selling, e commerce, channel, amazon, people, companies, opportunity, products, business, big, marketplace, multi channel, website, order, walmart, cooperative, ecommerce, folks, platform, seo
Damon Pistulka, Jeffry Graham
Damon Pistulka 00:04
All right. Thank you everyone once again for joining us on the exit your way. Faces of business program today with me. I’ve got the one and only Jeffrey Graham. How are you doing today, Jeff? Yeah, good.
Jeffry Graham 00:18
We’ll slushy out. But you know, I can’t complain.
Damon Pistulka 00:22
Jeffry Graham 00:23
It’s like we got the snow slush gone. So it’s like, all right. No, not quite rain. So
Damon Pistulka 00:29
well, there wasn’t much snow in Colorado this winter. If I remember right
Jeffry Graham 00:33
now, there hasn’t been a lot. And then we had like, a weird one night of like, foot. And then and then yeah, like, you know, melts. One side of the road melts off. Yeah, doesn’t because this the way the sun? Yeah. You know, the Denver it’s one streets got snow still one doesn’t. It’s one side. It’s kind of a funny, kind of ideal. But yeah, we haven’t. We’ve had a harder snow year hasn’t been as good for the skiers? Yes. We need more.
Damon Pistulka 01:04
Yeah. Well, I think that park city’s had a lot where Anders at and we’re, you know, we’re out here we’ve had record snow in Washington. So yeah. Yeah, what’s going on nuts, nuts, they’ve had the past close down a lot. So I’m kind of excited today, we can talk about some multi channel ecommerce sales is you know, it’s something that’s near and dear to your heart, something you’ve been working on a lot, both helping other people working in companies that you’re doing it and hopefully today, the people listening can learn a little bit about that if they don’t know about it, or if they’re trying to gain more knowledge about it.
So if I always forget to if you’re listening on LinkedIn, or Facebook, go ahead and hit in the comments where you’re listening from, if you have any questions while we’re talking, go ahead and drop them in the comments, I can see him we’ll be answering them while we go along. So cool. So Jeff, this is telling me a little bit about your experience selling on e commerce platforms, and e commerce companies, for the people that don’t know already,
Jeffry Graham 02:13
you know, um, you know, I won’t bore people with my story too much. But, you know, I essentially built and sold my first website when I was really young, and I was in high school still. And from there, I learned about, you know, learn more about the internet. And then I built my first is a website that had essentially a tangible marketplace attached to it, and 2005.
So, kind of a.com, not quite.com bubble era, but just just, you know, a period of time after that. And then of course, we had a big influx and change after that a recession. And then we had a huge push in e commerce, and then Amazon kind of went through the emerging emerging of that. So a software company in 2012. And, you know, ultimately, it’s been, you know, my whole career has been based in sales, but it’s transitioned and positioned itself into a more digital space.
And so I’ve been working in e commerce now for probably a little too long. I mean, am I saying the age of myself now a little bit, I couldn’t believe that Amazon’s 20 had a 26 year birthday or 20 year birthday, or something like wild times flying by? But yeah, so you know, yeah, I’ve been, you know, helping companies, you know, for for quite some time scaling issues, multi channel, e commerce, really anything that has to do with positioning or selling a product on the internet.
And so that’s been kind of my vast background, and most of the folks and companies I’ve been fortunate to work with both big and small, have been selling on multiple channels sometimes and then sometimes they’re looking to to expand their market presence and go in that space. And sometimes, you know, kind of, you know, breaking things down and, you know, gotten the luxury of being able to work with some really big exciting companies and then also love working with the small, small companies that are trying to find an opportunity within a multi channel aspect, which is, which is now mostly ecommerce marketplaces and things so
Damon Pistulka 04:17
yeah, yeah. Well, I was as you were saying that I was I was thinking about your background and you really have had a lot of multi channel before ecommerce multi channel I mean, you sold through dish distributors and direct and, and through rep field reps and strategic partnerships and other things like that. So multi channel sales is nothing new to you. You’ve just transitioned to the electronic stage. Yeah,
Jeffry Graham 04:47
yeah, essentially, you know, the thing that’s that we’ve all had to deal with is that you know, the old school channel way that OEM distribution models and, and kind of the, the way it had been done for something Long, it’s just eroded away. And now, you know, you got manufacturers selling direct, you know, that manufacturer direct model is taken over as a distributions or their distributors are shrinking, you know, those those opportunities are going away.
And you’re finding that a lot more folks are less concerned about channel protection, like you when we did sell it, and then back in the day where we would sell through a reseller, or through a distributor through a tier partner, or affiliate partner system. So now it’s now it’s kind of gone away. And now it’s, you know, it’s manufacturers taking margin back, or are companies going to in a direct model?
And because they can now, you know, the technologies caught up? It was it was, it would have been too expensive, and labor some 10 years to do it. I mean, yeah, you’d be, you’d have to spend million dollars to probably be able to compete. Now, there’s so many integrations, plugins and things we’ll probably talk about, that make everyone have an opportunity to compete, but also then now creates a very competitive environment.
Damon Pistulka 06:06
Yeah, that’s true. Because as, as the technology and the barrier to entry have gotten into, hey, I can sell online, and then our, yeah, now I can sell online. Now, me, everybody else I know can sell online, too. If that same barrier to entry, we get more competition. And then when you look at the marketplaces, we’ll talk about that a bit too. Like the the Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Zorro, whoever you’re talking about, you know, just made it that much easier for more people to get into it. That wanted to do it. So yeah, that’s, that’s interesting how that is changed a lot.
