Year of the Shopper: How Consumers Are Driving Omnichannel Disruption in 2023

Oct 24, 2022 1:30 PM2:30 PM EDT

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Key Discussion Takeaways

In the evolving digital shopping landscape, consumer sentiment and VoC (voice of the customer) are crucial in driving conversions, sales, and ROI. So, how can you measure and prioritize these key focus areas to create a customized experience for your consumers?

Developing an effective customer-centric sales model and measuring engagement rates require leveraging multiple data sources to record feedback, preferences, and expectations. Analyzing components such as ratings and reviews and conducting surveys on social media allows you to obtain specific insights to solve personal use cases and create personalized purchase experiences. When optimizing and refining these approaches, it’s essential to collaborate with internal departments and share ROI data across the organization.

In this virtual event, Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson sits down with Gautam Kanumuru and Haithem Elembaby of Yogi to discuss personalizing the shoppers’ journey using consumer sentiment and VoC approaches. Together, they share how VoC impacts eCommerce and omnichannel shopping, how to develop a consumer-centric sales model, and consumer behavior trends in 2022.

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

  • The relevance of consumer sentiment and VoC (voice of the customer)
  • How VoC impacts eCommerce and omnichannel shopping
  • Strategies for measuring consumer sentiment and prioritizing data sources
  • Developing an effective customer-centric model
  • How small retailers can address customer expectations
  • Consumer behavior trends in 2022
  • How to analyze and leverage reviews to gain consumer insights
  • What is Yogi’s origin and focus?
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Event Partners


Yogi is a product sentiment platform that enables brands to gain deeper visibility into customer feedback and voice-of-customer. We are the only tool that uses proprietary AI & NLP technology with reviews & ratings as the main data source. This enables faster and more granular analyses to uncover issues, opportunities, and trends. Brands like Tylenol, Colgate, and Nestlé use Yogi to increase conversion rates on PDPs, prioritize product improvements, and find opportunities for innovation.

Connect with Yogi

Guest Speakers

Gautam Kanumuru LinkedIn

CEO at Yogi

Gautam Kanumuru is the Co-founder and CEO of Yogi, a product sentiment analysis platform that enables brands to gain deeper visibility into customer feedback and voice-of-customer. With a background in AI and natural language processing, he played a crucial role in developing Microsoft products, including Cortana and Xbox. Before co-founding Yogi, Gautam was the Vice President of Engineering at and a Program Manager at Microsoft.

Haithem Elembaby LinkedIn

Head of Insights Partnerships at Yogi

Haithem Elembaby is the Head of Sales at Yogi. As a founding member of Alley, he helped the company generate over 25 million in revenue over the course of five years. In his role at Alley, Haithem built one of New York City’s largest email newsletters, generating over 200 million impressions through partnerships with local and global brands and influencers, including Jay-Z, Arianna Huffington, Steve Forbes, Intel, and Verizon.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

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.

Event Moderator

Gautam Kanumuru LinkedIn

CEO at Yogi

Gautam Kanumuru is the Co-founder and CEO of Yogi, a product sentiment analysis platform that enables brands to gain deeper visibility into customer feedback and voice-of-customer. With a background in AI and natural language processing, he played a crucial role in developing Microsoft products, including Cortana and Xbox. Before co-founding Yogi, Gautam was the Vice President of Engineering at and a Program Manager at Microsoft.

Haithem Elembaby LinkedIn

Head of Insights Partnerships at Yogi

Haithem Elembaby is the Head of Sales at Yogi. As a founding member of Alley, he helped the company generate over 25 million in revenue over the course of five years. In his role at Alley, Haithem built one of New York City’s largest email newsletters, generating over 200 million impressions through partnerships with local and global brands and influencers, including Jay-Z, Arianna Huffington, Steve Forbes, Intel, and Verizon.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

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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Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

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

Senior Digital Strategist Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 0:18

Happy Monday. It is Monday everyone. I am Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson, a digital strategist for BWG Connect. And for those that don't know, we are a network and knowledge sharing group. So we stay on top of the latest trends, challenges, whatever it is, that is shaping up the digital landscape. We are on track to do at least 500 events this year virtually due to the increase in demand to better understand everything in the digital space. And we will be also doing at least 100 in person small format dinners this year. So if you happen to be in a tier one city, feel free to shoot us an email and we love to send you an invite, the dinners are typically 15 to 20 people having a discussion around a certain digital topic. And it's always a fantastic time, we spend the majority of our time here at BWG stay on top of the different trends that are happening in the market. So we'd love to have a conversation with you feel free to send me an email at Tiffany And we can get some time on the calendar. These conversations are really important because we generate the topic ideas that we know people want to learn more about. And it's also where we gain our resident experts, such as Yogi who is here today. So welcome you both. Anybody that we asked to teach the collective team has come highly recommended for multiple brands within the network. So if you ever need any recommendations within the digital space, feel free to reach out, we'd be at some time in the calendar, we have a shortlist of the best of the best service providers and love to share that conversate or that information, have that conversation with you. Also, we know a lot of people are hiring right now. So do know we have a talent agency BWG talent that I'd be happy to put you in contact with as well. So a few housekeeping items. This is one hour long. We want this to be fun, engaging, conversational. So please put as many questions that you have into the chat bar, the q&a bar if you feel more comfortable, you can email me at And we will get to them. So with that, let's rock and roll and start to learn how consumers are driving the omni channel disruption in 2023 2023. Almost, it's crazy. The teammate Yogi are awesome friends in the network. So I'm going to kick it off to you guys. Gotcha hitter, if you can give introductions on yourself. And then we will dive into the information. That'd be great. Thank you so much.

