How To Boost Conversions and Eliminate Skepticism

In the latest Ecom Experiences episode, Samir Balwani sits down with Ryan Regan, the Director of eCommerce at VKTRY Gear, to discuss his strategies for optimizing the brand’s conversion rates.

Ryan Regan is the Director of eCommerce at VKTRY Gear, which produces performance insoles that help athletes run faster and jump higher. His expertise spans all phases of e-commerce and digital marketing projects, making him a trusted source for strategies to optimize conversion rates.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [1:15] Ryan Regan shares VKTRY Gear’s brand story and his role at the company
  • [3:15] The daily responsibilities of an e-commerce director
  • [5:35] Integrating segmentations with persona-building to optimize conversion rates
  • [8:14] VKTRY’s challenges: eliminating product skepticism 
  • [13:12] How reviews impact conversion rates

In this episode…

Specialized products are some of the most difficult to sell, and cultivating brand recognition and consumer trust from these products alone is even more challenging. What strategies can you leverage to drive conversions for your products?

As the leader of e-commerce efforts for a brand specializing in performance athletic shoes, Ryan Regan has successfully tackled high levels of skepticism surrounding the products. Despite their proven functions, the shoes are visually unappealing and priced high, which boosted the brand’s traffic but decreased conversion rates. To combat this skepticism and foster consumer interest, Ryan suggests including video reviews on website landing pages and recruiting target customers to be product influencers. 

In the latest Ecom Experiences episode, Samir Balwani sits down with Ryan Regan, the Director of eCommerce at VKTRY Gear, to discuss his strategies for optimizing the brand’s conversion rates. Ryan explains how he integrates segmentations with persona-building, a day in his life as an e-commerce director, and VKTRY’s brand story.

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Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:00

Hey welcome to another episode of Ecom Experiences a podcast where e-commerce marketing leaders who want to grow and scale their brands faster. Join us as we interview some of the smartest brand founders and marketing leaders in the industry. Explore the lessons they learned discover the keys to their success, discuss what excites them most about the future.

Samir Balwani 0:28

Hi, it's Samir Balwani here hosted Ecom Experiences where we talk to brand founders and marketing leaders about their experiences growing brands. This episode is brought to you by QRY QRY is a paid media agency that helps brands balanced brand awareness and performance marketing to drive predictable and profitable growth. To learn more about how we can help you visit weareqry.com. I'm really excited about our guests today. I have Ryan Regan, the director of e-commerce at VKTRY. He's super smart, has a huge permit. And I'm excited to chat and learn more. Thank you for joining. All right.

Ryan Regan 1:04

Thanks for having me, Samir.

Samir Balwani 1:05

Amazing. So let's let's get started. Can you tell me about VKTRY? I think the brand story is probably one of the coolest brand stories I've ever heard. So I'd love for you to start from the beginning if you don't mind. Yeah,

Ryan Regan 1:15

yeah. So VKTRY insoles are a customized full length carbon fiber insole. They help athletes jump higher, land softer, run faster and help prevent injuries protect against injuries. These were originally invented in 2010. For the US Olympic National bobsled team, the founder, Matt Archeo. Lowe was their foot Fedora this and he was experimenting with carbon fiber around the time and he asked them how would How would like you know getting a little bit extra boost on the run to start help you with the race. And they basically responded of it, it would be the difference between gold and not finishing in some cases. So he ended up making a prototype for him that year in 2010. And they ended up winning the gold medal that year. So

Samir Balwani 2:00

cool. I love that I love a product that has like an amazing start to a story. And something that includes the Olympics is like credibility right off the bat. Right? So yeah,

Ryan Regan 2:09

our main our whole, our whole company is like very much family oriented. Our VP of marketing now is Drew Archeo low. He is the son of the founder. His mom, Fi she works for us as well, doing a bunch of great stuff. Matt's still involved, you know, so it's, it's a great company.

Samir Balwani 2:28

That's amazing. All right, so tell us about your role. Ryan, what do you do?

Ryan Regan 2:31

Yeah, so I'm the director of e-commerce here at victory. You know, in 2022, towards the end of that year, they went viral on Tiktok. And they had to expand quickly, their sales were going crazy, even though they didn't have the stock to keep up with it. And the beginning. And, you know, they brought me in in March of 2023, to help, you know, expand the website and Amazon stores, you know, to handle their new growth that they were experiencing. That's

Samir Balwani 2:59

awesome. And so what is like a day look like for you, Ryan? I guess, just knowing that director of e-commerce is a pretty broad title and a lot tends to fall under that talked to us about just kind of where your head's at, on a day to day basis. Yeah,

Ryan Regan 3:15

I mean, a day a day is gonna change every day. It depends on what what coupon codes are working on the store, or what, you know, what, what broke in the middle of the night. So, you know, mostly, though, in the mornings, always checking up to make sure everything's, you know, up and up looking at the numbers from the previous day, how were How was everything spending, I look at our Amazon ads that we have through our agency, just make sure a call stays, you know, where we want it. Yeah, basically just kind of look over everything. I'm almost always testing something on the website. So a b test everything that we really can. So I'm always normally checking in on those seeing what kind of results we're getting from they're mostly trying to, at this point, increase our conversion rates. That's awesome.

