Seamless Retail Experiences: Exploring The Advantages Of A Modern Checkout

Jul 13, 2021 2:00 PM3:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Your customers' online checkout experience says a lot about your brand. Are you using this platform to maximize customer retention?

Mike Sanchez and Katherine Jones are experts in this space. Their work with Bold Commerce and Myplanet has helped brands like Pepsi, Google, and Staples provide a seamless checkout experience for their customers. They’re not only working to impact today’s market – they’re constantly building for future flexibility.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant hosts Mike Sanchez from Bold Commerce and Katherine Jones from Myplanet to discuss your brand’s online checkout strategies. They talk about how different payment types can target different demographics, how to personalize your brand’s online checkout, and options for brands that feel stuck.

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


  • Mike Sanchez and Katherine Jones discuss trends for brands bridging the online and offline shopping experience
  • How can you personalize your brand’s online checkout?
  • Can different payment types target different demographics?
  • How customizing the checkout experience can retain customers long-term
  • The pros and cons of one-click checkout
  • What to do if the checkout conversion is low vs. if the site conversion is low
  • Tips for building relationships with your online customers
  • The different checkout experiences that Bold Commerce offers
  • The partnership between Bold Commerce and Myplanet
  • Options for brands that feel stuck and unable to alter their checkout
  • How to build your website’s checkout for future flexibility
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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

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.

Mike Sanchez

Chief Revenue Officer at Bold

Mike Sanchez is the Chief Revenue Officer at Bold Commerce. Bold Commerce is dedicated to creating a seamless online checkout experience. They provide subscriptions for a checkout pricing engine with a strong API commerce platform to take checkout experiences everywhere. Mike has worked in eCommerce since 2011. He was previously the Vice President of Partner and Agency Sales at WP Engine, the Senior Director of Global Enterprise Sales at BigCommerce, and the Director of Enterprise Sales and Success at Rackspace.

Katherine Jones

VP, Platform Strategy at Myplanet

Katherine Jones is the VP of Platform Strategy at Myplanet. Myplanet is a Toronto-based software studio that delivers headless commerce platforms to its customers in retail. They focus on bringing together all the great promises of composable commerce to deliver a great commerce experience on the web. Before her time with Myplanet, Katherine was the Director of the Development Studio at DAC and the Project Coordinator for N49 Interactive.

Event Moderator

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.

Mike Sanchez

Chief Revenue Officer at Bold

Mike Sanchez is the Chief Revenue Officer at Bold Commerce. Bold Commerce is dedicated to creating a seamless online checkout experience. They provide subscriptions for a checkout pricing engine with a strong API commerce platform to take checkout experiences everywhere. Mike has worked in eCommerce since 2011. He was previously the Vice President of Partner and Agency Sales at WP Engine, the Senior Director of Global Enterprise Sales at BigCommerce, and the Director of Enterprise Sales and Success at Rackspace.

Katherine Jones

VP, Platform Strategy at Myplanet

Katherine Jones is the VP of Platform Strategy at Myplanet. Myplanet is a Toronto-based software studio that delivers headless commerce platforms to its customers in retail. They focus on bringing together all the great promises of composable commerce to deliver a great commerce experience on the web. Before her time with Myplanet, Katherine was the Director of the Development Studio at DAC and the Project Coordinator for N49 Interactive.

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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.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Everybody, Happy Tuesday hope everybody's having a great week. so far. My name is Aaron Conant, I'm the Co-founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're networking and knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands who do exactly that we network in knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that's shaping the digital landscape. I talked with 30 to 40 brands a week to stay on top of those different trends and different topics and ideas. When the same ones come up over and over again, we host an event like this. So thanks to everybody who has provided input over the past like four to six weeks, we try to plan about that far out. We don't try to go out further than that, because we don't know what's going to be relevant. But thanks, everybody who's putting in input, and it's going to be a great topic and a great conversation today. A couple of housekeeping items as a whole as we get this started. At any point in time, you just want to jump in. I mean, feel free, unmute jump in. And we want to make sure let's make this as engaging as possible. If you can't, if it's easier to chat in questions as we go, feel free to do that as well. We can bring in chat. The last thing is if you if it's easier, you can always email me Aaron a-a-r-o-n, BWG Connect dot com we can feel questions that way as well, that includes an hour after the call tomorrow, next week, if you have a question in the digital space, across the board, or anything related to this topic as a whole, don't hesitate to shoot me a note we'll get you an answer in under a day. And with that, I think we're gonna go ahead and kick it off. So as I noted, you know, talking to the 30 plus brands a week and the topic over and over again, have a what is what is like the subscription model, what is growth look like? How do I get, you know, a returning customer in an easier fashion, tons of questions across the board. And so we got some great friends and partners of the network over a bowl and Myplanet, they've agreed to jump on the phone today, answer as many questions as we can throw at them, but also give us some kind of insights across the board and what they're seeing and how they're helping people out as a whole. So, Mike, I want to kick it off with you. If you want to give a brief intro on yourself in the company that would be awesome, around Bold, and then we could get over to Katherine. And then we kind of jump into an open q&a as a whole sounded

Mike Sanchez 2:31

sure we'd love to. So Mike Sanchez, Chief Revenue Officer at Bold Commerce, I’ve been at Bold Commerce. Since 2019. Been in eCommerce as a whole, I'd probably say since 2011 2012 or so. A little bit about Bold Commerce. So Bold hass been around since 2013. So if you've used Shopify, there's probably a high likelihood you've run across one of our apps within the marketplace. That's really where Bold has grown tremendously. However, over the past, I would say, two years, we've been really focusing really, really big on our checkout experience rate. And when we think about checkout experience, that really is our our product that encompasses our subscriptions, our checkout our pricing engine with a strong platform, API commerce layer to help, you know, really take these checkout experiences everywhere. So really excited about the conversation. Really excited to do so Katherine, we were partners with each other and share mutual customers. So happy to happy to dive in.

