How Personalization Improves Customer Experience with Albert Liu, Channel Director at Dynamic Yield
Quick Summary Here are the main points and transcription for our podcast episode with Albert Liu from Dynamic Yield.
About the Guest
Albert Liu is the Channel Director for Dynamic Yield, where he handles partnerships for North America. He’s a progressive-minded sales professional with a strong management background and has been in management positions varying from retail environments to the corporate level for over 15 years. Albert is also experienced in online marketing and product marketing, and helps to drive brand initiatives to move products.
About the Episode
In this episode, John and Albert focus their discussion on personalization and A/B testing, two of Dynamic Yield’s main tools within the software.
First off, they define what personalization means to different brands, and how it can be used at different points in a brand’s lifetime. Then, Albert explains where merchants could potentially see the most ROI when investing in personalization and A/B testing.
Albert gives examples of brands that have done a great job with customer retention, and John mentions how customer loyalty is evolving, especially in the lifestyle brand industry.
To round out the episode, the two go back and forth about how to get the most out of Dynamic Yield and how fantastic our Director of Client Services, Veronica Gelman, has been for our CRO program.
Mastercard acquiring Dynamic Yield (2:00)
ROI for eCommerce personalization (7:45)
Increasing customer retention and loyalty (11:45)
Getting the most out of your tech stack (16:00)
When to shift to personalization over paid ads (38:00)
If your eCommerce brand is established enough and creates a high enough revenue, consider looking into using Dynamic Yield to improve customer experience through personalization and A/B testing.
We’re going to see the focus shift to customer loyalty in the eCommerce space, especially paid loyalty programs.
There’s a large array of tools merchants can use to grow their eCommerce site, but if they’re not willing to put time and effort into it, they won’t see the ROI they hoped for.
Thanks to employees like Veronica Gelman and David Anzalone, Avex’s conversion rate optimization program (Growth X) helps merchants improve their conversions via tons of A/B testing and tools like Dynamic Yield, or other tools that may fit the brand even better.
Dynamic Yield (CRO Tool)
The Founder (McDonald's’s Film)
Five Four (Men’s Clothing Brand)
Klaviyo (Email Marketing Software)
Yotpo (Customer Reviews Software)
Gorgias (Customer Support Software)
REI Loyalty Program (Outdoor Products Brand)
Growth X (Avex CRO Program)
Mid-day Squares (Chocolate Brand)
Refersion (Affiliate Marketing Software)
Clubhouse (Voice Chat Application)
See how we launch & scale brands on Shopify Plus with a data-backed approach
John Surdakowski 00:00 Welcome to the Agency X Podcast. Today I'm joined by Albert, who is the Channel Director at Dynamic Yield. His background includes working at various digital agencies, SAAS and tech companies, holding various roles mostly centered around eCommerce currently works as I mentioned at Dynamic Yield, and they help brands quickly deliver and test personalized, optimized and synchronized digital customer interactions.
David Anzalone 00:28 This episode is sponsored by Gorgias. Gorgias is the number one eCommerce help desk that lets you manage and respond to messages from your site, social email, SMS, all in one platform they have built in automations to handle common queries like order tracking and save your team time and money. Get a free month by clicking the link in the description and elevate your customer experience today.
John Surdakowski 00:46 You're listening to the Agency X podcast. I'm your host, John Surdakowski, founder and CEO at Avex, a New York City based eCommerce agency for high growth b2c brands. As always, I'm joined by our eCommerce strategist David Anzalone. Our goal is to provide some insight into eCommerce, technology design and everything in between. Let us know what you think of today's episode and make sure to visit our website, avexdesigns.com. Today, we're going to discuss how and why eCommerce brands should leverage personalization and A/B testing to improve customer experience. So kind of to kick things off, I'm sure I didn't do justice with that intro. I'd love for you to tell us a little bit about yourself, what you're currently doing at DY, and then we'll get into some of the questions we have around personalization.
Albert Liu 01:35 For sure. Thanks for having me on, John. And it's great to kind of meet you, we met on clubhouse I think it was first time we had a chat. But yeah, I'm the Channel Director here at Dynamic Yield. What that is, is basically partnerships, so I lead all of the partnerships in North America, yourself included – you guys have become one of our best partners very, very quickly. And it's been great to see, so thank you for that. You know, Dynamic Yield, we have also been in the news recently. So if you haven't heard, we were recently acquired by MasterCard. So it's really exciting for us at this time. McDonald's has been a great partner and we love McDonald's, still, they will continue to be a client of ours, but I think MasterCard will be a better fit for us as an organization for future growth in long term plans, etc. So that's awesome.
