Find the answers you didn’t know you needed ⎜ PickFu ⎜ EP 125
Ryan Cramer: What's up, everyone? Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong payments, the leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey, what's up everyone? Welcome to another episode of Crossover Commerce. I'm Ryan Cramer, the host of this show that I like to bring in the best and brightest minds in the Amazon and e- commerce spaces. This is episode 125 of Crossover Commerce, and this is my corner of the internet where the best and brightest, like I mentioned before, of the Amazon and e- commerce space, you're going to come here, unload all their knowledge upon you the listener so you can improve your business 1%, at least, today. So that's what we're going to be talking about today. And as always, Crossover Commerce is presented by PingPong payments, helping over one million customers now in transferring over$ 150 million a day in cross- border payments. And then the lifetime doing$ 90 million of cross- border payments helping e- commerce sellers just like you send or receive funds all around the world, whether paying out your Vas, your suppliers, manufacturers, employees or just really receiving from any marketplace around the world. As your brand grows, grow with PingPong, check out a free account with us today. That being said, you know what they say about assuming, right? It makes a ass out of you and me, is assuming what you think you know is the answer, but actually data suggests otherwise. That's why companies like PickFu exists. So that being said, I wanted to bring on friend of the show, Anthony Cofrancesco, and he will tell us that sometimes you may not know the questions to ask regarding the answers that you need to know before launching either a product, or growing your brand in e- commerce. So that being said, we wanted to catch up with him today in all things PickFu as they continue to dominate, not just the e- commerce world, but e- gaming world, the publishing world, no matter what the world is, we're always going to be testing the questions that again, we may not know the answers to, but we need to validate it with actionable data and insights. That being said, I want to go ahead and bring on already our lovely friend of the show, Anthony Cofrancesco of PickFu. Anthony, what's going on, man?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Hey, Ryan, what's going on? Thanks for having me on the show. 125 episodes, man, you just don't ever sleep, do you?
Ryan Cramer: Sometimes I do. I feel like to feel that way, but it seems like you keep coming on in these little milestones I had. Like we were one of the first couple and then 100 and now 125. It's just going to be a milestone check in with PickFu and the team over there. But since you've been on, you've been traveling around as well, you've come back and forth the United States here and Brazil. Correct? Correct me if I'm wrong.
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah. Right now I'm in Brazil, it's kind of just a crazy long story. What a weird year it's been.
Ryan Cramer: Really? Well, yeah, exactly. Why Brazil right now?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Well, right now, actually one of the big things I'm working on with my girlfriend is getting her a US visa, which is a long process for Filipinos. And so the reason we came back to Brazil is we were looking at visa appointments for her, and if she wanted to get it done in the Philippines, it was going to be late, late, late December, we were able to get an appointment much earlier in Sao Paulo, so we're doing it here. And hopefully, fingers crossed, knock on wood, but it's early August is her appointment, hopefully she'll get a visa to the US, a tourist visa and then be able to come with me and spend a little bit more time in the US, but we'll see. It's all very complicated.
Ryan Cramer: So you're saying that the country that she actually grew up in, I'm assuming she grew up in the Philippines, it's harder to get an appointment for the visa in the United States than if you went to a different country, and then applied for the visa from that country into the United States? That's what's going on right now?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, it's just a really long and complicated process. Also, we had been apart for more than a year when COVID started, and this was literally the only country that we could both go to between travel restrictions and visa stuff. So I guess I'll say for any of the Americans watching the show, our passport people don't even realize how valuable it is that we can just show up to 160 countries and they're like, " Come on in," no questions asked. It is not that way for other places around the world, it's very hard.
Ryan Cramer: Dear God. Well, I mean, and that's in normal times, too. I know, it's a little bit trickier now, but fingers crossed for you guys, and in her personal and professional lives that you guys can do that as well. Because there's so much going on in the world, I'm sure that spending time in the United States is definitely one of those things you would want to get back to doing as well. But I just want to give a shout out obviously, Anthony, actually, can you introduce yourself? So Anthony, you've had multiple businesses in the e- commerce space, you're working with PickFu, which is an AB test organization on the very simplistic side of things, but what's kind of your background in a nutshell for people who haven't heard you talk on the show before?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Sure. So the really quick rundown is I actually used to work at Amazon, I worked there for a little over a year in loss prevention and kind of a fulfillment center operations role. Really loved Amazon, don't have anything negative to say about working there, I think it's a great company. But after working there for about a year, I got an opportunity. The guy who had taught me how to sell and launch my first product on Amazon FBA, he had a very small creative agency and said, " Why don't you quit your job at Amazon, relocate permanently to the Philippines and help me scale this company?" And so I thought, " This is crazy." But I knew if I didn't do it, I'd end up regretting it. I move out to the Philippines and helped to grow a company called Virtuous Graphics. It was a full service, design agency doing photography, videography, copywriting, everything for the listing. And we built that for two years and grew that team to more than 25 full- time creatives. We were lucky enough, in the end of 2019, there was an aggregator in the space. Now there's a lot of aggregators, there was much fewer back then, crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: Back when there was just one.
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, but much less than there are now and much smaller aggregator, but they acquired that business. And one of the tools that I used heavily at our agency was PickFu. We were using it for main image optimizations for our clients. So I had met the founders, Justin and John, I'd met them at Prosper the year before. And so after selling the business, I hit them up and I said, " I think this software tool is literally the coolest thing, but not as many people know about it, that should. So I'd love to come on the team." Pitching myself, literally just, " Let me work for you. Let me prove myself." And they were kind enough to let me do that, and that's what I've been working on for the past year and a half is really digging into some of the educational content around PickFu, and getting the message out for e- commerce sellers, mainly about what is market research and why should you care?
