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eCommerce Evolution

eCommerce Evolution is hosted by Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce. Tune in for fresh interviews with the merchants, vendors, and experts shaping the eCommerce industry. We take an in-depth look at what's new and what's next in eCommerce.
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Dec 2, 2020

Colby Bauer has personality.  He’s a half-pipe skating, snowboarding, former collegiate athlete who turned a simple idea into a thriving eComm business.  He and his wife McKenzie started Thread Wallets with just a single product idea.  Simple, functional, minimalist wallets with personality.  That initial product took off and Thread quickly grew into a team of 22 that now boasts an expanding product line including lanyards, phone cases, and more.

While there’s a lot to be impressed about with Colby and McKenzie, and their team I really wanted to key in on Thread’s culture and the unique steps they took to grow.  I think you’ll find a ton of good lessons here:

  • How the key to scale might be engaging in activities that DON’T scale
  • How financial intelligence (or lack thereof) can make or break startups
  • How to hire for culture first and is the “hire slow, fire fast” mantra really the way to go
  • How installing a half-pipe at the office lead to a fight amongst the thread founders, but lead to mental health as a focus for the company
  • A good CEO is a non-busy CEO…what does this mean and how is it the key to effectiveness
Nov 25, 2020

Conversational commerce.  What is it?  Basically, it’s taking the in-person shopping experience of asking questions and talking to retail sales staff and moving it into multiple online channels seamlessly.  Today shoppers want to interact with you in a variety of ways and they want near-instant feedback.  Messenger.  SMS.  Chat.  Facebook comments.  Your customers expect you to be everywhere they are when they need you.  

In this interview, Phil and I talk about some of the foundations of conversational commerce - both strategies and tactics.  This will help guide all of your conversational commerce efforts. Here’s a quick look at what we discuss.  

  • What components of conversational commerce should you consider?
  • What impact can conversational commerce have on conversion rates?
  • How to look at the dashboard and KPIs related to conversational commerce.
  • How this impacts your paid acquisition efforts.
  • Lots of real-world examples
  • Plus more
Nov 18, 2020

Very little about 2020 has been normal - including Prime Day.  This year’s Prime Day was in October vs. Amazon’s usual July time frame.  What did this mean for 2020 Prime Day vs. 2019 Prime Day?  Would this year’s Prime Day make the official launch of holiday sales? 

 

In this episode, I bring back OMG Commerce’s Amazon Director Chris Tyler to discuss what we noticed this year during Prime Day with our clients. 

Here’s a look at what we discuss:

  • Total prime day sales grew 70% year-over-year in 2019 vs. 2018, but only grew 45% year-over-year in 2020 compared to 2019 (Statista report).  
  • $3.5 billion of the estimated $10 billion in total sales on Prime Day were from 3rd party sellers, but the most popular item on Prime Day was Amazon’s deeply discounted Echo Dot.  
  • What categories of products we saw perform the best for our OMG clients. 62% of Prime Day purchases this year were for gifts for someone else according to Digital Commerce 360.  
  • Why we didn’t see as dramatic of a list for 2020 Prime Day vs. 2019 Prime Day, but sales immediately after prime day this year have been strong.
  • The impact of Prime Day on Sponsored Brand Video Ads and overall ad performance
  • Interesting Amazon DSP trends during Prime Day and since
  • Plus more!
Nov 11, 2020

Khierstyn Ross is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to launching products on Kickstarter.  She’s experienced the highs of multiple 6-figure product launches, plus she’s endured the heartache of a launch gone bad.  She knows what to do and, just as importantly, what to avoid.

In this podcast, we talk about the keys to building a 6-figure crowd-funded product launch including:

  • What products work best for a Kickstarter launch
  • Why audience building is so important, how to do it, and why so many people underestimate it.
  • What kind of targets to set for your first day of your Kickstarter launch
  • What to consider when it comes to shipping
  • Top mistakes to avoid
  • How storytelling fuels crowd-funding launches

Plus more! 

