Ben worked with George at Amazon for just under 2-years before heading over to Kraft Heinz. He set up his first Amazon business during 2016, has just launched a second, and has a third and fourth in the pipeline.
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In this episode we discuss:
#Amazonian #Localisation #BrandEquity #BrandVoice #Threats
What do you think is the biggest threat to an Amazon business right now?
[0:22:54] Ben Timmons: Sure. Yeah. Again. Really good port question. I I kind of alluded to this in my in my last answer. But the biggest threat is by allowing ourselves to be commoditised, and people are not necessarily being commoditise. It is a real threat. Go on, Ali Baba Ali Express. And you're about to see that anyone could be commoditised forever. Quickly, you'll find the exact same pair of trainers that Nike sells for £150 on Alibaba for $3. The only difference is there were X amount Mohr because they have a great big tip on the side, and that all comes down to one thing, which is Brandon and Brad Equity. So for me, the biggest threat is not leveraging all of the tools the Amazon make available to you. And I say this so frequently, which is cell Is that for some reason, don't use enhanced brown content or Les plus content, and that maybe because they don't they don't know how to use it. They don't know what it even is or how to obtain it again. That's where the educational piece comes back into it. They might not have a storefront again that they're missing out on whole of, ah, another pillar there. They've been using sponsored brands in the storefront journey anyway, I think, especially when you look up some items in the Amazon basics knows now is almost a business in itself. It's essentially low cost items the Amazon has has made themselves, and why label you will never regarded. So you what you would never be able to compete with Amazon on the economy of scale. Basis isn't the world's richest human being for by by sheer chance. So if you can't pay on economics, you need to come pay on the brand piece. And who, what, what come product. You got more compelled to buyer a mouse that says Amazon basics or a mouse that has phenomenal digital assets. And you really buy into the brand journey on the you know where that brand has come from and how it's a small local business in the UK or, you know, whatever your brand storey, maybe, How do you pull the customer into that journey and into your storey? For them to build that affinity with your brand so that when they need another computer mouse for a gift or, you know, whatever that maybe they come back to yours without just searching through whatever commoditised computer mice,
[0:25:17] George: I think you make a really good point. I've been using kind of the phrase recently when we talk about brands and building out those assets off. How you invoking an emotion? Andi, I think it's something that Amazon basics isn't necessarily do there no they're not making you feel something. When you buy the products you're going. It's the same as buying something from prime up. For instance, where you like it does its job, but I have no care for it whatsoever. It means nothing to me was the brand where, perhaps in the packaging, you've got some quirky little comment where you're a little bit of cheeky or fruity, or you've got some funny little line through away or you send them. And let's say you're selling a spirit, for instance, and you send them to a quick math class you've done on how to use a spirit and you creating some sort of experience post purchase, pre purchase, whatever the case may be like you said, pulling them into your storey. That's what it's always gonna lay to differentiate on DH. Why people would be happy to pay a little bit more, perhaps for yours, Van. What basics are Amazon themselves in a crate, or what some of the Chinese manufacturers who returning to Amazon because of the FBI opportunity are going to do? I think there is still that the big difference off the threat of China right now coming in on replicating products. I don't think they've nailed thie the brand point yet, but I think there's still a long way off nailing that because they're focuses just on low prices.
[0:26:54] Ben Timmons: Yeah, yeah, that's in a certain Even you and I used to work for Amazon. That was always the concern that we would have from the SNP is that way would work with which is how does it not just become a race to the bottom? And the reality is quite frequently does. But it tends to do that again on commoditised or products that you're reselling, which is where building your own brand equity no is is completely invaluable on, as you say, I completely agree. Yeah, the threat of settlers from the East is very real and very president, probably now, more than ever. Given that given the current economic state, they're way ahead ofthe cell is based in the West as faras economic outputs and someone given they recovered a lot quicker. So it's now more than ever this really important that we ensure that we have that that brand toe leverage and protect.
[0:27:45] George: Absolutely, absolutely. Okay, so slightly different one to throw another curveball in there again. And you are somewhat Ben Timmonsefit because I didn't send you the questions beforehand, which is kind of May, which I don't think what we're doing to people in the future. Foreseeable. On sweat. Yeah. Yeah. Piss sweat equity, eh? So what do you What do you do? Tto handle stress?
What do you do to handle stress?