Ryan Cramer: Exactly. Well, that's the beauty of what you're doing, your title is industry liaison, but your expertise is working with creative side, functionality, what audiences are looking for, what's really successful. And that's what's so fascinating is that we using a tool like PickFu. And again, you said software, I almost think of it as a service, because it's a service that has human input behind it, it's not just data that you're pulling from all these different click points or impressions, you're actually looking at human opinion. And this is almost a... it's this hybrid model that I think is super valuable, is opinion is always key in the space of is this good or bad? And we all get really close to our brands, why is it important to use a solution like PickFu? So maybe give a brief little quick overview. Why is PickFu important in the eyes of not just entrepreneurs in the e- commerce space, but entrepreneurs in all these industries you're serving across the board?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Absolutely. So first thing I'll say is PickFu did not invent market research, right? Market research has been around since the beginning of time. We've seen it in movies, maybe you've got the focus group inside the room, they give someone the product and they're seeing how people are going to react spontaneously and kind of get that feedback, maybe the data scientist writing down with their clipboards and different things like that. You've probably seen people at the mall saying, " Hey, will you take a survey? Can I ask you questions?" The whole reason PickFu was created is because there's this massive industry around market research, but it was very inaccessible to small business owners, people that didn't have 1, 000s and 1,000s and 1, 000s of dollars to spend. So right now, when we had a consultant come in, who works in that industry, they came in and they were telling us when Nike or when Under Armour, when they launch a product, they're going to dedicate a significant amount of money to market research so that when they take a product to market, they know it might not get the highest sales numbers, but they know it's not going to fail completely. Versus, we see this a lot of times with people who are launching brand new products, they might take something to market, they've done the product research, they think it's validated. But for whatever reason, their brand doesn't resonate, the design of their product doesn't resonate. And I've heard of people that have 500, 1,000 units of an initial order that just sit in FBA warehouses until they have to get rid of it and liquidate it. So I think more and more business owners as it becomes more competitive in the FBA space and the e- commerce space, people are realizing, hey, there's certain things that before I go and take a product to market, market research is important. And there's a reason that the biggest companies in the world have been doing this for so long. PickFu is just something that allows anyone to go in and have access to an audience right off the bat. It's a very simple tool to use, there's no expensive subscriptions to use it. And so it kind of democratizes the ability to get feedback from people that are not yourself or your spouse or your friends.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, an accessible way of getting insight from other people. It's as simple as that, and I like to think of you guys as the people behind the mirror and taking notes all the time and saying, " Interesting, interesting." And whispering in the ear, you this... Or your customers are the ones whispering in the ear what questions to ask. And it says it could be as simple as, " What do you think of the logo?" Comparing versus your competitors, or even just the products itself. So that being said, going into 2021, we just hit... This is the beginning of the second half of 2021, which is crazy that this year is already flown by, I mean, for me, at least. So that being said, what's new with PickFu? What's kind of going on? I kind of wanted to... You guys are popping up on all these different projects, announcements, what's going on? So I just wanted to, as a trusted partner of PingPong, and one of the great partners in the e- commerce space, what's new with you guys in the space?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, so the thing is, like I said earlier, there's phases of everything for the business. I remember when I first started selling on Amazon, you could actually probably run a pretty successful Amazon business. And you might not necessarily have to run PPC, right? This was like maybe four or five years ago. Now, that's not the case, right? People understand if you're selling on FBA, you have to dedicate at least some portion of your budget that's going to go towards pay per Click, right, because you just won't even show up. It's just important, it's something you have to do, that has to be a part of your strategy. So I think a lot of the work we've been doing over the past year and a half, it's starting to solidify itself in people's minds that you don't necessarily need to spend a ton of money on market research, but this should be one line item, the same way that you wouldn't skimp out on your inspections, you wouldn't skip out on your payment provider and just say, " Hey, I'm going to go through my own bank and try to do all this payment processing myself." People are realizing that there's certain tools, it's not going to dramatically change your business, but these are the 1% changes that there's the checklist. And as an aggregate over time, these are what, to help your business become more profitable, to help streamline your process, to make better decisions. So what we've really been doing over the past year, and some of the announcements, was really focusing on scale, right, our numbers have been really growing, a lot more sellers are realizing, hey, market research is important. So one of the big things that we've been working on for quite some time that went live about a month ago is we did a full website redesign, and a lot of that started with, we knew from talking to our clients and talking to our biggest customers that market research, they knew it was important, they knew split testing was important, but it was something that they had never done before. So we really rethought the entire way that polls were created, and that they were built, and we created some templates in there as well. So before, you had to start everything from scratch, now you're able to go in and say, " Hey, I want to test a logo," or, " I want to test a main image." And then it's going to give you dropdowns with different question templates. So it's a lot more intuitive, and it kind of guides you along the process. We also made a bunch of different aesthetic updates to the platform itself, just the look and feel. And it's cool to see this with software companies is that they go through these different phases, and you think you have a good product at one point, but then you work on something and then the new thing comes out and you think, " I can't believe people were actually using that platform before." So we've just been listening to the customers and putting a lot of time and effort into how can we make this a tool that's not only effective, but it's also really easy and user friendly to get through using?
Ryan Cramer: You guys are probably using your own advice, and you listen to the customer, ultimately. You're probably AB testing your entire website. I'm assuming that this process undertook... I could be assuming, but it's not just branding, it's the functionality of what you guys need in terms of functionality, what resources are people looking for? How can you optimize in that regards, and continue to tweak and move forward and grow from that?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah. It's certainly true, we definitely use PickFu a lot for our own testing, and I'd say not all of it is design, a lot of it is exactly what you're saying, how can we reduce friction? I mean, there were so many things in the old design, terminologies that we were using that it didn't even make sense to me when we started, I was like, " What does this thing mean? And how do I explain this to someone else?" And then you're like, " Okay, how can we just start from the beginning? Something that's intuitive, something that when people read it for the first time, they're like,'Oh, okay, no explanation needed. I understand.'" So that's a lot of what we've been focusing on.
