Effective Email Marketing for Abandoned Cart Recovery with Dave Rodenbaugh

In the episode of The Ecommerce Insights Show, we talk to Dave Rodenbaugh, the founder of Recapture.io. Today, he shares the best practices in email marketing and improving abandoned cart recovery.

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About this episode:

In this episode, we talk to Dave Rodenbaugh, the founder of Recapture.io, about the best practices when it comes to email marketing and how he has helped brands with abandoned cart recovery. Most merchants are worried that by using email marketing, they may annoy their customers rather than encourage them to buy products. Dave discusses some tips on how to create sophisticated and tasteful emails for your marketing strategy. 

In this episode, you’ll learn things about: 

  • What has changed with email marketing throughout the years 
  • The difference between building relationships with customers and spamming customers  
  • How to apply the “Ladder of Emails” concepts to your marketing strategy
  • What other brands are doing to innovate email marketing

Learn more about Dave and his resources here

Want to be a guest on our show? Have feedback or ideas for how we can improve? Send your thoughts over to podcast@thegood.com. 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 www.thegood.com.

Episode Transcript:

[00:00:00] James Sowers (The Good): So here’s the question. How can e-commerce leaders make sure that they’re producing a great product, providing a world class customer experience, responsibly managing their finances and still reserve time, energy, and resources for marketing their products? My name is James Sowers, and you are listening to the e-Commerce Insight Show, the podcast that gives you specific actionable advice for growing your e-commerce business.

[00:00:20] Every Monday you’ll get a conversion rate optimization tactic that you can implement quickly to make your business 1% better every single. Every Thursday we sit down with industry experts to go deep on a specific aspect of running a successful e-commerce business. It’s the perfect blend of learning and application, which means that you maximize the value of every single minute you spend with us.

[00:00:41] We’re just as committed to growing your business as you are, so if you’re looking for a partner to help you crush your revenue goals, you’ve come to the right place. Roll up your sleeves and grab a notepad because it’s time to get to work. Dave, welcome to the E-Commerce Insight Show. Super excited to have you on board today and talk all things email market.

[00:00:57] That’s something that in a previous life I was an email marketing consultant, so near and dear to my heart, especially automated sequences, life cycle, emails, trigger based stuff. So really interested to nerd out with that, uh, with you about that a little bit. But, um, before we get into that, maybe give us a couple sentences about who you are and what you’re working on these days and what kind of clients and customers you serve.

[00:01:15] Yeah, 

[00:01:15] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): sure, sure. So my name’s Dave Rodenbach. I am the founder of recapture.io. So we do email marketing for eCommerce and we support a variety of platforms, uh, WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Easy Digital download, some other smaller ones. We’ve been around since 2015. I acquired the business in 2016 and kind of our sweet spot is in-house marketing teams who really crave.

[00:01:43] Simple tool that’s easy to use, quick to get stuff done, because a lot of in-house teams, they’re really busy with a lot of other promotional stuff, and so they want to have something that just makes their job easier, right? Pre-create content, uh, easy to use, editor, that kind of stuff. And, you know, maybe they don’t have a budget for agencies or to, you know, deal with a more expensive tool.

[00:02:04] So that’s kind of the brands and stores that we end up working with a. At Recapture here, we serve, you know, a wide variety of verticals here, fashion supplements, nutrition, clothing, outdoor equipment, all different kinds. I wouldn’t say that there’s any one that, uh, we do more than the others, 

[00:02:22] James Sowers (The Good): so, Yeah, that makes sense.

[00:02:24] And I imagine supporting a platform like Easy Digital Downloads, you get into some of those info product spaces too, where. Be something like courses or educational material, something like that as well. So truly the full breadth of what we would call e-commerce, not just physical goods, which is kind of where we play as an agency, but you’re covering the whole spectrum it sounds.

[00:02:41] Yep. There’s a lot 

[00:02:42] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): of folks on Easy digital downloads that are like selling their own WordPress plugins or themes or you know, whatever digital things. There’s, uh, memberships. We have some membership sites as well under Restrict Content Pro and paid Memberships Pro, so they do more course stuff around that.

[00:02:56] So yeah, kind of the whole gamut 

[00:02:57] James Sowers (The Good): really. So you’ve been working on this for a while now. I think you acquired the tool back in around 2016, you said It’s been in existence since 2015. So you’ve had it inside of your umbrella or your sphere for a while now. What is something that you’re like working on now that kind of has you excited, right?

[00:03:11] Like what do you, when you fire up your laptop in the morning, I’m guessing you’re probably not itching to answer some customer support tickets. It’s probably something else, bigger picture that you’re looking forward to. So what is that for you today? What’s your motivator? Well, uh, 

[00:03:21] you 

[00:03:22] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): know, this might sound a little weird.

[00:03:23] I actually do enjoy answering customer support tickets. Maybe it’s just me in particular, but as a founder, I really like connecting with customers. So like one of our missions here at Recapture, or one of the things that we say is like, you know, part of our mission statement is that we want to make.

[00:03:41] Merchants more successful. So when I log in every morning, you know, I wanna find out what merchants are doing and what they’re struggling with, and I wanna make it better for them because if it’s better for them, it’s probably better for a lot of other people in the platform. So, you know, that part always kinda jazzes me up a little bit.

[00:03:55] I don’t like dealing with grumpy customers, nobody ever does. But you know, I don’t really get a lot of those on recapture, which is kind of cool. But in terms of. Things that we’re working on right now. You know, we, we have a set of core values here and one of those core values is simplicity. And this is why we work with that specific set of in-house teams that are looking for simple tools as opposed to something that’s a more complex workflow based.

[00:04:17] You can trigger anything, You can make anything happen, but then you also have to spend a ton of time learning it. Right? So we recently tried to figure out, because we had a request from one customer that has a huge number of stores with us. They were like, We wanna do AB testing. And I, you know, my initial reaction was, Oh geez, AB testing, man, this is really hard, , this is gonna be a mess.

[00:04:38] And he’s like, This is really important to us. Can you figure out a way to do it? And I was, Yes, we’ll figure out something. I don’t know what that’s gonna look like, but we’re gonna figure it out. So I sat down with our, our development team, tech lead developer, qa, and we kind of hammered something out and figured out, you know, how we could come up with something that met his needs without being overly complicated or hard to use or something like that.

[00:05:01] So we’re just getting to a point where we’re just about ready to release that. So, uh, you know, that’s kind of exciting to put it in his hands. See how he uses that on. Uh, you know, several dozen stores and then release it to the larger customer base because I know this is something that some other customers have been asking for too.

[00:05:21] So, you know, finding that, that balance of how can I take this complicated feature and make it so simple to use that anybody can really engage with it, That’s something that kind of excites 

[00:05:30] James Sowers (The Good): me. Awesome. Yeah, I think that’s really smart because I mean, we use HubSpot as kind of our marketing hub here, and I, when I heard that, when I came on, I was like, Oh gosh, HubSpot can do anything you want, but it can do anything you want.

[00:05:42] Right? And, and sometimes figuring out exactly what you want it to do and what you need it to do. Out of this massive, you know, database of features and, and toolkits and things like that is hard. So I think there is beauty and simplicity in a lot of ways. So I think it’s really smart. And when you talk about AB testing, of course, as a CRO firm, like that’s music to my ears.

