In this episode of The Faces of Business, our guest speaker was Will Haire, CEO & CoFounder, BellaVix. BellaVix helps clients sell products on ecommerce platforms like Amazon & Walmart. Will has extensive expertise in managing eCommerce marketplace accounts on platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Walmart, and others. The discussion covered Growing Your Brand on Amazon.
Damon Pistulka asked Will to tell him about what are some advantages for people that want to grow a brand on Amazon?
Will shared his story because he is an expert in the eCommerce marketplace. He discusses that brands need to be on Amazon if they’re doing sales on their website. 60% of people are going to go to Amazon, and they’re going to look at reviews. 20% of those customers will make the purchase, even if you’re running a promotion.
Damon Pistulka and Will Haire discuss it further amazon’s strategy and velocity of sales there. Will says that Sales velocity is also influenced by the product detail page. And how it’s presented to customers on the online retailer’s site. It comes down to the strategy of what you want and the quality of the product. There are a lot of nuances that go in there. You could sell your products at a premium price on Amazon. But you need to have the backing to prove this is worth it.
Damon continued the conversation by asking Will to tell him what Walmart is? Amazon Prime revolutionized the commerce expectations of the buyer. Amazon’s online shopping experience is not targeting a traditional e-commerce shopping experience. Some challenges come with advertising and indexing. And selling products that are not physically available in brick-and-mortar Walmart stores.
We move about half a million dollars a month. It’s like a $30 product. So, the price points, right? Once you get those sales, like the reviews, flow in, it is an excellent product. And then it’s just you can’t stop it.
Damon Pistulka appreciates saying, “That’s outstanding. Because he always thinks it’s interesting when people look at it. But he is not on Amazon because there are opportunities.
The conversation ends with a thank you to our guest, Will Haire.
Will Haire is the CEO & CoFounder of BellaVix. Also, he was an Advertising Manager at Bobsled Marketing. Will was the Chief Marketer at Rogue PPC Agency. At OneWayLimo.com Will was the Marketing Director.
Will was the Director of Digital Marketing at Checkmate Creations.
At Quinnipiac University – School of Business Will was Guest Lecturer in Small Business Marketing from Aug 2016.
He served as a Principal Owner at Handen, Connecticut in Digiservices.
Will worked as a Project Manager at GDF SUE. Senior Technician at Fuel Cell Energy LLC.
Will also served in the US Navy as an Electrician Mate.
Will Haire received a Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations from Quinnipiac University In 2013. He also completed a Business Administration and Management, General from Naugatuck Valley Community College in 2009.
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Growing Your Brand on Amazon
The Exit Your Way Business Round Table Live Stream
amazon, product, people, brand, advertising, day, sellers, sell, prime, changing, buy, luxury brands, platform, agencies, walmart, third party sellers, sales, product detail page, categories, aggregators
Damon Pistulka, Will Haire
Damon Pistulka 00:04
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. I’m very excited for our guests today. We’ve got will hair with Bella V. We’re going to be talking about growing your brand on Amazon. Well, awesome to have you here my friend.
Will Haire 00:22
Excellent. Happy to have you. It’s Bella VIXX. And I’m excited to talk about my favorite topic. All things Amazon.
Damon Pistulka 00:28
All right. All right. Well, and I apologize. I, I knew what I should say if your company name and you corrected me. So thank you. Yep. Well, I know what last name like Pustaka. You just get over?
Will Haire 00:46
Here, there’s lots of different ways you’ve heard it. Yeah, there’s
Damon Pistulka 00:49
a couple, there’s a couple. So well, it’s always good to start out. I mean, people are going to be here, they’re gonna be listening. They’re thinking about Amazon. But I want to start back a little further and understand, you’ve got a deep background in different kinds of digital marketing with agencies other stuff, give us a little bit of an idea of your background. And then just what led you in to specialize in in in Amazon?
Will Haire 01:15
Awesome. Yeah, definitely. So a lot of people don’t know this is I’m actually a licensed electrician to the United States Navy. So my journey is a long journey, it to get to where I am today as an agency owner. So some of the takeaways I took from being in the service and then leaving the service and working in the power industry. while going to school is I learned a lot about processes, also how to manage people and operations on a really large scale. And that was really applicable to what I do now.
So from that, I was able to leave a very comfortable six figure job to go make minimum wage at a startup company with some colleagues I graduated college with, and we started off in the tech space, but I was doing the digital marketing component we started with, like, say Google AdWords is the gateway to Amazon advertising. So I started doing some general advertising and then worked our way to specifically focus on products and then from there kind of just jumped around to different agencies. gaining more knowledge around the ecosystem also kind of figured out what I wanted to do for a living.
And so eventually, it led me to work at my last agency where they did run things as more like a digital sweatshop, I like to call them close to 50 accounts at once. And it was intense. So one thing I felt bad as I wasn’t a good steward of the brands I represented, and it was difficult to do proper due diligence when you’re managing that number of accounts. So finally had my last straw and I was like, You know what, I’m sure like, every entrepreneur was like, I could do this better myself. Yeah.
