Summarized by Maverick. Original writing by the team at Tydo.
It’s 2023, and AI is in. Thanks to the rapid development of machine learning algorithms and advances in natural language processing, AI is experiencing a surge in popularity and adoption. It’s even entering ecommerce, improving various aspects of the customer experience and optimizing business operations.
Within the ecommerce world, Maverick is leading the AI charge. Founded by Debarshi Chaudhuri and Eitan Winer, Maverick uses AI-powered videos to help ecommerce stores build personalized relationships with their customers. Their customers include Magic Mind, Ava Estell, Javy, Remi, and more.
We chatted with Cofounder and CTO Debarshi Chaudhuri to understand how brands can harness AI to connect with their customers and boost LTV.
Maverick Cofounders Chaudhuri and Winer have been friends for over a decade. They formerly worked together at Pocket Gems, a mobile gaming company. The duo tried out several startup ideas until they zeroed in on building a company within the ecommerce space, a familiar and exciting area to Winer. Winer previously ran an ecommerce store selling alpaca clothing from Bolivia.
After talking to a handful of ecommerce entrepreneurs, the two friends discovered that many ecomm founders record and send personalized videos to their customers after they make a purchase. As these founders scaled their businesses, they struggled to maintain this marketing tactic. It was unsustainable.
This led Chaudhuri and Winer to build Maverick: a platform that allows stores to easily send personalized videos at scale (via AI), allowing them to delight customers and drive sales.
Right now, Maverick enables brands to deliver personalized videos through email, SMS, and an embedded option that allows brands to host videos on their website.
Both email and SMS are incredibly valuable marketing channels. “Customers who opt into an SMS list tend to be worth 10x more than those who opt into an email list, making SMS an extremely valuable channel for engaging content,” says Chaudhuri. “It’s more personal and requires a higher level of trust from the customer, which leads to higher engagement rates.” In the future, Maverick plans to offer integrations with Gorgias and Zendesk and expand the list of CRMs they support.
In terms of personalization capabilities, Maverick can include the customer’s first name in videos. “Hearing one’s name in a video can dramatically increase engagement,” notes Chaudhuri. “You know what they say. Everyone’s favorite word is their name.” Down the line, they plan to add more personalization options such as product names, locations, birthdays, and discount codes.
“We realized we could automate the video creation process with AI, allowing merchants to continue sending personalized videos at scale.”
The Benefits of Personalized Video
Personalized videos are more powerful than you think. They allow consumers to get to know and see the faces behind a brand.
Online shopping is convenient, but it isn’t the same as visiting a physical store and interacting with a salesperson. In ecommerce, that human element is missing. Now, consumers crave it more than ever before. “That’s one reason TikTok is so big,” notes Chaudhuri. “People crave humanness.”
So, why use personalized video?
First, it delights customers. Most people are surprised and appreciative to receive a personalized video in their inbox or messaging app. Second, it generates revenue. Chaudhuri says that a typical return on investment (ROI) for using Maverick is between 10-60x.
“Receiving a video from the owner of a brand makes customers feel seen and valued rather than just a confirmation number.”
When Maverick was first getting off the ground, they saw brands primarily use the platform for post-purchase thank you messages. Now, brands embed Maverick across the entire customer journey.
For brands getting started, Chaudhuri recommends setting up Maverick for both post-purchase thank yous and abandoned cart reminders. These types of messages tend to generate the most feedback and revenue, per Maverick.
“The post-purchase thank you messages lead to positive and often overjoyed responses, while abandoned cart reminders often result in completed purchases. At Maverick, we can track the real dollars generated from these campaigns on our end,” Chaudhuri adds.
Similar to Klaivyo, Maverick allows brands to track a range of metrics from top-funnel engagement (i.e. the number of people who received, opened, clicked, and watched a video) to downstream attribution (i.e. the actions taken by people who watched a video, such as returning to the site, completing a purchase, or signing up for a loyalty program).
“More and more brands are embedding Maverick across the entire customer journey, including welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, win-back campaigns, and loyalty program sign-ups.”
So, what makes a personalized video a success? Chaudhuri says that the most effective videos are around 15 to 20 seconds and feature the people behind the brand. Most Maverick customers use either founders or team members or hired actors/influencers to record messages on behalf of the brand.
“The most important piece is recording someone who can authentically engage with the customer,” says Chaudhuri.
Additionally, Chaudhuri recommends offering something, such as a discount code or contact information (i.e. “Hey! Here’s my phone number, if you have any issues with your order.”). It makes the content more compelling.
Maverick customer Yaw Okyere, who runs the all-natural skincare brand Ava Estell, uses the platform to strengthen his customer relationships. In his Maverick videos, he calls out the customer by first name, making them feel seen and heard. Okyere has been able to recover around 12% of his abandoned carts and get a 40x ROI on his Maverick spend. Additionally, he’s seen a 45% click-through rate and a 12% reply rate.
Okyere said, “Maverick has made me look like a superstar in the eyes of my customer.”
“We’ve found that customers are more likely to watch and engage with shorter videos.”
The Future of AI in Ecommerce
“In recent years, deep learning has made significant progress, resulting in models such as GPT-3, ChatGPT, and DALL-E for image generation,” says Chaudhuri.
It’s only the beginning. All these recent advancements make it possible for brands to engage with customers and create content in new, effective ways.
“Using machine learning models, brands can learn more about each customer and generate personalized content at scale using image and video generation tools. This level of personalization was previously not possible to achieve manually. In the next several years, we’ll see AI content tools become a core part of how businesses engage with customers,” says Chaudhuri.
“As these AI tools become widely available, we expect to see more brands using them to enhance the customer experience and improve effectiveness.”