06 March 2022 |

Sharma- 03/06/2022

By Nik Sharma

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re relaxed, feet up, fuzzy socks on, and maybe drinking some hot chocolate.

This is officially the first newsletter under the Workweek umbrella, and I’m absolutely stoked about it. A few years ago when Adam Ryan was the President of TheHustle, and I couldn’t even get into a bar, we used to get burritos and smoothies in San Francisco. I worked at Hint and I was an advertiser with TheHustle, and since then our relationship just kept growing. So when the opportunity came to partner up with Adam’s new company, Workweek, it was too good to say no! 

Workweek is a platform built to support the next generation of media, where they handle all the ops around newsletters, podcasts, courses, events, etc., and creators (like me) will plug into their ecosystem and build our audiences. You’ll start to see some very familiar faces joining Workweek soon too 😊. 

To celebrate the news, we’re flying one of you out and put you up in NYC for a consulting session with me, you’ll get to come to one of my events, and I’ll feature your company in my newsletter! To enter to win, check out this page here.

P.S. referring folks to my newsletter gets you extra entries.

Just copy and share your unique link here: 

Your current referral count: 

Alright, let’s get into today’s email. I wanted to talk through something that I came across this past week that I thought could be a great opportunity for brands of any size, and then quickly touch on some of the new software we are adding into our tech stack, and why. Bit of a fragmented email, but stick with me.

Part 1: It’s Kinda-Pop-Up Retail

One of the stores I discovered 2 weeks ago in New York City is the Allure Store. Allure, the very popular online publication, partnered with a company called Stour (https://www.stour.us/) to fuse together their editorial and a brick & mortar location. According to SimilarWeb, Allure gets about 10.5M views per month, so it’s got some recognition. 

Anyways, I went into the store and just found myself browsing each shelf to see what different products were, what their back story was, and how they are used. Alo Yoga was also in the store promoting their launch with an event, which drew a ton of influencers in, and Poppi Soda was being handed out. It was like a candy store for people who love beauty products, or for people like me who love “things”! 

After a few emails to different people, I got in touch with David, the guy who helps brands get into the store and make sure they have a successful activation. He walked me through the entire model of the store, the analytics of foot traffic, the costs, and why someone should be in there, and to be honest, it’s a no-brainer to get in there. 

The cheapest slot in the store is $7,500/quarter, or ~$80 per day. Think about how much you spend on Facebook and Google ads. $80 is probably nothing.

That same package gets you the ability to host 3 events PER quarter inside the store, collect and own all the emails of people who attend (even if Allure invites them), have Allure post branded content to their social channels, get into off-site gift bags (celebrity/influencer events, hotels, etc), and you keep 100% of the revenue generated from sales. They don’t take any commission on the sales, just the $7500 per quarter.

Now, why do I think this is an absolute steal (if used the right way)? For one, this becomes a place you can host events each quarter without having to pay for the venue, refreshments, or a videographer. That alone would cost you $2-3k, on the lowest end. You also get the brand alignment of being inside the Allure Store in Soho.

For top-of-funnel, it’s a great way to find new customers. In the last two months, they had about 83,000 “dwells”. A dwell is when someone spends more than 10 seconds in one area of the store — which means people are looking! 

The last reason is that having your own retail is very expensive. If you’re a product that does better when people can touch, feel, smell, taste, try it, then this is a very low-cost way to get people over the finish line to try your product. If you learn that it really helped get people to become a customer, then you can think about your own retail. 

A couple of years ago Eight Sleep had their mattress in Showfields, and their purpose of being in there wasn’t even to drive sales mainly, it was to let people just come and feel the product heat and cool if they were on the fence of making a purchase and had hesitations.