And the thing that I think is, is is pretty exciting, really, is when some of these companies are looking at the hybrid models where they may have distributors, and still the old school type, retail box locations or whatever, through a distributor network. But yet, they’re selling direct through Amazon through Walmart, or onto their own website.
Jeffry Graham 07:09
Yeah, a lot of brands, you know, basically, were selling through channels, this is, you know, probably within the last couple years, we’re selling through channel, and then they were like, Hey, we want to sell direct. So we’re gonna name this product, create a whole different piece of our business in order to not hurt their channel. And that was something that folks were doing as a strategic play. But then, ultimately, the product, we know, people find out the products the same, they find, you know, and it kind of implodes on itself. And a lot of those ventures that big, you know, big, multi billion dollar companies had had pursued didn’t work out.
Yeah, and you know, where the opportunities lie within channel, there’s a lot of variables that folks need to think about now. And with within the within the changes in the evolution of the marketplace, and how to sell in a marketplace and how to position your products. And those are all things to decide if if a multi channel strategy digitally makes sense and, and how you’re going to win, ultimately, and get your products were in a needy, you know, in front of them as many people as possible. It’s eyeballs now, right? Yeah, the internet’s becoming as big as it is, is becoming smaller.
So we don’t have you know, I’ve you know, remember this statistic of about 10,000 websites entering the internet a day, that that’s now up to about 25,300 ish, new websites are now being launched daily. Wash tremely, large amount of folks trying to eat but like said, You, like you said, it’s a lower barrier of entry. The technology is now improved. You don’t need huge software development team to code you a platform. Any out of the box solutions, you have plugins, integrations and all these kind of, you know, systems now make life easy, but it also can be a slippery slope. Yeah, you do it right. If you do it right, or you’re wrong, right.
Damon Pistulka 09:04
So that’s for sure. Because, you know, when we look back at 2020, the people that were already, you know, on a few channels, e commerce and it was anything, you know, consumer related products, they probably killed it in 2020, just because of the fact that, you know, people are at home and ordering more online.
And driving, you know, the I don’t know, I didn’t look at the final numbers, but it was crazy high e commerce sales in 2020, compared to 19, just because of the effect of people being home more. But I got to believe that if somebody wasn’t really into e commerce, and got into e commerce in 2020, out of necessity, or it was planned that and they’re looking at a multi channel approach now. It’s a lot more competitive than it was two or three years ago.
Jeffry Graham 09:58
Yeah. Yeah. It’s a lot more competitive and in the folks that have been there already on those channels have an advantage. You know, they have reviews, they have other things that are gonna give them leverage. And so you have to be able to get yourself into a market and and kind of speed up the process. And there’s a lot of ways to do that, then there’s a lot of ways to kick I’d say, play catch up.
Because Yeah, a lot of folks, we’re going into multi channel expansions through the wayfarers of the world, the Amazons, FBA, Walmart, Home Depot, and all, you know, your, you know, Rakuten and all these kind of affiliate programs and shop COMM And Google Shopping. And so everybody was kind of like, you know, going that route before. But now it’s, you know, if you hadn’t gone in that, you know, gone that way. Now, you know, I have to play catch up a bit. Yeah, in order to do that you have to, you know, I guess, skip a few steps and make a lot less mistakes. Yeah, catch up quick enough to be as competitive as you want to be.
Damon Pistulka 11:00
So you bring up a good point. So I’m sitting here today, I’ve got a website. I’m not on a platform yet. But I’m really considering some platforms. But I’m selling on my website, I’m doing okay. And I’m ready to go to an Amazon or somebody else like that. What are some of the things I should be thinking about in my business that I might not be thinking about when I’m when I’m just running sales through my website. But when I go to that platform, any platform, I’m not talking platform selection, just what are some of the things that I should be prepared for? Before I get onto a platform?
Jeffry Graham 11:36
Yeah, that’s a great question down, there’s, there’s, I’d say there’s a lot of things that you need to consider before going on any platform. So you every platform has their own policies and rules, let’s just say that they’re there, their expectations, and that’s going to come down to expectations of images, expectations of descriptions, videos, okay, a video is not okay, you know, where to, you know, looking at the policies within every marketplace platform, which is probably what we’re more focusing or talking about on right, we’re talking about, yeah, it’s marketplaces, right?
Yeah, it said that 70% of all, even b2b buyers are going to eventually lean on all marketplaces within the next 12 to 18 months. So you’re talking about a huge, huge influx in marketplace, saturation, but also marketplace opportunity.
So you know, you have things that are you have to think of inside your company, do you have the infrastructure to be able to deal with order issues in order fulfillment, so you’re going to have different policies and procedures per marketplace, you’re gonna have different fees for those things that you’re wanting to sell to that marketplace, you also then will have to then create potentially different skews, different UPC codes, and then what order processing is going to happen because the expectation when you ship through Amazon, through your from your warehouse, or when you shipped, you know, a Walmart order through warehouse are different.
Now you have two different needs, you know, these companies have different expectations, and so they have to weigh those out. And then how do you make that efficient and effective, so you don’t lose money, you have fees and costs on the marketplace channels, you have advertising on the marketplace channels, everyone knows and is enjoying Amazon’s, you know, money grab with, with advertising fees and costs going up and up and up. And to the point where it’s pretty much in line with what old school retail would cost you.
You have systems internal systems, you know, is your infrastructure setup. So from order processing, hey, you know, I get an order from x channel, it comes into my is a decentralized system, are we managing these channels individually to start, and then we’re integrating them into a CRP of some kind or some type of order management system to make it easier and streamline the process so we can keep our profitability up and all these kind of things. So when you’re looking at going into multi channel strategies, you also have to understand if it’s the right channel for you, you know, is this the place you want to be selling? Should you be selling your competitors sell their?
