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Steven Pope - The Modern Goliath Amazon And Tools For The Modern David

icon-calendar 2020-12-14 | icon-microphone 59m 32s Listening Time | icon-user Joseph Ianni

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Our guest today is here to help put yet another piece of the e-comm puzzle together, and a massive piece at that, which is the market potential of Amazon. Now, unlike Facebook or Google, Amazon is an ever evolving landscape. While the incentive to be on Amazon is clear. The challenges are numerous. Enter my Amazon guy, Steven Pope.

Steven is the founder of My Amazon Guy. He started his career as a TV reporter in Idaho, then was an eCommerce Director for 10 years. After dozens of requests to side hustle consult for Amazon clients he started the agency to make it easier to growth hack the platform. Steven owns MAG, My Refund Guy - a clawback FBA service, and Momstir - a Private Label FBA Wine Glass brand. He has more than 300 tutorial videos on YouTube showing how to handle ANY problem faced on Amazon.



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[00:00:00] Steven Pope: [00:00:00] So, no matter what the data says, damn the data like, like, like just throw it out, like do what you are knowledgeable about. I can't tell you how often I talked to, um, blue collar workers who are no college degree, but crushing on Amazon because they have a very specific niche product they know more about, than anybody in the world.

[00:00:19] Joseph: [00:00:19] You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast, your resource for one of a kind insights into the world of e-commerce and business in the modern age. This is Joseph. I'll be presenting a wealth of industry knowledge from interviews with successful business people and our own state-of-the-art research. Your time is valuable, so let's go.

[00:00:50] Our guest today is here to help put yet another piece of the e-comm puzzle together, and a massive piece at that, which is the market potential of Amazon. Now, unlike [00:01:00] Facebook or Google, Amazon is an ever evolving landscape. While the incentive to be on Amazon is clear. The challenges are numerous. Enter my Amazon guy, Steven Pope.

[00:01:12] Steven Pope. It's so great to have you thank you for coming on Ecomonics a Debutify podcast. 

[00:01:17] Steven Pope: [00:01:17] Thank you very much for having me Joseph pleasure to talk to you yesterday 

[00:01:20] Joseph: [00:01:20] Pleasure's on my end as well. Uh, first question, most important one, arguably is tell us who you are and what you do. 

[00:01:27] Steven Pope: [00:01:27] Sure thing. I'm the founder of my Amazon guy and we are a 30 person agency based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and we focus on growing sales on Amazon. There's generally two ways we do that. Traffic improvements like advertising SEO and conversion increases everything from cataloging, merchandising and design, like [?]. 

[00:01:48] Joseph: [00:01:48] There's going to be a lot to unpack here because of all the people that I've talked to. I haven't had any Amazon experts yet our general demographic, as far as the guests go, obviously with a lot of drop shippers, a lot of people who [00:02:00] are experienced in Facebook ads. Last week, we talked to our first, a Google expert.

[00:02:04] I'm looking forward to getting into that side of it. I'm looking forward to getting into your experience working with Amazon because it's such a, it's a big company and it's certainly had an impact on most of our lives, especially within the last six months. I couldn't even count how many things I've received off of Amazon.

[00:02:22] I've slept on something that I've gotten from Amazon. I didn't think that was going to happen. 

[00:02:26] Steven Pope: [00:02:26] Yeah, you can buy anything on Amazon unicorn you name itseeing Amazon grow this year has been insane. I mean like my phones ringing off the hook for demands, right? Like I just redesigned my site. Um, because we have so many people coming in that want to either a grow sales or be solve a problem.

[00:02:43] Right. So if you go to my Amazon guy.com, right now, you go on the left. It's like, I want to grow. So what you want to do to grow yourself, you want to post on your advertising, your design, your SEO, whatever, or on the right hand side problem. And the reason why I recently made that change is because the amount of problems on Amazon's platform right now, [00:03:00] is out of control.

[00:03:01] And so the complexities to sell on Amazon are at all time extreme highs on the flip side, it's never been a better time to sell on Amazon because sales were through the roof, just like you kind of let in with, but I like to engage authentically with people before they jump into this Amazon world to set expectations.

[00:03:22] There is by no stretch, passive income on Amazon, right? Like no stretch. So a lot of the dropshipper communities are like, Oh, I just collect some data and then all of a sudden, you know, the orders come in and I'm in the process of selling data instead of selling goods. Right. And I don't mean to undersell that model by any stretch, but when you connect the dots into Amazon, the world gets increasingly more complex data management plus catalog management, plus.

[00:03:49] Uh, inventory syncing and FBA and advertising and other people's catalogs also intersecting with all of your own data. So we've, we've seen a big change this [00:04:00] year on, on what's happening. It's, you know, PPC costs are up, Amazon's locking down listings more they're yanking more listings. Th the, the laundry list is very extensive.

[00:04:08] So  a lot to unpack there for sure. 

[00:04:11] Joseph: [00:04:11] Right. Now, what I can see from Amazon's point of view is why they would have a lot of restrictions with why would, they would take a lot of these actions and mind you I'm coming from the perspective of a customer here. It's cause that's the only tangible experience that I have with Amazon up to this point.

[00:04:26] Steven Pope: [00:04:26] And Amazon caters to customers right so

[00:04:29] Joseph: [00:04:29] Sure

[00:04:29] Steven Pope: [00:04:29] [Indistinct]

[00:04:29] Joseph: [00:04:29] Right. And so. They have spearheaded their own fulfillment process. They've got warehouses, they've got their own delivery infrastructure. And just, from the tidbits of news that I pick up over time, they're definitely looking to go after even the other delivery companies, a company like FedEx, for instance, needs to watch out 

[00:04:48] Steven Pope: [00:04:48] They stopped intergrating with FedEx this year. Big development.

[00:04:52] Joseph: [00:04:52] Yeah. I'm just trying to think like, what's the best way to approach this and I guess we should go with. For our audience, not everybody has taken the [00:05:00] plunge yet into e-commerce at all. Quite a lot of people are trying to figure out what are their best options for entry. Some people might just want to dropship on Facebook.

[00:05:07] We're going to have a lot of people who are going to go that route. Uh, I, myself strongly considering that. So for someone let's just say they're rather green. I can see the advantages to going to Amazon because they have their own fulfillment process, but I can also see why Amazon is being very protective.

[00:05:22] So why would someone be motivated to get themselves involved in Amazon in the first place. 

[00:05:28] Steven Pope: [00:05:28] So, it's half the economy for one. And if you're not, if you're not on Amazon, quite frankly, you're irrelevant. Right. And I may, I may ruffle a few feathers with that comment, but really if you're not selling on the Amazon, you're missing out on the largest marketplace in the North American continent. There's increasingly, kind of a methodology. I would describe as like Amazon has killed brands, right? Like if I were to ask you, you know, you mentioned you bought something on Amazon to sleep on recently, right? What was the name of that brand? 

[00:06:00] [00:06:00] Joseph: [00:06:00] I have no idea. Exactly. As soon as you were like, Oh no, I can't remember that. 

