Marketing Podcast for Shopify Merchants: The Ecommerce Coffee Break

Unleash Relevancy In Ecommerce | #173 Mike Griffin

April 17, 2023 Claus Lauter: Ecommerce Podcast Host | Shopify Partner | Marketing Optimizer Season 4 Episode 36
Marketing Podcast for Shopify Merchants: The Ecommerce Coffee Break
Unleash Relevancy In Ecommerce | #173 Mike Griffin
Show Notes Transcript

This episode features Mike Griffin, SVP of Business Development at, discussing how you can increase profits by presenting customers with personalized offers after they complete their transactions.

On the Show Today You’ll Learn:

  • How to monetize your confirmation page
  • The power of the transaction moment - what it is and why it is so important
  • How to show customers relevant offers post-checkout to generate profit.
  •  Why makes merchants money on autopilot

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Claus Lauter: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the E-Commerce Coffee Break podcast. Today we wanna talk about relevancy and e-commerce. Now, relevancy is a very important topic. You always wanna present the right information in the right moment, and a lot of merchants do get this wrong, and there's a lot of potential revenue in there if you do it right.

So therefore, I have my Mike Griffin with me on the show today. He's the SVP of business development at He leads rokt's business development efforts where he's dedicated to helping partners and advertisers achieve their revenue goals by unlocking the power of e-commerce. He leads a team that is responsible for the company's enterprise, mid-market and self-service products, and Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Georgetown University, as well as an MBA from the University of Southern California.

So let's welcome Mike. Hi Mike. How are you today? 

Mike Griffin: Hi, I'm great. Thank you. Thanks for having. Mike relevancy, 

Claus Lauter: One of the most important things that a lot of people do not get, right? So let's dive into it. Why is relevancy in e-commerce such an important factor? 

Mike Griffin: , one of the things that, we do at Rock, which is so unique versus other places where I've been and I've spent most of my career in and around e-commerce is 

we say no a lot to certain types of partnerships. There's a lot of kind of low hanging fruit out there, whether it would be plugging into a programmatic ad network or taking and working with, retail partners in a dataless environment. And we say no to both of those things because we know that they won't drive or command relevance.

With the partners we work with on the retail side, With the advertisers that we work with, , it's all because that data rich environment and rock very much sits as the trusted intermediary between a retail partner and an advertiser. And because we are that trusted intermediary, because we integrate with both of those, sides essentially it allows us to run a three-sided marketplace, not a two-sided marketplace, because we've got the retailer.

The advertiser, but most importantly the end consumer. And so we spend time, money, energy, resources, and effort to make sure that end consumer is seeing a relevant offer and message, that's relevant to them. And when you do that, you achieve economics that are extraordinary, right? We are able to drive significant revenue for our.

Retail partners because the ads are relevant and the consumers are engaging and they get very high engagement and clickthrough rates. But on the advertiser side, the advertisers get good outcomes because we're putting them in front of audiences that are relevant to them. But relevancy is not easy, right?

Relevancy is, not only by having a strong data relationship with our partners, but learning how to use it and learning the specificity of the moment that you're. Rock has lots of data and lots of our sales material. Talk about kind of the magic of the transaction moment, which it is magical.

Someone has their credit card out, they've just made a purchase, the dopamine is firing. They are, in a good mindset, but that's only half the battle. You still have to harness that mindset and figure out what's relevant to that consumer. Some of it is because we have scale, we're learning what is relevant in real time to those consumers.

We're also finding the right kind of advertisers and the right kind of offers that will resonate with those consumers. And we're learning all the time. I'll borrow my mother-in-law's expression of there's a lid for every pot. Which means that there's advertisers that are really better suited for some.

Retailers than others. And cuz of the power of our network, we can find those connections. And then underneath that, find the connection between the consumers, and those retail partners. we often talk internally about a dumb ad. And a dumb ad is everything that doesn't do those things right.

And we think our offers are so relevant and achieve such high results because they're very, very smart. , and they're learning all the time from our data relationships, and also our history, right? If we're finding that certain offers don't resonate with certain. Audiences, they don't see them again, we're not gonna keep jamming them down their throat.


Claus Lauter: I like the saying of your mother-in-law. So let's take , one step back and, give our listeners our versions. An idea what actually is the process, they can implement in their website, to create relevancy and to increase, as I said, under a threefold, level, revenue that otherwise 

Mike Griffin: would not be.

A lot of our retail partners look at, rock and our solution as candidly found money, right? Our most common placement, we have a number of placements that we operate in, but our most common placement is on the checkout confirmation page, what I call the thank you page or the exit page.

