Hi there! Thanks for reading my story about MetricsMate. Let me give a super quick background to me so this story has context. I’m Danny Clutterbuck (yes, Clutterbuck) and I’m currently Co-CEO & Founder of an ecommerce agency called Webtise. I also consult a handful of retail businesses on how to improve their online profitability.

Working at an agency is tough so I try and take regular holidays. Whilst on a break, Cyprus in this case (Rio Ferdinand was at the same hotel at the time, Aphrodite Hills), something happened that frustrated me. This frustration turned into MetricsMate.

My wife owns an ecommerce business called Vintage Styler. She trades well and has a brand that is loyally followed. Alike many business owners, when away you keep your eye on what’s happening back at home.  In this case, she wanted to track number of orders. She tracked sales simply by email notifications and by asking me to log into Google analytics for her as she doesn’t know how to use it. So this happened:

  • Average daily orders before holiday – 15-20 orders
  • Day one of holiday – 20 orders
  • Day two – 25 orders
  • Day three – 1 order
  • Day four – 0 orders
  • Day five – 1 order

What the?! I was on holiday trying to recharge and I had my wife flapping about her business losing money by the day. So I did what most people would do, I blamed someone. In this case, it was the web agency – my web agency!

So what was the issue? Okay, so Vintage Styler is on Magento. As it turns out, someone back at Vintage Styler HQ had attempted to install a module without testing it. It had broken the checkout in all browsers but a version of Firefox. Guess what? 90% of traffic and orders came from those other browsers.

Disclaimer: Webtise is awesome and fixed the issue immediately.

So we were in Cyprus and didn’t know about the module or that the checkout had broken until the sales stopped and the revenue was lost.

An idea!!

Surely this happens to other people, right? Their sales drop and they don’t know why. In cases like this, even their web agency won’t know why (Geek alert: unless they use GitHub and track changes). Then my brain through this out…

“What if there was a way some software could spot the issue before you lose money?” 

Now I was thinking clearly. Sat under a pool waterfall, I modelled the whole thing and MetricsMate was born!

The name was the first one that came to mind actually and it’s stuck. I’m currently trying to develop the “Mate” side of it through some crazy branding techniques. Some will work and some will fail (have failed) terribly but it’s all great learnings.

The first version of the App

I’m mainly a right brain thinker and not too hot on detail and finishing things! This however, I was passionate about so I sought outside help. I began seeking app developers and one fell on my doorstep in the form of a good friend who I found owns a pretty big one close to where I live in the UK. We talked about all the ideas and he took it away to quote.

My fabulous ideas were going to be a problem. The first amount of work was going to cost almost £100,000!!

A little disheartened, I took some time to rethink.

Then something strange happened. I was referred two books:

  1. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  2. Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

If you haven’t read these books, please, please do. They completely changed my mindset to software/ product development. My key takeout from both of these books was that I needed to create an “MVP” (minimum viable product) and then create a “Product Market Fit”. Essentially, I needed to launch a really simple version of MetricsMate, gain as much feedback as I can, then design v2.0 around the feedback. Boom! We’re back in business! Off I went back to my App developer with my new found knowledge. Obviously, being a business, they did not want to launch an app with basic features and as cheap as I could do it! Being a good friend and with a few beers to convince, he really helped me out and launched version 1 (MVP) of MetricsMate. view. The MVP version would simply show key ecommerce information such as transactions, revenue, conversion rate and visits. What it would then do is allow a really simple way for people with no Google Analytics knowledge to see if there’s an issue with their site. We picked out the key culprits:

  • Browsers (Safari, Firefox, IE & Chrome)
  • Devices (Mobile, Desktop & Tablet)
  • In-store Search
  • Traffic (became channels)
  • Adwords
  • Landing pages

Rather than alerting the user (the expensive development bit), the user could check their sales and if there was a dip, they could see where the issue was (assuming it was within one of the above). The app was complete and we took the decision to make it free to download. I have an ambition to help people sell more and I believe MetricsMate does this so I’d rather make it available to everyone than put someone off over cost.

Launching

It was time to push the magic green button. Very excitedly, we launched but relatively silently. I wanted to creep into the market as I knew that being an MVP, it was about getting early adopters and not going mental on advertising. We got around 200 users within a few weeks and feedback began to drip in. Initially we got some great feedback but the main gripe was down to currency. We didn’t crack the app showing local currency (i.e. Dollars to American profiles) it only showed pounds to all. This led to one negative review in the app store – Doh! This point was logged to fix in our product/market fit version 2. When we set up the social profiles and the website, we began to get asked the same question… “Why a hedgehog?”.

Why a hedgehog?

Okay, this came from an original idea around the app. I wanted the app to be positive and motivational so I thought this would best be delivered by a character. Some of the original characters looking back now are hilarious! Here’s a few:

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Then I spoke to a fantastic copywriter called Seth Rowden (not Seth Rogan – although that would have been cool!). He’s a really positive guy (see the image on his site!) so he fit the bill perfectly. It was actually his idea to use a hedgehog (so blame him if you’re sick of my “hedgehog-isms”!!) as he thought we could link the name “Spike” to positive connotations like “Spike in sales” or “Spike in visits”. It was a great idea and we wouldn’t have got to this point without him – Thanks Seth.

Who is Spike?

Well, #SpikeIsMyHero

I’m a big fan of thinking big and a positive attitude. It’s crazy how a mindset can change what you achieve. Spike is a character that’s been created to inspire, empathise and be a “mate” to anyone who needs him.

I’ve dealt with negative people before and I’ve found you have to cut it out of your life. Negativity spreads but positivity does too. Spike is someone I look up to for motivation. He’ll only ever be positive and help others achieve success.

We’ve developed a few “hedgehog-isms” such as:

  • SpikeInSales
  • Keep Rollin
  • Prickly Pages
  • My Prickle (that’s a group of hedgehogs you know! It’s not something rude)

This is MVP Spike: 

meet1

He’s a little pale right?! Kinda like my Irish/ English skin tone!

2015 – Version 2.0

Last year ended really well for MetricsMate. We’ve got around 1000 users and  I’ve collected a ton of feedback. MVP job done! Somewhere inside 2014, Google Analytics launched a mobile version of MetricsMate and we found that engagement with the app dropped. It was time to collect all the feedback and get the ideas together for developing version 2.0.

I now had confidence in the features due to the feedback so it didn’t seem as risky putting more budget into it. I can’t reveal too much about v2.0 as I’d rather keep it a surprise, I hope you’ll be impressed.

Gaining interest

In the meantime, whilst it’s being finalised, I’m trying to be as transparent as possible by sharing images of the new branding (Spike got a sun tan!) and where we’re looking to take MetricsMate. I’ve got a vision that it’s more about the lifestyle surrounding where you look at your MetricsMate, taking comfort in the fact that Spike’s got your back! Being lifestyle, I’ve picked Instagram and Twitter to help convey the message.

I’m currently finding that quotes are working well such as success or motivational related ones.

The MetricsMate MVP is available in the App Store now if you want to download it. Please follow on Twitter/ Instagram if you’d like to hear about further updates and more about our journey.

As always, your comments are welcome. Please feed back anything you want.

Keep Rollin’ Peeps!

Danny/ Spike