Haithem Elembaby 2:36

Sure, thank you, I can go first. My name is Haithem Elembaby. I am the Head of Sales here at Yogi and very excited to be here today I've spent a little over a decade in the eCommerce CPG tech space. So definitely excited to jump into the conversation.

Gautam Kanumuru 2:53

For sure, and my name is Gautam. I'm one of the co founders and CEO of Yogi. So also extremely excited to be here. Prior to founding the company, my background is actually in AI and natural language processing. So I used to work at Microsoft on technologies like Cortana and Xbox. So I always like to say if you're having issues with any of your Microsoft products, I probably know the person that you could reach out to to try to get it fixed. So always feel free to reach out about that

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 3:21

fantastic person to know. Definitely get your number. That's awesome. Okay, so like, let's dive into the big question. The simple question is like, why now? You know, this whole concept of consumer sentiment, the Voc voice of the customer? Why is it so important today?

Gautam Kanumuru 3:44

Yeah, no, I think that's a, an awesome question to kind of start out with, honestly, I think the plain and simple answer of it is that just shopping and consumer decision making, it's kind of fundamentally changed in the past few years. So if we were to rewind, let's say, 15, or even just 10 years back, let's say I was selecting food for my newly adopted dog or some skincare products, let's say for my dry skin. The way that I would select that product, honestly, was fairly qualitative. If you think about it, I'd see some advertisements on TV that would kind of tell me, Hey, what brands are available to me. And I drive over to my local store where there might be a limited selection, walk the aisle, sort of looking at the packaging, comparing some offerings, and then eventually, I just pick one, and hope that it works. If it did great. I'm going to keep reusing it. If it didn't, then I would just restart the process over again. But now if we fast forward to 2022 and beyond, when you think about it when you play that, that experiment how the paradigm has completely changed. As a shopper, now I have almost limitless data right at my fingertips. All I have to do is kind of jump on my compete. do a quick Google search. And instantly I can find out all kinds of details about products. If I check out, let's say go on the Walmart page, or the Amazon page or the Wayfair page, whatever retailer it is, I instantly have access to hundreds honestly, if not 1000s of reviews available to me, that will really tell me everything I need to know about using the product, even before I decide to press the buy button. So is it going to work for me? Is it going to work in this specific situation? How has it been doing more recently, all of that is just honestly a few clicks and a few kind of finger taps away. And so then you also couple that with the other thing that happens with with online shopping, which is my choices are also limitless, right? It's no longer what is available at my local Target. Pretty much every brand and product that's out there, can show up at my doorstep within a few days. And so if we kind of take a step back on what that means, I guess in not so eloquent terms, just building great products, but products that truly meet the needs of the customers is more important than ever. This isn't to say that building great products, was it important before, but just that there's less to hide behind, if you will, a huge flashy marketing campaign won't actually be that effective. If the product isn't that great. Nice packaging is probably a little less important than it used to be. And brand names, frankly, they've they've been carrying a little bit less weight. So this means that kind of the whole piece of measuring customer sentiment, in order to understand whether you're really building a product that meets customer needs, where you're doing well, like where there's room for improvement, understanding all of that is obviously essential in this new shopping paradigm. And while this might kind of seem daunting, to one extent, it feels like there's a lot of change in our head. There's also a lot of excitement behind it as well. Because, yeah, we might be biased. I mean, you'll use a software platform that helps these brands measure consumer sentiment or customer sentiment across a multitude of different data points. But fundamentally, I think with change, especially change this big, comes lots of opportunity. I think in this new world, there's a lot that's up for grabs. And we've seen brands, small, medium, and large, make anything from tiny changes to big changes that have that were a result of prioritizing customer sentiment and the voice of the customer. And we've seen those changes really result in just actual tangible ROI. So in some ways, the way that we think of this, from kind of like a cyclical perspective is, everybody wins at the end, right? Like, if we listen to our customers, we're gonna build better products, we build better products, we're gonna get more sales, and the cycle keeps going. So it's tough, it's not easy. It's always everybody just wants to kind of go with gut feel that that would always be the preference. But if it's implemented in the right way, it does make a big difference.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 8:13

You brought up some really good points. You know, it's no longer about the pretty packaging, or even the brand at this point. I mean, those are major disruptors right there in general with like, traditional retail. So I have to ask them, like, how is that related to the growth of eCommerce, eCommerce and omni channel? Because those are big drivers of that change?

