With state of the art 30,000 sq.ft facility space in Frisco, Texas, ICON Meals is offering one of the finest ready-made meals (breakfast and lunch) in the USA. Unlike other meal-kit companies, one of the key advantages and specialty of ICON Meals is, it just comes with a fresh and convenient packaging that you can then simply heat and eat without worrying about the fuss of cooking.
So, I had this question of how a business owner would run a business like this but at the same time focus on other marketing activities as well.
In this episode, you’re going to hear from Todd Abrams, Co-Founder, and CEO of the ICON Meals. The brand he has built from scratch after his 15 years of technology entrepreneurship experience.
- His 20 years entrepreneurial career.
- Why everything starts with staying fit.
- How he is utilizing social media channels for the branding of his eCommerce business.
- Why he thinks SMS Marketing is the biggest problem solver for your abandoned carts.
- [3:05] Todd’s 20-year entrepreneurial experience and journey.
- [14:52] Getting into the mindset of being fit.
- [18:42] How he managed to get through the challenges in supply chain management.
- [20:51] How ICON Meals get to 157k+ followers on Instagram?
- [24:01] How being authentic will help you to reach your audiences.
- [25:45] How ICON Meals is utilizing the text SMS marketing to get 90% abandoned cart conversion compared to 8-13% from the email marketing?
- [27:50] What kind of content consumers like when you send them a text.
- [30:38] How to properly use the customer review process to grow your brand.
- [32:21] Why being consistent is the key to any business.
- ICON Meals Website
- ICON Meals on Instagram
- Todd Abrams on Instagram
- Todd Abrams on LinkedIn
- Shiva Kumaar on Linkedin
- Driven: Ecommerce at Work Home
If you have a topic that you would like to cover us on our upcoming episodes or if you’re running a successful online business and would like to share the insights with the community, please feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi, you're listening to Driven: Ecommerce at Work, a podcast that brings you conversations with the e-commerce experts on their processes and the lessons learned. And I'm your host, Shiva Kumaar, head of digital strategy at DCKAP.
We typically are going to try to shorten it and almost make it just like, but again, it's where does that text asset land? Right? So if you're texting it, what's it going to land on that page? Is the page 100% great, mobile friendly, right? Making sure you're not sending them to something that looks like crap on their phone or whatever, because it's just it's going to be lost. So again, there's all those different elements of the component of text. We sometimes send like a little meme or specifically a little little graphic or whatever. We just recently did something for it's a seal that we just got approval on called Go Texan. So that whole thing is really like a proud Texan. Right? Your product was made in Texas, it's produced in Texas for Texas. And so it gives you I'll call it like a better whatever on shelf space and stuff in stores in Texas. But so we did a little campaign to a specific segment of our list that was Texas based on that it had like the seal and the logo and all that. So we did do some but more, we won't include a lot of graphics in there. When we do abandoned carts, you'll get like a little meme and stuff. So we do a lot more. And I have to tell you like on the abandoned carts for e-commerce, the text messages over 90% where the emails converting it like a call at 8 to 13. Right. So again, more and more people on that abandoned cart, I'd encourage anyone who's not using it to use text right away, right? And there you can, like, I don't know if you saw the popery that like Cobra, he's got a great ad for abandoned cart where it's a like, basically, it shows them it's like a smelly thing that like they don't want you to leave left the toilet smells, whatever, come back below. Like it's funny. You look at that meat, right? But again, so we try to use different things where we're like, Hey, we noticed that you left hangry or whatever, and it's like a little meme and it'll fill there. With the actual the last product or another product or something so
Shiva Kumaar 02:06
that's Todd, Abraham's co founder and CEO of icon meals. The company that was born out of a growing forestation and his mission is to provide the great tasting fresh, healthy meals with natural ingredients and zero preservatives at an affordable price. I sat with him for a great 30 minutes conversation where we talked about, you know, how he's doing some of the interesting marketing activities for his e commerce business, Icahn meals.com and how his passion towards the fitness is helping him to stand out and the meal business competition. Let's get on to the episode. Okay, one sec. So instead of me asking him questions for a change, I told him just walk us through your 20 years entrepreneurial career, how it all started. the ups and downs of you know, being a business owner. That's raid 10 lesson from Todd without me interrupting. Let's hear it from him.
