Welcome to the E-commerce Wizards Podcast where we feature top leaders in e-commerce and business to discuss proven strategies and trends from people in the trenches. Now, let’s get started with the show.
Guillaume: Guillaume Le Tual here I’m the host, where I feature top leaders in business and e-commerce. I have Jeremy Weisz here, who’s done thousands of interviews with successful entrepreneurs and leaders. And we have flipped the script today, he will be interviewing me.
Jeremy: Guillaume, I’m excited. Thanks for having me and before we get to the episode, we’re going to talk about how do you save three hours a day? I mean, who doesn’t want to save three hours a day? And so how can you do that through your website? We’re going to talk about that. Before we do, this episode is brought to you by MageMontreal. If a business wants a powerful e-commerce online store that will increase their sales or to move piled up dormant inventory to free up cash reserves. Guillaume, who doesn’t want that? Or to automate business processes to gain efficiency and reduce human processing errors. The company, MageMontreal can do that.
I know you’ve been helping e-commerce stores for over a decade, but here’s the catch. You’re specialized and work with Adobe Magento e-commerce platform. You are among only a handful of certified Adobe Magento companies in Canada. Even if a company doesn’t have a Magento site, you’ve converted lots of sites over to Magento because you found it to be one of the most flexible platforms for e-commerce. So I know you’re everything Magento related. If someone needs design, development, maintenance, training, support, debugging, performance analysis, everything Magento, you have their back. They can email your team at [email protected]montreal.com or they can go to magemontreal.com to check out more. Really, who doesn’t want to save time? Talk to me. We’re talking about saving three hours a day. There was a company called Crystal Clear Bags, what do they do?
Guillaume: Well, they sell crystal clear bags online. Foodstuff that you could ship, muffins, whatever in bags or other kind of crafts that you put in those crystal clear bags, it’s perfect see through, that’s what they do. When you think about e-commerce very often, you don’t necessarily think about all the complexity that comes with it from a business point of view. Very often people who come and see us would say, I need a prettier website the other one is outdated, and we’ve outgrown perhaps a previous platform for this, this reason. It’s more of a website conversation. What I would typically do is bring this over to a business conversation and the business process conversation here.
So in their case, they had a perfectly functional process. They were a very successful company, but it required a lot of manual labor, lots of man hours to fulfill all their thousands of orders that they receive and to ship all that stuff, print shipping labels, synchronize manually stuff back to the Europeans processors planning system that manages the whole company and stuff and so on. So, by putting in place automation there on every level for synchronization, for stock updates, for printing shipping labels, stuff like that. The result was that they save three hours a day per employee, and they have actually five employees to CSR , customer service representative. That’s 15 hours a day that is saved in manual labor, because we had a discussion on automation.
Jeremy: That’s amazing!
Jeremy: Yeah, because it’s so complex. An order comes in, someone buys a box of bags, and then they have to take all the steps to get it shipped out the door to that customer. There’re a lot of things in place. So you help to speed up all those little things which add up to a lot of things. I want you to walk through some of that a little bit with automation in a second. But before we do that, what were the issues they came to you with?
Guillaume: Well, they came with a very detailed proposal, they had consultants supporting them from BDC. So they had that like 50 pages requirement document, thoroughly prepared, was very organized, very good. What they were looking for was mostly a better user experience on the mobile because they have very high stats on mobile for visitors, but not much purchases.
Jeremy: The conversion was bad in mobile.
Guillaume: Exactly, and the experience overall was bad. The site was outdated and needed the new mobile experience and that’s frequent, you need to invest significantly.
So there are cases, but now with the new trend is the PWA progressive web app this new up and coming thing but that’s not this specific project. You need to invest in the mobile experience to see a raise in conversion on mobile. Otherwise, the company on mobile is always significantly lagging behind desktop. So, very often you’ll have more traffic on mobile, but fewer sales and you have most of your sales on desktop.
Jeremy: Do you think we can also say they had a bad mobile experience?
Jeremy: Did you have a lot of customizations to convert it to a better mobile experience?
Guillaume: We reinvent the mobile experience pretty much.
Jeremy: You find that most people when you look at those stats, that’s a smart stat to look at as far as the conversions are mobile, are they more advanced? Was this company more advanced in doing that? Or do most companies look at that metric?
Guillaume: They’re pretty good. We’re fairly tech savvy, but it’s not a metric that people look enough. Very often, they’ll just do the basic things, they’ll open Google Analytics and check, okay, I have 60, or 70% of my traffic on mobile, sometimes even more, it could be 80%, and then my 30% on desktop, and that’s where things stop. So of course, they need to put in place a proper conversion tracking so you know where the sales happened, where it came from, and so on. You spend Google ads for that sale, yes or no, and so on.
Jeremy: So, they came with not a great mobile conversion, you helped fix that? What else?
Guillaume: Well, there was the speed of the site. But that was just a result of having a brand new site, there were improvements there. Other aspects were about organization, because they only have 150, base products, not that much. But they have so many variants that you stack all this up to 5000 skew. And then it was a bit of an organization problem to stay organized with all that stuff. So, we’ve helped them there. They did those with the cron job there but we were there to assist and give consulting, and how this should be structured and best presented to users and so on.
