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In episode 58 of the Customers Who Click podcast, I had a great conversation with Derric Haynie about tech stacks, and how to pick new tools to add to your business.
Tech stacks are a wonderful thing but you know what they say - too much of a good thing.... I can see how tempting all these new shiny apps are, I too get excited about new plugins and widgets (and what they can offer) and often can’t wait to try them out.
But, it’s super important that the subject of adding tools to your tech stack is approached with a bit of consideration. If you get it wrong you might “just” waste a load of money, or you might find yourself replatforming shortly after to something more suitable, and this takes up time and money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Think about the stage of the business your brand’s currently at. How will you be scaling? What resources will you have available? Is this tool necessary? Maybe you already have a tool capable of achieving the same goal; perhaps your current tools may not even be compatible with the latest addition.
Derric is the Chief Ecommerce Technologist at Ecommerce Tech, where e-commerce teams go to find the right tools and tech for their stores. Believe it or not, his ecom journey started with a game of poker in college (that went on playing high-stake poker for 10 years). Derric then went from creating a card game simulator, opening up an agency with his wife, working full time for a beauty subscription box before finally realizing his passion for the tech stack ecosystem. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or head over to https://ecommercetech.io/.
03:04 - 08:33 - Common Misconceptions about Tech Stacks and Picking New Tools - There’s quite a few, actually. First - SMS marketing and the fact that brands often don’t understand how to do it right, focusing on SMS blasts instead of having actual conversations with their customers. Costs play a huge role here - it could be difficult to manage those 1-to-1 conversations if you have thousands of customers and then, of course, you have to calculate the ROI on hiring additional staff to manage this channel.
Then we have Augmented Reality and 3D product models. Overhyped for years, now the technology is widely available (and a lot cheaper to implement), most downplay its potential for improving the customer experience and increasing conversion rates. And finally - the price stack and testing different prices in your store.
08:57 - 22:16 - Tips on How to Choose the Right Tools For Your Business - With the increased competition on the market, there's a lot more feature overlap between tools, and then there’s the choice paralysis. Start by asking yourself some questions, such as is this an enterprise solution? Is this a bottom of the market solution? Does it scale as I grow? If you’re a small brand and expect to remain small for the next 5 years, you should be investing in a relatively low-end tool that doesn't cost that much and doesn't have all the bells and whistles.
But if you’re a small brand but expect to see significant growth in the next 5 years, find a solution that can handle it and won’t require switching the provider. Look also at cues like pricing and what types of tools they integrate with and the logos of the brands that are on their homepage.
22:28 - 45:46 - Common Mistakes Brands Make with Tech Stacks - Without a doubt, the shiny object syndrome. Too often marketers become blinded with a brand new tool’s features and functionalities, buy it because they can’t imagine their lives without it and then pay for it monthly but never use it. Instead of purchasing all of the latest tools, start building your stack gradually as your business unlocks different stages of growth.
31:50 - 36:26 - Upcoming Trends in the Tech Stack Space - Brands moving away from in-house solutions. Sure, some aspects of business are better handled in-house but there’s no need to be doing things like SMS marketing or post-purchase flows yourself. Instead, you can spend a lot less money every month on a platform that already exists, and who for that same fraction of the cost is going to do all that maintenance, upgrades and security.
36:38 - 50:01 - Derric’s Marketing Pet Peeves - Brands talking about themselves and what their product can achieve but not how it can help the customers. Another pet peeve of Derric’s is when tech companies have got a brilliant product on their hands but lack majorly in the sales department. It’s all about showing the value, how it’ll benefit the customer and building a relationship with them. Also, sales demos that walk you through how to use the platform but don’t tell you why you would want to in the first place.