Back in the early 90s 1986, and computer technology company based out of Sydney, Australia, we were doing memory CPU components. We're building whitebox PC in Canada in the US for different larger companies. Again, I say entrepreneurial space, it was a Chinese billionaire. The other guy that had come over to start Canada was 20 years old, I think I was 20 at the time, and pretty much jumped in there. We took that to not knowing pretty much how to do anything to do in a couple million dollars a week in a fairly quick amount of time. That was back then when computer monitors and components and stuff monitor for three $500 etc. So bring them in in container nodes and just started building that business. I back before that I grew up in the funeral space, so my dad owns funeral homes and cemeteries which is an interesting industry. But after I left the computer company working with Campbell had originally come down from Canada, Toronto, which moved to Montreal moved to Vancouver and then came down in the states looking to set up a head office had that we built out, I guess 110 million in sales in Dallas over two and a half years. Long story short, but left back in 98 started my own company started a software and application company in the funeral space, which was interesting, because it was way beyond sort of the time, right, they weren't even really using email and websites and applications yet. So we grew that for quite a few years, we were basically one of the first companies to build software connecting like funeral homes and organisations to the state, so to death, electronic death certificates to pre need insurance, all those different pieces. And from there, we had a need to host our own applications we're hosting in a data centre as we're building SaaS applications. licencing etc. And there we spent another company called layer technologies around 2000. And that became a larger, quite large hosting platform. So I had that from 2000 to 2014. I'm sure you're familiar with WordPress. So WordPress bury amount of good friends of mine. They were hosted on us when Matt had two servers and I think when we sold in 2014, they had a fairly big 30 plus thousand server footprint with us 17 data centres and did a lot of back in the day PCI compliance hosting. So for MasterCard visa, we did quite a bit of cyber security, cyber crime. And then from that standpoint, back in 14, it was sold. originally supposed to sell to Silver Lake partners, a private investment equity company that took Dell private ended up selling to data pipe, and then to Rackspace. Who's not sure if you're familiar with those guys. Rackspace is they were public, they went private. Now they're going back public again. So that sort of 14 years there. And it's funny, because when people say, Oh, man, it's like, what's going on? And hey, when you get a cell icon, what are you doing? And I'm like, Man, I'm just getting started, right? Because I don't think a lot of entrepreneurs really people understand inside of that space, what 14 years, it took me 14 years to build that as a company, right? Things don't just happen overnight. And it's. So for me, I think my my timeframe is a little bit extended. So we've had icon now of coming up, I guess, five and a half, almost six years. But how I got into this and people go, Well, how did you get in from application and technology into food service, right in the e commerce space and different things, and it's a big jump, but it's also sort of a passion project of mine, just in regards to nutrition, healthy lifestyle, etc. But really, I look at what we're doing in this space and iKON really just it's a technology play, right? It's a technology platform. serving food, delivering food is what it is, and I think that's even more prevalent. Today with what's going on in the world with COVID, and different things, which we can talk about in a second, but it's funny because when I told my wife back in 2014, when we sold the company, I said, and we'll do another startup and he said, What are you doing? You're crazy. Like, why can't you just go get like a nine to five? Right, a normal job. And that's it's not me, right? from way back before my first ever place that I was working before start my own company. Back in where I grew up. Small Town, right country town, probably, I don't know. 15 20,000 people. And from there, the big factory that came in was Honda, right? The car factory. And when I was going to college, I was like, Oh, you got to get a job at Honda. Right? It's like the main place to work and all these guys were had PhDs and MBAs and stuff like crazy. They're back at Honda working. And I got in there and during the summer, and I think I lasted two weeks, right. And the reason it lasted two weeks, it's just it's not my mindset, like my mind does not work that way. Like they came in. They made you wear white jumpsuits, right, and you had to walk between two yellow lines and you did four tasks every single day was so repetitive one thing after Another and when I quit after two weeks, my dad and everyone's like, what are you doing? You're like ruin in your life, right? Like, you can come back here after college and you can work and I'm like, What did I go to? I went from there where had secured whatever 19 bucks an hour 18 years old etc, to I went to doing network marketing, which was basically 90 hours a week, no base salary, no, nothing is crazy now think about it, like knocking on doors and different things in downtown Toronto. But that's again how my mind works, right? Like it's just again, to me risk is a different I guess, organism just based on because I look at it as I control things, right? People always say hey, what do you do? Well, I said it's whatever it takes in all my companies. I've never had