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The "Entire Funnel" Perspective to Post-Purchase with Emily Foreman - Honest Ecommerce Ep. 138

Emily Foreman is the CEO at CartHook. With over 15 years of experience in email marketing, telecom, and customer service, she moved into ecommerce by joining CartHook in 2018. 

At CartHook, she led the support and success teams and worked closely with leading Shopify brands to execute their post-purchase upsell strategies. 

Emily’s dedication to the merchant and customer experiences has skyrocketed numerous Shopify brands’ ROI and AOV with CartHook, the leading way to add real one-click post-purchase offers in the Shopify checkout. 

In This Conversation We Discuss: 

  • [00:00] Intro
  • [01:31] Emily filling in the shoes of Jordan
  • [02:49] Carthook partnering with Shopify for a native app
  • [04:56] Shopify Unite 2021 Announcements
  • [06:49] Shopify’s new custom content blocks
  • [07:56] Carthook’s excitement for the announcements
  • [08:45] How Carthook helps with the marketing funnel
  • [11:04] Base amount to start looking at post purchase
  • [12:58] Going from 0 to .5
  • [13:44] Sponsor: Electric Eye electriceye.io
  • [14:04] Sponsor: Mesa getmesa.com/honest
  • [14:58] Sponsor: Rewind rewind.io/honest
  • [15:33] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.grsm.io/honest
  • [17:01] Sponsor: Klaviyo klaviyo.com/honest
  • [18:10] The 3 KPIs that make up your profits
  • [19:06] What people fail to realize
  • [19:53] The future of Carthook
  • [22:24] Post purchase offers that make sense
  • [24:14] Raising AOV creatively
  • [26:08] Offers vs rewards
  • [26:40] The future of mobile commerce
  • [27:41] Where to find Emily and Carthook

Resources:

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 Transcript:

Emily Foreman  

Your post purchase strategies aren't going to be successful if you're not thinking about the entire funnel steps.

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, a podcast dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. And I believe running a direct-to-consumer brand does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

On this podcast, we interview founders and experts who are putting in the work and creating real results. 

I also share my own insights from running our top Shopify consultancy, Electric Eye. We cut the fluff in favor of facts to help you grow your Ecommerce business.

Let's get on with the show.

Chase Clymer  

Alright, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. 

And today, welcoming... Technically, welcoming back to the show, the position, but not the person. So this is a fun one. 

Welcome to the show, the new CEO of Carthook, Emily Foreman. How are you doing today?

Emily Foreman  

Hey, Chase, I'm good. Thanks for having me excited to have this conversation with you. Oh, it's gonna be a blast. So for the people that are not in the know what is Carthook? And how do you guys help merchants?

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, so Carthook. We are a post purchase offers app that works directly with Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants. So think of this as an extension of the Shopify checkout page that allows Shopify stores to add a true, one-click, Post Purchase offers for their shoppers.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. And so for the listeners that have been around for quite a while, there was a previous CEO, Jordan. He was on the show way back when. 

He's been a great friend of the channel and of the agency. Let's walk through what happened there and how you  came to the helm in this awesome app.

Emily Foreman  

Yeah. So Jordan... I have won some big shoes to fill. But if any of the listeners are familiar with Carthook, we pivoted in the last 8 months. 

So our legacy... What we're known for is our legacy app, which was the Carthook checkout replacement app that also allowed post purchase offers. And that was Jordan's thing. 

So anyone familiar with Carthook is very familiar with Jordan, the post purchase offers app, with the customized one page checkout. I joined the Carthook team in 2018, to build out their customer success program. 

So they were just ramping up and had recently launched the one page checkout with post purchase offers. So I started to help them launch the success program and launch that product to great success. 

And then in, say, early or late 2019, we started having some partnership conversations with Shopify around what it would look like to build a native Shopify app. 

Our legacy, the checkout product, was very complex, in friendly terms. There was a lot that needed to happen to get it up and running. 

And so this conversation that we started with Shopify around building a public app that was available to all Shopify accounts was exciting. So we started doing that. 

