Happy second Thursday of 2023. It's already been a busy year and I'm feeling more motivated than ever. The economy is shit, cash is more expensive then ever, and the world is feeling pretty pessimistic but I'm here to tell you we're all going to be okay and come out of this better and smarter than ever.
As we enter into year two of writing CROSSED Commerce I'm starting to realize that I am not writing this for the 9-figure brand or the marketer spending $1M a month. I sit down on my laptop for a few hours each week to write for that person who so desperately wants to quit their job and tell their boss to go fuck themself. Maybe you've had an idea in your head and are too nervous to leave your comfortable salary that pays your rent and your car. Maybe you struggle with self-doubt and ask yourself why me? I hope you're reading and just need that extra push to go out and follow your dreams.
Regret is a terrible feeling. If I can help you not feel that way in 30 years, writing this each and every week will be worth it.
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So let's get into it. Here's how I've been spending my first eleven days of the new year.
Over the holidays we implemented a brand new tool called Rep AI to our stores to help with the Black Friday madness. We were dealing with the problem of hiring & training brand new customer service staff just for a few weeks and it was a headache and very expensive. Instead, we used Rep which quickly plugged into Gorgias (customer service tool) and it simply mimics a brick-and-mortar sales clerk by being a concierge for your brand.
As we head into our off season we will be using Rep to replace our 24/7 customer service. We're spending nearly $3000 a month in customer service hours and we stand to cut over 50% of that by using this new tool. Rep's been awesome at providing shoppers with recommendations, answering product-related questions like will this fit in my backyard, and even increasing conversion by 30% since we added it to the store.
If you’re a Shopify store averaging dozens of chat tickets a day, paying hundreds of dollars in customer service & spending even more time managing these people there's a better solution.
- Proactively seeking disengaged visitors and guiding them to the right products
- Answering specific product-related questions in real-time
- Closing sales all the way to checkout & upselling
Try a 30-day free trial or set up a demo here.
No, the world is not coming to an end. Yes, we might be taken over by robots sooner than later. Anyways ChatGPT has been all the rage on Twitter lately and for a good reason. If you haven't checked it out this AI tool is creating Facebook ad copy, writing paragraphs, and most importantly writing Shopify code!!!
Check out this Slack from our head of marketing. This probably saved us 3-5 dev hours & a couple hundred dollars.
There's no better time than the beginning of the year to get an accurate number of all your SKUS. Are there any SKUS that aren’t moving and are costing you a lot to store? For example, we have big indoor bases that we overbought and now paying a ton to store. We’ve realized that if we don’t sell these things in the next few months we will be paying more in storage than any profit we’ll ever make off of them. Making smart financial decisions like this will separate the companies that burn out and the ones that will survive this year.
We asked all of our buyers to place pre-buys for 2023. This allows us to get a pulse on how our year will be (50% of our business is retail) and allows us to accurately have inventory at just the right times, rather than it collecting dust and paying for it. This year we will not be importing and storing inventory in March that we need for November. Eliminating the time inventory is sitting on a warehouse floor is key.
After we have these forecasts in hand we look for growth opportunities. For example, Dicks is carrying our pool game in 100 stores. We had incredible sell thru last year, why have we not been promoted nationwide? The questions we are asking the buying team is what do we need to do to get to 200 or stores and double our PO size? What sell through metrics do we need to hit or things we need to do to prove we deserve more shelf space. Asking these questions early on in the year is a great way to motivate our sales & marketing team and get everyone aligned.
DTC & Amazon Forecast
Same as above. Our ecom team sat down for a LONG meeting where we broke down sales by month for 2022 and mapped out our targets for 2023, with projected marketing spend to get us there. The operations team then sees how many units are we expected to sell per week and how many units they need to bring in. If we're hitting our numbers great order to plan, if not slow down and here's by how much.
If I learned anything this year is that I don't believe 2023 is the year that you push yourself to grow 200% or 500% unless you see a clear way that makes financial sense. We will be optimizing for profit, paying off debts, and delivering our customers amazing new games.
Let's Meet in Person
At the end of the month, I'll be heading down to Austin to give a talk about finding the perfect balance between retail & DTC at Triple Whale's Whalies. If you haven't heard about it yet, Triple Whale has essentially created the Super Bowl of ecommerce and is hosting the sickest two day ecommerce meet up.
I have a few discounted tickets if you're interested in coming out to it. I typically hit 3-4 of these meet ups a year and the value & connections I make are worth the money a million times over.
I will be also hosting a founders & marketers dinner on January 31st that is invite-only and will be capped at 40 people. If you'd like to get on the list I'm starting it today and would love to meet.
I'd love to hear back from you. What are you working on? Anything I can help with?
Have a great week,