In Reviews We Trust

Season 2: Ep.2 - How to reduce environmental impact, and increase profit margins with Greenspark and Noughts & Ones

May 11, 2023 Callum Mckeefery Season 2 Episode 2
In Reviews We Trust
Season 2: Ep.2 - How to reduce environmental impact, and increase profit margins with Greenspark and Noughts & Ones
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode host Callum McKeefery talks to Tom Locke Founder of Noughts & Ones, the agency that builds sales-friendly Shopify stores for planet-friendly businesses, and Matt Williams, COO and Co-Founder of Greenspark who help businesses and individuals to make a planet-positive impact. 

They discuss ways businesses can drive sustainable practices whilst increasing profitability, the importance of choosing and researching your partners and being conscious of your networks. The impact of conscious coding and development for eCommerce sites and ways that loyalty can be used to identify and reward positive and sustainable consumer behaviour.

Callum McKeefery:

Matt Williams:

Tom Locke:

Show notes:
Noughts & Ones
Cheeky Panda
John Masters Organics
Wholegrain Digital

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Freakonomics: The Hidden Side Of Everything
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Ep. 26: Tom Locke & Matt Williams - Noughts & Ones X Greenspark

[00:00:00] Callum: Welcome to the In Reviews We Trust podcast, the show where we explore the fascinating world of eCommerce and digital marketing. In today's episode, I have the pleasure of speaking to two of the leading voices in sustainability and environmental impact of e-commerce businesses.

[00:00:19] Callum: First, we have Matt Williams, co-founder of Green Spark, and we also have Tom Locke, the founder of Noughts and Ones agency. Let's do some quick intros. Matt, can you tell me first about Greenspark, how you came to exist, and why 

[00:00:35] Matt: Yeah, absolutely. great to be here. And yeah, essentially, you know, what we're all about is helping e-commerce brands, do good things for the planet.

[00:00:41] Matt: So we help them to, take sustainable action in a really simple way. they're able to integrate the tools that they already use online, and then add things like tree planting, ocean bound, plastic rescue, carbon reduction, and other kind of sustainability projects to things like their product sales reviews.

[00:00:58] Matt: Yeah. of course. [00:01:00] And, subscribers to email lists as well you know, we then give them a suite of tools to be able to share that with their community across the full customer journey, you know? Right. Being first landing on the homepage to the product page, cart page, uh, post-purchase with certificates.

[00:01:15] Matt: and unique customer dashboards as well, essentially, so that we give them the ability, be super transparent about what they're doing, share it with their community, bring them kind of along on that journey with them so they're able to do good things for the planet whilst also connecting more with.

[00:01:30] Matt: Conscious audience. Yeah. And, and it can help boost their metrics. At the same time, 

[00:01:34] Callum: we are actually a client of yours, Yeah. We work together on, we are planting trees at the moment. 

[00:01:39] Matt: yeah, absolutely. Yeah, so it's two ways actually.

[00:01:41] Matt: So we have some of our, e-commerce brands who are using, dialo, essentially adding impact to, that customer journey. So when a customer leaves a review, That brand will on the behalf of that customer, plant a tree or rescue that ocean bound plastic. and the only other thing we do is we have a network feature which allows [00:02:00] brands to essentially kind of gift impact.

[00:02:02] Matt: So, you know, plant a tree on behalf of any other business. and what we are doing there is, you know, for your agency partners. including Noughts and Ines here essentially, rewarding them for the number of clients that they're bringing on board, around impact. So it's really good to kind of encourage additional action whilst giving something back.

[00:02:20] Matt: Awesome. 

[00:02:20] Tom: Awesome. So, 

[00:02:22] Callum: Tom, tell us about Noughts and Ones

[00:02:24] Tom:. yeah. Oh, great to be here. I’m from Noughts and Ones. So we are a, a Shopify agency, we specialize in custom design and development on Shopify and Shopify Plus and we primarily work with sort of purpose-led planet friendly brands. But we also try and deliver custom Shopify stores in as sustainable a way as possible.

[00:02:51] Tom: So we are focused as an agency on digital sustainability. So how can we do what we do in the best possible way?[00:03:00] and also who we work with beyond just our brands, but also. Tech partners 

[00:03:05] Callum: and your partners. Some great brands I have seen, we work with a couple of brands with you guys and yeah, probably in probably some of the best brands in the UK work with you now, like fastest growing brands like Maeving 

[00:03:20] Callum: yeah. If you don't wanna know what, know what Maeving is, it's the, battery powered motorbikes. That's right. Yep. I did look on your site earlier and I, and I did notice that your motto was planet people profit in that order. Yeah. Who came up with that? 

[00:03:35] Tom: to be honest with you, a lot of all of that comes from us as a collective.

[00:03:40] Tom: So everyone that works in Noughts and Ones is part of that voice. So, all of that was kind of collated within team but a copywriter. Yeah. Yeah. Made it sound perfect. 

