Simplifying Marketplace Sales: Inventory Management, Pricing Control, Content Syndication & more

May 25, 2021 1:30 pm2:30 PM EST

Summary

During our virtual events, we encourage senior professionals to share & network with like-minded industry peers. Each session is moderated by a BWG Connect professional to ensure that our conversations remain on topic and answer critical questions that the audience truly cares about.

All audience members will have the ability to ask live questions and will have access to introductions to any of the attendees following the event. We're always open to making connections to others within our network as well.

BWG Connect, Solid Commerce & Retail Bloom invite you to participate in an interactive discussion with your peers.

As always, there will be no sales pitches and there is no cost to join.

Discussion Topics

  • Review of best practices for inventory management across multiple marketplaces
  • Order Fulfillment options - What are the best options and how do I manage them all?
  • How to tackle multi-channel pricing control, content syndication & more

Event Partners

Guest Speaker

Gary Chavez

Chief Revenue Officer at Solid Commerce

Gary Chavez is the Chief Revenue Officer at Solid Commerce, a company that helps businesses manage their multi-channel storefronts and sell on multiple eCommerce channels. Gary has been with Solid Commerce since 2016, and has held previous positions including Senior Vice President of Customer Success. Before joining Solid Commerce, Gary held many executive roles in the digital marketing and strategy spaces.

Nicole Reich

Co-founder and VP of Sales and Marketing at Retail Bloom

Nicole Reich is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing and the Co-founder of Retail Bloom, a third-party marketplace service provider that provides all-inclusive services to brands, retailers, and distributors to drive sales on eCommerce marketplaces. Retail Bloom was previously a branch of Aleva Stores, where Nicole served as the National Account Manager.

Event Moderator

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. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

Key Discussion Takeaways

In today’s eCommerce climate, competition is steeper than ever. How can you leverage your brand to gain more revenue while without spending gobs of cash on advertising? The key is selling across multiple channels.

Omni-channel selling is beneficial to your company in every capacity. However, it can seem overwhelming for business owners and entrepreneurs who aren’t familiar with the digital space. Have no fear; Gary Chavez and Nicole Reich are here to help. They are digital marketing and marketplace experts, and will offer their best advice on how to successfully scale your company while getting the most out of your online channels.

In this virtual event, host Aaron Conant talks with Gary Chavez, Chief Revenue Officer of Solid Commerce, and Nicole Reich, VP of Sales/Marketing and Co-founder of Retail Bloom, about all things omni-channel selling. They discuss tips on managing inventory, the hottest online marketplaces, scaling while maintaining funds, and much more.

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

  • Gary Chavez explains why selling across multiple channels is beneficial for your business
  • The importance of staying up to date with trends — and remembering the back end pieces of your business strategy
  • Nicole Reich discusses the perks of working with a digital strategy brand to leverage online marketplace growth
  • What roles do product listing and optimization play in a digital marketplace strategy?
  • Nicole goes over various marketplaces you need to know and which ones are growing in popularity, including Walmart and Target
  • The strategy for bundling and kitting products, and issues that can arise
  • How bundles can eliminate stale inventory and increase average order value (AOV)
  • What rules should you follow when implementing promotions?
  • Gary and Nicole describe different routes to take when looking at merchant-fulfilled sales
  • The rise of eCommerce data collection
  • Gary tells a story of how Bissell was able to increase their sales channels and scale during the pandemic
  • Nicole shares advice for brands wanting to branch out into the online marketplace space

Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Tuesday, everybody. Welcome to the call today. Hopefully this is the the most fun event anywhere in eCommerce landscape today. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-founder Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're a giant networking and knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands who do exactly that we network and knowledge share together to stay on the top of newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that shaping the digital landscape as a whole. I'll talk with 30 plus brands a week to stay on top of those digital trends. That's how we get the topics for our calls. But also doing a lot around strategy as a whole, but also service providers selection. So if you're ever looking for a shortlist of top service providers, that's everything from Amazon, to other marketplaces, to direct consumer performance marketing, anything in the digital space, if you ever just want a great conversation on digital strategy or help with service providers selection, never hesitate to reach out. Aaron A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com. more than happy to jump on the phone love doing that. And I'll probably pick your brain for biggest pain points and get some more topics for calls as well. As we kick off here, a couple of housekeeping items, we're starting three to four minutes after the hour. And we're going to wrap up with three to four minutes to go as well. So just a heads up, if you're looking at your watch, now we're gonna give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. That being said, we also want this to be as educational and informational as possible. At any point in time. If you have a question, drop into the question section there. And we'll feel questions that way. We'll kind of do those real time as we go. The flip side if it's easier, you can always email me Aaron A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com. And we'll feel questions that way as well. That includes in our after the call tomorrow next week. Anytime you have a question in digital space, never hesitate to shoot me know, I'll get you an answer back as soon as I can. That That being said, you know, the the topic from the call today arose out of a lot of brand conversations of Hey, you know, we're kind of set out for ecom last year COVID hits everything just you know, ramps ramps up so incredibly quickly that, hey, you know what, if you're if you're one or two degrees off, and you're going slow, you can course correct really quickly, if you're one or two degrees off, and you're going at 250 miles an hour, like we all were over the past 12 months, you can really quickly kind of get things out of sorts. And so it's become increasingly complex across the board. And so we've got some great friends, and great partners in the network, both in Solid Commerce as well as Retail Bloom, who have agreed to jump on the phone today and kind of give us an overview of, you know, what they're seeing take place in the space as a whole different strategies. They're using strategies they see their clients using, but also answer as many questions as we can throw at them as a whole. And so, you know, like I said, great friends, great partners, and I want to kind of, you know, kick this off. And you know, Gary, I'll kick it over you if you want to do a brief intro on yourself and Solid Commerce. That'd be great. And then we can kick it over to Nicole for Retail Bloom. But yeah, if you want to jump in that would be that'd be awesome.