It's after someone has transacted, which very often, retailers have nothing on that page. They might just have a thank you message. Maybe they have refer a friend. Something like that. But often they don't know the economics or the benefit of that refer friend program or any prep program that they've got running.

What Rock is giving them the ability to do is, , get very tangible economic benefits out of kind of that wasted real estate, right? It's all profit revenue that comes from, a very simple implementation. Specific to Shopify audiences, it's a downloading of the app, but for our enterprise audiences, some of whom overlap into Shopify as well.

It's really just the implementation of a web sdk. And then you're getting all the power of rocks, machine learning and algorithm. We're understanding and learning about that particular retailer. And then we're going into our, bevy of advertisers to find the right, couple of offers that will work, , for.

So the process is pretty simple. It's, either a web sdk, or an app download. Very straightforward. , and then the results start to work and then the retailers can control it behind the scenes from our platform. But nothing that I've described as even remotely hands on. A lot of our retailers are, have somewhat of a set and forget it, mowed to it, where we start paying them on a monthly basis based on our relationship and they're managing, QBR and conversations with us to help drive better results for them.

But for the most part, it, runs on its own without any kind of campaign management or anything like that to intend to. 

Claus Lauter: Okay. So we're talking about the power of the confirmation page, and you're quite right. A lot of people, just not putting anything on the order confirmation page and or someone have post purchase upsell apps.

But then there's also a difficulty sometimes finding the right product to upsell. So with your solution, obviously you are offering. Offers from other companies, , that, as you said was machine learning and basically are tailor-made to what the customer properly just bought. Now, what kind of offers can I expect there as merchants that will pop up automatically on my auto confirmation page?

Mike Griffin: Yeah, wonderful question. So we work with thousands of advertisers and like any business, there's a flight to quality. And some of the larger advertisers, certainly generate the majority of our spend. But the most common advertisers that you'll see in our network, tend to be The example I always use is if someone just bought a pair of jeans, we're never gonna try and sell you a belt, right?

This is not upsell. What we're doing is building lookalike audiences based on the consumer profile and what they just purchased and where they purchased it from, and fi and connecting that to other things. We have found audiences like them enjoy, right? So we might have, , a woman in Brooklyn who's just bought from Wayfair and maybe she's bought an expensive couch from Wayfair.

As a result of all that, we're gonna look. Other people who have made high value purchases living in Brooklyn from Wayfair that are women as an example. And we're gonna say that maybe Disney plus appeals to them, versus someone else might get an offer from Sirius XM or to apply for a certain type of credit card or to subscribe to a grocery subscription service, right?

So when we're building those audiences, but as you can hear, It's a lot around offers, it's a lot around subscription businesses. It's a lot around streaming. It's a lot about, things that have mass appeal, right? Even though we have a strong data relationship, We tend to have a flight to the offers that resonate and do well in our network and in our ecosystem are top flight, high quality, name brand offers, and often a subscription business.

ROCK is best utilized as a thank you for your order. Are you interested in this as an unlock or as a special value in connection with that order? Those are really the offers that do the best so often. A free month office, subscription service, $50 off your first, or to a subscription service or some ancillary benefit that you're getting which would be the reason you're engaging in clicking.

often those offers are unique to rock because we're bringing in a pretty exclusive audience, via the retail partners we work with, and very exclusive real estate that no one else has access to. And as such, good offers make sense because these are high value consumer. 

Claus Lauter: Okay. Now I like the idea because you as a merchant obviously are the hero in the story because now when the sudden your customer sees something that he usually does not see, and he got a free gift , that is very special to that checkout 

Mike Griffin: page.

Quite right and we often it's very common for us, almost all of our retail partners that we work with, we work very hard with them to make it native to their experience. So we, you are not gonna find a logo heavy experience. You're not gonna find 20 offers spamming the page you're gonna find somewhere between one and three offers that we think are relevant to that consumer.

It's not gonna be logo heavy, it's going to be text driven, cuz. We want you to read and click it, and if you're not interested, don't click But if you read and click it, we assume you're interested and we think that the offer is going to resonate with you. And we also make it very native. So we'll pull in order number, we'll pull in first name,

so that we are making that offer very. Very relevant that it feels like, and in genuinely it is coming from that retailer. They're just partnering with us to find those offers. And we believe so much in the relevancy model that we often work with our retail partners on first party offers that they might be running to right.

So we are very happy to dedicate our percent of traffic using our technology. That if they're running a big sale next week and they want to tell their consumers about it on the way out, that's good by us. Even though that's not gonna make us, or the retailer pure cash, it's the right experience for that consumer, for that retailer.

So that's important to us. , but making it native, making it feel like the retailer, Is generating those offers and that we've done the hard work for them of going out and finding amazing advertisers and finding out which one's gonna work. As thank you for them, allocating some elements of their site for these transactions.

