Ashwin Sokke, Co-Founder, WOW Skin Science
Today, we’re excited to share another valuable interview to help you overcome business challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We had the opportunity to pick the brain of Ashwin Sokke, the founder of WOW Skin Science. His global 8-figure skincare and haircare business is extremely popular in India and across the U.S., and it has been a top-selling brand on Amazon for the last four years in those countries.
In this interview, Sokke shares how his company dealt with the impact of Covid-19 which shut down half of his business for several weeks. For businesses who are going through similar pains, he provides incredible insights across many topics—from how to communicate with customers (he believes we should be sending them more emails and texts during this time) to getting creative with your marketing tactics (remember giveaways?). Sokke even digs down into the nitty gritty and breaks down his thoughts on subscription models, ad investments, and SKUs.
We believe this conversation will be valuable for any entrepreneur to listen to, especially those with ecommerce businesses. If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at [email protected] to let us know.
Want some training on ecommerce? Check out our free masterclasses:
- How Sokke got into the health and beauty space
- The path to growing WOW Skin Science in India and the U.S. and becoming a top-selling brand on Amazon
- Why Sokke develops all of his products from scratch
- A glimpse into the company’s incredible numbers: 8-figure revenue and 370% growth in the U.S. last year
- The impact that Covid-19 had on Sokke’s global company
- Why Sokke believes companies should be sending more emails during this time (and how to be strategic about it)
- Why giveaways have been a successful tactic during Covid-19
- An overview on a winning stock keeping unit (SKU)
- Sokke’s thoughts on how to win with subscription models
- The best advice Sokke can offer to the community during Covid-19
Full Transcript of Podcast with Ashwin Sokke
Nathan: The first question I ask everyone that comes on is how did you get your job? How’d you find yourself doing the work you’re doing today?
Ashwin: Going back, I think I’ve been in the affiliate marketing industry for about 15 years now, since high school and eventually I graduated into the health and beauty space in the US around 2009. And then when I moved to the States and we were involved with the affiliate marketing industry. We did a lot of affiliate sales and eventually realised if you want to build something and take your ideas forward long-term and build a legacy brand, you have to do everything on your own. Obviously we had the marketing angle on all right, but we always saw things go downhill because we were dependent on sending our traffic or building blogs where traffic was sent to brands owned by someone else. We couldn’t control the narrative.
So eventually, I think it was 2012 e-commerce in India was taking off. So I co-founded Wow with two of my high school friends and my older sibling. So the story of Wow is basically me and… it’s a pair of two brothers, me and my older brother and two of my high school friends who are brothers too. So that’s Wow was formed. And we initially started off with supplements in India and it took off became one of the highest selling brands on Amazon India. And then eventually we were looking at the growth on Amazon in India. We figured out, “Hey, why don’t we also do skincare and eventually haircare.” And that’s how we’ve grown over the years, being the one of the top selling brands on Amazon India and the US for the last four years. We have the number one selling shampoo on Amazon or India, and in the US for last four years.
But as a company and as one of the most important ethos of our company is customer centric and being product driven. As marketers, it’s easy to lose yourself with bad habits of just focusing on the marketing and not focusing on the products. And when we made the decision to build a product, we said we were going to do something that’s a long-term, we’re not just going to be another brand with just goes to a manufacturer and says, “I want this product made. Oh, you have the formulation. Just put a label on your bottles now.” At Wow we do everything from scratch. Everything is proprietary right from the formulation of our products, the bottles we use, the pumps that we use, we own the moulds for our bottles. We own the moulds for our pumps. The packaging is unique. We do everything from scratch. And I think that adds tremendous value in the market where there are so many copycats.
I feel like especially in the health and beauty space it’s so easy for anyone to go to a manufacturer and say, “I want to do this skincare product. Oh, you will have the formulation? Okay. I’ll just take the bottles you have as a manufacturer, just put my… I’ll send you the labels and the design.” And now I think we separate ourselves that way. And that’s actually paid off long-term. Yes, it’s a lot of pain in the initial months. You can’t launch products quickly, but once you get the process through and you have a big team, different stages of product development, you figure it out.
