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Jameela Ghann - Fera.ai, Up Your Review Game With Social Proof And Top Notch Aesthetics

calendar 2021-06-10 | microphone 59minutes Listening Time | user Debutify Admin
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Jameela is the owner of the jewelry store Alora Boutique and the marketing manager for the Product Reviews App, Fera.ai. You can find her on the interwebs on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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Tags: #Ecommerce #E-commerce #Shopify #Dropshipping #ShopifyStore #Entrepreneurship #Debutify #fera #fera.ai #reviews #jameelaghann

Jameela Ghann: [00:00:00] Everybody wants to have a beautiful aesthetically pleasing store because customer expect. Nobody wants like a gross HTML looking store to shop on because it doesn't build trust. When your store looks good, it's just automatically more trustworthy. So I think for any niches, it's useful to have beautiful looking product review.

Joseph: [00:00:26] Your listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast. Your resource for one of the kind insights into the world of e-commerce and business in the modern age. This is Joseph. I'll be presenting a wealth of industry knowledge from interviews with successful business people and our own state-of-the-art research. Your time is valuable, so let's go.

My guest today, Jameela Ghann is positioned  interestingly in that she's both a merchant with her store Alora and also  works for fera.ai an aesthetically driven review platform. It's interesting in the sense that so far I talked to guests who have one of the two, but not both. Jameela was an absolute joy to talk to, and you can see how quickly her work is an extension of her energy.

Jameela Ghann. It is so good to have you here on Ecomonics. How are you doing today? How are you feeling? 

Jameela Ghann: [00:01:18] I'm doing great. I'm actually feeling really great too. I actually feel really good. So thank you. What about you? How are you feeling? 

Joseph: [00:01:25] I feel, well, I feel pretty good. I'm I'm I'm not going to deceive my audience.

Um, I, I, I hadn't had a chance to listen to like, uh, if you had done an interview with anything like that, so I didn't know what kind of energy I was going to get. Um, but you're, you're like, you're just like, like a ray of sunshine. It's just like, It's actually very infectious to, to absorb it. So I, I feel great. Just, uh, became able to meet and talk to you. Yeah. It's, it's been a, it's been a long day. If I, if my audience listens to the previous two episodes in order from this one, they can probably tell that my voice is drying out because sometimes we do three recordings in a day and it's, yeah, by, by the end of this, I might be like full a Marlin Brando.

So I just remind myself to have my water. But if I'm lucky, I'll get like, um, a bubble in the back of my throat and I'll sound like Joaquin Phoenix from joker. So hope it hasn't come up yet. But if it does, I immediately run to my girlfriend and be like, I'm sorry, Marie. Do you want to hear a joke?

Jameela Ghann: [00:02:18] I hope it doesn't get to that, but I do look forward to listening to it. If it does. 

Joseph: [00:02:21] I'll I'll uh, I'll try to record it, but it is like comes in and goes really fast. So I have to strike while the iron is hot. Anyways. So first, uh, first question to get the ball rolling is for you to tell us what you do and what you're up to these days.

Jameela Ghann: [00:02:34] Yeah. So my name is Jameela and I am the marketing manager for fera.ai. We help merchants collect product reviews and display them beautifully on their store. So I do that. And then I also have a jewelry company, Alora boutique, and we help people add meaning and beauty to their lives through jewelry.

So that's mostly what I do during the day. That's how I spend my work day. 

Joseph: [00:02:59] Now that I have to say is a unique array of responsibilities because I will talk to people who are, you know, they're working on their own, on their drop shipping stores or their Shopify stores e-commerce platforms. Um, and then it's just kind of what they're doing.

And then we, you know, we also talked to people who run other agencies and other services, and that's what they're doing, but I don't I think I can recall off the top of my head talking to somebody who's kind of managing both of those. So that's something that I'm definitely keen on hearing. Um, so we'll, we'll get into kind of like the, the time management side of it.

Jameela Ghann: [00:03:30] Okay. Well actually the reason that I got the job at fera was because I was doing Alora, so I mean, I can empathize with merchants. 

Joseph: [00:03:39] Right. Yeah. And, and that helps a lot too, you know, one of the, one of the amazing things that is when I get to meet. Um, say one, one guy that sticks out was a Tyler Jefcoat. Uh, I lo I, I, that was a great episode.

I love it and recommend anybody who hasn't checked it out yet, but you can just tell how passionate he was about accounting and how passionate he was about the e-commerce space. And it was, it was really like, I don't wanna say demystifying this, it was just encouraging to see that, you know, you have, uh, people who they find what they're passionate about and they find a very specific fit for it and build a much more healthier ecosystem.

So, uh, I didn't see it coming when I got into e-commerce. I really did. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:04:16] And he's a really happy person that he loves accounting that he like loved e-commerce that's like the best life to live when you love what you do. 

Joseph: [00:04:23] Yeah. Yeah. I, I still, I still, uh, I think back to that particular episode, just to see a human being really be in their element and I'm getting a lot, a lot of the same vibes here as well.

So we can start one or two spots. We can talk about your, your, your business verse, or we can talk, we can jump into Fera, but I think we should start with your business first cause as you say, your acquisition or of that job was the result of your, of your store. So I know that your beginnings are very humble.

It was you making jewelry with your mother and I think you guys are just doing it for just kind of, really for the fun of it. So how did you even decide to really start working on this? 

Jameela Ghann: [00:05:00] Uh, so, okay. So yeah, as you know, it started as a hobby and like we had a bunch of jewelry and we would start giving it away and then people would be like, oh, can we buy your jewelry?

And we like, oh God, I cannot believe you want to give us some money. So my mom was never an entrepreneur she like works for the government. And I was still in university and we're like, oh, okay. I guess we can start selling some of this stuff. So we just kind of grew organically. We started getting markets and then people like.

We're like, oh, can we carry your stuff in our store? And like, I guess, so we had no real real plan for the business. I was taking business in school, but business in school and business in real life are like two totally different. So that's kind of how we started. And then it just organically grew. I met my partner in university and then he joined the business and we just kind of like failed our way to success. I think it's very, very interesting, but it worked. 

