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Drive and Convert (Ep. 055): Listener Q&A (Allocating paid spend, large product catalogs, and more)

In this episode, Ryan and Jon talk field a few questions from Drive & Convert listeners, covering topics ranging from how to allocate paid acquisition spending across channels, how to improve discoverability with large product catalogs, and more.

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About This Episode:

In this episode, Ryan and Jon continue experimenting with a “mailbag” format, where they answer questions that were submitted directly by Drive & Convert listeners. The conversation covers a wide range of topics, which makes it the perfect listen for a dog walk, office commute, or spin bike session.

Listen to the full episode if you want to learn:

  1. How to allocate paid acquisition spending across channels
  2. Whether to sell pre-selected bundles or allow customers to build their own
  3. How to improve discoverability with a large product catalog
  4. Whether you should race to take advantage of emerging ad channels
  5. How virtual/augmented reality may impact ecommerce behaviors

If you have questions, ideas, or feedback to share, hit us up on Twitter. We’re @jonmacdonald and @ryangarrow.

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Episode Transcript:

Announcer:
You’re listening to Drive and Convert, a podcast about helping online brands to build a better e-commerce growth engine with Jon MacDonald and Ryan Garrow.

Ryan:
So, Jon, I’m glad you made it back into the country. I know you were off in France educating business owners around company culture. Really exciting. We are going to continue on our listener Q&A today, not because we’re lazy or you’re jet lagged, but because we got quite a few questions through. If you listened to our last podcast, you know that there’s no way we could have gotten through all of them because our listeners are smart, that’s probably why they’re listing to us, and they have a lot of questions that are good and justify answering. So, let’s continue on this journey of Q&A, Jon. The next one in this list of questions we have is a CPG brand has an annual budget of a million dollars for paid acquisition, ooh, already sounds like one for me. How do you recommend going about determining which channels to explore and how much of those funds to allocate to each one? How should allocation change over time as more information is collected. Well-

Announcer:
Good question.

Ryan:
Yeah. It’s obviously common, it probably doesn’t even matter how much you’re spending. This question’s always going to come up when you’re going to go spend money to acquire clients. My general response across all clients that ever asked me this is fill the funnel from the bottom up. If you’re filling it from the top down, you’re going to have a lot of leakage. You’re going to be driving a lot of business to your competitors. Your conversion rates are generally going to be pretty low. You’re going to get frustrated because return is low. So starting from the bottom up often allows people to see better returns and justify moving further and further up the funnel. That also means that if I’m going to go run a display campaign on Facebook for my brand and prospecting new users, I’m at least capturing them, if they go back to Google and search for that.
Putting it in the right order, I think will always help. I think over time, the mix is going to constantly be changing. I think what worked two years ago on Facebook is not working the same way it is now. It’s a pretty easy statement to make. So there’s other social channels that will fit in there. Google’s making massive changes, so I think certain pieces of Google ads and Bing ads is going to be moving up and down that funnel. You should be regularly and probably quarterly reinvestigating where you’re allocating money and what the expected return on that money is, especially this change in first party data, the next couple years are going to be very unique. I could probably say that at any point in time, things are changing so quickly in our industry.

Jon:
That’s what keeps us on our toes.

Ryan:
It keeps us with jobs. If everybody converted at 10% and never had to do anything, Jon, everybody made 10X return on ad spend, I would know, we wouldn’t be here. Always be measuring and testing what you’re doing with it. Have a source of truth that everybody in the organization agrees to and then view your data from these channels, not in silos, but across attribution paths and look at different attribution paths too, because it’s always going to be different.

Jon:
I think we’ve done an episode about this, right? All the different channels and how you should be thinking about splitting your spend across channels. I’m pretty sure that I interviewed you on that a number of episodes ago. We’ll have to dig up which one that is, but I know we do have a show about this similar topic, that would be 30, 45 minutes, just on this answer.

Ryan:
Yeah. I think that you can go so far down into this, but high level simple answer, bottom up and measure it from the better conversion right to the bottom of the funnel to lower conversion rates-

Jon:
So, you’re advocating for spending on a PDP for instance.

Ryan:
Yep. But I would do that generally higher or above, make sure you’re covering the category. So if somebody’s looking for white coffee cups, you probably have some great converting coffee cups in that category. You’re going to want to make sure you’re covering the category below that too. So as people search coffee cups or white coffee cups, you’re going to convert at a different rate than people going directly at one coffee cup. It’s an individual off a Google shopping ad.