Do they not? Is your pricing competitive? Can you be competitive, I mean, there’s just so many factors that are involved, that you really have to understand the mode of the way that that channel operates. And then also, the other thing that I like to lean on is who’s shopping on that channel. So I’ve done understand the demographics, the typical buyer, you know, one of the big opportunities I think, that have happened and expose themselves as the government’s changing their buying. So now, normal company, down the street can sell the US government, which is the largest buyer in the world.
So it’s an opportunity if you have products that they need, which they need everything. So yeah, everything from chair to You know, to, you know, a bomb? Yeah. The government’s always buying and but what they’re doing what they’ve done is they’ve just minimize the the, it’s not as hard anymore. Yeah, they’re and they’re, you know, the buyers also, you know, we have to think b2b too is the buyers are getting younger. And so they’re they’re doing Amazon searches, they’re doing Google searches for products and the more you have that spiderweb of of your products out there, the more opportunity you are going to catch customers.
Damon Pistulka 15:32
That’s that’s a good point, because I heard somebody say the other day that I forget what it was, like 70% of all Product Search started on Amazon or something like that. It was it was a high number, I don’t remember exactly. But that’s kind of scary if you’re, if you’re not on Amazon, or Amazon and Google or somehow to be found on both places.
Jeffry Graham 15:52
Yeah, you know, Amazon’s evolved a lot over the years, it was one of the places where you’re like, hey, I want to be there because I want to make money and be successful in it that and that’s just become harder and harder for everyone that sells there.
The other thing now that folks I think have positioned and are doing specifically on Amazon is using it as a brand play, to bring them to their own site, essentially, they’re going to use Amazon as a FCA. first customer acquisition, first order opportunity, and then they’re going to, once they get that order in that package in someone’s hands, then they’re going to use that packaging opportunity to bring them to the direct website, maybe it’s for better pricing, maybe it’s for quicker shipping, if they’re not an FBA seller, whatever it is, you know, whatever angle that someone might might want to choose, which there’s many, you know, carrots, we can play with there on how it works.
But yeah, that that’s to me, there’s nothing better than a direct sale to your website, and e commerce, you’re gonna have the highest margin, you know, the highest profitability, it’s just just a no brainer, you know, advertising cost. But if you can use channels to leverage your, you know, essentially use those as, as, hey, this is now my pool of people I can grasp and then get them to come reorder direct. That’s, that’s a lot of strategy that’s going on right now.
Damon Pistulka 17:19
Yeah, yeah. And that’s the one thing that I think, especially new people that are new to e commerce, don’t really understand is, if you build a website, it’s not easy to get traffic to that website. Now, a lot of competition,
Jeffry Graham 17:37
it’s never been harder. I mean, you know, as as transparent as possible, it’s never been harder to get traffic to websites. And I shouldn’t say traffic because you can get traffic but it’s good traffic is Yeah, I should say, we should break it down a good traffic, it’s never been harder to get good traffic, because you have still only the first two or three pages of Google that matter on and you still have this high influx of sellers. And when you have companies like just announced yesterday or day before, like a Disney, who’s removing 60 brick and mortars, you know, they’re they’re getting out of retail, and they’re going full into an e commerce strategy.
Okay, well, you know, okay, now I got to compete with them. If I’m, you know, if I make a product that is something that they would, you know, and they have deep pockets, right, so you have to be strategic and you have to be smart and how you sell because you are competing against these monster companies that are all now pivoting to e commerce strategy, and they’re going to saturate and control the market.
So we want to make sure that as smaller businesses, we, we create niches within our spaces, and then we also create what’s going to be as effective as possible, essentially, but the other good thing about it is its technology has advanced so much, we actually can compete with Disney, we can even take opportunities away from big companies, multi billion dollar organizations. And that wasn’t possible before.
Damon Pistulka 19:02
Jeffry Graham 19:04
Thanks to platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce and, and big commerce and you know, of course, all of them multiple channels, you know, I mean, most people wouldn’t know that Home Depot is a marketplace right? Hmm. Yeah. be one that you know, I could sell it home depot.com I didn’t even know that was marketplace. It is a marketplace. Yeah, there’s Yeah, sellers all over the place on there.
Damon Pistulka 19:23
Well, when you think about it, yeah, I need to go it MPAA like you said Home Depot is one Bed Bath and Beyond. I think Don’t they have one? And then there’s Zorro which is actually owned by Granger for more industrial type products. I mean, there’s so many, and that you said, Rakuten or however you say it is yes, it’s a lesser known one. But you know when you look at even some of these lesser known ones, if you’re kind of unique and it’s the right buyer on there, it might be a good place because we’re still talking they probably sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of product every year on on the small channels. Yeah,
Jeffry Graham 20:01
yeah. And then and then what we’re finding is niche marketplaces too. So yeah, we have our bigger marketplaces, you know, like, or Walmart, you know, whatever. But we also have really niche market is like a place where you only get pipes and fittings, or you’re only going to get, you know, tires, right? You know, like, if you look at like a tire company like delay Discount Tire, these big tire companies have all have had all these retail locations.
