How should Amazon brands adapt in 2022 ⎜ Incrementum Digital ⎜ EP 182

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This is a podcast episode titled, How should Amazon brands adapt in 2022 ⎜ Incrementum Digital ⎜ EP 182. The summary for this episode is: <p>Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Liran Hirschkorn of Incrementum Digital one-on-one as they discuss where Amazon brands need to adapt in 2022.</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="" 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="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>---</p><p>You can watch or listen to all episodes of Crossover Commerce at: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></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 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 in the Amazon and E- commerce industry with that being said, this is episode 182. If you were with us yesterday, we had two episodes almost back to back really. We talked about building profitability with your brands and how to make your brands both valuable and sellable and what that looks like with our round table panelists. And then we also talked about just overcoming obstacles on Amazon. Today we're taking a little bit of different approach. We're going to put our fortune telling hats on kind of taking what we've learned about out in 2020, 2020 I would say, even in also 2021 and really how it's going to impact brands moving forward, because there's just news constantly coming out. I feel like my head's on a swivel stick. Our guest was... I was talking pre- show with our guest day. His head is on the swivels stick. We're constantly trying to figure out what's going on in space and, and really figure out what it all means for those brands on Amazon. That means said just a quick shout out to presenting sponsors, Ping Pong payments. Are you having trouble getting money into your supplier manufacturer quickly? Well, with Ping Pong payments, you can actually do that by sending money directly in foreign currency. Whether it be you on the INR wherever your supplier manufacturer might be, or if you just want to pay your VAs or any other entity internationally, you could pay them a localized currency easily with a solution like Ping Pong payments. It's easy, it's cost effective, and it puts money back to your bottom line. Instead of paying hidden fees through banks, through other service providers, anything like that, it's free to sign up, just go to usa. pingpongx. com/ podcast. And you can sign up for free today and check out all of our past episodes. Like I said, this is episode 182 of our beautiful show Crossover Commerce, and you can watch all former episodes go look through all of our past highlights takeaways, and even has transcripts of every single episode. So if do the math we do on average about an hour worth of content for every episode. So lots of content out there to read through key takeaways from all of our experts, including our guests who's also a friend of the show. So that being said, we wanted to talk about 2022, what to expect and how brands are going to who adapt moving into this next coming year, which is only a few weeks away. Believe it or not look at the calendar it's coming up quickly. So that being said, want to bring back friend of the show, Liran Hirschkorn of Incrementum Digital. Liran, thanks for hopping on crossover commerce.

Liran Hirschkorn : Thank you so much for having me on, been watching your content and been great to see you just putting out a lot of valuable content. So-

Ryan Cramer: I appreciate that.

Liran Hirschkorn : Thanks for having me on.

Ryan Cramer: It's easy to do from my, I wouldn't say my mothership here at home, so, but you've been out on the road. You've been hitting the pavement. You've been talking with lots of sellers since we last talk. I would want to say like, what's new, what's the world been like since we last had you on, which was like late last year, early this year, I would say, what's it been like out there talking with sellers and clients and employees you're growing quickly too. So what's it been like?

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah, so, I mean, it's been an interesting year, I think the COVID bump has ended. And I think this year, especially in a variety of categories that really took off in 2020, look at categories like home decor and fitness and certain categories that were very, very successful, especially early on when COVID hit, I think are having somewhat of a tougher time, like people already bought all the exercise equipment they needed for their house and...

Ryan Cramer: You don't need another peloton?

Liran Hirschkorn : You don't need another peloton. And if you moved into working from home working in the office, you already bought the things to make your working more comfortable, easier for you, better, et cetera. So we've seen brands kind of having a harder time in certain categories this year, especially I think starting with like, yeah, as the country started to open up before this, like Delta variant became a thing right around like June, July, I think it was right around the time went to prosper, the country was opening up and I think people started to shop more in brick and mortar and go out and it's been a challenge, I think for a lot of brands over the last several months on top of that, you have a lot of pressures on margins, like obviously supply chain and inventory, inventory limitations from Amazon, so a lot of pressures. And then just yesterday, Amazon announces an increase in fees for fulfillment and for storage. So it's not necessarily going to get any easier, but I think the way brands really that sell on Amazon adapt is they change their mindset from being an Amazon seller to a brand. And I think for the future to be successful, you'll need to start thinking about the same things that D2C brands have been thinking about, which is sort of building an audience and working with influencers and driving ads outside of Amazon, into Amazon, all those things are going to need to be part of your marketing arsenal. I think just like, just it inside of Amazon tactics will only take you so far. And the better you could do that, the more branded traffic you're going to get, the more branded traffic you're going to get, the lower your e- cost is going to be... I also see Amazon just opening up and giving you a lot more tools. Since we last spoke, they recently launched this opportunity Explorer, which is now giving you actual real search volume data on competitors. So Amazon's going to give you more data. And I think sort of prediction is and this is not like a hard prediction to come by is that Amazon will give you more data. So, I would like to see, and I think it would be smart for Amazon to give you lifetime value of a customer or at least 12 month value of a customer and if it aligns very well with their strategy to get you to spend more money on ads, because if you... Right now, they give you like repeat purchase rates, but they don't give you actual like, lifetime value of a customer for a particular product. And if they did, especially, if you have a consumable or some kind of repeatable purchase or people are buying multiple products from you, then you'll be able to understand that what your real cost of acquiring customers should be because of the lifetime value, you'll be able to spend more on ads. And I feel like that's part of the way Amazon's going to sort of combat this like rise in cost per click and get you to spend more money on the platform. And things are getting more complex. Another thing that came out recently is Amazon is now it's in beta, so it's not launched yet for a lot of people, but we're seeing bid optimization rules in the ad platform. So you'll be able to kind of enter in a target ROAS and Amazon will actually optimize your bids towards that target ROAS. There's some nuances to it where if you're not able to reach at ROAS, like after 21 days, Amazon will sort of cut off that feature when I posted it, or when I saw somebody post about it, somebody made a comment almost like, are you going to give... it was some kind of term, basically, are you going to give the robber full access to control everything, kind of a thing. Do you want Amazon optimizing your bids for you? Because they obviously have different set of interests, but just a lot of things happening.

