Adam Pearce comes into the job of CEO at Blend Commerce with an extensive understanding of strategy and marketing that work. He owes his wide strategic knowledge to his wide background in Management Consulting and Digital Marketing.
Before co-founding Blend Commerce, Adam Pearce held directorship positions at several of the fastest-growing tech businesses in the United Kingdom. He directed their sales and marketing divisions.
Now, at Blend Commerce, Adam Pearce works as CEO and Head of Partnerships. He is committed to promote Blend Commerce and maintain its competitiveness in a tech industry and market that could be relentless and cutthroat. One of those senior sales and marketing positions was at Conversor, which he joined in 2015.
At Conversor, Adam Pearce built on the success of the company’s existing Notetalker solution, designed for learners to capture audio and take down notes faster and more efficiently than the traditional pen-and-paper transcription model.
Through Adam Pearce’s efforts, Blend Commerce provides only the best type of service to its clients, the type of service that is always in tune with the needs of the market, which might change at any time.
Aside from his work as CEO at Blend Commerce, Adam Pearce also speaks and delivers presentations at conferences both national and international connected to Shopify and Digital Marketing.
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Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Adam Pearce: Being honest, I really ‘fell’ into the eCommerce world. Around 7 years ago, my brother in law had retrained as a developer, and was getting super excited about this new platform called ‘Shopify’. At the time, I blew it off as a ‘fad’, but soon realized that it was becoming a very big deal. At the time, I was leading a marketing team at an app company and was getting the itch to start a business. After a few months of making plans, we both quit our jobs and began our journey with Shopify.
Jerome Knyszewski: What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Adam Pearce: When we looked around the market, there were developers, strategists and marketers operating the standard agency setup. Having initially spoken to a number of Shopify merchants, we understood that they wanted to have all of the services they needed under one roof and also deal with a company that felt like they cared as much about their business as they did. We decided to this was the way forward and I believe this has lead to our significant growth.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Adam Pearce: In the first few months, we tried to run before we could walk. We pitched to huge companies in the hope of landing bigger contracts, but we didn’t have the manpower to do this. We tried lots of different ways of attracting bigger clients, but it was hard to get much traction. Ultimately, we knew that what we were offering was what the market needed, so we reworked the way we approached clients which got us through.
Jerome Knyszewski: So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Adam Pearce: Today, we work with some of the biggest brands in the world using Shopify, which includes Yamaha and Absolute Collagen. By keeping our focus on what we wanted to bring to the market, we’ve been able to land the clients we always dreamed of. At times it was tempting to follow our competitors but sticking to our principles has lead us to where we are now.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Adam Pearce: We were introduced to a large eCommerce brand by a contact who we understood was looking to migrate to Shopify. We scheduled a call with their board and had a great initial conversation with the brand. At the end of the call, one of the representatives from the company asked me, ‘So how long have you been the CEO at Shopify?’. It soon dawned on me that the client believed they were talking with Shopify and not an agency. I then had to explain the situation which was a little embarrassing for both parties!
The lesson here was simple — we needed to make sure that we clearly introduced ourselves before launching into meetings with clients. This really works on both levels — sometimes we’re not a good fit for a client and vice-versa. We now have a very stringent fact finding procedure when we are introduced to a potential client and this helps us avoid those types of situations.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging eCommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?
Adam Pearce: Octane AI and Klaviyo are two must have tools. Octane AI have a Shop quiz feature that allows Shopify stores to get detailed information from email and SMS subscribers when signing up. So for example, if a beauty brand uses the software, they can simply ask the customer about their skin type, lifestyle and skin issues onsite. What’s more, they’ll also be able to instantly recommend more relevant products to the potential customer, as well as storing this information for future marketing purposes.
By then integrating Octane AI with Klaviyo, Klaviyo will then enable brands to create specific and personalised email flows and campaigns to those users. So for example, if we know that a customer is a busy stay at home mum with dry skin, we can create email campaigns that speak directly to her needs.
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies an eCommerce business should use to increase conversion rates?
