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Unprepared Ep 63 - Increasing Customer Retention Through Seamless SMS tools with Harvey Hodd


  • [00:00] - Sponsor: Rewind
  • [00:40] - Intro
  • [01:03] - What does Blueprint do? 
  • [01:55] - Why purchasing in-channel is important
  • [04:11] - How are merchants using Blueprint?
  • [06:19] - How many of these SMS are automated? 
  • [08:10] - More about Blueprint
  • [09:05] - Where to find Harvey


Key Points 

  • Blueprint is an all-in-one eCommerce SMS and WhatsApp platform for consumer and DTC brands. They build one-to-one communication into the Ecommerce journey. 
  • They built Blueprint because of their pain points as Ecommerce merchants: selling online, specifically via Shopify stores, and issues around one-to-one conversation and retention.
  • Blueprint drives retention and revenue through upselling, automated flows, one-to-one chat, and conversation.
  • Blueprint enables purchasing in-channel. It's important because it streamlines the purchasing journey. 
  • They don't want to just blast send messages, they want to send a super personalized, relevant, and useful message. 
  • If Blueprint is installed in your Ecommerce store, customers will get a text and they can reply to it and purchase the item they want without leaving their text messaging app. 
  • This lifts the hassle to the customers who are interested in the offer. No logins, no need to leave the app, and there's no need to go to the website to purchase. 


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Chase Clymer  

Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Unprepared. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. And today welcoming to the show Harvey from Blueprint. How're you doing today?

Harvey Hodd  

I'm doing well. Chase, I'm doing well. How are you?

Chase Clymer  

We're doing fantastic. Third time's the charm, right? We'll get this thing done.

Harvey Hodd  

(Laughs) Yeah, looking forward to it. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Awesome. So for the uninitiated, what does Blueprint do for its customers? 

Harvey Hodd  

Sure. So we're an all-in-one Ecommerce, SMS, and WhatsApp platform. So we work with consumer and DTC brands. And we drive retention and revenue through everything from upselling and automated flows, one-to-one chat, and really just building one-to one-communication and conversation into the Ecommerce journey. 

Chase Clymer  

But you know, what, there is a very key component of that. And for my familiarity with the app that you didn't highlight, that is what separates you from the rest of them. 

If you're in this ecosystem at all either as a merchant, or a consultant, the flavor of the week last year was to build an SMS app. And you guys, while doing that, you guys did it better than everyone else because there's a certain feature that your app does that I don't think anything else on the market does. So can you share? 

Harvey Hodd  

Yes, yeah, sure. So we enable purchasing in-channel. So why that's important is it streamlines the entire purchasing journey. And so we... to give some backstory into that is that we came from a CPG operator background. And so we--myself, my co-founder, Rory, and most of our team have built and managed an Ecom business before. 

And for us, we had issues around selling online, specifically via Shopify stores, we have issues around one-to-one conversation retention. And the way that we now hypotheses to solve that was to enable one-to-one conversation, and enable seamless ordering and reordering and upselling and things like that to drive retention. 

So those two core issues for us. We built it for us, as an MVP. As a very rough around the edges MVP, as a CPG brand, and a number of years back now and then we decided to really actually these pain points are all over the place. 

Tens of 1000s of merchants are suffering from the same pain points. And we will build it and democratize it as a SaaS tool. And within that, we didn't really feel there's anything out there that was for us, it was more blast SMS and CTAs and things like that. 

Whereas actually, we want to create more of a conversational experience, more of a streamlined experience, more of a utility-based experience versus just, "Hey, here's a product, here's sales, etc." It was more like, "Hey, let's have a chat. Do you want to reorder this product in the same way?" Almost like a concierge service, things like that, where it is more personalized, relevant, and useful.

And yeah, that's, that's what we focus on. We predominantly work with Shopify brands at the moment. And yeah, it's been a pretty crazy start to the year for us in our team.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So to simplify that for people, the product itself is Blueprint. If you have this installed on your store, essentially, what happens is your customers will get a text and they can reply to that text in English to complete a purchase. 

So then they're not leaving their text message application, they're not going to a website, they're not logging into the store, which would be an amazing lift if the customer is interested in that offer.

How are some of the early adopters finding success? What are they doing? How are they using it?

