Holiday Edition: 2021 Recap & 2022 Predictions⎜Crossover Commerce⎜EP 200

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This is a podcast episode titled, Holiday Edition: 2021 Recap & 2022 Predictions⎜Crossover Commerce⎜EP 200. The summary for this episode is: <p>SEASON 3 FINALE - HOLIDAY EDITION - Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Amazon leaders, eCommerce experts (and friends of the show) as they recap the highs and lows of 2021 and what to prepare for heading into 2022. </p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="https://usa.pingpongx.com/us/index?inviteCode=ccpodcast" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CrossoverCommerce" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.facebook.com/CrossoverCommerce</a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="https://www.youtube.com/c/PingPongPayments" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/c/PingPongPayments</a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/pingpongglobal/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/company/pingpongglobal/</a></p><p>---</p><p>You can watch or listen to all episodes of Crossover Commerce at: <a href="https://usa.pingpongx.com/podcast" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://usa.pingpongx.com/podcast</a></p>

Ryan Cramer: What's up, everyone. Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer. And this is Crossover Commerce, presented by PingPong Payments, the leading global payments provider, helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Crossover Commerce. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is my corner of the internet where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon and e- commerce space. If you're new to the podcast or if you're just tuning in for the first time, where have you been? This is shame on you. Not really, but I appreciate you tuning in for the first time, or if this is your 200th time, that's right, this is episode 200 of my podcast that I started by accident, which I love to tell people. It was out of ask, not out of necessity. It was something I found passion in, but it has allowed me to connect with the best minds in the Amazon e- commerce space. Therefore, this beautiful thing became something that I haven't been able to control. I've liked to think I've, been able to have some control on this process as a host. Not necessarily, but I just wanted to give a quick, thank you to, if you've listened to the one time or if this is your first time, or if you listen to all 200, I appreciate that. If you're new to the podcast, I just want to give a couple quick, insights to the podcast. This is a live podcast. I like to record this live. I don't like to edit it. I like to be real with people. I like people to understand the insights, the value, of what's coming from our guest or guests, which we're going to have on today. So if you are watching this on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter. Welcome. Thank you for tuning in. A little bit on a busy Monday, of leading up to Christmas. This is Monday, December 20th, of 2021. So if you're listening to us now today, or if you're listening to us at a later time, super busy week for all these individuals. So I appreciate their time that they can spend, just to lend themselves to this podcast. So that being said, if you have a question, insight, want to say hi, let us know where you're listening from, on the comment section below, just let us know where you're listening from. Just drop in a quick hello or if you have a question, feel free to write that in there too. And we'll make sure our guests and experts can answer that. As you might know too, I also retired, I felt was appropriate, I retired my old microphone. I started with a new one. So if there's a little audio, issue, just let me know in the comment section. But I think we got it all hammered out. Thought it was a little gift to myself for 200. You got to celebrate the little things right? Of that being said, if you're listening to this podcast, I mentioned before, this is where I bring on typically one on one guests where I can talk and give a back and forth insight. I felt it was appropriate to bring on, some of my favorite guests in the past year, plus that I've been doing this podcast up to leading to 200. So what I wanted to do is I'm going to facilitate this really great panel of people that we're going to get kicked off in about, every half an hour for about two hours. We're going to be having new people coming and going as they can. So if we're going to go ahead and just kick off for a second with some amazing guests. I've had people on in the past. I only have one new person, so I just want to welcome him to his first podcast. Going to go ahead and just bring on everyone real quickly and then our other person also joined us. Let me go ahead and bring to the group. All right. First group of people I'm going to-

Michael Maher: Santa's here. Wow.

Ryan Cramer: Santa is also here. I was able to get Santa. I hope that's okay with everyone. We have Nathan, Chris, Michael, Elizabeth and Lazar. Welcome all to Crossover Commerce. Once again, Nathan, for the first time, we're going to break him in today, in the big way. So I felt it was appropriate to have Santa on today. So thank you everyone for coming on today. It's awesome to see you all again.

Nathan Sieminski: Thanks for having me.

Chris Fryburger: Thank you.

Michael Maher: Hey Elizabeth, how are you?

Elizabeth Greene: Yeah, thanks!

Lazar: Good to see you.

Ryan Cramer: I was saying, Michael is late to the party. So Michael-

Michael Maher: Yeah. Sorry. crosstalk

Ryan Cramer: ...Come on, man. No. So people on who have been on the podcast, just a quick round table, if you could give us a quick introduction of, if you haven't listened to the podcast before, who you guys are, let's start with Nathan. Let's kick you off for first time on a podcast. Welcome.

Nathan Sieminski: Yeah. Hi. I'm Nathan Sieminski. I am a marketing manager at Perch, which is an Amazon FBA Aggregator. We like to go by acquirer, but we all, shorthand aggregators, and I've been in kind of in the Amazon, FBA space for about a year now.

Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Thank you for joining us today. And I know you have insights and valuable expertise in the e- commerce world as well, so awesome to have you on today. I'm glad you said yes. Chris or Santa, as I didn't realize that you had, caught me off guard there, Chris.

Chris Fryburger: I am Chris, with nReach. I'm a network of Amazon resources and I match people together, usually brands with agencies or agencies with aggregators now and things along those lines. So thanks for having me on Ryan, congratulations by the way and Happy Holidays and New Year, coming up as well.

Ryan Cramer: Appreciate it. Thank you so much. He came festive so you get two, five points to Gryffindor. If we like to, for us to, if that's over crosstalk.

Chris Fryburger: Sure, sure. I'm more of a Lord of the Rings, sort of.

Ryan Cramer: Okay. So yeah, there we go. Michael, thank you for hopping on. I'm sorry. You were a little bit late, but it's okay. I know you're a busy guy this time of year too.

Michael Maher: I was actually recording, another podcast, my own. So I apologize-

Ryan Cramer: All good. All good.

Michael Maher: ...for I'm. I'm so busy. I'm just so busy. And so I spare a little bit of time out of my schedule to come on, but yeah, thanks for having me again, man. I think this is my third time being on with you. I run a customized done- for- you service agency called Cartology. And we are helping Amazon brand or brands on Amazon to grow, to become profitable, really diving deep with them and trying to go, trying to stand up, those brands. Supposed to going super wide, but really going deep with the brands that we're working with and helping them to be successful.

Ryan Cramer: And like Chris, from the great state of Ohio, correct?

Michael Maher: We actually live in the same city. If Chris and I wanted to go get coffee. We could do it in 25 minutes.

Chris Fryburger: We did. We actually had a couple, COVID coffees. He was the only person I met with, I think.

Michael Maher: Yeah. At the same, the same little spot called Urbana. But yeah, we're in the same city.

Ryan Cramer: What was Chris presenting, I love it. No, it's all good. No. Chris, were talking about how close to Cincinnati from Indianapolis where I met, and we thought it was a lot closer, but it's only about out what, two hours we say Chris, something like that.

Chris Fryburger: Yeah. Something like that we almost got together.

Ryan Cramer: Very close.

Chris Fryburger: Yep, yep.

Ryan Cramer: Now, I was going to say, so you had said, Michael, you've been on about, this is your third time. I'm going to start having a five timers club I think. Like SNL, I should start doing that. I'm going to make T- shirts or-

Michael Maher: I want a smoking jacket, screw a T- shirt.

Ryan Cramer: ...Smoking jacket, something like that. I think this weekend Paul Rudd was a five timers club. So you're an SNL fan.

Lazar: I'm jealous.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Very jealous. But I think we can start getting there. For some people I've had on and they've been on these big episodes, we've had it on, but anyways, I digress. Elizabeth, thank you for hopping on again, a person who's just crushing in, the PPC space. Thanks for hopping on, in your busy time of here.

Elizabeth Greene: Oh, thanks. Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Why don't you give us quick intro.

Elizabeth Greene: I am Elizabeth Greene. I am one of the co- founders of an advertising agency called Junglr. So we offer, full service management basically, if you don't want to touch your PPC, hire us.

Ryan Cramer: That's pretty easy. Don't want to touch your PPC, you can't figure it out hire us. Look at that pitch. I love it. Thanks for hopping on, you're in Florida. So I think, I feel the weather, is like Florida. It's like what? 60? Almost 60 degrees. It's going to be 60 degrees here in Indiana. Here in Christmas. So I'm going to feel like it's in Florida. So it's not normal at all.

Chris Fryburger: Well, we're all... Aren't we all going to be in Florida for the next couple months?

Elizabeth Greene: It got colder today, which is.

Ryan Cramer: Love going on in Florida.

Elizabeth Greene: Seventies. We had eighties like two days ago.

Michael Maher: Oh wow.

Ryan Cramer: That doesn't sound, that doesn't sound terrible at all.

Michael Maher: I would definitely work, go to the beach and wear my bikini.

Ryan Cramer: This is a podcast so if you can't see that, thank God. Sometimes if you're listening to, sometimes we just opt for the audio version instead of the video version.

Michael Maher: I don't have a bikini on, just to be clear. I said I would wear.

Ryan Cramer: He would wear. No. The last but not the least.

Chris Fryburger: crosstalk

Ryan Cramer: Lazar, thank you so much for hopping on. I know you're giving us, so much great insight. Last time we're all, we were talking TikTok ads, but you do a lot more than that. Just give a quick insight for what you and Sellers Alley are doing for people.

Lazar: Thank you so much for inviting me and congrats on episode 200. That's an amazing number. So Elizabeth posted couple of days ago, something about podcasts and there is ours that we try to do. And I, it was so hard to reach to episode number 10. So really, 200 is a lot. So my name is Lazar. I'm the founder and owner of Sellers Alley. We're, we started as Amazon advertising agency and expanded to advertising on other platforms. Today we are partners with TikTok. We do a lot of other stuff as well, but we're go to agency when it comes to PPC.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. No. Yeah, you guys are doing so much, so many cool things and I was learning a lot about TikTok just from the episodes that you guys are doing and just all the information you were doing. So I guess, and I appreciate all the kind words. Again, I'd like to say this is a muscle I get to work out almost every day. You get stronger as the time goes on. I just, am lucky that a lot of people you guys say yes, so-

Michael Maher: You're very strong. I also want to compliment you.

Ryan Cramer: Super bluff under this shirt.

Lazar: crosstalk

Ryan Cramer: Exactly. I'm very swole, as that the kids like to call it. So guys, I appreciate you all coming on. And I tried to pick a lot of different, unique backgrounds to this space, whether it be e- commerce, agency wise, aggregator, networking, so and so forth. And you're going to see that thing come up in this episode. So I want to ask you, what did 2021, again, this is a very borrowed question. You probably have to think about this. If you had to summarize 2021 in a sentence or so, for your industry or your company. What does that look like for each of you and how would you expand on that? Maybe just one sentence each of you, and then we can expand on this. Nathan?

Nathan Sieminski: I can start with two words instead of a sentence, which it would be supply chain. There you go.

Ryan Cramer: Supply chain. Okay.

Nathan Sieminski: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Chris?

Nathan Sieminski: No, it's a wild year for us. We, everyone faced kind of the same supply chain issues. We were kind of doing it at scale. So it just got super complicated and acquiring businesses in the midst of that, and making sense of their supply chain quickly and then kind of alleviating things. It was the last two months or so kind of leading up to the holiday season was crazy, all hands on deck. And a lot of people were wearing a lot of different hats, to stay in stock. And so thankfully we were, I think on hero SKU's, we were 95% in stock, which was a miracle, honestly. And I can go into more about supply chain. I can talk all, I think I want to only talk about supply chain.

Ryan Cramer: You need your own episode for that, man. No, that.

Nathan Sieminski: Yeah. No, that makes sense.

Ryan Cramer: Supply chain. All right. Chris, anything for you?

Chris Fryburger: Well, I mean, if we down to one or two words, I'd say just something high level just opportunity. I mean, it seems it's just a very bunch of. com moment, an amazon. com moment. And that whole year's kind of leading up to that, but something seems like it's going to break or give or something, especially in the hiring realm. I think that's going to be one of the operations is going to be a big thing, but anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. I would just say it's just opportunity. It's just a very exciting space to be in it, versus others going on right now. But...

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, there's other businesses popping up. People are fixing problems. We didn't know that they...

Chris Fryburger: People starting businesses.

Ryan Cramer: ...had or needed. Exactly people starting businesses either, starting brands or whatnot. Michael, what about you from the agency side?

Michael Maher: I would say, foundation there, I had some big goals for this year, from a revenue perspective and we didn't hit those, but we still grew significantly and I've really been able to build a high quality team that's going to allow us to really ramp up in scale this year. We've been able to, just I would say refine we have pretty much a process for everything, but been able to refine, bring on the people that really care, just made some changes in the business, had some unexpected changes happen, but everything honestly worked out, for the good and I'm excited about 20. I almost said 2020. I'm excited about 2022, because we've got, I've got such a great solid team in place. That's allowed me to focus on, things like, being on this podcast or engaging with other people in industry like Chris or Elizabeth. So yeah, I mean it's been a good year to build a foundation and really be ready to soar and to take off.

Chris Fryburger: He's also excited about UC. Right?

Ryan Cramer: Oh man, look at this.

Chris Fryburger: UC. See that?

Ryan Cramer: Yeah.

Chris Fryburger: Are you excited about UC Michael?

Michael Maher: I don't really care about sports.

Chris Fryburger: Oh come on.

Michael Maher: But so many... You know what's funny is, I went to UC. That was my alma mater and I'm, I was somewhere last night and they were talking about UC and I'm just like. Yep.

Chris Fryburger: Okay. All right.

Michael Maher: But I'm excited for crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: University of Cincinnati for people who don't know what UC is. If you're not from the Midwest.

Michael Maher: Go Bearcats! Woo!

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, for sport, that's a different podcast. I feel we haven't facilitated, but yeah. Cincinnati and things like that. Local community, but also, you were talking about Michael, I think you said hiring and things like that, unforeseen things going on. Elizabeth, is that, would you, do you relate to that? You and your husband are running your team, is there, was there growth? What would you say is 2021 been like?

