So your brand is ready for international growth...now what? ⎜ Cartology ⎜ EP 130

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This is a podcast episode titled, So your brand is ready for international growth...now what? ⎜ Cartology ⎜ EP 130. The summary for this episode is: <p>Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Michael Maher of Cartology about growth opportunities available for growing ecommerce brands.</p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is Presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="https://usa.pingpongx.com/us/index?inviteCode=ccpodcast" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CrossoverCommerce" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.facebook.com/CrossoverCommerce</a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="https://www.youtube.com/c/PingPongPayments" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/c/PingPongPayments</a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/pingpongglobal/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/company/pingpongglobal/</a></p>

Ryan Cramer: What's up everyone, welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments. The leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey, what's up everyone, thanks for tuning in to another episode of Crossover Commerce. My name is Ryan Cramer and this is Episode 130 of my show Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments. This is my corner of the internet where I bring the best and brightest I like to say. Today's guests will kind of like play around with that idea, but best and brightest in the Amazon and eCommerce world in terms of what their thought leadership, but also, they're walking the walk and they're also talking the talk. So that's why I want to bring my guests onto the show so that they can share that with this audience, to you listener out there, who is an Amazon seller looking to grow their brand, internationally, whether it be on Amazon, or a different marketplace, or just really trying to take your entrepreneur journey to the next level. That's what the show is all about. But as always, this show is presented by PingPong Payments. What is PingPong Payments? No, we are not a table tennis company. We are a payment solutions provider. A growth partner, if you will, helping people grow and scale their businesses online. Helping people pay their factories, their Vas, their suppliers or manufacturers internationally, and then also receiving multiple different currencies from all over the world so that you can conveniently convert it over into the currency that you need, at an affordable rate. Don't trust other banks, don't trust other sorts of solutions out there. Trust PingPong, go ahead and sign up for a free account today, PingPong Payments, you can do that in the show notes below. Or you can go ahead and check out USA. PingPongx. com. Just mention Crossover Commerce when you sign up and that'd be great to know. But as always, this show is not about me. It's about the guests we have onto this show. And of course, the person I wanted to bring on about this topic we're going to be covering is your brand ready for international growth. So what's next. Friend of the show who's already been on with us before. He is a founder slash co- founder of his agency Cartology elevating brands to new heights worldwide. They've helped brands get onto marketplaces like Walmart, international growth in terms of Canada, Europe, so on and so forth. But we always have this banter back and forth in this, this growth of Amazon's green fantastic and it has a large majority of the audience share. But as brands continue to evolve and make more of a brand focused play, what does that growth potential look like? So international expansion is what we're going to be talking about today. The next new frontier for your brand, what to look for, what opportunities are out there. And really, his words, not mine, quote unquote, talk about the hot eCommerce gossip out there nowadays. Ladies and gentlemen, of course listener I'm talking about Michael Maher of Cartology. Michael, what's up, man? How are you?

Michael Maher: Hot gossip is right. I want to spill the beans on everybody.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, we're not talking about like other secrets that we've heard. We're talking about just like news and-

Michael Maher: No, I'm talking about personal secrets. I'm talking about your personal secrets, I'm talking about my personal secrets, we're going to get personal today.

Ryan Cramer: We're going to spill a lot of tea here today. But I forgot to bring the tea cup.

Michael Maher: We're talking about the last frontier. And I used to live in Oklahoma and we had to practice being Oklahoma Sooners that would like rush and like grab land. In fourth grade when you learn about your state I remember being on a big dusty playground and us like setting up our own camps, like creating cardboard... It was boxes, and it was crazy.

Ryan Cramer: I thought you were going to turn this into a Star Trek thing. But you made this a personal attack on Oklahoma. So for the listener who is out there in the middle of Oklahoma, I apologize for Michael here. But hey, man, it's good to have you on. We were kind of joking around before this. When people are watching this, they're going to be watching in the middle of their different conferences, in their sessions over at Prosper, which is happening in Las Vegas. Which again, for people who are watching this and you haven't done so already, go and check out Prosper show, July 13 and 15. It's going to be in Las Vegas. If you're there we're by booth 2137. Believe it or not, we're in the middle of GETIDA and Jungle Scout. To give you kind of a reference point, I know exactly where we're at. I'm not there. You're not there. And we're talking about why maybe that was the fact so I'm just curious for people listening to this. Why are we not there?

Michael Maher: You stayed in the Midwest.

Ryan Cramer: That's right.

Michael Maher: I don't know. I mean, you're like you're in Indianapolis. So I mean, you're like two and a half hours. The fact that I'm not seeing you in person is kind of a shame. So I'll have to at least we can track up to Indianapolis to grab lunch or something. But the reason, and I was pretty intentional about not going to Prosper. Not that I was...

Ryan Cramer: We're not against it. I want to know why are we not there? Yeah, exactly.

Michael Maher: The reason... And I think it would be good at some point to get out there. Because I know there's a lot of value. There's a lot of Amazon connected people there. From my perspective, my target audience, it's really about brands. And I want to go after like the VP of Marketing, the VP of sales, the head of business development, the CEOs, founders, stuff like that. And I think more of the people that I'm trying to go after, at least from a client perspective, and building relationships in that sense, they might be at the Expo West or Expo East, something like that, whenever they end up coming back online. But they're at shows where there's more brand focused stuff, and I want to be able to go in and connect, and not get lost in the crowd of Amazon stuff. And I love geeking out about Amazon stuff, too. But I think my is just maybe a little bit more generalized in that sense. But I have a lot of friends, other agency owners that are out there at Prosper, I think it would be a good show that I need to get to at some point. And I have no qualms about going. I'm also not like a big Vegas person. I'm speaking at another event. If you're in Atlanta, check out my buddy Ronnell Richards. Next week, I'm speaking at one of his events called Business and Bourbon, well that's his community. Shout out to Ronnell. And we talk about business, and we have good whiskey. So that's right up my alley, I'm getting an opportunity to talk about building a brand, eCommerce, Amazon, what that looks like. So I am going to be doing that. I'm not opposed to speaking, if anything, maybe even one of my goals would be to make it to Prosper and be able to talk and talk about brands and kind of bring that in the space. Because as especially as venture capital comes in, which is just dominating a lot of the news, when it comes to Amazon, there's a lot more conversations that are going to be had about what is a seller? What are brands, whatever the case may be?

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely, you hit on lots of great points. And I think that we can certainly dive into that. But obviously, the ones that want to take away are this is one thing I've noticed, to kind of stick with the networking side of things. Is that Amazon or just entrepreneurs in general, especially in this online space. There is something about when you have a party, and it seems to go all out whether it's like food and beverage, but even just elevating in front of that, of just having things to do. And just really, the high level of knowledge that comes out of these events is almost second to none. And I can't believe that people continuously up themselves in terms of bigger, better, more, quote, unquote, prosperous, different events. And we actually had on the show, the co- founders of Prosper, Eytan Wiener he's now at GETIDA.

