Growth

How E-Commerce Stores Can Leverage Word-of-Mouth To Grow!

Leverage the most powerful marketing tool that ever existed with a single button that rests on your sharing interface

Amr Selim from HumanTalents and the host of ‘Online! The Podcast‘ in conversation with our CEO, Jay Gibb, explore how the power of word-of-mouth can be leveraged for growing your e-commerce stores fast.

Via anecdotal evidence from CloudSponge customers such as Stitch Fix, Just Fab, and many more – discover just how a single button can be critical and game-changing for any e-commerce referral program.

Double the performance of your referral programs in 3 easy steps
Download our DIY Workbook today

Podcast Transcript

Online with Amr the internet guy. Stream it today on your favorite podcast platforms. This podcast focuses on entrepreneurs and business owners, helping them become more successful in conducting their business on the web without being stuck with technology, getting a headache, pulling their hairs out, or buying expensive software.

Amr Selim:
Hey, everyone and welcome to another episode of Online. Today we’re discussing e-commerce. So, if you have any interest in electronic commerce or you do already have an e-commerce website, be it on Shopify, WooCommerce or something else, you’d want to listen to this specific episode.

Amr Selim:
My guest today is a former software engineer and he’s the founder and CEO of a B2B software as a service company that helps thousands of WooCommerce and Shopify store owners optimize their word of mouth sales. And he’s been doing it for a really long time. His aim is to actually lower your acquisition costs.

Amr Selim:
You know if you’re in e-commerce it’s a very competitive space and most of people who do own online stores, they’re facing very tough competition that is driving their advertising cost up and up and up, which makes customer acquisition quite expensive. And it actually depends on what you’re selling. So, most of the people who are owners of small and medium businesses, they are not selling expensive stuff online. Usually their average order is about $100 or less. So, it makes no sense for them to have a customer acquisition cost that is $40 or $50. That’s just a bit over the top and it actually erodes their profitability.

Amr Selim:
So, Jay, who’s my guest today, and I would be speaking about is how to actually lower your cost of customer acquisition and how to use the word of mouth, which is the most powerful marketing tool that ever existed. But how to automate that word of mouth and use it as a tool to grow your e-commerce business.

Amr Selim:
So, without further adieu, let’s meet Jay.

Amr Selim:
Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Online. Today we welcome Mr. Jay Gibb. Hey, Jay.

Jay Gibb:
Hey. What’s going on, Amr?

Amr Selim:
How’s it going?

Jay Gibb:
Good. Good, man. How are you?

Amr Selim:
It looks like it’s quite sunny where you are.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, not bad.

Amr Selim:
Where are you?

Jay Gibb:
I’m in Southern California.

Amr Selim:
Where about in Southern California?

Jay Gibb:
Pasadena.

Amr Selim:
All right. Nice.

Jay Gibb:
Yup.

Amr Selim:
It’s a bit cold where I am now. I’m kind of trying to blow in my hands up in Vancouver.

Jay Gibb:
At least you don’t have any wildfires anymore.

Amr Selim:
Oh yeah, no, no. When it rains, of course, it… When it is that much it puts them out.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. Good luck.

Amr Selim:
Yeah. Both California and British Columbia, we have these wildfires in the summer. And we’ve had a crazy summer. It was quite hot. We had a heat wave that killed people.

Jay Gibb:
There was a ton of fires. Luckily this year they didn’t come very close to me but last year they sure did. Last year they were right outside my neighborhood so it was very, very tense last year. But this year we got away with it.

Amr Selim:
How close are you to Orange County?

Jay Gibb:
As the crow flies pretty close but with Los Angeles traffic it’s probably about an hour away.

Amr Selim:
LA, yeah.

Jay Gibb:
Everything in LA is at least 45 minutes away. Orange County from Pasadena is probably about an hour. It depends on traffic.

Amr Selim:
All right. Last time I was there, I think it was, what, 2014 if I remember. I don’t go that far now. Seattle is my limit. It’s a quick drive from here.

