Episodes > Season 3 Episode 11

Simplistic - award winning eCommerce agency dedicated to creating best-in-class shopping experiences

How strategic vision influences subscription growth

Stephanie Zibell, Head of Strategy @ Simplistic

What's in this episode?

On this episode we talk to Stephanie Zibell, Head of Strategy at Simplistic, a Shopify agency specializing in design and development work with an emphasis on a strategic partnership.

Stephanie shares her experience working with brands who focus on their “why” behind selling rather than the products. With such a fast-moving landscape in ecommerce, she explains the value in working with companies that intentionally slow down and take the time to analyze data and think through their experience, often leading to greater success.

We also talk about common pitfalls and failures she’s seen across the brands she’s worked with and how you can take measured steps to learn from others to grow your business consistently and efficiently.

So let’s get started!

Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn. Check out Simplistic.

Episode transcript

Chase Alderton: On this episode we talked to Stephanie Zibell, head of strategy at Simplistic, a Shopify agency specializing in design and development work with an emphasis on a strategic partnership. Stephanie shares her experience working with brands who focus on their why behind selling rather than their products. With such a fast moving landscape in ecommerce, she explains the value in working with companies that intentionally slow down and take the time to analyze data and think through their experience often leading to greater successes. We also talk about common pitfalls and failures she's seen across the brand she's worked with and how you can take measured steps to learn from others to grow your business consistently and efficiently. So let's get started. Stephanie, thank you for joining us.

Stephanie Zibell: Hi, thanks for having me, Chase.

Chase Alderton: So tell me a little bit about yourself and a little bit about Simplistic.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. So I am the head of strategy over at Simplistic. And what Simplistic is, is a design and development agency. We're Shopify Plus Partner. So we work exclusively in the Shopify space and we help brands either do redesigns or even just to build if it's a new brand launching. So we help them first build or rebuild their platform and then we work with our clients on a retainer basis and we do strategic retainers. We do dev maintenance, design work, things like that, but I live in the strategy space. So all the clients that I work with are in that strategic program side of it. And so then I also get to partner with our build team, is what we call an client that we're working with, that we are building or doing a full redesign. I also then get to work with them on the retainer side. So yeah, that's what I do.

Chase Alderton: Amazing. So you hit on the big word, which is strategic. So that's going to be our big focus today. I'm super pumped up to jump in and talk strategy. I think there's a lot of interesting conversations going around in social networks and in just private conversations about when you bring in a strategist, is it a day one kind of thing? Is this a once you've found product market fit kind of thing? So I'm really excited to talk through those things. So maybe we just kick off and start with what kind of brands or what type of brand makes the most sense to have a strategic plan?

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. Well, I mean, you hit on an interesting piece of just when to bring a strategist in. And I think there are so many different types of strategists. So when I'm thinking about the world that I live in, which is specific ecommerce space and the UX piece of the strategy. So for that component to it, I think every brand who's selling online absolutely needs a strategic plan, but the best fit, really any type of brand. There's not an industry specific brand that I would say needs a strategist, but it would be more specifically when you have your internal major players lined up or the department set up. So whether your team is four people or 40 or 400, that doesn't matter. It's more the departments that are set up and firing on all cylinders.

Stephanie Zibell: You've got your paid ad, your SEO, the ecommerce component, the marketing, advertising affiliates, all of that.When those key players are there, that is a super important time to have a strategist, because I think anybody who is running a company in the ecommerce space knows everything feels important. Everything feels important to every single department and they are all important, but a strategic plan helps you prioritize and see from the foundational level to the next year. Really helps you layer on the most important things that can scale you to next thing. And then it just helps everybody stay focused. So yeah, everyone needs one, but that's a pretty good timing I feel like when I can jump in and work with a company that already has some of their internal pieces working really well. It's always a really good partnership at that point.

