How Independent eCommerce retailers can Compete Against the Giants (E154)

  • Jeremy Bodenhamer
  • Co-founder & CEO of ShipHawk

Show Notes:




Charles (00:00):

In this episode of the Business of eCommerce I talk with Jeremy Bodenhamer, about about how independent retailers can compete with the giants. This is the business of eCommerce episode 154.

Charles (00:20):

Welcome to the Business of eCommerce. The show that helps e-commerce retailers start launch and grow their e-commerce business. I’m your host Charles Palleschi. And I’m here today with Jeremy Bodenhamer. Jeremy is the co-founder and CEO of Ship Hawk, and also the bestselling author of adapt or die, a leading expert at the intersection of shipping. And e-commerce I asked Jeremy on the show today, talk about how in 2021, an independent retailer can compete with some of the largest e-commerce companies out there like Walmart, Amazon, and how you can not just compete, but also win. Jeremy has a lot of insights on both the logistics side, but also how you can attract more customers by talking about your brand. And I think it’s super interesting. So let’s get into the show and I think you’re going to enjoy this. Hey Jeremy, how are you doing today? Doing well.

Charles (01:09):

How are you doing Charles? Doing good. Awesome. To have you on the show. I love the topic and want to kind of get into us. I’ve been seeing, kind of been following the the Shopify guys for a while, and I love the whole concept of, you know, arming the rebels, right? Where, how can you know, how can the smaller retailers compete against some of the big guys? And it’s something where I think the world is going to very different ways, right? Where you have these like marketplaces kind of Amazon, like the big ones everyone knows about, but then you have these new brands that are kind of just popping up and becoming almost household names. In some cases you see this with, you know, some of like the big companies, like some of the, some of these, there’s just so many retailers now that all of a sudden you, they can just build a brand name. So you’re are okay. So you’ve been around with ship for, you said about seven, eight years now, you guys started that for about eight years. Okay. And you recently came out with a book on also basically competing with the giants, right? Adapt to die.

Jeremy (02:11):

Yeah. Adapter die came out a few weeks ago and is a survival guide for the independent merchants and how to compete against the giants.

Charles (02:21):

I love the cover also with the, the dinosaur on there. Very cool. Yeah. It’s sorta my voice.

Speaker 2 (02:30):


Charles (02:30):

If you’re talking to a small retailer, if someone’s starting, you know, 20, 21, right. And they’re, I want to get into e-commerce, you know, I have some products, but they’re looking at all the expectations of what you need to do nowadays. How would you start kind of guiding someone to say, okay, you have to compete. You want to come up with a product X also sold on Amazon and tons of other marketplaces. How would you start kind of guiding someone through that process of competing?

Jeremy (02:57):

Yeah, good question. I would start by challenging them to understand the state of the current marketplace. The fact that these marketplaces by and larger, not friends but competitors. In the book, I talk about the five APIs of the apocalypse. Those five API APIs are Amazon Walmart Alibaba, and Shopify. And I predict a, a future that I think is a very real scenario where those five companies own global commerce, every transaction, every dollar spent, and they own the entire supply chain. And they’re closed supply chains, meaning they’re not open to anyone. They’re only open to those that are living within that marketplace. And they are competing against one another the same time. I’m a guy that believes that small businesses and mid-size companies feed families and build communities. And so we need to empower those small businesses. And so if those guys don’t understand who they’re really competing against, it’s not the other small business down the street, it’s Amazon, who’s spending, you know, $200 million on each new warehouse. They open up. So from there, I would take them down and help them understand that Amazon Walmart, all these guys may be setting the buyer expectation, but a small guy still have to meet those same standards. Right. The buyers still want stuff delivered fast and easy. They want low friction checkout. And so those are the things we have to deliver upon from a warehouse automation perspective.

