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The Secret Sauce Behind BattlBox's Success

The Secret Sauce Behind BattlBox's Success

by Brian Roisentul

3 weeks ago

In this episode of The DTC Insider podcast, Brian Roisentul interviews John Roman, CEO of BattlBox.

We discussed:
👉 How They Have Built Their Amazing Community
👉 Ways to Leverage a Community
👉 A Thorough Breakdown of Their Content Creation Process
👉 Their TikTok Shops Strategy
👉 The Simple, Yet Effective, Manual Actions That Sets Them Apart

Transcript from video:

0:00 hey welcome to another episode today I'm going to interview John Roman he's an entrepreneur investor and currently
0:07 serves as CEO of battle box it's an amazing company and he will tell you
0:12 more about it in a minute before jumping into e-commerce and investing he had a
0:17 successful career in building B2B sales teams in the software space for multiple
0:22 companies how cool is that I was in the software space for for many years as well so this will be a great interview
0:30 very actionable so if you are listening to this or watching this get a pen and paper or your laptop and start writing
0:37 down because it'll be full full of uh lessons no pressure John by the way the
0:43 pressure it's a pleasure to have you here John how are you doing I'm good Brian thanks for having me I'm excited
0:49 to be here be good yeah so off the record I was saying that I you know I
0:55 recently saw you give a lot of value in a in a call hosted by Jordan West so uh
1:01 Jordan thank you for that because I I learned a lot from John thanks to you so
1:07 um I hope that the audience can get uh at least that value in this this
1:12 conversation but before doing that why don't you tell them more about you and Battlbox sure so so Battlbox is a
1:20 outdoor and adventure brand so think everything outdoors from camping hiking
1:26 um survival gear literally if it has to do with with Outsider survival it's it
1:31 could come in a battle box so the majority of our business the majority of Revenue comes through um a monthly
1:39 membership so traditional subscription box with gear inside that we procure and
1:45 um with that also comes the membership which um gives exclusive access to our community um exclusive access to the
1:52 BattlVault where we have additional um value ad services and and that's it um
1:59 it's it's very straightforward it's uh a little bit of different approach of how
2:04 we we got here so we've always LED with two pillars and that's content and Community um so we we've always focused
2:12 on putting out quality content and building community and that's kind of our our our secret sauce if you will if
2:18 you look at um you know we don't view ourselves in the subscription box industry but the reality we are we we
2:25 are a subscription box um even though we we view it as much more than that but you look at that um that niche in Ecom
2:33 over the last couple years as the normalization has occurred um and a lot of a lot of the brands are down 20 30 40
2:40 50% a lot of out of business um it's been a it's been a challenging um Niche
2:47 but that has not happened to us right we've continued to grow and if if we had
2:52 to attribute it to something it is with certainty um the customer experience and focusing on community building and
3:00 pushing out content amazing so in a few sentences you just mentioned a lot of things that
3:07 many Brands were not doing and I'm going to ask you about each of those in a minute but before doing that I wanted to
3:13 ask you you said also that many Brands you know um how to close our doors we
3:18 are struggling so what what do you think the main reason for their struggle is
3:23 currently is it profitability is it that they should be doing more than they are doing because it's not 2020 any more
3:30 what do you think yeah I mean I I think it's it's a few a few of the same things for
3:37 everybody right so you know as same we saw with with technology companies and
3:42 SAS companies when they saw that um that that uptick during during the pandemic
3:48 right everybody scaled um e-commerce Brands direct to Consumer Brands attempted to scale too right and um
3:56 whether it's cash flow issues because they purchased too much inventory um whether it's you know the the post
4:03 iOS world where customer acquisition is too expensive um or or they got to a
4:09 level of success during the pandemic that just wasn't realistic right um you
4:15 know there was a lot of a lot of products and companies that blew up during the pandemic and and some
4:24 didn't necessarily have uh weren't necessarily product Market fits um in today's in today's world there are
4:30 product Market fits when you're locked in your house and you're unallowed to leave and you want to spend money online
4:36 right um and then you know you you fast forward to today and you I don't know if
4:41 we're allowed to say we're in a global recession but it's definitely a a uh economic um situation right um consumer
4:50 spending is down significantly and that's that's not good right you look at
4:56 the need want scale and if you're on the the side of want it's it's it's tough
5:02 right there's there's crumbs that a bunch of companies are all all vying for all all fighting for so I think it's
5:08 it's a combination of all those things um and you know the the metas of the world aren't making it any easier with
5:14 with with rising cost of of of cpms and cpcs what can brands do about that the
5:22 rising costs yeah so you there's a a bunch of
5:27 different ways you can you can attack that right um You can work on your own margins and make them make economic
5:33 sense um you can you can do what we do which which is easier said than done and
5:38 it it takes years to execute um much like you know an SEO play where you're you're building for tomorrow and and
5:45 future years um that's what we did with content right so we're pushing out um
5:52 content on all the major channels and it's it's sometimes even unique to that
5:57 channel and what we're doing we're not selling we're just um showcasing you
6:03 know what we love which is which is The Great Outdoors and survival gear so it's just us being genuine um and educating
6:11 and what that does is that creates a um which is very it sounds counter int
6:18 counterintuitive when you think about traditional Ecom where you're caring about getting that person to the site
6:25 converting them immediately you know from seeing ads 72 hours you're trying to close and and bridge that Gap from 72
6:31 to 48 it's a it's a much different approach right 50% of our of our um
6:37 current members knew about us for greater than six months before they before they actually pulled the trigger on a membership so it's it's just a much
