📦 - Caution…Sharp
May 21, 2023
Content Tag


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

If you eat popcorn like a civilized person, stop kidding yourself.

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from Pactimo, Night Babe, Meyer, True Brands, and Bella Luna Toys.

In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 Mini Katana’s Karly McFarland on $100M in email sales and going from agency to brand side

📦 What today’s modern consumers expect in a return policy

📦 Three questions to ask before launching a new product

📦 The new tool to dynamically test images in abandoned cart email flows

📦 ChatGPT for Google

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe, so you never miss out.


🎧 On this week’s episode of the DTC pod, we’re hanging out with Karly McFarland, Director of Ecommerce at Mini Katana and upcoming C-Suite Las Vegas mentor!

Since we met Karly at our first meet-up in March last year, she has been crushing it by building, scaling, and exiting her eCommerce agency to team up with our buddy, Isaac Medeiros, at Mini Katana.

In this episode, Karly spills the tea on utilizing MentorPass to quantum leap your network, how she turned a nightmare client into a good friend with a little help from some ~liquid courage~ and gives us a look into the email content strategy she's implementing at Mini Katana and presenting in detail at the upcoming C-Suite Mastermind in Las Vegas!

If you're interested in joining us in Las Vegas at C-Suite, grab your spot now while they're still available!

‍The takeaways 👇

🔄 Flipping the script

When Karly had a terrible experience with a client, she never expected to end up hanging out at a Star Wars-themed bar with them months later.

But that's exactly what happened after she mustered up the courage (with the help of a few vodka sodas) and approached the client at a networking event. They chatted, hit it off, and spent the rest of the evening barhopping together. Talk about an Uno Reverse!

To Karly, it shows that sometimes the worst experiences can lead to the best stories if you’re open to it.

"It's just business, and some people behave in certain ways, but you don't take it personally. That's a big one."

💥 Breaking the mold

On the pod, Karly shared her thoughts on email marketing and the plans for Mini Katana, which she’ll discuss in more detail at C-Suite in Las Vegas.

She is a big fan of two brands, BirdDogs and We're Not Really Strangers, and admires their unique approach to content-based email marketing.

Instead of the typical DTC-style emails, what she loves about these brands is that they focus on creating interesting and creative content that entertains and connects with their audience. Karly plans to adopt a similar strategy for Mini Katana's email marketing, using it to build a community and entertain her audience first rather than solely focusing on revenue.

"We're looking at building a real newsletter with Mini Katana, not just using it as a revenue stream, which I think is really important for the longevity of the program."

👉 Listen to the full episode with Karly McFarland here!

(Don't miss your opportunity to join the next C-Suite Mastermind in Las Vegas, March 23-24!)


👏 Returns don't have to be free! 👏

Marketers often assume what customers want in a return policy. And, it turns out, those assumptions cost DTC businesses BIG BUCKS. 💸

You want to see exactly what today’s modern consumers expect in a return policy. Thankfully, Loop did the hard work and surveyed 1000+ online shoppers.

⚡️ The results will shock you! ⚡️

💵 Loop learned customers are most interested in convenient return experiences, even if it means they have to pay you! 💵

This report dives into:

  • How return preferences are shifting rapidly
  • The impact return optionality has on first-time/repeat purchase rates
  • How consumers view the added cost of premium return offerings
  • Why sustainability is increasingly important for your returns

The era of free returns is coming to an end, and DTC businesses need to adapt to changing consumer preferences.

👉 Check out Loop’s latest consumer report to learn how to save money & make your returns process match consumer expectations.


Three Questions to Ask Before Launching a New Product

New year, new you, new product ideas?

Even if that invention you thought of in the shower seems totally genius (which we’re totally sure it is)...

Before doing anything else, you’ll want to determine if there’s product-market fit.

Finding product-market fit is usually done by conducting in-depth market research, which helps you identify demand for the product, competition, growth potential, and overall viability.

However, it’s also possible to get a decent understanding of product-market fit by going through a few simple prompts!

Here are three questions to ask (and answer) before launching your next product. 👇


Product-market fit is all about offering a product that meets your target customer’s needs or helps them solve a problem.

To launch a successful product, there must be demand — especially from your current customer base or audiences you’re targeting.

For example, if your brand is in growth mode, new products will attract new customers. If you’re an established brand, new products will help retain your current customers — just as long as current and potential customers are thirsty for the product you’re launching.

Ask yourself: does your customer actually want this product? Are they asking for it? Will it help them? Does it solve a pain point? Does it make their lives easier or better? 🤔

Now you can do all the fancy market research in the world, but the only people that truly know the answer are…

🥁 Drumroll, please… 🥁

Your customers!

So your initial research could be as simple as asking your current customers what they think. Novel idea, right?

Some methods to try:

  • Call or email customers directly. Contact directly from founder/employees can work well here.
  • Send out surveys to get a pulse on how the new product might be received. Incentivize customers to fill it out with a gift card or freebie.
  • Create a customer focus group of loyal shoppers. This is a great long-term strategy to continue getting insights and feedback on new product ideas or product improvements.

We’d also recommend chatting with Customer Service, Sales Reps, and any other teams who have a direct line to customers on a daily basis. They often have valuable insight into your customer’s pain points, needs, and desires. 👍


POV: You’ve just come up with the greatest new invention since avocado toast…

Only for Google to tell you it already exists. 😣

It’s soul-crushing, we know. But understanding the competitive landscape before launching a new product is a crucial step in your pre-launch research.

