New Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment initiates ⎜ JoeLister ⎜ EP 175

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This is a podcast episode titled, New Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment initiates ⎜ JoeLister ⎜ EP 175. The summary for this episode is: <p>Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Brian Kayler of JoeLister one-on-one about new Amazon multi-channel fulfillment initiates and what it means for sellers building their brands.</p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="https://usa.pingpongx.com/us/index?inviteCode=ccpodcast" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CrossoverCommerce" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.facebook.com/CrossoverCommerce</a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="https://www.youtube.com/c/PingPongPayments" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/c/PingPongPayments</a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/pingpongglobal/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/company/pingpongglobal/</a></p><p>---</p><p>You can watch or listen to all episodes of Crossover Commerce at: <a href="https://usa.pingpongx.com/podcast" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://usa.pingpongx.com/podcast</a></p>

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 Ping Pong Payments, the leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Crossover Commerce. I scared myself, I caught myself off guard right there. Welcome to episode 175 of Crossover Commerce, a spooky episode leading into what we like to call her in the United States, Halloween. If you're in different parts of the world, you might call it something different. But hey, it's Friday, we're going to have a lot of fun on today's live podcast. Wherever you might be listening from, whether it be on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, thanks for tuning in. Again, 175, feels just a nice round number. Every 25 or 10 or every five, whatever that looks like, it just feels nice, if you're like me, have those different milestones in your mind of how much content we've been putting out. So that being said, if this is your first time joining Crossover Commerce, welcome. Welcome to my corner of the internet, like the introduction said, where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon and e- commerce spaces. It's kind of my own little think tank, if you will, of people who are experiencing great and extraordinary things in the Amazon and e- commerce space. And this podcast is actually presented by Ping Pong Payments. If you haven't heard of Ping Pong Payments, you can actually sign up for a free account with the link below. But before we dive into all of that, Ping Pong Payments is helping millions of customers now worldwide save more when they're sending money. That being said, you can send to manufacturers, distributors, VEAs, employees, wherever you might be doing business internationally or sending money, you can actually save on fees and cross- border payments and receiving funds and put that to your bottom line to get other things, like either pay your business employees, grow your business with your inventory or just invest into new technologies. That is amazing what you can do with Ping Pong Payments. It's free to sign up and with five clicks you get 500 dollars in your account when you get approved. So sign up today and let them know that Crossover Commerce sent you. That being said, again everyone, this is episode 175 on a Friday, right before a Halloween. It's been interesting and scary, just kind of a couple of things to note right before we get kicked off today. Amazon's Q3 reports actually came out last night and it was a mixed bag, if you will, of lots of people when they look through. Earnings reports a little bit down. Across the board in general, there were some spending issues, there was a lot of shortages, logistics chains, everything that we always talked about on this podcast, that is coming to light in their earnings reports. And a lot of people are looking at different bright spots. Obviously international growth and expansion. Lots of different supply... I want to say, it's 100 different fulfillment centers actually opened up. Something like that, around 100 I think in Q3 which is quite phenomenal in terms of logistics and distribution centers. And then also, AWS. Again, another bright spot into their ecosystem. With that being said, there's lots of fun, fantastic news in the e- commerce and digital worlds. I can no longer refer to Facebook. I apologize, I said we are now going live on Facebook. We're going live on Meta. Again, I don't know how I'm going to get used to that. But, for now, it is now going to be known as Meta. Facebook changing its name to that, of which it's going to be touching in multiple different things. But that's kind of things that's happened since we gone live less than 24 hours ago. So that being said, today's episode is really cool. I'm really excited to hop into a program that I had talked about actually prior to this show, pre- show, with one of the partners at Ping Pong Payments actually, JoeLister. And his name is, our guest today is actually Brian Taylor of JoeLister. He is the product owner for the company. It's an e- commerce SaaS platform helping e- commerce sellers increase sales by streamlining multichannel integrations. And the cool thing we're talking about today is going to be the new Amazon multichannel fulfillment initiatives. And Amazon itself is reaching out and starting to create and companies like JoeLister are helping sellers optimize their businesses and get out there and help themselves grow as a brand, help businesses grow as brands. So with that being said, that's kind of my little tease into our guest today. So welcome to Crossover Commerce, it's the Ryan and Brian show. Brian Taylor of JoeLister. Brian, thanks for joining us early where you are and hopping on Crossover Commerce.

Brian Taylor: Yeah. Thank you very much. Looking forward to this.

Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Yeah, absolutely. You're located in Boise, Idaho. We talked about that, too. But your background is super fascinating in terms of all the different iterations they've gone to, JoeLister. To kind of give yourself your background here, your 30 second wrap sheet if you will. Your background or resume. Whatever you want to call it. What would that be for everyone who may not be familiar with you?

