Outsource Your Seller Central Tasks ⎜ Seller Candy ⎜ EP 149
Ryan Cramer: What's up everyone, welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is Crossover Commerce presented by Pingpong Payments, the leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey everyone, what's up? Welcome to another episode of Crossover Commerce Live. My name is Ryan Cramer, and this is my corner of the internet where I bring the best and brightest experts in the Amazon and e- commerce industry. If you're new to the show, or if you're returning again for another episode, welcome back, welcome to the show. Again, we want to get our guest's insights and expertise on the most important aspects of selling online. That's what this show is about, getting people on this show who have walked the walk that can also talk the talk and help you scale your business, your brand, your service to the next level. That being said, if your new to the show, and you're not familiar with who are presenting sponsor is we're presented by Pingpong Payments. What is Pingpong Payments? Well, it is a cross border payment service solution that helps people keep more of their hard earned money. Now helping over one million customers worldwide, Pingpong has helped transact 90 billion dollars in cross- border payments to date, helping sellers like you save on their margins. Again, that can be anywhere from selling on multiple different marketplaces, including Amazon, Coupang that we talked about earlier with today, believe it or not in a different sort of webinar, but then also we can save you on direct to consumer eBay. No matter where you might be selling as an entrepreneur, Pingpong Payments can actually help you out, paying out your suppliers, your manufacturers, your VAS, whatever that looks like, make sure you're getting the best rates possible. Don't do the old way of sending money through international wires, use Pingpong. Check out Pingpong Payments, you can send for free today. Go ahead and check out that link in the comments or the show notes below, if you're listening to us. And again, if you're not watching to us live and you happen to be listening to us on the podcast version, thanks for listening in. But if you happen to be joining us live, you can actually ask your questions to myself or the guest as well. Just go ahead and type in the comment section, let us know where you're listening from, let us know your questions that you might have for either one of us, and we'll make sure we get those answered today. That being said, this is episode 149, we are talking about outsourcing your Seller Central task. Again, it doesn't seem so ominous, it seems somewhat ominous, but Seller Central tasks obviously can be anything from making sure you're optimized in different capacities, making sure that you're not missing notifications, but we'll get into the weeds of it all. It might be daunting once you first get into Seller Central, but you want to make sure that, as we've always said on the show, time is money and when you're spending time doing mundane tasks like in Seller Central, it's time away that you can spend building your business. So that being said, we're going to be talking with our guest today, John Cavendish of Seller Candy. Seller Candy is actually agency level with security practices and knowledgeable staff, helping people grow their businesses, helping get rid of that waste of time and help deal with Seller Support issues. John actually has experience owning and overseeing millions in sales on Amazon and his own brands have led him to his full service agency, Seller Candy. Again, probably one of the greatest last names I've ever heard of, one of the most proper names, Cavendish, but also the sweetness that he brings to doing tasks like this is by far and away one of the best things you could probably do for your business. So with that being said, I want to bring on John Cavendish of Seller Candy. John, welcome to Crossover Commerce.
John Cavendish: Thanks for the amazing intro, Ryan. And a very sweet intro.
Ryan Cramer: Well, I was going to say, look at you, the puns back and forth already, I love it. So John, I only alluded to a little bit of your background. Again, I like to say as friends of the show, I give a snapshot of what it's like. There's so much to unpack with your bio, you're a seller, now you're an agency owner, you've been in the space quite a long time. Let's get a little bit more in depth of your background, how did you get to where we are today, John?
John Cavendish: My life story? crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Hey, yeah. Summed up as best as you can, I guess.
John Cavendish: Well, I live in Vietnam right now, so we're a completely location dependent team. Our team's based between Vietnam, the Philippines, and to be honest, and the west as well. And I ended up here because I started an Amazon business. I had the same dream that many Amazon sellers had back in 2015, late 2014, early 2015, and started an Amazon business. And it gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. I traveled the world. I made money. I met groups of really cool, interesting people. But about three years into it, I didn't really have any meaning from what I doing, I felt very much like I was just selling products, because I wasn't selling anything I really believed in, I wasn't building a cool brand.
Ryan Cramer: It was transactional.
John Cavendish: Very transactional, yeah. And I did a lot of Tony Robbins and personal development and I wanted to build a business that had impact, and that became a full service agency and that agency morphed into Seller Candy. And as you said, Seller Candy, what we do is we take away the stress from dealing with Amazon Seller Support. We just take anything, anytime you'd ever have to communicate with Seller Support, we take it from you, you just give us the outcome and our team does whatever it takes to get to the actual result you were trying to go for when you first raised the case, not whatever the 12 templates and phone calls goes between you and that point.
Ryan Cramer: Amazing. So I guess, first and foremost, why Seller Candy, what's the name come from? Yeah, where does that come from? What's the story behind it?
John Cavendish: Yeah, so I mean we kind of think of ourselves as doing bite sized tasks. So we said tasks in the intro, but really what they are is just bite sized little things and outcomes. So seller and then candy is, make your life sweet, our team are candies and the little bite size tasks.
Ryan Cramer: Is that what you call your employees is little candies and whatnot?
John Cavendish: crosstalk call them little candies.
Ryan Cramer: Well hey, to each your own, you have different... I have no idea what we call, maybe Pongers for Pingpong. I'm not really sure, there's a lot of different things, we can have fun there. A super fascinating background, but you were a seller, so you got to know all the nuances of probably PPC, you got to know product listings, you got to do sourcing, you got to have your hand in a little bit of everything. So why get into something as stressful, as frustrating, as dark as Seller Support? Why get into this industry? Let's rip the bandaid off, why are we getting into such a dark space on Amazon?
