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Step Into The Big Leagues This Q4 With The Avengers of E-commerce: | EP. #100

September 06, 2023 | Author: Andrew Maff


Are you ready to take your brand to the big leagues this Q4? On this 100th episode of The E-Comm Show, Andrew introduces the ‘Avengers of E-commerce’ – a group of industry experts who are here to help you kick off your Q4 in style. With Destaney Wishon, Brittany Schmidt, Valentin Radu, and Hymie Zabede, you have the very best of e-commerce experience and knowledge, ready to help you make the most out of this quarter.

Get insights into their top tips for Q4 success, learn more about how to approach your Q4 campaigns, and get an inside look at the strategies they’re using to help their clients succeed this Q4. Tune in for a star-studded episode about how to make the most of this quarter!

If you enjoyed the show, please rate, review, and SUBSCRIBE!

Have an e-commerce marketing question you'd like Andrew to cover in an upcoming episode? Email: hello@theecommshow.com










Andrew Maff, Destaney Wishon, Brittany Schmidt, Valentin Radu, and Hymie Zabede

CONNECT WITH OUR HOST: AndrewMaff.com  |  Twitter: @AndrewMaff | LinkedIn: @AndrewMaff 


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Destaney Wishon 

Destaney Wishon is the Co-Founder and CEO of BetterAMS, a premier Retail Media Advertising agency. With a proven track record of propelling growth for top brands, Destaney's six years of expertise in Amazon Advertising has made her a trusted industry authority and leader in content and education.


Brittany Schmidt 

Britt Schmidt is an eCommerce leader with over 13 years of experience including Strategy, 3PL Management, Customer Service and Marketing for well-known brands such as Hugo Boss, Canada Goose, and Limited Brands.

With a wealth of experience and knowledge from her years on the client-side, she pivoted to the eCommerce SaaS space to focus her expertise on helping other eCommerce brands maximize their goals. Her entrepreneurial mindset and innovative approach have allowed her to effectively implement new ideas and help brands leverage modern technology to scale and drive revenue and growth.

Valentin Radu

Hymie Zabede








Andrew Maff  00:00


Andrew Maff  00:21

Yeah, yes, I'm so excited. So per usual. Hello everyone and welcome to The E-Comm Show. I'm your host, Andrew Maff. And today is our live 100th episode. So if we say anything that offends you, I apologize and we can't edit it. So it's gonna happen. And here we go. So, obviously, I have brought together what I feel like are the Avengers of the e-commerce Industry. And so I hate to ask everyone to do this, because I would like to assume that everyone already knows who everyone is here. However, we're going to do the usual and we'll pretend that no one knows who you are. So I'm gonna go around the room. Let us first of course. So destiny, who is the founder and co founder sorry, of Better AMS destiny, I would love to give you a chance here to let everyone know a little bit more about you. And of course, more about Better AMS?



Yeah, of course. So my name is Destiny. I have been in the Amazon space for almost six years now. Everything I've ever done has been on the advertising side. So everything sponsored product sponsor, brand sponsor, display, DSP. All of those fun things I've worked with everyone in any one I feel like at this point, our agency does around manages around $75 million a year worth in spins and that's across both CPG startups enterprise and we really just specialize in strategic leadership with Amazon advertising.


Andrew Maff  02:22

Beautiful. So you're gonna be our Amazon PPC experts throughout the entire episode. Greatly appreciate you having on the show. Brittany Schmidt, our director of Shopify over at Bold commerce. Brittany, how are you doing? What's so good about yourself?


Brittany Schmidt  02:35

Okay, great. Thanks for having me. Yeah, I've been in E commerce space for about 14 years. I started in B2C for brands like Canada, goose and Hugo Boss Limited Brands. And I did that for about a decade and then I moved over into the SAS space. So now I work with bold and we focus on selling software to help ecommerce brands sell more to every customer and convert better and stronger. And so that's been quite the journey. So my is leaking on live webinar. But um, yeah, we work really hard with 1000s and 1000s of brands. I think over time, we've helped over 700,000 stores, sell more on Shopify and improve their businesses. So it's been a journey for sure. And it's exciting to be on this side. Instead of the PPC side. I feel like there's a lot that I can help I can sympathize with the struggle of trying to sell and optimize for your customers.


Andrew Maff  03:25

Welcome. Thank you also for being on the show. Mr. Valentin, how you doing, buddy? See you over at Omni Convert, you want to tell us about yourself. And you convert obviously. Oh, no, we can't hear you. Yes, I think you can right. Now we can.


Valentin Radu  03:41

Excellent. So I'm really glad to be here. Thanks, Andrew for having me. I'm representing Europe in the 100th episode of The come show podcast. Thanks for having me again. I'm, I'm an export kid. from Bucharest, Romania. I've found it for companies I'm a former ecommerce entrepreneur made made two exits and I felt completely miserably with my with my own agency, and now I'm running Omniconvert, which is an AB testing and conversion rate optimization solution for E commerce companies. And I'm also an advocate and Evangelist of customer value optimization. So I became obsessed about improving customer lifetime value in E commerce and that's why I'm writing a book. And I'm really excited about how the future will unfold in this domain.


Andrew Maff  04:35

Beautiful. Definitely got a lot of questions for you and super excited to dive in Hymie Of course. Last but not least, want to tell us what's going on.


Hymie Zebede  04:45

Thank you for having me. Hi. Hymie Zebede, I've been an Amazon seller, selling on Amazon for the past 12 years, always private label. I sold my business maybe about four years ago. And ever since then I opened up a boutique agency where we focus on building up clients sales on their private label brands. And focusing in on maximizing the potential of each SKU.