Jay Gibb:
Now, you got a hockey team and everything.

Amr Selim:
Yeah, we’re good. We’re good and we’re open now. I think this last weekend it was the first time the fans came back to watch hockey. I don’t understand hockey so I’m not a full Canadian because of that.

Jay Gibb:
That’s true. That’s a true statement.

Amr Selim:
Kind of a soccer guy myself.

Jay Gibb:
Fair enough. Well, at least it’s a global sport. Yeah, what I found in the US here with the friends that I’ve met who don’t get into hockey, it’s usually because they don’t know what the blue lines or for. So, if you ever get invited to a hockey game or some hockey fans ask you to go hang out just go study the blue lines and make sure you understand what they’re for and you’ll probably enjoy the game a lot more.

Amr Selim:
Yeah. I think part of it is because I can’t skate. So, I feel a little bit left out because I usually like the games that I can play. I don’t have to be professional but at least I can play the game a little and enjoy it. But because I cannot skate I ditched hockey because I feel at a disadvantage.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, fair enough. Skating’s hard. That’s partly why I’m so fascinated by what they’re able to do on [crosstalk 00:05:15]-

Amr Selim:
Exactly. It’s like if I cannot keep my balance, how can you skate, play, fight each other, do everything all at once? It’s amazing. It is amazing.

Jay Gibb:
Yup.

Amr Selim:
So, Jay, initially when we were introduced and I looked at what you do my understanding, and maybe my understanding is wrong, but my understanding was that you help people who are in e-commerce. So, is that fair to say?

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. Yeah, it is. Of course. That’s the summary, right? The way that we do that is with software. Yeah, one of the most valuable use cases of the CloudSponge product is for e-commerce and e-commerce growth, in particular, helping e-commerce stores with their word of mouth and the features that they might have on their website that their existing customers would use to spread the word and to tell their friends and to share coupons and registries and things like that. So, we’re very much focused on helping direct to consumer e-commerce stores, in other words, WooCommerce and Shopify stores, to help them double or triple their word of mouth sales, right? That’s the place where we’re primarily focused.

Amr Selim:
Where did the idea come from, Jay? How did you think like, I need to do something about this?

Jay Gibb:
Well, the e-commerce focus came after we observed… So, we built a software first and when we first built the software we didn’t really know who would use it and for what purpose. And then 10 years went by, right, and we got a lot of customers and we talked to them all and we observed what they were doing and how they were using what we had built and noticed that there was a pattern, right? There was a large percentage of our successful customers were e-commerce stores.

Jay Gibb:
So, we started paying attention to those guys and looking for carefully at what are the most successful ones in our customer base doing and that’s when we decided to focus from a marketing perspective on the e-commerce cohort and on that segment of our market.

Jay Gibb:
But the software itself, it’s just a tool. You can use it for all kinds of stuff.

Amr Selim:
So, the first software we’re talking about is one that you’ve developed in 2010?

Jay Gibb:
What we have today is basically a highly evolved version of 2010, of our original API. And the way that you can think about it, what I find to be the easiest way to imagine the software that I’m referring to is just start with one button. Imagine any e-commerce site that you are familiar with. Your listeners are probably imagining their own e-commerce site, right? And there’s one button that we sell that makes a really big difference and that’s the add from address book button.

Jay Gibb:
So, usually it looks like a button that’s got a little address book icon on it. Sometimes it’s a button that says a label like-

Amr Selim:
I love the idea. So, the software is as simple as a button. That’s it.

Jay Gibb:
It’s just a button. That’s it. It’s just a button. Everything behind the button is expensive.

Amr Selim:
Of course, yeah.

Jay Gibb:
And we have a whole company of people and years of engineering that have gone into providing the service but at the end of the day your site probably has several places where you want your users, your fans, your customers to be able to tell their friends about your product. So, some of the examples of that would be if you’ve got a referral program there’s probably a place where you’re asking them to type in a comma separated list of email addresses of their friends, right?