Joseph: [00:06:04] You know, I I've everybody that I've talked to who did business in school, if any of our more, uh, we'll say, um, analytical, um, or retentive, uh, audience members can call me out on this feel free. I will, uh, uh, he transfer you money for a slice of pizza, but pretty sure everybody who's been in a business school didn't actually get any real, tangible value out of it.

Especially compared to the actual value of running the business. So were there any like philosophies or principles, fundamentals, pillars, or even something on a more granular level, um, that stuck out to you when you were, when you were studying business? 

Jameela Ghann: [00:06:40] Um, that's a good question. So also to be fair, like I'm a little bit old.

So when we're talking about marketing in my business school, we were talking about how new Twitter was. Okay. So like I'm pretty old. 

Joseph: [00:06:55] Hold on a second. Pause here. I'm 31. I'm 31 warmer or colder. Oh, wow. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:07:03] I think it was 2009, we were talking about Twitter in my class. So it's pretty dated my education, but I did learn a lot from my professors who were in like the entrepreneurship and innovation classes that I was taking.

Then it's all about like learning and be critical and just trying to apply your knowledge to new things. So it's not like they weren't really teaching us things in those classes. They were teaching us how to think and how to adapt. So I would say that that was like the most useful thing. But some of the other things, like I never used my mouse and I have, so I don't do it, but just, you know, knowing the basics and not that you can like understand how to get other people to do them is important. I think like the foundation I'd say that. 

Joseph: [00:07:46] Yeah. And I can understand if, um, just that, that early on conditioning could potentially have come about if somebody had gone through a different program. But I think at least being in like the business ecosystem with other like-minded people, which allows the student to align themselves more into what they do afterwards, as opposed to learning the same fundamentals, but in an unrelated program, which can have its own advantages too.

But I have what I can, I can see in this case, it just makes more logical sense to be in the business ecosystem. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:08:16] Right. And that's also because I was going to like the major university in my city, but then there was another university that had just become university and they had professors that had actually ran their own businesses. And I was like, I'm transferring because it was too much theory at one at that school. And then I went to the other school and I think that was like useful because you want people who are in the ecosystem to be teaching you a few things. 

Joseph: [00:08:40] Yeah. I mean, not to say that, uh, theory isn't as relevant because it certainly is, but because, because you need to build in my, in my opinion, I think.

The theory should come first, but I can not honor them. And I, I can't, I really kind of make my mind up on it because I can also see the logic between like going for the practical application and then studying the theory to understand what it is I just did. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:08:59] Right. I think there's something to that. Cause I even will read Physics books sometimes.

And then I'll be like, oh, I do, I do you know where that theory came from? Oh, I heard, I did hear about that guy. So it is important to know like basics before you start to build on more advanced things or even to try to try. So I totally agree with you there, but there's something to be said about just throwing yourself into it and learning as you go, if you have the opportunity and the flexibility to fail.

So I think that it depends on where you are in your life. 

Joseph: [00:09:33] That checks out too. If people need to get their foundation set in their own, in their own life. Uh, although I will, I will say so one of my, one of my friends, see, I've worked for him a couple of times, um, in the, in the wash industry. And he ended up being one of the co-founders for one of the food delivery platforms.

Cause there was a big boom for the food delivery. And I remember him telling me that like he was in his apartment and the power just went out and it was freezing. And he's just like, what could I do? What can I do right about now I could kill myself. Yeah. Yeah. Why don't I just, I just do that. And at that low, at that low point, that was when the inspiration to work on that business had had taken fold. And so there is also some logic to like, you know, if things are dire that could lead to, uh, inspiration in a way where of like the more comfort somebody might find themselves in the less of a drive, there is. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:10:22] Right. That's fair. That's fair. And I think also kind of the beauty and like everybody's separate journey.

There are so many things that like drive people to do great things, but it's, it's kind of beautiful to uncover people's people's stories and their journeys. So I'm glad that you shared that with me. 

And I guess listeners for too. 

Joseph: [00:10:41] First time I told that story, uh, I haven't brought them on the show yet, but technically he would qualify as a guest because of his experience.

Anyways. So getting back to your, your, your story development, um, I, I wanted, or. Yeah, well, the store shop a jewelry business development, and I want to take the, take an opportunity to just address how you were able to have the product available in different stores. And maybe some of the logistics involved in that.

Now, when you say stores have reached out to, I know that it had of having read it, there was about 80, 80 different stores. Now for my, for my perspective, would it happen to be a mixture of like, More like a lot of local shops say smaller, um, uh, family owned ones, um, have any like larger retail chains or even ended up in one of the more, um, luxury malls.

Like what's been the, this, the, the spread for where the product has actually penetrated into the market. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:11:34] When we were starting, it was definitely more local. So I would say like the majority are local and then in Canada. So when we, when we started, we had opened up this like retail store and then they were going to demolish the building and they were like, oh, what should we do?

So then we started doing trade shows. So we got, we got people from across. Like in our region from trade shows. And then we were like, oh, it looks like people actually are willing to wholesale. So then we took road trip with our, then I think she was like nine month old all the way across Canada. And then we started like selling door to board with stores.

And that was my partner's job. He was like, really good at that. And then we're like, oh, we're doing really well in Canada. So then we decided that we would go to the states. So we went to the states and then we wanted to get into an showroom. So we signed up with like a showroom and then we did have the opportunity to go into nordstrom, but we personally felt like it wasn't going to be good for our business because we just didn't have the logistics in place.

We didn't have all like, we didn't have all the things that you need in order to be in those retail stores. And it just, we thought at the time that it wasn't going to be good for our business. So we decided to take a step back and we mostly focus on stores that we're doing between like 700,000 and $2 million a year that were more independently owned.

So that's kind of where we decided are, who want to support like local businesses. So that's kind of where our spread is.

Joseph: [00:13:10] I have to admit it's impressive to hear the, between 500,000 to $2 million in sales for a year. I, myself, I don't really, I never really had like a good grip on just what kind of revenue that a smaller businesses I could pull in.

So that's, that's actually impressive. I got to say. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:13:26] They do really well when they're in like the trendier area, like any, and they ha they have like a really good niche. They do really well. 

Joseph: [00:13:34] So when you say the, the logistics weren't, uh, weren't there for, um, being sold into Nordstrom. I mean, when I hear logistics, I think like shipping packaging, um, just from a meeting demand.

