How to Get Repeat Purchases For Your eCommerce Store ⎜ Ecommerce Badassery ⎜ EP 161

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This is a podcast episode titled, How to Get Repeat Purchases For Your eCommerce Store ⎜ Ecommerce Badassery ⎜ EP 161. The summary for this episode is: <p>Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Jessica Totillo Coster of Ecommerce Badassery one-on-one to discuss how to get repeat purchases for your eCommerce store.</p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>---</p><p>You can watch or listen to all episodes of Crossover Commerce at: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>

Ryan Cramer: What's up everyone. Welcome to My Corner of the Internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer and this is Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments, the leading global payments provider, helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Crossover Commerce. This is episode 161, September 30th, 2021. It is International Podcast Day. Celebrate. Yay. There you go. Anyways, for those who are watching live, that's a little bit of celebration. If you're listening to this, you don't get the full visual effect of what is going on. Again, just celebrating the fact of that this industry is super evolving. There's so much great content coming on all these different verticals. I didn't know it was until today. So we're just going to do a little bit of celebrating. In that regards, hopefully you found that enjoyable, but welcome to Crossover Commerce. If you're new to this space or you're new to the show, this is My Corner of the Internet. We're bringing you the best and brightest in the Amazon and E- commerce space. Again, not exclusive to each other, they just dabble in everything a little bit differently. But that being said, this podcast is actually presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong Payments is not a table tennis company. We are a cross- border payments solution. What that means is that if you're paying a supplier or manufacturer overseas and you want to actually negotiate rates and you want to be more cost- effective to your bottom line, you can actually do that with PingPong Payments. Do that by signing up for free in the link below or in the show notes if you're listening to us on your favorite podcast platform, and of course, if you're receiving and your brain is going international, whether it's on Shopify, it's on Amazon, it's on all these different marketplaces that truly exist worldwide and you want your brand to be more financial friendly in terms of fees, you no longer have to worry about those when you use PingPong Payments. Go and check out more information. You can check that out in the link, or you can go to usa. pingpongx. com/ podcast and just learn more about the podcast and more about PingPong today. That being said, again, episode 161, International Podcast Day, but guys tomorrow is Q4. That being said, suddenly alarms, ring the bells, however you have to get amplified it is that time of year for E- commerce sellers of celebration as well as dread and stress. That is right. You have made it. If you're here, this is what you've been prepping for all year. If you're listening to this, you're probably doing so by doing 30 other different things. But that being said, any successful business doesn't want to be a flash in the pan. You want to be something that's successful, sustains as long- term effecting and can operate as a business. So how we titled this episode today, we titled it How To Get Repeat Purchases for Your E- commerce Store. I think that everyone can agree with that. In that functionality of long- term, you want people not just to buy you for one or like a special deal or anything of that sorts. You want it to be sustainable, repeat business through subscriptions or just have different products that they're going to want and naturally add onto you over time, whether that's refills or that is a gift for somebody else, anything of that sort, how do we do that and how do we make ourselves a sustaining brand instead of a flash in the pan? So of course I wanted to bring on a special guest today. Her name is Jessica Totillo Coster of eCommerce Badassery. And basically I'm not joking, that's a fantastic and amazing name, probably the best name for a company we've had on here. That being said, she has been in the space in E- commerce business in various capacities over 20 plus years in retail and E- commerce experience. She started as a former boutique owner in New York and now is an E- commerce and email marketing strategist for multiple businesses. She herself supported entrepreneurs in insights, grew and was an employee of a seven figure E- commerce business and now she is actually educating and helping people do that themselves. That being said, I want to welcome to Crossover Commerce, Jessica of eCommerce Badassery. Jessica, welcome to International Podcast Day.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah, what's up. I didn't even know. So thank you for letting me know. I feel like I have to go celebrate now. So thanks for updating me.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, you're not just a host. Yeah, you're not just a guest, you're a host yourself and you have your own podcast, which is fantastic, correct?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yes, I do. I love podcasting. It's one of those things I just wish I had started sooner. I didn't realize like the community that would come from the podcasting space. So it's just been really cool and I get to meet really cool people like you.

Ryan Cramer: Well, I appreciate that. And for the little time we know, it's like 10 minutes in, we're already best friends, which is fantastic. No, I would agree with you. So in this space you are an educator. You've been around... You have this experience. I'd just say anytime people have been around a long time, that makes you feel like old and you're like, you're not with it, but you've had so much different experience, but you've walked the walk and talked to the talk. Now you're teaching people, which is really cool. So give me that evolution of your career and background. Like what led you to get into E- commerce in the first place after starting a boutique in New York and kind of where you are today? What's that story like?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. Well, the story starts as a little girl who slept in her new shoes. So it was really no surprise that I ended up going down the fashion and apparel route, right? And then I went to school for fashion merchandising and I thought I was going to be a buyer and I was going to work my way up the corporate ladder. And then I quickly figured out like this is more spreadsheets than anything else and I am really bored. So I ended up pulling-

Ryan Cramer: You put a Rachel Green on Friday.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yes, exactly. So I ended up going back into retail because of course I had worked retail my entire high school, college life on the side. And I remember getting my first retail job when I was 16 and I thought it was the coolest thing. It was so exciting to me. But I ended up going back into the boutique world and ended up opening my own boutique right after the 2008 financial crisis. It was awesome, but I had already worked in that neighborhood and so I had those customers and clients who just really wanted to be with me, right? They followed me. And that's really however this conversation goes today, if you take nothing else away, is that it's the relationships you build with your customers that create long- term success in your business, right? And I learned that really early on. And then fast forward to wanting to leave New York because I was sick of the snow and so I shut my boutique down and picked up all my stuff and moved to California, which I've been here now 10 or 11 years. I'm not really sure, it's kind of blurry. And so since I-

Ryan Cramer: One big amazing dream.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. A dream, I don't know, we'll call it a dream.

