Watch Now! “Mastering the Modern Multichannel Landscape”

By |2020-02-04T14:52:36-05:00February 4th, 2020|eCommerce Best Practices|

It’s no longer viable to continue running your ecommerce “business as usual.” Omnichannel retail has required brands to adopt flexible workflows and business models. Today, operations and marketing have to work together more than ever before to create compelling and consistent experiences across channels. Meanwhile, the cost of digital advertising has gotten out of control and new technology has allowed almost anyone to enter the market and compete for a share of your audience.

On January 28th, Skubana’s CEO, Chad Rubin, hosted a webinar to help brands master the modern multichannel landscape. The webinar covered a timeline from the collapse of traditional retail to the rise in D2C and, now, “Direct-to-Everywhere.” Also covered in the webinar was an intro to the 10 D2C Commandments.

You can watch the recording here and check out the transcript below:

Nick Cotter:

I think Skubana has brought [resources], a guide to inventory management software. Take that, download it, share it with your team… 

It’s my job to put Chad on the spot throughout the presentation, and at the end of the presentation as well. I am the voice for you guys. I want to make sure that you get the most value out of today’s session, so ask us questions. Chad, I think you’re pretty open to me asking him during your presentation to make it a little bit more interactive. Don’t want to just be speaking towards the audience, but that’s about it for the logistics. I think from here, I’m going to be kicking it over you, Chad, for the rest of the presentation.

Chad Rubin:

Awesome. I appreciate the intro. I certainly, Nick, I’m very grateful that you spend time organizing this with ShipBob to get me on the line here. Today’s content is all brand new. It’s stuff I’ve never even presented on before, so I’m really excited. I was doing pushups before joining, and I’m really curious about some feedback, and also I might be mumbling stuttering throughout the presentation. So please, in the QA box, if you have a question, I want to make this interactive. I want to spitball together. I want to freestyle this a bit, so that everyone’s extracting a tremendous amount of value out of the presentation.

Today we’re talking about mastering the multichannel landscape, not just about what happened the previous decade, but actually things that you can do in the forward decade, and things that I’m actually doing in the forward decade as well. A quick shout out to me and my and my team here at Skubana. Skubana, we pick up where Shopify and BigCommerce leave off. So all the backend operations to run and automate your business, we do. We power some of the most awesome brands out there. Here’s a few of them, M.Gemi, Tushy, Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories, BIRD, et cetera. We also power a lot of marketplace sellers. We do that simultaneously as brands look to go off-channel, offline, and also find new opportunities across other channels.

So I’m also, by the way, I come from ecommerce. I’ve been doing this for a decade. I have a brand myself, Think Crucial. We manufacture home appliance parts and accessories, so I have a pretty firm viewpoint on the world of ecommerce. I’ve lived through a lot, which is why my head is covered right now. It gets very cold because I have lost hair. However, with my experience, and good experiences and bad, I share wisdom and I come sharing wisdom today.

So today we’re going to talk about finding opportunities across marketplaces. I’m going to be sharing a few of the disruptive d-to-c commandments that you need to be implementing in the forward decade to win. And really, we’re narrowing down this world into going direct to everywhere, not just direct to consumer. And we’ll get to that in a moment. Before we do, we have a bonus giveaway, so stay tuned all the way at the end. We have a giveaway that we have not shared publicly yet. We’re going to be offering this to a few people that stay tuned at the end of this webinar. So see you there.

So there’s been so much stuff that’s happened in the past decade. Retailers going out of business, incumbents trying to figure out how to displace other incumbents, but also, more importantly, d-to-c brands, digitally native brands, are trying to figure out how to combat, and go up against, these large Goliaths that are existing. So in 2008, we’ve had the collapse of traditional retail. This is just things that have happened, and we’re just calling attention to. Macy’s, Kohl’s, Pier One, Office Depot, all of those in the middle, have been keeping with the status quo, and unfortunately the status quo, and what got you here won’t you there, forward. So that’s what happened in 2008, with the recession as well.

And essentially, what you have happening in the United States, and I think this is an amazing chart. You have a bifurcation of the haves, and the have-nots, right? You have the top 1%, the gap is widening and what people are earning, and you have the bottom percent. So interestingly enough, anyone that’s in the middle right now has been really suffering. Macy’s, JC Penny, Kohls, et cetera. If you’re on the low end of the bottom 50%, someone like a Walmart or Dollar General, you’re actually doing a fantastic job right now. And top 1%, also has been doing a great job, especially in the digitally native space, whether it’s Away Luggage, or Bonobos, or Everlane. These are premium brands that are speaking and ostracizing, a lot of the have nots. And so to me, that speaks to, actually, there’s an opportunity for the bottom 50%.

