customer experience

Talk-Commerce Jamin Arvig

From Amazon to Everywhere: Navigating the Multichannel Landscape with Jamin Arvig

In a recent podcast episode, I welcomed Jamin Arvig, the co-founder of aiC Brands, a company that owns, operates, builds, and buys e-commerce brands. Jamin is also a co-founder of AIcommerce, a service company that provides multichannel marketing and growth benefits to brands. He is also involved in the Junior Presidents organization, which aims to teach kids about entrepreneurship and starting businesses.

The Importance of Multichannel Strategies for E-commerce Brands

Our conversation quickly shifted to the importance of multichannel strategies for e-commerce brands. Jamin explained that diversification is crucial for business stability and higher valuations. With the increasing competition and costs on platforms like Amazon, having a presence on multiple channels becomes even more important. Additionally, being present across various channels increases brand value and awareness.

Amazon’s Expansion Beyond Its Platform

We also discussed how Amazon is expanding beyond its platform through initiatives like Buy with Prime. Jamin explained that Amazon wants to capture customers who start their product searches elsewhere, and they are partnering with e-commerce platforms like Shopify to grow their infrastructure. Buy with Prime allows brands to leverage Amazon’s fulfillment network and benefit from quick delivery and lower shipping costs.

The Importance of Customer Experience and Branding Strategy

We addressed the misconception that Amazon is a soulless marketplace with limited opportunities for brand differentiation. Jamin explained that Amazon has added various features over the years that allow sellers to tell their brand story, such as branded pages, plus content, ads, comparable products, matrices, and videos. However, he acknowledged that there are still limitations to fully expressing a brand’s story on the Amazon platform.

We emphasized the benefits of creating a customer experience on your own website, where the possibilities are limitless. By leveraging the “Buy with Prime” button, sellers can combine the advantages of Amazon’s two-day shipping and name recognition with the ability to tell their brand story in any way they want on their own site.

The Need for Differentiation

We discussed how having a generic product on Amazon can make it difficult to stand out among the competition. Jamin highlighted the need for differentiation, including a strong supply chain, intellectual property (IP) protection, and a unique customer experience or community. He mentioned that having patents, trademarks, and even an app can make it more challenging for others to copy your product.

Choosing a Platform for Direct Sales

We discussed the considerations that bigger brands must make when choosing a platform for their direct sales. One advantage of using Amazon Prime is the happy feeling that comes with knowing your order will be delivered. However, Shopify Plus charges an additional fee for using an external gateway, and it’s unclear if Prime is even available for Shopify yet. Shopify has limited payment options compared to BigCommerce, which allows more flexibility.

Jamin agreed and added that regardless of the platform, there are costs involved in fulfillment, shipping, and labor. The difference lies in the commission charged by Amazon. He explained that deciding which platform to choose depends on factors like conversion rate increase and overall cost-effectiveness.

Expanding into New Channels

When expanding into new channels, Jamin explained that companies can either invest in building the capability internally, acquire a company with the desired capability, or partner with someone who already has it. He suggests that partnering with a fractional team can be more effective and cost-efficient, especially when resources are limited.

We mentioned aiCommerce as a potential partner, and Jamin agreed, stating that their reason for existing is to serve brands as they explore new channels. He mentioned that many brands achieve success by partnering with them.

Our conversation with Jamin provided valuable insights into the world of e-commerce, the importance of multichannel strategies, and the role of branding in differentiating products on platforms like Amazon. It’s clear that the future of e-commerce lies in diversification, customer experience, and strategic partnerships.

For more podcasts about Commerce

The Importance of Online Channels in Customer Service

The Importance of Online Channels in Customer Service

This article explores the importance of online channels in customer service. Discover how digital communication tools can transform customer relations, offer personalized experiences, and provide cost-effective, efficient service.

Talk-Commerce-Tobi Buxhoidt

Unlocking Loyalty: A Revolutionary Guide to Turning Returns into Remarkable Rewards with Tobi Buxhoidt

In this insightful episode of Talk Commerce, Brent Peterson invites Tobi Buxhoidt, the co-founder of ParcelLab, a leading Operations Experience Management platform. Boasting a rich background in logistical operations and a passion for streamlining the customer experience, Tobi shares forward-thinking insights on the role of post-sales customer interactions in brand success.

Born in Germany and based out of Boston, Tobi describes how ParcelLab operates internationally with several offices worldwide. The platform aims to revolutionize the way brands engage with their customers with data-driven experiences, which he believes can create a notable difference in their relationships with their customers. A large part of the discussion revolves around the role of returns in customer satisfaction.

Tobi emphasizes the necessity of a digitalized, tailored, and customer-centric returns process with varying approaches depending on the customer and the product. He cites examples from fashion brand Chico’s and electronics company Bose to illustrate the practical application of this approach.

Tobi also touches upon the common assumption that returns should be free. While he understands this reasoning, he reveals intriguing data suggesting that about half of consumers are open to paying for returns depending on the context. Finally, Tobi gives a glimpse into the future of e-commerce in 2023, where he predicts a significant shift from customer acquisition to enhancing customer lifetime value.

He suggests that brands focus on engaging their customers during the entire post-purchase journey, which he claims is critical for customer retention and building lasting relationships. Tobi invites interested listeners to engage with ParcelLab further through its website, www.parcellab.com. Leveraging his experience and expertise, Tobi aims to help businesses excel in the post-purchase landscape, turning the seemingly mundane process of returns and operational moments into moments of joy.

Find Tobi Buxhoidt on LinkedIn for more insights and engagements.

More podcasts about Commerce

Adobe Commerce Support Alliance Interview with Ray Bogman

Adobe Commerce Support Alliance Interview with Ray Bogman

The Adobe Support Alliance is an ambitious effort by Adobe to better serve the client and the partner. It is a three-way commitment involving Adobe, the client, and the partner, with each party taking on the responsibility to help provide the best possible service.

TalkCommerce Uncovering Hidden Patterns in Your Marketing

Uncovering Hidden Patterns in Your Marketing – An Exciting Journey!

As a marketer, you are constantly looking for ways to get the most out of your campaigns and maximize your return on investment. One of the most powerful tools at your disposal is the ability to uncover hidden patterns in your marketing efforts.

Talk-Commerce-Emily Miethner

Traveling with Cats with Emily Miethner

Have you seen pets on planes? Are you creating connections between your customers? Today we interview Emily Miethner, who is the founder of Travel with Cats.

Emily has built a brand around traveling with cats and a community around cat travel. Emily talks about the ladder of engagement. It doesn’t stop at the sale. She cares about her customers and constantly improves her products to meet her customer’s needs. She started a Travel Cat Summit focused on cat topics, including how to grow your cat’s Instagram account.

Talk Commerce MAIER BIANCHI

The Human Connection in Commerce with Maier Bianchi

Welcome to 2023 and the start of a new Talk Commerce year. What’s new? You will see new and updated show notes, I have a new library of music from AppSumo and I plan on exploring OPEN A I this year. Lots of great things to come in 2023. Today we interview Maier Bianchi, whose primary goal is to help businesses join the modern digital economy. The world is constantly evolving around us like an ever-flowing river of time. To adapt and survive in this increasingly difficult landscape requires us as people to work together, with the mission of succeeding mutually, not exclusively. Maier enlightens us with his business wisdom and tenacity to overcome complex problems and circumstances.

Some takeaways from this episode

  • Maier has been involved with technology and computers since childhood
  • He began working in the IT side of a Halloween store in 2002
  • He began teaching himself coding in 2009
  • He got recruited to work for a luxury kitchen bath lighting retailer in 2010
  • He has since gone on to form his own company and become involved in the Magento community, forming relationships and networking with other members to stay informed and provide better client services.
  • Maier entered the e-commerce world without any formal development background.
  • He took a job in 2015 that exposed him to advanced technology and software development culture.
  • His company was renamed Bemair, meaning “one who enlightens”.
  • He is currently focusing on Magento, Adobe Commerce, Shopify, and headless platforms.
  • He sees e-commerce continuing to form the fabric of our shopping society, but with the human connection remaining an integral part.
  • He is a partner for Shopware and is looking to make headways into the Americas.
  • He is urging people to support 4hcm.org, an organization dedicated to helping those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • He believes luck and hard work are essential for success in e-commerce.
  • He sees the venture capital ecosystem drying up and encourages businesses to focus on brand voices and engaging with customers.
  • He encourages people to think of others during the holidays.