Chase Alderton: So every head of department or everybody owning one of those major things you touched on, we'll have some sort of report or analytics or something that they review, but the overall strategies will help pull everything together and see the... What is the term? See the forest through the trees. So instead of you're looking at one tree at a time, you're looking at the overall picture and pulling everything together.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. And as an ecommerce strategist, it's my job. I'm not someone, or any strategist, we're not someone who looks just at the marketing. In fact, because we're in the ecommerce space, we don't really do much with any external marketing, but we know that it all factors into each other. It all plays together. And so while you have maybe your marketing team focusing on a product launch, I'm thinking about... And you have your inventory team making sure you have enough inventory to get manufactured in time for this launch. I'm thinking about the customer experience and the language that we're using on the site.

Stephanie Zibell: And yes, we're promoting and bringing people here, but are we bringing them to the right space? Are we bringing them to a page that feels trustworthy? Is there that social proof and the trust signals if they don't know your business, if this is the first time they're coming in contact? What is the checkout like? So all of that are the pieces that I play, but everything else matters to the decisions that we make. And so it is really helpful when there are people that are paying attention to their departments, their lanes of the business.

Chase Alderton: Totally. Totally. That makes perfect sense. We've had dozens of people on the podcast over the years, merchants and partner side, and it's funny how many people have their own priority of what's the most important thing, whether it's inventory, or shipping or marketing, whatever it is, all of those things you mentioned. But rarely do you find someone who can come in and say, "They're all equally important. It just depends on how they play off each other and which one leads to the next one and which one's the most important one there."

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah, totally.

Chase Alderton: So what's a good timeframe for and overall strategy? I mean, we're 2022, everything changes so quickly. COVID obviously accelerated everything. The Google, Facebook ads right now is a super popular topic. Is this a one to three-month strategy that makes a lot of sense? Is this six to 12? Is this a five-year plan? What is it that makes the most sense or is it variable within each brand?

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah, I mean, I've been partnering from the strategic perspective with brands for long enough to know it's a long-term partnership. And so anything below six months just never works well. I mean, because truly there's so many... When you are paying attention to trends, when you are looking at those monthly reports or the data that's coming in like you spoke to, those are really vital cues and that's where you can find patterns. You also can surface some very quick shifts that you might need to take. So you've got to have some space for what we call quick wins and those have to happen, but really our focus is long-term strategy.

Stephanie Zibell: And so the initiatives that I think about is complete redesigns of maybe a PDP, a product page or a collection, maybe a new content strategy overall, an overhaul of product taxonomy and collection hierarchy. So even the way that people search on your site and how they get to the products they're looking for. And these aren't things that you can take a look at in a week complete, because once we get to the end of what it is that we're going to do with the strategic initiative, it includes copywriters and designers and developers to actually complete that initiative. Then we test it.

Stephanie Zibell: So they are definitely long-term partnerships. And I think that that's the tricky thing with the ecommerce space, is it feels fast. You're totally right. Shopping habits have completely shifted. And a lot of that has come from more people are shopping online. And so just the demographic has expanded so much. You don't have just the core tech savvy generation or whatever. There are young all the way up to old shopping. And so now we have discovered that there are some things that maybe weren't important to users two years ago, we've got to surface them now. We've got to make things really, really easy to find.

Stephanie Zibell: And it's so saturated that this intuitive shopping is super, super important. You don't want to go to a different shopping page when you're just a person that's a consumer and have a different checkout experience at every single store you go to. You tow the line of innovation and stability. So there is this need I feel with brands that they really want to react to the trends. And I move slower. I look for the patterns and the trends that are a little bit long standing and yes, design trends. Yeah, let's be innovative 100%, but let's slow down a little bit and look at the patterns. And then I think that's what helps us have that long-term success.

