Inside The Mind of A Full Service Agency ⎜ Page.One ⎜ EP 110

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This is a podcast episode titled, Inside The Mind of A Full Service Agency ⎜ Page.One ⎜ EP 110. The summary for this episode is: <p>Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Keith O'Brien of Page.One about how eCommerce agencies drive growth for their clients.</p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is Presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>

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 Ping Pong Payments, the leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard earned- money. Hey everyone, what's up? I'm your host Ryan Cramer. Welcome to Episode 110 of Crossover Commerce. This is my corner of the internet where I bring you the best experts in the Amazon and e- commerce industry, sharing their insights and most important aspects of selling online. If you're new to this show, welcome. Again, if you're watching on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, thanks for tuning in today. We're going to actually going to be asking a couple questions today. How does a full service agency approach growing the brands they work with? Well, how do they approach that catalog optimization needs, creative assets, count health advertising, so on and so forth? How does an agency juggle all of these different concepts? We're going to ask those questions today and get some inside pull behind the curtain, if you will with our guest today. We're going to see and talk about how e- commerce agencies drive growth for their clients. So aptly titled, this episode, if you will, is titled, " Inside the Mind of a Full Service Agency." As always, Crossover Commerce is presented by Ping Pong Payments. If you don't know anything about Ping Pong Payments, let me quickly tell you that they transfer more than$ 150 million a day for e- commerce sellers just like you. If you're listening to this, they've helped over one million Amazon customers to date in order to help them save on sending and receiving money online. Processing over$ 90 billion in cross- border payments to date, which is 90 billion with a B, folks. That's a lot of money that's changing hands, and they're saving money for sellers just like you. So if you want to learn more information, go and check that link up below. Save yourself some money, if you're selling internationally or if you're sending money to your VA, to your supplier and manufacturer. Or if you're receiving funds from different Amazon marketplaces, check out Ping Pong payment service provider that is going to help you save money in the long run. No matter what size of business you are, go ahead and check them out today. Again, welcome everyone who's watching live on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. As always, this is a live interactive show. So if you have a question or if you want to say hi to myself or our guest, go ahead and put that in the comment section. Or if you're watching on YouTube, put that in the description right over there to the right hand section. We'll be able to see all those comments to make sure that we answer those. Just go ahead and put those questions or tag us in those comments section. Even if this is after the fact, go ahead and submit your questions. We'll be able to answer those as well. But about our guest today, this show is not just about me, it's about our guests. So we bring on the experts, the pioneers, if you will, of the Amazon and e- commerce space. No stranger to the show, he was back on season one, one of the first excuse me few episodes that we have when the show is taking off. But wanting to bring him back because he wants to give his insight to the agency side of being an Amazon. There's been a lot of this going on since October, November timeframe when we last spoke. But our guest today with six years in the world of Amazon, maybe seven now. This is when we last talked to him. Having worked on 1000s of e- commerce businesses large and small, Keith O'Brien, excuse me, now leads a team of keyword specialists, copywriters, photographers, creative directors, designers, data geeks, advertising strategists and brand managers to bring page one solutions to brands looking to scale their Amazon businesses. Keith is a dad, author, golfer and foodie, there fully, and is generally easily influenced by great food, nice bread, or a tasty bourbon. All sounds good to me. About Page One. Excuse me again, Page One is a full service image Amazon agency. They've been helping brands grow for at least six to seven years now, currently helping clients generate more than$ 200 million a year, I'm assuming gone up since we last talked to him, on Amazon. Page one is unique that they have an in house team with content optimization, photography design, PPC management, and account management all in one. We're going to get that insight from him today. Welcome to Crossover Commerce. Welcome back to Crossover Commerce, I should say, Keith O'Brien of Crossover Commerce. Keith, how's it going, sir?

Keith O'Brien: Hey, how are you? Great to be here. Thank you so much.

Ryan Cramer: I'm doing all right, man. It's been a while since we last connected but you've been busy, I'm assuming.

Keith O'Brien: Yeah. It's been full for sure. I think I have background, man, you've spent some good time personalizing that background of... But when you're big time, that's what you got to do, man. you need to set.

Ryan Cramer: When you get triple. Yeah. I was going to say when you get to triple digits, that's when the heat's on. You have to start innovating, coming up with color, really starting to pop. You start to watch a little more YouTube videos, honestly about how to stand out on stuff like this. So it is what it is. But I appreciate the nice touches always. But hey, thanks for coming on. You're in an office for now, last time, you were in your home. So what's it? Since we last connected with you, what's it been like over the past couple of months for page one?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah. I mean, our office is still a bit of a ghost town. So we have we have like a converted warehouse in South Florida, twin warehouse studios or bays. The bottom floor is all where the warehouse is right, where it's all converted for photography studios. So like in the downstairs, we have a fully built out Italian kitchen. We have a bedroom set, living room set, big cyclorama wall for full length background shots. Then I'm upstairs in the office space. I'm the only one here. But it's cool. Most of the team has settled into working from home. I actually don't know if I will hire another employee that chooses to work full- time out of the office, unless their responsibility is deemed necessary, like the photographers downstairs. I think a lot of flex scheduling is in the entire world's feature. Right? A couple days in the office, a couple days out. assuming you've got the home life to be able to do that.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, and you have the right people to be able to get the job done. I think that's key is making sure you have the right team surrounding you. My team has been fully remote 100% for the past year plus. It's been definitely interesting. I know people are starting to get out in the world, go to conferences, start doing meetups again. Is that something on your radar coming full circle? Is that something in the next couple of months for you?

