Making the most Efficient Product Launch Possible ⎜ Elite Seller ⎜ EP 111
Ryan Cramer: (silence) What's up everyone? Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host Ryan Cramer and this is Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments, the leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. What is up everyone? I'm your host Ryan Cramer and welcome to another episode of Crossover Commerce, episode 111 of Crossover Commerce. This is my corner of the internet where I bring the best experts in the Amazon and ecommerce industry sharing their insights on the most important aspects of selling online. There have been many evolutions of launching products online. Even today there's no exception of that. But following Amazon's guidelines sellers always ask me specifically, " What is the correct and right way to launch a product?" Well, we're going to dive into that topic today. My talk today is with Joshua Porter of Elite Seller Software. We're going to be covering ways to make the most efficient product launch possible, and asking any other kind of questions that might bring up with launching products. If you're watching us for the first time or the 111th time you know that this is an interactive podcast. If you have questions or are watching on Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube, go ahead and ask those in the comment section and we'll make sure we get to those right away during this episode. If you watch later on go ahead and still tag us with that question in the comments section and we'll make sure we get those answers to you right away. But of course as always Crossover Commerce is presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than$ 115 million a day for ecommerce sellers just like you, helping over one million customers no worldwide PingPong has processed over$ 90 billion in cross border payments. To start saving money today go ahead and sign up for a free account through that link below in the comments section. If you're watching us in that comments section or on YouTube go ahead and click in the summary and you'll be able to find that link to sign up for free today. No cost to sign up. You can save yourself by paying your suppliers, manufacturers, VAs, anyone in the world to over 178 different countries by paying them in local currency. There's no better way, especially when you're an Amazon seller putting more percentages back to your bottom line, so PingPong can help you do that. inaudible check it out later after this episode of course. But about our guest today, Joshua Porter started selling in ecommerce back in 2009 selling his possessions in his apartment on eBay just like the American Dream right? He actually grew his eBay business and sold it to his partner in 2014, started selling on Amazon actually in late 2015 and early 2016 launching there and going to a coding school, while going to coding school in Colorado. He later decided in 2018 to become a service provider for Amazon sellers focusing primarily on product launches, product inserts, and post purchase retargeting. Social media ads. Mini chat, and building raving fan bases. The company that Josh actually works for is Elite Seller, which is the ultimate all in one Amazon seller suite built to manage and launch your accounts from zero to$ 100 million and beyond. Elite Seller provides solutions for new sellers, seasoned veterans, agencies in multinational Amazon companies. You can scale your business with customized dashboards, customer data, order tracking, and product launch tools, and more are all rolled into one single software. Welcome to Crossover Commerce Joshua Porter of Elite Seller. Josh, welcome to Crossover Commerce. How are you today sir?
Joshua Porter: I'm doing well. That's one heck of an introduction man. I appreciate it.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. No problem. You're coming off hot from some networking actually in Miami, so where are you actually located right now? Where in the world are you located man?
Joshua Porter: Where in the world is Joshua Porter? crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: Joshua Porter. Exactly. That rolls off the tongue.
Joshua Porter: inaudible Carmen San Diego. I'm actually in Mexico. I'm in Mexico right now. I'm in Leon, Mexico.
Ryan Cramer: Okay, got you. That's where Elite Seller is located correct?
Joshua Porter: That's where one of our offices is yes.
Ryan Cramer: One of your offices. Awesome. That was just kind of a quick overview of you and ecommerce. Super fascinating that you started in eBay and then transitioned over to Amazon. Were you always an entrepreneur or what's that background of how you got into things on the eCommerce side?
Joshua Porter: Well, it's funny that you actually asked that. I was working for a real estate company and I actually just wanted to do something on the side. I decided to leave that job and I actually opened my first eBay store which was called Stuff Inside My Apartment Emporium. No pun intended. That was literally the name. I pretty much sold everything inside my apartment except for my cat, and my bed, and my laptop.
Ryan Cramer: What reason because of that? That's just the inventory you had on hand or you were just strapped-
Joshua Porter: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ryan Cramer: ...for cash? What was that mentality?
Joshua Porter: I was definitely strapped for cash and I definitely wanted to pay my rent and not get evicted. That was the start of it. Then afterwards I started doing retail arbitrage, and online arbitrage. I would visit Haven Hospices, I would visit Walmarts. I would just buy a bunch of stuff online and primarily electronics, and just sell them for a markup on eBay. The profit margins were huge surprisingly. eBay was extremely forgiving.
Ryan Cramer: Self taught, just selling literally anything and everything that you can get your hands on that you knew you could sell at a higher price right?
Joshua Porter: Oh, yes. Definitely. Definitely. I'd say one of my best items that I remember selling, I got probably like 1, 000 units of this, was these water bottles with these giant filtration systems in them, and just selling those. I didn't even understand what I was doing at that time, just selling single units. I was like, " Wait. I can bundle these. I can do two packs, and three packs, and six packs." Just started doing that myself. I was doing it all out of my apartment. I had friends that would give me electronics from the university because I lived in Gainesville at the time so I had friends that would give me Apple mice, Apple keyboards, all these really expensive Apple tools. I would just clean them up and repackage them, and sell them as refurbished.
Ryan Cramer: Interesting. Was it just a entrepreneur's mindset in terms of how were you... What were you really focused on? You said just a collection, so it was a mish mosh of products or what was the, " This is what I'm only going to be focusing on," almost like a seller would be nowadays like finding a niche and sticking with it? Yours was just kind of a shotgun approach right?
Joshua Porter: It was a shotgun at first and then it narrowed down into electronics, and it also narrowed down, you're probably going to find this corny, video games.
Ryan Cramer: That's not corny.
