Future Proofing Wellness

Optimized Digital Experiences to Grow Loyalty and Retention

Sep 30, 2021 3:00 PM4:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

How can you deliver a personalized, tailored experience to the consumer while closing a transaction? Generating authentic content that is appealing to the consumer, ahead of the competition, but also sustainable with your brand’s needs seems unattainable — until now.

The pandemic gave consumers the push for online engagement — but how can your brand meet the product requirements for their long-term needs? All it takes is an active and intentional approach. Building a subscription program creates an opportunity for making lifetime customers. So, what are the steps you need to take to create a seamless omnichannel presence?

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Jordan Labelle, Vice President of Product at Bold Commerce, and Katherine Jones, Vice President of Platform Strategy at Myplanet, to discuss the important elements of consumer lifetime value in eCommerce retail. They discuss combining a digital and physical presence, the versatility of a subscription service, and the push for digital initiatives.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Jordan Labelle and Katherine Jones talk about how to partner with lifetime consumers by creating a subscription journey
  • Creating a seamless beginning-to-end shopping experience by enforcing a consumer requirement
  • The benefits of combining a digital and physical retail space
  • Katherine discusses the importance of a digitally personalized interactive experience
  • Realizing the lifetime value of connecting with a consumer in the digital space
  • Why should you experiment with subscription products?
  • Monetizing and investing in consumer convenience
  • How the pandemic shaped consumer views around digital presence
  • The importance of having a customizable product to meet consumer needs
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Event Partners

Bold Commerce

Bold Commerce is in the business of making checkout better, helping brands boost profitability by optimizing for more than just conversion. With the power of Bold Checkout, brands can deliver customer-specific checkout flows designed to increase conversion, grow AOV, and extend LTV. Built with a composable architecture, Bold Checkout fits in with any commerce stack, making it easy to overcome platform limitations. Leading omnichannel retailers like Vera Bradley, Harry Rosen, and Staples Canada trust their business with Bold Checkout.

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Guest Speakers

Jordan Labelle

Vice President of Product at Bold Commerce

Jordan Labelle is the Vice President of Product at Bold Commerce, a company centered around the consumer transaction experience. Jordan has extensive experience delivering a specialized user experience. Before joining Bold Commerce, he worked as a Market Analyst for Manitoba Hydro and as an Assistant Category Manager for The North West Company.

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Katherine Jones

VP, Platform Strategy at Myplanet

Katherine Jones is the Vice President of Platform Strategy at Myplanet, a software studio transforming the eCommerce retail space. Myplanet focuses on developing personalization strategies and creating an omnichannel experience. Katherine was the Director of the Development Studio for DAC Group before her journey with Myplanet.

Event Moderator

Jordan Labelle

Vice President of Product at Bold Commerce

Jordan Labelle is the Vice President of Product at Bold Commerce, a company centered around the consumer transaction experience. Jordan has extensive experience delivering a specialized user experience. Before joining Bold Commerce, he worked as a Market Analyst for Manitoba Hydro and as an Assistant Category Manager for The North West Company.

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Katherine Jones

VP, Platform Strategy at Myplanet

Katherine Jones is the Vice President of Platform Strategy at Myplanet, a software studio transforming the eCommerce retail space. Myplanet focuses on developing personalization strategies and creating an omnichannel experience. Katherine was the Director of the Development Studio for DAC Group before her journey with Myplanet.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

Schedule a free consultation call

Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Thursday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group of 1000s of brands who do exactly that we network and knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is, that's happening in the digital landscape. Today, I talk with 30 plus brands a week to stay on top of those just provide, you know, strategy, overall advisory type suggestions as to hey, these are things we're seeing going on across the network as a whole from the different brands that are in it. And, and when the same topics come up over and over again, and people are interested in we host an event like this. So thanks, everybody who's connected with me in the past, and you know, anybody that's on the line today, if you'd like a follow up conversation, always love those more than happy to network and narrow knowledge share across the digital landscape as a whole. across any topic, from Amazon, to direct to consumer to international expansion, or you know, always happy to have people at events, you can check out our events page on our website. Also, if you're in a tier one city, we're starting to kick off in person events, smaller format, in person dinners, we're not doing the big 300 person events, yet, we're just holding off a little bit on those, the smaller format dinners more than happy to have people here join a couple of housekeeping items. Before we get started, we're kicking this off at three to four minutes after the hour. And just you know, we're going to be wrapping this up and wrapping up the zoom meeting here with three to four minutes to go in the hour as well. So just know by, you know, 355 356 eastern time, if you have a four o'clock meeting, we're gonna give you plenty of time to get there and maybe grab a cup of coffee along the way. The last thing is, at any point in time you have questions, dropping in the chat, email them to me, or just, you know, come off, you will bounce around to different people that are on the line today. We'd love to get their input. But we're gonna bounce around a little bit, yeah, get some questions out there. But if you have questions as a whole, never hesitate to jump in, we want to get as many answers as possible. And with that, we're gonna go ahead and kick this off. Right. So if I kind of encapsulate, you know, 40% of conversations I have, right now it's around increasing lifetime value of a customer increasing site experience. It is all around, hey, iOS 14.5 updates. A what's gonna happen with with third party cookies? It is everything you know, from 14.5 to 15. with iOS a lot harder to get people in top of the funnel. So once you have them in there, right? What is it that helps keep them there? How do you maximize the value of the customer that's there, you spent enough time and effort to get them there. Now we're going to focus on and that's everything from payments to site experience to, you know, SMS or digital direct mail. But you know, this is a huge topic as a whole. And so we got some great friends, partners at the network over at Bold Commerce. We also have Katherine from Myplanet joining us today. So, you know, Jordan, if you want to jump in brief intro on yourself and Bold Commerce. That would be awesome. You know, in doing kick it over to Katherine. And then we can kind of kick off the conversation today. Sound good?