Elizabeth Greene: Yeah. So as far as our, business section, yeah. I would say we're in a better place than we've ever been as far as the team members go. And I hope for all of us that's improvements are just constant it's, at some point it's, stacking, little tweaks here and there. And then I guess myself personally, it's been a lot of habit stacking this year. Finally figuring out, okay, in taking everything that everyone says you should do and then filtering that and realizing what worked for you and how you can make micro adjustments and then realizing that, just because somebody else says that this got them, to the next level doesn't mean it's going to get you to the next level. If it drives you up a wall and takes way too much time to do that. So just a lot of personal growth and then as far as my little piece of the pie, which would be the Amazon advertising, I think I can sum it up in the phrase of constant updates. I thought the previous year, it seemed 2020 had the most updates. And then this year it's been constant roll outs every week. Some of those, I'm super stoked about like the budget tab and the targeting tab. I've been personally using those a lot. So I think not only has there been a year of constant updates, as far as what we can do with the ads, it's been a year of constant updates into insights, further insights with the numbers and better visuals on the ads, which I'm totally here for.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. I like to jokingly say, Amazon threw a lot of death by a thousand paper cuts this year of tweak this, change this, put a little ebb and flow on all these different things, which people had to ask a lot of questions of, why are we doing this now? Or what's the point behind all this Amazon? So yeah, I would agree with that. And you Lazar anything from your end? I know a lot, we saw a lot of, off channel Amazon from your end and your expertise that you're focusing on as that would you say is the major focus for 2021?

Lazar: Yeah. So I would say that, Amazon advertising is maturing. And when you compare Amazon advertising today to two years or three years ago, it's completely, completely different platform. And everything there is completely different. And that's amazing to see because I started doing Amazon advertising, advertising maybe six years ago and it was completely retarded and you couldn't do a lot of stuff there. It looked like Walmart advertising today.

Michael Maher: Yes! It is like Walmart advertising today.

Lazar: So yeah. Today, it's fun because it is challenging. A lot of terms of service changed for a lot of service providers, for a lot of sellers and so on. And Amazon is trying to push focus on advertising more than ever before. So you can see a lot of increasing prices for advertising. And we can see a lot of stuff like Tacos going up and CPCs going up. But for those that know what they're doing, I'm pretty sure this is the time to, shine. So yeah, for us personally, as an agency, we grew a lot. We started doing a lot of new stuff as I mentioned, TikTok. And TikTok is a huge opportunity for e- commerce sellers because it's probably one of the cheapest way how to drive traffic, not only through ads, but through influencers and through, creator marketplace that TikTok is providing. So our team grew a lot from 35ish last year, 240 this year. So that's kind of fun, for most of the people when stressful times come they lose care, it seems that I'm having more and more so, yeah.

Michael Maher: Oh, wow. crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: Say that's kind of fun that's stressful, man.

Lazar: Yeah. It's been fun. It's been fun. We work with a lot of aggregators. We're building teams for them. We're working on some internal stuff. We're building some softwares internally, as well. So a lot of new stuff are coming next year from our end. So I'm really, eager to share that as soon as possible. But unfortunately I need to finish all the paperwork before, I can do that.

Ryan Cramer: Well, secrets, this is the time, this is what I've learned in this space. There's a lot of time for secrets and growth. And gosh, as busy as I think that 20 or the end of the year should be, there's a lot of planning in going into, the next year, that's what 2020 was like for 2021. And this year, I think it's just this explosion of, oh yeah, we are working on this, in mid pandemic and again still are in a lot of cases. So for this, next year, I guess I would open up to the floor for everyone. Has there any been, anything been, like surprising, shocking besides any of that? Or is there anything that you would say as the space kind of matures or gets back to where it was growing, again there's a lot of, did, we lose the growth cap of what COVID or 2020 yielded to the space? And now this year was that resettling of expectations, even though there is growth, it was kind of a downward turn in terms of Black Fridays every Monday. But even still, if you look back at traditional trajectory, we're still hitting all those marks. Is that, where does the space live right now? What are we excited about? What are we, not excited about? Is there something that you see on the horizon that's scary? I asked like 50, 000 questions right there but.

Michael Maher: E- commerce is still the same-

Ryan Cramer: What the-

Michael Maher: ...percentage of sales, I think or growing, as in regards to the total retail market. So it ended up at 16%, at the end of the year last year, as far as I know, it's still stayed that way and Amazon's increased by a percentage point or two. And I think actually hit over the 40%, mark. So I think it's growing and I think it's also probably unfair to compare, what happened last... This year to last year, because last year was so unique, and there was a ton of opportunity for growth. I think some people missed out, because they were scared and they pulled out and stopped advertising and said," Oh, we don't know what to do." I imagine a lot of people, probably wanted to get out of their business to, and maybe sold, their business. I mean, Nathan could probably speak to that more than I could, but a lot was sold.

Ryan Cramer: Was business good this year Nathan?

Nathan Sieminski: Business was good, and a lot of people wanted to sell, during that kind of mid- summer period, especially that was kind of the peak of everyone wanting to sell. And then, I mean the, floor kind of came out for a lot of sellers in the kind of the late summer, where people were comping, next to COVID and it didn't look quite as rosy. I do think that we peaked at 16%, but I think it's down more to 13, again, because of kind of that comparable, downward trend for the last couple of months. And I see a lot of opportunity though. I think that we will go right back to kind of the same growth trajectory that we saw, if you kind of just ignore 2020.

Michael Maher: Are you saying for Perch, specifically?

Nathan Sieminski: No, I think overall for e- commerce.

Michael Maher: E- commerce.

Nathan Sieminski: I mean for that, but I think I saw something about it, going back to roughly, around 13% percent, which is where it lived, prior to COVID essentially.

Chris Fryburger: I mean, to pivot off your stat Michael, it's just getting started. I mean, everybody, I tell this, I think I say this five times a day, is all of this is just getting started and obviously Amazon's, going to own most of it. Right? And so we're in 14, just the 14th country, right. Egypt. And then, I mean, we're just, and these are one crosstalk

Ryan Cramer: 20. 20 marketplaces

Chris Fryburger: I'm sorry?

Ryan Cramer: I'm going to add 6th year thing. Yeah. Operation-

Chris Fryburger: Is it 14 countries. Right? Or is it, I don't know, whatever, but.

Michael Maher: Actually two more just got added. I just got an update.

Ryan Cramer: They keep going. Well, a lot of... So to that point, a lot of them actually do overlap in different areas. Egypt has just, announced the most recent one, but that overlaps with UAE, that overlaps with Saudi Arabia. So again, a lot of same markets that are overlapping.

Michael Maher: And Turkey too.

Chris Fryburger: But Amazon hasn't kicked, Mercado Libre ass yet, in Brazil and all that's coming. And if I may, the heads on this program and are, be leading the charge for that and or leading the teams that make that happen. And in part, so again, kind of because the opportunity and your question was, I don't know what your question was, but I don't know if that added to it, but it was just, it's just getting started, I guess that's my point, so.

Ryan Cramer: Is... Yeah, go ahead Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Greene: Oh, I was just going to say on that. I definitely agree with what everyone's saying on that, the trajectory is growth for that on Amazon. What I'm seeing is, it seems like there's two camps, those who rise to the occasion and those who've bemoaned, what they used to be able to do in the past and just can't seem to get over that. And unfortunately it's the second camp that's probably not going to be able to stick it long term. They might sell out, because at least they're okay now, but they kind of see the writing on the wall, and are really interested to rise to that. So they're just going to cash out. Or there's the ones that, realize that this is a game of constant adjustment and they're okay with, reevaluating their listings, every couple months now, because the market's changing so quickly. So I think and now more than ever, it's important to realize that there is growth. And I think if you could ride that and you can stick with it, then you're going to make out very well. But if you don't learn how to play the game and you're just not interested in getting back into it, then maybe it's probably best the cash out when you can.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. I saw an interesting video at the other. I would reference the person, but it was on YouTube, persons successful. I think he did the AMZ sellers course or amz.com or amazing. com. Anyways, the person who is speaking about that is, this might be the... Nathan I think you share this too maybe I'll give you credit where this is. This might be the beginning of a, new wild west that we saw back in 2014- 15 of people come on to Amazon, they can't be successful or some of the costs are too high or they don't outlast, such growth, hurdles in terms of supply chain, logistics, everything like that. We did supply chain. We said opportunity foundation, all those things that a lot of people are talking about, I just can't outlast that. But then we take it to, those people will now go to a different marketplace like a Mercado Libre or Walmart or something like that. And then back to the people who survived. Now it's just open green spaces on Amazon. Do we as a group, see that as a potential, going back to the old days of, even though you can operate on Amazon and there won't be as much competition, even though people say," Oh, there's competition all over the place." But those people, if they don't last, they'll just go somewhere else. Then you're back to, I might be one of three people in this category. Now it's the wild west all over again and we're just making this complete cycle all over again just a little bit higher spend. Is that, ring true to anyone or anyone have any insights to...

Lazar: I feel it's completely new set of problems.

Ryan Cramer: What do you mean by that? Yeah. Well, what do you mean by that Lazar?

Lazar: Well, when you're growing your business, you kind of try to overcome your current problems, and when you do that, they're not your problems anymore. You end up having bigger ones and so on. And I feel that Amazon sellers are more and more aware of they need to build a brand, a solid brand that is available on multichannel platforms, not only on Amazon. I see a lot of people moving to Shopify stores as well, which is great. You shouldn't keep all the ice in one basket. Definitely. And it's well worth it to consider not to just place random product on Amazon and hope that you're going to sell everything. It's time to maybe consider to build a stable, solid brand and sell some quality goods there. And that's something that we, as an agency see as a trends, currently with our clients, that more and more of them are considering to do all of the branding stuff that are really necessary when you want to build something, long lasting and stable, because there are-

Michael Maher: Is there anything... Oh, go ahead.

Lazar: No, no, go, go for it.

Michael Maher: I was just, I was going to agree with you and I was going to say, if COVID taught brands, anything, it should have taught them that they need to be omnichannel as much as I'm, in the Amazon space and developing a service for walmart. com, but very marketplace focused, you need to have a brand that, has its own store on whatever platform Shopify, Magento doesn't matter. And yes, there are some, I mean, I think we've seen some, I've seen at least people, that want to jump into multiple spaces from a service provider perspective. And they're like oh, we do Shopify. Yeah, we can do Amazon. And they can't really do Amazon very well, because it's a different platform. And so you have to have specialists in these platforms that help you. And I think you should also be in store too. I mean, majority of retail, right now is still being purchased in stores. It's going to look different. It's going to change. It's going to evolve, but you need to be, as a brand you need to be where your, customers are. And they're in multiple spots, and you want them to have multiple touchpoints with your brand. We know that majority of people go to Amazon first, just to do product research, but they could be in store doing product research and deciding whether or not they're going to buy your brand. It could be on your website that they're then saying, okay, I'll go buy direct from the website or they could be just loyal Amazon consumers. And that's where, where they go. But you have to hit those people in multiple touchpoints. So if you're not thinking omnichannel right now, and you aren't at least moving into more than one channel, you're missing the boat and you need to get started and start investing in that, ASAP.

Nathan Sieminski: Yeah, yeah. To go off of that, we have a product called Baby Merlin. It's one of my favorite products. Puts your baby to sleep immediately it's the best thing. It's a sleep suit, almost like a straitjacket form. And I live in New York on 44th street, just up the street or just down the street from Saks fifth avenue. And I walked into the store and was able to see precisely where that product is going to be, in Saks fifth. And it's for our, entrepreneurs that are feeling that, where you get to put it in brick and mortar. There's, if you're exhausted by Amazon, which I think a lot of entrepreneurs are. Seeing your product in brick and mortar, not only is obviously a huge business opportunity for you, but it just redoubles your passion and commitment. You just, it invigorates you and makes you want to kind of hit the ground running. One other thing to go off of what Lazar was saying is, I also think it's going to be interesting to understand the impact of, what... Long term impacts of aggregators, in how people are selling or building their business early right now. So people do want to build a brand, because they understand a brand is going to get you a better multiple. You understand that you, it can't just be keyword arbitrage and products. You really have to build that brand. You have to go omnichannel, but not for the width of omnichannel, but for depth in omnichannel. So the things that you're successful in, go deep in that and show and prove out the business case there and show opportunity for growth and people are doing that, I think now. Thinking, how can I build my business for exit? And I think that's going to change the type of businesses that we see on Amazon over the next three or five years.

Ryan Cramer: That's a good place to put it. Quickly before I let you guys go. And my next wave of guests are popping up and dinging in my ear. Final words or any thoughts of the final year? What are you all focused, excited about for the last couple weeks of the year? And what's your major focus going into 2022? Nathan?

Nathan Sieminski: Yeah. Good question. I think a lot of things I'm excited for the holiday season to end, because I think it's going to be an exciting time for sellers to kind of, brush off the dust and kind of come back or just kind of be, go from being exhausted, catch their breath and say," Okay, time to sell now." Because I think a lot of people have been heads down trying to get through the holiday season. And so I'm excited for those conversations. Supply chain is going to continue to be a headache for everyone. I, the one thing I like to say is that, if you don't have it, kind of generally on your calendar in July, the west coast along shore men's union has a contract that's expiring. And so there is a very strong potential for a labor dispute, make potentially strike on the west coast and that's going to impact everyone. And so just put that on your calendar. It could happen. And if you're a brand owner, be prepared that the summer could be just as challenging as the winter, this year.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Not, not ideal, but something definitely to take note of, Chris.

Chris Fryburger: I am, I think the question was, what am I focused on? I'm going to unplug over the holidays. It's going to be physically going to have to physically unplug myself, but that's what I'm looking forward to but.

Ryan Cramer: I love it. Michael?

Michael Maher: I'd second that. I'm looking forward to spending some time with my family, making a Christmas old fashion, which, if you want to know more about-

Chris Fryburger: I do know, I do want that.

Michael Maher: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. It's a-

Ryan Cramer: Didn't want to

Michael Maher: I made a special-

Chris Fryburger: Send it to me.