Joshua Porter: crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: They're very profitable actually.
Joshua Porter: Exactly. Exactly. You can go to GameStop. You can go to Rhino if Rhino still exists, or you can reach out to friends. Primarily I sourced a lot on Craigslist at that time. Then when I actually found vendors and decent websites where I can buy in bulk, that's what really actually changed the game for me.
Ryan Cramer: You transitioned over to Amazon for what reason? Just because of you hit your cap with eBay, or what was that transition due to?
Joshua Porter: I actually wanted to start something fresh. I was growing really tired of selling on eBay. I had been doing it for a very long time and I just wanted to reinvigorate myself and do something new so I sold the rest of my business off to my business partner, moved to Colorado. Went to coding school and that's when I started finding out about Amazon. It was essentially like the same cycle, learning about retail arbitrage, online arbitrage, and then of course the beautiful FBA model. That was a transition for me. Let me tell you learning Amazon while going to coding school is a massive uphill battle.
Ryan Cramer: I was going to say not just learning coding which is in itself, me myself I only know basics of coding, but that and also trying to figure out the algorithms and also what's successful on Amazon, as you know it's a full- time job now. You're probably doing full- time student, full- time job all in one. Back in the wild west, we call that the wild west days or at least I do, wild west days of Amazon when everything was booming on FBA. What was it like starting out during that timeframe, differences between eBay versus Amazon? Was it pretty stark back then?
Joshua Porter: Mm- hmm(affirmative). It was a massive difference, because on eBay what you can essentially do, you can create your own listings. You don't really need to use any of the formulaic approach that Amazon wants where they want a perfect white background. You can have your own backdrops that you want. You can edit your images the way that you like. You can put additional information in your images. You can essentially do your own HTML and your CSS on your listings. You can link a gallery of your products or you can have a bunch of extensions that you can just roll in to showcase your entire catalog that you have on eBay. The communication is a little bit different. You can actually communicate with buyers directly on eBay versus on Amazon you really can't actually do that too much. The learning curve to operate on Amazon versus eBay was a night and day difference. It's just it's a completely different beast because Amazon has a very catalog and approachable way of actually listing their products versus just the, you can do what you want free for all approach on Amazon crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. On eBay. I was going to say even nowadays it feels very disconjointed where it doesn't flow. There's no guidelines. That you would want to buy even something on eBay let alone sell something... I'm assuming that's a very difficult process to figure out what's successful, unlike on Amazon where you and your team over at Elite Seller really know the processes of what's doing well with Amazon. You were selling, I'm looking at the timeline again, 2015- 16, so two years. Then 2018 you went and switched to the service provider. That's a pretty stark difference, so why the jump instead of sticking with selling online? Because you're not still selling are you?
Joshua Porter: No. I'm not a seller.
Ryan Cramer: What made that jump to being a software provider, or service provider I should say?
Joshua Porter: Yeah, absolutely. It was due to time constraints and just overall, I'm just going to say a little bit of burnout. A little bit of burnout of just constantly being on seller platforms, and dealing with ToS, because Amazon's ToS is far different than eBay's ToS. eBay, they'll be like, " Don't do that." You'll be like, " Okay," and then you can do it again. They're like, " Hey." You can just have this back and forth. But Amazon is very strict. At that time when I was launching products obviously the best way that you could actually gather reviews or get any traction on that was you could just go to a group on Facebook and you could purchase a litany of reviews. That would instantaneously boost your listing to page one, position one. Keywords weren't really factored in. There was a lot of change that happened in that timeframe around 2016 from where Amazon is now. Right at that time when I launched my products on Amazon surprisingly I had just captured a bunch of reviews, and all those reviews instantaneously got wiped because Amazon did one of its first of many purges at that moment. That was just a little bit of a kick in the shins right there to just see all that work and energy just go down the window. Afterwards I actually stayed around in the Amazon community. I still plan on actually getting back into selling very soon. What I ended up doing was finding some mentors, learning the service provider structure for Amazon sellers. That's when I started doing that.
Ryan Cramer: That's amazing. You're right. I think a lot of people back in the day, they always mentioned it was so much easier back then. You could just go to Alibaba, find a product. Throw it online, and basically just sit there and let it roll in. As long as you had legitimate sourcing or any sort of structure then you could stay ahead of the game. Now it's a little bit more where Amazon sellers come into play, and maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong, the barrier to entry has become much more high. Now as you continue to elevate your brand there's a lot more hurdles to hop over. As a service provider you're constantly at the mercy, me being in the service space and the SaaS space before, you're at the mercy of Amazon changing its ToS at the drop of a hat. How has that changed for you in terms of being ingrained with the community but also how, as a software side, being able to effectively help other sellers at the drop of a hat when Amazon decides to change everything? Because you have to change your backend sometimes. Is that true?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. That is actually true, and that's a great question that you ask. Being in all these different unique spaces that I'm in in regards to the line of work that I do you have to pretty much keep your ear to the ground and your finger on the pulse at all times, because if you start catching windfalls of these changes coming up it's best to be prepared for something like that to happen instead of waiting for the event to actually happen and then essentially doing a course correct. Because there's nothing harder than doing a 90 degree or complete 180 degree turn when you're in the middle of rolling out an integration, or an update, and now you have to change everything based on whatever is happening on Amazon, based on whatever they decide to change overnight. It can be a bit challenging, but staying in tune and essentially have really good connections as to what's going on will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Ryan Cramer: 100%. Our topic today is going to be launching products. You mentioned it before. You used to be able to just throw products out there. Used to solicit reviews through just Facebook Groups. Everyone go on there. You could either do rebates. You can do coupons, cash back. However you want to deem that definition it all still very much is still in play, but Amazon's terms of service is pretty gray in this area. That being said, what is the most efficient way to launch products in 2021, whether that's all those tools that we mentioned before, or is there something that many people are not talking about in launching products?