Jordan Labelle  3:27

Sounds Great. Thanks, Aaron. So I'm Jordan Labelle, VP of product here at Bold Commerce, what we do is we offer a checkout experience suite with the aim of helping brands like yourselves, take more control over the customer experience right through to the transaction. So not just through the storefront, but right right through that part where you're accepting payments. We do it through a few ways. We have our checkout product, our subscriptions product that our price rules product, all meant to really help you again, take control of experience for your customers. So I'm really excited to be here today with Katherine from Myplanet with all of you to hear about what kind of challenges you have in your businesses and just have a really good conversation about what's going on in the industry. What do you together? Okay. Awesome.

Katherine Jones  4:07

Thanks so much. My name is Katherine Jones. I'm the VP of platform strategy at Myplanet. Myplanet is a software studio, we work with primarily retail brands in you know, across the capabilities required for true digital transformation. Our best customer is, you know, working on their digital presence connecting that to their in store in facility presence. And so we work with brands to really define that customer journey, how they work with our customer over the long term and then build the design and technology strategies required to execute on that we work with great brands like like a Bold and and Jordan here as well as a number of other players in that headless best of breed world. So really excited to speak with you all today. And yeah, looking forward to the conversation.

Aaron Conant 5:00

Yeah, 100%. So again, you have any questions drop into the chat, you can email them to me, Aaron, aaron@bwgconnect.com, or you can just, you know, jump into the conversation as a whole. But if I kick it off Jordan, you know, when we talk about lifetime value of a customer, you know, we're talking, you know, not just the first transaction, but getting them to come back over and over and over again, you know, do you want to chat a little bit on how you guys take a look at, you know, lifetime value of the customer as a whole, you know, in in how you see it, you know, lengthening the relationship, but like future proofing the relationship as

Jordan Labelle  5:38

well. Absolutely, I think exactly what you said at the start, everyone's looking to make the most of the customers they already have available. And today, it's getting harder and harder to come by and new customers, or they're getting more costly to bring into your business. So it's all about what you can do about keeping them around longer. And so there's a whole bunch of different things you can go out, you can go at, you know, your eCommerce tech stack, you can do it through just your relationship you build with your customers. But what we're seeing and what you know, with the products that we're offering, are really Avenue into that is, there's a lot you can do around subscriptions that isn't always Top of Mind, like you might not have a product you traditionally think is a subscriptions product or replenishment product. But there's different ways you can bake things in like that to really keep people around. So whether it is like having them part of a membership program, giving them benefits by being a subscriber to your business, that are outside of just the products that you're offering them, whether it's customer service, tips and tricks, whether it's part of exclusive lists, etc. Lots of things you can do to really enrich that value of being a part of your brand, and being a customer of your brand. So it's not just about the products they're getting and the value they're getting from those, but it's also about the experience they're getting from interacting with your business. So there's tons of dive into there. But again, really seeing a lot of push for building up that relationship over time and trying to enrich it with more than just the products that you're offering.

Aaron Conant 7:01

Yeah, Katherin I'll kick it over to you your thoughts there as well. And then, you know, when you think about the health and wellness space in particular, right? How do you how do you see, you know, this pace, you know, changing over time?

Katherine Jones 7:14

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, when we work with clients, and health and wellness, whether we're talking about beauty and personal care, fitness, nutrition, really any aspect of of that category, you're naturally already joining your customer in a journey, oftentimes those purchases are so personal, they're so tied to, you know, oftentimes who we want to be in the future, whether that's a healthier version of ourselves, you know, a more organized version of ourselves a version of ourselves who you know, maintains ourselves a little better, you're, you're jumping in, in almost a predefined journey already. So there's such a great opportunity for brands to really step alongside their customer through the life of those transformations. And so it just lends itself so well, you know, through a mix of content UX, intercepting those key moments as a customer jumps from the beginning to the middle of the maturity of those journeys, through content and other experiences to develop a meaningful relationship, you know, whether that's being there when they need them, offering the right product at the right time, being a trusted advisor, there's just so many ways that brands today can can partner with our customers, you know, with platforms that allow for easily managing those transactions, with platforms that allow us to build and activate the data required to understand where our customer is, it's really it's, it's a great time to be investing in digital for, for this space.

Aaron Conant 8:56

I want to I want to tackle something, which is this site experience as a whole UX UI. But also, you know, when we think about subscription, when we think about Checkout, right, when we think about those over and over again, you know, that is that's at the end, but what does it look like leading up to there? And then I'll figure it out at Jordan for like the checkout experience as a whole. But what is how do you how do you increase that? How do you optimize the experience in the flow in the user, me, you're talking about the journey a little bit to the point of you get them at checkout? And then I want to pick Jordan's brain on what happens at checkout, what are the key things that he can do? And then I want to jump around to some different people, you know, that have dialed in and kind of pick their brain and how they look at, you know, the user experience and lifetime value of the customer and subscriptions and everything else?

Katherine Jones 9:49

Yeah, absolutely. Well, the first thing and I know Jordan, we didn't talk about it beforehand, but I hope you agree. The journey between your site and your experience and your checkout do need to be very close. fully connected. So that's the first thing I'm sure we both agree on that. But when we talk about these purchases, you know, whether they're for us or a child or a parent or a pet, they tend to be very personal. And so what we see customers looking for is, of course, you know that that best of breed UX, say that's easy to navigate catalog that's clearly structured and easy for a customer to find what they're looking for. But we also look to things like, what does the customer require to feel confident that the product or the service, or the regimen or the class or whatever it is, is going to meet their needs in the long term? What is the product information that's required? What are the you know, comparison points that a customer might make between your offering and someone else's, we see social proof and results are so important. So really investing in, you know, generating good content content that is authentic, that is comprehensive, and then ensuring that it is delivered, you know, across touchpoints, at the right time is, is so essential. And then of course, once we get that customer into cart, and over to checkout, I'll let Jordan pick it up. But hopefully you continue the journey.