Andrew Maff  05:11

Beautiful, super fun. I love that we got Amazon covered, we've got the outside of the Amazon world covered, which is where the rest of us play. Super fun. For all those of you who don't know, because I got asked this several weeks ago and someone's like, you know, you introduce everyone you never tell anyone about yourself. My name is Andrew Maff. Obviously, I'm the founder and CEO at Bluetuskr. We are a full service marketing company for E commerce sellers. So I work with all these great people all the time, and all their different platforms and services and all that fun stuff and make sure that they come in together in one place. Hence why I like to host this show. But I also just love hosting the show. Thank all four of you, and everyone who's watching right now, for joining us today. It's been super cool. This is our 100th episode, we are doing this one live, we're gonna see what happens. Before we kick off here I obviously want to thank our sponsors on this event Amazon's Buy with Prime. If you have not given it a shot, please feel free to reach out to either myself or check out Amazon's Buy with Prime, obviously fantastic for an omni channel marketing solution. And there I gave them their love. And I appreciate them doing this with us. And I want to do a very, very big thank you to the BlueTuskr team who has helped us out obviously getting through all these 100 episodes between our design team, our video editors, or audio editors, our podcast coordinators, or social team, our email team, everyone that was helping out kind of making sure that this podcast can happen throughout this podcast couple of really interesting things. We've had just under 20 different businesses that were on Shark Tank. And I always apologize to them, because I always called them Shark Tank contestants. It is not a game show, although sometimes it feels like one. But they are on the show. And we were just short of having almost exactly $100 billion in annual revenue for everyone who was on this show collectively. Very cool, very awesome, very humbled to be able to speak to all these great people. And now today, I'm joined by who I'm just referring to The  Avengers of E-Commerce. And so now, why don't we dive in? And let's, let's get to the fun stuff. So I've got a bunch of questions here, we're gonna keep a bunch of things, relatively general. And we're just going to kind of keep this as a big old open conversation. I've got some more specific stuff around everyone. But one of the main things I really wanted to touch on the first thing that was definitely most interesting that I'd love to hear from everyone's different perspective, because we all kind of come from different corners of the E commerce world. Had this episode happened six months ago, if not more, we would have been under a theory that we might be into some kind of recession, whether it's global, or whether it's simply just in the States or something. And it seems that we may or may not have come out of that slump. I'm curious, for everyone here today. How do we think that q4 is going to shake out compared to what we originally thought it was going to? And without everyone just kind of bursting out? Because I know we didn't do this in an area. I'm just gonna go in order of where I see you guys on my screen. So Valentin, would you like to kick us off with that?



Yeah. So I, I personally think that the commerce is, is going strong, at least if we look at the latest numbers from US census, we've seen that ecommerce is still 7.5% up year over year, while the overall retail is only around 1%. So basically, what we're looking at if we're looking at E commerce like business model, not solely as an as a channel, which is a debate for sure. What can I say is that ecommerce is going to prevent so I don't think that we should be that worried on the E commerce side of things. However, we don't know what's going to happen with the global economy, we are seeing this larger things like deflation in China and all that done. So basically, if we're looking at our small bubble in the whole scheme of things, I think we're still on the safe side.


Andrew Maff  09:05

Fearful, Jaime thoughts.



I think there's always a lot of fear of that, you know, recessions and things like that. But also people need a place to shop. Amazon's not going anywhere. I personally buy everything on Amazon. I just got a pair of socks, a pair of underwear if I need to buy something for my kitchen, you know, people are not going to stop buying, you know, at least the basics of what they need. And that covers a lot of different things. Somebody selling cutlery, glassware, clothing, like people need those things. They're going to buy it and shoppers on Amazon. People are getting more and more used to shopping on Amazon every day and it's not going anywhere. So I think it's only gonna get better and better.


Andrew Maff  09:49

Interesting thought destiny.



Yeah, I would say stronger than what we are forecasting specially at the beginning of the year when there was a lot of dark sky planning special Really when it came to like budget utilization, I, I do think we've seen a softening and just year over year numbers pretty much across the board. But I think that was to be expected as there's a stronger return to brick and mortar. And as competition has increased, so for a lot of smaller brands who maybe can't keep up with like the spin numbers and the awareness that needs to happen to have kind of an omni channel exposure, we saw decreases in year over year growth for a lot of the large brands that were able to maintain and keep up and they had that diversification off of Amazon, I think numbers have been very, very strong, and we're still seeing a lot higher returns than what everyone was expecting.


Andrew Maff  10:40

Brittany, oh, I'm



gonna have an unpopular opinion. I think just based on what we see with, with with brands, but also just people things are more expensive than they were six months ago, and we're continuing to see that accelerate. And typically, the economy trails what the Fed has done. And so I think it's going to be tighter, but I think there's hope for brands and that, if you're providing value, then customers are gonna continue to buy the thing that you're selling. So you still need socks, I still needed the garlic press. I got it off Amazon a couple weeks ago, like, there's still things that we need, I think really honing in on the fact that maybe the extravagant spending, or the nice to have my trim a little bit but there's there's still a healthy comm channel to be to be had and, and q4, so not all dire. But


Andrew Maff  11:27

so I gotta say, I actually think that I'm I'm siding with Brittany a little bit on that. And I know it's kind of the negative side of things. But in my opinion, you know, in E commerce, we had 2020, that ended up being a lot better than we had originally anticipated, at least for the e Commerce Industry. 2021 was great. 2022 was kind of like, okay, it's still in a pretty good spot, but not as great as we want it to be. And then this year, it was fear of recession. Clearly not happening. But that or at least not anytime soon. But then basically inflation. And I feel like what might end up happening here is we had all of these sellers that did so great for two to three years. And they're now comparing their numbers to the prior years, when that was clearly kind of an anomaly. So they're rushing their their capital into trying to catch up to catch those numbers that they used to have. And so that kind of is a really great segue into my next question, which is why I host this damn show, is what do we think is going to happen in q4? Because if you continue at that rate, are we going to see a lot of sellers all of a sudden just not make it through the end of the year? Or do we think that they're going to end up starting 2024? on a bad foot? What's What's the consensus there and floors open? Whoever wants to answer that one? Anyone?



