Main Takeaways:

  • Brian and Phillip are joined in this episode of Step by Step by Alida Sholl, the Director of Operations at Rep Fitness.
  • Rep has tackled the unique challenges of setting up a warehouse for larger than average products and has perfected processes to handle these items.
  • What are some tools that your brand can leverage to better your customers' post-purchase experience?
  • Arming your customers with knowledge and guiding them through the purchase process not only builds their trust of your brand but encourages them to be repeat customers.

A Little Bit About Rep Fitness: And A Little Bit About Alida:

  • Rep Fitness is a complete fitness supplier that sells anything from pull-up bands to high-end power racks and all the weights that come along with that.
  • Alida started with Rep Fitness about two and a half years ago when she found out about the local equipment company when she moved to Denver; she reached out to see if they needed any help, and Rep Fitness just happened to have a position that was a fit.
  • Without a background in eCommerce, Alida started her career in manufacturing with a focus on process engineering.
  • Rep Fitness was preparing to move into a new warehouse, a task for which Alida was uniquely qualified.

Larger Than the Average Product: Warehouse Setup Challenges:

  • With products that are larger than average, what are some of the specific challenges when it comes to setting up a warehouse?
  • With items that require a lot of space, Rep Fitness relies on palette racking and a large floor stack area to meet its warehouse space requirements.
  • Rep Fitness sorts and labels everything in the dock area, so they also need a dock area that is larger than average to accommodate those needs.
  • When boxes can weigh up to 100 pounds, it is best to avoid any extra touches and make the shipping process as simple as possible.

Diving Deeper: Who Is the Rep Fitness Customer?:

  • The idea of a home gym does not have to be a big garage, so ideally, anyone can be a rep fitness customer.
  • The majority of Rep's customers are somewhere between the ages of 25 and 44, typically married, own a home, and a lot of them are parents.
  • Giving people the option to regain their freedom and live active and healthy lives without being tied to an external gym is one of Rep's goals.
  • It is becoming much more common to be fit and lead a healthy life, which Rep is allowing parents to demonstrate for their children and lead by example.

Putting the Gears in Motion: What Happens Post-Purchase?

  • Rep has a fantastic customer service and sales team that all personally know the equipment to give customers the best experience possible when purchasing.
  • Having a real human touch and a sales and service team that go above and beyond to make genuine connections with customers makes those customers feel welcomed to the Rep family.
  • Rep Fitness will soon be launching chat on its website that will enable customers to get their questions answered on the spot and eliminate the need to leave the site.
  • Already using Help Scout for all of their email requirements, it was a natural choice for Rep Fitness to choose to implement Help Scout's chat capabilities.

Bringing Them Back: Capturing Trends:

  • Most home gym owners will say that their home gym is never done, so they are always looking for new equipment to add.
  • Consistently creating new products that are items that everyone needs to have is a great way to ensure repeat business.
  • Customers like trendy things even in a space where there are tried and true methods along with more traditional clear paths to success.
  • When you are in a community-centric space, if members are using a particular product, then others in the community are more willing to want that product.

How To Earn Return Customers: Trials and Challenges:

  • Digitally marketing can play a significant role in capturing repeat business.
  • Remarketing email campaigns can be sent to customers that have not engaged with your content or made a purchase for a while.
  • There is a vast online community in the home gym space, and amongst that community are bloggers that are regularly reviewing products and boosting product awareness.
  • Rep keeps their product line broad so that customers can return and complete their home gym and supplement their fitness journeys with other Rep products.

Leveraging Social Proof: Harnessing Customer Created Content:

  • Rep has used Yotpo for all of the reviews on its site for a long time and has just recently started using Yotpo's digital marketing suite.
  • Yotpo's digital marketing suite allows Rep to pull in content from social media and display it on the homepage and product pages.
  • Customers want to see not only the studio images of products but also what that product looks likes in the homes of consumers like themselves.
  • Rep likes highlighting their customers, and the best influencers are customers that posting things about your brand, unprompted, that others can believe and trust.