Brian Taylor: So, started my career in Seattle, Washington. Spent about 16 years there working mostly in the retail estate and real estate technology space. Worked for the family that actually owns Windermere for most of that time. Went to work for DocuSign and loved DocuSign. And then my wife and I moved to Boise, Idaho. I worked for a very small start up in the real estate transaction management type space for a while. Did some project management for a recruiting app and then joined the JoeLister team in, what was that, March of this year. And have really enjoyed getting my feet wet in the e- commerce space and digging into things that I'd already done but in a different vein of an industry that I hadn't had a ton of exposure to.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. So with that being said, so JoeLister and what they do. We're talking about the new initiatives that Amazon's bringing out, right. The new programs. We titled this episode the new Amazon multichannel fulfillment initiatives. But you guys touch on a lot more than just on Amazon to set the tale, right. This is multichannel, multi marketplace operating that you guys are trying to operate is that correct?

Brian Taylor: Yeah. So generally speaking, our program helps streamline the listing creation and order flow for sellers who are using either eBay or Shopify. And what it does is it allows a seller to take their FBA and or FBM inventory, pull it into our system, and then we allow them to list those listings using our software, or they can connect listings if they already have them. And then it creates automation for inventory management and then order flow. So when an order happens, we pull the order information in. If it's a fulfilled by Amazon order, that order goes directly to Amazon. Amazon fulfills it and then we send details back to the resulting platforms, so either eBay or Shopify. So it really takes no effort from the seller's perspective to fulfill an order that's placed through Joe this way.

Ryan Cramer: So why is that something that people would go to you for? Is that something that just doesn't exist in the market place right now or is it just the efficiencies are not there before you guys came along? What was the crosstalk.

Brian Taylor: So we've been around since 2015 and have been adding features and things since then. But there's not a ton of competitors in the marketplace for this specific product. And one of our benefits that we tout is that our ability to create listings on eBay is typically better than a lot of our competitors. eBay's notoriously difficult to create listings on from an API perspective, because it requires so many weird things when you create a listing that there's a lot of failure in hosting listings and there's a lot of errors that come through. We've spent a lot of time developing a system that helps get around those errors, so that the user doesn't see them. We do a lot of automation on the back end when you post a listing that fixes things as it comes through. So that's sort of where we fit on the marketplace that I think we do a better job at. And then the order fulfillment is obviously a giant piece for sellers, because they don't have to do anything. Once an order comes in on eBay, it's just automatically fulfilled, they don't touch anything. It really reduces the amount of work that they have to do when an order comes in.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. And we've talked about on this show before from everyone, if you're a listener and listening to this, Amazon is a notoriously, and in the news this week it actually came out that Amazon as a fulfillment center and a shipping logistics company, has now surpassed FedEx in terms of the amount and volume of product that they're sending and receiving. Not just on Amazon but again across multiple marketplaces. And also, there's so many different iterations that they're able to do and get product to people, it's something that other people in terms of brands when we're talking about this specifically, how to tap into that huge network of getting product to people quickly and effectively in terms of a consumer. But then also, that opportunity for you to use Amazon as a warehouse. So it's kind of confusing as a brand owner in 2021, Brian, that you might have been aware of, is that inventory limits have substantially been decreased. Amazon put a kibosh at the beginning of the year and said, hey, we're not a long term storage facility. We need, based upon who you are as a seller, you can only have so much limited inventory and you're going to be affected by how often you sell through that inventory. So kind of walk me through why, in today's ecosystem, why is it important to still work with Amazon as a distribution center while in conjunction working with the negatives or the cons of trying to figure out how much inventory I can possibly put in there at one given time, right?

Brian Taylor: Sure thing. So I would say the positive of Amazon as a warehousing platform, is that they have so many warehouses that your reach is just so much better. And their ability to negotiate shipping rates is different than every other warehouse, 3PL vendor around. Their size, their scale, their ability to use their own logistical company prior to getting to last mile delivery is it's so much bigger than everybody else. So you touched on inventory, which is an interesting topic. Partly because Amazon announced in June of this year that they are now going to include any sales that result on another platform that are fulfilled by Amazon as part of your inventory support. So they are now looking at sales, let's say you sell on eBay and Shopify. So if you have sales on Shopify, you have a product that sells really well and you have a brand and you're using Amazon as a fulfillment partner. Then any of those sales that happen on Shopify are actually included in your inventory score, which in theory can increase your inventory as well. They're also really pressing the gas pedal on trying to help sellers onboard and be successful within their ecosystem, so they now have an MCF team that is just purely dedicated to multichannel fulfillment. No longer do you have to worry about trying to inaudible the FBA team or whatever. They have a team that's just there for multichannel fulfillment partners. And depending on where you bracket, they'll actually assign you an account manager if you're big enough.

