Wunderkind Success Story: Koio

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This is a podcast episode titled, Wunderkind Success Story: Koio. The summary for this episode is:
00:36 MIN
Koio's Brand Mission
01:43 MIN
The Luxury Koio Experience
01:32 MIN
What Have the Last Few Years Been Like for Koio?
02:53 MIN
"It Became Clear That Wunderkind Was One of the Best-in-Class Solutions."
01:48 MIN
"We Sprinted Back to Wunderkind (From Attentive)."
02:12 MIN
The Value of Easier Personalization
00:58 MIN
Feeding the Beast That Is Wunderkind
00:57 MIN
Moving Spend to Owned Channels
02:21 MIN
Wunderkind Has Opened Our Eyes to the Value of Time and Audience
01:38 MIN
Building a Better Customer Experience
01:35 MIN
Wunderkind Has Been the Best Partner for Acquiring, and Building, Our Email and SMS Lists to a Level We Couldn't Do by Ourselves
00:48 MIN

Joe Anhalt, VP of Marketing, Koio: Sure, yeah. The VP of Marketing at Koio, it's a luxury footwear brand, and my core focus is on the performance side of marketing. So acquisition, full funnel retention, things of that nature, performance marketing, and then e- commerce as well. So optimizing the website, the flow, merchandising, things like that, working directly with our lead product designer and developer, and managing that entire funnel as well. Sure, yeah. So we really want to provide one of the most versatile and high quality footwear options in the market. So we're dead set on always being made in Italy, the highest quality, working with the finest factories, supply chains, things of that nature. And really providing products that can work with you at the office and then happy hour, maybe a wedding or another event. And just extremely versatile. You can wear them all day, every day, things of that nature. And at a really fair price point. While we do position ourselves as a luxury brand, we don't have quite the same markup as some of these luxury brands, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, things of that nature. So using kind of the new age D2C playbook, but still delivering a luxury product. And I think that's been the interesting and big challenge for me as the marketer is how do we utilize that D2C playbook but still communicate an elevated and perceived value of a luxury brand? Because oftentimes when you look at D2C, it's highly promotional. Or maybe the creative is a bit more, the baseline, is a bit more, I don't want to say cheaper, but it's not of this luxury positioning. But that's what we've been working on for the past seven, eight years, and we're level set again on making Koio this kind of new aged luxury brand for this new luxury customer. Being e- commerce first, being hyper- focused on that checkout experience. Again the D2C playbook, applying those types of" plays" that's still very applicable. And when we sit down and we think what is a truly luxury experience? And oftentimes you're going to think of retail experience or maybe hospitality, a four Seasons, Ritz- Carlton, and it's always just an unparalleled experience as soon as you walk in the door. So again a big challenge, how do we build that experience online in a two- dimensional format where it's even more challenging to differentiate yourself? We're all using the same pixels, it's the same CTA buttons, the same copy essentially. So again, that's been a big challenge, but I feel like in the long term, it's just more rewarding across the board in terms of building a sustainable and profitable business. And also while it is more challenging to grow and scale, we feel like that consistent growth over time will just be better for everyone involved, employees internally, our stakeholders, our shareholders, and also our customers at the end of the day. Yeah, it's certainly a slower burn than maybe a lower price point item where the time of considering the purchase isn't as long as a luxury sneaker, but again we feel like the long- term play is more valuable. The last few years for us have been quite a challenge, obviously, because of the pandemic and everyone wanted to stay at home and order seamless and buy sweatpants, not necessarily expensive shoes to go to a wedding or another event. So we really did a lot of fat trimming and kind of got back to basics and really understood what was driving our business. And that was a lot of e- commerce, right? So we essentially doubled down on building out our web experience. So that included a couple new hires. We brought development in- house, which was a big win for us. When you're relatively small, you have to outsource a lot of things just because it's really capital intensive, obviously, to hire. But we knew that e- commerce was always going to be a focal point of who we are as a brand. So the pandemic, obviously with all of our retail stores shuttered with our wholesale partnerships not performing as well, obviously, because all their retail stores were done doubling down in e- commerce. And so we really kind of rebuilt the experience top to bottom. Right homepage, PLP, PDP, checkout, everything. And excited to say that we'd kind of just finished that rebuild a few months ago. But long story short, it was just fine tuning e- commerce, right? Being finer tuned with AB testing, doing more customer surveys specific to the e- commerce experience. And we saw tremendous growth. Even during the pandemic times, we were able to grow year over year during those two years which was a big win for us. While maintaining our headcount, not having to go through any furloughs or layoffs, things like that. So that was a big moment for the brand. And now that we're on the other side of that, we feel like now the real growth can happen. People are back out there going to events, having weddings, back in the office somewhat, and we're starting to see the hard work that we put in pay off now with better conversion rates, higher AOV, higher UPT, you name it. All the E- commerce KPIs that people care about that you should be measuring are significantly better today than they were a year ago. And again, it just really made us focus on the things that actually move the business, right? Product development, launching new products, telling that story, re hitting our main value points. Craftsmanship made in Italy, value, the quality, the versatility, things like that. Just hammering home that message, especially as it's still a relatively new brand, people need to retain that message, and so we just need to throw it at them so much more frequently than we were. I think a lot of people just really trying to acquire more first party data. And for us, that started with email and then quickly moved into SMS as well. And we were trying to do that ourselves, and we were seeing success but it just wasn't at the pace and the velocity that I wanted. So I knew I wanted to get some support, whether it's an agency or a tool. And after shopping around and understanding that this was Wunderkind bread and butter, was that early stage customer acquisition on the email and SMS side, so best in class. And I was like, okay, this is a great place to start. And the cherry on top was the email automations and how much revenue. As soon as we turn it on, we saw coming from work, which was a huge unlock for us. And we saw the power of not just accelerating acquisition on the email and SMS front, but the power of segmentation and automation. Essentially making money while you sleep. That was great for us. And yeah, looking back, it was a no- brainer. And what I'm really excited about too is Wunderkind is still growing, and so it's going to be exciting to grow with them and to be able to offer suggestions based on what's valuable to us and help build the product together. That's what I think what I'm looking forward to most. But yeah, it really was how do we acquire more email and SMS? And after doing some research, talking to a few referrals that were using Wunderkind, it became clear that this was one of the best in class solutions. Can I name names or is that not good?