I think I think it's like any business, you know, people are people are going to fail. This is a regular business. So many people make it like Amazon or ecommerce is just like a very, very easy thing to do. And you're running a business and a lot of thought, and a lot of strategy goes into it. And there's going to be people that win, there's going to be people that lose. Like I said, people are always going to have a need for basic things. If I need phone chargers, I'm not going to go waste my time and go to a store right now. I'm going to buy it on Amazon and know that it's going to come to my house in a day or two. If you want to continue to grow, you know, there's so much room for growth. And I don't see that q4 should slow down unless you're unless you're not strategizing or your competition is just they're doing a better job there spending better on edge and doing something that you're not doing. But the potential is there, you can do it. If you do everything right.



I would I would also hop in and say the brands that are thinking in the short term, and that have only been in the business for a few years. They're the ones that are seeing issues because again, comparatively they're looking at year over year numbers when COVID was a major catalyst for E commerce. All of the brands that we talked to that had been in the space for over five years, and that understand what their long term goals are. And they stay focused on that three 510 year plan. There's a lot less concern for them because they know like business changes quickly ecommerce changes 20 times faster than that. So it's almost expected. I think the numbers that we saw during COVID inflated that was not norm. That was 100% inflation because no one could leave the house and they're having to order online. Anyone who thought that would maintain it was wrong. Like everything opened back up. Some people aren't shopping in stores end of day. So now that we're seeing again back to the normal and the omni channel approach, the curve is looking pretty close to what it was looking at for the E commerce growth forecast five years ago. So I think it again, it's just thinking long term instead of making short term decisions based off the last six to 12 months.


Andrew Maff  14:50

Yeah. But what would you say is the best thing to do for them to be able to prepare for q4 knowing that some of them are looking at, you know, comparative to last q4. The one before that, or maybe this year just wasn't as good as they originally wanted it to be. So, you know, obviously trying to make up for lost ground is not an ideal situation. What do we all think is probably the best thing for sellers to be doing, especially now that we're basically a month out from q4 starting



not to make decisions on a quarter quarter basis would be my feedback, because it's something we're getting sales are down, I need to sell through inventory and like, Okay, well, in order to do that, we need to increase your advertising, you probably need to lower your price, you need to do all these things. Okay, well, my margins gonna be terrible. Like, Well, I'm sorry, we're not gonna be able to match your margin of last year. So again, it's what is that goal for the next two years? What are you trying to accomplish? If you want to continue to grow and take up market share, and use Amazon as a new customer acquisition channel? Okay, we're gonna have to sacrifice one quarter of lower margins so you can continue to grow. If you're using it as Bob in the funnel, and you need to diversify your budget, then do that. But everyone needs to be making decisions from the long term and the top down rather than trying to look at how do I make up ground and one quarter, that's where you get into a bad position. Because you do a bad job forecasting your cash flow, you don't look at your supply chain appropriately, and then you're more reactive and q1 making up for q4



I can, I can build on that a bit. My my personal take is that ecommerce is not going to be for everyone anymore. So my personal take. And I have a pretty simple thing. I mean, imagine that in the US there were 3000 car makers back in the 20s 1920s. How many car makers are now. So it's not going to be for everyone. Because simply put is like with the mobile apps, we can't have 500 mobile apps, right, we have a mobile app for playing music and whatever, right. So at the end of the day, if we are to look at how the market will evolve in the next few years, and it's not about q4, it's about the long game. So if you're playing the long game, I think what you should be doing as, as an E commerce decision maker, you shouldn't be looking at your numbers way better than ever before, because cash flow is crucial important, and cash flow is reliant on what you are doing, the decisions from today is going are going to affect you, not tomorrow, but in the next few months. Which means that if you don't have the product intelligence and the customer intelligence, and if you're not crunching your numbers, chances are that your competitors are doing this already. If if the demand is going to be lower, and, and if the competition is going to be higher, which means that your customer acquisition costs are going to be higher, that means you should pick your battles way better than before. So looking at your superstar products, and looking at your superstar customers and identifying where the market is going, I think is the best way that you should be you have that that's your best thing that you should be doing. If you've been doing the same things. So if you're doing the same things like Like before, chances are that you're not going to survive in the next few years. Now Now, depending on how big you are, because it it's is the dead slow is the slow death, right. So basically, if you're now your margin are eroding bit by bit. And if you're not noticing how to, to treat that, you you, you're basically setting yourself up for some slow death in the next two years, which will end up let's say, if you're an intrapreneur, like like myself, sometimes you just have to quit. By the way. It's a great book called quit i, which is the opposite of grit, right? So maybe you should reconsider what you're doing with your life if things are not as you wanted them to be.