There’s this nimbleness that’s happening, and essentially, the nimbleness of d-to-c brands are also out nibbling these incumbents, and they’re winning. Which leads me to 2010. Essentially, anyone can sell more than ever now. You have SAS, eCommerce platforms, goodbye bulky platforms. You’ve got Shopify, you’ve got BigCommerce. It’s so easy to sell and to come up with an idea. The barriers to entry have gotten very small, where anybody can start up an experience, or a luggage company, or an eyewear company or a footwear company, and that’s amazing, but it has been harder to actually, scale as complexities increase. But these digitally native, vertically integrated brands, our slaying a lot of these retail giants, here’s a couple of them to the right.

But here’s where there’re some issues. I know I’m going quick here, because I have a lot to pack into this presentation. Is that we’re all advertising. A lot of those brands, especially in the internet world and the online world, they’re going after that top 1%, or the premium buyers, and that’s really going after the same audience. Everyone is employing the same lookalike audience, and the cost of acquisition has tremendously skyrocketed. So now they’re needing more dollars to acquire the same customers, which means that they need to actually raise more money, which means that they actually have to find other ways to scale. So going d-to-c, at least in my perspective, is not sufficient in 2020 any longer. Maybe in 2010, it was efficient, however, in 2020, you need a whole different approach.

And so right now we’ve gone through this journey, where there’s been the biggest shift of buying behavior, you’re seeing a lot of people employing now this offline experience. Because what people are realizing is that everyone’s competing for dollars online, and now there’s a way to capture those dollars offline in these ways that people thought maybe wouldn’t traditionally scale. And if you look to the right, this is a subway car with Casper on it, advertising all over the train car in New York City. So they’ve had to innovate, and go after offline touchpoints and live where the customer is living, because a lot of times it’s been cheaper to do so.

So the same thing with direct mail. And I can’t tell you how many direct mailers I’m getting from the d-to-c companies who are figuring out a way to get their lookalike audience, and who’s looking at their stuff online in the offline world. And it’s making a comeback. Now though, there’s a lot of different tools you can use for direct mailers. Interestingly enough, there’s postie.com, and Lob, for example, where you can essentially, take customers who have bought from the need from you, and dip back into their wallet to extract more dollars. The beautiful thing is that’s actually all integrated into Skubana, in our app store. So you can actually access through Zapier those softwares as well. Brick & mortar is making a comeback. So they’re finding ways to acquire customers offline, and essentially amplify their footprint. And that’s why you have someone like Shopify, who’s moved into creating their own point of sale system.

And once you get back into those dollars of those customers with your analog world footprint, you essentially increase your lifetime value of those customers and extract more dollars from them. So up to today, these digitally native brands have done some amazing things. Kylie Jenner has built a business, a billion-dollar brand in less than five years, or what it took Bobby Brown and Lancôme to essentially do in 25 and 80 years. Warby Parker makes $3,000 per square foot, and that’s akin to what Tiffany’s makes, but they’re only selling $99 glasses. So they’ve become super hyper optimized and efficient in their actual analog world footprint. And of course, you have Walmart looking to acquire a lot of those other brands like Jet, Hayneedle, Bonobos, et cetera. And so this is all things that have happened.

And I can’t tell you, this chart here of what’s happened in this past decade has been incredible, but I think there’re limitations of the scalability of some of these companies forward, in the way that they’ve been doing things. So what we’re going to talk about, in these following slides, is these d-to-c commandments for the next decade. What you can be doing in the next decade? Before we get into this, I wanted to do a hard stop and see, if there are any questions that have come in? Anything that we need clarity on, before we progress?

Nick Cotter:

They’re just one around popups in NYC. I’m not sure if you want to dive into this one now, but Sandra’s just curious, they’re interested in opening a pop up in New York City. Have you seen any brands that you work with, or that you just are friends with, that have done this? And is there a lot of costs that are involved? Is it worth it? Not sure if you want to answer that now, or we can dive into that later.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, I think that’s a great question. So there’s a few companies I think that are really pretty interesting right now. So there’s one called SHOWFIELDS. It allows you to show off your product in store, and you can go and collaborate and build a relationship with them. There’s Beta, which is in the Hudson Yards, which allows you also to show off your brand in store and to experience it in real life.

