Preparations and Expectations for Q4 2021 ⎜ We Are Growth Hack ⎜ EP 172

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This is a podcast episode titled, Preparations and Expectations for Q4 2021 ⎜ We Are Growth Hack ⎜ EP 172. The summary for this episode is: <p>Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Davide Nicolucci of We Are Growth Hack one-on-one about preparations and expectations for Q4 in 2021.</p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>---</p><p>You can watch or listen to all episodes of Crossover Commerce at: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>

Ryan Cramer: What's up, everyone? Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your Host, Ryan Cramer, and this is Crossover Commerce, presented by Pingpong Payments, the leading global payments provider, helping sellers keep more of their hard- earned money. Hey, everyone, welcome to another week of Crossover Commerce, this is episode 172 of Crossover Commerce. I'm in my corner of the internet, like the intro mentioned, where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon and ecommerce Industry. But before we get started, go ahead and quickly shout out to the and only Pingpong Payments, who presents this podcast. Pingpong Payments is a cross- border payments solution, not just helping people receive and keep more of their money, when Amazon pays you out every two weeks, no, no, no, there's more than that. Helping you pay your suppliers, your manufacturers, your employees, even your VA's. If it's going out from your business, and it has to be in a different currency, whether it's in the yen, or it's in the RMB, or wherever you might be sending money to in this day and age, where global ecommerce is more conducive, how about you save some money to get your goods or your services more quickly and effectively, and just save on some fees? You can do that by signing up with Pingpong Payments today, that is by going to the link in the description below, in the comments section, or the show notes, if you're listening to this podcast on your favorite podcast destination. That's right. All this podcast is live, not just on social media, on your favorite Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter channels, but also you can listen to this podcast, if you don't like looking at my face or any of our guest's face. But that's okay, because people are working on different things in the midst of Q4 right now, what we're talking about today, you might just need to be listening in the background. So that is also visible to you, or everything is available on our website at usa. pingpong. com/ podcast. Awesome. So, everyone, if you're here today, and listening to our episode, I'm really excited. Because if you're looking at the calendar, and this is live, we're talking about... yesterday was two months until Christmas. That means we're in the midst of Q4. It's October 26th, and there's lots of headaches, there's lots of heartburn, there's lots of problems that lots of people are trying to figure out how to best situate their business and brands for the remainder of Q4, is one of the notorious times of year, where people are spending like crazy, they want their gifts, they want their goods, they're trying to find deals, and they want to buy from your brand. That is why everyone is always, how do we best position ourselves and our brand moving forward? That's a great question, and there is no silver bullet to that solution, besides, if you have a truckload of money, and you can start throwing money at advertising in lots of different directions. But being strategic is very important, and that's why we've brought back on the show a friend of Crossover Commerce, Davide Nicolucci of We Are Growth Hack. He is pumping out so much great content, and has different perspectives, both internationally, but also in here in the United States, if you're watching us in the United States. Clients all over the world are trying, and have different perspectives on how to best get in front of customer, and he has these new... we won't say hacks, if you will, but best effective ways. Because of Amazon always storing wrenches in people's plans, we want to make sure that we got him back on, so we can best know how to effectively figure out and prepare for the remaining part of Q4, and then what to expect from it. I think a lot of people don't talk about the expectation coming off of a one- off year like 2020 was, and the quarter, Q4, that was record breaking in many different ways for lots of different sellers and brands online. So that being said, I want to welcome our friend of the show, Davide of We Are Growth Hack. Davide, welcome to Crossover Commerce. inaudible.

Davide Nicolucci: Hi, thanks for having me here. I love your intro, it was amazing.

Ryan Cramer: See, that's what happens after you have so many people on, you just create lots of content, slice and dice it, and then put it together. So thanks for hopping back on, you haven't been on since episode 50, which seems like-

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: five years ago, but it was only a year ago. But yeah, you've been on, there's lots of things happening. We were just talking, pre- show, about your growth with your employees... or your employees are coming to Thailand, which is where you're still at, you built so beautiful... Is that your new home that we're-

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah. crosstalk. Yeah, my new home. crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: And people said that Amazon doesn't pay, or selling on Amazon doesn't pay. No. No. What's been going on since we last talked with you? I want to say like November of last year. inaudible.

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah, it was last year, not even a year ago-

Ryan Cramer: Maybe it was in January. Yeah.

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah. Yeah, probably. So we were talking about ranking on Amazon, I think. And then different things, like updates, and always, and this kind of things that Amazon sellers really love to hear, and really up to date. What has been changing? I've seen, actually, the industry changing a lot. To me personally, I've started investing heavily in other things to just... Getting back to what you just said, Amazon... selling on Amazon, or even helping sellers to make more money on Amazon does pay back. I started my little, let's say, real estate empire, thanks to the money that I've made since 2017, with my Amazon sellers' agency. So getting a bunch of properties, and then renovating them, putting them on Airbnb, renting them to other people. And it's going really well. It's a business, and I love to make business. My main focus is always Amazon. I actually have different kind of businesses. I also invest in cryptocurrency and stock, I do events here in Taiwan. So I'm quite busy person, but the main focus is always ecommerce and helping Amazon sellers. So this is pretty much what has been going on. This is the first property with land that I get now, because I also established a company in Thailand, and that's how foreigners can actually get property in Thailand. But that goes a little bit off the track. So, with Amazon, we've been focusing on providing always the best services to our clients, always staying on top of the curve of what's going on, trying to update with the advertising trends, with new content trends, with the new ranking trends, what has been going on with Amazon recently. That actually didn't affect us at all, because we didn't use those services that were blacklisted by Amazon. I'm quite happy to say that we are still providing the same services, and we've been seeing, actually, for example, other kind of services growing exponentially this year, like social media and TikTok, for example, or Amazon Live, and this kind of complementary services that actually would help very well, also, during Q4, Black Friday, et cetera, as we will see now.

