Amazon Matchmaking: Helping Sellers find Trusted Partners ⎜ Chris Fryburger ⎜ EP 38
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. Happy Friday, everyone. Ryan Cramer with Crossover Commerce. Thanks for joining us again on another episode of our lovely podcast. It is Friday where I'm at. Hopefully, you guys are enjoying it and had a great week. It feels like another year in the life of 2021. My gosh, I thought last year was long. This year seems like it's already been 30- plus years, but we're getting going. I feel the momentum going. I feel like we're starting to get our bearings again. Our guests and I were just joking around today. We were like, " My gosh, it seems like we can't even catch up from the holidays still." And I feel like, across the industry, Amazon, eCommerce, a lot of people are just starting to get things going again, starting to get the business rolling again nonstop, but we're picking up steam. We're ending the week. It's been an exciting week here on our show. And thank you again for joining us live on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on YouTube, and on Twitter. We go live on all of those social channels so that you can obviously watch live but also can consume later. So if you have to hop away and you find this content interesting, please go ahead and save it for later, watch it, give us a thumbs- up, and subscribe to our social channels so you can see episodes coming up in the future. We're super excited, and again, obviously these formats will come in audio form later on down the road. We have a couple that are actually coming out this week from 202 that are exciting. We're releasing those every single day at noon, even through to Sunday. And those will continue to roll out. So, subscribe to them on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, as well as Spotify. Within further ado, I'm going to go ahead and bring in my guest today. This is episode 39 of our show. It's already trucking along. We have so many guests, but this one is super unique because the title, as you guys saw, is Amazon Matchmaking. And when I think about matchmaking, I think about just the relationship aspect of either someone personal, or you even talk about Hello Dolly when she's a matchmaker. All of those things run around in my head, which is funny to think about. But our guest, founder of nReach, is an Amazon matchmaker, and what that means is, for simpler terms, finding Amazon sellers and partnering them with the right kind of service providers. Chris Fryburger is our guest today, and I'm going to go ahead and bring him on. Chris, thanks for joining us today on Crossover Commerce.
Chris Fryburger: Ryan, thanks so much for having me on. You couldn't have described what I do better. But yeah, thank you so much. And by the way, on your comment on the age thing, every week is like an Amazon year these days.
Ryan Cramer: I know.
Chris Fryburger: It seems like it, but yep.
Ryan Cramer: We had a comment already come through saying same. I'm assuming same that you're talking about this week feels like forever. I appreciate you commenting on that. Like I said, for anyone who has questions about what Chris does or just to clarify questions, go ahead and submit those. We'll see everyone who's here live. And then, after the fact, if you have to watch us later, go ahead and comment, and we'll tag Chris. He can obviously connect with you guys at a different time. At the end of the show, we'll show you how to get in touch with him. Yeah, Chris, Amazon Matchmaking, that's such an interesting concept. And when we initially talked about, a couple of weeks ago before Christmas, just what you did, and we were going over high level... maybe tell us a little bit about how you got into this space, maybe some personal background, professional background, and set the table for us.
Chris Fryburger: Please, please. And again, thanks for having me on. I always love to talk about Amazon. It's just such an exciting time, and I'm sure we'll talk about why it's exciting and so on and so forth. Yeah, I go back about 25 years in the ad agency business, so you can think about just any kind of brand across any category, B2C, B2B, small brands, startups, startup agencies, all the way up to... I'm actually here in Cincinnati and have worked with the likes of Proctor& Gamble and the like. And so, about two and a half years ago, my whole background is about all digital agencies, doing everything from your social media campaign to your website, to your SEO, to your PPC, and so on and so forth. But the brands we were working with all were asking, " Well, what do we do about Amazon?" And for the most part, that industry is very slow- moving, the ad agency business, and they really have not answered, come to the call of, " Hey, all these things that you do now in the, say, Google world or the non- Amazon world, there's an equivalent in the Amazon world, and it's desperately needed." The rules are different. The companies are younger. The tools are more rudimentary. The data is just in its infancy. There's no developer community. There's no support from Amazon, and so on and so forth. Within reach, what I realized was that there needs to be somebody to go through and vet these folks, these young agencies, and tools that are coming up out of this new universe. And so what I do is I simply find the best in each of the categories. I do things like... marketing agencies is a very common thing, brands looking for marketing solutions, optimization, those type of things. But it also goes to legal issues financial issues. Hiring is an absolute nightmare in this space as well as programming and on and on. nReach is just a network of folks that I hook up, I like to think, the best and the brightest with the folks that need them.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, that's an interesting concept in terms of how you're connecting people. The first thing I think about is that you don't have to be just an expert in one specific field. You have to be almost knowing the who's who of businesses, service providers, almost have a Rolodex of people if they say, " Hey, Chris. I have this problem. I need to find a logistics partner. I need to figure out how to source from China, or I need to figure out to solve problem X, Y, Z." And you have to say, " Done. This is who you need to talk with," and point them in the right direction. What was that process like to know that you had this, basically, Rolodex of individuals or service providers out there that you're just like, " Hey, this is who you need to talk to, and you're not going to be disappointed"? And then go through that process with us.
Chris Fryburger: Sure, sure. I was actually... nReach was going to be a directory that everybody got treated equally, and you can search that directory and so on and so forth. And there's some things like that that exist out there. There's one called Surmondo that does that. What I really quickly realized, and no offense to them, is that really, to choose an agency is almost like choosing a partner or getting married, if you will. And really, it's just like that in the sense that you not only have to vet them for their skills and their capabilities, and that they're going to do what they say they're going to do, but also, you have to like them because ideally, you're doing creative with them. You're coming up with ideas, marketing ideas, and so on and so forth. And so, it's very much a partnership there, which is difficult. Another aspect or one aspect... I should say that no interaction I have is the same. No two companies looking for an agency are the same. But also, the way that Amazon sliced and diced things like distribution and logistics, there's a lot of questions on a lot of things of Amazon. And again, every company is coming with a different perspective of Amazon and a different set of needs. And so, one aspect, for example, people call me Mr. Wolf from Pulp Fiction because-
Ryan Cramer: Right.
