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Kelly Vaughn, Founder & CEO at The Taproom

Preparing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday: Build the perfect user experience

This episode features Kelly Vaughn, Founder and CEO of The Taproom. We focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday preparation and what steps you should be taking now to be ready for the busiest weekend of the year. We also talk about what agency builds would drive the most impact with various budgets and how to focus limited time to make the most out of the holiday season.

Connect with Kelly on LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out The Taproom. Get her book, Start Freelancing Today. Listen to her podcast, Commerce Tea. Browse her merch store.

Episode transcript

Chase: Kelly, thank you for joining us.

Kelly: Thank you so much for having me.

Chase: So today's going to be really interesting. I'm super excited to have Kelly Vaughn here. Give us a little bit of introduction on yourself before we jump into some of the content.

Kelly: Yeah, so I am the founder and CEO of The Taproom. We're a Shopify Plus agency specializing in custom development solutions for high growth businesses. I'm based out of Atlanta. And we are a very proud ReCharge partners.

Chase: And we're proud to be partnered with Kelly as well. So today's going to be a little bit different, instead of just asking some questions back and forth. We are going to focus on Black Friday, Cyber Monday prep. But we're going to do this in an interesting, creative way. So I had Kelly prep a little bit of platforms and things how she would build an ideal ecommerce store leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday. So if you have some of these things we're going to talk about, excellent. If you don't, maybe look into them. But we'll certainly talk about some UI, UX stuff as well. So maybe not even downloading additional platforms, just going to talk through a bunch of best practices.

So let's start with the assumption that we're on Shopify. I think that's a platform that both of us are most familiar with. And what is it about Shopify that is better than other platforms? I'm not going to go that far, but what is about Shopify that's unique and interesting, and allows you to build on your own?

Kelly: I really love Shopify because of how intuitive it is for merchants who are not at all technical. They want to get up and running, they want to focus less on the commerce side of, "How do I accept credit card payments?" And things that. And they can focus on just building up their store, building up their brand and getting their products out in front of people.

Chase: Awesome. Very succinct, very easy way to go there. So from your perspective, what is some of the big value of subscriptions? I know that Black Friday, Cyber Monday, more often than not is actually one time purchases. It's a common misconception, subscriptions don't get a huge blow up for BFCM, but what's the value of subscriptions coming into the holiday season?

Kelly: The subscriptions are... First off, they're great for gifts, especially if you're offering gift subscriptions three months, six months, 12 months, whatever it might be. Really great option for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season. Second, you're starting to build that lifetime value for these customers. So even though most people might be purchasing one time, if you can get them on a discounted subscription for Black Friday, Cyber Monday being one of the deals you're offering... They might be paying a little bit less upfront now, but that longterm lifetime value is just going to continue to increase with those customers.

Chase: Love the touch on lifetime value. I have a feeling that's going to be a theme as we come back to that over and over.

Kelly: Absolutely. Yeah.

Chase: So let's start maybe from the absolute bottom from the ground up. So when you're first starting to build your website or you're first starting to look at how you can customize your site for BFCM, what's some of this value in providing your why? Because I know that everybody can sell product and everyone can sell makeup or shoes or whatever what's going to distinguish someone. And how important is that to show that really upfront?

Kelly: Yeah. So even outside of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, ecommerce is becoming more and more crowded. A lot of businesses who are previously selling brick and mortar only are going online. The bigger companies, the Fortune 500 companies are starting to sink a lot more money into their online ecommerce experience. So there's a lot more competition. So being able to differentiate yourself and know exactly why customers are shopping from you in particular, putting that front and center and making that message crystal clear is really going to help you in the long run.

Chase: Totally agree. All about that customer experience and understanding why they're buying from you as opposed to someone else. So what else now it's keep working into what you would start building. So what else on the website, before we get to product pages and all that, what else are a couple of things that are really high value?

Kelly: One of the things that I often see merchants miss is on their home page. They want to jump directly to putting the products front and center and I get it. Your goal is to get those products to be sold. But if I am brand new to your website, I've never heard of your business before. I need to find out who you are first. So please include some introductory texts, a paragraph about who you are, what you sell and what makes you different. I know there's that's things to include in a paragraph. You can find a really clever way to make that really succinct.

