How the Amazon Market is Changing & Opportunities for 2021 ⎜ Liran Hirschkorn ⎜ EP 39
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. What's up, everyone? Episode 39 of Crossover Commerce here. Thanks for joining us on a Monday. It's going to be a packed week full of content for ecommerce and digital entrepreneurs in the Amazon space, ecommerce space, wherever you're coming from. Thanks for joining us live on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter. We have our podcast also going live so subscribe to that at Crossover Commerce. Just download today, we're on Amazon Music. So if you consume all your podcast or any kind of entity on Amazon Music, you can search for Crossover Commerce there. We have about 10 episodes of audio content there, but we're going to catch up and make sure that all of our content gets up there so you can listen to it as well. So thanks for subscribing. Thanks for joining us today live on all those platforms. I'm really excited about today because we literally just hopped from one call to another. His name is Liran Hirschkorn of Incrementum Digital. And he has his hands on a little bit of everything. He's doing PPC work. He is, I believe, a former seller. Also, just has his hands in education on every major platform that you can possibly talk about. He was on Amazon Live just a few minutes ago, I want to say. And we can maybe talk to him on that. But he wanted to give his insights on what 2021 has to offer. Maybe the market shift or what Amazon sellers can expect going into this year and maybe what he learned in 2020 as well. But super excited to have him on the podcast today, already trying to catch him in between lunch and everything else as coming on today. Liran, what's up?
Liran Hirschkorn: Hey, thanks, Ryan, so much for having me on.
Ryan Cramer: No problem. So you actually just came from, you said, Amazon Live, correct? You were on Amazon Live?
Liran Hirschkorn: Correct, yes.
Ryan Cramer: What was that project about? I tried to read in a little bit of it. I saw you posted something. What was that content about?
Liran Hirschkorn: Well, I will say that the power of networking is super powerful. So this came about because for those of you that are in Clubhouse, I hosted a Clubhouse room. I started an Amazon seller club on there and I hosted a room talking about Amazon Live. Well, this woman who has a show on Amazon Live was in the room. She pinged her producer, the guy who kind of owns the channel called SWAY TV. They joined the room. They joined the conversation. And this was on Thursday. And next thing you know, Monday, I'm on her weekly show on Amazon Live talking about mindset, entrepreneurship. She does kind of a weekly parenting show and I just thought it was super fun to be on there. And what they're doing on Amazon Live is also super interesting and the opportunities that exist there to sell products through that platform. And the different approaches that you could take, they're really doing it as a very content- focused. She has a show on parenting, and they can kind of weave in parenting products whereas a lot of other influencers are really just on there kind of selling. So it was very, very different. You could check out SWAY TV to see what they're doing and like the experience. There's massive opportunity to connect with people that have these channels and get on and weave in discussions around products including yours in front of an audience that you wouldn't otherwise have through Amazon Live. Literally, I ended there five minutes ago, and hopped on here.
Ryan Cramer: And jumps right in here, right? Yeah, exactly. Linar, we appreciate obviously your time, and that's a super interesting topic to go into because I don't think a lot of Amazon sellers know the power of both video but also on the live channel which has been out for a little while. But I always thought personally, it was just people from Amazon just promoting almost like one of those infomercial channels and whatnot. They're just hard pitching. I always see it on Prime Day. I always see it on Prime Day popping up, but it's a constant figure that's within their platform. So you're saying that sellers can actually host shows or there's other influencers who can host shows. What's crosstalk level on that?
Liran Hirschkorn: And that is, I think, an opportunity for 2021 so we can jump into it. So, Amazon Live probably goes back two years when they started it. And Amazon itself has a channel there as well. But brands can also go on there directly and showcase their products. And then also Amazon influencers that are in the Influencer program can also create channels. There are some advantages that some of these influencers have. They can feature multiple products. When you're doing your brand, you can only feature yours. There are advantages to... And I could talk about how this works, but there are advantages to feature other products other than yours and why. And the Amazon influencers, like if you have a certain amount of views and kind of traction with your channel, you're going to get more visibility than a brand makeup by going on there directly. So this is a good opportunity to work with the influencers. The channels that the influencers have are part of the onsite associates program which is essentially the Amazon affiliate-
Ryan Cramer: The affiliate program.