Ryan Cramer: That's amazing. Well, there's so many different things, like you said. I feel like it's every Q4 that Amazon... And a lot of people have mentioned this, that Amazon makes a really big deal about a certain aspect that's been flown around the community, whether it be a certain tactic, or a service, or just a way about the business, or they change things up. They like to shake things up in the craziest time of year.

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: I don't know why they do that, or why they pick this time of year, but it is what it is. So obviously, there's lots of news of people with review manipulation, they take those people down, or they remove a bunch of reviews, or even their listings, and remove the brains entirely. And then recently, you're talking about ranking, and I just want to briefly touch on that. You were talking about your services in general, we don't have to call them out initially. I guess when people were asking, what was the problem with that, I guess, of those kinds of services, in terms of what they were doing, and why it's important to look for the right way to work with agent services?

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah. So the thing that actually triggered... In my opinion, and also talking with some of the other experts in the industry, the thing that really triggered Amazon blacklisting, or pissing off Amazon was... Of course, this has been in under Amazon, rather, for a while, but it's the fact that with these kind of services, you're able to get customer information, you would actually be able to use a pool of users, that this is something that Amazon doesn't like, because Amazon doesn't like giving data and access to its users to anyone that may be a service provider or a seller, because Amazon wants to keep their customers. They've been trying since... For as long as I can remember selling on Amazon, I started doing 2014, they always try to limit the communication that you can have with the customers, number of emails that you can send, how you can send, what you can say in the email, what you can say in the listings, et cetera. For example, good luck with putting your email address in a listing. I had a client recently, who put... they wrote in their last bullet point, if you have any questions, please send us an email, boom, blocked the account. So that was really... So Amazon always try to keep the customer's data for themselves. So any kind of services that is trying to manipulate this, even more than actually manipulating the rank itself, that's really what Amazon doesn't like. So anything that offers a pool of user... Because it all goes back to them, once again, having data, manipulating reviews, asking for purchasing again, making a review, giving a review, whatever. Actually, getting reviews is becoming harder and harder, but we know that selling on Amazon is becoming easier in some other aspect. I always say that it's becoming harder, but it's becoming easier for some other way, because you have more people, for example... Because we're talking about Q4. Right? So we know that Amazon sold... I don't know how many billions in Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020. I think it was around 20 billion, like 9 billion in Black Friday, and something like 10 billion in Cyber Monday last year.

Ryan Cramer: I just saw the data. I can look it up real-

Davide Nicolucci: Oh, it was half of that, it was probably half of that. But Amazon sold something like 4.2 billion between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, together, combined. So that's a lot, and that was the record in the history. So this is the highest number in sales that Amazon have ever made. So it is growing, there is more opportunities. But still, you have to be very, very careful on how you approach this business, and you really have to follow all the rules of Amazon. Otherwise, you risk not being able to sell on Amazon anymore, not being able to list your product. So for us, because we actually never... we have never been using this kind of services that collect data, or that give you a... they put you in front of the pool of users that you can pick and choose or use for your ranking, for reviews, whatever, we didn't have any problem. Because what we do is we use external traffic, and we use super URLs that go directly to improve your ranking. But this only happens if there is a sale. If there is no sale, it doesn't work. So what we do is, if the ranking service that we provide, if the ranking strategy with external traffic, with super URLs is not working after a few days, we just shut off the campaign, because this will actually have a negative effect on the conversion rate and on the ranking of their product. So it is very different. And I would say, if you're looking for something... for a different way of ranking with a super URL, definitely do like this. Don't stress too much, or try to find some other ways. Also, you have to be careful with your external traffic. You don't want to push too much external traffic from the wrong source of people that are not really going to buy, because this is going to bring down your CTR, your conversion rate, sorry, and then also your ranking, automatically. crosstalk. So I believe that this is what happened, actually.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, we talked recently about... And again, we will get back to the initial thing. We talked about Pinterest, and how Amazon rewards certain sources of traffic. Like Amazon's no longer in good graces... Or Facebook's no longer in good graces with Amazon, lots of either Google Ads or just external traffic, in general, that are SEO- friendly, where there's buyer intent. Ultimately, Amazon wants that search either to happen on platform, or on the number one search engine in the world, Google. And if people are inspired by that, or they're listening inaudible they want to reward people for that conversion in that regard. They just don't like to be gamed, and I think that's Amazon's biggest thing, is they want, naturally, the best products to come to the surface, and they don't want that to be manipulated. But again, the top seven spots in their listings right now, if you search for something, are all paid. So what is, really, manipulation? That's a that's a story for another time, in general. But yeah, to go back to your initial point, I pulled up the data. According to digitalcommerce360. com, in Q4, Amazon, in 2021, had$7. 8 billion sold, net income. That's net income for Amazon, which is crazy in Q1 of... or excuse me, Q4 of 2019, it was only 3. 3 billion. So you're talking about more than, essentially, doubling, if not 2. 5X'ing your sales in Q4. And that's what's really interesting about this year, is... and that's why brought you on, is setting expectations for Q4 and preparations for Q4. Lots of different things came to mind, and have shaken up since last Q4. Obviously, inventory limit restrictions, there's the whole supply chain issue, and getting your goods into Amazon quicker. Amazon's moved up deadlines to get your inventory in before the" holiday shopping season", from December 11th to December 3rd now. So you only have a few weeks to get inventory in before the" Q4 holiday season". Setting the table from record highs, like we said, like last year, was almost unsustainable for Amazon in terms of growth. That's what I am fearful for lots of sellers who are listening, is that oh my gosh, last year was such a great year, we're going to see traditional growth, like we have always done. What are you seeing with people, and how are you having those conversations with clients and customers?