[00:03:50] Callum: No, it's just, so it was, I, I did go on the site earlier and I was looking through our co customers. Mm-hmm. and did like the copy, so I thought [00:04:00] I'd ask 'em whether you wrote it or not.

[00:04:02] Callum: so how can e-commerce brands reduce their carbon footprint become more sustainable? Obviously, E-commerce is not very sure environmentally friendly. It was much easier to pop down to the shop it or went to one place, she went and picked it up. Mm-hmm. But obviously now with e-commerce, there's obviously server costs, delivery, mm-hmm.

[00:04:26] Callum: Returns, you know, things like 

[00:04:28] Tom: that. So yeah, I guess there's kind of, there's so many aspects to how an e-commerce brand. Can be sustainable. Obviously what we do is a small part of the puzzle in terms of what makes up their whole brand, their whole business. So there's things that they can look at on the operational side, obviously with, yeah, trying to provide the most sustainable delivery, packaging, you know, all of that sort of stuff.

[00:04:59] Tom: And [00:05:00] then from our perspective, what we try and do is actually help brands. Ensure that their online sustainability is in check. Yeah. And even just considered ultimately is really what we want is our mission, I guess. so a lot of what we focus on with regards to how brands or e-commerce brands can be more sustainable is how are they doing what they do online?

[00:05:28] Tom: And is that in a sustainable way or as a sustainable way as. Basically, yeah. 

[00:05:34] Callum: It is interesting cuz obviously you are only a, a small part of that.You are developing the site and you're hosting on Shopify. Mm-hmm. Are you doing any other, are you doing any headless for those people? 

[00:05:45] Tom: For certain brands?

[00:05:46] Tom: Yeah. If, if that setup is makes sense for them and their business. Yeah. Um, but I would say probably 80%. of The clients we've worked with are on native Shopify. 

[00:05:56] Callum: Are they mainly UK 

[00:05:58] Tom: businesses you work with? Pretty much, yeah. We have [00:06:00] worked with a couple of US and Australian 

[00:06:02] Callum: businesses, but primarily UK. I say that cuz I was talking my friend this week, he runs a large multinational fashion retailer, Uhhuh huge.

[00:06:11] Callum: And he's actually shipping things from the UK. To Australia. And then when that person gets it and goes, oh, I want to return it, it, the, the parcel then gets returned back to the UK. He only just found out, I mean, the business is massive. It's got a, you know, half a billion dollar turnover. and looking at his, returns procedures for international, he was allowing multiple returns from one customer

[00:06:42] Callum: and the, the, the footprint of this return. You know, he was delivering clothing to New Zealand and then allowing them to return each item individually as they tried them on. And the footprint for that return was astronomical. Plus the cost was, they were basically losing money [00:07:00] on every, every, if the customer return one item.

[00:07:02] Callum: Mm-hmm. and I, I was like, well, you've just gotta. Supplying Australia or, or New Zealand, you've gotta find a better way. And while you are finding that better way, stop. he kind of argued that, no, we can't do that because our shareholders, we have to be there. Yeah. Lose profit or whatever.

[00:07:18] Callum: Yeah. We have to keep the turnover up. It's all about keeping that turnover up, keeping shareholders happy. Yeah. Yeah. So there is this balance. brands say they're sustainable. They're, you know, trying to be more environmentally friendly, that actually eCommerce doesn't let them be and their investors don't let them be more ethical. 

So what steps can businesses take? Obviously with your product, businesses can, offer, Offer impact. Yeah. They can offer. because you plant trees on 

[00:07:58] Tom: behalf of clients and [00:08:00] Yeah. rescue ocean bound plastic offset emissions. Yeah. Um, yeah. 

[00:08:04] Callum: So how would that work for, say, Maeving, which is an e-commerce brand?

[00:08:07] Matt: Yeah, so I mean, there's a number of ways they could do that. so, you know, could plug in the Shopify store and then automatically choose a specific amount of, impacts to be, added when that purchase takes place. So, for. bikes sold could, plants say 20 trees. Um, so is that project site?

[00:08:24] Matt: So we, we're plugging in. So it's a Shopify app. Yeah. When it comes to our Shopify clients, we do have integrations with, Klaviyo, Yotpo, some of the, others out there. 

[00:08:33] Callum: So you are working with those brands, but what I'm trying to get at is how easy is it for that brand to set up? 

[00:08:41] Tom: super easy. You know, with the Shopify app, they can basically plug that in in 30 seconds, and then choose from a five customizable triggers. So is it per order, per product sold?

[00:08:51] Tom: They can set spend levels, choose percentages, um, and then, you know, even this week focus on tree planting and next week on ocean plastic [00:09:00] rescue, or even do it for different products. 

[00:09:01] Callum: And then how are they selling that revenue to you? Is it coming?

