Omnichannel Inventory Management and Marketplace Connectivity

Jun 29, 2021 12:00 PM1:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Selling across multiple platforms can be challenging and overwhelming. Dealing with the growth of your brand, while integrating the front to back-end systems, is essential to getting your brand seen in today’s market.

That’s why a web-based platform that connects your products across multiple retail marketplaces is in demand. Having an updated inventory is critical for providing the client with a customized shopping experience — and an increase in sales. So, how can you save time and leverage a sophisticated inventory management system?

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant discusses what operations can make an eCommerce business more profitable with Gary Chavez, Chief Revenue Officer at Solid Commerce. They discuss the need for automation, assessing new channels as they become available, and choosing the right fulfillment solution for your stock. Plus, they dive into strategies for generating new channels that are scalable and robust.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Gary Chavez discusses the definition of “headless commerce”
  • Managing the financial aspects of the business gross profit margin and maintaining brand integrity
  • How to deal with the complexity of selling online
  • Gary talks about the rapid evolution that’s happening in distribution
  • Why is it critical to have accurate and updated stock across channels?
  • Gary discusses target audience segmentation to build sub-brands
  • Leveraging automation to operate across online channels and ensuring solutions are robust and scalable
  • How the pandemic impacted physical retailers
  • Gary shares why clean data connects you to your marketplace
  • The importance of matching new channels to your brand
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Event Partners

Solid Commerce

Solid Commerce is a cloud-based inventory management solution that caters to businesses of all sizes across various industries such as computer software, apparel and fashion, consumer goods, business supplies, retail, and more.

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Guest Speaker

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Gary Chavez

Chief Revenue Officer at Solid Commerce

Gary Chavez is the Chief Revenue Officer at Solid Commerce. Solid Commerce helps clients expand, centralize, streamline, and automate their eCommerce business across multiple marketplaces and stores. Before joining the team at Solid Commerce, Gary was a Strategy and Technology Advisor for Tractor and the Vice President of Customer Success and Client Services at Bunchball.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Gary Chavez

Chief Revenue Officer at Solid Commerce

Gary Chavez is the Chief Revenue Officer at Solid Commerce. Solid Commerce helps clients expand, centralize, streamline, and automate their eCommerce business across multiple marketplaces and stores. Before joining the team at Solid Commerce, Gary was a Strategy and Technology Advisor for Tractor and the Vice President of Customer Success and Client Services at Bunchball.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Thursday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-Founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're a networking knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands, we're probably pushing close to 10,000 brandmark. Right now, we network and knowledge share together, I run point on that when the same, I'll talk to, I don't know, 30 plus organizations a week, they stay on top of those trends and what they are. And when the same topics or areas of interest from the network come up over and over again, we host events like this, you know, just the commentary, this is an audio line, you know, as I say, a lot of what we do is in the, the, you know, the go to or the zoom space, but it's fun to jump on one of these audio lines every now and again, but also just a heads up that we're going to be coming back with in person events. So if you're in a tier-one city across the US, or we'll be there are going to be at, you know, some of the major conferences, we're gonna get back to doing some in-person events as well for the network as a whole. Those are going to kick off in q3, maybe, yes, we're in q3. So August, and July, August. So hopefully, we'll get to, you know, be in person.