John Surdakowski 02:30 Yeah, I was, I was always interested about McDonald's and that acquisition to begin with, MasterCard to me makes sense. It sounds okay, there’s financial, there's this. And then it was a McDonald's. But then once you explained it, or once I heard why, it made so much sense about personalizations and drive throughs in leveraging that technology. So it made so much sense. But I'm sure it's going to be a really great merger and acquisition with, with MasterCard looking forward to how that kind of excels things.
Albert Liu 03:04 Yeah, I mean, it's really funny because I was working at Quora when McDonald's acquired DY. And Charles, who was the previous partner manager, was a good friend of mine. He told me about it, and you know, the jokes. The jokes just come to mind, right? You just start thinking burger jokes and all kinds of stuff. And I gave it to a pretty good back then. So, you know, now we're looking forward to all the MasterCard jokes that people can throw at us. So, so far, it's been not as bad. So I guess that means acquisitions better. But you know, that story is like really interesting, because like, I tell it to people, and you know, a lot of people find it really cool. But some people find it kind of scary as well, because they're like, Oh my God, they're tracking this stuff about me or, you know, doing these things. And it's like, well, you know, we're not tracking you, like we don't know, it's you, John Surdakowski and your car. We just know you're a car XYZ, right.
John Surdakowski 04:03 But, and I mean, protract everywhere else.
Albert Liu 04:06 Yeah. Phone or…your phone.
John Surdakowski 04:08 Someone knows you're at McDonald's. Yes, somebody knows. But it makes me paranoid. Because I don't I look at, look, McDonald's is great. But I'm 40 years old. I should not be eating McDonald's regularly. But when my son wants french fries, and I have to go through the drive through, I'm grabbing a burger. I'm grabbing something. Yeah, for sure, it tastes good. So I'm gonna eat it. I just don't want anyone to know about it. So for sure, but I think let's–
Albert Liu 04:38 Oh, sorry. Go ahead.
John Surdakowski 04:42 I was gonna say DY knows I've been to–how many times I've been to McDonald's. I'm curious to see my profile on that.
Albert Liu 04:47 I'm curious to see mine to actually I was like, I didn't think about this until someone asked recently. It's like how I wonder how I do look up someone's purchasing history or what they're into but I mean, I think it's still a great story that like a, you know, a fast food chain like McDonald's can be that progressive thinking and leverage, you know, a technology like this to optimize their business, right?
John Surdakowski 05:14 Yeah, they've always been pretty innovative when it comes to, like either technology or just how they approach their business, especially if you've ever watched that movie. I think it's The Founder, I think it's called. Yeah, it's about the history of McDonald's, how it started about the guy who started it, and it's just interesting, because they, they're almost like a real estate company. That's what they kind of talk about in the movie is that they, they really built their business around being almost a real estate company, they're a brand and they sell burgers, but their business is real estate, because they own the land that they build McDonald's on, they lease it out. And you have to like lease it from to be a franchisee, you have to lease it from McDonald's. So most of their like revenue is from their actual physical real estate. It's pretty interesting. So they've always been a bit different. So after learning more about it, it did make sense of that acquisition. But looking forward to what, how it works for MasterCard as well.
Albert Liu 06:12 Yeah, and I think I mean, you know, it speaks to one of the topics I guess we wanted to talk about, which is like the past, the present, and future of personalization, right? So like, in the past, personalization was like, Welcome, John, right to like, a website or an email or something, right. And now it's like, it has various definitions, depending on who you ask, and what their opinion of personalization is, right? So could be product recommendations, right? It could be, you know, dynamic content. For us, we view all of those things as personalization, right? We look at like, all the interaction points that we can ingest, or look at, and use that as the basis to drive the experiences that you see, the content that you engage with, the products that you see, so on, so forth. And I think nowadays, like, you know, you've got a lot more sophisticated brands, like a lot of the, you know, top of Shopify Plus have matured a lot more. So they are using tools like ours to, you know, really drive that extra sort of retention or conversion. That, you know, when you get to a certain scale, right, like, you've really got to play the min max game, right, which is, how do you squeeze more out of like, the channels that you have? Because you can't keep expanding or growing? In certain areas? Right?
John Surdakowski 07:34 Yeah, no, of course, and specifically, personalization, and kind of starting with that, for these Commerce brands. You know, I think our audience would, would love to know how that actually helps increase conversions, like where do they see an ROI with personalization when it comes to on site on their eCommerce store?