Gautam Kanumuru 8:34

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Um, honestly, in our head, they they're both tied at the hip. They're all they're almost one in the same. And I think it's for a lot of the reasons that I mentioned before. So some folks that we talk with, when we're talking in the context of eCommerce and omni channel, for them, it's like, Okay, what's what's really happened is, things have shifted towards digital shopping. So we need to prioritize, hate making our PDP look nice and putting images there and stuff like that, which it is. And that's important. But when you look at the macro effects of eCommerce and omni channel, what it's done, or what these waves have done is created a smarter shopper, a more empowered shopper. So this is a customer that knows what they want, that knows the various options available to them, and how to find what they want. And that knows how to do the research to make the right decisions for them. And I think that's that's also an another important point, like the research phase, honestly, isn't that daunting. There's there's a low barrier to entry if you will, within a few minutes, simply by typing something to my computer over a cup of coffee. I'm going to make a strong data driven decision on which product I'm going to buy. So when we talk about the voice of the customer in relation to kind of the growth of eCommerce and omni channel shopping In our head, they are really one in the same. Because all of these have enabled a more savvy shopper, which means customers know how well a product will work for them, how it compares to other products, all of this before deciding what to buy. And so this means that brands and manufacturers honestly, you need to understand, Voc Voc now more than ever.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 10:25

Yeah, definitely. And I look at my previous experience was working in home furnishings and looking at all the different reviews across all the channels that we worked with. And being able to aggregate that make sense of it was very daunting. So my question is, you know, how do you see brands measuring the consumer sentiment today?

Gautam Kanumuru 10:48

Yeah, um, honestly, it's, it's, it's kind of all over the place, I guess. Um, I think if we sort of reflecting on a few, sort of, of our customers, or just brands and manufacturers that we've talked with, in general, there's kind of a, a shotgun approach to it, if you will. So some brands that we've talked with, they tend to rely on focus groups to measure sentiment, for example. So they'll try their best to grab a group of recent purchasers, let's say once a month or once a quarter, and just ask kind of a standard set of set of questions. Others we've seen is kind of via reach out to their customer support team. So this one is interesting, because customer support, you would expect 99% Reach out to be negative, right? people reaching out for for a reason, very few people reach out to customer support to complement something. And so you can't really gauge the quantitative side of things of how sentiment is going. Really what we've seen brands use is, okay, hey, if I got 100 reach outs in September, and I only got 80, reach out in October, maybe that's a sign that we're more positive in October. So conceptually, that kind of makes sense. But when you think about it, there's there's a lot that goes into that maybe you sold less than October. So that's actually why less people are reaching out to you. So again, it's a step in the right direction, but not always the silver bullet answer. And then we have others that tend to rely on surveys, especially these these NPS surveys, everybody's kind of talking about NPS these days. And while that can work well, for companies with their own sort of b2c sites are that generate a lot of sales through through their DTC sites, for larger brands that kind of sell through retailers, so take your Colgate and your Nestle's and your Johnson and Johnson's of the world they don't. Or being able to administer the surveys and a good way. Is it difficult is difficult, right? Because they don't really have that direct line to the customer. And I think that's sort of the fundamental piece with with all of this customer sentiment, especially in the consumer goods space. Because for so many of these companies, you really have to sell through different channels like Amazon, and Walmart, and target and Wayfair. Also support, like so many. And while these channels and retailers are great partners, that they can help move a lot of product. The other thing that they do is they prevent a lot of brands from having a direct relationship with their customers. So the tough part really becomes with accurately measuring consumer sentiment or customer sentiment is picking the right balance of of data sources to be able to get that accurate measure instead of just relying on on one specific silver bullet,

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 13:54

if you will. That's such a great point about you're not able to see the full picture when you're working with those major retailers, but they are a critical part of your ecosystem. So great point. The you do want to remind everybody, if you have any questions, you know, put them in the chat now in the q&a, and we will get to them. So Haithem maybe this is a question for you is the data source? You know, there's so many sources like what should a brand a business be prioritizing?

Haithem Elembaby 13:54

Yeah, no, it's a great question. And there are multiple data sources obviously out there. I wouldn't necessarily say that there's one data source. That's right, for every single brand, right? It largely depends a lot of times on what sector you're in. So for example, in travel, social media can be a great source for customer sentiment surveys can do well there as well. But as both and alluded to earlier, I would be careful just in terms of the questions you're asking how you're asking people to answer those questions, etc. To get a sense of how predictive they can be when it comes to surveys for CPG brands in particular who we work with it most often its ratings and reviews, social media, to some extent focus groups as well. Each of them have their own pros and cons, right. So for example, for a CPG, brand social can be a great way to pick up on industry trends, right, assuming you have a automated, scalable way to weed out the noise that can exist within social, you can see some trending topics in there good opportunities to capitalize. focus groups and surveys are also great, especially when you have special projects or new product launches coming up, I will say you want to be careful about how expensive and time consuming they can become. We've seen a lot of our clients cut back in these areas, especially during like tough economic times, reviews and ratings, especially over the last few years with eCommerce accelerating so much, has really emerged as a very rich data set. And if you're using the right technology that allows you to get like that granular view, you can expose a lot of hidden issues, opportunities, trends, that can help with decision making across the org, right, whether it's product positioning, messaging, marketing, spend optimization, new product, innovation, things like that. I think at the end of the day, the more data the better. But the more specific, the better. So what I mean is to have a strategic technology stack in place that will help you aggregate all that data, organize it, you know, make some meaning of it, analyze it in a way that your team is set up to actually make decisions off of it. I really believe that any org that sells a product or service should be obsessed with making the customer involved in every decision that they make. So the more data and the more specific that data we have the better. Yeah, and

