Ep. #1231 - Amazon Audits
In today’s Startup Hustle episode, Andrew Morgans and Brooklyn Morgans, COO of Marknology, talk about their approach to Amazon audits. The siblings discuss the importance of auditing and using the right tools. They also compare 1P and 3P Amazon auditing and the areas that most impact profitability.
Covered In This Episode
Auditing is tedious but necessary, especially if you are an Amazon seller. Marknology COO Brooklyns Morgans says you need to know where you’re at to figure out where you need to go.
Listen as Andrew and Brooklyn play off each other as they discuss their strategies and corporate structure for Amazon auditing. They discuss how an audit can help break down what a brand needs, including knowing when to audit. The siblings agree on the importance of communication and the interconnectivity of departments to answer crucial questions about the business. They wind down the conversation by discussing the importance of an audit in business planning and strategizing.
If you are an Amazon seller, you need to do regular audits. Find out how the pros do it by jumping in on this Startup Hustle episode.
- Brooklyn’s background (2:01)
- Marknology’s structure (2:56)
- Breaking down what a brand needs (8:35)
- Auditing on Amazon (10:46)
- The importance of using the right tools (16:24)
- When is the right time to audit (17:14)
- The importance of communication and interconnectivity of departments (20:43)
- The areas that impact profitability the most (30:19)
- 1P vs. 3P Amazon auditing (33:44)
Does the story in your product detail pages align with what you’re saying in your SEO? Are you talking about what flavor the product is in both places? What is it made of? What is it used for? Where does it come from? Why should I buy this product? You should be able to answer the same questions in your product, detail pages, and summary that you’re answering in your bullet points and content to make sure that your brand is aligned.– Brooklyn Morgans
Audits are crucial because you may have set it up a year ago, but keywords have changed. Consumers, you know, what they’re looking for has changed, trends change. And if you’re not constantly re-optimizing and trying to push that momentum and the algorithm forward, you’re going to get to become out of date very quickly.– Brooklyn Morgans
It really starts with a plan, and a plan starts with an analysis, an audit of where your company is, where your business is already, what your listings are, and what each of those departments is scoring like how they’re doing and each of those departments.– Andrew Morgans
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Andrew Morgans 0:00
Hey, what’s up, Hustlers? Welcome back. This is Andrew Morgans, founder of Marknology, here as today’s host of Startup Hustle, covering all things e-comm, Amazon, entrepreneurship, startups, and anything about founders, we’re talking about it. We’re gonna be talking about ads, all the things that kind of go into Amazon.com, and we really like to spice it up. Shout out again to our sponsor for making this episode possible. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Today is actually a very special show. I know our guests very closely, as well as the topic today is actually Marknology’s approach to an Amazon audit. And this is something that we as a team here at Marknology have really doubled down on, tripled down on this year, 2023. And so I thought I’d bring in our COO, our account management team, and my sister, Brooklyn Morgans, welcome to the show.
Brooklyn Morgans 1:12
Thank you. I’m so happy to be here.
Andrew Morgans 1:14
Yeah, I thought we could just have some fun kind of talking about, you know, a lot of times we bring in a lot of guys talking about what they’re doing, learning so much about e-comm and Amazon, and very rarely, besides myself, do we get to talk to the Marknology team. So yeah, I’m excited to just introduce you. I know, we’ve had a girls have a Marknology episode. And I think Startup Hustle listeners got to know you a little bit better there. But today, it’s going to be just a little bit of Brooklyn. And I love starting the show up where we just get to know our listeners and get to know our guests a little bit better. And why don’t we just like kind of, you know, sharing with the listeners, like, you know, a little bit about your background around e-comm?
Brooklyn Morgans 2:01
Yeah, thank you. So I’m Brooklyn Morgans, Andrew’s little sister. And we’ve started this company together. Drew about me on to his team about two years after his start with Veronica, and you guys have already been introduced to him. And my role has grown since my first day with Andrew and Marknology. But I’m now operating as a COO and am absolutely obsessed with Amazon and what we’re doing here at Marknology. I’ve been working in the Amazon space for about seven years now. And have been running operations and analytics for about the last four or five years, along with Andrew and the rest of our team leads here.
Andrew Morgans 2:41
Brooklyn, just for our listeners, talk to them about I know that you run our account team, a lot of our strategy audits, problem-solving, all the heavy lifting. Talk to them about the size of our team and kind of how that team is built.