John Cavendish: Because you follow the pain, don't you? This is the worst part, for me, it was one of the worst parts of having an Amazon business, is actually trying to get things done on Seller Central. The bit that adds value to your business, well, I think adds value to an Amazon business is sourcing the products, differentiating, PPC, strategy, doing PR outside of your platform, not spending an hour or two a day, either arguing with Seller Support or never getting to the outcome that we're actually going for. And yeah, we've built a team of amazing people who I love working with who can do that without crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: How big is the team now? How big is the team?
John Cavendish: As of this week, I think 26 or 27.
Ryan Cramer: Okay, so still growing, very much in the growth phase I'm assuming?
John Cavendish: Still growing. Yeah, we're going like 20% a month at the moment.
Ryan Cramer: Wow, so this is something that you saw as a niche. And I know we've actually had a lot of people who this is actually something, especially going in Q4, we had an episode earlier in the podcast this week of why now's the time to start prepping and preparing yourself for what potentially could come down the line. 2020 was a really big kind of feeling your way out, what the world kind of transitioned to, 2021 is dealing with the results of all of that. What has been the biggest kind of the result of coming through this two year processes of both growth on the Amazon and the e- commerce platforms, but also trying to understand and go through all these growth pains, if that makes sense?
John Cavendish: Yeah. So the way we describe ourselves is we're the cross between experts and assistance. So our clients come to us and they tell us about all these pains and then we try and help them out. We don't provide full level agency consultancy, but we will do whatever it takes to take them from their problem and their pain to the solution. So we talk to people about having issues with shipments, having issues with freight forwarders, IPI scores, Amazon's crazy inventory limits right now. We're doing whatever we can to support, so it's really a lot of conversations. From the external clients, a lot of conversations how we can help them. And then from our team side, it's just, how do we maintain an amazingly high quality service while growing so quickly? And that's thanks to really our amazing team and the fact we hire ex- Seller Support agents who are super experienced and ex- seller VAs who have been around the block for two to five years.
Ryan Cramer: Is it still one of those spaces that you feel that there's no consistency? I know lots of people who talk in the Seller Support side of things, there seems to be no standard operating procedure or SOP when it comes to the matter. How are you and your team able to kind of, again, let's muddle through the water, how do we find the right person to resolve issues when it could stem from a number of different things, like suspended ASINs. We can talk about your product listings that are flagged, for some reason or another their files got hijacked, or there might be a keyword that was changed by someone else or something along the lines where sellers may not even understand that they have to pay attention to these notifications. You have to come in and almost preemptively fix it or fix something that was already festering from the beginning.
John Cavendish: Yeah. I mean, that's exactly what we do. So for your first point about not having processes, it's almost like Amazon has too many processes. They have this tool called Workflow in the back end of Seller Support. And all they're allowed to do now, the Seller Support agents, which is why you get so many terrible templates, is they're only allowed to copy and paste from Workflow into the back of your account. So that's the reason we've hired so many amazing people is because they don't want to do that anymore, who wants to not help people by copying and pasting things from one place to another. But if they do go above and beyond, they get like slapped on the wrist. So that's why they want to come work for us. But to dive a bit into how you actually solve that issue, we try not to talk to Amazon as much as possible. Talking to Amazon gets you into this never ending cycle of-
Ryan Cramer: Sure.
John Cavendish: Exactly.
Ryan Cramer: Right, back and forth. And they might have their eyeballs on you to dive in deeper into potentially something that doesn't need to be looked at, right? It's not for a fact of you have something wrong, you just don't want to be caught up in all this review from their internal processes. Is that correct?
John Cavendish: Exactly, yeah. Exactly. So you look at what the issue is, you try and find it, if you can't figure out what it is, you raise a case about it. But at the same time, you look at the listings, you download your category listing report, you sanitize your listing and then you clean it up. Sorry, I went through that at about a hundred miles an hour.
Ryan Cramer: That's okay, let's break it down.
John Cavendish: Yeah, so break it down, you want to solve... Most of that's suspension issues. The first thing you to solve a suspension issue is you get Amazon to enable your category listing report in the back end, so you have to raise a case to Amazon, and it's a special report that's only available for seven days once you ask them to enable it. And what it allows you to do is it allows you to download a flat file of all of your listings. So even if Amazon suspended it, you can update the content. And then once you update the content you can go into the flat file, remove all the things, because usually it's been suspended because you've said something wrong or there's something wrong with the listing. You sanitize it, you remove all the potential things that could be wrong, you re- upload it onto the platform and then you call up Amazon and tell them you've uploaded a new flat file. They refresh the system and your listing's back. If it was down for one of the many things that could be wrong with your listing.
Ryan Cramer: You make it seem so simple, is it that quick of a turnaround and processes of... This sounds like, this is something in theory you should take maybe an hour or so, once you're updated appropriately, you flag what should be instead of the irrelevant keyword, I should say, excuse me, and then trying to figure out what's that thing that's setting off the bot, that's flagged your listing or your ASIN. So that being said, how long are we talking before something like this can potentially get resolved?
John Cavendish: It really depends on Amazon. We would get this done as our team same day. So that would happen the same day, we'd call up in that day as well and then spend two hours on the phone with Amazon potentially, because you will go around in circles. But if you've uploaded the flat file, you can always get Amazon to refresh the listing and see the upload. Because the main problem with Amazon is if you ask them to update something on your listing, they'll send you around five different departments in circles, so to avoid that you do the upload. But you might need to do this three times, so sometimes it's next day and you get it up immediately, and sometimes it's a week and we're every day pushing the same process. But more often than not, our team are, I think the fastest out there at getting listings back up, especially because we are working with our clients continuously and always in their account, we don't have to go back and forth.