Designing the Customer Journey: Deciding Where Your Customers Go:

  • Rep's site does not follow a cookie-cutter eCommerce model and takes its customers on a tailored purchase journey when buying products.
  • How do you decide what the best path to purchase will be for your customers?
  • There are two very different types of shoppers that Rep caters to along the path to purchase: those who like premade packages of products, and those who want to customize what they are buying.
  • Guided selling that empowers customers to find the options that they need gives them precisely what they want and makes your customers happy.
  • Post-purchase is often determined by upfront education and guidance.

What's Next for Rep Fitness: A Look at the Roadmap:

  • Rep is starting to dig into data and to find ways to track and leverage the data they collect in more effective ways.
  • Using Brightpearl, along with other analytics tools, will inform rep and guide them to make better decisions when it comes to reaching their customers.
  • Rep is retroactively going through all of their processes to make sure they are capturing actionable data.
  • Another goal is to get a full handle on return rates by finding better ways to track return information and finding ways to minimize returns.
  • Rep will also be migrating their website to a new platform, which will allow them to dig into how the site functions.

Brands Mentioned in this Episode:

As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! What are some ways that you can improve the path to purchase for your customers, and what information can you give them to educate them around your products?

Let us know in the content section on Futurecommerce.fm, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Linkedin.

Have any questions or comments about the show? You can reach out to us at info@futurecommerce.fm or any of our social channels; we love hearing from our listeners!

Retail Tech is moving fast, but Future Commerce is moving faster.

Phillip: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Step by Step, a podcast by Future Commerce presented by Brightpearl. This is Season 2 of Step by Step, and you are listening to Episode 3 of 5. If you are jumping into this series midway through, I suggest that you go back and listen from the very beginning. This season of Step by Step is all about your tech stack. That's right. We get into the weeds to teach you everything that you need to know about how to build your tech stack. And we're gonna talk to operators of high growth retail brands that are just like you who are trying to figure this out in their real life job every day. So if you are in leadership at a retail brand, and you find yourself struggling to make decisions to choose technology to run your business on, this is for you. This is a five part mini series, and it's for the leadership CIOs, CTOs, CMOs, CFOs in a retail brand. And no matter who you are and what role you're in, I know that you're probably faced with building that tech stack that will allow your business to grow and meet the needs of your customer. Today joining us on the show is Alida Sholl, who is the Director of Operations at Rep Fitness. Rep Fitness is such an interesting company and they have such interesting logistics challenges. Adopting technology really isn't a one size fits all operation for them and their customers are very educated and highly particular. Alida tells us about the kinds of challenges that they face with order fulfillment and reordering, how they build long term customer relationships, and how they're using technology to shorten the path to having a better relationship with their customer. You're gonna love this, and I think it's gonna be worth your time. So let's sit back and listen to Alida Sholl as she teaches us how Rep Fitness builds a tech stack, step by step.

Brian: [00:01:45] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:51] And I'm Phillip. And today we continue our multi-part series about your tech stack with Brightpearl's wonderful and generous contribution in helping make this possible by bringing awesome guests to the table. And today we welcome one of those guests. Alida Sholl is the Director of Operations at Rep Fitness. Welcome to the show, Alida.

Alida: [00:02:10] Thank you. Glad to be here.

Phillip: [00:02:11] And it's wonderful to have you. Rep Fitness. It's one of those brands that, you know, if you've seen it. I'm sure some of our listeners have used your products. Could you tell us a little bit about the brand and catch some up to speed who may not be familiar?

Alida: [00:02:27] Sure. So we are a complete basically fitness supplier. So we sell anything from pull up bands that you may use all the way up through high end power racks and then all the dumbbells, barbells, weights that you need to go along with that.

Brian: [00:02:42] How did you get involved in the business?

Alida: [00:02:44] I actually started with Rep about two and a half years ago. My husband and I moved out to Denver from Chicago and I've always been kind of a fitness nut, so I've got a background in coaching with CrossFit and weightlifting. So I found out that there was a local equipment company, and so I started out of the blue reached out to them and said, "Hey, do you guys need me?" And sure enough, they ended up having an opening that worked out to be a fit.

Brian: [00:03:10] Wow, that's awesome. What's your background before coming to to Rep? We talked a little bit before the show. You have a very interesting outside perspective. Tell us a little bit more about your history.