RIFF Happens – Read more of what Maier has to say on Linkedin

Transcript

Brent: Welcome to this fantastic episode of Talk Commerce. Today I have Maier Bianchi, and I have for the first time, I’ve known Maier for about 10 years now. I’ve said his name correctly. Maier, why don’t you go ahead, do an introduction, tell us your day-to-day role and maybe one of your passions in life.

Brent: You are the founder of Bemeir, and again, I’ve been saying be Meyer wrong this whole time as well. And have you attended. . I think I just, I would always just say, I don’t know. Bier, bier. I would just say it wrong, but I say everybody’s name wrong but why don’t you go ahead.

Brent: You’re gonna do a better job than me, and I like the way that you spelled it out. I was super confused when I saw Bianchi or Bianchi because I would’ve said that correctly and I, nevermind. You just go ahead. 

Maier: Yeah. My name’s Maier Bianchi. Thanks for the intro. I’m from Brooklyn, New York, currently by way of New Jersey, and I’m founder of Bemeir.

Maier: We’re an e-commerce solutions agency outta Brooklyn and web development and web applications and other things just like technology and helping people. That’s what we’re about. 

Brent: Cool. And your passion in life is just having kids. Yeah. Crazy because you have 17 kids now, right? Or something 

Maier: like crazy amount.

Maier: Crazy. Yeah, procreation is my passion. No, I have five. I’m definitely probably gonna keep it five, but you never know the fact still. Yeah. One more. Yeah. But yeah, so that, that yeah, that, that is part of my origin story. It’s probably why I’m motivated cuz it started having kids like age 22. That’s, yeah.

Maier: That, that defines me. 

Brent: I am going to you have a, you have so nicely agreed to participate in the free joke project, and now I should have, I realize I should have had a joke about having tons of kids, but I don’t, I have a, I think it’s a good joke, but you’re all you have to do is tell me if you feel like this joke should remain free.

Brent: Or if we could charge for it. And today’s joke is a quick joke, but I may stumble through it. So if we have to do editing and people see jumps in the videos because I’ve said it wrong and Maier and myself have done this, take four times, . All right. You ready?

Brent: Yeah. , a man walks into a bar with a small salamander on his shoulder. The bartender says, what an interesting pet, what’s his name? Tiny. The man Repli. The bartender says, that’s an odd name. Why did you call him tiny? The man replies because he’s my newt.

Maier: That’s a good one. I’m not laughing, but I’m laughing internally. I’m definitely gonna go tell my friend that one. But I, you could charge for it as part of a scholastic book athon. Joke book, it could be part of a compendium, maybe not a standalone joke.

Brent: That’s fair. I think to be fair, a lot of my jokes are thinking jokes and like you think about it and then maybe a week later you’re like, okay, that I get it now. It wasn’t even funny, but now I get it. So that might be like something where maybe next week somebody and maybe what I should do is have, as part of the free joke project, I could have the following week, I do joke explained.

Brent: A newt is just as a small lizard. Okay, good. 

Maier: The joke revealed, no, I wanna tell that one to my dad. I don’t think I can get the intro. But I like the actual payoff. 

Brent: Yeah. And I’ll, I will admit too that I did not practice that. Like I found I was like I was getting ready for our at, just to get everybody in the green room.

Brent: Our green room conversation consisted of me waiting for you to come back from the bathroom. That’s true. I had some time and I’m like, oh wait, we gotta do the joke. So I looked one up really quick. And by the way, there is a dad joke API that you can access. And one of my, when I have some downtime, I do like to do a little bit of coding, right?

Brent: So my downtime consists of me doing bash scripts. If you go on, I do have a bunch of old Magento bash scripts on Amazon, on on GitHub, but I’m very interested in how can I make, how can I get to this api? So I haven’t gotten that far. All I’ve got, it’s still in my head and I’d love to just, Hey, how can I want to just send off a request and come back with a dad joke of the day.

Brent: I think filter ’em because some of them aren’t are. I’d get in trouble from Susan for saying ’em, but anyways. . Let’s would you like to talk about e-commerce today? Or what what would you like to talk about? 

Maier: Yeah I’m open to anything that’s my problem’s. Not always prepared, but so no.

Maier: Yeah,  you can lead the witness. You could go ahead and talk about anything, bring up any topic. 

Brent: Sure. I wanna start off with if, when you get outside, like you said you came via New Jersey today or something, or did, were you moved, did you move from New Jersey to Brooklyn? 

Maier: No, I moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey a couple years ago.

Maier: Oh, so you’re not in Brooklyn anymore? My company’s based in Brooklyn. I still have Brooklyn in my blood. I can’t, you can’t, you can take the kid outta Brooklyn, but you can’t take the Brooklyn out of the kid, but, got it. I. Currently reside in New Jersey and intend to keep it that way for a while.

Brent: Is that because whenever you drove outside of New Jersey and you came back, I mean outside of Brooklyn came back, you couldn’t get any sleep until you actually got there? 

Maier: No. , no. I would just say it’s because Brooklyn is not the most affordable place to live versus the quality of life ratio and space for your family.

Maier: So New Jersey held those answers a couple years ago, back when prices were lower and yeah, things worked out in that regard. 

Brent: I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately and I binge watch, I’ve been binge watching The Sopranos on HBO O Max on my iPad, so that’s a good, again, now just learning everything there is to know about New Jersey and about the people, the wonderful people of New Jersey.

Maier: keep wondering, yeah, that’s like a little north of here, but it’s real. There’s real places. But I did watch it sometime in the last year. Yeah, last year. Yeah. You’re gonna 

Brent: Have to revisit it. And there is some, I think there, there was some tours, some Sopranos tours in the past just to watch that.

Brent: . Let’s talk a little bit about what motivated you to get into e-commerce and again, you’re relatively young, so you started in this Magento community when you were super young, like 12, right? 

Maier: Yeah, . What motivated me to get into e-commerce is I always was into technology since I was a little kid.

Maier: Loved anything with computers and video games and Nintendo and just anything computers, since I was really. And then got my first computer when I was like, whatever. Let’s just say se pick a number seven, apple, two McIntosh. Lc, think like 16 megabytes of Ram 40 megabyte hard drive. My dad was into like Adobe Illustrator.

Maier: I play in like civilization, HyperCard, so you know, always was like into multimedia and art and like computers. And then flash forward to high school. Majored in media and communications, which was once again interactive stuff like photography, video making websites. And like my aunt got me like an HTML book when I was a teenager.

Maier: Never opened it. Had opportunities to learn like visual basic programming for robotics. Never followed through. So there was something about the book way, which didn’t appeal to me. And then flash forward, my parents had a Halloween. I was working at Halloween store in the back office, so doing more office and data entry stuff.

Maier: And then somewhere along the way I got into the IT side where they had started an e-commerce store, let’s just say in 2002. They were early adopters. I wasn’t so much involved in that. But then let’s just say more around oh 6, 0 7, got more involved in that. Cause I was working in the IT of the store.

Maier: And and eventually working in it like, POS infrastructure and MA making sure the registers were ringing during the busy times and like that type of high demand environment and customer satisfaction environment. Probably formulated how I think or think from the business owner perspective.

Maier: And then around 2009 I was working. And was managing the website or dealing with the website. And I started like teaching myself to code like html, css started doing some side projects like WordPress or static HTML stuff and I really wasn’t going anywhere there. And then in 2010 got recruited to work for like a luxury kitchen bath lighting retailer.

Maier: Shout out to Alex Teller, give credit where credit is due. And he got me into that company and they were on a SaaS platform called Venda. Back in 2010, SAS was not where you wanted to be cuz usually it was very closed source. Just adding a pixel to your checkout could cost thousand, cost thousands of dollars.

Maier: So they wanted to move to a more DIY model cause they were successful, but wanted to be able to iterate faster. So what was really great about that experience was I got with AdWords, front end development, you name it, all the aspects of the business. And then in the end of that year, they decided to look at a platform called Magen.

