Increasing Sales Through Personalization with Ben Parr (Octane AI)

In this episode, we talk to Ben Parr about accelerating ecommerce growth by using shoppable quizzes to provide personalized product recommendations at scale.

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About this episode:

You’re probably familiar with using an email marketing tool like Klaviyo to segment your audience and personalize the emails that are received by each of your customers. Well, the team over at Octane AI has launched a new tool called the Shop Quiz, which allows Shopify stores to get similar results by building an interactive quiz experience into their online store.

Imagine you could present your website visitors with a series of questions that help discern their needs, goals, or preferences, and then instantly present the best product recommendation for their specific situation. Not only that, but you can allow them to purchase that product right away, without having to redirect them to a product page.

In this episode, we talk to founder Ben Parr about their Shop Quiz solution and how ecommerce leaders should be thinking about data collection, data management, and personalization as additional fuel for their sales and marketing strategies.

Want to be a guest on our show? Have feedback or ideas for how we can improve? Send your thoughts over to We’ll be keeping an eye on that inbox. 🙂

The Ecommerce Insights Show is brought to you by The Good, a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) consultancy specializing in helping ecommerce businesses accelerate their growth through better research, testing, and design. Learn more about our team, our work, and our services at

Episode Transcript:

James Sowers: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to the show. I’m your host James Sowers. And today I’m joined by Mr. Ben Parr from Octane AI. Ben, we’d like to kick things off with a brief intro, just kind of like who you are, what you’re doing at Octane AI and maybe your project.

[00:00:11] That’s got you excited that you’re working on right now. 

[00:00:13]Ben Parr: [00:00:13] Hi, I’m Ben, I’m the president co-founder of opportunity. I had been told not to tell you all the other things I’ve done. You can just Google that. Uh, and maybe it’s just like the super quick on Octane AI is we power. The, uh, onsite and offsite personalization for thousands of e-commerce brands, primarily using, uh, our shop quiz to learn about customers and their preferences recommend the products they’re actually looking for in the same way that they are shopping in retail, where there’s someone guiding them to purchase and giving them advice.

[00:00:46] So that’s what our product does. And then we use that information to personalize. Everything about shopping experience from the Facebook messages and SMS messages you receive, which we power to connecting it to your favorite email platform, like a Klaviyo or something, and, uh, powering that and making that more personal.

[00:01:03] So that’s kind of the Okta NEI experience overall. And we’ve been in, we work with a lot of shop thousands of Shopify brands now, and a lot of big brands like, uh, proactive and GoPro. 

[00:01:12]James Sowers: I will say, definitely go Google Ben and his co-founder Matt. They both have really awesome backstories.

[00:01:17] And the reason I said, let’s cut that off. Cause that could be the whole episode. You guys have done so much in your life already, and it’s just, I enjoyed reading about it.

[00:01:23] Ben Parr: [00:01:23] Only thing I’m going to say about Matt, because you’ll make you all Google or Tik Tok him at Matt cat bat. He has Tik Tok famous because he just wanted to figure out how the algorithm worked and as a word, almost a million subscribers.

[00:01:36] James Sowers:That’s awesome. Yeah, I did see, it has like 800,000. It’s probably higher now because it’s been a couple of days since I looked, but, uh, yeah, there’s such a, such an interesting platform that I don’t necessarily get personally from my perspective, but I can see why it’s super attractive to people. So yeah, definitely go give Matt cat.

[00:01:49] Bat. I get that right. Matt 

[00:01:51] Ben Parr: [00:01:51] cat bat, Matt cat bat. 

[00:01:53] James Sowers: Awesome. Um, but yeah, today we want to focus on Octane AI, and you know, we definitely wanna focus on the shop quiz, but the fact of the matter is it started off as, um, kind of like a Facebook messenger SMS type of platform. So maybe just briefly tell us about the origin story, how Octane AI came into existence, and then we’ll get into where you’re at today and what you’re working on.

[00:02:12] Ben Parr: [00:02:12] Yeah. So, you know, I was on tattooing as you can tell here, but, um, after tattoo ween, uh, so my, uh, co founders and I got together in 2016 and the original thesis was okay. Uh, All these brands across the world, connect with the customers over email and represents 20, 30, 50% of their revenue. It’s really important to them.

[00:02:37] But email, it’s not that I’m pointing you to time on a smartphone anymore it’s messaging. And in the same way you have Omni SATA. Klayvio, Marquetto like all sorts of amazing tools for email. People will never leave me. Inevitably need that for messaging and it didn’t exist. So we started building it. We raised around from general catalyst partners and a bunch of amazing angels.

[00:02:55] And we launched . Not even focused on e-commerce it’s chat bots for Facebook messenger primarily. And we worked with everything from like 50 set to politicians, to media companies and e-commerce companies and Royal Caribbean. We realized though pretty quickly. That it was our e-commerce customers who are doing really well with our software, that we’re really driving real results, where you could be like, this is really increasing revenue.

[00:03:22] And obviously we all know e-commerce brands and retail brands are much more sophisticated than I think a lot of other brands with their outbound communication, like card abandonment, triggered messaging, all sorts of things. And so we started really building those things made up that on Shopify before it was cool to make a bet on Shopify.

