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Okendo Evolve: Highlights of the Customer Marketing Roadshow

Nov 29, 2023 | 11 minute read

Okendo Evolve: Highlights of the Customer Marketing Roadshow

Megan Wenzl

Content Marketing Manager

This year, we introduced Okendo Evolve, a global roadshow that brought together top experts in the Shopify community to discuss the latest trends in customer marketing.

With stops in New York, Los Angeles, and Sydney, attendees heard inspiring founder stories and learned strategies to increase customer lifetime value, create a community of Superfans, and boost revenue. 

Check out some of the highlights and key insights from Okendo Evolve. 

Okendo’s Journey to Help Brands Create and Leverage Superfans 

Matt Goodman, CEO and Co-Founder of Okendo, introduced the audience to what Okendo calls “the CAC apocalypse.”  This means the cost of customer acquisition has increased so quickly and dramatically that it now threatens the success of many brands’ operations.

What caused the CAC apocalypse?

  • Boom times: The increase in competition in ecommerce from 9 million brands in 2019 to 27 million brands today. 
  • Release of Apple’s iOS 14:  It’s now much harder to do targeted advertising.
  • Record-runaway inflation: The highest that we’ve seen in the past 40 years. That fact alone has increased the cost of paid media by more than 30% in the last 12 months. 

There is an extinction event happening where brands that can’t get to sustainability have been forced to close their business. 

How do brands combat these challenges? 

The best thing brands can do right now is focus on both acquiring and retaining their customers efficiently. This means reducing customer acquisition costs while simultaneously increasing customer lifetime value. 

Goodman said, “Focusing primarily or exclusively on retention alone to the detriment of acquisition is not a good idea. It would be both short-sighted and self-defeating. Short-sighted because we don’t know how long this current cycle is going to last.” 

“It’s self-defeating because if you are only focused on retention, well of course that’s equivalent to accepting no further growth in your market share. And I think in this industry, like many others, you’re either growing or you are dying.” 

Okendo’s solution to focusing on both acquisition and retention comes down to creating and leveraging a community of Superfans. 


What is a Superfan? 

Superfans are customers who are highly engaged with the brand. Superfans have high lifetime value and a level of social influence and trust. Superfans are also willing to collaborate with the brand on activities that help bring in new customers.




How Brands Can Create Superfans with Okendo

Okendo has been hard at work the past 24 months to help brands create and mobilize their Superfans. We started with just one product, Okendo Reviews. Now, Okendo offers a total of five products: Quizzes, Reviews, Loyalty, Referrals and Surveys.

Together, these five products are intended to be a complete operating system for creating and mobilizing Superfan customers. 



Marketing Strategies that Win 

During panels in New York, Los Angeles, and Sydney, Okendo customers from some of the fastest-growing Shopify brands shared their best tools and strategies for implementing customer marketing campaigns that drive revenue. 

Love Wellness: A Platform That Is Easy to Use ‘Out of the Box’

Because Love Wellness is a subscription-based business, Amanda Kwasniewicz, VP of Customer Experience at Love Wellness, said the company needs to know if customers love their product not only for a first-time purchase but also six months later. She uses Okendo to easily ask for reviews at different points in a customer’s time shopping with the brand. 

After using Okendo for eight months, Love Wellness has almost doubled its order-to-review rate. 



Kwasniewicz also discussed how Okendo works on the brand’s website effectively at the front end and back end. 

“It’s fast on the website,” she said. “You can have a million apps, but your website will suck if you let it. Okendo out of the box is great: It’s fast, the back end is easy to use, and the front end looks amazing.” 

Actioning on Data in Reviews 

Krave Beauty knows that its shoppers spend time reading their reviews, so they understand the valuable data reviews provide. They’ve been using reviews to inform new and existing product development. 

Andy Chiu, General Manager at Krave Beauty said, “This year, we’ve done a reformulation of sunscreen, and a reformulation of our matcha cleanser. We used the reviews to think about how we wanted to reformulate the products. Reviews have also been guiding our new product development and reformulations in general.” 