Liran Hirschkorn: And they also get some affiliate money based on the products that sell through the channel and then what people click and buy within a 24- hour period in terms of other product so they can monetize it to some extent. And depending on the specific sort of influencer channel there, they have different goals. So the channel that I was just on is looking at things more long term. They're not looking to make as much money as they can and take as much money from brands as they can to feature their products. They're more looking to really create a content- driven channel where they weave products in. And they're able to monetize somewhat off the affiliate but they're not charging brands like thousands of dollars to show their products on there. They're more thinking long term as a mechanism to have this as this grows within Amazon in visibility. Other channels are doing this particularly as a business, and are now heavily content focused. They're more showcasing 20 products within a particular niche over a 40- minute show. And they're doing it as a service for sellers and they are sort of selling it. The advantages you have with them is that they can feature multiple products. And most of the traffic that is coming through Amazon Live in sales is not coming from where you think it might be coming. So Amazon. com/ live is kind of the link where all these kind of wholesaling exist. That's not where the traffic is coming from. The traffic is coming from detail pages that during a live, and if you showcase a particular product during a live, that Amazon Live will also sit on the detail page during the live. And so if you think about if I am selling a cellphone accessory and during that same live, I'm also featuring an Anker product. Now, what happens is that Amazon Live will sit on the Anker product showing the Carousel products being featured in that live including my product and I'm sort of able to leverage, what I would say, is ethically steal traffic from Anker by also having my product featured within the same live. And all the people that are visiting that detail page within that 30, 40- minute time during live are also potentially exposed to my product. And that you can only do, I think, by working with some of the influencer channels on the platform. I'd predict, I don't know if it's going to be this year or next, but I do think Amazon Live will get much bigger. And the Amazon itself is trying to put, I think, a bigger focus on it, and will probably feature it maybe... Once Amazon decides to feature it in more places, that's really how it can get bigger. So maybe you'll see placements that are not just during the live. You'll see the replay showing up on the detail page. And that will drive more visibility to Amazon Live.
Ryan Cramer: Go ahead, sorry.
Liran Hirschkorn: Yeah. And one other thing, in Asia, live shopping is huge and it hasn't taken off in the same way as it has, let's say, in the US, but I think it has the potential to... And then talking to the producer of this channel, he was telling me about some brands that literally feature a 24- hour live stream under D2C site. If you sell a bunch of, let's say, kitchen products. You can literally have a 24- hour or 12- hour show during the day cooking and producing content and weaving in your products along the way. I think there's one beauty brand that does this. I don't remember the name off hand. It does this pretty well where they have a live stream channel on their D2C site, and kind of just makes it more interesting because it gives people a reason to come on their website for the content and then buy while they're there.
Ryan Cramer: I mean, there's a lot to unpack there obviously. It's on me to zoom back out. And that's super cool to know that you as a seller or a brand or an influencer can actually partake in that. What's that process like right now? Is it just for US marketplace? Is it for international marketplace? Do you know what's kind of the primaries around everything?
Liran Hirschkorn: Yeah, I think it's US only. I believe there's a creator app that as a brand owner, you could just go on. There may be some fees involved with kind of boosting a stream or maybe getting better visibility. I haven't looked into it as much as that is more working with some of these channels that exist to showcase products. I think for the most part, it's better opportunity. Also, if you haven't built out a studio, et cetera, it's going to be done hopefully the more professional way by working with an influencer who has that setup versus you in your home talking about a product. But I think it's something that's not being leveraged enough by sellers and something I'm trying to push more into in 2021.
Ryan Cramer: So kind of maybe rewinding. For those of you in our audience who may not be familiar with your background, like what you're working on. Obviously, you were a seller or maybe would you mind sharing a little bit about your background, where you got today and paint that picture for us as well.
Liran Hirschkorn: Yeah, absolutely. I started selling on Amazon at the end of 2014. It was following... I had an online insurance business so I had internet marketing background along with financial services background that I kind of married together to build insurance business. I saw a course in 2014 about selling on Shopify. That was my entry way into ecommerce which led me to Amazon and starting with arbitrage. In 2015, in the summer, I moved into private label and starting a couple of private label brands. Since then, I've sold millions of dollars through private label on Amazon. And today, you could consider me, I guess, a seller. I'm a partner in multiple brands and as well as run an Amazon focused marketing agency where we help people with the advertising side, with DSP. And now, we're also fully managing brands on the platform as well. We work with brands that are in Whole Foods and doing D2C but they're not on Amazon and we're helping them launch on Amazon. A lot of the sellers that are probably watching this are experts in selling on Amazon themselves. And so they wouldn't be necessarily a fit, but there's a lot of brands that don't know anything about Amazon. They already have other distribution channels and they really want to get on the platform. We're doing a good amount of work there to run essentially their entire marketing on the platform. And then doing some interesting things, having some discussions with investors who want to put up money to buy a brand and shared equity for us to run those brands and then them to put up the money, for example. Some exciting stuff that's happening.
Ryan Cramer: You're dabbling in a little bit of everything, man.
Liran Hirschkorn: Dabbling in a bunch. And then as a separate thing, I'm also a shareholder in a fintech company that is helping sellers with growth capital for their business and I would say doing it in a more innovative way. And since August, I've probably helped about 20 sellers get between$ 25,000 to a million dollars in funding for their business.
Ryan Cramer: That's awesome.
