10 episodes

PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected is designed to unite and empower the ecommerce community by connecting the dots between brands, retailers and shoppers. Ecommerce Connected offers listeners powerful, real-world actionable strategies, best practices, and tactical industry insights to take their company to the next level.

PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected PriceSpider

    • Business
    • 4.7, 6 Ratings

PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected is designed to unite and empower the ecommerce community by connecting the dots between brands, retailers and shoppers. Ecommerce Connected offers listeners powerful, real-world actionable strategies, best practices, and tactical industry insights to take their company to the next level.

    Why This Retailer Fights for Their Brands

    Why This Retailer Fights for Their Brands

    Relationships between retailers and manufacturers can often become tense. As they each try to protect their margins and do what’s best for their customers, they can start to feel more like competitors than partners.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    In this episode of Ecommerce Connected, host Anthony Capozzoli talks with Sean Dawes, co-founder of Modded Euros, an online retailer for aftermarket European automotive parts. Sean and his team have made some innovative choices about how they partner with brands, and it’s allowed Modded Euros and their brand partners to thrive.

    They share unique data and insights with partners to help direct research and development. They fight for their brands.

    Here’s why.

    If manufacturers lose their margins, retailers lose, too

    One of the big challenges of ecommerce today is that small, bootstrapped sellers can dropship products from established brands with little or no operating costs. They aren’t interested in the brand’s integrity or even their own scalability or long-term profitability. So they slash prices deep into their own margins, and they have no problem violating pricing policies.

    Sean says, “You have these people that are trying to make a quick buck, so to speak, and it causes market devaluation of that brand.”

    As retailers try to compete with these sellers, they’ll often put the onus on the manufacturer and demand better margins, which hamstrings the brand’s ability to invest in research and development, or to improve their price.

    “At the end of the day, if manufacturers don’t have any margins and retailers don’t have any profit, the businesses are ultimately going to die,” Sean says. “So for us, by protecting margins and protecting our profit and our partners’ profit, in this case being the manufacturers, we’re ensuring a long-term business relationship. A long-term healthy business relationship means we can grow, we can provide and invest into areas that improve our customer experience.”

    So instead of strong-arming potential brand partners, Modded Euros takes initiative and actively hunts down these bootstrapped sellers in Facebook groups, Instagram, and other social media channels where they can often be found arranging private deals and violating pricing policies undetected. The brand can then choose to clean up their channels and enforce their policies, or Sean and his team are comfortable passing on the partnership. It takes work, but as a major ecommerce retailer, Modded Euros has a lot more resources to throw at the problem than most manufacturers, and it ultimately benefits both them and their partners. 

    Sean says, “You can invest into better customer service, better website experience, maybe better policies, faster shipping rates, all these things that improve the customer experience and the manufacturer can improve not only designing new products, they can spend money into R&D, but they can improve current products. Or maybe if they start doing a little bit more volume, they can improve pricing.”

    Retailers can identify gaps their brand partners can fill

    While brands usually don’t get much visibility into how their target market behaves on a retailer’s site, Modded Euros has seen a lot of ways in which being generous with their data empowers them to provide a better customer experience.

    “We have a lot of traffic, we have a lot of transactions, so there’s a lot of data for us to leverage,” Sean says. “We’re able to see what customers want to buy and we’re also able to see customer feedback on products, whether it be by brand, by type, and this goes back to shape, color, all the different features of each individual category.”

    This allows Modded Euros to help their brand partners develop new product lines and fill gaps in the customer experience, filling out Modded Euros’ catalog and giving their

    • 19 min
    The First Pillar of a Successful Pricing Policy

    The First Pillar of a Successful Pricing Policy

    What does a good pricing policy look like? Unfortunately, many manufacturers simply turn to Google or their competitors’ policies to answer this question, and what they find often creates a new problem, rather than a solution to their pricing issues.

    Michael Murphy, an attorney from K&L Gates and our latest guest on the Ecommerce Connected podcast, says, “What they usually end up with is an illegal price-fixing agreement that does very little, if anything, in the marketplace.”

    Pricing policies are complex legal documents. And in order to solve your problems with price erosion or remove your unauthorized resellers, your policy needs to be specific to your brand.

    In this episode of Ecommerce Connected, our host Anthony Capozzoli sits down with Michael Murphy and draws from his experience with manufacturers around the globe to talk about what makes pricing policies work. Michael explains that there are three pillars of successful pricing policies, and digs into the first one.

