July 4, 2023

On Brand: the Toms reflect on Superco so far ​​📈

+ iOS, AI in e-commerce, and other stuff.
Hi from the Toms.

This is the very first Superco newsletter where we’ll be offering a look through our lens when it comes to anything ecommerce or Shopify related. 

You can expect thoughts on the latest trends, retention and growth hacks, events to join, brands to watch, and anything else we can find of value.

On Brand will hit your inbox just twice a month to keep us all connected, if you’d prefer to opt out just let us know and we’ll make sure you’re unsubscribed. 

Hope to see you all soon,
Tom & Tom

On Vision

Our first ever newsletter seemed like the right time for a bit of reflection, and although we’re not here to brag there is definitely a sense of pride for all that we’ve achieved in the past couple of years.

We launched Superco during covid to empower online brands to thrive at a time where too many retailers were jumping online without a clue how to make it work. Two years on and we’re already an award-winning agency with Shopify supporting us on this path of rapid growth!

Over the past six months it’s been wild to see the team grow so fast, it definitely feels like we haven’t stopped hiring, and as some of the best talent in the industry has joined us, we’ve put ecommerce-obsessed minds together and started to establish our own unique ways of working.

Vision Workshops are the recent baby of our talented creative department and an exercise we’re very excited to bring to the brands we partner with. As an agency that really champions long-term growth, Vision is quickly becoming our essential starting block, and although it might sound profound, it's really all about working with brand teams and data studies to identify customer desires and actions.

Our focus on customer behaviour is proving to be a unique gateway that introduces clients to strategies that revolve around meaningful, engaging experiences, whether that’s within their web design, email campaigns or other content. And we’re even finding that Vision Workshops make a difference outside of our scope, with results fuelling improvements for the brand in other areas.

So, although this may have turned into a humble brag, let’s consider it the soft launch of our Vision strategy. Our team will no doubt come to touch on this in future newsletters as we continue to work with clients to unpack the science behind people — how we think, how we feel, and how we buy.

iOS 17: what’s coming in September

According to Apple, the iPhone is about to take a more personal and intuitive direction. Tech nerds seem to be getting deep into the new features with positive reviews already flooding socials. Here’s the ones we’re talking about…

🗣️ The previously cute and conversational “Hey, Siri” is being ditched for a more authoritative and demanding “Siri.”, perhaps a small win for those embarrassed to admit they often call upon the digital PA.

📞 The phone app gets the largest update, introducing personalised contact posters that allow users to express themselves when calling friends. Filters, typography, and fonts can all be customised in a way that might make incoming calls appeal to those who prefer to watch it ring and then text back later. It’s great to see Apple moving away from their generic interface, catching up with the tidal wave of personalisation that’s hit ecommerce in the past few years. 

📹 Facetime now supports audio and video messages, so you can leave a video voicemail when no one picks up. The app also now features reactions such as hearts, fireworks etc, all activated through gestures.

🤝 Sharing gets a glow-up as Airdrop now features NameDrop, allowing users to share contact info by bringing their iPhones together. In the same vein, you can share content or start SharePlay to listen to music, watch movies, or play games when in close proximity. This is a dream for networkers, no more fiddly QR codes — now we’re sending info with the swipe of our hand. 

⏰ StandBy is a new feature that offers a full-screen experience when the iPhone is set down on its side to charge. The feature encourages users to prop their phone up on the bedside table, desk, kitchen counter, wherever, and choose from a personalisable display of clock styles, photos or widgets. 

🙏 The health app is set to offer new mental health features, and a new app, Journal, allows users to reflect and practice gratitude. Using on-device machine learning, personalised suggestions will be offered to help inspire entries, such as your photos, playlists and location.

AI in ecommerce 2023

We know right now it’s hard to escape the AI echo chamber and it’s definitely no secret that artificial intelligence has been transforming ecommerce for the past few years. Brands that have so far resisted AI-powered analytics and attribution tools no longer stand a chance next to their data-led competitors, chatbots have become indispensable customer satisfaction tools, and the introduction and rise of personalisation can take a lot of credit for the rapid growth of online sales (35% of Amazon’s orders!). 

Since the beginning of the year it’s hard to ignore that the AI movement has really picked up pace, so where are we now?

Well it wouldn’t be an AI piece if we didn’t mention ChatGPT. The instant generation of copy and ideas is obviously causing a stir and although we anticipate the hype will die down, ways of working are undoubtedly evolving before our eyes. Taking a look at all the links flying around our slack channels, ChatGPT feels like one drop in a tsunami of artificial intelligence. For the sake of this newsletter we’ll narrow down our recommendations to what’s most useful for ecommerce brands…

Shopify Magic was released in April, whipping up high-quality, compelling product descriptions in a matter of clicks. 

Generative Fill is Adobe’s way of supercharging photoshop. Extending images, adding and removing objects has never been easier. 