Joshua Porter: Yeah, absolutely. Influencer marketing is a really great way to actually launch products. You can also use Facebook ads. Obviously PPC is still one of the main ways that you can launch products on Amazon because essentially they're bringing in all the traffic for you and all you have to do is just maximize your conversion on those keywords. But I would believe is the best and most efficient way to launch products in 2021 is using landing pages. Landing pages are easy. They're lightweight. They're flexible. Over here at Elite Seller we have an application called Funnels. With that application it's essentially a single product landing page that's designed to do everything from start to finish when it comes to helping you get the information that you need on your listing, showing you all the information in regards to the rebate, and giving clear and efficient instructions on how to actually purchase this product. Even by pulling in your product description, your reviews on that listing, and just getting a person to convert, because conversions are harder and harder as time goes on. Keywords are often really hard to actually maximize for over an extended period of time so this is a great way to actually capture that lead, get them through the process and make sure that they're qualified all the way through.
Ryan Cramer: Amazing. Building out a landing page and directing traffic almost like a two step... Are we doing two step URL, or search, find, buy? What's the processes that people want to understand when building out a landing page? Is it more of a direct to listing? What's that process like?
Joshua Porter: Yeah, absolutely. We already give you everything that you need. All you just really need to do is just hook up your Amazon account to our software. We pretty much give you a curated template as to how everything is actually going to work. We give you multiple search, find, buy methods. We can have it be direct links so it can be a direct product link. It can be search, find, buy with a fallback URL, or it can be an index search. Our system is actually checking to see if you're indexed for those keywords. If you actually choose that keyword and we see that it's on page one, two, or three we can easily guide the person and give them instructions." Hey, all you have to do, check on the first three pages. If you don't find it, don't worry. We got your back. Click this button. We'll direct you right over to the product and then you can just purchase it and come back with your order ID."
Ryan Cramer: You're not just sticking with one process. You're actually serving on multiple different levels all these different tactics that people have done in the past to find your product listing. Very fascinating. For you guys, what's the most successful component of driving rank? Is it search, find, buy, or is it direct two step URL? What is that conversion like for you guys?
Joshua Porter: Obviously search, find, buy is the best and most efficient way of doing it, just having that organic search, opening a new tab for somebody on Amazon, giving them a keyword that they can easily copy it. Giving them an image of the product that they can locate and cross reference, and then coming back after they purchase it to complete the process to get that full conversion. What I would say makes us truly unique is that even when we generate these URLs for you you can swap out. You can adjust these funnels or any one of our integrations on the fly. You don't actually have to spend a bunch of time, and minutia, and energy on this massive learning curve in order to update it. You can simply just go and edit it and it just updates instantaneously. The whole purpose of this, and with everything that's on our software is to make it easier for Amazon sellers to actually do what they need to do on a daily basis. Because obviously you have to have a lot of pans in the fryer to run your Amazon business. There's a lot of moving parts at any given moment. What we can do is just by putting all that information in one easily digestible platform we're making it easier for them to manage their business, manage their teams, and get everything up and running as efficiently as possible.
Ryan Cramer: That's really cool. I like the process of you being able to not have to have your eyes always on directing traffic to make sure they go through the flow. It's almost like an automated system if you will. What if you have a seller that comes to you and say, " Listen. I'm afraid that Amazon's going to check IPs, they're going to see my community. They're going to think it's not legitimate?" What's the combat or the pros to doing it this way versus in the past? What's the actual differentiating factors?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. Differentiating factors I would say a lot of Amazon sellers that used to utilize Facebook Groups, they'd have these private groups where all that information could easily just be gathered and checked upon over time. You see the same three people constantly purchasing all your products across the board. That information could easily be triangulated. The beautiful thing about our platform is that we have multiple checks and balances all the way through, so even if you're using it for your own list, or you're just doing cold traffic, or you're doing lukewarm traffic off of Pinterest, or excuse me, Pinterest, Etsy, or Reddit right there. We can actually check to see if this person's viable, and one that they're not only in the country, that we're not having multiple purchases on the same IP address over time. That this person doesn't appear on any kind of black list, that they're using decent emails. What that's designed to do is just bring assurity when it comes to that qualified person, making sure that they actually purchased the product and that you're getting a genuine, qualified lead throughout the entire process.
Ryan Cramer: I was going to say in this capacity for people who may not know this process, if they're beginner sellers or they've launched in different capacities, this process would be incentivizing somebody whether it's a certain percentage off or a discount to purchase a said product. In this case it could be anything. Two questions for you. If I'm the seller I have to build up my own organic, basically following correct? This would be the first step in this regards, building that up. What are some tips to build out an audience initially to send out this landing page that you're creating in Elite Seller to drive traffic to your eventual listing? Is that the first step or am I missing something there?
Joshua Porter: You could say that's the first step. It could be part of the first step or it could be the last step depending on how you look at it. Obviously building out... Knowing what keywords that you're actually going to target on Amazon and knowing the weight that you want to give, total number of rebates over time, the offer that you're going to bring to the marketplace, that would be essentially the first part. I would say the second part is having your audience or having your ad, or whatever hook that you're using to bring people in as the second part. I would say a great way to do this is, especially if you're not selling me too products, is you can easily drill down... Let's say for example you're using Facebook as your lead source. If you're going to use Facebook as your lead source you can easily just target people based on interest, which a lot of people don't do. They'll just do, " Oh. They like free products. They like Amazon.com." I say, " No. Do the complete opposite." You want to actually know who these people are. If you're selling a product that's, let's say camping gear and it gets in the middle of winter you could target warmer states. It's actually thinking about your product, thinking about your launch, and thinking about who's actually going to get this. Again not all states are great for camping, so I'm going to use this analogy. I'm going to use this example throughout our discussion. I used to actually live in Colorado. Colorado was a great camping state. You're not going to want to target camping gear for the entire United States right? Somebody that lives in New York and you're just like... They're in giant buildings all the time. Maybe they don't have the space, or the capacity, or the want to actually go camping. People in California, perfect. Utah, perfect. Florida, depends right?