Chase: And there's a fine line between too much about you and just talk about, "Hey, we're do this and we do this and we're great. And we're excellent." But some sort of value of, "This is why we're different and unique." I think that goes a long way.

Kelly: And I think there's a lot of value in sharing the founder story as well. Again, people want to know exactly who they're shopping from and more and more people are intentionally shopping from smaller businesses. So I think we tend to try to put on this persona of we as a company, even if it's one person running the show. And I think you should celebrate the fact that you are running the show yourself. Let people know who you are and why you started the brand. I think that's a really, it's a unique point that you can include on your story that others don't have.

Chase: So let's dive into that a bit more actually that's a really interesting point, something that I love. You talked earlier up front about how a lot of these bigger ecommerce giants, people who have been around for forever, they're investing more into ecommerce now. Why is that value so drastically different because probably they're going to have a cheaper price. If it's someone that big they're going to be cheaper. So what's the value of shopping small? Is it just this new trend we're seeing of shop small support local businesses?

Kelly: Yeah, there's a small business Saturday thing, but I think more and more people, especially with the pandemic are being more mindful of the fact that businesses are shutting down. They're having to close their doors. They can't survive in this landscape and they want to be able to support small businesses and keep them open. So more and more people are putting a focus on trying to support the smaller companies as opposed to buying everything from Amazon. Plus there's the whole thing it's about Amazon and having an entire team looking at what's selling best, so they can create their own competitor for a cheaper amount. So all kinds of reasons to shop local or shop small. Instead of jumping to Amazon.

Chase: I have a handful of friends who were trying to do the get rich quick scheme who were trying to do that, where they see, "Hey, my product ranks this much lower, this much higher. I can make quick buck off of this." So really interesting to see, short term versus long term play. You may be able to make a few dollars off of that. But longterm, that's not a good way to sustain a business.

Kelly: It's like launching an entire business on face masks. It's relevant right now. I can't say it's going to be relevant down the road.

Chase: Can't wait to buy a face mask in 2030. Really hope that's not a sentence. I don't want that to be a thing. I'm just kidding. So let's move a bit more into product pages now, getting more in detail here. I know one of your favorite things to talk about is conversion rate optimization. So maybe to touch on that it's a bit sarcastic, but touch on that a bit, why are product pages so huge?

Kelly: Yeah. So your customers are either going to be landing on your homepage, but they're going to be landing on one of your product pages. And when you're promoting these, when you're running ads, you're pushing out social content on Instagram, wherever you might be. Most people are going to be coming in from a product page and they, again, if they have never seen your brand before, they need to figure out who you are without having to click around on the site and lose track of what they were doing and then abandon their checkout. So the goal is to really put all of that messaging that we are talking about on the homepage, also on your product page, make sure everything the customer could possibly need to make a purchasing decision is front and center on that product page.

Chase: Is there a balance between too many pictures and not enough pictures? You don't need seven different angles of a hat. You don't need every single color variation of these things. Is there an optimal number or is there just playing around with things?

Kelly: I definitely am in support of more than one image, definitely more than zero images. If you are selling anything that is somebody else's product like you're drop shipping or just sourcing products from somewhere else, please take your own product photos. I know it's something that costs extra time and money. You could take pictures with your iPhone. It really doesn't matter. But having that unique content is really important and is a good trust builder. As far as how many images go. Again, you don't need seven different angles of the same hat. If you want to get super creative, you could look at doing the 3D imaging, if you want to capture every angle, but nobody's going to click through that many images.

Kelly: And remember most of your customers are shopping on mobile devices. If you're not lazy loading your images, which technical term for the fact that images only load once they actually appear on the screen. If you're not doing that, the load time is going to really take a hit and customers have a very short attention span. They don't want to wait for things to load. They're going to abandon that page before it's finished loading.

Chase: I was going to touch on mobile. So a good time to jump in there. I think last BFCM 2019 was something 70 or 80% was mobile shopping. I've got to assume that number is going to keep increasing.