[00:09:04] Matt: it's an addition. So, you know, at the end of the month, you know, they'll will tally up, automatically the, the amount of orders that have been placed and how much impacts they wanted to add to those. And then that just goes straight through the Shopify account bill directly.

[00:09:16] Matt: So it 

[00:09:16] Callum: it gets billed on their Shopify account as a cost. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. No, makes sense.

[00:09:21] Matt: I mean, we are, we're still pretty small. So, you know, the idea is that we're starting where the majority of e-commerce brands are right now, which is Shopify. They are doing some of the most interesting things in the market as well. So that's kind of where we've started. 

[00:09:33] Callum: So who's a customer? Who's using your product really well?

[00:09:36] Callum: Who would you. This, this brand's using it. Well go and look at what they're doing. 

[00:09:41] Matt: Yeah. So, these guys, no. I mean, so the feature that we work with together on is like, you know, it's my dream scenario for what we do, which is essentially, you are working with your own agencies, rewarding them for the, um, the work that they're doing with you.

[00:09:57] Matt: And then one of those agencies, is Tom here and [00:10:00] essentially, you know, working then with your own clients. Um, gifting them impact as well. So one relationship, has become many and then that could potentially spark more as well. So, you know, that's the, I didn't mean to 

[00:10:12] Tom: be quite so leading. 

[00:10:14] Callum: So who's doing it well on your side?

[00:10:16] Callum: Who's doing it? Who's one of your clients who you think, you know, like these guys go and have a look at 

[00:10:21] Tom: them? we were talking just before about, I guess, the breadth of what that actually means. Yeah. But I think from my perspective of it, in my opinion, Brands that are doing, doing sustainability well or are pioneering in that area are the brands that yes, they are doing what they can do as sustainably as possible, but more importantly, they are educating and sparking conversation.

[00:10:49] Tom: So we've worked with the Cheeky Panda as a brand. Yeah. Um, example who absolutely fantastic. Yes. They've got, um, an inherently sustainable product. In that [00:11:00] it's toiletries from Bamboo. but beyond that, they're engaging their customers and ultimately their network to spark conversation 

[00:11:09] Callum: Who's a client? Who's that brand? Who's an E-commerce brand?

[00:11:12] Callum: Who is doing impact? Well, you know, like is there anyone on the checkout? Who's, is there any like lead customer? You know, when someone comes to you, Right. This is who's doing it really well? Who, who should I look at as a good example? Yeah. 

[00:11:27] Matt: So, one that we've just recently, uh, onboarded a company called John Masters.

[00:11:31] Matt: US Skincare brands, really amazing what they're doing already, very organic, focused around, doing good things for the planet. They've just started to work with us because part of what they do is, focused on, the packaging. It's not possible to be fully sustainable. So what they're doing with us is they are rescuing a certain amount of ocean plastic kind of to, to offset that there.

[00:11:50] Matt: Yeah. They're, you know, saying that we're not perfect, we can't do this right now, but we're working on it. Mm-hmm. And in the meantime, we're working with Green Spark to essentially reduce [00:12:00] our, overall net, plastic consumption. 

[00:12:02] Callum: That that's it. for me, I see so many brands. Trying to greenwash and say they're doing these things, but not actually doing them.

[00:12:11] Callum: we need a way to identify these brands that are saying, oh, we are doing something sustainable. How can we actually find out that they are doing those things? we've seen it with Boohoo recently. We've seen it with other. ET ad have just been in the news today for greenwashing.

[00:12:29] Callum: it's happening all the time. Mm-hmm. consumers have to have faith in what brands are doing Behind the scenes. and I think at the minute I think that that faith is, A hundred percent there from the consumer side, and I think we've gotta get it back. I 

[00:12:45] Tom: an obvious one is, is B Corp in terms of Yeah.

[00:12:50] Tom: Okay. There's a certain criteria that a brand and a business has to meet in order to get a certain label, batch, whatever you want to call it. [00:13:00] Um, so I think there's things like that, which are great, but there's not enough of that in terms. You know, I'm not saying it's just B Corp, but there should be a lot more transparency around what is actually, not necessarily what is proactively being done, but actually what is being done within the operations of a business as a brand.

[00:13:23] Tom: Yeah. How are they existing? And we need, basically need that transparency to feed into consumers. We need 

[00:13:30] Callum: transparency. Exactly the same like what you say there. Exactly the same as. That reviews us, helped transparency and trust and building trust, and you know, learning from past customers. We need our.

[00:13:43] Callum: Lens into the business. Mm-hmm. To have faith that they're actually doing these things that they say they're doing. 

[00:13:51] Tom: I think you'll probably find the ones that are doing it the best are the ones that aren't actually talking too much about it. 

[00:13:55] Callum: Yeah. 

[00:13:57] Matt: Probably. Probably. 

