Levers

(66:52) Parting Advice


Transcript

Kunle: Hi Chad, I'm particularly excited to have you on the show because I typically have one of three kinds of people on 2X eCommerce. I will typically either have a founder or an owner of a successful e-commerce business, a SaaS provider to the commerce sector or a proven expert in a special discipline in e-commerce who'd grow an e-commerce business. But I'm privileged to have you here because you're all three of them wrapped into one. You've run quite successful e-commerce businesses, you're running a SaaS business that serves the e-commerce sector and you're a digital marketing CRO expert. So welcome to the show, Chad.

Chad: Great, yeah, thanks for having me.

Kunle: Brilliant, good stuff. Okay so, could you take a minute or two to kind of tell our listeners about yourself, please?

Chad: Sure. Hi everyone, I'm Chad Ledford. I'm based in Charlotte, North Carolina in the US. So I've been in the e-commerce world now for a little over 10 years. And as you alluded to, our first business was an e-commerce business and now we've moved on to a SaaS provider and even before the e-commerce business I've always been selling something. So I actually started off selling socks out of the back of a van, so if you wanted a back story I can throw in the back story here as well.

Kunle: That will be interesting. Let's talk about socks, about your sock business. Let's go to the very beginning.

Chad: Yeah, so I guess this was probably close to 18 - 19 years ago but my grandfather has been in the hosiery industry... so North Carolina in general used to be known for furniture, hosiery, and tobacco so my grandfather was part of that early industry. And then it was in high school I decided to, this was after I got my driver’s license, but my grandfather had a bunch of socks - I loaded up a van full of socks and went door-to-door. So I would go to insurance agencies or hair salons and things like that and sell socks door-to-door. It was actually pretty successful; I'd make 1000 bucks a week just selling socks during the summer, so not too bad.

Kunle: With zero dollars inventory. It's not bad at all. So those were the seeds and then you started 3tailer. That's number 3, tailer dot com. Interesting name and why 3tailer.com?

Chad: Yeah so actually our first e-commerce website was the sock website and then we ended up expanding into a few other categories so we moved into futon covers, weather stations and we ended up with about 40 different niche dot-coms. And then whenever Google decided to change their algorithms and devalue having keywords inside of your domains, we decided to move everything to one centralized dot com. So we took the 40 different websites that we had and then consolidated those to one generic name. So 3tailers is sort of like e-tailer or a spinoff of the retailer and it was just sort of a mass drop ship website.

Kunle: Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. Interesting, really interesting. Okay and 3tailer was a niche online retailer, you focused on... this is stuff I grabbed from your profile by the way... 50,000 products on 17 websites. That's a whole lot of product to manage. Were you drop shippers of sorts, or? Plus, you're managing 17 websites and, you know, 50,000 products. Tell us a bit about that, please.

Chad: Yeah so, we never had intentions on having the catalog that big. Whatever we first started, we usually had around maybe 100 or 300 SKUs for each domain. And we started up early with OS commerce but we were one of the first adopters of Magento, whenever that started to become popular. So it was definitely a struggle taking that many SKUs... We actually, before we sold it we ended up with over 250 distributors who were selling, and it was a little over 200,000 SKUs that we were managing on Magento. So there was a lot of back-end indexing and database things that we had to do, but the basic idea was we got really good at connecting suppliers into our platform. And it wasn't necessarily a marketplace but we always treated it like a marketplace. So we would get an order, it would get sent to the distributor, they would ship it out on our behalf, and then we would sort of sit in the middle as the drop shipper.

Kunle: Makes sense, makes sense. And what kind of team supported this massive operation, from my standpoint?[laughs]

Chad: Yeah, we always kept the team really lean. It was me who, I was more on the marketing and operations side and my cofounder Jon was more on the development and also helped out with operations. But we also had two engineers, one designer, and then mostly a team of client-success people on the front-end. So we always kept the marketing and engineering team at the smaller side, around five or six people.

Kunle: It's pretty lean, pretty lean for what you managed to achieve. Because in 2011 you were an Inc. 500... not 5,000... 500 company and top #4 retail company in the same year. Yeah, what kind of revenue were you doing in 2011 on 3tailer?

Chad: Yeah I think in 2011 we were probably in the 3 to 4 million range in revenue. So yeah it was a drop ship business so the margins were always more slim than you would want them to be but we got really good at the automation side of it and really good at growing the revenue through adding new distributors and things like that.

Kunle: I kind of like the philosophy you took on with regards to almost envisioning it as a marketplace where you dealt with the technology and customers and then you made sure they dispatched. From the drop shipping standpoint, did you have any issues with customer service? Because customer service seems to be a recurring issue with drop ship businesses.

Chad: Yeah, drop shipping - you can't control anything after you get the order so you have to make sure that you have great partners for that. And with any of our drop ship partners we almost always had some sort of drop ship agreement where they had a service level that they had to maintain and a few other things just to make sure the quality was there. But you definitely lose a lot of tracking and accountability and inventory tracking and things like that once you decide to do drop shipping.