Michael Maher: ...I made a special Christmas, simple syrup. Anyway, I'm just looking forward to relaxing. And I'm confident that things are going to continue to grow next year and they're going to grow as they need to. And I'm excited to for just the future, but I'm looking forward to just chilling.

Ryan Cramer: Sounds good. Elizabeth, you and your humongous family. I love it. Hang out with them. Right.

Elizabeth Greene: Huh?

Ryan Cramer: You're a great, you're a huge family that you guys have. I'm assuming spending time with them.

Elizabeth Greene: Yes. That's going to be a hoot and a half. For those who don't know, I have six kids.

Chris Fryburger: Wow.

Elizabeth Greene: So just on our own, we have a little board going on.

Chris Fryburger: I don't even know. I don't even know crosstalk business?

Ryan Cramer: You can feel the basketball team and a six man. So again, congrats to you guys. No, it's awesome. No, yeah. No, seriously, what yeah. What are you guys looking forward to?

Elizabeth Greene: Yeah. That's, I mean, that's pretty much what I'm looking for. My twin boys are three years old this year and I got them ginormous dump trucks. So that's going to be absolutely hilarious.

Michael Maher: How awesome.

Elizabeth Greene: Fun to watch them run around with. So yeah, just looking forward to unplugging, spending time with family, chilling for a couple days and then getting right back on it.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. Lazar? He has it.

Lazar: Well.

Ryan Cramer: That's right.

Lazar: Exactly the same as everybody else. I'm really looking forward to Christmas and holidays and to get a couple days of good sleep, because we want to do a lot of stuff next year. So I need to get some rest and I'm pretty sure that all of the Amazon sellers, I really love Amazon sellers to be honest, because the energy that they have is something unique and the ability to change and to adapt to all the situations. I'm pretty sure everything is going to be right the next year, as well, because they're not alone in that situation. All of the problems are affecting everybody. So. Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for everyone here.

Chris Fryburger: Thanks Ryan.

Ryan Cramer: For hopping in, I got my next wave. Thank you so much for spending some time.

Michael Maher: Thanks for having me man.

Chris Fryburger: Happy Holidays, everybody.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely guys.

Elizabeth Greene: Thank you.

Lazar: Happy Holidays.

Ryan Cramer: Coming on, we appreciate it. Let me go ahead and get the next wave of people on here. Again, everyone this is Crossover Commerce episode 200. If you can't read at the bottom or if your new and just tuning in, this is my corner of the internet, where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon e- commerce space. You saw that from my first wave of people. Now it's onto wave number two. I want to bring on with me. Let me go ahead and bring on inaudible quite a bit. inaudible where am I going. Meet people. Barcus and Jana you have to unmute yourself. So, what's up guys, how are you all doing?

Barcus Patty: Good.

Jana Krekic: Great.

Barcus Patty: Good to see you, everybody.

Burcus Patty: Good.

Abe Chomali: All good here.

Jana: inaudible

Burcus Patty: Good to see everybody.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Abe's been chilling in the background. He's just working away and just listening along. So I appreciate everyone tuning in today. Y'all as you saw, we just had the Zaron. So I couldn't get you guys in the same time slot. I was really trying to get that to work out.

Jana: I mean, we're not at the same place, so it's fine.

Ryan Cramer: I know. That's all good. Hey, thanks crew for hopping on today. Like with the last group, this is kind of the holiday edition. It's not really serious. I just wanted to get people's insights and get a wide array of people. You were some of the brightest people in the space. So I just wanted for people who are listening or don't know who you are, which is kind of crazy to think that they wouldn't, but if they don't, maybe we can start and go around the virtual room, if you will. And quick introductions Abe can you get us kicked off please?

Abe Chomali: Yeah, sure. So my name is Abe Chomali. I have an Amazon advertising agency called XP Strategy. Although to be fair, everyone just says that they're advertising with me. I don't think anybody knows the name of my agency at this point. I work with the range of sellers of all sizes, of all selling types. Whether it's wholesale or private label, which I think makes me a little bit unique. I think, I feel like most of the space is dedicated to private label these days. And I think I know most of the people here, I've vacationed with the people here. I've done business with the people here and I'm looking forward to seeing what everybody's got to say over the next half hour.

Ryan Cramer: Me too. Hopefully. Yeah. I have a long way, but I'm excited to hear what other people. Barcus, you switched jobs on me throughout this pocket journey. We're at healing timber you're at Virgin for people who haven't seen you. I was joking about this in the first half hour. I'm going to have a five timers club because I feel like for a lot of you people keep coming back on and repeat. I'm going to start making jackets or t- shirts or something like that.

Burcus Patty: Yeah. If I get a jacket, I'll come back.

Ryan Cramer: That's your requirement.

Burcus Patty: Only if I get some swag.

Ryan Cramer: If I get swag, I will return. So no that's... You're different than your office. Where are you at today?

Burcus Patty: My office has been commandeered by some teenage boys. My son had a sleepover last night, so they're all upstairs. Because that's the furthest away from everybody else. I'm like, you guys can be loud. You can do whatever there just don't come downstairs. So I'm outside back patio. Good.

Ryan Cramer: Oh man. That's hilarious. So yeah. Give a quick background and intro if you would out for us?

Burcus Patty: Yeah. So Barcus Patty. I am head of growth of emergent new Amazon aggregator. I spent the past six years at different Amazon software companies. Always enjoyed that time there. And so yeah, I've sold off and on Amazon for those years as well. And a couple other marketplaces and I'm ramping up to launch a new brand in Q1, not in January, but probably February, March.

Ryan Cramer: Is this the one we were talking about?

Burcus Patty: Yeah. That and another thing. So, but yes.

Ryan Cramer: Ooh. All right. See Chris, we're not talking about that right now. First, before I get to destiny and Jana, I want to give a quick, I saw this comment come through from Lazar who's just on here. He says, hold on." I love Jana's and Destiny's matching swag," I didn't even catch that that you both had matching sweatshirt until just now. So I have to know the story, but quickly before we go on any further, this is...

Jana: There's no story. We're just so much alike and in sync that we just like...

Ryan Cramer: God bless, all right. I have the most amazing crew of people that just like they call each other before they go on the same podcast. I love it. So Destiny people don't know you, which again, they should again, can you give us a little background by yourself? This is awesome.

Destiny: Yeah. So for Billy, Jana and Lazar's best friend with all the matching merch is probably the most important aspect. Also great friends with Abe. I've spent a lot of time with Abe over the last two months. So that's how most people probably know me, but I do Amazon advertising and DSP and I'm just here to have a good time with all my friends. That's my goal.

Ryan Cramer: I love this. Jana same here. Can you give us a quick intro of yourself?

Jana: Yeah. I'm just a copy paste from destiny basically that's friends with Destiny. And yeah, I have a great time with Abe at his birthday dinner in London. Unfortunately Marcus, I haven't seen you in a while, but hopefully that will change soon. And you Ryan finally, I have never met you in person. That's just the weirdest thing ever.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Speaking of that, everyone who's going to appear today, I've only had, or on the past 200 episodes, I've only met one person in person on the podcast.

Destiny: Rob?

Ryan Cramer: I do this... I haven't even met Rob in person believe it or not. For this group, I've not met Rob in person. So it's going to be jarring. It's going to be something where I'm going to meet people in person and it's going to be, they're going to be bigger, taller, shorter. I don't know what it's going to be, but it's my perceptions is all screen, shoulder up? That's it. No, Henson Woo is the only person I met in person believe it or not. Random maybe, but it was back in 2019. Yeah, that was who I met, been on this podcast. I don't think anyone else in person yet. So that's going to change in 2022 for sure. But Jana I had Yuan on recently on an episode, I feel like I've had a lot of you on. Destiny we need to get your own episode because you come on for group sessions like this all the time. So I need to change that. But this is a holiday edition. I want to have a lot of fun. You guys come from a lot of like advertising international growth perspectives, software solutions, things like that. What was the most, if you had to summarize 2021, maybe like an sentence or a phrase or a couple phrases, how would you do that? Abe I'll start with you.

Abe Chomali: So I got half an hour to think of this while Lazar and everybody also was running the first time. I originally, I had one answer, but I'm going to change it. I think that the thing that has changed the most is very simply top of search. Up until now organic has been the lion's share of sales for most sellers. And we've been able to attack advertising by putting people all over the place without necessarily needing to be aggressive upfront. In 2021, we have seen that flipped and advertising takes up so much more of the top of the page. That even if you're number one organic, other people who are just paying to be on top can push you away and steal sales from you that you should be having. So top of search is number one focus. And I guess connected to that is diversity of traffic. Because top of search is really expensive. So if you're not careful about it will eat up every dollar you're you're making with your sales. So be on top to get the traffic initially, but then diversified that traffic to bring down costs a bit.

Ryan Cramer: Oh, we left. We lost Destiny for a second. No, those are great. Barcus, what about yourself if you had to summarize 2021. What would you do?

Burcus Patty: So I love Abe's comment about diversity of traffic. I've always been a fan of brands that bring traffic from different points of social media, building their own audiences. Also utilizing that on top of Amazon's own internal advertising system. So I love that. I think that 2021 has shown us that the brands that are planning where they want their brand to be in five to 10 years are the ones that will like, that made the best of everything. Right? So there's things that are just that you couldn't describe to somebody a year ago, like continuing pandemic issues, supply chain issues. Like there's things that just money can't solve. And I think the brands plan like, Hey, where do I want this brand to be in five years and write out a goal, write this out, write it out in 10 years. Whether you want to sell it or keep it forever and hand it off to your kids. Those are the brands that are weathered the storm the best, and nobody's immune to it. When Amazon's building their own shipping containers, Walmart is chartering their own vessels, it's not all these issues aren't immune to any brand out there in the world. So I think just, I think everybody understanding that planning just at a high level is what... I think and I say that, let me add a little context. Five years ago, you could just dump money into a product and then throw it on Amazon. You could dump a bunch of money into Facebook ads and Amazon advertising and you could just rank the product, right? So it's a lot more calculated than that these days. So that's what I mean by planning, it's just a little bit harder, but a bit more tactical.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. I love that. Destiny I would think you would be very similar to what Abe was saying about advertising or is there anything different that really stands out for you?

Destiny: I think I can piggyback off of both of those in that the whole industry's changed quite a bit. I mean, we've seen more competition than ever before, just in terms of search cost and bigger brands find only having full e- commerce Amazon adoption combined with supply chain issues, changes in terms of service and changes in cost and margins. And anyone who's looking at Amazon as a passive income strategy probably should move on to the next bag because it is much more competitive in a good way. It's really going to play to advantage of people who are brand building and looking for long term opportunities to truly invest in building an audience, looking at what they can do on the external traffic side and really just thinking a lot bigger. So I think it's been absolutely crazy. Amazon's released more ad types, more changes I think, than probably a before. And if you can't keep up now, I don't think it's going to slow down at any point in time.

Ryan Cramer: Right there's a bigger hurdle that's creating with advertising and now you have to keep up with it in that regards to, I have a point that I wanted to make too, that we'll get back to in terms of like optional versus like Amazon's statement with PPC. And I curious what your guys' take is on that, but Jana what about you for 2021? Is there something that really stood out to you that really sinks in if you had to recap it in one sentence?

Jana: Yeah. I'll definitely also need to piggyback of what everyone said. And that means that a lot of sellers are becoming really, I would say more serious brands. There are definitely investing more in their brands, maximizing on them. And we've been working with more and more brands like those, especially those who want to expand their internationally are coming, becoming like more serious about that. And even Amazon made the hugest change we've seen in the last four years when it comes to international marketplaces. And that is that Amazon has made it possible for different images to be presented in specific countries, which means that you no longer have to show global images, but you can localize them and have different images for different countries. That's one of the biggest changes has ever happened in terms of global sales of Amazon after making all reviews global. And I just think that also is becoming more and more difficult and as Destiny said, like if you're looking to make a passive income to Amazon, just forget about it and do something else, because it's becoming more and more challenging. But in terms of selling international for instance, we've seen a huge, huge change in terms of who wants to expand international. And those are some bigger and more involved brands than what we would usually get two years ago. And ever since COVID, that change was very, very visible.

Ryan Cramer: Gotcha. No, those are all great points. And I appreciate all those insights. I want to go back to a report I read recently. Amazon's again, there was a third party report that came out of sellers are paying anywhere from like 34% to 33% of their revenue in terms of fees. And when Amazon's response back to that was, those are all optional costs of, and I believe in that was FBA as well as PPC optional cost. I say optional because that was the word that got me off, if Amazon looks at PPC as optional, I bet you I can go up to every single person I've ever had on this podcast and say, is PPC optional on Amazon? And Abe and Destiny, I'm just to me, you would say, what to me, is it optional anymore to be successful on Amazon?

Abe Chomali: So every cost is optional. You can technically be in business without spending on that. So to that extent, it is optional. It is definitely required to get the best results and it's that required to get even medium sized results. But at the same time, everybody here knows of examples of people that are killing it without Amazon advertising. There are brands that are social media focused first, and they just throw up an Amazon listing because they know that people come there and they just start selling without any advertising. So in that example, it's definitely optional. Of course, that doesn't apply to most sellers. Most sellers can't ship things themselves at scale, they can't do it fast. They can't promote themselves without Amazon systems. So on one hand, yes, Amazon systems make it easy and are almost required, on the other hand yes, you can get by without anything that Amazon offers. So it's one way to look at it. Technically they're right, and technically they're not right.

Destiny: I would also throw out that that's the price you pay to get in front of Amazon's audience. Everyone always likes to talk about building off platform or building your Shopify, which is a hundred percent a great route to diversify risk and to build your own brand, build your own audience. But the beauty of Amazon is you do have to pay a certain price and then you in exchange get a strong high purchase into audience. It's not that easy externally. Even if you do build an audience and you have amazing ads going on Facebook, Instagram, and things like that, the purchase intent isn't near as high. So there's tradeoffs in all things. And I would say like Abe mention that it's is optional. You can try running with FBM and all these other factors, but if you really want to succeed, you're paying to utilize the brand and the audience that Amazon's built.