Ryan Cramer: Admirable dream inaudible.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Same difference, right? But it doesn't snow here. So even though you can't... Like it's impossible to buy a house here, but it doesn't snow. So you got to kind of like weigh, right?

Ryan Cramer: Because there's pros and cons.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. I started working in the marketing department for a retailer. They had about 13 stores at the time, all spread out across the US. And we had an E- commerce site that was just this white label site. It was a commission site, right? We didn't really do anything with it. And I had had a little bit of E- comm experience before that with some other little companies that I worked for. But when we took E- comm back in house, I took over that division. And for the first three years, I was the only employee. Like I had a part- timer who packed and shipped orders, but I literally did everything else from buying, uploading, product descriptions, social media, email marketing. So while it was not my business, it felt like it was my business. I cried a lot, like a lot.

Ryan Cramer: You crashed the website. You were fixing bugs on it. I get. I've been there.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. I mean, it was really terrible. And during that time though, man was it stressful, but I wouldn't take any of it back because I learned so much during that time and it is because of that experience that I'm able to do what I do now. I worked with some really amazing consultants and like I said, I knew some, but I know a lot more now. And from my experience of being the client to a consultant, I do things very, very differently in my business with the people I work with.

Ryan Cramer: That's awesome.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: So you went retail, what was the E- comm business? What were the things you were selling? Was it service? Was it tangible soft goods? What was it?

Jessica Totillo Coster: It was tangible physical products. And all I'll say about that is it was a restricted industry where we could not do social media ads. So email marketing was a super, super important channel for us and then Google ads as well.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. Well, that's the thing too, right? It's not just as easy lay of products, there's so many different categories, industries that people in all walks of life are still looking for. You might've hit that cool niche but according to obviously the social media and stuff like that, there might not be something that falls in terms and conditions. So we leave it at that in that regard. So love the backstory, I sympathize with lots of those things. I worked for E- commerce business myself, did direct to consumer, crashed multiple websites because of all the traffic we were sending too. So you talked to my heartstrings right there. So now fast forward, do we exit the business? What was that transition from I'm doing this for other people, why do you want to do it yourself? Is it just that entrepreneurial spirit in you that was kind of yearning or what was that transition like?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. So interestingly enough, I started eCommerce Badassery by accident. So I knew that I wanted to do something else and I wanted to do my own thing, I just wasn't totally sure what that was going to be. I assumed it was going to be a product based business because that's what I do, that's what I know since I'm 16 years old. And I had a subscription box there for a minute and toyed with some other ideas, but it was when MailChimp and Shopify... Is that me?

Ryan Cramer: That's, I believe, you.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Okay. That was weird.

Ryan Cramer: It's okay. The notifications are going a little crazy. That's okay.

Jessica Totillo Coster: I think it was actually-

Ryan Cramer: inaudible.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Okay. Sorry guys. So it was when MailChimp and Shopify broke up if everybody remembers that, right? So I'm in all-

Ryan Cramer: It was a devastating day.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Oh my gosh, it was very stressful. And I don't think there was very much warning. Nobody really knew what was coming. So I was in all of these entrepreneurial Facebook groups because I just love being surrounded by that energy. And people are freaking out and they don't know what to do. So I start talking to them about Klaviyo, which is my favorite email marketing platform. And I had already been using it for about two years at that point, I think. And then people started messaging me. They're like, " Well, I just switched to Klaviyo and I don't really know how to use it," or, " My emails are going into the junk box," or, " Ooh, I want to migrate, can you help me?" And I was like, " Oh, all right, sure." So the things that we know and just do, right? Like I do email because it's just what I do and you take that knowledge for granted and you forget that there's other people who will pay you to do it for them because they don't know how or don't want to. So that's how I ended up doing this. And it was like those first two orgy clients where I was just over the moon about just the joy in their face, right? The way their eyes light up when you kind of open up that magic for them. So it just kind of snowballed through referral and then it got to the point it was like, okay, I can't do both, right? Because I was doing it as a side gig, I can't do both and there was. Left the 9: 00 to 5: 00 and here I am and it's been amazing

