In Reviews We Trust

Season 2: Ep. 4 - Customer-Centric Retail: Building Relationships for Ongoing Success' with Camilla Tress from Oliver Bonas

June 15, 2023 Season 2 Episode 4
In Reviews We Trust
Season 2: Ep. 4 - Customer-Centric Retail: Building Relationships for Ongoing Success' with Camilla Tress from Oliver Bonas
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode host Callum McKeefery talks to Camilla Tress , the Connected Commerce Lead at Oliver Bonas the independent British lifestyle store.

They discuss why a focus on customer experience is crucial to developing strong customer relationships,  why creating unique experiences both on and offline drives growth,  the benefits of using a headless eCommerce platform, the future of retail and AI, and how to use your review content to build brand awareness.

Callum McKeefery:

Camilla Tress

Show notes:

CDP - Customer Data Platform
ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning
PDP - Product Detail Page
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Callum: Today I have a very special guest on Camilla Tress from Oliver Bonas. Me and Camila have been friends for such a long time. She's been a client of for about. Eight years now, and it's one of my favourite brands. I love the store. I love their online presence, and I in particular love what they do in the real world as well.

You know, they're their stores, if you've seen them, they make you smile especially the designs and the paint work on the outside. I love those colours. Camilla, thank you so much for being joining us on the podcast today. It, it's honestly such an honour to have you on. I know you're so busy. Yeah, we, we appreciate you so much joining us today.

Camila: Well, thank you, Callum. It's a mutual appreciation here cause as you say, we've been with since, pretty much the, the start of our Magento platform journey and. You know, it's really been a fantastic relationship and you know, with there's still so much more we can do, so, [00:01:00] yeah.

Yeah. All good. And, and also, I'm really glad that our shops make you smile cuz that is exactly what we we're aiming for, honestly. 

Callum: There's not, there's not many people which really innovate in the high street, and you guys have really one done innovation. You're expanding. And you know, when you see a bright colour or a cool looking exterior, that it's one of your stores instantly without seeing the logo, without seeing anything else.

I know instantly it's one of your stores 

Camila: thank you. Again, you know what's so interesting about that is that it sort of come about, sort of organically in a way. Okay. Because the stores are all different and individual. So you say there's a lovely mint green one in one town, our city, and then some of them are pink.

We've got a black one in Oxford in the shopping centre in Oxford. Yeah. But yet there's still distinctively Oliver Bonas. So there is something about the products that we sell and how we sell them that [00:02:00] really makes it Oliver Bonas. It, it's, 

Callum: it is brilliant. you know, you're probably one of the British High Street success stories because everybody else, you see their stores, they all look generic. They're all doing the same thing, especially in your, your market, which is fashion and home goods. You guys have really nailed it in terms of eye-catching appeal. From the shop displays right through, you know, the paint, like you say, all your stores are individual, they're all a bit quirky.

They're not your average plain white box. And it, I love that. I love it when I see I get off the, um, train at St. Pancreas and I see one of your stores and it, and it's brilliant. Or you're walking through, like you say, Oxford. It, it's, it, it's great. It's great to see. And the evolution of the brand is, is being.

Like you say, it's been that consistent evolution and now you're back after pandemic. What's it like, what's changed? Are you still focused on online mainly, or is it you're still [00:03:00] expanding those stores? 

Camila: We're still expanding stores. In fact, we've got one opening, you know, in this week or next week in Bath, and we've got a couple more planned after that.

So we're still expanding, we're opening new stores. What happened to us Callum, was that prior to lockdown, the pandemic, it was. 80% store 20% online, then of course, you know, a hundred percent online during lockdown. And we really thought that people would shift and stay online afterwards. But there's been a massive move back to our stores, and I think that comes back down to, as you say, that.

People enjoy our, the experience of going into our stores. So I'm not sure if that's same for all retailers, but for us certainly there was definitely a move back to stores. And so while people still shop online, it's back to about 70%, 30%. So you know, it's only shifted from 80 20 to 70 30 since the pandemic.