One of our customers, Tushy has their product in that store as well. Tushy is a bidet company. It’s a funny name, but really solid market. There’s also another interesting company called Appear Here, and that allows you to essentially create a pop up shop and test it out, so you’re limiting any blood loss or losing cash outlay on a huge lease, where you can essentially sublet in a store for a week, and just pop in and pop out. That’s the true essence of a pop up shop, and then you can have the technology in the backend to help you run your business, to be super nimble, to support the popup shop as well. But there’re tons of pop up shops in New York, whether it’s M.Gemi, who’s a customer of ours in the Hudson Yards, or whether it’s NOBULL in Soho, or Allbirds or NAADAM or Glossier.

All these companies have storefronts in New York, and there’re ways that you can do it cheaper. Like Airbnb for storefronts, called Appear Here, is one of them. I think they’re doing some really interesting things.

Nick Cotter:

Awesome. Yeah, just shot over those links in the chat. But yeah, maybe they can shoot you an email too after this. If they want to kind of hear more about those experiences. I think-

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, of course. I’m an open book. Always feel free to email me, I’m chad@skubana, if you want clarity or if you want to just talk shop, I’m down to do it. That’s my personal email. It’s chad@skubana. Cool.

So I would say right now, there’s business you have, and the business you’re in, and there’s a business that you’re becoming. And we’re always evolving as entrepreneurs, or operators of ecommerce business, and what used to work maybe in the past six months doesn’t always work forward in the next six months. And that’s, I think, what makes ecommerce so interesting.

So we’ve developed these d-to-c disruptive commandments, essentially the things that you need to be employing in your company for tomorrow, not yesteryear, but tomorrow, to not only survive but to thrive. Because again, to just be direct to consumer right now, no longer will suffice. For me coming out with the next luggage that has a battery, there is no competitive moat there. There’s no competitive advantage. And so we’ve got three that we’re sharing today, and then we’re going to be sharing the rest of them as we launch it. And if you want to get access to that, that’s our giveaway at the end. You’re going to get access to the rest of these nuggets that you can’t find anywhere else. Make sense? Cool. Very good.

So the first amendment is going D2E, direct to everywhere. The second one, which we’re going to be covering is going through the underlying technology for the win. How the underlying technology that you employ, I’m going to share by the way, my entire tech stack in this presentation, everything that my ecommerce business uses, I’m going to share. And then we’re going to go into the, I think which will cause a lot of eyebrows to be raised, which is, honoring Amazon. It’s not about really the channel, it’s how deep you can go into the channel, and also, maybe even sometimes making Amazon’s advantage, making that your advantage. I think that’s a really amazing topic to explore on the call today.

So the first one is being direct to everywhere, going DTX. And so this is really about wanting to live where all your customers live. This is about being offline in the analog world, and being online in the digital world simultaneously. So let’s get into it. So what you’re seeing right now is that it’s a requirement now, not just to have an online store, but to find customers offline. So in this backdrop, I thought this was really interesting. This is a really good nugget. So Marine Layer, I was in LA, I forgot exactly where I was walking, but Marine Layer has a store, and in it with Sand Cloud and they have a collab, there are literally a pop up within a storefront. And they’re noncompetitive, but they’re adjacent in terms of in terms of demographics and who they do after. Their look alike audience probably looks very similar, although they’re non-competitive. So you want us figure out ways with this ecosystem approach of being anywhere, anytime, at any place, wherever your customer is living.

So what I’m preaching here, from the top of the mountains is to essentially, yeah, maybe you want to be digital first, but you want to figure out how you integrate from a practical perspective, d-to-c, and don’t just think narrowly about d-to-c, but going direct to everywhere that you possibly can be, meeting your customers everywhere where they’re walking. We ended up buying something from Sand Cloud and Marine Layer at that time. Even Amazon, by the way, in this top right hand corner, Amazon gets the idea, they have this truck that’s roaming around doing the same thing. So you want to essentially give access to them.

The second thing, and I always, this is a fascinating brand to me. I follow them pretty heavily is Four Sigmatic. There’s some coffee, but there’s mushroom elixirs that allow you to wean yourself off coffee. But what they’re doing here is they’re becoming everywhere. So not only do they have their storefront, their organic platform foursigmatic.com, they have Amazon, they’ve got Sephora, they’re even on eBay. They’re even advertising to you on Facebook. But here’s where it gets super interesting is that, I’m just going to jump… Actually, I don’t know where it, but they have a storefront in LA, and they allow you to essentially test their beverage, which I’m sure has a lower cost of acquisition than the online world. Test the beverage, and then you can buy the product if you want, but essentially allows you to give their beverage a try without even paying for anything, and they create this whole experience of mushrooms. It feels like you’re in some Nintendo world with Super Mario in this little alleyway, and they make it hidden, and they make it very coveted. And I think it was just a really interesting experience. So cool.