Aaron Conant 1:23

Just some quick housekeeping items, as we get started here. Number one, you have any questions along the way, don't hesitate to hit star five and go up on the screen here. And we can bring you into the conversation. To get those questions answered. If you can't come off, you know, you can't unmute understand what people are working from home, you can always email me questions, Aaron, aaron@bwgconnect. com we can get we'll feel questions that way. And that's also an hour after the call tomorrow, next week, whenever it is, if you have any questions in the digital space whatsoever, don't hesitate to reach out, if I don't have an answer for it, then there's probably a brand in the network that does more than happy to make those connections. Last thing is we're starting, you know, four or five minutes after the hour here, just you know, we're going to wrap up with at least four to five minutes to go on the hour as well. So we're going to give you plenty of time at the end of the call to make it onto your next meeting without being late Valley, grab a cup of coffee, and have a chat along the way. That being said, as we kind of, you know, kick this off, you know, major push, is people are looking to Hey, what is 22? is it's funny how the conversations are now are immediately going to Hey, what is q4 look like and what it's 2022? How do we maximize sales? How do we continue growth, executive teams are pushing for it. And so have a lot of people looking to understand the omni channel space as a whole. And this one isn't necessarily an omni channel advertising. But inventory management, you know, as a whole logistics is built in their way in there as well marketplaces and how you do them what you look for the new ones popping up. We just have some great friends, great partners and supporters, the network over a solid commerce. It's helped a lot of different brands out in the network and come highly recommended, as First of all, you know, great people, nice people, but also really, really intelligent and really able to help a lot of people out. So we've got Gary on the line today to kind of walk us through what they're seeing in this space and all the brands are dealing with and the growth that they've seen and kind of give us some some overview and thoughts. But don't hesitate to hit star five with questions along the way. Or just email them to me Aaron But Gary, if you want to jump in a brief intro about yourself in solid commerce, that'd be awesome. And then we can kind of jump into kind of the meat of it, don't it?

Gary Chavez 3:37

Sure. Thanks, Aaron. And thanks, everyone for joining us today. appreciate you taking time out of your schedule. I hope everything's going well in your world. So I'm here and the Chief Revenue Officer at Solid Commerce, where we try to make going across online multi channel easier for brands and retailers by extending their reach and using automation to help them grow their business and scale efficiently and profitable profitably. Prior to solid commerce. I ran global eCommerce for Live Nation artists services, where we manage over 100 artists brands, their presence online including merchandising under stores, and I've been in class for about 15 years or so.

Aaron Conant 4:19

Awesome. Love it. So everybody anything across the digital space, you know, throw out questions we'll get them answered in as Gary, I'd like they like talk like top of mind. What are those key things that you see coming up over and over again, that are issues that are pain points that are you know, things that you think people that we should discuss over the over the call today that would be incredibly helpful for people on the line?

Gary Chavez 4:43

Yeah, well, I think obviously everyone is looking to reach new customers, grow their sales and provide a stellar customer experience. One of the biggest things down as I see commerce is the need for automation retrievers.

Gary Chavez 5:00

systems in the tech stack. Think automation. Automation. Automation is really where we are today. In particular, the proliferation of different channels across phone domain eCommerce store marketplaces and social commerce. Automation is key.

Aaron Conant 5:19

Yeah. You know, if we want to just, you know, level set with a lot of people, like you mentioned headless commerce, this is a topic that's been thrown around quite a bit. Do you mind jumping into that just a little bit to kind of you know, kind of give a higher level overview of how people should be doing when they hear headless commerce, what it means what it is why it's important.

Gary Chavez 5:33

Yeah. So the way I look at it is, in its simplest terms, is headless commerce allows you to provide the best customer experience, wherever they are, whatever channel they happen to be in, provide provider, your branded experience within that channel, while having the most efficient back end operation. And the way that works is we just think about

Gary Chavez  6:07

people shopping on Google marketplace, or Facebook, or Instagram, or on store, or Amazon or eBay, they all have a different customer experiences of presenting your product in a way that's tailored for each customer experience is consistent for your brand. That's what headless commerce allows you to do. Because the front end presentation layer, where you have your listing is separated from all the backend systems that it takes to run your business like isn't 20 managers, or managers or product catalog management solutions, or accounting systems, which more and more have a tendency to be fast days fastbase focused function systems, they're not doing everything for you, they're typically doing one thing well for you. And what happens is, between that front end customer experience across all those channels, and all those back end systems, there's an integration where the integrate the front end to the back end systems of record, and move data back and forth. And so that's the the automation as to scaling profitably.

