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E-Commerce with Coffee?!

E-Commerce with Coffee?!

By Amber Engine
E-Com secrets for brands over your favorite brew.
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25. Amazon Brand Advantages (If You Know About Them) with Andrew Morgans, Founder & CEO of Marknology

E-Commerce with Coffee?!

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39. Cheaper, Quicker, Easier, and More Joyful Product Search with Thomas Vosper, CEO of Aisle 3
Cheaper, Quicker, Easier, and More Joyful Product Search In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!, we have Thomas Vosper, co-founder, and CEO of Aisle 3, joining host Nate Svoboda to discuss the universal view of shopping. Throughout the interview, Will shares his views on shopping experiences, shopping data, and more. Ready to learn more about a new way of thinking about the shopping experience and how much of an impact it can have on your business? Grab your favorite brew and enjoy! ➡️ Timestamps: 0:00-0:27 Intro 0:28-0:51 Introducing Thomas 0:52-1:56 How Thomas takes his coffee 1:57-3:19 Thomas’ background 3:20-4:46 What Aisle 3 does 4:47-6:28 What consumers look for in a shopping experience 6:29-9:06 Why content may not be displayed by retailers 9:07-11:40 Discussion about authenticity of and transparency in product reviews 11:41-13:33 Value of niche marketplaces to consumers 13:34-17:05 Effectiveness of algorithms behind ad platforms 17:06-19:09 Tools Thomas recommends 19:10-20:48 What a universal view of shopping means 20:49-21:50 What retailers and manufacturers must do to support a universal view of shopping 21:51-24:37 Expectations for the next five years 24:38-27:08 Thomas’ experience launching Aisle 3 27:09-30:55 Biggest challenge launching Aisle 3 30:56-32:26 Other key considerations for the shopping experience 32:27-33:22 How to contact Thomas 33:23-33:44 Outro 💬 Get in touch with Thomas at: - LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasvosper/ - Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thomas.vosper - Instagram https://www.instagram.com/thomas.vosper/ - Twitter https://twitter.com/ThomasVosper - Website https://www.thomasvosper.com/ 💬 Get in touch with Aisle 3: - LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/aisle-3/ - Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aisle-3-114824356870369/ - Instagram https://www.instagram.com/aisle3.co/ - Website https://www.aisle-3.co/en
33:44
September 20, 2022
38. Uncovering the Potential of Customer Experience with Will Laurenson, Founder and Consultant of Customers Who Click  
Uncovering the Potential of Customer Experience In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!, we have a special interview with Will Laurenson, founder of Customers Who Click. He and Nate Svoboda discuss how to optimize your customers’ experiences and drive revenue. Throughout the interview, you’ll hear Will’s views on customer experiences, customer retention, and more. Ready to learn more about customer experience and how much of an impact it can have on your business? Grab your favorite brew and enjoy! ➡️ Timestamps: 0:00-0:27 Intro 0:28-0:58 Introducing Will 0:59-2:34 How Will takes his coffee 2:35-6:20 Will’s background 6:21-7:33 Differences between optimizing customer experience for products and services 7:34-9:30 Metrics important for optimizing customer experience 9:31-12:33 Importance of customer lifetime value 12:34-16:07 How to gather feedback from consumers 16:08-17:38 Differences between customer lifetime value in a DTC versus another business model 17:39-20:03  Best methods and tools to increase conversions 20:04-22:01 How long you should run a split test 22:02-29:16 What clients are not usually thinking about for conversions 29:17-34:02 How to appropriately allocate resources to conversion versus retention 34:03-35:49 Changes that have occurred in the past two to four years 35:50-42:02 Other key considerations for customer experience 42:03-43:04 How to contact Will 43:05-43:20 Outro 💬 Get in touch with Will at: - LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/willlaurenson/ - Facebook https://www.facebook.com/will.laurenson - Twitter https://twitter.com/willlaurenson 💬 Get in touch with Customers Who Click: - LinkedIn  https://www.linkedin.com/company/customers-who-click/ - Website https://www.customerswhoclick.com/ - Podcast https://www.customerswhoclick.com/customers-who-click-podcast/
43:21
September 19, 2022
37. The Difference Between Growing a Business and Leaving a Legacy, with Andrew Davis, Speaker & Author
The Difference Between Growing a Business and Leaving a Legacy In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!, Andrew Davis, a keynote speaker, and author, joins host Nate Svoboda to talk about content, its impact on businesses, and growing a business versus leaving a legacy. Throughout the interview, you’ll hear Andrew’s views on digital and offline content and its role in brand strategy. Grab your favorite brew and enjoy! ➡️ Timestamps: 0:00-0:27 Intro 0:28-1:00 Introducing Andrew 1:01-2:18 How Andrew takes his coffee 2:19-4:34 How Andrew started with public speaking and digital marketing 4:35-8:30 How to create better content 8:31-11:52 What it means to “think big” 11:53-18:00 Difference between growing a business and leaving a legacy 18:01-21:35 History of video content for brands 21:36-24:45 How did COVID-19 accelerate content trends? 24:46-28:23 Overview of Brandscaping 28:24-31:44 How businesses should establish a customer-first message
35:58
September 05, 2022
36. Episode title: “Fit” for the Digital Transformation and E-Com with Jason Greenwood, Founder of Greenwood Consulting
Digital Transformation with Jason Greenwood In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!, we have a special interview to share with the Amber Engine’s audience. Jason Greenwood, founder and lead consultant of Greenwood Consulting, joins host Nate Svoboda to talk about digital transformation and why it matters. Throughout the interview, you’ll hear Jason’s views on the current e-commerce landscape and the transition to a digitally-led customer experience. Grab your favorite brew and enjoy! Timestamps: 0:00-0:27 Intro 0:28-1:07 Introducing Jason 1:08-1:58 What Jason drinks 1:59-7:14 Jason’s background 7:15-11:53 What digital transformation means 11:54-14:56 Digital transformation of B2B experience 14:57-20:55 How to align people in an organization involved in digital transformation 20:55-24:20 Updating and implementing processes during digital transformation 24:21-29:57 Technologies required for digital transformation 29:58-34:52 Changes in data required for digital transformation 34:53-40:45 Overview of “Fit for Commerce” framework 40:46-42:55 Types of companies suited for “Fit for Commerce” framework 42:56-45:19 Risks associated with digital transformation 45:20-46:05 How to get in touch with Jason and his team 46:06-46:21 Outro
46:22
August 29, 2022
35. Saving Time and Money with Amber Engine’s Next-Gen PIM with Brittany VanDenBerg, VP of Business Operations at Legacy Home Furnishings and Decor
Saving Time and Money with Amber Engine’s Next-Gen PIM In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!, we have a special interview to share with the AE audience. Brittany VenDenBerg, Vice President of Business Operations at Legacy Home Furnishings and Decor, joins host Nate Svoboda to talk about her and her team’s experience with the Amber Engine Next-Gen PIM as early adopters of the new software. Throughout the interview, you’ll hear Brittany’s opinions on the onboarding and transition process, her favorite features of the software, how the Next Gen PIM addresses specific pain points, and, of course, her caffeine drink of choice. Ready to learn more about the Amber Engine Next-Gen PIM and Legacy’s experience? Grab your favorite brew and enjoy! What to listen for: Brittany breaks down the main reason she and the team at Legacy considered Amber Engine’s Next-Gen PIM in the first place: optimizing time. She explains how the PIM saves the team enormous amounts of time and effort that was otherwise incredibly taxing, especially when running a business with a small team. The team at Legacy was looking to be able to cut down the time spent on multiple tasks, a goal that was met “right off the bat.” Additionally, the PIM was able to clean their data up significantly and help practically everybody on the team in some capacity–exceeding Brittany’s expectations. Brittany recounts how the time-to-implementation and onboarding process were much faster than she expected, and that the AE team’s presence and support throughout the process was a huge factor in making sure everything went as smoothly as possible. Especially as data had been such a big pain point for the Legacy team, Brittany explains that the channels feature was particularly exciting for her and for the rest of the team. The number of channels that Legacy has been able to effectively manage has grown significantly since implementing the Next-Gen PIM. Brittany explains how Legacy puts all sorts of information into the PIM, from regular product information to different certifications and anything else customers might want to know Brittany qualifies the speed-to-market and the AE customer service as the top selling points for the PIM As far as drawbacks go, Brittany warns that the transition/implementation process isn’t automatic. As much as the Amber Engine team helps, it is invaluable to have somebody from your own team be fully dedicated to the implementation and the transition, and overlooking this important detail can be a painful oversight. YT Timestamps: 0:00-0:27 Intro 0:28-0:56 Introducing Brittany 0:57-2:27 How Brittany takes her coffee 2:28-6:07 Initial attraction to the PIM, time is money 6:08-10:15 How the PIM met and exceeded expectations 10:16-13:34 The onboarding and implementation experience 13:35-18:33 Favorite features 18:34-20:30 Number of channels 20:31-22:51 Time required to interact with selling channels 22:52-23:57 What kind of information Legacy puts in Amber Engine 23:58-29:48 Top strengths of the Amber Engine PIM 29:49-34:45 Drawbacks or cautions to solutions like the AE PIM 34:46-36:44: Brittany’s entertainment recommendations 36:45-37:24 Outro
37:24
August 22, 2022
34. AI in E-Commerce: What’s Real, What’s Useful, and What to Do with Vance Reavie, CEO at Junction AI
AI in E-Commerce: What’s Real, What’s Useful, and What to Do In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!, we have a special interview to share with the AE audience. Vance Reavie, founder and CEO of Junction AI, joins host Nate Svoboda to talk about artificial intelligence (AI), data, and why it matters. Throughout the interview, you’ll hear Vance’s views on AI, its benefits for small to medium-sized businesses, the ROI of a high-quality AI tool, and more. Ready to learn more about AI and how much of an impact it can have on your business? Grab your favorite brew and enjoy! YT Timestamps: 0:00-0:27 Intro 0:28-1:02 Introducing Vance 1:03-2:16 How Vance takes his coffee 2:17-3:57 How AI has become relevant in e-commerce 3:58-5:36 How barriers to AI adoption have been removed 5:37-7:47 The businesses most impacted by AI 7:48-11:10 How developed AI really is 11:12-13:10 Overview of Junction AI 13:11-15:26 Skills need to leverage AI tools 15:27-17:50 What value can be added to your business from the time saved with AI 17:51-20:49 Ethical concerns about AI 20:50-23:39 How to evaluate a high-quality AI tool 23:40-26:49: ROI you can reasonably expect from AI 26:50-30:10: How small businesses can find large datasets to train AI 30:11-32:44: Why a business should adopt AI immediately 32:46-38:13: Future AI trends Vance is excited for 38:14-38:46 How to get in touch with Vance and the Junction AI team 38:47-39:03 Outro
39:04
August 15, 2022
33. Tackling the Slippery Slope of Scaling with Chad Rubin, CEO, and Founder of Profasee
Tackling the Slippery Slope of Scaling In this episode, Nate is joined by Chad Rubin, Founder and Board Member of Think Crucial and CEO and Founder of Profasee, to talk about the challenges of scaling for small and growing businesses. Among many other things, Chad is an expert in identifying industry problems and finding the appropriate solutions. Make sure you pour yourself up your favorite brew and get to your favorite podcast-watching spot to take in all of the fascinating insights Chad had to offer. From one coffee-loving e-com professional to another: enjoy! YT Timestamps: 0:00-0:27 Intro 0:28-2:30: Introducing Chad and his coffee of choice 2:31-4:46: Going from finance to e-commerce 4:47-6:20: The evolution of Crucial Vacuum into Think Crucial 6:21-8:34: The inspiration for Skubana [extends into the next section] 8:35-12:30: The thought process behind Profasee 12:31-17:46: Communication: a lesson from tough times 17:47-20:26: Which startups succeed and fail 20:27-24:33: Major scaling challenges 24:34-26:22: Learning to pass on the torch 26:23-28:44: How to use automation 28:45-33:02: Software solutions to be aware of 33:03-35:36: Retrospective advice 35:37-37:53: The importance of taking time off to build on yourself 37:54-38:25: Where to get in contact with Chad 38:26-38:43: Outro
38:43
August 08, 2022
32. Bringing the Marketplace Model to Inventory Financing, CEO at Kickfurther
In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!, host Nate Svoboda is joined by Kickfurther CEO Sean De Clercq to talk about Kickfurther, the marketplace inventory financing model, and the democratization of e-commerce. Among many helpful insights, Sean gives us some short and sweet bullet points to entrepreneurial success: Identify a problem Solve it better than others Have good margins Open up wholesale Increase volume Leverage volume to negotiate discount Scale, scale, scale Sell Ready to take in the wonderful insights Sean has brought to the show? Grab yourself your favorite brew, kick back, and enjoy! What to listen for: Sean gives us the breakdown on Kickfurther. Inventory financing is a tough game to play, both for those looking for funding and those looking to fund. Bringing a marketplace model to the inventory financing game, Kickfurther brings down the barrier to entry for both sides. As most breakthrough solutions, Kickfurther is born out of experience. Sean’s time in wholesale showed him that, paradoxically, doing well can drive you bankrupt. More specifically, scaling is expensive, and getting ahold of that capital was simply not an option for many businesses. The solution? Bringing the marketplace model into the picture. Sean gives us a crash course on the marketplace model which, essentially, works as crowdfunding for inventory financing. On one side, brands are vetted and evaluated as to how likely they are to succeed. On the other side, funders are evaluated and presented with possible good matches. This process helps democratize the financing process, connecting growing brands with available capital directly, instead of having to rely on industry contacts and connections. Since Kickfurther vets who might or might not be a successful business on the platform, there must be some differentiator to look at. When it comes to entrepreneurs, Sean explains that brands who have big margins and have found a niche market are the ones that tend to do very well. Identify a special opportunity and go after it aggressively. Why doesn’t every brand with a niche market make it? Sean says that one of the biggest mistakes is charging too little. Small margins and low prices may seem like a great way to attract customers, but it leaves little-to-no chance for scaling, which can ultimately be the brand’s downfall.
