Klaviyo's Rich Gardner Reveals How to Really Get to Know Your Customers

Klaviyo's Rich Gardner Reveals How to Really Get to Know Your Customers

Interview by DesignRush DesignRush
Published: October 03, 2022

Who is Rich Gardner?

Rich Gardner is the SVP of Global Strategic Partnerships at Klaviyo, an eCommerce marketing automation platform for email marketing and SMS. It syncs tech stacks with website stores to scale businesses.

“People want brands to interact with them like they know them, and the best way for businesses to understand their customers is through data.“

Acknowledging the high-value benefits data-driven personalization brings for retailers, Klaviyo was determined to make customer data, the brand’s most valuable asset, easily accessible for businesses.

Rich Gardner shares how you can leverage marketing automation to personalize client communication and boost conversion rates.

Klaviyo's logo
[Source: Klaviyo]

Spotlight: Shopify recently invested $100 million in Klaviyo, and Forbes listed Klaviyo among the world’s top private cloud companies this August. Can you please share how the company developed from one to over 100,000 paying customers?

Rich Gardner: When Ed Hallen and Andrew Bialecki were looking to start Klaviyo, they noticed so many companies were starting off by building marketing and creative tools, and then trying to add on data tools to help with personalization, which just didn’t work.

So when they started Klaviyo, they flipped that approach. They built a platform to store customer data, made it really fast and easy to use – and then layered on machine learning and communication capabilities (like email, SMS and more).

Our database is what really sets us apart from every other platform out there. We’ve been able to provide retailers with all of a customer’s transactional data, enabling them to attribute what communications are driving the most revenue, which is invaluable to the businesses we work with. To date our customers can attribute over $80B in revenue to the Klaviyo platform – and that’s really what matters most to us – providing value to our customers, and helping them grow.

What made you decide to provide email and SMS marketing services, and how did you position Klaviyo in this competitive market?

We were intentional about building our database first. After we did that, we talked to our customers to understand how they were using the database and discovered they were using it to personalize their communications – which made us realize the value we could drive by building that second piece for them.

But it’s not enough to just be able to email and text your customers – you have to have a way to ensure you’re delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time. That’s where our database layer comes in. We give brands a way to be themselves at internet scale – and talk to customers like they know them.

What is your strategy when integrating with established eCommerce tools, such as Shopify? How does this bring more value to customers?

Klaviyo’s goal has always been to understand our customers (and their biggest challenges) and build the most loved product that solves those challenges. Partnerships with leading platforms like Shopify that share our values and mission are crucial to how we help solve those challenges creators and brands face. They also enable creators to build limitless experiences in Klaviyo. By leveraging the data, innovation and creativity of our partner ecosystem, we’re making Klaviyo more powerful for everyone that uses it. We have over 220 pre-built technology integrations within the eCommerce ecosystem, including shipping, order management, payments, loyalty and reviews with companies like Shopify, BigCommerce and Reviews.io that are ready to integrate in minutes. From there, brands can use the data coming in to send targeted messages to their customers.

We also recently launched a developer portal, solidifying our commitment to developers by improving our foundational APIs, guides, SDKs and developer-specific content so developers can easily extend Klaviyo to meet their needs. We recognize, even with our investment in R&D and commitment to launching impactful new features, we know we won't be able to build everything our customers need exactly when they need it.

Klaviyo team
[Source: Klaviyo]

eCommerce businesses grew exponentially during the pandemic. How did marketing automation influence this growth?

The pandemic forced everyone online – and customers had more choices than ever before. Legacy brands that had already established an online presence had to work even harder to attract and retain customers – and those brands just coming online had to figure out how to maintain the same level of interaction with their customers as they might have in person.

During the pandemic, marketers had to think about every step of a customer’s shopping journey – and provide value in every communication. For example, as stores struggled to keep items in stock, back in stock automations and replenishment reminders became essential, and as customers shopped less for “non-essential” items, brands used win-back flows to help reengage customers they hadn’t seen in a while.

