How to Get to Know Your Customer and Win Them Over - Prehook | EP. #49
On this 49th episode of The E-Comm Show, our host and BlueTuskr CEO Andrew Maff is with Gen, the co-founder of Prehook, a leading quiz platform for Shopify merchants. Prehook helps hundreds of high-growth Shopify merchants sell more, accelerate list growth, and capture zero-party data with quizzes. Listen to Gen and Andrew as they talk about how to capture your customers by customizing customers’ preferences and finding engaging ways to hook your customers and learn more about them.
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How to Get to Know Your Customer and Win Them Over - Prehook
Andrew Maff and Gen Furukawa
Gen is Co-Founder of Prehook, a leading quiz platform for Shopify merchants. Prehook helps hundreds of high-growth Shopify merchants sell more, accelerate list growth, and capture zero-party data with quizzes.
Gen also hosts the eCommerce marketing podcast Cart Overflow, where he shares what the best brand operators, agencies, and tech platforms are doing to grow their ecommerce revenues.
Gen has been in ecommerce for 10+ years, with the last 7 years in eCommerce SaaS. Before Prehook, Gen was part of the founding team and led Marketing at Jungle Scout, the leading software for Amazon sellers.
that maybe like 70 or 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that will personalize the customer experience and likewise, they're more likely to share data basically their email or contact information if there's an understanding that they will get a better customer experience more personalized customer experience on the receiving end. Hey everyone, this is Nezar Akeel from Max Pro.
Hi, I'm Linda and I'm Paul and we're Love and Pebble. Hi this is Lopa Van Der Mersch from RASA. You're listening to and you're listening and you are listening to The E-Comm Show.
Welcome to The E-Comm Show, presented by BlueTuskr, the number one place to hear the inside scoop from other e-commerce experts. They share their secrets about how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew Maff. Hello,
everyone, and welcome to another episode of The E-Comm Show. I'm your host, Andrew Maff. And today I am joined by the amazing again Gen Furukawa, who is the co-founder of Prehook how're you doing? You're ready for a good show. I
am great. Thank you. I don't know if I deserve the amazing but thank you.
Oh, this is what you do this is gonna be fun. doing like this type of marketing stuff where like we get into like gated content, like thinking outside the box a little bit. But I digress. Let's, let's pretend no one knows who you are. No one knows anything about pre-hook. Why don't you tell us a little about yourself about pre-hook? And we'll go from there.
Yeah, for sure. So co-founder of Prehook, as you mentioned. So pre hook is a quiz platform for Shopify merchants, basically allowing merchants to ask a few questions, and learn more about the customer to capture a lead, which is the optional recommended product. So you know, the main goal is to ultimately help merchants understand a little bit about what their customers are looking for, and then serve up the most appropriate and relevant customer experience. So we started building it in 2020, kind of like right at the start of the pandemic. And two co-founders I've been working with since 2015. We're part of the founding team at Jungle Scout, which is a leading Amazon product research tool. So we've had a lot of experience working together familiarity, and then also familiarity in the E-commerce and enablement or SAS space. And, you know, there are some different interesting contrasts of what we experienced with Amazon sellers versus Shopify sellers. One of the main ones is that Amazon sellers are really kind of like they have a good understanding of who their core customer is, what problem they're trying to solve what the because it's largely based around search queries, Shopify merchants are slightly different. So there's a wide range of what somebody might be looking for. So just the ability to ask, just with just a few simple questions can dramatically change how you position and merchandise, the product?
