It’s 2023, and AI is in. Thanks to the rapid development of machine learning algorithms and advances in natural language processing, AI is experiencing a surge in popularity and adoption. It’s even entering ecommerce, improving various aspects of the customer experience and optimizing business operations.
Within the ecommerce world, Maverick is leading the AI charge. Founded by Debarshi Chaudhuri and Eitan Winer, Maverick uses AI-powered videos to help ecommerce stores build personalized relationships with their customers. Their customers include Magic Mind, Ava Estell, Javy, Remi, and more.
We chatted with Cofounder and CTO Debarshi Chaudhuri to understand how brands can harness AI to connect with their customers and boost LTV.
Maverick Cofounders Chaudhuri and Winer have been friends for over a decade. They formerly worked together at Pocket Gems, a mobile gaming company. The duo tried out several startup ideas until they zeroed in on building a company within the ecommerce space, a familiar and exciting area to Winer. Winer previously ran an ecommerce store selling alpaca clothing from Bolivia.
After talking to a handful of ecommerce entrepreneurs, the two friends discovered that many ecomm founders record and send personalized videos to their customers after they make a purchase. As these founders scaled their businesses, they struggled to maintain this marketing tactic. It was unsustainable.
This led Chaudhuri and Winer to build Maverick: a platform that allows stores to easily send personalized videos at scale (via AI), allowing them to delight customers and drive sales.
Right now, Maverick enables brands to deliver personalized videos through email, SMS, and an embedded option that allows brands to host videos on their website.
Both email and SMS are incredibly valuable marketing channels. “Customers who opt into an SMS list tend to be worth 10x more than those who opt into an email list, making SMS an extremely valuable channel for engaging content,” says Chaudhuri. “It’s more personal and requires a higher level of trust from the customer, which leads to higher engagement rates.” In the future, Maverick plans to offer integrations with Gorgias and Zendesk and expand the list of CRMs they support.
In terms of personalization capabilities, Maverick can include the customer’s first name in videos. “Hearing one’s name in a video can dramatically increase engagement,” notes Chaudhuri. “You know what they say. Everyone’s favorite word is their name.” Down the line, they plan to add more personalization options such as product names, locations, birthdays, and discount codes.
“We realized we could automate the video creation process with AI, allowing merchants to continue sending personalized videos at scale.”
The Benefits of Personalized Video
Personalized videos are more powerful than you think. They allow consumers to get to know and see the faces behind a brand.
Online shopping is convenient, but it isn’t the same as visiting a physical store and interacting with a salesperson. In ecommerce, that human element is missing. Now, consumers crave it more than ever before. “That’s one reason TikTok is so big,” notes Chaudhuri. “People crave humanness.”
So, why use personalized video?
First, it delights customers. Most people are surprised and appreciative to receive a personalized video in their inbox or messaging app. Second, it generates revenue. Chaudhuri says that a typical return on investment (ROI) for using Maverick is between 10-60x.
“Receiving a video from the owner of a brand makes customers feel seen and valued rather than just a confirmation number.”
When Maverick was first getting off the ground, they saw brands primarily use the platform for post-purchase thank you messages. Now, brands embed Maverick across the entire customer journey.
For brands getting started, Chaudhuri recommends setting up Maverick for both post-purchase thank yous and abandoned cart reminders. These types of messages tend to generate the most feedback and revenue, per Maverick.
“The post-purchase thank you messages lead to positive and often overjoyed responses, while abandoned cart reminders often result in completed purchases. At Maverick, we can track the real dollars generated from these campaigns on our end,” Chaudhuri adds.
Similar to Klaivyo, Maverick allows brands to track a range of metrics from top-funnel engagement (i.e. the number of people who received, opened, clicked, and watched a video) to downstream attribution (i.e. the actions taken by people who watched a video, such as returning to the site, completing a purchase, or signing up for a loyalty program).
“More and more brands are embedding Maverick across the entire customer journey, including welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, win-back campaigns, and loyalty program sign-ups.”
So, what makes a personalized video a success? Chaudhuri says that the most effective videos are around 15 to 20 seconds and feature the people behind the brand. Most Maverick customers use either founders or team members or hired actors/influencers to record messages on behalf of the brand.
“The most important piece is recording someone who can authentically engage with the customer,” says Chaudhuri.
Additionally, Chaudhuri recommends offering something, such as a discount code or contact information (i.e. “Hey! Here’s my phone number, if you have any issues with your order.”). It makes the content more compelling.
Maverick customer Yaw Okyere, who runs the all-natural skincare brand Ava Estell, uses the platform to strengthen his customer relationships. In his Maverick videos, he calls out the customer by first name, making them feel seen and heard. Okyere has been able to recover around 12% of his abandoned carts and get a 40x ROI on his Maverick spend. Additionally, he’s seen a 45% click-through rate and a 12% reply rate.
Okyere said, “Maverick has made me look like a superstar in the eyes of my customer.”
“We’ve found that customers are more likely to watch and engage with shorter videos.”
The Future of AI in Ecommerce
“In recent years, deep learning has made significant progress, resulting in models such as GPT-3, ChatGPT, and DALL-E for image generation,” says Chaudhuri.
It’s only the beginning. All these recent advancements make it possible for brands to engage with customers and create content in new, effective ways.
“Using machine learning models, brands can learn more about each customer and generate personalized content at scale using image and video generation tools. This level of personalization was previously not possible to achieve manually. In the next several years, we’ll see AI content tools become a core part of how businesses engage with customers,” says Chaudhuri.