Aaron Conant 7:21

So decoupling then, you know, all the back end operations from the front end presentation. They use this someplace that, you know, people should be looking into it because they do have a Shopify store. I mean, he breaks it down, right. If people have a Shopify store, they're listing on Amazon, either marketplace or one p, they're on Walmart, or Newegg, or they're on Macy's, or you know, eBay, they're on, you know, you know, Facebook, I'd love to get into you mentioned social commerce, I want to get into social commerce a little bit, like, are you tying is this headless piece, then tying in all of those and then ties into the to the, you know, the data storage and the back end?

Gary Chavez 7:59

Yeah, a lot of sellers that we're talking to reassessing their their systems because they are running into challenges when they have a core system that doesn't integrate well, with one of the systems of record, obviously, as an example, an order manager. And so if you've got an VRP in your brand is using a NetSuite or an SAP or something like that, on the back end, getting the data from the marketplace, order data, even financial data, like commissions from Amazon or whatever marketplace you might be selling on. And getting it into the ER P is super important to manage the financial aspects of the business gross profit margin is a toy turnover rate everything else because the operation, but also to provide that customer experience as on brand. So when they have a system that either doesn't support all their channels, or the channels they want to be in going forward as they as they proliferate, then sellers brands and retailers are looking at those individual components that are attached back and reassessing them. Some, some solutions will do provide multiple functionality like order management, inventory management,

Gary Chavez 9:18

catalog management, others will just focus on one aspect. The biggest thing that's super important, especially in technology, and you're looking for riders, in addition to just great service that they provide in support of the platform, is is understanding whether the technology plays well with other technologies. And what's the underlying solution for integrating it we can throw around acronyms like SCP API UTI. All it really means at the end of the day is it's a technology to move data from the front end or the back end, the back end back to the front end. So we see a lot of people coming to us and asking us about our ability to help support that claim on

Aaron Conant 9:58

so awesome. I love it.

Aaron Conant 10:00

Um, you know, if we jump into the multi channel, you know, the sales aspect as a whole.

Aaron Conant 10:07

You know, how do you guys view that? What do you seen as the biggest growth factors? What are the trends? You're seeing? A lot of questions I get along the way our pay, what should my should share my social commerce channels be growing? How is Google doing? And how is Facebook? Is it really becoming a marketplace? What about Walmart? You know, is it growing? I think people are trying to make the decisions of where do I go next? Where where's my next best play? I think a lot of people were hoping it was Walmart. And in a Walmart seems to struggle over and over again, I don't know if you have any indications of them turning around. But I'd love to, you know, if you break into when you say mold, you know, multi channel sales, you know, what are you thinking about? And where are the growth levers happening there as people are trying to say, Hey, you know, where should I be listing my products, and then we can get into the inventory management and in the marketplace management?

Gary Chavez  11:02

Right, right. Well, with with marketplaces, not, not all marketplaces are a good match for all brands. Obviously,

Gary Chavez  11:11

if you're a high end apparel brand new, probably not going to go to Walmart is the place to be, you might list on Bloomingdale's and sell on their marketplace. So matching brands to channel is super important for maintaining brand integrity. Additionally, just to touch on Walmart, as an entity an opportunity, one thing I do see Walmart, doing a lot of in order to be competitive to the extent they are with Amazon, is leverage their significant physical retail presence, and in particular in North America. And doing things like why online pick up in store and or buy online return to store. Those are some some aspects of their operation that they're trying to use in order to stand out against other marketplace competitors. That's one aspect of what they're doing. Your Amazon has some advantages, grocery with regards to Whole Foods and whatnot, but it just doesn't have the things to deal with. With regards to social. One of the important changes it's been occurring in over the last year and a half, two years is social, social, changing from more of an advertising platform to true marketplace. You can take Google AdWords

Gary Chavez 12:33

and Google marketplace as an example. We're now on Google marketplace, you actually listing a product on their marketplace, that listing was there with other brands and retailers. And the transaction happens in a cart that's hosted by Google. So they've been putting a lot of effort into recruiting sellers. I don't know that they've done a fabulous job of

Gary Chavez  13:00

promoting to customers to shoppers, the distinction and the change. In talking to them, they just talked about putting more money behind that in the coming year, on the back half of this year in order to drive volume in holiday. Just social becoming more true marketplace. And advertising platform is a big trend.