Jon:
Okay.

Ryan:
Yeah. So I’m guessing since that was my question, the next one in line is probably yours. Jon, what advice would you have around selling products that have multiple options for customization? For example, picking the number of items, size of items, and color of items in a bundle. Now, for example, for a new sock brand in the UK, they sell socks and bundles of one, three, five pairs. We decided to make the product paste streamline by requiring the customer to first pick a color, then quantity. Some customers want to pick pack size and then go color or pattern within that space. So how did you even go about creating a theory around how to test that?

Jon:
Yeah. I think it’s a very specific question, but I think it’s one that a lot of brands might have over time. So how you work with variants? This is really a question of variants, right? More than anything else. The more complex you make your product mix, the more complex that fulfillment becomes, let alone just tracking inventory, everything else. Right? So there’s a lot of reasons why you’d want to just have bundles that are preset and not let consumers take it to that level of customization. Now my first question would be what percentage of customers are asking for this? How many really are interested in being able to customize a three pack or a five pack? And how complicated is your fulfillment? Are you using a third party, like a ShipBob or something? In which case there’s no way they’re going to be able to pick and customize a custom three pack for you or are you in house fulfilling this?
So, I think there’s a lot of questions to be thinking about on the backend. But considering that they launched just last year in October, says it launched October 21, looking at that, I would say it’s too early for them to be doing a mix where people can pick their own three pack or five pack colors. Instead, if you really want to offer some variety around that, maybe do some custom three and five packs besides just saying, Hey, here’s one color in a three pack or a five pack of that one color. Maybe you do a bundle that is a special bundle that you liked or that you could crowdsource. Put together a bundle and we’ll pick the most popular one and that’s what we’ll sell as a bundle. All in all though, it’s not uncommon for folks to be able to first pick a color and then the quantity.
I think you got to have both of those options in there. So, honestly I don’t see the need based on their particular situation, but the more options you can offer generally the better, if you can keep it simple. What I mean by that is if you get too complicated on the user experience, then people are going to drop off because they A, can’t figure it out or B, they just want a pair of socks. And all of a sudden you’re making them choose all these colors and it’s taking them 10 minutes to figure this out, when they just went in and just wanted five pairs of black socks and be done. You’re making them go through and say, “Pair one, I want black. Pair two, I want black. Pair three, I want black.” Right. It’s not worth it. So you have to ride that line and generally I’m going to ride the line on the side of simplicity when all else is similar.

Ryan:
I think because I’ve experienced difficulties with this, even within a Shopify platform, it defaults to a 100 variant options. Once you get four options that you want to mix and match for three, you go over the 100 variant count. But what do I have now? I think I have three packs to let people pick each one. So it’s just drop down you pick one of four options and there’s 63 potential variants. I actually have five blends on Joyful Dirt. We don’t even include the extra one. Can’t get it. It’s worked okay, but I think as we started getting more complex, it’s app that generally has to, and if you do worry about inventory, it becomes the biggest pain.

Jon:
Yeah.

Ryan:
There’s so many more things beyond conversion rate, I think that go into that question that can do it. There’s some bundle creators within the Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce ecosystems that you can play with. One of the simple ones I’ve seen, or one of the companies that has done a good job that I’ve seen, I think Crumbl Cookie allows you to make your own box that you pick up. By the way, each cookie is as big as a cake, they’re massive. But each week they have a different, here’s our flavors that we’re offering today in our bundle. Even just making it, something like that, where it’s a short period of time, these are the ones in there where you do a seasonal and socks that’s maybe your spring colors are in a bundle. Otherwise, everything else is pre-made and you pick one of those, where you’re just doing limited amounts of customization within your space to even just test it.

Jon:
Yeah. That bundle would be a SKU. So now it’s, you’re not worried about having nine SKUs because you have three products that can be done different ways, right. Or man, but you start adding sizes into that and it just blows up. I agree with you, I think you have to look at this from fulfillment first. Can you even fulfill it? If not, then don’t start down this road because you’re just going to upset consumers. Most brands that are just starting out are not able to fulfill this appropriately and that becomes a bigger challenge. But from a conversion standpoint, I think, you raised that a little bit. I think from a conversion standpoint, I’m always going to lean to simpler is better. Because people can get in and get out with whatever they may want or need to get done.

