This episode features Lucas Walker of the Rolled Up Podcast Network. Discover what he considers to be the "pillars" of business and how you can use these "pillars" to grow your business.
Within the episode Keys To Growing Your eCommerce Business, Andy and Lucas discuss whether your business is really logistics based or is it marketing base. The answer is both but learn why you need to consider both when growing your business.
Episode Action Items:
You can connect with Lucas Walker at rolledup.io and request a FREE tune up from the Pit Crew.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:02
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count Podcast. This is your host Andy Splichal and today we are happy to welcome our next guest to discuss the topics of keys to grow in your Ecommerce business. He is the founder of the Rolled Up Podcast Network which features the Tactical Pitstop Podcast and he is an industry veteran in the world of Ecommerce. Say hello to Lucas Walker. Hi, Lucas.
Lucas Walker 2:16
Andy, thank you so much. Thank you so much to everyone listening. And what a great intro. I'm the founder of the Rolled Up Podcast I think we're going to be talking a lot about some of the ways the tactics on pitstop pitstop can be utilized to truly Make Each Click Count each click count and really why that's something that I I really value and it's just almost to a fault. obsess over is you work so so hard to get that traffic to your website you to even see you to click those ads. Don't pour that money down the drain by giving a bad experience or adding friction that's unneeded.
Andy Splichal 2:52
Well, great. Now before we dive into today's topic, which is keys to growing your ecommerce business, can you share with us your backstory and what ultimately led you to doing what you're doing now?
Lucas Walker 3:04
Yeah, I've always been an early adopter I graduated university in 2010 by but but by that point, I had already set up a number of perfect color professional accounts for things like the athletics department to share box scores on on Twitter and this was in 2009. In 2012 I co founded my first company Venngage a free infographic maker so go check that out great for really showcasing your brand story. I did a tour with gorgeous the number one HelpDesk for Ecommerce and I also in between that found co founder my my first e commerce company treats happened which was a natural dog treat business. So all that led me to co found the Rolled Up Podcast Network because I met a lot of really interesting people whose stories deserve to be be told and have helped me out along the way. So I'm hoping that they can help others along the way to a great
Andy Splichal 3:56
Where where are you based out of?
Lucas Walker 3:57
So I'm up in Toronto, Canada.
Andy Splichal 3:59
Okay. Okay, great. Now I see where you were quoted as saying it's about knowing all of the different pillars of Ecommerce and knowing how it all gets rolled up into a strategy. What do you define as those different pillars of Ecommerce?
Lucas Walker 4:14
Well, there are so many and it's and this is a great exercise for me that I really shouldn't map it out. But there are so many pillars that you can build a business on and just like real pillars, you don't need all of them, but you need a minimal amount to support your business. It could be new customer acquisition, it could be growing lifetime value of customers. I think email marketing is definitely a big pillar for for Ecommerce, your supply chain and logistics is is another one and as well as your your product and then I think that as your business grows beyond just a direct consumer business retail in having a solid retail strategy is another pillar that will support that growth of of your business because as you as you grow tall, you need that really strong foundation but you also need to add a bit of wit to the base, you can only if you have a very narrow foundation, you can't grow that high. So you need to build out while building up. And that could be expanding channels regions, or even doing something like going into into brick and mortar retail.
Andy Splichal 5:18
Now, I also saw another quote that you had that was pretty interesting where you said, it's not a marketing driven industry, it's very much about operations and logistics, the faster the conversation gets to operations and logistics, the more credible and serious you know, somebody is, Can you expand a bit on that ball?