Ryan Cramer: Now you're 24/ 7. So here we go. Even you stressed those levels to the next. So well, amazing story. Obviously, entrepreneurship it's kind of like it pulls you there, right? Like anyone truly goes into it in different ways. I think there's lots of different things that people just see in you and they look for that expertise. So that's a really cool in that regard. So specializing in mainly... Again, everyone can look at this on your website and just from that email marketing, the love of your life it sounds like in this industry. So what from there? Was it, I want to take this as my cornerstone and then kind of derive from that of, hey, now social media is becoming a major component of driving trafficking conversions. I want to help people figure out these different kinds of plugin features of SAS solutions or anything like that. Well, how did you want to make sure that you didn't stretch yourself too thin but really keep yourself as this go- to resource, well, if knowledge, if you will?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. So I definitely started out with the email piece because that's what people were asking me for, right? And you can use that same kind of strategy in your product based business. Like you've got all of these products, but someone is coming to you for one thing, right? So give them the thing they're asking for. And then as you build the relationship with them, then you can sell them the other stuff. So what kind of happened with me was people would come to me, we do the email thing together and then I would drop other little nuggets, right? Other things that I would see because that's why I'm doing it different. Like I'm not going to not tell you that, " Hey, here's the strategy that can make you more money." And then they'd say, " Oh, you can help me with that too." " Yes, yes I can." So having that experience of doing all of the things, I truly get what it feels like to be a one woman show or have a really small team and trying like building this business from your kitchen table. Like I get that because I was that. So I'm really able to kind of shed the light on the E- commerce puzzle for them. And having worked with so many developers and this is not to like poopoo developers, right? We need them for sure, but what I have learned is they take a lot of shortcuts and they don't think of how you're going to manage that moving forward, right? And they're not really concerned about that. So being able to that's kind of where it started was being an advocate for my clients and saying, " Look, I know they told you this, but that's not true. Make sure you push back." And I just went through that with a client where integrating a separate platform with Klaviyo and they kind of set up the API and the data wasn't coming over right and I was like, " No, this is how it's supposed to look." And they're like, " Well, I was told it can't be done." And I was like, " Ask again." Right? And so we eventually got to it. So really just being an advocate for everyone and having my hands in all this stuff. Like if I know, I'm just going to share, I'm not going to hold back like I think a lot of service providers do unfortunately.

Ryan Cramer: Oh, that's awesome. No, I mean, that's amazing. So the team is growing. You're not just a one woman show, you're a multitude and whatnot. We actually... I mean, looks like you had a couple of fans in here. Like already from LinkedIn, we have a cult following it seems like. So there is support baddest woman and then we have fans of the podcast already in here. On Facebook, real quick I can jump into it Jessica is for you, would a smaller business be better off investing in a site like landing pages, et cetera, than email campaign. Does that make sense to you?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. I mean, if I'm understanding this question correctly, you need both really. If you think about just selling anything online, physical product, informational product, it doesn't matter, it's all of those pieces work together, right? And if you think about the fact that when someone comes to your site, they're not necessarily going to be ready to buy right away. And so you need to get them on your email list so you can nurture them into the purchase. An email has the highest ROI of any marketing activity you can do. So if you're not taking advantage of it, you're really missing out. I mean, if I told you, " Hey, give me a dollar and I'll give you$ 40 back," would you give me the dollar? Yeah, probably. And that's the return on email marketing. So Brandon, the answer to your question is you need both, but I think that you can... We have this idea of what makes a great landing page, what makes a great email. Focus on the copy, the words that you use to speak to your customer and solve the problem or bring them the joy that they're looking for. And even if it's not the prettiest thing because I'll tell you there are some ugly websites out there that convert really well, it doesn't need to be pretty, it just needs to be right.

Ryan Cramer: Right. And the other thing to add that too is if you're running multiple campaigns, you can send them to the same landing page and there you just change out the campaign, the UTM codes. Whatever your call to action is, it can be perceived differently depending on the campaign you're doing. So invest in both but the campaigns can change quicker, but like you said, if you have to do bare bones and really focus on one, make sure at least is telling people what they say, what you're promising in those kinds of campaigns, right? If it's saying, " Hey, there's a great sale going on," make sure that there is sale products or services on that page, or, " Hey, learn more about this," you want to have that information about that product or service. So great question, Brandon and thanks for sending that in. So Jessica, tell me, so in E- commerce right now we're hitting this special time of year, I always call it. It drives headaches. It creates people's years, if you will. There's a lot going on in the world. On the podcast we see logistics, we see problems of that, we see all sorts of kinds of headaches, lots of growth in the last year and two. Even 2019, there was just this fast forward obviously with many reasons for that. But that being said, is there... What are you most looking forward to in the next like three months or so? Is it looking for growth? Are you expecting kind of this plateau of, " Hey, we saw so much growth last year and maybe we may not see incremental growth, but that consistency." What are those things that you're really looking forward to or keeping an eye on, if you will?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. Great, great question, man, if I had a crystal ball. So what's so interesting is I think about this time last year when we were making predictions, this is going to be the most insane black Friday ever, right? Stores were not opening on Thanksgiving night. And I don't know if they are this year or not. And we knew a lot of stores were still going to be closed. And so it was so much easier to see the writing on the wall, right? E- commerce was going to go nuts. Like we knew that was happening. This year, I think we're not as far along as we thought we would be when it comes to COVID specifically like so much so that I was actually like Googling, how long have other pandemics lasted? I was literally searching that yesterday. And some of them are two years, so maybe we're about to wrap up.

Ryan Cramer: A knock on wood.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. But I'm seeing it was funny too because just this last week... Like my husband and I, we order all of our groceries through Instacart because we decided that we could take that time and work on our business instead of going to the grocery store, right?

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Three, four hours. It depends on where you are.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah, it's a lot. So we can't... Like he always gets these little bag of chips, the Frito- Lay variety pack sold out, can't get them, not available. And it reminded me like, oh, we're starting to see those logistical problems again. We don't have truck drivers, people aren't working, we don't have delivery people. Like that is going to likely continue through Q4. So it's definitely something to consider when you're deciding what you're going to do. I think maybe a couple months ago we didn't think that was going to be the case, but we just don't know. So I do expect additional growth. Yeah, there's still a lot of people who are struggling financially. That is true and sad, but there's a lot of people who are not and who are still spending and I expect them to continue to do so. So I mean, who knows what's going to happen? I think ultimately the best thing that you can do for yourself is prepare for the worst, hope for the best and keep it simple overall. Don't overextend yourself, make it easy for the customer to understand what you're offering and what they're getting. And that will also limit your customer service inquiries and things like that.