Speaker 2: You can name names.

Joe Anhalt, VP of Marketing, Koio: Okay. I feel like I'm the perfect case study for Wunderkind right now.

Speaker 2: There you go.

Joe Anhalt, VP of Marketing, Koio: Yeah. So yeah, more specifically on the SMS side. So we were working with a lot of different solutions, a lot of small shops that weren't quite built out, just not super sophisticated. Then we went over to Wunderkind when you offered that product in the early stages. And then again, in hindsight, wrong move, but I decided to test out attentive just because obviously they have a big share of the market. And so we were doing the split of Wunderkind was still powering email acquisition and kind of email, and then Attentive was doing the SMS side. But what we found was as soon as we went live with Attentive, those systems obviously weren't speaking super congruently, and we saw our SMS subs list just completely fall off. And with that, we just weren't able to send as many automated emails and segments and flows and things like that. So then our revenue fell off. And what we found is you really need to hit those people that one- two punch like email, SMS. I'm talking about the acquisition side because that builds your list, that drives the growth. Sure, you can send amazing segmented messages through Attentives platform, super easy to use, but if there's no one there to send it to, you are not going to drive any revenue at all. So we sprinted back to Wunderkind as quickly as we could, and it's been great. We're seeing our subscriptions go back up, our revenues go back up. Because again, we're just able to build those lists quicker and with a bigger list, there's just more opportunity for revenue. And that's just with the first purchase. Again, really excited to work with Wunderkind on some retention efforts and really how do we drive lifetime value. While maintaining that amazing kind of acquisition experience on the email and SMS front and that first purchase experience, how do we get them to come back and buy again? So I'm excited to dive deeper into that over the coming months and years. Exactly. We're able to trigger an experience where if we know you have already signed up for one, both to hide that or show that. And we're still doing our own acquisition efforts as well through organic social and other email campaigns to try to get people from our email list to our SMS and kind of hitting it from all angles, but never too concerned with bombarding people with messages or notes. Again also, we understand that if people sign up to hear from us, we're going to talk to you, we're going to speak to you every step we can. But yeah, unsubscribe rates are nothing that we see to be alarming at all. But again, Wunderkind makes it super simple to personalize that process, excuse me, personalize that experience. So if you set up for email, you set up for SMS, you're not going to be, again, bombarded with that signup again. Just because we were generating more revenue through our own channels. It did a little bit, but then also we wanted to continue driving traffic to our website so we could feed the beast that is Wunderkind. So I'm always looking for more people, and again first party. So emails, SMS that's it for us right now. So it was, okay, how much is it for... And it became like, okay, we have our CPA or ROAS, but what's our cost per new email signup? What's our cost per SMS? And so part of me also thought maybe we should spend more so we can just build these lists even quicker. Obviously still maintaining our CPA and ROAS goals. But no, honestly it didn't end dawn on me to pull back spend. Just again, we just wanted to feed that beast of building up our email and SMS lists. Really it was night and day when we first signed on with Wunderkind and kind of turned it on for the first time. And again we had this epiphany, this come to ah. Everything was like, " ah why haven't we been doing this for months and years?" And really we were doing it, but it was a manual process. We didn't have the automation, we didn't have the onsite tools, and honestly, we didn't have your network. We didn't have the ability to understand what these users were doing around different sites. And that's really, I think, the big value add. Sure you can set up an email flow through Klaviyo or MailChimp or whatever, you can set up SMS with other people. But the data that you guys are able to feed into those flows, you truly see a huge difference. And it was the acquisition, which again, out of the box was fantastic. But again the revenue driven through these emails and these texts, it was a big win for us. And it's a core part of our marketing function. And I'm now just always asking the Wunderkind team, " how can we do more?" Because