Liran Hirschkorn: Yeah, I have my hands on lots of-
Ryan Cramer: What company? Are you allowed to say which company that is?
Liran Hirschkorn: So the company is actually right now in a stealth mode but they'll be probably launching this quarter. It will be more public but they're a startup and they have a lot of experience in the fintech space. They've sold companies before into it and some big players. So they have a lot of experience and what they've developed is really an AI tool that continuously underwrites a seller based on their seller essential data and knows how to fund them. And the difference in terms of what they're doing and what other companies like a Clearbanc or SellersFunding are doing is that they don't give you all the funding up front. So they're funding you based on your supply chain schedule, and so you end up paying less interest because you're not holding on to the funds as long. And so that's part of where the innovation is.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. You're going to have to message me more about it offline so I can learn more and obviously, as a fintech company, we can obviously assist with that. But I know lots of you ... I think that's kind of also another way for 2020 was people especially in the fintech space, there's just all these growth and explosion in terms of either you're talking about a roll- up company which is a loose definition like Thrasio or Recom brand or a Heyday. You're talking about investment companies like SellersFunding or Payability or AccrueMe. Then you're talking about fintech in terms of crossover payments like a PingPong or Payoneer, so on and so forth. So there's lots of ways of growth in terms of international expansion which is exciting for sellers both on and off of Amazon. That's exciting to hear from you. Thanks for sharing that. As a service... You said you're not really a seller but you're kind of still a seller. As a service provider-
Liran Hirschkorn: I guess I would say, I'm a seller but what I do is I built a team of 30 plus that can basically run a brand. I'm more involved in like, " Here's a strategy. Here's what I want to do." And then have a team that can go implement it. I would say I wouldn't consider myself the same as a seller that's kind of doing everything in their business, but a seller in terms of having equity in brands that are selling on Amazon.
Ryan Cramer: That is the distinction I wanted to make for people who is like, " You have it. You're in the leads. You're not in the leads like a day- to- day one person. You have a team with you," which is definitely nice and what people can hopefully get to in their journey. You have a Facebook group that's called Ecommerce Mindset, which is really I think active in the Facebook community. It's not the biggest one but it's also super active, I think. What was your drive to grow that community? Is it just you need a place to share your thoughts and content? Or what was the mindset behind that?
Liran Hirschkorn: So one, I would say that yeah, it's definitely not the biggest group. I think there's 1, 600 people there. But myself and my assistant heavily vet every person. So I'm not looking for vanity numbers. To be honest, probably 20% or 30% of the people that asked to join, I don't let them in. When I see like virtual assistant FBA on their profile or when I see a service provider that I don't know, whatever, I'm not looking to make it a pitchfest type of group where somebody posts something... You have big groups. I'm in an FB high rollers group and it's a great group and you can get a lot of information. But if somebody posts about something, you also have 30 people commenting and pitching them. That's not what I wanted to create as part of the group. So I vet every single person or my assistant knows what I look for. We look at every single person's profile. I'm not looking to build vanity metrics as having just numbers. I want it to be an engaged group and I want it to be a combination of sellers that are wanting to learn and a combination of sellers that want to give back and make it a really good community. Same name as my podcast, yeah, the outlet for me is I really enjoy the content side and it's also a way for me to add value and bring visibility to all the different projects that I'm involved in. In my agency, I've never had to spend a dollar on paid marketing because I do lot of content and that's my sweat equity in terms of what I paid to attract people whom I want to work with my agency. When I get an opportunity to be a shareholder in a fintech company, it's because they know I have the ability to be their growth engine for customer acquisition. All that is because I've built a personal brand in the space. The Facebook group, the podcast is my way of both doing something I enjoy, continuing to build that personal brand as well as drive business. It serves multiple purposes. I wouldn't be doing any of it if I didn't enjoy that aspect of what I do. I could be not spending that time in running Facebook ads in my agency and drive customers if I wanted to or LinkedIn or whatever. But I enjoy the sharing. And I will say also it's a great way to learn. I'm not the smartest person in the group nor do I want to be the smartest person and I'm not an expert in every single area. So I want to learn from other people on the group that are posting questions and sharing information. And I could pick things up that allows me to learn and share and implement things in business also.
Ryan Cramer: I think you have the same mentality as myself as I think the more I've learned is just by talking to people like yourself. Just something like shows like this where it's live. It's unfiltered. We don't edit anything else, which is both a blessing and a curse because I sound like an idiot sometimes. But then also I really get to absorb in how I have to apply myself and listen in that exact moment. We're not going to filter anything. I love having people on in all aspects of ecommerce because I myself am not a seller. I'm a former Viral Launch on former company called Evergreen Enterprises, who sold 10,000 skis and I just got to absorb everything. And I think that's the biggest, I call it super power. I think Gary Long asked myself and a couple other people to tell you, it's like, " What's your superpower?" And I'm like, "A, I like to talk a lot. And B, I like to absorb like a sponge, constantly learning." And that's I think the number one of the top aspects as being an entrepreneur like yourself. When you're-
Liran Hirschkorn: Ryan, people don't resonate with somebody who's perfect.