Maier: They were big, so they were going for Magento enterprise. This was the 1.9 version of enterprise, which was equivalent to 1.4 or one point, like right after the major architecture shift, thank God. But this was back then, so I was lucky enough to be put in charge of that project. , helping implement it, bring it to life, working with all the extension providers, working with a Magento at the time.

Maier: I was about to say Adobe, I’ve been training myself, but Adobe was not a concern back then for the Magento community except for making graphics and and so that’s really how I got into this, was working there and getting my feet. We Magento, went to the first Imagine met people like Karen Baker. Met people like yourself somewhere in there, asked, hitting you on Skype for help.

Maier: I don’t know how it hap how, and. and people, all kinds of, like back then. That’s what, how this started. And then flash forward to four years, said, Hey, I really e-commerce, I like making websites. And decided to go on my own and formed my company freelancing. And then for four years, or not in four years, like three years, two years, then I got burnt out on that.

Maier: I was like, Hey, I never wanna work for anyone ever again. No more jobs. Let’s go agency mode. And that was my. So that’s my superhero or super villain origin story in how we got here. 

Brent: That’s awesome. And Alex has been on the show and and did, how did you stay away from comic books? . 

Maier: So I’m not as good with him as the comics, but I’ve always had some comics, but I would say other.

Maier: Have been my hobby, like making babies or video games, , so yeah. That’s awesome. That’s an expensive hobby too. 

Brent: Yeah, that’s a great story. Just so our listeners give some context The Magento community has been around for about 13, 14 years. The very first imagine happened back in, was it 2011 at the Yes, at the lax at Los Angeles L Ax.

Brent: And and then that’s solidified our the actual community of people. And it is really a community driver to make this happen. So it’s a, I think a unique time in space that we’ve had this and we were, we just saw each other at at Meet Magento, New York. It continues going, and not only do we get professionally, get ourselves Make ourselves better professionally, but we also get making great relationships.

Brent: And I had the pleasure of meeting you quite a long time ago and and just doing so many things across our space. 

Maier: Yeah. And no, and I would just second that by saying there’s relationships I’ve made back then that still carry forward to this day. I was fortunate enough to meet like the founder of Uner.

Maier: Or people that like, like people who worked for Magento and Sapora and then introduced them to other people and they became formative members of their company. And it’s just been like this great, like a family reunion every time you get together with people from the community. Like when I saw you in Boston at a not Magento event at El East, and then just happened to sit down next to you at the table, it’s oh, there’s a friendly face.

Maier: So it’s just really comforting because as things change, it’s been a great constant factor out. And like that I think a lot of people don’t know about or they don’t have in their space. Yeah. 

Brent: I think that’s for me, and I started to attend non-agent events in 2019 with the, for starting with the Adobe Summit.

Brent: It was a Magento event, but yeah, I mean it was 99% Adobe and 1% Adobe commerce. Did you find it a little bit different that maybe you don’t know so many people? Shop Talk or eTail event where , it was mm-hmm. ,, it was a way to, you, you kinda had to reintroduce yourself to the crowd.

Brent: And then the other thing that I find at those events is there’s people that absolutely don’t know about it. And believe it or not, they don’t care about Magento. 

Maier: No, exactly. And so I would say I was there for multiple purposes mainly business development and meeting people. Like I went with my colleague.

Maier: who’s on strategic partnerships and business development. And so it’s different when you’re with a friend and you’re with someone, you have a different, like move and stride to you versus when you’re alone. I’m like pretty outgoing but also more timid when I’m like by myself. I feel like more in my own head, but when you have a certain wingman factor you are able to just get into different conversations or work the room as a team.

Maier: And then also that was a conference focus on e-commerce and I had a great time at eTail East. Back when it was in Philly some years ago. And so I had fond memories of that conference, like from 2014 or whatever that was. And and so it was like, just going there to be about it.

Maier: Meet with Shopify, meet with big commerce, meet with Adobe representatives, meet with partners like Air Call and Webs and so on. So it’s once again, it shows kind of the growth because there were so many familiar faces yet meeting new people at these events. And I would just. It’s cool to see the spirit in general of commerce catch up, cuz it wasn’t always like this, right?

Maier: It was a very different type of crowd. It was definitely a different type of vibe and I think it just has to do with the soup of the day flavor and how this became the big industry and more, more different folks who weren’t in industry flocked to it. So now it’s like one of the it places to be.

Maier: So it’s attracted more diversity in certain ways or more investment, which has led to more involve. . And so I would just say what’s the dark side of it right now is that we’re hearing about so many layoffs and so many people who are like at these companies who are, there’s a lot of things changing hands.

Maier: And so once again, it’s, there’s ups and downs and it’s a whole ecosystem. And so for me, the community is really like a, there’s just so many different facets to it. 

Brent: Do you find that being part of the community makes you a better agency owner? And maybe just from a, maybe from an educational and networking standpoint that 

Maier: Yes, 180 

Brent: client percent client.

Brent: Yeah. A client’s gonna ask you a question and my ear is oh yeah, I’m gonna go ask Philip Jackson that, or something like that. 

Maier: Yeah, no. I’m gonna put a plug. Like for example, in Magento World, there’s this thing called Mage talk that ca you know, not the podcast.

Maier: Sorry. Not Mage talk. Mage chat. Forget about Mage Talk mage. Is, it’s like this slack paid Slack membership where there’s a lot of really smart people all in one place, sharing ideas helping each other out. So it’s like not just these, there’s there’s a lot of free communities, like the Magento, open source Slack with thousands of people in it where you could post a question to get an answer, but imagine a more curated place where you can go learn things and people are happy to share their playbook or say, Hey I really rely upon this integration or this extension, or Here’s how we do it.

Maier: And yes, I would. Two things. Like I’ve struggled a lot in the last two years as an entrepreneur focusing too much on what other people are doing and from a social media and watching, you and getting all that in your head and oh man, I’m not doing good. And hey, the truth hurts. But then at the same time, there’s such a benefit to being connected to people because you learn so much and so yes, a hundred percent as an agency.

Maier: And I’m always on the hunt for information for my clients. That’s why we have so many partnerships. That’s why we do the networking, is because these relationships really help provide a a great way to just get support for people or answer questions. And I would say that’s definitely a big part of my the way I operate a secret sauce as.

Brent: and I will also put a plug in for Mage Chat. Kalen often asks me and I realize now that Kalen asked me in advance for ideas that he’s already gonna do, and he’s already proved successful. Soundboarding . Yeah. And I said I don’t know. I don’t know if I would do that. And then, within a day he’s Boom.

Brent: He I’m get all these text messages. I already got 50 people. I guess it really did work. . I wish I can move fast. He’s good at pointing out the fact that I often give him poor advice. So that’s how, yeah. He also 

Maier: probably didn’t have that answer the day before. Cause that’s how fast Caitlyn moves.

Maier: Yeah, he’s saying one thing this week and then the next week he’s doing something different. And that’s part of his genius is the way he iterates and can just say, Hey, because like I compare that to the way I sometimes do things is where I’ll procrastinate on something or I’ll think about how I’m gonna say something or do something for so long, not put anything on paper, but then when the time comes, that visual or how I envisioned it, Goes to plan.

Maier: So there’s some thought to it, but no, he’s on another level with that. , I can’t disagree there. You can tell him one thing and he’s probably already figured it out. 

Brent: Yeah, he’s a he’s probably a really good chess player. I don’t think I want to play him in chess cuz I’m a terrible chess player.

Maier: Yeah, I used to play chess when I was a kid, but those days are 

Brent: long over. Tell us a little bit about some of your journey as an entrepreneur. You, you worked for Alex Teller. Then you went off and started your own, you did contracting and that’s where I started as well.

Brent: In the Magento space. Yes. I did contract and then I did a agency. Yeah, what was some of the frustrations around the contracting part? 

Maier: Contracting wasn’t so bad. It was the trying to do both, like contracting and having clients or whatever. Contracting for multiple, cuz remember like my whole, I guess I’ll put it to you like this, right?

Maier: So I left and I didn’t have any formal background in development. I had some certifications, I kept leveling up, but I had no computer science background, no PHP background, no JavaScript background. So I don’t think I was the best equipped to get recruited for development. , but I was really specialized with the product.