Ryan:
Yep. Henry Ford did a pretty good job. You can get [inaudible 00:09:19] you want, as long as it’s black. People are going to take what they… If they want your product and you brand it well, they’re going to take what you have available.

Jon:
There you go.

Ryan:
There’s always going to be people that whine. Been doing this a long time, you’re never going to have every customer that doesn’t ask for something weird.

Jon:
All right, Ryan. Now I’m intrigued about, what are the weird things people ask for around fertilizer? But we’ll save that for another episode.

Ryan:
Yeah. Our Q&A is I’ve got a lot of blocked questions and I can’t believe you asked this, but okay.

Jon:
All right, Ryan. So, how do you think about the relationship between paid acquisition and other marketing functions? For example, are you driving traffic to product pages or custom landing pages? Are you experimenting with driving traffic to non-commercial assets like user generated content, reviews from influencers or blog content? Overall, what they’re trying to ask here is if you’re thinking about paid acquisition, how do you balance that with everything else that you’re trying to do as a marketer?

Ryan:
Well, you got to look at the type of traffic too. Google Shopping goes to product pages. You’re separating that out because that’s not being able to direct anywhere else. I can take it from the bottom up. Blog, I will probably never spend my own money driving traffic to a blog.

Jon:
Okay.

Ryan:
Probably. I always-

Jon:
That’s fair. It’s the top of the funnel.

Ryan:
It is. Very top of funnel, very low conversion rate. If somebody’s looking for that content, you’ve got to have some real reason why you want to boost that blog content above what Google’s already showing. Custom landing pages have become more popular, I think in the last couple years I’ve had a lot of clients talking about, “Do you guys, manage landing pages?” And from an eCommerce standpoint, I think generally you don’t need custom landing pages unless you have a really complex purchase that has multiple touchpoints. Now, if you’re selling something that people already understand at this exact moment in time where we’re recording this, the beginning of 2022, people understand categories and product pages and generally know what to do with them and how to find things on a website. Shopify has probably done a good job and Amazon, a good job of teaching us what to expect.
If you go way beyond those expectations, I think people get frustrated or stuck. I think you have to look at the intent of where that traffic is coming from and what that person is expecting. So, if somebody’s looking for reviews of your brand or product, I generally advocate for bidding on those terms for your brand. That may make sense to have a reviews page on your site, where yes, as an e-commerce brand, I’m sending them to a landing page I’ve created for reviews and it’s got user generated reviews, maybe some YouTube reviews that are just embedded in there. I could see myself doing that if it made sense and there was enough volume for that. But as for influencers and reviews from influencers, most of them I hopefully using influencers to drive the traffic to me rather than me driving the traffic to the influencers.

Jon:
Yeah. Or using it as social proof perhaps on your page.

Ryan:
Yeah.

Jon:
All right.

Ryan:
But I’m not going to probably drive it to just that user. Although I will say in social, we are seeing some pretty solid results from brands connecting to influencers and using dark posting tech, where you’re using your money as the brand to boost the post of the influencer. Because that is that credibility saying, “Hey, I’m really famous, I like this product, you will too.” We’ve been doing that probably since humans existed. I think it’s all blending together and people have a purchase path. What I use when I’m starting to mix things up is, is there a subset of users that are not completing that purchase path for me, that I need to interrupt and get them to come to a different place or a different channel? But I will say 95% plus e-commerce brands that are advertising on acquisition channels probably just need to spend more moving up the funnel before they start getting really involved in complex driving traffic in different areas.
There’s actually a lot of companies that are creating AI tools to help companies see where they need to be moving their money at any one point in time. So today at 9:00 AM, I might spend 70% of my money on Google Shopping and 30% on Facebook, and then by noon, I’m going to be spending 10% on… It’s crazy the way they’re trying to help people see data.

Jon:
That sounds exhausting into me, if it makes the changes for you, great. But that sounds exhausting in other words.

Ryan:
Some of them do, but I think most companies are not at that level, but that’s what they’re being sold and being told, “Oh, look at all this.”

