On May 9th, The Lead dropped its annual “The Leading 100” list covering technology start-ups that are powering innovation in the brand-to-consumer space. We’re thrilled to be included in this year’s line-up, especially considering we’re in impressive company. A host of other accomplished Shopify apps made this year’s line-up as well — and to walk you through them, we’re putting together a list of how you can use 10 Shopify apps listed on The Leading 100 to create a well-rounded tech stack.
According to The Lead, The Leading 100 List recognizes high-impact technology start-ups that are transforming the direct-to-consumer business model and driving business value for brands as well as retailers. These companies are solving business problems, powering growth, and helping brands deliver on customer expectations through innovative, accessible, and powerful technology solutions.
We figured that the best way to illustrate how brands can leverage the many apps on this list is to make up a brand and walk you through the process.
Let’s say we’re the founders of a Shopify beauty company called Simply.
Here’s what you need to know about Simply:
Keeping these considerations in mind, here’s what Simply’s Shopify tech stack could look like — composed of only the Leading 100 apps.
Just a note before we dive in — bear in mind that we’re tapping into only 10% of the entire Leading 100 List, so this is just one possible permutation of a well-rounded Shopify tech stack.
As we mentioned, here at Simply, we care about fostering community, particularly through the lens of our eco-friendly values. Community is one of the best jumping-off points that can guide you to many other aspects of your business – so long as you always start with and keep in mind the end consumer’s experience.
TYB is one of the best platforms to achieve this.
TYB, which stands for Try Your Best, is a community management platform that enables founders to directly engage and reward “fans” for participating in growing brands, whether through giving feedback or sampling new products.
The goal behind TYB is to cultivate real relationships — and one of their participating brands, Joggy, has made big strides using the platform. (Check out our case study for a real-life example of how Joggy is using TYB.)
By getting TYB for Simply, we can test out a new cruelty-free lotion on our audience and reward them for rating the product. We might ask how the scent is, whether the consistency feels right, and if our consumers like the packaging it comes in. All the while, we can be transparent about the vegan and ethically-sourced ingredients (and sustainable packaging) in order to further convey our eco-friendly mission and garner support from like-minded sustainable consumers.
Not only does this help us strengthen our new products, but it also helps our audience feel like an integral part of our brand — which is a stellar way to start to build and strengthen a communal feel.
Now that we’ve begun fostering community, the next question is how we leverage it. Simply’s engaged followers who participated in TYB are perfectly positioned for us to welcome them into our marketing flows — specifically with SMS.
Postscript specializes in SMS tools that help brands elevate their consumers’ engagement levels at every step of the journey. For Simply, we can easily implement a pop-up for our already-engaged TYB consumers to encourage them to opt-in for texting.
From there, we can lean into personalization by asking consumers which skin category they fall into — and then effectively segment them for further personalized marketing. We can also make strategic product recommendations, like a cleanser to go along with the moisturizer a consumer has already purchased, to continue to delight our audience.
Speaking of personalization — it’s a core part of the experience we want to cultivate with Simply, and rather than have to hand-pick these recommendations ourselves, Rebuy is the platform we turn to.
After successfully bringing consumers to our Simply website, we need to ensure that the shopping experience is as tailored to each individual consumer as it can be. Rebuy uses AI to create hyper-personalized recommendations so we can strategically and effectively upsell and cross-sell.
This not only increases the likelihood that we’ll sell our new rose exfoliator to a customer who has frequently loved other rose-scented products, but it also means we get to impress consumers with these customized recommendations. It’s a win-win.
It’s not enough that Simply’s products are cruelty-free and sustainable — we also have to practice what we preach with our overall carbon footprint, which means having a carbon-neutral shipping solution.
EcoCart enables us to include a carbon-neutral order option for our customers at checkout. From there, we can proudly display our sustainability efforts with impact calculators and informational pop-ups — as well as access sustainability analytics for us to measure our own journey.
EcoCart lets Simply show to our subscribers that we don’t just claim to care about being eco-friendly, but we actually go the extra mile to ensure every part of our business is as green as possible. Plus, we welcome our consumers to contribute to these efforts by paying a little extra at checkout for green shipping to further our audience’s feeling of community.
To keep the green moment going and continue to further our environmentally-friendly mission, we use ShoppingGives. ShoppingGives’ Social Impact stack means Simply can implement opportunities for our consumers to donate to a charity right in their shopping cart.
In conjunction with this, ShoppingGives also allows us to encourage consumers to complete certain actions in exchange for a donation from our company to a given charity. For example, we may incentivize customers to sign up for our newsletter, and as a result, we’ll donate $1 per signup to The Jane Goodall Institute.
ShoppingGives opens up the door for a variety of different charitable campaigns, and we can leverage the power of our community to find out which campaign would resonate with them the most.
One of the best ways for us to grow our Simply brand is to lean on the loyal consumers that we already have. Current consumers can help Simply improve our overall experience as well as better acquire new customers.
Okendo helps Simply provide discount incentives for our audience to fill out short surveys so we can improve our marketing. Plus, it enables us to reward customers for reviews so we can build trust and bulk up our social proof. In both cases, we effectively engage our audience and get invaluable zero-party data back in return.
(Okay, shameless plug — but Smartrr and beauty brands pair together as well as highlighting and contouring.)
Since Simply’s skincare products are part of an everyday routine, implementing a subscription offering was an obvious choice. And when we considered our goal of wanting to deepen engagement at every stage of the customer journey, choosing a subscription app with a robust LTV toolkit was the best choice for Simply.
We’re utilizing so many features in Smartrr’s highly-engaging customer account portal, which is full of different touchpoints to enhance the post-purchase experience. With Smartrr’s loyalty rewards, we can easily encourage subscribers to stick around by having them accrue points over time that they can then exchange for products and discounts.
We also have a referral program to reward subscribers for word-of-mouth marketing. Plus, we feature different influencers’ picks every month as part of Smartrr’s trending upsells. With Smartrr, there are so many opportunities to bring the consumers’ experience to the next level.
To strengthen Simply’s subscription offering as much as possible, we rely on Intelligems to help us A/B test different price points. This way, we can both simultaneously drive revenue while making sure our price points are attractive to consumers and always conducive to retention.
Beyond pricing, Intelligems also helps us test our discounts for the most effective deals possible.
At Simply, we like to think about our inventory through the lens of delighting our subscribers — because every element of our tech stack should be working to enhance engagement beyond each app’s baseline duty.
On top of helping us manage our inventory in general, we use Cogsy to prioritize creating a VIP experience for our subscribers by giving them first dibs on new inventory. This continues to further our relationship with our subscribers by making them feel special and prioritized.
Finally, at the end of the day, all of these efforts are most meaningful when paired with an analytics app to track and relay useful data to best optimize our brand. Triple Whale helps us monitor Simply’s overall health and always have a finger on the pulse of our growth.
We can also see the impact of everything else we are doing — like leaning into community and our values, strengthening our SMS, boosting engagement with subscriptions, and more. Triple Whale provides proof that our aforementioned strategies are working, as well as displays key opportunities to continue to improve.
So there you have it — a robust and well-rounded Shopify tech stack built from only the apps included in The Leading 100 List. Again, we’ve just scratched the surface, but this illustrates that a powerful tech stack is one where each individual app works together to achieve your brand’s bottom line.
Thank you to The Lead for including Smartrr in 2023’s list!