Ryan Cramer: Well, that makes sense. And I'm not laughing here in the background because you're right. Do you really want to leave it up to Amazon to say, oh yeah, let me add a little bit more to my budget here or upcharge here or things like that. And that can get out of here quickly high level. And you mentioned all those things. It seems crazy to think that all happened in one year. It seems like I'm not sure about you learn, has this been a year where there's just been so much change, small tweaks here and there nothing like super major like FBA or FBM or anything like that. Just like the program itself, nothing major like that, but there's been tons of tweaks. I feel like every two, three, four weeks or so. That there's just, people are constantly have to stop what they're doing. Read through everything and like, all right, well this makes it annoyingly hard to adjust, but we can do it. So it's almost like the thousand death by thousand paper cuts, right? Like small things here and there. And over time you're like, Jesus, let me have a break.

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. You have to pay a lot of attention because yes, there's been a ton of updates. And as we talk, I just think of more and more, Amazon launched now this like customer engagement tool and it's intended to allow you to send out notices of new ASINs to your followers. And again, that's something DSC brands have always had to think about getting followers. Well now you'll have to think about how do I get more followers on Amazon for my brand. So yeah, I mean, it seems like there isn't a week or two that goes by without some kind of update somewhere, especially in the advertising side, there's been many, many updates. I mean, you can now target Twitch audiences in sponsored display ads, look back periods for retargeting and purchase. Remarketing are now expanded there. There's been so many things that yeah, you really need, you can no longer just like, Amazon sort of be an autopilot kind of thing for you because you'll lose ground against your competitors that are taking place. We've seen Amazon posts now show up on detail pages. If you have 10 or more posts, I've seen influencer posts show up on detail pages. So Amazon is definitely... They definitely trying to cater to brands and make it give brands more tools, more data and make the platform I think more friendly towards brands. We've seen video ads now on and off have had a link towards going to somebody's store. Amazon is really another big thing is attribution and the brand referral bonus, the 10% or so on, on average that you get by sending traffic from outside of Amazon with attribution. So I think Amazon... I think you'll see a massive adoption in attribution as a result. I think you'll see a lot more tools being developed in order to take advantage of attribution and a year from now, if you're not using attribution, right now, if you're using attribution and you're running outside traffic, you're kind of like early adopter in a way. A year from now, you'll be behind the pack. If you're not yet doing it, it'll be like the people now who I still talk to sometimes it'll be like, and we never launched video ads yet. And I still had a conversation yesterday with a brand that this hasn't done has no videos. I'm like you haven't done video ads. It's been one of the best opportunities to capture space and early on it was one of the best cheapest cost per clicks you can get.

Ryan Cramer: I don't know. Yeah. I was going to say, I don't know a product that I've seen lately that hasn't had a video ad or like not even a video ad, but just a video embedded in its own product listing, let alone a video ad. But interesting.

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. Video on the listing video, video ad, but there's still a lot of people, especially in Europe, this brand sells in US and Europe and successful. I mean, they're seven figure brand they're successful. They just never implemented it. And it's like, you really need to stay ahead and take advantage of the tools that you're given in order to maximize the opportunity because, if they had launched a video ad, even with the same budget, then you can, and that video ad performs better. You can start to shift budget at least to that ad and lower your cost of acquiring a customer, your cost per click, your e- cost great opportunity, especially because they're so prominent on mobile and 60, 70% of shoppers are shopping on mobile. Another big thing is custom image beta in sponsored brands. If you haven't adopted that. I mean, you should do some searches on mobile and see the difference of what it looks like to have custom image beta, the custom image on a mobile sponsored brand ad versus not. And it's huge. So like so many changes this year and then at the same time, so many challenges for brands. But I think the way brands need to evolve is really, and what I've been doing sort of on the agency front, since the beginning of the year, I've been really, I would say pushing my team to work on systems and processes for driving Google traffic into Amazon, which we've recently started doing. We've now put together an influencer marketing team and we're doing it for brand management clients. And we're doing a beta for one non- brand management client to utilize influence marketing and use attribution. And I mean, this is where things are moving. And I'm the same way as a brand owner, because if I don't implement this as an agency, then I'll be left behind in terms of how I can help clients. So I keep thinking about, well, what's next and how do we help customers implement it. And honestly, if I don't help customers implement it, somebody else will. So, and you need to think about... You need to have that same urgency as a brand owner. If you don't take advantage of these opportunities, somebody else will, your competitors will. And if you're going to think about, what are the advantage and disadvantage of being a US seller versus a Chinese seller? The Chinese sellers will always be able to launch products faster, get samples faster, vet products. We had a company, Halloween Zoom party, and I wanted to get a cost... I wanted to get front man from squid games, right?