Brooklyn Morgans 2:56
Okay, cool. Um, well, I love my team. I would say that’s the number one acid we have at Marknology, we’ve got about 30 people give or take, because we’re constantly growing and trying to keep everyone that we can. We got it broken down in different departments. So we’ve got the Amazon account management team, which includes a team of project managers that run through strategy, making sure tasks get completed. They’re doing KPI analysis on things like sales, return rates, helping you launch new products, help you come up with ideas, solve their issues, work your cases, all the things that are happening on that Seller Central or Vendor Central side of things. They’re kind of like your it and also your your strategy as they’re working with them. We’ve got the PPC team. So the strategist worked very closely with the PPC team to make sure that our goals are aligned and that our strategies headed in the same direction are doing new product launches, or things are getting a velocity that we want. Or sometimes if we need a slow death velocity because we’ve sold through too fast, we’re working with our PPC team. So on the PPC team, we’ve got our director of advertising, who is David Armenta, and he’s working with three individuals underneath him who are Amazon advertising specialists. And then we’ve got the SEO content team. So while the PPC team is, you know, obviously going to be optimizing our keywords all the time looking into your category targeting headline ads, the root of that is keywords, right? So we have a whole team specifically dedicated to for each individual SKU or Asin. What keywords are optimal for that product. And so not only do they write the SEO, but they also make sure that PPC team is armed with that from the get go, which is a really powerful combination. Then we’ve got the visual content team that comes through and optimize things that are on the listing, you’ll see with your eyes. So if you’ve got PDP images, which are going to be your images above the fold in that main product detail page, A-plus content store On brand story comparison charts, and there, they work as their own silo team. But they’re also work closely, you know, creating PPC ads when we need creative strategy, and making sure that our top performing listings are optimized and work closely with the account management team to do so. Figuring out what products to focus on what attributes to call out so that the SEO, the ads, all of it is running together in harmony. Now, there’s more. So we’ve also got our fulfillment or warehousing team. So they’re going to be helping our account managers and our clients create shipments manage their inventory levels, make sure we don’t have any excess inventory are stocked for those big events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and answering any issues around shipments cases, can’t get something into FBA, those types of things. They also have a warehouse that we do our own fulfillment out of. So they’re, they’re kind of tag teaming the warehouse that they’re managing, but they also help our clients that aren’t currently warehousing with us with a whole suite of issues. And then we’ve got a couple internal teams that aren’t necessarily client facing most of the times. So that would be our team that does our Marknology branding, or admin socials, as well as a couple other personal projects that are close to home. We call that the Brand Media Team. And then we’ve got sales and so it kind of a lot of people wear a lot of different hats, but those are the core groups. What were we gonna say?
Andrew Morgans 6:27
I was gonna say in so essentially, you’re over those teams.
Brooklyn Morgans 6:32
Yeah, I am overall.
Andrew Morgans 6:33
Okay, my point is just, you know, there’s a lot of there’s a lot there. And I think a lot of our listeners are not just specific. Amazon, you know, Amazon only listeners, they might have Shopify sites or even software companies, you name it. So we’ve got, you know, a lot of our listeners are wide across the board. And, to us, non Amazon Pro, I think a lot of what Brooklyn just explained for what we’re doing for an Amazon brand is, is confusing, it’s a lot, it’s hard for any one person and even a small team of three at a company. And, you know, a pretty large company might have to be commerce, people know, it’s pretty big. And I’m setting us up here because what I want to share with absolutely, like, there’s, there’s a lot going on to the fact you know that we have like six teams or so doing different things. And one thing we realized was, we might know this stuff backwards and forwards, A to Z, top to bottom. But more times than not, whenever we’re working with a brand, wherever we get hired as an agency, there is a level of education that needs to be had for like our strategy to really land. But yeah, for each of those departments, right, there’s an education level around them. And since we’re not just doers, we’re business strategists that are working hand-in-hand with the brand, it’s important that we’re we have the same text speak, you know, down so to speak, it’s important that we understand the why behind what we’re doing. And so one of the areas like the topic for today’s episode is, like, you know, Marknology’s approach on Amazon audit. And what I’d like to explain a little bit is how this year we’ve really taken our artists to the next level, and what some of those things are. So can we just transition the show a little bit to kind of saying, these are all the things that we’re doing and a team that we’re running? How do we break down like what a brand needs and present that to customers?