Gautam Kanumuru 16:46

I think Haithem brings up another really good point that he alluded to in the beginning, which is frequency and time is also super, super important. But with this, because the other thing that happens in the sort of like digital shopping age is things move a lot faster, right. So being more agile as a team just just becomes more important because there's like, the great thing is, hey, I can change my PDP right now within five minutes, if I want to change what image is showing up on on Amazon. So one, and that's great for moving fast. But on the other end, it opens up a whole new slew of decisions and processes that that needs to be emphasized because of that, but because things are moving so fast in this in this new age, having sources or platforms that you can rely on to instantaneously get the answer of what's happening now is also very, very important. So like this really is the case where pay, it's no longer about getting information on what happened in September, by the end of October, you actually kind of know want to know what happened at the end of September by October 1 kind of thing, or what happened yesterday, by the time 1201 A M kind of comes about. So that's another really important piece to this as well, that I think is as, as organizations we've been seeing have becoming becoming more agile and faster, this is starting to become a priority. But it's always worth taking that into account from the beginning, when we think about hey, how are we going to measure customer sentiment is future proofing it a bit of like, hey, we can't think on the quarter scale a month scale, we really need to take think on kind of like the week or even the day scale of things.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 18:38

Which in theory sounds fantastic, and totally makes sense. But then looking at like the reality side of like, teams are strapped, you know, bandwidth is tight. And like how, how did these brands like what have you seen and been able to be able to push towards being that like customer obsessed model? And winning at that?

Haithem Elembaby 18:58

Yeah, I think, you know, just with like, like with a lot of things, it's going to start with leadership, right kind of the executives really buying in. And then it goes down to that technology, the team process and then following through and measuring the results, right. So for example, one of our customers, Johnson and Johnson has multiple data sources, speeding insights across their teams, right, from EECOM, to marketing, digital product, etc. And they're great, because j&j really understands how important it is to be customer centric and a lot of time and money goes into developing these products, right. So the earlier they can remove those unknowns and get it right, the less waste they'll have. So when you speak with the most senior leaders at j&j, you know, they'll tell you that customer centricity is a core part of their growth strategy. And they recognize that in order to keep growing in a very competitive market, being close to your customers is key. And you can see this in the way that they manage their tech stack for example, right so they have Have a specialized technology for each data source they collect. And, you know, when I say specialized here, they're not hacking together tools that are, you know, kind of good at everything, but not like super good at anything, they really like double down on social and a social tool. They distributed and analyzed surveys with a survey tool, they aggregate and go deeper into reviews with Yogi's reviews analytics tool. And, you know, I understand it's not ideal to have like multiple tools and vendors and dashboards, etc. But that's why we we've actually seen a lot of our customers start to categorize the tools they use based on the questions that they need answered. So for example, if they need to know x, they'll go to social media and that their place, right, they need to know why they'll go to reviews and so on. Church, and Dwight is another great example of this one of our clients that they do this well, and they do it across the org, with a lot of success. And I think the follow through is a big part of that, like I mentioned, so, like measuring that success, like sharing, and tracking and sharing the ROI across the organization to get it as visible, is visible as possible, you want to make sure there's a system in place for that. And consistency is the key, you know, that's come up a few times here. And you know, it's fun, right, like, have fun with it, because the CPG eCommerce space is changing a lot. You know, we're lucky to be a part of it. You know, I think one other point that I'll make, that's also just very important, I think sometimes it's overlooked, and Gautam touched on it briefly. In the beginning, when you think about the amount of information we have access to, not every product or brand is right, for every customer, right? Like we all want to believe that our products are the best. And, you know, every customer should choose us over a competitor. But the reality is that there are nuances, you know, like skin shades, hair types, for example, with beauty and personal care or screen resolution compatibility with like televisions or laptops, etc. Sometimes consumers are looking for very specific things in the products they buy. And that's why you know, the more specific you can get with your data analysis and the actions you're taking, and really pinpoint who your ideal customers are, and, and help them solve those use cases that are personal to them, you'll be able to sell a lot more and drive way more positive purchase and post purchase experience. Because you know, I'm doing a lot of research before I buy something, I'm spoiled, I have access to all the information. So I think it would make sense for the brand to do that same level of research on me with the publicly available data that's out there.

Gautam Kanumuru 22:32

Yeah, and I think to add to that, sort of like how we've seen this play out in some of our customers, some of the brands or manufacturers that we work with is if you kind of think of it from the perspective of every brand out there wants to be customer obsessed, there's no brand out there that isn't like, hey, we need to listen to our customers more. But when this plays out on kind of a practical and from a top down leadership perspective, what becomes important is every team, the product team, the customer support teams, the eCommerce team, they all have their own own behaviors, and you can't just come in and say, Oh, you, everyone has to be customer obsessed now, like, cool, and then walk away kind of thing. So it really starts to become like, small wins to medium wins to big wins kind of kind of build out where it's like, okay, hey, we're just going to share out what's happening from a customer sentiment perspective across the orange or some Power BI or Domo dashboards, or here's some dashboards of emails that go out. So the visibility is there, then it becomes part of like, okay, what are some small changes that we can make from this, and often it ends up revolving around, hey, here's a few product pages on Amazon or Walmart that we should update based on what people are saying, Hey, I've been really talking about how good our product smells, but in reality, like that's not a differentiation point, our texture or how much the product foams are, or how healthy our dog's teeth are, after they use the product is really what people care about, based on what we're hearing from from our customers. And so, that ends up pay small when you see some conversion rate changes, then you can do like, medium wins, hey, marketing changes that you can make claims optimization that you can do that then lead to Hey, bigger changes we should make on the product or even bigger bets we should make from an innovation perspective. So inherently, I think no one will. Everyone will agree that like voice of the customer, customer sentiment should play a role in every piece of the organization, but it shouldn't be a one shot kind of and things are good to go there's a build up that's kind of required within within a lot of orgs from from a behavior standpoint.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 24:56

