In this episode Callum McKeefery, show host and CEO of REVIEWS.io talks to Rishi Rawat, 'The Shopify product page guy'.
They discuss the potential role of AI in creating product descriptions, and the value of using data/ feedback gathered from reviews to create effective descriptions. Rishi describes his simple three-step approach to copywriting for product pages.
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Ep. 20 - Simple ways to drastically improve your product page conversion: Rishi Rawat
Callum: So today on the podcast we have Rishi Rawat. Rishi is known on LinkedIn as the Shopify product page guy. I'm really pleased to have Rishi on today. He really knows his stuff. I've been following him on LinkedIn for such a long time. And he's a great voice, there in the office, some great insights.
So I thought, let's get him on the show and see what we can learn from him and see if we can take away some actionable insights. Rishi, thank you very much for being on.
Rishi: Thank you for having me on the show, I appreciate it. I know we've coordinated this a few times. I, I believe you felt sick at some point, so I'm very happy that,
Rishi: Yeah, COVID. I'm so happy that we've actually had a chance to do this, and my purpose is to just give out as much insight as I can from the fact that I've been, you know, on the battlefield for 13 years and I've learned a thing or two.
Callum: Yeah, I bet, I bet. So what [00:01:00] brought you talking about the battlefield?
What brought you into this space?
Rishi: So for me, I mean, you know, there are so many, there are so many versions of the original story. There's one version where I was in a retail store when I was 16 years old. This is before e-commerce was a thing, and I noticed, you know, a struggling moment with the shopper at the physical store.
And I noticed that the store owner, the cashier, was sitting at the cash register, unable to see the struggle. And if he had seen the struggle, he could have easily gone up to the customer and helped him out. And I just remember just having this flitter of a thought that wouldn't it be amazing if in the future we could, we could record these, these transactions or these behaviours and then analyze them.
Rishi: And then, of course, you know, e-commerce becomes the real thing. But for me, like, you know, the real origin story is that I was working for an agency in Chicago and I noticed that we were working for a large number of very large online brands. [00:02:00] This is basically, Pre E-commerce. You know when e-commerce, this is around 2007, so e-commerce was kind of a thing, but not really a thing.
And what shocked me was that they were collecting all of this data in their Google Analytics. But they were only focused on, when we would have conversations, the thing they knew really well was what their conversion rate was. So they could say, you know, our conversion rate is 2.7%, it's 3.2%. But they didn't really have, if I were to ask a question like, you know, what can you tell me about the, you know, the remaining people that didn't buy, they didn't really have a strong answer for that.
And I thought to myself, wait a minute. Google Analytics is already recording all of these non-conversions. Couldn't we crunch that data and make sense of it? Draw some patterns, maybe there are certain obvious things that we could easily fix. And I thought to myself that. This might be a niche opportunity.
And so I left my job, my agency life, and I started individual consultancy where I was just [00:03:00] basically reaching out to online retailers and saying, listen, all of that scrap data of yours that you do nothing with, could you kind of like, could you kind of like give me access to it and I will. Let me prove or not prove that I can pull out diamonds from it.
Rishi: And you know, 10, 15 companies said, yeah, we have ways to it anyway. We don't focus on it at all. What's, what's the harm of paying, you know, someone a little bit of money to kind of make sense of it? And I started coming up with some ridiculously amazing insights and they couldn't believe it. They just couldn't believe that there were such obvious mistakes that were happening.
And then somewhere along the way one of the CEOs once challenged me and said, you know, cuz what I was doing back then was, I would do this analysis and I would send these monthly reports. I was, and I was smart because I was not sending the reports that were talking about screenshots of things that I found in analytics, I was actually sending those screenshots, but the analysis was more in terms of I was thinking about actionable insights. So what can this [00:04:00] business do based on this insight? Because they didn't really care about what the metrics were showing. And it was that that really caught on with the CEOs and they were like really fascinated by the fact that, you know, cuz most CEOs and most entrepreneurs really despise waste.
And so even if you have a 3.2% conversion rate, yeah, the fact that you're wasting all this money is really irritating for them. So I just naturally became something that they were, you know, they would look forward to. And then one day one of the CEOs challenged me and said, how do I know what you're saying is true?
Like I can see the numbers, but how do I know? Basically what they were saying was, how do I know the difference between causation and correlation? Could it be that people who are behaving in this way simply don't buy and people who are behaving this way do buy, and it has nothing to do with like one influencing the other?
