Think about the last time you placed an order on an e-commerce site. You get a confirmation email, and what’s in it? Usually, only shipping and fulfillment information.
Most online stores provide limited information and miss an excellent opportunity to upsell customers when they are not expecting to be up-sold.
Irina Poddubnaia tells us how her solution helps store owners maximize their transactional emails and turn them into marketing contact points.
Brent: Welcome to Tak Commerce. Today I have Irina Pad. Please go ahead, introduce yourself. Pronounce your name the way it’s supposed to be pronounced. Tell us your day-to-day role and may be one of your passions in life.
Irina: All right. Thank you Brent. My name is Irina Pad. I’m from Bulgaria and I’m the founder of Trackage Dot.
Irina: We help entrepreneurs with post-purchase customer experience. So basically everything that happens after the buy button is Preston in eCommerce store. And when it comes to passions right now it’s public speaking and everything that’s related speak, just speaking and speak and singing as well.
Irina: So that’s one of my passions right now.
Brent: Oh, awesome. Are you gonna sing for us? .
Irina: It depends. , we’ll do one thing here, .
Brent: We’ll leave that, we’ll leave it right to the end. So I did warn you that I have a project called The Free Joke Project, and maybe we should, we could do the free song project next, but we’ll do the free Pro Joke project.
Brent: All I’m going to do is tell you a joke and you can tell me if that joke should be free or if it’s one that we could charge. And since you did mention singing, I found a joke that has at least some reference to singing in it. Here we go. Did you know Mortal Combat is based on an old Scandinavian church song?
Brent: It’s a Finn Hymn.
Irina: That’s a good one. I I don’t know about if you should charge for it, but that’s a good.
Brent: All right I’ll just one more quick one. Why is Pavlov’s hair so soft? Because he conditions it. Yeah, I know. They’re all really bad. I apologize. All right. So wouldn’t say that
Irina: they’re bad. I’m just saying that Yeah.
Irina: This is like the hi and intellectual humor. It’s not
Brent: just like it’s only for sas. That’s, it has to be smart people. All right. So let’s talk about PO I, I’m very interested in post transactional data and how you can get people and we are a magenta agency. My day job is work running a magenta agency and we’ve done a lot of work where in the card after they check after they ac even after they pay.
Brent: We like sometimes would the customers would like to hold that transaction and get ’em to buy something more. So tell us a little bit about your. And how it helps people post transaction.
Irina: So what we do is basically, so I can just start from the beginning.
Irina: And why they do that, because the conversion is from five to 10% of extra sales just from looking at the order status. So we helped like we literally just took this functionality and made it available outside of Amazon. So you can plug it into your store. That’s built with Shopify Commerce.
Irina: Magenta is in the plans. We don’t have a direct. , but we do have an integration with Zapier. So it’s possible to pass the data. So what it creates is it creates a tracking page where customers can see additional products the actual information about where order and when it’s coming to them and also the brand and social media accounts and the delivery information, whatever you want to put on the page.
Irina: It’s 100% customiz. And you can change all the bits and pieces of it. So it’s a drag and drop builder where you can literally just customize everything. So one other thing that I didn’t mention is that also those pages, they have localization. So if a customer is from a different country or if you are shipping internationally you can just customize the page with specific language.
Irina: That’s that’s region. Because we support customized emails as well. So emails can be in their local language when the tracking page can be in local language. So the entire thing. So what Trackage does is we are helping the customers not only understand with the like the package is coming to them, but also to see additional products while we’re where.
Irina: Browsing for the information they were actually looking for. So that’s how we help e-commerce stores bridge the communication gap and also lower the customer support load because people don’t have to ask the the question, the fail the question, like, where is my order? Where is my package?
Irina: That overloads customer support and e-commerce, so they don’t have to ask because it’s already answered. .
Brent: So tell us some numbers. Do you have some hard numbers that kind of show how successful this is in terms of, it brings a lift on post transactional purchases by 10% or 15 or whatever that number is?
Brent: Yeah. And then all the secondary part of that question is, do you rely on discounts or coupons or anything else to bring in or do people just buying.