Jordan Labelle  11:17

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's the most key part, I totally agree they have to be connected. If you do all this work upfront in your pre messaging to get them interested in your messaging through your site or content, your, whatever your funnel is to get them to the point of buying, you don't want to then lose it by sending them through a default generic Checkout, right, you've put all this time or investment into your brand, why you're the one to go on this journey with them, why you'll help them get that new version of themselves of their pet of whatever it is that they're after, and then drop it at the checkout with just a, you know, a default checkout really doesn't do your brand justice. And so there's definitely a lot of hesitation of doing too much in the checkout. And I'm totally on board with that, too. You don't want to get in the way of your customer buying if they're already at that point. But you want to figure out what the things are that are going to reinforce those most important messages? Is it the social proof that you need to just refine one more time at the end of the end of the road to make sure they feel good about making a purchase? Is it security? Are they are they feeling maybe a bit unsafe about finishing the payment for some reasons, you need to add more there is a part of your messaging, is it anything you need to that just adding a little bit more of that nice touch that continue your brand message all the way through to the transaction, then you continue off on to emails and post purchase and all the other things you have set up in your business. And that's really that what we're trying to accomplish is matching that experience all the way through. And even going so far as trying to differentiate the experience for pieces of your customer that you know, like returning customers first time buyers VIPs very loyal customers like it doesn't need to be the same experience for all of them. They might have different needs at that checkout. Checkout point, just like they do when they're going through your site if they're logged in, if they're not, etc. So that overall UX is completely agree so important and needs to be consistent across each of those touch points. You can't just abruptly change it all of a sudden, it might be too jarring for people or not communicate your brand message strongly enough. Awesome.

Aaron Conant 13:13

Love it. I'm gonna try to jump out to a few people just to have their thoughts on this. You know, Joe, I don't know if I can jump out to you. I just you know asked on mute, or Erin if you can jump in. That'd be Erin, that would be awesome. But Joe, I see you just unmuted. Now I'd love to hear your thoughts on, you know, the lifetime value of a customer, how are you looking at it, you know, the user experience on site? If you have it, the you know what happens at checkout. I'd love to hear your thoughts there. And others if you have questions just drop into the chat, we can get them answered.

Joe 13:44

Well, thanks for the invite. First of all great to be here and to be with everybody. Our business has been in transition a little bit. And we've been around for almost 30 years. So in the kind of scape that we've been in digitally you can imagine a lot of transitions, but we do more b2b work now and as a consultants where I do business development work with coaches, it tends to be a little bit more direct contact than then creating sales funnels and leading them through a cart process. But at the same time we have been in that space doing more b2c work and a lot of our coaches are obviously in that in that space. And so we try and help them along with that. You know, I just to be more direct with your question that excuse me, the lifetime value of a customer is incredible. Having been a business this long, I often have somebody who was once a client and now is a coach or a consultant and 10 or 15 years later, you know they're they're back asking for a different service that we offer now. And and that really just happens more times than not to matter of fact, we have a new concept for our franchises. That is a physical facility. It's it's a little bit more of a functional fitness realm and we open to flagships this year, and one of them being in the city that I currently reside, where we've had a presence for about 25 years moved our headquarters to San Diego about 10 years ago. And now just seeing that name back on Main Street, I just can't tell you how many people have come back and said, wow, you know, we want we want back in we'd love your brand. We love who you are. So I couldn't agree more with everything that you're saying. But you know, for us right now, what's more, in business development with coaches.

Aaron Conant 15:30

I love it from the standpoint of like, it's joy, this idea of lifetime value of a customer. It's like it was, you know, everybody had in the back of their mind and digital, even though it's been the mainstay of businesses in person businesses forever. Right. And I think the strategy behind there is, how do you maximize that experience that you have online, when you're not interacting personally with somebody you're trying to give them an experience? Right? You know, Katherine Jordan, I don't know if you have thoughts there as well, Joe, thanks for jumping in, we're gonna keep jumping around. But Katherine, join, I'd love to hear your thoughts there. And how do you how do you transition that, you know, from a UX UI standpoint, I don't know if there's an example or something like that four brands, you know, in this space? Or maybe it's, you know, you know, an actual product, you know, space as well.

Katherine Jones  16:20

Yeah, absolutely. I love that we, I often say the, you know, the 2010s in digital, at least where, you know, everyone is so hyper focused on, on acquisition. And, you know, the reason for that so often was because you could track it, and we used to work with brands who, you know, would spend so much money on, you know, that small portion of their overall sales that they could attribute to their ad spend to their SEO, when really the bulk of their business was being done in store. And you know, in those days, we didn't have the ability to track people who started the journey online, and then perhaps finished it in, in store in a facility. And so, you know, what we see now is brands are able to understand customer lifetime value as supported through digital. We see a real change in strategy a change to you know, as Jordan mentioned, a different experience for your, your most loyal your known customers. We see some brands investing in, in things like video concierge, concierge, and assisted selling, enabling the help desk with access to facilitate transactions to you know, pick up the customers cart and help them across the line with that transaction. Absolutely. It's been a wonderful change. A reformed performance marketing junkie here, so it's, yeah, it's been an exciting. Exciting change. For sure. Jordan. Oh,

Aaron Conant 17:48

boy. Yeah, Jordan. Yeah, you thought so? reform performance marketing joke?