Michael Maher: Oh yes, he is.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, so he's-

Michael Maher: I met him in New York before and just an awesome, dude. I mean, he seems like he'd be great to work with.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, well, so his journey, and I call it the trifecta. He was the seller, he had a brand and he's exited that brand. He's in the service industry, but he was also an events person. He helped coordinate Prosper and develop that before whomever I forget, honestly, the name of the company who took over Prosper, and now is running it.

Michael Maher: It might be whoever's in charge of IRCE.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah it's one of those two, I mean, obviously, it's a brand and it's like kind of under their umbrella, and they get their naming rights. And we talked about that on a prior, let's say, two shows ago. But that being said, it's just fascinating how people continuously, not just at big events, but smaller events, like meetups. I'm not sure how big this one is. But people find value in the smaller, get to know you kind of events. And I think that's really cool, what that is. It's a community of people helping each other. But it's also that handshaking, and how can I help you out? Because I think this would be the natural segue into our next segment would be, not everyone can do everything. You know about it, but you have to lean on partnerships, you have to lean on other people in the space to help you grow.

Michael Maher: Yeah, I mean, I think one of the ways that I've looked at growing my agency is not reinventing the wheel in every certain capacity. So you mentioned GETIDA. We also work with someone else that's in the Amazon reimbursement space, RefundSniper. And I mean, essentially, there's no way that we could create... It would take a lot of time to create a service. And it would require a lot of knowledge and it would require very skilled people. It's takes time to build a brand that knows, or a company that knows something. Even just like it's taken to build an agency and as there's a lot more venture capital that's coming into the space, there is a lot more focus on Amazon experts or people that know what they're talking about with Amazon. So we're seeing a huge influx of people coming into the space and saying, " I'm an Amazon expert, I can help with this." Because it's just growing, it's a burgeoning industry. But we partner with Amazon reimbursement companies, because the level of detail that they're going into help get money back for the brands who we're working with. It's so incredible. I don't even want to begin to try and build something because partnering with them just makes sense. So when I look at building our agency, when I look at building Cartology, I want to look at things from a sense of who can we partner with what companies can we work with to provide services to our clients who maybe we wouldn't normally do. And so now we're able to provide different creative solutions by partnering with someone, we're able to provide fulfillment solutions. And that's something I never really wanted to get my hands and actually helping with fulfillment stuff. But having a partner that does something like that, that is a world makes a big world of difference. I recently connected with some of the people at AMZ Prep to create something that's really personalized for the brands that we work with. I think I saw Blair made the comment on a post about like us going live today. So I mean, that's enabled us to actually grow the agency without having to increase our like physical footprint. And also I just feel like... I think about things. And one of the things I think about... I mean, I guess everybody thinks about things, that was kind of a dumb thing to say. I think about charities, like there's all these different charities. What if all those charities work together better trying to fight cancer, or fight autism, or whatever the case may be. What did they all came together? Because at a certain point, we're just fractionalizing ourselves. So I think about how can I utilize what's already out there to actually build and grow. And then we're actually working together, I end up bringing them more business, they can potentially bring me business, it just seems like it makes a lot of sense to do it that way.

Ryan Cramer: Well, you mentioned something like conquering, dividing someone who made this post on a solution or a network like LinkedIn. And I saw, what if billionaires decided to try to conquer world hunger instead of a race to space or something like that. Something really funny, it's applicable to everyone in the world. They're like, why does it matter who gets to space first and can fly? It's a really cool concept. But they're right in theory. As we're divided into all these issues, there's overwhelming big glaring things like how to build a brand, internationally, or how to grow it. You can't do it all yourself. So why not pull resources together to move the needle instead of being fractured, like you mentioned. So I thought that was funny. And something that was definitely applicable in this sort of context. So you made a good point of there's a lot of... There's sexy topics about the aggregator space. And it was even mentioned yesterday was lots of news releases are coming out today of like more aggregators are raising more funds and capital. There was actually an aggregator that purchased a brand, almost like an agency, but an acquirer of brands for$ 100 million. And that was purchasing a different company for$ 100 to $200 million. Lots of money being thrown around to land grab it.

Michael Maher: crosstalk the thing too is going from purchasing brands, there's a huge skill set gap for people that can actually help. So if you've got an agency right now, or you're a service provider, and you actually know what you're doing, you're incredibly valuable. So we're going to start to see these bigger aggregators, start purchasing service agencies so they can bring talent internally. And I know that there are other people that are helping to create solutions for that. Like my buddy, Brett Bohannon, who's also a service provider, he's creating a solution. I don't know what the actual brand name is, but he's creating a solution where he can take people who maybe know eCommerce, but don't know Amazon and actually get them up to speed quicker. And then push that talent to agencies like myself or other brands. I mean, we're going to start to see agencies and service providers really be purchased up and hitch their star to these aggregators, because there's just a lot of cash there.

Ryan Cramer: Well, I guess that was my next natural question. And maybe you answered it. Is that something that you as a company are inevitably going to have to look into or figure out how to partner up. Because there's pros and cons with money that gets thrown around. There's much bigger plays at hand, that you are experts in, what you know how to do. You have the creative team, you have all these assets at your disposal. It wouldn't make sense for a company to just go out and try to build it themselves when you already have the wherewithal know how. It wouldn't make sense for a business or an agency or consumers to kind of like scale up and instead of overcoming it themselves, they just either acquire and kind of built up that network underneath them. Is that probably the natural progression that you're going to have to inevitably face as a company?