And you both have really great points of the having fun with That's too and then like be little steps and building up. So I think one thing that organically happens, and I witnessed this, in my organization is when you put the customer center and you start to build the data around that the traditional silos and walls of different departments start to diminish, because you have those wins together. And you start to tie in that marketing team that maybe never talked to the up, seen the QC team, the customer service team, and they all have things to offer. And I've watched it, you know, holistically just help the organization as a whole thing bigger than in the traditional sense of retail, where everybody kind of stayed in their lane. This is their silo, but eCommerce we all know is not like that. And so that's definitely a cultural shift. For organizations, I hear a lot of that, you know, that's been a challenge. So this is the beauty because you can do it very subtly. And you're helping everyone it's a win win across the board for all that's involved. Fantastic. So for those guys that don't deem this important, those brands are like, we don't need to do this, we're fine. You know, where do you see them? In 2023 and beyond?

Haithem Elembaby 26:16

I can take that one. It's sort of, we hear this often like kind of that status quo cost of inaction, if you will. Unfortunately, what we've seen is, like a couple things, one is stagnant growth, right, you'll get a lot of flat years and more on a day to day basis, just a lot of unanswered questions. lost sales, obviously, that could have been avoided mismatching on customer expectations, like overspending in areas that don't have that like bang for the buck, right? These are all things that you can avoid, by really like understanding your customer. And it's leading to a lot of frustration. Unfortunately, I've even had some peers who have been laid off as a result of it, unfortunately, things of that nature. You know, as like, if you think about it, that just as a practitioner, if I'm able to use data, to back up my decisions, and I can track the impact that those decisions are having on customer sentiment, I'm in a much better position than my peers who are not doing this, right. And again, the market has become so competitive today, and continues to get more. And in many cases, you know, brand loyalty has just gone out the window, like in some cases, it still exists, but it's much more rare, much more difficult to hang on to. And as consumers, we have access to infinite amounts of information, as we've touched upon, and we want to avoid those negative experiences, we don't want to waste our time, we want to help others do the same. So the power dynamics have shifted. And I truly believe that with the proper data analysis and action on that data, we can transfer some of this power back to the brands. And that's why I'm excited every day to work with so many companies that recognize and prioritize this.

Gautam Kanumuru 27:59

Yep. And I think it's also it's a slow burn, right? This isn't like, we're gonna go to sleep today and wake up tomorrow. And like, everything's out the window like this, this is going to be not even months, probably years in the making, but you will see kind of that, like, sandpaper, if you will, like the wear down start to start to happen. And so inevitably, what happens with these kinds of changes is there's brands and manufacturers and companies that catch on to it early that take advantage of the wave and there's one that deprioritize it and start to kind of fall down. Me coming from a tech background, IBM is always kind of a good example of that, that just absolutely dominate the tech industry. So I think that's another thing to kind of keep in mind and have sort of brands sort of take advantage of the ones that do prioritize this. There will be market share kind of up for grabs. It's not just about retaining what you have, but you will be able to gain on competitors as well. Awesome.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 29:10

Well, we have a question from the audience here. So the question is what's happening with small retailers with physical store friends? What features are they now building into their websites to address their customer expectations in a post COVID environment?

Gautam Kanumuru 29:28

Yeah, no that's a that's actually a really really great question I think the what we've seen is almost a it's a parallel for how these smaller storefronts used to differentiate from your larger ones right you have your Walmart's and targets where you can go you can get anything you have your selection, but if I'm gonna go to my local pet store for for example, I'm doing so for a more personalized experience out there's a better chance I'm going to know those people around that they're gonna be able to kind of tailor suggestions to my needs will take into account kind of feedback that I have much faster than Walmart or Target would. And so when it comes to the website, storefront, like, yeah, they probably won't have the flashiest websites compared to a Walmart or an Amazon. But one great example is kind of like a chatbot, that does actually directly connect with somebody at the store. While the store is open, like that is one example of things that we've seen. So there's that direct, like, Hey, I'm actually having a conversation with somebody that I might actually recognize when when I go into a store. So it is a lot more about maybe like a hand holding kind of like personalized experience, if you will not personalize the algorithms that are putting images in certain places to convert better, but just having a little bit more of that. homely I'm getting, I'm getting the attention, I need, sort of sort of feel. So those are the kinds of things that we've started to see implement in the in the smaller company.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 31:08

You back, thank you. So for 2022 any notable trends you've seen thus far?

