• Swanky

Meet Sean Clanchy: Shopify Specialist and Conversion Rate Optimisation Connoisseur

Adventure-loving Aussie Sean Clanchy is no stranger to the fast-paced world of ecommerce, with years of experience as both an online retailer and agency expert. Armed with first-hand experience running an ecommerce business, he’s perfectly poised to help online retailers get ahead by delivering exceptional, data-driven customer experiences.

Sean, who hails from the edge of the Australian outback and currently resides in the Southern Queensland city of Toowoomba, has built up an enviable portfolio of clients during his time at leading international Shopify Plus Agency Swanky. As Managing Director of the agency’s Australia office, he’s worked with a myriad of brands across all sorts of industries, from pharmaceuticals to wearable tech, fast fashion to haute couture, onto million-dollar jewellery, digital downloads and made-to-order DIY products. As well as high-profile Aussie brands like McKinney’s Jewellers and Silk Oil of Morocco, just some of the UK household names he’s worked with include Huel, GAME, and the South West’s very own Saltrock.

Specialising in conversion rate optimisation, Sean enjoys digging into the challenges and opportunities of ambitious brands and helping them transform the way they sell online.

Having delivered successful talks at several international ecommerce events, including sharing a stage with consulting giants McKinsey, we’re delighted that Sean will be taking to the stage at Ecommerce Unlocked (albeit virtually - thanks Covid 🙄). He’ll be discussing the must-have mindset of the modern ecommerce manager and diving into the importance of the test-and-learn approach.

We caught up with Sean to find out more about his industry experience, his thoughts on the current ecommerce landscape, and his upcoming speaker session ...

You’ve worked on a whole host of exciting conversion rate optimisation projects throughout your career in ecommerce. Can you tell us about some of your favourites?

Sure, I've probably got a few that stand out.

Seeing some of the experiments we ran with Huel back in late 2016 help to rapidly accelerate the brand’s international scale-up was pretty cool - particularly where we used localised messaging to quickly improve conversion rates in new markets as they expanded outside of Britain into Europe and the US.

Working with SoleHeaven in 2017, we massively improved their conversion rate and retention strategy whilst reducing their customer acquisition costs hugely (60% reduction from $20 to $8 per sale). We did this through everything from navigational testing of menu and header structures, to messaging tests leveraging consumer psychology and customer research to understand and motivate the SoleHeaven customer to ultimately perform the actions we wanted. We grew their monthly revenue 225% in under five months!

Working with Jon Dunn at Saltrock "back in the day" and Mal and Mackenzie at The Pulse Boutique on mobile navigation testing, as well as other tests driving the highly performant Pulse Perks loyalty program along to add LOTS of value annually through reduced customer re-acquisition costs.

From your many years in the industry, what’s the most important bit of advice you’d give to a bricks-and-mortar retailer who’s just starting out with an ecommerce store?

Don’t get distracted by Return on Ad Spend. Profitability is, and always will be, your primary measure of success and it's easier to track for an online store than bricks-and-mortar.

If possible, try to understand the correlation between online and offline buying behaviour. When you run ads online, do you see more sales in store? As much as this can be hard, there are multiple indicators you can track to establish a correlation between digital marketing spend and in-store traffic and sales volumes. Clicks for directions and in-store collection both lead to in-store experiences and opportunities for customer-service-driven upselling.

We've seen a huge acceleration in the growth of ecommerce as a result of the Covid pandemic, and you’ve been right in the thick of it at Swanky, helping merchants pivot to D2C ecommerce. What can retailers do to try and differentiate their brand from the competition in today's market?

Make it personal!

When people are feeling more isolated than ever due to extended or recurring lockdowns, they really want to feel personally involved with a brand. Tell the stories of your staff and yourself in your marketing. Be approachable and raw.

Leverage video content or even video concierge, selling through platforms like Caazam to make the most of your bricks-and-mortar store staff's knowledge of your products even when customers can't physically come into the shop.

Are there any ecommerce trends you think we should watch out for during the rest of 2021?

Hmm ... I continue to believe in augmented reality as a big area for growth for homeware and DIY brands in a Covid impacted world.

I also expect to see the rise and rise of video concierge sales. We’ve already seen it adopted across our merchants selling apparel and accessories, but are now working to roll it out for consumable food and supplement brands to allow for tailored subscriptions to reach muscle building/weight loss and other performance goals. Throw it in as a feature for premium fashion labels (as a VIP “win a concierge shopping experience with the designer behind your favourite brand!” type of thing) and I can't help but expect it will drive increased conversion rates, increased loyalty sign-ups and engagement, extended subscription cycles and higher conversion values.

What are you most looking forward to about speaking at Ecommerce Unlocked?

I love talking to all things commercial and helping merchants unlock opportunity/de-risk growth.

So often, they don't realise that the tools and customer feedback required to achieve massive scalable success are already available to them - I can't wait to hopefully take those blinkers off a few people!

In particular, you’re going to be chatting about the must-have mindset for the modern ecommerce manager in your speaker session, covering the importance of the test-and-learn approach. Why is this approach so important when it comes to improving online stores?

Because only through test-and-learn can you actually understand what makes your audience "tick" and quantify the value of the changes you make. The more you understand your audience, the better the return you will have on onsite and offsite initiatives.

Whether you're aiming to mitigate risk on feature releases or validate a hypothesis to increase average order value/reduce returns/increase conversion rates, if you don't test, you don't know. For million and billion dollar brands, that's not marketing, that's gambling!

Attend Sean’s virtual talk at Ecommerce Unlocked!

Want to hear more from Sean on A/B testing, practical conversion tips and optimisation tools? He’ll be joining us virtually for the second speaker session of the day at Ecommerce Unlocked this September, sharing some pearls of wisdom from his jam-packed career in ecommerce.