Chase Alderton: It's really interesting to hear you say that you slow down. You obviously touched on a lot of different things on there. I think it's really cool that we used to have to just this XY access, where maybe it's time and maybe age is one thing that you look at of like the older people may not understand ecommerce and the younger people are really savvy about it. But it feels like there's 5, 10, 15, 20 different dimensions at this point where you have to look at so many different things like you were touching on. But slowing down is refreshing to hear you say, because everything is moving so quickly that if you are trying to ride that wave of doing everything quickly, it'll ride the wave right out. And then what you're working on is going to be old news in 3, 4, 5 weeks. So having that mentality to slow down and really take a strategic approach seems like a great way to actually tackle a lot of these problems.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. I mean, I think I learned that from doing it wrong. I mean, I think in the beginning I did and I came from the brand side, moved into agency work, and you do chase a lot of shiny pennies and you do get a customer complaint and you rush to make the change. And what I've just learned over the years of watching brands and then working with them, and now in the seat that I'm at having the access to talking to and working with so many different types of brands within different industries, the commonality is sometimes we move too fast and it is good to slow down and have deeper, more thoughtful conversations about why it is we're making the choices that we're making.

Stephanie Zibell: I've never done an initiative with a client that's taken a little bit long in the conversation piece, in the strategic development portion and been like, "Man, I wish we had sped that up." I always wish the development piece be like... In that part I'm always like, "I want that done. Now that we know, I want it done yesterday." I get that. We all do that. But having those thoughtful conversations, you never regret those.

Chase Alderton: You touched on another really interesting thing, which is the why. You said, "Why are we doing this?" It's not what are we doing to speed this up or what are we doing to solve X, Y, Z problem? It's why are we doing these things? And I think that's the part with speed that often gets overlooked. Because if you're doing something because it's popular now, the whys are relevant and you're going to end up at a date in three months.

Stephanie Zibell: Oh, totally.

Chase Alderton: That's really interesting. Do you have three major things you look at when you're creating a strategy? I'm sure it's not that simple, but is there a way to distill it down on how you generally think about creating a strategy?

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah, I do. And it touches on the why. The first thing and it's the most important to me is to look at the why of the brand, their vision, their mission, their goals, what their roadmap is, what their history has been. Any sort of context or insight into their past, and maybe what they dream of their future to be, their team configuration, the state stakeholders. I mean, living in their world and what matters to that brand is the most important thing first of all. And then second is the data. I mean, you can be in an industry and have definitely some overarching similarities for sure.

Stephanie Zibell: There are benchmarks per industry that you can find similarities all over the place, but the actual audits and monthly reporting, any sort of reports we can pull on the specific brand site, that tells us what's working, what's not, where are the missed opportunities, where are the great opportunities that maybe we could utilize even more or enhance even more. And then I would say the third thing that just brings all of that together after I have their current stats and just the historical reports, and then also the company's vision, mission and goals is your UX best practices and your industry-based research. That's vital to really spend your time as a strategist, my time understanding what the UX best practices are and every component of the shopping journey on your site.

Stephanie Zibell: And so I use all of those things to come up with strategy plan. They're all different for every client. And it really is based on the data and all of the goals that they have. And that's the how and the what and the who, is all of that. I'm the why and why are we doing this? Why are we doing it this time? Why are we doing this one first? Why does this one matter to your brand? The value proposition that you're giving, why is it that? So those are my components.

Chase Alderton: So there's definitely a structure, but it also sounds like depending on your why or your when or your how, or any of those defining questions, everything shifts around. Why would we do UX right now? Why would we do a total PDP rebuild? Why would we do a customer portal rebuild? All of those things depend on situation, depends on data, depends on their long-term vision for the company, all those kind of things.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. When you look at all of that, you then build a roadmap, like here are the six initiatives we want to complete, and we're doing a content strategy first because once we know what it is we want to say, once we clean that up on the site, then we know what needs to be said on the product pages, we know what needs to be said on the about us page or the subscription landing page, but you've got to do that baseline first or for another company we would say, "We've got to do their product page first because all of your marketing is going directly to product pages and it doesn't say anything about who you are. So people don't don't trust your name because they don't know anything about you." So the first thing we have to do with that company would be we've got to focus on a PDP. It all depends on, like I said, their data, their goal, their visions, and then what's necessary to prioritize that. So it's never the same for any client.

Chase Alderton: It's too cliche to say that everything matters, but at a certain point everything matters and you have to figure out what matters first.

Stephanie Zibell: Totally.

