EP 42: The Future Is SMS Marketing With Alex Beller of Postscript

Episode Summary:

In “The Future Is SMS Marketing With Alex Beller of Postscript,” the Messenger Mastermind team dives into SMS marketing with Alex Beller of Postscript. Postscript lets you easily create and manage SMS marketing campaigns with detailed analytics designed to increase sales and revenue, not just clicks. In this episode, the team and Alex discuss the future of SMS marketing, what is really moving the needle, and how you can get started with SMS today.

 

To learn more about Postscript or to get started for your store click this link.

Episode Highlights:

  1. 1:18 The History of Postscript
  2. 5:25 What is the best way to get started with SMS Marketing?
  3. 8:10 The best ways to start building a huge SMS subscriber list
  4. 11:29 How are customers crushing it with PostScript’s Keyboard Feature
  5. 14:22 Alex’s “Best Tip of the Podcast:” the super-pro Klaviyo+PostScript power move
  6. 19:02 How many SMS Messages should you send per week?
  7. 25:35 Why SMS Marketing ISN’T annoying for the customer
  8. 28:05 ReCharge+PostScript SMS Hack: Selling more with a single SMS
  9. 31:25 What are the most important features to know about on PostScript right now?
  10. 38:17 Getting your hands on PostScript’s new AI-Powered automation flows

 

Resources Mentioned:

  1. Facebook Messenger Tool – Manychat
  2. Email Platform- Klaviyo
  3. SMS Platform – PostScript
  4. Customer Service Platform – ZenDesk
  5. Customer Service Platform – Gorgias
  6. AI Visitor Conversion Platform – JustUno
  7. List Growth Tool – Privy
  8. Subscription Business Platform – ReCharge
  9. Shipping Tracking Platform – AfterShip
  10. Marketing Strategy Platform – CartHook
  11. Landing Page and Upsell Builder – Zipify
  12. Ecommerce APIs – Swell

 

Episode Transcript:

Jeremy: Welcome, welcome, to another week’s episode of the Messenger Mastermind podcast. As always, I’m your host, Jeremy Horowitz, joined by my incredible co-host, Mark Arruda, and again, we have something very special for you this week.

 

We have brought on the co-founder/president of PostScript, the SMS marketing service, Alex Beller, who will be breaking down a lot of really awesome insights and great ways to get started in SMS leading into this holiday season. So, without further ado, Alex, how are you doing?

 

Alex: Doing great. Thanks for having me.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, really excited to have you on the podcast. So, we’ll give a brief intro and background to the audience, but, it would be great if you could tell your story and how you came about to found PostScript.

 

 

Alex: Sure. So, I’d worked in ecommerce for a long time, on the brand side, like a lot of the listeners. So, my co-founder, our CEO, Adam, and myself, worked at a relatively large ecommerce business called StackCommerce in LA. I’d been there for a long time, because it was small. Their business is interesting, because they do white labeled ecommerce store fronts for media companies. So, they build and run things like the CNN store, or the Mashable store, to help those media businesses diversify their revenue away from ads.

 

We just saw a lot of the macro trends going on that everyone today accepts as table stakes. All the ecomm stores we ran—their percentage share of mobile traffic was just growing every single year. It was like, 30% of traffic was mobile when we started, and when we left, it was like, 80. That was growing every year. Email performance we saw within the industry was starting to stagnate just a little bit. It’s still an incredibly important channel—I’m not one of those people who is banging the drum and is like, “Email is dead!”—that’s crazy, email still works very, very well. But, email was starting to plateau. And, just, customer acquisition costs on Facebook and Instagram were just growing and growing and growing. So, Adam and I were thinking to ourselves, “What is the mobile-first retention channel? How can we have a better setup than email for mobile users?”

 

At the same time, a friend of ours who runs a lifestyle business on Shopify was just complaining to Adam that he didn’t have a way to text his customers. He was like, “Hey, I wanna text my customers. There’s no good, easy way to do that.” This was a little over a year ago, maybe a year and a half ago. And, all of those things clicked in for us.

We obviously knew about Klaviyo and the really high quality tool that they built for email. And so, we said, “All right. What if we try to build the ‘Klaviyo for text messaging’?” as an initial launching point.