[00:03:39] And that’s probably one of the most consequential decisions of the company, the shop quiz might actually be more consequential at this point, but the result was like, you know, we built something for like doing Facebook messenger things. We still do that. It prints a lot of money for a lot of stores.

[00:03:54] Um, but we thought like we could take it one step further. Yeah, 

[00:03:58] James Sowers: [00:03:58] for sure. And if you’re going to place a bet. Betting on Shopify two to four years ago is probably one of the best ones you can make. So it’s kind of like hanging on to the fins of a rocket ship, right. That’s taken off and you guys are taking advantage of that opportunity.

[00:04:11] So, so tell me about the shop quiz then. So this is the next evolution of kind of what I call conversational marketing. I don’t know how you would describe it, but we start with SMS or Facebook messenger. And now we’re kind of evolving into this concept of a quiz that helps you provide some personal recommendations around products and stuff.

[00:04:26] I don’t want to steal your thunder, but yeah. But Why did shop quiz come about? Like, why was this a problem we’re solving? Why is this an opportunity we’re taking advantage of what inspired you guys to build a whole new tool and take the company in a different direction in terms of shop quiz?

[00:04:39] Ben Parr: [00:04:39] So you’re absolutely right. That it is, uh, it is also the same kind of it’s conversational marketing, right? It’s still the same threat. It just, you could think of conversational marketing as well beyond messaging channels, which I think is just something that we did now. We came up with the product and the concept, because last year we had a lot of customers doing really well with our Facebook messenger tools.

[00:05:01] Right. But we found out as we looked deeper, that a lot of our customers were hacking. Our Facebook messenger tool, not just to do this like card abandonment message or this browse abandonment message, uh, that like drives sales. But they were using it to build quizzes because messenger has a back and forth functionality.

[00:05:20] And a lot of our customers still do this too. Uh, and so they would do things like a fit finder or a saw, or a skincare routine recommender, or a recipe finder or some other type of quiz. And we’re like, why are you doing this? Because Messenger’s fine for doing a quiz, but. The best experience would be part of your site.

[00:05:40] And we found out from our research and having conversations with dozens of our customers, that they all wanted to do these quizzes on the site, but either they had to spend a lot of money doing custom builds. And even when you do a custom build, it doesn’t come with the advanced backend analytics or constant integrations.

[00:05:58] Like it’s a problem. It’s a problem for a lot of these e-commerce brands, big and small. And then. On the other side, a lot of brands were using something like Typeform and still do, which doesn’t even really integrate with Shopify. And like can take an hour to sync with your email platform and is not built for e-commerce and can’t directly recommend products or even track revenue.

[00:06:19] I had a conversation with a, with a big brand is. Like they have a hundred thousand people taking their quiz. Like every month it’s like, great. How much money have you made from it? They’re like, well, you have no idea. Right. And that just seems insane to us. And so we saw this giant opportunity and it fit with the thesis.

[00:06:32] I like using conversation to build a more humanizing shopping experience. So we doubled down or we built the shock quiz. You know, since the end of last year, we came out with a private beta. And ever since then, it’s already become our most popular product. And like it’s been crazy rocket ship in terms of growth.

[00:06:48] James Sowers: [00:06:48] I don’t think the quiz concept is novel. I mean, you described that like in, in terms of the, it existed through Facebook messenger, people were trying to hack this together. Like you said, I’ve encountered those even through, um, customer support, widgets, like drift or Intercom when they’re done well.

[00:07:02] They’re awesome because you can kind of self service and I don’t have to wait on hold to talk to somebody on the phone or a live chat person who might not understand my problem. Like, I can answer a few questions and get to where I need to be. So when it works well, it’s awesome. When it doesn’t work well, it’s super frustrating and it’s going to turn customers off and it’s going to leave a bad taste in their mouth.

[00:07:19] And I think that like, if people are trying to hack this together with a type form, like you said, the game-changer, at least from my perspective, learning more about the product is the commerce side of it. It’s like presenting the product and giving them maybe a one-click add to cart. One-click checkout, whatever the case may be.

[00:07:33] That’s where we get the business value from this. So if you were to try to maybe define that in more detail or quantify that, even based on some of the early adopters that you’ve seen for the tool, like if somebody is listening there and they’re saying, Hey, I got a lot of marketing stuff on my plate. I got paid ads.

[00:07:49] I got influencers, I got brand partnerships. I got SEO. I’m trying to do all this stuff. Like, why should I layer shop quiz on top of that? What’s the business case, or what’s the case that you would build for that? 

[00:07:59] Ben Parr: [00:07:59] Okay. There’s a couple of things, but I’ll start with the biggest one. Which is the average conversion rate for a Shopify brand or an e-commerce brand is under 2% your onsite conversion rate.

[00:08:10] If you could raise that by even a single percentage point, you would increase your revenue by potentially nearly double. Uh, it’s a huge problem. All of these people are dropping off and they’re dropping off because they don’t know what to buy. They’re not being given any guidance. And this is something that happens.

[00:08:28] Now. Someone guides you to purchase. It gives you information, prevents churn. You don’t have that on your site? A quiz is that the conversion rate of an Octavia I shop quiz on average right now is not 1% or 2% or 3%. It’s seven to 15% plus wow. Like multiple increases in the revenue generate and the average order value, it can be 28 to.