Keith O'Brien: I think our booth is actually close to yours at Prosper. Aren't you guys in the booth there, I thought?

Ryan Cramer: That's right. Yeah. We do have a booth at Prosper. I think I do remember that.

Keith O'Brien: Yeah, I think I tried to get between right by you guys. But I think I'm actually across the center area. But we're just booking now. I just booked in hotels at Prosper. I was late to the game, I didn't think it was going to happen, to be honest. So I just snoozed on it. But it's all good. It's been a long time, man. We sponsored our previous company, we sponsored the first Prosper show back like six years ago.

Ryan Cramer: Wow.

Keith O'Brien: So it's kind of cool.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I was going to say, it seems to be a hot topic that a lot of people are circling on their map or at least for the rest of the year, Prosper. If we're talking to Vince specifically, I think IRCE, formerly known as IRE Retail X in Chicago. There's a couple other one off events I think that are happening, but even just smaller meetups, people are starting to try to dip their toes back into the getting in touch with people, networking again in person. Is that really important for an agency like yours, to get out there and be the face in front of sellers like that?

Keith O'Brien: Oh. I mean, it can be. I don't think we've exhibited a Prosper before. We sponsored it, but didn't have a booth the first year years ago. Then we've always been attendees. It's funny, like the last event was in Vegas, that I went to, which was at a White Label Expo that... While it wasn't a great event, whatever we can say about that. But we did pick up a couple of really good clients from there. Some one on ones, those become a very good friend. I think it's interesting. I think we're always trying to continue to contribute to the ecosystem in terms of content and training, and just getting back to an industry that's given so much this way. So that's part of our reason for being there. Like as an agency, we're full service. So we come off to an event like that. Honestly, if we meet half a dozen really good clients, then it's a great weekend for us. We're midsize, boutique- ish. So we'll take 20 new full service clients for the year, right? So it's not like we're out there trying to get 200 people to come.

Ryan Cramer: Right.

Keith O'Brien: In clients, right?

Ryan Cramer: As a full service agency, because you guys don't specialize in just PPC or photography only, we've had people that just on the show specifically, just have a specialization in those areas. Is it more hard or, excuse me, less hard to be more across the board as an agency, rather than just solely focused on one aspect of the business?

Keith O'Brien: Sure. I mean, I think there's a challenge, right. That just goes to having leadership on those teams, right? So a team leader or a department head for us would be very similar to a consultant or small, an agency that focuses on just one thing. So we do take people on for ad management only. Then we do project- based stuff on the creative side. Generally speaking, on the creative side, it's larger projects, right? So we work with midsize and large brands. We're doing 10 products at a time or 20 products at a time or whatnot. So it's tends to be that. But we do shoot product for everybody, right? We do content for everybody. Our marketing focus tends to be full service.

Ryan Cramer: That's amazing. You as a person, is your background in more... It's in photography, correct? That's what you were before Page One, you specifically?

Keith O'Brien: Not at all.

Ryan Cramer: Not at all?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah, no. Not at all. I mean, I've shot some great photos with my iPhone on vacation.

Ryan Cramer: For some reason you came across as the photographer.

Keith O'Brien: Look, I dove into that space. I really enjoy conversion rate optimization. I think that I love the psychology of buying. So my background is primarily direct response advertising and then leadership development. So I've always been in some sort of marketing or sales role. I ran a leadership organization for 10 years. Prior to that, I spent five years selling personal development and transformational courses. So that's been the bulk of my career. Then I always just liked how that mindset and understanding of how our minds were translated over into consumer buying behavior, right? So that's always just been an interesting passion of mine. When we got started in the industry six and a half years ago, that's what I dove into. I mean, seven years ago, no one knew how to search for keywords or write a new copy. All the images on Amazon were pretty much taken with an iPhone or from a manufacturer. That's how much the industry's evolved in the last five and a half, six years. It's crazy.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Even since we last spoke on here, so much has changed specifically in the logistics side of things, but then also inventory management side of things. There's so much happening in just even this past week, we were talking about... I mean, anyone I get on a call right now, it's my MI is completely shot. I've been selling on... Maybe you've been posted something like this, where I've been selling on Amazon for six years. We have clients that have been selling on since the dawn of FBA. But now all of a sudden, they've just completely ruined our inventory levels. I'm curious, because this is such a hot topic, what's going on? In your mind, as an agency, what's going on?