Samir Balwani 4:02

And so out of curiosity, why why conversion rate? Why has that become kind of the center? And was there some kind of was there like a impetus that led you to say, hey, conversion rates, kind of where I need to be sending spending my time versus, you know, paid media or, you know, partnerships and influencer is my conversion rate over anything else?

Ryan Regan 4:27

So, like I said, Drew archy, yellow, he is our VP of marketing. He handles the influencer marketing. We have a couple other people on the team that help him out with that and for paid media. So luckily, I don't need to worry about that kind of stuff as much. influencers are huge for us this year. We did a ton of influencer work last year and we're doubling the amount that we're doing this year. So you know, that's it definitely is a huge part of the business but for me on the website side, we get a ton of traffic to the site every month. You know, sometimes we're brilliant these days. Last three, four months, we've been getting about a million users each month to the site. So converting just a little bit more, you know, from, say, like a 1.3%, to a conversion rate to a 1.35 would be, you know, millions of dollars over the course of the whole year. So it's something that we're always just I'm always looking to optimize, at the very least.

Samir Balwani 5:20

Yeah, that's really interesting. I know, Ryan, when you and I spoke previously, we talked about how you guys are doing a really good job on your segmentations and your persona building? How does that kind of play into your conversion rate testing and how you think about the website experience for

Ryan Regan 5:35

people? Yeah, so I mean, conversion rate, even for us isn't a super great metric, I think you have to look at what your business how your business is, what your customer journey is, like. So for us, you know, I'm always trying to increase the conversion, but we're never really going to have a great rate just because I probably say 40% of our traffic is from younger kids that are coming to our site that have no intent to actually purchase. So we have to keep that in mind of, you know, trying to educate and make this as cool product for, you know, kids that are getting on and seeing this, and then when they send it to their parents, we also need it to be you know, a respectable looking website with cool videos that their kids like, and, you know, talk to the parents about why this is a good product for them. So you know, it's conversion rate definitely is something we always try and improve. But at the end of the day, it's not, you know, we have to do this, you know, it's really, we work a lot, or I work a lot on our landing pages, making sure you know, our paid ads that we do have specifically for parents, that parents landing pages, converting better by, you know, just running a B tests, adding a quote here or something like that changing thing, the order on the page, just to see what is most efficient.

Samir Balwani 6:49

Yeah, that's really interesting. You almost create this like matrix of segmentation, because you have people interested in a specific sport, but then also, the kids versus the adults. It's like kids that can't purchase for themselves, kids that can purchase for themselves, and then adults that are purchasing for their kids. And it's like, this, like three tear program that you have to. That's awesome. So Ryan, tell me, what's your favorite part about being a director of e-comm? What gets you excited about about your role?

Ryan Regan 7:18

I mean, number one, I love the team that we work with. I know, it's a little cliche to say, but we really do have a great team. They're incredibly knowledgeable people. And it's been a blast, just kind of learning this whole new industry. You know, insoles isn't a very exciting market for as a type of product, but I think we make it, you know, really fun and exciting. But then, you know, also, at the end of the day, I love seeing the results of tests. I love looking and like having an idea of moving something on the page and seeing an increased conversion rate by you know, 20 30% you're just like, yeah, that was a good move. And just adding little things like that, and seeing little revenue drivers that you add up, and just, you know, continue to make a big impact over time.

Samir Balwani 8:00

That's really cool. Let's talk a little bit about challenges. So as you're looking ahead to 2024, one of the areas where you're seeing that you're like, Man, I gotta figure this out.

Ryan Regan 8:14

There's a couple, one of the first ones is eliminating skepticism in our product, you know, we have a high price point item for something that's not very flashy, you know, it's not like shoes, it's a you know, little insole that you're putting on, nobody's gonna see it. And we and it's, you know, it's $149 for our high end model, you know, without a sale. So, you know, even though we do offer a 90 day back money guarantee, so you can we return it, no questions asked, you just say I didn't like it, we return it for free. But it's still, it's, it's a tough thing to overcome with a high price point for something that, you know, isn't a very sexy item. So that's, that's definitely one and then a second is, you know, we just kind of talked about it is displaying our information in a concise and informative way that's not overwhelming. So these, this product, you know, has a ton of different benefits to it, you know, how much it can help with ankle pain, back pain, knee pain, all of that kind of stuff. This product is really made for anybody that's on their feet quite a bit, but we have to focus on you know, right now we're focusing on sports and specifically basketball, volleyball, running more into running golf and track and field you know, in in 2024 But yeah, it's it's tough to try and cater to every single person because it's so we have so much information and it's so beneficial for so many areas that we have to you know, really find what is the most important selling points for us and attack those. That's