Ryan Cramer: Well, in that regards, it's quite amazing that it took this long for them to even see holistically the sales opportunity, right, of yes they might be storing product at a given juncture, but because of their nature, of their network, more and more people are trying to opt in and utilize that system that they've built out, which again was the leading way of why Amazon is Amazon. Right? First it was, we're going to make the customer happy and we've built our logistics chain to make sure that I can get to better in two day shipping or two hour shipping or one hour shipping. Now again, they've built that network to be quick, effective and smart. But to even grow from that, that next step would obviously be working with solutions that don't have that ecosystem, right? And eBay doesn't have warehousing. Or the extent of eBay. If you're a brand owner, I may not be at the size of which I can have my own warehouse, therefore I'm going to utilize the tools of play. If I'm selling on Amazon, that's going to be Amazon, right? So it seems confusing as Amazon was limiting exposure, or limiting opportunity for inventory limits. But then obviously, having this team come into play. Was that just because of, in your mind, smart inventory management that people needed to get a little bit better of instead of through a product that's maybe going to sell, maybe not? Or is it just to get smarter in terms of inventory management? Or are there other things we're not seeing?

Brian Taylor: I think more than anything, it's that they really want to increase their ability to be a true logistics partner and not just be an Amazon sale warehouse. And I think by limiting inventory, they were able to get a handle on how much inventory makes sense for a lot of sellers. And then, logistics wise, things have changed a lot since they reduce their inventory capacity. Currently we are in a supply chain crunch that is a very in depth topic. Probably would be its own podcast, if you wanted to go down that route.

Ryan Cramer: We've done it. We've had so many different ones already, so we can avoid that one.

Brian Taylor: It's crazy. But yeah, I think they're really trying to make sure that logistically they can actually sustain themselves as well. I think they saw this coming long before most sellers and most consumers realized that we had a very significant supply chain issue. So in limiting inventory, they could sort of start the process of making sure that they were capable of handling the volumes that they needed to. And I also think it's slightly just reactionary. A lot of sellers were having, or were just using Amazon as purely a warehouse. And I think the idea was force those sellers to either get rid of their inventory or take it back so that they can start fresh and new. And they're obviously building out new warehouses. What did you say, there were 13 that were built?

Ryan Cramer: I want to say 100. And I'm going to pull it up here, because that seemed like that was a lot.

Brian Taylor: That seems like a lot.

Ryan Cramer: It seems like a lot. Maybe it was 100 to date now that they have operational in the, either United States or worldwide. I'm going to look it up for you. But in the interim, so yeah, go ahead.

Brian Taylor: So I mean, I really think that more than anything they were trying to make sure that their operations were running as smoothly as they can and Amazon, the amount of inventory that they store. I mean, when you look at the size of the warehouses, it's just phenomenal. A brand new warehouse just opened in Nampa, Idaho, which is about 10 miles from where I'm sitting. It's probably two city blocks big and three stories high. It's just huge. And it's one of the new fulfillment centers, so there's a lot of automation built into it. Which is why they've started offering extra services like avoiding Amazon logistics as a shipping partner or blank box deliver which is a big initiative for them as well. so I think part of the reason that they reduced inventory is so that they could build some of these initiatives and then they're going to start and expand on that now.

Ryan Cramer: Well and you brought up a good point that we talked about. This is something I personally was not aware, and I know that there was a big issue for lots of different brand owners, as economies of branding, growing your brand on Amazon, which a lot of different businesses are trying to do. At the economies of scale, Amazon, as a fulfillment center, is amazing. But when you tap into the network of being able to utilize them for fulfillment, you have the ability to... There is a point at which that when you're, for example, tie your Shopify store to your brand or to your store, for example, and you want to fulfill from Amazon. Amazon, traditionally, has always been able to... Go ahead. Sorry, go ahead Brian and I'll continue to talk. Amazon has always traditionally been one of those companies that... When they're fulfilling, it's still going to come in Amazon packaging, right? If it's an order from Shopify or from eBay, if you're still doing that fulfillment through Amazon, you're still going to get it arrived in Amazon box. To the consumer or to the seller, that may not make that big of a difference. But to a consumer, that might actually be confusing, it might affect the branding or it may not even allow you to fulfill from Amazon because of those earning restrictions and regulations, right. So you mentioned their new initiative to have blank box delivery option, that I never knew about. What can we learn about this new initiative and as it starts to roll out, how do we get excited as brand sellers and brand owners? I got you.

Brian Taylor: There we go. All right. So the initiatives from Amazon is to allow sellers to use Amazon logistics... Amazon logistics as a shipping partner, so the FBA process, to sell on channels that traditionally have not been something that they can fulfill on. Walmart is a perfect example. So Walmart doesn't want items coming in a smile box. They have their own warehousing, they have their own fulfillment centers and if you buy something on Walmart, it either needs to come in a non- branded box or a Walmart branded box. So by allowing Amazon sellers to send in, essentially what's called blank box fulfillment, they now can tap into a market that they previously weren't able to. I've done some tests with our system. And when you make an order, it's a brown box with a green barcode on it. The tape is just brown tape. So it is purely unbranded. So it really allows a seller who wants to sell on other platforms that potentially wouldn't have been able to previously, fulfill with Amazon. The other function that they're allowing is for you to block Amazon logistics. So again, Walmart is a good example. You order something on Walmart. Walmart doesn't want an Amazon truck pulling up to your house and walking a package to your front door. That's a great way to get your store shutdown in Walmart, where blocking Amazon logistics forces those items that you want to sell to be sent through either UPS or USPS. That doesn't mean they're not being sent from via Amazon to where it's going, it means that the last mile of delivery is going to be done by someone other than an Amazon truck. But the blank box thing is very big, because a lot of people don't want Amazon to be branded on any of their sales. So if they buy something from Amazon, obviously it's going to come in an Amazon box. But that's expected based on the fact that you bought it on Amazon. You expect it to come in a smile box. You buy something on eBay, Shopify, Target, Best Buy, I mean everybody now has their own marketplace sellers versus selling on their own. They want it to either come in their brand or a non- branded box. So being able to fulfill with non- branded boxes is huge for A, sellers, because now they can expand their reach and the marketplaces that they operate it. But also, it's huge for Amazon as well.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, this is a huge deal for brand owners. And again, if you haven't heard about this, this is a huge initiative that I think, again correct me if I'm wrong Brian, in beta phase right now or is it available for every seller to take part in?

