How a $1m brand becomes a $10m brand ⎜ Electric Eye ⎜ EP 164
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. Hello everyone once again to another great episode of Crossover Commerce, I'm your host Ryan Cramer, and this is my corner of the internet, where I bring you the best and brightest minds in the Amazon and e- commerce industry, bringing you actionable insights to help apply it to your business today, to scale your brands to the level you want to do it, that's why you got into e- commerce, that's why you got into entrepreneurship, that's why you are here listening to this amazing podcast. Without further ado, before we get started, of course, we want to give a shout out to our sponsor PingPong Payments. Again, PingPong Payments has now helped over a million customers worldwide, scaling their brands, by saving money internationally, by sending and receiving money and cross border payments, whether it's paying out your suppliers, your manufacturers, your employee, your VAs worldwide. Or if you're just selling on multiple marketplaces, whether it's on Amazon, or Shopify or eBay, wherever you might be selling your goods as a brand. Use PingPong Payments to help consolidate, and make cross border payments more effectively, save more money inaudible your bottom line. That being said, you can sign up today for free in the show notes below, or if you're listening to this, those will be in the show notes, if you're watching this live on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, you can also sign up in the link provided in the comment section. Because this is live, ask your questions, go ahead and fire them away, tell us where you're listening from, tell us how your thoughts are. If you disagree, agree, this is an open forum if you happen to be listening to us live, or if you want to just go and connect with our guests or myself, you can do so again on social media. But all of our episodes are located on our website, just check out usa. pingpongx. com/ podcast as well. That being said, now that that's off the table, again, I apologize yesterday for people who are looking for episode, it's funny to know that the internet has so many different effects on so many different ways of podcasting in general, and I just wanted to say, because of the outage on Facebook and WhatsApp and Instagram, it allowed me to not go live to any of those platforms, and in term it affected the platform we use for podcasting. So that being said, we actually moved that episode two Thursday this week, that would be October, gosh, today would be October 5th, so that would be October 7th, so if you're looking for that episode that's going to be actually after that. So 163 will come after 164, just work with me people it's a live living, breathing organism that we're working with, especially in e- commerce, you have to pivot as we go, and stay in the industry. So that being said, this episode, as you saw in the introduction, how a million dollar brand becomes a$ 10 million brand, that is something we're going to be talking about today. And of course, I like to think that you hear all the great stories of putting sweat equity into business, you come up with a fantastic idea, you come up with a killer name, you trademark it, you find your group, or your people, your loyal following, you get it to that level of great, I made$ 10 million, now what? That's a question that a lot of people get to that market, and if they truly are trying to build scalable brands, that that is the mentality of now we've got some success behind ourselves, how can we make that scale to the next level, and again, one million to 10 million, it can be any sort of number, it can be two to six, or it can be 10 to 50. It can be any number that you yourself as an entrepreneur, or e- commerce brand are trying to come up with. But how do you take that next step that next level? We're going to talk about today, and again, as we alluded too in the introduction, we're going to be talking with not just entrepreneur and founder of an agency, but he is also a podcaster himself, so we'll get lots of insight from him. His name is Chase Clymer of Electric Eye guy, and him his team, he's actually been in the space, him and his team actually create Shopify power sales machines, from a strategic design development marketing decisions. Like I said, he's also host of the podcast, Honest e- commerce, which is weekly, and provide online store owners with honest actionable advice, to increase your sales and grow their business. So of course, if you're a friend of the show, and you love listening to this podcast, you want to make sure that you subscribe to that podcast as well. Without further ado, go on ahead and kick off this episode, with one and only Chase Clymer, Chase, welcome to Crossover Commerce.
Chase Clymer: Hey, thanks for having me.
Ryan Cramer: Of course, yeah. So before we get started, where are you tuning in from? Where's your base of operations, not basement, or what area are you from if you are?
Chase Clymer: I would prefer to be in the basement, and maybe be a little bit cooler. No, so we are a fully remote agency, but funny enough, almost all of us are here in Columbus, Ohio, I guess, would be the home base of operations would be here in Columbus. But yeah, we went fully remote about three months before COVID was even a term that I had heard, so we lucked out a little bit there. Because it didn't really affect us as much, because we were putting a lot of work in place before that, to basically be remote first as a business decision. With that being said, we are looking at getting another office, but just to get out of the house, somewhere to have internet if it goes out of whack, inaudible mandatory at all. But, yeah, we put a lot of work into those processes making remote first, whatever. And with that being said, our project manager was down in Guatemala for three weeks, and you wouldn't even know.
Ryan Cramer: That's amazing. Well, I think there's so many fascinating stories that. And it was cool that you guys went that route before even again, people were,'forced to', and I think that it's changes culture. There's been a lot of articles have come out recently, that is that honeymoon period over, or people really want to get back to office? And again, that's an evolving process. But Columbus, Ohio, I'm in Indianapolis, Indiana, so we're just hop, skip and jump on I72 each other. So that being said, it's really cool that you guys are remote first. As an agency, what did you do before that, were you always in e- commerce, or did you find your way there?