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah. So actually, what I see right now... I also have some other data in front of me right now. I just went at the cnbc. com article, written by a lady that actually interviewed me a couple of times. So Amazon sold a total of 4. 8 billion worldwide in sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, and that figure was up 60% from last year, from the previous year. So, I would say we're definitely not expecting a plus 60% again this time, but I would probably expect something between plus 20 to 30, 35, 40%, probably, from the past year, maybe. This is my expectation. I would say that it would still continue to grow. That's definitely the trend. When it comes to what actually is happening right now, I see that Amazon, because they know that it's going to be a mess, pretty much, they want to give more opportunities to the sellers to actually start selling their deals, or to start making their deals earlier. Actually, if you go on amazon. com/ blackfriday, and you can do it right now, you see already a couple of... you see a lot of deals with right now. So these would be like pre- Black Friday deals that are already live one month before Black Friday, because Black Friday is on 26th of November. So this is probably a preparation page of Amazon. I don't think that I saw this anywhere else before, I just noticed right now, when I was doing some preparation before this podcast, and I just noticed that. I don't think this came out before. So one month before Black Friday, we already have a inaudible page.

Ryan Cramer: It's certainly inaudible, and its epic holiday deals is another banner that they essentially are promoting other... because we're all about data, and obviously, I know you are, too. This is the fascinating thing, is that when they were pulling retailers and entrepreneurs in the online world, that... And this is something I personally did, just to see what my network did, of polling when people actually start thinking about Q4 shopping or holiday shopping. And that's becoming earlier and earlier. A lot of people do still say that traditional November, around Black Friday, Thanksgiving, here in the United States, or internationally, just November, is the time of year when they really are starting to think about that. But believe it or not, retailers as well as consumers, they're thinking... There's about 40% or so of consumers who are thinking about holiday shopping in as early as June, going through that October phase. So, June July August timeframe. September October is the majority of it. But you're really starting to see people start to think about, what can I purchase? Not just two months ahead of... or a month of Black Friday, but you're seeing it a month out, two months out, where people are really starting to get enthralled with purchasing their goods. This is what I've always talked about with people, you're going to start to see these natural... the huge spike, Q4, the Cyber Monday, the Black Friday, the Sunday before of cyber week, essentially, and then I want to say like a week or two before December 11th, which is the traditional two weeks before Christmas. You're not going to see those peaks anymore as so sharp, you're going to start to see them flat now along with the rest of the quarter.

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah. Talking about peaks... I definitely agree. For example regarding Christmas, I remember when I was young... I'm from Italy. And as a tradition, the Christmas preparations should start on December, I think, Eight or Nine. So you will never see Christmas trees or Santa Claus hanging from the balcony of people's house, or I've seen these... So you would never see that before actually December Eight. What happened is that now you can see it starting from mid October in Europe. It became beginning of December, then end of November, mid November, beginning of November. Because the retail is getting used, and wants to use the... wants to get the final consumer used to start purchasing, actually, earlier and earlier, because you can actually spend more money if you start spending the money earlier, because you don't have to wait two time... you don't have to wait just one time to get your salary, if we think like that, at the end of the month, or start saving. You actually start spending before, one month in advance. So this might be very beneficial. And the same is applied to ecommerce, I believe. So the whole Q4 is going to be... I think looking at the expectation for the long term, for the future, the whole Q4 will be big sales season, a big sales season, starting from October until the end of December. We will not see this huge spikes anymore, the curve would be flattened a little bit. We will see, of course, the trend during the actual Black Friday. Probably, Amazon will only reserve the actual Black Friday and Cyber Monday and Christmas Day only for the top sellers, I believe, as there are constantly more and more products added on Amazon. There wouldn't be the space. Customers wouldn't even know how to look for the deals. And this is why, actually, coming back to what we said before, it is very important to do your external traffic and influencers. Because customers, when they don't know anymore how to find stuff on Amazon, just because there are too many deals, they will go look for the deal somewhere else, and they will go look for it in their habitual channels, where they normally go, like their favorite influencers on Instagram, social media, favorite online newspapers, or website, this kind of thing. So this is very important for you to start mastering the art of KOLs and influencers for Amazon.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. I think that is what I've heard with a lot more people saying. Obviously, with stuff like the rebate, the whole grid, it was great, but essentially, what now has become blackout tactic, more tapping into the people who are speaking our brands. I think brand- centric messaging is always going to speak more in favor to what Amazon is talking about, having your loyal customers and following sending people to that direction... to your listings, in that regards, and almost one- off shopping app, whether it be on social media, or being directed to Amazon, obviously. There's lots of different ways that people are doing... Even nowadays, even as of last night, there's holiday gift guides. Another thing I was kind of... which is interesting, because every publication does it, it's more of an affiliate relationship with people working with PR teams, I'm not sure if you and your team do it, but having those listings, where they actually point to your listing on Amazon, but they're looking for specific categories, obviously, for like dad gifts or home and garden gifts, or something along those lines, there'll be more specific, and you'll basically pitch your products to them, have great listings, great photos, and 70 or so, I think, words is what they're looking for, or 150, something along those lines. They'll put those in those gift guides. Those can also drive traffic, because I know, for a fact, when I'm searching for family members best gifts, holiday gifts in 2021 for mom and dad, or something like that, or techie gifts, or something along those lines, those will populate, drive people back to Amazon. So those are always really good, as well. But, I don't know if you saw this, too. Amazon, in the most recent years, they've sent out some gift guides. Have you heard about these? Like physical, tangible, mailable gifts or gift guides, like 90 pages long. I almost brought it with me today on the podcast. And they are mailing these to consumers, literally, every household. What they can do... And this is really smart, and I didn't even know that they were going to do this until this year, is that with their app, you can literally open up the search icon, with the shoppable function on their camera, and it will redirect you directly to that listing of the toy that you want. So, in the old days, when I was a kid, I would always circle on the catalogs, this is what I want. And the kids were like, oh yeah, I want that Lego, or toy, or gift, or anything like that. And this is really geared towards kids. So it's activities, coloring pages, stuff like that. But Amazon, it shows QR codes, and every time you scan that, they're garnering data of what shoppable, what people want, and it's instantly, I believe, adding to your cart, in that functionality. How crazy is that data that they're going to pull? And-

Davide Nicolucci: It's amazing.