So I left that job. And luckily, because I had the background and advertising, a lot of clients came out of the woodwork. And I was able to kind of get enough work to kind of keep myself going. And I was back in 2018. You know, fast forward to 2022, we officially have 15 full time employees. And we have a very, you know, my motto was world class people delivering world class service. So we’re hyper focused on being, you know, your fractional marketplace management company, and really integrating in your team to make sure that we’re supporting you and representing the brand as it should be represented on the different marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart.
Damon Pistulka 03:34
So on you’re typically helping people on Amazon or Walmart. Yeah, precisely, I just want to make sure that’s cool. Because when I first thought was talking, I was thinking it was more Amazon or Amazon only, but it’s not because I want to talk about that too. Because it’s it. They’re, they’re different ecosystems. And it’s really cool to see the differences in them, too. So. So first of all, thanks for your service. Awesome. So what is one that was one of the things you learned in the service that sticks with you today?
Will Haire 04:05
To be honest with you, I’ve learned a lot of what not to do from a management perspective, what I’ve learned nothing on all of our service members, but my experience with some of the enlisted leadership, not so much the officer side was if you stay in long enough, you’ll kind of just get promoted. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have the right personalities. Yeah, there’s a lot of people.
So I learned a lot of like, you know, at the end of the day, you get the job done. And that’s a great attitude to have. But there are definitely ways to motivate people besides just strict discipline, and so having a lot of bad leaders working under them. I learned a lot of what not to do. And hopefully my employees say I’m a leader and they enjoy working for me.
Damon Pistulka 04:51
We’ll see the comments rolling in right now. No, yeah. But no, that’s cool. That’s cool and understandable. You know, because it is very structured. You know, and they, because so many different kinds of people are coming together it I would imagine, in the military, it’s gotta be very difficult to, to have any sort of latitude one way or the other. Yeah.
Will Haire 05:15
Well, I mean, everything’s processed. You know, you know what you’re doing almost every hour of the day. And that’s, that’s a good thing, especially if you’re somebody who operates like that somebody like myself a little more free spirited. Definitely wasn’t a good atmosphere for me.
Damon Pistulka 05:30
Yeah. So. And yes, every entrepreneur says, this is I think I could do this better myself. Yeah. But you’re but you did, you did bring up one thing that I think happens in a lot of agencies, and especially in marketing agencies, is the desire to increase revenues and profits, you go past the point that you really can spend enough time with an existing customer to accurately or to adequately do what they really are expecting you to do. And, and I think, even to the point that you could make more money, if as a firm, or and make happier clients paying you more money, if you spent a little bit more time really doing it. 100% Do you think that’s
Will Haire 06:24
true? Yeah. 100% agree. And I think that’s the challenge for any business is that scalability? So you know, what is it like when wills not working in accounts anymore? What processes and accountability?
Have we put in place with the checks and balances? And that’s something we don’t have perfected to any degree, but it’s something we’re continuously working on. That’s something we reflect on every quarter, big proponent attraction. The I forgot the gentleman’s name who wrote the book, but it’s just a great, great way to do your 90 day rocks and all that other. Gino Wickman.
Damon Pistulka 06:59
Is that one? Yep,
Will Haire 07:01
that’s right, you have the book too.
Damon Pistulka 07:05
So, yeah, it I mean, the rocks, the processes. I mean, it’s important in any business. And I think one of the things I really think about when you’re doing working with E commerce and I can, and like a platform, Amazon Walmart, an E commerce platform is nothing happens that you can see visually that I mean, it’s not like things are happening physically around you. To me, it’s ecommerce is such an interesting thing, because you can screw something up, like on a Google AdWords campaign to spend 10s of 1000s of dollars and not even know it, until it still is done.
Yeah, and same thing on something on again, Amazon, Pete, many people may not realize, but if you have one of your products, or you have a product is normally it’s a property, the product is normally priced for $100, and somebody’s fat finger something and that product is $50, you might sell 10,000 of them in the next hour. Yep. And that’s why I think process is so important in E commerce operations, just because you have to, you know, check, double check, verify, and, and the visualization of that data, automatically, almost is key to being able to manage. So I assume that you guys are doing a lot of those kinds of things.
Will Haire 08:26
Absolutely. And a lot of double checks, especially around the advertising space. There are systems that, you know, if you don’t put proper blocks in place, you could spend 5060 $70,000 in a day, because like it’s the audience’s that big on Amazon. Yeah, like, you have to be really careful.
And also, what we find that limits a lot of brands growth on Amazon is like, you can pull your brand to, you know, a million dollars a year, give or take on Amazon 1.2, give or take. But then you hit a point where like, you need to have best practices in place, you need to have catalogs action, you need to make sure everything is indexed properly on the back end. And you can’t see that the customers don’t even see that. But Amazon’s algorithm picks that up. And they know who’s playing the game properly and who’s not.
So you know, you could throw a bunch of money out and grow it. But eventually, you’ll just keep hitting walls. And when we work with a lot of brands that we take over a lot of times they hit a plateau, and they’re not sure what’s going on. And then we go in and we’re like, Oh, your catalogs and master, like who did your advertising because you were just throwing money away. And then it’s just putting our processes in place. And making sure that we’re doing our due diligence and hitting our KPIs.
