Podcast

Episode: 467 |
Erik Lautier:
Ecommerce:
Episode
467

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Erik Lautier

Ecommerce

Show Notes

Erik Lautier is an expert in eCommerce, marketing, and digital strategy.  After over two decades in roles dealing with eCommerce and marketing for brands like Lacoste, Bebe, and Francesca’s, he founded Erik & Co, an eCommerce and marketing consultancy serving seven and eight-figure DTC brands, retailers, and/or their private equity owners. In today’s episode, he shares his expertise in eCommerce. Learn more about Erik and his company at www.Erik.co.

Key points include:

  • 07:17: The shift from theatre to eCommerce
  • 10:14: The layers of an eCommerce assessment
  • 12:38: Benchmarks and opportunities
  • 18:26: The choke points in eCommerce

 

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

 

  1. Erik Lautier

Will Bachman 00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host will Bachman. And I’m here today with Eric Lautier, who is a consultant serving most of the US, but based in France, focus on E commerce. Eric, welcome to the show.

 

Eric Lautier 00:18

Thank you. Well, thank you so much for having me. So Eric,

 

Will Bachman 00:21

why don’t you first just give us a quick snapshot on your background and how you came to be, you know, a consultant focusing on newcomers?

 

Eric Lautier 00:31

Yeah, so I’ve been in this space for over 20 years at this point. And I would say I certainly didn’t have a very typical background. Although I would say that, you know, people who got an E commerce 20, something years ago, didn’t really study e commerce, there wasn’t that opportunity back in college. But I was a drama major in college. And so I was studying to be an actor. And I’m getting a master’s in music, with a focus in vocal performance in opera. So I was a performer. And I actually made a living as a performer for several years and was supporting myself in New York. And one day, I thought, well, you know, what, I’m gonna, I need to market myself, I need to advertise my career somehow. And so I’m going to build myself a website, I’m going to teach myself web design. And, you know, after a few weeks, I had produced a website that had my my agent, and here’s what I’m gonna be on TV next, and all these things. And lo and behold, a bunch of actors and singers saw and started offered to pay me to build sites for them. So a little light bulb went off, and I started a web development company, serving the arts and industries. And, you know, it just kind of gained steam from there. I had a client who was a soap opera star who was starting a cosmetics company. And that became our first e commerce sites that was in the year 2000. And of course, back then, right, there’s no Shopify, there’s no Wix, none of these things exist. And if you want a website, you had to go to somebody like me, who had to basically build it from scratch. So, you know, that’s kind of how it started to evolve. And, you know, as I, as I got going, I realized I had absolutely no idea what I was doing on the business side of things. And, you know, my, my training, of course, was acting and singing. So I ended up going back to school, I got my MBA. And when I got out, I got my first sort of official real ecommerce job that was working for a company called Eden, which was a fashion brand that was started by Bono from YouTube and his wife. And I was hired initially on a on a consulting contract, an eight week gig to literally code front end and back end of their e commerce sites from from scratch. And three and a half years later, I’m still there. And at that point, LVMH had taken an interest in the business, you know, and things were overall, you know, some momentum. I ended up getting an offer to join Lacoste. So I joined locost, the CEO from locost, and take me to BB as the Chief Digital Officer. After a couple years at BB I left and joined Francesca’s as the SVP of direct to consumer and marketing, and left there after four years as the EVP e commerce and CMO. And you know, at that point, I was really coming on to about 20 years in the industry. And what I knew that I loved was the constant change, and evolution in E commerce and in digital marketing. And there was always something new to discover. And that’s what I was most passionate about. And, you know, had I had I had enough, I think, confidence in myself earlier on, I probably just would have stayed a consultant all that time, as opposed to joining clients and going into industry. But, you know, I ended up coming back to consulting world because for me the idea of joining a project, starting something new, finding a new problem to tackle because it’s always different. And learning something new every single time is fascinating. That’s what I get out of bed for. And so I started my own consulting companies. So Eric, encode your IK and company back about two years ago, and have been pretty much busy nonstop ever since with different clients and clients in direct consumer in the retail space. So a lot of fun. So sorry, that was a fairly long winded answer. But there was a bit of a story to unwind.