Charles (04:37):

Yeah. I think a lot of people underestimate when they sell it in a competition, they, they know their competition, right? Like, you know, as a retailer, I’m selling X there’s, these other three people, you probably know the names of the founders. Like you, you know, kind of the players, but there’s always the, it’s the users of the buyers that never even got to your site, never even really considered you. That just went to Amazon and said, Oh, one-click buy. Like I know as a software company. Yeah. We can, you know, our biggest competitor is Microsoft Excel, right? Like it’s like, it’s almost every business software, company’s largest competitor because it’s the people that are using Excel and they never even started to bother to look and sign up kind of the same thing with Amazon. It’s the folks that never even got to the retailer site, right. That they just want an Amazon and they don’t even know this five competitors. They just know this Amazon. So how do you even get in front of them in that case?

Jeremy (05:28):

Yeah. I, I break out Amazon’s competitive advantage into two components. One is the eyeballs, right? That’s the, the marketplace, the fact that customers are skipping Google, they’re going straight to Amazon, Amazon stocks, you know, last I checked over 120 million products, right. You think, Oh, I can find everything on there. And the other one is the distribution. Amazon has the smart warehouses and their own network of carriers. They own the planes, the trucks, the warehouses, like the entire supply chain. So I do think we have to break it up into two components. I spend the majority of the book talking about the distribution component because that’s really my specialty. But I do spend a little time talking about the eyeballs component. The data war that’s going on behind the scene scenes. Oh, I don’t know if you’ve noticed if you if you buy things on Amazon, but a few months ago, all of the order details disappeared from the confirmation emails.

Jeremy (06:24):

So when you went online and you bought a book before, you know, or five books and they’re different books and your, your order confirmation will tell you which books you bought, what the quantity was. Now, they don’t say any of that. And one of the reasons that that that’s happening is because Google is a competitor of Amazon. Google has invested in companies, you know, like JD with Walmart and, and there’s this supposedly you know, anti Walmart Alliance with Google and target and other retailers where all these guys are trying to compete. And so there’s a whole data war played out. And the data that’s important is I need to be able to put the right product in front of the right buyer when they’re ready to buy. Right. There’s an old Charles Duhigg story. Charles Duhigg wrote to the power of habit and stronger, faster, better.

Jeremy (07:11):

He tells this story that he wrote a long time ago about how target knew a young girl was pregnant before her, her own parents knew because of what she was buying at the store and the data and that’s imperative. And that’s the, one of the tools that the big, the big giants are using that small guys don’t necessarily have access to, but the small guys have things that the big guys don’t have. The biggest one I talked about in the book is authenticity. One of the stories I tell in the book is about a company called Grove collaborative and grow cells. Eco-Friendly healthy, natural products for cleaning, for self care kids you know, pets, all that type of stuff. Thinking about like cleaners, toilet paper, I mean, it’s literally a direct head-to-head competitor of Amazon selling in many cases, commoditized products, and they are killing it.

Jeremy (08:07):

Their last valuation of their last fundraise fundraise was over a billion dollars. They’re growing like crazy. And they’re doing this in spite of Amazon’s best efforts and they’re doing it by being authentic with their customers, authentic with the products they sell. And they’re telling their story, which is very important small and mid-sized companies. We can’t get away with kind of hiding in the shadows anymore. We gotta be out there telling our story, telling customers why they should be buying from us so that they choose to come buy from us. And then once they arrive, we have to give them that frictionless process to purchase. And that fast delivery,

Speaker 2 (08:43):

This week’s episode is sponsored by Prisync. Prisync is a competitor price tracking and repricing tool that helps e-commerce companies make intelligent pricing decisions. Using the dashboard and daily Excel reports

Charles (08:56):

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Charles (10:24):

Yeah. I think people underestimate that, telling that story. It’s a very organic process, right? Like, and that everyone’s kinda like shortcut that on. They want, they just want to get people to the site, but what’s really gonna happen is if you tell that story authentic, that’s going to make sales, but also generate fans. And those fans will be the ones that start kind of the flywheel spinning. And that will be the buildup, but that takes awhile. So yeah, you get that going.

