Episode 156

The Magic of Gated Launches

Jordan West - Little and Lovely
April 7, 2021
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How would you like to generate a whopping $250k in sales on a new product launch without running Facebook ads and without offering deep discounts?  Sound impossible?  It’s not.  It’s the magic of Gated Launches.

So what’s a gated launch?  It’s a product launch that’s only available to VIPs or top customers.  While it may sound complex, it’s really not.  It does take some work to build a VIP community. But, if you do it right, it’s actually pretty easy to maintain.  In this episode Jordan West, founder and CMO of Little and Lively, a children’s apparel brand, breaks down how his gated launches have generated as much as $120k in sales in the first two hours after going live.   

Here’s a look at what we discuss in this episode:

  • The psychology behind gated launches and why they are so powerful
  • How to build a healthy, vibrant VIP group that is low maintenance
  • How to foster the proper buying mentality in your VIP group
  • How to harness VIP feedback for new product development
  • The secret of using personalized 1-to-1 videos
  • Plus more

Jordan West

Via LinkedIn

Mindful Marketing Co

Mindful Marketing “eCommerce Sales Launch Checklist”

The Secret to Scaling Your eCommerce Brand Podcast

Little and Lively Clothing @ The Kindred Studio


Mentioned in this episode:


Zapier

Bonjoro

CliftonStrengths

Wisepops

“Contagious” by Jonah Berger

Postscript

Attentive

Recart


Episode Transcript:

Brett:

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the eCommerce Evolution podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry CEO of OMGCommerce, and today we're diving into a topic that I am really, really excited about. It's something that actually I'll share with you in a minute. I saw this brilliant offline example of this years ago in a successful retailer, and since, I've never seen anything like it, until I met today's guest and heard what he's doing online. It's just fantastic. So we're going to be talking about VIP groups and gated launches. Totally psyched about. I'm so excited I'm slurring my words. We're going to talk about this.

Brett:

Delighted to welcome to the show Mr. Jordan West. Jordan is an eCommerce entrepreneur at heart building multiple brands. He's the founder and CMO of Little & Lively, which we'll talk about some today on the show. So with that, Jordan, welcome to the show, man, and thank you so much for taking the time.

Jordan:

All right. Thanks so much for having me. It's been great getting to know you recently, and I'm so pumped to be on your podcast. You're going to be coming on mine as well, so I think this is going to be the beginning of a great friendship here. I'm looking forward to sharing some hopeful nuggets for the audience to be able to use in their business.

Brett:

Totally. Yeah. This little teaser, I'm going to be on Jordan's podcast, which will be fun. Yeah. As you and I were prepping and talking about this, I just love these ideas. So excited for the value you're going to deliver here. These two concepts are very much tied together. I'll talk about my offline example for gated launches in a minute. It's an interesting one. I think it creates a nice mental picture, but let's talk about VIP groups first. Give me the why's and how's of a VIP group, and then we'll probably unpack a few things that are related there.

Jordan:

Yeah, totally. So I'll give you the whys first of all, and I'll give you the what actually to start. So what exactly is a VIP group? So a VIP group is basically any gathering of your super fans. Where do you gather them? In my opinion, the best place to gather them, and it really depends what type of business that you're in these days. I still think that Facebook VIP Groups are probably the best place to gather a VIP community. If you're listening to this and you're in business-to-business, Slack I'd say is that side for a VIP type group on the business side because everybody's checking the Slack all the time.

Brett:

All the time.

Jordan:

But consumers for the most part are still checking Facebook all the time, as far as what the data shows. So I like to gather VIP customers within a Facebook group. The algorithm still really favors groups on Facebook, and so it's a really great place to gather these subscribers. Some more whys of why these groups do-

Brett:

And then just to quickly to talk about something that you mentioned there. So you mentioned super fans. Ideally these are going to be, the most passionate, the most enthusiastic, and also the most ideal. These are your ideal customers, those that spend the most, stay the longest, promoted the most. Any other thoughts you would add to what a super fan is?