[00:13:58] Callum: That's annoying. You [00:14:00] know, that's annoying.

[00:14:01] Matt: that's quite a good point and I think that's a shame, I think. Sure. Because, It really would be so useful if they were more vocal about it, because then that kind of gives inspiration to other brands to, to do more. Mm-hmm. all birds, the shoe brands.

[00:14:16] Matt: Yeah. They're pretty great in that. So they're just in the process of releasing this like zero carbon shoe, which is. Pretty cool. Like, at least from my perspective, so, throughout the whole process of producing this item, zero carbon emissions, uh, I think it's coming out next year or something like that, and they're open sourcing the way that they've gone about doing that.

[00:14:33] Matt: Perfect. So they're, you know, they're giving that information out to other brands, making a lot of noise about it. Yeah. And then, you know, through that, hopefully that's gonna inspire others to do something, I think. And, you know, that's what we wanna do as well. We want to give brands the ability to really shout about what they're doing and then hopefully use that as a, you know, a way of encourage More within the industry to do more. And also their customers are gonna be like, that's actually pretty cool. Why aren't other brands doing this? You know? I think, you know, being [00:15:00] vocal about these things is actually really important. Yes. 

[00:15:02] Tom: Yeah, I agree. And I guess that that also kind of does circle back to, the planet people purpose in terms of, okay, they could not make that open.

[00:15:14] Tom: And have it as their thing and make all the profit in the world. But actually that isn't their motivation necessarily. It's part of it. Obviously, we're all here to make money. Yeah. But at the same time, they're doing the right thing by putting, what would they be 

[00:15:31] Callum: doing? Offsetting carbon there. 

[00:15:32] Matt: So the, I, I think it's like a whole host of different things.

[00:15:35] Matt: They, they use wool, like with regenerative farming. the foam they use for the shoes is like, bio-based, and it's like net. it's negative carbon in its production method. I mean, I, I don't really, uh, notice full details of it, but it's pretty 

[00:15:50] Tom: cool. Yeah. 

[00:15:51] Callum: So how can e-commerce brands leverage technology to improve their sustainability?

[00:15:58] Tom: so I think [00:16:00] with the kind of the boom of e-commerce, you know, with Covid and I, I'm not that we won't talk about lockdown.

[00:16:06] Tom: Yeah. But yeah, I think there is a much-heightened awareness and expectation from a consumer level. And when it comes to. The kind of the technical side of it, I think it's really easy to assume that because something exists online on a screen, it doesn't have any real-world impact. Yeah. Which fundamentally obviously isn't the case.

[00:16:29] Tom: so what brands need to look at is, okay, who are we working with and how are we working with. To achieve what we have online. So what does Shopify as a platform, what are their sustainability policies? What servers are they working with? How green are they? You know, what energy is being used to power them?

[00:16:53] Tom: Um, and then I guess through that, and where we would step in would be, [00:17:00] okay, how sustainable is the front-end Shopify store? So, really what our kind of bread and butter is as an agency is designing and building online stores that have as low impact as possible. And we do that through, we don't work with Shopify themes from the themes, any third-party themes.

[00:17:21] Tom: Why? Because they're too heavy. Because typically those themes are bloated with code because they're trying. accommodate 10 20 sectors, and there'll be loads of stuff in there that ultimately as a brand, you're only gonna be using 10% of it. So from our perspective, We have our own starter theme that we use that is as streamlined as possible so that the code base you're working with from as minimal as it could possibly be.

[00:17:49] Tom: Yeah. And ultimately if there's less code on a webpage, it loads quicker, it has better performance. You are on your device for less time [00:18:00] than you could be if it's really slow loading. Yeah. So, it trickles down into everything. Wow. Mm-hmm.

[00:18:05] Callum: so when you come to other apps mm-hmm. So obviously apps, you know, increase page size, page speed. Yeah. You have huge effects there. I know. We try and make our app as light as possible. Of course. Yeah. But obviously, there's, there's so much you can do because we we're building an app for, 8,000 different sites here and we have to build a generic version.

[00:18:29] Callum: Mm-hmm. Because that has so many customizations, it can be quite heavy. Um, So when it comes to asked you, clean out the the app completely. And do you use our API to bring data in or do you use generally one of our widgets. 

[00:18:43] Tom: So typically, what we try and do is not use apps, right? Yeah. But obviously it's with all of, all of this kind of stuff, with sustainability as a whole is all about balance.

[00:18:55] Tom: So, from our perspective, the code that we would need [00:19:00] to. To have reviews on a Shopify store far outweigh what you guys have been working on for years and have refined and is, yeah. So yeah. Our general approach is to, if it's a simple function, we avoid using apps and if we need to use an app, we ensure that who we are recommending, firstly shares, values, the right values, and ultimately as a partner of.