Jeremy (10:49):

It works so well. There’s another company I, a case study in the book called Parker, clay and Parker, clay makes leather products, mostly handbags bags for men and women in Ethiopia and the founders were missionaries over in Ethiopia and saw this aid model and how it was working and thought they could start a business and provide more value and more help to the people over there. And so they started making these bags and selling them in the U S and they employ almost exclusively. Women, a woman who are in vulnerable situations who can’t necessarily feed themselves, or their kids have no way to make money. And now they have a factory. They employ over 200 women over there. And if you look at not only their success from a sales perspective in the U S but if you look at some of their metrics, like repeat purchase rates, their repeat purchase rates are twice the industry average.

Jeremy (11:51):

I can go to Amazon and find the bag knocked off by five different vendors. Right? Most of them coming from China or I can go to Parker, clay, I can spend more for the same bag. It’s higher quality. It comes with a lifetime guarantee and I’m doing good with the money I’m spending, right. I’m actually helping these women. And it’s the, the company is going gangbusters. So yeah, telling that story being authentic, and that is the way to get the, to get the word out while these, you know, these giants are playing data Wars that we’ll never have enough money to put to play.

Charles (12:25):

Yeah. That’s the thing. You’ll never beat them at that game. Right. Like you’ll never, Amazon knows every product, they know different products too. Like you were saying, like the pregnancy, like products that are in such different categories versus you as a retailer, you just know, okay, handbag, someone’s coming here for this. You don’t know what sort of, you know, like products they bought at the like groceries they boss, but, you know, they handbags. So, you know, at least that selection. So how do you start competing? And, you know, getting that word out though, like, how do you, when you say that be authentic, like, how do you show that to a buyer?

Jeremy (12:58):

Yeah. So I, and I think it depends on the brand. Obviously the Grove collaborative was doing it by emphasizing the natural and healthy elements in their products, right? They weren’t toxic in their cleaners Parker, Clay’s doing it through having a cause that matters and, and helping these vulnerable women. Another good example I can give you is Allbirds Allbirds makes the, will run our tennis shoes that are pretty famous now. And they did it through using wool because it’s a, an environmentally friendly product. And it’s funny, one of the hopeful, one of the ways they got the word out and they were already pretty big when they did this, but it’s, it’s the tactic I thought was fantastic. They were getting enough traction and we know that customers go straight to Amazon now, right? They’re not just going to Google.

Jeremy (13:47):

And so they’re going to Amazon and they’re searching Allbirds. Well, Allbirds refuses to sell to Amazon, just like Birkenstock. And I tell the story of Birkenstock in the book also because Amazon was going and buying Birkenstocks behind the scenes in order to have them. But that’s not what Amazon did with Allbirds. They did. They, they came up with knockoffs on Allbirds and radically undercut the price. And the founders of Allbirds wrote a letter to Bezos and said, Hey, we’ve given the NA the environmentally friendly tactics and supply chain tactics to over a hundred of our competitors. At this point, we will give them to you, Jeff Bezos, we will let Amazon habit. If you’re going to copy us, at least copy our environmental standards. You’re making these, these knockoffs with products that aren’t helpful for everybody. And the truth is that people really care about that. Right? We’re moving into a world. We’ve moved into a world where there is an ethical component to how people are spending their money. And as they learn about these things, they spread the word pretty quickly. And they’ll do a lot of the work for you. And I think we’re seeing that in the metrics of lots of our customers and lots of the other companies that we work with.

Charles (15:01):

And I bet from a marketing point of view that letter, and like picking a fight with a giant, probably got them a lot of press, a lot of like a, a lot of press and a lot of links. And a lot of people just looking at, Hey, what’s all birds, but then B it gets the people that already knew them. It gets on that good side, right on like, look what this company’s doing. Look, they’re like, they really believe in that. It’s like so much the warranty they’re willing to give that to Amazon. So it probably helps on both sides.

Jeremy (15:27):

Well, and it provides that understanding, right? Like we now understand what’s important to them. We understand what makes their product different in the market. And now if I’m looking at a knockoff for half the price, it doesn’t matter that it’s half the price, because I know that what I’m buying on the other hand is something totally different.