Ryan Cramer: If you want a gator in your tent later on that day.
Joshua Porter: I would say more of a panther. I'd be more concerned about crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: Or panthers. Okay.
Joshua Porter: But just knowing how to curate your audience and knowing who to actually target. If you're going to pick a product that you know that has a very unique audience you're going to want to capture that audience. Truly stereotype, I hate to actually say this but truly stereotype the perfect buyer that you'd want, and that's going to help you figure out who you need to target. Again Facebook gives a ton of different options on where you can choose. inaudible age, gender, what their interests are, and you can just pick from there versus doing a general catch all. Again with our system we're also checking to make sure that they're in the United States. Anybody that's coming in off of VPN, or any kind of proxy network, they're not going to be able to get through.
Ryan Cramer: Right. Staying in that vein if you will, how big of an audience would an efficient product launch strategy be? If I'm you, or if you're me how big of an audience do I have to build out to feel comfortable so I can effectively launch this campaign?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. Yeah. That's actually a great question. What I like to say is based on the total number of rebates, or giveaways, or whatever terminology that you want to use, that's an easy way to determine how large of an audience. I tend to not go with a massive audience. I tend to go with a very, very specific audience, and especially when it comes to Facebook ads right? It's all about your reach. People, obviously they would probably want to see the ad on multiple occasions before they actually click and convert. They might not get through some of the checks and balances that we have based on their qualification or their buyer history using one of our platforms in the past. I would say in that instance, I would say go for a nice healthy audience around four million. I know that may seem like a lot, but in the greater aspect of things not everybody's actually going to click. That's actually going to keep your ad cost fairly low. It's going to keep your conversion rate really high, and you're going to get consistent metrics across the board. Besides, it makes it really easy when somebody can actually just come back and they can pick up where they left off, especially if we've already hit our cap for the day.
Ryan Cramer: How would that be considered... You're looking at that audience. Obviously if you're looking at page one for example and you know that the top seller, best seller in this case would be 50 unites a day, you're doing the math backwards is what you're saying of, " Hey, at 50 units a day if I'm looking at a..." I'm assuming for you. What's an efficient launch window? 14 to 21 days? What's an effective, from literally starting your launch campaign all the way up to bestseller what's that window look like?
Joshua Porter: From recent launch data that we've collected over here on Elite Seller it actually goes to show that Amazon favors longer launch periods versus a shorter launch period. Obviously we want to capture more keywords over time because there's no point in doing these short burst launches, having your listing skyrocket to page one and then immediately flop. The overall approach and my personal opinion is to go for more mid tail, longer tail keywords than the more aggressive short tail keywords. Because you're trying to compete with people that have been on page one, position one for anywhere up to six months over to two years. To actually try to capture their sales you're going to be literally lighting money on fire. I'd say go for the best way that you can actually be most efficient, and go after keywords that they may have dropped the ball on a long time ago and they don't plan on coming back for that. Then over time obviously start chipping away at your competition and get yourself up into page one, position two, position three, and just work it from there. You don't need to try to be the most aggressive and try to knock out the top 10 sellers right there. Honestly that'd be, if you're a brand new seller that could be a very ludicrous and expensive approach. That could cost you your business right there. Be mathematical and be pragmatic about it, and approach it from a very sophisticated standpoint. You may not be position one right now, but you could be position one in six months.
Ryan Cramer: Right. I think that's how Amazon is now rewarding most people now is not the short burst of energy, basically rocket fuel right? You want to maintain that momentum along the ways. They're going to flag if all the sudden you're at zero, and the number one seller is 15 units a day, and you get 50, they're going to be like, " Wait a minute? Why is all of the sudden this rain of product out of nowhere? No sales history. No data that we can tie back to." It's going to quickly launch like that. They're going to flag something like that and either remove you, or not reward those efforts. That being said you're talking about play the long game instead of the short burst of boom you're done in 10 days. Your launch strategy is over. You've wasted money. You've wasted effort and your ranking may not be there for a long while either. Interesting in that regards. What about, we talk about Facebook ads, are there other units or other avenues to launching a product that not a lot of people are taking advantage of that you think... I feel like the most consistent one would be Facebook Groups and building an audience. You kind of alluded to Pinterest ads, or through Etsy, some other kinds of non- traditional forms of gaining traction or awareness. Is there other ones that we might be missing?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. There's obviously Instagram. There's YouTube. YouTube is a very massive way to actually gain traction on any listing right, especially if you have a micro influencer with a decent audience you can get them to promote your product. In my personal opinion it really depends on the product that you're bringing into the marketplace right? Because you could have a regular me too product that everybody else is copying and there's really no flavor that's going to make this product pop, but if you have a very unique product that you've spent a lot of time in development and you understand that this is going to really shake up the marketplace for those buyers, then reach out to micro influencers on Instagram. You can contact anybody on YouTube. Usually they're open to any kind of promotion. You can even do Reddit. I can tell you that a unique one that probably most people won's even consider is Twitch, so twitch. tv. Right there. You have streamers right over there promoting your product. They could have a little banner on the side. They could easily do a quick plug. If you're doing any kind of like energy drinks, or any kind of gaming supplements, or any kind of arts and crafts you can break the influencer down by niche on Twitch as a platform and you could say, " Hey. This is pretty cool. I'd love to be able to partner with you. Is this something that you'd be open with?" Just do the shotgun approach on that. Reddit is a great way to actually do that. You can promote your products on Reddit. All these different platforms out there, they're serving to drive a purpose right? Bringing in external traffic to Amazon. Again what we want is to be able to focus on conversion. A beautiful thing about Elite Seller as a platform, we can actually focus on conversion rate per product which is really rare. We can also focus on TACoS and a costs for a product so we can see that all broken down. Especially when it comes to product launches you don't want your conversion rate to be through the roof because that's just a telltale sign that you're just flooding massive traffic, and that you're essentially incentivizing purchases to quote, unquote manipulate the algorithm. Again our entire system is made to be as easy as possible. Again you can use any of these launch platforms, especially with Funnels, and you can just tie them together, because simply it's a URL.