Ep. #1075 - How to Bring Your Direct-to-Consumer Store Onto Amazon
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, we’re learning how to bring your direct-to-consumer store onto Amazon. So Andrew Morgans invites Mina Elias, CEO and founder of the Trivium Group, to the podcast. These e-commerce experts share tips on how to launch a successful direct-to-consumer store on Amazon.
Covered In This Episode
Do community and networking play a role in Amazon? What could be a better fit for the Amazon marketplace? How long does it take to gain market share?
All these things and more are discussed by Andrew and Mina. Listen to their conversation on how to bring your direct-to-consumer store onto Amazon and do it successfully.
There is no better time to learn than now! Tune in to this Startup Hustle episode today.
- Partying and learning at Prosper (01:54)
- Choosing what’s a good fit and what’s not for Amazon (04:17)
- Is your product different enough to be noticed? (08:50)
- Doing a test run before signing with a client (12:04)
- What do DTCs have to do when launching on Amazon? (16:13)
- The biggest offensive weapon when launching brands on Amazon (20:49)
- Amazon has a different selling language (23:04)
- When to spend money? (29:09)
- Things that direct-to-consumer brands fear about Amazon (30:03)
- The difference between having a great Amazon team brings (36:02)
- Mina’s recent successful DTC Amazon project (40:04)
- The joy of working with great teams and winning (42:10)
- Where to connect with Mina (43:02)
Do not launch all of your products at all. When you start an Amazon seller account, you’re given 1000 units max. Now, if you run out of stock, you are literally shooting yourself and amputating both legs.– Mina Elias
Focus on advertising media by PPC. It’s the biggest offensive weapon we have.– Andrew Morgans
Don’t think about making money in the first, you know, 90 days. But as that momentum builds, you’re selling, and everything is good. The reviews are coming in, and you start tapering off some of those not-so-profitable keywords.– Mina Elias
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Andrew Morgans 00:01
What’s up, Hustlers? Welcome back. This is Andrew Morgans of Marknology. Here as today’s host of Startup Hustle, covering all things e-commerce, Amazon, and entrepreneurship. You name it. Today’s guest is a friend and colleague. Before I make that introduction, let’s get a shout-out to our sponsor for today’s episode. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Today’s topic is how to bring your direct consumer store to Amazon. And for someone who doesn’t know, direct consumers are, you know, your website, your Shopify, where you’re selling your products. And many times, people are getting something started on Amazon marketplaces. They’re getting something started in retail, or they’re getting something started on a website. It’s usually a variety of those. And today, we’re gonna be talking about some of the best practices and things you can do to bring your direct consumer store to Amazon. Today’s guest is no stranger to mine. And I know the show has been introduced to some people at his company. We’re around all the time. We did the Seven Scale Summit together, speaking on panels together all the time. Mina Elias, welcome to the show, dude.
Mina Elias 01:14
And we’re gonna party at Prosper together.
Andrew Morgans 01:16
And we’re gonna party and prosper. I was already hitting up about the parties. I’m like, I’m ready. I’m getting him. I’m bringing the right fit this time. Like I’m ready to go hard. We’re gonna have a lot of fun.
Mina Elias 01:29
I have IV drips scheduled to come to my room every day.
Andrew Morgans 01:34
You’re not even kidding.
Mina Elias 01:35
I’m joking, man. I’m gonna wake up, and I’m gonna hit the gym. I’m gonna have, you know, my breakfast. I’m gonna walk, you know, talk and do all that fun stuff. Recover for dinner, have a nice healthy dinner, and hit the party, man. I’m prepared this time. And it’s funny because we met at Prosper, which I fucking love, man. It was in 2019. No, it was in 2021.
Andrew Morgans 01:58
Really tight. It was like forever ago. It feels like forever ago.
Mina Elias 02:01
We met at Prosper, and then we met again, and then we hung out again at Prosper and Seven Scale. So it feels a lot like Prospers ago, but it was a prosperous one. And you know, we all got in that limo together. And you told me to worry, man. I feel like I was just going with the flow. I was just going with the flow.
Andrew Morgans 02:15
And some friends of ours were just like, just jump in. And I was like, okay, like, and then I just found myself with a lot of ballers, and then I continued, and that was one of the funniest years of prosper. For me, it was just kind of like a blur. Seeing the pandemic, you know, and then it was just like, e-commerce and the Amazon community was really like, I guess more aggressive and coming out of the pandemic than some other industries and groups, you know, and it just felt so good to be around humans again. Literally, we’re gonna jam out. And I know, like, for me, a lot of the business, a lot of the money, a lot of the meetings, a lot of the success, a lot of gains are made. You know, in that off time, you know, there’s a lot to learn from speaking and walking the floor. But there’s so much more that comes from just the relationships you get at some of these things. I’m just coming back from the online seller. The cruise is absolutely awesome. I get charged up there because I get actual time with humans. You know, and it’s a pretty advanced group of people. So, you know, just getting to have some deep conversations about business, about people, about HR, about hiring and firing about, you know, changes in the space. Yeah, I love it. I always love to go to the gym with you. And, you know, I love that these events bring us together. There’s no other real community if I’m not making a plug for any of this stuff, right? There’s just nothing like this community, man. I love it.