Charles (15:43):

Yeah. And for the trip, the people who actually go in there, because they believe in that mission, they’re not going to get them on Amazon. Right. They’re going to, they need to go right. To Allbirds and do business with them. Exactly. Yeah. So you’re a logistics guy, right. How do you compete there though? Cause I feel like that’s the other side of, that’s the other side, right? Legit. Like the logistics, the, they have all your credit card information. They may make it so easy. You know, if you could be sitting here right now and walking down the street and think, Oh, I need some AA batteries and you hit order and I’m in Boston and like same day or next day, these batteries just like magically arrive at my house free of charge, free shipping rather. How do you compete with that side? It’s just, they’ve made it so easy.

Jeremy (16:29):

Yeah. And, and easy in front of the buy button is very different than easy behind the buy button. I started using the hashtag behind, not the buy button because you know, you, we can go to the bookstore, go to Amazon and there’s a million books on sales and marketing and hardly any on operations, the behind the buy button button work. And that’s really the difficult ness, right? The difficult elements, Shopify, for example, has done a fantastic job of smoothing the process in front of the buy button. And it’s important. You mean before the purchase purchase? Yeah. Making the purchase seamless, right. Making it easy. And I have Shopify is one of the five API to the apocalypse, but they are the only one that I see as a friend to the indie merchant. Right. So they are very different in their approach. Their goal is still get everyone on our infrastructure, but at this point in time, they are doing it for the right reasons, at least what we, from what we can gather.

Jeremy (17:28):

But as far as the, the tools that they need to compete in the warehouse behind the buy button, it’s very different. And I break it into the, in the book into six categories, things like packing, shipping, warehousing, data analytics, operations workers. And I can give you, you know, suggestions in each one of those. But I think a better example is I had a CEO of a company reach out to me right after the book launched. And he said, Hey, I just bought a bunch of copies of your book. I’ve given them to all my operations team members. They’ve we got all this grown software internally and they want us to work with this robotics company and we want to do automated picnicking and, and all this. And I started asking him some questions about his operation and he, he said, hold on a second.

Jeremy (18:13):

You’re going from zero to a hundred. Let’s, let’s talk about going from zero to one, right. You don’t just go out and buy a bunch of robots and expect it to work. Right. Expect it to sync with all your different systems and softwares you’re running in your, in your warehouse and expect that to actually provide the efficiencies that maybe a, an competitor like an Amazon is providing. So in the book, I break it down to very simple things, right? Like using hardware in the warehouse using scanners, right. Scanners have been around forever. This isn’t, you know like cutting edge technology, but many operations still don’t use them or use them completely. Right. They’re not using them to eliminate manual input in an order fulfillment process. Right. I talk about the treatment of workers in the warehouse, which is an element that I think is incredibly overlooked.

Jeremy (19:03):

The Mo the media picks up on all the, you know, Amazon and Walmart mistreating workers. But if you think about it, us is, you know, we’re on the technology side, but even in you know, the small and mid-sized company world we invest so much in our work environment in the front office. Right. And there’s the best, best places to work, right? No, no, no best places to work are our warehouses, right? What are we doing in the warehouse? We’re taking out any windows, any skylights we’re, it’s concrete floors. We’re putting us next to robots, not to make our jobs easier, but to make us worse work faster and more efficient at the things that robots can’t do. Like we, we don’t treat people very well in that scenario. And if you look at the data, the data shows that those people don’t actually perform very well for us because of how they’re being treated.

Jeremy (19:53):

We’re not getting the best out of the people that we’re employing. So on the operations worker side, I talk about treating people in the, in the warehouse, in Baja, you know, in the operation side, just as well as we do in front, right. Data and analytics, the fascinating thing from that, I’ve learned one of the things I’ve learned from my sales team, nine out of 10 companies, perspective companies we speak with do not have any operations goals or metrics that they’re being managed to. If you ask them what they’re trying to, like, what, what’s the goal? The answers are things like cheaper, faster, more. And, you know, my dad always told me growing up more is not a number. And so like things like just setting operational metrics, knowing what your average shipment cost is managing to that cost setting goals to get reduction or improvement in throughput can make radical differences for small and mid-sized operations. So like I said, look, I break it down categorically and make it very tangible. But those are the types of things we’re talking about.

