Jan. 21, 2021

How To Adapt To New Customer Expectations with Kristen LaFrance

How To Adapt To New Customer Expectations with Kristen LaFrance

There's no doubt about it -- Covid has forever shifted the buying expectations of customers across the world. But those who choose to be resilient instead of resistant have the opportunity to create amazing experiences their customers will love. Kristen LaFrance joins Katelyn Bourgoin on Customer Show.

There's no doubt about it -- Covid has forever shifted the buying expectations of customers across the world. But those who choose to be resilient instead of resistant have the opportunity to create amazing experiences their customers will love. Kristen LaFrance joins Katelyn Bourgoin on Customer Show to explain how traditional retailers are adapting. 

In this episode, Kristen and Katelyn discuss:

  • How Retailers Can Create Amazing Buying Experiences
  • Real Case Studies of How Retailers Pivoted Their Businesses
  • The Most Important Things To Consider When Bringing a Retail Experience Online
  • And So Much More

Kristen LaFrance is the host of Resilient Retail from Spotify. 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kdlafrance

Resilient Retail: https://resilient.shopify.com/season-one


Connect with Katelyn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateBour

Get your free Customer Ranking Calculator: https://customercamp.co/calculator


Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:00:00] Hey Kristin, thanks so much for agreeing to be on the show today.

[00:00:04] Kristen LaFrance: [00:00:04] Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited. I think this is the first time that we are switching roles. I know I've interviewed you. This is the first time you're interviewing me.

[00:00:14] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:00:14] well, I have actually wanted to have you as a guest on the show since before it was even given a name and like one of the reasons why I'm so excited to talk with you is because like right now you are sitting at the epicenter of what I think is a cultural and economic shift that is happening in the business world.

[00:00:32] So. Yeah. She work at Shopify, which is quickly becoming the world's largest e-commerce brand. And your role is really unique. So you are the head of resilient retail. And when I hear the word retail, I think of malls and brick and mortar shops and given the state of the world right now, I know that those businesses are really struggling.

[00:00:53] So like, what is your take.

[00:00:55] Kristen LaFrance: [00:00:55] Yeah. I mean, it's been right. It's been one of the toughest years in history for brick and mortar retailers. And that's really kind of the backbone of how resilient retail became a thing because Shopify saw really early in the pandemic, all of these brick and mortar businesses just. Pivoting and doing crazy cool things.

[00:01:14] I'm sure everybody listening has seen businesses around them. Local businesses do really cool things like curbside pickup or just starting an online store out of nowhere. And, and so that's where kind of like the heart of resilient retail is, and it is focused. We are focused on brick and mortar merchants, but.

[00:01:31] I think there's something important here to mention that retail is now becoming kind of this broader term of it's retail is commerce, right. And retail is whether it's online or offline. It's about harmonious, harmonious commerce. Podcast hosts can't even talk a harmonious commerce across multiple channels.

[00:01:54] So we're seeing kind of the role of offline retail change, which is really exciting. And that's what's, I mean, my role is just really cool. It's sometimes I, I think almost every day I look at my husband and I'm like, what is my life? Like I spend my entire career just talking to inspirational people doing really cool things in their communities.

[00:02:10]I don't know how I got so lucky. It's a really. You're right. That I'm kind of sitting at this epicenter of a cultural change where so much has changed this year and the ways that consumers shop, the ways that business has businesses have to operate across multiple channels. And so it's just, it's really exciting.

[00:02:28] That's why I'm so excited to sit down and talk with you about it because. Yeah, you're right there. There's all this change in retail tends to feel like malls and shopping centers and brick and mortar, which it is, but all of that is changing rapidly. And that's why we called it resilient retail, because things are changing so rapidly.

[00:02:45] So yeah, there is a lot to unpack a pack here about retail and the changes in 2020

[00:02:51] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:02:51] Oh, my goodness. So you are totally breeding my mind. So my question then is like, how has have we shopped changed in 2020?

[00:03:00] Kristen LaFrance: [00:03:00] Oh, gosh, so many changes. So we've got, you know, at Shopify we're able to really keep a pulse on how things are changing. So there's a bunch of trends that we really saw that our data and our surveys backed up the first one. And I think everybody knows this is an increase in online shopping, right?