6:44 different play it's a it's a long game how do you know that do you is it through a postp purchase survey post
6:51 postp purchase survey um and then you know we have some attribution software too that that that tells a similar story
6:58 and shows us all of the dozens of touch points that occur in that Journey yeah
7:04 I'm asking you on purpose because you know many of people listening or watching they and and and people who
7:10 work with as well it like they just know don't know many of these stuff when you started talking
7:17 after you said hello you dropped a lot of value without even noticing probably right because you're used talking about
7:24 oh yeah we we just have you know a membership like a a community and we have that and and we know this about our
7:31 audience and it's like those things are not normal I don't know just for the context uh for those listener watching
7:38 this they have over 700k subscribers in their YouTube channel I don't have many followers on
7:45 Instagram Tik Tok but I imagine a lot as well so these guys are doing their homework and that's why I I love this
7:52 conversation and think all of us can learn from John and his team so I'll
7:57 start um asking you about Community side because you know when whenever I visit a website I feel that you know nothing
8:05 wrong with that it's a website and I have products it's what I expect from a from an e-commerce brand but that
8:12 doesn't happens at least to me when I visit your website I feel like overwhelmed in a good way by all the the
8:20 the the content and and and and things that I have to see like I know instantly that you have a community that you have
8:28 these uh videos that you have missions that you have like it's like whoa whoa whoa like it feels like the store is a
8:34 part of that right was that intentional it is
8:40 and um the the the funny part it is it is optimized um for poor conversion rate
8:46 it's just it's a slightly different Journey um but we do have if you go down certain paths we get you we we get you
8:53 to check out very very quickly um but you know we know that if you're going down that path you're you're already
9:00 you're already ready and you've made the buying decision in your head already so it's a it can take you a bunch of different paths um but it's all been
9:06 optimized and it's it's continually being tested um right now we have you know multiple tests running on different
9:13 landing pages and the homepage um con we constantly test it's obnoxious how much
9:18 testing we do and for those thinking you know I mean guys seriously go check them
9:24 out on YouTube I mean of of course everything will be in the show notes uh as always like the links to every every
9:30 single Channel they have because it's worth it but what came first like the community the YouTube
9:37 channel sure so so the community came first um so off off the Jump and it's
9:45 it's obviously changed um it's changed from what it used to be so with launch
9:51 we had and we had Battlbox and Battlbox Forum was a
9:58 Reddit style Pro board um open to everybody um so regardless of being a
10:04 member or not you could join it and it was just putting like-minded individuals people that love love the outdoors
10:10 people that love survival gear um campers hikers Etc and it was just a
10:16 place for them to all all all hang out and meet each other and that that started initially at the same time we
10:23 launched in 2015 early 2015 and um we had the YouTube channel off the off the
10:29 rip too but it it it wasn't the size that it is now we obviously didn't have the other channels like TikTok um but
10:36 our initial strategy in in launch was we sent out about 30 Battle boxes out to
10:42 YouTube reviewers so we instantly had um some some organic play going on in on
10:50 the YouTube channel and we just focused on the community and we were all in there every day and we still are every
10:55 day in that community and now it we we transitioned off that we're in a a
11:00 Facebook group now it's members only so you have to be an active member to be in there um it's not free for everyone
11:06 anymore it's just Freedom free to members and but we're still in there all all Every Day there's probably on any
11:14 given day six to eight Battlbox employees that are in there including myself engaging talking to people um so
11:21 it's a it's it's a pretty cool experience now on the the content side we didn't have the content right away we
11:27 had other people's content and we um we had all these people doing YouTube
11:32 reviews and we um to date ourselves on on lack of conversion rate optimization
11:39 um in 2015 uh we had a pre- purchase survey um so stop don't give us money
11:46 yet tell us how you heard about us uh which you know we you don't know what you don't know back then and um the pre-
11:54 purchase survey had other option right so the usual suspects Facebook Twitter you know you know Pinterest Instagram
12:01 and other and we saw that um the first couple of months there was maybe 15 20%
12:07 of people clicking other and writing Curran 1776 so we went Googled it found them on
12:14 YouTube he was reviewing our boxes but he wasn't on our spreadsheet he wasn't one of the 30 we chose to send a box to
12:21 for free he was a paying customer in our biggest in our biggest tier the Pro Plus
12:26 which is now um roughly 200 after sales tax and shipping and um he was a paying
12:32 customer so we reached out to him and said hey um we want you to keep doing this we're just going to give you the box for free and you know that uh went
12:41 that way and then after a couple months we said hey we're continuing to see this so we're going to give you $500 a month
12:47 keep doing the box is still free and you know make sure the videoos on this date and make sure that if you have an issue
12:53 with a product you let us know um and then after that it was hey do you want
12:59 to um move you your wife and your three kids um Down to Georgia and just do
13:06 content full-time for us um and the the content piece for him was a was a it was
13:13 a hobby it was his nighttime activity to um to decompress from work he was uh he
13:20 worked in HVAC for over 20 years um so this was like a a massive career change
13:27 and he did it and he jumped on and as soon as he came on board fulltime in late 2016 it was Off to the Races all of
13:34 a sudden instead of doing one piece of content a month that was this 30 45 minute review we're how much content can
13:41 we do can we do three or four pieces a month then hey can we do five or six and he was going um he was farmed a table
13:48 right so he was the camera guy he was the creator he was the editor he was the guy posting um obviously things are