Chris Fryburger: One aspect is, " Hey, we just got de- listed. We're losing 100, 000 in dollars of sales in a week. We need to get back up yesterday." And if you go through the Amazon channels, as you guys know, that's a nightmare. I've got a guy who can make a call and make the body disappear. And so that's one aspect of what I do as well.
Ryan Cramer: No, that's really cool. I mean, in that concept, it's super interesting because when people are... there's just so many people out there. I even feel like in 2020, there's this crop and wave of companies... the term roll- up company actually is a term that's being broadly used for these kinds of companies like a Thrasio or these other companies who are buying and purchasing these different brands on Amazon, and they're reselling. That's one aspect. But you have to actually be at the forefront of knowing what these companies are going to be good at and then trying to problem solve. But when we were talking initially, the problem that you were solving were entities like retail entities that were actually trying to get onto either eCommerce or Amazon. What's that process like? Because a lot of people just think, " Oh, yeah. All these companies have eCommerce figured out if they're a big fortune 100 or fortune 1000 company. They have eCommerce figured out. Why wouldn't they have?" But that's not necessarily always the case. Is that true?
Chris Fryburger: No. There's many soapboxes I could put down and stand on right now if I may. One is just portraying the promise of Amazon, which, again, is an hour- long discussion. I would say put a flag in there for a moment, if for your listeners, and I would encourage in the liner notes is you put that PBS Frontline documentary on Amazon that came out about eight months ago. I think it's called Amazon Empire. And I really think anybody in the industry who may be myopic and think that's really getting crowded, or people outside of Amazon that don't quite get its importance, it's mandatory viewing of that documentary just to get like, " Oh, okay. I need to follow that guy," is basically the gist of it. But yeah, there is ignorance replete from the small seller all the way up to the fortune 500 brand. I mean, it really is the beginning of... what I would say is really a dotcom type feel. I have gray hair in my beard. You're too young to probably-
Ryan Cramer: I'm losing it, man. Most of you can't see me if you're listening on just podcasts. My friends always joke I'm the first one to lose all my hair. And that receding hairline, it hits you in your 30s, and then it's downhill from there. Right?
Chris Fryburger: And I've got both. But the gray hair earns me the fact that I was around in 1997 after the launch of Netscape, which is-
Ryan Cramer: I won't tell you where I was in 1997.
Chris Fryburger: Please don't. If you knew HTML back then, you did really well for yourself. And it's really that environment right now. It just has an Amazon label on it. I mean, again, I will get off the soapbox, but he's only got 14 or 15 countries now. How many countries are in the world? He's covering the globe. He's just getting started. And so, with that said-
Ryan Cramer: He, meaning Jeff Bezos, yeah.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah, I'm sorry. He, the man.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Bezos.
Chris Fryburger: Right.
Ryan Cramer: That's what we like to call him.
Chris Fryburger: Right, right, right. Yeah. I apologize. With the name behind my head-
Ryan Cramer: Oh, you're all good. For people who haven't probably figured it out. He is Jeff Bezos. And that's also a very high level, I would say psychological, concept that you've brought up. When all the different marketplaces, maybe I forget if there's up to as many as 30 different ones that are either been announced. I don't know the exact number off the top of my head. But with all those different marketplaces in place and just not even being in some of the biggest countries out in the world, there's still markets to be tapped into. It's really baffling in terms of growth potential for not just... for business owners in general, like Amazon business owners, but then business owners who aren't even starting on Amazon even yet, which is mind- blowing.
Chris Fryburger: It is. Keep in mind, for instance, you had mentioned the roll- ups that are happening. We can certainly talk about that. Roll- ups, being the agencies, the unicorns that have these tools that know how to pull the levers and sell on Amazon. It's not easy, by the way, if you're a brand out there. This is not getting on Target.com. This is not creating a D2C website. This is none of that. This is completely different, and so you have to solve for a lot more things on this side. The unicorns, which are the people that know how to do these things are at a super premium right now. And if you're a brand that's figured out, that's gone through the membrane, and is now, in large part, reliant on revenue from Amazon, or in the case of Anchor, which is the first company to go public as a brand that was native to Amazon, started on Amazon, only sold on Amazon, and just went public. Which was again, another thing that happened in the last eight months, which was cataclysmic for the space as well. But if you are a brand that's figured out Amazon, you're now at a premium. You might evaluate yourself at two or three X your revenue. If you figured out Amazon, you're now at four or five X. Okay? And so, again, because the retail shelf just shrank 30% and may not be coming back any time soon.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. That's also true because we don't know what the shopper mentality... I almost think you have to, for your job, you have to almost forecast a little bit about hey, this is where trends are going. It's a safe... not safe. There's always risk in any kind of investment. What's a day to day life for you that you're reaching out to these companies? Or what is someone in your capacity doing to make these either deals or handshakes happen, whether it's just talking or whether it's business alignment? What's that look like?
