Join us as we go "in the trenches" with the few brands in e-commerce that are not just surviving, but THRIVING in the world where everyone wants "Prime". There are no quick fixes, but these executives have cracked the code to help their divisions grow at record pace, even in the marketplace that is tougher than ever.
Authentic DTC Apparel with Adam Sidney from Myles
I'm consistently amazed at how competitive the apparel space is.
Sure, it's a business with great potential for margins, but there are ZERO switching costs and a low barrier to entry.
That's why it was so interesting to have Adam Sidney from Myles on this week. He's a heavy hitter in the DTC apparel world. He was a serious mover-and-shaker at a little place called Bonobos, has consulted with brands getting off the ground, and is currently CEO at Myles, a DTC men's clothing brand.
We ran the gamut in terms of what's changing in DTC, useful experience from his time at Bonobos and how "boring" products can actually be fascinating.
But the topic I believe you'll enjoy the most is authenticity in your brand. Myles is doing some great stuff in this regard. Easy to talk about, and easy to do (if you actually believe in what you're building).
Take a listen, and leave a review!
Custom Tailoring at Scale with Meghan Litchfield from RedThread
I've been blessed enough to talk to some fascinating folks on this show. In fact, the whole idea behind the podcast is that 90% are only talked about behind closed doors.
Today's episode was even more interesting than normal. Meghan left GoPro to start RedThread - the very first women's apparel brand to ditch standard sizes once and for all and solve the apparel fit issue for all women, of every shape.
The coolest thing about it is definitely the tech. Each woman takes a few selfies and her measurements are autogenerated to create clothing with the perfect fit.
Think about the impact this could have on returns (if your size was right from the beginning you wouldn't need to send it back), not to mention the ease of shopping since you could ditch the sizing charts (which no one understands anyway).
Meghan explains it much better than I can - hope you enjoy this episode.
The Anatomy of an Outstanding Amazon Listing with Dan Brownsher from Channel Key
Distribution channels have been interesting to me for a long time. After all, amazing products DIE without distribution.
A big reason I started this podcast was to figure out how independent product owners can stay free from the clutches of Amazon and their margin-slashing claws.
But the more I look at their platform, the more I realize that it's quite similar to the wholesale or distributor model. I'll eat my own words here: rather than trying to "beat" Amazon, for some brands it makes sense to "join" them.
If you're part of a brand that would benefit from Amazon's distribution channel, this episode for you. Dan Brownsher has been on the side of product development where he and his business partners invest their own capital into launching a brand on Amazon, and the service side, where he and his team help Amazon sellers to scale up.
Enjoy the episode!
How To Make Small eCommerce Business Profitable with Dave Rodenbaugh, Founder @ Recapture.io
Dave Rodenbaugh is the founder of Recapture.io an automated abandoned cart recovery for Magento & Shopify. Dave started his entrepreneurial career by acquiring businesses and making the developmental changes that turned them into profitable companies.
Dave is the host of the Rogue Startups Podcast alongside his co-host Craig Hewitt where they have weekly conversations about entrepreneurship, eCommerce, and marketing.
Dave Rodenbaugh is the founder of Recapture.io and the host of the Rogue Startups Podcast. His provides an automated abandoned cart recovery for Magento & Shopify businesses. Dave initially started his career acquiring small businesses, where he learned where businesses needed the most help to create profitability.
In this episode, we talk about how much Dave acquired his first companies for, where to find those same deals today, and how he acquires new customers for Recapture.io.
This is The Lean Commerce Podcast.
How did you get started in business acquisition?
1:46 I joined a group of micro-entrepreneurs over a decade ago. What we all had was a skill to build something but we didn’t have an understanding of how to sell it and how to sustainably set up a business that can scale. Overtime, the founders of this group created a conference, called Micro Conf, which is now held in Miami.
4:42 I spent time looking around at various marketplaces, such as eBay, and found smaller businesses with potential and bought them at a low costs. Then I started figuring out what parts could be outsourced and how to scale these businesses.
How much did you initially acquire these companies for?