13:55 different now we have a team we have three full-time video editors um um we
14:00 we we have we have assistance he's just in front of the camera now um but for a
14:06 while he was he was farmed a table the the guy with a long beard you're talking about yeah his name so
14:12 his name so his handle online was Curran 1776 his name is Brandon Brandon Curran
14:18 Brandon amazing I mean I can tell he I mean I know nothing about Outdoors but I
14:24 can tell the guy he's passionate about what he's doing and that's and and that's the truth right he genuinely
14:30 loves the stuff and he's um the cool thing is he's he's just genuine and I think that's that's part of the secret
14:36 sauce right like he's a straight shooter he's not he's not gonna try to sell something he's just gonna go on camera
14:44 and do what he loves and when someone's able to go on camera and do what they
14:49 love like people people can tell people can tell when you're when you're genuinely excited about something and
14:55 it's it's contagious right you you like him you're like wow what a cool guy like I like this guy these are a perfect
15:02 example for well first off thank you for that breakdown because guys listening and watching you have the evolution of
15:09 these process right here like of at least content creation from nothing to
15:15 what they are doing right now it's a great process a great breakdown so thank you for that and second you know for for
15:22 this is something to think about for those that like I have for example a few
15:28 clients who are shy and they just don't want to be on camera they would do great
15:33 I mean I think they would do great on camera but they like they have I don't know a yoga a brand or some other brands
15:41 it's like no I just and it's like they could be creating amazing content related to their audience that they
15:46 would love but they can't so in this case you brought someone else again it
15:52 was it wasn't a coincidence you you you put something out there in this case a survey it doesn't matter right now
15:59 whether it was the right thing to do or not like a pre- purchase right but fact is that thanks to that pre- purchase
16:04 survey probably you missed like um out of I don't know getting a few conversions but you got something much
16:10 bigger right and you could identify by measuring and being intentional on knowing what's happening on every single
16:16 Channel where things are coming from and um L and and of course taking care
16:23 properly of the the the person that was doing everything for you guys and it's a it's a mutually benefit beneficial thing
16:29 right it's a it's it truly is becoming this Creator's economy now and these creators are are so so so important to
16:39 to everything because consumer behavior um dictates that right the the we're talking about the need want scale the
16:45 closer stuff is to the to the want side and not the Need side they want to form some sort of connection with the brand
16:51 or the individual um they they want that connection and that's what you get with
16:57 creators right especially when you can find one that's genuine and actually loves the stuff like there you go
17:05 exactly and the most important part that at least the way I see it is that you
17:10 can look or start by looking into your customer base this guy was a customer a
17:17 high pay like uh in the highest steer as far as you said right so I always say
17:23 the same like start by you know email your customers call your customers try
17:28 to with the stats who buys the most with you try to see if they do something about it uh I was going to ask you if
17:35 you if you use I don't back then but currently do you use a tool like ref funnel or any other to
17:42 see who is posting something interesting about you guys and repurposing that or
17:47 getting in touch with them are you talking like for like ugc or yes but in
17:53 this case like um yeah it could be ugc but from you know real clients let's say
17:59 or not depending right yeah so I mean ugc and and stuff so the software we use
18:06 um for social scheduling also listens so it pull it pulls all mentions and then
18:11 obviously that goes into it um a script and put in a data repository for us to repurpose um as far as interacting with
18:18 customers we you know you touched on that that's huge right um You Want to interact with your customers um not
18:25 because like oh you should interact with them no like talk to them like they've done something very very
18:32 very important which is they've taken out their wallet and they've read you a likely 16 digit code um on a computer
18:39 and and decided to give you money every month like that's a that's a big deal um so talk to them find find out why find
18:46 out how you can do better find out you know if they were putting the items in the Box what would they put in there um
18:53 like have the very real conversations because they'll they'll tell you they'll tell you the truth and they'll tell you
19:00 how to serve them better and if you can serve them better then then you know all the metrics in increase on the in the on
19:07 the the good side right retention goes up turn goes down um it's it's such an
19:13 easy task but we get kind of Trapped in that mindset that oh we know what's best
19:19 we know we know what the best product is like no we we don't like we can test it
19:24 and and make sure it it's up to a certain level of quality but let's let's
19:29 ask our customers what they want so you look at any given box every month there's at least one product in every
19:35 box that one of our customers actually submitted to us um and we give them we
19:41 give them a shout out we say hey it's you know Ben from from cheyen Wyoming and he he recommended this product and
19:48 if they recommended we obviously get samples and we actually do test it and make sure it's up to a certain level of
19:54 quality and if it passes the test then it has to make Financial sense um and then if all that happens and you know
20:00 the companies can figure out how to manufacture a large amount um then then
20:06 it makes its way in the Box yeah it's with companies like yours and upb and
20:11 some others having comeing you know I have the pleasure of um I had the pleasure of interviewing Rona a few
20:18 years ago here in the p and even back then they were saying that they released the the
20:23 flavors uh that you know they they that that their Community uh both the most
20:29 right so it's probably something like that as long as you can do it as a company it makes sense to deliver what
20:37 your customers are telling you that they are going to buy yeah it's it's it's not an a concept yeah people don't do it but