[00:06:01] That’s what we like to do on the optimization side of things. But what I’ve noticed, and maybe some unsolicited product ideation here, is that a lot of folks. Teach you how to do AB testing the right way. They just build the tool and they let you AB test, but then you have people trying to do a subject line and body copy at the same time, or subject line and a button CTA at the same time.

[00:06:19] And it’s like, well, those two things can nullify each other in terms of the validity, the outcome. So the simplicity maybe is like, if you wanna ab test subject lines, that’s all you can tweak in these two emails. We don’t even let you tweak the body copy, or we don’t even let you tweak the cta. We force you to just test one thing because that’s how you’re gonna get the most reliable result.

[00:06:36] Uh, I don’t know if you’ve gone down that path, but that’s what I was thinking when I heard simple AB testing is like, not necessarily hold their hand, but almost like, you know, just kind of put, put guardrails up so nobody can get too far off the, off the trail there. 

[00:06:47] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): It’s funny that you mentioned that because that’s exactly how we set this thing up.

[00:06:51] So I come from, uh, I have a physics. Degree. And so like it was beat into my head for every single physics lab that we ever did, like test one thing at a time. If you test two things at a time, you will never know which one is the one that you could tie your result back to, because now you have to separate those tests and you can like do things like, you could say, test four things at a time and then test them two and two, and that way you can say, well, which group is the one that was more impactful?

[00:07:16] But you still have to get it down to like, what was the one thing that really did this? Cuz that’s what, you know, physics is all about. So I kind of carried that into this here. And we basically said, look, you can test subject line, you can test the body, you can test the cta, that’s it. Pick one, test it, and then run that test.

[00:07:35] And then we also had to like do the other part of it with the hard part of the AB testing, which is get it to statistical significance, right? Because some people would be like, Oh, I wanna test this for four hours. It. What if you only get two customers coming through? Like that’s not, no, you, you failed your p test there.

[00:07:52] So like, you have to guide ’em in different ways as well to make sure that they run a, a good, valid test and at the same time that you collect the results in a way that is fair for the whole test and make it easy to use on top of all that. So yeah, I. It’s kind of a brain burner. If you are deep into the whole notion of AB testing.

[00:08:14] A lot of other platforms give you enough rope to hang yourself and your closest friends at the same 

[00:08:19] James Sowers (The Good): time. For sure. Well, before we whip out the statistics textbook and get real nerdy on it, I want to go back to like the bigger picture side of things. Because you’ve been with Recapture for a while. It’s becoming increasingly uncommon, I think, to have somebody find something to work on and stick with it for a few years.

[00:08:33] Even these days, it’s a lot of like, Let me build something, sell it, flip it, get acquired, whatever. So I’m curious if we go back to 2016 ish when you acquired the company, what was it about recapture specifically or eCommerce email marketing in general? I don’t even know if it was eCommerce focused at the.

[00:08:49] I’m trying to go back in my own memory banks, I don’t even know if Clavio was around or privy or some of these other players in the e-commerce email marketing space. It seems like recapture could have been an early entrant there. So what was it about either the tool or e-commerce, email marketing in general that appealed to you so much?

[00:09:03] You’re like, I think I’m gonna buy this product and I’m gonna make this, you know, a big, uh, significant investment of time and energy over the next few years. 

[00:09:09] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): So it’s funny that you mentioned the whole flipping and you know, quick turnaround and stuff like that. So in 2015 I had already been buying and selling various smaller products since about 20 10, 20 11.

[00:09:22] So I’d been kind of doing that for five years. I was searching for, I guess what you could call, not really a forever product, but uh, you know, let’s get together for a long term product. And, you know, I tried a lot of smaller stuff. I even tried to like build my own SAS at the time in the customer support space.

[00:09:42] Failed miserably, spent $50,000 on it, blew up in my face. Didn’t do market research. I mean, there’s lots of bad things, but, so having learned a ton of lessons, I was kind of looking for something that was. A long term fit for me because I wanted something I could grow. I was kinda looking for a way outta freelancing.

[00:10:00] And I also wanted something that in terms of demonstrable ROI, so that I could show a customer look. You use my tool and you pay me this much, I will hand you back this much more money. Like I wanted a huge ROI in things because I had worked on another couple of WordPress plugins and the ROI was a lot fuzzier.

[00:10:22] You know, people had to want this particular product. It was for business directory or classified, and then, you know, they used it, but. There wasn’t a long term relationship you had with them there. Sometimes their directory was successful, a lot of times it wasn’t, cuz they didn’t really know what they wanted to put in there.

[00:10:38] And it was more about the content. So for me it was like I wanted to find something that could clearly demonstrate the month over month, year over year, we are providing tons of value to you. So that immediately attracted me, of course to the e-commerce space cuz there’s tons of stuff like that. And that also sort of brought me to the concept of you wanna be kind of close to the.

[00:10:58] So, you know, I saw other friends of mine who did SAS businesses where they were doing like accepting payments or they’re handling churn, or they’re doing, uh, SAS metrics for Stripe, stuff like that. So all of those folks were close enough to the payments and the, the, how the customer was handling their money on a day to day basis that they could clearly see.

[00:11:22] Value that was coming out of that tool, and so they wanted to pay for it every month, and I’m like, I kind of want something like that because those tools have the longevity, those two tools tend to have lower churn and they tend to be, you know, easier to sell to customers because I can just walk up and show like, Hey, look, here’s your analytics.

[00:11:40] This is how much money I made for you. This is how much it costs. Look, there’s a huge discrepancy between those and you are clearly getting. 10, 20, 30 times the value that you are paying me. I like that because it makes the customer feel good about using our service. It makes me feel good about making their business better, and that’s, you know, one of our goals here at Recapture is to make people’s stores more profitable, better make their business better.

[00:12:06] James Sowers (The Good): Especially with the smaller, or I like to call ’em emerging brands, right? Like smaller and medium sized brands. Founders still pretty involved, or they have a small team and it’s people wearing multiple hats. It’s really refreshing to be able to directly see the impact of a test because you don’t have a whole lot of extra money to throw around on a failed experiment in the marketing realm, right?

[00:12:25] So to have something like email where you can draw, maybe it’s not a solid line, but it’s certainly not a dotted line, right? It’s something in between, Uh, it’s bigger dashes, right? It’s a dash line where it. I’m pretty sure that this email funnel is driving more revenue for our store. And even if attribution’s on a hundred percent perfect, let’s call it 70% accurate.

[00:12:42] Like I know that this tool’s paying for itself, that’s not always the case, uh, with some of the other tech stacks. So I think it’s really smart to kinda attach yourself, as you said, close to the money. That’s why we think about cro. It’s like even if our, we run this test in this very controlled environment.

[00:12:56] With a specific set of, uh, sub-component of your traffic, then let’s annualize that and say, if we apply this a hundred percent of traffic, we’re gonna earn you a hundred thousand dollars this year. Even if we’re off by 50%, that’s still a great outcome for you compared to what you’re paying us. And so they stick around longer because we’re driving results and we can point 

[00:13:13] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): directly to that.

[00:13:13] Those are the kind of businesses that I think have the most longevity and long term viability that you can just keep demonstrating your value over and over again. And the customers love that, you know, And a lot of times if they go to a different platform, they can compare what, what they got on that platform with your platform, especially on email marketing.