a mindset of Hey, what if it doesn't work here, right? Because the one thing that I can't control is what I do in business. And if I can control that and control my risk, then I feel I've got a very good shot but so that's just been my whole connotation right going I guess for it in my different businesses but getting into it Con was really the e commerce space is to me interesting because it expands that audience. Right? And I say right now, like, the only people that buy from us are people that know. But it's to me it's a challenge on a daily basis. And how do you open up that world right to you? Again, it goes into the different tactics you do. So when you have way back when we started the other businesses I looked at, okay, well, who could I sell to within my proximity within my city, right or within this, and now you got a platform that we ship all across the US overnight, so you're talking coast to coast for Rico, Hawaii, etc. We have international distribution on our snacks, etc. But again, all that's reached through e commerce, right that the platform and when we first started and we were building that company, we went with more open source. So we're using WooCommerce, we're using WordPress. But then again, as we grew and became in this space, we were looking for different programmes off the shelf right to run our kitchen to read our ingredients. There's really nothing there. So we started actually coding different pieces in and As you do that with using open source, a lot of times you have issues with upgrades and things. So we migrated back after I guess two and a half years to Shopify plus migrated to that platform. And then still took a lot of the customization and code and written on top of that. So again, we've been piecing together the solution. Now there's more players starting to offer solutions, which I would like to have four or five years ago, but different pieces of I'll call it a kitchen app and things. So again, it's been a learning experience, I think, but looking back, I still believe what we do is we have a technology platform. And really the product is food right? And way back in my entrepreneurial journey, my mentor, one of the individuals who was my mentor, he passed away in 2017. I look at him as like sort of my second dad but his name was bought me and he was very wealthy individual worth a couple billion dollars, you know, the largest real estate investment trust in Canada. And he was actually an investor in my funeral company and then layer technology. Jeez. But again learn a lot of things right? He lived offshore at NASA, Bahamas. And just from him it was any business that I always have, I have to have two things, one has to have recurring revenue or residual revenue. And that's really where my application software was in funeral service. We had different newsletters moving to the hosting business again, you had recurring revenue right off those servers. So how many people could you fit on that server, that shared space, generate more revenue then got into dedicated and cloud etc. And really good service to me is that same thing everyone eats every five to seven days, it doesn't matter, right, you're eating every day, you're gonna reorder every five to seven days as long as you do your job. And then the second thing you have to have is a solution to a problem. And the solution with icon is really looking at the element of convenience. Everyone lives that busy lifestyle, right. As you know, you probably work X amount of hours gay. And again, it's just not that time to cook to take care of yourself. So if we can provide that solution and deliver that meal, and we're very prominent with a lot of business As travellers prior to COVID anyways, them travelling so let's say you're in Dallas or New York and you're travelling to San Francisco or LA for meetings, right? You can have your food show up in your hotel room ahead of time. Again, making sure you're entertaining doing a lot of different things, but you can still stay on point. Again, we work with a lot of professional athletes, wwe wrestlers, UFC just because that element of convenience so and then catering looking at really splitting our offering into what we call signature and custom so looking at offerings that appeal to different people. So if you have custom meals, you can tie them back to specific needs requirements on your diet, dietary solutions if you've different ailments, etc. And then signature is really just being able to pick a colour from a chef's prepared menu. But again, every element of I'll call it technology and right it's a lot more than just making a meal and selling a meal. It's okay first off, you have the sourcing of ingredients right then you have the making sure you have contracts locked in on that delivery, so supply chain elements and then you tie into Okay, your ecommerce platform, what platform are you looking at? Right? And then how do you have your API is tied into your different things, right? There's a lot of different pieces to fill that it's not just Hey, call FedEx have them come pick up, right? You got your FedEx your real time, your API's tied into shipstation, tiny and other things. And then from the kitchen element, it's a whole different beast. Because as you grow, you've got a lot of different things that are important to the kitchen, they need to know, maybe it's how many pounds of beef, how many pounds of chicken, how many pounds of green beans, etc, to make each meal. So it's real time data, right? So our ordering system we had to build to tie in real time up to a certain so we have a cutoff point at 2pm. It drops off all the ingredients and stuff into different ports for the kitchen at that time so they can pull them, they can make the meals. And again, I think technology