Jon:
You have to be spending enough money to see what I would call statistical significance on those, right? Meaning you have to spend enough to be able to see and notice a change when you move your money from one place to another. If you’re moving your money every day, this is like the stock market effect where if you are not present in the stock market, the 2% of days that you’re going to make all of your money, then you could be out of the market for all the bad days, but if you’re not in the market on the 2% of days, that’s where you make all your money. It’s the same thing, if how does this AI know when to pull you in and out of all of these different marketplaces? Just sounds exhausting to be doing that so often.
But I was going to ask you as well, Ryan, this seems like a prioritization question for me, right? Where would you prioritize your spend, I guess more than anything else and your time and effort? Right. Because this is something where if you are a small brand, you can’t be doing everything at all times. If you’re a big brand, you need to understand what’s working and double down on that to some degree. So it almost seems like whoever asked this question and I don’t know off the top of my head who it was, I’d have to go back and look at the massive spreadsheet of questions. But the reality is I wonder if they’re a bigger brand or a smaller brand and that to me, it really would just come down to, if you’re a smaller brand, you need to prioritize and then just focus on doing one or two of these extremely well. If you’re a large brand, then you really still need to prioritize, but I would put 80% of your spend to things you know work and 20% to play around and see what happens.

Ryan:
Yeah. Either size of company or no matter what size, if you’re thinking about sending some traffic to a blog, you should probably take that money and get more aggressive on shopping because the ancillary benefits there and lower your return there, because you’re generally going to get almost no return on that. The amount you have to spend to get to that level on shopping with that intent already there, that’s a lot. I’ll say that.

Jon:
Yeah.

Announcer:
You’re listening to Drive and Convert, a podcast focused on e-commerce growth. Your host are Jon MacDonald, Founder of The Good, a conversion rate optimization agency that works with e-commerce brands to help convert more of their visitors into buyers. And Ryan Garrow of Logical Position, the digital marketing agency offering pay per click management, search engine optimization, and website design services to brands of all sizes. If you find this podcast helpful, please help us out by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts and sharing it with a friend or colleague. Thank you.

Ryan:
Okay, Jon, next question says they have a really large product catalog over a 1,000 SKUs, which means even certain categories can have hundreds of results for customers to browse through. What advice do you have for helping with discoverability, reducing browse abandonment, and quickly parent customers to product the best meets their needs? This is probably a constant problem.

Jon:
Oh, it is. I call this a way finding issue, right? They say discoverability, I think that’s somewhat true, but I think why I call this way finding is it’s like driving on a highway and here on the West Coast everyone has what we call the five, right? Which goes up and down the West Coast. You need to know when to get off the highway. As a consumer, you’re driving along and you need signs to say, Hey, this is where you’re at right now and where you’re headed. I think that this is the same issue that a lot of websites have is I look at navigations and so many navigations talk about the brand, and it says things about us, our blog, things of that sort, instead of helping the consumer orient where they are and where they want to go.
This is why I mainly recommend that navigations are product based and that’s what’s the high level navigation, because it should be your product categories essentially, because otherwise you’re going to have a hard time getting consumers to where they want to be to solve their pain or need. That’s really going to help bounce rates in abandonment and it’s going to help get customers to where they want be to start doing that research on what fits their needs best. So I look at this as a way finding issue and easily solved by overhauling your navigation, the first thing I would do is remove anything that talks about you and instead focus on your products and under the understanding, if you will, that you need to help the consumer get to that first step in the funnel. What is the first thing you want them to do? Is get to a category that fits for what they’re at your site to do. Another way that has been really helpful when you have lots of SKUs like this.
Now, if you’re an Amazon, okay, all bets are off, right? People are just going to search for what they want most likely, right. But if you have a 1,000 SKUs across 10 different categories, let’s say, right? Then and a lot of it is like that sock brand that we were just talking about, maybe they have a lot of different sizes and colorways and things like that. Okay, great. What you can do and has worked really well, is these quizzes. So you get somebody in on that homepage and you say, “Okay, let’s take a quiz to help you narrow this down. That has been really helpful for a lot of different types of products that may be a little more technical, are less preference based and more around facts. So skincare this works really well, people generally know, I have oily skin or dry skin, or I have a light complexion or dark complexion. Right.
You start thinking about those type of things, so you often see quizzes being used in beauty products, less so in apparel, but I’ve seen it used for sporting goods, or even if you’re selling shoes, okay, what kind of sport do you like to play? Right, for athletic shoes. And then you get into, what kind of fit do you want? Any true athlete playing basketball, I have a particular shoe type that I’d like, and I generally can narrow down based on that. But Nike doesn’t have a quiz. I think they should, because it would really help me be like, this is for somebody who wants something that’s a lighter weight shoe, wears a 15, which those two things don’t typically go together. And then on top of that, I like a low top. Then it’s like, okay, how do I narrow it down to two or three options from there? Then I can choose, okay, I like this color more, or I want to support that athlete more than this other one, for whatever reasons, things of that sort. So this is really all about way finding more or less.