Gary Chavez 3:36

Great, thank you Aaron. Appreciate that. Thank you, everyone, for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us today. I hope you're doing well wherever you are. As for my experience, I've been in eCommerce for 15 years, either selling or supporting sellers and brands. Right now I'm the Chief Revenue Officer at Solid Commerce, been here for about five years. We help sellers increase their revenue by expanding across channels. Prior to Solid Commerce, I ran eCommerce at Live Nation artists services group, where we managed over 150 artists stores. And my background also includes brand strategy and technology consulting. And with that, Nicole.

Nicole Reich 4:16

Thanks, Gary. Thanks, Aaron. Hi, everyone, good to be on the call today. Retail Bloom's purpose is just to help brands make online marketplaces easy. And we do that by helping our partners understand the entire landscape all the tools at their disposal like Solid Commerce and then provide a recommendation how and how they can leverage and execute those opportunities for them. We recently launched our partnership with Solid Commerce and if Gary is step one in setting up and running a successful omni channel online strategy, we're step two to help you drive growth and scale once you already have those connections set up correctly. I'm looking forward to providing feedback and mostly support in the background to Aaron and Gary today for anything related to scaling and optimization for sites such as Walmart, Amazon, eBay, both domestically and internationally.

Aaron Conant 5:04

Awesome. Thanks, Gary. Thanks, Nicole. And just a quick reminder, those who have joined at any point in time, if you have a question, drop in the question section there, or email it to me, Aaron A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com. And we'll get as many of those answered as possible. So, and yeah, let's kick it off. Gary, do you want to walk us through the next couple slides here?

Gary Chavez 5:22

Sure, sure. So what we can start with with this talk a little bit about what we're going to discuss here in the next 45 minutes or so, how to provide a stellar customer experience everywhere. And today's technology stack and headless eCommerce, you may have heard of this eCommerce occasionally nowadays, or a lot as the case may be, how to leverage automation to operate at scale. And then we're going to share a brand success story, who has solved for some of the complexity and spelling across multiple channels. So in essence, is I think everyone on this call knows, regardless of your role, whether you're a marketer or you're operations, or eCommerce director, VP, selling across multiple channels can be a great opportunity to acquire customers and increase your revenue. But scaling that model, and doing it profitably is complicated. And so that's what we're going to dig in today is what does that complicated environment look like? And what are the component parts, and then where are the opportunities to scale effectively. So providing a stellar customer experience, quote, unquote, everywhere, obviously, you're engaging your customers and prospective customers, across multiple platforms. And those platforms all have different customer experiences, depending upon the device. Depending upon the platform itself in the marketplace, you might have less control over the user experience. And that makes product listing information and product images and video really important. On a mobile device, you might have limited screen share or screen space. And you have to present the data differently. And you're also by hitting each of your your customers across each of these touch points. You're building up those repetitions of impressions, so that you're getting to a buy decision. So providing that stellar customer experience can help you get those new customers can you need to optimize your product information. And on purchase, you need to deliver on your brand promise. And it's an example it's just, if your brand is all about being easy, then that experience needs to be easy. If it's about being glamorous, then you need to get some glamour in there. And maybe in your customer communications, the way you talk to them the way you communicate, post purchase as well. So that's an environment you're in on the front end, when you're engaging your customers. And then let's look at the back end and headless eCommerce. So the trend today in order to give you that flexibility to personalize your user experience across platforms, and devices, is to separate the presentation layer each of those customer experiences from the operational layer on the back end. That allows you to get that customization. And then also on the back end, where your systems of record store information about your customer orders inventory and product information. It allows you to use best of breed solutions for the operational components of your business that need to be nearly flawless to deliver on your brand promise and the customer experience that you're presenting. And my back end systems of record I mean, things like your product catalog management tool, warehouse management solution accounting systems, order managers CRMs repricing tools, everything in the eCommerce ecosystem that helps you manage the business end to end.

Aaron Conant 6:23

And really quickly here because I know we did a and others if you have questions drop in the questions or email them to me A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com but, you know, we actually just did a call even on headless commerce last week, and it's like this. It I don't know if it's just a digital maturity curve, or if it's a or if it's a necessity, or is it both from the back end of trying to route all of the different you know, a lot of organizations weren't built for built for the digital age, right? So you have all these back end different, you know, pieces that you have to plug in. And if it's not headless You're trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole, like this headless piece is this is that accurate, this kind of, we're trying to feel out right now is how important is headless. And if you want to do a deep dive on that, and is it is it going to be table stakes, like a year from now that people are operating this way to stay on top of newest trends and newest, you know, opportunities to execute on?

