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As we enter a new year, Taylor and Richard walk through 5 critical ecommerce trends that we expect to take off in 2024.

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  • The Ecommerce Playbook mailbag is open — email us at to ask us any questions you might have about the world of ecomm.

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[00:00:00] Richard Gaffin: hey folks. Welcome to the e-Commerce Playbook podcast. I'm your host, Richard Gaffin, director of Digital Product Strategy here at Common Thread Collective, and it's a brand new year for us here at the e-Commerce Playbook Podcast 2024. And so what we're gonna be digging into today are some predictions for this new year. And I wanna say one thing before we get into it. One resolution that I have is to do the intro a little bit different every time, rather than doing the exact same thing. So instead of introing Taylor off the bat, I'm gonna ask instead Taylor, who is with us? What are your resolutions for this year?

[00:00:31] Taylor Holiday: Ooh, it's, so, I've been trying to do this with my kids, like we sit down together and I found like a very basic template that we all work through that involves. Four categories. I'm gonna put this up on the screen. So it's like work, health, 

personal and travel. And so we all sit down together and we, you have to come up with two in each category.

So I went through and did some of those, so I turned 40 this year. That's a, that's a 

big deal. And so I'm having this party, I'm calling it the Taylor's Eras party

[00:01:02] Richard Gaffin: nice.

[00:01:03] Taylor Holiday: so to, to play on that. But the idea is. I'm gonna invite everybody I've ever met in my life to come to a birthday party with the premise that the only time you would ever gather all the people through the course of your life, you know what?

It is your funeral. 

That's the only time. So my wife and I, so one of my big real solutions is to plan this party where it's basically an open invite to, if you know me, you show up, and there's name tags for the decade that you knew me from. So from the eighties, the nineties, the two thousands, the 2000 tens or the 2000 twenties, and we just, you throw the name tag on and we see each other probably one more time before you show up to my funeral.

So that's the, that's one of my big resolutions.

[00:01:40] Richard Gaffin: there you go. Getting at, at midlife, getting prepped for the end. That's, there's

probably something philosophically valuable in that, I

would say. 

[00:01:46] Taylor Holiday: right. 

[00:01:46] Richard Gaffin: Cool, man. All right. Well, speaking of New Year's resolutions, then, we're not necessarily doing New Year's resolutions for e-comm for this year, but what we are gonna be talking about here is Taylor has some. So predictions for what's gonna be happening here in 2024. Some trends, some things that we should be aware of. And if you want to think about it in terms of resolutions, there are resolutions perhaps you can make around these five things and how to predict them and sort of stay ahead of them. So I got a list here. I'm gonna read 'em off one by one and we're gonna talk about 'em, Taylor, and you're gonna tell us what we can expect here in this

upcoming new year. So number one on this list that I have before me is the rise of the product influencer brands. Now. What does this mean? What is a product Influencer Taylor.

[00:02:26] Taylor Holiday: Okay, so. The obvious trend is influencer brands, but I actually think there's a huge flaw in this 

model, which is that one of my underlying trends that I think is the key to all of this is that product is really the magic. That the actual thing you're selling matters 

immensely in terms of the capacity for a brand to be awesome.

And there's this trend right now, so I'm gonna use an example. There's a guy by the name of John's Paul's Balls. Have you know who this guy is?

[00:02:53] Richard Gaffin: No, I don't.

[00:02:54] Taylor Holiday: Okay, so go on TikTok and search. John Paul, JON, Paul's Balls. Okay. And this guy is a craftsman that started taking old material and sewing them into really cool soccer balls.

Okay? And he made these amazing tiktoks about it. Right. And they blew up and it's like really rad. Like the, the things that he makes are like art. They're beautiful. And if you think about a category like sports balls, like if there's any room for there to be some excitement and innovation, like if you picture a basketball or your football or baseball in your mind, we all see exactly the same thing.