And it also gives you great feedback where you’re able to take feedback that your customers give, which is actual feedback. Forget the feedback that you get from your own team members who say, “Oh, the fragrance on the skincare product is great,” but you never know until it gets to the real market and the real world, and you get actual customer feedback, which is really random. And you take that feedback and you improve your product for over time. Iteration one, two, three. And then eventually you get to a stage where you have the perfect product, which is going into the real world and getting more feedback. The feedback can be anything. The font on the label is too small that people can’t use instruction. The face scrub the ingredients might be in such a way that the particles are to take on the face scrub. The pump is not working in certain conditions. All these feedback since we own part for manufacturing factory back in India too, it gives us great flexibility to do a quick, rapid changes on a product line and continuously improve.
So right now my other partners manage all of India business. And even though we build strategy together, and I manage all the global player, which is US, Canada and so on, and India, which is a more significant business right now is managed by my co-founders who live and offer business startup India. But we are a company which was headquartered out of India, Bangalore India. So that’s how we have structured our company right now.
Nathan: Interesting. So would you be able to share whatever you feel comfortable with just so people can get an idea of scale and size on what you’re playing with, whether it’s dollars, units, how often a product is sold, because we’re not talking like… This is a decent size business.
Ashwin: Yeah. I would say we are in the higher eight digits per annum worldwide revenue, very close to nine digits. So we’re there and we’ve grown about… We grew about 370% of the US last year.
Nathan: Yeah, wow.
Ashwin: This is crazy, right?
Ashwin: And we grew about at the size we… And if you really look as a brand we’ve rapidly scaled about in the last three and a half years. But in India, we’ve grown about 170% last year, our India businesses is very large for a market like India, which is price conscious, quality conscious, value conscious we’ve made some great [inaudible 00:10:48]. We have won several awards, both in India and in the US. So we actually won the Bootstrap Startup of the year award last year and in India.
Nathan: Oh, wow.
Ashwin: So far so good. We’ve been blessed with great partners and great team members that we work with both in India and the US and we also have a small satellite office in Canada. So we are doing, I would say incredible things, highly competitive category of health and beauty. And we continue to believe the world will continue to evolve and smaller brands like us compared to the huge multinational brands will grow more quickly in terms of annual growth compared to think brands are growing probably four or 5% per annum. We will continue to at least for the next five, six years double digit growth.
Nathan: Okay. That’s awesome. So tell me what’s working right now, when this hit about four to six weeks ago, were you guys affected at all? Did you see sales dipped? What happened?
Ashwin: We’re a story, I would say two sides of coin, right? Obviously in India, we had the complete lockdown curfew for about three weeks now. And I think the Indian government took the drastic step off, of course, for the safety of the country, of shutting down everything right. They had Amazon shut, all warehousing store, most of the logistics store shut, unless it was really, really critical like food and so on. Even then a lot of it was shut. So now I think starting April 20th, which is the following Monday, they’re going allow e-commerce to open up. So, which is great, but otherwise for the last two and a half, three weeks, we were completely shut in India. But in the US, fortunately e-commerce was considered essential category and we are in the essentially category like shampoos, body washes. So we’ve been holding steady and I’ve actually seen a slight increase in sales. I think people are more comfortable and sort of going, and since we dominated so many categories on Amazon and we are in the public category, like shampoo and conditioners and body washes and face washes, we’ve actually done well.
And fortunately touchGOODS our warehouses across the US have stayed open. But it is not just the Amazon warehouses, but our own private 3PL warehouses and East Coast and West Coast, shout out to Cargo-Co that’s the 3PL provider we use. So they’re being able to service our needs during these tough times. And you know we have spared up and we’ve been able to service our customers. I think what’s worked for us is just being honest, with our old customers too, we have been honest and told them, we’re a small business and we’ve sent emails, SMS communications with them saying, “Hey, we operate safely, our warehouses are COVID-19 friendly, safe, we follow the rules and it will help small businesses like us during these tough times. If loyal customers like you can support us.” We sent out a video message to an email, and that generated a lot of bars and your loyal customers we’ll support you. Of course, we give them a discount.
We said as we… We have been able to stay open so far. So we request you to say using these discount code and order up and build up your inventory instead of trying to go out, your products will be delivered safely home. Things like that and that’s generated a lot of sales, both on social media and on our email channel and Facebook ads.
But also I think a lot of… What’s worked, I think is there’s a lot more available ad inventory out there right now. People are at home and spending a lot of time online. So what’s happened is I think we’ve seen an increase in performance on direct response ads, but CPMs and CPCs have dropped at least by 25%, because just there is so much more inventory. And I think some of the bigger DTC players or bigger mainstream brands, like the luxury products and airlines and hotels have dropped off. And so there’s a lot of available inventory on that auction, be it Facebook, Google, or Snapchat that’s working.