Jordan Labelle 17:52

Do you think that's quotable? Yeah. You know, tweet that link? Yeah, I love this topic. I think this is this is really cool. And especially with what's been going on lately, like, I feel like Digital's had a big push, obviously, over the last many years, and I think some brands have gotten to the point of like, well, this digital push must mean that my business must become digital, like digital first or digital only to some points. And I actually think there's a huge benefit to really figuring out this, like dual track or multitrack way of doing business where you're gonna have in person, physical presences aren't going to go away, they're just going to change how we use them, and how people interact with them. But it's such an important part of your business, right? If businesses can definitely succeed digital only, or you're only interacting with the brand, an online presence or just through the web, by answers a stronger relationship, when you can go into a place you can see people you can get to know them, have them consult you. And the digital experience really reinforces that. So that's exactly what I think is the big thing is really making sure those experiences match people's expectation. If they're coming in to in person, or if they're a b2b client, and they're just, you know, restocking on supplies they need, they probably need a different experience than someone who's discovering you digitally, needs to learn about your brand, understand what you can bring value for them in their life, their journey, whatever they're coming to you for, and then go make the purchase. So there's different levels that you can almost cue that experience. And the more you can cater the entire experience, I think that's where you really start seeing being able to leverage the most out of all of those different channels, which is really exciting.

Aaron Conant 19:24

No, great and I'm going to ask Jenny, if you can jump in, I just hit asked, you know, just ask you get a mute if you can. Yeah, that'd be awesome. If you can't, no worries. But you know, it's funny, I'm putting together something, you know, Katherine, that you'd said earlier around content. And, you know, just the idea that Jordan, what you're talking about the user experience is one of the biggest things that I hear from brands that I'm talking to right now and it's you know, it's 30 plus a week is content content content and I need to produce so much content but you know, the reality is a lot of them are faced or looking at a just, you know, what is the image on sight? What is a Facebook ad? Right? What is Instagram? What is all you know, from a marketing standpoint, But to your point you're in it's like, in the title of the job say like this is you're trying to bridge that one on one conversation personal and get into a digital area. And then what is your content actually saying? And then how do you make it relevant? Right? And so, Jenny, I don't know if you can unmute if you can, that'd be awesome. If not, no worries at all. Sal can you jump in here, we'd love to hear your thoughts as a whole.

Sal 20:31

Just. Yeah, this is being the oldest guy on the panel here today, this is gonna be a fun comment for me. You know, stay

Aaron Conant 20:41

relevant, Sal. That's what I want to know. How do you stay relevant? If you think lifetime value of a customer? It changes every three months?

Sal 20:53

Well, you know what, it's funny, I just tried to keep up at a young buck and my cats who are way smarter than I am. I love this discussion on lifetime value of customers. I've been so fortunate to keep my clients but 30 and 35 years, don't ask me how, but they've stayed with me through the journey. Okay. And what I think is critical, is I always put myself into I pretend I work for them. I know, that's crazy. I got to keep the lights on and make profit. But I really try to say how can I solve the problems of differentiation competition, and that has really served me very well. Now, I have a whole we have a whole marketing team that are all doing all the things that you guys are talking about, because you're you're really over my head, but I love what I'm hearing. And, and that's changed because of COVID. Alright, so don't forget, we were a commercial b2b business, COVID, frooition, A, B to C, we quadrupled our consumer business in eight months. And that was all in now if we're talking B to C so so now coming out of COVID, right? It's going to be very interesting, then we get bought by peloton in April, so that's like, Oh, so God knows what's going to happen now with, with with with their abilities, you know. So anyway, it's it's pretty neat. But I, I just think this, I wanted to talk about in person. You know, we had conventions that went away, we all got thrown into zoom in a virtual, and I have four events coming up. And instead of doing traditional trade shows, they're doing speed dating very small, very intimate groups. And boy, do I like this format mean to me, I just think it's the best relationship builder you can ever do. So you know, I don't know what you call these things. I'm going to call it speed dating, going from table to table, but boy is that powerful. And man, people are starved for face to face interaction. And I'm so excited to see that and hair industries turn around quick turn the page doing, it's coming back very nicely.

Aaron Conant 22:52

person is brought up again, you know, Jordan, Katherine, then jump out to Erin here. Again, it's coming up. I think that's I don't know, is that a strategy you're using? And I'll kick this to Katherine first, and then we'll take it to Jordan, which is, are you seeing that? That's what people are desiring and then helping get the UX UI into that? How do I get this to be more personal?

Katherine Jones  23:15

Yeah, I mean, personal service. It is the new luxury, right? It is why we see, you know, video clienteling. It is why it's so important. If you're using an AI chatbot to get that handoff, correct? It's you know, Digital's a great opportunity to remove barriers and enable great service for for in person transactions. Yes, absolutely. I think, you know, the, the explicit personalization, and the feeling that an interface of brand, a person that you're working with, knows you and knows what you need and can anticipate your preferences is. I think it is the new loyalty, the new luxury strategy, absolutely.

Aaron Conant 24:04

Awesome. Love it learn. Erin, I'll jump out to you. How do you look at this space, you know, refund on yourself in the company be great. And then, you know, how do you look at lifetime value of the customer? How do you look at user experience? How do you look at you know, making that, that last touch point, which is the checkout? How do you make that work? If that's built in, we'd love to hear your thoughts there.