28:50
July 31, 2022
31. Cryptocurrency’s Impact on Fintech and E-Commerce, CEO of CoinPayments
Jason Butcher of CoinPayments joins this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! to talk about everything crypto and Fintech related. Jason and the rest of the team at CoinPayments help brands easily integrate crypto processing into their platforms, which opens the doors for many benefits that are touched on in this conversation. Joined by our host Nate Svodoba, Jason talks about consumer adoption, choosing specific coins, payment processing as a business strategy, the future of Fintech, and so much more. Grab yourself your own favorite brew and join us for this installment of E-Commerce with Coffee?! What to listen for: After sharing his coffee habits, Jason gives us a quick intro to crypto gateways. Just like integrated card payments, having the ability to also accept crypto payments on your platform is just another option for customers, and it’s a simple integration. Alongside the boom for e-commerce, there has been quite the boom in consumer adoption of crypto as well. Jason talks about how on Shopify alone, business has increased some 15 times in large part due to crypto integration alone. So, while fees and transaction times aren’t quite at the “pay for your coffee with bitcoin” level yet, adoption is certainly visible and growing. While adoption is growing, it certainly isn’t at the level of credit cards (for example), so why should merchants bother? Jason explains that there are multiple benefits to accepting crypto, the biggest and most obvious being that having the option is just another chance to catch the buyer before they abandon their cart. Other benefits include financial and personal security on either side of the transaction. There’s a lot of press about crypto’s effect on the environment. Jason argues that, when put into perspective, there are a lot of other environmental issues like shipping and personal vehicles that might very well eclipse the effects of crypto. Plus, much of crypto is processed with alternative energy resources. Not to say that crypto doesn’t have an effect on the environment, but Jason explains that the press seems to center crypto disproportionately. Jason calls himself “payment agnostic,” explaining that his excitement for crypto lies in its ability to empower global economies and communities with shared value concepts, which isn’t truly particular to any one coin or asset today. In the same vein, Jason says that crypto still has plenty of room to grow. When it comes to which crypto to accept, Jason explains that it ultimately depends on what the merchant wants to do with that value. However, if using a service like CoinPayments, brands can auto-convert whatever coin they’ve accepted into whatever coin they prefer to manage. When it comes to security concerns in crypto, Jason explains that often a security breach has more to do with the technical literacy than with the crypto itself. Keeping your software up to date and not giving away your keys solve a lot of the security risks that are often reported.
35:32
July 17, 2022
30. Bringing the Big E-com Vision to Life with Katelyn Glass, Founder of Fifty Six
Katelyn Glass of Fifty Six Advertising has devoted over a decade to growing in tandem with the e-commerce world. She started her own marketing agency without having worked for an agency before, but after becoming the first female C-suite executive at Rowing Blazers and scaling the lifestyle brand to #8 on SimilarWeb's 15 fastest-growing DTC brands, she’d proven what knowledge she had acquired in her work. Katelyn focuses on marketing strategies for small brands. This keeps life more interesting, she muses, since each small brand needs a unique strategy to reach their particular goals. And with that point of view, Katelyn joins this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! to talk about small brand digital marketing. What to listen for: Katelyn is clearly a coffee fan, and her recommendation for where to get delicious whole beans in NYC definitely doesn’t disappoint. Early in the interview, we get a full look at where Katelyn came from and how she landed in the e-commerce world. She jokes that she’s “so old” that she “remembers when there was no internet.” One look at her and you see her millennial youth, however, so “old” is a stretch. She truly has seen extraordinary change in how marketing works, though. Listen for her full take on how marketing has changed—even in the last three years—and what the implications are. Small brands don’t care about a lot of the nitty gritty details of marketing, Katelyn says, they just want to partner with someone who takes care of it. Katelyn saw this need. Small brand leadership are always those wearing multiple hats, so why should they have to become digital marketing experts, too? Katelyn rose to the call and started her agency with the target of serving these businesses exclusively. “Typical agencies are either too expensive or too robust for what they need,” she asserts. Katelyn also speaks to the greater satisfaction of working with these brands and seeing them grow. It’s not just seeing someone walk down the street in the sweater you just helped a brand sell, it’s the “total evolution” of the brand (which is longer-lasting than growth). The interview then turns to some specific strategies Katelyn focuses on with brands. “Nine times out of ten,” she says, “brands are underutilizing email marketing.” She also works closely with brands to identify where they are in their marketing now as their customer lifecycle is developed. When asked when the right time is to launch to e-commerce, Katelyn says, “I'm insanely biased and I'll say it's always the right time.” There are more expensive times to do it, without a doubt, but it’s always the right time if you haven’t gotten into e-commerce already. The interview moves from launching to e-commerce to the pie-in-the-sky idea of DTC brands going global. Listen in for the specific advice Katelyn has along with a clear list of what brands need to consider (payment processing, tax implications, logistics). On the topic of gurus and all the digital marketing courses out there, Katelyn reminds us that it’s 2022 and whatever your marketing pain point, “you can google it.” Find the partners who help you make this happen—not the “#1 pro” who only tells you how. “If they were #1 in anything,” Katelyn quips, “they wouldn’t be selling their course on Instagram.” The kind of partnership Katelyn recommends is one that leaves listeners feeling braced for anything that comes next.
32:12
July 03, 2022
29. The E-Commerce Questions You Should Be Asking with Kat Dey, Co-Founder and President of ettitude
Buckle up for this interview with Kat Dey, co-founder of the sustainable lifestyle brand ettitude. Kat comes in with loads of wisdom for direct-to-customer (DTC) brands. Any brand selling online can benefit from this interview, but DTC brands with a mission will feel as though Kat speaks directly to them. The brand ettitude makes bedding and bath essentials with CleanBamboo, their innovative sustainable textile, and Kat demonstrates what a mission like that does for a brand. Kat’s own trajectory was stated well before ettitude. She’s a serial entrepreneur and was named as one of “35 People to Watch” and “EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman” in 2016. This interview doesn’t just focus on mission branding—Kat digs deep into vital data cues all brands online need to know, like customer acquisition cost (CAC) and lifetime value (LTV). Listen to the full episode for her tips! What to listen for: Kat’s extraordinary background equipped her with many lessons learned and a “scrappy” attitude that she brought to ettitude. Making mistakes and learning from them, she remarks, is just how this works. A world like digital commerce is too new for any person to have all the answers right out of the gate. Early in the interview, Kat talks about the benefits of brands that rally behind a mission, like ettitude does. (Hint: their brand name stands for “eco-attitude.”) Listen to the full interview to learn about the first mission-driven DTC brand she grew and sold, too. E-commerce saw colossal growth during the pandemic, but rapid growth isn’t guaranteed brand-to-brand, Kat maintains. Raising enough capital to grow fast, as most brands know right out of the gate, is hard. Brands that want to pursue a riskier and faster growth strategy still can, however, as long as they have that capital or a revolutionary product that customers will rave about online. Kat then reflects on co-founding a brand and on what happens when that brand grows. As ettitude was able to hire more senior managers to drive different departments, Kat and ettitude’s other co-founder, Phoebe Yu, each moved into more specialty-focused roles. Today, Kat oversees marketing, finance, and HR. When asked about the metrics that really matter (in a world filled with data that brands can quickly become overwhelmed by), Kat says without hesitation that lifetime value (LTV) and customer acquisition cost (CAC) are the key numbers to watch. Kat wraps the interview discussing ettitude’s own decision to put “pause” on in-person retail, and why they still don’t sell on Amazon (for now). Kat says of Amazon: “you do lose margin so you have to decide if it’s worth it for you. There is a cash flow delay.” At the same time, she says, anyone doing traditional retail right now or who has the opportunity should consider taking it. Omnichannel, she assures us, is the “way of the future.”