And within late 2020, mid 2020 --it took us around 3 months-- and we built a native Shopify post purchase offers app. And with that, Jordan's... He's an entrepreneur by heart. So I have a very non-traditional CEO path. 

And Jordan, he was meant to do this. He was meant to build a business, meant to be an entrepreneur, and that's where his heart pulled him. 

So in early 20... This year 2021, he decided to step down as CEO, and move on to start his new project, which is in the similar industry, but more on the headless market marketing side of things.

So with that, he has had the faith (laughs) in me to have me step into his role and have that experience on my end of the customer facing side of what our customer... 

The customer experience, how to really engage our customer base, bring them on board, help them see the value in post purchase offers, felt like a natural fit for me. 

There's been learning curves or learning the nitty gritty of being a CEO and running a business, but it's been very, very exciting. And the new Shopify native app is still new. We're still green. We're still learning a lot, but it's been a fun trip so far.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. And I guess it's worthwhile to point out that there were releases like Shopify... Shopify just started releasing API's left and right, within the last couple of years and one of them, a few of them were around checkout, and it allowed this functionality to take place within the checkout. 

I believe there was like an unwritten rule at one point where Shopify is like, "It's our checkout, nobody can mess with it." 

And then they learned that that's what the community wanted, especially merchants and partners alike. We're like, "This is a thing that everybody wants." 

Emily Foreman  

Yeah. 

Chase Clymer  

So once they opened it up, it allowed a lot of really cool things to happen. I want to say that... When did the native app launch?

Emily Foreman  

We launched november of 2020. So a few weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It was.... When I say... (laughs) 

When I say we launched it in 3 months, we can build a completely new app. And we're able to launch before Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

Chase Clymer  

Shopify makes very interesting choices when they design to announce insane changes.... 

Emily Foreman  

Deadlines.

Chase Clymer  

in the ecosystem... 

Emily Foreman  

Yeah, yeah.

Chase Clymer  

Right now with Online Store 2.0 coming. 

Everyone that's talking to us is like, “Oh, can we get like a new store on 2.0 with sections everywhere done before Black Friday, Cyber Monday.” 

And we're like, "I don't even know if Shopify is gonna release all this stuff before." 

Emily Foreman  

Yeah, it's like they... Yeah, that's right. The Shopify Unite announcement, there were some really exciting things that they announced. 

One, the checkout extension API, opening that up, we're juiced up on that. I think you've... "What can we do with that?" That's something --on the legacy side-- we always wish we had access to, right?

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

Emily Foreman  

But now that we have that really direct connection with them, it's gonna be exciting for our team to really take a deep dive into [what we can] do now that we have access to certain endpoints.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, the one that... Obviously, they've been promising sections everywhere [since] the dawn of man. No. No. That's fine…

The one that went under the radar and they're not they haven't brought it up much that I'm super excited about was the custom content blocks that they were talking about. Because I come from... 

Previous to Shopify, I was a WordPress guy. And that's how you'd solve everything: with advanced custom fields. 

The app would... You can just generate content blocks around these things and solve for whatever your thing is. That sounds really terrible. It's a terrible way to describe it. 

But essentially, Shopify... Basically, the content blocks that are built into Shopify CMS right now are "blog", "product", and "page". And that's pretty much it. 

But if you can dream it, you can build it. So what if you wanted to build content blocks around lessons, because you were an online content creator or you wanted to build content blocks around videos and have those page templates look a certain way. 

It's going to explode the capabilities of their CMS and I can't wait to see what the community does with it.

Emily Foreman  

Oh, 100% agree. And it's exciting for us. We don't have much input on the checkout page now with our new native app. 

But this leads us into when we have conversations with brands on thinking beyond what we might just be the post purchase side of things. But we like to think of a more holistic approach of taking it through the entire funnel. 

Your post purchase strategies aren't going to be successful if you're not thinking about the entire funnel steps. So the checkout page, your post purchase offers, and your page. 

So allowing us to have more content like disclaimers... We work with a lot of people in the health and wellness industry. That's gonna be huge. So yeah, it's really it's, it's exciting to see Shopify pivot in this new direction of allowing more access. 