Ryan:
What’s your opinion on, if I’ve got a category of a 100 giving you some dropdowns or easy filters at the top of that category page to say, I’m going this direction rather than a quiz, does one work better or worse or?

Jon:
Well, a good variation of a quiz is on a category page is to have great filtering. If you’re able to have good filtering, you’re essentially doing the same thing a quiz is doing. You’re just a different mindset with the consumer, where the consumer’s now going in and checking some boxes and Nike has great filtering, right. But it’s around facts and figures, not around what I would like to see. So, what do I mean by that? Well, it’s around size, it’s around color, it’s around sport, right? High level stuff. Right. But it’s not around, “Hey, I want a low top versus a high top basketball shoe, or I play this position, what shoes do you think would be best for me?” That’s where I’m saying you get that extra layer of data in doing that.
The nice thing about quizzes too, is you can start building up profiles for your consumers to where over that session and depending on cookie length, generally within a couple of weeks, if somebody comes back, you’re able to continue to customize and personalize the site based on the answers they provided. So if you know, I’m looking for basketball shoes or I’m looking for a size 15, now next time I come to the site, I would hope that you would only show me products or suggest products as a starting spot that matched the answers that I provided.

Ryan:
With that are actually in stock. You get excited about a shoe like, “Oh, you don’t even have that size.” Shameless plug, we just started working with a company called Gobought or partnering with them. They’ve done that with a couple of our clients and the quizzes and they actually filter a lot of that data into email. So they plug right into Klaviyo, so a lot of our email clients will use that. There’s so many awesome things you can do with I guess the “quiz,” you can even do a post purchase. I think with one of our clients DecoratorsBest, they’re actually asking what room did you just decorate for? You just bought wallpaper, for example, and you just did your kitchen. Okay. Well, they’re nurturing probably we won’t focus a lot on the kitchen if they think you’re already done there and they’ll focus on bedroom or kids’ room or dining room. So you can do a lot once you start getting into that, I guess go down those rabbit trails of personalization, which can go forever.

Jon:
Yeah. A 100%, a 100%. All right, Ryan, next question for you is everyone is always looking for the next great thing. Yes, they are.

Ryan:
They found it, they’re on this podcast.

Jon:
They want to be early on TikTok or virtual reality or podcast sponsorships. Hey, throw some money our way, so that you can leverage those cheap acquisition costs. Well, I think those two things might be at odd, but okay. Is there a channel or a technology that is gaining traction that you think brands should explore or is it more important to focus on fundamentals? So tell them how to make [crosstalk 00:23:22].

Ryan:
You answer your own question now. You’re not going to start shooting shots from half court, if you can’t make a land. So fundamentals is always first, always, learn to dribble, build the foundation of your business before you start trying to figure out TikTok.

Jon:
Yeah.

Ryan:
There’s always going to be stories around the next big thing that, “Hey, I put this TikTok video up of my stretchy pants and now I’m a multi-billionaire on Amazon.” Great. Guess what? That’s not a real duplicatable business model, because sometimes there’s intentionality, but more often than not, it just happened. But fundamentals, if you’re not covering the bases, it’s going to be very difficult to capitalize on things like a viral TikTok video. If you’re competitors like me, they’re going to capitalize on that for you because you haven’t covered the foundation. I often like to see some maturity in a platform before I’m willing to put my money into test it.
I put some money into Pinterest ads, did not work well. I’m not seeing the data on… Let me put an asterisk by this because I do have access to a lot of data. So I’m not a normal business owner and that I can see patterns as they’re happening and I can see a lot of other business owners wasting money before I put my money in. But TikTok, it’s going to go somewhere, but I’m not yet sure how they’re going to be doing with ads. I think there’s a lot of native people that are investing in just the content where you’re not seeing the results yet, but you’re being present and interacting and TikTok may turn into a customer service channel like Facebook has and that’s okay. It’s a valuable place to be on Facebook, even if it’s not a revenue driving channel yet.
We have partners that would argue that Facebook is a great revenue driving channel in customer service, because you can upsell and cross sell, but do not chase that next great thing. The play the odds and play the fact that it’s going to mature in time and Facebook and Instagram, you could have been spending money on there five years ago, it probably wasn’t doing great. But then there was a window where it did really well and you were there first and you got to capitalize on that, but anybody could have jumped in three or four years ago, and probably realized just about the same as somebody that started a year before than when it was just trying to figure things out.