Katherine Jones 3:34

Now, that's great. I'll jump in next. Hi, everyone, Katherine Jones, I am VP platform strategy here at Myplanet. I'm really looking forward to the conversation today. My planet, we are a Toronto based software studio, we work with customers primarily in, in retail and delivering headless commerce platform. So we work closely with Mike and his team, but with other members of the moc Alliance as well, our focus areas really on bringing together you know, all of the great promises of composableCommerce to deliver really great commerce experiences, of course, on the web, but we were very focused on kind of the commerce everywhere concept, we actually lat launched a shoppable conversation prototype today,

Aaron Conant 4:28

which is, which is very cool. Awesome. Love it. So as we kind of kick off the call here today and just letting a few more people in. You know, just a quick reminder, you have any questions drop into the chat or just jump into the conversation as well. We'll jump around a little bit. But you know, if we think of it, you know, as a whole and I'll start off with you Mike and then we'll jump over to Katherine and then other people you know, and kind of get their their feeling as a whole. But you know, how do you see brands looking at that scene. flow between business channels as a whole, we'd love to hear, you know, kind of your thoughts there across the board, you know, in store online, whatever it might be.

Mike Sanchez 5:09

Sure, yeah. That's a great question. And the one that I think everybody's thinking on right now, I think right now you've seen, I would say, pre COVID, you saw a lot of brands, some were kind of ahead of the curve looking at, you know, what their online experience having to bridge that into their offline experience? And what does that relationship look like? I think since COVID, has hit that's forced everyone to put this as a top priority. A lot of it was a lot of stores got locked down, you weren't able to actually go and create those in personal relationships that a lot of these brands really depended on, especially if you're thinking of like very niche markets, right? And high end fashion or, you know, different types of goods. And when right now, I think what the most important thing is, is not just about how do I go sell on every single channel, but how do I can? How can I go and create that tight relationship through all these different channels? And I think that's where you're starting to see a lot of what what brands thought about omni channel prior to pre COVID? Because they thought of it more as just another distribution, right? another channel for us to go and see like, Okay, if somebody is on social somebody out here, let me go figure that out. Now, it's about how can you go capture your customer at their highest point of interest, and not get them into a point to where you go push them through a very as I would say, linear buying process on youreCommerce site. So when you think about it, most traditional brands have built their eCommerce strategy as if you're walking into a store, like imagine, if you're walking into Target or Walmart, you go and you peruse through aisles, you're searching and you grab a couple of items, you go through Checkout, right now, when Pete when when buyers are looking to go to brands, they're going with intent, they're going with a reason on why they're going to your site. And the last thing you want to do is provide a ton of friction through this, I would say archaic approach to to commerce. So one of the things is, is that when you're looking to go through different channels, it's all about figuring out how to remove as much friction as possible, how to create that relationship and do that in the most personalized way you can. And I think that's where a lot of brands start to their head is right now. And that's a lot of the things that you know, both us and Myplanet have been, you know, working to solve as a shoppable conversation things that, Katherine that's exactly, you know, perfect use case for that.

Katherine Jones 7:24

Yeah, absolutely. It's, I think it's, you know, two things that we're seeing, you know, the first is certainly meet them where they are, you know, I think back to my very early days, working in, in web development and commerce, and I don't know if any of you had this experience, but, you know, the homepage design process was like the focus, you know, what does that entrance to my digital space look like? And it's just not a construct anymore, right? We're in a world where we are, in many cases privileged to know who our customer is, who our shopper is, whether they're, you know, online or in store, we can meet them on social channels, we can increasingly transact on social channels, you know, we're seeing things like clienteling, becoming, you know, much enhanced from where it was a couple of years ago. So, you know, we're seeing brands really trying to, you know, move beyond the traditional Omni experience, where the challenge is, how do I get my pricing consistent? How do I get my promotions consistent to really how do I allow check out where and when my customer wants, and the second thing that we're seeing, especially as you know, we finally start to find our way out of COVID. You know, how do we bring the store the physical retail presence and the digital presences closer together? You know, increasingly, we're seeing brands really start to remove barriers between inventory in store and online. But also start to look at things like you know, how do I build a shared cart between you know, product I may have in store product I might have online and just make it so, so simple for my customer to transact. And that remains kind of the gold standard of, of the checkout world.

Aaron Conant 9:20

I want to I want to dive down the path a little bit around. There's so much around the checkout experience, you know, anything that has to do with you know, repeat purchases, frustration, whatever it might be is around personalization. I love this here are you think about personalization, we'll keep an eye on Katherine here. They will jump over to Mike, I'd love to hear your thoughts. And then I want to kind of jump around, you know, the people who dialed in, they kind of get like, how do you look at you know, that space as a whole including personalization?