Chris Fryburger: nReach is entirely built on networking. I get opportunities coming and going, so it's something, for instance, I've sent some business to someone, and something else falls outside of their purveyance, which is everything. There's many other aspects of Amazon. They'll send them back my way, and I'll solve for that, and back and forth. And that's the current model of this, of nReach, but it is evolving. I'm working on things like consultancies and maybe groups of agencies that can get together and solve problems together, things along those lines. The reason I mentioned that is that really all business plans have changed with Amazon. A lot of industries have completely changed. Sourcing of product, for instance, has completely changed. I'm speaking to your question. I'm speaking with one of the largest product sourcers in North America, and they realize that, " Hey, we don't have to take this electronic item and put it in a Best Buy. And Best Buy is the one that makes the huge markup, and they're making all the money. We can just get it from the Japanese manufacturer and put it right up on Amazon and make a lot more money and take that retail markup ourselves." Right? Right there, they eliminated maybe two or three jobs doing that. There's things like that going on. I know you have an international audience, and so, one of the challenges going on right now is how do you take a seller that's figured out dotcom or North America, possibly CA, possibly MX, and then where they go next. Obviously, India is second largest but has a lot more challenges, say, than a Germany or a UK, which also, their marketplaces have unique ability. They have huge brand awareness and brand loyalty in Germany, apparently. I did not know that. And so if you can sell there, you always sell there. If you can't sell there, you never sell there. It's just interesting things like that. Internationalization, even the people with the keys and the dotcom in the US, the best and the brightest, the ones that I work with are now the... the frontline is now, okay, now they've got to go, " Okay. Now we've got to... the tools are a little different. Things are... obviously logistics and regulations, and fat tax, and all those things." But that's where the work is being done. It's now taking around the globe, brands around the globe for the first time.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. A lot of those points that you're talking about is like that international expansions, what obviously PingPong values in most and offers on the financial side is how do you figure out your money internationally. And how are you paying these international entities, whether it's even sourcing, or whether it's paying your virtual assistants, or you're paying these advertising entities, all these kind of things that people just don't think about outside their own bubble scope? If they're selling in the United States, there's some eCommerces connecting people worldwide instantaneously. And so there's all these different moving gear parts behind the scenes that are: how do we make you more profitable as a seller, how do we make the business more profitable. And at the end of the day, that's where solutions like us come into play. And you're shining light on those kinds of businesses, if you will. It's super interesting. Maybe is there a story that you can tell us, a success story of a business that made... because you're working with more higher- end clients, correct? It's not just like someone can randomly come up to you, and it's like, " I have not sold on Amazon ever before. Help me out."
Chris Fryburger: Yeah. And I will help those folks out, and there's great training materials if you look at the space of courseware. There's a lot of fly- by- night, get- rich millionaire things. But there's some great, great content by some of the experts in the space, and so the training material, coaching is what I would recommend to that person. I do help them out. I helped someone self- publish on Amazon just because I wanted to know how that worked. Something interesting that's being put together now kind of thing is that there are many eddies and little different spaces where even though you may be able to sell on Amazon Prime as an agency or a seller, you think you've figured that out. But the eddies of Amazon Fresh, for instance, there's a lipstick I'm working with that they never thought that" Hey, we're killing it on Prime. We got that figured out." But over here, there's no reason that they couldn't actually apply to be in Whole Foods and/ or in Fresh. That is an entirely did skill set. Even if you figured that out, you don't figure those things out. Another interesting thing is the jewelry sector. I learned this the other day. It has entirely different regulations around it. Actually, there's an entire department within Amazon that does nothing but test jewelry for carat, plating, all those things, the claims that a jeweler may make. And if a jeweler makes the wrong claim, and they randomly get tested, they're thrown out, not only as that listing, they're thrown out as a seller.
Ryan Cramer: Oh, my gosh. I did not know that from the jeweler's sector.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah. It's interesting eddies within all those things that are going on. I'm not sure if that answers your question.
Ryan Cramer: It does. Yes.
Chris Fryburger: There's just so many interesting things. Even down to the data level, there's some really cool stuff going on at the analytics level, and figuring out customer lifetime value, and those type of things out of the minimal data that Amazon gives you and stuff. Anyway, it just goes on and on. It's a fascinating world. And once you drink the Kool- aid, which I recommend everybody do, there's blue skies over here. There's no competitors. Everybody is trying to figure it out. Everybody is hungry for it. They come to you, that kind of thing. And so, it's just a different world.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. I mean, to that point, a lot of people are... I think if you're so close to it as a seller, you see a lot of the competition, maybe just for yourself. But there's just all these different ways to iterate and grow outside just different products, different services that you can provide, so on and so forth. And I think that's where a lot of people misstep and say, " You can't be successful on Amazon." You obviously have to do the grunt work. You have to do the education, and you have to find your way. And there's opportunity. It's a marketplace, in general. It's not like a retail store where there's a maximum capacity of retail shelf like you had mentioned too, earlier. It's this ongoing unlimited potential, theoretically, if you will, of opportunity. When you're doing this education, it sounds like a lot of it is, you have to learn, and you have to do it yourself. You have to get all the details. Where do those connections and that education come from?
Chris Fryburger: Well, there are many ways that companies are trying to solve for that skilled workforce, if that makes sense, so that the flip side is the employer that needs the skills. And then if you're somebody that is interested in learning those skills, what I would recommend, again, there are some great courseware out there that I can recommend. Obviously, Google... I learned HTML without Google. I almost said I learned it by Googling it. No, Chris, you didn't because it didn't exist.
Ryan Cramer: It didn't exist back then, huh?
Chris Fryburger: Right, exactly. I did catch myself. Maybe I'm too old now. I would recommend... and if I could go back to that person, that young person in'97 and say, " This is what the internet is going to be, and this is the kind of money to be made in all the different areas." I mean, if you want to create a search engine, or if you want to create a social media platform, all that kind of stuff, you had all those opportunities for an agency back then. If you wanted to sell on the web, you would have been unique or created an Amazon. Okay? You could shake that person and say, " The world is your oyster. The opportunity is... and pick a direction. Pick anything. If you want to be a lawyer, be an Amazon lawyer. If you want to be an accountant or a bookkeeper, be an Amazon bookkeeper or an accountant." Okay? Almost any industry, once you add an Amazon label to it, you're now in a non- competitive environment. Okay? I know a lot of people that listen to this do this all day. They think that it's really crowded. But the people that know how to do this stuff, even it's just a PPC campaign or how to put a listing up, you are a unicorn. Okay? You are a rainbow unicorn there in outer space. Okay? There is so much room to go anywhere that you want. And the only answer is more Amazon, more faster Amazon. That's it.
Ryan Cramer: Why do you think the perception is the opposite? I would almost say 99% of people are saying the opposite. Do you think that's just for competitive... I don't want you to jump in. I almost feel like people are too close to it to see the actual lure of Amazon. And because I don't sell on Amazon, that's the beauty of this show. We're a service provider, and we help people become more profitable, not being a very close- minded. You're in it every day. You're in the weeds. You're in the thick and thin of it. I have the beauty just like yourself maybe, of the 10, 000- foot perspective of-
Chris Fryburger: Yes.