Gary Chavez 10:26

It is a little bit on the maturity cycle of the business. It is critical, absolutely critical. If you can scale, I think smaller operations, SMB, maybe lower mid market, they'll continue to kind of use end to end, one size fits all solutions, that are kind of self onboarding and self service, say for an order manager. And it'll have everything there, you can't do much with the presentation layer, your you're, maybe you've got a shopping cart. And that's the only thing and everything's connected. The payment processing system or CRM, the more that you get everything into one box, the less headless it is, and the less flexibility you get. So whether it's table stakes a year from now, it's certainly going to be going in that direction. Obviously, I think the the environments that can continue to increase complexity is innovation occurs across the channels and the devices and gives marketers and eCommerce leaders opportunities to engage differently with your users, which is only going to make it more important that you have that flexibility on the presentation layer. And to scale and again, scale efficiently, you're going to need to pick solutions that work for your business. And that means you're going to be piecing together SaaS solutions and all likelihood of solutions that are hosted in the cloud, and that interact with other technology solutions. Well, so they have to play well in the sandbox. I think Aaron, you know, the question around table stakes is yes, as it is today. But in a year, it'll be table stakes, but in a year, it's going to be different.

Aaron Conant 12:15

Then this API layer, is it. Is it going to push to everything from Amazon to Walmart to Target to going then it's Facebook, Google, your mobile and your own DTC site is that where you see this new, I shouldn't' say it's new. But this, you know, I don't know a push to a headless situation where it's all controlled through this API layer to make everything seamless?

Gary Chavez 12:39

Yeah, in, in essence API layer there. And really, there are more technologies involved. But you get into the acronym game API, FTP, EDI. I know it just sounds like though, alphabet salad. But yes, it is. There's technology in there, that allows systems to talk to each other. And that's basically and Sherpa data from the front end to the back end. And it is for marketplaces, you know, Amazon, eBay target. It could be your shopping cart, whether you're using Shopify, big commerce or miva, merchant, and then on social commerce as well. The technologies that are used by these different players even within just say, the marketplace world, they vary. I mean, as an example, Home Depot, they use EDI. So you have to use certain technologies in that API layer, in order to get order data down from Home Depot and back into your accounting systems as an example.

Aaron Conant 12:50

Awesome. And Nicole, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this space. I mean, so you, you know, you're on the, you know, the marketplace side, kind of, you know, the front end, but you're using Solid Commerce, how did they How did they fit in? How are you utilizing this today?

Nicole Reich 14:04

Yeah, so as Gary's kind of talking, this is some, you know, he said, alphabet salad, Gary, that's like a really good way to summarize it. For me being on kind of just sales and marketing, whether that be for Retail Bloom or the brands that we represent. It's tough sometimes for our customers or brands, whether that be sellers or the manufacturers to understand, hey, I want to get on all of these online marketplaces, all at the same time. And how do I do that? So being able to leverage something like Solid Commerce or you know, other tools out there has given us the ability to work with our brands to say, okay, we're going to let's just use content, we're going to rewrite this content that you have, and be able to optimize that for all these different marketplaces. tweak it right, whether that be certain properties or images or titles based on the requirements for each channel, but able to push all of that data through one place instead of having one connector to Walmart one connector to Amazon. So that is really the way that I've seen this, you know how we leverage it and potentially how our partners leverage it. It's really interesting, you know, we have a huge tech stack of partners. And there isn't a, from what I found a one stop shop for everything, here's where you can optimize your ads, here's how you can optimize your content. So at least having one that's the backend system that connects to the API to do things like orders and pricing and the feed files that at least decreases the number of direct systems that are integrated to each marketplace. So I guess that's our perspective on it. Hopefully, that helps Aaron.

Aaron Conant 15:39

Yeah, it does. Because this, it gets so complex. I mean, it's always been complicated. But the pressure to make it work is the major thing that's changed, right? Yes, Hey, that was all nice to have, when it's, you know, two to 3% of your overall, you know, for a brand, you know, and then COVID hits, and it's five to seven times, sometimes 10 times the size, and all of a sudden, I have to, you know, not only do I have to manage, you know, multiple different marketplaces, but my own web borders, you know, I'm trying to ramp up social commerce. It's just data flowing in all over the place. And then on the back end, you've got, you know, your your, your the business side of it, that's just, you know, getting inundated, right, with orders coming in from different platforms, pricing updates, you know, promotions, customer service, whatever it might be. No, yeah.

Gary Chavez 16:32

Aaron, you know, those are good points. And one of the other things that creates pressure in multi channel selling is the different platforms in particular, the marketplaces have, obviously, seller requirements. And then also consumer expectations, just keep accelerating. Everything needs to be easy finding the product and buying the product, the fulfillment of the product needs to be transparent. Customers want to know where it is, they want to see it arrive on time. And all of that is data going back and forth between the user experience and the back end systems.

Aaron Conant 17:10

Awesome. Love it. Love it. Cool.

Gary Chavez 17:16

Okay, let's go look at opportunities to solve for that complexity or where there are opportunities to take advantage of automation. So we talked about the data, the data sharpening back and forth between the user experience and the back end. So product listing and optimization, I think, Nicole, you nailed that on your on your, your summary there. When we're on the headless eCommerce slide. Do you have anything else to add around the product listing and optimization?

