SalesTechStar Interview with Gabriella Tegen, Co-founder & CEO at Smartrr
Gabriella Tegen, Co-founder & CEO at Smartrr dives into the benefits of adopting a subscription-based strategy to drive more brand retention and sales:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Gaby, tell us about yourself and what inspired Smartrr?
Thanks for having me! I’m the co-founder & CEO of Smartrr, a next-generation subscription app built to maximize LTV. Born and raised in New York, I began my career in real estate at a very young age. I always assumed real estate would be my career path however, after 8 months in Tel Aviv, where I was exposed to the startup world, I was left completely enamored. Thrilled to have found the best of both worlds in 2017 at Reonomy, a real estate property tech startup, I found a passion for sales.
How did I end up in eCommerce you ask? Well, the truth is; fate! Seeing so many of my favorite local merchants pivot to eCommerce during the pandemic, we conducted market research interviews to find their biggest barriers to entry but uncovered a much larger pain point: Subscriptions. Since then, the Smartrr team and myself have been on a mission to not only make it easier for brands to offer subscriptions but the most engaging subscriber experience for increased LTV as well.
How has the platform evolved over the years? What’s in store for the near future in terms of enhancements to look forward to?
Smartrr’s journey began with a mission to set-up tailored subscription programs easily, but we discovered there is so much untapped potential to engage customers in the customer account portal experience. Expanding our offerings, we began to build features that would create deeper connections between brand and customer, going above and beyond the standard subscription offering with loyalty rewards, referrals, upsells, gifting bundles etc. This past year, we have evolved into something much greater than a subscription app, we see ourselves taking shape as the first ever comprehensive customer lifetime value platform for Shopify brands.
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When it comes to subscriptions in today’s digital ecosystem: can you talk about some of the trends you’re seeing in terms of the journey or features/capabilities brands are ensuring they deliver their end users?
Historically, subscription services have been fairly basic and built around convenience from a consumer standpoint. Gone are the days of the ‘subscribe and forget’ model. Brand’s today are completely tailoring their subscription programs to the intended use of a product for an optimal customer journey. Take Jolie for example, they are a subscription shower head company. How’s that work you ask? Through a tailored ‘sequential subscription’ model where the shower head is a one-time purchase that triggers a filter subscription every 90 days. This strategic business model has earned Jolie a less than 1% churn rate!
Only brands aren’t stopping there. They are complementing these tailored subscriptions with an elevated customer portal experience filled with flexibility and exclusivity. Customer acquisition costs have been skyrocketing this year and we see so many brands pivoting to their retention strategies to increase LTV while also acquiring more customers from their loyal customer base. Introducing engaging touchpoints in the customer journey such as gifting, creator inspired upsells, loyalty credits, and social feeds have all revolutionized what it means to offer a subscription experience.
How do you feel online stores / eCommerce will evolve in future: what will this space start to look like?
Direct to consumer eCommerce is where brands have the most control over their customer journey. It is evident brands are on a mission to create the deepest connection possible and give their customers memorable experiences in the digital landscape.
In the future, I foresee brands approaching their eCommerce experience with much more of a membership mindset.
Brands today are focusing on retention and giving more autonomy to the end-consumer. Opening a membership-like experience to one time purchasers will undoubtedly drive more repeat purchases, more affinity for brands and deeper understanding of their customers.
Empower brands with more consumer insights on their ideal customers over time will strengthen their marketing, messaging, and overall go-to-market strategy. All this to say, we are reigning in a new era for the post purchase eCommerce journey.
A few dominant features/trends that will dominate the digital marketplace ecosystem through 2023?
The first and foremost trend is this pivot from acquisition strategies to retention strategies. For so long brands have focused on providing an excellent pre-purchase customer journey, only to seemingly drop off once a customer has made a one-time purchase.
Your most important customers are the ones you already have. Treat them as such!
This coupled with CAC costs through roof, 2023 will be the year of LTV. It’s going to be all about driving more repeat purchases, retaining customers longer and building from your loyal customer base out.
Another interesting trend I’m excited to see play out is the role of the creator economy in DTC eCom. Brands are constantly collaborating with creators and brands are being built out of pre-existing creator communities. The tech is just catching up. I believe there to be a huge opportunity in the Shopify ecosystem to enable these collaborations. With the total creator economy estimated at over $100 billion and 75% of US marketers leveraging it in their DTC marketing strategies this past year, we see more brands leaning into creators as a means of showcasing products, getting in front of engaged audiences, and influencing purchasing decisions. As the popular saying goes, people don’t buy into brands, they buy into people behind brands, and this certainly extends to content creators for today’s consumers. Content creators are nearly essential to create a strong content strategy and establish a strong brand.
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Smartrr is a leading next generation subscription app built to maximize LTV for DTC Shopify brands.Going above and beyond subscriptions, Smartrr increases brand engagement and affinity with a variety of out of the box subscription models, a beautifully branded subscriber account experience, member-only benefits, loyalty rewards, referrals, advanced subscription analytics and more. Join the likes of high-growth brands such as Starface, Slate Milk, The Earthling, Ouai, and Jolie whom have seen an average of 318% more sales over the lifetime of a subscriber.
Gabriella Tegen is the Founder & CEO at Smartrr.
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