So was it a matter of, because I know it's, it's all like, it's all handmade. Is it still handmade to this day? 

Jameela Ghann: [00:13:50] So my mom will make the bracelets, but now, so I can go through the backstory, but now we do, my mum will make the bracelets and we'll make some of the necklaces. And then we do drop shipping from the states or other suppliers in Canada.

Because we wrapped. So first of all, we ran into some issues with our suppliers because we do a lot of recycled brass and like our recycled brass supplier was not reliable. It was okay when we were just like doing it for ourselves, but then when you want to start scaling, you're like, I cannot deal with like the supply issue is just going to ruin our business because wholesalers will make an order and they expect to get it within a certain delivery time and then you have to make it, and then we have to wait for our supplier.

So the lead time was so long and I'm like, this is bullshit.

So there's that issue. And then there was also like, you know, the bar coding, we had different skews. So like every different pair of earrings with a different recycle, uh, brass component would have to have like a different skew and we needed barcodes for that and all that other kind of stuff. So most of our issues came from our supply chain.

So now we only do gemstone bracelets handmade because they're easy for us to make the supply chain is like super solid and my mom really likes making them. And then also, like I found that it wasn't even worth my time to me if I was like, I was like, I could be making so much more money and like doing more things like working on the business instead of getting it.

So we do have, like, we had two part-time employees and we still have one who will make custom orders, but it's just honestly, at a certain point, it was about, do we want the headache? And like, what do we want this business to bring into our lives? 

Joseph: [00:15:34] Yeah, I hear the term boutique. What I imagine from a cost benefit analysis perspective is boutique is a way of saying that we as a business, choose to, uh, limit quantity in the interest of maximizing quality. And so it creates more of a demand, um, that there's always going to be more demand than there is going to be supply. So that's kind of like how I, how I, how I viewed boutique. But then I looked at the prices online and the prices are actually quite reasonable.

So it's not like you're, you're selling these things for the $200, $300 is what they, $39, $49. And so I guess in, in, in your view, like when you, uh, refer to it as, as boutique, what is the definition of it? Like, what is it exactly quantifies it as a particular? Is it just because it sells jewelry? Because if so, I got to talk to Eby games and be like, they're called  boutique, but they sell video games.

So I'm just, I don't know. I don't know what the, uh, what does a boutique even. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:16:29] To be fair a lot of. Alora boutique when we had our store downtown in Calgary, we didn't only sell jewelry. We sold a lot of different things. Like we saw, um, dresses, we sold cosmetics, we sold, like, it was like a store. It was like a lifestyle.

So that's kind of where we started. And then the reason that we moved to jewelry, again, these were like a bunch of learning experiences because we used to sell like baskets and then the shipping cost was so high and we were like, We're not, it's really easy to make. It's really easy to share from store. And then that's kind of why we moved into jewelry, started to niche down. So we boutique started because we were selling a lot of product. 

Joseph: [00:17:16] Okay. Okay. I get that. I just, I don't talk about that word too often. So, so you, you did mention, um, you touched on it for a second there.

That part of, uh, the backstory was like how, how your mother was, was working on it. Was there something there that you wanted to expand on for us? Or would you say that was the full scope of the story? 

Jameela Ghann: [00:17:32] Oh, well, the other part was okay. So my partner who's also my kid's dad. He was like you know, I think I'm going to move to San Francisco and start a tech company.

And I was like, okay, that sounds good. He like, his brother had passed away from heart disease. So we wanted to start a company to kind of like prevent other people from suffering that same law. But like, this is a good idea. You should go down. And he got accepted into Y Combinator, which is like, I think a pretty big deal.

So like, okay, that sounds like a plan. And he was the sales guy and he didn't like all the wholesale. And for me, I do not want to deal with accounts receivable. I don't want to follow up with people. I don't want to sell anybody anything. So I was like, okay, we're taking the business online. So that's why we do also drop shipping too.

So that's, that's kind of another reason why we have the handmaids that that's just from my mom and then the drop shipping stuff, because we were forced to change the business model because I don't want to do sales staff. And I don't want to manage people either because I've managed people before and I don't like it.

Joseph: [00:18:39] Yeah. It can, it can feel a bit, a lot to like give people orders or to delegate and stuff like that. I admit I'm, Multim, I'm the multimedia manager at a, at our company and it's taking some getting used to, to, to like, to delegate tasks out. And it really just comes from the fact that there's so much to do.

And, and I just can't and I just do not have the time or energy or wherewithal to do all of it. So, you know, some of it just has to go to the producer who by the way, thank you, Micah. You're doing amazing. Keep it up. 

The next part of this is actually actually I was about to ask you how, uh, this thing connected to your work with fera, and then we'll get into that. And we get into the review side of it, which is something that we really want to sink our teeth into. But I want to have a, one of the thing first, which was getting a drop shipping supplier in the states.

So I think you had a lot of, um, a lot of leverage going in. So I imagine it was above average in terms of the ease of getting somebody willing to work. There was already a store. Uh, there was already product, there was a proven business model there. Um, so I would like to hear about. You know how you found suppliers in the states and you know, what, uh, what it took to kind of get them to work with you?

Jameela Ghann: [00:19:52] No, I cannot take any credit for the US dropshippers, I got them all on modalist thanks modalyst. That's a plug for them. They're useful. And then like also, I will find people through craft markets who want just in Calgary who want to, um, drop ship it to so. Modalyst and then just personal local connections.

Joseph: [00:20:19] Okay. I should, uh, I haven't heard of that one before. So M O D A L I S T? L Y S T. Of course. Yeah. Okay. No worries. So, uh, we're, we're at the point now, so you are, um, it was, you were contacted by fera.ai to, uh, to want to work with them. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:20:38] No. So what happened was when my partner moved to San Francisco, I work I'm in Toronto, Canada.

So I don't know if he know how expensive San Francisco, 

Joseph: [00:20:52] I hear stories, um, of just how, you know, developers. Some of them ended up living in a house with like three, four or five other people just because it's so expensive to live down. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:21:03] That's exactly what he's doing. And then he asked me like, oh, I read the room.