Ryan Cramer: Right, exactly.
Liran Hirschkorn: When you look like a fool, as you say in quotes crosstalk because they know human beings aren't perfect than if you're trying to be something you're not. And if you're actually authentic on a show like this or online, that's kind of my aim. I think I'll resonate more with people and being authentically who I am will allow me to just do much better in business in general, because people see that you're real and you care and you're not perfect. And so, I think the benefits outweigh the downsides of, " Yeah, okay, so I look like a fool. Okay, show me somebody who's perfect."
Ryan Cramer: Exactly. So you were talking about a cool mentality of you put in the sweat equity in terms of... Because I follow you on social media and I follow all the content you're pumping out there. It seems like you're speaking at one event or another and there's constant just information that's being either shared or regurgitated and you're in panels all the time. What's that trade off because you don't get to spend time maybe on the companies at hand versus you sharing information? How do you balance the two between one versus the other?
Liran Hirschkorn: It's no easy task, and there is a trade- off and there is a balancing that you need to hit. And sometimes it's saying no to something that you have to say no. And that's a challenge for me because I like to say yes and make everyone happy. But I think the reason why I'm able to do that is because I also have a team behind me that is helping me with other areas in business, operationally and systems- wise, et cetera. But yeah, the trade- off is that if I really just wanted to build a$ 10 million Amazon brand, I would go all in and be super focused on that and that being involved in a variety of things doesn't give you that same opportunity to be super laser- focused on one thing. I often asked myself if I wasn't, let's say, public like in this space and I just build a brand, how big could I drive that brand to be just being laser- focused on that? I think there are trade- offs, but I would also say that I enjoy coming on the show like this or being on Amazon Live and talking to people. I think the human connection part is something that drives me. And so, there's definitely a trade- off. Somebody told me recently focus will make you rich and being spread too thin will not. So I think there's a good balance in terms of what you say yes to, what you say no to. And I think the same thing would... Anybody that's selling, what are you going to say yes to? Are you going to launch more products or are you going to go deeper on one product? Are you going to go international or are you going to go focus more on your existing marketplace? Are you going to go on Shopify or are you going to stay focused on Amazon? All these are decisions you need to make. And there's an infinite amount of opportunity but you won't be able to capture all that opportunity unless you are focused in some areas. So I think balance is the keyword there.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, and you're talking about like, " Hey, which direction should I go in?" And you're talking in our general topic that we're going to touch on today is that shift in Amazon's market of where things are starting to trend to. When you had submitted and you were talking to like, " Hey, I would love to talk on this," what were the things that instantly came to mind when you're talking about that? Because a lot of people are like, " Oh, yeah, Amazon, I'm just going to keep going, keep chugging along." But how is that market kind of shifting in your mindset?
Liran Hirschkorn: I think you see a shift to better branding on the platform. I think when I started in this space, there weren't a lot of discussions around building a brand. It was more like go find a product opportunity, launch it. There wasn't as much emphasis on the quality of your listings, images, branding, video, A +, all the different levers that you have today. And your competition is different than it is today too. You have a more sophisticated level of seller. What I see as kind of happening in these spaces, sellers who started 2012 to 2016, they proved that the model of launching Amazon native brands on Amazon specifically that the model works and they could build a profitable business. What typically happens is that the first people into something are not the most sophisticated people in. So the funds and the capital and the Thrasios and the roll- ups of the world, I think, recognize that. And now, you see a bigger higher level of institutional money that's coming into the space. And so your competition now is more sophisticated and you have to level up. So I think more focus on your packaging and your creative and your images and video and A+ and your storefront and pulling on all these levers, I think is much more important today than it was even two years back. And these are the areas, I think, today you have to be able to execute in a variety of areas. I mean, I think the foundation is your product selection but you have to level up in terms of how you operate the business and also level up in terms of branding and building a brand. I think Amazon wants to do that. As far as where to focus on 2021, you're seeing Amazon testing big blocks of placements on detail pages showing pages from somebody's storefront. If you haven't seen that, I think you will more, but you can look around. You'll find it on some brands. I've shown some screenshots of it within my Facebook group. I think emphasis on a brand's storefront is going to become more important I think. Not only internal traffic Amazon, but external traffic becomes more important and working with influencers, building a real brand outside advertising like Google. Amazon has rolled out attribution. One of the things we're going to start testing is Google ads to Amazon with Amazon attribution. There's just more, I think you have a higher level of sophistication on the marketing side with bigger institutional money coming into the space. And as a small seller, in order to compete, I think you have to take advantage of all the marketing opportunities you have within Amazon. I think you also have an advantage over some of the bigger players. Some of these bigger players that are coming in don't know the space as well as you who are watching this right now. They can't make decisions as fast as you, the entrepreneur. They have to deal with the challenges of what is it like... They have to deal with the challenges of driving the same level of fire underneath employee number 65 or 35 or 265 that is a brand manager in their company to have that same level of fire as you, the entrepreneur, who is up against them. And I think that's challenging, right? You the entrepreneur that's watching this is going to be hopefully more driven than anybody else to make your brand a success. So, I think you have a certain level of upside if you go and execute on all the branding and marketing levers that Amazon is giving you. I think specifically in 2021, that is leveraging... Making sure you have amazing listing, A + content, video. They're running video ads. They're putting emphasis on a brand storefront that you're driving traffic to it, that you're building products around a niche that resonates with that audience. The more Amazon gives you these branding opportunities and building a storefront, the more benefit you have by building out a real like a brand or related products. I don't know if I say real brands. I think a brand is something that what do people say about this that has a certain level of emotion and feeling. And if you're just on Amazon, maybe you're not, maybe you don't necessarily have that but I think taking advantage of all the marketing opportunities you have as a seller are important to be able to succeed.