[00:03:15] There's been an e-commerce boom. This year, everything has moved online, whether it's your local restaurant selling. Pizza kits or, you know, a shoe, a shoe merchant who is now selling everything online. We actually saw that 52% of buyers say that they've shifted more of their spending online compared to earlier this year.

[00:03:34] So really you're seeing just people are going online. People are now really embracing e-commerce the way e-commerce was going was there's been a slow growth that we were looking at, you know, 2030 was going to be where e-commerce really boomed. And it just kind of got pulled into 2020. Like we move 10 years ahead because the pandemic forced us to the other trends, support for local and independent businesses.

[00:03:57] This one makes me so happy. This is one of my favorite trends that we've seen. People are really hunkering down and supporting their communities because the brick and mortar retailers in downtown you know, downtown, Colorado, Brings small towns, the people, the entrepreneurs who are opening cafes and businesses, those are really kind of the backbone of a lot of our societies and a lot of our cultures.

[00:04:21] And we're seeing that people and consumers are just coming together, rallying around these small businesses. People are looking, looking for that connection and, and trying to keep their local places alive. Other, you know, demand for a new fulfillment methods. Curbside pickup as it become a massive thing.

[00:04:39]I can now order beer for my local brewery and go pick it up and they bring it to my car. That was something that couldn't happen in 2019, which is kind of bonkers. If you think of how much of a pivot that is local delivery being another one, being able to actually buy something online from a local retailer that before you would have to go into their store.

[00:04:58] They're actually able to deliver in their kind of local communities, which backs up that other trend of the appetite for, for local experiences. And then lastly, the shift towards creating really incredible virtual experiences for consumers. A lot of these businesses relied on foot traffic. They relied on face-to-face interaction with customers and they're finding really interesting ways.

[00:05:21] To connect with their customers through a digital event. And not just one that feels like another zoom call that we've all been on. Right. It's, it's really interesting ways that you can still have that human to human connection that is so prevalent in. In-person retail. That's really the strength of in-person retails that there's a human that you can talk to and you can feel and touch close or whatever you're buying all.

[00:05:46] That's just kind of being pulled online and we're seeing the most resilient retailers are doing it fantastically. So those are kind of like the big trends that we've seen change this year. And that's a lot of things that have kind of shifted in commerce. If you really take a step back and look at it, it's pretty bonkers.

[00:06:02] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:06:02] Oh, it's massive. Okay. And so at the time that we're recording this, they have here in Canada, I believe it's the same. States right now, they've just started administering the vaccine to people. So we're seeing kind of the beginning of what we're hoping is the end of the pandemic, but let's say that somehow a vaccine was magically given to everyone in the world overnight.

[00:06:24] So we woke up tomorrow morning and no one had to worry about COVID-19 anymore. Do you think that people are just going to return back to their pre pandemic shopping behaviors? Or have we been forever altered?

[00:06:37] Kristen LaFrance: [00:06:37] I think we've been forever altered. I don't think that commerce is going to move backwards from this point in time. You've seen all these people who had never shopped online before have now had that experience. And you and I were such e-commerce geeks. We love D to C. We love shopping online. And it's because it becomes so convenient and easy and the experiences can be wonderful.

[00:07:00] And I don't think that's ever going to go away. Now. I think that it's just a new expectation of businesses. It's no longer going to be a surprise that your local cafe has a loyalty program. It's almost going to become expected. It's not going to be surprising that your local yoga studio has online classes.

[00:07:17] It's going to be expected. And I think that's just a forever change in commerce. We're just moving into this. World where online and offline are kind of becoming this total ecosystem of connection and shopping and buying and engaging with other people. I don't think any of that's going to change. And, you know, with the surveys that Shopify has taken, we've seen that people are saying that they're saying.

[00:07:41] You know, I'm going to keep doing these behaviors through the end of 2020, because it's actually a lot more convenient and fun and cool. And I like it a lot. I think that we are forever changed, which, which means a lot of these, these trends we're seeing, they're not really just fads or trends. They're actually kind of the new normal and the new expectation of commerce.