Michael Maher: I think that's something that I've been prepping myself for. And honestly, even over the past couple years as I've developed stuff, and even before any of the aggregators got in the space, or it just became really public last year, there were people that were like, " Hey, we're maybe interested in acquiring your agency." And so I'll always entertain stuff, whatever the offer might be. And I'm also more increasingly open to however business comes our way that's cool with me. So maybe it's not we pitch someone and say, " Hey, we want to manage your brand on Amazon." Well, maybe we can't really afford full time management, what we can offer you... What we would like to do is have you set up our store and then provide us ongoing consulting, so it's going to be a little bit cheaper to start, maybe get to the place where we really need full service. So I'm working on more creative ways and I'm getting feedback from my team to that, we need to be creative in some of the ways that we actually garner business. But I am always open to have a conversation, when it comes to opportunity into the future. Here's my personal feeling on it, though. I want to be different. And not just for the sake of being different and funky and cool in that regard. I just want to be able to do things a little bit differently. So what I mean by that is, instead of in building my agency, it's all bootstrapped. But instead of getting a big investment from someone hiring a lot of people, trying to bring on as many clients as possible. I'm trying to build something that really is sustainable. And so that means finding the right people and building out the right systems and refining that over time. I also believe in having long term relationships. My wife and I started dating like 17 years ago, which is crazy, I'm not that old. I'm 35. I had no idea what I was doing when we... I got married when I was 22. All my friends thought I was crazy. But it was a great decision that I made. But when I look at how we're doing things, I want to be able to be very intentional about what we're doing and the relationships that we're building. So that people on my team, developing them investing in them, and helping to create an environment where they feel loyalty to what we're doing, and to be really purpose driven. And so that's one of the things that I feel like differentiates us. And I'm still in the process of working through what does the messaging look like. But I really see three kinds of sellers on Amazon. I see the resellers. And that's actually how I got started. I actually was reselling products on eBay, then moved to Amazon, then moved to creating my own brand, did that for about six years and then moved into the agency side of things. So there's resellers. Typically, they can't hire us because the margins are really small and it's kind of drifting away from that unless you've got some kind of exclusive deal. Then there are the private label people, which I feel a lot of people end up going to Prosper for, because there's a lot of do it yourselfers there. They want to learn, and they want to create and build their own things. And they're kind of adapting to Amazon. They're not necessarily creating a brand. As in, I don't know anyone who pays attention, to Donald Miller and story brand. I'm a big fan of that. And I've read through a lot of his stuff, but having a brand, having a story, telling that. A lot of the private label companies are doing well and successful, but it's not really building a brand. And then I see the brands. And like I talked about earlier, the brands who have a story, they're really... Especially those that are purpose or mission driven. We just picked up a client who is in the cosmetic space, but also is trying to help give money to girls to get them into... Not just random girls, but give money to get more girls involved in STEM. And ironically, I just dropped my daughter off at this STEM camp that she's going through school. And she's learning how to do kind of basic game building. It's like for anyone who's-

Ryan Cramer: Coding, but kind of apps and games and stuff.

Michael Maher: Yeah, it's like Roblox, building her own game inside of robots is kind of what it's like. And we showed my dad it yesterday. So I mean, it's coming full circle. But I really want to focus on the mission driven brands. And so I don't know, my goal is not to sell, and it's not to get acquired. I'm sure that that's something that will be entertained. But I really want to make it about building something unique and special. And I feel like my goal was never to build something to exit. I'm not saying that I'm not opposed to that. But if I were to exit my company, I feel like if anything, it would be more like a ESOP. Like an employee stock option plan where the people that run the company actually own it. And that's really where my heart is at. I enjoy doing this, like I'm not looking to get out of it. But I also want to be able to have my own say in what our company does, what we focus on, the messaging. I don't really want to be beholden to other people, and they're interest in something. And here's the thing, just like in the Founders' Dilemma, you have to look at control versus... Control and money, are kind of at odds with each other, the more that you may take control of your business, the less opportunity you have to generate revenue. I'm okay with that. I'm okay with maintaining some of the control, even if that limits our potential to generate revenue, because I want to build something that is unique. And I think I'd rather build in a niche space and focus on mission driven brands that really wants to have an impact, as opposed to servicing the Amazon sphere at large.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, you bring a lot of good points. If I didn't know you're an agency, Michael, and I said, " Hey, Cartology was basically a brand itself, let's call you a brand." I think that same thought process goes through the mind of every single entrepreneur out there, whether it's 3P seller or someone who's actually trying to grow something. They took something retail, they said, " Hey, I think I can grow internationally, or I can have a bigger reach if I figure out this online thing." That's like you said, the founder's dilemma is how do I make all my efforts and my goals and ambitions match up with the people I work with or work for or investors or stockholders? And how do I take that to the next level? And I think that's the puzzle that everyone's trying to figure out. As a brand when am I ready for international growth? Do I have the money and assets in the people to be able to figure that out? Do I have the support system, the partnership network? Do I have all these different things aligned so that I am ready for growth? So I don't fail inevitably. Potentially, even if I'm not actually ready. So with that being said, you're kind of the shepherd of a brand, when they trust you into growing online. You're the shepherd of these waters, or the fog, you're trying to feel their way out, you're trying to lead these people into more prosperous lands. When do you tell people, " Hey, you're ready for Canada, you're ready for Germany, you're ready for this opportunity to grow internationally?" What's that conversation like with a client?

Michael Maher: I think it's more of a feeling. I love that shepherding analogy. I'm a huge crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: You're allowed to steal it. Go for it.

Michael Maher: I was going to say, I may end up stealing that. I tell people that there's nothing like ship or water theme. We say we're helping you... Cartology is helping you navigate Amazon. And one of the things that I stress in a lot of the content that I put out, which is mostly on LinkedIn, but it's going to be... There's going to be more on our blog. I'm launching a podcast called the longer game that's focusing on the future of retail. Hopefully, that, we're in the process of recording stuff right now, I'll have you on that. So boom, everyone now you know.

Ryan Cramer: Surprise.

Michael Maher: But, I will be in the content that I'm putting out, I want to... I just want to be intentional about stuff. But I also want to talk about partnering. And partnering is something that is really, really going to benefit everybody out there. So the brands that need help, they need to find a service partner that can actually really help. And I've even said it doesn't need to be me. Because not everyone's going to even be a fit with my agency. And again, like I said, I know, we're wanting to grow sustainably. And so I'm bringing on people that I know are going to be a good fit and not bringing on five employees, or five team members at a time, or 20. Or wherever the case might be, we don't have a ton of capital even to bring those people on. It's just not the direction I'm looking for, for the business. No shade on any of the people out there that are doing that. I just wanted to do it the specific way. And I've got a great team of people, we're serving some brands. We're looking to about double that this year. And we're on our way to do that. But partnering is the way that I think brands are going to be successful. If you don't know what's going on with Amazon, you're not going to be able to learn it in six months or a year. And the reason I put that timeframe on there is because if you don't get things together in the next six months to a year, it's going to take that much longer for you to break into the market. Because cost per click on advertising is going up. There's more people coming into the space, these aggregators are coming in and buying brands and now they've got a lot of buying power that's coming behind it. So they can bid as high as they want on these terms. It maybe even not be profitable for a while, like a bigger brand traditionally would and be more visible in the space to get the attribution they need to. So we're starting to get into some of the nitty gritty of stuff. But partnering is going to be huge. And so when it comes to bring it full circle talking about that conversation of what does moving from the US to another marketplace look like it. It really is going to be... I mean the baseline is do we have something repeatable and that's working in the US. If that's the main marketplace. We have a client whose main marketplaces the UK. So is everything sustainable in the UK? Do we have stuff that works? Once we have that, we've got everything figured out and that might take six months to really do, we can then take that and say, Okay, let's replicate that. On Canada. Let's replicate that in the UK. And then it's also just looking at what are your products. So we have a client who we're launching in Singapore. And he's got a great brand. And it's an English speaking country. I think I said, just said" Shpeaking." But it's an English speaking country. So that kind of is a natural progression. I have another brand that's going to be launching in Australia. And it's part of that Sunny climate atmosphere type product. And so that's something that is going to, I think, work well. So it's about saying, is our basis, our foundation there in our first marketplace? From there, then where do we want to look at expanding. Because there is opportunity there. Amazon's revenue from a... So when you look at Amazon saying, oh, there's$ 350 billion in sales and revenue as a company, that's a little bit deceiving. Because the money is broken down by AWS, it's broken out by their ads, it's broken down by the marketplace. And so the ads business might be I think it was$ 10 billion a year or two ago. So I imagine it's probably closer to maybe$ 15, $20 billion now. But the actual marketplace, the US marketplace does about 147... Anywhere between$ 140, $100 billion in sales each year. Germany is the next closest marketplace at$ 27 billion. So there's$ 100 plus billion gap that's there. But that's going to start to rise. I think the UK is after Germany, at like$ 20.