And it's like, it was like, as much as our housing expenses for like, we have like a three bedroom house and I'm like, I cannot believe that.

Oh, like do some consulting work. So I started, I applied for some consultant jobs and then I started consulting for fera and then they were like, oh, we like you, would you like a full-time job? And I was like, yeah. Okay. Sounds good. So that's kind of where that started. So I saw, I was like, oh, I'm super qualified for this.

Cause they specifically said that they wanted people who can empathize with other merchants or. So that's a, that's kind of how it happened. 

Joseph: [00:21:51] Right. Yeah. I can empathize with myself. No problem. Yeah. Sorry, just one thing I'm wondering, is your partner still, uh, still there to this day or did he, uh. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:22:01] Yeah, he's still in town. So he's, uh, he's still working on, he got some funding and he's like still working on, on making the product better for his users and onboarding. You want all that kind of stuff that you do with.

I started out saying he is still there. 

Joseph: [00:22:17] Okay. Right on. Well, you know, I, I w I wouldn't mind, maybe at some point down the line, not today, although that would be hilarious. We just call them. But like, no. So we can, we can bring him on to as well to talk about his product and we'll have you, have you present to it just cause your, your presence alone, I think is, uh, is worthy of.

Uh, the admission. So there's that. So tell me, uh, tell us about fera.ai. And one thing I just want to keep in mind for our listeners is that a lot of our audience, I think at the very least, like they've heard of other apps, maybe even tried them out and you have judged me. We have loox, we have other ones.

I can now have a thought in my head. Um, so coming into us, what was, um, fera's I guess, Uh, presuppositional strategy to, um, what, what problems in the market where they find in going unsolved, even with the other apps already on the market. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:23:06] So I would say at least from my perspective as a merchant, I think that the other people, they have good solutions and obviously they're doing very well, but from my personal perspective, biggest differentiator between us and the otherwise is that the reviews are first of all, easy to get and they look good.

So for example, on my store, like I tried some of the other app and I was like, this is ugly. I don't want this because I'm more focused on like the aesthetic, right. I'm selling and the dream. And like, I don't want grids on my store. I don't think so. That's one of our biggest differentiators that you can like display reviews, beautifully.

And then of course we feature maps with everything else. Like you can request reviews really easily. We get a lot of content submissions from merchants customers. Um, we also have really great support. So like, if you look at our Shopify reviews, you'll see, we have 4.9 stars. And we have like over 3000 reviews and a lot of them will mention our customer service cause it's fricking awesome.

So then, you know, we have like the free plan that we do to onboard users so they can test out our product and see for themselves. But like, I would say that the thing that separates us again, the most, the better reviews are beautiful. Our UI is right. We've had great designers, we have awesome engineers.

So like, things are easy to use, especially for like people who are just starting stores and they're not technical. It's just easy to install. You click it, you install it, you throw up your review widget and call it a day. So that's pretty awesome from merchant perspective. 

Joseph: [00:24:41] So one thing that I, that I, that I hear about it, rum in regards to, uh, it visually is that I, I suspect a different niches would appreciate that to varying degrees.

So in fashion, uh, in jewelry, uh, men in a lot of, uh, areas where aesthetics are key because it's, it's an aesthetic based industry. Um, uh, it's a fera would be a slam dunk. Um, so I, this might be something that you can actually unearth based on what differentiation of your, of the users. So for instance, if it's like a lot of people in say, like the jewelry niche using it, that might be a scientist to like what niches are taken to it, which ones aren't taken to it.

So. Um, there's, there's, there's a few questions in there. One of them is like, have you seen, for instance, different, um, niches, disproportionately, uh, use it some, use it a lot, some not so much, um, have, has the business itself considered that it might appeal more to certain niches because it. Uh, because it values, um, uh, aesthetics.

Jameela Ghann: [00:25:39] It's a really good question. And what I can say is that before, so we used to be focused just on like social proof, and we did have a lot of like just drop shipping stores using our products. And then I looked at our analytics from last year to this year and we used to have like 68% males using our product.

And now it's like almost, it's like a pretty even split, which is like normal considering the demographic, but like the shift. And the shift from male to even female split is pretty remarkable. And the other thing is like, when I do audit it audits for am stores, it is a lot of like lifestyle based stores.

But on the other hand, the reason we have a lot of stores that do things like, like people who sell like guns and like industrial products and like have really, um, high revenue stores because the other nice thing about fera is that. We have a lot of customization and like developers can really get in and use our platform to do anything that they want.

So like on the one hand with our new reviews being beautiful, we do have a lot more lifestyle stores, but on the other hand, we have a lot of like high revenue stores that are like very, that have a big development team that use our platform to do a lot of customization. So we kind of have. But now we have like two separate, separate types of customers. People who love our  product because it's easy to customize and people who love our product because it's beautiful. 

Joseph: [00:27:08] Just, um, touching very briefly on, on, on the guns for a second.

There is that although guns are. I mean, it's a functional thing. Gun culture appreciates the aesthetics of them too. Like we're into guns. Like they, they, they, they can have an attractive appeal. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:27:22] That's true. That's true. Their Instagram pages. Cause I'm like, I'll be honest. I'll be like Canada like gun culture is not a thing.

Joseph: [00:27:35] Yeah. If you're a part of it, if you want to get involved in a gang, I believe even gangs were run back on checks on you. Like you have to go get, get to photo shoot. You have to have three referrals, Vicky. Yeah. Yeah. He's a, he's a straight shooter.

Jameela Ghann: [00:27:51] But everybody wants to have a beautiful aesthetically pleasing store because customers expect. Nobody wants like a gross HTML looking store to shop on because it doesn't build trust. When your store looks good, it's just automatically more trustworthy. So I think for any niche it's useful to have beautiful looking product reviews.

Joseph: [00:28:11] Yeah. I, I, and I think that's true pretty much across every, every niche and even for the creator, too, right. To be able to look at their own store because of what we do is an extension of who we are. So whether it's putting a books on a shelf, the books we put up are, are a reflection of the self. So when we create a store, the store is a reflection of the self, right?

And we. If, if, if somebody makes something and they don't care how it looks and it's messy and there's like, HTMO code like bleeding off the sides. That's not a good reflection of the person, even if their product happens to be pretty good. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:28:44] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It's yeah, it's very true. It's easier. Easier to sell like cheap products on a beautiful store than it is to sell a nice product. I think I only might've asked it. 