Mina Elias 03:37
Yeah. And speaking of jammy man, I’m ready, ready to give a ton of value to this episode. This topic is something that I am very passionate about, right? Because there is a system and a process that I’ve tried, you know, hundreds of times, and I think this will save a lot of people. Because if you know, the truth is your product might not be a fit for Amazon. And if it’s not, I’m going to show you exactly how you can identify if it is or isn’t. I would love to, you know, draw your feedback on it too. And then, if it is, I just kind of want to be real with you and explain to you what it takes and exactly what you need to do to get on Amazon and succeed. So you don’t, for example, get on Amazon, make a few sales chills, and then realize that your honeymoon period just got burned, and all that stuff, or waste or waste someone’s time like my team’s, you know, as much as you’d like to collect money.
Andrew Morgans 04:26
What I hate worse is like, you know, really giving 100% of our energy to a brand for several months, you know, and then they pull out because, you know, we have a limited amount of creative capacity and you know, you know, you’re diving in, and the person is just like, you know, the brand, essentially, it’s like, I’m just not ready to date. This wasn’t a good fit for me, like I need to be single a little bit longer, you know, and it’s like it’s not a win for anyone. You know, so for me, I’m gonna start us off Just like, for me, what I’ve kind of realized is, when you’re thinking about brands and like what kind of products you’re selling, I love a brand that’s doing very well, on the direct consumer channel, like on their website, they figured out their customer lifetime value, they figured out their average order value. They figured out their messaging, their content, and their branding, and they just really need an expert team to take them over to Amazon, assuming they’re the right fit, and we’ll get into that. I love it. Because if they figured out those things, the Amazon channel would become so much easier, or so much easier, right? If we are launching on Amazon, and they haven’t figured out all these things because they’ve been selling to a big box retailer, you know, for the first few years of their business. And that’s really well they know that they know how BestBuy operates, they know how OfficeMax operates, they know Office Depot, or whatever those things are, but they don’t really know their customer, their customers. That is that big box retailer. It’s not the direct consumer model. So those can be actually the hardest challenge, in my opinion. When they figured out DTC Well, Amazon could do well. And I really put products into two buckets, demand generation, and domain capture. And sometimes drug consumer websites can do really good on demand generation and have a lot of success. These are products that might be inventions. They’re getting exposed on social media, and you have to tell a lot about the products. If someone’s not searching for what you’re selling and you put that product on Amazon, it can be pretty hard to get anything going, and you can miss that honeymoon period. So I really think about those two just as a generic. I would love to hear your thoughts on kind of just how your methodology and your strategy around how you choose what might be a good fit and what might not.
Mina Elias 06:36
Got it. So very good. I’m glad that you covered demand generation and demand capture. So a DTC brand comes to us, and they’re like, We want to get an Amazon. We have a filter, right? And this is this filter is like, are you going to succeed or not on Amazon? Step number one, is there a demand for your product on Amazon? You go to Helium 10? You know, you can go look at search terms and see how many people, how many 1000 people are searching for you a month is your total number of searches. Were all the keywords that are relevant to your product, you know, 50 100,000 searches a month, or is it 5000 3000 example, electrolyte powder? The keyword alone for electrolyte powder is 35 to 40,000 searches a month. When you put all the variations, it’s hundreds of 1000s of searches a month looking for electrolyte powders versus gum massagers. Had someone come to me saying we want to advertise our gum massage or want to get our gum massager on Amazon? He was a dentist in Beverly Hills. And I’m like, boy, I just looked up the search volume in demand for gum massager on Amazon. And it is very, very, very small. And then the second step, just so we’re not biased. I’m like, I went and typed in all the gum massager and keywords and looked at the competitors. And the total addressable market right now is under 20,000-30,000 a month. This is a very tiny market. There’s only one brand that’s succeeding. And it’s GM because it is massive, like national, and every single store in every single gas station brand. But so that was step number one in their demand. Step number two, is your product differentiated enough? If I put your product in the search results, let’s leave reviews and pricing for now. If I put your product in the search results as a creative and value proposition, does it stand out from the competition? Is there a good enough reason for us to click on you? You have PickFu API key API CK Fu and then product opinion. You can go on there, you can put the 3D render of your product, you can put the competitors, you guys can all have the same price and the same reviews as they do, I think like 15,000 reviews, just so there’s no bias at all. And it’s like, which one would you click on and why? And if there’s not a clear, like, we’d click on you, or at least like you could be like, you know, 30 40% click on New and then you could change your image a little bit, and you know, manipulate it to show that like, it has this thing or this feature, you know, to enhance it a little bit. But if you if it’s like everyone’s gonna click on everyone else and not you, you know your product might not survive because it all starts at the search results. People are typing in keywords, and they see search results. Are they going to click on yes or no? So that’s the second step. The final step is to put your price point in line with Amazon. I had this dog booties company come to me, and they’re like yeah, like we have these formulae, right we have these dog booties, blah blah blah. It was $75. And on Amazon, the average dog booties price is $25. And I said, bro, there’s nothing we can do here. I mean, start a second line of dog booties, and we can get it up on Amazon if you can figure out how low the cost