Lucas Walker 5:18
Yeah, absolutely. And it's, it can get kind of dry. So if listeners, before I tuned any of your listeners out, make sure you go leave a five star review on Apple for the Make Each Click Count podcast. And Andy, I know you're working really hard. If I get too dry, and your listeners tune out, I want them to at least make sure they leave us a five star review, not just bounce because of me. So I'll get let's get let's get that out of the way. But that's what a perfect example of thinking it's very marketing driven versus logistics. We know that reviews drive podcast downloads, especially on Apple, but how you get those reviews, how you manage them. That's all operations and logistics, even to how you can plan it out. If you know that for every 1000 downloads you get for reviews, that's a metric that you can then start to, to work on. But that was the marketing. I think for a long time there was this misconception about e commerce that it's just create a viral video like Dollar Shave Club, and you'll make a gazillion dollars. That's so far from the truth. That it just I feel like I'm I'm almost yelling a little bit. But a you don't just make a viral video and get that reach. That's logistics and of itself. How are you going to get those views? Where will those views last? Are they on tick tock YouTube, a Superbowl ad? And how you you get there and plan those? Those resources? What happens if it does go viral? What do you do with all that inventory? Do you have enough packaging? How much is it going to cost you to ship to Australia, all kinds of things like that, that can all that can have a huge impact even the way that your website rests. And I am it's no secret I'm sponsored by by Shogun for their headless commerce solution. And as I've been doing my due diligence into that a big thing is internationalization. And even between Canada and the US which both countries speak the same language use the same currency. Very familiar going between, there are so many nuances of things like free shipping expectations, French Canada, and Quebec is a huge part of the country, even how you plan to fulfill orders in different regions that seem the same. That's all logistics, especially as your business grows. I don't know if you see it in in your part. But even in Canada and Toronto, there are retailers that are really only in Toronto in the more urban areas. And then you have retailers that exist outside the the greater Toronto Area stores like Giant Tiger. And that also gets into logistics. How will you get your How will your customers get their products? Will you do things like custom packaging? What's the impact of that? Maybe you do custom packaging thinking it's a great marketing play, but then the boxes you ordered are too small because you've been able to increase your average order value. And now you're sitting on $12,000 worth of printed boxes that are kind of useless to anyone but you have lots lots of things to think about.
It is and it's I hate to rant and go on on dry, dry tangents. But that's really the the logistics of it even from an accounting perspective of thinking, are we doing things first in first out first and last out if there's an expiry date? If there's shelf life considerations? How do you handle the logistics side of things versus just new customer acquisition, acquisition? And marketing is almost the tail the tip of the iceberg or the gateway drug into Ecommerce because it becomes that logistics conversation very, very quickly.
Andy Splichal 9:13
So speaking of ECOM I see you are featured in Shopify maps Q's is is that your preferred ecommerce platform Shopify?
Lucas Walker 9:22
Yeah, I mean, I can't say a negative thing about Shopify. It's so fascinating to get up and running and have everything that you need. You can create a store on Shopify with a basic theme or template and get to a million dollars in sales, which is so crazy to think about think about 15 years ago, how hard it would be to create a business that would do a million dollars in sales, especially a retail business. It's you're signing leases, your you're getting inventory, signage, all of this, but we're Shopify out of the box, you can get up and running. And then there are nuances where it might not be the best auctions are there's different solutions. But for me, they just they solve such a majority of problems that just has to be the place to, to get started unless you have a reason not to use them as a sort of the incumbent.
Andy Splichal 10:16
Have you used other platforms? Or Is that really your go to?
Lucas Walker 10:19
I mean, that's my go to I've played around with a few, a few different ones. I've helped friends with their, their sites built on WooCommerce and WordPress in there. They all get the job done, but not as easily. It's, I wouldn't recommend them to someone just just starting out.
Andy Splichal 10:36
Okay. Now, in your bio, it also says that you're an econ automation expert. How do you define automations?
Lucas Walker 10:44
So anything that can be repeated, you can automate it. And this might be something as simple as getting emails into a Google spreadsheet. But it's very tedious. And it's not exactly fulfilling work, either. So you could get a VA or someone to do it for you. But it's, I mean, you could do it yourself, but it's not a very good use of your time. But it's tedious and it's repetitive. So how can you do that automatically, using a lot of those automations. With tools like Zapier, or Shopify flows, you can set up things like if a fraudulent order comes in, or it's detected to be fraudulent, go ahead and notify me so I can follow up and adjusted accordingly. So it keeps the momentum going with your your store and your business. And it avoids those repetitive tasks. Now, one thing that if it's alright with you, Andy, is I'd love to chat a little bit about one of the biggest misconceptions of automation. Sure, that'd be great. I think that it's the full thing is automated. The end by thing, it could be anything, there are tools coming up now that will write your product page copy for you. And I think the the perception is, that's going to be automated, I don't need to write product descriptions anymore. But the truth is, you just have to be a much better editor, it might automate the task of kind of saying the same thing in a different way. But it's not going to be something that's ready to go out of the gate, it'll save 30% of your time, but not 100% of your time. So I think that's why where I really believe automation is or in the case of customer support, getting all your customer data in one place, versus going in and opening up three, four tabs to find that. So that gives you more time to do the human part of the task, or does accomplish more tasks throughout the day.