Yeah, that's interesting. I don't know that I expected you to say that Amazon sellers know their customer base better than Shopify sellers. So are you saying that because they basically can see specifically what people are searching, whereas, in Shopify, it's a little bit more, you know, I guess fluid is probably the best way to put it
exactly, yeah. That an Amazon listing is really optimized for a specific search query. So Amazon's like, largely about an SEO game. And that SEO like you're kind of reverse engineering what the customer is looking for. And therefore merchandising the product appropriately to that Shopify is different, even something as simple as like, whether you're an apparel brand or a multivitamin brand. One, the same multivitamin could have many different use cases, whether it's to improve immunity or general health, or if it's for anxiety, anxiety, not so much for multivitamins, but there are many different use cases from one single product. And so the customer based on the challenges they're experiencing, or the goals that they have, or their general preferences, or daily habits matter in terms of how you're going to unfold the brand, how you're going to educate the customer on what their problems are, and how you're going to provide the solution that gets them from point A, their current status quo in their current situation to point B, which is their aspirational future where they're hoping to get to or why they're interested in your product in the first place.
Okay, nice. So you, you mentioned you were part of the original crew for Jungle Scout and you've now started, you know, pre-hook here, what made you want to kind of get away from the Amazon side and start getting into developing pre-hook?
Yeah, well, we always wanted to do our own thing in the SAS base. So my two co-founders are both developers and kind of like owning the product and I'm doing everything else marketing, marketing, customer success, support, and some product as well. But yeah, we He's kind of like a personal goal and ambition to, to start my own thing. And so that was the thought there that kind of like galvanized us like, hey, let's figure out what we can build where there might be a need. And so Shopify is definitely an interesting space to us. And you've experienced this firsthand as well, like, during the pandemic, there was a lot of change in the E-commerce space. And so Shopify shot up since has gone down a little bit. And the ways that the brands are, are addressing the changes in the marketing landscape have changed also, namely iOS 14, and the changes in terms of privacy, and customer data privacy, that Apple is cut off. So where the traditional blueprint of going to market or scaling a brand, would be heavily reliant on strategically running paid campaigns, that's not as profitable as much now, with targeting being more, more and more first are harder to pinpoint. So you know, who your ad is being shown to cost per click has increased cost per acquisition has increased. And the reliance on these rented platforms of paid ads has become the kind of like less, less desirable, until brands are more focused on building a direct relationship with customers, which, namely means capturing an email capturing a phone number, so you can run SMS campaigns.
Yeah, so essentially, zero-party data, right?
Exactly. Yeah. So So zero party data is data that customers proactively and willingly share with you, as opposed to first-party data, which is kind of captured passively. But there are no explicit Statements of Intent, or you don't understand necessarily, it could be, for example, website activity or products purchased. And from there, maybe order value, or maybe a shipping address. So you have the geography. But you don't necessarily know why did they purchase this? Or why did they abandon the cart, but with zero party data, which is basically completing a quiz or survey or even, you know, sales support or support chat, a customer is raising their hand saying this is, you know, what I'm sharing with you where there are no assumptions or leaps of faith guesses?
Yeah. So why get into so you mentioned, you know, you guys left you wanted to get into in SAS and E-commerce, what made you do a quiz platform?
Yeah, so we did do, we had a few ideas. But at the time, and this is like, you know, there definitely have been more products launched since. So it's become more competitive, with more offerings in the landscape. There weren't really a lot of quiz platforms, really any brands were kind of retrofitting type form, which is good, except Typeform is not really meant for E-commerce in terms of how it integrates with Shopify, or how it integrates with clay VO. So you go through a type of type form quiz, and the data wasn't necessarily sent in a way that was easily consumable or usable. It didn't integrate with Shopify inventory. So you couldn't recommend a product, you would just take it to kind of like a generic landing page. So we thought that there were opportunities to streamline that. And after speaking with merchants, we did identify that yes, indeed, it would be something that's helpful. And then, of course, yet, with the iOS rollout, things also changed to become a tailwind, essentially, a free hook.