Brooklyn Morgans 8:35
Yeah, so there’s two kind of main strategies that I approach and kind of two buckets, I put audits in one is directing to the point. So you’re getting almost a roadmap, or an audit of where you’re at in the Amazon space right now. What are your listings doing? Where are they optimized, like a scale of one to 10? What pieces are you missing, what opportunities just kind of a lay of the land as well as next steps and a roadmap for either a year up to three years. And the second style of audit is more informative and educational, where we go through all those kind of same issues. But instead of like roadmapping things out, we’re spending more time explaining the nuance and the detail of why each of those different audit categories matter and how they all play a bigger part in what we call, like the Amazon ecosystem, which isn’t just Amazon but also your digital shelf as a whole. So you can take a lot of these audit techniques, these kind of categories and apply them to Walmart, Shopify, Chewy, and make sure that you’re checking all these boxes and doing due diligence in each area because they all play a part in ours, importantly, integral, and connected.
Andrew Morgans 9:41
Yeah, so from our perspective, it just became very important from the beginning of working with a client or partner to have some level of understanding on on what we’re talking about. Everyone has a little bit different approach like since Amazon is so self-taught If there isn’t one, like standard, it’s not like we’re doing Java programming or Java code, and everyone takes, you know, Java, and there’s a standards around the code that we can all see, even if you’re not, you know, working on the same stuff, with Amazon, it’s not really the case. And so we’ve really started spending a lot more time educating around some of the basics. And the results have been, you know, just hitting the ground running, as well as being able to essentially use the audit to find areas of opportunity or fixes and then roadmap out the next, you know, 12, 24 months. Yeah, break, let’s break down, like some of what you know, like, as, as, as one on one as we can get, what are some of the things that we’re, you know, we’re talking about audit, we’re teaching, we’re educating.
Brooklyn Morgans 10:46
Yeah, um, so just to take a little bit of a step back, because I kind of have to do this in my particular order. And that’s why the audit is so important is like, you need to go in phases. So the first thing you’re gonna want to do is get a list of your catalog. And it sounds basic, and you may have software’s that can pull this for you. But I found that a lot of brands don’t have a list of all of their SKUs all of their ASINs, UPC codes, how many reviews each has, what category it’s currently in. So we have about 30, or 40, maybe more different factors that we check. But the first thing is getting a complete ground roadmap of, like, where everything is at, as well as like starting to look at your sales and figuring out the 80, 20 of what products you should be focusing on. But you need to know where you’re at to figure out where you need to go. So once we’ve got that answer sheet created, then I sit down with my team, and I go, Okay, let’s look at their products. And so we start going through, you know, SKU by SKU, all I’m gonna say, Is this in the right category, yes or no? And you can’t just say yes or no, by looking at it and saying like, okay, it’s a baby towel, it says it’s in baby towels, we’re good to go, you need to do a category analysis. So with each of these steps, we’re also looking at your competitors and using tools like SmartScout, Kpop, Helium 10, a whole suite of software’s that I can’t get into about to see all those little details as to where you should be because you may think that you’re doing things correctly. But if you haven’t checked categories in the past year, like Amazon recently did a big category change up. Something as simple as carbonated water used to be called sparkling water. And so when you’re when you’re asin, switch those categories, it’s Amazon, right? Things don’t always go where you want it to go. So we start with the basics, is it in the right category? Is does it have the right brand name? Is it the right UPC still connected to my product? Are there other sellers currently selling on this product? Once you make sure that at least the foundation of that listing is correct, it’s in the right space and it’s created correctly. Then we started looking at things like what’s on that product detail page for almost from top of the page all the way down to the bottom, we call that the anatomy of a listing. So we’re going to be looking at your variation strategy across all SKUs, we’re going to be looking at your SEO. So your titles, your bullet points, we don’t go through every SKU when we’re doing SEO. But we take you find grab one of your top products for each of those categories and seeing if you’re hitting the main markers of those keywords that you should be both organically and through sponsored products. And we have some tools that will do that for us. And we’ll do some keyword analysis at the same time. So with that audit, you’re getting Hey, these are what keywords are currently ranked on. These are what keywords you’re including in your SEO right now. And these are some additional keywords that we think may be opportunities for you going forward, or things that you could go after with PPC that maybe aren’t quite right for your SEO content, like it’s an adjacent keyword. But it’s still very important to your brand. So product detail page has a lot of things. So look at so after variations and SEO, we look at your visual content. Does the story in your product detail pages align with the story that you’re saying in your SEO? Are you talking about what flavor the product is in both places? When we come in this product that you’re selling? What is it made of? What is it used for? Where does it come from? Why should I buy this product? You should be able to answer the same questions in your product, detail pages and summary that you’re answering in your bullet points and content to make sure that your brand is aligned, as well as having the same not necessarily the same style of content, but the same branding feel through each of your SKUs. You don’t want one person to come to a product and it’d be four or five years out of date. And then the next product they they look at be super new or they’re going to be confused and not know which product they should be buying. That leads to longer times on your product detail pages. And we all know we want them to add to cart as quickly as possible. So those things are Yeah, go ahead.