    Create an authorized dealer program

    In conversations about pricing policies, you’ll often hear people talk about an ADP, or authorized dealer program. Developing one is crucial to creating a successful pricing policy, because it allows you to choose which sellers you’ll allow to sell your products and where and how they can sell them. This ensures you only wind up working with sellers who help your brand, and increases the likelihood that your sellers will actually respect your pricing policy.

    Michael describes an ADP as a program “where you as a manufacturer are actually getting transparency and control over who’s selling your products and where they’re selling them, especially online. I always say without control, you’re never going to be able to achieve the sustainable and predictable dealer margins in the marketplace that you’re looking for.”

    It’s basically just a formal process for vetting potential online sellers and considering how they’ll impact your brand before you start doing business together.

    “So for instance, someone can apply and say, ‘Hey, listen, I sell on Amazon. I sell on eBay, I sell on Jet. I sell on my own independent website and I want to sell all your products there.’ And you have a right as a manufacturer to say, ‘OK, let’s look at these marketplaces.’ I don’t know, maybe you don’t want anyone selling your products on eBay so no one’s allowed to sell on eBay. Maybe you’re okay with it. You let them sell on eBay, but maybe you already have five or ten guys on Amazon and you don’t want any more.”

    With a little strategic planning, you can create an arrangement that serves both your brand and your retailers better in the long run. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Don’t miss the rest of what Michael has to share on this episode of Ecommerce Connected.

    Learn more on our podcast

    Anthony Capozzoli lends his ecommerce expertise in our podcast, PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected. This episode features an exclusive interview with Michael Murphy, an attorney from K&L Gates. Michael and Anthony discuss the three pillars of successful pricing policies and focus on why creating an authorized dealer program is so crucial.

    Check it out!

    Tune in on Apple Podcasts or subscribe on Android to get the full episodes.

    • 25 min
    Why a Pricing Policy Can Make or Break Your Brand Integrity

    Why a Pricing Policy Can Make or Break Your Brand Integrity

    A lot of brands see a minimum advertised pricing (MAP) or unilateral pricing (UP) policy as the best way to correct price discrepancies and protect their margins. But creating a pricing policy is only part of the solution. And if you execute it poorly, a pricing policy can actually do more harm than good for your brand—because it puts your integrity under scrutiny.

    In this episode of Ecommerce Connected, PriceSpider’s host Anthony Capozzoli sits down with Bill Johannesen, founder of Vision Werks and one of the chief architects of Bose’s well-known unilateral pricing policy, to talk about where brands often go wrong with pricing policies and how you can get them right.

    “Implementing a MAP policy’s either the best thing you ever did for your brand or the worst,” Bill says. “There’s no middle ground on this.”

    Here’s why.

    It’s only the playbook

    If you can follow and enforce your policy, it ensures every customer has the same perception of and experience with your brand, and your retail partners will respect and trust you. But if you expect your policy to take care of itself and you don’t enforce it, it quickly becomes meaningless—and it may cause retailers to distrust everything else you do and say”.

    Your pricing policy sets expectations, tells your sellers what to do with your products, and defines how you’ll respond to violations. It lays out the plays. But you still have to execute them. If you don’t follow the playbook, your retail partners won’t be able to take you seriously.

    It may require you to make big changes

    Right now, you may not have the distribution channels, supply chain, infrastructure, bandwidth, or budget you need to act on your pricing policy. Before you tell your sellers you’re going to hold everyone accountable, you need to be ready to actually do that.

    One of the most glaring examples of where this often falls apart for brands is the Amazon Marketplace.

    “Amazon, quite frankly, is a magnifying glass on the holes in your supply chain, on the holes of your distribution strategy, on the holes of your channel strategy,” Anthony says.

    When you let anyone with a pulse sell your products, you may wind up with sellers who don’t even see your pricing policy before they start selling, numerous product bundles, sellers you can’t contact, and other issues that make it difficult to enforce your policy and stay true to your word.

    It needs to be someone’s responsibility

    If no one is in charge of enforcing your pricing policy, it’s simply not going to happen, and your policy becomes a meaningless document.

    Anthony says, “A lot of brands I talk to are like, ‘Well, we don’t have anyone at all dedicated to helping us solve this problem towards MAP.’ Or, ‘We’ll let the intern do it. They’re here for a couple of months in the summer.’”

    But this isn’t a “task” someone can do once and then ignore. Price monitoring is an ongoing responsibility. “It’s a process, not a project,” Bill says.

