Stephen will remind you that sustainable improvement means small changes every day, week and month over time to move forward. Hockey stick results happen for sure but they are unusual. More often success takes time. A long time really. Stephen suggests that identifying KPI’s unique to your business once identified, tracked and used to make adjustments in your business will give you the long win. Look inward, look often and get the results you are after.
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Here is transcript- It is automated so it is not perfect but it does seem to get better over time.
Stephen Carl: [00:00:00] Net revenue, net revenue is the most important thing because even with gross revenue, if you’re getting product returns, that’s not money you’re ever going to see. You know? And that’s another, that’s another part of like a good evaluation of figuring out your, you know, the cost of goods and all your operational expenses. You know, and you know, it’s, it’s pretty, you know, you can do it in a spreadsheet, it’s not, and you can make estimates on it. I mean it’s, I think a lot of times people don’t do it because they’re scared of the complexity. But you know, I think that’s how you can make more money per order that you have.
Cool voice guy: [00:00:43] Welcome to the ecommerce momentum where we focus on the people, the products, and the process of incomers selling. Today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson.
Stephen P: [00:00:57] Welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. This is episode 383 Steven Carl, very, very cool guy. I’m 20 years in Ecommerce, let that sink in for a second. And he said that to me in this episode about something else with Amazon. And I was like, Ooh, that really, it took a second for it to sink in and it then it really sank in. But 20 years he’s been in the ECOMMERCE business, mostly selling direct to consumer. All right, now think about that, right? That’s what we do. What will some of us do that most of us sell through Amazon? Not so it’s not really us selling directly to consumer. They are selling direct to consumer, but in his world he was selling direct to consumer almost 20 years ago. You want to talk about experience and what, what’s very cool to me is the stuff that he’s seen over the years and he uses an example and says, you know, not like things come back.
Stephen P: [00:01:49] Like he said, a things tend to rhyme. So it’s not like everything comes back into fashion, but things, there’s a similarity that kinda happens again and again and again over time. And so when you pay attention to that, you can really learn something. The other big takeaway from this podcast episode for me is about, you know, that could habit of, uh, metrics. He’s as key Kpis, key performance indicators, but figuring out what they are for you. And it’s not just top line sales. In his case, he sang it’s net sales, right? Because if you sell $1 million and you get 17% returns on shoes like I do, now all of a sudden you’re really only at $830,000. So all that’s a big difference if you’re going to operate at a 10% margin, right? I mean, that’s material and so, but knowing that and again, watching that over time and then when you see an anomaly, you can figure out why and then fix that, right?
Stephen P: [00:02:44] Small fixes over time give you that continuity. So really good example of somebody who knows what they’re talking about. Um, the 20 years experience. Love it. And he’s younger than me. I don’t like that. Let’s get into podcast. Add an important member to your Amazon teams solutions. Four ecommerce. Yep. Solutions Four ecommerce. Karen lockers team helps manage our Amazon account. We pay full price just like everybody else. We’ve been using her for a couple of years and the reason is is because of the results. We modify a lot of listing specialty in wholesale because we’re trying to enhance that listing, right? We’re trying to help the brand. And so guess what? That’s the type of service that we get from solutions for ecommerce. So it’s solutions, the number four e-commerce dot com forward slash, wholesale and you can get $50 off her service. Go try it, give it a shot and say, hey, could you help me get this listing in line?
Stephen P: [00:03:34] And guess what? That allows you to go out and develop relationships with wholesalers and then the work gets done by Karen and her team. I can’t recommend it enough. We use it again. We pay full price solutions, the number four e-commerce dot com forward slash wholesale save 50 bucks. Get that important part of your team working for you. So you’re looking for an advantage to help you Wu at brand. Well, one of the tools that you can use this scope. You could check out their product and then check out their competitors and find the keywords that are competitors for using and check out theirs and see that they’re not, and then say, okay, I’ve got an idea. Let me do this. Let me enhance your brand. That’s the thing you can bring to the marketplace. When you can enhance the brand, you’re going to win that account, so try it.
Stephen P: [00:04:19] You get a free trial, but seller labs.com forward slash, scope use the code omentum and save 50 bucks. It’s a free trial. Try it and see if you can enhance the brand. If you’re ready to learn about wholesale, then I suggest best from the nest and Robin Johnson, her unstoppable Amazon Academy will help you learn from basically even opening account. If you’re brand new to Amazon, but then all the way to brand building, how do you, how do you enhance supreme? How do you have that conversation? There’s 300 plus videos, probably more than that by now, so it’s very simple. Little littlest $49 a month. Best from the nest.com forward slash e m that’s it. Best from the nest.com forward slash m checkout, the services that they offer, checkout some of the events that she hosts. Do you want to go walk around ASD? Check it out best from the nest.com forward.
Stephen P: [00:05:08] Slash. Ia It’s time to get the listings, right. So what should you do? You should get your images right, right. So amazing freedom has a program to help you do then and we’ve used them. It’s phenomenal what they can do. You got to go look at this. So you go to amazing freedom.com, forward slash photos and take a look at the examples of what you can do with an image you take and you give them some sample images. Um, some simple images. And then what they do is they take and, um, insert them with lifestyle, uh, photos. And so all of a sudden you’re going to see an example of what a plain image looks like and then what it can be enhanced to. Why is this of value to, well, when you’re in the wholesale business and guess what, you want to add value to the brand and this is just a simple way to do it. They offer all those kinds of services. Scroll down to the bottom. If you really want somebody to really
Stephen P: [00:05:58] improve this service and you want to bring value to that brand because you want exclusivity, the services that they offer for listing enhancement will blow your mind. So again, it’s amazing. freedom.com forward slash photos take a look at what you can do for your brands that you’re trying to get. All right, we’ll come back to the ecommerce moment of podcast is a pretty exciting conversation that I’m looking forward to because again, it’s technology in many ways. We, you know, those of us, most of us are Amazon sellers and we’re looking for other avenues to sell. But I find myself, this is Steve, me, Steve Talking, saying that I run into technology issues that just seem to happen with websites or a Shopify stores and stuff that we have. Um, and nobody, I don’t see a lot of people talking about that and, and, and I’m very interested in, so this was one of the things that was very attractive about having, um, Steven Carl on. Welcome Steven.
Stephen Carl: [00:06:56] Hello Steven. Thanks so much for having me here.
Stephen P: [00:06:59] Love the name cause he spells it right. That’s a big deal for me. Uh, I know I’m teasing, but it’s true. I mean, and we’ll get into the areas of the business that you focus on, but you’re in, I mean, when it give me your, your elevator pitch. When somebody says, Steven, what do you do? Come on, tell me
Stephen Carl: [00:07:17] the elevator pitches. Needle movement is like an outsource ecommerce director for our brand. So we, it’s a lot of companies focus on marketing and we do that, but you know, we’re looking at it holistically at all the different factors and levers in your toolbox that can influence the performance.