And I think also what’s working is giveaways. When I say giveaways, we have taken the end a lot of stay at home, shop and we are doing giveaways of iPhones. And since we’re in the women based industry, we giving iPhone 11, jewellery and handbags like part of the purchase. You get a chance to win in a giveaway, which should be announced at the end of the month. The more you buy, the more chances you have to win, things like that have obviously helped us differentiate our brand a little bit from everything else that’s being promoted. Every morning, me and you wake up with 15 COVID-19 emails by the CEO or founders of companies. So I think it was we got this idea from a common friend, Juan. I’m not sure if you he’s on the foundr network. He… CML for a men’s, these are truck industry. These are trucks and accessories that’s being sold online and they do large giveaway. They give out a truck per month and we had a conversation with him and he was able to give us that idea and so be it implementing that. So that’s been great.
And also, I think one of the other approaches we took as… A lot of the user generated content style of ads are working a lot more now. When I say UGC, bid influences, or even our team members or employees within our team, are able to make these small raw videos, which is full of emotions, which are able to tell that COVID-19 strategies in the health and beauty niche. Like for us, we’ve been able to say, “Hey, since you are at home, strategies stay at home and have salon style, spot treatments at home, be it skincare.” Day-to-day, you probably couldn’t push these angles through in terms of marketing, where now you can say, stay at home, skin spa, three steps, 15 minutes of face mask, 15 minutes of different things, skin cream, treatments and angles, which are promoted with user generated, content is working really well right now. And I think people are able to resonate with that because they have so much time on their hands and they can sit while working, apply a face mask or a hair mask for 15 minutes, and they actually have the time to do that. So those are things that are absolutely working.
One of the other things we find interesting is how there was a limit on how many emails a brand could send per week and how much performance you could get. You could probably double the amount of cents per week on emails and still see actually an increased performance. Because people are on their phone or on their laptop all day. That mailbox a lot. Also, you won’t have any unsubscribes. We hadn’t seen any large unsubscribes on our… Obviously we don’t send emails to our entire list, we try to send it to our engaged audience, but we’re seeing a lot more performance on emails now. Same with SMS, push notifications. There’s no limit to how many times you can send. I mean, you don’t want to send two or three a day, but I would say one a day is all set and game right now. And it’s actually working brilliantly. I think as brands we have to make use of this opportunity, that’s being provided to us and we should engage with our customers.
And one of the smart things we try and use is, we ask questions in our emails like when we send something like a skincare tip while you stay at home, we say, “Share your personal tips and have a chance to be feature, give it a chance.” And people respond to those emails, which in turn increases your emails score.
Nathan: Credibility, yeah.
Ashwin: So small things like that I think how working a lot, and I’d actually working a little better because people are reading a lot more of the emails, reading a lot more of their SMS. So things like that have worked so far. And we as a brand, even though we maintain consistency of manufacturing our products in India, we were lucky that we had stopped for four to eight weeks of a lot of our winning skews. So even though India was shut down for three weeks, we were lucky enough to maintain stock levels and continue to sell some of our products. And hopefully we can maintain a sales number over the next quarter.
Nathan: Yeah. Interesting. So lot of questions here to kind of dive a little deeper, let’s go with the lightest one around stocking, four to eight weeks ahead of winning skews. What exactly does that mean? And how many skews do you have that are winning and how do you work out that if they’re winning or not, like the 80-20 or in the 80-20?
Ashwin: Oh, we have about… As a global brand, I think in India, we have a lot more skews than in the US because it’s easy to just launch and scale something. And if it doesn’t work with low MOQ, since we own bought off a factory to launch scale that if something doesn’t work, we shifted out of the circulation. So we are 175 to 200 skews in India. And about 70 skews in the US, I think we are… 90% of our sales are generated by about 15% of our skews. And the rest is all filling inventory.
Winning skew, we look at it two ways, obviously, volume of sales, but also repeat purchases. That’s what qualifies as winning. So I would say when we talk of volumes, is it moving a minimum of 5,000 units every two weeks? Is a winning skew. And repeat purchases is if a customer is buying it at least two and a half to three times a year. You have to understand we as marketers, get confused with this idea that, “Oh, it needs to be a subscription model. I’ve [inaudible 00:22:52] every month.” But when it comes to ………….., if you really look at household habits and what do families do, let’s consider the shampoos. If you really look at the stats, people buy shampoo three times a year, two and a half times a year. If you ask your partner for example, or your wife or your girlfriend, it doesn’t matter once they know what they like, they’ll only buy it two or three times a year. It’s not that you go out, buy a shampoo bottle every month, very rare, unless you’re buying like really small, a 100ml travel sized bottles.