Katherine Jones 9:49

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, personalization. I think for many years, it was really focused on things like you know, the right product recommendations. And, you know, the right content. But we're in a place now where, you know, we can move from just strict personalization to personalization and context. You know, we know, do you prefer to pay via a wallet such as Apple Pay? Or do you prefer to pay via, you know, a card that you have on file, so we can really start to build the checkout experience that an individual customer might want. You know, Mike and the team at Bold are really looking at moving quite deep into supporting, like, entirely different checkout flows for different, different customer contexts. And I think that that's so powerful, you know, the traditional product recommendation upsell modules, those are still important, I think, you know, in this day and age, given all we know about our customers, you have to be careful that you don't throw everything at it, you know, you don't want your checkout to look like when you get off a cruise ship, and just everyone's kind of Hawking their wares. It should be quite thoughtful. But you know, we know more about the people shopping with us online than than we ever did. And it's a great opportunity to really make that experience easy if it needs to be easy, reassuring, you know, if we're looking at a checkout that's focused on perhaps a gifting context, that's a slightly different set of needs, then, you know, a purchase that a customer might make regularly. And we've got such great tools today to really build out the right checkout for the right person and in the right context.

Aaron Conant 11:37

Awesome, love it. Mike, would love to hear your thoughts there. And then we're gonna jump around to some people who have moved out in

Mike Sanchez 11:42

Yeah, I love the cruise ship analogy that really hit home when you when you said that about just walking out and getting hit with everything that didn't know probably set that even better. I'm gonna use that one later. Yeah, it's a Yeah, exactly. Everything with Katherine just said, I think it's removing the barriers of what we've seen traditionally, right, would be a checkout experience. You know, that's what I think personalization is right now, for me, personally, I am a sucker for getting sold on Instagram constantly. And and then if you want to take it a step away, right, you know, kind of Instagram took this approach to work first, you know, you would enable a plugin, but then it would be four to five to six Plex, before you get all the way to the website to make a purchase. Well, now they're removing friction even more right to hopefully help and make that happen within one to two clicks, and then saving your credit card information. They're like, to me that's that's a value add, right. Because if you can understand my buying behaviors, my interest based upon things that I like to go to look for, they're catching me on my highest point of interest, right at a point to where I may be looking at something, I may be going down a, you know, a endless depth depth stream. And something may catch my attention that they'd seen that I maybe want to buy. And I think that's what you want to take. But I would say, even looking even bigger than that, when you start to think of it, let's say if you have a peloton bike, and let's say that you spend, you know, and you do an hour training five days a week, is there ways that you would be able to sell through devices like that, where as you're kind of working in your walking your trainer, you say, Man, that the what the trainer is wearing is awesome, or this type of thing that they're using is really awesome. You already have your credit card information saved on there, because it's already, you know, you're part of a membership. Those are opportunities where I think that's where personalization is gonna go that next level, which is just, again, capturing different, unique ways to catch somebody at the highest point of interest. I think the other thing to think about as well is, you know, it's a bit into the personalization. It's also tied into just relationship building. But seeing a lot of brands do incredibly well on building a strong kind of membership approaches or subscription approaches to to what they're doing out in the market. You know, you think of the ones that come to mind, right? Restoration Hardware is one you go when you subscribe and become a member with them. While they provide you free consultations, they provide you like, you know, almost 50% discounts on all their different products gives you private events, italics another one, that's a big one that that popped up that I subscribe to the other day where you get really high end things that are like a wholesale distributor price for like $6 a year, but they're keeping you in the loop when these things are popping up. And what you're starting to see is is that you have so much data out there to go influence your decision, right. So it's really hurting loyalty right now. And it's really hurting, you know, continue to keep these customers. So creating membership strategies, things like that are starting to see that really pop up, you know, especially in the DTC space. And that's kind of ways on, you know, communities I would say are the things that are helping kind of drive that loyalty, which then, in turn allows you to be even more personalized to that group of you know, hopefully repeat buyers that you have.

Aaron Conant 14:48

Yeah, awesome. I love it. And I'm gonna jump out to some people. I mean, I'm gonna jump out to you if you can let a couple more people in here. I mean, it'd be great. You know, if you can, if you Jump in. We'd love to hear, you know, a brief intro on yourself in the organization. And then how are you looking at, you know, the the flow, the process at checkout the customer experience and personalization as a whole? I mean, if you can jump in, that would be awesome.

Amina 15:15

Hi, sure. Um, so I'm Amina and Associate Director of our global payments team here at Hellofresh. For those of you that don't know, Hellofresh, we're the leading meal kit subscription service in the US and also globally. So you know, we'll provide ingredients and recipes to our customers, and then they can follow through and cook fresh, nice meals at home. One thing that we've been, you know, a few things that we focus on at checkout is the different different touch points of what impacts a conversion. And so I think on previous calls, I've talked a lot about fraud and how that could impact conversion rates in terms of not only payments fraud, but voucher fraud as well. Right? So have we seen this customer trying to check out and get a free box multiple times, depending on the customer's Paul on the merchants policy that could impact the checkout flow? In addition to that, you know, what payment methods do we have available for our customers? You know, are we pulling in all customers that we possibly could you know, is that are we, you know, is Amazon pay a good target for the younger crowd or, or Venmo? For example, I know, that's a hot topic as of late. And so we're constantly taking a look at, you know, how can we allow more customers to process through where they will be profitable in a way, in addition to bringing in newer, more unique customers by offering either new payment methods or new incentives for them to to come to our website and checkout?

Aaron Conant 16:47

Awesome, thanks. Via you know, Mike, Katherine would love your thoughts there as a whole.