Chase Alderton: Awesome. So I know that you are working with tons of brands at Simplistic. I want to dive into one specifically. I don't think we're allowed to give the name for legal reasons, but we want to walk around what they've done and how they started and how they came to you and their overall strategy. So can you give a high level of what this brand has done to start and where they're moving?

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. So some of the core brands that I've worked with over the last few years more specifically is in the skincare, beauty, wellness, and then the food and beverage space. So that's for better or worse the world that I live in. It's actually better because I love that space. But I have had the privilege of working with a company that's in the grocery space and the grocery space is so interesting because it wasn't a super common place to shop over the last few years. And then obviously COVID, everyone was doing all types of shopping online. And so have started working with some online grocers.

Stephanie Zibell: So this specific one, they came to us. We started partnering on a strategic level about, I don't know, six or seven months after they launched their company. So they already had done a great job launching, getting a lot of exposure, a lot of new customers, and then started working with us to really be able to grow what they had already done and work on a return customer journey. That was really solid.

Chase Alderton: Very cool. So this brand originally started selling one type of products, just selling products out their door right away and you brought in subscriptions if I understand right, correct?

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. So they wanted to come up with a way to have an easy way to repeat... Get repeat purchases and subscriptions is obviously a fantastic way to do that. And so there's a lot of different ways. I mean, every company, not every, but so many companies have subscriptions, can offer subscriptions. So many products that you have... I have a huge list myself of products that I get on subscription. But the grocery space is like of course, this is a consistent product that people do need in their home, they're staples. And so it was really not anything that that company already really wanted to do that. And so it was just helping them determine what's the best pathway into the subscription world.

Stephanie Zibell: As you know we've already talked about I'm a take your time and gather data. And so we really recommended just start offering subscriptions and wait. Gather that data, find the shopping behaviors, what are your customers purchasing and how often are they doing it? What is the cadence? What questions are they asking? What solutions are you maybe not hitting yet? And maybe what are you? Once you get that information, then we can decide how to grow and shape this program. But we had to gather that information first.

Chase Alderton: So then this is where the strategy side comes in. And I know the story so I'm leading you onto this, but started selling subscriptions that definitely took off in one-time subscription. So buying a single product on a recurring basis definitely took off. Then the brand had a strategic moment where they decided to take a step back, look at the data, take their time, understand the why. And their next move was to start to put together boxes if I understand correctly, right?

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. So I mean, where they are, they... Of course, the credit to them, they know their consumers and they feel really passionately and strongly about offering them the type of service that they think that they want. My world is like, "Yes, we think that, but let's gather that data to ensure it."

Chase Alderton: Take some time.

Stephanie Zibell: And they were right. I mean, they knew that when you are ordering groceries online, it's not going to be the same thing every month. I mean, sometimes you need flour and then in two months you don't need it or some things you need on a quicker cadence. And so what they really wanted, their end goal was to get to a place where their consumers just had one bag, a grocery bag. Like you would at a store and you've got your cart and instead of having to go into your subscription and manage your subscriptions, and you have let's say 20 different products, you have to go into them individually, you can divide them up by bags. Let's say you've got a shopping bag for your pets or for baby or for household or pantry, or you could just have one and you can go in there and update your products within that one bag.

Stephanie Zibell: And so because of that goal, we completely did a full customization and redesign of their customer portal. It doesn't look anything like the standard theme that you would use and I'm really proud of it. And I definitely think that the space of waiting, gathering that information and then having time to really dream up and decide what it is that we want to have at the end, and also keep the idea of if more trends come, we'll make those changes. In fact, we're always iterating a little bit on it, which I like. Yeah. So now when people go into it, it's not curated boxes which that does fit some industries and some brands. It really is the customer gets to choose exactly how many products when they're coming, but it's all under one bundle essentially.