Maier: I really have a good work ethic. Good focus on e-commerce. And so that’s useful, but that’s not a job, right? That’s not necessarily a ba that’s not necessarily an architect. That’s not necessarily this. So where I fit in well was in certain situations. So for example when I left the, that company working for Alex and then went to, it’s called Home Perfect.

Maier: I went to. , I just was like working with some other people on the side, setting up sites, trying to get involved in certain businesses. But then I got hooked into a company called Weedmaps. And Weedmaps is now a billion dollar, publicly traded company at the time. They were more of a startup going to Enterprise.

Maier: They’re based in Irvine California. And I had the pleasure to work for a brilliant cto. His name was Bill Antreosi and he was leading this project that involved Magento. It was like a marketplace. And it was some really forward looking architecture and headless and elastic search and all this stuff back in like 2015.

Maier: So I really had my eyes open to some advanced technology and also real like software development culture and that sort of stuff. So that was really, I would say one of the most formative experiences I had was I went from a DIY uploaded via FTP culture to. GIT and doing things the right way.

Maier: Culture and learning about, like the software developer handbook. And I worked with some pretty hardcore people who were really sticklers about certain things and that didn’t necessarily mesh well with my style. And so at that time, I grew as a backend developer. I actually learned object oriented programming eventually got my Magento developer certification, which to me, I never could have imagined when I started out.

Maier: The. back end one. So I was like, man, you’re doing something right. But at the time, Magento two was coming, this was like 2015. Everyone was like, okay, the writing’s on the wall. It’s gonna get a lot more hardcore from here. If you could program Magento one, it doesn’t mean you’re good at Magento two.

Maier: So I started to get squirrely. There was some, cultural issues in the company in terms. How the Magento team was functioning. And I was a little bit frustrated and so I was like, Hey, I wanna move over to the business side. I feel hey, if I know the guy that created Magento and I know these people and I work well with all the top software people and I can help speak these languages, hey, let me be a part of this side of things.

Maier: And then that was okay. And eventually, like there was this other company that was trying to recruit me to be a job and I was, I had just had my fourth kid at the time, or like once. I converted to be an employee for healthcare reasons and allowed me to get married and all this good stuff.

Maier: And we had our fourth kid. And so it was more just like I went as the situation developed and I was less focused on building like an agency. I didn’t think like that. I might have had different situations like, hey, I had the job but also had a couple other clients or, projects on the side.

Maier: But then really what happened was I was recruited by this company. . And you know how once you’re a Magento developer, you’re getting hit up by recruiters like, oh, we need a senior Magento developer. And you could be like, Hey, I just know this. And they’re like, no, we want you to solve all our problems.

Maier: And you’re the guy. And they think automatically you’re like a PHP lord. And that wasn’t me. And so I took this job that had been recruiting me for a while. I took a pay cut, I bought a car, was commuting 80 miles a day. That was already the red flags. Took a job where I was working from home and quit because I felt like I was gonna get, cut eventually.

Maier: Anyway, got hired and fired in 60 days. I was working at this company called Nobel Biocare. It’s part of the Danaher Group. Publicly traded. They’re a multi-billion dollar corporation, no lie. Logged into the Magento dashboard and had a billion in transactions, and I was like, you’ve made it when you went and you’ve worked on small Magento’s, then you see one that was a billion and you’re like, okay, this is big.

Maier: But the point is, I wasn’t a good fit for the role they hired me for. It didn’t work out. But I went from having an income to having no income overnight and I was shattered as a person. I was very upset. You can imagine when you’re a sole provider for a household, what that does to a person in your mindset.

Maier: I didn’t take it very. . And so 2017 was definitely a rebuilding year and I’m not gonna act like there wasn’t some kind of help or I like, I wrote an article about this actually recently on LinkedIn called Riff Happens just in solidarity with people who have been laid off. I wasn’t laid off, but I just meant my experiences of, like it definitely has caused me to grow as a person or different aspects of this.

Maier: And just to wrap that up, I guess that is how I went from that employee mindset and the security of that to, Hey, I don’t want to work for any anymore. The social contract is broken. Nobody actually has your back. We’re all a commodity out here. Every man for himself, not so severe. But that’s what changed my mindset.

Maier: And then I basically also, my company was called MageNYC, right? So that was, this is how forward thinking I was. I was like, Magento, New York City. I want to be the guy. Guess what? eBay had a problem. That was a trademark violation. Cause I tried to make a logo, which had the diamond in it, thanks to the glory of Ben Marks was able to work that out.

Maier: And I was gonna get a licensing agreement, but the licensing agreement was terrible. So I said, you know what, I’m gonna change the name. This was late 2016, right as that other stuff was happening with the job and like that whole transitionary period. And so that’s how the name Bemair was. Bemair, because Eric Heman from MageMojo at the time was like, oh, hey, why don’t you just name it after self?

Maier: Why don’t you do this. And I was like, okay. Like my name means giving light, or one who enlightens. It’s a hebrew name, my first name. And so I was like, cool, let the company be one who enlightens. Hey, we like helping business owners. Let’s enlighten people. Let’s empower people. So that went from a Magento focused ideology to a global ideology.

Maier: And that was like a blessing in disguise. The industry changes and being so narrow focused doesn’t always benefit you. And so it was a really just big time of transition. So that’s how I went to being agency focused. I know that was a long-winded tale, but that’s how it happened. 

Brent: No, I think the stories of how we get there are much more interesting as than when you get there.

Brent: The, it’s the journey that, that is the interesting part of it. So you talked a little bit about being super focused on Magento. What does it look like today? You’re branching out, right? 

Maier: Yeah. And I just want to add one parable to what you said. 

Maier: A person is as big as the problems they have.

Maier: And so if you look at your life and you feel like you’ve grown. You don’t think you’ve grown well look at what your concerns were five years ago and look at what your concerns are now and you’ll be shocked to see how much that’s changed. And so that’s how I’ve known, I’ve grown even since then.

Maier: And the problems. So anyway, back to your question is right now we’re focused on Magento, still also wrote an article. Why? I’m still focused on Magento, cuz I believe in it and businesses are still using it and need. We became an Adobe commerce partner this year, so that’s a big milestone because no one’s gonna have an event in Brooklyn in our hometown.

Maier: And we’re the most legit Magento agency from Brooklyn, and you can’t invite us. So I had to step up and become a bronze partner so I could get invited to the Adobe Reconnections, so that was great. We’re also a Shopify partner. We work with plus brands and nonplus brands on Shopify. We’ve been working with Shopify, I’ve been working with it since 2014.

Maier: I wish. Had the foresight to make that my bread and butter could probably be rich by now and acting like I invented e-commerce. Like a lot of these people, like everything you touched turns gold because you had it on easy mode. But but no, so we really got focused on Shopify, let’s just say more 2019 is when we’ve picked up some advanced Shopify knowledge and just been really accelerating.

Maier: And now I consider us up one of the best. I look up to big companies like Half Felix and we make websites and some of the bigger. More boutique or deluxe Shopify agencies, and I don’t consider us like that, but that plus we’re a big commerce partner. I found it hard to grow in big commerce.

Maier: Shout out to the people that do like yourself with that sign in the background, your big commerce elite status, because that’s a really cool industry as well. And . We’re focused on these kind of platforms and I have interest in your Salesforce commerce Clouds. Shopware is one that I’m trying to grow with and having the foresight.

Maier: Again, shout outs to Shopware. We’re a Shopware partner at the moment trying to help them make Headways into the Americas. And also shout out to Ben Marks since everyone jumped on the board when you were on. But I was trying before that, but he really was the catalyst for everyone. And then . And so really like my focus is to utilize our skillset in ways that make sense.

Maier: Cuz now I’m currently trying to focus. And headless is another thing where we do, but unless you’re exclusively doing that or you have your own headless framework that you work on and constantly are using on projects, it’s hard to, it’s like any muscle, it’s hard to develop your muscles if you’re not stretching ’em every day.

Maier: And so I would say the areas I specifically want to grow are Magento, adobe commerce, Shopify, and headless. That’s. Would be my sweet spot right now, but always interested in evolution and going further.