    If you’re inconsistent, your MAP policy does more harm than good

    Brands often find themselves in a difficult position: numerous sellers are violating their pricing policy, but they don’t have contact information for many of them. So, they enforce their policy with the brands they can contact.

    “There’s the retailer sitting there, you’re sending him violations, because he’s just trying to compete,” Bill says. “He’s just trying to look good to his customers that he’s not getting his butt kicked on your product in the visible marketplace out there. So, what’s he supposed to do?”

    That seller doesn’t have much choice. Their competitors (whom you can’t contact) are g...

    • 27 min
    Brand Equity in the Digital Age: How to Fight for Your Brand Online

    Brand Equity in the Digital Age: How to Fight for Your Brand Online

    When consumers think of your brand, what kind of experience, quality, and value do they associate with your name? When your store or website is the only point of sale, you have a lot of control over your customers’ experiences. But when you work with retailers, that’s not always the case.

    Every retailer you work with directly impacts your brand equity–for better or for worse.

    In this episode of PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected, PriceSpider’s host, Anthony Capozzolli sits down with Bill Johannesen, founder of Vision Werks and one of the chief architects of Bose’s well-known Unilateral Minimum Resale Price Policy to talk about brand equity.

    Here are some of the tips they have for brands.

    Create a specialty product

    While your brand equity encompasses far more than your product, your product is where it all starts. Having a specialty product that serves your target audience either in unique ways or better than anyone else gives you more power in your relationships with retailers. They want to sell your products because they know their customers want them–and if they don’t carry your products, they’re going to lose sales to their competitors.

    If retailers feel like you’re getting more out of the relationship than they are, they’re not going to be as cooperative when you start trying to fine-tune how they sell your products.

    Choose the right retail partners

    Since every retailer impacts your brand equity, one of the most important things you can do to build and preserve your brand equity is to make sure you only do business with retailers who support your brand. That means both being selective about who you allow to carry your products and requiring your partners to sign a reseller agreement that formally defines how they need to support your brand.

    Unauthorized sellers don’t care about your brand or your goals. They only care about short-term sales. And your pricing policy isn’t going to change their behavior.

    If brand equity is important to you, you need to choose retail partners whose go-to-market plan aligns with your own, and who create the same kinds of customer experiences you want people to associate with your brand. Can you trust them to use your assets and messaging when they advertise and display your products? When a seller provides a bad experience putting your products in people’s hands, or creates a different perception of your brand, that hurts your brand equity.

    Control the message

    If you want consumers to have a specific perception about your brand and associate you with particular qualities, you need to control how your brand and your products are presented by retailers. You need tools (like Brand Monitor) to see how well retailers are following your brand guidelines, so that consumers have the same experience with and perception of your brand everywhere it appears.

    Preserve your brand equity

    Odds are, right now you have some sellers who are generating sales but hurting your brand. A lot of manufacturers are hesitant to get rid of these harmful sellers out of fear that they’ll lose sales. But Anthony and Bill argue that even when there are personal relationships involved, brands need to take the plunge and cut ties with these sellers. Not only are they holding back your brand equity, but they’re often actually decreasing your overall sales as a result.

    Bill and Anthony have often seen brands quickly regain (and even increase) sales when they cut ties with bad sellers. This typically happens because those sellers were eroding trust in your brand and your credibility as an organization. You were associating your brand with low-quality sellers. When you cut ties with those sellers, you may find that your best retail partners are eager to pick up the slack. 

    Building and protecting your brand equity isn’t something you sho...

    • 25 min
    3 Things Brands Need to Know About Ratings and Reviews

    3 Things Brands Need to Know About Ratings and Reviews

    Ratings & Reviews are a key source of information that help drive purchase decisions. They are two of the main signals consumers use to determine the quality of a product they see online. Since they can’t physically hold your products or test them out (and returning something they bought online usually isn’t as convenient as going to the store), they want to be confident they’re getting a product that will meet their needs.

    Branding is obviously an important factor that helps you stand out among the competition. But when it comes to online retailers, being the most well-known brand isn’t the only way to stand out. Established brands constantly get beat by up-and-comers with good reviews.

    If you want to win in your product category and maximize conversions, here are three things you need to know about ratings and reviews.

    1. An average rating under four stars will cost you sales

    It’s impossible to please everyone. Some consumers give low reviews because of a bad shipping experience, a poor experience with the retailer, or other factors that have nothing to do with you or your products. That can’t be helped. And savvy shoppers learn to mentally filter out these kinds of reviews.

    But once your overall rating dips below four stars, it sends a signal to your potential customers: a lot of people have not been happy with this product. And if it sinks too close to three stars, that makes purchasing your product feel like a gamble: they’re just as likely to have a poor experience as a good one!