Samir Balwani 9:46

really interesting. So how are you overcoming this skepticism because I know that that's going to be tough any product that says that you something it's almost like yeah, right is the first thing that that comes to mind. So you know, in your testing What have you found to be the most effective for overcoming that? And then what are you excited about for testing in, you know,

Ryan Regan 10:05

this year? Yeah, so, reviews and videos have have really seemed to help combat it a lot. You know, a few of the tests that we ran last year, anytime I moved the review module on our page up higher, it always performed better. There was never a single test that I ran, where I moved it below, and it performed better. So definitely getting the top reviews up at the top where people can see them. And then, you know, real our group does a fantastic job with organic social videos. And they get a lot of really great content of kids seeing these things for the first time, and trying them in their shoes, we do this thing called a shoe flip, where we put our insole in the shoe and you squeeze the shoe down and it literally can shoot up we've had it shoot like eight feet before up in the skull. So yeah, I mean, it's it's kind of about making like a product that's, you know, not very cool into something that is cool. And it's pretty funny. Our marketing director Drew is the face of all of our social videos. And he gets recognized in places that he goes by like, you know, little 15 year old kids, and it's hilarious to see he's got he's got his own little his own little crew.

Samir Balwani 11:12

He's got a following of his own. He's becoming an influencer himself. That's Oh, yeah,

Ryan Regan 11:17

it's it's really, he was he was just at the NBA All Star game. Oh, that's super cool. He was he was walking around. And there's a video on Tiktok from us that people are like, Oh, you're the guy.

Samir Balwani 11:31

Awesome. Yeah. That's, I mean, you would think that as you guys build credibility in specific markets, that the need for skepticism will start to reduce, right? Because if if word of mouth, you guys do have a challenge in that no one sees the soils because they are inside the shoe versus outside this shoe. And so it's not like you can go and watch a basketball game and be like, oh, yeah, I know those those guys are using it not using it. Right. And so yeah, it's a little harder from that perspective to build to overcome that skepticism. But I'm sure that as more and more people have it as they talk about it, that need will start to diminish, right? Yeah.

Ryan Regan 12:10

And we've found that it becomes easier once we kind of, you know, we call it storming. So we'll well, we'll storm the swarm sorry, will swarm this one sports so we swarm specifically basketball and volleyball as our first couple that were there. And now we're seeing that most basketball and barley plant ballplayers, like in the high school and college level, they are at least aware of who we are at this point. So we've we've definitely swarmed those areas, and we're feeling good about, you know, our market share and our presence in those. But now, it's about replicating what we've done there across a bunch of different sports. And then after that, you know, into different professions. Yeah,

Samir Balwani 12:50

that's really interesting. Earlier on, you talked about how you tested reviews kind of up on the page versus below the page and the impact that had on on your conversion rate. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Like, what did you test? Was it actual review itself was at the stars? Have you tried influencer content to see how that performs on the conversion page? I'm just curious, like, what that structure look like. Yeah,

Ryan Regan 13:12

so we use a kendo for our reviews, they create a couple different pre built modules that are there. So one that we use has pictures and videos up at the top as well as long and you can sort it with your best reviews first. And we found that, you know, moving that up to the top, it's it outperformed anything and everything, just because number one, it's just it's a real review. You're seeing it from a real person that's verified. You know, some of them if you have a Google picture, it's showing, like, what your, what your picture is there. And when you're showing like these kids, or these parents that are normally posting videos of their kids and talking, you know, how much they love the product, how much their kid loves this product, that just seemed we haven't found anything yet, at that, that really beats that, you know, people really care about authentic reviews. And that's, that's really what we try and do in a lot of art, like organic social content, as well is just make this like, look, this is a product that is really going to help and is a great product.

Samir Balwani 14:11

Yeah, that's really cool. You know, it's interesting, it comes that comes to mind because we were talking about skepticism and there's all this like aI generated content now. And and like people are becoming even more and more skeptical of, you know, the things that they see. I'm curious, have you guys even had conversations around? Like what that looks like I'm assuming that there's like a greater impetus on like, offline events and programs like that, to kind of help support I'm assuming that's why Drew was at the All Star game and just like being there helps from that perspective. Yeah, so