Oct 28, 2020

What do six-packs, successful pilots and 2020 have in common?  No, it’s not a drinking game.  We’re talking data here people! Do you know your data…like really know your data?  Do you have a feel for it?  Do you look at the right numbers daily?  

Let’s talk pilots for just a second. If you’ve ever seen a cockpit, it looks kinda like most eCommerce dashboards - an overwhelming amount of buttons, data, dials, and meters.  But pilots actually focus mostly on just a few key instruments.  The rest is there to help if there’s trouble.  The same should be true for the dashboards you use to run your business.  

I absolutely loved this interview with Dan LeBlanc at Daasity.  We cover some really important topics to help you really get a handle on managing your business.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Is your data accurate?  Seems like an easy question.  Not always an easy answer.  
  • Do you know what your metrics mean?  It’s all in the definition.  If you don’t have the right definition, you can’t make good decisions.  
  • How you should look at your Lifetime Value (LTV) and why Cohorts matter
  • Why contribution margin is super important plus an easy way to calculate it
  • Knowing your RFM - Recency, frequency, and monetary value.  Here’s how to look at this and why it matters.
Oct 21, 2020

There are two different types of sponsored YouTube influencer videos:

  1. An integrated sponsored video and 
  2. Stand-alone sponsored video.

Stand-alone sponsored influencer videos are what most brands use and what most people think of when they hear “YouTube influencer marketing.” Stand-alone videos are typically an influencer providing a quick review or endorsement about a particular product.  So the video is titled “Widget 12 Pro Unboxing and review.”

An integrated sponsored influencer videos is an ad put inside of video on a separate topic.  The video might be about fortnite or camping, or whatever, but inside the video is a 30 second ad, read by the creator, for your product. These integrated video ads are Ridge Wallets secret sauce. 

Here’s a quick look at what we uncover on the show:

  • Why integrated sponsored videos are so great and why they scale better than stand alone influencer videos. 
  • How to approach influencers
  • Why subscribers on YouTube is largely a vanity metric
  • How to spot a dead channel vs. an active channel
  • How to measure the impact of your influencer videos 
  • What to pay influencers and how to think about CPMs (cost per thousand)
  • How to achieve scale in your outreach and deployment of influencer videos
  • Plus more!
Oct 14, 2020

During a pandemic, marketing for a travel company isn’t easy.  Kevin Urrutia and team at Chester Travel are getting creative and hustling to drive sales now and set themselves up for success in the future.  In this episode, we talk about the perfect combination of short term and long term growth strategies.  Using influencer marketing for short term growth and SEO for long term traffic and growth has proved to be a winning combination for Chester Travel and their line of modern luggage.  

Here’s a look at what we cover in this episode:

  • Leveraging returns and unsold inventory for influencer marketing.
  • Understanding the value of your product in influencer marketing.
  • Simple outreach for influencer marketing….you’re probably overthinking it.  Try this one sentence approach.
  • How a solid Instagram account is a necessary prerequisite for influencer marketing.
  • Leveraging your homepage to rank your blog posts
  • Combining remarketing and SEO to drive sales.
Sep 30, 2020

In a word, Chris Lynch is cool.  So is his brand Everyday California.  It’s not a surprise then, that what started as an adventure tour company also became a super popular apparel line.  But Chris and the Everyday Cali team didn’t stop there… The brand has now grown to include flip flops, beer, CBD and even a line of sunscreen.  So what separates a solid business move into new products vs. an unhealthy distraction?  When should you partner, license, go on your own, or scrap an idea?  Here’s what we dive into on this episode: 

  • When to lawyer up and why it’s sooo worth it
  • Be patient - speed in some instances almost guarantees that you land on your face.
  • One of the best questions to ask about adding a new product is “does it feel right?”  
  • How Chris and team partnered with a brewery on a California IPA and a CBD company to make a CBD product all while strengthening their core brand offering.
  • Lessons learned from a few license deals
  • How and why Everyday Cali is launching a brand new sunscreen - if you’re considering a line extension, you’ll love Chris’ advice. 
Sep 23, 2020

Mission meats is just a few years old, but it’s gobbling up market share in the red-hot meat snack category.  Peter Awad is a long time eCommerce pro.  He started selling auto parts on eBay in 2000.  Now he and his co-founder Nick have built a meat snack store with a mission.  They’re using profits from eCommerce to help fight deforestation, educate children in Africa, and support homeless women and children.  