Ryan Cramer: So, in your mind, besides yourself, who is doing the best work in either the Amazon or ecommerce space right now? Whether it's a service provider or a seller that you've seen that are just putting in the great work, they're consuming content but they're doing everything right and they're kind of leading the charge and everything. Do you have a couple of people or services on?
Liran Hirschkorn: I mean, I would say that I've had a couple of people from within Thrasio on my podcast this year. I've had Casey Gauss-
Ryan Cramer: Former boss, shout- out to Casey.
Liran Hirschkorn: Former boss, good friend of mine and who's their VP of SEO. I also had John Hefter, who was one of the original members of the founding team over there. And I would say that they've done a good job sort of executing on buying brands and growing their revenue and working on the creative side. As far as, I don't know of a specific, let's say service provider or person. But I think I see a lot of sellers that are doing really well, just individual sellers that understand Amazon that are super focused on it. We have a client that maybe a year and a half ago was at a million dollars and this year, they'll do 10 million. And it's two young guys who are crushing it and launching bunch of products, doing things really well, being aggressive and doing things right. So, I've seen a lot more of those cases where sellers are launching more products and growing their businesses by taking advantage of all the opportunities. And in this case, we're just running their ads, so there's obviously a lot of other really important pieces that are driving their growth. But finding those product opportunities, launching, doing things right on the listing side, I think is really important. Most of the very successful sellers I see are launching products on some kind of scheduled basis, whether that's three products a year or five products a year or some of my clients that will launch 60 products this year that are$ 50- million a year Amazon brands.
Ryan Cramer: That's a well- oiled machine in my mind.
Liran Hirschkorn: Very well- oiled machine. One of our clients did on Prime Day, they did$ 2 million in sales on those two days alone. So, yeah, it's incredible to see that but I think there's lots of sellers that are executing really, really well. I think 2020 opened up a new window of opportunity to... Sellers that probably would have failed in 2018 succeed in 2020, I think. I've seen products that I think would have failed in 2018 that succeed in 2020 just because of the overwhelming demand that Amazon had. And the delta between the spline demand of products and people selling out and having supply chain issues and et cetera just brought about a new level of opportunity and accelerated the growth of ecommerce probably 10 years forward in the adoption of ecommerce and Amazon Prime. And so I think Andy Slamans, I could say a friend of mine, took his business to 10 million plus this year including over seven figures on Shopify and likely 2020 will do 20 million plus. So, I've seen sellers that before were at that early seven- figure, one to three million mark who had massive growth in 2020 and they have executed well. And I would say, again, a lot of it comes down to really choosing great products and doing good job and then creative work more so than testing every single hack or that you see posted about. I would say in Andy's case, yeah, very focused on just launching the right product more so than what's the latest trick.
Ryan Cramer: And for those here listening live, feel free to add in your comments or submit live, and we will be sure to answer those as best we can. Or after the fact that you've saved this watching on YouTube later, go ahead and tag us in the comments and we'll make sure that later on gets those comments answered later on down the road. My question for you, Liran, is do you think 2020 offered more insights as to ecommerce trends and Amazon trends? Or do you think that is so much of an outlier in terms like you said logistic problems or supply caps or inventory caps, I should say? Do you think that's more of an outlier or do you think it's more of a trend in terms of what we can apply to future growth and not just the one- off instance?