Damon Pistulka 09:43
Yeah, yeah. So when you look at Amazon and Walmart, to a lesser extent, because I mean, when you look at the traffic, it’s like the behemoth and then you look at Walmart. I mean, there’s some interesting things that are happening on watermark, but when you look at em As on, what are some of the advantages for people that really want to grow a brand on Amazon?
Will Haire 10:05
Yeah, so, I mean, Amazon has 60%. So 60% of people are gonna go to Amazon, and they’re gonna check reviews, and they’re gonna see if they can get a cheaper the two day, Prime shipping, which is almost expected in this day and age, they just have a large user base. So it’s not so much like, should I be on there, too, you need to be on there. And if you’re not on there, I challenge anybody who has some type of brand equity, who’s doing sales on their general website to check, they’re gonna find a lot of their products over there.
They’re either going to be knockoffs from overseas, or they’re going to have third party sellers who just are not, they’re misrepresenting the brand. And so that’s going to be the user’s experience. And that’s going to spill over into their website traffic, generally, just some rough numbers for you, we see about any marketing efforts off of Amazon, about 20% of those customers will spill over onto the Amazon platform and actually make the purchase, even if you’re running a promotion to your website.
And it may be tied to the shipping and may be tied to the reviews. A lot more people are get comfortable buying on Amazon because of the return policy and how its customer focused. You know, they focus on that end user who’s shopping on the platform. So those are just some of the perks and benefits and something for your brands to consider. As they’re building their e commerce empires.
Damon Pistulka 11:25
Yeah. Well, I’ve one of the things that I was wondering, do you see that more luxury brands are moving bigger ticket items onto a platform like Amazon.
Will Haire 11:40
So they are, but I would say that’s a big challenge. So when people shop on Amazon, they’re definitely price conscious. So if you’re a luxury brand, but you really don’t have brand equity built up, so let’s just say your website sales are under 5 million a year, you know, you probably don’t have a lot of brand equity, you’re probably not in brick and mortar retail, and you’re probably going to have a really tough time selling your products on Amazon. So there are different pieces we could put in place. You could work with influencers.
We’d like to use programmatic advertising and target similar brands. So like there are premium strategies that we could put in place for luxury brands. But generally, if you’re not, if you’re not there yet, from a branding perspective, it’s going to be expensive. And a lot of the luxury brands that we have conversations with, they’re not ready for that type of investment. And that makes Amazon not a good platform for them.
Damon Pistulka 12:38
Okay, I was curious about that, because I know that there’s in the b2b space, there’s some very expensive things I mean, 10s of 1000s hundreds of 1000s of dollars even getting bought and sold on Amazon every day. It’s just when you look at in the b2c space I didn’t know if the luxury brands are really flocking there like the general products were
Will Haire 13:01
Yes sir. No, but I feel like Tiffany Co the jewelry company, they’re not on Amazon, Nike pulled all their stuff off of Amazon, I consider them a premium athletic brand. Yeah. So it depends there’s a product market fit, Tiffany’s at this point could definitely penetrate Amazon create a really great banned experience and, and get a lot of sales from the platform. But obviously, they don’t think it’s worth it for whatever reasons I’m not aware of. I just want to tie it back to the most important thing is just like do you have brand equity built up? You can sell premium products. There’s certain strategies you can implement but you know, it’s going to be expensive.
Damon Pistulka 13:38
Yeah, okay, that’s because that was just one of the things I was thinking so when you look at the Amazon platform where is it really everything for everyone are there some hot segments that you go man this is just the place that Where are you really want to be I know there’s a lot of them but ones that you come to mind quickly for you. Because we can be here for months? Yeah through it. But
Will Haire 14:04
I would say category wise electronics are always the hottest. Home and Kitchen very giftable items tend to be really good, affordable jewelry tends to do really well. And we’ve had some really successful case studies around supplements. So based on our experience, these are the categories that we see tend to be really successful on Amazon also soft goods if you’re in the furniture space, so not so much mattresses and couches, but pillows lamps, you know, decorative stuff tend to do really well. And then from a shipping perspective, they’re a lot easier to manage FBA wise so on and so forth. So we see some success in those like subcategories, as well.
Damon Pistulka 14:51
Yeah. Okay. And are there any I know Amazon does this from time to time they go okay, well We want to really increase the amount of sellers in certain categories. And they may have built that out. Because I know it’s been a long term strategy. They’ve been doing this, I think the last time I was actually talking to somebody several years ago is might even been over five years ago. Are they still doing that with categories? That they’re like, Hey, we’re, we don’t have anything in doing it? Or do you think they’re pretty established at this point,
Will Haire 15:24
they’re pretty established, but they have programs like Launchpad, where they encourage innovative products to kind of hit the market, I feel that a lot of its around tech to be transparent. So a lot of electronic and tech products tend to get into those programs and tend to be successful.
You know, beauty in that particular area is difficult. But they did come out with a premium beauty category that has its own benefits for being on it. So I don’t think it’s so much they’re trying to get more people, more sellers onto the platform. I think there’s, at this point, defining categories better and pushing sellers into specific categories based on price point and review count and quality of product.
