3 strategies from AutoPets for engaging the connected shopper

Insights on influencer marketing, retargeting, and using third-party services to engage customers across the buyer’s journey.

As part of his recent 10in20 webinar cameo on connected commerce, Jacob Zuppke, COO of AutoPets and Founder of, goes deeper on tactics for engaging the connected shopper across the evolving customer journey.

Build your influence

As both traditional and online media become cluttered with paid advertising, it’s important to leverage social influencers of all types to reach your desired audience on their preferred platform.

Here at and, we have two influencer marketing strategists who are dedicated to building relationships with influencers. We work with a variety of influencers—from interior design Instagram influencers with 3,000 passionate followers promoting our new furniture line, to large-scale gamers on Twitch with 800,000 subscribers promoting how Litter-Robot helps them focus more on gaming instead of on scooping. The best strategy for building your intended audience is to cultivate diverse partnerships all across the web.

Identify your audience, and the best influencer to reach that audience

If you’re new to influencer marketing, start small. For example, if you’re selling a children’s toy, consider reaching out to two smaller-reach influencers. First, send your product to a mom blogger so that she can put together a post on how this new toy is great for her children. Second, send your product to a kid influencer on YouTube who can live the unboxing experience. These are two different approaches that will inevitably have different results. Once the results are in, you can have a better sense of where to place your next bets.

No two influencer campaigns will ever create the same results, so it’s important to set certain KPIs beforehand, including what “success” looks like. At we look at total reach and engagement rather than sales. We try to use our influencer marketing initiatives for our high-funnel marketing efforts, in other words to build a future audience. We try not to be overly focused on sales conversions, because we understand that influencers are creating our customers of tomorrow.

That’s why it’s important to build influencer partnerships that work for everyone, not just for you. We’ve found that when the partnership is truly mutually beneficial, both parties feel like they’ve “won.” And this shared win is often an indication that there’s a really good product fit for the influencer’s audience. And when the product fit is good, the content is usually really good too, and that can eventually lead to better results.

Quality over quantity

One very important influencer marketing tip when thinking about your strategy: size doesn’t matter! Don’t just go after the big influencer with 1M followers. The best influencer partnerships are built on the right product fit for the right audience. And sometimes that means partnering with an influencer who only has 2,000 followers on Instagram. Engagement is key with influencer marketing: If those 2,000 people trust that influencer’s product recommendations, then the marketing effort has the potential to be much more effective than if you’d used an influencer with 50,000 followers who are mostly the wrong audience for the product.

Sometimes going small is better than going big! We use micro-influencers all the time to reach specific audiences. A good example of this is the strategy we used for our Litter-Robot ramp. We partnered with a micro-influencer whose cat has a disability to show how the Litter-Robot ramp helps their cat get inside the Litter-Robot, and how the product would benefit other cats with disabilities.

Influencer marketing can be done in so many ways, so just make sure that you know what your goals are before diving in. But don’t let KPIs intimidate you—influencer marketing has proven itself to be a top-performing strategy for Litter-Robot and—and it can be for you, too!

Make purchasing easy

As countless brands compete for the attention of the online consumer, our goal at and is to make the purchasing process as seamless as possible. We always want to be where the customer is. What does this mean? Give your consumers as many payment options as possible to encourage them to proceed with their purchase earlier in their customer journey.

As a consumer who works primarily from my mobile device, I find more and more that if I’m presented with multiple payment options, such as Amazon Pay, I’m likely to make my purchase on a first-time visit to a site instead of waiting. It comes down to trust. We trust Amazon, and given the Amazon A-Z guarantee, we’re more likely to make a purchase immediately.

Whatever the consumer’s preferred payment methods are, give them multiple options beyond just credit cards—you know, those things you have to carry around for non-digital-wallet users. That’s the barrier that most often loses me in my buying journey: When I’m lying in bed navigating the web, the last thing I want to do is get up and grab my wallet. So, make it easy: Give the customer the options you want for yourself, knowing that we all have our own preferred payment methods and payment platforms. and offers many payment options. These options have resulted in first-time visitors comprising our largest buying group, even at a $500 price point!

Develop a retargeting strategy

Even with many options, we can’t win them all on the first visit. That’s why it’s important to pair multiple payment options with trying to “be where the customer is.” This means having a very strong retargeting strategy in place to keep you top of mind, regardless of where your customer goes.

The retargeting strategy for and includes video, display, and native content across social platforms, email, search, and more. We also try to take it a step further, and engage on a one-to-one basis, meeting the consumer where their interests lie. If a consumer is looking at our 90-day return policy, we target them specifically with ads that better explain this policy. But what if they were interested in the features and benefits of our new Litter-Robot 3 Connect? In this case, we retarget them with lower-funnel features, like our resident veterinarian explaining why the product is better for you and your cat. Or maybe the customer was partway through checkout using their favorite checkout method, Amazon Pay, but got distracted before finishing up. In this case, we follow them with our Amazon Pay retargeting strategy, quickly building their trust and bringing them back to complete their purchase journey.

Regardless of what specific targeting and messaging strategy works best for your business, make it easy and be where the customer is—always. We sell a $500 litter box and have very successfully proven that offering multiple payment options and being where the customer is can help convert all types of users quickly and efficiently. While you may not use Amazon Pay yourself, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in it!

Check out the Litter-Robot as part of the Possible with Pay Gift Guide.