The Roadmap For Accelerating Profitable Growth

Jun 28, 2021 1:00 pm2:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Navigating the world of eCommerce is a whole different ball game from running a brick-and-mortar business. With a million different brands and products at the consumer’s fingertips, how do you make sure your product is the first choice? How do you advertise in a way that allows for ongoing, organic growth?

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant is joined by Hugh Hinkson and Newel Cobb, Director and Associate Director of eCommerce at Pattern, to discuss their company’s strategy for accelerating profitable growth in online markets. They talk about the common misconceptions of eCommerce, the best practices for navigating paid media, and the key to protecting your brand online.

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

 

  • The main differences between selling online vs. brick-and-mortar locations
  • How do you limit the effects of price erosion on your sales?
  • The best practices for navigating paid media
  • Are you advertising in a way that allows for ongoing, organic growth?
  • Why staying at the top of the Amazon search pages matters
  • Should you use the same content across all your online platforms?
  • Common misconceptions of eCommerce
  • The importance of key tags in product visibility
  • How to harness new reviews on Amazon and why they build product trust
  • Pattern’s strategy for accelerating profitable growth
  • The key to finding your true competitors and how to protect your brand online
  • How to create an omni-channel strategy that goes beyond what most people are doing in your market
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Event Partners

Guest Speakers

Newel Cobb

Brand Manager at Pattern

Newel Cobb is the Associate Director of eCommerce at Pattern, your premiere partner for global eCommerce acceleration. Pattern is the industry’s leading player in eCommerce intelligence, sales optimization, marketplace management, and global expansion. The company’s awards include Utah Business Fast 50, UV 50, MountainWest Capital Network Utah 100, and Inc. 5000 America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. 

Newel Cobb was the Amazon Strategic and Insights Manager for One Click Retail (now Edge by Ascential) and the Omni-Channel Associate Product Manager for Walmart eCommerce.

Hugh Hinkson

Director of Brand Management at Pattern

Hugh Hinkson is the Director of eCommerce at Pattern, your premiere partner for global eCommerce acceleration. Pattern is the industry’s leading player in eCommerce intelligence, sales optimization, marketplace management, and global expansion. The company’s awards include Utah Business Fast 50, UV 50, MountainWest Capital Network Utah 100, and Inc. 5000 America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies.

Before joining Pattern, Hugh Hinkson was the Head of Customer Insights and Strategic Consulting for One Click Retail (now Edge by Ascential) and the Manager of Strategy and Analytics for Groupon. 

Aaron Conant

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.

Event Moderator

Newel Cobb

Brand Manager at Pattern

Newel Cobb is the Associate Director of eCommerce at Pattern, your premiere partner for global eCommerce acceleration. Pattern is the industry’s leading player in eCommerce intelligence, sales optimization, marketplace management, and global expansion. The company’s awards include Utah Business Fast 50, UV 50, MountainWest Capital Network Utah 100, and Inc. 5000 America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. 

Newel Cobb was the Amazon Strategic and Insights Manager for One Click Retail (now Edge by Ascential) and the Omni-Channel Associate Product Manager for Walmart eCommerce.

Hugh Hinkson

Director of Brand Management at Pattern

Hugh Hinkson is the Director of eCommerce at Pattern, your premiere partner for global eCommerce acceleration. Pattern is the industry’s leading player in eCommerce intelligence, sales optimization, marketplace management, and global expansion. The company’s awards include Utah Business Fast 50, UV 50, MountainWest Capital Network Utah 100, and Inc. 5000 America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies.

Before joining Pattern, Hugh Hinkson was the Head of Customer Insights and Strategic Consulting for One Click Retail (now Edge by Ascential) and the Manager of Strategy and Analytics for Groupon. 

Aaron Conant

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.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Monday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect where a networking and knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands who do exactly that we network and knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that shaping digital as a whole, really ramped up over the past year, we're probably going to do you know, 100 dinners. And we could burn a lot of those virtual events. But now we're getting ready to fire off the dinners again in q3. So looking forward to meeting people face to face again. But in the meantime, we're still cranking out a ton of content on a bunch of different topics, I talk with 30 to 40 organizations a week to stay on top of those trends. And so just, you know, look for if you're not on our monthly distribution list, just let us know, we can kind of get it out there, we don't plan any events out more than I don't know, probably eight to 10 weeks, because we always want to make room for the most pressing digital trends that are popping up across the network as a whole. So the other thing we're doing a lot of right now is help with service provider selection. So if you need any help across the board with, you know anything on Amazon, other marketplaces, paid media, you know, delivery right now, digital age three, pls international expansion, whatever it might be anything in the digital space SEO, performance marketing, don't hesitate to reach out more than happy to kind of make some recommendations that come across from other different brands in the network as a whole. So never hesitate to shoot over an email or any point time, throw time on my calendar, more than happy to take a half hour and kind of do a deep dive and strategy as a whole. Last couple things as we kick this thing off. At any point in time, if you have any questions, hit star five, and to go up on the screen here, we can unmute you and bring you in. If you got background noise because you're working from home, don't ever hesitate to shoot me an email Aaron, aaron at bwg connect.com. And you could make questions that way as well. And the last thing is we were started three to four minutes after the hour, and we're going to wrap up with three to four minutes to go on in as well. So if you're looking at your watch, just know, we're gonna give you plenty of time to get on to the next meeting about being late. So with that being said, we're gonna go ahead and kick this off, you know, a little bit different spin on this the roadmap for accelerating, you know, e adjective here, profitable growth. So, a lot of people as they look to expand and they've ramped up over the past year or so, really charged into the digital side e commerce is the fall in there's a lot of different levers to pull. And you know, one of those things that people are kind of coming back to the drawing board on are like, you know, eCommerce, is the whole digital commerce. Is the lot more margin diluted? And how do we make it less margin? How do we get actually back to standard, you know, profitability matrix that we have with traditional retail, I don't know if we can actually ever get there, because it's so different. And there's so many different added variables, but 100%, you know, worth the conversation, we had enough people asking about this as a whole. And so we've got some great friends, great partners of the network over at pattern. They, we host a ton of events with them, they're all around digital experts talk about them. And so they agreed to jump on the line today. So Newel and Hugh are here to kind of, you know, answer any questions we might have, but also provide a lot of insight on how they're managing their business, the whole So, you know, I don't know if you know, who wants to jump in and brief intro on themselves and Pattern, you know, either you can jump in with that. And then we can kind of jump into the conversation as a whole. Yeah, I can do that.