Joseph: [00:29:01] You, you, you, you summarize it pretty well. If I, if it comes back to me, um, it was fate and if not, it was also fate. Now when one of the things that, um, I had seen and you'll have to forgive me, I can't remember. This is something that you put in when you filled out the form for this, or if this was something I found on my own, but it was the idea of like trust signals.

Now I probably have heard that term by now, but I can't recall hearing it. So, um, what exactly is a trust signal and you know, how, how does a website, um, I mean, does a website use him? Is it the user thing? I, I really, I don't know what this, what this word means, so. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:29:38] Yeah. I'm glad you asked. Okay. I'm so glad.

Yeah. Don't even have to, with, there are so many things that don't even have to deal with, like product reviews that aren't completed in trust. So like the one thing that we just talked about is design. Right. Um, the other thing is, do you have an about us page? Do you have contact information? If I go to your site, can I trust you that like I buy your thing and like you're legitimate instead of some webpage on the internet, other things, normal things like spelling and grammar.

Like if you have a bunch of grammatical mistakes, can I trust you? Are you like legitimate? Other things are like those, the checkout, um, buttons, the ones that just show all the payments that you can make. And then obviously there's social proof, like product reviews. How many people have purchased something in the past.

Um, those are the main things that are trust signals. So like the more trust signals you have, the easier it is for somebody to be like, oh, I think I can give this person my money. And it's never like, people aren't like looking for these things. They're not like, they're not like, oh, do they have this check, check, check?

They'll go through your site and they'll be like, oh, this is kind of weird. Oh, they don't have this. Oh, this. And then they're like, so both are like really important things that you have to pay attention to when you have a website, otherwise people just aren't gonna buy from you. 

Joseph: [00:31:00] Yeah. And, and, and I think the same is true as well. Even just going to a mall in person and just identifying, which are the stores where like, you know, I, uh, my heart goes out to anybody who's struggling in their business, but you have people who are like standing outside and they're like, They're just like nervously rubbing their hands together.

Cause it really need people to come in their store and they didn't really think too carefully about location because they're competing with like six other stores.

Jameela Ghann: [00:31:29] It's true. It's true. You're right. You're right. I totally agree. I totally agree. Yeah. I don't know what kind of like, you know, those tier, I don't know what they call them, but like class or something and they have like, Yeah. And I think, and like, you'll see these stories with all they have are just like tables with stacks of like clothes on them.

And like, they don't have any decor and they have really bad lighting and it's like dark and you're like, weird. Like I'm not going to embarrass a little things like that. 

Joseph: [00:32:02] Yeah. Or like, uh, I guess, uh, here, here in Toronto, we do have a mall that I don't know if it counts as class B, it might be considered as class a depending on, I don't know your, your, your perspective.

It's, it's interesting. I never really thought about that before, but like here where I live in specific, we have a AAA mall nearby, which is Yorkdale mall. It's it's, we're known. And then, but we also have some other models. I don't want to call them out by name. Cause that's not nice, but like, there are some ones that.

Uh, uh, raise a lot of eyebrows. Some of them are so abysmal, it's actually fun to visit just because you see like floor tiles from the 1970s and there's, and there's businesses that are still, that this has been an operation the entire time. Like, like you're just like this 80 year old. Um, I dunno, like Lebanese woman, she just comes into a lemonade stand every day and just makes lemonade.

And she's been doing fine all this time. Like it is, I, I would love to check out like the class D or the class E malls because they are so like out of sync with the reality that it actually is like stepping back into like 1970s. Like, it just is, it's like a nostalgic trip. Yeah. They, they got to Zellers and they actually have the breakfast, the, the restaurant and the Zellers is still open.

Jameela Ghann: [00:33:13] Okay. That's awesome. I feel like that's worth it. That was so good. Do they only take cash? I like the points with that.

Joseph: [00:33:20] Uh, I mean, I just, just, you know, I'm hypothesizing, but I think there is one still around. Um, I, I, I it's been a while since I looked into it, but so I don't want, I don't want to mislead you and make you think that this is still in existence, but I will say that if there, if it is still around, they probably take credit cards.

You'll fashion way, where they have like the swipe machine and they go shook. Yeah. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:33:40] I, I can't, if I ever come to Toronto after everything is not the way it is and I'm going to search for that place, I'll meet you. 

Joseph: [00:33:48] I, I I'll, I'll look at it online. Cause I remember seeing, um, a blog post about like the most depressing malls in Toronto that you must visit.

So I'll, I'll say this to around. I F for some reason, I'm thinking that of all the malls. These ones are going to survive COVID for some reason. Cause all the people, the insight, I've no idea it's even happening. Oh gosh.

Look at those kids. And w what do they got there? Tom? I got cheese.

Jameela Ghann: [00:34:18] I know this is all off topic, like mid last year. Cause I'm like, I want my kids to play neopets. And it was still like the nice. Well, not the HTML, like old school say that I remember playing when I was like 11 and then I went back the other day and they have you updated characters and vibing with it, like hurts me. That is. It's updated.

It's it kind of feels like a betrayal of my heart. 

Joseph: [00:34:45] Would it bother you if I, cause I've never done this before, but another on video would have both of you by screenshots for a second and just pulled up neopets real quick. Okay. We're we're we're we're video show now. So I'm going to take advantage of this. By the, by the way, by the way, like what have I, what any distractions early one of our strategies is, you know, we eventually want me to be like the Joe Rogan of the e-commerce podcast.

And so I have to do this. Okay, so you can see my screen. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:35:15] Yes, I can see. Yeah. 

Joseph: [00:35:16] So this is the Neo pets. So just, just to our audience understands, you know, every, every episode of Ecomonics, we like to mix things up. We want to reward people for listening episode after episode makes things fun. So I, I was not into Neopets.

I was not in Neo pet, uh, fan at the time, but I see where you're coming from. It has a new, like Nickelodeon. Teenage angst appealed to it. Like those fairies. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:35:40] I'm not loving me, man. I'm not loving that. Can you Google what the Neo pet website used to live away? Because it was only in the last like eight months that they've updated this.