Ryan Cramer: Do you really not see these mountains literally moving in front of us that are just like... it's just how quickly this evolved into something that's like a commonality in the day- to- day life where expectations are just completely set for you of, " I can get my goods in two hours? Are you crazy?" Personally, Chris, I'm still waiting on a eCommerce store. I ordered something back on September 1st. I still haven't received it-
Chris Fryburger: I know.
Ryan Cramer: ...to my door yet. And I can go on Amazon and probably get something very similar. I'll be honest with you. It's a king- sized bed frame. I'm still waiting on this thing on a container, coming from overseas to the United States, and it's been months. But Amazon can probably do the same thing within, at maximum, a month or something like that.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah, you ordered through a discount bed frame place. Right?
Ryan Cramer: I didn't. I'll be honest. It was through West Elm. So West Elm, if you're out there listening, I'm very disappointed in you.
Chris Fryburger: Yes, they're-
Ryan Cramer: I don't know what happened with it.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah, I had a nightmare in that respect too, and that's kind of old school how that worked. And quite frankly, you will be able to order that on Amazon. I don't know. You probably can do it now. But-
Ryan Cramer: I'm sure furniture is definitely-
Chris Fryburger: Oh, it's a no- brainer. And by the way, they just backed off of pharma. That didn't work out quite well, but they learned a lot since, and he'll conquer that. I mean, there are auto companies that work with people that I work with at the C- suite level that are planning on... you're going to be able to order your car on Amazon. In fact, that'll be probably the most convenient way. And somebody will drive it up in two hours to your door. Right? There's that-
Ryan Cramer: crosstalk that's something within the next year or two that we're going to be seeing?
Chris Fryburger: Well, I don't know about year or two. There's a pecking order. Right?
Ryan Cramer: I thought we were getting some breaking news. I was like, " Tell us."
Chris Fryburger: Oh, no, no. Here's an example, though. Pantry just folded two days ago.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I saw that.
Chris Fryburger: Did you see that? And the first thing was like, " Wow, what a fail!" And then you're like, " No, they were just assimilating. They'll be back. They're like the Borg." They'll be back. They just learned how to conquer it next time. Right?
Ryan Cramer: Right. They always have been able to rebrand things and put it together in different use case scenarios, and it's always testing. With that being said, what's the... you're seeing more trends, I think, on a day- to- day basis, or where people are shouting where the want is. Almost like Amazon has the product, and you have the demand over here, and you're trying to connect to two. What kind of trends are you seeing, especially going into 2021? What trends are people most looking for that need solutions solved for?
Chris Fryburger: There's two ways of answering that. One is, the baseline is everyone needs help in all areas of Amazon, period. Okay? If you have any skill sets in Amazon, they will be valued. Okay? That's just general sweeping. If you want to be... if you really like Amazon PPC, there's places you can go work as an independent, ultra- mobile guy in Bangladesh and kill it working for an agency because you're really good. And that's all you do is follow Amazon PPC all day, which is an art form. Okay? But you can also really be good at soliciting feedback and doing feedback management. Or you could be really good at the fledgling influencer stuff that Amazon also struggles to get going, the posts, Amazon influencer, Amazon Affiliate. There's very few agencies doing, even agencies that are having a chance to get to that stuff. And if you're really good at social media offline, I can hit... no offense to anybody out there, but I'm in Cincinnati, and I can throw a stone and hit six social media managers that are really good at what they do, and they're data- driven. And I don't mean that in any way. Or digital agencies that they all sound the same. They're all traditional digital agencies. They all sound the same. They took 20 years to incorporate technology, and not things moved on. But once you add Amazon, the label Amazon, it's crickets. There's a brand new field of freshly mowed grass, and you can frolic in any direction you want. Okay? The trick is there's a couple of new models you can come up with, but what are you going to do in your land grab? And that's why I wanted to go back to that person back in'97 and say, " There's a land grab going on. Move fast. Pick a direction and go fast."
Ryan Cramer: Right. Interesting. There's obviously lots of service providers out there that are trying to problem solve and whatnot. You mentioned a couple of different ways of... " Hey, if you put your name on Amazon or whatever it is, you can actually be super successful." Is there just a problem that's not consistently being looked at enough, and it's actually just this underlying, " Gosh, I wish someone would do this, and no one just has done it yet"?
Chris Fryburger: I'm not dodging your question, but it's just everywhere. Okay? And what I mean by that is-
Ryan Cramer: That's a fair answer.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah. Maybe the way to look at it, and if you're looking for metrics or something to maybe put your arms around the opportunity, it is, in my estimation, and I think the people that know what they're doing agree with me, about 75% of listings on Amazon are probably not fully optimized. Okay? You can still squeeze. They didn't get the page title right, or they're targeting the wrong whatever. Or they didn't add A- plus content, or they don't have a storefront, even the basics. About 75% of them, you can come by, and just a trained person could say, " Oh, yeah. Their page style sucks," just like you could do with Google. Right? That said, if you're a person looking for a job in the marketing industry, just add Amazon to your resume because everyone... salaries just went up 30% to 70%. I work with one of the only Amazon HR agencies. They place only Amazon folks, mainly ex- Amazonians also. They estimate salaries went up 30% to 70% since March in this sector. Okay? If you have the skills, just alone in salary, right? If you're a seller, I would suggest now is the time to buy. If you wanted to add to your portfolio, you see a darling brand out there, and you can afford to grab it, now is the time because those brands that are there are only going up in value. Think of them like houses, like flipping houses. Okay? And so if you see one that's like, " Wow! This is a great hot sauce. This is a great product. I really want to get into hot sauces." Right? And you say, " I have my friends order this stuff, but their listing sucks." And if you have a means, buy them. Okay? And then crank it up, and then flip it. Sell it because there's a seller environment out right now also. I should say it's a brand selling environment right now. It will be for the next 10 years, so put together a portfolio of three or four kickass brands or whatever, and you're going to sell them for four or five X in a couple of years if you do things right. If you have the partner, the right agencies, people like you, Ryan. crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: Hit me up, yeah. Yeah, and that's the exciting thing about our spaces because I think it's not every company... and this is the thing. I've worked for companies that have been in the Amazon space that obviously have misstepped, but they re- bounced back. And it's refocusing on what you're good at and saying, " This is what..." you don't stretch yourself too thin. You don't say, 'We're good at everything," because it's almost impossible to do. But if you do the right things about you know what you're good at, you know what people are coming to you for, that's always going to be a profitable piece of your sector. And then, obviously, a little here, a little there, you start buying those companies or you become well- rounded, and you develop these partnerships together, which I think is what you're alluding to. For the audience, if you're listening, if you have questions or submit these in the comments of the podcast... If you're listening in audio form, how do you find your potential partnerships for your Amazon businesses? If the audience wants to submit those questions... or if it's obviously as simple as going on Google and searching those topics. But maybe you, Chris, how do you... when you're finding these kinds of companies, what's that process look like?
