Will runs an online pet brand. We normally natter on Sunday's about all "entrepreneurial" matters. Upon our 3rd healthy debate I figured it was logical to record some of our nonsense.
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In this episode we discuss:
[0:00:01] George Reid: Welcome to us Always Day One. My name is George Reid, a former Amazonian turned amazon consultant. Each week on the podcast you're going to hear industry experts, brand owners and amazon employees share their answers to the basic yet fundamental questions you should be asking yourself bang your amazon business now, let's jump in. Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of It's always Day one today, I've got my good friend William coming to chat to us a little bit about e commerce face, marketing, reviews, email strategy and all that to the shit Will we've, we've obviously been enjoying recently our sunday strolls in the park where we just chat shit a little bit of weight, such conversation, a little bit of business talk, a little bit of work talk um how do we get to this point where we started going these entrepreneurial strolls
[0:00:54] William Husson: ah just um yeah, it's always good, it's hard I think being an entrepreneur and a business owner because you have all these ideas and questions that you want to speak to people about and it's hard to find people to speak to to chat about it. So, um, yeah, you are probably one of the few business owners I know who really struck it out on their own. So I thought bottom of the barrel, I need someone and look if there was a better option, I'll go with them. But you know your name coming up and I thought all right, I'll go and hang out. But when you live in bondage, I like, I like the water so it's convenient
[0:01:33] George Reid: and you've got, you've got a small brown envelope didn't you through from the missus saying take him out for a few hours and have a conversation with him because he is doing my head
[0:01:42] William Husson: Exactly, exactly. I said Joe, that's the least I can do. Just put a 20 in the envelope and I'll keep him busy. Don't
[0:01:51] George Reid: background wise. Um you've been selling online for what, nine months now, you're in Australia with me and I think what would be a good starting point for the conversation is around, you're not selling on amazon and I obviously back to you about that aggressively during the sunday chit chats, you want to explain to the audience from an Australian perspective why you decided that amazon wasn't for you and you want to go on website first anyway.
[0:02:23] William Husson: Yeah, so I've been selling in my current business or brand for about nine months. It would take, I had a few failed once before or fail break even once before. The reason why I didn't want to go on amazon is you're targeting a different type of customer. So when someone goes on amazon, at least from my understanding in Australia, people don't just browse on amazon, they're going to look for something and if they're looking for something they probably already know what it's worth. They know, you know they've done a bit of research and that's just not really a field that I felt I had an edge in. So my skill sets, marketing, I love copyrighting, I love facebook advertising, I like all the problem solving that come with that. Um Fiddling with creatives and just tinkering. Uh so that's why I looked at amazon and is thought maybe one day, I mean I hope to launch other brands, that's something I want to do, you get to out source of fulfillment. But yeah, so that's why I sort of looked at the two and thought no I don't think that's gonna leverage my skill set,
[0:03:31] George Reid: it's a solid answer. Like your way of looking at it. Like I'm strong at this, I'm not necessarily super strong yet in the early stages of running an e commerce business at getting the most phenomenal prices and you're still juggling a day job as well, right? So you're going well, I'm really good at creative and really good at creating a strong marketing, presents a strong brand. I'm gonna focus on that for the time being. And then I guess when it comes to looking at something like amazon, you go well now I've got a really strong, um, so supply chain set up, I can get much better prices. I can then approach amazon, Is that part of the process, sort of your thought process or you just thinking, you know, there's also more margin off amazon, I'm doing a good job there, I might as well just keep pumping that dream and not that my margins squeezed by the big amazon giant.