Keith O'Brien: Look, I think it's always fun to like wax philosophical about what you think like Amazon's thinking, but the reality is, none of us really know. So if I were to... I think for the first time probably in history, Amazon as a company is understaffed, right? To think about this with how many hundreds of thousands, I think they're pushing 700, 000 global employees or something. To think that they could be actually understaffed is crazy. But I actually think they are. Right? So last year, we saw Amazon. They took the role of almost the Red Cross with distributing PPE products. So millions, tens and ten and tens of millions of pieces of that were in their warehouses and given priority and sold. While that stuff is dying back a bit, I think they're pressed I think e- commerce took a huge lift in this last year. There's businesses that used to have 5% of their business on Amazon, now have 30% of their business on Amazon. So everyone got the wake up that especially midsize, the large manufacturers that maybe had 70, 80 90% of their business in retail, well, they've spent the last 15 months, 16 months completely overhauling their business. So that this shift doesn't happen to him again, right? Nobody likes laying off staff. If you were heavy into retail last year, you had all those hard conversations. It's really difficult. So I think that they're scrambling. We had a client that went from oversize, that went from 1600 units, 1800 unit limit to 1000 overnight. Now, they're 650 pieces over the limit. Another client that went from 12, 000, where they were pushing 11,000, total. They got dropped to 4500 overnight.

Ryan Cramer: Jesus.

Keith O'Brien: I mean those are containers on the water, those are trucks en route. I think those guys are going to be sitting there trying to get inventory in Amazon for a long time. It's stuck.

Ryan Cramer: For a simplistic reason, when you're over thousands of units or hundreds of units, what actually happens? What's the ramifications from the Amazon won't sell it or they won't let you restock? What's the actual ramifications in real life for that?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah. To be honest, I don't know 100%, right, because it's just happening. So they certainly could sell it all, right? When it comes time for for inventory charges, if you don't sell through, it's going to be pricey. Right? But the conversation is, do you just try to sell through real fast? But then if you do, you're probably going to get penalized and actually get your limits reduced. So I think it's going to be a balance. I think that there's this immediate thing to deal with, with these overages and inventory that's stuck. You can't have as much an FBA as you'd like. But once that's handled, then it's just a strong FBA, FBM strategy that is really for most e- commerce sellers, is no longer an option. It's a must have. Right?

Ryan Cramer: Right.

Keith O'Brien: Back in the day, back in the day, like the the beauty was everyone would send straight from your manufacturer into FBA, never touch inventory, never would have to hit a three PL. It was just simple, right? But those days are gone.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say. Are you guys are going to have to start offloading inventory to a warehouse somewhere and start handling that out yourself, as another part of your agency?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah. Oh my god. Hopefully, we just sell it through Amazon before the bills come due. But then you absolutely got to get your head around that FBA/FBM hybrid model, and be able to flip the switch on skews as they go out of stock in FBA, and just constantly. The inventory management is going to take a lot bigger piece of people's time than it used to.

Ryan Cramer: So as an agency, maybe ask me this, I'm curious to hear from your point of view, are you guys actively going to your clients and saying, " We should launch new products," right now or are you saying, " My expertise, in my opinion would be? Let's hold off a little bit right now and see where the dust settles?"

Keith O'Brien: Yeah. So I think it's an individual scenario per client, right. But we're hard pressed for growth, right? So we're always going to want to launch these skews. Some of our clients are on the vendor side. They're in a little bit different position where a lot of their sales come through comes through the direct fulfillment process anyway, which is Amazon's old drop- ship program. So they're business as usual, right? But on the FBA side, yeah, sure. But we'll launch new skews through FBM if need be. It's been interesting. I don't know if anyone else picked it up, I was talking to a friend yesterday. I said, " There's this subtle little hints that Amazon has is is incentivizing FBM." For me anyway, whatever on the Amazon buying app, whenever I used to open it up. It always would be toggled permanently to prime, right? To filter by Prime, right? Because I'm like everybody else in the world, right? But I noticed a couple months ago, it started defaulting to that Prime little toggle being off, right? Which means you're going to show a lot more FBM search, which is interesting. If they don't do something with seller fulfilled prime to bring it back and open back up. They've got to do something. It makes sense for Amazon to have more prime badges on more products, especially with warehouses that can actually handle the rules. It makes sense for them, right? I mean, it decentralizes the inventory as long as people are holding to the standards that Amazon creates. It's a win- win for everybody, the business, the customer and Amazon. Hopefully they do something regarding that.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. That's what we've been hearing a lot too. That's the frustration with our sellers is, even though they might be held to a very high standard of fulfilling in two days, Amazon even now, logistically, products are not even being shown across country because logistically, they just can't get it there in time, per that Prime inventory level or that Prime badge promise, giving to you in two days or less. So that's another thing that I think is pretty fascinating. Is that something where you think long term can legally hurt Amazon potentially as, hey, we have the standard, but we hold it to other people differently?

Keith O'Brien: I don't know. I don't know any any other business where what just happened would even be legitimate and not create massive lawsuits, right?

Ryan Cramer: Right.

Keith O'Brien: Here, here's the rules here. The goalposts are here, right? So okay, let's get all this stuff into FBA. Then oh no, now that we have all the inventory, sorry. But you're over the limit, and we're going to start charging you for that. That's just insane, right? It's just insane. But it is what it is, right? There's no value given the spending time on the stuff within Amazon that you cannot change, right? So you figure out how to play by the ever changing system. Ultimately we'll still see a couple billion visitors on their site in any given month. So it's still a great place to play and have at least a good portion of your business when it comes to e- commerce.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, this is the scenario I always tell people is, is if you're playing when you were a kid, everyone's playing by one set of rules. All of a sudden, the person who's theoretically the boss or the king, or whoever changes the rules instantaneously, like, " Oh no, no, this is actually what's happening." Everyone's like, "What are you talking about?" Then everyone ebbs and flows and plays by that rule. Then whoever is the big kid on the block can always change those rules instantaneously make it fair for them. Everyone else is like, wait, that's not fair. You tagged me and I was on base. Nope, not the case anymore. So I like to make it simplistic in that, when I explain it to at least my family.