Andrew Maff  18:53

One of my thoughts in q4 is also kind of very interesting. I personally find q4 to be one of the best times for new customer acquisition. However, the problem then being that you see all these sellers, that really they think it's a race to the bottom. So hey, I'm going to do for Black Friday, Cyber Monday 30% off my entire website, I'm going to get all of these customers in, but you're going to completely crush your margin. And if you don't have the proper retention in place, you're basically spending all this money to get people to shop with you and then they're just not going to be back the following year. So one of my questions is, what is everyone's theory on how q4 should be treated when it comes to things like that of you know, the massive sales really can't continue, especially if we continue on the rate that things have been going from an inflationary standpoint. However, the consumer wants to get that deal right now, whereas the seller just simply is not in a good position to be able to do things like that. Plus, with the retention side being able to continue them through 2024. But What's everyone's theories on how to approach standing out in q4 and offering some kind of campaigners? sale or anything like that without it truly just crushing your business?



So I just want to also the first question originally when he was saying how to really prepare, aside from the discount, if you if you're not ready now by q4, you have a very late start, and you really need to take a very good look at your listings, making sure that you have, you know, proper images, that your listings are optimized, like you're already a little bit late to the game. And then also you have to, you have to really catch up now, so you're gonna have to spend on that Cindy could probably tell you, there's, there's so many different types of ads, and targeting types that you're gonna have to spend a little bit more to get that data now quicker, because you weren't doing it before. And for discounts. I don't like to make discounts unless I have a game plan about what that discount is gonna get me so is the discount, because I want to sell a lot of units. And then I'll request a lot of reviews. And that'll boost it up as to see like, what am I getting, because I'm definitely not making money off of the discount, or maybe on Helium 10, or something, I'm tracking my keywords, and I see one of my keywords is in the middle of the page. And I know that if I, if I have a badge with that with a deal going on, and I'm going to increase my conversion rate that that keyword is gonna get a lot of sales over that week, and it's going to end it's gonna get a nice lift. So like you really have to look at everything, there's no point of doing a flash sale or discount, just to lose money or just to increase your, your BSR to feel good about yourself. But the whole point is making money and building up the long term. You know, everything in the long term. Yeah.



I think it shouldn't be a race to the bottom. But I also think that there's a place for discounts. q4 also has trained certain shoppers like you can say, I'm not going to participate in Cyber Monday because I don't want to mess with my margin. But brands expect discounts. So they are going to choose to spend their dollars, customers are going to choose to spend $1, to the place where they think they're getting that value. And so I think you've got to be strategic, you need to know what you can afford to discount. Maybe it's not a deep discount, maybe it's strategic discounts, where you have better margin or where you have too much of that inventory. But it's not the whole store, maybe it's daily deals, maybe it's a, a couple sale items in an ongoing category on your shop that you're doing regularly, or it's BOGO. So like, buy one get one half off is actually only 25% off discount, it's not a 50% off discount, but psychologically it feels good. So there's a place for it. But you do need to be strategic and timing them appropriately. I think there's also other places to make money to make up for those discounts. So for example, we work with a partner that does, like a video sells like greetings. And so you can charge someone $5 To send a video to their mom when they send the chocolates. And so maybe I offered 10% off on that $50 box of chocolates. So that cost me five bucks. But maybe I can charge them $5 To send that video and I just made it back. And it feels like a value add. And now like I feel good as a customer because I just sent my mom a box of chocolates in this heartfelt video. And really, it cost me a little bit more operationally to print that out on the slip. But like bang for your buck. It's how you package it. So I think there's creative solutions to not racing to the bottom.



I would also say that there's the whole aspect of playing to the platform you're selling on, at the end of the day, Amazon and Walmart value discounts and pricing. So that's why Prime Day has been so successful for brands that truly invest in a Prime Day promotional plan is because they get their own search segments that stand out from everyone else. So yes, lowering your price across the board may not be a good idea because it devalues or dilutes your brand. But if you note the platform, you're selling on values, a price cut, you may want to find a way to build it in because you're gonna get preferential placement on that retailer site. So I think there's a lot that goes into this conversation, there's a million different variables to look at. But at the end of the day, like you have to play to the platform you're selling on.


Andrew Maff  24:02

Yeah. Well, it's actually a good point, because I was gonna ask both you and Jaime about your insight on that. Because obviously Amazon's throwing a wrench in there now where we've got a Prime Day in October. So now you've got a Prime Day in October, you've got Black Friday in November, you've got obviously the holiday season in December, how how are you two telling the clients you're working with like, Hey, here's how we're mapping out lightning deals, coupons, things like that outside of your standard, you know, from an advertising perspective, your listing optimizations, that kind of stuff, but in terms of a campaign strategy around those different deals, what's your theories on when to push and pull with that added holiday from Amazon?



I would say Brittany hit on the key point which is the customer psychology behind the promotions and the deals you're running. That's something that we really try to keep in mind with this extended holiday period. Black Friday and Cyber Monday has always been known for you wake up the day after Thanksgiving and you go on biker Smith's gifts. So typically, the customer's going to those platforms looking for Christmas gifts. Prime Day psychologically has really shifted to being more about consumer goods and just general technology, general things to buy. So we always try to keep that in mind when we're setting up our deals of hey, when do we want to discount? What it's how do we stack when our customers are gonna be more likely to convert, buy our products with how we can bring them into our listing? Now, there's gonna be times where maybe you don't want to compete directly in Black Friday, Cyber Monday traffic, because everyone else was also discounting now you're just on a retail shelf being compared to everyone else. But I think it's all just about timing and what's best for our brand. I don't think there's a one size fits all solution for that. Yeah.