20:44 it's to your point like why would you not so what other what are some I don't
20:50 know let's say two to three more use case scenarios for our community so what other other ways to
20:57 build build build community or no sorry my bad what other other ways to leverage
21:03 a community one is for product creation another could be for getting feedback for improving whatever uh in the in the
21:11 company messaging website Etc what else if anything uh do you get from the
21:18 community that you use um yeah I mean it's it's it's literally all all aspects
21:24 of the business I think I think they can they they can shine you know a wild this is this is not a usual example but
21:31 a really cool example is um back to 2015
21:36 so we're going in a Labor Day weekend um no surprise to you since we had a pre- purchase survey we were also um only
21:43 advertising exclusively on Facebook um it was a different time so you know 99%
21:48 of our traffic was was was Facebook and 1% was YouTube organic so we're going in
21:55 a Labor Day weekend and we get um it's like Friday at like 6:00 p.m. eastern
22:02 time all of our ads and in fact our ad account done shut down canceled killed
22:10 no working um well we hadn't ran across this yet so we don't know what to do um
22:16 spoiler alert getting Facebook on the phone for resolution of this is not is
22:22 not something that that's possible um or at least it wasn't for us right you it's it's difficult sometimes we didn't have
22:28 have um you know agencies have partner managers which are a little bit more responsive typically um when you're a
22:35 consumer you have uh you have an account manager maybe and they're probably only your account manager for 90 days and
22:41 it's this revolving window most times and it's typically entry level so you're
22:46 you're you're not getting a great experience right they have a script and a a book They're reading of you of
22:52 trying to get you to spend more money it's not a good experience um so you know good luck us uh so we're going
23:00 everywhere trying to figure out how are we going to fix this um and we went to
23:05 our community so we went to at the time the battlebox Forum and we said hey guys
23:11 anybody know anybody at Facebook because like our ad accounts just got shut down
23:16 and one of our customers worked at Facebook and was a
23:22 couple like rows over or offices over from the cubicles of the manual
23:28 um team that like actually were responsible yeah he like at like 11 am
23:35 he was like yeah I'll walk over there um um at lunch and see like if I can figure something out and like three hours later
23:43 he posted in the group he's like yeah I just talked to them they're going to manually look at it and like see see
23:48 what the deal is and like an hour after that we were back on
23:56 mindblowing um but but but there you go right like the community can accomplish anything like you treat them like an
24:02 extended extended family um and you never you never know when they're going to surprise you it could be um you know
24:09 one of them could work at a fulfillment center and we're having a West Coast issue and all of a sudden it's a new
24:14 partner or maybe we're having an issue with an agency and you know they work for an agency like it's it it's it can
24:22 go in any direction no I love that I'm curious about something you said you said that back then was like 99% of your
24:30 traffic and organic was 1% what does what does that looked like
24:37 now so so after um we realized having all your eggs in one basket is not a
24:43 wise move um we we immediately said okay we need to diversify um we had pretty
24:49 ambitious goals that aren't um we still strive for them but the
24:55 reality is we we don't consistently hit the goal and the goal is having at all
25:01 times at least six different sources and you don't want any of them being more than 16 you know point6 repeating
25:08 percent of your traffic source for top of funnel um the reality is while we
25:13 have all these different sources if we find an ad campaign that's working on Facebook or we find a campaign that's
25:20 working on Tik Tok we're going to try to scale it so you know possibly for a few
25:25 weeks or even months if it's if it's good St might be out of whack um so you
25:30 know still um fortunately unfortunately meta continues to to Mo most months um
25:40 if not all is is the the the major the major one right it might be
25:45 40% of of our new traffic sometimes 50% um Tik Tok occasionally will shine um it
25:53 hasn't shined this year enough but there were a couple months last year where it took the number one spot for a small
25:59 period of time um but then you know all The Usual Suspects so obviously Google
26:04 and and Google ads and and everything in that umbrella and then organic um
26:11 obviously is a a big play and then there's a weird amount of of traffic
26:16 that comes top of funnel from social um and that not necessarily they're
26:22 typically in the beginning process of deciding if they want to go with battle blockx they just trying to better
26:27 understand who we are um and then they they convert but they obviously convert directly or or it's a it's an ad that
26:35 you know that it it might even be a prospecting ad but it is truly repr prospecting and it's an offer that's
26:41 just getting him over over over the the hill to to convert comes to when it
26:47 comes to meta what are your ads about mostly are
26:52 they thought for top of the funnel or like let's say they are not aware of who you guys are or they
26:59 are how do you structure them yeah so we we typically run um run two different
27:05 types so we the reality is the majority of our um you know I think you look at
27:12 Best Practices there some people could argue 8020 some could argue 9010 or some
27:18 might even try to say 955 on on prospecting for repr prospecting um we're Uber majority prospecting the
27:25 reality is though um because is such a long time span a lot of that prospecting
27:31 is still repr prospecting it's just as far as Facebook's concerned it's the first time they've seen it um so we run
27:38 in two different in two different voices one is and and they'll see both ads and
27:43 it's it's simply um educating on what battle box is um and then the the other
27:50 set is very simple on hey you know who battlebox is like it's time you know
27:56 this is the offer to get you over over the hill like you've been looking for a reason to sign up for battle box today's
28:02 the day um and it it's it's a it's a dual approach of both okay and I I have
28:08 now two questions in one sorry in advance like the first one is how do you
28:15 measure your efforts across channels and what metrics are you guys obsessed