Ryan Cramer: You and every other person on the planet man.

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah, well, yeah, it was the number one search term for a little bit, but like all the products that were available were only shipping direct from China, because they can get those products up quickly and the prices were high too. Right? So that opportunity will just not be available for US based seller. But I think, but where US based sellers can win is through better marketing branding, you can see the Chinese brand names that are probably auto created by bots that are just creating accounts and brands that don't make any sense. Like the more we move towards like branding and marketing, the better chance you have to, you have to win in the market. And that's from a lot of aspects. There's somebody in my, I got introduced to in my town that has a product in retail. They sell like almond flour, like breadcrumbs, like keto, paleo stuff. And they weren't really a potential client because they're kind of small, but somebody in my town asked me if like I'm willing to like take a call with them. So last night at nine o'clock I got on a phone call with them and I looked at their listing and I saw so many opportunities. I'm like, first of all, you're packaging were designed for retail. It's not designed for Amazon. Look at your competition. Your competition has this giant thing that says like Kiss My Keto, a brand called Kiss My Keto, paleo breadcrumbs or whatever, in big, under packaging for you. I can't even tell what the product is unless I really like zoom in on the main image. Like you have to think about all these things. How does your packaging stand out in the search results, like what are all the areas you can optimize to really make your product pop and capture attention at end of the day, it's about good marketing is about being able to capture attention. I think you really need to think about every aspect of your business and how you can optimize it.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, going off your point of the customization, I ask people, how do businesses brand owners take advantage of customization of trends or anything like that? When in a quick environment, it's going to last six months, if that you want to get in, get out, how do you set up processes in place? And I thought there was a really cool story. I forget where I read it. It was a 3D printer. I believe it was on Etsy. Pretty typical. You can't really do that customization too much in Amazon, but I think that there will be a play there where Amazon plays in the customization world of if you have the ability to customize a from a mask or anything like that, the drop of hat sell it through Amazon's portal seems like that there would be more opportunity through the customization processes where there's institutions in the United States or more local in those markets where you can turn around quicker and take advantage of those search opportunities. Because I think the feedback of there's just no products out there that exist to take advantage of trending opportunities, whether it be pop culture or applicable, environments of whatever that might be. So I thought there was some cruel opportunities there in that regards. And a seller said, I had all my 3D printers going 24, 7 for two months or a month or two solid before Halloween. And I was selling them out like crazy. So things like that, where obviously there's opportunity for branding and ebbing and flowing at a time where search trends can change like that. The other thing I saw recently, and I posted about this yesterday is how certain brands are promoting now voice search instead of just in app search as well. And the reason why I brought that up yesterday is I look at a couple brands who are pretty... Who work well with Amazon. And it's almost like the test mark of, Hey, we'll try this. And we'll offer a really good discount. In the old days that was the way to launch products and things like that. But it's now a focus on featuring different whether customers adapt and they use those kinds of new ways to search of it was telling Alexa, Hey, Alexa, buy our purchase, and it was branded term that you had to use like Kasa Smart Switch or Kasa, Kasa Smart bulb or color bulb.

Liran Hirschkorn : You might be making the purchase on my Alexa right now.

Ryan Cramer: Oh, no, I was going to say I hear something in the background. Yeah. I was like, see, that's what I'm saying is like, it's so easy. I can just passively be saying that same with apple products. I feel like all the time, but in the general notion it added it to cart. And I was starting to think through this, the more and more I thought about this. I wonder if Amazon's going to start pushing more weight towards voice search instead of just in app search, because it's actually streamlining the processes quicker to add to cart stuff, thumbing through everything, searching actually clicking through maybe two or three steps, but that just adds it directly to cart and everything's already saved on file. Why not make that purchase a little bit quicker and reward that search and that capacity more too?

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. I think like you said in terms of rewarding it with like algorithmic ranking, if your product is getting more voice kind of search. I mean, I see it. I have an echo show, which also has like a screen.

Ryan Cramer: The video.

Liran Hirschkorn : And it's super useful because first of all, it pops every time there's a delivery from Amazon outside, it kind of gives me like a notification that something was delivered. And then I can see on the screen, like what it is that was delivered. And it does sometimes rotate like, do you want to reorder this product? Or like consumable products and stuff that I buy. So I definitely see, I think Amazon also working on improving the technology or for around voice search. So yeah, it'll be interesting to how that evolves.

Ryan Cramer: Is that trackable, by the way? I say that because of the big release of, Hey, Amazon's pretty planet fact flag pretty hard on the notion of, Hey, any sort of ranking manipulation or anything like that, not to say that this isn't a way to do that is voice trackable in that regard, or I'm assuming it's all done through IP, would that be something where you can enhance, somebody's searching of a branded term? And if that happens to give them more weight, I wonder if there's a way where instead of you seeing keyword research... Keyword searches in something like a helium tin, a jungle scout, something like that. crosstalk I was going to say what's voice search capability and how often is not being searched for?

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. I mean, I think it's interesting because I think eventually...

