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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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Now displaying: December, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Few eComm and wholesale businesses reach the heights that VHC Brands has reached under the leadership of Ken Kline.  You’ve maybe seen their home decor products in big retailers like Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond or online at Wayfair, Amazon and many more.   

Also, few eComm businesses have faced the setbacks that Ken and team have faced.  From a fire that completely destroyed their inventory in the mid 2000s to COVID wrecking their in-store retail plans in 2020 - they’ve faced some crazy times and come out stronger.  

Here’s a look at what we cover.

  • Why over communicating is the secret to vendor, investor and employee relationships.
  • How they overcame a warehouse fire that likely would have destroyed most businesses (Plus the story of Ken’s Winston Churchill painting that miraculously survived the fire). 
  • How to relay your road map to your team, make adjustments and celebrate along the way (even when things are bleak).
  • How to take initiative to help your retail partners in selling more of your stuff.
  • How to inspire and empower your team when challenging times hit.
Dec 16, 2020

Jared Mitchell has a unique perspective on the eCommerce industry.  He and his wife, Alana, run two eCommerce sites - skincarebyalana.com and alanamitchell.com.  He’s also the lead eCommerce consultant for Neil Patel and he runs an eCommerce training group at beefysites.com.  This guy has forgotten more good eCommerce ideas than most will ever learn.   

Jared is also a close friend and he’s my surfing mentor.  We do take a very brief detour to talk surfing on this episode, but mostly we talk about overlooked growth ideas!

Here’s a look at what we explore on the podcast:

  • How to NOT be a one-trick pony.  And many, many successful eCommerce businesses are far too reliant on just one traffic source or one product.
  • Why Jared recommends at least 10 sources of sales and what channels make his top 10 list.
  • Push notifications - how and why they work and why you shouldn’t over-think them
  • Phone sales - customers who buy over the phone often have twice the average order value of other buyers.  
  • Postcards - how Jared and Alana sold almost $30,000 worth of product on a simple and cheap postcard.
  • Live video - what to share in a live video, how to broadcast your video, and how to repurpose your video once it’s complete.
Dec 9, 2020

Cyber 5 Recap

While holiday shopping is still in full swing at the time of this writing, we do have some preliminary numbers for the Cyber 5 2020 (Thanksgiving Thursday–Cyber Monday) and an early look at how Holiday 2020 as a whole is shaping up.  Here are five key observations, so far, for Holiday 2020.  

  1. We’re breaking every eCommerce record and it’s not even close.  No surprise here, but this year marks a record for online sales for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire Thanksgiving weekend. Adobe Analytics was predicting two years’ worth of growth being packed into this Holiday Shopping season.  So far, we’re on track.     
  2. It’s less about a single day, and more about the weekend.  This has been the trend for the last few years where retailers and shoppers alike view the Cyber 5 as one big event rather than just the individual days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is still the largest single day, with Black Friday coming in second place.  However, Saturday, now dubbed Small Business Saturday, isn’t far behind. In fact, Black Friday this year was only 8% larger in total sales than Small Business Saturday.  Here’s a quick look at how the Cyber 5 performed.  A lot of this growth has come at the expense of in-store shopping.  CNBC estimates that Black Friday in-store traffic was down 52% year over year, while curbside pickup is up 52%.

Day

Total Sales

YoY Growth 

Thanksgiving (11/26/20)

$5.1B

21.5%

Black Friday (11/27/20)

$9.03B

21.6%

Small Business Saturday (11/28/20)

$4.68B

30.19%

Cyber Monday (11/30/20)

$10.84B

15.1%

 

  1. Shipaggedon is real.  I first heard this term on one of my favorite podcasts—the Jason and Scot Show (Episode 245). Basically, it’s the idea that delivery networks were already strained due to the pandemic-induced boom in online shopping before the holiday rush.  Now, with a record-breaking holiday season on top of a strained system, something has to give.  It’s no joke, and it will be interesting to see how it impacts the rest of the holiday shopping.  Both UPS and FedEx have recently announced they are cutting some retailers off from being able to ship more packages. This will likely mean early cut offs for guaranteed delivery before Christmas.  It could also mean a lot of packages just won’t make it in time for Christmas morning.   
  2. Costs are up, but performance is up more.  As a digital advertising agency working with some up-and-coming eCommerce brands, we get an inside look into both ad spend and performance across Google Ads, YouTube Ads and Amazon Ads.  While numbers aren’t finalized yet, we are seeing that costs have indeed gone up from last year, but conversion rates have gone up even more creating really nice year-over-year growth in total sales and total ad performance.  Early analysis shows that CPCs are up nearly 20% year-over-year, but conversion rates are up over 50%.   

Predictions for the remainder of the holiday shopping season.  With more cities across the US seeing surges in new cases of COVID-19, it’s unlikely to see a material shift from online shopping back to in-store shopping.  We should see this record breaking pace continue for the rest of the holiday season.  The wildcard is shipaggedon.  My prediction is that we’ll see a fair number of digital gift cards purchased and printed off, as well as pictures of gifts that are in transit, but won’t be under the Christmas tree.  Online shopping likely won’t slow down too much. Fingers crossed that shipaggedon won’t be as bad as we’re expecting. 

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
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