Jordan:

... So I'm going to have a quick little talk about levels of traffic. so we talk about this all the time. I learned this years ago. I think I originally learned it from the digital marketer guys about levels of traffic. So on Facebook and YouTube and all of these areas, we talk about five different levels of traffic. So cold, they've never heard of you. Two, those would be engagement audiences. Three would be people who viewed content. So they've gone to a product page.

Jordan:

Four, they've added to cart, and five they've purchased. It doesn't end there. It doesn't end with five levels. After that there's levels six, seven, eight. I mean, you can get into all of these levels. Basically level eight to me is those super fans who are actually going to stick up for you. They're the fans who are going to tell all of their friends about you, but if you just stopped at level five which is what everybody does, they stop at level five. They don't go beyond that and actually start to nurture their customers in a group.

Jordan:

There's a big difference between nurturing somebody with email sequences and actually nurturing them within a group where they're able to talk with each other. Lots of brand owners are really scared, like, "Oh, my gosh. There's going to be all this negativity." Wonderful. If you have people who are actual super fans, they are going to stick up for you within this VIP group. That's the beautiful thing.

Brett:

Now it's one thing for you to defend your brand and talk about why criticism may not be true. It's something entirely different if a customer of their own volition sticks up for you and defends your brand and defends the product. It's amazing, and there's nothing else like it.

Jordan:

It's true. We recently had some interesting staffing issues, especially around this COVID time. So we were getting packages out 10 days after people had ordered, which is crazy. I mean, normally it's next day, but we'd run a couple big sales. We're short-staffed, and it was taking a long time to get packages out. It was incredible because on the VIP group, some of the newer customers who had maybe only ordered once or twice that were in the group started to say like, "Oh, my gosh. Where's my package." And people would just stick up for us. We didn't have to do any of that for ourselves.

Jordan:

VIP groups in their own sense are incredible, especially on Facebook. We get about 10 to 20 posts a day, user generated content posts that reach about 3,000 people. We don't write those posts. That's people saying like, "Oh, my gosh. Check out my daughter in these clothes." Then it goes to two or three thousand of the VIP members just perpetuating the VIP group, and it's user generated content. It's not our content. So if this was just about VIP groups, I think the value is right there. Go start a VIP group today because there's so much value within these groups.

Brett:

Yeah. So how do you build a VIP group? How do you attract people to the group? Then I'm also curious about, how do you encourage, foster, develop engagement? Because the Holy Grail here is when people just start posting and it takes on a life of its own. But my thought is you probably can't just create a group and hope for the best. You probably helped engineer that and encourage that and fostered that. But first, how do you build it? How do you attract it? And then how do you manage it, so to speak?

Jordan:

Yeah. Yeah. Great questions. So we use a really interesting technique, probably the main way that we get people in is with personalized videos. Somebody orders from us the first time, we have a trigger that goes over. I'll let you know all the software that we use. It's no secret because it's very hard. I find ideas are fairly easy, and execution is very difficult. So I like to just tell people everything because we do some of these things as a service at our agency. So I'll just tell people exactly what we do, then it's like, "Well, you probably don't want to do it anyways, so just hire us."

Brett:

Exactly. Yeah, we totally do that as well.

Jordan:

Yeah. So from Shopify, when there is a new customer created, we have a trigger. We use Zapier for that trigger over to a service called Bonjoro which creates a task, a video task. We have one of our virtual assistants reach out to them with their name and what they ordered, and then we also say, "Hey, if you have any questions and you want to ask the VIP community, the Little & Lively VIP community, join our VIP group here." So we have a huge uptake from those brand new customers. The first time that they've ordered, they come into the VIP community.

Jordan:

We've already got people in there who are our super fans who are sticking up for us all the time, and it really, I think, helps them go into that level six, seven, and eight, where then they become those raving fans. It's incredible actually to see over the years the percentage of money that we're spending on ads comparatively to revenue. We have so much word of mouth now that it's exponential. We're always running a decent amount of advertising, but we've really had to with, especially because this is a made in Canada brand. So as far as manufacturing is concerned, we really do have limitations. We generally just sell out of everything all the time. So it's amazing.