[00:08:53] 50% higher. We have one brand with beauty bio, like they’ve you have segments that are making 28% more revenue because they have this quiz than they were before. It just makes money. That’s like super clear. Then there’s like the second half, which is now you’ve collected those data. It’s actually, it’s critical to collect this data.

[00:09:13] You hear it all the time. Like you need to know more about your customers to do these things, but for most brands are not collecting this data. This is literally the one non-creepy straightforward way to collect super valuable data like age and skin tone and, uh, preferences. How would is whatever is really important to you.

[00:09:30] And then you can literally turn that into lists. But if you’re not collecting that information, you can do nothing and you will be going farther and farther behind. Against those who are implementing these quizzes and doing shop quizzes and learning about their customers and doing segmentation. We had one customer do lashes who didn’t even realize that they’re the number one segment of customers was customers who had never bought lashes ever before.

[00:09:53] It was the first time they thought most of those were repeat purchasers. When they found that out, they went to work immediately felt like a whole Klayvio flow and had like a whole welcome series. I was focused on education and that already had an impact. And so like that knowledge and that insight that you’re not getting is like the third pillar.

[00:10:11] So there’s just like super clear. You’re going to make more revenue and higher increase your conversions by multiples it’s. Now you have the data, you actually need to do this personalization piece. That’s going to keep you from not getting behind and increase your conversions more. Um, and it’s like these insights that will drive your business to the next level.

[00:10:27] James Sowers: [00:10:27] Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s a pretty compelling case that you just spell it. And I think. It seems like this is one of those tools that is truly a win-win like it pays for itself several times over pretty quickly out of the gate. I’m guessing because it’s just intuitive. Right? I love the example that you shared.

[00:10:43] This happens in the retail setting with kind of the advisor, the store clerk, whatever that’s coming over and kind of being that, um, trusted partner to help you find the right fit. And like, especially in a gifting scenario, I always talk about like, if I’m going Christmas shopping for my wife and I decided I’m going to buy her a winter coat or something, like, I want to have somebody there to give me some feedback on.

[00:11:01] Like, what should the fill be? How warm is this going to be? Like, what color should I be in the fit? And like how it’s cut around the waist or what it, like, I don’t know anything about buying women’s coats. I know she wants one. I know she would enjoy getting one, but I need somebody that I can trust to give me some advice around that.

[00:11:13] If we’re going to try to replicate that in a digital setting, we can’t always do that face to face consulting, but we can do some, some exploratory questioning and then some dynamic like recommendations based on the answers to the quiz. And I think that’s where shock quiz comes in and fills that void between brick and mortar and online retail.

[00:11:29] Ben Parr: [00:11:29] Uh, I’ll add there that, uh, you talked about the win-win. I actually think it’s win, win, win in the sense that I think the vast majority of products that like stores or, or in SAS in general, uh, benefit one group versus another, like you can have and spam emails to your customers, and you’ll make more revenue in the short term, but it’s bad for the customers and longterm you’ll lose out because they’ll ignore you.

[00:11:52] You’ll lose them. Uh, this is the chalk quiz is beautiful because. It is actually better for the customer. It’s actually making it a much more personalized recommendation, actually helping them find what they’re looking for and not sparing them. It actually does the opposite. Now that you know that they’re in the 18 oily group, for example, you can make sure they don’t get sent messages that are relevant to them about like dry skin, for example.

[00:12:15] And now suddenly you’ve made their entire experience better while making more money and like, That’s the win-win that you’re looking for a better experience for the customer to experience better expense with the brand. That’s one of the things that excites me so much about the shop quiz in general, it’s just a better experience for the end customer, which just flows into everything else.

[00:12:34] James Sowers: [00:12:34] Yeah, it’s a two-way conversation, right. Instead of just shouting out into the void, which is what maybe social media or paid advertising, is it just like, yeah, it’s the spinning sign guy out in front of your store. Whereas what you’re trying to get to, is there more consultative approach with a, with an associate?

[00:12:48] So, um, yeah, I’m, I’m bought in, uh, maybe we’ve built the case for the listeners, but I’m curious, like you shared dough lashes is there in terms of saying here’s a real world brand that. Directly saw benefit from using the shop quiz tool. Is there another brand that jumps out at you as like these people, uh, experience outsized results and it took very little investment or energy or finances.

[00:13:08] However you want to quantify like the front end work that had to be done to get that big result. 

[00:13:13] Ben Parr: [00:13:13] Um, bariatric fusion comes to mind. So one other thing I think I should note the, uh, the quiz itself. Fully customizable in terms of like the look and the feel they look like the website, you wouldn’t be able to tell unless someone like, unless you looked in the backend code that, Oh, it’s actually like a tool that’s helping you do this versus like it’s part of the website inherits the thoughts and the themes.

[00:13:33] And I think that’s important too, because the design is really important for e-commerce brands and the look and feel, and the visualization now, uh, the bariatric fusion piece, not only did they like increase revenue and increase AOV, I think the big staff that jumped out to me is. They use it for email collection and they had like, pop-ups too before, or like as well, they’d collect now 16 times more email addresses and opt-ins than they did before doing the shop quiz.

