Ep. #1135 - E-Commerce Elevated: Innovative Retail Tech
In this Startup Hustle episode, Andrew Morgans welcomes the CEO and Co-founder of EQL, Andrew Lipp. Listen to them discuss elevating your e-Commerce business through innovative retail tech. They also talk about hype marketing and how and why it works. Additionally, learn why you need to connect to your customers emotionally and the solution for big drop products.
Covered In This Episode
Should you believe in the hype? But what is hype marketing, and why is it working?
Andrew Morgans and Andrew Lipp discuss hype marketing and how brands use them. They also talk about the psychology of hype and how innovative retail tech like EQL levels the playing for customers to get their hands on limited products. Furthermore, they share the importance of connecting emotionally with customers.
Join their conversation in this Startup Hustle episode for insights about innovative retail tech.
- Andrew Lipp’s backstory (1:41)
- Passion is inherent in e-commerce transactions (9:35)
- How EQL come to be (14:45)
- How EQL works (21:31)
- What is a hype drop (30:26)
- Some brands have mastered the art of collaboration (34:34)
- The psychology of hype (39:40)
- Connecting through emotions (42:33)
- What Andrew is working on this year that he’s excited about (44:53)
- Where to find EQL and Andrew Lipp (46:11)
Consumers have their passions and, like, you do with the bands you’re watching. You know, and the thing that happens around these e-commerce transactions that we play around with these is their frenzies because the passion is inherent, and it’s built into people.Andrew Lipp
You realize that humans do have, buried within them, the desire to have some kind of currency, right? To have some social credits and currency. When the moment arises, and they see other people they admire, or they like, or they’re interested in chasing this thing. And they all of a sudden realized without knowing that they were joining that line. That’s kind of what drives this type of behavior online. It drives this behavior in store, it drives this behavior of frenzy, right? There’s there is within you, whether you admit it or not, a little bit of chasing the social status and the currency that other people have around you.Andrew Lipp
I think to do anything great, sometimes you have to be great. And to be great, you got to be extreme. And to be extreme, you don’t have time to walk the dog and plant the flowers and workout and eat five meals a day that are meal prep. So, take it easy on yourself a little bit and then just, you know, I think the healthy thing is to say, Okay, how do I get my habits back on time, you know, getting back to normal, but nothing was ever made from being mediocre.Andrew Morgans
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Andrew Morgans 0:01
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-commerce and entrepreneurship; Amazon in the marketplace is holistic commerce, you name it. Today we’re going to be talking about specifically E-commerce elevated, innovative retail tech. And before I get into kind of why we chose that title and who here as today’s guests before I make that introduction, 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. Andrew Lipp is another great name; we were talking about whether to call him Drew or Andrew; hailing from Australia; thank you for being up so early for this podcast, and welcome to the show. Of course, thanks for having me. Yeah, so we’re gonna get you woke up for the day; we’ve got a Friday; here is Cinco de Mayo here in the US. And, you know, we celebrate at least here where I am here in the Midwest. You know, they’ve got streets blocked off. And there’s a big Mexican culture here. So it’s a big party in your, it’s your Friday there. So we’re gonna have some fun with it and treat it like a Friday episode. Before we get into exactly like EQL, your company EQL. And what you guys do in regards to tech and retail and E-com. Let’s talk a little bit about your story. You know, like, where you got started, where you got the entrepreneurial bug, like how you got into E-commerce. But before that, like, who’s Andrew? How’d you become a marketer? Let’s, let’s start where your story begins. And you see, you start wherever you’d like.
Andrew Lipp 1:41
Yeah, yeah, let’s do this. So, you know, I’m, I’m an 80s baby. But I grew up on sneakers, Jordan was playing in the NBA, I used to collect comic books, you know, the back in those days, and I sound like I’m like, 100 years old. But, you know, if you wanted, if you wanted a pair of sneakers, you know, you had to have your parents had to have friends in Australia, at least your parents had to have friends that were going to the US when there’s this big trip in the 80s. Okay, and you put in, you put in your request, right and put in this lab, a pair of bass, or I bought a pair of that because all that stuff didn’t exist in Australia, I just couldn’t get a hands-on it. And so my parents would have a friend that would go overseas might come back and bring me these character sneakers, or comic books or whatever. But sneakers were the main thing. And I get them, and you know, I’d actually put them like just sitting really nicely on the floor of my bedroom, and I put my nightlight spotlight on them. And I’d kind of make them look amazing. And I’d fall asleep looking at him. That was kind of my thing, right? And, you know, and ever since then, I’ve been into stages trying to get my hands on them. Likewise, basketball cards back then, as I said, I used to collect a whole bunch of comic books, but I was kind of like, really into that Zeitgeist II culture kind of cartoony NBA sneaker, as a time to God, you know, I got older. And you know, maybe in my early 20s, I was still in, but I kind of came a little bit out of Excel; I was a bit disenfranchised for what was going on; you couldn’t get the things you wanted, I started to see race out kicking off in a big way. I just didn’t know how to how to access and started to become disenfranchised with that whole kind of world. I, I’ve been a marketer now for 15 years or so. My career started in advertising at BBDO. I was at Google for nine years in brand and performance marketing for our kickoff call, and it’s called EQL everyone calls it AQL. And as a bad guy probably should. I mean, that should have been a thing I saw at the beginning, but I didn’t. So it’s called EQL, the idea of, you know, fair access. But anyhow, at Google, and again, it’s going to sneakers, but totally disenfranchised by this. By this stage. I was like, you know, there was a launch; it was an anti-shoe out of that shoe; I went actually to line up to get it. And keep in mind, you know, I’ve got three children, you know, I work full time, lining up is hard for the guy. You know, jumping online at night is really hard when you’re trying to get drops. But two things happened to me. I lined up for the day. And then I missed out. I was like the last second last person, you know, that missed out and didn’t get it. Didn’t get it. And I saw all these folks in front of me. And all they were doing was like they were getting access to this sneaker. They were just taking your photo, putting it on eBay. And I was standing there watching the eBay listings coming up on my phone, right while I was waiting about like trying to get the sneaker, and I thought like I’m a fan, like I’m absolutely a fan of these sneakers. Right. So is there a way that a fan can get fair access? Because I’m certainly not; my friends are. Certainly, certainly not. And so I started to think, you know, like, there’s a world here where brands like Nike added as any high hate, and it goes well beyond sneakers. Especially in the sports world. It’s all about fairness, like everyone’s an athlete and should get our products to Hasbro fans. It’s one wedge of commerce where we’re real fans aren’t necessarily given fair access. Right. And that’s the nature of a lucrative resale market, right is you do get folks, you know, doing really interesting things to get their hands on high volumes to resell. And folks like myself or anyone else misses out on it, and it becomes frustrating. And then shortly after that, I was actually online for this Nike Stranger Things collaboration that launched a few years back. And there was this retail store that was doing a high heat drop off, and I was on the site, I thought, I got it in cart, credit card, debited, awesome, went to go pick it up. And when I went into the retail store, they had no recollection of my transaction, no reference to it, right? There was nothing they could give me. And I said, Why does that happen? And I said, Well, you know, we must have oversold. And what happens in this world of high heat is sites crash because there’s an absolute frenzy. folks that want to resale clear out in entry. Payments happen all the one time, and everything goes out of sync; you have something in your cart, and someone steals it accidentally. You transact that basic transaction, and you have no idea where the inventory went. And then, ultimately, it’s real fans like the hands-on products. And the thing for retailers is it’s an operational nightmare. They peeked through the rubble for weeks or months, trying to get their hands on these things. So I’ve got a marketing kind of skew, as I said, like, I’m a brand lover. I’m a consumer lover. And I also just think about how you solve problems. I think about marketing; your marketing is really about how you connect with the user to solve problems in the right way that reaches them and makes them feel something that makes them behave differently, and how you ultimately change their behavior. And so combining that kind of insight and the passion for the consumer, which was May in that instant, I was thinking happened, some of the biggest brands in the world actually deliver these types of experiences in a better way. And that was kind of how Aiko was born. And I can go through the origin story, and I feel like I probably didn’t answer any of your questions.
Andrew Morgans 7:06
It was actually great. And I see, like, kind of how you, at least how you came up with the idea of EQL, you know, from a passion of being a consumer yourself and saying, Hey, these are this is a bad experience. You know, for me, I’ve built Marknology one, it’s my name is not Mark. And so not everyone gets that now that I’m, you know, nine years into learning exactly how people take the name, but for me, E-commerce was in the middle of marketing and technology. And so it was Marknology; I used when I was an E-commerce manager, I used to schedule something between two departments, the marketing and technology team; I call it the Mark Knology lunch, you know, so as the E-commerce guy was in the middle, but I’m Drew I’m not marked. So you know that that causes some problems sometimes. But you know, I solved it, like, it came from a passion of, when I’m a problem solver, I love solving problems. Like if I’m anything, it’s probably just a problem solver; whether it’s ecommerce or friendships or anything like I’m, I’m trying to solve the problems. And, you know, I, as I was an E-commerce manager full time, started freelancing on the side because I saw that there was nobody helping any of these brands on Amazon, no one really helping them succeed. No one is really showing them the ropes. I built my technology from a place of wanting to just provide a better service and help people, and I love selling. I love ,you know, I’ve gotten enamored with the idea of being able to put stuff online and then see the sell like you were talking about the sneakers on eBay. I definitely started on eBay; I hit my first million on eBay with car parts. So it was I was taking like a trailer hitch or trailer ball, the trailer lights doing all the work for the consumer and essentially saying, like you have a 2008 Toyota Sienna van, this is the kit that you need. I have done all the work for you. And I put it into Photoshop and like, you know, and it was I had the bug there but I 100% understand what you’re saying and something that’s like really, I used to be you know, from a very poor family didn’t have a lot and spend a lot conservative kind of mindset, there’s a lot of shows I didn’t go to or things I didn’t get because I either couldn’t be in line because I was working or at school or we couldn’t afford it or I couldn’t pay the reseller price. And I will say that now in my 30s, I’m literally like my late 30s. Having fun now having more fun now because I can actually afford to pay for that tickets even if I can’t get them when they first come out
Andrew Lipp 9:35
tidal wave, you know everyone’s got their passions, right? Consumers have their passions, and as you do with the bands, you’re lacking. You know, and the thing that happens around these E-commerce transactions that we play around with these ease their frenzies because the passion is inherent and it’s built into people, right the thing they really love and you’ve touched it, whether it’s constant, It gets right like whether you love Drake, Taylor Swift. Right? And what to get your hands on those tickets. Right? And you’ve listened to Taylor Swift for the last 10 years. Right? Should you have a better chance of getting access than someone else? Probably, right? Whether you’re, you know, a passionate Kobe Bryant fan, right? Like, you know, the, there’s one thing about, should you have a better chance and like we can talk about for a second, but there’s one thing about should you have fair access, right, and you should have fair access. And these moments, when you think about the type of E-commerce we play in, which is scarce commerce, or hype, commerce, or in demand, commerce is all the behaviors and all the reactions are driven by the utmost passion for a thing, new love at that moment that you want more than anything else, and you will have blinkers on as that opportunity to get your hands on that thing arises. And for us, that was really what was driving our thinking, and like, the creation of this idea is getting products into the hands of real fans and solving for the problems that ensue, or that exist when you’ve got 100,000 200,000 of those same people, and a portion of them trying to kind of capitalize on buying imagery to resell, but that frenzy happens at the one time. So that emotional kind of outlet, all these channels to this one moment in E-commerce, right? And how do you solve that? And I think if you think about commerce like that, it’s like an energy, it’s a frenzy, it’s an expression, it’s an emotion, all channeled into that one transaction experience, you can think about with, you know, your E-commerce hat on how that is not like any behavior seen in E-commerce.