Brian Taylor: So yeah, it is currently in beta. You have to sign up for it. There are ways to jump the line if you want. But that's more on the API connection side than it is on the Amazon side. So if you're an Amazon seller and you manage your own inventory and you're looking to use blank box on say eBay sales, you would need to sign up for their beta and then wait for acceptance. And then once you get accepted into the program, they start allotting inventory based on sales volume of multichannel fulfillment versus Amazon sales into how much of your inventory can be sent in a blank box. And then as they do more data, as you give them more data, they'll increase your levels or change how it all functions. But yeah, currently it's in beta.

Ryan Cramer: Is there a general rule that someone might be more likely to be accepted? Whether it be a larger seller or is there a minimum quantity threshold that you believe that... Getting accepted versus not getting accepted. Has that been shared with you guys?

Brian Taylor: It has not. So I don't know what their criteria for... Other than where you are in the queue for being allowed to sell in blank boxes is. Like I said, there are a couple of ways to jump the line, but that's more specific to partners that they have partnered with versus being able to call someone and say hey, I want blank box delivery and they'll just give it to you.

Ryan Cramer: Right. And that makes sense too, right? Because if it's not available and they want to make sure that it's going to be an economy of scale when it's testing out, make sure no bugs are in the system. That makes complete sense to me. Very fascinating. And again, I want everyone who's listening and all brand owners, growth partners, anything like that to note that it's going to be super important. This is where I see the beginning, Brian. And when we talked about this earlier this week in our initial talk, I was super fascinated by this and I started thinking through what could Amazon do in that capacity to even iterate it further? And I said blank box, well that's essentially a blank canvas, right? You can essentially put any sort of... It could be nothing, or actually, in theoretics again. Maybe this is me jumping ahead of the Amazon ball that's continuously growing, has this opened up the room for customization in terms of boxes that could be brand focused. Whether it would be, I want this to be on my brand. Or you have received your package from Brian's Razors or something like that where it's branded for my store front on Amazon or if I'm tapping into a Walmart or if I'm tapping into a Shopify, that could be something where it's customizable to the nature of which you're selling on those channels. Does that sound like that might be down the road, or is that too far to tell?

Brian Taylor: I think that's too far the tell. The moving parts on having cardboard stock that is that differentiated would be a challenge. Blank box is pretty easy, because you've got two sets of cardboard stock. You've got ones with Amazon smiles and ones without. I think as printing technology gets better, that's definitely a possibility because as it's running through and getting its label, it could also run through and get something printed on the side of it. I'm not sure where we are in the process of that, but that would probably be what would have to happen for Amazon to be able to do that. That's not to say that you couldn't have... At some point, Amazon may go to the point where they have inventory that is branded to you in their warehouse and as long as someone bought the units that you currently have prepackaged and ready to go, it could have a branded box on it. I think that, 100%, is probably coming down the pipe at some point. I wouldn't put a timeframe on that, but that would make sense because then all Amazon has to do is pick the box, label it, then send it because it's already done. Now if they were ordering multiple things, or it's an order with lots of stuff in it, then it would obviously go into another box. But then the box inside would be branded. Sort of like you can do now to a certain extent, but currently anything that comes, any order from Amazon, gets re boxed no matter what.

Ryan Cramer: Sure. And the reason I bring that up. Again, there's opportunity for anything and everything that Amazon does, right? You can take iterations and really grow from there as technology grows. The reason I say that, I love social listening and watching and scaling the space in general. And the thing I've noticed is when Amazon brands their boxes and the feel that you get for certain things. For example, or just packaging. Packaging can be an enhancement to the brand experience, the unboxing feel. And I know at scale that can be difficult. But, say for example I am a big time seller or 1P seller, or someone who has a lot of money in my pocket and I want to have a series of runs of customized shipping from Amazon's warehouses. For example, like on Prime Day, you see Prime Day boxes, tape, such and so forth. I even talk about even as simple as Starbucks' cups. When holiday time comes around, you used to see the red cups, or you might still, they still potentially do that. So and so forth, it creates that different feel, that psychology of oh this is different than every other time I've shopped here. The reason I say that is just with the runs on certain brands, whether it be talking with Disney or talking with actually bigger brands, the ability to customize that experience to those clients, if you will, could potentially be something huge in terms of a inaudible or revenue in terms of resource. But blank is obviously good. I always think what can you put on a canvas and how do you get creative with it, which I think is really a cool opportunity in the future. But still, that opportunity in itself, super important for people who want to sell on multiple different channels. Do you actually think that this is going to provide a significant lift to revenue streams going through these kinds of operations, like using Amazon to fulfill in different centers?

