Jan. 26, 2022



Web Studios West has been building websites, e-commerce solutions, social media platforms, and custom software for over two decades. This week's guest is Shiloh Pettyjohn is Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Sales for Web Studios West. Over time Shiloh has become an expert in the field of online retail, website operations, e-commerce hosting, and internet security. He has built and aided thousands of businesses of all shapes and sizes over this time to have smooth running and successful online operations. Michelle and Shiloh jump in and discuss, among other things, the benefits of eCommerce to retailers, the different platforms available and eCommerce trends for 2022. A must-listen-to episode for anyone looking to jump into the eCommerce world! 

Website: https://webstudioswest.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shilohpettyjohn/
Web Studios West Contact: https://webstudioswest.com/contact/


Michelle: Hey there. I'm Michelle Sherrier and this is the Retail Whore Podcast, The Stories and Lessons from the life and retail. Hey, guys. Welcome to Las Vegas. I have been here for. Two weeks plus I finally have a voice back. I got incredibly sick a week and a half ago. It was not COVID. I tested twice. But let me tell you, coughing in a public place or having a voice like this definitely makes people retract. I got a whole new view of all that. The show for Las Vegas is where we're at right now. The show officially opened yesterday. There was pre show appointments on Saturday. I was out here doing setup for sales producers and I opened a new showroom art foil trading, one of my clients there on the first floor. And today is the first really big day. Saturdays, usually our Sundays kind of start off kind of slow. Monday usually is the full press for everybody. I can tell you right now the show feels so good. There is so much energy and there are so many new vendors and so much new introductions. After two years of not having a lot of new introductions thanks to the supply chain and just honestly, obviously not having shows, it feels so good.

Michelle: Like it feels like the old days and temporaries, to be honest. Like temporaries has not felt this good and I have not been so inspired and so long. So if you follow along, because tomorrow this episode appears, if you follow along my stories, for me, design collaboration is where I'm showing all of my favorites. I will be doing a recap of not only this show as well as the Magic Apparel show, which is February 14th. So I'm going to recap both of them combined as one. So listen out for that. It will probably be about the third week of February. Today's episode is, I'm not going to lie a little daunting. I'm not a shy person when I say I don't understand tech very much. You all heard me talk about that. So today's episode was Shilo Pettyjohn. He's the co-founder of Web studios where they build websites, e commerce and social media platforms from the ground up. This is not plug and play Squarespace. No dig on Squarespace. This is ground up website building. And you all know, with my lack of tech knowledge, I had to rely on the support of my bestie, Elisa, who is our digital marketing person here for rock.

Shiloh: For rock, for.

Michelle: Retail Whore. And she helped me with the questions because I really felt like they needed to be questions that. Not only I understood, so I was kind of almost asking questions for him to explain to me as well. So this is as much of a learning process as is for me. But I will tell you, Shiloh is the easiest person to talk to and probably the coolest tech person I've ever met. He's engaging, he's fun, he's sweet. He he makes it so easy to understand. And when you are building a website, he really digs deep with his clients in asking really what they need and what what they want to reflect their website. And nine times out of ten, to be honest, you really want your website, your ecommerce site to reflect your store. And while it is a they are two different things. There is a way for them to marry each other. There is a way for them to feel like your store and this is what this man does. And let me tell you, he is very good at it. So without further ado, here's my interview with Shiloh Pettyjohn. Hi, Shiloh, welcome to the retail whore podcast.

Shiloh: Hello.

Michelle: I am super excited you're here with me. You and I are part of a group called the Retail Superheroes. And you, we all have our own. Our own gig, our own specialty, our own superpower. Why don't you tell us about your superpower?

Shiloh: Yes. Thank you for having me. We are. Well, what I what I specialize in is in ecommerce internet, you know, things for the Internet, building websites, building custom applications, helping people with taking a goal and then working towards implementing that. On the on the Web, you know, you envision a house, you talk to an architect, and they build the house. And what I do is I take whatever's in your head as far as what you're imagining and dreaming about. And we try to make that a reality.

Michelle: I love that. It's it because I always wonder, because I know everyone in this audience knows that I am not the tech person and my tech person is Elisa. But I know, like even conversations I have with her, like we're talking about, we're going to do newsletter and I have this broad idea of it looking like a magazine and I want it to look like this. And she's all hold up, know, like there's things we can and can't do. I'm like, Well, I want to look like this and I feel for her, but I love that you listen to that. And that's how you work with people, because I think a lot of people in tech are very. No offense, everybody but are very dry and are very lucky. And all of us are the creatives and we all have these big, broad ideas and have no concept of how they come to be. That's yes. And we bring them to you. And a lot of times it's met with like a very stone face of like can't do that.

Shiloh: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's what I love most about what I do actually is, is helping somebody who's most of you we work with are retailers. You know, they're not technology people. That's not what they do. They didn't get into retail to deal with, you know, bits and bytes. They got into to service people to create a product and make a buck to, you know, help things. So we really like that, that activity of saying, okay, what are you imagining? What's your goals like? What kind of experience do you want to create? What's what's your special thing, you know, and then figure out from there how to make that be something that a is understandable by the broad public or the public that they're trying to reach, but also make it make it be them. You know, it's it's that's that's.

Michelle: That's really important because, again, like, I think a lot of things I hired somebody to help me with tick tock. I'm not going to be the one dancing and stuff. I want to tick tock words like the voiceover and it's displayed detail oriented. And it, it did not sound like me at all and it was not me. So that was that was the end of it. And me and this other person, because it just I, I think that whoever it sounds like whoever you work with, you really listen to them. And, and looking at some of the websites that you've built.

Shiloh: Like.

Michelle: They look very authentic to that brand.

Shiloh: Yeah. And that's everything, you know, it's the aspects of the, the style or the aesthetic, the presentation. It's different from retail at a retailer to cut. You know, our clients are all over the map, everything from Western wear and boots to surfers and, you know, electronic gear and musicians, you know, all kinds of things. Right. And so it's a real broad, broad, broad spectrum and they all speak to different people. And so the site has to be their voice, you know, selling things for, you know, pink or Britney Spears. That is a very different audience than selling, you know, western wear. Yes.

Michelle: Those boots are different. Well, at the time they were like.

Shiloh: Maybe they were smaller at one point, right? Yeah. Or, you know, action sports or, you know, whatever it is.

Michelle: We're going to start with the basics of everyone knows what e-commerce is, but there are there is a big group of women and men, my generation, that don't fully understand e-commerce. They have a website. It's not an e-commerce site. But will you explain the basics of what is E commerce and the core the core features of e-commerce?

Speaker2: Certainly. Certainly. So all right, so what is e-commerce? E Commerce is essentially the act of bringing together a retailer or a distributor with his public and allowing that public to buy things from them in a safe and secure and hopefully easy and friendly and delightful manner. Right. That's that's the core. Right. So the idea is, you know, when you have a physical store, brick and mortar, you have people that that are there and they're helping and they're smiling, hopefully, and they're full of knowledge and all of that stuff. So in e commerce, the idea is the exact same. It's how do we make this thing on the Internet speak to a group of people that your customers in a way that they can understand and feel like they're being provided what they need to make decisions right. And then and then make them feel comfortable and certain that the site that they're working with is secure and safe. They're going to put their personal information in there, all that stuff. Right, and then make it so that then you as a retailer can easily accept that order and process it and ship it out and do all of the stuff that you need to do to get the person the goods and, you know, track it in your books and make sure all of that is good. Right? So that's the basic activity. It's very, very, very similar to what you do in retail, except you're trying to to create a self service kind of experience. Right. Which is tricky sometimes. And and to do it in a way that the that the end user understands and can work with.