That was the backstory. It was very much like a side project for us originally, where we originally put it live and started getting customers and we thought we’d make a little bit of side money each month. But, really quickly, it became clear that there is a huge market shift going on and that SMS is becoming and will, over the next few years, become a widely-used marketing channel for ecommerce. So, we decided to go all-in and build the company full-time.

 

Mark: Alex, when we got started with you (I believe that was early 2018, we got the introduction through Austin Brawner with PostScript)—how long before that, how long has PostScript been a company in existence?

 

Alex: So, PostScript launched—like, available for merchants to use—in September of 2018. So, a little over a year ago. So, I think our intro may have been at the start of this year? Of 2019? But, we hadn’t been around very long. We—for those listeners who are into startups—we’d been running for 3 or 4 months (September through December of last year), and then we got accepted into a program called Y-Combinator in San Francisco, which is a Tech and Startup incubator there.

 

So, we took the business through that from January through March of this year, and then have been building the team remote ever since.

 

Jeremy: Very cool. So, that’s a great background and great story of how PostScript came to be. And, I would say that it has very quickly emerged as one of the leading SMS vendors in the Shopify space.

 

So, it would be great for those people who haven’t gotten started in SMS—what would you say would be the best way for them to enable SMS for their store and really get going marketing to their customers through SMS?

 

Alex: This is like my favorite topic. And I’ve got a lot of thoughts.

 

So, I hear a lot of different responses from merchants. I hear—and I was an ecommerce merchant for a long time, so we, like, really care about our merchants and we don’t want to mislead anybody—I hear from them their concern about annoying their customers. Right, because text messaging is a pretty personal channel, and the idea of a brand blowing me up every single day with texts gives me anxiety. I don’t want that at all. So, we hear that concern.

 

We hear the idea from merchants, like, “Hey, is this going to conflict with or cannibalize my email marketing channel? Or my messenger marketing channel?” The truth—and this impacts the answer to your question of how to get started—the truth is that engagement is too high to ignore it. SMS is working too well right now to put blinders on and say that you’re open to working on it in late 2020.

 

How text marketing works is you need to get explicit opt-in consent from your users to send to them. Which means that—all your old customers, you won’t be able to text. So, the easiest way to get started is: install PostScript—just this morning, we launched an incredible new onboarding flow that makes it easier and faster than ever to get up and running. But, every single ecommerce merchant needs to start building their list, today.

 

Because even if you’re not quite ready yet, even if you don’t know how to think about it holistically, even if you’re, like, focused on optimizing email right now, six months, a year, two years from now, you’re going to be very happy that you’re sitting on a large, engaged SMS asset that you’ve built up over time.

 

So, easiest way to get started: install PostScript with one click from our website, or from the Shopify App Store, with a few clicks through onboarding (it’ll probably take you 15 minutes), you’ll have the right compliance language on your site, and you’ll be collecting phone numbers for subscribers.

 

Mark: Yeah, for sure. We always suggest to our clients the very first thing—even if their not ready to take it on just yet—we always say to get this installed. At very minimum, you can be collecting phone numbers legally, from customers that make a purchase. Over time, that’ll just add up.

 

Alex: Yeah, and, you know—we’re all marketers on this podcast, and most listeners—like, who wouldn’t want to have a giant asset building in the background. Especially an asset that gets, like, 99% open rates and 20% clicks.

 

That’s just not something to sleep on.

 

Jeremy: Definitely. So, what would you say after someone’s installed the app is the best way to start building that list?

 

Alex: Cool. So, it depends on the bandwidth available to them right now. So, the best way to start building your list—the no brainer is to, like, add the proper compliance setup at checkout. You’re already seeing a lot of traffic, people are converting: give your users the ability to opt-in, compliantly and passively, at checkout.

 

We have all the guides to do that, you can live chat our team if you have questions, you can go through onboarding, there’s public docs about it. Beyond checkout, there’s a bunch of different mechanisms to grow your list.

We have a mobile popup that is the best lever that we see. And this popup has a different UX than most of the other email collection popups out there. How it works is that when a user clicks the Call-to-Action on the mobile popup—instead of typing in their phone number in the form, they get taken over to their text message app, and a pre-filled opt-in message. Is loaded there for them to hit send on. So, that way, a user can opt in in two clicks as opposed to typing anything.