[00:06:05] Steven Pope: [00:06:05] And then follow up question, which by now is mute, but what was the name of the seller you bought it from? Yeah, right zero out of 100 people are going to get that so because Amazon in the historical sense has killed brands with exceptions to household names like luxury brands, like Apple, et cetera. Right. But 95% of what we buy are not that description. So if you consider the Amazon has killed brands and it also has commoditized items lowered their prices and that made them super fast to ship.

[00:06:37] That's like the history. And now if you say, okay, it's ask the history, where's it going? Right. I predict that we're going to see American made North American made products just really kick off here very shortly and a bigger push for higher quality. There's a guy who wrote a book called "I Effin Love That Company" that's literally the [00:07:00] name of the book and it was written by the CEO of American Giant, which basically sells the Mercedes-Benz version of a hoodie. And after I read that book, I bought two myself. They are freaking great Elise and nonetheless, his prediction is that we're going to see those two very things happen, higher quality American made.

[00:07:21] And I think I read the book seven years ago. It's increasingly more truer now. Right. It's taken longer than I thought it would to make that transition to. 

[00:07:30] Joseph: [00:07:30] So there's some history there that I, that I can recall. So. And this goes back quite a ways. So essentially world war two, devastates Europe, Europe loses its manufacturing power.

[00:07:41] The United States largely untouched from the devastation of the war, they have a headstart with manufacturing, so they're able to, uh, really resupply Europe and help them rebuild. So over time through a mixture of bureaucracy, as well as companies just looking for the best, [00:08:00] most efficient bottom line. Manufacturing moves over. Uh, Japan was a strong for a while and now manufacturing moved over into China. 

[00:08:08] Steven Pope: [00:08:08] And now Vietnam is kind of next. 

[00:08:10] Joseph: [00:08:10] Uh, well I was reading that India would also be one of the next major players and that they're looking to set up a major manufacturing plants. Now, I mean, there's the pride in ordering something from American made even I would prefer an American made product over product that came from China.

[00:08:27] It's not that I doubt the craftsmanship of Chinese people far from it, but I am well aware of the ethics. 

[00:08:34] Steven Pope: [00:08:34] Yeah. Culturally speaking, if you order something out of China, they're doing everything they can to penny pinch and bring down operations costs at all costs. Right? So like I've spoken to so many Amazon sellers. who are like their manufacturer, penny pinched, something that saved like literally a penny and a half per item that cost the company, hundreds of thousands of dollars in problems.

[00:08:55] W, and they didn't tell, they didn't tell the seller. Right. So like that sort of thing happens [00:09:00] every single time. Whereas in the States that might happen on occasion, but it's like, you know, you'd call those guys up and show up. Right. But like, I, I'm pretty confident we're going to see a surge in the manufacturing not only because of the American pride or the quality, but also just from the supply chain angle. Right. So. Obviously COVID has really crushed the supply chain. I think the phrase just-in-time supply chain management is dead right now. Some might articulate ok it's just sleeping, but I honestly think it's dead.

[00:09:28] If you don't have a year supply of inventory right now. Then you're going to be disrupted inevitably, whether it's a wild fire on the West coast, whether it's COVID 2.0, whatever, it might be black Swan event, it's going to happen. Black Swan event being highly improbable, highly unpredictable, and highly impactful things.

[00:09:46] There's, there's a book written called black Swan, highly recommend that and indicts the bell curve and basically says you've got to solve for the things that are intangible in that sense. So that's kind of where I think it's going. And I think, uh, you know, I wouldn't put all my eggs in the [00:10:00] basket of Amazon by any stretch.

[00:10:01] Right? Like I also advocate people have a Shopify site when they're an Amazon seller. And I also advocate selling on Walmart and eBay. And that scene, you name it, diversify your portfolio no questions about it. Control your own destiny when you can. And then also, you know, use a hockey metaphor since you're Canadian be where the puck is going, not where it is currently.

[00:10:22] That's also the extent of my hockey knowledge.

[00:10:24] Joseph: [00:10:24] Uh, that is now the extent of my hockey knowledge as well.

[00:10:27] Steven Pope: [00:10:27] Go Mapleleaves, I don't even know. 

[00:10:31] Joseph: [00:10:31] The team that we love to hate Toronto. Uh, my, my view of Toronto is that people get good in Toronto and then they go somewhere else. 

[00:10:38] Steven Pope: [00:10:38] Yeah. Well, I grew up in Utah. We have the Utah Jazz. I felt the same way. It's like after our John Stockton, Karl Malone era. We've done nothing except gross grow really great players and then ship them out.

[00:10:51] Joseph: [00:10:51] My brother, one of his best ideas ever was to create this bar where people would just go to shout at the Leaves. Like it was just promoting [00:11:00] the whole like anti anti leaf agenda. I wish him well with that, I genuinely hope that he does that. 

[00:11:06] Steven Pope: [00:11:06] I would love to put that on Facebook and just say, Hey, I've got an anti-leaf agenda, just period.

[00:11:10] And nobody knows what I'm talking about [?] out of context -

[00:11:14] Joseph: [00:11:14] Who are all these people coming from Ottawa? -

[00:11:16] Steven Pope: [00:11:16] Who knows -

[00:11:17]Joseph: [00:11:17] -Finally gave them something to do. Um, I wanted to, I wanted to touch on the passive income just briefly because you stated that it's. It's not doable, but even as a myth, it's like, there's this kernel of truth. Like there's this reason why the idea, uh, came to fruition in the first place.

[00:11:34] So is there any semblance to why people might think that there's passive income involved? Like if it's just, if the whole thing is automated and sales are happening without a person's additional effort. 

[00:11:45] Steven Pope: [00:11:45] I think that there is a glimmer of truth in the statement, in the sense that it's easier than compared to many other models, right?

[00:11:53] So like, if you want it to open up the pizza chain right now, I mean like your profit margins are less, it's a lot more [00:12:00] work you're putting in 60 to 70 hours a week to run that thing. Whereas on Amazon, it's still difficult work, but it's very very different work, right? Like you don't have to have a warehouse, I'd advise it and think it's good to stock your own stuff.

[00:12:13] Um, plus you don't want to keep a year supply of your goods to Amazon per se. But I think that the ability to grow yourselves is, is very speedy and fast on Amazon. So it can feel a little bit more rewarding. You get your dopamine hits when you watch a new item and all of a sudden you're selling a thousand per month, right? Like very difficult to replicate that in other models. Additionally, once you get going, the machine does kind of maintain itself. Now, when a wrench, you know, enters into the gears and clogs up the system, it's all hands on deck. And man, you go from thousand units per month down to zero, right? Like Amazon  yanks your listing. Some categories that are very, very difficult to sell in anything topical or consumable um, typically are the hardest  categories. So supplements, if [00:13:00] you wanted a product to not start your first Amazon product in it would be supplements without a question, right? Most highly regulated category on Amazon. Also, all  of the dirty players, they're in supplements, the Chinese are in supplements and they will do itanything they can to put food on the table. So we've, we've also increasingly seen it a lot of direct to consumer from Chinese directly to the United States customers. I actually bought my first item off Tik TOK the other night. That was a mistake by the way, 

[00:13:29] Joseph: [00:13:29] I didn't know Tik tok was  I  uninstalled Tik-Tok I, the temptation was just too much for me.