Speaker1: Do you do you have a hard time? Because I've seen a lot of e-commerce sites that have brick and mortar stores, and they it's two very different experiences. And I don't know what that disconnect is.

Speaker2: Yeah, yeah. It's a big problem. You know, there's a balancing act, right? You have. People that are trained, like customers that have been educated in the way to shop, they expect certain things, right? They expect that there'll be a menu with categories. They expect that if they click on the logo, it takes to takes them home. You know, they expect that if it's on sale, the sale price would be a little different. You look different. There's certain expectations, right, that they that they've been educated in. So you don't want to throw all that away because that's that's like a loss. You know, the person understands a certain thing. Right? But at the same time, you have to then figure out how to how to like represent your voice. And a lot of that goes into the information that you're putting on the website. You know, if you're selling, I don't know, a bow and arrow just to be totally random and and you don't present enough information to the person who either knows exactly what they want or is very interested in bows and arrows. They're going to have trouble.

Speaker2: Right? They're not it's not going to be a smooth experience. Just like let's take something else. You remember when you'd go to Nordstrom's and you'd buy shoes? They had the most educated people. Oh, she's like the best, right? They knew all about the sizes and the things, and they maybe they still do that. I haven't actually been to Nordstrom's in a while, but but I remember going there and buying incredible shoes and having an incredible experience. Right. And I always walked away feeling very well cared for. So how do you express something like shoes and all of the funny little weird bits about, you know, sizing and Italian versus and how brand a brand that is just completely different versus, you know, us sizes, brand or brand widths and all that stuff, right. So how do you communicate that in a succinct way so that they can understand and make choices? Right. So that's where a lot of a lot of ecommerce falls down is just in representing that experience. Like how do you make a Nordstrom's experience in the example of Nordstrom's?

Speaker1: That's a great example.

Speaker2: Though, you know what I mean?

Speaker1: Yeah, I think everyone is watching listening to this can understand because it is that is a great and that's part of for e commerce that I have a hard time with is there isn't enough information. But I do like now how a lot of people have started doing. They've added like I think free people started doing is adding video. So you could see the picture of a piece of apparel and a model, but and they'll say the model size. Yeah, but the way they have her sitting or dressed or what you can't really now they started to add in these little video clips of the person taking it off the hanger, putting it on, turning it around. She's not in some fancy pose. So I feel like that's getting a better that. That's more of like what is an experience like in a Free People store if you're actually going to get your hand on it 100%?

Speaker2: Yeah, fashion is really funny because fashion in a lot of cases is all about this sort of tactile experience. You know, you totally these clothes, you feel them, you go like, Wow, that feels amazing. These pajamas are incredible. I could spend the rest of my life in them.

Speaker1: Amen.

Speaker2: Right. Seriously. Right. That some people are driven by brand or by that kind of thing. And that's fine. Totally fine. But by and large, it's like, how does it feel? How does it fit? And so video now that the Internet has matured as much as it has, it's possible to do that in a relatively cost effective manner. You know, you can shoot videos here. We're talking across the Internet, right?

Speaker1: Yeah, it's amazing.

Speaker2: Right? You can do videos now that look fantastic. You can get lighting kits inexpensively and you can learn to do that kind of thing. And so showing how in your example of the model, wearing the clothes, putting it on when they move, how does it fold? Does it bunch weird. You know, does these jeans have weird crunchy bits, you know, all that stuff, right? It shows it, right. And that is one of the best ways to express, particularly in fashion, what the experience is going to be like when they order and receive these clothes. I mean, it's always a bummer when you order something. Either you get it and you're.

Speaker1: Like, you don't even.

Speaker2: Know frumpy. I feel horrible.

Speaker1: Image. Oh God. You know during COVID I had obviously all my wholesalers for because I do buying for a five store pharmacy chain and apparel is our number one thing and it's like people the pharmacies were so open like their they were mandatory still open. So I still had to have something in the stores and trying to buy them on these online platforms for wholesale was horrible. I finally got to the store, you know, almost seven months later because I wasn't allowed to go into the store. Seven months later, I get in a storm like, what is this like, oh, my God, like. The hand that like all of it was like, I will never do that again and I wish those platforms had. But anyway, I digress.

Shiloh: No, it's a thing. But see that then there. I mean, right there. You've actually expressed something and made the point beautifully. Just because it's B to B doesn't mean it's not E commerce. You're a customer. They're a distributor, not a retailer, but a distributor of goods. The experience that they provided in that particular case didn't result in you going, I'm a delighted customer. Oh, God.

Michelle: I was.

Shiloh: I love that customer.

Michelle: I will never do that again.

Shiloh: Yeah. Yeah. So that's something that they could work on. You can.

Michelle: Produce. That's one thing. Honestly, I wish they it's called fashion go and I wish they I wish they would. But it's like it's a giant platform and it's like all these different they basically play rep for all these other different e-commerce companies. But anyway, for a small retail store that is just starting to dip their toe into e commerce. Would you recommend going with WordPress, Magento or Shopify for their platform and Y? And if not, what? What platform? And I think I know the answer. What platform do you suggest?

Shiloh: This is a fantastic question.

Michelle: That's good. I didn't come up with it. We can thank Elisa for that.

Shiloh: It's a wonderful question. So. All right. So what's the suggested platform? The answer is all of them and none of them. Let me explain. In my opinion, and I've been at this now. So we started this company 21 years ago. Wow. Wait.

Michelle: How old are you? I am old enough to have a 21 year old company, I tell you.

Shiloh: Yeah, I got into technology when I was. Let's see. See, 1995 was my first tech job, and it was in retail, weirdly. Yeah, it was. Before we had mice, you know, there was no it was, you know, black and white screens, dos anyway. So so I've been at this a little while. So in my opinion, the technology should always, always, always, always, always be put up against what the retailer or distributor or whatever the company's goals are. You should align and identify your goals because that is the senior thing. That is the thing that's above all is like, what am I doing? Where do I want to go? What do I want to accomplish? Right. To then just say. You know, my friend did a great business on Shopify. Shopify has a lovely program but doesn't mean anything because it may not fulfill or facilitate you reaching your goals. It might paint you into a corner, right? Not to say Shopify is good bad, but when you align, when you have your goals and your your long term activities, mass labeled out, test out, you've got a pin in it there. And then you compare also your current situation financially and how much time you have and how much inventory and what your staff looks like and all that stuff. You can then pretty much see a path to reaching those goals if you then compare that to those systems. And so that's how we do it. We say, All right, so what is it that you're trying to accomplish? Do you want to have loyalty in-store and online? Because believe it or not, that's actually quite tricky for a lot of platforms.

Michelle: That's actually a college course of Walmart is the example that they.

Shiloh: Give.

Michelle: It. I mean, it's it's interesting you say that.