Well, now they’re probably doing more revenues through those those online experiences that they’re creating, ordering a tire having it shipped to someone’s house already mounted and balanced, throw it on your car, call it a day, you know, so there are a lot of things that are changing. Yeah, ship that stuff now, relatively cheap. So yeah,
Damon Pistulka 20:45
yeah, that is something I mean, when you think about the changes that this done, and I know we’re getting a little off topic, but just the, the amount of stuff that we as consumers buy and get shipped to our house anymore. And the types of things I mean rugs and furniture, and you look at wayfarer, and what wayfarer is done to, to change the way that people buy furniture, I mean, you can buy big pieces of furniture that comes boxed by ups, they figured out how to do it that way and get it to you. And you can instantly put the stuff together. It’s pretty crazy,
Jeffry Graham 21:20
is it’s and that’s the thing about that the big thing with selling on a channel is is making sure that that you can deliver to right and keep that reputation up and and having you know, we’re talking big products there. Right ship? Yeah, that’s a logistical challenge. But I mean, there’s just so many opportunities within this within channel development channel expansion, it’s just a matter of understanding them weighing out what can be a risk that Yeah, to get yourself to and and how to kind of start. Yeah, to get there first.
Damon Pistulka 21:54
Well, going back to where we were talking about selling on the website, and you’re considering channels, I think one of the one of the things that people might not be prepared for, and you you mentioned, two of them, first of all, is the customer service requirements.
I mean, people expect, like when you order something on Amazon, now people expect that, you know, you’re going to get a confirmation to your order, like in minutes, almost. And then you’re gonna see that that order is shipped that day or the next day, or I know on Amazon, specifically, you have to tell it how many days but if you put in there that you’re going to ship in five days, you’re going to lose a ton of customers, because they’re expecting that that order is going to go out that day, if you ordered early or the next day at the worst.
And then they’re going to also expect that you get an email that confirms that and maybe even a text that tells you that it’s been shipped with a tracking number on it. So when you go back to some of these people that I’ve got my, my little shop that I’ve opened up, and I’m making products, and now I’m going to go on to an Amazon platform, and I get just 10 orders a day, just think how much work that is if it’s not automated to the point that a lot of that stuff is done.
Jeffry Graham 23:10
Yeah, yeah, no, it’s it’s, it’s, it’s under, it’s, you know, a lot of folks think that, hey, going in e commerce is gonna be the easy way to go. And we’ll just throw a store up, and we’ll add some products to some websites, and we’ll do some advertising and we’ll, it’ll be done deal. Now, the problem is, is yet the expectations of the buyer has changed to the point where no one has any patience anymore.
Patience doesn’t exist, customers always right. And Amazon, you know, has created that, that persona and that that model, and that model has put vendors at risk. So that that risk is that now, you know, you have to be Johnny on the spot, you cannot be behind on the communication aspects, you have to have people that are going to be able to deal with the communication aspects both internally or externally within an organization. And then the other thing that you mentioned really is speed, right. So you know, the number one most important thing when someone buys on their next price, I mean always everybody can set a price or value to price.
The second is shipping costs and speed says it’s literally separated by about 4% so those are the difference like people care about shipping costs and speed almost as much as they care about price. So that tells you right there how important speed shipping communication is going to be on selling on these multiple channels. And that just because you’re there doesn’t mean that the you know you can slow down you know, the other things are going to come into like is it in stock? You know, people say hate buying something or sent it says it’s in stock, they make an order. Next thing you know, they get an email, hey, we’re out of stock on this. We’re sorry, our website wasn’t updated.
You just pretty much lost that opportunity in depth. Evidently, people don’t have the patience anymore. And yeah, that’s, you know, kind of unfortunate thing. We’re human, we make mistakes, you know, nothing goes perfect in business. We all know that, but, but, you know, you just can’t make that mistake anymore. It’s just not something that it’s hard to overcome. Yeah, addition to that, you know, you’ve got, you know, trust to be built, you have to have reviews, you have all these aspects in which, which you’re being analyzed, and people are automatically assuming certain way, you know, having a predisposed position on your company before they make that purchase.
And then especially when they make that purchase, something really cool a lot of companies are doing now as a strategy. And we’ll just give them a we’ll just give anyone listening, a nice free one here. If someone orders something from your store, or through your channel, and they order standard shipping, expedite the shipping on their first order, every first customer, you get expedited shipping, send it overnight, send it today, it’s going to get there days before they expect it.
And they’re going to be just enthralled. Just even if they don’t even need it. They’re just going to be in Thrall that oh my gosh, I just ordered this yesterday, how’s it here already, they didn’t know you expedited the shipping, they don’t need to know that you did it. They’re just now you’ve already exceeded that expectation. That’s one little thing you can do. It might cost you a little bit more of that first customer interaction.
But guess what, on every channel interaction, if you do something like that, in the beginning, you’re going to get the repeat opportunities I’m going to buy from them again, you know, already set a tone with that customer, you don’t have a lot of opportunities to set the tone through any channel, on any platform. You your window is really short, and are really small, I should say. And so those are ways in which we can take advantage of the second most important thing on the internet adds shipping costs and speed. Right? At a price. You know, when it comes to channel sales. So yeah, and also direct, but just kind of a fun little tidbit for folks out there. Hopefully,
Damon Pistulka 27:09
what it is, and it’s something that I think you know, I think, I don’t know, I just got something this week. And I think that might have happened because I know it was shipping from Florida. And it got got to my house in two days. And I wasn’t expecting it until next week. And I’m like, Oh, it’s kind of nice. It’s nearly. And that’s all you need.
Jeffry Graham 27:26
You don’t need it. You’re just yeah, automatically in the back of your head, you’re like, oh, wow, I really that’s awesome. Yeah, you know, if you order even from them again, and it comes in normal time, fine. But your expectations were exceeded off your first experience. And again, that’s going to be the same reason people come back to dine at another restaurant, right?