Like there's very little change in the structure of this. But this guy started this and, and he would sell them one-off as art pieces. Okay. But very recently he announced that he's launching a brand 12 Pentagons. Okay. And he's going to make larger batches of these custom designed soccer balls and.

This is reminiscent of, we used to own a brand called FC Goods. And FC Goods began with a guy by the name of John Broun, who was similarly a craftsman creator that in his free time, just started making wallets. And I think that at the, at the origin of most great brand story, like if you go back to the beginning of Coach or the beginning of Louis Vuitton, is that a craftsman making?

Something special.

And so I think what we're gonna see is that these creators now are actually gonna have a capacity to build audience that's gonna give them the thing that they need to distribute their wares and goods. So I think this idea that it's not gonna be the influencer that's famous for doing TikTok dances or Get Ready with me that launches a makeup line, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Like, no, no, no. We're gonna see this authenticity of the quality of the good being driven by these creators as a trend that comes forward. And John's, Paul's balls is a good 

[00:04:47] Richard Gaffin: Okay. Interesting. So the idea here that being like the, the, person begins as a product creator of some kind, then through that creation becomes an influencer, just sort of based on the merits of the product itself in some ways.

And then that becomes the thing. So sort of a.

[00:05:01] Taylor Holiday: Yeah. They are famous for the product more than they get famous and then release 

a product. 

[00:05:05] Richard Gaffin: then release the product afterwards. Okay. I like it. So this is sort of a chip and Joanna Gaines prefer


[00:05:11] Taylor Holiday: go. 

[00:05:11] Richard Gaffin: something along those lines. Yeah.

Interesting. Okay. So, this sounds like this next piece of the puzzle might be sort of related to the first, so prediction number two is the less better stuff trend.

So that

sounds self-explanatory, but maybe unpack that a little bit.

[00:05:26] Taylor Holiday: So I think the world moves in these sort of like waves. I think of sort of an onslaught of one trend followed by a sort of very strong re like resistance to it. And so I think we're coming out of the Sheen and Temu era. Right. And I'll even put Amazon in there too. I don't know about you, but my, my home is cluttered with cardboard boxes.

To the point that like, I don't even, some of the stuff I can't even, like I have so little attachment to and it matters so little to me that it just becomes this total commodity that I begin to almost disdain. Like the stuff you begin to disdain, you're like, why do I have all this crap and it doesn't matter.

And you watch your kids sort of toss it aside and there's no connection to it. It doesn't last and it feels so wasteful.

And I think that. If you, if you begin to see the narrative around temu in these things is that it's crap

that we don't want crap. And I think that in that becomes this underlying current where someone like John's Paul's balls, or even in e-commerce, you're seeing this a lot of, we're sort of coming out of this era where it was just so much stuff with labels on it ordered from Alibaba 

that got distributed in all these ways that I think that there's going to be this like

Deep appreciation for 

substance. And I, you know, I, I try and resist the word authenticity because I think it's like a little bit it's a little bit of a quagmire, but I think the, this is really about the actual quality of the good itself. And that there's gonna be, you know, these, there's these recessionary undercurrents.

And so the thoughtfulness of our purchases tends to matter in those moments. And I think that there's gonna be a rise in these, like this, this craftsmanship consideration in this moment.

[00:07:08] Richard Gaffin: So, so in other words that the, the amount of customer demand for quality is going to reach a breaking point of some kind, where it actually makes an impact on, 'cause one thing that you know, I was gonna say is that there's a certain narrative that. The free market tends towards creating crap for more money just because it's cheaper. But you're saying that there's gonna be enough of a pushback against the sort of, because I too have a meat thermometer that broke after 10 days, you know, that kind

of thing. Enough of a pushback that just quality buy for life type of stuff is going to become, become more to the forefront or become more

[00:07:40] Taylor Holiday: I think that what happens is like TikTok Shops is another, I think, driver of this, where I think TikTok shops is such a powerful 

mechanism that what it's going to do is create a really shitty product experience for a lot of people.