Ryan Cramer: I think we might have lost Liran just for a second, we might have knocked a camera loose or so he was about ready to make a really good point. So Liran, if you can hear me, I don't see right now. So I was just going to go ahead and single out real quick. Hey Liran, if you come back, I'll see you come. But there was a lot of good, I feel like it was about ready to make a really good point. I wonder if we lost internet connection, but that being said, it's always fun to do these live when he does come back, I'll make sure that he can hop on really quickly and we'll continue our conversation, but for everyone who's watching and listening there he is. Now we got you. I was going to say you lost internet for a second, everyone.

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. I knocked out the plug on my internet and it's restarting.

Ryan Cramer: No, no problem. Man that was quick adaption.

Liran Hirschkorn : Oh, I got off wifi on my phone and didn't want to leave you hanging. So I apologize.

Ryan Cramer: No, I appreciate it. No, it's happened before. Believe it or not. This is something where people have lost the internet connection. It was with Dan Brownsher of Channel Key and he all of a sudden just lost the internet. I'm like, well, we're going to vent for a little bit. We're just going to recap. No, go ahead with what you were saying.

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. So, I mean, I think it'll be... I think you'll start to see maybe some of the actual search terms adapt, right? Like in terms of the search term, being different, by the way people talk versus by the way people type, I know that, I don't know, a couple years back there was like a URL you could give that was a direct, add to cart URL. That seemed to be the same thing as a customer, adding a product to cart from Alexa that...[inaudible 00:25: 59 ]

Ryan Cramer: She needs to turn off the listening ears right now.

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. Sorry. So there was a thing and it was easier to get Amazon's choice, choice badge by doing that and seemed to be a signal for Amazon's choice by using Alexa to, to add to cart. So, yeah, so I think it'll be interesting to see how voice evolves and also like, as that happens more and more, how does Amazon think about ads, right? Like on the echo show device, they can display ads to me, what are they going to do on devices where there's just audio and how do they monetize sort of monetize sponsored posts sort of using Alexa or if people do that. So it'll be interesting to see...

Ryan Cramer: We need like a secret phrase instead of saying the word.

Liran Hirschkorn : Exactly.

Ryan Cramer: We'll just call it a her or something like that. Give that.

Liran Hirschkorn : I used to listen. I've been listening to Howard Stern, like my entire life. And when he was switching from K- Rock over to Sirius, like his last like six months or so at K- Rock, he was not allowed to talk about his move to Sirius by K- Rock. So they used to say, heehe instead of sending Sirius XM that's what they say so we need to say that.

Ryan Cramer: I love that. Well, that's the thing too. It's like, it's the sensitivity of it, but it's helpful too. And I think just the adaption is just, is officially a move there. But the reason why I brought that up yesterday and it was so fascinating is it was for a deal. And I think it was a test, like I think a lot of these things that Amazon's allowing brands to do is test right? The reemergence of catalogs, what you weren't allowed to as a third party seller, it was all branded content of Disney, Lego Mattel, whatever, top tier one brands, I would say, they give those capabilities. All you have to do is just point and click your app. Amazon gets the data, and then it allows them to say, Hey, this is what the value is. We sent that out to a hundred million households in the United States. These many people bought an app of your product or that product of similar notion, Hey, competitor, you want a spot next year, pay up. And these kinds of notions, right? You see it with target, you see all these people of data is always going to be replicated. And it's going to be real time of where the shopper is if they're actually purchasing from that source instead of just searching by happenstance and ad. So I think there's all these other different metrics that they're going to start testing really hone in on the branded aspect, right? Like you said, the follow up button always pops up, whether it be a third party brand or a one P brand. But I think they're set in this table so that when people move from D2C over to Amazon or vice versa, it almost creates a streamlined effect where it's enticing enough to get on Amazon and pay this extra fees. And for people who are there's... Lots of grants are still off of Amazon, they haven't yet adopted onto. So I think that creating those symbiosis processes is really going to enhance that capability and bring back the likes of Nike or whomever that it's worth that process and fee whatever they decide to charge.

Liran Hirschkorn : There's also very little brands like Nike that can kind of afford to not be on the platform and still, do really well on their own site and not kind of lose out. But I think with COVID, there's so many brands that decided to really embrace Amazon because of the fast shipping and just how much adoption there was of use of Amazon, right? Like Amazon became like an essential business that people really like needed and relied on. And lots of brands I think, realized that during COVID. And I also think that I've seen brands shifting their ad budget from Facebook to Amazon as well, because of all the iOS updates and Facebook ads no longer are working very well for them in 2021 since this update. So there's been lots of factors and I think we'll continue to see factors of more brands coming on the platform. It'll also be... You also see Amazon in some ways, trying to be more seller friendly, with things like suspensions, they now give you kind of like a notice before you get suspended and still not, I would say friendly, but they're trying to get better.

Ryan Cramer: That's so nice of them.

Liran Hirschkorn : What's that?

Ryan Cramer: That's so nice of them to give you a notice.

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: When that's up.