Jeremy: I’m curious how you help them in organization. You have these protective closure bags, you get over a 50 count, a 100 count, a 200 count, a 1000 count, a 5000 count. All these skews within just that one product line, how did you help them with the organization piece?
Guillaume: Well, first of all, they did not even have a product detail page in the past. You would be ordering from some kind of a big Excel Online with an Add to Cart button next to each line. This feature is still available because their customer base was used to that, so we made a prettier version. But now we’ve added the classic product detail page that gives you all the details about that product, which was not available before. So you have more information about what you’re buying when you’re comparing stuff, and so on. Also, we’ve grouped things together. For example, the classic example would be more simple to explain than the bag situation here. If you had a T-shirt, small, medium, large, you don’t want to hit the back button to go shop for the medium and find where it is in the list, you just want to have an option to drop down that you choose small, medium and large from that page. And that’s the norm and almost everybody’s like that, but once in a while we have a merchant, it’s not quite set up, right. Each size is actually an individual product not grouped together to a master product to make this a single shopping experience.
Jeremy: So, the organization really needs cleaning up. Are there certain plugins, like when I’m looking at clear bags, there’s a lot of cool features, like click on Food Safe Boxes, right? It’s got a bunch of different icons there. And it also allows me shopping options, what plugins do you like?
Guillaume: There are many plugins, but do talk about what you just mentioned those icons there. This is a synchronization that’s automatic with their ERP that they tag, what is the attribute so to speak of this type of bag. Its food safe, for example, and then the food safe logo will show up automatically on the website. So that’s automation there.
And in terms of extension, what I really like is the abandoned cart, automated email reminder. If you’re a logged in customer, likely a past customer, or you created yourself an account, you add something to the cart, and you don’t complete the transaction, you’re going to receive an automatic reminder. As an administrator, choose when that reminder is going to happen. Today, two days from now, and hey, you’ve got something in your cart, do you want to resume your purchase? You could decide if you want to give a discount or not, and in an automatic way. As much as possible, try to not give the discount, margins sometimes are already thin for merchants. That’s one feature that I really like, because you can get some real sales from that.
Jeremy: I’ve heard this and I don’t know the exact metrics. The abandoned cart is a huge percentage! It’s like people are actually adding stuff and not completing the purchase. I mean, do you have any idea what kind of a range of abandoned cart percentage is?
Guillaume: Yeah, that varies widely actually, for every single industry what is good or not good. And if you add additional steps for example, we have another project where there’s a personalization tool. So, it’s very cool you could have on your mug here, you could put your logo and personalize this in 3D, you have a 3D preview and so on. That tool is really cool. But it also drops your completion process there, from the checkout because of the complexity that it adds. So you could have just like with that tool, 20 or 30%, to actually finish the checkout process, unless they’re extremely motivated. For example, they’re trying to personalize a bridal album …
Jeremy: That’s exactly what I was thinking like a wedding or ….
Guillaume: Then it goes to 50%.
Jeremy: It’s still a lot, it could be like 70 to 90% abandon rate, right?
Guillaume: You could, depending on the category. And then of course, you want to drill down in that stuff, try to identify why that is happening. You may want to use some video recording tools like Hotjar gives you anonymous recording, and then you can review. Of course, it takes time, you need to have someone to have the time to sit through those videos and check what’s going on. Then you can see people trying to sort of come in, they click around and they’re sort of confused, and then you sort of understand that your page needs some revamping.
Jeremy: Yeah, that’s just a lot of low-hanging fruit. Abandoned cart, actually making sure the user experiences is right, and that comes with what you’re saying. The organization has to be there, has to be a good mobile experience, it has to be fast. People are impatient, barely bounce off a page, if it’s like five milliseconds, too slow.
Guillaume: The speed is super important. And also, what you’re trying to do is really build that ecosystem of giving that great buyer’s experience. So sometimes I’ve been asked questions like, if I add that specific feature, let’s talk again about that abandoned cart, automatic reminder email, how much lift will I get? How much return on investment will I get for that specific feature? Well, that’s quite a wild question will vary for every single site and industry and what not. But it’s too narrow, it’s too simplistic mindset for thinking that 1111, and you’re forgetting the big picture of the ecosystem of the experience you’re trying to create here.
So, I was giving that specific client the analogy, it is not a perfect analogy but good enough to help understand. Imagine you have a bad neighborhood from an almost abandoned section of a city, and you say if I add a park there, how much lift will I get in the neighborhood? Well, I don’t know man, maybe you’ll get a little bit but you still have a bad neighborhood, you got the street gangs, you got the ugly buildings. You have to keep investing until you create that wonderful ecosystem that change the perception for people to say, yes, this is a desirable place to live in. And it’s not just one thing at a time to creating that big picture of an ecosystem.
Jeremy: I want to talk about the automation piece, I always say the best for last. You act not just because you can do everything, but you provide the strategy behind it of why you need to do it. So, talk about some of the automation you had to put in place to again, saving three hours per employee a day is significant?