Ryan Cramer: Right.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Who knows?

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. I was going to say in that regards, I know even people are trying to limit themselves so they can last the entire year because of the supply issues and whatnot. But actually we titled this how to get repeat purchases from your E- commerce store. So you actually want people to come back and make more purchases. No one wants you to not make sales, but I think a lot of people are just scared of the notion of running out. If you're on Amazon, that means your ranking and viability and your visibility can really shoot you in the foot. And it can target you pretty quickly. On a direct to consumer sales, it'll bit different. You just make it not available and say, " Hey, we don't have this, but we have other things." So what were the kind of those strategies that you say we may not have this, but maybe check out X, Y, Z or how are we getting those repeat purchases without worrying about inventory lines? Because I think you have a lot of good thoughts around this.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah, absolutely. So number one, when all else fails, sell gift cards, right? So people can give the gift card and then they'll come back early next year to shop when you do have the inventory. So you always have that as a fallback. But I think you have to be really specific about your marketing to match the inventory that you have. So yes, people are going to come to your site and they're going to look at different stuff and they're going to want what they want, but they're also going to want what you promote. In all of my years of working in retail, I can't tell you how many times someone came into a store, pointed at a mannequin or pointed out the window and said, " I want that."

Ryan Cramer: Right. It's trendy and fashionable.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. Then it sells out, you remove it from the window, you put something else in and then they come and say, " I want that." So I wouldn't get too worried about that part. Be prepared, obviously have your backup plans, but focus on promoting and hyping up the things that you know you have inventory in and that you can get replenished if necessary. And if you run out, you're just going to swap what you're talking about, right? So it's important to kind of keep your finger on the pulse of what's happening. Like we don't get to take vacations in Q4. That's just not how this goes. If you're going to be in retail and pivot and adapt when you need to, that's really my best advice there.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. So what about in that notion there's strategy for people to come back obviously where you want them to not just be that one time buyer, is there tactics that you include of like an email follow- up of, " Hey, thanks for your support or thanks for that order. Here's a coupon offer the next time you purchase with us or you get free shipping the next time you shop with us," within 15 days, 30 days or something like that. Are there like strategies that you want to make sure that you can really optimize that spending potential of that customer within a certain window or strategy?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah, absolutely. So people are generally most engaged in about the first 90 days that they have signed up to your email list or made a purchase from you. One thing to know interestingly about Q4, I think the statistic is that 60% of your Q4 revenue is going to come from people that you communicated with in the first half of the year. So while acquisition is important and yes you are going to get new customers during that time and yes, we will talk about how you can make sure you keep them around, just know you can't forget about those repeat people too, right? I think sometimes we're like, " They're our customers, we're fine." We need to give them a little bit more attention than that. I'm going to continue to build that relationship and nurture that relationship with them. For those new people that you get, and this is anytime of year, I generally will have two post- purchase emails that I set up for clients. The first one is a general thank you that is text- based from the founder. It looks like you sat down at your desk and wrote it. And all this email does is say, " Thank you so much for supporting my business. We appreciate you." Right? And you kind of jazz that up a little bit for your brand. And that just goes to them the very first time they purchase. The other post- purchase is some sort of education around the product that they just bought. And the goal of this email is to make sure that they have a good experience with your product, right? Because just because you got the sale, your job is not done. So how do we make sure that they have a good experience with your product so that they'll come back and leave a positive review? That's how I like to approach that. And that's naturally going to bring them back because they're going to have such a good experience with you. If you want to offer a discount, a bounce back, something like that, you totally can. It's a great time and I would do it with a short timeframe, maybe 30 days or it's maybe in January, right? It'll be valid in January like a bounce back, you can totally do that. But you don't have to, and I know people struggle to give discounts.

Ryan Cramer: Right. No, that makes... I like that in that regards of you want to make sure that they feel welcomed and personable in that regards and do you feel like... To you, do emails maybe get lost after the post- purchase at all or is it even more like you're brand aware? So what I mean by that is everyone feels like they get thousands of emails in a day in their own business and the promotions tapper. If you're in Google and I feel like I have to clear it out, but I will scan it, tell me how are you having your clients or your businesses stand down in that regards to make them even opt into opening in first places? Is it a call to action in the subject or what are those? From the email queen herself, I want to know how are we standing out in that regard?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah, absolutely. First I want to talk about the promotions tab. It's still the inbox. It's still the inbox. And interestingly, most people, at least on mobile... And I know this statistic just because of iOS 15 and what's happening there but the majority, I think it's 70% of Apple users use the Apple mail app. They don't even use the Gmail app. And that's just even on desktop too. So don't get caught up in how do I get out of the promotions folder? Like people are trained to go to the promotions folder to look for their stuff and Gmail does a really nice thing, when there is something maybe ending or expiring, it moves it to the top of the inbox.

Ryan Cramer: I like that feature. I like it a lot.

Jessica Totillo Coster: I love that feature. As a consumer, I love that feature. I'm like, oh yeah, thank you for reminding me, right? Let me go make my purchase. So don't get caught up in that.

Ryan Cramer: Have you figured out that algorithm, by the way? Is there a certain... Because they only promote two and this is me being a nerd right now. We can nerd out, sorry, everyone listening or watching. Certain calls to actions I've actually noticed will bump up to the front. It's either I've engaged with that brand enough where I've opened up most of their emails or there's a significant call to action and it's title heavy in the subject of, we have this discount that's expiring soon and it's always like you said, it's ending and that's what will put you in the front. Is there anything else you can maybe add onto that that you've seen that's worked over the other ones?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. Honestly, I couldn't tell you because I haven't paid that close of attention, but now I need to go look, I need to nerd out on that a little bit. I do.