[00:08:00] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:08:00] yes. Okay. And so you touched on this a little bit, but so there are all these brick and mortar businesses that have been affected by, by COVID-19 and the goal of. You know, the work that you're doing, that your team's doing is all about helping them to be more resilient. So in your, you know, what's your description of resilience?

[00:08:21] Like what does that mean?

[00:08:22] Kristen LaFrance: [00:08:22] Oh, such a good question. It's the last question I ask every single guest on my podcast, resilient retail. I think in my definition, based on what I've heard from these retailers being resilient. Is just being able to take the punches of life and keep moving forward with your business. We've seen this kind of separation between the resistant and the resilient, the resistant ones kind of saw the pandemic coming.

[00:08:46] And we're saying, you know, this is going to be a short-term thing. Online is such a big, big task that we have to take on that. We're just of gonna wait it out where you keep doing things the way that we've always done the resilient ones are pivoting. They're pivoting quick, they're learning on their feet.

[00:09:03] They're adapting to the situations around them that are changing. They're taking the, you know, the core of their brand and saying, okay, which part of this can I shift to this new normal? And how can I become something different to match the expectations of my customers to meet them where they are to match the moment of this year.

[00:09:21] That's what being resilient really looks like right now. It's just, you know, I think brick and mortar retailers just got the worst hand dealt of 2020, right? It's been hard for all of us. But think about you start a business, you open your retail store. I talked to one entrepreneur in Denver who got into a retail store.

[00:09:39]One month she had one month in her own store, had the best sales of her entire career and had to close down and she didn't. You know, it was hard and heartbreaking, but she didn't panic. She just said, okay, well now my store is going to kind of become a fulfillment center so I can do curbside pickup and local delivery.

[00:09:57] And I will pose, you know, I'll use my store for content creation instead of talking with people one-on-one and that is the resiliency right there is just, I am dealt the worst possible cards and I'm still going to find a way to make this work for my business. And that's really the heart of resiliency that I've seen in these retailers.

[00:10:16] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:10:16] that's so beautiful. I had goosebumps when you talked about that and you, so,

[00:10:19] Kristen LaFrance: [00:10:19] too.

[00:10:20]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:10:20] So you just shared an amazing example, get like, what are some of the more interesting stories that you're hearing around how this. Senses are taking on this challenge, how they're finding ways to be resistant, resilient, rather, like, what are some of the interesting kind of new models or like, you know, marketing techniques, what are some of the interesting things you're seeing happening?

[00:10:43] Kristen LaFrance: [00:10:43] Oh, I have so many stories and I will try to kind of boil them down quickly. One of my favorite stories from kind of resilient retail this year is actually great lakes brewing. They're a brewery company in Toronto. They're very well known in their community. They've done already, just a fantastic job of kind of being a pivotal piece of the community.

[00:11:01] Like if you live around great lakes brewery, you know about them, you love them. You kind of know who runs it. And so what happened with them is. They were forced to close down. Right. And they had 15,000 gallons of beer sitting just in their silos and they couldn't do anything with it. All of a sudden they can't have people come in, they can't have tastings, they can't have tours.

[00:11:22] They can't have customers in. So they're looking at this as, this is a massive amount of product and money that we can't do anything with and what they did within a week. They created an online store. They pivoted over to local delivery and curbside pickup. So they took all of their sales reps who are going out to restaurants and trying to sell their beer and the restaurants, another big piece of their business.

[00:11:44] They pivoted them to local delivery. And so instead they created this, this model of you can get free local delivery of their beer on a $50 order. Or more. And I asked, you know, I asked them, it seems like that's a, it's a pretty big price point for beer. Right. And, and what they said was not for our customers, because if they can have it locally delivered to their door and they can see one of our faces, they wanted it.

[00:12:08]So they did that within a week, started doing local delivery. Then they started doing curbside pickup. In that first week they had over a thousand orders of curbside pickup. A day, they were doing over 500 orders of local delivery a day. And their sales numbers are better than they've ever been because they just did that quick pivot.

[00:12:28]That's one of my favorite ones. Another really cool story. Kind of from the DTC rolled actually is lively. They're you know, a lingerie company I don't know about you, but since the pandemic, I don't know how many times I've worn a bra. Not many. And that, that was their main, you know, that's the main product that they're selling is something that all of a sudden people aren't really wearing.