is. But like that premium, the premium that everyone talks about, you can do just premium because your premium on Amazon, like there needs to be a reason for your premium because this is aluminum and this is silver and will last, you know, for 600 years. Okay, that’s premium, but if it’s like you’re just a premium brand and you’re trying to showcase it in a premium way or have premium packaging, I don’t think that flies on Amazon. Not anymore, at least. So those are my filters. Step number one, is there enough demand? Yes or no? Step number two, are you differentiated enough that from the front end, you will be clicked on versus your competitors? Yes or no. Number three is your pricing line. If you check all of those boxes, if you don’t check those boxes, you will go to option number one, which is to get your stuff up and running on Amazon, get some reviews, and protect your brand name. So with all of your DTC marketing efforts, someone sees you in the store, buys you, and then wants to repurchase on Amazon, you’re there, they type in, you know, Mark Knology, whatever, they find you right away, you’re protected. You look good, and you have good reviews, so they’re comfortable converting. That’s it, don’t expect you to take any of Amazon’s, you know, audience, any of that market share? Or if you answered yes to all of the questions, then yes, you do qualify to get on Amazon. And again, then you’re going to be faced with an option. Do you want to be a nice, you know, kind of gentle player and have your brand name whatever? And do a little bit? Or do you want to actually make money, like make Amazon a second, like sales and revenue channel, and you go aggressive, and we can talk about that? I want to hear your thoughts. But we could talk about it because both of us know what it’s like to go aggressive on Amazon.
Andrew Morgans 11:24
Okay, awesome. Thank you for that. Mike, I have one question. Just like follow up. Would you sell it to me? Sometimes I know they have a main photo that’s not that eye-catching. But after working with them, we can get that photo, you know, a lot more dialed in? Do you go through, you know, product opinion or PickFu? With a potential brand or client you’re going to work with before you even engage? Or is that something you kind of suggest they do? And then give you results? Like, what does that look like?
Mina Elias 11:50
Yeah, we always do that we always before bringing them on. Like, if there’s any fitness, if there’s any fitness, I’m like, give me your product, we’re gonna run it through, we’re gonna see why people are choosing other competitors and not you, we’re going to iterate, we’re going to change what your main image looks like, we’re going to change your bottle, probably make it a little bit wider, a little bit longer, we’re going to make your knives look sharper, whatever, whatever the thing may be, you know, just enough that we can kind of trick people but like, without really doing anything that’s like, you know, bad like or unethical? And if I’m confident, like, yes, like your meeting, you know, 40%, 50%, or your position number one, position number two in the polls. Okay, cool. Let’s do it. Or else why man, like, like, let’s just spend, you know, $300, $400 doing polls, little bit of creative cost, who cares? Versus you want to give me a 10k 15k budget plus my retainer and all of this stuff, and then realize, like, man, like our click through rate is too low, we’re not able to make this work, our conversion rate is too low, we’re not able to make this work. Because we can drive traffic, like, that’s the easy part, I can get you from zero to a million impressions, you know, a day or a week, whatever, pretty easily, right? It’s just launching campaigns and getting you the biggest amount of exposure. But will the people decide to click on you? Yes or no. And if we can’t get past stage one, then I can’t even do anything, you know, at that point. And so we do creative first, and then with the price. So we make sure that like listen, like you are desirable at that price point. And we can always test different price points and be like, okay, man, it seems like you’re only you want to sell at 3999. But you only desirable at 2799. Can we potentially do this for a while? Is there a way can this work? And if they’re like, No, we’re losing $2? On every sale? That’s before advertising. I’m like, Okay, I mean, you know, we gotta figure this out. Because we can’t sell them that expensive. People don’t want your product that expensive. We can try it for a month, if you really want to, you know, spend a few 1000 Or five grand or whatever, blow it on a test, we’ll find out for sure. But I’m just letting you know, the first month is probably going to be the best data because you need to get reviews. So if you’re fighting that battle of like, I’m trying to get reviews, and I don’t know if my conversion rate is going to hold up because my price is not that great or whatever, you know, then it’s like, do you like do you really want to invest in something that shaky?
Andrew Morgans 14:14
Yep, I agree. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about is like, look, we’ve been doing this for years, I can make almost anything work. But what’s that? What’s that heavy lifting cost? How long is it going to take you to get there? How long is it going to take you to get that market share to get those reviews how much you’re going to have to spend because your product is like a maybe a right? It’s like a seven out of 10 instead of a 10 out of a 10 and people you know are confused by that. Okay, so we talked a little bit about maybe some of the reasons why not to be on Amazon or if you come to Amazon what those models can look like for you. What does the DTC brand need to think about? Let’s say that they are the box box box. They’ve checked out three boxes and they’re like, Okay, this is a good fit. And let’s say that they are going to kind of go home. Aren’t heavy on Amazon, trying to grab market share, try to really grow, grow a brand, scale it out, you know, what are the things they need to think about? Is it? Is it learning the FBA model? Is it different packaging? Is it? You know, how to group items together? Is it? Should they launch with all their products? Like what are some of the other things they’re thinking about? They’re like, Okay, I’ve got this website, it’s going great. I feel like I’m gonna be a great product. I mean, it’s telling me I’m gonna be like, I have potential on Amazon. What do I need to do to really get my brand ready to be on Amazon and just start thinking about?