Chase Clymer: Oh, man, I've been in digital marketing, probably for 12 or 13 years, which most people wouldn't believe. So once upon a time, I was in a touring band, and being in a band is fantastic, you get to see the country, you get to make some really, really cool connections, and people that you're going to be friends with for life. But it doesn't pay your bills, unless you're really doing it the right way. So the whole time I was in the band, I was freelancing, I was doing layout designs for a magazine, they asked for help with the website, I started learning website stuff, then I picked up a few other clients and I was building their websites. And now they're like, I need help with marketing. So the whole time I was touring, I was cutting my teeth in the digital space, learning the ins and outs of all this stuff. Fast forward, we decided to, to hang it up, and so I had all of this background and experience in digital, so I went all in on that, and I was a professional freelancer for a couple of years. And then eventually my business partner, who funny enough we met from when I was in the band, me and him designed the album art of my band's first two albums together, that's literally how we met. He was saying, " Hey, man, I've got all these clients on Shopify, and I need help with marketing, and you know how Facebook ads work, I think we can do something here. And then next thing you know, we had six or seven retainer clients, and we pulled a name out of a hat, no, it was more of a list of names. So we decided upon, and then Electric Eye was born.
Ryan Cramer: First and foremost, we have to know, what instrument were we playing, or were you the singer?
Chase Clymer: I was playing bass in the band, they were lucky I wasn't the singer.
Ryan Cramer: Slapping the bass, okay, and the name of the band was?
Chase Clymer: It's for everyone to Google, because I never give it away.
Ryan Cramer: Oh, okay. Well, we'll leave that as a cliffhanger-
Chase Clymer: Background of my video, for anyone that has a keen eye.
Ryan Cramer: There you go. Okay, well, we'll have to keep in inaudible. So, not by force, but almost all these people, you were learning along the way, you had some time on your hands as you're traveling, because obviously going from city to city traveling around on bus, or van, or whatever that might be, so you're learning along the way. This was back in what era, or what time period is?
Chase Clymer: Back when MySpace was still a thing is when I was still doing learning stuff, MySpace stopped being a thing as the band was wrapping up. What I was doing more often back then, I was doing more WordPress projects to be honest, I was working a lot more with service based business. Which is super hilarious, because all of those skills translated over to starting my own business a few years later. Because obviously, I own an agency and that's service, so all those things are definitely very translatable. But at the beginning, when we were getting things start with Electric Eye, I will tell you that I was scared of e- commerce, mostly because I was scared of, with WordPress, at least my history, my understanding of payments and whatnot, was there's a lot more going on there, and one misplaced semicolon, could ruin someone's entire day, and they wouldn't make any sales, and it'd be my fault, and I didn't want to take that responsibility. Enter Shopify, and I was in there checking things out, and then I immediately was just like, well, this thing's fantastic, I can't break it, let's run.
Ryan Cramer: That's true. Well, and that's the thing, I think that's surprised a lot of people, I come back from, again, this is 2014 and'15, so for the Amazon world, I always call it, the beginning of the Wild West era of anything goes, you throw it on there, it sells, so on and so forth, as long as you're competent, have a listing, you get the information out there, anyone could sell it. But back in 2014, and'15, I was using Magento, and I had no idea as well. So I remember learning from our team of maybe two or three, and our developer and he said, " If you press these buttons, or you click save, or if you press publish, you will break these websites." So they put me in a sandbox basically on the back end. And I had that same fear Chase of, if I created something, or if I created a coupon code, it was really 100% inaudible, or put that extra zero at the end, that was really going to get me in trouble in terms of sales, and you can't take that back. It's not something you can say, actually, that's not the price, whatever it is in the car is in the car, and that digital transaction is going to happen. Also broken websites, because there's so much traffic. So I definitely really in terms of that competency, in terms of Shopify, for people who may not have dipped their toes into it, you say you can't break inaudible it's almost like it's so simple, is that really what draws a lot of people to it, across the board, and why you're hearing so much about it? Just the simplicity of it, or the customer ability of it, or the ability to customize it? Is that what really draws people to it ultimately?
Chase Clymer: I think that, well, historically what drew me to it isn't the same thing that it makes it a power player in the game today, what drew me to it back then was obviously ease of use, and it definitely made it a lot easier for someone that's... I'm not a developer by trade, if I was to say what I'm the best at it, it's probably strategy. And so when we were getting agency started, we weren't as custom as we are now with the development side of things. But none of that really matters, let's fast forward to now, what's good about Shopify now, right? So there are a bunch of different platforms out there. You've got your marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and all that stuff. Those are a completely different style of business than building a brand, and selling direct to your own customer. So when you're going that route, you can build it on any platform that you want, I'm just going to save you a lot of work, start on Shopify, and you're not going to regret it. Any limitation out there that someone is telling you exist about Shopify, is a limitation that it's in their own mind, you can do any customization that you want with Shopify. They are rapidly expanding all of the API endpoints, so you can honestly do whatever you want within Shopify. With all that said, is what you want to do on Shopify, even something you should be doing on Shopify, that's usually where people aren't making any sense. Shopify is built specifically for the direct consumer model. You're selling a product to an end customer, anytime you get further and further away from that simple, simple statement, you're getting further and further away from Shopify being the right platform for you. But everybody is trying to put a square peg into a round hole, and then say the platform sucks, which is just you're trying to break it with your idea.
Ryan Cramer: Great. So is that maybe the hardest part of e- commerce for a customer client, if they're coming to you and they're saying, " I want to do this." And ultimately you just have to say, " Why?" Almost keep it simple, stupid of people know what they want, or when they come to your page or product, and they find you, ultimately you want to make that as seamless of the transition as possible, from getting into that click to the cart, and have them checkout as quickly as possible. Is that really the hardest part is to almost try to dumb it down for people, instead of having them create those intricacies, if you will?