[00:12:48] And that can be really dangerous. Also, they had an entire swimsuit line ready to launch. That's what they were going to do this summer. And. The way that Michelle chord air grant, that the founder of lively talked about what they did, I think was, it was one of those like goosebump moments for me too. Was she really focused on these subtle shifts?

[00:13:07] She said, you know, we could completely pivot our business and start selling hand sanitizer or masks. Like we saw a lot of businesses doing or how can we just kind of tweak the system that we have. And they had already been making lounge wear. It was just kind of a secondary product for them. And so they just started tweaking their messaging and tweaking the hero products that were on their page.

[00:13:28] And they started leaning more towards, into the lounge wear world. And again, they just, their sales absolutely boomed because they were able to maintain the core of their brand. But shift just a little bit towards the times.  Another one of my favorites is a TC running. I think you can hear, I love these kind of smaller local stories.

[00:13:47] A lot too. TC running is a they're in the twin cities of Minnesota. They have multiple stores. They had zero online presence at the beginning of the pandemic. Right. Every single thing they did was through in-person sales. So all of a sudden you're saying at closure, they're going from great sales to zero revenue coming in in a day.

[00:14:07] And that could be like a very terrible and detrimental thing for a business. But. Within four days, they got over $1.5 million of inventory onto an online store. They got it online. They started doing curbside pickup. They started doing local delivery and they started doing, you know, larger e-commerce operations.

[00:14:27] And then they said, okay, if we are actually going to be online, now we're competing against, you know, we're no longer competing just against whoever's next to us on the street. We're competing against Amazon. We're competing against Zappos. We're competing against. Every single big online e-commerce shoe store.

[00:14:43] And that's a lot to deal with if you're kind of just a local business. And so they said, okay, what if we created a loyalty program and a membership that makes it. A no-brainer to shop with us over anybody else. And that's what they did. They created this this run club that is an annual membership costs.

[00:15:02] I think it's like 30 bucks or something. You get a lifetime of 20% off of every product. They send you all these kinds of gifts as you go through the membership. There's content, there's engagement, all of this stuff. And again, this is one of those stories. That's just kind of almost bonkers. They recovered.

[00:15:17] All of their in-person sales without opening their doors, by going online by creating that loyalty program. And now they're selling to people all over the country, rather just kind of in the twin cities area. And it's just, that was one of my favorite interviews of the season because it's, I mean, You, you walk into a shoe store, think about the entire wall of shoes and socks and laces and all of this stuff that they have to put online and then recreate the experience that they had really honed in on in their stores.

[00:15:48] And they were able to do that within a week. And they pivoted and they were able to kind of take their value prop of, we are the place where you can actually learn about the shoes you're buying connect with somebody really get fitted understand who you're buying from, where the money is going, what we value all of this.

[00:16:05] They were able to do that so well onto a digital loyalty program that had never existed before. And now they're, they're doing better than ever.

[00:16:12] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:16:12] ah, these are brilliant stories. And

[00:16:15] Kristen LaFrance: [00:16:15] know.

[00:16:16] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:16:16] Right now, let's say that we've got some brick and mortar business leaders who are listening and maybe they were from the group that was a little bit resistant to moving more online. Maybe they thought they were going to wait it out. Or maybe they kind of made a partial move, but they really didn't go all in yet.

[00:16:31] So now they're hearing these stories and they're thinking, okay, I need to do this. We need to make this happen. So what would be, if they're ready to make that transition, what would be like maybe like the first couple of steps that they should do? Like maybe break it down into like three or five steps that like, just to like start making the transition.

[00:16:49] Kristen LaFrance: [00:16:49] Yeah, well, the first one is going to be the mindset shift, right? Like you're saying if, if you're feeling a little resistant, if you kind of gone half into e-commerce like we talked about at the beginning of the show, These are not trends that are going away. Omni-channel commerce or multiple channel commerce bridging online and offline.

[00:17:07] So that's something that 2020 brought and it's going to go away with the pandemic. It's something that's forever going to be here. So one shift your mindset, get ready to go to e-commerce. It's a fun ride. The second one is, is something that I think is a little bit surprising. To some people, but I think what the best businesses did is before they really went fully online, they sat down and figured out what is our brand?