Charles (20:58):

It’s funny. It’s almost like barcode scanners and like working environment. And just, if you’ve ever I actually worked in a warehouse and I was like, this is like my high school job. And like, you remember just like trying to like type in, like, your hands are cold warehouse freezing. Right. There’s no heat out there. And you’re trying to like type on this like little computer at the time. And if you don’t have a barcode scanner, it’s almost a possible cause like you might be wearing gloves and like, yeah. These like little things and it’s shock and shocking how much that slows you down. Right. Cause like all of a sudden, all right, get this box now I need to okay. Take my gloves off, do some data entry. Or I put them back on, get back on the truck. And like, it just slows down. It like slows down the whole process. And just those little things you don’t, unless you’ve done it before, you don’t know breaking down those hurdles really just like makes the process so much easier for the person working there and they want to go fast. Like you, you want to pick the boxes faster. You just can’t because you have to keep stopping. So then it just gets frustrating. You just end up just bogging down and saying, well, you know the hell with it, let’s just, let’s go to lunch.

Jeremy (22:00):

Absolutely. You’re a hundred percent. Right. And, and it goes even further, which box are you picking? How do you know that you’re picking the right box? Right? And then what you’re typing in is that accurate? How, how are you picking your carriers and your services we showed, we analyze like it’s like three quarters of a million shipments or something and found that those in those shipments, the customers that those represented or miss routing almost one in four shipments in their warehouse in a single or carrier environment. So they’re only using FedEx or they’re only using FedEx and the postal service. They’re still paying for a more expensive carrier because it’s being manually selected than is available. That still meets the delivery promise. And so they’re throwing money down the drain. So we don’t even need to go all the way to crazy, you know, these $200 million facilities that Amazon’s building. There are, there are simple things we can do today to make our, our operations radically more efficient.

Charles (22:58):

That’s a trick. I’m always surprised at how many retailers pull this little track, right? Where they get an order for two day shipping. And a lot of folks make a ton of money just doing this. And I didn’t know about this until people started kind of explaining to me like why they do it. They get it a two day like an overnight order today. And they realized, Oh, it’s like domino with my warehouse. I can just ship it ground. It’s going to make it there. Nope. You know, whatever, just pick the cheapest and it’ll get there in a day anyway. So they, and the difference of cost, it could be like $80 versus going to ship it for three. Right. Cause they can just ship it ground it’s right down the street. And a lot of them at a high volume make a significant amount of money just from that one little trick right there on just downgrading the shipping because they can

Jeremy (23:39):

Yep. The customer does not care. What the color of the truck is that shows up in front of their house. All they care about is that the order is on time as expected. Yep.

Charles (23:50):

Yeah. I’m guessing. So I’m guessing Shabaka and help with this, but also Amazon, they take advantage of this too, right? Like there’s a warehouse. I know Amazon where it’s, it’s quite literally down the street. So when they’re saying two day shipping time, it’s just because it’s right next door. It’s not like they have to really like put it on a plane and fly it here. They just bring it down the street. So that’s how so just knowing where they are and be able to do some little optimizations like that can really it’s it’s taking orders. You already have, it’s taking already volume already have and just making it more profitable doing it that way. Correct? Yup. Yup. So how did, when you said Shopify takes a different angle on this and it does it for the right reasons. What were you saying there? Actually, I was kind of addressing.

Jeremy (24:32):

Yeah. So Shopify you were talking before about it’s I love the language, you know, they’re great at this, but arm, the rebels, right. They see the rebels as the independent merchants, the Indies, right. Those are who we’re trying to support. That’s why I wrote the book. You’re right. It’s a small, and mid-sized companies that feed families and build communities. Our society is built around this model, right? We aren’t built to have five global powerhouse companies that control everything and everybody and Shopify sees this and their perspective has been, Hey, our goal is not to build the Shopify brand. Our bill goal is to build our customers’ brands and it’s actually working so well that this last Christmas word came out. I forgot the name of it already, which is embarrassing. Because Amazon has a project, a secret project internally now because Shopify independent merchants actually sold more than Amazon third-party merchants.