Kelly: Absolutely. I've been going with just 70% because I feel like it's a safe number to go by. Of course, it's going to vary from brand to brand, but you're going to see well over half of your customer base shopping on mobile devices. And it's really important to remember that you might be managing your website, your business from a desktop, from a laptop, but your customers are not doing the same thing. So I highly recommend taking some time to go through the entire shopping experience on your own mobile phone and find those gaps in the user experience that you didn't realize were an issue.

Chase: That's absolutely huge test things on your own, on your own mobile device, whether it's B2B or B2C, we do that at ReCharge. We pop up our phones and check on new pages we're launching and make sure they look good. That's absolutely huge. Make sure you're doing that.

Kelly: And also ask your friends and family to do the same. You're very close to your business. It is your business. It's your baby. You aren't going to miss things that are an issue because you just assume people know how something's going to function or how it's supposed to work. Asking your friends and family to go through that purchasing journey can be a really frustrating experience when they don't do what you expect them to do. But that is on you. That is something that you need to address and fix.

Chase: As much as you want to guide customers down a specific path and say, "Hey, you're going to hit this page first, this page second, this page third." That's never how it works.

Kelly: Never is. Yeah.

Chase: So what are a couple other things, thinking outside the box. Are things taxes and shipping. I know it's the super unsexy really boring stuff. How does that play a part in building this perfect store for the holidays and really just in general.

Kelly: Shipping in particular is a very important topic to talk about right now because we are well aware, especially if you're shipping within the US. USPS prices are already increasing. There's going to be a lot of uncertainty around shipping times come the holiday season. You need to be very transparent with what shipping expectations really are, and be prepared to talk to your customers. And put a plan in place just in case they're trying to order something for the holiday season and it's going to arrive late. Make sure you have... If you have a certain cutoff in order to arrive by Christmas, for example, you might want to back that up a little bit earlier than you normally would. Just to play it safe. If you can get things out sooner great, but nobody wants to find out a gift is received or going to be received after they actually need it.

Chase: Christmas is a very easy day to remember, but everybody needs to keep in mind, you're not trying to ship something to be arriving on December 25th. It needs to get there before. You need to wrap it and put it under the tree or however you end up doing this. But yes, that's little things that people forget about. One more question about shipping. What is your take on maybe potentially bumping up a price and doing free shipping across the board? Is that something that plays a part in actually converting customers to subscribers or longterm customers?

Kelly: It really does. So there are really three strategies to shipping. One, do carrier calculated shipping, So it's based on the weight of the products. Two offer a fixed rate for shipping. So no matter what you order shipping is always going to be 5.95, for example, or three offer free shipping. You can do some kind of combination of the two or... Well, usually you do two and not all three, but adding a free shipping threshold, for example, all orders over $50 ship free, but you're also doing carrier calculated shipping. The problem with carrier calculated shipping, it's probably cheaper for you to calculate that out because you don't have to do any of the math it's already done for you, but it leaves a lot of uncertainty for the customer.

Kelly: They don't know what it's going to cost until they actually hit checkout. And that is, I think the number one reason why people abandoned their cart because they realize how much they have to pay for shipping. So if you can offer a fixed rate or you can bump up your prices a little bit or however it works with your margins to offer free shipping, that's really, really going to help with conversions.

Chase: I think even just personally, that's the number one reason why most sites lose me is you're set on a price, you're set on, "Okay. I can warrant spending X dollars on this." And then you get to a point and it's X dollars plus $13 for shipping. You're thinking, "No way am I doing that? That makes no sense."

Kelly: Exactly. It's the same. I feel for Europeans visiting the States and they go to a restaurant and they're , "Oh, my meal is going to be $20." Actually, it's going to be $21 and 49 cents. And now they don't have that exact cash, for example. So yeah, definitely being as transparent as possible is really key here.

Chase: When we talk about taxes, I feel like taxes are just straightforward. I guess you could probably do some sort of kick up your price and do no tax as well, that seems pretty rare. Do you have any special insight on taxes?

Kelly: My extra special insight is consult a CPA and let them tell you what to do.