There has to be like a cat.

Uh, best thing I can do is just try to find the images. Yeah. Oh no, I lost it. See, I'm so impatient. My friends had, we said, Neo pets, pets makes you addicted to the internet. That was like our jingle.

Joseph: [00:36:14] Yeah, this is so much more wholesome. It's like, and you know what reminds me of reminds me of those educational games that you would play, where you go like a Sammy science house and Millie's math house. And like you'll learn and have fun at the same time.

Jameela Ghann: [00:36:30] That's what I walked from the okay. Right. It's just unacceptable. 

Joseph: [00:36:37] I, I get it. Cause it's not just about like, you know, um, uh, going to war with the flow of time or anything like that. It's also just about what kind of tone that it creates to the, uh, to the, to the, uh, to the fan and what. And by doing so who had attracts now?

I think Neopets classic is still around. So it looks like you still have like a classic take on it. Yeah, that's what I want to see. That was fun. By the way. Can you pets fight each other? Or is, it just looks like a conscientious objector version of Pokemon. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:37:10] I play other players on certain, um, games, but like basically you just keep your neopet alive and like buy stuff for your it's like an upgrade.

Joseph: [00:37:21] All right. I have no idea how we got to that point, but that was fun.

By the way, if you're a current user of Debutify or haven't tried us out yet, Debutify version three has been released and now is a good time to upgrade or get started as any. A streamlined user interface along with an ever increasing array of conversion boosting ad-ons is waiting. So download today for free and start your journey. Who knows? Maybe I'll be interviewing you before too long.

All right. So we're, we're gonna get back on track here. Uh, that was a blast. So, and by the way, guys precursor for what's going to happen down the line. Cause remember my orders were to like, try not be like the Joe Rogan show. So we do think it's gonna happen people we ended up doing like three hour long episodes.

That stuff is gonna happen. All right. For shadowing over. So there was another term that I was curious about. Um, it was called a customer journey mapping. So I know what a customer journey is, but I don't know. Like, oh, is it trying to understand the journey, the customer going through the funnel? Is it, uh, uh, understanding?

Well, what point in their life that they're at in order for them to be a customer of the store? So that's my guess on it, but I'd love to hear what customer journey mapping really is. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:38:33] Okay. So in the context of like in general customer journey mapping is basically when you say, okay, this person, this is my ideal target market, and this is their flow going towards.

When you want, which is to buy, but it doesn't stop at purchase. It's also like what happens post-purchase so like basically all the touch points that your customer has with your brand is the customer journey. But at fera, we only focused on what happens on your website. So we'll show you things like where customers click, what kind of, um, widget they interacted with with fera.

And we'll give you an overview as to the likelihood for other people to buy based on what your past customers have done. So basically what you can do is you can go in, you can say, okay, let me look through the customer journeys for people who have bought, let me see what the kind of flow that they went through.

And then, um, and then you see that they check out and then you can compare that to people who didn't buy. They can be like, okay, this is what I know, like normal people do. This is where people are falling off. So you can say, oh, they exited from this page or they click on this and then they left and then you can go to that place and be like, oh, that's because, um, you know, something's broken or my pictures are ugly or this doesn't happen like that.

But for me personally, what the customer journey for him was, I noticed that the majority of my people were checking on my page. That was like, oh, people are really interested in this, about us page. Like how we make it better. How can we make it more about like who we are kind of our journey, what kind of problem we solve for people?

So then I improve my about us page just by looking at the customer journey. They're like a bunch of other tools that you can use in tandem with there. And if he can use heatmaps so like lucky orange or like Hotjar or anything like that. Which are super useful for mapping your customer journey on your website, but just having kind of a visual on what people are doing on your site is like really useful for improving your site experience and improving your conversion.

Joseph: [00:40:34] I don't know if, um, if we can go so far as to like, can you tell, say based on IP address or anything like that, like whom it actually was like, if you want it to be so specific to actually figure out, like, what does this person, cause if you know who it is that can dictate a lot about their behavior at that point.

Jameela Ghann: [00:40:53] So you can't tell like specifically who this person is, unless they were already customer on your site. And like you have that information, but we're not like out there, like Google.

But you can tell like what device they're on, what country they're coming from their city, um, the type of browser that they're using. So you can have that type of information, but you can't like, you can't know exactly who they are, but like, if you have enough data, it gives you a good picture. Of the type of people who are using your site or the cities that they come from, or like the country that you have to focus on.

Right. So, but we're not going to wait. We're not going to, even if we didn't know exactly who it was, we would tell you exactly. 

Joseph: [00:41:38] Yeah. I, I probably went, uh, uh, uh, too, too specific with that question, it was more about just like how much ability gives you to infer the behavior, because like somebody might get to the about us page.

But without knowing anything else about them, there's like a hundred different reasons why they might leave. They might. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:41:55] That's true. And that's why you have to, you would have to use the customer during that we provide with like something else. Right. And you have to, you have to put together a bunch of different pieces.

In order to understand, um, why this person did that. So for example, you can say, okay, this person came in through search, or this person came in through Facebook. And then if you start to see a pattern, you're like, oh, most of these people are coming through ads. Maybe I'm not targeting and they're leaving after this page.

Maybe I'm not targeting the right person, but like, you have to be in a space where you're willing to like put all the data pieces together and then come up with like an inference. And then you test. Right. Cause like you might be wrong, but then you can use like AB testing and you can say, okay, I'm going to change this.

And then does it improve customer retention or does it improve? Uh, does it decrease the bounce rate? And then you see what the, what the final outcome is, and then you just move from there. That's like, that's what life is. You just are like, let me try this. If it works, I do it. And if it doesn't work, I'll just find something to do the same on your side.

Joseph: [00:43:00] Uh, I, I, to be fair, I, it's not like I've interviewed somebody from loox or interviewed somebody from judge.me or at least not yet, but one thing I, I guess I didn't really realize is that, um, ma the, the limitations of the different software might be all they do is just the reviews. Whereas what you're really going for here is a way to also cover some other bases and, and help the, uh, almost like almost what you're doing is like the reviews are a success metric and there's a work that has to be involved both with the store, um, with the seller to make people happy and make a month to actually provide the review. So you use those reviews are a way of indicating how well things are going, which is, you know, the reviews are always like that too, but oh, wrap this with another.