Jeremy (25:26):

This past holiday season and Bezos has been reportedly pretty upset about that, but you’ll see Shopify, isn’t pushing the Shopify logo everywhere. They’re pushing the merchant logo, right. They’re pushing tools that enable those merchants as standalones and collectively I, I find it frustrating. I know they don’t want to do it because they don’t want to become a marketplace. But I find it frustrating that I can’t go to a single place and find all of the Shopify merchants so I can search like an Amazon, but on an independent merchant network. Right? One of the benefits of Amazon is simply that’s simple search, but Shopify has protect, perfected the backend when you’re doing your checkout. If it is a Shopify store and you’ve purchased on Shopify before, boom, you get an instant modal that pops up, it already has your credit card, your mailing address send you a text message.

Jeremy (26:15):

You put four numbers in and the checkout is complete. And then I can monitor all those in the same app. So if I’m, if I have multiple products and transit, I can see all of that tracking data in one place. So they’ve done a really good job of supporting the independent merchant from that perspective. And I, and I, I think that will continue as the authenticity and reason for the brands matters more because more people are going to be buying from Shopify type merchants as opposed to the alternatives, unless they’re there. I’m just looking for the cheapest price. In which case, you know, I read something a few months ago that something like 40% of the Amazon 33rd party merchants now are based in China. And so we’re actually buying things from overseas. It’s different quality. We don’t know if it’s authentic. There’s not as many processes in place because they’re just so big, right?

Jeremy (27:08):

You buy from a Parker clay. I know exactly what I get. I know who I’m dealing with. Funny example, I actually, my three little boys, a skateboard and one of them is dropping into some pretty big drops now. And he took some heavy falls this last weekend. So I went on and bought him some new kneepads. I got a text message within 30 minutes of me placing the order from the owner of the knee pad company I bought from just asking, are you sure you want this size? I’ll get the order out tomorrow. And that’s, that’s something you’re never going to get with those big brands. But guess what? That business, that text message is feeding that guy’s family, it’s building his business. It’s, it’s contributing to his community.

Charles (27:46):

Yeah. And it’s surprising how you can, it’s surprising at what level you can still do things like that. Like people think while it’s not scalable and really the answer is like, it doesn’t need to be like, like you’re not scaling from zero to, you know, 10,000 orders a day. Like you can do that for a long time. Like you can text and then eventually automate that. Like, it’s not that hard to automate. You’ll get that pretty quick. And I think people, they don’t want to do this stuff at the beginning that they want to have everything. That’s like hands off like very scalable processes, but really they want, you don’t need that. Right? Like that manual stuff kind of that being fully automated from day one is what takes that human factor out of it.

Jeremy (28:24):

Correct. But if you do the human factor at the beginning, if you take it slow and you slowly add in the logical automations and don’t try to make huge leaps, like the example I gave earlier of, of the robotics example even the automated elements can still have customized components and still feel to that end buyer. Like they’re dealing with, you know, a brand that cares about them. It doesn’t need to appear. I watched a really funny video yesterday. I think it’s wholly inaccurate, but it was really funny. This guy pretended to be three different delivery drivers or four different delivery drivers. So first comes the, you know, the ups guy and he just kind of, he’s talking on his cell phone, drops the box and leaves then comes the FedEx guy. He doesn’t even get up to the door. He just throws the box and leaves then comes the postal guy.

Jeremy (29:15):

He sneaks up to the door to make sure no one’s seeing him drops the box, kicks the vase over and leaves. And then here comes Amazon. Yeah, the Amazon DSP guy who sets it down really nice has air freshener has pocket sprays. The air freshener, fixes the mat and then walks away nicely, totally an accurate, but the point is, is you can still deliver those type of, of well thought out, caring experiences customers by starting like you’re talking about with those manual processes, getting to know the customers, you know, reaching out on a one-on-one basis. So you’re actually scaling and automating the right things. Not just order fulfillment, which encompasses way too much, right. Order fulfillment is, is too many things. Warehousing is too many things. It means nothing at this point.