Stephen P: [00:07:40] Yeah. Because it isn’t just the Seo because that’s what we all think it is. Right? Whoa, whoa. You know, here’s the problem with having your own website, Steven getting found, right. That’s what everybody says. Right? How do you get found? Seo is complicated. They keep changing it and they, they come up with these crazy names of uh, you know this, I don’t even know what they are. I’ve already forgotten most of them, you know, penguin or whatever. They, they, they change these things and then everything you thought you had and you had it all set up, goes away and then you’ve got to start over again. But it is a lot more complicated than that. Especially today as we are having a precall. I talk about some of my podcasts, certain ones of them I run into trouble because we use a lot of plugins on wordpress and they work great at the time.
Stephen P: [00:08:21] But if they don’t keep up and you forget about them, I mean it’s not like once you install it, it’s not like I go back and say, Ooh, how has that plugin where, I mean you just forget about it and then over the years they stack and they don’t keep up with each other and then you start to have communication problems and your, your site just slows down to a crawl. That kind of stuff. Nobody, unless you have somebody who’s an it dude who’s, you know, nerdy right there sitting next to you, nobody’s paying, at least in my world, nobody’s paying attention to that stuff. And so that’s what’s one of the really attractive things about having somebody like you who’s company talks about what, what you, there are 10 areas of the business with ecommerce that you think about. Can you walk us through some of them?
Stephen Carl: [00:09:03] Sure. I guess for ecommerce there are, the website is the biggest piece obviously, but I mean to walk through the some items, you look at your website, you look at the traffic coming in, you look at the quality of the information that you have on the website and that’s where it ties into branding. You look at the checkout process and you know that shipping, it’s the checkout, the checkout from a UX perspective, but also from an even a shipping cost perspective. Um, so those are, you know, then you look at merchandising and the, you know, the selection within the website. You know, there’s, the list can go on and on on it.
Stephen P: [00:09:54] Well, and, but I, I think immune, this is your point is that somebody, if you’re building a team, right, and we’re, and we’re talking about not, not Steve, the little dink rinky dink seller, right? You’re talking about, you know, 350 to $10 million businesses. Right? And especially as they get up over the probably approaching seven figures, it gets more complicated. And so some company in the old days, I mean, I think about my old brick and mortar days working in, um, I was in the newspaper business. We would have teams, we would have a teams for that whole thing. Each one would have areas of responsibility marketing with the marketing department, the it guy handle the it, our operations guys were separate. Um, so what you’re saying is that a company like yours, and there are other ones like that can help fill that in because it’s not like you need all those people all the time. Is that the, is that a fair way to say it?
Stephen Carl: [00:10:45] Correct. I think it’s, you know, it goes along the lines of that saying, I think it’s a Peter Drucker saying that that only, that what can be measured can be improved. Hmm. You know, so you get into, and there’s, there’s a lot of great this year it seems to be in, I’m in the business book world. It’s the year of the habit book. There’s this book called atomic habits, atomic hat, right? It’s by James Clear and there’s another one called I believe the power of habit. Um, but a lot of it is cultivating, you know, so a good habit on your website. I mean, ultimately with the, all those departments and factors that are going to influence your performance, the number one thing is that you don’t want to be surprised. You want it. Like how can you prevent it in the first place? Or how can you understand there’s a problem when it’s at, you know, you know, when it’s at that small pebble stage, not when it’s a big boulder.
Stephen P: [00:11:48] Well, for example, let’s go back to my example. If I’m seeing slow down on my site, what’s causing that? We used to describe it in the accounting world, I’m an accountant by trade was peeling back an onion, right? You would go layer by layer. And if I don’t think about this, I don’t have the capacity. Um, you don’t know me and they, everybody laugh. I’m not, I’m not the best marketing person or the best operational person per se. Right? So those pieces of the onion I’m lost on. And so here the problem would, I thought it was half the time, turns out to be something completely different. And I’m like, Huh, right. Are you seeing that,
Stephen Carl: [00:12:29] I guess you put together your hypothesis on what are the things that could be causing that issue that you’re having, you know, so with, you know, you’re, you’re trying to find, when you, when you see that drop in performance, it’s, you know, you know, could it be the website? Could it be the Seo not working as well? Um, and with your, like with a tool like Google analytics for example, which are most stores have, you’re able to gauge around like, you know, let’s just see, let’s just say your website. You look at your website and it takes six seconds to load, you know, then you know, you can ascertain that that could be an issue. Um, another, I mean another really under utilized resource with websites is customer surveys and interviews. You know, cause we’re so close to the game and we’re, you know, we’re staring at the wall from an inch away. But when you start asking, you know, when you’re trying to understand an issue, reaching out to some of some customers and seeing what their experiences can, you know, can open up your perspective on what it could be.
Stephen P: [00:13:50] Hmm. I think as I sit and think about all these things again, how do I, as an ecommerce seller or an I’m sourcing product and I’m trying to, you know, to in my case ship and all that kind of stuff, how do I get the time to pay attention to all these things? I mean, is there, do you guys think of it as a priority? I mean they must be low hanging fruit. When you take on a client that must be easy, low hanging fruit that you could just immediately go, we can improve his performance 5% just by doing the most common thing, right? I mean is that, is that kind of logical?
Stephen Carl: [00:14:22] Yes. So I think that, yeah, so the, the secret sauce, and this is what any consultant or agency is gonna do, is they’re going to ask you to open up your dashboards. So they’re going to ask to see, you know, let’s say on Shopify to see a lot of Shopify recording to see Google analytics. If you’re using performance marketing, they want to see the Google ads dashboard and the reason for that, and they’re going to look at all of your channels. All they’re doing is an audit. And that’s that, you know. So by seeing that audit, they’re going to the things that you’re looking at every day that you might not notice, they’re comparing it to other websites and other experiences they’ve had. And they’re setting up, oh, this is below best practice. You know, work. They could look at a vendor and say, oh, the vendor you’re using for email, well you know that’s, you know, that’s something, a lot of other services use a different mechanism or they’re looking at your email marketing and say, well it’s doing okay, but you know, I see a lot of opportunity with additional email lifecycle lifecycle emails that you could generate to create additional revenue
Stephen P: [00:15:38] lifecycle email. I don’t think I’m familiar with that term.
Speaker 5: [00:15:41] Okay.
Stephen Carl: [00:15:42] That would be shopping cart abandonment emails, browse abandonment or if you have a customer that hasn’t purchased in six months you, you send them a series of emails to mean welcome series is also a popular introduction
Stephen P: [00:16:00] jury email we use like a convert kit or you could use a click funnel, right? That kind of thing. Right? Yeah. Funneling them through. Okay, so that I’m familiar with but you’re saying it and I am familiar with the shopping cart abandonment thing where it’s saying, Hey, are you sure? Like when they put their mouse up to the left, right. That kind of thing. But so you can actually keep track of that stuff and then market back to them. That’s what you’re saying?
Stephen Carl: [00:16:22] Correct. Yeah. I mean, you can, well, what shopping cart abandonment rate you can, you know, after they leave, after they go through some part of the funnel, you know, then you can send them a series of emails. Okay.
Speaker 5: [00:16:35] Okay.
Stephen P: [00:16:37] And so is that okay?