Albert Liu 07:56 Yeah, I mean, we see this a lot. And I think it's a it's really a challenge for I think, that not the ecom people, but for the people signing the contracts, right? Because the ecom people, I think, can see the value in the ROI of, hey, if I were to increase conversion, right, by X percent, equals this much dollars, right. But when you hand that off to like your finance person, they don't have the same outlook, I think, or understanding of what this contract means, right? So for us, the way we always view it is like it. Personalization also depends on what your goals are, right? So if you're a brand trying to, you know, increase, like your return visitor conversion, right, then you have specific ideas or specific problems that you're trying to solve. And that's great. Because when you have a defined problem, or use case that you're trying to solve for, that's where you know, you're going to get specific ROI, right? If you don't, where you're just kind of like, hey, broadly, we have a conversion problem. Okay, great. Like, that's great that you acknowledge that, but like, what are the reasons? Or what are the contributing factors for that problem? And then what are your plans to solve them? Right? Because yeah, it's not as simple as you buy something like Dynamic Yield, you plug it in, and then your problems, you know, are solved like a magic black box. It does take some thought, and it does take some planning in terms of like, what resources you have, what you're capable of, and what you know, how complex you want it to be. Right? For some folks, it could be as simple as, hey, look, we just want our Facebook ad group people to see Facebook, similar content versus, you know, Tik Tok, right. And that could net you, you know, a positive gain. But if you wanted to do like, hey, our VIP loyalty members want to see something much more, you know, personalized or cater to them rather than a, you know, anonymous visitor, right? There's all it's like, there's infinite things that you could do. It's a matter of like, which The ones that are gonna impact you the most and get you the most bang for your buck in terms of buying a tool like this.
John Surdakowski 10:07 Yeah, yeah, and I'll even take it back even a little bit. And it's one of the things you mentioned is like, improving conversion rate, right. And if you have a conversion rate problem, that's usually bad UX or bad customer experience. And likely brands who are going opting in for Dynamic Yield are interested in it, they've probably solved a lot of those problems already, they probably did a UX audit, they're way past optimizing their store just for user experience and customer experience. And they push that as far as they can. Going with Dynamic Yield is going to really optimize that customer experience. And if that is a goal, like even putting conversion rate aside, I think an increase in conversion rate is going to be the byproduct of creating a much better customer experience. And that means a tailored, personalized experience when you go to the website. And that seems that holds true even in like a store, if you go into a store and they know who you are, and they greet you, they show you what you want, like, like even using leveraging that technology to eventually be in like a restaurant or something like that. Or that that could be a really great experience or going into a retail location. But on site, if you're able to see the products that you know, you're interested in and see the products that are tailored towards you either based off of who you are based off of your browsing history, etc, your affinity profile, much higher chance of a better customer experience, improved conversions, and just even brand loyalty, like long term like engaging that. And that was kind of the next question that I had. What can brands do now to optimize customer engagement and drive that long term loyalty? Right? So we have a great customer experience? It's personalized, you know, how can we keep that customer increase retention over time? And drive loyalty?
Albert Liu 12:04 Yeah, I mean, it's a it's a great question. I think, you know, the cop out answer is, it depends on your products, right? Or your brand, right. But we can take a couple of examples, and maybe, you know, elaborate on that, I would say like, people who have started to do it really well, in my opinion, are like skincare and haircare products brands. Because you imagine, you know, let's say, I don't know, five to 10 years ago, there wasn't that many options, right? Like you could buy, you know, certain number of shampoos, or conditioners, or whatever it might be. And nowadays, like with the rise of you know, things like Shopify and others, like, there are tons of brands out there, right, so you have almost an infinite number of choices today, right. And the reasons people buy I think now are different than they used to be. Right, it used to be either brand loyalty, or I just need the shampoo or whatever. But now you've got these factors that weren't available, I think, you know, even five years, 10 years ago, which is like sustainable, like, you know, ethically produced all of these other things that are kind of important to people today. And you know, you've got a lot of brands pushing those envelopes, like trying to build, you know, sustainable businesses, cleaner businesses, all these kinds of things. So understanding like, and a lot of those brands understand that and lean into that, right. And that's how you kind of, for them drive the loyalty and the long term engagement, right? Because you're putting out a product that one meets, like the customers quality standards, but also it's a good product, right? And so in that instance, you don't really have to do a whole lot other than, you know, continually nurture that relationship with them and not, you know, mess up your product line. Right. But then when you go to other things, like another example would be a friend of mine used to work at what was called Five Four, right, which is, like, amends the shipment, right, like, every month, they send you a box of clothes and all that stuff, right. And they had a specific problem as well, which is like a, at a certain month, subscriptions would drop off dramatically. And they saw this with all customers, right? Like, I think it was like between month eight and 10, eight and 10 they would see like a dramatic drop-off. And so the first part is like understanding, like, knowing that this is a problem, right? So then how do you fix it? And they actually did use personalization to it and that's how they kind of started to fix that drop off right? Because they realize what they weren't tracking what people liked in the boxes and disliked. So they added that where you could thumbs up thumbs down products, you know, as you get them and then that helps them now drive the ability to say okay, this person, Albert doesn't like these types of products. So let's change his box, right, so that in the long term, he gets more things that he likes Right. And so those are sort of like simple, easy examples, I guess, I know, it's not always that easy, because every econ brand is, you know, kind of unique in a lot of senses. And, and it's like, it's interesting, because I'm sure you see this too, when you work with partners, right, like Yotpo, Klaviyo, etc, like, the tools are great. But it depends on, you know, what the brand is trying to do, right? Or how much effort they put into it, right? It like Yotpo, you can see like, very different, like loyalty programs across the spectrum using the same tools. And I think, you know, part of that is one, like I said, the brands struggle a little bit because of like, the amount of technology they have to onboard today, the amount of technology they have to maintain. And then you know, also building new things, right? Because it's easy to like, kind of plug something in and let it run. But it's another thing to build something completely new on top of that.
