The thrill of speaking with an expert in their field is that they can see worlds of possibility in something you never realized could be so complex. When the expert is Laurie Ellen Pellicano, that something is cookies, her “chosen pastry language.”
Cookies are what Laurie Ellen shipped cross-country to friends and family when she moved to New York City, after living for years in San Francisco, where she worked at the renowned Tartine Bakery. Cookies, and her unique spin on them, have been a constant through her freelance career as she worked in private events, food styling, and recipe development. And when the pandemic hit, cookies became Laurie Ellen’s main focus, as she created her eponymous cookie business, Laurie Ellen.
Laurie Ellen’s experience shipping cookies to friends and family gave her the confidence to sell online, instead of just in person—which is when she started on Shopify. But marketing in the direct-to-consumer space has shifted a lot over the past several years, and Laurie Ellen has shifted with it.
Shopify Marketing Tools helped her to:
- Build years of data on autopilot, to help with business planning and forecasting when she was ready to dig into it
- Spend more time on her business and less time working on integrations and learning new tools
- Add hundreds of new email subscribers over the holiday selling season
- Convert more sales by chatting with high-intent shoppers using Shopify Inbox
- Shift from driving most sales from social media to building and connecting with her engaged email subscribers
Before the pandemic, “I didn’t do very many online sales,” says Laurie Ellen. “I did more in-person sales, and so when I made the switch [from Squarespace to Shopify] it was the first year of the pandemic and everybody was shopping online. So it made a lot of sense to migrate everything into a place that was going to be better at capturing those sales and at shipping and fulfillment.”
Laurie Ellen knew of Shopify from her culinary community, and she knew it integrated well with other tools. But with the lift of setting up a website and building a new business in the middle of a pandemic, she wanted to keep it simple and focus on her strengths—specifically, social media.
“I knew that social media was going to be my money platform,” she says. Instagram was specifically a strong fit for her, with her background in food styling and her wealth of interesting, funky backgrounds to shoot with. “And so that’s where I spent the majority of my energy, in the hopes of getting people to my website and then getting them to subscribe via email.”
Laurie Ellen previously used a standalone email marketing platform when she was running her business on Squarespace, but after setting everything up on Shopify, she wanted to streamline.
That’s when Laurie Ellen made the move to Shopify’s Marketing Tools. “I migrated my subscribers over to Shopify Email, because setting up a new website was already a lift for me. And that’s the thing that people are going to see,” she says.
Not only did having email marketing in the same place as her store help streamline the number of tools she used, it also saved her time on figuring out how to make those tools work together.
Having two systems was just another integration that I didn’t really want to have to handle, especially while I was learning Shopify.
At the time, social media was driving most of her traffic and sales, so she wasn’t relying too heavily on email marketing. However, one tool stood out as a great addition immediately: Shopify Inbox.
Laurie Ellen noticed that when people start a chat with her, they are ready to take the next step. “They really want to do something, and I suspect that they’re also people who might have been put off with having to actually find an email address for me to get in touch,” she says. One example stood out in her mind: a corporate client who had ordered in the past reached out via Inbox instead of email to follow up, since Inbox chat was readily available on her store. That ease helps Laurie Ellen make sure she never misses a chance to connect with customers, new and existing.
Most recently, she added Shopify Forms to the mix to grow her email list, which was well-timed, as she’s now balancing her investments in social media with an increased focus on email marketing. Over the past year, she’s seen algorithms changing on the platforms she once used to drive most of her sales. “I feel like it’s important to build a base of customers who are subscribed to my list, because social media algorithms have done all sorts of really wild things over the last year,” says Laurie Ellen. “It feels like it’s really important to diversify.”
Adding Shopify Forms gave Laurie Ellen’s email list a timely boost over the busy holiday selling season. “I really quickly jumped from something like 700 email subscribers to over 900 subscribers after adding [Forms],” she says.
As her list has grown, so has her focus on tweaking and iterating the emails she sends. Laurie Ellen keeps an eye on metrics, and will adjust the timing and content of her marketing based on performance and unsubscribe rate. But notably, as she’s experimented, she’s seen that the people who are on her email list are some of her most loyal customers.
“I started to change some of what I was putting in my emails, like getting a bit more lengthy and telling stories, and I found that I wasn’t actually losing any more subscribers,” says Laurie Ellen. “So the people who stayed with me seemed to be people who don’t mind receiving the emails, and are sometimes motivated by the emails to purchase.”
Keeping all of her marketing tools in one place has given Laurie Ellen more than just the ease of not worrying about integrations. As she enters the next phase of her business, she’s able to reference years of historical data on everything including email marketing performance, store traffic, and sales.
“I’m working on some financial projections and more business-related stuff. And even though it’s not information I’ve saved myself, I have it all there,” she says. “It’s this wealth of information, which is really important.”