[00:13:33] And sometimes we get customers that come back. They’re like, Yeah, I tried this other one. I didn’t like how it worked. I didn’t like the ROI I got, I got a lower conversion rate. I got this, I got that. You can’t do that if you don’t have clear. Demonstrable value there. So yeah, that’s definitely something I love about this.

[00:13:48] So 

[00:13:48] James Sowers (The Good): what kind of changes have you seen in the last few years? I mean, I know I don’t expect you to cover chapter by chapter cuz these things are changing every quarter at least. Right? So, but in general, you know, philosophically at the highest level over the last few years, maybe it’s a mentality around email marketing.

[00:14:02] Maybe it’s a level of sophistication among founders or customers that are coming through your door. Maybe it’s a competitive landscape, but like how has have things changed since the day that you bought recapture to where we sit here today in terms of you like market dynamics and the way that you’re thinking about email marketing or way that founders are thinking about email 

[00:14:17] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): market.

[00:14:18] Now that you’ve asked that question, it’s kind of funny. There’s really kind of a split. There’s like a ton of stuff that’s changed and there’s a ton of stuff that kind of hasn’t, and that’s very odd to happen at the same time and almost at the same rate because I, you know, I look at when I’m kind of mentally thinking about all of the stores that are on recapture.

[00:14:37] There’s definitely a split. Like there’s definitely a set of merchants who are now more sophisticated about email marketing than they were six years ago. Like today, I can go and talk to somebody and say, Abandoned cart recovery, and I don’t have to explain that. You know, six years ago it was not as ubiquitous.

[00:14:55] Definitely. Eight years ago, 10 years ago, you really had to convince somebody why they wanted to do an abandoned cart recovery. So that shift has been very positive cuz now I can come in and say, Look, we do abandoned cart recovery, we do winbacks, we do post-purchase emails, and a lot of merchants get that.

[00:15:13] But at the same time, we’ve had so many merchants that are now coming on board with this, especially during covid that are new and they don’t have that familiarity or. I think there’s another set of merchants where they’re kind of afraid of email marketing, like they view email marketing as basically a spam fire hose, and they’re only willing to like turn it up just a little bit because they’re afraid they’re gonna annoy their customers, and I don’t think they truly realize.

[00:15:41] That, you know, there’s a huge difference between making sure that your customers are informed and engaged and you know, trying to create a relationship with them and build your brand and be helpful, provide value for them versus, Hey, here’s another discount code. Hey, here’s another promotion. Hey, here’s our sale this week.

[00:16:00] Like, I think they just equate the two of those and say it’s the same. It doesn’t matter. So there are definitely those kind of merchants too. But yeah, I mean the level of sophistication that we’ve seen over the last six years has definitely increased and I really, I really appreciate that cuz it’s fun to sit down with a merchant and they say, All right Dave, I want to do this and this and this, and we wanna segment by this and we want turn these things on, but we don’t want these other things on.

[00:16:27] And how can you solve this other problem over here? And I. Cool. I don’t have to go over a lot of basic stuff with you. Let’s just dive right into everything that you’ve got versus having to educate a merchant from scratch. So that I think has been one of the, the positive things. Yeah, it is 

[00:16:42] James Sowers (The Good): interesting. I even see that, you know, just hanging out on Twitter is the, the best brands or the digitally native brands, especially like they’re way up the ladder I guess, in terms of sophistication.

[00:16:53] And they’re talking, they have dynamic quiz funnels that gather information, first party data about a consumer, and then they use that for segmentation and they send tailor to campaigns around that person’s needs, or they make a product recommendation, stuff like that. They’re talking about welcome sequences and they’re talking about anniversary pitches that are a date triggered by the time that they made their first purchase and stuff like that.

[00:17:12] And I’m like, I love to see that. That’s great. I didn’t see any of that a few years ago. But at the same time, we have folks come through our door and I’ll run a test purchase when I’m auditing their checkout flow. And I’m like, I barely get a shipping confirmation email or something like that. Or it’s like just the standard Shopify template that has the most basic things.

[00:17:28] I’m like, this email has a near 100% open rate. Like do something a little bit more with this, please. So there is still so much opportunity there and you know, it’s disappointing, but at the same time it’s kind of encouraging because it’s like if you’re doing this well and you’re on our radar with so many.

[00:17:44] Fundamental email marketing strategies, unaddressed. Then for someone like you or an email marketing consultant, it’s like, Well, yeah, let’s just come in here and pour gas on the fire, cuz you’re not, you’re not doing the basic blocking and tackling, let alone the more advanced stuff so we can get you buttoned up.

[00:17:56] And there’s huge ROI right outta the gate. Basically. There’s 

[00:17:59] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): so many things that merchants have to struggle with. You know, when they set up their brand new store, they’re trying to. Figure out all the logistical stuff there about inventory management and shipping and, and all of those things. But at the same time, they’re probably trying to figure out, do I have product market fit?

[00:18:13] Do my customers really want what I have to sell? Is it working for them? Is is it ideal product for what their, their pains or their needs are? And then add to that, the email marketing, you know, which is again, like you said, gas on the fire. So, you know, some of the merchants that are more successful that come to your agency or that you end up using recapture.

[00:18:31] I see them as the ones that have the product market fit and they’re, you know, kind of like, all right, well I know I should be doing a abandoned cart, so I guess I’ll just use your tool. Sure. But they don’t understand like, Don’t just send one email. Hello. You gotta do the money’s in the follow up here.

[00:18:45] And it isn’t annoying to them to send three of those. And then it isn’t a problem to delay that coupon code to the very end. Like don’t hammer them with the discount codes. Don’t devalue your brand so much upfront. You know, just subtle things like that. So in some ways it’s fun and I feel like I get to hand.

[00:19:04] I get to hand somebody a tool that is building their own house and suddenly they didn’t realize, Oh my God, a screwdriver, I can use that to put screws in instead of this hammer over here. Wait, I had no idea screwdrivers existed. This is amazing. It’s like, Yes, absolutely, please. Now you can build a better house over there.

[00:19:22] You know when I see that aha moment with the merchants and then they look. You know, they’re getting that boost of revenue that feels really great, and I’m sure it feels equally great when you’re working with a brand and you, you hand ’em that first report and you’ve done all the CRO work and it’s like, Hey look, you had a 25% boost over here from this test.

[00:19:39] And they’re like, Wait, what , We can do that. That’s 

[00:19:43] James Sowers (The Good): possible. Yeah, especially when you start with customer research on the front end, which I’m sure is the same way in email marketing. People don’t just jump in and start writing emails based off of their gut. I’m sure there’s customer research and there’s analysis of the data and how folks are using your site and what products are buying and stuff like that.

[00:19:56] And then you’re aggregating that and looking at trends, and then you interview the founder and you get their language and you pepper all that together and you start writing emails that way. I think that’s where you get the best results is when you start with, um, customer insights first, and then layer in some data layer in some brand elements.

[00:20:10] Put that all together and you have something that kind of resonates with your, your ideal customer profile, basically. So we think about kind of historically, maybe a few years ago, it was a lot of promotions, right? It was a lot of like, You’re on this hamster wheel. I think of email marketing where it’s like, what are we promoting this week?