John Surdakowski 16:03 Yeah, no, there's, there's a few great things you said there that I'd like to unpack a little bit. One is definitely that the tools are only as powerful as the person who's using them, or the team that's using them and what you end up doing with them. They're not there to solve all your problems, you know, Klaviyo, Yotpo, Gorgias, DY, all of these tools, you know, you have to be able to use them, and you have to be able to tailor them to your customers and to your business's needs. That's, you know, that's, that's great. Additionally, on top of that, like loyalty, when it comes to loyalty programs, one thing I see being more and more popular, is are paid loyalty programs. Because you could run like some points and just have a loyalty program, but there's no value there. And more and more brands like REI is doing a really good job with this, they have a paid like membership loyalty program where I think you have to pay like 20 bucks or something, but you end up making that back. It's like their Co Op program. I love that brand. I buy from them all the time. And becoming a member, you get into all these different things. And I think loyalty is changing, and we're gonna see a huge shift towards loyalty. So I agree with him there that that that can be a really powerful tool to your subscription example. That is a really great example for subscription man brands, because their primary business is monthly reoccurring revenue, right. That's how they're, you know, they're not selling individual products, or maybe they are selling individual products, but the bulk of it at 90% is probably subscriptions. So that makes sense for them to really optimize those and, and that was a great way to be able to personalize and test that. But looking at like a fashion brand, how does a fashion brand increase loyalty over time when it's not like a reoccurring product like a skincare brand or something. And I think that, you know, we have some brands that we worked with, you know, one of them is on DY, and they have these really massive product drops. And we were able to implement some functionality, they saw a drastic increase in they were already killing it with these product drops. And they saw a huge increase with some of these pop ups that we enabled it and they're seeing some really great results. And just being able to, you know, once you get to that point is to slightly optimize or get the edge. And it could have massive results. But and it's also going to provide a better customer experience, which leads to that long term loyalty. So like, it's just could be tweaking small little things. And even if it's for just like a product drop, or a one time thing, or a collaboration between two brands, or something that you could utilize as personalization tools and A/B testing tools to be able to just provide a much better customer experience that leads to that long term loyalty because you have to stay consistent. And I think that's what it's all about providing consistently great customer experience.
Albert Liu 19:02 Yeah, I mean, I think you I agree with your point that like loyalty is evolving, right? Because it used to just be get X percent off by, you know, certain dollar amount, get a coupon, this type of, you know, sort of stuff. What I'm seeing is like fashion brands, you know, a couple that I've worked with in my past, like, they are trying to find ways to derive value out of other non non-monetary things. So an example like would be in your example, like, let's say you have to be part of this club to get, you know, access to these exclusive drops, right. And they're, you're not really giving them anything like monetarily, but you're allowing them to feel special or to feel you know, like a VIP or you know, something different as opposed to somebody who just comes to the website buys. Right? And I think for each brand that's the that's the challenge right, especially in apparel, which is fashion and apparel. Which is super competitive? Like, you know, how can you create something that's different for your brand that other brands can't replicate? Right? Or if they replicate will have different results. Some ideas I've seen in the past that were pretty interesting to me were like, VIP sort of online shopping sessions, right for like the top tier, folks that fall into that group where you have like a specialist or stylist get on with you and your friends, they pull, you know, like a rack clothes and do that kind of thing. You see Amazon starting to adopt this, I think, in China, this has been very common for the past, like five years. Other things might be like, special access to designers or, you know, things that like allow the customer to give feedback on the clothes, right, that they normally would have to do through Yotpo review or email customer service, like this type of stuff, right? And I think, you know, you, you can see all the studies now that like, people use money as their sort of vote for brands, and when they do vote for your brand, like, they feel like they're entitled to giving you opinions or, you know, thoughts, feedback on your product on your brand, etc, etc. So, you know, how do you, how do you find a way to like, create that channel for them to do that? You know, obviously, social media is one way, but how do you make them feel like they have a direct access line to somebody at your brand that, you know, makes them feel like, Hey, I've, you know, I'm special, I'm a VIP of this brand I've contributed to it's like, you know, evolution or growth or product lines, etc.