24:02
June 19, 2022
28. Deciphering Amazon Ads with Destaney Wishon, CEO and co-founder of BetterAMS
In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! Destaney Wishon, the CEO, and co-founder of BetterAMS, joins the show to talk about Amazon ads. Destaney provides a high-level view of what’s new on Amazon along with ways that brands can set ads up for success. With Destaney’s deep knowledge in Amazon ads from all the work she does for brands at BetterAMS, her insights include technical tips as well as a bigger look at the industry and how it’s changing. Changes are coming so fast, she says, that it’s podcasts like this one that can make the difference. Listen to the full interview to hear what she has to say! What to listen for: The interview starts with a look at how Destaney co-founded her Amazon ad business. For starters, Destaney’s from Rogers, Arkansas, known as the hometown of Wal-Mart. “I was always surrounded by vendors,” she describes. The commercial environment in Rogers is a unique one, and Destaney had opportunities to meet interesting people and learn about equally interesting opportunities. Listen to the podcast for the full story. Talking about the challenges brands face today, Destaney describes how brands do so many things to keep up. “I see a brand doing everything, but no one thing super well,” she says. Amazon ads are one of those things that aren’t being capitalized like they could be, Destaney points out, because even brands who are doing them don’t have the time to do them as well as they could. Destaney then compares Amazon ads to other types of ads. “If you don’t have a converting listing [for an Amazon ad],” she says, “your ad won’t work.” This might seem self-evident to some folks, but compared with other types of ads on Facebook or Google, this is a big difference. Listen to the full episode to learn what Destaney tells us about buyer intent and how she set brands up for success. One of the first things brands can do now is learn about the different types of ads on Amazon and how to use them for their intended purpose. For example, sponsored ads are an opportunity for brands to get clicks for their keyword without waiting for SEO strategies to boost their listings. “Take your number-one keyword and type it onto Amazon,” Destaney suggests. That first listing item you see at the top is a sponsored ad, and that spot could be occupied by your brand instead. Video ads, too, are an intriguing new addition to the slew of Amazon ads you can try. “The best part about video ads is that they’re PPC,” Destaney notes. This means that you only get charged when users click. Users can even watch your video all the way through, but without that click, you won’t be charged. Amazon, therefore, tries to get your video seen by the people with the red-hot intention to buy your product then and there. Listen to the full episode for Destaney’s tips on creating the best video ad to convert. Destaney continues, “on Amazon, 70% of ad collateral requires zero creative control.” She then points to video content and other creative ad collateral as a great example of something brands can outsource to spend more of their own time getting deeper into Amazon ad strategy. The interview wraps with Destaney talking about trends in ad costs, Amazon competition, and how brands can position themselves for success. Not only are there more brands on Amazon since the pandemic, but there are more users, too. The space is ripe with possibilities. “There’s no way for any one individual to keep up in this environment,” Destaney advises. Take her advice—listen to the full episode and subscribe to the show to keep up with more interviews like this one on E-Commerce with Coffee?!
19:46
June 05, 2022
27. The Systems to Boost Lifetime Value, Co-founder at Rush
Kiril Kirilov is the co-founder of Rush, a Shopify app that automates the much-needed communications for e-commerce customers post-purchase. Instead of brands fielding endless customer inquiries on the shipment status, product sizing, and more, Rush integrates its state-of-the-art shipment tracking software into today’s consumer expectations to redefine online shopping. Kiril joined this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! to talk about the post-purchase customer experience and how direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands today can build more meaningful connections. It’s all about personifying the values that built DTC brands up. Listen to the full episode for Kiril’s insights and tips. What to listen for: Kiril surprises listeners right out of the gate with some fascinating personalia. Not only does he have a longstanding relationship with caffeine (with advice on when to consume it for the best absorption), but he also spoke of his semi-professional athletic career that preceded his co-founding of Rush. Once Kiril and Nate dive into the interview’s main topic, Kiril states that his purpose is not to sell Rush while he’s on the show; the philosophy behind Rush is, however, what he says frames his answer to all of Nate’s questions. The primary mission of the game-changing Shopify app is to use data, events, and triggers to enable merchants to communicate better post-purchase. Kiril then describes the missed opportunity that most brands suffer without purposeful post-purchase communications. It’s after a purchase that you have a vetted audience to interview and survey about their key pain points, he says, so that you can better communicate with other consumers like them. You also sustain excitement that way. Then, by the time your product arrives and customers open it, they’re already satisfied. “You’re not selling to robots, you’re selling to human beings,” Kiril reminds us. He says to consider offering added giveaways or freebies to customers right after the purchase to incentivize their participation in your surveys. It’s the 24-hour window immediately after a purchase when customers will give you the best information, he says, and with a giveaway, they’ll be more transparent. Survey your customers post-purchase to ask about their pain points. Ask what gets them to trust a brand, too. Truly fascinating insights have come out of these kinds of surveys; for example, the two most important things an e-commerce site must have to generate trust (according to customers) are: a phone number on the site and super-fast responses to email and SMS inquiries. Another bonus insight Kiril shares with us from post-purchase surveys is: apparently a non-specific arrival date (for example, “will arrive between 10 and 14 days”) is the principal cause of more than half of cart abandonment. “Omnichannel is the name of the game,” Kiril says of e-commerce. He says to find the one acquisition channel that works for you and regularly remind people across all channels why other customers showed interest in your brand.
35:06
May 22, 2022
26. Online Quizzes for E-Commerce with Ben Parr, President & Co-founder of Octane AI
Ben Parr of Octane AI joins this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! appropriately caffeinated and energized to talk about zero-party data. This is the “future of e-commerce,” he assures us, and brands who don’t take action within the next year to year and a half will pay the price. Ben makes a compelling case for the critical importance of zero-party data. Zero-party data, or data the brand collects directly from the consumer, will not only improve marketing but bring a better customer experience for consumers, too. Listen to this great episode for Ben’s insights! What to listen for: Ben starts the interview by telling the story of how his company got started. Back in 2016, they were well ahead of the curve, and many companies came to them later for advice. The biggest lesson he learned early on, he said, was how to build relationships and brand culture. Ben also makes a pitch for what brands must do to attract the best talent. “The best talent is looking for flexibility,” he says, referring specifically to remote work. “The world has changed, and the only question is what companies have changed to meet them.” “The world of e-commerce has fundamentally changed this year,” Ben says, moving on from hiring to behind-the-scenes e-commerce sales strategies. Privacy changes have defined this shift, with 96% of iOS users opting out of tracking when the new iOS 14 was launched. The platform update took a new spin on privacy, and as a result, third-party cookies are phasing out fast. On third-party cookies, Ben elaborates: “third-party cookies are going away. E-commerce was built by companies just buying that data, but that won’t happen anymore.” Zero-party data is the new way—and now, essentially the only way—for brands to collect consumer data like preferences, interests and behavior. For a brand getting started now with their own zero-party data collection, “start with a conversational pop-up over a quiz,” Ben suggests. For one, it’s easier to build out. What’s more, the data collected from those questions and answers helps a brand decide what questions need to be on a quiz later. What’s a brand to do with that zero-party data once they have it, anyway? In the second half of the interview, Ben digs into this in detail. “Number one, number two, number three: connect it to your email.” Listen to the full episode for examples of what that looks like. Whether or not brands act on this now, they will be impacted for better or worse. Today’s ad strategies based on cookies will be totally broken before long. “If you’re too reliant on ads and third-party data right now (and don’t change that in the next year or year and a half), you’re scr*wed." Consumers don’t want more choices, they want better choices. Zero-party data is how brands will deliver on that. It turns out you can take a quiz on Ben’s website to get started yourself, too! Be sure to listen to the full episode for even more insights.
26:16
May 08, 2022
25. Amazon Brand Advantages (If You Know About Them) with Andrew Morgans, Founder & CEO of Marknology
Andrew Morgans is the Founder and CEO of Marknology, an Amazon consulting company. He was drawn to e-commerce with a hunger for creative work, and he definitely found it. Having now worked and consulted with brands as big as Adidas and Marvel, when he started his own firm seven years ago he was primed with his own clear goals and a little more. Andrew describes e-commerce as “marketing and technology combined.” His early work focused on identifying the hurdles brands face in e-commerce and paving a new path forward for them with technology. Now, through Markology he works with 300 brands worldwide to help them with operational efficiencies and also help tell their stories. What to listen for: Andrew acknowledges how much work it takes to reach goals in e-commerce. He describes how much he loves simple conversations at the gym because they’re so relaxed. In his day-to-day work, in contrast, he puts every bit of energy into creative work discussions with clients. “Working with millions of dollars in ads can be stressful,” he admits. Listen to the full episode to learn how he balances responsibility with “goofing off.” Setting goals is how Andrew stays motivated. He’s been that way since he was a kid growing up as the son of missionaries in the Congo. If he wanted anything—to have, experience, or be—then he had to make his own plans to get it. He’s carried this into his adult life and structures everything he does around his personal and professional goals. Andrew got into e-commerce by joining a start-up as the third member of the team. He was hungry for a more creative opportunity, and he found it. He was overtaken by ideas. He describes it as the time he redirected “passion, sadness, everything” into innovation. Another thing Andrew loves about e-commerce is how “if you’re good at [it], results speak for themselves.” The industry is so new that there isn’t a status quo or “boys’ club” to fight against, meaning he gets to collaborate with all types of creative professionals. In the second half of the interview, Andrew digs into the Amazon sales models, specifically 1P versus 3P. 1P was the original Amazon model (still popular today) where manufacturers sell their products in bulk to the e-commerce marketplace, then let Amazon handle everything from advertising to pricing to logistics. This model is still the best for brands just getting into e-marketplace sales for the first time. Once Amazon as a business “graduated” from a growth mode to a lean one, they introduced the 3P model. This is where brands and manufacturers determine their own prices, create their own bundles, handle shipping themselves, etc. The trade-off? Brands have full control of their products and pricing, customer journey, and customer data. Listen to the full episode to hear how Andrew describes choosing one Amazon model over the other. Andrew describes brands that prefer the 3P model as those equally interested in direct-to-consumer (DTC) commerce. These are the brands focused on their brand image, their social media strategy, and influencer marketing. These brands want to use customer data to “tell their story more effectively” to their target audience. For brands just starting on Amazon, Andrew describes how to set realistic goals. “Consider that first phase an initial investment phase,” he says. After the investment, there will be a growth phase, and then come optimizations. The first phase will take longer, too, while brands build momentum. “I can take a brand way faster from one to two million than from $200,000 to $500,000.”