[00:20:26] Is it a new product launch? Is it a collection, a fall collection? Is it a special offer? Is it a partnership with some other brand? Is it the founder story, Whatever. It’s just like, what’s our email this week? And sometimes it’s like, what’s our email today? We’re sending out a daily sales email because that’s the only thing we know about email marketing.

[00:20:41] But now, When this more sophisticated, uh, stage where it’s like you’ve got these activity based things, you’ve got lifecycle emails, you’ve got post-purchase flows, a lot of this stuff runs automatically or it’s triggered by some kind of action taken by the consumer. So now that we have kind of these two different worlds, I’m imagining the right answer is, you know, it depends, right?

[00:21:00] For the brand and, and what your goals are and what your audience is like. But truly it’s like you probably can’t let go of either one entirely. So what do you think is the right mix of promotions versus, I’ll just call them like automated campaigns or workflows. I don’t know what terminology you like to use with recapture.

[00:21:13] We can stick to that, but what’s the right balance of like manual one? Email blasts, as people call them a lot versus more automated, trigger based, activity based stuff that kind of happens in the background automatically. 

[00:21:25] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): Recaps, bread and butter always started out as a ban and cart automations, and then we added on a bunch of other stuff afterwards.

[00:21:31] You know, we got winbacks and post purchase emails including, you know, welcome emails and review reminders. And educational content and stuff like that. And then one of the last things that we added last year was actually the, the promotional emails, the broadcast stuff along with sms. And you know, so obviously my answer to this question is gonna be biased in regards to if you don’t have those automation set up already.

[00:21:57] That’s pretty much a priority because I won’t say that email is an ATM cuz I know that, that some people think of it that way, but there’s also money on the table that you’re leaving just by doing the things that you should do to follow up with your customers. Customers appreciate it when. Coming back to them and making sure that things are okay, and I don’t care whether it’s a customer support interaction, it’s an abandoned cart recovery email, it’s a post-purchase educational flow.

[00:22:28] All of these things show if you are writing them correctly, if you’re using the voice of the customer, if you’re using, you know, some of your brand nostalgia, mojo, whatever you wanna call it, and making sure that you know you are providing some value to the customer There. These things work. They’re very effective.

[00:22:47] And so, you know, one thing that I, I find that I fight a lot is that merchants have, you know, less sophisticated merchants, I should say, have an aversion to using too much email. They think that like, one abandon cart campaign is enough, and I’m like, Mmm, no, I’ve got data that says the opposite. So like, let’s go with a data driven approach here and maybe expand that a little bit so when you don’t have automations in place.

[00:23:12] you can go and do the broadcast, but it reduces your overall efficiency so much. It’s kind of effective, but it could be better, right? So it’s the automations that make your store more efficient at bringing people in, at keeping them there, at collecting the user generated content, social proof, stuff like that.

[00:23:34] Making sure that they’re successful with the product, making sure that you get their needs and their questions answered by sending them FAQs immediately after you purchase or sending them shipping notifications so they’re not. You know, wmo, where is my order? Because that kind of stuff just wastes your customer support time.

[00:23:51] If you can be proactive about that stuff, customers are happier, happy customers come back and make more purchases. So getting those automations in place is so important, and I really don’t care what actual platform you’re using. Those automations make a huge difference. So if you don’t have the automations in place, broadcast all you want and send those promotional emails, but honestly, you’re still leaving even that much more money on the table.

[00:24:19] So for me, it’s automations first, promotions second, and then the promotions kind of depend on where you’re at. In terms of your stores annual revenue and level of sophistication, like you should not put every single automation in place. If you’re making less than a hundred thousand dollars a year. It doesn’t make sense.

[00:24:38] It’s not worth your time for all of those things here. So that’s where I’m thinking on these. 

[00:24:43] James Sowers (The Good): Use the phrase, uh, email, like an atm. Like I’ve heard people say that a lot and they’re, I’ve even heard people literally say, When I need more money, I send more email. Right. And to me that’s a little, that’s a little cringy.

[00:24:53] But I will say that like purely by the numbers. Yeah. If you send more emails, you probably will make more revenue. Just that’s just math. Like you’re just sending more emails and more people are reading it and things like that. But is that treating your customer with the respect that you want? I don’t know so much, but I will say, Uh, my gut feeling is people don’t necessarily dislike receiving a lot of email.

[00:25:11] We already, for the most of us, receive a lot of email from all the different areas of life that we’re operating in. People hate receiving poor emails, poor emails that don’t resonate with what they need and what they care about. And so it’s not necessarily a bad thing to send a lot of those broadcasts, but it is a bad thing to do it without segmenting who’s receiving them.

[00:25:28] And if you’re sending me stuff about women’s wear and maybe I wanna buy something for my wife, but I probably don’t, that’s probably not my default. I’m probably shopping for myself or whatever. Or if you send me. A supplement ad for something that is, uh, runs against like a dietary restriction I have, well, that’s not relevant to me at all.

[00:25:42] So the more those emails I get, the more I will start to ding your brand reputation in a negative manner. But I think when it’s done tastefully, sure you can send all the email you want as long as you’re respecting the customer at the end of the day, 

[00:25:53] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): right? Again, it’s about providing value, like your example of women’s wear.

[00:25:57] If you’re not segmenting your broadcast list to make sure that you’re sending the right promotions to the people who care about. , you wasted your time and you’re gonna have a lower open rate. You’re gonna have a lower conversion and click rate, and you’re gonna annoy your customers. You’re probably gonna have a higher unsubscribe rate and eventually, you know, they’re just gonna start ignoring you in the inbox, and that’s obviously not what you want to get to.

[00:26:19] So it’s fine to send those emails just. Keep ’em relevant, keep ’em valuable. And that’s why you wanna be very careful about what it is that, that you’re sending. That’s why I like the automations, because they’re always triggered on some previous action. You know, with abandoned carts, it’s, they went to your site, they did something, they put it in the cart, and they walked away.

[00:26:38] That’s a reason to reach out and talk to them. Or if they complete an order, that’s a reason to ask for a review, or if they, you know, completed their order. That’s a reason to send ’em a shipping notification. But communicate with your customer at points that they care about as much as the ones that you care 

[00:26:55] James Sowers (The Good): about.

[00:26:55] Right. Yeah. And I would say maybe the compare and contrast between the broadcast and the automations is broadcast tend to not be segmented and they’re bad because they’re not relevant. But automations can go awry when they’re over segmented and you get the segmentation wrong. I’ve seen that happen, and, but it really, what it comes back to is relevance, right?

[00:27:15] If this isn’t relevant to me, then I start to think it’s a bad thing, but as long as it’s relevant to me, as long as. Bought a coffee subscription and you’re offering me a grinder or something like that that is relevant, like maybe I don’t want the grinder and that’s okay. I’m just not gonna buy the upsell to the grinder, but I’m not gonna be like, Why are you sending me this?

[00:27:30] You know, like, I get why you sent me this because it goes with what I just bought. It’s when those two things go in different pathways and don’t make sense cognitively that you start to get, like, you start to trip and follow over yourself basically with the, with the automations, 

[00:27:43] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): right? Complexity I think plays a lot into this here.

[00:27:47] I’ve seen brands go both ways, right? Where they just oversimplify it and they don’t send enough email. But then there’s the other side where they overcomplicate it and like I had one brand that had 38 abandoned cart email campaigns, and I’m pretty sure they were not a seven figure brand. And I’m like, Yeah, that might be overkill, guys.