Ryan Cramer: So that internal pain point, what were the some of the ones that maybe you can share with us? Is it just streamlined and getting going or removing those barriers for customers getting started or to continue on? What were some of those pain points?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Definitely the biggest one for new users is just figuring out how to write a question, right? You're spending maybe$ 50, maybe$ 75 to write a single poll on PickFu depending on what kind of audiences you're choosing. And people would go in and write questions that if you'd never write a question before it made sense, they might just say, " Hey, I've got two different images of product packaging, which image do you prefer?" But we saw that when we were writing the questions, being a little bit more experienced, that just adding in a little bit of context like, " Hey, I'm trying to sell this organic nut or fruit- grain bar, which packaging do you prefer?" Just that little bit of context for the panel really helped to get a lot better responses, right? People weren't just evaluating it, " What do I think about how this packaging looks?" Now I know, oh, it's an organic product, it's supposed to be healthy. It's supposed to be for energy, for fitness. So helping people kind of bridge that gap to not only have more confidence when writing the questions, but just be more effective in terms of what they're asking. Because the market research is only going to be as good as the input, and so we saw that was a huge pain point. Aside from that, we've really done a lot of work in terms of the larger accounts, I'd say that, and I know I can say this publicly, but pretty much every major aggregator in the space is using us heavily. Pretty much all of the top Amazon 500 sellers, the vast majority are using PickFu. And so it's also building out a success team around that like, okay, how can we for people that are really using this heavily, how can we actually get more integrated with their creative teams? How can we do some more hand holding and do some training, so that they're ready to just steamroll through, they can integrate PickFu, or market research into the creative process? We've been working on that a lot, we've been building out an agency program. So more and more agencies are joining. Because we get a lot of a lot of clients that come to us and say, " Hey, PickFu is great, but who can actually do the creative work, who can do my images, who can do my videos?" So giving them a certification process for how to use PickFu, and then they can take it back into their own agency, because we don't do any kind of creative work. So yeah, trying to close the loop and help people get better assets for crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: That was my question. I saw you guys have recently became... there's a certification floating around, and actually, one of the people I saw that from was someone who had already inaudible Sumner, shout out to him. I know he's in Mexico right now who's living up the dream, and check out Sumner's YouTube channel everyone, if you're listening or watching this, former friend of the show, obviously, inaudible him and his... His wife actually interviewed me, and just recently went on their YouTube page, and that was a lot of fun to record with him as well, client of ours. But also I know he got certified with PickFu. So what does that mean? He said certification. What does that mean? And what does that carry in wight for anyone out there who maybe wants to become certified with PickFu?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, basically, we created it... When I first came onto PickFu, I'd never worked with a software tool before. So I was going through every software tool that I knew, that I knew that I had use, and it was just case study after case study, listening to podcasts, listening to the CEO, the founder, talk about what was able to spurt their growth, and one of the ones that I came across was Canva. And the CEO who's just an amazing woman, she's walking through one of the biggest things that they did was some kind of training, some kind of certification just to get people to go in and use the tool. And so I had this moment in my mind where it really clicked that, okay, PickFu is just one component, it's just market research, but it works hand in hand with the people that are actually doing the creative work, right? You can do all the market research you want, and you can learn about how your images are terrible or good, or how they can be improved. But if you don't have someone who can take that and execute on that, you're never going to get really good creative. So I started thinking, we had a competition a few months back that went public, where we had four agencies competing on a listing for Kevin King, and really, we learned probably more from that, or I learned more from that than seeing individual clients use PickFu themselves. And so we wanted to create a program that educated agencies on how to use PickFu, and so basically, all it is, is it's about 90 minutes of training material, it's really easy to go through, we have a practical exam that's like 20 questions. And once you go through that, you'll have a very good understanding, a very deep understanding of all the different ways you can use PickFu, some suggestions on how to integrate it into your pricing model. And then one of the benefits is you get an ongoing trade discount, so any polls that you're doing on behalf of your clients, you're going to get a discount that kind of buffers your margins to kind of account for the time that you're spending to set up the polls. Then we also have an agency directory. You've probably seen my talks before, all of my talks are about conversion optimization, and about the best practices I've seen in the industry. So at the end of a lot of my talks, people are coming up and they're like, " That was a great presentation. Do you have any recommendations of agencies that can do the work?" This is something that we wanted to do, now we just say, " Go to the agency directory, everyone who's listed there is super legit." And some of the agencies we've worked with have just gotten a tremendous amount of business because again, we don't do any of that in house. We want to kind of put it back out into the community and recognize the agencies that are up on the hottest trends and that are able to do really consistently good work.