Adam Pearce: While this tends to vary from brand to brand, here are 3 core strategies.
- Navigation — When a customer visits a home page or landing page, they need to have signposting that quickly gets them to a product that they may consider purchasing. The top level navigation for a lot of brands doesn’t always provide this direction, especially when brands use navigation such as ‘Shop All’. For example, if a clothing brand sells coats, use the top navigation to get them to the options available. For example, ‘Shop Winter Coats’, ‘Shop Rain Macs’ etc. By doing this, customers will more easily get to a range of products that they’re looking for and much more likely to purchase.
- Product page trust indicators — Many brands using trust indicators such as ‘Free Shipping’ or ‘Made in the USA’ on their home page. While this is good practice, adding these trust indicators to a product page is often missed. By also including these trust indicators below your main Cal to Action (CTA) on a product page this reminds the potential customer of why they should be shopping with you when they are about to make their purchase decision. This small, but effective strategy is a must have for any brands looking to increase conversion.
- Reviews — Reviews can be the lifeblood of conversion when used correctly. One of the biggest mistakes made by Shopify merchants is not displaying reviews correctly on a site. Having a text based review is great, but with tools like Reviews.io, brands are able to request video based reviews. We’ve seen how using these video based reviews in the product gallery on a product page can have a significant impact on conversion by showing a ‘real life’ usage of the product.
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that an eCommerce business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Adam Pearce: Focusing on the after-sale process is key here. When we work with brands, we use Klaviyo to build out highly personalised post-sales flows that include customer check ins, review requests and loyalty programs. Given that it costs 5X more to sell to a new customer than it does to an existing one, this is incredibly important to the bottom line of a business, but also helps brands get the ‘hero’ status that so many aims for but fail to achieve.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful e-commerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.
Adam Pearce: Great question! Here are my 5 top tips:
- Spend big on photography from day 1 — If you take a look at some of the worlds most successful Shopify brands, photography is always a key focus. Given that Shopify provides some excellent themes that require minimal coding, spending on photography is an absolute must. We’ve seen a number of brands focus heavily on technical customisations for features on site, only to then provide us with inconsistent and badly lit photography that lets the site down. My guide here is to spend as much as you can on photography, and wait until the data shows you need more technical features on your store.
- Build a community — We’ve worked with a number of brands to build Facebook groups prior to site launch. By establishing yourself as a thought leader or source of support and information, this makes the ‘sell’ part of the business easier. Facebook groups are also a great way to conduct market research without it feeling like this to a customer, but its something that many brands overlook, even though it can be a great source of information and traffic.
- Build hype for product launches — When creating a new product, there’s always a tendency to want to keep it under wraps until launch day. The issue with this is that it comes as a surprise to many customers, and you don’t have the psychological buy in that is needed in the purchase process. When launching a new product, its critical to have a hype phase -usually 1–2 weeks. In this period, sharing sneak peek shots, running competitions and interviews with the product creator can not only generate the hype for a product launch day, but also act as a way to forecast demand.
- Integrate apps and technology providers — With literally thousands of Shopify apps available, choosing the right apps is tricky. But when a brand has chosen, we always see that brands don’t integrate these apps together to get the best results. For example, if you run a loyalty program and using email marketing, automatically including the rewards point balance at the top of each email you send is an easy and sale inducing tactic you can deploy. Here at Blend, this is a big focus for us, and should be for all ecommerce brands.
- Test. Test — Data is often something that scares a lot of brands, but in all honestly, it shouldn’t. Heatmapping tools like HotJar and LuckyOrange are easy to install and show brands exactly where and how users interact with an eCommerce store. By looking at this, brands are able to see what elements of their store is causing customers to not buy or navigate away. In using this data, being able to test new approaches on site (as well as with marketing) is made simpler. Every brand should always be testing — failing to do so will lead to you falling behind.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Adam Pearce: I’d love to connect with readers on Linkedin, and you can find my profile here. I’d also love for readers to visit our newly redesigned website, built with Shopify.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
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