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Jessica Hulett
Content Manager, Brand @ Yotpo
October 19th, 2022

WIN/WIN Podcast: the Highlights

Three innovators share their insights on the state of eCommerce and what it means to be a woman in the industry

Table Of Contents

Innovation is at the heart of eCommerce, and women are increasingly leading the charge to push the industry forward. That’s why AWIE is so thrilled to partner with Women in Innovation, an organization that describes itself as a “community of innovators working together to create pathways for all women to have a seat at the table — or a place at the whiteboard.” We sponsored the Innovations in eCommerce category for their annual WIN Awards, and we also had a chance to participate in a recent episode of their podcast: WIN/WIN.

Host Zoia Kozakov, Global Product Lead at WIN, sat down with Ruthie Berber, Program Director for Amazing Women in eCommerce and Senior Community Manager at Yotpo, and LaToya Tucciarone, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer for eco-friendly home decor brand SustainAble Home Goods (and AWIE 2022 Honoree), to talk all things innovation, women, and the rapidly changing landscape of eCommerce. Here are some of the highlights.

eCommerce is full of amazing women innovators

Women may only make up 8% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, but eCommerce is a place where they’re thriving. And that’s something worth celebrating.

“Women are ridiculously more likely to be solo founders and that’s not a coincidence. I think I could go on and on and probably write a whole thesis about it. We’re better on our own. We’re better on top alone when that’s not how the other gender does it.” – Zoia

“I feel like eCommerce has been this beautiful entry point for women to really make themselves known because there’s a low barrier to entry into it, and then you can just grow and expand from there. I’m thinking about 2017, when I just had this crazy idea. I was like, ‘Oh, let me just try this.’ What a beautiful platform eCommerce has been to let women just rule, to do what they need to do to show up and create these brands on their own terms in their own way.” – LaToya

“Why the idea of AWIE meant so much to the women on the Yotpo team, is that what we saw In 2018, you already had your Glossiers and your Aways. And we were like, actually in eCommerce, women are killing it. And there are a lot of amazing women and there are women founders. And it’s a space that women had actually already shown like that they can be successful in breaking glass ceilings, but there wasn’t a lot of talk around it.” – Ruthie

Customer retention is just as important as acquisition (if not more)

It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. It pays for eCommerce brands to double down on retention, and the rewards are higher CLTV, higher AOV< and lower acquisition costs.

“My perspective is, yes, we want to win new customers. But how do we win them? I want them to shop with us for the duration of the time that they have their homes. You know, like in it for the long haul. That’s what I love about home decor and what we’re doing. Your home is so important and hopefully, you’ll always have a home and I want our brand to travel with you wherever you go. And that’s always been my focus. It’s not about just acquiring all the new people all the time. It’s about really getting an opportunity to connect with and go deeper with those folks who are loyal to you, because people want to be loyal.” – LaToya

Brands need to lean in to their values, because customers care

According to a survey by Yotpo, over 84% of global respondents said they are more inclined to buy from a brand whose values align with their own. And that number is even higher for Gen Z — 90% base their brand loyalty on shared values. Brands need to stand for something if they want to appeal to shoppers, and they need to communicate those values at every touchpoint.

“I think this reality that we live in today, loyalty comes from feeling some kind of alignment with a brand’s ethos. Personally, I buy Thrive Causemetics because I like the mission. And I like the fact they don’t have any messy chemicals and they’re not creating worse environmental crises. That’s just one example. But then for that reason, even if I do see another brand that’s cheaper, I’m not necessarily gonna go for it because that doesn’t align with my personal belief or brand.” – Ruthie

“Consumers no longer have to choose between doing the right thing and shopping at a sustainable store and saying, it’s gonna be a terrible experience. It’s gonna smell like compost. I’m gonna hate every moment of it. The site is going to be broken. Now there are these opportunities to bridge the technology, to bring the mission, to bring the efficiency, but still stay true to who you are. And personally that’s really where I see the opportunity.” – Zoia

Brands must meet customers where they are, both online and off

Competition is fierce for eCommerce brands, with rising acquisition costs, less dollars being spent, more players entering the space, and consumers returning to stores post-pandemic. Brands need to think outside the box and connect with those customers at every touchpoint.

“I think that COVID revolutionized eCommerce a little bit because now brands are thinking also about creating holistic experiences for their customers, and creating really special in-person touchpoints while also wowing them with eCommerce at the same time. It’s honestly becoming more well-rounded and I think in a good way. It’s been really cool to see eCommerce brands being very innovative about their in-person touchpoints with people, whether it’s a popup or it’s working with a different platform. Like Neighborhood Goods — they’ve literally created a department store of eCommerce brands, giving them the opportunity to kind of have a little corner of the world. And so it’s been cool to see that kind of merging of the physical and the digital.” – LaToya

“Something that Yotpo really believes is that you need to be wherever your customers are. And everything that we do in our technology is really to ensure that brands can not only be where their customers are, but they can give them a very seamless experience there too. So the experience offline and the experience online should feel like you’re interacting with the same brand. And one of the things that we can do is, if you shop in store and get loyalty points, those loyalty points translate to your loyalty program, which you can then use online. It feels like this is one cohesive brand experience. And I think that really adds a lot for customer retention.” – Ruthie

“I work in financial services and digital payments, and we always talk about how the moment of payment is not really the beginning of the payments journey, right? In the idea of an eCommerce store or platform you’re looking at prices, you’re looking at the different products you’re looking at, are there any deals? Are there discounts by the time you actually get to the checkout? There are lots of things you can do there, but at the end of the day, this is a journey and an opportunity to meet customers where they are.” – Zoia

Community is having a moment in the tech space

When it comes to building customer loyalty, giving customers a sense of community keeps them engaged, and makes them feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves.

“It’s a very important time for community. In the tech space, there’s a lot of talk about product-led growth, and the truth is that product-led growth and community-led growth go hand in hand. What I’ve seen in the past year, as Yotpo has managed to launch our own digital hub for our customers, is that it’s not enough to provide excellent products and great services. You have to take it a step beyond, you have to show your customers why they should stay with you and not just go to another tech solution — because they get something out of it, beyond just using the product, they get to network with other customers. They get to really feel like that Yotpo is investing in them and providing resources for them. And I think that’s what community really is, that sense of belonging.” – Ruthie

“It’s a model that’s so tried and true, but it hasn’t been scaled. I used to work in the luxury industry space and whenever I talked about it, I would always say, “You are buying a tee shirt knowing that it cost $1 to make and you are paying a thousand. There are no tricks here. There are no lies.” And people subscribe to this vision and they subscribe to what it means to buy that tee shirt and be a part of that brand and a part of that community. And so the fact that that’s being scaled to everything from retail to eCommerce to technology to me, is a very, very exciting turn of events.” – Zoia

The eCommerce landscape is changing, and brands need to change, too

If the past couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that the eCommerce industry can shift on a dime, and if brands want to succeed, they need to be able to meet every new challenge.

“I think it’s just important as an entrepreneur to be flexible. We always joke in our office that our mantra as a company is just pivot. It’s pivot time. I think you have to be able to do that.

I think what is changing is the interaction between brands and consumers. What consumers are wanting is changing. I think the experiences that they’re desiring are changing, and brands have to change with it.” – LaToya

You can listen to the entire episode here:

There are more discussions happening in the AWIE Community on Slack. Join us now to be  part of the conversation. And if you know a woman who’s pushing innovation forward in eCommerce, nominate her to be an AWIE 2023 Honoree.

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