42:40
April 24, 2022
24. Hacks to Improve Revenue, Profitability, and Your Brand with Brian Johnson, Co-Founder of Canopy Management
Brian R. Johnson, Co-Founder of Canopy Management (an Amazon advertising consultancy, community, training system and software) has served as a leader in online advertising and conversion rate strategy for two decades. He’s worked with tens of thousands of brands, and now he’s taken all that experience to this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! Brian describes his “superpowers” as growing brand profitability, managing native and display ads on Amazon, and optimizing conversion rates. Brian wasn’t born with those powers, though—he developed them with a lot of work. The interview opens with him remembering how things were in e-commerce just seven years ago. With no courses on the web to “make it” on Amazon, and scarcely a resource in sight, Brian started his own Facebook group to crowdsource success. Listen to hear what happened next and what Brian lays out for brands on how to be successful selling online. What to listen for: Even Brian’s caffeine energy management is as much a science as his Amazon ad and conversion optimization. The interview opens with Brian revealing how he reverse engineered his former cocktail of caffeinated beverages to cut caffeine while still keeping his energy where he needed it. When Brian describes how he got started in e-commerce, he remembers how a recent claim to fame that really got him jazzed. It turns out he overnighted a product to the producers of Breaking Bad that appeared in an episode filmed the next day. Getting more into the meat of the interview, Brian then digs into what’s changed in Amazon ads. For starters, he says, they’re more competitive (and therefore costing more). New ad options are rolling out every couple of weeks, too, as Amazon tests new features. The interview then takes an introspective turn when Brian explores the conundrum of “what happens when enough people take your advice.” The result? Too many people are doing the same thing. Today, Brian’s consultation goes in the opposite direction of what he told thousands of brands before, because that’s what’s required today to stand out. The goal is always to get a user to slow their scroll just enough that they really see you. Going counter-culture “is a great opportunity...in order to stand out.” The number-one reason to work with a mastermind or agency, Brian explains, is to access their breadth of knowledge and let them keep a pulse on changes. Changes happen too fast in e-commerce for a brand to keep up (on top of running their own business). Amazon today is sharing more data with brands, and Brian leaves listeners in awe of the insights they can offer. Amazon knows whether consumers are “in the mood” to buy right then or if they’re just browsing, giving brands “more insight into what shoppers are really looking for, and what’s trending from a search standpoint.” Amazon has broken down demographics, psychographics and so much more. Most of this data is managed through DSP (demand-side platform), Amazon’s enterprise ad management system. You’ve heard it before, and Brian agrees: consumers don’t want more options, they want better options. Brian says, “if everyone throws too many choices at the consumer, they’ve going to create paralysis by analysis...all you see is noise, visual noise.” Brian then makes a case for why conversion rates are the driving force for success online. “Focusing on profitability means you’re protecting your brand,” he says. “Even if it takes a year, it’s worth it,” says Brian about a 2-5% increase in conversion rates on products. “Seed to forest” is a system of optimization processes that Brian’s company uses internally and also teaches to client brands. Listen to the full interview to hear about this proprietary system and more!
01:00:35
April 10, 2022
23. Sourcing Products and Building Brands with Kian Golzari, Founder and CEO of Sourcing with Kian
Kian Golzari is the Founder and CEO of Sourcing with Kian. He’s designed, developed, sourced, and manufactured over 2,500 products. As the result of this breadth of firsthand experience and success, Kian has mentored over 200 Amazon entrepreneurs on better sourcing practices and won numerous international awards, including the 2017 Sunday Times Fast Track Award for Top 100 UK Companies in Export Growth. With all those accolades, Kian brought his expertise to this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! to talk about how to develop, manufacture, and source products from China. Listen to the full episode and come with your notepad ready! What to listen for: The interview opens with a look at how Kian got to be where he is. Listen to the full episode to hear how he came to source for the NBA, Olympic Games, the Ministry of Defense, and more. Kian speaks downright affectionately of the sourcing community, too. Over the last several years he’s jetted around the globe for speaking events, and the energy and excitement are infectious. Kian offers some direct advice for manufacturers who previously sold through distributors but now sell on Amazon and other direct channels. He asks, “are you branding or are you selling?” Listen to hear how he describes and differentiates (and prioritizes) these two activities. Kian prompts those same brands to define their core values, too. “It’s such an important part of the brand journey,” he affirms. If you haven’t established your core values, he cautions, “you don’t know your brand yet.” Kian also speaks to selling new and innovative products and how to test the waters on other channels before selling on Amazon. “You don’t get email addresses from Amazon,” Kian explains. You’ll therefore get better insights into your target consumers with better data feedback from purchases and conversions on another platform. A sizable portion of the interview looks at brands meeting sustainability and corporate responsibility expectations today. Consumers want brands to be conscientious, and Kian has boiled down to a science how brands can vet manufacturers based on these standards. Developing products is something Kian has down to a science, too. “The best way to develop products…is to have an understanding of how products are made,” he says, speaking to his own first experience visiting a factory in 2010. Listen to the full story to hear what he learned. Kian also gives listeners a detailed step-by-step on how to navigate Alibaba to source the best manufacturers. Listen in for the full breakdown—and be prepared to take notes! Kian also talks about some of the most important websites for sourcing research, including Alibaba, GlobalSources.com, Import Yeti, and IndiaMart.com. When vetting product sources, there are three key things brands should focus on, says Kian: pre-shipment inspections, sellers outgrowing their suppliers, and “realizing that there’s profit in the buying price and not just in the selling price.” The interview wraps with Kian describing what it’s been like to see the growth of commerce, nightlife, tourism, and more in Shanghai and throughout China since he first visited. Being around that kind of growth, he says, creates a growth attitude in you, too.
47:26
March 27, 2022
22. Elevating Brands On and Off Amazon in 2022 with TJ Hyland, Director of Global Partnerships at Elevate Brands
TJ Hyland of Elevate Brands joins the E-commerce with Coffee?! podcast to talk about the aggregator model and the nuances of how businesses are acquired in order to “Elevate” brands in many different ways. Some entrepreneurs simply want to exit brands and cash out in a responsible manner, and some want to continue their growth but are limited by capital among other things. Aggregators can be a solution. TJ joins Nate Svodoba on this episode and walks us through important details like what makes certain businesses attractive to the aggregator model, what entering the aggregator model looks like, and some interesting management points like how a strong Amazon presence pays off on other channels as well. What to listen for: TJ runs through the aggregator model, its history, and some important examples like Elevate. Entering the aggregator model can be nuanced. Many times entrepreneurs will cash out in order to move onto another project with newly acquired capital, but the best transitions for the business often happen before the founders are ready to part ways with their business. Especially given our modern blockchain setting, giving sellers the option to cashout in cryptocurrency is just another way of giving sellers the freedom to handle their payout however they wish, and makes diversification just that much easier. The aggregator model doesn’t just look to acquire as many businesses as possible. There are certain indicators that make a business more attractive for acquisition, such as room for growth and a low amount of skews and variations. TJ dives into more details on this. The majority of online buyers are checking Amazon before they check anywhere else, and Amazon’s shipping infrastructure has become the standard for customer expectations, so a strong presence on Amazon is both crucial and beneficial for your brand off the platform, as well. That being said, depending solely on Amazon can also be dangerous. Every brand is different, and every entrepreneur has different wants and needs, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all to cashing out. At the same time, this certainly isn’t the business to be feeling around in the darkness for what feels right. Having somebody on your side that knows what direction to take can be what makes or breaks your business or exit.
40:44
March 06, 2022
21. Healthy Relationships with Agencies and Outsourcing Your CMO with Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media
Erik Huberman of Hawke Media joins the E-commerce with Coffee?! podcast to talk about outsourcing marketing and the relationship between brands and agencies. Recently having published The Hawke Method alongside his team, their book and this episode are both chalked full of insights and experiences that go into a successful marketing strategy. Erik joins Nate Svoboda on this episode to break down his marketing insights, to explore why his marketing strategy works where traditional methods might fail, and to solidify that the most profitable brand-agency relationship is not a contentious one, but one where collaboration is both open and positive. What to listen for: Erik starts us off with his background, from growing up with entrepreneurial influences to having to navigate the 2008 financial crisis. Learning from every position and exploring the world of commerce, he realized that the marketing ecosystem was truly broken. Hence Erik’s a-la-carte CMO philosophy. It’s no secret that running a business is tough work–Nate calls it a “full-contact sport.” One of Erik’s main takeaways after working with so many businesses is that, as a business owner, the best thing you can do is take ownership of the challenges and lean into the chaos that is business. You can always exit and take a job if things get to be too much, but realizing that it’s your choice to stay in the game is one of the best ways to keep rolling with the punches and tackling the big problems. There’s some commotion in the industry surrounding how to properly run certain ads. Erik suggests that many brands simply don’t know how these ads fit into the ecosystem of the company, and Hawke Media’s more grounded strategy allows them to navigate these issues smoothly. There are plenty of advantages to outsourcing the CMO position. For one, vetting actual marketing talent for in-house positions is much easier said than done. Outsourcing marketing is also more cost-effective, more flexible, and can provide a much-needed outside perspective. A lot of brands take a very binary look on in-house and outsourcing things like marketing–Erik believes that it shouldn’t be this way. At some point, it is important and necessary for companies to have their own head of marketing, which can actually make hiring a second set of eyes like Hawke Media even more valuable. While having an in-house head of marketing is important, it’s also important not to make the switch cold turkey. Again according to Erik, the best solution is to balance in-house with outsourcing, which can save your business a lot of heartache down the road. Sometimes brands hire agencies into a sort of contentious relationship, but this ultimately hurts the same brand more than anybody else. Treating the agency as a partner and a collaborator is how brands see the best returns. Erik gives us a quick pitch for his team’s new book: The Hawke Method. He breaks down the three fundamental pillars to their approach, which are awareness, nurturing, and trust.
31:46
February 13, 2022
20. From Start-Up to the “Prolific Zone” with Quin Amorim, Founder of Prolific Zone
Quin Amorim of Prolific Zone joins this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! for a superb interview. Quin actually hosts his own two podcasts, QA Selling Online and Fail Fast Podcast. That alone gives you a view of what Quin is all about: Selling online And building brands with lessons learned Quin joined E-Commerce with Coffee?! in this episode to talk to Nate Svoboda about start-ups launching in digital commerce. Covering everything from the history of e-commerce to social proof and PPC, the conversation is packed with clear answers to real questions. What to listen for: When it comes to e-commerce, Quin’s been around the block. The interview opens with him reminiscing when Ebay sellers were paid by check. With up to two weeks to receive the check and then up to four weeks for the buyer to receive a product, in e-commerce almost 25 years later we have same-day delivery and dozens of payment options. It’s hard for start-ups and brands migrating to e-commerce to know what channels to focus on first, but Quin likes Amazon. He explains why, then talks through the factors a brand needs to consider to decide which channel is right for them. Older consumers are showing a growing preference for Walmart.com over Amazon, and Quin explains why. This is just one example of the factors brands should be ready to consider in their own launch to e-commerce. The interview then gets into questions about physical versus online retail. “On a shelf, someone will walk by you eventually,” Quin says. Listen to the full interview for all his insights on this “divided retail reality.” Quin also talks about how much capital is needed for a start-up brand or manufacturer today. It even comes down to factors like the physical size of your product or the landscape of your niche’s competition, and Quin explains why. When it comes to where to spend that capital, every expert today has an opinion on what brands should focus on first. Should it be content or PPC? Quin says product photos are the number-one thing to focus on first, followed very closely by titles. Listen to the full episode to learn why. “Some brands think that you launch, then you win that first position, and then you’re done. But you’re never done,” Quin cautions. Changes like new reviews and what the competition is doing will always move the dials of a brand’s listings and relevancy. Look at it like cleaning your house: if you focus on deep-cleaning one room a week, your home will always be spotless. In the same way, brands can focus on one thing after another even after they’ve “arrived” at that first-place position. Listen to the full interview for examples of what brands can focus on. Quin also offers some easy-to-implement advice on approaching influencers. Listen to the episode to hear all about it. Of all the lessons Quin has learned and seen learned, he says it was a game-changer to realize that PPC is “not just to get sales—it’s also to get conversions for a certain keyword.” The vast majority of brands and PPC providers will immediately turn the gas off on keywords that don’t convert to final sales, but Quin says that’s like shooting yourself in the foot. Clicks—with or without sales—gain you relevancy. They also stop competitors from getting that keyword, because “someone else will show up if you don’t.”