So let’s move into the next one. So they’re everywhere. And I do believe, by the way, going everywhere is an amazing strategy, and expanding your stew camp, but it’s standing where people see where you’re at. I look at online as playing monopoly. You want to be on every piece of the board to win. So when people land on that piece of the board, they pay up in rent, so to speak, they pay you and, they open their wallet to your brand.

So the other thing is you need to be able to scale strategically. You need to get the operation infrastructure in place so that you could scale across all your channels. And again, this is just giving a shout out to Skubana, the fact that it allows a lot of these brands to go multichannel, to essentially be able to see your profit per channel, for you to efficiently manage and orchestrate orders. See it one godmo view of all your inventory, no matter if it’s your point of sale, with Shopify or if it’s at Square, or if it’s at FBA at Amazon, or if it’s at a 3PL like ShipBob, we actually allow you to run your business any which way, and to see everything that’s happening all from one place, and also just operate the entire business. It’s pretty impressive. And also then you can see a retention across those channels, by the way as well, which nobody actually has. So lifetime value is becoming that much more important, as the cost of acquisition has risen. You need to figure out how you can squeeze more money out of your customers.

The second commandment is really that underlying infrastructure is thy competitive advantage. So a lot of these d-to-c brands are essentially out nimbling a lot of these incumbents, whose technology allows you to move super quick, and to get to, not only profitability, but to essentially scale in a way that was never even fathomed previously. So as I mentioned here, these technologies are allowing that to happen. It’s become a tech advantage. And essentially, if you’re siloing data across all these, and you’re trying to quote unquote stitch applications across the ecosystem, you’re never going to have visibility across all your channels. You’re never going to be able to scale. Everyone in your business needs to be speaking the same operating language, and that’s what Skubana allows you to do.

So, that being said, I’m going to share everything that I use in my ecommerce business. I think this is a really important slide deck. So I already talked about Skubana. I don’t know if people are going to have questions around this, but there’re ideas of other things I’m leveraging to run our business. For example, a Gorgias, or LastPass, or Slack or Basecamp for example, where we hold all of our operating procedures in one place. People may have questions, please feel free to put them into the Q&A, and I’m happy to answer around them, but this is pretty much what we’re using in our business today. I’m going to stop there real quick. Nick, is there anything?

Nick Cotter:

I actually have a question myself. I’m not trying to put you on the spot here, but this is a lot of platforms. How do you manage this? There’s probably… You have a team that helps you to measure this, right? I think crucial, is that right? These domains, these are different-

Chad Rubin:

We’re remotely distributed. Obviously, we used Skubana to automate a lot of the operations. I used to do things in the old fashioned way. I used to actually management my own warehouse, and then we outsourced it to a ShipBob, for fulfillment. But then, thinking about, if you’re essentially forecasting velocity across all these channels, and across all these warehouses, which I have many, now Skubana will create me a purchase order at the right time, at the right place, based on that velocity, based on my lead time, based on everything, automating processes.

The question is, how can automation save you a ton of time, Skubana’s one of them. But BaseCamp is a great way that we essentially organize and collaborate our team. Big fan of Jason Fried, he wrote a great book called Remote Work, and so BaseCamp is really one way where we essentially have each team built into BaseCamp, and then have standard operating procedures, and each team has access to different departments within BaseCamp, and that’s how we run that business. Or using something like Evernote is a personal thing for me, it becomes like a second brain. It’s important to remove the Ram processing power of all the day-to-day things, all the things I need to remember that I would be shelving or storing on my brain, and taking, consuming, space, I move that into Evernote, and that just becomes a second brain that’s searchable. Whether it’s bookmarks, or whether it’s conversations, or articles or notes that I have. Yeah, I’m using Klaviyo for email purposes, for email marketing, Returnly or Yotpo for reviews. So a lot of these, I can go into a lot of depth here, but there’s a lot here to pour through.

Nick Cotter:

No, this is good. It was just out of curiosity, how you manager all of this. But there’s another question here too, Chad. It was towards the first part of your presentation. I’m not sure if you want to dive into this now, or you want to wait until after you go through this.

Chad Rubin:

Let’s do it. I love interactivity. I don’t want to talk to everybody for the entire time. I would love to for it to be collaborative.

Nick Cotter:

No, definitely. So Chad, you mentioned finding opportunity in the middle. How can ecommerce brands capitalize on this space? I’m not sure if you need more context to that, but I do recall you going over that point.