has been a big piece for us because we're one of only probably a couple companies that allows you to order six days a week, but then also cook six days a week, right? So we're shipping every single day most people will take orders and then they ship once or twice a week. So it's much easier to do that because you can consolidate everything together if you're doing it in real time. It's really like real time data coming in. So you got to be on top of that, so that you're fulfilling orders on a daily basis, right 2pm cuts off well, then everything has to kick off in sync because of supply chain hasn't happened to ordering cut offs to shipping details to the right size boxes, packaging, etc. Delivery rates, then it's the whole platform is not going to work. So I think more and more and more the technology piece, we're also getting in and out to mobile applications, right, roughly 84% of people that ordered through as order on a mobile phone, and I think more of that. So we're geared up towards working on a mobile app with a one touch ordering mechanism. We see that now when we do SMS campaigns and stuff, really the spike in traffic and the spike in overall orders for that one period. Just because there's so much convenience, right, you're in your car you're in whatever you get that it's an instant one click Yeah.
Shiva Kumaar 14:52
So how did you actually get into this? Um, I mean, so let's say during your earlier 30s or something like that, so how Do you get into this mindset of you know, being fit? Do you have that at that time So
to me, it's not about having the time right it's about making the time and for me it's how I position my day in my life is really if I don't work it I'm not in that mindset that's my stress relief right in order for me to be the best that I can be and provide value to my employees to my family to my wife, my kids, other people out there I have to be in that mindset right and so my day is pretty crazy. I wake up at roughly three o'clock every morning larm clock or not like a seven alarm clock for four o'clock like today woke up at 258 right I just get out of bed. That's it start my day I have a routine so try not to get into my technology to my cell phone etc. I don't want the day to control me before I can control my day. So I journal I read before that and then I'll go in to work it right so typically, I'm gonna train probably for about 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Gives me done pretty much by five o'clock back all sort of start my day then food, whatever and then get into take try to take some one of my kids to school etc. And then I'm usually in the office, probably six, seven o'clock at that time. And then my day is pretty long. But again, I enjoy the day right? I enjoy what I do. So it's I don't look at as like last night I think I left ear at 830 or whatever was in yesterday at 545. So, but again, that's to me my mindset. It's not when I get into a lot with a lot of people because they say how do you have the time? It's not how do you have the time? Right? It's priorities. What do you want to do? What do you prioritise because you ultimately control the outcome of your life? Right? I don't care what people say like it's not there's not anything handed to you. I've never had anything handed to me. It's what you make of it right? And what situation it's the same thing that you look at challenges. How do you look at like different challenges or the little speed bumps in a longer period? And look when I started this company, and other companies and a lot of big things from everything from a call lawsuits are different employee issues, etc. Go Holy crap, what did he do because I'm an integrity guy, right? I believe Like, I try to do everything I have the best interest but it's not. It's not that way in business, right? Like a lot of different things fly at you. So it's really, I have to I had to take that in and process that we're really is looking at like, is this gonna sort of a checklist? Is this gonna affect me five days from now five years from now, right? It's not It's not like a speed bump cane once you learn to handle those speed bumps and overcome it really, one of my big things was not putting things off, right, not sort of procrastinating, hitting the nail on the head, right? And every day, I have a list of all my power list and sort of three to five things that I have to do to move the business forward. Okay. They're not just like list, right? They're not just a writing tasks down because that a lot of people think write tasks down, and they're busy, but they're not really getting anywhere, right? And it's really, what are those three to five things that move the needle to in your life or in your business to advance you on a daily basis? And I've got to say, and I say I say look like everyone's always waiting for that perfect moment, right? Hey, it's not the perfect time. I can't work you It is not the perfect time to start this business or it's not this, as I say, look, there's no such thing as perfect, but in my mind better is perfect, right? And if you can work to be better, just 1%, okay, or one step in every single area of your life on a daily basis, then you're advancing, you're moving forward towards that goal. I think so many entrepreneurs get caught up in that, hey, it has to be perfect, like the stars have to align, right? But also see so many people get sort of blinded by that, like they never do anything because they're waiting for that perfect time. So again, that's been a big part of it, where it goes back to doing a lot of personal development and stuff as well. I think that was early on for me right when taken back to the network marketing, what is 18 years old or whatever. But again, that's been a big part of my life.
