108: Secrets of a Master Merchant: How To Turn One Purchase Into Many (Instantly)
Posted by May 19, 2016on
We have an honest conversation about success, managing lifestyle vs profit, marketing strategies, building a ROCKSTAR team and so much more. Ezra has a unique perspective toward building teams and walks through his process highlighting the common mistakes.
A lot of people are confusing up-sell and cross-sells in today’s ecommerce market. Ezra sheds light on what exactly they are and what is working (and what’s not) for his product based businesses.
**Even if you think an upsell won’t work for you… Ezra has some advice you need to hear.
Key Takeaways from the Show
- How to Implement Upselling
- Difference between Upselling, Down-selling and Cross-selling
- How you can use the above tactics to boost sales in your business
- 1 – Click Post Purchase Emails
- We go over Integrative Social Commerce and how it will change your online e-commerce business.
Links / Resources
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Austin: Hey, what’s up everybody? This is Austin Brawner, the host of Ecommerce Influence Podcast. Welcome back. I am excited to have you guys here with me today, got a great episode for you. This is an episode with a guest who has been on the show before; somebody you might know, somebody I respect, has been on the show about two years ago and is coming back to chat with you guys about up-selling, cross-selling, these things that happen in the offline world, and in the information marketing world and how they translate to ecommerce Some of the stuff we talk about is fantastic. He talks about how he implemented up-selling and then had to actually shut it down because he grew his business from four million to 18 million in about a year, a massive growth. Our guest is the one and only, Ezra Firestone. Like I said, I am pumped to have him back. Before we hop into the episode and before we get going on a couple of things, I want to share a couple of things I am pumped up about this week.
I just downloaded something called Overcast. I’ve got an iPhone, I listen to podcasts myself, and I hate the podcasts out there. It’s terrible. It’s really hard to find new episodes. I downloaded Overcast on a recommendation from a friend from a long time ago and it is awesome. It is an app, makes it much easier to download podcasts, keep them organized. I am pumped up about it. The other thing I want to share with you guys is, our first ever sponsorship. I got reached out by a company called Sanebox who I have been using to manage my email inbox for the last three years. I actually used to work next to their headquarters when I was in Santa Monica.
They are an awesome company; they really help you clean up your inbox. I really don’t like email. I’m not a fan and what sandbox does, it takes all your emails – say you get a hundred emails, it sorts them, puts them into different folders for you based on priority. So, the ones that you like, the good ones, the ones from your team, the ones from your mom, the ones from your friends, they go to one folder and the rest, they go to different ones: either news or later folder. The marketing ones go to a different folder, then the other ones. It’s fantastic. It just cuts down on the amount of email that I have. You can check it out if you go to Sanebox.com/influence. They hooked me up to give you guys a little free trial and a 15-dollar credit towards your subscription. It basically gets you two months for free. So, go check it out; again, that’s Sanebox.com/influence. The reason why I took them on as a sponsor is because I love their product and it works really, really well.
So, let’s get into it, we cover a lot of great stuff in this episode. Ezra covers, like I mentioned, up-selling, down-selling, cross-selling, the difference between those three and how you can use them to boost sales in your business. We also talk about just the mistakes people make in this process. We talk about post-purchase emails, one-click post-purchase emails that allow you to send out and have somebody make a purchase. He talks about content marketing on the backend through evergreen webinars that he uses to promote ecommerce stuff. This is really interesting, revolutionary stuff, had a great time in the interview. He also talks about something called integrated social commerce, ISC, which is going to be changing the way that we get people to make purchases. I think you guys are really going to enjoy this interview. Before I keep rambling on, why don’t we just get started here?
So, I’ll give you guys a little intro to Ezra if you don’t know who he is. Ezra is the founder of smarketer.com and Ecommerce Expert. He’s been working in ecommerce for over a decade. He is thought by many people, to be the leading ecommerce expert in the world. He is the owner and operator of several seven and eight-figure businesses and uses the insight he gains from these businesses to produce his courses on smartmarketer.com. I’m actually going to be speaking at his conference, eCommerce All-Stars, San Diego on August 4th and 5th and we chat a little bit about that. If you haven’t brought a ticket to that yet, go to his website smartmarketer.com, sign up and come to the conference. We would love to see you guys there we are going to be talking about email marketing. Let’s get to the meat of this thing because Ezra brings a ton of value as always, and I’m happy to have him on the show.
Ezra: Yeah man, super happy to be here. I love ecommerce, I love influencers, so it should be a good show.
Austin: Good; I’m pumped up to have you back. It’s been a little while, it’s been almost two years since you were on the first episode.
Ezra: Two years? Damn, dude we’ve been in the game for a while now. How long has it been since you came to my place in Brooklyn?
Austin: Two years, I think.
Ezra: Wow, that’s amazing; good for us for sticking around.
Austin: I know, it moves very, very quickly. You don’t realize it and then, Boom, a year is gone.