Andrew Morgans 11:51
Yeah, and I think there’s something, even as a marketer, that’s, like, perplexing, that is just the successfulness, or like, of a drop. So there’s a lot of brands that just do drops, they’re not available after that, like you’re getting them is kind of scarcity mindset, like get it now or it’s gone. As humans, we naturally kind of gravitate toward that. Right. It’s like if I don’t get it right now, like, you know, FOMO; I’m not gonna have it, like, you’re building that hype. And that’s a marketing strategy that I like; I mean, I think it’s like, get it while it’s hot, or like you won’t have it, we’re moving on to the next design is kind of like fast fashion in some ways, but also not because you know, the kiss and, you know, like, I’ve got a hoodie from Kiss. That’s a, it’s a fear of God, hoodie. And it’s the monarch’s KC monarch. So in Kansas City, where I’m from, we have the first, like, you know, we had the first Negro League baseball team, and with something that we’re very proud of, like, for having that first team, and they’re called the monarchs, the KC monarchs, and then kiss did a drop of that. And I already was a fan of kit. And I’m like, Look, I’m getting that hoodie, just because it’s like, they’re literally repping Kansas City, my favorite, like, you know, New York brand, or whatever. I’m getting it, you know, and so I understand that, like, I gotta, I gotta grab it, I gotta grab it. And my mentor, actually, if you’ve read his book, $1 million bedroom, is actually the founder of Full Scale and the founder of the Startup Hustle podcast. In his book, he talks about his first business as a ticket brokerage. Right? So he was the reseller hacker guy that we, like, you know, I’ve benefited because since I’ve known him, I get access to all types of things and tickets, or whatever, but he was the guy that was figuring that out. Because you can’t, can’t necessarily like to take up 30 spots in a line if you go to GameStop for the new game job like that, because he’s how I grew up like for my favorite games, like I Age of Empires, or close combat or something that was like, in line to get that game, there’s no way I was gonna miss it. Like, because there’s gonna be hundreds of hours of gameplay for me, probably. But you can’t. You can’t buy 40 by standing in line; there are limits for the customers. There’s, there’s things like that. So I’m honestly interested; I think like the rest of our listeners are just kind of hear, like, how EQL works and like, you know what that platform looks like? Yeah, totally.
Andrew Lipp 14:18
So. So maybe, maybe I’ll kind of tell you how we came because it’ll, it’ll tell you how. Yeah, because
Andrew Morgans 14:28
I think we started out. We started, like, your passion, and we stopped it, like, you know, where you had worked. It worked. Google worked. A lot of these companies were performance marketing, like something I know, you know, quite a bit about on the Amazon side. I understand driving sales and things like that. This seems like something a little bit completely different. In a way, Yeah,
Andrew Lipp 14:45
it is. It is. So you know, we started, so there was the three of us actually accurate goal. I was there for nine years in brand marketing on the cloud side. So the infrastructure side of Google. And I was in performance marketing when I initially started. It might. My two founders, Patrick, was a principal engineer at Google. And he also worked on cloud and infrastructure and gaming. So his skill is a kind of infrastructure. So how does it scale, but then gaming, interacting, you know, capitalizing on moments driving emotion? And then James James, our third co-founder, he’s our Chief Revenue Officer; Jason James is in the ad retail sales sites; he was actually helping retail brands across Australia think about how to spend their ad dollars on Google, me, and James sneaker fans by trial, because as I touched on earlier, both into you know, into the category, both disenfranchised by how was traveling, Patrick Allen, our CTO, and very, very wise engineer, barely wear shoes when he codes usually. But he was really enamored by the tech challenges that exist in these moments, right? And you touched on it from a marketing perspective. But the fascinating thing that happens in these in these moments is that you, whether it’s a marketer or a product person, spend all this innovation and energy on creating this amazing collaboration or this very cool product, right? And what happens usually is everyone wants it; they go into a frenzy site often crash. Bots and scammers come in and clear out high volumes of inventory. Payments and order management systems go out of sync. And real friends don’t get their hands on the products I love. But what also happens is operationally, it’s an absolute nightmare for retailers, and they pick through the rubble of the chaos for months of do we oversell, did we undersell, do put the inventory back in the warehouse. Back in the warehouse, we put it back on shelves, and we put it back on shelves, does that look like it was like an exciting product, you got angry consumers who couldn’t get the thing that they wanted right then and there. They’re screaming from the top of the buildings and like dusting off their Facebook logins too, you know, to scream about it too, you know, to their friends, right? And the other thing you also find, as a marketer, is the product you spent so much money and time and energy and passion on the building. It fell off a cliff when the moment was to actually sell it. And it doesn’t get the ceremony it deserves. And we kind of felt that EECOM today is not built to manage the hate. And there are no tools that help retailers maximize that moment, understand who wants to buy, capture all the interest build a better brand experience. So we thought user world where we could create hype commerce as a service or scarce commerce as a service. Could you create a platform as a layer that sits on top of your eight E-commerce stack? That does all that stuff scale when the time is right, so we can manage the frenzy? Does a lot of you know signaling around who was trying to buy and what kind of techniques they’re using and to understand, are they a real fan? Or are they behaving like a bot? Right? And should we start uploading them down, waiting to hopefully sell to real fans first? And then we thought can you make payments more accurate and have high pull-through as a high frequency of payments happening in succession really quickly, without going out of sync? And
Andrew Morgans 18:06
pause you right there just for a second because something I didn’t share was my first job. When I left being a musician in a band touring us, my degree. I went from serving like bartending for seven years to working at MasterCard in a NOC. So, you know, my first year in the professional world, using my degree, was like, Where 4050-year-olds are, they’re very professional, like networking guys, and was literally responsible for managing the networks from a lot of overseas. Countries that are banking, right? So Australia, India, Philippines, Brazil, you know, these were my shifts, so to speak. And I’d be watching banks of America and anyone using MasterCard, essentially. But we would see some of this kind of just for like a little bit of insight, some some fun insight. It was like, you know, in these high traffic economies zones, like Brazil, or these places where E-commerce This was 10 years plus ago, you know, so everything’s slower at the time, but we would see these big bottlenecks for transactions cutting out, and it was a major problem. It could have been a Walmart and not necessarily an E-commerce Store during a hype boss. But, like, we were MasterCard, we were stepping in trying to how do we process all these became like a huge issue. So on the transaction side, I definitely saw that.
Andrew Lipp 19:26
Yeah, you know, you got to think about, you got to think about these moments as hot parts. Basically, how we build the tech is based on HotPads, right? You got to know when there’s going to be bottlenecks. And you’ve got to think about actually how do you unlock the bottleneck quickly, in a moment, to then kind of then lift that gate and move on to the next bottleneck. So the way we build the tech from the ground up is built for high costs or scarcity. It assumes that you’re going to get a ton of traffic, right, like an insane amount of traffic, wanting to do a whole bunch of things, put in their credit card details, authenticate that credit card, authenticate themselves, you know, So show it is built, you know, really differently to have our commerce today’s is built
Andrew Morgans 20:06
just for fun food for thought because I’m just having a lot of fun thinking about how you solve this, if I’m being honest. And I remembered like when, probably a few years back, and it has been five years, I don’t know; I’m not dating myself either, hopefully. But you know, I started seeing like Kohl’s and Nordstrom Rack and some of these places where maybe around the holidays, they would have big sales or deals where all of the employees essentially became cashiers at any given time. Yes. So they would carry around these little like the ability to train, you know, if you had a card and not cash, but I can check you out right here. And so whenever they would get a big bottleneck where they’ve got a whole bunch of people in line and maybe six cashiers, yeah, yeah, five, six more on and get rid of the bottleneck and move on to the next one. You know, I remember, I remember visibly seeing that and being like, wow, this is really innovative of them. And to do that, what they’re,
Andrew Lipp 20:56
what they’re ultimately doing is they’re flattening the curve, right, flattening the curve and the Dysport, dispersing those payments away from kind of a central point of transaction to ensure it doesn’t overload or keeping to ensure that they don’t go out of sync basically. And, like, conceptually, we do the same in some regard. Right? But just think about it is
Andrew Morgans 21:12
just visibly, like, visually seeing it trying to figure out what’s happening on the back end. Just just making a little bit of relation to that. But it was as a customer it was it was amazing. Oh, this guy is gonna help me right here, like, you know, right? Yeah, thank you. Thank you. Like, he shouldn’t be folding clothes right now when there are 200 people in line, you know, totally.
Andrew Lipp 21:31
So how we work, which kind of in theory relates or in principle, so we are a high E-commerce platform built to manage, you know, the biggest brands in the world sell the most in-demand stuff, right? And how we work is we scale when the frenzy ensues; we do a ton of kinds of scammer in bot detection to understand signaling into also applied fans and downright bad actors. We facilitate payments of hardcore through we allow a retailer to ingest orders into their back end and then go through fulfillment. From the retailer side, I mentioned the consumer side. So consumer comes to a retail brand-looking pop-up page that showcases the product, and that might be Tiffany’s and Air Force One Nike sneaker. It might be a Crocs and slightly Danbury collaboration; it might be at Sullivan’s Cove, heritage whiskey bottle, you know, worth 1000s of dollars because they want that thing, right? And they’ve seen that thing, you know, historically, because the retailer has promoted that thing, or they’ve been on socials, they’ve seen it there. And they want that thing. And they go to that site. And it looks like a branded experience, although it’s either on launches.footlocker.com or it’s on footlocker dot run feiyr.com Ranvir is our certification of fairness that somebody tells about using a URL, and it’s a stamp on any site you see that’s run by EQL. And it’s a moral code of conduct that’s trademarked now across the world. Because fairness is at the epicenter of everything we do on the consumer promise. They go to that site, and they enter their details, including their credit card details, showing that they’ve got an intent to purchase the thing they’re able to write, put their details in, they receive an email in their inbox, it comes from the retailer, it looks like it comes from the retail it says, Hey, Drew, thanks for entering. For your chance to get your hands on the Crocs and Lightning McQueen collaboration. Stay tuned; we’re going to let you know how you went. Our platform captures all the entry details. And what it’s doing in real-time is there’s actually sizing up and signaling everyone that lands there. And it’s going; how does Drew look like we’re looking down his browser? We’re looking at his payment ties; we’re looking at how he was engaged on the platform before we’re looking at this drawing look like that person over there? And that person over there? And how do we do cohort analysis to make sure that, you know, there are some similarities? Hopefully, there’s a lot of difference. Otherwise, we’re starting to see signals of him trying to do funky things, right? We also see, like, is it using automation? It’s actually in town; we look at a ton of signals for Drew or for the internet. There’s a timer on the page that time either counts down or up. It’s either like, hey, you need to get your entry in quick because this may close at any time, or it’s the opposite; we might do a five-hour drop, a three, a three-day drop, all depends on how the retailer wants to use the time as a device to kind of drum up excitement around the product. Once that launch closes, the consumer or customer sits and waits to find out what happened. And on the back end. Basically, it’s automated, but it’s going through all the inventory that’s available. And it’s looking at the interest, and, you know, how many how much interest was there for either a size 10 of that shoe or how much interest was there for a size small of that T-shirt or how much interest was there for that bottle of whiskey and it starts to debit sequential, like randomized order for based on real fan first, right? And we’ll go. Drew is the size. I haven’t seen your feet mate, but maybe they’re
