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Unprepared Ep 24 - Helping Brick and Mortar Stores Transition to Digital with Andres Alvarez

Timestamps:

[00:00] - Intro
[00:10] - It’s a small world
[00:29] - What does ED Digital do?
[01:45] - Ecommerce in Puerto Rico
[02:15] - Observing the trends from a larger market
[02:43] - Can Puerto Rico use Shopify Pay?
[04:01] - Old Puerto Rican companies are migrating online
[04:41] - Agencies guiding businesses transitioning online
[06:10] - Making clients understand the aspects in transition
[07:27] - Justifying investment in digital vs traditional media
[08:47] - The misconception that going digital is easy
[09:24] - Where to find Andres

Resources:

  • Andres Alvarez’s LinkedIn Page: linkedin.com/in/andresalvarezquiroga
  • ED Digital’s website: ed-digital.com

Key Points:

  • ED Digital is an Ecommerce Development Agency based in Puerto Rico that helps local entrepreneurs and merchants that need Shopify integrations with their enterprise resource planners.

  • On the marketing side, ED Digital are also Klaviyo Masters specializing in email marketing.

  • ED Digital focuses on the Spanish-speaking market.

  • Alejandro Moreno was a previous guest in Unprepared. He mentioned that their agency in Mexico, Getmore, observes the trends in the US as it is a larger market and they base the roadmap of their clients on their observations.

  • Puerto Rico is more of an “association”, than a state. But politically, they have the system as the States. Same currency, laws, banking system.

  • Puerto Rico tends to be slower to adapt new platforms and new ways to do business.

  • Puerto Rico is looking at the US market and observing the technologies that evolve there, the pricing trends, how merchants are working with different agencies.

  • Shopify Pay and the USPS can both be used in Puerto Rico.

  • Lots of companies are basing themselves on Puerto Rico because the country has so many advantages to do business and support their products.

  • There is a huge potential in Puerto Rico aside from the good weather and the beaches. Ecommerce actually has a lot of opportunities in Puerto Rico.

  • Big companies in Puerto Rico that have been operating for the past 30 years or more are now just moving into online channels.

  • The agencies that are guiding companies that will transition to being online should prioritize language and education. Letting them know the terms, functions, and processes so that they will get used to it faster.

  • The advantage of existing brick-and-mortar stores transitioning online to startups is that they don’t have to build their brand anymore.

  • Chase helped one of their oldest clients get the emails from their legacy ERP and transfer the list to Klaviyo.

  • It’s challenging to make businesses understand the aspects of transition, especially when it comes to investment. Businesses have a hard time justifying investment on digital media even if they are willing to spend more on traditional media.

  • ED Digital shows how digital marketing works to their clients to convince them that it’s a really good investment to go digital.

  • The main issue why old businesses struggle to understand their transition to digital is because of their assumption that going digital is very cheap and easy.

 

Transcript:

Chase Clymer  

All right everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Unprepared. Today, I just found out that I threw a few friends who actually know Andres from ED Digital down in Puerto Rico. I was talking about how I've never been to that island I love. The islands had a great pre show. But anyways, welcome to the show. How are you doing today?

Andres Alvarez  

Everything good Chase, thank you. Thank you for having us. And yeah, awesome. I think the world is so small right? and were able to connect in so we're ways and have people in common?

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I love it. It's just you know, getting to know people. So I guess for those that are unfamiliar. What does ED digital do and what do you do? What are you and your team bringing to the table?

Andres Alvarez  

Yeah, so we're a Shopify ecommerce Development Agency based here in Puerto Rico. We're helping local entrepreneurs and merchants that focus right on merchants that need integrations, basically with their grps. 

And then on the marketing side of things, we're Klaviyo Masters. So we're focused just on email marketing. And we focus a lot on the Latin American or better said the Spanish speaking. Spanish speaking you know, I audience,

Chase Clymer  

Thank you. There you go. No, it's fine. Yeah, it's funny. Alejandro from get more he was on this a few weeks ago. And he just always, like, it's fun to watch what you guys are doing in America, because it's like coming up next for us. 

So we can like, you know, if we just were watching what's going on, like, we've got a lot of stuff to bring to the table for our clients, and, you know, help them build out a roadmap, like these features are coming. This is what you know, working in a bigger market in the world, like, you know, let's, let's start talking about these. Is that the same feeling that you get?

Andres Alvarez  

Yeah, Puerto Rico, definitely we have. It's very, it's a market that for those of you who don't know, where like, it's like an association. We're not a state or nothing. So it's like an association. 

But we have like, politically, we have the whole same system, we have the dollar, we use the same bank system. So it's everything the same inclusive with the laws, and then the way people do commerce is the same thing. 

But yes, there's always something that I think Puerto Rico tends to to be a little bit slower adapting sometimes to new platforms and new ways of doing business. 

So definitely, for us, we look up to different markets, especially the United States is like our direct market that we see how things are evolving there. However, there being a price, how they're how merchants are working with, with different agencies or any type of scenario. 

So yeah, definitely. I don't I'm not mad daring to say that the same like Mexico in the United States. But oh, yeah, there's some type of similarity between the both.

Chase Clymer  

Now you said, you guys are on the same banking system. So you guys can use Shopify pay down there for fulfillment? Or for payments?

Andres Alvarez  

Yeah, yeah, we use Shopify payments. We have USPS. So we could use the whole shipping infrastructure without any problem, same pricing structure. Awesome. So that's like a real big advantage for us. Oh, yeah. And being in Puerto Rico. 

And in Puerto Rico there are a lot of different advantages, like for a lot of companies that they're basing their companies here to do business and export their services and products. 