Irina: Okay. I can tell you about our numbers currently. First thing that we measured is the open rate for the post-purchase emails that talk about the status of the order.
Irina: So basically we’ve seen the open rates around 60%. So that’s way higher than any marketing emails that you. . Another thing is that like from those emails customers, they visit the tracking pages one or two times per day when they are actually actively waiting for the order. Instead of just going through the email every time they just save the link and they go and visit it one or two times.
Irina: So during that time various sliders so what we’ve seen that then the sliders were. The conversion rate wasn’t that high. It was around like four, 5%, like it was on the lower end, but when they made them animated and they started moving the conversion rate raised to around 12, 10, 10, 12%.
Irina: Customers were actually, when we are waiting for the order, they literally have nothing to do. And they want to get the package repair waiting. But they don’t know how to facilitate that process. So instead, they are li left with just some free time and they start browsing the product.
Irina: And if the products are interesting the customers are buying. So we’ve worked with this influencer. They are creating an animated series. And this katoon gathered a very passionate fan base with free million follow. . It’s called Metal Family. If you want, you can check it out.
Irina: Like very cooling. And they have remarkable sense of humor, , so I would say so, and this fan base they were like when they launched their first comic book they were not prepared to handle like the amount of orders they were going to get because they printed the whole batch of 10,000.
Irina: And it was sold instead of two months. How we were projecting it was sold in one week, and after that they had to fulfill everything and what they’ve seen. So from those 10,000 orders like originally, wasn’t there, but we joined in be middle of this process. So from those 10,000 orders we’ve seen around 7% extra sales.
Irina: So that result around like 700 or that’s exactly what it. And so 700 text orders from the tracking page directly, but then we don’t measure the indirect sales. Some of the customers we were going through the logo to the website, we were going through the social media and then back to the website.
Irina: So that’s like the indirect conversion. So maybe it’s around 15% or something like that because we didn’t have the detailed analytics at that point. And what happened then? , the customers were waiting and instead of writing to customer support like they previously did because metal family, they were overwhelmed with the amount of questions they got.
Irina: Because the customers, they were, again, you can imagine this is a Katoon series. What kind of immature customers were there? So very immature customers were sending messages to all the social media accounts. We knew five messages from one customer, like every. . So they had to ease that pain.
Irina: So we had to ease that pain for them because once the emails started get going out and people were getting proactive communication, they stopped asking the questions and the customer support just co I don’t know, side with relief because all that enormous I don’t know, like a ton of sta questions.
Irina: Like it just went. So after that happened and the last bit of functionality and what we also helped metal family with was getting reviews. So at the end of the purchasing experience when the customer actually gets the order they, they experience this I dunno, like burst of enden when they open the package and they finally see the thing that we ordered.
Irina: And it’s the perfect moment to ask for a review. Because in most cases with what I’ve seen with e-commerce stores, they use just timed automation. So in two weeks there is an email that goes out asking for review. But what if in two weeks your customer hasn’t received the order yet?
Irina: And that happened to me a couple of times when I ordered from China or sometime from us. Like it, literally, like it asked me for a review when I didn’t yet get the product and when I’m fighting with the customs to get it out of , outta the post office. The idea is, so what we did, we configured the automation, the standard one and it started asking for reviews and every fifth customer left the review around five stars.
Irina: So that was 2,150 reviews from 10,000. . That’s enormous, I would say. And those reviews they can be used on the product pages, on the, I mean on the store itself and on social media. So there are a lot of ways how you can capitalize on social proof.
Brent: So the social is the, is that how you leverage other customers to bring in
Irina: more customers?
Irina: Yes. And we have one feature that is like the killer feature, but it’s not yet. Then the customer review is four stars and more. I think we’re going to make it configurable so that you can adjust the threshold. So if review is positive we will ask the customer to share it on social media with reach media, for example like video or a photo of them interacting with the product.
Irina: So let’s going to probably get some sales from. I’ve seen some companies that were capitalizing just on oh, you were going to post review anyway. How about you get some like some money from the brand that you’re posting it for? So yeah, there are quite a few companies that are focusing on TikTok commerce.