Liran Hirschkorn : Before killing your whole business. But I mean, I think Amazon does see sort of the threat of a lot more brands also getting on Shopify a lot more Amazon sellers, right. Who were only Amazon sellers in the last couple years have shifted to also sell on Shopify and have had success. And Walmart, to some extent making a push with Walmart plus, and Walmart continuing to add more and more sellers. And I think Walmart wouldn't add as many sellers, new sellers, if Amazon was, it's kind of easier to deal with and sellers wanted more options and kind of being frustrated with having to deal with Amazon, this brand that I spoke to yesterday, this guy who has the keto breadcrumb product, I asked him like, why is a third party seller selling your product and not you directly? And he said, well, I tried opening an account like a seller account. And I had so many issues like verifying and getting on. And I opened, I tried to reach out to their help. Like, I could never open up an account. So I just gave it to somebody else to sell the product. And I'm like, no, I'm like, you need to get control first and apply for brand registry and like do all these things. But that's a brand owner is product is in retail and can't even open an account because it's such a frustrating process.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Well, and that's what a lot of people are trying to struggle with. We talked about yesterday of 6.4 million technical Amazon sellers active is 1. 5. Where's that disconnect and people are either getting kicked off, but also I think just that barrier is just so difficult to overcome of these little things. They just add up. And it's really difficult for people who are used to it, and they have these resources they're used to this background and they can overcome those. But like you said, if it's difficult to get verified, or it's just a pain in the ass, let's just call what it is. They're just going to fit out or go with somebody else. So, but I guess looking at our topic and how brands are going to move forward. I think a lot of people are cognizant that they need to be more of a company focused instead of a product focused entity, whatever that looks like to them. Does that to you and your clients and customers, does that mean omnichannel, or does that mean diversification in terms of different marketplaces? What does that look like to you love your clients, what you're telling them for the next year?

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. I mean, in my mind, it's not so much about like all the different marketplaces that you sell on. It's just having more control. So if I develop relationships with influencers who like my product and will talk about it to their audience, then sort of doesn't matter. I can send it to Amazon. I can also on a switch, send that traffic into my website. If I have an email list, I can market the list to go buy an Amazon I can market. So the list is incentivized to go buy in my website. So I think it's about more direct control, direct communication with the customer than necessarily like where you're selling. But I mean, our focus is to drive these signals into Amazon. And the reason is because, I think Amazon is looking at more of these signals of back links. You know, do you have back links to your Amazon listing on content websites? Casey Goss just spoke at AMZ an event mentioned, he thinks is even looking like at, are you on Walmart? Are you on D2C on your own website as a signal to see if you're a real brand. So maybe there is something there, but for me, and like, as a focus of growing your sales on Amazon, I think you have to drive outside traffic into Amazon now, yeah, if you have the bandwidth, you should have a Shopify site and you should be... You can run Google shopping ads along with Google shopping ads to your site, alongside with Google text ads, with attribution, into Amazon. There's also, for brands that, we have some brands that have said to us, like they're in retail, they're selling a lot through their own website that we manage that does look, we don't want to run Google ads because that's cannibalizing our traffic into our D2C site. And my response is okay, but there's people searching like your product plus Amazon, right? Like there's still certain searches where people really intend and want to get to Amazon. They're also people searching your brand name plus Amazon, right? Why would you do that in Google? I don't know, but people do. So because just there's people who just start out everything on their computer with Google. So there's still searches. I think you could take advantage of and with your influencers. Yeah. I don't think... I think you should send signals to Amazon that Amazon wants because it's going to help your rankings and it's an algorithm that you're trying to sort of manipulate versus your D2C site. We do see a lot of opportunities in terms of expansion into Canada, expansion into Europe. I have a client that we're running ads for them in the US, but they're doing so well in Canada. They don't even want to run ads there. They can't keep in stock and they're not running any ads for example, right. It's something you don't really hear about the US market. Like, Hey, I'm doing so well in the US market. I don't even need to run ads. Right.

Ryan Cramer: I'll take that exactly.

Liran Hirschkorn : It's not the case. So there's more opportunities I think also to expand internationally that brands should be looking at for 2022. And then think about marketing like a brand and not just like I have an Amazon business that I run only ads within Amazon. And that I'm only focused on the listing and SEO side, which again, you should focus on all that. I think that's all the low hanging fruit, right? Like you should focus on the optimization of your store, of your advertising within Amazon of your listings of your titles. You should take advantage of manage experiments and AB testing your main image, AB testing your title. All these things should sort of be low hanging fruit that you should be working on. And using tools like PickFu right. And these things that are out there that are available to you to optimize and improve what you already have on Amazon. But from there really think about the marketing outside Google ads, Amazon we've seen crazy, insane ranking benefits that you're getting right now. I don't think that's going to last forever because no marketing sort of tactic lasts forever. And just like with video ads in 2019 or whatever, whatever that started, this will not last forever. So if you're not running Google ads to Amazon right now using attribution, using the brand referral bonus, taking advantage of this, the brand referral bonus is not going to last forever. Either Amazon will do it for a year or so and get enough adoption of attribution, and then they're going to stop giving away that free money. So do it now while you can, use Amazon posts before Amazon sponsored post comes out and becomes a thing, right? All these things that are available to you that are low hanging fruit on the Amazon platform take advantage. But there are some things right now specifically, I would say Google ads to Amazon that I think is one of the best opportunities I could tell you, we started running it for a client and literally keyword from position intent to position one after like three or four days of running Google ads with like a$ 10 a day budget on the product. Some things that are unbelievable. And as Amazon starts to shift from whether you believe that this is a terms of service things are not like on rebates, for example, right? Like, well, if you want to take a more an approach that's safer and valid running Google ads to Amazon is a lot more of what Amazon wants than you to run rebates. For example, again, I'm not saying that I think you'll get suspended for rebates. I haven't seen Amazon enforce it. So let's see what happens, and it's not officially in the terms of service. So, it's a personal decision. If it's something you want to continue to do, but there could be just other better ways to rank that are cheaper. And you actually driving real customers to buy your product that may buy your products again, and you're driving real signals as opposed to low quality buyers that are mostly coming from the rebate services and sites. So to me there's a lot of areas where brands can optimize and I'm not the operations expert, but I imagine on the operations side, there's also a lot of things with shipping and inventory planning and warehousing, right? Like all these operational strategies that you could also implement to optimize your business. I would take some time between now and the end of the year, so for as to plan out your next year. So as an example in my agency, about six or seven of us, we're all virtual. So we don't see each other face to face very often or at all, but we're all... Six or seven of us are getting together in December for two days getting an Airbnb. And we're literally just going to plan.