Ryan Cramer: ...crosstalk sort of first party retailer. Because it's all brands of Disney, Nike. They're big brands. But to pay to get into that gift guide now, and the data you can show, how insane of a price point is that you can show people and say, listen, it's point and buy, essentially-

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah, yeah. Actually, this is very interesting, because I... The first time I heard about the epic comeback of physical newsletters and brochures... how do we call them, mailing letters, it was I think, 2018 or 2019. So, two years or more ago, I believe it was in a speech by... yeah, I think it was Kevin King at the Global Sources Summit, and he was telling, one of the best strategies for you is to actually send physical mails with a coupon, with a discount, with whatever, to drive external traffic, or with a QR code. And this is exactly now what Amazon is doing, and, as you've been saying, what they've been planning, and they're implementing more aggressively right now, and it does make sense, because everything is interconnected right now. Also, with the fact that actually Amazon... the physical stores, and pretty much everything, you can just go by everything... Or what Walmart is actually doing. They're integrating the physical store with the actual app. You can buy online, and then you can also give back the product, if you don't like that. So everything is super interconnected. Because we're talking about Amazon, but there is also a lot of other things happening in other channels, and this is really interesting, I think. For example, how Walmart is competing with Amazon, with all the infrastructure that they have already, and this is... So this is very, very interesting, regarding... when it comes to data, they can collect, and that they will keep, and ways of actually getting this impulsive purchase from the user. Because if you have your kid there with his or your phone, ready to buy, and he's like, " Please, daddy, I want this one," you're not going to say no. Right? So that's also easy sale right there. Coming back to the spike in data, I would say that probably what will remain going out, at least this year, in the next couple of years, will be the spike in advertising cost. I remember there was a study by Salix, they were showing how the Amazon advertising spend went up during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I think it was plus 150% last year. That was really, really incredible. And if you consider already how much money is being spent on Amazon every single day, that is a humongous number. I don't even want to think about it. But for advertising, I would say really, be very, very careful. I was just reading some articles, just right before jumping into this podcast, and I was saying that there is still someone suggesting to use keywords such as Black Friday deal, Cyber Monday deal on your PPC advertising. For experience, I can tell you that normally... it probably doesn't work, if it works, probably, it's going to be too expensive for you, especially if you're a new seller. So try, instead, to gather more data from your past year, if you have sales history, or to try to get more data from... There are so many other different ways, from tools like Helium 10. We have actually introduced a bunch of nice, very useful tools from Helium 10 in our YouTube channel. I also personally made a three series videos of top mistakes that sellers should avoid when approaching PPC, so go and check it out. We Are Growth Hacker on YouTube, and you're going to find that. So you're going to find a lot of inspiration for PPC. Also, when it comes to very crowded and expensive period of time... And talking about this, again, period of time, of you guys didn't know this... Probably you did already, because this has been on Amazon for a while. You can also change your budget, you can add budget rules for your Amazon campaign, and you can just set it also for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Halloween, for example. The interesting thing is this, that actually, the actual timeframe starts one day earlier. So, yeah. The Black Friday date range actually starts on November 25th, and it goes until November 27. And then Cyber Monday is from November 28 until December the Second. What is December the Second? Is it still... Yeah, it's actually Thursday. So-

Ryan Cramer: I was looking at my calender right here, December 2nd is a Thursday. Yeah, and then it goes into the weekend, which is... I don't think that's the predominant... I'm going to say the 11th and 12th, which is a Saturday and Sunday is the busiest... I want to say it's the third or fourth busiest time to purchase, because, obviously, people are freaking out. This is a traditional last minute shopper timeframe, as well.

Davide Nicolucci: But-

Ryan Cramer: Anyways, go ahead.

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah, no, but this is very interesting, because Amazon is telling you here, okay, set up a different inaudible, and you can only increase, you can't decrease. You can never decrease the budget, according to Amazon, or even by performance. This is something that is really impressing for me. Because, for example, I normally set budget rules when your acres goes down. It does make sense that you want to spend more if your cost goes down. What is very funny, you cannot spend less when your cost goes up. So this is very interesting. Also, Cyber Monday lasts until Thursday, and Black Friday starts the day before, according to the advertising date range. This means that you will actually start spending your money a day before, and you will stop spending your money later, and that's up to Amazon on how they will use this budget. We know that Amazon could be a little bit unfriendly when it comes to daily budget management because you know that actually the daily budget that you're setting is not your daily budget, is the monthly budget on a daily average. So be careful when you set this kind of budget rule. I would say do it yourself. Do it yourself manually, so... But still, you can use it if you have very well performing campaigns, if you have a large account, if you don't want to do it one by one. So that does make sense. But-

Ryan Cramer: Right.

Davide Nicolucci: ...also, looking at the inaudible rule, that's really, really, really, really good.

Ryan Cramer: Well, and I've also heard a lot of people ask... And again, if people are listening to this, and they do have their Q4 questions, feel free to ask those in the comments section on social media. If not, we'll make sure we get the information how to get in touch with Davide after this. But I've heard a lot of people with their PPC budgets, and their campaigns, when they do start it, do they need to target specific... Do they need to either rechange their... Again, this is a tip that a lot of people do. Do they need to change their keyword strategy, or a lot of their campaigns to face more like Christmas gifts, or really, really, really holiday- centric search terms, in terms of like, do I want to target, even attempt to target those kinds of keywords that have like Christmas gifts, or Christmas decor, anything along those lines right now?

Davide Nicolucci: So, I would normally stay away from that, just because it is... You have a highest chance to not be converting for those kinds of terms, just because you have so much computation, and the CPC is going to be very high. So I would stay away from that. And also, let's think about... let's go back to the basics. Who is looking for Christmas gifts? Someone who doesn't have any idea of what they're going to buy. So here we go with the buyer intent. This is not buyer intent- friendly. Because if you're looking for gifts, you have no idea what you're looking for.