Callum: That's really interesting. Cause I think for most brands it's probably still the opposite. It's still in that, you know, online majority. But I am [00:04:00] seeing. Shift to people being back in, in stores a lot more. Especially in the UK we're seeing that people browse in store, don't they? They probably see your products in the store and unless, you know, touch and feel, they still wanna do that with Yeah.

Fashion and home goods. They still wanna do that. I, I still wanna do 

Camila: that. I think, I think particularly with our products, you know, you really, you really want to touch them and feel them and smell 'em. And that's definitely something you'll never be able to do online, is it? So, you know, if you wanna smell the candles or the, or the, um, diffusers or whatever it is we have, you've got to be in the store.

But you know, for us also The whole customer experience is really important. You know, the way we build relationships with people who come into our store, the whole atmosphere of our store you know, even down to the music. Yeah. I that, you know, we're one of the few retailers, according to our music suppliers, who actually choose every song ourselves.

So it's down to the fine details. I think 

Callum: It's those tiny things, isn't it? That make that huge difference. And, and they're, they're often [00:05:00] overlooked, and you guys get those tiny things so perfect it's brilliant and it's brilliant and, and it's like, it is obviously carried over onto your site.

You've got a very well designed site. You're probably the one of the best Magento sites. Out there, obviously there's this big shift towards Shopify and these other platforms, but you've stuck with Magento. Is that gonna be a long term? Is that a long term decision now? 

Camila: You know, never say never. I, I don't want to say too much Callum, but Yeah.

No, we're, we're with Magento. We've been with them as you today since we've been with you, so that must be about eight years. Um, and it's working for us at the moment. So you know, with, with our Magento platform, we. Or actually a headless platform. So right from the start, even though we have Magento for our backend, we've had a sort of bespoke front end.

So that gives us a little bit more versatility and flexibility to, to create really interesting and you know, ever changing front end experiences for customers. And 

Callum: you can tell that you've really thought about that front-end experience. No, [00:06:00] if, if you're listening to this and you've not seen Oliver Bonas's site, go and take a look.

It is a great site. It's very fast loading. It's very functional. You get all the information, but you also, you get that feel of the stores and you get the feel of the products and they, they've got really nice imagery. That's one thing that you guys have that a lot of stores miss out on is those images.

You've got great product images. 

Camila: Yeah, again, we've got great products, so it's, it's almost easy to get, create beautiful images. Yeah, we're lucky. We've got a really great creative team. And we’re constantly trying to make it better. We're always working to improve, so it's really great that you can see that and that people see that.

But again, it comes down to attention to detail. Every little thing is considered. Yeah. 

Callum: Yeah, definitely. Even in the way the reviews are displayed that you, you know, you click on the review and it flips round and it's, it's so well done. I know you, do you guys use Bizarre Voice for your user generated content, even though I've tried to win that business several times and it, I love how you display [00:07:00] that UGC is important.

How do you see that? Do you see that as a, as a sales technique? And do you use it anywhere else in

Camila: the business?

Yeah, look, we love, well I personally love UGC. We have it on our homepage, we have it on our product pages and wherever we can, we use it for social. Actually, finally you should mention that we're, we are also with another, uh, provider called Content Square.

I dunno if I'm allowed to talk about that, but and we are actually just decided to have a really good look at how our U G C contributes to the customer journey and to, and you know, how customers who click on that will then behave as they go through to the other pages. So. Yeah, we're going to really have a proper understanding of that.

You know, come back to us in a few weeks time and we'll let you know. But yeah, certainly I think it's, it's a really important, important part of the site. Yeah. How does, 

Callum: if you, if you did a split at the moment, where are your customers coming from? Is it landing straight on the site or are you still driving most of your [00:08:00] traffic from Google, Facebook, Instagram.

Camila: Oh, I don't have the exact numbers on me, but yes, all our, um, all our Google shopping goes of course straight to the PDP the uh, product page. And in fact what we've done for that is, because as most people know, you have course a high bounce rate on all those shoppers cuz they just come to a single product.