Liran Hirschkorn: I think more in the trend side because I think there was a lot of behavior that people adopted in 2020 that will stick. I could see it in myself. For the first time, I used Instacart and Costco to get home delivery. I'm doing a lot more Whole Foods delivery orders to my house now rather than going there. I've just seen shifts for myself somebody who I could say is already more digitally- minded and tech- minded implement more around ecommerce and tech- related buying. And so I think there's a lot of people that in 2020 either didn't fully adopt buying a lot of things online. They would go to Walmart or they would go to brick- and- mortar. And I also think certain categories saw a new adoption. So, if I was a big Amazon shopper but I didn't buy jeans on Amazon, I wanted to go the store to buy them, well, I had no choice in 2020 and I saw that, hey, it's super easy and I can buy three sizes and send the ones back that don't work. I think certain categories like grocery, for example, and food products, massive adoption of people buying those products and I think that will stick because it's much more convenient to order online. So, I think a lot of the supply chain issues will solve themselves out. So, I did see sellers that happened to or launched a product in April that sold out but didn't see that same success when they came back into stock. So, I saw forehead thermometers selling on April and the market get crushed back when those people got back in stock. I saw a seller that launched by chance I think before the pandemic hit, in April, they had Elderberry Gummies up, everybody sold out and they sold out of their product but I told the seller, this is a super competitive niche, I didn't even want to take them on for advertising. And then they said, no. They sold out. They reordered a bunch of stock and they had massive issues when they go back in because everybody else who had 5, 000 reviews was back in stock too but they didn't have that level of competition there. So, I think there was some sort of situations where sellers sold products that they won't be able to compete again in those categories. But overall, I think 2020, more of an indication of just the growth of ecommerce, the rise of Amazon. I think on the same side the rise of Shopify and the opportunities... I've seen more sellers have success with Shopify in 2020 than ever before also. And so I think that's another opportunity there, I think you need to be... To our point about focus, I think you need to either have a team in place on your Amazon side or be at a certain level so that you don't drop, take your eyes off the ball, and fiddle with Shopify while your Amazon business is suffering. So, I think we should need to be more concerned about that but I think Shopify is a great opportunity.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. That's the word that we're using over here, at least myself when I'm on other shows and podcasts, is diversify. And I think that's the major thing, is a lot of people saw that they were just leaning heavily on Amazon although albeit it makes sense where that's were a lot of the traffic comes from. That's where a lot of built- in sellers are. But if that's where all your business is solely focused on, it's hard to pivot when something like a pandemic or like they cap your inventory levels. It's hard to grow from that. So, a lot of people are either growing internationally or growing on different platforms and marketplaces. Are you seeing any specific like Moose? You say Shopify. Is there other marketplaces where you're seeing a lot of people flock to in terms of opportunity?
Liran Hirschkorn: Yeah. So, I want to talk about that but also before I'd go into that, I also want people to think about Amazon not as an... You don't have an Amazon business. Don't think of Amazon as a business. Think of Amazon as a customer acquisition channel ultimately. And the more you could do to capture that customer data off Amazon, the better your brand will be in terms of being able to communicate directly with the customer. I don't think you, I would say, become a real brand until you can have direct communication with your customers. And again, that's another area of focus for me in 2021. As far as other marketplaces, I've actually seen some really good things about Etsy. I think Etsy was actually quite successful for a number of sellers in 2020, almost more so than Walmart. I think a lot of people, I think Walmart is heavily category dependent. I know one seller in the pet supplement space that's having a very difficult time on Walmart and they have one listing on Amazon with variations that does a million dollars plus a year, very little sales on Amazon. Then I have another customer that's in the food space on Amazon and doing phenomenally well on Walmart without even much an ad spend there. So, I think a lot of sellers wish and hope that some of these other marketplaces were more impactful. But if I had to put an area of focus myself in terms of money and where am I going to focus in 2021 outside of Amazon, I would much rather try to just build up my own channel. I have a lot more control in terms of driving traffic and trying to convert on it as opposed to let's say Walmart, for example.
Ryan Cramer: And I think a lot of people go to Walmart because that's a shiny brand that a lot of people know. And it's obviously a marketplace which is super competitive as well. I think I will continue to see growth but obviously building your own brand, you can't go wrong with that in terms of driving traffic. It's just a whole another aim of you have to now start sending traffic that way, building that brand equity and loyalty offline. A couple of questions, so with 2020 being so different and obviously, it shut down a lot of networking things and partnership opportunities. What was one thing that you think you missed the most about either restricted travel or just on top of that what did you learn that you didn't think you would learn maybe being on lockdown or the lack of traveling?
Liran Hirschkorn: I think it has its pros and cons. I think it was an extremely productive year for me, and I think that is because up until March, I was traveling. I think being at home allowed me to focus a lot and not having those travel. When you travel, if you're going to a conference, you're there for three days. You're not necessarily getting that much done in your business and you're a day traveling there and be back and recovering, and you can really lose steam. And so too much of that is not good either. So, I think seeing how much you can accomplish not traveling and how much you can do on Zoom and networking, and now we have Clubhouse and other things that are out there in terms of networking I think was good to see at the same time. I think the best relationships that I've built in this space have been by meeting people face to face. And there's certain level of trust that you get only when meeting face to face and certain level of business that you could do. So I think there's a lot to be said for that. I think the biggest thing I miss is that getting to hang out with other sellers, and the only people really you can kind of talk about this stuff with. My wife doesn't want to hear about Amazon all day or my family.