John Surdakowski 21:39 Yeah, and there's a couple of things. When it comes to loyalty, I know that there's a platform coming out. That is going to be for Shopify, that helps brands do paid loyalty. It's interesting, I've seen it, and I'm excited about it. So that should probably be coming out really soon to help brands do more like paid loyalty programs are very different, it's actually can integrate with these other systems that are out there, it's very different from like, what Yotpo is doing or what, like, you know, some of the other loyalty programs are doing it's, it really takes it to the next level when it comes to like more like memberships. Two, I love the point you made about having brands be able to or having customers be able to contribute to what's going on the brand, the evolution of a brand. There's a skincare brand. I think it's Glossier, who, at some point invited or has like this VIP program, where customers are on like a Slack channel with members that glossier and they they're able to give feedback. So I think that's really interesting. And it's a really small way to be able to say, Hey, if you want to join this program, whether it's paid or whether it's free, whether you're invited to it, you become a VIP member, you could actually give us feedback, you all have a direct line of communication with the brand. That's brand loyalty to you. And then that's like, it's win win for both sides. Yeah. So there's, there's a lot of different ways. But you know, you can't start there, right? You kind of start somewhere with with personalization with loyalty with, you know, and then you scale to that. So I guess my next question is, is, you know, how can brands scale their personalization programs? You know, when it comes to where do they usually start with? Like, what's the baseline with starting with a platform like Dynamic Yield? You know, what brands are right for it? When they first started off? What do they need? And then like, where can they go from there? Or from like, a people in a process perspective?
Albert Liu 23:40 Yeah, I mean, it's a great question. It's something that we, you know, here at Dynamic Yield, we usually separate into two kind of buckets. One is like, are you a technology fit? The other one is, are you an organizational fit? Right, the technology fit is usually easy. It's like you're on Shopify, you know, you meet these sort of benchmarks or requirements, cool. You can use Dynamic Yield. But on the, you know, structure of the org side, like we look at this a little bit differently, where, you know, do you have an internal champion, right? Do you have somebody that's like, dedicated to this? Do you have like a dedicated designer, dedicated developer? Like what is what is it like your day to day look like Mr. or Mrs. eCommerce person, right? Because we want to make sure you're going to be successful, right? We don't want you to sign this contract on board, this technology, and then it sits on your shelf. And then a year later, Everyone's upset. Nothing happened. Right? Yeah. And so, you know, like, a good example, I think, is Veronica and myself, actually, because like both of us are in this space. Now. And we've done this for a number of years, we've got great experience, but like when we started, like, I, myself did not go to school for optimization or, you know, personalization. There's no such thing today, right. And I think what it takes generally is one person in your org that questions a lot of things. Like why do we do it this way, like Is this the best way we could do that? Right? And that's the person that you kind of need to start this because they're the one that's gonna say, Hey, we've got this tool now, like, I always wanted to see what would happen if blank, right? Or how would customers have responded if we did this differently. And now that you have the ability, this person will at least have the drive and determination to be like, Hey, we've got a new product drop coming, but I want to test you know, these two different things against each other. And I think that's where it starts, right? Like, it could be simple as content, like messaging, you know, how you're presenting things to your customers, right. And once people get familiar with that, and understand, like, hey, actually, with testing, we've learned a lot of things over the past like quarter, then they take those learnings, and then they, you know, implement new things, right. And that's like, the core sort of behavior that you kind of want to see. And from there, generally, those people will continue down that path, you know, assuming that they have the bandwidth, and the, you know, support of the organization to kind of build their own practice inside of that brand, right, and I think those are the ones that we generally see are most successful, or if they don't have all these things like, this is why Dynamic Yield works with solutions partners, like yourself, like, there are great people out there that can help you, you know, either run your practice or kick start your practice, you know, teach your people like as they're going, and really help you, you know, get started with, you know, a set of like, proven, you know, like campaigns, setups, etc. And then that gets you, you know, a lot quicker down your, you know, maturity curve than trying to just learn it and do it on your own. Right.