Ryan Cramer: Right. To be successful is one thing. Obviously people can figure out those roundabout ways, but you need to be in front of Amazon's intent audience of purchase history, purchase intent. You need to have a good program in place of using PPC. You need to be on FBA. There's all these percentages that say, if it's not FBA versus FBM, you're going to lose the audience and so on and so forth. So is that where Amazon's going to start facilitating people in this notion of you're going to play by our rules. And if you don't then just try to find something else that's going to have the same power or an audience and buyer intent that we have cultivated. Is that where you're going to start seeing more and more sellers being pushed Barcus or do you think that there's going to be sellers that are like, this is not worth it anymore. We're just going to go sell exclusively on Walmart and that's it, or I don't think it's that crazy, is it?

Burcus Patty: I mean, I'm sure there'll be some outlier examples. It's like Abe mentioned, there are some outliers of people absolutely crushing it on just one marketplace. There's examples of people, you know, doing six figures on Etsy and doing multiple six figures on Walmart and so on and so on. So I think there's just going to be a good mixture of both. Like there's people that can handle pressure of the issues that arise with Amazon and every marketplace has their own issues, right. But it's just like, what are you prepared to handle? So I think that there's a, I say this all the time that there's the people that are most successful on Amazon are very analytically minded, right? Because you can look at PPC and you can look at Amazon business reports and you can make some sense of what's happening. You can kind of look at all that. And I think that creative people can kind of lean towards more towards D to C and social media, because they're very creative and they can create posts and they can there's stuff like that. So, I don't know, that's a long way of saying that there's going to be a mixture of both.

Destiny: I do agree with your original point though Ryan, that Amazon has more power than ever before, and they can now create their own rules. In the beginning it was, hey, let's be the everything store. Let's give everyone the opportunity to throw up product products. And they needed to have a ton of options to really like build that consumer loyalty and that fan base and trust. And now fast forward where we're at now, everyone and anyone knows who Amazon is, so they can actually start building their own rules. And now it doesn't really do them a lot of good to have 300 knockoff products. Instead they want like the best of everything stores. So really trying to shift focus to the products that do serve their customers best. And if you don't want to play by those rules, build your own platform. And I think that's where they are pushing people. And I think, omnichannel is going to be a very big role to play in the future, but also yes, Amazon is going to be locking down on those benefits because they have the loyalty and the trust of their fan base now.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah.

Jana: I just wanted to say that I was just listening to, there was a actually Helium 10 podcast and they had like one seller I think her name was Melissa. And she had like two seven figure brands, she exited both of them. And she was saying that she never ever used Amazon PPC, like never, ever used them. And it was like very, very interesting. And I know it doesn't work for all the sellers or all the categories. It really depends on your niche, but it was very interesting to also hear that approach. Not saying that's something that you shouldn't use PPC or not, but I'm saying that there are people and they make it work for them. So that's very interesting.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I would agree. Again, nothing is, of all the things I don't mean to say that that's my stance on that, I think it's an interesting take on as sellers just start to evolve as businesses start to grow, as brands become really big and focused on Amazon. A lot of people, even just today, I've said omnichannel growth opportunities in different capacities what does that look like? Amazon's always going to be a center and a staple in that, but in terms of growth opportunity, I know Jana you were talking about just international expansion and opportunity there too. A lot of people look at that. So what does 2021 look like for this group as brands continue to grow and develop? Are we excited about anything specific? Has there been stuff in that's Amazon's teased about that we're waiting to see come to fruition. I know I asked like five questions there, but Abe, is there anything that you were really hoping would happen in 2021 or 2022? Good Lord, got to get my ears right.

Abe Chomali: Oh boy. There's a lot of questions there. I'm not even sure which one to attack.

Ryan Cramer: Take which one and run with it.

Abe Chomali: All right. So I feel like the international one is really Jana's specialty, but I will say this. For the clients that I work with, I would say that if you're going to go international, do it with focus. So Jana's business is creating content for international marketplaces and the clients that I've sent over to her have done well with content that's optimized. Even if you're an American seller branching into the UK, tweaking your content for UK English will make a difference in your conversion rates. And don't run things through Google translate. Don't throw up the same images, especially now that Amazon is going to let you put up images that are separate for each marketplace. Take advantage of lifestyle images that reflect the country your product is in. Take advantage of titles and all the other parts that are not butchered English or butchered whatever language you're in. And that should lead to a lot better success. From the PPC end I can tell you that the number one driver of good results is high quality content. If you have a good product, that's going to lead to good PPC performance and to good sales all the more so when we're talking about international markets. I forgot all the rest of the questions. So I'll cool while I'm ahead.

Ryan Cramer: That's okay. There weren't as important as that one. Barcus what about you, growth opportunities in 2022? What's a big focus for you think that we need to pay attention to I think?

Burcus Patty: Growth opportunities. Oh man. Yish okay. So I think that as, I mean, this is my kind of my default answer all the time, but I think it's underserved in our community is building list. I'm not talking about creating YouTube channels and creating video content, but just learning how to effectively build external lists, whether that is a VIP program, a loyalty member program, warranty registration. If you learn how to do that, you're going to build an audience over time and learning how to do that does a couple things like build in these audiences. You have a little bit of leverage. You can decide where they want to go. You'll still send most of your traffic to Amazon, but at the same time, you're going to learn more about your core demographic of people that want to buy your product and why they want to buy the product. And what does it serve them best. So you just understand your customers better so you can make better products, but you're also building and you're starting to build an ecosystem of your own. And at that point you can decide, do I want to launch? If I want to launch on Walmart, well now I have 25,000 engaged people in an email list that I built over three years. And I can tell then I'm launching on walmart. com. So it just gives you leverage and just understanding your core demographic better.

Ryan Cramer: Destiny, what about yourself? Team focused on anything particular are you excited about? Has Amazon teased anything specifically to you that you need to tell us on this podcast to look out for?

Destiny: Be very on top of your creative game. I think on the ad type aspect of Amazon advertising, they are looking to release a lot that will help you better portray your brand on platform with more than your generic sponsored ad and listing image. So that's probably the biggest thing I would recommend people to stay on top of. And then secondly, Amazon's releasing a lot in terms of just giving us more data. So they've now released brand metrics which actually overlays the organic data and your advertising data to help give you category comparisons based on overall category subcategory, which can really help you gauge where you stand in relation to your subcategory competitors. So if you're running PPC and you have a high ACoS go with your brand metrics, and if you're converting much less than all of your competitors, probably shouldn't be driving additional traffic to that page until you improve your listing. So those are my two biggest call outs.

Ryan Cramer: Awesome. And Jana what about yourself for 2022? Anything new?

Jana: Yeah as Abe really had a good point over there, and thank you so much for that great feedback. It's really important to have a game plan. Like when you expander nationally, just don't be like my best selling product here is definitely going to be a best selling product in Germany. Like why do you think that's going to happen? Because a lot of times that's actually not true. So what I suggest to people going international, and we've seen a very that's been trend thing for the last year and a half, people just wanting to maximize on their brand. They're like, we'll just take internationally. You should go and check brand analytics, see how much this product is popular. Check a black box, the hidden 10, see the revenues. And it's really not that hard to plan, but not a lot of sellers seem to pay attention to that. But as I said, like, don't use Google translate and all of that, but what I've seen is a really big change is that we were called by Amazon to do like a beta program for some of their sellers in the U. S. and do actual proper translations, which were optimized. So then makes me think that Amazon also wants to go in the right way when it comes to international expansion and just going to push people to go there and then launch that program, which actually means getting automated translation. And then people don't get a lot of sales and they get disappointed. So, I mean, I'm just going to say bottom line, whatever you do in terms of international selling, just basically do analysis, do product research, market research. You don't have to spend a lot of money on that, but just you can do a lot of things on your own or your assistant can do it for you, but make sure that you do have the right product for different marketplaces because not all of your best selling products will be best selling products in other market places as well.

Ryan Cramer: I love that recap and wherever one of you is there's a massive emergency. Someone's in trouble somewhere. So I hear sirens in the background all over. So hopefully none of you're in trouble wherever you're at, but hey, I want to thank each of you personally and thank you so much-

Jana: I'm actually in jail. This is a background.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say. Jana are you-

Burcus Patty: You have amazing reception in jail, man.

Ryan Cramer: inaudible if you are in trouble my God. Hopefully all of you are safe wherever you're at. No, I want to thank of you each personally for coming on. I know it reached out to you and you didn't have to say yes, but I want to thank you so much for just spending some time. I know it's a super busy time of year for a lot of you, you just finishing up the holiday year on a high note. I just I can't wait to meet you all in person and talk with you. we have been on this podcast and off channel too. So just thank you so much. And for coming on today, I can't thank you more for being a part of this journey.

Abe Chomali: Oh yeah. Thanks for having us. It was a lot of fun.

Jana: Thank you so much for having us.

Destiny: Congratulations.

Ryan Cramer: Thank you guys.

Jana: Absolutely, a big, big deal.

Ryan Cramer: I know. Well, some people tell me that, I'm just glad I'm employed somewhere. Thank God, right? So,

Destiny: inaudible.

Ryan Cramer: At the end of the day, it's a little thing, staying employed in 2021. So thanks guys. We'll talk to you guys later. Awesome. Again, everyone else, thank you so much. Just want to reset the room real quick for episode 200 before my next wave of people coming back on. This is up episode 200. If this is the first time or the 200th time you've joined crossover commerce. I appreciate you tuning out on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. I have asked a ton of people to be a part of this and see if they have some time of their day to hop on this podcast, which I called my corner of the internet, where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon and the e- commerce space. A lot of people said, yes, some people are just so busy that they couldn't hop on. Some people are like, hey, I want to hop in whatever. I can just want to thank those people again. The first half we're halfway through. I feel like I did this episode and one hours is a lot for people. We're going to do two hours today, just so I can thank and get lots of different end of year recaps from people who are just way smarter than me in the Amazon and e- commerce space, logistics space, marketing, wherever you want to touch. We're going to, that's why I invited them on. And that's why I have this podcast so I can learn and other people can learn as well. That being said, just want to give a quick shout to PingPong Payments again, presenting a sponsor, PingPong Payments, helping people save time, money, and effort by saving and sending money internationally or receiving funds on different marketplaces on Amazon. You can go to usa. pingpongx.com// podcast for more information. So when... Sorry, there's a lot going on in the background. If you're looking at me and you're laughing, I have like 20 people waiting for me on the bottom. Just want to go ahead and invite people on next wave of our podcast. Our next group, if I have this correctly, I'm going to just start bring them on here. I have another Santa in the house and I just... Sorry, I'm laughing because I don't see these people until they hop on for the full time. So I think I, and Paul, sorry, Paul, I have you too. Look at this it's like the Brady bunch over here. I need to remove some things because there's so many people here.

Paul: You see the glory of my shirt here?

Jana: I love it. So I-

Lisa: Oh, that's beautiful.

Ryan Cramer: Guys, this is the second scene I've had on, which is perfect. I was told not to wear anything holiday, like my wife, who I enjoy obviously who I like throw everything off. She goes, make this about your 200, not about holiday. And I said, I don't know if my people will adhere to that, but sounds good. I'm going to go in the center of this. I want to feel like the Brady bunch here. Prince while you get to go on the top left. So that means, thank you guys for tuning in. I hopefully I have Emma from inaudible Amateur, Johnson for seller tools, Lisa and Santa from Noviland slash... God I can't stop laughing. Brock, thank you so much. And Paul, thank you so much for hopping on as well. How is everyone doing?

Lisa: Doing good.

Francois: Great.

Ryan Cramer: Everyone's obsessed. I love this, this is the right time of year to do that. inaudible. Say that again. inaudible. I have somebody in the background that's just-

Francois: I don't know who-

Ryan Cramer: Who is that? No ones talking.

Paul: It's the ghost of Christmas pass.

Francois: Exactly

Ryan Cramer: My podcast, once you get 200, I guess you just have like random people that starts talking in the background. No one else is on here. So I don't know what that is. Interesting. We'll just move on with that. How the first half has gone, I want to thank you all. You've all been past guests on the podcast. So I just want to thank you so much for coming on. Just to give a little insight and kind of recap, 2021, looking forward to 2022. Tell me, let let's start with my top left. Francois, just quick introduction for yourself. If people haven't heard of you before, obviously have heard of Santa Claus-

Lisa: Well they certainly wouldn't recognize him. That's for sure.

Ryan Cramer: Wouldn't recognize him. Anyways. If you can maybe Lisa, you and Francois together you guys can, since you guys co- host a podcast together, who are you guys?

Francois: Yeah, and that's a great question. Some might call us the Santa Claus supply chain. I don't know. That's just a word that's being tossed out there.

Lisa: It's a stretch.

Francois: But I'm the director of this development here at Noviland. And Lisa is taking over our marketing department actually over here at Noviland. And we also co host the Link Up Leaders podcast, where we've had a lot of the same guests that you've had. Different conversations and we talk all things e- commerce and supply chain at the same time. But yeah, ultimately we just work with supply chain, start to finish for manufacturing, sourcing, production, logistics, warehousing and fulfillment, last mod delivery, the whole nine yards essentially. And that's sort of why we like to hear about the other side of the aisle, the marketing, the everything that the sellers really get into before or after they're actually planning out their supply chain.

Lisa: Exactly. And you didn't mention not just a lot of the same guests, a lot of the people on this screen have been on before. We're surrounded by friends. Hi everybody.

Ryan Cramer: And did this on purpose guys. It's just like happy family reunion.

Lisa: It seemed very intentional. Yes. And what are the holidays for, if not bringing everybody together?

Francois: Exactly.

Ryan Cramer: Functionally my desk, it was a schedule coordination of like, I can't show, but it's like this nasty, this person's here. Like they're all friends, they can talk together, right?

Lisa: It's like coming up with a seating chart for a wedding. It's like who's going to fight. Who's going to get along. How can we do this?

Ryan Cramer: Hopefully no one fights here on the podcast, right?