[00:17:30] Who are we? They wrote a brand declaration, like I was talking about with TC running. They said, okay, What part of our brand can stay, what is absolutely necessary and what can kind of pivot. So, you know, before this, they thought, you know, we could never go e-commerce because we can't let go of that in-person experience that you get with TC running.

[00:17:51] But in this moment they said, okay, our brand is just personalized and value and helpful. We can do that online. So the first step is going to be sit down, figure out what you do, what you sell, who you help, why you exist, focus on that, and then figure out what can stay and what can kind of change. And then the next is just, just start, get online, go set up a store, just get it built.

[00:18:15] The most beautiful thing about e-commerce that I tell brick and mortar merchants all the time is that. You can keep iterating forever on your online store. You don't have to get it perfect to get it out, just get it out and make it accessible for your customers because they want to shop with you. They want to support you.

[00:18:32]Then the next one is if it's possible for your business, this is just the biggest game changer. Unify your inventory and customer management across both of those channels by shifting to an all-in-one platform. This is where I'm going to put on my Shopify hat here. This is kind of. All we are focused on at Shopify is creating a system where everything is in one place.

[00:18:53] So if you have the Shopify point of sale and a Shopify e-commerce store, that means that if somebody walks into your store and buy something, somebody online cannot buy it as well. You're not going to have those issues. That's the inventory on customer management. That's where this holistic commerce idea comes in.

[00:19:10] If somebody. Buys online, but then you can see that they're located two miles from your store. You can send them emails saying, Hey, did you know, we do curbside pickup. We do local delivery. We do these virtual events that you can join and meet people in your local area. So if it's possible for your business, and I know that's a big caveat, but if it's possible, yeah.

[00:19:29] Get your store online and then get everything sinked in one place. It's going to save you so much time in so many headaches. So now you've got things going up. I think the important things to start with are going to be product photography and descriptions. You're used to having people be able to come in and see and touch and feel and pick up your product and you being able to talk to them.

[00:19:47] Take all that and get it online. Really make sure your products look great. They have good descriptions. If you can get reviews, that's going to be one of the biggest things I've seen online. And then lastly, announce it to your customers. You have people who are connected with you, whether that's email social, but a sign on your store, make sure they know that they have the opportunity to shop with you online.

[00:20:08] If they don't feel comfortable coming into your store or you're not open. So I know that was a lot. I'll summarize it quickly. Right. A bit, change your mindset, right? A brand declaration, just start unify your inventory and customer management. Get your products up with good photography descriptions, and then let your customers know.

[00:20:26] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:20:26] Love it. I love it. And I've got to say, like, I know that you work at Shopify, so you obviously have that, that lens. You know, all the great work they're doing. I am new to Shopify. We, I had never used it prior to setting up my husband's new store there. And of course, with the pandemic, he ended up losing his job.

[00:20:44] We needed to make a change and ended up launching a new business. And while we were looking at what we're going to use, To manage the store. I'd only ever built websites before using tools like WordPress or, well, primarily WordPress. And so, as he was looking, you know, as I was looking at, how do I get him up online quickly, I was really concerned that it was going to take me a couple of weeks to get the Shopify site up and to be able to start selling and feeling good about what was there and the presence and it reflected the brand and all of that.

[00:21:16] And I remember it was like two hours. It's like, what do you mean we're done? It was good enough for our initial, you know, our initial launch really happy with it was so easy. And so, you know, I have to say that Shopify as your, if you are considering making the move online, like it's, you've got to check out

[00:21:36] Kristen LaFrance: [00:21:36] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:21:37] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:21:37] it will make your life so much easier.

[00:21:39] And it will that resistance that you might be feeling around the tech headaches. Like I've just been absolutely delighted the customer service. I can't even say enough about it. The fact that you can actually call and get somebody on the phone and like the people are the most helpful people. Anyway, this is not a Shopify advert.