Keith O'Brien: Yeah, 100%. I mean, it is. It really is no place do the the rules change more quickly and more consistently than Amazon. But with that said, it was a breakout year and a huge year for the majority of businesses that figured it out, kept the pedal down, figured out what to do on their channel and in their store and got to work, right? So we saw lots of clients with massive growth years. So at the end of the day, it's still a pretty good game to play.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. So right now, who is the space benefiting more? Is it agencies? Is it private label sellers? Is it one piece sellers. Who's the game benefiting the most right now? I say the game, but...

Keith O'Brien: I think everyone that's staying focused and working hard at staying creative is winning, right? We've seen huge brand growth, both the vendor and FBAs, and the third party side. Agencies a lot of my friends that own agencies are hugely years in the last 12 months. On the agency side, because it's so staff intensive, right, growth can be a challenge, right. The old agency model is just work all your staff until they can't breathe, right. Which is not fun, it's not good for anybody, it's not a long term good strategy. So you're seeing a lot of movement in the agency space, obviously, with all the aggregators, there's been hundreds and hundreds of brands that have been acquired. That's creating other challenges within the industry and finding talent and staff. All that is getting incredibly much, much more competitive. But at the end of the day, there's always going to be the right fit for the right person, the right professional. Some people are great, love working at big companies with hundreds of staff, and for other people, that's a nightmare, right? Some people are going to love the... Park their hat at an aggregator or take the ride. For other people, that is far too risky, right, to hang your hat on that single, depending on what happens over the next couple years. So there's a place for everybody in the space. If you're a consummate professional, you keep learning. You dig in and try to put your best effort forward every day.

Ryan Cramer: So as an agency owner, where are you guys growing the most? For staff wise, is it the need for more ad specialist or is it more for logistics or is it copywriters? Where's the growth really happening where you just can't find enough people to fill it?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah, we're across the board. So we're hiring right now on our advertising team. We're about to hire our brand management team. Then behind the brand managers is the catalog team. So we're good on the creative side. We're good on the content side at the moment. But a brand manager realistically can only handle a certain number of clients. Those are depending on how many skews they manage, what the complexity of the account looks like. You could have a 2000 skew catalog, and it can be a relatively simple, straightforward account to manage. Well, that's a lie, you're going to have a 2000 skew catalog, and it could be simpler than a 50 skew catalog that has a lot of account issues, right. So just a matter of keep them at bland. The interesting side, you got to hire to your growth, always. Because if you wait until that's there, then you're too late. You're scrambling. So it's a dance and balance. I do you think that what the industry will see as a whole, this is all the way through, is that costs are going to go up, right? So the consumers probably haven't felt it yet, but it's coming, right? I mean, container costs four times as much as they used to ship across. Your cost of goods are all going up, because all the raw material costs are all going up. Because they're getting squeezed. I mean, steel as just as a raw material has gone up, like a couple 100% this year. It's just nuts. Then talent's going up. I know sellers and businesses don't want to pay it. But at the end of the day, all service providers, just like you guys have to maintain a certain level of margin in order to serve the clients that you serve. When talent gets paid more, guess what? It's got to be felt by the actual clients. So I think it's all going to get pushed forward a little bit. This year, certainly. Maybe in the next. Hopefully, it'll stabilize.

Ryan Cramer: So is that the easiest pitch for you as a company then? As an agency say, " Hey, you can go to five different locations to optimize them one thing. We can do it all in house. Save you a little bit more. money. But in that regards, you can actually win more business in that regards." Is that a positive for an agency model? Because we're always talking about, here at Ping Pong at least, how can you find ways to put money towards your bottom line? I would assume if you can have it all in house under one roof, that's a win for most sellers. Right?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah, it could be. I mean, I think every business owner is different, right? So some are building in house creative teams, right. We're working with brands like that, and they're just piling their assets, their creative assets through to us, and we're repurposing it for different things. Amazon has become... It's different today. There's a lot more places for creative. You take advertising as an example. There are creatives where a couple of years ago, there really weren't any, right? So between images, video, post Amazon lives, there's all kinds of new ways to get your brand in front of a consumer. So the breadth of what an agency does is growing, right? Some will do it all, right? Our view is we want to do more for the brands that we're engaged with. So we can have a bigger impact on their business. If it falls under our purview, we want to be able to be a part of it. I think whether it's more or less expensive, it's simpler. Right? You've got a single point of contact. They're overseeing all of our different departments. So not only can you keep really solid brand consistency, right, so your content is in alignment with your images, they're in alignment with your A plus, and your storefront, and your advertising, and your posts and all this other stuff. But you do have one place to be on top of all of it because God knows you have enough of the other parts of your business to deal with, especially with supply chain and inventory and all these things that are pressing. Right? So I think simplicity is a big key.