Brent: That’s awesome. Like we’re recording this right before Black Friday. Oh, yes. This is gonna, it’s gonna be a couple of weeks before this gets out.

Brent: It’ll be past Cyber Monday and all those fun 

Maier: things

Maier: in the aftermath. See you all in the, a aftermath. 

Brent: This will be an aftermath. In fact, I have I have a whole bevy of episodes that are being released over the Black Friday weekend. Nice. Now you’re listening to this. Now go back to November 24th and listen to listen to the people that I have on and Megan Bliss from Signified.

Maier: I got you. Just read my mind. That was the one. Yeah. Keep going. 

Brent: She’s on Friday, she’s on our Black Friday cuz they have a holiday guide and we’ve talked about it. I’m like, there’s no way I’m gonna get this done be so we could have this before, but hey, I could do it on Black Friday. So they 

Maier: definitely should have included us in that guide.

Maier: I’m shocked we weren’t included, but it’s okay. I have a big chip on my shoulder in case you don’t know that 

Brent: tomorrow I have Gina Ter from site and that’s another fantastic vision. Oh, we had to call with 

Maier: her today or yesterday. We had 

Brent: to call her. All right, Paul. There you go. It’s a small world

Maier: Yeah. We’re all playing in the same sand. 

Brent: Yeah, absolutely. 

Maier: And by the way, shout out to Megan, greatest partner upline ever. She’s like in the partner pyramid scheme. She’s at the top of all partners. 

Brent: Yeah. There was only other one, other partner manager that I could remember that was, I thought was better than Megan, but she went and left WATO and went to another agency anyways, anymore . Yeah. She’s still a very good partner manager but just not in our exact space. So what do you think what, how do you see now let’s look at, let’s look at the end of quarter four in the beginning, quarter one for e-commerce. Do you think it’s still we still driving towards a good next year in 2023?

Maier: I’m looking for my crystal ball. Hold on. I gotta find it. Let me see what it says. I think there’s one thing you can bend on. E-commerce is going to continue, right? That’s a safe pick is that people are going to use ecommerce people are gonna need e-commerce. It’s still going to form the fabric of our shopping society.

Maier: I think brick and mortar is here to stay too. I think the pandemic tried to put a dent on that. You can bleep out that word in case it just messes up the algorithm. But I think things that happened in the last two years tried to put a dent on brick and mortar, but people really want the human connection.

Maier: And so I think if we bridge the human connection with e-commerce, and that’s in the form of. And strengthening brands and brand voices and how you talk to your customer and how you engage with your customer really shows that e-commerce can be the vehicle or the vessel for, this neoclassical shopping, right?

Maier: It’s not a binary thing. It, that’s what I always enjoyed about when I worked back in the Halloween store was, Hey, I was the guy who was answering the phone. If you call, if you had placed an order, Hey, I saw your order in the digital space, but then we called you if there was an issue or you needed to do a store, in-store pickup, we were prepared for you.

Maier: So it wasn’t like it was this amorphic, faceless animal. There’s real people, there’s real stories. There’s real people impacted by e-commerce. And so I think if we keep the human connection in mind, it’s not going anywhere. I just think the problem is the commoditize. The ads, the ad driven feed the beast venture, capital fed ecosystem might be drying up and that’s okay.

Maier: It wasn’t really healthy to begin with, but I think if we separate the two, and we don’t just look at it as a chart or a line graph, but we look at actual, hey, a guy from X County, Louisiana started X business and it was either a lifelong family business or it’s a new business.

Maier: Someone who’s really small time getting into it themselves on Shopify and starting their own drop shipping business. Whatever it is it’s how people connect to those businesses and the actual utility of what you’re selling that is gonna determine your fate, in my opinion, and also luck and also hard work.

Maier: But yeah. . Yeah, that’s, was that an evasive answer? 

Brent: No, that’s a fantastic answer. And yeah, I know. It was a long it was a very open-ended question. My ear, we’re running out of time. We targeted 20 minutes and now we’re pushing up against 35, but darn. As we close out Yeah.

Brent: There’s so much more to talk about. We, I wanna ask you about your your camera, but anyways we’ll have we’ll do a follow up episode, maybe a special. Technology episode. 

Maier: Yeah. We’ll do a po Let’s do a 2023 technology episode. I’m down. There you go. 

Brent: As we close out the podcast, I give everybody an opportunity to do a shameless plug and you can plug anything you’d like today.

Brent: What would you like to plug? 

Maier: Okay. I’m going to plug 4hcm.org. It’s the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association. One in every 250 Americans has hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy . It’s a real heart disease. It’s genetic. You may have it, not even know it. If you get an echocardiogram, you can get your heart measured, and if your septal wall is more than 12 centimeters, you probably have it, or you’re on the verge of having it, you should get it checked.

Maier: Everyone should support this charity, the 4hcm.org, any kind of donation. I think that would be a big help to saving a lot of lives in this country and helping people get treatment for their conditions. So because it’s Thanksgiving, And we need to think about other people than ourselves. That’s my shameless plug of the day because this whole episode was a shameless plug anyway, where I talked about myself and my business a lot.

Maier: But we need to focus on 4hcm.org and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. heart condition. That’s what I want to shamelessly plug today. That’s awesome. 

Brent: Thank you so much. I very much enjoy when people do a shameless plug not about their business. So I really appreciate that. And I agree there’s so many, there’s so many causes 4hcm.org I’ll make sure I get all these links 

Maier: in.

Maier: Yeah. Lemme make sure I notes. Imagine I gave you the wrong spelling. Let me just, yeah, no, it is 4hcm.org. I’m bugging. 

Brent: Yeah, we’ll, and I’ll make sure these get into the show notes as well as thank you. Anything else that you want, any of your articles that you’ve rec recently written and your past articles, we’ll make sure we get those onto Yeah.

Brent: Onto the show notes 

Maier: about the layoffs. 

Brent: Yeah. And We will we will regroup in 2023 and have another conversation of what we’ll do with the technology conversation. Or maybe we’ll do it in person. I would love that. We’ve got a bunch of events coming up for next year. Will you 

Maier: break down this virtual wall separating us right now?

Maier: Absolutely. Find a way to link up in the physical space and can you give me a closing joke? Give me an outro joke. All 

Brent: So I was thinking about this. The, and this is coming outta. Okay. 

Brent: The first time Yoda saw himself on 4K tv, what did he say?

HD am I.

Maier: Oh my God. Is that do, if you not, there is no try.

Brent: Yeah. I guess I could have phrased it better. Hd. Am I? Yeah, that would’ve, you kinda have to go right through it, you gotta think about it for a little bit. You 

Maier: got a known That’s a good one though. It is a delivery though, isn’t it? It’s how you, I think you gotta make it something more about the connections.

Maier: There is, something or something hd I, you got, I don’t know. Anyway, thanks for the, thanks for bringing that up, . 

Brent: All right, we’ll do one more, right? Alright. You last, 

Brent: every morning after I get out of the house, a bike comes outta nowhere and ru and runs over. . It’s a vicious cycle.

Maier: Oh, that’s a good one. That’s a good one. The vicious cycle. I like that one. You’re welcome. Cheers, man. All right. 

Brent: Happy Thanksgiving. Have a great Thanksgiving and I look forward to I look forward to seeing you in person next 

Brent: year. 

Maier: Same. See you at some events and be well. Take care.

Let Your Customers Do the Talking

The Most Boring Article About Telling Customer Stories You’ll Ever Read.

That’s where customer storytelling comes in. Customer storytelling is the practice of leveraging your customers’ stories to help tell your brand’s story. It’s a powerful way to engage your audience and build trust in your brand.

Talk-Commerce Gaurav Baid

Changing the Buying Experience Through AR technology with Gaurav Baid

The use of AR technology brings spatial depth to the onscreen buying/browsing experience – delivering life-like photorealism, mobile responsiveness, interactivity, and personalization – key influences re-shaping the digital commerce industry today. Gaurav has set out to deliver meaningful & delightful enhancements to visual experiences by deploying 3D Computer Vision and AI technological advancements of Avataar’s proprietary platform. He believes that the way in which end consumers are discovering products today, will undergo a massive transformation with software and hardware evolution in the current decade and wishes for Avataar to play a major role in this.