Chris Fryburger: Yeah. I used to go, and I had checklists. I'd call up these companies, and I'd have them go through the checklists. But again, especially when it's an agency that's covering a lot of the stuff that you need to do. They manage your listings. They do your campaigns. They do all of that stuff. That is an important relationship. Right? And so there's many aspects you need to get right about that. Obviously, I would look at prior work. I would look at how big they are, obviously their charges. I would encourage talking to at least three to five agencies before I make any sort of decision. Questions around do I have an account manager. What do you guys use for project management? What's my interaction look like? Do I have a monthly meeting? What does a sample report look like for that? Again, prior work, especially when you're hiring somebody to also manage your brand, which is also unique. I should say it's one thing to find an agency that pulls levers well. They have the nerdy- nerd nerds, which you need. You need those nerds in the basement or wherever you put your nerds. You need those nerds. Right? But you also need somebody that can interpret-
Ryan Cramer: That was the most I've heard nerd be spoken into one sentence that-
Chris Fryburger: Right.
Ryan Cramer: crosstalk stop and just recognize how awesome that sentence was. And for all you" nerds" out there, we are so sorry. I think Chris and I can both admit it. We are both nerds in terms of Amazon and data and analytics and all that fun stuff. But anyways, continue.
Chris Fryburger: No, no. It's-
Ryan Cramer: I'm cracking up over here.
Chris Fryburger: I mean, if your PPC guy should be just the most boring person you talk to... I mean, honestly, I'm going to back off from that. But I love-
Ryan Cramer: Which is funny. To that point, I think it's funny because the PPC people that I know in this space are actually the most boisterous, most loud people in the space. And we're going to have one on Monday, which I actually super admire in terms of his knowledge on Amazon, but they all have talent in PPC. And I swear, it's not just people behind spreadsheets and things. We're talking about PPC, I think, two or three times next week. And those people are the most genuine-
Chris Fryburger: They are. They are.
Ryan Cramer: ...hilarious and loud-
Chris Fryburger: Brilliant.
Ryan Cramer: ...people. Brilliant people.
Chris Fryburger: crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: Exactly, which is funny because I think that's the way that you're talking about. Everyone is trying to, but their stake is this is how you become profitable. Just like SEM was big for Google, this is big for Amazon sellers. But to your point, it's just really funny how you think people should react, but they're actually completely the loudest people in the room.
Chris Fryburger: Right. But if you are a moderate- sized brand, you're used to an agency, your ad agency. Probably you have an account manager that interfaces with you. Maybe they bring in... forgive me. I love you, nerds. They bring in the nerd at the middle of the meeting to go over the PPC stats, and then they go away kind of thing. And they're used to that kind of interaction with an agency. Well, that immediately says, " Well, okay. You're not looking at a two- person agency." You're looking at probably something more like you, Ryan, something in the 20- plus, but not 50- plus kind of range, I mean, as far as employees. And that says a lot about where the majority of that company, that they've had success, and they're really mitigating their risks for what is the most important decision they will ever make in their business's history, period.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Going a little bit apart from that, I had something that got top of mind yesterday. I was looking through LinkedIn and inaudible a little bit about what Amazon is doing in the space. And maybe we can go from there. There is a report that came out, I think in Consumer Report, that was released in business, etc. I posted it on my LinkedIn page and Facebook page, I think. It came out to be that people think that it's too hard to cancel your Amazon Prime subscription. And I think that... I'm assuming you saw that report too.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah, yeah.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. What's the mentality of... or what do you think the reason is? I mean, I have my own thoughts. But what do you think the reason is for reports like this to come out and say something that can be as simple as canceling a subscription, which should be easy for your Netflix or anything like that, being too hard to do, and you can't just remove yourself from that process? What's your first reaction when you hear articles like that?
Chris Fryburger: Wah, wah. I mean, they probably already solved it by the time you went to print. I mean-
Ryan Cramer: Well, it was like no comment, and there was a bunch of different reactions that-
Chris Fryburger: Okay. And I'm sorry-
Ryan Cramer: Amazon was like ... Oh, no. I say comments of like Amazon was like, " This is completely opposite and not true." I'm looking for the article, and I can pull it up real quick.
Chris Fryburger: Maybe the root of your question is I am not a everything- Amazon- is- rosy person by any means. I mean, the labor issues obviously are huge, pay and that kind of stuff. Those are huge issues. Environmental issues, whether or not he's donated enough. His wife certainly did. But those are all fair attacks, and in no way, means do... I think he's a brilliant person, but probably flawed. That said, and same with Amazon. Obviously, I talk to the Marketplace side, but never mind the AWS side that's also doing great as well. They get a lot of flack. One of the things that you're going to see up in Washington also, or you would have seen in Washington if it hadn't been pushed back, obviously, is they have competitive products with sellers on their own marketplace. You'll see a bunch of articles on Bloomberg and others that say, " Well, that's not a fair practice." Right? Well, have you ever walked into a Kroger? I mean, do you ever walk into a Target, and they have their own brand that's sitting right next to the name brand like the Post-
Ryan Cramer: It's just not named Kroger. Yeah, it's Fresh Market or, yeah, whatever brand.