Kunle: Okay. So the lifespan or up until you sold 3tailer which was in 2013... So you started 3tailer in 2005, sold it on in 2013 which is about about three years, eight years, sorry. Right towards the end you had a problem and AddShoppers was kind of the solution. I believe AddShoppers was founded in 2011. Could you tell us a bit more about this problem you had and how the technology behind AddShoppers seemed to solve the problem and why you decided to build a new company, a SaaS company off the back of that problem?

Chad: Yeah, the basic problem was that in the early 2000s and mid 2000s, whenever we were running our e-commerce business, if you were really good at search engine marketing and you were able to rank for things and really you get it pay per click you could drive a pretty solid business. But around 2010 you started hearing more about companies who are taking advantage of things like Facebook and people who are seeing traction from Twitter and some of these other social networks and I know it sounds crazy now but at the time no one was really, they hadn't really figured out how to make money from social network. So we saw this as a new channel that was up-and-coming and there were companies like Groupon and Rue La La and others that were popping up with this real social focus. So what we did, we couldn't find a product out there that we really liked so we decided to start building one as just sort of a side project. And then we released it to some friends that we had in the industry so that they could try it out for a while and then from there it just kind of started growing. So our passion has always been on the technology side in creating platforms and places where people can gather around an idea and help grow that idea. Yeah so that's kind of the early days of AddShoppers, it was a need where we saw this up-and-coming channel but had no idea how to make money for it for our business.

Kunle: Okay, so how did you kind of marry commerce with social in the early days? It's still a challenge today. But in 2011 I would have thought it must've been a monumental task for you to solve, which is what entrepreneurs are all about, and your team to sort of build. So what specifically or what kind of results did you see from social media? What platforms were you trying to explore and what kind of initial problem did AddShoppers as a platform solve?

Chad: Yeah, so the initial problems were basically just getting an understanding of what's actually happening. So for example, if someone comes your e-commerce site, is anyone sharing out your brand? Are they talking about your brand? And what we found since launching the company is that to really get the most out of social it has to be ingrained in pretty much everything else that you're doing. Because to the customer, they don't see social as a channel, they just see it as another thing that they do during the day whether it's them checking their email or seeing an ad somewhere or interacting with it. But for us as a marketer, we like to kind of put things in silos. But with social and the way that it's integrated in your marketing strategy it really has to be kind of plugged in to everything. So for example with social login, having things like 'Sign-in with Facebook' on your website. Once a customer signs in with Facebook then you as the retailer are able to capture that information and push that back into your email provider. Now you can start to do things like a birthday campaign because you were able to capture their birthday from that. Or now you know that this group of people are male and this group of people are female so you can send them different promotions from your email marketing. And then you can also take into account any kind of signals that these people are giving you when they're on their site. So a basic example would be if someone's on your site and they click a Facebook Like button, they're showing a lot more intent for that product than somebody who just looked at it. So tying that in to your Facebook retargeting and your other type of retargeting that you're doing so that you can show those people more ads or more relevant ads based off of what they said they liked.

Kunle: I'm pretty excited little with all the points you touched on here, from the social login, I actually see... well, let me ask you the question... So which would you prefer at the point of registration: a social login or email asking for email addresses

Chad: I always prefer social login because it's one less password that I have to remember and everyone seems to have different criteria for the type of password you have, so I probably have in my brain six different passwords. You always have to go through and remember which one you use whenever you go to sign back in.

Kunle: Absolutely, absolutely, and watching series like Mr Robot, it's not really difficult it to figure it out once someone knows one, you know a hacker knows one. Okay, going back to social logins, there are two sorts of challenges I see from my perspective, third-party perspective. One is the deployment of social logins. Obviously when you have a robust system such as Magento it shouldn't really be a problem, I suppose. But what about other sorts of email platforms out there, from the more basic... well I would really call it basic but for the more service driven, the SaaS email provider like Shopify, Volusion, and rest of them. How flexible are their systems to support social logins? Yeah, that's first question...

Chad: Yeah, any of the ones that you host, so the Magentos or OS Commerce or systems that you can download and put on your own servers and your own codebase - those are always easier to deploy a solution like social login. A lot of the SaaS solutions, so like Shopify, Big Commerce and those guys, they're getting better at opening up their API so that you can create accounts. And we have connectors for all those but that's been pretty recent over the past 12 or 18 months that those guys have actually started to open up their APIs where providers like us can connect into their systems.

Kunle: Okay. So second question is the uptake. So what does your data tell you? So, I'm a consumer, I'm 25 ...I'm not really 25 [laughs] ... I'm 25, male, and I'm shopping in the fashion site and I have two options to register: the social login or email. What does your data say I'm more inclined to use to register my new accountant on that website?