John Surdakowski 26:46 And, there's so much that can be done with the platform that, you know, you need someone kind of dedicated to it, and it should be at a certain stage in the way I kind of compare it to a little bit is like, SEO, right? SEO is a long game, and even much longer game, you know, there's things on DY that you could implement, like right off the bat and start to see your return on investment, but it's still a longer game of learning, testing. And, you know, giving it some time before that, that ROI is gonna come in with SEO is it's a really long term game, like you get for shorts, you have to start planning for it, and you have to have someone dedicated to it. And it shouldn't be, you know, same thing with customer experience, search engine optimization with personalization, it should almost be like, across your entire business, you know, on your site, in email, if you have retail locations, even in retail cushions, those, all of those things need to be important, and someone needs to be in charge of each aspect of it. So when we talk about personalization, and a B testing and DY, closely aligned it with our Growth X CRO program, and we kind of vet customers the same way, you know, we when we talk to merchants will disqualify them from that program. Because it's, it might be a waste of money, because you know, they're signing on for a quarter or a year, or whatever it may be. And they're not, they might not see results, where it right away, they might not have the resources internally, the people in place to be able to dedicate the time to it, and it's just going to be a waste of money. So sometimes we'll advise, hey, maybe we need to shift and just help with some UX things and some development, and let's grow into the program together. And when the time is, right, maybe it's six months or a year down the road, it makes sense to invest in our Growth X CRO program and Dynamic Yield, because that together as a much larger investment, to be able to grow into it, and then have different tiers within there, that they could then grow and expand upon and get, you know, start to optimize every inch of their website and beyond. And, you know, that's just gonna help them scale over the course of 12, 24, 36 months and beyond.
Albert Liu 28:57 Totally agree. I mean, you know, I, in my agency life as well, like, I had the same mentality as you, I think that's, you know, you want to do what's best for your customer, right? Because when you talk about long term engagement and loyalty, like doing the right thing for the customers, what's going to drive that, right. So the concept is not different, right? The setting maybe is different, but like, you know, it's always about like, what is the best thing? What is the right thing to do? Right? You know, Amazon is like, a funny kind of thing, because like, you talk about paid loyalty, you talk about how do you drive long term engagement, like they had done this, you know, long time ago, right, like, they're two things were fast, cheapest. And then best customer service. Like these are the three pillars that they hung their hat on, and they said if we did this, like, we'll never lose customers, essentially. And yeah, you know, everyone has a story where Amazon gave them something for free, where they're just like, just don't send it back and you're just like, this is insane, right?
John Surdakowski 30:00 Yeah, they do that all the time. And the thing is they've with a business like that, you have to make sacrifices, if those are going to be your priorities, if you want it cheapest, fastest, and with the best customer experience, where are they sacrificing things while they're sacrificing their employees, because they don't have, you know, a new with their lower level or a lot of issues. And sellers, you know, and even other brands, like look at some brands that they've just gone in and said, Oh, this product category looks good, let's just do something exactly the same and call it Amazon Basics. And then they basically undercut them. So, you know, they've made sacrifices, but from the beginning, they prioritize customer experience being number one, and being faster and cheaper than everyone else. So they've carved out a place using those three things to be like, well, sellers have no options, you know, and we're so big that we have so many jobs open that, you know, people are going to work here and people are going to sell through our business. So that's gonna take a backseat.
Albert Liu 31:05 They had the leverage, right. And that's, that's how they, yeah, and operate their business. And I, but I think, you know, you can still use those concepts, right, and apply it to your brand, right? As long as you do it intelligently meaning, you know, like, you may not be able to compete in those exact same things, but like, what are you strong in? What can you compete in? Right? What are those things that you can lean into that drive, you know, a unique value for your brand versus another right, and I think there's a lot more people that are getting more creative with this. And honestly, like, oftentimes, you don't have to reinvent the wheel, like, you could just go sign up for other people's loyalties. And see, like, what they're offering and what they're giving you and then figure out which ones work for you. And at least piece that together to start with. Right? A/B testing, personalization, same thing, right? Like, you can go look at some of the other sites, like a lot of people are getting much better at this today, leveraging like the use of like quizzes, you know, like, hey, like, tell me about you like, what are the things you're looking for, and then we'll, you know, give you a product that's either custom designed for you or, you know, we recommend for you, right, based on the options that you choose. So, you know, trying to find out like more about your customer. And then what is important to them, I think is usually like the first step.