Damon Pistulka 16:04
Okay. Okay. So, then we come to the all important thing. If I’m a seller on Amazon, a lot of people think this is just a race to the bottom in price. But there’s that, and that’s somewhat, I think it’s true, I just want to get your feeling on it. But there’s a lot more into who gets shown first, then price, isn’t there.
Will Haire 16:32
Yep, absolutely. So Amazon, you know, the algorithms built to put the products are gonna sell the most at the end of the day. Amazon, you know, that the algorithm works is like if they search something, and they click on the first or second product, and they make a purchase. That’s kind of how their algorithm works. But there are some nuances to that. So fulfillment method influences it, are you fulfilled by Amazon FBA meaning prime?
Or are you fulfilled by merchant FBM? Meaning you’re fulfilling the orders yourself? What is your sales price? What is the semantic text on the back end and the front end of the word, so are you relevant to the search query, and then there’s the sales velocity and sales velocity is influenced by the content on the product detail page, the a plus content, the review count, and some of the features of that specific product will all influence the purchase. So it’s actually a lot more complicated. And it’s not just on pricing.
But if you look at any product, you know what, most people who shop around, they’re generally looking at price point, and they’re looking at review count, you don’t generally need to be the cheapest and the cheapest items don’t always sell well. And it comes down to the strategy of what you want and the quality of the product. Also how you differentiate that product to the consumer, you know, on the front end for what shows up in initial search results. But also, once they get to your product detail page, you know, do you have a convincing story of, you know, high quality images? Do you have video content, you have influencer endorsements.
So there’s a lot of nuances that go in there, you could sell your products at a premium price on Amazon, but you need to have the backing to prove, hey, you know, this is why you need to spend $10 more on my widget versus their widget and their needs, it needs to be clear. And they need to get that in about you know, less than three seconds, because that’s how fast they’re skimming through these items. And then keep in mind, if you’re a new product, you’re competing with established sellers that have been on the platform that have good selling history. So it takes time to penetrate the market and earn that and earn those sales essentially.
Damon Pistulka 18:48
Yeah. Yes. Great, great point. Great points there. So there’s the how big of a role this if you offer something in prime really play compared to fulfill by merchant?
Will Haire 19:01
It’s huge. It’s a big difference. We did it with a beauty company not too long ago. And we, you know, we like 3x their sales and 90 daily, and a lot of it Yeah, they were hesitant about doing FBM. They wanted to save the 15% Give or take whatever it is. Yeah, yeah. I mean, Amazon’s actually, the antitrust lawsuit has a little bit as to 992 is the legislation that’s going through but the fact that they’re giving preference to prime eligible products creates a disadvantage in the market. And they’re still working that out.
That’ll be probably for the next decade. We’ll be talking about it. But you know, they’re being sued because they’re giving preferential treatment to people leveraging prime. So without a doubt, being on Prime makes a difference whether I have a case study or not to prove it.
Damon Pistulka 19:48
Yeah, well, there’s no doubt it makes a difference and no doubt if you’re searching, you see the prime items come up first. And it’s not necessary as you said, it’s not necessary. To the lowest price if there’s nothing else prime, you might come up first because you’re prime.
Will Haire 20:04
Absolutely. And as a consumer, you know, I’ve been trained because I’ve come up with Amazon, it’s like, I generally am not going to buy an item that’s not prime because I want it in two days or same day or the next day. So yeah, we are officially spoiled with, you know, instant gratification for my online shopping.
Damon Pistulka 20:23
Well, and that really did we, when you look at it, the Amazon Prime really revolutionized the commerce expectations of the buyer. And now with Walmart in there, what is it? wfs? Services? Yeah, you know, they’ve been kicked that off yet, or is
Will Haire 20:43
it? Yeah, it’s go, we actually have some sellers active on it. You know, what’s really interesting about Walmart is, you know, what we have learned from being on both Amazon and Walmart is Walmart, shopping online shopping experience, is not targeting a traditional e commerce shopping experience. So the ideal user experience on Amazon, for example, is I go to Amazon, I find a product Add to Cart by two days later shipped to my house, the Walmart experiences, I find my products, I add to cart, and I make the order, and then I pick it up in stores. So there’s a preferential treatment to products that are vendor and that have real estate inside brick and mortar Walmart stores.
So there are challenges that come to advertising, indexing, and selling products that are not physically available in brick and mortar Walmart stores. And from what we hear word on the street, because we do talk to some Walmart reps is that they’re changing this. And in 2022, they’re telling us that third party sellers will start to get preferential treatment. But to this day, we have not seen that change implemented. So generally, if you’re a vendor, you’re going to do a lot better online than if you’re a third party seller.
Damon Pistulka 22:02
Yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting that you know, because for them, it’s a good, it’s a good strategy, right? Because you get somebody at a store to pick up an item, they could likely pick up more, they could get it faster, potentially, because I can order it pick it up same day and a few hours or whatever they can do it. That’s an interesting thing.
Will Haire 22:22
Zophar has a lot more stores than Amazon has fulfillment centers. You know, Amazon’s big thing is like, we have a fulfillment center, within 100 miles of every major city, Walmart is in every major city and every suburb and everywhere, you know,
Damon Pistulka 22:39
this is true, this is true. And that’s where I think, you know, the interesting thing about what COVID did for ecommerce is that that buy online pickup at the store got so popular in so many different places, when you look at even Home Depot, or you look at Rite Aid, groceries, the whole nine yards, everybody got used to it. And I wonder how much of that’s going to just stay with us because it is convenient.