Ryan Cramer: So why would somebody need somebody of your capacity with the speed? Is it just because outsourcing this task is going to save you not just time but also money? Can you give us a best case scenario of if I'm doing it myself? I'm a smart person, I like to think I can figure this out, but what are those kinds of pros and cons, if you will, of working with an agency to outsource this while it's going on in the background? What can I be working on in theory?
John Cavendish: Well, what I think our service gives is mental space. So we have a-
Ryan Cramer: I like that.
John Cavendish: We have a portal, we have a communication portal where you log in and you talk with our agents two ways. So you log into your portal for five minutes a day, you raise all the outcomes that you want for your business and then you don't need to do anything else, you can consider it done. So anything that you were thinking I had to do today that involves dealing with Seller Support, updating something, following up on something, just give it to us, check it five minutes a day, you get pinged via email if we respond to you in the portal. You can submit as many things as you want, an unlimited number of things per month. And based on the package you're paying us for you get a certain number of simultaneous tasks being worked on, so it might be two, it might be three, it might be four, but it means that you can just leave us pushing through all your tasks, you can upload 10 at a time. And that's how you get on with your business and spend time growing it, PPC, being on the beach, hanging out with your dog, whatever you want to do.
Ryan Cramer: Well, yeah, we kind of alluded to kind of the grim parts of what might be needed for an agency like yours. What are those hidden things that people may not always understand? For example, if I'm a seller coming to you, I'm like," What are the things I may not think about that could be just taken off my plate?" Ultimately, the more that's off my plate, that it's almost easy to call them MWAs, minimum wage activities, right? Not the fact that Seller Candy's minimum wage, but it's the time... The concept is taking tasks, for example, of uploading or refreshing or any sort of capacity in something I can spend my time, this is what Pingpong does really well, is like making sure that you have all of your income in one area, that's what we do best, and effectively. How is Seller Candy taking some of those mundane tasks off your plate? What else would we be missing, maybe?
John Cavendish: We've got a really cool menu of services, let's plug the website, that people can download and see all the stuff that we can do. But it's basically anything you can argue with Seller Support about. Some of the other stuff that we can do, which is not so common, but we're really, really good at, we can help with inventory projection. So actually helping you project between your warehouse, your 3PL and your supplier, make you a nice spreadsheet, update it weekly, send it over to you, with smaller stuff you do with smaller sellers, anyone from 20 to 100K a month, smaller on the grand scheme of things. And then with bigger sellers 500 to a million dollars a month, we tend to do their super complicated, you clench when you delete 200 unit a day ASIN and you want someone to hold your hand to make sure that you don't mess things up.
Ryan Cramer: Okay. So yeah, that makes sense. Go ahead.
John Cavendish: Sorry, and also we do stuff like we do reimbursements, so we've got a revenue recovery service. What we do there is we do, similar to other reimbursement services, but being that we're super ingrained into your account, things like inbound shipments, things where we need you to provide information, we're a lot better at getting the information out of you. We kind help you manage yourself in getting money back from inbound shipments, sending us the data, sending us the information, because we have a relationship with our clients. So our goal is to create raving fans and we do that by super positive communication. We're always there. We're always there to support. We're very proactive in getting back to you, and we just want to be there to make ecstatic clients.
Ryan Cramer: You're like a safety blanket or a safety net, if you will, of someone who can rely on, just to be there to support you through the difficult times, because that's... Entrepreneurs and for the listeners out there listening to this they're like, that's always good to know that I can have maybe some sort of backup in case I need to have that support. So that being said, what's a commonality that you're seeing more today as Amazon continues to have in flow of both the successes, but also the problems that most people encounter, what are those intricate issues that you're seeing more and more trending now?
John Cavendish: I mean, there's so many issues, aren't there, all the time with Amazon?
Ryan Cramer: Is something standing out more than not that you maybe not used to see as much, but now is becoming more aware of, if that makes sense?
John Cavendish: I mean the biggest thing is that Amazon support is getting worse. They're getting slower to respond. They take more tries to fix things than they used to. So it's more work for us, but that's a good thing I guess, but it just means that we're going back and forth so many times to fix things sometimes and so many calls, they're getting more and more put into the box, their support team and less able to help us get through things. Because at the end of the day, we are representing you and we're pushing super hard to get to the result. Also storage, I mean, everyone's got an issue with storage right now, it's the worst thing ever.
Ryan Cramer: Inventory limits.
John Cavendish: Inventory limits. Yeah, account limits, it's just terrible. People with over 700 IPI scores, inventory performance scores, which is a great number, getting limited to a month's worth of inventory.
Ryan Cramer: So if you have to see these trends, you're a data person, it sounds like, if you had to put on your hat of where this trend inevitably is going to go, is that concerning for you as a person who's ingrained in this community? Or what are you bracing your clients for, maybe for worst case scenario?
John Cavendish: Well, I mean we're telling everyone to get a 3PL. It's always fun, isn't it? There's always something new happening. There's always something crazy going on. So I kind of think that we brief them for what might happen and then we just support them for whatever happens. If something random pops up, we fix it.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Amazing. Sorry, there's lots of people, I like the fact that people are putting lots of different candies in the comments, so I appreciate it. We're seeing these as they're coming through, so people who are watching us live, we actually do have a question from Daniel. Daniel asked for you, John," How is Seller Candy reimbursement better than just using Helium 10 or any other software or service out there?" That's a great question, Daniel. What would be those distinguishing factors, John? I know you mentioned you're familiar with the client and their account, is that really what stands out?
