Business of eCommerce – 2020 Year In Review – E153



Charles (00:00):

In this episode of the business. E-Commerce I talk about why 2020 year end review. This is a business of e-commerce Episode 153.

Charles (00:17):

Welcome to the business. E-Commerce the show that helps e-commerce retailers start launch and grow their e-commerce business. I mean, host house plus ski, and I’m here today to talk about some of the highlights do a review of 2020 at the end, we’re going to show some of my favorite clips, different interviews, different things we’ve spoke about over 2020. And let’s just review this year. 2020 has been one wild ride earliest. You had the coronavirus hit. The world has changed. E-Commerce forever. We’ve seen back orders and shipping delays. You’ve seen issues in e-commerce that have happened at a scale, never imagined before, but we have all seen an influx of new buyers, trying comments for the first time. People in quarantine have had no choice, but to shop online, they’ve tried e-commerce and these are folks who’ve never tried it before. And now all of a sudden their buyers, their uses of e-commerce.

Charles (01:16):

And I believe that they’re here to stay retailers I’ve talked to have said 2020 has been the best shower for them. And I think this is going to the trend is going to continue. So we can go and talk about all the downsides of 2020, but also there’s been some huge upsides and we should definitely acknowledge effort and know that this might be the new normal, and we might be living in a world that’s more connected than ever. And we start to understand how a delay in shipping can really affect the delay, getting a product into the hands. I want to look back at some of the episodes, some of the interviews I’ve done the share and highlight some of the really cool folks that I’ve talked with. There’s a lot of interesting things that have come up. So let’s do a little clip episode and I hope everyone has a great new year’s and look forward talking to everyone in 2021. So let’s get onto a few clips. A few highlights from this year is episodes.

Speaker 2 (02:12):

Well, the first thing that I just want to kind of start with is the difference between e-commerce and M commerce. For those of you that are listening, that may not really have a definitive knowledge, but e-commerce is commerce conducted via the internet and commerce is business done on a mobile device.

Speaker 3 (02:30):

I recommend you go all in. So if you don’t have money for the course, but you want to launch a product and you, you are short in cash because I had some savings. If you don’t have it, don’t buy a course, go to YouTube, check out. You can find all this information on YouTube. I’m the kind of person that needs guidance, especially in a start. So just like Instagram marketing, Facebook marketing, any other kinds of marketing, it’s, it’s a different beast. But has most similar benefits and this year has been as you know, unusual

Charles (03:02):

To say the least. Yeah, for me, if anything is just evolving.

Speaker 4 (03:07):

Well, the important thing is that the email is that especially the past 12 months with also what’s been happening in the world, the way the email has been used with other channels has become a lot more important. So the likes of SMS, the likes of messenger using things like quizzes to pull any email addresses.

Charles (03:24):

So what you do is your photos or 3d renders for your listing need to be showing the value of the product, not just, Oh, mine’s a great photo, but the differentiation you did with the product.

Speaker 5 (03:39):

So when you start looking at, I need to get into a warehouse I’m, you know, maybe. So I think the first thing you have to do is you have to identify what is the warehouse in e-commerce we can be dealing with people who are operating out of a basement, a garage, a bedroom, all the way up to somebody that’s running maybe 500,000 square foot warehouse and everything in between. Yeah.

Charles (03:59):

So we sell a digital membership to a program that’s called Vitan and Vitan helps people grow in their careers. So, you know, the average corporate job of posting today gets 250 applications or resumes for every single application. So it’s normal for job seekers to be pretty frustrated with the process you think about your competing. And right now, especially with the pandemic, you’re competing with a lot more people.

Speaker 4 (04:22):

If we’re going to make everything cost them, we’re going to might as well make it company, because this was already, this was already going to cost us about like a hundred for the Cape of the molds. We were like, Hey, just like, if you’re doing custom design, we want, you probably want to do custom stuff here. That’s why it took us so long to make the other sides of, because we just like, we just can’t afford another mold.

Speaker 5 (04:43):

Yeah, that’s exactly right. And we’ve because of that, we’ve really started to focus our business on subscription and that’s worked really well for us over the last two years, we actually transitioned and migrated from Magento over to Shopify specifically for the reason of just being able to get up spun up on subscriptions faster.