Even a quick competitive analysis will help you determine where your product might fit in the marketplace and understand how to market it for the most success.

👉 If your product idea does exist… Keep scrollin’!


Are your abandoned cart emails getting… abandoned?

Do your abandon cart emails have (pun intended) abandonment issues? The fix could be switching out your images.

Easier said than done.

Not anymore! 👏

A new Abandoned Cart Optimizer allows you to dynamically test images in abandoned cart email flows – previously impossible.

With this first-ever-app, you can:

  • Automatically test assets in emails
  • Select and use alternate images
  • Understand which creative assets are driving conversions

And it works! Brands are seeing a 10-30% lift in email conversion rates with Cohley.

The 🍒 on top? It’s FREE to get this one-of-a-kind tool in the Shopify App Store (at least for now!). You’ve got nothing to lose – except for those abandonment issues.

👉 Start banishing abandonment.

Product – Part 2

So your product already exists…

While being first to market can be an amazing opportunity, if there’s already competition for your new product idea, that’s not to say you shouldn’t pursue it. You’ll just have to do some research to determine how your product will be different and/or better than competitors.

Pose these questions to yourself: Will the product be targeted to a unique market? Is it less expensive or a more “premium” version? Does it come with additional features? Is it more user-friendly? Is it made with higher-quality materials?

Here are some steps to consider during your research:

  • Your target market might know your competitors better than Google. What products do real customers consider as alternatives to yours? Make sure to include those in your list to research.
  • Read competitor reviews. Find out what customers like about your competition and, most importantly, where they think the product is lacking or could be improved (your opportunity).
  • Analyze marketing materials. Check out competitor websites, blogs, emails/SMS, and social media. This will give you a sense of their target markets, pricing, and unique value proposition.
  • Test the products out (if possible). Buying and testing your competitors’ products will give you the best intel (only if it’s not price restrictive — no need to purchase and test six different refrigerators, k?).

After gathering your research, consider plotting your competitors on a competitive landscape chart/perceptual map. Any white space is your opportunity to stand out in the market! 👇

Source: https://creately.com/blog/marketing/how-to-do-a-competitive-analysis/

👉 If your product doesn’t seem to exist yet…

Congrats, you hit the jackpot!

(Maaaaaaybe. Just because it doesn’t exist doesn’t mean it should. 😉)

Even if you could be first to market with your new product, you’ll still want to do some research to find out:

  1. Is there a demand for it?
  2. How big is the potential market?
  3. How much are people willing to spend on it?

Armed with this info, you’ll be able to reasonably assess if you can create a desirable, profitable new product.


Once you’ve analyzed the existing market, it’s also essential to know if it has the potential to grow. Otherwise, in a few years, you may find yourself with a stagnant product that never takes off. 📉

Admittedly, market growth is tricky… you’re basically trying to predict the future, which we’ve heard is kinda hard to do. 🤷

However, you can get a general sense of what direction the market is going by:

  • Talking to industry experts. Ask them what they think the future will look like in your potential market.
  • Paying attention to trends. Read trend reports, subscribe to newsletters in your market, use Google Trends, etc.
  • Using tools to look at past growth. Google Trends, Think With Google and SEO tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs are all helpful tools to identify which direction your market is trending in.
  • Plugging into online communities like Twitter, Facebook Groups, Reddit, Twitch, etc. to get a sense of what customers in your market are talking about.

While not an exact science, analyzing trends will help you make an educated guess about your market growth potential and the future success of your product.

Now, go forth and dream up those new product ideas! 🚀🚀🚀

Tool Spotlight

2023 Is The Year of Productivity

Everyone’s trying to level up their productivity this year, and the ChatGPT Chrome extension is a glimpse into the future of search.

When using the extension with Google, it creates a two-dimensional experience.

🔎 When returning results it:

  • Gives you your standard search results
  • Summarizes the information using ChatGPT

🤔 What’s so great about it?

ChatGPT for Google gives you a head start on finding information and summarizing the most valuable parts. It’s definitely not a Google replacement, but an exciting way to save some time and experience a supercharged search.

Using extensions and AI tools like this allows you to quickly see the most valuable search results for you to then pivot and do more tactical research.

P.S. Want to know more about AI tools and how agencies and businesses are using them? Check out our latest episode of All Killer, No Filler. 🚀

Quick Hits

🤑 Instagram adds Lead Forms as CTA button option on business profiles.

Google tests new trusted store badge.

👜 Virtual Birkin bags on trial in Hermès case testing IP rights.

🎶 MusicLM: Generating music from text.

🔐 Hacker finds bug that allowed anyone to bypass Facebook 2FA.

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🤑 The Oodie - Davie Fogarty: Lessons From a Fast $400M.

💸 Andrew Wilkinson at C-Suite in Victoria: Bootstrapping vs. VC vs. PE vs. Angel.

😎 Pretty Boy - Ben Feys and Kevin Niehoff: Nailing your Brand Identity and Balling on a Budget.

🥤 Sansorium - Fiona Hepher: Sipping Sober with a 30% Return Customer Rate.

❤️ Rootd - Ania Wysocka: Helping a Million Users in the Age of Anxiety.

💡 Listen to the Biggest Marketing News Stories Today.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Rebecca Knight, Kate Gullett, Kelsey Hess, and Michael Venditti. Edited by Claire Beveridge and Eric Dyck.

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