Ryan Cramer: That's a great partnership/ referral network. As you and I both know, this industry is... A lot of people are not just going to be listening... Not everyone can do it, right? Not everyone can do it effectively or well, everyone can talk about it, and they know how to do it, but if you're talking about quality work and what they specialize in, you have to go to those niche, either services or providers. And that's where a lot of this partnership amongst this community happens is, you guys specialize in one unique resource, and that's why everyone can come to you for that. But then obviously, we have people like PingPong, who specialized in cross border payments, you go to us, you have people who are listing optimization, you go to those copywriters. Photography, same thing, all those kinds of things work hand in hand, and not everyone wants to do it all themselves, and if they do, you can get spread too thin. Do do you feel like with that kind of referral network, or that partnership kind of aspect, does that become a competitive, or do you feel like that there's any negatives with only highlighting those individuals and not others? Or it's kind of you have to know that their trusted resource, they're not just here to get their name out there, and then kind of do wrong by the customer? Because you ultimately have to protect your clientele, correct?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, well at the end of the day, agencies are in a wide range out there. And this is coming from someone that used to run an agency. It's hard, it's still, I think, very hard in the industry, to find agencies that can consistently do good work, and really meet time deadlines. It's really hard. And anyone who's gone out and contracted agencies to do any work, I'd say, even with the best agencies, there's a few out there, and I'm not going to like call out anyone on the show, but there's some that are really good. And I'll make personal recommendations and hey, go work with these people. But it's hard to get the agency thing right. What I know that we're doing though, is for this specific lane of creative optimization, which we call... It's kind of like a multiple iterations of starting somewhere, having multiple iterations and getting to that final product, I believe you're reducing a lot of the risk on the agency just by going through this process. Because normally, when a seller is going to go out and contract an agency to make creative work, the model that a lot of agencies have is you have one fee, you get one set of deliverables. So you're saying, " Hey, I want packaging," and this is the packaging, and when you're done, that's it. I think that's actually a bit short sighted, and we talk about this a lot in the agency program is that you should really be going out as an agency and selling, " Hey, we're going to give you three different versions of this product packaging, that's going to be the base, and then we're going to refine from there, we're going to use PickFu to test those three, what's the winning one? And we're going to go down that funnel to make it really good." And recognizing that the pricing for agencies... And any agency that's going to price you for like, " This is one fee for one thing," you can probably get good work. But if you look at all of the best companies that are really crushing it right now, in terms of conversion rate, they're not going and saying, " One version of the packaging, and that's it." They're going through many different iterations and many different versions, because that's what real companies do. The marketing team, they're not just like... Nike's not like, " Hey, we're launching a new product. Here's one thing in the packaging," and they're like, " Yep, that's what we're going to use." It's not at all how it works. And now we're starting to see even third- party FBA sellers that are going through that whole process, because that's what you need to compete, that's just the reality, not everyone is going to want to hear that, it's going to be more spending on agency side. But that's what you need to be good, in my opinion.
Ryan Cramer: Well, you mentioned the word I think a lot of people want to hear is the term is speed. This marketplace has become quick to iterate, and then fast to adopt. And I think you need that in terms of trusted partnerships, because if you know that something is working, like said, if you just sit on it for a long time, you can have your competition either subvert you, or they can get those data and analyses real quickly, and then they can adjust. So you need to be able to trust those kinds of individuals to come up with it quickly, get answers quickly, and then move forward from there. But again, knowing the answers up front before you can kind of assume because again, assuming is the gateway to all bad things that could potentially come to you, bad money making decisions, bad branding decisions, so on and so forth. You said the network is how big right now?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Maybe like 25 or 30 agencies in it.
Ryan Cramer: Okay, so clearly not the whole world of agencies. Is this something you're heavily marketing? Or is this something that you guys are actively trying to promote and push and attract new agencies to be a part of?
Anthony Cofrancesco: If people want to come and join, then absolutely crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: You're the guy to talk to, right?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, they can go to agencies. pickfu.com and apply. We're definitely not actively marketing it, there's so many things. This was something that we did to kind of help out agencies. I'm hoping in the future that... I'm getting some chatting with some different people. Earlier this year, we did this amazing listing competition with four agencies competing, my vision is to really use this as a tool. There's a lot of really good work going on in the industry right now, and I think the companies that are really doing right and focusing on delivering exceptional results for their clients, they're doing really well. I've gotten to collaborate with some of these people on my presentations. What my vision for this agency program is, is really to use it as a way to showcase like, " Okay, what are the best agencies in the industry doing? And then how can other agencies learn from that? How can we just get the standard up overall for the industry?" And also let other agencies see there's a competition aspect to it. But it's like Tim Jordan says, right, we're not splitting a small pie, the pie is just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. And if the level of everyone is raising, even smaller agencies can learn what the standard is, what the best agencies are doing. They're going to make their strategy either completely be rethought, like, " Maybe I'm thinking about this completely wrong, maybe I'm trying to service these creative assets at the lowest cost possible, when in reality, I should be charging much more, but the quality is much higher, and I'm not going to make anyone frustrated when they come to work with us, it's always going to be good." And so that's what I kind of want to see, I kind of want to see... I want to see what does the best look like? And how is that going to change the industry, because I, deep down... I know, I'm rambling here, but I know deep down what I think is like, we have all these traditional retailers that are now having to fit into this e- commerce space, I think you're going to see people that are in our friend group and in our industry that are going to be operating some of the biggest companies in 10 to 15 years, the biggest companies in the United States, if not the world, and they're going to have grown up from this small space of Amazon FBA, and they're going to be nationally recognized brands. And it would be cool to see these people get there, competing with the biggest... The biggest national brands we have now are going to be competing with brands that started on FBA.