I mean, yeah, yeah. So I just want to say I love Prime Day and Cyber Monday, and all these holidays like with the discounts, and whenever those days, you know, whatever it is, those days, I'm only looking for things that have a sale price, so that have a deal. I'm not not looking for anything else. I'm looking at the Prime Day deals, but also you have to look at, you know, how much inventory do you have on this item? how profitable is it now and like, what's the long term goal of it. Also, you can look at, like, if you're seeing a lot of different variations and different colors, you could strategically pick different colors that maybe, maybe you're overstocked on and maybe you know you're paying in inventory, an extra inventory fee on it, or you just need to speed up the momentum for cash flow, you could do it strategically. And, you know, like having having work in your benefit, you can't just blindly do deals. But when I shop, I'm looking for a deal. So like if you're not doing any deals at all, you're you're missing out on a lot of sales.


Andrew Maff  26:44

Let's, let's pivot to off marketplace for a second here. Looking at, you know, traditionally, websites, more or less, where some people have started some people who I'm sure listening start on Amazon, and we go the other direction. We'll get into that in a little bit. But I'm gonna start off with Valentin, I got a specific question on your end, where, right before q4, you are essentially the king of customer value optimization. So you're going to be the one who can also make sure hey, own it, man. You're gonna be the one who can also who can help make sure like, right as q4, you're getting into these areas. Yes, we're talking about whether we're doing discounts. And there's certain directions you can go in, but how can you also optimize the overall value of that customer as they're coming in? What What kind of key things do you look for when you're helping these people get kicked off on their websites?



Yeah, so So first of all, my, the first thing that you should be doing is to track customer lifetime value and to segment your customers so that you can see which are your best customers. Now on Amazon, you can't do that. But you have this privilege if you're on Shopify, or if you have your own customer base. If you have your customer base, and you can segment them based for instance, I'm I'm I'm a really big fan of RFM recency, frequency and monetary value, then you could see, which are the best customers that you had in the last q4. And then you could look at the products that have this type of purchase frequency, if it's an annual purchase frequency, then I don't know, if you're selling winter jackets or stuff like that, then you might have this type of customers which are cyclic, right, so you could address them different. Another thing that you should be doing is to, to look at how to steal the start, right? So for instance, instead of just acquiring customers, maybe it's way more cheaper to generate more leads, which means you could accumulate a larger amount of customers, you could give your existing customers the privilege of buying upfront at a better price. And you could gradually plan your deliveries according to that. Because if you do your own, let's say pro Black Friday, which we're seeing here in Europe pretty pretty often right? You You do this private event like Amazon is doing as well right? So Prime days for their loyal customers but why don't you do it for your own customer base. So if you're anywhere north of 10k existing customers, you can address them differently you can persuade them you can make them feel precious precious and in this manner, you will be able to to address them properly and to improve your your numbers because basically once they are buying maybe you could you shouldn't destroy your margin completely right because you do know that they have a certain value and they can buy with 25% This cannot with 40 or something like that. Another important thing that I would suggest in in q4 and basically going further is to collect zero party data. So it's it's such an underrated method, right? So you could even do this package insert, you know to have customers that are known if you have reachable addressable customers that are really noun, then you could orchestrate a customer journey, which is, in your terms, not in Amazon's terms. So basically, whatever you are selling, if you make them if you give them like a printout the QR code, which gives them a benefit of an extended warranty, or whatever you depending on what you're selling, then you could address them properly. And when they are making themselves known, let's say I own a pet, and it's a sterilized cat, and it's whatever. So if you know these type of things, then you can, you can build different journeys. And when it's when Black Friday, then you could be way more relevant than you've ever been. So this type of blending zero party data with first party data is the way to go further not simply throwing money on on ads.


Andrew Maff  30:51

Very good point, which kind of segues me a little bit over to Brittany, because I know we talked a lot about the lifetime value the customer, which is obviously a incredibly underrated KPI that I find a lot of sellers don't look into as much as they really should be doing. And when we're talking about customer lifetime value, there's absolutely nothing better than having some kind of subscription plan in place. Which obviously, is a great reason why we have Brittany here on the show today. So Brittany, I know subscriptions are, I would say one of the sexiest things that a lot of people want to get into. Because you have that projectable cash flow coming in, you have all those benefits of subscription plan. But having a solid subscription plan in place that actually retains customers is a process and a chore. What is your theory on getting something like that in place that is also an attractive offer for people during q4 That somebody sellers can offer?



Well, I think it depends on what you're selling. And it depends on what group you're in. I think a lot of people assume if I stick a Subscribe and Save on my site, I'm suddenly gonna have a successful subscription business. And that's true for some, some very, some brands, like some products that you need all the time, like coffee filters, maybe. But for a lot of us, you need to get that added value. And I think Jay Meyer is one of our co founders talks about it all the time that you need to give them something more. And so building in that value. So maybe that value is that for people who pay you kind of like a Prime member, like maybe you have a membership on your site, and they pay you $100 a year to always get 25% off when they shop on your store. I mean, that is kind of an element. Or you could get into the game, even if you're late in the game. Now, gifting subscriptions is super big. And being able to convert those customers and the gifts that they've been given into net new, I mean you that as a customer acquisition. So again, going back to that chocolate example, I love chocolate, so I share it with my mom, I buy her subscription. So now she's your net new customer. So now you have two of us. And so getting into the gifting space, as we go into q4 might be a new place to dabble in without having to maybe strategize with a lot of time and invest a lot in like the front end work that you might want to do to create a custom workflow there. But yeah, there's a lot to be had a lot of opportunity.


Andrew Maff  33:14

So interesting. Segue back over to the marketplace team thoughts on the subscription aspect within Amazon, considering it's, in my opinion, very, very difficult to actually provide any kind of additional value outside of your traditional subscription. You have it's a water filter, you can get your water filter on a regular basis, that kind of stuff. But when we think of your traditional website and having a subscription plan, it could be a surprise box, or it could be extra stuff. And then there's all these additional things. What are your Jaime and destiny? What are your thoughts on the subscription options within Amazon? And do you know of ways that sellers can kind of leverage that functionality without it just being kind of a one off?