[0:04:24] William Husson: Yeah. And I mean, your competitors are looking at amazon as well. You know, if you're doing well on amazon, I think that given mind my understanding of this is nowhere near as much as yours or other people. So, but from my understanding is that if you're competing on that, people looking, if you start doing well, competitors going to enter the space much quicker and it's hard to build a mode. Um, you know, from my understanding with amazon, you know, again to collect the emails, so you can't do email marketing, your sort of relying on them using a QR code or something from the packaging and all this. It's hard to create an experience with the customer, one on one. You know, everything we sent, we put a note in saying, hey, thanks so much for supporting our small Australian business. We really appreciate it. Um let us know if you need anything and people really like that. People really feel like they're a part of it. Um and they're, they're part of the story. So it's, it's hard I think, to replicate that on amazon. And yeah, that's sort of my thought process behind why I'm sort of doing what I'm doing now, outsource of film and I'm looking at doing that at the moment. That's probably the best thing that I think about. Amazon F. B. A. Uh so yeah,
[0:05:37] George Reid: I like your thought process there as well around creating that experience because it is, it's challenging to really do that. Amazon. You have that delivery experience. There is stuff you can do, but when you don't have that touch point is is tricky to build a moat. It's not an easy an easy task. Would you then look at it and go, I'm gonna go build myself an excellent brand motor over here. I'm going to connect with customers. I'm gonna send out these personalized notes, build communities, build a monstrous email lists. I know you've got what kind of 2, 3000 already? Um, emails in your list. That's an asset. All of these things are assets that go towards your mote, which then you can leverage, is that your thought process as well as well or not?
[0:06:25] William Husson: Yeah, I mean it's 6000 with a 30% open. Right, but who's counting? So I mean, yeah, it's about building an experience, building a brand. Um, you know, we get a new product in, you write the copy, you send out the emails, you know, you're gonna have a good day and they know they see the email. I remember these guys, they provide me with this great experience. We don't skimp out on postage. I know some other e commerce stores, they cut corners of postage and things take like three weeks to get there or with drop shipping, you know the drop shipping it from china takes two months. So yeah, so that's why when you're building that experience and more likely to come back, they're more likely to spend more, um they're more likely to leave a review, they're more likely to, you know, like the page, like the things you're posting, it's all part of an experience. So amazon sort of in between you and them and it's hard to really connect with your customer and make that click when you've got someone in the middle. I mean we get emails from people, not even reviews, just emails from people saying, hey thanks so much. I got it. I bought another one, you know, one for my daughter because um, she, she's got a daughter were out stores and e commerce pets face. You know, I bought one for my my daughter. She loves it, Thanks so much. You know, happy to support you guys, you probably wouldn't get that same through amazon. I'm sure there's people who have and I know there's people doing great staff, but just with my skill set, I think I'm more well suited to, you know, working in the arena of marketing and what not.
[0:07:56] George Reid: And I like how, you know, a couple of things that touch upon their 1 6000 emails and your first nine months, like it just speaks volumes of that is such a large asset. I know people have been selling on amazon for five years who don't have that many emails from the overall activity and you can leverage that. So you release a new product right? As you said, you send it out, you have a good day that 30% open rate, which is wicked is gonna go what 50% or something similar when you're doing a new product launch? So that with regard to our attention is phenomenal, regard to driving additional revenue from those customers is phenomenal. And many people who go straight to amazon, they're gonna be licking their lips and those sorts of numbers with regards to emails and that number is obviously going up every single day because of how successful some of the facebook marketing you're doing it, which we can get onto another piece as well, not skimping on the postage. Very smart. I think particularly Australia's amazon is still emerging. The obviously for those who are unaware that the norm in Australia about two years ago and correct me if I'm wrong. Will was Australia Post would give you roughly a seven day delivery time and they wouldn't provide tracking or give you an exact date. Is that was that kind of the gig before amazon arrived and shook things up.
[0:09:21] William Husson: It just depends on where you live. If you live in Sydney, you know, like, like where do you live in Brisbane or a capital city? It's pretty good. But if you live, you know, semi regional rural, uh it takes longer. So yeah, it just depends on where you live I guess. But um yeah, shipping is expensive in Australia. Australia is a big country. So the
[0:09:43] George Reid: service was, the service was shit right? It wasn't, it wasn't a solid service with good communication, whereas amazon's shaken up a little bit. So I like that you've gone, yeah, well, I'm not going to skimp on this something to provide a brilliant experience because I know or I may not may not know. I'm guessing here that amazon is dragging
[0:10:05] William Husson: um
[0:10:06] George Reid: Dragon people's expectations up with what they, what they expect with their delivery. Um whether it's next day in Sydney to 2-4 days or whatever it is in across the rest of Australia now. You mentioned reviews. Um talk to me about your review strategy at the moment.