[00:14:00] So lash has actually increased those by three X. The like 40% of all the emails they collect is just from their quiz. Like, imagine if you three extra 60 next year email list, what you could do with that. And that’s like, The shop quizzes are really great for that because it’s, they want to actually get the results they want to actually hear from you.

[00:14:19] Uh, it really does actually help them. So they’re more than willing to opt in for these things because you help them.

[00:14:26] James Sowers: [00:14:26] It’s it’s almost like you need to add a fourth pillar, which is like audience growth, right? Because there are multiple applications you can use for we’re calling it a shock quiz, but it could really be like finding the best incentive to offer somebody to join your audience, whatever it is, your list or your community or whatever you’ve got going on.

[00:14:40] So it’s almost like that’s another element we haven’t even covered. Um, let’s assume somebody is convinced and they’re like, yeah, shop quiz sounds like a good thing. Something I should be doing, but I don’t know if my business is a good fit. Like I’ve hear, I’ve heard mentions of kind of like cosmetics, you know, uh, eyelashes, um, sounds like some makeup or something like that.

[00:14:55] Some kind of like lotion, skin cleanser, self care type of stuff. I’m guessing apparel. Are there any other businesses that are like a really strong fit for something like a shop quiz that can help them put the right product in front of the right customer? 

[00:15:07] Ben Parr: [00:15:07] I appreciate that question because I think a lot of brands might think, Oh, I only have one product or two or three products or five products to quiz works just as well.

[00:15:16]We have like a mattress brands, like poly asleep using it. And like, they don’t have like 50 different mattresses, but it helps the customer get more comfortable with the purchase, especially a higher AOV purchase. Like, you know, do you, are, do you usually buy with, from, or do you sleep better with soft or, you know, what have you slept in, in the past?

[00:15:33] And then the quiz itself could personalize the copy and the language that it uses. Cause then it can explain like the same way you went in store. Like. This one is this particular one that’s going to be right for you. It’s made for people who have back issues or have this issue, or have this size limitation in their house.

[00:15:50] And like, this is like the benefits of that one. And like, you know, this is like your options and that’s already just like a lot better. You can even have one product I use, um, uh, teeth whitener is the example I often use, which is. You can have one teeth whitener, but you might ask questions, like, do you drink or do you smoke?

[00:16:10] Or do you drink coffee? And by answering those questions, then the copy could be like, Oh yeah. So like maybe two thirds of people who drink coffee have this same issue. You know, this is how the teeth whitener works to tackle those specific types of stains and your teeth. And that’s already a much more personalized sales pitch.

[00:16:25] And now you’ve learned detailed information about the customer. So your next follow-up, doesn’t have to be guessing like why they bought, you know, why they bought now your up can be like, you know, this is the routine you want to have to get, like to keep the coffee stains away. That makes 

[00:16:40] James Sowers: [00:16:40] That’s important distinction though, because like, I could see how somebody would default to. Okay. So I’m going to build this quiz and it’s going to be questioned product pitch, question, product pitch. Like that feels kind of spammy. That feels like a little aggressive, but really it’s about, you could do 10 steps of education and one pitch at the end and all along that way.

[00:16:57] I’m sure you guys are capturing analytics about how far in that process somebody is getting and where they’re dropping off. So you might be able to determine like, Hey, if somebody drops off at question five, which is about mattress firmness, maybe we’re not doing a great job of explaining that and getting them to question six.

[00:17:11]Is, is that an accurate assumption or am I off the path there? 

[00:17:14] Ben Parr: [00:17:14] That’s a, that’s a very accurate assumption. We spent a lot of time on the analytics in particular. You’ll see, actually, the drop-off and how many seconds it takes. So now you get a deeper understanding of, Oh, they’re dropping off really quickly.

[00:17:25] Or they’re thinking about this a lot and then dropping off. Or they’re skipping around to this question or that question. Now you’ve learned even more about the customer. This goes down to that, like learning unique behaviors and insights you would never have learned before because every, every VC in every startup coach is like, talk to your customers.

[00:17:43] This is just talking to your customers at a larger scale. And the result is even more data that you can utilize to better your product, better, your marketing, better everything about your business, but you can’t do that. If you’re not collecting the information. Right. 

[00:17:58] James Sowers: [00:17:58] And I definitely want to talk about where we can pipe that data to, and get into some details there, because I think that’s an important part of the value proposition of the tool and the concept at large.

[00:18:06] But before we do that, we’ve talked about kind of recommended products as a use case. We’ve talked about lead capture or list building as a use case. Are there any other kind of, maybe there’s some obvious ways, but maybe there are also some creative ways that you’re seeing people deploy shop quizzes to grow their business or improve their relationships with their customers.

[00:18:24] Ben Parr: [00:18:24] Yeah, the, um, the cool about the tools that’s super malleable. And so we had one, turn it, for example, into an interactive on-site option where like, it’d be like, get a 10% discount. How do you want to get it? And you’d have the option to message your SMS or email, and then you can go down and pick which one and you’d get your discount.