 

So, what we’re seeing emerge more and more as the best practice in the space is, look, on desktop, don’t change a thing. Email’s the bread and butter. But on mobile, for mobile traffic, you probably want to start experimenting with phone number collection and SMS collection. Whether it’s through our popup or, you know, using Privy, or JustUno, or Klaviyo Forms—whatever you use, we integrate with all of them: you can use any of those tools to start compliantly building your SMS list through a popup on mobile.

 

The other opt-in mechanisms are even more interesting. Because, everyone has been gathering opt-ins at checkout and through a popup forever. So some of the other forms that we’re seeing to build a list that are newer but are really effective is: what we call Opt-In Links.

 

So, inside a PostScript Dashboard, a user can just generate a short link that, when clicked on a mobile device, it will take people through that. They open their text app, and they hit “Send” on the message to opt in. And if on Desktop, it takes people to a landing page to type in their phone number in. So, using these Opt-In Links, those can be placed in Instagram Stories, they can be shared on other social channels, they can be embedded in emails, they can be merchandised across the ecommerce site. And so, using these short links is just a great way to passively pick up subscribers from all your other channels. Especially moving them over from, like, Instagram, or other non-owned channels to a dedicated contact list that you own.

 

Mark: Yeah, that’s awesome. I definitely would like to hear you speak a little more about the Keyword feature. I would say that’s probably my favorite feature to use, just because we have a really strong customer based that often comes back repeatedly.

 

So, it works really well for us to—actually, just this morning, we announced that we’re having a release for some new products next week, and I announced to the audience that if they text a specific keyword, that we will reply to them with a discount for that release. And, as usual, it’s performing extremely well. So, I’d love to hear some specifics about what you see your customers doing with the keyword feature.

 

Alex: Yeah, so—for those listening—using keywords to opt in (everyone has probably seen them in political ads, if nothing else), it’s like, “Text the word Alex into 33067 in order to subscribe.” That is called a Keyword Opt-In.

 

It relies on the end user, or the customer, to actually text in a keyword to a phone number in order to subscribe to your list. This can be utilized in lots of different ways. If you have, for example, in Mark’s case, like, an amazing Facebook community, just posting inside a Facebook, like, “Hey, if you want first look at new product drops, or if you want to join our VIP list, or if you want 10% off,” whatever the right Call-to-Action is, and then utilizing a keyword generated from PostScript, anyone who signs up will be automatically given an autoreply, or dropped into a Welcome Flow, or any automation flow that you want to build out.

 

And so we see brands using it in community, we see brands actually using it paired with influencers. So, like, we work with a brand that did an influencer deal with Charlie Sheen—and so, he was posting on Instagram a video of him saying, like, “Text Tiger Blood to this number to get my deal.” So, it’s coming up in YouTube and Instagram and video, and then, also just using it on-site and in packaging. The keyword use case is really broad.

 

So, we have customers actually including in packaging that goes out to all customers, like, when someone is opening up a bag of coffee, or whatever—there’s a little leaflet, or it’s included on the tape, like a Call-to-Action of “Hey, join our VIP list,” “Text this to this.” Or, even just merchandising the number in emails, or across a website with banners. It’s a great way to passively pick up subscribers.

 

And, how PostScript works—because, the only thing we do is SMS for Shopify—we actually will match subscriber data. So, if I am in a brand’s Facebook group and I did a Keyword Opt-In—maybe I bought from that brand a few times previously—well, when I do the Keyword Opt-in, PostScript will match that opt-in with the old customer file so that Marketers can segment and sort and use all of my purchase history to ensure that I am getting the right message at the right time.

 

Mark: I have actually been wondering that for a while. So, just to be clear, what you’re saying is, if someone has purchased from me in the past, and through Shopify—I would imagine through Shopify, they would have given their phone number at that time—if I then collect their phone number through the keyword feature, PostScript will identify it and match those two.

 

Alex: Yes, automatically, so you will be able to filter all of that.

 

Here is one other—here’s probably my best tip of the podcast, because, would you guys guess that most listeners use Klaviyo.

 

Jeremy: Yes.

 

Mark: Absolutely.