Alida: [00:03:24] Yeah. So I'm definitely the outsider to eCommerce. That is not my background. I started out working in manufacturing. So my background is more process engineering, things along that line. So I've worked in manufacturing and warehousing. Also worked in animal welfare for a while, which was definitely fun finding out that you can turn puppies and kittens into metrics.

Brian: [00:03:50] {laughter} Wow, that's awesome.

Alida: [00:03:51] It's much more fun to look at numbers when you realize you're talking about how many puppies were adopted last year as opposed to how many boxes were shipped.

Phillip: [00:03:57] We a team member of the show, Lianne, who will probably jump for joy when she hears you say that. Big fan of puppies. So that's interesting.

Alida: [00:04:11] It's definitely a very rewarding area to work in. So unfortunately left when he moved to Denver. And yeah, when I reached out to Rep, I was really relying on that process engineering background. And they were at of space... We were getting ready to move into the new building. So we upgraded shortly after I started. But they were looking for someone to basically set up the new warehouse. So that's how I came in. And then as I've been there, I keep taking on more and more things. And so at one point during my first year, I noticed that the web site needed a little help and said, "Let's see if I can figure that out." So that's how I sort of jumped over to the eCommerce side of it.

Phillip: [00:04:50] When you're setting up a new warehouse for a company that ships products that are larger than average, I would say...

Alida: [00:04:58] Yes. The majority of them are.

Phillip: [00:04:58] These are not widgets that get thrown in a box that is delivered, you know. FedEx SurePost. So what does that look like and what are some of the logistical challenges in just fulfilling on behalf of your customers?

Alida: [00:05:11] So the big thing for us, we do need a lot of storage space. Things take up a lot of room. So we rely mostly on just a lot of pallet racking, and we do have a large floor stack area. So most people will tell you in warehousing you want to avoid stacking things on the floor. But when you have boxes of uprights for power racks that are 100 inches long, they don't really go in racking very well. So we rely on a lot storage for that. The other big thing that's different for us is most people I work with pack stations and keep their dock space at a minimum. We actually have a fairly large dock area because we bring everything we pick gets pulled to the dock, and that's where we kind of sort and label everything rather than picking orders together. Our freight orders that ship on pallets, that gets picked all at once. But everything else, we pick it all, bring it to the dock and slap some UPS labels on it there, and then put it in the truck and send it on its way.

Phillip: [00:06:05] You make it sound simple. I'm sure it's far from simple.

Brian: [00:06:11] Very interesting.

Alida: [00:06:11] I try to make it sound simple. Yeah. The big thing for us is avoiding any extra touches when boxes weigh anywhere from 40 to 100 pounds. You want to avoid moving them around a whole lot. So we try to keep it simple, but I'm sure my warehouse staff will tell you that it's not that simple.

Brian: [00:06:29] {laughter} Yeah. When you've got weights in sizes like that. I don't think anything could be simple. It's very, very interesting. Tell us a little...

Alida: [00:06:37] No. They do a great job with it, though.

Brian: [00:06:39] Yeah, that's amazing. And, you know, I'm sure that's a lot of credit is due to you and the work that you've done there. Tell us a little bit more about the Rep Fitness customer. Who is the Rep Fitness customer? And what's the sort of a typical customer journey for someone that's engaging with the brand for the first time and then all the way through post-purchase?

Alida: [00:07:02] Sure. So we like to think that anyone can be a Rep Fitness customer. The idea of a home gym doesn't necessarily need to be a big garage or anything like that. So we sell things like sandbags that you can take over to your local park and get a great workout in there. But we do know that our target customers... So the majority of our customers are somewhere between the ages of 25 to 44, typically married. They own a home, so they are investing in that home gym. A lot of them are parents. So they are people looking for a way to work out at home and avoid driving to the gym and driving back from the gym. We're currently working on sort of evolving our mission statement and vision and core values and all that. I know we're talking a lot right now about helping people to basically regain their time and freedom. That's basically why we're here. So giving people the option to lead strong, healthy lives without having to be tied to that global gym that's 20 minutes down the road.

Phillip: [00:08:04] I mean that... So you're describing me. That's me. I specifically took up running because I thought to myself, like, I want to be able to do this wherever I go and not have to worry about having access to a certain type of equipment or a gym. And it turns out, you know, when you run, you have to actually leave your house, which means you're seven and eight year old have to either come with you or you don't go on your run.

