Post Q4: How to keep growing after the holidays⎜ TurnKey Product Management ⎜ EP 193
Ryan Cramer: What's up, everyone? Welcome to my corner of the internet, I'm your host, Ryan Cramer. And this is Crossover Commerce, presented by PingPong Payments, the leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard- earned money. Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Crossover Commerce. I'm your host Ryan Cramer. And this is my corner of the internet, where I bring the best and brightest Amazon and e- commerce experts, ranging from any topic from Amazon listings, to logistics, to marketing and advertising and beyond. We're going to cover that in this space of what I like to call a podcast, but if you're watching us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter, thank you for tuning in today live, feel free to ask your questions in the comments section below. If you have anything for myself or for our guests or about the topic we're covering, or if you're listening to us in the future, thank you for tuning in, in your favorite podcast listening destination, just give us a thumbs up, a rating, whatever they are prompting you to do for the episode or the podcast, always appreciate a validation, if you will. Some of us just like that arbitrary five stars, four stars, just like on Amazon, we need that to be successful so that we can get the word out to people. But that being said, just before we get into the meat of the episode, if you will, I just want to give a quick shout out to our presenting sponsor, PingPong Payments. PingPong Payments, you might have heard of it before, if you haven't and this is your first time, I'm glad you asked, what is PingPong Payments? Well, we are a service provider that helps people save time, money, and effort, all great things you want to do when it comes to doing business. How do you do that? Well, if you sign up for free today, you can actually sign for a PingPonging account, when you make payments to international entities, so that means paying your suppliers or manufacturers, paying your VAs, paying out your services that you might have if you're in different country for your subscriptions, all could be done through PingPong Payments. And if you're selling in multiple different marketplaces, you need somewhere to keep that money all in one spot. Safely, securely, and trustworthy, all things that you get with PingPong Payments. So you can do that today for free, by going to usa. PingPongx. com/... it just looks like this if you're looking at the camera. What's a forward slash? The forward slash, for the people who are out there, forward slash podcast. I had to even look at my own landing page, but it's forward slash podcast, if you will. That's where you'll get all of our past episodes, all 192, leading up to episode 193. Speaking of 193, we're talking about... Again, we're getting closer to 200 and that magical number, I just shared up our schedule, so we're going to hit there next Thursday. So if you're listening to this, watching us live, next Thursday's going to be our magical 200 episode. We're going to have lots of past guests talking about what we learned from 2021 going into 2022 and what that looks like moving forward. So stay tuned for surprise guests, we might be teasing for that. So be making sure that you keep an eye out for that. But that being said, we're focused on episode 193, baby steps to get there. But speaking of baby steps, lots of brands are not taking those kinds of steps today when it comes to Q4. There's no guardrails, this is the time to shine, this is when you put all your eggs in your basket to really stand out and build and grow your businesses. That being said, how do you use this time of year, this past three months to launch yourself into the following year, again, into Q1, Q2, making sure that you're going to continue to grow that business or you might want to expand if it's a different workplace. How do you take the learnings from this year and apply it to next year? So on and so forth. With that being said, we wanted to call our episode Learnings From Q4, and obviously, growing into the next year by elevating and launching those kinds of solutions. So I feel like I always bring her on in this time. Last year we talked about Q4, but I brought back friend of the show, Jenna Lieber of Turnkey Product Management. And we're going to be talking about how to use the learnings from this year compared to last year. And obviously launching brands into 2022 is what we're really talking about. So that being said, I want to welcome onto the podcast Jenna Lieber back to the podcast. Jenna Lieber of Turnkey Product Management. Jenna, thanks for coming back today. We were talking pre- show, this is the first podcast you've done guest wise in six months. That's crazy.
Jenna Lieber: Yeah, it's been a really busy time for sure. I haven't been on a podcast, so everyone be nice. But I'm glad to be back and talking as we wrap up quarter four and talking about 2022.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, last time we had you on, we were talking about what to expect from 2020 going into 2021. I feel like I should have re- watched that episode or listened to it again and just thought about what we said before and see if that applied to today, but c'est la vie, if you will. What's been new since we last talked in the past year? You said not for lack of... that you haven't wanted to be on podcast, which I'm honored that you said yes to me. But why haven't you been on? I'm assuming it's just because you guys are just so busy as an agency, is that correct?
Jenna Lieber: Yeah, it's definitely a really busy time. It was definitely, probably one of the most interesting quarter fours I've been part of over at Turnkey. What I think made it different is there were a lot of different marketing opportunities that our brands were able to be a part of, something that in the years prior wasn't really an option. And I want to say, we probably started prepping for quarter four maybe in July or August. So it's just been a hectic time getting those things in place. I want to say lightning deals had to be submitted by August or something to be eligible for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. So it's been a crazy time, and we you've been thinking quarter four probably since the start of quarter three. So we're finally wrapping it up here, but definitely an interesting quarter four to say the least.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Well, you've said the team's growing, there's a lot of different happenings with you guys trying to figure out where Amazon is and how to get your clients to meet them where Amazon wants to go, obviously. I know pre- show you talked about this, as I see a bunch of Amazon trucks rolling by my house window. It's almost like it's on instant, always happens without question. So that being said, what's been the major growth factor for you guys as a team? And how are you educating people of, " Hey, we're seeing this too"? I'm assuming lots of other people are growing in this capacity, but you guys specifically are growing in what areas?