32:41
January 09, 2022
19. Marketing Post-Pandemic… and Post-iOS with Stephanie Bregman, CMO of Manly Bands
Stephanie Bregman is the Chief Marketing Officer at Manly Bands. The brand has an easy-going and hilarious voice, but Stephanie works behind the scenes as the science-based marketing professional who keeps everyone aligned with a common “why” and clear direction. In this interview on E-Commerce with Coffee?!, we learn why Stephanie believes in “taking marketers’ opinions out of the equation.” She sees marketing decisions elsewhere made based on assumptions and personal preference, but she instead found success looking at the right data in the right way. Listen in for her insights on what numbers matter today and how to use them in omnichannel marketing success. What to listen for: The interview opens with Stephanie telling the story of Manly Bands. Its origin is an empowering one—with one customer’s dissatisfaction with a status quo, an idea was born. Stephanie explains how the idea was merged with top technology and a clever marketing strategy. Stephanie stepped into the CMO position ready to roll with the punches. Global disruptions like a pandemic hit industries like wedding bands particularly hard when weddings were postponed and canceled, but she was ready. Even today, Stephanie is still excited by the growth opportunities, because: “who doesn’t want to sell a client a product at one of the happiest moments of their life?” Right as lockdowns started to sweep the country in 2020, Stephanie held a meeting and said, “all the stuff we were going to do is going away. We’re going to have a totally new way to talk to our customers.” Her focus was simple: “What could make someone laugh when there’s so much stress?” Stephanie then digs deep into some of the shifts Manly Bands had to make with recent changes in consumer thinking. They already had a killer brand voice going into the pandemic, a sort of “wingman” vibe that customers found instantly relatable. However, Stephanie and her team quickly learned how short the shelf life was on certain jokes. Listen to the interview for the full story. Manly Bands has an all-star customer service team that takes real agency to find opportunities for customers and for the brand. Listen to the full interview to hear what Stephanie says about how that kind of company culture is built. Brand voice is something Stephanie’s team has mastered in a truly remarkable way. In the interview, she discusses how that kind of brand voice comes from a team ready to evolve its voice over time. Every time a new campaign is launched, one of the questions Stephanie workshops with the team is, “what will our voice be for this?” Being present on multiple marketing channels is different than being on multiple channels with a consistent brand voice, Stephanie assures us. “This is a big missing part of the omnichannel strategy.” Stephanie avoids this common problem by filtering every campaign on every platform through the team’s shared “WHY.” Stephanie also digs deep into some of the new beta programs on TikTok and trends in video content in general. Listen in as she explains how Manly Bands often gets 1,000 new followers from one single video! The interview then dives into Stephanie’s insights on the iOS 14 update. It’s admirable for a company like Apple to focus on better consumer security, she says, but the unintended consequences will cloud what benefits there are. Listen to the full interview for all of Stephanie’s predictions. The show wraps with Stephanie’s suggestions about how brands can use data. “Looking at consumer data, we’re getting cloudy information and it’s getting cloudier,” she explains. Looking at A/B testing brings bigger benefits, and Stephanie leaves no doubt as to why.
35:57
December 26, 2021
18. E-Commerce Scaling in the “New Normal” with Yoni Kozminski, Founder and CEO of Escala
Yoni Kozminski of Escala and MultiplyMii joins the E-Commerce with Coffee?! podcast to talk about scaling in e-commerce. Yoni got his early experience working on operations optimizations and strategy with brands like Sony and Mastercard. Now he’s focused on e-commerce, drawn in by exciting scaling opportunities there. In fact, one of Yoni’s companies, MultiplyMii, connects brands with executive-level offshore hires. Why? Start-ups can scale faster with more accessible budgets while still gaining the specialized talent they need. Most of the roles brands fill this way, Yoni says, start with job titles that didn’t even exist five years ago. Listen to the full episode to learn what Yoni has to say about this and other changes in the digital landscape. What to listen for: Right out of the gate, Yoni talks about how businesses today can identify needs and talent. These go hand-in-hand because, in the world of e-commerce, half the roles needed today are job titles that didn’t exist five years ago. Yoni got his own early experience in operational infrastructure and strategy for brands like Sony and Mastercard. That’s where he first learned how to determine bandwidth and create the business model that he used for MultiplyMii. Listen in to learn how his company finds executive-level talent specifically for the e-commerce ecosystem. Yoni’s other business, Escala, is a consulting firm born to help e-commerce brands leverage people, processes, and technology. The origin story of Escala and MultiplyMii is well worth a listen to the full interview! “I thought we were bringing on a Chief Marketer,” Yoni says of one recent project. “But it turns out we were bringing on a Chief Growth Officer.” Listen in to hear what this example tells us about uniting needs with talent—as it turns out, most businesses looking to scale in today’s environment don’t even know the best titles for the roles they actually need to be filled. E-commerce represents a professional ecosystem that didn’t exist even five years ago. As consumers, our entire interaction with some brands is now completely digital. Roles like Funnel Specialists, Chatbot Specialists, and even UX and CX professionals have to be on brands’ radar today, and Yoni elaborates on why. Yoni then gets into some of the key signs that a brand is ready to scale out its team. For example, are high-producers burning out (or at risk of burnout)? Listen to the full episode to learn what Yoni says should come next. The biggest challenge in scaling an e-commerce business, Yoni explains, is the transitional phase when brand leaders get processes on paper. This is also the crucial moment when a brand should start creating a deliberate company culture. Yoni explains how company leaders should be prepared. Toward the end of the interview, Yoni wraps with an Abraham Lincoln quote: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Yoni loves this quote in the context of scaling an e-commerce business, and he makes it clear why. Listen to the full interview to hear what he has to say!
33:37
December 12, 2021
17. E-Commerce Growth: Ads and Opportunity with Antoine Gagné, Founder & CEO of J7 Media
Antoine Gagné of J7 Media was born to navigate the dynamic tides of Facebook ads. He hit the ground running while still in school, promoting local clubs through Facebook Events when he was just 16. When he was 18 he started an ad agency. Four years later, he bought his partner out and beefed up the agency with new creative and media teams that now manage $3 million in Facebook ads a month. He's also the host of the Hypergrowth podcast which is well worth a listen for e-commerce brands looking to reverse engineer the success of the best. He also hosts the Social Selling podcast where he discusses trends and strategies in performance marketing across social and e-commerce platforms. What to listen for: Listen to how Antoine talks about some of the most successful brand campaigns his agency has managed. He explains how brands bringing something to the market that others don't are the ones who see hypergrowth. "There will always be saturation for products that always exist," he says. "Companies with success on Google don't necessarily have success on Facebook," Antoine explains. Consumers looking for a service or good on Google are already researching the solution a brand offers, whereas Facebook ads take a different targeting approach. Listen in to hear how Antoine advises brands to bridge the gap. Changing regulations (like the new iOS and new tracking regulations on Facebook) have forced brands to re-work their strategies in a big way. "Last year we lived in a bubble where everyone was buying stuff online," Antoine says. "But now, e-commerce brands have hit a wall." The recent Facebook crash (those fateful six hours without the platform or the company's other platforms) was a big wake-up call for brands. "Double down on Facebook if it's working for you," Antoine says. "But be ready to shift...put the time in now on other platforms like SMS and email." This agility is what brands need for their long-term marketing strategies to see real hypergrowth. Facebook is trying to tap the "Amazon phenomenon," as Antoine articulately describes over the latter half of the interview. Facebook wants the same complete data that Amazon enjoys, where advertisements and final clicks to "buy" are all on the same platform. How to drive traffic is one thing, and how to drive qualified traffic is another. "Don't try to outsmart the [Facebook] platform," Antoine assures us. "You don't tell Facebook, 'target the 28-year-old who lives 5 km away,' you just tell Facebook: 'find purchasers.'" Listen to the full episode to hear how Antoine describes what brands should really be doing with their time instead. "You spend all your time crafting a good landing page and the fundamental messaging element of it, then let Facebook handle the targeting." Antoine and Nate talk about the impact of the holidays on sales and ad bid costs, too. "It's definitely not business as usual," Antoine says. Q4 is the quarter where advertisers spend most of their money, and it's only well spent if it's strategic. Facebook is a bidding platform, which means everyone else is bidding more in Q4, and what brands were doing before suddenly might not work. Listen to the full episode of how Antoine advises brands to get around that by "creating gigantic retargeting audiences."