[00:13:35] Steven Pope: [00:13:35] So yeah, there's a lot we could talk about there, but in any case it ships, it was a terrible item it didn't have all the parts that said it was going to have a wasn't even an English or it was in Chinese. You know, you get the idea, um, terrible, terrible item. And it was the out of my boss was like, uh, a star kit. So you put it in like, you know, I got three kids under five, and I wanted to put some stars in the room, in the dark with a lighting kit and it didn't even have lights so [00:14:00] I'm just like come on.

[00:14:03] So yeah. I don't even know what you're talking about. We went from maple East to Chinese, you know, so help me out. 

[00:14:09] Joseph: [00:14:09] Oh, no worries. No worries. I'm happy to just listen and take this in. I mean, one insight right there is I've really legitimately didn't realize that people were selling things on Tik Tok. Not that I'm surprised 

[00:14:18] Steven Pope: [00:14:18] You gotta monetize it eventually. Right. So.

[00:14:20] Joseph: [00:14:20] Yeah, exactly, exactly. I have some questions about Amazon because you know, this is a rare opportunity for me to get a someone with your level of expertise. One thing I'm trying to wrap my brain around is in the longterm, what will be the limits of what Amazon is capable of. And so they seem to be working on what I know as the locked in business model, where they are trying to dis-incentivize people from using other services. So you sign up for Amazon prime, they provide content. And from what I hear, [?] is pretty good. They have web storage, they have a AWS. So the, my question is in two parts, can you give our audience like a sense of Amazon's full [00:15:00] scope just in case I missed anything.

[00:15:01] And then as a predictive question, how much do you see Amazon continuing to have an impact in people's day-to-day lives? 

[00:15:10] Steven Pope: [00:15:10] So not only is Amazon half the economy and every service you mentioned, we could even add like another four or five services from like Twitch and video games and music and whatever else, but from a seller standpoint, What it allows you to do is launch a digital product, a physical product digitally rather, and catalog it.

[00:15:32] And then for you to drive traffic, as much as you possibly can within the ecosystem and start selling a lot of it very quickly. And then once you're ranked in the system, you know, you perpetually continue those, that sales velocity. So it's very different than on a Shopify site. You turn on your Google ads, right? And the moment you turn Google ads off 80% of your sales could just like evaporate overnight. Whereas on Amazon, you turn off your PPC and your sales [00:16:00] would take a hit, like they would any, any platform ever, but it's significantly less because the momentum that you get off PPC, every sale, you get off PPC generates three organic sales over time.

[00:16:12] And that that ratio is very hard to replicate anywhere else. So, yeah, there's, there's a lot of different things within the Amazon ecosystem. If we were just to talk about Amazon ads briefly, there is like seven ad segmentations, and I bet you, most consumers slash sellers probably know about three of them.

[00:16:30] Right? So, so there's a lot more places to buy traffic on Amazon than there ever has been. Um, video ads are the hottest thing right now. If you are selling on Amazon and don't have video ads up, you are missing out on the greatest opportunity. Just the other day they launched display ads with text in them.

[00:16:49] So a lot of automation and robot marketing and bid changes are occurring in the ecosystem. At the same time, the ecosystem is evolving away from single type algorithm [00:17:00] based advertising, and it's moving towards more human marketing where you you're writing your small amount of texts on a display ad, and then people can see it.

[00:17:07] So a lot more humanization is occurring in marketing's ecosystem right now. 

[00:17:11] Joseph: [00:17:11] So one great frame of reference for our listeners is the breakdown of the objective of ads between Facebook and Google, which also relates to the objective of the platforms in the first place. So when you have ads on Facebook, people are on Facebook they're not exactly. Maybe they'll shop. Maybe they're not, but they're just on Facebook for discovery. Like you mentioned earlier about dopamine hits and then of course people can curate their content so that this is all dopamine and no cortisol. So Facebook ads are competing with people's attention on a very base level.

[00:17:42] So it was not even a guarantee that their customers, then you get to Google and there's a step up. So now people are searching for answers and those answers may end up in the form of a product, but even so we still haven't established the idea that people searching on Google are necessarily customers, Amazon, [00:18:00] however, People are on Amazon because they're looking to buy something. So in relating to advertisements, it seems to cut to the chase a lot more, but it also seems like it's a lot more competitive. So what are people doing to have an edge in terms of Amazon ads? 

[00:18:13] Steven Pope: [00:18:13] So it's interesting, you mentioned like that consumer journey. So Amazon passed Google last year as the starting place for people when they're starting a product search. Right? So like used to Google shopping used to be king. And you used to have to tailor focus on, on Google SEO to get e-commerce sales. And that's no longer the case it's Amazon now. So there's a lot of different things you can do to improve your, your advertising traction. Very common best practices. Like having a brand store can affect your Google SEO.

[00:18:47] You know, let's, let's say Amazon's only 10% of yourselves. Should you still have an Amazon brand storefront? The answer is without a doubt. Yes. And that's because when somebody goes to Google and searches brand name, your Amazon store is going to [00:19:00] be like right underneath your main Shopify URL. Right. It's going to be right there and that's good.

[00:19:05] That's a good thing because generally speaking. When somebody is searching your brand name, you want to own every one of those segmentations and Facebook and all your social media is, can be part of them. But you want to make sure that those coupon sites, right? Like aren't showing up at the top of page one for Google, and it's a great thing to have.

[00:19:23] So there's, there's some, there's some cross, um, omni-channel approaches to think about, but back to kind of the heart or your question. Okay. How do I grapple with all of these advertising elements? So just to add on to additional ad types that are coming onto the Amazon platform right now, you can now externally advertise your Amazon products to other platforms within the Amazon ecosystem, a la seller central.

[00:19:48] That was not possible a couple months ago. 

[00:19:51] Joseph: [00:19:51] Okay. 

[00:19:51] Steven Pope: [00:19:51] So you can do retargeting. You can do lookalike, retargeting and focus in on, on hitting a lot of new clients and customers that wouldn't have found the products [00:20:00] otherwise. And because Amazon has all of this product data, they are going to find low cost options for you to hit.

[00:20:08] Now, every company ever has to do make a decision, you know, on a scale of one to 10 on, on the, on the 10, I want to grow my company. And at one I want to have profit. And every company ever has to decide, like where's the friction between these two elements going to occur? Do I want to be a six out of 10 on, on growth versus profit, or do I want to be a two and be closer to profits.

[00:20:29] So depending on your objectives, that equates the rest of your, your methodology on like how much you spend on ads. What are your advertising costs of spend goals? How much do you want to grow versus how much you want to make a profit and based on that you can iterate and decide, okay, here's your course of action.

[00:20:46] Okay. I want to do these 15 things to grow my traffic and profit accordingly. 