Ryan Cramer: It's like 2 and 2A.

Michael Maher: And then Japan and some of the other marketplaces. And what I've talked about with people who do translations and help to actually localize content in some of those areas is, do you know the shopper. What is kind of fluffy writing here in the US from what I understand, isn't going to fly in Germany, because it's more of a technical person. They want the facts, they just want what the product's going to do. And that's what's going to be bought. If you do that in the US, people are going to laugh at you and say, " Well, you don't have any marketing. There's no sales, copy, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." So you have to know what your product is, who your target audience is. Again, I'm speaking to a target audience, but our clients have a target audience. Their audience is on Amazon, because more than half the people in the US are going to Amazon just to do product research. 54% is the number that I found. So they're on Amazon, but it's where are they on Amazon. Because what we're doing for... One of our clients, they're called Every Man and they make these really awesome pens. The Grafton pen, and it's like a $ 40 pen. So nice. You just refill the ink. And I feel very cool when I use it. So definitely a client that I stand behind, in that I even like using their products. But he's got a very defined audience. And so we have to go after those people, we have to go after his audiences on Amazon and not just focus on... We might cast a wide net initially, but we have to make sure we're finding those people. So it's situational. But are you ready where you're at now? Are you set? And can you replicate that elsewhere? And then just making smart decisions. Once you get that conversation going, maybe we take the top product line and launch it in this country to see how that performs. If you don't bring the whole catalog over. Because it's a lot to move a whole catalog from one place to the other, even if you've got help and assistance and it takes time. And shipping rates right now are incredibly more expensive. I've heard three to four times higher, to get like a container sent to the US. One of our clients said three times. I spoke with a prospect and they said four times. So if you're paying$1, 000 to ship something, it now costs you four grand, which is crazy. So I think you just have to be... Once you once you know you're ready it's then about just being strategic and making the right decision.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Well, sorry, I was thinking because you brought up so many good points that we've talked about in episodes past of what does it look like internationally? And what are these outlying factors that are starting to creep into lots of people's space in 3PL. And we actually had a question and I was actually going to see if you had any insight to this, Michael. If not I had a company I would refer to. We had a question come from YouTube. And if you're listening to this, again, you're more than welcome to ask these questions live. If you're watching or listening, put those in the comments and we'll try to make sure to answer your questions. It's beauty of this show and being live and watching live. Rana from YouTube actually mentioned we sell products, private label products or FDA have Brand Registry and trademark for the brand name we use, we started a few years back. We purchased CPC codes through a reseller. That's not uncommon, Rana. So his question is, becoming non- compliant since we've registered the name for them is different than theirs. I'm assuming there were... It doesn't match the Brand Registry is how I'm reading this, Michael. He says, we want to bring the situation with barcodes identifiers into compliance and looking into the easiest way to do it. Do you have any partners or any ideas in terms of how to resolve or go over these kinds of issues to help right now?

Michael Maher: Yeah, so that is an easy answer, I would say. Within the past couple years Amazon's partnered with GS1, which is really a... GS1 for people who don't know they're basically a standardized... They have a standardized system for barcodes. So pretty much all your UPCs, now EANs is what was being used in the EU. And now everyone's moving to G10s. I don't know what that stands for. But a UPC is like maybe nine characters. No it's 12 characters. The G10 is the UPC plus three. So it's not 15 characters and everyone's moving to that I think it's going to be a more of a global system. But essentially what Ron is running into here is what a lot of sellers and even I when I was originally selling, bought codes from a reseller, because partnering with GS1 just are going in that regard seem crazy. Of course, you can get better crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: It's expensive. Yeah, absolutely.

Michael Maher: Yeah. And looking at it now, it's really not that expensive. Like if you've got 10 products, 10 individual products that you individually inaudible it will probably cost you under$1, 000 to register those, and then there's just a renewal rate each year. And GS1 is a nonprofit, too. So they're doing it from a standardization standpoint, and they're not a for profit company. But they aligned just with Amazon just like whoever does the gluten free certification, and they're coming along to Amazon saying, " Hey, let's standardize and say, if people want to claim that they're gluten free, they need to have this certificate." And now Amazon's asking for that from sellers. We've had content get denied where someone says award winning brand, and they're like, " Prove you have awards." And so we submit the awards to them, and it gets put up. But if you can't back that stuff up, you're going to be in a heap of trouble. So the way to bring the specific situation into compliance is go to GS1, register your company, you get what's called a pre- fix that's like your first six digits. And then the rest of your... You can determine, hey, I only want 10 UPCs. We've got under 50 products that will determine how much you have to pay originally for the UPCs. So that's something that you want to look into. I just saw that he said, " Can we change the UPC codes for our listings without losing our views and rank?" Yes, and no. It kind of depends upon what seller support says. If the product has not changed, but the UPC code has changed, and I don't want to advise anyone to do anything that could potentially be outside Terms of Service. And so there's a little bit of a gray area here. And so that's why I'd say you need to go to seller support and talk to them. But you need to say, " Hey, the product is the same. But the UPC is updated, can we change this?" I've seen different solutions. So I know that it's possible. But I don't want to say this is definitely the solution, because each person that you get seller support. And seller support is kind of notorious in not being super helpful and just giving you a templated response, " Hey, we're looking into this. Forward it to the right team. Forward it to the right team." And for what I know about the seller support staffing, they've got a case, some kind of target or goal to get through in terms of cases. And the more cases they can close or quote unquote resolve, then that looks good from their scores. Everybody's got metrics that they're living up to. So someone's answer could potentially be defined by, " How well am I doing at my job right now? I need to get more cases close. Okay, well, I'm just going to merge this with this other case, or I'm going to forward you to the appropriate team. Or I need to get this actually resolved right now, so it doesn't keep popping back up." So without losing reviews and rank, it could be possible, but it depends upon what Amazon says. And honestly, at the end of the day, relaunching reviews a product and getting new reviews and rank. It's not difficult. It just takes time. So I mean, do you have the capital to invest in your products. I mean, you save money on the front end, by not spending as much on the UPCs, but now you're wanting to legitimize your brand. I just made up a word. You want to legitimize your brand and so you have to kind of put on your big boy pants, so to speak, and do what needs to be done. A lot of private label brands are realizing, okay, we can't sell this product anymore, we can't do this specific thing anymore, because the way that it's been done is no longer accepted by Amazon. And that is one of the reasons why we've been really focused, Cartology has been really focused on brands. Is starting from the start, they're doing things the right way, they're getting registered, they're getting the appropriate consult to people they need. So that they're getting the right certification. So they're getting in front of the right... Maybe vendor managers at Kroger, whatever the case might be to... Or getting in with the right companies to help them to be prepared for retail. I have a friend named Jessica Thomas and she runs a company called Curate360. And it's all about helping businesses to become what she says market ready and retail ready. And retail ready is when you've got your product, you're ready to go. But market ready is like you're actually able to compete in the marketplace. And the difference between those two is really funding. But anyway, I digress. This is fixable, Ron. But it's going to take a little effort on your part, you're going to have to go to GS1 and register. It's really not that expensive, especially depending on what you're doing from a revenue standpoint, $ 2, 500 for the year just to-