[00:18:43] It seems simple, but that’s like an interactive on-site pop-up and you can do a lot of crazy things with that. Or ask a follow-up question. There’s some are, they’re using it to just learn about the customer after the purchase, you know, like there’s that kind of like survey element that you can go and do.

[00:18:57] There’s a bunch that are, there’s like one that’s even using it too. Uh, learn about their influencers and help them get to like purchase and figure out the stuff they need to do. Next truth is I think we’ve only scratched the surface in terms of like all the use cases and what’s possible. We have like a whole list of like there’s fit finders and size finders and bundles and things, but there’s a whole bunch.

[00:19:17] Of ones that we haven’t even thought of. And, you know, we just recently made the shop quiz available to everybody. You can just go sign up for it in the Shopify app store, And we’re just finding cool use cases and like super beautiful quizzes people build in like a matter of hours or days.


[00:19:33] James Sowers: [00:19:33] what I love. Uh, one example I saw on your website was the gift finder. And that’s kind of the example I shared earlier where like, if I’m shopping for my wife and I go to a brick and mortar retail store, I have somebody there to help me make that decision with confidence online. It’s not as easy to do that.

[00:19:45] So if I had some kind of quiz and it’s like, okay, what kind of, what kind of fabrics does she like check, check, check, right? Um, what kind of colors does she like that? And it walks me through kind of the same process. And then it says, here are three options you might like, and that we think your wife would like to, or whatever.

[00:19:58] That to me is much more reassuring than a click go to site, click around, browse, open up a bunch of tabs. I’m probably just going to panic because I’m like, all right, this is whatever, a couple of hundred dollars investment. And I’m not a hundred percent sure that this is going to be the one that she’s going to like.

[00:20:12] So I just leave altogether. And that sale would have been lost without that more kind of back and forth engagement from something like a shop. It’s fun. 

[00:20:19] Ben Parr: [00:20:19] It’s like going into, it’s like asking a customer, Hey, Just walk into the warehouse and figure out what you want, which is a horrible idea because there’s thousands of Protestants.

[00:20:30] They’re going to just be like, I have no clue what I’m doing and that’s happening all the time. Especially this year when a lot of people are shopping and e-commerce for probably the first time ever, because they’ve typically done retail, they couldn’t this year for obvious reasons. Uh, and you need to provide that experience that does like make retail.

[00:20:51] Strong, which is that human in person, concierge element. But you can have that in e-commerce too. And we’ve been dedicated to like building something that does that just extraordinarily well, and long-term, it will become even better than the in-person because there’s a certain thing you can do online.

[00:21:07] You simply can’t do in person like personalizing the messages and follow-ups that happen automatically. 

[00:21:13] James Sowers: [00:21:13] Yeah. 

[00:21:14] And people are more comfortable sharing, more intimate details online to an inanimate. Quiz widget, then they might be with a person face to face, I would think anyway. Um, awesome. So a big, a big part of the upside here is personalization.

[00:21:26] And I imagine this is the product where, you know, if I were to ask you, what should people be incorporating or collecting in terms of data to personalize the offer or the presentation. The sky’s the limit, right? It could be because you get into the nuance of like, do you have oily skin or dry skin? You know, like that’s super specific to a particular brand and a product line, but in general, are there some foundational elements that you would recommend every e-commerce leader be capturing about their customers in a tasteful way so that they can inform some of their marketing campaigns and other things that we’re about to get into?

[00:21:55] Like, what are the key data points? If it’s just like name birthday, whatever, like a customer lifetime value, whatever they’re trying to collect, like what do they need to have about every customer to maximize the upside of their marketing efforts? 

[00:22:07] Ben Parr: [00:22:07] It really does in this case, it really does depend on what you, as the brand need to know to do the sale.

[00:22:13] Like if you’re a food brand, you really need to know allergies and it’s really important to get that information. Um, there’s a couple, there’s a brand, uh, that in a very clever way, instead of asking, like, what’s your age and this, so like age is important, but it’s not going to, everyone’s gonna answer that.

[00:22:29] But as if asking what your age they ask, like which of these childhood cartoons is your favorite? And you got like sailor moon or like teen Titans go and you automatically know based on that information, uh, what age group they are in as a result and you’ll learn that information. So yeah, there’s some key demographic information you should collect, but it’s individual the brands, like what are the, you have to like, think about the buyer persona?

[00:22:54] Like, what are the key questions I would be asking in store, like a travel like brand they might be really thinking about. Like color or durability or something like that, or a cosmetics brand. They’re going to think a lot about like, uh, my skin tone or what’s the routine that I need or allergies. And then you kind of reverse engineer from there, the quiz.

[00:23:13] And then the more like, like a conversational, it is the better it goes. And so like there’s a whole bunch of Christlike, like has like on their homepage quiz. It’s just like, they, it’s super beautiful. It’s learning about like, you know, what kind of lighting you have in your home and all that.

[00:23:26] And it recommends plants. I know I want plants in my house. I just have no clue which plants to buy. And I’m suddenly like, actually this worked really, really well. And I, I am pretty sure we have sold lots and lots of plants for rooted as a result of that. Like just telling people to do that quick. This is an example.