And what happens when you buy something crappy? I. Like you start to go like, well that wasn't a good use of my money.

To your point, the, the meat thermometer that broke I I the other day, often I, and I've gotten God on TikTok shops. It's really 

powerful. And this is why actually, I think what causes this tread is I bought this thing that was looked like in the photo, a rug for my kids' room. There was this glow in the dark astronaut and it came, and this thing was an Abso, it was way smaller than the photo made it seem.

And it was crap, dude. It was crap. And so I felt stupid and I like, I, the feeling it created for me was not a good one. And I didn't feel like I was caring for them, like it was honestly, like, what? I really give this to them . 

Like that's how it felt. And so I think that that experience is gonna happen a lot.

You buy things off of Timian. Maybe not sheen. It's a little more fashion. I think there's, there's probably a little bit better quality of experience, some subways there. But TikTok shops is a trash machine. It is literally a gigantic trash machine, and I think there's gonna be resistance to that at some point.

[00:08:54] Richard Gaffin: Interesting. Yeah. Well, it reminds me of the old the old maxim of that nothing kills a bad product faster than great advertising. And maybe a way you

could paraphrase that is nothing 

[00:09:01] Taylor Holiday: that's a great way to call 

[00:09:03] Richard Gaffin: nothing kills a bad product better than, or faster than a great advertising platform, which is maybe kind of what's happening with TikTok shops right now.

But interesting. Okay,

[00:09:10] Taylor Holiday: I also think there's like, the other thing I've seen on TikTok shops is like, I posted about this the other day, is knockoffs are crazy. Like, 

so there's this like giant trend around Carhartt jackets for $19. and dude, there, there must be a thousand affiliates running this offer for whatever drop shipper is shipping these knockoff Carhartt 

jackets. And so what that would do if I'm Carhartt, is that drives me to sort of in resistance to this fake, not real thing, find some way to elevate the real thing.

And so I think that there's this like . It's sort of this idea too, where the counterfeit market actually drives the demand for the premium market too.

What you know, and so I think that that that is part of it as well, that the existence of TikTok shops is going to drive Carhart to figure out how to help people differentiate the real thing and elevate the demand for those that can actually get to that piece.

[00:10:05] Richard Gaffin: Interesting. So this is a little tangential, but there's a, there's a sort of similar trend that I've seen recently too with Google and information on Google as well, where like the quality of like a Google result, like organically, like if you ask a question, like for instance what's the best me thermometer I could get? It's just,

you know, one after another of just SEO bait

articles. But if you do, if you type in what's the best meat thermometer I should get Reddit. It takes you to Reddit and you can hear real people telling you about it, and that's how people

are starting to get their information more and

more and more and more. And so it's this sort of like acts of resistance against the algorithm just sort of dishing you out cheaper and cheaper things, I think is maybe something that's starting to happen, but,

[00:10:43] Taylor Holiday: Yeah. And it's funny, I don't know if you saw, did you see the post that Aaron did where he actually got, so Aaron 

Orndorff used to work at C-D-C-S-E-O Guru, and one of his favorite party tricks is to like, take a phrase like most handsome man in Oregon 

[00:10:56] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:10:57] Taylor Holiday: SEO resist result himself, where he had, he had taken all this time to make the

The cutest baby in the world or something, Cody Cher's child. And not only did he get that as the snippet when you search like cutest baby in the world or whatever, but now when you actually go into Bard, like Google's AI and you ask. The ai who the most, the cutest baby in the world is, it says like, well, you can't be for sure, but some people say it's, and it so like Aaron is informing the AI in this way, that you start to realize like, holy crap, like it's, it's sort of this search for truth.

It's search 

for meaning, and I think product. Connects probably to this trend. You know, there's a lot of people that think like religion is gonna make this slur of like 

emphatic comeback because people are like in search of meaning. And I think product like we, we sort of project that pursuit onto it.