Jay Gibb:
If you’ve got a gift registry, probably there’s some place where they’re supposed to upload a spreadsheet of names and email addresses for a wedding registry or something that’s coming out of the e-commerce store. There might be a coupon interface where you’re letting people send a coupon to their friends, similar to a referral program but more of a one-sided referral program, right? Or even just the most simple case on the product pages you probably have a little panel, like every e-commerce site has, that’s got a little tweet and a Facebook post-

Amr Selim:
Yeah, share it with your friends. Yeah.

Jay Gibb:
A little sharing panel, right? And usually those panels have one of the buttons on that panel is an envelope. It’s basically just a mailto link. It opens an email client, right? And that sucks. It’s terrible and we’re here to fix it. So, what we-

Jay Gibb:
You’re opening it. A lot of times people use Gmail but then clicking that button opens a client, a desktop application. Even when some people do and they’ll send that email, as a business owner you don’t know anything. or have any control over the message.

Amr Selim:
Yeah, because it takes you out of the website, right? It opens a new tab or a new window. Now you’re out of the website. You’re going to send an email and probably don’t come back to the website because your focus is going somewhere else.

Amr Selim:
It’s all happening outside of your website so you cannot measure even if it’s successful or not.

Jay Gibb:
Exactly, right. So, what we do is we take those places that I just listed, including the mail to link, and we basically provide a way to make all those things perform better. And we do it with a contact picker, which is basically like a way for people to navigate their own address book without leaving your website. They can go and search their address book and select their friends and populate those comma separated lists or those CSV files or whatever from their address book without having to do a bunch of extra work.

Try out our Universal Contact Pickerâ„¢ for yourself! Sign up for a FREE 14 Day trial today!

Jay Gibb:
Or for something like the mailto link, our software will basically replace your mailto link with an actual form where you can type in an email address and include a message and then that email gets sent by the e-commerce store instead of through the user’s email client. So, you can control the subject, you can personalize the email with all the data that you got from the address book if they used it. You can add the custom message and put your marketing and branding around that message.

Jay Gibb:
And you basically just get way better open rates and click through rates and all kinds of improved engagement scores when you spend a bunch of time with a team like CloudSponge team and a product like ours to really optimize all those different word of mouth, sharing features on any e-commerce store.

Amr Selim:
So, let me backtrack for a sec. For a store owner, so for everyone out there who have an e-commerce store now and this is a great time because I think all of the states and all of the provinces in Canada had some kind of a grant for shop owners and business owners who did not sell online until COVID hit and then they got some grants or loans or whatever to help them to start the online part of their business. And what happens, the majority of… Let’s say I’m a small bakery and now I started an online store where people can order croissants and baguettes and whatever from me online and they don’t have to go and order through Uber Eats or whatever because I didn’t want to give away 30% of every sale.

Amr Selim:
But I’m new to this and I’m quite used for being offline people come to my location and people tell each other about some of the products, about which product they like the most. So, it’s kind of a word of mouth and kind of an offline sort of thing. And now that I’m online I don’t want to lose that. So, your software from CloudSponge, you called it, what? I’m sorry. It’s called Contact Picker, right?

Jay Gibb:
The Contact Picker is the one thing that all of our different products have in common, yeah.

Amr Selim:
So, it will help me have this integrated on my website, on my online store, whereby an existing customer or even a visitor, when they think that something interesting is on my website like a specific product or a specific offer and they want to share it with their friends. They can just click, it will connect to their address book wherever that address book is. So, if it’s Google, if they use Gmail or if they use Microsoft Outlook or something like that. It would just read the addresses from their address book and enable them to do this share right there and then in one click after the initial connection, of course. So, it’s just connect and bring the details, right?

Jay Gibb:
Yup.

