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DTC Lessons: Technical masterclass with Vervaunt

Each week, we're chatting to an expert in the eCommerce space to share their wisdom on building a resilient DTC brand in 2022 and beyond. This week we're handing the mic to Liam Quinn, Technical Director at Vervaunt.

 

Take it away Liam...

Interview with Liam Quinn, Technical Director at Vervaunt

Let us know your role and what you do day to day.

I run the technical focused consulting & workshops, work on bigger site audits & tech comparison/selection and lead Vervaunt Labs - which is our innovation arm where we dabble in anything interesting!

It’s a tough year for eCommerce. Which area should DTC brands be focusing their time and efforts towards, and why?

Yeah it’s an interesting one, we’ve still seen some positive signs through the year for brands that have really engaging offerings or a broader strategy. Customer acquisition has obviously hit a wall so the retention piece is probably the common answer here, which it should be! Interesting loyalty schemes like membership propositions (rather than just accumulating points) I’m really liking as another stream of recurring revenue (Inveterate is my latest rec here). With a tech hat on though I think it's a good opportunity to put real effort into SEO to improve brand visibility organically over the medium-longer term.

At Vervaunt you help leading brands to grow and scale. Can you give us 2 success stories with DTC brands. 

Pangaia is probably a good and high profile one that we worked with from a few years ago, when they had an incredible product but maybe a site not ready to scale at the rate they were about to scale. We worked with them from a paid search & social perspective to get in front of all the right eyes - then advised around on product data structure, made UX recommendations to maximise their eco credentials & engaging colour range, and best expanding internationally. 

Fairfax & Favor is another brand we’ve been working with for a little while. Again they had an incredible product, and a really dedicated customer base, but not the online presence that best reflected their brand. We went through a UX audit, and put a lot of focus on user journey and iA across the site to increase organic visibility across a growing array of products and categories. Improving upsells & gifting - and they’ve just reported their most successful ever day of sales which was a really good milestone (although their team are definitely behind that success!)  

You specialize in internationalisation - what piece of advice would you give to DTC brands who want to improve their presence in new markets? 

This is quite a broad topic so maybe drop me an email for a better answer! But thankfully (finally) this has become more feasible with the latest released around Shopify Markets. Localising for key markets (based on GA / demand) with local currencies and onsite messaging, and not leaving things like shipping costs or upsells displayed in base currencies is a big one. Another big one is getting the initial GEO IP based popup right, to best handle international traffic especially if using multiple domains.

What are the biggest trends you’re seeing right now in DTC? Which of these should DTC brands jump on, and which should they avoid?

Two big trends that I’ve probably noticed most in the last 6 months is second hand / reselling - so brands incentivising product being sent back, and having a separate area reselling these used products. This seems to be everywhere at the minute, which is great from a circular ecommerce point of view - although not the most feasible one for most DTC brands to jump on. I really like shoppable video as another more recent trend, we're in the midst of implementing Videowise with a client and have a couple of other really nice case studies in that area.

If you could tell DTC brands to stop making one mistake, what would it be?

Stop letting your paying customers leave the site without getting any valuable constructive feedback from them. You can stop that immediately with Census.

Complete the sentence: DTC brands that survive and thrive in 2022 will ____.

... Live forever!

Who are 3 people in the eCommerce ecosystem you look up to and recommend everyone should follow?

Brad Redding - to keep on top of everything tracking & reporting, not sure there’s anyone better. 

Erwin Hoffman - I’m a big fan of his work around pagespeed and technical performance, lots of little details I’ve picked up reading his stuff. 

I better stick our founder Paul Rogers in here, annoyingly broad knowledge across eCommerce and has the answer to pretty much anything that I can think to ask. I hate the jingle but his podcast with James Gurd (who could also be on this list) is worth the listen.

Thanks Liam! Where can we hear more from yourself & Vervaunt?

You can find out more about Vervaunt via our website, and you can follow me on Linkedin.

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