Erin 24:27

Yeah, sure. I'm Erin. I'm the VP of global accounts for forte fit. So we are a live streaming and on demand platform, we're predominantly focused on the health and fitness industry and kind of creating white labeled solution for you know, for health clubs. So it's, it's kind of interesting, you know, where we actually similar to Joe or more in the b2b space, you know, so we're actually creating the white label platform for clubs to utilize to offer you know, a digital offering and It's it's been an interesting journey you know i mean it's something where obviously it was a must have for everyone during the the COVID period and then as things started to open back up again it's like it's a lot of varying degrees of where people are sitting with it you know it's it's like oh we don't need to do this anymore to to some of the other kind of more forward thinking organizations which are yeah this is obviously here to stay and we need to have this digital companion that sits alongside the live in person experience and you know what we were just talking about what Sal mentioned is that Yeah, the live in person experience is like full throttle right now you know, particularly in our industry but the need to have that digital companion with it i think it's it's obviously necessary it's necessary for the long term for a multitude of reasons but for our industry specifically, you know, there tends to be this kind of tunnel vision around we just keep trying to figure out how are we going to connect with the 20% that actually walk through the doors versus the other 80% of the population that is not a member of a health club you know, that that's that's been around forever since I started in the industry, which wasn't that long ago just kidding. But you know, so I think this digital piece is just it's such an opportunity to kind of meet people where they are and how we how we can utilize it and I think it was Katherine it was talking about this to a degree is like how how you can use this as an opportunity to meet people that would never walk through the brick and mortar space, you know, they're just, it's just they haven't gotten there yet. And who knows if they ever will, but so we're kind of in the business of trying to make that connection but from a UX perspective perspective, it's like how do you make it just part of their known journey of you know, how they interact with the brand has just looked like it's an easy extension of their brand, they can take it with them wherever they go. And so kind of getting organizations to understand that concept is has been it's a it's a learning opportunity so I'll say that so

Aaron Conant 27:07

I think about it from when you think about long term value you know, it's a lot of times the subscription side shows up right? Do you guys have a subscription side how do you how do you handle that because sometimes that's the friction point and sometimes it's Yeah, it's it's not sometimes it's easy but love to hear your thoughts there.

Erin 27:30

Yeah, I guess from from our set and our experiences with working with various organizations it's it depends You know, a lot of and I'm just kind of giving the context of from a health and fitness industry perspective but so many of them just want to include it as part of their membership versus it you know, just like it's just all access free access and not really looking at the monetization opportunity that sits around it you know, so one as a standalone subscription service you know is interested in what you were saying earlier Katherine about like how to or no Jordan actually owes you that mentioned it around what are all the other pieces that can be kind of embedded in that experience that kind of extend the lifetime value of that member and that experience but also you know, so I think there's there's just a real it's still kind of a gray area for a lot of them of how they're utilizing the subscription side of it. Some are getting it and using it as a subscription service. But as far as what that looks like longer term and how to really, I think kind of enhance that experience is still a little bit of a TBD but we're seeing it it's just varying degrees of where it's at. So if that answers your question, yeah does

Aaron Conant 28:45

it Jordan I'll kick it over to you because I just know i mean this is a sweet spot for where you guys sit is in the subscription business and yet it can be so friction there could be some missteps there that can take place right the yeah, I forgot to cancel and now I just you know paid for six more months you know, at $40 a month I'm out this money there can be some you know, I don't know friction there between you know, an actual you know, great customer experience I would love to hear like your thoughts just for people on the line to have you know, a subscription business what is any any key thoughts there things to watch out for any missteps?

Jordan Labelle 29:21

Yeah, definitely. I think Sal to throw it back to your point. They're like really putting yourself in your customers shoes, right? We see a lot of companies who start out with subscriptions make that but it's not always a mistake, but it's, it's a hole you can fall into just offering a set it and forget it subscription and doing exactly that. You have customers who accidentally stay subscribed for six months, after they realize that they've accidentally been subscribed for six months at $40 a pop, they're probably going to cancel and never come back. You're set again out of that embarrassment, really, I spent so much money in a thing that I didn't actually need. I'm just not gonna subscribe again, versus really taking an intentional approach to building a subscription program. So both Initially building in great, great value into those subscriptions, again, not just the product that you're selling every month or every quarter, or whatever your frequency is. But also things like a building loyalty discount, the longer you stay subscribed, the cheaper the prices, either membership benefits, like exclusive content or access to premium support, some sort of community aspect where you have access to other people who are on that journey with you. So finding ways to like it's not just the product they're getting, it's also part of what they're getting by being subscribed. But then also coming to terms with, there's likely points in people's journeys, where they're not going to need your product anymore at that point, or they might need a different product. And so being okay, with people dropping off and making sure you're staying on top of it, like is it that time yet, or is it time to switch, so you're helping them make that decision so that when they either cancel or switch to new products, and if it's if it's not something you offer, you have a chance to pick it up later down the line when they need you again, for something else, because you've treated them so well to that entire experience, they Yes, they've turned out of that part of their journey with you. But you're way more likely to pick them up again in the future. And you can have more campaigns geared towards picking it back up knowing that they've had to create experiences for brand. So I think subscriptions, the thing that people fall into often is I'll just offer subscriptions, people get it every month, and they'll just buy, that's great for the business. But in the more you can be intentional about layering in all of these ways to build that relationship and brand throughout the entire subscription. That's where you really start seeing the winds in subscription on lifetime value of customers.

Aaron Conant 31:27

Awesome. Love it, you know, I'm going to jump out to Greg. Greg, I don't know if you can jump in, you know, brief intro on yourself in the organization? Do you have a subscription base, you know, product, you know, how do you look at lifetime value of the customer, you know, once you've got them on site, we'd love to hear your thoughts there. And obviously, if you have any questions for anybody here, feel free to ask away.

Greg 31:49

Sure, I'm with , we're a line of health supplements. So we have direct to consumer, and then we also have, you know, customers on the eye care professional side. So they're large and helping us, you know, dispense and prescribe the products out to patients, ie our new customers in that regard. We're just getting into subscription, in a certain, you know, growth mode with that we are experiencing, you know, some of those kind of issues that Jordan was kind of mentioning where, you know, we're kind of jumping in, but we're as an early adopter, you know, we are met with some of those challenges, because there is a certain amount of skepticism that does come along with supplements versus, you know, maybe some other, perhaps more like standalone sort of products or things like that, but so kind of having that commitment, and like, you know, proof of efficacy, that's a big deal. Also, you know, with pricing and being more of a premium product, or things of that nature, versus maybe just things you could get off the shelf, maybe in a retail, because we are pretty much explicitly eCommerce. That's that's something that we're kind of, you know, facing right now. And so we're challenged with So yeah, I just kind of laying it out there. But I don't really have necessarily a really any more about like the lifetime value, you know, at this aspect.