Will Haire 23:06
Oh, it’s the I mean, to be honest with you. We do all our grocery shopping online. Now. Our grocery bill is a lot more manageable because I don’t walk down the potato chip aisle and just load the card up. And yeah, it’s convenient, and it’s hard. And so now when we go to stores, it’s like stuff we need that we weren’t able to get online. So it’s changed the user experience. So we have a whole generation that’s going to come up with groceries showing up on the door, you know, pretty soon we’re gonna be like the Jetsons. I can’t wait to like get my Rosie the robot.
Damon Pistulka 23:35
Go. Yeah, bring me some indeed. So as you thinking about Amazon now, and you touched on this a little bit, make a lot of people might not understand that there’s a whole advertising ecosystem behind amazon. So let’s talk about Amazon advertising a little bit in the you touched on this, you can get about so big, but you really have to look at after that. You have to look at advertising. Let’s just talk about advertising on Amazon for a minute and some of your thoughts around that. What you’ve been learning with that?
Will Haire 24:11
Yeah. So we actually develop a methodology that’s a full funnel approach to Amazon advertising. And we’re we are because we’re completely white hat. So we don’t believe in buying reviews or doing any of that black hat tactics. And we know for a fact Amazon’s gonna figure it out. Oh, yeah. So through the Amazon ecosystem, we kind of have two major tools. We have programmatic advertising, which is Amazon’s DSP demand side platform. And what that does, is that gives us the ability to target customers on and off of Amazon, through owned and third party suppliers. And we could target them through apps through websites, you know, and then on Amazon properties.
So an example is if somebody was somebody’s even in market for you know, which Get a or let’s just say that we’re in market for anti aging cream, because that’s nice and easy, we’re going to be able to serve ads to them, even if they never been exposed to the brand, we could also do and you can work your way down the funnel from, you know, lifestyles in market, purchase, and then retention Oh, do you kind of get that full funnel through the programmatic. But keep in mind programmatic is, you know, we’re catching these people as they’re not directly shopping for specific products. So the ads need to be relevant.
And there needs to be some type of behavior or lifestyle that triggers an event that will cause our ads to show. The second side of this, and this is really where the power of Amazon is, is the Pay Per Click platform. So those are the ads you see inside the platform, whether it’s on search results, or on product detail pages. And in some cases, if you’re running deals or promotions, you get special placements on different Amazon pages. And that’s where we’re able to derive direct return on adspend.
And we measure our success by advertising cost of sale, or return on ad spend. Now, when we do advertising here at Bella VIXX, we like to use something called tacos. I’m not talking about the food, but it is close to dinnertime. But we’re talking about total advertising cost of sale. So what we look at is total spin to total sales, organic and advertising because we know advertising sales will influence total sales. And so when we look at that, we say okay, you know, what’s, what’s our tacos target.
And then based on that, we get a baseline for what that in market and below for Pay Per Click cost is and what our ecos is going to be there. And then whatever residual budget we have left in terms of efficiency, we’ll start to do that upper funnel targeting in overtime will get more efficient, and will be able to drive results and drive growth over a longer period of time. So that’s kind of like our, our secret sauce. I know there. There’s naysayers. And then just to tie it back. So what’s different about Amazon data versus Google’s data versus Facebook data. So Facebook’s data is based on social engagement. Amazon’s data is based on browser behavior.
Sorry, Google’s data is based on browser behavior. And Amazon data is based on actual shopping habits from Amazon customers. So we’re really catching people on how they shop, how they consume items, and how they discover different brands and items. You know, it’s like 66%, from a feed visor survey of brands are now discovered on Amazon first, because they’re doing a lot of that shopping around. So it’s really interesting ecosystem and advertising. At this point, it’s a pay to play platform. So advertising is the best way to get discovery, customer acquisition and driving growth. So
Damon Pistulka 27:55
when you look at the advertising is I’ve heard some people say over the past few years, the advertising costs have doubled. Like for Google Pay Per Click, it has done the same thing on that platform. And Amazon too, it’s gotten a lot more expensive.
Will Haire 28:11
It has yet it’s still nowhere near Google yet. But it’s gotten a lot more expensive. And it’s just there’s a lot more sellers on it, especially since COVID. I mean, it was a massive rush of new sellers. Also in the ecosystem. There’s lots of aggregators, whether they’re buying brands, or they’re buying agencies, and they’re flooding the market with money. And they don’t necessarily know how to use it efficiently. So they’re driving up prices, driving up cost per click. And it’s definitely affecting, you know, the average seller, if you will,
Damon Pistulka 28:45
well, yeah, it can because the aggregators, in our, in our world of mergers and acquisitions, they are really the darlings of Amazon for some of these small sellers looking to exit and many different methods, many different methods, full buy outs, partial buyouts, we, we can launch you here and other places, there’s all and there’s a few of them that I believe that are even may not be public now are going to be probably thrash, oh, there’s a couple I don’t even want to start saying there’s some, there’s some of them there that do it in different ways. And that’s a good point, though.