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Nish Samantray, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Arrae, says his team uses feedback from reviews and surveys to guide product decisions. “We are doing a lot more work and research and science behind product launches,” Samantray said.

“We’re going really deep into the data that informs what products to launch next,” he went on. “We’re making sure that the product works really well and making sure people buy it multiple times.” 

Samantray’s team is focused on the subscription and the customer journey. They look to see how customer behavior changes the more customers use the products, such as 2 years into their lifetime. 

Also discussing the customer journey, Britany Carter, Head of Digital Product at Vegamour, discussed how the brand works to understand the full customer journey and personalizes the journey for specific customers. 

“The kind of customer that comes to us for hair thinning is very different than the customer that comes to us for hydration or other things,” she said. 

On another note, Bryce Radick, Retention Lead at Caraway said the Caraway team turns reviews into marketing assets.

“When we are coming up with products and new lines, we’re introducing a ton of more categories into the kitchenware space,” he said. “We have an idea of what makes each product special. We don’t know which value prop is going to land with customers.” 

Radick discussed how reviews help them understand what customers love about the product. They then take customer messaging, which is in their own words, to convert the next set of customers. 

“We can know exactly what messaging works,” he said. For example, if one customer says a product is non-toxic then the team uses that social proof in marketing such as emails, paid ads, and organic social posts. 

Brand Advocacy in Customer Marketing 

Andrea Gonzalez, Ecommerce Manager at Go-To Skincare provided strategies to increase brand advocacy

  • Launch a loyalty program. Go to customers and ask the customers what they value and build the loyalty program around that.
  • Implement a referral program. Although a referral program didn’t work well in the past, with Okendo the brand sees when is the right time to ask for that referral such as after someone has left a 5-star review when they are very primed to refer a friend.

Also speaking on the success of their referral program in New York, Molly Garraway, Managing Director at LoveSeen, said she uses a strategy for their referrals beyond discounts. 

“We were finding if we just give customers a lash, they will go crazy with it,” she said. “They’ll put it on, they’ll try it on, they’ll love it, they’ll talk about it. They’ll take pictures, they’ll talk about it with their husband, and their friends. So we decided, give a free lash to your friend and you’ll get a free lash. That has changed the game for us. One, it’s free, who doesn’t like free? But it’s also this low-stakes game for everyone. You get a free lash, you get to put it on and play around and your friend gets a free lash too.” 

Personalizing the Shopping Experience with Quizzes 

Julia Teen, Head of Ecommerce at Bed Threads, discussed the success they’ve had with Okendo Quizzes. 

Knowing how important it is to make it easy for customers to shop with their brand, Bed Threads implemented a quiz to help customers narrow down product choices. Since they launched Quizzes, they’ve seen a 300% lift in conversion with good engagement and email capture. 

Brand Stories 

New York: Truvani’s Founder Story 

In New York, Melanie Duncan, Co-Founder of Truvani, talked about the brands’ origins, growth strategies, and secrets to success. 

One of the key highlights of the talk was when Duncan discussed the brands’ transition into retail. She said one of the things that the brand has realized is that a lot of what works online works in-store as well, like reviews. They can effectively use customer reviews in retail stores for promotion. Here are some of the takeaways with how Truvani uses reviews in marketing both in-store and online: 

  • Truvani places their customer reviews on a free-standing display like you would see in grocery stores or markets. This provides social proof as the customers are shopping for a product in person. 
  • When it comes to ads, the team at Truvani incorporates different review mashups as a video ad and sees great results. Duncan says that simply having the star rating and review itself in an ad is one of our best forms of creative.

Duncan also discussed the importance of customer and influencer content. She said that anyone who is posting about them on Instagram, their team then reposts that content on their own Instagram stories. Truvani saw a sharp takeoff as soon as they started reposting customer and influencer content. Within weeks, more people were posting about Truvani. 

“We made it an internal rule that if anyone posts about us on social media we have to respond to it. So they have to like it, ask a question, or do something to show that the person posting is being seen, being appreciated.” 