And so I said, well, there's only one way to find out and let's run an AB test. And this is before, you know, there were any of these AB testing tools. We had a Google Website Optimizer. Very [00:05:00] complicated to use, but that's the tool that I used. And we got our first set of one test winners. And then the moment I got my winners, you know, I was like, you know, hey, this is, this is it.
I found my lane.
Callum: Wow. Wow, wow.
Rishi: And that's what I did.
Callum: I love that story. It reminds me that I did a post about this a long time ago, many years ago. Was about if, have you ever seen the analogy of, the Army used to analyze the planes that came back.
Rishi: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Callum: Via the, in, in World War II.
And they used to have a, see all these bullet holes in them, and the guy came and looked at it a little bit differently and said, no, these, this is where they came the opposite. This is the survivors. Yeah. Instead, this is where we need to add more armoury. We need to add the armoury in other places.
These are fine.
Rishi: Well, it's also, it's also such an important lesson for a, for a startup, which is to focus on the scraps because nobody was focused on the data is being wasted because the focus was on like [00:06:00] the 3.2% of people that were converting. And I said, you know, hey, no one's out looking after this.
So I just kinda scooped in, and, you know, yeah.
Callum: It's such an interesting niche. You, you've grooved out for yourself. You, you've gone into and. You know, it is something that, as you say, every entrepreneur wants to focus on getting more value. You know, being an entrepreneur is a big thing about being an entrepreneur is getting more value for your money.
You are paying for this traffic. Traffic is so expensive and you need to make sure you're converting as much of it as possible. And by analyzing the people who don't convert and trying to squeeze more conversions out of that segment. It is so useful. So who do you see who's doing it well?
Rishi: Well, I mean, That's, that's a tough question. I think, I'm sure there are lots of, there are lots of young startups, younger [00:07:00] companies that are doing it really well because they've been born in this analytics environment, whereas older brands, I think, still struggle with it because they're still siloed. They still have these fiefdoms and they have these different channel conflicts.
So for example, if you are a retail, if you're a shoe retailer and you're selling through retail stores, but you're also selling online, there's always this tension between these two, these two mediums. Yeah. But if you are a mattress brand like Saatva that was born in the internet era they, you know, they're quite sophisticated.
But what I would say is that, here's what I would say. This is my first controversial statement of the day. I've worked with 400 online retailers in the last 13 years, and I've at least had access to their data. I've had access to the way they kind of think about experimentation and the way they think about disrupting their space.
And I think that there is so much untapped, you know, opportunity. So anyone listening, [00:08:00] do not be intimidated by the fact that you know, oh, the, you know, maybe all of the gains that we could have had have been essentially captured by the big boys. They actually have not, and I would say maybe like 3%, 4% of online retailers are at the bleeding edge of sophistication where they really are cleaning up the house, but, if you kind of, if you think about the broader market, there's, there are tons of opportunities.
So I don't have an answer to your specific question.
Rishi: But I, but what I can say is there's tons of opportunity.
Callum: It's such a fascinating space. So right now, so obviously when you started out, there weren't as many tools to do the AB testing. Now the market, there, there's, you know, 50 to a hundred tools each hitting different niches.
So what do you use now, primarily?
Rishi: So I use only one tool and I've used the same tool for the last eight years, called VWO.com, and I like it. [00:09:00] It's a paid tool. And, you know, I think Google Optimize is the free option. But one of the things that are really valuable to me is, and I think that everyone needs to shift towards paid tools for two reasons.
The biggest reason actually is support. So if, if I had, if I was setting up an experiment in Google Optimize and if I was confused about something or I was seeing some anomalous data, I would actually have to go to a forum and write a comment, and then maybe someone may respond. Right. And speed is what kills businesses, right?
So, for me, I just needed the support and VWO support is incredible. We send them a technical request and within 24 hours they've resolved it. And that to me is worth a lot of money.
Callum: Yeah. I've used, I've used Google Optimize before and I've used, What else have I used?
Callum: Optimizely, yeah. I found Google Optimize to be not the most [00:10:00] intuitive.
And I did. The results we got back were not. They didn't really help me develop the product. But that wasn't on a product page. That was on our, actually, on our review collection page, we were trying to see how we could squeeze out more reviews, and collect more reviews from the people who were visiting that page, opening the emails, and visiting the page.
