Ep. #1215 - Helping Sellers Expand Their Brands
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Andrew Morgans and Seth Hurd, Founder & CEO of Brand Expand, talk about Brand Expand. Listen to Seth and Andrew discuss helping sellers expand their brands through honest feedback and understanding each marketplace’s nuances. They agree on reasons to be careful when expanding.
Covered In This Episode
Starting a business often requires considerable self-confidence. Andrew and Seth of Brand Expand discuss the importance of believing in yourself as a startup founder.
Listen to Andrew draw Seth out on his entrepreneurial journey and what Brand Expand does. Seth describes the company’s focus, support, and features, specifically Brand Expense and Deal Network. The conversation turns to the value of feedback, omnichannel e-commerce enablement, diversity, and specificity.
Join the conversation in this Startup Hustle episode to learn more about expanding your brand.
- Seth’s journey (1:07)
- What does Brand Expand do? (6:10)
- Brand Expand’s Brand Expense and Deal Network (7:27)
- What Brand Expand focuses on (10:13)
- Brand Expand support (12:46)
- Discount percentage varies depending on the desirability of the product (16:47)
- The value of feedback (17:41)
- What’s coming down the line from Brand Expand (20:43)
- The omnichannel e-commerce enablement software (24:46)
- The importance of understanding the nuances of each marketplace (26:49)
- Diversity and specificity (31:34)
- Be careful when you’re expanding (34:28)
- Where to contact and follow Seth (38:53)
Even if they’re not using the software, we’re trying to add value any way that we can, just to help them grow. And then eventually we find that a lot of these sellers, you know, once we warm them up, once they see the value that we’re providing, they come in a trial launch, and a lot of them stick around because they see the return on investment.– Seth Hurd
It’s really about creating more value and getting sellers’ feedback because everybody knows how hard it is to find out what your customers are actually thinking these days.– Seth Hurd
Tracking it all, understanding where your dollars are going. Now you’ve got ten marketplaces and a website, and you’ve got wholesale and retail, and it becomes, like, you go in a million directions and nowhere simultaneously. I think it becomes even more important to go to, you know, a single source of truth for your marketing and your marketplaces and determine what’s working and what’s not.– Andrew Morgans
Be careful when you’re expanding like crazy. And know that you have to have the experience within your team to be able to find things or know about them and be able to adjust quickly.– Andrew Morgans
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If you need support beyond software development, additional Startup Hustle partner options may be of help, too.
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’s today’s host of Startup Hustle. Today’s title for our episode is Believing in Yourself. I think it’s gonna be absolutely great. I’m bringing this to you 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. Seth Hurd, welcome to the show.
Seth Hurd 0:27
What’s up, Andrew? Thanks for having me, man. Appreciate you.
Andrew Morgans 0:29
I’m super stoked to learn more about Brand Expand and what you guys are doing down there in St. Pete, Florida. But as always, I like to start the show out just getting, you know, our listeners and myself just to know you a little bit better. Where it is, you’re like, you know, everybody doesn’t just start out writing software to create holistic e-commerce, you know, making it easy. Like it obviously has a point before that where you start to run into these kinds of problems and see what people are dealing with. Where does your story begin?
Seth Hurd 0:57
Yeah, man. How far back to go?
Andrew Morgans 1:00
Well, let’s go. Did you know you’re always going to be an entrepreneur? I mean, did you grow up kind of being like, I want to own a business?
Seth Hurd 1:07
It’s weird. Like, I never. I didn’t do that until, like, after college, you know. I went to school for accounting and finance and, you know, had this kind of epiphany, after six years in the corporate world, that’s like, not what I want to be doing. And all the jobs I worked at, they just didn’t find it challenging enough. And I constantly wanted, you know, new challenges, new opportunities, ways to grow. And, you know, I found that I was just doing a lot of repetitive tasks, and it wasn’t very challenging. And so yeah, I actually read The Four Hour Workweek was really kind of what inspired me to kind of take a leap of faith. And, you know, sure, sure enough, Timothy Ferriss had a supplement company that was selling online, you know, he’s selling online, and he could work for hours, anywhere. And so after reading that, I was like, Man, I could just take this and use it as a blueprint. This was back in 2014 when Amazon was really just starting to get big for third-party sellers. You threw, like, $1,000 at this Garcinia Cambogia, which was like a weight loss supplement. It’s still there today. But back then, it was like the biggest rave. And I was like, if I can sell 1000 bottles, you know, I might have something here. And so in 30 days, I moved all that inventory on Amazon, on Amazon. Yeah. And I was like, what, so I was just like, you know, you can just scale this idea. And so, the rest is kind of history over the course of five years. I bootstrapped to a seven-figure exit and engineer on March 21. And so as I was building that, about halfway through, I just similar to you, just networked with a lot of E-commerce entrepreneurs, going to events, conferences, etc. Specifically, MDS million-dollar seller network, okay. They were really, like, instrumental in our early growth on Brand Expand. And I had a lot of people just reaching out and wanting to know how to do different things. And basically, I was providing consulting, and I was like, I should probably just start paying. You’re charging for this type of service. And they all wanted to know how to drive external traffic. It was like, how do I get customers from outside Amazon to Amazon or Walmart or wherever it was solely on, and so that’s kind of how it started. It was just like many businesses. It was just a major pain point for a lot of sellers and myself, too, because I was still selling; people were stitching together many chat flows, like inserts in packaging, like doing all this weird stuff, getting up just creating these really random strategies. We saw an opportunity to create something that would bring all these strategies together into software, and that’s what we did. So development took two years.