Andrew Morgans 14:47
I was gonna say is that what we and correct me if I’m wrong is that what we would call like a retail ready checklist essentially is like going through those things?
Brooklyn Morgans 14:55
Yeah, absolutely. There’s about 15,20 points on there and we started with Amazon’s retail ready checklist. We didn’t feel like it was robust enough. So we added some things to that. That also includes things like, subscribe and say, Do you have the buy box? Do you have a plus content and some more details like that because retail ready isn’t just oh, I’ve got bullet points up and I’ve got five reviews, it’s are those bullet points and those reviews doing what they need to do for this product to be fully ready to go to market and to push your marketing strategy full force.
Andrew Morgans 15:29
Yeah, like just just listening to you explain this, Brook, makes me just think, you know, I always say like, you don’t know what you don’t know, to people, specifically around Amazon, because they’ll believe they’re selling their they believe their team’s doing the most for them. They believe that they’re proactive. And I’m just like me, and I just know that a lot of the teams or brands are just thinking they’re doing well on Amazon. But there’s just there’s this whole other layer guys, like, there’s this whole other layer of things, you should be checking from your browse nodes and not having wrong attributes in your listings to making sure that there’s cohesiveness and all that. Brook, when you, you briefly mentioned, software that we use right in and we don’t have to go into detail on all of those. But I know we have a plethora of tools, how important to, you know, performing an audit at this level, or, you know, managing a brand at this level, how important are some of those tools?
Brooklyn Morgans 16:24
They’re crucial. So you can do the base level audit of figuring out where you’re at, as far as everything on your product detail page, just visually looking at it. But you can’t decide if those attributes are the right ones without looking at your competition and pulling some software sales. Unless you feel like you’re just crushing every KPI goal, and you have nowhere else to grow. And I guess you don’t really need the audit in the first place. Beside the fact that things like Amazon pin change. Audits are crucial, because you may have set it up a year ago, but keywords have changed consumer, you know, what they’re looking for has changed, trends change. And if you’re not constantly re optimizing and trying to push that momentum, and the algorithm forward, you’re going to get to become out of date very quickly. So like, Okay, God,
Andrew Morgans 17:14
I was just gonna say, I think, I think a big part of that is, brands will even do a good job on launching an ace. And let’s say they’ve got their PDP page, you know, beautiful, they’ve got other PDB images, beautiful, they’ve got their a Plus page beautiful, their SEO is good. But more often than not, it’s almost like set it and forget it. Right? And so, you know, we’ll come across listings that look great, but they’re like, Hey, we’ve taken a skate or it’s not performing the way it should. And you have to constantly what I would consider re-optimize, a re-evaluate re audit. You know, where your listings were even even a year ago, sometimes it’s it’s as early as six months, depending on you know, what’s happening in the market. But the way, you know, people refer to things can change quickly, you might find something new that wasn’t there before. Competitors may have popped on the scene or left the scene. And it’s just very, very important to even if you have listings that you think aesthetically look great. You need to dig back in and check those keywords, check that SEO. You know, make sure to check the reviews out of those lining up with what you’re trying to sell in your proposition. Is there anything you could do better than the images now that you’ve gotten more reviews? Maybe more feedback? Something something that just like, you know, you think you’re good, but when’s the last time you checked?