Optimizely did seem to work better for us as a tool. So what's one of the first, when you come into a site, what's probably one of the biggest mistakes, the most common mistakes people make in, in not optimizing their page? What would you say it is? Is it content? Is it images? Is it positioning?
Rishi: Yeah, well. Let me get to controversial topic number two. So I have, let's talk about this because this is actually, this is the thing that gets me super excited and I think this is the big opportunity anyone listening into us is, is looking not for general insights, but [00:11:00] they're looking for these massive game-changing insights.
So that's what I'm gonna deliver next. Yeah. There are, there are lots of, lots of things to discuss. The first thing to discuss is that our whole understanding about shopper behaviour is basically wrong. We, and let's talk, I'm just gonna talk for the case of brevity. I'm gonna actually talk about what actually happens.
So here's how shoppers behave. Someone is looking for a curling iron, which is something that you can use to curl your hair or straighten your hair, whatever it is.
Rishi: The way their search works is you go to Google and you search for the word curling iron. You will then see a bunch of Google ads with these little tiles with different, different curling irons.
You will then click on the one that you think is most appropriate. By the way, this is completely rational. Nobody's act. There's no way to determine based on photographs, what's the best, but people might look at it based on the review counts, met to it based on the, yeah, the image quality, whatever it is.
You would then go from there to the product page and [00:12:00] what then happens is you are also right-clicking and opening five others. So you've got to come to the product page. You've got these five other tabs open for five other product pages of competing brands. You will then spend 10 seconds on that product page.
And if you do not see what you're looking for in those 10 seconds, you will leave the website and you will focus on those other tabs. So what has happened here, number one is that they've only seen one page in your entire website. We believe that you know, hey, my about this page has this wonderful original story about the founder.
Well, the user came to your product page, fired your website and left the website and will never come back again. That's another very interesting statistic. I believe 64% of users only go to the website once. So basically you have a very, very small chance of ever, yeah, ever, ever seeing this person again.
They've also just seen one page and they have, you are competing against these four other tabs that are all promising to have a better curling iron than yours right now. So it's not like the person came to your website, gave you their full attention, and then left the website, [00:13:00] and then tomorrow went to the next website.
It is happening on a real-time basis. So I think understanding this context really focuses the attention of the marketer because if you don't look at it from this perspective, you are dead on arrival. Now the thing is that on the product page, now your next question was like, what is the element to focus on?
There are lots of elements that are valuable, but some of them are very expensive. So, for example, if I were to say that your product images aren't very good and there is ample data that says product images have a disproportionate impact on conversion rates. The problem though is, doing a photo shoot for product images is a very expensive proposition.
Rishi: So I would say when I kind of, when I think about ideas, I'm always thinking about impact versus effort. And I would say product images have a high impact, but also have a high effort. Customer reviews, you know, you have a reviews tool I think are incredibly, incredibly valuable but we can't control the reviews, right?
So the problem with the reviews is that they're kind of a little [00:14:00] bit out of our control. If, for example, in a hypothetical scenario, I have a product page where I have 5,000 customer reviews and have an average star rating of four and a half stars. That's really good. But if I'm unlucky and the last three reviews were two stars, then that disproportionately biases the buyer.
Rishi: And so what I would say as far as the reviews are concerned is that you need to think about clever ways of increasing the discovery rate of reviews. This is one I'm, and I'm sure this is something you have insights on as well. So what happens is that brands will put reviews on the product page. And they will say, job done.
We've added reviews, so therefore we have reviews.
Rishi: Actually, the way we do it is we actually use Google Tag Manager to, to track, to see the scroll depth. So I figured out what the depth was for the reviews. I look at how people scroll down to that area, and what we find is that less than 10% of people are actually even discovering the reviews.
Now, the brand will say something like, how is that possible? Reviews are [00:15:00] impossible to miss. The reason why they miss the reviews is not because. The reviews aren't on the page. People are so distracted. So if reviews are super important for your conversions, you have to make sure it is your responsibility to make sure that they are discovered.
And the only way to increase the discovery rate of reviews is to have tracking in place to know if reviews are being read. And so, so to me, that's, but. The point I wanna make here is that the most important element, the one element that we can actually easily work on that has an incredible impact on conversion rates on the product page is the product description.
90% of websites have incomprehensible completely, utterly throwaway product descriptions.