 

Will Bachman 04:52

No, I love that story. And the kind of entrepreneurial aspect and, you know, for parents that have kids They’ve become theater majors. It’s not necessarily maybe the highest career prospects for every single one, they might have a little bit of trepidation. So that’s a, they can always go into web design. And

 

Eric Lautier 05:12

there is hope, hope for theater majors out there.

 

Will Bachman 05:16

But teller, I gotta ask before we go on to ecommerce, just tell us a bit about your, your performance career, what what sort of things were you performing in, in New York and those in the 90s?

 

Eric Lautier 05:26

Yeah, so, back in the day, they had something called soap operas. And, you know, we joke about them, but it was a pretty stable source of work for a lot of actors in New York and Los Angeles, I had a small role on a on a soap called one life to live for about five years played a cop, and, you know, speaking lines and that type of stuff. But that kept me busy for a while, I was in the Broadway touring production of Beauty and the Beast. And, I mean, it was, it was crazy, I would, I would be onstage, I’d be doing show. And I would have 10 minutes off between scenes. And I’d be back in the dressing room, doing work for clients, designing, coding, doing all that type stuff. And at one point, I realized that this whole performance thing is getting in the way of my job. And so I slowly transitioned out of the the acting stuff into to what I do now.

 

Will Bachman 06:22

Wow, what a story. And, you know, as a smaller character on a soap opera, you know, person could support themselves on that, like, I mean, how many

 

Eric Lautier 06:33

points so I did about 75 episodes over the course of five years. And, you know, not not quite enough to support oneself. But the the musical theater, jobs, the operas, the other things that I that I was doing, was enough, it was enough to get by in New York, at least, back in the late 90s. And early 2000s.

 

Will Bachman 06:57

Wow, that’s pretty cool. Alright, fast forward to today, let’s talk a bit about e commerce. So we got your background, sort of the standard, the standard entry proach, to ecommerce, you know, starting out in musical theater, as, as most ecommerce professionals do, give us an overview of your practice today.

 

Eric Lautier 07:17

So, you know, what typically happens is I’m typically brought in to do an assessment for a business. And that’s to look at what the opportunities are, both in terms of revenue generation, but also potential cost savings. And, you know, I typically spend, let’s say, 2040 hours digging into something, and, you know, I generally get the, the key is to Google Analytics. So I can jump in and really understand what’s happening with the business. And look at what they’re doing in marketing, look at the overall site structure and look at the merchandising, look at different aspects of the business and provide really a high level overview of where I see the greatest opportunities, triaged, in order of, you know, this is what I think has the most impact if you address it now, given the resources that you have at your disposal board, both in terms of tech as well as human resources, and basically sequence out what needs to be done from now until whenever. And I’ve done that for a number of different clients, some of whom I ended up joining full time, but I’ve never done one of those assessments that did not lead to an extension of an engagement or a full time offer. And, you know, typically, you know, and listen, I have been the client before where I brought in consultants to a business. And, you know, sometimes there’s simply too much work to be done for the internal team to be able to address some of these things, to or to even notice them. And it’s very helpful to have an outside set of eyes come in and look at the business and say, Look, this is what I think you need to focus on, in order to drive top line in order to improve bottom line, so on and so forth. So that’s the where things usually start. In terms of projects with me, where it often evolves to at least the last few major projects, I took on his sort of an interim CMO or CDO position, where I helped recruit a team where I put meeting cadences in order and get the right structure, reporting structure in terms of the business and just get everything in order. As we bring people into the business, and as we bring people in, I gradually step out of the business and then move on to another project.