Shiloh: I mean, it's a big deal. It's a big deal for a lot of businesses. Some businesses it doesn't matter, particularly like super high fashion. Loyalty is not a thing, right? Not that I've seen, not particularly. But when you have repeat customers where you're going for that second, third and fourth purchase where you really like that's that's that's the golden hour right there. You know, you want these these guys coming back two, three, four, five times after you've marketed to them. Once you have to look at things like loyalty, you have to look at things like, do I want gift cards in-store or online? You know, what kind of email marketing do I want to do? How do I want to stay in touch with these people? Am I doing anything with social activities that I want to align my my ecommerce or store activities with? Is it a franchise? Do I sell out of more than one warehouse? All of those things, am I selling right off the floor? And I have a ton of people that come in here. So I have to think with, you know, my out of stock is not actually zero because somebody is buying it. Probably my head of stock is five or whatever it is. Right. These kinds of things all go into sort of deciding what the the best platform would be for you. And so to blanketly say, you know, Magento or Shopify or BigCommerce, WooCommerce, I mean, there's a bunch of them is something we just don't do. We work with we work with all of those as well as some others. We do custom work as well. And we, we, we try to fit the technology to the, to the what do you need person?

Michelle: So you're so obviously because I'm one of those people that go into meetings without lists, like I have a lot of hand throwing around of what I want and what it looks. Yeah, but so the best thing is if you are going to go into e-commerce is to have a list of exactly what we're going to have events. We want to utilize it for sending out invites. We want to utilize it for a mailing list. We want to so to have that list. So it's not just this because I'm guessing all those platforms have different levels of layers of what they have capability of.

Shiloh: Absolutely. Absolutely. And and looking at things like, you know, even if you don't know everything, you know, it's not like, again, retailers, they're not technology people. Right. So but if they if they're thinking it through in sort of plain English, like what are their broad goals and what are the broad kind of activities that they're looking to have happen? Then they can take that information to to an ecommerce person and say, this is my goals. This is what I'm looking at. You know, what's the system that's going to best suit what I'm trying to accomplish and then to work backwards from that. And you know, there's other things like Back Office, that's a whole other thing. It's like, all right, if you use retail pro as your point of sale or counter is.

Michelle: Literally what I was like sitting with like chomping the bit to actually because.

Shiloh: Yeah.

Michelle: I not to sideline the the conversation but I have clients that are like well say, oh, I want to start a website and it's like, so are are we selling the inventory off the floor or are you going to have a separate inventory? Because that's a lot of seemingly not me not understanding tech seemingly seems like a lot of. Of maintenance of. If it's especially if you're like if you're using light speed, for instance, and you are using Squarespace, do they marry and do does the inventory track. In both places. So you have an actual live count of like if you're selling out of your store and you're not selling out of another set of inventory.

Shiloh: Yes. I mean, exactly. Those are the kind of questions that you have to look at with this. So and it's not necessarily for the retailer to say, I know, I know the answer to that question, but it's something that they have to think about because that's a hidden cost there as well. Let's say that they don't talk and you have to pay for somebody in the back office to sit there and, you know, enter in orders in both systems and mess with the inventory. I mean, that could drive people insane, right? So you have to have our spreadsheets. I mean, that's awful, right? So thinking through that whole side of the business is a really important aspect because, you know, most of my customers we like to work with mainstream. That's like that's the thing, right? We like to work with the small and mid-sized customers because we have an opportunity to grow with them, to have these wins, these successes together, you know, it's like really satisfying. Yeah.

Michelle: That's the best part of working with clients. I mean, is that the wins and then and standing back and being like, Oh my God, look, look, it's amazing.

Shiloh: We did.

Michelle: You know, whatever. I mean, I can imagine it's that's the whole goal to me always when working with clients is the a the long term relationship that you you're are there for the highs and lows to work things out and to watch it from where you started and to where it's grown to is.

Shiloh: Is key so satisfying. It's about completely the best. Right? So you have to look out for those things for for the retailer and helping them to sort of identify, all right, what is my back office system? Do I love it? Am I staying with it? Am I going to move soon? This is something to think about, right? Am I?

Michelle: Why have you.

Shiloh: Move?

Michelle: Why if you move?

Shiloh: Well, if you invest a bunch of money to connect up your back office with a retail, with a website, you might be throwing that money away. So let's just say you're on whatever point of sale, a whatever your back office system is and you're going to be in six months opening up two new stores and you're going to move to a different point of sale system that supports the multi store thing. Maybe you've expanded a little beyond what they did. You know, they're good with five stores, ten stores maybe, but beyond ten stores, it's a problem, whatever it might be, right? Well, you know, you might want to consider that as far as in your planning to to think about, because it could be a sizable amount of money. Right. Depending on what you're doing. And you want these things, whatever you build, you're going to want them to last for a few years. Right? You're going to want to make your money back many times over. So these are things to consider.

Michelle: Yeah, I guess now I think about I don't think a lot of retailers think about that like long term. Like my goal is I want ten stores by the time whatever, 20, 26. Pay no attention to my dogs if you can hear them.

Shiloh: I love that.

Michelle: I was at people. Other interviews I like stepped aside, open the door and sprayed them with water and then closed the door quietly. And I haven't heard it, so I'm guessing it's been edited out. Thank God. But I can't edit the girl's barking out, so I apologize.

Shiloh: All right. That's all right.

Michelle: So for a positive shopping experience, it's obviously the core of the whole entire customer experience. What how do you implement that same experience with e-commerce as you have like that? Feel good? Is it is it an automatic thank you? Is it is it something that pop up? How how do you get that same warm and fuzzy feeling you do with the store level?

Shiloh: Yeah. Yeah. So it's it's it's very difficult to mirror it exactly because at the store you have the smiling face. You've got somebody who says, thank you for coming. You have somebody you have all of this human experience. And on the web, you don't. It's a computer. But a lot of that goes into the gestures. It's the little details, like how you express a thank you in for placing an order. You know, you can be cheeky about it, how you show if a product is out of stock, you know, putting a little, you know. Let's say it's golf clubs and you show a little golf cart that crashed into something is on fire and you and you say, we're sorry, we're having a problem. This is out of stock, right? I'm just making that right.

Michelle: I see the part.

Shiloh: I right. It's. Yeah, and that would speak to a person who's into golf probably. Oh, that's very funny, right? You know what I mean? Yeah. So even in the way the language that you use, we have a customer that we just adore. They are out of Texas and they're they're they're called the junk gypsies.

Michelle: I love their site, by the way.

Shiloh: I just.

Michelle: Everything about that site and them and I.

Shiloh: Was.

Michelle: Scrolling through that the other day.

Shiloh: I love that. Thank you. Yeah, they are wonderful people. They are completely self-made. They've done it all themselves. Wow. And they create just wonderful products. And they and they are wonderful customer service. They have a store that they built round top Texas, wonderful little place.

Michelle: It's amazing. I our goal is to go to round top hopefully this spring to go purchase.

Shiloh: Oh, you should.

Michelle: For what? I don't know, but I should. You should. I've been dying.

Shiloh: To get in. I wonder in is their bed and breakfast.

Michelle: Okay. You need to make that. That introduction to me. You got them for this podcast because I think that would be they would be phenomenal.

Shiloh: Yeah, I would love to. Yeah.