Aaron Conant 33:14

No, I look at it from the standpoint of you trying to figure it out, you know, a lot of what's taking place right now is a B testing. Right? So you hear that all the time on the performance marketing side. Right, but what is a B testing look like at checkout? And is it abcdefg? testing? So that's one question that comes to mind. The other question that I know people struggle with is, hey, I've got somebody on this site. They purchase one time, they're ideal, you know, customer for a subscription. How do I convert them later, right? I mean, to the grace, you know, spot, I used to be in the OTC pharma and in the supplement space as well. People don't go right away and buy the full year, right? They test it to see if it's going to work. Any any thoughts around, you know, the AV testing side of it? And you know, any, any thoughts around? Hey, how do you better convert somebody that's been there one time, and you want to get them on a subscription? So, I don't know. Katherine, do you wanna take it first? And we'll kick it to Jordan?

Katherine Jones 34:16

Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Um, I think you've you've touched on a couple of things there. I mean, the first is that you know, call it subscription call it membership, whatever it is, it's got to map to the customer's journey. So if it's something that requires a validation period, then you know, build that in and clearly message that you know, you're not going to lock them in for for six months if the fit isn't there. In terms of testing and you know, Aaron your point about a more premium offering and monetizing the subscription. We're finding so many brands that we work with are investing now in rethinking loyalty, membership and subscription to think about what And how they can monetize. So you know, people will pay for convenience now people will pay for ease and access, people will pay for access to standing discounts. Really, you know, thanks to really some of the the stage setting that services like Amazon Prime did, customers are more than willing to pay for those those membership options if the value is there. So it's really worth testing the, you know, the desirability of your membership and subscription offering. And then, of course, when we're talking about things like subscription, and we're talking about, especially, you know, a health and wellness product, the, you know, getting the right information in front of the customer at the right place, whether that's pre purchase, whether that's, you know, an onboarding journey after they've signed up. So what does that you know, drip campaign of emails and outreach look like, test it, test the crap out of it, for heaven's sake, I mean, you're almost certainly not going to get it right the first time and, you know, test it with an eye to the different segments of your customer. And it's worth continually investing in, in refining that, you know, at a certain point you are, you are really starting to play the margins of your business, and it becomes worth, you know, hooking each of those customers for as long as possible.

Jordan Labelle 36:24

Yeah, I wanted to touch on one one party you had there. Well, we saw people have a lot of success with was creating like convertible subscriptions from like a trial size of something or a smaller initial buy. So the initial layer initial risk was fairly low. And matching that up with a drip campaign of content and a How are you doing and checking in and, again, really building that journey along alongside of them. But instead of making them make two purchases, one for the trial and one for the subscription, we had companies who would just make it into a we call it a convertible subscription. So they would subscribe to the trial product. And if that subscription renewed at the next month, it would convert it to the full size product, so it has a month to try it, and then have a chance to cancel it. But again, you're getting a little bit of like that initial logins that you you're having to make a bit of their commitment. So they're invested more in the trial, they're not just getting a free trial, like I also on the shelf for a month, or whatever, they have some incentives, I should try and decide they're gonna keep the subscription or not. But definitely, experimenting, is the biggest piece so you can experiment with that idea. But you can also experiment with the entire process, right, like we talked about earlier, what kind of reinforcements they need, at that Checkout, before the checkout after the checkout, serve the entire experience to know this is the product for them. So efficacy results, social proof, expert opinions, whatever it is, it's going to help them trust the brand and that initial purchase especially. And so testing that out. But then also testing out like again, you might not need that same experience for each of your buyers, someone is coming through the for the first time will be need to be sold on why your product, why your company, why your brand. And so you probably need to put a lot more than information and content in front of them at every point along their journey to purchase. But someone's coming back, probably already has all that they know it's working, they want to buy more. So at that point, you want to have a streamlined experience where you want to get out of their way they just want to come by. So that's really unlock some potential of creating different experiences for different customers. And that's not only storefront experiences, but can also lead it to checkout experiences. So a more feature rich content rich checkout versus a very to the bone streamline, get the payment and go checkout with people who are already there to buy unless a ton of experimentation possibilities

Aaron Conant 38:34

on those fronts. Are there any risks to you know, doing AV testing at checkout? You know, just from the standpoint you got you did all the work to get them all the way there? Right? Is there any Hey, don't do this? Or is it Hey, it's just testing. It's something that has to be done. It's

Jordan Labelle 38:54

it's table stakes now? Yeah, like I'm of the opinion there's so there's risk in testing everything on your site, right? You can have the same argument made for testing different messaging on your your header, your hero, whatever it is, throughout the buying journey. I don't think check with any difference. The the risky part is making sure the fundamentals are right. So you don't want to go messing around with like, trying to do something wacky with your payments, or your taxes or your shipping, like those should be consistent in a mono ship trial, different shipping rates, but like don't go testing different shipping providers per experience. Like then you're, you're asking for some trouble, potentially, you know everything at your own risk. But other parts of your checkout should be just as fair game as everything out right, what content you put in there, what types of additional buying features you put in. So we've seen clients do, you know, a jurisdiction verification within checkout. So as part of, you know, compliance reasons, they need to have some sort of check at checkout. Instead of doing it before I check over, you do it right there alongside of the rest of information they're filling out and it's a bit more work than expected instead of you know, abruptly at the end of the purchase or before they even load up checkout. So there's ways to experiment that don't need To be scary, I know checkouts. You know, can seem like a bit of that intimidating space to test with. But I think what the important part of the test is, is the experience and less. So those fundamental core pieces that I would agree, you want to get payments, you want taxes to be right, you want there to be shipping rates.