 

Will Bachman 09:51

Talk to me a bit more about the the assessment. I’d love to go into a bit more detail about what are the you know the different pieces of that, you know, are the five different sections of the assessment? Tell us kind of what are some of the things you look at? And just kind of have a, you know, a second or third degree. Double click on that.

 

Eric Lautier 10:14

Yeah, sure. So all over simplifying. But there are, there are really three things that matter in E commerce, and it’s your traffic, your conversion rates, and your average order value. And the product of those things, courses, your revenue, and what you need to do to drive, each one of those things can vary wildly. And I’ve walked into businesses where it was apparent that the greatest opportunity that the most low hanging fruit was really in traffic. And I’ve been into businesses where the greatest opportunity was conversion improvement. And when you’re consultant, and certainly the way I like to approach things is I want to build a move very, very quickly, I want to be able to find low hanging fruit very quickly for my client. And I want to be able to demonstrate immediate value, so that they know that their investment is being very, very well spent. And, of course, the things that you’re going to do to improve traffic are potentially very different than what you would do to improve conversion rates, or to improve average order value. And so it usually starts there is breaking things down into these three components, understanding the levers that are going to move each of those understand where the business lies in terms of its relative level of sophistication in each of those. And understanding, you know, which one of those we have the greatest opportunity to move in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of expense from the client? So that’s usually where I start. And from there, there’s usually a ton more work that has to be done.

 

Will Bachman 12:01

Sure. So can you take us sort of one or two levels? Deeper beyond that? So I mean, you could sort of in five minutes, ask the client, hey, what’s your current Traffic Conversion Rate and average order value? And you’d say, well, that sounds a little bit low for the industry benchmarks, you know, you should be at x, whatever. But what sort of the, what do you start looking at, say, for conversion rate? What are the three to five to 10 things or whatever, that you’re that you’re looking at? To get a sense of? How are they versus best in class? What are the opportunities here? Share some examples for each one of those three categories?

 

Eric Lautier 12:38

Yeah, sure. So the first thing I would say is that benchmarks are tricky, right? Because it is all relative. And to say that, the industry benchmark for conversion rates, is let’s call it two and a half percent. If that is the case, if you are a very, very high end expensive jewelry brand, for example, you may have a lower conversion rate than that. But that’s because your average order value is going to be so much higher than what the industry standard would be. And that’s another thing to point out is that a lot of times these things don’t move in the same direction. And you can do things that are going to drive traffic significantly. But when you do that, you’re probably also risking lowering your conversion, as well as your average order value. Because if you’re driving traffic significantly, you may be going out to a brand new potential customer who’s not as familiar who is simply less likely to convert. And if they do, they’re gonna spend less when they do convert. And so these things tend to be at odds with each other. Not always, but often. And so you have to balance them, so that the thing that you are deriving is not at the expense of the other things. And of course, not to the extent that you’re actually doing damage to the business. But you know, if we look at each of those things, in traffic, certainly there are opportunities to drive traffic, you can buy traffic all day long. It doesn’t mean that you should. And one of the things that that I often see in a lot of businesses that I go into, is that there are simply channels that are not being exploited to the extent that they they should or could be. And, you know, I also run across perhaps some some overspending that is happening and channels where they find greater efficiency. And to illustrate, for example, there was a client I worked with, where they were over commissioning affiliates in the affiliate program by a pretty significant margin, and the program simply hadn’t been managed. As attentively as it as it could have been. And again, this is just a function of resources, and they were small and growing. But we were able to find really six figure savings on a calendar year basis, by changing the commission structure, while at the same time actually increasing the percentage of traffic that the affiliate business accounted for. And, you know, it was an immediate, very quick win for the business that easily justified the fee that my consulting firms being paid, while generating tangible results almost immediately, for the client. So that’s an example on the on the traffic side. On the conversion side, there’s, there’s often, of course, things you can do. I mean, listen, if you asked me to, to improve conversion, tomorrow, it’s easy, we just stop marketing. And we just wait for people show up to the site, who come there directly, because direct traffic is often going to convert a lot better than traffic that you’re going to get. But what you can do, of course, is you can segment better, you can target that, you can do some things with your email program, and just about everybody out there is going to have an email program if they’re an E commerce company of significance. But often times, it’s maybe a little batch and blast in terms of the email send strategy, they’re going too far too large of a list. They are losing subscribers, they are potentially doing damage to sender reputation, because low open rates, low click throughs. All of that can damage your sender reputation, which can put you in spam folders, of course, it’s very, very dangerous, something you have to stay away from. But simply doing a better job of segmentation targeting personalization of the content on its own, because email is such a massive channel can have pretty important repercussions for improving overall conversion rate. And then in terms of average order value. A lot of that can happen just on the site itself. And it’s using product recommendations. It is sometimes a promotional lever, like a bundle promotion, a buy one, get one, these types of things can often drive average order value up. Of course, as soon as you start promoting, you have to be worried a little bit about margin. That’s one consideration, you always have to keep in the back of your mind. And of course, it varies from client to client, some clients will promote and are very happy to promote others try to avoid it like the plague. And there are very good arguments for both of those.