Michelle: They're one sideline. Sorry.

Shiloh: Yes. No, they're wonderful. Yeah. Anyway, so the point is, is that if you speak to them, you know, they are completely right out of Texas. They they have the feel and the friendliness and everything you love about that. The South, you know, in Texas, it's embodied in everything that they do. And and so, you know, you have these things like, you know, thanks y'all and stuff like that. And maybe here in Southern California, I don't say that. Right. But for the way that that site is presented, it is so authentic. It is so them. And those little details are what what it is that sets the the positive shopping experience the way that they communicate after the fact and the way that they send their emails. The whole thing is a package of who they are identified and put into words and gestures and little images and things like that. So it's just really it's it's it's not actually that complicated, but it's a little bit it's just a little bit unusual. You know, you're doing a little soul searching and saying, all right, who are we? What are we? What are we doing for our customers? What are we saying to them? How do we say it? And then let's represent that.

Michelle: Right? Well, it's also to put a feather in your hat. It's also you obviously are very good listener. And you you you understand the customer's aesthetic and who they are. And and you mean you just explain them beautifully and it comes off in the website for we'll have a link to it in the, in the show notes so people can go look and see what we're talking about. But, you know, I think it's both understanding what you want, but also for the person building it to to listen to and and look at the surroundings if you're there or website and like really get to know your customer. I mean, in any service business, but especially for something like that, yours is a visual thing.

Shiloh: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, you expressed it when you were speaking the other week about, you know, you would looked around this store and you saw these things that just, you know, didn't help represent the the brand. You know, who are these people, right. Physically in the store. Right. And so, you know, that's all we're doing is just looking around and saying, all right, who are we? What do we have to say? What are we offering? What's what's that proposition? And then expressing it in some visual fashion, you know, and and then leveraging what the customers who are shopping there already know and that they learned from Amazon or Walmart or.

Michelle: Don't even get me started on Amazon. I don't hate Amazon, but I am so over retailers saying Amazon is taking our sales like they're not and was on I'll stand on my soapbox all the time like Amazon does not send thank you cards. Amazon does not know your children's names. Amazon does not Amazon. Amazon is great for ordering shit you need right away. But it is not it is not going to replace a brick and mortar experience or an experience on your website. It is this beautiful vision of who you are and you feel like Amazon does not feel like that.

Shiloh: Yeah. Thank you for saying that. I gotta tell retailers this all the time because there's concern, you know, there are big, big organization that moves a lot of product. Yeah. But the thing is, is they can't do what what any of my customers do. They don't have. There's no try calling somebody.

Michelle: I challenge anybody.

Shiloh: Listening. Try calling and having a conversation about, you know, why this is it a half size to bake? Does this shoe like is it run long, you know, oh, it's a converse. So go size down because they're a half their size large, you know, where they work. If you don't know that you're.

Michelle: Shoe guy, obviously.

Shiloh: I have a shoe I'm a total.

Michelle: You're the retail hell knows converse runs a house I stupid.

Shiloh: I'm a total shoe whore I love them right you're the retailer the year anyway. Yeah, but. But it's just it's a thing right. And brick and mortar is always going to win on that and people will pay more for it because. Absolutely. That's that's the thing. They'll pay. They'll pay the difference, the margins that the small retailer gets. A lot of people are happy to do that, to keep them there 100%.

Michelle: And thank you for saying that, because I literally I have a soap box and I pull it out and I get up on it and I go off and like, I know people are sick of me saying it, but it's like I hear it all the time. My stop with.

Shiloh: That.

Michelle: It's great for office supplies. It's great. But stop.

Shiloh: Yeah, I've seen I've seen it. I've seen it. An interesting facet of that I have seen where you have a situation where like if you haven't really thought about your, you know, the products that you're buying and stocking and bringing in and you kind of gotten stale in that way, you know, where you've stuck with product lines that where the manufacturers are competing in the channel, you know, and they're selling at 20% below the their cost or something like you know, and they're selling these things to Amazon to fulfill and just just ruin those businesses. You know, quite frankly, those are brands that you should, you know, step away from. Yeah, and that's my opinion. Yeah, not a retailer, but.

Michelle: Yeah, I think people just kind of get in that fear scarcity mindset and instead of looking at what they can personally do, it's a lot easier to say, Well, so-and-so's taking all the business like, you know, good customer service goes.

Shiloh: A.

Michelle: Long, long, long way. And, you know, anyway, I.

Shiloh: Digress. It's, you know, it's it's on topic to me. I think it's beautiful.

Michelle: So a lot of retailers, you know, I will say this like go figure after COVID that retailers had kick ass years a year. A lot of them did. Some did not. But by far and large, retailers had a kick ass year. Yes. For those that did not, because I I said this, you know, I started this podcast. It started as doing Instagram lives and it was just going on live with retailers like and we're in the middle of dead closure and like, what are you doing? What are you doing to pivot? Like what? And it was interesting to hear what how fast some people pivoted. And there's a I had said this, the pandemic created a very panicked moment for a lot of people, a lot of them older retailers that thought that the way they were doing it was working. We don't need we don't need to worry about social media. We don't need to worry about ecommerce or they had a website and it wasn't it wasn't even set up. It was a landing spot. So. Say these people still are somewhat struggling and they've missed the bus and they don't have a big budget is what. What what would somebody be able to do to simplify creating an e-commerce site without breaking the budget?

Shiloh: Sure. Sure. Well, the simple the simplest thing to do would be to call me and I'll help them. I'd happily give any advice on that. But there are many, many systems that are out there that are that are easy to run, easy to set up. Shopify would be one of them.

Michelle: That's pretty much plug and play, right?

Shiloh: Yeah, for the most part.

Michelle: I mean, for the for the very, very beginner. I mean, I couldn't figure it out. I'm not going to lie. That's why again, lease is doing it.

Shiloh: Yeah.

Michelle: But for the people that have a general knowledge of yeah.

Shiloh: Yeah, they have lots of videos and simple step by step instructions. That's a very, very simple approach. It costs, you know, whatever it costs $29 a month or something like that. It costs very little. They take a piece of every transaction because they provide the they provide the merchant services for for your credit card processing. But it's very, very simple. And you could list manually just list some products that you have lots of inventory for and just get started, you know, pick a pick a look and feel and and get started. I'm again a big fan of looking at like even in that sort of quote unquote sort of serious situation where a person is like feeling like they're on their last leg. You know, they didn't jump on this fast enough. I think anything worth doing is worth doing well. And so even in that situation, like, you know, looking at where you're at, where you're trying to go and working with a with a professional that's willing to to help you get there and and formulate a plan because you could launch something and actually, like, kind of hurt your business a little bit if you're not communicating in a manner that's who you are. If you're not creating an experience, that's delightful, right?

Michelle: I've got to throw it up.

Shiloh: But it is the best word for this sort of thing. Like, are you delighted? It says it's black and white, you know, yes or no? I am not delighted. I am going. That's it, right?

Michelle: I'm using this word a lot now.

Shiloh: Yeah, it's a great word. It's a great word. So, so, so with regard to to that kind of system. Yeah, you know, you can you can do things with Shopify or Squarespace or even Wix. I think Weebly has something for ecommerce. You could open an eBay store. They have much higher fees, but you could put things up there if you just, you know, but it's.