32:12
November 28, 2021
16. What Levers “Move the Needle” on Amazon? with Shannon Roddy, Founder of Marketplace Seller Courses
Shannon Roddy is the founder of the Amazon Brand Success Academy Course. He joins E-Commerce with Coffee?! to speak to host Nate Svoboda about which levers brands have to pull for success on the ultra-competitive e-marketplace. Unlike some high-profile Amazon gurus who tapped e-commerce “secrets” that gave them an instant success, Shannon started with some failures by omission and big “a-ha” moments. When he started to gain traction (and knowledge), he flew fast. Moving into Amazon-focused topics, Shannon weaves through several central strategies that brands need to learn more about. He offers multiple metaphors that help listeners visualize the concepts he touches on. “We have limited time, money, and energy,” Shannon reminds us. The question is how to invest what we have. Shannon then talks a lot about what it is to give 100% of anything. “You don’t have to give something 100% of your time. You do have to give it 100% of the time it needs to be successful.” Amazon is no exception, he assures us. If you don’t have 100% of the time Amazon strategy requires, Shannon says, hold off. It isn’t worth it until you can give it what it needs. For brands who do already have the resources (or can outsource whatever talent isn’t in-house), giving Amazon its required 100% comes down to how many products you choose to focus on at once. This is where Shannon’s insights on the Amazon Flywheel and his own Amazon Trifecta come into play. Listen in to hear more detail in the full episode! Shannon gave an extraordinary interview that will be sure to leave you with more ideas than you can count. What to listen for: Listen in for the story of how Shannon started his own product 10 years ago. He actually created the product for himself, but then people started to ask, “can I get one?” The story of how he gained his expertise after that is a memorable one. Amazon strategy, Shannon tells us, is a “combination of knowing best practices and policy changes.” There’s no silver bullet because success on Amazon requires an ecosystem of strategies. Check out Shannon’s Complete Amazon Checklist to learn more. “Brands don’t know what they don’t know,” Shannon says, just like he learned when he started his own brand. The biggest hurdle today is how brands often piecemeal their knowledge together. No number of tips or information nuggets will create a solid foundation, and Shannon explains why. Brands can become their own advocates if they stay up to date on Amazon’s policies. That way, when a vendor or consultant does propose something that contradicts the newest policies, the brand doesn’t take on unnecessary risk. Shannon’s Free Amazon Masterclass is a great resource to get started. Shannon is also a big fan of email marketing and email customer service, so listen in to learn why. Customer retention is a natural part of the Amazon strategy he teaches, and it shows. Learn more from Shannon and get specific actions for your brand with his On-Demand Amazon Coaching. A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
32:46
November 14, 2021
15. Navigating the E-Commerce Technology Landscape with Derric Haynie, Chief Ecommerce Technologist at Ecommerce Tech
Derric Haynie is the Chief Ecommerce Technologist at Ecommercetech.io. He researches and discovers the right apps and software solutions for Shopify stores and brands selling elsewhere in e-commerce. Half of Derric’s day is spent in demos and the other half is spent consulting clients—and it shows! He joined the E-Commerce with Coffee?! podcast for a fascinating conversation about tech and app solutions in e-commerce. It all started when Derric grew his own e-com tech company and went through over 200 tool demos of other apps as he positioned his own. Today, especially after 2020 and its whirlwind implications to e-commerce, tech solutions are more important than ever. Yet, most of the tools out there for e-commerce brands either solve problems they don’t know they have or are redundant app-to-app. That’s where Derric comes in. He advises brands on which tools make sense considering all the unique factors in play. Some tools aren’t made for small brands, for example, and others are made exclusively for them! Still, other tools don’t work if you have over or under a certain sales volume, etc. Whatever the case for each brand, Derric and his team are there to advise. In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! Derric comes in with all his knowledge to talk about the fast-moving tech landscape. Listen in for his insights on what tools are changing e-commerce and what brands should do about it. What to listen for: Who would want to listen to demos for a living? Derric Haynie, that’s who. Derric spends half his day reviewing tools and the other half advising companies; listen in to hear the full story of how Derric got here. Getting buy-in from leadership on new tech solutions is much harder than it should be. Derric offers some wisdom on how to get that buy-in so your business can grow. What's in an effective demo? Derric spells that out in the interview. “You have to explain ‘here’s why this is important and here’s how it makes you money,’” Derric says. This answer is far more important than any app’s functionality. “There’s a lot of feature parity right now, so tech companies need to communicate their differentiation factor.” Price testing is one of the four “Ps” that Derric says too few brands are doing. Depending on how fast or slowly you want to move inventory, there are ideal times to either raise or lower price points. Derric muses, “everyone's forgetting that you can change your price!” “Somewhere between review, loyalty, and SMS [software solutions], most brands are missing at least one of those,” Derric observes. Consumers are moving even more into buying with their hearts, and the savviest brands are figuring that out fast. This requires greater transparency and a louder voice about the practices and values important to each brand. “Unique, individual brands selling unique, individual products,” Derric repeats. Listen to the full episode for additional tips, predictions, and more! A love letter from our sponsor: If you’re a brand listening and you can relate, don’t stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Sincerely, Amber Engine
35:34
October 31, 2021
14. Critical Steps to Launch a Brand on Amazon with Daniela Bolzmann, Founder of Mindful Goods
Daniela Anaviarte Bolzman, the CEO and founder of Mindful Goods, is a savvy Amazon brand strategist. She joins E-Commerce with Coffee?! this week to dig deep into what creative marketing can do to make products stand out and sell in the increasingly competitive market. Daniela has so much to offer in experience and knowledge that she even pooled some of her favorite resources (and a discount code for “launch ready listings”) on a landing page for E-Commerce with Coffee?! listeners. Daniela’s team at Mindful Goods connects consumers to brands in more engaging (and competitive) ways. Her creative troop comes up with truly ingenious ways to keep more eyes on clients' product pages while taking consumers on an unforgettable, immersive experience. Daniela spells out her three-step process and explains how she leads with that process on every consultation she gives. Even when brands choose not to work with her, they still walk away with the steps they need to take to build a brand presence on the world’s biggest e-marketplace. Listen to the full episode for yourself because it’s riddled with tips and engrossing factoids about branding on Amazon. You’ll come out with multiple action items and even more ideas—so buckle up! What to listen for: Listen in to learn how Daniela got where she is, professionally and geographically. Based out of Chicago, Daniela also spends significant time each year in Peru (a luxury she has thanks to working virtually). She was accidentally stranded there at the start of the pandemic, though, making for one fascinating story to start off the interview. Once Nate and Daniela start talking about Amazon listings, you’ll learn what Daniela’s amazing creative team does to optimize branding, visibility, and conversions. Her company, Mindful Goods, was even recognized recently for making “exemplary product pages” in an Amazon case study. Daniela explains how product listings optimization (through her or any other service) isn't just a starting point for brands, it’s also a reinvesting point. There are legacy brands with a longstanding presence on Amazon who are finding sales slip now as more competition enters the market. They’ve never had to optimize to stand out, but now, they’re in the same camp as brands that are just starting. Optimization is the name of the game. Daniela also talks about her process for what she calls a “mini-audit” where she looks at where a brand is with the three steps she applies for all her clients’ strategies. The process is the same for existing brands and those just entering e-commerce, though it’s applied differently. Listen to the full interview to learn how that mini-audit goes. This exceptional interview wraps with how to protect your brand, because even with the best Amazon strategy you should never just rely on Amazon. Listen to the full episode for more! A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
42:05
October 17, 2021
13. Branding Secrets to Stand Out In E-Commerce with Hannah Giro, Founder of PR Brand Marketing
In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! host Nate Svoboda talks to Hannah Giro. Hannah speaks about Amazon sellers, what makes them special, and why she loves to work with them through her company PR Brand Marketing. The interview kicks off with a discussion about the importance of branding on Amazon. Even though Amazon essentially owns the user experience and branding on the behemoth platform, what branding sellers can achieve produces benefits like the Amazon Halo Effect, or the boost of sales on products elsewhere because of the branding done on Amazon. Optimizations of all kinds on Amazon are rooted in doing the right kind of keyword research for Amazon, Hannah explains. This means knowing what tools to use—both on and off Amazon. One of Hannah’s favorite tools to educate Amazon sellers on is A+ content, which takes up a whole segment of the interview as she and Nate weave through related questions about using and improving it. Listen to the full interview for more of Hannah’s insights, including a recent client’s example of 3Xing their sales of lightbulbs. There’s an Amazon strategy for everyone and it’s Hannah’s job to put those strategies into action. What to listen for: Hannah has worked with many companies that didn’t even have their branding clearly defined, even after years in business. One of her favorite parts of working with these companies is the satisfaction she sees when they can step back at a finished branding guide and say, “this is us.” In the interview, she explains what branding today entails. Hannah and Nate also talk about the Amazon Halo Effect or the boost of sales on products you sell off of Amazon as a product of the SEO and branding you do on Amazon. With 66% of consumer product searches starting on the behemoth e-marketplace, the impact of a smart Amazon strategy can be far-reaching. The interview also touches on Hannah’s onboarding process with clients at her firm, PR Brand Marketing. Listen in to get the full scoop, but first, know this: it all starts with keyword research, but it has to be the right keyword research. Tons of keyword optimizing tips come out in this interview, like the importance of using your main keyword with the first 17 characters of product titles. There are also some important tools (on and off Amazon) sellers should use that Hannah hashes out for listeners. For example, email marketing will soon be possible for Amazon sellers to blast through the platform itself. In the meantime, A+ content gives brands a huge leg up in today’s more competitive e-commerce landscape. Listen in for how Hannah recommends brands make the most of A+ content and more. The longer people stay on a product page, the more likely it is they’ll add that product to their cart. That’s what all the strategies Hannah talks about in this interview ultimately lead to. She gives a great example of a lightbulb product page and how her client leveraged today’s visual and product data trends to 3X sales. A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
20:34
October 03, 2021
12. Launch vs. Grow, E-com vs. Other—Learn to Leverage Your Advantages with Dan Ben-Nun, CEO at ADSPACE
Dan Ben-Nun, founder and CEO at AdSpace and founder of the popular e-commerce brand Inkkas, joined E-Commerce with Coffee?! host Nate Svoboda for an unforgettable conversation about historic trends and new requirements of direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce. Dan got into DTC when everything was new: Shopify, Facebook ads, influencer advertising, and even Kickstarter. He came in at the ground floor of the technologies that reshaped commerce forever. Dan started so early on Facebook ads, in fact, that the behemoth social network wrote a case study about his brand. All this experience early on in the DTC revolution shaped Dan, too, and the way he thought about scaling an e-commerce business. He took all the lessons he learned and developed a methodology that, since then, has been applied to hundreds of successful e-commerce brands. Dan’s methodology is based on five pillars: Product-market fit Customer acquisition Lifecycle marketing Reporting and analytics Website experience When this interview arrives at the topic of market saturation (and brands that are lightyears ahead in e-commerce), Dan insists that there’s never a start or end date to starting a new business model. Even brands just looking to e-commerce can be successful, he says, they’ll just have different strategies than those that existing brands used. The interview wraps with talks about successful ad strategies, especially what video ads gained Inkkas in recent months. Listen to the full episode to hear what Dan has to say on the topic and everything else he covers in this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! What to listen for: Dan has been around direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce for about 15 years, and for almost 10 of those he’s been building brands. The first was Inkkas, his e-commerce footwear brand inspired by native cultures of the world. And with its explosive success, Dan went to work for other brands as a strategic growth marketer. Listen to the full interview for the origin story of Inkkas, which is sure to captivate. Dan then gets into the five pillars of e-commerce, according to the model he built for brands after his own success with Inkkas. Listen in to learn what the pillars are and how to optimize each. “Whether you have a wholesale business, retail business, or e-commerce business,” Dan assures us, “there are some universal, foundational methods that position you for success.” Later in the interview, Dan dives deep into marketing channels. He talks about the gap between brands that are already established in e-commerce versus those just coming to market. There are ways to get your footing and Dan explains what some of them are. “Creative [content] is now the most important advertising asset,” Dan explains. Today’s video trends include things like the quirkiest videos getting greater engagement. The first two seconds of an ad video, Dan says, must break the zombie-like scroll action. Then, the rest of the video has to deliver real value to make the scroll-stop technique seem worth it to consumers. A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
37:04
September 19, 2021
11. Building a Brand on Amazon - Then and Now with Liran Hirschkorn, CEO at Incrementum Digital