Nicole Reich 17:49

Yeah, so I would say that, as you look, you know, if we let's use Target, Walmart, and Amazon all as three examples, as you look at those experiences, from the front end, the product detail pages all are starting to look a little similar, right? They all have categories, they all have imagery, titles, there's some type of rating and review system. And, of course, competitive pricing is becoming even a bigger issue as other you know, Walmart and Target start to compete a little bit more with Amazon. There's some type of variations that up shipping methods, video product descriptions, eight plus pages, or enhanced detail pages, as they are, you know, maybe called on Walmart, they're looking more and more like the Amazon traditional PDP page. So yes, the properties get updated a lot, especially on the newer ones like Walmart target, I think I read something that the back end content properties changed, like over 100 times in the last 12 months. So there are going to be there is a definitely a need to optimize those property fields, maybe you know, we do it quarterly for our partners, just to make sure that you aren't missing a certain category, whether that be origin, where it's made, or the sizing attributions, anything like that. So those are still changing. But like I said, kind of on the last slide, being able to start somewhere, right? So it's not just rewriting the content, but then being able to push that through one place where you can easily see the different properties or attributions from the different marketplaces makes this a lot easier to scale instead of just doing again, sticking to content right, feed files through each marketplace.

Aaron Conant 19:29

So a quick question comes in around you mentioned marketplaces a whole What is your so I'll kick this one over to Nicole, what's your, you know, kind of ratio of Walmart, Amazon, Walmart, Target eBay, where should people go next? Right, I think if people are sitting on just Amazon right now they want to do the marketplace expansion. So number one I'm hearing you know, have a tool to help you list them multiple marketplaces. Number two, which ones do we go after?

Nicole Reich 20:03

Yeah, so we actually did a call, Aaron, in late April on this topic, what I would first say is, follow your customers first understand where they are going. So, Walmart is by far, the one that's gotten kind of the most communication in the last six months, right? They've invested over a billion dollars in the platform, they're growing quickly. They're still number two, but they're far before behind Amazon when it comes to revenue. But they probably have the best chance of competing, I guess I say that with if your customers if your target customer isn't the Walmart customer, and I have data to support this, if you guys want to happy to provide it afterwards, it might not make sense to go there. So you know, look, at average income on each marketplace, average order value, the categories that are doing well. So you know, no, no surprise Walmart's doing really well in CPG and in grocery, well, if you're in that type of category, Walmart is an easy number to if you are in the higher end luxury apparel, or beauty products or accessories, Walmart hasn't taken off that well in that category. So maybe it's not a good fit. So to answer the question, follow your customers understand the customer demographics of each site, and then make a decision of where you want to expand.

Aaron Conant 21:22

Awesome, so the next, love it. The next question that comes in, and I'm going to kick this to Gary, that I'll bring it over is around exactly this product listing and optimization. You know, the, the idea of kitting, bundling, offering different products or product bundles on Amazon versus Walmart, you know, everybody knows about the pricing issues that go on and he gets a downward spiral in, you know, prices get locked in at a lower level, if they're not the same products. You know, you know, is there? Is there a strategy there I guess is the question?

Gary Chavez 22:00

Definitely. And we'll touch on a customer success story that gives some metrics around around this, but there are definitely a strategy there. And, and it's a little bit about making sure that you're on the right marketplace is Nicole just kind of went through. And maybe at that high end, it's something like Bloomingdale's is a good fit for high end fashion. But with regards to kitting and bundling, there's some great ways to go to market with multiple brands that are targeted towards a certain consumer segment. So if you want to increase your, your reach across different segments, you can then put your products together in various ways that allow you to sub brand, that product, that product catalog. And so for instance, Bissell which will I'll show you in a few minutes, they went to market with four brands across 11 channels over the course of two and a half years. And they substantially grew their revenue in particular in 2020, some of which was COVID lift, but some of it was also market reach. They bundled their cleaning products into sub brands such as pet care. And so they're all the products that helps you keep your house clean, if you've got pads to pick up messes, pick up hair or whatever else goes with that. And then they had another line called sanicare, which was directed at businesses and what they need in order to do cleaning. And those brands took off really well there is there is great growth there. In 2020, they did two acts of what they did in 2019. Again, some of its COVID lifts, obviously, in particular for that category. People will maybe they're having their homes cleaned by people had to buy stuff to clean it themselves. But we see the kidding, the bundling is a way to go to market and reach more customers through the sub branding. Also, on pricing, you can do some interesting things with pricing by putting the products together. There's another thing there which is an maybe a lot of people on this call would have this experience. There's another way that's another way to get rid of slow moving product is to pair it with fast moving product and get it out the door if it's causing you headaches because it's just sitting in warehouses across the country.

Aaron Conant 22:07

That, that doesn't. So you're creating that on the back end right this is the right it's not people updating their lines sending it out to a co-packer kidding and bundling you know, a new, you know, something in the warehouse, right? It is a you've got right? You can make it and then you can create new skews without interrupting your your lines as a whole.