Mike Sanchez 16:52

Yeah, I guess I can, I can kick things off, I think. So. But definitely a was a longtime customer, Hellofresh will likely be another one, we just moved into other house. So I've done that's have been a lot of time on your website, you guys have done an incredible job. Um, I think, you know, in looking into the hellofresh approach, you all are thinking about things, you know, the right way how to how to go and think about every single touch point. But I also think that's where brands are struggling right now. Because in hellofresh, I know, if I remember, right, talking with some of your team, in prior conversations, you know, taking a very more custom approach or a bit of a, you know, headless approach in order to open up these optionality. But you know, the things that you just explained would almost be impossible to accomplish, like on a sass platform, right, because, you know, just the areas that you'd be locked down and check out the areas that you wouldn't be able to go and understand the different types of payment gateways, the different types of things that you want to go do. And I think that's where brands like hellofresh are absolutely killing it, because they're taking this best of breed right approach to, to how to do that, and really personalizing that approach to, you know, down to the customer level. And a lot of brands are struggling to not be able to get there, because they're limited by technology, unfortunately, and which is always the most challenging thing that I know, conversations that Katherine, I always run into all the time. So, yeah, I would say this is you know, a perfect example or use case on leveraging, you know, I would say, you know, kind of best in breed in, in, in a custom approach in order to kind of gain these these type of insights. Katherine, we want to add to that,

Amina 18:32

yeah, you know, the, the example of different payment types in how they are used by different different customers different demographics, I think is, is so important. I mean, adding new payment types can be, you know, a pain. But I think, especially if you're operating in a competitive space, really what you're trying to do in many cases is become the default become just that, you know, that place that people turn to make that purchase time and again, and you know, being there with what the customer prefers, what is easiest for them, you know, what they can get away with, you know, the one click Checkout the one click a, everything stored and remembered and their preferences are, you know, sent right through to all of those downstream processes, think it's really important and that's where, you know, being able to support such breadth of choice and being able to, you know, as Mike said, support them and bring them online relatively quickly from a technology and from a process perspective is is so important because if you're not able to do it, you know, someone else's thing they're willing to, you know, take a take a try whatever the hot new payment type is. Yeah, I I agree with that. And it's the one thing that we do really well, is we test everything and so I know different payment methods offer an express checkout solution where you know, you sign in brings everything in right off the bat, and then the customer could successfully checkout. However, you know, I hellofresh we've seen some instances where that's been successful. And then we've seen some instances where it's actually shifting away our conversion rates and the variant performed worse than, than the control. And so, um, you know, there's, there's a lot, there's a lot of engineering work behind adding new payment methods. You know, I wish I could say we could get it live in a week, that would be amazing. But there's a lot a lot of data and a lot of research that goes behind it, like Mike said, Our Our website is an in house solution. And so, you know, we we utilize external services, but because we're such a niche type of merchants and you know, weekly subscriptions, and all of that we we try to store as much data as possible and use our bi teams to kind of develop these different algorithms and provide this analysis that, that we can apply that type of unique solution to our customers. So, yeah, that's awesome. Such data driven product development, I love it. But you bring up a great point, you know, testing. You know, if we say the, the goal of any checkout is that it's easy and seamless, and, you know, not cluttered and gives the customer exactly what they need for finding for that, I think, both in terms of what you add to your checkout, but also what you may be deprioritize, not everything can be most important is it's a it's an ongoing practice, for sure. So really interesting. Thank you for sharing your approach you Copestake? Yeah, of course.

Aaron Conant 21:34

Yeah. I mean, I love the fact that it's kind of the openness that hey, everybody's iterating and you always hear, you know, the standpoint Hey, I iterated I tested and it worked out fantastic. We all know, no, that's not true. Right? You know, it's the trial and error right? Around the scientific method to try and figure it out. So yeah, in thanks for jumping in, is there? You know, I mean, I wouldn't jump out is gonna keep it on you. Because I have one more question for you. And then, and that is, how do you how do you internalize this is a unique space, right? It's easy to talk about, hey, the new content generation tool, it's easy to talk about, Hey, I'm doing this marketing event, but in this space, or check out like, how do you promote this internally, as valuable? And value add? Like, what is that story look like? A little bit around the testing? And then we can kick it to Mike and Katherine for thoughts on that as well. And then we're gonna jump around to a few other people.

Amina 22:35

Yeah, sure. So we um, we have a few Northstar metrics, right. And so whenever we're talking about the checkout page, it's it's really the the customer value acquisition, right? So how much are we spending to acquire the customer? And then what is the anticipated increase in conversion rates, but ultimately, because we are a subscription merchant, what is the profitability we would expect from this customer. And so we have a few models in house that help determine, like, for example, Mike is checking out, you know, based off of all the criteria that we have, we would anticipate he would get six orders with hellofresh, before he decides to cancel, for example, right. And so we take that calculation into consideration to see kind of, you know, if we do add this new payment method, or if we are starting to block these different customers, this is the anticipated 26 week 52 week, profitability that we would see with this new feature or new product. And so for us, the retention aspect of it is really important, because it's not that it's easy to acquire a customer and that that piece, you know, depending on the marketing, depending on the positioning, that's you acquire the customers, but keeping them in the long term, especially for a subscription merchant is also very top of mind. And so we try to kind of anytime we pitch something new, it's creating that business case to take a look at what is the potential long term profitability of it and then that's how things get prioritized. And, you know, either approved or declined among other stakeholders.

Aaron Conant 24:12

Awesome, love it. Like Katherine, I'd love to hear your thoughts there. And we're gonna jump around to some other people as well. Thanks to me for jumping in for sure.

