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...
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!
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.
(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.
(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.
A few notes here!
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.
Some folks I like to follow on Twitter to keep me sharp:
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.