But they don’t just have big hearts, they have some serious marketing chops too.  

In this episode, we explore the challenges and opportunities of marketing a product that could literally appeal to anyone.  We also explore how to maintain the balancing act of growing your own store AND growing on Amazon. 

  • How to treat Amazon from a merchandising perspective. 
  • Prospecting for new customers - Is this and Amazon first or Shopify first strategy
  • How to increase repeat purchases in a fun way
  • How pride or ego can limit growth with any paid ad channel
  • Crazy CRO tests and the practice of asking “what if the opposite were true?”
  • Important mindset issues that help fuel successful entrepreneurs
Sep 16, 2020
CPAs that suddenly double overnight. Skyrocketing CPMs. Winning ads that suddenly turn into losers. Data changes that impact how ads are being run now. The list of potential issues, potholes, loopholes, and blackholes for online advertising goes on and on. So what’s an eComm store owner or media buyer to do? Call in Molly Pittman and John Grimshaw from Smart Marketer.
 
These are two of my favorite people to interview and today I have them both with me for the same episode. And it’s a doozy. Here’s a look at what we cover:
  • How to have the right mindset for navigating volatility (this is more important than you think)
  • What to do when ad performance tanks
  • Where you should tinker to improve performance and where you shouldn’t
  • Why this is still the greatest time in history to be a marketer - volatility and all.
  • 3 Spot checks to make sure you are ready to scale traffic
  • The impact of the California Consumer Privacy Act and new changes coming to iOS 14….the good, the bad, and the scary. 
Sep 2, 2020

This year’s online holiday shopping season will be one for the record books. Most people say they’ll shop more online or exclusively online this year.  And online shopping will also start earlier this year, indicated by Google study results where 69% of holiday shoppers say they will shop earlier this year to avoid items being out of stock.

To dominate the Cyber 5 this year you need to:

  • Get the most from your remarketing efforts,
  • Cover any gaps you have in your search and shopping efforts,
  • Run compelling offers and ads that compliment your brand, and
  • Get your Top of Funnel efforts dialed in.

Check out our latest blog outlining these helpful tips and the video replay from our recent webinar with Google, and be on the lookout for the audio version in this week's episode of eCommerce Evolution.

Aug 26, 2020

Amazon Advertising has exploded in recent years.  In fact, Amazon is now the 3rd largest online advertising platform behind only Facebook and Google.  Pretty impressive for a company who’s a retailer first, cloud computing 2nd, and online advertising 3rd.  

In this episode, I wanted to bring on the sharpest mind in Amazon Advertising that I know - OMG’s very own Chris Tyler.  I brought him on so we could deep dive into the two hottest trends in Amazon Advertising right now - Sponsored Brand Video (formerly Video in Search ads) and Amazon DSP.  Here’s a look at what we cover:

  • What is Amazon DSP and how can sellers use it to reach shoppers on an off Amazon?
  • How to target people actively shopping for your competitor's products who haven’t purchased yet.
  • How Sponsored Brand Video (SBV) ads are outperforming ALL other ad types for most of our clients.
  • 5 keys to a great Sponsored Brand Video Ad
  • How you can test SBV without spending a fortune on video production
  • Plus more!
Aug 26, 2020

Amazon Advertising has exploded in recent years.  In fact, Amazon is now the 3rd largest online advertising platform behind only Facebook and Google.  Pretty impressive for a company who’s a retailer first, cloud computing 2nd, and online advertising 3rd.  