Emma: Yeah. Why didn't you actually bring some antagonistic relationships here? Because I think that would really be spicy and crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: That's for episode 300 Emma, come on. You know the processes you crosstalk

Paul: You need an angry elf or two.

Lisa: Alpha elf, yeah.

Francois: That's what we have you here for Paul.

Paul: I thought that was a perfect joke for Emma.

Ryan Cramer: I know.

Paul: I mean, Elf sized and all.

Lisa: Is tiny but mighty. Okay. I would not cross Emma

Francois: Tiny but mighty.

Emma: Thank you Lisa.

Paul: But you're not angry. You're always happy. Although I do owe you a reply in WhatsApp. So if you're angry at me, that is excusable.

Emma: All smiles here.

Paul: I thought they'd be middle fingers, you only did too. I was like, uh oh.

Ryan Cramer: Guys, this is a family show for people watching. And YouTube will kick me out if I start cursing up a storm here. But anyways, Paul, since you were talking, give us a quick intro of yourself. Love the sweater. I was told the teases too. I created my own ugly Christmas sweater. So if you're listening to this and you want to know what it looks like. It's pretty funny, but follow me on social media. That was a good idea by my wife. She said, you should tease it on your podcast and tell them to follow on social media. So you have to subscribe to the podcast, but that's my tease.

Paul: Okay. I'll have to check it out. So what do I do? I've been in the marketing space, digital marketing since about 2008. And so everything that I do kind of revolves around brand marketing, brand building. We do a lot with chatbots. I started Chat Marketing University. Actually it was Messenger Bot University in 2018. And so since then I've been teaching people how to use chatbots, maybe a little bit annoyingly, people invite me places and they'll be like, what do you want to talk about? I'm like, I don't know, let's talk chatbots. That sound good? So I do a lot with chatbots and influencer marketing because ultimately the way that I look at chatbots is just a means to an end. It's just a method of building an audience. And it's an effective method because at least in social media, like rates are generally cheaper running traffic through a bot, say like Instagram for example, we're doing a case study now with MiniChat, we've gotten like four or 500 applicants for a brand ambassador program in the last two weeks for it's so cheap too. It's crazy. So that's what I do. I kind of tinker in my business, test stuff out and then start doing it in other people's businesses in the chat agency. So that-

Ryan Cramer: That's awesome.

Paul: Not a super in depth description, but.

Ryan Cramer: Well, you've been on too. And I told this too, for the people who've come on multiple times of the show, Paul you've been on I think three times or so. We're going to start having a five timers club on the podcast. So we start getting jackets and things like that once we start to hit five because I know Emma and Troy, they come-

Ryan Cramer: ...jackets and things like that once we start to have five, because I know Emma and Troy, they come on every major episode here. They're getting up there too, so everyone who keeps coming back... That's my incentive to get people to come back, is start getting tease out merch, or they don't come back at all. Barkus told me, he goes," if I get something then I'll think about coming back on."

Paul: He's holding out for the bribes.

Ryan Cramer: Thanks, Barkus. He's holding out for the jacket or the bribes, to come back on. That being said Emma, thank you for saying yes and coming back on podcasts. You were back on 100. Thanks for coming back on 200. You're Troy. You have to come on every 100.

Emma: I'm going to be really disappointed if on 400, I don't get an invite, Ryan.

Ryan Cramer: God I hope we make it there.

Emma: I'm already going to be counting the days.

Ryan Cramer: God, at this point, man, at this juncture, that may be next summer by 400. We might somehow do two a day just so we get to 400 by the summer. But if I make it there.

Emma: Holy moly. That's a rapid pace. I salute your commitment, because that's just a lot.

Ryan Cramer: Someone's got to do it.

Lisa: Ryan is built different. I don't know how he does it every week.

Ryan Cramer: Guys, some of us like to stay employed. That's the goal here.

Paul: And there's others of us who are like," Screw that. I don't need a job."

Emma: I want to stay unemployed by anyone else except me.

Ryan Cramer: Exactly. No Emma, sorry to hijack your intro for people who don't know you, or if you haven't listened in 100 episodes, what have you been up to with the agency and whatnot?

Emma: Yeah. So my name's Emma Schermer Tamir. I'm the co- founder and CEO of Marketing by Emma. We create conversion- spiking commerce... Oh my gosh. I'm rusty guys. Conversion- spiking copy for e- commerce businesses, Amazon listings, website, copy. All those texts that you need to be able to really effectively communicate with engage and convert your dream customers. We've just been toiling away on the business. It went on a wild and crazy fall road show of events. I must say I've now been home for two weeks straight and I'm just so excited to be able to dig into all the things that have been lingering, that have required that solid focus that I've had to bite my... I'm really bad at those expressions. Bite my something, I think, is some phrase that people say.

Ryan Cramer: Bite your time? Bite your tongue? One of those things.

Emma: Maybe both of those at times, but anyway, hopefully you get my point.

Ryan Cramer: I do. No two weeks straight, man. I don't think I've left my house in years. No, I'm just kidding. That's not the case. No. Two weeks at home straight that's nice, obviously. I don't know, Finn was traveling for the holidays, but it's, it's nice to be home and just relax and get ready for the next year too. But Troy, welcome back again. I think you've been on since 100, but welcome back to the podcast. You've probably been on fourth... This might be your fourth time or close to it. Shoot. I was joking about the five timers club, but now I'm not. One more time and you're on. You get something.

Emma: You're muted.

Ryan Cramer: I don't have audio for some... Troy, I don't have your audio for some reason. You're not muted on my end. Nope.0.

Troy: Nope. There we go. crosstalk, because of your other show.

Emma: It's just, he's speechless.

Ryan Cramer: I know. inaudible has me speechless. Her conversion copy is just... It's just blowing my mind.

Speaker 1: It spiked his brainwaves.

Ryan Cramer: All good, crosstalk-

Troy: I get this nice new microphone and then I'm learning how to use it. So-

Ryan Cramer: Hey, that looks... Yeah, I was going to say. New microphone.

Troy: I know. Looks good.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, it looks good, man.

Troy: But yeah. Thank you for having me on. It's good to see everyone here and together. And, yeah, congratulations Ryan on 200. That is a lot of content, time and, energy. And yeah, I appreciate you having me on.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I appreciate it.

Troy: crosstalk But yeah, a little bit about me.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Seller Tools. Tell us about it.

Troy: Yeah. So I'm a co- founder at Seller Tools with a few other smart folks that are Amazon sellers themselves. Prior to kicking off Seller Tools, which, a little bit about who we are. We are now an all in one suite of tools, covering keyword research, listing optimization, competitive analysis, alerts, PPC, different automation. So we have a pretty wide suite of tools focused on data, optimization, automation, those are our three pillars. But prior to that was an Amazon seller, I'm still selling, myself, just not involved in the day to day. Ended up selling a brand, moved on to doing some consulting and then kicked off, like I said, what I'm doing today with Seller Tools and focusing on features and tools and all the fun that we get in this little industry as part of the Amazon ecosystem that has all the same fun as if you were selling on Amazon. But yeah. Enjoy doing that today. That's-

Ryan Cramer: Never a dull moment. Right Troy?

Troy: Exactly.

Ryan Cramer: In the SaaS space, yeah. I was going to say logistics, SaaS, never a dull moment in speaking logistics. Brock, thanks so much for hopping on Crossover Commerce. I'm going to unmute you too. So I inaudible. I don't have... inaudible. Brock, thank you for hopping on, oh gosh, there we go. Now we're on. There we go. No. Hey, thanks for hopping on Brock with Foursquare. You guys are busy this time of year, so I appreciate you guys are hopping on too as well. So for people who don't know, Foursquare tell us a little bit about you guys.

Brock: Yeah. I mean Ryan congratulations for the 200 episodes, it's really nice to have everybody in here, like remotely. I'm actually in Medellin Columbia right now. We are opening a new office in here for an American market. Yeah. I mean I lived China seven years and now in U. S. three years. We are doing global international logistics, mainly door- to- door logistics for eCommerce and Amazon sellers. Most of our clients are right now expanding to different markets and globe as well as the different marketplaces. So it's really exciting to see, three years ago, maybe most of the people only were focusing on amazon.com, but now everybody's doing different marketplaces, different countries. So it's really exciting as well as, it's challenges for us, as a team, with all the supply chain issues, with the logistic problems, the price issues, availabilities. But obviously things are... It has never been this busy for us for, the logistic people. I'm sure Francois and Lisa also, they think in the same way. International logistics is crazy right now, there are hundreds of shipping... Cargo ships are waiting outside of California for deliveries and everything is under delays. But, we're trying to do our best for our customers and with our software team and digital platform, it's helping our customers to track the shipments online and it really helps a lot. But as you said, it's the craziest time of the year and hopefully maybe the Christmas time people will give a break one day. So we will also have a break one day.

Ryan Cramer: No, absolutely. Well, congratulations on the new office opening, that's awesome, in South America. I mean, I think, again, a lot of people are looking at international opportunities in 2022. I guess I would open up to the floor right now. I have multiple logistics people, I have copy, I have marketing. I have a little bit of everyone in here. It's like I planned this out. So I wanted to open it up for people in the group, I guess. 2021, if you had to summarize maybe in a sentence or a couple words, is there something that really had to... If you had to really boil it down to... How would you describe that? Maybe let's start backwards. Brock, how would you boil it down into a sentence or two?

Brock: I think for most of the sellers globally, the biggest challenge was managing their cash flow because of the delays with the supply chain. If you're doing private label, let's say you source from China, lead time was from 30 days to 45. 45 to 60 days. The departure time from China extended from three days to 15 days. The transit time from 15 days to 34 days. So basically the money turnaround time used to be maybe 90 to 120 days. Now it's almost up to 180, 210 days for some people. So that's why a lot of companies are looking for alternative markets for sourcing, alternative waste shipping. All the raw material costs increasing in the world. Especially in China, 30 to 40%. And most of the products, the shipping cost tripled, even four times compared to 2019, 2020. So I think the biggest challenge for a lot of companies were expanding, because they didn't have really enough cash flow and even the... And also with the Amazon inventory limit. So everybody had to do plan B, plan C with three PL, organizing the shipments partially instead of sending everything to Amazon, extra cost, extra operations. So all these things were a really big challenge. And I think 2022, it's going to be even more challenging with a lot of different factors that people can't control. So I think that's the biggest challenge for most of the sellers. I think most of the people were talking about marketing things or ranking the products, this and that. But also if you can't get your product from A to Z, that makes no sense whatever you actually try to do. So that's why staying, I think, in the game, being not out of inventory. I think that's the key stretch for a lot of companies in 2022.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. Troy, what about you guys and the team? If you had to summarize 2020, 2021. Death by a thousand paper cuts? If I could put words in your mouth. What would you say?

Troy: Yeah, I mean, I think it's hard to look at 21 without looking at 20 because we had this... The pandemic really accelerated e- commerce so fast that it almost became a bubble to burst. And that's a little bit, I think, of what we are dealing with in 21, where every part of a physical product business was realizing some type of constraint. And Amazon's not necessarily immune to that. As Brock touched on in terms of, you've got inventory limits. So at the point of contact, you have limitations, then you have supply chain issues and you have raw material shortages. So you have everything leading up to realizing the actual sale and the conversion being stress tested. And so, and he's spot on too. Everything that we talk about in terms of ranking and doing keyword research and all of these things, well without a unit to sell, those are... It's not really a fruitful, high priority initiative in your business when you do that 80/20. So yeah, I think that's really the... I guess I would put it succinctly as the pandemic hangover. Once we had this massive incline and it just had no way to stabilize at that height and then we dropped off. I agree in coming into this next year is that you have to, in many ways, plan for the worst. Because what I haven't touched on is also all the other Amazon changes, right, that do impact... Okay. Now that you have inventory in stock, what's your competitive advantage? Are you exploiting a unique point of difference? Are you selling something different? Do you understand the ranking landscape? So it depends on how you view it. It's like, do you view the glass half full or half empty? I think it's that stress test for Amazon brands and sellers. But if you view it optimistically, it's a tough enough landscape that if you point out what your true points of export are and your points of difference are, I think it provides a unique opportunity when it comes to FBA or so some hybrid of that. Folding in three PL, multichannel, that type of thing coming into this new year.

Ryan Cramer: Paul, I was assuming you have something to say about marketing and branding off of Amazon?

Paul: Dude, I love it. I know that Francois unmuted earlier than me, but I'm just going to throw that in there. Like Troy was saying... I mean, here's the thing, 21 for us sucked so bad. It sucked. It was not a good year.

Ryan Cramer: What do you mean by that?

Paul: Well between the inventory issues. So first and foremost, I got to take my hat off, well, I don't even have it on, obviously to my wife, Rochelle. If it weren't for her, our business would not be afloat. She's adopted accounting principles. If you guys haven't read the book Profit First, there's an e- commerce version. It's amazing. And she's been running our business with that model. And if it weren't for that, we would be out of business. Everything that she's done to the best of her ability, inventory planning, it just got hosed. I mean, most people know, if they've listened to me for any length of time, we sell in the baby space. We're very seasonal in the summer. So our order that we had placed that was supposed to be our summer order, instead of... We tried it to space it out, but our flipping manufacturers shipped it all together. First and foremost, that screwed stuff up for us in that regard. And it was supposed to be here the first week of June. And it got here second or third week of September. So we basically missed our summer season. Add into that, we've had this ongoing black hat attack that's taken down our number one listing and it's still not categorized. I'm working internally with people at Amazon. They're telling me what denote it's in. And they're like," We can't... I don't know." I'm like," You flipping work there, you have backend access. How can you not move it?" So anyway, I see it as a glass half full, despite all that, despite... I guess maybe I'm a masochist and the reason why I like this is it presents a high barrier to entry. The higher the barrier to entry, the more fun the game is I love playing games. I love board games that require a lot of rules because they're more fun. And so the way that I look at it is, if it's a higher barrier to entry, then the people that don't know what they're doing are going to stay out of the game, which means that it's going to make, hopefully, the PPC prices go down in the future. Once the aggregator insanity settles down. But I've just been thinking through this a lot because my son, the other day, he told me... So my son is seven. He was like," Dad, you know what I would love? I would love to not be able to feel pain." I was like," What? A superpower? Like, you're impervious to pain? Like, people shoot you and you can't feel it. And it bounces off." He's like," No, I'll get cut and I just can't feel it." I was like pain is a good thing. Pain is a signal to the body that we're doing something wrong or in business, right. Pain can be good because it allows you to look at your processes and say," Okay, what's broken?" And there's certain things that are outside of our control, right? We can't fix those things with the supply chain and the logistics, but we can become more nimble and look at our response to it. So all that to say, despite how terrible year 2021 was for us, I'm very optimistic about 2022, because we're set up for success because the way that I look at it, like you had said, it in my head, it comes down to branding. Troy said unique selling proposition. What is it that's unique about your products? And I think that the game on Amazon is not going to be so much the 200th spatula and you're trying to rank against this crowd of exact lookalikes. I see Amazon moving to reward the true unique things. The brands that have built a modicum of social proof, that have people that... Something to bring to the platform. That's the way that I'm looking at it. And fortunately, I know how to do that. So that's why I like it. Now, it is a little bit exhausting, but I'm excited about 2022. So yeah, that's my...