 

Will Bachman 17:48

What are some things that you notice when you are just on an E commerce site as a consumer, that you’re thinking, aha, that you that you’re noticing that I wouldn’t? Because I’m you know, I’m sort of just a lay person. But what are some things that you’re noticing that the average, you know, shopper might not in terms of little tricks, or maybe Oh, the button here is not well placed? Or, boy, they have an extra step in here that they shouldn’t have? Because that every time you have an extra screen to get to that’s going to reduce your conversion rate, are people going to drop off? Or what are some things that you notice when you’re on ecommerce sites?

 

Eric Lautier 18:26

Yeah, listen, that’s a great question, I would say, in a general sense that one of the most important things that you can do on your site is to make it convenient for people. And that is eliminating interstitial pages that serve no purpose. For example, it is putting the buttons where it’s going to be easy for people to find and to reach. It’s not getting so clever with design, that you impact usability. I see things on sites all the time, that just drives me crazy, because they are making it more challenging to check out. When really the the thing that you have to do and what I think Amazon has done so well is they’ve made it easy, the easier you can make it the quicker somebody can check out, the better it is for the business. And so I think anything that streamlines the whole experience and makes it simple for somebody to get from the PDP that’s product detail page to to the cart and into checkout. You know that that’s what you have to prioritize because there’s there’s something called Funnel Visualization, which Google Analytics and other analytics packages can visualize for you where you see where people drop off along the way. And you know, you always see drop off that between the cart and the first page of checkout to the second page of checkout to the final screen. And understanding where those choke points are, and where you’re losing people is one of the more important pieces of analysis that you can do around the entire ecommerce experience. Yeah, and of course,

 

Will Bachman 20:21

the question question on that is, I’ve just noticed, it seems like only the past couple months, but maybe I’m, I’ve been missing it. It seems that just a couple months ago, I started seeing a button on a lot of sites that were offers, you’re getting like you have a cart. And you’re at that stage. And then it says, like, one path would allow you to do the normal register as a customer and put in all your information and your address and everything. But then they have his Apple Pay button. And boy, you click on that thing, and it just puts in your shipping info and your credit card and everything, and you just have to double click and boom, you’re paid. Right? And it’s Yeah, it makes it so much easier. Is that a new thing that that mean? Is that relatively recent that Apple started having this Apple Pay integration where you could just click and pay? And they would give them your, you know, shipping address and everything?