[0:10:25] William Husson: Yeah. So reviews. Um I think a lot of people focus on pre sale in getting the sale and not so much amazon particularly commerce as you know, they do ads, they do collect the email for the newsletter, which I don't really understand why what song would read a newsletter, but you know, they do all these things to get the sale and then once they get cell, I feel people, they don't, it's sort of okay, next sale. Whereas you need to start early on. So when someone buys something from us within an hour, they get an email saying, hey, thank you so much. We can't express how much we appreciate your support. Um, uh, you know, we're gonna be packing your order tonight, We're going to get it out too soon. If you have any questions let us know. So we get replies. That email, I mean, people know that it's a generic email, but they reply, hey, so excited, you know, and then they get it, yeah. And then they get it, they get the note. Oh cool. And then about two weeks later they get an email saying, hey, are you happy with everything? You know, did the harness fit the way you wanted to? Is there anything you're unhappy about? You happy with the postage? Just all these questions and people feel important. They feel like, oh wow, these guys really care about my experience and then if you're happy with everything, leave a review. Um And people do, so I think we have a much higher than average review, right? Um In terms of purchase to living a review. But the other thing is, and this is a caveat, you have to actually care. So you can't say you have, are you happy with the posters? Are you happy with the homicides? Are you happy with this? You have to follow through? And if they're not, you've got to fix it um And we lose money there sometimes will not lose money, but that costs money when someone get to the harness that it fits, doesn't fit properly or something happens. And we say are you know we'll send you a return postage bag, you send it back, don't don't worry about paying for it. Um, and people really like that. They come back. I mean, those customers come back the most they tell people about it. It's, it's great. So, yeah,
[0:12:33] George Reid: so that's how you're responding when people are being a little bit negative. Have you got any particular situations where you've gone? This is just a nightmare. We're getting a lot of they don't fit properly, come back. And then how are you handling that? And trying to spin it into a positive experience,
[0:12:51] William Husson: smother them with kindness. I mean, it's hard to be upset at someone when they are just thanking you. Thanks so much for your support. Every email we send out says, hi George, thank you firstly, thank you so much for your support. Thank you so much for supporting a small Australian business. So they read that and put them in the frame of mind and then you just take responsibility. Hey, we're sorry for X decides doesn't happen too often. I ran some numbers the other day. It's infrequent. I mean statistically or probabilistic lee, to be fair. Um, if it happens, it happens if it doesn't happen more than Not even 5% of the time because it's in the copyrighting when they go on the page. So, but when it happens, you just got to spend more positive. Thanks so much. Yeah. So that's, that's how you make sure they have a great experience. Everyone, it's negative. But then again, you're always gonna have assholes like, you know, it's gotta roll.
[0:13:49] George Reid: Yeah, yeah. We've all been probably that guy on the flip side who document something I like. I like your mindset kind of smothering them with kindness and it's very difficult to be upset when you're continuously taking responsibility or ownership for everything good or bad, that's happened with the customer. That's very much amazon mindset rather than saying they've got it wrong because they put it on wrong, you're going well, actually, why do they put it on wrong? Because I haven't done enough to ensure that they measured up properly or to ensure that they watch a nice little video explains house button easily or that there's a nice little insert inside, which explains the step by step instructions, all of these things, you kind of removing those hurdles for the customer, it's kind of straight out of Carnegie's book up, I've got that cracked of the, it's very difficult to be upset with someone who is continuously kind towards you. You probably robbed it from there because I'm sure you're that sort of bloke
[0:14:49] William Husson: I'm looking at right now, in my case. Yeah,
[0:14:51] George Reid: Page 33 George, I think you're fine. Um talk to me about your funnel a little bit. I know this is something you've got working quite nicely from from a standing start really, because obviously you're you're in telemarketing normally, aren't you? Which I know you're very proud of. Um talk to me about how you went from kind of that standing start with no social advertising experience to becoming arguably quite proficient from the numbers I've heard from you.