 

Alex: So, here’s my best tip. And we should talk about Klaviyo launching SMS, and what merchants should know at some point. But, our integration with Klaviyo can do some really cool stuff. And, something that’s working very well for merchants right now to build their text lists passively is using our tool integration with Klaviyo, and Klaivyo’s Dynamic Block feature.

 

So, how it works is, they’re placing a Dynamic Block inside of all their emails going out through Klaviyo. Right, a really simple Call-to-Action. Maybe it’s keyword opt-in, or maybe it’s using those opt-in short links I was describing.

 

And, the Call-to-Action is just driving your email subscribers to also opt in to SMS. So, it’s, you know, “Join our VIP list,” or “Get a discount,” or, whatever the Call-to-Action is. But, because we have this two-way integration with Klaviyo, using this Dynamic Block feature, we’re passing subscriber data back into Klaviyo. So, Klaviyo will hide that Dynamic Block and that content to any user who is subscribed to PostScript SMS.

 

So, like, it’ll have this opt-in Call-to-Action, and all the emails going out, and all the flows—until the user subscribes. And, once they subscribe, it’ll be hidden moving forward. That user won’t see the text opt-in Call-to-Action anymore. So, that’s like an awesome way to just passively build your list, get people on email over to the text.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, that’s a great hack. Really nice, like, personalization (“airquote”) element. You won’t bother somebody who you already captured their phone number for.

 

Alex: It’s funny. We—our business model is built on people sending messages. And, the more messages people send, the more they need to pay PostScript. But, our belief is the opposite. We want merchants to be sending as few texts as possible to see the most ROI they can.

 

Because end users are so sensitive to getting texts, it has to be treated as a different channel than email. There can’t be texts going out every single day. So, the really deep segmentation stuff, the really deep personalization stuff—so that, instead of having to text someone four times to buy, you text them once, but at the perfect moment with the perfect product. That’s the right experience.

 

There’s a lot of the personalization stuff built into our approach.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, that’s something I actually want to unpack a little bit. That’s what I hear the most in a lot of feedback from other merchants is that: their concern that it’s going to be saturated, and as you mentioned before, like, annoying customers and spammy. But, from using it and from seeing how we’re using it for our clients as well, and seeing their reactions. I don’t see it. Like, I think it’s something that is more valuable, and I think it’s interesting that you all hold the philosophy of you want to send less texts but see a higher ROI, because that’s how we use the tool a lot.

 

We really save text messages—especially because they’re just more expensive than emails for high value moments. So, things like abandoned cart, things like post-purchase cross-sells, but then things also like product and promotion launches, and really timing out that text message and the cadence of everything else to be as high-value as possible.

 

So, something that I’ve been getting into—I guess you could say, like, online arguments about: do you see the channel, as it scales over time and gets more mature—are people going to be sending three or four text messages per week?

 

Alex: I don’t believe so. And with PostScript, they’ll never have to. This is like our guiding light on product. And this is what is going to differentiate us forever. So, I hear a lot of the same stuff, but I see a lot of the same stuff that you describe, too.

 

Where in reality, the cross-channel cannibalization—it’s just not really a thing. And there’s a bunch of reasons. The first is that, you’re not starting with the same subscriber base.

 

If you turn on the mobile collection popup, it’s going to start picking up phone number subscribers, and a lot of those users probably aren’t on your email list. And most of your email list isn’t getting texts. And with a Klaviyo integration, you can duplicate lists, and sync lists, and stuff like that. You can stagger timing and cadences for abandoned cart. So, email goes out ten minutes after abandoned, and a text goes out three hours later, and if they buy from the email, the text never sends.

 

So, all the strategy stuff is there. But, the big thing is that the framework is different.

 

So, when people ask me, “How many texts per week should I send?” I say, “Depends on how many times per week you have something relevant to text your customers about.” If we work with some brands who are doing product drops for, like, incredibly high end women’s fashion, and their user base is obsessed, and they want a personal text when the new $400 purse goes live, right, they could probably text those users three times per week.

 

But, for a single SKU brand who is just sending, like, one product online—maybe they’re going to expand slowly. That doesn’t make sense. It needs to be way more about lifecycle touches. So, holistically, it’s a very high engagement channel, and the marketing strategy should be more specific to the brand than like what email is, because people’s sensitivity is so much lower to email, and they’re not seeing every one that goes out.