Chase Alderton: That's the word I was going to get to, is bundle. You essentially are allowing consumers to create their own bundles, but it's multiple bundles, again, if they would like.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: So I've seen a lot of grocery store brands and a lot of food delivery brands. This is one of the flaws, is the prepackaged thing, so they will curate a box on their own. They'll do a fruits and vegetables box and they'll put five or 10 different things in it. But what if you don't like bananas or what if you don't like cucumbers or spinach or whatever it ends up being. So what you're doing with this brand is allowing customers to come in and say, "Here are the 10 things I want on a recurring basis, and I'm going to put that in a box. So every month that's the stuff I want." And then you can additionally come in and say, "I want this on a one time. I want this on a one time. Maybe that one I want a subscription," and you can create this custom shopping experience, which really does exactly mimic a grocery store.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. I mean, and the thing is too, there are some consumers who want to discover something new, and that's why I really believe in pulling those insights and paying attention to the patterns, because let's say we find that somebody is... Your subscriber count is at a set number, but then the products are shifting all the time. Well, then they're a perfect candidate for a curated box of discovery. And so then they probably are the type of consumers that are looking for a new brand they couldn't find in a store or a new variation of a sauce or anything else. If we had found that people were changing their products all of the time, then we would've considered a curated path, but their consumers were really making purchases and consistently sticking with them for the most part. And so we just wanted to make that really easy for them to make some swaps and some edits, but keep to the same cadence.

Chase Alderton: Super cool. Just personally story, I think that I do most of the same dinners weekly, so I think it'd be really cool to have your own like this is Monday night dinner, this is Tuesday night dinner, and you can package all the things you want in those subscriptions, but then maybe you get dinner nights for three nights of the week and you want to swap a couple things out for other nights of the week. So I totally see value in that. I think the pets is a great example. You need your pet food, or you need treats or whatever it is on a recurring basis, but occasionally we want to throw something different in there or something new or something like that. So super, super cool. I think that's really cool. And then I'm just confirming, I think we did touch on this, but customers can subscribe to multiple boxes that they end up curating, correct?

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. They can subscribe to multiple boxes. They can look at their two boxes. Let's say they have two and they're, "I don't necessarily need them now. Two weeks apart, I can just merge it." They can merge the boxes. We really built it in a way that the customer can make all of the decisions that they want to make right there. So even if let's say they have a one box that comes every month and for that month they're like, "Two of these within the 15 products, I don't need yet. So I'm going to skip on those." They can do all of that within one box. So it's really, I think, a really fantastic approach and one that more companies and brands who offer a higher product count and have customers purchasing subscriptions at a higher product count will definitely move towards.

Chase Alderton: Lots of skews is generally one of the drawbacks of subscriptions, just because you have to manage so many different products in inventory, and that's really difficult, but this seems like a great way to do that.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: Very interesting. Do you have any high level numbers? I think that we were talking about subscription growth, anything you can talk to about how this brand has started and grown since then?

Stephanie Zibell: I mean, for this specific brand, their growth has been pretty phenomenal. I mean, just at the beginning of their launch, since they've started, I think it was a 506% increase in their active subscription count.

Chase Alderton: Wow.

Stephanie Zibell: So it really is a testament to the shopping behaviors, how people really have shifted. There is of course such a need for the brick and mortar store, of course, but there are just so many more people utilizing the ecommerce space to make their consistent shopping choices. And so they really filled a need and are continuing to expand. So they'll continue filling even more of those needs, but it's been really exciting to watch their growth for sure.

Chase Alderton: And then tying this all the way back to the beginning, this is why something like a strategy is super important. Because if you don't take the time to really sit and collect the data and understand the why behind these things, this might have ended up as a curated box or this might have ended up as just individual products that you're subscribing to which subscribing to 58 products from a grocery store has got to be a nightmare to manage that thing weekly or monthly, or even annually, whatever it is, but that's a lot of products to be managing.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah, for sure.

Chase Alderton: When we look at your experience from a whole, and we talk through failures, this is one of my things to talk through because I think the best lessons come from obviously the biggest failures.

Stephanie Zibell: For sure.

Chase Alderton: What are some consistent failures you see with brands and how to maybe avoid those things, even though you usually end up learning those good lessons, but how to maybe avoid some of the big pitfalls you see?