Alida: [00:08:28] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:08:28] So I'm like, How do I make my own home gym?" I want a little pain cave. That's what I want to build for myself now in my garage. And yeah, there is a part of me that wants to sort of get into the gear. And you said you have a wide array. Do you also have like a wide assortment of like customer personas and the people that purchase from you that, you know, sort of span the gamut? Is it very much in that sort of CrossFiter community or does it broaden out from there?

Alida: [00:08:57] So we have definitely been broadening. I know when I first started, even just with the employees, we were fairly CrossFit focused, not supposed to say that word a whole lot.

Phillip: [00:09:07] Sure.

Alida: [00:09:07] But it's definitely siding more on the functional fitness side. We see that a lot, but we are now branching out with a lot of our power racks and benches that are becoming really popular. We're seeing a lot more just in the general strength sports and even with our employees, we are all basically involved in this in some way and we have anything from CrossFiters, we have power lifters, we have weightlifters, we have a guy that competes in bodybuilding now. So our big thing at Rep is not only do we sell the equipment, we all use it, and we love it, and we understand it. So we're definitely reaching out. And the customers that we see now, they're not all super-fit-I-can-lift-500-pounds people. We're seeing the mom that needs to get in a quick 20 minute workout in her garage with her kids watching from the sidelines. And someone who just had a baby so, again, the baby's in a carrier just kind of watching it as well. So it's really exciting to see that. The other thing that we really enjoy about that is it's helping to develop those good habits and it's setting a great example for the next generation. That's one of the most exciting things I think about what we're calling the home gym revolution is that it is becoming much more normal to be fit and workout and make a healthy lifestyle a priority. And we're setting that example for the kids now.

Brian: [00:10:35] Oh I love that. That's gets back to something that we've talked about a lot of the show, which is generational commerce and sort of the idea that when you're selling, you're not just selling to a single person, but you're actually... If you're doing your post-purchase correctly, you're actually selling to, you know, the people that are all around that person, including their kids. And so whenever a brand is able to capture the next generation of people just based off of their relationships with their current customers, that's sort of the pinnacle of clienteling right there in a nutshell. Speaking of clienteling, so this episode is really focused on that post-purchase eCommerce stack and how you can manage that, which really, of course, comes back to your relationship with your customer. And given the types of products that you have, of course, this is a very unique space. I would imagine there's a lot of education and a lot of instructions and things that go along with this. Talk to us a little bit about what happens once someone purchases some Rep Fitness equipment and what happens after they receive it at their house.

Alida: [00:11:58] Yes. So we have a fantastic customer service team and sales team at Rep. One of the things we pride ourselves on, again, is that we all know the equipment. We're here to help you. We want you to basically be part of our Rep family, so everyone has the option to call us or email us. If you call us, we are real people that answer the phones. It's not going into some call center somewhere else. So we really do want to take care of our customers from beginning to end. So we're always available. If someone says, "Hey, I need help installing this," or "I have some questions on how to set this up." We've got a bunch of guys on our sales team that are really good. We'll get them on the phone. I've seen some of them pull out their own personal iPhones, and they set up video chats and help walk customers through how to put their new equipment together to give people ideas on what's the best way to use this. What are some new exercises you could try out with that. So we try to be available for really any questions that they have. We're really excited. We're launching chat on our web site now, too. So really hoping that we can be involved basically from the beginning of that purchase journey to help answer questions right on the spot and keep them on the web site instead of sending us an email and waiting to come back to it.

Brian: [00:13:14] That's a really interesting question. So talk to us a little bit about your chat and adding it to the site. So it seems like obviously the importance of having chat is that you get to start your relationship early and you can answer questions immediately and then build on that relationship. How would you go about making the decision of which chat to add? And who did you end up landing on?