Andrew Morgans 1:21
And you were still building your private label brand at that time, right, I guess. Yeah, yeah, we were actually 21 and started in 2019. So like Brand Expand was like something you were actively, you know, building before they actually, yeah,
Seth Hurd 3:59
For sure. Yeah. Yeah, about one year into Brand Expand, I started to realize the potential of this, and we kind of geared up to exit with our other brand, and so yeah, a year after that, and 21, we were able to exit and just basically took all that money and reinvested it into the software.
Andrew Morgans 4:19
That’s amazing. So I spent a ton of time on off Amazon traffic learning about it. Right now, we’re playing with TikTok, TikTok Shop, you know, becoming its own marketplace in its own way. But before that you know how to drive tick tock organic traffic to to a landing page landing page goes to Amazon you know, you’re checking BSR ranking, you’re checking all these things. A big problem for a lot of Amazon sellers and a lot of brands. You know, the brands that aren’t Amazon centric, they’re not private label or they have you know, grown up brother brain grown up learning about you know, the the keyword ranking and, you know, how to boost those things, maybe a super URL, maybe search find by, like, you know, for those types of sellers, I feel like off Amazon traffic and using it to boost your Amazon ranking makes a ton of sense. Okay, for sure for like a traditional brand that’s like been DTC, you know, they’re selling on Amazon, they can’t wrap their head around why they would want to take like, you know, probably a higher ROI, or more profitable traffic that’s going to their website and redirect that to Amazon. But there’s a lot of reasons why they would. And, you know, my strategy would be more so if you have a short you’ll see maybe one week or the month, or two weeks out of the month or something like that, you know, we’re dividing traffic we’re trying to we’re doing a new brand launch strategy around that. What are some of the ways that like that Brand Expand works? Like I think let’s break it down if we can like to its to the basics and say, Hey, how does this help people like, you know, I know of not to bring up competition on on air, and I don’t know if it is, but I’m trying to get my head around it. PixelMe, right? Is it similar in that way? Like, is it help you make decisions? You know, what is the Brand Expand for anyone that doesn’t know?
Seth Hurd 6:10
Yeah. Yeah. So I can’t really speak for PixelMe, but it might be similar. So our software is kind of two parts where we have the Brand Experiment, which is our b2b SaaS, ecommerce, SAS e commerce enablement is what we call it. And then we have a b2c deal network of, you know, 10s of 1000s of buyers. And so we leverage the deal network to send that traffic to the listings across all these different channels. So we do Amazon, Walmart, Target, eBay, Etsy, we also have an other feature, you can literally put products from chewy.com, we’ve had iron.com, we’ve done Shopify says anything. And then you like create a campaign and then tie that product to it, and then turn it on, goes to our administrative portal, and our team will review the launch, make sure that it’s set up for success, and then we push it to our deal network, and that starts driving the traffic back.
Andrew Morgans 7:07
Okay, so very affiliate based.
Seth Hurd 7:09
Andrew Morgans 7:11
Okay, that’s awesome. So talk to me about the b2b Fast side of it, how that works.
Seth Hurd 7:18
The b2b or b2c?
Andrew Morgans 7:20
I guess, b2c in regards to like, before we talked about the deal network, you’re talking about the other side?