Chad: So in general if your audience is under 40, so anyone from that 18 to 40 range, they're going to be more likely to use social login. I think we see anywhere from... if you have social login available and social login would include sign in with Facebook, sign in with Google, signing with PayPal, Amazon... if you have a couple different solutions or options like that you're going to see close to 60 or 70% of people use those options. If your demographic is older, so if you have an audience that's over 40, that number's going to down to the 30 to 40% range who are comfortable actually using it.

Kunle: That's significant. That's phenomenal actually, especially given the data you're able to tap into: birthdays, male-female demographic. Yeah, that is an opportunity not to be missed, basically, from a especially fashion, fashion e-commerce and gift retailers. Awesome, okay, good stuff. So from AddShopper, from your website it's a social commerce and analytics platform. Could you further break down your current value proposition to listeners, please?

Chad: Yeah, so with our platform our basic value proposition is that we help you grow your average revenue per user. So we break that down into four different categories. So we have AddAnalytics which is going to tell us what's happening on your website. And then we have AddSocial which is about plugging in social infrastructure, so that's going to include things like sharing buttons, social login, trending content; and it's more just infrastructure pieces that you need to run your store. The next piece of that is called AddReferrals which is about incentivizing customers to perform some sort of social action, whether that's using the social login buttons, sharing out with their friend, or referring a friend back to the store. And then the last piece of this and the one that we're really excited about is called AddTargeting which is about treating different customers differently based off of what we know about them. So it's sort of like you were just saying whenever someone uses social login, they're giving you access to a lot of data, and with our ad targeting products we can show different promotions to customers based off of what we know. So if you come to our site and it's your birthday, then we can show you a pop-up modal or a banner that says, 'Happy Birthday! Here's a promotion to get $10 off.' Or if we know that you're a male or female, we can show you different promotions based off all the data that we captured from social login and sharing.

Kunle: And just clever things like if I'm female and you're a fashion e-tailer you know, why not just redirect me to the female section of the website? Why do I have to make a choice everytime I get into the website? So what other ways can you target messages to shoppers? Besides the exit...these are exits intent banners or?

Chad: So we have some [inaudible 00:31:33] technology where it’ll show promotions to people as they are showing some sort of intent to leave and we can personalize those modals and things that people see. But we take that a step further. So for the targeting piece of it, there's basically two different ways to personalize or to target people: there's cohort targeting which would be things like anyone who comes from Facebook we'd show them this promotion or anyone who comes from email marketing let's show them this promotion. And then the next part of that would be one-to-one targeting, which would be super or hyper personalized targeting based on an individual. So if we know you're a male and it's your birthday: showing you this promotion. So it's more of that one-to-one targeting instead of cohort targeting based off of where people came from or if they're about to abandon their cart.

Kunle: That makes perfect sense. And the primary way of communicating with shoppers is through these exit modals, is that right or are there other ways of?

Chad: Most of the clients we work with aren't huge fans of modals anymore. I think consumers and marketers in general they've just seen too many pop-ups in their life and they're getting used to just X-ing those out. So it's not limited to just showing a pop-up or just showing something really [inaudible 00:33:05] that takes up the whole screen. You can show different types of banners or you can show a bar across the bottom of the side or some sort of slide out and things like that. So there's a lot of different styling options for how you show people things, it's not limited to just modals.

Kunle: Okay, gotcha, gotcha. The reason I was asking was if you have plans of moving into actual messaging, to emails? Because I've had a few providers on this show that, they're into this personalization and one-on-one marketing and cohort targeting and just understanding customers better. Some of them are missing what you guys have whichh is the social element, which is quite interesting nonetheless. But a lot of them are moving into messaging, actual emails, one-on-one emails which are almost automated in that sense, so that's why I was asking. Yeah, so from today in 2015 or 2016 and if you guys are going to listen to this in 2016, from an e-commerce standpoint does social media drive significant revenue to e-commerce? Direct revenue, I mean.

Chad: Social is one of those channels that sits at the top of the funnel for a lot of retailers, so if you look at any traditional last-click tracking tool like Google Analytics or something along those lines, it's really hard to get a good picture of how social is performing because it kind of gets lost in the mix. And especially whenever you pull in a mobile device. So one quick example: a lot of retailers, whenever they look in their Google Analytics now they're going to see a line item that says 'Direct Traffic' and that number has probably continued to go up the last 48 months. And the reason isn't because people are going there and typing in your brand more, the reason is that they're on a mobile device and whenever they click from Facebook on their mobile device it opens up a browser, types in whatever that URL is in the browser and then goes to the page so it looks like it was from a direct typing source. So if retailers don't have a way to be able to track from the app back to their actual website... so if you're looking to in Google Analytics and you're trying to figure out what social's worth, you're basically giving no credit for anyone who comes from a mobile app and comes to a browser landing page on a mobile device. So whenever someone asks the question, usually if you look at your historic numbers it's going to say nothing, but once you get some sort of decent tracking in place and you get a pretty good attribution model in place then you can start to establish exactly what social's worth. So let's assume that now we can track people on mobile devices and now we can track people on desktop, but it still takes people 40 or 50 days before they actually complete a conversion because social is really good at driving traffic to people but a lot retailers don't know how to get that traffic converted because what'll usually happen is they come to the site, maybe they give you their email address, and then they go on to whatever they were doing. And then three weeks later you as the brand launch some sort of promotion and you get that customer back to the site, so it looks like email marketing should get 100% attribution for that order, but it was actually social that drove the person to sign up for the email and want to learn more about the brand. So if the retailer has some sort of attribution model like that in place, social can be anywhere from 15 up to 50% of the revenue depending on how they’re attributing that and how much credit they're giving back toward social.