Ryan Cramer: Everyone starts from somewhere. So I'm ready to go on that journey with you too. I'm hoping to see a lot of our friends like you said in this circle. Again, lots of companies that overlap, they help each other out. But it was really cool, something that I have never seen before and you referenced it. Let's go ahead and dive into it is the competition you were talking about, the Amazon listing competition, the link is in the comment section below, and it's also linked out if you're listening to this in the show notes. So go ahead and check that out. It's almost like this recap of what it was. So by definition, you had some of the agencies, you said multiple agencies, you picked four of them, one of them happens to be a friend of the show, Kenji ROI and Danny Carlson's team, they pitched... Maybe walk us through, what was the concept? What was the brain kind of thought processes behind this and wanted to do... You created competition around how do you enhance a product? And how do you list it out and build creative based upon tools like PickFu?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, basically. So this was a crazy idea that I pitched to the PickFu team, I didn't even go and get to pick from the agencies, I just called up four agency owners that I had known had a personal relationship with and I was like, " What do I got to do to get you to do a whole listing of... And we're not going to pay for it at all. And I think there might be some exposure, but also no one might watch it." I was fortunate enough that four of the people I asked, they all said yes. And then I was having a conversation with Tim Jordan, and we were thinking about, oh, what product are we going to get? And he's like, " Well, Kevin King has this Germ Shark product, this is hand sanitizer, but he's being very public about this launch. Maybe he would let the competition focus on that?" And I was like, " Well, this is great, because maybe Kevin can help get it some exposure." And we ended up also getting to work with Karyn Thomas from Helium 10. So basically, what it was, is Kevin had this product, Germ Shark, that he was launching, he had put it through the initial launch, and there were some core problems in terms of messages on the listing that weren't being received correctly. Hand Sanitizer, even though it seems simple, there's a lot of nuance things about it, like the smell or how quickly it's going to dry from your hands or if it's got safe ingredients, and so-
Ryan Cramer: crosstalk what it's packaged in, which I love this story of what he tells.
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: That garbage bag that he said that people were packaging and shipping it off from, basically of a bag that would just explode everywhere inside a box or anything of that sort. So problems that exist in real life, right? These are not just... Kevin King is a eight figure, nine- figure seller. I'm going to say nine- figure seller, and he has the same problems that people are just starting have all the time. It's just how do you resolve those problems? So yeah, continue. Sorry.
Anthony Cofrancesco: No, you're spot on. Kevin King is arguably... He knows what he's doing when it comes to launching products. And so he had this product, and basically what he allowed us to do is we had these four agencies, we gave them a brief based on all of these things that they wanted to enhance or upgrade with the listing or clarify. And so we had four different categories. There was photography, there was graphic design, copywriting and video, and the agencies had about a month and a half to... There were 16 different deliverables, the video that you'll watch, we had to really slim it down. But we had 16 different deliverables, so they went and redesigned things like the packaging, went and redid the some of the copy, did some photography shoots, did video. Then Karyn and Kevin were the ones to actually judge it and to come up with a score based on who they thought did the best. Aside from the agencies that were involved, there was two copywriting teams. So two the agencies didn't have in- house copy teams. So we paired them up with Amy inaudible, big shout out and also Sasha Gorelick from Sasha Gorelick Copywriting, copywriting that went and helped with that. And so the cool thing was the deliverables from the agencies were all really good, really top notch. Getting to see Karyn and Kevin vote was helpful, really cool to see their perspectives, what was even more... And this is a little pitch for PickFu is we gave PickFu unlimited access to all the agencies to use. And that made a big difference in terms of getting higher quality deliverables. And then also getting to see Kevin, who, again, is a expert- level seller, going through the PickFu results, and that would actually challenge his own thoughts about what he thought was good. And coming to the realization that with a lot of these products, when we're the ones selling them, we're probably a lot of the times too close to the product to make really good and unbiased decisions about what people really want. And that's kind of the whole point about PickFu, you can watch the YouTube video, you can check out the article. But there's a lot of little aha moments not only for what the judges thought, for what PickFu thought, but also too in terms of how the assets were created. So like one of the agencies, it was crazy to see their process, because we could see in the backend, the tests that they were running through, and they'd started off with this one, imagine the Sistine Chapel where it's like the hands reaching out, and they were kind of reaching across the hand sanitizer, and then they change the variation, and they go through five or six different variations to end up with an infographic. And you're like, " Wow, the basis of this is inaudible, we want to replicate the Sistine Chapel and you see this theme go through in their videos." And you're like, " This is..." It's like art at some level, and it's just really cool to see.
Ryan Cramer: That's what branding is to inaudible it, right? You're telling a story. And by definition, you're invoking either an emotional response, you're telling a story, or you're painting a picture, either literally or figuratively. And that's what this competition is and again, no spoilers to who ended up winning, you're going to have to check out the link in the comments section right there on the screen or in the show notes to see who ended up winning. So with that being said, with something as public as this, does that improve your ability to get creative with this aspect? Or is it something that you know that being creative with... What I mean by this question is, is it easier to be creative when you know there's other people who are going to go after the same either thoughts or products, and maybe you're trying to win business? Or is it something that is just a motivating factor like this is their day to day? Do you think you saw more creativity from this because of this competition? Or maybe day to day, if a seller went to this, and you're like, " Hey, I have this problem." Is this something we see continuously with agencies, with other marketing service providers? Does that make sense to you?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, that does make sense. I think that that's the part that really makes me excited to do something else like this, another version, because it's very competitive in the industry, and I think people that are running these businesses and the creative teams behind them, they wouldn't be doing this if they weren't very competitive, and if they didn't want to win, and so I think that's what pushes people to the max. I also think though, that the nature of the beast, I'm selling on a platform like Amazon, if you're selling on your own website, maybe a Shopify, something, a custom store, you're a little bit insulated, you don't see, ever, your competitors on the same page. But the nature of the beast and selling on Amazon is people are going to come in, they're going to type in a product, and how Amazon is set up is for competition, right? So the whole kind of concept we were talking about earlier, where, okay, if you go and update your creative, you just got to believe, you just got to bank on the fact that if you put out something really good for a main image of your product packaging, that your competition is going to go and copy it almost exactly into a legally safe way inside of three months and six months. And if you're a competitor, and you're not looking at what your competition is doing and saying, " Oh shoot, ours is not up to par with how this is looking." That's not going to be a good long- term strategy. It's just the nature of the beast. So the thing that's really cool about this is it teaches you if you want to be successful in this game, maintain your ranking, maintain your sales and keep your margins in a good place where you can justify a high price point. You got to be regularly upgrading your creative. I think the competition part is good. I think it replicates what actually happens in the real Amazon space. This we were lucky because Kevin allowed us to use his product in the future, I'm not 100% sure, but what I really want to see and I was talking with Tim Jordan about this, I'd really like to see a competition between the aggregators and the people with real budgets, real ability to put together creative strategies, everyone gets up and they say, " Hey, our aggregator's the best, come and sell with us." But who actually really has the ability to put together a really robust creative strategy? I think what we'd probably see out of that is, obviously, some that are better than others. But I think you'd see a lot of similarities in terms of how things are. I'm excited for the future. I don't want to give too much away. But I think there's really something here.
Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, he gave us the ultimate tease, right? I think that I would take away, if I'm a listener right now to us is, with money, there comes a little bit more opportunity, right? To an extent, you have the capability to tap into resources, the ability to brand at scale, you have the human resources, which is a part of this. So is there maybe... I won't say disconnect, is there maybe something that we need to worry about with at scale, the capability for people to take this nature, and then build it out to something as beautiful, like you said, the idea of infographics and kind of build on that? But if I'm just a one- person team, how is it that I want to use PickFu maybe as a beginner seller versus at a enterprise or medium- sized business? Does that make sense?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, it definitely does make sense. I'd say if you're first starting out with PickFu and you really are trying to use it in a cost sensitive way is think about different creative assets, and think about what's going to cost you a lot of money, and what's going to cost you a lot of time to do. So a really good example of this, imagine you're launching a new product and you're saying, " Hey, I am going to go create a logo, and I'm going to go and get that logo trademarked." This process is going to take 600 to 900 bucks to do, probably, if done in the US, and about six to nine months for that trademark, that logo, that look to be approved. And once that's done, you don't want to go back and change it, right? This is what you need to get enhanced brand content, to get... sorry, to become a branded seller, to put A plus, all these different things on your listing. So this is something you want to do once and you want to get it right. If you think about that, you've got this expense of going and getting a logo, you've got the time it takes to get it approved through the trademark process. This is a time that you're going to want to spend$ 50, $ 100 on a PickFu test and make sure that the logo you're putting out is good. Same thing with your product packaging, I see all the time, sellers are launching a new product. And they're like, " Well, I'll figure out the packaging later." And what they end up doing is they go with whatever the default packaging is from their manufacturer, they send it into the FBA warehouse, they put up their images, and there's something about the packaging that doesn't signify, " This is a reputable brand. This is something that justifies the price point." And they get killed, the algorithm goes through, they're not converting and then they end up having... Their MOQ might be 500, 1,000 units. And what are you going to do? Are you going to pull off that inventory out of FBA, repack it with new packaging? No one does that, right? It's not going to happen. So people look at it, and they're like, " Well, I can just do one design on the packaging." It's not just the time and the money it's taking you to design the packaging. It's what is the opportunity cost of just not getting that right from the beginning, what's going to be the impact on your conversion rate? So for new sellers, I try to recommend thinking about it like that. Another really common one I see... This is also for veteran sellers. I've heard the story. So many times, people are launching new variations, they have an existing ASIN, it's doing very well. And then they're like, " Okay, I'm going to come out with a few different color variations." And they just go and they call up their manufacturer, they're like, " These are the new color variations." All right, cool, 1, 000, 1,000, 1,000, 1,000, 1,000. They get them in, and then the reality of what sells is far different. So if you would have just taken the time and said, " Hey, here's the new color variations, run a few cycles of PickFu." And then you find out that the cyan color or the red or the magenta, people didn't like that at all. Well, now I don't need to go order 1, 000 units, maybe I can get those down to 100 units or not at all and then the ones that pulled really well, those are the inventory types I'm going to double down on. So just think about if you're ever doing something major, it's going to take you time or money to fix it. PickFu's a nice little insurance policy there and it's almost definitely going to be worth the money.
Ryan Cramer: Well, let's take it a step further. So you're localizing in the different marketplace too, you're going into Canada, you're going into Germany, you're going into Australia, all three different marketplaces that are going to have different buyer pools, different things that speak to them. What is it going to... What's going to pull out those people with your kind of product? Again, you're talking about just colors, localizing just colors, is Australia... They're going to have different regions, they're going to have different individuals who green may be pulling towards them more and then Germany, maybe it's blue or red or black. They're all going to be different in terms of localizing as well, because it's not just country culture, it can go as deep as religion, it can go as deep as gender. So those are the things, like you said, just going even a step further, global expansion. It's not just as simple as color. It's about the concept of localizing, making sure that you know that something is going to speak well with it, whether it's on the packaging in words, or it's just the perception of high quality or feeling that you're giving at the end of the day. So this is really cool. So what about, here's maybe a controversial question, I'm going to shoot myself in the foot by asking, has PickFu ever been wrong about a question that's been asked? I know you guys don't represent the buyer pool, but has PickFu ever been proven wrong before?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Sure. Absolutely. You think about it like this, PickFu, at the end of the day, you're asking questions in a vacuum. These are not people really buying your product. I think we're more wrong in other areas, and less wrong in other areas. So allow me to explain, right? Some people want to come in and they want to use PickFu to do price testing. They've like, " Okay, these are some B complex vitamins," and they want to come in and say, " Okay, what do you think the price point of this product should be?" Or, " Would you rather pay$ 15 or$ 30?" That is not the best use case to use PickFu, right? Just use something like Splitly, use something like Listing Dojo to go in and do those kind of tests. Where PickFu is much less wrong is when you're asking about a creative concept. What do you think? What do you notice? What engages you most? What makes you the most excited about seeing this? Because there seems to be something dramatically similar between how people's brains work, in terms of processing things, what we find to be actually good to see. But at the end of the day, you are asking questions in a vacuum. What we will say in terms of being right, it's like this is almost... It makes logical sense. This is going to be better every single time than, " Hey, I'm coming up with packaging, and I'm just going to go with my gut." Or, " I'm going to ask someone who might be inherently biased to answer the question like my partner, or my spouse, or my friends." So is getting a sample size of 50 people going to be better than asking one person and reading through those responses? In that regard, I think we're almost never wrong. But also too, you could just ask the completely wrong market. So if you're selling to an audience that's like males and doesn't exercise, and then you target your... I don't know why you would do this, but you target your audience in terms of females that have a high exercise frequency, yeah, then you would have skewed answers, but most people are smart enough to not ask the dramatically wrong audience of who they're selling to.