Ezra: The next thing you know, it’s two years later and it’s 2016. Someone was saying something about how the year 2000 was 16 years ago, and I just had to stop for a second and kind of freak out a little bit.
Austin: Yes, that’s crazy. That’s over half of my life.
Ezra: I know, we were like 13 in the year 2000.
Austin: Yes, it’s wild. I remember the whole countdown thing –
Ezra: I was terrified of the Y2K bug man. They freaked me out pretty good with that whole hustle. You know how much water and [beep] they sold? Pardon my language. All the grocery stores – it was the greatest hustle ever. They sold so much stuff with that whole scarcity. You know, you need to get everything before the countdown timer happens. It goes right into time constraints and how well they work.
Austin: It’s mind-blowing that we actually deal with that. We didn’t know what was going to happen. We can’t visualize that anymore, but that was what was happening on the last day. We were like, we don’t know what was going to happen at midnight. We had no idea.
Ezra: Well, then you got the conspiracy theorists out there, which I am not one of, by the way, but you do have these guys and gals, who are saying that “Oh, we did know what was going to happen but we just wanted to sell a bunch of stuff.” Just stimulate the economy. Which, if that is what happened, then that’s genius first of all, but I don’t know. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, so whatever.
Austin: Well, I’ve given our listeners a little bit of a background, but I’d love it if you took half a minute and gave –
Ezra: Half a minute, not 30 seconds?
Austin: Half a minute and give yourself a rundown.
Ezra: Yes, I’m a dude, you know, I’m a guy – yeah, sorry, I didn’t even listen to what you wanted me to say, go ahead, I totally interrupted you.
Austin: I just wanted to say, give us a breakdown of who you are, personally and professionally.
Ezra: Sure, thanks. So, personally, I am a married, 29-year-old male who lives – sounds like a dating profile, who lives in New York State, pretty close to the city. I enjoy long walks in the forest and hanging out with my wife. Professionally, I’ve run a bunch of ecommerce businesses. I’ve got one business that’s doing about a million-and-a-half a month which is fantastic. I’ve got another business doing about a million a year, I’ve got another business that just started, that will be around 250,000 this year and I’ve got a couple of other little projects that I’m dabbling in. I also have a website called smartmarketer.com where I document what’s working in my ecommerce businesses and share that with entrepreneurs and business owners. Through smartmarketer.com, I offer informational training courses on how to do what I’m doing as well as software as a service to help you grow your ecommerce business through a subsidy area of Smart Marketer called zipify.com.
Austin: You have a lot going on man, I got a lot of respect for you because you’ve got a ton of projects, but somehow, you seem to remain kind of calm and not so trapped in your business. How do you do that? How do you continue to be flexible while running all these projects?
Ezra: Well, I think it comes down to what my core agenda is. From the beginning, I am interested in lifestyle over money. Every time I have the opportunity to choose money over lifestyle, I choose a lifestyle. I’m not going to do anything that makes me miserable, that has me working more than I want to be working. That doesn’t mean that I don’t work really hard; it just means that at the end of the day what I’m optimizing for is to be at home with my wife, to be only working in the mornings and the afternoons because I don’t really like working at night, to have enough time and energy to do the other things in my life that I’m interested in. So, I’m interested in building my business to support my life and I think that a lot of people are out there just hungry.
They are hungry and so they are like, “I’m going to do everything to build my business that I can because I’m feeling pain in a bunch of areas in my life. I can’t pay my bills, I’m working a job I hate –” or whatever. So, when you are hungry, then business is just like, do whatever you can to make it work. Once you get to this place of where you are not hungry anymore, then you have the opportunity to optimize your workflow. It comes down to the ability to delegate and also just a straight-up decision to get as much done as you get done in the time that you have allotted to work and then put that stuff down. Let it go. Move on to put your attention on something else in your life because ultimately what is fulfilling is not a success. I mean, success is cool and you are sold by the society that success will bring you fulfillment. To some degree, money can buy you some comfort.
You can buy some comfort; you can buy some nice clothes, you can buy some nice food, you can buy a nice car. There’s this study out there that says, after 75,000 dollars, in this society, in the American economy, you are not going to get any happier having more money. So, happiness is really about – pleasure for me is really about the things that I am interested in my life, which is my relationship with my wife and my intimacy and my connection to my friends, my hobbies and interests like jujitsu and playing the ukulele and also actually my business. I love this stuff so I really enjoy doing it. I think it’s a decision and I’ve been talking a lot to some folks in my mastermind about this. It’s a decision to only work the amount of time that is pleasurable for you. So, for me, what that looks like is you know, I wake up, I do my little morning meditation for 15 minutes, I move my body a little bit because that feels really good to me, to be in my body and move around. I have a glass of water, I make my little espresso with my home espresso machine because I got super into coffee recently. I have a little breakfast and I put in maybe a three or a four-hour session. I take a break for lunch,
I put in another three or four-hour session and then I’m done. And whatever I can’t get done, it just doesn’t get done. It’s like you just get as much done as you can, in the time that you have set up for work, and anything that can’t get done in that amount of time, you shouldn’t be doing. So, what I’ve gotten really good at is delegating, building a team, infrastructure, project management container. I understand now how to make a lot of use out of my time by buying help effectively. What’s interesting about buying help is that it gets better over time. You bring someone on to help you 20 hours a week and you really invest in them, and you bring them up and you train them and you give them access to education and you sort of create a structure for them that they can thrive in. You give them freedom, you don’t micromanage them, then over time, they end up becoming much more effective. So, I’ve got a team of 15 people on Smart Marketer, I’ve got a team of 13 people for Boom, I’ve got a team of 7 developers – got between 30-45 people in our organization and that is one of the things that allows me to get as much done as I do.