[00:20:51] Joseph: [00:20:51] Okay. I want to ask about seller central. So, again, coming back to frames of reference, a lot of our audience will have experienced on [00:21:00] Shopify. And so through Shopify they'll have access to a lot of applications and add ons and plugins that they can use to then translate into a better functioning front end.

[00:21:10] So Amazon of course, has taken care of a lot of that. It's it's their, it's their baby, their company. So within seller central, what do we have, what tools do we have to work with to, uh, to make our way into the Amazon river? I didn't, that was a complete accident, uh, relating to the river 

[00:21:25] Steven Pope: [00:21:25] I don't know what the river refence is, but I'll roll with it. So -

[00:21:29] Joseph: [00:21:29] The river of traffic, yeah.

[00:21:31]Steven Pope: [00:21:31] WIthin seller central and it's, and it's interesting, you know, with the major Shopify tie-in here, obviously Shopify and Amazon are quite married to each other, right? Like they were the first integration into Amazon, like literally beating out all, either other e-commerce platforms. So that's a good thing for your audience, because it's easier to watch your items within Shopify on Amazon versus any other platform ever.

[00:21:57] So that's good to know. Additionally, [00:22:00] Amazon's launching its own third party tool application system. And I don't spend a lot of time there personally because quite frankly, most of those integrations are becoming less important and that's a good thing. And that's because Amazon is like, You know, letting all these, IT experts go build a tool and then they're like, cool that's being used by 50% of our sellers. We should probably just integrate that right into Seller Central. And that's exactly what they do as one small example, automated pricing structures. So if you're a drop shipper and you got a hundred thousand skews, obviously you don't want to be going in there mucking with your own pricing.

[00:22:32] You want to, you want to create a rule and basically set your minimum advertised price. And so you don't go below this and then automate the rest and boom, you're done. That's all within Seller Central now as an in-house tool. But back in the day, you had to hire a third party. So the best third-party tool today is Helium 10 and maybe a distant second Jungle Scout.

[00:22:53] I'm a big Helium 10 proponent. They have the most raised capital in the space. They have the [00:23:00] best developers and quite frankly, some of the best content and expertise, their tool is dominating. Everything that I touch. So like I I'm in, you know, Helium 10, three hours a day. That's how much I use that tool.

[00:23:14] And it's because they have the best keyword research and they have, I mean like their, their keyword tool is so powerful and a lot of other tools are catching up. Don't get me wrong. Um, but like I I've had a decade career in e-commerce. I spent the first half of that working for failed startups. I've onboarded, SEO tools like conductor, Searchlight, and SCM Rush.

[00:23:35] And [?], many, many times I used to pay like three to five grand a month for conductor Searchlight. And the value of that is because I can track my keywords. And I know like if I invest my SEO content here then my ranks go up, and then I can extrapolate the value of, of set constant effort.

[00:23:52] And as many of you guys know. It's very, very difficult to know how and what to invest in SEO. It's a [00:24:00] very, very different world than PPC where it's spend money, get sales, where in SEO it's spend money and maybe get sales. And your sales are trickling in over the course of the next two years. Right? So some costs long-term advertising and SEO versus immediate high dopamine hits off PPC. So three to five random a month on SEO tools for websites back in the day. You now get that for one to $200 a month off tools like Helium 10, which is incredibly cheap, and that's not even scratching the surface of what that tool does. It helps you articulate all of those keywords, as well as looking at all of your competitor research data.

[00:24:36] Like I can look up any [?], um, any products on Amazon, [?] Being the catalog skew version, if you will. And I can tell you how much it's selling for how many units per month and what its gross revenue is. And I can also tell you what it's estimated logistics costs are because of the product dimension data is public as well. And I can do this across the entire ecosystem of Amazon. So if I'm trying to [00:25:00] launch a product or know if my products on my Shopify site are going to do well on Amazon is very easy to do that research today. 

[00:25:06] Joseph: [00:25:06] Seems to have taken out a lot of the guesswork and getting a product going. So, I mean, what, is there anything that's left to chance or is there any of it where you're still like, okay. I think, I think this is going to work or, I mean, it really sounds like they just know what to expect, you know, what to expect.

[00:25:22] Steven Pope: [00:25:22] Every benefit has a double-edged sword. Right. So I just told you how easy it was to do the research well what does that mean? It means, everybody's doing the research. So, when a new hot hit product comes out and somebody shows up, well, then it's going to be replicated by five other people. And so the product life cycle, which I don't know, like where you would put the bar on this, but let's say the average product life cycle off of Amazon was two to three years. On Amazon it's one year, if that. If you do well on Amazon, you're going to be replicated. Not by Amazon, although possible, but more than likely it's just because somebody else saw your data. So what I generally recommend is stick to what you [00:26:00] know, so you went camping in the snow, uh, this past week. So you probably have a little bit of edge on how to prepare, uh, you know,be a survivalist and you may, you may know a couple of items that you wish you had brought, or maybe you brought a couple items that you have, and you're knowledgeable about you have a gigantic edge over the city slicker in New York city, trying to sell those same products. So what I, what I generally coach people to do, and we do a lot of Amazon coaching.

[00:26:27] Um, you know, if you ever need just a one hour coaching session, you go to my Amazon guy.com and book a coaching session. And what I generally do, and I, and I coach a lot of people who sometimes need to be coached out where they're like, you know, five year olds who don't have any technology skills. Like don't like, Amazon's not where you should be heading.

[00:26:45] Like, honestly, like it's not a good use of your retirement income, please, please don't go waste money doing that. But I also, uh, talked to a lot of people who are on the other side of the spectrum were in their mid twenties or mid thirties, and they are super technology focused. And [00:27:00] they're like, Hey, I'm going to go start selling this eco-friendly dental product.

[00:27:04] And I asked him, are you a dentist? And they're like, no. And I'm like, how do you use the product? And they're like, no. And I'm like, well, why do you want to sell this? And they're like, well, that's what Helium 10 says to sell. So it's really hot. And I, and I questioned that one very, very closely. And I say, look like, tell me about your hobbies.

[00:27:18] Like, what do you do for fun outside of work? And they like, well, you know, uh, I, you know, I'm, I'm seven foot tall and I play basketball. Then why the heck are you selling dental mints or whatever? Like go, go sell Nike shoes or something. Go make your own version of that. So, no matter what the data says, damn the data, throw it out, like do what you are knowledgeable about.

[00:27:40] I can't tell you how often I talk to um, blue collar workers who are no college degree, but crushing on Amazon because they have a very specific niche product that they know more about than anybody in the world. Niching and expertise will trump, anybody else's data all day long, high quality [00:28:00] products are easier to sell on Amazon versus an in demand product because you have a lot to hang your hat on.

[00:28:08] And high quality products are much easier to make. If you understand the product and if you can articulate those features.

[00:28:15] Joseph: [00:28:15] I can certainly back you up on that, just from some of the other people that I've talked to. And even some of the research that I've found is that one of the main ways to convince somebody to be more invested in your brand and especially the part of the funneling process, where at first, all they have is a passing awareness of you is in your content is what you write as not just about blog posts and about emails, but all that's all helpful too. It's also about how your passion is conveyed in the copy. 