[00:19:26] Tom: We can back them and their mission. Yeah. Um, and then also who we can work with that allow us to not tear it apart, but yeah, work with it and make it as streamlined as possible. Yeah. So we do work on a couple of projects with your api. We have customized widgets, so it's all different levels, but ultimately it is all about balance and our approach to.

[00:19:51] Tom: Our approach to Shopify development is all based around the idea of having an overall budget in terms of page [00:20:00] weight, site weight, page speed, all of that kind of performance stuff. So, mm-hmm. If we are looking at a project with a client and we at the start of a project, agree, a total budget of your site cannot exceed.

[00:20:13] Tom: Level. If we need to bring in an app that pushes that up, we need to make sure that we're compromising somewhere else. Yeah. So that we are not ultimately going over that. It's some ways a compromise, isn't it? Absolutely. I mean, ultimately the best, most sustainable e-commerce store would have no images. It would be black and white, and it would only have text.

[00:20:32] Tom: And that's not gonna sell anything. No. So it really is all about balance. 

[00:20:36] Callum: Who's a good source of information. Obviously you guys post on LinkedIn and Twitter. Who else is out there and like who people can go and follow who they should be following, who's, you know, becoming a noise in this space?

[00:20:53] Matt: that's a good question. 

[00:20:57] Callum: We can, 

[00:20:57] Matt: uh, 

[00:20:58] Callum: I was just thinking, because obviously [00:21:00] this is such a new area I just didn't know if there was any real thought leader out there at the minute.

[00:21:05] Callum: You know, a global thought leader who is making, waves is becoming that voice. 

[00:21:13] Tom: in, in my world, in terms of, digital and web, there's a chap called Tom Greenwood who's essentially.

[00:21:23] Tom: I would say is kind of like a pioneer when it comes to digital sustainability. and him, and not that I wanna plug another agency, but Whole Grain Digital. They're kind of like, um, they're a WordPress agency. They're kinda like us, but WordPress. Yeah. But as, as a group of people. They're amazing at educating and making things accessible.

[00:21:46] Callum: who, who's doing good packaging in a minute. Do you know any, any brands that have, who are really killing their packaging?

[00:21:52] Callum: you know, if you're getting 10 deliveries a day Yeah. I've got more rubbish than an warehouse. Yeah. You know what I mean? It's like 

[00:21:58] Matt: you've got these Yeah. I think there's, there's, [00:22:00] there's some interesting. Things that I've seen people do, which is like, if you're a fashion brand, like using some of the scraps from the production process to actually then wrap the product in.

[00:22:10] Matt: Mm-hmm. Or, you know, rip a piece off and, you know, use it as like a tie to Yeah. To uh, take something that would other otherwise have just gone in the bin and actually use that for something. useful one of your brands, cheeky Panda, uh, pretty good at very low packaging, aren't they?

[00:22:26] Matt: It's just mm-hmm. It's very simple paper. I think it's all recycled. there's lots of ways the businesses can reduce. I think part of the issue, and part of the thing that we need to continue to work on collectively is, is the supply chains in general. Part of the issue around the patching might be that yes, it's sustainable, but can it last the transit?

[00:22:47] Matt: You know, are we, sending it in the right way? And I think we were talking earlier about, why, why don't we have a fully electric, fleet of, 

[00:22:55] Tom: delivery network logistics. 

[00:22:56] Callum: How many Amazon's nearly there? I'd say, I think most of [00:23:00] the trucks you see on the road, Amazon trucks in the UK and the US now are, are electric.

[00:23:05] Callum: But I don't see. From any third party, you know? Yeah. Religious. Yeah. 

[00:23:10] Matt: But then of course, then you've got the issue of, too many things being sent separately, not thinking necessarily logically about the way that they're put together in the box. You know, those, those have other kind of issues.

[00:23:20] Matt: But yeah, they are a good example, 

[00:23:21] Tom: I think with, so with the cheeky panda, one thing that we, we did with them was we basically built an impact calculator for shipping. So they're obviously a subscription based Yeah. Brand, which you know that that is a really good starting point in terms of sustainability because you know when things are gonna be delivered and you can kind of educate.

[00:23:44] Tom: But we basically built a calculator into their subscription onboarding flow. That essentially educates their end users on the impact of having a one month subscription or a quarterly subscription. So [00:24:00] is it was basically just a slider that, you know, you increase. Yeah. That's cool. It's something like that as simple as that, or is really all that it takes.

[00:24:08] Tom: Yeah. To make someone think. Yeah. And, and then make a, a more informed decision. 

[00:24:12] Callum: So I think giving that, giving them that option is, is, is key. I love what Amazon did where they said, do you want all these, you know, can we send you all these packages? Yeah. In one delivery rather than 10. Mm-hmm. I think that's a great idea, but I, and I, don't think other retailers have really caught on to that 

[00:24:31] Tom: yet.