Brian Taylor: I think it provides revenue streams for a number of people involved. Amazon, for sure. They now can start fulfilling orders that they previously wouldn't have, or a seller would have avoided. So now a seller can use Amazon as their repository for inventory across all of their skews. Secondarily, sellers now can use Amazon and their scale and their ability to competitively ship to sell anything anywhere. No longer are they bound by a box that probably they don't want to have delivered to their front door. They can make sure that they're in compliance with the rules in terms of service of really any shipping or any other channel partner and continue to fulfill with Amazon that has the ability to get it there in two days. Or, in the case with if you're in the same place as one of the Amazon fulfillment centers, there are times where I'll make an order and I'll get it the next morning, because it's coming from 10 miles away. Even if it's coming from USPS.

Ryan Cramer: Exactly. And the reason why that is, is obviously I'm going back to what we looked at earlier. I felt like really foolish saying 100 fulfillment centers, and this was information that I've read and verified now as we're talking. As of, and again, as of this information verified by Amazon on their website, April of 2021, so earlier this year. With over 100 fulfillment centers in the United States alone, in over 185 centers around the world. So answer to our question, 100 fulfillment centers plus are now available in the United States alone. So in theory, you do the math of scale, in theory two per state. Not needed, clearly, for population wise. That's a lot. That's a fulfillment center, in theory, within a day's worth drive easily for lots of these different businesses and fulfillment centers. So my question to you, and I know the answer, but a lot of people are going to say, with a hundred different fulfillment centers, does this capability for blank box or the ability to ship my product from one warehouse to anywhere in the United States, is that going to be true for every single warehouse? Or is it going to take time for this to develop and grow and be adopted across all those different distribution centers?

Brian Taylor: So, currently blank box is not available in all of their distribution centers in the United States. And they're in the process of rolling it out in the UK and I believe Canada's next. Most of the newer fulfillment centers and the modern fulfillment centers that have a lot of the automation and robotics in them, do have blank box. That's part of the reason why they used the beta system, is because they really wanted to make sure that they could do this at scale. Older fulfillment centers that are more manual are going to probably not have blank box, at least for a time period. But at some point, all fulfillment centers probably worldwide will be Amazon and blank box fulfillment centers. And then at that point, then you get into that next level of is it possible to brand a box? Is it possible to do more things with it? And with that comes more automation. So the more modern facilities probably would be able to implement that substantially faster than some of the more inaudible ones. But I was going to also duck tail on, you mentioned the fulfillment centers in the United States, if you go to a market like Seattle, Amazon has its own little small warehouses for all of the on demand delivery stuff. So there are warehouses all around Seattle in weird spots. And I know that there was talk about them doing a similar thing in Boise. We had a local chain store that closed. So all of their locations stopped. And so you have a bunch of essentially small, warehousey type stores that are empty. And rumor has it that Amazon is taking over those so that they can provide the on demand delivery. So the one hour, three hour, five hour delivery stuff and Amazon Fresh.

Ryan Cramer: That makes sense. And this is something with the curb side that they announced or the fulfillment that they just announced, I want to say it's... Man, I just talked about this on our e- com 360 series that we just launched, believe it or not. They're now doing curb side fulfillment in terms of popular retail stores that you buy on Amazon you can actually pick it up from a retail store, they'll hold it for five days and what not. So utilizing actual retail stores like you've mentioned, which it's been touted across the board, especially through Q4 last year, there was a majority of where commerce was happening was curb side, and just utilizing those kinds of networks itself. This year, also expected to be a major component leading up to Christmas and up to the last minute of course for all the holiday shoppers. What's been the most surprising thing in this ecosystem as you become aware, you're kind of getting into the weeds of the fulfillment process with Amazon? Has there been either a big positive or a big negative or glaring issue that you've kind of seen, Brian, in terms of this capacity? What are the things that you've personally noticed in this space?