Seth Hurd 7:27
Okay. Yeah, the b2b is Brand Expense. So that’s, that’s our b2b SaaS, and we work with a lot of third party sellers, generally sellers that are doing a million plus in revenue, because you just have more discretionary to spend. It’s a higher ROI, but also higher costs. At the beginning, I was just looking at a product launch we did today. And it was about 11.5x Ro s, so this individual spent about 2.5k, and is estimated at about 20 to 25,000 in sales over the course of 30 days, with our software, especially for newer products that are in what’s called the honeymoon phase, where those marketplaces are going to hyper rank you so they get more traffic and understanding about your keywords and what your product is actually about. And so that’s the the b2b side. And then the b2c is a Deal Network. So we’re building, I don’t want to drop the name on the podcast, but we’re building a site now that should be released sometime in Q4. And it’s going to be really, really exciting, like a gamified deal site that customers can go to and provide essentially provide feedback and recommendations for sellers, in addition to purchasing their products, so sellers can ultimately not only get more traffic and increase conversion rates and increase sales, but get feedback, that’s going to be really important for them to improve their listing and further increase conversions. And you will increase conversions with traffic of course, that leads to an explosive growth for your brand.
Andrew Morgans 9:00
Of course, especially on Amazon, where everything every kind of dial matters from the image exactly. To the keywords. Okay, so on the Brand Expand side, is it okay, if we dig into like, you know, the guy spent 2500 on the launch? Like, is that an existing seller? That’s, that’s adding new product to Amazon or Walmart or wherever and then in pushing traffic, is he spending 2500 in one spot? Is it kind of spread between different things, like without giving too much of his information away? Of course, like, you know, what does that look like practically?
Seth Hurd 9:34
Yeah, so that’s factoring in the cost of our software and the cost of their product because the product is going to be somewhat discounted. And so all the costs that go into driving that traffic there are into that 2500. And then as far as you know, we call it listing relevancy and marketplace search optimization because he has a boost in traffic and boost in several sales. which sales velocity is inherently tied to the ranking of the product? Obviously, yeah. So with that, you get a increased visibility more organic customers can find the product. And that will create this. This really explosive launch.
Andrew Morgans 10:13
Got it? So just trying to wrap my head around this in case someone doesn’t understand, right? So, someone is like, I’m launching a brand. I’m gonna partner Brand Expand. They get on Brand Expand, and they’re not doing b2c. The deal they’re not using like the deals, the deal size, the deal, network to kind of grow it, they just want to use the Brand Expand side. So the price is discounted. There’s an offer, there’s a caution there, there’s a cost to use the service. What else from that side helps them get that visibility helps them get that sales velocity helps them? You know, what, what is actually is happening behind the scenes, I guess, with with their budget?
Seth Hurd 10:56
Yeah, so I mean, really, what we’re trying to build brand expand is, is one place that sellers can go to just drive traffic from everywhere, right. So right now, we’ve been focused on the b2c side of it, which is our deal network. And then also the brand expense side, we’re building them simultaneously. But in the near future, we’re also going to create campaigns where they can drive it from Google Ads through influencers and social posts, even direct mail, it’s been in the talks. And so you know, the brand expanded a few years will be one where sellers can go and say I want to pull traffic from here. I want to pull traffic from here and really just create traffic from every direction that’s external from that marketplace, drive in the marketplace, and then also help with social proof. We don’t do this on Amazon because Amazon’s a little bit crazy, I guess, for lack of a better word around reviews. But on marketplaces outside Amazon, we do what’s called review requests, where two weeks after the product is purchased, we tell our buyer network to share an honest feedback. It’s not incentivized, they just are asked to share some honest feedback. And that, of course, helps get more social proof. Everybody knows that social proofs, really, everything, it’s everything. So there’s that. And then our team really helps all of our clients too, you know, we I was a seller at one point. So you know, I’m a seller at heart and we want to see all these sellers grow. Our big, hairy, audacious goal is to get a million sellers, 2 million in revenue or more. And so we’ll help them, set them up for success, give them, you know, ideas on how to optimize your product listing, and really just kind of act as a consulting because that’s really how it all began. So
Andrew Morgans 12:37
I love that. So you guys have is that like, something you charge for on the service side? Or is it more of just like support around like helping them with their lodge and trying to make them successful?
Seth Hurd 12:46
Yeah, great question. So we got into a situation where we had a lot of like, what we call starters, which is our first here, come to us and try to get a lot of information. We just find like, that’s how I started off, I would go, you know, to these bigger sellers, and like tug on their shirt and say, hey, you know what I got to do with my title, you know, but of course, that all costs money. So, now we have different service tiers. So, we have support level, we have a success level, and then a concierge level, which is really for our enterprise clients. So, based on the tier that they’re on, we can provide higher levels of support for them.