John Surdakowski 32:25 Yeah, that that is really important. And I also don't want to miss on like, look, to have loyal customers to, you know, yeah, one, you have to have a great product, you have to have a great community, like that's extremely important, something that I think is going to be more and more important in the future is developing a community. The more–you can't just do a product drop and have a limited run and have millions of people buy your product until you have a community. So you know, that comes through content that comes through social media that comes through just providing great customer service to you. And like just building that loyal following. So that when you do have that loyalty program, and when you do start collecting data, you'll be able to collect as much as possible, and you'll be able to actually have people sign up for it. So I think it's important, like kind of just especially for the younger brands who are starting, who are just getting some traction, focusing on that community. One brand that does it really well is Midday Squares, they make those chocolate bars and healthier chocolate bars. They're delicious. The packaging is great. But like the founders are really great at creating content and community and like looping people in and just like, it just, it feels different. You know, it's like one of those brands that like they got it right when it comes to building community. So if they dropped some sort of loyalty program, or their subscriptions, or whatever they're doing around customer loyalty, I think that they'll see a bigger impact because they started with building that community first, I think that's really important to for that long term growth.
Albert Liu 34:01 Yeah, for sure. And I think another just a throw another technology tool, like I was speaking to Refersion this week, and you know, we were exploring, how would we work with Refersion? And, you know, like, influencers affiliates, these are things that most businesses also use today, right? Like, to some extent, and optimization of that is something that I don't know, if a lot of people are doing right, it's become kind of like a, hey, you sign up, you're an affiliate cool, here's your link, go sell stuff. And we give you some money. Yeah, right. The thing that we uncovered was like, Hey, we Dynamic Yield could actually personalize for a lot of like, some of the, you know, maybe not all of your influencers, but some of the more key ones, right, like your top performing ones are the ones that are most closely aligned with your brand. They come to the site, you can actually create one landing page and just personalize that landing page based on the URL they come in, rather than having to build individually pages for each, you know, each affiliate or each influencer, right? Obviously, if you're talking to like a Kylie Jenner or someone like that, you probably want to build them a custom page. But, you know, there's a lot of folks that are gonna drive you a lot of business that most people may not even know or have heard of, but have you know huge followings or, you know, influential capabilities to drive your businesses, right. And those folks, you still want to give them a little bit of a personalized feeling of like, hey, you know, I came in via this person, I want to see that person's like Instagram or picture or whatever it is, I clicked on. And that helps me show you know, her products or his products that he recommends, etc, etc. So, little tricks like this, like, can net you, you know, huge gains, right? Like, it just really depends on like, where your business model, you know, where your channels are driving, and like, which one is your best performing, how's your businesses run, etc, etc. I think the ideas and the possibilities definitely are endless with a tool like ours, because you could, you know, test everything on the site, essentially. But you really want to hone in on what are the things that are gonna be impactful and teach you something, right, like, not every A/B test is going to be a good one. But hopefully, you structured it in a way that you learn something when you finish that test.
John Surdakowski 36:21 Yeah, that's important. And that's also especially about A/B testing and learning things and realizing that not everyone is going to be a success. And it does take some time, that it's not an overnight thing. And that's something that we've had to, you know, there's a learning, like learning session that we have to have with our clients that we speak to about it, and it, but once they start to really understand, and they do a demo with DY, and we'd give them a demo of our program and how it's involved. And they realize, like, wow, this is very different. And this is that next level. So you know, of course, we have the merchants who were already doing it, maybe with another platform, or they're, you know, they're aware of it, they have someone who has been talking about personalization in A/B testing. And then there's the other merchants who are like, it's that missing piece for them, where the–it's gonna take them to the next level where that's, that's the next step is starting to get there. And, you know, those are the types of brands that I feel are growing. So when it comes to eCommerce brands, what kind of brands should be looking into it like ones that point where brands should start to be looking? Of course, it's not. I'm a DTC brand I just launched, you know, six months ago, and I haven't broke a million bucks for the year or I'm struggling to just get it off the ground, obviously, they're not going to invest in this level of personalization. Now, sure, when is the right time to start looking at DY and start exploring advanced A/B testing, personalization, etc?