[00:28:43] Steven Pope: [00:28:43] Yeah brand buidling just like how and I didn't mean to cut you off there, but like, like just the amount of knowledge that you can build your brand around those, those messages that you can tell. Very important. 

[00:28:56] Joseph: [00:28:56] You mentioned about profit versus growth and that there's two ends of [00:29:00] the spectrum.

[00:29:00] So it's good that I'm asking you now, because you've mentioned your coaching calls and I expected that this comes up in those coaching calls is how do you convince somebody? Maybe you can tell maybe they would be better off going more for profit over growth or vice versa. So what characteristics would somebody have if they're more profit motivated versus if they're more growth motivated?

[00:29:23] Steven Pope: [00:29:23] If your sales on Amazon are under 50 K a month, then you should be focused on growth without a question. Okay. And that's because there's just so much more room to grow and the fastest two ways to grow sales, add more products. Both of those source more shoes and more products. And the second is advertise more.

[00:29:40] And as a high level advertising recommendation, I recommend spending 10% of your gross sales on ads. If you're not spending at least 10%, you're leaving sales on the table a lot. You're seeking profit more than growth. That's the general like high, high level answer to your question. But a lot of the times when I speak to [00:30:00] sellers on Amazon, it's.

[00:30:01] It's the manufacturers and wholesalers that are generally profits focused because they understand their margins. They've been in business for a while and they just, they just want to make money. It's the guys who are side hustling, a second job, they've got their warehouse in their closets and their basements and their garages.

[00:30:19] Those are the dudes that are like, I wanna, I want to grow this thing into a multimillion dollar company so I can quit my job. Maybe I'll sell it and turn a profit. That way. Those are the guys that are typically seeking gross. It's not as common for corporations to be growth focused. 

[00:30:35] Joseph: [00:30:35] Yeah, that makes sense. Because with them, the bigger the company is the more difficult it is to make decisions that would continue on because there's a lot more risk involved, a lot more liability. So my next question is this, is this going to be one for our, uh, for our many dropshippers? So just to give you again, going back to my theme about frames of reference.

[00:30:54] So Facebook, not a big fan of dropshipping, the level of quality [00:31:00] is pretty drastic variance from the people who do quite well. And then there's, I mean, I've had experiences. I keep going back to this one. I ordered this thing called hands-free bracket. It got delivered. To somebody in Quebec and I'm in Ontario as I never got it. And I went to the website to talk to them and the website was shut down. So there's quite a disparity of, of, of experiences people have on these. So with that in mind, what's been the relationship between Amazon and drop shipping?

[00:31:28] Steven Pope: [00:31:28] I would say that model has peaked on Amazon and so I've got over 160 active monthly clients with us and 96% of them are private labelers. They own their own brand, 

[00:31:41] Joseph: [00:31:41] 96% ?

[00:31:42] Steven Pope: [00:31:42] Yeah. The drop shippers or the retailers buying from wholesalers, and I'm going to lump those together, significantly small portion of the puzzle, 4%. That's probably pretty sure for the Amazon numbers as well. Additionally, generally the guys that you know the one counter that might be the guys that [00:32:00] are really good at drop shipping and have thousands of skews, they're probably a little bit more sophisticated and don't need an agency. And their model and profit margins are very different and maybe they're not investing in brand-building, maybe they're not investing in catalog management. And a lot of the things that an agency would do, and also maybe they're not spending money on ads at all, because the product is already a household name and it just wants to sell.

[00:32:21] So for all those reasons, it's potentially possible that there's a little bit different focus or whatnot, but I do have a couple of wholesale brands that, that I, I do so personally, I'm doing it for several years. But increasingly even I am pulling away from that because it's really hard to articulate a value prop and say, Hey, let me be your exclusive seller.

[00:32:41] It's hard to get map pricing figured out. So you're dealing with pricing variations because like the biggest difference between selling your products on your website or Ebay or many other platforms, you're all on the same page on Amazon. Everybody who sells that one product is on the same listing. And so you've got, what's called the buy box, that rotates between [00:33:00] all of these products, which is very, very difficult to manage in mass. So it's a complex ecosystem for dropshippers, but tying back in to your Facebook comment, right? Like where you had that bad experience. So Facebook is where Amazon was 10 years ago maybe more preliminary than that. And Amazon has since off all of those bad actors and the same thing will happen on Facebook.

[00:33:19] That will probably take like another two years. I've also wondered why Walmart hasn't caught up to Amazon yet. And they bought Jet and they couldn't integrate it. I don't know. But man people are not shopping on Walmart, proportionately, not online anyway. 

[00:33:33] Joseph: [00:33:33] Yeah. This is great because this is very, very close to a question that I wanted to ask you, uh, from one of your YouTube videos, you do a lecture on the need for both a growth and evolution.

[00:33:44] You can do one that's good. You can do the other. That's good. But you got to do both to be great. So Walmart sounds like they're, they're trying, but they're going to perpetually- 

[00:33:56] Steven Pope: [00:33:56] Not at all

[00:33:56]Joseph: [00:33:56] Oh, no?

[00:33:57] Steven Pope: [00:33:57] I think, I think Walmart as a company just wants to [00:34:00] get a bigger, their, their e-comm strategy has been run by probably a bunch of guys who can't get the job done because they can't integrate the tech with the operation side where it's run by people from that, um, non e-com backgrounds. So it's very, very different. I don't know any internal people at Walmart, so I don't mean to disparage that, but that's from an outside perspective, that's what it looks like. Right. Because. There is no movement, right? It's like, do you want to do PPC on Walmart? Like they just came out with the ability to choose your own keywords, like a couple of weeks ago.

[00:34:30] Like these are things that you would expect on a big national Ecom platform a decade ago, you know, so they're just way behind 

[00:34:38] Joseph: [00:34:38] Can you then expand on the philosophy of growth and evolution? And I know one of the things we also wanted to make sure we talked about is you know how Amazon got to this point. So maybe using Amazon as the example of how they combined to growth and evolution to get to where they are now. 

[00:34:54] Steven Pope: [00:34:54] Yeah. So Amazon is a customer centric platform. They're going extremely out of their way [00:35:00] to serve the customer and they don't give a crap about their sellers. In fact, I'd say we're fairly close to a seller revolution right now with Amazon and they just sellers feel like they've been left behind by Amazon. There is a lot of discontent, but with, with that in mind, I think that we will see continued evolution on the part of Amazon. And I think the, I think the get bigger part is going to happen geography wise, but not necessarily within North America right like, everybody has like one out of two households has a prime membership right now.

[00:35:33] It's going to be very hard to grow that now. But what we will see is that the evolution will, will go from like Amazon being a part of your life in every shape and form. Right. Don't be surprised if Amazon goes and buys a Tesla, you know, company and starts marketing that way. And then all of a sudden you're in your car and it's like, hi, Alexa, please take me to X destination and then your car drives itself or whatever. Like that's the kind of thing I would see Amazon evolving into from a seller [00:36:00] standpoint. I think that Amazon is starting to realize how. Literally, they've been paying attention to sellers and they're realizing that they have to change that. I think, I think we'll see a pivot there very soon in the next year.