And when we discover fake, 

it feels bad inside of us. Like, we're like, oh, that was, I failed at the process of discovering something real. 

And I don't think that's a very good feeling for people.

[00:11:57] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. No, it's not. All right. I like it. The pushback against fake is another, another 2024 bonus prediction. Okay. Speaking of which, perhaps number three, this is one that's most interesting to me. I think the, the TV grift comes to an end. All right. What does this

mean, Taylor? 

[00:12:13] Taylor Holiday: yeah, so, so I think this is kind of funny, right? 'cause TV like, wait, wasn't that a while 

ago? Do there, there there's this thing that happens in our space all the time where some channel bubbles up as a trendy idea of alternative opportunity. For scale and incremental volume.

It was TikTok last year.

Everybody was like, this is the place, this is where you should move your dollars. It was Pinterest three years ago. It was Snapchat before that and it's, it's driven by really powerful, highly incentivized, usually some sort of tech platform layer and sales organization. That drives it. And right now there's a lot of these in the, in the, in the linear TV realm, these platforms 

that are demand provider, DSP providers of ad inventory of television, both linear and cable tv.

And they make the process of buying media really simple. Which is always sort of this catch 22 a little bit between the sort of barrier to entry and the efficacy of the 

thing in some ways. But what I've seen is that it just became everyone so desperately wants there to be some additional place that what happens is the possibility of it.

And the ambiguity of the results create a space that is easy to occupy with anecdote and easy to occupy with aggressive sales tactics and o opportunity and sort of cloudy results in a way that I think has been really detrimental to a lot of brands that I've seen. I have seen a lot of wasted dollars in this space, but here's the problem.

Dollars can't be wasted anymore, and when dollars can't be wasted anymore, there's an obligation to efficacy and. You are going to see less dollars be spent in places where they don't work. This, this is programmatic, this is tv. These is these places that are housed by less than effective ads. And, and like, I just think we all need to reflect on the principle that started the digital marketing revolution.

Nobody watches TV ads , 

like nobody watches them. I don't care if it's an interstitial on Hulu or Netflix. We're all annoyed by them. They aren't native. The power of Facebook and Instagram is that the ad is a part of the experience. It's no different. It's an expectation. It's an interaction that you have.

There's just, we have to sort of go back to what brought us here to begin with and set aside that experience in a way that I think is like suddenly tempting again for some God knows what reason.

[00:14:38] Richard Gaffin: Interesting. Okay. So do you see part of this being like. More traditional advertisers also fleeing TV as well, or is it gonna be more like, Hey, smaller e-commerce brands are just gonna stop and Nike

[00:14:50] Taylor Holiday: I don't, I don't, I don't speak for Tide. I, 

you know, like I, I think when you get into retail distribution, there's a really different strategy for supporting that kind of demand capture, that it really is about my kids knowing the progressive jingle. 

Like, you know, that's just like we are here to embed ourselves in your mind for the next 20 years.

And like That 

That form of advertising is very different than what I'm talking about. I am speaking to eight figure e-commerce brands that have to generate incremental contribution margin and free cash flow. So to be really clear, don't yell at me. If you're an enterprise brand and you're like, we spend most of our money on tv, great.

Keep doing it. Whatever works for you. I'm talking about if you have to create a return in the next 30, 60, 90 days, that is going to degradate your actual efficiency. And it just is. I see this in every spend in A MER. We build 

now. I talk in absolutes because I think it's a mechanism for moving the Overton window on how we think about these 

things. Are there cases I know like, the team at house is over there. You know, Olivia Corey, who I think is a really great thinker on advertising is like, no, I've seen incremental results. Yes, you can generate success with these platforms, just like there are stories of success being generated on YouTube and success being generated on native ads and programmatic, but the existence of it.

An instance where there is success does not mean that for most people it will be 

successful. And so when I think about the advice we're offering is to think about what is the most likely occurrence of your dollars in television. And I think the most likely occurrence is that it degrades your contribution, not increases it.