Talk-Commerce Megan Blissick

2022 Holiday Season Insights and Shopping Trends with Megan Blissick

It’s Black Friday, and we interviewed Megan Blissick with Signifyd. We talk about BFCM and the Pulse Tracker. Will the predictions be right?

You can listen to some of the numbers Megan gives us and compare them to what is happening! Signifyd’s Holiday Season Pulse Tracker compiles a live look at online sales with real-time adjusted season projections to bring you the fastest, most immediate insights into season performance.

Powered by Signifyd’s Commerce Network, the Holiday Season Pulse Tracker leverages data from thousands of retailers from a variety of verticals around the world.

Transcript

Brent: Welcome to this episode of Talk Commerce Today, have Megan Blissick. Megan is the head of Global Agency Partnership with Signifyd. Megan, go ahead, introduce yourself. Maybe tell us what you do on a day to day basis and one of your passions in life.

Megan: Ooh, one of my passions was fun. Yeah. Thanks for having mere.

Megan: I’m Megan. I had global agency partnerships at Signifyd e-commerce, fraud prevention and revenue optimization organization. So I’ve been with signify for I think, God, like two and a half years at this point. A lot of experience in the greater e-commerce. E brand management, digital marketing management, and the e-commerce ecosystem up until running partnerships that Signifyd for the past couple of years.

Megan: It’s been a great time. Love it there. And a passion of mine is rock climbing as a lot of folks I believe know at this point. When I’m not at conferences and events, I’m hanging off the side of a cliff .

Brent: And do they call that bouldering?

Megan: Bouldering is when there’s no ropes, but

Brent: Oh, so you don’t do that part?

Megan: No I get all the way up the top yeah, I get to get some really cool views up there.

Brent: I’m assuming you’ve seen the movie where the guy climbs El Capita, Is it called Free?

Megan: Yes I’ve seen a couple of those

Brent: movies. Any aspirations to do free solo for that one?

Megan: No.

Brent: I got super creeped out just watching that movie.

Megan: I definitely enjoy the rope element of rope climbing. I do that part where you fall and you don’t die. . Yeah.

Brent: That’s always a plus, right? Yeah. Cause in that movie, somebody did one of his friends died, I think.

Megan: It’s it can get really intense in the climbing world, but but me and my buddies we like to play it safe.

Brent: Yeah. Good. Before we get into content and after, now we’ve talked about rock climbing. Yes. I do have a project that’s called The Free Joke Project. Okay. And what I’d like to do is just tell you a joke and you can tell me if you think it should continue to be free. Or if we could charge for the joke.

Brent: Okay, here we go. Here we go.

Brent: I was trying to figure out why the ball kept getting bigger and bigger. Then it hit me,

Megan: Is this how this whole podcast is gonna go ?

Brent: Yes. All right. Since you were so good at that one, I’m gonna tell you one more and then we’ll move on

Megan: since, give me one more. Let’s go for it.

Brent: I entered 10 puns into a contest to see which one would win, no pun in 10 did.

Brent: Oh God.

Megan: How long are we doing this ?

Brent: We got another half an hour.

Brent: Okay, let’s go for it. Let’s go to, let’s go to real things now. Yeah. Commerce protection platform. Tell us about that. Yeah. In our green room, we talked about Signifyd being this fraud thing and we fraud protection, at least in my mind. And that’s what I thought about it, but it’s so much more.

Brent: So tell us, give us a little background.

Megan: Yeah. Okay, Brent, you and I have been working together the whole time I’ve been at Signifyd and you’ve actually been working with us longer than I’ve been around. So when Signifyd started, we were actually a fraud scoring tool. So what that really means is when a customer goes to a website they hit the checkout button and

Megan: we gather a lot of information about that customer based on not only the website they’re checking out on, but any other website within Signifyd network. That way if it’s the first time they’re at, REI buying a climbing rope but they’ve already gone to Moose Jaw and they’ve already bought some Caravaners we already understand a little bit about that customer more than the merchant on hand.

Megan: So that lets us make a better decision about whether or not that’s a legitimate customer. What we started realizing was, as we’re doing this scoring we are getting really strong scores getting better information than our merchants so that we could really provide them that value, but, They weren’t always taking us up on it.

Megan: So we started actually guaranteeing on our orders. So saying, Yes, we think this is a really good purchase. We think this person is correct. There may be, a couple things that look weird. They may be shipping it out of state, or the recipient doesn’t have the same last name. But ultimately we have enough data to stand behind this.

Megan: So we started adding a financial guarantee, and that’s where g. Fraud protection came from. So we said if we’re wrong and if it is fraud signify will pay the merchant back in full cost of product shipping, taxes, fees. And that really took us into another world of e-commerce fraud prevention, because what that did was not only prevent fraud, but we started actually increasing revenue and increasing order approval rate for our customers.

Megan: So we saw that. Getting rid of the fear of fraud, we are actually able to enable more transactions to go through. That really opened a door for our customers to see five to 7% revenue lift just by taking in more orders that they were at first afraid were fraud. So that really changed the conversation for us.

Megan: We are preventing fraud, but we’re really driving most of our value by driving more revenue. So we started looking. Further down in the conversation, what happens once that product gets there? Does the product arrive or does the merchants still have to pay for an item not received claim where they delivered the product got there, but the customer never got it.

Megan: So sometimes, that’s true. We’ve seen porch pirates especially talking to the holiday season. This is something that. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. People steal things off of porches. I’m sure you’ve seen some of those Ring doorbell videos. But sometimes a customer does get their product and they say they didn’t.

Megan: A merchant busy during the holiday season doesn’t really have time to look into all those claims. They don’t want to insult their customers that are legitimate and are good and are missing their products. So they’re taking a hit there. Signify said, continue down the funnel. Let’s cover item not received claims significantly, not subscribed, subscription cancellations like cancellation errors, order shipping fees.

Megan: So we started really enhancing our commerce protection from just that point of sale, continuing down the funnel. Now Signifyd hosts a variety of different products through our three main modules through our agent console, where you can really tailor your different policies and your orders through insights reporting where you can really understand your customers better.

Megan: And through our decision center, which is, our core product of yes or no, are these orders being approved or not? That allows us to hit into a couple different categories past the traditional fraud prevention chargeback recovery, account takeover protection, author off rate optimization pre off acceptance.

Megan: You’re not paying those credit card fees anymore. Along with that that core of products. So at this point, yeah, signify covers our merchants end to.

Brent: And we talked earlier that right now it’s before Black Friday, but this episode’s not gonna come until after Black Friday. . So you do have something new called a, or maybe it’s not super new, but a sales prediction tool or sales tracking tool.

Brent: Tell us a little bit about that and how that’s gonna play into the holidays. .

Megan: Yes. So this is actually a continuous project that I’ve absolutely loved. It’s been part of Signifyd since I started right at the beginning of the pandemic. When we, we sit right in that payment gateway. We get to see real time transaction data across over 6,000 different merchants in hundreds of different products categories.

Megan: So what that really gives us is a chance. Look at real time e-commerce data. So actually just today we launched our 2022 holiday season insights and shopping trends. So as things happen in real time, we’ll be able to track. Our holiday season projections against what’s actually happening this holiday season.

Brent: All right. Then I’ll make sure, I’ll put all that on the show notes that they can get the link to the report and they can look at it. You had mentioned some things that, that we’re looking at in. The holidays. Can you give us any insights that we might see for Black Friday? And I guess we’re gonna know if you’re right or wrong for Black Friday after this, but we still have Christmas, Hanukkah coming up in Yes.

Brent: As we go forward.

Megan: Absolutely. So we have. Three categories right now of holiday season predictions. We have one on total holiday spend. We have one on product volume, how much is actually going to be purchased, and then we have some cyber week predictions. So I think we touched on this in the green room.

Megan: The the holiday season is not Black Friday anymore. Between pandemic, e-commerce penetration and everything in between. Shoppers are buy. Gifts whenever they want, and and merchants are really catering to that. I think Amazon has two prime days now, or a special exclusive event coming up.

Megan: There’s already holiday sales at some of the major big box retailers. The the holiday shipping window and the holiday returns window has already started where there’s usually extended return windows so that people can buy gifts and then return them once they’ve been gifted and and not received kindly.