Brooklyn Morgans 18:32
Yeah, I like to use the analogy, it’s, it’s more like growing a garden than it is like mowing your grass, you may mow your grass once every two weeks, once a month. And but once once you kind of put your seed in and you fertilize it, you’re good for the rest of the year, right? There may be like those people who really are optimizing, you know, their front yards. But with a garden, you’ve got to consistently look at each plant individually, or each group of plants and see like how are you guys doing? You know? Are you flourishing? Are you doing as well, as you were doing last year? Are there any new environmental factors and being affected your growth, you know, things like pesticides, right. And so like that ties into Amazon, because maybe your products have gotten some keyword change in the back end that you weren’t aware of by a competitive seller or even by Amazon themselves. And now you’re not indexing the same way that you thought you were because someone decided to put the word heard aside in your back end search terms. Little things like that are just really important to to protect your brand. But even if you’re not, you know worried about things changing. When we’re kicking off with a client, we do these audits as well as you know, for our clients that are on retainer, so that we can quickly get people up to speed and know why we’re so analytical and obsessive. I like all these little things. A lot of times brands come in and they want to go quick and we want them to be able to go quick too. But these conversations need to be had they need to know why we choose color and size instead of style name for their variations that you know why we’re pushing for Subscribe and Save and the binary view program, they know why one category is chosen over another. And we can go through that whole training process. And they may say, like Brooklyn, I just want you to do what you do, I don’t want to give my opinion on anything. But I found you know, that’s not usually not the case. Most time people are hungry for information and they want it they want more information about their brands, not less, and they want, they want audit, so they can actually make tangible changes with and see why we’re making those decisions versus just going off of a playbook. That could be you know, copied over and over again, it’s very specific, and tailors.
Andrew Morgans 20:44
I love that, Brooklyn. Shout out again, to our sponsor, FullScale.io. Finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io. We can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. FullScale.io, an amazing place to go if you’re looking for developers. Brooklyn, I wanted to segment here because I want to take it just a little bit, a little bit different direction. Talk to me just a little bit about you know, we talked about, you know, warehousing and inventory and forecasting, account management, advertising, SEO. You know, we’ve got, I’m sure, I think there’s one creative department right, so at least five. And then you probably you probably have off Amazon, we have an off Amazon team brand media team. So, you know, maybe six departments. Talk to me about, you know, this is all part of an audit. But talk to me about why. You know, it’s important that all those are talking, you know, so many times we do these audits, and it feels like the advertising team, the PPC team, and the SEO team are not in unison. They’re not talking. They’re not cohesive. They’re not, you know, they’re not sharing information. Talk to me just about, you know, the different departments, why we have them there, and how important they are when you’re doing an audit to really see how well this is functioning.
Brooklyn Morgans 22:18
Yeah, so here’s one of those things that like that we’ve built our team this way. And so I really had to take a step back and be like, Okay, how do I explain to brands who don’t operate this way, why we’re doing things so different, and why it’s important that we have these big team meetings and these kickoffs, and they get to talk to so many different departments. And then the account managers role really, is to simplify it, right? So it may sound daunting, like, oh, I have to work with six teams. But you’ve got like a lead person who’s there to hold your hand. And it all plays in together. So we have like, kind of like this graph that shows you know how your SEO ties into your PPC. And you could say like, yes, everything works together. I’ve heard that before. But if you take one single little thing, like your, you know, your PPC, right, what does that function off of? It needs to be in the right category, right? You can’t have you can advertise in different categories, but it’s going to affect your BSR and your placement, which is what that PPC is for if you’re not categorized correctly, if your variations aren’t very good together, so say you’ve got, you know, you’re selling chocolate cereal, and you’re selling strawberry cereal for the same exact, maybe they’re a little like Froot Loops or something like that. And your consumers are searching, you’ve got the chocolate and the strawberry in two different variations. Now you’re having to divide up that PPC, or maybe you’ve got a four pack of chocolate cereal and wine because you’re trying to sell bulk. And you’ve got your two packs and a different variation because they were set up three years ago. Well, now your PPC team is trying to advertise on, you know, organic chocolate cereal crisps, that same exact keyword against two different variations. They’re having to divide that. Where’s that traffic going? And then when you’re trying to track your organic ranking on those keywords, which is what our SEO team does when after we write the SEO and upload it we track all that organically is that PPC spend being directed towards one product? And that’s why it’s not ranking organically? Well, that variation strategy ties into that. If the this is just looking at the PPC team, specifically, if there’s no inventory on a product, right, then you’re driving all this PPC spend, oh, now we’re two weeks late on a shipment and we start to lose a cost. So we lose out a row as when you start back up with that PPC spend. It’s important for the team to know like, hey, there’s going to be a delay here because we’ve been out of inventory and the algorithm takes a while to pick back up and to even spend the PPC spend that you were spending before. If you’re driving traffic to a listing and you’re getting you’re hitting all those main keywords, you know they’re right but it’s just not converting. Well, maybe you need to be looking getting accurate visual content, right? Maybe your images aren’t compelling enough maybe that white background needs hibiscus flower, if a typisk of scented lotion to really stand out and drive more clicks, maybe if you’ve got
Andrew Morgans 25:13
more too convincing or too convincing and leads to a massive return problem because you’re because you’re overselling and not educating. Right? Right.