Shiva Kumaar 18:42
So the toughest part in the food industry is in you know, the supply chain. Right. So you had a completely different entrepreneurial career up until like icon meals, right. So your previous companies were more of, you know, tech focused both you know, the elder solutions and then the layered, so was that difficult for you to To handle the supply chain, or do you had any challenges or there during the initial stage? Sure.
So again, I have one partner here, hey, my partner, Danny. And Danny basically comes from the food services. He was the head chef at the Omni hotels, four seasons, etc. So I say I know what I do well, and what I don't do well, right. And for me, it's been sort of a it's a bit of a good marriage or a good partnership that way because Danny's more responsible for handling the kitchen side of the business. And so from a cost analysis standpoint and stuff so me but I'm basically on the sales, marketing, finance, business development, and I'll call a longer term vision of the company, right? So I've learned a lot I say if I knew now what I knew four years ago, I probably wouldn't be in the food space. Just based on there is a lot of different pieces that are hard to control right. One of the biggest frustrations inside of the just the supply chain is really like how you ship food and stuff because I can control everything to when it leaves my dock right but when we're shipping 1000 to 3000 packages a night I turn them over to FedEx or UPS. It's like holy craziness, right? Because it's like putting all your chips in Vegas on like red or black and spinning the wheel and seeing where they're gonna land because they give you a failure rate, they give you 2% failure rate on a nightly basis. So, there's a lot of different things that you have to adopt and learn. But I think as well as an entrepreneur, right, it's really looking at like, how do you evolve? How do you grow? And how do you so you're always trying to look at that, but again, it's a it's always gonna be a learning curve. And I think we've adopted I think we do some things better than others. One of the big things in foodservice is controlling your actual food cost, right and then waste in different pieces like that because the perishable nature, but I think we do a pretty good job of that. And I felt there's an industry standard of food cost and different things. But again, we use that as a gauge but so there's a lot of pieces to put together.
Shiva Kumaar 20:52
So you're active on social media, right? I mean, especially on the Instagram, both your personal profile and then I can use as a company so I'm actually on your profile right now. So I think you've got like 14 k plus followers, right? So the icon meals has got almost like 157 k plus followers. So how did you find you know, what the consumers like and then what kind of content you know, helping you to grow from, let's say zero to 10,000 plus followers.
So, I guess we can talk when I come in first, but in a second, I'm going to try to put what I'll call and we're changing it a little bit right now but trying to so we have two things on Instagram, we try to put look at images and look at I'll call it attractive pieces, right? That are going to be like sort of stuff that people want to look at it and buy some that might be everything. And it's funny because we put on the highest calorie, fattest, whatever, right with more sugar and everything, and that attracts more people. Okay, so the clean ingredients you're going to get again, but so we try to show a range that but what we try to do is almost like an art palette, we'll call it and looking at making those appealing, right, and there's a certain thing there. We're trying to maybe change up the content a little bit right now. But since Cova, NEMA We started doing a daily newsletter. So we used to do like a weekly and a monthly newsletter. But we've been doing it daily email piece. And really that's that's sort of mind movement, but adding value, right? So it's not a sales promo piece. But there's an element of value every single day we're spotlighting something, right, we're putting content back out there. So today we're talking about mindset, right in my talk about different diet pieces, it might be one of our affiliates, right, like some celebrity or something doing something, but that's what we've been delivering everyday. So we try to tie that and then the Instagram back together. We also use Instagram for a lot of collaborations. So between us and other piece, so to bring to a hot, prominent relative brands together. And because we have a lot of joint followers that way and stuff. So I think that adds value. During COVID. We've tried to do a lot more giving away. So we've done free meals like the hospital workers, people in need. We do a lot with first responders, to military to police to fire. We've been supporting a bunch of those. So try to use that again. We've never never spent one cent on buy in any follow they're all 100% organic over time. So again, when you look at it some of these other companies that have X amount of followers you just a question, right? Because you really look at the engagement. So what we try to do is get that engaged, one engage with that audience. And then for me, personally, it's again, um, for me, I'm probably not the most consistent on my stories I am personally but on the hard posts, I get to share my life share my content, right sharing what I believe is to me important and if other people find that important and attractive, then that's great, but if not, it's not trying to please anyone else besides really just sharing pieces of my world that I think others can take it elements of, but it's again, for me, it's like always been my faith, my family's sort of fitness and finance, right, there's my four pieces of my and you'll see those displayed in my my ID and stuff, but that's just on a daily basis. So some days it's a little bit less posting than normal, but you It's a
Shiva Kumaar 24:00
Yeah, and I think that's what the consumers are looking for as well. They are looking to see another human being oh there instead of the brand, the company. So they just wanted to, you know, see what the other, you know, person is saying, or you know how they are leading their life on the day to day activities, and then kind of like they wanted to follow that as well. Right.