Hugh Hinkson 0:26

So this is Hugh Hinkson. I'm the director of brand management at Pattern with a company for just about two years. And as many of you know, I just at this point patterns from your partner for global e commerce, we specialize in in map pricing and online distribution. So we just run a ton of sales and grow brands on on Amazon and other marketplaces. So doing this for a while, and we absolutely love it. Awesome. Do you want to do a brief intro on yourself? Yeah, jump in. Yeah.

Newel Cobb 4:17

So my name is Newel Cobb. I'm an Associate Director of Pattern. Again, just like you said, I've, I've been here for a little under two years, we like to think of ourselves as e commerce accelerators. So the whole idea of you know, you might be growing really well on Amazon right now or across e commerce. We recognize that a lot of people have just been able to ride that wave. We like to you look at people's waves, look at the analytics that that show how well they're doing and then leverage that across, you know, themselves, help them grow faster, etc. on there with our other partners. Awesome. Love it. So those of you who just joined,

Aaron Conant 4:49

you have any questions along the way, hit star five I handle up on the screen here, we can unmute you. The flip side is if you have any query, if you can't unmute and if it's easier, you can always just email me Aaron aaron dot bwg Connect dot com. And we can make sure we get as many of those answers as possible. So I want to start just high level and they want to slowly, you know, go deeper and deeper on this. And we can kind of peel back the layers of the onion. So you want to walk through what you guys see is the main differences between selling on the.com channels versus brick and mortar channels. And then I want to kind of start peeling back that onion as a whole.

Hugh Hinkson 5:23

Yeah, for sure. I mean, just some of the basics, obviously, you're selling differently, right? It's not a brick and mortar store, it's it's an online platform, the competitive landscape is very different between the two. And there's an ease of entry for folks that want to sell online that really isn't available to those that want to sell on brick and mortar. And the amount of inventory that in front of cash relationships, you have to build to kind of enter a brick and mortar is quite high for.com, this can literally be someone in their basement, right, and they just upload something into an online platform. And they can easily list a product and then start selling. So a lot of that is just sourcing out of you know, Southeast Asia or other parts of the world, finding the product you think will work and literally sourcing and selling. So that's one of the main that maybe that's the first major differentiation. Yeah. What do you want to just yeah, jump in? Yeah, jump in? Oh, yeah.

Newel Cobb 6:17

You know, what's interesting about that, as I think I saw our staff and said that, on average, there's about 3000 plus dollars to join Amazon every single day. And so I was actually just speaking to a gentleman last week, who literally started his Amazon business last last October, and he's already doing $500,000 in top line revenue. And for him, this is a side project. That doesn't happen with traditional brick and mortar, nobody, nobody takes you to the basement of Bentonville to to pitch your idea to vasos when you're trying to sell items on Amazon, really anybody in their dog instead of an item. And you know, with the right amount of luck and the right amount of data analytics, they can start doing very well. You know, and that's that's like, that's just like one of the first things The other thing that really, of course, differentiates Amazon from those brick and mortar channels is just the pricing aspect of it, it used to be right that you had to budget you know, 30 grand to change the price on the 4400. Walmart's because some store associate has to go across the country, and actually manually change that sticker price. And I remember someone told me once that even if you were to add, like the digital, the digital price things to Walmart, there's not enough material in the world to actually put one of those in every single aisle of every single brick and mortar store in the country. And so what you've got is you've got this brick and mortar landscape where prices really only changed like, I don't know, maybe two or three times a year at the most. But online, it can change up to seven times a minute. And so you really have to look at the fact that that pricing equation is so much more the most volatile, there's a there's a quicker path to price erosion. And there's a lot more that can change on an hourly basis. When you look at price erosion as a whole, then I mean, that's a major concern, right is selling direct to Amazon, they're controlling the they control the price at the star studded down, it spins down, if it gets locked down, you go back to you know, you have been, you know, the brick and mortar side saying, hey, like, I'm not making the margins I used to because, you know, Amazon is, you know, 25% less than math. Like our audience kind of advise people, when we think about profitability, one of the things is price erosion. All those things get into, I wanna make sure to get into is, you know, paid media, the best way to do it. What is the budget, people should be having set aside for paid media as a whole. But let's talk about price erosion as a whole. How do people stop price erosion or limit? You know, how much it's actually affecting sales on Amazon?