Charles (05:00):

It’s interesting as we built that team, you know, you get some people who are more pay marketing focused, some people who are brand marketing, growth, hackers, all these different things, they’re kind of the best definition I’ve used at least is, is kind of more like a metaphor actually. The way we think about it is a business is really just a tray. That’s continuing to move and it’s the growth team’s growth team’s job to be able to delay those trucks. Today’s episode is sponsored by drip, drip. It’s a world’s first e-commerce CRM. And the tool that I personally use for email marketing and automation. Now, if you are running an e-commerce store, you need to drip a try. And here’s why drip offers one-click integrations for both Shopify and Magento. There’s robust segmentation, personalization, and revenue dashboards. To give you an overview of how your automation emails are performing.

Charles (05:51):

One of my favorite features of drip is the visual workflow builder. It gives you a super easy way to build out your automation visually and see the entire process. It lets you get started quickly, but also build very complex automation roles. It’s powerful, but also easy to learn. Unlike a lot of email tools that offer the same type of automation to get a demo of drip today, you can go head over to That’s O E. Now onto the show. I have a bunch of ads and you’re welcome. I may have sent you those links, maybe, maybe a posting, but G people can watch their videos and I write them into my shoot him and you’ll see I, so I associate totally with all of your happy childhood memories. So cardboard, rocket ships, birthday parties fairies magic. And so I bring up all of these other memories and we’re just lump them in.

Charles (06:43):

And so when we talk about the Brooklyn, when we do our advertising, we really kind of speak to the customer or the voice that we speak to the customer is basically Willy Wonka, selling dresses. Yeah. Like maybe the biggest challenges were like starting to gain traction in the U S because it’s, once we, once we got the first customers and like, started like that, the word started spreading in our niche, then it became more easier. And we were able to benefit a lot from the early days of influencers. We work a lot with mid-market companies. And so, you know, there’s lots of data and we always say, it’s kind of like the kitchen drawer or the junk drawer you have in your house where you open it up and there’s like birthday candles and band-aids and all sorts of junk. And that’s kind of how their data is structured.

Speaker 6 (07:32):

Yeah. I think there’s a few things. So Amazon’s competitive advantage was always that they could get it there faster and cheaper than, than retail. Right. So you would get, when I had young kids, I had a subscribe and save subscription for diapers and I wouldn’t have to run out to target and go get diapers every month diapers would appear. And I wouldn’t have to go pack up my kid and go get them. And now, as you’ve seen, you know, target Walmart, they have curbside, they have online shopping, they have much faster delivery and they’re finally taking advantage of their competitive advantage, which is they have all that inventory within five miles of view.

Charles (08:09):

Yeah. So I think the easiest, when a began and everyone thinks, Oh, there’s gotta be another more sneaky way to do it, but, but everyone should start on Alibaba. So I know it’s the common you know, way to find suppliers, but it’s also one of the best search engines to do that in China. Yes. So a lot of it you know, you obviously have to have you know, the, the, the vendor side so homeowners, you know, when they come to your website, don’t, they don’t get quotes, then they’re never coming back. So our biggest problem was getting vendors on board. And what we did is we just went on Craigslist and just cold called, you know, guys that were throwing their landscaping business on Craigslist. And they called those people until we got maybe 20 or 30 in the Nashville area.

Charles (08:59):

And that’s when we kind of started you know, doing the press release and stuff like that. And in the Nashville area to, to help bring some awareness to our to our website. And I’m going to shout out to Gino Wickman traction is an amazing book and I highly recommend everyone reading it. It’s a great concept. We use it within our agency to run our business, and it’s essentially like a framework to approach problems and how to kind of operate your business. It’s a fantastic, fantastic you know, starting point to understand like how to actually run a business.

Speaker 7 (09:39):

I tell everybody is like, if you go to a local attorney, they’re going to be reinventing the wheel. If you use one of our templates, we’ve had over 6,000 people buy our products in the last five years. So you’re going to have something that has been, I mean, depending on the template, you’re going to have something that thousands of people have, or at least hundreds of people have seen given us feedback on. And we’ve improved that. I mean, you just can’t do that on a one-to-one basis. So it’s, it’s a really cool, almost like crowdsourced effective product. If that makes sense.