Jenna Lieber: I would say that as far as our growth over at Turnkey, it goes hand in hand with the growth of Amazon. As Amazon changes sellers and brands, they have to change as well. So that's when bringing on an expert like our team really comes in handy. As our team grows, we're able to get even more Amazon information than when we were smaller. So it's one of those things that as Amazon grows, as the platform grows, as brands grow on Amazon, as the team we grow as well, which is obviously very beneficial.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. And then that growth is in the ways of, obviously, different teams and whatnot. I guess recapping real quickly for you guys, so you're a full service agency, but you operate in a couple different consulting areas, whether it's education, how to sell on Amazon, brands that maybe are D2C that want to get on Amazon in that capacity. What has been a surprising either client onboarding or people asking questions in the last year for you personally? Has it been a big time brand that they think they understand Amazon, but they truly don't, it's just completely different? What has been the most surprising conversation that you've had or conversations they've had in the last year?
Jenna Lieber: Yeah. I think you and I touched on it a little bit before we hopped on here. I would say the most surprising thing is, a lot of people are still under this impression that Amazon is this get- rich- quick kind of scheme. I think that's further from the truth at this point. I think we've had to have a lot of tough conversations with people that you can't just throw a listing up there and expect it to do well. Unfortunately, the way Amazon's going, it's critical to have different things under your disposal, you need to have an audience, you need to have an email list, a Facebook audience, whatever it might be, whatever you're comfortable with, it's critical in order to be successful on Amazon. Now, can you be successful without those things? Possibly. At this point, I'm going with possibly because it's very hard. It's so competitive on Amazon. There's people coming onto the market every single day. So audiences are probably the most important part of Amazon at this point, in our opinion. And I think that's what's been the trend as we close out 2021, is people have these great ideas, and obviously they're suffering with like the supply chain issues we're having and things like that. But as you're going through those supply chain issues, work to get that audience, work to grow a Facebook group, or work to have that email list put together, because to be successful Amazon, to launch successfully, that audience is going to matter.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Well, a lot of people are looking at, " How do I... " Again, you take away a lot of the different things that, for the longest time, people would say, "It used to be really easy to throw it up on and launch new products." Again, I think that specific area has become more of a narrow focus of, now it's becoming a little bit more clear on Amazon what they are going to suggest people do. Again, it's you either launching within their own programs of Launchpad, new brands are coming out, but for their own products, they're rolling out these new things of follow brands on Amazon to be notified of new product launches and whatnot to be for push notifications. It's all controlled by Amazon and in their own ecosystem. So instead of obviously the external search find buy, coupon rebates, so on and so forth, cash back, whatever you want to call it in terms of driving traffic. Amazon calls it manipulation. Again, it's definition from different people. So let's just call it what Amazon says, manipulation of rank. Is it becoming more clear that Amazon wants more brands to establish themselves as an entity of, " Hey, we are XYZ brand. We sell these products. And if we're going to launch new products, it's going to be with paid ads and it's going to be with outside, external traffic coming in in appropriate ways through influencers, through social media interest, so and so forth. Is that what you're looking at and thinking?
Jenna Lieber: Absolutely. I would say that Amazon is focusing on the focusing on the brand now, they want people to be aware that, yes, obviously, you are on Amazon, you are purchasing on Amazon, but you're also purchasing from brands. I'm sure a lot of people have seen this where they're like, " Oh my gosh, don't give Amazon your money. Shop small." But the reality is, when you are on Amazon, you are most likely shopping, small, you are shopping from smaller brands. Smaller brands dominate Amazon, I would say.
Ryan Cramer: That's right, 66% or so. Yeah, 70%.
Jenna Lieber: Yeah, absolutely. So I think what Amazon's trying to do is get away from that stigma of like, " Oh, you're giving money to the machine," or whatever it is. But if you give attention to these brands, they're going to be able to separate from that. And I think that's part of their goal. But I would say, this is something, our team, we've been preaching this for years. You can't just throw a product up with no branding, with no consistency, you can't just have random products that don't go together. The brands are going to dominate on Amazon, and Amazon is giving people the tools to do it. But again, you need to know what those tools are. You need to know what Amazon's giving you and take advantage of it, is definitely the key.
Ryan Cramer: Right, they're rolling out their own tools and resources, even longer data that helps people understand the search functionality, just trends in general, very helpful. But again, is it enough? Is it going to perpetuate and continue to grow that section? We'll see. I won't speak for Amazon, even though I like to think I do. That being said, Q4, we're not done yet. As of today, when we're recording. Gosh. I look at the calendar... Gosh, I want to say September God, my mind's in September, everyone. We're in December, December 7th. So 12/7, gosh, what's that? 20? Well, I can't even do math. I'm going to say less than 20 days left until Christmas. So we're on the less than three weeks mark. What have we learned thus far about the Q4 model of e- commerce on Amazon in 2021 compared to 2020, last year? where are the biggest differences that you guys have noticed when running or operating those brands?
Jenna Lieber: Definitely. I would say Amazon gave a lot of really cool opportunities this year. I heard you mention Launchpad earlier, we have a few brands that are associated with them. All I can say is if you can get a part of Launchpad, do it, because Launchpad made the biggest difference for our clients that were a part of it. They were able to be a part of gift guides. They were a part of these really awesome opportunities that are totally worth the percentages and things that they have to offer. Now, obviously, I know Launchpad fees are always changing, so I definitely don't want to speak to that. But I would say Launchpad made a huge difference this quarter four for our brands that were a part of it. But even if you weren't a part of the Launchpad, there were other opportunities too, that were really great Prime Exclusive Discount, those dominated for our clients. The reason why is, when you do a Prime Exclusive Discount during things like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and then also Prime Day for those... I know that's way ahead, but before you know it, it'll be here probably. But when you do Prime Exclusive Discounts during those special times, Amazon will actually give you like a special little box that will say Black Friday deal or Cyber Monday deal. It's really great in the search results, it's awesome. So for those of you that want to make a list of, " Okay, what did I do? What should I do next year?" Prime Exclusive Discounts, that's totally the go to. We tested it on 10s of brands and it kicked butt for all of them. So that's one thing I would do. I know a few of our brands, they paired a Prime Exclusive Discount with a coupon clipping. That's if you want to be extra, if I'm just being honest, because Prime Exclusive for those of you that don't know, it's a strike through pricing. So let's say you want to give like$ 30 off, what it'll do is it'll take your current price, knock$ 30 off, and then do a strike through pricing. Going to look similar to more of an MSRP model, but it converts so well because it's in the search results. And then again, you have that little box that says Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And then if you do a coupon clipping on top of that, you have another box saying like 5% off. Now, a lot of people don't want to give 25% off, so that's okay. I would say go with the Prime Exclusive Discount, personally would be my vote.