Amr Selim:
And then for me as the store owner, I get to see how successful or how many people are sharing. What are they sharing? Which product is the most successful? Which one of my clients is the most active? So, it’s kind of another additional engagement and I’m bringing the offline word of mouth to my online store.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, that’s right.

Amr Selim:
I love that. And this works with the two main online stores. The two main like Shopify as a network and WooCommerce for people who host their own stores, right?

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, and more than that, right? So, we’ve been around, we’ve been doing this for 11 years and most of our customers have integrated our products in their own way, right? Now, yes, we have a WordPress plugin called Better Sharing that is made by us and supported by us that’s specifically optimized for WooCommerce. So, anybody using WooCommerce can use the Better Sharing plugin to get this functionality. And then we also have some modules or some add-ons for, I guess, plugins. I can’t remember what they call them on Shopify. But we have the same thing for Shopify.

Jay Gibb:
But any store can work, right? Especially if a store owner has an engineering team. It’s really simple technology. At the end of the day it’s just a JavaScript script that you can run on any page and you put a button the page and you tell it where you want the contacts from somebody’s address book to go. So, it’s pretty technology agnostic. And then any customers or trials that we get, people that come through and they need help with that, they can just ask us and most of the time we’ll just do the integration for them. Because obviously if it’s a customer that’s asking for something new most of the time that person represents a bigger group of people that might want the same thing. So, we have a budget for actually building those integrations for customers that maybe need something that’s not supported out of the box where we’re happy to assist and find ways to work together to get those integrations done and make sure that those people are successful with our product.

Amr Selim:
Does it save anything, like for people who are a little bit worried to… Some people, if they click on a button and this button brings their contact list and they can show it online they may have a fear that they’re sharing this information with an unknown business or an unknown person. I’m a techie, so I do understand that probably it’s just them. But what do we say to put their minds at ease?

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, so most people are like that, right? At the end of the day most people see that add from address book button and don’t use it, right, just to be totally transparent with you. But anecdotally what we know from our customers is that, for example, in the case of a referral program where there’s some kind of reward. Like put in your friend’s email addresses and-

Amr Selim:
You get a discount or commission.

Jay Gibb:
[crosstalk 00:18:54] $20 coupon and if any of them buy something then you also get $28 off your next order. That kind of a referral program, which can be powered by any number of referral program platforms that exist out there, right? It’s not use that does that. Probably a lot of people who have e-commerce stores already have one of those.

Jay Gibb:
Let’s say out of the total number of your users that actually send a referral through a program like that and have the option of using their address book for it, maybe only five to 10% of them will use the address book. 95%, 90-95% will still prefer to just type in one email address because that’s all they needed or maybe, like you say, they’re not comfortable with sharing their address book.

Jay Gibb:
But anecdotally from our customers what we know is that that five percent, five to 10% of people that use the address book, they will generate 50% of your referrals. That’s where we get the double your word of mouth marketing positioning that we have. It’s because even if a small percentage of people use their address book, you’re talking about your super fans, right? You’re talking about your customers who love you the most. Out of your entire customer base these are the people who love you the most, right? These are the people who really want to share the love and spread the word about your product and why would you put friction in front of that person, right?

Jay Gibb:
You want to make it as easy for that person as possible to spread the word, right? So, that’s the five to 10%. Those are the people that they want to share your product with 10 or 20 of their friends and doing that manually, typing email addresses one at a time, comma separated, especially if they’re on a mobile device. Good luck.

Amr Selim:
It’s very hard, yeah.

Jay Gibb:
They just won’t do it. Even for the most motivated person it’s almost impossible, right? But with something like a contact picker, that really highly motivated person who’s going to be one of your advocates and who’s going to be helping you spread the word virally. If you give them an easy way to access their contact and just go find those 20 friends and tap, tap, tap, tap, tap and select those check boxes and go, they’ll do it all day long, right? That’s why even though there is an immediate reaction that people would have to like, oh, I would never do that so why would I put that on my website? The fact is people do it. I wouldn’t be in business. If they didn’t do it I wouldn’t be here right now, right? I wouldn’t be on your podcast right now, right? They’re definitely doing it a lot and it makes sense to provide that functionality to make sure that you’re really leveraging the loyalty that you have from your happiest customers.