I think that's important because like a lot of people say, Well, how do you stay in good shape and stuff? Look, for me, it's been six years of, I hardly go to the grocery store. It's true. Like right now. Like, if I look like, here's my like, that's breakfast, right? This icon meal, okay. Boring. I mean, chicken and asparagus, but that's what I eat. That's just like for me, so I am a product of what we sell and what we do, right. And even if I'm, I don't know, going to compete or do something like that. It's all I can do. That's my main. I mean, four to five of those meals a day. It's funny because even my kids the other day, my daughter says, Hey, what's your dinner daddy? And I said, I couldn't she goes, Daddy, I come as we've had I come is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. But that sort of like it's just it's easy, right? It's convenient for us. So my kids have the favourite And, again, I think one of the big things in personal is really showing the bond vulnerability and showing like just a real person, right? There's not any a filters and this and that, it's, it's been interesting because the last, I don't know, a few months or whatever, I'll call it, I do just little videos and all my personal and stuff, but we've taken some of that content and repurposed it into icon and demos on it on a newsletter basis, where we call it Todd talks. And we're getting a lot of good feedback on those and stuff. And it's just really different aspects of what I believe is important than what I've implemented in my life that is resonating, I think working in find some value in that as well. So again, I agree with you it is who's behind the brand, and is that are they fake? Or are they like genuine? for the cause? So
Shiva Kumaar 25:45
So on the text messaging part, I don't know how many e commerce store owners are actually doing it. You know, usually brands ask their users to sign up for their newsletter, right? I mean, especially on the homepage or on the blog or something else, but it's, you know, you're actually asking for the mobile number in your homepage so how does the text message is performing you know compared to the email marketing
I think the future everything well i don't think anything ever is giving away from email right to me as an entrepreneur to a business need to understand that the one thing that you can control is your list right and your website different things. So I say don't put all your eggs in one basket on just social media because you've probably heard the horror stories as well hey, someone takes down your YouTube page or you lose your Facebook your Instagram, right? You're totally but the one thing you control is that email list and if you can build and provide value, and not just promotional stuff, but adding value to those users right you're gonna have a call to gold in text messaging, text messaging, I think takes it even just one notch. Closer right? To me it's gold like I can instantly if we send a promotional texted right. Typically you're going to see results instantly within like matter of minutes. So let's say for instance, I don't know how many we sent you but you can. Let's say we send 50,000 where you can probably generate 40 to 60,000 additional dollars in a matter of four or five hours in one of the campaigns. And that's gold to me, right? You might get email where it's trickling in over the next one or two days, particularly text message was coming to that person's device, they're going to take action now. Or if they're driving, maybe it's an hour or so right. But that's instantly in the easier you make it Haywards directly to the page landing page or whatever it is to that specific offer. Then I see you see more engagement. So that's what we see. Again, we're doing a lot of different things. We're building some stuff right now into lifecycle. So instead of using traditional email lifecycle, we are using that we're building that up. But again, we're doing more different campaigns. And it's interesting because I like how the text we can separate it, we can target different groups. So we don't just blast today, right? We're segmenting that and doing some different pieces, but it's been good. We've been doing it with a couple different companies over the past, I guess, almost two and a half years now.