Chad Rubin:

yeah, so the question is can you find, I think it was a question like, can you find opportunity in the middle? And what you’re seeing right now is that there’s this bifurcation of the people, the United States is sort of becoming like a lot of other countries where the people that are making more money are continuing to make more money, and the people that are not making money are becoming even poorer. And so you have this opportunity, in my opinion, of d-to-c brands that have capitalized on the top 1%, but there really hasn’t been brands that have capitalized on the bottom percent.

Chad Rubin:

And so giving those brands a platform, and not ostracizing the bottom percent, is to me, there’s an opportunity. Dollar General is doing a great job with it, or Walmart’s doing a great job, but maybe there’s an opportunity for actually an ecommerce player, a pure play d-to-c company to actually capitalize on that, on those demographics, and essentially, have a really high NPS score for those demographics, and get them to shout it from the rooftops and to get other people to buy in to a brand that sort of appeals to the bottom, to the lower class.

Nick Cotter:

Actually, I think I read an article on this. I’ll see if I can find it as we go through this. I think there is a brand that’s doing this pretty well, and I think they have a pretty good reputation that they built up, but I’ll see if I can find a behind the scenes here, but I appreciate that.

Chad Rubin:

I was going to say, Brandless is a brand, but the thing is, yes, they’re brand-less but they have a brand called Brandless, and I don’t find that… They’re not appealing to that bottom percent that I’m referring to. I think that there has to be, there’s already been a massive shift in this past decade, which is the point I was trying to get across, historically, in this presentation. But now to embrace the future, there’s going to be another massive shift, and we need to start widening and stop being so narrow around just being a d-to-c company. Because I don’t believe that’s going to be sufficient any longer. There’s only so many Away Luggage companies, or so many eyewear companies that can exist, that’s solving problems. So there has to be more that’s adopted to have a competitive advantage, and to increase your, your moat around what you’re building in the ecommerce world.

Nick Cotter:

Awesome. I’ll let you continue on here. And Pierce is just asking, joined late, will Chad be willing to share his deck? I believe so. You guys will probably send out your deck as well. Yeah, I think Chad will do that. Is his email’s in the chat box too, Pierce, and I can send that to you personally as well.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, of course.

Nick Cotter:

Cool. All right, Chad, I’ll let you cruise on here.

Chad Rubin:

Cool. I think we talked about infrastructure, the underlying infrastructure, that you’re leveraging being a competitive advantage. Even the brands I’ve mentioned that are using Skubana today, they don’t tell other people. They don’t shout it from the rooftop, because they see it as being a competitive advantage. That’s why I have to go on to these webinars and share what we’re doing, all of the things that we’re working. But in order to succeed, you can’t use old legacy technology to build a next generation brand, it just doesn’t work. And that’s what a lot of these incumbents are trying to do, which is why they’re being out nimbled. I’m trying to nail that hammer. I’m trying to hammer the nail, and I’m trying to nail that home, essentially, you need to be able to leverage technology for the win.

Cool. Let me just check in on time here. We’re at 1:30, all right. So this is the third one. I think this is going to stir things up for people, because I’m a really big fan of being everywhere, and there’re ways that you can be leveraging Amazon. It doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. It doesn’t have to be either, you love Amazon and you embrace it, or you hate it. It’s not so binary. It’s not so black and white. There’re ways and opportunities to do some really awesome things on Amazon.

So number one is, two-thirds of searches are happening on Amazon today. Priority searches are happening on Amazon. People go to find not only a social proof, to look into products and see what’s happening, and we’re going to talk hopefully in the coming slides, I’m going to share some things that are happening from a real case study, a real example.

So a lot of these brands, for example, like Away, which I’m going to be talking about, they just refuse, out of ego, whatever, to not be an Amazon. So my thing is this, is that people are searching Away on Amazon. That means that you’re losing market share. I’m going to show you how that’s happening. And so for me, my thesis, and my point of view, and again, you don’t have to share the same one as me, is that if you identify the diamond skew that you have, it could be an economy skew, even, one skew. Let’s just say it’s a black luggage, bypassing all the rest of the variations. It’s one place to put your product on Amazon to see what happens. It’s a learning experience. You don’t need to put your whole product catalog on Amazon. However, you can dip your toes in the water to see if it’s warm, and do what I’m saying right now, which is making Amazon’s advantage, your advantage. And we’re going to go through that momentarily.