Brett:

That's so amazing. I thought of a couple of Canada jokes when you said that, but I'm going to save those. Just kidding. I love it. We have some team members in Canada, great friend and clients in Canada. It's all good. So I just want to clarify what you said, because this is brilliant, and I really don't know anybody else that's doing it like you guys are. I see how it's feeding the VIP group. What you're saying is, I'm looking at the site now.

Brett:

So let's say that I order this, I'm looking at a bamboo/cotton flutter, really cute, pullover sweater. So what I would get then as an email from one of your VAs saying, "Brett, thank you. Saw that you purchased the bamboo flutter pull over. You're going to love it. If you have any questions about that or want to connect with our group, go here." So now it's two things. One it's-

Jordan:

But via video.

Brett:

... Yeah. Via video. Right. Which is crazy.

Jordan:

Yeah. Not just an email. This is an actual video which you will get.

Brett:

A video in the email. Yeah.

Jordan:

Yeah. We get about a 70% watch rate on these videos.

Brett:

70%. That's outstanding. So how do you execute on that? You talked about the software that was tied together, Klaviyo and Zapier and Bonjoro. Hopefully I didn't miss any, but then is most of that script then or most of the video scripted, and then there's just a few pieces the VA plugs in name, what they ordered, and then the rest is scripted?

Jordan:

Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. That's really the only way that we can do it is have a general script for them to work off of. We tried this with in-house employees. I thought, "Okay. Let's just try it for a little bit." It was terrible. They were taking 10 minutes per video. They didn't quite have the right angle. They're like, "I don't know if that's maybe the right video."

Brett:

Like 20, yeah.

Jordan:

So when I reached out to... I mean, my, my life is my assistance. I cannot execute on things, and so employees and assistants and all of that, I feel like that's one of my super powers is just finding people to do the right thing. So I found in our VA network somebody who is really interested in doing these videos, and so they can do about 40 of them an hour.

Brett:

Whoa. That's insane. I just wanted to highlight something because you mentioned superpower. You and I were talking about this before. I think, one of the greatest strengths of an entrepreneur is when you're self-aware. You know, what do I do best? Am I an operator? Am I a finisher? Am I a starter? Am I an idea person? And then putting the systems and the people around you to make you successful and to allow your superpower to shine, that's the formula. That's the secret, and you're doing that exceptionally well.

Jordan:

It's just a quick aside into strengths. We run all of our organizations based on Clifton Strengths, so StrengthsFinders. If anybody's ever read that book or done the test, we run all of our organizations. We manage based on strengths. So within Clifton Strengths they talk a lot about pointy people. That well-rounded people actually aren't the ones who do amazing, incredible things. It's pointy people who are pointy in those certain areas. So for me, my strengths are all around influence and relationship, and that's it. I have no executing strengths whatsoever.

Jordan:

It's interesting. I didn't mean to do this because we built our businesses before we started managing with strengths. I look, and there's one strength in executing called "the achiever." Every person in my life that is in my management, my wife, my business partners in every single endeavor all have achiever. So to me, I didn't mean to do it, but I think subconsciously I knew for me to get things done, big things done, I need that person to come alongside of me, grab that idea, and then execute it.

Brett:

Yeah. I love that. And then I love the idea of pointy people. I hadn't heard that, but I think it is usually pointing people to do something really remarkable and unique and different. For someone to be pointy, it means they're really amazing at something and probably really bad at a lot of other things, but that's totally cool.

Jordan:

Totally. Which is so hard.

Brett:

Yeah. I understand that.

Jordan:

It's hard as an entrepreneur. Especially, you're a person who sees success all the time, and it's hard not to... I hear people like, "Oh, I want to work. I want to know every part of the business." Okay. I don't. We're doing a couple of acquisitions right now, and my CFO is looking at these acquisitions. I'm like, I just want the high level. I just want to know, are there places we can plug into what we're doing? I cannot go in there and learn everything. I think reading a financial statement is incredibly important.