Speaker 4 (10:10):

I don’t actually focus as much on transactional, the nature of like order or shipping confirmations. Those are fairly straight forward. I think a lot of people in a lot of companies can make their transactional emails look a lot better. Right? Most people just set them up in Shopify or whatever platform they’re on and they kind of just set it and forget it. So where I kinda come in really it’s on the low hanging fruit on the automation side. So what are the core flows that you have? What are the core flows that you’re missing? So for me, kind of the three core flows that I’m always ensuring that people have at the bare minimum is the welcome series, right? So greeting new subscribers, the abandoned checkout, basically pushing those people over the ledge to make sure that they’re buying from us. They might’ve, you know, forgot about us. They might’ve been waiting for an email to see if there was a discount. Maybe we didn’t offer free shipping, right? So the abandoned checkout emails inherently have a really strong engagement and really strong conversion.

Charles (10:59):

So we’ve always targeted just a bash majority of everyone, right? But when you, when you’re doing Facebook ads, you want to target certain demographics, age, gender by their income. And then by the ad copy itself on the actual the Facebook ad, you know, so you want to talk about it towards a mom saying, Hey, your children spends X amount of time outside a year. If you get cross net, you’re going to get your kid out there even times, too, you know, simple things like that. You can launch on e-commerce store quicker than to get a burger place going through the drive through. So that’s a pretty simple EMEA as a marketing team, we want to spend a world at some sort of word that something like exist that it’s so easy to start to experiment, basically become an e-commerce store owner. There’s actually four parts to it.

Charles (11:50):

I call it the, the tax friendly, right? So what people think is, Oh, you just put your company somewhere else. And you can pay less tax by just moving your company to the Cayman islands. Did you sit around in Boston or Los Angeles or Sydney or whatever? It’s not quite that easy if you’re not Google or Amazon or Starbucks, but the reality is, I mean, what they, those companies have done is they have basically planted a flag of convenience in places around the world that allow them to keep more of their money. And so what my five magic words are, are go where you’re treated best. Something that we’ve found to be extremely effective is email marketing. I think it’s something that especially new e-commerce stores hesitate to jump into and really focus on is something that I personally failed to do for the first couple of years of my business as well. At least for me, like, I, I, I didn’t see email is it’s kind of the future of marketing. I thought it was kind of old school. Cause it didn’t really work on, on me personally as a consumer

Speaker 8 (12:54):

Feeling. Right. And a little bit experimentation with different markets and just seeing throwing spaghetti at the wall in San Juan sticks. But yeah, totally. It just came back full circle that the backpackers backpackers made sense, you know, and by focusing on that niche, it really, it gave us kind of a sharp spearhead. Right. You know which I think before in the classic saying is like you market to everybody, you market to no one, which that was us to a T army to a T. Yeah.

Speaker 9 (13:22):

Yeah. That’s true. And it’s interesting, you mentioned Oprah were back in the day you’re right. It was just, it was only platforms like that where a brand could really quote unquote go viral. I mean, you could just really explode, but at the same time, that type of growth as you had mentioned could also be really the kiss of death for a brand because, you know, as you know, cause I know you’ve dealt with a lot of retail businesses before and you, you know, the ins and outs of fulfilling products you know, if you get a, a glut of orders and in a short amount of time and you can’t fulfill them you know, it’s the word of mouth is going to spread. You know, you’re going to get a bunch of people making all of these orders. If you can’t fulfill them, the word spreads and people are eventually going to, you know, cancel their orders, do charge backs, tell their friends, and then your whole online reputation is ruined. And so at that point you’re really almost worse off then never having that recommendation by, you know, a huge icon like an Oprah or, or something.

Charles (14:24):

Yeah. I mean, as far as hiring, I mean, we’re looking to bring on a handful of people in this new year and I’ve had many people say, Hey, I can’t work remotely. I must have team and people in the office to keep myself accountable. I need that. I absolutely need that. And I just can’t work with them because I can’t be in the office with you all the time. I’ve got a packed schedule. I’m traveling, I’ve got all this work-related stuff. We want team members that can hold themselves accountable. Working from home could be challenging if the environment isn’t right. I hear people want to go wash their dishes or clean their house and do these things. That’s why you have to have clear outcomes. Right.

Speaker 4 (14:58):

Great question. Well, you know, let me tell you first what I see people do. And when I see people do is they chat with their friends. First of all, I was like, Hey, if I built this, would you buy it? I’m like, Oh brother, you know, you gotta, you gotta get some real opinions. But you know, the interesting thing is it’s so easy to do this, but so few people really kind of make it a priority. And that, that astounds me. So one of the things that I like to tell folks is, look, you got to remember that people don’t search using the physical aspects of the product people don’t search for, you know, I need something that’s so many inches tall and so many inches wide, et cetera, people search for the need that they have, or the problem they’re trying to solve.