Ryan Cramer: Well, man, I'm glad you guys can overcome that. And again, I think that's the testament to just the processes you guys put in place to be successful. Not every brand is we all hear all the time, not as fortunate to be able to overcome those obstacles and they have to shut down. They can't continue in a business. That's just the Testament of where we're at in today's juncture on Amazon, as entrepreneurs, things like that. So I'm glad inaudible... Again, fingers crossed for you man. That's a lot to overcome, so I'm glad you're able to push through. Emma. What about... Yeah.

Paul: Let you know this time next year how I feel?

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I was going to say, on episode 300, world, just we'll just recap and see where we're at. Just keep checking in. No, no, thanks for sharing that Paul. Emma, what about you? Things to take note of for 2022 for the team? What's changing in the world and how you guys are operating in your team?

Emma: I think it's really just apparent, even in listening to all of these conversations just now and through all the engagements that we've had with various people over the last year, that change is, it has always been a constant and something that we can rely on happening and it's just happening at an even faster pace. And so for us the supply chain mess also impacted us in our business because people were planning on launching products or gearing up for the holidays. And then they're like," Eh, well, we can't get our product in so bigger issues to contend with." And that's really given us even an opportunity to be able to look at our business critically and see, okay, well, what processes can we strengthen up? How can we take advantage of this time that's a little bit quieter than normal and really make sure that as things start to ramp back up, that we're ready to capture what comes, to the best of our ability. And if for some reason, things take an unexpected turn again and likely they will, when is really the big question mark, then we're pretty good at asking questions, figuring out, getting curious and just trying to, like Paul said, treat it like a game. I think that if you're in the world of entrepreneurship, there has to be almost this strange joy in even the uncomfortable parts because it's exciting to have to figure it out. And that sounds like I have some problematic tendencies that make me enjoy uncomfortable situations. But I think that that is just the name of the game when you're in business.

Ryan Cramer: Right. And then, I mean, not to say that... Any of those things are good things to overcome. I think Paul said too, overcoming and feeling pain and feeling those tough things to overcome and still be able to be in business? Oh my gosh, I don't know where to even start. But again, Lisa and Francois, to cap us off or finish up on the half hour, because then I see a lot of other faces are popping up like you guys did in the half hour. I need more than half an hour to talk to everyone. I should have done a five hour episode to... Just said screw it and just not do anything else today.

Lisa: Just a 24- hour live stream, honestly.

Ryan Cramer: It's been on my radar. I promise you it's been on my radar. Just a mega marathon of talking with people all over the world. It might happen, might not. If I say it, it's going to come to fruition. So I'm not promising anything. If my boss is listening out there, don't get any ideas. But anyways, what about you guys? And I know shipping logistics, you guys are seeing a lot of the same things. What are we looking at for 2022?

Lisa: Yeah. I mean, I'll let Francois talk to the majority of it. But I'll just give my two cents here that, to just echo what Emma said, you have to expect the unexpected, and this has been really interesting for me coming into this space in July of 2020. I came into chaos, I've known nothing but chaos. So I'm really interested to see what happens in 2022. I do think that the name of the game is really going to be branding and of course, getting your supply chain set up, right? If you don't have any product to sell and you're pushing on PPC and you don't have it, you have nothing. So getting your supply chain set up and then branding is going to really be the name of the game. We've been having that conversation a lot lately. But I'll let Francois talk about what he expects to happen, because I like your viewpoint. I wonder if you're going to say what I think you're going to say, but...

Francois: Yeah. I mean, I think everyone hit the nail on the head. I think it's a certain level of maturity that a lot of companies are growing into and seeing this as a leaky bucket from a supply chain side has been interesting for the past year, for the past 18 to 24 months, really. I think a lot of it has been built on, and I had a post, I think a year and a half ago about this new supply chain bubble, and I called it the supply chain bubble because that's exactly what it was. It was bursting. And it's really just built on a house of cards. A lot of people were managing a very perfect supply chain. Weren't expecting to have to learn about, let's say, domestic shipping or how do ports work, or what is demurrage, what's a chassis? How do freight forwarders even work? Are they the ones that own the containers? Why can't we just make more containers? A lot of the questions that I think should have been asked a few years back, but that's okay. I think this is just opening up a new level of maturity with new questions. We're going to see new answers. I think we're going to see brands just build on awesome supply chains in 2022. And I think what Brock said is perfectly valid. We're a hundred percent going to see even more issues when it comes to logistics. It's not just going to get better. Pricing is not going to go down to what it was. I think we're going to have a new normal eventually. It's just not going to be immediate.

Ryan Cramer: Thumbs down, he goes. No. Gosh. This is my problem. Every time I bring on supply chain people, you guys want me to talk about this for five hours. I swear to God, there's more we can talk about in it. Unfortunately-

Francois: That could be a five hour conversation, hands down.

Ryan Cramer: I know. Well, that's why people go to your podcast, right guys? Link up Leaders. Again, I'm promoting people. I know everyone else has content out there. Paul's doing great things on so many different podcast channels and clubhouse. He's still appearing on clubhouse and all the fun other places that he appears and in conferences and we'll eventually meet up and we'll all just laugh about this together, hopefully, as... I mean, at least my hope is. But everyone, I just want to, because our time is up, I want to say thank you to this group for all hopping on. Thank you for coming on your own individual episodes. I couldn't be more thankful to you guys say yes every time I ask, hopefully I should ask more maybe instead of a hundred episodes in between. Sorry, Emma. But I would just want to thank you each personally for hopping on each episode and bringing the insight to the community and doing everything you guys do. Thank you. Oh, Brock for some reason I keep on... I can't inaudible you, but thank you. I appreciate it.

Brock: Thank you Ryan.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, no thank you all so much for hopping on this special episode and sharing with some friends in this space. I call them friends of the podcast. So thank you for being that here today.

Lisa: Thank you and congrats again.

Troy: Keep up the great work.

Ryan Cramer: Awesome.

Emma: Bye. Congratulations.

Ryan Cramer: Bye. Thank you.

Lisa: Oh. Francois's running the show now.

Ryan Cramer: Santa Claus himself who runs this show. My God. No thank you guys for hopping on again. Before I reset and bring on the next group, I just want to give a shout to everyone again. Thanks for hopping on Crossover Commerce, episode 200. This is Crossover Commerce. So I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon e- commerce space. Who's taking over this podcast? My God, I have trouble over here. I can't even click anything anymore. You guys are seeing how the sausage is made and it's not pretty right now. Anyways, we're on the last group. I want to go ahead and start bringing on people for the last part of the podcast. Group number four, look at these people as they start to pop up. Lesley, there she is. And Brock, I need to get rid of Brock. There it is. Everyone welcome back to Crossover Commerce. You guys are on inaudible four. We're getting a little crazy and nutty over here. I'm trying to make sure we keep this train afloat, but thanks for hopping on. Again, it's great to see some of you guys, it's been a while. I should say.

Yoni: Mate, marathon man here. What is this? Four back to back sessions? I don't know how you do it.

Ryan Cramer: I think I've had now, you guys are, 6, 17, 18, 19 and 20. I think I've had 20 guests on today. So all different personalities, all different insights of the community. So I want to say thank you so much for hopping on and saying yes to this crazy train that is my podcast. So thank you. I'm going to start to single out things over here. Let me go around the proverbial room, if you will. Let's see, let's start with Matt. Matt, you were on first. So let's give a quick shout out to who you are and what you do and everything, what you're doing at Pin Formative.

Matt: Yeah. Thanks Ryan. Congratulations as well, 200. It's a great achievement.

Ryan Cramer: Thank you.

Matt: I wouldn't like to do what you've done today. You're looking a bit tired yourself. No, I'm joking, you know I am. It's a massive thing that you've got going there and I'm really honored to be part of this to be quite honest. So thank you very much. I know everyone else thinks the same thing, so.. But yeah, I'm Matt from Pin Formative. We're doing things with Pinterest. Middle men we are, through traffic flows, et cetera. And basically we're looking into under the hood of how the algorithm works at Pinterest and how we can redirect traffic flows with minimal efforts and autonomy to our marketplaces. So there you go. That's pretty much what we're doing. That's it really.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say since the last time we talked, you guys launched fully a hundred percent, right? You guys are fully functioning and going?

Matt: I just know I feel like I'm dying constantly. It's very difficult when there's no anchors out there to go off, there's nothing to pivot off. So the fact that you're trying to do this and be at the forefront constantly. It's like," Am I doing the right thing? Am I pushing on in the right way?" Hopefully, fingers crossed so far. Yeah, it seems like we're doing okay. But yeah, we've launched the learning portal and we're working on various software with engineers, but yeah. It's testing, but you know, if you don't jump, you don't fly. That's the thing, isn't it, with being an entrepreneur. So you've just got to go for it. Jump in the fire or don't jump in at all. So-

Ryan Cramer: I love that. Well, now a lot people are talking about Pinterest too, which is a really cool niche to be talking about. And you guys are doing just so many really cool things too. And you and Marie, and shout out to Marie, if she's watching or listening this too. So you guys are doing awesome things. Andrew Morgans, welcome back. The man, the myth, the legend, who hopped on... Gosh, it's been a while since you've hopped on here, but thanks for hopping on today. Give a quick intro to yourself if they don't know who you are.

Andrew Morgans: Yeah. Ryan, thanks for having me on. This is special season three finale, episode 200. So I don't think that can be understated. It takes a lot of work to produce 200 episodes. So congratulations, number one. Number two, Pinterest is the shit. I love Pinterest. I honestly want to learn more just because with some of the brands I own or the brands we're working with, Pinterest has been one of the best traffic generating sources that we've had, depending on what product you're in. So I think as someone that, at least in my neck of the woods here in the Midwest, I definitely felt like I was creating an agency when there wasn't one to build off of as far as services for Amazon. And it is very tough being a trailblazer. So just keep your head down and keep pushing there. I think it's fun because you get an advantage of being a first mover, but also when you look around there's no one to validate what you're doing. So just study as you go. Marknology, I'm the founder of Marknology to all our listeners that don't know who I am. Marknology is a full service Amazon agency. We specialize in everything that it takes to get successful on Amazon. So we don't have one specific niche. It's more so, how do you get your brand positioned on Amazon? How do you transition from one type of selling to the next? What's international marketplaces look like for you? Yeah, I've been in the space quite a while, so I've seen a little bit of everything and just like Paul and the group before us were talking, Paul and Emma, being comfortable with the uncomfortable is an entrepreneurial superpower and just being ready to pivot and change. So, e- commerce in general was a change for me. So I haven't had any issues adjusting as change happens over the last 10 years. But for people that have been in business a long time, change can be hard. But like Paul said, the gamification part of everything, I used to be... I'm only 35 later this month, but I've been around computers since I was a little boy. And whether that was building them or tinkering or whatever the case might be and played a lot of games way before there were streamers or 24 hour streaming marathons and people were getting paid. And I definitely feel like I bring some of that gamer outlet to the Amazon algorithm and e- commerce and selling online and can just relate to what they were saying before about, as it's getting harder and there's more rules, and to sell a high price item your branding has to be on point, your storytelling has to be on point you're off Amazon efforts like Pinterest and Facebook and social have to be on point. As the game gets harder, it gets a little bit more fun for those of us that are competitive. So it's been a tough 21, but it was a tough 20, a tough 19, tough 18, tough 17. So, I mean, it's been tough going since I started my entrepreneurship journey. No more different here in 2021. So, that was just... I was sitting in early in the group and listening to some of the conversations.

Ryan Cramer: He answered all my questions. You're done. See Andrew, thanks.

Andrew Morgans: I'm out, but-

Ryan Cramer: You're all good.

Andrew Morgans: Just excited to be here and excited to be part of this episode.

Ryan Cramer: I appreciate it, man. Thank you so much for hopping on. You're a busy, man. I love your post where you share your list of things to do you. You're one of those diligent people who you, you get stuff... For lack of cursing on my podcast, you get stuff done. So I'm going to keep it kosher on YouTube today. So Lesley, thanks for hopping on today. Another person who's just crushing in the Amazon space, or crushing Amazon, if you will. Lesley you always have a awesome opinion about what's going on in this space, right? Like what I did there? See, I have some chops about me. No. For people who don't know you, your background or what Riverbend does. Can you tell us please?

Lesley: Absolutely. And first, thanks for having me on, and congratulations on the big 200. That's making you a grandpa in the Amazon podcasting space, if you're going by episodes instead of length of time. You're aging crosstalk-

Ryan Cramer: There's gray hairs in here.

Lesley: That's right.

Ryan Cramer: I started the podcast without a beard, now I have one. There's gray hairs. I'm losing hair. It's going to be bad by 400.