Ryan Cramer: So this would be MSRP strike through. It's a retail price, and then the retail price is now becoming a sales price on that exclusive, correct?
Jenna Lieber: Mm- hmm(affirmative). Exactly, yeah.
Ryan Cramer: Normally, manufacturer pricing, you see it all the time on the call now, or the 1- 800s as- seen- on- TV ads of, " It used to be this, but it's actually this," and you slash through. And again, bringing down to a point of being profitable at the end of the day. I know you said your clients who do that, is it apparent that that happened a lot here, or do you think that a lot of brands held back? And I say that because of inventory fears, I think a lot more people and brands, they held onto their inventory for dear life and they were just we're going to roll with maybe not as much of a discount as we might have in the past, and just really pumping into PBC or maybe pumping into a coupon or a little bit less of a deal that they would normally give, just because they don't want to lose out on the inventory, which would, as you already know, torpedo where you're staying, you can't sell anymore for Q4. It just creates a lot more headaches down the road instead of sales breath this moment in time. Is that where you think you've seen a lot more of?
Jenna Lieber: Yeah, that's a great question. Obviously, even if you have the inventory, a lot of people couldn't send it in, because Amazon had very stripped inventory rules this quarter four, which was very unfortunate. So what I would say is, we definitely had a few brands that had a shortage of inventory, it straight up they didn't have it. It didn't matter if it was at their warehouse or Amazon's warehouse, they didn't have it. So for those brands, I did see them take more of a conservative approach for what you're talking about, because it's better to stay in stock rather than give this huge deal. Now, other brands that we work with though, they have a backup plan. They have FBM listings. If it's an option, if you have a third party warehouse, you need to have these FBM listings set. This is for anybody, anytime of year. You should have them set up in case you ever need them just to turn them on because that keeps you in stock. Yes, you're probably going to lose some sales because you'll have a longer ship time, but it's better to be in stock than out of stock, is how we see it. Now, one thing I will say is, we had brands that they did have to switch to FBM because of the inventory situation Amazon is facing. And quite honestly, we didn't see a big dip. And I think the reason why is Amazon. I'm sure a lot of you guys have seen it, they're no longer hitting those two- day windows like they used to. They can do it for some products, for sure, but it's no longer a guarantee. If you go on Amazon, if you're a prime user, of course, you've got to be a Prime user. But if you're a prime user on Amazon, those two- day windows are no longer a guarantee like they used to be. So I think that FBM listings are no longer as unattractive to people because, yes, you're still going to be slower than Amazon, but you won't be as slow as you used to be, if that makes sense, because Amazon can't guarantee either. I would say that if you are in a situation where you're concerned about inventory, because maybe Amazon can't let you send it in, get that 3PL up and running, get them ready to do FBM. Because that can pay off, for sure. That can keep you alive, that can keep you afloat. That's what's really important, especially during this time of year.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Well, and you look at the data across the board, I do it on a day to day basis and I, it sounds bad. My wife definitely is not listening to this, so I'm going to speak very candidly about this. I use her almost as a test case scenario to see what a lot of people are thinking. And again, it's in a real time and it's very different, you're really close to it. But hearing what she says on a consumer side versus where I'm in on a day to day basis of, " Oh man, this inventory won't get here until after holidays. I don't trust that Amazon will get it to me in time." The fact that I hear, I don't trust Amazon, like you mentioned, will get it there to me in time, is incredible just to hear one person say it, but you know for a fact like it's the whole... You hear one person say it or one review that says something bad, there's 10 out their or who are thinking the exact same thing. So it's a whole adage of, if one person's thinking or you hear them say it, maybe there's a lot more people that are honestly thinking that. And I think that's what's really made the whole industry as a whole suffer a little bit in this timeframe because a lot of people think, " Hey, it won't get to me in time," even though it's a month out from Black Friday Cyber Monday. But honest to goodness, it's just the pricing with shipping delays that people have seen just all of Q4, it's not guaranteed anymore. And then when Amazon has to list out, " Hey, this is Prime shipping, we'll get it to you on this date," that still can get pushed out by their own ecosystem and it may not be guaranteed, or it's pushed off at a USPS and that gets lost, or so on and so forth. I think a lot of people are looking at the FBM model and saying, " Well, if it's going to get to me at some point, maybe I don't need it to rush in two days. Maybe if it at least gets to me in a week, that's still not terrible, that's still pretty good, as long as it gets to me." I think that's a fascinating model or a point to take. And with FBM too, is there any data or any backings that there's been a lot more shopping on that, or it's just as a backup, a lot more people are putting that in place as like a parachute, if you will?
Jenna Lieber: I would is say overall, there's been an increase in FBM. I don't think Amazon presents that data in terms of how many purchases are coming via FBM versus FBA. So I don't have those numbers. All I can say is, obviously, I'm witnessing my brands, they're in tons of different spaces, which always makes it interesting, because it's not one specific category that's doing this, it's all of them. I would say that the brand I'm specifically thinking about, they didn't take a hit switching to FBM, like they just kept full speed ahead. People didn't care.
Ryan Cramer: Price didn't change, it was just how it was shipped?