Katherine Jones 24:21

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I will say off the top it's so um, you know, the The nice thing about checkout is, it's literally where the money goes. So it tends to be easier than some other investments, because it is so close to that conversion. But I love the move and thinking from the conversion today to whether it's profitability over the life of the subscription or customer lifetime value. We're really starting to see more of our customers focus on metrics that are a little bit less, a little bit less short term. You know, I think of that as like the 2010s where we are really focused on that really short, low funnel acquisition, that's we're increasingly seeing, you know, how does this translate to revenue and it in store or revenue policy in

Unknown Speaker 25:11

six months or 12 months? So it's awesome to hear. Yeah. And I think that's where

Mike Sanchez 25:19

I think that's a key piece, right? So like, we have a lot of subscription customers that would that we talked to that are always trying to kind of figure out right how to do exactly what you said, right, keep that, you know, the most profitable products with the biggest lifetime value when you're gonna be able to get your return right on that investment and that payoff period? And I think it's, yeah, I understand the data is absolutely key. And I think it opens up a lot of opportunities that you said, right, different ways on how you can market to them different ways on how you can position things. Like for us, the way we were kind of thinking through that is we look at different, you know, what we call checkout flows, right? Which is, how can you go and take that data, and then look at different experiences based upon their buying behavior? And then on top of that, you nailed it on the testing piece? How do you then AV test those different things? And I think that's where we're starting to see a lot of need there, you know, that's starting to pop up. Because I think right now, we're trying to get folks over the hump on, yes, you do need to create maybe different checkout experiences or different ways on how you need to work and build relationships with your subscription provider, you know, buyers and things like that. But then there's this huge black hole of I really don't know what's happening, I really don't know what's working, what's not working, I don't have enough data to go deeper on that. So you know, thinking back, like I spent a lot of time in the, you know, CMS area, right? Where that this has been AV testing on that's, that's been going on forever, right on different, you know, landing pages, different things that you want to push out. But nobody's really doing that. On the checkout side, nobody's really doing that even on the subscription side on different approaches that you want to go do, which is, as Katherine said, where the money is happening, that's actually where the transaction is happening, where you did all this work through the funnel to get them there. Well, then how can you go and increase ARV lifetime value help with any type of drop off? So I think having that kind of culture of measurement, and that, you know, a performance is really where, you know, you're starting to see some brands really stand out. And obviously, hellofresh is doing an incredible job, you know, within that market, because I think that's where I think there's a big mess. But as Katherine said earlier, it was all about kind of the lower funnel, you know, let's get the quick wins, it's gonna mean outside the door. Well, now you have so much competition coming in with brands that are just like you, who are trying to build relationships, and they're all trying to go take away that same piece of pie. So you know, it's no longer of like an SEO game. And let me just get a bunch of people in here to go transact now. It's how can I keep them buying for six months, nine months, 12 months? And then keep product innovation up to keep that going? So yeah, I think there's a lot of goodness, and a lot of good points, you brought up that of where the I think the market is starting to change here.

Amina 28:01

Yeah, I'm sorry, Aaron, not to not to hijack. But the one thing else I wanted to add was, you know, it's never it's not always going to be a win win situation, right? So for example, I've seen payment methods where I've seen an increase in my conversion rates, but the retention is so low that at the end of the day, I'm not as profitable. And so it's really I think, it depends on what's more important to the merchant, is it acquiring those customers, you know, if you're a one time purchase, then that's the big the big player there, but if you're a subscription depending on how long the customer is willing to stay in the loyalty and retention piece, you know, that that could shift, you know, if a test is successful or not to a merchant. So

Mike Sanchez 28:44

that's such a great point that you bring that up I was having this conversation yesterday about you know, there's this whole thing about you know, one click one click and do that everywhere. And you've nailed it right it's one click is a solve for a certain set of customers right based upon their buying behaviors, but not assault for all and I think sometimes pushing one click on everything need to lose the chance of if you have a buyer who wants to be built value throughout a process, you're losing out on increasing DOB, potentially, you're losing out on building that relationship, that onboarding relationship and what that looks like and and i think you know, there's there's a bit there was a bit of a fad that started kicking off or it's like, I want to put everything one collect and it's like, wow, but you're almost commoditizing yourself at that point, and you're not differentiating yourself. So I'm glad you brought that up because that has been a hot conversation. So I think that's where the experiences you know, understand your customers and create different experiences for how they buy you know, it's not a one size fit all

Katherine Jones 29:39

or why they're buying you know, we work with customers who have spent pandemic really trying to sort through gifting you know, gifting all had to be done through through digital and you want to make sure you know is my gift message correct? Is this going to the right place? Am I accidentally putting my own address Um, you know, is it going to be wrapped? Like there are times when slowing down that experience to make sure that you're meeting the needs of the moment? I think it's really important.

Aaron Conant 30:11

Yeah. 100% I think what's the most interesting about the conversations that are taking place in especially in here is in this area of customer experience and checkout flow and conversion? You know, repeat purchases? What does it look like? How do I maximize the value? It's just the maturity of the conversations we're having now versus what we had a year ago, right? Or I should say, 15 to 18 months ago. Like you're saying the one click was everywhere. And then there's kind of like this evolution that hey, how much do we miss out on because we made it so much simpler. Are there other? I want to jump out to a couple more people make sure we do. You know, Abby, Goldberg, can we jump out to you, Abby, just gonna ask to unmute here. If you can jump in. That'd be awesome. A brief intro on yourself in the organization would be fantastic. And then we'd love to hear what you're seeing going on in this space is a top of mind for you. Anyways, we'd love to hear your thoughts. And if you can jump in, then,

Abby 31:14

oh, hi, I'm Abby Goldberg. I manage all digital for UB dot comthat's our director, consumer site, as well as our Amazon. Um, you know, I joined us today because I've been really focused on retention, but we actually don't have a subscription model. Other than, like, we do subscribe and save on Amazon. But I don't consider that. Really anything to what you you've been talking about. So for me, I mean, this is really just a learning. Like, I just really wanted to hear your perspective, I've had it come up a lot. People have asked me about that for you calm, it's a little bit challenging for us to be in that to execute this model because of our the way our inventory flows in and especially I've only been with Eb going on a year. And so I joined during COVID. And so for us, the supply chain has been very challenging. So it's not been a business model that we can really

Aaron Conant 32:07

even from a checkout standpoint, on a drug to consumer, like how do you look at just even the flow of we carve out the repeat purchases? Great if we carve out the subscription piece and just look at, you know, repeat purchase and or customer experience or payment options? Like how do you how do you look at that, you know, that space as a as a whole?