Albert Liu 37:54 Yeah, I think my opinion would be when, you know, when your paid efforts start to hit a wall, where, you know, you're, you're, you can't squeeze more row ads, or you can't squeeze more, you know, LTV, whatever it is your metrics are based on when you start to have struggles there, I think that's a good time to start, rather than dumping more money into that channel, think about now, how do I personalize? How do I retain? What are the things that I can do to you know, stay, you know, at that budget, but increase the conversion or the revenue attributed to that, alright, because oftentimes, you know, look, most brands, when you get first get started, you got to get traffic, right? Like, that's what, that's how you survive, that's how you grow. And most of the times, that's paid advertisements of some form, right, whether that's pay per click, or, you know, Instagram, TikTok, whatever that might be. And that's all great, because you need that you need to grow your business, you need to get money, all these things, but once that, you know, sort of hits a saturation point or diminishing returns, that's when it's time to start looking at something else. Because, you know, you could you squeeze, like, a percentage point more, probably, but you know, how much effort is that gonna take, right? Like, gotta shoot all new creative? Got it, you know, do all these things, right? Like, when it gets to that point where you're having these conversations, I feel like it's a good time to start thinking about, you know, how do we know we're big enough now that like, we've got a sizable amount of, you know, revenue traffic coming? How do we know, you know, leverage that and do better with each app that we have then rather than try to find more at bats?
John Surdakowski 39:31 Yeah, 100%, or when Google Facebook and Apple released an update, or they have some, and it ruins your business. So there could be that. But also, like, you know, we've seen, you know, a lot of brands just dump 5, 10, 20, $100,000 a month towards ads. And it's just like that. dumping, dumping them dumping tons of money in their hundreds of 1000s, millions of dollars. And then, you know, when we're talking about, well, look, you could see a bigger ROI doing this. Sometimes you're right, like the money people look at and go, Well, I could see if I spend $10,000 a month, I'm gonna make this amount of money, right. But when I see conversion optimization, A/B testing investing in these platforms, it's not that one to one comparison, it's like exactly, comparing apples and bowling balls, like it's not the same. But the return on investment could be much greater. And you're gaining loyal customers who you can then you know, upsell, over time, increase retention, it's different, and I and it just needs to be part of the stack, like you said, you need to run your TikTok ads, and your Facebook ads, and whatever you can, and SEO, that still needs to be there. This is that next piece, where you might have hit a wall there, or things change, or you're looking to get the edge you want to grow your business. It's kind of like this is what has to happen now. But I don't think I think there's ways that you know, smaller brands can do A/B testing at the gauges smart. There's other tools out there that are free to do some simple A/B tests, as well, as you know, using even using just Klaviyo for segmentation and personalization, or using some onsite tools. I think DY is that that big next step, and we've seen it with our merchants, and we know when to recommend it and when not to when it's not the perfect fit. But it's its it's really when you know, brands are looking to make that, that that jump. And so far, we've seen really great results with it in such a short time too, because we only started our CRO program, q2 of like last year. And, you know, the partnership has been great so far. And our merchants are seeing, you know, tremendous results. So, yeah, really, that we started to focus on that.
Albert Liu 41:57 You know, thank you ties back to you guys. Yeah, to tie back to Veronica, I mean, she, you know, she has become really great at this, right. Like when her and I worked together. She was a PM, you know, but she had she has that mentality of like, why do we do it this way? Like, you know, why can't we do this better? Why can't we, you know, approach this? Yeah. Right. And I think that's the mindset.
John Surdakowski 42:20 Yeah, definitely that that is the mindset. She's our Director of Client Services. And she kind of created that we had our Growth X CRO program before she started, but it wasn't quite there. It was like we didn't, it was like, it was our managed services with some strategy built into it, but it wasn't, wasn't fully baked. And then she worked with our seniors who are leech solutions. strategist, and are the strategist and they together kind of like she, like, brought a lot of value really made it her own. And now it is what it is. And it's completely different from a lot of the other programs that we've seen out there. And it's hyper focused. And yeah, it's a different mindset, different mindset. So I'm, I'm excited about it.
Albert Liu 43:04 Yeah. And I think, you know, you guys are doing great things. I still recall our Clubhouse chat, and it was about, you know, when I was at the agency, how do you structure a program that, you know, is more customer friendly? Right, like, yes. You know, agencies today is it's, it's like, give me some money, and we'll do some things, and then maybe, maybe stuff will be better after like, you know, maybe, maybe not. But I think, you know, I'm super happy to be working with you all, you guys have been doing great. And, you know, we think 2022 is gonna be even bigger and better for both of us. In excited man.
John Surdakowski 43:44 Yeah, same here. Same here. And thanks for coming in talking about this today, I think. I think our listeners will find a lot of value in especially in the personalization side and why to do it. So there's a ton of really great content that we're going to be putting out we're actually going to have Veronica, our director, Director of Client Services talk about CRO we're going to be doing more podcasts on CRO and you know, I'd love to have you on again now Albert to talk about some client successes in the future because I know that we got some that case studies that we're putting out there, and I'm excited to kind of show the world what we've been working on.
Albert Liu 44:21 I'm open anytime, John, you just let me know.
John Surdakowski 44:25 For sure. Thanks so much, Albert. I'll talk to you later. All right, have a good one.