Kathy Ando is the Head of Direct Consumer at GoPro with a huge focus in digital and eCommerce. After graduating college, she realized she didn’t want to pursue the path of her biotechnology degree. Kathy worked at the GAP Headquarters in San Francisco and found herself in the right place at the right time. With the rise in marketplaces and eCommerce, she learned about the consumer industry and how digital technology was affecting it. Kathy then transitioned to run merchandising at Apple and then began her career at GoPro.
Kathy focuses on improving the customer experience with the goal of increasing conversions and customer lifetime value.
Kathy is the Head of Direct Consumer at GoPro. She’s previously worked for GAP and Apple, transitioning to GoPro to focus on their consumer experience. Kathy’s focus on a seamless and frictionless consumer experience, particularly on the GoPro website, is helping the company continue to grow their customer base and keep their current customers loyal to the brand.
In this episode, we talk about what GoPro is testing to improve their conversions, the special offers they are promoting, and how GoPro differentiates their online experience from Amazon. Kathy also explains the 180 degree shift we’ve seen in brick-and-mortar vs. eCommerce stores, who large companies are hiring to work in their stores, and the GoPro’s biggest challenge in the current eCommerce market.
This is The Lean Commerce Podcast.
What is your role at GoPro?
1:14 My role is to drive the direct to consumer experience. I call it an experience because it’s both a commerce experience as it is a marketing experience. I manage shopping at GoPro.com and experiencing GoPro for what it is on our website.
How did you start working with GoPro?
2:12 I graduated with a degree in biotechnology but in my senior year I realized I wasn’t passionate about it. I moved into retail and started my career at the GAP Headquarters in San Francisco. Over time, I’ve been in the right place at the right time. At the time that marketplaces and eCommerce were starting, I was in Silicon Valley and I took a smart, but calculated risk to move into retail. I transitioned over to Apple to run merchandising for their online store.
What does your GoPro’s consumer testing look like?
5:35 When I first came on board, I was all for testing EVERYTHING. What I found out was that we were lacking the most fundamental element—how our customers were engaging with our website and what that experience was like for them. We’ve recently onboarded partners that help us see how our customers interact with our website and we’re now able to test smarter.
What have you seen as the most important element of improving the customer experience?
9:38 We look at a couple of metrics. At the end of the day, the most important metric for us is conversion. Yes, we are a marketing experience but we are mostly a commerce experience. We want conversions. So, we have been looking at hesitation rate, scroll rate, conversion rate, and lifetime value.
12:50 We test hesitation rate by watching customers interact with our website. For example, if a consumer hovers over the Add to Cart button for 10 seconds, that’s a hesitation rate.
14:10 That’s when we start to dive in and ask ourselves, “Did we build this part of the website correctly?”. If the consumer can’t find the promo code or shipping price, then they’ll have this hesitation. We then bring consumers in and ask them, “What is making you hesitate at this specific point?”.
How did you test your special offer of two bonus products?
15:30 We had a special offer for a GoPro beanie and SD card with the purchase of any product on the GoPro website. As a brand, we wanted to give you a really great experience. Recently, we’ve decided to give a free SD card with every camera purchase. And then, from time to time we like to give a surprise bonus. In this case, it was the beanie.
How do you guys differentiate yourselves from Amazon?
16:58 For the most part, we align with all of our partners—obviously we don’t want to undercut our customers. We sell on Amazon because it’s a familiar brand and a lot of our consumers have Amazon Prime. But, when consumers shop directly with brands it’s a totally different experience. Our differentiation is in being able to build a relationship with the people who purchase through us.
29:53 We’ve come to the realization that Amazon is our friend. They are a huge partner for us and they sell a lot of cameras for us. We don’t undercut each other, we have a level playing field and charge the same price on our website as we do on Amazon.
What are you most excited about in direct to consumer right now?
21:21 This has been a very interesting year for direct to consumer. The industry is continuously getting disrupted by big brands, like Nike. What’s really interesting is that we are seeing a 180 of what we used to see. Five years ago, the online eCommerce part of a business was viewed as the gallery or marketing channel but then you went into the brick-and-mortar store to purchase. Now, this model is flipped. For example, Dyson allows you to test products out in store and the store has become the gallery. You purchase everything online.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in eCommerce and direct to consumer right now?
26:44 Two things, the first is the large companies (Walmart and Amazon) that are taking over small businesses. Second, is customer loyalty. We have to understand our customers and gain their trust. Sticking to your original customer base is so important, just as trying to acquire new customers is.
What is the top book that you continue to go back to for business help?
34:12 I am a large podcast listener over book reader. For me, listening to podcasts is easier than reading books (I’m a mom of three). My favorite podcast is The Total Retail Talks Podcast.
Resources Mentioned in the Podcast: