Episode 197 : Unlocking the Power of AI: Revolutionizing Conversion Optimization and Personalization for Online Shopping

Eric Melchor is a mediocre tennis player, Texas, expat living in Romania and Partnerships & Evangelists for OptiMonk. With over 600 5-star review and powering more than 30,000 brands, our mission is to empower the average online business with Amazon-like personalization superpowers. How? 

By giving brands the power to use AI to create better headlines, product descriptions and run A/B tests to tailor the product page and shopping experience – on autopilot. Thus, saving you hundreds of manual hours while your conversions increase in the process.  


•  Could you share with our listeners a little bit about your journey, we always like to hear from our guests in their own words a little bit about how they got to where they are today.

•  You are the Partnerships & Evangelists for OptiMonk. Could you share with our listeners what is OptiMonk? And what does OptiMonk do?

•  Could you share with us why you think it’s important to integrate AI? Do you think it will make the process a little bit more seamless? Is it giving the customer more steps to take? What have been some of your experiences with your customers? What has their feedback been?

•  What are some ways that the AI can help to personalise that experience, or the shopping experience for the customer?

•  So, in terms of an online shopping experience, what are some key things that you think is critical when you’re trying to design that journey for the customer. What would be, let’s say three or four things that you would say to them that needs to be critically engineered into that process to ensure the customer has a great experience?

•  Now, Eric, could you share with our listeners what’s the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?

•  Could you also share with our listeners, maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you’ve read recently.

•  Can you share with our listeners what’s the one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about? Either something you’re working on to develop yourself or your people.

•  Where can listeners find you online?

•  Now, before we wrap our episodes up, could you share with us if you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will tend to revert to this quote if for any reason at all you get derailed.


Eric’s Journey 

Me: So, Eric, could you share with our listeners a little bit about your journey, we always like to hear from our guests in their own words a little bit about how they got to where they are today.

Eric shared that prior to moving to Romania, about 3 years ago, he held director level marketing and CX customer experience positions for publicly traded companies in Houston, Texas. And he really loved what he was doing. And he got to manage large teams and large budgets, but then when he decided to move to Romania with his family, he wanted to start in a new industry, and so he got into tech and SAAS, and complete shifts of big corporate America, moving into the start-up world where he was working with companies that had maybe around a dozen employees and he was wearing multiple hats. 

So, completely different way of looking at marketing, and how you approach things from a customer experience perspective. So, he’s enjoyed it, it’s been a fantastic journey so far. But he’s definitely a lot busier now than when he was working for the larger companies and he had bigger teams that can manage multiple things.

What is OptiMonk and What Your Company Does?

Me: So, your bio says that you are the Partnerships & Evangelists for OptiMonk. Could you share with our listeners what is OptiMonk? And what does OptiMonk do?

Eric shared that OptiMonk is like an all in one conversion optimization platform. So, anything that you need. Well, just to take a step back, they have over 30,000 brands that use the platform and many of the brands use them to increase their AOV, which is their Average Order Value, because there’s some pretty neat things that you can do to make that very simple. And there’s other things that you can do as well, like grow your email subscriber list and redo cart abandons. But increasing your AOV is something that a lot of brands use them for. 

Really excited that the past few months, they’ve been focused on AI and they’ve released a couple of features that allow sort of like a hands-off approach to doing conversion optimization. And so, they’re really going that route after speaking with a lot of customers, it seems like the big hurdle to really trying to get the most out of conversion optimization is just time, time to learn how to use the platform, time to implement different campaigns. So, they’re trying to automate this so that you don’t really have to do much, and AI can do most of the work for you. 

But OptiMonk, again, they’ve been around for about 8 years. They’re integrated with many different CRMs, and platforms like Shopify and Klaviyo, and Active Campaign and HubSpot, among many others. And check them out, they’re on G2, and you can look at their ratings and reviews. They have over 600 5-star reviews on G2 and Shopify.

The Importance of AI – Will it Make the Process More Seamless?

Me: Now AI, that’s a big thing that a lot of organizations are focused on now, especially with so many different options emerging, ChatGPT being probably the most recent in the last six to eight months. Could you share with us why you think it’s important to integrate AI? Do you think it will make the process a little bit more seamless? Is it giving the customer more steps to take? What have been some of your experiences with your customers? What has their feedback been?

Eric stated that he thinks why they’re implementing AI, first is because there’s no human being that is smarter than a machine, than a computer, it’s just not going to happen. He thinks even the greatest chess player in the world was beaten by the IBM supercomputer a few years ago and now pretty much any computer can beat any chess player in the world, it’s just not going to happen, computers and AI are a lot smarter than then we humans. 

So, we’re just trying to take advantage of that and there’s certain things that you can do like A/B testing, like A/B testing headlines, landing pages or the homepage or product page. And then rather than having the user, the customer come up with different headlines to test, their feature will come up with headlines that you can test automatically. And it could run different experiments automatically and automatically pick the winner once one has been statistically significant, proven to be the winner. 

So, to answer your question, it’s going to reduce the amount of time and the effort that is required to implement such conversion optimization campaigns. And then the second thing is that it’s just a lot smarter than human beings, it’s going to pick winners faster, and make those updates and changes on your website in real time faster than you could if you were doing it manually.

Ways that AI Can Help Personalize the Experience for the Customer

Me: Now, personalization is also so important. I feel even as a consumer, when I do business with organizations, I want to know that I’m not just another transaction, and they see me for who I am, what my personal interests, requests or needs are, and I’m not being compared or grouped into a set of people, because we’re all different. What are some ways that the AI can help to personalize that experience, or the shopping experience for the customer?

Eric shared that they haven’t started using AI for that specific use case. However, one of the things that their platform allows is being able to collect zero party data in a very easy and friendly way. So, for those who don’t know, zero party data is basically data that you would get directly from the visitor that comes to your website and you can usually get that in the form of asking a question. 

So, here’s a very simple use case, let’s say you’re shopping for Mother’s Day, and Yanique, you go to a website, and you’re looking for a gift for your mom, or maybe a godmother or maybe even a sister or something. And a simple question could appear that just says, “Hi, welcome to flowers.com. Are you shopping for yourself or for someone else?” 

Very simple question, and then based on your answer, let’s say you choose shopping for somebody else, then a response can be, “Fantastic, let me take you to the part of the website that’s most valuable for you and show you our most popular items, giftable items this season.” So, that’s a very simple way of collecting zero party data. But once you have that, that information, that data, then you can basically change the experience in real time for that visitor. 

You’re not really using any AI or anything, you’re just basically doing different segmentation based on responses to the questions that you’re answering. And that’s what they recommend to a lot of their clients, a lot of clients who are able to collect more email subscribers, who are able to get a lot more repeat visitors, who are able to get a higher AOV, they’re doing a lot of things, take into account collecting zero party data, in a very fun and engaging way. He likes to think of them as micro conversions. 

Another example could be a pure health and wellness website. And let’s say you primarily sell three products. One is weight loss, one is to increase muscle mass and another one is to help you sleep better. 

Well, you can ask the person visiting, “Which of these three are you primarily interested in?” And then depending on their answer, let’s say the person chose to increase muscle mass, then you could say, “Fantastic, here’s our most popular blog posts that show you how to increase muscle mass. And by the way, here’s our three most popular products for increasing muscle mass.” 

And so, that’s done in the form of zero party data once again, another example. But it’s done in such a way that it keeps the person engaged for much longer, spending time on your website much longer into conversions as a result, the conversions increase because of the zero party data that’s being collected and the ability to change the journey in real time for that end user.

In Terms of Online Shopping Experience, Key Things that Needs to be Critically Engineered to Ensure the Customer Has a Great Experience

Me: Now what’s interesting just listening to you speak just know, Eric, I was thinking about the whole journey of the customer, right? Because you’re talking about how it is that they land on the page, what kind of experience do they have? What are some of the questions that you ask them in order to channel them down a particular road and that’s kind of you orchestrating or engineering the journey you want them to have. So, in terms of an online shopping experience, what are some key things that you think is critical when you’re trying to design that journey for the customer. If you had a client who came to you and they’re looking to improve on their customer experience, improve on the journey that their customer is having through their online platforms, what would be, let’s say three or four things that you would say to them that needs to be critically engineered into that process to ensure the customer has a great experience?

Eric stated that one example he would like to share is this brand called Obvi, have you ever heard of them Yanique? 

Me: I have not.

Eric stated that they competed in a heavily saturated market. They a protein powder and they’ve been around about 3 years. But here’s the interesting thing about them, when they started out, they started out with a $10,000 investment, bootstrap investment. 

Three years later, they are a $3 Million Dollar brand and competing in a very saturated market among protein powders. What’s so special is that when you see interviews of their CEO, Ronak Shah, he says they heavily focus on conversion optimization, particularly by the experience when somebody clicks on a Facebook Ad, that moment when they click on that ad, that’s the moment that they are the most interested, and the most curious about a brand. Not two days later when they get the email in their inbox, not four days later when they get the SMS message. No, that time exactly when they click on that ad, that’s when they’re most curious and they want to learn more about the brand. 