Question now this one, I don't want to call out another one of the apps by name, but there is such a thing as like going on to AliExpress and importing reviews, put them onto the website. Me. I have done that because, you know, I just, if I, if I have an advantage to take, I will take it and I, you end up hearing through like, which ones are in Russia and which ones are in English, but which ones are like in good English and me, you know, I don't run a personal, I was like, well, that would rather have like, you know, Reviews written, uh, organically, but we'll get to that point.

So all of that aside, I'm sorry if this is like a, kind of a dumb question, but is there import reviewing or review importing? 

Jameela Ghann: [00:44:24] So you can import reviews from your other platforms. So if you're already on another review platform, you can easily import them. You can re import reviews from CSV. However, the difference is that if your reviews are not verified, we will not say that they're verified on the platform. So he only put verified by thera reviewed that we verify our by real people in real purchases from your store. So you can, you can import whatever he wants your story. You can put whatever you want on your star, but if you want to have, again, those trusting those, then the ones that are verified bank, there are going to be a lot more powerful than the ones that are just like.

They're just up there, right? Because like anybody can put reviews on their store. Anybody can like put social proof on their store. So that's why we want to make sure that we're doing right by the end user and our merchants who do get reviews organically by saying these are verified. It's just like on, on Amazon.

So, I mean, yeah. There's nothing stopping you from putting whatever.

Joseph: [00:45:30] Yeah. All right. So that's, that's, that's, that's a good way we have, uh, uh, finding the balance between letting people, but also like saying, hey, hold on a second. We didn't, we didn't say is that we just, you know, okay. I get it. How did I manage to drop the next one? Okay. So anyway, so let's rewind for a second here and also, uh, just talk about some of the struggles for businesses who let's just say, you know, they're not importing reviews and not paying something on Fiverr to write a review.

Um, those that first. Uh, acquisition of trust is really difficult. Um, so, uh, far be it from any one person to know the secret to it, but I'm asking you because you've seen a lot of activity from other merchants. So have you seen, uh, what people have been able to do to start getting some of those initial sales, even if their websites don't have that level of social proof.

Um, and then, you know, you can also expand on it by also talking about like some of the different methods to then get the social proof from the, from the user. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:46:30] So some of the ways that you can add social proof that aren't particularly reviews is you can use social proof pop-ups that talk about kind of the traffic that you've had to your store, right?

So maybe you don't have a lot of sales, but you have like a lot of people who have come to your store, maybe they've added something to their cart. You can definitely say like, so-and-so from Texas, just added this to their cart. Or like, so-and-so just viewed this product. Or they're like 10 people viewing this product.

That's, you know, Um, authentic social proof that shows that like you are an active stores with something that you can add, which like you can do through fera. And then the other things that you can do if you like, are like, okay, you know, like I've had some sales, nobody's sent in their review when you're just starting and there's nothing wrong with reaching out to people and be like, Hey, I like you bought this.

Could you leave me a review? Like most of the time, if you ask somebody and they'll be like, gosh, you're right. So asking your first initial customers for reviews is another way to do things. And then what you could also do is you can send products to people and you could say, Hey, I just launched my store.

Like people who, you know, are, are like, you're solving a problem for them. And they would want this product. You can look at your friends and family. You can say, Hey, I have this product. Um, if you like it, please leave me a review. Like people are willing to help other people out. So like, it's just, are you willing to ask, are you willing to do the work?

So like for the initial part, and then if you have like a few sales, let's say you're, I don't know. You have like 50 sales in Microsoft thing with fera you can setup an ongoing campaign and you can perpetually ask people for reviews. And it's like a super simple process. Um, or you can ask your past customers through fera too, but if you are new, I would recommend sending a personal email with a link directly to the product.

That's what I would recommend. You can set up a one-time campaign if you want, but it's better if it's like personal in the beginning and then you won't have time for that. Once your business grows. But yeah. 

Joseph: [00:48:33] As it should be, it has, it should be automated. Yeah. Okay. A couple of, couple of other things I wanted to know about the, uh, about the software.

Um, so this one I saw from the company description, pretty sure from Twitter, it might've been from the website directly. In fact, now that I said it out loud, I'm pretty sure it was the website directly, uh, which is urgency optimization. I mean, I know what optimization is and urgency is. But what I'm not clear on is how this is something that's actionable and really what the, how, what the term means altogether in this context.

Jameela Ghann: [00:49:02] So going back to kind of fair is a lot different than other review platforms in that we do have a lot of functionality. So one of them is, um, urgency optimization, which you just talked about, which is like things like, um, checkout timers. Saying like your cart will expire in 10 minutes. Um, having free shipping bars, um, having product countdown, timers, those kinds of things.

Um, and then the way that we optimize it is that in fera the reason that they're so awesome honestly, is because you can set up so many different conditions and triggers. So you can be like only show this if this person has a cart total over a hundred dollars. Only do this. If the person is in this area., only do this if like this person has this particular item in their cart. So like you can optimize based on like we were talking about before your customer journey. If you know, people who like have four items in their cart are more likely to buy. If you show them a certain message, then you optimize. So that's why.

You can, you can, honestly, you can do so much. You can do so much. And like, that's like Melbourne lover because you can do anything you want in our platform. So that's all we mean by that. 

Joseph: [00:50:12] Well, I, I gotta say, like, I keep in mind. I, uh, I interview for the last few months, it's been like four people per week.

So I had the luxury getting in a lot of like incoming information. It's a lot to absorb, but I will say that I'm gonna try this, this software out for myself too. I got my store. I've got so I, I, and that was kind of the fun thing for me is that like, I do get to kind of like pick and choose, um, uh, who I, uh, I want to support, not that I have, like that much weight, you know, I do host this podcast, but I only thought you might.

Yeah, I got the podcast clout, but weight, that I, that I value is like, you know, sales and tangible sales and now all that stuff. So we'll, we'll, we'll get there, but yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm keen on trying it out too. So like, With the free version. I is a, is it like a, a limited day trial or a, what would, what would be the, the ideal time to then move on to, um, the, uh, the premium plans. 

