This episode of the Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast features a conversation with Rohit Maheshwaran, Co-founder of Moda, at getmoda.io. We discuss how DTC brands can grow sustainably in 2023.
On the Show Today You’ll Learn:
- Why is retention important for growth in 2023?
- Retention strategies DTC brands should adopt.
- Must have automations that brands can leverage for driving retention
- How can new-age platforms help in customer retention?
- How is Moda helping DTC e-commerce brands grow sustainably?
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guests: Rohit Maheshwaran
Rohit is a creative technologist with 15 years of experience in developing web and mobile applications for enterprises and consumers. More recently, he has been building data products for brands and enterprises that need "fuel" to grow their business. His passion is using design, technology, and data to create solutions that solve problems in a mobile-first and data-driven world.
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Claus Lauter: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the E-Commerce Coffee Break. Today we want to find out how you can grow a direct to customer brand. A D T C brand substantially in 2023. 2023 has his own challenges, as we all know, and becomes more and more important to do the right things in the right moment.
And we want to dive a little bit more in the topic of email marketing, s m s marketing. Building a customer engagement that [00:02:00] keeps people engaged with your brand. Therefore, the guest on the show today is Rohit. Rohit is the co-founder of Motor at GetModa.io. He is a creative technologist with 15 years of experience in developing web and mobile applications for enterprises and consumers.
More recently, he has been building data projects for brands and enterprises that grows to their His passion is using design, technology, and data to create solutions to solve problems in a mobile first and data-driven world. So let's welcome Robert to the show. Hi, Rohit. How today?
Rohit Maheshwaran: Hi. Hi Claus.
Thank you for having me. Rohit.
Claus Lauter: Retention is a very important topic this year, , but why is it so important? Maybe let's start there.
Rohit Maheshwaran: , everyone in the e-commerce space has seen, , rising customer acquisition costs, , everything from, , when you run your brand or you sell your products on Amazon or whether you, , use Facebook to advertise, everything is, , rising and essentially that is, , eating into their profits as a direct to consumer brand.
, a lot of other things as well. Technology changes, have [00:03:00] driven , this constantly moving goalpost. And so brands are stuck, , constantly having to hand over their fees to marketplaces and advertising platforms. Not to mention having to pay for their own logistics and countless other costs.
Having the D two C model, in this particular state is not sustainable, It is our thought that, , having a very strong retention strategy is the way to counter this.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Now, Gamo obviously is helping with that, and retention strategies, as I said, are important.
How can direct to customer brands, , get into this topic and start basically adopting different strategies that increase customer lifetime value, average auto value, and all these?
Rohit Maheshwaran: Essentially you have to have a very sound strategy, right? It's very difficult to execute this, right? , you have to have the knowledge and a great foundation, , to start this, , retention strategy.
But essentially it all starts with data, , , across the spectrum, ? , retention is all about the. Having control over their own, , channels [00:04:00] as well as then having, , control over their own data and their own audience. , along with that also having control over their own customer experience, right?
, having this control also gives you the power to execute it however you want to execute it, right? , some of the cost strategies that brands, , adopt, across. Marketing and customer experience, right? So when it comes to marketing, , being able to deploy, , omnichannel or multichannel, , communication such as email, s m s, , orchestrating that with your ad channels, like social media and all of that, , really is able to reach the right customer at the right time and place as well as then to continuously keep them engaged with your brand, And these messages. So these communications have to come with. High levels of personalization and personalization, , comes with data. So the more data you have, The better personalization you can offer, , that will make the customer feel more valued and increase, , their loyalty to your brand and also end up, , spending more.
And [00:05:00] then you get a higher L T V, , doing that, And that's the whole objective of building a retention strategies to increase your profits, , over a period of time. , some other, approaches of course is around perhaps setting up a loyalty program. , to essentially, Or incentivize repeat purchases.