They had tons of money, and they have to show this growth to their investors. So they’re gonna spend a bit more aggressively than then say, a brand. That’s gonna be there for many, many years and wants to just keep building that brand.
Will Haire 29:34
Yeah, that’s and you can still do that. It’s just gonna get more expensive. We’ve actually worked with two companies so far that we’ve grown to the point where they were bought up by aggregators, they were, you know, they had omni channel, so they were doing both, but it’s a really interesting process. And it’s, it’s really interesting to see it, you know, 10 years from now, maybe even five years. The whole ecosystem is going to be so much different Which, you know, makes it really exciting to Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 30:02
So so let’s talk about that. What do you think that you’re saying that is that intrigues me? What do you think you’re gonna see on Amazon, that changes in the ecosystem, in my
Will Haire 30:10
humble opinion, and this is only a hypothesis based on my experience, I can see it right now, agencies are getting bought up like crazy. And they’re being put into the systems where they’re also buying brands at the same time. So a company like pattern or threat to their model can be really successful, where they’re like, hey, we’ll buy your products wholesale. And we’ll handle all the distribution, and everything because they know the formula to grow brands on Amazon.
And it’s almost a no brainer, where if you’re a brand, and you’re killing it on your website, and they got social media down, and you don’t want to deal with Amazon and the headache that comes with that, you know, why wouldn’t you turn to one of these companies, sell them wholesale, make sure they’re representing your brand properly, and, you know, let them handle it, and everybody’s happy. So I foresee that it’s going to be a difficult marketplace for brands to start off. So the dream you know, we’re all about small businesses, I think it’s going to change. And I think that we’re gonna see a lot of really large companies really own the Amazon experience. So that’s my, my humble opinion.
Damon Pistulka 31:25
No, I think I think there’s a gonna be a lot of that going on, like you said, the agency is combined with, with building brands, you could put them together. And as a service, it’s very hard for us for an individual brand to even compete with be able to play, you know, because of the bandwidth and the capabilities that you have in the larger agencies. Yep. So let’s get to it’s interesting.
The so you, when you see these brands that you’re working with over time, do you really think that they’re like an individual product categories? Or things like that? Is there like a shorter lifespan on Amazon? Or do you see some of these things just being perennial favorites? Because they’ve got good reviews? And you just go, man, it’s a good product is something we’re gonna go? Or do you think that there’s always the new players that are kind of coming in and slapping them, you know, out of first place kind of thing.
Will Haire 32:29
They’ll always be competition, I think that’s what makes it great. But I do think that strong brands were really good products is what makes or breaks a company on Amazon. So that’s why I say anybody can fit on Amazon. And don’t be scared about the aggregators and everything else, there is an opportunity.
And if you’re penetrating the market, like said earlier on the differentiation of your product and your unique selling proposition, you know, the market will tell you if it’s unique enough to sell. And, you know, we’ve been fortunate enough, I work with a 3d Sorry, a plastic manufacturer who did color changing party glasses and stuff like that. And I remember when we first started working with them on like, this is never going to work. And I ate my words. Because, you know, in the first year, we did like 1.2 million, and then we 3x the second year.
And they went crazy. And it was just like, the riches are in the niches. Nobody was doing color changing bowls, spoons, party cups. And then from there, they’re like, oh, people love this stuff. So then no straws and hats, and then started putting together kits and accessories. And you could see how we’re able to take just this concept and mates test the MVP and go holy crap, there’s a market here and then they’re like, great, look at all these other products we can build, we were able to just scale them up. So you just never know and good quality products are gonna stand out.
Damon Pistulka 33:57
That’s awesome. I mean, it is because if you think about, you know, maybe in Joe Schmo trying or Jill schmo trying to build a business right and I have an idea that I want to try out on Amazon and here’s some products and you go wow, that’s popular What if we added this into it and then you look at the way you can either then sell bundles or sell you know, recommended bundles whatever you’re doing there with your products, you can just keep expanding that until you go okay, we pretty much done that. Now let’s try this you know, let’s try this line of something else. So that’s, that’s great. Now Amazon
Will Haire 34:36
makes it easy. You can do virtual bundles you don’t even have to bundle it and barcode it we can have each item separate and just do it virtually
Damon Pistulka 34:47
I’m gonna write that down because some questions on that virtual Yeah, well, because the most this is where you talked about the riches are in the niches right? So If you always know, and this is where I think a lot of people, if they’re making a product, or they’ve got a product line, and they see orders, they lose the value of bundling. They just don’t see it, and how much and a virtual bundle is a really easy way to do it.
Because if I, if I always buy and I always like to use examples of kids, kids, right, I buy coloring books, I’m gonna get crayons, or if I get, you know, if I get some sort of game electronic game, I’m probably getting batteries if I have to do it or something, you know, maybe bad examples, but those kinds of things, put them together, or in kitchen supplies. It’s so it’s, you know, put together a set of knives, don’t just send on one night. So set two, or what’s great,
Will Haire 35:46
you know, Amazon brand analytics on the back end, as long as you’re brand registered, they’ll show what items are commonly bought, and what percent are they purchased with your item. So like we work with the beauty brand, and they sold this BB cream, which is like some type of beauty cream, or they use it on their skin and makes it look beautiful.