John Cavendish: What stands out is that we have our own process, so we download all the data and then we have 14 different types of reimbursements that we go through, and that we only charge based on success for reimbursements. So the cool thing is if you want to see if we're any better, you can just give us a go. If you've already run them yourself, just say," Oh, give us a go and see if we can get more for you." Because we will be able to. We also have some other cool stuff, like did you know that Amazon actually loses maybe about 5% of your revenue they lose in fulfillment center transfer. So as they're transferring between one and another fulfillment center, it literally falls off the back of a truck or they lose it. So we have a proprietary process where we download all of the inventory reports, put them through a system and then we can match the goods, leaving one warehouse and arriving at the next warehouse.
Ryan Cramer: So this would be if Amazon needs to, all my goods are being shipped to a fulfillment center in the West Coast, they're going to start distributing closer the East Coast, potentially South, Midwest, again, depending on the marketplace you're selling in, that's when you're telling people that they're losing actually losing up to 5% of their truckload, if you will, or people's inventory?
John Cavendish: 5% of the total reimbursement, so we say-
Ryan Cramer: Oh, total reimbursement, I'm sorry.
John Cavendish: A good metric for Daniel actually would be how much money are you getting back per month, and we should should say you should be getting between one and 1. 5% on average back of your total revenue per month. So if you're during 100K a month, you should be getting... When you raise it, you should be getting about one and a half thousand dollars, one to one and a half thousand dollars back. If you're getting less than that, then talk to us.
Ryan Cramer: Right, so you're saying that that's kind of your benchmark that you're shooting for. But that's consistent because, I guess I should be following around an Amazon truck and just follow them because you said there's going to be lost inventory. How is this happening? I'm kind of curious too, is there a rhyme or reason why that's happening? Is it just the breakage or it gets mislabeled or it doesn't get to the right warehouse? Or is it miscommunication amongst Amazon? You would think that they would shore up those kind of processes a little bit more efficiently considering.
John Cavendish: That's a small amount mislaid because it was only 5% of that... one and a half percent is still quite a small amount, but the main stuff is the stuff they're losing in the warehouse. It's warehouse lost, warehouse damage, just stuff that disappears when they're moving it around, that is a huge amount, especially if you've never run proper reimbursements and had a professional team do it, there's a lot of money being left on the table in that.
Ryan Cramer: So at what point is Amazon, and I get this is something that I personally know the answer, but a lot of people might want to understand like Daniel, at what point is Amazon responsible for your inventory? At what point is it on them for reimbursements potentially to happen? Is it once that it hits their warehouse or at what section in the logistics chain is Amazon responsible for your goods?
John Cavendish: Well, if you can prove it, then they're responsible from the time they pick up. They pick up from your supplier's warehouse if you're using their partner carrier, so from that point you then have inbound and lost inbound. So if they haven't checked in everything that left from your 3PL to go into Amazon or your freight inaudible go into Amazon, you can claim that. Then at every point forward from that. So from there into the warehouse, where it disappears in the warehouse, on the way to the customer, when the customer doesn't return it once they've asked for a refund, they're responsible. So we have a list of 14 different points that they can lose your money, and then we go back and we look at each one of those 14 different points.
Ryan Cramer: Interesting. Is there a category that a seller should be... and again, Daniel, thank you so much for the question, if you have another one, or anyone who's watching this live, if you're listening to this, you can obviously submit this in the comment section on both podcast channels, as well as the social media channels. Great question right there. But John, my question to you is, does it actually go as deep as what category you might be in to determine how big of a reimbursement you might get? Because I think that's something a seller should always keep in the back of their mind, if I'm in category X, Y, Z, there actually might be a higher threshold of returns because of breakage, because of lost inventory, like you said, in warehouse. If you're selling a fridge, that's something hard to get lost, but it might get damaged or anything along the ways. Is there a category that we should be looking out for?
John Cavendish: That's a great question. I mean, some consumables aren't eligible for reimbursement, so that would be one you'd maybe have lower reimbursements in.
Ryan Cramer: Okay, so food or supplements or anything you put in the body or put on the body?
John Cavendish: It depends on the specific item actually, so you'd have to look into it. Yeah, the other thing is categories, you really keep an eye on your categories, because some categories have lower referral fees than others. And if Amazon's miscategorized you, then you can claim back a huge amount of money in referral fees. So just making sure whether you're in a 15% category, an 8% category, a 20% category, make sure you're in the right category, because that is just money evaporating out of your wallet.
Ryan Cramer: Right, and for the people who don't know how far back this can go for reimbursements, Amazon just updated their terms, right? So how far back can a claim reimbursement go for damage goods or anything like that? Is there a timeframe or time window when, for example, the statute of limitation, what's our statute of limitation for broken or lost or whatever Amazon goods that we can get reimbursements for?
John Cavendish: Yeah, so it depends on the type. So certain things, 18 months. I think lost inbound's 18 months. But other things are between nine months, six months and 90 days, so it really depends on the type of reimbursement. We go back up to 18 months on the ones that we can go back to and then we go back as far as we can and everything else, and then we just stay up to date with it, with the clients that use that service from us.
Ryan Cramer: Where is the most of the reimbursements coming from? Is there a category breakdown?
John Cavendish: Yeah, inventory adjustment, lost inventory in the warehouse-
Ryan Cramer: Inventory adjustment.
John Cavendish: Lost inventory in the warehouse.