Yeah, that's a tough one. I mean, you go for no, review, you got this. Okay. So,

Hugh Hinkson 8:57

I mean, as we all know, there's map pricing, right. And so having a map policy in place is just kind of a starting point. distribution, cleanup, and channel, cleanup is important. You need to know who you're selling to, and where they intend to sell it. And that can be really sticky sometimes because of long standing relationships you have with distributors, just just distributors, etc. And so, really, you've got to know know your audience who's buying your product, where are they reselling it that build in that map policy, engage someone like a vorys, who can help you understand, you know, what kind of pathway you have to clean up the channel. And to kind of return to that, that ideal pricing that you have as a manufacturer, because it's a real thing like the Samsung you know, television, you know, and the LG television, they're very, you know, they become commodities and people can't really afford to get into the into the market because they can't just have a loss leader on their main product. And so, again, Now pricing, mass compliance work, engaging the right folks. Yeah, I was going to add that just on that policy without teeth isn't really enough policy. And often, God says, You've got a sales team in your org that they've got these Lindt long standing distributors. And then these distributors realize they've got some extra inventory, why not listed on Amazon or in some cases, they even use Amazon as a way to get their product from point A to point B. And what's really interesting about that is that, you know, for your total company, let's pretend that Amazon is only 20% of your cells, they could be 100% of your price erosion. And so you really have to be willing to, to look at it on a on a daily basis. Sometimes we see people even come in and lower the price just on the weekends. So they know a lot of the people on this call, retails a five day a week nine to five kind of job. And so you even get people who are coming in on the Saturday and Sunday and trying to erode that price. Now the problem is, is that if Amazon goes down on price, and then Walmart matches Amazon, you know that one random seller could be out of inventory in a week or even in a couple of hours. But now, Walmart's at the lower price. And so it really is about having the diligence to be checking where the price erosion is coming from, it sometimes does take some investigative work, I've seen one partner of ours actually have to go ahead and pull on go Sherlock Holmes and say, Okay, these are the items that are causing price erosion, I've only got three partners who sell these specific item combos. And I know exactly two of them are potential problems and being able to go Okay, I know exactly now who to go after, in terms of total cleanup, because of that, that ability to really look at the data and analyze that.

Aaron Conant 11:46

Awesome, I love it in there. For those of you who don't know, so pattern is a top five seller on multiple platforms. And they partner with a ton of different brands. So they have a ton of expertise, you know, working with brands in execution on selling on Amazon, creating content and everything else. So you know, any questions that pop up along the way, if you're looking to figure out if they literally run, you know, one of the largest, you know, Amazon businesses out there, so don't hesitate to hit star five, we can unmute you and bring you in you kind of pick their brains and how they're growing their business as a whole. As always, you know, email me as well Aaron AR o n at bw g Connect calm. So the next question that comes in is, is around paid media as a whole. So if we look at accelerating profitable growth as a whole, Amazon's a pay to play space. People are trying to think about, hey, how should I do paid media? You know, and then I want to also then jump off as people are interested in what about the other marketplaces that are out there. So we'll be doing paid media and Walmart, truly engaged with it on target on, you know, some cases instacart, but maybe instacart, some other call. But if we look at paid media as a whole to start on Amazon, what does that look like? Is the percentage that people should be carving out? Because, you know, and is there a target that people should be going for? So maybe they're at 15 to 20%? It's not flying today, it should be at three to 5%? Then they're gonna want to have that as a takeaway to say, hey, how do we take a look at how much we're actually spending and optimize it? So I'll kick that over to the guys. dancer. Yeah, really.

Newel Cobb 13:24

There's a delay here. So I apologize that we're kind of like cutting each other off at first. But the first thing you got to ask yourself is, how are you? How are you advertising Are you just, you know, chasing after the, you know, the biggest status terms and hoping that you stick afterwards, or you advertising in a way that allows for organic growth to last. And what I mean by that, is that, right now, we know that about 50, plus percent of customers start their product searches on Amazon, you see, so last year, mondelez actually diluted some of their advertising budget that was originally going to go to TV, and like commercials and traditional sort of media outlets. They put a lot of it online. And the reason for that is because people are starting their product searches on Amazon, even if they intend to purchase that product in a brick and mortar store. I think the one the latest that I saw was that nine out of 10 customers check Amazon before they make a purchase anywhere else online. And so really just understanding what is the role of Amazon. And then the second thing is knowing that on Amazon, we've all been shoppers, so we know that you're less likely to go to page two, you're less likely to even scroll to the bottom of page one and something like 20 to 30% of the clicks on a given search page, go to those first few rows and on Amazon advertising as a way to get to the one of those first few rows. So when we look at like what budget amount you should be spending, really it kind of depends on how smart you were in terms of effectiveness in terms of spending your money because one of the things that we do, for example, is we advertise in a way that we hope to organically stay up to the top of that page, even when the ad dollars are turned off, you know, we hold the way that we advertise as we wanted to where, you know, at first it causes advertising to get your product to the top of page x for page, why are crazy, but we wanted to where once you turn off that ad spin, your product is naturally up there so that you don't have to keep on spending to stay at the top of the page. And then you get that, you know, higher click percentage because customers aren't going down past row three or four. Now it's a good point. Sometimes when you're launching new products and using through what kind of exposure Do I need to become top of mind. And oftentimes we talk about this Endless Aisle, Endless Aisle doesn't really exist right? There, there might be endless options. But in order to actually see your product, you have to organically organically place or you have to spend to be visible. And so new product launches, up, you know, coming up on holidays, all these things need to be taken into consideration as you think about how much money that you should put forth for a given product or a portfolio.

Aaron Conant 16:01

Awesome. Love it. So the next question comes in is around content. Great. So content has gotten more and more expensive. A lot of it because of COVID as a whole and you know creating it and the ability to get your hands or to do a photo shoot or something like that. How do you guys take a look at content? And is it the same across multiple different platforms? Now? I just am I just got? Oh, go ahead. Yeah, no, I just a little bit because I had another question in my head was like, do you use the same content on Walmart, as you do on target? I mean, you guys are selling on all these marketplaces, you know, with some really large brands, I'd love to hear. Like, how are you looking at it? Yeah, so it gets two questions. One is like it's getting more expensive. How do you get great content for your online platforms? And two? Do you use the same stuff across all the platforms?