Chase: Smart.

Kelly: If you are on Shopify Plus it's worth looking into using Avalara to help calculate the taxes for you. And also, especially if you're reaching a certain tax purchase threshold in certain States, nexus starts kicking in and you're going to have to start paying taxes in those other States as well. So that's where using a tool Taxtra, which is available on core Shopify or Avalara on Shopify Plus is really going to come into play to help you with the taxes.

Chase: So if you're like me and none of that made any sense to you, contact Kelly and she will happily explain all of it.

Kelly: Taxes are tricky. They're really tricky. I have two stores. One is a merch store selling physical products. The other one is I wrote a book that I sell as an ebook and digital products are taxed differently from physical products and it varies from state to state. So that's why it's really helpful to have somebody else tell you what you need to charge for taxes.

Chase: Wish that could just happen all the time. Just tell me how to do this and I'll get it done.

Kelly: Please just give me the cheat sheet and exactly.

Chase: And we'll link Kelly's book in the description of this podcast. So maybe taking a step forward or back, I'm not even sure what it is depending on your process in the customer experience, customer journey. What is your take on a chat bot or some sort of customer support solution whether it's pre-checkout. So something like, "Hey, I'm interested in this for this reason." Or post something, "Hey, I haven't gotten my shipment yet." Or anything like that.

Kelly: Yeah. So I'm a big fan of Gorgias because they basically handle everything for you as far as their system goes. So you can handle all your customer support inquiries, any comments that show up on Facebook posts, so Instagram DMs or things like that, all feed into one space, so you can manage all the customer support in one place. They also have a chat bot that you can add onto your site. The reason why I love live chat is because it can really make or break that purchasing decision for somebody. They just have a quick question and be like, "Is this going to fit me?" Or, "Does this have anything that might... I have allergies, will this affect me." Being able to answer that question immediately can be what actually makes that person decide to go ahead and hit buy. Also important to remember that there are different types of chatbots.

Kelly: So you can do one where your customer support team is the one who is responding to it. You can use some tool that's more automated. So if you wanted to use something like Octane AI to write out different common questions that come up and let it respond for you. That's going to happen more on the Facebook messenger, SMS side of things. But regardless having that automation in place, as opposed to having customer support, if you don't have somebody to man it, you at least have that option.

Chase: Real quick while we're on the topic. What's your take on SMS. Do you think it's going to get to a point where it's overcrowded and everybody's now getting text messages and we need to find a new channel or you think that's still super valuable.

Kelly: I hope it doesn't, it's really, really, really, really, really important to remember. SMS is not email marketing. It is a very different kind of engagement that you're having with your customers, it's a very personal engagement. My phone, my SMS, whatever my text app, I don't give out my phone number to anybody. I don't subscribe to texts clubs. Because I hate seeing that unread count on there. So that relationship you have with your customers, it's a great tool if you want to offer it. So you want to use something like Klaviyo or Postscript or any of the other tools out there that offer SMS marketing, just use it sparingly don't over abuse it just because you can text somebody and you know the open rates are going to be high.

Chase: My take is there has to be a valid reason for it. There's a handful that I subscribed to just want to check out and it gives me the box that says, "By checking this box, you agree to get text messages and you have to do those things. But there has to be a reason for it. I hate Tuesday 2:45 in the afternoon getting a text that says, "Hey, have you renewed this." Why would I do that? It's making me more frustrated with your brand. It's not helping.

Kelly: Exactly. I do like the approach that people use for sending educational content with it. Of course, letting your customers know what that's what they're going to be receiving. So a really good example of a brand right now is Judy. Who they sell a preparedness kits. And let's say the fires in California or hurricane Laura quickly approaching the coast. They send out texts that are like, "Hey, here's what you need to prepare if you haven't already prepared yet." So you can put together that go bag that you need. So I think that educational useful content is going to go a lot further than, "Hey, we're having a sale on our jeans today."