Ryan Cramer: So instead of having a hundred units on hand there's 96 or something like that? There's just-
John Cavendish: Yeah, Amazon loses a lot. Yeah, basically.
Ryan Cramer: So there's a gold mine basically, just in inventory of lost goods basically that no one's found yet, it's just out there. I guess my question then, what if Amazon finds that inventory? Do they reapply it to your account or what happens to something where it's already been reimbursed for that lost or stolen good, or whatever it might be? What happens to it if they theoretically find it? It's just a box somewhere, there's still physicality to it and they're looking at it, it's not in their system anymore. What happens to it? Do you know?
John Cavendish: Yes, they credit... Because if it's got your FNSKU on it, they credit it back to your inventory. So they put it back to your inventory and then they reverse their reimbursement to you. So they just charge it to your account again.
Ryan Cramer: Okay, so then they would take back the money that they reimbursed you for?
John Cavendish: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: That's so nice of them.
John Cavendish: So we have a crosstalk report for this. So we issue it with our clients every month, it shows them what we've refunded, what they refunded themselves and what Amazon refunded. And then all of the adjustments that they've been back charged against those, each one of them. So it makes it really easy for our clients to see. I mean, this is just part of our service, this is just the icing on the cake. Our real service, which is helping people to free up their time from Seller Central, and this is just Seller Candy's turning into a platform. So what we do is we do everything that you don't want to do in your Amazon account, dealing with numbers, dealing with Seller Support, in the future, dealing with customer service, dealing with the stuff which doesn't add value to the business at a basic level.
Ryan Cramer: Right. Is there a point where you would just become... At Seller Candy do you envision be coming just a full service run of business agency where you have sellers, you just take over entire end to end. Is that where you eventually see this continuing now?
John Cavendish: Actually, no. I see us as a platform to support anybody. So we support sellers, we support inaudible arbitrage sellers, private label sellers, agencies, aggregators. One of our aggregated clients just raised 165 million today, so it's crazy.
Ryan Cramer: Oh, I know two of them that raised money today and they're both located in the United Kingdom. So shout- out to out to Wholesome or, what's the other one, hold on, Heroes, those are the two. So it's one or the other.
John Cavendish: It's one of them.
Ryan Cramer: I won't say, if you're under a NDA, I can guess for you, it's just one of those two.
John Cavendish: No we're not under a NDA. But no, we support agencies, aggregators, I don't want to do false service. We don't do PPC. We don't do content creation. We don't do strategy. And the reason for that is that I want to work with everybody and I want to help everybody, agencies and aggregators have the same issues that sellers do, which is this work sucks, expensive time and mental capacity and money. And we want to help everybody.
Ryan Cramer: Mm- hmm(affirmative), so does this growth happened just on Amazon or are you looking to get more into different marketplaces, right? Amazon's only a piece of the puzzle, as large as it is, there's expansion into different marketplaces. Here domestically, you see a lot of people going into Walmart, even different marketplaces such as Etsy, all these different types of platforms. But again, once you look at internationally, there's a bunch of different ones out there. Is it possible for you to grow, support those services in their dashboard?
John Cavendish: Eventually, I see it that we could be eventually there. I mean, Amazon's got such a high ceiling for us, I think we could be 100X bigger than we are now, before we go outside Amazon, it really depends on our growth path as a business over the next two to five years.
Ryan Cramer: Okay. Are you still selling on the side, John? Or you have completely removed yourself from the selling capacity?
John Cavendish: I sold the majority share in my business, I still have a share in an Amazon business, but I don't have anything to do with it anymore.
Ryan Cramer: Okay, so with that being said, would you ever get back into selling or is it something that you just want to get your hands in or you've just removed yourself? Like you said, you saw it as just a transactional thing, is that where you see a lot of... Being in this space myself, so my background comes in selling direct to consumer, so I had to build a brand, but also on different kinds of platforms through performance marketing, then you get into the software side and now I'm in FinTech. But I've seen this transition for sellers, right? I'm curious what your thoughts are from being entrepreneurs in the mindset of, I want to grow something business wise or a brand, then they teach other people how to do it, or they develop their own service, and there's this natural transition into different kinds of the industry. Is that something that you're happy with the service side or is there other things out there have fascinated you personally or your company to get into? Does that make sense? That's kind of a personalized question, but I want to make sure-
John Cavendish: No, it's a great question. I mean, my belief after doing so many different hustles, I use to call them hustles, but different businesses that weren't traditional businesses, they were great ways of making money at the time, but it wasn't a long term vision. And I'm a big believer that focus is power, especially through growth and really like holding onto something and understanding where it's going and steering the ship. And I'm not doing anything else. I'm doing Seller Candy, we're going to take Seller Candy as far as it can go and really build it into a known brand. And you know, I wouldn't have any time or focus to do anything else to crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: There's only one John Cavendish. So with that being said, is the focus on just the US market? Or where's the international growth and support? Are you guys supporting other Amazon marketplaces specifically right now? Or do you support all of them?
John Cavendish: Yeah, we support almost all of them. We support USA, Europe and Australia because they're easy... Sorry, USA, we do North America, Europe and Australia. So we do NAF as well, and also whether you're selling in Mexico or Canada.
Ryan Cramer: So do you... Oh, go ahead, sorry.
John Cavendish: Oh, I was just going to say, all of these markets still have massive amounts of capacity.