So yeah, it's a great place and for commercials, there's a lot of opportunities that a lot of people sometimes don't know about. So when they find out it's like, it's a no of course the beaches the temperature that that other part of the conversation. Yeah,

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, you can't, you can't beat that. Coming from I guess technically, I'm not landlocked. I've got Lake Erie above me, which awesome. I'm actually going there next week. And so I'm excited. But it's nothing like your beaches because ours are freezing cold.

Andres Alvarez  

Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Chase Clymer  

So today, is there anything that's top of mind that you like, kind of want to bring up and discuss, you know, from just you know, what's going on in the world or I know today, the day that we're recording, this was the Shopify partner townhall. So you know, whatever is top of mind,

Andres Alvarez  

Yeah. For me, I love sharing a lot like what differences or maybe what things are being done in the world on maybe on the marketing part side of things, or what type of businesses are kind of getting into e-commerce now than before.

For us has been, as for a lot of agencies that I've seen on different forums of how different businesses that never, ever, what we consider dinosaurs here in Puerto Rico? 

Has that been like 30-40-50 years in business and never thought about an online channel? And now they're doing it and how that's been maybe on your side of things and just compare and contrast, I guess.

Chase Clymer  

Oh, man, it's just I think some of it just educating you got to start to use the same language and you gotta teach them the same language and like, be able to, it's definitely different. 

So when you're talking about marketing, you're talking about things like analytics and KPIs and stuff, you know, This is especially important for an older client, that's brick and mortar, it's just it comes down to education, you got it, you got to teach them all these concepts. 

And just feel like, you're lucky, you've got this, this, you've got this legacy business, it's coming to the table with a known brand. So you already have a leg up from a startup. But like, we still got to start from zero. 

You know, sometimes, I mean, half of the time, you know, emails weren't a thing they didn't care about collecting at their, at their brick and mortar expert, one of our oldest clients, actually, we helped him in like, get emails built into their legacy Rp. 

So that we could just bring that into Klaviyo because they were doing, like the majority of their business in store. And I was like, that's, you know, that's leaving money on the table. 

So I think a lot of it started talking about education and like, these are the things that are important for e commerce. 

And this is, you know, just a frame like shifting their mindset so they can start thinking about how they can use this incredible direct to consumer like platform Shopify, you know, that's just a tool, just like just using the internet to sell more stuff. Like it's an unlimited sales channel. It's so cool.

Andres Alvarez  

Yeah, yeah, definitely, I think for here on things that are the same as that. Secondly, that is, it's, it's been hard. And in the past few years that we've been taught how to educate and how to actually, I like to use the word convince, because we were not in the convincing business. 

I think, for us, I know what you mean, though, but, but it's the understanding, I think it's just the return on the understanding of that customer of how he's going to understand what he's doing and could actually take, like, a next level. 

And more than that is also like, for us, it's been really hard, and at the same time now a little easier to let them relate, like the investment of how much is an investment into your brick and mortar versus how much is an investment to a digital property? 

Yep. And they still, you know, for them, and we, like we understand, like, we we've been able to, you know, have a lot of empathy with this with with with this type of business, that they they could put up, you know, a marble floor, like in the whole lobby and just invest maybe 100 k into that, but they can invest 50 k into the digital property that's going to have like everything and just gonna provide 24 seven worldwide service, if they wanted to get there. 

Yeah. But yeah, I think I think that's and then on the marketing side of things, we hear we're battling a lot with the old media, a lot of companies like we call them that legacy that for them, it's very understanding just to pay at least here Puerto Rico, like a billboard on the on the main expressway will be anywhere from three K to 10 k per month. 

And they'll have like maybe 2030 billboards around the island, the spread versus and how you take that, that money and you reinvest it into digital. 

If you're using Facebook ads, or if you're going to invest into doing something with your email, as you said that a lot of people don't have don't understand email, like for us even we've been using email for two years using email and providing the service. 

And when we started, we also had like, wow, this email really works. 

And then when we started getting in, we started using the first clients that at least how we do it, we just ground break, we break, we break the ice, just like using actual customers, but then not not actually, you know, invoicing them nothing because we're just in that process. 

And when we finally prove that this actually works, like for us has been, and still to the day is something that is super awesome to see how it does work. And but yeah, it's also awesome to know that it's pretty much a challenge. Same thing there. Same here.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I think Well, I think we got about a minute left here. So I'm gonna be really quick because I want you to get something in before the end. But I think the main challenge with older businesses is they usually have older founders and technology is something they're just like, Oh, that's so easy. 

These kids can do it, I can hire my nephew. And it's like, Look, would you hire your nephew to build out your brick and mortar business? You know, just talking about setting up navigation is comparable to like.

Are you just gonna throw all your products all over the floor and it'd be free for all like, that's, those aren't things that you're going to do. 

So this is an investment. And that's what you need to see it as. But before we go, are there any if people are picking up what you're putting down? Where can they get a hold of you?

Andres Alvarez  

Yeah, definitely. We're all on social media to LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook as he is and Manuel Diaz and David, EDdigital. We also have for those of you who know Spanish or maybe are in the process of learning, we have a Spanish podcast called Ecommerce Con Shopify, you can look it up. Spotify, apple, basically everywhere. 

And yeah, and my email is just andres@ed-digital.com. That's definitely a great place to get me. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Andres Alvarez  

No, thank you, Chase for having me and hopefully see you down here in Puerto Rico whenever you want.

Chase Clymer  

Oh, yeah.

Andres Alvarez  

All right, take care.

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