Adam Pearce co-founded Blend Commerce, one of the United Kingdom’s top Shopify Expert company, and currently runs it as CEO and Head of Partnerships. Based in Warwickshire, UK, the company helps its clients grow their businesses and convert their ideas to stark reality. If you’re a Shopify entrepreneur, you would only do well by partnering with Adam Pearce and Blend Commerce.
Through Adam Pearce’s efforts, Blend Commerce has launched to the top of the United Kingdom’s tech industry. The company focuses in “helping DTC and subscription brands” exceed revenues of $50K in sales every month. Currently, the company has also teamed up other leading Shopify companies, such as Out of the Sandbox, Klaviyo, and ReCharge, which led to the creation of a tech stack that supports other brands that want to integrate to Shopify Plus.
Adam Pearce and Shopify have also worked with diverse brands such as Yamaha, Absolute Collagen, and TheJimmyCase. Blend Commerce works with every brand, from companies that focus on verticals to companies that only aim to grow.
For 2021, Adam Pearce wants Blend Commerce to help out other brands move into “a seamless world of headless ecommerce.” According to Pearce, the company’s new direction for 2021 would enable more companies to deliver a better online experience to their customers and grow their businesses.
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Adam Pearce: We recently asked our team to create some videos explaining more about their roles and how they felt about working at Blend. One of our team members sent me their video, and I remember hearing ‘Blend is more than just a job for me, its like a family.’ While I was touched at this, I also then viewed more videos from the team. All of the team mentioned that they fell supported and happy to be in company where they were truly valued and supported. For me, this was a huge achievement and something that our clients remark on. Our clients really love the fact that we enjoy the success that we bring to them — for us a client is also a Blend win.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Adam Pearce: Simple. Don’t try and be everything to everyone. Its something that we did in the early days of Blend and we made a horrible mess of it. Focusing on the type of projects and skills that you truly have expertise in is a much better way to grow a business without burning out.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
A few years back, I met the COO of a competitor agency. From initially meeting her, I saw passion, intelligence and focus — things that sometimes I lacked due to burnout. A year or so on, that COO setup her own consultancy business to help agencies like us. Rachel Jacobs, founder of Ecommerce Partnerships truly revolutionized our business. After 3 months of working with her, we’d completely changed the way we worked and this resulted in increasing our monthly revenue by 400%. While this might sound dramatic, without her help, I don’t know if we would still be running a business. I am deeply indebted to Rachel and eternally grateful.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that eCommerce businesses are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?
Adam Pearce: During the pandemic, research by Klaviyo showed that 54% of all traffic on ecommerce stores came from new customers. Essentially, the pandemic has brought many new customers online who have not previously shopped online, as well as increasing the spending level of existing online shoppers.
One of the biggest changes has been brands focusing on personalizing the approach online. For example, using quizzes with tools like Octane AI onsite to gather much more detailed information about an email subscriber has meant that ecommerce brands can give shoppers the personal experience they would expect in a brick and mortar store. By doing this, its been possible to get customers to spend more and increase the Average Order Value (AOV) for many of our clients.
Another big change has been the switch to thinking about Customer Service (CS) as a revenue stream, opposed to a cost. Helpdesk solutions like Gorgias have been absolutely critical to help Shopify stores talk, discuss and ultimately sell through online chat and having customer data at the fingertips of CS agents. For me, this will only become more important as we seen an even heavier switch from brick and mortar to online shopping.
Jerome Knyszewski: Amazon, and even Walmart are going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?
Adam Pearce: The important thing to note right now is that customers are not shopping as much based on price, they’re shopping on experience. The key formula here is to be able to offer the speed of delivery that Amazon can provide, with the personal feel of shopping at a local brick and mortar store. With so many great shipping solutions available on Shopify, this is something that can be achieved when combining the approach with heavily personalised Shopify stores and email marketing with tools like Klaviyo.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an eCommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Adam Pearce: Building the ‘perfect’ Shopfiy store. Period. When launching an eCommerce business, the only real information that brands have is what they know about competitors and what they want to sell. Building an extremely customized Shopify store from day one is expensive and totally unnecessary. The key focus when setting up a Shopify store should be to build a clear and easy to use store that gets the potential customer to the product. Once a store has been running for at least 3 months, its then time to really analyse the data. How are people shopping? Where do they go onsite? Which channels do they arrive from? By then having the answers to these questions, the more advanced features of a Shopify store can be brought in, which is also at a point when cash is coming through the door. It’s a common mistake that’s made, but one that can be avoided.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running an eCommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Adam Pearce: For me, the understanding that one traffic source alone is never enough. We once worked with a brand that generated 92% of all of their traffic from Facebook ads. While the returns were good on ads initially, the rising cost of Facebook Ads soon began to squeeze their margins. Because the brand had completely neglected SEO to drive organic traffic, making the transition to other forms of traffic was hard. For me, this is something that needs to be thought about from day one — spread out your traffic so you are not at the mercy of one source that could disappear overnight.
Jerome Knyszewski: One of the main benefits of shopping online is the ability to read reviews. Consumers love it! While good reviews are of course positive for a brand, poor reviews can be very damaging. In your experience what are a few things a brand should do to properly and effectively respond to poor reviews? How about other unfair things said online about a brand?
Adam Pearce: As I mentioned previously, we truly believe in the power of reviews when used correctly. If a negative review has been published on google reviews, firstly its important to respond on google to explain that you’re aware and that you’ll be in contact. If possible, then contacting the customer directly either by email or phone. Sometimes, negative reviews can be due to misunderstanding about a product or service, so this may help to resolve the issue.
If it materializes that you as a brand are at fault, an apology and refund/partial refund/gift is a must. This must also then be reflected on the response on google reviews. By doing this, you’re showing your customer that you’re doing the right thing, as well as other customers.
The absolute critical step now is to reflect and review. What processes failed here for the customer? Was it the information on site? Was it your shipping service? Finding this out and addressing it is key, but often a step that many brands forget.
Jerome Knyszewski: You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Adam Pearce: One of the biggest failures in the world for me is homelessness. Ecommerce is an industry that generate jobs and roles for people of all walks of life and skills. I would like to be part of a global movement where homelessness can be significantly reduced by training people to be part of the ecommerce industry.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!