So for us as a brand, that’s one of the big eye-openers to that, we understood buying habits and buying scenarios. What is considered great? What is considered not great? Supplements are different, right? We also sell supplements in a few categories in India, like biotech, or make a three and so on. Those are every month or every 60 days, depending on the size of bottles people buy. So that’s what qualifies as winning skews. And why I say it’s super important, depending on MOQs that you have with your manufacturing facilities, and also whether the manufacturing is local or off shore, that you maintain a minimum of four to eight weeks of inventory or sometimes even more. But let’s say four to eight weeks is ideal in this new world.
So we do the assembly because we don’t know if something like the coronavirus was going to happen, but it takes about 45 days for us to get after we issue a purchase order to a factory for our factories to make container, let’s say for shampoo, get it to the port from India to the US, customs cleared and into our warehouses be it Amazon or our own 3PL warehouses.
Nathan: So six weeks?
Ashwin: So we all ………….. Yeah, because you don’t want to move inventory of heavy products where cost of transport from one country to another is so huge if you bring it by air, or if you bring it by ocean freight, it’s almost one 15th of cost. So there’s no point from being to air freight, one litre bottles of shampoo, like just cost-wise as a brand is just what’s going to kill you, take away all your profit. So we maintain that. We generally almost 98% of the time, unless it’s some kind of an emergency, we always bring products by sea. So that is one of the reasons that we maintain four to eight weeks of inventory and also things can go wrong, whether it’s at your port or at your factory, a ship sinks, it gets held up for an additional two weeks at customs in India, or in the US FDA holds it for extra x-ray scanning for another week. So you don’t want to keep cutting ……….
And especially the way algorithms work with Amazon and so far and so on these days, it really affects you if you go out of stock on these big platforms. So we always try to maintain four to eight weeks of inventory and another important reason, I’m not sure if most sellers on Amazon are aware of this, because at least in the US Amazon wants this new thing, which is they want to deliver everything, same day or next day. Not two day prime, but same day or next day prime. So they want to spread your skews and warehouses all over the US which are owned by Amazon, where they are able to deliver within a day or same day. So the more inventory of your winning skews that you can maintain an Amazon ecosystem, you’ll actually see an uptick and your sales of at least 15 to 20%, because the algos starts featuring you on listings, which are same day, next day, which actually is a psychology, especially for health and beauty products, “Oh I’m able to get it today or tomorrow. Okay. I want to try this product.” You see what I mean? You’re winning that buy box compared to other brands who might not have enough inventory.
We’re not talking about… Listen, Amazon always sends, if you send a container which is let’s say only three weeks worth of your sales, Amazon sends it to all the big cities, that is a given. But you want to win all America or UK or Australia is the smaller tyre two, tyre three cities and smaller towns and villages around the country like the countryside where people and consumers don’t have options to go to a Walmart or Walgreens and buy whatever they want. You know what I mean? So now they are the ones who are willing to try new brands online. They look for certain keywords on Amazon, “Oh, I can get this product within a day or two. I want to try this other brand.'” You see what I mean?
Ashwin: So it actually gives you this 10 to 15% edge where you’re able to compete. And you’d be surprised how many people are going to buy a product, especially in the beauty space, if it’s delivered to them quickly within the next day or two, compared to 15 days. They’re like, “I don’t want to spend $20 and wait 15 days,” but if it’s next day or two, and if it’s on a platform like Amazon who they’re trusted, they’ll buy it. So those are some of the advantages to maintain long-term inventory. Obviously, I really wish and hope that another coronavirus doesn’t happen. But it’s important to maintain the sanctity of inventory management, because things do go down like I explained, whether it’s your container being held at a port or customs clearance or FDA clearance always happens. We’ve seen this happen several times. So these are things that we’ve failed and learned over time, over the last three years by exporting things into the US market. So we just maintain four to eight weeks of inventory these days.
Nathan: Yeah, I know that makes sense. You mentioned subscription, so I was going to ask you that, I was thinking perhaps a product or some of the products that you have in your range, you would have subscription, you don’t have subscription, or you do?
