It’s not easy to optimize.
As marketers, we’re constantly A/B testing every little thing. Add an emoji to that subject line, make that ad copy a bit punchier, and try switching the website CTA to orange instead of blue.
But growing your customer base takes far more than an effective A/B test. You have to create a growth strategy that is sustainable and repeatable, connecting with buyers on an emotional level – not just getting a click. In ecommerce, that’s the real difference between spammy “growth hackers” and true growth marketers.
Jon Corwin is the real deal. As the Director of Growth Marketing for One Click, an Indianapolis-based ecommerce company founded in 2005, the team grows not one but three separate eyewear brands: Readers.com, Sunglass Warehouse, and felix + iris.
With a background in B2B cloud marketing, Jon made the move to ecommerce just 4 years ago when he joined One Click. He started out focused on UX and product testing, then brought his testing-centric mindset to the marketing team. As Jon’s role evolved, so did the business model for One Click.
In this interview with The Empowered Marketer, Jon shares:
- How to manage multiple ecommerce brands at once
- The testing framework he uses to prioritize growth opportunities
- How to measure new acquisition channels effectively
- ….and much more
Listen to Episode 14: The Empowered Marketer
READ THE INTERVIEW
1. Why did One Click decide to focus on growing three different eyewear brands specifically?
Back before 2012, we had a much wider mix of brands in our portfolio. We had nine brands across a variety of fashion and wearable categories including handbags, neckties, hats, scarves, socks, and of course eyewear. We were really focused on search optimization and digital channels until some of the shifts with organic Google rankings in 2012. We realized a lot of the companies that were winning in the direct-to-consumer space, by and large, were building differentiated brands that connect with consumers on an emotional level — as opposed to just winning in search.
So, the company made a strategic decision to divest all of our other brands in these other verticals except for our fastest growing, highest margin brands, which were Readers.com and Sunglass Warehouse. And then shortly thereafter, we also launched our felix + iris brand, which delivers a completely personalized online shopping experience.
2. Do you have a completely different target audience for each brand or is there a lot of overlap between them? Is it challenging to find and acquire those audiences?
Our three brands are actually quite a bit different, which makes for a unique challenge as a team because we’re distributed across all three brands. We’ll juggle Readers.com and Sunglass Warehouse within the same breath. But as you can imagine, our Readers.com brand is really focused on targeting Baby Boomers. This is the 50 to 65+ age range when the condition presbyopia sets in, and you start to need readers. Typically, our audience is gender agnostic, but our customers love using our readers to help do the things they love like reading, cooking, gardening, and crafts.
Our Sunglass Warehouse demo focuses on older Millennials that are 25 to 35. It’s really for customers that are seeking everyday adventure. Hence the “Spend less. Do more” tagline and the value pricing strategy. Lastly, felix + iris is similar to Sunglass Warehouse, but a little bit more broad in the 25 to 40 age range. As you can imagine, we don’t see a lot of cross-brand shopping behavior.
We originally started with a really deep focus on search and digital channels. We like to think of ourselves as a data and technology company that operates in the eyewear segment. But as our brands have continued to grow and evolve and we’ve seen new channel opportunities present themselves, we’ve continued to push into other channels which leads into the advent of our Growth team. But even beyond digital channels, we’ve began pushing lately into traditional channels as well. So, things like broadcast media, and print now have also been a fun challenge to weave into our overall marketing mix.
3. How do you choose which channels to experiment with, and how do you decide if something is worth investing in?
It’s certainly been an ongoing discovery process for our Growth team. There are specific attribution solutions for tracking digital channels, but as you start to push into more traditional media, a direct path becomes a bit more challenging to understand what influenced that specific purchase.
We evaluate channels and opportunities through a prioritization framework inspired by Sean Ellis at GrowthHackers.com. It’s called the ICE scoring framework. Essentially, Impact is how big of an impact we think it could be. C is confidence and that’s just our general read on that opportunity. Then E is Ease signifying budget required, technical feasibility, operational feasibility, etc. Those are scored from 1 to 10. That rolls up to a net score. It’s really a vetting system for us to rank and prioritize different things that we’re interested in testing. It’s by no means an exact diagnostic, but it does offer directional guidance on what we should be focusing on, and what new opportunities are interesting to us.
4. As you’re testing and measuring these things, how do you actually decide if something is a success? What’s your benchmark?
A lot of other companies that have developed a growth methodology or framework. This can be applied to a number of different areas to help improve and grow the business. For us, we are primarily dialed into new customer acquisition. This could just as well be applied to conversion or referral or post-purchase or on the retention side.
We set really specific customer acquisition cost targets by channel, and we’ll essentially test against those. Our thinking is, what is the MVP signal that we can get to validate whether this has a chance to succeed at scale? If we get a significant amount of traction, we would then double down on those winners and deploy additional spend. The thinking is of course then once we’ve reached a validated state, then level it up to our core marketing mix and weave it into our larger portfolio.
As you know, the world of ecommerce runs a million miles an hour, and if you’re not growing and establishing new channels to acquire customers or grow your brands, you’re stagnating or being beat out by the competition. So, there’s a demand to constantly stay relevant.
5. There is a lot of competition right now in the eyewear space. So, how do you make these brands stand out and get people to feel loyalty to the brand?
Competition is not by any means waning. Take our Readers.com brand, for example, there are a number of core differentiators we lean heavily on. Selection is one – with over 700 styles under $20, and up to 14 different power options. These are simply things you can’t find in brick-and-mortar where a lot of readers occupy the end caps at a pharmacy or Big Box store. So, that innate breadth of our catalog gives us a strong core value of course too with our price points. The value segment is another differentiator. Some folks don’t know it, but reading sunglasses exist and it’s a really popular category for us or even computer readers. There are more activity-specific products that we offer.
I think the last thing is that we have an incredible Customer Happiness team that is jam-packed with reading glasses experts who know our readers and our products inside and out. We eat, breathe, and sleep eyewear. For folks that have questions along their journey and in the myriad of options in the world of reading glasses, they can simply call us or contact us through live chat or email. We’re here and will help hold their hands through that process. Those differentiators are really what separate us from others in the eyewear segment.
Want to learn more about Jon Corwin and One Click? Visit www.oneclickventures.com.