, engage building very engaging content as well is a big play. , nad is, as you know, , everyone is into short form video , influencers, , driving, , sales as well. And so having that. Content in, , a huge amount helps with that, And finally, I think the most important thing that I preach to everyone, , even within our company is the customer experience, That's the most important thing ever. Continuously having, being able to seek feedback , and constantly, , helping them as fast as possible. Whenever they have an issue, it'll always keep them happy and loyal to your brand.
Claus Lauter: Okay. I think you touched on a couple of very important pillars for every business owner there.
So first of all, don't build your house on someone else's land. I think most of the marketers might now have had some [00:06:00] experience in the last years of losing data, of losing social media accounts, of losing at accounts and all of that. And was that data was gone or would, was difficult to recover. . building your own data, very important there.
Another point, as you said is content creation and customer service. Now discuss all sort of hand in hand when we talk about, , personalization and, , the one tool, and I'm a big, , fan of it for, is SMS and email marketing. Email marketing, very important. , I dunno how. Times people said email marketing is that, but it's not.
, we wanna dive a little bit more in email and s m s personalization. Give an overview of why it is so important to keep this email and this s m s customer data in your own hands.
Rohit Maheshwaran: , being able to reach. Customers using your own channels, which are essentially channels under your controlled, right?
Everything from your website to your email, to s m s and perhaps WhatsApp in some countries and all of that. Is the power to speak to them . In your own, , [00:07:00] voice. Having that channel is actually, , when they say email is dead, , is completely untrue. It's still driving. It's still one of the largest channels in the world and it's driving most amount of sales for email, , ever.
. And not to mention your. On investment is definitely, , at its optimal when it comes to email. , but this has to come with a lot of automation, , the ability to reach them with the channel of their choice, , at scale, You may have a few hundred thousand customers, for example, in your brand.
, and being able to reach them in automated fashion is what's critical, the personalization of this comes through setting up automations. And essentially what I always say is, , we have to do, , certain must have automations, ? You have to set up these email automations, which are essentially, , what I call the bid four.
the first one being your welcome series, which is when you are first touch point with a new subscriber, the ability to introduce them to your brand and your story, and set expectations up front, , and encourage them to make that first purchase, I think is the first touch point that is [00:08:00] extremely important.
, and then you should also have, , abandonment series, right? So during a shopping experience, , a customer essentially goes through various sets of abandonments, ? Whether they browse the product and they abandoned it, or they added something to the cart and they abandoned it, or maybe they even.
Went right up the checkout and they abandoned it. Just with abandonment emails, , you can recover a huge amount of lost sales, And so having that automation in place helps them remind them that they have or previously interested in something, but they, they didn't complete that final action.
, The next series that I find, , one of the most important is that next purchase, which is the repeat purchase series, which is what we call the post-purchase series, , which is, , where we can actually thank a customer for making their first purchase. Then, , recommend more products to them, ?
So this is where the data comes into play as well, , to be able to drive repeat purchases with recommendations. The post purchase series is one of the most important ones. And finally, the winback or the re-engagement [00:09:00] series, , which is an automation that is designed to reengage, , lost or inactive customers and encourage them to come back to your brand , and make a purchase again, Okay.
Claus Lauter: What I experienced with a lot of coaching clients is that they are too shy to send emails. So not often enough. That's the main problem that I see. And I say, yeah, we're sending a newsletter a month, or we sending one abundant card email . So from your experience working with lot of merchants out there, not sure if you can relate to that, but what would you say, how often should you send out for these different, , frequencies that you just mentioned?
How often and how many emails should you send out?
Rohit Maheshwaran: From a campaign perspective, I look at, campaigns being one of the main channels to drive sales. , anything between four to 10 campaigns a month, depending on how engaged the user is with your brand, , can actually help.
, and then finally, when it comes to automations, obviously it's based on the user's behavior. , but in essence, the ability to reach them at least, , four to 10 times a month , is [00:10:00] critical, .
Claus Lauter: Okay. Now, when it comes to creating content, and you touched on that briefly, , another issue that I see quite often, people struggle to create content.
Now I understand at motor you help with that. , there's a library. Tell me a little bit more about that.