Chase Clymer: If you're a startup, and I'm going to say a startup is anywhere from zero to a million dollars a year. You are probably over complicating way too many things, you don't need to Custom theme when you're that young of a business, you don't need a crazy feature custom user experience, when you're not that young of a brand. What you need to do is you need to invest all of your time and energy and excess capital into marketing and advertising, and building out a sales flywheel that actually will propel your business to the next level, all the other stuff doesn't matter. People that are just rigidly watching their KPIs when they're a brand that small, it doesn't matter. At a million dollars a year, if you're watching your conversion rate, and trying to make assumptions on decisions you're making on your website, all of that is your gut feeling, you can't get a statistical significant result from CRO, at doing a million dollars a year, unless you have just the world's lowest AOV, and your sales are through the roof, but now I'm getting a little more controversial. But basically, to do actual conversion rate optimization, you need conversions, and then you need a lot of conversions to say that the one choice was actually better, and that is very rare for a million dollar your business, to even get any data around that. The coffee just kicked in, and I'm going off on tangents, so I apologize.
Ryan Cramer: No, we're good.
Chase Clymer: I'll answer your question, what's the hardest part of e- commerce? I don't think it's the technology choice at all, people make that harder than it should be, and hopefully, by the content I put out, and yourself and all of your other guests, I feel like we're trying to point people in the right direction, just make a choice, move on, that stuff doesn't matter for a long time. But what is the hardest part of e- commerce, which is what I believe a lot of entrepreneurs do mistakenly is they launch, and then they go, why isn't selling, because they never put in work about vetting the product, and seeing if they have product market fit, that is truly the hardest part of e- commerce, it's getting that hard to describe intangible product market fit thing. It's a thing where, you know it when you have it, but when you don't, you can't figure out how to grasp it. But some tricks I've learned along the way, from interviewing a lot of founders that have gone through that struggle, and just my experience in the industry is it literally always starts with interviewing the people that are buying from you, and asking them all about what it is that they enjoy about your product, and then interviewing the people that aren't buying from you, and asking them why they're not buying your product. Sometimes it comes down to positioning, or the offer involved, or a bunch of other things that you don't know, because you're not your customer. That's something that a lot of people need to understand, you are not your customer, so you need to ask your customer what they are thinking, to then market things better for those ideal customers.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Well, and that was the funny thing too, is I gave this talk yesterday, believe it or not, I said the sneaky ways of adding to your business, and being profitable, and adding to the bottom line. And I just said simply on people, believe it or not, are customers that are trying to be entrepreneurs, at the end of the day, they're just starting their business, where they're going to lose every single time they make a sale. And what I mean by that is, their product costs are too high, there is no market fit, so they're literally sitting on an inventory, that is not being sustainable, or not at the velocity of what they needed to be, their advertising costs are way too high. All these different things that at the end of the day, just bare minimum, they can't sell this product to make a profit. So what you're telling me is that, it's one of those things that I'm losing the point I'm getting to, its fascinating that it's people are not looking at the product fit, in the solution that this product will yield, correct? It's so simplistic in that realm of what is my product trying to achieve? Is it trying to make me feel a certain way, or to fix a problem? Or what's the ultimate North Star, and they lose that, it's just, " Hey, I think that there's a keyword searches, high keyword search, I'm going to create a product that fits into that category, and I'm going to sell a ton." Well, it doesn't differentiate itself, and that's that next level of, how is it going to separate itself from every other thing out there? Is that more or less what you're trying to say?
Chase Clymer: Yeah, for the most part, I think it's just people, it's entrepreneurs, and it's younger entrepreneurs, they tend to focus more on products, and things that don't matter, like the website design, or their app stack, where they need to be focused on the product, and customers more. So they need to focus on where are those customers, how can I get in front of them, how can I get their feedback, how can I use that feedback to iterate upon my product, so I can start to build up this flywheel to where the goal, and here's a litmus test of whether or not you have product market fit, is are strangers on the internet buying your product, it's pretty much that simple. Not your dad, not your brother, it's literal people you've never met, are they giving you their hard earned money to buy your product? And at that point, then you're probably onto something, and you should start to double down on what's working.
Ryan Cramer: Right. So in that regards, what is that next step, we were talking about, inaudible I found the product, strangers are starting to buy it, whether I'm on Amazon, whether I'm on my own website, and I'm starting to see results come in, right? You said a startup is anywhere from zero to$ 1 million. So I'm still a startup., but I've achieved that ceiling, if you will, of a startup success. That's a lot of hard work, and we're not mitigating the hard work it takes to get there, but I think that next jump, if you will, is where a lot of people get lost, or they're not sure. Where do I turn? How do I make this scalable? How do I make it enhanced? What is that thing that they you tend to tell either your customers, or listeners or anything like that? What do you what do you think it is that takes that brain from one million to 10, and scalable?
Chase Clymer: Yeah, so for the sake of the next set of this conversation, we're going to assume that a couple years, or maybe a year, if you're really, really good at this have gone by, and you're starting to get some KPIs, going to where you're projecting roughly a million dollars a year, right? That's just an arbitrary number, because people love the word million dollars. You could do the same process at less of a scale, or at more of a scale, as far as velocity goes in revenue, but we're just going to use a million because it's easy, right? So let's now dive into the answer of that question. How do brands go from$ 1 million a year, to$ 10 million a year? Data and strategy, that's it, you guys can end the podcast, we're done. But no, let me tell you why. All right, so-
Ryan Cramer: That's it, folks, thanks for listening.
Chase Clymer: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: That's it.