Charles (30:01):

And it, certain parts is like, you, you have to do fulfillment. You have to like, everyone’s come to expect. Philips will be fast. It’s going to get there. Like it’s not going to be broken. Like all these things are just table stakes at this point, that extra text, that’s the part that you get. And you don’t think that’s the part that like you stop and go, Oh wow. Like that’s a pilot that iPads are talking about. Not the fact they arrived and you know, they got their like whatever that you expect them to get there at this point. Like that’s not a surprise anymore, but that text is a surprise. So I think those are the little things that you need to actually, what’s the expression, like a surprise and delight the user, the buyers and do something that’s not being done by the marketplace. And just some random third party seller that sells some generic kneepads they bought wherever. Like that’s something that’s unique.

Jeremy (30:48):

Absolutely. And that is the authenticity of the cells. And even the big companies are, are noticing that. I talk about a Deloitte study where they talk about Unilever and dove and Vaseline and a lift in ice tea and how the brands that have a purpose and a mission that’s clearly communicated the brands that are authentic with our customers, even within this, you know, mega corporation are outperforming all of the other products.

Charles (31:14):

Yeah. I could. How are they getting to act? How are they actually getting this message out though? Is it just through the site or is this through like social? Are you seeing people do this? Like how is it what’s the actual mechanism look like?

Jeremy (31:26):

Yeah. It’s interesting that you say that because I’ve seen a lot of different tactics and as they’re small like I said earlier on those tactics, they feed on themselves. It’s like a snowball, right? You have like like this knee pad company, my friend told me because the guy texted him. I bought now I’m telling you and all your listeners because of a text, right? Like these things, snowball. And that, that company is called boneless. By the way, if I’m telling their story, I may as well, let everyone know who they are. I don’t see them. Yeah. I don’t see them more. I don’t see them more traditional solutions, the advertising, the social media, I mean social. Yeah. Post on Instagram, they do their thing. But I don’t see those routinely picking up until the brand already has traction.

Jeremy (32:19):

Right. Those aren’t the elements that get the brand traction. They get it by being authentic. People care about it. They’re like this brand matters, right. I want to wear a wool runner. That’s, that’s, you know, good for the earth. I want to buy a, you know, a handbag that is made by you know, women that can’t get other work, right. This is actually, you know, taking care of them and families keeping their kids out of, out of the orphanage. It’s like, that is a real story that’s really happening. And so then they tell other people in the brand gets traction. And at that point, the question is, well, do we want to grow faster? And they start adopting more and more of the traditional marketing elements.

Charles (32:59):

Yeah. I think some people have this fair that are gonna like turn off a certain section of buyer, like, Hey, with the eco-friendly and everyone that doesn’t care about that they’re not gonna buy from us. What do you say to those people?

Jeremy (33:13):

That is the entire point, right? Like you can’t be everything to everyone. You’re not trying to find everyone. You’re trying to find your group, your people, your audience, the people that care about what you care about the world is so big. And there are so by, in terms of the volume of people on the planet and there it is so connected that the tiniest of tiny markets can be huge. Right. There was a, a, a talk I heard years ago. I forgot who gave it, it might’ve been Seth Goden. But they talked about this backyard chicken farmer and his backyard chicken farming podcast and how big this thing had gotten. And you think about small audiences. I mean, backyard chicken farmers, aren’t going for everybody. Right. That is a very niche audience yet. It’s enough for this guy to have global, you know, brand advertisers and everything else. So yeah, the entire point is to, to disqualify just as much as it is to qualify your ideal tar kind of target audience.