Ryan Cramer: Become compliant again, I think that's the big key. It sounds like he's not compliant, therefore... And I think the saving grace for Rana too, is if all those things you're saying be true. You're trademarked, you're registered, brand name use, all that stuff is in compliance, obviously, they would work with you hopefully in that regards. And sellers would probably be ones to help you in that regards to make sure like, " Hey, they are matching." It could be as simple as making sure that they identify it as your brand. And you're good to go from that standpoint. So obviously reach out. And then like Michael said, GS1 that would be good to register your UPC codes there. Hopefully that helps. And thanks for your question.

Michael Maher: They are globally compliant too. So if you register in the US, your products, you'll get UPCs, G10s, you'll get everything so that you can go across Canada, UK, wherever the case may be.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Well, really cool. So with that being said, Michael like problems like that are always like globally... I think a lot of people suffer and they're really concerned what's next, in terms of getting started with international growth. Like in the EU, you have the whole GST- VAT compliance, you have making sure that your imports are completely compliant and follow codes. And Brexit crosstalk. And Brexit shot a lot of people in the foot in that regard. Even inventory limits, it kind of affects you on that regards too. So depends on if they want to launch internationally or not, making sure the goods are good to go. They have localization. We talked about yesterday or two days ago on our podcast. There's so many different factors that are kind of being thrown at people. Is it the notion that people are just, it's not worth my time, money and effort? And I would rather not do that internationally. Or is it just trying to overcome a higher barrier than it used to be a year or two ago?

Michael Maher: In terms of expanding-

Ryan Cramer: International growth. I mean for brands, they're like, " Hey, I want to go to Canada." And they're like hey you have this laundry list of like, all right, make sure you're compliant on these regards, you're going to pay VAT four times a year, you're going to be maybe looking a little bit smaller growth, you're going to need to have more orders that get shipped there directly. Not the same extent as you might in the United States, but it might be 10% of what that is. So you have to negotiate with your supplier to get that MLQ up.

Michael Maher: And partners that are there that-

Ryan Cramer: Partners that can fulfill, exactly. All that being said, even knowing like if your goods are sitting there, and even from PingPong's perspective, getting money back into your own pocket, all the fees associated with that. A lot of people just have headaches, they're like, " I just didn't realize that there was those barriers." When a client looks at all that is it just because it's too much for them to overcome? Or is it just because the barrier to entry for growth of a brand, so much higher, it's just going to take a little bit more time, money and effort.

Michael Maher: I mean, it's always going to take a little more time, money and effort. I truly believe that. And that is the biggest... Managing a brand on Amazon has a lot to do with managing your expectations of what can happen versus just handling PPC and creating new content and logistics and inventory limits and a high IPI score and feedback and product reviews, all that stuff. Those are all components. But how you set your expectations is going to determine your success because it's going to determine how you view and judge your success. If you want to... And here's the God's honest truth, I will tell people the truth that, " Hey, we did a statistical modeling of what projections would look like for your company, and it's going to take you a year to be profitable. Do you want to do that?" I'm not going to say... Because I've taken people on before, when they're not ready or not prepared, and it only hurt us, it only hurt them. So I'm going to come out front and say... And this happened during the pandemic, there was someone that was selling PBE, and they wanted to, they're ready to go. We're going to do this, we're going to go full steam, we want to sell on Amazon. And so the guy that handles data on our team, he helped me put together a statistical model of what would actually take, including our fees, including advertising all that stuff, how long would it take them to get profitable, and it was going to take them a year. And they might have made 1.5 million, but it would have cost them like 1. 3. And just silence from these guys. Just silence. Hey, well, we were at a conference or something, but they just lost interest. And I am making a little bit of assumption here, which kind of goes against my rules, but they did eventually say, " We're just going to have to look for different avenues." And so right out of the gate, we could have gotten 10 grand, or something out of that partnership in fees. But I didn't want to do that, knowing that it was going to be a really tough and competitive space. I've seen businesses that are in the PPE space that have been there for a while before COVID hit, that just got ruined by all the people that flooded in. So it's become really heavily regulated on Amazon. And that I think, is going to be a big determiner on how or why you should expand. If you're in cosmetics, it's you're in anything that has to do with the FDA, even just going cross border to Canada, your labeling requirements are different. I have a prospect who's mostly in Canada, and they're working on expanding into the US. And it's not that hard to get your facility registered by the FDA. It doesn't even, really... I don't think it costs anything to register. But they can, at any time, have an agent come and check your facility to make sure you're compliant. And if you're not compliant, you can't sell your product according to FDA. So you have to know your category and what regulations are there. If you're selling office supplies, I mean, electronics is going to be somewhat regulated. But I think you're going to have an easier time if it's like a microphone or something as compared to... Which is going to have an XLR cable. But you're not plugging into a wall and you don't need a certain voltage or something like that. So it's really going to depend upon the category. And then yeah, what are the costs? And what are your expectations in terms of success? If you're like, " Look, Singapore is a long game play for us, we really want to be there. We see ourselves developing in that market, they're English speaking, so we feel like there's good crossover there." Then it's something that I think you should go for, but you should manage your expectations, say it's going to take us a year to really be successful here. That's one of the things that I feel like... And I mean Ryan, you tell me, correct me if you feel like I'm wrong. But when it comes to the different... Or maybe the different agency approach that I'm wanting to take is not just take on everyone. And I've seen people say we only deal with the top people and it's very much a condescending, " We only work with seven and eight figure sellers," type attitude. Which is great. Sales are very sexy. I care a lot more about profitability, because that's what.. The sales, the seven, eight figure sales are like the lingerie. I don't know what kind of lingerie you'd like to wear to bed, Ryan, but it's something nice and sexy, but it lasts for a little bit.

Ryan Cramer: It will vary, exactly. crosstalk.