Jenna Lieber: How it was shipped, exactly. That was only difference. Obviously, we did have to turn off Prime Exclusive when that happened, because you're no longer a prime product, so you can't be Prime Exclusive. So we just switched to the coupon clipping at that point. But seriously, they didn't take a hit. But they are, I would say a perfect gift, definitely very giftable item. So in my opinion, if quarter four rolls around next year, we're still in this predicament with Amazon putting on these inventory limits, just make sure you have 3PL set up because honestly, that's better than nothing. And I still do stand by, I think Amazon's moving slower than they did even this time last year. I was talking to my team about it, I would say Amazon shipping issue is way worse this year than last year when we were in the middle of COVID. Obviously, I know we're still dealing with COVID and everything like that, but COVID hadn't even been a year. And I would say right now, they are struggling way more than they did this time last year in terms of ship times and things like that. And that just has to do with a supply chain issue.
Ryan Cramer: Well, and people power, people exiting their businesses. We've talked extensively on this podcast about where the shortages are. CNBC actually came out with a really cool in- depth look at just the supply chain in general and how Amazon looks at it in terms of where the shortcomings come for them as company, but then also how they were projecting out for them as a company selling their own Basics brands, for example, manufacturing their own containers on ships and then sending it into the port of Houston instead of through Long Beach or LA, which again, takes on 43, 40% of all of inbound traffic in goods in the entire country. So that again is why it's so congested, but everyone's trying to do the same thing of getting goods and inventory here. They can only run so often, so much, but the people power is also a big hit and it has an effect on just deliveries. I think it's middle mile, what they call it, of the port two, just an FBA warehouse. That's still also a very big concern and tough hurdle to overcome. So things we can't control, we can only control what's actually able to be sold. So what that being said, what's the plan for, again, we talk about only a few more weeks left of Prime selling time for Q4. How do we take this if I'm a brand owner for the first time going through this, and I'm a small and medium size business, what are the best ways to start prepping for how I'm going to take this launch and to propel myself and my business to grow into the middle of next year so I can start planning for Q4, for 2022?
Jenna Lieber: Yeah. I would say, as we wind down, right now is when you should be thinking quarter one inventory. The reason why is, it sounds crazy, but we've had multiple shipments that took a month to get checked in. So I don't want anyone to be in this situation where they're selling great, they're selling great, and then all of a sudden, inventory doesn't get there for January and then you're out of stock, and obviously, that hurts rankings and everything like that. So I would say, try to get some shipments put together for probably this week, is what I would say. Try to get that going, because that is going to matter. You don't want to go out of stock after December, because that can lead into you losing what you gained, and that's not what we want. Now, as far as how to take on this year, I would say Amazon's got a lot of really cool opportunities that people need to be taking advantage of. Even if it's not quarter four. I understand, obviously, quarter four, it feels like give the promotion, do the email blast, do all this. This is stuff you should be consistently doing, regardless of if it's quarter four. You're obviously just going to do it on a lesser scale. I don't think you guys should be consistently offering 20% off because you're going to get to a point where next quarter four, customers are going to be like, " That's not even cool. You do that all the time." So what I would say is, everything you did for quarter four, do it in quarter one, do it in quarter two, quarter three, because it gets you prepared for quarter four. You're going to have that data that you didn't originally have. So what by that is, you should be emailing your email list consistently to Amazon. Now, do you have to do it weekly or anything like that? Absolutely not. Once a month is enough. But when you do it, you should be using your Amazon attribution links to be tracking the data, to know, " Okay, this type of subject line doesn't do as well, so now I'm going to adjust it." Because that data right there gets you ready for quarter four when this rolls around next year. Same thing with Facebook advertising, let's say that's more your speed than email. That's totally fine. Use Amazon attribution, start getting that data now so that when quarter four rolls around or even better yet, Prime Day rolls around in July again, you already have this data because you've been doing it all year round. That's when you get successful in quarter four, is if you've been doing these things all year round, quarter four is almost a breeze, because you're like, " I already know what works for me. I already know what my customers are looking for." So doing those things, I think, is important. But then I would also say, take advantage of what Amazon has to offer. You mentioned that people can now have followers on their Amazon storefront. That's something not a lot of people are paying attention to, and you should be. The reason why is, if you have a certain number of followers, Amazon now gives you an option to do customer engagements. And what customer engagements are guys. So technically Amazon is saying you have to have 1, 000 followers, I'm telling you right now, I have multiple brands that do not have 1, 000 followers that somehow got access to this early. So go check right now if you have it. I would be under brands. You have to be brand registered. It'd be under brands and you would click on customer engagement. And if it allows you to create a campaign, that means you're eligible. If it says beta, that means you're still not eligible. And we'll talk about how to get eligible in a second. But what I would say is, these are completely free emails that you get to send through Amazon. Obviously, you can't customize them, you have to use Amazon's templates that they give you. They give you I believe five different options right now, currently, that you can adjust and play around with. But what's cool. Is these emails get sent to your followers, your storefront followers, pushing them to purchase your products. Now, the products do have to be less than six months old, but what's cool is, if you add a variation, for example, that means that that product is now eligible again. So we added like new colors to a few of our different products, that product that's been around for years is now eligible. So that's something that's cool with customer engagements.
Ryan Cramer: Interesting. You're the first person I've talked to who's had access to what happens after the Follow button. And again, I've talked with a lot of different people of, that slowly rolling out. And again, if you pay attention, it's more on the customer side of, if you go on the brand register page, right next to the brand, the logo, the icon, whatever you want to call it, it says the Follow button. And again, it's as simple as, " Oh yeah. I bought a product from it or I expect to moving forward." I think it's going to be really cool and see what they have, but nothing that I've noticed after following a bunch of different companies has engaged me in terms of what happens after that. So you're saying I can go to, if I have access to this program, what type of engagement I can have with the people who follow you? So there's new product, availability, email, a templated model. What else are we talking about that can be accessed through this?