 

Eric Lautier 21:13

Yeah, you know, I wouldn’t say that it all of a sudden just happened. But I would say it’s becoming more and more widespread, and different ecommerce vendors, companies like Shopify, for example, are making it a lot easy to integrate additional payment methods. The other thing that you’re seeing probably a lot of is the opportunity to just split payments, right. So whether it’s through affirm or quadpay, Klarna. You know, there, there are a lot afterpay is another big one, there are a lot of these that make it just easier for somebody to be able to pay in installments, as opposed to paying all at once. But with regards to, you know, whether it’s Apple Pay, whether it’s Google Pay, whether it’s PayPal, they’re all these different methods, I think, a couple years from now, we’re gonna look back, and we’re gonna laugh when we think about the times in the past when you had to actually enter your information to check out. Because when you think about it, is it really necessary, I can log into my phone with my fingerprint, right? My wife looks at her phone, and it recognizes her. And all the subject knows everything, right? Why is anything beyond that, actually necessary to check out from a website. And we’re quickly getting to the point where you’re not going to have to put that information in, because you’ll have already been authenticated through the device. And so it’s just gonna get easier and easier. And I think the the brands that unlock that, first are gonna be the ones, you know, among the winners.

 

Will Bachman 22:56

What about sort of AI? And what sorts of things are you seeing there either in terms of engines that can tell what other sites you’ve been on? So they can come up with recommendations, and customize your experience and what you see when you get to the website?

 

Eric Lautier 23:15

Yeah, listen, I think a lot of people love talking about AI, and certainly want to say that they’re doing AI, I would say that AI is still largely the domain of third party vendors that work with brands and E commerce platforms, rather than something that that brands do themselves. I mean, I think some of the best examples of the behavior that you’re describing is, you go search for anything, right now. And then go to Facebook, and then you’re seeing ads for that thing. You know, we went skiing recently, and I was looking for some ski gear. And, you know, the next thing I know, all I see on Facebook in my newsfeed is ads for ski gear. And that’s just the way it works these days. And literally, if I’m looking for something, I now search for it knowing and actually looking for those ads, because I know I’m going I’m going to be served. And, you know, it’s, it’s an efficient way to do things. Right. And it, it tends to be pretty good. And, you know, I mean, Facebook’s numbers, I think speak for themselves there.

 

Will Bachman 24:30

Right? So okay, so that’s often being externally served all those AI recommendation type things.

 

Eric Lautier 24:38

Yeah. There’s also within the site experience itself, right. There are product recommendations. And they can be a function of this is what people who browse the items that you browse, also browse these, right, and that’s that’s fairly straightforward. Everybody has that. Doing something a little bit more depth, of course, requires more horsepower. And there are there are companies out there that are providing that kind of service. But you know, just generally having any product recommendations whatsoever is better than not having any at all. So even sort of bad AI is better than no AI.

 

Will Bachman 25:21

Talk to me some about the fulfillment side. So in terms of what’s that ecosystem, how is it evolving, sort of third party logistics, to ship it for a brand and so forth?

 

Eric Lautier 25:36

Yeah, I would say that Amazon has raised the bar for everybody, and made it basically raise expectations from the consumer side. Because when you order something online, now, your expectation really is that it needs to leave within minutes, and you need to get through next day. And, you know, a lot of a lot of merchants are not really equipped to do that. And I think if you’re one of those merchants, that needs to take a little bit more time, maybe because there’s a certain level of preparation that has to be done around the product itself, and quality assurance and some things that have to happen before something goes out the door. Or if it is, food, or there are a lot of different categories, where it’s, it’s difficult to just, you know, throw in a box and send it immediately. I just think you have to be forthright about that on the site and manage expectations, so that you’re not creating an unreasonable expectation from the consumer that they’re going to get something a lot quicker than it’s actually going to take. Because that’s, you know, Amazon sort of spoiled it for the rest of us. And now we have to keep up. But you know, all that said, I think that communication is probably the most important part of it. And I’ve always found value in on the product, detail page itself, describing how long it’s going to take for this to this product to ship and you see that on Amazon, right and say, this will ship tomorrow, if you order in the next, whatever, seven hours, right. And having that sort of communication, at least, level sets expectations for the consumer, so they have a rough range of when something should arrive. And I think that’s the most important part.