[00:21:57] They did not pay me to say any of this, but really if you're, if you're resistant, because you're afraid of the tech side of it, there's such a good solution out there in Shopify. So Okay. So now people are thinking about they're selling online. You shared this incredible example of the shoe company, but how they took that ethos around personalized support and how they turned that into an online experience.

[00:22:20] So as people are trying to make a transition online and they're considering how do we kind of bring what makes us special online? Do you ever see anybody making mistakes? Like, are there kind of like common roadblocks that people run into?

[00:22:35] Kristen LaFrance: [00:22:35] Yeah, definitely. I think one of the biggest ones is forgetting the value that you already have by having a retail store. The thing that DTC companies often lack and Katelyn, I know that you and I agree on this so much is true customer engagement. I mean, all the time, or we're telling D to C companies like go talk to your customers, call them on the phone, get a real conversation.

[00:22:57] You can't always just look at the data because data can't define a human decision. What you have in your retail store is just years or months of real qualitative data of what your customers do when they look at a product, how they pick it up, the questions that they ask, what they, how they walk around your store.

[00:23:17] So I think the first mistake people think. Is that online has to be this totally different experience when really you're starting with the best basis of information of how your customers interact with your brand and your products. So really making sure you understand that and bring that online, thinking about how can you replicate the experience.

[00:23:38] of your store versus just how can I sell as many products as possible? This the store is all about that experience. So you have that background. So really taking that and trying to bring that kind of magic online. The other mistakes I see are, you know, you get online and all of a sudden you have access to millions of customers that maybe you didn't have before, because you were dependent on foot traffic.

[00:24:01] And so it's really tempting to start going after everybody you can out there. But really the best thing is to start with your existing customers. You have people who have walked into your store. You have people who have talked to you. Most retail store owners that I talked to know a lot of their customers personally they can call them, they have their phone numbers, they have their email addresses.

[00:24:20] So not starting with those existing customers can create such a big web of confusion of trying to reach new customers. So really. Start with who is already invested in your brand, let them know you're online, really foster those relationships, because those are going to be the people who then start telling people about you and it's going to build out.

[00:24:39] And that's where you can learn a lot as well. And so that kind of goes into the next big mistake I see is the spray and pray method. Right now you have access to selling on social channels. You could do Instagram Tik, TOK, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google ads. All of a sudden you can do so many different.

[00:24:56] Things. I think one of the best pieces of advice I can get is pick your stack and then stick to it. So figure out where are my customers already? Where are they shopping? Where are they engaging with brands like mine, find those specific channels and then really hone on making them the best so you can serve your customers the best.

[00:25:15]And then lastly, it's just. Giving up too early. E-commerce is, you know, you and I, Caitlin are kind of quote unquote e-commerce experts. And even I would have a hard time starting and scaling a store. There is so many things you can do on e-commerce. They can almost just become disheartening that, you know, these things aren't just working immediately.

[00:25:35] I don't have 2000 visits to my page every hour. Right. But that doesn't mean that you're not going to succeed. Just five people coming to your store. If you really know your brand and you know, your audience, you can get someone to purchase. If five people walked into your store, you have the ability to convert to one sale.

[00:25:53] You know, you can do that. So really just, just stay with it. I know it's so tough. But just keep on being resilient because it's going to work for your business.

[00:26:02] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:26:02] Oh, I love that you gave so many great examples of some of the advantages that the traditional retail businesses might have, that they don't even realize are huge advantages because they've gotten, they've taken advantage of these every day. But yes, I think that feedback loop, when you actually get to talk to your customers, Every single day, you get to hear their objections.

[00:26:22] You have all of that baked in knowledge that a lot of these online, you know, native companies don't have, or have to put a lot of work into getting. So you, you might think you're coming into this at a disadvantage, not really understanding the online e-commerce space and all of the marketing channels and whatnot, but you also have this massive advantage that you can.

[00:26:43] Put at your disposal, if you apply it properly, I never considered it like that, but you're so right. And I bet you, a lot of retail business owners don't realize how big of an advantage that really is.

[00:26:55] Kristen LaFrance: [00:26:55] Yeah. I think one of the best examples of this is I talked to Alexandra Waldmann. She's the founder of universal standard. Their retail stores are actually just showrooms. They don't have product in there, and this is another trend we're seeing that's happening a lot in retail. They don't actually have product.