Jenna Lieber: Yeah. So in order to get the followers, do Amazon posts. That's what it takes. I would say do a middle them of three posts a week. I want you guys to think of it as your Instagram. Literally, if you can't think of anything new, just take what you have on Instagram, move it over Amazon post. That's what I would do. Now, for the followers, like I mentioned, you get customer engagement, and it will email those customers. Now, it's interesting, so you pick a week, and I believe it has to be two weeks out at a minimum. So if you were to set it up this week to get sent out, it would be sent out the week of Christmas, actually. So that actually might be beneficial, if it's eligible, of course. But I think you guys would be able to set up a Christmas customer engagement. So what that does is, you get to pick an image of that product and then you get to pick from Amazon's templates on what you want to say. So they had some that were like holiday themed, where you could say, " Add this to your list." It focuses on brands sometimes like where it'll say, " Oh, buy from Turnkey Product Management. Here's their gift guide." So there's a few different options specifically for the holidays, but right now you can book these all the way through March. And again, people are going to get them through Amazon, it's going to be completely through there. And essentially, you can watch your followers grow if you go to Store Insights, is where you would like to want to go. It's not going to send it to all of them, which is interesting. And I don't have an answer for that, why that's happening, but I want to say one of our brands has 700 followers on their store and I want to say 400 emails were sent. And what it'll show you is how many were opened. So it's going to show you an open rate just like any email marketing. It's going to show you how many views you had, which is more of a detail page view stat. And then it's going to show you purchases. So it'll show you how many purchases came from doing a customer engagement. What's cool about this is it's completely free, you don't pay a single thing to send these emails. So even if you're not getting a purchase, just do it because you're going to be in front of customers where you wouldn't have been. And perhaps, maybe they didn't buy in that moment, but maybe they come back and buy. Now, obviously Amazon's always struggled with that type of data when they come back and buy, they don't really give that info, but that's also just something you consider, is completely free. But again, it comes through like you know back in the day when we did auto responders?
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, exactly.
Jenna Lieber: That's how this is going to come across, is something similar sent from Amazon type of deal.
Ryan Cramer: Well, a lot of the stuff and the emails that they send, again, very generic, you would think hopefully there's an engagement component of it, but I like the imagery that you can pick and have some customization with it. But the book it out, I think that the engagement, again, that brand awareness factor of, " Hey, don't forget about us." Or you might have learned about something different or just simply, " Oh, that was really cool. I saw that, let me poke my head in again and see if you guys are interested in buying right now," and keep that momentum going. So that's really fascinating. I'm curious how that will continue to have insights where brands moving forward, because that's a model I think that Amazon's really trying to push is like, how do we make brand centric, storefronts that say these are the brands that are from Amazon or Amazon centric, grown by Amazon or something stupid like that. It can be 100 different things. But that capacity, it makes them aware that, " Hey, shopping can happen just in our platform if it's not on a D2C website, but people do that all the time of the whole grip of not having access to an email list or customer list. That's the number one consistent factor of why people go off of Amazon to build a direct to consumer website. I have access to my social following my customer engagement, my email list, so on and so forth. You don't have that when you do it through Amazon, but this sounds like this is the half step in between of saying, " Hey, listen, you can still follow up or people can follow you and you can engage with them, but it's on our terms and under our supervisioning guys." So not a huge loss, but also not a huge win either. So it's almost like you take what you can get mentality. Interesting.
Jenna Lieber: But one thing I'll say as Amazon becomes more brand centric, you're going to see people leave Amazon to check you out on Instagram, to check you out on Facebook because they are making it more about you're buying from a brand, you're not just buying from Amazon. So that is, I think one positive, it's definitely not perfect, absolutely not. But it is one positive is the more brand centric they make it, the more people are likely to go follow you and find you off of Amazon, which is great.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. There you go. Mute myself again accidentally. So with that being said, that's a good program. Again, that's a tip we get to drop here on Crossover Commerce. When I engage with that following, again, unlike direct to consumer where I can have these follow up campaigns of any sort of, " Hey, did you enjoy this for the holiday," or gift cards, " Did you buy a gift card from us?" You can't really do that through Amazon. Well, what's the cadences that I can maybe either retarget through DSP? What am I doing in terms to circle a wagon with people and say, " Hey, maybe you didn't purchase anything from us, but don't forget about us in that off chance." Is there something where strategy is coming into play of when to reengage with those potential customers that came to your storefront brand or didn't buy, or they did buy and they went offsite or came to your website, how are you working with that in conjunction with all the different areas that you are working with brands right now?
Jenna Lieber: Definitely. You already talked about it, DSP. That's definitely the key. So that is something that our team does all offer is DSP. This isn't something that just anybody can run, it has to be done through an approved agency. So our team has gone through the training with Amazon and we are an agency that's able to offer DSP. Now, what's great about DSP is obviously we saw more traffic, everyone did because there was more people on Amazon. So you're just naturally going to see more traffic during November and December. And I think that's what makes DSP so strong for January and even December, because you're able to look back windows, obviously, depending on your brand. For example, let's say you're a supplement and your product lasts 30 days, you would want your look back window, depending on if they purchased or not to be around that 30 day mark because that's when they're going to need to repurchase and get another one. So there's things like that are at play, but DSP is definitely the really strong way to do look backs, to bring people back to your listing that didn't purchase. You can even steal traffic from your competitors if you want. And again, that's something that only really DSP can offer. Now, you're still not going to have that customer data, you're not going to know who came back and purchased and things like that, but it is able to bring people back, which is obviously really great. And then I would say on top of that, for those of you that have repeat purchase products, DSP is really strong because you can bring people back to subscribe to your product. So there's a lot that can be done with DSP and that's something you can definitely use leverage quarter four to use in quarter one, for sure and go all year round with it.