Abby 32:29

tour? Um, I think for UB, what I've been, what I've been exploring most and updating us on our site is simplifying the checkout as much as possible. I've been very challenged, I would say on conversion, but I think there's other there's other factors that I think are impacting that on our DTC site. And that's predominantly more, I think, our price point, and the fact that we don't offer free shipping. But I have been doing things on the checkout side in terms of like upsell, I have from a payment perspective, I launched afterpay, about two months ago, and I am seeing some positive results from that, but still not seeing the impact on conversion that I was that I was hoping for giving, you know, giving customers that flexibility. I've had other people say hey, we try you know, try other payment methodologies. I think one pay over time is probably sufficient, but we already have Amazon pay and shop pay and PayPal. So we already have a lot of you know, we're already offering customers, you know, that simplicity of other ways to check out and I'm, you know, I love to hear other people's suggestions, but it's I think it's the challenge that we have is just at such a low price point. That for us, I think is really the challenge on getting people to convert direct to consumer versus we're so big at Target and then my Amazon business is just on fire for the obvious. Everyone is prime and everyone can just buy everything they need. Or when they come to UB it's you know obviously they're just buying up

Aaron Conant 34:12

a bunch of thing I mean it's awesome stuff is you know, I want to pull a couple threads there because a lot of what I'm hearing is Hey, what is the right tech stack to help out what are the right number of payment options so as the tech stack side is the strategy side do i do kidding in bundling How do I increase ARV You know, I think you're you're in a spot that you know a lot of people are like hey, we're here like we've got the products we know people are buying them all over the place how do we just get the right offer in front of the right people and then get them to convert with the right payment options or the right kitty unbundling sighs ao v that it makes sense for everybody. And you can make a profit and they get a you know, a fantastic product that they want. So a bunch in there. And now you know, I'll just kind of kick it over to Katherine first and then I'll kick it over to Mike like, you know, what do you see happening in the space? What's the advice of, hey, like I put in these multiple payment options, it's supposed to increase I you know, ARV might be a little bit low. Anyway, so Okay, stop talking there, kick it over to Katherine.

Katherine Jones 35:17

Yeah, absolutely. It's, it's certainly an interesting problem. When you're, you know, trying to work across your, your own channel. And others, you know, the first place that I would look, because it does sound like you're doing, you know, the right things in terms of giving the, you know, the customer the choice that they need, and giving them options, you know, the buy now pay later certainly has done wonders for many retailers. But, you know, it start by looking at is, is my conversion on the checkout low? Or is my site conversion low? And, you know, based on, you know, if I've got lots of people making it to my Checkout, but never completing them, that gives you a pretty good focus area to start playing with, you know, is it? You know, is it perhaps my free shipping threshold or other things that I need to other leavers, I need to start pulling to get people to make those purchases? Or is it simply that I've got folks coming to the site, but they're not building baskets, you know, perhaps they, you know, they need help pulling together, multiple pieces of weather, I believe you're in stationary. So if it's gifting or, you know, events, like back to school, if they need support, building a basket, or simply, you know, being convinced to, to click Checkout, that's kind of the first decision point that I would start with in terms of figuring out, you know, where to invest my dollars? Because, of course, you don't have unlimited dollars to invest.

Mike Sanchez 36:53

Thank you. Yeah. And I think to add on to that I was jumping, while Kathy was talking and stuffing on your website, and just looking around on it. I think there's, there's a couple of things that that come to mind. And especially when you're when you're a big target demographic is right, if you're delivering for, let's say, elementary kids, and you know, things like that is, you know, you can have a subscription approach, but not so much of a replenishment approach, where it's like, let me send this once a month, but huge opportunity for a curation approach. So you know, like, I see, there's, you know, amazing Spider Man, there's different probably characters that you're gonna come up with, you know, it's, I had an idea one time, and I was working on on another brand that I decided not to launch, one of the things that we were doing, or I had, you know, thought about was, how can you get a children involved in this subscription approach. So if you think about it, how can you get somebody to, to walk online and jump on their laptop while they're with their parents, and go click and build their own box, build their own box of stuff, and have them buy into that, right, so you're not necessarily creating the energy with the parent, because if you're thinking about the parent, they may just be thinking about this as school supplies. But if you're thinking about through a child, I know from my five year old, for sure, they're gonna probably be reminding me every single month on when that box is going to come in that box of like, really cool pins, you know, what I mean? Different booklets, you know, especially if they're, you know, have cool, you know, characters or whatever it may be. So I think there's a great opportunity there, right? That you can kind of look at that and say, hey, that's actually something that can build a relationship there. That's something that you know, can give a personalized touch now adding like a questionnaire in front of that. And you can start getting an understanding the likes the ages, what gets them excited, what are those things, and even if it's not a monthly thing, it can be a quarterly thing. And it kind of aligns into probably when you would want to like, you know, say, maybe replenish, you know, some of these things. So, I think there's like a lot there. Because I think if you can get to me, it's all about like, how do you go build that community of followers, and then take that and then take a strategy that says, Now every time we open the box, it's put on Instagram, and let's put it on social and having kids going to go and start looking and happy having excitement around there? I would say, you know, that's where I've seen at least, you know, kind of in this, you know, approach, I've seen some some stuff, you know, work there to kind of create some of that more LTV and stronger approach there.