Hugh Hinkson 16:58

So those are good questions. I was literally on a call with a company in the oral care industry. And it was really fun talking with them, because they have the exact questions like, hey, I've got these listings on Walmart and Target. Like, should I use the same ones for Amazon? And my answer was, you know, nebulous at first will be honed in on the right answer. The first one was like, you know, most manufacturers want to have the same images across the board. But not all, some retailers have different types of content space. And so they allow you to do unique things for each retailer. Amazon has a plus content or enriched contents, to have a strong emphasis and engagement with their, their in their imagery, and video content. And so my answer was like, look like you can have stock images that you kind of have across all the retailers that you need to optimize for the retailer. And Amazon is pretty cool, because they have a very, very high engagement, 90 plus percent of customers look at every image and they may be engaged with the video as well. And so you really want to make sure that you're explaining not only you're not sure you're showing or depicting a great product, the you know, the the feature benefits speak needs to be incorporated in and so you can make statements right with that content and say, What, why is this product better, right, and other products in the same category. And so you want to leverage the, the the space you have and the type of engagement you see with that platform. So Amazon, how they focused on video, he's got a plus content ability, you want to be talking about your future benefit. For other retailers like Walmart, I've seen, you know, pretty strong engagement metrics with their imagery as well. And so you want lifestyle images that kind of show your product in action, because there's a lot of products on those search results pages, and you've got to compete with the others that are showing up with the same search terms. Make sure you're competitive. Yeah, I'd like to add that, you know, it's very easy in the world of retail these days, the person walking into a Walmart Supercenter is not the same customer demographic as the one that walks into a Macy's or a target or a Best Buy. But online, so much easier to compare whether it's through Chrome extensions like honey or price scouts, that what you are going to just be aware of is that if you have content that is on Amazon, your Walmart buyers going your walmart.com customers going to see it and vice versa. And so just be aware of the fact that it's not just, you know, better content on platform A versus platform B just recognize that regardless of the channel, the customer chooses to engage with your brand on they're going to be seeing the whole picture in terms of content.

Aaron Conant 19:43

Awesome, love it. You know, so another thing that comes into play here is discounting. around you know, people are wondering about hey, we just past Friday, how do you look at discounting for Prime Day, you know, when we're talking about profit Here, right? Is it? Do you discount one product, you drive it to, you know, a brand page. So you're it's almost like that loss leader, but then you can capitalize on other items. How do you guys take a look at, you know, the, the major events, you know, watch Friday, Cyber Monday, cyber five, whatever it is now cyber 14? What How do you guys look at it from that?

Newel Cobb 20:26

Well, the first thing to realize is that is as good as brand pages look, especially when we show in our marketing team, and maybe some of the people we work for, and our company's brand pages don't currently get a ton of engagement compared to people who are searching a no, this isn't the same for every customer. But really, you know, what, what you should really look at understanding is the fact that if all if all of your traffic on like, let's say Prime Day or Black Friday in a given category goes to one item, it really depends on where that item is now versus where it could be. So if that item is already on row one or two of like some of the top search pages, then you're likely going to stay on row one or two. If you've got an item that's on like the bottom of groceries, like maybe you're doing a transition from version two of a product to version three, that's where it becomes, you know, a good idea to understand that Prime Day has a cyclical or as Amazon called that flywheel effect, either post Prime Day. And so, you know, you really have to look at your catalog, your category and your catalog and say, do I really want, you know, all of my own to go to one product? And then if so, where is that product at now? Or do I want to split it up against like four or five different products. But at the end of the day, we just have to remember that, you know, it's like 30% of the clicks on those first two rows is what a customer engages with, with. And so if you end up moving, you know, five or six products from the bottom of page one to like halfway through page one that may not be as worth it as moving one product from the bottom of page one to the top of page one. And you do that by prioritizing certain skews over a lot of those when you're running these promotions.

Aaron Conant 22:06

Awesome. Love it. Next question that comes in just around those. And then there's a few more things I want to get to you for Do you? Do you find that percentage off or dollar off? discounts work better? I mean, that kind of comes down to how it's displayed on on the product page? And maybe the starting price that you have what is what is your retail price normally? Because off of the small numbers?

Newel Cobb 22:30

No, you might have a big percentage or a small percentage or II just think through like how does that depict on a product page, and then go with that Amazon does a good job with kind of like strike through pricing, it'll show the percentage off all that. I don't know if there's really a rule from just kind of take it product by product, what is it? How does it look? Right? What's the impact at the end user? consumer?

Aaron Conant 22:55

Awesome, love it. Just reminder, if you have questions, you can keep submitting them over email, or you can hit star five who can bring you in? So I want to jump out to you know, are these common misconceptions that you run across, you know, when it comes to selling, you know, online and these different marketplaces as a whole.

Newel Cobb 23:15

We've had a few minutes ago, I just want to go and do I know. I think we're the exact same thing based off what I heard, if you want to go ahead and take it from here, though I'll I'll add my Houston afterwards.