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. So I've been thinking a lot about just the brands and clients that I work with. And so many of them, I mean, I think probably 90% of them have a subscription portion to their business, a component. Yeah. So I do a ton of subscription work. Some of the things that I've seen that have just been consistent patterns across the board is when you want to launch a subscription program, there is a rush. This has just been our topic of the day. I think it's like we keep getting to the slow down, but there's so many considerations that need to go into play when you're offering a new portion of your business component, specifically strategy around the subscriptions. And that is you have to make sure your inventory can scale.

Stephanie Zibell: You go from one-time products that are coming in fairly consistent to you might have 100 plus, 1,000 plus at some point subscribers purchasing the same product and they all ship out around the same time. So you have to make sure that your merchandising team, your inventory can sustain that high product count on X week of the month. Then you've got your email campaigns, your loyalty rewards programs, your paid ads, your messaging, your skews like you said.

Stephanie Zibell: There's just a holistic approach that I think oftentimes when you are a brand you are focusing on the launch of something and all eyes are on that. And then right when you get to the end, you're like, "Oh, shoot. We didn't think about the product launch that we have or our email automations are... The welcome automation that we have doesn't say anything about a subscription service or autoship, or we aren't talking about that in any of our ads." And so you really do need to think about how it affects everything. And I think that sometimes gets forgotten in the overall launch of a subscription program.

Chase Alderton: So just taking a holistic approach, which sounds very simple in theory to say, but is very complicated because like you said, every piece of the ecommerce experience affects every other piece of the experience. So if you haven't quite thought through what does customer A do when they hit the customer portal? Do they [inaudible 00:30:21]? How does that affect their next page and where they are landing? Are they adding or subtracting items? All of those things play a role, not to mention even the pre and the post experience where you talk through marketing initiatives or inventory, all those kind of things. So definitely a complicated situation, but doable. And I think you take your time, you understand your why, you look at the data and I think pulling all of those things together is difficult to do, but that's ultimately what everyone's trying to figure out.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: Very cool. We've talked through a couple pieces of advice a little bit. I don't know if we've explicitly suggested advice, but what are things that you would maybe suggest to a brand who's just launching on subscription or not? But what's one major thing to think through?

Stephanie Zibell: Okay. Well, this is going to sound funny because this whole time I've been saying slow down, but if you are launching a subscription portion, I would say launch the subscription in a really simple way, quickly, then slow down and pay attention to the shopping behavior, the patterns. Listen to your customer feedback. Don't react to every customer complaint, but pay attention to the pattern. So as much as I'm saying slow down, I really I'm like launch it. Don't launch it perfectly. Don't launch it exactly the way you think it should be. Launch it in a way that we know is going to work well and that's simple and then slow down and listen and listen and listen to the feedback from your consumers.

Stephanie Zibell: The other thing I would say is if there's one other piece of advice I give is make sure your customer service components are really well thought out and ready to be executed upon from the start. And so what I mean is if you have a portal, a customer, you're managing subscriptions and you've never had it before, make sure your FAQs identify some of the questions that just... We know people are going to ask about cancellations and swapping and all of that. Make sure you're anticipating customer service because that definitely is a component that needs to be ready and live and active on your site when you launch your subscriptions.

Chase Alderton: I want to dig into both of those actually, because they're such good answers. The customer service one is really good because as much as people think that subscriptions, you just flip a switch and it's just a subscribe versus a one-time product, it really does feel different for a consumer and people have the same questions over and over and over again. And that's not a bad thing, but you can mitigate so many of your customer support requests just from putting things publicly on your website like yes, you can cancel whenever you would like, yes, you can swap this whenever you would like, yes, if you want a blue shirt versus a red shirt or bananas versus apples, you can swap this however you would like. You're in total control. And I think that really does calm people down and gets them to A, subscribe, which is a great thing for your business, but B, it also empowers them to understand what's going on so they don't have to keep asking questions and keep feeling like you're stringing them along.

Stephanie Zibell: Oh, totally. Even myself personally I had a place that I subscribed to and they had a completely new portal experience and I logged in and immediately live chat popped up and said, "Hey, we have a new experience for you, any questions?" And they were pre-built and pre-answered questions and I was like, "Yes."