And so that's, that's, the position, not that it's not possible.

[00:16:18] Richard Gaffin: Interesting. Okay, cool. So, the TV riff comes to an end number three. So let's move on then to prediction number four. Ah, interesting contribution margin shows up in Shopify dash Taylor. How's this gonna happen?

[00:16:31] Taylor Holiday: I, I think that we have existed in a world where the default thing we're all taught to look at first every day is our revenue. aNd I think that that is changing. I already see this, where there's this underlying movement towards everybody talking about contribution margin.

  1. Talking more about profit, talking more about gross margin.

And I think that Shopify in service of their entrepreneurs need to help bring to the forefront these kinds of metrics. And so I think that what is gonna become more normalized is being really diligent about ensuring that your cost data is a part of every product that you build. And it becomes a core piece of your data integrity to ensure that the cost side of your business is constantly considered.

And I think Shopify. So this is a message to Harley and everybody else. You could help us. You could help every entrepreneur by putting into the forefront every day. Not total sales. Don't lead with total sales. That's not what we're here to generate. I. Lead with contribution margin, show people every day how much money they have made, not how much revenue they've captured.

And I think that that would be really helpful. So whether it becomes the default view, I don't know if that'll ever happen, but I think it will be a primary visible metric

in the service of entrepreneurs to help them solve what we're all out here trying to do, which is grow the dollars in our pocket.

[00:17:47] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. So how about then, so for the last year or so, like the primary thing we've been talking about is we've been, I guess, sort of getting ahead of this conversation about profitability or the shift towards profitability is like the primary goal, and with that comes all of the other sort of elements of the system that we build. To what extent do you think some of those other elements of that system are going to trickle into the general conversation and become maybe even another metric on the Shopify dash?

[00:18:12] Taylor Holiday: Yeah. Look, I-M-E-R-A-M-E-R. 60 day LTV, like we, we've been here before, right? Like we've, we've been driving this narrative, I think in a way that we have a pretty good record of trying to figure out what is the thing that entrepreneurs are utilizing to make their decisions. And what tends to follow is all the tools provide the information that people ask for.

And so I think that we're going to see more and more of these kinds of efficiency measures. Like we're just moving from volume to efficiency. That's margin. Innovation is the era, and so all the messaging, all the optimization, all the possibility is going to drive people towards that measure. And the more that you can help brands create visibility into their own efficacy in producing margin.

You're gonna help them succeed. And that's where there's a mutual interest between Shopify and its customers, is they want them to succeed. And success now doesn't mean revenue growth, success now means profit growth. And so Shopify should create the metrics and visibility to the metrics that help them accomplish that.

[00:19:15] Richard Gaffin: Great. All right. So 2024, the year everybody finally, or a MER breaks forth and we don't have to explain what that is anymore. That, that would

[00:19:22] Taylor Holiday: Yeah. Well, I don't know, acronyms suck, 

[00:19:24] Richard Gaffin: Yeah, Yeah, sure. All right. So fifth and final here, and this is a, this is a prediction that will be good for my email inbox for sure, is the E-Commerce SaaS bubble pops. So tell us a little bit about this, Taylor. What's gonna happen here?

[00:19:37] Taylor Holiday: There's a big problem, which is that we are all fighting over the same pool of money service providers, SaaS products, platforms, STR payment processors, and the brands themselves. It's all one pool of money. And as these SaaS providers get bigger and bigger and bigger, the only way for them to continue to grow win the overall industry growth is not as great as the influx of competition.

So if you think about like, just like the total amount of e-commerce growth relative to the growth of the number of people competing for that revenue. If the de, if the supply of competition outpaces the growth of the industry, then there's a problem where the take rate has to grow. And I think this is a thing that Shopify will is always looking to increase their take rate.