obviously you're going to see that huge spike at the beginning and it's going to be hard to replicate that, obviously. But again, we've just kind of seen the unlock of the automation of the acquisition, tapping into the data that you have access to. And the thing I love most about it is because it's email and SMS, you can attribute the revenue quite easily. Sure, it's not 100%, but compared to a Facebook, a Google affiliate, don't get me started on TikTok, things of that nature. We can see it in black and white. It's driving this much revenue. Here's the open rate, here's the click- through rate. So in a world of decreasing third party data and trying to understand what the heck is going on, Wunderkind has given us a really nice black and white photo as to this is how much revenue we're driving from this email, from this message, from this flow. And we can go back and optimize that or add more flows to the mix. But that's been a big win as well. Wunderkind has definitely opened our eyes to understanding that the value of time and audience is maybe more important than a creative piece. So specifically on the email side of things, maybe we spend half day designing, prepping, writing the copy and we send it to everybody and it yields X amount of revenue. But with Wunderkind, they understand what they were doing on our site, what products they were shopping, and we've A/ B tested the subject line and it's just much more of a performance executed kind of channel. And we see that perform 5, 10 x better than this beautifully crafted email that three people worked on it. So it really opened our eyes to, again, in hindsight, very obvious, very basic, but segmentation, timing and showing specific content to those specific people that it resonates with. And so how do we take those learnings and apply them to Facebook, to our own email campaigns? Maybe we don't need to send it to everybody else. Let's just send it to, we have new boots coming out this fall, let's just send it to men who bought Boots last season, be like, " Hey, boots are back in stock. You bought last year". Again, just applying that similar logic to our own efforts. It's not scalable, but again, using those learnings. So that was a big learning and a big shift for us on the marketing and also the brand side. A few ways I think the product recommendation engine is really powerful, and again just hyper- relevant to individual users, and it shows in the results as well. That's been huge. Again, we could do that ourselves with building that out. It would take a lot of time, effort, and it just wouldn't be to the level that Wunderkind's able to provide. And also, Wunderkind works with thousands of clients, so they're able to take learnings from somebody else and apply them to our account or to our site or to our emails. Whereas if we were just doing it ourselves, we'd be so focused on what we're doing and not really noticing what the larger market is doing. So with the flows, the product recommendations, the specificity to those specific customers, and then also just the knowledge that they're continuously aggregating through other clients and being able to translate that to our own struggles. We're a pretty typical e- commerce site, we're selling shoes on the internet. And a lot of the fundamentals of e- commerce can be applied to whatever product that is, especially if we're not a SaaS business or a subscription. And there are a lot of other businesses that are not those and kind of more traditional, selling product online. And again, those fundamentals can be translated across the board. Yeah. The tagline, and then we'll cut. Wunderkind by far has been the best partner for acquiring and building our email list and SMS lists to a level that we couldn't do by ourselves. And then taking those customers that you now own, have their data, and driving revenue with those users at a scale that we could have never achieved in- house by ourselves. And at the end of the day, it's become one of our most consistent, which is a huge value add for us. It's been a consistent flow of revenue, and that's a huge win for us.


Joe Anhalt, VP of Marketing at Koio, discusses the importance of Wunderkind's expertise in early-stage customer acquisition through email and SMS marketing. Joe highlights Wunderkind's role in increasing their email and SMS subscriber base, boosting revenue, and streamlining the user experience. He touches on the effectiveness of Wunderkind's email automation, segmentation, and back-in-stock notifications, showcasing the impact on their sales. The partnership not only accelerated acquisition but also facilitated personalized customer experiences, citing the invaluable data insights and consistent revenue streams provided by Wunderkind.