Michelle: Not going to be authentic to who your store is. No. And that's where I think.

Shiloh: That's.

Michelle: Need to like you can not say cheap out, but you can basically cheap out. But is it going to look like your brand and feel like your brand? Can you effectively yourself create that? Probably not. Like and I always say, you know, I had a conversation with somebody today about hiring and, you know, they're complaining about how the person, the people they hired are not that great. And I'm like, well, let's start with what are you paying them? And it's like an assistant manager.

Shiloh: Was.

Michelle: I can't believe I'm about to say it's like $16 an hour. Well, there you go. Like, yeah, you can't hire somebody that doesn't have heavy retail experience to run a store, even an assistant level, and expect to pay them $16. Because people that have talent, who come with experience, you are going to cost you more than what you want to pay initially, but it will pay itself back.

Shiloh: That's right. That's right. When you plan it out, you have you're lessening your risk. You're lowering the liability there. Right. Obviously, if you're going to pay whatever you're going to pay for a website. Right, depending on what you need, that might cost a bunch, but the money is always a solvable thing. You know, that part is easy. People are willing to loan money. There's lots of guys like me that will give terms. You know, there's, like, all kinds.

Michelle: That's nice. That's good.

Shiloh: You know, depending on the.

Michelle: Situation, you're going to regret.

Shiloh: That. I mean, it depends. You know, it's not a it's a case by case thing. You have to be. I love that, you know, $1,000,000 website is very different than a 5000 website. Right. It's what is.

Michelle: $1,000,000 website look like? I can't even imagine that.

Shiloh: Yeah, I haven't built one, but. No, I have not.

Michelle: Okay, well, put it out there.

Shiloh: I'm using broad, sweeping statements here. Yeah, but there's differences in caution. And the old saying of you get what you pay for really is.

Michelle: Truly 100%.

Shiloh: True. Yeah.

Michelle: I hate that it's true, but it's straight up true. It's so. This is an ELISA question. The majority of our listeners are business to business to consumer. What marketing strategy would you recommend to drive online sales?

Shiloh: So I love the ABCs, the basics, the fundamentals. You start with the basics and do that well. It's not very sexy, but it works. You start with things like email marketing. Build an email list. Improve the look and feel of what those emails look like. Really try to. Capture your brand. Again, we're talking about this the whole this whole discussion. You capture who you are in that email. Look at what do people really buy from you? You know, explore those. Look at those reports. What you know, you can you can look at your point of sales will tell you, you know, what? What are you selling most? What's not selling? Don't promote the things that don't sell, you know, promote the things people want, right?

Michelle: Yeah. I think that people get caught up in like we have a lot of this, we need to promote it and it's like you have a lot of it because no one's buying it. So don't, don't. That's right. Don't put it out. Don't don't lead with those statement.

Shiloh: That's right. That's right. That's right. It's just I mean, I would imagine it is maybe so that you could probably speak to here. It's like, how do you set up a window or the front of a store? You don't put the the kid in there, you put the crap out there. You know, that's not what you put in your window.

Michelle: It's a great analogy.

Shiloh: We sell crap, you know, that's not what you do. You put out the stuff that people go, Oh, I want to go walk in there and.

Michelle: Look at.

Shiloh: That. You know, I have.

Michelle: A question and it's primarily from my own website that Elisa is building. Is it you know, I'm going to start doing the online classes like I talked about. And I know I need to get to get email addresses and I know people don't like to give email addresses. And I've always believed maybe it's part of that Brendan Bouchard school or the Tony Robbins of giving something back. So you you you can collect email addresses. I will give you this free information.

Shiloh: Yeah.

Michelle: How what's another way to get because it's that's very challenging is to get people to give their emails up because then people just blow you up and it's like or they just do it and then and then on take their name off it later. Unsubscribe later.

Shiloh: So how, how.

Michelle: Do you do that?

Shiloh: So this goes back to I said it's a wonderful question. So it goes back to how you present yourself. Are you do you come across when that little thing that pops up and says, join my mailing list? Do you present that communication in a way that the person who sees it says they're not going to spam me, they're going to give me something valuable. And then do you present do you do you then do that? Do you then present something that's a value when you email them or do you send them?  I'm not picking on Milts. I'm sorry. Anybody out there that melts, it's just the name that Bob said.

Michelle: Oh, what is Milt.

Shiloh: Mills? I don't know. I don't know. I like the name. So, so, so you know, like it goes into that and that might mean that it takes a little longer to build that list, right? But if you communicate in a consistent manner, that feels like you're honoring your sort of unspoken agreement with the customer who just gave you their email address.

Michelle: That's that right there. Say that one more time.

Michelle: So you're honoring your unspoken agreement with the customer that's you're not violating that trust. Right.

Michelle: It's so.

Shiloh: Important. I end with email and everybody that went through all these years of being spammed to death with all of that stuff, right? You have to be honest about it and you have to build that on that list, honestly. And and for retailers that have a store. There's so much that can be done there in the store where you're capturing those emails, where you're expressing it in a friendly manner, where they're they're not like feeling accosted and they go, Yeah, I would like to see more information about whatever it is that you said.

Michelle: So you suggest the same thing as like you're giving the email because you're going to give them something back of value, whether it be information or first tips on a sale, or because I came from the old school. My background is Fred Segal. We all my staff had client books and we had everyone from Meg Ryan to Dennis Quaid to I mean, we had every celebrity in the cities phone number and address, and we would drive close up to them. And this is obviously way before paparazzi and like where like people running by and taking pictures and the next thing, it's up on the Internet. There is such a very intimate relationship we had with people that were so willing that this day and age, I can't even imagine something like, Hey, give me your address and I'll drive this up to your house. You know, it's.

Shiloh: It's.

Michelle: That's now I wonder, like, how do you capture and how do you market something when you just throw something out into the abyss. Yeah. And hope that people find you.

Shiloh: Yeah. So, so that's a very different thing. So when you're talking about emails, you're talking about customers that have expressed and already found you. Right? They have found who you are. They have expressed some trust in in who you are, whether they purchased or not. They said, you know, you're all right. Yeah, I'll communicate with you. Send me something. Right. And if I like it, I'll stay on. Right. But as far as reaching into the abyss, that's a whole different thing, right? So that actually is very similar to the weirdly enough, it's actually kind of this similar thing that they used to do in local businesses where you'd send out, you know, a mailing or a postcard or whatever, you know, bus benches or whatever on the on the Internet. It's a very similar thing. You have things like Google Shopping, you've got ads on Google, you've got Facebook shopping, Facebook ads, you know, you've got Instagram now you've got Tik-tok. Now they're allowing people to do that kind of stuff. You've got YouTube ads between the videos. Youtube is huge.

Michelle: Linkedin are these banners or are these ads that come up?

Shiloh: They can be both. You know, in the case of Facebook, it looks like a post in your feed or can look like a post in your feed. So you can look at something and you go or like this a strip of products and those are your products that have been uploaded and the inventory is being tracked. So it's not pushing up products that are stock. And the person says, Oh, I love that top, I love those shoes. Right? They click through and they go, Wow, and then they're on your website. So you have an identity here. And if your website is well done and being honest and showing what it is that you were expressing in your marketing materials, there's a good chance that that they might buy. Right?