Ryan Cramer: I'm sure there's some data or case study around that, but I think it's like somehow within Google and again it's always scanning your emails. It's going to and wants to bump up the most engaging emails that you want because obviously I don't know if that's just a controllable aspect or if they're just trying to show, hey, by the way, Google can go to the sprint and say, " Look how great we did on pushing your products." Or I don't know what the point of it is, but I know they want that engagement to happen in that environment, but I love the feature, I love the product. I just didn't know if there's anything else we might be missing, especially in time of right now. Are we promoting earlier than we are in the past because of it feels like there's this elongated nature of Q4 where I've heard it from lots of different news sources, but also again, everything from the news, but lots of different businesses are a little worried that they'll run out of inventory. It might be gone by two weeks before December. So a lot of people that might be starting their promotions earlier and they're shopping earlier so that shipping is going to be less costly, which I know it's already going up tomorrow for lots of different carriers through ESPs and UPS, FedEx, all those people. Are we starting earlier even now than ever to promote for holiday shopping?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. I mean, really it's so different for every single business. So traditionally, I would typically run something Wednesday through Monday, right? So the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I'm going to give access to my VIP's. They're going to shop a day earlier, everyone else gets the information on Thursday night because people love to shop after they had their turkey and they're sick of their families and then carry that all the way through Cyber Monday. If you're really concerned about the inventory, what you can do is instead of actually putting everything on promotion, you just take that time at the beginning of November to prime and prep everyone, which you should be doing anyway and let them know what's coming. And I know a lot of people are like, oh, well, I don't want to give it all away because then they're going to wait to shop. They're waiting anyway, they're waiting until you have your offer. Either it's on sale or you have a gift with purchase or whatever it is that you're doing, they're waiting. So don't worry about that. Use that time to get them hyped up waiting for your offers to drop because people have a limited window of time to shop, right? And they have to decide who they're going to spend their time and money with. So get on their schedule basically. So you don't necessarily have to start the promotion early, but you can start promoting it early.

Ryan Cramer: Sure. I mean, it makes sense to me. In that regards, do you feel like that is just like site- wide or is it more like one hero discount in terms of like product selection or category or just your top seller or something like that that drives the eyeballs and then it's kind of supplemental at that point like put in full price or maybe slightly discounted. A lot of people have different varying capabilities. Like you don't want to just like kill it with like discounting no matter what, but is there something where you want the user to opt into, like what they see value in, whether it's just discounts or I need to buy the product anyways and I'm going to buy it regardless so why give them more of a discount? Does that make sense?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. I mean, that's the age old question, right?

Ryan Cramer: That's a philosophical question of management.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. So it depends on, I tell my people to ask themselves what is the goal, right? And you should be doing this with any promotion marketing, anything that you create, what is the goal of this? What are you trying to accomplish? So for instance, the company that I used to work for, for us, it was like, we just want to drive that top line revenue number because the man who signs our paychecks wants to see the top line revenue number. So that's what we did. And we did that with a site- wide discount because we knew that let the people pick what they want, there are some exclusions based on map pricing and things like that with some of the brands that we sell who had kind of their own promos. But for everything else, we just did site- wide because we knew that's what we would get. But if you're a smaller business, maybe you have product you're sitting on actually that you need to move, then focus on that. Maybe you have a specific category that doesn't really get a lot of love or works best around Q4 and you want to focus on that. So ask yourself what your goals are first and create promotions around that, but keep them simple. Like don't do this category, this day and then this product the next day and it's too confusing. It's too confusing. It's hard to keep up with. Inventory is going to turn into a mess and you're going to have too many customer service inquiries because they don't understand time zones and expiring discounts and things like that.

Ryan Cramer: Well, and like you said, it's harder on you as an entrepreneur. If you're the one running it or a couple of you running it, why make them more difficult on yourself? Maybe weekend or week long again, give it a little bit of time so that as likes. But what about competition? I know a lot of people are trying to subvert like, " Hey, buy this product for me," or, " Hey, I want to give a nice piece of clothing from my collection or to a significant other," and they're probably between like brands, right? How are we not subverting, but how are we making it more enticing to purchase from us then our competition? Is that through... Is there a certain strategy we're implementing or how are we bringing that value more than competition?

Jessica Totillo Coster: It's relationship building, right? That's what makes you stand out from the other person who sells the same product as you. I mean, unless you are Squatty Potty, there's probably someone who sells the same thing you sell. So really it's about remembering that your business is not about you, it's not about your product, your business is about what your product can do for your customer and how you can make their life better. So when you are marketing to them, when you're showing up on social media, when you're sending them emails, when you are creating banners for your website, when you're creating ad copy, you have to speak to them in their words. And if you don't know what those words are, go check out the comments on your social media posts, your product reviews, the language is all there for you and speak specifically to what it is that they are looking for and the outcome they want from your product versus saying like, " Hey, I have this sweater for$ 15." All right. Cool.

Ryan Cramer: Big deal.

Jessica Totillo Coster: All right. Sweet. So that's Old Navy, what else do you got for me? Right? Versus saying like here's the gifts she's been waiting for all year. She'll know that you thought about her sweaters for$ 15. Speak to the thing that they are trying to accomplish and you will automatically stand out without having to stand out if that makes sense.