In some ways. They obviously want to grow and, and a lot of their messaging is always gonna be about helping, you know, more entrepreneurs succeed and growing the total market. And that's certainly part of it, but there's also consideration for the take rate. And that's the same for every SaaS platform too.

You're watching Tap Cartt come out and say that they're gonna take a percentage of revenue for the purchases that go flow through their app.

You know, you can watch Sean Frank blow up about this. You know, Klaviyo's pricing increases all these platforms. The way to expand eventually is they have to get lock in and then expand their take rate.

This is a pretty common tactic. The problem is we have margin pressure everywhere such that the value gets offset at some price. Where the rise of what I'm calling the 80% of the features at 50% of the cost providers, like this is what you're seeing. It's whether it's Recar, SMS or Sendlane and email, it's just like we are gonna give you most of the things.

You already have, and we're gonna do it at a cheaper price. 

And that just happens. It happens, it happens till all of a sudden these things get totally commoditized or introduced and natively to the core feature set of Shopify. And I think that that pressure puts a lot of challenge onto the business model of these SaaS providers.

And I think this year more than ever, there's just a real, for whatever reason, and, and I don't, I don't know that it's totally fair to a lot of these. 

I think some of these providers do create value, but people do not want to pay for them.

When you have influencers out in the market like Moise Ali and Sean Frank, just screaming about how they will not pay SaaS products, more money like that is a bad state for that industry to be in when you're trying to expand and grow.

[00:22:09] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. . That's interesting. I, I think like, yeah, I, I was just curious like to what extent a lot of the solutions that SaaS providers provide and, and again, here I'm thinking through like just my experience with everything that pops into my email inbox, people trying to push this type of thing on me. It's like how many of the functionality or how much of the functionality there is actually replicable to like a decent extent by like putting together a good Google sheet or something like that.

[00:22:35] Taylor Holiday: That's the, that's a lot of problem, 

[00:22:37] Richard Gaffin: I think that that'll be a lot of it is that like it's, it becomes a luxury to have this one thing be a little bit faster, therefore we're just gonna go back to the thing that is kind of already working. In that way that, that another

thing that could pop the bubble for sure.

[00:22:49] Taylor Holiday: And, and the other thing is, is that when resources become constrained, trying new things is also just a cost. It's just a time 

cost, right? Oh, there's the new platform flip, or you know, there's this new TikTok shops and it's like the amount of energy required to go try it is just an opportunity cost that maybe you can't afford.

And so I think there's also just less . Trying things in this moment, you know?

And so I think you combine that with this like real need that everything you do provide value. Like this is, this is the challenge we face as a service provider, is that fundamentally if we don't increase the amount of money that a brand makes relative to our cost, we get fired.

And that's, that is like every app is on the chopping block under that same premise this year, do you make me more money

than you cost me? If not, you're gone. Or is there an alternative option that allows me to make an equal amount of money for less cost? And if the answer is yes, you're just gone.

There's so little loyalty under the premise of a, of, of anything in the software space. Like there's just very little.

[00:23:53] Richard Gaffin: Yeah, that makes sense. Cool. All right, so that kinda wraps up our, our five predictions here. All part of, I guess, the, sort of the overall prediction or overall expectation maybe that this, that 2024 is gonna be the year of margin innovation. This is the. That the need for profitability breaks free and everybody sort of understands and is already starting to understand that this is the thing that must be done for us to succeed in this upcoming year. One thing that I thought would be interesting to do is revisit our four New Year's resolutions from January of last

[00:24:20] Taylor Holiday: Oh boy, I don't even remember. 

Oh, okay. Let's do 

[00:24:23] Richard Gaffin: okay. so, uh, not too crazy here, but first is the focus on profit overgrowth was number one in January

of last year, so that continues to be the case, but how do you think we did on that?

[00:24:37] Taylor Holiday: I think that there were some brands that made these choices and made the decision and are now entering an era where they have the potential to grow again. And then there was also a slew of bankruptcies. There was also people that couldn't get there. They couldn't make the hard choices. So I think some people made the choice and they, they got out in front of it and they made the decision and then some people died along the way.

