Headline News in the World of E-Commerce

Episode 40

In today’s episode, we are going to be diving into some of the headlines and latest news going on in the e-commerce world. We will be discussing 3 articles regarding Amazon and other updates that will definitely be a useful resource to boost your eCommerce.

Let’s dive right into this episode and be sure to stay tuned for a next-level hack

[00:01 – 10:18] Amazon-Native Brand Anker Goes Public

  • The brand was one of the first Amazon-native brands and is now on target to hit $1 billion in sales in 2020.
  • A Chinese brand founded in 2011 by ex-Google engineer Steven Yang
  • Only 146k followers on Instagram (Focus on Amazon) 
  • Branch out and use the growth to fuel their sales channel (Walmart, Best buy, apple store) 
  • 50% of Anker staff work on research and development 
  • How much of our time as a Solo-preneur are we spending on research and development?
    • research new products, reading negative reviews and listening to the voice of the customer
  • Learn from Anker Listing

[10:19 – 29:35] Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime is in Limbo

  • Amazon increases their fees every year especially on Q4
  • A lot of companies tend to migrate to 3PL
  • Amazon increasing its warehouse capacity by 50%
  • 3PL will not be able to keep their prime batch 
  • Amazon statistics they release new rules starting February 1st,2021 on seller fulfilled Prime 
    • estimate that only 10% of existing seller fulfilled Prime members will be able to meet those standards 10%
  • September 2nd, Walmart announced Walmart+
  • Will they be able to meet the Amazon Prime fulfillment standard 

[15:55 – 21:57] Amazon Added Brand Stores to Search 

  • Amazon is testing a change to its search suggestions that adds a link to the related brand’s store page
  • Being brand registered and trademarked is important for more benefits
  • Amazon conversion rates are way higher than just your standard e-commerce site
  • Next level hack (Etsy following a similar branded store approach)
    • Putting your product keyword as your new branding name
  • If you have an article that you would like us to cover on our future episode, send it to ken@firingtheman.com
  • Final Words

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David 0:00
Anker is a Chinese brand that was founded in 2011 by ex Google engineer Steven Yang. The CEO said that 50% of their staff work on research and development. Obviously, they’re doing it right. That to me really stood out and it made me evaluate how much of my time as a solopreneur am I spending on research and development

Ken 0:24
Whoever wrote this article, we pulled it off marketplace post. They did a lot of research here and they went to Amazon’s website and they did searching for seller fulfilled prime and they said it no longer exists. They did a little bit of research and basically said they de-indexed it off Google so Amazon is making it you know, the seller fulfilled prime program. Like if you’re not in there now, are you gonna be able to get in there like are you know, are they just going to do away with that? I mean, it’s, it’s really a gray area. I’ve been really drilling into Etsy, and I found this one little hack. If you search like we were talking about before, this episode, let’s say you have a shop on Etsy and you sell custom whiskey glasses with whiskey glasses is your main niche. Change your store name to whiskey glasses, if it’s available. And when shopper search at the top, you know, your shop will come up. So instead, you know and so when someone shirt searches whiskey glasses, your shop name is there, they click on that they go directly to your store.

Intro 1:31
Welcome, everyone to the firing the man podcast, a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you were capable of more than join us, this show will help you build a business and grow your passive income stream in just a few short hours per day. And now your host serial entrepreneurs David Schomer, and Ken Wilson.

David 1:55
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast on today’s episode, Ken and I are going to be diving into some of the latest news going on in the e commerce world. Ken, what’s going on?

Ken 2:06
David? Not a whole lot, man. I’m here and I’m ready. And I’m excited. Another episode of firing the man podcast and chatting about e commerce and some some pretty big news, actually,

David 2:18
for sure. This first story we pulled off of marketplace pulse. And the title is Amazon native brand Anker goes public. This caught my eye right away. Like many people, I have an anchor powerbank for when I’d go camping to charge cell phones and other electronic equipment. It wouldn’t surprise me if we have a couple other Anker products in our household or you familiar with this brand name.

Ken 2:43
You know what I first heard an anchor probably two years ago. And it was I can’t remember who referred them, but basically said, hey, these guys are like, you know, top dogs on Amazon. So I yeah, I’ve heard of Anker I don’t use a lot of their products. But what I do is I go look at anchor and see what they’re doing on their listings and their products. And because they are one of the leaders, right, so

David 3:06
absolutely. So for those of you who are unfamiliar with this brand, Anker is a Chinese brand that was founded in 2011 by ex Google engineer Steven Yang, they debuted on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on August 24. Their target is 1 billion in sales in 2020, which is unbelievable. You know, when we talk about growing an empire, this is a true Empire. And when you look at companies that are going public, there’s not a ton of companies that you know, solely focus on Amazon sales that are going public. And so this is super exciting for those selling it in the Amazon world and really an inspirational story. So a couple things that really stood out to me in this article was that the company sold 46 million units in 2019, which is unbelievable. Their sales continue to grow. And again, only started in 2011. This company’s not that old.