Brian Taylor: So one of the things that I have noticed, and you brought it up earlier, is limits on inventory. I think that's probably the biggest bottleneck for a lot of sellers out there. Their ability to send things to Amazon and make sure that their inventory levels are proper for when they do have runs on sales, is somewhat limited. I know that they're working on that, that's part of the reason why they put together the Amazon MCF team specifically, is so that they can try to figure out how to optimize inventory levels so that sellers essentially have capacity and then can turn around and cross sell and increase that capacity. But I think the biggest bottleneck for seller right now, is inventory. Just across the board. You've got supply chain issues that, you know, you may have a container sitting off the port of L. A and you're just waiting for that inventory. So even if you had capacity in Amazon, you may not even have the goods to send them. But then secondarily, once you get that container ship, you want all those goods to go to Amazon so you can sell it as fast as you can, and that may or may not be a realistic case for you as an individual seller. So being able to have resources to help increase that capacity is also something that Amazon is working on, which I think is a good thing. They really want to be the end all, be all, logistical partner for everybody. It doesn't work for some sellers, some sellers want to self- distribute, some sellers want to use a different 3PL based on the fact that their limits or their capacity is greater using that. We have a lot of customers that do a hybrid. So they've got some stuff in 3PL, they've got some stuff that they self- distribute, and then they have some stuff that is in FBA. So it's really kind of a hybrid model for a lot of sellers. I think as you get bigger and bigger and bigger, that probably becomes more of an issue based on the fact that you just need more capacity than Amazon's willing to provide you. But like I said, they're now actually offering specific account managers for extraordinarily large sellers. But it's more enterprise level sellers than it is someone selling 20 skews of yoga guns.

Ryan Cramer: Exactly. Well the other note I wanted to bring up too and I thought was fascinating as we talk through this all. Again, going back to the Q3 report that Amazon released late yesterday, and again if you haven't gone through it, if you follow me I've re- posted some of the major takeaways from some of the people on the call that I respected in the industry. And there's a lot of cool things that came from it. Again, they say a lot of surprising things. Again, lower profit margins because of lots of spending. But the major thing they said specifically relating to this topic is that Amazon is not capacity constrained by warehouses or trucking anymore, which was thought to be the biggest thing why they were shuddering, inventory limits and what not. It's actually now because of all their new inventory or operations systems. They actually said that the biggest capacity constraint is now labor. So that is people working there, Amazon clearly needs a lot more people hands on deck and have even touted last year it was 100,000 new jobs, I think this year's 150,000 new jobs, just for Q4 alone that they need hands on deck. Is it more of a warehousing issue that we're going to see is the bottleneck, or is it truly actually going to be the labor force, whether that be human, robotic, whatever that might be in the future, is that going to be the major thing that needs to catch up now according to what you've heard?

Brian Taylor: So product wise, logistical bottlenecks still exist pretty substantially. I've done a bunch of reading on what's happening at the ports, and that truly is a specific bottleneck. But at some point, that will work itself out. And once it goes back to stasis, we won't have that bottleneck anymore. We'll have figured out how to make that work more functionally, so that hopefully we don't have it again. So there is a very specific bottleneck, but that's not specific to Amazon and their logistics at all. I mean, obviously they get some products, but they have the resources to get them no matter how they are looking at it. They can hire their own private boat to go to some random port and get trucks to take it off. They have capacity and scale that most people just couldn't even fathom. But yes, from a warehousing to front door standpoint, labor is, I would say, by far the largest bottleneck for Amazon going forward. Because they have the distribution centers, they've got the size, they have enough space to do whatever really they want. The hard part is getting the labor force to actually do that. I mean, when you think about Amazon's warehouse, how many people does it take just to run the labeling part of the distribution? Okay. So now, start expanding outside of that and then you have all the people that are involved in the trucking side of it. So whether it's loading trucks that go to USPS or UPS, or loading their own trucks. You have to have drivers for all those. You have to have drivers for Amazon logistics to drop goods off at houses. I mean, you look at the shear number of people it takes to operate one functioning warehouse and then multiply it by 100. It's astounding. And they just continue to build, so you build more warehouses you have to staff them. And you're looking at five to 10,000 jobs that have to be filled so that you can run a fully functional warehouse. So I think labor is going to be the largest issue for most logistical partners outside of the fact that we have got supply chain issues that will eventually resolve themselves.

Ryan Cramer: I'd agree with that. I think you're right, and we mentioned 100 distribution centers at scale. When you have 10 to 15,000 employees across each of those entities, that's a lot of workforce that you need to be working for you consistently, quickly, as well as effectively. Now, as Amazon grows, that number continues to go up. So it'd be cool and interesting to keep an eye on in terms of how they're going to continue to iterate, grow, whether it be, again, labor force or automated force. Whatever that kind of looks like in the long term as well. I had a couple of other questions actually I started writing down as I was thinking through multichannel fulfillment. The North American remote fulfillment program, I'm assuming you're aware of, is you can get distributed products if you're selling in Canada or Mexico from your FBA warehousing in the United States. Is that something that you or JoeLister or anyone considers that to be a smart thing to do? Or is there a lot of negative that can come from that and you would rather just have the inventory in those warehouses, in FBA warehouses in Canada or Mexico, separately? Can you walk me through that?

Brian Taylor: So I think it probably depends on how you operate and what your sales volume is like. If you're selling a high volume in Canada or Mexico and in the United States, you probably want to separate that inventory so that you can manage it a little more effectively and get it to someone's doorstep faster.

Ryan Cramer: Mm- hmm( affirmative).