Alida: [00:13:40] So the decision was pretty easy. We actually use Help Scout for all of our email already. It's a fantastic program that we really, really like. It is a great partner for us because they really also agree with the idea of keeping the customer experience very personal, so that they don't assign ticket numbers. So when you email in, you are talking to one of our customer service reps. We can add their picture to the email, so they really get to know the person that they're talking to. And it keeps things assigned to that same person, so the same person to following up over and over again. So we like that piece of it a lot and they have a thing... They have an option included called their Beacon. So we are already able to add something on our web site that pops up. You can send an email to us directly from our site. But they also in that also include chat. So it is a really easy thing for us to just turn on and we're making the leap into it right now. We turned it on two days ago. So it was kind of a no brainer for us now that we've got the staff to be able to handle it. And because it was such an easy switch on. We're really hoping that it turns out to be as good as we think it's going to be. And again, just getting to face to face right with those customers right from the beginning and helping them make those decisions.

Phillip: [00:14:55] If you're developing that relationship with the customer that's less around the purchase and only the purchase, and more around their total lifestyle and fitness decisions, it sounds to me like that sets you up really well to be a trusted adviser for all fitness related activity and decisions. And I'm sure that that has some long term impact on the customer purchase cycle or the repeat purchase cycle. I had mentioned in the preshow that I felt like, well, you have very durable equipment. I would assume that, you know, a weight rack doesn't break ever.

Alida: [00:15:30] That's the goal. It should not break.

Phillip: [00:15:31] Right. So what does it look like once you've sold to a customer there? Is there another way that you can make them a repeat or return customer or is all the engagement that you see after the purchase really just brand building and relationship building for when they reach another phase in their life or decide to move into another category? Tell me a little bit about of the long term view of the customer.

Alida: [00:15:56] So the good thing about being in the home gym space is most home gym owners will tell you that they are never done building their home gym. So there's always something new you can add. So that's the big thing for us, is we are really excited in the past year or two. We've been rolling out a lot of very new innovative products. So part of it is just making sure we're always rolling out new things that are going to be the new shiny thing that everyone needs to have. But there's always I mean, the goal is you get stronger and you try new things. And so I know like I personally have had a lot of changes along my own fitness journey. So someone may start out and be doing only body weight movements. And then after a couple years of that, they may say, "You know what, I want to try weight lifting." So now they're buying a bar and plates. After that, they may say, "OK, that's been fun, but now I want to get into some kettlebell work." So then they're adding a set of kettlebells to their gym. So there's always that idea that as you grow and change in this space... I mean, we don't expect people to just be benching, squatting and deadlifting for the next seven years. It gets old. You want to try new things.

Brian: [00:17:01] That's a really good point. Customers like to try new things. Even in a space that, you know, where there's some very tried and true methods and a very clear path to success and enjoyment. And even in those spaces, customers like to try new things. I think that's a really interesting.

Phillip: [00:17:24] Yeah. I hate to even say it... This is probably not a dependable business model, but it is something, I'm sure that comes up in the psychographic of the customer, which is I tend to be into things that my community and social circle are into. And they get something new and it piques my interest and, you know, creates a purchase journey in my head to, I do want to say keep up with the Joneses, but that is part of it. When you're in a very community centric category, it is personal, but it is also about sharing that experience with others. And part of that is group purchase decisions. I think as a group, we sort of make these... We look at brands, and we look at products from brands in that light. And if a friend of mine is repping Rep Fitness, I'm more likely to also want to to purchase and have my own products from Rep. So if you're looking at the repeat purchase rate, what are some of the challenge areas or risks in the funnel or in the lifetime engagement with the customer? What does it look like for a customer to return to you, and how are you recapturing them in the future?

Alida: [00:18:45] So our digital marketing agency, they will tell you that they do a lot of those kind of recapturing campaigns. So we do have email blasts that go in. If we haven't seen you around for a while, we're going to reach out to you and potentially offer or say, "Hey, we'd like to see you back. Come back," and maybe we'll give you a discount on a T-shirt or something like that. So we do try to keep those customers around. The one really nice thing about our space as well is that you would expect home gym people to be a little more isolated. But there's actually a huge online community of people. We've got some great bloggers in the space that are constantly reviewing all the products, as well. So there's a lot of people out there that are really helping with getting our products out there, making sure people are aware of the new things that are coming out. It's a great group of people, and it really does create that sense of community. And again, that whole idea of keeping up with the Joneses because they see these new exciting things coming out, they want to come back and check it out. And so that's why we also try to keep our product line really, really broad. So, again, we carry everything from tiny kettle balls through those giant power racks. So we're there for all those things. We're also trying to make sure we have lots of fun novelty items as well. So we keep our apparel line pretty wide, making sure we have that stuff that people who are proud of their home gym can then show it off and walk around repping Rep for us and fun little things. Our newest novelty item, we have bumper plate coasters. We think they're really fun.