Brent: Yeah. Are you focusing then on making are, so they get an email and then they go and open up the email to go to this, to, to the custom tracking page or? Custom tracking page that you’re generating automatically there right
Irina: after checkout. The custom tracking page is going to be available the entire time how it’s set up like technically.
Irina: When the store signs up the trackage and they install one of the apps, or they just configuring integration with like the third party. . We will get the tracking page inside of Trackage and you can create multiple tracking pages. By the way if you are promoting different things or if you have different brands.
Irina: So you can configure tracking pages for every occasion. And the tracking page, it’s standalone. You can put it on your custom domain or you can use trackage domain and you can plug it in anywhere. It’s responsive, so on mobile and on desktop, which works seamlessly. The idea is that page is always there, but the content based on who is looking at that page changes.
Irina: So they can look by the order number or by the tracking number that they got. And if we don’t remember both, they can enter their email and they’re going to get an email from Trackage that’s going to send them their tracking page. So this way we. Just this is a security feature. Because if we were allowing them to just look up any email, that’s not a very secure
Brent: Yeah, that makes sense. I’m interested in your own journey. In your bio that you moved to China without speaking Chinese, and you ran a fulfillment company and then you now. You’ve launched the SAS company remotely without any funding. Tell us a little bit about that journey.
Brent: Like how did you end up in China and then are you back in Bulgaria now?
Irina: Yes. I’m back in Bulgaria for the last six years. And that journey to China, it started just by me feeling adventurous. I. Because at some point in my life I was just working in an office I was selling frozen berries in bulk.
Irina: So it wasn’t a very exciting job to tell you the, like to tell you the truth. And at that point I thought that I knew everything about commerce and how videos are done because I was selling the. , like ev, everything, like in trucks and even higher amounts. So we, we had never sold any ships, by the way, because that’s a lot but the trucks, yeah.
Irina: And I thought that I understood everything like with bills of lading how the deals are them, how to accept the payments, invoicing, everything. But that wasn’t, When they came to China we found the the variety of suppliers of everything you could imagine. There were literally plazas.
Irina: Those are skyscrapers of like full to the brim with goods of various kinds, like a plaza for smartphone accessories. That’s not an exaggeration where it is a whole city of like smartphone accessories. You could literally just find everything. What we realized at that point was that it’s not about the suppliers, it’s about the customers, because we didn’t have that many customers at that point.
Irina: When when we came to China and we found all the suppliers, we found how to work with them. We figured everything out. We still were forced to understand marketing, to reach out to customers, to do the prospecting selling, and that’s. and that’s how we were surviving. So we figured out the pay dads and it was the full experience because we had to survive based on how well the business performed.
Irina: We didn’t take any funding ever. We didn’t even know what was a possibility. That’s right. . So that’s how my like Chinese adventures came to an end when we lost one of our biggest customers. And then we felt like overwhelmed with all evaporations and like packaging the boxes. Because again, for two and a half years my main occupation was to go to a warehouse to accept the goods, to pack the goods, to ship it to the logistics company, to negotiate with suppliers check.
Irina: And I even stopped speaking English that much just because we were working with Europe and like it wasn’t necessary. And I, like all the time I was exposed to Chinese, so my English kind of went. . So yeah, at some point I realized that’s not what I want to do in life. I wasn’t born to package boxes.
Irina: That’s not something that I want to do. And that’s when this part of with Johnny ended and after that we moved back to Bulgaria. We. like we were. Yeah, at that point we were very discouraged because like we attempted to work, we attempted to create our own business. It wasn’t the next Amazon unfortunately, or even the next early express.
Irina: It wasn’t like. Yeah. And that’s when we realized that we could do something with the tools that we developed for ourselves while we were in. So everything from inventory, acceptance keeping track of all the shipments keeping track of all the orders and yeah, we just wanted to bring all the experience with Beca to a better cause and make it available for our e-commerce entrepreneurs to use.
Irina: So that’s how Trackage was born. And that’s how it’s still there . .
Brent: Yeah. It’s interesting that a lot of these great there’s a lot of great tools that get developed in-house and then suddenly the entrepreneur who’s selling something realize that they have a great CRM or inventory management or whatever that tool is, that software tool, and suddenly they’ve decided their own, their old business is no good and here’s much better business.