Aaron Conant 13:22

So you're you're you're seeing that and you would advise like brand to the line like okay, you've plugged into Walmart, you've plugged into Amazon, you've plugged into eBay, you plug into all these different marketplaces or, or other retailers fire up, you know, the social channels as well and plug those in and start actively driving because you're seeing for the brands that are doing that significant, you know, growth or opportunity, right?

Gary Chavez 13:49

Yes, everything's Well, yeah, definitely. And it's, some of the channels are are better for certain categories and others. If you think about Instagram, apparel, beauty products are real winners there. Everything's so visually driven. I think that's a great place to be obviously have marketplaces that are very category specific like waiver. I do know that there are marketplaces like Newegg that are trying to get outside of their traditional product category and sell more things like accessories or not. So staying current on what's working on the different platforms, this is important. And then just making sure that it's aligned with your strategic growth and your brand positioning activity.

Aaron Conant 14:37

Awesome. Love it. You know, so I want to I want to jump into then, you know, the, you know, this was filmed inside the inventory management where where are you seeing people? You know, place inventory, move inventory. I mean, that's a huge part of it. How do you How are you connecting, you know, hey, I was sold on this platform and you know, the fibers sold over here for were sold over here, you know, what are some of the complexities that you see built into, you know, the, the warehouses and that fulfillment model that people should be thinking about?

Gary Chavez 15:10

Yeah, that's a use a really good word, their complexity. And I think everyone on the call is dealing with the complexities selling online, and some who are, are growing their direct to consumer business, as opposed to their traditional b2b are also managing that complexity in transition. So there's number of sales channels, you know, times distribution options, warehouses, fulfillment centers,

different service providers, the number of systems in the tech stack, and then how those systems fit together all create a really complex environment. What I would say is, we've seen a lot of rapid evolution in the last 18 months in distribution options. And that came out of some of the challenges and COVID that probably people on this call experienced, in particular, if you were leveraging FDA, where they were not allowing you stopping on non critical items, or whether being on critical categories, that you're basically out of business for that distribution center, what we're seeing is people trying to do fulfillment forward, get their product, as close to the customer as possible, to meet the increasing consumer expectations around

Gary Chavez  16:34

fulfillment time. I remember, it used to be like, if you got something in a week, it was great. And then it was today, one day, and then in some cases valid same day. So we've seen companies like deliver, offer different fulfillment options, up ups, has a couple of options where to go. They also have their own, which is sort of like Airbnb, for warehouses, and sellers. And then they also have another option called mutuality, fulfillment, where it's more of a traditional third party logistics service where they'll inventory your product and pick pack and ship it, I think they have something like four warehouses across North America, where they provide today coverage for 98% of the North American population. So choosing the right fulfillment solution that has integration into your tech stack is, is critical, that automation is critical to ensure that you're not running into some of the typical challenges like overselling our lack of product visibility across your customer touchpoints delayed orders or slow moving inventory just sitting there really quick.

Aaron Conant 17:57

If I jump in really quickly, what do you mean by lack of product visibility? What do you mean by lack of visibility?

Gary Chavez 18:03

Yeah, so if if you don't have a robust inventory solution, and it integrated into the tech stack, you're not going to be able to get your your product listing, where they need to be in the multiple channels that you're selling in with accurate inventory updates. And so if you're not accurately updating the inventory, you may show out of stock in channel, and then you're missing out on sales. And obviously, you easily only get one crack at that and he just was failing to come back again. And then the other side of that is if you miss a sale, the products gonna sit in a warehouse, and it's gonna cost you money. So being integrated from the back end inventory and where it's sitting in the distribution center, all the way to where people are browsing, whatever the endpoint is, is critical. And I would say one other thing that is as a trend is supply chain automation is going one step further from where your inventory to solutions that will automatically generate purchase orders, but also solutions that gives you visibility and time to replenish your stock. that's becoming more and more important as well.

Aaron Conant 19:21

So the trigger than when you get low on inventory to hit your supply chain to say hey, you reorder to get more in here so you don't go out of stock. That's this recap what you're saying.