Mina Elias 15:33
Great question, man. Great question. So first things first, I love that you asked about whether I should launch all my products or not launch all of your products at all. When you start an Amazon seller account, you’re given 1000 units max. Now, if you run out of stock, you are literally shooting yourself and amputating both legs, essentially, what by running out of stock. So your number one and main priority is to not run out of stock, you should have a lot of stock. And especially at a three PL that is on demand you can send to Amazon at any point in time, I would start with my best seller, the one that I think has the highest chance of success, send the 1000 units in. And as you start selling through, you can send more in and I would wait before doing anything with another product until you have a good cadence down and you’re like, okay, cool, we’re selling 3040 50 units a day, I know that the stock that I have right now is gonna last me, you know, 45 days or whatever. And every 15 days, I’m sending another, you know, 15 days worth of stock. With a 30 day buffer, we’re pretty solid. And we have 2000 units open, let’s send 2000 units or whatever of a new product. Okay, cool. That’s when you would think about launching another product. This is supply chain management, one on one. The reason that I stressed this, the first and the most important, is because if you run out of stock, I promise you, you’re gonna come crying to me and Drew and you’re gonna say, we were doing so well. And then we ran out of stock, and then we can crack 20 units a day. And I’m like, that’s what it’s like, because you’re on a stock. And I think Amazon just says this is a shitty seller, they don’t even know how to manage the supply chain, they shouldn’t be selling that many units. Theory, obviously I have no one knows, right? No one knows what Amazon thinks, even probably employees at Amazon don’t know how the hell the algorithm operates. So now that you’ve got that down, you picked your product, what are the things that you need to do, you build the listing skeleton, the listing skeleton is essentially you create the listing, and you fill out as much information as you can, not the bare minimum, anything like the category, the diet style, the color, the material, everything that you can fill out, you put that in, then you need the SEO title bullet points back in search terms, anywhere else that you can put search terms that you know, you have a couple of options, I love using Data Dive. So go to Data Dive and then you can pull your top eight competitors. And then you can create a listing that that has all of the right keywords to have a very high SEO value, it quantifies your SEO value, it says, you know your top competitor has 980,000, you know SEO score, you can go 1.1 million by having all of the keywords that it tells you which keywords you’ve captured in your title, which not same with the bullet points. So once you’ve crafted the SEO, now you have a pretty much complete listing, it has the price, it has all of the backend stuff, it has all the SEO, what’s missing is the creative. Definitely need a brand registry. So make sure that you have your trademark ready to go, you’re gonna file for brand registry, and all of this is happening, obviously the listing is closed, you’re not going to launch, you’re not gonna do anything. From there, you need to create the creative’s main image, that’s where a lot of the heavy lifting is, like creating an image that is very catchy that people will click on. So going to pick food, you know, put your existing, you know, main image, what would people choose you or your competitors? Why would they choose your competitors, reiterate, make your text bigger, put more fruits, you know, if you have a three pack, make it look a little bit, maybe make one big pack and with a times three, stuff like that, right? Just a lot of iteration nailed down your main image. So it’s very desirable, then the rest of the images, your images, have to sell your product in a way where you assume that they’re not going to read anything else in your listing that you’re like, Okay, while my, when I have this humidifier in my house, I’m gonna breathe easier. It cleans up my air. It’s better than everyone because it doesn’t accumulate this, you know, accumulate mold, whatever, all of these things that make your product better than everyone else’s. And all of the reasons why I should do it. You know, and if you don’t know why you should do it because maybe you’re not that in touch with your market. Like Drew said, maybe go and do. What is it called a focus group and ask them to be like, what do you really care about or go even easier? Helium 10 Review insights, take your top, top 10 competitors download all of the negative reviews, download all the positive reviews, put it into fucking chat GP Dude, ask him to summarize why people love products and why they hate products. And then make sure that is very clear, you know, you are gonna harp on that.
Andrew Morgans 20:09
I want to harp on that just a little bit because like, you know, runs a PPC agency, right? They focus on advertising media by PVC. It’s the biggest, it’s the biggest offensive weapon we have. I mean, sure, you can use it for defense, it’s the biggest offensive weapon we have to launch brands and products on Amazon. The content piece is something that the PPC only does as good as the content only as good as the story. People don’t think about it like a flow, like some simple things to think about is like, from Image one down as you go down the images. You know, What message are you saying they should be like, this is the product this is what it does is who it’s for think about, you know, I’ll see the language change. Let’s say it’s a mom selling baby products. It’s kind of like the moms the hero, the moms, the hero, the moms, the hero, and then a couple images, they’re talking to the baby, why are you talking to the baby? The baby’s not the one buying, you’re talking to the mom, right? And so just those simple things of like, the way that they’re messaging, or it’s like, you know, you’re going on a date, and you’re just like, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, no one wants that no one wants that, on a date sit across the table. It’s a conversation, it’s a conversation through images, you know, it’s if they took away one thing from each image, you would be doing good, in my opinion, like one clear point from each image, like let’s say, air cleanliness and ease of use and easy to clean and affordable or whatever these things like you’re sending one message with some some data behind it that will back that up. But if they just saw the image and kept moving, what are they going to feel from that image? What are they going to take away? And there’s, you know, there’s a science to this, it’s art, but it’s the science but storytelling. And the PPC should also be conveying those things that are in the images as well. So just talking about the images talking about the content, like don’t have facet and we’re already talking these are these are direct consumer brands coming to Amazon so at some level, you should have already figured this out on your website if you’re converting and you’re selling it just has to be repurposed for the Amazon marketplace. But I’m passing back to you just want to give a couple of things I see that people are doing over and over. It’s driving me crazy.