Brett:

Yeah. You got to do that.

Jordan:

But I'm not going to build out the model.

Brett:

Yeah. Totally smart. I think that's the way you have to do it. So, okay, awesome. So you're sending these personalized videos via email. Brilliant. 70% view rate on those videos. What else are you doing to build the VIP groups? I'm guessing that's the biggest effort and that has a really high success rate, but are you doing anything else to actually build the group, attract new members?

Jordan:

Yeah. The only other thing that we use is we use a pop-up for when somebody has purchased at least once on the website when they come back the next time. We have one pop-up that says, "Hey, join our VIP group. We noticed you've already purchased."

Brett:

That's amazing. What tool do you use for that?

Jordan:

We use Wisepops for that.

Brett:

Wisepops.

Jordan:

Really great tool. A little expensive for just a pop-up tool. It's about a hundred bucks a month on Shopify for the traffic level that we're at, but honestly, it's worth its weight in gold just being able to segment out so ridiculously easy. Especially when I don't want to become an expert in all these tools, and I don't want my staff to have to get a university degree in a pop-up tool.

Brett:

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Totally makes sense. So I want to get into gated launches in a minute because that's super fascinating, but then let's talk a little bit about the management of the group. So how do you foster and encourage engagement? How do you manage it? Because it's not going to manage itself. So any tips or ideas on the management piece of it?

Jordan:

Yeah. Great question. So honestly, probably only had to do it for about the first three months, we had a daily post scheduled. I would just solicit responses. So first of all, before you do this, know your audience. If you don't know these people inside and out, you're probably going to have a really hard time with a VIP group like this. So first thing is just know your audience. For us, I'm saying this with all absolute love. Our audience for this brand is hipster, Christian moms. We really know that that's-

Brett:

That's amazing.

Jordan:

... I'm not saying they're all Christians. It's just this is like-

Brett:

Yeah, I get that. That's the persona. If you had to, I think one of the things you have to do in marketing-

Jordan:

... You can picture them.

Brett:

... Exactly. You have to build a picture of them, and that's the thing with marketing. Some people are like, "Oh, you're stereotyping. You're doing this." But you have to do something so you can picture them in your mind or else you're just talking to a demographic, and that doesn't work. You need to talk to a person.

Jordan:

Totally. My wife was quite insulted actually when one of our employees pointed that out a couple of years ago. She was like a 20-something working for us, and she's like, "Man, it's just only hipster, Christian mom's that come and pick up their orders." We're like, "Oh, my gosh. That's brilliant. Of course."

Brett:

That's it. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. When you have that picture, then that also says, "Okay, what should we do next? What tone or flavor should we put on things?" Well, hipster, Christian mom does help define that, and then it does help you make decisions.

Jordan:

It does.

Brett:

It's a useful, avatar to have there for sure.

Jordan:

Totally. Totally. And I think having a general avatar is really, really important, especially when building a community. These two new brands that we're acquiring right now, they're both outdoor brands, and they're really big for the environment. So I'm going to need some shorthand to really remember who this ideal customer persona is the same way that we know it at Little & Lively and our other brands that serve that same customer.

Jordan:

So yes and know your customer. Then ask questions to solicit some sort of engagement out of them daily. So that's what we were doing is every single day we were asking a different question just to start getting their opinion on things, see where they're at. We try and keep everything apolitical, especially in 2020. There's just no need to-

Brett:

Totally. You have to. Things just get nasty if you don't.

Jordan:

... Yeah. And we're predominantly Canadian too. So we're just like naturally apolitical.

Brett:

Yeah. You guys are beneath us geographically and all that. Hey, we're not going to get into your political nightmare. So yeah, exactly.

Jordan:

No. No. No. We just have popcorn and watch. That's all.

Brett:

Oh, man. That's fantastic. Yeah. And I mentioned I probably phrased that somewhat incorrectly in the beginning where I said it won't manage itself. Actually probably over time it does, but in the beginning though, you have to get it going. That's where what you said comes into play. You've got to seed it. You've got to get engagement. You've got to be engaged. You've got to understand your audience. So you've got some work to do there, and then so you were really active there for three months or so. What do you guys do now to foster engagement, or do you mainly let the group do its thing?

