In this podcast episode, we delve into evaluating a brand's key metrics against industry benchmarks. You'll discover how to better use KPIs, Benchmarks, and Decision Intelligence. Our featured guest on the show is Fran Quilty, CEO and co-founder of Conjura.com.
Topics discussed in this episode:
- What significance analytics has in the evolving digital landscape.
- How analytics play a pivotal role in overcoming challenges in ecommerce.
- How the essence of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks measures and improves business performance.
- How benchmarking plays in helping businesses set realistic goals, identify growth opportunities, and optimize their operations.
02:07 Deep dive into decision intelligence
02:56 Understanding KPIs and benchmarks
03:57 The importance of benchmarking
06:27 Working with retail analytics
07:30 Understanding the Conjura tool
08:47 Data sources and onboarding process
11:40 Results and pricing of Conjura
13:43 Emerging trends in online retail market
14:58 Conjura's free E-assessment offer
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guest: Fran Quilty
Fran Quilty is the CEO and co-founder of Conjura, an ecommerce analytics product. His background is in analytics consulting and he has always enjoyed learning about how businesses make money, and what playbook they used to grow.
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Claus Lauter: [00:00:00] This is episode 279 of the e commerce coffee break podcast. Today we want to talk about e commerce analytics and want to dive into KPIs and benchmarks. With me on the show, I have Frank Quilty. He is the CEO and co founder at Conjura.com . So let's dive right into it. But before we get started, a big thank you to our sponsors for supporting today's episode.
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Visit loyaltylion. com to find out more. Find the link in the show notes. Have you heard about PartnerHero? They're experts in support on the e commerce industry, known for their outstanding team building skills. Their main pillars, quality, people, and culture makes them a great fit for your company. Learn more on PartnerHero.
com or click the link in the show [00:01:00] notes.
And business owners looking to grow their online stores. Learn how to survive in the fast changing e-commerce world with your host Klaus Lauter, and get marketing advice you can't find on Google. Welcome.
Welcome to the show. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the e-Commerce Coffee Break podcast. Today we want to talk about decision intelligence.
We wanna touch on analytics, KPIs, benchmarks due diligence, and everything that comes with it. I'm really looking forward to it because I'm not an expert in that and I'm really keen to learn more about it. So with me on the show today, I have Frank Quilty. He's the CEO and co founder of control. com and e commerce analytics product.
His background in analytics is analytics consulting and he has always enjoyed learning about how business make money and what playbook they use to [00:02:00] grow. So let's welcome him to the show. Hi, Frank. How are you today?
Fran Quilty: Hi, Claus . I'm great. I'm delighted to be here. Thank you.
Claus Lauter: Friend. Let's dive right into it. So obviously decision of intelligence sounds very complex and a lot of things go into that.
Give me a bit of a background. What do you think decision intelligence actually is and what kind of bits and pieces are part of it? Analytics
Fran Quilty: has evolved over the last few years, and it continues to evolve, particularly with e commerce, and I think traditionally analytics used to mean, you know, numbers on a spreadsheet, and then it transitioned into dashboards with filters.
Now it's probably moving more towards recommended actions. And even. You know, buttons to do the actions for you. So almost a, it's a decision intelligence, I think, is, is more about operators using data to improve their business. And the way to do that is probably getting easier and easier as the data tools evolve.
Claus Lauter: Now, obviously every merchant out there has some KPIs or every [00:03:00] marketer out there has some KPIs they're looking at, and they're coming from different tools from different sources. And sometimes it's very difficult to get a grip on it because it can be very complex. And there's good reasons to have your benchmarks and your KPIs.
Tell me a little bit on what you see people, companies struggling the most with.
Fran Quilty: A lot of e commerce brands don't understand if they're making money or not. You know, you're well aware of the fact that stock is bought way in advance. Marketing spend is done in advance. You obviously have the order and you get the revenue and later date.
And I think brands don't really know what products are profitable, what campaigns are profitable, and, you know, you hear a lot of a contribution margin, which is really what products are trying to show operators now to really help them understand with all the costs and everything involves. where you're actually making money.
And I think that's the toughest thing for brands to understand.
Claus Lauter: Now you have your benchmarks and you have your KPIs. How do you compare these two things with each
Fran Quilty: other? Benchmarking is an interesting one. I think it's [00:04:00] something that sophisticated investors have been using for years. So hedge funds, et cetera, always look at what the market is doing.
You know, if they're investing in companies, how those companies are doing against the peer group. And it's something that operators have been slow to adopt. So I think a lot of brands. We'll kind of say, well, what do I do with benchmarks? You know, what, why, why look at them? And I think the important thing is you need to understand your relative performance, you know, so e commerce is cyclical there, you have periods, down periods, and all your competitors have the same.
So you need to know if you're, if you've had a bad week, is that just what's happening in the market or is it you, or, you know, so there's, I think benchmarking for everything, for revenue, for traffic, for conversion rates. You know, for gross margin, for repeat purchase rates of customers, all these things need to be understood so that you know what you can improve on in your business, I guess, because sometimes you might have a bad week and it's just, everybody has a bad week and [00:05:00] it's not something that you need to necessarily address, or other times you could have a very good period in your business, but you could be weak in an area that you don't know you're weak in, and that's the area you should be concentrating on.