Shiva Kumaar 27:51
So the one problem that every ecommerce store owner has not let's say for someone who's just getting started. I mean whether the consumer is gonna accept the text messaging? Should I just go with the email? Or what kind of content? Do they have to, you know, send it in the text format, like compared to email format.
So the text format, you can send it a couple different ways, right? It's, again, different price points and stuff we're going to apply. But if you're sending an SMS versus MMS, and again, you got to remember some people's phones aren't good, except MMS, because they're just That's hot. So again, you need to know your audience needs to know like, we typically are going to try to shorten it, it almost make it just like, but again that it's where does that text asset land, right? So if you're texting it, what's it going to land on that page is the page 100% great, mobile friendly, right? Make sure you're not sending them to something that looks like crap on their phone or whatever, because it's just it's going to be lost. So again, there's all those different elements of the component of text, we sometimes send like a little meme or specifically a little little graphic or whatever. We just recently did something for it's a seal that we just got approval on called go Texan. So that whole thing is really like a helicopter. Proud text and write your product was made in Texas, it's produced in Texas for tax. And so it gives you I'll call it like a better whatever on shelf space and stuff in stores in Texas. But so we did a little campaign to a specific segment of our list that was Texas based on that it had like the seal and the logo and all that. So we do do some but more we will include a lot of graphics in there. When we do abandoned carts, you'll get like a little meme and stuff. So we do a lot more. And I have to tell you like on the abandoned carts for e commerce, the text messages over 90% were the emails converting it like an eight to 13 right? So again, more and more people on that abandoned cart, I'd encourage anyone who's not using it to use tax right away, right? And there you can, like I don't know if you saw the popery that like Cobra he's got a great ad for abandoned cart where it's a like, basically shows them and it's like a smelly thing that like they don't want you to leave left the toilet smells, whatever, come back live. It's funny. Yeah, look at me, right. But again, so we try to use different things where we're like, Hey, we noticed that you left hangry or whatever, and it's like a little meme. it'll fill their cart with the actual the last product or another product or something. So, again, you have to, like, play around with it. But again, just making sure whatever you have them. Landing on is mobile friendly is the best sort of renderings of what you are trying to offer them. But I'd encourage anyone who hasn't experimented with it to experiment with it. And I think collecting both email and text and giving them your customer some incentive, if you've already got a big list of email, but you don't have the text, I encourage you to go back and do a survey. Maybe an offer them, I don't know, some discount or whatever, right or some promotion or something for opting in on the the text list as well. Okay, for sure,
Shiva Kumaar 30:38
for sure. And so can you tell us a little bit about your customer review process? I mean, like after they made the purchase, right, at which point you actually ask them for their review, because it's like huge for the e commerce. So it's very good on your website.
Yes, we use a company called Jaco I'm not sure if you're familiar with them. There's There's trustpilot there's a bunch of other ones over there. Yup, there's a few different features that we like. So you can set it in sequence, right? So you want to make sure that they have enough time to receive the product, right? They have enough time to test the product. And then let's say something happened in shipping, you still want to make sure that it's not Hey, the next day, right? So from that standpoint, you can set it like, I don't know, five days after, so they've eaten the product, if it's a product, right? Or if it's a technology gadget or something that they've consumed, or if it's a piece of clothing, they've worn it or whatever. But again, you know, in your own industry, what timeframe that is, but I would set them up with that sequence first, right? See what the initial take is if they're going to take the survey right away. And if not, then you have a sequence followed up like a day after but I think typically, ours is set for five days after it arrives. So based on the rival data, the FedEx data set five days after that, we get some pretty good engagement, you want to encourage also depending on which review platform you're using, try to encourage pitchers try to encourage photos, different things, right. Again, that's more because then other audiences and other people that are looking at references and reviews can actually see what product it is see what so there's A lot of different things. We're not utilising it fully how it should be, we need to be using it more. There's Instagram functionality tied into posts and stories and stuff. So we're just sort of doing more of that right now.
Shiva Kumaar 32:12
Yeah, I think that's what you're increasing on the website as well. So you're actually encouraging them to upload the photo, and then start from there. Right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So one last quick question before we wrap this up. So how do you, you know, ensure that you have the consistent tests, you know, cuz that's, that's what, you know, gonna make you stand out in the competition, right, especially when you're just launching a business. What was your customer expectations are on them? I mean, do you still have the same Jeff?