Chase Clymer: There are some certain KPIs that drive e- commerce businesses, there's three of them actually that matter, so there's three KPIs that truly matter, to drive an e- commerce business, right? So it is your conversion rate, your average order value, and your sessions, then you're going to take a look at these numbers, we look at the numbers at the agency over the last 30 days. Unless you've got a really sporadic sales calendar, where it's heavily in one certain place, then maybe do an average over the last 12 months, but we usually just do the last 30 days, and so you take the average order value for the last 30 days, you take your conversion rate for the last 30 days, then you multiply it by the sessions that you had in the last 30 days. And when you multiply them all together, you get your sales for the last 30 days, basically, because that's math, right? So now you've got a baseline, right? So why does that matter? So you got a baseline here with three KPIs that output your top level sales, so let's drill into each of those KPIs, and talk about what they really mean, and why they're important, and why this simple equation is going to change how you think about e- commerce and how you're going to scale your business. So the first one that I mentioned there, is conversion rate. People oftentimes really, this is a number people really want to manipulate and that's fantastic, it is a big lever. I would say it's probably the second hardest lever to pool in e- commerce to really do something. But let's start talking through an example here, right? So Ryan, you have a widget company, and you guys are doing pretty good, then you're you're basically doing a million dollars a year in sales, right? So in the last 30 days, you had a 2% conversion rate, your average order value 75 bucks, and you're getting around 60, 000 sessions a month, right? Some real simple data. You multiply all those things together, you're doing about 90K a month, in monthly sales, you're doing about a million dollars a year in sales, right? It's 1080 for the math guys out there. I also have a spreadsheet in front of me that makes this really easy, so-
Ryan Cramer: Chase is cheating on his test, that he's giving so we're good.
Chase Clymer: Yeah, memorizing how these work is a goal of mine eventually, so I can rattle this off without a spreadsheet, but for the time being I have a spreadsheet, and anyone you can get the spreadsheet off me, just email me and I'll give you the spreadsheet. So now let's dive into your conversion rate, your conversion rates 2%, so let's make some hypothetical statements about your widget company. For the last year, you've done exactly what I recommended, which was you focused purely on trying to get people through the door, you let the website take a backburner. You guys use an off the shelf theme that you found that you liked, that was a good enough solution for the time being, but you know because you can also look at some other data, yeah, the website's definitely slow, especially on mobile, we can see a huge difference between mobile conversion rate, and our desktop conversion rate. We know that our customer journeys a bit clunky, because while this is a responsive theme, this journey wasn't built for our customers to do our our thing, especially on mobile, you see a lot of area of opportunity from your data to, yeah, I think if we invested in the website, and we improved the customer journey, we made it faster, we made it make more sense, we can see a jump to the conversion rate, right? So let's just say that that whole thing is a homerun, because you hire the best team you can afford, or you guys just have that on lock in house. So you put all this time and money, and invest in improving the conversion rates, so now you've jumped your conversion rate from 2% to 3%, right? But nothing else in your business has changed, right? What that's going to do is that's going to take your monthly sales from 90, 000 a month to$135, 000 a month, and that's a half a million dollar improvement on just focusing on one KPI. Right?
Ryan Cramer: Right.
Chase Clymer: So that lever is hard, and it is doable, but the next one, I think, is the one that most people overlook, and it's probably the easiest to actually improve at times. So that is the average order value. The average order value is actually an insanely large driver of revenues, and it's as simple as this to increase your average order value, right? Bundles, cross sells and upsells, it's that simple. And I don't know why anyone else is trying to make it any harder, think about your customer, think about your products, and think about what more would help them, what goes well with that product, you know what I mean? So this is where you got to go a little more hypothetical. So Ryan's widget company, it lends itself to actually, you're going to use more of these widgets, because they're so sweet. So Ryan invents a really awesome widget bundle builder, where you buy three widgets for a certain deal, and the experience is great, and now that's built in their new website, right? So their$ 75 ricochet increases, that increases their$ 75 average order value, to up around 100 bucks, right? So just that improvement alone, let's pretend the conversion rate never changed, and all they did was focus on that, right? So that's an increase things about$ 400,000 a year, it takes it from 90K a month, to about a buck 21 a month, right? So those are two different strategies, that you can use to increase things, but this is where most brands go first, which is actually the third step that I'm talking about, which is sessions, right? I'm sure you know where I'm going here. It's paid traffic, its-
Ryan Cramer: More people. Yeah.
Chase Clymer: Yeah, everyone's like, I want more sales, they want to go straight to media buying, which is a way to do it, but let's say you went straight to media buying, and you didn't focus on those other KPIs. And you invested all of your budget into doubling your amount of traffic per year, which is A, doable and B, about as much as you want to do, you never really want to have your mix be more paid than it is organic, because things start to get a little weird. But let's say that you do that, right? You double your traffic, everyone, I think should know this, that your sales will double right, if everything else stays the same, your sales will double. The sad part about it is your conversion rate will actually go down a little bit, because all this new traffic isn't as familiar, and it's not going to convert as well at that historical rate. But you're still making another million dollars a year, and you just focus there. But what if you did this the way that I'm proposing, and the way that we do for all of our clients, the way that I tell everyone to do is you focus on the other KPIs first, you focus on making that experience as amazing as possible, so you try to get that conversion rate from 2% to 3%, or whatever your starting point is to the best position you can get it. And then within the customer journey, you have these upsell, cross sell and bundling opportunities, that make sense, and it feels helpful. Because I'll break it down for you, people like to buy, but they don't like to be sold. So when the experience on their website, it feels like they're getting taken advantage of, and it's maybe it's jarring, it takes them out of the whole shopping experience, because it's just some pop up that's a different color, different fonts, seems clunky, that's not going to really work. But if you invest the time and energy and you do it the right way, to where this feels natural and I feel like they're actually helping me, you will see raises to your average order value. So you did that as well. So you focused on the conversion rate, you focused on the average order value, you made improvements to your user experience, you made improvements to your offer, and then you go and focus on improving your sessions. Which is usually people are doing this through paid ads, Facebook, Google, let's be real, that's what they're doing. But if you do this in the order that I'm proposing here, you're going to see an increase of your monthly sales go from$ 90, 000 a month to$364, 000 a month. That's a 300% improvement. So now your yearly sales are about a million dollars a year, going up to$3.2 million a year. So you're looking at a realistic 3X improvement, because these three KPIs are compounding, when you do the work on each of them individually. So I just ranted for a good 20 minutes, I think, Ryan, questions?