Ryan Cramer: inaudible, your wife sounds like mine. We were watching a two- hour documentary last night about, it's the FRONTLINE with PDS. It was Amazon empire and I made her watch it with me. I was just like, " I need to consume it." It was on the background and she watched it and she was talking with me. She's like, " I won't do that to anyone else but you."
Liran Hirschkorn: Yeah. So I think being able to... And then also I would say the biggest learnings that I've had had oftentimes not been like going to the conference and sitting in a room. It's by being in the hallway and talking to people outside of the room. And there's just a certain level of discussions that happen spontaneously when you have good stories getting together that you just won't have on a Zoom call or when you're sitting out having lunch or having a drink or whatever it is. That I think is kind of missed but I think also being home has had a lot of advantages, not traveling, being super focused on my business, being home with family. I don't think I'll ever go back to the amount of traveling I was doing before the pandemic. I got the vaccine last night actually.
Ryan Cramer: Hey, congrats. That's awesome.
Liran Hirschkorn: So, even with that, I don't think that I'll ever go back to a hundred plus days being on the road.
Ryan Cramer: That's a lot. If you think about it, I think a lot of people are like how much we've traveled, how many events they were doing. I know that like you said the pros and cons. I wasn't traveling for my business but I was definitely expected to do quite a bit for it but then obviously everything come to a standstill. And you said one thing that I always tell, is the networking that came from just the pandemic of the ability to do it, I think I've done more networking now than I've done in person events or anything else like that. So, I think more people are at home. You know where to catch them, that ain't a bad thing. All hours that I'm going to getting pinged on my phone feels like that. But like you said, it's nice to know you can get work done and you can focus but also there is that in- person thing you can't get through a computer like this.
Liran Hirschkorn: I also think that in general, you go through stages personally. Maybe you start out in the Amazon space and you learn and learn and learn and go to a lot of events and observe as much as possible and then sort of probably might go back to go focus. You already know all the things, the added value you're going to get by one more events or one more events or one more thing might not be as high. No, you just going to go execute but there's certain level of benefit you get by early out networking and learning from others. I think the same could be said to philosophically from being in your 20s. You want to try a whole bunch of stuff and pick something that you like in your 30s. You just get really, really good on it and in your 40s, you're going to make all the money based on your expertise in that particular field and then maybe in your 50s, you're mentoring and giving back. There are certain kind of stages of your life in terms of building a business and where you're going to at which point you monetize the most on. You'll see in the Forbes, it's mostly old people that are like at the top of the Forbes billionaires list. You have Mark Zuckerberg as kind of an outlier example but for the most part, kind of same to be said in the Amazon selling career. In the beginning, you want to go learn, learn, learn, absorb as much. You probably have more time than money. And then at a certain point, you want to just go super focused and block out all the noise.
Ryan Cramer: That's a good mentality to have and I think a good takeaway I would have for this too, especially for those of you who are still not selling or if you're selling in its beginning concept of this, you want to take to the next level. I think that's good to go into 2021. Before we wrap up here, what are the maybe before the top of the hour and you've got to go, obviously, you're busy guy. What are kind of maybe still the missed opportunities that are just so glaring to you that no one is really maybe focusing on or they're talking about?
Liran Hirschkorn: That's a good question. Look, I met today with a seller that has a seven- figure business. They came to me because they wanted to outsource their advertising. They're spending probably$ 15,000 a month on ads. And they have not implemented... They have a storefront. They haven't implemented sponsored brand ads. They haven't implemented sponsored brand video ads. They haven't implemented sponsored display ads and because they don't have the time, which is a resource that is very limited that all of us only have a limited amount. So, I think the missed opportunity is not capitalizing on all the possible opportunities you have. And it would have been very easy for them to execute on all of that if right now, they're realizing they haven't executed on all of it and they're targeting a variety of agencies about outsourcing it because the benefit to them on outsourcing is going to much outweigh the costs of doing it and leveraging that. And so I think those are all missed... I think not executing on opportunities that are very low hanging fruit in your business that could take you from level A to a much higher level, is just missed opportunity. And so I think you want to, assessing your business like what are the low hanging fruit of opportunities that I have today that I'm not executing on in my business? And I guarantee, every seller has things they could improve. You can go back and refresh your A+ content that you did two years ago that you haven't refreshed. You can go back to your listing and you've added new products but you're not cross- signing those new products in your older A + content. And it's time to redo that and have a schedule of redoing that twice a year. You can go to your Amazon videos that maybe are not great that are working well with ads and produce professional videos that are doing better. Make a list of your lowest hanging opportunities of where you could improve and go execute on at least some of them. To me, the lowest hanging fruit and not capitalizing on those opportunities are the greatest missed opportunities that you'll have and that could be the difference maker between being able to exit in a year for a lot more money.