Chase Clymer  

Well let's dive into that funnel. That's a great transition. Let's dive into... What does Carthook solve? What's the one KPI that everyone should think about when they're thinking about post purchase promotions via Carthook or any of the other competitors in the space?

Emily Foreman  

Yeah, that's a good question. And people think of it as I can easily increase my AOV by inserting a post purchase offer. And while that's true, we do see merchants have success with increasing their AOV. 

On an average we're looking at, like a 10% increase, which is no small number. It's around the whole funnel structure. 

So we have conversations around... Just an example, the most recent one that we were having in a success meeting is struggling with this account. It's a really great brand. They just recently launched. 

They were focused a lot on the design of their site, which was great. They want... They're thinking of their entire tech stack. So what they wanted to add... And they knew they wanted a post purchase, they just did not have the traffic. 

So if you're not getting the sales, it doesn't make sense to implement. So we try to get people thinking at the top of the funnel, driving traffic. Once you get traffic, [that's when you start] implementing the post purchase. 

So based on your... Thinking again about customer lifetime value. So what does that look like of positioning offers that are comparable to what they just purchased. So for example, if you're purchasing a bottle of vitamins, have a second offer at a discounted rate. 

So giving them to your shopper to feel more engaged in the buying process and also implementing that little FOMO. Fear of missing out on the offers, as we position that a lot to you. But it really is encouraging them to think outside of the boxes. 

We love that they came to us and want to implement us but thinking more about their entire strategy and how we can play a part of that so they can see a growth in revenue, see a growth in their checkout conversion rates... 

Encouraging them if they're not using Shop Pay [that] they should be using Shop Pay. That's huge...

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

Emily Foreman  

...huge boost to your checkout page and works with our offers, so...

Chase Clymer  

You mentioned something there. And it's like a lot of people focus on their design, when they're first building out their store, but they don't have the traffic to support, honestly, that level of investment, level of detail, to be honest. 

And that's something I find a lot with young merchants is that they focus in the wrong places. So a lot of... Let's talk a little bit more tactical and use numbers, because that's what everybody wants.

Is there a number in your head, be it number of orders a month or volume in terms of sales volume monetarily, where you think it's worthwhile to take a look at expanding your tech stack and actually getting into starting to offer post purchase promotions or just getting a little more into the nitty gritty of things.

I have my opinion, but I'd love to hear yours.

Emily Foreman  

Yeah, it varies. Yeah, we've had it for a while and we're still sticking to it, as if your store... If you're making $10,000 a month in sales, that's a good time to start implementing post purchase offers. 

So started.... you need to be making something. We have these new stores, these stores that just started making $1200 a month with no traffic, they're not going to see the value. 

So if you... $10,000 is a good start. That's... You're making some revenue. And that's a good starting point to then thinking about expanding your tech stack. 

An easy way, yeah, is post purchase and thinking about "Do you have a product that could be a subscription product?", implementing a rewards program. 

So starting to think there, I'm making this amount of money. Now, how can I grow that by thinking about my customer lifetime value and things I can implement to have a repeat customer?

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Honestly, I'd probably be a little more cynical and I'd say a higher number. But I agree. I think $10,000 is an amazing goal to get to for almost getting to step, I'd say, 0.5 and not really the 1 stage; You're 0 to 1 point... You're 0 to like half.

Emily Foreman  

No. Yeah. This is like "You're at a good start." right? And hopefully you're processing $10,000 within your first 45 days, then you're off to a good start. 

And you're right. You're not processing $10,000 and implementing all of the tools all at once. This gives you a chance to start thinking now I can expand and how can I expand to you know, make more money.

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Chase Clymer  

I think that you know when you're talking about going to... Getting to that first 10,000 is probably the hardest. 

Getting from $10,000 to $100,000 a month is going to be infinitely easier. And that's the truth of the matter. It requires someone that knows what they're doing. 

Emily Foreman  

Mm-hmm.