Rohit Maheshwaran: I think along with email marketing, , brands get stuck with [00:12:00] the creative side of things, it's not just about sending the email to a specific segment of users.
It's about getting the message. True effectively. And so that comes with a whole bunch of things like making it visually appealing, , as well as then having the right language, , and so on and so forth, and presenting the product in a nice way. A lot of brands struggle with this because they are very much.
Into running their business, but they're not, , designers, for example. We offer, thousands of templates that you can use, , within, , your campaigns. And of course you can personalize this to be, with your brand and essentially with your own brand language. And to help with that, we have also integrated AI capabilities, Which essentially I'm sure everyone has, is familiar with chat GPTs type of solutions. , and essentially you can generate. , email copy or email headers, , call to actions, , using, , using our platform. Not to mention you can also generate, graphics, a combination of graphics , and text copy, , essentially powered by AI makes it a lot faster.
And not to mention it's templatized, so it's [00:13:00] already, , pre-designed with the right layouts, for example. Product recommendations block or abandoned card block and so on and so forth. . Okay.
Claus Lauter: Now we have already heard a little bit what you do at Motor Gimme an overview. You are an engagement and grow automation platform for e-commerce brands.
Growth automation. What exactly can potential customers of yours expect when they get into your system? What's
Rohit Maheshwaran: Unlike a traditional, , email service provider, who is essentially built a product or on sending emails, , Moda was built on the foundation of data, right?
So being a data platform. Which is our background, me as an entrepreneur and a product designer. , essentially we built data platforms for very large brands. Model is actually built on top of that knowledge. And essentially it's a customer data platform and it's underlying technology, , which means that it can collect data in real time.
, you can unify this so that, , brands can analyze and operationalize their data in an effective way. As with a growth platform. And the reason why we call it a growth platform is also [00:14:00] because it's meant to collect all data, ? So everything from your advertising data to your email data to your customer data, how much you spent, what they clicked on to your store data.
It comes in, the form of integrating all of the data into a single location, That's the power of, a customer data platform. And then another big pillar of. Uh, grower platform is the fact that it's automated, ? So it's automation for everything. , where, , we want to help the brands do less, ?
When it comes to marketing and customer experience, , because they have enough on their plate to do, , on a day-to-day basis. And so automating everything with templates is actually another piece of that growth, , strategy. And so we call it growth templates, essentially. , And then finally, we, are offering AI for content generation as well as for automations, ?
And so the data that you've initially connected, , and then all the automations that you're running is improved with ai, everything from delivering AI based content, , along with, , , getting better insights through. Recommendations, personalizations. All of that is, powered by AI as well.
That's [00:15:00] how we see, , growth platforms transforming the way brands engage with customers.
Claus Lauter: Gimme an example how a e-commerce marketer would create or basically plan his day on working with your platform. What would be typical tasks that he would do?
Rohit Maheshwaran: A typical e-commerce marketer would have a whole stack, if you're on Shopify, you would have, the store of course, with all your product data. , and then you would have your, , reviews, apps, , integrated. You would have your shipping, , app integrated and, and so on and so forth, E-commerce marketer would. , integrate all of their stack data, , using our no-code integration.
And essentially, that would then end up building customer profiles, , which they can then segment, right? So segmentation, as you know, customer segmentation is a very important part of, , delivering any, , marketing, , experie. , once they build their segments and then they can start setting up their campaigns, so it's events, , based one off broadcast campaigns.
So they would pick a calendar of, , [00:16:00] various, , promotional activities and product announcements they want to do, and they can deploy that and schedule them ahead of time. , and of course, these campaigns will be built off our templates , and you can use AI , to generate a subject line. You can use AI to generate the s m s message and so on and so forth.
And then finally, you can also set up your automations, ? So automations being the ability to deliver, , all these automated messages. , for example, what I just mentioned earlier around abandonments Around Winback campaigns and all of that. Other things like shipping notifications and stuff like that as well.
So a lot of transactional based, , interactions as well that would increase or improve your customer experience. And then finally, it all ties back into the final pillar, which is the analytics piece, So once you've done all of that marketing activity, all channels, , which is paid and email and SMS and all of that.