[00:27:10] They just go, you can go in and you get a personal styling experience with them. And so you're having a stylist you know, tell you, okay, these kinds of pieces would work for you. They, they figure out your, your kind of outfits, what you like, what fits your sizes. And then you order everything online and it ships to your house.

[00:27:26] And what she was telling me was. The data that they get from those interactions is the most useful thing for their online store, because they can see, okay, if somebody puts on a shirt, where are they pulling? What, which parts are they trying to fidget with? What questions are they asking? How do they turn?

[00:27:44] Where do they look at themselves? And that then goes into when they create a product page for that shirt, they know, okay. We need to show a video of a woman turning to the side. Side, because that's how most customers look at it, or we need to make sure they know exactly where it falls on their shoulder or how it sits with jeans.

[00:28:00] Because that's the question that they're asking and all of that just goes that stuff you can't get out of the data, you can't get that out of numbers. That is such an advantage that retail has over DTC that I love this point because I think it brings a lot of hope for these brick and mortar merchants that you're all of a sudden competing with brands that have years and years of data on how their customers behave online.

[00:28:23] But that only goes so far because at the end of the day, it really is about a human being, making a human being decision to buy from another human being. And you know, that better than anybody else.

[00:28:33] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:28:33] this is so exciting. It makes me think also like if I were listening to this as like a, like a native D to C online, only business, what the wheels in my head right now that will be turning would be Holy smokes. Like when the pandemic is lifted. It did and it's, you know, makes sense to do so. I'm going to start doing, pop-ups like, I'm going to get that one-on-one interaction with the customers.

[00:28:54] Maybe we don't have a full on retail store, but I'm going to start finding ways to actually get to interact with customers in the real world and see them using our products and experiencing our products because yeah, there's this arsenal of insight that they may be missing out on. And so that's terrific.

[00:29:11] Okay. So. Let's talk marketing because both of you and I are, you know, that's our background. That's what gets us excited. Now we don't have the time in this episode to go deep into it because there's obviously so much that can be done, but let's just say that your moving into online. Selling, it's not something that you have done before.

[00:29:32] So what are some of the resources that these, these retail business owners should take advantage of? I know that Shopify has a lot of great ones. If you were just getting started, where might you look for kind of those training wheel resources?

[00:29:45] Kristen LaFrance: [00:29:45] Yeah, the first place to go is going to be Shopify compass. It's this entire educational site that Shopify has put together the team behind it is incredible. There are actual courses with videos and human beings teaching you and showing you how to do things, everything from how do I upload products to my Shopify store?

[00:30:02] How do I even. How the heck do I even get online and get started to things like, you know, SEO and email marketing and retention, marketing, and influencer marketing and social media and how to do this and that that is easily the best place to go. Just Google Shopify compass, and you'll find it honestly, almost anything that you have a question about.

[00:30:20] You'll be able to find on Shopify compass. Also like you mentioned, the support team, our support staff is not just there to kind of tell you, Oh, click here, do this, do this. They can actually help with business decisions and really thinking through what's best. For your business, otherwise Caitlin, you and I are big fans of kind of the Twitter space.

[00:30:38] There is an entire community of e-commerce experts and founders and operators and service providers on Twitter and this weird little community that we've made that are honestly, we love helping you. Like, it's one of my favorite things ever, when I get a DM from, you know, a single entrepreneur, who's like, Hey, could you look at my site and tell me where I could improve?

[00:30:58] And I know everybody is like that. So yeah. Get on Twitter. I am at K D love France, and you can come just kind of connect with us and hang out. And then lastly, cause you know, I, you know, I got plug it. Resilient retail is my podcast. And as much as I'm focused on these amazing stories, I'm also really focused on bringing out tactics that you can actually listen to an episode and walk away and say, okay, I can do one thing with my business.

[00:31:22] And we're also doing a lot of workshops. We just had one where we had two email experts, live writing emails and. People are able to walk away with templates and actual copy that they could go and replicate. So my entire mission with resilient retail is not just to talk about how amazing Shopify is or all these things you can do with Shopify it's to help you actually take something away, walk into your store, go to your computer and say, I can do something different today.