Ashwin: We do. In fact, I would say we don’t force subscriptions on people. We truly believe we’re not a brand that says, “Oh, you can only buy it as a subscription.” In fact, that’s not even a… If you go to a checkout, that’s not even a default checkout option. You can buy it one time and if you’re happy, next time you can come back and buy it a subscription. And we have that enabled even on Amazon. And I think about 10 to 15% of our customers take subscriptions and it shows value over time. And when you do subscriptions of health and beauty, it’s easy to fall prey to this idea of, “Oh, I want to make it every 30 days,” because it’s subscription revenue building, but that’s not really true. You don’t want to be in a situation or become a brand, which is sending bottles every month. You walk into a person’s house and you’re, “Why do you have five sets of the shampoos?” “Oh I ordered on subscription. I forgot to cancel.” You don’t want to be that grand.
So we made the conscious decision of even in our subscriptions being able to do things like giving long-term options, like every 60 days, every 90 days, every 180 days and things of that. And more importantly, easy options of if customers contact you by phone or email, I will skip this coming month and send email reminders. We actually send I think about three email reminders before the next refill, the week before your subscription rebill happens, we send them three reminders saying, “Three days to go before your… One day to go, your subscription is going to be filled.” And the email has a link where they can go change the subscription. Skip a month, change the date, things like that.
There are a couple of options, obviously if you’re on Shopify recharge is a good option. But I think a couple of our friends have [inaudible 00:31:58] to opscibed.io which is a little more advanced and little more customizable. You get your own domain. So shout out to scibe.io and they do an incredible job of being not just for brand owners, but also customer side where customers are able to do incredible things when you log into the member portal to skip a month, ship it the same day. Sometimes you also don’t want to wait another 30 days. Maybe your sister took your shampoo conditioner bottle, now you want to get it the same day and you don’t want to go through the customer support, call an email, log into the portal ship today. Things like that, bill and ship today. So it has a lot of great features like that and great subscription analytics, right in the back end.
Most subscription apps don’t build this for brand owners where they don’t tell you attrition rate, rebill rate of different skews, what’s working, what’s not. And so scibed.io has done a great job. They’re based out of LA. And we are big proponents of the subscription business model, but do it in a smart way where it’s not overwhelming to customers because most people… It’s easy to just keep sending bottles and piss off a customer. Now you have lost that customer for life. Once you lose faith in a brand, you’re going to tell your friends and family about it. So the compounding effect of doing bad things as a brand will affect you long-term so being fair to the customer, issuing liberally refunds, liberally changing, A customer is not happy with a certain skincare product. Just send him another type of skincare or haircare product for free. You don’t know the magnifying effects that it has long-term where a customer is, “Oh, this is the brand which let me try a different skincare product because this particular other skincare product from the same brand didn’t adjust to my type of skin.” There are so many types of skin, so many different types of scalp and hair. So we always do that for our customers.
And we see our brand loyalty growing exponentially because of these small things. And it’s not too much, by the way, it just costs you about two or 3% more than extra refunds or reshipping fees. And it just makes incredible long-term brand value propositions with your loyal, VIP customers that we like to call who become brand ambassadors themselves. Who will continue to educate and talk about your brand for you at CPA costs.
Nathan: Yeah. Really smart. So talk to me about Amazon versus Shopify. So it sounds like you guys are quite strong on Amazon. What are your thoughts on having a branded store versus using Amazon and all that sort of things?
Ashwin: You have to be everywhere, right? We are not Amazon dependent brand at all. In fact, most of our marketing efforts, when we buy ads on Facebook and social media or any other prominent goes to our own Shopify store, by the way. So we have an equal split between marketplaces and our own Shopify. So we are not Amazon brand at all. In fact, majority of our sales happen on non-Amazon channels. In India, it’s actually an incredible split because Amazon is not the number one player in India. There’s Amazon, that’s Flipkart, there’s Snapdeal, there’s nika.com. And then we have a… We are in a few thousand brick and mortar stores in India already.
Nathan: Oh retail too.