We’ve heard that before, the same reason someone’s going to buy or shop somewhere again. And what we’re finding is a lot of folks will do research on Amazon, but they will buy on direct sites directly. You know, people really do like having interaction with the actual company that’s making or procuring that good versus selling through like a third party kind of seller, you know, that we don’t know are they’re just a seller on Amazon or on some platform so so there’s that part that is is an opportunity for for folks as well.
Damon Pistulka 28:19
So do you think then then there’s an opportunity if someone’s looking at you know, obviously they got multi channels, but do you think that they’re they’re people if a product is maybe not the greatest fit for for Amazon, but they should have that product listed on Amazon or Walmart to just for the simple fact that give it the exposure and then maybe get them back to your website to actually find and buy answer questions or
Jeffry Graham 28:47
there’s definitely those strategies out there where you want to cross pollinate as much as you can or across the internet. So really leveraging search engine which which if your products on Walmart and if let’s say that you have a product and it has its own you know, trademark or something along with it. So it’s just, it’s yours. Whether it’s like a let’s say it’s like a notebook or something, okay.
If it has your trademark on it and you’re selling on Amazon, you’re selling on Walmart, you’re selling on wherever, as you saturate those marketplace opportunities. Your search ability is going to go up through engine search engines, meaning that when I’m looking for a product you’re going to those domain ranks that and domain weight that the the Amazon and Walmart and all these big retailers or multi channel e commerce sellers have is that their domains or have a high authority figure.
So your your products being there is going to help your authority raise with that along with theirs and so as it becomes more and more as you become more and more and more orders gather more and more views, building your multi channel experience, your search ability through through search engine is going to it’s going to Just go off the charts.
And then it becomes like a big snowball. Whereas, you know, you’re starting to get you know, all these inbound links, you’re starting to get your SEO, you’re you know, people are searching for a notebook, and boom, you’re up your your Amazon listings, your Walmart’s your where do you basically on Google Shopping? Where do you want to buy this we sell everywhere, or you can come to our own store? And you know, there are then pricing strategies that that can make a lot of sense for, for sellers.
Yeah. You know, the end of the next piece to it is, you know, we talked price being the most important thing Well, on channel you have to take fees into consideration. Selling correct, you have fees to consider, right you have you know, your your your sunken costs or your embedded costs, you know, packaging shipping. But price, you have a little bit more opportunity for margin. And price. I’d say building more. You can you can be more competitive and your pricing. Yeah, correct. Yeah, I’d steer somebody away from Amazon to you. Yeah, it’ll make more money.
Damon Pistulka 31:11
Jeffry Graham 31:12
I think 25 points from Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 31:14
yeah, exactly. Because the fees are getting higher. And especially if you’re especially if you’re an FBA, and it adds some complexity to if you’re in an FBA type situation with Amazon, because you need to manage your inventory very closely be moving inventory, because you’re charged for storage, and the other things like that. And those costs can run away from you pretty fast if you bring a truckload of stuff in and don’t sell it for a year and a half. And yeah, that’s, in fact, you don’t even get to keep it there, don’t they? I think after so many months, they just send it back to you.
Jeffry Graham 31:49
You know, so you’re paying for storage, then. So basically, Amazon distribute, so you’re paying tribute or costs, plus, you’re going to be on marketplace, the fees, the cost to sell. And then you have to advertise? Yeah, look at all those costs. For you to run down that path. Yeah, those are things that folks don’t look at. And next thing, you know, they’re they’re paying, they’re buying business, essentially, they’re, they’re, they’re losing revenue on it. And then your infrastructure is set up to be able to fulfill quickly, you know, we were used to maybe palletizing or shipping.
Something doesn’t need to be in a pretty package. Well, channel, both say partners will expect you to have some level of packaging, and protection. And then you also have returns returning policies are different that you have to take the product back buyer’s remorse, those are all things that you don’t get to choose on a platform, they’ll automatically send the refund. There is no kind of argument.
Damon Pistulka 32:56
Yeah. So well, and that’s, that’s what that’s just changed in the past couple of years. In the past couple. That’s three, four years, that’s really changed a lot because it used to be you had to get approval to get returns blah, blah, blah. And now it literally is. I don’t like it. Yeah.
Jeffry Graham 33:14
I don’t like it. I’m sending it back. Yeah, and then why we have to because we have this I don’t like and I’m sending the back you have now and now you’re you have fraud that’s going up through the roof too. So you have you know orders that are being you know, your shipping order and next thing you know, it’s returning it they get their money back and they return it you know, you sent I don’t know like a
Damon Pistulka 33:43
loss you know, to
Jeffry Graham 33:45
send a shoe back like you sent you that you bought new new shoes and you sent an old pair back. Yeah, I didn’t know. And you know, they’re not gonna look like they’re doing millions of orders a day Amazon they’re not they’re not saying so those are those are things that just be concerned you know, worry about make sure you’re you know, really diligent on your fraud, you’re, you know, you have the there’s there are software and their systems in there that can flag stuff and make life easier.
So, again, that goes into the technology aspects alone. But, you know, selling in a multiple channel effort is a great way to go. I don’t think I want to discourage anyone from going there. It’s just understand the pitfalls of and the risks, just like you would if you were selling into brick and mortar retailer, you know, there’s a cost to ship there’s gonna be a cost to shelf there’s gonna be cost of merchandise. And all these kinds of things are gonna go into that. But you have an opportunity to do a high amount of volume.