[00:36:13] I don't think they can pivot yet because they don't have the resources. I think that Amazon's ecosystem has never been taxed the way it has. I mean, like if you look at the numbers, they were up 40% year over year during April through July and I have been predicting that in the month of November and December of this year, I think you're going to be up a hundred percent year over year.

[00:36:32] I don't know if that will come true or not. As the closer we get to it is looking a little bit more suspect like I would've thought the numbers would be a lot better on Amazon by now, but I can tell you that I still think we're going to see massive supply chain issues and people are going to stock out and you're not going to buy your Christmas presents, you know, first week in December.

[00:36:49] And, and it's just going to be insanely nuts. So I have strong feelings that December shopping, if you haven't done it by now you're going to be SOL sending your January, [00:37:00] February presents this year, but we'll see what happens. In any case, I I'm a personal proponent of both evolving and growing. And if you're not doing both, you're missing out on the exponential nature of growth. You can always get bigger and you can always evolve, but when you do both, it's very difficult, very, very difficult. It's a cultural adoption. 

[00:37:19] Joseph: [00:37:19] That's excellent. I've  got a couple of, uh, and this is like personal curiosities that I have towards Amazon. And I'm hoping with your expertise, you can shed a little bit of light on them. The first one, I'm sorry, this is going to be absurd. But, uh, uh, I, I got to ask, has Amazon gotten to the point where they're so predictive of customer behavior, that they're actually fulfilling orders before the customer has gone to check out. 

[00:37:44] Steven Pope: [00:37:44] So no, although very close, right? Like they, they have you know remember those buttons that they marketed for a couple of years [indistinct] you're like tide button and you put it in your laundry room and it would just like click your order. And they also have subscribe and save. But, [00:38:00] but no, that level of sophistication is not there. Plus that would be a very dangerous thing to do, right. Like, cause if they started fulfilling the order and then you didn't order what then ok it's like 'I just got my toilet paper on my doorstep, I was thinking about toilet paper, I don't know how you read my Facebook messenger, Amazon, but I w I didn't have enough money to make that purchase. So how did that get here?' That won't happen ,I don't think anytime soon. 

[00:38:21] Joseph: [00:38:21] Okay. That's fair. Uh, so the next one, this one is more on the serious side. So while comparing it to say some of the, uh, the ethical dilemmas in China to, uh, put it politely. I have heard that in the Amazon warehouses and fulfillment centers, the employees could stand to be treated a lot better. And by the way, if you don't feel like you can weigh in on this substantially by all means-

[00:38:46] Steven Pope: [00:38:46] I bite the hand that feeds me all the time I call Amazon out and curse it 24 seven and I've got friends over at Amazon. So like they know I'm saying these things.

[00:38:56] Joseph: [00:38:56] Okay, fair enough. Just for the record. I wasn't asking out of a fearfulness, [00:39:00] that's my job, but it's more about like, whether or not you really knew and you knew what was going on and I figure you do.

[00:39:05] Steven Pope: [00:39:05] I would say that they have a high bar, right? Like the culture of Amazon, they, they have built a culture where they literally purposely slough off 10% of their employees. Annually. Like it's, it's a well-known documented thing and it's because they, they cull the non-performers. They always want to be growing and evolving.

[00:39:29] And to do that, you have to have a culture that sets a really high bar. And if you don't call the 10%, you can't, you can't get better. Right? Like you have to be continuously setting the bar higher. So the talent they bring in are higher. The other thing I would comment here is not only are they overworked and overtaxed from a resource standpoint, but like the burnout is just gigantuan  like, like even servicing as an agency in the last couple of years, I've never been so exhausted from actual work.

[00:40:00] [00:40:00] Amazon changes their platform. They make a UI change, they break all of these things and, and they don't inform people. There is no communication about these things. Like all of a sudden, Amazon just started creating new categories in Amazon and like broke listings and suppressed listens zero announcement about this.

[00:40:17] The only way you would even know is if you were checking and then their own internal tools, don't diagnose it for you. So it leads you're grasping at straws and it's just really difficult. So imagine you're a category owner and let's say you're the owner of the beauty category in Amazon. Where are you spending your time?

[00:40:33] Like, how do you decide what to do? And it's a very difficult job, like very, very difficult. So I would say that Amazon can get away with treating its employees the way it's doing, because they're number one. But as soon as the number two catches up, we will see a gigantic exodus. And we've already seen the starts of that. Some of the major, major higher ups on Amazon have gone out of the company in the last four, six months. I think we're going to see that accelerate. \

[00:41:00] [00:40:59] Joseph: [00:40:59] Any, any rumblings on companies to look out for, or is the ink still wet at this point, 

[00:41:06] Steven Pope: [00:41:06] I'm still holding my breath for Walmart. Still giantly let down, but holding my breath, I have launched as many of my clients as I can on Walmart, just in preparation, but like a Wayfair is kicking the curb out of Amazon in its own niche.

[00:41:20] I think we're going to see other niche players do the same thing where they beat Amazon on a very specific vertical that's underserved, but even, even other platforms like Newegg, which you wouldn't necessarily think about in the marketplace sense unless you were going to buy like a computer part has very much got out of the, we're just a computer parts marketplace, like they're expanding rep.

[00:41:41] So I think, I think we're going to see other players who gain some market share on, on, on a niche market place, but not on an Amazon wide spectrum by any stretch. Deliver is another company I'm watching very closely. I think that they have some phenomenal opportunities and then quite frankly, uh, Shopify, right?

[00:41:59] Like, uh, [00:42:00] I think, I think people investing in their own site are going to pull a market share away from Amazon because people are going to say, hey, you know, I, I would rather pay dividends to the brand instead of a pay this money to Amazon, that particular personnel customer set will be small because Amazon's made so easy to shop why should I give you my credit card? Why should I spend the time to even spend five minutes entering my credit card into your website? Where I can just click a button on Amazon. Very hard to compete with that. but, but I do think that if there, if there were players to take market, share it would be Walmart, Shopify and Deliver and whoever else, Deliver partners with.

[00:42:37] Joseph: [00:42:37] Fascinating. So there's a, I mean, this is, this is a philosophy that I've always held on to. Cause I, I come from a, from a performance background and so. I'm sure most of our listeners would at least have heard of, um, somebody like Dane Cook in passing a fairly popular comedian, not so much now, but when internet videos were starting to make the rounds, he was-

[00:42:56] Steven Pope: [00:42:56] I know why you would go with him, yeah. 

[00:42:59] Joseph: [00:42:59] And [00:43:00] I, and also when I don't feel like bringing him up, I'll just say McDonald's, but in both of these cases, what you have are large scale, err you know I like McDonald's burgers. And I say some of his bits I've been entertaining. Yeah. I don't have a problem with either of them, but there are limits to purse people investing, maybe they'll think that a McDonald's burger is the most delicious burger and they'll never become fans of a, of anything beyond that.