Mina Elias 22:24
I so I really want to pause here for a second. So this is the problem with DTC brands is because you are speaking a different language on Amazon. So you cannot use your DTC content you’re on DTC, you have a different advantage, you are driving traffic through a creative that is then landing on a landing page that is then telling a full story. on Amazon, you have eight images max to tell that full story. You and on DTC you’re, you’re bringing someone in to convince them Hey, man, you’re gonna like this on Amazon, you’re convincing them Hey, man, we’re better than everyone else. Because this is a comparison game. It’s a bodybuilding show. There are six products next to each other. They they all want your money. And so that’s why when you speak when you use creatives on Amazon, it needs to speak to the Amazon shopper, which is saying what I’m looking for something to disqualify this product. Okay, I’m looking at a vegan protein. Just give me something Give me that. Don’t tell me that it tastes good. Don’t tell me how good it absorbs. Because then I’m going to disqualify and my decision is going to be easier. So you also have to think about it from like the Amazon shopper perspective. How do you shop on Amazon, you go you look at a bunch of products, the one that’s most eye catching, you look at it, you’re looking to disqualify it for any reasons. And the one that you can disqualify, because it kind of seems to cover everything. It’s in your price range, well reviewed, answers your questions in the FAQ and the listing. There you go. Let’s buy that one. And so that’s that’s the shopping pattern, just make sure that you’re kind of addressing it. So creatives, exactly what we talked about in terms of the images, a plus content is a way to showcase more. So you sold your product in the first eight images, you have another five modules plus like your brand module and a plus content, you can sell the brand even more, make them you know, emotionally get in touch with the brand and then continue to sell them. It’s healthier for your kids. It helps in dry environments if you live in these areas in the United States. I live in California. I definitely need this sort of thing. So now that that’s done, perfect. It’s like you have a coffee shop and when you go in the coffee shop, it’s gonna smell good. Right? There’s two components left. What’s the price of the coffee and do other people want this coffee which is your price and your reviews? So now we have a good product. We always had a good product. Now the store smells good. So when Andrew was talking about the traffic, when I started pushing PPC people were coming into your listing and They’re like, Oh, this smells good. I want to buy this right, then obviously price prices price, like you’ll never know until you test like let’s start with a lower price. Let’s increase our price and monitor click through rate and conversion rate and see how that and like profits and how that affects everything. I recommend starting with a lower price, always building that traffic and increasing your price over time. And then the final piece of the puzzle is without talking about external traffic, which Andrew, I know, we can talk a lot more about that too. But it’s, let’s get reviews. Now, within Terms of Service, you’re not allowed to do anything to get reviews. But we both know that if you don’t have reviews, people are gonna be like, I don’t want to buy your product. I’ve never bought a product with, you know, under 100 reviews. So what we do, this is not not within Terms of Service, but we find all of the potential people that would buy our product. So I’m selling a cat thing like a cat snack. So I’m going to all these cat pages and these cat meow or whatever, funny cat videos, and I’m hitting up every 100 people a day. It from the comments and DMing them say hey, we just launched a new amazing catnip, snack, whatever. Are you a cat owner? We’d love to get some in your hands. Yeah, I’m a cat owner. Amazing. You know? Are you on Amazon? Okay, buy it on Amazon. Send us the order number. I’ll reimburse you. And then I’ll follow up with you in a few days, five days later, Hey, what’s up? How did your cat like this product? Oh, she loved it all over above about perfect, cool, would you mind leaving us a review on Amazon. And that’s how we do it. And here’s another thing that we do. That is again, even more to get into the gray hat, we launch a variation first that we get reviews for. So when the main, you know, star right comes in, then the listing already has, you know, 55 star reviews, 105 star reviews and so, on day one, when we start spending the heavy budget on the main product, you spend the heavy budget on something that has a lot of reviews. So if you got all of those bases covered, the only thing left now is let’s start spending money on PPC and PPC, you cannot be nice and easy. If you really want to win market share on Amazon, you have to hit the ground running in the first 30 to 45 days. There’s something called the honeymoon phase, which basically means Amazon doesn’t know anything about you. And it’s starting to learn about your performance and how good of a product that you are. So it’s going to start evaluating you based on your sales. If you have a high sales velocity, even if you’re not profitable, if you’re losing money, but you’re forcing sales velocity, it means that the product is in demand. I think for some reason, Amazon hasn’t done the how much ad spend versus they just know like, okay, they sold 50 units great, they sold 60 units great. It doesn’t matter what the conversion rate is, it’s just that it’s selling a lot. And so we’ve seen when we launch aggressively, and we start to sell a lot of units very quickly, we spend $500 a day. We make 500 in sales, spend 700 makes 700, spend 750, make 900 and spend 750 make 1200. And as the reviews come in, and as that sales velocity keeps going, Amazon is going to start ranking you organically high. And they also do that specifically in the honeymoon phase because they want to give you an advantage. So sometimes you log in, type in electrolyte powder. And there’s a product with 72 Reviews on page one, and you’re like the top of page and you’re like Dude, what are you talking about? I have 2900 reviews four and a half stars? I’m on the bottom of page one, how is this guy there? Because they’re like a casino?