Liran Hirschkorn joins E-Commerce with Coffee?! for what is one of the most informative looks at Amazon we’ve heard yet on the show. Liran’s own experience growing brands and consulting hundreds more at Incrementum Digital has given him a wealth of insights into the “then” and “now” of Amazon, and curious insights into the future. This interview covers multiple unbeatable topics, especially for brands just getting started on Amazon, like: What did these 15 months of pandemic mean for the supply chain and for niche saturation for Amazon sellers? What have recent changes to the Amazon platform meant for sellers, new and old? How can a brand learn to “fail fast and fail forward” on the platform while coming out stronger for it? Liran gives detailed answers to these questions and more. Listen to the full episode for all his insights, examples, and insider tips. What to listen for: Liran got his start in wholesale modeling and quickly grew a successful Amazon brand and private label. Listen in to learn how he got there. Amazon ads have gotten more complicated over the last few years, which is right when Liran started helping other brands learn ad strategies to get a solid footing on the platform. Thus, Incrementum Digital was born. Liran has also seen some major changes for Amazon sellers in the last few years. For example, bigger organizations are acquiring successful Amazon brands to create mega-competitive conglomerate brands. The Amazon platform itself has changed, too. For example, incentivized reviews (which were once an easy way to gain many early reviews) were done away with. Listen to what Liran says this means for sellers today. In some niches, “you have to lose money for a set time until you can get enough reviews,” Liran explains. New sellers should consider how deep their pockets are when entering into a niche that already has big players. Liran also talks about some of the hurdles for new brands selling on Amazon. Products can get taken down, and competition is stiff. This fuels the love-hate relationship many sellers have with the platform, because ultimately, the opportunity to reach Amazon consumers is still too great to pass up. Liran talks about SOPs you can develop to be prepared for this. “The opportunity is greater than the headache,” he assures us. “Once you launch a product, within 12 months you’ll know if it has real demand,” Liran explains. What’s more, if you feel like you’re “fighting an uphill battle within the first two months from launch,” he adds, that’s an important sign that your Amazon strategy or product isn’t working. The first month is the most important for the Amazon algorithm's take on your brand. Listen in to what Liran says you can do about it. Amazon actually likes new brands and products to challenge existing brands, and Liran explains why in simple terms. He concludes, “if you're not converting early on, it's not a traffic problem.” A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
46:34
September 05, 2021
10. Amazon Strategy and “Products with Potential” with Christian Kelm, VP Product at Amalyze
Summary In this episode of E-commerce with Coffee?! we talk to Christian Kelm, VP Product at AMALYZE. This analytics software firm focuses on multi-layered insights into Amazon search terms and consumer behavior, and Christian’s passion on these topics cannot be overstated. The interview opens, in fact, with host Nate Svoboda’s usual question about caffeine. Christian answers with a quick smile, then launches into a deeply thought out reply about exactly what energy supplements work best for his brain. Based on Christian’s energy throughout the episode, it’s clear he’s hacked the balance that works stupendously for him. From there, Nate and Christian dig into Amazon SERP analytics and competitor research, and Christian’s input on every point is meticulous. He covers many topics, including: Revenue-driving keywords Extracting opportunities from market trends Extracting opportunities from “missing variations” Portfolios of products SERP volatility Competition research Negative keyword research Adjusting strategy Listen to the full episode of E-commerce with Coffee?! for all of Christian’s insights! What to listen for: Christian definitely has his own two cents on caffeine, energy drinks, and Vitamin B12. Listen to how he’s leveraged these in business and life in general. Christian also talks about the power of targeting revenue-driving keywords instead of search-volume-only keyword SERPs. This kind of insight is what AMALYZE provides, and marks a turning point in the possibilities in SEO strategy. Search volume alone doesn’t give brands insights into relevance or potential, Christian explains. The “movers and shakers” understand their clients in a deeper way, and Christian explains how. Christian talks about going with market trends versus looking for opportunities where a product variation is “missing.” Both have their advantages, and both can be done successfully—if done right. SERP site volatility refers to how frequently top-ranking results change for the keywords you want to rank for. Based on that volatility, Christian explains, you can prioritize which opportunities to move on first (because you can't move on everything all at once). Competition research is good for more than just SERPs, too. For example, you can use it for “negative keyword research” to determine what you're NOT (so you don't waste resources optimizing for those terms or irrelevant synonyms of your target keywords). “What I like to look at is customer behavior and changes in customer behavior,” Christian says. He then talks about brand analytics that go beyond just what the consumer is looking for—instead, it’s important to weigh that against what consumers are buying at the end. “You can only adjust your strategy when you have one,” Christian points out. And if you just copy what your competitors do, or what your coach does, you’ll only get results as good as your competitors or coach. To get your own results, you will need your own strategy. A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening, and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
46:29
August 22, 2021
09. DTC Customer Acquisition with Steve Dinelli, Chief Digital Officer at Barrington Media Group
Steve Dinelli, Chief Digital Officer at Barrington Media Group, joins this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! to talk about the direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-com world. Steve first tells the story of his own surprising trajectory, from starting a customer acquisition firm out of his garage to later arriving at Barrington Media Group with years of high-profile work (and success) to speak to. The journey taught him many lessons, and over the interview, Steve points to multiple topics where he feels differently now than he did just a few years ago. The DTC landscape is changing. The cost of customer acquisition has gone consistently up for more than half a decade, and now Steve says there’s no sign of it stopping. The barrier of entry to DTC is now so low, Steve explains, that even teenagers are starting Shopify storefronts and seeing success. The booming competition is what has driven prices up. Steve explains how hitting the right notes with your target customers only looks simple from the outside. Even the most tangible results are powered by some of the most agile and market-conscientious strategies behind them. Listen to this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! to hear about these key DTC strategies for yourself. What to listen for: Steve tells a fascinating story of how he got into digital marketing and customer acquisition as a “for fun” project on the side, and how it quickly snowballed. Steve’s story is like so many others in digital marketing today because many of the roles the pros have didn’t even exist five years ago. Steve then gets into how much lower the barrier of entry is today for online brands. Even teenagers, he says, are getting in on Shopify dropshipping. The lower barrier of entry has come with higher barriers (i.e., more competition and bigger investments) to acquire customers. “I’ve seen things over the last five or six years become a lot harder for DTC brands,” he says. The success of other DTC brands seems so tangible to the brands looking in that success in e-commerce seems more easily attainable than it is. With more competition now than ever, Steve breaks down what brands need for their own e-commerce success. Steve’s also learned a lot recently about the offline world that fascinates him, like with direct mail. Listen to the episode to hear what Steve says about paper types, envelopes, and other must-consider details that shape how prospects receive a message. Steve also has his own two cents on working with marketing agencies who “do it all” versus single-silo experts. He’s had his own evolution in recent years on which he prefers. DTC brands need to “start on Facebook and Google,” Steve says. “Get traffic and see if your product is going to work.” Then (and only then) is it time to look at other paid customer acquisition channels and strategies. Knowing where your customers come from is the most important part of customer acquisition, Steve explains. Listen to the full episode to hear what he has to add about Google versus Facebook. A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
37:10
August 08, 2021
08. The Scaling System Every E-Commerce Brand Needs with Chase Clymer, Co-Founder of Electric Eye Agency
In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!, host Nate Svoboda interviews Chase Clymer of Electric Eye. The digital marketing master has worked from his unlikely origins in a rock band to the head of a marketing agency as a product of his insatiable desire to learn new strategies and optimizations for product-based businesses. Perhaps a dash of nerdiness has helped, too. Indeed, the very name Electric Eye comes from a beloved metal song—but don’t let that fool you, because Chase is the kind of guy you’d love to get a beer with but he also knows how to get down to business. In this episode of the podcast, Chase talks through the principal benefits of using Shopify for product-based businesses. He also talks about his “Brand Scaling Framework,” which can be managed by his team at Electric Eye or by anyone else if applied correctly. The result? Month-over-month growth of all the metrics that matter, equating to a fatter bottom line. Listen in for all of Chase’s insights on this episode of the podcast! What to listen for: Chase first got into his marketing career as a freelancer, simultaneously helping a pal of his who was skilled but not as savvy on the business side of things. Chase helped him and, as a result, grew. Before they knew it, the two friends had started an agency together. “True service marketing is a whole different monster,” Chase points out as he talks about new trends on the horizon. Listen in for Chase’s insights on this trend and how to keep up with trends in general. “Our goals in the business keep evolving,” Chase says. This is the nature of digital marketing, because change happens so fast. With new technology comes new possibilities (and new KPIs for his clients). “Once you find a strategy that works, double down on it,” Chase says. Listen in to him explain why one funnel that works beautifully is so much better than 12 funnels that sort of work. “Product-market fit” is the hardest part of launching a business, Chase says. He then breaks this down in hugely relatable terms. “Just put blinders on until you have this figured out,” he says. “Until then, the rest is just noise.” Chase then digs into why he recommends Shopify over other platforms. He does point out, “the further you get away from the DTC model, the less Shopify makes sense for you.” Digging into which platform is right for what business is another question Chase dives deep into in the interview. A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
35:24
July 26, 2021
07. The Future of E-commerce Content with Emily Ferguson, Director of E-Commerce at Marie Claire
In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! Emily Ferguson—the Director of E-Commerce at Marie Claire—joins host Nate Svoboda for an in-depth look at e-commerce content, tech, and ROI.  The interview bounces around each of these key pillars of e-commerce because Emily, herself, has a hand in all of it. Situated physically and figuratively between advertising, design, and branding and even the account managers at Marie Claire, Emily develops new products for the brand and is given the autonomy to do whatever it takes to polish and promote the company’s delivery of its chic personality. Emily’s autonomy and big decision-making came after a powerhouse career where she built her own brands. Emily actually started off in the fast-paced trading sector of banking, but fashion and e-commerce drew her in like a moth to a flame. With passion and perseverance, Emily has learned a LOT about e-commerce since jumping in.  Now, all you have to do to gain some top insights Emily enjoys is listen to this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! What to listen for:  Emily tells a fascinating story about how she went from the banking world to e-commerce. And if she was able to translate the skills of the fast-paced trading world to the fast-paced world of e-com, there’s a secret sauce that can help you, too. Emily even talks about being a little naïve when she got into e-com. There are a lot of gurus that make it sound easy. With perseverance and some great ideas, however, she made her dream come true. Building relationships is a big part of success in e-commerce, and Emily found that side of things natural. She did find the tech side of things to be harder, though, and if you listen in you can build off of what she learned. “You learn more in five minutes in your own business than you do in five years working for a company,” Emily jokes. But only sort of—then, she explains why. Emily occupies a fascinating role at Marie Claire at the intersection of multiple departments in the development of new products. Listen to the interview to hear just how she lays out what areas of the business she touches. Emily’s number-one goal on any given day at Marie Claire is for new products to “do well.” Her motivations are made clear throughout the interview as she talks about some of her early products. Talking about e-commerce “then” and “now,” Emily says, “back then we were all trying to play the SEO game, which was pretty much impossible unless you were one of the big players. Now we have the most opportunity we've ever had for people to build brands online.” Emily also talks about the key partnerships that e-commerce brands need to support today’s most competitive strategies. She also makes the point that your best “partner” will always be yourself. “Don't be afraid to make mistakes in your career,” Emily says. “The trick is to carry on.” Emily also talks about how to make a recognizable brand. Listen to the pinpoint focus she has in making brand decisions that render brands instantly “stickier.” A love letter from our sponsor:  If you're a brand listening and can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
21:03
July 11, 2021
06. Stronger E-commerce SEO for Today and Tomorrow with Barb Davids, Owner of Compass Digital Strategies
Barb Davids joins E-Commerce with Coffee?! to talk about the power of SEO now and how to prepare for the future. Just like Google changes its algorithm all the time, user behavior changes continually. With this growing tech and shifting paradigm, search optimizations are continually changing, too. To get found and make the most of your content and product data, Barb dives into topics like the different product attributes on different sales channels, SEO advantages small and medium businesses have over the big dogs, tangential content, and more. The biggest gap in SEO strategy and brands’ desired end results, Barb says, is when product listings don’t have their product data optimized (or even filled out completely). She then talks about this missed opportunity and others like it. Brands listening in can easily avoid these mistakes. Finally, Barb dives into the last 15 months since the start of the pandemic and what it’s all meant for e-commerce. She even leaves E-Commerce with Coffee?! listeners with special SEO strategy resources on her website! What to listen for:  If you sell your products on different platforms including Amazon, Wayfair, and others, your wording probably changes a little platform-to-platform. (Or, at least, it should.) Different platforms will have different product attributes to fill out. That said, the core of SEO strategy is the same across platforms, and Barb explains why. Start with each platform’s “Help” information to learn how to best utilize the system. You can also look for online communities of other business owners selling there. This kind of proactive learning is a key strategy, and Barb discusses the benefits. With all the product pages, content, social profiles and more your brand has online, learn how to prioritize which pages to rank. “Tangential content” is also worth learning about, and Barb gives you a quick 101 of what it is and how it’s beneficial.  Savvy keyword research is a big part of how small and medium-sized brands compete with the big dogs. After all, there’s a finite number of search terms to compete on. Barb walks through how this is done. Barb also talks about the advantages smaller organizations have over the big guys in branding and even SEO.  Competitors in SEO aren’t just the other brands that sell what you sell. They’re also the other entities that compete with the search terms you want to rank for, whatever their reason. Listen to Barb’s take on how to manage this. Email marketing might be the “dinosaur” of the digital marketing world, but it’s still an important piece of the marketing puzzle. It has, however, changed. Barb talks this over. Barb then goes into what's changed—and surprised her—the most in e-commerce in the last 12 months. The biggest gap in digital marketing for e-commerce is when products don’t have optimized product data, or are missing field data altogether. Barb explains what that means to Google. Barb also put together some resources just for the listeners of E-Commerce with Coffee?! Check them out here on the Compass Digital Strategies website.  A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