28:23 about sure um so you know we still we still look in platform sometimes um to
28:31 get like a you know a health check on on what in platform is saying um and then
28:38 we we we check it against unfortunately a bunch of other places as well so so we use North Beam for attribution um you
28:46 know there's other options some a lot of most people use triple whale um nor North beam was um it was a better
28:53 onboarding experience for us and they hold our hand a little bit more to make sure we're utilizing the platform to its
28:58 true potential so that's why we're with them um you know occasionally look in G4
29:05 um and then we'll also look at post purchase survey and we'll we'll try to look at all these data spots to see if
29:11 there's any anomalies to the story that we're seeing um and if if not that they're all kind of telling the same
29:18 story then you know it's a it's a trust B verify model and the platforms you know aren't necessarily wildly off
29:25 anymore um and if they are where able to verify and validate that they
29:31 are um that was the first question what was the second second question which
29:36 metrics are you guys obsessed about um so right now um and I say right
29:44 now as if it's it's new it's not um we we obviously on the acquisition side we care about customer acquisition costs so
29:51 we manage um everything to CAC and not a a row ads not a return on ad spend um
29:58 because we are we'll we'll pick up um you know onesie TWY onetime orders that
30:04 aren't aren't membership aren't subscription but the focus is subscription and the metric we look at
30:09 is customer acquisition costs um all those onetime orders we get are just icing on the cake we're not we're not
30:15 managing towards those per se um so so CAC matters a lot um in that same lens
30:22 there's two things we look at and that's LTV um which is which is obviously very
30:28 very Paramount we also look at um something we call Total um total
30:34 lifetime value and it's it's it's it's a term that we're using it's not like a
30:40 necessarily uh a universal term so LTV we're looking at the the total value of
30:45 them in the membership Revenue um so we're making all those decisions on acceptable CAC based on the
30:54 the LTV of them as a member and with the subscription box and then we also have
31:01 these ancillary additional products we can sell a consumer so as an example and
31:06 this is our actual numbers our LTV for membership is about I think like $660
31:13 $670 but if you look at the total LTV that that's it includes all the one-time products they'll buy from us too we're
31:20 right at about a thousand so it's a it's a nice additional uplift um but we
31:25 manage the CAC to the L TV membership so we we know that you know how can we
31:32 acquire this customer profitably as a member and then we know
31:37 we can also then get all the ancillary additional ones as well um so LT there's
31:43 a long answer for LTV another metric and it's Unique for us being a membership um
31:48 but you know others that aren't doing a subscription could look at just frequency um we're looking at how many
31:54 orders um per customer um that on on average and we're trying to
32:00 inch that number up we we report on her weekly and we we we watch her religiously we're trying to get as many
32:08 um orders as possible I'm curious how do you because we use the tool and I will speak about
32:14 that in a sec but I wanted to hear from you first uh do you use a tool other than I mean
32:21 Shopify because they are not they don't they they are amazing but they don't
32:26 have a lot of great reports to understand you know the time between orders what people buy in each order so
32:34 how do you look at that like the the orders in in x amount of time and so
32:40 many other insights sure so so we really playing around on on two two places for
32:46 that one so we use recharge for for our subscription billing and recharges they
32:51 their data has gotten a lot better um I know you know years ago we've been with them for a long time you know their
32:58 their analytics weren't great off the Jump but they've really they've really stepped them up and you can you can get
33:05 very very granular and you can you can see all this data so all those numbers I gave you are straight out of recharge um
33:11 we'll also occasionally use an uh app called lifetim Le um which which I like
33:19 um because of a couple things you can put some additional things data points in there like your Warehouse cost and
33:26 your product cost and your credit card processing rate have the whole pnl thing
33:31 there yeah yeah and you get a you get a nice daily email every morning that's telling you you know kind of a high
33:37 level this was your Revenue this is how much you spent on Tik Tok and Facebook and um Google and this was your Blended
33:44 CAC and you know you lost $9,000 today and whatever it is and so I I I like it
33:52 it's a simple tool but I I I really like it mainly because of of that yeah I came
33:58 across that tool earlier this year through a client a new client that was
34:04 answering my questions in the discovery call like super accurately and I don't typically get those accurate answers and
34:10 they were saying how the heck do you know all of this and they were saying okay I have this tool and then he started using that tool and I loved it
34:18 because again I don't know if um recharge is also meant for
34:25 non-subscription Brands but which only subscription so at that point you you
34:30 need a tool right exactly so I was saying like how on Earth uh I mean how did I miss on this
34:38 information all this time like I can see what product types or products they buy on each order what they are I mean I
34:45 know Shopify encourages you know the the the marketplace but if you have a report
34:52 have it right like they have like the basket analysis or cart analysis report and that says nothing you know I don't
34:59 know if you remember how the report looks like but it's like this is not a a serious report like I cannot filter by
35:06 time product or whatever I can see what you want to show me just because and that tool says you know tells you the
35:14 information on what people bought with each order uh what they bought and on
35:19 the first one and then if they bought I don't know pants on the first one they bought 40% bought another pant in the
35:25 second one and 30% a top or whatever right yeah it it'll show you the journey it'll say most people who buy pants you
35:32 know 20% Then buy this shirt and it's it's it's a really cool tool and if you don't have a subscription you need a
35:39 tool like that you need to understand the journey yeah it's amazing so I
35:44 wanted to touch base on something else uh which is Tik Tok shops I know you