SummarAIze repurposes audio and video (yes, podcasts) into social posts, summaries, quotes and marketing content.

Synthetic Users tests products and ideas and then offers feedback and identifies problems — all with AI participants. 

Tome is a favoured AI presentation tool, rather poetically “built for storytelling”.

Stuff we’re talking about

🔎GA3 has officially been deprecated and replaced with Google’s next generation measurement solution and honestly we’re glad to be moving on from a tool built for desktop scrolling, independent sessions, and 🍪 data. GA4 will run across all platforms and is said to keep up with a changing ecommerce landscape. We’ll unpack that next time.

👕Jordan Philips questions the CLV of ASOS as it’s revealed 6% of their active customers affect over £100m of profit, and not in a nice way. A heavy reliance on discounts and returns could be the downfall of the fashion giant.

🤖Google launches AI to change the way we experience search results and initial demos show impressive results. The tool will not mimic the likes of a human as ChatGPT does, but answers to searches will be less limited, offering up suggestions without opinions.

🍏 Apple’s first spatial computer, Vision Pro, introduces a 3D interface controlled by the user’s eyes, hands, and voice. This feels a lot like a glimpse into the future, a look at how today’s younger generation will experience computing, with many exciting opportunities on the horizon for developers.

🍩 Donut, the slack integration that helps connect teams serendipitously, a no-brainer for remote-first businesses that want to encourage company culture and collaboration. The app gets conversation flowing with ice breakers, discussion prompts and birthday reminders.

Brands to watch

🌾Oatly: We know you all know Oatly but we’re laughing with fckoatly, a page dedicated entirely to bad press. Perfectly on brand, nice user journey and an entertaining payoff when you come across their footer.

🚿Outline: This site seamlessly blends brand identity with products, sending us users on a unique journey in which every component welcomes us further into their world. Totally unique.

🍑Tushy: It seems fun in the business of bidets — cute animation, great copy, good vibes.

🥤 Mana: We’re into the way Mana use animation to elevate the user experience. Scroll down to the bottom for a mini game you can’t help but want to play, a smart way to increase time spent on site.

🫒 Graza: Playful copy keeps us scrolling and delicious content has us salivating. Brand expression is strong and storytelling is key to creating such a different and fun user experience.

Events

Past

We know it’s late but congrats to Vervaunt for the Pulse Summit, some of the best content we’ve seen at an ecom conference and great to catch up with so many familiar faces.

Huge thank you to Bolt Digital for inviting us to Ascot the week before last 🐎 A fun event and great opportunity to meet more Shopify brands on a mission to grow.

K:LDN was incredible, we were thoroughly engaged by both guest speakers and in awe of the production and organisation it took to pull off such a successful event. It was great to hear Rory Sutherland championing the importance of creative thinking and reminding us all that it’s okay to think outside of tried and tested measures. We also loved hearing of Mary Portas’ compassionate approach to marketing, coinciding with her admirable ESG efforts.

Coming Up

Our co-working space, The Ministry,  is hosting their summer party on 6th July, let us know if you’re up for a dance!

Partner Updates

Rebuy & Yotpo have joined forces in an integration that allows brands to show off product ratings and reviews throughout the customer journey — a smart move considering the weight of social proof in buying decisions. Nice work from the teams involved!

Recharge’s quarterly webinar is on June 21 at 10am PT. Learn about their latest LTV-driving subscription enhancements and get a new product update from CEO Oisin O’Connor. 

Gorgias integrates with Happy Returns. Brands can now save time jumping back and forth between dashboards, and impress clients during that crucial buying stage — the moment a customer relationship fails or flies.

Meet Superco:

How did you end up with Superco?

I’ve worked in creative for ecommerce brands for over a decade and I was looking to join an ambitious agency. Tom and Tom’s ideas and values aligned with my own, they gave me the opportunity to explore what design could and should be in this field.

What work are you most proud of?

I’m really keen to share our Vision approach with brands. I think it’s different for a Shopify agency — we focus on the brand's customers, fans and even passers-by in order to identify and create the best possible ecommerce experience. It’s far bigger than traditional optimisation thinking, it’s a customer experience strategy, aiming to achieve long term growth through design engagement and increased opportunity to convert

Best advice?

‘Write your own story.’ Design is communication and on any page we should be looking to engage the user in a story that leads towards the desired action.

Where’s your inspiration coming from?

I’ve just finished ‘Design by Emotion’ by the former Nike CMO, Greg Hoffman and we recently bought the design team a copy of ‘Universal Principles of UX’ by Irene Pereyra, so that’s my current read. Rick Rubin’s ‘The Creative Act: A Way of Being’ is waiting impatiently.

Brand to watch?

Vacation, I really like the world they’ve created, nailing Retro vibes through content and copy — every experience has the feel of leafing through a holiday brochure in the 90’s, it’s wonderful.

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