Brian Taylor: But, if Canada or Mexico are very secondary in your sales volume, then consolidating that does make more sense because then you're shipping to one location and then that gets distributed out through the Amazon channel. Where if you're selling in Canada, it would need to go to a Canadian FBA warehouse. Where you're selling in the United States, it has to go to a United States FBA warehouse. So I think more than anything, in that perspective it's all about scale. How big are you? What's your sales volume look like? If you're selling a ton in different parts of the world, you probably want to have inventory there. But if you can consolidate it because that sales volume is really low, then it probably makes sense to consolidate it, because then you reduce your cost by not having to break apart your inventory and then ship to two different places.

Ryan Cramer: Got you. What about fulfillment here as different marketplaces continue to grow and develop over time, what are the things that you're looking to see develop over the next one to two years in terms of this multichannel fulfillment area? Has there been any of note that this is our project, we're going to focus on tying into more than just eBay. Again, we talked about Walmart a little bit earlier. Shopify. Where's the next iteration of growth that happens if it's you or if you're a brand owner, you can actually help them get into that next need or want. Are you guys hearing that from consumers who are saying, listen, I would love to fulfill from... I don't know if Etsy makes sense, because of the personalization and customization or if there's other sorts of marketplaces that you guys are looking at.

Brian Taylor: So I would say from a marketplace standpoint, yes, we're looking to expand our footprint. Currently we only work on eBay and Shopify. The beauty of focusing on two is that you can do it really well. The more and more you add on, the more complexity you have in your system. So when we put out a new product, we want to make sure that it actually works and works really well and that the fulfillment doesn't break down, because that's the worst part for a seller is if you have fulfillment that breaks down on orders, it kills your business. But yes, so we are working to expand into, I think Walmart would probably be our next big push for a marketplace. Target has a pretty robust marketplace system now, so does Best Buy. Home Depot even has marketplace item, so sometimes when you order things from Home Depot, you're actually getting something that was fulfilled by some random dude in Indianapolis. All those marketplaces are starting to grow and grow and grow. Newegg is another one that a lot of people... If you have technology products, have bought probably on Newegg. Newegg's marketplace is huge as well. And then you kind of span out into individual websites, so you've got WooCommerce you've got BigCommerce you've got a lot of other places where sellers are actively selling. Etsy's one of the ones that comes up on a pretty regular basis with our sellers. The hard part with Etsy is that, yeah, you've got a level of personalization that you don't typically see with other marketplaces. So if you're selling on Target, you don't care about personalizing anything. If you're selling on Etsy, you're probably personalizing it. Etsy's a more complicated growth strategy. But if you're a seller who's fulfilling on your own, and you're not actually using FBA, you're fulfilling from your garage then yeah, you can still have that inventory based in Amazon. So we can actually provide you the automated flow, but you would then need to send it on your own, because you're probably going to add something specific to the purchaser that you wouldn't in an Amazon order. Taking it a step further, going back into more of the fulfillment space. The next step for a lot of sellers and a lot of service providers like us is creating connections within more than just Amazon. So currently, our system works really well with Amazon. But there are other warehouse and 3PL or third party logistics partners out there that are doing a really good job as well. And they've gotten to the point where they're matching Amazon for shipment prices and speed. It takes a lot of resources to do that, obviously. But you will get a company like Delivers. Deliver now has warehouses all over the United States and for a lot of markets can provide two days just like Amazon does. So potentially making integrations with other third party logistics partners as well, since a seller may want or only has capacity to send X number to Amazon. If you can automate the fulfillment to their other partner, that's a huge thing for the seller.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. And then also, to think that, again, businesses and brands that are at scale, they have their own inventory warehousing distribution centers, how do they tap into those same ecosystems of... It all talks together, like an ERP for example, correct? Something that's pulling from all inventory across the board. So if I am a purchasing and product planning individual, I can start to see holistically instead of going to just Amazon or JoeLister's dashboard, whomever that is, than going to my Best Buy dashboard or Home Depot dashboard, you know what I mean? There's that dashboard mentality of how do I create this all in one encompassing brand as you get to the hire echelons of brands. Like SNBs, obviously there's going to be so many places that they're going to be. They're not going to have huge, multichannel warehousing. If they are, they're probably in the top 100 of Amazon, clearly, and they have their own ecosystem. But as you're touching on all these different wholesale channels or distribution channels and you're running a huge operational program, having that all talk to each other I know is a need for lots of people. And then forecasting, when I worked for my company back in the D2C ages, forecasting was so difficult because of planning 12, 14 months out for that creation of product but you're doing it and then oh, seven months later, we actually way oversold what we need and we need more. So really having that talk together because of my specific channel versus Amazon versus all these other channels that we are selling through. The cohesiveness is always been one that's escaped people and I know there's lots of great solutions to just having that one really good ERP built together so that you can see everything together. Brian, I know the final minutes that we have you. What's the most exciting thing about working with a company like JoeLister on a day to day basis? Is it the problem, solutions that you guys are creating for sellers or... What's kind of that most exciting? And then on the flip side, what's kind of the thing that keeps you up at night trying to figure out on a day to day basis?

