“Can someone throw me a shoebox?” – Ezra Firestone
I’m back with one of my most popular segments: How’d They Do?
In these posts, I review the buying experience and marketing cycle of today’s top ecommerce brands.
I’m looking for what things they do really well and what things could use improvement, so you can apply what’s working to your own business.
In this video I review the online shoe retailer Allbirds, including their product design, email marketing, advertising, and website experience.
And joining me for this one is Molly Pittman, Lindsay Marder and my C.O.O. Colleen Taylor – three amazing marketing experts.
My Purchase Journey
I discovered Allbirds shoes last year and since then I’ve bought thousands of dollars of their products (don’t laugh).
I flat-out love these shoes: They’re super comfy, lightweight, washable…
They come in limited edition colors, they have cool partnerships and — as a lover of all things advertising — they look great online and in person.
And having a product that does all that is important.
Because what I’ve learned from scaling my ecommerce brand to 8-figures is this:
You can’t do it without having an incredible product.
You must have something that adds unique value to the marketplace — and Allbirds has it.
Plus they’ve created what’s called a mass-market offer:
A product that they can sell to everyone — any age, any gender, any where — which is ideal for building a viral ecommerce brand.
What’s Working — Package Design
The branding and visual designs of the Allbirds package are done so well.
There are cartoons, sales copy, product descriptions — and all of it is consistent with the feel of their ads and website that sold you in the first place.
Not to mention the box itself, which unfolds unlike any other shoe box I’ve seen.
They also printed a note directly on the package to help minimize returns and ease customer support.
They restate their 30-day return policy and include the URL where customers can to to “easily complete their return.”
Basically, they’ve turned this entire package into a mailer to promote their brand and their customers’ success as well.
Needs Improvement — Order Confirmation Emails
This in an area where I found some room for improvement.
Unlike the rest of their messaging, the design of my order confirmation emails were extremely plain.
They were black and white and didn’t match the feel or design of their colorful website at all.
Confirmation emails are the emails that EVERYONE checks.
They get huge open rates from customers, and you can really take advantage of that attention.
For example, Allbirds had no social sharing option, no opportunity to join a buyer’s community, no discount offer incentivizing me to buy a second pair, no sales copy…
And they’re missing out on a great opportunity to tell me about their origin story, the quality of their products and continue to build their relationship with me.
What’s Working — Sales Emails and Design
Boy, these are done well.
Aside from those post-purchase emails, Allbirds is super consistent with their bright and fun email design.
Design that translated for us into a desire to buy their next new color or partnership.
The only thing is… All but one of the emails I received were “hard sale” emails.
Meaning the call to action they wanted you to click was a direct link to their store to buy more shoes.
And here again we found a missed opportunity to tell a story about their brand and grow a relationship with “goodwill” content before asking me to buy.
Needs Improvement — Add Story-based, “Goodwill” Content
The one story-based email Allbirds sent me was an instagram video of a flock of sheep running down this crazy hill in New Zealand.
The goal of this video was to show me where their product comes from and how it’s made.
And I thought it was an awesome piece of content…
Except that when I went to Instagram to watch it, it only had six thousand views. This tells me that they aren’t investing much in advertising it.
In my opinion, this thing should have at least a couple hundred thousand views, and probably way more because it’s building their brand story in my mind while it’s selling shoes.
And c’mon… I know they have the advertising budget!
Needs Improvement — More Pre-sell Articles & User-Generated Content
When Lindsay Marder first discovered Allbirds, it was a through an un-affiliated blog article.
Essentially, some lady liked the shoes enough to write a free case study on how this $95 purchase changed her life.
I can’t think of a better piece of content to showcase the benefits of a product than that.
My 8-figure skin care brand was built with a similar piece of pre-sell content, and every scrappy marketer dreams of an article like this to use in their sales process.
But Allbirds isn’t advertising case studies or success stories at all.
And for a brand that invests so much energy into being sustainable, giving to charity and finding new partnerships, they aren’t using any of this information to sell more products.
What’s (Mostly) Working — Facebook & Instagram Ads
Mostly, Allbirds advertising does a great job showcasing the features of their product.
The look, the texture, the material, even the color of their laces…
But as Molly Pittman points out, there isn’t a big focus on the ownership benefits.
She wants to know things like: How am I going to be a different person in my Allbirds? What can I do in these shoes that I can’t do in the shoes I already own?
And I think she’s right on the money.
These ads would perform very well as retargeting ads to hot traffic and folks who’ve already purchased from you…
But for someone who’s never heard of their brand before, I don’t think they work as well.
Instead, they could mix it up and promote the sheep video or that blog article — some piece of content that engages us in a conversation about the problem Allbirds solve, or in a persona that people can now identify with.
Okay, so now that we’ve looked at their marketing cycle and emails, let’s go to their website:
What’s Working — Allbirds.com Homepage
On average, 50% of your website traffic ends up on your homepage.
And when it comes to ecommerce, rich homepages win:
Hero shots of the product, moving imagery & .GIF’s, brand videos, social proof, multiple call to action buttons, shipping information, manufacturing details, and more.
Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com & Sears.com…
We’ve been trained by all of them to expect to see the most relevant content on the homepage, and Allbirds.com has built a very rich homepage.
What’s (Mostly) Working — Product Offer Page
First off, their offer page is done better than 99% of the online stores I’ve seen.
I love that their buy box has a bunch of high-quality, fast-loading images and videos, and $10 pre-purchase order bump.
But as we scroll down the page, there’s very little sales copy.
Now there’s plenty of social proof, product details and opportunities to learn more…
But it’s been my consistent experience that adding sales copy and/or bullets directly below the buy box will increase conversions.
Especially on high-end offers where you need to convince a prospect to spend $95.
With that, I’d lift the sales copy they do have above the social proof so that it’s the first thing you see after the buy box.
One Final Note On Their Website…
Throughout Allbirds’ sales experience, we’ve found a few missed opportunities for them to be storytellers and really show us what makes their brand special:
They have a great sustainable supply chain with fun videos of sheep…
They have two founders on a mission to give us better shoes…
They have unique packaging that demonstrates their brand values…
And they partner with charities to share their profit with the world…
But to find any of this information on their website, you not only have to click on their “About Page” tab…
You then have to click the sub-directory of “Our Story” or “Our Promise.”
As one of their best customers, I want to know this information. It makes me feel better about my decision to purchase from them.
And if they start showcasing these benefits on their homepage and in their product pages, I think it would give people an even stronger reason to buy these awesome shoes…
Because they’d know they were made by an awesome brand, too.
That’s it for this episode of “How’d They Do?”
Hopefully this post gave you some good ideas to try in your own ecommerce business.
And I definitely recommend you start following Allbirds’ marketing — they’re one of the best out there today.
Oh, and thanks Allbirds for making our favorite shoes ever!
5:23 Mass market offers are ideal for ecommerce
6:10 You must have an incredible product to scale in ecommerce
9:32 What’s Working – Package Design
13:16 Needs Improvement — Order Confirmation Emails
15:10 What’s Working — Sales Emails and Design
21:00 Needs Improvement — Add Story-based, “Goodwill” Content
26:00 Needs Improvement — More Pre-sell Articles & User-Generated Content
27:00 What’s (Mostly) Working — Facebook & Instagram Ads
35:23 What’s Working — Allbirds.com Homepage
36.25 50% of your traffic ends up back at your home page
37:26 What’s (Mostly) Working — Product Offer Page