But what we found is sponges and brushes were the most common accessory bought with it. And then they just said they got a manufacturer they sourced the product they made sure was a premium quality and a representative Branwell put it bundled together and we just increased the basket size by $17 per order. Because we had that bundle and we represented it on the product detail page. It’s it was a no brainer.
Damon Pistulka 36:29
Exactly, exactly. That’s a great, great example of how we can do that. And when you look at that, if you’re if your original order size was save 40 bucks, even 50 bucks, even adding $17 to that order by doing that, that’s a significant increase. It’s 30% Plus increase, it’s really, you can do a lot with your sales and profitability just doing that.
Will Haire 36:53
Exactly. And volume. If you move in 100,000 units, I mean, that’s $17 is gonna make a big difference.
Damon Pistulka 36:58
Yeah, well, and that’s, that’s really still to this day, amazes me the volume of people that if you have a popular product, how much of it you can really move in a single day in a single hour, if it’s popular. So when you let’s talk about that for a minute, what do you view a scene where you’ve had one of your clients had a product run? And it just goes nuts?
Will Haire 37:24
Yeah, it’s supplement category, we’re able to do it pretty often, if it’s, especially if it’s Dr. Beck, you know, we have this product that’s like, they were really smart. When they launched it, they tied it to a natural being the search term. So it was inside the product name. And they were able to piggyback off a lot of that.
And we went from moving, you know, we launched a product and the first 90 days, it was like, Okay, we were doing maybe, you know, 50, we earned it up to about 50k. And then it just took off when they did some tick tock stuff and outside of it. And then we were doing our advertising strategy, we officially move a month of this just this one product in their catalog, we move about half a million dollars a month. It’s like a $30 product.
So the price points, right. And then once you get that sales, like the reviews flow in, it happens to be a good product. So a lot of positive reviews. And then it’s just you can’t stop it. And then he ended on his end where he was manufacturing itself. And then he was like in a panic. And then he had to find a manufacturer who could manufacture the facility who can handle that volume, because not only were we selling a lot on Amazon, they were started to kill it on their website, too. So this guy had the problems we all dream we’re having.
Damon Pistulka 38:47
Yes, yes. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Because I always think it’s interesting when people look at, you know, I’ve got this great product, but I can’t sell it. But I’m not on Amazon for some reason, because there are opportunities, so much opportunities, like you said in the niches before to be able to just get a just a hairline fraction of a 10th of a percent of the traffic. And you can do tremendous amount of business on there.
Will Haire 39:17
Absolutely. And I will say if anybody’s considering jumping on Amazon, and you sell wholesale, make sure you have a good map policy in place. Make sure if you don’t want people to sell on Amazon that is explicitly written out in your agreements, because something that will pose a challenge to growing your brand on Amazon is that you have a lot of third party sellers. Removing them is a very difficult process because at the end of the day, if they can get your product, they’re technically allowed to sell it on Amazon.
And it also opens the floodgates for fake products. So we see it over and over again in the beauty space. But it also happens in the tech space, the Home and Kitchen space. So it’s pretty common. So we like to say make sure you work with a good Legal Group, because we’re at the end of the line by the time we’re dealing with But you already have the problem. And it’s a painful process.
Damon Pistulka 40:04
Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. And I know Amazon’s gotten a lot better about policing. Yet policing brands anyway, and making sure authorized people because it was the Wild West. Early on, that’s for sure. Not
Will Haire 40:19
too long ago, like five years ago was still the Wild West. It wasn’t until they changed the legislation, say a marketplaces are now responsible for any damages due to the end user.
And now we see things like need to get search SEO COA certificate of analysis submitted and if you’re selling supplements, anything topical or ingestible you have to provide documentation safety SDS sheets, so they’ve become a lot more diligent over the last two years about certain types of products. And it’s, you know, be honest, it’s a pain, but it’s a good thing. It just means less people are going to be hurt. So we’re all about it.
Damon Pistulka 40:53
Yeah, yeah, no doubt I actually talked to someone a couple years ago here that would that had been selling something for a long time on Amazon and all of a sudden it got delisted because they didn’t understand what they needed to submit and, and get it going again, so
Will Haire 41:09
they weren’t reading all their Amazon emails either.
Damon Pistulka 41:11
That yeah, it’s not like you don’t get a lot of them. There’s a lot to come out, but you got to bring them all. So the other thing that we’ll talk about briefly here is Amazon created Prime Day. And this is really become something in and of its own, but you just sold when we’ve got on that they’ve announced Prime Day, but give me your perspective on Prime Day what it really is doing for
Will Haire 41:41
sellers and loves on Prime Day, normally summertime q3 expect the low, right before q4, just people are out vacation and not shopping online. And this drives a massive amount of eyeballs to Amazon in a 48 hour period. Some key dates for your listeners, April 28, make sure you submit all your promotions, if you don’t submit them, you’re gonna miss out. Lightning Deals are effective, you can accept all the deals and when they tell you what your time slot is, if it’s like two o’clock in the morning, on Prime Day, you could cancel them and save yourself the three or $500 I don’t remember the exact amount. And June 20, make sure you have all your inventory checked in at fulfillment centers.