Chase: Exactly. And this is the, one of the things that I've been preaching about recently is additional content. That's not dollar based. So something like that, where you get a notice that says, "Hey, wildfires are coming soon. Here's your top three or four items that you need to prepare for a wildfire." That is so insanely valuable, that comes back to this whole idea of LTV as well, where you can't necessarily track that. You can't track the ROI of what that's like, just providing here's a list of a couple of things. But longterm that could up save lives, so it's a huge deal.

Kelly: Exactly. I'm a really big fan of merchants who send out emails that have no products advertised in it. I love it.

Chase: Love it. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe an odd example, but Scott Barnes is a makeup company, so I have no personal experience with them, but I know a lot of the stuff that they send out is not about, "Here's our products, check this out." It's a tutorial. It's, "Here's how you do this type of look. Here's how you do this thing. Here's what colors matter." That's stuff goes a long way in getting people to convert upfront, but also stay subscribed and stay customers for longer.

Kelly: Absolutely. Yeah. I love that.

Chase: So let's talk post-purchase now let's say your store's set up. Everything's good. You're sending people through, checkouts are working, conversions are working. What are some post purchase options that you like to recommend?

Kelly: First off, let's talk about educational material again. If you have something that requires special care. Like a special garment that needs to be dry cleaned or something like that. Send out some email saying, "Hey, here's how you care for your item." Or food, "Here's some neat recipes to use for the food that you just bought." Things like that, that are going to be longer lasting. You could recommend additional products that are similar. Also make sure you're sending out review requests, emails as well. They don't really fall on us so much under the marketing side of things, but I do sometimes see people combine review requests with also check out these products. I personally think that's too much information to ask in one email, but some people like to do it anyway. What else? That's a good start. I think that's a good starting point.

Chase: We agree.

Kelly: Just make sure you're nurturing those relationships. They've signed on, they've given you their money. Make sure you're communicating with them. You're learning who they are. You're personalizing your emails according to what they purchased. Anything that you can gather of what else they're going to be interested in. I personally, if I buy a gift for my husband from a site that sells men's apparel, I don't need to be receiving emails about men's apparel. I only bought that one gift one time. So picking up on that context clue could be really helpful.

Chase: So you don't buy gifts for your husband every single day?

Kelly: I call that dinner.

Chase: There we go. So we're doing a lot of zooming in and zooming out throughout this call. So let's zoom out one more time talk about this relational idea. So everything is about building relationships with our customers, especially when you're talking subscriptions, but even now just on a one-to-one purchase building that relational ideas is super important. I know you talk a lot about that. Any high level insight into why this relational commerce is the future, as opposed to transactional.

Kelly: People want to feel like they're actually a person in your eyes, they're not just another number. They're not just a another customer that's inside of your account that you're marketing to. They want to feel special and being able to form those relationships and learn who your customers are and really personalize the messaging that you're... How you're communicating with them in general is really, really, really important for that. Bringing back up that lifetime value. Those are the customers who stick around the ones who feel appreciated.

Chase: Awesome. Love that idea. So let's zoom back in again. What about cross-sells and upsells? How does that work with onetime products? Is that sometimes too much of saying, "Hey, I know you bought this one thing, you might also like these." Is that going to be too much or is that that play a part somewhere?

Kelly: Oh no, that's a totally great idea. So important distinction between cross sells and upsells that I think is often confused. Cross sells are a complimentary item that they're adding something else to the cart. I'm blanking on an example, like you buy flowers, you also want to buy this vase with the flowers, so now you're getting two things. An upsell on the other hand is going to be you are upgrading that product. So I'm paying a pound of coffee. "Oh, do you actually want five pounds of coffee? 'Of course, I want five pounds of coffee.'" So it's going to remove that one pound of coffee from the cart and add the five pounds of coffee in its place. So it's replacing that item.

Chase: So two other things I want to talk about. One, we already touched on, but where does email play a part in this? So I know that a lot of solutions will pull in your previous customers and some companies will literally just take those email lists and just blast out. Like you were talking earlier, they just blast out, "Hey, flash sale. Hey, buy this. Hey, buy that." Where's the value of tracking those emails throughout the holidays. And knowing that people are probably are only going to buy once from the store they came to your store for a reason, how does that value of keeping those emails and keeping those people engaged work throughout the rest of the year?