Ryan Cramer: Mm- hmm( affirmative). I would say my biggest thing, and I think you see this too, is the potential aspect of growing on Amazon, right? You don't see the ceiling coming anytime soon, even in the US marketplace, which is the number one Amazon marketplace. So for the sake of my listeners and our audience watching or listening today, I'm curious to you, since you work in the capacity of seeing where the growth is, where lots of different sellers are onboarding, where they want to grow their business, what is your outlook on certain marketplaces in the Amazon ecosystem? Is there one you have your eye on, maybe not as trendy as the other ones? Or do you feel like it's the traditional United States marketplace, then you have Europe or UK, Germany is 2A, then you have Japan, Australia, Canada, those are kind of like your next tier businesses. What's, in your mind, the next growth potential behind the United States, if you think? Or maybe in front of the United States. crosstalk. Yeah.
John Cavendish: I mean, I like the United States, but it's all about strategy, in whatever your strategy is for your business. So I still think if you want to grow something really quick, the US. It has to be the right fit, probably oversized and weird and in some weird category, unsexy product or an actual brand and differentiated. Or you go for the strategy of going for Europe. And Italy's a great market, France is a great market, you could go for those markets because nobody concentrates on them. And that's what we did four years ago and they're still great markets now, we still have people selling a lot of money in those. So I think it's figuring out the strategy first and then not just chasing the shiny object, but knowing, I'm going to go here, I'm going to put this much money in this, this is where we're going to rank, this is the competition, this is how many reviews need to get, this is how we're going to do it, and having a plan to execute.
Ryan Cramer: For those different marketplaces is it-
John Cavendish: crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Oh yeah, exactly. And to that point, you said you have to understand why that marketplace makes sense for you. Is Amazon Seller Central different from marketplace to marketplace? Or is that something that's kind of why there's another pro to you is because they're a little bit different, they're more nuanced, it's harder to understand what might be in one dashboard might not be in the other, so on and so forth. Is that why there's another pro to working with a business like yours?
John Cavendish: I mean, the dashboards are pretty much the same. You just have eight times as many issues in Europe because you've got eight marketplaces to update through the same accounts, they're just a dropdown menu. But you have lots of issues if you've got variations with your variations splitting out and jumping out randomly in one marketplace, and then that's the sort of stuff we fix. If you've got a variation, one color's jumped out in France for some reason, I don't know why. And they say," Oh, Seller Candy, can you just figure out why and then sort it out for us?" And we'll go," Okay." So that's an hour of time saved trying to figure out what it is, create a flat file, upload the flat file 10 times, do it wrong and get it right again, from the client's side.
Ryan Cramer: What's the thing that surprised you the most by operating a service based industry?
John Cavendish: Oh, after running an Amazon business?
Ryan Cramer: Yeah.
John Cavendish: Oh, actually running a business with staff, actually how to run a real business with sales and marketing and delivery and culture and managing people and yeah, building a real business... I was going to say, an Amazon business is a real business, you do amazing with it, but crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: You do a lot on your own, yeah.
John Cavendish: Yeah, you do a lot on your own, and it's a lot of automated stuff, which is awesome. Yeah, growing a business where we had to think of all of it, that's been my biggest wake up call from running an agency. From dealing with having maybe a thousand conversations with Amazon sellers in the last year, I guess... Yeah, it's just connecting with amazing people. I guess, there's just so many cool people out there who are trying to make money or already are making money and they're doing some really cool stuff on the Amazon platform.
Ryan Cramer: With that as kind of your north star, if you will, or that's your experience, when you're onboarding new clients, what's something that you wish a new potential client would ask you? I'm always curious, is there something that you think that there's lack in education or audience out there before they come with you? What's one thing that you wish they would make prevalent, upfront with you? Whether it's," My business is doing really well." When you look into the numbers and that's not the case. Or you have the issues with product or whatnot that maybe alleviate a headache at the beginning rather than you have to go through it a month or two down the road.
John Cavendish: I mean, we don't judge. We get there, we're like," All right, well-"
Ryan Cramer: I get this concept. Yeah, you're not a judgy person, it doesn't seem like.
John Cavendish: Yeah, we just figure it out. We figure it out. There's always, especially when someone comes to us there's," Ah, there's not much stuff for you to do." But I suppose that's the main thing that everyone always says is there's not going to be that much for you to do. And then we do an audit of everyone's account when we start and give them a list of 30 things for us to do, because I mean, that's how we show the value in our service. And everyone has problems, everyone comes to us, has an issue, we're like," Well, okay, it's fine, we'll figure it out. Just get on board and we'll sort it out." And then a week later, hopefully, they're a raving fan, we figured everything out and then they're a client for life. We've still got 80% of the clients we've ever worked with, and it's a month to month contract.
Ryan Cramer: What's the most impressive thing that you've learned from your clients then, on the flip side? Is there something that stands out to you that you've learned from them on operating businesses? Like, they're like," No, John, this is actually how it's supposed to go." They are the ones teaching you instead of you informing and helping them.
John Cavendish: I've learned definitely stuff from the aggregator space, how they work. Because the Amazon space, I was a seller for four years, so I think I understand roughly how that works. But yeah, from the aggregator space, it's super interesting seeing how they operate, what they do, how they're structuring their teams, all the different people that we're talking to in their teams. Yeah, it's really interesting. But I still don't know what the specific thing would be.
Ryan Cramer: Right, well with that trend, I'm always curious because we've had on the show, tomorrow actually I will be speaking with one of them based in Germany, they are SellerX, with that being said, lots of people understand that there's lots of people raising, we alluded to earlier in this podcast, there's just lots of different pros and cons to watching what they're doing. There's more cropping up. There's more businesses that are coming to market. What's your perception of the marketing in and of itself? Is this something you wish that was around when you were selling, that you were like," I can exit my business, I'll just sell one of them." Instead of, like you said, holding onto shares with your current business, what's kind of your take on the industry itself?