35:50 said that you do Tik Tok and it's not shining for you right now uh but you
35:55 know Tik Tok shops is something that that everyone is talking about and it
36:01 looks like well with the announcements last week on the Google marketing live as well like and and the the new efforts
36:08 from metas and to laun to relaunch shops or or to improve them again so it looks
36:15 like that's probably the present and the future of e-commerce in the next few years like these new channels like
36:22 social shopping whatever you want to call it right how did you guys start like really
36:28 quickly how do you guys start there and what do you guys do to keep it alive because I know that it's super like a
36:35 manual job it's not something that like an ad campaign that you create and you let it run
36:41 so yeah please yeah so um yeah so we were somewhat early to Tik Tok shop but
36:50 then we we ended up not launching right away so you know if you look at Tik Tok
36:55 taking it a step back um so in in February 2020 right before the pandemic
37:02 um grabbed the battlebox Tik Tock handle um hey we're gonna do something here we
37:08 did not we had a username password we didn't even log in for over a year um in February
37:14 2021 um we were like okay we've got to figure this out and you know we we felt we had already
37:21 missed missed the the the the bus at that point but the reality is we didn't
37:26 we hadn't missed it at all um so we started we we knew that it was really really clear this vertical
37:33 content short form video content was was something special and it was kind of
37:38 where everything was moving towards so we just you know through trials and tribulations and testings we continue to
37:46 throw stuff against the wall trying to get something to fit and it was you know 99% failure and then every once in a
37:52 while we'd get that one out of 100 that would perform well and it would move the Baseline of expects to the next one and
37:59 we built built built on top of that um by the end of
38:05 2021 so you know 6 eight months or eight eight months or so um nine months into
38:14 this journey you know we had I think a couple hundred thousand people like we were figuring this out but then we
38:22 caught wind and understood that you know meta and uh and Google were were
38:28 concerned about Tik Tok and all of a sudden they were going to change their algorithms where on YouTube with YouTube
38:35 shorts or Instagram with Instagram reals if you were putting vertical content video content on there the algorithm
38:41 wasn't a treated like it was probably better content than it actually was so we had this you know more than close to
38:49 a year worth of short form videos we had been doing exclusively for Tik Tok so we
38:55 started posting them on on the other channels so YouTube we were able we were
39:02 in December 2021 we were at 55,000 YouTube subscribers um and in the course of six
39:12 months um seven months we were up to like 400 500,000 because of because of the short
39:18 form content in Instagram we were at maybe 50,000 I think and we're over 100,000 now um so I say all that to say
39:28 we're going through a very similar version of that right now so Tik Tock rolls out Tik Tock shop um they're
39:35 subsidizing the heck out of it to try to ensure that it's successful um there's I
39:40 don't think anybody envisioned that we would be such laggers to China's Behavior with with live shopping but in
39:48 in typical North American style we're a little bit late to the game um so
39:54 they're you know making these extreme subsidies to kind of make it successful
39:59 but now they're pulling the subties back and it looks like it still has enough momentum where it might work so at that
40:06 point Google with YouTube and you know you know meta with Facebook and Instagram they're gonna they're going to
40:12 replicate it right that's what they that's what they love to do um so I think it opens up an interesting
40:18 opportunity where you know with that announcement last week we're now we're dual focused like right now we're
40:24 continuing down this this Sprint with TikTok shop at the same time we're running the same Sprint with with
40:29 YouTube shorts um because it's going to be very very similar they're rolling out
40:35 the the secret sauce of it um which unfortunately took us months to figure out was it wasn't our content that was
40:44 going to be the home run on there you know we' we'd make a post we'd include a product tag it to the the TikTok shop
40:51 and we'd get one or two sales or better yet zero um it wasn't until we figured out it was numbers game and it was
40:58 Affiliates um and you could run so much faster you know you look at our TikTok shop Revenue probably 90% of it 95% of
41:06 it is Affiliates um and I think with that's the major unlock that YouTube
41:12 shopping and and YouTube is gonna include is this affiliate piece and you already go on YouTube today you can
41:18 already see it yeah um so they're going to they're going to juice the elgo too to treat it a lot better than they
41:25 probably should to try to catch up um so I think I think this is the time like if
41:31 someone's seeing this and you're not on Tik Tok shop or YouTube whatever they're going to call it shopping or just
41:37 YouTube shop I don't know um you need to be on it like it's it's such a great
41:42 opportunity because the algorithm is reducing it and you know Google might have subsidies too that would that
41:48 wouldn't be out of out of line for them to subsidize it a little bit to try to ensure its
41:55 success that's amazing so that's a key thing for everyone that wants to go into
42:01 that Journey with Tik Tok shops to know which is Affiliates like should be the focus for getting uh traction there is
42:09 there anything else it's super it it's super straightforward right so so Tik give credit where credits do Tik Tok
42:16 made a really very easy to use platform like you literally sign up for it you
42:22 open up the Affiliates you can literally browse all of these creators that are on
42:27 talk already that have raised their hand and said hey I want to create content for you and you have um a commission and
42:34 through the through the program you can send them product um and track it and they can get the product like they've
42:41 made it a very very very easy to use um platform where it doesn't it's it's not
42:47 a big lift right like okay to your point of the the yoga instructor that doesn't want to make content well if she has a a
42:54 product outside of the classes that that she could sell maybe it's just brand Swagger or whatever um or maybe it's
43:01 maybe she wants to have a product line she doesn't have to be in front of the camera she literally can find find these