Gautam Kanumuru 31:15

Yeah, no, that's a that's a great question, there's actually been, there's been a few, but two, kind of surprising ones actually kind of kind of come to mind. The first one is actually a subtlety around price and value sentiment. So one of the themes that we're always tracking on our end for all of our customers is the sentiment around price and value. And so while inflation is definitely playing a role, and all signs are pointing to a looming, or depending on who you talk to, you already hear kind of recession, we have seen some actually really interesting behavior on price and value, the sentiment around price and value. So typical kind of thought would be, hey, as things are getting more expensive, you think that the sentiment for this theme would go down. But what we've actually seen for a lot of our customers is it actually kind of held steady. And for products that are really just killing it from a from a sentiment perspective, or just really meeting the needs needs of like I was saying kind of nuanced customers, the sentiment of it is actually going up from a price value perspective. And so that might be counterintuitive. But what we've seen after kind of diving deeper into it is it actually kind of makes sense, because the truth is, is that everything has gone up, right, the price of everything from gas to groceries to goods, has has risen. And so because of that these rising prices are somewhat universal. So instead, what we're seeing is customers are now leaning into products that are giving them the positive sentiment that they need. Because they're affiliating it with higher quality. So now it becomes, oh, I have these $10 to spend, I used to be able to get four things, now I can get three things, the thing that's going to get that the highest level, or putting it another way, it's sort of this behavior of like, hey, everything's more expensive, but at least I know I'm getting something good with with this purchase. And so that's that's definitely been kind of an interesting behavior we've seen, especially with kind of economic conditions the way that they are. The other one, and this actually relates to the real time nature of this information is the drastic effect of negative feedback. And so we've seen this kind of pop up in 2022, which is how quickly negative feedback can bring down a product. So what this actually relates to is, is shopper behaviors when they're on an eCommerce site. So like reviews and ratings are read by anywhere between 80 and 90% of shoppers before they make a purchase. And the most common option selected when looking at reviews is most recent. And so what what really ends up happening is if there's a wave of let's say, three or four consecutive one or two star reviews that you get, this has the chance of driving a lot of potential purchasers or way despite what your overall star rating might be. And the way that a lot of shoppers would interpret this is like hey, maybe this product used to be good, but it's not doing so well. Any any more. And maybe I can actually let me see if I can show a quick example of this. Yeah, that'd be awesome. Um, so here's here's actually like a like an interesting example we have wellness software. Be by its natural grain treats for trading. If we hover over the star rating, here, we see a 4.6 out of five star rating. So me as a purchaser, if I'm looking for for treats for my puppy, this would definitely be one of the top consideration points. But now if I go ahead and jump here and do our most recent breakdown, what I actually sees a wave of three star than one star than one star than two star reviews, right? So now instantly where my head goes is okay, out of the, let's say, eight or 10, most recent reviews, half of them are one star, two star reviews, instantly, what I'm thinking is, um, I'll probably pass and find something who's more recent feedback has been more positive, let's say. And so this is one where again, this is a product that's doing great, awesome star rating, generating lots of sales, but very quickly in the period of, we can see these three reviews have come within two days of each other, or these four reviews have come within two days, this has the chance to really start affecting conversion rates and stuff like that. So it it it definitely goes back, or ties very heavily to the real time nature of this and the importance of just how fast things move in the space. So an average

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 36:29

consumer is more apt now to look at the most recent reviews versus in the past, it was at auto like almost irrelevant. Yep. They've caught on that is so interesting to me. Because I living and breathing in the world that we work in, I always would go into Mark most recent but I always had in the back of my brain like well, probably because I know about production runs supply chain, what was like all of this, I have that Intel. But now it is like the consumer has been through a lot in the last few years and is savvy enough to know where to look? Yep,

Gautam Kanumuru 37:06

yep, exactly. And if you if you think about it, it's it's not hard, right? It takes two seconds to change the view from most are like most relevant to most recent kinds of things. So because it takes almost zero effort. It's easy for consumers to catch on.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 37:26

Yeah, exactly. Because back in the olden days, 10 years ago, we really didn't have to worry about that much. It was my scrabbling was king. And this is but yeah, very interesting. Cool. So how have you seen this make a difference with the brands that you've worked with?