Gary Chavez 24:58

No, absolutely. And that way That that architecture works is there's just a parent skew, which is, which is the kit or the bundle skew. And then below that, it's related to whatever other items in your catalog make up that bundle. And so there's a unique price or the the parent skew, and then the pricing for the individual items remains the same. All of that gets pushed to the marketplace, someone buys the bundle. And what gets sent to the warehouse is just a, pick these three items and put them in a box and ship them. They don't know whether the buyer bought those items individually. Or if they bought them in a bundle. It's, it's opaque to them.

Nicole Reich 25:44

Yeah, I would I would add to this a little bit. So I think, Gary, just to make sure I understand. So that's for merchant fulfilled orders, right for you know, whether that'd be a b2c side, or fulfillment by merchant or dropship. Right. That's where you're able to use your, your technology to do those kits. Right?

Gary Chavez 26:00

That's right.

Nicole Reich 26:01

Okay. So one other thing I might recommend, and you, Gary, you mentioned about it of bundling a best seller with a slower mover, right, maybe to get rid of stale inventory. Relating back to Amazon, let's just say that, you know, you're leveraging fulfillment by Amazon to fulfill those orders for you, I would highly recommend testing out virtual bundles. And that does kind of the same thing. So what we're seeing, for example, Prime Day, one of the opportunities that we're exploring at the end of June is doing exactly what you said, Gary, going to our best selling parent, creating a bundle to a slower mover, and then seeing if that starts to pick up. So if we start to see those two products bought together pretty well, then we go back to our partners or you know, the brands themselves, look at that, and say, Okay, I don't have a UPC for this bundle today. But the data shows me that customers are willing to buy these together. Okay, next year, I'm going to add this into forecasting that I need to create a new UPC, and then bundle those products together and send them into FBA, for example. So that's another way to test or to leverage stale inventory or aged inventory. Obviously, with the new FBA category storage limits, I'd highly recommend doing that over the next couple of months, if you're looking to increase AOV, or, you know, decrease your sale or each inventory at FBA.

Aaron Conant 27:25

I love it. And I think, you know, as I'm taking notes here, you know, for you know, a takeaway is that, not only is the backend gotten more complex, but the way to optimize and win on the front end is also getting a lot more complex, kind of that strategy that you laid out is, hey, I've got a fast mover, I've got a slow mover, you know, used to be there, they're tied. And if it's in store, I got to kind of kit and bond, a well made co package and then ship them out. Now it's just literally if you can do the shipping on your own, or someplace that's not in, you know, an Amazon fulfillment center. If you're doing your own, you know, third party drop shipping, or you have a partner who can, it's a new way of doing business in to test and optimize over and over again. It's just, it has to be investigated, right, you have to be able to test and learn as quickly as possible. And that's just another way to do it. Awesome, just in reminders, we're halfway through here. Just having an awesome conversation with Gary from Solid Commerce and Nicole from Retail Bloom, kind of, you know, addressing the complexity of selling, you know, omni channel today, uni channel, omni channel, multi channel, whatever it might be, everybody's got a different acronym right now. And the reality is, it's really interesting that, you know, the front end is getting so complex, you have to have something on the back end that that that simplifies it all in the end, and allows you to operate in a complex environment. So send over any questions you have in the question section there. Or feel free to, you know, email them to me at any point in time, Aaron A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com. But awesome. So I know we spent a lot of time on proxy listing and optimization, we can kind of jump to the next one.

Gary Chavez 29:11

So there's these two kind of go together order routing and proximity routing, as you know, I think is people kind of got hurt by a lot of the actions at FDA, early in the pandemic, they're scrambling to find places to put inventory to have fulfilled and so the the fulfillment model, in three pls in particular is really changing rapidly. And so getting your order to the right place in an automated fashion is super important. You can set up things like proximity routing, go to the warehouse that's closest to the buyer, so you can be more efficient on shipping fees. Order routing, you can set up order routing rules, like pick the product that has the least expensive cost to me. Inventory and, or, you know, pick the product that if it's if you're in CPG, and you have perishables, you got to go find the product that still within its shelf life, and get that product to the customer. So you can't do those things in a way that is manual. It's just that heavy liftings too much. So order routing and proximity routing. Setting up rules is a way to leverage automation to operate at scale.

Aaron Conant 30:40

Yeah, a quick question that comes in here is we're interested in hearing how promotions are handled.

Nicole Reich 30:47

As it relates to the bundles or?

Aaron Conant 30:51

Yeah. Not specifically, but you know, they can jump back in and kind of update it. But yeah, you know, around, you know, time periods, are you able to shut them on and off, turn them on and off? Can you schedule them, plan them. And it could be bundles, it could be individual items.

Gary Chavez 31:12

So with regards to the attack, absolutely, you can do that. You can say I only want to have this listing up for this period of time, you can say, allotting 100 units to this promotion, at this price, and then maybe when you sell out of that, you have another lot behind it. And another price, maybe it's a little bit higher, because you develop velocity on that item. There, the technology will allow you to do a lot of things that you want for for a number of platforms, Solid Commerce, or our competitors, whatever. You're going to need an automation platform to do those sorts of things.

Aaron Conant 32:01

Awesome. And Nicole, I want to hear your thoughts as well, how are you seeing it with brands being utilized?