Stephen Carl: [00:16:39] Oh, so like, so was there something else specific that you were trying to glean outside of? I think the secret is the audit and that the audit unlocks a lot of opportunities. The brand can, and I think brands can, and companies should be doing audits themselves because if you’re, you know, it’s just that, I mean, a lot of times with companies, like I see this with marketing sometimes where like in where there were not enough focus is on, there’s always an area that’s not focused on enough. So for some companies just, you know, having Kpis, a few KPIs that you look at on a regular basis,
Stephen P: [00:17:24] well then you just can’t drop that. So give us what, what you’re recommending because I agree with you it, but you gotta make it easy for me. I’m not, if you said to me, Steve, Hey, well easy is relative. If you just said, hey, every three months, track these three, four things and then you know, let’s review them and then you’ll see peaks and valleys and then I assume somebody can go in and, and, and understand why there’s a between you know, what you expected and what really happened. Right? And that’s really the, the, the brilliance, right? Cause if you could figure that out and if you could get that consistent in theory, I probably lost sales because of something like that. Right? I mean is that, is that logical
Stephen Carl: [00:18:03] or you just write, you just get, okay. So you know, you would have, I mean everyone looks at revenue and that’s the number one. Okay. So revenues number one, I think conversion rates are, are very, are very good metric because if you’re, let’s just say your conversion rate is below 2%.
Stephen P: [00:18:19] Stop and explain what you mean by conversion rate. I think I understand. But I’m a guy,
Stephen Carl: [00:18:25] it’ll be the website, the website’s conversion rate.
Stephen P: [00:18:31] So is this, when somebody comes to my website and they see that I’m selling water bottles and you look at Steve’s water bottles and he say, oh they’re beautiful and they click to purchase, but then they, then they abandoned or they just come to the website and they’re like, Eh, not for me. And they move on. So is that an eyeball and then the fact that they didn’t buy means a zero conversion rate? Correct. Or is it, or did they have to get to the shopping cart level? What, which makes more sense to look at first I site visit. Okay.
Stephen Carl: [00:18:58] Very are easy to write. So it’s, it’s people that have visited the website and the end conversion and then the percentage of people that have purchased. Yeah.
Stephen P: [00:19:08] Okay. And so you get the data from like a Google analytics will tell me how many people came to the website. And then my sales number would be the number of buyers. So that mathematics and what, what’s a good number there that you would be wanting to look for
Stephen Carl: [00:19:22] on conversion? Rate’s 2% if you’re, if you’re below 2%
Speaker 6: [00:19:29] then
Stephen Carl: [00:19:32] I think if you’re below 2% one of the main culprits is branding. And when I, and when we say branding, it means the copywriting that’s on your website. And also the, um, just the, the photography and copywriting that just, you know, like, uh, smart websites persuade people on copy. There’s a lot of psychology with why people buy products, you know? But that’s, I don’t want to go off on a tangent on that, but to answer the question on conversion rate, it’s, if it’s, I feel like if it’s below two, you have to start digging into understanding why are 98 out of 100 people not purchasing from the website? What information am I not provide? A,
Stephen P: [00:20:22] because the problem was we got them to the website. Right? So what you’re saying is, Steve, you, you got found your ability though to convert them into paid customers is lacking. And that’s what you’re saying, it’s copy a photography, right? That kind of thing. You know, I’m not telling the story is that I’m not selling the story. Is that, is that what you’re saying? Yes. Okay. It’s storytelling. Definitely. Hmm. And how do you have this pot? Yeah, I was gonna say, how do you get, how do you get that? How do you get that fixed?
Stephen Carl: [00:20:52] You, I, I think copywriters are and easily accessible resource. I mean you’d have to hire out a contractor to do that, you know, but I think we all have this experience where even if it, even with needle movement, I’ve recently had the humbling experience because I was an English major in college that why don’t I hire a copywriter because you know, I’m finding times where I professional who does that all day, all the time can communicate that vision better. And copywriting is not just like I’m a romantic sentence or two. It is storytelling and it is like an unveiling your branding. So it’s unveiling like a lot of people with ecommerce these days, they want to feel good about their purchase. They want to have confidence in it, but they want to know the people behind it. Um, and they just want to understand, you know, the, the benefits of having the product.
Stephen P: [00:21:56] There are a couple of things. One you, you in, in, in our questionnaire kind of thing we did earlier, you talked about how Amazon and a direct to consumer selling are like siblings in ecommerce. I think it was such a beautiful way to explain it. It’s just so you’re right, it’s a parallel now. I think Amazon is advancing so much further than the other sibling growing bigger. Right? But that doesn’t discount it. And the second thing I think about it, so I use this example, and this is, I want people to go look up this on youtube. It’s called the Hercules Candy Company. H E R C U. L E S Candy Company. It’s a family that makes [inaudible] made chocolates and stuff like that. Candy and East Syracuse, New York. Now think about that. Do you know where he’s Syracuse’s? I have no clue. It’s east of Syracuse, right? It should be out of business.
Stephen P: [00:22:43] It was like a house that they were making it in the basement. You know, they should be out of business because think about it, you know all the other, you know, handheld things. What they did was they started telling their story. The, the youngest son graduates from college, he’s a video major or something like that. They start telling their story kind of as you’re describing on youtube. And they do these sometimes hour long sessions of them sitting there, bantering back and forth as they’re making candy and they tell their story and this and that. And they’ve recently said that 43% of their sales are sold through youtube. Now they should be at a business.
Stephen Carl: [00:23:25] So it’s, so yes, there’s, there are some, and you see now with, with Instagram just launched a checkout feature to where you can shop directly from check out. You don’t even have to go to the website. So that also tells you the power of stories and branding where if you like that you like that image and that person so much that you don’t even need to go to the website to buy the product or you’re so compelled by that youtube video. Um, I guess one other thing with, um, I think with copywriting and to really clarify what that means. Um, and there’s, there’s a good book, I think it’s called, it’s by, was it proper chill Cialdini and he’s, it’s called influence and the psychology of persuasion. And it’s just, it’s just like why, I mean it talks about things like social proof and scarcity and just the like marketing and in some ways is like mine warfare, your trying people have so many options and your trying to convince them to spend time with you.
Stephen Carl: [00:24:32] So what you have to do is sometimes you have to get through some of those, those psychological hurdles that the consumer has on. Like, I don’t have time to buy this. I already have, I already have, I already bought two pieces of clothing last week. Why do I need to get this? And you have to, you know, and so how you can break through those through the storytelling and the copywriting. Like one of the reasons why I’m mission driven e commerce, like sustainable products for example, or Tom’s, which was really one of the first mission driven companies is, or you’ll see with a company like Everlane, you know who’s doing transparency with factories, is they’re trying to tell that story and saying, I’m going to spend $75 for a pair of jeans because that helps the environment and they have a denim mill that does this so much cleaner than everyone else. So they’ve given you in that storytelling, they’ve given you their value proposition and the reason why, um, you don’t need to shop anywhere else. So if you believe in their mission, and we know, you know, with everything Internet is about tribes, so you get that message that, that, you know, and that company in Syracuse, they, there, they have that tribe that believes in that story that’s being told on Youtube.