 

Over time—and you asked about the future—fear about someone getting an email and a text from you should not stop any brand from doing text. Like, I don’t think that a single ecommerce marketer looks back on the year 2000 and says, “I wish I sent more emails in 2000.”

 

20 years later, email as an ecommerce marketing channel is still very vibrant and, so, SMS is going to have a really long run, just like email has. But, I hope that it doesn’t evolve to three times per week.

 

And, using segmentation, and using targeting, and using something that PostScript focuses on, which is trigger or object filters, you can get really, really targeted with the types of messages you’re sending. So that, maybe there’s a campaign going out once to twice per week, and there’s a great set of automation flows, but no need to barrage people five times per week with a 10% off code.

 

That’s just misusing the channel. It’s going to drive really high unsubscribes. It’s not a good experience.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, I agree. I think the really interesting thing—just to unpack a bunch of the things that you said there, because I really agree with a lot of it—right, a great email open rate is 25% today. Text message, the average is 90-90%. And then, another fascinating stat is that 90% of all text messages are opened and read within the first three minutes of receiving them.

 

So, I think, yeah, understanding the great value of that moment and of that touch point with the customer is really important. Where—that’s what I struggle with. I mean, I see the draw of companies wanting to send that many text messages per week. But I think it’s going to diminish it to the point where you’re going to start to see that re-creation of email. So I think that if merchants do hold that value, it will preserve that channel and keep it at a higher engagement level.

 

The other interesting thing from the cannibalization perspective that we’ve done a lot of testing around is that we actually see a lift in other channel performance by sending tandem text messages or push notifications on messenger. So, Mark, do you want to break down your guys’ test in post-purchase cross-sells when you introduce email?

Mark: Totally, yeah. So, we send a—for quite a while now, for a year or two—we’ve been sending a post-purchase email. So, after somebody makes a purchase, we send out an email offering them a special offer priced item. Usually, an about 50% off type of thing. Something that really makes sure to bring people in.

 

We add it to their existing order, no additional shipping. That type of thing. Works great. We’ve been using that for quite a while with a ton of success, and we decided to tack on this same post-purchase offer through text message, and we left it running with the email. So, they both happen, they’re separated by a few hours of time, but we actually saw that—not only were the SMS numbers great, but we actually saw a lift in the email numbers also, and we think that’s just simply because we think of it like a follow-up.

 

Most people if they’re doing email right, they’re going to send an offer, and they’re going to send a follow-up for that offer. We kind of look at it like that for this situation. We send the offer through email, and then a few hours later, we send it again through SMS. And, interestingly enough, that take for the follow-up is helping the email offer.

 

Alex: Yeah, I think that—that’s awesome; I want to do a case study on that—I love that marketers today care so much about not annoying their customers. But also, the fear of doubling is—omni channel marketing has been that way forever.

 

You see a billboard, and then you see a TV ad. There’s nothing really new about trying to hit customers from multiple touch points. In fact, I think that might be an undervalued approach right now in ecomm marketing

 

Jeremy: Yeah.

 

Mark: One hundred percent. The example of sending a follow-up email is the perfect situation, because it gets better with the more channels that you have.

 

Sending a follow-up email could be annoying, but sending a follow-up text message when the original message was an email, or then the third message is a Facebook Messenger message—coming from different platforms actually makes it less annoying for the consumer.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, and we’ve actually rippled this out across the board. Like, for product launches, especially for clients. We’ll coordinate the different channels and stagger them throughout the day. We actually also do this for abandoned cart automations.

We’ve actually seen a lift in total performance and each channel also improving in performance to the point where it’s kind of become standard practice that we follow. Just because it has such a positive lift not only on the individual channel itself and just what we’re trying to drive to, but the overall health of all the marketing channels.

 

Alex: That’s so cool—you guys are, very genuinely, at the forefront of this. That is the opposite of what I hear in most of my conversations. So, the fact that it’s showing in the math is awesome.