Jon:
So fundamentals over fads, if you will.

Ryan:
For sure. I think that’s just a general good business principle. Doesn’t [crosstalk 00:25:41].

Jon:
Too insightful here, but I would say in all and all, unless you have access to big data through thousands of ad accounts like Ryan does, you’re just going to be guessing based on what you heard and you should really go where your customers are. So unless your customers are on TikTok or they’re really in virtual reality or listening to specific podcasts, don’t go there. Just because you heard or your friend who did that with their business or you read it on Twitter or whatever, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. This goes back to my whole philosophy on copying and what you see from other brands. You don’t know if you’re copying from the valedictorian or the flunky and you just don’t know and it doesn’t matter what they say. I can’t tell you the number of sites that I see somebody come in on, I talk to them before they start working with us and they say, “Hey, our conversion rate is 2%.”
I’m like, “Okay, cool.” Then like, “What do you want to get it to?” Like 3%. I’m like, “Okay, let’s have a conversation. Let’s dive in.” Then I get looking at their conversion rate and it’s 0.2%. I’m like, “Well, well hold on, you said it was 2%.” They’re like, “It is, here’s how I’m looking at this.” I’m like, “No, no, no, no, let’s back up here. You’re not looking at your data correctly.” My whole point on that is that you can’t take what you read when people share this stuff, it’s face value. There’s the whole term, show me the receipts, and I think that’s true when it comes to LinkedIn and Twitter and all these social networks where people are sharing their wins and you’re supposed to be learning from them. The reality is you really want to see behind the scenes of what they’re doing and validate that.
And most people won’t show the chart. They’re not going to screenshot their Stripe account and show you how much money they actually made from something. Right. They’ll tell you about it, but they won’t actually show you the proof. I’m not suggesting people are lying, what I am suggesting is that people don’t always have the right data. And so that becomes a bit of an issue to copy. Plus beyond that, Ryan, the last thing I have to say on this, there’s a reason race horses wear blinders. You are better off focusing on yourself and your brand and just charging forward as fast as you can. You will get a lot further with your consumers than trying to go after what everyone else is doing.

Ryan:
Oh yeah, I think 100%. For example, Joyful Dirt does have a really good conversion rate on Amazon right now, phenomenal conversion rate, but it took me-

Jon:
Do I need to check your math?

Ryan:
Regardless of that, it took me a long time to get to that point. And so, you can’t just say, “Oh, Amazon’s a great pace to advertise because I know that there’s good conversion rates from this company and this company.” That may be true, but you also don’t know that, Hey, we also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads to get to the point where we are now, testing and measuring keywords, getting off Amazon traffic. That you can’t just be like, “Amazon’s great because it converts really well.”

Jon:
Well, and that’s the thing, you’ve learned how to address your specific audience and what works for your specific product. Now, could somebody copy that? Maybe and that experience might get them a little bit further ahead, but they can’t copy it directly because they’re not selling fertilizer to your audience.

Ryan:
Even if they are, I’m going to win.

Jon:
Yeah. There you go.

Ryan:
All right, Jon, we got one more question that I think is interesting, I’ll say that, and it’s not something that’s happened often or come up. So have you ever tested augmented reality or virtual reality elements on product pages? Like trying on a pair of glasses or viewing a piece of furniture in your room. I know those things exist, but have you seen them or done any testing?