Andy Splichal 12:40
So if I'm understanding correctly, you're saying, it's not going to free you up and you're gonna have to be a better manager of the automations to make sure they're all running correctly.
Lucas Walker 12:49
Yeah, frees you up up until the last mile. And that's where you sort of take over.
Andy Splichal 12:54
Now, if you were willing, could you share a story of how you've helped a company automate some other ecommerce business processes?
Lucas Walker 13:02
Yeah, I think the the most obvious example is during my tenure at Gorgias the Helpdesk because so much of it is, is automated. So if you're bringing, if you have a customer who just wants a status on their order, this offer no longer you no longer have to go and open up the tabs and pull that in. As I build out rolled up, I'm automating a lot of things earlier this morning. I was earlier this morning, I was working on a new automation to bring in my emails and just launch them into my my drip campaign. Because I might collect emails from a number of different sources that might not go into into my omnisend. But I still want to capture that people might say, hey, add me to your email, they might put it in a Google Sheet themselves, it might have a signup form from from somewhere. And just when we talked about pillars of of Ecommerce, to me email and SEO is what pays the bills. So if you can get more emails early on and easier, think about collecting an extra three emails per day, just by automating the collection of it and so that you don't have you. It's one of those tasks that says, yeah, that this data entry, I'll get to it later, you never do. By automating the collection of those emails, it opens it up so that you can spend a lot more time engaging with them. But also having a bigger impact on your business. If after a year you've collected an additional three emails each day, that's like your 1000 emails, and you can pick a number that you want, but that's like $20,000 tax revenue for your business just by setting up an automation in about 10 to 20 minutes.
Andy Splichal 14:45
Now let me ask because ecommerce businesses mean one theme from the moment you start you're looking at how do you grow your business? How do you grow your business? How do you cut your costs are the two main themes but what mistakes have you seen the companies will make when when attempting to grow their ecommerce business.
Lucas Walker 15:06
So this is one example, hits very close to home. But I think one is trying to expand to new markets and channels way too fast. Our business was pretty good, very good business in Canada and a little bit in the US. And I thought by having a second sight, it would open up a whole world of possibilities. But it didn't, it just created more work. And more work meant less time testing and doing the things that do work. So think trying to expand too fast, whether it's by products, international, or even channels. Don't try to do YouTube, Pinterest, Tiktok, and Snapchat ads all at once before you've even mastered Facebook, master the fundamentals and then expand it. Same thing with email marketing, it brands tried to create all kinds of crazy campaigns and they haven't mastered the cart abandonment and flow. So really focus on your low hanging fruit near and close to cash early on. And then scale up don't try to do everything for everyone all the time.
Andy Splichal 16:04
Those are some great tips. Now, ecommerce, it just continues to grow. And even more so in COVID, where it's just been accelerated. We're do you ecommerce going from here?
Lucas Walker 16:17
So here's a hot take. What do you think the percentage of books sold online is in the US?
Andy Splichal 16:24
I would say 85%.
Lucas Walker 16:28
I guess again, you were a little bit high.
Andy Splichal 16:29
A little bit high. So yeah, I don't know that 70.
Lucas Walker 16:32
Nope, about half actually 35%. And I don't have the exact number in front of you. But it's in the mid 30s. And it's actually plateaued there, which I think is very interesting. So I think we'll continue to see growth in Ecommerce up to that 35% mark. But I think the future will be very much click and collect or browse and store and then have delivered to your home. Even something like buying clothing. You might try on a jacket or something and you really like the style, but they don't have your size instead of going and bringing it to the store, you can just get shipped right to your home with the other things that you've purchased. So I think that will be the biggest shift as brick and mortar and traditional e commerce kind of blend. I also think that just really specific last mile. Last Mile Logistics will be more important than ever, because people will start traveling again, if they order something to a different location, they're going to want t what is the biggest success story you'd be willing to share with a company that has worked with you?
