Masters of marketing: A Q&A with Conversio’s Adii Pienaar
You might have heard of a little Shopify app called Receiptful back in the day. A great idea perfectly executed—bundling marketing offers into email receipts—the free app helped more than 15,000 brands increase their sales and maximize customer lifetime value, earning hundreds of glowing reviews in the Shopify App Store along the way.
Well, the fine folks at Receiptful have been hard at work since then, rebranding as Conversio and adding all kinds of valuable marketing functionality to their service. Billed as an “all-in-one marketing dashboard," Conversio sends all kinds of of emails—receipts, newsletters, follow-ups, cart recovery—while offering on-site widgets designed to boost sales, including product recommendations, product reviews, customer feedback, and search functionality.
This week, we launched an integration with Conversio, connecting it to our Shopify app Pixelpop, which lets merchants create popups to collect email signups and drive sales. Now you can create an email signup popup in Pixelpop and use it to automatically build your customer lists in Conversio. (If you want to try Conversio out in your store, they offer a 14-day free trial, as well as a special three-month deal for Pixel Union blog readers like yourself.)
Conversio’s founder Adii Pienaar also kind enough to stop by and answer a few of our questions about Receiptful/Conversio’s story, the usefulness of marketing tools, and the future of ecommerce.
Can you talk a bit about how you got the idea for Receiptful and how it evolved into Conversio?
In mid-2014 I read this article about how email receipts are a missed marketing opportunity. It was one of those “a-ha!” moments that are super-clear and powerful. I immediately researched whether something like this existed, and when I found that it didn’t, I started working on Receiptful.
We launched our V1 in November 2014 with the aim of it being a paid product only. We soon realized that we had no data to show that marketing in receipts is even possible, so it was hard for us to find customers. That chicken-egg situation (no customers to help us build the marketing evidence means no customers) led us to make our receipt technology free and extend our goals for Receiptful to incorporate other tools.
We released our first paid product—Product Recommendations—in July 2015 and have since continued to build out our offering. Last November, when we released Newsletters and Product Reviews, we finally felt that we had a product that matched our vision of what an all-in-one marketing dashboard for ecommerce stores should look like.
What's your favourite Conversio feature? Is there a feature that you wish more people would use?
I’m a big fan of our Feedback feature. It’s not designed to be a fully-fledged help desk or support system, but it’s such a great, simple tool to give one’s customers the ability to give feedback on the fly. We’ve seen many of our stores that use this feature successfully improve their customer ratings over time too, because they’re able to catch tricky customer situations before it escalates and can’t be fixed.
Why should a merchant choose Conversio over one of your competitors like, say, MailChimp?
On a feature-by-feature basis, we can never compete with someone like MailChimp. They’re a great company with a great product.
The only reason to pick Conversio would be to have an all-in-one marketing dashboard. This is very convenient, and for most of our customers, there’s a cost-saving when they eliminate all the other apps they were using before Conversio. And since we can learn more about our merchants’ customer behaviour across this variety of interactions (across our tools, that is), the product becomes progressively more intelligent over time.
Are there any ecommerce trends you're watching with interest in 2017?
2016 saw the availability of messaging, AI and bots become more prevalent within ecommerce, and I don't expect this to slow down at all in 2017. I think the interesting thing will ultimately be how both merchants and customers will consolidate those interactions and experiences. If I'm interacting with a store on email, live chat on their website, and Facebook Messenger, but then six months after that I need information from that interaction, how do I easily find it? Similarly, the merchant will want to have a holistic history of me as a customer, instead of fragmented interactions with different people all called "Adii" (who could or couldn't be the same person).
Do you have any go-to advice for online merchants starting their first online store?
Before over-committing in a certain direction, make sure that you can access your target audience and that they are willing to buy your product(s). Test and validate your assumptions before spending too much money.