[00:28:06] Like, Yeah, you wanna dial that back a little bit here? Like, why do you really need 30? Separate campaigns and they were segmented all over the place. It wasn’t just like they had a heavy follow up there. I still think they had five follow ups, but they segmented the hell out of it. And I’m like, there is a point of diminishing returns on that and you can be targeted, but at some point you can get too targeted, I think.

[00:28:27] And then it’s really confusing to debug on top of that, so, yeah. 

[00:28:31] James Sowers (The Good): Well, and there’s a lot of technical debt. It’s not really technical debt, but there’s some kind of maintenance debt with that where you have to constantly go back and make sure. Do we even still sell this product? Do we even still serve this segment of the market?

[00:28:40] Let’s erase this entire branch of the campaign because we don’t serve them anymore. Whatever. If you don’t do that, then, then things start to look bad. I was thinking about, you mentioned one of your core values is simplicity. Right? One of our core values here at the good is uh, 1% better every day continuous improvement.

[00:28:55] And so I’m curious in the spirit of helping our listen, To get 1% better today. When we talk about these automations, maybe this ties into your ladder of emails context, uh, but like, what are the fundamentals? The, the basic blocking and tackling, the obvious wins, low hanging fruit, whatever you want to call it.

[00:29:10] All these different, um, euphemisms, but like where should somebody start? Let’s say that they’re just using templated abandoned cart stuff, which is, you know, one email that gives a discount code or something like that, or says, Hey, don’t forget you left this in your cart. Like, I know, I know I left it in my cart.

[00:29:23] Thanks for that. But yeah. Where do you recommend brands start if they wanna take advantage? Not just of features that recapture has, but conceptually these automated, these trigger based emails, uh, that I kind of consider like a foundational revenue stream so that you can afford to experiment with some of those broadcast things.

[00:29:39] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): Sure, sure. So looking at all the different brands that have been on recapture over the years, and we’ve got, you know, almost 7,000 customers on the platform, what I’ve noticed is that the successful ones tend to up level their sophistication. Not all at once, but depending on like how much they’re selling and what they’re trying to sell.

[00:30:01] The generalizations that I sort of figured out when I was going through this, I’m gonna pull up some notes I’ve got here, but if you’re doing like, and these are all annual figures, so if you’re doing like under a hundred thousand a year as a brand and that’s gross revenue, I would say that you pretty much wanna keep your email marketing.

[00:30:19] Simple but complete. And so here’s what I mean by that. So I think that, you know, you should absolutely, positively have abandoned cart and abandoned checkout all the time. Like that’s just a, a given no matter what level you’re at. That’s free money on the table. Those customers are the most likely ones to convert.

[00:30:38] You know, here on recapture we tend to get about an average. You know, between eight and 12%, depending on the vertical boost on the revenue. So if you’re not doing that, like that’s really where you wanna do, and you should send like three of those, in my opinion, based on our data. If you send just one, okay, that’s better than zero.

[00:30:55] But if you send up to three, we’ve found that you recover at least a hundred percent more than the folks that send just one. It typically goes much higher than that, but that’s usually the way that we. To bill it. So aside from those, what else should you have? If you’re sub a hundred thousand, you definitely wanna welcome series for non buyers to help give them an idea of what your brand does, why you’re there.

[00:31:17] You know, founder note. Et cetera. Some educational content, easy to put in there for a series, right? And some kind of a basic post purchase sequence. Hey, thanks for buying from us. We really appreciate it. Maybe ask for a review if you want. And then on top of all that, you’d wanna do some kind of regular promotion campaign.

[00:31:34] Uh, I would say that depending on the vertical that you’re in, it could be anywhere from weekly to monthly. And, you know, maybe it’s just a seasonal thing that you’re doing, but if you’re on more of a consumable pattern, then you know, weekly stuff would probably work a little bit better. And that’s sort of like the very basic level, uh, of a store.

[00:31:54] So you gotta be running like those five things, four or five things. If you’re between a hundred thousand and half a million, you wanna do everything I just said. You want to add things like brows, abandonment, you probably wanna start adding wind backs cuz now you have enough customers that you wanna go.

[00:32:11] And especially if you’re in the consumable space to say, Hey, come back and, you know, reload your subscription or buy this other thing again. Or, Hey, we’ve got these new products to promote, use the wind backs to do that. That drives up your, uh, aov, it drives up your LTV and the, the customers who’ve already bought from you.

[00:32:29] Five to six times more likely to buy it than a brand new customer. So that’s just easy, low hanging fruit there. Then you probably want to add some other stuff like upgrade, post purchase orders, so like, you know, cross sell, upsell, some order notification flows in there, because now if you’re doing more than a hundred thousand a year, There’s definitely a lot of stuff going on.

[00:32:49] There’s more logistics in your backend, so you wanna make sure that your orders are packed and shipped and delivered and notify what the customer, where the customers add in that whole thing. Cuz it’s probably now not something that you’re doing on a daily basis where you can ship it out and the customer gets it in a few days.

[00:33:04] Maybe it takes a little bit longer now. Keep the customer involved with those notifications. And then I would say, you know, you wanna up your promotional campaigns, maybe if you were going monthly now go weekly. If you’re going weekly, maybe do more than once a. I don’t know. Kind of depends. And then if you’re going like half a million to a million, you wanna do everything that I just talked.

[00:33:26] But now you wanna get really into your segmentation. And you know, this is kind of a controversial thing. I know people like to segment earlier than this, but I also find that people kind of suck in segmentation. The problem with segmentation is that you have to understand who you’re sending and why you’re sending that to them.

[00:33:45] And I feel like it takes a long time for brands to really get that information. And it’s not until you’re somewhere in that half a million to a million range that that level of sophistication becomes obvious enough that you can do segmentation and make it super valuable at the same time. So that’s when I recommend that you really push that harder.

[00:34:06] So you just take everything that you’ve already done and start segmenting it better so that you’re getting the right things to the right people for the right. And then, you know, maybe you want to up your promotional campaigns. Once you get above a million a year, then you want to go for a heavier cross sell, upsell.

[00:34:23] And then, you know, maybe you’re upping those promotional campaigns on top of all that. But again, it’s, it’s about the segmentation. It’s about the value you provide. And it doesn’t just have to be, Hey, we have a sale. Hey, we have a sale. Hey, we have sale. Hey, we have another sale. You know, it’s like, don’t do that.

[00:34:40] Like, you gotta be more creative with your promotions. So, you know, things like send out referrals, you know, do you wanna tell your friends about us? Or you know, maybe there’s some seasonal stuff that’s relevant to your brand, or maybe it’s free product with purchase or last chance to buy a product cuz you’re discontinuing it.

[00:34:56] Or here’s a best seller’s email, here’s a birthday email. Like, there’s so many d. Things that you can promote without actually saying, Hey, here’s a sale and a discount code, cuz that’s robotic, That’s boring. People get really bored with that stuff. So, I mean, that’s what I, This is what I mean by the latter of emails.

[00:35:13] And you know, honestly, if we call this the standard eCommerce playbook, I still see that tons of brands do not follow the standard eCommerce playbook. And that’s why, you know, agencies like yours and services like mine can come in and say, look. You do this, you’re gonna make so much more money, and it’s so easy to demonstrate that 

[00:35:33] James Sowers (The Good): value.