Kelly: So there was actually a really interesting conversation. I had yesterday Web Smith from 2PM. He suggested actually creating a separate email list for Black Friday, Cyber Monday because these customers as you said are likely to purchase only once. So you can keep that list separate and you can add them to that particular list marketing for BFCM. And you can nurture that relationship if they want to sign on to the other emails they can. But remember every single person you add to your email list, you're paying for. So if they're a low quality customer, why keep them around it's so important to curate your email list and make sure you're only spending money on marketing towards people who are actually most likely to buy. There's no value in having a list of 10,000 emails when only a small, small, small percentage of those are actually buying. Stop paying for them. Just clean it up.

Chase: It's a fantastic point. We go back to the idea of LTV as well. If you are constantly marketing to people who you know are not going to buy or who may just be lower quality, who may not be looking to buy consistently from you who are aren't brand evangelists, aren't these kind of people. Why continue to market to them and spend money like you were saying, but also it drives your LTV across the board, it drives it down.

Kelly: It does.

Chase: Which is just not something you're looking for.

Kelly: Exactly.

Chase: Last thing that I want to touch on is data. So how do you track all this stuff? I guess email marketing does play a role in that of how you're separating those things. But what's the value of tracking all this data, your sales for between one day to the next day are not going to make sense. They're not going to be valuable throughout the course of the year, but what's the role in data here.

Kelly: I think it's really important to connect Google Analytics to your store first off. Shopify's analytics they're great. You can get some pretty interesting information from there. But expanding on the data collection that you're actually grabbing and using Google Analytics to really drill down on the data you're receiving, you can have some really interesting findings in there. For example, most people who come in from a certain page are more likely to convert. Maybe they view your FAQs page and now they're more likely to place an order. Another really interesting one that I see is using the search functionality.

Kelly: If they're searching for a specific product, they tend to be more likely to have a higher conversion rate than those who are just browsing the site. So being able to find this information, and then that would tell me, "Hey, I should probably make my search more prominent. So people are actually using it." So just using Google Analytics for event tracking, tracking your funnel, finding holes in the funnel, all this information, you can't get all that just from Shopify analytics.

Chase: An awesome, awesome point. FAQ pages are highly undervalued. That's maybe something we should have gotten into a little bit more detail on. But it's incredible how many things that people have questions about. Like you said earlier having your family and friends run through your site. It's really eyeopening when people say, "How do I get to this page? Or how do I find this thing?" And it seems so easy to you, but you just overthink it. So the FAQ pages they can go a long way in the right context.

Kelly: Absolutely. Make sure you're creating an FAQs page. Also make sure you're, including some of those frequently asked questions directly on the product page. Again, if you're selling any kind of apparel, how do you care for the product? If you're selling any kind of food, list out the nutritional information and any kind of allergies that people should be aware of. List out your returns and shipping policy directly on that product page. And one final thing on the FAQs page. Last question you should always include is... What is the question? What if my question was not answered here? Took me a minute to remember it and then link either to your contact us page or link to your chat. So people can immediately get an answer to that question that's not listed. And you as your customer service team, those questions that are coming in there, look at what questions are coming in frequently. Those are your frequently asked questions. So add them to your FAQs page.

Chase: A lot of times you don't even have to try to think of FAQ questions. Those things are already built for you. You just have to data mine your CS team and things that are already happening.

Kelly: Exactly.

Chase: So that was a lot of conversation on how to build a good store. What things you should be thinking about. This stuff really is geared towards BFCM, but really it works all year long. If you're optimizing your product pages, if you're optimizing your checkout flows, FAQs, chatbots, all these kinds of things, that'll help you grow sales across the board. Let's move into a couple other pointed questions here. So one of the things that's always interesting is we get responses all the time. "That stuff sounds great. I'd love to build all those things. What's it cost." So a lot of merchants don't have a large number of money to pay to an agency or to hire developers, to build themselves. So let's talk through a couple options on your side. Let's say if we had 10K, 50K and a 100K what are some of the really, really pointed things that a merchant should focus on. And let's keep it with the idea of BFCM. Although, most of these things work throughout the year. So let's say with 10K what's the best thing someone could build?