Chris Fryburger: It's generic. It's a generic brand. And guess what? You buy it, it's got great quality. The customer data they use to put that right next to the shelf, the packaging, the color, all of that, is driven by the data that they stole from the competitor sitting right next to the box.
Ryan Cramer: They even say on those packing, " Very similar or just as-"
Chris Fryburger: Equivalent.
Ryan Cramer: Almost with medicines or anything like that, like Claritin or like all these other different things that you could be buying. They're just manufacturing them themselves and not sticking a brand on it.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah, yeah. Amazon has Amazon Basics, which most people know. But they have about 40 generic brands that are Amazon- owned, produced and owned, that compete right alongside. They're labeled as Amazon. The seller is whatever. The point is, who cared? I mean, if they choose to identify some products in a couple of categories that are succeeding for them, good luck. That's not new. That's nothing new, and they're being attacked for that and threatened with breakup. Now, there's many other reasons to break them up, but that is not one of them.
Ryan Cramer: With the data and analytics side of things, I know we can maybe hone in on that aspect. Do you think that sellers should have the same and brands should have the same insight as Amazon does and how well, either just themselves or that industry that they belong to, is performing? Or do you think that's proprietary to Amazon, and that data is allowed to be used strictly... I mean, because that's where Amazon basically has come in, and where their sellers fight back as, " Hey, this product was doing really well. You went directly to my sourcing manufacturer X, Y, Z, and you just replicated it, did it for cheaper. And now you put me out of business." What's your thoughts on that?
Chris Fryburger: Yeah. The focusing on the data aspect, which is very frustrating, again, for a brand that's come from, again, a Kroger environment, for instance, where they get POS data. Or they get real- time POS data, or membership programs, or all of that data that they could pull out of that as well, or just simply when you get, again, data you get at the cash register, or credit card sign- ups, and things like that. Really, all of that now is behind the Amazon. Amazon owns that, and they dole it out as, again, most sellers know, sparingly for short periods of time. You might be able to run a report for the last, at most, six months, depending on the report, of data. You wish you could get conversion rate on X, Y, Z, and they simply just don't offer it to you. And the reason is they are ultimately a data company, which is the backend of that Frontline documentary, which everybody should have... anybody listening to this should go watch tonight as homework. The backend of it obviously is the privacy issues and how much... between them and Apple and Google, they know everything about you, your location, certainly your buying habits more than ever. But yet, they still don't share it out, and they dole it out. There's ways around that. There's ways of" recording" Amazon and then running reports over time, projecting out, trying to get the data, customer lifetime value conversion rates, obviously A cost, all that kind of stuff needs to go into professional systems, which fortune 500s are used to cranking it through Tableau and giving it to their data... the nerd's nerds, and giving it to the Tableau guys to pull out the report that the CEO likes to get. crosstalk report out to-
Ryan Cramer: crosstalk Yeah. And for those who don't know what Tableau is, they were just acquired by Salesforce, which is obviously another fortune, what, 10 company. They're a top five maybe, even right now, that's constantly just buying up companies, and they're trying to solve that problem with data and all this stuff. Salesforce even bought Slack this year. Was it Slack? I think Salesforce bought Slack this year.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah, I think so.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Even them making big moves in the space of data and analytics. And that's the other thing I always tell with people is the data aspect of, " Oh, they can't own my data." But any time you use a cellphone, or any time you use internet services... from my perspective and background, my expertise comes in deal- making and stuff like that. People know and can follow you around in terms of marketing. You don't think you know it, but at the back of your mind, you're accepting... Any time you click, I accept these terms and conditions. Or at the bottom of the pages that you go to, " I accept the cookies." These people are gaining your information. They're dropping a tracker on your device, and they're going to know exactly who you are, how long you shop, what you're looking at, and then reserve those out to you. You just may not think that you're that special, but you are. All this data is going and feeding some sort of information. It's not a bad thing either. It's actually helped-
Chris Fryburger: I don't know-
Ryan Cramer: I'll even turn-
Chris Fryburger: crosstalk we sell the results of too much social media, too much internet. Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: Too much internet and social media for one person or another might be a bad shift to the whole entire economy or world landscape. We'll back off that whole train.
Chris Fryburger: Sure, sure. Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: That being said, I know there's documentaries out there like the bad side of it. But it's also good for things like contact tracing, for example. You can do things and see how... track phone location and see movements and understand on a holistic level or a very high level of where people are moving, how often they are traveling, things like that where safety precaution- wise. Or even for militaries where you can find enemies of state or things like that. As crazy as it is, there's always something that you can tie data and analytics back to, so it's not always a bad thing. But it can be a bad thing. We had a question from LinkedIn. The name of the documentary we should watch... I'm going to pull up the clip real quick. And Chris, before our next question-
Chris Fryburger: Sure.
Ryan Cramer: For again, everyone who's watching on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, or on, gosh, I'm trying to think of this, on Twitter. That's the last one. I'll never forget about Twitter. If you're watching this, we'll definitely put all the links in all of our comments if you're watching this later because this is early East Coast time because this is where Chris and I live. We're on the early side of the country. You're just waking up on the West Coast. We'll put those links in. We're talking about some different documentaries and some cool articles that you should definitely be aware of in terms of the Frontline documentary, so we'll make sure that link gets into our LinkedIn posts or wherever we're going live on. The next question... what was the name of it just to-
Chris Fryburger: Oh, yeah. I'm sorry. It's by PBS Frontline is the documentary maker, I guess. And then I believe it's called The Amazon Empire. And that should be enough to Google it, but we'll definitely put a link in there. And again, I recommend it. It's long. It's two hours, but at the end of it, you're like, " Oh, the world just changed."
Ryan Cramer: It's a good Friday night. You have a glass of wine or a beer, and then you cozy up. You look at your wife at the end, and you're like, " That makes sense now," and you go to bed. You feel better about it.