By creating automated, personalized email and SMS messages for different subsets of customers, brands were able to create unparalleled customer experiences that increase revenue and retention.

What are some of the reasons eCommerce businesses leverage the Klaviyo platform? Please suggest five essential tricks for eCommerce businesses to leverage their SMS and email marketing strategies.

Over 100,000+ paying customers leverage Klaviyo’s platform today to drive growth and revenue. Here are a few ways other brands can too:

Simplify the process of sending highly targeted and personalized emails and text messages that engage and delight your customers to build relationships that grow your business.

See exactly how much revenue you’ve made from each campaign, so you don’t have to guess which marketing messages are working and which aren’t.

Prioritize scaling your business through owned channels rather than relying on growing through third-party platforms like Facebook and Google.

Take your automated messages a step further with customer-first personalizations. Klaviyo enables businesses to group your audience into smaller groups and deliver more personalized messages that are more likely to resonate—and convert.

By centralizing your data, the Klaviyo customer platform prepares you to build better customer relationships and grow sales. Plus, integrating your entire tech stack—like your eCommerce platform, loyalty program, reviews platform, onsite personalisation tool, and more—with your customer platform helps you to build comprehensive user profiles to hyper-personalize the customer experience.

Tell us about one client’s journey with Klaviyo and how the partnership has helped boost their conversion rates.

In response to the recent privacy changes from Apple and Facebook that will make ad targeting much more difficult for brands, one of our customers, Dagne Dover, has come to rely on first–party data to convert and keep their hard-won customers. After adding SMS to their Klaviyo account, revenue from their email and SMS marketing started accounting for 25% of their sales every quarter.

When Dagne sends an email to a customer and they don’t respond—sending another email will likely be ineffective. Instead, their customers are more likely to respond if the second message is sent as a text. In a recent survey, Klaviyo found that 37% of consumers prefer to receive text messages instead of emails from brands.

An exceptional customer experience can only happen when brands personalize the customer experience. The most effective way to do this is with data. And with Klaviyo’s robust analytics dashboard, the team at Dagne Dover can optimize their email and SMS communications to convert (and keep) more of their customers.

Klaviyo’s communication approach helps build brand loyalty. How do you explain customers’ growing need for a personal connection with brands?

As more shoppers have transitioned from in-store browsing to online shopping, brands are coming to rely on first-party data to build genuine connections with their customers that last long beyond a single purchase. Marketers have learned that customers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize them, remember them and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations. A one size fits all marketing approach is no longer an option. Today’s shoppers want to choose how they interact with the brands they love–whether that be through their website, email, SMS or social media. We recently conducted research around customer’s preferred communication methods and found that 3.5 billion people communicate with text and that 1 in 3 customers prefer to communicate with their favorite brands via text over email.

The bottom line is, people want brands to interact with them like they know them, and the best way for businesses to understand their customers is through data.

What are Klaviyo’s plans for the future? Which directions do you see opportunities for growth?

We are continuing to evolve our partner ecosystem as it is a crucial part of our innovation strategy and future success. Our partnerships and integrations are developed to work seamlessly with other platforms in an online retailer’s tech ecosystem, and help to increase opportunities for these retailers at different points in the customer journey. We see the value in these types of partnerships to support our customer-focused mission, while creating opportunities for the partner and for Klaviyo as an organization. Most recently, we announced a product partnership with Shopify, one of the largest eCommerce platforms in the world. As a part of this partnership, Shopify also made a strategic investment in Klaviyo to help Klaviyo and Shopify accelerate innovative new technologies designed to help brand owners and creators navigate shifts in online marketing.

We’re also focused on giving developers all the flexibility they need to power a new generation of data-driven experiences and applications. Right now, the majority of our customers are in the eCommerce space, but we believe that what we’re building could work for any brand and business, big or small, in any number of verticals.

Check out what Klaviyo is up to on Instagram @klaviyo and read about more show-stopping businesses here

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