5:46 I had a $2,000 budget. Now a days, you could do it for under $5,000. I bought a small business making $100 a month, tried to grow it and make it legit but it turned out there were a lot of fraudulent users on there. I cleaned up the platform, marketing, and sales page and then sold it for the same price. What I came out of it with was knowledge and experience. The second time I did that I found a bunch of Wordpress plugins and a business that was drowning in support. The women in charge wasn’t systemizing it or funneling it, so I spent time setting up a pricing page, making a free version vs. premium version, and created a support forum and turned it into a $3,000 a month business from a $300 a month business in three years.
Where would you find these smaller deals today?
15:00 I’m on a lot of little lists. Side Projectors is one for example. You’ll find a lot of good businesses and some really bad ones. For example, people will rewrite Slack and want you to pay for it.
16:19 The only thing that truly adds value to a business if it’s make money. If it’s not generating money, it’s not worth anything. In some cases, you might be able to say that it can be monetized. For example, a Shopify app that needs another distribution channel. Now, you can use that to cross promote your other Shopify app and use it to make the other one more money.
How many acquisitions have you made?
29:50 I think I’m somewhere around eight or nine done deals, not including the ones that haven’t worked out.
What does it look like to acquire new customers for Recapture.io?
31:20 I won’t lie, it can definitely be a struggle. We also have a high LTV. You have to find the right channel. You can try cold emails, pitch to agencies or store owners, etc. All of this takes time and money and as an individual founder there is no way I can do all of it by myself. I have to hire out to get it all done.
36:58 The hardest thing to overcome is trust. You need to show people that you know what you’re doing and they can account for your services.
Where are the distribution channels to get in touch with store owners today?
38:19 The problem is that there is no one answer to that. Even if you had an answer, it
The Changing eCommerce Landscape and Where eCommerce Is Heading with Jordan Gutierrez, COO @ Wishpond
Jordan Gutierrez is the COO of Wishpond, a B2B business that builds complete marketing funnels that get leads and customers for eCommerce businesses. He started his business career by buying a coffee machine and selling coffee and donuts on the streets of Mexico City and has now helped Wishpond grow into a 120 person company.
Jordan now focuses on the operations of Wishpond and most importantly, pivoting to the wants of their customers to continue to provide the products and services they need to grow their own businesses.
Jordan is the COO of Wishpond, a campaign builder for eCommerce businesses. Since joining the COO team during its start up phase, he’s helped the company grow to employ 120 people and work with Fortune 500 companies to create their marketing funnels.
In this episode, we talk about Jordan’s first experience with business, what makes products sell on Facebook, and how chatbots and Facebook Messenger are changing the marketing industry.
This is The Lean Commerce Podcast.
How did you get into eCommerce?
2:15 Moving to Canada from Mexico City gave me my first introduction to Amazon and Best Buy. That summer, I went back to Mexico, bought a coffee machine, and started to sell coffee and donuts on the street. My customers were mostly doctors and I found out they were in Mexico just to buy medical books. I sold my coffee machine and started to sell the books they wanted online.
4:08 I decided that I needed a website and built an eCommerce website in 2007 selling medical books. At the same time, I came back to Canada and was studying in university. This was obviously really chaotic and when I was approached by a dropship partnership company, I agreed.
6:42 I started posting memes related to the medical community on Facebook, I interviewed doctors, and started to get some traction.
8:32 Then, I created a medical case page on Reddit. People could post symptoms and other users would diagnose them. This continued to grow and I started to expand to medical equipment, soaps, and tools. We started some campaigns, sold apparel, anything that medical professionals would want to buy.
11:46 Ninety percent of medical professionals in Mexico know of us and 70% have purchased medical equipment from us at some point. We have over 2,000 Google reviews and a 4.5 rating.
It would make sense that adding to cart on Facebook was a seamless, easy decision—but it’s not. Why?
19:42 Trying to promote a simple medical book on Facebook is really difficult. On Facebook you need to build a dream and then you need your landing page to have absolutely no distractions. The main mistake people make is they send people to a landing page with too many CTA’s. Facebook is extremely distracting and it’s hard to choose where to click when you can click anywhere.