[0:15:24] William Husson: Just test and trial if it's something you're interested in, you're just going to spend time doing it. And I really do believe that you have to look at where you have uh where your edges and then sort of work in that arena. So I know that supply chain management, for example, is something that I just find so boring trying to work out and I'm excited person, you know, when something, when I speak to a supply about a new product and they say, oh, you know, we're gonna send it. It will take 60 days to get to you. I want it now. I don't want to wait. So I want, my customers are gonna love this. I want it, I want it yesterday. So, so there's some people who are really good at that and organizing that. But I think using digital marketing, reading copyrighting books and and becoming and thinking about the customer and entering their thought process about why they would want to buy it. I see so many ads on facebook. I mean I go on facebook to scroll through the ads and just see what people do, See what, see what other people are doing and using add library on facebook. They don't speak to the customer they speak and there's just so many generic things they do. They speak about the classic one, the features, not the benefits. Oh, this belief is, you know, extendable and that's a feature that's not a benefit. You know, the benefit is that when you go for a walk with your dog, they can run ahead and get excited and it won't pull your arm or something like that. So yeah. So in terms of how I got proficient at it or decent at it, just trial and error, keep on trying, keep on pumping out. Creators always be testing. Another thing is customer engagement. So If you have something that goes viral, I mean one of our posts like a paid posts has, I think 2000 likes a few 100 shares. Um, tons of comments, you know, you got to go through and comment and someone asked the question, if someone's asking a question is probably 30 people, you know, way more than that have had the same question, but I didn't want to comment it. So you got to go comment on it. So you got to go through and answer those, uh, just take the time this heaps of great resources online. That's why we never asked anyone ever asked me a question. I just said, go on Youtube. I mean you talk about the smartest people in the world, you know, you can Yeah.
[0:17:37] George Reid: So you've mentioned a couple of things there, which I like won was obviously you've identified, you know, I'm interested in this. I'm not going to obsess over supply chain, but I can get other people to support me with that, which is sensible because you're not taking it all on your own back. But I like how you gon. I'm interested in this. So my next step now is reading copy writing books knowing that that's a fundamental piece to everything that you're doing right. Because the copy isn't just going to help your ads pump while it's also going to make your conversion on every single touch point. You have increase whether that's conversion of customer leaving a review based on the email or the insert or the conversion on the landing page then giving you an email, which I don't think you do. But other people will do that or largely converging into the sale that copyrighting huge. You spending a lot of time continuously perfecting that and working hard on it because a you're interested at most be very good at it and see you, you know, the Valley winner.
[0:18:42] William Husson: Yes. Once I've done something with the actual product page, here's another thing I always see someone posted product on facebook, on marketing and you go on the facebook, facebook advertising and you go on the page and there's like a two paragraph description, you know, and that's not enough to suck someone in. So once we put the product page description, I'll tinker with it. And I use hot jar and stuff like that to see when people fall off and for those who don't know hotjobs, a way to track how users interact on your website. So I do track that. I'm also tinker with the facebook advertising because that's where I spent a lot of time trying different copyrighting. And that's the first touch point for your customers. So imagine, Imagine you wanted to buy something and you see a $2 shop and you go inside and some things like $100 your perception if you see crazy clerks or I don't know, whatever you've got in the UK and then you go inside and something really expensive. You think this isn't right? You know, I did, my expectations were not anchored here, but then if you see a really expensive looking shop and you go inside and something 100 bucks, you think, oh wow, hold on, what is this? Especially if you think it's a good deal and then they explain the benefits to you. Um And that's probably the best thing about selling online. You can address or you kind address all the concerns, but you can, you can transpose yourself into the customer and think what what, what problems would they have with buying. You can address them in the copy and sort of talk them into an ease of buying. Um So yeah, so I do spend a lot of time just benefit by the time on the facebook, creative side of things
[0:20:28] George Reid: on that note them because that's a very good point always. I mean it's a jolt like it's it's been around for a while. It's not new of kind of what problems did they have? How are we going to resolve those problems with our benefits supposed to the features? I get it. But I lost my train of thought for a second. Oh yeah. How much time you going back and actually speaking to customers, have you picked up the phone yet to a customer or a group of 10 or email the group of 20 with top customers to ask these questions or not?