Brian Taylor: So, most exciting thing is I love to work with people in general. And our sellers are typically super excited about just selling in general, that's what they've made their lives on. So you get to have a lot of really interesting conversations, providing handholding support more than anything. Like having a phone conversation with someone and being able to actually provide them real value or leading them down the path of becoming more efficient, is something I really enjoy. I would say the hardest part about working with a SaaS product is when things don't go well. So you find a bug, you fix the bug, it causes another bug. So you're always... In the tech world, we refer to it as technical debt. Tech debt scares the heck out of me. But, in all reality, we don't have that much technical debt. But it's that fear of like okay, if we implement this new thing, what are we going to break? And then how do we fix it if it does break that? So I think what keeps me up the most at night is just the fear of touching something and then having something else fall apart. Luckily, my engineering team is great and we do a good job of making sure that we test everything prior to actually releasing it. But there's a lot that goes into even just adding a button in a website. It's not just adding a button. There's so many things that that touches that there's always that back end fear of like, let's make sure that this is working 100% before we deploy it so that we don't break anything.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Or hurt the partner that you are inaudible information from. I worked in the SaaS world for a long time, a lifetime ago it feels like. And it was always scary to think that what you can do with that ... It's almost like with great power comes great responsibility, and that's what you have when you get access to that kind of information and data. Not to piss off anyone that's giving you access, the person with the keys right. inaudible. So that's amazing. So wrapping up quickly, Brian. Information based upon you, the company and what not. How do we feel like what they hear, if this is the solution, hey, I actually... I'm looking for an opportunity to consolidate and almost make something a lot more easier and take time. I always love referring people to something that saves you time, money, or effort. This seems to do literally all three of those. So if they want to touch base with you or JoeLister, what's the best way to do that?

Brian Taylor: If you send an email to hello @ joelister. com that will come to essentially our support area, where typically I'm touching it. Our engineers are touching it. If need be, we have a couple of support people that also would essentially review it. So hello @ joelister.com if you've got questions, happy to answer whatever you've got. You can visit our website, it's just joelister.com. It has a bunch of information on there, pricing as well. So you can go ahead and take a look at that. Those are probably the two easiest ways to reach out to us. If you want to schedule an actual one on one with me, just send a message to hello @ joelister and then I will catch that and then I will reach out directly. We can schedule the calendar, it's pretty super simple.

Ryan Cramer: Easy enough. Works for me. Well thank you so much for hopping on Crossover Commerce today. I know there's inaudible and you guys are being super busy. We're excited, I know Ping Pong to partner with you guys and moving forward as a growth partner. And I'm excited to hear more about the new marketplaces and you guys watching you grow through the ecosystem you guys are building out to. So congrats on all the success and we look forward to working with you individually, and thanks for coming on Crossover Commerce now friend of the podcast.

Brian Taylor: Yeah, thank you very much. It was a pleasure being on here and have a wonderful Friday.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Thank you, Brian. And again everyone else who joined us live on Crossover Commerce, thank you for tuning in for a little bit or if you stayed the whole time, or listened to the whole time, we appreciate you tuning into every single episode. And this episode was another fantastic way to garner more information about just the importance of having a multichannel fulfillment plan in place, working with companies like a JoeLister to make sure that as you brand at scale and grow your business, you want to be able to have those businesses and solutions that are going to help you save time, money and effort. And that's what we talked about today in the world of headaches that trying to fulfill and ebb and flow of work with just great technologies that Amazon has built out or other, third party companies have built out. You want to make sure that you can use those to your benefit. So that's what we talked about today. Again, thank you so much Brian of JoeLister. And again, the team over there, partner being with Ping Pong Payments. Moving forward, I'm Ryan Kramer, this has been one heck of a week at Crossover Commerce. Next week's kind of crazy, I know lots of people are traveling for an Amazon Powwowevent held in Miami, Florida. We at Ping Pong are sponsoring a couple of those events and will be seeing lots of sellers and service providers down there for that. So make sure you tune in and get your tickets if you haven't already and we'll see you guys down there. Otherwise, this has been Crossover Commerce episode 175, my corner of the internet where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon and e- commerce space. Appreciate everyone for tuning in for every episode and listening and watching on your favorite platform. Again, on any social media network. Or, if you're listening to us on the podcast, your favorite podcast station where you can listen to all of our podcasts, at usa. pingpong. com/ podcast. Having said that, I'm Ryan Kramer, thanks for tuning in to another great episode. We'll catch you guys next time. Take care.

DESCRIPTION

Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Brian Kayler of JoeLister one-on-one about new Amazon multi-channel fulfillment initiates and what it means for sellers building their brands.

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Crossover Commerce is presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account today!

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You can watch or listen to all episodes of Crossover Commerce at: https://usa.pingpongx.com/podcast

Today's Host

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🎙 Ryan Cramer - Host

|Partnership & Influencer Marketing Manager

Today's Guests

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Brian Kayler

|Product Owner for JoeLister