Andrew Morgans 28:27
Exactly. They’re trying to learn if they’re gonna make it in the first 45 days, yes or no.
Mina Elias 28:29
So that’s the time to really spend a lot of money and eventually that one extra row as your organic rank goes up, you’re gonna have an equal number of paid sessions, which is visitors to organic visitors and that row as total row starts becoming two. And then two and a half. Don’t think about making money in the first you know, 90 days or whatever. But as that momentum builds, and you’re selling and everything is good, and the reviews are coming in, you start tapering off some of that not so profitable keywords, you know, maybe 158% equals or whatever, like 0.5x row as you start slowly bringing those down. And now you’re left with okay, maybe we’re not spending 750 We’re spending 500 in a row as is a little bit better word or three extra less. And that is usually like how we bring a brand to DTC, you know, to hit the ground running.
Andrew Morgans 29:23
I love it. I have a few more questions. Before I do, I want to shout out to our sponsor. Again, finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io. We can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs and then see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team at FullScale.io to learn more. Okay, so we’ve talked about things like, you know, what we’re doing to launch a brand, how we’re thinking about it, some tips and tricks and a little gray area. You know, we use Amazon vine reviewers. We use a bunch of different things like that. If they don’t already know this, it’s a DTC brand. Maybe they have an email list. They’ve got social media, they’ve got some of those favorite customers that they can reach out to a Facebook group, maybe they’ve already got some of those things we’re not talking about a product, it’s just being launched on Amazon we’re talking about a product is doing as some presents, at least in DTC that they’re doing. You know, for me, like kind of pioneering this face, for the longest time, a lot of the thought leadership that was out there, that was like putting stuff out there on the web, on forums and communities on up work wherever was, you know, a lot of these leaders in Facebook marketing, okay, they were, they were like, leading the way, if you were at a great Facebook ads team, a great Facebook ads strategy. You were making millions, you know, it was this, I’m talking about the heyday, years when it was like, you know, we’re crushing it 15. Before that, 2012. And they had a lot of clout, they had a lot of them and they had a lot of people listening to them. And they were essentially saying, like, why would we push traffic to Amazon, Amazon’s just going to cannibalize your sales, let’s keep everything in the direct consumer, you know, kind of ecosystem, this cycle, they definitely didn’t believe in like off Amazon traffic to Amazon, or Amazon being a secondary arm of their business or any of those things. It was very anti Amazon, mainly because they couldn’t attribute sales. You know, they knew Facebook, they wanted to keep it that way. And so there was this fear that was really kind of like cultivated, I think by a lot of the thought leadership around off Amazon media by this fear of Amazon, that consumer brands that were doing pretty well, on their website, were just afraid of Amazon, instead of seeing it like an additional sales channel, they definitely saw it as competition. But we both know that that’s not really the case, you might have some of your website customers buy on Amazon, but overall, you’re gonna see, you know, both on both of them, if you’re doing it right. There’s a big difference between directing traffic from let’s say, a Facebook ad to a landing page that converts on a website and what you get from that you get the email, you get the funds, you get, you know, you get their address, you get some of that data on Amazon, like you said, you’re driving 700, PPC, and you’re getting 700 in sales, you’re driving, you’re paying for traffic, getting them to the page, which is the Amazon page getting conversion getting less money than on the website, getting less data than on their website. But what you’re also getting is this ability to go out there and get the next sale. Like with that momentum in that sales rank. And that organic ranking that starts happening, that does not happen on a website. So it’s something very unique to the Amazon platform that until people really knew about it, there were enough thought leaders even kind of talking about some of these different ways that can be done better on Amazon, and why it wasn’t cannibalistic. I just am passionate about that. Because I remember just really having those conversations and really believing in this Amazon strategy. What are some of the things? Let’s just open this up for discussion. What are some of the things that direct consumer brands might fear about Amazon that they don’t know what’s true, kind of that ability of investing in the first 90 days that will continue to grow way past your investment? If you’re doing things right. What are some of the things you’ve seen? Just working with these types of brands? Maybe the good, the bad or the?