[00:23:45] James Sowers: [00:23:45] mean, each of those decision factors really should probably be a question that quits, like what lighting do you have in your house? What level of care are you willing to provide to these plans? Like, do you want low care or do you want to be high touch to enjoy . Right. That kind of thing. Um, yeah, that’s super interesting.

[00:24:00] So I’m curious, like if somebody takes a quiz, completes it and completes a purchase and they come back around for a second purchase, are they showing the quiz again? Is there the ability to like, not ask them the same questions or to send them through maybe a deeper level of questioning about a following purchase or something like that?

[00:24:15] Like how do you treat a return customer in that regard? 

[00:24:17] Ben Parr: [00:24:17] So, uh, it’s interesting. There’s some interesting behaviors around that. We actually find that a lot of customers love taking quizzes over and over again, like as an example, they might like show it to their friend and have their friends at their quiz on their account or something like that.

[00:24:30] And so it’s also good to be asking, like who you buying this for? Cause it’s like myself or for a friend or for a family member. That way you can kind of. Segment that information and we’re storing in our end, like the history. Cause you can also then kind of actually track progress and what’s happening as a result of like the answers, these, uh, that people give to the quizzes throughout.

[00:24:51] Um, and so you just have to, uh, Like, it’s like asking these like really engaging questions. You don’t have to do some crazy thing where like the second time it’s completely different because truthfully, they actually probably want to take the same quiz again. I do think that there’ll be some cool evolutions you can do.

[00:25:07] And some more in-depth things they can do as a result of like their second or third time. But I think the bigger thing is the analytics and kind of watching the history of where they started on where they are. And also just making sure is it actually them or are they buying for somebody else? That’s a really important question.

[00:25:21] Most quizzes. Yeah, 

[00:25:22] James Sowers: [00:25:22] for sure. I can even think there’s probably an opportunity for a quiz immediately. Post-purchase right. To kind of educate them about, so you just bought this plant. Let me educate you about how to care for it or what to expect from the package and how to kind of assemble all the in grid, like the plant itself and the soil and whatever else, the container whatever’s coming in there.

[00:25:39] Like I bet there’s a post-purchase opportunity there too, to educate the customer and prepare them and get them excited about the product they’re about to receive. 

[00:25:46] Ben Parr: [00:25:46] Yeah. There’s absolutely. There’s you could do it. Like it’s something that would be pre-purchased post-purchase like it doesn’t like you can do it at almost any stage of the journey and yeah, post-purchase, it’s like, there’s something powerful about the like survey piece and like using it to also maybe upsell or help, like navigate something to other people there’s like super malleable things, things you can do.

[00:26:07] And again, I feel like, because we put out this tool, it’s super creative. We’re at like 1% or 0.1% of its true potential in terms of the ideas people have. And they’ve been messaging us, all the ideas and all the things, and we’re going to kind of showcase 

[00:26:21] James Sowers: [00:26:21] those. Yeah. It definitely feels like it’s one of those things you’ll poke around in the analytics someday and you’ll go to a store and you’ll be like, Whoa, they’re using it this way.

[00:26:28] I never considered that. We got to put that on the website. Right. Like as another use case. So it feels like one of those kinds of products. Um, so yeah, and I think people have bought into the fact that like, We need to do customer interviews. We need to do customer research. I think people understand that.

[00:26:41] And the one objection I always hear is like, I don’t have time to interview customers every day. I’m trying to run my business. I’ve got logistics, I’ve got fulfillment, I’ve got pricing and stuff like that. I’ve got marketing all this other stuff. Well, this does scale, and this is pretty close to customer research about as close as you can get at thousands of purchases or visits a day.

[00:26:57] So, yeah, I can’t, I can’t say enough about how I believe in the value of it 

[00:27:01] Ben Parr: [00:27:01] with the additional business benefit of higher conversions and higher AOV. And collecting data that you can automatically target. It’s like actually structured data. You can go in like, sync it with your Klayvio and send emails based on that data.

[00:27:15] Yeah, 

[00:27:15] James Sowers: [00:27:15] perfect transition. Thanks for doing my job for me. There’ve been, because what I want to get into is like, Hey, what do we do with all this data? Right. We’re collecting it. We’ve got it. Um, we all know that we can get into analysis paralysis in terms of looking at Google analytics and all this data, but how do we actually use it?

[00:27:28] How do we actually convert that into upside for the business? What kind of tools do we plug it into? And then what do we do with that data in terms of personalizing some of the messages and whatever else we’re showing our customers after they’ve done the quiz. So, 

[00:27:40] Ben Parr: [00:27:40] uh, We’re still like at the beginning of the journey of all the cool things.

[00:27:44] And there’s a whole con bunch of cool integrations, but like one of the first ones we launched with was Klayvio because lots of Shopify brands use quite a bit. We’re going to have a bunch of email integrations and other cool things coming, but it’s pretty straightforward in the sense that you learned about these customers now send that information and tournament to properties and like lists within Klaviyo.

[00:28:02] So that. Uh, you built a buyer profile essentially, or a buyer persona. And this buyer persona is like the group of customers who, uh, have, um, like have low light in their homes and travel a lot versus have highlight in our always home. And now you can do custom email segmentation. So instead of sending like one email blast, it might be segmented into two email blasts or into four, or you might automatically start an education sequence like dove lashes did in terms of.