Ryan Cramer: So where's the growth happened? Where does the growth start for you as a agency? What's prioritization number one? When a new client comes on board, where do you guys start?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah, I was reading about this the other day. So let's give an example. It's an existing, existing brand, right? So let's say the brand's doing seven figures, a million bucks, million and a half bucks. So good size, maybe it's the Amazon division of a company that does retail, maybe other e- commerce, what have you. It's a portion of their business. So we would start and just we start by learning, really. We want to learn all the history, as much as the history as we can on Amazon. We want to learn their history off of Amazon. We want to learn the process and the historical data of all their individual products. Some of that we can decipher from reporting, right? So we're going to pull all the reports. We want to find out what the drivers are from a revenue standpoint, from a profitability standpoint, from a conversion rate. What are the highest ones? Then we want to look for all the things that are impeding those things, right? So we look at account health issues. We got to find out where all the bodies are buried, related to all these these products over the last couple of years. What's worked, what hasn't? What issues have you had? This one right here has had a little bit of high evidence NCX rating, why, where are customers saying, go back through the old crappy reviews. You just take time, and you got to assess their whole catalog. Once you've done that, so it's really hard to get there if you don't understand where here is, right? So before we could go into, " Okay. What goals are we're going to establish?" We got to just understand the foundation. Now, while we're doing that, because nobody wants to wait for all that to happen, right? While we're doing that, we're going to do try to pull some levers to see if we can make some improvements on what we were just low hanging fruit. Right? Is there a lot of bad ways that we can trim right away, that's just being spent on non converting keywords? So saving money, oftentimes makes people just as happy as making more of it, right? So can we trim some waste? We can generally optimize content really fast, right? So can we optimize the content of the top five best sellers? So that we're catching and making a bigger difference on the traffic that's already coming. Right? So we generally will tear out the catalog. Let's say there's 50 products. Generally speaking, six to 10 of those are going to be the best sellers. That's going to represent 70 to 80% of the revenue, and the rest are going to fill in the rest. So we like to start off with what's actually driving the current growth and revenue. See if we can make that better. Usually doing that shows the biggest wins, increases, right? Then we look for potentially, like some product that may have been forgotten about, the little kid table for the holidays, that just hasn't gotten the attention. But market potential is huge, right? So but it's always easier on Amazon to take something that's already spinning, like the rivers running by and just putting your cup in it, so to speak, than it is to try to launch something security into the spotlight. So yeah, so we took a client. We just did a one year review, a smaller client. We picked them up when they were doing about 400K a year. They've got a lot of business off Amazon, Amazon was just really under served. So in the year, we did just that. We got to work on their bestsellers. I think their top line revenue grew by 80 something percent. But we did that mostly through conversion rate optimization. We increase their conversion rate from store- wide, from a little over 10, a little over 20, with their best sellers averaging in the mid 30s. So their best sellers tripled the conversion rate. The rest of the store got close to double. That was the biggest difference in their store, was making more use of the visitors that were coming. Then we really, like that ongoing series account health issues. So protecting the buy box and getting stuff, getting hijackers off listings freeing up some of the products. Those were huge wins.

Ryan Cramer: So as an agency, you're going into a client. What are the typical ways that you're going to say, " These are are deliverables, our KPIs, if you will." What's the traditional ones that one will work under? Is it conversion rate optimization? What are those parameters that you're going to say, " These are our deliverables. You pay us if we hit that hit those deliverables." Is it a scaling feature or is it just a flat out nature? How does that work typically with an agency like you guys?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah. I think every agency is different. But for us, like we take a base fee, then we take a percentage of what we call adjusted gross revenue, right? So for us, adjusted gross means top line revenue minus FBA fees minus Amazon commission. So we're not going to take a percentage off the top of part of the fees that Amazon is charging you. Right? But every account's a little different, right? So what that base is and then what that percentage is, is going to be different for each business. We try to scale out what the workflow looks like in the first year. That's going to influence the... If you're brand new to market, and you've got 100 skews to build out, that's eight a month with creative and copy and everything. If you want to try to do that on an ala carte basis, you're going to spend a fortune, right?

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, exactly.

Keith O'Brien: Yeah. So we're going to think of base. Base generally covers... What you got to remember is, you're now handing over the running of your business to a team, right. So even just at the current revenue, there's all this work that your team internally no longer has to do, either you or or your staff. So that's part of it, right? But no one wants to pay to just hand over your business and not grow. So the rest of it comes with growth. So to answer your question, specifically, it's all of those things. Right? So sometimes we get a business that man, their assets, their images look amazing. Their A plus looks amazing, their content looks amazing. Now, it's like let's pour on growth strategies. Let's optimize the advertising. Let's work together for a new product opportunities that fit nicely within your existing families of products. Let's work on increasing the session count through all the different ways and levers that we have now. To be honest, that's rare. Tight? That's rare that all those other things are in place. They're usually in place for a portion of the catalog, but not all of it.

Ryan Cramer: Gotcha. So in your mind... Go ahead, go ahead.

Keith O'Brien: Sometimes they're not in place for any of it. We manage a 5000 plus queue catalog. That's a hybrid account. I mean, everything. Everything needs to be updated over time.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. I just want to give a quick shout out to everyone who's watching online. Rob Stanley, a friend who's now over at Gutida, " Keith is great knowledge person in the Amazon space." But he actually had a question come in, " Keith, what is the number one tip you would suggest for new sellers on Amazon PPC, etc.?"