Yeah, I think that all I'll choose myself for for a couple of here. The first is with with treats happen. Getting into retail stores before we we ran into a few a few hiccups. I don't know if anyone's interested just hit me up on Twitter, I'll tell the whole story. But getting into TJX Canada, so Marshalls HomeSense and Winners, as well as a couple of chains and just navigating that wholesale purchase plan. There's just so much that you have to do like specifics for when they pick up the product and making sure everything's labeled correctly. It's like 130 pages of just documentation to even able to have them buy your products. So I think getting sell through in a couple of those stores is probably the biggest thing that I'm I'm proud of the other thing I would say is optimizing for a high lifetime value. We made it really easy for customers to purchase a bundle of products that would last them three or four months. So then we would reduce our shipping and logistics costs. Again, I think we're starting to see a little bit of a theme. But also it meant that we were doing it right because they came back so so frequently, which I think you all the reviews are great. Everything can be is nice, but the validation of a higher repeat customer rate really does speak for itself.
Andy Splichal 19:16
No, absolutely. Absolutely. Now at this point in the show, I've been playing a game with my guests are you up for it?
Lucas Walker 19:24
Can we just air some commercials instead? But with the listeners? I don't have any maybe first in personal injury lawyers or something. I think I think listeners like that.
Andy Splichal 19:34
So the game goes like this. I say a word and you respond right away with the first word that pops in your head word association game. And just kind of give some insight to where you are with your with your line of thoughts. Are you already?
Lucas Walker 19:49
Andy Splichal 19:51
All right, Run.
Lucas Walker 19:53
No, thank you.
Andy Splichal 19:54
Lucas Walker 19:55
Andy Splichal 19:57
Lucas Walker 19:57
Like the band? The song or the activity that we're gonna have by not running.
Andy Splichal 20:04
All right now some more business terms. You ready?
Lucas Walker 20:06
Let's go on to more serious answers to
Andy Splichal 20:08
Lucas Walker 20:11
Andy Splichal 20:12
Lucas Walker 20:14
Not seeing them enough lately.
Andy Splichal 20:16
Lucas Walker 20:18
Andy Splichal 20:19
Lucas Walker 20:22
Pays the bills
Andy Splichal 20:23
Lucas Walker 20:25
You're not doing enough of it I promise you you're not promoting enough and that goes for being as well.
Andy Splichal 20:30
Lucas Walker 20:32
Something I wish I did more of
Andy Splichal 20:22
Lucas Walker 20:22
Oh, that's a good one. But I think oh man oh you stumped me on the game. I think I just lost but for wealth, I'm wanting to say something that we all have and in different ways that we may not realize and I've been fortunate, fortunate enough to just realize during COVID That I am wealthy and in a lot of ways that you wouldn't exactly think that you can't take to the bank.
Andy Splichal 21:03
That's a great answer. You're back in the game back in the game.
Lucas Walker 21:06
All right back in
Andy Splichal 21:07
Lucas Walker 21:08
Sorry, did you say clarity or Larry like Larry David?
Andy Splichal 21:11
Lucas Walker 21:17
Easy to understand hard to do
Andy Splichal 21:20
Lucas Walker 21:24
Never stopped growing. The moment you stop growing is the moment that you start dying.
Andy Splichal 21:29
So tell me what is your motivation and working with companies what's what's getting you out of bed in the morning?
Lucas Walker 21:36
I think that the biggest thing is being able to do something really specific that I'm that I'm pretty good at in this case, helping with a lot of the content and amplifying their, their voices. But being able to do it for more than one person or more than one company in one boss. For me, I think that a lot of that motivation comes from being able to do something very well. And just being able to share it with with others. And by working with more than one company. I get to double down on what I'm best at I enjoy and eliminate maybe some of the parts of my day to day that I'm I'm not as crazy about I also just it's it's weird. I just I eat breathe sleep ecommerce. It's just one of those things that I don't know if it's because I've done it long enough, or I just truly enjoy it. But for me, good marketing. It's like an art form of art to me.