Nicole Reich 32:08

Yeah, I would say it's pretty user, like, whether that's through the UI, or in the backend, it's pretty user friendly to set those up, turn them on, turn them off, I mean, we, as the margin becomes even more important, right, as these marketplaces increase their fees as fulfillment fees, whether that be through 3PL or, or carrier fees increase. Advertising increases, right, this eCommerce in general is getting harder to compete. And what I would say is, is that sometimes we aren't doing promotions as heavy as we had in the past, just because we don't have the margin to give a lot of the times, right. So we're pretty specific in how we recommend doing promotions and for how long? So for example, if we're going to do Prime Day promotions, whether that be a coupon or a Deal of the Day, we're pretty specific. And how long do we want it to run? Do we want to have lead up where we do a coupon two days before and a Deal of the Day on Prime Day? And then how are we measuring success. So we've done a lot of kind of a b testing as it relates to holidays of saying, if we run a coupon for 25% off, what is the lift compared to not running a coupon? So most of the time, it's okay, the lifts for 25% coupon better be better cover its costs, exceed sales expectations, because we're also seeing that sales increase whether we do a promotion or not. So it's just finding the balance of when do promotions make sense? How long do you need to run them? And then also, on top of that, how much advertising do you have to also fund and drive to make sure that when you're running a promotion, there's eyes on it? So it's just a lot of testing when it comes to that too.

Aaron Conant 33:50

And how important is what about so got another question that comes in. What about visibility for goods that haven't arrived yet at the warehouse? Is there a capability there? You know, to provide kind of pre sale capabilities, the user visibility and when it's being moved?

Nicole Reich 34:06

Is this for Amazon?

Aaron Conant 34:09

Well, I it could be, you know, yeah, for every, yes. For every, yeah, that's for all the platforms like maybe it's your own DTC. Maybe it's your 3PL, maybe it's Walmart, maybe it's Amazon.

Nicole Reich 34:21

Yeah, so I can all speak to Amazon but before I do, Gary, how does that work with your system for merchant fulfilled?

Gary Chavez 34:28

Yeah, so we have a we have a good example of merchant fulfilled through 3PL. We have a partnership with UPS which has a 3PL service called E-Fulfillment, UPS E-fulfillment, and they have an order or warehouse management system. On the back end we have our multi channel commerce solution to manage the business end and they are there they have the inbound visibility on when product will arrive in the warehouse. They get that from the seller the tracking information, once it's on a truck, and heading to the UPS warehouse, they know the inbound and inbound timing. And they can put that product out in, in the on marketplaces or their own store or whatnot. And then the the, you can set up rules around when which product is exposed, and what sort of timeframe you can fulfill that product in. So that way, if the inbound is going to take a day to get there, and then another day to be put away and ready for sale. And you can say, look, this is going to be you can only purchase this product with shipping option of, you know, UPS ground, something like that four day delivery. So you can do that on the back end, it's totally done. We're seeing it done by UPS using our platform and their back end warehouse management system.

Nicole Reich 36:00

I think that I'm glad you brought this back up, Gary, because I think it's also really important to note that shipping times do impact sessions or organic search and buy box on platforms like Walmart and Amazon. So for example, last year, we found that merchant fulfilled orders that could get to the customer in two days, actually were winning buybox or winning search, over fulfillment by Amazon or by other sellers that were delaying those shipping patterns. So having the ability to have inventory live and then shortening that window actually increased kind of our conversion, but it also increased the traffic on those two sites specifically. So you might see that your share of shelf against your competitors increases just by being able to ship to the product in a shorter window than what their products are. Like the shipping the delivery dates for those. So super important, just just as important as price to be able to get it to the customer as quickly as possible.

Aaron Conant 37:04

No, I love it. So and I'm about to to launch a poll here. And it's kind of like put these things together around data inventory management, I'm just gonna launch it right now, if people want to, you know, if they if they want to see, you know, if people want to chime in, if you get a chance, and you want to kind of click on that, that poll as a whole. What's the most? What's your biggest challenge related to managing multiple eCommerce sales channels? You know, managing meeting one to two day shipping timelines. I mean, that is when it's at 67% right now 33 eCommerce, you know, data. I mean, we're actually 75% one to two day shipping timelines. You know, this is, this is great. So I mean, if anybody's looking for a digital age 3PL, you know, to help with that, don't hesitate to shoot me an email Aaron A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com. And we can we have a good discussion on that in probably have an upcoming call on it for sure. Let's get a more balanced out right now. And so, you know, I'll close it down in, you know, another, you know, 15 seconds here. But, you know, it's kind of going up, you know, eCommerce data collection reporting, is now beating out one to two day shipping. So I want to just go down that path just a little bit. Right. So if others if you want to you want to vote in the next 15 seconds, that'd be great. You know, so if you're taking a look at it, the key is growing and eCommerce data collection reporting. You know, Gary, what do you see is the biggest, you know, you know, reports that are pulled the data insights you're providing to people you're working with today, that they're like, Wow, I didn't I've never seen this before.