Ryan Cramer: Knock yourself out, what not. Yeah, I know what you mean?

Liran Hirschkorn : Plan like a brand what are the marketing initiatives we want to put in place for our clients in 2022 and how do we execute on it? Same exact thinking of what a brand really needs to think about. Because again, if we don't implement it for them, for brand, somebody else will, and we're not really adding value to our clients. So I think you really need to do that in your business. And as a separate note, I would say, think about the areas that you are really, really good in, in your business, where you need somebody else, where do you need to hire or partner with in order to maximize, because, I know for me, as I said, like, I'm not strong in the operations side, I'm stronger on the marketing side. So I focus on marketing and what I do well, sales, marketing, vision for where I think things are going, but I'm not good at the operational side and I don't enjoy it because I'm not good at it. So that means I...

Ryan Cramer: It's a headache, man.

Liran Hirschkorn : And that's where... It's good to surround yourself with people that will compliment your skills, whether it's somebody you hire or somebody you partner with to really be able to execute, because it's hard to execute in all areas of the business especially if you want to grow and you want to take a business from a millionaire to 10 millionaire, you're going to need you.... You can't really do it alone. And I'm sure there's plenty of people listening that are really, really strong on the operation side, but not as strong on the marketing side and really need somebody on the marketing side, again, whether you outsource higher, but you need to have the right pieces in place for how you're going to get to where you want to be in 2022. And it's a great time to think about and make a list of all the things that went well for you this year. And some of the things you could have done better and kind of build your roadmap for next year.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, my takeaway is obviously there's always competition, right? And I think this year, Amazon really made it hard for people to compete with other sorts of buyers, or I should say it made it a little bit easier, but there was no clear path of how to compete. I think you were the one I saw that posted of the review mode of, of how often, how many reviews is too many reviews. Like the supplement you said, I didn't even know that there was an hundred thousand dollars, a hundred thousand review product out there, let alone 300, didn't know that existed. I'm assuming they're all verified and they're all customers, but that's so crazy to think like how much is too much, like, is there a cap, but I think that, that such an exorbitant amount of like bias these stores of one brand where you can't compete with something like that would literally take forever for you to even get to and match to something like that.

Liran Hirschkorn : It's going to be a problem because what happens in five years, when you have, just like a bunch of products that have a million plus reviews, there's no way you can launch a competitive, no way you can launch a competitor product up against it and have a chance because somebody sees a million reviews and a thousand reviews just looks like nothing. When you look at it in comparison to a million reviews and it could be a better product, a more innovative product, and it'll be very hard to compete on Amazon. And I think Amazon will need to do something about it eventually because it's detrimental to Amazon too, right? It means that that brand that would normally say, look, it's going to cost us,$ 500, 000 to try to break into this market on Amazon because it's so competitive. Let's just go spend 50 or a hundred thousand on marketing our Shopify site. We have a much better chance of success to build something off Amazon and innovative new brands and these categories are not going to come onto the platform. And that's going to be... That's a negative for Amazon. And also it's going to force the existing brands to not have to innovate because they just have so many reviews. Like, do they really, does goli, apple, cider, vinegar, gummies really need to like focus on improving that product or making it any better or changing the formula, even if they know there could be something better about it? Well, not really. They already have so many reviews. They don't need to like innovate, but what if the search results just showed 500 plus for everybody, even if, maybe once you go into the listing, you can see like the reviews now somebody is, it's not hard to build up 500 reviews over six months or a year now somebody can come in and compete, with that particular product, or what if a brand only showed 12 months, I had people commenting like, yeah, it'd be really nice if the top review on my listing, wouldn't be from 2016 talking about the problems with the product, even though I've already fixed.

Ryan Cramer: I hate that as a consumer. Yeah, it's just, when I look at that, I actually paid attention to that as a consumer of what's the most relevant, because I know in the business that people have, if there reviews popping up for them that long ago, the most relevant or most rated, or I forget how they phrase it thumbed up or whatever review. And I know that's from two years ago, I'm assuming that there's going to be some sort of fix, it always defaults to most relevant, but actually it should be going most recent. What do you look at in that regard? So if it's bad problems recently, but it's a really good reviews. I actually, as a consumer stay away because maybe it's bad batch of products or whatever that might look like. So it's really hard. Like you said, to compete in that notion. And I'm afraid for SMBs who are trying to launch new products or just people launching new products in general. Like if Amazon's going to build an internalized launch platform, whatever that looks like, it's theorized that could happen, then that's fine. But if there's not, and you're selling that this almost try to ensure way to get traffic to a product and to be relevant on Amazon, not being truly manipulative, but to just get visibility and to actually take place on Amazon, if there's no other solution, what do you suggest for new products to come to market? You can't just have what's existing out there. There's always going to be new products. And that doesn't seem like a clear path yet for businesses maybe.