Ryan Cramer: Exactly. Well, I've noticed in my expertise and my background, you want people to have this notion that they're getting more than what you're actually... It's not deceptive, it's do you want them to feel like they're winning in regards? So, I mean, that's by like getting a great present or something, achieving something like I won't get one or I'm getting a discount otherwise I wouldn't have in the first place or I'm achieving free shipping because I'm spending a certain amount or because I'm an insider, any purchase I make I get a donation to a charity of my choice or I get to pick to a charity. All the things I think are lots of people feel like Ooey Gooey on the inside when it comes to this time of year. Are there like free or really simple ways that we can bring value add to say, " Hey, I'm going to push you over the edge and it may not cost me in our monolithic."

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Is there any thoughts around that?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yes. So there's a couple of things you can do. If you want it to also be a physical product, for instance, go to the vendors that you work with. Like if you sell other people's products, this works best. Go to your other vendors and ask them what they are sitting on and trying to get rid of first of all because you can get stuff at a deep discount, which you can then either give away for free or you can offer at a really deep discount, but still get the same margin if that makes sense. I used to do that all the time and my boutique was great a moneymaker, but you can also create some sort of digital product. So a lot of us in the physical product space feel like digital products, info products, that's like a whole separate thing, I can't really use that in my E- commerce business and that's just not true. Especially if your product is solving someone's problem, then your product isn't doing the job itself, they have to do these other things too. And I always use like the CBD example so I think we can all wrap our heads around this. If someone's taking CBD because they want better sleep so that they can better run their business or spend more time with their kids or whatever, part of that is taking the CBD to get a good night's sleep but it's also turning off electronics an hour before bed, drinking more water, not having caffeine after a certain time, creating a nighttime routine so your body knows it's time to sleep. By the way, I use this example all the time and I'm like the worst sleeper ever. So I should take my own advice.

Ryan Cramer: I was like, I do not take my own advice in that area.

Jessica Totillo Coster: I don't do any of the things I just said. I fall asleep with the TV on and...

Ryan Cramer: Don't drink coffee after a certain diet. I'm at 45 and I'm still doing it.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. That one I don't do because I really will be up all night long, but it's the electronics for me. So create some sort of digital product around what you sell and you can just give that away for free or you can charge like three bucks for it if you want, but give it away for free, that's such a value add that literally costs you just the time it takes to put it together. But it's an asset that you can use over and over and over again. And after Q4, after kind of your free period, then you can throw it on your website as a product and sell it. It makes a really great cross sell item. And it's inexpensive for your profit for you.

Ryan Cramer: Well, and I always challenge people too of, like you said, if you're selling, let's call it a musical equipment, you're selling a flute, solo sheet music or add on sheet music, if you're selling a backscratcher, give him like a foot roll, I don't know some sort of like something for your foot or anything that would be complimentary or hey, if it's eBook or any of those kinds of contexts of my kids love or buying a certain toy, hey, give him a free educational thing for about gorillas or whatever that plush toy might be. So certain things like that, like you said, might cost you a little bit. If they want to opt into it, that's great. If they don't, then that still could push those people over. Is there any other things that might be helping that enhancement to like maybe drive up that average order size? Is it like offering gift wrapping or if it's offering expedited shipping and you're either offsetting some of that costs or you may be... What are those other additional things they can maybe make it seem that they can, hey, I'm getting so much value or I have options available with this company?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah, absolutely. When it comes to trying to raise your AOV, the first thing is you need a cross sell app and this is any time of the year. So many E- commerce businesses are not taking advantage of this. And a lot of the time it's because we get in our own way, right? And we feel like, well, it's really annoying when something pops up. But the data says that they work. So don't make business decisions based on feeling, make them based on data.

Ryan Cramer: And of the customer. Exactly.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah, exactly. And the data says popups work. So you definitely want to cross sell app for sure. You can do an after checkout, cross seller upsell as well if you're like a one to five ish product store and you're just kind of cross selling one item. So you definitely want to do that. Also, raise your free shipping threshold to whatever your current AOV is. And so you want to... I usually check in on this quarterly because your AOV is going to naturally get higher and higher and so you need to raise that free shipping threshold to match that because you don't want to just give it away, you want people to work for it. And I think the statistic from I think maybe it was UPS or something like 60% of people will add more items to their cart to qualify for free shipping.

Ryan Cramer: 100%.

Jessica Totillo Coster: I am one of those people. It annoys me to pay for shipping.