It's really interesting, because like, the whole concept, in my opinion of E-commerce sellers, leveraging some kind of gated content. So you know, in this case, like quizzes or something, it's so underutilized, everyone wants to go directly for the sale, they want to come to your site, really, the only thing they have from terms of gated content is you know, 10% off your first order, and it's a pop-up and like that's it. The quiz thing has always been really interesting, because it's fun, and it's interactive. And then you can also lead them down a certain direction. So we've actually done a lot internally of driving, like, just like, specifically because the iOS issue where we'll actually drive traffic, and just do a traffic campaign, let's say from Facebook ads, send that to a quiz and just let people have fun with it. Like if they convert great, but that's not the goal. And if we do a video to actually get them there, well, then retarget that audience so that's the thing that I love about sending people to something that I'm not asking you to buy anything. Yeah, you're gonna have to give me an email or something. But it's a fun quiz. Kind of like how BuzzFeed has done over the years and stuff. So it's very, it's very cool to see, you know, something that's getting a little bit more catered to the E-commerce side specifically because it's always been like a nice like b2b side but it hasn't had any like product suggestions or anything. So what are some like really Cool, like use cases you've seen with it?
Yeah. BuzzFeed is great BuzzFeed and the New York Times. I mean, I think like viral quizzes have definitely put BuzzFeed on the map. And this is maybe like 2016 or 2017. Because it definitely plays to our human curiosity or innate desire to like, and learn more about ourselves. You know, like, what, what type of Prince? Would you be your Disney prince, whatever? That's what I was thinking. Yeah, you know, what's your sense? Yeah, but there are definitely brands that do a really great job. So, one brand, and it's not a preferred customer, but a beer brand, men's hair care. They've done a fantastic job and like, share, there's a type form quiz. But it's more of like what type of beardsmen are you so that's like the personality and the grouping type quiz, where it doesn't necessarily like suggest a product. But again, it that's more similar to the BuzzFeed-type quiz. A product recommendation quiz is a very common A common use case, the goal there ultimately is to simplify the buying process. So if you're a conversion rate optimization, expert or consultant, you're focused on simplifying the buying process, addressing any questions or objections that the customer might have, that are preventing them from purchasing. And the quiz can help you uncover that. So that's another type. For recurring e-commerce brands, let's say Stitch Fix, which is recurring clothing, or Scentbird, which is the recurring scent, fragrances for men and women, or rockets of awesome clothes for kids on a recurring basis. A quiz is critical, it's part of their onboarding process. Because if you think about how these brands are making money, and how they're converting sales, it really requires a fine-tuned understanding of what the customer is looking for. All the way from the basics of like, you know, what, are you male or female? On what size? What's your style preference to, you know, more of like the Why are you shopping here? Is it more for the convenience of getting a box? Or is it for the discovery of seeing new styles? So that's another use case, gift, kind of like a gift finder is also another popular use case. And then lastly, this is more post-purchase, but like a post-purchase quiz or post-purchase survey? How did you hear about us? Or what are your thoughts? And so, you know, pre-hook is more used for like the pre-purchase use case. And then there are other Shopify apps like inquire labs or no commerce that are really specific around that post-purchase use case. But a lot of it is ultimately about learning more about your customer, so you can better serve their needs in a more relevant and engaging way.
There I know, there are theories around from an SEO standpoint about consistent engagement on a site like if the majority of users are obviously there'll be a page authority, judgment on wherever the quiz is hosted. But is the quiz. Is it embedded is it led to like a subdomain? How is it hosted on the site?
Yeah, so for ours, it's often on a page. So it could be, it could be a pop-up, it could be embedded as an iframe on a page. It could be, you know, triggered by a button or a link. And so that's, that's how we do it. Some brands do or you know, some other quiz products will do a subdomain, which, you know, it's kind of a weird user experience. And I'm not trying to denigrate any other competitors. But ideally, you want to have a streamlined customer experience, where they're not going to another website altogether, then popping back onto the site with you know, the quiz being branded, because ultimately, you're not trying to see all right, this quiz is powered by type form has powered by type form. So yeah, ideally, and this is what we're really focusing on to create an experience that's on brand. So you know, like the look, the feeling that the customer flow is all on brand. And then there it becomes essentially, like speaking to a sales associate, but it's just online and entering fun questions.