Brian: [00:20:21] There's something you said there I think is really, really important, which is sort of the social proof side. Are you using any software to address sort of the social side and give people a way to engage with the brand after they make a purchase? I mean, also reviews as well. That goes along with the social proof as well.

Alida: [00:20:43] Yes. So those two go hand in hand. And again, a recent change that we're really excited about. So we've been on YotPo for a long time, using them for all of the reviews on our site. That has been great. And we just dove into using their visual marketing suite and using that user generated content. So we're able to pull in content from social media and display that actually on our web page, on the home page, on the product pages.

Phillip: [00:21:09] Nice.

Alida: [00:21:09] So that has been really, really exciting. So we know that customers want to see not only the nice pretty pictures that we have staged in our photo studio, but they want to see what this looks like in a garage. They want to see real people using it. So we're able to display our curated images and then we're able to pull in those images of real people using this. And that's been a really exciting thing. We also just like highlighting our customers and the fact that they're using the equipment. They're getting stronger. They're living healthier lives. It's just fun to highlight them and kind of put them in the spotlight.

Phillip: [00:21:43] Your best influencer is a customer who's saying things unprompted about you, that others can believe and trust. And I think that's the true definition of influence: people who are motivated to share on their own and evangelize your brand for you. I think that's awesome that you can utilize that. I'm actually looking at it right now. It really is powerful. It's pretty interesting to see just how much people are sharing. And I would say I would assume they're trying to show you that they're sharing the social value.

Alida: [00:22:22] Yeah. That's been one of my favorite things. Our engagement coordinator is really the one in charge of curating those pictures. But I love logging in to YotPo. If I find ten minutes in my day, I log in and I just start scrolling through those things and find different ones that we can add to the pages. It's a lot of fun to see what people are doing out there. We've also seen just a lot of people get creative with our products. A lot of times we find them using it for things we never even thought of. And so that's a lot of fun that they're able to find new and interesting uses for the things that we make.

Brian: [00:22:55] What an interesting post-purchase methodology you've implemented here, which I think is amazing. You've offered different ways to engage the brand with your merch as well as your products, because it's perfect for social proof. You can, you know, get a picture of maybe some gains that you've made, in your gear, with your product, and then post that online. What a great way to engage with the brand after the purchase. It sort of all comes together.

Alida: [00:23:29] You gotta celebrate the gains.

Phillip: [00:23:32] Jordan, who does all of our onsite content, that's spelled Gainz, has a Z at the end. So you've gotta make sure... {laughter} I've actually been in the market to buy some kettlebells, so I go to the kettlebell... There's a picture on that UGC like the YotPo social Instagram picture section on the home page. I click on this, you know, whole picture of all these kettlebells. It shows every product that's in there. I can click into the kettlebell section and you know what, I don't have to go to like 13 different pages to get different sizes or choose 20 dropdowns in a row to put together a set. I can just put together all these... I can buy four or five of them all at one time. And I think that that shows a lot of intentionality in the way that you're designing the customer journey and the purchase experience to be unique to you and not necessarily the out of the box cookie cutter eCommerce, standard product page design, PDP methodology, right? This is not a cookie cutter experience. This is very specific to Rep because that's the way that this particular product needs to be purchased. How do you go about making those types of decisions?

Alida: [00:24:48] Yes. So we actually know there're two very different types of people. When we first started with the site, we did try to create a lot of pre-combined packages for people. So we'd say, "Here's what we think you need to build your gym." So we consolidated all into one. It was one click. You could buy everything. And then we found out inevitably, we would get tons of emails saying, "Hey, I like this package, but can I sub this? Can I sub that? Can I change that?" So we have tried to make our site kind of cater to both. So we've got all of the options out there to buy individually. So if you want to piece together your own package, you can do that. And then we also do try to have some pre-combined things. So on that kettlebell page, every kettlebell is listed on there, you can decide what you want, or if you're not really sure what you want we have a package prebuilt that says we think you need the 8-24 kilo size. Here's one of each or here's two of each. There you go. You're done. We also... One of the things I actually love on our site, I created what we call the BYO package on there. So the page itself is kind of a nightmare because we've basically given you every option for rack, bar, bumper plates, bench that we have. And you can run through one page and add everything into that. And again, it's sort of a one click complete home gym, but you get to customize it with anything and any colors that you want.