Hugh Hinkson 23:27

Mr. So we brought it up. Earlier, we talked about the Endless Aisle, that can be a little frustrating, because when you're in if when you're in a brick and mortar store, and you're walking down an aisle, obviously it's not endless, but you're you see the products, right, because you walk through the aisle. And as you do that, you can see them at eye level, they're down below, they're up above two on either side of you. And so you keep walking the Endless Aisle doesn't really apply it online, because there might be an endless, you know, potential of products that you could encounter. But online, you're you don't see all those products, you're not physically in a store, you're not forced to walk through it to find the milk or the bread. And so because of that, we really need to think about you know, marketplaces a little differently, we need to understand that just because you list a product doesn't mean that someone sees your product. And it doesn't mean that you're optimizing the positioning of that product. And so you need to think about organic placement by key term. And so most most retailers are kind of Route are more like search lead, rather than browse. And so what key terms are important for my product, and make sure that you have those embedded from an SEO perspective in your page for Amazon, that would be your title, bullet points, product description, hidden key terms, you could do all tags or image tags for the image work. So there's these places where you can kind of, you know, check the boxes to let that platform know that hey, these this is what I am. I'm these words. And so when a user types that in, they can then you know, kick off the algorithm and start down that path. And so remember, like, no one's Unless you are either advertising or you're you're ranking for it organically, and the sales kind of meaningless.

Newel Cobb 25:06

Yeah, so I like to think of it more as like, instead of it being an endless aisle of endless aisles, because you can search for any number of 100 key terms, and that represents your aisles, but you're not going to go more than three feet deep into it before as a customer, you bounce. I would also add, one of the most common misconceptions with Amazon is that you can have brick and mortar exclusives not pop up on Amazon. And so we see this all the time where somebody goes, Oh, I don't want to give this item to Amazon, because it causes price erosion, with Best Buy, or with one of my other retailers. And what they don't realize is that whether they like it or not, this product will end up on Amazon, the question is, will end up at a price that customers trust? You know, if somebody's going to throw in a really low price and do price erosion? Are they going to have it two or three extra normal price to make it look like you guys are essentially cheating the customer? Because I mean, people don't always realize that the nature of a one P versus three P's relationship with Amazon, you know, will this item have? Okay imagery? Will it have a good customer experience? Will I sell this all the time, when I worked with printers in the past, where people would list you know, they put a fake printer in, and then those items would share the same reviews as the real printer, eight. And so it just dropped the star rating. And so that's a really common misconception is that you can honestly, keep items off of Amazon, it's almost in your best interest. Understand that whether you like or not, they will be on Amazon and it's up to you to see how you can control that.

Aaron Conant 26:32

Awesome. Love it are there is another question that comes around is like paid media and other platforms. So we talked a little bit about Amazon, are you seen in over indexed into Walmart right now or into the other marketplaces? It's a question about paid sorry. Yeah. Paid. Yeah. paid me. So you know, this. I'm old school. Right. So amsn, Amazon, you have Walmart Media Group. And target is trying to go heavy into it. And I think it's kind of what you're saying is there's all these dollars that were traditionally thrown into brick and mortar that are now shifting online. And people trying to figure out what to do with them. They want to spend it if it's wherever it's going to drive a more profitable sale.

Hugh Hinkson 27:13

And I can talk about it from a pattern perspective. Maybe Newell can chime in from his days at Walmart. So you know, I work really closely with our Director of marketplaces. And what we find is, many brands are trying to get more involved across all marketplaces whether that's e Bay and Walmart in us, Mercado Libra across South America, Mexico, and obviously into the Chinese and Asian markets. And what you find is, the ability to spend money on those other platforms is there. But the trust, or the data that surrounds it is less though. And so people feel very confident on Amazon that when they spend money that they're going to understand how it performed, that it drove kind of clicks and views on other marketplaces that it's just a little less, maybe trusted and a little less proven out. And so people are a little more hesitant, but I can tell you that people are beginning to do more and more ad placements across these other marketplaces. And they're seeing the impacts and doing that. Yeah, with Walmart, specifically, they've recently in the last quarter or so, have launched their kind of omni channel advertising dashboards so that they can, what they're trying to do is tell you, hey, we served an ad to a customer@walmart.com. And they ended up buying it as Supercenter in Milwaukee or something like that. And this is one of those things where the question, I think the basic question is, are we over indexed in Amazon, again, going back to that stat that nine out of 10 customers are checking Amazon before they make a purchase anywhere else online, and 60 plus percent are starting their product search on Amazon, as opposed to Google's like it would go to show that Amazon does deserve a portion of this. Now, again, we have to remember though, that when customers are researching their, which laptop they should buy, they may end up buying this from a Best Buy or from, you know, you know, they may even go into the Apple store to buy it, but they're going to be doing their research while they're on Amazon. And so just understanding the effects of that advertising as to the other marketplaces like, it's a huge point. I think they're growing. And I think a lot of them are doing some really cool things. And so what this does mean as far as Amazon, it might be a little bit harder to get like a on some kind of beta program or to get a little bit of extra, you know, TLC plus ga product. Often those conversations are more likely to happen when you're on these other retailers. And so I would just say define your metrics, whether it's some kind of halo effect, or rollouts, or a cost or whatever it is just define your metrics. And I would just be actively working towards increasing those metrics regardless of which platform they are on. Awesome. Love it. How

Aaron Conant 29:52

do you Next question comes in in regards to harnessing new reviews. You know, is there a way because we all know that this plays into, you know, how much your your conversion rate which then plays into your organic search, which plays into even your paid search. You know, how do you guys take a look at paid media as a whole with brands that you guys are working with? That means content review. Sorry. Yeah, we got enough.