Brent: Do you feel as though. Branching into a whole new culture helped you be more competitive. I just did working in China help you be a better entrepreneur when you went back to Bulgaria?
Irina: You know what I definitely can say uh, happened is that I lost my like rose tinted glasses. So I started actually looking realistically at the world of business and.
Irina: it’s un like we, like at the beginning of a journey, we lost unfathomable amount of money. Like with just purchasing own goods or just, I dunno, like the logistics partner losing the packages and who knows what else. We experienced all the hardships of working with people that we didn’t know anything about.
Irina: And we didn’t have experience with all those different products that were ordered from us because we literally offered to buy anything from China, from us. And that’s that was probably a mistake right now I realize it was probably a mistake. We should have niche down. We should have just studied with niche, understood the quality requirements found with West suppliers, and then just scaled that.
Irina: But instead, we just went broad and developed the tools instead of developing the. . But again that’s a learning experience. I I will never say that. I’m not glad it happened. And after that I now realize how important that is to understand the customer before the supplier, because there are a lot of suppliers, but the customers, they are the backbone of a business.
Irina: And if you don’t have any sales, you don’t have a. That’s
Brent: easy. One. One of my experiences with buying products from China is that documentation is often just Google translated. Do you find that same type of, did you find that, say I’m assuming you sold products to Bulgaria and it was maybe they put, they did a Google translate into Bul.
Brent: Into Bulgarian and nobody actually, no humid actually read. read the text. Is that something that is overlooked in China or is it something that that people just don’t think is important? I’m, and I’m just saying specifically language, like we, you get some products that are coming from China that are just translated into English, and it’s clear it was done through a machine.
Brent: It wasn’t nobody actually read it. Who’s an English?
Irina: Yeah. In case of our deals I was translating everything, so that wasn’t the case. So yes, I did remember when we got some materials, they were very poorly translated. And I did have to, I did have to spend a lot of time to adjust, rewarding and to literally make something out of.
Irina: The cluster of words or keywords that I received as specification. So that was fixed by me, basically. And I remember how we were creating all the documents just because we were requirements of the customs, not because the suppliers provided them from the suppliers. We literally got big thank you and the goods
Irina: That’s all we got from it. So yeah I believe the problem literally exists. But I think with AI tools that are currently on the market, you can adjust that. And the translation tools were also getting better. Then we were in China communication was done just for the mobile phones.
Irina: We were writing in English and showing them some Chinese characters and they underst. I think right now it’s, it would be through Google Speech or something like I’m going to talk to the tool I dunno, Skype maybe. They introduced some on the fly translation. So I think right now it’s much easier to communicate anywhere in the world.
Irina: But at that point it was challenging.
Brent: So your experience coming outta China and then into Track Ma and. I know one thing you’ve said about Trackage is it helps the merchant put their store more on autopilot. Just can you explain how it, how that works and how it, I know you’ve said that there’s less customer service involved, but it can’t always be a hundred percent autopilot.
Irina: That’s why we’re not saying that 100% of customer support requests are going to be automated because if the customer has a question about the size chart or about the customs clearance or something like something was shipped to wrong location, you still need to have customer support and you need to reply to those customers.
Irina: But all the repetitive questions, the ones that can be answered by robots, Like the, where is my order? The limo request. That that one can definitely be automated. And with automation, literally, nobody’s going to ask you that question because it’s not going to be an issue for the customer.
Irina: They are already going to know when, like, when the order is coming, where is it where is it coming from? I know what carrier it’s shipped through. And also they will have information about the delivery, very funds, whatever information you want to put on the tracking page because the more information you give to your customers will less likely they are going to reach out.
Irina: Whereas some illiterate people who are still going to go to customer support and ask a question, I I totally understand that there is going to be a percentage of people who are still going to not understand what’s going. But that percentage is going to be minuscule compared to the previous amount.
Irina: So that’s just like the customer support side. A lot of automation is also coming from operation side. So for example, with chi, with Chinese suppliers we had to deal with this interesting situation where the supplier is providing you with a tracking number or the information about the.
