Friday Q&As with Ibrahim

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Hi, there!

I hope you’ve been working on the email flows that I’ve been talking about in the past couple of days. If you haven’t read it yet, I dived into welcome email & browse abandonment email flows. If you don’t have it set up or optimised properly, highly recommend you go through that.

Have a burning question about DTC? Ask here. Before we get into this week’s questions, have a look at Diamond Hook for your ecommerce needs:

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Now, let’s get in to it..


Question from Vanessa Douer (CEO): What needs to be done pre-launching an ecommerce business? Homeware

Answer: This is a great question! So I’ll take the opportunity to dive into this topic a bit deeper today. And I’m going to assume you will be bootstrapping, because that’s how most Founders start.

For those who are brought on board by brands in their initial stages: recognize that the founders are placing their confidence and trust in YOU. Failing to handle basic responsibilities not only results in poor execution, but also completely undermines the trust they've invested in you. This breach of trust then affects the founder's interactions with future teams.

Before we start, here is a list of red flags:

  • Agencies or contractors that guarantee they can hit a CPA target

  • They can’t provide reference checks to an active or recently active client

  • They can’t explain why their clients churned

  • They propose a contract that has a 6 or 12-month term with no out-clauses

  • Any contract without an out-clause

Your Pixel & Data Setup

If you're not familiar with what a pixel is, it's essentially a snippet of code that you place on your website

  • Imagine it as a mini SIM card, similar to the one in your phone

  • A SIM card does nothing when it's just lying in a drawer, disconnected

  • But when you insert it into your iPhone, it connects to a network like T-Mobile or AT&T. In the same way, pixels are initially inactive within your code base

  • When you visit a homepage and the pixel activates, it starts working—connecting online and sending information back to platforms like Facebook, Google, or an analytics service

  • Some platforms, like Klaviyo, offer direct integrations for platforms such as Shopify, where you simply install their app on your Shopify store

  • If I’m on an apparel brand’s landing page (let’s assume the brand name is XYZ) and I click brown hoodie of medium size, that information gets reported back via pixels and the apps that are on my Shopify site. So when I go to Instagram, I should see that exact size and color from earlier, and when I get an email from XYZ, it should include that exact style + color or “variant.”

In most cases, pixels are used to pass back information to advertising platforms, email marketing platforms, or analytics platforms. They send data back in real-time, so for example, your Facebook ads become more intelligent with every new dollar spent on the platform.

Make sure you create, integrate, and verify the connection for:

  • Meta Ads Account and the Meta pixel

  • Google Analytics account and the GA4 integration

  • Email marketing software and its integration (i.e., Klaviyo, Sendlane, etc.)

  • Site heat map tracking and its integration (Definitely recommend Clarity for this. It’s 100% free + works really well)

If you don’t have your pixels or apps enabled on your site when you launch, even if you’re not running ads, you’re missing out on the ads platforms being able to learn how your users interact with you and who they are. All of the traffic is data that Meta could use to understand who your customer is for when you are ready to run ads. Don’t launch without these!

Email Flows

When you launch, it can be challenging to have every single email flow built out from the get-go. So, here are a few pieces I recommend making sure you have before you launch:

  1. Email capture popup on your website

Emails should be treated as assets on the balance sheet. Once you have someone’s email, you can re-market to them with new offers and campaigns forever (or until they unsubscribe) with direct deliverability.

When it comes to how you ask for it, you have to give something to them. You can either give them something like a discount, encourage them to take a quiz, provide a report (if it makes sense), etc. In any case, the customer should receive something of value in exchange.

  1. Have a branded receipt with shipping notifications

Anytime someone orders, they should receive an email that includes:

  • Order Details: i.e a summary of the purchased items, including product names, quantities, prices, and the total cost

  • Order Number: i.e the unique identifier for the order, which is important for any future communication or customer service questions that might come up

  • Estimated Delivery Date: An approximate date when the customer can expect to receive their order

  • Shipping Address: Confirmation of the address where the order will be shipped

  • Tracking Link: Customers should be able to easily to track their order

If you’re unhappy with the flexibility that Shopify or your 3PL offers when it comes to sending out these notifications, I recommend Wonderment, which does a great job at this. Majority of your customer service complaints will come from people who say, “Hey, when does my package arrive?” If you can make that clear up front, you will save yourself a lot of tickets.

  1. Must have Email Flows

  1. Welcome Email Flow | Buyers Vs Non-buyers

  2. Browse Abandonment Flow | Buyers Vs Non-buyers

  3. Abandoned Cart Flow | Buyers Vs Non-buyers

  4. Checkout Abandonment Flow | Buyers Vs Non-buyers

  5. Post-Purchase Flow | Buyers Vs Non-buyers

I understand that having fancy emails with high fidelity designs and 5-7 email in each flow can be challenging, especially if you’re going to have to do it all alone and are working towards launching asap to test out your MVP. To begin with, you can use templates, take the help of AI for copywriting, and have 3-4 emails at least in each flow.