Lesley: See, I just have to work that in because people always laugh when I say that in the Amazon space, I'm like a grandma. Now I'm not really a grandma, but in the Amazon space I am, because I've sold on Amazon for 11 years. And there are other people who are actually in the great grandparent era, but I figure I'm in the grandparent era. Riverbend Consulting, we do all the unpleasant things no one wants to deal with. So we solve problems with Amazon. When people's accounts are suspended, their ASINs are suspended, their inventory is stuck and stranded, or their inventory is stuck in FC transfer for 65 days when it's not supposed to be more than 30, or whatever the stupid, idiotic, ridiculous thing is that you've tried everything that you can do to talk to Amazon. And you get these form emails back that make no sense whatsoever. That's when you call me because we handle all the stuff that no one wants to do. We've been around for four and a half years. We've got 60 employees, but 15 of them are ex Amazonians, which is part of where we get our mojo to know how to deal with the workflows and the bizarreness and the frustration that is Amazon. And then on the other side, we do the other set of stuff no one wants to do. The boring things, like your reimbursements and customer service messages and all of the things that make your account tick every day. So you can actually get a Pinterest strategy, which most people don't have, or manage your brand better, which a lot of people don't do. So a lot like Yoni over here who helps people find great resources so that they can grow their business and focus on what you actually make money doing. That's that's what we're here for.

Ryan Cramer: Pandering to the crowd. I love it.

Lesley: Hey, and I got to say, hey, Yoni's actually found someone for my team that's helped us to be able to do what we're doing and they can focus on some of the day to day. So got to throw out a plug there.

Yoni: Love that. Thanks Lesley. I mean that's it, right? You pick the businesses that aren't necessarily the sexiest where people have the most challenges and that's where you create intrinsic value. And yeah, I mean, I've seen you guys grow over the last couple of years and it's nothing short of unbelievable. So yeah. Happy to be partnering with you. And also obviously you too, Andrew mate, seeing friends, partners, it's all very exciting. I'm just jumping in here, Ryan, because-

Ryan Cramer: No, go ahead.

Yoni: I'm going to go to last year. But mate 200. How can I also not jump in and say that really is an impressive feat. I'm actually going to take all of your hard work to growing it to 200 now and giving a shout. I don't know if any of you guys know, I'm actually pretty sure Joe Zalta connected me with the guys at Buy Box Experts, but there's a bit of a disaster going on in Cebu and Mindanao right now, in the Philippines. There was a category five typhoon. About 10% of our team were impacted and they're all okay, which is great. And we've been actually working with Buy Box Experts and a number of other companies trying to raise funds and get supplies over there. So I'm going to drop you a link and I'm really just giving a plug so we can and raise some additional funds to help people on the ground get access to fresh water, food, power. Yeah. So-

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely.

Yoni: Thanks for-

Ryan Cramer: inaudible there down in the comments.

Yoni: Yeah. Thanks for all the hard work, 200 episodes. Getting to that level of following so that it creates a meaningful platform to actually help people. I've just put it in there.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Let me copy it and... Go ahead.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Let me a copy you in. Go ahead. Yoni, I was joking about this too, for people I've had on the podcast multiple times. You're one of the few people who've been multiple than just one time. We're going to get to a five- timers club here shortly. If you're an SNL fan, I'm going to start making jackets for people. It's going to be a whole thing, so we're going to start this soon. But yeah, you're one of the people I think is creeping up on five. So I was telling the people like Troy Johnson from [socials ago, 01:45:27]" I think next time I have you on, I need to buy you a jacket or something like that." It's going to happen.

Yoni: Yeah. I'll take one of those Super Bowl- type rings as well. That works too.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. I'll get working on that right away. All right. If my boss is listening, we got some work to do. No, but you are working great things at MultiplyMii and Escala as well. So for people who haven't, if they miss these episodes for some reason or another, which they shouldn't have, because they're subscribed to the podcast. What are you doing over there?

Yoni: Yeah. We're helping support both agencies, eCommerce, sellers, aggregators, find really high level talent out of the Philippines. And help with the integration component. That's on the MultiplyMii. On the Escala side, we systemize eCommerce businesses and agencies and aggregators effectively. Andrew will be able to tell you a lot more about that in the coming weeks and months. But yeah, effectively, what we're trying to do is to help businesses either for scale or for sale, making sure that we are really attacking it from every aspect of it. We deploy our consulting team in, they interview, they shadow their review. It's like having a SEAL Team Six in your business, really trying to build it for that next level. But that's enough out of me, mate. I'll hand it back over to you to run this.

Ryan Cramer: No, that's great. I put that link in there as well, so hopefully people should be able to see it on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter. That being said, Yoni again, congratulations. Like Andrew's doing podcast, Yoni's doing it. Lesley, you are running podcasts. Matt, you might be doing podcasts. I feel like I have the podcast crew here to cap us off. What I've been asking every career, there's a lot going on, we're a lot more...

Matt: Don't worry. Right. I don't know what I'm doing either. Don't worry about it. It's fine. I haven't got a clue what I'm doing.

Yoni: Can I give you another plug?

Matt: Sorry. If an entrepreneur says they know what they're doing, I'm sorry, but they're lying.

Ryan Cramer: Agreed.

Matt: You've just got to go through it and pivot and move all the time. I'm not going to pretend. And sit and go," I know exactly what I'm doing." I'll be lying. Sorry.

Yoni: We're all making it up as we go along, isn't that how it works?

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But you cannot fix the whole.

Yoni: I want to give one more plug here. Riverbender are up to some pretty exciting stuff. I sat on with Brianna the other day, on SURGE, the event in Miami. That looks absolutely unbelievable.

Lesley: Thank you for the plug. I love it.

Yoni: I'm so excited and also devastated that I can't make it. But it looks like what the... Yeah, I'm expecting my first child in that week. So there's a good excuse.

Ryan Cramer: I didn't know that. Congratulations, Yoni.

Yoni: Yeah. Thanks, mate.

Ryan Cramer: That's exciting.

Yoni: Thanks. But it looks amazing. I was literally looking at the deck just saying like," Holy shit, how do I get here?" Yeah, it's not happening, but anyway.

Lesley: Thank you. That makes me happy. We tried to create an event that was what we would want an event to be. You go to enough conferences and you see the strengths and weaknesses of each one. And the things that are really cool and the things that you're like," What a missed opportunity." If this is the SURGE Summit, it's in February. Now that he plugged it, I have to say it, sorry.

Ryan Cramer: No, it's fine.

Yoni: You're doing everyone a favor. If you can get there, you should be there.

Ryan Cramer: You're them a favor. Yeah. Me too. I've already talked to Brianna. I talked to her. Gosh. And she's like," This is the very first draft of what we're putting out there." And they go," Just give it to me. I'll look at it." I thought it was really cool too. Somewhat we're trying to figure out for hell or high water, how to get there. And again, I think that kind of morphs into my question for 2021 and 2022 of, last year, there was kind of the tail and two halves, right? We looked at the first part and people got together. Then some things like that. If you guys had to summarize, I know Andrew you already did this too. Matt, maybe let's go to you. If you had to look at 2022, put it in a sentence, how would you categorize 2021 right now?

Matt: In one sentence? Oh...

Ryan Cramer: A few words. Just no cursing.

Matt: The problem is, because I'm obviously studying the dynamics and the algorithm of Pinterest, it's like we're a spider's web. We're right in the middle. So I'm seeing everything from all dynamics, from all SM platforms, marketplaces. So for me, I would say freedom of ToS is 2022. I think people are going to have more freedom to be able to pivot, move, but they've got to move quick. And they've got to move in outside of the box. That's what I think. I think that it's very easy to be stuck in your lane, like in 2021. I know there's been inventory issues and imports is a nightmare. There's all these different things. Because obviously I've got my own Amazon stores, brands. But for me personally, I think that next year, things have been blown open by the pandemic. Things have been blown open exponentially to the point where I think it's hard to ignore. And if you don't ignore it, I think you'll thrive. I think if you do, you're missing out. That's what I believe.

Ryan Cramer: Good question.

Matt: I tried to put that in one sentence, sorry, but I couldn't. I tried.

Ryan Cramer: No, you're fine. No, it's okay. Normally I ask for one sentence, I expect three minutes of dialogue from people's time. It is what I do. I've learned it over time.

Matt: Cool.

Ryan Cramer: Maybe Lesley. Lesley, what would you say? Obviously, you've probably seen so many issues with Amazon. I call it 2021 was the year of death by a thousand paper cuts, of little things here and they would creep up. And you're like," That's unfortunate. That bothers me." But then all of a sudden it's just they all add up. By the time you got to the end of the year, it was just," Good Lord, looking back to where we were. And looking now," what was that like for you and the team there at Riverbend?

Lesley: So I think the answer for me is just more so. So 2021 was like 2020, just more of it. And I think it's going to be the same next year. Amazon's enforcement is fascinating and full of false positives. And I've never seen so many false positive. It is just going to be more and more on the linked accounts, the EPA stuff, the pesticides, all the things frustrating everyone. And then there's also the threat of legislation, the breakup platform monopolies, efforts, Amazon got really aggressive this year with some things against sellers that now they've backed off of. Like the price fixing nonsense, trying to force third party sellers to adhere to Amazon's pricing standards. But do not be surprised if this crops up again in 2022. And with the threat of legislation, it's going to be just more so because whatever Amazon has pressure on, from the FTC, the EPA, Congress, it rolls downhill to the sellers. So we're just going to see more rolling on down the hill.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. I'm going to unmute myself. Andrew or Yoni, would you piggy back off of that? Or is there issues that you guys are seeing with your brains or your companies that you guys are working with? Or has there been other issues that have been poking in the side as a thorn or thorns if you will?

Andrew Morgans: Yeah. I'll jump in here, Yoni. And then I'll pass it down. As an agency owner, I can speak to that versus a seller. As an agency owner, there's been changes in the advice in consulting we're giving to brands, which is like sourcing from Latin America, perhaps. Or looking to manufacturers and brands that have distribution or have stock in the US. Meaning they're making their products and stuff right here versus needing to import, ways to keep my agency more stable by the brands that we're choosing to work with. We only get to work with so many brands. Most agencies can only handle so much until they scale the next level. So choose wisely. And as an agency owner, you're adapting to what the market's giving us and trying to adjust based on the customers that you're getting. So we found a lot of success with brands that we're making our products here locally. As a seller, what I would just say is, patience in long game. If you've been here, I've been in this space 10 years. So I guess I'm grandpa too. We work with Riverbend Consulting as well. I think actually got a call on the calendar. So shout out to them as well. They're always helping us with stuff. But to the sellers, I would say the one advantage I have is working with hundreds of brands over time. And seeing the evolution of the marketplace. It always changes. It's always pivoting. It's always adapting. That's why I love it. And that's why it still has my interest. So I would probably be moved on to something else if I had done something five years and it never changed. And we already had it max sized out. So I would just say steady as she goes. The people that are getting anxious and stressed. And I know there's some of that in the short game, but try to picture the long game and where eCommerce and where the marketplaces are going. And focus on that. We're still seeing massive growth in 2021 on the brands we're working with, even though 2020 was huge. So steady as she goes, make your plan, further ahead, long game, we're not in this just for the short return on money. We're building brands. We're building successful businesses. So I think keep that in mind and just be ready for the pivot.

Ryan Cramer: I love that. Yoni, anything to add on top of that?

Yoni: Yeah. I'll actually pivot here a little bit. And I'll say, I feel like we've sort of been in the era of the wild west in terms of what's happening. You talk about 10, 11 years selling on Amazon, you guys have seen a lot. I've been in digital marketing, getting close to 12 or 13 years now as well. And I think that there was the period of time where you found a product on AliExpress and you slapped a sticker on it. And you did some keyword research. And you weren't even driving external traffic, but back then. I think it's a really great time for Pinformative, for you guys, Matt, to be getting in the game here because I'll step into the future. I feel like we're really moving to a stage of professionalism in the space. We saw$ 13 billion plus of VC money roll into the space over the last couple of years. And we're going to see some very interesting things. So starting to have a really defined and finite strategy on what the business strategy and direction looks like are going to be the things, that I think people should be really looking towards. So not just looking at how do I sell a product, but how do I build a brand and how do I actually have... It's not just about an exit strategy. I want to actually say that exits are not necessarily what everyone's driving desire should be. Once you sell the business, there's no more money coming in. But yeah, I think 2022, we'll see the professionalism or the professionalization of the space. And we're going to see a lot more strategic people coming in. And yeah, it's exciting. To your point, Andrew, more challenges for all of us.

Ryan Cramer: I'm going to take that real quick. And I know we only have a couple minutes. I promised for each of you that would be on here. And yeah, you can't say that's great or we can cap it. Again, this is Season 4, as we tease this in going into the new year. I teased this earlier, the podcast episode of there's a lot of clamor that maybe this is getting rid of the people, not just the end of a wild west, but almost the beginning of a new, wild west part two. And what I mean by that is PPC is becoming harder. It's harder to drive traffic. You need a brand. You almost need all these different external ingredients now to be successful on Amazon. And it's going to get rid of a lot of people who are getting there for the quick buck, not the long term game. It's a refocus, but it's also the competition might actually lessen, believe it or not, on Amazon. I don't know if that's true or not, but it was an interesting idea of maybe this will reset the playing field so that the people who can achieve these successes of building a brand, driving external traffic through Pinterest or through an agency, or all these other ideas of which Amazon has put us into these guardrails, is that what we're going to start to see? Or does that make sense to people? Or does that maybe not make sense in that capacity of maybe this is just a, we'll see less and less competition, but we'll see less and less sellers. And more and more aggregation consolidation, so on and so forth. Anyone want to take that? There are 10 things there.

Lesley: Yeah. So I think that could happen kind of in slow motion. None of these things are quick because Amazon has hundreds of thousands of sellers. And so many niches. And niches on Amazon can be really big. When you think of a niche, you think of something small. But the revenue in one niche on Amazon could be massive. Because there are so many people from all over the country and all over the world who can order this niched product. So yes. Is there more? And I couldn't agree more with Yoni on the idea of the professionalization of Amazon. Yes. And the consolidation and the aggregators and all of this, I think can create some haves and have nots. But Amazon is still the best incubator for small business in the history of mankind. It is still a platform with very low barriers to entry. And it is still a place where people can have side gigs and do so profitably. So will we have more mega brands and super brands and big performers? Absolutely. But I don't think that takes the opportunity away from the little guy.