In this episode, I wanted to bring on the sharpest mind in Amazon Advertising that I know - OMG’s very own Chris Tyler.  I brought him on so we could deep dive into the two hottest trends in Amazon Advertising right now - Sponsored Brand Video (formerly Video in Search ads) and Amazon DSP.  Here’s a look at what we cover:

  • What is Amazon DSP and how can sellers use it to reach shoppers on an off Amazon?
  • How to target people actively shopping for your competitor's products who haven’t purchased yet.
  • How Sponsored Brand Video (SBV) ads are outperforming ALL other ad types for most of our clients.
  • 5 keys to a great Sponsored Brand Video Ad
  • How you can test SBV without spending a fortune on video production
  • Plus more!
Aug 19, 2020

Is something broken in your business?  Not reaching your growth goals like you’d hoped?  Then you likely have a systems or delegation problem.  

My guest today is Trent Dyrsmid.  Trent is the host of the Bright Ideas podcast as well as the founder of an Amazon reseller business that just ranked #254 on the Inc. 5000 list. He is also the co-founder of Flowster.app a premier workflow management tool for eCommerce businesses.  He knows a thing or two about systems, delegation, and growth.  He’s now fully delegated himself out of his Amazon reseller business as it continues to scale rapidly.  

How does he do it?  Clear systemization and delegation.  On the show, we talk about one of his favorite quotes from the Honorary Chairman of Toyota -

“We get brilliant results from average people managing brilliant processes – while our competitors get average or worse results from brilliant people managing broken processes”

~ Fujio Cho, Honorary Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation

In this episode we cover:

  • What to systematize first - a 2-pronged test
  • When you have a systems problem vs. a people problem
  • What to delegate vs. what to do yourself
  • Why and when you should delegate something you’re really good at
  • The difference between process management and project management
  • How Flowster helps eCommerce companies with process management
  • Plus more!
Aug 5, 2020

Michael Jamin knows a thing or two about telling a good story.  He’s written for popular sitcoms like King of the Hill, Rules of Engagement, Tacoma FD, and Beavis & Butthead to name a few.  More importantly, for our purposes, he’s also the Co-Founder of Twirly Girl - an eComm brand that features some truly magical storytelling ads.  I wanted to have Michael on the show so we could learn some of his secrets….and because I knew it would be a ton of FUN.  He delivered.  Here’s a quick look at what we cover:

  • Using setup and punchline to deliver features and benefits in a truly fun, funny and memorable way
  • If customers focus on price, it’s your fault and how to fix it
  • How some powerful tweak in FB ads dropped their cost per share from $178 to just $1.16
  • When Michael combined what he knew about TV script writing and eComm Twirly Girl grew 30.6%
  • Why people aren’t really buying stuff, but rather relationships and magic
  • A few powerful “story makeovers”
  • Plus more
Jul 29, 2020

Almost every eCommerce company I talk to is investing heavily into Facebook and Google Ads.  Probably less than 30% are actively investing in Affiliate marketing.  I first met my guest, Greg Powell, while we were both providing consulting services for another agency.  I instantly could tell that he knew his stuff.  Now he’s running an extremely successful Affiliate Marketing agency - Tactical Marketing based in Joplin MO.  

  • Fringe benefits of an affiliate marketing program including free PR and new audience discovery and testing.
  • 3 ways to tell if your product is a good fit for Affiliate marketing
  • Avoiding affiliate horror stories - namely, how to avoid coupon site hell.
  • How attracting the right affiliates makes all of the difference.
  • Best affiliate networks for your category
  • Plus much more!
Jul 22, 2020

The online buying journey is a complex process.  It rarely looks exactly the same for different shoppers.  BUT, there are distinct stages that most shoppers pass through in their unique journey.  Video can be your secret weapon along each stage of the journey - compelling customers, educating customers, and delighting customers.