[00:35:34] Yeah. And it’s not, it’s not a criticism of any of the decision makers. I mean, what they’re being asked to do, especially at smaller brands, is, is everything. I mean, finance, uh, accounting, logistics, supply chain, product development, market research, customer support, marketing, all this stuff is usually just a handful of people, sometimes more heavily weighted on the founder, especially in the early days.

[00:35:53] So to not have email market. Buttoned. Uptight is not a criticism at all, but when you’re ready for it, it is an area of opportunity that might have a higher confidence interval than some of the other things you might experiment with. On the marketing side, at least in my opinion, it’s like I would probably in those early days, it’s all about demand generation or demand capture.

[00:36:13] You’re trying to get people to your site, expose to your product, expose to your brand, understand the story, but pretty quickly after that, you want to. Retain more of that, that attention. Right. And email marketing and some of those triggered campaigns can be a great way to do that. So it’s not really a criticism, but it’s like at some point as you grow and as you mature and as you have more resources, this is one of the smarter investments you can make, 

[00:36:34] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): I think.

[00:36:34] Yeah. And to the criticism point, like. The other observation that I’ve made a lot in speaking with people on the support side, which is one of the great things about a founder, is I kind of get to see like store owners, you know, the in-house marketers and, and different roles that that use our tool. The person who is usually tasked with email marketing.

[00:36:53] Isn’t just tasked with email marketing, like they’re also doing the demand generation. They’re also doing the social media. They’re also doing the customer surveys and the research, like this is one tiny sliver of their job, and so they’re already over tasked on all the other things, especially if they’re early on in that demand generation takes up a huge amount of their time.

[00:37:13] The email marketing, they know it’s something that they have to get done. One of the things that I’ve. Uh said is that email marketing always ends up on store owners top five list, but it never hits number one because there’s always something that is, is going above that. Whether it’s logistics or customer support or product development or you know, inventory management, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter.

[00:37:35] They know email marketing is important, but it’s never the thing that bubbles to the top of that list, and so anything you can do to make it easier to help them get it done. To walk them through best practices to show them how to do the testing or to do it for them, like you guys do it. The good, All of these things are huge wins for merchants.

[00:37:54] So 

[00:37:55] James Sowers (The Good): yeah, I agree. Uh, what I love about the latter concept that you shared in those break points with the revenue is that, to me it aligned pretty well with three kind of KPIs and like I said, that first stage, that very early stage. You’re just trying to get eyeballs on, on your thing, on your website, on your product, on your brand.

[00:38:10] So that’s kind of the priority. And then it sounds like as you move into that middle stage, it’s more about increasing, What I would say is like aov, like how do you get folks to buy more from you? How do you increase conversion rate? How do you convert more people into customers? And then a little bit of that cross sell, upsell, bundling, whatever, that kind of thing.

[00:38:26] But then as you get into that last rung of the ladder, that sophistication is really about lifetime value and it’s how do you get somebody to buy from you again? Make a second purchase, How do you get them to tell a friend? How do you get them to buy for somebody else? Like how do you turn them into a brand advocate?

[00:38:40] So I love that, like it’s tied to the revenue, but in terms of the email marketing activities, it seems like a level of sophistication where it’s like, okay, drive traffic to site, convert traffic to customer, and increase AOV and then increase lifetime value and turn one customer into 2, 3, 4 customers from that single touch.

[00:38:57] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): It also speaks to the fact that if you’re trying to make email marketing work, trying to do it all at once is basically the way to make it not work. , because there’s some complexity to each of these things, and you can keep ’em simple, but you have to, like, you can’t build a complex system by starting from a bunch of complex, smaller systems.

[00:39:17] You gotta start. Small, simple working things. And so you gotta get one campaign dialed in and then move on to the next one. And once you’ve done that, then you move on to the next one. And then, you know, by the time you’ve got seven of those campaigns working, now you have a complex email marketing system that is now working for you.

[00:39:33] But you would never just start out from scratch and write all seven of those campaigns. That’s a recipe for a disaster. You’ll never manage that. Right. The same 

[00:39:42] James Sowers (The Good): way that you wouldn’t start developing a product and you wouldn’t place an order with a manufacturer after talking to 10 customers, Maybe a hundred, right?

[00:39:48] Ideally closer to a thousand. And you need, you need a bigger pool of data to have, uh, confidence in whatever decision you’re making, whatever product you’re creating. You wouldn’t just dive in head first into email marketing events, invest a bunch of time out of the gate when you could do one or two of those things.

[00:40:02] Go back to supply chain, go back to customer support, go back to accounting, and then, you know, get better over time. I think that’s kind of the spirit of what, what you’re sharing here. Interesting. I love that. Uh, I love that methodology. I guess with the latter concept, like the 1, 2, 3, I think, and I’ve seen so many brands that are.

[00:40:17] In the level three in terms of revenue, but not doing some of the level one kind of automations like I have bought from a very established brand. And from the point, the day that I bought to about a week later when I received the product, the only thing I got was the order confirmation in the shipping confirmation.

[00:40:33] That’s it. I got nothing else about how to use the product, you know, the benefits of the product. No testimonials, no FAQs, nothing like that. And then even after I received it, never got asked to leave a review, never got asked to, you know, come back and buy again. Nothing, and it’s just like, again, to my point earlier that I see that as opportunity because if you’ve gotten this far, and if you’re a six, seven figure brand that is still not doing those things, then imagine, you know, the revenue opportunity that they’re leaving on the table by not having some of these.

[00:41:00] Yeah. 

[00:41:01] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): Oh yeah, totally. Money left on the table. I just keep saying that again and again about email marketing. Depending on your level of sophistication, there’s always some money that you’re leaving on the table there. You just have to know what it is, how to fix it, and when to do it. 

[00:41:16] James Sowers (The Good): Have you seen any like creative uses of email marketing?

[00:41:18] We’ve got, and maybe it’s one of these examples that we shared, and maybe it’s just a case study around somebody who’s done well with segmentation or something like that. But we know that once you get through kind of that blocking and tackling phase, once you get into the higher levels of sophistication, I’ve seen people do some pretty impressive things in tandem with email and SMS or email and quizzes.

[00:41:35] So you work with these folks day in and day out and listen to their strategies. Are you, They’re more sophisticated customers that you’ve had the opportunity to like learn from and, and the ways that they’re applying email in their. Yes. 

[00:41:46] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): So the two examples that come to mind. So the first one is from a brand that works with recapture and they do aquarium supplies.

[00:41:54] And what’s interesting about how they do this, they actually do this through segmentation. So they have a variety of things that they sell, including basically fish drugs. So you know, your fish gets sick, they sell you the things to make your fish not sick, right? Well, they segmented on this one antibiotic.

[00:42:14] So, When this antibiotic goes into a cart, The guy was telling me, Well, the only reason they have that in the cart is because their fish has X, Y, Z disease, and I forget what it was, but it’s basically like a very serious thing, like they need to get this treated within a week, or the fish is in big trouble.

[00:42:32] So he knows that as soon as he sees that product in an abandoned cart. He can hammer them with abandoned cart email. So he does this at an incredibly high frequency. I think he sends out like five or six emails, and it’s at like two hours, four hours, six hours, eight hours one day. So five emails and a 24 hour period.