Megan: So there’s really a huge window of holiday shopping now. It’s not. Like that small peak that happens in that one week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and then again in that like Christmas and Hanukkah weeks. It’s really starting now and it’s going to continue until the shipping cutoffs occur in the end of December.

Megan: So we’ve got a long holiday season coming

Brent: up. Yeah, And it’d probably go all the way to July if Amazon takes us there. And then it’ll start again right after July. That’s when the pre-Christmas sales will start. Soon. You had mentioned in the greenroom as well about how you’ve extended, so traditionally Signifyd was that sort of right before the payment happens.

Brent: But now you’re extending it down the funnel even past into the delivery cycle. Tell. Where you see the biggest value for a merchant as you get through that. Let’s just say they, they, that is, it’s a client that, that makes it through or isn’t, It’s a valid client, but , it’s somebody that is trying to gain the system by saying something, I didn’t get something.

Brent: How does Signifyd help there?

Megan: Yeah. Item not received is a really interesting category. As Brent, I live in Brooklyn. I’ve had a couple packages stolen off my doorstep. It happens, there’s a, a couple of my friends happens to it too. But there’s also those merchants or those customers that, they say that they didn’t receive a product when they did.

Megan: So that becomes an item not received claim. There’s a couple ways that merchants, if they’re handling this on their own, they can deal with. You might have seen some of the backlash of some of these come up before. For example, on Amazon, if you claim too many items, so it’s not received in a six month window then you’ll start getting a flag of you must provide proof or, like you can’t return any items for the next like couple months.

Megan: Things like that. You can’t make this claim anymore. So there’s that volume approach, right? If it’s the, if then approach of binary rules, if someone returns X amount of items and y months reject. We all know that any binary system is just right for fraud. It’s very simple. If someone can figure out, Oh, I can return four items but not five, or I can return.

Megan: $200, but not 201. Then they’re going to push right up to the boundaries, create another account, anything like that. So there’s always a way to get around those binary rules. You’re also, if you’re managing things on your own, you’re risking an insult rate. And I will tell you there are. Vengeful customers that will let you know if you’ve wronged them.

Megan: We’ve seen them all online, if it, And it’s a terrible customer experience, right? So if I ordered something I was really excited about I get the notification while I’m out at work that, a package arrived at my door and then I go home and that package isn’t there.

Megan: You, you first have that sinking feeling and then, Text your neighbors. You ask if anyone else picked it up or saw it. You wait another day and see if the the shipping thing was just wrong and they hadn’t gotten there yet. And then you ultimately contact the company and say, Hey, I never received my product.

Megan: If they come back to you and say, Hi, we think you’re lying and you’re not getting your product or your money going to raise hell and high water. All over anywhere you can post a review or rating online. There’s a lot of places to do that. So you risk really insulting those good customers because that might also be a really high value customer.

Megan: It can be someone that’s shopping with you guys once a month that is going to go to your competitor and never go back again and actively discourage people from shopping on that site. So what signify does is, first and foremost, if you have our INR coverage, we reimburse our merchants. We say, We got it.

Megan: Don’t worry about it. That’s ours now. So our customers are taken care of immediately. We now also have an internal chargeback recovery team. So they will go and they will investigate that claim. They’ll investigate all claims that they think that there is a reason to look into and will go all the way through the entire process and order flow to figure out if that product actually did get to the intended recipient.

Megan: We’ve had some very funny ways that we found people and we actually now have made that into another series called Crime and Cocktails where every couple months we sit down in a webinar setting and we talk about some of the some of the fraud that we’ve seen in the industry where we actually catch some people that are claiming that they never receive their.

Megan: $5,000 Rolex, but they’re wearing it in their picture, on their Facebook profile. Or where someone says that they never got their above ground pool, but we find it on Google Maps. So we actually get to cover what really goes into some of these fraud attempts and how our teams are able to, trace back the entire supply chain to really find if these are legitimate customers.

Brent: Yeah. That takes a lot of tpa to claim a lost pool, but then set up the pool in your yard. My, I still love that one. . Yeah. My experience recently has been, I received a package from Amazon that was empty and it was also. Point zero one ounces, . So it clearly got through everything. And then Anne got the weight onto shipping and they shipped it.

Brent: It was just a, it was an envelope, but it was supposed to have some clothes in it, huh? And zero weight as well. I didn’t even have to argue with Amazon. They just sent me the new item. But I suppose as a consumer, if you get an, and it was a, one of those envelopes from Amazon that had the, and it wasn’t even sealed yet, so somehow nobody put the thing in it.

Brent: They just sent it to shipping, ran through their UPS thing, and then off to ship. But it’s not, I suppose too, as a consumer, you, if for whatever reason you get the couple of those in a row, you want to make sure. Back yourself up with your ring and all this other fun stuff. You. So I think you mentioned returns.

Brent: How do you go farther besides just the lost packages? Do you go into returns as well?

Megan: Yeah, and that’s actually, I’m glad you brought that up. That’s probably what I consider the most exciting opportunity space is especially going into the holiday season this year. We all know that e-commerce returns happen, but we all pretend like they don’t

Megan: And the really, the biggest bummer of it all is that it’s a much higher rate than in-store returns. Take fashion as a category in-store returns average around 10% of retail sales. eCommerce averages around 30%. And that’s really hard. Especially right now, we’re not in the best spot in the there’s an economic downturn.

Megan: We’re all aware of it. People are still buying, people are still shopping. When you’re really counting on sales and business and 30% of that is coming back in the door. That’s a big hit because that’s merchandise that was off the floor that couldn’t be sold. That’s also merchandise that gets damaged.

Megan: In return, about 25% of returned merchandise goes straight to a landfill. And, that’s just devastating both for the environment and for a retailer’s bottom line. And then seasonal items get marked down. Okay, return that fake Christmas tree, but you can’t sell that again until next year.

Megan: So now you’re sitting. Dead inventory and there’s a lot of companies that are popping up to really start solving returns. It’s making me really happy. Signifyd is partnering with a couple of those to be displayed soon. But what we’re also doing, and the reason that we’re really showing up in that space is actually in terms of, the consumer experience.

Megan: Returns is a one size fit all approach right now, and it’s probably the last thing in the customer journey that applies that. We have loyalty programs that incentivize good customers. We have tailored experiences so that if you have a certain IP address, then you land on a different website version on a homepage than someone else.

Megan: But why are we all doing the same thing when it comes to returns? It’s this blanket return policy of. 30 days or free shipping or something like that. When in reality our good customers should have the benefits of good returns and our abusive customers shouldn’t be able to return things at all.

Megan: Because you know that’s not a customer that you really want shopping on your site. It doesn’t matter if they spend a thousand dollars. If they return that a thousand dollars and end up costing you $300 along the way, that’s not a good customer. So what signify does now is we have a returns abuse api.

Megan: So what that allows us to do is actually take control. That customer return journey if they go on that. So say you put us in place right now. Holiday season has started. We’re getting all these orders in. Again the benefit of signify that’s. That powers everything is our commerce network. We work with so many brands around the world that we’re able to see 98% of online consumers.

Megan: So if you’ve shopped online you’ve probably shopped at a Signifyd store, which means that we know you. And that can be really good because if you’re a good customer and we’re using a merchant that’s going to say, Okay, we’re gonna prioritize our VIPs. Has a rewards account with us.

Megan: Anyone that’s been a customer for more than three years, you can set all of these rules yourself and say, Megan’s a good customer. She spends over a thousand dollars a year with us. If she initiates a return, immediately refund the money to her account before she even returns the product. Send a prepaid shipping label so that make it really easy on her to send that out.

Megan: Ask if she needs a box or. A mailer or an envelope and send that as well and, make that friction point that’s happening. Cuz no one wants a re I don’t wanna return a product. I didn’t buy it to give it back. But make that friction point something that’s really exciting for your customer.

Megan: Wow, that was incredibly easy. I’m going to buy from here because if something goes wrong, I know they have. So treat your good customers really well. And then, over here, Brent, you’re just returning everything you buy. You’re just, buying it to use it once and then put it back in the box and who cares if it’s broken?