Brian: [00:26:12] That's sort of almost like guided selling tool that we talked about on the show as well.

Phillip: [00:26:17] Right.

Brian: [00:26:17] I think that, you know, as we look at post-purchase, having a tool like that that will allow customers to have the options that they need and then, you know, collect information from them to make good decisions around something like that. That allows people to have a much better experience after the purchase as well, because they have exactly what they want. You know, and I think that's another really powerful tool. It's not just for getting someone to make a purchase, but for a happier customer that's going to be more inclined to share and show off what they've got in their house.

Alida: [00:26:54] Yeah. And the other thing for us is we don't want you to return this equipment. We don't want you to change your mind and say, "I bought the wrong thing. Can I exchange it for something else?" That's not an easy thing in our space. So we do try to provide a ton of information upfront. We've been putting a lot of time into creating videos and a lot of photos up front showing you what things look like packaged together. We try to give you information of... We have packages dedicated to different types of things. So we say, like, if you want to just be a basic powerlifter, here's what we think you need. If you want to get into more of these other things, here's what we think you need. We're starting to create more blogs and things like that to really give the customers the information they need right up front to make the perfect purchase. Because I don't want you to call me and say, "Hey, I'd like to return this 50 pound kettlebell because I think I need to 60 pound kettlebell."

Brian: [00:27:47] Well, I think this is so important in your industry, but what a great lesson for every industry. Post-purchase is often determined by upfront education and guidance. And so if you want to have a customer, and this is for our audience, if you want to have a customer have a good experience with your product, make sure you give them the right things upfront.

Alida: [00:28:10] Yeah, it's amazing.

Brian: [00:28:12] Yeah. I think this is huge.

Phillip: [00:28:12] Brian, you made mention of this in an Insiders newsletter not too long ago. You had an essay on having the right type of friction. And I think that if you were to look at like a best practice playbook of how to create frictionless eCommerce experiences, in many cases people wind up making more impulse based purchase decisions based on what is playing to the impulsive nature of "click this button," click that PayPal one touch, you're done. And then they realize after the fact was they've had more time to consider that maybe they didn't want just that. And a lot of the post conversion rate, Google Analytics information that you might get would show you that the slipperier and more frictionless your eCommerce is, the higher touch you're your customer experiences after the purchase to correct or to alter or to modify or to return. And I think having the right type of friction, which is let me show you a bunch of educational information. Let me teach you about what this product is all about. Let me ask you a bunch of questions to try to figure out and recommend what you're looking for. And hey, by the way, here's what other people are saying about us is the right type of friction. And it sounds like brands like Rep Fitness are trying to do that thoughtfully. How does that track with you, Alida? What's your take on that as far as like the long purchase consideration time and arming them with the information?

Alida: [00:29:40] Yeah, that's definitely a big one for us. So the purchase cycle for us, we do see it range. We've got about 45% of our customers purchasing the first time they visit our web site, currently. But then after that, it can go anywhere from 10 to, we've seen 90 days for some customer journeys. So I think a lot of those first time purchasers, I honestly think they're coming because they've done research somewhere else. Again, there's a huge blog community of people that are doing very, very in-depth reviews of products. So a lot of that, I think they're getting the research somewhere else. But one of our main goals on our site is, and sorry to the rest of the retailers out there, but we are really trying to educate people that free shipping is not free. There's no such thing.

Phillip: [00:30:27] Yup.

Alida: [00:30:27] So we actually pass shipping costs directly onto our customers, so we don't bundle it into products. We are taking whatever you put in your cart. We get a shipping rate from our carriers. We pass that exact rate directly onto our customers. So for our customers, it makes sense to buy everything all at once. So we do a lot of work to try to educate people on that and say like, "Hey, we want you to really take your time and think about everything you need because we don't want you building out your home gym across four months with four separate purchases. We want you to think about it. Get everything you need now and pay for shipping once because that's going to benefit you." We're not making money off of shipping, so it doesn't help us for you to pay for shipping every single time.