Kelly: So first off, make sure you're setting aside money for ad spend. We're speculating here, but I'm pretty sure we're going to see increased CPMs as we pretty much always do every year. But this year is going to be again, particularly different because of so many other larger businesses going online. So set aside some of that budget for ad spend in particular-

Chase: Shocker ad spend is going to go up.

Kelly: Exactly. Second, focus on conversion rate optimization, especially, most people are not going to be building a site. It's end of August, so we're recording this right now. Black Friday is I don't know, 70, 80 days away, 90 days away. I think we're below 100 days at this point. I have not checked the calendar. I don't know anything about 2020 anymore. We're most likely going to be talking about merchants who are already having some store. So I would really focus on really optimizing the buyer journey for mobile devices. Focus your efforts there. If you have a $50,000 budget, a $100,000 budget. If you can go a little bit deeper into customization and personalization on the website. Maybe build out some additional landing pages, things like that. I would not overhaul your entire business right before Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

Kelly: I impose a cutoff for any major changes for my clients starting November 1st, because I want to be bug fixing before Black Friday, Cyber Monday. I don't want to be bug fixing during Black Friday, Cyber Monday. So give yourself plenty of time to prepare. And I think the last thing I would make sure to spend money on is content. Start writing out your ads, your creative copy blog posts. Those might be irrelevant right now for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but they're always going to be relevant because that is organic SEO right there.

Chase: Those are all phenomenal, phenomenal recommendations. And a lot of that stuff isn't even where you would literally put your money of saying, "I'm going to build this feature or I'm going to build that feature." It's just great advice across the board, investing in SEO for content, making sure that any pages people are hitting, they can link back to, they can understand the why behind the products. Optimizing customer journey, all of those kinds of things. It's stuff that's boring and unsexy, but in the long run it works. And if you start prepping over summer, you start prepping now, by the time you hit BFCM in less than a hundred days, you'll be prepped and you'll be ready.

Kelly: Exactly. I think it's also worth noting for preparing your content this year. We also have an election coming up and as much as I hate to bring up politics in this podcast, it's going to impact how people are communicating and how people are spending their time. Tensions are already high. So be mindful of the copy that you're writing. And I would basically plan for multiple scenarios. We don't know what's going to be happening with the pandemic. We don't know what's going to be happening with just politics, but just in general things that are happening in the world. So spend some extra time creating copy that you can use based on whichever scenario ends up happening.

Chase: It's a good idea. We're all grabbing for everybody's attention as merchants here. All trying to sell your product to someone else. And attention is naturally taken off really any kind of selling, and any ecommerce with this big thing that's waiting in the wings in early November. So great point, interesting point it's something that people, again, don't think about. What's maybe one suggestion you can come up with of how merchants should spend some of their time outside of money. So what's something that maybe you can divert some extra resources to just that little extra bump for coming into the season

Kelly: Customer support. Definitely spend time crafting out responses to your most frequently asked questions. If you're using a tool such as Gorgias that let's you plug in macro responses ahead of time, spend time doing that now. So when you see an influx in requests that are coming in, you're already prepared. If you're hiring anybody new for helping customer support at the holiday season, use this time to train them up and make sure that they're exposed to anything that could possibly come up during this time.

Chase: Customer support's huge. I guess we can leave it at that. So last question I will ask you is I know it's holiday season, everyone's subscribing to a bunch of different things. What is it that you subscribe to?

Kelly: So I like food. I am subscribed to graze, which are these little snack boxes that they usually come in four or eight different kinds of snacks to a box. They're all a 100 to 150 calories total each. So they make for really great snacks. That's something I actually subscribed to back in college, and it's still sticking around for now. I think maybe an unconventional subscription, but I'm also subscribed to Peloton. I don't have the bike, but I use the app. So it's $12 a month that's well spent.

Chase: Very much so. Well, thank you so much Kelly for joining us. I think there was a ton of insight in that podcast. I'm going to listen to this again. I think it's great advice across the board. Thanks for joining us.

Kelly: Thanks again for having me.

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