Andy Splichal 22:33
And what services are you offering to clients?
Lucas Walker 22:36
Yeah, so right now, I like I said, I've, yeah, so right now I'm the founder of the Rolled Up Podcast Network has the biggest thing is production and distribution of podcasts. I also don't know if I'd say consult too heavily on it, but just helping a lot of individual ecommerce brands with what they need going going on. So it could be a review of their website, it could be coming up with a little bit of strategy. But the majority of what I'm focused on right now is giving more brand owners and founders a quite literally a voice.
Andy Splichal 23:12
Okay, and I see on your website, rolled up.io that you offer a free tune up, where you offer to find free money fast fixes and get expert insights from the pit crew. Now first of all, what is the pit crew? And second, what's this free tune up?
Lucas Walker 23:30
So the theme of Pitstop comes from is actually Jason Wong, the founder of Goloshes , who named it but your your Shopify store, your ecommerce store. It's a high performance machine. And your your selling season is a race, you don't always have time to tear everything down, do a deep analysis and fix it. But you might be able to find a little bit of free money by say offering an upsell or an extra variant, you can definitely find a fast fix. And sometimes it's just nice to have someone's insight who's who's done it before. And so the pit crew is just sort of what I call the variety of guests who come on pitstop and have different areas of expertise, expertise, and Thomas amazing Shopify designer worked out out of the sandbox building a number of different themes. She was on talking about user experience. Steve Toth came on and talked about SEO and a few merchants as well, like the end Dembski talking about how he drives urgency without giving a ton of discounts.
Andy Splichal 24:29
Okay, well, there you go that rolledup.io.
Lucas Walker 24:34
That's right, rolledup.io. And if you sign up for the newsletter, just reply to that first email. I'll give you a quick little review of your Shopify store and I donate $1 to my local food bank for everyone who signs up.
Andy Splichal 24:46
Fantastic. Now one last question. What would you like to say to business owners listening right now that might be struggling to grow their business? If they say Where should I start in order to grow
Lucas Walker 25:01
Atart getting more emails, it's so sexy to say, Oh, just run these ads, you'll you'll have a fast conversion rate, you'll see the money attributed right away. But not every business or product is like that. May we have that call to action be request more information. Maybe if it's get a recipe, maybe it's get an asset that helps your potential customers understand your product. And if you're not doing that already, give that a start. It might just kickstart everything else. It'll give you some new customers who maybe you need. And I'd also say if you are an existing business, talk to your top 10% of customers go in, in Shopify filter out by by revenue or orders, whatever your KPI is figure out who you want to talk to who you want more of. And then just go talk to them, ask them what they like, how do they use your product, they are a wealth of information that you'll never have on your own. No third party data has and when you start talking to customers, especially your best ones, the magic starts to happen even if you don't implement a thing sometimes that's just enough to get the sales gods in your favor again.
Andy Splichal 26:14
Well that's great. Well thank you that's some some fantastic advice before we end is there anything that I've been a miss of asking you today?
Lucas Walker 26:23
No it's great I love the format love how we've been going pretty fast and and rapid fire I've got another season of Rolled up coming out which is sort of my my Flagship Podcastt a little bit more narrative and conversational I've got pitstop which is the direct tactical faceting podcast bricks and clicks is launching on the network soon as well as a couple of others.
Andy Splichal 26:45
Oh fantastic. Well thank you for joining us. That is it today. Remember if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave us an honest review. And if you are looking for more information regarding Lucas or connecting with them, you can contact him through his website which we will put a link in the show notes and to get that free pit crew tune up and write rolledup.io
Lucas Walker 27:15
rolledup.io Lucas Walker wherever you get your podcasts if you if you see the basketball player or the male model that believe it or not, that's not me. I know it's hard to tell because you can't see my face Listen, that's that's not me keep scrolling to the guy eating burritos ask me.
Andy Splichal 27:32
Fantastic. And in addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business using paid ads request to join them make each click count Facebook group I have been releasing some all new free live training some world things happening soon. Meantime, remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.