I have such a solid team that I have invested in creating, but the real asset that I have is not my businesses. When I sell these businesses, the team does not come with them. The team is the asset. The team that is educated, that is inspired, that is enrolled in what I’m doing, that are my friends, I’ve also – we can talk about hiring friends and family and the decision to do that and the decision to have a virtual team rather than have a physical team. A lot of stuff that goes into that conversation, but the real asset is in the team. It’s not in the project.
Austin: So right now, with multiple different teams and multiple businesses, what are you focusing on – what do you spend most of your attention or direct most of your attention on during the week? To what business is the one that you most focus on right now?
Ezra: Boom and Smart Marketer because those two are the ones that are really humming. We are just putting a little bit more into Bee Friendly and a little bit more into some of our other brands because they are starting to pick up a little bit. Bee Friendly does really well on Amazon, it does about 120 grand or something like that per month on Amazon, and we are just working on the direct response side of that. For me, I’ve gotten out of, pretty much completely out of operations. All I do is sort of vision, strategy, talking to different team members about what they are doing, giving them feedback on different projects that are going on. It was interesting because one of the things that happened was, as the team grew, I sort of became the default project manager because we hired only creatives. My big thing is, I want people who are creative, who are thinkers, who are not just robots.
So, I brought in – I can talk to about who I brought in and why, but anyways, the point is, I hired a bunch of creative people and I trained them to do different things like conversion rate optimization or ads management or platforms or whatever. I brought them up in specific specialties so they could really just be a pillar of the business and handle all the CRO or all the ads management or all the different platforms etc. And what happened was, since I’m a creative as well, I became the default project manager; like this is what we are doing, holding people accountable and like I’m not a great project manager. What we discovered was that we were hitting this bottleneck because I didn’t really want to be doing project management. I just would be like “Yeah, do it, let me know how it goes.” So, when we brought in a few people to actually manage the projects, to say ‘Okay, talk to me, what are we doing? Why are we doing it? When does it need to be done? Who’s doing what? And then hold people accountable, and have a visual dashboard of what was happening with the projects, we created an infrastructure to manage the projects, that freed me up to be creative again. When I’m managing projects, I’m not creating, and our business is sort of based on my ability to create which is kind of like theory and I can explain what I mean there if you’d like a more in-depth description of that. But that has been really helpful to have people whose sole role is to hold people accountable and manage projects
Austin: Sure, it makes sense. I feel the same way. That was something that I dealt with as well or I have dealt with multiple times actually is that weird transition with like you want to be able to create because that’s what feels good to me as well, whether it’s creating a podcast or writing or something or coming up with ideas. But then you get to the point where you got other people doing it and you got to be the manager. I’m in the same boat. I’m not a great project manager. I’m much better at creating things. I want to talk a little bit about something that you are very good at. I’ve noticed this from watching your videos, you’ve talked about it a lot either at your conferences or through episodes, it’s up-selling and cross-selling. It’s something I’ve seen you do with some of your businesses. First I’d like you to define what it is. For somebody listening, what is up-selling and cross-selling? What is the difference between the two of them?
Ezra: A lot of people will confuse the two. There’s even applications in the Shopify app market that are called up-sell apps that are really cross-sells. So, a cross-sell, in my opinion, is an additional sale that is made pre-purchase. So, an additional offer that you make to someone before the purchase happens. People might argue this point with me, but this is my experience of it and this is how I view it in my head. Someone is about to make an order, they are on your product detail page, they click ‘Add to cart’ and in the shopping cart you are like, ‘You might also like X, Y, Z.’ So, that’s a cross-sell. You are cross-selling other products. They are on the product detail page and they are selecting a variant – they are like, I want the red shirt and then a little thing pops up under the red shirt, like ‘Would you also like a red hat with this?’ That’s a cross-sell. It’s increasing the average order value before the purchase and that’s fantastic. You should be cross-selling. There’s applications out there that are like, someone adds a product to their cart and then it pops up a little box before they buy and it says like ‘Hey, do you want to also add another one of these or do you want this other thing?’ People are calling those up-sell apps, but they "are cross-sells". Now, an up-sell is after someone has made the purchase. You are up selling them to something else. So, they have entered the credit card information, they’ve bought from you and now the best way to do it is immediately before you take them to the ‘Thank You’ page.