Newel Cobb 30:18

So like, you know, reviews vacation is the question. And this has always been kind of a pain in the rear end for, for those that are doing business on Amazon. There's not a real easy way to do this into this, like there's new reviewer programs, there's vine, you know, as well, they just don't garner the kind of, you know, impact that that people are traditionally used to with with bizarre voice and other syndicators. And so it can be a point of frustration. Now, every time that you know, people get frustrated, I try to remind them that this is a reason why Amazon captures so much of that mindshare. That's why nine to 10 customers are looking at Amazon when they're sitting in a target is because they know that the reviews there are not syndicated by and large, unless, of course, you're one of those unlucky Chinese manufacturers that gets caught every you know, every so often, you shut down like syndications hard. And so you know, Amazon doesn't do that. There's a lot of trust. And so it's kind of a slow boat, you can work with, you know, advertising, you're trying to move the needle and drive a product sales faster, kind of chicken, the egg, because you have to make a sale to get a review. And so you've got to move on, you know, a new product strategy where you've advertising you've SEO, and you've content. Yeah, and there's also the buying program, Amazon is updating the review policy pretty regularly. The one thing I would definitely caution against this anything gray hat, because you know, whether you're leaving a you know, whether you're doing an Instagram post that says leave a review, or you're you're slipping a, you know, a QR code in a packaging, whether it's through brick and mortar or you know, some other means Amazon's pretty good at catching that. And if they catch you, your item will be punished. And what they'll do is they'll just determine, you know, what period of time was fraudulent, and they'll just delete all the reviews during that time period. So even if you had legitimate reviews, during that time period, they'd be gone. So I would just to Hugh's point, it's a little bit of a chicken and an egg. Because you need to improve yourself to get reviews. But I would say nature that you you step off the platform with with great content, so that, you know a customer is not confused about what they're doing, getting, watch those first five to 10 reviews as they come in nature that if a customer, for example, I think of the example of an electric lawnmower, if the customer, if you get two or three reviews that say your cord is too short, then you probably need to clarify how long are quarters and your content page. So I would be checking those first couple of reviews, so that you can mitigate any of those that negative review potential for the future. And then again, you just have to kind of like play it naturally, it's a good thing for the customer that the reviews are harder to gain. And at the end of the day, it means that when we do get those good reviews, the customers are more likely to trust them. And one more thing on top of that there's a recent message from Amazon, where there's been a sandy listen to our feedback, and there's now you know, opening up ability to respond to those one to three star critical reviews. And I know they had that that ability, and then they turn it off, and they'll say they're turning it back on. And so pay attention to that and make sure Customer service is definitely you know, in the trenches, they're

Aaron Conant 33:26

awesome. Love it. So, you know, somebody, if we were to kind of lay it out, I don't know, if it's five steps, seven steps, but just you know, going back to kind of the title, the roadmap for and, you know, we've been handling questions they've come in, and thanks everybody that's been submitting them. But the roadmap for accelerating profitable growth. You know, a new brand comes to you and says, Hey, pattern, I want you guys to be our strategic partner for reselling on these different platforms. Can you kind of walk us through your strategy, and then they can kind of, you know, adapt it to you know, them as a as an organization as a whole for those people. I think if they're taking some quick notes here, you know, a new, a new company comes to you as a five year strategic partner, what are those? What does that roadmap look like for you to kind of fix everything and get it to profitable growth? Yeah. Yeah, that'd be awesome. And that could be content for us. It could be unauthorized resellers or map compliance would love to hear kind of that roadmap?

Newel Cobb 34:24

Yeah. So I mean, in order for for pattern or anything's a major seller to really help a brand become larger than they are currently. We there's a few things we need to understand like, first of all, where they kind of sit, they have major problems with you know, price points, or their or their map pricing is established as a not how much how much unauthorized sellers they have. And so as you walk through that you're trying to understand, okay, like what kind of buy boxes a single seller have, is there in stock a problem, right? If someone you know, across the country is trying to buy their product, can they write it Is your content, no good, mediocre grade poor. And so all these things kind of come, you know, all at once. But obviously, we're going to get inventory. And so we can start fulfilling on these on these folks. The brand usually will partner with with a legal entity to help them understand how to enforce their map pricing. The good thing is that, you know, we maintain map and so that gives them, you know, a profitable outlet for their for their sales volume. Well, you know, unauthorized sellers who break map don't. And so again, in stock by box, we can do a real fast SEO update to make sure that they're, they're actually ranking for the terms that make sense for their products. So we can do refreshes from a content perspective, we're going to do a quicker, you know, quick, deep dive into their content imagery, video content a plus, how are they doing? They're, if they've major ratings and review problem, we're going to do you know, cleanup there to make sure like, Hey, what are people saying? Are you reflecting that in your content per per Newell's advice a few minutes ago? So those are just some of the basics, you know, know, you can kind of walk through additional thoughts too. Yeah, I'd like to add to that. And one is, all too often do I see people saying, Well, no, no, my competitors on Amazon are doing this or that, like, why is that necessary for me? You know, luckily, because, you know, Amazon in its current state has been around for a little bit of time. But we still there are many categories where, whether you're CPG, or whatever it is, they just haven't quite figured out how to be that mobile optimized experience, or that ecommerce optimized experience. And so I would say, you know, look at what your competitors are doing and what they're missing. Make sure that your imagery is something that somebody with like, you know, 3020 vision can read on a cell phone. And then I'd also say that, often when we're launching and Amazon, we're also launching at the same time on to our G to C website. And in terms of, you know, people hours, it takes a lot of effort to get your DTC site up and running. And often it gets, it's the shiny new thing. And so it's what we report on. But I think we make the mistake too often are going well, my DTC site is going to be more profitable. And so I'm going to put all a lot more of my effort into that basket, when in reality, you know, more and more people are going to be using Amazon and I would rather be on the first or second row of Amazon than to have a very pretty DVC site, because that's going to be what ends up moving the sales figures. No, I love it. In one of the key tags that I just said was, you know, the the 3020 vision because of how much is being done on mobile today. It's funny, those little things that a lot of times we haven't considered in the past, because, you know, maybe, you know, the art department caught it when you're doing ingredients, and it's going on shelf, right. And there's requirements, there's new, I don't know if it's requirements, but there's new must haves in one of those is the review of, hey, how is somebody looking at this? Oh, go ahead, the entrepreneur. Sorry, I think you're exactly right, because we're all in retail. And so I guarantee you that most of the people on this call are using their desktop computer to analyze Amazon and or their their laptop, tantalized Amazon, it analyzed imagery. And like we sometimes forget that though we sit at a desk and manage a retail account, and so we're, we're we're more likely to do it via a laptop, that those who are shopping are more and more likely to do it on an iPad or an iPhone or or, you know, some other device. You just gave me a rate an idea for like a quick little program, when she would go to your art department is you click on the button and it renders it in the corner, your screen size to an iPhone screen, or a galaxy screen or an iPad or a mini iPad. So you can review and it's now