[00:31:48] And here's something I can execute. So you can find resilient retail on a podcasting platform, YouTube and Twitter. As of right now, we're going to do big things though.

[00:31:57] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:31:57] so exciting. I've got to say that the Shopify compass, that resource is. Unreal when we we had a junior marketer working with us at my husband's company, and whenever I would want to kind of share something with him and I didn't want to have to go through the work of like putting together a big explanation, I would just do a search there and I'd be like, Oh, okay.

[00:32:15] Here's, here's a post on how to take amazing food photos because we're in the food business or here's a post on how to reach out to influencers. And it was just as easy for me sending a link and suddenly the resource that he needed to learn from and the best in the world, it was right there. Fingertips.

[00:32:31] So I can't say enough good things about that resource and of course, resilient retail in incredible resource. So that brings me really to my last question for you, Kristen. So if I, again, I'm, I'm a retail business owner. I am moving from resistant into resiliency mode. I am ready to really give a full effort on making my business thrive online.

[00:32:54] What would be a good starter episode or a couple starter episodes of resilient retail that I might want to start with to kind of really start learning about how to make this transition.

[00:33:05] Kristen LaFrance: [00:33:05] Yeah. So the first one I'm going to recommend is CJ Johnson. We have an entire conversation about what is brand and what is branding. You, you heard me say the first one. Step you should take when kind of going into this resilient, shifting online is going to be figuring out who you are, what your brand represents, how you can pivot, and you can really only know which pieces of your business can change by knowing what your absolute core is.

[00:33:31]CJ just brought like an absolute masterclass on sitting down and creating a brand declaration. It's one of the most popular episodes because I think it's truly one of the most useful ones. The second one is going to be a, a very recent one. I just, this week had Joanna Griffiths. She's the founder of Knixwear.

[00:33:49] And as much as it kind of feels like maybe that's not so relatable because they're a bigger online brand that also has a retail presence. The thing about her story is that she spent three years selling. All of their products in you know, in a wholesale way. And they did that for three years. And then all of a sudden she said, you know, I don't think that this is the right way to do it.

[00:34:11] And she completely started over and shifted to an online model. And so she. Gets it, she understands how difficult it is to stop everything and completely switch to a new kind of channel. And so she really gets into kind of the decision-making that she went into the process, the emotions, the heartbreak, the tears, the success stories.

[00:34:33]And then she also has some just really great initiatives, marketing ideas that they did this year online that they did. Fantastic with so CJ Johnson and Joanna Griffiths of nix are going to be, I think, two of the best ones, if you really want to get into what resistance and resilience means and what this whole year has kind of looked like.

[00:34:50] The very first episode of the season is with Harley Finkelstein, who is the president of Shopify. And he really, really talks about this difference that he's seen and has a lot of great stories. Those are going to be my top, but I, I don't know. It's hard to pick. It's like picking a favorite dog.

[00:35:05] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:35:05] and for those of you that don't know, Kristen has three dogs. So that would be Barry. Thank you so much, Kristen. I can't wait to listen to that episode with CJ. It's funny. Like this is a perfect time again. I mentioned my husband. My husband's company a few times, but he's in transition and he's figuring out what kind of version two looks like.

[00:35:23] And so I think sitting down and having him go through that exercise of putting together the brand declaration, we haven't done that in a formalized way. We've had the high level conversations about it. You know, we've got a document where we talk about who we are and who our customer is, but that brand declaration that really putting your like flag in the sand and being able to say, this is who we are, and this is what we're about.

[00:35:44] That's something we haven't. Don in a really formal way. So I can't wait to listen to that episode because I think it's going to be the perfect energy to bring into the new year. So thank you for sharing that and thank you for being a guest today.

[00:35:58] Kristen LaFrance: [00:35:58] Yes. Thank you so much for having me always happy to talk to you so much fun.


Katelyn Bourgoin Profile Photo

Katelyn Bourgoin

Host of Customer Show & Founder of Customer Camp

Katelyn is the founder of Customer Camp, a training and research firm that helps growth-ready product teams to get inside their customer’s heads so they can market smarter.

Kristen LaFrance Profile Photo

Kristen LaFrance

Host of Resilient Retail