The website is where I always see a ton of mistakes. It’s usually because unless you’re spending about $30,000 on a website, you’re most likely using a Shopify template.

Outside of the tech, the most important thing on your site is clarifying what you’re selling and how you’re different.

  • Does my website effectively convey a compelling narrative?

  • Does it address the five critical questions: what is my product, why does it exist, who is it for, how is it produced, and when is it available?

  • Does my branding and positioning distinguish my product clearly from others in the market?

  • Is my product detail page (PDP) simple enough that even my grandmother would understand why she might buy or gift this item?

  • Does my "About Us" or mission page offer value? Is there a unique and authentic story being told?

  • Are all third-party applications and tools functioning properly before the launch?

  • Is the checkout process streamlined and fast?

  • Is there an FAQ section that resolves basic inquiries about my brand?

  • Have I incorporated social proof such as quotes, testimonials, media mentions, or reviews? If you don’t have any customer reviews, get your friends and family to buy, and then ask them to upload some reviews

  • Are links to my brand’s social media profiles included?

  • Is the call-to-action (CTA) above the fold both compelling and clear?

There are more questions, but this is usually what you need to ensure you have answered for someone to purchase.

Customer Service

The same goes for customer service. These are a few questions that you should ask yourself pre-launch:

  • Am I set up to receive customer service inquiries?

  • Am I set up to receive press, partnerships, or other general inquiries?

  • This is usually solved with an email alias (eg: [email protected])

  • Do I have a system to respond to complaints or issues within 24 hours or less?

  • Are my CS agents trained on how to handle complaints, escalations, and returns? (unless you’re a 1 person team 😎)

  • Are my CS agents trained on surprise and delight resolutions like offering a discount when something goes wrong for a customer to help win back customer trust and loyalty?

  • Is my ticketing software working correctly, and are the right people seeing the right messages on my team at the right time? If you’re unsure about what tool to use, 100% recommend Gorgias for this. Best in the industry. Period.

Running Ads

For ads, these are the questions that I like to ask before pressing publish and running a campaign:

  • Do my ads adequately explain what I’m selling?

  • Do my ads lead with benefits and back it up with value props?

  • Am I using stories and analogies effectively to engage the viewer?

  • Does my ad have a strong hook or opening question or statement to catch someone’s attention in the feed?

  • Does this ad help answer the 5 essential buyer questions? (i.e., what is my product, why does it exist, who is it for, how is it made, and when can I get it?)

  • Does my ad experience match what viewers see on my landing page or PDP after clicking?

  • Does my ad copy make sense for my target audience?

  • Can a 5th grader understand my ad and tell their parents why they want to buy?

  • Have I done my unit economics breakdown?

Once you have your pixels setup, your website, email flows, landing pages, or PDPs finalized, your customer service ready, and your ads done, the last thing that you have to do is a series of final logistics, finance, and tech checks.

Here are my final questions to ask:

For Logistics

  • Is my inventory synced with my 3PL?

  • Does my 3PL have my custom or preferred packaging for pick and pack?

  • Am I set up to process returns, or do I have a clear policy on my site?

  • Do I know how long it takes to process inventory when it arrives?

Finance & Tech Checks

  • Am I set up with Stripe?

  • Am I registered as an LLC to do business?

  • Do I have a business bank account and credit cards for my ad and inventory spend?

  • Did I enable Shop Pay and PayPal at checkout?

  • Did I name my shipping rules?

  • Am I set up to collect sales tax?

I think once you’ve answered all of these questions, you are ready to launch. This list is the best one that I’ve come up with to eliminate the launch day scaries and ensure that you’ve done pretty much everything that you can to start your brand off on the right foot.

There will always be more small things to test and check depending on what you are selling and to whom, but I think this list is a great start. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask here.

While there were other questions, I picked this question by Vanessa to dive a bit deeper into because I think it’s something that would apply to majority of our readers.

I’ll mention a couple more questions below that I think would be interesting to cover in the future nuggets, deep dive Wednesdays, and Q&As:

Question from Dwayne (brand manager): Can you possibly provide no B.S. instructions on how to measure successful/unsucessful Meta Conversion ads and/or Google Display Ads for e-commerce (DTC) brands? What metric(s)or attributes (beyond website purchases) should we be monitoring closely? What changes should we know to consider and when?

Thank you, again, love the content of your emailers!

Response: This is a topic I wanted to cover in one of the deep dive Wednesdays anyway, so will be adding this on to my roadmap for sure! And thank you. Appreciate you reading my issues.

Question from Michael (co-founder): Creating email campaigns. What type of content, how often, cadence, etc.

Response: In the email series, I’m currently in the midst of breaking down the 5 must have email flows. I’ll move on to email campaigns eventually once I’m done with the flows. Watch out for that 🙂

Alright folks, hope that was helpful. Have a wonderful weekend ahead, and I’ll see y’all inside Ibrahim’s Nuggets on Monday.