So Away Luggage. You can see when you type into Amazon’s A9 search at the top here, when you type in Away, and by the way, I’m using a Chrome extension that gives me even more feedback. But you can see people are searching for Away Luggage on Amazon. So what’s happening when you type in Away, and you look at this backdrop here, you see all these other people that are actually creating me too offerings of what Away offers. I’m not saying that everybody is going to convert, I’m saying that there’s a massive piece and only Amazon really knows this, is what people are searching, and what listings people are going to an Amazon, and what market share they’re pulling from Away. And you can see Amazon has traded their own basics. So if two thirds of all consumer product online are being searched on Amazon, there’s a whole opportunity that’s just not being capitalized on.

So on top of that, you can not only put one product on Amazon, and test to see what’s happening, you can see… You can really dig into that data and do some massive analysis on what is our conversion rates like on Amazon? Are people maybe searching on Amazon and going off of Amazon to buy a product off of Amazon? What are the sessions? What’s the traffic that’s being driven to this product on Amazon? Really great data for you to just experience as a brand. So what I’m saying, just to widen your purview of what’s possible, and not just be so narrow and say, “Hey, Amazon is for commodity items,” because Amazon’s not for commodity items. There’s a lot of really amazing brands that are on Amazon today, that are just leveraging it because it spans the total available market that is available.

So you can see here right now the keyword Away Luggage, and this is a little bit of older data from the end of last year, getting 75,000 searches a month. Luggage in general is 1.1 million, and that’s just on the broad term of luggage, and the narrow term of exact phrase of Away Luggage. So if nothing else, Away is missing out on all those branded search items, and people are capitalizing on their brand equity and making money on that. So again, I’m not part of this viewpoint where everyone’s like, “Hey, it’s either we’re going to be on Amazon or we’re going to pull off completely off Amazon,” because I think a lot of that’s been detrimental to a lot of these brands I pulled off Amazon like Birkenstock, or Nam, or Nike or IKEA even.

So the other interesting thing is that you can take your customer lifetime value, which you can’t do this on any other platform, is you can see what is your lifetime value of your customer that’s buying on Amazon? What the overlap across your other channels? And is your lifetime value different on Amazon versus everything else? And in a world that we’re living in, that is run by CAP, and it’s very important to increase your lifetime value. And there’s this old rap song You down with OPP, which we’re not getting into now, but really what this is about is being down with it OPA other people’s audience. And what I’m advocating here is being down with Amazon’s audience, and opening up that total available market for yourself, and even driving loyalty back through the channel and through the experience.

And you can actually control what’s being delivered in the last mile. Even though you’re using Amazon, you can still control the experience when people are actually unboxing your product, you can still control what are they opening? What does the slip say? How is it presented? All of those things that you’d want to do, you can control by still selling on Amazon. And think with this here, I was just sharing, is that you can actually do it from multiple different inventory warehouses as well. And you can orchestrate with Skubana across those warehouses, doing it by inventory availability, and lowering your cost of acquisition with the right technology. But you can do that only with a platform that actually can handle the multichannel direct to everywhere relationship that I’m advocating for in this webinar today.

So those are the three, and essentially if you want all 10, and I think that they’re going to be pretty profound and pretty actually game changing. Use that Bitly link right there and sign up. We haven’t actually launched this yet. It’s coming very, very shortly to a landing page near you. But if you go to that landing page, you can get access to it and be the first to get access to it, versus everyone else, and that really concludes my portion of this webinar. I know we’ve ended a little bit early, but we’d love to open up the conversation and the dialogue.

Nick Cotter:

Awesome. I got some questions here coming up, and I’m just going to grab that link as well so I can make sure I shoot that in the chat box to everyone.

Chad, actually, let me do this. Let me ask you this question, because I’m going to my own curiosity as well. Why do you think that, you don’t even know the insides and outs of these different businesses, but I guess-

Chad Rubin

Actually, I see a lot of businesses, because A, I’m friends with a lot of these brands, and also they’re using Skubana on the backend. So I know a good amount.

Nick Cotter:

Okay. So, I guess, why would you think that Away Luggage hasn’t been listing on Amazon, versus Casper? Because Casper is listed on Amazon. So why do you think that they make that decision? Is it been because Casper has been around a little bit longer? I believe it’s only been a couple more years longer, or maybe it’s the same, but what is your opinion there? Is it just-

Chad Rubin:

I think they’re saying that, “We’re building a brand, and we’re making enough money where we don’t have to go on Amazon.” And I talked to, I’ve tried to convey this to Away, but I’ve talked to investors of Away, and they just don’t see that as an approach. And I see this as a great ecosystem approach to tap into. Even if you just wanted to learn from Amazon, it’s not really a moneymaking profit center for you. I think it just comes down to ego, and it comes down to brand. That’s really my perspective.