Kunle: What's your preferred attribution model in analytics for measuring your ROI?

Chad: I like to give 25% credit for the first interaction and 25% for the last interaction and then everything else is distributed evenly with the touch points in-between. That's usually how I look at it because I assume the first one we want to do more things to get people at the top of the funnel and we want do more things to get more people at the bottom of the funnel, so the things in the middle we can just keep layering out over time.

Kunle: Okay, really, really good stuff here Chad. Okay now at AddShoppers works with 10... I didn't realize this because I've prior to today I've been come across AddShoppers a number of times, probably about four or five times, but the fact that you have 10,000 online retailers as customers, that's a huge customer base. How has it grown from its inception in 2011 to date? That's about five years or thereabouts, less than five years actually, four years.

Chad: The first year we actually spent mostly in development and we had around 20 people using the product. And then we originally released it as a free product, so just anyone could use it and we wanted to see if anyone would use it [laughs]. So we made a free, we had the 20 people in the first year, we grew that to over a thousand people who signed up and started using it. And then it was actually in Year 3 that we broke that 10,000 number and now we've gotten probably over 60,000 who've signed up for the platform and it's live on probably I think around 15,000 websites total. So there's a lot of people who have just signed up but haven't really done anything with it so that's why we kind of stuck with that 10,000 number. But a lot of the growth that we've gotten has been from platform partnerships like Shopify, Bigcommerce and some of those guys, they all see the need here and none of them are building it into their core products. So they've done things like feature us on their blog and gotten us in front of their customers, so they've all been great partners.

Kunle: Good stuff. And you know it's just fascinating these marketplaces on Shopify and Volusion what they can do, and actually build an ecosystem around on these e-commerce or e-tailers so to speak. Okay so that's really phenomenal, but do you only work with online retail businesses or does AddShoppers work across the board? Can I have it on my WordPress blog for instance?

Chad: Yeah, we actually have a really popular WordPress extension that, it's actually a WooCommerce extension but it also works on WordPress. So I would say that 80% of our users and clients are traditional e-commerce companies but we have started building out use cases in other industries like travel, digital downloads, media, nonprofits and a few other places. Obviously like we talked about before, my background and Jon's background is e-commerce and that's where we wanted to start, but over the next 3 to 5 years you'll see us pushing in a more categories and we'll have things like AddShoppers for e-commerce and AddShoppers for nonprofits and other verticals.

Kunle: Okay because I notice The Economist was one of your clients and I'm just wondering how they use it? Do they use it in their e-commerce store or right across the board?

Chad: Yeah, they have it on several of their subdomains where they offer subscriptions for like GMAT testing, like GMAT prep courses and thing along those lines, so it's still a traditional checkout.

Kunle: Okay, gotcha, gotcha. Another quite prominent feature which I find quite exciting because it's down to referral marketing… I have a client and I keep banging my head with them because I just tell them...so they sell quite high ticket items and they pretty much will not have customers come back to them for the next five years. So the obvious thing is to work out a referral marketing program, which they're yet to action. But the step ahead of referral marketing really is influencer marketing, and it's quite prominent on your website and the fact you guys work on influencer marketing - finding and leveraging influencer marketing. My question is how can e-tailers leverage influencers to reach out to the audience of these influencers? What tactics are you seeing from the 15,000 clients you're having? What kind of trends and what does your data tell you?

Chad: Yeah, the biggest trends and the best way to get customers to refer you is to ask them. [laughs]

Kunle: Obvious...[laughs]

Chad: It's super obvious but you'd be surprised how many people just never ask their customers to do it. So step one would obviously be to enable your clients or your customers the ability to share out and usually get some sort of incentive. So an example would be like what Groupon did where you can get $10 for your friends and $10 for you. So they had one of the most successful referral programs and basically used that to grow their entire business. But we found that...

Kunle: Was that expensive? Sorry to cut you short.