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah and to some extent and by the way, in terms of launching, I do believe Amazon will launch an influencer platform where brands can connect with influencers. I've seen a beta called creator connect. I don't know too much about it, but I've seen it in some brands that have had access to it. And it's being able to work with Amazon influencers, which is a thing and there are, and that could be helpful. And again, the more you build up a real brand, like once you start having branded searches and followers and all that in place, then you can send your followers who like your existing products. I have a new product. And even though it doesn't have much reviews, if I'm already taking Ping Pong, apple, cider, vinegar, gummy, and you just launched a vitamin D and I already trust and like the brand and I'll buy it, if it doesn't have reviews yet, because I already trust the brand and you can communicate directly with me as a customer of the brand. So I think you're going to see a lot more of those tools. I think when people follow brands, they'll be able to see discounts and deals and all the stuff like pop up on your app and you'll have a much more personalized kind of experience. And I do think Amazon will help brands connect with influencers and give you more tools to get in front of customers through these programs that are going to pop, pop up, especially as like you see Instagram kind of making a push for more shopping. I'm seeing it all the time on Instagram. And I'm sure TikTok at the cart will be coming very soon for, for brands. TikTok has been a major mover of physical products. So Amazon's got to continue to adapt to it. But I think eventually they will need to do something with how reviews are displayed specifically in search results, not so much. I think once you click in the listing, it'll be interesting to see what happens, but in search results, it'll just be brands that started around 2012 to 2018 or so that like can dominate. And it'll be harder for new brands, especially thinking like 10 years down the road, five years down the road to come in and compete, unless there is a change. So I believe there eventually will be a change, which as a separate topic, very much will impact valuations and should get you to think, if you're a brand right now that has a hundred thousand reviews, should you sell at some point, for these types of changes can really influence the valuation of your business and how that eventually affect aggregators too, who bought products, thinking they have a review mode, but maybe not if changes are made to how reviews are displayed so major, it's interesting, by the way, on the poll that I put up, how some of the aggregators voted in...

Ryan Cramer: Oh, I would love to see the behind the scenes, how those reviews were, or the votes were?

Liran Hirschkorn : In that poll. And it's very much split in the middle right now. It's a little bit higher on people who say, no, not to make a change like about 53 or so percent people say no, but again, interesting to see how, not every aggregated by the vote you voted. No. So in interesting to see how people voted there.

Ryan Cramer: Right. And gosh, and we were talking about this yesterday too, of, I feel like it always gets brought up of the adaption of just how business models were changed solely selling on Amazon. Now it becomes a little bit more diversified in terms of that notion, both D2C going on to Amazon and vice versa. I think that's the opportunity for growth. And I think where a lot of business models will start to adapt. Again, it's just people power of you have a team for Amazon versus you have a team for direct to consumer, most can overlap, but there's still a notion where you have to drive still traffic to externalize in pages, websites, things like that. It's a whole different ballgame than optimizing on Amazon. That model's really hard to be really good and efficient at on top of, like you said, if you're buying a product with this, it's the number one seller, gosh, I think it's public knowledge. For example, Thrasio is like, we have the number one seller on the Amazon for three straight years, Beckham pillows or something like that. And I go there and all the ads to it are simply rated, have over a hundred thousand reviews on Amazon that's its calling card of why you should buy this product. And actually it sold me on a got, well, shoot, it's been around a long time is probably going to be nice. And they're nice, like, right. But that keeps you from innovating that keeps you from driving all these different things and features and kind of adapting where you could. So that could be a difficult notion. So super fascinating data set in their regards. In the couple minutes I have left with you, obviously we talked about all these different headaches. Again, I call them pain points, headaches, death, by a thousand paper cuts. Those seem like the bad things. Is there anything that really stood out for good things that you were surprised by this year and you think will continue into the next year?

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. I mean, I think there's... Well, one, I mean, I think when you look back at COVID, besides, let's say for COVID itself, obviously a lot of people negatively affected by it in a lot of ways, but overall very positive for the industry, a lot more adoption of e- commerce, a lot more adoption of Amazon prime, there's a lot of momentum that and change that won't revert back to prior to COVID. So I think that's great. The pie is also getting bigger. So interesting article, if you look up the recent article on marketplace pulse, that says actually the US market-

Ryan Cramer: Competitive one.

Liran Hirschkorn : ...actually not as competitive, because there's more sales per seller on the US market than other markets. So like overall, the opportunity is still great. We're still in early innings of E- commerce and Amazon is giving you more tools to connect with a customer when in the past, could you ever send a notification to people who follow a brand that you're launching a new product, right? So there are more opportunities that will come for brands. When in the past that Amazon give you search volume data right. You're getting... There are a lot more tools and positive things that are happening for brands. It's not all negative. And if you take advantage of them, then you still have an amazing opportunity to grow brand. And the truth is that, with all the talk of, let's say aggregator is coming in and competing with you, they've also made the multiples significantly higher in the last year as competition has increased for your brand. So if you.... Probably somebody who sold in 2018 for two and a half X might be kicking themselves because today you can get five X.

Ryan Cramer: Five X is yeah. Average.