So, what they did was, is that all the landing pages that they created, they just created one landing page. But what was different about each landing page or experience was that the headline mimicked what was on the Facebook Ads, so if they had a Facebook ad that talked about grow healthy hair faster, then the headline on the landing page, said something like, are you losing your hair and you want to regrow it or something like that, it aligned with the ad that was clicked on. 

Now, Obvi had a bunch of different value propositions, they had other ads that said something like the best tasting collagen protein, once that ad was clicked on, they went to the same landing page, but the website was able to recognize the Facebook ad because of the UTM parameters, he doesn’t want to get too technical there. But because it recognized the ad, the headline on that landing page change to mimic what was the main copy on the Facebook Ad, even though it was the same landing page. 

So, they were able to do this very easily without having to create duplicate landing pages, something he used to do as a marketer back in the day. And they were able to scale Facebook ads, which is really unheard of the past couple of years because of the iOS 14 upgrades and updates and things like that. But they were able to do it very efficiently and scale that way through Facebook, because they’re able to mimic the headline on the landing pages with their advertising campaigns on Facebook. 

So, that’s one example he likes to share, something that all brands should be doing. Because when a person clicks on an ad, and they go to the page, the website, they want to make sure that what they clicked on is the thing that they’re interested in and not some sort of bait and switch. Absolutely. So, he thinks that’s one tactic. 

Another tactic is Average Order Value, he thinks that’s something that every brand should really focus on, especially if you’re seeing cost per requisitions anywhere around $20 to $20. If you’re seeing a high cost per acquisition, then definitely you should have an average order value somewhere of at least $70, $80 plus. And within the platform, they make it super easy to be able to increase your AOV, you can do things very easily, like add shipping thresholds. So, depending on the value that’s in the shopping cart, let’s say you provide free shipping for orders that are more than $75 and somebody puts something in there that equals $50, then there could be a little message that appears in a horizontal bar on the website, like on every page, and it just says something like, spend $25 more and you get free shipping. And that’s a very easy tactic that works for a lot of brands and they’re able to utilize that and get increased their AOV that way. So, that’s a second tactic. 

And then a third one he likes is around global visitors. So, the global visitors, he thinks Shopify released a study a few weeks ago, and the market was almost something outrageous. It was in a Billion Dollar market, it’s going to continue to increase. And if you’re a website that gets more than 20% of your visitors internationally, then you should be creating a personalized experience for those visitors. 

Here’s one example. If he goes to a retailer in the US by the name of Woodhouse Clothing, and he’s based in Romania, and he goes to their website, there’s a little message that will appear that says, “Hi, we ship to Romania, our prices include taxes, you can shop in your local currency, which is Romanian Leu. And our orders are free shipping if you spend more than like $200 Leu.” something like that. So, it’s a very easy and a very fast way you given that international shopper assurance, and just kind of just made yourself more trustworthy by just letting them know, beforehand, before they even waste time looking around whether or not you shipped to them, just letting them know that hey, welcome we do ship to you and here’s some of the other questions that you may be wondering around tax or the currency on our website. So, he thinks that’s a pretty cool example.

App, Website or Tool that Eric Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

Eric shared that the one online tool that he uses a lot is Notion, and he’s starting to use it more and more. First of all, it’s free, or at least the one that he uses. And he’s starting to use it as a CRM. He used to use Trello a lot as a project management tool. Are you familiar with Trello, Yanique? 

Me: I am, yes.

So, Eric used to be a big fan of Trello. And somebody pointed out that, “Hey, you can do everything you’re doing in Notion, but it’s actually more streamlined and easier to navigate.” And so, he believed him, because he does use Notion for other things, but he’s just not too familiar with it. And he sent him a free template to use and he’s been using it ever since. And it is more streamlined, it’s just quicker, it can do everything that Trello can do but it’s just faster to navigate, less clicks. You can see more things on one screen. And so, he’s becoming a bigger, bigger fan of Notion, he would say.

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Eric

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Eric shared that one book that he read recently is called Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland. Have you ever heard of the agency called Ogilvy? 

Me: I think so, yes.