Aaron Conant 38:47

awesome. Love it. Are there any other things that come to mind? as well, when you're thinking like, hey, these are things that we consider when we're creating content, because that is a key one that I think a lot of people overlook as a whole.

Hugh Hinkson 39:00

Yeah, no new reference in the beginning, like I hear over and over like, well, they're not my competitor, right. And so a brand will often ignore the way that a successful brand is doing something because they feel like they're maybe at a different price point, that they're not the exact same category. And so they don't have to think about that person. But you know, what we need to understand is manufacturers don't get to decide who their competitors are consumers do. And so a consumer is the one that says, hey, you know what, your competitors are these people, because I'm considering these people and you at the same time. And so you need to understand like how your organic search displays and with whom it displays your products. And once you understand where you kind of fit into the organic, you know, placement, then you can start determining should I think about things differently than I am today. What key terms matter what price points matter, hardware reviews compared to everyone else? What kind of creative work is someone else doing And then you can have an accurate view of how you improve your your own listings. Yeah. No. Yeah. jumping, jumping, and then I'll finish my thought, yeah, my policy is to use points. The the biggest competitor to the iron is the wrinkle free feature, right. And so, again, you just want to make sure that now that there is such a low barrier to entry, and that really, anybody can come on and start selling on Amazon, I would just be watching. I mean, Arizona already organic, you rank your closest competitors next to you, regardless of price, regardless of even product category. And we want to make sure that everybody who's trying to grow on Amazon is keeping an eye on that. No, I think I was gonna add something pretty much along the same lines, which is, when we think about where you're spending money today, you have to be a lot more strategic about it. Because, you know, a lot of times you're looking at your traditional store brand competitors that you're going after. And if you're targeting them and paid media, but you're not taking a look at who's actually beating you in that search category, I feel the question a lot, which from brands is we I didn't even see the small brand come in sideways, and now they're a best seller on Amazon. Like, how did that happen? I'm a well known brand name, I'm already spending paid media, well, they weren't spending a dime to try to protect their brand name, because they viewed the smaller brand is not even a competitor. But in reality, they were. But they had all their media efforts focused on other large brands that, you know, Oh, go ahead. Yeah. The interesting part there is that, in the days of COVID, tons of brick and mortar stores were either closed or experiencing shortages. And I think one of the latest stats I read is that 80% of customers were willing to try a new brand, specifically, because they're aware of the supply chain issues caused by COVID. And so to your point, this, this may have been a no name brand, in, you know, January of 2019. But as the market has changed, customer became more and more open to try new things. And, you know, all of a sudden, here we are a year and a half later. And that brand is now one of the top products on Amazon that we've seen that, you know, whether it's a, you know, an individual in their garage, or a brand has been around for a while, but just found their niche. We've seen that happen over and over again, especially to companies who aren't, you know, looking in all directions, making sure they're protecting themselves from their competitors.

Aaron Conant 42:25

Yeah, no, I love it. I love it. It's so crazy. And that's where I'm thinking about from this, you know, this roadmap standpoint is? It's not a simple path. Right? And it's not just one thing you need to go after there's multiple different checkpoints, right. I mean, you guys kind of had waited at the beginning, which was a look at your unauthorized resellers look at map and who's violated who's not, that's going to save money across the board. Once you have it cleaned up, it's going to cost money right up front to get it all cleaned up. But the end of the day, you save money, it's more profitable, because you don't have as much price erosion as a whole. nother dimension mentioned paid media, right? If, if you got 19 different people selling or even driving it to the right product, is it the right brand recognition, or the brand representation? If they're, you're driving paid media, and somebody else has actually, you know, they're actually getting a different buy box and person who's from you know, somebody who's selling out of their basement? How do you look at brand protection from that standpoint, right?

Hugh Hinkson 43:25

I mean, that's another reason to clean up these authorized resellers. And the good news here is when you spend ad dollars, right, as a seller, as a brand, you only spend when you're winning by box. So that's a that's a bit of a financial protection that Amazon affords in seller. And that being said, Every dollar you spend, drives up relevancy in theory for that product. And so when you're not winning the buy box, the the other folks are, okay. And that sometimes can be negative because of the type of, you know, seller or you know, person on the back end, are they going to fulfill timely? Are they going to be you know, good from a customer service perspective? Do they have legitimate product? Is it us trying to come with the packaging, it originally came in all those things. And so obviously, you're trying to be the main spokesperson for your brand, you can do that through an authorized seller, you can do that by not doing anything right. And when else is going to be that that spokesperson for you if you're if you're not there. And so you want to make sure that your presence that you that you have all of all the distributors in tow, you know, we're all the product is going and that you're again you need to work with someone that knows how to determine how to work with other unauthorized sellers. That could be someone you hire internally, it can be a legal entity you work with it could be you know, a provider or seller for you all those things.