Ashwin: So we have a good, nice spread where your risk proposition as a brand is so much less. So you’re not dependent on one platform. So that’s very important to do. And I think people are scared to list on Amazon because brands are like, “We can’t control the narrative of the story.” For us, we actually saw our conversion rates on our own Shopify landing pages go up after we listed on Amazon, simply because people trust you as a brand because you are also selling on a trustworthy brand like Amazon, both in India and in the US we actually saw the conversions go up. And know what’s happened over the years I think maybe 10 years ago? We would go to Google to do product research for the new brand or a new gadget we want to try. What’s happened now is, people just opened their Amazon shopping app and just type in the brand name and product name and see if it’s available. If there’s enough reviews, they’re going to check it out. They do product…
So there’s actual case studies and data to show that Amazon has actually eclipsed Google when it comes to shopping discovery for new brands and products, people just discover new products and research new products on Amazon now. So it’s super important to be actually present on Amazon. Don’t sleep on walmart.com in the US, it makes up about six to 8% of our sales right now, a lot less competition than Amazon. So get on there.
Nathan: Interesting. Okay. So when it comes to, I guess what’s working now, you talked a lot about email and SMS and not being afraid to perhaps send one email a day or one email every few days. One thing that I think people get hung up on with that is, perhaps they come over that barrier of not being afraid to email people, which we’ve all gone through. I’m sure you went through it in the early days. You don’t want to annoy people. You don’t want to be perceived like you’re spamming people and you just don’t email, right?
Nathan: Once you get over that, how do you know what to send every day? Are you guys doing content or giveaways?
Ashwin: It needs to be a really good mix. Let me be honest. It can be a coupon code and a product feature or a new release every day or every email or every week. So what’s working during the COVID-19 strategy that we’ve come up with, like stay at home skincare tips, stay at home health care tips, features on an ingredient. Well, you’re not even selling any product, you’re just giving them content to consume. Be the video through email, to an YouTube link, an article, tell them about yoga, essential oils, meditation, just send them content like you would send. The communication style needs to be ready, family friendly, kind of like, how would you email a semi-formal friend tips on how to reduce stress? How can you do meditation, yoga, how to stay fit and that’s what’s working for us. And obviously we’re not sending a promotional email every day, buy one, get one free.
Nathan: Man, I had no idea …… ask to make sure.
Ashwin: Yeah. It has to be like a nice mix. And that builds, “Oh, that was a great tip by this brand. Let me go check out.” In the photo, we have a link to our Shopify store and people will go click on it and buy whatever they want, but you’re providing value to people and just think differently. Everyone’s trying to send an email about COVID-19, how it’s affecting the brand. You can do one email of that, you can repeat that whole cycle again and again. So you’ll have to think out of the box, send about… Like I said, it’s really important to ask, “Hey, do you want to share with the…” For us, we think do things like, “Hey, if you want to share within the wide community of customers?”
The giveaway campaign was great and we say things like, “Hey best skincare tip wins, or share your homemade skincare tips, and the best one will win free month’s supply a world product, share, respond, and let us know what is your secret made at home skincare or healthcare tip.” And go out of the box and say, “What is your favourite homemade dish? Share it with us.” Even though we are a skincare brand, people want to know what can you make at home? And what are the homemade secret recipes which are stayed in your family and you want to share it to the world? And once you open your platform to your customers, especially during these times, people want to engage with you. They’re looking for different ways to communicate with friends and family and to the outside world. And because most people are stuck at home. They’re not seeing their colleagues or coworkers or friends and families. So I think you have to differentiate yourself and spread your wings and be [inaudible 00:42:19]. And you’d be surprised how things work these days.
Nathan: Yeah. That’s really interesting. So sending pure content emails and emails everyday, mainly content, maybe a promo, maybe giveaway. Just providing as much value, you’ve seen a massive increase in sales?
Ashwin: Yeah. Now when I say massive, probably 20, 30% spike, which adds on. Because people are looking at your emails, they’ll look …….
Nathan: Do we market them? Like ……….
Ashwin: And then they see your ad on Facebook, “Oh, I liked the email they sent last week and I see that ad on Facebook, I’m going to buy now.” So you’re putting yourself in front of potential customers in a very different way than traditional brands. So that’s what’s working these days.
Nathan: Yeah. I love it, man. That’s awesome. Okay. Well look, we have to work towards wrapping up. I’m super mindful of your time and it’s getting late for you. So thanks for staying up, brother. So just kind of a couple last questions, one, any questions that I didn’t ask you that you would’ve liked me to ask, anything you want else that I’ve missed to you want to share with the community on what they should be thinking about on when it comes to COVID if you have an e-commerce store that perhaps it’s not doing that well, you’re not sure what to do? And then after that, where’s the best place people can find out more about yourself and your work?