Amr Selim:
And it’s good to clarify that they’re not actually giving you, the shop owner, their address book. They’re selecting the two, the three, the 10 people who they think will benefit from that specific product or offer. So, we’re just giving them a visual way to pick the people who they think would benefit and they’re sending them an email without having to go to their email client and type in anything. Because, as a shop owner, you’d provide everything. All they need to do is to click who they want to send it to, click send and that’s it. It’s all taken care of. So, they’re not actually giving you their address book.

Jay Gibb:
That’s right. They’re giving you permission to read it and CloudSponge is facilitating that. But we’re not saving it. We’re just displaying it on the screen and then obliterating it.

Amr Selim:
Exactly, yeah.

Jay Gibb:
As a shop owner, you’re not doing anything with it other than what you’re being asked to do, right? So, they’re asking you to send a coupon to five of their friends-

Amr Selim:
To these friends, yes.

Jay Gibb:
And then you do that and then that’s it, right? You don’t save-

Amr Selim:
And then the only you’ve got would be these five friends, which they picked because they thought they’re interested or they would benefit from your offer.

Jay Gibb:
Right. Yeah, the right thing to do as a store owner in that situation is nothing. You send the email that you’ve been asked to send. But it’s not a good idea for privacy reasons to save those email addresses. You don’t want to put them on any mailing lists, you don’t want to create ghost profiles, you don’t want to send them reminders. Just follow the golden rule, right? Treat other people’s email addresses the way you would want yours to be treated.

Amr Selim:
Exactly.

Jay Gibb:
And do what you’ve been asked to do. Your user gave you this email address to send a coupon and-

Amr Selim:
Send the coupon and that’s it. If they come back and buy it’s another thing.

Jay Gibb:
[crosstalk 00:24:05] and then stop.

Amr Selim:
They become your customer and then they could be on your list because they’re now a customer.

Jay Gibb:
Right. Yeah, exactly. Yup. Yeah, and that’s how you stay clear of GDPR issues in Europe and PIPEDA issues in Canada and CCPA issues down here in California. You don’t want to keep track of this sensitive data. You just want to do what your user asked you to do and then move on.

Amr Selim:
Perfect. How does that effect SEO? Because I’m feeling that’s a lot of engagement, right?

Jay Gibb:
SEO. Yeah, I’m not sure if there’s much of a connection. Can you unpack that for me a little bit?

Amr Selim:
So, I’m thinking because let’s say I have a product on my online store and I have 10 loyal existing clients who have bought that product, who like that product. So, now what they’re going to do, they’re going to come and share this with a few selected people from their address book, which means A, those loyal customers are coming to my website in order to share the product. So, that is traffic. B, they’re sending this link to others so that they can come back and see the product or the offer, whatever is on that page. So, I’m thinking this is a good bump up for SEO.

Amr Selim:
It’s a byproduct. It’s not your goal but would be a byproduct, right?

Jay Gibb:
Maybe. I think SEO, for me anyway, is more about making your website optimized for the search engine crawlers, right? What you said is true though. You would, of course, increase your traffic a little bit, which is not directly SEO but anyway.

Amr Selim:
Yeah,

Jay Gibb:
You’re going to increase your traffic and if your site is set up with advertising pixels from Facebook and Google and Twitter and Cora and whatever other advertising networks are interesting for you, then those friends, the traffic that’s generated, you can then start to do retargeting ads to those people and remind them, not via email because as we just discussed that’s not okay, right? But you can remind them with retargeting so that now they visited your site because their friend sent them a coupon and they clicked it and now as they traverse the internet and they go to their Facebook profile and [crosstalk 00:26:50]-

Amr Selim:
They’ll see your ads, yeah.

