July 23, 2021

Essence of Email Weekly - Funds to enable Shopify merchants to collect zero-party data

Octane AI, the pioneering zero-party data marketing platform, raised $5 million to help Shopify merchants personalize eCommerce experiences.

The new round brings the total funding to date to $14 million and adds to Octane AI's tremendous growth over the past year with its recent launch of the new Conversational Pop-up tool, and recognition as the Best Storefront App by Shopify.

In this round, led by Javelin Venture Partners and two new VPs, Octane AI was recognized as a team that "democratizes access to personalization tools for Shopify merchants, enabling them to see Amazon-level conversion rates, without sacrificing their independence," said Alex Gurevich, Managing Director at Javelin Venture Partners.

The big picture.

Due to the increasing competition in eCommerce, changes in consumer expectations, and data privacy regulations, online stores are experiencing a decline in conversion rates. Octane AI is empowering eCommerce brands with its tools to collect zero-party data and personalize customer journeys, and therefore, boost conversion rates and generate revenue for small and medium-sized Shopify stores.

"With the spotlight on privacy today, the smartest companies and brands in the world are shifting their marketing strategies from a cookie-tracking approach to zero-party data. Instead of relying on third-parties, brands should give customers the choice to share meaningful personal information proactively in order to build a relationship based on deep personalization and trust," said Matt Schlicht, Octane AI CEO and Co-Founder.

What's next for Octane AI? ????️

The new financing and leadership additions will help drive the development of the platform. Alex Gurevich will be joining the team as VP of Finance and Operations. With his experience in working with tech companies like Google and Zendesk, Gurevich will guide the Octane AI team to continuous and rapid growth.


Mistakes happen… What matters is how you handle them.

Source: Giphy
A few weeks ago, an intern at HBO Max accidentally sent out an empty email to a portion of the HBO Max mailing list.

As confused reactions started to surface online, HBO Max promptly responded on Twitter:

"We mistakenly sent out an empty test email to a portion of our HBO Max mailing list this evening. We apologize for the inconvenience, and as the jokes pile in, yes, it was the intern. No, really. And we're helping them through it. ❤️"

Surprisingly, people weren't angry or disappointed. Instead, they were extremely supportive. What seemed like a grave error turned into a thread of hilarious stories about work-related fails. "Dear intern" tweets flooded the trending section of the social platform.

⚡Yes, making mistakes is inevitable, but learning from them is what's important. Knak's CEO Pierce Ujjainwalla, shared important takeaways for marketers from the HBO Max incident.

  • Mistakes will go viral
People love other people's mistakes. Especially big companies' mistakes. They are held to a high standard by the public, and each error attracts a great deal of attention. Marketers need to accept that — and prepare for it.

  • Emails are more powerful than you think
Some people are unaware of the impact emails have. The virality of HBO Max's incident reminds marketers that emails do indeed have an impact. Here's a stat to remind you how big email is — almost half of the businesses now spend over 20% of the marketing budget on email marketing.

  • The best response to a mistake is to own it
Admitting to your mistakes is what counts in the long run. You can mess up and feel embarrassed, but if you apologize, you're much less likely to risk losing your customers' trust and confidence in your brand.

  • Smart marketers go one step further and harness their mistakes
What's interesting in the case of HBO Max is that they didn't apologize by sending another email to their subscribers. Instead, they took it to the public on Twitter. By doing that, they were able to harness the incident as a way to promote their brand.

How's your mistake-making? We'd love to hear your stories! ????


Is it possible to compete with the big fish?

Source: Giphy
An unprecedented 75% of consumers tried different stores, websites, or brands during the pandemic, according to research from McKinsey & Co.

❓What does it mean? More people are now searching for the products and services they need online.

The issue is that the companies that benefit the most from new online shoppers are the biggest platforms, like Amazon or Alibaba. Yes, it's great… for them. But where do smaller businesses come into the picture?

First, let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of being an eCommerce giant. Besides diverse offerings, developed logistics, and value-added services, they lack a specific area of expertise, a seamless customer support service, and their supply chain does let them down from time to time (we've noticed this during the pandemic).

So, now back to you, owner of a small online business. To compete with big fish in the eCommerce sea, make their flaws your advantages. Rather than focusing on beating them in the shipping speed, product selection, or price, focus on the following:

  • Find your niche and become an expert in it.
  • Make customer service your king. Show your customers that you care every time they interact with your brand.
  • Run lean operations. Strong inventory management, demand forecasting, and resource planning should be an integral part of your business.
????Don't strive to become the next Amazon or Walmart in a day. Instead, focus on the things you can control within your business, develop your strengths and become an expert in your niche.

➡️ Check out the whole article on Forbes.


Your customers want to hear from other customers

Source: ReallyGoodEmails
Thinking about buying a new product? Reading other customers' reviews can be very helpful. It's easier to make up your mind about a purchase when you see other customers' experiences. That is why testimonials and social proof in marketing are such a big deal. ????

Adding a couple of reviews to your marketing materials — or emails, in particular — can help you convince new or existing customers to make a purchase.

⭐ Plus, it's a great way to create a sense of trust between your brand and your reader.

In its email, Bite uses sweet and short testimonials from its happy customers. But the brand also goes an extra mile and adds bits from media features in Cosmopolitan, Healthline, and PureWow.

❤️ Bite plays the social proof card with both sections, showing its readers that its products are not only loved by customers but are also well-recognized and praised by the public and the media.


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