Chad: Yeah, I mean they spent a ton on customer acquisition because, I mean most of the Groupons that you would buy were only $15-$20 so they would almost always lose money on their first order that any customer placed. But at the same time they got people in the door and it was cheaper than running TV commercials and some of the traditional advertising. So most retailers out there aren't going to be able to do that, we all haven't raised $50 - $100 million to buy customers, basically. So once you figure out a promotion that is profitable and something that you can run, the best thing to do is offer the same promotion to the friend, as well as the advocate who originally shares out. And then from there it's about integrating that into the entire purchase process. So the best time to ask for a referral was right after someone's placed an order, because people traditionally want either brag about what they just purchased or they want to get confirmation from their friends that it was a good idea. So while your brand is top of mind, you want to have something... we have a Purchase Sharing App, so right after they place the order, the retailer can give the customer some sort of incentive to share out and join and become part of that referral program. So a couple other things you can do is include links in your order confirmation email, your order delivery email, any kind of follow-up series that you have in your email marketing. A lot of our clients continue to promote at least once a month throughout their social channels. Some of them even taken a step further and re-target people who have completed a purchase to get them back to the referral program. But once you have something in place that people can share out and talk about and get some sort of incentive, then it really is just asking them to do that and keeping it top of mind, whether it's a packing slip, an email, or a banner that that person sees.

Kunle: Okay, so right through the funnel, even post purchase, just reinforcing that the referral program on package and the rest of them. Okay, with regards to...Would you suggest a dedicated refer-a-friend page in a referral scheme or referral campaign?

Chad: Yeah, it's always better to have a dedicated landing page. That way you can link to it from your email marketing and social media and things like that and you'll be able to track how many people are coming to it, signing up, then activating from there.

Kunle: Okay, that makes sense. I've always wanted to ask because, I can't recall, there was a podcast I was listening to a while ago, a long while ago, and this chap was experimenting on gamifying referral marketing prior to checkout. So what he was tinkering around with in a store, he was manually trying to do this, was: before I check out something pops up and says, 'You know you can get 25% off or 10% off this order? Just share on social.' And say you share of Facebook, you get 10% and then you share on Twitter and then you get another 10% off or 15% off and that just makes it 25%. And then he gets it, he's told all his friends anyway, and then he checks out. What do you think about that approach? Is in viable or not?

Chad: Yeah, it's a good way to identify who people are. It's not really a good way to drive incremental traffic and referrals because most likely the person they're going to refer is themselves. [laughs] So what we typically do is... most retailers have some sort of email promotion for new customers who come to the site. As soon as you land on the site it's going to say something like enter your email to get $10 off your first purchase. So usually the best strategy is, instead of just giving them that for an email, if you pair that with them sharing it out on social media you're still able to capture their email address and their data but you're also getting that incremental share pre-purchase. So if you're going to do a promotion, just make sure that it's one that matches what you're doing on the email marketing side to grow your list, and if you want to amplify that with social then you can do that pre-purchase. But a strategy that we've seen work even better than that is tying it into a contest or a giveaway. So if you want to do something pre-purchase that drives referrals, the best thing to do is to run a contest. So an example would be someone comes to your site and you’re giving away a $100 gift card each month. So customers can enter the contest, so maybe they enter using Sign in with Facebook or they enter by sharing out something. Once they're entered, they're added to your email database. Now it's not like they're referring themselves but if they do refer, then if they share out the contest you can then say something like, 'Share out to get an additional entry into the contest.' And then that's going to drive more people back to the site, so it's going to help grow your email list. And that's really the way to view pre-purchase, is more of like a customer acquisition in the sense of capturing more emails or capturing more customer data for people who are coming to the site. And then you're going to have better success with increasing referrals post-purchase because that person's already placed their order and now they just want to talk about it with all their friends.

Kunle: Absolutely, that's ninja, and given the fact that you're building out your email database anyway. I have a question. You mentioned something earlier which was: when they share the contest you get their email address. What I thought a share is just the share. Do they need to log in and then share or? Because if you share on Facebook, I could share anything but the publishers or the owner of the contents I share don't know who I am. So how does that work from your site when you share a competition? How do you get their email address if they just share the competition on their Facebook?

Chad: Yeah, so initially whenever they share out, we ask customers to approve the Facebook app so that we can capture who they are. If they decide not to do that and then they share out then we'll ask for their email after they share out because that's the only way that we can let them know if they won the contest or not. So you either grab it pre-share or post share.

Kunle: Gotcha. Okay, okay. I love the gamification hack of it. How easy is this solution, how easy is it to execute with AddShoppers?

Chad: Everyone's going to say that it's super easy but it's really super easy. [laughs] There's basically, there's two JavaScript codes that you have to drop in your template. There is one that goes on the footer of all your pages and then there's one that goes on your checkout success page. And those two JavaScript codes power the entire platform and then each individual applications, so Social Login for example is one additional code that you put wherever you want those social login buttons to show. If you want to implement the sharing buttons, there is one code that you put where you want the sharing buttons to load. And essentially there's different codes for each app that you copy-paste in. So for most of our clients, after we agree on some of the strategies and things that they want to tackle, we can pull together an integration guide that just has the codes that they copy and paste in. And from there it's literally all copy-paste, and then any style changes and optimization and stuff like that is done directly from our system after those codes are place.