Claus Lauter: It sounds great. Is there any kind of control that the merchant has for our specific industries or verticals that he doesn't want to have advertisements on their order 

Mike Griffin: confirmation page? Yeah, a hundred percent. Yep. A hundred percent. We work, with all of our retail partners very much on, I can look them in the eye and say the controls are on your side.

Wouldn't be uncommon for a partner to start on 10% of traffic to test would not be uncommon for them to test different flavors of our interstitial in terms of whether. An overlay or an embedded experience, which they can run each an ab test and see what the results are like and see what the financial outcomes are like.

They can also look across and identify percent of traffic that they wanna run on for a period of time. To your question, more directly. They can also block certain sub-verticals, so we have some that. We considered decisions, right? some retailers don't wanna put a financial services offer on the tail end of the experience.

We work in gambling and gaming verticals. We work in C B D and so retailers can make their own decisions around that. We can educate and inform them about. The financial outcomes because some of those verticals I just mentioned are heavy bidding audiences for their traffic. they might lose a few cents per transaction if they don't enable the entire breadth of advertisers.

But for the most thought part, it's not a huge concern. And none of those decisions are permanent. They can decide that they don't want to go live with C B D offers or maybe wine offers on launch. They wanna get comfortable with rock and then over time we often hear them coming to us and saying, Hey.

Can we how do we get more revenue, better outcomes out of working with Rockton? We'll say you could open up a few more of the sub-verticals that you're currently not a part of. Okay. 

Claus Lauter: Now, everyone is interested in making money, not just providing a platform for someone else to put the ads on.

What kind of revenue or conversion rates can merchants and Shopify merchants expect coming 

Mike Griffin: through? Yeah, absolutely. The quick answer is we typically see per transaction of pure profit for the retail partners, about 25 to 30 cents of pure profit, right? So if you process a million dollars Excuse me, a million orders a year.

So again, that's not dollar revenue, that's number of orders per year. , if you process a million orders per year the likely profitability that you would get completely yours via monthly checks or a c h, would be about 250 to $300,000 on average. We have people that. Or above that, we have people that are below that.

There's a little bit of nuance to the answer in terms of whether or not they go with our overlay or our embedded experience, which has different engagement rates. And that's the most predictable number. Now, if you go behind that number, that's a process of live bidding on that experience and the engagement rate that happens on that experience.

We basically leave that to R'S algorithm to maximize that revenue. And it's a rather predictable number that we can go to our, Shopify or other merchant audiences and say, pretty predictable that 25 cents per order, which is equivalent of a $250 c p M on those pages. 

Claus Lauter: Okay. And that's basically working on autopilot in the background.

Mike Griffin: Yeah. We work on a revshare, and that is post our net revshare. So that's the checks that you as a merchant can expect. And it doesn't take long to ramp. We get there very, very fast. 

Claus Lauter: Now you said you have a Shopify app that's easy to install. What kind of control or reporting features does that offer for the merchant?

Mike Griffin: so you would see you would see performance in terms of the revenue generated by whatever timeframe you want, whether that's daily, weekly, monthly, hourly, things like that. You would've full control in the platform to be able to control some of the curation that I was just speaking of, which could be choosing to block certain sub-verticals, choosing what.

ux you want the experience to have, and that includes everything from overlay and embed, but also some things I haven't talked about yet, like color, font, border sizes, what you want. For example, in our average offer, you're typically seeing a yes, please no thanks in terms of wanting to claim that.

But some retailers choose words that feel more brand friendly or some advertisers choose words like, claim this offer, or Yes, please, or no thanks, and things like that. Those are all things between the retailer and the advertiser that are, customizable, as well as percent of traffic. And anything else that really would be justifiable controls as well as turning it on or turning it off.

There's. We're working with Rock. We have an excellent, retention record in terms of our partners that work with us, that continue to work with us. We keep our agreements, open that we only want folks who wanna work with us and want to grow with us.

We keep those arrangements open. It's certainly open to any Shopify consumer, whether they want to Download the app or uninstall the app, or they can download and experiment with it and then uninstall the next day. But most of them, as I said once they download, they start to see the revenue results and they keep going.

And you'll also see sub-level data around advertisers that are performing and that are particularly effective for you, which is a nice bonus because if you're a partner, look, I'm not gonna lie, A lot of times people go, huh, someone just bought a pair of jeans. Why am I showing them Hulu?

Or why am I showing them a streaming ad? Our data suggests that those are things that resonate with those consumers. But you'll also get to see that more than just me saying it. You'll get to see it from a data profile of the kind of advertisers and the sub-verticals of advertisers that are resonating with your audiences as a retailer.