Keith O'Brien: Number one tip for new sellers? Yeah, that's a loaded question.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, " Come on, Rob. It could be a little bit easier question, man."

Keith O'Brien: I think protecting your margin, I think is probably the most important thing. If you're not in the game with a big enough spread, if you're not five times your cost or four times, if you're under 50 bucks, and you're not five times your cost, it's going to be tough. I think it's going to be very difficult to continue to buy customers. You have to assume that you're going to need to buy all of your customers for a period of time until you get an organic traction. At any given time your need to advertise more or less is going to change, right. So you got to make sure that you've got that margin spread. Especially if you're in a competitive space, you got to get off the wallet and just invest in your business. Spend some money on advertising strategically. But you got to get yourself into the game, right? See, look at that. You're on it, Rob. It's going to take a minute to get yourself I mean, you're you're fighting your way in to the lineup, right? With businesses that some of them have been there for years, right? They're not going to give up their real estate easily. So you got to be strategic, you got to try to think in ways that they aren't. Most most sellers are smarter today than they were three years ago. But there are crazy niches. I was doing a coaching call the other day, I said this on another podcast with a client. We're looking through keywords, and there was a keyword that was great for their brand. There was no advertising out, zero. I was like, go launch that campaign and bid two cents. It's all yours.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, just take it.

Keith O'Brien: Yeah, yours. I mean, thousands of searches a month and nobody advertising. It was crazy.

Ryan Cramer: Going off of that point in you and Rob made an interesting point. I've heard this more. I started thinking about this, as time has gone on. So many people seem, especially sellers seem infatuated with the$ 25 or less product. To me as a seller or as a person who's looking at that, there's one of two things when I like a margin, either bid or be getting that for like a nickel or there better be a high quantity that you're going to be pumping out and it's going to be worth it. That being said, why don't more people look at higher valued products to sell online when now more luxury items and things of just over$ 100 are becoming more and more commonly purchased online? Why don't sellers look at that a little bit more instead of the$ 25 center for under products?

Keith O'Brien: Honestly, I think it's mostly capital, right? Capital and breaking through potential fears, right? So let's say you have a product that's going to retail for$ 100. Right? When it's that pricey of a product, you don't need a five to one markup anymore, you're probably good with a three to one markup. Right? If you can source that and land that product for$ 33, you're probably in pretty good shape. Because even after your 15%, and then depending on what your FBA fees are. I personally sell a product that sells for$ 99, for 100 bucks, my FBA fees are only$4 because it's light. So there's plenty of room in there for a landed costs of like$32, $ 33, which is where we're at. But that was a$ 25,000 first order buy. Right? That's only 500 units, right? So by the time you're finished with the creatives and my goodness, you're selling $ 100 product, you better put some good images on that thing. So by the time you get all said and done, you're probably in for that first skew at 25 grand. So that's a big swallow for a lot of starting sellers. For the larger brands or for growing brands, we have that same 5000 skew catalog, we sell table games and big stuff and foosball tables and pool tables and all kinds of stuff that is incredibly.

Ryan Cramer: That's the amount of money that that company has on the water at any given time is crazy. But Amazon's 10% or 5% of their business, so they have lots of different distribution plants. So it mitigates the risk.

Keith O'Brien: Sure. I think that's the biggest thing. I think for most people, it's capital disbursement. When the price of the product starts creeping up there, you just always have more money in motion.

Ryan Cramer: Right.

Keith O'Brien: It's sitting on a single, a less skew.

Ryan Cramer: Right. I was going to say, so in your opinion, would you rather sell more of one product at a lower price point or less at a higher price point? Is there a different stressor in each of those cases as an agency? Velocity versus quality? Does that make sense?

Keith O'Brien: I think what I'd rather, I just want to sell what sells, right, and it makes profit for our clients. Right? So my girlfriend has an extremely successful e- commerce business. Her most expensive product is 50 or 60 bucks, and she has a lot of stuff that's 20 and under. She just crushes it, right, at great margins. Her businesses for sale, by the way. So anyway-

Ryan Cramer: If you're an aggregator out there right now, and you're listening, businesses are for sale, you need contact Keith, his Instagram handle is right there. So message him directly. He'll be the one who facilitates those fees.

Keith O'Brien: Yeah. But look, there's not better or worse, it's just different. Right? So that client of ours doesn't want to compete against the low end space. They tend to license or manufacture things that are at a premium level, like their exclusive license holder for Garlando Foosball Tables, Italian manufacturer, these things are freaking amazing. I mean anywhere from 1000 to$ 2, 000 table, but these things are tanks, right? Some of them are indoor- outdoor. Their craftsmanship, it's like the Ferrari of foosball tables. But then you can get perfectly good foosball table for probably 400 bucks, 500 bucks, right? Or you can probably get some real crappy ones that are going to last the summer for 150 bucks, right? So I just think it's whatever your, your, whatever your flavor is good to run with it. It's just you find that that groove and just run as fast as you can with it. Right?

Ryan Cramer: Things I never thought I would hear on the podcast today, the Ferrari of foosball tables, market bands. It's going in my book of great quotes from this podcast, the Ferrari of foosball tables. Love it.