Ryan Cramer: Well, and this is... For the people who haven't listened to this before I saw this the other day, and I think it's one of the more creative ones in terms of free shipping and achieving and unlocking free shipping is the pop- up. Again, you were talking about people engage with this. I think it's very useful in terms of the consumer, but what it is is they asked, " What is your zip code so we can verify that you would qualify for free shipping?" I'm like, what are you talking about? Like, of course that sounds silly, but you have to do it in order to even... Because they will charge you shipping and they're like, " Just give us a zip code and we'll just see if it is." You put that in and in theory it kind of knocks you down into a demographic, right? They're getting some information from you, which is good for the customer. It's not invasive because you're like, it's a zip code, who cares? And it's actually very cool in terms of demographic of now I can start to break down where my customers are coming from. If it's mainly New York people or East Coast, okay, well, maybe I start to cross promote to these zip codes and you can do that through mailers, you can do that through all sorts of cool advertising solutions, but then also you can start targeting ads, social media to those kinds of platforms as well to zip codes that people are offering. So again, you're going to offer free shipping, but you might as well get something back in the return. So I think that was one of the more cool, like not invasive, but really neat ways to achieve free shipping network.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yes. And it's a really great way to collect first party data, thanks to iOS 15 and IP addresses going away because before that was really the only way we were getting location. But now if we can collect their zip code, then there's some tools to help you locate that.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Which is really cool. Again, it doesn't feel invasive. I personally applaud to them in the background. It's like of course I'm doing this. Like you guys got me, but I see what you're doing. I guess my other thing before, Jessica, we wrap up, when you're driving external traffic to your website, we were talking about email, we were talking about all these other things, we didn't really touch on social media too much. I know that the kind of the hot stuff is buying an app and kind of directing people to whether you're using your Shopify store or some direct to consumer website, is there something that's getting you like really excited about how to work on these social platforms and really just drive consumers to buy a product whether it's working with a micro influencer or doing direct in app purchasing without truly even leaving?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. So the direct in app purchasing in theory sounds like a really cool, amazing, wonderful thing. And I'm sure for some people, they're seeing the value there, but in my experience with the clients I've worked with, the contribution is so small. Not that you ignore it, but there's other things you could put your energy into that is going to bring you a much higher ROI, right? Because remember, your time, energy and effort, you need to be rewarded for that as well.

Ryan Cramer: Of course.

Jessica Totillo Coster: So I would rather you double down on what already works well. I would say give it a couple of years and that will start to catch up, right? People are still weird about shopping online. Like yeah, we saw a huge growth through COVID, but E- commerce is still like this much in terms of the retail pie.

Ryan Cramer: Retail number.

Jessica Totillo Coster: So it's still early. And I used the example too of the company I used to work for, I was there for seven years, but it was even before my time. So I think it was 10 or 11 years ago. They tried SMS marketing. It was too early. People were not into it, right? So I think that's-

Ryan Cramer: I would have said, get out of your block.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. So I think like with the in- app purchasing, I think you're going to have those early adopters but it's going to be a while before it's super significant. What I do see killing it right now and most of the people I work with, they are smaller teams, they're female founded, they created a product to solve a problem because they couldn't find what they wanted on the market.

Ryan Cramer: Sure.

Jessica Totillo Coster: And what's killing it for them in legit blowing... Like they were already doing multi six figures and now they're just like skyrocketing is reels and TikTok, reels and TikTok, short form entertaining video. And they will... You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time, right? They're just doing the same thing with a little bit of a different story, but they're featuring their product every single time, right? They've got diverse models in there trying everything on. And they're just blowing up. It's amazing to watch.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, so in that regard, what's the call to action? Is it just branding or it mainly you're pointing people in a certain direction. What's that drive to?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah, absolutely. The call to action is like, if you buy this, this is what you'll get or this is how this will solve your problem or you don't have to worry about this anymore. It's really kind of the age old like, this is marketing 101 and advertising 101, right? You want to show them what's possible and let them know that if they buy your product, this will also be possible for them. And that's really all it is.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. I was going to say, is that again, advertising 101 then I go devil's advocate, are you tracking that a certain way or are you just kind of it's doing its job by still pushing people in that regards. You just know that because you said A, that the growth potential, are we measuring that in a certain way or what is that?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yes. So it's definitely harder to measure, of course, right? I do recommend that you use custom UTM parameters anytime you're doing any sort of social media thing so that you can get it accurately tracked and tied to a specific campaign. The other way is you can do the whole code thing, use this code, but then now you're giving discounts, right? Really sometimes it's a kind of a combination of those UTM parameters, but also really looking at the timing of things, right? You're going to know if something goes viral and then all of a sudden your website traffic blows up. You're going to be able to make that connection. The trick is you got to pay attention and keep track, right? Yes, you may have something go insanely viral, that's going to be really obvious, but those other little upticks might be a little bit smaller. So if you're not already tracking your numbers on a regular basis, start doing that now. And what I like to tell people when they're trying something new is give it a solid 90 day all in effort before you just decide whether or not it works for you.

Ryan Cramer: Sure. So the content, like we always hear like, you're branding your call to action or you're educating people. How often are you advising people they should do this? Like going in Q4, you want to still have those like again, brand awareness is great because constantly, if it's on TikTok or again, TikTok is just one giant hose that's coming at you. If someone follows you, then it gets fed into that hose but you don't get all these offshoots like you do on Instagram, for example, right? You got your stories, you got your pages, you got all these different ways you can interact with people and reels. Is there a consistency you want to create with that or every other day or how often are you advising people?

Jessica Totillo Coster: As consistent as you can be for the long term. Like it doesn't make sense to say, " Yeah, I'm going to post every single day," and do it for four days and then disappear for a week. So be realistic about what you can be consistent with. Maybe that's just once a week and that's okay. Will you grow faster if you post more often? Yes. Will you potentially burn out and hate it and not want to do it ever again and then just completely fall off. Yes. So do what you can realistically do on a regular basis and then just give yourself permission to not do any more than that.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. I love that. Those are good tips, especially going into a busy time of year. A lot more people are going to be indoors again in theory unless you're in California where it's always beautiful. We have seasons here. So it's we call them allergy seasons or allergies and all winter. It's hot and cold. It was 51 day and now it's 80 this week. It's all over the place. I guess like my final question and if people like what they hear or if they just want to know I guess with a specifically reaching out to you, the education that you're putting out through. You have so much content that you're putting out there and helping people with. What's the most thing that's exciting that you're doing now as an entrepreneur? Is it the podcast? Is it the hands on approach with clients? What's that one thing that gets you out of bed every day and you're like, " Hell yeah, let's get going."