Charles (34:18):

Yeah. I think this is new in the past 20 years. It’s all right. Where before you could only, if you’re a retailer, you can only reach the people in your geographic location, right? So you just want to hit the people in my zip code. Great. As long as we can resonate with them, we’re doing good. But with the backyard chicken farmers, you can dominate the global backyard, chipping chicken farming market. And in your neighborhood, that’s probably not a big thing, but in the world, if you put enough of them together, now you’re talking, you actually have a following, like you said. So I think that’s, that’s a difference. People, it’s a kind of change in mindset on, Oh, now we’re in, you know, we’re not trying to reach our audience based on where we are physically, but we’re trying to base our audience based on where we are, where our stance is in the market and how we look at our lens and how we view the world.

Jeremy (35:06):

Absolutely. And it works. We see, we see it working in growing very big businesses.

Charles (35:12):

Yeah. The nice part with that is there’s still a place, right? The guy that wants to buy the cheapest. Yeah. I just bought a new pair of slippers the other day. And I went to LL bean. Right. They very nice products usually. They made right by Maine, but if you want to buy like the cheapest slippers, you could go on Amazon. Right? Like they probably have ones for eight bucks. You can buy them. They won’t feel as nice. And the last, like whatever, there is a place that I was, and they probably do quite well, but that same buyer, isn’t also looking at LL bean. They’re just not the same person at all. So I think, and that’s the thing and they’re okay with it. They’re both okay with that. Like if you want to be the cheapest, there’s a place in the market for that right now. And if you want to be this authentic company from Maine that makes, you know, like handmade boots, there’s a place for that too. And people willing to pay more, which is a nice part.

Jeremy (35:58):

True. And unless you’re going to be like an Amazon or a wish or a Walmart, right. There’s I don’t think there’s a place in the market for small, independent guys to try to be the cheapest. Right. Because that, that space is taken.

Charles (36:12):

That’s a mistake. You see people making, they want to, they want to compete and you realize you can, you just can’t win head to head, just like turn around and give up. It’s like, you’re trying to face the army. Like a head-on it’s never going to work that way. Right. You have to come in from a different angle, flank them. Like you have to do stuff in a very different way. Like you said, that they can’t do. And I think that’s the thing, so

Jeremy (36:33):

Yeah. Which, yeah, which you do as a competitor anyway. I mean, if you’ve got an ice cream shop and there’s another ice cream shop down the street or on the other side of the corner, right. Like you’re not going to say, Oh, Hey, come here. Cause my ice cream is just like theirs. Right. We’re already looking for differentiation in our businesses every day. So I think it’s recognizing Amazon is a and Walmart, these guys are monster competitors and there are some things they do very well. So let’s do what we do very well. Let’s be true to what we do and, and make sure that our audience knows that

Charles (37:07):

I like that. Yeah. And I think it’s 20, 20 there’s, there’s that layer underneath, like you’ve said the logistics, all that, you can finally tap into a lot of these services, a lot of this layer under, underneath you. So you can actually ship faster. And like, you can, like you said, process credit cards or Shopify has an app, right. That before, as a retailer, you couldn’t develop an app for everyone’s phone to show where the packages, but now Shopify does that for you. So you have the, you know, the dial tone underneath, like you have the network under you and all you need, and you’re doing now, you’re adding a layer on top of that and actually making the S the part that has to be authentic. Fine. You can do that, but like getting the order out and processing a credit card, no one really cares about how that works. So that’s just kind of the dial tone. So it’s really finally, I feel like we’re at a point where we’ve built that bottom layer, that part’s actually pretty easy for a merchant. Now it is. And now it’s that top, that customer facing side that you can actually customize and make your own.

Jeremy (38:01):

Yup. Yup. I think that was well said. Huh?

Charles (38:04):

All right. Well, thanks for that. Well, maybe that’s a good place to end it then. If anyone’s going to check out the book, kind of learn more about what you’re working on, what can they do that?

Jeremy (38:12):

So they can go, the book is on Amazon, it’s adapter die. I can be found on my website at Jeremy Boden, Bowden hammer has one M I can also be reached at ship hock. That’s like the boat and the bird is ship

Charles (38:29):

Awesome. All right. I will only tell that in the show notes and thanks a lot for coming on today. I appreciate that.

Jeremy (38:34):

I appreciate it.

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