Andrew Morgans 24:59
11 Return. Okay, we can. I got some Jason’s. Oh, there
Andrew Lipp 25:04
you go. Yeah, okay, cool. Well, like if you went for those, we actually probably sold those, but you go okay, drew size 10. Haha, Yep, we’ve got inventory available. Does he look cool? Does he look like he’s played fair? Yep, Okay, let’s try to deal with this card because this card allows debit should we debit his card, we move on to the next until it sells through for the retailer; all the inventory is gone by this stage now you’ve received an email that says drew well done, you got your hands on the product you love, you probably got an SMS that says from footlocker saying, Hey, do you know what one, you got your thing. And after that’s all finished, depending on the retailer we work with, we either automatically ingest data into their order management system and warehousing, and that triggers the postage of the product, or, you know, we send them up a flat CSV file that gets ingested into some order management system that triggers itself, you as the consumer. So to have you’ve got your hands on the products, but keep in mind, like our products are super scarce, right? So there’s probably 99% of folks that didn’t get their hands on the products, and they’ve received that, you know, sorry, you weren’t able to get access to the product. The thing with our platform, on the consumer side, there’s every chance you every time you enter a draw, manage a bike or powered vehicle, your chances increase the next time, right so your chances increase into, in theory, you get your hands on products, with this idea that you kind of like you know, your chances, your chances get better, which is something we always thought would be really interesting for consumers there to kind of spread the love, you know, a lot more on the retail side, they’ve got access to a portal where they can actually pop in, name, a product, you know, images of that product, they can put inside SKU, and inventory actually can do that at the end of the day. And basically, they click Publish, and that spits out, you know, a branded-looking product page, but it’s powered by our tech. So, you know, it looks like it’s their experience; it can live on their site even. But if you hit that site with a whole bunch of traffic, their entire econ portfolio is not going down. That website is not going down. And as it is built to not go down either. But it really quarantines and protects every other kind of econ asset; they’ve got the market, then they, you know, they sit back, and our platform captures all the demand. As I said before, you know, it’s doing all the automated cyber and bot prevention and signaling. It’s doing all the scaling, sizing up, and sizing down who looks like a real fan and who doesn’t. And then, when the retailer chooses, they click Run payments, right? And payments are run based on the demand. And it should, in theory, sell through if the product is hated. And then, they get that order ingestion file. We give them live launch insights as well. So a whole bunch of data, right? When did the spike happen? What was the quality of the user at what costs were there? How many months were there? What’s the size of SKU interest? Like? Is it a bot? Or are they interested in size 10 because that’s usually the highest value? We sell product and size, you know, hadn’t had it all balance out, the orders get pumped back into their own management system, that that kind of that’s the fulfillment, the page no longer needs to exist now it’s kind of a part of history. Yeah. And then move on to the next launch. We also provide listing pages where, you know, some retailers out there at the moment, like I’m on Yeah, who there’s a few others that use our listing page. So we are the launches page on their website today.
Andrew Morgans 28:29
I love that. And thank you for explaining that. Like, as someone that doesn’t understand exactly what’s happening on the backend. That makes a ton of sense to me. And it makes it clear to just understand, like, what’s going on; I’ve definitely experienced that. So, you know, I probably bought from an EQL site or a site using it, you know, my sister just joined, and she said it was the first one that she’s won, like, you know, she won one, right? And she’s like, it’s my first time winning. Now I want to be like, Well, if you keep trying, you’re gonna have a better chance, you know, as well. You know, kind of what I feel like saying. So talk to me about this is probably out there, and people don’t even know that it’s out there. You know, actually, before I go into this question, let’s give another shout-out to our sponsor; 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 find your technical needs and then see what available testers, leaders, and developers are ready to join your team. Visit fullscale.io to learn more. Okay, so this is happening on sites like, you know, you don’t necessarily know it’s probably like we’re CAPTCHA comes up and the time comes up, and there are all these things so that there’s you know, not everyone’s buying all the product no one wants to buy. You know, no artist wants to sell all the tickets to their show, and then no one comes because of bought them. I want real people there. You want people wearing the shoes; you don’t want just the resale market. It doesn’t exist. But you know, like as a talking point, mean hype gets a bad rap? It can, you know, like, oh you the hype man, or you like you just hyped me up or like, you know, the way that we use it in urban culture. But in marketing, it’s a great way to promote a new product, you know, and you can use influencers you can use, like, you know, commercials you can use, like, limited demand, like, can you explain just in common common terms like what a hype drop is?
Andrew Lipp 30:26
Yeah, so, you know, we either call it hype scarcity in demand products, it’s, it’s ultimately where, you know, demand exceeds supply. Right, when you know, there’s a short small amount of product for a large amount of audience that desperately wants that product. The nature of that means that there’s usually a lucrative resale market. So all of a sudden, your audience kind of dynamic changes. So for a hot product, you’ve not only got the Druze that wants the tickets to the concert, but you’ve also got, you know, reseller scalpers bots and alike who want to buy a whole bunch more of that inventory because they can sell it for more and make margin on it. And I should preface this by saying I’m actually not anti-resale, right? Like, I actually think you get the thing that you don’t want; you should be able to sell it, right? And if you can make money on it, go for golf, right? Like, that’s totally fine. I’m more. And what we try to stop these people clearly are 100 pairs, you know, 5050 tickets, like the volumes of things where it feels, you know, unfair. But to your question, the nature of heat and the nature of hype is a supply and demand equation. And when the demand exceeds the supply, by far, that’s when you need us. That’s when ego kicks into gear. Because EQL can not only manage, you know, I think about it like this, like, we manage 100,000 People storming a venue, right, but we’re the tech version of that we manage, we ensure that of those 100,000 people, you know, they’re your fans,
Andrew Morgans 32:02
Ryan’s getting the metal detector down, everyone. You know, all those things,
Andrew Lipp 32:09
all those things. Now, sorts of brands like, as you touched on, high heat and the optics of heat is amazing, right? It’s a marketing strategy. It’s an amazing one. Some products naturally lend themselves to it, and some products don’t. Right, and we see it, right like our product goes nuts, and the frenzy ensues. And the hype is there. When the product touches a certain emotional connection with that end user. It hits a passion. It’s at the epicenter of the Zeitgeist. It resonates with a cultural moment. You know, you it’s very hard to contrive, it’s amazing when you land it, it can flop when it doesn’t. Right. You know, so I think there’s a lot of strategies that go into ensuring that there are categories that naturally lend themselves to that, like, there’s, there’s the OJ categories, ticketing, OJ, and collectibles. You know, we’re actually launching with a bunch of collectibles and cards and stuff in the next week or two. But, you know, but then you’ve got fads, you know, fashion trends, where some things are sustained, something goes in cycles, some things have their moment in the sand, and then they disappear. You know, for a marketer. It’s a delight when you land it. It’s a mystery when you try to land it, but you miss it.
Andrew Morgans 33:21
Yeah, I think I’m definitely, I mean, I love a good hype launch, like, and it’s something I’ve been learning with big influencers, like, we’ve worked with Kevin Hart, and Bobbi Parish and Nikita dragon and in some of these big players, where, you know, if they, if they get on their socials, and they’re talking about drop, it’s going to be hype, it’s going to be hyped up, it’s going to be hot, it’s going to work. In general, I am more of a long-game strategist, like don’t play for the hype, like, let’s build something sustainable and long-lasting. And in general, that’s the way I go. Because I’m like, I don’t want to be rejected, or I don’t want to fail. I know that if we just build this over time, you know, it’s more of a risk to put it out there and be like, Look, we’re gonna shut this down. It could keep selling, but I’m gonna just tell you guys that we’re out after we’re out. Yeah, you know, it’s a different kind of different kind of brand, I think to do that. Well, there’s, there’s a brand here in Kansas City, a female founder that just kills it. I mean, oh, yeah. $100,000 drops, you know, yeah, just, like, maybe even bigger than just big ones clothing, right? And she just, yeah, she’s just crushing it. Maybe I need to make an introduction, even Yes. But it’s something that I’ve been watching; I’ve just been watching her crush it and watching her do her thing. And I’m very, very, very successful. If
Andrew Lipp 34:34
there are some brands that have mastered the art, you know, in a really fascinating way, like, you know, to context of who we work with. We work with Crocs, global, you know, we do every collaboration and drop that cross has that time across the world in probably 12 markets. We work with footlockers across the world other than the US, actually, but we work with them across Europe and Asia, Australia as well. We’ve recently done the Tiffany’s and Air Force One Rob did early on in March. You know, I worked with that group out of New York. We do a whole bunch of heritage whiskey. We work with Atmos extra by the undefeated stashed out of San Francisco. We work with a whole bunch of days Mr. Winston apparel in Australia culture kings fast I’m skate brands, you know the works. And the thing you realize is that brands know how to build the kind of mechanics and know how to like to work the muscle to create these types of moments. And the ones that get really right. Really get, really get it right, often. Like Crocs, like they’re a fantastic brand. Right and like, you know, some people kind of shocked when I went, you know, because they think of Crocs is this, you know, in their mind this kind of shoe that did they were they ever wear it? But they have, in theory, reinvented themselves time and time again with the collaborations they do. Their collaborations are unreal like they go mass. Yeah. I find issues relatively comfy, and I actually quite love them, but they are so finger on the pulse in terms of what’s going down in the world. Understand who the right people are to be partners with the right brands to partners with the right moment, you know, that they need to kind of preset put their foot on the gas and work with with someone or something or a rapper or an artist. Incredible business, you know, doing exceptionally well. You also look at some other collaborations out there. We did work with Joe Frescoes in New Balance recently. He’s a continuous collaborator of new balance, and he gets it right every time. He knows,
Andrew Morgans 36:45
right New Balance is one of the ones that continually reinvent themselves.
Andrew Lipp 36:49
themselves all the time. Nike, like I mean, we sell a lot of Nike products. And, and, you know, like they’ve been around for a really long time, and they continuously land some of the most high-heat products in the market. We just did a Travis Scott launch last week. You know, we’ve separate retailers out of the US
Andrew Morgans 37:10
and new, the new. The lows are there like Yeah, yeah, they got the Travis Scott’s ride to Lowe’s; I think yeah.