Gary Chavez 19:32

Yeah, there and what we're seeing is more and more utilization of robust business intelligence is some of the using AI to do predictive analytics around your supply chain and the time to get a product out of you as your supplier into your warehouse and in front of a wire. So that AI helps ally is not necessarily the I'm locked out at this point, it's a nice house. But having a bi solution to do forecasting or you, it used to be a plus, but I have, I feel like it's a must have now.

Aaron Conant 20:11

Awesome. Love it. And just a reminder, those who have questions, keep dropping into email or hit star five, and we can bring you into the conversation and you can ask, you know, directly, you can email them to me, Aaron So, question comes in around, you know, product assortment, impact on inventory. And so I'll kind of expand on it just a little bit of a lot of questions out there that come in around doing different kits, different bundles, you know, for different retailers as a whole. So people struggle with that, from the standpoint of pays a better to have the same thing, is it not? I don't want it to impact my, you know, my operations team. I want to have the same, you know, brand view across multiple different channels. How do you guys, you know, look at, you know, let's just say skew management as a whole.

Gary Chavez 21:07

Yeah. So the it's a, it's a good question. And it's really, I see it is, there's an operational component to it. But it's also a merge statement merchandisers component, and a marketing component when it comes to that key management. In particular, robust key management is going to give you the ability to manage all your variation, to build bundles, and don't kits and then manage the core components are those bundles and kits. And how I see it the use is I wouldn't call it hyper-segmentation, but significant segmentation of the target audience, demographically, so that you're looking at them in a sophisticated way that allows you to build sub brands within your brand, and then promote those products in the right channel, and in the right way. And you could just use premium and discount as an example apparel. Then I talked about earlier, not high end apparel, you're not going to want to be on Walmart, but maybe you want to be on Bloomingdale's. But maybe you have a down market line, and not appropriate for for Walmart and maybe you want to build some chips that dress up that downmarket apparel line by slipping in some of your higher end apparel, and then putting that on Walmart in order to grab the customer. And then introduce them to a line that they might not necessarily be buying. So seeing people target segments or their audience, building some brands. And then putting them in the right channel is something that we've seen a lot of, we've got a customer of ours default, they're a homecare product company has been around for over 100 years. And they currently have four different brands and 11 different channels, and it took them about two years to get there. But over the two years, they increase their DMZ sold by 100%. So it's very effective way for them to go to market.

Aaron Conant 23:08

Yeah. So just to pull the cash register a little bit around bundling.

So, you know, a six pack on one channel versus a four pack on another versus a three to one combo pack of three different flavors on one, you know, to, you know, a four a six on another channel like you know, same brand, same products but just different, you know, different bundles, or kids or sizes. Have you seen that then then fruitful?

Gary Chavez  23:45

Yeah, no, definitely. And he can you see a lot in.

We see a lot in the food category. And like say coffees and tea, we've got a customer t retailer. They have a lot of different assortments. And they've been one, you know, in the ways that you discuss and get six or one or one of six different items in the same bundle. And, and I think of it like when I think about my wife because she's a kind of a stock up person. She likes to have a lot of everything stored and ready to go. She's a consumer who's likely to buy the I want to buy a 20 pack or a

six pack. And she got very specific tastes. So she's less likely to buy an assortment. Whereas you have other buyers out there customers that they're experimenting and they're trying out fine and they want to find the ones that work for them. So the assortments work well as well. In addition to clothing where maybe you're buying t shirts and whatnot, and you just want to do and because we get to premiere

Aaron Conant 24:52

Your next question here the ability to then do build your own as well. Yeah.

Gary Chavez 24:57

Yeah, go ahead. If it's like one edition

Aaron Conant 25:00

So I get that that saw that comes through a lot is okay, I've got a table in six chairs is one skew a table and four chairs is another skew this your ability to then build out and do you see that as being beneficial where I've got it, I get to pick the table, then I get to pick all the different chairs and have, you know, it bonded that way?