When asked about how she thinks of Superfans, Duncan shared: 

“When I think about Superfans, I think of the customers we have that will buy anything that we make,” she said. “Whether it’s a new protein powder flavor, whether we’ve gone in different lines and categories like personal care. It’s someone who really believes in the brand and believes that what we’re doing is aligned with what we’re interested in and what’s important to them. The true value for us as a company is those people that are willing to put themselves out there and advocate for our brand.” 

Sydney: Boody’s Founder Story 

In Sydney, Shaun Greenblo, Co-Managing Director at Boody, which is on a mission to become the most loved and sustainable underwear brand on the planet, discussed how brands can create memorable experiences for customers. 

When asked about Superfans, Greenblo said, “I think that we’ve had to rely on Superfans since day 1 because of the nature of our product. We’re a basics brand. We had to rely on a great product for people so when they experienced it they would love it and then start telling their friends.” 

Greenblo said a lot of success and brand growth in the early days was having a product that did a lot of the talking. The other part of the brand’s success was obsessing with creating the most incredible customer experience by understanding the customer at every touchpoint. This includes:

  • Listening and hearing customers.
  • Segmenting messaging toward customers. 
  • Adapting products as a result of listening to customers in every way that we could. Part of that has been our journey with Okendo. 

When asked to give one piece of advice for brands, Greenblo said, “Listen. Listen to your customers. Make them feel heard. Listen to your people.” 

Messages that Matter with Attentive

In New York, Ali Kaminetsky, Founder + CEO of Modern Picnic, Ben Schreiber, Head Of Ecommerce at Latico Leathers, and Laura Grippi, Client Strategy Manager at Attentive spoke about how to optimize SMS marketing campaigns to better engage your audience and increase sales. 

SMS Brand Voice vs Email 

Kaminetsky said SMS is so personal, so she makes sure there is a reason for sending a message to a customer. She discussed the importance of incorporating their brand voice into the message so it’s as though the customer is getting a text from a friend as opposed to a text from a company.

She also stressed the importance of having a clear CTA to show why the customer is receiving the message.

As part of their post-purchase flow, Modern Picnic uses the Okendo-Attentive integration for SMS review requests. The result has been a 6x click-through rate compared to email. 

SMS Campaigns that Work 

Schreiber spoke about campaigns for their SMS strategy: 

  • The team uses SMS as their VIP early access list. Customers are incentivized to sign up for Attentive and text messages so they get early access to all sales with a 98% open rate that helps all of the brand’s promotions. 
  • Another campaign that works well is back-in-stock, restock, and low-stock campaigns. With about 1,000+ SKUs, they keep people updated and engaged to notify them about the stock of a particular product. 
  • Schreiber said the Okendo-Attentive abandoned cart flow is amazing. Customers love that conversational aspect. Customers are always asking questions and it helps them feel a lot closer to the brand as well. 
  • With the Okendo-Attentive integration, Latico receives 30% more reviews via text than email. 

Using SMS to Build a Community of Superfans 

Grippi, Client Strategy Manager spoke about how SMS builds community. She said that with SMS, brands are building relationships with their customers in a natural 1:1 setting. 

“We’ve seen that your Superfans are on SMS, so they are going to let you know how they feel one way or another, so it’s the perfect channel to do that on,” Grippi said. 

Similarly in Sydney, Anna Metcalfe, Head of Marketing at Kat the Label, is seeing immediate Superfan creation by sending review requests via SMS

“We’ve recently integrated with Attentive and Okendo. We are sending out the post-purchase flow via SMS if you are subscribed. It is more immediate, it’s catching that customer where they are, and we are seeing a much stronger review rate. If they don’t click through, if they are not writing a review, they will get that follow-up through Klaviyo. [SMS] is helping to incentivize those reviews.” 


That’s a wrap for Okendo Evolve. A huge thank you to the incredible Okendo community for joining us in New York, Los Angeles, and Sydney.

We brought together over 300 remarkable speakers and attendees from across the globe to discuss the latest trends in customer marketing, introduce the concept of Superfans, and network with some of the brightest minds in ecommerce.

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