“As these AI tools become widely available, we expect to see more brands using them to enhance the customer experience and improve effectiveness.”
- What to pledge
- How to improve
- Which tools will set you up for success
I think the most important thing brands can do in 2023 is to better manage their customer data—both ethically and effectively. There’s an opportunity for brands to know their customers better than ever before—a clear benefit for both the customer and the brand. When you manage your data correctly, you’ll create stronger and more personalized ads, creative, site experiences, and so much more.
This is a classic: Let the data guide you. Go where the buyers for your products are and communicate with them on a personal level (i.e. by persona and funnel position) and nurture those relationships (past, present, and future customers). It’s possible—all through data.
We recommend that Shopify brands analyze and update their websites using data-driven decisions. Using analytics tools such as heatmaps and scrollmaps can help brands better understand how customers are interacting with their store.
Store owners tend to make assumptions about the way customers interact with their website. Most never go back and analyze their design choices to find pain points or areas of opportunity. By using heatmaps and scrollmaps, they can see where real customers are clicking and concentrating their attention. Leveraging this data, brands can start to iterate on design and make their online store experience streamlined and intuitive.
Hotjar provides a simple way to implement heatmaps, scrollmaps, and recorded user sessions on your site, helping you acquire incredibly informative user data. Additionally, it gives you the ability to create on-site surveys, which allows you to obtain direct and often critical feedback from users about their experience.
Test various attribution models and analyze the impact on your business. At Fifty Six, we are always here to help our clients identify and optimize their approach—a critical step in any successful marketing strategy.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times–Customer Lifetime Value. And even more importantly, Future Lifetime Value (FLTV). With the ever-growing importance of first-party data, it is crucial that brands take a good look at their CRM and FLTV metrics.
Stop allocating budgets to low-hanging fruit that doesn’t move the needle on conversion. Think about what’s really going to improve your CX and the return of undertaking different initiatives—not just on what’s top on your list of bugbears on the site!
One of the best ways to understand your customer behavior is by using HotJar. Their heat-mapping and screen recording tools shine a light on where customers are navigating to and from on your site, where they're rage clicking and experiencing frustration, and where conversion is dropping off within real life customer journeys and flows!
Understanding your customers’ pain points via data and analytics , will allow you to work with your CRO/CX Agency to solve customer frustrations and improve conversion.
Rewind backs up all product, customer, and order data for Shopify sites—essential since Shopify itself doesn’t provide this solution. It's saved so many of our clients time and money from administrative accidents.
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33% of customer service inquiries are pre-sale questions. What does this mean? If you’re not investing in customer service, you’re missing out on revenue-generating opportunities.
The benefits of elevating your customer experience:
- 10% to 25% increase in AOV for customers who engage with live chat pre-purchase
- 21x higher conversion rate for customers who reach out via Live Chat or SMS compared to other site visitors
- 87% of customers who have a great customer experience will make another purchase
- 72% of customers share positive experiences with 6 or more individuals
Gorgias is our favorite Helpdesk platform. They can reduce costs by 35%, primarily by decreasing the average ticket handle time. Their machine learning algorithms are trained on millions of ecommerce-related interactions across Gorgias’ customer base and provide accurate, automated replies for the most common ecommerce inquiries. This helps our agents resolve tickets faster, which provides the customer a seamless experience.
Trust your agency! Agencies do the same things across multiple brands and niches, so we see the trends and have the practice and experience!
Don't be afraid of data and insights. If customers aren't clicking on your emails, try a new CTA. If your ads are driving good metrics at a small spend, start scaling. If your customers are complaining about a product, look into QA! If the data tells you something isn't working, let it go and try something else!
I'm supposed to say Tydo, right? 😉
Double down on differentiation. There will be a lot of headwinds this year and standing out from the crowd will set you apart.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A video? Probably millions. In ecommerce that value translates into engagement, acquisition, and retention—everything you need to impact your bottom line.
At soona, we've seen the we've seen the impact of creative and the continuous split testing of it yield results. Our resolution is to challenge ourselves and double down on innovation and creative optionality so that each brand we work with can distinguish themselves in a crowded sea of D2C ecomm. We'd love to see our brands share this resolution and keep pushing the creative limits.
Klaviyo. We're using it to power our email and newsletter at soona too!
Optimize your returns strategy! This can lead to valuable customer insights, enhanced user experiences, and increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Brands need to dive deeper into understanding their customers to set themselves up for success. Conduct research to gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors. By doing so, you can develop targeted strategies that will enhance customer experience and boost overall retention.
Right now I would say Gorgias. Having a good customer service tool is crucial to building strong customer relationships.
Start paying heavy attention to data, specifically around retention. We see a lot of effort put towards acquisition with the assumption that once someone buys, they are your customer forever. Instead, get to know your customer, understand their needs, and analyze their behaviors once they are on-site and judge their sentiment after they have visited. Work with a retention focused and data-driven agency to implement tools that contribute to repeat business and customer delight. It will pay dividends.
When surveyed, about 80% of ecommerce merchants think that they are delivering a great experience to their customers. However, when the same customers are surveyed, only 8% of those customers think that they are getting a great experience from the merchant. Now, more than ever, retaining loyal customers is an essential part of any online business and you should spend time with your customers to judge their experience with your website and products and offer improvements based on that feedback.
Tydo's report cards are an essential tool, along with Klaviyo for email and SMS, Recharge for subscriptions and memberships, Okendo for reviews and surveys, Rebuy for AI driven collections and upsells, Loop for self service returns... each tool is great on their own, but their strength as the ultimate tool comes from when they are used together!
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