Ryan Cramer: So what would be... I know that's a big plan, a lot of people are talking about that, obviously with video, DSP and whatnot, I think it's a really cool program. Again, Google does a similar component of it, of follow the customer with the cookie drop. And it's a little bit more different with Amazon clearly, but without going to specifics, that's a great tip in suggestion and I think a lot of people take advantage of. The other thing I think that a lot of people are not paying attention to is the whole gift card wave that people are not talking about. And this is what I mean by that. There's a group of a significant growth of people who it's no longer lazy to give gift card for people when product inventory might be an issue. And I say that because not just on websites, but people just can't get access to a gift or they don't know what to give people, don't know if it's going to get to them on time. So there's actually an influx since 2019, I think it's a 300% markup and at least over last year it's at least 50% markup of gift cards being purchased now more than ever. So with strategies, knowing that people are giving Amazon gift cards or gift cards to direct consumer websites, so on and so forth, what's the strategy that would be easiest to captivate that money that's going to be attributed to a gift? Is it tied to DSP or is it a whole another strategy that you would tell brands to implement?
Jenna Lieber: I would say that would be a different strategy from DSP. That's something that maybe the first couple weeks of January, you send an email to maybe your Amazon specific list that says, " Have that Amazon gift card? I know how you can use it," type of situation. So that's what I would say is it's going to be more of an email tactic rather than a DSP tactic. But one thing I will say, and Amazon announced this a little quietly, so I'm not sure how familiar everyone is with it, but right now, and it goes with what you were saying if the inventory's not there, people are able to do a gifting option now-
Ryan Cramer: I saw that. I know what you're talking about.
Jenna Lieber: Yeah. What you're able to do, guys, if anyone isn't aware, and actually we have a few of our brands that are going to use this the week of Christmas, that if Amazon can't get it and you can't get it to them either, both of them can't get it, one option is someone can buy the product and mark it as a gift and Amazon will say, " Okay, do you want to send this gift to them? Or do you want us to text them? Ask them if they want the gift and if they say no, we won't send them the gift, but we'll give them an Amazon gift card instead for that same amount. So it's super interesting-
Ryan Cramer: Wait a minute.
Jenna Lieber: Okay. We don't want interesting?
Ryan Cramer: No, that we are. I didn't know that was a half- step in between to accept it. So what I've seen is exactly what you're saying, receiving it would be like is if you were receiving e- gift card or e- card from like your parents or your grandparents or something like that they send those now and it does like a little song and dance or anything like that, but it's a picture of the product. I had no idea, and this is really funny that they can reject send gift. Does it say what the product is beforehand if they accept it or not?
Jenna Lieber: Yeah. It says what it is. It says what the product-
Ryan Cramer: So Ryan is gifting Jenna Beats headphones, like edition one, but she wants edition two. You're like, " Nah, I'm good. I want the gift card." So they have the option instead of the product sale to have that flipped as a gift card instead.
Jenna Lieber: That's our understanding of it, yes, because that's the point is that Amazon doesn't want to send the gift and use their small delivery options right now to give it to people that are just going to turn around and return it. And so I think it's Amazon's way of trying to minimize returns, but then also increase gift cards like you mentioned, because that should be the option is yes or no do you want this? And if you don't want it, then I think you can choose or you as the person giving them the gift can choose to give them a gift card instead for that same amount.
Ryan Cramer: Okay. So in that capacity, a couple of questions. In your like limited knowledge, obviously I say limited because no one really knows how it's going to come through.
Jenna Lieber: Right now.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. So a couple different things I can think. If someone's going to gift like my brand if I have like widgets and whatnot and I want to gift you a widget and that person says, " No, thanks. I don't want that widget," and he turns around to a gift card, is that still considered a product sale? That'd be curious is to think that Amazon would think that or not. So in theory, I could essentially almost lose out on a gift or a sale in theory with the promise of just a gift card instead. So it would almost be like picking and choosing what gifts you want for Christmas instead like, " Oh no, I think they're going to like it," and then give it back to them. I see where the half step is, they wouldn't give that person the credit for the sale then obviously, right?
Jenna Lieber: Right. No, they would not. And that is the one downside of it, it's a gamble. But I guess the way I've, I spoke about it with the brands that are moving forward with it, is you're most likely not going to kill it that week anyway, because people can't make ship times, people aren't going to purchase your product. So this gives you a shot is how I see it because you most likely are not going to have a ton of people purchasing, can't make it there before Christmas. So this gives you an opportunity to still give a gift, give your product as a gift when it wouldn't have even been an option before. It's how I see it. So there obviously is the downside of potentially turning into a gift card or someone saying no, but from my understanding, it would count as a sale, they would move it to reserve until that person says yes or no. And then if they say, no, it just goes back to inventory. That's my understandings.
Ryan Cramer: That can create a lot of logistical nightmares because if you're running on limited inventory and you have 100 units on reserve as a gift, just to think that, how do you continue to move forward with sales? And again, this isn't the nerd in you and I, that we are going to be talking through, like in these dark, potentially not even happening scenarios of what if this happens of, if you have 100 things that are geared as gifts and you reserve the inventory and you are running low on inventory, Amazon can suppress those listings because 100 units are in the time that you might be getting inventory there, there could be a window where 100 units are on reserve as gifts, and then you're close to running out. They're going to suppress your listings because it's not valuable anymore for Amazon to promote it towards the top. So again, there's that half step of, well, how happens if inventory's being reserved as gifts, it's a sale, but not really a sale. It's like a half sale, then Amazon, what do they do with that in that interim? So jokes on you, Amazon, what are you going to do with that? Are you going to continue to suppress or are you going to promote exactly however you are? And that's hard as a logistical person too of, how much inventory do we truly have? Will they reserve it in a different line item or how does that you think-
Jenna Lieber: We don't think so. I think it'll just be reserved as the sale until-
Ryan Cramer: It's just like a pending sale until it's complete.