Yeah. So we've recently launched a personalized landing page for Google shoppers. So they get a, a different experience of our PDP where you get we've added other sort of carousel so you can see similar items and just hopefully start to discover more about the brand. So again, we launched that oh, a month or two ago, and we're already seeing, you know, that that has benefits of lower bounce rate, higher conversion rates.

Was that with the 

Callum: provider or have you developed that 

Camila: yourself? We've done that ourselves. Yeah.

Callum: I actually was on a panel the other day and there was, there was a, another provider, I think it was Bid Bull they're called, and they have a similar thing where they build [00:09:00] bespoke landing product landing pages and they put this carousel there because, and they found that, A lot of people, even though they land on a product, they're actually not maybe looking for that exact product.

They wanna see other things in the range. They wanna see other variants. And they've all done that in the past ourselves. So that's interesting that you've built that 

Camila: yourself, so, yeah. Yeah. Well, well, we've only, only recently launched it, so next stage is to start testing what we put in the carousel and what we put also in the.

Page below. So do we, do we put bestsellers? Do we put most clicked, do we put most recent? So yeah, we're just gonna start testing what works best. What do you use for testing? We'll be using Content Square at the moment. For, for that sort of thing at the moment. But we, we are, again, we're looking potentially as a yet another, another third party vendor for testing.

But at the moment we're just doing it as we can on, on within Content Square. 

Callum: Yeah. Yeah. How, how has the job changed now you, we've right outta the [00:10:00] pandemic. How's it changed in the last six months? What you are doing? 

Camila: Well, I personally have shifted sort of across into our digital marketing team cause we really started to build out our growth team.

Fun enough, people might not really imagine this, but. Marketing historically has not been a huge part of Oliver Bonas. It's really relied to a large degree on its stores because, you know, people do love the stores. Of course, we've done marketing, but we haven't really built it out. So more recently I've shifted over to our to do the performance marketing.

I work a lot on the Google, on the Google shopping and that sort of thing, and we've really started paid social, which we really didn't do in any sort of serious way until the last six months. So in terms of me personally, it's, it's working on building out the, the growth team and working together with our digital marketing

Callum: when you're looking at your spend on Instagram, Facebook, [00:11:00] are you also, I mean, your product is so amazing for Instagram.

What's the sort of advertising you're doing on there? Is it. More brand building or are you try, or are you selling individual products, doing marketing on individual products and trying to actually get the acquisition off those, or are you brand building mainly 

Camila: on social? Well, we're using organic more for the, for the brand building and re and building relationships for paid social.

As I say, we really only started taking it sort of seriously, if you like. About six months ago. So it's still fairly experimental. We're still doing quite a lot of testing about what works for us and what doesn't work for us and trying to build up really how, what works best for us creatively, actually, because of course these are very creative platforms and you need to get it right.

We're probably going more for conversion based ads than brand building ads at the moment until we feel like we're getting it right. But we, funnily enough again, that you should mention it, where we're doing our brand awareness, it's using our reviews, [00:12:00] Callum, so we're taking people's reviews of OB and sharing those.

Um, so that's where we're, we're looking more top of the funnel. 

Callum: Yeah. Yeah. No, that makes massive sense. Makes massive sense How are you seeing technology implementation in the business? Are you going like, with the rise of AI, all of this augmented reality, which I'm not too keen on at the minute.

I know Apple are talking about launching something where you can, that they're augmented reality glasses and I think that'd be huge for all Oliver Bonas that you could. Walk down the street and the glasses could probably point to a store and say, you've shopped here before, and probably see your past.

It could almost show you in the glasses your past history, but that's very, um, very futuristic and probably sci-fi the minute on artificial intelligence the rise of Chat GPT3 how do you see that affecting Oliver Bonas going forward and, and especially on the site, how do you see, how are you gonna use this in this [00:13:00] new source of information

Camila: This is a big question. I think, you know, we all love the idea of, as you say, augmented reality, the virtual reality the Metaverse. But for, for Oliver Bonas, I think that has to be a long way in the future. Yeah. You know, I think for so many brands, there's a danger of getting caught up in the, in the excitement and the thrill of the future.