Otherwise, you may not have inventory in time. So those are the two key dates. But we love Amazon, customers are expecting a discount, though you don’t have to go crazy and do a large discount, but you should be offering some type of coupon or promotions, we’re a big fan of coupons because they get visibility inside of search. And they’re easy. They’re easy to run. And it’s a performance based. So you pay 60 cents per click, but you’re only charged after they check out. So whatever discount you’re promoting, make sure you add additional 60 cents to that per unit. But you know, this is Amazon’s time to shine.
So normally, when we work with brands, we’re looking for some omni channel promotions, we’re looking for people shoutouts on social media, shout out to be an email list. This is a great time for us as Amazon brand ambassadors to make sure we’re maximizing our ability to move product during this period and making sure we’re driving awareness, and then getting people to follow our storefronts so we could get them. Amazon’s given us the ability through the customer engagement tool to email customers who follow our brands. So we can now give them updates through the Amazon platform. It’s very templated.
But they’re rolling it out and giving more features. So Amazon’s aware that they’re, you know, it’s a black box, and they don’t share customer info. But they’re giving us tools now to drive lifetime value. They’re also giving us a lot of metrics around search. So we like this holiday, it’s going to be a great opportunity to get more followers to sell more product. And to kind of give your brand a lift that carries you into q4. So you could tell I’m personally excited about it. Not to mention, I have my list of products that I want to buy. So like I’m waiting for the deals to come in so I can hopefully get some good products at a discount.
Damon Pistulka 44:10
Yeah. So if somebody’s sitting here today, and they’re on Amazon, and they feel pretty good about what they’re doing, but they aren’t doing, you know, they just kind of haven’t really changed what they’ve been doing in the past couple of years. What are a few things that they should be looking at. Now, it’s kind of odd, but yeah,
Will Haire 44:33
the listings for sure. Like for example, we change at the minimum, we change our title, we always split test. So we’re split testing titles, split testing the USP on the pages, you should be updating your images at least once a year just to keep it fresh, should be working with influencers to get good lifestyle images. On top of that, see what your indexing for Amazon has recently launched.
They had brand analytics Now they launched things like the brand search. So it’s a new feature, that you can see how often some term is searched over a given period, how many sellers show up, and what’s your share of voice around there. So you can really start manipulating your listings to try to figure out, you know, what’s the best way to position this product that’s going to maximize my return.
So there’s lots of things to test. And there’s lots of great software. So we’re, we use sell zone, where, you know, I’m a big fan, I do a lot of laughs, a lot of split testing and everything using their software. But there’s also Helium 10, is another great solution that’s pretty popular. So highly recommend that if you’re not, make sure you’re testing men, if you feel like you’ve hit some stagnation, you know, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to a couple agencies and just pay for an audit, they will, you know, our job is to go in and rip apart your catalog to tell you where opportunities are.
And it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go work with one of these consultants, you can generally take that information and take it back to your team and implement whatever makes sense. But you know, people like us, we’re in the ecosystem literally every single day. If you follow me on LinkedIn, I do news updates at least once a week. So it’s constantly changing. And if you’re not staying up with these changes, your competitors are, and they’re gonna, they’re gonna come in and eat your cake. And that’s no fun.
Damon Pistulka 46:23
Yeah, yeah, that’s for sure. Well, well, it’s been awesome talking to you about Amazon, I’m sure there’s a ton of other questions I can get. And we could get technical. And we’d probably lose a lot of people because you’re you really understand this well.
But I just want to say I appreciate you getting on and talking about how people can really grow their brand on Amazon, you gave several good examples. I mean, especially as you’re talking about advertising, you’re talking about just at the end here talking about the important thing you should be doing on your listings and changing images and doing those things. Because I think that’s one of the big things that people miss is they just, oh, my listings done. Thank goodness, go to the next thing.
Yeah, I set and forget it. And that I wrote that down. I think that’s something and the A B testing, like you’re doing and explain how you’re optimizing. So I just, I think we’ll end here. You’ve done. This has been awesome having you on here. And I just enjoy learning more about Amazon from you. And so the Prime Day dates that we have to worry about April 28. is to get your deal submitted. June 20. You want to get your inventories got to be at the FBO locations by June 20. Yep. Okay. Want to make sure that because that’s, that is an important day, how much more do they sell on Prime Day than they do on a normal day?
Will Haire 47:52
Generally, at least 2x I would say it’s a safe target. So like, if I was telling you to prepare inventory for those two days, I would take you know what you’re doing the monthly those particular days and do like 2.25 just to have a little extra, because it’s not gonna hurt to have some on the shelf. Okay, the worst thing to do is to run out of inventory. People are buying all your items.
Damon Pistulka 48:13
Yes, yes. You don’t want to do that on Prime Day. That’s for sure. All right. Well, thanks so much. Thanks, Will for being here from Bella VIXX. Talking about growing your brand on Amazon. Appreciate you stopping by today.
Will Haire 48:27
Thanks so much for having me. This
Damon Pistulka 48:28
was a blast. All right. Well, we’ll be back again next week on the faces of business with another guest talking about business in life. Thanks for being here today, everyone, and we’ll be back