Ryan Cramer: Where are you consuming most of your education still? Is it through Facebook? Is it through... You mentioned Clubhouse a lot and although I don't have any Apple products listeners, I guess it's shame on me. So, I'm not out there yet. Where are you learning the most right now for things that are going on in the ecommerce and Amazon world?
Liran Hirschkorn: Everywhere.
Ryan Cramer: Everywhere? Anything specific that you would say like they have to check this out?
Liran Hirschkorn: I think a number of ways. I think Facebook still, I scroll past through. I'll look at questions... Something interesting comes up, I will click and read more into it. LinkedIn is another good resources. There are some people posting good content and different content, more I would say. LinkedIn is I would say bigger in the brand community than seller community. So, there's different things you can learn there. You can learn from people that are in CPG space working with companies worth 50 to 500 million that is supposed to... You can learn different things there. LinkedIn is good. Facebook Groups are good. Podcasts are good. I scroll around from Danny Seller's sessions to the Helium Podcast to EcomCrew. A lot of times, it's by asking people I want to learn from onto my own podcast and being able to ask them questions. So, I would say... And then a lot of just on one- on- one conversations with people that I've built relationships with over the years that they'll share something and some closed groups of smaller sellers that are vetted type of groups where they have to check you out before they allow you into the group. When I say everywhere, it's kind of like, yeah. And then I pick things up on just social media marketing, let's say in a Clubhouse room where you have people that I don't know personally but are experts in the field. Yesterday, I hosted a room and there was a guy who runs a really big influencer agency. He represents influencers that have 12 million followers, et cetera, and talking about things from his perspective of repping influencers and how brands deal with those influencers and how you should deal with those influencers. And I learned tremendous amount in two hours. Like I said, pretty much everywhere but I would say Facebook, LinkedIn, podcasts are all great places to-
Alexa: I'm sorry. I thought I heard my name.
Ryan Cramer: Thanks, Alexa. Yeah, she's listening now. She wants to know that you can also go on Amazon and learn more from her as well. So, make sure you have Alexa as well.
Liran Hirschkorn: Yes, exactly.
Ryan Cramer: No, that's awesome. I think it's a good place to cap for today. Liran, before we obviously hop off, if people have questions for you or they just want to pick your brain on like, " Hey, I'm struggling in this area," they want to learn more from you, where can people either reach out to you or how can they connect with you?
Liran Hirschkorn: Our website is Incrementum Digital. I would say if you want to ask me personally a question, you can-
Ryan Cramer: Is that the best email?
Liran Hirschkorn: It's the best email. It may not get answered right away but better to tag me and post in my Facebook group, Ecommerce Mindset, because I'll be able to look at it. Or you might have smarter people answering the question ahead of me. But I do answer DMs and people message me, et cetera, so you can try that as well. The podcast is Ecommerce Mindset, the Facebook group is Ecommerce Mindset. You can post in there. You can tag me. And again, there's probably other people that are smarter that will be able to answer your question also. But yeah, thank you so much for having me on and I see you're pumping out a lot of awesome content this week.
Ryan Cramer: This week, man, this is the most we pump out live every week. For the most in one span, it's five episodes this week. So, it wasn't by design but it was by accident. But that's not a bad thing. It's a good thing that I think I'll continue to grow, our audience will continue to grow. We appreciate you and then I was capped off. Every episode is the same, everyone who jumps on here is always a friend of the podcast and a friend of the show, so more than welcome to come and contribute. If you ping us and you're like, " Hey, I have something to say about that for live," you hop on really quick, give your two cents and hop off, you're more than welcome to do that. So, yeah, we appreciate your time and for everyone else who's out there, thanks for joining us live on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter. Thanks for subscribing on Amazon Music, Apple Podcast, and Spotify, wherever you consume it. Make sure you subscribe to those channels. And then this episode will also be on Ecommerce Mindset. I believe this is what we are talking about as well. So, happy to have you on. Thank you so much again for your time. We'll catch you guys next time on Crossover Commerce. Again, every day this week, we're going to go live on all of our social channels. I think we're going to be talking about bulk file uploads. We're going to be talking about ungated content on Amazon where we're talking about just seller spotlights and someone who's running more than 10 brands at once, just pumping out great content for you guys in the seller community. Thanks for joining us. Again, I'm Ryan Cramer for Crossover Commerce, presented by PingPong Payments. Thanks for joining us.
Ryan Cramer of PingPong Payments talks with Liran Hirschkorn of Incrementum Digital, about Amazon market changes & seller opportunities for 2021.
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