Ashwin: I think one of the things that we’re actually trying to engage right now is work on a mobile app for our Shopify store. I think I have been dropping a lot of names, but [Tapcock 00:44:07] is a great app. It’ll take your Shopify store and help you put up a mobile app really quickly. So definitely use that. You can create a mobile app, just drag and drop kind of a setup. And now what you can do is buy traffic and for a different optimization scheme on Facebook or Google where you will buy instead of commercials or leads but you can target it for app installs.
Nathan: Yeah. Wow.
Ashwin: So you’re now competing in an e-commerce app installed space, which has less competition on the auction compared to conversions, which the rest of the world is doing. So that is working. That’s something that we’re focusing on right now. And once you get someone to instal your app, don’t over abuse it but unlike deliverability and so on and so forth, you can send mobile notifications when we …… free of costs. You see what I mean? So you’re now again, have now that avenue where you can communicate with your customers where they’re bound to see your notification at any point of time. And remember these notifications just doesn’t need to be about sales. It can be, “We are featuring a live Facebook or YouTube live with your favourite in house cosmetologists, or hairstylists with healthcare tips, log on now.” You’ll get a lot more action with your customers because they’re looking at it. The notification pops up on their phone and they can log in, live and participate on that live.
One, you can send notification, “One hour to go for this giveaway to end. One hour to go for the sale to end.” You’re not depending on Klaviyo or you’re not competing in the same space of hundreds of emails who are emailing or SMS saying people and your clutter. Now you’re separating and you’re thinking ahead of the game. You’re on the mobile app notification space and you’re able to control that narrative. You don’t have the answer for Gmail or Hotmail or your SMS provider about what kind of notifications or the content you’re sending on notifications. So you’re staying out of the code. I think it’s important to be multi channel.
So I would also say one of the other important things is, don’t be just Shopify dependent or Amazon dependent seller, multiple places. You’d be surprised like we sell on eBay. We sell on… We’re trying to get on target.com. We are trying to get on… We are on Groupon, which has two or 3% of our overall revenue. All these additional marketplaces where there’s less competition, definitely get on because there’s obviously loyal set of customer, which only shop on certain market spaces and it adds additional value to you. So what was your final question?
Nathan: Where’s the best place people can find out more about yourself and your work?
Ashwin: I’m not too active on social media. You guys can probably follow me on LinkedIn, I would say. I don’t post much. This is probably one of the few places they can probably find an interview off me. So Foundr is probably a lucky feature that otherwise I do podcasts and so on with friends who are in the industry would request me to come on things like this. I would love to participate and share more knowledge, but I don’t go to too many conferences, especially on the sales and marketing side. We differentiate ourselves as a brand. We actually go to a lot of ingredient conferences. As a brand, we go to conferences which are about manufacturing and packaging of beauty products, crazy thing, fragrances. Sam and I were brought up in a small town in France and things like that so we like to go to those things.
Nathan: What about Wow?
Ashwin: WOW can be followed on Wow Skin Science, Instagram and Facebook and Wow Skin Science, India for India Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat and TikTok too. TikTok’s working really well. Sorry, I missed out. TikTok’s working really well for us in a market like India, especially. So that could get on that really cheap CPMs. And obviously you have to work with TikTok influencers and let them create content and promote the content created by content creators. And that’s what’s working. So it’s not typical create an ad, edit it the way you want and push it. So you have to be different with TikTok. So that’s been good. That’s it for me. I don’t know. And obviously if some… I think I’m on your network, I’m on Facebook of Foundr. So that’s one place people can find me, I guess. And if someone tags me on the Facebook group of Foundrs and ask me specific questions, I’m more than happy to answer. And I look forward to getting to know people in the Foundr network and exchange ideas and help each other grow.
Nathan: Amazing. Well, look, thank you so much for your time. Ash, you were very, very giving tonnes, I got a page of awesome notes. I’m going to give this to my partner that runs an e-commerce store. She’s got a lot of work ahead.
Ashwin: Absolutely request her to hit me up………. can but introduce us by email too. Im absolutely more than happy to answer any questions within the Foundr network. I’m more than happy to go through the process. Absolutely.
Key Resources From Our Interview With Ashwin Sokke
- Visit the WOW Skin Science website
- Feel free to tag Sokke in the Foundr Facebook group with questions