[00:28:30] I found out they’re first time customers, there’s a new sequence I can do for a welcome series for this customer or for a followup series for this customer. And then also add the information of they did buy, they didn’t buy. Now you can have two additional separate paths. The more you personalize those things, the greater the improvement and the things that we power Facebook messenger, and we power SMS right on our platform.

[00:28:51] And so you can do all the abandoned cart and browse, abandonment things with those platforms and then have the much. Powerful, like even weight benefit that just no one else has, which is like sending these like super targeted follow-up messages over these channels that people open all the time. And it says the last, like the key to it.

[00:29:07] James Sowers: [00:29:07] Is there an integration with like, um, any of the ad platforms? So I’m thinking like if I fill out a certain field during the quiz, then you might want to show me dynamic 

[00:29:16] Ben Parr: [00:29:16] for me. My God, we launched, we launched, we launched with a, uh, with a Facebook pixel, uh, integration. And so. With that integration. This is actually drives a huge amount of sales.

[00:29:27] Uh, even if someone just takes like answers, one question, like what kind of skid do they have? And then they drop off even before giving you an email address or a phone number or anything like that because we cook it. Um, uh, we can actually send that information for the Facebook pixel. And now you could run a retargeting ad to those customers who dropped off and answered a single question in the quiz.

[00:29:45] So instead of being like, here’s a generic ad for my product, I can have a much more targeted at around like, They like they have dry skin. So like, this is like the product for you, or like, this is the set that you should be looking at. You have dry skin, if so, suddenly you’ve massively increased the conversion rates of your ads.

[00:30:04] And especially now where like ad prices are going up, but just in general ad prices are going up. You need every edge you can get in terms of conversions. 

[00:30:12] James Sowers: [00:30:12] Yeah, for sure. So yeah, one other use case I can think of is maybe customer support, like does this pipe into a customer help desk? And it’s like, somebody reached out to me for assistance with their product and I can see all of their quiz, submission data in there.

[00:30:23] And so I can see that they have oily skin. I can see that, you know, they’re buying for their wife or whoever like that kind of stuff might help me provide better customer support. 

[00:30:31] Ben Parr: [00:30:31] I will say two things to that one, which is, I have thought about that one a lot and stay tuned. 

[00:30:36] James Sowers: [00:30:36] Okay. Awesome. I don’t want to get you in any hot water back at the office though.

[00:30:40]Cause you’re not, 

[00:30:40] Ben Parr: [00:30:40] I’ll leave it at like, uh, there’s a lot of amazing platforms and like our philosophy is, you know, utilizing this data and the platforms that you use, you know, our core is we’re building this like platform to learn about the customer and personalize some of the key things across that journey.

[00:30:57] And so whether you’re using like, you know, there’s people using stand desks or gorgeous or resumes or something else, you know, We want to have that data going in and we want, uh, customers to be able to like give better support as a result. And yeah, we’ve been growing super rapidly. Like, I will tell you, we were like 10, 10, 12 people at the beginning of the year.

[00:31:15] Like we’re 40 something now I don’t even know what’s happening. And so now all we’re doing is just like expanding as quickly as possible because there’s so many cool things we can be doing and a bunch of things that. People are asking for it, a bunch of things people aren’t asking for, but we know when we show it to them, when we show it to them or when we talk to them about, they’re like, Holy crap, that’s amazing.

[00:31:36] And we want to, we’re doing all those things in rapid succession. So also we’re hiring. 

[00:31:41] James Sowers: [00:31:41] Oh, there you go. We’ll put that out there. I’m sure you’ve got a careers page. It’s probably octane if I had to guess, but I don’t know that for sure. So we’ll link it up in the show notes just to be safe.

[00:31:50] Um, listen, if I had to recap the conversation, we built a case for shop quizzes. We talked about the business value there. We talked about some use cases, specific types of quizzes to build. We talked about the data collection and personalization and where to funnel that thing. The only thing I can think of that we haven’t touched on yet.

[00:32:05] Is maybe like best practices in terms of actually designing the quiz, right? Like how many steps should it be? What’s too long. What’s not long enough. Should we insert dynamic media to keep it engaging? Like have you seen any best practices emerge in terms of like, if somebody wants to start today and they go get octane AI and they set up on their store, like how do they build a best in class pretty quickly?

[00:32:24] Ben Parr: [00:32:24] So, first one, because I had to do it, we wrote a playbook on this That goes in-depth into all the things that you can like go and do it. All of our tips for building really dynamic and engaging quizzes and the step by step, if you’ve never done it before with octane or with any quiz, um, it is it’s, it’s got a couple of hundred pages, but the core section that you’re looking for is not that long.

[00:32:48] And you just go read it, it’s at the beginning of our playbook. So go get that. Um, I’ll tell you a couple of the hints that from that quiz, which is like one in terms of the number of questions that really does depend on the brand. I will say a super short quiz does not convert better. Uh, because if I was like, say I was trying to sell you sneakers.

[00:33:07] And if I asked you a question of like, do you have feet? Yes. Here’s some sneakers, right? That’s not gonna make any sense that doesn’t sell you. That doesn’t feel human at all. That sounds like you’re pushing me. People actually wanted to have a couple of questions more and you can’t give a good result with one answer.

