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Retaining Customers, Outperforming Competitors, and Building Brand Loyalty With Salena Knight

Salena KnightSalena Knight is a retail strategist, consultant, and speaker specializing in helping independent retailers grow their sales and maximize profits. She is a former award-winning, multi-store retailer with over a decade of industry experience as a digital marketer and retail strategist. Through her consulting and training business, The Retail Academy, and her retail marketing agency, The Retail Strategists, Salena has helped build and scale profitable, sustainable, and highly sought-after retail enterprises across Australia and the US. She is also the host of the Bringing Business to Retail podcast.

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

  • [2:07] Salena Knight shares her experience managing multiple ecommerce businesses in various sectors
  • [12:17] How Salena developed and launched her first product
  • [14:44] Pricing strategies to outperform competitors
  • [16:51] Generating brand loyalty through personalized outreach efforts
  • [27:18] The importance of recognizing customer demands
  • [30:19] What are the five pillars of retail success?
  • [35:09] Salena’s conversion rate optimization strategies and factors influencing lifetime value (LTV)

In this episode…

Launching a retail business requires carefully considering factors, including products, profit margins and sales, competition, and customer demands. Learn how you can optimize your ecommerce business to build a thriving reputable brand.

Retail strategist Salena Knight has developed the five pillars of retail success: money, sales, customers, marketing, and impact. First, identify your profit margins to determine an ideal price range for your products to maximize sales and revenue. It’s also critical to enhance customer lifetime value (LTV) by developing personalized outreach and marketing strategies through email campaigns, interactive videos, and customized messages. Salena’s price ranges are higher than her competitors, yet she generates more sales and produces a greater impact by establishing brand loyalty and LTV.

Consultant and retail strategist Salena Knight joins Joshua Chin in today’s episode of the eCommerce Profits Podcast to discuss building a profitable retail brand. Salena also details conversion rate optimization strategies, the factors influencing LTV, and how to outperform competitors with your pricing.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Chronos Agency.

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Our team of passionate email marketing experts has helped hundreds of brands generate over $70 million in return from email alone, and our clients receive an average of 3500% ROI from our efforts.

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If you want to take your revenue to the next level using email marketing, be sure to email our team at sales@chronos.agency or visit chronos.agency to learn more.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to the eCommerce Profits Podcast where we feature top founders and experts in the ecommerce Industry and take an in depth look at their struggles and successes and growing ecommerce brands profitably.

Joshua Chin 0:19

What’s up people? This is Josh Chin. I’m the host of the eCommerce Profits Podcast where we explore the struggles and successes in growing a brand. And we interview high level executives and entrepreneurs in the space. To learn more about what makes them successful. Today, we have Salena Knight, most people would know her as the host of the very popular Bringing Business to Retail podcast. Go check them out on our podcast and all major platforms that host podcasts. And Salena is a former award winning multi store retailer with over a decade of industry experience in digital marketing and retail. And being a retail strategist. And today Salena runs her podcast, her consulting and training business called The Retail Academy and her retail marketing agency, the retail strategist, amongst other things, and you also have a full time job of taking care of three, three dogs. You mentioned, two dogs, two dogs, child, dogs and one child. Okay, that’s, that’s a lot of work. So welcome to the show. First of all, thank you for coming on. What made you how do you end up in these different vastly different businesses while they’re relatively related, but they seem to be, you know, a lot of work independently on its own. But you’ve managed to pull it off with a pretty high commitment in your personal life alone. So tell us your story.

Salena Knight 2:07

Well, thank you. First of all, thank you so much for having me. The it’s a funny story. Actually, I was in my corporate life. And I say corporate in air quotes for those who are watching. I was actually an arborist and a horticulturist. So I worked with trees. And I started off as a, you know, a gardener, moved into working with trees, cutting down trees, and then from there, ended up in project management, and ended up working for the power line company overseeing a lot of environmental things, but also the people who trim the trees around the power lines. And so the cons, I didn’t really like kids, but somehow I ended up with a baby. And it was just I think it’s like most retail and ecommerce Store owners is they start a business because they found a gap in the market. And for me, this was back in 2007. There was no eco craze, like there is back now like finding anything. eco requires a lot of hard work and usually importing it generally from the USA. And so when I became pregnant, I was trying to find these, obviously a very sustainable person tried to find these eco products and was having to import everything from the US and realized it would be better off if I was buying in bulk started kind of a little side business while I was working for the government actually. And was got to the point where I was selling in parenting forums, because this was 2007 like ecommerce was still pretty new back then. Yeah, selling so much in parenting forums that I ended up having to and I was just sending out PayPal invoices. It’s just like so basic. ended up building a website on US Commerce, which you have, I think you have to have been around a while to know about us commerce.

Joshua Chin 3:57

I’ve never heard of it.