Aaron Conant 40:18

Awesome. Love it, love it. You know, just a reminder, others if you have questions, feel free to jump in, I'm going to try to jump out to a Page Page, I don't know if you can come off you. But if you can, we'd love to hear your thoughts on this space as a whole. So if you can, awesome as you can, no big deal. But if people have questions, drop into the chat, love to get as many of those answered as possible. You know, Katherine, Are there new things that are popping up that you're seeing on a routine basis that you're like, Hey, this is something people should be aware of, or looking into, you know, obviously, a B testing is something that's been out there for a while, and it's now you know, A through Z testing, I would love to hear any thoughts in you know, the lifetime value space, and then we can kind of kick it over to Jordan as well.

Katherine Jones 41:07

Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest change that that we're seeing and driven certainly, by, you know, COVID in the last few months to a degree is really a change in the way businesses are thinking about and funding digital initiatives. When we talk about the ability to easily move a customer between channels, when we talk about, you know, the ability to run the full customer lifecycle more effectively, whether that's helped us whether that's, you know, concierge being of some type, we're seeing a lot more investment in those digital fundamentals, so that you can move and experiment and connect the journey in store and, and online. You know, where the, the eecom team used to be a team that was separate in the business, and they kind of had their mission, we're seeing, you know, changes in the way those businesses operate, to bring digital and, you know, have been thought of as the more traditional ways of doing business closer together, because you know, your customer, they don't care, they want, you know, the same access to their profile, whether they're in your fitness center in your stores, they do as they do online. So, you know, certainly, or seeing folks that are investing heavily in you know, all the things that make omni channel and personalization online and, and in physical places, saying, that's, I think that's overwhelmingly The biggest thing, the conversations are so much more serious than they were two years ago.

Aaron Conant 42:48

Yeah. Any advice for how you know brands retain relevance give it is that subscription? You know, it's the, you know, the whole set it and forget it model doesn't, doesn't necessarily work, right? Because everybody's vying for your customer. How do you stay relevant and important? We'd love to hear your thoughts there. And we can kick it over to Jordan after that.

Katherine Jones  43:10

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think the most important thing, and you know, Sal, you touched on this is listen to your customer, first and foremost. You know, there is, we often see in the early stages of these projects, you know, we all are good digital planners, we talk to our customers, we do our research, we look at our analytics, but that should be an ongoing process, you know, who are your most successful subscription customers? How are they experiencing your product, the lifecycle of their membership, the folks who are dropping are and who are not coming back? Why is that, you know, invest in whatever it is you need, whether it's, you know, a survey platform, whether it's, you know, folks picking up the phone and calling customers, it's really important to have an ongoing connection, align into what it's like to be a member of your service of your membership program of your subscription, whatever it is, because if you don't have that information, you know, it can get away from you really, really quickly. So build your product, think about your product and your service comprehensively, and build it based on what you hear from your customers and what you hear from your detractors.

Aaron Conant 44:29

Jordan, love to hear your thoughts there. And then I have another question for you right after this one as well.

Jordan Labelle 44:34

Absolutely. This is a super interesting space. And I think initially that was the big land grab of just like offer subscriptions, set it and forget it. And it was almost to the point of like you were hoping people would kind of forget about it and just keep subscribing to it over and over. But I know that everyone's caught up and everyone's offering some form of subscriptions that's like table stakes now is being able to set it Forget it. Some people may still choose to do that. They really have no interest in all the extras. They Just want the thing they wanted every month, they don't want to run out. But I think more than anything, it's really becoming a What else can you build them and what makes it valuable for somebody and you don't want them to forget about it, because then your brand becomes almost irrelevant at that point, you want them to be thinking about you, and consciously making that choice to stay subscribed and doing that through things like exclusive discounts through access to memberships, communities, etc. Like, what else can you do around your product to really add value? How can you, you know, improve their chances of succeeding with whatever they're coming to you to help solve, and finding ways to, again, make it more than just about the product that you're offering. And it's really like a subscription to being part of your brand and your company. And so that might be might start with a product, it might change the more products. But really, if that investment into this brand, this company is really gonna help me succeed. And it's obvious that they're taking an interest in my success through their touchpoints. And making sure that like, if this isn't working for me, we're finding something to do or change. So if it's not working, it's Yeah, you may remind somebody and they might cancel, that's gonna suck, but when that happens, but on the flip side, they're much more likely to come back to you again, three months, six months on their line, when they say, you know what, I wasn't ready than I am now. And because it's such a good experience, and I didn't get tricked into subscribing to this, I'm gonna come back and try them again.

Aaron Conant 46:15

I completely agree, it's the, at the end of the day, right? The customer, you want to make them happy now or when they return. So it's better to send out that email and to remind them and hey, we're going to do this and it might be a point of friction, but it might be also that thing that says, hey, this is awesome that they let me know this, they they, you know, the other flip side is a four months in, they say you didn't let me know you like actually we let you know six times, and you never responded. So we kept it rolling.

Jordan Labelle  46:44

So just one of the things that we forgot, one, One really cool thing we've seen people do is with the actual cancellation of subscriptions doesn't need to be so black and white, it like either subscribed or not subscribed, we've seen companies start doing this or really when someone is shows intent to cancel like giving them some options like it might not be that they want to cancel it might be that they are getting it too often it might be that it's again, wrong product might be a little bit too expensive for something that's changed our life currently. And so by offering alga touchpoint there were like they are showing intent to cancel and you give us some options. You can possibly again, reengage them, strengthen the relationship and give some options to overcome whatever it is that's challenging them with this subscription. So they don't just turn it off as an option. Another really interesting avenue to explore.