Rishi: And I think that is the billion-dollar opportunity.
Callum: Yeah, no, I a hundred per cent agree with you. I do, I do have a couple of points on that. So I did a lot of research on the review element of this, and [00:16:00] we have our own kind of analytics tool called FullPicture, which we developed ourselves and we developed that tool to prove an ROI of reviews.
And it was to, it monitors that the reviews are being read, you know, three seconds you're on that review and that shows that you're reading it. You're, you know, we are, we are looking at eye track and mouse track and everything else and time look, you know, with that review in the window so we can see that people are reading the review.
It's really interesting how few reviews get read when they get read. So normally it's only like three reviews on average get read on the page. That's the most popular. What we find to be the biggest influence with reviews on product pages is that they increase the average order value.
That's the biggest uplift. But you're completely right in that if they're not high enough on the page or prominent enough or good [00:17:00] enough quality. So the quality of reviews, you need your best quality reviews to be front and centre. That doesn't mean that they're the highest rated, it just means they've got the best quality grammar, the great best quality spelling.
They've got a photo, or a video and all of these things that really build trust in the product. So what we found is that spelling mistakes occur in about 30% of all reviews. We did a thing and 30% of all reviews have spelling mistakes. Over 50% of all reviews have grammar mistakes. And when people come on a page and they read your reviews, if there's a spelling mistake, they go: "What? Okay."
And then they look at another one and maybe there's a grammar mistake and you're like, oh, this is weird. So, what we did was, we teamed up with Grammarly to when people are [00:18:00] writing the reviews, it actually has Grammarly installed in the editor. So the quality of the review that's being collected actually has better spelling and better grammar, and that's where,
Rishi: That's brilliant.
Callum: That's worked really, really well. And we were trying to think of ways on how we can help use AI to help reviewers write better quality reviews. And that's really important and I think that's gonna be important going forward. For our customers especially. How can we collect more photo reviews and video reviews?
Getting those on the site in a prominent position is, is really, really important. What Full Picture does now, is it actually says to you, not just that reviews have been read, but actually it's this review. That was read, and this review caused the action on the buy button. So we are getting, you know, we are getting clever about it.
I think we've got a long way to [00:19:00] go in, in what we do. So, going back to descriptions, do you think descriptions are tricky ones? You know, I, I'm, I'm sure you'll agree with me here. You're better off having 10 products, focusing on 10 products with 10 awesome descriptions, instead of a hundred products with a hundred terrible descriptions.
You know, focus on, you know, good quality, unique descriptions, but also tone of voice is very important, and these things are super, super important in building your brand and converting your customers. All too often I see brands that are fun and friendly, have a very corporate tone of voice on their descriptions, and you're like, don't make any sense.
You know, there's this disjoint and humans are really good at spotting that and as soon as they spot that, they go, let's trust. Go into the next one. So definitely I, I, I kind of, I, I think descriptions got a long way to go. [00:20:00] I don't know whether AI can play a role in that. I dunno whether you've had any, you know, you know, there's all the, there are so many AI tools out there now, whether they, which are so good.
There are so many, you know, some of the AI tools writing. You know blog posts and, and, and even papers are, are so, so good now. And I really don't know whether they can be trained to write good quality product descriptions or whether it's still the human element of going in and, and, writing them.
One thing that, I dunno whether you've come across this one thing that I see good brands doing now is reading the reviews, the good and the negative, and then using the data from the reviews to write the product description cuz that tells you what people are, what features of the product they're interested in and what have made them do the con, what their conversion point is.
This is the this is the 'a-ha' [00:21:00] moment. I'm gonna use this in my product description. I dunno whether you've.
Rishi: Yeah, I mean, so I, and I totally, that totally makes sense. And in fact, in the YouTube show that I run with Lorenzo and I believe Lorenzo's going to be speaking to you as well at some point soon.
Lorenzo specializes in reviews-mining. And so he's doing exactly what you're describing. He will kind of go through the reviews and he will actually understand the sentiments of these different buckets, and then he will actually construct a product description based on that. I am more of a classical copywriter, so I don't rely on that approach, but it's actually, so the reason why we have a YouTube channel, here, together is becauseWe think both those disciplines collectively are, are super, super powerful.
Rishi: But what I, what I will tell, what, what I wanna share here with the audience is, I wanna give them a basic outline of a description that I think will really, really, really help them. And it's very simple, it's a very simple hierarchy.