Jenna Lieber: Yeah. We haven't implemented this yet because our thought is the week of Christmas strategy, it's how we're thinking of it, but that is a good point, what would that do if it's moved into reserve? So that is something that people should be considering if they at the strategy, of course. Again, it's a wild card I would say because also we just spoke about what, if they do turn down the gift and they switch it to an Amazon gift card.
Ryan Cramer: It's a transaction that's happened by consumer one, like consumer two it's on them. So in theory, even if they didn't look at it or it's delayed, they're like, " Don't deliver until Christmas." or something stupid. Again, it's not stupid, I'm just thinking in terms of context of if you wanted there and give it as a Christmas gift, like if grandma is trying to give Johnny a potential again, Beats headphones and Johnny received Beats headphones, and you don't want two as the same gift, you're going to turn down grandma's probably because you received that digitally in one hand, someone give it on a physical side, he hasn't hand, so you're already turn it anyways. So if it's from different vendors or a wholesaler, third party, again, who do you keep and who do you turn back? And then afterwards almost feels like that could be, not a nightmare scenario, but that'd be a different accounting scenario that could cause problems. Again, I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it's just like, what what's going to happen in that regards if it happens after Christmas, those post sales of, " I thought I did a million dollar in sales, maybe it's now$ 875,000 in sales." Nothing too dramatic, but-
Jenna Lieber: On the flip side though, you're already gearing up for that situation because they already extended if you bought something on October 1st-
Ryan Cramer: Is it two months now?
Jenna Lieber: It's October 1st, that's when it started, and then you can return anything after October 1st through January 31st.
Ryan Cramer: The month after, yeah.
Jenna Lieber: So you're already in the situation where technically someone could have bought out your product in October and could still return it. So it's tough, returns are a nightmare in January, everybody knows that.
Ryan Cramer: It's awful. Yeah.
Jenna Lieber: It's one of those things that I wonder, I think Amazon's doing it with the thought being they want to try to minimize returns to leave it in the hands of the person that's receiving the gift.
Ryan Cramer: A lot of things here. Yeah, Amazon's not on the hook on this. Amazon's scot- free. Amazon's like, " I don't care." They can take a gift card, we know the value is still there. We still are taking it sale. This is the thing, it's, Amazon comes first, seller comes second in this capacity and receiver is up there too. They're not in the hook for anything, the money's in their pocket, they can just convert it however they want, whether it's shipping item or if it's not, if it's shipping item, that's hitting that email box of, I'm assuming the cadences, " All right, we'll send you to your email address. What email address do you want sent to?" And then you just fill it out or whatever in that capacity. And then for the seller, they are dealing with a lost sale, it's just inventory or money that's going into something else. Again, not the intent, it's just providing another fork in the road where theoretically could lead down to sale, but not really, or could potentially not. So fascinating stuff. I'm going to have to do a deep dive, I didn't know that was an acceptable thing.
Jenna Lieber: Hear about me? Do you want me to send you the YouTube video that walks through? I can put it in the comment.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, please do. For people who are listening to this, check out the comments in the comment section with YouTube video that we're discussing today. And we'll also post this on resource too for the audio version if you're listening to this as well. Again, super fascinating stuff that Amazon's always rolling. I did see this and I thought... I'm pretty sure in the example they gave is like a Beats headphones that was like, grandma sent you this item and it tells you what it is. I didn't know that half step of receive it or not, or keep it or not was an option. That just changed Christmas for me in many different ways of, " Man, if I had that option for a lot of different external entities, I would just opt for the gift card for other people giving me a gift, but on digital." For entrepreneurs' sake, we don't want to do that.
Jenna Lieber: For sure.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, for sure. Well, in the common section, so you put that in, we'll make sure and post that, for sure, and we'll take a look at it. Jenna, in the last couple of minutes I have with you, what does the agency, what are you and the team looking for in Q1 for next year? What's that plan, that roadmap what's important to you and your team for growth as onboarding new clients? Is it you're going to take on a different sector of e- commerce? If you're not just Amazon, but we're going to Walmart, so and so forth, what are those future plans for you and the team?
Jenna Lieber: Definitely want to grow with more clients, obviously with Amazon specifically. At this time we're not really looking towards growing with Walmart at this time though. That can obviously change. One thing I think our team wants to focus in on for 2022 specifically is obviously Amazon is definitely now more reliant on external traffic than they were before. So that's something our team is definitely interested in expanding on is offering things like Facebook advertising, Google advertising, just because those types of things are now very important than they didn't used to be. I would say that that's probably one sector that we do want to eventually expand into and I can see that definitely coming in 2022 with Facebook advertising, Google advertising, things like that.
Ryan Cramer: Cool. What about, is there any hesitancy in terms of like iOS updates or anything like that in terms of attribution? I know you guys are big data people. Is that coming down or is that changed for you guys how you attribute different outside technologies on mobile or anything like that? Has that been a thought process or is that concern for you guys, in terms of like the privacy or cookie or following for DSP or anything like that?
Jenna Lieber: Not at this point. Not something we're too concerned about. I guess as we grow, obviously with Facebook advertising and Google advertising, that's obviously when that will become a bit more of a concern. I would say at this point, no.
Ryan Cramer: Wait and see your perch.
Jenna Lieber: Yeah. One thing I think that we definitely want to expand on a bit more is with our DSP clients, adding that pixel to the website, because that's one thing you are able to do with DSP is add the pixel to your website to gain data there. But as far has the privacy situation and things like that, that's not something we're too worried about at this point.
Ryan Cramer: Got you. And finally, are you for direct to consumer clients if they have their own website, are you telling people to point them to make the purchase on Amazon? What's that strategy? I'm curious for you guys, do you tell people... There's always consistent, like, hey, make the purchase on your website or just send them to Amazon. It's always a heated battle. What do you guys suggest people do? Just curious.