Gary Chavez 38:49

Yeah, they're they're the the, the user categories kind of break into three, three buckets. One is the operational bucket, and the other is financial. And then marketers, right. So they're, they're consuming that data, they need various data on different timelines. So the operational component, what we see is a lot of demand for velocity reporting, and then automated purchase orders against the velocity reporting, reporting. So you got a fast moving item, how many days based on the last 60 days velocity, last 30 days velocity, whatever the rule is that you want to set up? How many days of inventory do I have left in my inventory in California or Kentucky, wherever it might be? So that's a favorite. And then with the accounting system is what we see a lot of is in addition, just to all the order data is marketplace fees. So Amazon commissions and other Amazon fees and FBA fees. And so getting into those via API And then what we did recently is pulling from API, and then dropping a file onto FTP so that our accounting system could pick up that file and ingest it throughout the day. They were downloading that data manually, and then manually updating, updating their accounting system. So that's, that's another kind of category of information. And then around marketers, I think that velocity reporting is important as well as other data related to the customer experience that we can capture and getting that data in so they can make decisions around product line development and, and purchasing or retiring a product etc.

Aaron Conant 40:41

Awesome. Love it. Another question that comes in is around the you know, the pricing aspect, how often the updating pricing or managing it or you know, are you automating pricing, or rules around it? Hey, there we go.

Gary Chavez 41:00

There it is. Absolutely. automating your pricing across your catalogs is super important. Again, it's just you can't do it at scale manually. And some of the ways we had a recent request to set up rules for a seller. their product was they were selling to Amazon, their product is the vendor Central, but they're also selling 3g via Seller Central. And they wanted to have a price a certain percentage less than their competitors, anyone else selling that product? unless it was Amazon. And so that was it. They didn't want to be competing directly with Amazon. So that's one unique way that we've seen it. Otherwise, you know, you can reprice as a percentage below your competition but never fall below a certain dollar amount, depending upon your margins, things like that. And you can you can get repressors that will help you reprice across multiple marketplaces. No, you're not everywhere you are. But that can help you with the multi channel marketplace selling.

Aaron Conant 42:11

Awesome, love it. And I see, you know, we got about 11 minutes left. So I want to make sure we were able to get through like all the slides. So.

Gary Chavez 42:19

So I think we we've got a couple of bullet points here. And then just a real touch, quick look at the Bissell story. So shipping rules really quick. Shipping rules are ways to manage your profit margin, around shipping fees. And an example is if you have on the marketplace, there's USPS two day delivery for your product. And that's what's shown on the marketplace. But you got a great deal with ups for two days shipping, you can set up shipping rules and say, regardless of the method picked in the marketplace, if it's a two day requirement, you make it ups today. So that's the shipping rules, and then narrow lot, there's a lot more to it. But that's an example. And then inventory management. The example that we use is there's two things, there's don't run out of inventory, because you don't want to take orders and cancel orders that really kills your seller rating on the marketplaces. If that happens a lot, often, we've seen it actually lead to account suspension on Amazon. The other piece is if you want to create scarcity, you can, you can show a limited number of units available like say five to buy while we have the last five, but you really have 1000 in the warehouse. And once the five is gone, it just goes back to five again. So other shoppers will see that sort of scarcity and hopefully have a drive to purchase the product. With the inventory sellouts what we do is the way we prevent that is we use you can pick that 115 units in the warehouse online, eight channels, I only want to show you know 10 units, because if someone buys you know 11 units over here and 15 units over there, you run into the challenge of the technology updating the marketplaces in in real time, because that's really hard. Not every marketplace will talk to you in real time. So you can show less than you have in particular around high velocity items to protect to protect against sellouts.

Aaron Conant 44:39

Awesome, love it.

Gary Chavez 44:43

Okay, and then just looking at time we'll just touch quickly on not going to go into the CRM stuff. I'm just going to touch on the Bissell story real quick. So Bissell as I mentioned, they had four brands across 11 channels. They went to market with four new channels, and in 2019, and three in 2020, as I noted, it was 2020, revenue was jam, diesel was 2x 2019. Again, some COVID lift there, but we tracked the channel expansion as well, a lot of it came through channel expansion in particular, a Walmart was a real hit for them, and obviously, their category and Walmart, go well, but their Walmart sales now exceed their Amazon sales. So it was a big win for them when they shifted over Walmart with their multi brand strategy. And we use various technology there, here's the alphabet, salad, HEI, FPGA, vi, a to send information to their their back end DRP, to their accounting system, and to their warehouse. So, you know, a lot of technology involved. But once it's in place, and it's running reliably, reliably, the business owners can go about the process of doing business, without worrying about all the scaling challenges that come if you don't have automation in place.

Aaron Conant 46:10

So you're able to then essentially plugging in right to their back end and making sense into the front end on a mass scale and facilitate it and you know, it basically make it a lot less complex for them to handle, you guys handle complexity, and they're able to handle all those different things that were out a couple slides back. So they can go back to the branding, the sales, you know, everything that's, you know, goes into the day to day and not have to worry about spending all the time plugging in and monitoring is the API, the FTP, whatever you get updated. Is that accurate statement?

Gary Chavez 46:47

Yeah, we, we have different flavors on on how we speak to that. But we'll say no one ever got into marketing, because they wanted to manage data, right. They just wanted insights. So they can make observations on how to remain competitive in the marketplace and innovate on how they engage with their, their users. So the last thing that people in merchandising and product development, or marketing should be thinking about is is the order going to get there in time am I going to get the information I need to do my job and do it? Well, that type of thing. And at a smaller scale, where it's more sort of SMB mom and pop, will always say that what we see is those people that started that business, they didn't get in the business, to manage logistics, they just got into it, because they're passionate about a product that they feel solve her problem. And they can get that product in the hands of the people who need it. And then they can continue to innovate.