Chris Fryburger: One thing also that emphasizes this, and he named the story, not to spoil it, but he, as a kid, realized that humans are consuming the Earth too fast. It was his eighth- grade report. And his goal was to get humanity off of the Earth. He's going to do that by basically owning eCommerce. Okay? Basically, that's the story in short. But he just took a step toward saving humanity yesterday. If you've watched the launch of Blue Origin, which is his rocket. Elon has his rocket program, so does Jeff. And so, it is the coolest thing ever. If you have 15 minutes today, again, with a glass of wine at the end of a Friday. I think it's Blue Origin. I think it's their channel. Watch the whole thing. It's like a two- hour launch party, a minute 58. Just watch the launch. It's amazing.
Ryan Cramer: When you mentioned that, who is also really cool, and I know this has nothing to do with our topic, but that's how his podcast goes. We iterate, we go, and we go with the flow. Nothing is ever scripted here. That's why our audience loves us. Anyways, we provide content, and we pivot really hard.
Chris Fryburger: I won't go into what Blue Origin looks like, but I'll let you decide on that, and then-
Ryan Cramer: We watched SpaceX launch with the astronauts, and that was a really cool thing to show my son. I was thinking about how long ago it was before they were sending astronauts back into space. Because when I was a little kid, that really inspired my creativity. And I think for a lot of people, there's always a moment on TV or on radio, or wherever, or in the newspaper, if you're that old. You're reading about it, and you were just like, " Oh, my gosh. I can't believe that's possible."
Chris Fryburger: Sure, sure.
Ryan Cramer: We just gloss over things now of how quickly things just change and evolve. My phone now is more powerful than a room of computer back 10 years ago. That's the crazy thing about now. But we watched that launch, and my son... it was just like the same look that we had when we were both kind of like, " Oh, my gosh, inspiring," and move on from there. But when you see people like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, they're dabbling in all these... you'd think it's crazy, like space travel, or as crazy as... I think Jeff Bezos came out with this cruise line. There was something with a ship, and he named his mom after it. Or it was named after his mom, I believe. All these different things that they're dabbling in, what do you think is the end game for big kinds of entrepreneurial minds like a Jeff Bezos or an Elon Musk? It's not, obviously, to take over the world, but they have a vision that they want to be successful with.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah. It's truly amazing. I mean, they're definitely the smartest minds. I mean, obviously, they're the richest people, Bezos and... they're in lockstep, I think. Elon just overtook him last week, not that I track this stuff. It's sick, the amount of money they have. It's unfathomable, and it shouldn't be that way. But regardless, I'm not going to get into that either. They really have a different way of looking at everything. I'll say it a third time, but watch the documentary. And again, it's just the guy that wants to save humanity. And he's going to invent drones so that he can deliver packages in less... now in Brazil, if you would order something through MercadoLibre, which is their big marketplace, it may show up if you live inland, in the Amazon literally, it may show up five or six days later. It may fall off the back of the truck. He's literally putting landing pads in, and he's testing out his drones to deliver and drop packages, literally in the Amazon. And that same technology will let him deliver in the Sahara and parts of Africa, and places where roads aren't and stuff. And so, obviously, that's down the line, but that's where he's going. And there's no reason you can't sell, at that point, sell your product to that guy that needs it in the middle of the Sahara. That's where we're going. And so, that's why I say we're only beginning because he's only got 14 countries. And he's not even the number one in those countries yet.
Ryan Cramer: Right. And a lot of those places... sorry, I'm popping them. I found the link for everyone to put it in. It looks like already a lot of our audience found it too. Found it. The thing is Amazon Empire: The Reign of Jeff Bezos, full phone and Frontline. You can watch it on YouTube for free. I pulled that on there as well. The link was posted on our Facebook and our LinkedIn channels. Again, if you're watching this retroactively, go into this post, find it on this date. Obviously, it's January the 15th now already. Gosh, we're already halfway through January.
Chris Fryburger: I know. I know.
Ryan Cramer: It's crazy. It feels like a year, but it's almost like you just reached 15 mentalities again. It's crazy. But yeah, that documentary is on my list of things to do. I'll have to force my wife to watch it instead of another Netflix series, which is another crazy road to go down because Netflix just announced they're having a new video every week for the entire year. It's like a feature film. And you think about that concept of how much content that they're pumping out. And everyone still asks, " How are they making money?"
Chris Fryburger: Right, right.
Ryan Cramer: No one really knows besides... I mean, there's backgrounds of how you can do that. But anyways, that being said... yeah, go ahead.
Chris Fryburger: Real quick, there are some supplementary vignettes off of that documentary. So the experts that you see in the interview, like five outside Amazon and five inside Amazon, current inside folks, and they, I would say, had sit- downs. I would recommend those vignettes. There's hours of content, and it's just all gold on just really getting your arms around Amazon.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. And PBS obviously does a great job with unbiased information, and they do a great job of in- depth documentaries. Definitely put it on your list to consume. That's really a neat shout- out. And then, we had another comment come in from LinkedIn. "Thank you, Chris, for sharing so many insights and information."
Chris Fryburger: Thank you.
Ryan Cramer: It's obviously great to walk away from talks like this for more information. Before the top of the hour and before you have to go, Chris, if you have any other question, again, everyone who's watching this live, thanks for joining and submitting your questions and comments. We'll definitely go live again all next week. We actually have five episodes. But before we leave, Chris, it's funny. I was telling people every time that they asked, " How do you get into podcasting?" I said, " Well, it was an accident on my part." It was a project that I did one- off for my... Our company in PingPong, we're an international company. And I'll just tell this story real quick for our audience.
Chris Fryburger: Sure.
Ryan Cramer: We're an international company, so obviously, we're sharing information back and forth. We have colleagues in China. We have colleagues in India. We have colleagues all around the world where our offices are trying to help sellers, not just in the United States, but around the world. He came to me, one of my counterparts in China. He said, " Hey, we have lots of questions coming about imagery, copyright infringement, things like that." Because as sellers in China, there's this bad stigma of they always steal listings, or they steal content, and they steal all of this stuff. But they want to know how to protect themselves in terms of just be a good seller.
Chris Fryburger: Of course.
