Prepare for Black Friday with our 30-point checklist

DTC Lessons: A data deep dive with Triple Whale

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 Alexa Kilroy, Head of Brand at Triple Whale. Triple Whale is a data analytics platform that pulls all your eCommerce data into one easy-to-use dashboard.


Take it away Alexa...

Interview with Alexa Kilroy - Head of Brand at Triple Whale

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

My title is Head of Brand, but it means a lot of things. I work cross-functionally across the business on a variety of awesome projects: running our tech partnerships program, directing PR & comms, developing large content projects like case studies and market data reports...every week is different!

What are the biggest problems facing the DTC world right now?

Frankly, there have been a lot of impactful changes, ranging from the tech shifts to the goings-on of the world in general. Most notably, Apple’s iOS14.5 privacy changes launched in 2021 massively impacted brands’ ability to run digital marketing efficiently and effectively. There are estimated to be over 1 billion iPhone users worldwide - not to mention Mac users - all of which were prompted to “opt-out” of detailed tracking on their devices, making it difficult for advertisers to target their ideal customer profile via digital advertising.

Gartner has reported that in 2021, 85% of Apple users across devices opted-out of tracking, which has not only impacted targeting, but also gathering attribution data from customers who have converted to purchase. That’s why a customer data and attribution solution like Triple Whale is so critical. We currently have over 6,000 clients, many of which hit stagnation before having a proper data solution – and now they’re scaling once again!

And of course, I’d be remiss not to mention that global economic changes have shifted consumer behavior. 2022 has been a trying year for many DTC businesses. In addition to the aforementioned data loss, we are seeing across Triple Whale brands that customers are engaging in longer sales cycles - requiring more touchpoints before conversion, thus increasing brands’ customer acquisition costs. While correlation does not always mean causation, the data suggests that consumers are more thoroughly evaluating their potential purchases before transacting. This is especially true for higher-ticket items ($100+), luxury items (ex: snazzy watches), and non-essential items (ex: trendy electronics). The impulse buy is a thing of the past. 

What 3 things should DTC brands be doing to retain their active customer base?

(1) Personalization, personalization, personalization! Consumers respond very well to customized email & SMS flows, post-checkout experiences, and dynamic product suggestions.

(2) Invest in impeccable customer service experiences. Whether we like to admit it or not, the massive direct to consumer companies like Amazon and DoorDash have really changed the game of customer experience. Amazon is well known for making returns seamless, offering lightning-fast delivery times, and happily refunding disgruntled customers. DoorDash is similar - if the food you ordered is not to your liking, you’re very likely to receive a partial or full refund, and this makes consumers feel comfortable returning to the brand again and again. Customers expect same-day response times to support tickets, interaction with a real human when they have issues that cannot be quickly resolved, and a resolution that truly feels like a solution rather than a compromise. 

(3) Build a community around your brand. Whether it’s an active TikTok presence, a Facebook group, or in-person popup events, the brands that are performing best amidst the storms of 2021 and 2022 are not only building customer advocates – they’re bringing them together. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out Obvi’s customer Facebook group of over 58,000 members. They’re a DTC women’s wellness brand, with one of the stickiest customer bases I’ve ever seen. 

Your whole business is centered around ecommerce data & analytics. What industry knowledge or tips and tricks can you share that DTC brands should take advantage of?

  • Brands are drastically increasing both their TikTok adspend & organic posting. While we may not know the future of TikTok’s presence in the US, it’s clear that it is a massive scaling opportunity for DTC brands, especially those whose products well serve Gen-Z and Millennials. 
  • Brands with strong email & SMS marketing are converting customers faster. With less consumers converting directly from advertisements and the efficacy of on-platform retargeting at an all-time low, brands leveraging targeted email & SMS marketing to close the sale are winning. 
  • Data is everything. Particularly during the Black Friday to Holiday season, brands are so focused on acquiring customers that they forget to use all that data come the following year! While consumers are making their purchases in December, go heads-down and plan for the upcoming new year to determine how you’ll re-engage the customers you met and converted during the holiday season!

What are the top 3 brands you’ve seen executing these strategies?

(1) Doe Lashes: Doe has profitably scaled their TikTok adspend over 2,009% since launching in 2021. Doe offers a variety of high-quality beauty products that cater well to Gen-Z and Millenials. They shifted a lot of their budget away from Google and Facebook into TikTok after seeing better results on TikTok in Triple Whale. 