Aaron Conant 44:49

Also, are there other key things that you thought we would get to today that we didn't get to things that pop up? You know, strategy you guys are finding and using questions. You're asked on a routine basis. We'd love to hear it. Any thoughts there that you thought we thought might come up today or come up routinely but didn't? Yeah, I think there's there's two some usually people ask what are the online basics? I feel like this, this audience is probably more 201 or 301. So I think that's necessary to walk through how we pray for how do you prepare for holiday events? Like Prime Day is one? And then how do my online channels kind of hit each other? how they affect each other? So I could I could talk to that last one real fast. If you want to walk through that for two minutes. That would be awesome.

Hugh Hinkson 45:33

I think that's a major thing that people are considering is, does it work? First? and what didn't work? Yeah, go ahead. No, go ahead. No, you got it, you understand? Yep. Yeah, when when we talk with with a new brand or a prospective brand, often, they have kind of challenges. And it's generally around pricing promotion, you know, staying in stock. So what happened is, you've got five or six people in the, in the, in the manufacturing found the brand side. And these people, they manage different retail outlets. So it could be could be target, it could be brick and mortar, it could be online, or has their channel. And oftentimes those channels aren't really working with each other to understand like, national promotional calendar is kind of kind of disjointed. And so Walmart, you know, GM will do a, you know, run a promotion here, the target, GM will run one there. And then Amazon guy finds that he's, somehow he's running promotions all the time, right. And what's happening is, because Amazon, Walmart and a few other retailers are so price sensitive, they're scraping on a regular basis, they build out this mapping system on the back end, to essentially stay relevant and promotional. If you're running a target campaign or target promotion, Amazon's gonna gonna match that. So if you're in a one key relationship that's automatic, and suddenly you're matching that data that other retailer platform. And so that can be hard, because your online channels affect each other, when it comes to price and promotion, they scrape they match price, and suddenly, you could be unprofitable. And then Amazon is going to be losing money if you're in a one p relationship. And they're going to come back at you towards the end of the year for for Co Op because they discounted X percent of the time during the year, because your counterparts to the target Walmart Kohl's business, running promotions at different times to use a promotional most of the year. And so that's that's something that we need to keep in mind is that suppression, or, you know, repercussions from Amazon will come based on the type of relationship you have with them, whether one three or three P. And I've seen it really hit hard. I was working with one partner who was running a Prime Day promotion, and another retailer undercut their price by 20%. And it was like the entire thing just like almost derailed a little bit. We had to work and figure out what the what the strategy is. And so just making sure that honestly, just taking the five minutes and asking yourself, do I have an omni channel strategy puts you far and beyond what a lot of individuals are doing in this market? And just asking yourself, whether it's Macy's stores versus Macy's calm and Target stores and Walmart stores versus their counterparts? And then of course, Amazon as well is asking those questions.

Aaron Conant 48:14

No, no, I, I absolutely loved it. And just, if there's any last minute questions, everybody feel free to shoot them over. You know, we can kind of get them in here. Just before the end, we've got about a minute and a half left. You know, I would say the last thing is it, I would kind of wrap it up there. But you know, other key takeaways for people that say, you know, don't ever forget to do this. Always remember to do that. You know, I've jotted a couple down. I really love the Hey 3020 vision and make sure you're checking it for mobile because so many people are chatting on it on authorized resellers map compliance or there, I'll kick it over to the both of you for like key takeaways, as we wrap it up in the next minute and a half year.

Hugh Hinkson 48:58

Yeah, a couple of key like tips. If you're selling third party and you're suppressed, there's like a 90% chance that someone on the first page of Google has a lower price than you. So I've seen that happen way too many times where someone goes, why am I depressed, just google your product, you'll find it. And that's like one other tidbit if I had to just like throw that out there. And then of course, just making sure that you understand where your Amazon strategy fits in terms of pricing and promotion across the board. And that usually is an indicator that you're thinking about it the right way. For my end, like remember that every year your business is going to change, and it's going to change whether you as a brand change or not. And so COVID I think has been a good example of that. Obviously, we can do a whole forum on, you know, just the impact of COVID on e commerce. But just just remember that because of COVID a lot of these, these retail platforms are flush with inventory. And they're going to be putting limits, right and so that's something we're dealing with right now is just COVID limits on inventory, how that's going to change business going forward, Amazon's not going to be everyone's, you know, warehouse anymore. And so if you think about that event 100% agree. I mean, one of our, our top questions right now are for like digital age three TL ELLs, right, who can individually pick pack ship kit bundle? You know, across the board, we're gonna have multiple calls on that, because you're right, Amazon is filled to the gills right now, right with inventory, maybe not right now is primed to just have a massive outflow, but they're going to be back at full capacity, there will be reduced, you know, space on the one t side if you're in a non giftable item in q4 FDA limitations on overall warehouse capacity. And you will need to find a dropship option. Because if your trucks doesn't already have the inventory in there for q4, it's going to be sitting out in the long long line of trucks to get in. But anyways,

Aaron Conant 50:57

hey, awesome, awesome. Call today. You know, thanks so much, you know, for your time for your expertise. Thanks for letting this pick your brain for the past 35 minutes or so. I think we're gonna wrap up here right on time like we promised we would. Thanks to everybody who dialed in. Thanks for the great questions. Look for a follow up email from us. I'd love to have a conversation with you on digital strategy, want to know your biggest pain point so we can set up some other upcoming events. And with that, I think we're going to wrap it up. hope everybody has a fantastic Monday. A great week, everybody. Take care, stay safe and look forward to having you at a future event. Thank you. Thanks, all party. everybody. Have a good one. We'll be Cheers.

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