Driving profitable growth and customer equity with SoundCommerce

Tamara John, Product Marketing at Looker

Jul 1, 2020

Eric Best, SoundCommerce CEO, recently spoke at Looker’s Retail Solutions Event to share how the SoundCommerce team built a custom data application for retail companies on top of Google Cloud Platform’s BigQuery and Looker. In addition to sharing the retail solution his team has built, Eric invited SoundCommerce customer Tim Morse, Richer Poorer Cofounder/President to share how they’re using data to execute on their omnichannel consumer strategy.

SoundCommerce: a platform built for retailers

Founded in 2018, SoundCommerce provides an out-of-the-box data platform for retail brands. Built from years of retail, eCommerce, and data experience, the platform is designed to collect retail data from any source and build a model around the metrics and relationships that are most crucial to retail organizations. This includes everything from prospects and customers to orders, shipments, and the frontend marketing stack.

“We sit upstream from datastores like Google BigQuery and Snowflake. The goal is to reduce the time and cost it takes to bring data from these various operational systems into a very responsive and dynamic data model, and then to be able to persist it in the data warehouse…We’ve also embedded Looker as the native business intelligence tool that we use to create our end user experience.” — Eric Best, SoundCommerce

When building their retail data platform and serving their customers, SoundCommerce stays true to three key concepts:

  • Customer experience: making sure things are running smoothly and ontime
  • Unit economics: knowing the detailed revenue and profit profile for every order, unit of inventory, product SKU, and customer to enable quick and precise decision-making
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): This is their true north star and incorporates the entire picture of variable costs which go into a customer relationship over time to accurately track and ultimately grow this over time
“If you can accurately track and grow contribution margin per shopper over time, you have a more powerful measure of the total value of your brand.” — Eric Best, SoundCommerce

One of the retail brands that uses the solution SoundCommerce built is Richer Poorer.

Using data at Richer Poorer

Richer Poorer originally launched in 2010 as a high-quality but affordable men’s sock brand, partnering with retailers such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and American Rag. After five years of steady growth, they decided to add more products to continue to grow their brand, which now includes both men’s and women’s fashion basics. Previously, Richer Poorer’s business had been 70% wholesale and 30% eCommerce. However, similar to many businesses, they’ve seen their customers and market shift significantly in recent months. Now, they are on track to be 75% eCommerce by the end of 2020.

“COVID has changed the game for many brands...We have been focusing on comfort. The whole concept behind our recent collection was about being comfortable at home, and it foreshadowed what we are experiencing today.” — Tim Morse, Richer Poorer

To understand their business today and plan for the future, Richer Poorer relies on a modern tech stack. They use Shopify for eCommerce, Full Circle ERP, Google Analytics, Klaviyo email, NuOrder wholesale management, Zoho as their wholesale CRM, and many more. In addition to many of the tech investments they’ve made, they own and operate their own warehouse, which Morse says has been a ‘game-changing from a speed and efficiency perspective’.

Shifting resources and meeting demand

Shifting from a decade of being primarily wholesale to digital first almost overnight has been a big adjustment at Richer Poorer. As wholesale came to a quick halt, they saw a 5x eCommerce volume increase in less than two months. Luckily, they already had the technical foundation built so they could quickly track, shift, and scale their business.

“Fortunately for us, we have been building and flexing our eCommerce model for the last 24 months. It just happened that in January 2020 we launched an all new eCommerce platform, and we had been really focused on making sure that the entire platform can scale. When this [COVID] hit, our fulfillment center was already in place - which we own and operate - we had streamlined our content platform so that we could be more responsive to performance paid marketing, and we had locked in an agreement with FedEx to deliver product to anywhere in the US.” — Tim Morse, Richer Poorer

In early March 2020, Richer Poorer decided to pivot and move 80% of their wholesale inventory to eCommerce inventory. To successfully do this, they connected with some of their retail partners who had just received new products and coordinated getting those products sent back, making them available as eCommerce inventory. This in turn helped their retail partners as well, as many were preparing for temporary store closures.

In addition, the Richer Poorer team was able to meet the overnight eCommerce demand by utilizing inventory from previous collections. Since they traditionally launch four collections per year, this allowed them to make sure they had enough products available online, introduce additional colors, and bring back some fan favorites.

Measuring order status & success

With this shift towards eCommerce, understanding the relationship between order experience and customer happiness was key. One of the key dashboards the Richer Poorer team uses within the SoundCommerce platform tracks Order Status by Fulfillment Date. This dashboard allows the team to quickly filter by date ranges to see the average number of days it takes for delivery, average days to ship, how order numbers compare to the previous time period, and more.

The color-coding allows the team to quickly visualize orders based on delivery status. Behind this dashboard, data is being pulled from Shopify, Full Circle, Starship, and through direct API integrations with carrier platforms (ex. FedEx).

With this data instantly updated and readily available, Tim and team can make sure the investments they’ve made are delivering the customer experience they’ve committed to.

“We’re delivering on our brand promise of confidence and comfort. And for us, it’s all about speed...our goal at the end of the day is to have the quickest pick, pack, ship, and deliver platform to compete against the Amazons of the world…” — Tim Morse, Richer Poorer

Putting insights in the hands of the warehouse

Another way they use customer experience to impact their actions is through tracking Customer Historical Sales (CHS). Using the SoundCommerce platform, this information is available to their warehouse operations team. The team uses this complete view of the customer to prioritize their action. For example, the team knows to prioritize any first time order to get those shipped immediately. From there, high value and loyal customers take priority.

“This platform allows us to make those intelligent decisions based on the data that’s available to us in real-time.” — Tim Morse, Richer Poorer

Making the customer experience ‘super’

The Richer Poorer team is thinking about customer experience at every level, not just from efficiency but also to create brand ‘super fans’. These are customers who make repeat purchases and are exceedingly happy with the products to the point where they want to promote those products and the brand organically on social media. With the recent spike in lounge wear becoming the new work wear, there has been a massive spike in ‘super fan’ created content, which is adding power to the Richer Poorer marketing machine.

“It’s all about creating super fans and word of mouth marketing...For us, it's important for our customers to talk about how great and comfortable our product is and the quality we deliver...the more that we can continue to lean in and create super fans, it only helps with when we then lay on performance marketing.” — Tim Morse, Richer Poorer

By ensuring they have the product and processes to meet demand needs, intelligently prioritizing orders, and focusing on customer experience to create ‘super fans,’ the Richer Poorer team is able to align all of their efforts for maximum results. These practices have resulted in higher average orders and customer lifetime value, and in increased ROI on marketing spend.

“We are seeing our return on ad spend at 400% at the order level and at almost 700% at the unique customer level. We have really strong metrics right now and our goal is to continue to maintain that as wholesale starts to open up and as the demand shifts away from exclusively being online. We’re going to continue to measure that.” — Tim Morse, Richer Poorer

Powering retail decision-making with SoundCommerce

The SoundCommerce platform takes the traditional approach to ETL and flips it by permanently logging observed events in a way that supports reinterpreting data as new information and use cases become available.

“As additional attributes and data elements become available, it’s very easy for us to parse them, link them, and ultimately, dimension them into new data models that become available in BigQuery, Snowflake, and other data warehouses — and from there, into the native Looker visualization experience.” — Eric Best, SoundCommerce

SoundCommerce does this to give brands and retailers total control over and access to their own data — and to be responsible and flexible as brands need to collect new data and build out additional use cases.

“We’re a small brand with limited resources, and having access to visual data has been incredibly helpful for us.” — Tim Morse, Richer Poorer

To learn more, watch their full Retail Solutions Event session here.

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