Stephen P: [00:25:53] So does that mean, so Steve’s water bottles. So let’s just say I’m not doing anything sustainable, right? No, but I’m serious. So because I think about, I get what you’re saying. And so I always hear people, oh, we’re going to give 10% away or we’re going to give it, they copy it. You know, you sell a pair of shoes, I’m going to give away a pair of shoes. Right. That, that actually becomes kind of icky now because it’s like, no, those people did it for the right reasons. You’re just doing it to sell. That’s what I feel like. It’s like you’re just doing it to sell. But how do I convey Steve’s water bottles? I mean, what would you, you know, I’m not giving anything away. I’m a greedy capitalist pig, but, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s BPA free or whatever. I mean, is that, is that the place you start is those kinds of things, you know, the old features and benefits, but you focus on what the current trends of the market are?
Stephen Carl: [00:26:39] I like to, I like to think that it goes back to the audience. So it’s really like, there is a crowd that loves sustainable products and that’s why they’re drawn to them. So there’s going to be a crowd that’s, so for Steve’s water bottles,
Speaker 7: [00:26:52] mmm.
Stephen Carl: [00:26:54] They say, what are the features and benefits has value to communicating the product. But also it’s just what benefit does the person get? Why should they buy Steve’s water bottles over the other options? What makes the product different and better for that customer? Then I think that’s where the, you know, and you could tell, you know, it could be, it could come down to the quality of the water. You know, you could talk about the stream where it comes from.
Speaker 7: [00:27:22] Okay.
Stephen P: [00:27:22] You know, it could be, you could introduce Steve’s family or you know, the values of the company that makes it more personal. I get it. Now all of a sudden when you just said with the family, now all of a sudden you’re not dealing with some giant corporation cause we’re not. Right. So it’s just me and my wife and my son. So that would be a good example. Okay, I get it. So there’s a connection almost,
Stephen Carl: [00:27:42] right? It’s the value proposition really. It can be, you know, like, you know, you were talking about the, the uh, people getting sick of the 10% off and everyone copying toms. And it’s a valid point. It’s just, um, there’s, you just have to find that you just have to find a group of people that are really passionate about the product. So it’s, what message did they need to get fired up about buying it and buying it again?
Speaker 7: [00:28:10] Hmm.
Stephen P: [00:28:12] In any company can do that.
Stephen Carl: [00:28:17] Any entrepreneur can do that. I think with products though, and I mean this goes into Amazon and DTC, it’s, you know, product sourcing is very important and just, you know, finding that product that people are going to get very excited about. Um, and you’ll, you know, when you see it, you know, it like, um, you know, I had, I just had an experience where, um, you know, I have a, I have a client who has addressed company and you know, we were going to, so my girlfriend and I were going to a holiday party and we said, oh, why don’t you, why don’t you try on this dress? It looks, it looks unique. And at that party, you know, six of my, you know, my girlfriend’s friends at the party, you know, asked her about the dress, where did you get the distress? I like this dress so much at the end of the party, someone else was wearing that dress too. So I mean that’s how, but that’s a viral reaction to, you know, it’s addressed. There’s a million dresses out there, but it’s, it’s finding some of those unique notes. Um, and that’s what’s good about like when you’re sourcing, testing the reaction of the product. And this goes back to conversion rates, which is, you know, it’s, is it, you know, is it the website that’s not doing this? Is it because my plugin is busted or is it because my product isn’t as powerful as I think it is?
Stephen P: [00:29:40] And then you can peel those
Stephen Carl: [00:29:42] back. So, so again, so it doing a checklist, okay, website’s performing to standards, right? Those standards exist out there somewhere. Then check like plugins, check, not the issue. Not The issue. Huh? Now you’re this, that’s when it gets personal though, right? Because Hey, I, I created that website. Steven, you know, this is me, I’ve got my soul in it and it’s not working. That’s painful. That’s what’s hard for entrepreneurs because we all have to kind of, we all have to confront that bias that we have and the pride, you know, which is, it’s like, and it’s, you know, like when we, I mean I just think with products, if we can,
Stephen Carl: [00:30:22] you know, if we can at a certain point in time move on from pro, from things, from initiatives that don’t work as well as intended. I mean it’s, it’s that agility that makes you stronger as an entrepreneur in the long run. You know, because everyone’s, everyone screws up in this, in this game. Nobody is perfect. And it’s the company. Is that like when you get those iterations from version 1.0 to 2.0 3.0 it’s not major screw up sometimes, but it’s just, hey, I think this could be a little better from here. I mean like, you know, when you look at shark tank or just a lot of things, like they’re just, there really are solutions to problems that other people had with products.
Speaker 5: [00:31:04] Yeah.
Stephen Carl: [00:31:05] You know, so it’s so it’s just trying to find like instead of, you know, so it’s how can you, you know, in a, you know, how can you confront that? Yeah. I don’t think people should have to lose face for saying, oh I did this three months ago and it didn’t work. We’re going to move on and do something else.
Stephen P: [00:31:25] It’s not an all or nothing know. I’m sitting here thinking about your previous experience, which we really didn’t get into, which I do want to go into because I think it gives you, you have experienced and the ability to talk about these kinds of things cause you bend down the.com world. Right. Do you, were you a part of a company called Cosmo Koc ammo and I was reading the Wiki on it and um, man, it sounded like it was a pretty big company back in the day. So I want you to talk about that. And then what your role was and what you learned from it, that now you’re applying to these, because I think it gives you some credibility to be sitting there saying, you know, uh, Hey Steve, Steve, it’s hard with to Steve’s. But Steve P, um, hey, Steve P, uh, you know, you gotta look at this and I know you’re close to it, but here is an objective look to this because I’ve seen this before. Maybe is that kind of makes sense?
Stephen Carl: [00:32:16] Yes, definitely. So I have a little over 20 years experience and e commerce, you know, I had,
Stephen P: [00:32:24] which is crazy to think that ecommerce has been around for 20 years because those of us tight in an Amazon world, they’re like three or four or five years. And we’re like real work. If you’ve been here five years, you’re like, uh, like, uh, you know, an old dude in this world, but not any commerce. Been around for 20
Stephen P: [00:32:39] years.
Stephen Carl: [00:32:42] You know, there’s this saying that history doesn’t necessarily repeat, but it rhymes. So it, so it’s, where do you get those, you know, where do you see those, um, those same tendencies. So, you know, back in 1998, there was just a lot of enthusiasm about the internet. Was that such a small penetration in America that um, the, you know, big venture, you know, the, the finance community was very enthusiastic about the prospects. Um, so that’s what, so I, I was an early email@example.com which the in 1998 and I had, I was fortunate to have a college friend who started it and he was a, he worked at Goldman Sachs before that, um, and he was a very, very compelling character. Um, you know, really smart guy. But Cosmo’s core concept was DVDs delivered to your door in under one hour. Wow. And then we’d all, you know, and then also delivering Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. So, you know, I remember on the core pitch to join this startup was, I remember him telling me, you know, wow, like our business is up 400% from last week. It’s booming. I’m like, wow, 400% I have to join. And later I found out that the previous week there were three orders to the website. And then this week there were 12 orders. Ooh, some early lessons, right? Early lesson in statistics and rocket ships and booms. But, um, but you know, that that concept of convenience and instinct, gratifying
Stephen P: [00:34:17] Haitian. So you bought into that, that was a vision. He cast, you saw it, you’re like, yeah, I could see this.