Ryan Cramer: Right, super broad.

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah, it's super broad. It's like looking for a power bank. Then Anker is going to win. Or yeah, still Anker there. Okay, it's not going to win anymore. But anyway. So, if you're looking for Christmas gift, it's very broad, you don't have the buyer intent there. You're on top of the funnel. So what you want to do is probably you want to try to narrow it down, if you really want to use that kind of keyword. But I would still trying to avoid that, because the same reasoning is doing your competitor. So what you want to do is actually you want to definitely stop the bleeding wherever is possible, because you know that every one of your keywords is getting more impression, more clicks. So if you're wasting, you will waste even more, if you're selling, you're probably sell even more. So what you want to do is you want to optimize even more, even more during those holiday periods. And I think that's the best advice that I can give to sellers, especially those sellers that are new, that don't have a very high conversion rate, that don't have a very high... they don't have a very large sales history. This is probably the best advice that I can give you.

Ryan Cramer: So with that being said, is there... Because the expectation is unknown at this point, and people are... This is the tip, I can always say people are afraid of what the inventory... If they're doing well, and they're doing all these great tips, I think the other thing for inventory... the whole debate of, should I turn off PPC, or should I turn off any sort of campaigns, in general, or traffic towards my listing at all, or should I just scale it back, and still have stuff running towards my listing? Because they don't want to run out, is there advice, one way or another, that you traditionally go of... Would you rather have it scaled back to the nature of you're still sending some traffic, Amazon sees you spending money towards this campaign, still relevant, instead of turning off completely? Because ultimately, no one wants to inaudible. If they inaudible it is the worst case scenario, you get torpedoed. It'd be awful to do that. Would you rather turn off a campaign, or rather turn it back to almost nothing, but it is still running?

Davide Nicolucci: It really depends on the case by case. It depends on how soon you think you're going to have your stock back, how soon you think you're going to run out of inventory. And this doesn't apply only to Q4 and Black Friday, Cyber Monday. It also applies to the scenario when you're running out of stock, actually, because you're just running out of stock. Because you messed up your supply chain, or something happened, any kind of reason. So, I heard a lot of things, actually, and I can tell you... A lot of people say, for example, do not increase the price. Actually, this is something that is not suggested, is not advised but sometime it could work to actually start slowing down the sales. It's not the best case scenario, because it will not help you with the rank. But still, if you're paying too high, you might just outsell your product, completely go out of stock. You might definitely decrease your PPC spend, because you don't want to push too much your sales. If you're going to pause your campaign for a couple of days, maybe a couple of weeks, that's also okay. Then I don't think that a very experienced seller only has got one campaign, and only has got one product. So it may be a case where for just one product, and is not going to affect too much the entire performance of your account, so it's going to be good. Then if this product is your best seller, then you should probably take in higher consideration this an issue, because it's a very, very serious issue. So you never want to run out of stock, and you should definitely also plan your FBM, FBA in advance, you want to have a 3PL, you want to have all your inventory in place, you want to have your everything set up, you never want to run out of stock. So it's a very serious issue. So I would say it really, really depends on the kind of situation. Sometimes you can, sometimes you just play around with stuff because you have no other choice, because you don't want to increase$ 20 your product. So it really depends.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. And I know Amazon really likes that, in terms of when you put in your listing, how much you're willing to go up, or no, that's best price, because it really doesn't like it... They want that best price or the retail price to be the highest you would ever go by increasing... I know that that sets off certain flags, if I understand correctly, with the algorithm, of... if you continuously tweak that all the time. You want to have the highest price always, but you want the sales price to almost be the one that fluctuates, not the" retail price", or the MSRP, if you will. Correct?

Davide Nicolucci: What is really interesting here... I just want to say something... On the opposite side, what happens if you put down your price, but you still don't rank higher... This is what actually happened with one of my clients, we had this issue. Our price was like 10% higher than the top competitor, we put it down by 10%, and we didn't move rank, we actually ranked lower than before. Because we thought okay, we put down the price, and we decreased the spend on PPC, and also on Facebook traffic, and external traffic, social media. We actually had the opposite effect of what we were aspiring. And then we put up, again, the price, because it is... When it comes to the algorithm, we're talking about algorithm, what really affects the algorithm is the conversion rate. Because Amazon wants to put higher products that are most likely to give money to Amazon, that are most likely to convert into sales, because the customer is spending their money. So Amazon makes a sale, you make the sale, and everyone is happy. Amazon would never put on the first results organically, products that don't convert. They will, of course, place their products are converting very well. So the price does affect, but if you're not converting, that doesn't matter. On the flip side, if you're still converting with the higher price, why? Maybe because your product is super hot right now, you have a TikTok influencer, or it's going viral, you increase the price, I believe, and I know by experience, that it will still keep ranking higher. Of course, you don't have to increase by a lot, by 50%. But 5%, 10%, I think, is still doable, and you will still rank higher. So it really goes, once again, case by case. You should do your test as a senator, keep in mind conversion rate.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. All right. Amazon also inaudible. And I think like as Q4 progresses, a lot more people are trying to figure out, how can I optimize and really take advantage of my gifts, even in the wee hours of the season? I'm talking about like December 20th through the 24th. I always remember working direct- to- consumer company, they'd always put up... the one that I used to work with, we'd always put up shipping deadlines and, obviously, say, " Hey, if you want it there by this holiday, you have to pay for... Regular shipping is fine up until this point, expedited shipping would be this much, but you're getting it from this point," so on and so forth. But Amazon actually rolled out an in- store pickup for products ordered from local retailers. Have you and your clients been engaging, or have they opened that opportunity yet, in terms of picking up from a retail? It's called local selling, and I'm sure for the listener, if you don't know I'm talking about, I'm not crazy. It's called local selling, it's a set of services that actually allow regional retailers to offer both in- store pickup and fast delivery for nearby customers, so they themselves can deliver on behalf of Amazon. Almost like a Walmart Plus subscription, but it's not delivered by Amazon delivery. It'd be as if I was selling my goods in Best Buy, for example, they would deliver it to me in certain zip codes in the United States. But also, you could pick them up in store, I believe they'll hold on to it for five days. So in theory, that is another option. And it's been said that even in- store pickup will be about... it would be about 40% of how people operate their holiday shopping in retail. So I think that's a fascinating thing to think about. It's happening online, but it's still... For the on for the retail shopper, it's going to convert over to online, but about 40% of that in- store purchase would happen to be picked up, basically, curbside. Is that something that you and your clients are able to do, or what do you suggest in those kinds of strategies, if at all?