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. Honestly, it's the one on one when I'm working either... So I kind of have two main tracks, like I'll do email automation setup or I do ongoing consulting where we just kind of work on all the things, SEO, marketing, business operations, right? It is the way their face lights up when I uncover some magic for them, whatever that is, whether it's clarity on something or, oh, wow, I didn't even know I could do that or, oh, yay, I've been dreaming about doing this, but I didn't know how. That is what gets me out. It's comments like what Laura said when the feedback that I get, oh my God, I love your podcast, oh my God, I just found your podcast, that's what keeps me going.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. Well, congratulations on that. Again, for people who don't know where it is or what's called obviously eCommerce Badassery, which is by far in away, one of the best names out there.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Oh, thank you.

Ryan Cramer: Not sure where it derives from, but again, I can tell by just looking at you and listening and talking with you. Again, what's the podcast really for people who haven't had a chance to experience it in it's full. I know it's lots of great tips, insights and it's available on all the platforms as well as your website. So what's kind of the genesis, if you will, are the point of the podcast, if you will.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. The point of the podcast is for you to listen and implement. So it's all actionable steps and strategies. And so I'll get people who are like, " Oh, I just found you and I binged your podcast." And I'm like, " Cool. But did you do any of the things that I recommended?" So I appreciate the binge listening, but what I really want you to do is listen, implement, listen, implement, because if you don't take action, nothing changes. But it's a weekly show and I try and time some of it obviously around where we are in the year as well. So I did all the Q4 stuff and then I'll usually pop in like right before Black Friday like, " Hey, these are the things you might be missing to just kind of be there as that cheerleader and that person to kind of whip into shape if you need it."

Ryan Cramer: That's amazing.

Jessica Totillo Coster: But yeah, ecommercebadassery. com. You can find me on all the places @ ecommercebadassery. I can't even say my own business name.

Ryan Cramer: Maybe we should work on it. No, I'm just kidding. No, and I follow you on Instagram. Again, we have the handle underneath your video. If you're listening to us on the podcast, you can actually find eCommerce Badassery. Of course, you search to that and all the major platforms and Jessica's going to pop up. Have just so much great content. I think the most recent one I listened to it was a warming up your audience for the holiday. I think it was the most recent one that came out for the... Which was really cool. And then just lots of cool great tips of things that every entrepreneur needs to kind of either achieve or accomplish, but also just insightful stuff of like how I got over this. And you're pretty personable in that regards. And I think everyone needs to give it a listen too. Is there like... It's 80, are you at 80 episodes or something like that?

Jessica Totillo Coster: I think yes. I just published 80 episodes. Yes.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. Well, congratulations on the journey.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Thank you.

Ryan Cramer: And I'm excited to continue to be a listener. It's one of my ones liked and notify me when new ones come out.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Awesome.

Ryan Cramer: So congratulations on the success and all the good stuff that's going on with you. How do people get in touch with you if they want to learn more or just follow you? Is it just those platforms or can they email you?

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah. Instagram is definitely probably the best place. And I also have a Facebook group. So if you need a little bit more support, you can always find me there, but if you want to slide into my DMs on Instagram, you can do that for sure.

Ryan Cramer: Oh man. Yeah. You offered it. I didn't offer it for you. So you offered that for people. So of course, everyone out there check out Jessica or just reach out and follow her socially, listen down to the great content that she's popping out. Hey, thanks so much for hopping on today, giving us great insight to Q4 and just the repeat customers I think is super helpful for people who are kind of struggling. I know it's kind of this dead time of like, all right, now what's going to come and am I ready for this? Just kind of amp up people for that. So thank you so much for hopping on today and being a guest and now friend of the show and Crossover Commerce. Thank you so much.

Jessica Totillo Coster: Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me, Ryan.

Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Thanks Jessica. And again, everyone else who's listening to us live or watching us live and I should say listening to us on the podcast, again, channels, no matter where you're listening, thank you so much for hopping on again. This is My Corner of the Internet, where I bring the best and of course, brightest people, as you can tell by this episode in the Amazon and E- commerce world, just great action tips. I hope everyone gets a chance to go back, start implementing those today according to Jessica. Want to make sure to apply those principles to your direct to consumer website, but also to marketing I think lot of great tips, especially going into this busy time of year, start to share up those email automations, those kind of campaigns and then also just branding in general, lots of different things where you don't want your loyal customers to feel left out. I think that was maybe my one takeaway. Make sure you get in touch with them and make sure they feel loved. And there's great ways to do that without causing an arm and a leg. So show up your business, get ready for Q4. And thanks for tuning in with us on national internet... I call it national. It's International Podcast Day. So September 30th, you're on my calendar forever and foremost known as this one great day for all podcasters out there. So if you're listening to us or watching us, again, thank you so much for joining us on Crossover Commerce. I'm Ryan Cramer and this is My Corner of the Internet. We'll catch you guys tomorrow live when we go and talk about how to on episode 160, getting your products offered for sale by the largest retailers and talking with the great people over at HomeRoots. That being said, we'll catch you guys next time. Take care.


Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Jessica Totillo Coster of Ecommerce Badassery one-on-one to discuss how to get repeat purchases for your eCommerce store.


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Today's Host

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🎙 Ryan Cramer - Host

|Partnership & Influencer Marketing Manager

Today's Guests

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Jessica Totillo Coster

|Founder of Ecommerce Badassery