Gautam Kanumuru 37:44

Yeah, no, I think that's another great question. And honestly, I think maybe the, the, there's probably actually a few examples that that maybe we can show to drive that home. Go ahead and share my screen again. So these are actually just kind of like a few cherry picked examples. But at the end of the day, it is changes kind of across the board. So this is a great one from Tylenol one, one of our customers at Johnson and Johnson were in the beginning of 2021, they released something called the Tylenol dissolve that which is a powdered version of Tylenol that is meant to be kind of ripped open and just pour it in your mouth. And so new product innovation, lots of marketing dollars, that Tylenol kind of throughout this product, but upon release, it actually wasn't doing that well. And so there's a lot of questions as to why like, Hey, did we just miss on kind of the innovation or maybe our marketing is strong. But within a few minutes of the team kind of diving into Yogi they noticed two things. First, is that how fast this product worked was a huge point of positive sentiment for this product, people felt like, Hey, this is in powder format, the fastest working version of Tylenol I've ever used. The second is that 80% of negative sentiment was generated for comments about the format. Specifically what it turned out is people were ripping the packet open and then pouring it in water and the product was not made to dissolve in water, it would just the powder would just sit at the top of the water. And so that is one where it's just purely a mismatch of expectations. So what the team did is instantly kind of changed their PDP but also kind of marketing language around Hey, no water needed. This image is plastered all over the place for the marketing now and then you'll see dissolves in seconds introduced kind of throughout their claims. And what it resulted in is actually a one star increase in organic star rating, just purely no marketing dollars, no promotion, nothing thrown thrown behind it. So this is an example of kind of those like small wins, if you will, right. Hey, something's underperforming literally within 2030 Min. So we can figure out what's happening from really granular perspective and make changes that can hit in days as opposed to weeks, months or years. I think another another interesting one is Tula is a skincare company based in New York City. They're another brand that we work with, where, during COVID, what they saw in kind of their UGC is that the amount of people talking about blue light protection greatly increased around COVID. So the idea is, hey, I'm sitting at home, I have to work from home, now I'm in front of my laptop, what does that blue light going to do to my skin. So seeing that, they were able to kind of readjust some of the claims for their sunscreen product around blue light protection, which is another like interesting sort of opportunity, a little bit more medium term, but is definitely interesting. Like, something that definitely takes into account how consumers are talking about things. And then the third example that we can kind of talk through is Nestle. So that's they actually have it as a few use cases. But one of my personal favorites, because I would not have thought of this. And I personally, am not a consumer of a product like this is their Nesquik of vanilla syrup. And so this is one where Nesquik is, is always been marketed towards kids, right, it's always about kind of chocolate milk or different flavored milks. But um, one of the things that the team found using Yogi is a lot of parents were talking about, hey, I bought this for my kid. But now I'm using it instead of coffee creamer. And for my morning coffee, it just gonna add like a little splash of vanilla. And so now that becomes something that the Nesquik team is trying to figure out how to how to kind of market that accordingly. But again, that's one where nobody would ever kind of think about that. But just by purely kind of keeping your ear open having the data come in, you're able to pick up on something that can make a lot of difference for for your, for your team. And so the way that I would really kind of like, boil this down, if if I were to go, kind of like more at a 10,000 foot level, I would say the way that this has worked out for brands is kind of been across three, three factors. The first one is just confidence, right? Like we have data to back up, why something is happening. Because when you see kind of a drop in sales or a marketing campaign not work as well as you think there's 1000 different reasons why. And just being able to hone in and focus on the handful that could actually make a difference is 90% of the job. So just having confidence around why things are happening. The second one is prioritization. And so this is super important, right? Every team only has a limited amount of time and resources and human capital that they can put put to things. And so one of the things that happens when you do Voc and and customer sentiment well is you take into account the market. So it's not just hey, people are complaining. So a good example, Hey, for our toothpaste product, about 8% of people are complaining about the aftertaste. If you if you kind of see a couple posts or a couple of customer support tickets come in about that you're suddenly like, oh, wow, everything's going wrong. Let me prioritize that. But then when you can look at the market and be like, hey, but the market average is 12% per aftertaste complaints, then suddenly becomes like an okay. Yes. The fact that there's complaints is not ideal. But in the grand scheme of things, there's probably something else that I can prioritize, that's going to be a better use of my time and money and resources, that will make a bigger difference. And so that prioritization is a huge second second piece, especially as as things are, there's so many things to do so many decisions to make. And then the third one is just opportunity, right? I think that Nesquik one is a good example where there's always opportunities to innovate from a marketing perspective, from an eCommerce perspective, from a product perspective in general. And so just being able to see, hey, here's a common complaint about every offering on the market. Now, that is something that if we can really fix that problem for people, it will make a big difference, right? I think one that we've started to see in the cleaner space, for example, is everyone's like, Oh, yeah, my, my house has never smelled better never been as clean. I'm just throwing like 10 Different massive containers in the recycling bin. I feel like I'm kind of like hurting the environment, right. So that's something that's universal, regardless of how well your product smells or how well it cleans. And now we're starting to see the introduction of like concentrates and refillable packets and stuff like that start to pop up. And so those are really kind of three columns. Yeah,

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 45:01

so excited in the prioritization from Team and morale that is so massive, because perception, you know, if you're working in customer service, and you're seeing, you know, 10 tickets come through that day about a certain night, that is your top of mind biggest problem ever. But having that data to prove like, hey, in the big scope of things, it's okay. You know, we're not a horrible product without horrible service. This just happened, the numbers aligned today. And tomorrow, it's going to be different. So very cool. We have another question here. And we're getting up to less than 12 minutes. So how do I love this question? What's the six verse small number of reviews? Where one review can take that product? I have been there? Yes, please.