Ben Amos lives in Australia’s Sunshine Coast and is a master at creating video content that shapes buying behavior.  In this episode, we talk about how video can impact these 4 distinct stages of the shopping journey:

  1. Awareness - this is where we tell our brand story in a compelling and helpful way…Ben shows us how.  
  2. Consideration- this stage is all about information and education.  As shoppers evaluate their options, your video should be there to help guide the way.  
  3. Conversion event - your video can and should do the job of a salesperson whether on a product detail page or as a remarketing ad.  
  4. Advocacy - Your video strategy shouldn’t stop with a happy customer.  Use video content to encourage more referrals and repeat purchases. 
Jul 8, 2020

Everyone knows that word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing.  The problem?  How do you facilitate, encourage, and track it without being weird?  Enter Nick Stagge and Wooly.  In this episode, we discuss two important topics - building Ambassador Programs and putting digital rails around word of mouth advertising.  Nick has worked with some awesome brands including Skull Candy, Purple Mattress, and more.   Here’s a quick look at what we cover in this episode: 

  • Salomon shoes got 22.6 million impressions without running a single ad
  • How to Identify and segment your best customers and how to know when you have a customer make a referral that ends in a  purchase
  • How ambassador programs focus on credibility while some influencer programs focus on reach…and why credibility is often better and more profitable
  • Word of mouth customers are happier, better educated and often stick around longer - here’s how you get more of it
  • Driving six figures of incremental referral revenue.
  • Plus more
Jul 1, 2020

Online shopping has shifted dramatically since the start of the pandemic.  Some experts believe we’ve seen 5+ years of eCommerce growth condensed into just a few months.  Attitudes towards quantities ordered, shipping rates and times, and pricing have ALL shifted from the norm.  I wanted to have Jon MacDonald come back on the show (see his first appearance on the podcast for Episode 60 to talk about what’s working right now in terms of Conversion Rate Optimization.  We cover some truly fascinating subjects including:

  • How buying in bulk it a new trend - even if your marketing to non-peppers
  • How to structure new shopping options for buying in bulk to make the process easier on shoppers and easier on your fulfillment centers
  • 3 ways to use SMS marketing to before, during and after the shopping experience to surprise and delight customers
  • Where you should start optimizing now including some key data points and quick wins with Google Analytics that you’re likely missing 
  • How to quickly and inexpensively benefit from Heat Maps
  • Why taking care of your highest value customers is more important now than ever before
Jun 24, 2020

Learn how Tru Earth is disrupting the laundry detergent space by selling subscriptions and understanding the power of villains in marketing.  My guest in this episode, Ryan McKenzie is a marketing and eComm wiz.  He built his first online business in his 20s and after some extreme wins and some humbling losses, he found his eComm game.  In this episode, we uncover some of Tru Earth’s keys to success including 

  • 3 types of offers that get shoppers to subscribe to auto-replenishment. 
  • How to structure pricing and discounts for subscriptions
  • Blair Warren’s amazing 4 keys to persuasion (literally one the best marketing quotes I’ve ever heard) and how to leverage it for your business
  • How finding a “villain” can make your marketing more powerful and help you build a closer community (hint: villains don’t have to be people)
  • How to approach ad fatigue and new creative development for Facebook
  • How OMG Commerce is helping Tru Earth leverage Google Shopping and YouTub ads
  • Plus more!
Jun 17, 2020

CrossNet Game began as a crazy idea dreamed up late at night by two brothers and their best friend.  But ideas are a dime a dozen.  Chris and his brother Greg and co-founder Mike turned their crazy idea into a wildly popular product and a rapidly growing company.  So what is CrossNet?  It’s 4-way volleyball.  Put another way, if volleyball 4 square had a baby, it would be CrossNet.  And it’s amazing.