Stephen Carl: [00:34:24] Hmm. Yeah, exactly. And it was, you know, and I think it, it, it was done. So it’s Internet delivery and then Bicycle Messengers in New York City. You know, what, deliver the package. And just like I was talking about my experience at that holiday party with the dress, you know, I was employee number five. So at times I would, I would, there were in order to come through on the website and at times I would go on a bicycle and deliberate and I would see the look on that customer’s face when nine minutes later, you know, I, you know, she got the DVDs and she got a Bennet, been a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She was amazed and you know, she was converted. She had that experience. She had that look in her eyes that she was going to come back again and again for orders.
Stephen P: [00:35:17] What did that do to you? It’d be, I want to pause there a second, but what did that do for you when you went back to the office? Oh, you know, Bob, look at what you wouldn’t believe the reaction of, I mean did that like, was that like infectious
Stephen Carl: [00:35:33] for the Oh, for the employees at Cosmo came back and you experienced
Stephen P: [00:35:38] it so you could actually, like you said, you saw it in her eyes. Was that like, did you go back with like, you know, pep in your step and just like, wow, we, we, we made a difference.
Stephen Carl: [00:35:46] Exactly. Yeah. You, you, you feel like, yes. So your, and everyone is having these experiences too, so you, yeah. You feel like you’re part of something special. And I think because of the value proposition was really unique at the time, you know, but you know, that’s why people caught onto it. And it was, I mean, at the, for the investor meetings, they would do something like the investors would, at the beginning of the meeting, they would place an order on the website and then, you know, 16 minutes later someone would come with the actual package. So it made perfect sense. It was such a great investors pitch, you know, and it’s, it’s no surprise that the company was able to raise capital as a result.
Speaker 7: [00:36:30] MMM.
Stephen Carl: [00:36:31] But I guess maybe I could go further into that story, which is, you know, I started as an early employee and you know, I, you know, within two, so cosmo was running in with selling DVDs and a little bit of food in 1998 and operate in New York City. Within two years it was running in 10 cities and there were over 500
Stephen P: [00:36:55] please looking back, let me, cause the company ended up, you know, it didn’t go out of business, so it’s kind of a good story. But looking back, was that a mistake? Was that an advantage? Because it’s another issue that we have in our world, in our little Amazon world here is overexpansion. Um, we run out of money, all of us run out of money because, uh, you know, it’s a capital intensive business. Um, what, looking back, what would you say?
Stephen Carl: [00:37:23] Well, the company did close its doors in 2001. Okay. So there wasn’t, there wasn’t, um, there wasn’t exuberance. And I guess what the overexpansion, what happened with Cosmo is that it goes back to your business model. So there’s, you know, at the time, you know, there was stories about how people would order a candy bar on cosmo.com because there was, there was no order minimum at the time. Uh, okay. Um, and it was recruited, these were not friends of the company, but there’s no way you can make money delivering a candy bar that costs a dollar and to do one hour logistics through it, you know, so, so I think there were some great, you know, so that, so the company expanded, um, and you know, got a $60 million round from Amazon. So, you know, it wasn’t just, you know, soak that in for a moment. That in 1998, Amazon invested in a one hour delivery logistics company. That’s funny. Wow. You know, they wanted to see what was going on there.
Speaker 7: [00:38:38] MMM.
Stephen Carl: [00:38:40] And right. Especially
Stephen P: [00:38:42] think about what you just said. It is so in, because it’s like [inaudible] 20 still mid years ago, they were looking at this model and evaluating it and realizing probably you didn’t work. Hence the reason, you know, they didn’t launch the day, same day delivery until recent. Right. In a lot of studies. So. Hmm. Interesting.
Stephen Carl: [00:39:01] Right. And I, I think with, with cosmo. So I mean what, you know, I mean, just to finish the cosmos story, I mean, what, what happened was the, the stock market,
Speaker 7: [00:39:11] mmm.
Stephen Carl: [00:39:13] Had a major crash in March of 2000 and Cosmo at the same time was preparing for an IPO.
Speaker 7: [00:39:21] Hmm.
Stephen Carl: [00:39:23] You know, so what happened at the time was the, the plant Cosmo’s plants for an IPO were delayed because of the market crash. But the reality was that IPO never happened and cosmo ran out of money and I guess the, in 2001 but the, I think one of the most visceral experiences that I had was seeing this company that had gone from five employees to me to 500 to 10 cities to Amazon part, you know, to Amazon investment and see those doors close. And as entrepreneurs like, you know, we know that it’s not always this Horatio Alger story of he worked the longest and the hardest and he had good luck and he was always successful that, you know, our, you know, our failures lead to our successes. But having that experience of seeing those doors close and having my friends lose their jobs and have to look for something else. It was, it was heartbreaking at the time, but also looking at the business model and some of the things we could have done differently ultimately made me a better businessman. And with looking at my future experiences, I became more focused on how do we grow a company sustainably, how do we create more profitable outcomes and situations instead of, you know, let’s build this business and spend some money and we’ll figure out the business model later
Stephen P: [00:40:56] so it’s not, you know, it’s funny, I’m getting ready to go on a, another podcast for an accounting podcast and we’re going to talk about top line versus bottom line, right? And so it’s not always top line only, right? And that venture world, right? It’s top line, top line, top line, but that’s not real. Um, and that’s what you’re saying, right? I mean there has to be, I love that word sustainable. Right? That means a lot.
Speaker 7: [00:41:18] Okay.
Stephen Carl: [00:41:18] Yeah, I guess it’s that there’s, well evaluation doesn’t, you know, valuations are always going to go up in the venture community and with their investments, but you know it’s about net revenue. Net revenue is the most thing because even with gross revenue, if you’re getting product returns, yeah, right. It’s not money you’re ever going to see. Right. You know, and that’s another, that’s another part of like a good evaluation of figuring out your, you know, the cost of goods and all your operational expenses. You know, and you know it’s, it’s pretty, you know, you can do it in a spreadsheet, it’s not, and you can make estimates on it. I mean that’s, I think a lot of times people don’t do it because they’re scared of the complexity. But you know, I think that’s how you can make more money per order that you have.
Stephen P: [00:42:13] Well you just said something too is I was sitting there thinking about that. Right. If so measuring when your metrics, if you have a good conversion rate yet you have a high return rate means that that’s another piece of your business that’s broken. The conversion rates working because that means your contents good. You’re conveying the message as you’d like to say, right? You’re conveying your message, you’re connecting with them, but then your product sucks or you’ve got problems with what your size is usually issue with shoes or you know like a, I wear size 12 but not in a Nike. I have to go to a size 13 because they run small. Right. And so if I order a 12 I’m unhappy. I just know it. Right. And so that’s not a good, that’s a, that’s a bad thing. Right. And so that’s again another metric that you go to. So what, what do you, I mean most most I’m looking for outliers. The ones who are doing it right. How many metrics are they looking at and how frequently are they looking at them?