Michelle: I've ended up down that wormhole. Like, what's that? I've ended up down that wormhole. Like, how the hell did I end up on the site?

Shiloh: Like, yeah, totally. Totally. Right. And that's that's just, you know, kind of the same it's the same basic principles of marketing. You know, you're you're sending out into the world and something comes back, right? That's that's how it works, right? So online marketing is a little different. You need to manage because you have a much larger base of people that you can communicate to. You need to be careful and manage your budgets and how that stuff is working so it doesn't run away.

Michelle: And and when you say run away, what does that mean? Like, can all of a sudden you be like, I meant to spend this, and now it's like way more? How does that what does that mean?

Shiloh: Yeah. So like for example, with advertising on Google, for example, it's a very, very positive successful for many, many businesses. Right. It used to be that you could put an ad up and Google is so big that you might reach a much larger audience than you had planned. And you might get a lot more clicks, you know, a lot more people clicking through on that. Every one of those clicks, you have a cost, right, cost per click, right. So back in the old, old days, you know, I guess theoretically can happen now, too, but it could kind of run away. Maybe you had a budget of, all right, I'm not going to get more than 100 people. Oh.

Michelle: I see.

Shiloh: Now and then you got 1000 people and you go, wow, that's ten times what my budget was, right?

Michelle: What were my sales?

Shiloh: Yeah. Maybe. Maybe you got the sales. Maybe it's 1000 people who are not really your customer base and you just didn't think of the ad through. So you sell women's shoes and somehow you said something, push this thing out. And it's a bunch of duck hunters, you know, not the same people. They're like, Whoa, I'm going to click on this. And they come through and duck hunters, they're not going to buy these shoes. Right? You know, I'm being silly, but, you know, it's and it's ridiculous, but it could absolutely chew up your budget, right? Yeah. So there's a lot of tools to control this now and there's a lot of good professionals in this space. We work with Todd, who's part of the retail super friends. He's brilliant at this. And anyway, so that can be managed. And so you want you want to make sure that you have those basic tools in place so that you're testing these little markets and you say, all right, I got 100 bucks, or I'm going to spend it on some ads, and at 100 bucks it stops. And then I'm going to reevaluate and see how much of my return was on that 100 bucks. Right. You know, you might know that most of your shoppers shop at night because they're professionals that work during the day. Right. So you want to have those ads running at night in the areas that are where you you tend to get business, right? So things like that. Maybe you don't want the ads to show up for people in California because you only can sell in Texas. So you focus on Texas at night. You know, and set some limits. So, yeah.

Michelle: So say your website traffic is starting to slow down or is it a full low? What are some of the things that could be causing that lull? This is a tech question.

Shiloh: Yeah, for sure. For sure. Well, the first thing to do in that situation is to go and with absolutely fresh eyes, look, has your website become impaired some way? Is it slow when you go to checkout, go and buy something on your website when you go and check out. Is it a delightful experience again with the delight, right. If it's not, if you're sitting there waiting, you know, 50 seconds for the shipping to be calculated. Then you have an answer as to where people are falling off. One of the. Do you.

Michelle: Sorry to interrupt. Do. Do you find that for me? In my industry, visual. It's all about visual and change because you you have the same customer coming in and out of your store almost, I'm guessing a lot of people once a week. So you have to change the floor sets. You have to change what's laid out in the tables. You have to change the window because if not, they're going to walk by. It looks the same. Do you suggest the same thing with websites? It's like updating it. So the landing page is fresh or is that more of a brand thing? You need to keep that because that's your brand or is it a visual thing where you do switch out? Is that why sometimes things lol? Because it's like some clicked on. It's like it looks exactly the same.

Shiloh: Absolutely. A website is identical to a retail store. In that way you have to keep it fresh. Just because you built it doesn't mean it's going to do business right. So you have to build it. You have to care for it. You have to look at like, what are we presenting? Are we doing the thing that melts did and put the junk in the window? Oh, wow. We did. Let's let's take that away. You know, you bring in a new product. And there was one customer of ours many years ago that could predict the trends of their sales based on the how much inventory was being received within like scary number. Right. They could say, all right, when we receive this much product at this at this time, like this many days after it's been put on the line, we'll have this many sales. And and it was always on there buying on the receiving after they're buying. Right. And and it didn't have much to do with their marketing efforts. It didn't have much to do with anything. It was just they would put the product out and it would come. It's a little philosophical. I apologize for that. But but the point is, is they push this stuff out and it would come in and they refresh the look and people.

Michelle: Would check that updating.

Shiloh: It has a lot to do with with with with your success, you know, and that could be a factor when you're looking when you go back and you say, all right, so I've had a lull in my sales. What have I changed? Have I changed anything? No. Well, let's put that down on the list. Maybe that's a thing. I haven't updated anything in a while, but let's go and see what the experience is right now with fresh eyes. Don't assume anything. Don't take anybody's word for it. You go and you sit down and you make a purchase. Does it feel good? How is it on the phone? Is it a good experience on the phone? So those are some basic things. You just start to look and you might see immediately that, Oh wow, it takes forever to find this thing. Or, Wow, all the names got all wacky. I don't know what happened or there's something that's obvious, right? The other thing that can be done, and this is a little bit more involved if you don't see it immediately, is at least with this sites that we build in a lot of the sites that that we see being built nowadays, they have analytics, they have Google Analytics or Shopify has its own little likes. There's different analytics that you can see and you can see where customers are coming from, what they're doing, who's buying, you know, what's your what's your your conversion rate? You know, I get 2% of my customers buy something, right? 2% of the visitors. Right. And where do they come from? How much of it is fraud and all that kind of stuff? Right. So you can look at these things and then and go, Oh, wow, I had a big drop off. I used to get a lot of people from being of all things, being used to send me all kinds of customers. Now I get no customers from big I'm dying. So what happened with Bing?

Michelle: So it's not just put I mean, because I think a lot of people I'm going to build a website and they build it and they get everything on it and then they sit back and they think everyone's coming. And then it's like the sad reality. Like no one's come to the website, like no one's shopped it. I mean, it's so you do need to put some effort and manage it if you're not having somebody else manage it. And that's something you do is manage you're the eyes and eyes and ears of somebody's website so they don't have to do it. And they can focus as Margo who was is my open to buy interview from this week. She's like, You be the Kobe, you be the Lady Gaga, you be you do what you do best and let all of us do what we do best behind the scenes.

Shiloh: I love that. I love that. That's exactly right. It's exactly right. You have to manage it. You have to if you open a store in an alleyway with no lights and no sign, there's nobody is going to walk down there and explore if there's a store there. So it's the same with the web. There's 1,000,001 websites out there, many more than a million. Right. And you have to let people know that you're there. It starts with your your customer, your customers in your physical store saying, hey, we're online now, here's a little coupon for 10% of your next order.

Michelle: That's a great idea.

Shiloh: Basics. So simple. So simple. Just. Yeah, here you go. We love you. You know, have a delightful experience. Have a delightful experience. Let us know what your experience is like. We want to make it better. Here's 10% off for your trouble, right?

Michelle: That's a great suggestion and suggestions especially. Let us know how your experience was that that being a big factor of of understanding what absolutely if you're not going to look into it, ask them what? How was your experience?