Guillaume: Right. Typical things that we’ll see, while the low-hanging fruit are the most common requests, is the integration between the e-commerce website and the ERP, the enterprise resource planning system, manage all the inventory and accounting and so on. I had another case last year still with Clear Bags. They had 5000 invoices per year generated by the website and they were manually recopying all that in the other system, because they had like four accountants and bookkeepers in-house, it’s a big company, they didn’t care. But we were like, no, we’ve got to have you here, it doesn’t make any sense. You know all this can be automated, and you can calculate how much does that person cost you per hour does doing this job. How many hours per week or per month do they spend on this? It’s very easy ROI calculation here. Plus, it’s more enjoyable, you can reallocate that person’s time to something more productive than data entry, and very often it’s very qualified staff.
Jeremy: Talk about that for a second. What should people be looking at in their own business? Because sometimes we just get complacent and used to doing things a certain way, and we don’t even realize it can be done in a better way in a more automated way. What have you seen with people just doing things manually that you saw from an outside perspective? Like, are you crazy? You guys are doing this manually? That was one example. So, they were taking invoices that were generated and manually inputting them that could be automated? What else have you seen that people have been doing?
Guillaume: Another really big one is shipping labels. Shipping labels, that’s just a necessary evil. We got, let’s say, 135,000 orders that we need to process and you add three minutes per order, I’ll let you do the math how many thousands of hours that gives you. And if you pay somebody actually, 20 bucks per hour that will roll back to again, 135,000 dollars on salary, at 20 bucks an hour at three minutes per order 435,000 orders to process. So, it depends on the volume, obviously.
But shipping label should be automated. You get the order, as soon as it’s approved by some admin that this is not a fraud case, it’s a legit order we’re going to fulfill it. You captured money, then everything else should create itself automatically, the shipping labels should even print itself automatically if you get to that point in the physical world. And then you have ideally the next step after that, some kind of scanner for the pick list. If you’re that kind of medium sized company, the only very large one tends to have like the robot automation of warehouse, most people live in a world that is manual. But at least if you add the scanner, instead of manually clicking, or typing the skew that was just sold, it’s much better. So, for sure you want to automate and digitalize the whole chain of fulfilling.
Jeremy: What are some the things that you’ve been able to connect to Magento? You mentioned ERPs, or there were certain ERPs or certain connections that you’ve been able to shippers or labels. What are some of those companies that you’ve seen people work with? Not that you’re endorsing them but just you’ve seen others work with them?
Guillaume: Yeah, exactly. So, for sure ERPs, there a lot of them people request. We see SAP Business One often, we see Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and a few others, and are very niche narrow ERP that you’ve never heard of. But it’s amazing how many ERPs exists for niche application.
Jeremy: What’s an example of a niche one that people wouldn’t have heard of, but a certain industry everyone’s heard of it?
Guillaume: Or maybe genius ERP, specific to small custom-made manufacturing that the many parts to one part. So, you have a lot of assembly to deliver one custom good for medium sized into manufacturing, you probably never heard of that unless you are in that in that field. So that’s one example. And then of course, all the email marketing automation, you have stuff like MailChimp already provides a free connector with Magento. It’s quick to set up all kinds of other platforms like that for email marketing automation.
Jeremy: What are some other email ones? I noticed an email pop up on the Clear Bags site, what other emails?
Guillaume: Well, there is Marketo. Marketo was a big one, but for the bigger or mid-size market, one small SMB market, even though SMB can buy it as well, it was purchased by Adobe. So, they try to make that stuff work together well. Marketo was a good choice. And you’d have some others Klaviyo and a few other competitors. Even HubSpot depends what’s your use, if it’s more of a CRM that sends an email or if it’s more of an email automations platform that you’re looking for, like Active Campaign or something like that.
Jeremy: So, you mentioned ERP, email, what other tools or software you have to connect?
Guillaume: Accounting packages, quite a lot of those from QuickBooks, Online desktop, Sage ERP, ACCPAC, Acumbamail, a lot of accounting packages. Because if the business is not big enough, or does not have a complex enough need to have an ERP, they’ll typically run the business from an accounting package.
Jeremy: Got it. So, organization, bad mobile, and just saving time with automation. What was the outcome for Cloud Bags? On the flip side, what were they saying after the project?
Guillaume: I know they’re very happy, that’s for sure. I know they’re very happy with new sites, good new experience, mobile experience, automation, saving time. Also, they did not have individual product page before. So now their site has 5000 more web pages than it used to have, which can only be good for their search engine, their SEO, search engine optimization. So, it’s definitely a good success. We’re happy to continue the collaboration and keep going further in the automation of the business.
Jeremy: First of all, thank you for having me. This has been super valuable because everyone should be thinking of how do I automate things? Should I be looking at a mobile experience that is bad, because maybe we’re not paying attention to it and organization. Those three things and then a lot of the tools you mentioned, so I think everyone can check out more about what you’re working on. The more podcast episodes magemontreal.com. So, thanks for having me.
Guillaume: Thank you, Jeremy, thank you for being here.
Thanks for listening to the E-commerce Wizards Podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes and contact us at magemontreal.com.