Jenna Lieber: It's definitely tough because I get the benefit. There is a strong benefit of sending it to your website for so many different reasons. You get that information on the customer, obviously there aren't as many fees involved if you're doing it through Shopify. So there's a lot of benefits to doing it through your website. I would say that our answer is very different for every single brand. We have tons of brands that we work with that have a very strong Shopify website that are in a place where they've already gained the trust of the customer and they're able to have a strong Shopify website. But there's a lot of brands out there that they're newer to the scene, they might not have a strong social media following. So you're not going to have as much trust. So what I would say is if you're in a situation where perhaps you Shopify and your social media isn't brought up, or it's not where it needs to be from a trust factor, majority of your traffic probably should be going to Amazon because the reality of the situation is, I'm sure all of us listening here are at least a very good chunk, probably have the prime membership, probably have their credit card already plugged into Amazon, probably have their address, their parents' address, their boyfriend's address or whatever plugged in and everything is there. And it's very easy to purchase from Amazon. You can do it right from your phone, you can just do the touch ID to log into your... That's the draw of Amazon, is that trust factor. Everyone knows Amazon, everyone trusts them. That's why there is a benefit. So what I would say, if you're in a situation where maybe you are built up, you have a good Shopify website, you have great reviews on there, you have a great social media following, if you're in that place, most of your traffic probably should be going to Shopify, but you definitely want to reserve a place that you do send traffic to Amazon because at this point, with Amazon's A10 algorithm, it's critical to send external traffic because that's how you rank now. I don't know if everyone's aware, but unfortunately, what was it? There's a rebate company that's gotten very serious trouble with Amazon. So the days of the whole rebate process of sell this many units and get ranked on page one, I do see that phasing out even more than it already... I know it already was on the phasing out process, but even more so. So what I would say is you need to be sending at least some, like 10%, and for each brand, we will come up with a custom thought process. So one brand that we work with, really great example, they will try to bring someone back to their website two times. And if both times fail, the last attempt is send them to Amazon to make the purchase, because the way you should think about it is obviously yes, I want them on my website, but it's better to have that customer on Amazon than not have them at all. So that should be the mindset of at least get the customer. So if you're in a place, again, your Shopify's super strong, I think that's a solid approach. Another one I would say is creating specific Facebook audiences for Amazon is really great, keep those customers on Amazon because in my opinion, if they're already on Amazon, just keep them there. There isn't a reason to try to switch them because they're already trust Amazon, they're already there with you, especially if you're a subscription product, keep them there is how we see it. So I would say it's definitely a custom answer, but that's the high level.
Ryan Cramer: Well, and Amazon does its power to also do that and it's built in too like, " Hey, buy this gift again or buy this item again from the specific buyers." So it's already built in. So they want to keep their customer too and make the purchase on that website. So all great answers. And again, learning as always, a lot of different things from you guys too, but I'm going to have to do that deep on that YouTube video for sure and put my own thoughts out there. This is great. This is fantastic. But wait a minute, there's more. So that being said, Jenna, what's the best way that, I know we're at the top of the hour, so what are the best ways if people like what they hear, if they want to work with you, they want to ask questions. I know you guys are on all sorts of consulting and maybe want to go over something we talked about today. What's the best way to do that?
Jenna Lieber: The best way to reach out to our team would be to go to turnkeyproductmanagement. com. And what I would go ahead and do is click the Let's Chat option, which will be in the right hand corner. And that'll get you in touch with one of our client success managers, and they'll find the best situation for you. So like I spoke about throughout the call, we obviously offer full service management. That's when we do everything for you, the PPC, the DSP, the marketing side for the listing, getting you involved with all the deals like lightning deals, seven day deals, that's all done on the full service side of things, but we offer so much more than that. We also have PPC and DSP specifically, that's just PPC and DSP. We also offer one- on- one coaching. If you don't want to or if you don't have the margins right now to bring on a PPC person, we also just offer coaching or we can coach you on those specific areas. You want to talk about lightning deals, let's talk about that. You want to talk about getting your listings up and running, let's talk about that. So we're able to meet you where you're at based on, maybe you're a really, really strong seller, but you want to stay up to date with what's going on Amazon, you can always bring coaching on just to talk about those different things. So coaching really is for everybody. And then again, PPC, DSP, full service, those are also options as well, just depending on where you're at in your business.
Ryan Cramer: Love it. Well, thank you so much, obviously for hopping on today. It seems like you were on off for six months for being a guest on any podcast, so if that was shaking off the rest, I can't wait to see if you're on consistently with somebody else, but hey, thanks so much for hopping on today and just giving a little bit more insight into Q4 and growing with Turnkey, and just helping our listeners out and helping their business move forward. So great success for you guys and your team as you finish out this year and look to 2022. It's going to be exciting for sure.
Jenna Lieber: Definitely, definitely. Well, thank you so much for having me, I definitely had fun.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Thanks Jenna, of course. And thank you everyone else for hopping on Crossover Commerce. This is episode 193. Again, we're trucking along and again, there's going to be lots of different, great content every single day this week. So tomorrow, just want to give a quick shout out to our friends over at Teikametrics who we're going to have on tomorrow. We're going to be talking about 2022 Amazon e- commerce conferences tomorrow with good friend Liz over there. So that being said, she's going to hop on. Thank you again to Jenna and Turnkey Product Management for everyone over there for hopping on Crossover Commerce. If you have questions, again, this was the live segment, but if you have questions, go ahead and connect with Jenna and her team over there, or you can just comment on the social posts as well. We'll make sure we get you connected to them there. I'm Ryan Cramer, this is Crossover Commerce, again, episode 193. We'll make sure we catch you guys next time on another episode in my corner of the internet, make sure you take care.
Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Jenna Lieber of TurnKey Product Management one-on-one as they discuss how to keep you online business growing after the holiday season.
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