 

Mark: Yeah, I think it just comes down to—we’re saying, we’re having a conversation around, like, “Is it annoying for the user?” And I just, quite simply, don’t believe that it’s annoying. Like, if they’ve opted in, they’ve opted in because they want to be hearing from you. And, if you’re sending them particular messages with things that they want to hear about, then it’s not annoying.

 

So, I don’t see a problem with stacking those things in a certain way and getting results.

 

Alex: I’ll say—one thing I’m starting to think about long-term: because SMS is so regulated (because the opt-in is such a high bar), and because unsubscribes are airtight—it’s required—the cool thing is that the brands who are taking the long view—like, I’m probably on 150 ecommerce email lists. I’m sure you guys are on a ton.

 

I’ll never be subscribed to 150 SMS lists for brands. I am personally, as you guys can probably imagine—most people will ramp up to a handful, 10 or so? But, it’s really going to be the brands that A) get there first, and B) that the users are most interested in hearing from.

 

Once you unsubscribe with texts, you’re done. So, the brands that take the long view and treat their list with respect and don’t burn it out with five campaigns per week are going to be the ones laughing a couple years from now because it’s so much harder to get people back with text, and unsubscribe rates are so much more sensitive.

 

Mark: Yeah. I think it’s worth mentioning, too, just for those who may not know—in order to unsubscribe from a text message, at least through PostScript, all you have to actually do is type back with the word “STOP.” So, super easy. Every message that we send out—I think you guys recommend this—includes text saying “Type STOP to unsubscribe.”

 

So, that’s just another reason why we feel like it’s not super invasive, because it’s a very easy way for them to get out of it.

 

Alex: Is cursing allowed on this podcast?

 

Mark: Go for it.

 

Alex: So, “Reply STOP” works. Another thing that we built slowly after launching is: people can reply, “STOP,” “CANCEL,” “UNSUBSCRIBE” to get off the list. But, if people reply, “Fuck off,” or “Eat shit,” we’ll also just automatically take them off the list. Because they clearly don’t wat to be there anymore. So, that’s a fun little detail.

 

Mark: That’s awesome.

 

Alex: The other cool thing we’re thinking about is: how to do even more with the channel. So, for example, brands that run on ReCharge and are subscription brands—we can do incredibly cool things where a message can go out to a user three days before they’re monthly box of razors ships. And, it’s like, “Hey! Your razors go out today. Do you want to add our new shaving cream for $10? Reply YES.”

 

And if the user replies, “YES,” replace the order in their ReCharge account, and we charge their card for that. Or, the user can reply “SKIP,” because they already have too many razors, and they want to skip this month. And that prevents churn. So, there’s a bunch of conversational aspects that are still on the fringes that are starting to become more and more mainstream that are starting to drive even more conversational ROI.

 

And it’s the same stuff on customer support. Brands who are sending post-purchase check-in flows via text, like, “Hey, we saw your package got delivered on Tuesday. How do you like it? If you have any issues, reply here.” And they can just text back right in that thread. Getting two-way engagement will help prevent unsubscribes later.

 

Mark: This is news to me—the ReCharge integration that you just mentioned. I’d like to dig into that just a little bit. So, just to be clear, you will automatically text them with an additional offer, and they can just reply back, and they will be charged for that?

 

Alex: Correct. It’s called “Reply to Buy,” it is built into our ReCharge integration, it’s something you would have to design the—we would drop a template in, but you could designate, like, what the upsell product was, you could designate what subscription item that fires for and how long before it does, but yes, we place the order automatically in ReCharge, and we charge their card.

 

Shopify doesn’t offer up the ability to do that through their API directly, but we can do it with ReCharge, and there’s a bunch of really cool stuff in there. With ReCharge, we can also do, like, “Payment Failed Flows,” which are huge, because if someone’s card expires, they aren’t a churned customer. Right, their card expired. So that’s the same sort of use case where sending a really noisy message like a text with a link to go update their payment information—that’s really high ROI.

 

So, there’s a bunch of subscription subset use cases which we’re seeing grow really fast.

 

Mark: Guess I’m going to have to make sure some of my employees are listening to this episode.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, that’s awesome. I’ve been thinking about a bunch of different stuff. It’s unfortunate that Shopify doesn’t expose that, because a “Reply to Buy” for just anything would be so powerful.