Jay Gibb:
Your ads will pop up in front of them reminding them about this coupon that you’ve been sent, right. So, that’s obviously a little bit more advanced. Some personalization and some marketing automation would be required to do that. But you certainly can get that secondary level benefit from a program like this, which I think is what you’re driving at with your SEO question.

Amr Selim:
Why should people have a referral program?

Learn the various ways you can leverage your website's sharing features Find out using our Better Sharing Workbook!

Jay Gibb:
Well, I think we’ve already touched on the answer to that a couple times, a couple different ways. But mainly because the referral program is going to be something that’s engaged with by your super fans. Right? It’s going to be something where you’ve got repeat customers and they want to earn discounts on their future orders, right? Because you have something that they love. Whatever it is that you have [crosstalk 00:27:51]-

Amr Selim:
If they can get it for less, yeah.

Jay Gibb:
So, if they’re like, oh I’m definitely going to buy more stuff from this store because I love this store, what do I have? That’s when they start looking for these extra things, right? So, then if you’re like, hey, by the way, earn a 10% discount on your next order by referring one of your friends, they’re going to do that. Or they’re at least going to really think about who in their life would be the right people that would actually agree with them about how awesome your store is, right? So, I think a referral program, again, it multiplies your happiest customers, right? It’s not something that other people that don’t buy something from you will really benefit from or you won’t benefit from those people. But those people that love you and that come back often and that really love your product, those are the ones that are going to look around for that referral program so that they can spread the love and send your product to people that they know and send those coupons and get those rewards, right?

Jay Gibb:
I think it’s a no brainer for any e-commerce store that has happy customers, which hopefully is most of them have some segment or cohort of happy customers. I think nowadays it’s a total no brainer to add a referral program to almost any site, right? WooCommerce has-

Amr Selim:
Yeah, even non e-commerce sites.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, there’s 50 different ways to do it with Shopify and WooCommerce, right? And we’re integrated with a lot of them. A lot of these referral program providers, they already acknowledge that a contact picker is an important ingredient in the recipe and they also acknowledge that building it themselves would be crazy because it’s really hard to do. So, we have partnerships with all kinds of referral program providers to allow their customers to add a contact picker to their interface that’s all powered by CloudSponge through a partnership.

Amr Selim:
This is great. And we have mentioned Shopify a couple of times and I’ve always told when people come from consulting if they want to build an online store and they’re looking to choose between, let’s say for example Shopify and WooCommerce, I would usually ask them a few questions to see which one will be better for them. And one of the issues that always used to, that have come up quite a few times was that some people don’t like to go on Shopify as a network because they don’t own… It’s hard to have full control because you’re like renting… It’s software as a service, basically. So, you’re kind of renting a store on the Shopify network, which is a great network. But then when you want to add plugins and stuff it’s not easy and you don’t have a lot of control.

Amr Selim:
One of the things I’ve seen on your website was a store audit for Shopify and I wanted to ask you about it. What does it do? Because I don’t see a lot of add-ons to Shopify unless you get them from Shopify.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. In order to be an add-on provider you have to basically build something that Shopify adds to the marketplace, right?

Amr Selim:
Yeah, becomes part of their ecosystem. Yeah.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. I don’t know exactly but it seems to me that most people can start at Shopify when they’re just tinkering-

Amr Selim:
And then they move.

Jay Gibb:
And then either they get really successful and move to Shopify Plus and really start spending some serious money and getting some clout and being able to manipulate Shopify to do whatever they want. Or they go to WooCommerce and probably get an engineer. They probably hire a person to work for them to really be able to craft the experience that they want down to the pixel, right?

Amr Selim:
Yeah.

Jay Gibb:
Have full control over everything. So, WooCommerce is probably not for everybody at the beginning of the journey just because it does require a certain minimum amount of technology understanding to get a WordPress site and understand hosting and register domains. You have to do a lot of those things on your own and not everybody knows how to do that stuff, right? So, there’s a bit of an initial barrier there. But there is definitely a bit of a migration from Shopify to WooCommerce later in the journey, right?