[0:21:01] William Husson: Yeah, I always think about that. So I always think about how there's you know, everyone has their own perception of things and it's usually wrong. So you think about how your customers view you and they probably don't view you like that. You just think they do because you just think whatever you think, I mean it's what it's what you do. Um So no, I haven't actually haven't actually gone out an email customers saying, hey, could you tell us about how you, how the facebook ad makes you feel like the click through rate and things like that speak for themselves. But I do email people like that's another thing. Whenever someone leaves a review, you email them. Hey thanks so much. Um And sort of chased them up there. You just got to sort of read between the lines I guess and read what they're saying on the reviews, what the comments are saying on Facebook, what the emails are getting because the emails that you're getting, I can tell you a lot as well. So if one person emails you about it, you know, 100, we probably had the same problem. So to answer your question. No, I haven't actually explicitly gone out and braided some customers cold pulling them like I've got a day job doing that so I gotta draw the line somewhere. Break
[0:22:10] George Reid: goes full teddy marketing mode, harassing his customers for some verbal
[0:22:17] William Husson: feedback
[0:22:20] George Reid: from facebook ads. Isn't doing I need qualitative, dammit Marika. There's, there's a lot of thought rows behind getting more of that qualitative stuff though. So my suggestion maybe maybe we can talk about on sunday um would be getting a bit more qualitative stuff, pivoting slightly um to finish, finish this up for a few minutes. I know you're a busy man, I'm not, but I know you are. Let's talk about pricing a little bit. We've had interesting debates about this in the past about how you decide that
[0:22:54] William Husson: price point
[0:22:55] George Reid: and you're in a a very fortunate position because you're not on Allison, you could perhaps be a little bit more flexible and there I said cheeky with your price and, but you have a really good counter arguments, this which I like. Um, but I'll let you explain it if you know what I'm talking about.
[0:23:14] William Husson: Yeah, of course. So it's no secret that when you go into niche websites, things are gonna be more expensive than you'll find them on amazon or Ebay, Ebay is probably, yeah, Ebay and amazon are the big ones in Australia, so it's not, yeah, you can go on, but by the time the customer has already thought about it and they're already searching for it, it's too late. Imagine there's two types, you know, if a customer goes, for example, I want this leash and they think they're walking their dog and they go, oh, you know, I wish I could have a bungee on this to make my arm hurt less because my dog pulls so much. Dogs always pulling. So I want, I want this, they go on amazon, they set it up, they've already solved their own problems, you know, they've already they've already walked through it themselves and thought, you know what, this is a product I need and then you have someone who's scrolling through facebook or instagram and then they see something and they, you know, does your, does your arm hurt after walks?
[0:24:11] George Reid: Hey? Yeah, it does,
[0:24:12] William Husson: hold on, click on the add and then they touched on all these problems they had and you just solved a problem for them. They didn't even know that they had, maybe they knew that they had it, but I didn't know there was a solution that was so that they didn't know there was a solution um, in that respect. And yeah, you got to charge more as well because it's advertising costs. There's always other things that go with it. Um and that sort of ties back with um F. B. A. I've done a bit of research on it because I was, I have looked at it and I think people are happy with a 15% profit margin song and FBI I could be wrong. I know that someone is going to listen to this and they've got like 20 and they'll say, hey, you know, I've got 20 and you're, you're an idiot. But you know, you don't know like, Well, looking empirically through what people are doing, it looks like the happy with 15%, which is great. Um but if you want more, you've got to charge a higher price. And there's another one that I always hear listen to podcast
[0:25:05] George Reid: Was this one podcast
[0:25:06] William Husson: listener isn't it isn't as good as this one obviously, but it says, you know with an amazon FB ages if you make your money when you sell and I think morning tone is, you know, if you're turning over just say a million bucks a year, we're selling a million dollars with units make 100 and 50 K. Isn't that 15% example million dollars. Right? And then you make your money when you sell it on the multiple that it's stressful running a business. It takes up a lot of time. So you know, if you can charge for a higher price and it doesn't impact your conversion rates, I think I think you owe it to yourself to do that and you can monitor how your customers react to it. So yeah,