Jon:
I have seen them. I have seen them, I have not done any testing with them. I’ve been approached several times by people who want to partner with us to roll that out to our clients. The reality is that the technology is probably at the point where it’s baked enough now, but over the past five years, as this has come up repeatedly, it really hasn’t been that could… People would always have to download a specific app or the consumers would have to install something. It just became to the point where it wasn’t integrated as well. Right? Like big furniture brands like Knoll, Herman Miller Knoll is big client of ours. They don’t want their consumers downloading a third party app just to be able to place the furniture in their room. Right. They want to keep them within their own shopping funnel and rightfully so.
So if I was to test it, that would be how I would want to see this. Ikea had done a project with this where within an Ikea iPhone app, you could place furniture. I don’t know if they still even have it, because it wasn’t getting used that much. I was surprised that people weren’t interested in that, you would think, “Hey, I want to see how this looks in my room. Does it fit in the dimensions?” But it’s really hard to get that exact, it’s great for a general placement, but it’s not good for like, “Hey, I have two inches to spare in this space, will it fit?” It’s really hard to tell based off of that, technology just isn’t a 100% there, but all in all, I think it’s interesting, but I think the adoption from customers is low and the technological barriers are high. So that creates a bit of a gap for brands who could really push this forward to use it.

Ryan:
Yeah. I’ve seen some things with [inaudible 00:31:04] great clips or something. Somebody did a hairstyle, one, like see what this new hairstyle would look on you and getting your face right in the right lighting they would match the hair like trying on glasses. I think Warby Parker’s played with that and I think there’s some really cool applications. I think for certain companies it’s going to make sense than others. And so I think you have to be willing to test in any business or in any scenario, but the application is going to be very specific to vertical or industry and plant food, people don’t need to see what’s this plant food look like on my [inaudible 00:31:36]. Just put it on there, water and who cares? It’s going to grow your plants.

Jon:
Yeah. You could just show a nice healthy green plant.

Ryan:
Actually a better one was, I think this has been done for a long time, is wheels on cars. I think a lot of companies have been doing this for because it’s pretty standard. Like, Hey, here’s a Ford truck. Pick your color. Okay. Let’s put the rims on there and see it. Back in my younger days, when I was really worried about buying cool wheels for my vehicles, I think that is something that would’ve helped me make decisions because then you have ads, I’m testing this. It’s almost like a quiz, but it’s a visual one for me on, Hey, let’s get black ones versus silver ones.

Jon:
Yeah. That’s more of a product configurator. It’s an extension of augmented reality for sure.

Ryan:
Yeah.

Jon:
But putting that car in your garage and looking at it, I think is true augmented reality, but who’s going to take that step? I just don’t see it. So any way-

Ryan:
Worth some tests.

Jon:
Interesting.

Ryan:
It probably will become like in the metaverse we start using Oculus as normal.

Jon:
There you go.

Ryan:
That’s going to become more and more a big deal probably.

Jon:
Yeah. Look, okay, let’s go use the car example. If I had an Oculus headset on and I was looking at new cars, I could configure the car, walk around the car, right, and see everything. That would be amazing. Then if I could sit inside the car and look around and see exactly everything I’d want to see and maybe even interact with some of the [crosstalk 00:33:00].

Ryan:
Yeah. See how far things certain things are.

Jon:
That would be amazing. Perfect use. I just last year bought a car site unseen because cars are so hard to come by that I had to get a car shipped from Texas and there were none of them in Portland to look at for what I wanted. So I was like, “I guess I’ll just look online and watch some YouTube videos and try to get a feel for it.” I was pleasantly surprised when I got it, but it could have gone the other way. I would’ve been stuck with a car that I wasn’t really happy with because-

Ryan:
At this point that was probably an appreciating asset. You probably would’ve made a lot of money.

Jon:
Well, maybe. Yeah. I don’t know, except I’d to pay more than sticker to get it because everybody wanted them. It’s one of those things that I think could have some use case, but I think there’s still technological barriers that we have to overcome.

Ryan:
Yeah. For general eCommerce, you’re probably overthinking. And if you’re getting to that point for the vast majority of them, there’s probably simpler, easier ways to improve conversion rates.

Jon:
As you said on the last answer, focus on the fundamentals. I think that will really get you where you need to be.

Ryan:
Yep. Agreed.

Jon:
All right.

Ryan:
Well, Jon, I think we got through all of our Q&A in two episodes, so that’s good, either that says we don’t have enough listeners with questions and we’re answering all because we’re amazing or who knows, but we got to-

Jon:
Well, it was planned to be one episode and it took two. So I count that as a win.

Ryan:
That is a win. I enjoyed these. We’ll have to do one of these again.

Jon:
Less of prep work for you and I as well. That’s a win out of it too.

Ryan:
Yeah. Thanks for the time, Jon.

Jon:
All right, Ryan, have a good one.

Ryan:
You too.

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James Sowers

About the Author

James Sowers

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