Katherine Jones 39:13

Yeah. Whether it's kids or other forms of shared or group shopping, or I'm definitely seeing some really interesting approaches that different retailers are trying. Yeah, there's, there's a lot there if you're able to invest in, you know, new and novel experiences. I mean, the other thing you can always look at is how do I expand that assortment, you know, is there a marketplace play to, you know, augment my core product line with the product from elsewhere to make, you know, a little bit more of a destination for our collection of products. But yeah, that's really interesting series of ideas there, Mike, coming to you with my next business idea.

Abby 39:57

Might somebody launch it? We're good Your question what you were just commenting on about the marketplace? Yeah. Are you saying because I haven't, because I thought about putting on UBI on UBI, calm other brands that were like, like, Is that what you mean? Or do you mean something different?

Katherine Jones 40:17

Yeah, absolutely. Um, yeah. And offline can connect you to a couple folks. But it's a really common strategy that we're seeing, especially for, you know, areas where there's maybe a little bit of exhaustion around D to C, and those like one product brands, seeing a lot of folks start to invest in expanding their online assortment. So that rather than being the place for,

you know, a good or, you know, series or type of goods, you know, I think of school, you know, making sure you've got your backpacks,

Unknown Speaker 40:54

pencil cases, like the whole kit and caboodle.

Katherine Jones 40:58

You know, and pair that with Mike's idea about giving the kids some control over, you know, what characters they're going back to school with, then your business. Thank you. Yeah, welcome.

Aaron Conant 41:12

No, I think Have you picked up on a key trend that we've done a lot of discussions on, or probably do a lot more is exactly that the marketplace model? You know, it's not just meaning the Amazon, the Walmart, you know, the new ag e Bay, it's, wait, there's the opportunity for me to launch, you know, other brands and partnering with other brands strategically that align on your own, you know, website is a whole interesting light. So I'm going to kick this over to Mike just around both just from a question as a whole. How does Bold checkout work? And does it tie into that marketplace model? And then a couple other questions that come in, specifically around? What does it look like? If I have multiple different websites that I'm tying into one? How does it tie in across anyways, I want to dig into that just a little bit as well. You're on

Mike Sanchez 42:03

the end on mute. Sorry about that. No, for sure. I think the way we kind of looked at Bold and when we built out the checkout experience suite is we wanted to take a almost a open SAS approach to, to the to how this works. And a part of it was we got into the checkout experience game, because we were helping solve a lot of just issues that you're seeing on SAS platforms, checkout being too locked down, not being able to go do specific integrations with technologies, not be able to tie into you know, a certain CMS or there's a ton of use cases there. So for us, when we think about our approach to it is we want to be able to create any type of experience that you can imagine. But we don't want to do, we don't want to make this to a point to where you have to build everything from the ground up. So we want to give you a head start where we have already pre integrations built in, we already have open API. So if you want to create your own integrations, it's still not a lot of a lift, in order for you to have to go do that, then be able to go and really create your almost your own stack on top of bowls, right that's going to be you know, really what you want your checkout to, to become. And doing this by having this go and create different experiences across any single channel. And I think that's kind of where our big differentiator is that we want to be able to create any type of experience, but then tackle subscriptions, tackled pricing, making sure that everything is seamless, different types of flows, and then also been helping kind of orchestrate, you know, your technology stack. So like, we have one customer right now that uses a miracle, right for a marketplace, you know, within our checkout. And they have they take a very similar approach to that. We have another customer who does a franchise model. So when you talked about this multiple site type approach, we have one customer who has 27 franchises, and each of those franchises has a different payment gateway, which is very fun. So you couldn't create just one streamline Checkout, right? That would just go into say, like, hey, one payment gateway, and then you can, you know, track where the inventory everything's coming through, we actually had to create a logic in there that basically say, let's go connected which franchise it is. And based upon that franchisor using this payment gateway, so when when they went to check out, we automatically make that switch, and they kicked it back to the right DRP that they need to be logged into with all the right information. So you have you know, these different types of approaches. There's also the Katherine hit on it before, which is unifying fulfillment as well, right. So we've talked to some brands that have five or six different, you know, sites, but maybe they're either pulling from the same fulfillment or different ones. Again, we can unify one checkout and making sure that the back end part of it is all talking to the right system. So then inventory is updated, things are being logged. But from a customer's perspective, they have no idea that's even happening. It's just creating one experience. So for them, it's ease of use, that goes to the marketplace thing. You know, into, I always give shout outs to brands that I like that are just, you know, on DTC ones. But I bought a new table at a company called Carpenter James calm. And they're a US based company out of Arkansas, like 30 or 40, people making like tables, woodworking and things like that, go check it out, they're really awesome. They did a marketplace approach. And I didn't realize it did that I was going through bought a table went through them, and I bought some chairs for my table. And that was actually another buyer, or I'm sorry, another provider who had those chairs. And you didn't even realize that that even happened, I was just assuming I was buying it all from them. And I was just looking at, oh, this chair is really cool when I make that that purchase. And then when you actually went post purchase, they manage that entire relationship. So now I have a customer service rep from you know, this, the business I bought from even though as a part of their marketplace, they're only in that entire relationship, making sure things are delivered on time. So, you know, a lot of cool, cool things that can do on that.