[0:28:09] Ben Timmons: Yes. Oh, I'm a little bit of a basic bloke when it comes to this. Um, my stress management routines consists off primarily four things. Um, the 1st 1 is just It's just listen to music. I'm not going to talk to, you know, see my friends or family here. That's phenomenal cliche. And anyone who doesn't says that is a bit of an Iraq. So listening. Listen to music I am. Music has a phenomenal impact on your mood. It can really elevate you or make you feel like you're in a, you know, a sad music video all at the same time. So it's very powerful. I love reading. I set myself a goal to read 26 books a year. Really, Every 20 years I've been there many picture books, but that's beside the point. I s Oh, I do that. So anyone point I'll be reading a non fiction based book, which will be, of course, anything At the moment. It tends to be primary, random, financial well being and investments and so on. And then in the evenings before that, Abed, I read a novel, so I just have two books on about any one time on. I find that really, really help. So I do that first time when I wake up in the morning. So kind of set my day day off, right? Ah, usedto Once upon a time pre pre the Rhona I usedto do a lot of exercise, probably weightlifting, having to run a lot of the moment now, which I'm very begrudging about. But it's better than nothing on four, you know, this is probably the most No, the answer on embarrassing one is gaming. I love PlayStation. I used to play when I was, you know, 12. 13 actually riddled Little teenager. Now not much has changed. Still that I am just a little bit older and OK about it, I guess especially now that you know, we can't can't see your friends or whatever. It may be a so, so great opportunity Just attracting mates never laugh and switch off. Yeah, exactly that is, is after that, it's just switch him off. Should end of a lot of long days is nice to have. You can have a laugh while you're doing it, then Temple in
[0:30:18] George: Overwhelming and Cassie answers. I thought you'd have bean some yoga or something that would be honest with, absolutely with locked down. I thought you had the mat rolled out and down with dog. No, that's a jazz, but I'm no gamer.
[0:30:32] Ben Timmons: No, it's not for me to understand what I've said to myself, probably for the last 15 years. At some point, I will do a yoga or Pallotti's fast, and I just still haven't mustered up the courage to do it. So far, I don't, but right now it's actually functional. Moore was a doorstop, that anything so wait for making progress.
[0:30:54] George: Okay, so a couple couple more left.
What one thing would you be doing right now to create sustainable success on Amazon?
[0:31:04] Ben Timmons: yet really a question and I think my fault, said Prodi, don't even necessarily replied sa reply specifically to Amazon. I think this is more broader Amazons, just kind of a facet of that the main thing for me here and we can talk about specific strategies and you know, whatever it may be and be very, very specific and I and our faults. But it's having understanding off a flower pattern off megatrends. So for me, right now, we look at certain trends that happening in the UK or get in the West. When is our poor veganism you go back? Two years Percentage of people that followed a vegan diet were phenomenally low. Now it's no more than a fad, and it's something that continues to rise. I worked in food service for for 2.5 years, so I know just how important this is now becoming for consumers. We go on from that. We looked at him, was about Asian populations, our country's off assistance, getting older. We're living longer than ever, and we have a growing population, which means at the latter stages of the life cycle, we have a much higher population that never used to, and that's going to continue to grow as faras medical and health care advances continuous Well, no one is around sustainability, and for me, that's the key one here we see a lot of things about environmental pressures. Plastic plastic is simultaneously one of the most fantastic inventions ever on one of the worst inventions ever. So we'll look at to see those types of things that we see you know, economic factor, social factors, whatever they may be. Where can I fit within that, or where can I use and leverage a piece of that within? Within my business, nothing familiar for Amazon sellers comes down to that Final one, which is around sustainability, and Patrick. Packaging can be a very expensive costs. For example, one of my businesses, Monarch Election the packaging was the single most expensive part of any other way cell. But that's because we wanted Teo a create a brilliant customer experience that was very immersive and created that rule affinity with the brand from the moment you received the photo. And more importantly, we want it to be sustainable because we know that if everyone makes a difference or starts to make those positive changes than that compounds in time and and consumers are looking to make Muchmore no mind for choices. We're looking for recyclable packaging. We're looking for 100% recycled items. So that's one thing that I would be looking at. How can you leverage megatrends, MoveOn, your approach and especially within within sustainability?