We're definitely limited. I do think that loyalty is something that Amazon's working on building out on a much better level, small things like customer engagement and follow up emails, and DSP unlock a lot of different targeting options when it comes to Subscribe and Save in general, how you target a audience specifically to bring them into a Subscribe and Save funnel, what type of analytics you have, what return on engagement looks like that's something that's recently been rolled out into Amazon advertising insights and planning. All of those are opportunities to bring people back because that's what Amazon cares about right now. I do think we're always going to be limited on control and creativity because there's always going to be people that abused the system. I think everyone likes to position is Amazon's the bad guy and they want to own the data. But in reality Amazon cares about the customer and the bad guys are the sellers that take advantage of having too much connection with with their customers so excited to see what is opened up and what's available. And I think that the People who are doing those small things, right, like getting into those programs early on are going to have an advantage. But we're always limited by what we cannot do.


Andrew Maff  35:09

I am very interested to see how Amazon can expand on that, because one of the other things I want to ask, So Amazon is a, to me, it's a fantastic customer acquisition channel. But its ability to give you any kind of real tools to retain customers or even build a brand is, is challenging because these people you know, they place an order, and depending on the product and how it shows up in their box, how is that really going to build the brand? So having people coming back to Amazon, you have a little bit less control over that. How do you to excel How do you to kind of help the sellers with ways of being able to build a brand on Amazon, even if they're not available off marketplace.



You gotta build you know, build a beautiful storefront beautiful packaging something that's vibrant, so that when they when they get your item, when they receive it, they really like your brand I saw, for example, I saw a lot of food. And also like plastic utensils and things like that. And those are things that you know, people like to Subscribe and Save, but they got it, they're happy with it. And they want to just, you know, get a small discount and not have to worry about reordering it like I subscribed to my deodorant my toothpaste like everything is on Subscribe and Save. Why do I want to have to remember to reorder it, it just comes automatically. So I love this subscribing. Save tool is not, you don't really have so much control over you know, it's a very basic thing that they gave us. But it's definitely a great tool. And then eventually enough people love your brand. And you know, you can start doing posts, and you can assign a beautiful storefront and you have beautiful EBC it's a real brand. You know, even if it's only on Amazon and you don't have your own website, it can still be a real brand that people recognize and they fall in love with. Yeah.


Andrew Maff  36:59

So it's definitely one chime in on that. No, go ahead. Okay, as you say. So it's it's an interesting segue into obviously, okay, so. So I'm clear. By with prime and sponsoring the show, however, I made it very obvious to them, we're going to speak freely, because I know I have people on the show that are strictly on Amazon, I have people on the show that are strictly off Amazon. And I kind of dive in the middle of that thing. So I would love to hear everyone's opinion on the pros and cons of buy with prime, because I find that it's helping sellers start to build their brand off Amazon. But at the same time, it is also taking away from what sellers have with on websites. And I know there's pros and cons from a pricing standpoint, and obviously, it's only in the States right now. But what is everyone's current opinion on where they think that's going to end up going and whether they suggest it for certain types of businesses or not.



There's a lot of trust with Amazon, that's always my biggest selling point. I know that can be a hard pill to swallow for brands that hey, you know, my site looks amazing, it's going to do better. But when you add that by with prime legitimacy, it does help unless you have a perfect site that looks professional, no concerns, then you can maybe do without but I know very frequently, especially when I'm served meta ads. I go and I type in is this site real before ever making any purchases? No matter how good looking the site is? Because there's a lot of dropshippers and a lot of people who throw up a terrible site, and then they're just not trustworthy. So I think it really depends on I would say like the maturity of your company, if the conversion rate difference is strong enough that you should do it because it increases your value, then yes.



My, my take on this topic is that you should always be testing. So basically, I have this I'm brainwashed in my entire life. I was doing experiments, and I tried to see what's the outcome, by the way. I have a Google sheet when I have all the the important business decisions with their hypotheses, and what was their their win rate, let's say what what have I got out of this decision? And if you're not looking at this as an experiment, I think you could be losing a lot of money. For instance, if you're a brand, which is pretty unknown, like you've said earlier this day, so you should be testing out and see what is the conversion rate uplift and how much am I actually winning or losing on a short term and maybe on the long term, however, what you could do is to simply personalize the website. So let's say for if customers are coming from your email, so you have existing customers that you're addressing, you could simply hide the Buy with prime button and leave them by with your with three or direct channels. So you could do a lot of workarounds if you are smart enough. And if you want to use the website experts cementation. So I'm really bullish into testing out and seeing if that actually works, because at the end of the day, it's about being profitable.



I personally think, you know, I don't I don't know so much about websites. But as a as a customer, I would be much more comfortable clicking an Amazon button than having to enter in all random all my information after looking for my credit card, it's so much easier, I trust Amazon. That's why I shop on it, everything is just saved automatically, it's the easiest thing. So to go on to a random website, and then to have to put my credit card in and then find my credit card. It just, it's just not worth, it's not worth the hassle. I'm not sure financially, how much, you know, to the website owner how much they lose or make, but as as a customer, I love that. And I would always choose a website that has that over over if there was a similar one where I had to enter in my stuff, and it's just ation, so pain, just convenience.