Ryan Cramer: Right, that makes sense. So I mean, that's something that I think people also assume is, again, this is not a silver bullet, as the term I use that Casey Goss always uses. There's no ever silver bullet that fixes every single problem, this is something that it's going to help you reassess or guide you in the right way. So that's something I wanted to make sure and clear, not to call out PickFu, I would love for you guys to be 100% right. It's almost like the crystal ball, right? We want to make sure we know the exact feature, but it's always how you interpret what's presented to you in that regard. So that being said, what's kind of the... So as we work more into 2021, again, the second half of the inaudible, I personally have seen more creative coming out with images and videos. Do you see videos becoming more and more important as brands kind of develop? Are you guys testing those? Or what are the additional things that customers are requesting for you to test for them?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, video is just getting bigger and bigger. And the thing is, the application for PickFu is much larger for video than it is for anything else. Because again, think of what we were talking about earlier, the time and the cost it takes to produce a really well done video, getting some feedback in terms of early on in the creative process, and then also later on in the post editing. Some of the biggest things we're seeing in video right now, for these PPC ads that show up in the search results, the videos that we seem to be the most effective are in very short form. They don't require any music, and you're kind of seeing some words on the screen snipped between videos of people actually using the product, right? So some of the most impactful tests that people have been running on those videos is what's the copy going to look like? So if I'm maybe highlighting three or four features about this product, what's going to be the first one, what's going to be the second, could I switch up those words? You've already done the shoot, you already know that, okay, I've got good shots of people using the product, but what's the order of how those features should come up, or what should the words be? If I'm just scrolling through the page, I'm seeing this video ad, is the first one or two seconds going to be enough to make me watch it through to the end. Am I going to get the crucial information that's going to make me want to click into the listing. We're also seeing this as well for the longer- form video ads. Moving beyond just testing copy, people are using this... And this is a big thing that a lot of people don't think about. But let's say you're going to hire a voiceover artist or you're going to hire a spokesperson. You're going to have a wide range of who you could pick from there, and you might be spending a significant amount of money, a couple$ 100 if not more to hire an actual actor to do these speaking lines. So now instead of just saying like, " I don't know, we got a list of 15 people, I guess Brian sounds good for the male voice actor, age 45 plus." Or now you actually run these through to test, to test the music backtrack, to test all of these... There's so many more rich components when it comes down into a video. So if you're spending like$2, 000, maybe$ 5, 000 to put together a really good video creative, you can test a lot of individual components. I think ad copy is probably the one of the biggest, like what text shows up, and then things related to sound. Then also hook, right? That's another big one we're seeing is people saying they'll shoot different versions of a hook, and they'll run those through PickFu. And they're going to say which one of these is the most engaging, which one's going to make you want to stop. We see this done over and over again, also people recording... In the shoot, they'll have their script writers write out like five different versions of the call to action, they'll shoot all five of them, run it through PickFu, and so rather than having to run all these different variations through your ad platform, whether you're doing this on Amazon, or likely off Amazon through Facebook ads, now instead of putting it out there and spending thousands of dollars to see what works, now we know, " Oh, hook two linked with CTA four, this is what people want. So I'm just saving a lot of time."
Ryan Cramer: Right. How do we keep people from getting paralysis by analysis? Because you talked about all the different ways that we can test these kinds of options. How do we protect people from going to these dark holes, if you will, of the possibilities of testing? And how far is far enough, basically?
Anthony Cofrancesco: It really depends primarily on the size of your team. If you're a one- person show, if you're a one- person show with an outsourced team and you're managing creatives, stick to what I talked about before, think about is this something that's taking a significant amount of time and money and only focus on using PickFu for those things. If you're a massive team and you've got the resources to do it, then you're going to want to think about integrating this more and more. It's like John Hefter from Thrasio to what he says is, they're using PickFu for almost every major creative decision. If you're a smaller team, you're not going to be able to test most of your infographics, you probably don't have the budget to spend thousands of dollars per product just on PickFu. So think about what's going to be the thing that's hardest to change, that's going to take longest to change, and is going to have the biggest impact, whether that CTR or conversion rate.
Ryan Cramer: Right, because we're always iterating. So obviously, integrating over time, the most important things first, and then as things continue to develop, like your brand imaging, just enhancements in that regards, or just iterations from different products, do those over time, not just all at once. And the best thing to do is get started once you have the correct information on hand, but then also just important information at hand, just know what's important to you and stick with it and don't get lost on all these different holes and never begin, you got to begin somewhere. So that's definitely helpful in that regard. So maybe to close off the episode today, Anthony, is what are you most excited about for the rest of the year, whether it's internally with your team or maybe externally with like things going on, whether it's events, or just news that you think is out there that's happening, or trends that you're seeing, what's kind of the exciting things for you in that regard?