Brooklyn Morgans 25:22
So if you’re dealing, you’re your PPC team is like, hey, you know, our ad cost is looking great, but our takeoffs is horrible. That’s because you have a higher return rate. Or maybe you’re running into other issues with shipping, you’re losing, losing money there, all those different things are going to affect your PPC team, right. And it works in any other direction. So my visual content team isn’t going to know how to optimize a listing and isn’t going to be able to drive sales. If they’re not able to drive traffic to that listing and see what keywords convert and what matters to consumers, the inventory management team isn’t going to be able to send in more inventory if the account management team isn’t helping to push that through and to let them know when new products are launching. New product launches are like the perfect example for when you really need the full team involved. Because if everyone is kind of doing their own strategy, hopefully your team is trained enough that they can kind of overlap. But how much better would it be if everyone knew from the beginning, after an audit, what the game plan was, what goal we’re trying to achieve, what brand messaging we want to get across. And we can focus all of those efforts to spend as little as possible for the maximum amount of return. That’s what everyone wants at the end of the day.
Andrew Morgans 26:37
Yeah, and one thing I’ve noticed is depending on what size brand we’re talking to because we do audits for single SKU brands, all the way up to you know, Fortune 50 brands. And, you know, we have those in the agency, we haven’t like the whole gambit. And the larger the company, the more fractional or fractionalized their teams are. So you know, their media buying team and the creative team and our ops team might be three separate teams that never really communicate. They’re just in their own their own world, so to speak, they have their own goals, their own leaders, their own managers, you know, whatever the case, their marching orders, but Amazon is just different than how other traditional companies are ran like on Amazon, these teams need to be communicating, they need to be talking, they need to be showing strategy to get the best results, right, to, to launch a new product and know what keywords we rewrote in the product and which ones we want to organically rank for. And then are the ones that we used, actually the ones to convert or not. And if they’re not, why are we having them in the content, images, let’s change that and make changes, let’s re optimize. And I will say that one thing that’s changed between having a smaller team and a larger team is the importance within the agency because I don’t know, you know, a lot of teams out there that are running their own Amazon or e-comm are pretty small, maybe a couple of people at most trying to do all these things. An agency with at least like, you know, six different teams all working in unison, it becomes of the utmost importance that everyone is talking to everyone all the time, and really sharing, you know, results from all sides.
Brooklyn Morgans 28:15
Yeah, that’s why we use Click Up. And there’s a whole list of a whole bunch of project management software’s that you can use. But we try to keep the majority of our conversations, even if it’s silent to one team in a public setting so that my other teams can look for that information and cross reference it when they’re making their decisions. Instead of having to wait for an a call with an account manager to see what new products are listed. They can easily see the new product launch tasks, and make their own tasks. From there, get all the details about price point goals, you know, the KPIs that we’re trying to reach, and we do still have those conversations, but having all that information in an open setting, and kind of agreeing upon it as a team with our clients makes things run a whole lot smoother. And really helps everyone do their job better. You think that like okay, go just focus on this one thing, and you’ll really nail it. But on Amazon, if you don’t understand how PPC works. If you don’t understand, you know, not being able to send in enough inventory because you’ve run out of space, you’re going to make some bad decisions, or you’re going to make some errors, you’re going to set up a coupon or that you didn’t want to set up or you’re going to run out of stock on something or you’re going to your listing isn’t performing the way that you want. A lot of those can be avoided by understanding all the different pieces that play into your job. So we really spend a lot of time cross training our team in these different departments. They all pretty much spend at least a day or two when they’re onboarding, working with each team to see what they do. And then we also have those monthly meetings where everyone is talking about their issues, talking about what’s coming up and what’s new, so that you can think in your mind, okay, this variation isn’t just for me, you know, the variation that I’m making the case that I’m making right now to change this brand Same sex the rest of my team, and I want to fix this issue so that the rest of my team can be successful so that the brand can be successful.