Yes, we have the same Jeff. We've done a lot of different things. Again, go back to technology, right. So I think it's like, again, do we have the same recipes as day one? No, not 100%. Because everything has to evolve, right? And again, that's why we were probably one of the first ones if not the first to offer a rotating signature menu. And why is that important? Because it's harder, okay. Typically, someone's going to offer like, I don't know 20 meals or 12 meals and that's the meals you cook. But if you're rotating those menus every week where we were or every two weeks, right, you have to have consistent ingredient processes to, I don't know, let's say use certain spices and stuff across a bunch of different ones. It's not like one spice in 20 different spices and 20 different meals, right? It's so there's a lot of things you have to plant it there. But also, from a taste standpoint, we invested in vacuum seal technology, so that what does that do a lot of people in this space usually call it a clamshell so it has a lid on the container, whatever. That's typically three to five day shelf life with the vacuum sealer cryobank technology, we're getting 12 to 21 days shelf life, if you freeze the meals, you're getting up to six plus months. Again, people were like when we implemented that, like holy did you guys get a new chef right? That tastes amazing? Well, it's because it locks it in as soon as it goes through the tunnel. So everything, we operate in an FDA USDA facility, so there's a certain way that everything goes right, everything comes in one door goes through a bunch of different chamber rooms, so nothing that can ever go backwards. So it's it's prepped, it's cooked, it's cooled, it goes in then to space where we're placing it in 32 degrees, Pakistan 3232 degrees shift and 3232 degrees. In our facility, we have zero freezer so 32,000 square feet, we have zero freezer, believe it or not in here. So everything goes through fresh until the point of adding dry ice on shipment if if they're shipping because it's 115 degrees. So it's important we do a lot of taste tests. We have two people on a nutritionist side coming up with new recipes doing taste tests internally. We So again, it's an evolving process. It's not hey, here's the menu. And that's it. Right? It's constant refinement. This is like with tech technology, right? You're always looking at when we had cloud computing is how can you provide more security, right? How can you provide a I don't know more RAM, more footprint, more speed, faster caching, CDN, etc. Right? So it's the same with food. How can you get more taste? How can you make it a better experience for people right because if they sure we provide bland food on custom meals, if that's what they want, or they can go to the signature menu, they have the different tastes and stuff that appeal so it's it's really up to them but keeping that at the forefront I guess it's like with any clothing store anything right or new merchandise it's you always got to have what's that newest thing right what's that thing to keep them coming back and looking with us on an element of recurring business we know that they're going to eat every week so if we try to introduce new meals new menus on a consistent basis as well so to keep that element of I thought variety and freshness etc
Shiva Kumaar 35:24
cool perfect, Don I think we can talk about it for like more than an hour that's that's that's me Okay. Is that a bug maybe we should do either. So So what do you want the listeners to go do you? Do you want to have too many links?
Sure. Anything for icon meals you go to on any social media platform at icon meals, the websites icon meals calm. I'd encourage you if you're a foodie or you like anything like that to go look at our Instagram posts and Facebook, we do lots of different giveaways and stuff but then also subscribe if you want to our newsletter and get some valuable content we've been given During the sort of Kobe thing, a lot of different workouts and different things away from our affiliates. And then for me personally, it's on any social media platform. It's at Todd Abrams to DD AB RMS on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Shiva Kumaar 36:15
so perfect. So do you have any of their newsletter signup form? Or they can just go ahead and do that from your homepage? Right? I can mail calm
Yeah. From the home page. And they'll get that there's I think, discounts and stuff, but you subscribe that and on a daily basis right now pretty much I think six days a week. You're getting content from us.
Shiva Kumaar 36:32
Okay, cool. Perfect. So I'll put that on the podcast description as well. And thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you very much.
Take care. Now appreciate Take care. Thanks for having me on.
Shiva Kumaar 36:44
Thanks for tuning in. The topics we've covered in this episode are listed under showings on the podcast description. Go check them out. And don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you keep getting notifications every Friday. Catch you guys very soon in the next episode. Until then, Take care.
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