Stephen Carl: [00:43:07] I would say the ones who are doing it right. You, you should be looking at metrics a couple of times a week. Oh Wow. Jesus. I was thinking it was a couple of times a year. It shouldn’t be a report though. I think it, I think it’s like you have to, you have to put yourself in a good habit of how to do it and how to make it easy. So there’s some, there’s some websites there, there, there are tools that you can have a dashboard that is easily accessible. You know, so there’s, there’s tools where you could see like Shopify has a mobile app where you can see what my conversion rate is for the day, how many sales I produced. You know, how much, you know, how returns have come through, what’s my best selling product. But I would say to the number, I don’t think it should be more than seven because that’s, that’s where it starts turning into mishmash cause you’re, you know, cause you’re looking at too many, there’s a time, it’s just your, I think your KPIs are really just a starting point to say, you know, hmm. You know, where it’s like, you know, you wanna know, you know, you want to know if the engine isn’t working, you know, and you want to, you want to know that without having to receive an email from somebody else about it.
Stephen P: [00:44:26] So it’s like your car, like your, that’s a good analogy, right? With your car, you’re looking at your temperature gauge. Maybe your,
Stephen P: [00:44:31] if your oil light comes on. Okay. You know, those kinds of things. Okay. All right. I love it. I think I a matter of fact, I’m sitting here right in the title for this because it’s you real with good habits. Um, you can actually put yourself in a good position and consistency. I think that’s the real, the real thing is you’re saying a couple days a week is consistency.
Stephen Carl: [00:44:51] Correct? Yeah. And I guess it’s, I mean it’s also, you know, we, as entrepreneurs, we’re so, we’re so busy because we’re wearing so many hats, but you know, to peel the onion off of dizziness, you got to figure out why you’re so busy and you know, how, you know, how do you carve, you know, if you can, if you can find some solutions that will save you time. You know, like for me, one of my solutions was taking off a lot of notifications on my iPhone because they weren’t giving me enough value. You know, they were feeding me information that I, you know, I decided after a while that I didn’t need as much, you know, but if you can, if you can carve out more time, um, cause I do think that the, you improve by by having a very, you need to have a pulse of the company, you know, frequently. And I mean on at least a weekly basis. I mean there is, there’s going to be weekly, monthly, and annual times that you look at the business, you know. But again, it’s like we want to, we want to encounter problems before their, before they really become big problems. And I think that’s what ties into weaknesses and you know, being, you know, saying, Oh I think we, you know, identifying things that should, could be working better.
Stephen P: [00:46:26] And the metrics would do that, right? You would see a dip and you’d be like, okay, what’s causing that boom. Then you’re appealing that piece and you’re not throwing the baby out with the bath water. It’s terrible phrase. But, but you’re not, you’re looking at, okay, this piece isn’t working. Everything was working. This piece isn’t, now I’m focusing it, you know, I’m looking at some of your success stories and I’m reading one that I think is a perfect example. Excuse me. Um, um, they had, uh, I’m looking at Brooklyn clothing brook, Brooklyn, Brooklyn cloth. And what I’m looking though is a short optimization project, enhanced site speed and conversion rates quickly. There’s an example, right? Slow site load times on mobile devices. If you’re not looking at that, you’re thinking, oh my product sucks. No, it’s not your product.
Stephen Carl: [00:47:14] So that has, yeah, and that’s just a, an example of you can use a tool called, I think it’s called think with Google. Say that again. But what was the thinking with think with google.com has um, Google has a couple of cool mobile tools that you can use to, to see how the website looks on mobile and also to do a measurement of sitespeed.
Stephen P: [00:47:43] Well, I liked the sound of that. So think with google.com I’m going to try that. Um, so that will allow you to see that stuff just isn’t working. Is that what happened?
Stephen Carl: [00:47:54] It gives you, it will give you an estimate of the site speed of the website and it can tell you what, how the plugins are contributing to the site speed
Stephen P: [00:48:11] in, in, in that case, back to this, uh, to this company. Um, Brooklyn cloth. Literally you figured out that that was a big problem and what happened.
Speaker 5: [00:48:23] Okay.
Stephen Carl: [00:48:23] So we, we were looking at just the, you know, the, the user experience of the website and then, you know, as a part of that checklist, you know, we saw consistently that the, the Shopify or, yeah, we just did a few measurements and saw that sitespeed was a negative factor and sitespeed on mobile was even higher than desktop, you know, so let’s just say it’s five seconds or it can be four seconds on desktop and let’s just say, you know, over seven seconds on mobile. Um, so after we, after we saw that we changed our Shopify theme and reduce the sitespeed and, and now we’re
Stephen P: [00:49:05] just changing the theme improved your site speed.
Stephen Carl: [00:49:11] Correct. That’s crazy. Cause, I guess, um, and, and you know, I think you can provide the analogy to, to Amazon, but on Shopify there’s a uh, a variety of different themes that make it easy for people to launch their own stores. And it’s great because you can spend, I don’t know, $350 and have something that looks pretty good online. You know. So we looked at, there was, you know, there’s a variety of those themes and we made a decision to switch that theme which lowered the site’s feed by a couple of seconds. Part of that also was, it wasn’t just the theme also, it was also looking at the plugins and how each plugin contributes to sitespeed.
Speaker 5: [00:50:05] Okay.
Stephen P: [00:50:06] How do you, because I’ve run into that trouble, we kind of lead, lead off the discussion that way. How do you, I mean again, is this back to the checklist issue? If you start to see a site speed, if that’s one of my KPIs, right, my metrics and I’m looking at, and then all of a sudden I see a dip in it, I could have caught my, my plugin trouble. Is that likely?
Speaker 5: [00:50:27] Yes.
Stephen Carl: [00:50:28] I also think, I mean, you know, to, I think a lot of times it’s not just one thing, right? You know, you got this, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of contributing. I mean, that’s what I typically find that there’s not, you know, um, you know, we want that growth hack that’s going to unlock the key to
Stephen P: [00:50:48] lose 40 pounds. Just give me a pill to lose 40 pounds. I’m looking for it and I haven’t found it
Stephen Carl: [00:50:53] well at the silver bullet really badly. It’s just, you know, it’s, I think it’s just, it goes with that, you know, sustainable, sustainable improvement is getting better every month. So it’s, it’s monitoring your stuff and when you become, when you’re aware of these things, so you’re, if you’re a w like when you’re aware that sitespeed could hurt your performance, now you’re going to look at it when the past, you might’ve never looked at it. And you know, even your branding, like when you become aware of that branding can be that like super power that drives up your conversion rate. You, you perceive it differently and pay more attention to it. So I think it’s just that by virtue of, of looking at those KPIs and you know, with Brooklyn cloth, you know, part of it was, you know, the site speed. And then the other part was having really good merchandise with collaborations. You know, we’re, Brooklyn cloth has, um, collaborations with some, you know, some, uh, some djs and is active in that music community, you know, so once fans of, of that group here about Brooklyn cloth doing a collaboration, they love it. And that kind of goes to the product sourcing. And you know, maybe maybe those people wouldn’t care about waiting eight seconds to download it, you know? But it’s one thing and I think it’s there’s, you know, it’s like, it’s a lot of little things I always see as the key optimization.