This is a phenomenal story about how to launch a product from total obscurity into a sensation.  We talk about how the product came to be, how the founders successfully boot-strapped everything initially,  and how a combination of playing volleyball all day on the beaches of Miami plus Facebook Ads fueled their launch.   Here’s a look at what we discuss:

  • How their first “prototype” and first test market let them know they were onto something big
  • Why they packed their bags and moved from Connecticut to Miami to launch CrossNet
  • Creating the snowball effect - doing lots of little things well and watching success and momentum grow over time.
  • Their first brand ambassadors and their first influencer…all by accident (but still duplicatable) 
  • Their most important sales channels
  • How they view Amazon
  • How they are using events (pre-pandemic) to grow the brand
  • Getting their product in 5,000+ schools
  • Getting into Dicks Sporting Goods, Academy Sports and more
  • What products are next for CrossNet and how they plan to grow (including running YT ads with OMG Commerce…)
Jun 3, 2020

Jeremy Horowitz helped create the marketing engine behind Lumee, the selfie phone cases made famous by the Kardashians.  He now helps growing eCommerce brands create 6 figure + product launches.  He also builds what he calls “replenishment engines” - a concept that was new to me but that I absolutely love.  

Interested in doing $100,000+ in sales in 24 hours on a new product launch? Want to know the secrets of building huge demand, selling out of products, and generating real urgency like Supreme, Jordan and Kylie Cosmetics.

Here’s a quick look at what we cover:

  • The difference between a product launch that sells out vs. a “meh” launch
  • How to create a “web” so that your customers are highly engaged and eager to buy
  • How to build anticipation, excitement, and generate huge sales without discounting
  • How to utilize messenger marketing and Facebook private groups
  • Lessons from movie launches
  • Plus more
May 27, 2020

You walk to your mailbox.  Inside you find a hand-addressed envelope.  It looks like it could be a thank you note of a birthday card.  What are the odds you open it?  100%.  

 

I love direct mail.  Especially now because mailboxes are nearly empty (compared to 15-20 years ago).  In this episode I interview David Wachs, CEO of Handwrytten.  We discuss creative and affordable ways eCommerce companies can use Direct Mail to build customer loyalty and increase sales.  We also discuss how his technology allows for automated handwritten notes...it’s pretty fantastic.  

 

Here’s a look at what we discuss:

  • How to use handwritten thank you notes to increase referrals 
  • How an online fashion company sent 700 handwritten notes, scored a 16.8% redemption rate and drove an ROI over 300%.  
  • Using direct mail to build your loyalty program
  • Leveraging direct mail to get more positive reviews and/or mitigate negative reviews
  • Launching direct mail Win-back campaigns
  • Abandon cart direct mail sequences
  • Automating handwritten thank-yous 
  • And more!
May 20, 2020

In early February before all live events were cancelled I presented at Social Media Marketing World 2020 in San Diego.  My talk covered the latest tactics and strategies we’re using right now to scale on YouTube.  This is the recording of my presentation at this paid event.  Here’s a quick look at what I cover in this talk:

  • Could YouTube be your next big thing?
  • 2 Proven Ad formulas for cold traffic
  • Ad formulas for warm traffic
  • What is progressive audience testing and how to use it
  • How to leverage YouTube and Google Display Network together
  • Plus more!
May 13, 2020

I’m sure you’re aware of chat marketing.  But if you’re like most marketers and Amazon sellers, it’s still an area of immense opportunity for you. Maybe it’s even still a bit of a mystery to you. Michelle Barnum Smith is the Queen of chat marketing for Amazon sellers.  I had a chance to sit down with her and discuss some super powerful ways to grow your Amazon business with chat marketing that you probably haven’t thought of, including…

  • The 3 types of messenger campaigns to run consistently
  • Why product re-ranking campaigns using chatbots should probably be an ongoing strategy for you
  • The difference between a 2-step URL and a Search, Find, Buy campaign
  • How many times per month should you message your list on messenger…too many and they’ll hate you.  Too few and they’ll forget who you are and be annoyed the next time you message them.
  • How to build a chat bot list.
  • Plus more!
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