Damon Pistulka 34:43
Yeah. Well, and that’s, you know, the reason why you really need to go multi channel is is is because you simply run out of the right people buying on a given channel. I mean, you can do the best you can make the best listing, you can have the best out advertising. But you know, in the end, even on Amazon, there’s only so many people looking for, you know, purple tennis shoes every day that are in the size eight, you know, there’s, you know, and if you run, if you, everybody has seen it, and they don’t like those purple tennis shoes, you got to go to Walmart or you got to go to Target, you got to go someplace else and get him on the get him on more platforms or eBay and try to get more eyeballs out. So simple.
Jeffry Graham 35:26
Yeah, and you know, that’s another thing that you bring up is is skew adding, you know, essentially adding skews or products to what you would have sold, you know, you might only sold let’s just say like this, this headphone set, right, like I only sell headphones, then you might move into selling other things that are helpful or in addition to ss, a headphone hanger or wall mount or whatever. Right. Yeah. You know, those is that’s kind of what’s happening, right is is people are having to then get more skews, get a larger supply chain, offer more products, so that you’re creating kind of your own marketplace within within a certain segment or niche.
Yeah, something you can you do extremely well. I’ve seen sellers do really well through their direct website and make more profit, but I’ve seen them do way more volume through channel, but make less profit. So I guess it just depends on the goal. But being diverse is good, because it mitigates your risk. Yeah. Especially selling on the internet. With if you have a problem with the store, you have, you know, customer complaint and they they shelf you or they stop you from selling for a period of time, your your your business is in trouble. Yeah, you might, it might ding a 10% or whatever. 5% 20, hopefully less. But your diversification of revenue through channel is going to be very helpful.
Damon Pistulka 36:55
Yeah, no, that’s that’s a great, great point. Because I mean, how many umpteen gazillion people do we talk to you that are selling on Amazon, they’ve got their their products, they don’t really even have a website? And if Amazon switch policies tomorrow and decided something, you know, detrimental to their product line? They’re screwed over?
Jeffry Graham 37:20
Yeah. Yeah. scary thing, right. When when companies become, you know, I guess I would look at it like the 90s, retail world grayrigg was where Walmart was getting in trouble of going, Hey, if you don’t sell us for this price, we’re pulling you off all our shelves, however many stores they have. And that to somebody was like, Well, I guess we’re gonna take the loss is we can afford our business will go bankrupt if we don’t have those channels.
So those are the things that, you know, risk mitigation is important, but there are channels that are that are ones that folks would traditionally think aren’t a good selling platform like eBay, right. Most people would go on eBay. Isn’t that an auction site? No, it’s not. I mean, yeah, it’s an auction site, but it’s not what it was. And eBay has evolved and changed a lot. I really like about eBay, too, is that when you pay for advertising you’re paying for when you sell versus paying just to advertise. So you pay when you get a transaction like, hey, if this transaction came through an advertisement you you pay a percentage.
That’s that’s a cool model. I yeah, I wish Amazon and Google did that. But you know, unfortunately, we don’t get that lucky. But yeah, eBay is an opportunity you know, you got overstock How is right as a target wish Granger you know, you have from a b2b guy, a spy? westco. These companies are all multi channel. You jet you have Rakuten, like we tie wayfair, Walmart, Bing, Google Shopping, bing, bing shopping. Yeah. And then you got all the Amazon marketplaces and you have like, you know, all the all the niche retailers like McMaster Carr, yeah.
Damon Pistulka 39:08
So if you were sitting here today, and you, you were, you’re like, I’m doing pretty good. I’m thinking I need to go on another channel. What would be the, you know, in selecting a channel, what what would you be looking at?
Jeffry Graham 39:25
So, you know, the biggest thing is understanding is is your customer even there, right? Is your customer even on that platform? Okay, so if you’re, you know, selling a certain good good or widget or product, you got to make sure that your customer is there because selling on the wrong channel can be very detrimental to your business, right? orders and things like that. The other thing that I look at is is what’s the opportunity? So, within that channel, let’s say Amazon or Walmart, how saturated is it in x product Then what’s the competition look like both in an advertising front. And then also just a storefront.
So all the stores what you know, how many people Am I competing with? So competitive analysis is really important on every channel that you’re thinking of exploring. And then I would run it backwards. So I would go, Hey, is this opportunity for me to sell here? If so, here’s what I need to do to be there. Okay. And then I’m gonna walk back the cost to be? Yeah, I’m gonna see if it’s equitable for the, for the business. Yeah, that’s the kind of step or I would say, that’s the way to go about it is starting from the end. Or, you know, dialysis is very important, and then walk yourself back all the way to fulfilling that order, the headache just strain on your business internally.
And can you handle as your systems handle it already? Or are you going to need to change systems or hear systems prepared for it beforehand, or can you kind of Band Aid it and then do it as you go, which is totally fine strategy can work very well just depends on speed and volume, if you start selling, you have to be, you need to make sure you deliver. And there’s a fine balance there. Right, you know, we’ve seen times before where folks fall on their face and, and destroy your reputation, because they reach too far too fast. So
Damon Pistulka 41:24
well, and that’s, you make a good point with that, because I don’t think people realize unless they’ve been selling on a platform like Amazon, the the real volume of people that are looking for just say a common item, you know, a certain big pin, or, or something, that’s might be a bad example. But if I if I was to go in, on a listing, and I was selling, and I had an account selling big pens on Amazon, and I dropped the price to half of what everybody else is, you can generate 1000s of orders in minutes.
Awesome items like that, that are high demand items. And you’re exactly right, they’re not prepared for that any way shape or form. So you know, all the way from quality of the data that you’re giving Amazon on something like price, or just being able to to process that many orders. And I think that’s a big consideration for somebody that’s, that’s going to channel because if I’m selling a $20 item, how many orders Am I going to be processing? If I’m selling $1,000 item? Now, I’m probably going to be processing fewer orders, at least in the beginning. So those two things take a lot different planning when you get started doing that.