Give them the option to click one button to add something to their order. This will increase your average order value by 15%-30% straight up overnight. The way that we do it is, we usually offer someone the exact same thing they just bought. We are like, ‘Hey, would you like another one of these things you just bought?’ And if they say yes to that, then we make them an additional offer. We actually have two up-sells in our up-sell tree. And if they say no to that, then we make them a cheaper offer. So, we’ve got sort of logic happening, based on what their decisions are in the up-sell process. This is called ‘Post-purchase, one click up-selling’ because they are able to actually up-sell to something else or add an additional item to their order with one click. It’s a phenomenal strategy and you know, it kind of comes from the information marketing world. We have applied to ecommerce with an application for Shopify businesses, called ‘One-click up-sell.’ It’s by Zipify Apps and it’s interesting because, in the information world, up-selling is very easy because generally, people are purchasing one product. They are like buying one course and so the up-sell tree is static to that initial offer if that makes sense. But with ecommerce, the up-sell tree has to be dynamic based on what is in the shopping cart. So for example, you might have six products in your store, each product has its own set up of up-sells and down-sells attached to it. It’s got its own tree of up-sells. So product A is offering product A again as an up-sell and product B as a down-sell. Down-sell just means they said no to the initial up-sell so – people might need to listen to this twice.
Austin: So when you say down-sells, they say no to the first up-sell –
Ezra: They say no to the first up-sell offer and so then you are saying, hey wait a minute, here’s something cheaper. Here’s a different offer for you. So it’s kind of like a down-sell. If they say yes to the initial up-sell, we actually present them with the second up-sell. But my point was, with ecommerce, it gets complicated. Let’s they’ve got three products in their shopping cart, and each product has a couple of up-sells attached to it. You don’t want to show all of them because that would annoy the shit out of them. So, you need the tool to have logic built into it that says, okay you know, show the cheapest one first or show the most expensive one first, or don’t offer the same item that is already in that cart. So we built all this logic into it to make it work with multiple skews on the frontend that each have their own up-sell tree attached to them.
Austin: One thing that would be helpful to them would be to talk about – you’ve been very transparent about Boom and what you are doing there, could you talk about some of the up-sells you guys are running at Boom?
Ezra: The interesting thing about Boom is that we have actually shut down all of our up-sells because our supply chain cannot handle the volume of products that we are selling. We went from like a four-million-dollar-a-year company to an 18-million-dollar-a-year company in a year. An interesting thing happens when you do that, and that’s that every area of – so marketing basically drowned every area of our business. We really ramped up the direct response marketing side of our business. That put our customer service crew under a ton of pressure and we were backlogged with 4000 unanswered emails.
We had to hire six people and get that all in order and get our live chat back up and get out phone lines back up – there’s all these inbound communication channels that were just flooded and that we couldn’t handle. So, then our supply chain isn’t used to producing you know, 20,000 items at a time. They are used to producing 2000 items at a time. We couldn’t get enough componentry, we couldn’t fill enough products, we just had all these different areas of the business that are merchant processing, all these areas of the business that were not able to keep up with the growth. We spent the last six months sort of shoring up each of these different areas of the business to be able to handle the number of frontend sales that are coming in. We had to make the decision between – let’s say we have a one-click up-sell on Boom; like someone buys a Boomstick Trio, we offer them another Boomstick Trio. If they say yes to that, we then offer them a moisturizer, a Boomsilk.
Austin: And what is a Boomstick Trio for people listening?
Ezra: Boomstick Trios are sort of core flagship frontend products. It’s three different cosmetics in one. It’s like, get rid of all the cosmetics you have and just use these three. That’s the unique selling proposition. It simplifies your makeup routine. So anyway, the point is like we had to make the decision between take the customers that are coming in and maximize the average order value or take the customers that are coming in, don’t make them any immediate up-sell offers and just add another customer. So, it’s a difference between maximizing average order value or having one more customer. We chose customer acquisition over average order value. Now, in about six months, once we have got enough componentry coming in because our suppliers who produce the little components for Boomsticks can only produce 80,000 months at the moment and we need like 150,000 a month. So once our supply chain is fully caught up, we will reintroduce up-selling. Now with Bee Friendly, if someone comes in and purchases a skin cream, we then offer them three skin creams. If they say yes to that, we then offer them a serum. If they say no to that, we then offer them just one skin cream. So, we’ve got this dynamic tree that’s happening based on what they say.
Austin: Now, with Bee Friendly, would they be receiving a discount on their –
Ezra: Yes, absolutely. It’s like, ‘Hey, thanks so much for purchasing; because you made a purchase today on this page, one time only, we want to offer this special price on XYZ product. You’ll never be able to get this deal again.’ We got a little video, we got a headline, sub-headlines, some bullet points, some sales message and a couple of call-to-action buttons so you got to incentivize them to make that purchase.