22:40 At the end of the day, if your landing page looks professional, has a nice video, and looks authoritative, it builds people’s confidence.
26:52 Once a week, we have a special product offer and we use it to grow our Facebook audience. We have contests and in order to be entered you have to get ten people to sign up. We started to just follow the market and got into more content marketing strategies.
Do you operate as a SaaS company?
30:56 We are mostly a technology company but we see the need in clients needing a campaign. We have the software to build campaigns and so we offer that to our clients too. We also want to make it super affordable for small businesses. The idea is that you get the same resources as a Fortune 500 company (we work with both types of clients).
How has Wishpond grown since you’ve been added to the team?
32:01 The company now employs 120 people. We’ve grown because we just focus on where the market is and then create products they want. We fix the problems our customers are having.
What are some of the mo
How To Create Supply Chain Management That Works For Your Business with Alex Royzen
Alex Royzen is the Director of Supply Chain Management at Ecentria, OpticsPlanet, and CampSaver. He is an expert at supply chain management and has been part of OpticsPlanet’s growth from $60 million in sales a year to $300 million.
He is an experienced leader with brand, product, and project management background, using data to drive the decisions he makes for the companies that he works for.
Alex Royzen is the Director of Supply Chain Management at Ecentria, OpticsPlanet, and CampSaver. His expertise is in optimizing the supply chain of eCommerce companies and he has helped his companies grow by several millions of dollars.
In this episode, we talk about how to compete with Amazon and where the eCommerce giant is failing, giving small business owners a chance to take their customers. We also talk about developing supplier relationships, how to turn your customer service representatives into experts of your products, and how to forecast your inventory.
This is The Lean Commerce Podcast.
What is supply chain management?
0:53 In the eCommerce industry, it’s a very ambiguous term. It can range from warehouse operations to inventory management. In my world, it’s inventory management. We’re not intimately involved in the warehouse side of things, that’s a totally separate operation that we don’t touch.
How did you get into eCommerce?
2:24 I studied economics in college and it was the first subject I ever felt really passionate about. Microeconomics just clicked in my brain. After college, I ended up in the mining industry in Milwaukee. After a year, I decided to leave and come home to Chicago, where I had grown up. I heard about a company called OpticsPlanet, an online retailer, that needed somebody in their merchandising department. I applied, got the job, and now I’ve been here for ten years. I’ve watched OpticsPlanet grow from $60 million in sales to $300 million.
What are some of the main levers that you look at to improve the supply chain of a business?
9:13 The first thing I do is evaluate the inventory they have. A lot of companies lack detailed reporting and access to data. This is crucial information to know. The top three elements to understand and be working on are: inventory quality, inventory strategy, and supplier relationships.
How can you develop a supplier relationship?
10:29 It’s really a personal thing. For example, we have a team of buyers and they manage the relationships with our suppliers. In the long term, we develop personal relationships that go beyond business with our suppliers—we go on vacation together, they come to our holiday parties, and our families spend time together.
13:24 Especially in eCommerce, the most important thing a supplier can give you is priority in terms of allocation of products, shipping, results, issues, and their time. Also, if they can give you data, and do so by going above and beyond, you’ll be in a really good place.
14:50 Each relationship is case by case so I can’t necessarily give a one size fits all template for creating this relationship.
What kind of competitive advantage do you see available to eCommerce companies selling products that other companies are already selling?
18:06 It comes down to, How do you compete with Amazon? There are two ways that people search for eCommerce products, they Google it or they search it on Amazon. 50% of product searches are on Amazon. What makes our companies successful is that they are niche markets and they aren’t everyday products or products that every person needs. For example, CampSaver is specific to the outdoor market, similar to REI. People willing to spend $600 on a jacket are not your typical consumers and that niche market gives you advantage.
20:57 Where Amazon fails is that you can’t ask them a question—trying to talk to somebody on Amazon is a s
Great for ecommerce entrepreneurs
Lots of great ecomm folks interviewed here.
Great podcast series!
Listen to it every morning on my way to work, love the business inside view, super helpful as I work in Ecommerce and love hearing other brands’ perspectives and goals
This is a great show for people building their own online brands. Highly recommend!