 

Alex: I would love for them to do it. I don’t know if they will, or where that sits with them. But, we would love that. We want this to be two-way, we want to be conversational. You know, the ability for a text to go out with a new product and then someone to, like, buy with apple pay in-thread with just their thumbprint—that is just so cool.

 

So, we’d love to be there someday.

 

Jeremy: Yeah. That would be so, so powerful. So, I think that’s an awesome new feature. I know we’ve been poking around a lot in the platform. But are there any other big new features like that that you feel like merchants aren’t necessarily aware of, or utilizing as much as you’d like that you all have released recently?

 

Alex: Yeah, I’d love to share a few, both live and upcoming.

 

Klaviyo announced they’re doing SMS. We’re super excited we’re tight with that team, and obviously, it was an inspiration for PostScript originally, before we iterated off. And what they launched is the ability—or when it does launch will be—the ability to add text messages into your flows.

 

It’ll be plain text, it’s not available internationally, there won’t be campaigns, there won’t be responses—so, it’s a great way to try an SMS abandoned cart. But, some of the scaled, more advanced tactics we’re talking about will always live in a tool like PostScript, or any of the other dedicated ones out there.

 

So, some of these features are pretty cool. We launched last month something that we’re calling “Trigger Filters.” This is the most advanced segmentation tool we’ve seen on the market. It goes even way deeper than Klaviyo does. When you’re creating an automation flow in PostScript, let’s say you’re building an abandoned cart. You can now segment and target an abandoned cart on any piece of information that comes from the order object Shopify passes to our system.

 

So, what that means is that you can filter and target based on any specific line item, skew, whether the product is taxable or not, what discount codes were applied, the product ID, what shipping the user selected, what the user has purchased before, where they live, and all of this can be applied using nested logic. So, the targeting and segmentation in PostScript is more powerful than it’s ever been. It’s really deep.

 

The other thing that we recently added specifically for abandoned carts is Dynamic Product Photos. So, with a click of a button in your abandoned cart flows, you can have the main product image pulled into your text message, which is just a cool little thing.

 

Some other features that we have been launching that are a little bit more advanced and help bridge adoption is: just this morning, we launched a new onboarding. So, any merchants listening, it is faster and easier than ever. Within fifteen minutes, you can be compliantly collecting phone numbers in a bunch of different ways, and have some automation flows already built out and live in your account. It makes it super easy to get it up and started in a compliant fashion.

 

We also launched our first AI-based flows. So, what that means is: most merchants out there have never done SMS, they don’t know exactly what a great approach looks like. So, now, by just chatting live inside the app, we can drop algorithmic-built product upsells into your account. You can still edit them and polish and choose what to turn on or not, but with a click of a button, we will generate a long list of upsell flows based on your store data. So, like, we’ve seen, “People tend to buy this product after they’ve bought that one, so we’re just gonna drop an upsell flow into your account along the optimized timetable, based on your store-specific data.” So that’s a really cool way to get some passive flows going.

 

Other big updates and things that are coming: we really early on knew how important integrations are for merchants in the space. So, we’ve been churning out integrations. You know, Mark, when you started with us, my guess is that we probably just had the Gorgias integration. Now, there’s at least ten listed: Gorgias and ZenDesk on support, we can also indicate with any other help desk through an email forward, so that replies can be managed anywhere.

 

We’ve launched integrations with JustUno, and Privy, and Klaviyo on the collection front, all the other Klaviyo stuff we were talking about. We have a ReCharge integration, we have an AfterShip, a CartHook integration, a one-click-upsell integration from Zipify, and Swell is coming soon.

 

We’re going to do the review apps and all the loyalty apps, so that’s a big focus. And, that should help enrich all the data that’s informing what message goes out to whom.

 

So, that is a lot of the really big noteworthy stuff. Otherwise, what I was talking about—subscription is super top-of-mind. Just because that use case is different and the product suite is different, so we’ve been going really, really deep with ReCharge.

 

Mark: Amazing.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, super cool. So, there are two things that you just mentioned that I want to dig a little bit deeper into.

 

First, the trigger filter. So, how robust is that going to be—I have a two part question: how robust is that going to be, and then, what are some standard, simpler use cases that people can get going with once that feature is live?