[00:24:32] Tom: Returns is obviously a massive issue. Huge. again, that kind of comes back to educating customers and users. So how can e-commerce brands help their customers make the right decision when they click purchase in terms of size or whatever? So, yeah, that they're minimizing returns, so things like, you know, fitting guides and even like, ar.

[00:24:58] Tom: Yeah. Sizing for, [00:25:00] I dunno, shoes, I guess. Yeah. Pulled it against your feet or whatever, but yeah. but then it comes back to balance, right? So, okay, we wanna put AR on our store. Okay, well, not, and one's gonna say, well, what's the impact of that? 

[00:25:11] Callum: So it's, yeah, I think you're, I think. I think you're right there.

[00:25:14] Callum: I think there is things that they can information, more information they can put on their site, which actually lowers returns. And I don't like q and As. Q and as is a real simple way to lower your returns. Mm-hmm. You know? Yeah. Forget those questions and answers on there, on the product pages. It lowers your returns, boost your conversion.

[00:25:37] Callum: Mm-hmm. But for some reason, a lot of brands don't. Their customer's voice on their product pages. And it's, it's weird to me madness that, that is weird to me. And I, but I, it is probably only add it on reviews that IO clients, one in 10 use is the q and A widget correctly. Mm-hmm. but yeah, it's proven to lower the [00:26:00] returns rate and increase conversion, but, They don't want it.

[00:26:04] Callum: It's weird. Weird. It's weird. What could you do that's strange? 

[00:26:07] Tom: There's not 

[00:26:07] Callum: really, we don't really object. We enough. Maybe at the minute, maybe that's something that we need to do. Mm-hmm. As a company, maybe we need to be having that conversation more with these businesses, saying actually having these on your side will lower.

[00:26:24] Callum: Uh, environmental impact because it'll lower your returns. Mm-hmm. Maybe that's the angle we go at it with. The angle historically we've gone at it with is that it'll boost your conversion. Yeah. Maybe the, we should switch it and go actually forget the conversion. You're clearly not either believing that or bothered about that, you know, but definitely we see 

[00:26:46] Tom: reviews and I guess typically if a conversion for an e-commerce brand is healthy, that is a much hard.

[00:26:53] Tom: Needle dial to, to push. Right. Yeah. Whereas I think actually returns is almost [00:27:00] an, at the moment untapped opportunity. Yeah. To increase profitability and, yeah. I think the potential impact of reducing returns for brands that are existing and have healthy, core metrics, actually that's gonna have a much bigger impact than, moving the needle on their conversion rate.

[00:27:18] Tom: A small, yeah. 

[00:27:19] Callum: That's why I love these podcasts. I come, I come around, I come away with ideas and I'm like, right, that's what we can start marketing q and as in a different way. 

[00:27:28] Matt: Do you think, do you think people are worried about what people are gonna say? I think that what the actual outcome is is positive, but they worried about we kind of, they're not gonna get the 

[00:27:37] Callum: results that.

[00:27:39] Callum: We don't publish the question until it's been answered. Yeah. So we don't just have questions hanging there. And our q and a solution is, is called, it's kind of answered by the team members, not by the customers. So it's really an expert answers. I see. Um, what we found was that when it was answered by consumers, yes, you did [00:28:00] get gibberish 10% of the time and.

[00:28:04] Callum: Amazon's got a lot of that on it. Yeah. And it, and it led to these results that really weren't true and mistruths. Mm-hmm. Whereas if we asked the brand about that product, you know, how our products made or, how our product can be used in, in different scenarios.

[00:28:22] Callum: These people are selling it all day long. Mm-hmm. They're, they're the experts in this product. They're the people who should be answering these questions. So we, um, we do it that way, works really well. E every brand who does q and a loves it, but we just getting uptake is difficult, um, for that, that solution.

[00:28:38] Tom: And it is surprising me. Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's mad because, All of that information is so valuable. Yeah. To a brand, right? Yeah. Ultimately all brands want to know is do my customers. Yeah. Like my product. Yeah. And if they don't, why? Yeah. 

[00:28:56] Callum: And I think, I was thinking the other day about this and on [00:29:00] returns, I was thinking, can we get, can we use AI chat GPT three or something like that to lower returns?

[00:29:07] Callum: which would also lower impact. And I was just, we were putting some ideas on the board. and we, what you really want to stop is identify serial returners mm-hmm. Within the Shopify ecosystem. And probably that's not a job for review. I, that's probably a job for Shopify. It really should be saying, hold on, this guy returns 90% of what he orders in the network.

[00:29:31] Callum: Yes. Flag, flag in, you know, flag that in the account. And maybe, I mean, you don't wanna ban people from shopping in the network. You aren't on shopping by, but I think maybe you could have a conversation with that person before that item's delivered and saying, all right, do you want to have, you know, before we deliver this?