Anthony Cofrancesco: I'll give a couple. One of the ones I'm really excited for, this is Amazon specific, is I've been really diving into this recently, I did some research and collaborated with Liran from Incrementum Digital and he helped a lot, Amazon has this thing inside of its platform that very few sellers are using called managed experiments. It allows you to, inside of seller central, you can split test your title, your main image and your A plus content. Not every ASIN is going to be eligible, but for medium to larger sized sellers, most things will be. This is something that's free to do, go with your creative team, come up with a variation for your main image and start running these tests right away. It's super valuable, larger sellers are doing this and they're already picking up significant gains in terms of testing these. It also takes a few weeks for each test to execute, it's a minimum of four weeks. So if you start tomorrow on a main image test, you won't even have the results for a minimum of four weeks and they recommend going even longer. So start doing this now, I recommend starting with your main image, moving on to your title and then the most difficult thing is going to be A plus content, actually having duplicate versions of your A plus content. Go check this out, get your creative team to start doing this because it is going to be... It's already helping sellers a lot pick up little marginal gains. The other thing that's really important about it is it doesn't affect your sales ranking. Not related to FBA specifically... Dude, I'm super stoked that these conferences are coming back. It's been a tough year. And I think just this whole partnerships, business development side of thing is just obviously... It's just not the same. You're hitting up people on Instagram. You're like, " Hey, let's do this thing," and you're trying to coordinate over WhatsApp. I cannot wait, Prosper is going to be crosstalk can't wait to see everyone, can't wait to actually... I feel like things are going to move 10 times faster then. Then I also just got to give a shout out, Helium 10, we just put out a software integration. So you can actually use PickFu natively inside of the Helium 10 tool, it's something called Audiences, you'll see that on the dashboard on the left- hand side. So if you're a Helium 10 user, and you've never used PickFu, just check it out there, it's super easy to do, and I'm just excited-
Ryan Cramer: Surprise, yeah, you can now use PickFu now within Helium 10. So a surprise if you didn't know that.
Anthony Cofrancesco: Yeah, man, I think this whole industry, it's going nowhere but up. Obviously, there's probably going to be ups and downs on the way to get there. But anyone who's here right now, anyone who's working in this, we picked the right place to be, maybe it was luck, maybe it was strategy, but I'm just so excited to see what the rest of the year is going to hold for everyone.
Ryan Cramer: The answer is already present... We already knew the answer. We just didn't know how it was going to be presented to itself and what questions you're going to have to ask to get there, right? So ultimately, as always, what's the best way to connect with you, is it LinkedIn, is it through, like you said, Instagram messaging or anything like that? What's the best way right now for Anthony, for them to connect with you if they have questions?
Anthony Cofrancesco: Email's fine, anthony @ pickfu. com. It might take me a couple days, I think we all probably are a little bit overloaded there. But if we're at a conference, just come up and talk to me, don't be shy. Everyone is super nice and friendly. And I think that applies not just for me, but everyone in the industry. If you're watching this podcast or you're listening to the podcast, and you see anyone you want to talk to, I feel like everyone in this industry is super cool. There's not a lot of big egos, despite what people will tell you. And everyone I've met is remarkably, really cool. I remember coming to these conferences years ago, and I was very nervous, but I was like, " I'm just going to go up and talk to this person." And they'll just talk to you for a long time, and they'll answer your questions. And yeah, so feel free, email, you can hit me up on Instagram, whatever works, I'll try to be as responsive as possible.
Ryan Cramer: Well, that's amazing. Well, I appreciate that invitation. But I can imagine too, the conferences that people will be interacting with people. Hopefully the engagement is not just amongst thought leaders, but also on seller front as well. I hear all the time people just don't interact, but the invitation is always open. So if you're listening to this, take advantage of that and just start a conversation. Buy Anthony or beer ora drink or just sit down in general and ask him a question or two, and I'm sure he'll definitely be a person you want to pick his brain further on. So thank you so much, man, for hopping on. As always, again, front of the show, repeat. Just wanted to make sure we understand where you guys were going, there's so much happening. So that's why I thought it was necessary to get PickFu back on here. If you haven't checked out PickFu, as always, you can actually check out the link with PingPong below in the comment section. I know we have a special signup bonus, I believe, it's... Or just a couple free polls, if you will. If you haven't signed up, go ahead and try that out as well. And, as always, thanks so much, Anthony, for hopping on Crossover Commerce.
Anthony Cofrancesco: Thanks for having me, Ryan. This has been really fun.
Ryan Cramer: Of course, anytime. Again, everyone, thank you for hopping on 125 episode of Crossover Commerce. This is my show where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon e- commerce space. This week has been crazy, we've had so many great guests and individuals who have come and shared their own insights on whether it's brokering deals, whether it's just testing, or again, it's anyone in from marketing standpoints as well. Next week will be a little bit different. This has been, obviously, filmed and recorded over... well, it's a holiday weekend. So we'll be back better than before, as always, I like to think we're better than before the last episode. Here next Tuesday, we'll have an action packed week of people from different industries, we have shipping logistics we're going to talk about, we're talking about reimbursements with inaudible and we're going to be talking a little bit more about just really sourcing on logistics side of things. I think that's a question and topic that's always been brought up from one capacity or another. So we're going to dive a little bit more into that, and some of the businesses that are helping provide some solutions. So as always, you can go and subscribe to our channels on social media follow, myself or PingPong payments as well to be notified of future episodes and, of course, follow our guests as well, Anthony had to hop out already but thank you so much Anthony for hopping on as always in Brazil. If you see him at Prosper Show, give him a shout out as well. I'm Ryan Cramer, again, host of this show, Crossover Commerce. Thanks for hopping on and listening to episode 125. Take care, everyone.
Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with, friend of the show, Anthony Cofrancesco of PickFu about finding the answers you didn’t know you needed.
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