Kunle: Okay. So it's getting the codes in, putting them in your Google tag manager and then customizing further on. Cool, cool. Right. Okay so we've talked about referrals, and pretty much brand advocates. What about these, the one percent influencers? [laughs] How do you find them out and how do you build leverage off the back of these special 1%, well there might be more than 1%, but these influencers? What are you seeing and how do you identify and leverage influencers?

Chad: So the key to a good influencer is someone who drives business results for you as the brand. So you don't want someone who has a big following who isn't able to drive incremental sales for you. So the first step is just having some sort of tracking in place where you can see who the individuals are that are currently sharing out your brand and how they're sharing it out, and if they're actually driving sales for you. And then once you know who those people are, we have integrations with a couple companies: one of them is Klout, where it shows us who are the influencers of our influencers. So you can actually see, okay, from the people who are coming to our brand and they're engaging with it, are there any recurring themes with new sites or bloggers or celebrities that those people engage with and follow on Twitter or Facebook or whatever else it is? So once you know who the influencers are of those people, then you can sort of tap into that audience and help scale it up by going to those people direct.

Kunle: Okay, nice, nice, good stuff, so you have tight integration with Klout. Okay, all right, cool. So what's in your opinion is the least explored growth lever point you think e-tailers should be utilizing in 2016?

Chad: Yeah, mobile is the hottest topic right now. Just being able to take advantage of what's happening on mobile devices, and if you as a retailer can figure out how to get your conversion rates up on mobile then you can start really exploiting some new advertising options aside from just search engine marketing, and some of the other things that everyone is already doing and it's starting to get really expensive. So if I was a retailer, my main focus would be just focusing on mobile and making mobile work because that's really going to be the future going forward.

Kunle: okay, let's scratch the surface of it. How do you make a mobile... do you have like a checklist of how to make mobile work? I think I listened to a bit of a webinar you ran which was around done in a mobile, by the way, just prior to this call. So do you have a checklist retailers can quickly go through to prep themselves up, or their sales up for making sales off the back of mobile devices or mobile traffic?

Chad: Yeah, the biggest themes that you're going to hear with mobile are going to be, one, make your website, whether it's responsive or an app, make it really easy to use and really easy to buy from. So whether that's stripping out a lot of features and making it load faster and optimizing that total experience. And then the next part of that, if you think about companies like eBay and Amazon and PayPal and the ones that are having a lot of success right now with mobile, it's because they're storing credit card information. So I know traditionally retailers have really shied away from securing and saving customer's credit card information because of PCI compliance and things like that, but if you have a customer base that has a higher propensity for repeat purchases and things along those lines then you really do want to store and own that customer's checkout experience. If you don't, then you want to partner with someone like an Amazon or a PayPal because customers already have their information stored there. So once you have a fast site and it's really easy to checkout, the next piece of that is just optimizing the funnel on mobile because it's going to be different than the funnel on desktop. Whenever customers come to the site on desktop it's easier for them to browse around and explore things but on mobile your focus should really be identifying who's coming to your mobile site or your mobile app, and then giving your chance, the ability to remarket to that person whether it's through email or banner ads or some other channels. Because odds are they're not going to checkout within that first time going to your site. And it's not like they're going to bookmark your site on mobile or they're going to come back to it later. You really have to identify who those people are and capture their email address.

Kunle: What are your thoughts and scrolling and things like infinite pages and category pages? I'm seeing the trend in the Warby Parkers and the Made.com, May.com is a European brand. They are going for more... they don't to pagination, basically, so it's just fluid. What are your thoughts on that? Scroll.

Chad: Yeah I think so, if you think of mobile... I think I said this in the webinar but: taps, so people having to tap on things on their mobile device: that's essentially the new click. So if you looked at clicks on a desktop device and you are optimizing conversions on desktop you would always want to remove how many things people have to click on before they can actually place a purchase. So by getting rid of things like pagination and more taps that people have to do, you're reducing friction for that person to be able to checkout. So if you look at any popular app, so if you look at Pinterest and you look at Facebook, they don't have pagination, you don't scroll through your newsfeed and then have to do 'next page' to go to the next part of it. And when you're on Pinterest you don't have to scroll and then do pagination to get to the next thing, so you want to replicate the experience that people are used to on mobile and it's going to allow them to discover more of your catalog and more that you have to offer by getting rid of those things.

Kunle: That makes a lot of sense, good stuff. Okay finally, just to wrap this section up: conversion types. I came across this... cookies, email, account registrations, sales, and advocates. Could you shed some more light on secondary/primary conversion types in e-commerce e-tailers listening to this show should be aware of, please?