Ryan Cramer: No, I was going to say, it was only 10, we're good. No. And that's the beauty of being able to look at the clock. No, all makes sense, and I think is super valuable, this is why I didn't interject is because numbers don't lie at the end of the day following data, ultimately will lead you to success, you have to know your numbers inside and out. And that's what I alluded to earlier is knowing your numbers, in terms of what your spend is, what your product cost is, but then also knowing just traffic to your your website, like you said. You can look at sessions, you can look at paid media, you can look at abandoned cart rates, you can look at all the stuff in those tools, that we alluded to through Shopify, through Amazon, all these kinds of things. Amazon's a little bit more protective data, but on your own website, you can see how many people are abandoning carts, or what their average order, this is just simple math, and these are spreadsheets, you can reach out to chase and he'll connect you with simple math building skills of, this is the sheet, this is how you build it out, and this is how you compound it, it all makes sense. I think you're right. The number one thing that I hear a lot of people is is I want more eyeballs, and I want more conversions, therefore I'm going to make my spin larger, to get their eyeballs onto my website, so that that conversion rate just stays true, they don't work on the conversion itself like the rate at which you are converting, that doesn't come first. And then the average order for that customer, or how many widgets that customers purchasing, they don't focus on that either. So per transaction, the things that you can actually have a hand in, without spending money is those kinds of two areas, which I think is super important that you said. So once you build that and optimize those, that's where the more obviously, if you double the amount of people that come to your website, then that theory, again, math, should double the amount of conversions you're talking about, or triple or whatever. So don't make sense to me, why aren't people doing it? That's the question.
Chase Clymer: Because, well, there's a few reasons, right? It's because, I believe that there are consultants out there that will just take people's money, and do what they say, which works sometimes, it's not the way that we run things, at Electric Eye, we are very honest, we're very consultative, and we want to make sure it'll make sense. We're going to look at these numbers before we even start the engagement, and we're going to be like, look, this is where you're at, we don't think this is a worthwhile investment for you, and here's why. Or some people are too young in the game, and we have referrals off into our network, go work with these people on these things, maybe hopefully, we'll see it next year, and it will make more sense. I think a lot of people get this wrapped up in the, all the super winning case studies that they seen about Facebook ads, $ 10, 000 made me a million dollars, that'll never happen again everybody, costs are through the roof, Facebook, you can't even report on that stuff anymore, they can hardly keep their servers online, as of today. You're not going to see any crazy wins on Facebook and Google, that's akin to waiting for your product to go viral, as opposed to having a strategy that's based in reality. You're probably looking at working with a really good media buyer 5X return on adspend is probably something that you should be thankful for. Because you can manipulate those numbers any way you want, if you only want to return on adspend that's crazy numbers, fine, let's just not do any prospecting, but that's not good for the long term of your business. If you're not acquiring new customers, you're going to burn out all of your existing customers. And that's not a good strategy either. So I think what it comes down to, why aren't more brands doing this? Is just lack of education on it, let's be real, e- commerce is still in its infancy, we're seeing a lot of amazing entrepreneurs, investing and building businesses online these days, versus other more traditional outlets. And it's really cool, we're getting a lot of cool minds out here working together. And so hopefully, I'll pivot to just this concept here, which is, I don't need to do this for you, you don't need to hire my agency, anyone can do this themselves. It's just really simple, and the simplicity of e- commerce makes this framework really powerful. Once you get to that certain threshold investing in your website, more importantly investing in that user experience making it, making its best foot forward, making it have these built in offers to try to motivate more to get in the cart, will always be a better investment, than dumping all of your money into paid advertising first.
Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, so there's two schools of thought that I come out with that, and I sympathize with them, and I think that's 100% correct. When building and directing consumer brand, I also think that a lot of people when they're building these brands nowadays, the easiest way to do it, and again, the pros and cons that we always highlight on the show is inaudible eyeballs are essentially, it's built in traffic, that's why people create brands on Amazon. They go and they optimize for keyword traffic, they stand out, and then in turn, what they have to do actually is to pour lots of money into advertising. And that's to launch products, that's to rank products, that's to fight the good fight with those eyeballs. And then on the other hand, I look at directing consumer, I don't have to fight the good fight necessarily, I just have to drive traffic to my website, that are more like minded, and are ready to opt in to my product, my solution, stand out on their own, excuse me. And I see the two of building a brand, not power, versus actually just fighting to stand out to a crowd, and that power. So I see perceived the conflicting nature of both of what we had just discussed is, it's really hard to do that on a platform like Amazon, other platforms like your own, that's actually the easiest way to actually have control over all these different leavers, if you will. So, I guess in theory, is that just the nature of the ease of launching products or brands, if I'm an entrepreneur come to you and I say, " Hey, Chase, I have this great idea runs widget company, I don't know where I should go to, I don't know if I should start my own website, and on Shopify, and then not know how to drive traffic to that?" Or should I go to a platform, like on Amazon, where I know that is built in, there's this micro niche, I can optimize it from there, and go that route. Do have clients that approach you in that regards, or does that happen at all anymore?