[00:42:54] It had an amazing recovery rate. 36% boost, 36% of the customers. Converted. Usually we’re talking about what, five to seven on the clicks rates and you know, one to two on the conversion rates, 36% conversion rate insanely high. But that’s because he understood his audience, he understood the pain and he understood the timing, and he was able to totally nail that with.

[00:43:20] That sequence. I’m not saying, you know, if you just heard, Oh, if I send five emails to my customers in 24 hour period, I will have a 36% conversion rate. You were not listening . That’s not right. It doesn’t work for everything. He knew it because of a spec. Thing with his customers and it was very successful.

[00:43:39] So like segmentation, extremely powerful. But that is knowing your audience and knowing their pains, not just like dumb demographic data. Oh, this is, uh, women from 25 to 34 that drive Volvos in Maryland. No, this was deep understanding of his, of his product, his audience, and the pain that they were suffering.

[00:43:59] Right. Then I love that example 

[00:44:00] James Sowers (The Good): because I think. People might gloss over that and say, Well, that’s just, that’s just an aquarium supply company. Like, I can’t replicate that. I sell pacas or whatever. And it’s like, but you can, because people are already doing this in the ad world. Like if I land on your site and I look at a certain paa, I’m gonna get retargeting ads for that exact parca if you’re doing your job right.

[00:44:19] And so it’s, it’s kind of the same thing. It’s like, Hey, I know that you’re looking for this and I know you have a specific use case, so let me show you an ad to try to get you to come back to the site. This is a similar concept. Like I know if you’re shopping for this product, you have a very specific problem or a very specific challenge, or a very specific question goal you’re trying to achieve.

[00:44:35] Let me tastefully continue the conversation about that, because there’s a reason you’re shopping for this, right? And I know that reason, and I have something that I can help you with. So I think like a lot of brands out there, at least the ones that I talk to, they’re like, Well, you know, ads are getting more expensive and we wanna do some more kind of owned marketing and stuff like that.

[00:44:53] But we’re just not sure where to jump in on content. Like that’s where to jump in on content, you know, write the article about that disease and the definitive guided treating that disease. And by the way, we sell this medication and then when somebody abandons cart, drop that article in there, drop the whole body, write in the email and say, Hey, I saw you were looking at this.

[00:45:08] You probably have some questions. We did our own research. Here’s the study. Here’s exactly how to treat it. You don’t have to use our product, but we sure hope you do. That kind of thing. I don’t know, I just think a lot of brands are like, I wanna get into content market. Or I want to like make FAQs matter, but I don’t know how to do that.

[00:45:23] I think that’s a great example of it, and it’s something that we can basically lift and shift from the ad. Yeah, absolutely. 

[00:45:28] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): So going with your Paka example, I was just, when you were saying that I was like churn away in my head and like what I would do for that. So obviously there’s like, I would see that there’s two main times of the year that you would probably be selling paass, and it depends on whether you’re northern hemisphere or southern hemisphere.

[00:45:43] So you want us. Segment your buyers to understand are they coming from South America and Australia and are they in colder climates like, you know, Chile or Argentina or New Zealand where they’re trying to buy these things in, you know, May or April or something like that right before the winter hits? So you know, you could have a park of buying guide and make sure that you’re promoting that to those customers during those periods.

[00:46:04] And do the opposite with Northern Hemisphere in like October, November, right before the holidays, right? You have to understand when it is your customers are buying that thing, and then make sure you put it out there at that time to provide that value for them. So again, it’s understanding your audience at a fundamental.

[00:46:21] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, for sure. Uh, sorry I cut you off. You had a second example there too. I think you were gonna share. Yeah, 

[00:46:25] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): so this one is, uh, it’s kind of funny because I would say the reason this has gotten more effective is because we’re just being blitz creed by tons and tons of sophisticated. Highly designed email and that is the unreasonable effectiveness of plain text emails.

[00:46:45] So I see that plain text emails work extremely well when you have like personal note from the founder. And I use this with my own sas. So that’s how I know that this works extremely well. So we actually dial down. You dial down the rhetoric. You don’t put graphics in there. It’s just, Hey, humans talking to other human, you know, here’s some, you know, personal story or here’s, you know, thanks for using our, our brand or what, whatever it is.

[00:47:12] But you know, you just, you talk at a very basic human level and these emails, Really have an impact. You know, it doesn’t have to be the thing that you were spending hours in Figma and coming up with the ultimate fancy graphic designs with the perfectly styled brand colors in your, your html, like none of that that matters sometimes, but sometimes just send them an email that has some nice words in it that isn’t overly fancy that.

[00:47:41] Talking to them as another human being. And those emails I’ve found to be unreasonably effective. So that’s the other tactic that I would say, you know, that people need to be doing more of that, just being more human in emails in general, but using the plain text email kind of sets you aside in a very crowded, brightly colored, fancy, inundated inbox.

[00:48:04] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, I think there’s a lot of pressure to have these highly designed emails, especially with physical goods because you’re like, I wanna put a product photo in there and a gonna put a product photo in there. I need to wrap it in some pretty frame and stuff like that. And like interactive elements. And I get it.

[00:48:17] We’re talking about tangible things that people are gonna hold or wear or consume or something like that. But to your point, like there are certain touchpoint. You want it to feel like a one-on-one conversation. Founder letter is a great one. Even the abandoned cart email, like, what if it had James at whatever your website is here?

[00:48:34] She’s just like, Hey, James, from the customer support team, I saw you were checking out this product. Uh, just wanted to let you know that it, it’s a great one. Uh, this has 500 plus. Five star reviews and you know, it’s one of my favorites. Here’s a picture of me wearing it, whatever. Like, I’m not saying manufacture those things, don’t make it up.

[00:48:48] But if it’s genuinely, like you have team members that love that product, drop a photo of them in there in a plain text email and just say, Here’s me wearing mine. I love it. And be genuine about it. And I think that can be the personal connection you need or some of those post-purchase emails where it’s like, Hey, this is James personally and or the founder, and like your stuff’s on the way.

[00:49:04] I’m so excited to have, uh, your business and I really appreciate you giving us a try. I made this because of xyz. Here’s my story. I think you’re gonna love it too. If you have any questions at all, reply to this email and somebody on my team, or I’m gonna get back to you. And that can really make the difference between you and unnamed brand X, Y, Z competitor, just because you took the time to form a personal connection instead of constantly trying to extract money from them, right?

[00:49:26] You’re trying to relate with them on a personal level, right? 

[00:49:29] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): When you’re working with corporate brands, you will never see this. You’ll never see, you know, an email from the founder of Home Depot, , or Creighton Barrel, or any of those large corporate entities. So this does set you aside, especially if you know you’re a DTC brand or you’re just getting started, or you wanna, you know, stand out in the inbox.

[00:49:49] All of those suggestions that you just said are exactly the kinds of things that I think are unreasonably effective because they look different. 

[00:49:56] James Sowers (The Good): Totally agree. All right, Dave, I wanna respect your time. So I have one more question for you and then we’ll let you get outta here with whatever message you wanna.

[00:50:02] Uh, with the audience, but you have this unique position where you’re sitting on kind of the software and tooling side of the world. There’s also the brands, then there are the agencies or the consultants, or the advisors. I feel like a lot of times there are these silos in between those units and it’s like the brand likes to blame the tool because attribution is off, or deliverability is off, or performance isn’t where they want it to be.