Brian: [00:31:13] That's huge. Again, I think this just comes back to what you're saying, Phillip, is putting good friction into the process of helping your customers make informed purchases. Those are the types of things that help you on the back end and also build trust. That's the other thing is when you're guiding someone through a process like this, and you're giving them the tools and providing them with education upfront. When you're coming back around and you're having a conversation with them later, you already know a lot about them. And so you're going to have tools like YotPo, and you're gonna have tools like your email provider and your customer service platform. And there's a whole bunch of them out there. Help Scout is a good one. And there's a bunch of other ones out there, too. But if you've got the right information, you know, the tool that you use starts to become a function of that information as opposed to the other way around.

Phillip: [00:32:12] So what's next for Rep Fitness? Alida, I'm sure you have a roadmap of things that you're trying to implement. I think we had talked at some point about getting clearer data and insights. Could you give us a little bit of an idea of what you're looking to tackle in 2020?

Alida: [00:32:29] So there's definitely a lot that we are going to tackle in 2020. It's funny, every year we go crazy and change a bunch of things, and then we always say, "Next year, we're going to settle down and try to just stay stable." And then we come up with six things we need to change. So there's definitely a lot that we're looking into. We are really starting to dig into data and tracking things better, which is really exciting, especially for me, because that's kind of what I like to nerd out on. So using Brightpearl as well as some of the other analytics tools that we have. So we started using the Brightpearl Demand Planner, as well, and being able to look into things in much more depth and adding numbers. So that has been really exciting. Our launch onto Brightpearl was very, very rushed, so we decided to launch one week before Black Friday. Probably not our best decision ever.

Brian: [00:33:23] Whoa.

Phillip: [00:33:23] Wow.

Alida: [00:33:23] Oh, yeah, yeah. We did a six week implementation and launched one week before Black Friday back in 2017. It was a slightly stressful time for me, but luckily it went really well and ended up being a much better option than our previous method of handwriting all the sales that came in through the store and then putting them into the system later. But because we did that, we just find we get in and find a way to do it. And so now we're really going back through all of our processes, everything we're doing in that system. And we're trying to put a lot more structure around it and saying, "OK, this is how we're gonna do it, but let's make sure that we're doing it in a way that we can report on this information later on." So that's been really interesting. The big one we're tackling is making sure we have a full handle on return rates. We know how many emails we're getting, but we don't know what percentage of sales are coming back to us or what percentage of sales we're doing things like offering a slight discount instead of returning the product, which is something we use a lot because again, shipping our stuff back is really expensive. So in shipping large stuff, we often have stuff that gets damaged in transit, which is definitely a bummer, so finding ways that we can track that and figure out how much of this is because of what we're doing internally? How much of this is because of what's happening outside of our four walls? So, yeah, lots of metrics, lots of tracking around that. The other thing we have that's really, really exciting is we will be migrating our web site to a new platform next year. So that's gonna be a huge project, but I'm really excited about it because it means we're gonna have the opportunity to really start digging into how our web site functions. So we know right now how it functions and we've been kind of working within those limits, but being able to basically start from scratch and say, if we can do this exactly how we want it, what do we want this to look like and what does our customer experience going to look like? So new fun things that we're all jazzed about. I wish I could launch a new site in six weeks like I did with Brightpearl, but it doesn't really work that way. So good things to come there next year.

Phillip: [00:35:33] Well, we'd love to have you back on at some point in the new year and hear about the success story that that relaunch was. And I'd love to hear more about how all of this is working in your favor. We do wish you the best of luck. Thanks for sharing the story on Future Commerce.

Alida: [00:35:49] Well, thank you for having me. Happy to share.

Brian: [00:35:51] Thank you.

Phillip: [00:35:52] It's been such a pleasure. And again, thanks to Brightpearl for making this series possible. We want to hear from you. And you can lend your voice to this conversation at FutureCommerce.fm. And also, we want you to let us know, is this useful for you? What is happening in your business and what is your tech stack looking like? How are you making that work for you and how are you assembling that that's helping you drive real efficiency in your organization and customer success within your business. We do want to hear from you and you can drop us a line at hello@FutureCommerce.fm. Thanks for listening. And remember, the future is what you make of it.