[00:43:27] Me, I'm a bit of a burger fan. Like I'm a fan of like a Wholly Chucks and Burger Sprees and all those guys, same thing with Dan cook. Like they might be a comedy fan to the extent that they'd like to in cook, but they might never get into comedians that have a little bit more, I guess, nuance to their, to their craft.

[00:43:43] So I think Amazon is in that same position where everybody wants to shop online. We'll just think Amazon cause it's like you said, it's it's half the economy. So how can we condition people assuming its necessary to look beyond those points? And I think this would be good [00:44:00] time by the way, to bring in your wineglass business as well, because you're, Momstir.

[00:44:05] So you have that on and you have, it has a presence on Amazon, but it also has its own website where you're providing content. So there are, there are some answers, but by all means, take it away. 

[00:44:16] Steven Pope: [00:44:16] So I would say Gary V  (Vaynerchuk)  probably has the best answer on this question and that is. Go where it works. Like his philosophy of, Hey, I think, I think LinkedIn ads are underserved right now or I think Twitter ads are underserved. So what's underserved right now is physical mailers. And if you wanted to grow your website or your other platform outside of Amazon, and you are sending postcards or you're sending catalogs, you are way better off using, uh, uh, an advertising vertical that is less tapped that has a lower cost and you can make more of an impact and physical mailers right now are extremely under-tapped and still quite affordable, right?

[00:44:56] Like does, if you think about it, if you go on Google ads, you know, your bits could be anywhere from [00:45:00] $1 it's $5 a click ending on how competitive your category is. And you can even do a mailer for less than a dollar. So if your CTR rates or your open rates and your physical mailers was equivalent to your digital,

[00:45:11] it may actually be more economical to ship out a catalog or ship out a postcard. So that's, that's what I would do. I would, I would just funnel wherever the cheapest way to build a brand would be. Pinterest ads right now are kind of you know questionable,  I'm not sure, but I think that there's an opportunity there.

[00:45:29] So I'm, I'm, I'm invested in Pinterest ads for my Momstir brand. Momstir is M O M  S T I R, if you're curious, and listening to this. Um, so somebody that might stir, stir it up in the kitchen and might be a mom. So funny wine glasses. So I happened to sell the number one funny wine glass on Amazon. And I don't think I have a lot of brand loyalty, but I do think I have a lot of happy customers.

[00:45:52] So that's a weird problem to have. So how do I convert happy customers into well brand followers? Not an easy question to answer. [00:46:00] And Amazon has taken away a lot of tools to make that happen. Like it's pretty much banned to sell communication to your buyers. You still can technically, but the amount of rules and hurdles you have to follow is gigantic. You cannot put anything to push people to your site. If you have, uh, uh, imprint, mailer attached to your product, selling on Amazon, that takes them to the site you're gonna get in trouble. They're going to ban you, right? So like there's all these rules and regulations that Amazon puts in the away from you building your own brand because they want to, they want to own the customer.

[00:46:32] So it makes your job very difficult, which is why I would say if you're going to try and grow your Shopify business today, then I would not focus on your Amazon customers. I would send out mailers. 

[00:46:43] Joseph: [00:46:43] Huh, you know, I even remember when I got that mattress, there were inserts and there was mention of their website and their brand. And so are you doing anything along those lines? Anything. So when people receive the product that they have the potential to then make their way to your website, and -

[00:46:57] Steven Pope: [00:46:57] It's a really scary area to be in right now, I think [00:47:00] Amazon is going to crack down on this. About a month ago, they had the CNBC story about fake reviews.

[00:47:05] The next time we see CNBC talking about product inserts, that's when we're going to see the ban go down it's going to happen. And so millions of potential products could be suspended in the next six months because how many people are breaking rules on this one right now.  And I'm surprised Amazon hasn't signaled a little bit more on this one.

[00:47:23] So I give people a chance to like, you know, stop stop giving away a mailer with free products and review followup, but it's being abused right now, gigantically. So we'll, we'll see what happens, but I, I would, um, as an agency standpoint, we are focused on things that we know are going to work two years from now and not focus on things that work right now.

[00:47:43] You want to have monthly engagements with people longterm. And so if you want quick hits or hacks, you're going to probably have to pick up a third-party tool and then use an abuse it until it stops working and then ut will stop  working I guarantee you.. 

[00:47:58] Joseph: [00:47:58] I'm hearing this for the first time and I will [00:48:00] say, I mean, I guess I definitely understand Amazon's logic. They're putting in the resources for the infrastructure. They want to use that infrastructure to deliver the product. So I get that, but I couldn't think of a, of a compromise in some way for Amazon to then benefit from people going to external websites. Uh, I couldn't, I couldn't think of a way to make Amazon happy in that situation.

[00:48:21] Steven Pope: [00:48:21] Regulation from the government is the solution on this one. And by the way, I'm a free enterprise and capitalist hardcore, but there's nothing that's going to prevent Amazon from monopolizing, every asset of our lives unless the government steps in. Just bottom line. 

[00:48:35] Joseph: [00:48:35] The funny thing about government is my, and by the way, from my, uh, perspective, my lawyern told me that I was libertarian and if my lawyer thinks I'm libertarian I'm gonna go with it.

[00:48:45] Steven Pope: [00:48:45] I'm a libertarian too. Don't get me wrong. But knowing what I know about Amazon, I would be a little pro-regulation right now.

[00:48:55] Joseph: [00:48:55] Fair enough. It's just that the difference between the power structure of a [00:49:00] company like Amazon versus the power structure of a government is that there is no rule where Amazon has to fire it's CEO every four years, or actually, maybe you can correct me on that. Maybe there is a rule, but you understand like there's elections people step out, people step in there's transitions.

[00:49:17] And so, and there's also checks and balances in place. So that things happen very slowly and very gradually. But with these major companies, it's the fundamentals of capitalism it's built for growth. And so it's just going to keep on growing. So yeah, I dunno. I dunno how the, how the government is going to even have the power to, to regulate them considering how much money Amazon has for lobbying. 

[00:49:40] Steven Pope: [00:49:40] Yeah, I don't have any answer either. I just know it's inevitable. Like we're going to see it go head to head and there's no question. AT&T got broken up for doing like way less. Right. And Microsoft's also at high risk and I read an article the other day about that, but, uh, yeah, it's bound to happen at some point because otherwise Amazon is going to become a government like they're getting that [00:50:00] big. 

[00:50:03] Joseph: [00:50:03] There's quite a few paths the future can hold. One of them is we ended up just getting rid of government and just the world is run by corporations.

[00:50:14] Steven Pope: [00:50:14] Now the internal anarchist is coming out, there you go.

[00:50:16] Joseph: [00:50:16] I'll consult with my lawyer on that one and get back to you. 

[00:50:18] We're pretty close to, to wrap up. Uh, I had a couple of, you know, uh, curiosities just to, uh, end this on a, on a less anarchistic note. So one of the things that I appreciate about what you're doing is that you have a pretty cohesive brand. You have the, My Amazon Guy, My Etsy Guy, My Wal-Mart Guy, My eBay Guy uh so I -.