[00:50:20] The tool likes to say, Well, you’re not using us properly. You didn’t follow the training, you don’t have your settings tweaked just right. So an effort to kind of. Deconflict, all of those, uh, notions. What is maybe one thing that you wish brands or merchants knew about what it’s like to try to build tooling for eCommerce?

[00:50:36] And maybe it’s something that’s particularly hard that a lot of people don’t understand, or maybe it’s something that, like, if you just looked at it this way, you wouldn’t have as much friction with the tools that you’re using. That 

[00:50:45] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): is a very difficult question and you know, I 100% sympathize with the merchant perspective because you are trying to pull in multiple apps, multiple things to fill holes in whatever platform you’re on.

[00:50:59] I don’t care whether you’re on Shopify or Big Commerce or WooCommerce or Magento, it’s the same problem all around. You’re trying to make sure all of these pieces are put together in your store. You want all of those pieces to work well together, and oftentimes they don’t. , and that’s super frustrating.

[00:51:14] You want ’em to share all kinds of information and oftentimes they can’t. So I get that. As a merchant, you’re trying to cobble together something that works for your store and your needs, and we don’t always provide that. So the hardest thing I think, from my side as a vendor here is that. I wanna make sure that the initial experience is as frictionless and as intuitive and easy for the merchant as possible.

[00:51:46] But the problem is I don’t always make our product meet where the merchant is at. So sometimes there’s super sophisticated merchants and they totally get it right out of the bat. There’s like brand new merchants that have never used this before and it’s very hard to meet both of them. At the same time with the same information, especially when you’re coming at me and all I know is here’s your store name and you know, over some time I might know some other stuff, like do you have a high sales volume or do you have no sales volume, or do you have a low sales volume?

[00:52:16] Like that doesn’t come out right away. It doesn’t come out fast enough for me to start tailoring information, cuz I know you just need to get it set up and get going and there. There’s a short window that people take to evaluate stuff and sometimes, you know, I see it’s funny, I will, People will install recapture and then six minutes later they’ll be like, App is not performing well.

[00:52:36] I’m like, You could not have sent a single email in six minutes. You can’t even abandon a cart in six minutes. So I know you didn’t really test this. You just got frustrated because something wasn’t easy for you to use. And so what I would say is, From the vendor perspective, you need to make sure you’re reducing friction at every point.

[00:52:56] You need to make your onboarding seamless. You need to make that documentation obvious. You need to have things like videos that train anybody at any level, but at the same time as a merchant, I think that, you know, if you run into something, it is hugely valuable to tell the vendor, Hey, I couldn’t do X.

[00:53:16] Maybe not all vendors are gonna say something and respond to you because customer support’s not the same for every single vendor out there. But if you tell me that, I’ll be like, Really? Oh, I had no idea. Well, let me take a look at that and if there’s a problem, I will fix it immediately. Like that is a huge priority of ours to make sure our platform is reliable.

[00:53:37] That’s another one of our values. So if you could just communicate with the vendor and say, This didn’t work for me. That’s why I can’t use your thing anymore. That’s hugely valuable to me, and I can make the tool better for. Or you if you wanna come back. So I would say that those are the things that we really wanna balance here, mostly about communication and I think that the vendors can get better at communicating in customer support too.

[00:53:59] I saw some cringy customer support interactions this morning on Twitter that somebody was like, Oh, I’m so glad I sold my shop if I app, And I was looking at their customer support and I’m like, Yeah, if I saw somebody talking to me like that, I’d probably be a little mad too. So . 

[00:54:14] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah. Yeah, I totally get it.

[00:54:16] I mean, I, the thing to remember is building software is incredibly hard. Building an e-commerce brand is incredibly hard. Nobody gets into it to try to swindle folks outta money. Uh, for the most part, folks have good intentions and if things don’t go well, they’re emotionally invested in fixing it and helping make it right.

[00:54:30] So, to your point, the communication is, is the best part. And I would say not just the bad stuff, like communicate the good stuff cuz uh, software. Creators don’t hear nearly as much praise as they probably should for the things that they put together. That that just cuz when something works well and it just works, you almost don’t notice it.

[00:54:45] I would say be gracious with your, with your praise too. Not just the criticism because uh, we’re all trying our best out here. Right. So Dave, thanks so much for your time today. I’ll let you, uh, get back to the rest of your day, but before, uh, we hang up here, where would you like to point folks for more information?

[00:54:58] I know you’re at recapture.io so maybe I’ll do that part for you cuz I just approved, I did my research, but, uh, is there anything else you’d like to plug or any message you’d like to leave folks? Sure. 

[00:55:06] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): So if you’re interested in connecting with me on Twitter, uh, and we’ll put this in the show notes I presume, but I am at Dave Rodenbach and I spend most of my time on there, kind of, you know, checking out other brands.

[00:55:18] And I’m always interested, especially if you’re a brand a. Out there, you know, what you’re doing with email marketing or what you’re struggling with or what you’re selling, like that’s always something that I’m curious about. So connect with me on Twitter. I’d love to have conversations with you there if you’re interested in checking out.

[00:55:35] Recapture again, you know, we do email marketing for brands that do in-house stuff that wanna keep it simple. Can’t afford an agency, don’t wanna deal with an agency. Just want it easy to do and get it done quickly. We have amazing customer support and we really do care over here. So check us out@recapture.io.

[00:55:53] Come install us and give us a try. Yeah, 

[00:55:55] James Sowers (The Good): give Dave a she, folks. He’s, He’s good people. He’s good people. Thanks so much for your time today, Dave, and drop in some insight. We could do a whole other episode on that ladder concept, cuz I was about to go deep on segmentation and what does an abandoned cart sequence look like as a best practice?

[00:56:08] What does a post purchase flow look like? Uh, there’s a whole workshop in there and you’ve probably already created and you got it sitting on your Google Drive somewhere. So we might have to do a follow up at some point, but really appreciate the time you did give us today and, uh, we’ll hope to have you back 

[00:56:18] Dave Rodenbaugh (Recapture.io): soon.

[00:56:18] Thank you so much for having me on today, James. This was a lot of fun. 

[00:56:23] James Sowers (The Good): Hey everybody, this is James again, and before you go, I just wanted to invite you to join one of the coolest things I get to work on as director of marketing here at the Good. It’s called the eCommerce Insiders List, and it’s a private version of this podcast feed that gets you access to tons of additional bonus content, like extra interviews, q and a Sessions, website, teardowns, and anything else we can dream of.

[00:56:41] It doesn’t cost you anything but your email address, and we promise to always respect your inbox. This is just our way of forming stronger relationships with our listeners and making sure that we produce content that is actually valuable to you and to your business. If you’re interested, you can join the rest of the e-Commerce insiders by going to the good.com/podcast and dropping your email into the form at the top of the page.

[00:57:01] We’ll follow up with directions for how to access the private feed, and you’ll be off and running. Like I said, this is one of my favorite things that I get the opportunity to work on because it lets me interact directly with e-commerce founders and leaders just like you. If you’re interested, I’d love to see your name pop up in my notifications.

[00:57:16] Until then, keep an eye out for the next episode of the E-Commerce Insight Show and we’ll talk to you soon.

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.