So that's the value of benchmarks.
Claus Lauter: Now, obviously I get stressed out if I have a bad week and I don't know if it's just me or if it's the market in general. So where do I get these benchmark numbers from to either see my vertical, my industry, my niche, what others do seems to be difficult for me because obviously my competitors will not necessarily tell me if they had a bad week too.
Fran Quilty: Sure. So I mean, in Condura we've obviously used benchmarking for quite a long period now and, and we offer that as kind of a free service. There are other tools out there and you'll see Shopify have adopted benchmarking in their tool. You know, triple will do it. So lots of data brands now because they are analytics products, you know, have thousands and thousands of customers.
So in Con we have 10,000 brands in our benchmark table. So. [00:06:00] You can filter, you know, vertical, sub verticals, territories, if you're in a particular country and still get quite a good comparison size. Even if you're in men's shoes in Germany, you'll have some other brands. You won't know which brands they are, but you will have comparison number of brands to look at your KPIs against.
So it's getting very popular, I think, in a lot of the tools that e commerce operators use nowadays.
Claus Lauter: What's the best way to work with retail analytics? You said spreadsheets. That's the past. Now we're looking at dashboards and other tools out there. I'm very visually driven. So if I look at numbers, my brain sort of gets a bit of an issue there.
What's the best way to really visualize the data? Yeah.
Fran Quilty: Like I think we definitely see two types of people. So some people only like tables and some people only like charts and often you fall into one of those categories. So. A lot of products like conjurer will show both. [00:07:00] So, you know, we show big detail tables.
If that's what you like, we show trending charts, if that's what you like. And I think it's important to understand what your preferences and just almost focus on that alone. And then in terms of getting value, we're super focused on recommending actions and allowing users now to push buttons to initiate those actions.
So we're trying to move beyond. Yeah. Here's what happened. And off you go and investigate the reasons behind that. We're, we're trying to actually surface some real tangible insights and then tell operators what they should do with those insights.
Claus Lauter: I want to touch on that. Um, obviously an organization, you have different departments.
You have your marketing, your sales, you have your accounting, you have your CEO. And so who's working with your tool? Because not everyone is a data scientist. So who can I expect to work with your tool with different parts of it? It's
Fran Quilty: definitely a mixture of different people and companies. So it'd be [00:08:00] CEOs, founders, operations, merchandising people.
eCommerce directors, sometimes marketing, marketing analysts, or marketing team members, I suppose there's certain parts of the tool that will suit others. So for example, we, we have a really detailed contribution margin and a SKU level view, which traces your marketing spend in the likes of, you know, performance max stance at SKU level.
That's really valuable for both merchandisers and, you know, eCommerce directors who. We're really tweaking the dials kind of down to that level of detail, but it won't be as relevant to a CEO perhaps who wants just the overall profitability over time. So definitely a mixture of stakeholders in the business will use different parts of the tool.
Claus Lauter: You just mentioned Google ads there. What kind of data sources flow into your tool?
Fran Quilty: So Shopify is, is the main e commerce platform. We also connected big commerce and an Amazon connector coming. [00:09:00] And in terms of ad platforms, mostly it's, um, met us, you know, Instagram and Facebook, Google ads, and TikTok ads.
Some operators might use Bing, but a lot of our customers would be generally spending money on either Google, Meta, or TikTok.
Claus Lauter: At which stage do merchants come to you and are looking for a solution?
Fran Quilty: Yeah. So I think our customers vary hugely from small customers with two or 300, 000 in revenue all the way up to, I suppose, mid, mid tier businesses, but 50, 60 million in turnover, I wouldn't say there's a particular time.
I think there's an ROI on, on the Conjura product itself. So, you know, we show value to all customers who come in and we say, Hey, you know, this is, this is what your contribution margin was before you started with us in this, but it is now based on what you've done with us. So we try to work with. Small and medium businesses and show them the value through the trend of their KPIs.
On onboarding, very, very easy [00:10:00] to onboard on tools like Conjura. So all you need to do is authenticate Conjura into your various accounts, which typically takes five to 10 minutes. So, you know, signing into Shopify and allowing Conjura access to the API, for example, will take, you know, 30 seconds. So there isn't really a much of a configuration, you know, it's, it's almost letting conjure into your various cloud based tools.
And then we do our work very, very easy to get set up.
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Fran Quilty: So generally our big KPI is contribution margin.
So that's as close to net profit as you can guess without taking in general operating costs. And we typically see that contribution margin as a percentage going up, which means you're making more money. [00:12:00] So a lot of our recent customers, for example, you know, could have a contribution margin of. 12, 13 percent and after three months of Conjura, that's up to 25, 26%.
So really, really good ROI. And that's coming from understanding what products are actually loss making, readjusting ad spend, pricing, maybe what you put on the website, where, so lots of actions you can take in the end, it just means that you're getting better bang for your buck on marketing spend and optimizing your pricing to get, generate more profits.
