Mikko Rekola is the Chief Evangelist of Woolman, a Shopify Plus design and development agency in Europe. Woolman has established itself as one of the biggest agencies in its field, catering to renowned brands such as Mars Pet Food, Daniel Wellington, and H&M.
In this episode, Ben and Mikko dug deep into the current trends in eCommerce, including the use of AI to improve product discoverability and customer conversion. They discuss the potential of chatbots and semantic websites to change the way customers search for products, the importance of content marketing and gamification in engaging customers and building brand loyalty, and the challenges faced by mid-market enterprises in implementing DTC strategies.
- How AI is Changing DTC Brand Conversions and Discoverability
- The Future of DTC Brands and eCommerce Market Trends
- The Future of eCommerce and AI-powered Personalization
- Exploring AI Uses in eCommerce and Content Creation
- Incorporating AI in Subscription Strategies for eCommerce
- Leveraging AI for Workflow Optimization and Text Analysis
- Discussing Microsoft Clarity and Its Benefits for eCommerce
- The Evolution of DTC Brands and Paid Memberships in a Post-COVID World
- Mikko's "Big Ask"
- The Use of Customer Data in eCommerce
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(01:18) - How AI is Changing DTC Brand Conversions and Discoverability
Mikko, a hardcore DTC enthusiast, talks about the growing role of AI in shaping eCommerce brand conversions and product discoverability. He shares specific examples of how AI is already being implemented in meaningful ways by companies servicing brands.
"What I see happening now in the market is that the agency is here to stay. And there are lots of these new brands that are up and coming. And then there are these household brands that are now willing to invest in data, mainly due to data. They want to understand the end consumer better. They want to be more active in that conversation. And the biggest ones are like Fortune 500 levels. We are working with multiple of those as well." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman
(02:20) - The Future of DTC Brands and eCommerce Market Trends
The DTC market is evolving, with many traditional retail brands investing in eCommerce to better understand their end consumers. The way people search in eCommerce is expected to change, with a focus on personalized and dynamic site experiences. Brands that explore these new technologies and adapt to changing market dynamics are poised to win more market share.
"The way you search in eCommerce will drastically change this year, whether it's a DTC brand or whether it's a retailer selling online; these typical old score search boxes are about to change heavily." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman
(05:00) The Future of eCommerce and AI-powered Personalization
Mikko discusses the role of AI in the future of online shopping. He shares his experience with Shopify, the updated Shop App, and how AI-powered chatbots can improve consumers' shopping experiences by better understanding their needs and preferences.
"The first few weeks when it was live, it wasn't working that well. Harley kept pushing it like crazy that this will be the next big thing, and he was actually right, just wasn't quite there. But now it's working better and better all the time." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman
(13:39) Exploring AI Uses in eCommerce and Content Creation
Mikko discusses the integration of AI into eCommerce platforms and tools, its potential benefits, and the role of human input in creating engaging content. AI applications such as sales forecasting, returns forecasting, and recommendation engines are being developed for online retailers, but AI-generated content is not yet ready for optimal performance.
"So you still need human beings to make sure that they will control, sort of, the content and make sure that it's going in the right direction." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman
(18:49) Incorporating AI in Subscription Strategies for eCommerce
Mikko and Ben discuss the potential of utilizing AI in subscription strategies for eCommerce businesses, and how it could potentially support consumer behavior, replenishment cadence, and data analysis. However, they also acknowledge that AI may not be necessary in some situations.
"I think it would be ultimately very important to understand why and how customers behave in a certain way. And if AI can help with that, then it'll probably be helpful." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman
(21:50) Leveraging AI for Workflow Optimization and Text Analysis
Mikko and Ben discuss their experiences using various AI tools to improve their workflows, primarily in the realms of content creation, text summarization, and programming. They also discuss the value of subscriptions and how they assess whether a tool is worth paying for.
"It's mainly about, at least for me, the text, or in some cases, if I have a case where I have tons of data and I need to understand what's like the most important points here, then I can use that EI for that." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman
(25:20) Discussing Microsoft Clarity and Its Benefits for eCommerce
Ben and Mikko discuss their experience with Microsoft Clarity, a user behavior analytics tool, in comparison to Hotjar and Lucky Orange. They emphasize its GDPR compliance, ease of implementation, and customer satisfaction.
"Personally, I love Clarity. I think it's a very well-built product, and our customers love it. In most cases, due to the fact that it's GDPR friendly and it's super easy to implement." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman
(26:19) The Evolution of DTC Brands and Paid Memberships in a Post-COVID World
Mikko discusses the rise of digital-native vertical brands that rely heavily on Shopify and the importance of customer data in creating value. He notes the trend of paid memberships expanding to new categories like fashion and highlights the increased need for value beyond product replenishment as people become more accustomed to multiple subscriptions.
"I remember the wine clubs, and I remember that it's been heavy in beauty and few other categories, but now it's definitely entering the new categories as well and it will be super interesting to see how that actually works, what the future will bring." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman
(29:47) Mikko's "Big Ask"
Mikko shares his big ask for the universe, which is a wish for the war in Ukraine to end and for the world to become a more peaceful and normal place. This aim is to contribute to the happiness of individuals and the growth of economies.
"I would definitely hope that the war in Ukraine would end and, sort of, the world would be a peaceful and normal place that would actually help individuals or the economies and make people much happier." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman
(30:27) The Use of Customer Data in eCommerce
Mikko discusses how eCommerce businesses can effectively use customer data to improve the user experience and increase revenue. The conversation covers popular tools for data management, GDPR compliance, and the benefits of segmentation and personalization.
"With Shopify, customer data stays within the store, but you typically build connections to different tools to manage it." - Mikko Rekola, Woolman