Davide Nicolucci: So, when it comes to this kind of scenario, we didn't have it yet with clients-

Ryan Cramer: Sure.

Davide Nicolucci: the US. We had actually Amazon Fresh in Italy. That's the case, because-

Ryan Cramer: That's right.

Davide Nicolucci: ... Italian people areall about food, and-

Ryan Cramer: inaudible.

Davide Nicolucci: ... you canonly... Yeah, you can crosstalk only order... Yeah. You can only order like fresh pasta, fresh ham, fresh salami, you can only order in certain zip codes. And this is-

Ryan Cramer: Wow.

Davide Nicolucci: This is really interesting. And it's called Amazon Fresh. I don't know if you-

Ryan Cramer: crosstalk. Yeah, we do in the United States, it's Amazon Fresh, minimum order... Gosh, I want to say$ 50 US, which is nothing when it's grocery nowadays. It was super convenient, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, it was always, hey, you can order like your staples, fulfilled by Whole Foods and a bunch of other stuff. But yeah, grocery, I think it's even more just household staples. So like, detergents, or topical, maybe even beauty products were in there, as well. So if you have like a supplement, or any sort of topical, consumable product, it can, obviously, be an Amazon Fresh product. But it's a part of the program. You have to be accepted into the program, I believe.

Davide Nicolucci: So I think it all goes back to the future vision that Amazon has as a ecommerce giants, as someone who's leading the way to the others, and for the consumer, to actually make consumers' life easier and easier. Because I used to live in China, for example, and you can order anything from your phone, directly from WeChat that is the equivalent of Facebook or WhatsApp, and it would get delivered to your house, or you can go and pick it up. We had the same function, actually, with WeChat, with... what is it, like Tmall, Jingdong, those Chinese-

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, Tmall. Mm- hmm(affirmative).

Davide Nicolucci: ...ecommerce. So what made Amazon so successful? Being customer- centric. Right? So we always hear this thing, Jeff Bezos elected to the investors, and also Jeff Bezos interviews, and investing in what will change people's life. So Amazon will make life for the customer easier, wants to make it easier for them to spend their money on Amazon, pretty much. So this is this what is happening. If you don't want to wait, or if probably you know already that it's going to be too late, because if you buy it on December 21st, it's already too late to get it for Christmas, then you'd go and pick it up. And that definitely makes sense.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. And that's why I thought was interesting, is because you're talking about this online retail, and how the evolution of almost 2020's expectations for moving forward. Because it was so hard, just how people were operating at scale. Again, in the world of retail commerce, we'll just say commerce in general, or retail shopping, when someone makes a purchase of a good or a product, still 90%, maybe it's 85% now, is happening in physical stores, and that changed a lot last year. That chunk, substantially, was cut into by online, just the convenience of it, and people weren't physically going into stores and making their purchases, it was all done through clicks of phones or computers. But still, the majority of is happening in retail spaces, but it's interesting to see that the convenience is now shifting away from, instead of staying in long lines again, for the deal- centric consumer, if they're trying to buy products or big ticket items, or anything like that, and really get a good" deal", they would have to do that all retail. That's not the case anymore. A lot of it can be done, like we had mentioned earlier in the episode, weeks in advance, days in advance, and you can just stay warm, instead of fighting the cold, depending on where you are in the world-

Davide Nicolucci: Yes.

Ryan Cramer: ...and not have to deal with that. Also, is this year... Are you going to see a lot more... I should say, a lot more consumers or entrepreneurs have a lot less of their" deals" that they're offering? What I mean by that is, you're not going to see the outrageous 70% off, 60% off, whatever that might be incentives that most people do. Instead, are you expecting that to continue, or do you think that people are going to skip back on that? Because-

Davide Nicolucci: No-

Ryan Cramer: ...of inventory and stuff like that?

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah, I think not only for the inventory, but also for a matter of profit. When I talk to my clients... So I actually don't suggest to do huge deals, for many different reasons, branding perspective, profit, and it could really get... Things could really get out of control when you give the wrong discount, and it could mess up everything, because you could risk getting out of stock, and you don't want to do that. So this is a really serious issue, and with zero profit, probably losing money, actually. So you really want to do that. Also, what I'm seeing is that, still, talking with other entrepreneurs, also not directly to my clients, but with other entrepreneurs in the space, Amazon sellers, they are trying to stay away from being there on the top spot at all costs. That goes along with Cyber Monday, Black Friday with the holiday season. But also, during the daily activities, the normal season, the offseason. What I say is that, actually... We were still flattening the curve a little bit, it's spreading a little bit more. You have more time now to showcase your deals, it doesn't have to be that, wow, amazing, like 90%, 70% off. You really want to try to focus on your profit, because you want to make it a sustainable business. You don't want to be at page... ranking number one or two, and giving away your profit too much. Especially if you're an independent seller, if you're a FBA seller, and you're starting from zero with your savings, you're not probably going to do that. But if you're a huge seller, then yes, you can compete with the others, and that's completely different. But I don't see a lot of people anymore fighting for being... ranking number one, or also to have a lot of sales on Black Friday, because they're understanding, actually, that they're giving up on profit, and that that's not the most ideal scenario there. And also, getting out of stock is not good.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. And again, we're coming top of the hour. We're with Davide Nicolucci of We Are Growth Hack. How late before you tell customers that they shouldn't be launching products in Q4? High level, you would think that that would just be... it'd be silly to try to start a product or start that history in Q4, or even towards November, December, or I could be wrong. Are you telling people certain situations where they should launch products in Q4, or is it kind of a no- touch, wait till early Q1, or later in that next year?

