- Cory Checketts
- On June 5, 2015
- 0 Comments
Day one of the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition show was just as knowledge packed as the Amazon pre-show presenations were. I sat in on six sessions—each differing in subject matter and not just Amazon-specific content. Of the sessions I attended, I want to focus on 4 main takeaways. I think there is something valuable in each takeaway that Seller Labs’ customers can adopt into their businesses. Again, this list is in not in any particular order of relevance.
1. Create great experiences digitally with the products you sell.
This was from Nathan Deckers presentation Hyperpersonalize You Email Marketing. Nathan touched on the primary aspects of his email marketing automation at Evo, they are: initialization, optimization, retention, and automation.
• Initialization: This is the start of the email marketing process. You have to start somewhere. Nathan talked about the various platforms he tried along the way and how he whittled down the different services and found a working solution.
• Optimization: This is the part of the process where you start to notice what is and isn’t working. Nathan said he was able to segment his different emails and optimize their content for improved open rates. He said as his customer base grew so did the complexity of messages. Optimization is an ongoing process that takes time and patience. We encourage Feedback Genius customers to optimize their accounts for better performance. Check out our guide to optimizing Feedback Genius.
• Automation: At this stage of an email program, Nathan talked about how he has had to increase the level of email automation to keep up with customer demands. Customers now are getting emails about particular products that compliment others when a purchase is made. He made the example of someone who bought skis without bindings and how they were sent an email automatically suggesting bindings for the skis. He said the systems used to automate emails at this level are highly complex and require lots of time for integration.
2. Build a private label brand in cooperation with Amazon.
This was from Chad Rubin’s presentation Choosing Your Spots On—and Your Battles with–Amazon. This presentation focused on the importance of private labeling and building a brand in cooperation with Amazon. Chad spoke on how you don’t have to compete with the Buy Box when you have your own brand. This opens up a lot of room for growth. Chad spoke of how this is the safest way to run a business on Amazon. There isn’t a need to reprice and you’re profit margins are higher.
This is easier said than done. What I got from this presentation was that you need to constantly be evolving and creating new paths. Chad focused heavily on disrupting established verticals. Meaning that you need to take on the established model and get products direct to consumer. The goal with creating a private label is to get products to consumers the quickest and cheapest way possible with you controlling the product from manufacturer to customer.
3. Ship smarter to decrease sunk business expenses.
This was the takeaway I got from Eric Nash’s presentation Shipping Secrets of Successful Small Retailers: 5 Tactics Every Retailer Should Know. This particular presentation was uncharted water for me. I’m not an expert on shipping nor have I shipped much of anything in my life. I’m hoping this information is as enlightening to you as it was to me.
1. Compare rates, services and carriers. Rates change yearly. Know the rates among all carriers through multi-shipping software.
2. Use the correct box size. Always try to use a smaller box if possible. Granted, some products need extra space but avoid it if possible. Smaller boxes make it easier for pick and packing. Also, try to expand your box inventory so it is tailored to your products.
3. Research new carrier products. Carriers release new shipping products yearly. Find boxes that have no DIM weight, have a low cost nationwide, and can support weights up to 15 pounds.
4. Use envelopes when possible. He used the example of shipping a T-shirt in an envelope versus a box. By using a box you will be at the one pound rate, whereas using an envelope you can stay under 13 ounces and save about $3.
5. Understand the importance of delivery speed. Amazon Prime has changed the expectations shoppers have shopping online. Two day delivery is becoming the norm and if you can’t promise that kind of time you may be losing business.
4. What is it you stand for and against as a brand?
Eoin Comerford from Moosejaw gave what I think was the best presentation of the day about building a brand, entitled Creating a Brand that People Will Love…or Possibly Hate. What I liked most about this presentation was how Eoin was transparent about his successes and his pitfalls. Moosejaw does not take itself too seriously. It wants to be the most fun retailer on the planet—not the largest. Eoin described Moosejaw by what it stood against. The company does not create expected marketing, sell based on pricing, sell things it wouldn’t buy, hire for skills ahead of culture, or treat customers like checkbooks or idiots.
Eoin explained the guiding principles that make Moosejaw such a unique brand:
• You must be consistent. Every touch point with a customer is an opportunity to create a brand event. Every touch needs to be identifiable—from the packaging to the emails. And every step needs to be consistent with the last one and the next one.
• Engage with customers on a personal level. A brand is a relationship personal engagement between a customer and a company. You don’t need a storefront to have personal engagement, these can be created online. The use of social media is a great way to start or join conversations with customers.
• Take the long-term view. It’s OK to sacrifice today’s sale for the long-term reputation of your brand. You have to be willing to invest dollars that will have no effect on sales. Moosejaw invested in a campaign for a seasonal catalog with the understanding that it could be a total flop. They created an app that gave customers a way to interact with the printed calendar through augmented reality. The result of the campaign proved extremely successful with more than 3 million app downloads, 600,000 video views, 100s of media mentions and ultimately a 37 percent increase in sales.
This method of building a brand may not completely apply to those of you selling on Amazon but I thought there were great points about connecting with customers.
The presentations were fun and offered new ways of looking at e-commerce. I hope you found something applicable in this post that you can adopt into your business. We’ll have another post about the final day of the show tomorrow.