And, often what happens is that they turn out to be gimmicks and they don't actually help your business. They don't actually help the customers. And really for us, it's, it's getting the basics right. We're still getting the basics, rights.One thing, as you say, we've been around a while.

This is our 30th year, so we've, You know, it's 30th anniversary for Oliver Bonas, and so it's fantastic. But we also have some of the legacy technology that we really have to just get work worked out first. Yeah. You know, we like to be at, well, I personally like to be an early adopter, but I also like to make sure that, that we're not jumping on the bandwagon.

So we've got a [00:14:00] massive project this year just to change our ERP. So at the moment, in terms of you know, investing in exciting AI technologies That's coming next. Once we've got our, fundamentals, right then, you know, we're all open to, to looking forward to, you know, fantastic AI technologies and that sort of thing.

I mean, we do have it for our search at the moment and I think we, we are looking at it for. Onsite recommendations and that sort of thing and just talking with you. It'd be really nice to have it for our analysis of our reviews and our, you know, of any feedback. We get really nice to be able to use AI to really, really dig deep and, and detailed.

Look at, at, at the feedback that we get from customers and really understand what it is that they want and need. 

Callum: Yeah, I think that that's a great opportunity for you guys is to get that information condensed in short form. This is what, this is what people love about what you're doing. Carry on doing it.[00:15:00] 

This is something you can improve on. And I think that's really important to the brand and I think that it'll really help you, your customers actually. You have one of the highest review collection rates, and what that means is that you've got really high customer loyalty, that customers are willing to take that time out of their day to leave you a review.

And they do that really on mass. I mean, you guys have collected thousands and thousands of, of five style reviews. I've worked in the UK with some of the, the biggest online stores, flannels, you know, the, the, the sports direct group. And your reviews really outshine everyone's in terms of quality and the number of reviews collected, the conversion rate.

And it, it's, it's amazing because you guys were one of the first brands that took a chance on, on me. I, I actually dealt with you guys when you signed up. I was still involved in the sales team at that point, and it [00:16:00] was, It was amazing. I can remember mean it was me and Nikki at that point. We were still tiny.

There was four of us around the table and your, your inquiry came in and it was like Oliver Bonas had just signed up and I now, I think it was Nicki who spoke to you originally. Cuz we were before this podcast. I was saying to her earlier and, and saying, I'm on this, I'm on the podcast later with, with Camilla, and he, she went, oh, make sure you say hi.

I remember when they signed up. And it was such a moment for as a brand and kind of verified some product market fit. And it was kind of like, we can do this. And it was just, 

Camila: I think that's what it is. It's about the connection, isn't it? And that you know, We are a bigger brand now, but we're still kind of almost like a family.

And that's why we like to work with people of, of a similar ilk, I suppose, is that, you know, you, you are working al you are almost one team [00:17:00] rather than a vendor and a, and a a user. Yeah, a client if you like. 

Callum: It was just brilliant for us to, to get you guys on board and, and, and, you know, you really helped us build our brand because we were like, we have Oliver Bonas look at, have you, you seen their shops?

Their shops are great. Do you know, get, get involved with this? And it definitely led to, to, to part of our success. And you, you guys have tried out. All of our features over the years. Well, I've tried to get you to try out all of our Yeah.

Camila: Yeah. Well we've re we've re-platformed a couple of times and each time the design changes and but funnily enough, we are looking at how to incorporate a few more of your attributes into our, our review questions.

So, you know, we haven't stopped, working towards improving that and, and building out our reviews. Talking about 

Callum: attributes, I think that'd be an amazing way for you to learn more information about your customers. Exactly. It'll really help you with [00:18:00] segmentation. You know, it'll really help you with product development, as in you can ask, you know, did this product run big, small, quality fit, things like that.

Will be great, but also you can inquire about age people do click it, people don't click it. Were you buying for yourself or was it a gift? And some of these things can really help you build out better email marketing campaigns or s m s marketing campaigns later, but also when you are doing your social marketing.