Michael Maher: You just got to bunch up the fluff in right area. So it looks more crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: Right. But yeah it has to cover the right-

Michael Maher: The right region crosstalk expansion. But your profitability is like your bed, that's where you sleep, that's what's going to help you and continue to be able to pay the bills. So I think we're specific about who we work with, because I want to make sure we're going into it with the same expectations. And I have tried and tried to help people to adjust expectations. But when they're not willing, they will not change. It doesn't matter how much data you give them. It doesn't matter... I've had clients and people and friends who work in the industry who talk about people who argue with data. And it's like, I'm not pitching this in any sort of way. I'm saying this is getting this return. Well, I just don't think it's... I think we're spending too much money. And it's like, " Well but you're getting a four to one return..." Like for ads, for instance." You're getting a four to one return." " But we're spending 10 grand but you're getting 40 grand in sales and that's actually helping your organic sales. Do you not Understand that?" That is the thing is, if you can come into something... We've had clients who come in saying, " We've been an Amazon for a while. But we know that things are changing, we haven't really utilized advertising. And we need help in that regard." They're a little bit more flexible, and they're willing to say, " We don't know in this area. And that's why we need help." And so in that regard, I want to work with those people because they're willing to change and mold. We have something that we did last year as an agency that this year, it may not work. And so we tell clients, " Look, we're pivoting." And they might say, " Well, why didn't you do this last year?" " Well, we thought this strategy was going to work, it's not going to work anymore, based on what we're seeing. So we're moving adjusting, we're learning just like you're learning about how people responding to your brand." So I feel like everything, especially from a philosophical level, but everything comes down to expectations and your perspective. If you go and see Black Widow, and you've hyped it up, because I know you're a Marvel plan, you hype it up so big, and you haven't seen a movie in a year, and you go and even if it's a great movie, it's not... It doesn't give you the same feels that another movie gave you it's going to let you down. But if you go into it with no expectations, if you're just like, whatever, it's just a movie, who cares? It can end up blowing you away. So it's all about what your mindset is like, going into that situation. And I truly believe, and I've seen a lot of founders, business owners talk about this. Mindset is really everything. What are your expectations? What do you think you're going to get out of something? And like, if you think that you're going to fail, you're going to fail. If you think you're going to succeed, you're going to succeed. But how are you framing those things. I feel like there should be a... Maybe that's what we're on right now. The philosophical Amazon podcast.

Ryan Cramer: Sometimes, in 130 episodes I've done now I think, like a lot of it can come back to philosophy and thoughts on things. Listen, I think you bring up good points, Michael, I think at the end of the day, a lot of people who don't succeed, they don't understand numbers. And that can mean that by profitability, you can talk about that in terms of quantifiable nature. Everyone can say, no matter how I spend, I can say I'm a six, seven figure seller. I can do that. But are you profitable? I can sell$ 100,000. I think Kevin King says this best. He runs billion dollar sellers, and he goes, " I had people who say they're six, seven, figure eight figure sellers. But are they actually bringing in 6, 7, 8 figures of growth? Or revenue?" No, that's not true or profitability, that's just a number that is on their dashboard? What are you actually making in terms of profit? Is it$30, 000? Well, you're not a millionaire in that regards. You're just pumping out a bunch of stuff.

Michael Maher: You're touching a million dollars, but you're not actually keeping a million dollars in the bank.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, and people don't understand. I've had brands who've come to me they've been on Shark Tank that have do all these kinds of things. And the problem they say, of international growth, " Hey, I didn't understand that there's all these different barriers, taxes, there's different monetary, things you have to look for in terms of converting money back into pocket. I didn't think it'd be that difficult to do." And you look at them, and you say, listen, like every economy in the world is different. You just happen to figure out one of these nature's. Numbers are going to tell the story no matter where you grow. Again, if we're talking about just international terms of numbers, are they, and going back to your numbers that you touted earlier are they as sexy as the United States is right now? No. But if you look at five years ago, where the United States was, do those numbers match up? Sure, as hell they do. And a lot of them are going to start to creep up, the more and more Amazon gets adopted internationally. But that's not just on Amazon, that's marketplaces around the world as Rakuten continues to grow in Japan, billion plus people there.

Michael Maher: crosstalk in China. I don't think they would do well in the US, but they kill in China, because they know and they understand the culture. And that's so key to that. And so again, this is going to sound like a scripted plug, but when you're expanding internationally, the exchange rate the moving from the pound, or the Euro, back into the dollar, moving from yen back into the dollar. If you don't do that stuff on a regular basis, you need to reach out to PingPong and say, we want to set up an account. We want to be able to find a partner that's going to help us to get the most out of our money. Because 1% to 2%... Excuse me, I'm getting all choked up. 1% to 2%-

Ryan Cramer: It's a touching topic, I understand.

Michael Maher: 1% to 2% on your fees may not seem like a lot, but as your revenue grows, that's going to become a bigger monetary amount. And if you're trying to go from 15% to 20% in terms of profitability 2% or 3% if it's on fees that could take you a long way. I'm just saying you got to find the right partners. If you don't crosstalk you're going to fail.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say we're in the industry of again, I know what people talk about, I can only imagine what company to company if I'm a brand owner and I start to see, hey, 2% to 3% gets thrown at agency or, hey, this, this fee per month I have to spend on this. And you start to see your balance sheet, your Excel book or whatever you're using in terms of profitability... Again, hopefully you have this, not just theoretics, you're looking at your data, and you're starting to see that profit number go down and down and down. And that percentage of what profitability is to you. I forget what the whole nuanced nature of what a good profitability is, but obviously, the higher the better. But if it's not north of 20%, you shouldn't be doing business in that either product or service.

Michael Maher: Or is it worth it you? Is it worth it to you?

Ryan Cramer: Yes, or is it worth it.

Michael Maher: crosstalk profitability. I use this example a lot. But if you're selling a million dollars, you're a seven figure brand. Your profitability, though, could be$ 100,000. I would so much rather be six figures in revenue, sell$ 500,000 and take home$ 250,000 than... I mean, whoever is selling$500, 000 actually putting their pocket 250 is in a good business.

Ryan Cramer: That's a good model.

Michael Maher: But I would rather have more take home pay. It is not as sexy and that's why categories like cosmetics, really beauty. But consumer, like-

Ryan Cramer: Health and wellness.

Michael Maher: ...Supplements, they're really sexy space, because people like talking about them. And honestly sex sells a lot of those things too. And so it's really easy to capture people's attention and go for it, but actually getting sustaining power. That's a totally different topic, because you're hot today. But you're not necessarily hot tomorrow. But those categories have higher cost per click, they have a higher barrier to entry, because so many people want to be in there. I've heard people say I want to sell... People need garden hoses go sell a better garden hose. It's not as sexy. But not many people are going in and trying to create the best garden hose besides Al Borland, whatever the flex hose was about. I can't remember that guy's real name, but from Home Improvement. But like, you could go and sell a non- sexy product and do well and what matters to you more. You can still create a great brand, even with a garden hose. But what matters more, is it the sales figure, or is it what you're taking home.