[00:29:48] Callum: Yeah. You know, huge box to you. Do you want, you know, maybe do a conversation or do something else? I, I don't know. But there, there's gotta 

[00:29:58] Tom: be something there. But even, even, even [00:30:00] as a strategy that an e-commerce. Could implement or look to implement is incentivizing. Less returns. Less returns, yeah. Yeah. So yeah, you could tap into, loyalty from customers that buy from you regularly.

[00:30:17] Tom: And yeah, I mean, all of that information is there in Shopify. Yeah. So why not build a strategy around. Incentivizing customers that aren't serial returners or, you know, yeah. However you wanna, maybe not that term, but I, I did 

[00:30:32] Callum: see a company, last, black Friday. Mm-hmm. And what they did, they gave people.

[00:30:41] Callum: They give people a score. and if you weren't, if you hadn't returned three times within the year, it was a clothing brand. And if you hadn't returned so many times in the year, they actually gave you access to Black Friday earlier. 

[00:30:54] Really? 

[00:30:54] Tom: That's a good idea. Who 

[00:30:55] Callum: was that? Um, it was one of the fashion retailers, not box roll.

[00:30:59] Callum: It [00:31:00] might be Oliver of Bons. It was one of the fashion retailers we're dealing with. Yeah, yeah, yeah. and I remember thinking, that's a brilliant idea. Because they're gonna sell now at Black Friday, and they're. those customers don't return products. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So they're not gonna have the headache.

[00:31:15] Callum: The headache on Black Friday is that you sell a load of stuff, but you get, you got 30% of it back. Yeah. These guys were giving them access to sell a load of stuff, but get no returns. Yeah, that's a great idea. So, maybe I, we should do a blog post on that and, and push that information out. 

[00:31:31] Matt: Well this is, this is something that we've been talking about recently as well.

[00:31:33] Matt: Cause obviously, you know, we're talking about the environmental impact of returns as well, and it. Seem like there's an opportunity there to incentivize customers with the kind of things that we offer. So, you know, if you do not return, if you think more about what you're purchasing and don't return those items in the end, then could that customer be incentivized with the environmental impacts that we offer?

[00:31:53] Matt: Yeah. For example. Um, and it does, it surprises me that there isn't that type of thing in the traditional rewards [00:32:00] system. Mm-hmm. But, uh, yeah, cuz it is, it's a, it's a huge, uh, environmental impact around 

[00:32:04] Tom: returns. 

[00:32:05] Callum: I think delivery cost has a huge, I mean, I know that, you know, free delivery works, free delivery makes you sell a lot more products.

[00:32:15] Callum: Mm-hmm. But free delivery in my experience, leads to more. 

[00:32:21] Tom: So Sure. Especially if it's free returns as 

[00:32:23] Callum: well. Free returns. Free delivery. It's kind of a default position of e-commerce brands. I know it's a. Not an ideal solution, but should brands be charging both ends? I was looking the other day someone who's charging now who wasn't charging for deliveries, maybe I think it was matches, matches fashion, who they're now charging for returns.

[00:32:47] Callum: Mm-hmm. Um, sorry, Ann, does Boohoo charge for, 

[00:32:52] Tom: I'm not a Boohoo costume. I don't, I don't. You're not a big boohoo. 

[00:32:56] Matt: I get the figure that they don't do 

[00:32:58] Tom: that. 

[00:32:59] Callum: You've not got your fast [00:33:00] fashion outlet? Um, I mean, I think, I'm sure Boohoo were looking at charging restaurants. I, 

[00:33:07] Matt: I think maybe ASOS started doing it.

[00:33:08] Matt: Yeah, it's one of those, it's either Boohoo or ASOS. I mean, they had insane reserve rates Right. And ASOS do they, that is something that they've started to do that? 

[00:33:17] Tom: and almost, um, you know, customers were actively buying more because they knew that they were gonna return hard. They were gonna return. Yeah. 

[00:33:26] Callum: That's the thing.

[00:33:27] Callum: Which 

[00:33:27] Tom: is a very dangerous game to be playing because put it, UNC 

[00:33:30] Callum: clan. Oh, you don't even pay 

[00:33:31] for 

[00:33:32] Tom: it. 

[00:33:32] Tom: Yeah, yeah. I think free shipping, free returns, both have their benefits. Very dangerous if you're gonna offer. Yeah. but I think if you have a, a free shipping incentive, if that is working to sell more products meaningfully, not just sell more for the sake of it because they'll get returned or whatever, I think is really important.

[00:33:57] Callum: It's a very fine line. It's a [00:34:00] very, very fine line to work out. Positioning to position the brand on that tightrope. Mm-hmm. Because, you know, you've got, it's very difficult. You, you could, you know, collapse your sales, you could kill your business by saying, right, I'm gonna charge for 

[00:34:19] Tom: this because mm-hmm.