Andrew Lipp 37:18
Yeah, that’s right. So we dropped that whole bunch of retailers exhibition, stashed. We dropped them for undefeated; we dropped them for a whole bunch of retailers, right? And like, they’ve got that right, time and time again, will drop the traps of our club before a few times. Every time we sit there, and we are blown away by how much demand there is for a limited amount of inventory. Right? They’ve landed in Atlanta since the day it started,
Andrew Morgans 37:46
I mean, speaking of the cactus jacks, like Yeah, I was given them as a gift. They were lightly used but basically brand new; they’re they were given to me as a gift from the guy getting married. He’s like, thanks for being I was the best man. Thanks for being at my wedding. I wasn’t expecting, and he’s like, here’s some shoes. He knew. I like shoes. And I didn’t know that they were the cactus Jacks when I first got them. I just thought they were dope Jordans. With pink shoelaces on? Yes. Yeah. And so I am not a very materialistic guy. I like the brand, but it’s like, I don’t really want the name on it all plays, you know all about it what I like, and, but never have I ever had more compliments from strangers ever, ever in my life, even with a beautiful girl on my arm or something like it’s not as many compliments like, as when I’m wearing those shoes. And I think there’s something to be said like it just kind of honestly like the cactus Jacks have changed my perspective of why people are in the shoes as much as they are into these different things. It’s like literally having a good beard and then having other guys stop you and tell you like, Man, I love your beard. Like you have a great beard. Like, I wish I could grow a beard like that, you know, it’s like, oh, it’s an excuse for this guy to, like, say something nice or just be polite or be a human. You know, it’s just an excuse, right? Yeah, shoes, like, I’ve never had more love. Like, I literally get love from wearing shoes.
Andrew Lipp 39:10
When you’re feeling down, you pop them on and just kind of walk through it. It’s
Andrew Morgans 39:13
almost uncomfortable. Because I’m just like, I want people to know, like, I didn’t spend two grand on the issue. Yeah, I didn’t spend two grand on these shoes. I didn’t spend two grand on these shoes because they are humble in that way. You know, I don’t want someone to think that you know, and, but I’m always like, they’re a gift or gift they get they’re a gift, you know, and it allows me to kind of flex them, but really honestly like, that’s those shoes like opened my mind just in regards to like, this culture, this subculture that exists.
Andrew Lipp 39:40
You know, the thing about it, which I think is fascinating. We’ve done a bunch of work on the like psychology of Hive, right? Like how people feel about the things that maybe they never knew about all of a sudden they’re interested in, and I think, like, I don’t know if you recall the omegas watch launch that happened probably 12 months ago, right? Swatch came out. They did a collaboration with Omega, And it was an It was absolute. Was it kind of in-demand Commerce on hate on the front page of the press because they didn’t announce when it was happening? And then they launched this watch, which looked like a beautiful expensive premium omega, but it was kind of built out of swatch plastic. Right. And so you got the benefit of a premium brand called an affordable price. It was a swatch price, right? It was called the Moonwatch. And I was getting phone calls from people that are not interested in anything like that, watch it sneakers live like I was at my local shopping mall, and I saw this chaotic line, these crowds forming the swatch watch the swatch store. So I joined them. Right, I joined him. I’m like, dude, like anything to do with that stuff like not, but I tried to get the yellow one. I like the yellow one is the worst of the whole bunch. Right? And you realize that humans do have buried within them. The desire to have some kind of currency, the right to have some social credits and currency. And when the moment arises, and they see other people they admire, or they like, or they’re interested in a chase with me. And they all of a sudden realized without knowing that they were joining that line. That’s kind of what drives this type of behavior online. It drives our behavior in the store; it drives this behavior of frenzy, right? There’s there is within you, whether you admit it or not, a little bit of chasing the social status and the currency that other people have around
Andrew Morgans 41:32
you. And one of them is far more a little bit of what do I not know, you know, totally. And you would you and
Andrew Lipp 41:37
I didn’t like it; I’m not like, I’m not dissimilar to you like, I would be embarrassed if I wore the shoes and someone brought I spent two grand on a bike that’s I just couldn’t do that. Right. And I would; I would say like, that’s interesting, that’s a good thing that I find myself like, you know, for our launches, we called to run the run Fair, which is that trademark, I’m not allowed to get asked the same product, right? I’m at the bottom of the line like everyone else, right? So I ended up, you know, launches like everyone else into launches. And I am in a frenzy when I’m like refreshing my browser, trying to enter the key. And in those moments, I like to take a look at myself. Like, am I am I am I that guy, but that’s the behavior that is drawn out of people in these moments that we try to solve for that EECOM does not solve for, right, that
Andrew Morgans 42:23
wouldn’t be the guy to build it if you didn’t understand it. You know,
Andrew Lipp 42:26
that’s it. That’s it. But people are funny, and they’re fascinating. And they’re really interesting. And that’s what ultimately drives the need for us.
Andrew Morgans 42:33
No, I think it’s absolutely amazing. And as much as people hate Amazon, for example, there are a lot of people that just like Amazon, Amazon; I am the person building the small brands or big brands on Amazon that are making them national. And so there’s a love-hate like I’m the best at it. Maybe in the world, I think as a team, we’re the best at what we do. We grow brands; we get things in front of people that want them, that love them, you know, the whole process of it from the reviews. It’s less hype-driven, but it’s very much like I am the consumer that I solve for, you know, myself. And I want the best experience, like I speak on emotional creating emotional content, you know, on Amazon on the platform, how do you do that on a platform that’s kind of controlled and what you can do and so, yeah, it’s hard, but it’s an art, right? And when you really get it right, you create that emotional connection of wanting, or I’m going to be better if I have this; I’m gonna be more beautiful. If I have this, I’m gonna be more fulfilled if I have this, or this is going to make my niece love me because I’m buying the perfect gift or title, you know, whatever it might be like, how do you create that emotional impulse or reaction? Because firstly, emotional connection happens. And then the logic is next that says, Okay, let me justify why I need to buy this. You know, and but at first, they’re like, I feel it. I feel like this is what I want. Okay, like, how does my logic say yes, you have enough money, or no, you don’t have enough white t-shirts, or whatever the case might be? But the human behaviors side behind it is, I think, a lot of fun. And everyone loves a little game. I think there’s a side of us; all of us have liked it’s a little playful to Yes. Even to lose, you might be frustrated, but you know, playing the game, getting in line, trying to get a limited amount. Like it’s cool.