Davide Nicolucci: I would say it depends. It would be better, ideally, to launch it way before Q4. But if you have a seasonal product-

Ryan Cramer: Right. There's always a-

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah. Yeah. So it really depends. For me, this whole thing, selling on Amazon and ecommerce, it is very rare that I would say yes to a question, especially when it's a tricky question like this, or as you can see before, like, should I stop my PPC, or should I increase or decrease the price? Many times, it does happen, it does depend on the case by case. So, if your product is not seasonal, let's say that you're selling, I don't know, a Bluetooth speaker, you... But once again, this could be a gift for someone, a perfect gift, but you might end up wasting your money. So I would say, yeah, maybe you could wait... Probably don't rush during Q4. You can wait a little bit. Or if you think it's actually a product that fits very well, a Christmas gift, then yes, why not? Launch it in October, November, maybe better than October than November.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, exactly. crosstalk. Exactly. I think I would speak for a lot of people and say like, hey, just focus on your sales in that regards. Work with what you have in terms of already out there, and just really optimize that growth? What's the hidden things that you think most people are not talking about, going into the remaining part of this year? Is there a specific topic or something that you're really keeping eye on that, not just has an impact for the remainder of 2021, but actually moving forward into next year? Is there something that's kind of weighing on you, and both good or bad, that a lot of the people are just not speaking about for one reason or another?

Davide Nicolucci: When it comes to optimizing your Amazon store?

Ryan Cramer: Maybe that, or just anything in the industry, whether it be ecommerce or whatnot. We can open up. Let's talk about optimization of the Amazon store, and then we can broaden it.

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah. So what I've seen recently is there's a lot of confusion when it comes to SEO and optimization of your search terms. For example, I think it was in a group on Facebook, I won't say the name here, I read a post of someone asking, what is keyword stuffing? And someone answered... I think it was a VA from somewhere, someone answered, if you repeat the same search term in the title, and in the bullet points, and in the backend, this is keyword stuffing. And a lot of people were liking this post, and they were recommending exactly the same thing. Now, this is not keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is when you repeat too many times the same keyword in different places, or in the same place. So if you repeat, for example, Bluetooth speaker, Bluetooth speaker in your search terms, and in your title, and in your bullet point, that's keyword stuffing. But if you're selling a Bluetooth speaker, of course, you need to have Bluetooth speaker in your title, and in your bullet points, and also, hopefully, in your search terms, because it does help you to rank on Amazon. Amazon doesn't penalize you if you have the same keyword in your title and in your search terms. They say, do not repeat keywords in the search terms. This means that if you want to write Bluetooth speaker for iPhone, and Bluetooth speaker for iPod, or black Bluetooth speaker, you can just write black Bluetooth speaker iPhone. That's it.

Ryan Cramer: Right.

Davide Nicolucci: In your search terms.

Ryan Cramer: All in ones. Yeah. All in one.

Davide Nicolucci: All in one, without repetition, without Bluetooth speaker again. That's what they actually mean. So this is something... So be very careful to where you actually get your information, to the source. Try to always double check. Anything you listen or you read online, not because someone said and other people put a like, that's true. It's not always like that. So be very careful. I think that people don't really talk about this too much, and there's a lot of confusion. This is what I actually wanted to say, probably, that hasn't been too often. Also, I've seen a little bit of confusion online. Not many blog posts talk about this thing.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Well, I think that's the thing, too. A lot of people are crowd sourced, a lot of information. Again, on the podcast, this is people who... You and I are in certain parts of the services industry, but we've seen a lot of it firsthand. And if people are... I've experienced it firsthand, when people are going to certain channels for information. They want to learn, they want to grow. I would say take everything for a grain of salt, because it obviously depends. Or my former boss says there's no one magic silver bullet that can fix all your problems, it's a combination of what works for you and your company, but also, in your products and brands, but also knowing how it's going to effectively... the risk tolerance which you are willing to take, as well, in certain aspects of your business. So again, it could be just spending more money on PPC, it could be hiring an agency, it could be trusting people with your growth opportunity. I feel a lot more people just blindly accepting of just free information, how it's posted on forums like that. And again, knowing who those people are, cross-referencing your information, saying like, " Okay, who are you really?" Cross- referencing, or asking your trusted source or mentor, or something like that, and saying like, " Heard about this, is that true? I don't want to make the change unless it's actually relevant and makes sense." But I agree with that. I think that people just take it for face value, and don't ask the questions or do a little bit more of the research on their own. What are the best ways... How do you? Because obviously, you're a respected company, you have lots of publications, lots of content that you're posting out there. How do you best tell the beginner person who's... this is the first key for... to navigate that field? Is there inaudible. Is it just like, trust your gut only?

