Privy Talks Customer Retention & Email Generation


Another Friday Feedback has come and gone.  

On April 6th, 2018 our own Andrew Maff sat down with Ted Ammon of Privy to talk about how Privy helps e-commerce sellers with email generation and customer experience to increase customer retention. A little bit of Amazon talk and some goofing around happened too!   

Join us every Friday at 3 PM EST as we go LIVE on our Instagram page with the e-commerce industry experts and top sellers that you want to hear from! --





Andrew Maff:  That's good. Hey, Ted.

Ted Ammon:   Hey. How are you?

Andrew Maff:  Have you been watching what we've been up to?

Ted Ammon: I have. I have. A nice little helium trick there, nice.

Andrew Maff: Yeah. It's just-

Ted Ammon:  Feeling a little lightheaded?

Andrew Maff:  Yeah, I am. I should have sent you some. You could have done the whole thing with helium. It'd be a lot more fun that way.

Ted Ammon: That would have been good for the audience, right? Give them a nice laugh on a Friday afternoon.

Andrew Maff: Yeah, there you go. That's what this whole thing is about, just kind of having fun anyway.

Ted Ammon:  Yeah, totally.

Andrew Maff:  So, Ted. Man, thank you for joining me. Maybe I'll bring the helium back, we never know. So, you are ... I'll let you introduce yourself. [crosstalk 00:00:50].

Ted Ammon:  Cool. Yeah. Thanks for having me, appreciate it. So, yeah, my name's Ted Ammon. I head up the sales here at Privy. Yeah, I'm excited to chatting with you today.

Andrew Maff:  Beautiful. So, can you tell us a little bit about Privy for everyone who may not know?

Ted Ammon: Yeah, absolutely. Here at Privy, we're a Boston based company. We build software for small to medium size e-commerce businesses, retailers. Basically, the crux of our product is two fold. Our core focus, our bread and butter, is conversion optimization. So, basically, for the last three years, we've been building software to help retailers basically drive more email signups, acquire more of their users coming to their sites, and then also optimize their displays, onsite displays, to drive purchases as well.


We've evolved a little bit into ... We actually recently launched an email platform to couple with that. So, in a lot of cases, our customers will tie in with another email system like Klaviyo, MailChimp, so on and so forth. But, we have a solution that's for small businesses that allows them to send coupon reminders, things like that, to, again, tie into that whole concept of conversion optimization.

Andrew Maff: Okay. I know the email thing's kind of a newer feature that you guys just released-

Ted Ammon:  Yeah.

Andrew Maff:   ... 'cause, I mean, you and I talked about this a little while ago. When do you think it's useful to use yours versus a Klaviyo or a MailChimp, or is yours more for the newer sellers until they're ready to graduate to an email provider?

Ted Ammon: Yeah, good question. Since it's very new ... I mean, we've been, like I said, we've been building e-commerce software for three years. Really, a much smaller fraction of that has been focused on that email product, so it's definitely in its early phases. So, to your point, exactly. It's mostly the retailers that are just getting off the ground, right? They want to be sending newsletters or just very basic drip campaigns, or maybe even coupon reminders for people that sign up for coupons. That's where that's a fit.

Now, as they get into segmentation and more advanced followup, that's where it makes sense to have MailChimp. As they have a larger database, they just kind of have more sophisticated use cases. They typically will use a platform like that.

Andrew Maff:  Okay. You guys, you're based out of Boston, right?

Ted Ammon:  Yeah. Yep. I'm looking out the window right now and we're getting snow.

Andrew Maff:   Oh, are you really?

Ted Ammon:  [crosstalk 00:03:30] second week in April. So, yeah, it's crazy.

Andrew Maff:  We're in the city, so we're thinking we might get a little bit, I think, tomorrow night, but we've just been getting rain all day.

Ted Ammon:  Nice. Nice.