Keith O'Brien: There you go.

Ryan Cramer: That's amazing. Well, that's the thing is almost anything online can be sold in theory. If you're selling a product, it's just what's your cost? What can you sell it for? Is there an audience to purchase it? If you can sell the Ferrari of foosball tables one a day, and you make your nut, instead of selling 100. Like you said, cheap ones are going to last you a year, of course, you're going to probably opt for one. It's been a little bit more to get that one acquisition. So it'll be easier to do than consistently do 100 a day to just make up for that one? That'd be...

Keith O'Brien: Sure. It's not just a limited thing because you know how Amazon works, right? It's all about ranking, right? So it's going to be significantly harder to rank those premium goods than it is the lower priced ones that are going to benefit from volume in a higher conversion rate. So you got to weigh in, and there's probably a sweet spot in there. But again, I think it all just comes back to how you want to deploy your capital, right? That's the name of the game. You need plenty of it in this timeframe.

Ryan Cramer: A couple before we get to the top of the hour. How does your approach as an agency continue with the rest of the year? Because we've just passed that one- third mark of the year. We're looking at Prime Day, mid June, which hasn't been officially announced yet, but it's being heavily hinted that. So we have Prime Day. Then we're going hot into Q3, Q4, what's the strategy for you and your team moving for the rest of the year?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah, this new move by Amazon to keep things unannounced until the last minute is really awesome.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, it makes vacationing right now pretty, pretty easy, right?

Keith O'Brien: We're three and a half weeks away from mid June. Like how in the world is this date not announced yet? But anyway, so let's say it is mid June, right? Which is odd, because there's another fairly big sales date mid June, which is Father's Day, right? So Father's Day for a lot of products is a huge bump, right? It's a big selling time.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely.

Keith O'Brien: So I know for some of our brands, Father's Day bump is the second biggest behind Q4, right. Some, it's Mother's Day, it just depends on the focus, but it's interesting. So right now, Prime Day, like your deals were due ages ago. So if something got accepted, then there's a variety of different things you can do to strategize for it. But don't forget Father's Day, right? Because we did all of our creatives for Father's Day, coming the last couple of weeks and months. So we like to highlight that. We might change out an A plus content, we may change out, put a separate tab on the store specifically for that holiday. Sometimes you can get creatives through on sponsor brands that highlight Father's Day. Generally can't say sale, but you put a dad with their kid.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, assumingly. Yeah. Assumingly, yeah.

Keith O'Brien: Now with all the different creatives you do. So there's lots of options, a way to draw eyeballs, right? Then there's all the things with posts and lives and everything that you can do to pick up some viewers that just didn't exist a couple years ago.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. We talked about a few episodes ago, we actually said less is more. Let the customer assume what the product is for, and not tell them what it's for because they might opt out. They might not want to feel pigeon holed, like that's not for Father's Day. I want that for Grandparents Day or something silly and stupid like that. So almost less content is more opportunity is what we were talking about. So that would be something for... Obviously, it could be a Prime Day Sale or it could be Father's Day sale, like you said, assumingly people can look at it one way or another.

Keith O'Brien: Going to make this one thing though, because I mean that was what Prime Day was embedded for, was to put a little shot in the arm of the summer, which normally sucks for e- commerce, right? It's just abysmal. Prime Day was created just in the middle of the slowest e- commerce month of the year. So it'll be interesting to see what happens June, July, August, or July, August, September really.

Ryan Cramer: It's funny when that gets officially announced because then you'll have other marketplaces follows who Walmart, Target, Best Buy, everyone that sells products in those retail stores or online stores also follow suit. So it's not just shot an arm for Amazon sellers. But if you're selling on multiple marketplaces across the board, it uplifts that entire month or that quarter. So it's quite fascinating to be honest.

Keith O'Brien: It could've been forward because of all the inventory issues. Right? So maybe it's Amazon's way of trying to clear out inventory and help sellers. I mean, that's probably idealistic to think that, but who knows?

Ryan Cramer: I mean, we could talk about it. I swear I've talked about that on at least 10 straight shows of the problem with the inventory game right now and how can we figure this out. It's really hard to give an answer to people just because of launching new products is tough. Like you say, managing for specific days, like Father's Day, Prime Day, moving forward, and then figuring out even the tail end of this year, we're going to have to put in those massive orders because Chinese New Year. I believe the Olympics is... There something has to happen in China that's happening on the tail end of this year, that it's going to just delay even further because I think the Olympics is happening in Japan or China. I forget which one. I should know this, but it got delayed a year.

Keith O'Brien: I have no clue whatsoever.

Ryan Cramer: But it actually affects because workers going to the games and would potentially have delay on travel and whatnot. My one final question for you, Keith, focused on the agency side. Do you do want your clients or I should say not your clients, your workers or employees, do you suggest that they sell on Amazon on the side as well simultaneously or do you say no selling? What's your stance on that? I'm curious.

Keith O'Brien: That's a good question. I've heard some agencies say that they think it's a conflict of interest. I 100% disagree. I think that there's very few ways to stay in the know, on this industry without being in it. Right? It's hard to stay up on it. Half the stuff that comes out comes out through seller messages from Amazon updates and in seller communities. I think that there's obviously... They can't sell competing products from our clients. They're on very strict non competes. But I think there's a little bit added insight and commitment to your job when you're in the game. You're not just the coach on the sideline, but you're actually... What's that old Hair Club thing? Not only a founder, I'm also a member.