Charles (15:38):

It’s very competitive compared to even two or three years ago. So search is, is a demand driven supply and demand. So it’s CPC bid based. So you could throw money at it three or four years ago and probably be pretty successful. I mean, when CPCs are 10 cents, it’s kind of hard to screw that up. They’re not now, you know, they’re, they’re upwards of, we see CBCs over $50 in some categories, categories of those. So think mattress category, you know, your average ring is probably three, 400 bucks. Yep. Well, I’ve been working with entrepreneurs for 25 years and the last few years it’s been very much e-commerce Amazon entrepreneurs. And and yeah, I, I agree with you. Totally. I think patents is a topic that Amazon sellers that e-commerce people don’t focus on enough. And I think it’s the thing that could have the biggest impact on their business that they probably know the least about, you know, what I’ve seen over the years is it, it depends on the size of the business and the sophistication of the business and what they bring to the table.

Charles (16:49):

And, and so when we’ve worked years ago with franchises and small businesses, there was a lot of that here, let me give this to you. Please help me. And then, you know, they don’t look at their reports and, you know, essentially if they really can’t see that the phone is ringing often enough, that’s when you’re going to get a phone call and have to defend all the work that you’ve done, even though they probably haven’t read all the reports for the last four or five months, copy hackers. I talked about it being a training business on one end, there’s the service side, of course, but the training business that’s full e-commerce, it’s just delivering courses online that you buy online, you go through a process. So our, our core business is an e-commerce business when it comes down to it. So I have seen for my business as well as for our clients who are any commerce, just how critical email is to growing a business. The big picture is that when you think about

Speaker 7 (17:50):

Your pricing strategy, it’s not enough to just, it’s not the flow that you first create a product, then you publish it on Amazon, create the listing, ship it to Amazon, and then you sit and think what price I should put. Actually the price strategy should start before you even go design your product.

Speaker 10 (18:07):

It is, it is hard to hire a four, especially because SEO encompasses so much. And as an SEO that works for an e-commerce company, isn’t going to work for his house company. Isn’t going to work for a services company. And so, so while, while that is very true. And so you kind of got to figure out what are the different things that I need, if you don’t know SEO, then you know, it’s going to be hard to say like, okay, do we need you know, do we need content? Do we need technical? Do we need links? Like, you know, what is it? I get a lot of people coming to me saying like, I need links. I look at their site and I’m like, I can’t even load your site. Right. It takes 20 seconds to load. Like we, we need to solve that first. They’re like, no, I just need links. Okay. Good luck to you.

Charles (18:38):

And I will say this, I mean, not to sell ourselves short. I mean, we got really, really nerdy in the process. Okay. I mean, myself in particular, I mean, we had a conversation the other day with our chemist John, because like I said, we’re developing some other products right now and I don’t remember what the ingredient was, but I, I was talking about this ingredient and off the top of my head, I said, well, correct me if I’m wrong, the reason that we want to increase the percentage of that ingredient would be to do XYZ. And he goes, that’s exactly right. And it’s just because I think to do it, you, you as a brand leader, have to understand what you’re putting in there. I understand every one of the ingredients that we have in here, I know what they do. I know where they’re source from.

Charles (19:21):

I know why we put them in there. I even know the safety rating of every single ingredient in here. And, you know, I mean, that was done purposefully. I read a book that I recommend to everyone. Pretty much everyone knows it’s called think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill. And one of the stories that is also kind of popular and you hear other people talking about it is if you want to take an Island, you have to like burn the ships that you float, that you went there on. That gives you no retreat, no surrender. You got to go. And I almost, I get emotional because, you know, if we didn’t know, you don’t know, you know, you’ve got you, you believe in it. And I believed in it and I, and I knew like I wasn’t lying to myself. I was like, I love this product. I believe in it. And if I really do believe in it, other people are going to be out there. And we’re not that different as humans, we pretty, pretty similar. And Mo and a lot of ways, you know, we might think a little bit differently, but for the most part, we’re very similar. So I was like, if I believe in it, I’ll find an audience that also believes that

Speaker 7 (20:34):

My first book actually took me about six months to finish. And I don’t think it was actually the tasks I had to perform to finish it. It was the mindset of just writing a book and publishing a book, sounded like such a huge intimidating task. And it really took a lot to work through that and find that motivation and overcome the fear and the worry. And now I can like conceive of a book and write it and publish it in maybe less than a week.

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