 

Will Bachman 27:37

Walk me through a typical ecommerce organization. So maybe it’s for I don’t know how big of a company this would be. But let’s say you had an ecommerce team that had maybe 20 people on it. What would the different roles be on that team?

 

Eric Lautier 27:57

That is a great question. And you actually see a lot of variability in this. And the reason for that is because at some organizations, you may have people who work on ecommerce in marketing specifically, but who report into marketing, which is its own organization, you may have people who work on the merchandising side of E commerce, but reporting to merchandising, which in itself is its own organization. And at the same time, you can also have organizations where those functions live entirely underneath ecommerce itself. And obviously, this is going to depend partly on the type of organization we’re talking about. Are we talking about omni channel retailer? Or are we talking about direct consumer brand where everything is ecommerce already. But typically what you have. And let’s say at a kind of midsize retailer, the type of retailer that would have about 20 people total in an E commerce division, you’re going to have a head of ecommerce at with 20 people, we’re probably talking about a VP role. At the least it could be SVP, or it could even be a Chief Digital Officer just depending on what the overall revenue is for the company. And underneath those people. At least the way I like to structure thing things and all over some fine once again, is that there are three aspects of E commerce that really matter. There is the merchandising, there is the marketing, and there’s the site experience, right? And those things have to work really, really well together. Whatever the merchandising is whatever products are coming out. Marketing has to understand that very, very well and has to speak to that the site experience has to support that right. So you have to have really three heads who are responsible each for One of those areas, and we work very closely together under the direction of somebody who is responsible overall, for the E commerce business, to ensure that the right hand knows the left hand is doing or the center hand in this case, because there are three people.

 

Will Bachman 30:17

Great. So let’s what let’s double click and walk me through each one of those groups, you know, merchandising, marketing, Insight experience, and what would those organizations look like? And what’s the typical titles that you might see?

 

Eric Lautier 30:31

Yeah, so in merchandising, there’s a very important component, which is the site merchandising itself, which is understanding basically where things need to be on the site. And, you know, I, I’ve seen, I’ve seen the placement of items on a site fundamentally impact the overall performance of the business. And I’ll give you an example. Long time ago, when I was working for Lacoste, the standard polo that everybody thinks of when they think will cost is the l 1212. Polo. And we always have that in the top left of our site, because that’s, you know, number one, that’s the number one spot that’s already looks. And that’s the, it was by far the biggest seller on the site. And Macy’s was also selling cost at the time. And I looked at their numbers, and the slim fit, Polo was the number one seller. And I thought that was very strange, because we’re used to seeing the l 1212. being the number one seller. And I went to Macy’s calm, and lo and behold, they put the slimfit in the top left, right, so they had given it the number one spot. And as a result, people who are on macys.com, looking for a low cost polo saw that assume that that was the Polo, that they were supposed to get sort of the iconic Lacoste polo, and they bought that one instead. Right, so something that basic can fundamentally impact overall performance. So the site merchants job is really to understand all of that. And through analyzing clicks and views on products, and add to cart rates, and all of these different factors, the million different inputs that a good site merchandiser is going to take into account. Look at all of that, and at the end of the day, decide where things need to be in order to maximize the overall yield of the site. So that’s a very, very important role there.

 

Will Bachman 32:38

And I guess, I say, there’s probably elements to have sort of taxonomy, because on some sites, you know, like, maybe it’s an apparel brand for skiing or something. And you might have men and women and children as different things. But then also within men, you’d have, you know, coats and outerwear, you’d have like, base layer, and just sort of figuring out what all those different categories are. Would in what the order they should be in alphabetical or, or, or rank titlelo, or something. I mean, there’s probably a lot of science and art around that as well.