Austin: Cool. You did a great job on the video; I watched the video for one-click up-sells and it explains a lot of the stuff. So, the key is, really like if you own an ecommerce business and you are listening, and you are thinking ‘My business is not going to allow one-click up-sell,’ do you have any examples of maybe companies or things that you think would work?
Ezra: What could possibly not work for an up-sell? Can you give me an example of a brand or a product that wouldn’t work to make an additional offer? The thing is, someone just did business with you. They are super happy with their purchase. They got these endorphins going off in their brain, that’s the time to offer them more, to make an additional offer right there as long as it’s something that is valuable that they actually want. You can’t try to sell them something they don’t want, but more of what you just sold them, 90% of the time works the best. Literally. ‘Hey, get another one at 30% off; give it to a friend or have a special –’ like get another baby blanket. I can’t even think of something that wouldn’t work for an up-sell tree.
Now, continuing the process of the up-selling and this is where people would get confused between the difference between an up-sell and a cross-sell is, we have this ability now, in our application that’s about to roll out in two weeks, where we can do post-purchase, one-click email up-selling. So someone buys from us, they say yes or no to the up-sell tree, but we still have their credit card details, we can send them an email that’s like, hey, you know, we also by the way – and there’s a couple of other cool things that we do which I’ll tell you in a moment, but this one is pretty wild. It’s like Amazon one-click purchasing. Send them an email, ‘Hey, we have this other product’ or ‘Hey, you can get the same product you just bought’ or whatever, ‘Click the link in this email,’ you go to a landing page where it explains to you what the offer is and then with one click you can purchase it right on that landing page. No credit card required. So, that’s post-purchase up-selling via email with one click.
Austin: And this works with Shopify?
Ezra: Oh yes. It’s the next level. I’m telling you. Why do you think we are doing a million-and-a-half a month?
Austin: I’m going to be implementing this stuff.
Ezra: Yes, it’s good stuff. It’s also like we are a very value-driven ecommerce brand. We are all about engaging with our customers, providing content, building a relationship. We are not just selling, but we are making offers. The thing is, if you make offers in a non-douchey way, people are cool with it. You got to make offers if you have something that’s valuable. Now, check this out; here’s the sort of, where you could get confused about up-selling and cross-selling. Someone buys, you make them the initial up-sell offer with the up-sell tree, that’s definitely an up-sell.
Then you send them an email, you are trying to up-sell some more; now cross-selling, you could call this cross-selling where let’s say you’ve got six products in your line, they’ve brought three of them, but they didn’t buy the other three. Now you are sending them emails dynamically based on what they didn’t purchase, and making them offers for that. So for example, if someone comes in and they buy Boomstick Trio, and they don’t buy Boomsilk, we then put them on a post-purchase email sequence that includes a four-part sales sequence to get them to buy Boomsilk; we cross-selling Boomsilk to people who did not purchase it. So, dynamically based on what they did or didn’t purchase, there’s email sequences that cross-sell all the other products. That could also be called a cross-sell. You could call it an up-sell too, but in that case, I would probably call it a cross-sell. So it’s kind of confusing, the difference.
Austin: Let’s talk about that a little bit. So you send these four email, are you going content, content can buy them offers –
Ezra: So the way we do it actually is, we are using Klaviyo. Klaviyo is kind of cool because you can do this thing called additional filters, additional triggers. Basically, we have got our post-purchase email sequence, that’s normal, everyone gets it and then we can intersperse emails in there that only go out to people who have or have not done certain things. So, everyone is getting the post-purchase sequence, but then on day six if you haven’t bought Boomsilk, you get a notification that we have an upcoming presentation that we want you to watch tomorrow. The next day you get an email that’s like, ‘Hey, the presentation is live, go watch it.’ It’s essentially a webinar, a long-form video event. In that long-form video event, we tell you a story, we sell you Boomsilk at a discount. Then the next day, we send you a PDF of that webinar presentation. On the next day we say, ‘Hey, this thing is going away, last chance to watch it’ so we got a little scarcity. So, it’s like a four-part sequence that sells you on consuming a long-form piece of content that then cross-sells you to buy Boomsilk. Now what’s interesting is –
Austin: It’s like an information marketing launch, but it’s an evergreen launch for an ecommerce product.
Ezra: Yes. So, here’s the interesting thing about the difference between information marketing and ecommerce; you are all selling products, right? I look at it like conversion assets. So, I have a conversion asset which is a long-form video event for my ecommerce business for one of my products. I implement that conversion asset into my funnel on the backend via an email sequence. I’ve got another conversion asset which are selfies and video reviews of customers for my ecommerce products. I implement those conversion assets into my funnel on the frontend on the product detail page. So the way I kind of view my business is like I have all these different conversion assets, like pre-sell articles, sales videos, emails, long-form videos, PDFs, all these different conversion assets, and then I sort of place them in different places throughout the funnel.