[00:22:00] So basically think of your description as being a three-part act. The first part is the opening, which is actually the most important part of the description because what happens is that if the opening sucks and if the opening doesn't connect with the buyer, There's no way that they're gonna read part two and part three, so you've already lost the sale.
So the opening is the most important. Then we have the middle, and then we have the closing. So the opening is designed to do two things. First, we talked about this a little earlier. The thing that brands don't understand or don't fully recognize is the fact that your competitors are those four open tabs that the user has opened right now as they've even started.
They're in a high, it's a term people don't like, but buyers are in a highly promiscuous state where they don't wanna commit to a brand. I mean, spending money. We are genetics. We have been biologically programmed to not spend money. This is how you prevent homelessness, right? So, so, our brains are working [00:23:00] super hard to prevent Rishi from doing stupid things like buying stuff that he doesn't want, right?
And so when I am on a product description and I see anything that sounds like a red flag, I'm done, sales, done. I've lost you've gone. And so, so those, those four other tabs are screaming for my attention, saying, stop reading the stupid description. Come check us. Check us out. Right? But the reality is that I'm focused on this tab.
So the marketer has this microscopic advantage that they need to triple down on. So the first part is the opening. And in the opening, you actually need to build a case against competing products. And so, you know, I'll give you a simple trick that I use.
Rishi: It's a very simple language trick. So for example, if I'm selling a curling iron, my opening sentence will say something like curling irons aren't created equal.
And the reason I've said this is because I want to inject doubt in the mind of the buyer that, hey, those other tabs don't be so quick to look at those tabs, because we're not all the [00:24:00] same. And I've just bought myself three more seconds of time, and that's all I can do. I can buy three seconds and then I can show them another sentence that buys another three seconds.
And before you know it, so the first purpose, the first part of the opening is focused on. Creating distrust for other alternatives. The second part of the opening, which is also still part of the opening, is to get them over the unfamiliarity barrier. See, this is the other mistake brands make, is that when I'm buying a curling iron, I'm looking to buy a curling iron.
But if the brand's name is. Victoria, for example, I don't know who Victoria is as a brand. So before it's, it was very odd to try to sell me a curling iron Victoria when I don't even know or care about Victoria. So the first thing you, the second thing you have to do as part of the opening gets the user to get a little familiar with Victoria, the brand.
Rishi: Then comes the middle of the sales pitch. The middle of the sales pitch is completely focused on just one thing, which is demonstrating expertise. Victoria, the brand has to prove to me [00:25:00] that they make the best curling irons in the world for this price point. So if you don't do that, you've completely lost the sale.
And then we get to the third part of the sales pitch or the description, sorry. And here we are addressing all of the negative thoughts that the buyer may have. See what happens is, as people are having a conversation, as people are reading descriptions, our brains remember, our brains are protection devices preventing us from making stupid mistakes.
So our brains are throwing up all of these cautious messages saying that 'Hey! This doesn't sound right.' or 'This is absurd.' And if the brand is unable to anticipate those negative thoughts and address those negative thoughts by the closing of the sales page, guess what happens? How. That's right. And so that's the three-part structure that I use for the product description.
And I think if anyone goes to their product description, the other thing is that you don't have to do this for every product on your website. So there's a wonderful principle called Zipf's law, and what it basically states is that you know, the top two or three [00:26:00] products are going to drive the bulk of your sales.
So go and focus on those two or three products and read the description and kind of playback this video or this audio of the three acts that I just talked about and, and see how you could improve it. And I promise you, you'll come up with a ton of ideas that you had never considered before.
Callum: That's amazing. Amazing. I totally agree with you. When I think of the, you know, the best product pages that I look at, they all do that. They're all, you know, almost they're, they're all making themselves unique and incomparable. And that's such an amazing thing. I totally agree with you on focusing on a small number of products.
I'm a big advocate of that. I really, I, you know, unless you are, you know, a huge startup and you've got hundreds of staff and you can do this at scale, you [00:27:00] know, really, I can't stress enough that you need to focus, focus on your winners, focus on your top converting products, and squeeze conversions out of those.
And then once you've won that customer, then use other tools like Klaviyo and so forth, or a loyalty program to really increase the lifetime value of those customers and get them in the funnel to buy other products from you. I can't stress that enough, and then slowly roll out more products, but make sure they're as good a quality as that first product.