Chase Clymer  

You can invest in yourself, and learn it yourself, and do it. Or you can work with partners that can speed things along. So what's worth more to you, your time or investing in yourself? But on that [topic] is... 

The 3 KPIs that make up what your $10,000 looks like a month is 1, it's your sessions; 2, your conversion rate; and 3, your average order value

And with... Often what people go straight to when they get to that threshold or they get that first success, is they go straight to sessions and they start amplifying their sessions through paid media, usually Facebook and Instagram

Emily Foreman  

Mm-hmm.

Chase Clymer  

But what they fail to realize is that all that new traffic is going to convert at lower than whatever their historical conversion rate is. 

So if their conversion rate is 2, that traffic's gonna convert at 1 maybe if they're lucky. Depends on how good they are Facebook ads. 

And then their average order value isn't going to move at all. So I like to flip the script on everyone and I'm like, "Don't go to sessions." 

First, you need to optimize what you have before you start pouring more gas in the fire. You want to focus on your AOV, and within our... When we're talking about AOV, post purchase is one of the first things we're talking about in that conversation. 

But like you said, you gotta think about the whole funnel. There's a lot of opportunities within the whole funnel to talk about: Upsells or Cross-sells

Emily Foreman  

Yep. 

Chase Clymer  

And trying to just get more in the cart. So in that, obviously, the app itself is focused on post purchase. Is there anything coming in the future or in the pipeline that you guys are thinking about helping with more of the funnel?

Emily Foreman  

Yeah. So there's a... Well as I mentioned earlier, having access now to that checkout extension API, there's a lot of opportunities there. 

Some things that we've been bouncing around ideas on are order bumps within the cart seem like an obvious choice. 

But there's a lot of secrets (laughs)... There's a few that we have that we're playing around with. 

I would say exciting things [are] coming relatively soon, some are features that Shopify is unblocking and some of our things that we are building out internally to expand our products but specifically, thinking again about AOV and customer lifetime value. 

Yes, we're very excited that Shopify is building out support for subscriptions. In our legacy product, we saw great success with a subscription upsell. 

So purchasing a one-time offer or a one-time product but converting it into a subscription with post purchase. So we're really excited to start implementing the things that we learned from the legacy product to our native new Shopify app. 

And subscriptions are going to be huge on that piece. We are internally building out A/B testing, so being able to test out different funnels that you have created. And it could be for your bestseller products. 

So thinking along the lines of... Since everyone is really focused on design... So you could have different design layouts, different content, different product images, and testing those out and pushing out the winner. 

So A/B testing is huge. And then building out some different funnel criteria is in our pipeline. And hopefully, I hope my product people are not... Or ARE listening to this. 

But hopefully we get that pushed out by Black Friday, Cyber Monday so that we can have this really big push to help those larger brands really, really be successful this holiday season. 

So A/B testing on our ends, advanced funnel criteria, and being able to really customize what offers you're showing your shoppers are two things internally. I'm very excited for us to build out. And then subscriptions.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. With the offers that you're showing your customers, that's probably... The majority of the conversation that we have with our clients is around "What is the offer?" 

The functionality is like "Yeah, you're gonna... There's some code and it shows another product to add the other product to the cart or you swap what's in the cart with a new thing. That all makes sense to me." 

But it's how you take that concept and apply it to the specific brand. That's when it gets a little more fun and a little more strategic, because you have to really think about the products and your customers. 

So a perfect example is if you're selling a $1200 sofa, I don't want a BOGO on a sofa, I've got one waiting room. You know what I mean? 

So what is that upsell or that cross-sell that is going to go along with a luxury item, a large item... 

You have to think about that strategically. And then on the flip side of the coin, if you got something that's more of an impulse purchase, something that's a little bit lower on the AOV scale. 

It's like how do I go from having a 10$-$15 knick knack in my cart to getting that to $20 or $30 in my cart? Those strategies are completely different.

Emily Foreman  

Exactly. And come to think of it, when I have conversations with brands too, it's like they're thinking that immediate AOV increases what they want to see immediately. 