Austin: Makes sense; I think what’s been happening right now is people are listening, their heads spinning about all that other stuff, so let’s walk back through it a little bit just because it’s very interesting and a lot of the stuff that you are doing is very cutting edge. So, as people walk through it, maybe you can walk through it slowly; so if someone comes in and they are at your ecommerce store, they add something to the cart, then the first thing they are going to see is a cross-sell.
Ezra: No, I don’t do that.
Austin: No cross-selling. You are not cross-selling.
Ezra: I’m trying to get that purchase and I find that when you are trying to be like ‘Yo, get this other stuff’ before they buy, you lose people. This has been my experience. So what I do is, I just – I mean, if you are on my product detail page, if you are looking at the product detail page, I’ve got the ‘You might also like,’ so you could call that a cross-sell.
Austin: That’s what I meant, by the way.
Ezra: Yes. You are on the product detail page, you see a product, if you add it to your cart, you don’t see the ‘You might also like.’ I don’t do it in the shopping cart. I only do it on the product detail page.
Austin: So, no friction, just go and make the purchase.
Ezra: I want them to make a purchase. So, I’m not cross-selling pre-purchase. I am up-selling post-purchase. So they make the purchase, they immediately get an up-sell offer or two up-sell offers.
Austin: So a big question people are probably having in their minds, they are thinking, well, so when you say up-sell, can they turn down their purchase after they – so they make the purchase and they see the up-sell, if they turn down the up-sell, is it still going to process their order?
Ezra: Of course. That’s the whole point. That’s locked in. Now here’s the interesting thing: we had to build in a bunch of technology for this because you know –
Austin: They can’t do it.
Ezra: What happens is, someone places an order, then immediately Shopify emails them. It’s like, ‘Your order is processed.’ Well, we don’t want that email going out because they might add more stuff to their order. So we had to do all this different stuff where basically we don’t send that – like of course it’s processed, it happens in authorized dot-net, everything, it just doesn’t communicate it to Shopify until they have finished going through the up-sell flow. If they abandon the up-sell flow, then it does communicate it to Shopify. So we’ve got a little bit of technology built in to make that work.
Austin: This is awesome; so they make the purchase, they see the up-sell, they have got a one-click where they can add maybe double the price they just purchased –
Ezra: Yes, or some other products or whatever. It’s a landing page, obviously, it’s a sales page, it’s got a headline, a sub-headline, a video, some copy, some call-to-action buttons.
Austin: That’s awesome. So, they go through this and then what you were talking about with Klaviyo was, let’s say they go through it and they don’t make a purchase, then in the backend, you are following up again with post-purchase emails that give them content and promote another product that they may or may not have seen in the up-sells. Is that my understanding –
Ezra: That’s right. We do a bunch of different dynamic cross-selling. I just looked up the difference, they are saying that up-selling is where you offer someone more of what they already bought, and cross-selling is when you offer someone something different. That’s kind of like described in the dictionary or on Google anyways.
Austin: Which is basically the dictionary now.
Ezra: I think it’s easy to get those two confused. I think of an up-sell as something that’s happening immediately and also when you are trying to sell them more of the same stuff. I think of a cross-sell as when you are cross-selling them a different product.
Austin: This is huge because it hasn’t been possible for a long time. It really hasn’t been possible at all with Shopify.
Ezra: It’s never been possible for ecommerce businesses, so it’s a game-changer for sure. The initial average order value it allows you to spend more money to acquire customers because you know are going to have 10% to 30% more revenue from day one if you do it right.
Austin: That’s really key. That’s what it comes down to. If you can spend more money than your competitors, you’ve got a huge competitive advantage just because you implemented in the backend, the ability to make more money from every single purchase.
Ezra: That’s right.
Austin: That’s fantastic. Well, I want to talk a little bit more about – we touched on up-selling, cross-selling, you’ve got something coming up that I’m involved with that I’m pumped about, which is eCommerce All-Stars.
Ezra: eCommerce All-Stars all day. It’s going to be great.
Austin: August 4th, August 5th.
Ezra: August 4th and 5th, San Diego, you are speaking, you are on stage, you actually spoke at my last event, Smart Marketer Live 2014 –
Austin: Which was in Austin and I had a great time and it actually inspired me to move to Austin.