Andrew Morgans 13:18
Got it. And is it, you know, is it consulting? Or do you guys actually do the work or, you know, just for people to I think it’s important that I’m asking these questions as if I’m a seller to say, hey, I want you to sell me, tell me like, you know, I think product launches and off Amazon traffic is like a number one topic right now. Yeah. In this space, as Amazon gets harder, aggregators have came in inflation’s gone up, cost of goods have gone up, you know, and this is stuff that happened after the pandemic, we’re still paying for it, you know, quadruple the cost of containers. Everyone’s, like, where else can I go to to help me be successful? And they’re all like, I don’t know what to do and what to do where, you know. And there’s a level like, you know, if someone’s an Amazon private label seller, I feel like a lot of times, they have kind of the knowledge to do it themselves. And they want to, that’s why they’re there. Versus the brand, a brand trying to do the same thing. It’s just kind of built in a different way. Like they might have built it on social media, they might be a content creator, they might have built the DTC side, you know, they might be doing everything through agencies. It’s just kind of a different approach. 100% and on, and on that side, are you guys kind of saying, Hey, these are the things you should be doing? And we’ll give you like, you know, it’s called slacks, whatever, you’re talking to them all the time? Or is it like a done for you kind of thing?
Seth Hurd 14:40
Yeah, that’s a great question. So it really just depends. For our enterprise clients, the concierge service, like will literally set up lodges and work with them, give them pointers to optimize listings and really hold their hand. We have some clients that are on this, our tightest tiers where we set up all the launches and we track them and we get them feedback. We have a lot of content that we send out to so somebody joins our mailing list we have in our CRM, we have really great content that gets sent to them every week. So even if they’re not using the software, we’re trying to add value any way that we can, just to help them grow. And then eventually we find that a lot of these sellers, you know, once we warm them up, once they see the value that we’re providing, they come in trial launch, and a lot of them stick around because they see the return on investment.
Andrew Morgans 15:26
I love it. What’s the what’s kind of the entry level to trying, you know, Brand Expand campaign? Yes, or is that kind of a starting point,
Seth Hurd 15:37
It use to cost 2500, but so our beginner tiers the starter tier, so that’s 59 a month, you get 10 credits, so the credits coincide with every sale. So every time you get a sale from our network, it costs credit. If you do flip on the review request, that’s also a product. So for example, if you were to get 20 sales through our network, and do review requests on Walmart, for example, it’d be 20, sales 20, review request 40 credits. So, we have different levels. So it just depends like the Starter has 10 credits a month, the Builder has 40, Expander has 100, Master has 300. And then we have Enterprises that go up to a couple 1000 credits a month, so
Andrew Morgans 16:17
Wow. And and your guys’s network is that big to like, have that many shoppers purchasing from them?
Seth Hurd 16:22
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, we’re constantly growing the network and like bringing in fresh faces, we have a ton of checkpoints in place, because buyers will our buyer never, I mean, anytime you give something of that much value, they’re bound to try to take advantage of it. So we have a lot of checks and balances in place to make sure buyers are not, you know, abusing, abusing the service, basically.
Andrew Morgans 16:47
Totally. Um, so some of the things I saw like back in the days of like giveaways, and like, you know, viral launches, and a lot of these companies existed. They were giving away like nearly 100% of the product cost. Is that, is that still common today? Or is it more of like a, you know, you’re giving them a Bogo, or 50% off or something like that, like what gets the deal done?
Seth Hurd 17:09
Yeah, I mean, it really depends on like the desirability of the product, I don’t like to say giveaways because our service is more around providing value. Like, the buyers are just going there and purchasing the product and providing feedback. And that’s really inherently that’s tied to the discount. But it just depends, we have sellers can do, you know, 30-50% and move the dial, but others have to do a lot higher. I mean, if it’s what we call, like an undesirable product, it’s really hard to create that viral type of launch without doing a higher discount. So
Andrew Morgans 17:41
They’re like, I don’t why would we want to spoon? Or whatever? Yeah, no, I get that. And that makes a lot of sense. Like, you know, I think about I think we actively use, especially when we’re struggling like services like PickFu. You know, they give buyer feedback on images. They’re not I don’t think they actually get the product in hand. And you know, with PickFu, but they’re looking at your pictures. They’re saying, hey, this makes sense. This doesn’t make sense. Maybe we should try this. Yep, we didn’t like this and it’s invaluable. I mean, it’s invaluable feedback. That I feel like people are on that site, you know, not because of what’s necessarily in it for them, like, you know, they’re given value.