(2) Portland Leather Goods: Portland Leather Goods leveraged customer data via Triple Whale to optimize their advertising campaigns and personalize their email & SMS flows. In doing so, they saw over a 263% increase in sales for a product of theirs that was a midtier runner, scaling it to their best-selling product of 2022. They also dug into their data to identify the efficacy of their influencer marketing program, optimizing for top-performers and investing in those with higher returns. Portland Leather is now expected to generate an additional $5 Million in revenue by the end of 2022 after making these optimizations.

(3) Obvi: After reviewing their 2021 data, Obvi has invested significantly in optimization - including add to cart upsells during the checkout experience, post purchase upsells, and further development of their community efforts. After refreshing parts of the website, landing pages, and developing new creative assets, they’ve seen over a 67% increase in revenue this year and a 41% decrease in new customer acquisition cost. 

What are the common mistakes you see DTC brands make when trying to drive more revenue from their current customers?

A few notes here!

  • Because our brands feel like our babies, we’re prone to market products in the way that we perceive to be most powerful or effective - which isn’t always the way our consumers need products to be positioned. I encourage brands to frequently conduct customer interviews, look over reviews, and dig into comments on social platforms to see how customers are describing products and brand experiences. Implementing the voice and phrasing of your customer is a stellar way to increase brand advocacy and conversion rates for repurchasers. 
  • I also see a lot of brands pushing whatever products they want to sell the most to all of their past customers, rather than segmenting their customers based on their previous buying habits. This is why I stress personalization is so key! For example, if a customer historically has purchased apparel styles that offer a relaxed or flowy fit, targeting them with newly released “skinny jeans” likely won’t result in high conversion. Segmenting your customer base to offer them products they are most likely to purchase improves not only the customer experience, but saves brands time and money as well.
  • Finally, I encourage brands to think critically about sending offers or promotional emails/SMS at high-frequency. If you’re having a 15% off “flash sale” every day…does that really inspire urgency? Not so much. Your consumer knows you’ll probably run another promotion again tomorrow. When overused, these sales and promotions can cheapen the customer’s perception of a brand. Use these tools wisely!

What do today’s customers want, according to Triple Whale data?

  • Advertising copy & creative that clearly identifies the product that you’re selling, and why they should care/buy it.
  • Emails & SMS messages that provide value, and don’t junk up their inbox.
  • Excellent, fast customer service that makes them feel valued as a customer. 

Finally, what are your predictions for the coming months? What should DTC brands jump on to improve LTV?

First, pricing strategy & proper financial modeling is critical. Make sure all of your costs line up (CAC, COGS, etc.) in relation to your current customer LTV. This helps you understand how much of a lift you need to push for. I’d also stress that you can’t 100% rely on a particular LTV to balance out your customer acquisition costs - so make sure you aren’t digging yourself into a hole based on the hope of future revenue. 

That being said, if I was running a brand myself, my first move would be to make it easier for returning customers to make another purchase. For me, that means offering them a login page on my site with personalized product recommendations, sending them meaningful product recommendations via email/SMS, and offering customers who have already made one purchase an incentive to keep them coming back. Frictionless, effortless experiences are king. 

Additionally, the world is a bit weird right now. The best thing you can do is make your customer feel truly valued with every interaction you have. 

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

Some folks I like to follow on Twitter to keep me sharp:

  • @NickD2C: Killer growth strategist with 25+ years of experience. 
  • @BingHott: Growth advisor, advertising, and CRO expert. 
  • @SarahLevinger: Brilliant creative strategist. 
  • @HeyItsAlexP: Creator of No Best Practices, 10+ years in eComm, & beyond talented.  

I also recommend checking out the Triple Whale AdSpend podcast. We feature new industry experts in every episode released, and cover lots of great tactical tidbits for DTC businesses. 

Thanks Alexa! Where can we hear more from yourself & Triple Whale?

You can find out more about Triple Whale on at our website, and you can follow me on Twitter!

Try our tools

DTC Benchmark
tool

Discover how you stack up against the competition with our benchmarking tool.

Try our Benchmark tool

Repeat Revenue Checklist

Our checklist includes tactics to drive more revenue from existing customers.

Try our checklist

The DTC Repeat Revenue Guide

Top tactics used by DTC brands to increase reorders, subscription and retention.

See the guide

Join the world's fastest growing DTC brands

Start a 30-day free trial
Looking for tactics to drive more revenue from existing customers?
Try our checklist

Discover how you stack up against the competition

Try our DTC benchmark tool