 

Eric Lautier 33:15

Oh, hugely important. Yeah, absolutely. And taxonomy is one of those things, especially in apparel that is reviewed with regularity, because you are going to have things that seasonally make sense, right? When do you put sweaters when you take when you put sweaters in the nav at all? And when do you put it into the main nav as opposed to one of the stuff? That’s right. And when your leggings go in there, we’re swimming, winter swimsuits up here, right. So all of this taxonomy work is is hugely important. And is going to be a function of not just what time of year it is. But also, you know, you get data all the time, from people who are on the site. And so for example, if you look at at search on the site, and we’re talking about Google, I’m talking about people on your site searching for things, they’re telling you what what they’re looking for. And if there’s something that’s getting a lot of search volume, because they cannot find it, otherwise, it’s time to maybe consider putting it in the navigation.

 

Will Bachman 34:17

That’s so interesting. Yeah, if people are searching for it a lot, then that’s maybe not good, because they should be able to find it easier. show them a picture of it.

 

Eric Lautier 34:26

Exactly. And if you don’t have it at all, that’s where another role comes in here. And that’s the role of the buyer. Right? And again, at some organizations, the buyer lives purely in a merchandising and you know, they’re buying perhaps for offline and online at some companies, you know, you have somebody who’s buying specifically for online, which makes sense because oftentimes the online shoppers behave a little bit more, a little differently from the from the offline shopper and so you want to make sure that the assortment that you have online is representative of what that particular customer is looking for, but that that buyer is, is going to look at, for example, search volume for products that we don’t even carry, that maybe we should consider bringing into the assortment because our customer actually wants them, right. So another important role in the merchandising function, do some marketing function, we could we could drill down, you know, way, way down in each of these areas. But just to provide maybe a couple primary roles under each one. On any marketing function. You generally you’re going to have somebody who’s responsible for acquisition, right, and that’s going out and finding new people. Typically, they will manage paid social, they will manage paid search, right, so that’s Google ads. It’s being you know, anybody who might be searching for the brand or searching for terms that are relevant to the brand again, you know, if you work for Burton Snowboards, somebody could look for be searching Burton, or they could just be searching for snowboard right, and you introduce them to Burton as a result. And, you know, somebody in charge of of acquisition is, I mean, it’s a fantastic role. There are a lot of brilliant acquisition people out there, it is hard to find a really good one, though, because they are so in demand. And particularly with the dominance that paid social and paid search have the lion’s share of traffic that they can account for for a lot of brands, particularly brands that are new and trying to get no you know, it’s a it’s a very important role to fill. You’ve got somebody on the acquisition side, often who is managing things like email, SMS, perhaps a loyalty program, CRM functions, assuming you’ve got a large enough database, to justify some or all of those things. And they’re responsible simply for maintaining that customer relationship for segmenting lists for understanding how to reach people, and how to bring them back. If they start churning. You know, when people are at risk, and they have the site for a while, how do you bring them back? How do you win people over who maybe join the email list but never bought in the first place? How do you win people back who bought and then stopped buying for some reason, right? That’s the job of the retention manager. And then you’ve got things that are more on the brand and social side. We talked about paid ads and social I classify that differently than somebody whose job is to interact in social with community, right, and that’s posting stuff organically, whether on Instagram, or Facebook, or tick tock tick tock has become massive. And just, you know, I’ve seen I’ve seen companies absolutely hit the jackpot with tick tock tick tock tick works. For companies, it can be huge, and a an incredible revenue and brand awareness driver for them. But that’s the other sort of the third leg of the stool that I would say on a marketing, that is really, really important. Under site experience, you generally got somebody who’s responsible for more of the nuts and bolts, the operations, making sure that the site is up all the time, pretty much that is running quickly. So you know, that person might be responsible for the CDN, for load time for all of these things, just to ensure that those things are not problematic. You’re going to have somebody who’s possibly on the E commerce logistics side of things. So ensuring that all the packages are getting out the door on time. And somebody that may be over the customer service aspect. So what sort of feedback are we getting from customers? That’s chat, that is, you know, there’s there’s chat through social as well, it’s phone calls, it could be email, customer service, all of that. So really, those are the three kind of big chunks.