[00:33:21] You should actually ask more questions. You’ll have a much higher conversion rate by doing it. So that’s like the most, like one of the most key ones gifts really helped too. Like that’s one of the things that makes rudes quiz, like really beautiful. It’s these like beautiful animated gifts that like, make it fun to go and take their quiz.

[00:33:38] And there’s a bunch of others where they do these kinds of beautiful things. There’s one and labs. I do like. Photography filters and their quiz. If you go take it, like ask you all sorts of questions about like, which of these kinds of, which of these photos is more appealing to you. And they use that information to recommend a set of filters that they think there’s going to be a really good for you.

[00:33:54] And it’s just like, it’s super compelling to take because it’s just like looking at beautiful imagery for a while. So that imagery really does matter. Um, and then just making it look and feel like the website will a lot about the stuff we do makes it automatic with like the inherits, the fonts and the themes.

[00:34:09] But you just update, like the page that you just put a single line of embed code on the page, and that’s how you add your quiz and you just like update the page to make sure that it has the right copy, then you’re in great shape. And then the last thing is you just got to make that quiz as prominent as possible, everywhere in your site.

[00:34:23] For a lot of our customers, they basically make it their homepage. It’s like the main thing when you land on their page and for others, it’s like very highlighted in their top NAB and it’s very highlighting a bunch of parts of the product. And that’s like, Really powerful for that drives a lot of people and the one of the multiple run ads, because it’s just a much, obviously like a much higher converting page then almost than literally any other page on their website.

[00:34:48] Right. 

[00:34:48]James Sowers: [00:34:48] Uh, yeah, listen, I love that. I love, um, so I guess my advice to somebody listening out there is if I were going to get started and I ran a brand first, I would interview maybe 10 customers that bought from me. And then I interview 10 people who didn’t buy, I’d be asking them why they bought or why they did not buy and of the criteria that come out of that.

[00:35:03] That’s what I would start my quiz with. So if they didn’t buy, because they were uncertain about whether or not it would fit them properly, I’d have a question in my quiz about fit. Like I’d use that to build the quiz. And then I just launched with that and you can continue to iterate over time. Maybe put it on a dedicated landing page and run ads to it and say, Hey, take our fit quiz so that you always find the right shirt, coat, socks, whatever for you and your style and your body type.

[00:35:23] And then just run with that and continue to iterate over time. And, uh, yeah, it seems like it’d be super easy to set up, especially if it inherits the styling from your theme, like. I mean, what does this take to get off the ground? Maybe a couple hours, no more than a day. And you’re off and running and you’re earning revenue from it.

[00:35:36] You’re serving your customers better. And you’ve got some analytics to track in the next few days after that, I would guess. Yeah, 

[00:35:41] Ben Parr: [00:35:41] you’re right. And the hard parts of ability, the quiz that’s pretty straightforward. The hard part is actually thinking of what you want your quizzes to be. For some industries it’s super straightforward.

[00:35:50] Your like beauty quizzes are pretty similar in a lot of ways with the questions I ask other verticals, you might have to think a little bit about like, what kind of ways are you trying to make a bundle recommendation or are you trying to like get a, recommend a single product or are you trying to do something else?

[00:36:06] Um, and by answering those, like that’s the locker piece. And like we have a team of people they’ll help you think that through, we have a whole partner program of people who are really good at thinking those things through. Um, that’s the biggest one. We have advice in the playbook too on just how to think that through.

[00:36:19] James Sowers: [00:36:19] Yeah. I think that playbook is several hundred pages and so don’t make it don’t, don’t think that’s too daunting because it’s got the table of contents. It’s, it’s skimmable, it’s navigable. You can get to the point you need to, and just do that just in 

[00:36:27] Ben Parr: [00:36:27] time quiz and messenger and SMS and offers from a whole bunch of things.

[00:36:32] Uh, partners across the Shopify ecosystem and e-commerce ecosystem. If you want discounts and advice from experts, you’re getting the idea. 

[00:36:40] James Sowers: [00:36:40] Yeah. Yeah. Put it in your swipe file and get off to the races. Cause, uh, there’s a lot of opportunity here and it feels like a no-brainer. So, um, listen, Ben, before I let you go today, can you let the folks know where they can go to learn more about you or octane AI or whatever else you want to plug here at the end of the conversation?

[00:36:54] Ben Parr: [00:36:54] Yeah. So octane, OCT a N E a On every social channel and of course, and Ben Parr, B E N P a R R on literally every social network. So like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, all the fun things, um, easier to find, feel free to DM me. 

[00:37:14] James Sowers: [00:37:14] Awesome. Well, thanks for coming on the show today, Ben, I really appreciate your time and your insights and, uh, just really love watching your journey from afar.

[00:37:20] Can’t wait to see where you guys take it going forward. 

[00:37:23] Ben Parr: [00:37:23] Thank you for having me. 

[00:37:24] Yeah, of course. Take care.

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James Sowers

About the Author

James Sowers

James Sowers is the former Director of The Good Ventures. He has more than a decade of experience helping software and ecommerce companies accelerate their growth and improve their customer experience.