John Cavendish: Yeah. I mean, it's crazy, isn't it, compared to how things were two years ago, how aggressive everyone is on acquisition? Three of our clients got acquired in the last six months and my friends have sold to different aggregators, so it's been interesting to see it happen. I mean, I think there's always been a market to buy and sell these businesses, but it's just having the aggregators here has made it so easy or so much more straightforward to sell. For me, the reason I hesitated was because I wasn't sure how I'd answer this question about the whole economy in general. What does it mean for the entire economy? The fact that house prices are going up so quickly, the stock market's going up so quickly, multiples on these businesses are going up, what, one or two X added in the last six months? I don't know.
Ryan Cramer: Are you thinking the inflation of how you evaluate businesses? That's what it sounds like you're alluding to. Is there a bubble that you think, or more of a, this is going to come continue to rise? And you think just based on value of audiences, more consumers are buying online, amazon's the number one marketplace in the world continuing to grow adoptive wise across multiple different marketplaces, it's only going to continue to skyrocket, maybe not as many that continue to enter the market as quickly as they have been, but more of a," Hey, I'm going to operate multiple, hundreds of businesses. If you want to exit it, we can operate effectively, efficiently and with more capital than what you as an individual can at any given point. Let us take the sapling or the seed that you've planted and let's grow it into a Redwood and watch it continue to be around for a long time." Is that what more you've seen?
John Cavendish: Well, I mean, I have no idea. crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: Or maybe hope for? crosstalk.
John Cavendish: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I don't know what I hope for because everything's so over heat... If everything continues to go up, it has to go down in order to get to the point where it's reset again.
Ryan Cramer: Profitable, right?
John Cavendish: Yeah. So actually, I'm not smart enough to have an answer for that, to be honest. I think just, we keep our heads down, grow the business, get work done, help people and whatever happens, as long as we're adding enough value, we're going to be all right and so will everyone else, as long as their business model is set on good principles.
Ryan Cramer: Well, before we get to the top of the hour, my question for you is, as we go into Q3 and Q4, what tips do you have for sellers out there, whether working for you or not? How can we best go into one of the busiest times of year traditionally? Is there anything that they need to reevaluate, make sure it's shored up, protected, checked as often as it needs to be? What tips can you provide for us and the listener?
John Cavendish: Inventory planning, obviously, I mean, we're getting pretty late now. It's 1st of September, so hopefully you've all placed your orders. Everyone who's watching has placed their orders and the inventory's coming soon. 3PLs, if for some reason you don't have a 3PL yet and you think you're going to be okay, get a 3PL set up, just as a backup, have someone there who's there to manage overstock and fulfill. What are your biggest things for Q4, Ryan?
Ryan Cramer: No, that's a good question. We're going to switch it up. So I think the biggest things would be, pertaining to this specifically is being proactive instead of reactive, right? I think a lot of people saw, unfortunately that you need to protect yourself from the worst case scenario, making sure you go through the exercises and again, I talked about this on a past episode of going through the exercise and the worst case scenario. What if someone hijacks your listing and your bestselling ASIN goes down? Do you have a fulfilled by merchant listing out there, and do you have a way to have an email maybe ready to be sent off right away? Or working with a company like Seller Candy to be ready for those kinds of instances where if it's being shut down around the highlight of Q4 and maybe you're offline for 72 hours, that could be tens of thousands of dollars depending on who has a brand you are and obviously, the effectiveness of what you can do for the rest of the year. I think that there's a lot of, me personally, I think that you will continue to see not just huge peaks and valleys of, like Prime Day, for example, or Black Friday or Cyber Monday that start to become more spread out over a course of a series of time instead of a few days here and there. So it's always as important, as you said, the 1st of September here in the United States, at least going into the 2nd of September overseas, but we're talking about inventory planning, a huge number one thing to be focused and I would say worried about, that if you can last through stock. Again, Chinese New Years right after the first of 2121, then you're worried about all these different things that are going to be happening in the APAC region. Again, the Olympics is coming back in five months now, already, right?
John Cavendish: crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: So that would shut down, I believe it's in Japan or-
John Cavendish: China, I think.
Ryan Cramer: No, China, winter. So that would be affecting potentially logistics shutdowns, again, training new suppliers, that's a real big concern for lots of sellers right now. But I think just having enough inventory, making sure that you can sell if something happens on a listing where you're not solely relying on one leg of your business. We saw that in 2020 when Amazon shut down, as you probably know, non essential goods in the United States, people didn't have other options, they were out of luck, if you will, for a series of weeks, if not months. But being able to sell on direct to consumer websites, different marketplaces, different worldwide Amazon marketplaces, you're able to kind of supplement that loss if you will, here in the United States, at least. So making sure that you have a kind of a growth plan in how you feel comfortable with, because costs are going to continue to rise, I'm assuming for sourcing and logistics. Having that backup plan if you can't get your goods in time, and making sure that you're working with someone who can effectively... if your listing gets shut down for one of many reasons, or you just need tasks, again, time is money. If you need tasks to be taken off your plate, it's all always important to have those working for you instead against you, if that makes sense?
John Cavendish: Yeah, so you can work on your business, not in your business.
Ryan Cramer: Exactly.