So I think that it was the start of the trend. It was the front end of it. And I'd say now we're more in the, the middle of the movement. 

And I think that growth might actually be on the horizon here, out into the future. The, the pendulum may swing back 

again someday, but for now we're still very squarely in that profit overgrow.

[00:25:15] Richard Gaffin: Interesting. Okay. Long term Prioritizing the long term over the short term was resolution number

two, or prediction need Number two, how do we

do on that? 

[00:25:23] Taylor Holiday: so funny 'cause it's funny 'cause literally I just put out a tweet today that says brands would be better served to focus on the short term. 

So I think it's funny 'cause I, I think, I think the question is, what do you mean by both 

statements? They're obviously a bit like pedantic and really just sort of intended to strike conversation.

I think. By long term in that context, what I mean is that I think that what everyone has to let go and I got, I got a DMM from somebody the other day that, that basically said, I've absorbed so much of your content. And the biggest shift I've made mentally is that I'm in a, I'm on a 10 year journey, not a two year journey.

[00:25:56] Richard Gaffin: Oh, interesting.


[00:25:58] Taylor Holiday: and what that means is that the growth rate, I think that we were all sold was like this really steep venture capital, billion dollar brand in three years. And we were all running as if that was the race, as if we were sprinting. Then all of a sudden we went, oh no, this is a marathon instead. And so that changes our behavior.

Now, what it actually does is it makes your tactics more short term

generate cashflow today, but it's because I realize I'm on a longer journey.

And so I think that is the sort of where these two things come together to mean The same thing in some ways is that we've now reframed it. This is a five, 10 year growth at 10 to 20% a year.

Not you know, three year growth at 200% a year. But what that leads to is the dollars I spend today generate incremental cash today that produces me the ability to survive.

And because it's you, you move into that, in that, that view.

[00:26:51] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. That, that's interesting. I mean, yeah, there's no way, you can't never not have short-term expectations or objectives or whatever, but the quality of those short-term expectations, changes if the long-term expectations are different, is maybe part of what you're saying that having the short-term, which maybe needs to be more focused on right now, but if that's still informed by a term project that actually makes more sense for the business than the short term objectives will inevitably be better. So resolution number three, focus on retention. That's it. Focus on

[00:27:21] Taylor Holiday: That was interesting. Yeah, I don't, I don't remember what we said in that context. I think that. When you're focusing on profit, there tends to be a relationship between new customer acquisition and retention that maybe balances out because you have to focus on first order profitability and you have to take only profitable 

acquisition, which is gonna reduce the amount of acquisition that exists and allows you to increase retention.

But I'd, I don't know. I'd have to go back and listen 

and think about what that might be because I do think that, I do think that again now though. Maybe the, maybe the adjustment would be to think about just acquisition as being obligated to profit, which will likely reduce the amount of acquisition that 

[00:28:05] Richard Gaffin: Gotcha. Okay, so, and then the final one, and I think that this is one that we can speak to more clearly 'cause it's more personal to us, is. CTC, practicing what we preach and certainly something that we've struggled with in the past. How do you think we did on that this past year?

[00:28:21] Taylor Holiday: I'm learning to feel proud of,

[00:28:24] Richard Gaffin: Yeah.

[00:28:24] Taylor Holiday: of, of hard choices. There's a lot about the journey of the last few years that's kind of embarrassing to me, that I feel like a, like we failed, like we, you know, like, so for those of you that dunno what we're talking about, we, we had, we, CTC went through some pretty hard times ourself.

We had to go through a number of different rounds of layoffs coming out of 2022, towards the end of that year. It was a really hard year. We had come out of crazy growth. We had prioritized growth and hiring all these people and all these things and had to make the same choices that we were preaching to everybody else, which was to focus on profitability over growth.