Chase Clymer: That's a great question. So I'll make it a little bit too simple of an ask, should I start my business on Amazon, or should I start my business on my owned platform, like Shopify, right? I someone was asking me that question, I would probably say, test your product on Amazon, to get some real time feedback real fast, to see if people actually give a hoot about your product. And then if it does work there, then I would say, okay, it's a little more vetted, maybe it's worthwhile investing and turning a product into an actual brand, because those are two different things. If your product at the end of the day is like a widget that's very commoditized, I probably wouldn't say focus on being a brand, maybe you just catch lightning in a bottle, and you make some great sales on Amazon while at last, and you use that for the next great idea you have, there's nothing wrong with that business model. But the brand building and actually focus on building something more that's more than just a product, that's how you can charge way more for these things, as opposed to on Amazon, and most other marketplaces, it is potentially a race to the bottom. Because I'm not going on Amazon, and searching for Louis Vuitton handbags, that's not where I'm going to buy that. But if I just need a fanny pack, sure, I'm going to go on there, I'm going to buy the cheapest one that's got good reviews, those are two different mindsets.
Ryan Cramer: Well, that's why I think the ecosystem, and because I have lots of guests who talk about this. Building a brand on Amazon, I think it's still one of those things in its infancy, where it's very difficult to do, I think, like you said, a lot of people go to that channel, to either get something quick, or to get something as inexpensive as they can. When they say Ryan's widgets in front of that product, that doesn't really mean too much to too many people, where if I just showed a person a picture of that product, they would never say that brand, they would just call it the product. But when you call, I'm just thinking off the top my head, things like a solo stove, or something right now of stands alone, you see these things pop up and all these social ads. It's something that actually has a name to it, and if I put that picture in front of me as a product, that brand name actually resonates with me, because that's how they built it, it was an on an Amazon website, or at least not to my knowledge, but they have that name tied to the product in itself. It's not like it's standalone fireplace extreme, or whatever they want to call it. It's something that has a name that's tied to it, and that's why I think the conflict between having this brain framework, if you will, of how do I do it on either these two platforms, I think it's actually honestly easier on a direct to consumer platform. The testing, like you mentioned, of if our products can be successful, can actually be done quicker on Amazon too. And that's where a lot of eyeballs and conversions are happening too. So when the clients coming to you, and you have that conflict, or that story with them, or they're torn between the two, is there something that you see as more of a selling point, where they're like, no, I get that, I think that's why I want to work with my direct to consumer site, instead of on Amazon. Is there one thing that really pushes them to one side or another, that really makes a brand or entrepreneur really say, " Yeah, you're right, maybe I'll do it this way."
Chase Clymer: No, there's not one way, there's not one right way to do it, there's a million ways to start your business, and run your business and you can make whatever choices you want to make. I've worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and brand owners over the last five or six years, and they've done it all sorts of different ways. Some businesses started Amazon first, did not like the amount of risk that business model had them incur, I. e, Amazon is in full control. So then they started to invest in the direct to consumer model, using the profits from the Amazon first to drive that. On the other side of things, I've seen people do direct consumer first, and then once that model is really efficient, they added in Amazon in some more strategic ways to increase velocity, and brand awareness. Amazon could be considered almost akin is getting into a target or a Walmart at sometimes for brand velocity. So if you got a product that would really, really help from hitting certain economies of scale, there's nothing that's going to help you scale faster than a marketplace, that's as insane as Amazon. Ad then there's people that they try to start both first, and then they go, this one isn't working out, and they shatter it, and they get off one of the platforms, and just go all in on another. It really comes down to your product, the types of customers you're trying to sell it to, and what's your positioning, and what's your offer?
Ryan Cramer: Right. Ultimately, that's why any business or entrepreneurs in business, for those kinds of reasons. So let me take a step back and ask a different thing, did you ever sell online as a brand, or do you currently sell, or are you still you operate your own brand underneath online, or sell any products on Amazon?
Chase Clymer: I have not done anything on Amazon beyond, I got a seller account once and I was flipping some books, but wasn't anything too crazy. I learned enough to understand the technology a bit more, but I have since put on blinders to Amazon, and just really focused on, I know Shopify extremely well, and I'm going to stay in my lane. To answer your question, no, I don't have a serious brand that I run in the background or anything like that, and it comes down to that statement that I said before, which is, the hardest thing to do in e- commerce, is find product market fit. You really need to focus on it, and it needs to be a big consideration to figure that out. And until those numbers are working, it doesn't make really sense to focus on it. And I'm extremely good at helping brands that have already found that get to that next level, if starting a business and starting a brand was as easy as some of the things I'm saying here on this call, why would I be on this call? Why wouldn't I have started a dozen brands, and done this a million times and be sipping martinis on the beach right now? That first key piece of the puzzle, finding product market fit, finding a product that resonates with consumers, that is extremely hard, and that's just not something that I want to focus on. I build an agency that helps brands that already have that, and we are doing insanely good things for them. So that's why I'm going to invest my time.
Ryan Cramer: So in that regards, not doing it yourself, and again, this is something I grapple with, and a lot of people know that. Selling on Amazon and selling direct consumer, excuse me, two separate things. I was fortunate enough to actually sell on behalf of another person, and that's where my experience come from. Do you ever think that when you talk about those things, or I guess this is a two pronged question, I guess, of why go blind to just Amazon, and only focus on Shopify? And then two, do you feel like not building a brand yourself, and saying, " Oh, well, I did this myself." This is not a great question, but do you feel you're preaching to people, who maybe they look at you and say, " Well, you haven't done that yourself, how do you know?" Does that make sense? Almost imposter syndrome, but not really? Yeah.