Ryan Cramer: Right, so that can kind of lead to that question is, with all the numbers and you're having these conversations day- to- day, is there any other like place that we haven't like looked at? I know you're kind of the big guy in terms of Walmart and other marketplaces in terms of possibilities and growth in nature? What are we not paying attention to in this space as much as we should? The stat, if we're going to talk a little more, I would share a stat with you, if that's what you want to go down with.

Michael Maher: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: But it just came out, Walmart just surpassed 100,000 sellers on their marketplace in general. And that's double for the second year in a row now according to Marketplace Pulse. So when I see two years of doubling growth, and I know that they're opening up to international audiences, if I'm a brand, which you deal a lot with, if I'm brand do I look and put my whole heart and growth factor into maybe more of a name, a Walmart that has doubling growth potential. Instead of Amazon, which is always going to be there but it has more shoppers. What do you go with in terms of potential growth? Or do you go with like what's actually tangibly there today?

Michael Maher: We'll it's also important to make a distinction that just because there's double the sellers, that doesn't necessarily mean there's double the revenue, or double the shoppers. So I would say look at... Statistics are... What did Mark Twain say? There are lies, damned lies and statistics. There's three different kinds of lies or something like that. I don't know that I necessarily believe that. But of course, in today's day and age, when anybody can be a media company, you can pretty much spin up whatever you want. What I would say, though, is Amazon is going to continue to be there. And I don't think Amazon, by any means is going away, if anything it's growing. I do think that there are a couple of areas, though, that they've left open, that they're starting to make progress on like brand or seller relationships. That's an area that's significantly lacking with Amazon. To the point where if you're an agency, and you're logging into multiple accounts, and they say, " Hey, we connected these two accounts." Yeah one of them's in this country, the other ones in this country. This brand we worked with a year ago, we don't even work with them anymore. How are you connecting these two accounts as being the same person. Or you logging in with your email address in multiple accounts, and they're like, " Well, we tracked the same IP address here." Okay, but you know our URL we're like on your developer council, we're a part of your service provider network. Those kinds of relationships that aren't being developed and built into, that is an area where anybody could come into the marketplace and say, " We're going to be the company that really cares as much about sellers and brands as we do about the consumer." And there was always that struggle with eBay was the consumer is always right. My wife bought like a North Face jacket on eBay, I don't know, 20 years ago, that was like$ 85 and it never got sent to her. And the seller kept the money. But then it changed into the other side. It changed into the buyers always being right. I tell people you need to be omni channel, because just in general, because each market has its volatilities. Brick and mortar was volatile with the pandemic, and the percent of sales that's now going to eCommerce has grown almost like 10 years worth just in the past year.

Ryan Cramer: inaudible.

Michael Maher: inaudible keep in mind, but also like walmart. com. I think there are definitely going to be a competitor of Amazon, we're developing a service for that with our current clients and something that hopefully we'll be able to really be full swing talking about. But I think it's important to know, I think ultimately what your long term goals are. You want to be on Amazon, because you want to be competitive, you want to be where consumers are. But I believe that Walmart is probably the most... Can be the most competitive against Amazon, because of the amount of capital that they put behind it and what they're able to acquire in terms of infrastructure. They've already got they're starting Walmart fulfillment services. So they're starting maybe to utilize some of their warehouse footprint that they have with their stores. There's a lot of ways that retail could progress. But yeah, I think you just have to look at what's the long term goal and line that up with what you want. I mean, there's a lot of cool new marketplaces that are popping up. I think eBay is still very valid marketplace, some of their categories do billions of dollars each year. So that's not unheard of. And there's a lot of new products that are on there. And I mean, I feel like eBay has kind of broken out of that. But I still buy and sell used music equipment on eBay, because it's easy to do, and I enjoy it. So you have to know the marketplace, there's like top Tophatter is a newer one that I saw debut at the ASTGT show like a couple years ago, and they still seem to be going strong. And I know a lot about them. But there's all kinds of marketplaces. So what is your long term goal? know who your target audience is? And then say, okay, where do we see them now? Where do we think they're going to be? One of the hurdles that Walmart's going to have to overcome is the idea of being like always the low price option. Amazon's had to deal with that as well. And I think they've done well in overcoming that. We have clients who have$ 200 plus products, and they sell well. So you just have to know what you see as being the future. So like, where are you at right now? What's your long term goal? And doing things short term, but we're going to start to make steps towards that long term goal. So like you said, Ryan, yeah Germany might be peanuts compared to the US marketplace, but there's going to continue to be growth there, there's going to continue to be more adoption with eCommerce if you just look at the trends. So get in now and build that wall of attribution on the keywords that you need to sell on in your ads in to perform better. So that when everybody else comes over, which a lot of people are doing now in the US, and a lot of brands are like, " Oh man, COVID told us, we really need to get our but onto Amazon." But if you've gotten into years ago, imagine what could have happened, where you could be at now that's all I'm saying.

Ryan Cramer: And if your goal is to build a brand. Branding, it doesn't stop at just country borders. It is literally, what do you think of when you see product XYZ. Name should come to mind. And that's when you know you win. And it could be as tchotchke as a pen like you had showcased earlier with that brand. Or it could be as high valued and nuanced as luxury spa equipment or something like that? It could be literally anything, but you need that market to understand and know who you are. And that's the whole point of this conversation today.

Michael Maher: This is $ 40, this is not a tchotchke pen.

Ryan Cramer: I know I'm saying... Tchotchke, I say small thing is tchotchke.

Michael Maher: Oh okay.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I'm not saying the value is not there. I'm assuming that if I'm going to use a pen like that, I swear to God, I better be writing poetry like Shakespeare.

Michael Maher: Or just better be writing for my crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, just like coherent sentences must be coming out of there.

Michael Maher: I've got journals upon journals that I write in, I write notes in or I'll talk about content. And I've got like four stacked up right here. And I honestly don't know why. And I think you have to know... I talk about playing the long game a lot. You have to know what your long game is. And so many brands, I feel like a lot of private label brands have a good short game, but 10 years from now, they could be non- existent because Amazon changes something. And now what are you going to do? And you never diversified into different channels. Channel diversity, I mean, I know diversity inclusion is a really hot topic right now. But like channel diversity, you should be in multiple channels, because Amazon can shut you down anytime they want. There could be another pandemic, there could be another rise in the pandemic. I don't hope that, but that's all possibility. Amazon could shut you out. And then you never invested time in Walmart. That's revenue that could have been helping you grow there. And I don't know, there's so many things. Let's just keep the show going for another three hours and talk about it.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, we'll get multiple people on here and just like start pulling people from Prosper to start laying in. Well, no, I think the concluding thoughts I have between our topics of... There's the thing I constantly hear from a lot of these businesses that are acquiring... And again yesterday was case in point when you have brands who have built out. They have these solutions in place. The reason why it was intriguing for Perch buying this one company and again, it's like WWS. What it stands for, I think is like World Wide Systems. I forget what it stands for. But I looked them up and the most intriguing fact is that they have their own fulfillment logistics solution in place which makes sense as Perch, acquiring brands can start fulfilling and diversifying. Otherwise if Amazon shuts down a category like they did in early 2020, you have all these different options in terms of fulfillment. You have the thought leaders, the people who are running Perch. Again, shout out to Perch, we're one of their partners in many capacities.