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. I think that's very fascinating to hear you say that. I hear lots of people even now even look at the capacity performance marketing. We were talking about... Performance marketing I mean click attribution for influencers, but also even as simply as coupon sites or deal sites in terms of listing a product. I know you'd be doing some sort of coupon code on your listing, but also tying that into a part of your launch program maybe down the road after 100% purchases made, and you're giving rebates in different capacities. But then you can front load then and say, " Hey. We're giving a discount like$ 5 or something like that to a$ 20 product and putting it on those sites that get high traffic." People are looking for great products. They're unique and niche in the mixture that applies to that audience as well. Do you guys work with any sort of affiliate programs? I know you said influencers. Do you even work with like deal sites or any sort of other websites out there that use editorial content to promote almost like a Buzzfeed if you will, or a 20 products for Christmas that are unique and different?
Joshua Porter: That's actually a really good question. That might be something that we might or might not have cooking on the backend with Elite Seller. I can't really disclose too much about that. But what I can say is that the flexibility of what we have with any of our integrations is it's going to allow you to put it pretty much anywhere. You can actually make those connections and you could say, " Hey. This is a wonderful product that we're promoting." And I would say something that's even more unique is that what we can do is instead of doing something like actively promoting on other platforms we can actually recapture the audience post purchase. Because I feel like that is a huge marketplace where a lot of sellers are just dropping the ball. Product inserts are not technology against ToS but what is is incentivizing any kind of process afterwards. By simply having a QR code that can just lead them to another product, or essentially a discount for a product down the line, or just a PDF guide, or a warranty, or any kind of followup like that, that's a great way to reengage your audience. Then you could just essentially create your own group where you can offer your promotions over time, whether it just be coupon discounts, 25% off this, 50% off that, or just a book of offers. That's a wonderful way. Funny enough we actually have a QR code generator within our system so this allows you to generate your own unique QR codes. You can just easily put those on a product insert. The best part about it is that you actually don't have to reprint your product inserts. You can just change the links on the back end and have any kind of random reward that you want. It's crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: Pointing you to a different direction. Yeah, instead of-
Joshua Porter: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ryan Cramer: ... reprintingthe QR in general. That's really cool.
Joshua Porter: Yeah. The only thing that you'd have to worry about reprinting is the language on your QR code. Just make sure it doesn't sound anything that's going to get your account shut down. Just scan here for a random price or, " Hey, we have a warranty followup," or, " Here's further instructions on how to use this product." Then you can easily take them in there. You can redirect them whichever way you want. It's beautiful. We do all the work for you. We collect emails, phone numbers. We even verify addresses for warranty followup in case anything happens to the product so we can just ship it out for you.
Ryan Cramer: Is warranty the number one thing that Amazon would be okay with? Because I feel even warranty if you offered that on your product's listing it's going to be deemed more trustworthy than if you have a me too product in this case? If you say, " Hey, we have a warranty for like a year," or a lifetime warranty, whatever that looks like, it's going to be deemed more valuable in Amazon's eyes as well as the seller's, or buyer's eyes. But if Amazon sees that you're putting inserts into your product packaging or whatever that looks like are they going to be more forgiving of, I'm assuming warranty and then following on social media? Is there other ones that would deem... Like you said, like free ebook or anything like that? Where's that line of if you say this then Amazon's going to start looking into you a little bit more? Because you want to almost stay under the radar to a point of, " No we're not going to be a threat or detriment to your ToS, but we want to be..." They know that you're trying to build an audience. Does that make sense? They're not stupid-
Joshua Porter: Yeah. Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: ...but you don't want to bring too much attention to that? Does that make sense?
Joshua Porter: Right. I would say obviously carefully curating your language, whether it's in your product insert or in any kind of followup that you have it is going to be crucial to your success, especially if Amazon starts looking into it and they start trying to peek under the hood. I would say, " If you're interested or you want to know more about our company you can check out our Facebook page," versus just saying, " Hey, go like our Facebook page. You're going to get this if you do it," right?
Ryan Cramer: Right.
Joshua Porter: There's a massive difference in that. crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: No promises basically.
Joshua Porter: Yeah. Exactly. Promises, or any kind of guarantees, things like that, those are probably going to get you more in trouble than anything else instead of just being suggestive about it. Again it's all about how you say it not what you say.
Ryan Cramer: That makes sense. Sorry, I'm writing notes right now. Launches obviously it's a delicate dance. There's a lot of moving parts in this regards. Recently a lot of sellers have been notified whether you've been on the platform for six years plus or if you're a new seller, that your inventory limits have completely been decimated, essentially cut by a third. Cut by 60%. Whatever that looks like. How are you advising clients nowadays launching products with inventory that could be completely just decimated one day, and you have not enough inventory to rank for a long campaign like you're suggesting?