Seth Hurd 18:17
Yeah, for sure. 100%. And that’s what it needs to be focused on. It’s not, you know, just blasting the traffic there. It’s really about creating more value and getting sellers feedback because everybody knows how hard it is to find out what your customers actually thinking these days, you know, Amazon,
Andrew Morgans 18:33
is the reason actually true, or is it just one of the four options that they had? And everyone’s choosing, like, you know, customer, customer, air, you know, or image air and you’re like, that means nothing to me, it’s like, you know, as an agency owner, we lose clients, and we have an exit interview. And I have to take, you know, I have to I take value in that, right? I obviously assess it. And there’s a part of me, that’s also like, when does anyone ever tell you like the real truth of why sure, whatever’s happening, right? Is it finances? Is it like, you know, this was the plan all along? Is it like, you know, what is kind of getting down to like, what is it about our product that people like or don’t like? I think that’s huge.
Seth Hurd 19:13
It’s tough. Yeah, it’s tough to get that, like, honest feedback from customers or clients who were using the software. We have the same thing with our software, if somebody charges, like, we want to figure out why. And a lot of them are like, Yeah, you know, I don’t want to use it right now, but I’ll come back later. Tell me, tell me why.
Andrew Morgans 19:33
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Seth Hurd 20:43
Yeah, we’re, it’s so we’re going to be focused heavily on these new campaign types, like we talked about. So creating, like Google-type campaigns through an API with AdWords. And then using, for example, Amazon attribution links with that is really going to be our primary focus here in the near future. Once we get this new deal site launched, and then social influencer-type campaigns, and then even direct mail campaigns because that works actually really well for certain products. So So yeah, that’s really what’s done the
Andrew Morgans 21:20
dynamite of being able to do that right there from inside, you know, it’s something that’s like a done for you thing, or it’s, Hey, I want to I want to spend, I got a $5,000 budget, I want to spend 1000, on Google, 1000 on input, here’s 1000. On deal five,
Seth Hurd 21:34
That’s a great point. Yeah, so we’re talking about doing a combo, where you can create a hybrid of all these approaches, say, 40%, with this 20% here, where he was in there. Or maybe even with AI, we can constantly change that it can be a dynamic type thing, where we’re just putting your ad dollars to whatever it’s getting the highest conversions, which what’s working, the best is cost per click and a cost.
Andrew Morgans 21:58
I love it. I think it’s, it’s super hard. As like, let’s say you’re a fractional CMO, you know, and I kind of operate in that role a lot. I feel like buy more than I get paid for. But, you know, here we are. And, you know, on Amazon or on Walmart, a lot of the the marketing costs spend, everything is inclusive, like right there in Amazon, right? Same for Walmart and fulfillment services. When you get to Shopify. Like the things that drive sales to Shopify are like, you know, they could be blog posts, on-page SEO, off-page linking, you know, backlinks and different things like that. They could be Google ads, email, it could be TikTok, social media, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, any number of things, right, versus on a on an Amazon site is pretty native to, like, what’s there. I think when you whenever you start thinking like, Okay, I want to look at my marketing. I want to look at it my marketing overall a my ecommerce, and track everything and see what’s working and what’s not working. And you know, your attribution has to be on point, your reporting has to be on point, you have to be somewhat of a dashboard genius, you know, to pull it all into one spot, because they’re all so non-native to each other. I think being able to go to one spot and kind of saying, Hey, guys, my marketing is five grand, that’s what I’ve got. I like to see it all here and see how it’s doing. I think that’s, I think that’s big. You know, Amazon attribution is not perfect, you know, by any means, like, obviously, like Google ads, or something more direct like that. It seems to be a little bit more accurate than some of the others. But how big is how big of that? Do you think it is, as a seller yourself? You know, in now a software provider for brand owners to kind of know, all of these pieces and what’s, what’s working for them and what’s not? And I think a two-part question to that would be for me, as an Amazon seller, I know that if I spend on TikTok, and I’m driving relevant traffic to Amazon and getting conversions for me, it’s not just about the sales increase, right? It’s a lot more than that. It’s, it’s BSR and ranking and organic ranking in that. How do you, I guess, can communicate that value back to clients?