[0:33:43] George: I think part of this comes down to kind of retention. Repeat customers, et cetera. On DH. If you're doing that little thing that makes the customers go, Oh, there were there were quite conscious. Actually, that's quite memorable, or the box is produced in this way or created this way or that Thinking about this. It's just another comeback point, early Ron, of how you're able to invoke an emotion. I even have it with something simple, like frustration free packaging, the Amazon introduced quite some time back. It's such a simple thing. But the other day, when I receive something that was in frustration free, my frustration was almost elevated. Yeah, because I experienced was negative. This is the same token. Do you feel in perhaps even happens now? Like I went through a phase over the last few weeks of doing Hello. Fresh on just the amount ofthe cardboard and packaging, it came with that frustrated May. Yeah, on DH, you kind of honestly put me off using the product again. Not necessary just because of the inconvenience of getting with a load of boxes, which is another next of point. But because you're like, you don't want you don't want that. You know, I'm not necessarily buying massively into this kind of sustainable packaging things, other people. But I do think wasted packaged items like that. It does my nut in an Amazon themselves out particularly good lead that the amount of times you know, you receive something from FBI on Dave. You know, you've got a phone charger wrapped up in something which could be a shoebox. Yeah, on DH, those small niggly points I think are gonna wear away and people wears on the flip side, if you have built out your model on your factoring that in your invoking that positive emotion which in turned leads toe higher return purchases or repeat purchase, I should say, rather than I'm not buy from them again, became with that cardboard was just annoying.
[0:35:50] Ben Timmons: Yeah. Yeah. And to your point is well, about like that. Have a fresh trail. Is just Society is as a whole, especially technology. Now where it removes barriers. No, I'll going So before Corona, Anybody you know walking, swimming. But Donald's I've let out a sigh because I've got to speak to someone for an order robin about chaos and order it myself. And that's because I would have known that, you know, two years ago because there wouldn't be any service chaos. But now that that Barry has been removed and I have that convenience and that ISA readily available, especially if you're in an industry that's competitive and your competitors are doing a far better than you removing those barriers, if someone does buy from you, they're going to be even more mindful of those barriers that you've all those hurdles that they feel you've put up. Then they would hear my competitor. And similarly, if you're if you're on a level playing field for your competitors, that you need to be looking very intently on, okay, what's the next barrier that I can remove? How can I make this customer journey even more soon? This even more enjoyable so that you are then different. Chase it as well
[0:36:54] George: on with some of your Kraft Heinz before pretty flee. What things where they do is anything noticeable from that experience where you're like oh, that they were actually pretty good with the beans, for instance, that ex wives that was there anything you remember or no.
[0:37:12] Ben Timmons: Yeah, there's a few bits I remember. I think the main mom's around commercials, in fact, that just how it can't possibly be that expensive tto make some source on. But the main hero ain't there is probably testaments of Heinz on this actually was. If you look at the world of sources, for example, which is one of the 30 key pillars off Kraft Heinz, a lot of people in the old days what you see is glass bottles. That's great. They look great, easy to recycle, less environmental impact. Fantastic. But there are not more expensive, and there are a lot less user friendly products out there are the local. Our Nando is trying to go three millilitres of
[0:37:49] George: Kim Jong like you, a psychopath who
[0:37:51] Ben Timmons: has, actually. But you have a PT bottle that was catch up. Fantastic is recyclable, but some of it is. But the lid isn't and it's actually more plastic in that lid than in the bottle, because how dense it is And the reason that plastic isn't recyclable is because where the source comes out, there's a tiny, tiny little bit of plastic which can't be recycled. It means the whole thing can't be recycled now, when you're really in the tens and millions of bottles of source a year, that suddenly becomes quite big issue not only for you as a business but for the environment and the impact that you have there on how and spend unbelievably. I think it was almost eight years developing the solution for this, and the solution was so trivial you would afford. You know, a 10 year old could have come up with that in 10 minutes. But it's because there's so many complexities in the manufacturing process and so on. And it actually meant a very big overhaul in the whole manufacturing process for Kraft Heinz in order to make this change that it was more sustainable. So that was, you know, and it's up for that. They were very forward thinking in that on hats off to them, for
[0:39:00] George: I think this is what's very important about you in this position. Now you're your building at another brand of the moment with Marla Collection off. We're making that decision early because we're expecting in 34 years time to perhaps be a little bit more responsible of our impact. When we are selling a lot of these units every single day, month, year to then go back and go right, we're going to change our whole process and completely redo it is much, much messier where I was getting it right first time and going to be quite conscious about it, Been the same token. The consciousness is cost to you, and not everyone is gonna be able to go. I'm weighing up one of the other right. It's Do I keep the cost down on be able to make a bit more dollar because of it? Or sell a bit more a few more units? Or do I increase the cost of my packaging? The expense off? I may have to change in a few years. Well, when it becomes a must because of whatever,
[0:40:04] Ben Timmons: Yeah, yeah, it's a really appointed, you know, they'll be factors outside of your control regulations, legislations, whatever it may be that the impact stuff that you have to change my mind set is always You know, I'd rather do summat once that have to do it now, then do it again later. And the best solution is prevention. So if you are in a position to do that but no dramatic on cost your business, then it's always something that guy Rahman doing. But as you say that that will vary from person to person and business the business and it's got something that's that's sustainable for you as well.