I see too many brands, too many brands selling hundreds of products and 90% of them are low quality and it just damages their brand without a doubt. Are there any product pages that you could recommend for the listeners to go and look at that you think, you know what, these guys do it really well?
Rishi: Yes. So the one that I can recommend, it's actually, it's actually a food brand. And I can include this in your show notes, but it's a [00:28:00] website called Zingerman's, z-i-n-g-e-r-m-a-n-'-s. And it's, and I should actually double check to see if I got the spelling right, but I think it's Zingerman's, yep, Zingerman's.
I think, yeah, it's one 's' and it's a Michigan, it's a Michigan-based company. It's zingermans.com. I'll send the link to you. And the reason I, I really like these guys is, the reason I really like this website is because they sell food products. So they'll sell like olive oil from Italy. But the way they describe the olive oil that they're selling is, Incredible.
Most product pages will say, you know, this bottle is, it weighs so much and it's, you know, perfect for making this kind of dish. Their product page is gonna say, I travelled to Italy and I spent three weeks with this family and I actually saw their entire process. And I have here the pictures from my travel logs and, you know, here's what I came up with, came back with.
And I think that way of describing something is just like, next-level. And so I [00:29:00] really love how they manage their product pages.
Callum: And I, and I think if you do it like that, you're really building a connection between you.
Rishi: That's right.
Callum: And your customer.
Callum: And you're big, you're really almost building a community right from the start. Right, not from, you know, people think that you build your community after they've interacted, after they've made a purchase. You build the community before they've made the purchase in a lot of counties. And I, and I. Product description and, and your front-end site allows you to do that. That's a really, really cool page.
I will, you know, put it in the show notes and I will look at it. I can see you've got loads of books in the background. I'm going, I've gotta ask, have you, what have you read recently that you think has influenced your mindset, which you've thought is a great book? Anything that's interesting?
Rishi: Yeah, I mean, actually I tend to reread books quite regularly.
But I, one of the books that I'm reading right now is a book on poetry. [00:30:00] And it's a really weird leap, but I think that I have this, I have this, this theory and my theory is that, so I believe this is again, controversial controversy number seven. But I believe all of marketing is designed to influence the irrational side of shoppers.
And I think a lot of times brands focus too much on the practical reasons why you should buy their products.
Rishi: Not realizing the emotional drivers that people are kind of seeking out and what I really like about poetry, and I've discovered poetry recently, is how it completely appeals through language to my irrational site.
I like, and I do, so I believe that it's possible. I believe it's possible. I've never come across an example, and I certainly can't do it myself, but I think it's possible where a copywriter writes a description on the product page that is so good, It makes the shopper [00:31:00] completely price insensitive. The price does not matter anymore.
It's written so beautifully.
Rishi: And I think that one of the reasons I'm reading poetry is because I want to really expose myself to that form of writing because I don't see it happening on product pages, and I want to incorporate some of that into the work that we're doing for our clients.
Callum: Yeah. I can totally get what you mean there if I think of examples you know, I go back and look at, you know, like the old Mercedes ads or the old Porsche ads, or even the, the one that I've used quite a lot is the Hertz, Hertz Rental.
Rishi: Oh yeah.
Callum: They were happy to be number two.
Rishi: Yep. We try harder.
Callum: Try harder. I love that. I love that copy. I love, I mean, such, such amazing marketing copy. And I think, I go back and I really try and study what these marketing geniuses were [00:32:00] doing in the, in the fifties, sixties and seventies. And, trying to bring it into our marketing now.
Rishi: Well, I'll show you. I'm gonna point, you see this red book over here?
Rishi: You can't see. It's quite a distance, and I don't know if the listeners will be able to see it, but it's actually the most valuable thing I own, which is the reason why it's placed there. It's a reprint. I couldn't buy the original, but it's actually a reprint of 125-year-old Sears catalogue and
Callum: Oh, wow.
Rishi: When you think about copywriting, this is like 700 pages of pure joy where every product, whether they're selling a shovel or they're selling a pocket watch, they add so much romance into it. There's so much thought put into, put into it. It's very humbling and it's very beautiful.
Callum: I love that. I love that.
But then I also think, why did they stop doing that? If Sears carried on doing that, they'd still be around.
Rishi: That's right. I think, what I think companies have a natural life cycle. I [00:33:00] think you get to a certain point where you lose the grittiness you know, things become, marketing becomes really easy, and, and then you, you lose your way. And you know, I think that's what happened.