Irina: But then the tracking number doesn’t have any tracking information, so that means the tracking number is either incorrect or the product has not been shipped. And if for example, this situation is left unattended for a week or two, the customer is going to get anxious, we are going to start asking for very money back.
Irina: So we had to monitor all of that. And that’s how in Trackage we have two counters. They is an idle and they in. So days in I is counting until the package is actually moving. So until the status in transit appears on the package. And the other one days in transit is counting how many days it’s in transit whatever the package got lost in the post.
Irina: So this way the business can proactively reach out to those customers who were unfortunate enough to experience a deliver. And if it’s in the initial stage of communication with the supplier, they can reach out to the supplier and ask like, where is the package, when they’re going to ship it?
Irina: And if a supplier is unresponsive for where is an issue, they can even refund it and find an our supplier to buy product from. That’s specifically handy for a drop shipps for hours. It’s not we handy, but still you can poke your suppliers or even knock at where doors and. what package it should have been shipped three days ago.
Irina: What’s going on?
Brent: Yeah, a really good point. A lot of ERPs will generate a tracking. They’ll generate, the package has been shipped even before it gets to the post office, or UPS picks it up and UPS doesn’t assign a tracking number until they’ve actually taken possession of the package.
Brent: So that’s a great feature right now, yeah. And if you were to offer some, bit of advice to a merchant going into the holidays right now what could they still do and what should they be doing after the holidays?
Irina: The holiday season is rather challenging for commerce, so it just literally creates an overload of shipments and overload of everything like processing.
Irina: So I guess , my, like most straightforward advice ladies keep saying keep calm , because this is going to pass, but right now you need to operate at 100% efficiency, 100% capacity. So I guess that’s so that’s wise. But after the holiday season is. You can examine and do some postmortems for some of the problems that you experienced during the holiday season.
Irina: You can see which carriers failed which carriers you might want to replace with an alternative one. . I know that on social media, there are quite a few people who are talking about diversifying the shipment volume between not just FedEx, u Ps like the like the two major carriers.
Irina: You could try our ones and see if this improves your cost per shipment or the cost like the overall margin as well. So another thing would be to evaluate your customer support after the. And see where the customer support might have failed or might have failed the communication with the customers.
Irina: Because usually during holidays people want to buy presents and if they become very sensitive to the timelines of a shipment. So if a person is not going to get their Christmas socks, for example, we’re going to be very upset. And the customer support needs to handle that and be mentally prepared that we are going to be customers with delayed.
Irina: Yeah. And the most interesting part would be to evaluate your systems overall. So once the holiday season is over, once you see over weak points where the systems are not working as you expected them to, you can definitely I dunno. Start evaluating which systems are lacking in your tech stack.
Irina: Maybe tech majors lacking Yeah. Something of a similar fashion where you can see all the orders and all evaporations on one page and understand where you are still not efficient enough. So just basically do the fine tuning when it’s below season in January or in February.
Irina: It’s the best time. Start implementing some new changes because during the holiday season, you will not have the opportunity to do that.
Brent: Yeah that’s really good advice. Never make changes during the holidays or after October, maybe. code lockdown for people who do on-prem software. Irina. When we close out the podcast, I give everybody a chance to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like.
Brent: What would you like to plug?
Irina: All right. I would like to gift the listeners of top Commerce Podcast the free resource. It’s called How to Get five to 10% Extra Sales from existing Customers without spending more money on ads or hiring more staff. In this book you can see like all the key ingredients for creating the best post-purchase experience for your customer.
Irina: And definitely you will understand what things are lacking in your current post-purchase experience. And you can either implement them yourself or maybe use Trackage for that purpose. Yeah. And you can find it at trackage.com, slash flywheel dash extra sales. And I hope that in the show notes you can also find.
Irina: . Yeah.
Brent: Yeah. I’ll put all those I’ll put all the, all your links in the show notes how they can get in contact with you and and and of course track ma.com. Thank you, ARITA. Thank you so much for being here. It’s been such a pleasure. Thank you for staying up late. And thank you.
Brent: It’s my pleasure.
Irina: I love talking about e-commerce and what you can improve in your supply chain and post-purchase experience. Thank you for the opportunity.
Thank you to Podcagent for the wonderful guest!