Seth Hurd 24:26
Yeah. And that’s, that’s a great question. And I don’t really know a lot of software’s that are kind of omni channel, product campaign, ecommerce enablement that brings that all into one space. It shows you all these KPIs and analytics, and then can incorporate, you know, machine learning or AI to constantly optimize these different areas of ad spend, which is really what we’re trying to create. And so, yeah, and Shopify with regards to Shopify, I mean I that’s also in our in our roadmap because I just see omni channel becoming bigger and bigger here in the near future. I mean, I started selling in Amazon in 2014. And everybody knows that profit margins have been like diminishing by like three to 5%, every year since then. And a study came out that 50% of revenue is going to Amazon now for the majority of sellers. So there’s going to be a point where most sellers are profitable. And you can talk about top line all day. But if you’re not making it on the bottom line, you’re not in business. Right. So I think it’s inevitable that I know some people probably don’t want to hear this, but it’s inevitable that Amazon third party sellers are going to continue to diminish. And really, the only ones that are gonna remain are large aggregators and manufacturers that are going direct to Amazon. Right. So I think you call it flow. Yeah. So I mean, that migration, I think is inevitable, and they’re going to need somewhere to be able to drive traffic and also, you know, a software that can help with that migration, which is also something that we’ve discussed, we try not to do too many things at once. But we got a lot of sellers that want help getting set up on Walmart or Target or even at see if it makes sense. Getting Shopify set up hitting traffic, they’re getting social proof there, right. So, you know, it’s a huge opportunity. That’s why we like to say it’s an omni channel, ecommerce enablement software, not for like Amazon, for example, because I just see, I think he caught up on news, the future,
Andrew Morgans 26:36
Amazon has definitely paved the way. And it bought trust with shoppers around the world, in regards to getting two day shipping, I remember when that came out, it was just unheard of to get I mean, they’re
Seth Hurd 26:46
still just so far ahead. It’s right in
Andrew Morgans 26:49
I mean, they span internationally, and those, those channels would be a little bit differently. And, you know, I think that they will be a major player for a long time. At the same time, they don’t really have competition, you know. I know like, if you know that, that site, I think it’s Sheen for apparel, you know, girls buy from their allies like fashion, but they just launched in the US, the US marketplace. So if you’re in clothing and fast fashion, like, Sheen will be, I think it’d be a player. We advertising on Chewy.com Like, you know, they’ve released advertising now where we’re on with me to array, we’re on
Seth Hurd 27:28
offer shooting, I’m like,
Andrew Morgans 27:30
I know, it’s like just in it feels like, you know, if anything ever happens over here, I’m good and Fidos good, you know, and it just kind of feels like they have a different approach. And I think that there will be the more of these niche like apparel, like food, like makers, like, you know, Etsy is like, you know, the homemade arts and crafts type of products or should be, I think the marketplaces will continue to come out that are more niche like that. You know, Amazon will kind of be the one I’ll solve all I do believe that. And then but these other marketplaces will kind of force the Amazons hand, I think a little bit to get more competitive. And I think, you know, I think it’s going to No, I just think that’s going to be big. Because a lot of the products too, if you were in supplements, when you launched, that those products had crazy margins in them, you know, in regards to just the products you’re selling, you start selling, you know, the eyeglass case or something, you know, the margins just aren’t there. So it really comes down to kind of like what you’re selling, because a lot of those big early opportunities, like the supplements just aren’t there anymore.
Seth Hurd 28:33
Yep, yeah, it’s a volume game now. And so if you’re not bringing you containers of supplements, or whatever, you’re not going to make it and I said the same thing. I was actually on a podcast with Norman Farrar. And I literally said the same thing. I’m like, in the near future, there’s going to be different niche marketplaces, you know, Amazon is going to be a leader, Walmart and Amazon are gonna be come very similar. They already are, but they’re really competing for the lowest cost. So anybody that’s price sensitive, that wants to find the cheapest item, they’re gonna go they’re probably Teemu. Now it’s where they’re going to vote, but but, you know, if you if you’ve ever, like if you search for gift for your girlfriend, or wife or whatever, on Amazon, it’s like, the products are terrible. I would never buy these gifts for my wife, you know, so I was going to Etsy to buy things that are these meaningful,
Andrew Morgans 29:21
Feel more unique, more special, like something like that customer like and I go to a game board for my my roommate, like plays a lot board games, and they’ve got it engraved on it, you know?
Seth Hurd 29:32
Yeah, exactly. But if it’s, you know, if it’s a home I go to Wayfair, Etsy for gifts. I don’t really go on eBay, but if you’re buying like novelty type items and things that are like our tangibles. Yeah, it still makes sense to go on eBay. And then Walmart and Amazon’s like, Listen, if I need a bottle of shampoo or something or just bulk, you’re gonna go there. So I agree it that’s all these channels are gonna
Andrew Morgans 29:58
Think about the problem and create It’s right is they’ll have a little bit of nuance, you know, so we create content for one of the biggest food brands in the in the world. And we have, you know, a contract for their content on Amazon and on Target. So we had to learn the ins and outs of Terms of Service around content creation for Target, like something as simple as, like, images can’t have text on target, but on, you know, on Amazon, they can it’s a big practice, you want to be selling, have your value points there. Sure. Target can’t have that. Okay, so crazy nuance, especially if you deal with the enterprise brand, where they’re like, you know, they’re down to like, this is what you can do and can’t do and all that kind of stuff. But there’s, I use that as an example of just say, to great marketplaces, serve a different customer, in some ways, you have to know the difference here, the difference there, okay, chewy allows you to do this, okay? You know, on and on and on, it becomes while it becomes okay, maybe easier to get profit, because I’m selling on a marketplace that allows me to be profitable, as Amazon gets harder. Tracking it all, understanding where your dollars are going. Now you’ve got 10 marketplaces, and, you know, a website and you’ve got wholesale and retail, and it becomes like, you know, you go in a million directions and nowhere all at the same time. I think it becomes even more important to be able to go to, you know, single source of truth, you know, for your marketing and your marketplaces and really determine what’s working, what’s not.