Ezra: Oh wow, how about that? I’m just changing your life. You know, here’s the thing; since that event, my community at Smart Marketer – I’ve got a pretty good sized community, I feel really blessed to be fortunate enough to have people who are actually interested in ecommerce along with me. I’ve got a good 50,000 members. They have been asking for an event because there is not really an ecommerce event. There’s events out there, but there’s not really one for – I mean, Andrew Youderian has got one, it’s cool; he does an ecommerce event, so I shouldn’t say that actually, but there’s few and far between. My community wants to get together with people in my community and so they have been asking for a long time and the reason we haven’t done another event is because we don’t really make any money on them. They are very expensive. The total cost of this event for us, because we are flying in the speakers and we are putting people up in hotels, we got to fly our whole team in and then you got to pay for catering and you got to pay to have it videoed and it’s very – and you got to pay for the venue, and you need all these marketing materials and stuff. It’s like 70 grand to do this thing. We won’t really make any profit on the ticket sales. We just cover the cost of the event, but I also feel like I really like doing these things. I love getting together with my community, I love bringing in people specific to ecommerce and actually talking about what you need to do to grow your business across the spectrum. It’s a fun way to build the community, to bring the community together, provide value and also in the long term, a good play for my brand. It puts my brand at the center of the ecommerce space, which I really like. So, we are doing it, August 4th and 5th, smartmarketer.com/allstars. As of today, we only have 38 tickets available.
Austin: If you haven’t gone, I think it’s – I would say jump on it because one of the unique parts about your events is they are pretty small and intimate which is really nice. Like having 50 people that’s a really good number.
Ezra: 20 of whom are my team.
Austin: Yes, exactly. So you are going to end up meeting people and like the first event that I went to, I met Bret Curry who has become a good friend – love Bret, he’s a great guy who is also going to be speaking there. There’s also lots of value in it because you get value throughout the day listening to presentation, and at the end, you go and you hang out and you have drinks and you meet people, and your network grows which really is important because looking at where opportunities come from, usually it comes from within your network. The better you can grow your network – so, if you are listening and you haven’t gone to one of Ezra’s events, check it out. You’ll see both of us there, it will be a lot of fun, it’s also San Diego in August, which is a really nice place to be. It’s beautiful weather right by the beach.
Ezra: Yes, and if you are considering this amount, I don’t know when this podcast is actually going to be published –
Austin: It’s next week.
Ezra: Okay good, so hopefully there’s still some tickets available, if you are an ecommerce influencer, let me know. We are thinking about offering a live stream because we are selling out so much fast than we imagined we would, but we’ll see if we can pull that technology together. You should come down, it’s going to be good.
Austin: And James Schramko will be there;
Ezra: Schrammy is going to be there, Jennifer Shian is going to be speaking; if you don’t know her, she is the social media person behind Barrack Obama’s – forget about your political standpoint for a second and just realize how effective that social media campaign was to get him reelected in 2008. They did some crazy stuff and so she’s going to be talking about how you can leverage your social to grow your ecommerce brand. We have some phenomenal speakers. It’s going to be really good.
Austin: That’s awesome. I definitely recommend checking it out. I want to kind of wrap it up a little bit, but I want to get your take on something I always like asking, which is, we were talking before this episode started about how it’s been two years since we were first hanging out and over those two years, a lot has changed in ecommerce. The industry moves so quick; what are you excited about right now? What are you looking at as kind of the future and what are you pumped up about in ecommerce and in this space?
Ezra: I think Integrated Social Commerce over the next two years is what I’m calling it. There isn’t really a word for it yet, but I have created this lingo term.
Austin: I like it.
Ezra: Give Ezra Firestone credit for this lingo in the future, in two years, when everyone is saying Integrated Social Commerce. Basically what that is like where people customers can make purchases from within social platforms. One-click purchases from the Facebook newsfeed, one-click purchases from the Pinterest feed, one-click purchases from your Twitter feed so you don’t actually ever have to leave the social network to make a purchase. That is a big part of where ecommerce is going. It is essentially away from traditional ecommerce sites and happening in the everyday experience of consuming the web. People will be able to see an offering on whatever channel they are on, be it someone else’s website, your website, a social network, an app, and actually go through the order process and make the sale right in the channel that they are in. So it’s an integrated commerce experience into whatever social channel they are communicating in. The other thing interesting thing that is happening is, you know, mobile consumption of the web is now significantly higher than the traditional desktop or laptop consumption.
It’s like 80-20. The mobile consumption of the digital medium has resulted in fragmentation where the average adult has like 194 channels that they consume from, and two to three devices that they consume on. So, shopping experiences are happening across multiple devices, across multiple channels. So, someone sees something on Facebook, they click a link on the ad, they get retargeted on their desktop, they then buy on their desktop. They see something on Yahoo, they click the ad, they add it to their cart on their iPhone, they move to their tablet to make their purchase. So we are having purchases happen across multiple channels across multiple devices. The whole idea of the single campaign where you have like a Google AdWords campaign and it worked or it didn’t, and you had a Facebook campaign where it worked or it didn’t is dead in my opinion. I’ll be talking about this at eCommerce All-Stars. There is no more single campaign.