Claus Lauter: I mean, that's definitely a huge win there. What's your pricing structure? How does that
Fran Quilty: work? Our entry level pricing is 199 per month. Um, you know, it's monthly rolling contracts. So brands aren't signing up for big, long contracts and we're confident of showing return on investment. So we don't need to lock customers into big contracts.
And then as businesses scale up the pricing, you know, with your turnover, pricing increases to 250, [00:13:00] 300, 350 for slightly larger customers. So. In the bands of 199 a month, it's sort of 400
Claus Lauter: a month. Are there any kind of specific industries, verticals on these that are using your tool more than others? Yeah, we've
Fran Quilty: got all sorts of customers from every different, uh, vertical.
So, you know, fashion, beauty, pets, baby care, we have customers sign up recently selling crutches online. So anything that you could think of our customers are selling online, which is, which is great because we like to see a lot of diversity in our customer base. And there's a huge difference in seasonality.
Some customers are busier in the summer. Somewhere busier around Christmas, it does vary with the different customers.
Claus Lauter: More of a broader question. Obviously, with all the different industries that you're working with, you have to finger on the pulse of e commerce. Um, what kind of emerging trends do you see right now in the online retail market?
Fran Quilty: Luckily, I think there is a bit of a bounce back in general. So I suppose Europe and the UK, uh, particularly [00:14:00] for 2022 and a slow start to 2023, but there There is a recovery, which is good. Brands are more focused on profit. They're not focused on growth anymore. Very conscious to, you know, spend carefully.
I think the early adopters to new tools, you know, early adopters to tick tock, et cetera, have, have done very well. So companies that can do social well, definitely seem to really benefit from that and it's tough to get right because a lot of, a lot of work needed and you know, whether you're doing. Tiktok or Instagram or Facebook, there's a lot of work needed to build up the skill sets, but yeah, I probably noticed, you know, the companies that are really growing virally are very good at social, which is combination of paid and unpaid.
Claus Lauter: Yeah. Specifically with social, you're sort of targeting a moving target there. So because it's involving so far, so many features coming up, so not an easy task there before our coffee break comes to an end today. Is there anything that you want to share with our listeners that we haven't covered yet? We
Fran Quilty: offer a [00:15:00] free kind of orders of businesses.
We call it an e assessment and it stems from our history of working with investors. So we have screened hundreds of companies on behalf of VCs, private equity, and even private investors. And we have a version of a due diligence report on e commerce businesses that, that can give a lot of value to founders.
And, you know, it's not only a report that you would share with investors, but your management team would look at your business in this kind of lens. So I think if any of the listeners are interested in that type of outside in analysis of their business, we'd be very happy to, uh, talk to them because it's fully automated within our product bar.
And it's something that definitely we are proud of and something that differentiates us from. A lot of other companies,
Claus Lauter: I think that's a great offer because as a merchant, as an online business owner, it's sometimes very difficult to see the forest because of all the trees and then having some outside perspective, looking on what's actually happening might help and might show some areas that you really need to [00:16:00] work on where can people find out more about you guys?
Fran Quilty: So our website is, as you said, is conjura c o n j u r a. com. You'll find us on LinkedIn, on Twitter, you know, on various social platforms, but coming straight to our website is, is the best place to come.
Claus Lauter: Okay. I will put the links in the show notes. Then you just want to click away friend. Thanks so much for the time today.
I think the very interesting topic specifically the benchmarking part, I think it's very, very interesting. And a lot of merchants out there should just benchmark their KPIs against the market out there. I think there's a huge learning curve for a lot of people out there. Thanks so much for your time.
Thank you guys. Pleasure. Hey, Klaus here. Thanks for joining me on another episode of the E Commerce Coffee Break podcast. Before you go, I'd like to ask two things from you. First, please help me with the algorithm so I can bring more impactful guests on the show. It will make it also easier for others to discover the podcast.
Simply like, comment, and subscribe in the app you're using to listen to the podcast, and even better if you could leave a rating. Secondly, please take a moment to check out [00:17:00] today's episode sponsors. They play a crucial role in keeping the show and our newsletter available to you for free. Thanks again and I catch you in the next episode.
Have a good one. Before you leave, don't forget to visit the sponsor of today's episode. Have you heard about Partner Hero? They're experts in support on the e commerce industry, known for their outstanding team building skills. Their main pillars, quality, people and culture makes them a great fit for your company.
Learn more on partnerhero. com or click the link in the show notes. Loyalty Lion is a leading loyalty platform helping Shopify brands rocket rejoining customers with their own loyalty programs. With Loyalty Lion, it's quick and easy to create a program that uses points and rewards to engage shoppers, secure more second purchases, and drive up lifetime value.
Loyalty Lion has been increasing returning customer rates for thousands of Shopify stores for over 10 years. Visit loyaltylion. com to find out more. Find the link in the show notes.
Rocket your returning customer rates with LoyaltyLion. LoyaltyLion is a leading loyalty platform, helping Shopify brands increase returning customer rates with their own integrated loyalty programs. We were the first loyalty platform to integrate with Shopify and we are #1 on G2 today, providing the tools and expertise that brands need to increase returning customer rates, improve retention, and build customer lifetime value. Visit LoyaltyLion here.
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