Liran Hirschkorn : You know, depends. So like there's also been a massive opportunity and never been an easier or better time for sellers to build a brand and exit and get a meaningful amount of money you could put away for your future or even retire in building a business on Amazon where you get to sit at home, never touch a product, and think back 15 years ago, we didn't have these kind of opportunities. So I think a ton of opportunities, moving forward, if you look at the positive aspects and there will always be change. If you only focus on the negative, you'll not be able to move forward.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. And yeah, it's hopefully that we have one person Abdul really informative. We appreciate you listening on LinkedIn. And I think that's the case, right? It's always going to be changing and adapting. I would like to see that continuation of like really enhancing what Amazon expects that platform to be right. If you know the vision, but you're also supporting along the way, instead of conflict of interest rewarding one where you don't reward the other. I think that that will only enhance its platform and make sellers more apt to.

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. I mean, there's certainly problems with Amazon should they be putting their own brands ahead of even sponsored results? They're super difficult to deal with. They can suspend you like this and you'll never get back up. I mean, there's many issues, but I think you need to... The reason why brands are there is because the positive outweighs the negative, obviously, right. Otherwise, brands would leave. And honestly, like the reality is you don't have a lot of other good choices other than selling on your own website. There is no other marketplace that gives you the ability to sell and volume the way Amazon does.

Ryan Cramer: Yep. Time will tell and always adapt again, we're all speed boats. So you can change a little bit quicker than larger corporations, which is a positive in that regard. So that be said, I know people know how to get in touch with you. What are you working on? What's kind of, if, if they want to reach out to you, are you taking new clients? Like, I know you got eight going on, like so much with all these different capacities. What are you looking for taking the coming year?

Liran Hirschkorn : Yeah. So, I mean, so again, where we're kind of, well, we're doing full brand management, so we're managing brands fully on the platform. We're also doing advertising management, creative work. We started running ads on Walmart this past year as well. We've recently, it's still in a sort of beta mode, but we recently started running Google ads into Amazon and doing influencer marketing. So for me, that's a big initiative for 2022 to really ramp that up and be able to streamline it and think about how we provide the work reporting and et cetera for all that. And that's increment digital agency can also obviously follow me on Instagram or LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook. I have a podcast as well at E- commerce Mindset and Facebook.

Ryan Cramer: And just eclipsed 100 episodes, right?

Liran Hirschkorn : Yes. Yeah. And for the hundredth episode, we had Carlos Cashman CEO of Thrasio and then I'm also an advisor of Eightfig, which is a company that helps brands, whether you're on Amazon or Shopify e- commerce brands, get access to growth capital along with technology and tools around supply chain and planning out your supply chain and getting the funding behind it. So definitely keeping busy, but they say, when you love what you do, you don't work a day in your life. So I'll sum it up.

Ryan Cramer: Man. That's, a lot. And if I were, you, I'd be losing my hair like crazy. I mean, more than I already am. How's going to say, Hey, can you send me a couple hats, please? Like, I feel like starting in this podcast, I've lost more hair than anything. So significantly more before I go out into the public again.

Liran Hirschkorn : Well, we'll get you an Eightfig hat. And I'm revamping actually I have incremental hats, but I don't love it right now. So I'm going to revamp them for 2022.

Ryan Cramer: Man. I'm so excited. I told people if you're a guest on my show and you see spot behind me this, I mean, this podcast in my ping pong, but I don't say no to just random things showing up to my desk or mugs or anything like that. So I'll take where I can, but no, that's awesome. I'm so excited for you. I think there's so many innovative things that are happening in our space. I think a lot of rumblings under the surface, and I think a lot of emergence will come from 2022 moving forward, vents products, services. There's so many cool things happening. So I know you're at the forefront. I'm always getting great info from you and your podcast.

Liran Hirschkorn : Likewise.

Ryan Cramer: I love all the content you're pumping out there. So thanks for hopping on today. I know you probably have to go, but if you don't stick around, we'll chat a little bit after, but thanks so much for hopping on today Liran

Liran Hirschkorn : Thank you so much for having me on.

Ryan Cramer: Yep. Awesome. And thanks everyone again for hopping on Crossover Commerce. If this is your first time or your 180 second time, we appreciate your support. You can listen to all of our content on our website. If you go to usa. ping pongx. com/ podcast, you can search for every past episode that we have ever had. You can also find them on YouTube, Facebook, if you scroll back far enough, but I would suggest going to our website and checking that out at that as well. Or you can listen to every episode as well on your favorite podcast destination, just search for Crossover Commerce and make sure you hit that notification bell to be notified of future episodes for pumping got a lot on here this week, actually, as well as just in general tomorrow, I'm actually really excited. We'll be talking with Mike Frekey of Perch. We're going to be talking Pepsi strategies to take advantage of during the strange holiday season, which I believe is what everyone is thinking. It's going to be a strange holiday season after the COVID bump from last year. What is this year look like? So we're going to talking with a little bit different having an aggregator on, but we're going to talk about strategy that they see moving forward. He is former Wayfair executive, and we going to be talking through everything with him on that regards. So that being said, I'm Ryan Kramer with Crossover Commerce thanks for tuning in to my corner of the internet. We'll catch you guys next time. Take care.


Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Liran Hirschkorn of Incrementum Digital one-on-one as they discuss where Amazon brands need to adapt in 2022.


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Today's Host

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🎙 Ryan Cramer - Host

|Partnership & Influencer Marketing Manager

Today's Guests

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Liran Hirschkorn

|CEO of Incrementum Digital