Chase Alderton: It's amazing.

Stephanie Zibell: That is the thing I'm talking about with making sure... Your customer service components, those have to be really well thought out for sure.

Chase Alderton: Absolutely. The other one I want to drill into is this idea of time, because this slow versus fast thing definitely feels a little contradictory.

Stephanie Zibell: I know.

Chase Alderton: One of our core values at Recharge for the longest time is simple solutions. So I think that there's an element in here where you have to launch something, because if you just are constantly thinking about this, is it perfect? What am I missing? All those kind of things, you're going to drive yourself crazy. So you have to launch something quickly and efficiently. You have to get it out to the public. This idea of waiting and slowing down is getting public reaction and trying to figure out what are your customers going to do with this thing? So [crosstalk 00:34:30] there's a very clear differentiation between launch something quickly, but then slow down and figure out where the problems, where the winds and then build off of that.

Stephanie Zibell: Well, and there's this layer too with when at least I partner with Recharge, the standard implementation that you have, it's a tried and true implementation. And so that's where when I say launch quick, I really do mean you can do it really quick when you're working with a platform like Recharge because you already have the core components there and available for standard implementation to happen pretty quickly, and then we iterate. Then we work on version two, version three, but that's when we can do that based on our customer unique shopping behavior. You've already built it in a way or Recharge has already built it in a way to answer for the general overarching subscription shopper. So it already meets most of the needs and then we get to optimize it for our customers.

Chase Alderton: Couldn't have said it better myself. Let's flip the script and go the other way. So brands that found their product market fit, they're starting to scale, they're maybe at this 10,000 mark, how do you continue to scale past that 10,000, 20,000, even six figure, 100,000 mark?

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. It's not going to be a revolutionary answer. I think that what is vital to the growth of subscription programs can sometimes be overlooked because they feel too simple to be that vital. And that is SMS, email marketing, and then utilizing sales and conversions type of integrations. When those are working or we've maybe got email marketing going, but no SMS or SMS is set up, we're not doing anything that is unique to our customers. Utilizing those integrations that help with upsell or cross sales and we're just making it easier for our shoppers to shop. Like I said, it's not revolutionary, but those are the components that when I am working with companies who already are at that 100,000 mark, but want to go more, you'd be surprised. I think I've been surprised to see that there's always room for optimization and enhancement in those legs of the subscription.

Chase Alderton: Yeah. There's a reason why every brand uses email and there's a reason why SMS is exploding over the last two, three years, but differentiating is the word you used. That's such a good point in delivering something unique and delivering something fun as opposed to just the standard generic text of, "Hey, we got your order. Thanks. Talk to you later." Really identifying and customizing those pathways leads to huge results.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: Final question for you. You hinted at it earlier and I've been excited to hear about these, but what products do you subscribe to?

Stephanie Zibell: Oh, okay. Chase, I wouldn't be an ecommerce strategist if I wasn't an ecommerce consumer.

Chase Alderton: There you go.

Stephanie Zibell: It is where I do the bulk of my shopping. So gosh, I mean pet products, my hair products, skin care, our family, all of our family staples, pantry staples, shaving products, my kids activities. I started just thinking about all the places and I'm like, I have a really good list going on and I'm always looking for more. I remember at the beginning of COVID, I think I had a puzzle subscription for a little bit.

Chase Alderton: Interesting.

Stephanie Zibell: I get hooked by good advertising, so I will try any subscription.

Chase Alderton: Subscription junkie. I love it.

Stephanie Zibell: And I'm learning. So I always take it as this is research, guys. This is my research.

Chase Alderton: There you go. It's not an addiction. This is [crosstalk 00:38:37] work research. This helps. This is beneficial for all of us.

Stephanie Zibell: How I justify it.

Chase Alderton: Stephanie, thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate all your insight.

Stephanie Zibell: Yeah. Thank you so much, Chase.

Chase Alderton: We'd like to thank Stephanie once again for joining us. If you're interested in Simplistic, you can head over to simplistic.com.

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