Stephen P: [00:52:21] Hmm. Yeah, it did a lot of small pieces. But again, if you track it over time, you’re looking for consistency and when you see a dip, you can pull back and say something’s wrong. Let’s figure out what it is instead of letting it compile. Cause that’s the other thing I think that happens is it compounds, right? So that that gets messed up but you don’t notice it. And then like you say, something else goes wrong that makes it worse. Right. And so then it’s multiplied and then you try to peel it back and you’re like, oh this, oh it didn’t have an impact. What was it? Only that it was all these other things. Hm. When, when you think about, one of the things that I think that, that you also have an approach is your B two B experience. So you talk about that, that you’ve been able to take some of the BTB experience and then apply it to B two c. Can you talk a little bit about that, some of the, some of the, maybe that some of the top line stuff that you’ve seen that has helped?
Stephen Carl: [00:53:14] Sure. You know, so for a very long time until I started needle movement, I was a business to consumer marketer and that’s where my strength was.
Stephen Carl: [00:53:28] And when you, when you are selling to companies where you’re selling services, you are selling to different businesses. And uh, so the, the methods are a little bit different. You know what I, but I do think with, you know, and why I really enjoying the conversation out of Amazon versus direct to consumer marketing on Shopify. Even though there are, those worlds don’t always collide as much as we think. Like you always learn something from someone else. Like I, I see this with music all the time where you’re mixing different styles of music, you know, and it’s like, you know, Jay z isn’t, you know, a heavy metal guitar player, but he can put a heavy metal roof and a song and it will sound good, you know, or you know, just that mix of, of styles. So with BDB marketing, I think something I learned was about the customer life cycle.
Stephen Carl: [00:54:23] So the customer lifecycle is just saying that, you know, it’s going into that psychology of how someone goes from not knowing you exist as a product marketer to purchasing your product repeatedly. And with Btby I think because just the deals would be sometimes bigger for companies. They always would have it in their head that there are different stages to marketing. So there’s an awareness stage of being, knowing that, you know, knowing about your company. And then there’s a consideration phase where they start thinking about where you know, where your, your company could be used for their situation. And then there’s, you know, more of that. Then they get closer to final decisions where they’re comparing other options. And deciding if they’re really going to go with you as an option and then then you make this, then there’s the final sale and then a path to get to a repeat sale. But I think in B to c marketing, I’ve seen times where people see it as all home runs. Like you either have a sale or you don’t have a sale. And that’s why there’s for about, with social media, there’s always been a little bit of a misunderstanding in B to c world because
Stephen Carl: [00:55:44] if Instagram is not producing sales immediately, then it doesn’t work. You know, and I’ve, I’ve been in, I’ve been in meetings where expletives have been used for, you know, Facebook, Instagram and a lot of sources. But what Instagram does really well is mentioned product awareness. It makes you, you know, it makes you aware of the product and get you engaged with it for the first time. And that has a value even if even if it doesn’t lead to the sale immediately it starting that journey. So that’s, so that’s what I’ve really liked about, um, about the BTB aspect. Cause you, you kind of take that and you’re like, yeah, you know the, the marketing is really,
Stephen P: [00:56:24] it’s not just an instance sale. You know, I got to take steps to lead into that sale. I sit in the thing I’ve already taken away from this interview in it, and again, I’m going back to this conversion thing. It’s like, okay, because the main thing that I always hear, I hear this from everyone. You know, the reason I sell on Amazon, because that’s where the market is today, right? And we’re all like, okay, what’s next? Right? We’re all, you know, as the market tightens, his Amazon tightens, it makes all kinds of changes outside of our control, right? We all want to go off and do stuff on her own. But what you always hear is, oh, you can’t get found, the SEO is hard and blah, blah, blah, blah. And so as I sat and listened to you though, you’re like, okay, let’s get past that.
Stephen P: [00:57:05] Let’s get you found. But that’s not still not good enough. Now you got to convert. And to me breaking down into these small bite size pieces as I look at it, you know, um, and again, I’m not selling his service. Steve doesn’t, Steve P does not benefit in any way other than if somebody hires you and they grow, then I’m a better person for it because I feel good that somebody got some help. That’s all I want. But for me, the way you’re breaking it down into segments and say, okay, first let’s get you found. Okay. And like you’re saying, maybe the way to start the funnel was to Instagram because it’s going to be that longterm top of mine awareness as we used to call it in my world. Um, and, and you start doing that and then you bring them in the funnel and they found you but they still aren’t buying.
Stephen P: [00:57:48] Okay. Then we’re going to work on that strategy. How do we convert that over? And there’s usually these things, but uh, wait, we better keep an eye on these metrics over here to make sure that when they do find you that they can see you because it’s happening quickly. All these different strategies to me is exactly what, it’s like a recipe, right? It’s a recipe, all these different things. And um, this website needle movement, you really shouldn’t dig into it because what I’m seeing is just a whole bunch of data, uh, or a whole bunch of segments. Maybe that’s the best way to say it, that you really need to be paying attention to in your business. And if you’re not, then you need help. And that’s when you hire a company like this. The other, the other sites that I want to make sure that people don’t miss this think with Google is, is there’s so much information here. Oh my goodness. Um, and it really, is it one of the things that keeps you up, uh, up to date on a lot of what’s going on?
Stephen P: [00:58:46] I guess there’s, it’s, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of sources. I mean, I think to keep up, I mean, I, you know, I think, I haven’t used think with Google for that purpose, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some good resources. Okay. Okay. You’re using it for just analysis and stuff like that. Data analytics and measurement. Um, okay. I don’t want to miss this. And one more thing I want to make sure I get to, is that Yummy to come? It was the company that bought the name cosmo.com in 2013 hence the reason I thought it was a happier ending. I’m sure they paid next to nothing for it. However, this is fascinating to me and this is a good example. So you were in this business in 1998, 1998. This yummy.com got founded in 2002 yet they’re still in business and they offer 30 minute grocery delivery, 30 minutes, no traffic, no fines, just your groceries delivered in 30 minutes.
Stephen P: [00:59:40] And it’s all, this is not Amazon, this is a third party company and very specific cities. Looks like mostly California and they’re still in business doing that, competing against, you know, the giant machine of Amazon and uh, um, and now whole foods, I guess offering delivery. Um, so it can be done still to this day. Eh, do you think like you must have seen trends? I mean, when you see, where do you see ecommerce going? Maybe that’s a, maybe that’s a good question. As somebody who’s knee deep in the world has been knee deep in it for 20 years, what do you see it going?
Stephen Carl: [01:00:15] Uh, is a great question. Um, I think it, you know, it goes into, I think it’s easier, it’s much easier for people to start the stores. Yeah,
Stephen P: [01:00:28] true. Right? I mean, it literally, you could, you could do a Squarespace store with one product. Simple, even easier than Shopify.
Stephen Carl: [01:00:36] Right. So, I mean it takes, but I think Shopify is a public company and so they’ve been very successful, like getting, you know, I, you know, I think the tools will become more sophisticated with ecommerce. Video is becoming a huge or a larger and larger piece of the Pie.
Stephen P: [01:00:53] So what does that mean? What part of video? I mean, just showing my product and showing you a digital video or showing it in a lifestyle context.
Speaker 7: [01:01:03] MMM.
Stephen Carl: [01:01:05] So using it in the lifestyle contacts. Okay.
Stephen P: [01:01:08] Okay. So [inaudible] water bottle, actually somebody drinking it after getting off their bicycle, sweating, you know, just ran a race or something like that. That’s context, right? That’s lifestyle content.