Ryan Cramer: Right, exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Keith O'Brien: In it, provides a much different perspective. Right? So I think that's important. So I think one, two, three, about half of our staff sells.

Ryan Cramer: Is that something that you actually invest in them to sell? If they're like, " Hey, Keith. I want to like sell on Amazon? Where should I start? Do you guys have a vested interest in that as well or is that all purely separated?

Keith O'Brien: Yeah. We do from a time and resource standpoint. We don't from a monetary standpoint, we don't take equity in their businesses. We know we heard something grow. I reviewed products for a lot of my staff and plan. We give services, cost. So anyway, I mean, there's lots of opportunities, a way to contribute to them. Yeah, but we don't-

Ryan Cramer: That's really cool. That's cool opportunity. So that being said, how can people reach out to you? I know we put your social handles for Instagram? Or excuse me. LinkedIn.

Keith O'Brien: LinkedIn.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I know. LinkedIn at the bottom, so we did that for how we should connect with you.

Keith O'Brien: I'm blocked on Instagram. So thankfully, they're not going there.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, you're not there, you're not on the Gram.

Keith O'Brien: No. I think the apps on my phone, that's about it. Right. So I think for me, personally, it's LinkedIn is the best place to go. From a business standpoint, if you want to talk about us working together, then just get over to the website page, that one. There's an 800 number there. There's forms you can fill out, a gazillion different places. So we have account managers. They're happy to get back to you. If you have a a sizable brand that you're looking to put under management and grow, then will probably end up talking personally in the early stages. But yeah, that's the best place to do it. You can look through a bunch of work and case studies and all that stuff over there.

Ryan Cramer: Hey, man. I appreciate every time you come on here. I'm glad we found a computer that works for you in terms of the internet. You need to start yelling at Comcast to start living up to their upload and download speeds, man.

Keith O'Brien: We have gig speed in the office. I mean, it's like AOL dial up from back in like 1987. It's awful.

Ryan Cramer: It's faster internet has ruined us all. But it is what it is. To do business at scale, you needed to do it. So I would start yelling at certain people. But luckily, you're the only one in the office.

Keith O'Brien: I just really dated myself. Half of your audience doesn't even know AOL used to have internet service.

Ryan Cramer: Oh. I only know all too well. Man, it doesn't seem like that long ago, but it was long ago.

Keith O'Brien: You see those things as high speeds, man.

Ryan Cramer: I know. Exactly. Oh my gosh, well, my. Have times have changed. But as well you're going to be at Prosper. So if you're listening to this, checkout page one, Prosper Show. They have a booth. Ping Pong has a booth. We'll basically be booth buddies across the way from each other. Lots of good stuff that's coming up. Hopefully everyone's staying safe down there. Nothing crazy happening in Florida that's out of the ordinary other than what typical Florida is. Right?

Keith O'Brien: We've been open for a year, right? So I think-

Ryan Cramer: Exactly.

Keith O'Brien: I think everyone just to not do anything about it anymore. So it's fine. We won't get into that. It's a whole nother conversation.

Ryan Cramer: Whatever side of the way you fall, hopefully everyone stays safe no matter what happens. But that being said, hey, man, thanks for hopping on again. Keith from Page One. Thanks so much for hopping on, man.

Keith O'Brien: Hey, Ryan, thanks for having me, man. I appreciate it.

Ryan Cramer: No problem. Thanks, Keith. Hey, thanks, everyone, for tuning in live again on LinkedIn, Facebook or YouTube. Thanks for watching. Again, this is Crossover Commerce. This is Episode 110, A Peek Behind the Mindset of an agency in the Amazon Space. You don't want to miss any of these episodes. Again tomorrow, just like today, we are going to go live with other Amazon experts in the space. Tomorrow I'm actually really excited because we're going to be talking with Joshua Porter of Elite Seller, software tool that's actually going to be helping people launch products now. It's the ongoing topic. Formerly, how do you launch products without getting in trouble with Amazon? What's the best way to deal with PPC? Giveaways, coupons, rebates. We're going to dive a little bit into what elite sellers doing, and then more on what's the insight from Josh. So stay tuned for that tomorrow. The best way to know when we go live is to follow me on social media. Again on either LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. You can follow me Ryan Kramer. Just search for me and you'll be able to find any of my social profiles or just follow Ping Pong Payments as well. All of these episodes go live on our playlist on YouTube. So just go ahead and subscribe to that. So that you can obviously be notified when future episodes come out. Hit that notification bell. You won't be disappointed for doing that. Again, I'm Ryan Kramer, the host of Crossover Commerce. Join us again tomorrow when we go live and go deep into the Amazon and e- commerce industry. Stay safe out there, everyone. Good luck selling.


Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Keith O'Brien of Page.One about how eCommerce agencies drive growth for their clients.


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Today's Host

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🎙 Ryan Cramer - Host

|Partnership & Influencer Marketing Manager

Today's Guests

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Keith O'Brien

|Founder and CEO of Page.One