Joshua Porter: Mm- hmm( affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. That's actually a really great question. This is something that I touched upon in another discussion the other day. I honestly feel that Amazon is actually, with these inventory restrictions it's actually more favorable for newer sellers since the inventory cap limit is roughly around 10, 000 units per account. If you're a brand new seller and you have one ASINs you can bring in 10, 000 units that's actually going to be better for you versus a more seasoned seller that has over 100 ASINs and they have a 10, 000 unit cap. That's actually going to be harder for them. But the beautiful thing about that is that you can do FBA or FBM. Limitations are on an ASIN level. Excuse me. I needed to correct myself there.
Ryan Cramer: No. Yeah. You're fine. We want to make sure that the notes that you're getting right now in the background are relevant to our conversation, with good old Slack. That's interesting that you say that. Do you find that a lot more sellers are going to have to go to FBM model and really incentivize not weighing down Amazon's... This is what a lot of people suggest or think. A lot of people are thinking that Amazon is just completely overwhelmed with backend, that they just can't handle this. But it feels tactical in the sense of when it's coming up right now for a lot of big sellers, we're talking about Father's Day... We talked about this yesterday on our podcast, Father's Day. Talking about Prime Day typically in mid June, maybe mid July. It hasn't been officially announced yet. Is this all tactical on Amazon's front because they know there's going to be this influx of sales that are just going to wipe out inventory, or what do you think Amazon's strategy is with bringing all these inventory limits down?
Joshua Porter: To have buyers switch over to FBM models right?
Ryan Cramer: Do you think that's the ultimate game or goal for them?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. The biggest change that happened on Amazon, what I noticed and pretty much everybody else did was right around the start of COVID. That's when the flood of inventory hit Amazon and Amazon just could not keep up with it. What'd they do? They essentially limited the amount of inventory that people could send in because they were just overwhelmed. They didn't have a healthy check and balance system to be able to handle that massive amount of inventory that was being flooded in at that time because sellers just knew that people were going to be at home all day, and that they would be purchasing products because they would need to actually purchase that inventory somewhere, and had to get it shipped out in an efficient timeframe. That's what I feel was one of the major catalysts to actually rolling out that change. Then slowly Amazon is starting to realize over time that in these new emerging marketplaces that they have, or ones that have already existed, that they can't keep up with the level of inventory that keeps flooding in on a daily basis. They have to do something about it. They do inventory restrictions on an ASIN level now. crosstalk being able to take care of your own inventory and still sell on that platform is still beautiful, but now the timeframe from when products actually move out is a little bit longer. You're still using Amazon as a way to deliver your goods, but you're still fulfilling that product yourself. Essentially giving the reigns back to the seller in a way which is really nice, but it still seems like it's not the most thought out, methodical process along the way.
Ryan Cramer: Right. I can see that. I think you're right. I think this definitely benefits more of the beginner seller. I think this is scary for a lot of people because it's so sudden, and it's so unexpected, and like I said with software in the backend you have to prepare for anything. If inventory restrictions become such a huge part of, for sellers launching products or just are they going to get rid of not high performing products, those are all decisions that people have to make on a day to day basis almost pretty quickly just so they can continue to pump out their best products. As a beginner seller you might have a shot more with these higher competing categories as well. We're talking about efficiency launching products. If you're watching this on Facebook, or YouTube, or LinkedIn again you can submit those questions. We actually had a friend of both of ours, Joshua, from Rihanna saying Joshua Porter is half man and half amazing. You have a fan club there Josh. Just wanted to let you know that. Thanks for watching on Facebook Rihanna. What about launching products? I've heard this, and I didn't realize that this was such a big deal depending on where your inventory actually sits in the FBA warehouse potentially geographically Amazon could be suppressing listings on one side of the country versus the other because they wanted to make sure they fulfill it via Prime batch if it's in an FBA warehouse. Is that part of the strategy in terms of what you have to think about efficiently launching a product of, " Hey, Amazon's going to reward me if I'm focusing more on west coast because my inventory is all in California or Colorado warehousing?"
Joshua Porter: In regards to that if you are using geolocation to essentially map out where the best location is to launch your products based off of where your inventory levels are you could use that model, or you can essentially have your inventory spread out across all the warehouses and wait for it to actually arrive, then launch your products. But that could take a little bit longer. Most sellers, they just want to get that product up and running as soon as possible because obviously launching a product on Amazon is not necessarily cheap right? It's a lot of investment so they want to recoup that investment as best as possible. I really can't make that... That's actually more of a seller decision on their end. That'd be something that I'm not the most privy on to be honest with you.
Ryan Cramer: Okay. Fair enough. What about, I know we made this, the best kind of purchase that a seller can make when launching a product is a full price purchase, whatever it's listed at obviously in competition with whatever else is out there. You're talking about rebates, or we're talking about cash back in that model. What's the most efficient way to facilitate this in this regards? Because how we alluded to it earlier you're going to be compensating people for purchasing a full priced product. Basically at the end of the day the buyer is getting it for free. You're getting a product quote, unquote sold as an exchange of goods an monetary value. What is the best way to facilitate all of that without you as a seller getting bogged down, if I'm a one person operation, or you have payment issues or any of those kinds of things that might pop up?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. We take care of all that for you now. We crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: You do?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. We facilitate all of that for you so you're never having to actually collect order IDs and validate them yourself. Our system is literally going to do that for you. We're going to send the buyer a direct link to essentially get a gift card. The reason why we choose to use gift cards versus like PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or any of those other tools is because of the inaudible right? That and yeah, money. And also the fact that these email addresses can easily be triangulated. Think about it like this. Somebody purchases your product. They see and ad on their Facebook feed. They opt in. They then go to their Amazon account. They purchase this product product probably with the same email address that they have on Facebook. Then they give you their email address which is probably the same email address that's on PayPal or any of these applications. A lot of people don't know. Venmo actually owns PayPal, and Cash App is owned by Twitter. Just being able to triangulate this information is super-
Ryan Cramer: Big data. Oh no!