Michael Maher: But that's the long game, they're looking crosstalk solution.

Ryan Cramer: Exactly. But they had the heads come from Wayfair, which again, is fulfillment and solutions, not through Amazon. It's done outside and building brands off of Amazon. Again, Amazon is very dependent, you have to be dependent as a form and a function. But you also have to build like this stable of stallions you need... You have your workhorse then you also have your other ones who... Let's talk about like gymnastics, you have Simone Biles, but you need to have other people who supplement crosstalk-

Michael Maher: To round out your team.

Ryan Cramer: Right, to round out your team again. I didn't think we'd be talking about international Olympics today. But that's what comes to mind crosstalk-

Michael Maher: crosstalk Simone Biles either. Simone Biles is unique. And I think a lot of times people fail on Amazon, because they want to be Simone Biles, but they can't. And that's okay. You don't have to be great, or even be impactful. I talked about wanting to run my own agency and do it differently. I want to have a positive impact on people. If we generate less revenue, but we actually positively impact lives, help to end modern day slavery. Help to help people in our own communities, if we can actually have a positive impact in people's lives, I'll give that up for additional revenue any day, because I know that it's going to be lasting and it's going to be something that ultimately is about a legacy. And that's what is more important to me. It's not about... Of course, I want to make money as a business. Of course, I want to be profitable, I want to be able to pay for things, and food and groceries and a house and go on trips, all that stuff. But if I'm not having a positive impact on people, then it just falls short for me. So you have to know what your long game is, and start making decisions now and taking action now, towards your long game, even when everyone else is talking about, we're getting acquired, and we're doing this and we're doing this. If you aren't focusing on your long game, then might as well just exit now.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, that being said, sounds like someone's home from camp or something like that. Sounds like it's time... There's so many different avenues we can obviously go down in terms of branding and growth. Maybe final question for you, Michael is what's kind of like the... We just passed the halfway of 2021. What's that final push in the year going to look like for you and your team and kind of what you guys are going to be working on starting to roll into the 2022?

Michael Maher: Yeah, so we're going to be continuing to bring on more brands to run through Amazon strategy and a custom end- to- end solution for brands, developing out what additional marketplaces look like. So walmart. com, things like that. And then just continue to bring on the right people to our team. I know talent is hard to come by these days because either they're doing their own thing or maybe they're working for a big company and they're getting paid a lot of money to do that. And there's just not enough heads to put butts in seats for all the demand that's out there. So finding the right people, making sure we're bringing on the right people, and they're getting trained appropriately. Partnering with people to help in that regard, we have a lot of SLPs and stuff. But there's some things like strategy and insight that can take a lot longer to build out. And not everyone can do that, like they say they can. So it's going to be bringing on more of the right mission focus brands, bringing on the right people to help support that mission of ours. And then making sure that when it comes... That we're providing all the services we need to with Amazon, because that's really becoming a bigger need. Can you do this? Can you work with influencers? Can you do all this other stuff? And then also working with walmart. com to build out a service that is going to help brands to be competitive in the long game?

Ryan Cramer: Awesome, man. Well, that's good stuff. And I'm excited to see you and other agencies we've had on the show, kind of like what that next move is. I'm excited because there's more talk about this industry more now than ever. But as people continue, but like Amazon behind their like strategy and their services, and whatnot. Again, as long as they have the experience and the fortitude and the wherewithal of how to understand the space. I think that's where you're going to continue to see success, not just on Amazon, but eCommerce, branding, growth, it all ties into a nice little pretty bow. And that's what's exciting about the industry we're both in. But hey, congrats on the new podcast coming soon.

Michael Maher: Thanks man.

Ryan Cramer: You have name.

Michael Maher: crosstalk Game.

Ryan Cramer: Say that one more time.

Michael Maher: The Longer Game.

Ryan Cramer: The Longer Game.

Michael Maher: So we talked about the long game. This is longer game. So it's even further than the long game. This is one of the longest game but that's life.

Ryan Cramer: Not the short game like in golf, or you're... Yeah, you're not the long game. But the longer game.

Michael Maher: It's trajectory, that's what I want to talk about. And it's talking about the future of retail. So it's not just the Amazon, it's not just eCommerce, but commerce in general, which I like that that's one of the focus of your podcast. You're looking at things from a larger perspective. And so I want to bring that into focus a little bit more.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing, man. Well, we'll just tout you as like, " Hey, we knew him when, before he started his podcast journey." So hey, man, thanks for-

Michael Maher: crosstalk in the background.

Ryan Cramer: Exactly. Yeah, right. But yeah, thanks so much for hopping back on, you're a friend of the show as always. And I know we put our episode out there before this, go ahead and check that out. And then we'll put this audio format out there for people to listen on all the podcasts, different channels, as well, wherever you can consume and listen to your favorite shows. This will be one of them, hopefully, for sure in the future. So thanks so much for hopping on. Where can they find out, connect with you? Is it LinkedIn, best way to reach out to you?

Michael Maher: You can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I mean, you can also go to our website, thinkcartology. com and fill out a form contact us. I mean, I get those directly. You can even email me at Michael @ thinkcartology. com. But I'm pretty active on LinkedIn, there multiple times a day and putting out content stuff. So yeah, just hit me up there. Happy to connect.

Ryan Cramer: Awesome, man. Well, thanks so much for hopping on again today and talking international growth. And what's next for branding. Awesome. Thanks so much, Michael from Cartology, again, check him out, thinkcartology. com. If you are a brand is looking to either, needs help in certain areas of your growth internationally or just branding in general check out Michael, he has great obviously insights in thoughts on the matter as you heard earlier today. And then from prior episodes before. So check them out as well. What do you think, listener? What do you think about just international growth? Is there opportunity that you've been having your eye on? Is there places that either look scary to you, but you think that you might get into with your brand, or your questions for international growth and we just want to know your thoughts. Go ahead and put that in the comment section. Or make sure that you just like this show and episode and go ahead and share with your audience. If you have different opinion definitely let us know. We want to hear all the pros and cons of what we talked about today. No answer is incorrect. For me at least. So I won't speak for Michael but no answer is incorrect or thoughts are incorrect. So thank you for everyone who chimed in today. Thank you to all the listeners who continue to put this as one of their top shows in the Amazon and eCommerce space. My name is Ryan Cramer. This is Crossover Commerce. Tune in next week for more content we're going to become in live four times next week. So make sure you guys tune in then. We'll catch you then.

DESCRIPTION

Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Michael Maher of Cartology about growth opportunities available for growing ecommerce brands.

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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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Michael Maher

|Chief Idea Officer of Cartology