Gary Chavez 25:21

Yeah, I know, I haven't had been in conversations around, build your own very frequently. I have seen it as a strategy to move products and slow moving products, when you hear someone option on checkout off and on Checkout, add a product is a significant discount, when you're really just trying to get it off the shelf. That's something I've seen more on.

Aaron Conant 25:46

Awesome, awesome. But then,from an operational standpoint, you know, this idea of I don't know, if you call them go skews or, you know, floating skews the idea that, you know, it's loosely tied to not necessarily something in your earpiece system. But it is, you know, something that you could then pick on the back end. So the chair has a skew. The table has askew, but then you know, you're not necessarily building that skill and your RP system except for Hey, what is being presented online? Yeah. You see a lot of people using that strategy, because they you're trying to look at how do I manage inventory? and balance that with total product offering in the complexity along with it?

Gary Chavez 26:34

Yeah, yeah, definitely. And that's just kind of harkens back to the discussion a few minutes ago around commerce, and E Rp. And so and I'll use this as an example there, they have a classic DRP on the back end, that doesn't support what you're describing. And so our customer uses our solution to manage those individual skews all the variations, the component parts into kits and bundles on our platform that the European doesn't know anything about virtual skills, or the kids and the models, all I knows is there's a stock using the unit as an individual item. And it's keeping their their inventory source of truth there. And managing turnover rates and cost of inventory and the product and everything in there. But then they need a specialized system to manage all the other aspects of putting together a compelling product line, leveraging virtual CPUs, encrypted bundles, and whatnot.

Aaron Conant 27:39

Awesome. Was it other other other things when we're talking about, you know, I know we started off, it was gone, a lot of like, you know, automation, I think we were pulling a common thread there. Other things that are key to leveraging automation to kind of operate and scale across online channels. Anything that we've missed there, we talked a little bit about,

Gary Chavez 28:02

we stock in red and vi for 4000, I would just say that forecasting is super tough, everybody knows that. And you never want to run out of product and you never want to have too much. So having the ability to accurately forecast based on what's happening in the market today. Sales velocity with individual items, the historical sales on a given item, if she's got a catalog, that doesn't change a lot, that's super important. The real time pieces very important issues that more of a seasonal business, those two elements combined with the ability to automate purchase order generation is is important. So sales velocity, historical sales, business intelligence on top of that, it's tied to automated purchase order generation that understands your lead time to restock and put it away and ready to ship. So it we were partners to deliver that is that the whole thing and itself. So we integrate with a few partners that provide those solutions, they get our database. And and that's just an example of how we can bring that value, not core to our platform. But through automation and integration to open technology.

Aaron Conant 29:28

I feel like there's you know, across the board in the digital space, there's like this maturity that's that's happening right now, where if you look at this space 15 to 18 months ago, you know, eCommerce, you know, you know, digital commerce, all these things. It was a small enough portion of the overall business for a lot of people that, you know, the the next level wasn't necessarily requirement or needed, but it's gotten, you know, so competitive so quickly and There's the it's not, you know, a lot of questions I get is how do I make eCommerce less margin diluted? How do I make it better? Make it more operational? How do I get more bang for my buck, and now, it's just one of these, you're talking about the automation side in, you know, the BI tools that are out there to say, hey, automatically reorder this, you know, the next tie in, like, you're saying to the back end supply chain, it's like, you know, it might not be table stakes right now. But it's going to be table stakes by the end of the year. Because the requirement to operate it at a more efficient level is, if you're not doing it, then then so many other people are

Under this kind of, you know, let's get we're having this conversation in the brain conversations I have, that's what what stands out to me is we're at a maturity, you know, we're at a point in the maturity curve, where these things aren't just like fun to have their necessity.