Ken 4:05
Yeah, that that’s actually kind of crazy to revisit that. So that’s a nine year old company, and and in 20, their expected growth. They they almost had a billion in 2019. And their sales are up 25% on the year so they’re easily gonna surpass 1,000,000,000 in 9 years. And what’s crucial is that, that guess one piece that’s really shocking to me is that they’re an Amazon native brand, meaning they started on Amazon and they’ve grown on Amazon. So yeah, that’s pretty startling, actually.

David 4:39
Absolutely. Another thing that stood out to me was only 146,000 followers on Instagram, which is a pretty decent following. However, if you were to compare their valuation to other companies their size, you would, you would expect them to have a much greater social media following And, you know, what I think that speaks to is, is just doing it right on Amazon. And, you know, certainly there are brands that are helped by social media. But, you know, they talked about focusing on just delivering really high quality products, there’s a focus on customer reviews. And, you know, they focused on Amazon, and now they’re a public company with a market cap of $8 billion.

Ken 5:25
Yeah, absolutely. And, and they’re doing Amazon, right. Like they they know, they have it down to a science, obviously, right. CEO speaks to how Amazon reviews drive their product development. So like, they’re just calling information out of Amazon’s ecosystem, and using it to develop their products. There was one bit in here where I don’t want to get into the actual product, but it was kind of funny that they actually launched a product that competes with Amazon. And so it’s like, you know, that they kind of stepped up their game in that in that regard, meaning they can they can compete with Amazon, you know, another thing that kind of stood out to me was that, you know, they say, Anker is a native Amazon brand, meaning they started in developed and grew on Amazon, but now they’re in Best Buy Walmart, Apple stores. And so they’ve since expanded their empire, which is, you know, pretty incredible to go to go that route, which, you know, I think is there’s a lot of open space right now for a lot of e commerce sellers that have native Amazon brands, and then branch out, you know, you can kind of use that, that growth to fuel other sales channels,

David 6:35
for sure, for sure. The CEO said that, that 50% of their staff work on research and development. Obviously, they’re doing it right. But that, to me, really stood out. And it made me evaluate how much of my time as a solopreneur am I spending on research and development. And if I’m being honest, I would say it’s less than 5%. You know, you get caught up being an owner operator, and get caught up in in the day to day business. And I think that, you know, just carving off one day per week, researching new products, reading negative reviews, and listening to the voice of the customer. I think that’s a positive ROI activity and something that I, as I, you know, map out my weeks. That’s something I need to spend a little bit more time on. What What about you? How much time are you spending on research and development?

Ken 7:27
Not a whole lot. But you know, whenever I do go to launch a new product or do product research, you know, I’m looking at amazon customer reviews from my competitors, or if it’s not in the space, something similar. So that same methodology that Anker uses, I use that same same bed, but uh, definitely don’t have the resources like anchor to have a huge staff doing r&d, but it is it is crucial for growth and expansion. One other thing I’d like to mention is, you know, if there’s a, you know, an established brands that are out there that are kind of struggling, you know, on Amazon and yeah, I mean, you have large brands that are some of them aren’t even on Amazon, some of them are, you know, they have one image they have a crappy listing. You know, like, though, though, look at Anker, though, see what they’re doing like they are, the Anker is at the top of the mountain right now. They’re the top of the heap right through the big dog. So go look at their listings, go look at their storefronts go look at their products.

David 8:34
Absolutely, I as we were prepping for this episode, I was pulled up a couple Anker listings. And in terms of like infographics, they’re sharp, they’re clean, they’re professional, they’re enhanced brand content is awesome. And, you know, I think if you’re if you’re carving off some tasks for, say, a va, it’s always good to point them in the direction of Hey, this is this is what we’re shooting for, and pointing them to an anchor listing and saying, you know, this, see how this infographic doesn’t have too much text and, and it lays out all of the benefits. You know, those are examples that are really helpful when you’re trying to communicate with somebody that you’re outsourcing a task to. So I’m definitely going to be using www.Anker.com as an example in the future.

Ken 9:19
Yeah, absolutely. And, and that’s, that is a really good point. You know, like, I recently did that for my photographer, I was not gonna be able to be there for a photoshoot. I said, I sent him an email like, hey, look at these three brands right here, go look at their Amazon listings. This is the flavor. This is what we’re looking to get right here. So that’s that’s that was really good tip.