And that gives our retailers ideas for places where they can advertise partnerships that they could drive, or it helps them learn things about their consumers that other, and nothing is better than real data to educate them on that. 

Claus Lauter: No, that's an extra benefit that you get more information about your perfect customer.

Mike Griffin: One of the things we tell them all the time is don't try and judge your audience. Let the algorithm and the AI and the machine learning figure out our audiences for you , and what kind of things and offers, resonate with them. And it's always surprising, to the retail partner in a good way.

The data talks. The consumers don't have to engage and they wouldn't engage if they didn't, if they weren't interested in what they were reading. That's the best data of all. 

Claus Lauter: No, makes total sense. How is it with international stores, so selling not only us, other countries, how do you support this?

Mike Griffin: Rock in totality supports 16 markets. So it's basically the same offering in those 16 markets. And those offers and advertisers would be , unique and relevant to the consumers in those particular markets. Some of our advertisers, like a Disney or someone like that do have a global audience.

But a lot of our advertisers are regionally specific. And our ability to target on an advertising front can be specific right down to a zip code in the United States or a zip code in Europe or something like that, where we can hyper-target those audiences. But For the most part, the offers are specific to that country.

We have a campaign services team that manages all of our advertisers. It's not a programmatic solution. There's no such thing as a self-serve advertiser for rock. You can't just join the Rocked advertising network. You have to be approved by our campaign services team. The copy has to be approved.

We have to make sure that the landing. Is representative of what the copy said. We have to make sure that the offer is legitimate and good, and we have to make sure that, and part of that legitimacy and making sure the offer is good, is making sure it works in the market where it's running. And in language and everything else along those lines.

Markets in Japan, Europe, Australia, and of course North America. Okay. 

Claus Lauter: Are there specific verticals or industries where it works very well? And are there any verticals or industries where you would not work with. 

Mike Griffin: For the most part we're rather agnostic about the industries that we work in from a retail partner lens.

It's typically for our base product, which is running the monetization and advertising solutions for our retail partners. the more transactions you have, the more money you're going to make and the. Consequential that money is going to be to you. , now we work with large, , luxury brands as well, but for the most part, if you're a retailer that sells and call it the sub 150 a O v, average order value, you're probably going to be more inclined to be wowed by the financial results you're going to get from rock because you have a heavier transaction volume.

And you get a lot of opportunities to show offers to your consumers. But there's nothing that's, verboten or nothing that. We see it doesn't work, that's the magic of the rocked algorithm is it figures out those audiences pretty fast and we have a wide breadth of advertisers. We can figure out what's going to resonate with the consumer base, rather fast, and you'll see those advertisers bidding on your audience as a partner very fast as well.

Claus Lauter: Now, as a merchant is when you decide to work with Rock, is there any kind of homework you have to do? And what's the onboarding process? How much time do I need to spend 

Mike Griffin: on that? Yeah, so the onboarding is typically very quick for our enterprise businesses using our web sdk. We certainly loosely quote, it's a sprint, but it is genuinely, I've been at other places where one line of code.

Isn't one line of code. This really is. , we have a variety of partners that can use a tag manager, they can implement a web sdk. We have separate SDKs for Android and for, iOS as well. , but those are all SDK driven. Very simple. Typical implementation for us from a technical standpoint, is measured in hours, not days or weeks.

Once the SDK is implemented or in a Shopify environment, once the app is implement, Then everything else is done, via, the platform, right where you're logging into the platform and you can make all those decisions that you need to. But in a Shopify environment, I have been a part of many, this is probably the most exciting part of my job, is when we can do a live download while we're on the phone of the app.

And I've seen people start making money while we're finishing the call. Okay, great. 

Claus Lauter: Where can people find out more 

Mike Griffin: about. , if you Google rocked Shopify, or we're in the App store in Shopify, Wu and Big Commerce, under Rocked R O K T. Going to or googling rocked Shopify will get you to the app.

Claus Lauter: Cool. I will put the links in the show notes, Mike. So then you just one click wait. Wonder. I think it's a great solution. Thank you. Specifically keeping in mind that you're making money on autopilot and as merchant you don't have to invest more time in doing upsells and cross sells and, , once a month you just get more money in your bank account.

Sounds like a great solution for me. Yeah. Thanks so much for your time, Mike. 

Mike Griffin: Thank you. Yeah, I'll close with, , it was a funny note I got from one of my Shopify partners once saying, , this is the rare app that actually pays you. They're not asking for money, which = I loved. And I said, I'm gonna steal that line sometime.

So there it is. But thank you Klaus. Really entertaining discussion. I appreciate your time. Thanks so much. Talk soon. All right. Thanks. Bye-Bye.