Amr Selim:
Yes, indeed. Yeah.

Jay Gibb:
And to your question, the audit that we do is regarding your word of mouth sharing features. So, anybody listening to your podcast, right, we’ll make a landing page for you guys. It’ll just be cloudsponge.com/amrtheinternetguy and you can go there, give us your email address, we’ll give you a PDF file. It’s a six page PDF file. It’s basically a scorecard. You can go through it line by line and it’s going to ask you questions about functions and features of your site to make sure that you have everything you should have and each of those things that you do have is optimized for word of mouth.

Jay Gibb:
And then at the end of that experience you can put yourself on a calendar for me or one of my customer success people and we do a live tear down, right? So, we’ll get on a call just like this, on a Zoom call with an e-commerce store owner or just a person who works there who’s responsible for the experience and we’ll basically go through the checklist together, right? We’ll talk about it. We’ll say, “Oh, do you have wishlist and registry functionality and if not that’s okay but why not? Do you have coupons? If not, why not? Do you have a referral program? If not, why not? Do you have a sharing link on your product pages? If not, why not?” Et cetera. Get to understand what are the things that have been done and if things have been omitted let’s make sure that they weren’t just unaware that they could’ve done that. Let’s make sure we’re introducing everybody to the possibilities that they might not have considered.

Jay Gibb:
And then we go deep on each of those and look for the best practices that we know with regard to well, obviously does it have a contact picker? That’s the thing that we’re, at the end of the day, trying to help people with. But also, the emails that get sent out, let’s take a look at the personalization, right? Is it just a static email that goes out and it’s being sent to somebody who’s never heard of your store before? What does it actually look like? Then we’ve got playbooks for the different areas of the email that should be personalized or could be personalized with address book data and really help to make sure that for whatever features do exist, they’re performing at their best, right?

Jay Gibb:
So, we do that just for free as a lead generation activity for any e-commerce store that wants another set of eyes, right, another opinion on what they’re doing.

Amr Selim:
Would you also guide them, for example, if they don’t have a referral program? What are the tools that they can use or what are the referral program providers that they can get in touch with?

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, yeah. Like I said, we’re integrated with a lot of referral program software. So, we know not everything but we know a little bit about each of their strengths and weaknesses and target markets, right? So, once I get to know or once one of our customer success people gets to know an e-commerce store and we get a sense for what geography are you in, how much sales do you do, how much do you typically spend on technology, what’s your budget for something like that, right? If you’re just getting started maybe 50 bucks a month sounds like a lot, right? Maybe if you’re further along $30,000 a month sounds totally reasonable, right?

Amr Selim:
Yeah.

Jay Gibb:
Kind of depends on wear you’re at. So, once we get a little bit of vibe and we understand who we’re talking to and where they are in their journey then we can make a couple suggestions, right? We can suggest a WordPress plugin or we can suggest a SAS tool. There’s no single answer for everybody.

Amr Selim:
Of course.

Jay Gibb:
But because we’re exposed to this industry a lot and specifically around this particular problem, most of the time we can narrow it down pretty fast, down to one or two obvious choices for each person that we talk to.

Amr Selim:
The important thing, I’m not trying to scare you guys, but when we say there is a spending because Jay just mentioned $30,000 and suddenly people will say, “Oh my God, I don’t have that amount of money.” Okay, it’s all in the return on investment. So, it’s all ROI. So, for companies who are spending as much as $30,000 on something like that, on a referral program it’s because it will bring 100,000 additional sales. So, for them spend 30 get 100, it makes sense. You get almost three fold for every dollar spent. If you’re a small business you’re spending 50, you probably get 150 worth of sales. So, that’s the idea.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. I just say those two numbers as being the wild extremes, right?

Amr Selim:
Yeah.