Speaker2: Yeah, I mean, it's like you might be surprised. There's a there's a company in Austin, Texas, that does mountain bikes, bicycles and mountain bikes, road bikes and stuff like that. They found that they could create enormous amounts of return business by simply offering information. After a person bought a bike, a road bike or a mountain bike, they'd say they'd send an email three days later that said. Hey, Joe, you know, we saw you bought this bike. We're so happy that you're going to have it. Here's some fun trails in the area. They know where they got information. Great information. They're just giving it away. Yeah, it's just a thank you. Right. You don't need them to subscribe to anything because they're your customer. You know the laws on that that fit right. But you can share with them information. Six months, you can say, hey, you should get your bike serviced, bring it on down. You know darn well that they're going to buy something when they're there. They're going to be happy that you're looking out for them. They can have a better bike and they're going to be.

Speaker1: Great customer service. Great customer service. I mean, that's like that that's like a Fred Segal experience, like.

Speaker2: And that can be automated, that can all be done online where it really feels like there's a lot like a care there because the person who wrote the communication did care, but it can be automated. So, you know, today it's going to ten people, tomorrow it's going to another 30 people, you know, in six weeks it's going to whoever. Right. No effort on your part except for the original thought of like, how am I going to care for this person?

Speaker1: I love that. I'm going to have to pick your brain. When we start these classes.

Speaker2: Pick away.

Speaker1: What is the biggest reason that retailers fail when implementing ecommerce? I think we kind of covered it, but yeah.

Speaker2: So the three probably biggest areas of failure are you don't identify your brand and communicate that on your website. You The second failure would be to basically present products that people don't want. That sounds you're a bad buyer sounds kind of obvious right. But you have to you have to present a product that people want. And and the third failure is to let people know that you're there and essentially. The second failure as far as like not having a product that people wants, that kind of goes away when you let enough people know that you're there, even even even if it's a weird product, you.

Speaker1: Know, so that like letting people know that you're there is like a follow up email, like, yeah, here's some trails.

Speaker2: Here's some trails, but also just letting people know in a more broad sense. I've just launched my website, you know, pink dots dot com. What I do is I sell ice cream making tools for people who like to make ice cream at home. And so I have to now figure out how to weight a way to reach people who love ice cream, which is everybody. And so now I need to promote them. I need to promote that. I have this website here. I'm going to tell everybody in my my retail store, I'm going to do things on Facebook. I'm going to interact with all of the ice cream making groups saying, hey, we just opened up. We have all of the cool ice cream things. It's a lot of, you know, sweat.

Speaker1: I was thinking I was thinking like letting people know you're here. Like I'm here for you if you need me. Not like I'm over here.

Speaker2: I am here. You're here. I have cool stuff that you might like.

Speaker1: But I am here for you if you need me. But I'm also.

Speaker2: Even for you. You know, if you have a question about how to make this ice cream, call me and I'll help you with that.

Speaker1: They're reaching out to groups. That networking thing. I don't think a lot of retailers do that as much. I think somehow in the way that that. I think people are worried. People are going to knock people off or people are going to do the same thing I'm doing or I don't want to give away my secrets. So it's very odd that retailers and wholesalers kind of do, but not a lot of networking opportunities. But it is smart. Like if you if you are coming out with something and like to join a networking group and group and like let them know you're here, like this is what I'm doing now. Like, if you need anything, I'm here.

Speaker2: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you sell fitness goods. There's 1,000,001 fitness groups on Facebook or wherever. Go and talk to these people. They're your customers. They're there, you know, help them with questions. You know, give away that information. The information is, you know, on one hand, you might go, I want to hold on to it. Right? I don't want to lose it. But at the same time, that's like the whole point of service is like, I'm going to help you find the perfect fit, like Nordstrom's. You know, going back to that, I'm going to find these shoes that fit you perfectly. And this is why they fit you perfectly. Everything that's about these, right? That's everything about them that that makes it work for you. Right? And so by going out and doing that, it's an expression of care, actually. Right. When you when you go out there and give away this information and say, I'm here and this is something that's helpful, and then people look to you and say, why wouldn't I want to go buy it from you as opposed to Amazon? Because you're a helpful guy or girl. You're a person that I can relate to. You know.

Speaker1: I feel like I feel like a lot of this conversation is the more information you give, the more as far as online experience will come off of more of being a as you would in the stores. Giving help is like the more information, like whatever, whether it be here's your trail list. But it's it feels closer to being in a store versus an online experience.

Speaker2: Yes, that's the whole point.

Speaker1: Human.

Speaker2: Human, like, you know, why should they give you their sale as opposed to Amazon? Sometimes it comes down to price, but honestly, who cares about that? There's so many people who want to buy things and experience some kind of interaction on, you know, in life in general, they want to expand or have whatever it is that you sell. It's going to affect their lives directly. It's not just a sale. You're selling this person a fishing rod so he can go and fish with his kid. That's cool. That has a memory. That kid then goes and lives life and says, Yeah, I remember when we bought our first fishing pole. It's wonderful, right? It's a wonderful.

Speaker1: Human. It's a human experience first. Yeah. And that's again, the Amazon thing. You don't have that feel good human experience.

Speaker2: Or no feeling. You don't have that at all. Right.

Speaker1: No feelings attached to Amazon.

Speaker2: Yeah. It's one thing to buy a bottle of tide or something to wash your clothes or something or, you know, I don't know, flypaper or something. Something, you know, I don't know. Just thinking of random things, you know, aluminum foil or other, you know. But but, but when you're talking about that, when you're talking about, you know, a party dress for your little girl or, you know, a fishing pole or football or something. I mean, you know, a canoe like these are experiences. I love that.

Speaker1: Too. What ecommerce trends do you see for 2022?

Speaker2: Well, a lot of what I see right now is in the area of weirdly, it kind of freaks me out a little bit, honestly. But is the AI stuff no artificial intelligence? A lot of that technology, some of it is amazing and actually is doing wonderful things to sort of curate the experience for each customer.

Michelle: So to explain people that don't know, I, you know, I've heard a little bit more about it, but I don't it's not common knowledge and understanding in small boutiques as is in big box retail understanding what the eye is. Yeah.

Shiloh: So there's a bunch of so I stands for artificial intelligence and what it is, is, is basically a computer that's a program that's been trained and built and trained to do certain things, make decisions. And that sounds freaky, but basically the idea is like a good example of it is in personalization, you're browsing a category of products and the products that you maybe slow down and look at or click on gives that person that that person. I just not the person that gives it gives that that program information that says, oh, this person likes declining or is looking for a bag for his surfboards or whatever it is. Right. And then based on other data, other users experiences, they can then start to present the products that it thinks will be most like what you're looking for.

Michelle: And that comes up in banners or in ads, because I know that's where I'm like I was. I was literally just talking about this, and now it's on my Instagram.

Shiloh: Like how? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it could be banners and ads, but it can also actually be in the experience on the person's in that actual session with that website. So I'm on this website and I'm browsing for my surf trip, right? And I am looking at new bags for my surfboards to take to to Indonesia or something. Right.

Michelle: Do you surf?

