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383 : Stephen Carl – Use KPI’s to help your failures lead to successes
8th April 2019 • eCommerce Momentum Podcast • eCommerce Momentum Podcast
00:00:00 01:09:47

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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 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 forward slash e m that’s it. Best from the 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 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, 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. 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