Jay Gibb:
When I say something like 30 grand a month, I know there are some of our partners in the referral program space that charge that, right? But their customers are like Starbucks and Walmart-

Amr Selim:
They make millions. Yeah, exactly.

Jay Gibb:
[crosstalk 00:38:22] that’s not us, right? It’s not the normal people. And then at the other lower end of the spectrum there’s just plugins and small referral program tools and things that you can use that are 50 bucks a month, right? So, I was just trying to draw a whole spectrum for like-

Amr Selim:
Yeah, I know you’re not trying to scare people.

Jay Gibb:
Sorry.

Amr Selim:
I’ve had some episodes that were around digital marketing and people go to agencies and the agencies, they want to know how much is your ad spend. So, I’m encouraging every business owner now before looking at how much they’re spending they need to actually assess, what’s the return on that investment? And it’s the same thing with any spend really. So, you can pay a web designer $5,000 to do your website. You can pay a web designer $20,000 to do your website or you can do it yourself. Which way to go will depend on what kind of return you’re expecting. And, of course, if you do your due diligence it should work.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, that’s kind of a universal truth in entrepreneurship, I think, right, to a certain extent. As long as people in that do it yourself frame of mind don’t forget to quantify your own time. I think a lot of people forget-

Amr Selim:
Yes. Oh God, yeah.

Jay Gibb:
They’re like oh I could do this for free and I’ll do it and they can and they’re not wrong. But they forget to multiply the hours that they spend doing that thing by-

Amr Selim:
By their hourly rate.

Jay Gibb:
Pick an hourly rate.

Amr Selim:
Exactly.

Jay Gibb:
I don’t care what it is. Just decide for yourself how much your time is worth.

Amr Selim:
It’s funny how then it becomes more expensive when you do that and you realize that you’ve spent 100 of your billable hours doing something that’s not in your core business and this time could’ve been spent… So, it’s not only that you’ve wasted some of your billable time but you may have missed opportunities to sell to your clients because you were busy, for example, building your e-commerce website when you could’ve hired someone to do it for you.

Amr Selim:
It’s the same thing when, we were just saying a little bit earlier, start up e-commerce businesses usually choose Shopify because it’s easy and it has a lower barrier to entry. But what they don’t know is they’re going to spend hours trying to figure out the design. They’re going to spend a little bit of time, I don’t know if it’s hours or minutes or whatever, entering each product themselves like you’re creating your own product, whereby, if you pay somebody whether on Shopify or WooCommerce you just give them a list of products and images and they just take care of it.

Amr Selim:
So, it frees your time from having to build all the nitty gritty bits and pieces towards linking your shop with your payment gateway. And all these things are taken care and you don’t have to spend time learning how it’s done unless you are becoming a web designer or developer yourself.

Jay Gibb:
Right. Yup. Totally.

Amr Selim:
So, Jay, how would people find you? Where do they go?

Jay Gibb:
cloudsponge.com/amrtheinternetguy.

Amr Selim:
Nice. Oh, I like having my name there on the link.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, yeah. Go there and it’ll just be all one word, lower case. Just amrtheinternetguy. And then we’ll make a page there for you guys that has the workbook that I mentioned, which will lead you to a place to get a tear down if you want one. And then there’s contact methods right there. You’ll be able to join our Slack community or email us or whatever you like, whatever’s convenient for you. We’ll put it all in one place.

Amr Selim:
Perfect. Thank you very much, Jay.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Amr Selim:
Here’s to more e-commerce sales everywhere.

Jay Gibb:
Cheers.

Amr Selim:
Take care. Bye.

Jay Gibb:
Bye.

Amr Selim:
Hey everyone, before we go away if you have an e-commerce website and you want to discuss it’s performance or if you want to get into e-commerce and you’re not sure where to start feel free to book a free consultation. Just head to humantalents.ca, click on contact us and fill up that form and I’ll respond to you once I get your email. Thank you and see you in the next episode.

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