Joshua Porter: Yeah. Big data!
Ryan Cramer: I'm just kidding.
Joshua Porter: Oh my god! Oh my god! Big brother! Big data right? But being able to triangulate this information is super easy, and it's also very vulnerable for the seller to have any of this information be reallocated towards them as well as the buyer. Because again we're leaving these digital bread crumbs all across the place. Sellers are wondering, " Why am I getting slapped on the wrist by Amazon for doing rebate campaigns?" Well, that could be one of the reasons why. Maybe you're asking for too many reviews. That's also another thing that you'd want to factor in. By having a very easy, lightweight and flexible gift card portal that is going to take care of all that for you. The buyer is safe. The seller is safe. The fact that we have a massive scammer check, or two step shield that, whatever you want to call it, that's going to prevent a lot of, I'm actually going to use very strange words, ne'er do well from getting your product and essentially trying to incentivize off of that.
Ryan Cramer: Are you guys afraid that... How do you protect from someone leaving a review based upon this kind of strategy saying like, " Hey, I was incentivized, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, for buying this and I got a refund," or something like that? Is there any sort of protections that you as a seller, or you as a company and then as a seller can be protected with, " Hey, we're not soliciting for reviews. This is just something that we're trying to get up and running. What's the right processes or the language you want to use when describing this to a potential audience?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. Absolutely. If you want at any given point in time you don't even have to ask for reviews. Again the entire process is automated. You simply click a little button. No reviews. You want to ask for reviews, turn it on. Set up the day and timeframe that you want to... Excuse me. The day frame, the number of days that you want to rewatch out for that person. Then again we're going to essentially curate the reviews for you through our system. It's not meant to actually filter but we just want to make sure that if you're actually going to get a review that it's a quality one, like five star.
Ryan Cramer: Cool. Well, and that's interesting because, are you able to predict or crosstalk. Oh, I'm sorry Josh. I think, yeah, our connection got a little disrupted there. Is there a way to predictively determine when a customer is going to be passionate enough to write legitimate review, or predict when there might be opportunity for a good review? Is there any way to know that in your system?
Joshua Porter: Honestly no. No. No. Not off the top of our head. Maybe we have something in development on the backend. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge. But to just say to... I look at it like this. If you are targeting qualified people then the passion for that product is definitely going to come through at the end. It's when you target generalists that you're going to get these very vague, hokey, almost lazily thrown together reviews. Again in my personal opinion targeting is king when it comes to any kind of product launch. Amazon is already doing all of that for you. People that actively have a purchase history of buying, again camping products in the past, they're probably going to look for, drum roll please, more camping products right? Being able to target those people on any kind of social media platform is going to have a massive leg up for you because they're going to see the value in something like that. Again, it's all about how you perceive that value and how you provide your hook to actually bring these people in over time that's going to have a positive effect, an ROI on your listing.
Ryan Cramer: Good stuff as always. I think that you guys have thought about every little aspect of this in that capacity. What more can you guys do? I'm going to ask you the difficult question. What do you think the weakest point of launching products nowadays is the most difficult to figure out? Whether that's with you guys or just in general of knowing about Amazon.
Joshua Porter: Whether or not it is a viable niche. I feel that a lot of sellers, they just are bringing products to the market simply to make a quick buck and it's not necessarily a longterm strategy. It's more of a short- term. The product might have a six month life cycle, but somebody that's new to the game, they want to be able to create a very unique niche for those products over time. They have a passion for it. That passion is obviously going to show through for their products versus somebody that's just trying to collect a quick buck. Maybe they're selling supplements. Maybe they're selling something disposable or something that's easily a me too product. They could easily beat down the other sellers with cheaper price points, and more variations, and just do whatever they can to actually get that ROI. But one thing that I'd really like to touch upon with that is the benefit for sellers to actually niche themselves down into a particular category and to essentially curate that audience over time because that's what's going to allow them to gain more traction on their next listing, their next launch, their variations, their groups. It gives that home grown feel for them.
Ryan Cramer: See, I agree with you. I think that if you go into this with the intent of not just turning and burning like a lot of people did in the past, I think building a brand number one is first and foremost solving a problem, building a brand, and making sure that you're in it to actually stand out and not do it so that... The me too products are very difficult to obviously break out amongst any sort of competition market. It's finding those ways to say, " Hey. I'm here to make these products better, or make that problem out there a lot better." I just think it's so strange that Amazon incentivizes ways for some areas to launch products and then will turn away and not look at it. But then in other capacities they'll get super honed in on one way or another launching products, incentivization of reviews and things like that. I feel like there's not a lot of consistency year in and year out which is really hard to do. That being said, for the foreseeable future let's talk about Elite Seller one more time. What's on the roadmap? You've winked and nudged at me a lot in this show. I feel like I'm on the same wavelength as you. What's on the horizon in terms of the Amazon community for you guys? What can we look for that's coming out for you guys?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. Absolutely. We are rolling out a bunch of new integrations. We just released our newest integration of Funnels not too long ago. Now we have another integration, QR codes and links. This is for post- purchase or any kind of captive audience that you want to reengage with. That's truly dynamic from just weighted URLs to sequential URLs, to random URLs. Again the ability to upload any kind of link that you want that you've actively curated, whether this is your own unique QR link, pixel file links, things like that. All of these unique softwares are designed to piggyback off of each other. We're actually upgrading our mini chat module at this moment as well. I know that we have something along the lines of like VIP lists rolling out soon. This is to take all the headache out of product launches later on down the line. I'm not too sure how much I can actually talk about because a lot of this is still in development. It is very forward thinking. Again our platform is specifically designed to handle everything that you could possibly want from high level account management to product launches, and just essentially have your team do that. I know that we are actively doing updates on our platform on a consistent basis. The unique aspect of that is that if you stay around long enough you're going to see something that's definitely going to catch your eye. I'd recommend that you guys hop over to, whoever's listening, hop over to eliteseller. com. Try out our 14 day free trial. You can plug in the code josh20 right there which is going to give you 20% off for life right there. 20% off for life. That's actually going to grow with your account. If you're a newbie account, all the way up to an elite account, that's actually going to work out for you. Again if you want to actually schedule an appointment with me so that we can do a live demo you're more than welcome to reach out to me on Facebook. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me on almost all social media platforms. Don't check out my Instagram. That's dead. I don't really do anything on Instagram.