Andrew Maff: I might be mistaken, so tell me if I'm wrong, but I think you guys have put on events, or do you guys attend events a lot? 'Cause I've seen you guys went to a Shopify event or something like that, so I was curious if you attend them or if you're actually putting them on in Boston?

Ted Ammon: You mean like networking events or customer events?

Andrew Maff:   Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ted Ammon:  Yeah. So, a lot of times, we'll actually cohost events with our partners. So, Shopify Plus is a big partner of ours. Klaviyo's a big partner of ours. We do a lot of work with Swell as well. They're another Boston based company.

So, yeah. Typically, it's kind of we'll go in together with [inaudible 00:04:20], organize those events. Then we'll all get together, invite key customers, also prospective customers, and host those events. Usually, what we'll do is, we'll have a customer, in a lot of cases, speak about their experience using all of these solutions together, talk a little bit about their background. Yeah, it seems to be going well. People really enjoy hearing from other retailers what they've seen work well and, in some cases, not work well.

So, yeah. We haven't gotten to the point where we've hosted our own events, and that could be just given our bandwidth right now and what we have on our plate. But, eventually our goal is to start hosting user groups, meetups around the country, that sort of stuff. But, that's a little bit of a ways down the road.

Andrew Maff:  Cool. I don't mean to toot your own horn for you, but it's funny 'cause ... So, I reached out to you, probably what, like, I think three or four months ago when we first started doing a little bit of work together, 'cause I've actually used Privy for past e-commerce companies prior to when I came over here to Seller's Choice.

It's amazing how there was such a need for your software, and I never understood for years why no one fixed the popup issue of customizing them completely without having to pay an arm and a leg to do it. So, it was so nice to finally find your software. I think it was a few years ago when I found it, or two years ago. It was just so nice to be on the small to, at the time, like medium largish size e-commerce sellers who actually need customized popups.

Like, here, at Seller's Choice, we're very big on branding, and when you have these limitations of the customer attention and the popups that you can actually use, it makes branding like nearly impossible, to just have this obnoxious white box show up in the middle of your screen. So, it's nice to give them a little character. We use GIFs and stuff in them. I've definitely, I've had my fair share of fun using your platforms.

You guys are actually like one of the first people I reached out to just because I love working with you guys.

Ted Ammon: Nice. Yeah. Appreciate that. Appreciate that. We've got to have fun, right? That's what keeps us going. You've got to mix that in every now and then. So, yeah, appreciate that.

Yeah. You know, that's kind of why a lot of folks come to us, is the product kind of enables, it unlocks a lot of that more custom functionality, personalization. It helps businesses basically do more [inaudible 00:06:57] display, like you said, to align with their sites and just kind of the experience that they create for their users.

Andrew Maff:  Yeah. Actually, it's funny. Earlier today, we did a video that hopefully we'll get out pretty soon, but it was a video on an argument that we always have in-house about driving traffic to an Amazon listing or driving traffic to your own site. You know, each person took their own side.

But, the big problem right now that we see is that it's about the experience. People like to just go to Amazon, even if you sell on your own site, just because they like the customer service, and they like the experience, and they're used to it and they trust Amazon.

So, we talk about the customer experience, and using your popup for us was a great way to make it more fun to purchase with you or to let people know as they're buying, like, "Hey, this comes with a guarantee." Like a quick popup so that they know it's clear and it comes away.

It really helps to keep the customer attention and you actually can ... We've seen sellers become a lot more competitive with their own Amazon stores and keeping their customer.

Ted Ammon:  Yeah. I know the topic of this video probably wasn't to talk about that specifically, bit I talk with people about that all the time. It's a super interesting conundrum, right? Because, Amazon, you get so much exposure. Again, all those logistics and things like that are all taken care of and obviously people are used to it. They trust it as a platform to buy through. But, you have so little control over that experience and the communications. If you acquire a customer, it's ... I think, actually, Amazon doesn't give you their email address, so following up with communications, you're relying on them either going back to Amazon or using expensive ad targeting to bring them back. So, the control in that relationship is really hard to create when you sell through Amazon. There's obviously pros and cons. We could kind of debate that all day.