You wanna bring all of the, , performance data back into a single place so that you have a single view to make your decisions on what you want to do next When it comes to marketing, and knowing what [00:17:00] works versus what's not working is probably the most important thing, , when it comes to growth.
, and to be able to do that, you need a data platform that can measure everything accurate. That is essentially what a marketer can expect when they, sign up to a platform. .
Claus Lauter: Okay. Who's your perfect customer or your normal customer? Which kind of size? Which kinds of industry vertical are they in?
Rohit Maheshwaran: Any, , direct to consumer brand, , that is predominantly selling on their own website on Shopify. , we are on Shopify currently. We are also launching, several other e-commerce platforms soon. But essentially our ideal customer is anyone, , who is got perhaps. , from 1000, customers or subscribers, right up to a hundred thousand subscribers, ?
Even more is possible as well. Up to a million also is possible, but of course that's our ideal customer profile. And also brands , who sell, , repeat purchases, ? So not so much like perhaps furniture stores. We will be looking more towards folks who have, frequency of purchasers such as fn, , food and beverages, brands, personal care [00:18:00] brands and so on. Anyone who has, the ability to sell at least once a month, perhaps to the customer, is a good brand for us. . Okay.
Claus Lauter: That sounds great. Is there any kind of homework that immersion has to do before they approach you?
Rohit Maheshwaran: not really. We've designed the platform to be completely, , no code.
So that means , there's no technical requirements. A founder or marketer who wants to start doing some more advanced stuff. So they can just approach us , and sign up , and we can, , get you started immediately.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Before I ask you about the pricing, I want to go back to artificial intelligence. Our listeners will now know that I'm a big fan of artificial intelligence, whatever comes out there. What's your prediction for this year? How will artificial intelligence make the life of marketers easier or just also takes jobs away?
, what's your prediction?
Rohit Maheshwaran: It's going to revolutionize, , the next phase of technology, we've had some very, , important, technology advancements , in the past like mobile devices and internet and stuff like that, but, This is definitely going to be a [00:19:00] huge jump forward, , for everyone.
when it comes to taking jobs away. I don't know about that yet. It's still too early to call that. But essentially I see a lot of, , marketers, improving their workflows. With AI at the moment, , and being able to write more effectively and also being able to, , churn our campaigns more effectively and stuff like that.
, definitely moving at Bright Neck Speed. As you know, it's only been like few months since a lot of the hype has started. It's definitely gonna transform the way the world works, in a big.
Claus Lauter: I like that you're already, , ahead of, the curve and have already integrated into your motor system, so that's great.
Tell me a little bit about the pricing. What can people expect there?
Rohit Maheshwaran: So it's a pretty straightforward, , very affordable pricing. , when it comes to motor, , we have a free tier, , that starts, from up to 250 contacts. So if you. A small store, , that, just started and you just started running ads, and you have a few hundred customers that it's essentially free.
And then it starts from $15 per month, , for up to a thousand contacts. You can expect that to grow. For example, if you [00:20:00] have. 20,000 contacts that goes up to just over a hundred dollars per month, , and so on. So it's all contact base. And one good thing about motor is, , we offer unlimited emails for all plans.
, and so s m s is an add-on that you can buy, and we have more channels coming soon and so on.
Claus Lauter: We can send, , unlimited emails. That is definitely benefit there. A lot of other providers you reach at level then, and then it becomes more expensive. So well done on that one. Why can people find out more about, um, o
Rohit Maheshwaran: You can visit, ww do, , get more data I o so that it's G E T M O D a.io.
Our website is live and you can essentially sign up there and, get started.
Claus Lauter: I will put the links in the notes as always. Then you just one click away. Roy, thanks so much for giving us an overview and , I think 2023 will be a great year for e-commerce, specifically with AI coming up and then working on the traditional email and s m s marketing channels that will just help growing every business.
Thanks so much for your time.
Rohit Maheshwaran: Thank you. Close. Nice talking to you. All the best.
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