Callum: See, I have a theory that. That it's not the marketing that loses its way. This is my theory on this, and that is that it's that the accountants get control. In the start, in the early days, it's the entrepreneurs, the marketing teams. It's the gritty on-the-floor teams.
And then as you get bigger and bigger, you have the bean counters, the accountants coming in, the CFOs coming in and kind of, they control your roadmap going forward. Oh, you know, we need to condense descriptions down to one line because that costs us less and we can still squeeze more revenue out.
And I'm starting to see it happening in SaaS products. Definitely, I mean, even with us, I mean, we have a [00:34:00] CFO now and. He has a lot of say over what we do. Of course, and he should, he, he, he's that, you know, team member. But we do, I definitely see that there is this disjoint in goals and as soon as brands start taking too much direction from the financial team.
They go the way of Sears and I, and I actually think that, Netflix is at, Netflix is one of the brands that I've seen this happen to recently, where they've kind of lost their way because the marketing team and the entrepreneurial spirit stepped back because the accountants have stepped in. I hope that, you know, they don't go the way of Sears, but I think if it continues to happen. They will. One brand that it happened to was Microsoft, wasn't it? When Steve Balmer was at Microsoft, they became so focused on squeezing revenue out of everything that they really lost their way and now their new CEO in, [00:35:00] he's really refocused Microsoft and it's back in a big, big way.
I mean, their profits are huge and, and they've got. You know, they did the LinkedIn purchase, they've done all these purchases that have been fantastic for the brand. And I don't think they would've done them from the CFO's point of view. I think they've.
Rishi: Not at all.
Callum: Yeah, I, it is just interesting what you say about Sears.
Rishi: I think the other lesson here for marketers is that, you know, you don't have to read New York Times, New York Times 2021 Bestseller on marketing. I think there's a lot of gold in books that were written a hundred years ago. In fact, I would say this, the fact that they are still being printed today tells me that there's a ton of gold.
Callum: So one book I'm reading at the minute, which I'm getting so many nuggets of information out of and I'm absolutely loving is Rockefeller's autobiography.
Rishi: Oh, that's my favourite book. That's my, that is, yeah, that is my favourite book [00:36:00] right here.
Callum: That's it. That's what I'm reading at the minute. What a book that is. What a book.
Rishi: It is my, yeah, it is my, it is my favourite book of all business biographies. It's my favourite one.
Callum: Yeah. It is such a, if you're listening and you've not read, Titan, it's Rockefeller's, richest man in the world's autobiography. And it is just a fascinating book. It's such a great story, but also it has good insights into how you can, actionable insights in how you should run your business to grow your business into a big business. I mean, his business was huge and how it got broken up by the US government and so forth. But such a good book. I really, I am really, really enjoying that.
I'm loving that at the moment. Honestly, Rishi, you've been a super guest. You, you've been an absolute superstar. What's, what's your YouTube? YouTube channel? I wanna put that in the show notes.
Rishi: Yeah, so it's called 'How Shoppers Think'. If you search for the term 'How Shoppers Think'.
Rishi: You will, you will find [00:37:00] it and it, we actually, it's, it's a really fun project that I'm doing with a very close friend of mine, Lorenzo. Where every week we will analyze two product pages for large direct-to-consumer brands, and we'll just share them, we will actually share ideas that we would, we charge our clients for.
Rishi: And the I, and the reason why we're doing this is because we want to essentially democratize our philosophy and we want everyone to steal it.
Rishi: Because we think it'll just create a better ecosystem, of course. And it'll just, it'll just make all of us grow faster.
Callum: Yeah, of course. No, you are a true thought leader in this space and that's clearly well deserved. I'm so pleased and proud to have you on the show today. It's been amazing. Rishi, thank you so much.
You've been a superb guest. Guys, please go and follow Rishi. All the details are in the show notes and you know, let's create better product pages together.
Rishi: That's right.
Callum: Thank you Rishi and I, we'll catch up soon.
Rishi: Thank you for everything and I will talk to you soon. [00:38:00] Cheers.
Callum: Thank you.
Cheers. Bye bye-Bye.
Callum: Thank you for listening today. In reviews we trust is a bi-weekly podcast where I hope to be bringing you advice and insights from brands that are taking the e-commerce world by storm.