Gary Chavez 31:00

You're right. And I think that the, the move to getting serious about direct to consumer, eCommerce, really accelerated last year, and in the first half of this year, kind of jumped a few years ahead, for obvious reasons around where pandemics impact on a physical retail. And brands and manufacturers who sold traditionally through physical retail and knows how to sell on the water. They were on Amazon and maybe had their own store. But the the margin, you know, when you first get into it can be a bit of a challenge. There's no question about that. And if that's an infrastructure you need to put around it, you have to hire people into dedicated roles. So there are some investments. But I think as you said, it is less sort of a nice to have now than a must have as the landscape 20 physical and and online commerce shifts. online commerce is growing faster than physical and marketplaces in particular are growing faster than typical eCommerce. So for for brands and manufacturers to get into the business in a more focused fashion. We've seen that as a sense of urgency in the last 18 months. And then that whole supply chain management for you know, your your furniture is being built in China, and what's the time the manufacturer what's the time to transit and put away and ready to ready to ship. Having that visibility as a person who's responsible for product catalog and marketing is super important. They're just getting over those initial kind of setup, steps to doing direct to consumer. And having someone who can help guide you through that process and give you a toolset to automate is critical. Agree?

Aaron Conant 32:55

When you're thinking about like that, that partner selection, you know, best practices in my mind when you guys look at you know, assessing technology solutions for multi channel inventory solutions and management and inventory and shipping and everything else that goes along with it. Like any, like best practices that people should should think about or know about, just as they go down the evaluation process.

Gary Chavez 33:20

Sure. A few make sure that the solutions are robust and scalable, open technology and effective channel support.

Aaron Conant 33:40

Can you elaborate a bit on robustness, that's what I'd like. So there's three terms that I want to pull apart. And, you know, robustness and scalability in integration and channels, I guess just for Channel support as well. But, you know, as I'm taking the material robust now,

Gary Chavez 33:51

because robust and scalable, kind of sound the same,

but they're a little bit different. Robust means that your, your updates to your product catalog, your inventory, your pricing is frequent. And so it's the frequency rate with which all that data is updated in channel on the marketplace, I'm on your store, on Facebook, or Instagram. And so all channels have their own sort of frequency rates that you can address. So Amazon will update inventory more frequently than say, Sears as an example. And so you want to make sure that your technology that you choose is, is meeting the channel where it lives and its frequency, right. And so you want as frequent as possible. And those channel and then scalable is more around two factors that drive skill, volume or your catalog size of your catalog, how frequently it changes and add to it and then also As your sales velocity, so the solution is to update frequently. And it needs to be able to support high volume sales and large catalogs. So that's your robust and scalable Sisa.

Aaron Conant 35:14

The next, so two other ones, you know, open technology channel support. How do you how do you how do you take a look at those.

Gary Chavez 35:24

With open technology, it's becoming easier than it was maybe say 10 years ago, when some of the mission critical systems of record were offline, meaning they were posted on a server somewhere to company's IT department. And they weren't online in real time. So open technology generally means buying back cert Software as a Service hosted in the cloud. And that connects to typically API, or for larger scale, and more traditional brands and retailers and their suppliers EDR. Or in very flexible, lower cost way to integrate this is robust or scalable, is STP. They'll just open technology generally means it's in the cloud. And it plays with a readily accepted standard technology for moving data around. And then is child support.

Aaron Conant 36:26

And then how long does it take to implement one of these solutions? Is it a six months? Is it nine months? Is it three weeks? Is it 10 weeks? You know, people? I think it's important if you want to, you know, have in place, you know, by q4, we'd love to hear your thoughts there.

Gary Chavez 36:45

Yeah. So, channel fours channel support is pretty straightforward, we kind of talked about it a little bit earlier, is making sure that the technology not only supports the channel, hearing what the challenge was, we want to go going forward, or if they don't currently, based on their roadmap, and then we have confidence in their ability to deliver against their product roadmap without channels before, and then time to stand up a solution. It's really just every implementation is a snowflake to some degree. Although there are standard components to implementation. And there are variables that will impact a time then