[0:25:49] George Reid: I like so a couple of things that those two types of customers, I've talked about this a little bit in the past anyway, where you kind of have on amazon people in hunt mode problem and solution aware. Hence why they are there on the odd occasion with how advertising is developing, particularly with sponsored video ads. People are searching in one area may be looking for cat food and you're introducing another dog food solution and obviously people with cats typically have dogs as well. And that's the kind of higher up the funnel approach while you're introducing a solution to something where someone was even aware there was a problem. You're not even looking at the hunt mode, you're much higher up the final, which is what social advertising typically is. Is those problem aware solution unaware people? Um And that could be either problem where but still don't know of a solution or completely problem aware. So you've already kind of Mhm. Performs or giving them a high level of service because you're going, did you know that X number of dogs may get injured in a car accident each year. And that figure could perhaps scare people or change the way people think about dog seat belts or do you know that um continuous strain and the joint can be very prone to causing Um kind of dislocations for people over the age of 40. All of these things people are perhaps unaware of and that's where you sit further funnel. So you're doing them a service in theory just by making them aware of that because you're looking to make their life in some degree better. And for that reason, you know what I think it's fair that you can charge more money for that amazon obviously looks at it completely differently because you can get a lower price. But in the Australian market, particularly people feel comfortable paying a little bit higher anyway, particularly if they're going to a local local Australian business. Um So I think that's a really interesting interesting point. Um I forgot my follow up point that are leveraging, charging more That will do. But yeah, I think identifying those two types of customers are incredibly valuable. Um and it's an interesting one when it comes to the pressure of people running that business and you're only putting in 15%. Oh, that was it. Yeah, if you're obviously putting in 15% of amazon, it's still pretty good going, some people don't experience that and throughout the year it gets more competitive, particularly with times that now a prime day coming up, 15% may go down to 10 men go down to five and they'd argue, or I would argue as well, you're requiring customers for that percentage that you're sacrificing. But you're argument that you're also building is your building this asset, You're building a brand, you're building a brand mature, building email lists and you're doing so much more profitably. You can then in time perhaps find that winner product, which is a bit niche, doesn't necessarily exists in amazon yet. So you haven't got fierce competition on the margins and you can go balls deep into that with some good stock and enter the market and enter aggressively with a win now on amazon And you can send it to your six, but probably at this point 10,000 emails, customers and go on, Amazon is our first, we're doing it with a brand new product on Amazon. Um you can get it next day delivery here. Um we've got a special intro price. We're gonna put this price up over time, but we're introducing it to you because you're part of our email list and you can immediately then take the asset of yours, which you've been building for 9, 12, 15 months and make your Amazon business and fly from day one, which does wonders for you with the algorithm by the way. So this puts you in a really strong position will, which I'm sure you know, um where you're building those assets off of amazon, which you can then use the catapult your start on amazon when you find that diamond in the rough, shall we say? Which may be in a similar category to what you're currently selling.
[0:29:55] William Husson: Yeah. And just to touch on something you said with, you know, with Prime Day coming up and, and you know, people are competing more because more volume is going to be coming through, you will get more volume and keep in mind, this is from someone who hasn't sold on amazon. So you got to keep in mind that this is just from my understanding of it. I hate it when people like, like expert on things that they really don't, they might not know a lot of that. I mean, everyone I meet tells me about how she brought my business, right? But
[0:30:25] George Reid: yeah, including me, to be fair,
[0:30:27] William Husson: Yeah, I know right? You're the worst. But you know, if you're just trying, if you just sell something just to make a little bit of money, that's fine. I mean, that's fine, you're gonna, you probably make money, but there's all the other things that go with it. So if you talk about a day job versus a business, a day job, you're probably not going to lose money. You know, going, you have a skill set, you utilize that skill set, you go home. I don't know what you do, you read do whatever when you're running a business, you know, there's stress involved, there's stress of losing capital, there's stress of running the business. You've got to work on it at night, in the mornings, on the weekends. I mean, running a business is at least from my perception, it's not it's not a hobby. So when you look at all these things and then, you know, someone might say, oh, I sold 100 K. Worth of stuff for 200 K. Worth of stuff on amazon this month, 10% and 20 K. And then they don't even get to keep the customer's email. So three months later, when they released a new product, they're sort of relying on the algorithm, I guess.
[0:31:27] George Reid: Yeah,
[0:31:29] William Husson: they're they're starting from there. But when you sell something you get the email, you create that experience. And it sort of ties into my philosophy I think to talk about it, which is such a generic book to talk about. But there's some great lessons is making money and it's creating money, you know, making money, you can make money driving. U
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