Mina Elias 33:13
Yeah, I mean, you know, a lot of people are saying like, yeah, like if we launch on Amazon, you know, it might take away from our DTC. Well, what happened when iOS 14 happened? What happened to your DTC, it all went to shit, you are at the mercy of Facebook. Now, at least you’re at the mercy of Facebook and Amazon. And listen, Facebook is not aligned with your goals. Facebook is not aligned with making sure that you sell the most amount. Amazon is because every sale they make 15%. And then if you’re FBA, which, you know, obviously, we strongly suggest you are because Amazon prefers FBA, then they’re making additional money from their whole, like third party logistics, essentially. So Amazon is very incentivized to make your brand succeed. Now, because it’s so big, they have a big robot that sometimes takes people down fairly and all of this stuff, but in the grand scheme of things that they really, I mean, they’ve kept improving their data. They’re improving their advertising, they’re giving us Amazon experiments with AV testing now, so they’re helping us clearly when we speak to them, you know, the reps and stuff there. And they’re like, Yeah, we’re trying to do our best. Now, it’s not their fault that they are just not doing a great job. They’re like, trillion dollar corporations, right? It’s so easy from the outside to say, like, oh, they could do this and that better. But anyways, Facebook is different. Facebook, you know, Facebook is you they’re selling you, they’re selling you ads, you know, they’re and they and they know what they have. And they’re constantly selling you, you know, ads. Now whether you convert or not, there’s not going to be on them because they don’t have any direct relation with the fulfillment of the product or they don’t make money on the conversion of the product. So in iOS 14 hit you went down for all the brands that were diversified and had a very strong Amazon presence and we’re eating you that market share and they were, you know, they had 2 million on DTC a million on Amazon, when their 2 million went down to a million on DTC because their Facebook got completely destroyed, they only went down 30% versus everyone else who went down 50%. And more. So that’s also something to consider.
Andrew Morgans 35:22
I mean, that’s that, that difference is what makes or breaks your business. I think a lot of times is that they, you know, if they have a good direct consumer business, they probably have a good Facebook ad agency, they probably have a good maybe it’s them, maybe it’s someone, you know, someone that they found that helped them get there, they have to have some way that they’ve gotten a lot of traffic usually comes from like an influencer brand, or it’s Facebook ads, or Google ads, something like that. And they’ve got a good team to do that. And a lot of times what I’m just saying, I’m saying this for the benefit of anyone listening that that might that might be the case is what if you had a great person on the Amazon side, that was also giving you great advice on what can be done, how you should approach it, how you should not approach it, you know, the truth behind some of these things, instead of just that, maybe you have that great Facebook person on your team. But they don’t know what they don’t know. And so I think the best mix is really to have a great Amazon team, a great Facebook or media buying team off Amazon. And then how can those two things work together and really strategize. And when you start thinking like that, and you get holistic, it gets really exciting. And I mean, those are my favorite products to work on. Because we just have all of these weapons, all these tools in the toolbox, so to speak, that we can use essentially, make this this brand launch, you know, more successful, it’s not uncommon for me if I’m dealing with a, you know, three to 5 million brand and direct consumer to launch on Amazon, and in six months hit a million dollars in sales, like it’s not that uncommon, with a brand new and three to 5 million on the website to also find a million pretty fast on Amazon. So I know what that would do for so many businesses that are in that kind of range. What would an extra million do as everything is getting harder, you can find another million 1.5 on Amazon. And it also makes you look much healthier to sell if you plan on selling your business to already be on Amazon, be maximize there, be strong, be defensible, have a moat, so to speak, is another danger as well.
Mina Elias 37:21
I agree, man 100%. I think it definitely helps in diversification. But we’ve also seen like, as you grow your DTC, you’re gonna get that halo effect of Amazon and so and so you’re getting the halo effect on Amazon, you’re acquiring Amazon customers, and everything is growing. I don’t think you have to force yourself to capture every single customer that you have as data, like, do your best on DSC, do your best on Amazon, and what if, what if I told you Listen, man, like you’re doing 2 million on data? See, if you put a big push in Amazon, you’re gonna be doing 6 million on Amazon and 2 million on DTC? I mean, okay, cool. Like, are you gonna say no, it’s, it’s easy, though. Zubeida, you know, your, your evaluations, your evaluation, like, you’re, you’re gonna get a lot more money by having a bigger ego than having all of the customer data, you know what I mean? Like, that’s, that’s maybe going to improve your valuation a tiny bit, but it’s not going to, you know, a million to EBITA, which is going to be what, like three to 5 million when you exit more. So, you know, you tell me like, do you think having the customer data is what’s going to drive an additional million are opening up an entire sales channel, that, you know, there’s 1000s and 1000s of shoppers, and, you know, the total addressable market is, you know, a million a month, and all you need is a couple 100,000.
Andrew Morgans 38:41
Yeah, and there’s, there’s ways to get that customer data as well. I mean, from getting direct, you know, your keyword data to doing PPC, I think that’s absolutely huge. And you can get all of that with your zip codes, you’re able to get like, you know, have inserts and, you know, do stuff with your packaging, do all types of things, really to touch your customers. It’s not exactly the same way, meaning everything’s not apples to apples. But there’s still tons of opportunity there. And people usually overlook that. As we get close to the end of the show. Two more questions for you like one: what would be, you know, the last successful direct consumer project for Amazon? What, what, what’s the last one that you’ve worked on? So I’m gonna tell us a little bit about that project, if you can remember.