Have you been able to kind of prove out or do any case studies around the SEO benefits of that? Because like, I feel like if you have consistent engagement on a site, it's reducing your bounce rate, it's, you know, keeping that their average page session is possibly going to be higher, especially if you're sending them over another product. So in theory, I would assume that even having a quiz and driving traffic to just a quiz that may not have a ton of content on it is still going to help the SEO of the overall site as time goes on. Is that something you guys have looked into?
Have not that's a great point and have not we've more focused on some of the KPIs that were are familiar with and that we surface in our app. So that's dollars driven, are basically revenue generated from the quiz. It's a good KPI leaf, which is definitely one of the main values, and then also the conversion rate. And that's like from a brand that's in Google Analytics or triple oil to take those that have taken a quiz completed a quiz or those that have not. And we're seeing that those that have taken a quiz do have a higher revenue per email, higher conversion rate, and higher average order value. Interesting,
nice. How are you? How are you increasing? Like? Or I guess not? How are you? But what is your suggestion when someone is using pre-hook, how to get them to actually come in and take the quiz and go through the process? So I know a lot of, you know, people, they might land on a quiz. It'll ask them for an email to take the quiz. And then they'll be like, I don't want to do that. Or they'll get all the way to the end of the quiz. And I'll ask for an email. And I'm like, I don't care what the answer is anymore. Like, how are you? What's your guidance on getting people to actually go the whole way?
Yeah, that's a great question. I think well, first of all, is this notion of micro conversions. So micro conversions are not something that necessarily it will contribute to ultimately, like purchasing in the end or adding an email. But it's the first step and it's an indication of customer intent and customer interest. So one example is, I believe it's called the first leaf a wine brand. And on their homepage is Do you like red wine or white wine? Another example is V shred, which is kind of like a supplement brand and educational content for getting more healthy. Are you a man or a woman? And these are easy questions. They require no thought and no effort. And it's like, Yes, I'm a man or Yes, I like why'd you start that that unknowingly to the customer? That's the first question in the quiz. But they've already started. So I think like, making it easy with micro conversions is one solution. Another is creating a curiosity gap. And what I mean by that is like, you're sharing information with the customer. Like, and this is new and intriguing information. Like it might be, for example, like a discover, discover this, what coffee is right for your taste or snack, great curiosity hook, but this gap of No, there is something that you will learn about yourself, but it requires the action of clicking through. So that's critical in order to kind of like start them through the process. And then that also applies to the very end, often I do recommend asking for the email at the end, as you were saying, you know, like, it's a lot to upfront, ask for something like an email if you don't know what you're getting it or why they should. But at the end is curiosity gap of like, hey, where can we send this, you know, the solution to, you know, solving, solving your sleepless nights or whatever it is. And so that's enough of a compelling pitch in order to share an email. So ultimately, like how to get them to complete the full circle of starting the quiz to finishing it, is that there's enough value or there's enough, like educational content for the customer to trust you that that you have the answer, or that you have something that would be helpful for them, and then presenting it, you know, at the end? Where can we send it? And then, by and large for me as well. I take this from a customer experience, from the customer perspective, I'm far more willing to share my email if there's something of value that I can get in return. Yeah,
yeah. Those examples you just gave, they're very, you know, it's kind of like an impressive way to use. I don't explain this, it's kind of like an impressive way to use a filter on a collection page, right? Like, if you had a really large product line, you sold a bunch of shirts, and let's say it was all you know, football teams, instead of them selecting the football team, and then the color and then the type of shirt. It's actually a quiz that you take them down, which is, you know, it makes a lot of sense. It helps them kind of navigate through a large product line, which would make that really simple. What about from like an entertainment purpose, so I can enter providing some kind of like entertainment value. So like, let's say we use the same concept. It's a company that does shirts for you know, NFL teams, and you actually just put together a quiz that kind of tells you like, if you like hot weather or cold weather and etc, and it tells you to like, where you should go at your, for your next NFL like travel game, in which case, I feel like it's kind of interesting because you're, you're providing an entertainment value, but at the same time, you're still capturing the information of clearly someone that's relevant. The audience, right?