Jordan:

Yep. We do nothing, nothing to foster engagement anymore. Now it's part of what the group's about. People will see other people posting their cute pictures of their kids in our clothing, and they'll do the same things. For us, we don't have to do that anymore. It's like a ball that's been pushed down a hill. Every once in a while we'll just come in and add to the conversation, and that's really what it comes down to. We get incredible insights from this VIP group. A really great example was at Christmas time we were going to release two new graphics, and one of them had done really well two years ago. It said, "Merry Christmas, you filthy animal."

Brett:

Love that. Home Alone.

Jordan:

And it was a picture of of a raccoon. Yeah. So it had the Home Alone. It had the raccoon, and it had done really well a couple years ago. For some reason, it just did not resonate this year with our audience. Yeah. So we asked. We said, "Hey, these are the two." And we're doing it a little bit as a teaser as well. like, "Hey, what do you guys think about these?" Well, everyone said they hated both of them, and by everyone, I mean, we had 200 comments. We had it as a poll. Most people were saying, "No, I don't like either of these." Oh, my gosh. This is incredible insight. Thank you everyone. We then went back to the drawing board.

Brett:

And while that feedback hurts, it's way better to get it now than if you had produced one or both of these and then people are like, "Yeah. I hate those. I'm not going to buy this."

Jordan:

Totally. I hear this from other business owners sometimes, and everybody... Sorry, I shouldn't say everybody. What I hear the Steve Jobs god idea, where Steve jobs was that one guy who-

Brett:

He didn't need a focus group. I don't either.

Jordan:

Yeah, exactly, where he could just go in, and he would just do it. He'd tell the market what they want. Guys, there's 8 billion people in the world, and there's two or three people who do that. But the majority of us, we actually need to ask our customers for feedback. I prefer feedback that ends in my bank account much more than me thinking I'm correct and then sitting on a bunch of inventory I can't do anything with.

Brett:

Totally. It's also part of the reason that worked was, one, because of Steve jobs, and you're right. Very few people can do that. But also because he was creating new technology. No one could articulate the iPhone because they had no idea that that was possible. So of course, if you're creating new technology, you got to tell the market what they want. When it comes to t-shirts and stuff, you probably want people's feedback. In clothing, you want people's feedback. Feedback is ..

Jordan:

Totally. Yeah. Otherwise, you're going to be sitting on all this inventory. So we pivoted right away. The next day we put out two new designs. So that's one of the things that my wife still does as CEO there. She still designs, which I think is very important for that particular company. We thought, what are the roles she can get rid of? Designing is one of those ones that's really interesting because it really is the brand. It's a lot harder to teach. So she came back with two new designs. The group loved them, and we sold out within half an hour doing a gated launch as well.

Brett:

Amazing. Kudos to you guys for doing that. Kudos to her, because I know some people that are really good at designing, they also have that same mentality of, "Hey, I'm an artist. Don't tell me what's good and what's not good." But to have that ability of saying, "Here's something that I created that I love. Oh, you don't like that? Okay. I'll do something different." Then you find a winner. So kudos to her. Kudos to you guys for doing that.

Brett:

So this is a great time. Let's transition into gated launches. So probably people have a bit of a picture in their mind of what this is. We've talked about launches before, talking about launches using crowdfunding and all kinds of other launches, but let's talk about what a gated launch is. Then I want to give an interesting offline example that I saw years ago that I think creates an interesting picture, and then we'll get into the how you do it and some of those things as well. But what is it first?

Jordan:

Cool. Yeah. So I did not make this idea up. I think it was 2016. I remember reading Contagious by Jonah Berger. I remember it was 2016 because I went to Disney World. No kids, my wife and I just went on our own. I remember eating this book up. I'm like, "This is incredible," just about how things go viral. So he was talking about this clothing brand, this online clothing brand, that was doing terrible. People just really weren't resonating with it, huge bounce rate. Everyone was leaving the site.