Harvey Hodd  

Yeah, great question. So yeah, exactly that in a really simple sentence. There are a few key points that we focus on. So one is just reordering. So what you can do, what we're seeing from CPG brands, so let's take food, beverage, health, wellness, beauty home, those kinds of categories. And when it gets that second and third-order, we can start to see the average reorder rate. 

So it might be you know, it's not just this blanket coverage, it might be for you as consumers 18 and a half days because we can see on post ordering data and actually dropping that message around that time you go, "Yeah, cool. I'd love some more. You know, I'd like to try a different flavor." 

That's been one of the key use cases. So that was really what we built in our early days. Is that okay, so how do we enable very black and white gain from first or second orders? So that's really key. 

What we've now built, now that infrastructure's there is that once you start understanding that they turn your customers and enable seamless purchasing. And things like upselling, from a one-time order to a bundle are proving really, really strong. 

And so obviously, the holy grail here is there might be, especially for CPG brands, there might be an intro off, or a little taster or something like that, actually jumping to a bundle of the full case, or the full product is really critical. And you can have a conversation around that, and help that customer through and then upsell them. 

And then lastly, what's really interesting now is taking those one-time customers if they've ordered more than twice more than once, and upsell them to a subscription. And that's been super interesting, because that I said, the holy grail is one time to a bundle. It’s real subscriptions that are obviously driving a huge amount of revenue for CPG merchants, and it's really critical. 

And they're your best customers. They're super loyal, they want to chat with you. They evangelize the brand, etc. And so that's what we were working on, Chase. And that's been a massive breakthrough this year, specifically 2021.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. And so you mentioned conversational a lot, how much of these messages, these SMS, is/are automated? And then what happens if a real human needs to get involved? How does that work?

Harvey Hodd  

Yeah, yeah, great point. So there are two elements. So one is that we focus a lot, more than perhaps some other solutions, on conversation versus just this...our analogy that we always use, we're less of a speaker, we're more of a microphone. 

And so there's that two-way is pretty critical to what we're building and then in terms of how that conversation happens. Firstly, we see some amazing responses upwards of like 20,30, 35% reply rates on certain messages. 

Feedback messages are suddenly being called by merchants. They're superfan messages because they're now gaining insight and relevant information on things that I never had any insight to. Normally it's just a click or review, things like that. 

When that conversation comes in, it can happen in a variety of ways. One, Blueprint in itself is like its own CRM so you can just chat back easily without paying on any wherever you're at. Might be Slack, or just email. It also routes over to your, or route in the states over to your CX Solution, Gorgias, Zendesk, whatever that might look like. 

And then also Blueprint has an AI bot. So if there are things that we can start to see, like we can see this intent, or this is customer information, we can automate certain things. Now that's still in its infancy. And it's still, it's building. We need data and understanding and conversations. But yeah, that's how it all happens. 

What we see really interesting now is that because stores are closed, and they're now opening up, stores have been closed for the last X amount of months. And there wasn't that connection. We're seeing founders, CX teams, marketing teams actually having conversations with their customers, deliberately spending time in the dashboard chat customers. Not just selling, just conversing. That's been amazing.

Chase Clymer  

That's fantastic. I mean, I'm excited to see the growth of your guys’ business. Is there anything on the horizon that you want to share or anything I forgot to ask you today before we go?

Harvey Hodd  

Sure, yeah. So we're one is that we have a big focus as we grow out the team into expanding integration. 

So we work on Shopify predominantly, we're now expanding into all other platforms and bits and pieces like that. But then I'll also say, generally, our focus is around being the brains behind the system versus just the brawn of sending things. 

Like I mentioned earlier, and we don't want to just blast send messages, we want to send them in a super personalized, relevant, and useful way. And being the brains where we can start to understand the data behind your customers, how we can best serve, why, and all the pieces around that. 

That's what we're focused on more. So just more of that and deeper and deeper integrations within Shopify and things like that is what we're focused on, mostly, yeah.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Harvey, thank you so much for coming on. We'll touch base in a couple of months and see if there are any updates to the platform that you want to share. 

And if anyone's interested in learning more about the product or just talking to you and picking your brain, how do they get ahold of you?

Harvey Hodd  

Sure. So we're on Blueprint.store that's our website in check out everything we do in the case studies, use cases, and have a chat with our team. And then me specifically, I'm on Twitter @HarveyHodd h-o- double d or just drop me an email directly on Harvey@blueprint.store. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Thank you so much.