But, yeah, that's the beauty of it. I love where we're at, and I love just generally being in the e-commerce space, because now's frankly a great time to be a retailer. Amazon is the Goliath out there that we all come up against as small to medium sized retailers, but if you can create a fun brand and create a really good experience ... It's about winning those relationships and keeping those for a long time. So, yeah, we have a lot of fun doing that, for sure.

Andrew Maff: Yeah. When we had the argument, I took the side of driving traffic to a website. I'm personally not a huge fan of Amazon, just dealing with them. But, it's the same thing. It's why we utilize the popups. I always tell our sellers the second best KPI, next to sales obviously, is an email, and it's strictly because of customer attention. Everyone has such trouble with product launches, but if you had a large email list and you're launching a new product, launching that new product to an existing customer base is significantly easier than fighting with Amazon's damn algorithm all day.

Ted Ammon:  Yeah. Yeah. For sure. For sure.

Andrew Maff:  So, yeah. So, whenever we do these videos, and I'm lucky enough to get a software like yourselves, I always ask, my favorite question is, "Is there any features coming out that you can tell us about?"

Ted Ammon: Yeah. A few things. My head of engineering would probably kill me for talking about this sort of stuff.

Andrew Maff:  That's what they all say.

Ted Ammon: It's okay. It's okay. Yeah. This isn't trade secrets or anything we're giving away, not quite yet. But, yeah. Basically, there's a few things.

One is, a big part of conversion optimization is testing, right? Testing data, using data to enforce decisions. So, big part of that is AV testing. A lot of our power users and best customers, they'll leverage AV testing in our platform. So, we have kind of the first [inaudible 00:10:50] of AV testing that launched about a year or so ago, and we're making some revisions to that. We're beefing that up to just give our customers stronger optimization capabilities and better reporting around that. So, that's one thing that we're very excited about and excited to release over the course of the next few months.

The other few things are actually on the email side. So, another piece of this is actually expanding email capabilities, offering more segmentation. You know, just kind of more advanced use cases on the email marketing side for these smaller retailers that, again, are just kind of getting off the ground. So, there's some exciting movement there and giving our customer base the volume of users in that threshold, that lower threshold, folks that are just getting off the ground and getting started. It's very exciting for us to provide them with a solution that encompasses all of that in one place.

Then the other side is really ... The third piece, I'd say, to mention is on the design side. I mean, obviously I'm going to be pretty biased about this. We have some great design capabilities and we have a WYSIWYG editor where people can build and modify their campaigns. It's never good enough, right? We're constantly pushing that envelope to be better and do better and provide better solutions for our customers.

So, we're making advancements there. We're going to be enhancing our design and display options. We're also going to be looking at more just kind of customization and configurability in those displays. So, that's something to expect as well.

Andrew Maff: Cool. So, you guys obviously have all these customers, you get all this data. Do you actually aggregate the data so you can say X amount of revenue has been driven from Privy or X amount of emails have been gained from Privy, or anything like that? Do you guys actually have that data in your [inaudible 00:12:56] somewhere?

Ted Ammon:  So, you're saying like aggregate across our entire customer base?

Andrew Maff: Yeah.

Ted Ammon: We have the data. To be honest with you, we haven't ... We look at it, and we look at it in certain ways to just kind of track overall growth of our business, growth of our customer base. We look at some of those kind of more vanity metrics. Just like anything else, we could be doing a better job and we're actually digging into that.

Eventually, we'll get to a point where I think we'll have some really interesting ... I mean, we have a lot of stats. We actually released a report at the end of last year that talked about basically the state of e-commerce. We surveyed hundreds of our customers and we also looked at some of the data that we're seeing in our platform around traffic sources, also device types, where people are shopping. Some of that behavior, right? Where people are coming from, how they're buying, how they're interacting with our displays, that sort of stuff.