Jordan:

So they thought, "You know what? We've got a big list. What's the worst case scenario that can happen? We're going to go bankrupt." They're already on their way to going bankrupt, and so they decided to password protect their site. Then every Friday they would do a new launch, and they would give the password out, a specific password that day. So nobody could enter the website without it. So being the non executer that I am, I read that, thought it was an amazing idea, told a bunch of people about it and then nothing ever got done.

Jordan:

So this last year I remembered the idea, and I'm like, "Huh. This could work really, really well for our store." we've got this 8,000 person group. We'd started to build an SMS group alongside of it as well, so we were doing interesting things with it, I thought, interesting things. I still think they are where we'd give SMS and VIP group only discounts. We could see like, "Oh, cool. 500 people used that discount. That's incredible." That was cool, but this really took it to the next level. So what we do is we password protect the site for 12 hours. Nobody can enter the site before that, and so this is especially for big sales and big launches. Then the day of the sale-

Brett:

Just a quick question. When the site is password protected, do you have the option for someone to sign up for the VIP group, or do you push sign ups?

Jordan:

... Totally.

Brett:

Okay. All right. Great. Right.

Jordan:

Yeah. Totally. Yeah, so if they want access, then they can either sign up for the SMS group or the Facebook VIP Group. So we'll get tons of signups on those days, from people who are like, "I can't access the site."

Brett:

I want what I can't have.

Jordan:

So for generally, we'll do either an hour or two hours, depending on what the launch looks like. I'll walk you through our big launch that we did in August. So this was no discounts, no Facebook ads, no Google ads, nothing. This was just to our lists. For about two weeks before we let people know, "Hey, we're going to be launching this new collection." It was our fall winter collection. There's all these new designs. "If you want early access, you guys know we sell out. If you want early access to it, join these groups."

Jordan:

So at 10:00 AM Pacific that day we released the password, and it was crazy. We had within a minute 3,500 people on the site. So I just want to walk through a little bit of the psychology behind it. People come to the site. They have a special password that they have to enter. I call it... I remember hearing this word years ago and thinking it was so nerdy, but it's a Rubicon. It's something that you can go through a door you can go through, but you can't go back.

Jordan:

In somebody's mind. It's that micro-commitment that you don't want to go back because you've already entered this password. You're now in the special club. It's like going into a nightclub and, being like, "Hey, there's no ins and outs. Once you're out, you're out." And so it's that same sort of-

Brett:

You've got that velvet cord, the security guy's letting you in. It's it's a big deal. Yeah.

Jordan:

... Totally. So within that first two hours, I think we did about $120,000 of sales. I was like, "That's incredible."

Brett:

Winner. Onto something.

Jordan:

We've had sales like that before, where we're doing a 20% discount or something. We don't discount too often. So we've had sales like that, but never long lasting like this. We ended up doing about $250k, just over $250k in that 24 hours, and then it was incredible because we weren't running ads this whole time. So 12 o'clock, we actually opened the website up to everybody, but there was all this buzz around it. The next day, I think we still did like $50,000 in sales, and the next day $40,000 in sales. An average day is generally about $10k-ish, somewhere in there, or it was at that time.

Brett:

So 25x when you did the gated deal, and then the residual impact was even like a 5x growth a few of those days.

Jordan:

Yeah. And by the time, I think it was about two weeks later that we actually caught up on orders. So we started advertising again, and it was incredible. I mean, this entire year... I hate to give numbers like this, but our return on ad spend this year on Facebook alone was 10.5, and I was spending ..

Brett:

Which is an insane number, by the way. Yeah. That's just crazy high.

Jordan:

I don't believe it, the attribution. I'm a real attribution skeptic. So when I say that number, I'm like, "Yeah." But the reason why we had that was because of these communities that we're born. So we had these touches with customers all along the way. I love that today is Facebook apocalypse with iOS 14.

Brett:

You're positioned well to still succeed through that.