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah. Yeah, always, as you said, and as I said before, cross- reference, try to get your information from different sources. Try yourself, but don't try anything that it might be harmful for your account, because it could be very dangerous. And also, cross- reference when it comes to not only Amazon- related stuff. For example, if we're looking to buy SEO, and for example, but this topic of keyword stuffing, keyword stuffing doesn't... it wasn't made by an Amazon seller, it's an SEO term. So you can read somewhere else what actually this term is, and then crosstalk apply... Yeah, got to Google, exactly. So Google everything, look for trusted information stores. But that's the thing. I see lot of information, a lot of confusion for many different fields right now. So do not have only one source of information for anything, for anything. That might be from selecting your keywords, to whatever, other things for the future sides of your business. So always try to find what fits for you, what is the best for you, cross- reference everything, see if actually the same information matches with someone else that has actually proven results and it's been there for a long time, that is putting his face, and is showing what they're doing without any problem. So I would say this is probably the best way to do if you're just starting. We all started somewhere. This is so funny. When I started in 2014, I was there Googling how to sell an Amazon, how to do SEO for Amazon. And then you start learning. The longer you use this tool and this environment, the better you learn, the more you learn. I started my first PPC campaign for my... not even client, for my employer in 2014. You didn't even have broad phrase and exact match, you just had a keyword that was broad at that time. And we didn't know that. But you had less competition. So always stay on top of the trend, and see what is going on, try always to cross- check. If you're looking for... For example, let's say you're looking for best tips to sell in Q4. You'll find my blog online, definitely. Our blog posts are always between the first, second, and third page of Google. And you will find others. So definitely go and read everything. And then whichever one you like, just come and learn. If someone is saying something bad, just don't take it for granted. Or maybe just do some further research. So be curious.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, I put the blog right there, because I was actually looking at all your blogs, I have all the tabs open. I look like a psychopath with all the tabs on your page, and other people that are going on right now with data. But yeah, obviously for more tips, you always put out really thoughtful content. And last time, we talked about just the 10,000, 20,000- word blog contents that are pointing to everything. This is not keyword stuffing, this is in depth knowledge of a lot of content. So I know that you're... For you, Davide, what's on the docket for the rest of the year? Is it just any more content, just really optimizing for your clients? What are you expecting to do, obviously, moving forward, early part of-

Davide Nicolucci: By the end of the year?

Ryan Cramer: Yeah.

Davide Nicolucci: We're going to be very busy with one of our clients. We have to reoptimize the entire catalog of their listings for all the languages. So guys, you can hire us for every language, even Japanese. Don't worry. And if Amazon sells in Korea, we will also do Korean for you. So we have to optimize all the European countries first, and then also English. So this is going to keep us very easy. I'm going to bring big part of my team here in Thailand, it;s going to keep me also busy. And we have a couple more blog posts on the pipeline, for example, selling from Christmas, and some other things. We have a couple of interviews coming on our YouTube channel. I would say go and check out our YouTube channel, we have a lot of content there. We talk not only about Amazon, but also about many other ecommerce channels. We have interviewed one of the brand evangelists from Helium 10. It's not only her showcasing how you can use the tool, but it's also me as a seller, or as a advertiser, how you can actually integrate these with other tools, and with what you're doing in your daily job as an Amazon senator. So that's also very interesting. And we always try to keep our videos short, like 20, 30 minutes. On YouTube, I think that's the format that works, because it's not a podcast, it's something recorded, so people just want to quickly get information, and then move on to the next one. And then yeah, our blog is going to be always updated. Probably, I think, we have this tradition every year, we publish the expectation and prediction for the upcoming year. Yeah. So for 2022, probably, I'm trying to do this one a little bit earlier, because we normally publish it on January, at the beginning of the year. I want to try to do it yeah in December. It's also good for SEO, because if you come before the others-

Ryan Cramer: Right. Maybe everyone else follows suit. All right? inaudible. Hey, as always, man, thank you so much for hopping. I know it's late, it's 10 o'clock your time.

Davide Nicolucci: Yep.

Ryan Cramer: It's just beginning to ago here in the United States. But hey, for more information, obviously, we'll reach out to you on Facebook, or follow We Are Growth Hack on Facebook. Are there any other ways we should reach out?

Davide Nicolucci: Yeah, just Facebook, Instagram, We Are Growth Hack. Our website, wearegrowthhack. com. Send us an email, info @ wearegrowthhack. com. You'll find us in all social media channels. We're not very active on Twitter, but mostly LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook. Yes, this is it.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. Well, thanks so much for hopping on again for the show, and I'm looking forward to all the content you're going to be pumping out here. Please inaudible at some point. Your lifestyle is amazing, and I'll always love talking to you. I could talk to you for hours. But hey, get some rest, and thanks for hopping on again late-

Davide Nicolucci: That's right.

Ryan Cramer: ...on another episode. No problem.

Davide Nicolucci: That was amazing. Thank you.

Ryan Cramer: Yup. No problem. Again, thanks, Davide from We Are Growth Hack. Again, thank you for everyone who was tuning in live. No questions today, but we had lots of people to me, and I think a lot of people were taking notes, as always. So if you're listening to this podcast at a later time, definitely reach out to Davide and see him at We Are Growth Hack. Blog contents alone are... I wish that he almost charged for those, because just the amount of information that is stuffed in there... Again, we talked about keyword stuffing, this is not it. This is actually viable, amazing information that you have to actually know what you're talking about in order to write something that incredible, in depth, and detailed. So they're doing great things for their business, but love some of the expectations and takeaways that we learned about prepping for the remainder of Q4 expectations, obviously, looking at the data, and hearing other experts in that regards, and pulling from it what we talked about, and then, of course, moving forward here 2022 now, what their clients are going to be looking for. So again, thank you Davide and We Are Growth Hack. I'm Ryan Cramer, this my corner of the internet I like to call Crossover Commerce. We'll catch you guys next time on another episode, that'll be tomorrow. We have, actually, Dan Brownsher of Channel Key, helping on why you should hire an Amazon agency, very applicable, obviously, I'm talking about the expertise that he and his team are bringing to the table. But we're going to be talking with him and his team about that. Otherwise, we'll catch you guys next time on another episode of Crossover Commerce. I'm Ryan Cramer, take care. ( silence).


Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Davide Nicolucci of We Are Growth Hack one-on-one about preparations and expectations for Q4 in 2021.


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Today's Host

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🎙 Ryan Cramer - Host

|Partnership & Influencer Marketing Manager

Today's Guests

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Davide Nicolucci

|Founder of We Are Growth Hack