 

Will Bachman 39:26

That’s fantastic. I’m really interested to hear more about tick tock so is that companies creating their own content for tick tock or paying influencers to mention them or what, how are companies spending money on tick or is it ads on tick tock or?

 

Eric Lautier 39:42

Yes, so it’s, it’s a little of all right, and it depends on who we’re talking about. But I, I had a client who, whose product ended up being reviewed by an influencer that had a very subtle isn’t following and she’s hilarious. And it just, you know, it just caught on. And it became, you know, it went crazy viral. But it only happened because the company created the content in the first place organically, right? Because they created organic content that in itself was popular. It got the, the attention of an influencer, who then did their own version of it, which absolutely blew up. And then what happened after that is other influencers who saw that, decided they were going to capitalize on it, and say, Okay, well, I saw so and so to this. So I wanted to provide my take on it, right. And so there was this massive sort of first surge, but then you also have the second order effects, and even third order effects that happened as a function of that. And that was 100%. Organic. Now, you can advertise on Tik Tok. And, you know, sometimes ads works, sometimes they do not. But overall as a platform, it’s, it’s gotten absolutely massive. And I believe it dominated web traffic in 2021. I forget where I saw that stat, or if it’s entirely accurate, but it would not surprise me if that were the case.

 

Will Bachman 41:18

Wow, that’s amazing that it sort of just, you know, seems like it almost came out of nowhere as to a couple years ago, and became so big. And yeah, you know, for for brands that want to use tick tock in that way. Are they? I mean, it’s, it’s not, you know, someone of my generation, that’s an expert at it, or our brands, like, going out and hiring 16 or 17 year olds who, you know, are familiar with that medium? Or how are they approaching that? How do you find a tick tock expert?

 

Eric Lautier 41:51

You know, it’s, that’s, that’s the amazing thing, right, is that you’ve got, you’ve got generally maximum one to two years of experience on tick tock, if you’ve got any. And a lot of it is just personality and understanding the types of things that work on there. And you’ve got to be a user for that, right? Like, I don’t, honestly, I don’t get it. I try to pay attention on tick tock and I find a little confusing sometimes. And this is where I just defer to people who understand at all so much better, and let them do what they do. Because that’s that’s where the magic happens. And it’s, you know, it’s an art and generally, yes, people people use Tik Tok tend to be a little bit younger. But I mean, you’re seeing you’re seeing that age rise, right? Just like you saw with Facebook, just like you’re seeing with Instagram, right? That nobody, nobody has a hold on Youth forever. And all you have to do, I think, for Tech Talk is find somebody on your team. It doesn’t matter where they are, who understands the medium, and who’s passionate for it, and wants to engage with it. And that’s the person who put in charge. You know, I mean, if they can communicate with, with customers, and if they understand how the platform works, but more importantly, the type of content that works on tick tock. That’s the person you have to empower.

 

Will Bachman 43:36

Amazing, Eric, this has been a great discussion. If listeners wanted to find you follow up, contact you. Where would you point them online? If you want to share a website or a tic tock address or Twitter or LinkedIn? Where Where should people follow up?

 

Eric Lautier 43:54

Yeah, so years ago, I picked up the domain eric.co. That’s er, ik.co. Thinking I’ll use it someday. I just don’t know for what and you know, one day I founded my own consulting company, Eric and CO. So that’s my my company’s domain. Eric Dotco. That’s e ri k.co. And there’s a contact form there. You can reach me through there.

 

Will Bachman 44:19

Fantastic. Eric, thanks so much for joining today.

 

Eric Lautier 44:23

Thank you. We’ll appreciate your time.

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