Jordan:

And any of our clients as well, because we're not doing some quick cash grab on Facebook. We're trying to build audiences here. We're trying to build people up into and getting to know our brand. So the whole iOS 14, I'm like, "Yeah, sure. For the drop shippers who aren't building a brand. Sure. Maybe that's going to matter to them." But to me, a seven day click and one day view attribution is wonderful. That makes a lot of sense to me. So, go ahead.

Brett:

You're not going to lose any ability to build a community and to connect with people in a real way and to offer some of these things that people really want. So that's, first of all, brilliant, and, man, there's nothing wrong with, in fact, I think it's one of the greatest things in business and in life is to identify an idea, see someone else doing something, and think, "Ah, I can do that. I can do something like that. So I'll create my own version and put it together."

Brett:

And to your credit, I talked to a lot of people about launches and I'm around a lot of smart marketers. I haven't really heard anybody talk about doing what you're doing, but when you mentioned it, I did immediately have a flashback to days gone by. When I first got my start in marketing, I owned a small ad agency, and I worked with this piano dealer. So this piano dealer, they did something similar-ish, but it was all done via like TV, radio, print. They did what they called the closed door sale. So usually they would say, "Hey, we've got this inventory. It's limited." And they would usually use discounts too. We'd have a discount. But, "We're closing the store."

Brett:

So they would even in the TV commercials have security guards standing by the door, door's closed. It's by appointment only. You can only get in to see the inventory if you call and schedule an appointment. And when you get here, you have to be ushered in. You're just going to meet with a salesperson. They're just trying to make a sale. But it's this whole idea, and there's a little bit of gimmick, some gimmickiness to it. I got to write some of the ads. It was fun.

Brett:

But anyway, the whole idea was, "Hey, if you schedule an appointment, it's because you're going to buy." You're you're being ushered in. You're going behind that velvet cord. The security guard's letting in that, not so you can just kick the tires and negotiate on price. You're going into buy. So their closing ratio was incredibly high, and they would do over the course of a day or two, maybe what they did in the previous two months.

Brett:

So it's something they couldn't do it too often in that regard because it was pianos and market, but I could see where you guys could do this regularly with the launch of new additions and new products and things like that. So really fantastic. There's a lot of psychology that goes into this. What brilliant idea. Kudos to you.

Jordan:

And it's replicable is one thing I wanted to let you know. We've done this multiple times since then, no more than once a month. When we released our Christmas collection, sold out within 30 minutes, and that was our bad for not ordering enough. We didn't realize the demand. We're like, "Oh, I guess, I mean, this is quadruple the demand from the year before."

Jordan:

We did it for another sale, again, I think in the first hour this time we did about $120k. One thing I want to let people know is that we're on regular Shopify. If anyone ever thinks that you have to go to Shopify Plus... One of the brands we're acquiring is on Shopify Plus. They do a lot less revenue than we do in our business. I'm like, "Boom." I'm slashing $2k right there.

Brett:

Yep. Yep. I think it's not just an automatic, "Yes, we need Shopify Plus. Right. There has to be a real business reason for it.

Jordan:

Sometimes it makes sense even with the transaction fees, that sort of thing. I'm just saying a lot of people think that they have to go to that level as soon as they get to a certain revenue number, and I'm like, "Well, I mean, for that $2,000, you can do a lot of stuff with that." You may not have to.

Brett:

Create a real business use case for us, not just an automatic yes, that we need to move to Plus. For sure. So that's awesome. You've replicated, duplicated the success in many different areas. Do you feel like this idea could apply to just about any eCommerce business, and what other categories have you seen it used in?

Jordan:

So really, really good for people who are doing launches often. So if you're not doing launches often, probably not the best, but you can do it once a year. For products that aren't morphing and changing, I don't see the use for it, unless you're using it to run a sale. In which case I think that it's a great idea.

Brett:

But then again, if all it is, is a discount that it could kind of run its course quickly. That's where maybe you do it once a year, twice a year, something like that, if all it is, is a discount. But where you guys are using it as it's the launch of a new product, a new style, a new design, something like that; and with that, you can do it pretty often.