[0:40:35] George: Good man. Well, no more questions from my part, and I did have a few others, but you've probably overlapped with your complex answers, which is certainly Why won't be sharing them with you again in the future. Come on. They're always too here for those answers. Yeah, exactly late. Well, any any questions for May I wouldn't expect you to have, but I thought I'd ask you In any case,
[0:41:04] Ben Timmons: I know the one that I will ask you is the one that you asked me. Which is if you had 10-K to build now wasn't business. What would you do that? Because I'd be interested to get your perspective on this. Because I said you and I've had quite similar experience in helping people to build a business. You know that Yeah, that's your bread and butter. That's what you're you're an expert in now. But it's something that I'm sure you know. There's lots of things I have definitely learned from you as well. So be interested to get your perspective and your listeners what that K would be best spent on.
[0:41:35] George: I've never actually thought of archery and myself, which is interesting, but we'll shoot from the hip and see where we go. So I think the biggest one for me is probably your content that the content so important. Now it's a massive, differentiating factor of how you can create that brand moment that build that brand moat that I talk about, build up some equity. I wouldn't necessarily focused too much on education because obviously, what I've been doing for the last few years on DH, I've been fortunate as well to kind of build up connexions to help me with appetising on Facebook and on Amazon itself. But for me, I think if you have a really solid understanding of your structure is which is always gonna be operations, then brand and appetising the operations you can pretty much nail. To be honest, once you kind of got those flows set out, which doesn't take too long, then comes onto brand. On the brand is mayor. All is about content. So is investing in video investigating copywriters, investing in photographers, investing graphic designers So you have this continuous fluid flow in everything we touch point, you've got online off brilliant contents. That could be your emails. You've always got great content in there because it be beautifully written. It could be your Your website is just glorious to be on. It could be your Facebook campaigns or that have incredible images and really captivating copy. It could be then coming back to Amazon, where you have got every single potential touch point you're capitalising on utilising on DH. That is everything from your A plus to your videos to your main images to your bullets, your titles. All of that is perfect because you invested a good chunk of that dollar at the very beginning in content. Seconds of that would be probably validation. I think this is something to me people skip. Then they take their life savings with their savings on What they look to do is right. I like this product. I've asked a few people. If they like this product, have us my mom, she's giving me the thumbs up. The girlfriend, who's pretty much thinks I'm brilliant whenever I come up with an idea she doesn't. That's not true. But for argument's sake, some partners will say their brilliant minds. Unfortunately, too honest, they only ask a selection of people who aren't necessarily the target market. And they don't really put it to the test and get any data behind. That's the idea. So if you look at Kraft Heinz, for instance, they don't ask five people in a small little committee. If they're not his new source, they will test it on thousands of people and get lows of detailed responses and have some hard data behind it based on their target markets. What I'd be looking at doing is perhaps some some of its financial, but some of it is time because you can do it for free. Is looking at Facebook groups in my target market really focus on spending time there on DH, speaking to a lot of my time customers a forehand on DH, then start sending traffic to a landing page with a sketch up of what my product should be. The unique selling points and that's what I like. You haven't even bought the product yet, but you are employ a graphic designer or a three D modelling person, so whip up some content around it. You know, that could cost you a few £100 for the potential idea. Are you cooking? Now that she's wasted money, you know, it could be wasted money, 300 quid in graphics and photography or free D designs, whatever. And then I'm also gonna waste more money by sending so unpaid traffic there from Facebook a little bit and also sending some organic traffic from Facebook perm groups, for instance, where I could make connexions or linked to know whenever and seeing. Okay, I've sent 500 people to this page on off, in essence, told him exactly what the product is with really beautiful images and the nice selection of us piece of while our product is different before even exists. And then I've got a simple quarter action, which is kind of by now, for instance, but your email into by now, or be notified when we launch and get 20% off. If I'm sending 500 people on DH 10 people give me their email, then I have data right there that tells, May, you know roughly What? What's that? 1%? 