Andrew Maff  41:01

Brittany, what are your thoughts on that? Because the other thing I was thinking from your end is, there's, I know, it's just one more button. But now we're talking about like, here's all your payment options. Here's your upsell opportunities, here's your subscribe, here's your buy now, like at what point? Are we loading up these product pages with way too much information? And have you had experience with the buyer prime thing? Like what's your thought on it?



Yeah, I mean, they can get really busy really, really fast. And so I think you do have to kind of weigh out your options. And does buy with prime have to be every product on your website, can maybe some stuff be prime, some colorways that are really common that you know people love. And then you have your exclusivity, exclusive colorways or seasonal patterns that you you have on your brand's site, I think there is a case to be made, if done well, to have your brand sight and to be in control of the entire user experience. And to craft those emails and craft what Valentin saying, like I love the idea of testing. And but I get like prime like I think it's there's a huge majority of adults in the US that have prime. So to act like Amazon's evil is makes no sense. I totally love Amazon. But I do find as a consumer, but sometimes I'm like, Well, let me see if I can get this off Amazon, because I feel bad buying everything from Amazon. And then sometimes off me I'm like, Well, you know what I know, I'm gonna get this in two days, and my kids birthdays in two days, and I'm not willing to risk the thing. So I'll buy it off Amazon. But there's other times when it doesn't matter. And I love the brand already, which we've talked about, I already know that this is the thing I want. And so I'm willing to transact on the brand's side there. So I mean, I said it a lot. And it sounds cliche, but it's like, what value does the customer get shopping with you on your website versus Amazon. And if there isn't one, then customers aren't going to shop on your.com. And so you've got to figure that that out for each brand individually.


Andrew Maff  42:52

Yeah, every time we've done it, we've had a really nice improvement in the overall conversion rate when you're factoring in your buy with prime sales. However, of course, you know, there's fees behind that they're not as crazy as your FBA fees, but there are your fees. But the thing that we've found really that I that I personally like about the button, which is why I was okay with them sponsoring the show was basically it's a nice way to bring everything in one place. And you still have that control over it. Because if you get if you get someone to your website, who is kind of interested in they're like I don't really know yet that added Amazon brand awareness. And that added trust of I'm gonna get it in two days, and I know their refund policy and all that stuff that helps every single time. Now, you still want to add all your features, your bells and whistles to your site to get them to convert on the site. But the thing that we've started doing, what I love is we actually start to just segment out a list. So like, we're clearly a partner. So we just integrate everything into Klaviyo. It integrates with Google and meta. So basically, if we do a product launch on Amazon, and you have that, you know, 6090 day honeymoon period, you just take that whole audience and just send them directly to Amazon, cater to that organic thing, and then go back to your website. So it's a real nice way to kind of get your business to work together holistically, instead of what I think is where a lot of E commerce sellers are messing up, which is treating these channels, so siloed of you know, Amazon, and then Walmart, and then my website and eBay and chewy and all these other places where you sell but in reality to consumers, the whole journey is so fluid, and digital to me is becoming very much more traditional marketing where it's not as easy to track things as it was five years ago, we're gonna get to a point where it's just like, you can't paint the picture of an ROI for a billboard. And you're not going to be able to do it soon for a lot of other things that you do digitally. So I think it's a very interesting kind of omni channel approach. As time goes on here.



I just want to throw one thing out there. I don't know if it's going to upset anyone but whenever I see an ad anywhere for a certain product or if I want to buy a certain product if I see it in a store, I always look on Amazon to see if it's the same price or even if it's a little bit more I normally get into days, I'll just buy it. Always look at an item to see if it's on Amazon. And you'll see the reviews you'll see. It's it's just my go to thing.


Andrew Maff  45:12

You're screwing up my attribution, Jaime.



I don't want to upset anyone.


Andrew Maff  45:19

Okay, looking forward, let's it will go the opposite direction this time, Brittany, thoughts on where you think what you think 2024 is going to end up looking like for ecommerce sellers?



That is a hard question. I think it's going to be I think, conservatively like if I were advising someone, I'd say go into 2024 with your eyes wide open, yet that conservative and your projections and order accordingly. Like for inventory don't go too deep and stuff. It's really tempting. And we've talked about it already to say, you know, we had 300% year over year growth historically, I should be able to anniversary that I think there's a lot we don't know. So I would plan strategically going into 2024 with conservative estimates across the board, but also, eyes wide open to the exciting new things to try. So if you haven't tried Amazon, maybe it is time to try by with prime Why not experiment? The q1 is a great time to test things because there's a kind of low risk like no one's q1, well, not no one. A lot of people's Q ones aren't the biggest quarter. But there still should be significant traffic to your site unless you're selling coats or Christmas decorations. And so you should have some some time to do that. And maybe going into the start of the year like reset. If you're not ready right now, you're not doing a good job going into q4 and you're feeling uncertain, set your sights for q1 to do it differently and start testing early instead of waiting to the last minute. Yeah.


Andrew Maff  46:53

Destiny thoughts on that?



Yeah, I would say some of the biggest recommendations we are making with the brands that we're working for is how much more important creative is especially on a platform like Amazon, how Amazon is starting to prioritize brands, more than just items on the page, they're really starting to say, hey, these people are spending most money. These are the people that are connecting the best with their audience, we need to give them preference on the page. We're also seeing social commerce be pushed a lot more with Inspire. And some of the new ad types are being utilized. Off platforms, sponsored products, sponsored brands with scrolling, custom images, sponsored display videos, all of these things are allowing the brands who are great at creative, great with UGC, great social commerce to have an advantage. So we're pushing that a lot more. It's not it's no longer just about price or being the quickest to create a new product. Because as we've seen, someone will knock that off really, really quick. And they'll probably undercut you. So how do you make sure your product stands out on the shelf, and that's the product that gets the most clicks and converts the highest.