Salena Knight 3:59

Yeah, well go back 15 years, and you’ll find us commerce as one of the first ecommerce platforms very, very clunky. And we were actually using that as our POS as well. So it was ridiculously difficult. And then it got to the point where I was making more money in my side hustle then I was working for the government. But I also really struggled with where I was in my corporate position. Again, corporate in quotes, because at that point, I was in project management and in a leadership role. But I was very ancillary, because trees are this very emotive thing. It’s like people love them or hate them. And I remember saying to my boss, at one point, I’d negotiated this ridiculously huge deal between all these stakeholders to keep a piece of land that was environmentally sensitive. And the cost to the government where I worked was $1,000. Like, I’d gotten everybody to put all this money in and we’ve worked months to try and get this done. On $1,000, like, we’re talking, they have multi million dollar budgets for everything. And I remember my boss saying no. And I was like, No, hold on. I’ve got the media I’ve got I’ve got everyone involved. And he’s like, no, no, it’s not in our best interest. And I remember saying, I still remember sitting down in front of him. He was a very large man who didn’t come to work very often and had no respect from the team. And I remember saying to him, I was so frustrated, because clearly, I’m a very passionate person. Like, why am I here, then? And he said to me, Well, you’re only here because the law says, We have to have one of you.

Joshua Chin 5:40


Salena Knight 5:41

Your face was my face, right? That was the like, WTF? told me I am. Like, I’m only here because I have to be here. And I think that was the beginning of the end, where, because I was doing this stuff on the side, it got to the point where I was like, you know, screw it, I can either go and work with babies, or I can work with grown men who are behaving like babies. And, you know, I know. That led me to leaving that very lovely, stable job that came with lots of benefits and a car and starting my own retail business, because what I did have the ecommerce side running by now opened my first door in 2008, which, of course, was global financial crisis. Yeah, my business degree hadn’t taught me anything about global financial pandemics. So I didn’t know anything about that my business degree didn’t really help me with a lot. I think it was just that, you know, she will determination and enthusiasm that still grew. I mean, it was crap at the beginning, like, I didn’t know anything about what I was doing. And there was lots of struggles, but it did grow. And I think when I got to the point, where one day I like, you can look back in hindsight and always see these turning points. And I remember it was a Saturday, and I put the key in the lock. And I turned it on, I opened the door, and there was this little corridor as you first walked into the store, it’s only about two meters long, maybe not even that, and you kind of walked in and turned around. And I remember opening up the door, and taking two steps in and just looking at the walls and looking into the store. And just going like, what am I doing? Like it just this is not working, and literally collapsed on the floor in tears. Thankfully, it was only 8am Because I would go to work earlier. I don’t know why I used to do I think I used to go there and just to make myself a cup of tea and flick through input. Who knows. But some of the stupid things I used to do was spend way too much time in my store that I should have been spending with my very, very young family. But I remember walking into the storeroom, tears streaming down my face, just sitting sitting in the corner going. This was not what it was supposed to be like you’re leaving, doing these things, like everyone says, do what you love. But if you’re not making money and having it stable, and I can see your growth plan then like, what the heck. And I made a decision in that moment. I remember, I got up and I made myself a cup of tea and I got a chocolate biscuit out of the fridge. I was like you can do this go you can do this. And I rang my husband and said, I’m selling my house. I was very lucky at the time we were living in, in our own home. But before I’d met him, I had an apartment that I kept as an investment. Right? Anyway. And I’m silly, I’m selling the apartment, I’m selling the place by and it was because at that point, I realized I’ve done what so many people do, which is I had grown broke, like the business was growing. I had no money. And it was that the thing that forced me onto the floor was what the heck am I doing wrong? Like the sales are coming in? We’ve got a great profit margin. We’ve got an amazing brand. I’m literally out there speaking on stages. Why don’t we have no money? And I mean, I had been a director of a credit union at one point. So I knew I understood money. But I didn’t understand why we didn’t have any. And so I said, I’ve worked out that I’ve gotten to the point where I need to have the cash injection in my business. And by then I’d been in business I think it was maybe maybe about three years. And so I couldn’t go to the bank to get money because on paper, we didn’t have profit. We had great turnover. But there was no cap because everything I was doing what everyone does, I reinvested it back into the business. Yeah, I was like I need the money to be able to grow the business. So I did I sold I sold my apartment, and I invested A portion of that money into the business. But I was very strategic from that point on. And I think that is where you know that that seeing the breakdown to give you the Breakthru instead of just putting money in, I said, I’m gonna put this much money in. And these are the areas of my business that I know needed help. I still remember doing stupid things like we were just talking earlier about buying frivolous things. I bought frivolous branding at a cost of $13,000 from this award winning agency, but that didn’t do anything for me. That did not help me sell any more product. But But from there looking back, I can see what I did was I started to focus on these different areas of my business, I now call the call them the five pillars of retail success works in ecommerce as well. And what I would do is I would just focus on the one thing for 90 days, and there was no strategy involved. It was literally like, just put the blinkers on. This is kind of working instead of getting distracted by the next amazing thing. Let’s just see this thing through see this thing through season things through. And that was when we started to make more money. Yes, we needed the cash injection. But actually, when I started focusing on just sales, or just money, like understanding profit margins, and negotiating deals with my suppliers to get those margins to increase those margins, or when I started buying when I was buying to buy from overseas, then I actually teamed up with another store, who was who was my competition, but I teamed up with them to do an import because then we could share the cost of shipping we should could share the cost of import duties. Yeah, like we just kind of bundled it together. Because we even though we were in competition, there are only a handful of people in the whole country who are selling these things. Yeah. Fun fact, that person is now our creative director in my business. Oh, boy. That’s awesome. Yeah, so we had always said, after we met, we were like, we should have just gone into business together. Like we didn’t know each other at the time. And it was require that put us in contact, right. Like, she’s the creative person and I am the strategy person. And together we make a February 13. Yeah,

Joshua Chin 12:14

what um, what product was that?

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