[00:34:21] Tom: And I do want sustainable, I guess more broadly on, on the whole subject of sustainability. You know, it is such a fine line, and you know, yes, we have brands that, that greenwash and there's, you know, all of this stuff where they say they're doing things and they're not. And yeah. I think what is actually almost as dangerous, if not more dangerous is almost kind of green shaming in the sense that Well, you're seeing that a lot.

[00:34:50] Tom: Yeah. That is in, in my mind, that is completely. Yeah. Productive because really, None of us have all of the perfect answers. [00:35:00] Yeah. Yeah. We're all just trying to do it or be better and actually we should be celebrating and supporting other brands and businesses that are doing better, that are doing, rather than sharing in the, moving in the right direction.

[00:35:11] Tom: Yeah. Don't give 'em the airtime if they're not doing it properly. Yeah. Let's celebrate these guys all, do you know what I mean? I don't think 

[00:35:17] Callum: that sells paper. Papers all get clicks, you know, if you go hoos, greenwashing, you know, that gets clicks. You know what I mean? Yeah. Kardashian greenwashing. Yeah. But 

[00:35:29] Matt: I guess it's, it's, it's how you go about it though, cuz I think there's mm-hmm.

[00:35:33] Matt: The idea of greenwashing, it is pulling the wool over someone's eyes. Right. It's like, yes, do good things, move the needle in the right direction, but be transparent about it. Mm-hmm. Which is, you do see a lot of that with bigger brands. This is the sustainable range. And it's like you actually dig into it and it's like, oh, it's 20% recycled p e t and the rest is just, you know, straight polyester, like, well that's, that's not sustainable.

[00:35:54] Matt: Mm-hmm. Like, be honest, you know, I think that's, something that we need to see more of. And that's why people get [00:36:00] called out for greenwashing because, cause they are, yeah. They, they might be doing something marginally better, but, I think if you're gonna do it marginally better, just be transparent about that.

[00:36:08] Matt: That mm-hmm. It's, this is not perfect. This is not, you know, sustainable. Yeah. And that's the end of it. It's just be honest. It's just, just be honest. It's better, but it's not perfect. 

[00:36:16] Tom: Yeah, definitely. Honestly, guys, 

[00:36:18] Callum: thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I appreciate you both so much. So before you go, I just wanna ask you one final question, which is always the final question.

[00:36:27] Callum: Have you read a book, listened to our podcast, read a newsletter? Anything where you can give our customers a nugget to go away with and do their own research. You know, there must be something, it doesn't even matter what it is. Give us 

[00:36:44] Tom: something. I mean, I'm not gonna delve into what I listen to on Mock.

[00:36:48] Tom: I'm, I'm terrible at, at, at reading books. I'm, yeah, I'm, I don't have the attention span. So I do listen to a lot of podcasts, most of which are completely unrelated to [00:37:00] day-to-day. That's cool. I need to, what is it? So, um, I listened to a podcast by the guys that did Workaholics. Right. It's called, this is Important and it is just workaholics The show.

[00:37:10] Tom: The show. Yes. 

[00:37:11] Callum: Right. Are they the writers or the 

[00:37:13] Tom: actors? Both. Right. Okay. Um, and they've got their own podcast called, this is Important, which I listened, I listened to two episodes on the way up. Is it good? Um, it just helped. Yeah. It's good to disconnect, but I. I should really have an answer for. Is it funny?

[00:37:26] Tom: Yeah, it's well funny. 

[00:37:27] Callum: Okay. I'm mean. Ok. I'm mean, that's, I don't care. That's what I want. I need the, I need to smile more. Yeah. 

[00:37:34] Tom: On, 

[00:37:35] Matt: yeah. So, mine would be, uh, Freakonomics. So if you know it Love Freaks Great podcast. I think what's there, slogans like the hidden side of everything. Mm-hmm. I think it's just, it delves into so many sort of big topics and makes it a more tangible and easily understand.

[00:37:50] Matt: I think like very interesting from the side of learning about these things, but also it's quite useful for me personally about, you know, breaking down these quite sort of big and sometimes like [00:38:00] boring or scary topics into something a bit more tangible. Yeah, yeah. Which is, you know, something we always try and do, uh, as a business.

[00:38:05] Matt: So kind of helps on both sides. They do a great job, they 

[00:38:09] Callum: do a Freakonomics do a great job of simplifying complex. Topics and actually making them relatable. Exactly. Yeah. Great podcast. Great podcast. Thanks guys for being on the show. I really appreciate it. No worries. It's been brilliant. I will put that all in the show notes.

[00:38:29] Callum: I am gonna listen to that podcast if it's not funny. I'm gonna send you a nasty message 

[00:38:33] Tom: for my time. This is important. This is important. There you go guys. This is important. 

[00:38:40] Callum: Thanks so much. 


[00:38:42] 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.