And sometimes there's different approaches that they can take with that. So if you're a health and wellness brand and you know in 3 months you're having this new product release, a post purchase offer could be a free sample of that new product. 

So you're using that as an opportunity. They're making that initial purchase. And while you're not increasing the AOV of that order, you're potentially building brand loyalty by introducing them to a new product that hopefully returns... They return to check it out.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I've seen a lot of success with samples. 

Emily Foreman  

Yup.

Chase Clymer  

Another one that's really fun that I've seen is like a mystery item or a mystery box. You know what I mean? Which is just for getting rid of old inventory. "It's $5. It's $8. Whatever. I want it." Those are some of the more creative things I've seen out there to try to raise the AOV. 

And then again, post purchase is only one element of this AOV strategic thinking. You can honestly start thinking about how you're going to try to position an upsell or cross-sell to your customer, honestly, on the homepage... 

Emily Foreman  

Yeah. 

Chase Clymer  

...when you talk about it like a bundle. 

Bundled savings on the homepage is the first page you can do it. In the collection page, you can custom code your collections to show the bundle builder in line with other items to, again, train your customers that there's another way to do it to save some money. 

You should have these things on the product page itself in the cart page, on the cart page, and the card slider, you can have these things. Within checkout is something cool, now that you can actually offer this stuff and post purchase.

Emily Foreman  

And you can do thank you page offers, too. So you've got the entire funnel steps. You're right, you can do it before they even add anything to the cart by offering a discount "Buy $50 worth, get whatever you want with it." 

It is interesting that people think "I'm just gonna put my bestseller up as the post purchase offer at a discounted rate." That's great. That's a great start. 

But thinking beyond, you mentioned earlier, clearing out your inventory, that's an amazing way to offload some inventory as you increase your AOV by adding it as a post purchase offer. Free samples. 

I love any free product that just builds your brand loyalty. It's an easy way. You're not seeing that immediate [results], you're not making more money off of it --but you could potentially-- by having that be a repeat customer.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And another way to think about free samples isn't an offer, but as a reward. So spend $40... What's your AOV threshold, make your reward threshold like $5 more... 

Emily Foreman  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

...and then offer the gift at that threshold. That's another way to think about it. And that's what's fun... 

The fun of this now is you got to be very strategic, you got to think about your product offering your customers how often are they buying? Is it a consumable? What's your... 

Emily Foreman  

Mm-hmm.

Chase Clymer  

...products like? What are you bringing to market soon? There's all sorts of fun stuff you can do with it.

Emily Foreman  

Exactly. Yeah. Anyone, it's gonna be exciting to see too, what Ecommerce is going to look like in 5 years. And one piece that I'm really excited about on my side is... I buy almost everything from my phone. 

And so seeing how mobile commerce is going to take off with SMS recovery. I've gotten text messages to read up something that I purchased. And that to me is exciting. 

And seeing how that evolves into ways to make it easier for me to purchase from that text message could be a really cool, cool thing that hopefully someone is building out.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. And now Is there anything that I forgot to ask you that you think would be useful to share with our listeners?

Emily Foreman  

Good question. No, this was good. It's talking about all the things I like to talk about. It is being strategic with your funnel and thinking not just post purchase but thinking beyond that. 

And it all starts at the top of the funnel so I think we covered a lot and just this quick tip.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Now if people or if people are interested in the product, where do they go? what do they do?

Emily Foreman  

Yeah, so if you're interested, you can head over to carthook.com. Check us out there. We have an option to chat with us and support right on the page. You can sign up. 

We have a 14-day free trial. And we're available to Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants. So head over to carthook.com And we'd love to talk to you.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Emily, thank you so much for coming on. 

Emily Foreman  

Chase, it was great. 

Chase Clymer  

Alright. I can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their knowledge and journey with us. 

We've got a lot to think about and potentially add into our own business. You can find all the links in the show notes. 

Make sure you head over to honestecommerce.co to check out all the other amazing content that we have. Make sure you subscribe, leave a review. 

And obviously if you're thinking about growing your business, check out our agency at electriceye.io. Until next time.