Shiloh: No, my business partner surf. So that's why I can think about it. And we have a bunch of surf customers, so yeah, it's wonderful. I'm a terrible surfer. So yeah. So, so as I'm browsing this website and looking at these products, if it's using an AI powered solution to personalize, it will start to actually alter what products are going to be shown first for me, right, transparently. And another person browsing who's looking for snorkel and goggles is not going to see the same things. It's going to start to alter the order of the products and the presentation of those products and and those featured products so that it's catered to my needs. And then after the fact, it might even be used to follow up with an email saying, Hey. We think you might be interested in these things and it's going to use that knowledge of your experience and all the other people that are very similar to use experience to present that. So you start to get this sort of it's actually technically machine learning. It's like the machine, like.

Michelle: A personal shopper that.

Shiloh: It's not a shopper. No, not at all. But it has its points and its and its and its uses for sure. There's some companies that are doing really good things with it.

Michelle: Because it's almost it's almost like a suggestion selling. Yeah. Modality it's I know in customer service it's suggestion selling like would you like some cheese to go with your wine or it almost seems like this is a bot's version of and I know I just compared it when I'm scrolling to something totally different so everyone knows technically.

Shiloh: I'm.

Michelle: On. Oh, that's right. But I, you know, it's it seems like the bot is more or less a suggestion selling and it does feel like it. I mean, oddly, it does feel more like an in-store experience because it's like the Nordstrom guy coming by with like, well, you like these shoes, like these have the same fit or the same whatever price point or that's kind of crazy. The whole bot thing and the whole thing is like. Really trippy and it's not it's on another podcast, but just the, the, the thermal thing we talked about the other day and like.

Shiloh: It's.

Michelle: Crazy to me. I mean, it's amazing, but it's also like, wow, like. It's a hoax. So when people don't, people are like, oh, you know, don't watch out. People are following you. It's like people are following you on this. I don't even go there.

Shiloh: Yeah, yeah. The whole following.

Michelle: I shouldn't.

Shiloh: Even breds. I mean, it's it's a thing, you know, they call the, the ads that follow you around after you've been to a website that's a technology called retargeting. You go to a website and you then go to some other website and you see ads for the one that you'd went to.

Michelle: So do you do stuff like that? Because I know that that's like when I went. Like Elisa explained to me, like you go to Zappos and I'm looking for Birkenstocks, and then next thing you know, you're getting an email or a banner for Birkenstocks from Birkenstock. Like they're basically just going under Zappos and like we'll just take that sale because you are looking for us anyway.

Shiloh: So that's the idea. Yes, yes. They're using the knowledge of your browsing experience to market to you. And that's that's the concept and.

Michelle: Your big brother.

Shiloh: In some in some cases it makes a lot of sense because you can keep yourself top of mind, right? There's a certain aspect of that, particularly if it if there's like a product that's maybe requires several sort of touch and go experiences for the customer to like really decide on it. Maybe it's a, you know, a bigger sale or these kinds of things. Or if you're really trying to get people to remember that you're there, but the fact that you have to follow them around and they didn't convert in the first place is something that you should always look at. You know, why didn't they become a customer? Yeah.

Michelle: Do you do you do stuff like that with with smaller brands? The the do people invest in that technology as a small brand?

Shiloh: Sure. Yeah. It can be done in very you have it's all about balance, right. So you can do that in very narrow cases. Let's say a person actually went and they got as far as adding an item to their cart. Right. And they have a thing in their cart and they didn't buy it. That's me. Right. Also, you could remind them, right? You can remind them with an abandoned cart email that says, hey, if you happen to have their email, hey, we saw you left something here. We really want to sell this to you. Here's 5% off. Come back, you know, did you need help? You know, there's something you can do, right? Yeah, right. And then the other side of that is then, you know, you go and you add some of your cart and then you go and you browse around and and then you see ads for Zappos, you know, because you left something in your cart at Zappos. Right, right. Oh, right. I totally forgot. I went to get a coffee and then I, you know, squirrelled off. Right. That's why I did something.

Michelle: My carts are empty because I'm a oh, squirrel.

Shiloh: Squirrel. So, so yeah. So that kind of thing is like a valid tool in you just have to use it sparingly, I think. Otherwise it just gets weird. It just gets a little creepy in my opinion. You don't want to follow everybody around that ever came to your site every time.

Michelle: Hi, it's Meghan.

Shiloh: Hi. Hi. I'm here.

Michelle: How? How? Okay, so my last question is because people are going to hear this and want to reach out, how do you work? You're in California. So do you work with people? Because we have now international people listen to us. And nationally, how do people will have all your information linked in the show notes? But how do you work with someone like what you say? I just met you and I want to do a website. How's that go?

Shiloh: Yeah. So we're, we're. We're real easy to talk to, essentially. Clearly. Yeah, like that's the whole point, right? If it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit, right? So it's all about communication in that way. So, you know, you can reach out on the website, anybody can email me directly, call me, set up a calendar, meet with me, you know, and just take, take 15, 20 minutes, half an hour and we'll talk about things. We're a little different in that our agency caters to a very broad range of customers. We don't just work with medium sized customers or large corporations. We work with little guys, start ups, mid and large sized customers. And and so, you know, we're just it's real simple. You just reach out if you want to talk to me and you want to find out what we can do for you, you know, and see if it's a good fit.

Michelle: And yourself and your partner, what's your partner do?

Shiloh: See that one more.

Michelle: Time yourself and your partner, you said.

Shiloh: Yeah, so I have a business partner. He's the visionary.

Michelle: Guy.

Shiloh: He deals with all the stuff that I'm terrible at, like accounting.

Michelle: He's your Elisa.

Shiloh: He's exactly, exactly. Yeah, yeah. He's wonderful. He's a he's a great guy. He has a huge experience in track with with technology in general. And he works like anyway a ton of technology companies prior to us getting together and, and we're a good fit together because I'm, you know, the nerdy, talkative idea guy. And he's like brass tacks, you know, knows how to run a business. Like.

Michelle: It's very touch on him, because now I didn't want to leave him out of the conversation.

Shiloh: Oh, yeah, yeah. He's great. He's great.

Michelle: Thank you so much for your time. I really, really appreciate it. You make this so easy and understandable. And I think for a lot of people like myself, it's like you definitely made a few light bulbs go off. I'm like, okay, I get it now.

Shiloh: Like, Oh, I'm so glad.

Michelle: I think that that's super important, especially for a lot of retailers because you're right, like we're all like this creative, visionary person that has all these great ideas. But when it comes to the tech side of it, it's like, I mean, there's a few people that do it, the canon and most of them are a lot younger and that have grown up with being involved. Like I did not. I was on a computer that I did out of my computer. I was used out at Fred Segal at the end of every night. I was not on computers until I got out of right several years later. But I just think that a lot of people, you make this a lot easier and understandable for the creatives who.

Shiloh: Who.

Michelle: Have these big, bright ideas. You make them come true.

Shiloh: Oh, thank you so much.

Michelle: Thank you.

Shiloh: Yeah, absolutely.

Michelle: And that is a wrap. Thank you all so much for joining me on today's episode. I really appreciate it. And be sure to tune in every Wednesday for more stories and lessons from a life in retail. And don't forget to follow us on Instagram at the retail whore podcast, and you can find us online at the retailwhorepodcast.com