Aaron Conant 47:31

Yeah, it's just unbelievable how complicated this space has gotten just in the past, you know, 16 months, right? And that's all of digital marketing, you know, UX UI everything, right? Including, like, how do you optimize? It's this digital? 2.0? It's where we're at, right? It's not enough just to have that, hey, we're gonna re up you email. It's the A he you we you asked you said we're gonna re up he said, cancel, here's three different messages and things that you might want to do instead, to keep you on board. No, it's it's crazy. Any quick thoughts here? Sorry, anything in a know strategies to develop customer loyalty and retention industry that works with distributors. So we've talked a little bit about b2b here. You know, manufacturer doesn't always connect directly with the end consumer, you know, any any quick thoughts there? And I'll kick it over to Katherine first, and then I see we're, you know, probably got about four or five minutes left, but we'd love to hear your thoughts there.

Katherine Jones 48:28

Yeah, absolutely. This is, this is such a challenge. And I think part of what has driven such a, such an increase in the preference to go direct to consumer receive Nike and so many brands doing it. But the thing that actually immediately comes to my mind is, believe it or not the Roomba and the Roomba, the iRobot company lost a good job of pairing the product that you might buy on Amazon or Walmart, with a companion app that lets you customize it and personalize it and you know, buy the replacement parts that you need. So I think if you can, you know, with your product, start to package up those great extra value adds that ensure, you know, continued use continued investment, reaching back out to the same brand again, next time you need something similar. There's, there's so much opportunity to do that.

Aaron Conant 49:23

Jordan, and I'll kind of kick that one over to you. And then we'll wrap up with some key takeaways.

Jordan Labelle 49:27

For sure, I'm gonna you know, I think Sal, you might have heard the quote of the the event here is really just putting yourself in that customer's shoes. So even if it's not your direct customer, you're going through a distributor, but it gets an even bigger challenge and a more important one at that point if you really have to understand what your customers looking to achieve by buying that product, because you don't get a chance to track them directly. So you've got to know them a lot better than you would if they were your direct customer where you can be wrong a few times, learn a bit and really adapt. You got to do a lot more of that upfront thinking of what will they need? What Extra customers what experience they're going to do with the product that isn't just the thing that they bought. Because again, I think what we're seeing more and more is, people may buy the thing that they thought they wanted, but then realize it's not what they needed, and then be dissatisfied with the purchase. And especially when you went through a distributor, you may not even find out about that until three, six months a year down the road when sales start dipping. And now you're playing catch up on a game where you have to again, it's, it's a lot more scheduled in advance thought process you need to put into it. So I would, I would say, it's an even bigger, important thing to do in that situation. And I would try to do as much of that upfront as you can to understand the build in an overall great value proposition. And if you can, easier than done but open up that channel to even a small part of your business five to 10% going directly to consumers that you have that channel of insights into what they're seeing how they're interacting with your products and your company unit with a small part of your business for that insight alone, it's probably worth it, even if it's, you know, net net equal instead of a profit gain or profit loss.

Aaron Conant 51:04

Also alone, so I think we're right or almost a time you know, just think it's great time for key takeaways. Okay to you, Katherine, first and over to Jordan, but a quick you know, thank you to everybody who was here, everybody that was able to dial in, everybody's able to send in questions and or participate. Just awesome panel across the board. I you know, as we wrap up here, we'd love to have a follow up conversation with you with anybody on the line. Today I sit in this space where I don't sell anything, I just run this networking group, but it's really driven by one on one conversations with brands to understand, hey, what are the biggest pain points you're trying to solve for? And who's working for you and who's not and you know, both? Both people on the line today are key contributors to the BWG network as a whole. And so encourage anybody have more follow up questions. 100% worth a follow up conversation with Katherine or Jordan or a their teams in Myplanet, and Bold Commerce for sure. But you know, Katherine, if you want to wrap us up here with a key takeaway, and then we'll kick it to Jordan, and then, you know, kind of get everybody out of here right in time.

Katherine Jones  52:05

Yeah, I would say listen to your customer, and give them value and give them confidence that every step of their journey,

Aaron Conant 52:12

awesome, Jordan, if you want to jump in, and I don't mind you taking 30 seconds and telling people like you know where you guys really help people out here. Just to make sure you know, if if there's anybody that has any follow up questions, we can connect them over to you.

Jordan Labelle 52:24

Yeah, absolutely. So I echo that Katherine, for sure. I think really taking advantage of the opportunities you have with with products that let you take more control over that checkout subscriptions logic to bake those things in to take some time to think about the experience you want for people who are first time buyers returning buyers buyers are going to subscribe, VIP, b2b, b2c, they'll have different needs, they're all going to want different questions answered. And I think with some intentional thought upfront and the right partners, you can build experiences for each of them that match their expectations and just strengthen their relationships with your brand. So we play in the you know, checkout descriptions and pricing space. But that's not the total picture though the whole brand new three representative, people like Myplanet are great to help with creating an entire experience across the board. So love to have any more conversations about that about how you can take more control over your customers experiences. And I'd be happy to chat with anybody about, again, challenges in their business that can be built to help with

Aaron Conant 53:19

awesome, love it well Katherine Jordan, thanks so much for your time today being open to sharing thanks to everybody who dialed in and was able to contribute. With that we're gonna wrap it up here. If there's anybody on the call that you'd like to connection with, don't hesitate to reach out. We're a giant networking group. And with that, we're gonna wrap it up. hope everybody has a fantastic Thursday a great rest of the week. Everybody take care, stay safe and look forward to having you in a future event. Alrighty, thanks, everybody.

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BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
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