Ryan Cramer: And that's obviously what we want sellers to do is do the right thing, follow compliance. It's a competitive landscape, obviously. But with that being said, it was just a one- off episode that, just like you, I was like, " Oh, I think I know people that would help me want to jump on with this project." And we started making calls around, and we got three of us together. One of them is now my mentor, and he works for AccrueMe. His name is Rob Stanley, and he was on our first episode as a co- host.
Chris Fryburger: I know him.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, exactly. I think we connected with each other. I reached out to him, and he goes, " I'm just so busy, man. I don't think I could commit to little these different podcasts." And I go, " Okay. Well, I'll do it then." And I just took it and took off. And now we're on episode 38.
Chris Fryburger: That's awesome.
Ryan Cramer: All of January is booked out. February is going to be booked out. But just not many repeats of people just want to talk mindset in Amazon. But like you, I think it's really cool to talk about how businesses are shifting in these big glacier ways of there's so many different movements going on. It's just subtle. But ow you're trying to push them quicker and just speed up that process. Has 2020 been the reason that that's been that rocket, maybe for what you're doing or eCommerce?
Chris Fryburger: Yes.
Ryan Cramer: Or those off Amazon people trying to get on Amazon?
Chris Fryburger: It crunched the next four or five years together if you're a brand that was considering Amazon a threat, or we'll figure that out later, or we're going to dip our toe in it. How hard can it be? All of those people were just almost overnight were like, " Okay, we've got to figure out for this." It crunched everything. It's been very good for business. I mean, it's been basically double supernova. It was already going supernova, but it's now double. But yeah, a couple of things I would just like to say if I may because I know a lot of my agency folks that are out there, the non- Amazon folks are out of... through no fault of their own, may be out of a job. And because depending on your agency and the portfolio you had, you may have a brand that just collapsed. And therefore, you don't get paid. I know there's a whole lot of people out there in the workforce. I cannot emphasize enough that your skills are needed over here. You just need to learn the little thing. You could probably do it in an afternoon. And your value just would double. Okay? If you're a photographer, if you're a translator, if you're a PPC person, or you like SEO, or you like photography, anything, you're a logistics guy, anything, just put Amazon in front of it, and learn it. It's nice over here. It's nice and balmy, and the sun comes up every day. Okay?
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, the business continues to flow through. It's not hard to market in that capacity too. That's a good point. Chris, for people who want to reach out and maybe solicit or pick your mind, you've been fantastic just running through-
Chris Fryburger: Thanks.
Ryan Cramer: ...ideas with me. And I have a lot of follow- up for you as well on all the things I owe. Darn that holiday break that we-
Chris Fryburger: I know.
Ryan Cramer: crosstalk to all of our lists of things. But anyways, how can people get in touch with you, or what's the best way to either work with you or just pick your brain or network with you?
Chris Fryburger: Sure. You can find me on LinkedIn. I'm one of two Fryburgers with a name like that.
Ryan Cramer: Christopher Fryburger there.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah. And it's nReach without an I, and there's more information there. But just reach out to me. I love to talk about this stuff, and I love to help brands and sellers just do more on Amazon because that is the answer, more on Amazon.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. And Chris and I have had a couple of conversations off live streams that are just hilarious to me in terms of what ends up coming up with our conversation. I say hilarious because no one else, I think, can... I think you are one of the quicker people that can pivot really quickly, go down those paths and say, " Hey, did you know about this?" Or, " Did you hear about this concept?" Or, " Did you know about this." I think a lot of people just don't have that holistic mindset like you do. I think a lot of people try to, but you've been the one that's just constantly like, " Hey, this company, maybe you should talk to them." Or, " This idea, did you hear about this one?" Or all these different concepts, so I appreciate what you do. You're only a team of one. Right? crosstalk than a few.
Chris Fryburger: Yeah, I've got a couple that help me do the day- to- day stuff. But that said, I can't fix a plumbing thing for anything. Yeah, I like to think I know this sector. I like to help anybody as well. But yeah, don't underestimate the importance and the amount of work that's necessary on this side. And again, it is the most important decision I think you'll make. How are you going to act on and react to Amazon?
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. And because you actually get... your business model is basically, you need people to be successful in these partnerships in order to continue to grow your own business.
Chris Fryburger: Of course.
Ryan Cramer: That's why it's always important to make sure you're doing the homework and doing the right things to connect. Obviously, I end with telling everyone that's a guest, you're now a friend of the show-
Chris Fryburger: Oh, thanks.
Ryan Cramer: ... ofCrossover Commerce. Any time that you want to hop on, your comments or suggestions, always come on. And you're welcome to join if you are just watching like, and you're like, " Hey, I have a comment on that." You will get a link right away to hop in with people to join and joust around with people. But we'll have more. I have a lot of cool projects on my mind in terms of 2021 with top people in this space, where they can start talking about bigger topics. And we'll have multiple guests on-
Chris Fryburger: Awesome.
Ryan Cramer: ...doing a round table. I would love to have you on in the future as well. But thank you so much for-
Chris Fryburger: Thank you.
Ryan Cramer: The Amazon matchmaker, if you will, Chris Fryburger of nReach. Again, his email is below in the comment. If you're listening to this on our podcast, go ahead and reach out to him, chris @ nreach. com. And, Chris, thank you so much. Why don't you stick around, and then I'll follow up with you after this. But for everyone else, thank you so much for joining us on Crossover Commerce this week. This has been a fantastic week full of knowledge. We had one sick person on Monday, but they're coming back next week. We just have lots of different content that's actually going to be popping up throughout the week. We're going live five times next week, so it's the most we're doing in a week. And then we have more webinars for the PingPong side of things that are going to be coming up and announced through our social media channels. Go ahead and follow PingPong Payments on both LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and on Instagram. We announce all of those different things coming up. You'll have links to join. Subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and on Spotify, or wherever you consume them. We have such great content that's being released out all the time, so make sure you consume that information. If you have questions, you can reach me on my social channels on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram as well. For Chris Fryburger of nReach, I'm Ryan Cramer, the host of this show, Crossover Commerce. Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you guys again next week. Be safe, everyone.
Ryan Cramer of PingPong Payments talks with Chris Fryburger of nReach, about helping sellers find trusted Partners.
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