Chad: Yeah, so traditionally and this was totally fine until about probably three or four years ago. But retailers would track conversions as someone placing a purchase, so all the advertising that you did, pay-per-click, SEO, things like that, you would be able to say someone came from this ad, they came to the site, and then they placed an order. And that was fine but if you're measuring that way now you're going to be missing out on a lot of marketing opportunities and a lot of chance to grow. So what we suggest for clients to do is have some sort of conversion events for secondary conversion. So a secondary conversion... let's just assume that we want to track email sign-ups... so if we can do a media buy on Facebook and we're able to say that for each email it's worth at least a $1.50 or whatever that number's actually worth to your brand. Then it's easier to start running campaigns on things that sit higher up in the funnel like content marketing and media buys across different networks and things like that. But really focusing on what those secondary conversions are worth, whether it's that email, or being able to drop a cookie on someone who shows a certain amount of intent, or getting a customer to create an account with your brand. Whatever those conversions are, I know those conversions directly don't make you more money, but indirectly how much are those worth? So if you said, 'If we got 100 new email subscribers over the next three months, we know at least two of those people are going to convert and it's going to be worth at least $230, then out of all those emails we know that each one is worth at least two dollars. So by looking at some of those different conversion types and being able to assign those of value; you're not going to get it right the first or probably even the second time, but as you hone in on what those conversion values are worth then you're going to be able to do additional creative marketing outside of just pay-per-click ads and PLA's and things like that.

Kunle: Yeah, I had an Aha! moment when I came across that slide on your webinar which you put, you assigned a value to each conversion type and the transition there was cookies: was a few cents; email: maybe a dollar or two; account registration a few more dollars; and in your side of the funnel was an advocate but I think the sale should come in and then advocate which was worth, you know tens of dollars. Which just makes sense, everything stitches together, that transition and that integration. Okay, I just have one more question going back to mobile devices and it has to do with... you know you talked about finding out who comes on your mobile site... do you need another social layer to shed some more light on that story and how would you do it?

Chad: Yeah, so you're referencing if someone comes from like Instagram or Facebook and then lands on the site, how do you know who those people are?

Kunle: Yes and no. You know you talked about the pretty much speed check of funnels and trying to understand the visitors on mobile to further optimize mobile as a platform. I was wondering how do you know who comes to mobile websites? Apart from analytics that gives you more of the quantitative perspective. But do you need to go qualitative and go on cohorts to better understand the kind of shoppers or the kind of customers who are coming to your mobile site as compared to your desktop site?

Chad: Yeah, so any way that you can segment out the traffic, so if you're just looking at Google analytics you can always segment out that way. But there's actually some up-and-coming companies who are setting up retail co-ops of data. So if you're a retailer and you have obviously your customer base, and you know who your customers are, what they can do is take that customer's cookie or who that customer's computer is and tie that back to an email address so that whenever that customer is on another retailer's website they can pass data about that customer back and forth. So that you can treat customers differently based off of not only what they've done on your site and where they came from, but what else they've done across other people who are part of that data co-op. So I think there's obviously a lot of people who are still trying to figure out how to get more insights into who is coming to the different devices and what those people look like. I know one of our clients said that with some of the analytics that we provide in, there's a lot more out there, but it's sort of like running the store with the lights off: you can count how many people you see and you can kind of see what people are doing, but until you're able to really turn the lights on and see what people are picking up and how they're reacting to things and what they're really showing intent towards, it's kind of hard to optimize that shopping experience because it's like running a store with the lights off. So it's a great question and I think we're going to see a lot more that going into this year, next year especially, because that's what's going to power the personalization piece. But yeah, it's a problem that has to be solved.

Kunle: It's a great thing you mentioned intent because I was actually going to ask you a question, another follow-up question, i.e. I came across an article today, I think it was from Adweek and it had to do with Google claiming that basically Google says they want search intent... well, let me re-edit... Google says search intent matters more for marketers than user identity. What's your take on that statement? I thought it was a piece of PR because you know Facebook owns user identity and Google tried with GooglePlus and they're coming in here to say it's more or less search intent. What's your take on that statement?

Chad: Yeah, I think it's definitely a broad statement and they have a lot to win if they're right but I think that customer identity in and of itself is just going to allow you identify who the person is, but customer understanding and once you know, okay, here's the identity of that person, what do we know about that person in the past? So for example, if they've ordered from other brands or if they've engaged with other brands in certain ways, people who look like that are more likely to engage with our brand in a certain way. Because the reality is, if I look at my 10 closest friends we probably all shop at the same place and we probably all eat at some of the same places. It's not 100% accurate but it's a really good signal that I'm most likely going to go to some of these other places or buy certain things that some of my other friends have bought. So search intent is good because it lets you know that someone is looking for something but it doesn't tell you ahead of time what that person is going to be searching for. And once you know who the customer is and you know other things that they've purchased and other things that they've looked at and liked in the past, then you can start to get predictive about what that person is going to do next. So Google does a really good job of that person already knowing what they want, searching for it, and then finding it. What they don't do a good job of is predicting what someone is going to like next, like what's the next trend or what's this person most likely going to do, and being able to predict those things.