Ryan Cramer: We had to get rid of Instagram for one reason or another right?
Joshua Porter: Yeah. There's too many right? But yeah, just feel free to message me and we can definitely set up an appointment. I'd be glad to talk to you about our software and give you guys a wonderful tour. I know that Ryan's already... That way. Yep, there we go. Ryan's actually already gotten a demo of Elite Seller a couple months ago, and we've since upgraded a lot of things on our platform since then. Yeah. There's-
Ryan Cramer: I feel like I need like a three month or a quarterly review with you guys because you're always constantly changing something.
Joshua Porter: We listen to audience. That's the thing. That's the big thing.
Ryan Cramer: That's good.
Joshua Porter: It's like, we wrote the software company that was created by Amazon sellers for Amazon sellers. If we stop listening to our Amazon sellers we're actually doing more harm because we don't want to just roll out things that we think are cool. We want to roll out things that you guys find useful for your business to give you that level up, to essentially allow you to outwit your competition hand over fist every single time. By having these unique factors that you need instead of having a cost just on an account level TACoS on account level, now we can see those metrics on a product level, seeing conversions on a product level. I know that we plan on rolling out a PPC module pretty soon as well too, so PPC management as well as different marketplaces. Because right now we only cover seven marketplaces but we are actively expanding.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Us as an international company and marketplace for any Amazon seller too we welcome other solutions that I've been super critical coming from the software world of. As long as you're innovating you should always continue to push that envelope. If you become complacent and you just want to become a, we're going to use the term me too software solution where you tap into the same API, you're going to get lost in the shuffle and you won't have any distinguishing feature to stand out amongst the crowd. Everyone is always looking for another leg up. If you continue to be an innovative solution and company, which I believe that's what you guys are trying to do, then there will always be more opportunity out there. In the world of ecommerce as more sellers come into market more people get smarter in how they want to innovate and grow their business. Josh, how can people... You said reach out to you on social media through Facebook, or any other places?
Joshua Porter: Facebook. LinkedIn. You can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn. You can find me on, what's it called, Instagram, that platform that I don't use too often. You guys can just send me messages all day every day.
Ryan Cramer: Or just message Josh on Facebook and he'll make sure he reaches out to you as well. That coupon code again is what, josh20?
Joshua Porter: Yep, josh20. You can just apply it right on our pricing page. We also have a wonderful catalog of tutorials and videos to give you guidance on how to navigate Elite Seller.
Ryan Cramer: Amazing stuff man. Well, thanks so much for hopping on. We can go down many rabbit holes. I know you and I have, but effectively and efficiently launching products topic of the day. Thanks for hopping on from beautiful Mexico after your brief stay here in the United States. Well, I'm sure you'll be back here soon enough. Are you guys going to be at any events coming up soon, or is there anything we should be looking for?
Joshua Porter: Particularly Prosper?
Ryan Cramer: Maybe? Prosper maybe?
Joshua Porter: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ryan Cramer: Okay. I was going to say Prosper is the one everyone is circling so we might see you there at Prosper.
Joshua Porter: Awesome. crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Yeah, thanks Joshua. Hold on right there for a second. Let me close out this episode. Thanks everyone for watching again on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. If you are not watching us live it's a shame but you can watch us replay on the YouTube channel. Just go ahead and search PingPong Payments on YouTube and subscribe to our channel. We have a great channel, a playlist with Crossover Commerce. All 111 episodes I've ever produced are there. If you have a topic that you want to go back to it's all relevant information. Every time we have a guest on this show we make sure that their contact information and their company can be featured there. If you have questions about them reach out to us You can follow me on social media on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn as well. That way if you have a question about one of our past guests or if you need a connection with a company let me know. We want to make sure that happens to help you elevate your business as well. But for Josh Porter from Elite Seller, I'm Ryan Cramer with PingPong Payments, this is Crossover Commerce. Tune in. Next week is when we'll go live again. We'll have a bunch of new episodes for you live so make sure that you subscribe to us on social media. If you don't have a Facebook, or if you don't have a PingPong account go ahead and check out that link below. Sign up for free today. There's no harm. You can actually save more money today than when you started out the day, so might as well go ahead and check out PingPong Payments today when your international payments, whether sending or receiving, or paying off your taxes... Tax day in the United States just happened, but as Amazon sellers, as you know there's constant taxes being paid on inaudible and GST. Go ahead and check that out on PingPong at the link below. It's for our Crossover Commerce podcast link. It's CC podcast down there in the description below. Again, I'm Ryan Cramer the host of this show. Tune in next week for a bunch of episodes for Crossover Commerce. Take care everyone.
Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Joshua Porter of Elite Seller about making the most efficient product launch possible.
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