Stephen Carl: [01:01:18] Well, the future, I mean, if you want to go 10 years down the road with the ECOMMERCE, I mean is the future of ecommerce, what they call the metaverse, which is the ready player one world, you know, from that movie, you know, where instead of going to stores, I can have an immersive experience and do some of my shopping.
Speaker 7: [01:01:37] MMM.
Stephen Carl: [01:01:39] Without the constraints of having to go to a store to get it. But I can have some of that sensory experience. So I don’t know. I mean that’s, you know, that’s thinking, you know, thinking way ahead on it. Um, you know, but I, you know, there’s always going to be, I think with tools, it’s, you know, there’s, there’s going to be, you know, nicer looking tools. Um, you know, we’re like, advances with like augmented reality is affecting some, like for home decor is really great because now you can actually, you can, you know, or even with with for a paint company you could picture that the way the wall was painted without Ha, you know, virtually or through a tool.
Stephen P: [01:02:23] So literally you put on the virtual headphones and I can look in my living room and I can see it instead of gray, I can see it in blue or green. Correct.
Stephen Carl: [01:02:31] Correct. Or You could imagine, or you can imagine if that couch is going to fit into your room and how it’s going to look. You know, I think for the future trends too, I mean, something that a really good place to look is, is keep track of what’s going on in Asia. You know, I had, um, a couple of years ago I took a trip to Seoul, Korea and I live in New York City. So being in New York City,
Stephen Carl: [01:02:57] I’m always seeing a lot of different things come here and a lot of the new advancements. And I was pretty shocked because I felt like New York was two years behind soul with some of the things that were happening there. You know. So like one fun experience I had was I went to a hologram concert where using, you know, a three dimensional imagery, I could be about 20 feet away from the performer and it could, it wasn’t, didn’t a hundred percent look live, but you know, it looked relatively realistic. And now we’re seeing, right Roy Orbison and Amy Winehouse, they’re talking about doing hologram tours inside of the u s you know, but there was some cool stuff I saw in Asia and in China, you know, with some of the machine learning and artificial intelligence that they’re doing, they’re like, it’s going to come to the states, you know, and we’ll see who’s you know, which, what comes, what comes first,
Stephen P: [01:03:58] how do you, how do you see that? So how do you go out there and I’m not traveling to soul. Um, how do I, how do I keep up on that? Is there, is there some way that you recommend people can take a look at what’s coming? Cause I agree with you. I think you’re spot on. Um, I’ve heard about their transportation system in China for example, I have a friend, it’s going and he’s like, Steve, it’s nothing like what you’ve ever, or Amtrak ride to New York City is nothing like what they’re doing with their high speed trains. So how do you keep up on that?
Stephen Carl: [01:04:26] A good place to look, you know, this will be another podcast. Okay. The um, the Andreessen Horowitz podcast, so that’s the VC firm that was started by Marc Andreessen of nay the person who started Netscape. Um, but they have, there is a podcast series and there’s also, they’re also very active book readers as well. Um, and that’s another way that they keep up with trends. But I just saw a good podcast about education startups in China and how, you know, some of those things that could be coming to the state soon.
Stephen P: [01:05:02] All right, I’ll have a link to that in this episode. It’s amazing. I think, I think the fact again, um, you know, might take away from this conversation is really going to be about building that benchmark with my KPIs, which are different than somebody else’s, but then looking at them a couple times a week, dude, that’s more work. I don’t need more work, but I get it because again, I’m an, I have experienced in this, my slow down happened and I didn’t see it cause it’s happened over time. It piled on and I should have caught it and I never did. And so it, it really does. Uh, um, you know, like I said, kind of a build on each other and then it just becomes worse and worse and then just you can’t go fix it with one thing as you’re describing. Okay. So, um, people have questions or want more information. What’s the best way to get you, is it your Chat Bot on needle movement or is there another way?
Stephen Carl: [01:05:53] The Chat Bot on needle movement is perfect. I’m also loved the Chuppah a hustle connects on, you can connect with me on Linkedin as well.
Stephen P: [01:06:00] Okay. So linkedin. And what’s your, uh, name on Linkedin?
Stephen Carl: [01:06:05] These Steven. Carl. C. A. R. L.
Stephen P: [01:06:09] Okay. All right. So the goal of this podcast is to help people who get stuck. And, um, I think, you know, as I sit and think again about this conversation, uh, they’re stuck because stuff has compounded over time, right? They have not, they’ve not tracked, they’ve not looked at their, uh, their position over time and measured it. And then when it gets weird, they should stop and figure it out. So what’s your advice for somebody who’s just completely stuck in, they’re like, hey, I want to do these things, but I just don’t know where to start. Can you give us a place to start?
Stephen Carl: [01:06:44] Yes. I guess he would start on, well, I think it, you know, you, you start with looking at the presentation, know which products you’re selling. You know, what’s the, I think presentation is a big thing right now. You know, and I guess the, you know, like a, a place for inspiration is also finding role models within, you know, like, you know, sellers that you think are doing a great job. And don’t pick the highest seller, but just pick ones that you’re like, you know, you see what they’re doing and you think they’re doing good stuff. And then, you know, I think you can always learn a few tricks just from how people present, you know, are presenting, you know, and it could be a product in the same category. It could be something that’s a little bit different, but ones that you have a lot of confidence in
Stephen P: [01:07:39] and then you emulate them in some way. Correct.
Stephen Carl: [01:07:42] Right. But just, you know, take a hard look at it and you’ll, you’ll find a couple of things that you’re probably not doing.
Stephen P: [01:07:51] You know, that’s, again, we’re back to that ego in the pain. As an entrepreneur. That means I got to say I’m wrong, Steven. That’s not good. I never liked to say I get it. I just don’t like it. You could really, now it’s fair and I think you’re right. I mean it, why are they an outlier? And I’m not. I mean, there’s, and if you could figure that out and then you can, you know, and take the best of that. Um, to me it’s a win. So, and I really appreciate you taking the time. Again. It’s needle movement.com, needle movement.com and a Steven, Carl man. I, I, I thank you so much. I wish you nothing but success. Thank you so much Stephen. I really appreciate and love the show. Great Guy, a great company. Go check out that needle movement site. Um, a lot of cool things and there’s some great success stories.
Stephen P: [01:08:38] Um, and I, I think again, you go out and you look at a company that’s doing it right. He gives you some examples of it. What, what are they doing that you’re not doing that you could do better? That’s the way to learn, right? Just look at the, the, the outliers. I’m not necessarily the top one because they might have giant teams. Okay. You don’t have giant teams. Right? So what would it look like for you? I think that’s valuable. I think the other thing, um, again, he mentioned with think with Google, there’s a ton of good information out there. Um, and the, the last one is looking over to Asia and, and I, again, I think about, uh, Andy Simon’s talks about the trains that he goes over there and he’s like, you wouldn’t believe how, you know, just efficient their systems are, um, looking at those trends and then having them come back and apply here. And if you could figure that out and be ahead of the curve, I think that’s a huge advantage. So ecommerce, momentum.com ECOMMERCE, momentum.com take care.
Cool voice guy: [01:09:33] Thanks for listening to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found that incomers momentum.com under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and the lake us on iTunes.
Stephen P: [01:09:47] Okay.