You can actually create different buckets and, and load them into Facebook and retarget these people with targeted messages. So you know that this, this person buys for somebody else. They're buying gifts on your platform. 

Camila: Um, well this is fantastic and actually I think we're hoping to integrate with our C D P so that, that we can really develop that segmentation, to really understand who are our [00:19:00] loyal reviewers and our loyal customers. And there's again, so many opportunities that, so as you can see, there's so much to do before we start looking at virtual reality

talk, talking 

Callum: on teaching on loyalty. Do you guys have a loyalty program at the minute? 

Camila: No. Yet another thing on our list of things to do we are looking into loyalty programs. We're looking into what, what we feel is that yes, it's something we're going to look into, but. We don't feel like with a brand that will sort of be collecting points.

We don't want to feel like a sort of Tesco type version of a loyalty program. Yeah. But we do really believe it's important to, to reward your VIPs. You know? We do have loyal customers and we want to know that we, we want them to know that we appreciate them. So, um, we have a, a sort of mini version at the moment, which is if you open an account with us you do get sort of advanced access to sales and And things like [00:20:00] that.

So I think that different delivery options really important. 

Callum: I think that what you're talking about, giving them access to sales, to Black Friday sales, even if you could do that on master your online customers and say, Hey, secret access, open for 24 hours before the floodgates open, you get first dibs.

That is massive. And we, that builds such a loyal, that builds a community. And you guys have always been passionate about building up that community, I think because you've got such loyal customers, 

Camila: you know, yeah. We're just looking at, at which direction to go at the moment

Camila: Yeah. I mean the big problem I think amongst all retailers that you, you know, I went, I went to an event recently and the only thing people were talking about was returns.

You know, returns were really, Big issue because it's, it's, you know, it's not sustainable to have returns in two, in the two forms of sustainability in that it's not sustainable for the planet in that returns. You know, it's more packaging and it's more [00:21:00] delivery. It's the products themselves often can't get reused.

And as, as a retailer, it's not sustainable on your margins if people keep returning things, you know, and those return levels go up. So certainly that's an area where I think we've got, really got to think about. And as you know, some retailers have actually started to charge for returns.

I don't think that's where, where we're going just yet, probably. But you know, everything has to be considered because, you know, it is an issue 

Callum: Do you deliver international and do you do free returns from international? Yeah.

See that? Yes. And is that, that that's where profits start to get painful? 

Camila: I think yes. I mean, international isn't a huge percentage of our sales, so returns are not a huge impact on us. So at the moment that's, that's okay. Yeah. I, I 

Callum: was talking to our brand the other day, massive. They've got High Street presence and they've got massive online.

They sell nationwide sorry, globally. And I was [00:22:00] talking to their, um, their CEO and he said, Callum, on some of our products, which we sell internationally, we will lose not just the margin, but we will lose thousands of pounds on these products, for instance, they'll, they've only just realized that he was doing free returns from Australia, but not just, and it was free returns on each individual item.

And. He was paying the duty that they were coming back in, back into the uk and I, I think we worked out on one, one order. He, he showed me he'd lost about out 1500 pounds. And I, I think they've just, they're massively unprofitable.

This company's never been profitable and I think they just, at their equity company for another 200 million to keep the brand going. And I was like, how are you going to. You can't carry on like this. And he was like, no, we've gotta be an international [00:23:00] brand. I'm like, it, it, it, you're gonna eventually that people are gonna stop giving you money.

And I just see the returns is just such a massive, massive problem. Yeah. Did you sell into Russia? 

Camila: I mean, we would've, someone ordered from there, but we don't. Get many customers from Russia. I don't think, um, at the moment I don't, you know, I say I'm principle, but actually, I dunno what's going on there at the moment.

It may not be possible anyway. Yeah. Yeah, on political grounds, I wouldn't want to, to say either way. No, I, I, because 

Callum: he, he's, he was obviously saying to me, cuz he, they're in, they're in a similar market. They're in very high luxury goods. And they were like, we've lost all our Russian business and that's gone, so we've gotta get it from other countries.