Aaron Conant 47:51

Yeah, I love it. I'm going to launch another poll, just in regards to this, you know, is, you know, if I just launch it right now. So how are people using this space today? Right? Are you currently managing content optimization advertising, you know, pricing inventory, I couldn't fit it all into the little spot that, that go to allows me, but how are people feeling about this? Like, I'd love to get a feel for, hey, there's this many people, you know, we're not doing it on our own. We we are doing it, we want to keep it that way. It got so complex, that now we have to find somebody. You know, there's a bunch of now awesome. Yeah, I mean, this is going to be cool. To see how people are going to how this plays out as a whole. But, you know, Nicole, you're kind of like thoughts. And, you know, we got five minutes left here. And I'm going to jump into some of the results from this poll. But you know, your thoughts, you know, obviously, you're you're using Solid Commerce, but you're also dealing with a lot of brands, maybe some even brands that are on the call today, you're you've been a great friend and partner to a lot of brands and the network as a whole? No, what are your kind of like key thoughts and takeaways, advice for brands that are out there? We'd love to, you know, in this space as a whole?

Nicole Reich 49:17

Yeah. So I actually heard something that stuck with me the other day from a brand I spoke to, and I hope he's on the call. I won't say his name, but maybe if he still is he can ping in but he had mentioned that, you know, he led with advertising and marketing as it relates to marketplaces. And over the last year, he's been super surprised about how much he's had to learn when it comes to operations, fulfillment, inventory supply chain, and it's kind of this you can't do one without the other. Right, you can't increase conversion. If you don't have inventory. You can't drive traffic to products that aren't available. So I would say that it's just as important to have everything in one spot and why you know, we're so excited with the partnership with Gary is that you have to have that backend in place, you have to have the resources across all channels to kind of be on the same page of, hey, we're going to go super aggressive after omni channel marketplaces, our b2c website, whatever it is, and this is the tool that we're going to be using to manage orders pricing reporting. But then we also need to make sure that we have a strategy in place to scale, right, what are our competitors? What are they doing? How much volume are they doing on each platform? What platforms are we going to go on? And then how are we managing the content advertising and pricing once we get there? So I think that's what we will continue to see over the next 12 months is a lot of ecom teams. And Aaron, you speak to it a lot, even on your LinkedIn page of getting a lot of pressure from all I guess categories or divisions within their company to say, Hey, we need to drive this business. It's super important to have eCommerce be a big portion of our overall sales and an eCommerce team saying, Okay, great. I can do that. But I need x, y & z. So I think that would be kind of my biggest takeaway and things I'm looking to learn over the next 12 months from everyone in the community to say, what is the best way to manage it both internally and externally to provide that best customer experience on each platform.

Aaron Conant 51:19

Awesome, I love it. And then you know Gary's, we kind of get over. And I want to say a quick to keep the final kind of wrap up. But I do want to say a quick thank you to everybody who dialed in. Thanks for the questions. They came over brah thanks for being part of the network. You know, there's some people here says yes, we're currently looking, you know, for a partner. Don't hesitate to ping me. We'd love to jump on the phone with you quick and kind of do a quick rundown, like I said, we don't suddenly think you're at BWG, but I run a this networking group more than happy to set aside time and find out who who might be the right fit for you with with that, you know, Gary, if I could get over to you, we'd love to hear your thoughts, key takeaways. And once again, love to connect anybody with Gary or Nicole after the call. They're great friends, great partners, with lots of brands, the network, great supporters of the network as a whole. So, you know, thanks Nicole. Thanks, Gary, for your time today. But Gary key takeaways here as we as we kind of close out the hour.

Gary Chavez 52:17

Sure. Just one big one. As you're looking at solution providers, they've got their they'll sell you their features and their functions. And it does this it does that. One thing you want to really make sure is to ask the question about how do they play with other technology? Are they an open technology? Do they play well, and they have this eCommerce environment? Also, what is the lift in order for them to integrate into other systems, because that's going to inform your total cost of ownership. And it's not just the one time lift to connect your back end system with, say, an order manager. Are there any fees associated with that, and I think anyone who's selling into environment that requires EDI understands that because it with EDI, it's been around for a long time. It's it's complicated to set up. And it's it's costly as your volume goes up. So knowing when technology is necessary to connect to your back end systems in the headless environment, is really important. So you know, your total cost of ownership as your business scales, and just really make sure that that the people who tell you they can integrate well can demonstrate it with proof points.

Aaron Conant 53:33

Awesome. Love it. Well, we're gonna wrap up right here on time with for three to four minutes to go on the hour. Once again, thanks, everybody for dialing in. Thanks for the great conversation. Look for a follow up email from us. We'd love to have a conversation with you. Thanks Nicole, thanks, Gary. Hope everybody has a great rest of the week. And once again, if you get a chance, have a follow up conversation with Nicole and Gary, they're great friends, partners and supporters of the network. With that we're gonna wrap it up. Thanks so much, everybody. Have a great day. Take care it out. We'll be in touch. Take care. Thanks.

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May 25, 2021 1:30 pm - 2:30 PM EST

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