John Cavendish: Not have to continuously be the person who's driving everything forward and it's not solidly down to us as inaudible.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Is there any other trends that you see John, that maybe are under the radar that aren't as sexy, talked about as often as, again, topic XYZ? Is there something that you're more fascinated with and you're kind of keeping an eye on whether it's a trend or it's a business model or service? Is there something out there that has peaked your interest that you want to kind of watch and maintain and inaudible a good eye on?
John Cavendish: That's an interesting question. I'm trying to think of anything. I mean, the trend I've seen a lot of is automated PPC softwares, but I haven't really used any of them, but everyone seems to be launching one.
Ryan Cramer: That's true. Coming from a software company before this, I can attest too, we did build out one of those.
John Cavendish: Cool. Yeah, I mean, I'm not sure, to be honest. Maybe I should do a blog post or something, and think about what I see in 2022, predictions for 2022.
Ryan Cramer: Those are always fun to do, and I've, certainly done those. Those are fun. You can't be hold to it because they're just thoughts, right? There's no ramifications from it, we're not... Actually, and Amazon is like," This is what we think is going to happen." But that being said, I think things I've kept an eye on... I think it's super fascinating watching it on the financial side, if you will, of you've seen Affirm now partner with Amazon, almost a trend where it's Affirm, the business model is being able to pay in installments instead of all at once. I think it's fascinating to kind of keep an eye on that where higher ticket items now can be financed, if you will, in three months installments, six months installments. Shopify does something very similar to that capacity where you can pay it all at once, but the consumers paying back in monthly increments. Keeping an eye on that because it might be higher average order values that you can now is start to buy larger electronics and higher end fashion items or just large ticket items in general, now you can start to pay off over time, again, potentially at a cost, again, a percentage or two, but kind of keeping an eye on that. I thought that was fascinating that there's this finance thing options, but then also how continuously are people going to be shifting their habits in general? As winter comes, are people going to now get comfortable with purchasing grocery and more essential items again back on e- commerce instead of more in the summertime? So all these different things I'm curious about. As the season kind of continues to trickle on and the quarter comes to an end in the busiest time of year, for lack of a better term, is popular. So again, if a listener, if you have something that you're looking on or have a trend in mind, go ahead and shoot that in the comment section. But before we wrap up, John, what's kind of the... As Seller Candy continues to grow, what are you most excited about as both a co- founder, as a service provider? What is your focus for the rest of this year and what do you hope to get right beginning for next year?
John Cavendish: I don't know. What I'm most excited about is just continuing to grow as we have and impact so many businesses. What we've been doing with Seller Candy has actually inspired me. Our amazing team, I know some of them are watching now, so I want to say hi to our team. And yeah, it's just been a really amazing experience to work with some really, really cool people and just see where the business goes. I'm very excited to, yeah, to continue this journey. The business, as an Amazon seller previously, I want to be doing the next thing and the next product and the next product, even with Seller Candy, when are we going to launch the next part of this service? But I've realized now that we have to take a step back and make sure we scale it right and make sure that we deliver the right service to our clients. So I'm just excited to see where this journey goes over the next few years.
Ryan Cramer: Well, it was pretty sweet to talk with you today. And as always, working with people and talking with people as yourself, you kind of see what's coming. And being able to help people scale appropriately, again, taking tasks off their plate that might otherwise hinder their businesses is super valuable in this day and age. But if people want to get in touch with you, the team over at Seller Candy, just connect and kind of go through thoughts and processes if it makes sense to work with you, how do people do that?
John Cavendish: I mean, they can drop me an email. I'm pretty open at the moment still. I'm actually really busy, but yeah, I can give up my email here and anyone who wants to reach out they can email me-
Ryan Cramer: Go ahead.
John Cavendish: John @ sellercandy.com. Or if you want to chat to somebody on our team about what we actually do, you can go onto the website, there's a live chat there. And if you just type in Pingpong in the chat, and it'll ask you for your email, put in your email and our team will reach out and talk to you the same day.
Ryan Cramer: Amazing. Well, that is something here, I'll go ahead and put in the chat. The website for people... That was a different thing, that was the title of it. For some reason it didn't copy my URL, but real quickly, let me go ahead, for the people watching and listening, if you haven't gone to Seller Candy, it's just sellercandy. com. So you can definitely go ahead and check that out for people who are listening to this I'll have the link and the show notes as well as John's LinkedIn and contact information as well. So that being said, John, thank you so much for hopping on Crossover Commerce today, it's been a pleasure talking with you. Now, I would call you a friend of our show. So you're more than welcome to hop on anytime you have insights or thoughts about Seller Candy and just what you're seeing. We'll have to do a recap of what we're expecting to see in 2022, crosstalk it's coming before we know it, right? But I appreciate your time today and hopping on Crossover Commerce.
John Cavendish: Thanks for having me, Ryan.
Ryan Cramer: No problem. Have a great one. Awesome, and thank you everyone who is watching and listening to Crossover Commerce today. Again, this is episode 149 of our show. This is the corner of the internet, where we talked to the best and brightest experts in the Amazon e- commerce space. If you like what you heard, go ahead and click on that like button or the heart button, however you deem to give your approval of the episode. Again, John's such a amazing company, but also just a great mind in the Amazon e- commerce space. You can check him out at sellercandy. com, but also connect with him on his social profiles on LinkedIn is what we'll point to as well. That being said, this is episode 149 of Crossover Commerce. We have one more live episode later this week. Again, if you missed portions of this episode you can go back and watch on our social media profiles on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, or you can even wait for the audio version to come out on your favorite podcast platforms, excuse me. So that being said, we'll catch you guys next time on Crossover Commerce, take care.
Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with John Cavendish of Seller Candy one-on-one to discuss why you should outsource your seller central tasks.
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