Chase Clymer: Yeah, Okay, so first question first. No, I don't think I'm going in blind, it's more that we as an agency understand the power of niching down, and we are truly Shopify experts. And we have testimonials of all of our customers saying, these guys know exactly what they're talking about when it comes to Shopify. Well, we also are very honest, when they're like do you about this thing that tangentially relates to Shopify? And we're usually like, I don't know, we don't know about it, would you like us to learn, and we can figure it out together? Or would you like us to connect you to someone in our network that might know it? We're very, very, very good at the thing we do, and then we draw lines in the sand like, no, those things aren't worth us learning, we don't need to build SOPS around that, we don't want to have... That's really where it comes down to is I don't want to have an SOP built out to do the same thing six dozen times, because we're good at 6000 platforms, that's six times more work. Or we just be extremely good at Shopify, and solve those problems for the customers that we want to work with, and just become better and better and better, and invest, and then build out more and more and more efficiencies within the platform that we're good at. To answer your second question. While I haven't had my own brand, between my partner and I, and since we started the agency, we've helped brands amass over$ 10 million in more additional sales, through the efforts that we put in with them. And we've got case studies to back all that stuff up, so I don't think it's imposter syndrome anymore, I know what I'm talking about works, because we've done it for other businesses that had those KPIs already established, that we could then manipulate upon, and make some awesome decisions with them to help them grow their businesses.
Ryan Cramer: Well, and that's why I thought top, it's always nice to hear people when they say that'd be too, because when you get into podcasting, or with that that point of view of you had to start somewhere, and because you're an agency, and my company's a service provider, all those kinds of things, they help you people scale at different levels. So that's why I always ask, do people still have that, is that still a thing? And I think to point, people still feel... I don't think that's a bad question, I think it's a reflective question of, there's always more to continuously learn. But the best way to do it is just to do it again, whether it's on behalf of other people, or do it yourself for your own brand, I think it's really an admirable thing to do. And that's where a lot of people are just doing on a day to day basis, as well. So maybe more of not a hypothetical question, but do you think it's more, because of the news that Shopify is making with its ties into social buying, for example, now you can buy directly through TikTok via Shopify, you can have a store and it can be purchased directly in app, without leaving the platform, I believe it's still. With Shopify, and all the networks of how I can tie into social selling, and the customizations and everything like that, do you ever think that it will compete to the point where it not overtakes, but it becomes the go to platform other than Amazon? Does that make sense? I know they continuously get compared to each other, but do you think that there'll be more people on Shopify, when it's all said and done whenever that is, then Amazon, or do you think the two have just their own spaces, they really are their own separate entities and worlds?
Chase Clymer: Yeah, I mean, it's the latter, while Shopify is building out an amazing, rich integration, all this functionality that they can do, Shopify isn't also supplying you with customers, that's the big key differentiator here is, when you get on Amazon, your product can get put in front of as many eyes as you can make happen, because you're not ever going to own that customer relationship, that's Amazon's customer, you're just borrowing it to sell your product, and giving them a cut. Whereas on Shopify, they're not supplying you the customer, you're fronting all the costs, but you get 100% of the reward. So it's two completely different types of platforms to get on. I think that Shopify is, or will be extremely soon, the number one e- commerce platform, I think it is. So if you are going to go that route of direct consumer first, I think Shopify is already in the lead on in that regard. So that is an answer to your question. But then I do want to circle back to something that you said earlier, when you're talking about this concept of imposter syndrome. I never get imposter syndrome, when I am discussing how to help a brand grow, I know for a fact we can do it, and we've done it way too many times. I'm almost cocky in that regard. But I get imposter syndrome about other funny stuff, sometimes I'll get on a podcast, and I'm not quite in the right headspace, and I'm like, why are people listening to what I have to say? Or sometimes, when there's a stage involved, that makes me feel weird? Or you'll end up in random situations, where you're talking to random people, in a business sense, you're like, " How the heck did I end up in this room?" So that always exists at every level, but then I just look back on the track record, and the cool stuff that we've done. It's like, wait, I deserve to be here, I know exactly what I'm talking about.
Ryan Cramer: Well, absolutely. That's the point I was leading to is not for lack of, hey, everyone, by the way, if you haven't already figured it out that I think Chase is a fraud, that's not what I'm saying. It's more of, hey, how do we feel... There's a lot of people out there, that just feel confident in what they have to talk about, and I think to a point, it takes a certain level of time for people to get to that notion, if you will, and people get there quicker than other people. So when you have your own podcasts, or your guests on shows, or you are on stage in front of thousands of people, that can hit you in different ways, whether it's, again, here in the comfort of your own home behind a microphone, and there's no cameras, of course, you can talk and speak as much as you want, but when it gets out in front face to face in front of a client, do you get that sense of nervousness like, they'll see my face? Or there's something that they'll pick up and they're like, " What is this guy talking about? I think that's more what you were trying to allude to in that regard." So at least that's how I view it as well. I got only a few minutes left, I know have taken so much of your time already, want to dive into honest e- commerce, because I think this is so fascinating. We're talking pre show about your podcast, and its latest episode, what was the Genesis behind it, who got you started with that? I'm really curious how are you gotten into that, and maybe why you got into that, you invest so much time and effort, and I can see it on your website, and we linked out to it. But what made you get into that amplified marketing?