    A low average rating is a problem you need to proactively address.

    If the problem is retailer specific—meaning you have lots of great reviews on Amazon, but only a handful of mediocre ones at Walmart, it might mean that you just need to focus on soliciting reviews from Walmart customers, and the problem will resolve itself over time.

    Depending on the retailer though, low ratings associated with a particular seller could be a sign that they aren’t representing your brand well, and that you should reconsider whether you want them to be a retail partner moving forward.

    But maybe there’s something that’s consistently coming up in negative reviews. A flaw in the product or a feature people were expecting. That’s something you need to correct if you want to see your reviews improve. This could include updating the product description to make sure there is no confusion to the customer of what they’re buying. (By the way, you can use our Ratings & Reviews tool to see what your negative reviews have in common.)

    2. Consumers don’t trust a low number of reviews

    When a consumer looks at your ratings and reviews, they’re looking at the subjective opinions of random strangers. They have little reason to trust a single review, whether it’s good or bad. A higher review volume brings credibility to the product and the overall brand.

    Sometimes the context of that review helps build trust—maybe someone mentions they’ve been a roofing contractor for 20 years. Or an electrician. A hair stylist. Or they have some other experience that’s directly relevant to their ability to assess the product in question.

    But sometimes people don’t say anything about the product. Or their clipped sentences and emotional reactions don’t communicate anything useful to other consumers.

    Regardless of how reliable the content of your reviews are, a low number of them can make your product seem unestablished, untested, or not reputable. Even a perfect five-star rating is questionable when you only have a handful of reviews. It’s too small of a sample size,

    • 10 min
    Are You Making the “Locals Only” Ecommerce Mistake?

    Are You Making the “Locals Only” Ecommerce Mistake?

    Where to buy (WTB) solutions highlight popular online and local retailers that sell your products, allowing your customers to choose the retailers they prefer. The whole point of these widgets is to streamline the path to purchase, so your customers can buy in the way that’s most convenient for them.

    But a lot of brands don’t use them that way. In an effort to keep all online sales on their own websites, some manufacturers list local retailers but don’t show their customers where else they can buy online. They’re conceding that yes, there may be more convenient places for you to buy, or other ways you’d like to buy (like BOPIS), but they don’t want to lose online sales to their online retail partners.

    In episode seven of our podcast, PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected, PriceSpider’s global sales executive Anthony Capozzoli discusses why this “locals only” approach hurts brands more than it helps.

    Here’s why your WTB tool shouldn’t stop at displaying local retailers.

    Customers are customers, wherever they buy

    The reason some brands hesitate to list online retailers on their website is because you obviously get better margins when people buy directly from you.

    But while this might give you a greater percentage of each sale, this is a pretty short-sighted approach to online sales. Because the reality is a sale is a sale. And as we’ll discuss in a moment, when you disrupt the path to purchase, you aren’t preventing customers from buying from other retailers, and you’re also risking losing the sale altogether.

    You might feel like listing local sellers and giving people the option to buy from your site means you’ve got your bases covered. You’ve given people a way to buy in-store, or online. But for people who are used to shopping at specific online retailers, one online option—with a retailer they haven’t used before (that’s you)—isn’t very helpful.

    “You have to give them the option to convert from their couch or wherever it is that they’re trying to convert from,” Anthony says. 

    Some consumers will choose online retailers anyways

    There are a lot of reasons why your customers prefer the convenience of specific online retailers.

    It could be as simple as the fact that they already have an account, so they can buy with a click (and without walking across the room to grab their wallet). Or maybe they want to take advantage of perks like Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping, or a rewards program. Or they want to see the reviews before they buy.

    When you make it harder to take advantage of these incentives, you’ll probably drive some more sales through your own store, because some will see it as more convenient than trying to find your product page at another retailer’s site.

    But others will simply swim upstream to purchase your products the way they purchase everything else.

    And when you ask potential customers to do that, you jeopardize the sale.

    You risk losing the sale

    If someone is determined to buy from an online retailer they know and love, but you don’t list it on your website, they may assume your product isn’t available there. That can be enough for them to change their mind about buying.

    They may also not be interested enough to leave your website and search for your product somewhere else. By not listing a more convenient place to buy and making it a click away, you’ve created just enough friction to keep them from buying.

    But even if they’re willing to work to buy in the way they want, not listing popular online retailers creates other opportunities to lose sales to your competitors.

    • 13 min

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