I'll give you a basic example. For someone who's an early grocers, there's got some traction on a couple of different marketplaces in our store, they may not have you alignment across their sales channels, because they're just been updating a catalog in the endpoint, user face. So amazon seller central as an example. They just upload directly to that, and they use these for Amazon. And then they use a different set of skews from the store and a different point of view for Walmart, when they all should be one fewer number per item. If you don't have fewer alignment, it will create a more complex times and implementation and slow down your time to market. The reality though is if you've got control over your data, if the clean data is there going to get it into a format that can be imported into one of these systems that supports multi channel selling, you can connect to your marketplaces, and and be in business as sort of walk this, within weeks, get into a job, this might take a month or two. And then you might really be running six months in jail. I would say that right now. Summer, someone was doing an assessment and they had a decision by the end of July implementation before mid September and timber would be very doable. And then I would recommend that probably no one would argue with this, that if you don't have that sort of a timeline in place, then just go sell during holiday and peak season. Don't change anything, just keep one set in place. But during that peak season, and I know this is hard because people are very focused on meeting customer expectations and managing the slice to seasonality around the holiday, but try to reserve some mindshare or to look forward based on what's happening in your business during the peak season. what's working, what's not working. Try to save some mindshare for a little bit of research on what you might want to change in q1 and get ahead of that a little bit. I think a lot of potential software buyers will wait until January and then they're dealing with returns and then they'll wait until February and then people will be taking some time off because they need it and And then you're back in this, can I get it done before holiday thing goes by so fast.

Aaron Conant 40:07

Awesome. Love it. Oh, there. You know, just quick reminder, if anybody has any other questions you'd like me to get to shoot them over, you know, hit star five, we can bring you into the conversation or you can email them to me Aaron, Are there other things that that, you know, come up routinely with you or you thought we would get today that we didn't get to today that we didn't, or, you know, you get asked a lot, you know, and we can also kind of jump into key takeaways as well.

Gary Chavez 40:36

Now, one of the things that I mentioned this a little bit around passing, but with traditional b2b sellers moving into direct to consumer, and maybe they were selling on vendor Central, but now they want to sell on Seller Central. There's a desire to kind of solve the Rubik's Cube all at once. And meaning I want to have one inventory for both b2b and b2c, I want to have a solution that will integrate to online channel, both b2b and b2c and support my distribution to physical retail. And it just becomes a really complex problem, the software I would recommend is a bounce trying to solve the Rubik's Cube, and instead lay out a roadmap on where you want to get to. And then and then definitely take a walk, walk, jog run approach. I've seen people put a lot of effort into trying to tilt up the whole thing. And then when it doesn't work out, they've lost the one most important the process that we all have, which is time.

Aaron Conant 41:47

Awesome. Love it. Love it. You know, he we don't have, I don't have any other questions that have come in. Ultimately, keep it already kind of like key takeaways, but also want to say a quick thank you to everybody who dialed in. Thanks for the great questions that came over. Look for a follow up email from us, I'd love to have a conversation with anybody. That's how we get the topics for our calls as a whole. Obviously, if you're looking for any solution, providers, don't hesitate to reach out we've got a short list provided by people across the network. Gary and the team that Solid Commerce are some of those people, they're great friends, partner supporters, and more than happy to connect anybody with him to learn more about what they're doing. They have a lot of brands out there. They're doing some really neat things in this space and all around great people as a whole. You know, as you wrap up, Gary, like key takeaways here is to kind of wrap it up.

Gary Chavez 42:33

Yeah, super simple. multi channel online, direct to consumer is complicated, for sure. But it's where you want to be. And you want to be assessing new channels as they become available to you, matching them up well with your brand. And then solving for that complexity, through automation using open technology as scalable and robust.

Aaron Conant 42:57

Boss, I love it. Well. Thanks, Gary. Great friend. Thanks. Sure, you know, being open to sharing and allowing us to throw some questions at ya,

you know, over the past 50 minutes or so. And with that, I mean, the gift of time back, you know, and, and thanks again to everybody who dialed in today. Thanks again, Gary for your time. And hope everybody Yeah, absolutely. And I hope everybody is, you know, safe, healthy. Everybody. Take care. Look forward to having you at a future event, maybe rubbing elbows in person even as we launched those, but before filed the email from us we'll be in touch and look forward to having everybody in the future that already thinks everybody thinks carry authority. Take care.

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