Chase Clymer: Yeah. Oh, all right, so let me try to distill down a marketing strategy in five minutes, okay? So when you run a service business, you run an agency, everyone take notes on this, because this is the real truth, you're going to need three systems to scale your business. From a marketing and sales perspective, you're going to need something for inbound leads, you're going to need something for outbound, and then you're going to need a referral network, that's built off of partnerships, right? So this one is strictly inbound, this is the content play that we do at the agency is the podcast, specifically because A, I hate writing, and B, I'm not good at anything else, right? I'm really good at talking. So my project manager actually made me start the podcast, he's like, " Chase, you know a bunch of people, go interview them, let's start a podcast, let's get this done." And that grant helped me a lot with getting started, she was my co host for the first couple dozen episodes. And after we really got things off the ground, and I started to really actually believe in what they were telling me, we really started to double down on the podcast, as an outreach mechanism to meet new cool people, and also to produce content. Content really works, this isn't a conversation about content marketing, but within your inbound strategy, you need some thought leadership and content authority, and a podcast solves both those problems, and then some. So that's why we went all in on a podcast.
Ryan Cramer: Well, I think it's fantastic in you can obviously hear it, we link to it in the show notes, and the links in the comments section. I believe it's just honestecommerce. com correct?
Chase Clymer: .co I've been trying to buy that .co for four years.
Ryan Cramer: But it's probably $20, 000, right?
Chase Clymer: No, it's some guy who actually lives in Ohio, and he just won't respond to my emails anymore.
Ryan Cramer: I hate people inaudible just websites like that, and they don't want to sell it, they don't want do anything with it. But, I guess, because my final question, and thanks for sharing that, by the way. What's your take on the rest of the year? Is there something you guys are seeing on an agency level, that maybe either concerns you or excites you for Q4, what's that notion, or those couple thoughts that come to mind, when thinking about Q4 of this year?
Chase Clymer: Yeah, we've been doing this long enough that, we just understand what is about to happen with Q4. So we historically reach out to all of our clients, well, at the beginning of Q3, and we're like Q4 is next, we're talking about Q4 marketing right now, we forced them to start talking about it way prior to it. So then when we go into Q4, we have a holiday success plan already in place, we know what everyone's doing, we divide and conquer, and they're going to have the support that they need. So as an agency, we are extremely prepared, probably more prepared than we ever have been. That's just because we want to be able to help our clients do cool stuff. Outside of that, Q4 is about to be wild, you got the whole... People are saying, there's going to be another inaudible issue with shipping and lead times, you already see the issues with supply chain, people can't get the products that they want, so they don't have the products to sell, then they're not going to have the Q4s that they wanted. So there's some really interesting stuff that goes on this year with Q4, but yeah, we're prepared for it, it's a little more busy than the rest of the year, but that's just the name of the game in e- commerce, and we're prepared and we're ready to help.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. I'm anxiously awaiting to see what happens with shipping; and costs of goods. I know shipping has been announced by all major carriers across the board, that there's increase in costs, so everyone's buckling up and waiting, but yeah, I agree with you, I think it's going to be interesting to see if that has a true major impact negatively, or if it's a flatline, or there's still growth no matter what, people are still going to buy. I think my prediction, if you will is, the earlier the shopping is going to happen, now's the time people are actually still looking for their Christmas gifts, and their holiday gifts if you well. They're not going to wait until the last second, I don't think there's been so much last second. But obviously there's tips and tricks you can do to capitalize on those people as well, I just don't think they'll be as many as in years past. Chase, thanks so much, again, I know of are already taking up about an hour of your time today, but for people who need to connect with you, they want to find a way to work with you, or just learn more about what you have to say, we just scratched the surface, I feel like, if you will, what are those ways they can connect with you?
Chase Clymer: Yeah, if you feel like your business is at a point where you want to talk to a qualified partner, to help you get to that next level, we can run through this brand scaling framework together, and figure that out, you can reach out at electriceye. io schedule an intro call, and chat with the team, and see what's going on there. Or if you just enjoy my opinions on e- commerce, or you want to hear more founders stories is what I like to do on our podcast, I interview e- commerce entrepreneurs, and about their journey and how they did it. You can check out honestecommerce. co and subscribe to the podcast over there.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Well, again, I'm already a subscriber and fan of the show too, it's an amazing website, it's beautifully done. So whoever's doing that for you, they deserve a raise, or pat on the back, or all the above, if that's yourself, then give yourself a raise then, it all works out in your favor. Exactly. Chase, thanks so much, you've been kind with your time, now friend of the show, here at Crossover Commerce. Thanks so much for hopping on, and just lending some of your time and insights.
Chase Clymer: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Again, thanks, Chase, and thanks to everyone else who is listening, and watching live here on Crossover Commerce, this is episode 164 of my corner of the internet, again, thanks to Chase Clymer of Electric Eye, as well as Honest e- commerce. Again, you can check out all those links in the comments in the show notes below. And if you're listening to us, go ahead and give this episode a favorable rating. If you don't like what you heard, or if you just say, inaudible, or anything like that, go ahead and let me know. You can follow me on social media. Or if you have other guests in mind that you might think that would be good for this format, go ahead and just send them my way, we'll make sure we connect and have them on, and share their insights as well. But that being said, it's always been fun to share some time with you, the listener, as well as our guests we bring on the show. You can listen to all of our episodes on our usa. pingPongx. com/ podcast and listen to them on your favorite podcast destinations. That being said I'm Ryan Cramer, I'm the host of Crossover Commerce, we'll catch you guys next time, take care.
Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Chase Clymer of Electric Eye one-on-one about how brands scale from $1m to $10m.
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