Andrew Lipp 44:25
Yeah, I agree. Totally. And I think it’ll last forever. Yeah, I think
Andrew Morgans 44:29
it’s not going anywhere. It’s just gonna repurpose how we do it, you know, and we’re coming up on time. So I love to be in the show with just two straightforward questions. Just one is, what is something that you’re excited about that you’re working on with EQL, and then as Andrew, like the person, the man, what’s something that you’re working on or that you’re like pushing towards this year that you’re excited about?
Andrew Lipp 44:53
Yeah, so for EQL to COVID was a wild ride for retail in ups and downs. But what it didn’t do is it didn’t allow for communities to gather around retail stores and experiences and really actually jam together and bond over the things they love. And as COVID has kind of slowed down, or at least not become such a pressure on retail, you know, retailers out there want to open up stores and drive this kind of, and I hate using the phrase, but omni channel, right drive from online to in store, get people kind of together again. And we’re spending a lot of time actually working out ways to supercharge that retail in-store experience with launches. So how do you take the online experience, drive traffic into the store, and join the two in magical ways that get people who love things, chatting about that thing again, and engaging,
Andrew Morgans 45:46
showing it off.
Andrew Lipp 45:49
Because you know, for retail, and definitely for the retailers we work with, you know, it is a lot about community. And it’s a lot about locals. And it’s a lot about their retail space. And it’s a lot about joining the dots between all of them. And so you’ll see shortly that we start going and releasing features that go a lot deeper to like human connections and expression. So that’s the big thing.
Andrew Morgans 46:11
We’re gonna follow along just to see that if I’m not just like the customer, like waiting on this stuff to happen, and then not knowing that it’s really EQL, like how can I just kind of follow along with what you guys are doing?
Andrew Lipp 46:21
Yeah, Instagram is where a lot of the action happens. So EQL official; if you look that up, you’ll find out. There’s a lot of fun stuff; we announce our customers and the products, and we work on all that stuff. So check it out. In terms of what I’m working on, I’m gonna give you a super boring answer. But you know, I’m the father of three, aerating from about a seven-year-old or four-year-old and a one-year-old. I need to get I’m trying to get back to basics like working a little less, getting more sleep, eating a little better, do a bit of exercise; I’ve decided I’ve given up on anything that goes beyond that. Breathing exercises, meditation, and in that, I’ve just realized, like, if I can’t get the basics right, the world is not going to be doing all the joy in my unit enjoying me, so my wife will start to hate me. So for me, it’s actually about just going back to basics this year and actually kind of resetting, you know, startup world was a wild ride. And it’s a roller coaster, and I love it. But boy, there’s, you know, a lot of ups and downs. And I think you ride the ups and downs if you’re not kind of calibrated a little bit. And it’s time to it’s time to recalibrate so that I can enjoy the highs; I don’t, you know, I don’t feel the lows too much. And keep it a little bit consistent. And then also, like, you know, the people around me, whether it’s our team or my family, they need to enjoy having me around. And I want to ensure that I’m giving the best I can, you know, set it up right around. So that’s where I’m focusing for the next 12 months; I think that
Andrew Morgans 47:49
it’s a beautiful answer and something very noble, but like, it’s a must as an entrepreneur; I think balance can be 100 Zero, sometimes where you’re just all in on the startup are all in on, you know, whatever it is you’re doing. And as soon as you can, you get back to a different level of all in, you know, in what that looks like. But I think to do anything great, sometimes you have to be great. And to be great, you got to be extreme and to be extreme. You don’t have time to walk the dog and plant the flowers and workout and eat five meals a day that are meal prep, and you know, so take it easy on yourself a little bit and then just, you know, I think the healthy thing is to say, Okay, how do I get my habits back on time, you know, getting back to normal, but nothing was ever made from being mediocre, and going for everything as mediocre, you know. So, to my listeners out there, I am definitely someone that thinks that balance comes in waves. And sometimes it’s like, hey, you know, I’ve told my partner before, like, I just need six months to, like, hold on to these reins and get the business back where I needed to be. And then I’m going to be the best business partner on this other side that I can be, but this business right here needs my attention, my full attention. And but um, I’ll be back, you know, and meaning like my balance or my ability to help in some of those other things. So hopefully, the Wi-Fi has given you a little bit of slack on 174, and once you’ve got your hands full. So appreciate you getting up this early to be on the show and sharing what you guys are doing there with EQL your own story. It’s been awesome. I don’t get to talk about sneakers and fashion that much. So that was fun for me to really appreciate having that on the show.
Andrew Lipp 49:31
Thanks for it was awesome joining me. Thanks for having me.
Andrew Morgans 49:33
Of course, and shout out again to our sponsor FullScale.io. They have the people and the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts when you visit fullscale.io. All you need to do is answer a few questions. Let the platform match you up with a fully vetted, highly experienced team of engineers, testers, and leaders at Full Scale. They specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. without our sponsors, we would be able to promote this show for free and get awesome talent and really get the reach that we want to get the Startup Hustle community. Now I think we’re almost over 300,000 listeners a month. So thanks again to our sponsors for making all this possible and allowing us to get on here and give you guys some free content that we hope you guys can enjoy and put to work. If you guys are brand new dealing with hype launches, you know, you need to talk to Andrew and his team and kind of figure out how they can help you. We talked about where you are on Instagram. Where else can people get in contact with you, Andrew?
Andrew Lipp 50:29
Yeah, you can hit me on LinkedIn as well. Just DM me on LinkedIn. Happy to chat there. I’ve tried Twitter a lot. I’m just a watcher on Twitter. Unfortunately, I don’t do too well on it. So hit me on LinkedIn as well.
Andrew Morgans 50:40
Okay, awesome. Thank you, Hustlers. We’ll see you next time.