43:07 people and you know streamline it such a such a huge
43:12 opportunity any other advice to give to anyone looking to sort to get start on
43:19 TikTok shops just go and do it it's not it's it's not it's it's not that difficult um
43:26 they've done a they done a really good job streamlining it and and making it making it a good opportunity um but it's
43:34 like it's like anything on on Tik Tok or any content in general um it's a numbers
43:39 game and it's a consistency game and just because you don't have success after week one or success after week
43:47 three um like don't don't give up as long as you still think that the the
43:52 signal is there that this is still an opportunity and it's right now it's an opportunity
43:57 um the only thing in the short term that could stop from being an opportunity is if the US government you know actually
44:03 tries to do this ban um that's the only thing in the short term that could stop it yeah do you think it will
44:11 happen I don't um I I mean it you would
44:18 you would think that the government would have a better understanding of Technology but like watching some of the hearings and listening to the questions
44:25 is like it's it's very I hate to say the word cringe but it it is it's like wow
44:31 like you you guys are in charge of our of our country yeah I think they gave
44:37 they gave them like 90 days to sell or be or go you know yeah and I think think
44:43 they initially said okay we we'll sell the platform um but no algorithm which
44:48 exact exactly exactly yeah yeah it's not any good without the algorithm that is
44:53 Tik tok's Secret Sauce is the alga like it is by far better than anyone else's
44:59 it is a phenomenal algorithm exactly yeah so um you've been
45:04 pretty generous and I don't want to take much for your time I just have like two final questions for you like okay this
45:11 is like something that we have already discussed here in the show but I always
45:16 love um asking uh some guests here what they see could be a good fit because
45:23 everyone gives uh their perspective so for example it all sort of when I
45:29 interviewed I think three years ago one uh 10y year executive of Disney and he
45:36 now works as a consultant or back then at least as a consultant uh to
45:42 Disney experiences with customers you know B2B and b2c both of them so it's
45:47 all about as he said mapping out the customer journey and creating wow factor
45:54 or adding a wow touch to the experience it could be 100 not it could be
45:59 something else and although there are many automated dasch points nowadays and
46:05 that's the way the world works and we can scale that way there's some simple
46:10 yet effective actions the companies can still do manually like calling customers
46:15 or something like that do you guys do something like that that is not to do
46:20 with technology or Automation and just the real human touch yeah yeah yeah so we do um so so
46:29 yeah so we do all the things all the things you said right there's there's automations and you know we know that if
46:34 you're looking at a customer Journey between the third and fourth month there's a little bit Fallout an anomaly to the sca to the you know sliding scale
46:42 so you know we have a automated email with a coupon code at that point all the automations um absolutely but you're
46:49 right you have to have a human human element so so we have a few some some are extreme and no one listening is
46:56 going to replicate it um but they should but then there's some easy ones so we
47:01 have a let me let me stop you I want to know about extreme you mentioned extreme but you're not going to mention them
47:07 okay okay so I I'll talk about the easy one and we'll talk about the extreme so
47:13 um an easy one for um and this isn't this isn't everybody thing but this is a wow wow your customers piece so our
47:21 whole CS team they have a budget a monthly budget um that they have to spend they they it's it's crowned upon
47:29 if you do not spend it all um and what it is is to surprise and Delight customers so they're the you know the
47:36 the the Frontline soldiers they're talking to our customers every day um and typically if they're talking to them
47:41 there's some sort of event or issue um you know they're not customers don't typically always just reach out to say
47:47 hey great job right that that's that's not how it work so it's typically an issue um so just
47:54 identifying um issues new where we can go above and beyond um I'll give I'll
48:01 give an example um customer reach out they had been with us for a couple of years and um they had a house fire and
48:09 lost lost a bunch of their stuff in the in the basement which is where they had our gear and they weren't they weren't
48:16 reaching out asking for anything they were saying hey I need to do an address change we had a house fire and just us
48:22 being humans and interacting we realized that they had lost a bunch of stuff so
48:29 without anything being said we you know went to we hit up our warehouse and
48:34 grabbed a bunch of our past gear and ship them you know like a dozen past boxes um you know it it they didn't ask
48:43 for it um but this customer have been with us for a very long time um little
48:48 little things like that we um we had a customer that just posting randomly in the members only group um was asking for
48:55 you know thought thoughts and prayers and warm wishes their little girl was having a surgery um and they were just
49:03 they were just looking for support right but you know maybe maybe sending flowers to the to to the little girl or sending
49:09 a teddy bear it's little little things like that um that I think really
49:15 showcases that we're all humans and we're all in this together um so that's
49:21 that's an easy thing that that you can do right it's the same as picking up the phone um so so a lot of times we we have
49:28 certain tags where um depending on total span or total duration with us you get
49:34 certain tags in our ticketing system and if they're over a certain um a certain
49:40 category it's just fix it like we like it doesn't matter if if if we're right if they're
49:45 wrong customer is right at this point fix it go above and beyond no questions
49:51 asked you have the autonomy as a CS rep to make them happy again um and then we
49:56 have another tier where if something goes goes Riot it's pick up the phone pick up the phone and call them like
50:03 let's show that we're humans and let's let's fix whatever whatever the problem is so um and those are just baked into
50:10 our our process and they're all very manual but it's I think