I think that there’s an opportunity, even if, again, you don’t want to make money on it, you can learn from Amazon. It’s that people think that they’re scared that Amazon’s going to learn from them. Thing is, Amazon already knows how many people are searching for Away Luggage. They already know everything that they need. They already know the conversion rate, they know their bounce rate on every single keyword, every single listing. They already have all the information at their fingertips. So why not get involved, get in the mix and then learn from that as well. Become a data scientist, and make Amazon’s advantage your advantage. It’s a no brainer in my opinion.

Nick Cotter:

Yep. And then there’s more and more ways, I think, each year that Amazon’s coming out with to help manage your brand on the platform. If you’re trying to tell that same cohesive brand message that you have on maybe away.com. It’s obviously not going to be the same, but they have the EBC and A+ content if you’re a vendor, and you can work with that content, and work with designers and literally make it as if you’re on your own Away website. And then same thing with Amazon stores. I haven’t been in the mix in sometime for understanding if those have been fruitful for brands, but maybe you have seen that be successful. But there’s a lot of measures that have been… It’s different than four or five years ago. It’s much different. The platform has been growing for these different brands, and Amazon knows that there’s a lot of requirements that these brands have, and they’re showing up.

Chad Rubin:

For sure. If you look Lady Gaga, their launch was not only launching organically on their own platform, but also using Amazon as part of their launch strategy.

Nick Cotter:

Interesting. All right, let’s see, we can jump in a couple of more questions that came through here. And if you guys have any other questions, just shoot them over in the chat box here, we’ve about eight minutes, give or take, until the next session will kick over. All right. Jackie wants to know, we’re struggling with forecasting demand within the US, it’s much more different than our brand and selling in the UK. So it sounds like they’re selling in the UK, but they’re trying to expand in the US, is what it sounds like. Any suggestions on how to approach forecasting demand in the US. It’s a very weighted question, I think, but I’m not sure if you can provide any tips to help her.

Chad Rubin:

Well, the short answer is Skubana, I’m just joking. And the long answer is, well it depends on your business. It depends if their seasonality as well. It depends if you have a 3PL in the United States, or you don’t. It depends on what channels you’re looking to explore, how many warehouses you have. I think there’s a deeper conversation. I would love to answer that, but I need to know more of the nuts and bolts of your business. But I would love for you to email me, and I’m happy to see how I can be supportive. And if I’m not the right person, I’ll introduce you to the right person.

Nick Cotter:

Awesome. Appreciate that, Chad, and email is over in the chat box as well for everyone to shoot him a note. Mark had a question earlier. Who did the research on all the different platforms that you were showing with, that you partner with? Did you do it yourself? Was it trial and error? This is a good email platform, no, this wasn’t after 30 days. Was it just trial and error, or did you have somebody help?

Chad Rubin:

You mean the tech stack map that I’ve shared?

Nick Cotter:

Yep, that’s right.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, it’s trial and error. It’s talking to a lot of brands and retailers out there. And I think that’s really important is to have your inner circle, and know who’s the right person to go to for advice and feedback as you scale your business. So it’s a lot of reading. It’s a lot of looking at reviews. It’s talking to other merchants and brands. Going to events, most of my time, where a of my learnings happen is, yeah, some of it is blogs, but going to an event, not necessarily sitting in session, but just being in the hallway talking to people, and suddenly, boom, I have an epiphany or a breakthrough moment. I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to write that down,” but I just learned something from somebody else.

Nick Cotter:

Great. Appreciate that. Question here from Johnny. Any other channels besides Amazon, Etsy, and eBay that you’re bullish about in 2020? If we’re going to do an end to the channel, starting next month, what would you recommend?

Chad Rubin:

Well, it depends on your… So there’s a few things. I don’t know what your shopping cart platform is, and also if it’s a brand, or you’re just reselling things. I’m pretty bullish on, obviously, clearly, Amazon, I’m bullish building your brand off Amazon, I’m bullish on, Google’s launching their own marketplace now to do what Amazon’s doing. It used to be that it’s PPC only on Google, we you’re just pay per click, and now essentially they’re doing PPC with a marketplace approach so you can actually rank even higher if you’re part of this beta. A lot of times, first mover advantage is pretty important. And so it’s one thing I would probably look into, the Google platform. I am bullish on Instagram’s platform as well. I think they’re going to start, since they own Discovery, which is owning the nucleus of where products are found. I think that an extension for them is actually building out their own cart, and I see that as a viable option for the future. Etsy fine, it depends on what you’re selling. Amazon… Go ahead.