Seth Hurd 31:34
For sure. Yeah. harbourside, I agree, and that’s what we’re trying to build shannonville The Omni channel ecommerce enablement, we say product launch software trying to move away from that because, you know, going back to an earlier point, yeah, new products work well on the software. But we have people also do existing products. There’s a lot of different use cases, they burn through inventory. You know, nobody wants to sell inventory, but it happens. You stock and you want to do drive traffic there. Or maybe you want to liquidate because long term storage fees are eating and maybe you bought too many fidgets spinners before the holidays. Right? Like your head over something. Yeah. But anyways, yeah. 100%. So I see a lot of sellers that are going to different marketplaces, that the ROI still hard to justify just talk with somebody a few days ago that was like, oh, yeah, we were on target. And like getting no sales, which is strange, because there’s, there’s only like, 10,000 sellers on target. But they’re still relative to sellers. Like when you look at the buyers on target for sellers, the ratio is massive compared to Amazon, right. So it’s kind of strange, but But yeah, there’s different opportunities for different brands, and I see a lot of brands using multiple channels, they’re gonna have to, you know.
Andrew Morgans 32:51
Yeah, as someone that’s built my business on the back of Amazon, I have to say, I agree, I think it’s about diversity and specificity. Like figuring out exactly where your products fit best, I would, I would like to add a little two cents around. I do believe that Walmart, when people launch on Walmart, they do better if they have products under $20. Relatively around there, I just think it’s, it’s a marketplace that those products seem to do quite a bit better. Versus what I’ve put, like, you know, $130 item or something like that is not seeing that sell on walmart.com. But on Amazon, we do, we do find all day with $130 products. So I’m not saying that they’re not there. I’m just saying they don’t do as well, in regards to like getting momentum, sales velocity, that kind of thing. And I would say, I feel like on Amazon, as a private label sellers, and like China coming direct is slowing down and getting harder. I do see this like kind of rising more expensive items on Amazon and trying to figure out how to sell, you know, $1,000 chair or things like that. Oh, yeah.
Seth Hurd 34:03
Yeah, for sure. I mean, I saw something recently that was, you know, talking about how expensive items actually were better on Walmart because the fulfillment fees are actually cheaper for larger items. Okay, I don’t know that for sure. But I mean, there’s certain categories that do really well. I think food and beverage is better on Walmart, and things like sports and outdoors are really big. So it really just depends what your niche is like it
Andrew Morgans 34:28
I think, I would say like yeah, on Walmart. I mean, I was buying groceries and getting my worms to go fishing at Walmart for a long time. And you know, me buying anything. And it also feels like at Walmart if there is a supercenter, for example. I can get everything that I used to getting, like all my products are there. On Amazon, I might be able to get like 50% of the food that I would normally get sure there’s still a 50% I need to get from the local grocery store like something like that. So kind of that maybe that already conditioned customers that’s used to go into Walmart for basketball goals and their, you know, their stuff like that. And I also think they Walmart still has that in store, you can go, you know you can use to be go shoot a hoop in my Walmart like they had it out there you can kind of just mess around with the hoops and stuff and sporty outdoors. So, you know, every channel brings their own kind of advantages. And what I would say to the expensive thing on Walmart very much might be the case for sellers to have lower fees and more profit. But does that sell? Right? I think that’s what it comes down to is like, does it sell, and it creates, what people don’t think about is that it does create complications across your marketplaces, for example, we started losing the buy box like crazy. One year, a new e commerce manager came into our partner, we were like the Amazon selling partner. And we would start with 500,000, we’re approaching 7 million. So we’re doing great, we’re on trajectory. And all of a sudden, we saw this dip, and we couldn’t figure out what’s going on. They had started optimizing on Home Depot, because retail now in the Home Depot buys based on what’s selling online, you know, and they’re optimizing on Home Depot, optimize, they got launched on Walmart, and we had said that the pricing was all set the same. Okay, but what we didn’t realize, because there’s no flag that comes up for this is that Walmart had a 5% off pickup in store. So it’s not showing on the price. But if you order it and then say pickup in store, you actually get a lower price. So we went months before we figured that out 1000s of lost sales, you know, by losing the buy box,
Seth Hurd 36:36
I don’t know how that’s just not, like flat out monopolistic, anti-competitive behavior. I mean, you kidding me?