And I, he, he was like, No. So you're, you're not, not big in market yet. Not big in Russia. No. Imagine it. Yeah. Right. Stores. Will you go international with stores 

Camila: eventually? Um, yeah. Look, eventually you know, it is on the roadmap, but at the moment we, we've still got pockets of [00:24:00] the UK that. That don't have us, you know, we're not very, we're not in the southwest very much.

There's still lots of whales to cover, so it is on the road, not in Leicester yet. Have we not got one in Leicester? No, 

Callum: not got one in Leicester. Oh, Callum. I know we've put that right. I know We've not got one in Leicester. The nearest one I think for me is Birmingham, somewhere like that. I think it's Birmingham, Nottingham, we don't have a lesson, so there you're, There you go.

You you are. I'll, I'll come and cut the ribbon. Me and you can cut the ribbon together. Do it. We'll do it. 

Camila: Yeah, definitely. Oh gosh. Well, so as you g as you are, therefore international will happen, but not, not just yet. Europe is certainly higher on the list. Apart from the US where we have a website. Yeah. How does that 

Callum: go with the US market? 

Camila: Do you we, when we first launched the website we started looking into it, started doing some social, and we realized that without a [00:25:00] store, you know, without being on the ground in the country, it's really hard.

Yeah. Well, or really expensive to break into the market, which is partly why we've pulled back. So I think. The next step, if we do go sort of more international, it will be putting a store into the country because that is the sort of easiest way we found for, for getting brand awareness. Yeah. It certainly happened in Ireland.

You know, we, we had the Irish website and it was sort of going along well and we opened a store in Dublin and, and things just transformed. So where it's really about our stores. Where in Dublin? Yeah. I, I, oh, I can't remember the name of the street. 

Callum: Right. I weirdly, when I was 18, had a women's clothes shop in Dublin.

No, that was my first, I had two partners and we ho we, I, we had women's clothes shops in Leicester, Dublin, and The Corn Exchange in Leeds [00:26:00] and I stepped back from that business very, very quickly. And, uh, yeah, it, it didn't work anyway, but we had a, we had a store on Wicklow Street in, in Dublin, and um, yeah, it was very interesting.

We just used to go there and drink. And that was my first, is that, that was probably one of my first entrepreneurial offerings, you know? Well, that's started 

Camila: out, most, most people are just, I dunno, going to college, going to uni, going Yeah. You know, starting out in their first job and you open a store. You know, I was at 

Callum: uni.

I was at uni. Oh, you were at uni? Yeah. Oh, I, I was doing everything when I was at uni. I had, you know, in, within the universities, they let you have stalks, you know, if you was a university member, you know, the university fairs and I'd opened, I'd rang up orange, the mobile phone operator and said, can I have a contract to sell your phones to students?

And [00:27:00] they actually went, yeah. And I was like, this is mad and I, I actually had, uh, these stands at all at like had Derby Leicester, Coventry, Nottingham. And I had these stands and students selling these phones for me. And that was while I was at university. Yeah. 

Camila: It is amazing. it feels like you are never gonna stop Callum, are you?

Callum: No, my mom's 70. I'm not gonna say how old. She, she's 70 ish and she's operated a nightclub for 46 years, which is the longest, I think it's the longest independent night in the uk. The building has been sold and they're gonna redevelop this building. And so she's gotta close down.

And she said to me the other day, she goes, where are we gonna open next? I went, mom, we're not, we're not, that's, that's it. We're done. You know, we're gonna put a, a nail in this coffin. We've been trying to get out of this industry for years. And she goes, no. [00:28:00] Well, I think we should open, open it a, a new venue.

I'm like, well, you are 76. I run several companies, do a lot of, lot of, lot of different stuff, mom. I've got, you know, Hudson going on, I've got my new baby, and she's like, yep, I wanna open a new nightclub and, and I want you to find me the location.

So she, she's tasked me with finding a new venue. 

Camila: We'll, tell you what, I'll come to the opening night of that, cut the ribbon with you, and you can come to the opening of Oliver Bonas and that'll be crack. Yeah, 

Callum: we're doing 'em both simultaneously. We'll do that in the day and then we'll do that at night.