19:46
June 27, 2021
05. The Value of Transparency in E-Commerce with Sean Kopen, President and Founder of Cinder Inc.
Today’s consumer expectations include near-instant replies on multiple channels, greater accessibility, and a more immersive shopping experience. A big part of this rising trend seems to be the tech that makes it possible, from chat apps to social media. Did consumers start to expect instant replies on chat, messengers, and text because of the new apps they have? Or did the apps come to exist as a response to consumers’ rising expectations? Sean Kopen, the President and Founder of Cinder Inc., joins E-Commerce with Coffee?! to talk about this and more. Sean also provides a deep look into brand transparency and how it meets today’s consumer expectations in important ways. Transparency can be a game-changer when applied internally from the top down, and Sean explains why. Finally, Sean digs into new tech integrations into e-commerce processes and how to choose the right solutions for each need. From “opportunity analysis” to getting stakeholders fully on board, it’s all in this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! What to listen for: Increasing transparency can seem like a business “risk” in some contexts because brands want to protect themselves; Sean talks about how acting on behalf of the consumer is a good investment Getting stakeholders on board with new levels of transparency is hard, but it's the best long-term strategy, especially in the context of e-commerce where consumers easily navigate to the competition Sean also talks about what transparency has to do with the brand and product accessibility Sean then discusses the equation to decide what tech solutions to integrate into e-commerce management Listen to Sean touch on one of the biggest things an organization needs in order to shift to e-commerce: internal champions who can face the inevitable challenges Transparency is important internally, too, especially when pitching opportunities for tech solutions that phase out archaic legacy processes Sean dives into how to make some of the hard decisions, especially when organizations face analysis paralysis The terms of a contract with any new tech solution are one of Sean's talking points, in the context of today's e-commerce agility needs In talking about consumer expectations, Sean has some great insights on online chat, too Many brands are missing opportunities in the “post-purchase” customer experience, and Sean talks about what those brands can do A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
35:54
June 20, 2021
04. Today and Tomorrow in E-commerce Marketing with Ben Zettler from Ben Zettler Digital Media
In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! we interview Ben Zettler of Ben Zettler Digital Media. Listen to the episode to hear about his start in managing the online presence of professional athletes, and how he then moved to digital consultation and e-commerce for brands on Shopify. The expertise Ben acquired from all this hyper-niche experience informed everything he’s done since then—and that’s been a lot. Since starting his own e-commerce consultation firm, Ben has worked with hundreds of brands selling on Shopify. He’s worked with established companies who are just migrating from another e-com platform to Shopify, and he’s also helped build brands from the ground up. Some of the topics Ben touches on in this episode include marketing channels, dropshipping, and the KPIs a brand on Shopify really needs to know. Ben has some interesting advice on market saturation, too. This, mind you, is coming from a guy who successfully started and sold his first online sunglasses brand in just a few short years. This episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! covers a lot of ground for the brands interested in ramping up their online strategy with Shopify. Hear what Ben has to say! What to listen for: Ben's preferred hot beverage is tea, not coffee—that still has caffeine, right? Ben also talks about the evolution of Shopify from when he opened his store (number 41,000 on the platform, compared with the 2 million storefronts there now) Social selling is something Ben talks a lot about, namely the shift from idle scrolling to “discovery shopping” Ben then explains the marketing channels you “own” and how they're more relevant today than ever According to Ben, the name of the game in marketing these days is to get users interested enough in what you're saying that they'll opt-in 99% of the brands Ben works are on or moving over to Shopify, which gives him extraordinary insights into best practices on the platform Ben also talks about “overthinking” the saturation of your market—because it doesn't necessarily happen that way (and Ben explains why) There was a recent craze for dropshipping businesses, but Ben has seen why this doesn't work—listen to how he talks about getting behind unique products instead Unless you're getting 20% or more of your sales from email and text marketing, Ben talks about the opportunity that your brand is missing A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
44:34
June 13, 2021
03. B2B Ecommerce: Real ROI and why the time is now with Brian Beck, Managing Partner at Enceiba
In this episode of E-commerce with Coffee?! we talk to Brian Beck, E-Commerce Expert Advisor and the author of Billion Dollar B2B Ecommerce. The B2B world hasn’t gotten as much press this last year as B2C, but it’s seen just as many changes (maybe more). In this interview, Brian brings us a fascinating analysis of what that means. Brian covers multiple B2B-specific topics, including: Key differences in B2B vs. B2C Surprising similarities in B2B and B2C Top KPIs for B2B e-commerce Amazon Business (and major upcoming changes) “Channel conflict” “Too often I hear manufacturers using ‘channel conflict’ as a reason not to engage [in e-commerce],” Brian says, “and...that's a losing strategy.” Brian offers case study after case study of what brands and manufacturers are doing successfully and not-so-successfully in B2B. Then, Brian digs deep into Amazon’s strategy, talking about everything from 1P vs. 3P sellers to the rich possibilities for brands with more visual-audio-rich product information. Listen to hear these tips and more in this episode of E-commerce with Coffee?! What to listen for: Listen up for how Brian describes caffeine! Brian also reminisces about the e-commerce scene in the ‘90s when he got started Next, Brian talks about recent shifts in B2B and how they’re similar but different from the B2C consumer expectations When Brian talks about KPIs in B2B e-commerce, he has some exceptional insights on what changes certain metrics like conversion rates in the B2B world compared with B2C Brian also talks about “channel conflict,” an ever-changing challenge business face in today’s multichannel world Amazon Business has become the fastest-growing part of Amazon’s distribution, so the monster platform is already in the B2B world; Brian talks about what that means for brands 70% of brands don’t even know all the sellers selling their products on Amazon, and Brian talks about how brands can take more strategic control Brand loyalty has been “turned on its head,” Brian says, and you can hear what COVID-19 has to do with it Brian also describes meeting new consumer expectations (especially the B2B industry) as “existential,” and his rationale is fascinating One of the best parts of this interview is all the real examples Brian gives—listen for yourself to hear them all! A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
39:13
June 06, 2021
02. How to make it in today's e-commerce world with Jim Loden, VP of Sales at Petra Industries
In this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! we talk to Jim Loden, Vice President of Sales at Petra Industries. Petra is a wholesale distributor that partners with omnichannel and e-commerce brands to supercharge their presence online. Jim rolls into this episode with a wealth of experience to back him up. He’s been around the block for sure, and has spearheaded major strategic shifts at Petra (and for the clients they serve). On E-Commerce with Coffee?! Jim starts off by talking about what’s at stake for brands in e-commerce. “If you choose not to participate in the e-commerce world,” he says, “you’re not going to make it.” He makes one heck of a case to back that up. Jim also talks about key partnerships, without which your brand’s profit margins seriously erode. Every channel (from Amazon to Home Depot) has different requirements for brands selling their products there, and it’s the strategic relationships that help you navigate those waters.
49:52
May 25, 2021
01. Inaugural Episode with Eddie Porrello, Director of Product Management at Amber Engine
In this inaugural episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?! we talk to our very own Eddie Porrello, Director of Production Management at Amber Engine. He hit the tech scene when Twitter was new (wow), and here he tells the story about how he wound his way to Amber Engine and PIM technology. Of course, Eddie's passionate about e-commerce, starting with his verdant days in ads and marketing for online brands. With experience in the commodity market after that, Eddie got deep into the algorithms and strategies behind e-commerce. That's what later pointed him to the software development world. With that backdrop, Eddie talks about the changes that have popped up in e-commerce more recently and those that are yet to come. Don't miss out! Give the whole episode a listen. What to listen for: Eddie worked for a firm with 30 million SKUs sold across 60-70 different channels, hear what that was like Eddie also has an interesting relationship with caffeine he wasn't shy to share! As a consumer, Eddie hasn't stepped foot in a grocery store for over a year thanks to the ease of delivery services, and he believes this model is more important than most realize PIM technology "then and now" is broken down in this episode, too Learn about the key "chapters" of market shifts Eddie defines Brand "personality" is also discussed as the most valuable asset brands have today A love letter from our sponsor: If you're a brand listening, and you can relate, don't stop here! Visit the Amber Engine blog for more tips, strategies, and insights to sell more online. We love e-commerce, and our product information software (PIM) and data enrichment strategies simplify and speed up your rollout to Amazon and other marketplaces. Our clients launch in weeks instead of months, eliminate the guesswork, and enable interdepartmental collaboration to drive a winning presence online. Stay awesome, Amber Engine
23:43
April 27, 2021