50:15 when to say you actually care about your customers and if you're not doing stuff like that do you really care um it just
50:23 it goes so much further I mean what a cool it doesn't I can't think of if it's ever I guess it's happened to me
50:29 before like where as a consumer I'm buying something and I have like a really great experience but like think
50:35 about how that makes you feel like oh my gosh like the brand loyalty at that
50:41 point um we one of our vendors that we use for one of our Technologies um
50:46 randomly knew that I um had moved in into a new home and they sent a
50:52 housewarming gift this really cool knife cook uh kitchen knife but
50:57 it was just a nice little touch right but like instantly that feeling that I got and my loyalty to that brand
51:03 afterwards like I'm not leaving them unless something bad happens right um it just goes so so so so so far I I'll go
51:12 quick on the things you no one else is going to do um let's see so last year we
51:20 put five of these golden tickets in all the boxes um that went out that month if
51:27 you got a golden ticket we flew you to Texas uh we met you there we hung out
51:33 with you buy you some dinner and drinks that evening the next morning we put you on a bus uh we went about two hours into
51:40 rural Texas uh and there were five golden ticket winners we put all five of them in a World War II tank they shot
51:48 the tank down range at a Target if they hit the target we were going to give them
51:54 $100,000 there was no we we announced this after the renewal happened um which
51:59 meant that if you saw this and you weren't a battlebox customer there was 0% chance of you getting a golden ticket
52:06 you it wasn't possible this was only for existing customers you didn't want it to even be perceived as a sales tactic at
52:12 all it was a it was a surprising Delight wow did anyone win the 100,000
52:19 no um which which sucks because we really wanted someone to and it was um it's amazing
52:27 yeah I mean we still they still hung out with us then you know we gave them a year of the Pro Plus box which is
52:34 roughly 2500 a month a year um so we give them a free year but nobody won
52:39 we're doing it we're doing something this year um in September and it's going to be bigger and we'll guarantee
52:46 there'll be a guaranteed winner with this one amazing okay so John you've been amazing
52:53 thank you for all the value you know full disclosure for everyone listening or watching it's the first episode out
53:00 of I don't know 150ish that I don't I didn't even read
53:05 the questions it just flowed at least for me really naturally and I had
53:10 already in mind many things that I wanted to ask you so I wanted to to thank you for that because you made it
53:16 you made it really easy for for me and and I hope for the audience as well yeah
53:21 this was great I hope I hope there were some good takeaways in it yeah a lot before we go two questions for you one
53:27 do you have a book to recommend to the audience it could be a business book or a non- business book
53:34 um yeah there's um there's one I read it years ago um it's called the signal and
53:40 the noise um it's it's good because so it's exactly
53:46 what what the title suggests right so there's there's signal and and there's noise and a lot of times um in business
53:53 we get we get lost in the noise right an upset upset customer um or three upset
53:58 customers are complaining about a product and we're like oh the product must be bad but there're this super super loud super minority um and it's
54:06 just noise in that example right like the other 99% of customers are loving the product um and sometimes we get lost
54:14 and we we we take the noise for face value and we miss the signal so just it
54:19 just kind of talks about how to look at data and how to better understand and Define the two um which which allows you
54:26 obviously to lead and make decisions more efficiently and effectively amazing I love it and I will
54:33 make sure I read it because I love those topics so thank you for sharing that and before we go where can people go to
54:39 learn more about you and battle blocks battle blocks I know they're plenty of ways to get in touch with with with the
54:44 brand so I'll make sure to include everything in the show notes uh but about you where go yeah so yeah the
54:52 battle box side will include things you can also watch um you can go to Netflix and type in battle box and watch our TV
54:59 show um the best ways to get in touch with me um I'm very active on
55:06 LinkedIn um and I have a Blog called online quo. comom which is probably 80%
55:12 me 20% um guests other other people in the e-commerce space um just talking
55:18 about best practices what's working what's not working there's there's a focus um you know at times you see
55:25 online in in the Ecom space there's a lot of toxicity and people only talk about the
55:31 winning and the wins which which bothers me it it it to my like it it hurts me a
55:37 lot like I don't like to see that so there's a a a focus on talking about the
55:43 losses right because I'm a firm believer that the the L's you take are are it's
55:49 where you learn and you get the learnings you need to get the wins later and I think society as a whole we don't
55:55 do good enough job sometimes um talking about all the losses cuz spoiler alert
56:01 there's a lot more losses for everybody than there are wins um but if we just talk about the wins it sets an
56:07 unrealistic unattainable goal at times um so the blog online queso and then in
56:14 the next couple of weeks um we're we're launching uh a podcast so it's called
56:20 it's called awesome it's spelled as o m there's four of us um and it's and
56:26 uh someone that runs an agency someone that someone that runs a SAS platform
56:31 software platform an operator which is me and then a marketer so it's four different um perspectives on traditional
56:39 e-commerce stuff so it's we we've filmed we filmed them all in person we filmed the first four already and it's just
56:46 really cool to see four different perspectives on traditional topics and
56:52 it's it's some pretty cool Insight so I'm excited about about that amazing when is the the launch
56:58 date um I believe it's mid June amazing and is it one topic per
57:04 episode or is yeah yeah one one topic per episode each episode's um around an
57:10 hour looking forward to it so again uh John it was it was great having you here
57:17 thanks a lot for the value you provided to the audience and for those listening watching again if you go to the DDC
57:22 and click on the episode unless you are already there will see everything that John mentions um again
57:29 thank you for being here it was a pleasure this was fun thank you Brian