What it is, it’s money in and money out. It’s all the aggregate of how you are doing. It’s like, how much you are spending – you can afford to have one campaign that’s crushing it, one channel that is crushing it and one channel that’s losing a ton of money. But in the aggregate, you are profitable and you are acquiring customers. That’s the game that we are playing right now. We are no longer playing the game of single campaigns. We are playing the game of the aggregate of all channels. It’s a different mindset, it’s a different philosophy and frankly that one viewpoint, that one shift in how we look at our business is what moved us from 4 million to 18 million within a year. That one fundamental change in how we look at our business.
Austin: This fragmentation thing I’ve been talking to a lot of my clients about; just the fragmentation, just especially like social networks and how quickly they move and how you can invest a lot of your time and energy building up your Instagram following. But then, if attention shifts over to Snapchat or attention shifts to another platform, you can lose out if you are just siloed on one specific social channel. It’s very difficult to – I look at something like email; it’s like having a little bit of a renaissance because that is one thing right now –
Ezra: Dude, email never went away. It’s 50% of all ecommerce revenue, straight up.
Ezra: They just published a new study, 50%
Austin: It’s wild.
Ezra: It’s crazy.
Austin: If you go look at the sales from last November and December by Channel, it goes ‘Direct’ and then right below it, almost exactly the same is ‘Email.’ It’s wild.
Ezra: Can you send me whatever you have got on that? I’d be curious to look at those stats.
Austin: Yes, I’ll send you that. It was very interesting and the reason why I like email and the reason why I think it’s so important to people is because of this fragmentation, because there’s so much noise going on, but the one thing that people still do, once they become of a working age, they still have to check their emails. Every single person does and that’s where a lot of the commerce actually goes up.
Ezra: And you know what the next channel is? It’s Facebook Messenger. The next channel, like on Facebook Messenger, we will be able to run ads on Facebook that allows people to click a button that says ‘Yes, you can message me in my Facebook Messenger inbox,’ and that’s like a second email inbox. Over the next two to three years, we will be building up communities of email lists on our customers, but Facebook Messenger groups as well. So, we will be able to email our customers an offer and Facebook message them an offer. That’s going to be a pretty sweet channel.
Austin: That’s exciting stuff. You mentioned Integrated Social Commerce, but you didn’t mention anybody in the space you are excited about. Who is in the space right now that is doing stuff that you are excited about?
Ezra: You mean, as far as Integrated Social Commerce?
Ezra: Right now the product is so young; like Shopify connects to Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, but not very well, so this is the future. It’s not actually –
Austin: Nobody is really like cashing in on it.
Ezra: Yes, it’s really not – the product itself, the ability – when I say product, I mean, like our ability to leverage this new technology which Shopify and Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest are giving us this product of Integrated Social Commerce. It’s in its infancy. Over the next year, it’s going to become much more sophisticated and a much better tool for selling. So, it’s really not like there’s anyone who is doing it super-well right now because it really technology doesn’t quite exist yet. I watch so many ecommerce brands, I love taking a look at what people are doing. In fact, I’ve got a new section on my blog all about, you know, that sort of thing where I’m talking about stuff. I’m constantly following brands; everlane.com I think they are doing a good job –
Austin: They are doing a good job.
Ezra: I follow big brands, I follow little brands; I’m always paying attention. I don’t if there’s any one brand that I am really digging. I think that – this brand that keeps advertising to me, Me Undies, you know those people?
Austin: Oh yes.
Ezra: They are all over me; they think I’m going to buy their underwear for like 50 bucks a pop or whatever, maybe it will. But yeah, I think they are doing a good job. I think a lot of brands out there are doing a great job.
Austin: They’ve been a Santa Monica for a long time and they do a great job with podcast advertising. They are in my ear every day. You hear them at the Tim Ferris podcasts all the time.
Ezra: Wow, maybe we need to start advertising on some podcasts.
Austin: I don’t know; that’s something I want to explore as well. I think that’s an interesting channel, but I got to find somebody who is doing a good job of it and bring him on the show.
Ezra: Get the Me Undies people, dude.
Austin: That’s a good idea; maybe I’ll reach out to them and see how that’s doing. Well, Ezra, it’s been a pleasure having you on. I appreciate you coming in and sharing some wisdom. I’d love to have you back and I’m pumped to see you in August.
Ezra: Yes, I look forward to it. Thanks for having me on the show. All you Ecommerce Influencers, check me out, smartmarketer.com, I’d love you to check out some of my stuff over there. Austin, always a pleasure.
Hey, thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you guys really enjoyed this episode with Ezra. If you guys did get a lot of value out of it and you thought it was something that you think is going to help you in your business, the one ask that I have of you is, you take it and you share it with a friend. Share it with somebody who you think will also find it valuable. That’s the best compliment you can pay me. That’s why I do these things in the first place. It’s not to be complemented, it’s just to grow the podcast and to get the message of how to grow your ecommerce business out there. So, if you liked it, like I said, share it with a friend, share it with someone, a business owner who you think will find it valuable. I appreciate you guys spending the time with me today. Until the next episode, hope you guys have a good one and I’ll talk to you then.
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