But we made those choices and as hard as they were, they set up what was probably the healthiest and most stable year that we've had and puts us today in the best position we've probably ever been in. And, so I'm learning to be proud of the capacity to make the hard choice that we did and go through what we went through to get to where we're at.

[00:29:13] Richard Gaffin: Awesome. Yeah, and I've definitely experienced that on my side too. And, hopefully that that goes into 2024 and, and goes, goes for all of our, our listeners as well. It's like understanding that making the hard choices is going to feel bad for a long time sometimes, and

that ultimately living the present, understanding that your current situation is better than what could have otherwise been. All right, so let's, let's talk real quick then. Final piece here on 2024. What, what can we expect from the e-Commerce Playbook podcast? So one thing perhaps. Maybe a little more excellence in broadcasting. Producer chorus says, Taylor, please stop eating ice on Mike, which is what you have just heard.

If you're listening to the

audio to the audio

feed you must be in a caloric deficit if that's your breakfast, but that's what I'm going for too. But anyway, yeah. So what's in store for E-Commerce Playbook podcast this year? So we got, well, Taylor, why don't I let you introduce

[00:30:03] Taylor Holiday: so we're gonna do a bunch of stuff. One, we're moving to two episodes a week which is exciting. So we're gonna be publishing more. And what that's going to be is on I think it's gonna be Tuesdays, we'll release Mondays we're gonna record. It's gonna be Richard and I focusing on some sort of tactical conversation around the industry, et cetera, et cetera.

And then on Thursdays, our regular release date, you're gonna be getting an interview. And what we're gonna be doing is taking a series of brands that are gonna be. We call it GQ Giants or other key successful e-commerce businesses, and we're gonna be sort of looking at them through the lens of GQ score.

I'm gonna be doing a little intro to set up some of the dynamics about what makes the business unique, and then we're gonna have an interview with one of the, either the founders or executives at those companies to tell you a little bit about what makes the brand work. We wanna start to highlight some of the different unique ways in which brands are finding success in this moment.

So we're looking to find profitable companies that can come on and give insight into what makes it work. And so we're gonna give you more of those to sort of connect the ideas of the philosophy or methodology of GQ into the practicals of the brands that we work with. And so we're gonna be doing those once a week.

Then at the end of every month, we're gonna be doing a state of the industry report, and we've got some really exciting stuff coming out about that, where we're gonna be combining with a few partners to put together what is gonna be the best data set in the entire industry, where every month we're gonna give you a view into how the, how the industry is performing.

It's gonna be a combination of D-T-C-C-I as well as incredible benchmarks, lots of consumer credit data, so some really cool things that'll give you a monthly recap of some context for the environment that your business exists in.

[00:31:38] Richard Gaffin: Cool. Yeah, lots of exciting things coming here for the e-Commerce Playbook universe. And we're gonna continue having bonus episodes for our admission community as well which you can hear if you join that membership as well. So, for now, that's all we got. We'll see everybody again next week and happy

New Year. Oh 

[00:31:53] Taylor Holiday: one last thing too. My audio sucks. Like I, I, I, I'm in 

an open room with an Echo, but we share an office with Skullcandy, one of our customers, and they just built an incredible podcast studio that they're gonna be using to host a bunch of creators in their space. And so we're gonna be in there.

And so hopefully you're gonna get substantially improved audio quality from my side in terms of what's going on. Better visuals, more clips. A lot of stuff coming. So excited to have you all on this journey. One thing we don't ask a lot for you to rate, review, et cetera, but it does make a huge difference.

If there's an episode that you love, leave a comment go into the Apple Podcast app or Spotify. If you could save us or bookmark or subscribe, those things mean a ton. So we appreciate all of you and we're excited to really ramp it up this year and make this a valuable tool in your toolbox.

[00:32:37] Richard Gaffin: folks, alrightyy, lots of exciting things coming into the e-Commerce Playbook universe. We will see you all next week. Take care.