Jeffry Graham 42:44
Yeah, they’re gonna be it’s so important to deliver. Right? Yeah. And Pete, like I said, kind of early on, people don’t accept your lack of delivery. It just ruins and salts the whole entire reputation. instantly. I mean, there’s no second chances in the in, in an e commerce has become everyone’s become more stringent on their expectations, because there are those companies have exceeded the expectations so well, that now everyone has to adhere to that level. Yeah. And there isn’t really an option to mess it up. And if you do better make it right, meaning it’s free, or whatever, right? Because the negative reviews will kill you.
The reputation management alone is a challenge if you start going down that road, and you’re right, you know, overselling can kill your business under selling can kill your business, it is a fine line between how you would scale these channels on volumes. And then you know, if you start hitting volumes that are low high, pull your listing, pause your listing, regroup before you before you get yourself in trouble. Don’t get greedy on on the revenue aspect of it because it can cause you major problems down the road.
Yeah. So yeah, those are just you know, kind of, you know, rule of thumb tricks of the trade. But you know, you have there’s, you know, I it’s not as easy it was it was once plus once now, there are so many pieces to this thing and so much you got to do this now what about your social media? Are you selling on social media? Are you do you have store on Facebook? Are you doing you know, it’s become overwhelming now it becomes this just, it’s a monster and it becomes this thing even for a small little business.
They have like I’m selling on five marketplaces and I have my own store and then I’m, you know, I have to manage all my social media and then I have to Yeah, content, I have to manage all my listings, I have to manage the software and don’t have a lot of money. I mean, it becomes it’s, it’s a it’s a monster and yeah, it can it can can give you an opportunity to go to the next level. But, you know, I understand their Amazon took a lot of investment before they turn a profit. Yeah. And we’re talking billions and billions and billions of dollars of losing before Yeah, just spend the revenue the other way. So,
Damon Pistulka 45:15
Well, lucky for us Lucky for us, it doesn’t take billions to get into selling on on e commerce because it’s, it’s a thing. And I think I think, you know, this is kind of a good segue into something that I know you’ve been putting a lot of effort into lately.
And that’s the e commerce management cooperative, because I think that’s really something that was born out of out of, quite honestly a lot of people that ran ecommerce that that you’ve worked with, and we both we know, that came together to really go, listen, this is this is not just a website anymore, this is not just somebody that knows pay per click, this is getting to the point that you really need to kind of guide your way through this, and then have the resources you need at that point in time.
Because not everybody needs needs a whiz bang website, their website may be fine. But if they’re not converting online or on channel or whatever, it might be content, or it might be something else. But the challenges, as you said, for a small business are daunting. So talk a little bit about e commerce management cooperative, and kind of how, you know, these resources work together to really get get us this say not a smaller business, but a business that’s starting out in e commerce, the resources they need faster.
Jeffry Graham 46:44
Yeah, you know, the idea around the cooperative is to give smaller, small and midsize businesses an opportunity. And by grouping professionals that have done it in all aspects of e commerce together. And having a collective goal and operating in a collective manner to benefit a company is a lot more equitable, both for the company, and then also for the resource provider, let’s say.
And so cooperatives have been around a long time, right farming cooperatives allow a small farm to now sell to a large grocer, which they would never have had the opportunity to do without that cooperative, joining all the farmers together, and then selling to the large grocery as one. So there are opportunities within that. But understanding that e commerce is becoming a to z game. And I look at it a lot like to be really good in e commerce is like being an NFL.
It, it’s it’s a whole different ballgame from playing peewee football. And then it gets harder when you go to high school. And then it gets harder when you get to college D four, and then you go to D one even harder. And then you go from that jump from here to here. And that’s a monster gap between college ball and NFL. Right. And I just saying analogy is so you don’t have when, you know, you’re looking at e commerce and it’s an A to Z. You have providers that provide one solution all the time, right, let’s just say you’re an SEO company provide SEO Services fine.
No problem. But if you’re an SEO company, everyone always has an SEO problem. Does that make sense? Right? Yeah, that before, right? Oh, I bet it’s SEO, we can help you with your SEO because we’re an SEO company, a vet, our best interest is to sell you SEO. Like the cooperative is not designed for the interest of individual provider. It’s designed for the benefit of the company, and what they need. There’s no like, Hey, I’m Seo guy, I’m selling you SEO, hey, I’m a PPC guy. I’m selling you PPC Hey, I’m a channel manager, I’m sorry, channel management?
No, it’s everything is what does the company need in the stage in its ecosystem? And where it’s at? And then how do we provide a solution that’s equitable, that a small company can now compete with the big companies. And it has allowed a lot of great providers come coming in, you know, that that have niche, they’re really good at one thing to be able to be good at one thing, but to the benefit of the company that needs it at that time, is all depending on where the business is at and its ecosystem within e commerce. And so it’s a huge win for companies.
And it’s a huge win for for folks like us who have been working with companies for years to be able to go hey, you know, I don’t care if you need SEO or unique content. I doesn’t matter to me, it doesn’t matter to you. Maybe Damon either, right? Because I’m not just a content guy, most SEO guy, but we have resources that do both at the highest level. So it’s like having, you know, a staff of training trainers that you would never be able to afford to have access to that you now have access to and can can afford. Yeah, because it’s because it’s a group effort, because we’re all born on the same end of the rope. And that’s what makes it exciting. That’s what makes it a really big opportunity.