Yeah. So talking about not stopping, you know, she's my inspiration really for a lot of this entrepreneurial journey. She's never worked for anybody else. I've never worked for anybody else. And we both believers in jumping in and just finding out when you're doing it, sort 

Camila: of, well, maybe that's the connection cuz you know, Ollie, the founder of Oliver Bonas has never [00:29:00] worked for anyone else either.

You know, he started doing stuff at uni, a bit like you and then open the first shop and, and it's just grown from there. So same thing, never worked for anyone else. 

Callum: Yeah. And that. Weird isn't, it's quite unusual. Yeah, I think it's quite unusual. What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in e-commerce in High Street?

What's that one bit of advice that you'd give to them right now? 

Camila: You know what, I suppose it's more personal advice than business advice because there's plenty of business advice, how to start an e-commerce business now.

You just Google. Online and, and as you say, if you've got the right platform and the right product, then, then it's really all about marketing, to be honest. But I think in terms of personal advice and again, you hear this too, it's about perseverance, grit, resilience because anyone can start a business, but not many people can see it through.

So it's really about being able to hold on through the difficult times, I [00:30:00] think. Yeah. And, and keeping going. Well, I mean, unless it's obvious that you shouldn't. Yeah. Um, unless you're losing money. But you know, I'm sure you know Callum that a lot of it, a lot of it's about really having to, to have the grit.

You know, the, the more you hear about, the more the people who succeed are the ones who've got grit as they call it, rather than it's evolution. 

Callum: It's evolution in yourself.When I started reviews, I was like, the products we have today will not be the products we have in three years.

It will evolve and don't be too precious and hold onto what you are doing today, what you're starting with. And I'm sure Ollie's pretty the same. You know, you, you've gotta be able to evolve really rapidly and learn through the different stages. And that's something I've been. Really trying to do myself is my knowledge, my insights can only take me so far.

So I've had to really educate myself as I've kind of progressed. And that's, that's been a big [00:31:00] thing for me. I'm still doing, 

Camila: and, and, yeah. Well, we all are. I mean, I don't think you ever stop changing and growing. And if you do then, then there's, that's not quite right, really. I think, you know, we've all got to keep learning.

And growing. It doesn't matter how old you are. Yeah. And, and actually, as you say, flexibility is really important too, isn't it? So yes. Perseverance and resilience, but not stubbornness. Yeah. Hold 

Callum: onto to those beliefs lightly. That's what I say to my kids. Look. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Hold onto them lightly.

Yeah. And what's one piece of tech that you've recently seen or implemented that you've gone. That that's, that's good. I 

Camila: like that. Well, in terms of OB you know, for us at the moment, a huge piece of the tech is the ERP and that's sort of gonna be the basis for a lot of the, the new things we develop after that.

So that's what we are doing. For me, I'm sort of really excited about, because we were early adopters about the whole sort of headless technology for [00:32:00] platforms composable You know, I just think that seems to be the way forward. 

Callum: Yeah. Well, what, what third party do you use for that? Or do you do that in-house?

Camila: We use an agency and they have, um, their own front end that they've built. So we have a bespoke one if you like. It's not spoke bespoke for us, but bespoke for everyone who uses that agency because they. They started early on in the headless journey and there weren't third party tools at the time, so they had to build their own.

So that's what we use. So I'm really interested in that side of technology. I love all that. And of course AI and how that can help in all areas. Although. I do think it's interesting over the, that in, in the news today, in fact it was on the head in the headlines of one of the papers. I think they were saying that the top AI companies have warned that of, of AI's existential threat to humanity.

So yeah, I think we have to be slightly careful about how we use ai. 

Callum: I [00:33:00] saw the exact headline you're talking about and they were comparing it to like nuclear war and the climate change. And yeah. Yeah. I dunno whether that's just the media just trying to get hold of


Camila: There is the debate between utopia, Dystopia isn't there. And I think for the moment it's really great. You know, I was reading about, or hearing about a web, uh, a company that uses AI so that you can personalise every description on your website so that if someone is visiting your site from a different country or somewhere where it's hot or cold, when it's, you know, versus cold and you change the description for the person who's reading it.

