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Reddy at the Helm - Episode 3: Stuart Arsenault, Junip CEO and Co-founder

Reddy at the Helm - Episode 3: Stuart Arsenault, Junip CEO and Co-founder

Stuart Arsenault is the guest on the latest episode of Reddy at the Helm: the official podcast of Voyage hosted by Voyage CEO Rev Reddy. Rev and Stuart discuss how Junip was founded, why eCommerce reviews are so important, and how reviews turn customers into creators. 

October 28, 2022

Junip CEO and Co-founder Stuart Arsenault on the Importance of eCommerce Reviews and Building Useful Tech

Stuart Arsenault is the guest on the latest episode of Reddy at the Helm: the official podcast of Voyage hosted by Voyage CEO Rev Reddy. The goal of this podcast is to delve into the stories of leading marketers, founders, and retail executives, to learn how they built unbeatable marketing programs that have spurred innovation and success.

Rev and Stuart discuss how Junip was founded, why eCommerce reviews are so important, and how reviews turn customers into creators. 

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About Junip 

Junip builds trust with genuine, in-depth reviews that leverage photos, videos, and custom questions. Perfectly timed automatic messages to help brands gain product and site review requests on new orders and send campaigns to old customers. 

Stuart’s Founder Journey of Problem Solving

After being in the eCommerce tech space for many years, Stuart and his two co-founders saw a need in the marketplace. Brands using the previous leaders in the review space were highly dissatisfied. In fact, they hated the current solution.  

“There was this weird quirk of the big platforms that everybody was using for reviews, people just did not like. And I stress they hated the review solutions they were using. It was this crazy thing where every week I would be on a call with a brand and somebody would tell me how much they hated their review platform and I would recommend some other options to them, but they just were missing the mark in some way, shape, or form. It didn't matter which one nobody really had all of the things solved… The brands using the current tools were unhappy, but we sort of said to ourselves, is this really the end state for reviews online?” 

Junip’s journey was one of finding a problem and having the confidence to fix it. 

“We were a little overconfident. We're great at building products and we thought, hey, we could build a better product here. Then in the long term, it was interesting because reviews really are core to the eCommerce experience and the experience of buying something online. When we looked at this as a core piece of the shopping experience, nobody was doing anything interesting.” 

The Love for Product and People is What Drives Stuart

Although there is a lot of pressure and effort that goes into becoming a founder, the most rewarding part is seeing the products and people at Junip thrive. 

“The most rewarding part is easy. It's seeing THE person you were trying to build for using your product and be thrilled with it is just a wonderful thing. We haven't built a giant sales team at Junip. We haven't put a ton of money into marketing. So the folks who are using this have, to some extent, sought us out, found us, and started using our product. It's wonderful to make good on people who bet on you. … The other most rewarding part is the folks who have made the choice to join our team. That's a very humbling thing. We have one life and people are choosing to spend part of their life working on what we're building here.”

Why Reviews Are More Important Than Ever Before

The eCommerce space is more competitive than ever before. Brands need to focus on making the entire customer journey as frictionless as possible which includes reviews. 

“In 2012 through 2018, let's call it, it was this gold rush of D2C. Anybody could start, you weren't guaranteed success, but you had a really good shot. If you made a Shopify store, had a half-decent product, and knew how to buy Facebook ads, you had a pretty good shot of getting some amount of traction. That just really isn't the case. Facebook's been priced in, as we know. All of the logistics concerns that have happened since Covid are making operating a brand much more expensive and there's a lot of good and bad that's coming with that. But I think that the big good thing that's happening is that the bar is just so much higher… When it comes to the eCommerce experience or even the review experience, you have to be excellent. You can't just upload a bunch of fake reviews anymore. You have to have really good content.“

Timing is Everything 

Any eCommerce brand should be striving to make every part of the customer journey frictionless. Meeting your customers in the channels they want, giving them payment options they want to use, etc. will improve CLTV. When it comes to reviews, timing and channels are everything. 

“You have to be where, when, and how the customer's most likely to leave the review. We allow a brand to send a review request in a bunch of different ways. Instead of just sending an email from Junip, you can send it as an email from Junip or an email from Omnisend, an SMS from Voyage, or include it as a QR code in packaging. It needs to be this really mobile optimized, progressive, fun experience to leave the review.”

Your Customers Turn Into Creators Through Reviews

People that leave amazing reviews for your brand are creating content for you and you should treat them like VIPs. 

“We like to think of reviews as an on-ramp to creators. It is the lowest level of what a creator is for a brand. If you think about the number of people that are going to post a YouTube video or a TikTok of your brand, it's 0.0001% of your customers. The number of people leaving a review is often double digits. For most brands, it should at least be three to five percent of your customers. So three to five percent of your customers are creating content for your brand in this way. Expanding [this content] out in different ways means one [brands] can use the content once they've created it. Two, this person has put their hand up and identified themselves as somebody who both loves your brand and likes creating. How else can we use that? Should we send them a text asking them to refer their friends? Should we send them an email asking them to be a part of some other program that we're doing? All of those are things that we're trying to partner with Voyage and other folks across the market automation stack to get better at generating that next thing.” 

Using the Power of SMS and Reviews 

Reviews are incredibly powerful for eCommerce merchants. Qualtrics provided this year’s review statistics which show just how powerful reviews really are. 91% of 18-34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s close to the same level as the holy grail of marketing—word of mouth. 

Add reviews with the power of SMS (98% open rates) and you have everything you need to gain valuable insights, improve conversion rates, and increase your CLTV. 

Want to learn more about the Voyage and Junip partnership? Request a demo today!
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