 

Alex: Yeah, so, it is live. It is launched, it is in automations, anyone can build out an automation flow using trigger filters now. The most straightforward use case is basing flows based on the product.

 

So, whether it’s an abandoned cart, whether it’s a win-back flow from ReCharge—here’s a great example: maybe a merchant has five different subscriptions available on their site. Now, you can build out five product-specific win-back flows for users who churn off a subscription. Because we’re not just accepting the generic trigger from recharge that says, like, “User canceled subscription,”—it’s now sortable based on the specific subscription data and information.

 

So, it’s just about making flows much more specific based on all the contents of the user action.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, I think so. A more simple use case would be, like, “If Cart Value is over $100, send this specific flow; if not, if it’s under $100, send this specific flow.” I know isn’t close to as advanced as what is possible, but it’s like accessing those-level things. It can be product-based, it can be dollar-value based.

 

I actually have a question: let’s say a customer put in a discount code but then abandoned. Could you send an abandoned cart follow-up to just users who abandoned who used a discount code?

 

Alex: Yes. So, both of those are much better use cases than what I was trying to describe.

Jeremy: You’re super deep in the weeds.

 

Alex: I’m way too in the weeds.

 

Jeremy: And then, my second question was based on the AI-based upsell flows. So, are we saying like, if a person purchases one time, recommend a cross-sell or an upsell that they’re most likely to buy—so you all are doing that, but are you also saying, like, you should send this text message fifteen days after their first purchase?

 

Alex: Correct. And, all we’re doing here—we’re going to be building out way more in this direction in the future—we’re not taking out of the marketer’s hands. We’re just pre-populating automation flows so that you don’t have to build them out yourself, or figure out the data yourself. We’re just going drop in, like, five automation flows based on the store data, recommending the product-to-product upsell, and what the timeframe should be.

 

Jeremy: Interesting. Okay, so is that live, or is that coming?

 

Alex: It’s live. We aren’t publicizing it everywhere. So, if anyone’s in their PostScript account and they just chat in, and they say, “Hey, can you drop the AI automations in,” we will populate it for them right away. But, we’re gating it with a human right now because we’re still watching data come in.

 

So, it’s live by request.

 

Jeremy: Got it. So, for anyone listening there on PostScript who wants access to that feature, just reach out to their team.

 

That’s super interesting. So, can you automate something from first purchase through fifth purchase, or is it just more like use-case-how-to-try-to-get-them-to-buy-a-second-time?

 

Alex: It’s how to get users to buy again. This is like our first iteration: it’ll get more advanced. It’s really just about looking at what the user—there are a ton of different inputs—it’s about making a specific upsell recommendation based off that user’s engagement history.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, that makes perfect sense, right? Because if you can get everyone to buy your Hero Product and then you have a really great second product, you’re going to increase that lifetime value by getting them to buy that second purchase. It would be really interesting to see how the timing works as far as—we’ve seen a lot of success within the immediate, within a couple hours, but also I’m sure there’s a cadence of a week or two later or maybe a month or two later depending on what the product is and what the purchase lifecycle is—so it would be really interesting to revisit this in a year and see how that data comes back.

 

Alex: Totally.

 

Jeremy: Awesome. So, I think—last point to drive us home: everyone’s making their final plans for BFCM, everyone’s looking for their last big wins to cram in before the holiday rush absolutely comes. What would you say—if someone is getting started on SMS marketing and they’re just getting going, what’s the one thing they need to do to really hit it home this holiday season?

 

Alex: They need to put fifteen minutes on their calendar to install PostScript, do compliance, turn on collection. Then, they need to go, they need to turn on the basic flows: Welcome, Abandoned Cart, Post-Purchase Upsell. The templates will be in there for you. That is, bare bones minimum—you can get that live in no time, you’ll be making money passively.

 

And, you’ll be building your lists. So, that, over the next two months, when you have big marketing events you want to push out, you’ll have a list there, you can go in and take the five minutes to put a text campaign together.

 

We prepopulate all the segments so you’ll know who to target. And because there’s no HTML involved—it’s just images and a link—you’ll be able to do that quickly.

 

So, we talked about a lot of advanced stuff, and I love the advanced stuff. But getting the bare-bones flows and collection up is like—everyone go do that, today.