Andrew Morgans 30:08
Right, all the way down to the warehouse thing side of things, right? And knowing that a mistake,
Brooklyn Morgans 30:14
one of the most important Yeah.
Andrew Morgans 30:19
Was working coming up on time, Brooklyn, this has been amazing. I’m excited that the Startup Hustle community has gotten a chance to know our powerhouse, you might know, which is You’re welcome. But it’s our little secret, right? And but no, this is fun, and I hope hopefully informative to people. But one thing I wanted to end with is a conversation around profitability and how often it comes up. And you know, how important profitability is, I guess, obviously, there’s investors that, you know, some investment brands are more focused on top, you know, top line sales and things like that. But in general, profitability is a very, very important topic. Incomes, at least in 2023 2022 2003, has come up an absolute enormous amount of time. So they’re really leaning on us to help them get profitable, stay profitable, get more profitable. Talk to me just about that conversation that’s happening with brands, the importance of it, you know, some of the tools we use to help us get there. And then some of the some of the areas that impact profitability the most.
Brooklyn Morgans 31:24
Yeah, so I started really having those deep profitability conversations. About three or four years ago, it used to be the smaller brands, right? The bigger brands were so profitable out the gate that, you know, they cared about profitability, but they knew that they were making money, and they didn’t really want to spend the time to look at each individual SKU. But the smaller brands understood that you know, that 10 cent labeling difference and make a really big impact on their ability to grow the brand next year because they’ve now made more revenue. But looking at 2023, and even 2022, we started having these conversations almost on every single call, right? It’s not enough just to say like, Hey, you grew in sales this month, if you lost that same amount of revenue because you’re not, you know, profitable there. And you do, you do make those sacrifices, sometimes intentionally, to lose profitability to try and grow momentum on a product. But rarely, and even rarely, moreso today, when every dollar is important. Usually the issues of profitability, you know, they used to be like, oh, let’s just turn down PPC. But now we’re looking at from the ground level, how are you packaging your products? How can we get them smaller? How can we sell get that price point higher? If you’re selling any type of consumable item, whether it be like a skincare or a smoothie, or you know, a pack of gum, try and sell it in bigger pack sizes. It’s not just Amazon brands or Walmart brands that are worried about being profitable. It’s also the consumer, right, because that’s the way that our country has changed in these past couple of years, is consumers if they buy bigger pack sizes, usually you’re saving a little bit of money. Same thing with Subscribe and Save. Subscribe and Save benefits the consumer in the end getting because they’re now getting that 10% off. Maybe they’re not forgetting and running to the store and buying something more expensive and saving them money. But you’ve now also saved on that customer acquisition, hopefully for the lifetime of that customer. So all those little things we’ve seen like packaging, reducing fees, Amazon fees have continued to go up year over year, especially now that we’re in Q4, we got we saw another spike. So you’re now having to consolidate your PPC look at your FBA fees, look at those referral fees, increase pack sizes, reduce return rates, every single little thing that you can do to get at an extra point or two out of profitability. We’re looking at helping our brands with.
Andrew Morgans 33:46
Yep, and that’s been just the absolute, like, you know, focus of so many of our conversations, whether we’re auditing a brand for the first time or it’s an existing brand, you know, that’s struggling to get profitable, maybe their manufacturing costs went up, their cost of goods went up, maybe the three PL part partner, they’re like, you know, it was containers in 2020 2021 the price of containers went up and so you know, you’re evaluating every part of the business you just be like, Where can I find one to five 10% You know, the gist will help the bottom line depending on the area whether it’s wasted spend and PPC, which seems to be the easiest, but maybe it’s your packaging maybe it’s your warehousing maybe it’s your you know, maybe it’s your team, you know, maybe it’s not getting your listing site optimized as much not converting as much PPC is like going as far okay, let’s invest in the content to get you know, more bang for our buck and just just a big conversation and it’s something else came to mind I want to talk about just I feel like it’s happening, you know, in our business more and more and more, it’s always been there. You know, I’ve been doing this for 12 years, so I’ve seen a little bit of everything. But the difference between 1P and 3P even in the audit process, like you know how you’re evaluating this businesses is quite a bit different. It’s almost like in a B2B model versus the B2C model, this three P, talk to you about just a little bit in how we’ve approached. You know, those two and honestly, it’s not even, it’s not even usually 1P versus 3P, sometimes it’s a hybrid of both. But how but how you no need to evaluate both can come into play for a lot of brands.