Mina Elias 39:24
Yeah, we. So there’s two, one that I’m going to briefly mention, because I feel like it’s a little bit unfair, but it is a very, very, very big lashes brand. And we literally got them up with branded campaigns, and they’re doing over 1000 a month in under two weeks. So they’re sorry, 1000 a day over 1000 A day in under two weeks. So it’s a very big lash brand. They’re doing 30 to 50 million off of Amazon. And again, this is just through brand presence. They’re already you know, it’s been two weeks and they’re all doing 1000 a day. I mean, I can see them doing a million by the end of the month. You know runway I love the 10 More. And this is why we haven’t even started going aggressive, right? This is just brand new. Now, the one that I really have been passionate about is neuro gum. They are a caffeinated gum, they were on Shark Tank, they were mentioned by Joe Rogan. And I think recently, they’re going to be mentioned by Huberman labs. Such an incredible creation. I’m friends with the founders, they came to us. And this is a product that is, you know, it’s new in its category. But the category is there. It’s a small category, and it’s growing, and they came from DTC. And recently, they were like, Listen, man, our Amazon has overtaken our DTC. And it’s crazy, because the biggest reason that they’re not doing twice as much as they’re doing now on Amazon is that they can’t keep in stock, because every single time, like Joe Rogan mentions something like, we run out of stock. You know, they’re getting like million dollar appeals from like, retail. And so they have to divert, you know, like, they’re stuck there. So that’s, like, been a really, really exciting one. And it’s, it’s amazing and very enjoyable to work with brands that are like really good solid brands, they have good branding, they have a good product, they understand their market, and they know the game there. And this is, you know, a brand that came to us, their DTC was about like, you know, one and a half times their Amazon. And then by the time we were done, both grew, but the Amazon is one and a half times the DTC. And that was a very proud moment.
Andrew Morgans 41:30
I mean, I can speak for myself, and I think I speak for you too, but it’s just like, as someone that’s been doing this a long time, and I still get joy out of it. I like working on projects like that, where you’re just getting to work with great teams that know their stuff. They’ve got a great brand, they know what they’re doing. They’re thinking holistically, it’s just a lot more fun. I mean, sure, we win too. It’s a lot easier to have conversations when you’re winning. But when we all like to win over and over and over, you know, so for me, it’s like as much as it is. Are you guys a good fit for us? It’s like, Man, I would love to work with projects like that where you’re just you’re just picking the winners, you know, and it’s there’s those perfect fits and it’s just like look, you can literally get a success a success story every single time when you’re picking the right products and the right brands for Amazon. I think it really is that easy. Okay, so as we dial it as we dial it down, where can people contact you? Where can they follow up? Where can they like to stay in contact with what you’re doing?
Mina Elias 42:22
Yeah, so you can hit me up on LinkedIn, Mina Elias. You can also email me at email@example.com or go to the website triviumco.com. We have a free audit if you want to take advantage of that. But yeah, I mean, or Instagram at Amina lies. I’m pretty receptive to things like LinkedIn on Instagram. Definitely, so message me if you have questions. You’re like, you know, is this a good fit? Is this product a good fit? Do you think it is gonna work? You know, like, what’s the strategy? Can you take a look at what we’re doing? More than happy to. And yeah, I’m gonna like you. Did I love it? You know, it feels good when you’re doing this work, and you’re helping people, but it feels really good, man. When you see people when you see other people when and they’re like, dude, thank you so much. Like you really made a difference for us. It’s like a selfish thing. It’s like, but it’s such a dopamine hit like, dude, like oh, man, Mina, thank you, dude. Like, you really helped us out, and it’s like, man, it makes it worth it. Dude, it makes all the bullshit, all the other little bullshit stuff that we have to deal with, you know, in the agency space. It makes it all worth it.
Andrew Morgans 43:32
I 100% agree. As I said, I started this conversation. I just love this community. And you know, I think every great leader has a servant’s heart at the core, you know, at least the good ones. And it’s one thing to do stuff and find some wins for yourself. It’s another thing to like to coach or lead others to get some wins. It just feels a lot better. You’re gonna be a little bit less like you don’t have to worry about the ego as much because it’s somebody else’s win, and you just get to enjoy it with them. So you know, I still love that stuff. I love jamming it out. You guys know Mina is one of the real ones. He just hit him up, he’ll hit you, and he’ll love to jam it out. So you know, hit him with your questions, hit him with your stuff. And just watch him work, as I like to say, watch him work. He always leads with value. So it’s always fun jamming with Umina. It’s been awesome having you on the show. Thank you for providing a lot of value. I think it’s 45 minutes here. We covered a lot for a lot of people. And I look forward to getting some of the results about what people thought about the episode. I love it, man. Thanks, Mina. Shout out again to our sponsor. Do you need to hire software engineers, testers, and leaders? Let Full Scale hope 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. Full Scale specializes in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. We’ll see you next time, Hustlers, until then.