Aaron Conant 45:54

And then just really quick, then the tie in with Myplanet, we'd love to hear you know that, you know, how are you guys are working together?

Katherine Jones 46:03

Boulder, Myplanet or? Yeah, absolutely. So we've got some shared customers who are running marketplace. And you know, similarly, fairly complicated fulfillment and other business logic. I mean, you know, the name of the game is we always say channels are a business construct, like your, your customer doesn't care. And, you know, it's funny, I, I worked for years of an organization that focused on local search. And, you know, we've done so much with franchise businesses and all of those different models. And, you know, the complexity that is, has often grown up over the years in, you know, all kinds of different locations, location and business structure, paradigms, as well as things like fulfillment, like, you know, years ago with cascade processes, rad, rather than marketplace. And for so long, those were drive conversations around your experience and your approach to technology, because they were one in the same for a while. And, you know, I think now we're really starting to see, you know, businesses say like, maybe I'm a franchise and all of my locations have a different payment gateway, but that's a me problem. How can I hide that complexity for my customer, and make it so easy and so consistent and so, so seamless? I mean, it really is the thing, nobody wants to work to check out or to do business with you. So you know, figuring that out is so essential.

Aaron Conant 47:40

Yeah, no, I completely agree. And just a quick reminder, if there's any last questions you want to get them in, you can put them in the chat or you can email them to me, Aaron, a-a-r-o-n at BWG Connect dot com. So, Mike, and Katherine, any things that you thought might come up today that that didn't in this conversation, and I'll start with you might like anything that you thought, Hey, I thought for sure this would come up, or this comes up routinely with people I'm talking to, would love to capture that. And then we can kick that over to Katherine next? Yeah, I

Mike Sanchez 48:10

think one thing that I'm not sure if it was going to come up or not, but I think the challenge of there's a lot of brands that are feeling stuck, I guess you would say I'm either on a legacy platform, feeling that they can't go and alter their Checkout, right to talk about some of the stuff Katherine and I are discussing right now. And I think, you know, there's opportunity now the way we've evolved in technology, the way we've evolved, and I'm also working with Katherine and other even other brand companies out there, where you don't have to be limited by some of those past decisions, I think you you have opportunity where you can still elevate those experiences where you are by picking, mock, you know, type technologies, which are portable, right, that can be micro service that you can take wherever they may be. And I think that's a great way, honestly, in the best approach that to start to figure out how to slowly transition your tech stack to a more modern approach, especially on a modern, more modern approach to checkout. And I think that's where a lot of brands get stuck right now, as they feel that they can't make that move. It's either all or nothing, I got to go do a massive re platform. And I'm worried that if it doesn't work out, I lose my job, I'm worried if it doesn't look at the workout that I'm gonna spend way too much money to get the return that I want to get. But instead, you have the opportunity to pick and choose a couple of different things that you feel that you want to go and innovate on. If that's a CMS, if that is a checkout, if that is you know, an order management system, there's a lot of things you can do there, then use that information then to be further educated on maybe what that further platform move needs to be. And I think that's where, you know, we've gone from where we were, where it was like all or nothing to where now you can actually pull together a couple of things and you can You have a better A better approach to a bridge to get you from point A to point B that I think wasn't available in the past.

Katherine Jones 50:07

You avoided saying strangle and replace indelicate term. But building on that I will say what we hear in so many of these conversations and some version of how do I convince my ex because as we're making these changes in the way that we do business, and we're striving for connected everywhere, consistent, easy experiences. We find our customers are working across silos much more than they have had to buying groups are more complicated. Things have gotten organizationally a little bit messier than they were so that I would say is the one thing that you are coming up against that you are not alone. You hear it all the time.

Aaron Conant 50:52

Awesome. I love it. Well, we're getting really close to time here. You know, I'll get over some really quick key takeaways. But I also want to say hey, thanks to everybody who dialed in, and thanks for sending the questions, being able to jump in and ask them and it really makes the call worth it. Also, if anybody's looking for a follow up connection, 100% worth, you know, putting some time on the calendar with Bold and myplanet the great friends, partners supporters, the network as a whole, Mike. Yeah, key takeaways here. And you know, next, you know, 30 seconds or less, then we'll get into Katherine, we'll wrap it up. Yeah,

Mike Sanchez 51:25

I would say just excited to be a part of this conversation. I think there's some incredible things have been happening in checkout. And also just in general, within the mock Alliance. I think commerce is changing for the better. It's giving more optionality putting more power into into the operators hands. So again, if anyone ever wants to go down and just even have a open free conversation, no commitment at all, just to kind of brainstorm around like Katherine are available for did chat at any time.

Katherine Jones 51:54

Yeah, absolutely, I'll, I will close with that. Be prepared for change. I think the best tech decisions we can make these days is building for future flexibility because there will be new shipping, fulfillment, payment, loyalty, you name it, changes the new normal. So organizationally, from a tech perspective, I would say Do what you can to be ready. I have foundations for that.

Aaron Conant 52:27

Awesome, love it. Well, my Katherine, thanks so much for your time today. Thanks to everybody who dialed in. Once again, encourage anybody put a follow up meeting on the calendar with Mike and Katherine. You know, pick their brains unload your your digital, you know, problems and strategies. There are two people to keep in your back pocket for sure. great people and great people to leverage across the board in the digital space. And with that, we're gonna wrap it up. hope everybody has a fantastic Tuesday. Have a great rest of your week. Everybody stay safe, take care of afford to have you on a future event. Awesome. Thanks, everybody. See you

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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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