David 9:41
Absolutely. So for those of you that are listening to this podcast, obviously your first goal is to fire the man and this CEO Steven Yang. He did fire the man. And now he has a public company worth a billion dollars which is unbelievable. So this is just goes to show that That, you know, you can grow a business that supports your family and your spending. But you can also grow a company, you know, into a very large corporation as Steven Yang did. So, this is an aspirational story, and we definitely wanted to share it with the Firing TheMan Nation. All right, the next article we’re going to cover is, again, from marketplace pulse, titled amazon seller fulfilled prime is in limbo. Ken let’s give us a recap of this article.

Ken 10:31
Yeah, for sure. This is a I don’t know, I think, to me, this is kind of an Amazon squeeze play. After going through this article, it will dive into a little bit deeper. But you know, at the end of the day, they’re they’re putting a squeeze play on sellers to offer, you know, one day, two day prime shipping and weekend deliveries, which a lot of three pls, you know, if you’re in a, you’re in a 3PL right now, with all your products, they can’t offer that you can’t do seller fulfilled prime.

David 10:59
Absolutely. So let’s back up and explain why this is important. So right now, my inventory is at Amazon warehouses, and it is settled with a prime badge, which when you look at conversion, people with Amazon Prime, they love that two day delivery. And so Amazon fulfills all of the orders in typically two days. Now, what happens is Amazon seems to increase their fees every year, especially in q4 storage fees, you know, multiply by four or five. And so just to sell on Amazon, and have that Prime badge is expensive. And so what a lot of sellers are doing is they are migrating over to a third party logistics company. So this is going to be another company that is going to be the one or two day that they’re going to do the shipping. And you can still keep that Prime badge if you’re able to meet those shipping requirements. And so one one article that we had talked about a couple weeks ago was that Amazon was increasing their warehouse capacity by 50%. And so as people migrate over two, three pls, that’s going to put the squeeze on. On those three payouts, a lot of them are not going to be able to do the two day delivery. And it’s going to be hard to keep that Prime batch. Yeah,

Ken 12:18
one notch off of one thing to mention is that Amazon statistics they released or these new rules starting February 1 2021, on seller fulfilled prime, they estimate that only 10% of existing seller fulfilled Prime members will be able to meet those standards. 10% that’s that’s a squeeze play.

David 12:40
For sure, for sure. And you know, you and I in our own businesses, we’ve talked about going to a 3PL just because Amazon warehouses right now are they’re backed up. I’ve had a shipment that has been sitting in receiving for four weeks. And so that’s been very frustrating. And so I’ve been looking for better alternatives, and also cheaper alternatives. Because selling on prime is expensive. You know, it’s it’s loaded with fees. And so this is yes, it is a squeeze play. And, you know, when I think of long run implications here, we’ve discussed Walmart, they’re on the up and up right now they’ve paired up with Shopify, and they are they are growing every quarter.

Ken 13:24
They just announced I believe it was yesterday, I’m not sure when this podcast is going to air but September 2, they just announced the the long awaited Walmart plus. So they’re, they’re they’re they’re chipping away at Amazon, they’re there, they’re getting some traction.

David 13:39
Absolutely. And so you know, this is something that I was planning on doing seller fulfilled prime through a 3PL, just because I want to start selling on Walmart, and was hoping that that 3PL could also do all of my Amazon fulfillment. And that may not be the case. And so what I think I’m going to do, we’ll see how this plays out in q4. But what I think I am going to do is still move forward with a 3PL, probably not move all of my inventory over there. But for maybe slower moving units, you know, I’m going to change my shipping to where I’m going to not have that Prime badge, which is going to decrease my conversion but it may be more profitable. And so this will be a big spreadsheet exercise and we’re actually going to record an episode on 3PL’s. So this topic will be coming up again. But you know, this is this is a big deal right now especially for for larger sellers.

Ken 14:36
Yeah. And another thing I’d like to note too is the you know, the whoever wrote this article that we pulled it off marketplace pulse. They did a lot of research here and they went to Amazon’s website and they did searching for seller fulfilled prime and they said it no longer exists. They did a little bit of research and basically said they de-indexed it off Google so Amazon is making it you know the seller fulfilled prime program. Like if you’re not in there now, are you going to be able to get in there? Like are you know, are they just going to do away with that? I mean, it’s it’s really a gray area. And like you mentioned, I’m also looking to get into Walmart and go to a 3PL and this really just kind of wrecks, all of that, right? Because if you have the bulk of your sales on Amazon’s largest channel, and you’re looking to diversify, this is Yeah, totally a squeeze play by Amazon to try to maybe distract a little bit of that or just add some layers of complexity in there. So it will be interesting to see how this plays out. And you know, we’re doing a miniseries on three pls. And this is going to be at the top of the question list for me is are you know, are you will you be able to meet the, you know, Amazon standards for, you know, the prime so fulfilled prime One, two day shipping, work on Saturdays, things like that, you know, so interesting.