Gautam Kanumuru 45:45

Yeah, yeah, no, no, it's a it's definitely a good question. And review volume in general is always an interesting conversation. So pretty much what I would say is there's there's two mechanisms that you can take advantage of, in these cases. The first one, and this is something that a couple of our more, let's say, like, advanced or some of the customers that we work with, I really liked to experiment, they do kind of focus on review to purchase ratio, if you will. So they almost want to be like, hey, we want if one out of every 100 People that buy the product, right? Or review, how do we get it to like three, or four or five or something like that, because what that'll eventually fix is the overall small number of reviews issued, because that naturally will build on on itself. And so the mechanisms that are kind of in place, there's, there's a lot of simple things you can do around just review requests, if you will, like, Hey, you can even sort of trigger this an Amazon of two weeks after then four weeks after then kind of six weeks after requesting, hey, write a review, please write a review, kind of thing. So that's kind of on the smaller mechanisms side. The other side is there are kind of startups that we've been seeing a few that we kind of, like partner with, or have worked with that revolve around kind of like promotional reviews, and like free sampling programs to just get the review count up in a short period of time. And so there's big ones like Influenster, that's, that's owned by Bizarre Voice, but then a few others that are working on very niche. Retailers, like a few that we know that focus on the Amazon front. So that's another apologies for my dog in the background. But that's a that's another ideas too. Yeah. We all know, exactly, he definitely wants to contribute, but But ya know, that's, that's another mechanism that you can kind of tend to take advantage of, as well. And we're always kind of like, happy to discuss that more.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 48:02

The sample in programs like the influenza, definitely have experience with that, which is great for lower price points. But if you're selling at a higher price point, I know. Yeah, it gets spendy. Pretty quick.

Gautam Kanumuru 48:13

That's true. Yep. And what we see though, is, this is actually an interesting thing we've seen as well, the that ratio that I was talking about of reviewers to purchasers, it actually does trend up naturally with higher priced products. Because when somebody's going to buy a TV, they're not just going to go on Amazon, look at three and select the one to buy, they're going to Google other places, they're going to look for professional reviews, expert reviews, and stuff like that. And when a request for that person to write a review comes in, they are a little bit more willing to contribute because they benefited from from the experience. So so that's the that's the other piece, as well. Yep.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 48:57

Very good. So understanding both your backgrounds and now understanding the What does Yogi do? And like, why did you focus on this area of the digital industry? To create a solution? Four? Definitely curious.

Haithem Elembaby 49:15

Yeah, I can kind of take, you know, the first part of that. So you know, we've been talking a lot about understanding voice of customer and, you know, involving them in decisions. And obviously, there's multiple ways to do that through like customer support and surveys and focus groups Yogi is able to analyze those sources. Now, what we have found is, when you isolate reviews, in particular, they are a very rich data source. You know, as we as we mentioned a little bit earlier, it's it's going to give you very deep insights into what your customers want across a number of different facets. And so, while we are able to analyze social media sentiment, surveys, focus group data, etc. We are one of the only tools in the market that goes way deeper into reviews. And essentially what we do is kind of across three steps. So first, we're just going to pull in all of the brands reviews off of every retailer that were there sold, including Amazon, for example. We also can do the same with competitive brands as well for benchmarking, and we aggregate all the reviews in one place. And then we have an AI and natural language processing technology that will start to organize those reviews and go very deep into analyzing customer sentiment across topics of conversation across retailers, across competitors, etc. And then we uncover those issues, opportunities and trends, and we share those insights across the organization. So when it comes to product positioning, messaging, marketing, messaging, claims, etc, stuff like that. New product innovation, improving current products, we are able to help our customers across a number of different areas. And that's essentially what the Yogi technology platform does.

Gautam Kanumuru 51:00

And yeah, and I think why why we got into it, it's always an interesting story. So there's the I can spend hours just talking about kind of the founder journey, the we did everything from like, build websites for people, for people to sport thing, cryptocurrency, day trading to sport ourselves in the early days and stuff like that. So there's interesting stories there. But the origin for Yogi honestly, also came from, like me and my co founders experience prior to founding the company. So when I was at Microsoft, for example, they have a great beta testing community. So you can get feedback from 1000s of people on any feature that you're testing. But the way that this feedback would be shared back with, with feature teams like us is literally just a CSV of rows of comments. And that's the same challenge that you can think of from a brand perspective as well, right? That aggregation of feedback, it's important, it needs to be done, it needs to be accurate, but that's only 1/3 of the problem. Sifting through all that information and synthesizing that into what's good, what's bad, what do we have to fix? What's your priority, what isn't a priority, that's where the tough piece comes in. So us being kind of an engineering team there, we weren't going to read everything. So we just hack up some tools to kind of summarize the data for us and kind of a quick way. And that kind of became the nucleus for what, what Yogi is now. And yeah, and we see it over and over again, Microsoft's now a customer of ours. But this is something that all companies, especially those that are consumer facing, which if you think about it, they shouldn't be some of the most customer obsessed manufacturers in the world. But it is a universal problem that that people are very interested in.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 52:57

Thank you for sharing. And isn't it ironic that like, historically, retail and like trying to get into the customers brain? And what are they thinking, you know, what did they want, and now we have it, but now it's like, now you gotta really dig, dissect, aggregate, clean the data and make the story. So we got it, we got what we wished for finally, but we're gonna have to work for it a little bit. So one more question here before we wrap up, so would be into so questions about pricing. And we will be doing follow up correspondence after this with the younger team. And it's a great discussion. So yes, I would definitely echo that this was super interesting. I want to say huge things to hide them and got through them. This was very cool way to start the week. We definitely encourage a follow up conversation with the yogi team. We'd love to have a conversation with you. It's how we get the content for our future events. So feel free to email me And, yeah, was that a great way to end the session, wonderful compliment. So have a wonderful week. Take care of yourself, take care of somebody else if you can, and we will see you on the next event. I

Gautam Kanumuru 54:11

have a great week everyone. Take care

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