Brooklyn Morgans 35:25
Yeah, so you know, when you’re selling through Vendor Central, you don’t have nearly as much information. We do have soft suits for a vendor, but they’re not nearly as robust as the software suites. They’ll pull out information for Seller Central. So you’ve got to really look deeper for that information. The Edit product detail page is gonna look different. And the information is just a little bit more hidden. I’ve kind of tried to explain it to brands on, like, when you’re submitting information to Vendor Central, it’s almost like you were requesting that they change it. And because Amazon is the one that’s selling it, they can approve or disapprove. So you’ll see a lot more content changes that you didn’t want to happen on the vendor central side of things, not necessarily by resellers, so to speak, but by Amazon, and just taking their free liberty to change listings as they want. It’s also really difficult for brands to understand their profitability and just the whole structure. I mean, it should. They may have like a great plan in place, and their logistics team is smooth. But putting in something, putting a new software in place that will look at all of your POS, look at your chargebacks, look at those, you know, additional fees that come through Amazon suddenly trying to change their pack size. We worked with a client that had basically ordered a whole bunch of inventory. They shipped it, and then they canceled it before you actually arrived at Amazon’s warehouse, and they got back built somehow for canceling the order. And that kind of like puts them in a tough spot. However they were able to get fully reimbursed from Amazon for that by using the software. So you really do need a superior tool when you’re working with Vendor Central just to see, like, all those little charges because Amazon is trying to get as much money out of you as possible. They’re a business, too, right? They’re not just like, oh, great. We’re so glad you’re on Amazon. Let’s make sure that we’re all breaking even, like no, we want to make money on you. We want to make money on the PPC. We want to make money on the resellers. And they’re going to find every little way that they can with Seller Central. It’s a little bit more straightforward. And we can pull that information pretty quickly. And it’s easy to see where those changes are coming from that you didn’t want to. And you can just do some basic level math to figure out if you’re profitable, even if you don’t have software in place. If you add up your cost of goods and your FBA fees, you can do some estimates, and you can get pretty close to your profitable range on a school-by-school basis. So that’s a little bit more straightforward. Having a tool makes it 1000 times easier, but it is doable on Seller Central, whereas Vendor has a lot more roadblocks. But it has its benefits as well. So, I can see why people choose to go that path.
Andrew Morgans 38:09
Now, this is absolute gold for anyone who’s selling on Amazon or thinking about selling on Amazon. You know, whether your team is the one executing or not, it can just really benefit to have pro team experts that really have this level of understanding of how Amazon works. Tell you what you should be focused on, what you should be working on, what some issues are, and how you can get better. And then either taking that back to your team or hiring a team to help you accomplish it, whatever. It really starts with a plan, and a plan starts with an analysis, an audit of where your company is, where your business is already, what your listings are, and what each of those departments is scoring, like how they’re doing and each of those departments. So, Brooklyn, this has been super informative. And thank you so much for being on the show. We’re getting a chance to are giving the chance to our Hustler listeners to get a chance to know you.
Brooklyn Morgans 39:03
Hopefully, it is for you guys. So, thank you so much for having me.
Andrew Morgans 39:07
Yeah, thank you, Hustlers really appreciate you guys tuning in and getting a chance to know Brooklyn, my sister, a leader here at Marknology. That’s really running our team when it comes down to the account management side of things and how to make everything run absolutely smoothly. And thanks again to our sponsor, FullScale.io. We wouldn’t be able to do this show without them promoting, editing, posting, and outreach to great guests. We are absolutely thankful for them. And so, do you need to hire software engineers? Testers and leaders let Full Scale help. They have the people in the platform to help you build that and manage a team of experts. At Full Scale, they specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. Thank you, Brooklyn. Thank you, Hustlers. We’ll see you next time.