Megan: You’ll just say it arrived that way and then shipping it right back. For customers that are doing, abusive behavior with your products, you can limit them. You can make their order final sale. You can, make it that they have to pay for return shipping. And they don’t get their refund until the item has been inspected back in the warehouse.

Megan: And then everyone else somewhere in between. So what we can really do with actually taking control of returns and looking at different customers, setting these different policies can ultimately create a really strong customer experience for your best customers and can shut out those serial abusers and just get them off of your site.

Brent: Yeah, and to be fair, it’s only because people keep buying me hair care products, but I keep returning them for gifts. It’s not that I’m trying to do it, it’s just that I can’t use it for anything. I guess I could re-gift it. That’s a good idea. You could re-gift it. . We have a couple, we have a little bit of time left and I got thinking that that, let’s put this episode live on Black Friday.

Brent: So let’s just say somebody is sitting there on Black the day after Thanksgiving still sort of stuff, Turkey, and they’re like, Oh, I’m gonna listen to a podcast. Oh, there’s a new episode out. What do you think that, And they’re gonna be shopping as a, as a. It’s too late to do something then. But as a as a shopper, is there ways to figure out, I don’t know how to say with that.

Brent: Is there is there trusted brands that you know that are gonna be a good brand to go to? Or is it is it just the typical trust that you have from a merchant or for the merchant and then as a merchant, this is a better question. As the merchant, before we get to Christmas, is it too late to add Signifyd?

Brent: I.

Megan: Not at all. If you’re a merchant that’s already using Signifyd you can effectively turn on something like our returns of use API or add in any of these additional layers of protection. If you’re not already using Signifyd any major e-commerce platform we’re already pre-built into.

Megan: Adobe Commerce, Shopify Plus Salesforce Big Commerce. Neva, NetSuite, V tags all the good guys. And then, if we don’t have something built, we have we have APIs that connect in to everybody. If you’re working with an amazing agency like Magento they can get you set up and running and really quickly and, just start protecting your orders.

Megan: Start, especially when it comes to these big swings and volume. You don’t have the manpower to be manually reviewing all these fringe cases, especially when it’s 100, 200% the regular daily volume. Having a product like this in place, it’s quick to put in. And it’s quite effective, I would say, especially for the holidays.

Brent: Yeah. I always like to tell the story that we started in Mexico selling e-commerce in 2014 and one of our first clients had a call center that they literally called every client that put an order in cuz they were worried it could be a fraud client. . So they had, 20 or 30 people in a big room that would just make phone calls all day to confirm.

Brent: So that’s a lot of manpower. Yeah. From a volume standpoint, how much that, let’s think how much you can help something like Signifyd and help. And it’s almost at this point, it’s a necessity, isn’t it? Because if you think about the cost to the cost of returns and the cost of fraud and all those things that are around that this is something that is not just an insurance and doing that, but it’s also, I think you had mentioned a couple times just improving the customer journey.

Brent: Yeah. And improving the experience of the customer. And then for, from the merchant side, knowing that the customers are good is always a better way to do

Megan: business. Yeah. There’s a lot more trust in the entire transaction. And you’re right, it is essential because especially right now oh, a lot of companies are having a hard time and have big numbers to hit.

Megan: There’s, you can’t afford to turn down your best customers, so if someone’s hitting the buy button, that’s the highest intent they can really show you. And we can’t afford to turn away four or 5% of those customers because of the fear of fraud. So that’s ultimately how I always see it, is, let those good customers through and, Let them through that first time and they’ll come back, especially if they have a good experience end to end.

Brent: All right. A couple minutes left here. Megan’s prediction on the holidays what do you think we’re gonna be

Megan: doing? All right, so we’ve. Thing. So going back to those three categories, this is what what the amazing team had Signifyd. I had nothing to do with these numbers, but we have an incredible data team.

Megan: So they were really able to pull some of these insights based on what we’ve been seeing over the past, oh gosh, 24 months of eCommerce trends. Our first prediction is that cyber week growth is going to increase by 5% year over year. So we think there’s still gonna be a lot of volume, but we don’t think it’s all going to come from cyber week.

Megan: We’re predicting an 8% increase in November and December is total rise in terms of that product volume. We’ve been seeing people buying more recently, which is, it’s still haven’t figured things out in terms of the economy. I’m not even going to pretend to try, but we’re predicting an 8% change in volume of products sold in cyber week and a 5% overall volume in November and December.

Megan: We think people are still just buying more, but ultimately that cyber week, we think it’s gonna be down from last year. We think there’ll. 19% of holiday sales versus 21% of holiday sales last year. So people are spreading out their purchases, they’re starting earlier, they’re shopping later.

Megan: As more companies adopt better transition, better solutions they’re able to extend their shipping windows because, they’re not doing that manual review in house anymore, they’re able to actually approve and process orders faster. So they’re able to accept orders longer into the holiday season.

Megan: Yeah, we think it’s a wider range. People are buying earlier, they’re planning ahead. But there’s still going to be a lot of consolidation in Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

Brent: Yeah. And I think overall I was at the econ forum here in Minneapolis a couple weeks ago, and they gave out some numbers that said, E even though it seems like we’re going into a downturn, We’re coming off of such a hot cycle through the pandemic.

Brent: Everybody had to order online. Yeah, that online is still gonna grow even next year. It’s gonna grow 20% over the year before. It won’t grow 50 or whatever that number was. Maybe it was 10%. Anyways, it’s gonna be a good healthy growth in online no matter what over the year. And so people are still shifting from retail to.

Brent: Online, maybe not even, Or even buying more in the future. Yeah. And that as a merchant, you need to always pay attention to where your customers are buying from and where they’re gonna buy more from. Yes. So that cycle and reducing some of that friction in the. And the checkout and making sure that it’s a quality customer is such a important part of things.

Megan: Yeah. It’s really important. And those customers show up everywhere. They’re showing up online and then they’re returning in store, or they’re window shopping online, and then they’re making a final decision. It’s really important to meet that customer where they are, treat them the same.

Megan: Everywhere that you find them and make sure that they have the best experience with your brand.

Brent: Megan, as they close out the podcast, I get everybody a chance to do a shameless plug. , what would you like to plug today?

Megan: Oh gosh. Am I not plugged enough? I feel like it’s been most of us .

Brent: You can plug anything you want.

Brent: You could plug your climbing. Should I plug rock climbing?

Megan: Oh my, yes. Yeah. Anything you want. No, I would absolutely love to plug the incredible marketing team here because all these insights, all these analytics, all this data it’s, all of my partners know this. It’s something I talk about far too much, but, we have a incredible team of really talented and really thoughtful marketing folks that have really enabled Signifyd partnerships continuously.

Megan: We’re able to create really incredible content. It’s actually thought provoking. I hate how many times I even said pandemic in this presentation. They’re really able to bring this information to the table in a way that’s digestible, easy to use and easy to explain. That’s that’s my plug is when you have a great marketing team, let the entire world know

Brent: As, so we’re gonna close out now, but since it is Black Friday today, and we don’t know if I’m actually gonna get it done by it, but it’s gonna, we’re gonna assume that I have it done already and it is Black Friday. What should I go out or What are you gonna go by on Friday? Black Friday and I’m gonna be in the air, so I won’t be able to buy anything.

Brent: What are you gonna buy on Black Friday?

Megan: What am I gonna buy on Black Friday? You’re gonna laugh at me, but I really want a nice two person tent because I only have a one person tent right now and it’s very tiny.

Brent: Is your two person tent, the kind that sits on the side of a rock face?

Megan: No, but I hang, give you a little education that is called a portal ledge.

Megan: Oh, Portal ledge. Like a portable ledge. Yeah. Very cool. So now you’ve got a cool little lingo term for next time you’re out rock climbing or summiting, lcap .

Brent: Absolutely. Okay. If you don’t get your 2% in, then for the holidays, you’ll want one for a gift.

Megan: Yes. Any, anyone that’s listening that wants to send me a tent, I’m sure you can just provide my information in the comments, . All right,

Brent: perfect. Megan Bick is the head of Global Agency Partnerships With Signifyd. Thank you so much for being here today.

Megan: Thanks for your time, Fred. Always great to see you.

Brent: All right.