Right?

Jameela Ghann: [00:51:08] So then with the free trial been limitation on the free trial, if that you can only add one widget. So if you are like, just starting out, you might want to just do like a social group feed or a social group pop-up and then as you start making sales, you can upgrade if you want to. So there's no limitation on time of the free plan.

You can do four, you can do 14 day trials on the pay plan if you want, but like you can use the free plan forever. So it's 14 days on the paid plan, but then, uh, we have like a few, like if you wanted to upgrade, if you want to talk to me, you can let me know. I can give you a year. So let me know. Um, but yeah, there's no limitation except for the one widget on the free plan, but then the number of review requests that you can get.

So typically, like if you're on the $9 a month plan, you can get a certain amount of like reviews, submissions, but most people aren't making. They don't have more than like a hundred or 200 sales a month, like on that tier. So that's kind of the limitations for review content submission, but nobody ever goes past yeah.

Joseph: [00:52:16] And $9. Isn't isn't that much either. It's. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:52:19] Exactly. Yeah, it's not, I could spend like nine, I could spend a lot more than $9.

It's fine. 

Joseph: [00:52:29] Well, I, I sympathize, there's a Starbucks near a little too near where I live walking distance. Um, okay. I have one more, uh, fair related question, which is, this is one that I pulled from the Twitter, which is about the negative social proof. I can, I can, uh, I can only guess what negative social proof might be.

So, uh, let us know, you know, what do you, what is your company characterize it as, and then what are some methods that, uh, you've devised to address and hopefully turn it into a positive. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:53:00] So negative social proof is any kind of behavior that people do that you don't want them to do. So I'll be like a real world example first.

So like, um, Texas, they tried to implement this campaign. So people didn't litter and it was, they had a sign. I was like, oh, like don't litter 7 million people didn't let her or something like that. But that increased the amount of litter that was happening because they like. Because it was like a negative behavior that they showed people and they're like, oh, well, I guess it's like, all these other people are doing it, then I can do it too.

Right. So that's negative social thing. You don't want that on your site because you don't want people to take actions that you don't want. So one example of that is like, when you have on your store, like there are no reviews on this, on this product. I was like, oh, there are a number of views. Like isn't even like, why, why should I buy this?

This is weird. So with fera, you can either show reviews from similar products. Or you can hide zero reviews when there aren't. So that's one way to avoid negative social proof or like the other thing is with, um, the people watching. So like we have these, this widget that's like, Shopper. Men's where you can show how many people are watching or how many people add it to cart.

You can set like a limit. So you can say, instead of being like one person that's being invested is like, oh, ill, only one person is doing this product. You can say like only show if more than five people are viewing it to make, to make it show that people are actually with mega products and we help you avoid negative social group in those contacts. 

Joseph: [00:54:37] Would it be possible to say set the, uh, time parameter?

So if like this many people looked at it within the span of an hour or within the span of a day. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:54:47] Yeah, you can do that too. Be like, you want to do, you can do it, except for the fact that we have a limit on the look back period. So you can't see like, look back a year. Like that's, we're not because that's not relevant data for your shopper.

Right? So we have a limit on the amount of time that you can look back, but you can say an hour, or you can say day, you can say a couple of weeks. So like, if you're a new store and you don't have a lot of traffic, you can say like, look back two weeks. Right. Because it's like, If you're new, that's still pretty recent data, but like, you're not going to be able to say, look back six months.

Like we don't allow that. 

Joseph: [00:55:20] Okay. Yeah. That's, that's, that's quite a while. And so that cool. Well, um, we're, we're pretty much close to the, the hour point. Uh, I gotta say this, this has just been an app, like a lot of fun. One of the things I did want to ask you, like. You know about, um, some of the speaking arrangements that you had done, um, because I just wasn't sure like, you know, w how, how you got involved in them and why people have reached out to you.

And then I met you and I'm like, okay, now I understand it might even get her to do speaking arrangements. It makes perfect sense. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:55:51] I appreciate that. 

Joseph: [00:55:53] I'm, I'm happy to do that. And also, um, I may, at one point having multitasking while we were talking, and I found the mall that I was picturing in my mind, So I'm going to share screen.

Uh, I want you to see this called, is it it's only being used now to film stranger things. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:56:12] Um, okay. That tile is like a tile at the dairy queen and like in the neighborhood over for me, which is like, so ghetto was the same when I was like 10. I love it. 

Joseph: [00:56:29] Yeah. There was another shelter. This is all I can find because I don't have my own personal Jamie, at least not yet. Uh, and yeah, it's just like, just, just as the signage takes me back to a simpler time, you know, back then, like you can go to a fair and just like, there were, there are games you can play where you just shoot things.

And it's just like, I, I would, I would love to, I really, I truly, truly would love to visit a mall like this, but it is. So we're closed. Yeah. Like it's, it's probably like a health risk to have it open at this point, but yeah. Yeah, whole, whole, whole, whole impacted a whole generation, you know, really reflected well on the music. 

All right. So that, uh, is all we're going to do today. Um, Jameela, it's been a blast and, uh, we'd be happy to have you back what I said earlier, you know, uh, bring your partner on, uh, have a, uh, that would, that would be a lot of fun.

Um, and the door is open. So whatever you have in mind, if you want to come back in a couple of quarters and just let us know how things are going with the business as well, whatever the case is, I would be more than happy to, to continue on with this conversation. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:57:36] This was good. I'm going to find you on LinkedIn. Oh, I guess I should plug myself. 

Joseph: [00:57:42] Was going to make sure you did that. No worries. 

Jameela Ghann: [00:57:46] If anybody wants to start, uh, with fera for free. They can head over to F E R A fera.ai, and you can sign up for free. We have Shopify big commerce app soon to launch a couple other platforms. So stay tuned for that.

And then if you want to find me, you can find me on LinkedIn at Jameela Ghann, and you can follow us on all the social media at fera. 

Awesome. Well, audience, I hope you hope ha had a, had a good time with this one. I know. I certainly did. Um, so your participation has always not means it means a great deal to me.

So for that I say thank you. And, uh, to my guest, uh, again, thank you for, um, uh, for being the rat of sunshine that you are and to everybody just take care and we'll check in soon, all the best.

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