Ryan Regan 14:50

we do. We work with a group called rivals. They're like NFL Combine for kids going into college. So getting like, you know, official school or you know, tests of running, jumping out of catching ability and that kind of stuff. So we go to probably like six or seven of these a year, and the seasons actually about the start. In two weeks, we're going to be in LA for our first one. And it's, it's a complete difference. I mean, I went to my first one a year ago in Dallas, and the look you see on these kids faces when, like, even you just take the insole, you can bend it and slap it on a table, it makes a really loud noise, it's carbon fiber. So you know, it, it excites these kids, like immediately, they're like, Oh, my God, and then once you put it into their shoe, and they put them on, and they kind of bounce around, they kind of feel bouncy, it's like almost an immediate sale. Like I wish we could like, it is something we've talked about, you know, it's it's almost a guaranteed sale when you get this thing into the hands of the kid or the parent. So it's something that we're definitely tried to expand on. Because once you do feel this product and try it in your own shoes and stuff, you're like, you become a believer real quick.

Samir Balwani 15:58

That's super cool. All right. So Ryan, yeah, as we look ahead to 2024 and the rest of the year, what are you most excited about? Like, what are the things that you are really looking forward to?

Ryan Regan 16:09

Yeah, there's a couple ones cuz sounds really generic, but AI, you know, it's, it's here, you can't run from it. And, you know, there's, there's some really cool stuff that's coming out, you know, we were talking earlier about how we would love to give different kinds of experiences based on your shopping habits, or what you're interested in AI can really help with that. Now, you know, even just displaying a couple landing pages a little bit differently based on somebody's shopping behavior, or interest or things like that. So you can become really, you know, you get really granular with each page that you are displaying on these people, or, you know, to these users. And then you know, it, the e-comm space was not really stagnant for a while, but there wasn't, you know, a ton of new stuff coming out. But now we've seen, especially with the rise of AI, so much is changing, and coming out. So I don't even really know what's going to be coming out in a couple years, but I'm sure there's gonna be low hanging fruit, you know, similar to how when like Facebook marketplace and advertising came out, it was kind of really easy for a year or two. And I think there's going to be more like low hanging fruit that people are going to be taking advantage of. Yeah, that's

Samir Balwani 17:22

really interesting. I agree with you. I think that there's been this explosion on the e-comm side of all kinds of new tools and platforms and systems and kind of combing through them to figure out what actually is going to be helpful versus what is just noise is, is kind of the key right now. And people that are getting in on the ground floor of some of the really new interesting tools are definitely getting a leg up. For sure. Have you guys already started incorporating AI into your website or the platform in any way? Not really.

Ryan Regan 17:52

So we do have a few things in the move in q2. But the the whole focus focus of q1 was we did a big activation with Mac McClung who just repeated his champion for the dunk contest. And so we're we're doing a giveaway where we give out $500,000 worth of victory installs. So that all of our focus for the past, you know, couple months has really been on that. But in q2, we do have some email and SMS stuff coming up with AI, and then some landing page segmentation as well.

Samir Balwani 18:23

That's awesome. Yeah, that's really exciting. Amazing. All right. So I have one last question for you, Ryan. What advice would you give a new marketing director or director of e-commerce in their first 90 days?

Ryan Regan 18:39

Test anything and everything? Like it? Yeah, if you if, if you think you have an idea that's gonna, you know, increase conversion, or, or whatever bounce rate or whatever you want to test engagement on your site, test it. You know, and I'm not a believer that you do need to run these things for 14 days. I think some of them, you can tell pretty quickly, even if it's a way of, you know, what you want to move towards on your site. But you know, test your landing pages, your product pages, and any apps that you're using, you know, there's we just talked about it stuff is coming out, you know, weekly, and there's always going to be something out there that could improve your something on your side of the business very easily. Yeah, that's,

Samir Balwani 19:20

that's some great advice. Ryan, I have a follow up question based on that. How do you choose which landing pages to test?

Ryan Regan 19:27

I look for the most impactful ones first. So what mostly what we're driving most of our paid traffic to our on the pain side is what I look for. And then what is our most organic rank there. So I'm looking at the the highest converting and revenue generating pages first, and then kind of being able to make changes there and then seeing what those changes are and trying to implement them on other parts of the site that maybe aren't as heavy on the traffic.

Samir Balwani 19:54

That's awesome. All right. I appreciate that. Amazing. Thank you so much for joining us. Say Ryan, if someone wants to find you online, where can people learn more about you?

Ryan Regan 20:03

They can find. Find me on LinkedIn. and@victory.com

Samir Balwani 20:08

amazing. All right, Brian, thank you so much for being here. 

Ryan Regan 20:11

Thanks, man. Appreciate it.

Outro 20:12

Thanks for joining us. If you'd like to remember to subscribe so you'll be notified of new episodes. And if you know someone who would enjoy the show, don't forget to share and leave a review. It all helps us impact more brands. If you're looking to improve your paid media go to weareqry.com and schedule a consultation. We're always happy to chat. See you for the next one.

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