Ryan Cramer: Matt, what are you and your team seeing?

Matt: Yeah. I'm trying to put in with something relevant because there's so many aspects. Again, it's crazy what we're seeing. Obviously you've got the media side of things with TikTok, Snapchat, you've got all these. Because the thing is brands are big. But what we're finding with Gen Zs is they're actually buying products because a person is influencing it. So a person is selling the product, not the actual brand. So you've got a different kind of clientele up and coming with the Gen Zs. And the millennials, the millennial professionals are the ones with the money on Pinterest. They're the ones who are buying. And it's predominantly 80% of female- driven market. But that's changing again. That's changing because there's more males coming into Pinterest. The Gen Zs are pushing that way as well. You guys, your granddad, I've been doing this 15 years, believe it or not. So I don't know what I am. I had a spectrum ZX when I was 3. So maybe I'm a great granddad. I have no idea. All I know is, is that my background is multimedia. And what's happening is that I feel like I'm being pulled out with my skillset to go," Okay, multimedia, meta tags, data within images, it seems like we can't avoid with where things are going with regards to Amazon, with ESP introducing the video algorithm. Videos are becoming predominantly quite a heavy thing to take seriously and all of these things. So from my point of view, what I think, I think that it's actually creating more of a side hustle, which is then becoming a business. But the problem is, what we are finding, some people don't have the capacity to take that side business when it gets too big. Because you can get influence too quickly, too fast. The scalability can be a problem as well. There's so many angles to this. It's crazy. So I'd like to see more regularity next year, which would be interesting. I think the Pinterest offers more regularity than TikTok. Somebody might argue with me from TikTok about that. I'll have an argument with them.

Ryan Cramer: I know I should have put you in a room with TikTok with that. I know I should have.

Matt: Put you can put me in a room with them, I'll have an argument. No problem. Get me in a room with them. Sorry. I shouldn't say that, but it's not an argument. I'd just like to have a discussion. Because like I said, there's so many elements. And when you mention the wild west, yes it is. Everything's been blown open it. I think next year, what we might find is a lot more understanding, which I think will be interesting, very interesting. And once you get understanding, you might get more regularity and scalability. But I'm approaching this from a different angle. I'm looking from outside in, not just inside out. So I'm just giving you guys something different from that kind of angle, really.

Andrew Morgans: Ryan.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah.

Andrew Morgans: I'll jump in here just shortly. Matt, I 100% agree on the variables. It gets really hard for me when brands are asking me for expectations or projections. I'm like," There's about 44 variables here. I need you to fill in for me before I can even tell you what direction I would go." And so it becomes one that's very dynamic as you're navigating with the brand. What I can say from my perspective is, Marknology's been working with influencers. We have influencers that have 10 million, 15 million followers and how are we launching brands with that outside Amazon traffic? It's super exciting to me. You've got attribution now. We're running TikTok ads, posts. That has always been something since the beginning of me helping brands on Amazon, whether it was private label or massive brands. We used off Amazon traffic. And it started with eBay when eBay really rewarded off Amazon traffic and gave you refunds back in the day and some Juju to your listings. It was like, they talked about it. It was in their terms of service. And so we leaned in that. And I was like," I would assume Amazon does the same thing." So I brought that to Amazon really early. But I think that there's so many aspects in that way. But my last thing I would say is stop thinking about Amazon as your only channel or as a channel. We're talking about eCommerce. We're talking about commerce even without the E. And so that's always been my vision is, Amazon is part of your business. It's not all of your business. And it's rare and a crazy thing that we had for a few years where you could launch an entire brand with just Amazon advertising and PPC and get results. And that's not the natural course of a business. It takes years to build something like that over time. And I think that we're back to more of that where you need a little bit of logistics expertise. You need a little bit of off Amazon expertise. You need D to Z. You need a brick and mortar experience if you're in that space. You need all these little things. People talk about how do you get reviews while it's a touch here, touch here, or touch here, touch here, touch here. And so really just think about your business holistically. And I think that's the key to really understanding how Amazon is going to change and fit in everything. Just make sure it fits in your overall strategy.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, all those make sense. Again, I think there's so many different components. Like he said, Andrew, of eCommerce is only still what, 13 to 16%. In general, of all commerce and a lot of it's in retail and different ways that are happening again. There's so many different opportunities of growth. And we're just in the beginning stage, we're in it every day. So we see the opportunity in growth. I guess, final words, Lesley, you and your team, obviously for 2022, what's the major focus? I guess we're looking forward and we're spending this. Forward a couple weeks, months, what are we looking forward to opportunity- wise for you at Riverbend and the team there?

Lesley: Oh goodness. Yoni was kind enough to mention our event, the surgesummit. com check it out. But we're super excited about that because we really love the opportunity to bring sellers together and have a room full of hundreds of sellers who can talk to each other and have conversations like this one that we're having right now. I think that's really important. Selling on Amazon can be a very lonely thing, where you feel very isolated if you're not part of these communities. And I think the same can even be said for service providers. But then also on our team, we're really looking for ways to engage with Amazon on more challenges. It is becoming increasingly complex to sell on Amazon. And we are really looking for ways to tackle the day to day problems people are running into, that seem weird and strange and odd. And sellers need to know that there's someone out there on their side. And then finally, my personal little Amazon mission is I'm trying to bring some more focus and understanding to the proposed legislation out there, that Congress seems to think would take Amazon from being a so- called monopoly into not being a monopoly. And actually, I believe it would create more of a monopoly because Amazon would do away with third party sellers on the platform and just offer the deals that they get through vendors. So really trying to push that and help sellers understand. So they'll reach out to their legislators and say," No, we need to actually read the bill and understand what it'll do." Make it stop.

Ryan Cramer: Gotcha. That's a lot. You're taking on a lot. You're doing events. You're taking on Congress. Look at you from Riverbend has...

Yoni: Come out. I'm out.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. It's like," My gosh. I thought I did a lot with 200 episodes. That's a lot." So no. What about going over to Yoni? I know you guys are just doing so much work too. You guys are traveling a lot. You have a baby coming along the way. What's 2022 look like for you, man?

Yoni: Accelerate is not aggregated. Is it going to win the race? Lots of big things, mate. Lots of big things going down. I stole that from the CEO of Patton, by the way. Lots of exciting things. We've got a new venture coming on. There is obviously some real focused growth and positioning. We've only been in market now for a couple of years. And I think this is the time where you start to build structure, alignment and really understand each of the functionalities of the business. So yeah, we've got about 220 people now on payroll. So it's grown real quick to sort of start to bring in some key focus. Because if you don't do that, you've got different functions driving in different directions. So yeah, I would say 2022 is definitely the year of focus. But yes, I'm excited for things to come.

Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Andrew, anything to add?

Andrew Morgans: Yeah, I'm excited to not be comparing to 2020 numbers and...

Ryan Cramer: Good point.

Andrew Morgans: I just am so tired of having that conversation. We had an anomaly year, just everything changed. Grandparents were buying online. Kids were probably buying online. So we had a crazy year. And so trying to run Amazon businesses alongside brands and have those conversations, I'm just excited for a new fresh year. Partnering with the Escala on top of lots of other things we're doing. 2022 is about focus, systems and optimization. It's about bringing Marknology to the next level professionally, trying to lead the pack in regards to doing things at a high level, with quality for the brands out there that are looking for experts to work with. So everything from proposals to pitches, to systems, to anything you can think of, just trying to bring that to the next level. I've been working on that for years. But we're going into 2022, the same mission. Just leveling up. I think scaling is the hardest thing that any business does across any industry. And so keeping my focus on scaling and keeping that quality super, super high so that we can continue to be the agency that we've been for the last seven years. So I'm honestly excited. My birthday is a day before New Year's. Not that I'm dropping a plug. I don't need any gifts. No, but...

Yoni: Happy birthday, what's your address?

Ryan Cramer: What's that address? So we can all just...

Andrew Morgans: I'm just kidding guys.

Yoni: Drop it in the link. Drop it in the comments.

Andrew Morgans: But I just get excited about new beginnings and I get excited about my goals for the business, for myself. That vision, that reflecting part. So this is my favorite time of the year. I always go look at the list from 2021. What did we get done? What did we fall short? Where can we do better? And I think every seller, every business owner, every founder can take that. And whether it's a New Year's resolution or it's simply, what's our Q1 goals? Getting those outlined and getting excited about it is what I'm looking forward to.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. And Matt, I know you guys are just launching too. So what's in 2022?

Matt: I think that what Andrew just said is really important. I think that a lot of agencies and sellers need to use that word very, very specifically, it's focus. I think that if you can gain focus and find your path through all of this, because let's be honest, it's been a complete nightmare in so many ways since 2020 in March. I think that's the key. I think if you can make sense of this and find that path, focus. Go for it. And don't try and deviate from that path. Because we've all been all over the place. And it's been a bit of a nightmare. I'm only speaking for everybody here, but I should maybe not do that, but it's just from my point of view, I think a lot of people have struggled. I spoke to the eBay development team three months ago. And they said to me," They were writing off all the stats for 2020. Because they don't want to compare it to 2019." That makes complete sense. Why would you want to compare that when it makes absolutely no sense? Some of those demographics and analytics are just, what is going on? You can't really gauge something with traction on something that is completely erratic. And I'm excited to see how this all levels off, so to speak. How it scales some levels off? Because I think that we need that. And you can build sustainability around that. And I think that you can focus on sustainability. So yeah, I think that what Andrew just said then is spot on. And Lesley, I've got to take my hat off to you. I won't do it right now, but I've got to take my hat off. Because my dad always said to me,"If it's difficult, it's worth doing." And what you're doing is difficult. And I definitely don't think for me, it's worth doing. I think it's crazy what you're doing, man. I've got to give you a full admiration. Because what you're doing, I think people need. And the essential people need them. So yeah, it's a brilliant thing you're doing by the way. Just thought I'd say. And thanks, Yoni, for your kind words as well. I think I'm hoping that what we are doing at Pinformative will reap benefits, not just for Amazonians. I've been working with BigCommerce Engineers. It's the full work. Shopify, Magento. Maybe I am a bit nuts. My wife thinks I am. I say things to my wife. She looks at me blank and just goes," I have no idea what you're saying half the time." I've kind of got used to that notion now.

Ryan Cramer: Man, a lot of people in this space, a lot of people that's our response. Or that's the way we think. We say something like," I have no idea what you're talking about." I get it.

Matt: Cool. But no, I'm excited for 2022. And I think that focus is one really important word that everyone should take really seriously and use going forwards.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. I know I've taken more of your guys' time. I know I offered half an hour. I'm sorry. I took more of your time today. But thank you so much for hopping on. Each and every one of you, I know you guys have been on individually. You're doing so much great work. And I brought a lot of people today that I admire in the space, who are just thought- provoking. I learn a lot from when I just sit here in the chair and I just sit back, I'm taking notes. So again, congrats to all of you and your success. Hopefully in the future, we'll be connecting here in person. I keep telling this. I've only have one guest that I've ever met in person. So that's going to change in 2022 for sure. So thank you all so much for coming on today and spending some time in my corner of the internet.

Matt: Cheers, Ryan.

Ryan Cramer: Thanks guys. Bye. I appreciate it.

Lesley: Thank you.

Yoni: Thanks for having us. It's inaudible.

Ryan Cramer: Thanks guys. Oh, I'm going to... That's Matt. There you go. See, after 200 episodes, I still can't control this side of the internet. Guys, thank you so much for hopping on Crossover Commerce Episode 200. Again, 2 hours and 15 minutes now we've been going. Thank you so much for hopping on just spending a little bit of time with my corner of the internet. Just to understand the best and the price in the Amazon space is what I do. And what I love. I just want to give a quick again, another shout out to PingPong Payments. PingPong Payments been sponsoring this podcast since day 1. Again, helping people sell and or keep more of their hard earned money when it comes to sending or receiving funds. So without them, this podcast would not be possible. This is our season finale of the podcast for the year 2021. We were able to have a nicer number to kick and finish off 2021. So I'm really excited that that worked out. But I just want to thank everyone who actually tunes in, listens and is watching right now. The thousands of people who watch this on a month to month, year over year basis. I'm super excited to share this information with you, of my network of people. Again, the people I learn from, I want to share with people to help them learn and grow connecting those individuals. I already have messages that are like," Hey, can you introduce me to this company or this brand or this expert?" I get those all the time. And that's why we do it on those podcasts. So shout out to PingPong Payments. Shout out to all my guests who say yes to this. I call them friends of the show. So a lot of friends of the show who came on today. I appreciate their support. And I want to thank my wife and kid, my wife, Hillary and my son, Billy. Again, without them, none of this would be possible. They listen to me rant and vamp about all this different kinds of content that I learned about on a day to day basis. So I want to thank them for just all the different support they give me and being able to say yes, when I throw around ideas such as a crazy thing like starting a podcast. They were the first people that said, yes, I could do it. So that being said, this is just the end of this season. We'll catch you guys next year in 2022 on Season 4 of Crossover Commerce. Until then, you can go to usa. pingpongx. com/ podcast for future or past episodes. And just catch past episodes of content that you might have missed. All of our guests have had an episode before. We've had one person who has not ha been on this podcast in terms of their own episode, but that will change in the future. Lots of great things coming from this podcast. I can't wait to share them with you. But again, we appreciate the support, the content, the kind words, and all the different comments that've been coming through throughout the day. So with that being said, I hope everyone has a happy, safe, productive holiday season. Thank you so much for spending some time, the week of Christmas on this podcast. And of course, like every episode we'll want to end by saying, we'll catch you guys next time on Season 4. Take care.

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SEASON 3 FINALE - HOLIDAY EDITION - Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Amazon leaders, eCommerce experts (and friends of the show) as they recap the highs and lows of 2021 and what to prepare for heading into 2022.

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