1% of the potential customers who are in my target market. Our interest in my product idea. I've got actual figures. If I seen people go through in 100 leave me their email address. I know that 20% then are interested in actual that product, and it's worthwhile. Then going ahead and getting that first syriza samples out north second syriza samples and getting him in the hands of some of those 100 people that just email addresses for to get him to play with it and iterated on DH. Finalise it because a lot of people while I'm seeing doing that process it could cost me £500 on what could come back is okay. This is a wrong product to buy. You have technically, something that cost, which is obviously about experience, but what you've actually done that is avoided. The cost of going Rahr just put four grand in tests and product are now going to start some ads. And when I could've put an Amazon, see if anyone actually wants it. Because I haven't had enough time validating the idea. Um, the amount you gonna spend that's gonna be completely different. So the second portion would be really investing time and money invalidating it, looking to run a little bit of Facebook towards, and it can be small amounts of money. You could spend 50 quid and send traffic towards it and see how many people you get. Go yet. You could also then spend time doing the Facebook group towards as well See how many people give you their email. Yeah, just try a few different things. That'll be Point number two is validation on the final One would be properly in advertising. And I'm in a fortunate position where there's a team like an ass to do that for me on DH. I don't need to play the £1000 a month like some of these large raisins he's charge. Probably bring in house. But why would be looking to do is spend money. So as soon as that product launches, I am attacking it aggressively with the theory that I'm happy to lose money in the beginning, or even break even to lose money in the beginning just so I can get that fly well wrapped up as soon as possible. Because every dollar that I'm making now is gonna make me a lot more later on. I want to build up that relevant as soon as possible. And I'm happy tto lose money and sink money into it to begin with. Just so is I can get ramped up very quickly fire than rankings as quickly as possible. Um, go well, it's I've made a two grand lost this month so far my product which is fine because I'm now ranked on page one for two of my target search terms on because I've done my marketing cracked. I've collected on no. 300 emails for argument's sake, off potential other customers. So that's kind of the three plus a. Maybe the 1st 1 is content. We're just 2nd 1 is his validation on the third is when you've obviously created that product and you got into Amazon. Getting that flower will go as quickly as possible by being aggressive with both Facebook, and I was an appetising to get those sails in the door.
[0:49:20] Ben Timmons: Interesting, very comprehensive. answer. Yeah,
[0:49:25] George: 15 minutes,
[0:49:27] Ben Timmons: my love. And I have a quick snows. I think, Yeah, everything you said is absolutely spot on for me. There's one word in that use over and over again, which is absolute Spawn. Is word invest and so frighteningly You thought someone is looking for that business? You talk about the budget allocation that you have to have because let's be honest, nothing was free. I think this is the amount of money you want to look good doing this and investing into here and investing with me here. People don't see it as investing in people see it as a cost. That's all that. I don't see it as a tangible return because it might not be tangible sense if you have something to hold from it. But is is an investment. Um, that's the bit. That's that's so Sochi is understanding that, you know, especially in the world of, you know, content and assets. Your first point, You gonna pay someone a product photographer 50 quid per image, you know, great. Or you can pay some 152 100 quid and they're gonna produce images that on three or four times better. They're going to produce them. That a 10 20 times better. If you have the that resonates review and how you perceived that, imagine that amplified for your customer and every other customer that that might become across your list him as well. So it's understanding that what you're spending is gonna have a return on. But it's an investment
[0:50:47] George: absolutely, absolutely apart. Well conscious. I'm keeping you for for too long. The busy day ahead of you sorting out that hair of yours and probably a bit of gaming, no doubt is make a feature. Yeah, What's up? One of
[0:51:04] Ben Timmons: mountain? And, yes, I was there.
[0:51:05] George: You were
[0:51:06] Ben Timmons: right about lunch. Dawn?
[0:51:07] George: Yeah. Lunchtime sandwich. In a bit of gaming, no doubt. I'm sure
[0:51:12] Ben Timmons: for sure. Absolutely.
[0:51:14] George: Perks of the day job.
[0:51:16] Ben Timmons: Exactly that I'm on the clock.
[0:51:18] George: I file. Well, thank you for being thank you for being our guest. And I'm sure you'll be back on at some point in the future. I
[0:51:27] Ben Timmons: hope Side George.
[0:51:29] George: Cheers, buddy. Have a good run.
[0:51:31] Ben Timmons: It's him like that
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