Nick Cotter:

What about Walmart? I’ve heard a lot of buzz over the past year, with especially with their ad platform expanding.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, exactly. So Walmart straight, again, it depends if you want to embrace Walmart or not. It depends on what you’re selling. Walmart is growing pretty significantly year over year for ecommerce right now, they just actually launched their own advertising platform on the platform, where it’s pay to play, just like Amazon and Google are doing. So that evolution is here to stay, and it’s happening.

Chad Rubin:

And then, if you were a brand, I would say, “How can you explore other ways to increase the lifetime value of your customers offline, and live where they’re living?” So I talked about having a pop up shop. There’s really nimble ways to do that. Doing direct mailers, you can cull the data, you have so much data at your fingertips as a d-to-c brand, you can utilize that data to your advantage, and not a lot of people are doing that. So think about ways that you can be doing things differently, to use that customer information, to build lookalike campaigns and even figure out ways you can create lookalike campaigns offline, if 85% of the world is still shopping in an offline environment.

Nick Cotter:

Appreciate that. All right, let’s finish off with one last question here. Actually, I’m going to do a double question here for you, Chad. Shear has a pretty strict-

Chad Rubin:

Lightning round, lightning round.

Nick Cotter:

Shear’s question, straight forward, Chad. How do I know when I need to switch my inventory management platform? Good question, actually.

Chad Rubin:

I think it’s a great question. I think when the complexities, when you’re starting to see your business crumble, or processes crumble, that’s where you.. And complexities are increasing, or maybe the platform can’t support you where you want to go tomorrow, versus today. And it’s better to actually replatform now, versus tomorrow, because you want to build a proper foundation. You can’t build a mall on sewage. We do that in New Jersey all the time, but you need to have a firm footing and a firm a ground and foundation to build off of. So it’s important to make sure you have the right tools to succeed going into the future. But if you starting to see that disjointedness of your platforms failing, if you’re starting to see that you’re missing a lot of functionality as you’re looking to scale, that’s when the light bulb moment, the aha moment, happens and you proceed forward quickly.

Nick Cotter:

A brand that you say that is doing it right? You point at them, and you’re like, “They’re doing it right. Should be replicating what they’re doing.”

Chad Rubin:

Okay, so a few come to mind. So one is, I think Harry’s, and Honest Company have done a really good job, essentially adding more skews and also adding more channels rapidly. Target is becoming this great place for d-to-c brands to live, and get exposure. So Harry’s is one. Honest Company is another company that did it, and they did it with… They took one product and they just duplicate that. They found the wedge. The wedge is, we have one product and we can essentially see that we can wedge into to increase the total available market and wedge into many other product categories. They’ve done that really well.

One company that I love, that I said I haven’t seen go multi-skew or multichannel is a Bomba Socks. They have an extremely high NPS score, so the people’s likelihood to recommend them is extremely high. They’ve been d-to-c really only… You don’t see them really… You see Bomba’s maybe with a collab with Delta, if you’re flying first class, they give you Bomba socks, which is really cool. But you haven’t seen them expand in the way that I would envision them across many other physical locations, embracing physical locations, but they have actually moved into ski socks, and I’m rocking my Sesame street socks today, that they collab with. So they’re doing some really innovative things, and amazing experience, and I just think that they’re doing it right from an LTV perspective. And I can’t stop raving about them.

Nick Cotter:

Fantastic. All right, Chad, quick, you have 30 seconds here. Any last minute tips for the audience, or takeaways from your presentation to leave everyone with?

Chad Rubin:

Okay. Email me if you have any questions, chad@skubana. I think we covered a lot today.

Nick Cotter:

We did.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah. I think it comes down to, figuring out where the future is before other people figure it out, and knowing what avenues you need to take to get there. And just really being innovative from a skew perspective, and from a channel perspective, leaving nothing off the table.

Nick Cotter:

Folks, there you have it. Great ending there, Chad. Really do appreciate it. Thank you for your time, your 45 minutes, and everyone who’s attended. Again, everyone you have Chad’s email address handy. So definitely shoot him over a note if you have any questions, follow up with him and his team. Again, thank you everyone, and we are going to-

Chad Rubin:

Thank you by the way. Thank you for everyone for joining. I really appreciate the opportunity to present today.

Nick Cotter:

Awesome. Thanks so much, Chad. And join us for the next session with Freightos, Optimizing Your Freight Spend Like A Pro. Thank you everyone, and we’ll be staying tuned here shortly.

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