Kunle: Yeah, it's quite fragmented at the minute. Let's see what the future has to offer, because Facebook has a lot of your identity and with that, when you aggregates that it understands, it has a social map and then it creates look-alike audiences as you alluded to earlier. Or Google, if you have an Android device has location data but it doesn't really know too much about you, give or take. Yeah so we'll leave that for another conversation and that could be for another show. Okay, it's been fantastic and now's the time for our lightning round: quick questions and quick answers. So I'm going to start now with... how do you hire people?

Chad: Yeah, so our best hires always come from other people who we've already worked with but in general the number one trait that we look for is the general person who wants to learn the most. So the general guy who just wants to learn as much as possible. Because if we take an expert who's already done something, they're going to come in with a preconceived notion of how things need to be done. But we would rather have people who have been good at other things in the past and they're willing to learn and try new things whenever they come onboard.

Kunle: Gotcha. Flexibility. What are your three most indispensable tools for managing AddShoppers as a founder?

Chad: Yeah, obviously QuickBooks is a good one from a financial standpoint. [laughs] But aside from that we also use Salesforce to manage our entire sales process and we used Slack for all of our internal communication.

Kunle: That's some really good tools. Okay, what has been your best mistake to date? Or a setback that has given you the biggest feedback?

Chad: I would say it was probably a mistake more than anything, but some of the things that we talked about around personalization and being able to pull in a lot of that customer data was actually a mistake that we found in our code. So we had inside of our JavaScript we realized that we were able to pull things that we had stored in our database in real-time. So initially it was, 'Hey, why is this accessible on the front end?' It was still all secure and served through SSL and things like that but we found it there and then we realized we can run triggers based off of all the data that we have stored and access that data pipe from, like the influencer CRM that we have, to things on the frontend. So it was pretty awesome because it had us at the early stages of that one-to-one targeting that we've been talking about.

Kunle: Fantastic, okay. What one piece the advice can you give midtier retailers keen on doubling, 2Xing or even 3Xing their e-commerce ventures?

Chad: Make sure all your newest initiatives are focused on mobile. Like I said before, if you can figure out mobile then you're going to have a leg up on anyone else out there. I think desktop is pretty well established, everyone knows what to expect and everyone's site kind of looks like Amazon now. But there isn't one mobile template that you can go after, so you really need to focus on it and get in front of that.

Kunle: Who do you think is doing it really well, from an e-tailer standpoint?

Chad: I don't think Amazon's doing it well. I mean you can go on there and you can search and it's easy to check out and things like that but it's not really a delightful experience, you're never surprised by it. I think the people who are doing it well aren't traditional e-commerce companies right now. So it's going to be people like Pinterest and Uber and Postmates and people who are encapsulating all the power of a mobile device to make people's lives easier. But I don't know, I haven't really seen one that wowed me on a mobile device yet.

Kunle: And they're all from an app perspective really when you think about it. Okay if you could choose one single book or resource that has made the highest impact on how you're building your business and growth, which would it be?

Chad: Yeah so we're new to the whole SaaS game, we didn't really build out a sales team until about 12 or 18 months ago. So the best resource that we found is a blog called SaaStr by Jason Lemkin. Just because we're totally new to e-commerce, totally new to building out an enterprise sales team. We know we have a great product and we want to make our clients happy but understanding how to sell a SaaS solution is new to us, so it's been a really good resource.

Kunle: Good stuff, I shall link to it from the show notes. Finally could you let our audience know how best to find and reach out to you?

Chad: Yeah, my email is Chad (at) AddShoppers.com. You can also find me on Twitter, it's just @ChadLedford and just search for me on LinkedIn if you want to find me there.

Kunle: Fantastic. I'll link to all your profiles on the show notes. Chad, first of all, thank you for your time, for taking out your time here. It's been an absolute, absolute pleasure speaking to you about e-commerce, your first e-commerce venture, and all the good stuff you're doing out at AddShoppers. Thank you for making it on 2X eCommerce!

Chad: Awesome, yeah, thank you for the opportunity, I appreciate it.

Kunle: Fantastic. So guys, thank you for sticking to the very end of the show and hope you've found Chad's story about 3etailer and then AddShoppers, as well as all the referral marketing tips and mobile tips he gave us inspiring. To download the show notes, just head over 2XeCommerce.com in about a week from now and for updates and how to help grow your store be sure to sign up to our email list on 2XeCommerce. Until the next show, do have a fantastic one. Bye.

[End clip] Thanks for listening to this episode of 2X eCommerce. To help you get more actionable insights and eCommerce growth hacks that will help you 2X your online retail business, hop over to 2xeCommerce.com

It’s a blog dedicated to eCommerce and multichannel marketing run by the show’s host, Kunle Campbell. 2XeCommerce.com is packed full of articles and guides to help increase traffic to your store, increase repeat purchases and average order value.

Thanks for listening. Visit 2XeCommerce.com

About the host:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

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