By the way, if anyone wants to talk to David, you can email him at: [email protected]

I didn’t give him a heads up, so just let him know that I and you are friends. 😂

Part 2: New Technology We’re Using

Recently, we’ve been a part of some fun brands, including, most recently, Gwen Stefani’s GXVE Beauty, and as a result, I’ve been looking at what the next wave of a great tech-stack looks like on top of what we’re already used to (Gorgias, Shopify, Okendo, etc.). Here’s what I found and why I like it:

Neutrl. Neutral makes it easy for your customers to reduce their carbon footprint while they shop. It’s a simple widget that lives in the slide our cart of your Shopify website and takes a few minutes to add to your theme. It only costs about 1% of the AOV to the customer, so most aren’t opposed to using it, in the name of sustainability!

RefundCo. Everyone focuses on making it easy to navigate a website, add up-sells to the cart, checkout, and subscribe, but no one makes refunds easy! RefundCo allows customers to instantly get a refund through 4 ways: Store credit with a 20% bonus, instant cash card to Apple Pay, a donation to charity, or a standard refund back to a customer’s original payment method. Not only does it make the experience easier for customers, but also lessens the time for a customer service agent.

Repeat. As Gen Z starts to eat more of the shopper volume, one thing that has remained true is they hate subscribing. That doesn’t stop them from remembering to reorder though, and that’s where Repeat comes in, to help make that process easy. See this example with Hydrant. They can predict when you’re running out and send you a text with Postscript to ensure you get your product on time, without you having to subscribe.

Northbeam. With iOS 14/15 messing up the right signals for marketers to better understand attribution amongst their channels, Northbeam comes through. Every sale can be traced back to each channel it touched and Northbeam gives the appropriate credit. So, when you think a Facebook campaign has 0 purchases but has spent $3,000 and Google is showing low CPAs, you can turn to Northbeam to realize that Facebook was driving the purchases and Google was just taking credit.

Motion. If there was a Google Analytics for ad creative, it would be Motion. Motion makes it easy to understand what creative performs better than others, and also makes it easy to share reports of top-performing creative with analytics to other teams or people. 

Bounty. If you sell a product that customers get excited about, there’s a good chance they will end up posting to social media when they receive and open their packages. Bounty lets you incentivize customers to do just that with TikTok. It’s basically like a cash-back program tied directly to the number of views created. It also has an attribution piece inside to show you which customers’ TikTok’s drove the most purchases.

On to some fun stuff…

Software/App of the Week:

Motion — The Creative Analytics Platform for Marketers

Some of my friends spend an ungodly amount of money on their ads (Caraway, Black Wolf Nation, Jones Road Beauty, Ridge Wallet, etc) and there’s one common problem with high spenders:

It’s nearly impossible to constantly make creative fast enough because the process for sharing learnings, identifying WTF is working, and translating that back to the creative team is broken. The current process involved excel sheets, screenshots, Google Slides, creative briefs, and meetings to explain why something worked. 

This is where Motion comes in. Motion is easier to use than a JitterBug phone. With Motion, the creative team can see real-time insights into what creative is performing and the numbers around it. 

Is it UGC, is it studio-focused creative with overlays, is it motion-graphics style ads? All those live in an easy Motion dashboard, which allows for synchronous creative work. It’s also pretty motivating for a creative team to see their output drive revenue — something that gets overlooked a lot. 

You can book a demo with Motion’s Head of Creative Strategy to learn more, or just start for free with a 2 week trial of Motion by clicking here.

Jobs of the Week:

Snif — Director of Retention Marketing
Caraway — Affiliate Marketing Manager
Zero Acre Farms — Director of Brand Marketing

View more jobs on my job board here!

Brand of the Week:

GXVE Beauty — A Clean, Cruelty-Free, and Stage-Tested Beauty Brand by Gwen Stefani.

After decades of doing her own makeup backstage, Gwen Stefani decided to launch her own beauty line online and, soon, nationwide in Sephora.

Sharma Brands had the pleasure of handling the DTC piece and I think it’s fair to say we crushed it. Check it out here!

A Few Missed Links:

  • Co-op Commerce rebranded to Disco (short for “Discovery”) and raised $20M, according to TechCrunch.
  • I did a podcast talking all about landing pages with Daniel Murray. Listen here.
  • My friend Kacper created a library of landing pages. See them all here.