Eric shared that he’s (Rory Sutherland) the vice Chairman of Ogilvy, really smart guy. He saw him speak live and he got his book and it’s so fascinating, because the whole premise of the book is that there’s a lot of answers to solutions that are unorthodox, they are a bit crazy. But we don’t spend enough time trying to think of what those crazy solutions are because we’ve been programmed to think logically. And also, when you’re in big companies, you can’t show up to a meeting and like pitch this outrageous idea, because you’re afraid of the repercussions and maybe being let go, right? So, you’re always trying to think of what the logical solution is to problems. 

But he has a number of good examples, for example, nobody was banging on the door asking for an expensive, sexy looking vacuum, but look at Dyson. There are a lot of examples like that that he gives. And it’s just a really interesting book and it’s helping him to think in different ways rather than trying to think of like what’s the most logical solution.

What Eric is Really Excited About Now!

When asked about something that he’s excited about, Eric shared that the one thing right now, obviously, for OptiMonk, they have the AI functionality features that are coming down the road, pretty excited about that, not just for their customers, but also future people who want to try their platform. 

Personally, the other thing he’s pretty excited about is on the side, he is launching a new service for companies that are based here in Europe, where they’re having a tough time that are trying to reach their audience, especially if they’re tech companies. And the past 3 years he’s been building, you would say, an audience with the podcast that he hosts, and he interviews European start-up founders. And because of that, he’s been able to grow his network among people in the start-up scene. 

So, the service is basically combining sponsorship opportunities with his podcast, his newsletter, and then also in person events. And so, every now and then he likes to host in person cocktail party/networking events, and people that attend, they really enjoy them. They say that are a lot of fun, he likes to have a lot of fun with them, he has icebreakers, he likes to make sure that everybody has a great time. And so, in that in person event, the sponsor will have a chance to have a live short one to one interview with him in front of everybody there. So, it’s another great way if their audience is also tech entrepreneurs, and tech start-ups, then it’s a great way that they can get their brand in front of a live audience. So, that’s what he’s pretty excited about and he’s been focused on he would say the past couple of weeks.

Where Can We Find Eric Online

LinkedIn – Eric Melchor

Innovators Can Laugh Podcast

Me: So, I did remember reading a little bit about your podcast before when I was reading the bio, and I didn’t get a chance to ask you about that. Could you share a little bit about your podcast? What it’s about? Where does the podcast live? Is it available on most podcasts, if all platforms? And who are some of the insightful people you interview? Like I’m having this awesome interview with you now. 

Eric shared that his podcast, it is available on all the major platforms like Spotify and Apple. He likes to think of the show as the Tonight Show, but for entrepreneurial related podcast, it’s like a coffee, a casual coffee, like chat with the start-up founder, but the audience feels like they’re just hanging out with the host and the guests. He tries to make just very light-hearted and witty. They share the ups and downs of the start-up founders, entrepreneurial journey, but they also like to have some laughs during the conversation. And so, he would say pretty recently, if he recorded an episode, and if he really listened to it and didn’t think it was that funny, then he’s just not airing it. So, that’s how focused he is in trying for the show to live up to its name.  

Some of the guests that have been so funny, a recent one not too long ago was Valentin Radu, it was episode 99. And that one almost had him crying because his story was just so funny. And all the crazy things he did just to hustle when he was younger and make $1. But there’s a lot that anybody can learn from him. But he’s just a good storyteller too, and quite funny.

Me: So, that’s the Innovators Can Laugh Podcast, just want to reiterate that to our listeners. Feel free to tap into that as a free resource that Eric has been gracious like myself, to have a podcast and share all of these great insights with you as our listeners. 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Eric Uses 

When asked about a quote that he tends to revert to, Eric shared that the one quote that he always reverts to is, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage, by Anais Nin And whenever he’s on frits about something or unsure about something, he always kind of revert to that quote. But that’s his favourite quote. Have you ever heard that one before? 

Me: I’ve never heard it, but I like it. It kind of reminds me of some of Brene Brown’s quotes.

Me: Now, I just want to thank you again, Eric for taking time out of your very busy schedule. What time is it there in Romania?  

Eric shared that it’s 7:30 pm. 

Me: Yeah, so, you’re here with us at night, you could be with your family having dinner, playing cards, doing something way more fun, I’m sure and talking to me about customer experience. But we are truly grateful that you took the time out of your busy schedule to hop on this podcast and have this conversation with us. And we really learnt a lot about AI and of course your organization OptiMonk and different ways that we can look for opportunities to personalize the experience for the customers as well as engineering the customer journey in such a way that it makes it seamless and frictionless and just a better experience that at the end of it, the customer would want to do business with that organization again. So, thank you for sharing that, I’m sure listeners gained a great amount of knowledge and value from our conversation.

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest


·  Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland 

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