Andrew Maff  48:03

Jaime theory for q4.



Like I said before, it's any any business you know how many wholesale businesses are going to win this year, how many wholesale businesses are going to lose. It's a it's a competitive market. But there's so much upside and like destiny said everything has to really be perfect, you have to make sure that your images are perfect, that you have EBC that you have, you know, if ever for your competition has videos, you need a video, you're on the same shelf as all these guys and comparing you right right next to each other. And also stock. You don't want to have too much stock. Or you also don't want to have too little stock because if you run out of stock, you're gonna disappear off the page. And if you run low on stock, you're not going to be in enough warehouses and enough fulfillment centers and you're not everyone's gonna get quick shipping. You gotta really prepare and really study the trends and how you're doing and you know, make the best, the best and the best guesstimate of how much stock to get there. But you also have to really look at all the data and make sure that everything is perfect.


Andrew Maff  49:08

Yeah. The last sprint you don't know where to go but Valentin thoughts on the next year.



Well, man, I think in 2020 for the E commerce the direct consumer companies which will win are the ones that will abandon the idea that ecommerce is a business model. It's just the channel and I think the ones that can afford to go on the bricks and mortar out would be the ones that will will win down the line the ones that will will be there in a in the real life let's say because the competition is so so hard right now and if they have the retention so if they have products that have the right stickiness rate, if they are seeing that the customer is really love their product, so let's say depending on the vertical so if the If the purchase frequency is high enough, they should be going offline, they shouldn't be going to build bricks and mortar, because I've seen companies that one buy with this kind of strategy. On the other end, I think the 2024 is going to be really hard, I mean is going to be harder than 2023 in terms of competition from for the same reasons, right. So, we are seeing that, that the consumers are more reluctant in home improvement, we are seeing that high end products are not as appealing as they used to be. Customers are way more cost conscious, which means that on the long run, some companies will simply vanish. So basically, that's my, let's say, projection for 2024. But the ones that will when will when being because they would be accumulated they will do we will see some m&a is I think they will, there will be some consolidation, because the retailers, the big retailers, which know the offline game, let's say they are really bullish into digital. So we have both of these types of customers, we have hundreds of customers, which are omni channel retailers, and we are seeing that they invest heavily into digital, and which means they will make a hard life for for companies which are doing just a fraction of their total total turnover.


Andrew Maff  51:33

Completely agree there's there's definitely a theme that we obviously all hit on it's and it's nice to hear you all say it because it's more or less not I say it in layman's terms, but a BlueTuskr, it's something I say all the time, which is every category, every product and every business owner are all wildly different. So for us to get around and discuss these kinds of things, they're all more or less like, the end of the day? The answer is it depends. And when you're looking into 2024, you can do projections all you want. If you set a budget in place, it does not mean that you have to stick to it, you can adjust every day, and be and it's just about staying nimble in q4, in my opinion, it's all about customer acquisition, and retention to set you up for a better year, the following year. And just keep doing that until until you can't anymore. And then you sell and you're rich and you're living on an island somewhere. But thank you all for joining us. I'm going to do the usual now and give you all an opportunity here to let everyone know where they can find out more about you and more about each of your businesses. So obviously, Valentin as well, I know you got a book coming out. So tell us a little bit about where we can find out more about you more about your book and of course more about Omniconvert.



Sure, so you can find me on LinkedIn I'm writing everyday over there, I'm trying at least you can find find us on our on omniconvert.com. So we have a tool to help ecommerce companies improve their conversion rate by doing AB testing and surveys. And now that Google Optimize is sunsetting, we will have an amazing offer for everyone out there in September. And you can also find us on Shopify marketplace, we have an app which is completely free to analyze your customers to do RFM, segmentation to track NPS and to build audiences so that you can address customers better is of my book. Here it is, after 18 months of hard work, it was the hardest project that I have ever done. We've printed a few hundreds of of these for our clients and close partners, but the official launch is going to be on the 28th of September. If you're interested, you can go to theCLVrevolution.com you can read the first chapter and you can get notified when it's launched.


Andrew Maff  53:50

Beautiful. I'm going to book destiny. Where Where can we find out more about you? And of course Better AMS.



Yeah, so feel free to check us out betterams.com. But more than that we post a ton of content on YouTube at our Better AMS channel and definitely follow me on LinkedIn. I think that's probably where I have the biggest audience for all the content that we post.


Andrew Maff  54:11

Beautiful. Brittany, about you and both commerce.



Yes, you can find us at boldcommerce.com. But also in the Shopify app store, we've got eight different apps. And if you're not on Shopify, we have a checkout product on other platforms. That's doing amazing things. LinkedIn is probably the best place to find us and myself as we kind of journey through this. But there's lots of opportunity to maximize every customer that hits your store. So definitely look for some Shopify.


Andrew Maff  54:39

Love it. Last but not least, Mr. Hymie,



you can follow me on LinkedIn. I try to be as active as possible. Always message me there or you can go to my website. hymiezebede.com Yeah, and I try to respond right away.


Andrew Maff  54:56

Perfect. This was fun. We did it here. Under the episode live, no major technical issues. That's the best part of this. Thank you. Thank you all for being a part of this. Obviously, as usual, thank you everyone who tuned in, please make sure you do the usual and rate review, subscribe on whichever podcast platform you prefer, or head over theeccomshow.com to check out all 99 of our other episodes or to keep an eye on the next 100 coming out. But as usual, everyone who's here today, thank you all for joining us, and we will see you all next time. Have a good one.



Awesome. Thank you, Andrew.






























































































































































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