Andrew Morgans 36:44
No, I agree. I agree. I’m just, I’m more sharing it to say, you know, be careful when you’re expanding like crazy. And just know that, you know, you got to have the experience within your team to be able to find these things or know about them and be able to adjust quickly, you know, Chewy, we’re having a profitability issue with the brand on Amazon, we’re trying to adjust, we need to raise price a little bit Cost of Goods had gone up. And chewy we were waiting for, you know, it takes up to a month to get a price change done. So speed, you can lose some speed, because you have to go through reps. It’s a wholesale relationship, like it kind of wimpy on Amazon. So just a couple of stories around how, you know, the marketplaces can create complication for each other. You know, and so if Amazon is, you know, 95% of your business, just tread carefully, as you as you start to expand Amazon,
Seth Hurd 37:32
they still have that in place, the rule of the pricing, they have to be the lowest,
Andrew Morgans 37:36
Yeah, no, they don’t have to be the lowest they have to be equal. That’s what I that’s what I believe. So on Walmart, it showed that it was equal, but because it was 5% off, they picked it up in the store than Walmart was cheaper. And so they don’t have to be cheapest, they just have to no one can be cheaper than them unless it’s your own website. So if it’s another marketplace, cool. If it’s your own website, you can do quite a bit more of they’re just depends. Not everybody has a product that does well, the website, you know, yeah.
Seth Hurd 38:05
Because I know when we had our brand, we always had, you know, 20% higher prices on the website. And now it was never an issue. But when we were on Walmart, same thing happened to us. We really, really got a lot of momentum on Walmart. But yeah, we are on eBay to eBay is not in place for supplements, but we are on there. But yeah, we had to keep all of our pricing the same or even lower on Amazon. Because they would bring us
Andrew Morgans 38:32
yes, it’s just things people are like, Oh, I can grow sales, I can grow sales. And if you don’t have the ability to troubleshoot or the team to help you find those things out to like, you can really shoot yourself in the foot coming up on time here. And I would love to just in the show, you know, telling people like where they can get in contact with you where they can learn more about Brand Expand, you know how they can follow along?
Seth Hurd 38:53
Yeah, I mean, the best way is just to head to BrandExpand.io and then ping our chat as you guys use air comm down here in the bottom right. So we have a nice intercom chat. Hit up our team. My email is at Brand Expand.io should be over a message. I like getting messages from sellers or prospective leads. Just come over, and we’ll try to help you as much as we can get set up for success and tell you a little bit about our software. We have some case studies and some other material that we can send over. But yeah, otherwise, I’m on LinkedIn as well.
Andrew Morgans 39:25
Thank you, Seth. I know we’re gonna it’s gonna happen that we’re gonna bump into each other at some of these just looking for the big red beard and make sure you say hello. No, but it’s been awesome. Thanks for sharing your story. You know, your growth where you guys are as amazing. A seven-figure exit and doing what you guys are doing. I think it’s very helpful for a lot of sellers that just struggle to put all these pieces together but are, you know, putting in a lot of work on Amazon to make it work, and that goal of a million sellers getting a million in sales. I think it’s I think it’s doable. I think it’s I think it’s out there. I know I’ve got a handful, and I’m not a software. I’m a service base, you know, and I’ve probably got 20 or 30 under my belt. I’m far from a million, but it is possible. And, you know, if people are working hard and doing that, and you’re just making it a little bit more within reach, and I think that’s really awesome. So thanks for your time.
Seth Hurd 40:15
Yeah, thank you, Andrew. Appreciate and likewise, you know, all your success.
Andrew Morgans 40:19
Thank you, man. And one more shout-out to our sponsor. Do you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders? Let Full Scale help. They have the people in the platform to help you build a manage a team of experts when you visit FullScale.io. All you need to do is answer a few questions and let the platform match you up with a fully vetted, highly experienced team of software 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. I have this really deep voice going with this head cold I got it kind of sounds kind of awesome. I think I don’t know when I’ll lose it. But thank you, Seth. We’ll see you next time, Hustlers.
Seth Hurd 40:53
Thank you. Cheers.