Jordan:

Totally. Totally. And that just really means that we're just releasing new items all the time and iterating. It really helps us, and it's something we're bringing into other businesses we're buying because we just know how well it works. There's certain customers who will buy every single item you put out there, and so it's really powerful to be able to continually release items and then get that feedback. Maybe it'll then become a core part of your collection.

Jordan:

I think that there's a lot more use cases other than just fashion. Fashion is a really easy one because it changes so often. I mean, we're definitely in slow fashion. We're not a fast fashion brand at all. None of the brands that we're acquiring are fast fashion, but slow fashion, still, people want new things. They want new colors.

Brett:

They want new. They want different. They want to be not exactly like the mom's down the road and their kids and stuff. We all want to look a little bit different. So any tools or technologies you would recommend if you're going to run gated launches or gated sales? Any tips or suggestions there?

Jordan:

Yeah. As far as technology is concerned, you really don't need much. You need a good SMS platform, so Postscript or Attentive would be those. Building up your SMS list, so for me, I love Recart for that. Recart has an absolutely wonderful pop-up that they use to get subscribers, so they get messenger subscribers and SMS. Some things to note on the SMS side is I think Attentive is a little bit better than Postscript, but your messages don't get delivered right away. So know that there is going to be a little bit of a time lag, and then Facebook groups. That's the big pre thing. You're using Facebook's technology for your group. I do not recommend making a private group on your website. No one's going to go there.

Brett:

Exactly. No, one's going to do that. They're already on Facebook. Yeah. Yeah. Go where people are hanging out. Make it easy for them, and you guys have certainly done that. Well, this has been absolutely fantastic, just amazing, Jordan. Really appreciate it. As people are listening to this and thinking, "Okay, I need to dig in a little bit more. I need more resources, or maybe I just want someone to run this stuff for me." how can they connect with you? How can they either learn more from you or maybe hire you to do some of this stuff, if that's even an option. Talk to that a little bit.

Jordan:

Yeah. I am the CEO of a Facebook Ads marketing agency that also deals with this kind of strategies, so we're mindfulmarketing.co. I actually also have a checklist for this. So it's a sales launch checklist. It actually runs through, I think it's 36 steps that we do before any sales launch that our team uses to make sure two weeks out what we're doing. So you can get that one at mindfulmarketing.co/sales-launch-checklist.

Brett:

Awesome. I'll link to all that in the show notes as well.

Jordan:

I thought about changing the URL.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah. It's all good. So people can ..

Jordan:

Yeah, so then-

Brett:

Go ahead.

Jordan:

... Yeah, exactly. And then I was going to say, for me personally, I love connecting on LinkedIn, true meaningful connections. I take anyone's connection request because it's just smart to do. I don't mind if somebody tries to spam me. I just ignore their message. So I don't mind, but from podcasts, I've had probably in the last month alone, I've probably had like a hundred reach-outs of people being like, "Hey, I heard you on this podcast and want to connect about this." So for me, I really do try and add value to people on LinkedIn. If you just search "Jordan West marketer," that's where I am on LinkedIn.

Brett:

Fantastic. I will link to all of that, including the resources, in the show notes, so you can check that out at OMGCommerce and look for the blog or just search for eCommerce Evolutions. So I'll link to everything, and also connect with you on LinkedIn if we're not already connected. I can't remember, but, man, my wheels are turning. The ideas are flowing. This is really good stuff, Jordan. Thank you so much for coming on. This has been awesome.

Jordan:

Well, it's great to get to chat with you, especially somebody who's an expert in this space like yourself and tell you an idea that you haven't heard before.

Brett:

I know. This was the first. I dig it. I totally dig it. So kudos to you. Excited to be on your podcast. We'll have to consider round two here at some point as well as we get a new spin on this. So with that, thank you, Jordan, and also thank you for tuning in. We love to hear from you. What do you like about this show? What topics suggestions do you have? Hey, if you haven't already leave that five star review on iTunes. Makes our day, helps other people find the show. And so with that until next time, thank you..


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