CoffeeForLess.com CEO, Ben Kirshner, EliteSEM VP, Zach Morrison, and Windsor Circle VP of Marketing, Andrew Pearson, gathered together on a webinar on Friday afternoon to talk about CoffeeForLess.com's success in the eCommerce world. More specifically, Ben Kirshner spoke about CoffeeforLess.com's successful Magento migration, winning SEM implemented by EliteSEM, and the $500k that was made in 6 months with Retention Automation powered by Windsor Circle. We had a great turn out and got some really great questions, which are answered for you below.
To watch the full webinar, view the slides, or download the PDF, click here.
Q: You're selling a commodity product, are there ways you've been able to introduce other gifts/items to create more of a brand experience for your customers?
Ben: So one of the things we launched, pseudo launched, is from a vendor called SocialAnnex which is helping us with social logins and more social referral kinds of things - for example, customers will be able to earn coffee beans for doing stuff on our site, maybe it's buying certain products, but it is a way to cross-sell products that someone might not buy otherwise. We're currently in the process of launching that one, we have a basic one that we implemented a while ago that we'll replace with SocialAnnex.
Q: Does CoffeeForLess do anything with product reviews?
Ben: Yes, product reviews are great - we use bazaarvoice and for Q&A we use TurnTo - that's been awesome. TurnTo has been really great for our business. For those of you who are not familiar you go to a product page and people ask questions about the product - it's been a great way to help us fix the product descriptions and is great from an SEO standpoint because customers are writing about the products on my page. It works great for SEO and conversion.
Q: How do you decrease unsubscribe rates?
Ben: You can't please everyone; there are certain people who leave us because they get too many emails. At the end of the day if you are sending targeted emails and that provide a value, discounts or information, people are going to stick around.
Q: How does CoffeeforLess use their messaging to sell a product, like coffee, that customers can't necessarily try before purchasing?
Ben: Obviously product reviews help with this, we get a lot of calls in our call center such as "I like something mild", "I like something medium". Coffee is a subjective thing, so we have a 100% money-back guarantee. We'll take it back product if someone buys the wrong stuff or they get it and absolutely hate it - we will take care of the customer. Mostly people shop by looking at descriptions and price, if it has a lot of great reviews and someone buys it and hates it - it's not that expensive to take it back and give them something else.
Q: Are you sending out automated emails asking for reviews?
Ben: We'll do that once in a while, a lot of times we'll ask people to come back and review our product or website. You'll notice we are a Google trusted store, we watch that thing everyday and we want to make sure we have no negative reviews. We're monitoring social channels and answering customer concerns - we constantly make sure our customer service is #1.
Q: Are you sending the win-back customer emails only to customers who signed up for your emails or do you send out to customers who have ordered from you before?
Ben: Win-back emails are only sent to people who have typically ordered, the new people who may have filled out their address for a coupon but have not ordered, you need to be more careful with - we don't want them to leave us or be upset with us. Those types of customers usually get "hey save this much money" emails and we just really try to get them in the funnel because we want to know that they are interested in. Our goal is to get them in the proper segment before we bombard them.
Q: If customers want to contact you offline, is that an option? How often do you use phone or offline tools to reach customers?
Ben: We have our phone number on our site, we prefer people not to call of course, because that raises costs, we also have live chat. If they call we have a staff call center, it's not the largest center in the world, but we try to make it profitable. We are very quick on email - we have a 10 minute response rate on email and a lot of times we do call them back to show that extra personal attention and let them know we appreciate them shopping with us.
Q: How has the conversion rate of your paid search program changed since you started these retention automation email programs?
Zach: Our paid conversion rate fluctuates monthly and seasonally due to initiatives we take internally. Over the past 6-12 months we have seen an uptick in conversion rate, obviously from the retention marketing that has been done, but also from some other aspects of things going on within Google.
Q: How are you connecting the sales that come from Windsor Circle driven email campaigns back to your paid search campaigns to better understand the true ROI from that media spend?
Ben: When we look at our lifetime value, we can see it is constantly going up and I think it's definitely accelerated since we've put vendors like Windsor Circle in place. All of these things help move the needle and increase CLV. If my liftetime value of a customer last year was $280 and now it's $300, well that just gave me an extra $20 in revenue. Let's say my profit margin is 10%, now I have $2 in my pocket that I can go reinvest into marketing. For me, this type of marketing, retention marketing, is really a no brainer. I'm surprised it's 2014 and we are just now talking about this and weren't back in 2007.
Q: For a new eCommerce company with a low CLV, what were the early strategies you put in place to drive that CLV up?
Ben: We did a lot of things that were really customer focused, we would literally call our customers and say, "hey, you bought from us, what do you think?" and they were like, "woah! Why are you calling me? We've never been called by other retailers", so we just really focused on that extra touch. I give advice to SMBs all the time about this and really you just have to differentiate yourself. There is no stopping Amazon and what they are doing, you have to differentiate yourself from the Walmarts and Amazons, that's your competition. So you can sometimes differentiate with product, sometimes you can't, so you have to find your value proposition and own it. Your value proposition might be customer service, if that's the case, every customer who calls, you better make sure to call them and thank them for placing an order and ask them what they wanted and why the would come back to you - really, you just need to find the why of your business.
Q: How did you get Google to allow you to use Keurig in your title since you do not hold the trademark?
Zach: Google's rules and the way they've approached this is that anyone can bid on any term; however, it doesn't mean you are going to show up on any term. What it does mean is that if you sell the product, if you are relevant, then you can advertise on that product. Now some people get their ad declined due to trademark violations so you need to file your exceptions with your Google rep to establish that you are a vendor of the product, you're selling it legally, and that you have content on your site, then you just make sure you are following all the guidelines of Google - that the ad and keywords are relevant and the landing page has content about the product.
Ben: When you bring your exception to your Google rep, Google then goes to the trademark owner and says, "hey, this company wants to use your trademark will you allow it?" so ultimately, it's the company, not Google, who is allowing the permission.
To watch the full webinar, view the slides, or download the PDF, click here.