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So that, that addresses simplifying the buying process, the kind of like reducing the overwhelm of making a decision, but also making it fun. One example that pops into my mind is Airbnb. So this kind of like, what's your ideal destination? It's not an E-commerce example, per se, but it is, you know, an online transaction. And the benefit there as well is not only the fun of it, but like the discovery of it, like, you know, obviously, Airbnb spans the whole globe in terms of hospitality and places to stay. And so that's, that's, I think, addressing similar to what you're talking about. It's not just checking boxes on a filter, but you're asked, you're answering questions that are meant to be entertaining and fun. But then on the flip side, there's the discovery of like, Oh, I didn't even know that, like, my interest would take me to Madagascar, you know. So that's, that's like, I think talking about referring to what you're talking about.
Yeah. Because it's one thing I've always noticed in the e-Commerce Industry is, especially Shopify sellers, a lot of them, want to go straight for the sale. So if you're doing Facebook ads, or targeting purchases, if they're, you know, doing any kind of other advertising, they're offering a discount, they just want the purchase, like purchase purchase purchase. And while obviously that makes sense, because that's how you make money. And that's why we're in this industry. But at the same time, I find that providing some kind of value first, and then asking for the sale, like a quiz like this, or any kind of gated content is a great way to go because you ease them into the brand. It's kind of like, you know, it's to me, it's sometimes got like a car salesman approach where it's like, buy this, buy this, buy this. And in my opinion, I love stuff like this, because it's really much more like a, hey, here's something fun for you to do. And then that's it. And then you kind of ease them into the process you'd like to walk them through it, as opposed to just shoving a sale in their face.
Totally, totally. And I think, by and large, consumers are being a little more savvy and discerning about like, first of all, sharing the email, and then also like that people are expecting a personalized experience. And so I think there was an Accenture study from a few years ago, that maybe 70, or 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that will personalize the customer experience. And likewise, they're more likely to share data, basically, their email or contact information, if there's an understanding that they will get a better customer experience or more personalized customer experience on the receiving end. And so there are dollars and there's data to back up the value of like, how, if a brand effectively uses data to personalize the experience. So yeah, I think once a brand uses that, and then unfolds the story, the brand story effectively. One example from a previous customer with a brand called Tea elixir, which is like an adaptogen brand. They have they sell mushrooms, so like lion's mane or Reishi to address different health challenges, whether it is joint pain or anxiety, or sleeplessness. And so their quiz is directly integrated with clay Vo will have conditional splits in the welcome flow, and their post quiz flow, depending on what the challenge is that customers looking for, which is really important and exactly like what you're talking about, like, you don't want to sell upfront. And if you do, Mark if you want to like mark it with things that are relevant to what the customer shared about themselves already, and I think that they do a really good job of that. And I've seen the results in terms of ROI and lift from personalizing their flows.
That's beautiful. That's awesome. It's a cool idea. Again, super appreciate having me on the show. I don't want to take up too much more time love to have me on I'd love for you to, you know, let everyone know where they can find a little bit more about you and obviously pre-hook.
Yeah, for sure. Well, first, you know, please email me directly again, email@example.com. Happy to like entertain questions or brainstorm how a quiz might be helpful or you know, the strategy at a high level. And feel free to check out primo.com our website or search pre-hook on the Shopify app store, we have a 14-day free trial and do guarantee 100% ROI just because we do have full belief that if implemented and use strategically it can have a significant lift on revenues.
Beautiful, appreciate thanks so much for being on the show. Obviously, everyone else who tuned in thanks you for being on the show. As usual, please make sure you rate review subscribe on whatever podcast platform you want or if you're watching this on YouTube, or just head over to ecommshow.com you can check them all out wherever you prefer. But as usual, we really appreciate you joining us and we'll see you all next time. Have a good one.
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