David 15:56
All right. The last article we’re going to cover today is titled Amazon added brand stores to search. And I think the first paragraph really summarizes this article. Well, it reads Amazon is testing a change to its search suggestions that adds a link to the related brands store page branded searches, like Adidas, and Adidas store on Amazon as an option. Crucially, unbranded searches like men’s running shoes also have a suggested brain store. Now, when I think of the implications of this, being brand registered is more important than ever, when I was at cellar con, would have been about a year and a half ago. That was when this was first coming out. And there was a huge push to become brand registered on Amazon. And they have been giving more and more privileges to brand registered stores. And so I think that if you’re not brand registered, get the ball rolling on a trademark, and get brand registered, because they’re giving even more benefits to companies like this.

Ken 17:01
Yeah, absolutely. And, and I really like how Amazon always says, you know, they test new things, see what’s working and they’re pushed to storefronts is is huge, you know, this, you know, they’re adding brand stores to search. Now, that says kind of a. I haven’t, I haven’t seen it a lot. It looks like they’re just testing it on certain storefronts and getting some test data. But like you mentioned, it’s it is huge. Having a storefront. They’ve also added Amazon attribution now where you can run paid ads from, you know, Google, Facebook, wherever to your storefront and measure the conversion rates. So obviously, you know, Amazon conversion rates are way higher than just your standard e commerce site. Not that, you know, your Amazon storefront is going to replace your ecommerce site. But you know, he did want to test it and see if ad revenue comes over. But back to the main topic, you know, that they added the brand store search? Yeah, like, how are you going to get there? How can you get there? I don’t know haven’t seen it. Is it keywords in your your storefront? Is it gonna, you know, because the example that they use in the article is a six and the keyword is men’s running shoes. And then at the bottom, it says Asics store on Amazon. So how do you rank for that? How is that something that you can pay for PPC? Like? I don’t know yet? We’ll have to see how they roll this out.

David 18:30
For sure. Before we recorded this episode, you told me a next level hack on Etsy that you’ve been seeing Etsy is following a similar branded store approach. Can you go into detail on that?

Ken 18:44
Sure. So I’ve recently added Etsy as a sales channel on one of my brands after you said it would work out and it has Thank you. So I’ve been really drilling into Etsy. And I found this one little hack. I would I wouldn’t say it’s a hack. It’s kind of if it works for you great. If not, so if you search like we were talking about before, this episode, let’s say you have a shop on Etsy and you sell whiskey custom whiskey glasses, right and your shops name is Duke’s drinks right? And then so someone comes to Duke drinks and then a shop brown and you have a bunch of assortment of whiskey glasses. Well, whiskey glasses is your main niche. Change your store name to whiskey glasses if it’s available. And when when chopper search that in the top, you know, it will your entire shop will come up. So instead you know and so when someone shirt searches whiskey glasses, your shop name is there. They click on that they go directly to your store.

David 19:48
For sure for sure. That is a next level. Yeah, hack strategy, whatever you want to call it. I think for for people launching new brands. This is something to think about when you’re naming that brand Yeah, is, you know, you could come up with, you know, Jack’s whiskey glasses, or you could be called like whiskey glass outlet. And by putting that main keyword first, you’re going to index right away for that. And so that’s something to think about as you’re picking a new company name is if you can include the main keyword of what you’re selling.

Ken 20:27
Yeah, absolutely. Like we always talk about you’re starting over again you’re and you’re obviously want to drill into a niche and if you can incorporate that those main keywords into your branding your next level SEO out of the gate. Absolutely.

David 20:42
Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s Firing The Man Podcast. If you like this episode, head on over to www.firingtheman.com And check out our resource library for exclusive firing demand discounts on popular e commerce subscription services that is www.firingtheman.com/resource. You can also find a comprehensive library of over 50 books books that Ken and I have read in the last few years that have made a meaningful impact on our business, or that head on over to www.firingtheman.com/library. Lastly, check us out on social media at Firing The Man on YouTube at Firing The Man for exclusive content. This is David Schomer and Ken Wilson. We’re out

Transcribed by https://otter.ai