Yeah. You know, and that's AI that can deliver that, you know? Yeah. It's great. One of the, 

Callum: one of the things that we're, you know, talking about ai, and I'm, I'll, I'll talk about this. So one of the things that I'm really, I was really worried about was, and thi this is really when I did this in lockdown, when we, you know, I was starting to see a lot people talking about AI a lot more and I thought, well [00:34:00] I'm really worried that we're just gonna get fake reviews and AI is gonna write all the reviews and you know, this is gonna be a nightmare cuz fake reviews.

Part the scourge of the internet and they caused me real headaches. And we was, really working hard on, on that problem. And what we've ended up doing is implementing some keystroke biometrics, cuz it's one thing that AI can't do, which is type on a keyboard. Wow. So we're actually monitoring the clicks in the, in the input boxes.

So if it goes to Control V, we know that that's, that's been 

Camila: created by, but could people not use the mic and do V voice? 

Callum: Yeah. Yeah. Butthis is for written reviews. This is actually when you type when you type. You have a unique fingerprint. This is what I'm working at at the minute. So how you hold the letter s on your keyboard, it is [00:35:00] totally different to how everybody else holds it.

Camila: Wow, that's amazing. So, and I'm 

Callum: explaining this to everyone and I'm like, right, we're gonna do keystroke biometrics. And they're like, you wanna, you know, and it, it, it's actually, and I was like, no, we. Maybe not today, but maybe not tomorrow, but soon we are gonna have to implement this because it's, it's gonna cause problems and now we are like it, it's now live.

So we actually track the keystrokes and that's identified all this chat, G p t fraud. And, and it, it, it's really helped us stop that and help me sleep at night, I suppose. That is 

Camila: fantastic. And I remember when chat GPT came out almost the same day, we got an email from you saying that we can now write our replies if we want.

Yeah. Chat gbt a little tool. I'm going, oh, you are always on it. 

Callum: So yeah, you can like one click for reply and, and you know when you've [00:36:00] got product market fit, when random people start talking about that. So it's taken, we launched that a few months ago. No one's really spoke about it. People are using it and no one's really spoke about it.

And then randomly today, I, I was shared, someone shared this LinkedIn post with me where this guy was actually saying, oh, it's made my life so much easier. I can one click and it writes a reply better than I do. So it, it saved him hours a month replying to review. So, There is a lot of helpful stuff like that.

We, we are actually working on we're working on insights as well. We spoke about that, but yeah, we, we've got a long way to go in this. But yeah, that, that the, the threat of AI to reviews is, is real. But I do worry that AI will get stupider and stupider because it'll just start, one AI system will start talking to the other AI system, and they'll just be.

Educating each other in probably incorrectly. So somebody wrote, I, I seen something [00:37:00] yesterday where the AI was used in a court case and it quoted a case that didn't exist, and the judge was like, you've used chat GPT to do this. And yeah, they, they actually got, got shamed publicly online. 

Camila: Yes, but for that one person who got shamed, how many have managed to slip through the net?

I, you know, it, it, it's hard to know, isn't it? you know, it, it depends what you're looking at. You think, yeah, 

Callum: definitely. You've gotta take some of the information you getting back with a grain of salt. Else you might look stupid. I think that's, yeah. Brilliant advice. Thank you Camilla, for being on today. It, it's lovely to speak to you. I hope to invite you to the opening of my mom's nightclub soon and at the same time, And then the ribbon with you.

Uh, yeah. 

Camila: Cut the ribbon in Leicester. Yeah, 

Callum: that's it. Sunny Leicester. That's it. Honestly been [00:38:00] brilliant. Thank you so much for coming on and taking the time to come on. I really appreciate that. And I will make sure you are on the beta list for our insight solution that's 

Camila: coming soon. Brilliant. Thanks so much.

It's been absolutely fantastic, Callum. Lovely. 

Callum: Thank you Camilla. 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.