And, you know, as this thing gets harder and more competitive, you know, people, I just, we love helping companies. And I think it’s been our passion for a long time. And I hate seeing what’s happening, you know, to small to mid sized companies. Right now, they’re just getting squeezed down, and they’re getting a lot of bad advice and a lot of, you know, Band Aid over our ruined stuff thrown at them. We wanted to provide a solution that wasn’t that. Yeah, that was that was really providing something that could handle their business from the beginning Inception all the way to 100 million 200 million revenue doesn’t matter.
Damon Pistulka 50:50
Yeah. Well, I think it’s exciting, because I know that for a lot of business people, just figuring out who can help them. It’s tough. And, you know, if you’re sitting here on the on the front end of this, and you’re going, I’m on I’m trying to do e commerce, you know, I’ve got a website, I’ve got some products on it.
And I think I need to drive traffic while I’m going to, if I was even to the point that I knew I wanted to do pay per click, or I knew I wanted SEO Services, then how do you go through all the SEO providers that would be applicable to you to your industry or to your type of thing you’re doing? And then how do you know which one to pick? If I’m a business person, that’s that’s the thing that I always look at from standpoint is they know business or they know their business, they don’t understand this.
Jeffry Graham 51:46
So So look at it, like I say, we look at it like medical, when you go to the doctor, you don’t automatically go to an orthopedist right or to let’s say, you know, heart surgeon, heart surgeon, you don’t know you have a heart problem, okay? You go to a general practitioner, right, that assesses your health, right, says where you’re at what’s wrong with you? And then what do they do?
They said, a specialist. Yeah, and a specialist takes care of that, in that that specific problem. But you still have your general doctor, because you’re gonna have another problem, it might be your elbow, and then you need to go see someone specialist for that. And again, their specialist exists, because they’re really good at one thing, and they’re really good at something. And there, they have focused their entire life and career on that one thing, and you want specialists in e commerce working on your business.
But the problem is, is if you went straight to the knee, Doctor, you have a knee problem. And if you if you look at it like that is is what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to remove the fact that look, we don’t know what your problem is, or what you need specifically around ecommerce, but we’re gonna provide you a solution a full suite of solutions and it doesn’t matter where you’re at in the in the ecosystem if you’re an advanced and you want to understand AI and machine learning and you understand sophisticated price modeling we can do that.
I mean, that’s we have plenty of people that that I’ve done that for multi billion dollar organizations, then if but if you also have one to create your first website listing you’ve never done it before, we could do that too. It would be a different human being most likely it’s still providing a solution that’s specific to the need rather than then what oh, you have a problem because you’re coming to this person or whatever so I looked at an analogy I don’t know if it’s as good a one as I maybe hope it would be but it is like that you don’t go to the doctor you don’t go to a specialist before you go to a regular doctor.
Damon Pistulka 53:48
Yeah or whatever it says a good point I think
Jeffry Graham 53:50
mechanic shop or something right? Like hey, go to mechanic shop your transmissions gone. The mechanic shops, you know, your transmissions gone. We don’t do transmissions here. You got to take it to our guys down the street. They’re great transmission, guys, they’re gonna get your transmission fixed. Yeah, why are their transmission people and general mechanics?
Why are their tire companies and transmission again, it’s it’s the whole thing as specialists work and understand how to be effective and efficient in that area. And we want to do that across the board both through channel through e commerce are scaling problems infrastructure, technology, Ai, voice recognition, software, and security. The list goes on. There’s so many aspects to e commerce but that’s really why was designed to develop so I mean, it was the whole point
Damon Pistulka 54:38
of very cool, very cool. Well, Jeff, it’s been awesome talking to you about this and if people want to get a hold of you, you know and talk more about multi channel ecommerce and maybe some of the steps they should take or, or just questions they have. Where’s the what’s the best way to do that?
Jeffry Graham 54:54
Yeah, so there are websites e commerce mgmt.com. So management for short. So you can just go to our website you know, submit a form ask questions, you can also go to LinkedIn search and and send me a message shoot an email I mean, you know the name or email ecommerce at the cooperatives info at ecommerce management calm, super simple. But yeah, any issues are is, you know, we’re here to help but that’s that’s the vision of it. That’s what we’ve been putting into play in and so far it’s going really well.
Damon Pistulka 55:28
Yeah, it’s exciting. I think that that, you know, there’s, there’s a million stories of e commerce gone wrong. And and too many and and skeptics, quite honestly, in a lot of places where you hear to similar companies, one has a horrible experience, and others have a much different experience. So
Jeffry Graham 55:50
yeah, it’s what not to do. When on the internet. Yeah. Learning and whatnot to dues are so important. Yeah, that’s for sure. crippling anatomy. And yeah, it’s a fun adventure. There’s a lot to think about. And I know it’s a lot for folks that are probably listening to think about, but huge opportunities exist in multiple channels. But But also, you know, think about you got to think about your business a little differently.
Damon Pistulka 56:15
Yeah. And where you start so awesome, Jeff. Well, thanks for being here today. I want to thank everyone for listening again to the faces of business. I am going to be back again next Tuesday. And yes, I did forget who’s coming back and I’m talking to you next week. I know I think I’m actually talking to Andrew Deutsch about about AI powered sales.
He’s got some really interesting stuff that they’re they’re they’re working on to help sales people sell better using AI and really interesting stuff, but Jeffrey Graham ecommerce management thanks once again for being here and phases of business. If anybody’s got questions on e commerce, multi channel, ecommerce selling on Amazon, Jeff, reach out to Jeff and he’ll, he’ll give you give you what he knows. Thanks a lot.