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October 09, 2019 6 min read

“Our number one marketing KPI is return on spend. With Firepush notifications we get a 7:1 or 8:1 return on our spend each month. This is a really good ROI.” Umar Qamar, Export Leftovers

Export Leftover’s partnership with Firepush in numbers

Total number of push subscribers: 78,933

Total number of orders through push notifications: 25,927

Total revenue from orders through push notifications: 49,698,150 Pakistani Rupees ($317,000)

Most used push notification type: Power Push

Average revenue from $100 spend: $700-$800

A business built on entrepreneurial spirit

Shopify is a verb (like modify or gamify). It’s all about doing something – turning a virtual space into a living, breathing business. And the entrepreneurs who best capitalize on the opportunities Shopify Plus offers usually have innovative ways of approaching business - unusual products, unique marketing strategies, or imaginative ways to sell products already out there.

Umar Qamar, founder of the ecommerce site Export Leftovers, is one such entrepreneur.

After he finished his undergraduate studies in the UK at the University of Edinburgh, he returned to Pakistan, where his entire family is in the textile industry. But he thought of a new way to deal with the brand-name leftovers from production runs in Pakistan that don’t make it to the market they were produced for.

Umar’s father runs a factory that does production runs of hundreds of thousands of items for major retailers in Europe and North America.

The factory where Export Leftovers products are manufactured

There are often a few hundred items left over that either didn’t fit in a shipment or were excess because of overestimated shrinkage. These left over items can’t be sold to the original market without a license to sell the brand. So do you just throw them in the trash?

Thousands of items that will now find a happy owner in Pakistan

Umar came up with a much smarter solution.

With a population of over 200 million and an emerging economy – both production and e-commerce - there are plenty of people to sell to in Umar’s native Pakistan. His customers are the emerging middle class - they want to buy known, high-quality brands, but still want a good deal.

So Umar set up an ecommerce business called Export Leftovers. He uses his Shopify Plus store to sell leftover goods from approximately 40 factories and of all types, even expanding beyond the textile industry. As he puts it, “We specialize in something you have but you can’t sell, and you want to get rid of it. We’ll buy it off you and sell it.”

Each package is delivered with a personal message from Umar

A challenge to get customers returning

Pakistan is a market full of ecommerce potential. Smartphone penetration in the country is up to around 14% and steadily on the rise each year. That doesn’t sound like a lot, until you consider the fact that Pakistan has the 6th largest population in the world - currently it is just over 200 million.

According to Google, the “Next Billion Users” of smartphones in the world will come from four developing countries, one of which is Pakistan.

So, finding the customers is not necessarily a problem.

But making the most of the customers you already have is much more challenging. By early 2017, Export Leftovers had grown successfully and was bringing in strong sales from new customers.

But it’s return customer rate had fluctuated wildly since the company’s inception in 2013 - anywhere from 5% to 50%. This was proving a real headache for Umar. Brining back return customers is more profitable than finding new ones, plus it helps to make sales flows more even and predictable.

So Umar was looking for a better way to retarget his existing customers, with the ultimate aim of getting his return customer percentage up to 60%. As he puts it, his focus at that time was all about “getting the repeat customers in.”

“At this time I was noticing all the push notifications coming in to me from news and other sites, and I realized that it was something my company needed.”

Pakistan’s online confidence gap

Along with their retargeting potential, Umar also believed push notifications could help him solve another problem that was stifling his ability to get customers returning.

“There is such a big trust deficit in the country. Even on a day to day basis people just don’t trust others to contract for goods or services. Only 2% of the population have credit cards, and I believe this is a symptom of that lack of trust.”

In February 2017, Umar installed  Firepush to this Shopify Plus store.

To build confidence Umar is focused on presenting an image of professionalism

This lack of confidence extends to online purchasing, so he decided his company needed a professional solution to inspire trust in his customers.

In February 2017, Umar installed Firepush to this Shopify Plus store.

Retarget customers and build trust in a cost-effective way

Umar was looking for Firepush to give his online business two things:

  1. The ability to effectively retarget his existing audience and, as a result, increase the percentage of returning customers.
  2. The ability to instil trust and confidence in his audience in order to build a reputable online brand.

And both these aims had to be achieved in a cost-effective manner. Umar puts his aim for marketing results bluntly: “The number one KPI in the company is return on ad spending.”

So Firepush had to deliver a competition ROI ratio of marketing spend to revenue generation.

Export Leftover’s push notification strategy

Export Leftovers uses Firepush for web browser push notification campaigns. These push notifications are sent to the company’s ever growing subscriber base. From an initial subscriber number of just 500, the list has now grown to almost 80,000.

The main use of Push Notifications is to inform these customers of Export Leftovers’ latest promotions. These include discounts on individual products or across product lines, and seasonal sales.

Umar also uses pushes when releasing new products. Because his inventory is quite unpredictable and can change rapidly, his customers value being kept informed of the latest products available, rather than having to regularly visit his shop to search around for what’s new.

For these purposes, Umar uses two types of push notifications offered by Firepush - Promotion Pushes and Power Pushes. Promotion Pushes are specifically designed to create interest in a store’s latest discounts or flash sales, and Umar has used these to good effect.

However, more than 90% of the pushes he sends are Power Pushes.

These are pushes that include a store’s own branding, and can include rich images or GIFs. Because Umar is often showcasing individual products, these pushes are ideal as he can offer customers a high quality visual of the product before they have even clicked through.

Growing revenue from returning customers

So far, Firepush campaigns have brought in revenue of almost 50 million Pakistani Ruppees - this equates to $320,000.

Umar’s ability to send high volumes to a large subscriber base in a cost effective manner has been key to his retargeting success. In 2 years, Export Leftovers have sent nearly forty million pushes with Firepush. These pushes have generated 25,927 orders. This equates to one order for every 3 push subscribers.

Firepush is helping Export Leftovers achieve ever increasing sales volume

This means that through Power Pushes and promotion pushes, Export Leftovers are bringing in significant order volume from their existing customer base. For a company that has varied and changing inventory, this can be a real gold mine.

A very strong ROI

This increase in sales volume is impressive. But what about return on ad spend, Umar’s number one concern?

Here, Firepush is clearly working for him too. For marketing experts, an ROI ratio of 5:1 is a good level for a campaign. In other words, if you make $5 in revenue for every $1 you spend on marketing, your campaign has been successful. Advertising on Google or Facebook typically nets a lower ratio or 3:1 or 4:1.

So what has Umar at Export Leftovers been able to achieve?

“Firepush notifications every month brings in $6,000 or $7,000. This is a really good ROI.”

For comparison, if you spent $850 and achieved a 5:1 ROI ratio, you would generate $4,250. As you can see, Umar’s is much higher, ranging from 7:1 to 8:1 each month.

Supported every step of the way

Especially in unpredictable emerging markets like Pakistan, the ability to adapt and modify your approach is critical. But doing this with your marketing tools usually requires strong customer support. This is something that Firepush delivered on.

“It was easy to begin using the product,” Umar explains. “I started with a free trial and talked to Tom, who got it up and running on my Shopify Plus store. Then whenever I had any questions, I always got an answer fast.”

Umar celebrating another successful year with some of the Export Leftovers team