We aggregated that and we ran some specific reports for that report in particular. But, in general, yeah, our plan is to start surfacing that on a more regular basis so we can share best practices and say, "Okay, people that do X see Y," and we have the data ... 'Cause we have the data in our system, for sure. It's just a matter of how we actually expose that and how we surface that to our community. So, definitely some work to be done there as well.

Andrew Maff:  I ask because I was curious if there's any really impressive metrics that you can give me based on utilizing Privy.

Ted Ammon:  Yeah. I mean, some interesting things. As you know, mobile is a growing category. Last year, we saw a massive increase in mobile traffic on our displays. Just so you know ... I mean, this is, for what it's worth, it's kind of a vanity stat, but we had 3.3 billion views on our displays last year.

Andrew Maff:  [crosstalk 00:14:57].

Ted Ammon:  So, a lot of exposure across the customer base, a lot of people seeing these great campaigns that our customers are creating, that sort of stuff.

Yeah, we have some specific stats around campaign types. So, for example, people that are running welcome campaigns. So, for new visitors coming to their sites, a best practice is to offer a welcome campaign, a welcome offer to invite that visitor, make them feel warm and fuzzy, and provide them with an incentive to make a first purchase. In exchange for that, they often ask for an email address, right? This is something you're very familiar with.

Typically, we see about a 5% conversion rate on those. Those are kind of benchmark standards. We've seen a lot better. We've seen up in the 12, 15% range in some cases, depending on the brand, depending on the offer. But, yeah, 5% is typical there.

What we see in another area of the funnel, so when you move down the funnel to cart saver campaigns ... So, when you think about an abandoned cart campaign, an email campaign, a lot of times retailers have email series that kick off, that say, okay, if you had items in your cart and they didn't complete the transaction, but they made it to the point where they gave us their contact information, there's ... 9 out of 10 retailers have that in place today, right?

But, there's a whole other pool of visitors that ultimately add items to their cart, that don't even make it to that campaign. Usually, that abandonment rate on checkouts is about 70%. So, if you look at the overarching number of how many actual people add items to their cart, but don't even make it there, you're talking about another usually like 50% in a lot of cases of people that actually make it to that process.

So, what we find is actually 10% of people, when we implement a good, strong cart saver campaign, based on exit intent ... So, what I mean by that is someone that adds items to their cart, but then they go to exit out of their browser. People that implement those campaigns and have strong offers, they're able to recover 10% of those people leaving. That's real dollars, right, and 10% of people adding items to their cart. So, if you have 100 people that do that every month, 10 customers, you multiply that times your average order value and you can get the revenue figures.

So, yeah, just to share a few stats, I hope that was helpful.

Andrew Maff: Yeah. I wrote it down.

Ted Ammon: [crosstalk 00:17:25] use cases and some good numbers around that.

Andrew Maff: Cool. Cool. Hey, Ted, I really appreciate you chatting it up with us. If you have any closing remarks for everyone, that would be great. We'll always throw this up on YouTube, so it'll be up for life if there's anything you want to say.

Ted Ammon: Uh oh. I'll be careful what I say in that case ... if it's evergreen content. No, like I said, now is an amazing time to be a retailer. Check us out, I'll obviously leave you with that plug, being the sales guy that I am. But, also, yeah, at Seller's Choice, you guys are doing a great job. Thanks for including us.

Yeah, check out our academy as well. We have lots of great resources there in addition to Seller's Choice. You guys have some great blog content. There's a great community, great mentors and folks out there to help small and medium sized retailers, so tap into that network. My advice is always to leverage that network, to learn and just kind of get better day over day.

We believe in that mantra and we're always looking to help folks that we can.

Andrew Maff: Perfect. Ted, appreciate it, buddy. Have a great Friday.

Ted Ammon:  [crosstalk 00:18:33].

Andrew Maff: Tell everyone I said hi.

Ted Ammon: Thanks, Andrew. You, too. Have a good weekend.

Andrew Maff: Thanks. Have a good one.

Ted Ammon:  Bye.


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