[00:50:37] Steven Pope: [00:50:37] And my Shopify  -

[00:50:38] Joseph: [00:50:38] And my Shopify Guy? What was the genesis for the, my guy brand. How did you get to that part?

[00:50:43] Steven Pope: [00:50:43] Alright so  I'm in the laundry room with the wife and, uh, I, I had just gotten laid off from a job, uh, used to work for lights online selling lighting kits, um, because the marketplace director was eating, sleeping and drinking Amazon marketplace.

[00:50:57] And I've been doing side-hustle consulting for three or four [00:51:00] years. And I was like, you know what? I'm tired of making other people millions of dollars. I want to do it for myself. And so we were talking in the laundry room is like, well, how we need to, we need a company name and the wife she says to me, well, how do people normally introduce you?

[00:51:13] And I'm like, I don't know. They just say, Hey, talk to my Amazon guy. And then we looked at  each other. And like, that was it. It was really that easy. I, I, I've also gone out of my way to like, create really cool brand names like Momstir, which I think is a fantastic brand name. My wife hates it though. So it's like, um, but we both love the My Amazon Guy name, and as much as I want my wife to like, be the face of Momstir and go sell baby goods and whatever, and do do that, it's it's unfortunately become a very distant, second love to the, my guy branding. And it's just, it's just a simple colloquialism that just really resonates because hey, everybody needs a guy to go get stuff done. So we're the Amazon Guys. 

[00:51:54] Joseph: [00:51:54] Right on. Um, I'm ctually one, uh, one the thing touching on Momstir one last time, uh, before we go, [00:52:00] is your overall objectives with Momstir.

[00:52:03] Uh, what I think you're doing with it is a, you're trying to maintain an edge. Uh, and you're just trying to basically use that as a test, so that any changes in Amazon. Yeah. So. And is there any other objectives that you have with it or are you just using it as your template? Just to see like, Oh, if I press this button, what does this, what happens here?

[00:52:21] Steven Pope: [00:52:21] Uh, so there was a point in time where a hundred of my listings on Momstir got suppressed this year and I spent eight hours trying to figure out why, well, it turns out you can't have the word gift and your title anymore on Amazon, or they will suppress your listings and nobody can find them. Well, that eight hour investment that I did on a Friday night until the wee hours gave me a gigantic edge because the next week it happened to 17 of my clients. And so that's exactly why I have my own brand is because I need to be able to test things in real world, make good decisions so that I can roll it out for my clients. So I'll never lose that edge as long as I'm selling. But I do personally have aspirations to create like a baby goods [00:53:00] brand at some point. I'm unfortunately probably never going to execute those aspirations because 98% of my time is on the agency. And that's where all my growth has come from. There's a gold rush to sell on Amazon right now. And I'm the dude selling shovels. A lot of the clients, I give a shovel to, they're gonna find gold, not all of them, but a lot of them. But I'm going to make a ton of money selling shelves, just like the guys did in the California gold rush, having their own shovel shop.

[00:53:24] So I'm very pleased with what I've built. Um, I'm never going to sell my agency and we're continuously growing because of the operation excellence that we put into place to grow. people's selves. 

[00:53:35] Joseph: [00:53:35] Awesome. Um, one last thing that I'm curious about in terms of your journey, because I was going through your YouTube videos, I saw a clip of you in an airplane and you used to be a reporter. So, um, one of the questions that I like to ask people is how any of their previous experience influenced what they do now, just as an example, one of the guys I talked to earlier on, uh, Paul Motley, he studied chemistry. And so he took his chemistry [00:54:00] understanding and he would break things down into basic elements. And so he saw things kind of the way a chemist would. Um, maybe not necessarily being a news reporter is the thing that carried over. But. I mean, you do a lot of speaking, so that's actually quite a, uh, quite a, quite a clear path from that point. But yeah. What are, what other skills, or what other experiences did you bring with you to this point?

[00:54:19] Steven Pope: [00:54:19] Two, two skills that resonate: communication just like you picked up on right there. Right. Just being able to articulate the value prop of a product or the value prop of a service. And how to act upon that. Absolutely. The second is investigation. When I first started My Amazon Guy as an agency, I hired marketers because I thought, Oh, I need to go hire marketers. We advertise products and we generate sales. Today and in the last couple of years, I've completely changed that I hire troubleshooters. I hire technicians, people that can solve problems, have the most value when it comes to selling on Amazon. Because Amazon is a never-ending jigsaw puzzle that changes the rules every single [00:55:00] day.

[00:55:00] And you have to keep up with it. And so traditional marketers are extremely frustrated by the Amazon ecosystem and platform. Whereas somebody who likes to solve problems are fascinated by it and they love it. So I seriously come in at least twice a week and have to solve a fire drill that's never been done before on the Amazon platform for one to 10 clients at a time simultaneously and still keep sales coming in through the door.

[00:55:25] Every company ever has an occasional fire drill. When you run an agency, it's a non-stop. issue of fire drills, non-stop. So the skill, those two skills, without a doubt in my mind are extremely valuable when it comes to selling products in e-commerce.

[00:55:39]Joseph: [00:55:39] I love asking that question by the way, because I love hearing about, uh, how the foundations that we set up for ourselves earlier on come with us and are, and are with us to this day. 

[00:55:49] Steven Pope: [00:55:49] That's a fantastic [?]question I should steal it.

[00:55:55] Joseph: [00:55:55] Uh, you have about three months before this episode goes live. So, uh, uh, within that time - 

[00:55:59] Steven Pope: [00:55:59] I'll rip [00:56:00] it, there you go.

[00:56:01] Joseph: [00:56:01] Allright, Steven. Uh, this has been a blast. Uh, I mean that sincerely last chance just to have the floor, if you want to remind people how to get in touch with you, get engaged. And if you have any parting wisdom that maybe I didn't quite give you the question for this is your chance to, uh, to leave us with it.

[00:56:18] Steven Pope: [00:56:18] I would say that the common default marketing philosophy that I've used in my entire career can be summarized with the Nike logo. Just do it. If you don't take action every single day to achieve your own personal objectives, then when are you going to ever achieve your objectives you just won't. So do you want to get in touch with me?

[00:56:39] Anybody who fills out a contact form @myamazonguy.com. I read every single one of those submissions and I respond as many times as I can. Even if you had just had a quick question, you want to learn something about Amazon stop by my YouTube channel, youtube.com/myamazonguy or stop by my website, myamazonguy.com and leave us, um, leave us with a question we'll be [00:57:00] happy to consult or give you, um, point you in the right direction. We literally do have more than 400 videos of content solving any Amazon problem ever. Um, because there's so many things that happen when you're selling on, on the platform. So we try and add back to the community as much as we possibly can, because, um, I know that if, if I add value to you over the course of the next year, when you are skilled and ready to hire an agency, we're gonna be the first guys you think of.

[00:57:26] Um, so thanks very much for having me on your podcast. I thought it was a little pleasure and the questions you ask are super unique and I, and I, I bet the people that follow you stick that whole hour because that's great. 

[00:57:36] Joseph: [00:57:36] That is one of my main goals is I definitely aim for uniqueness. Uh, I want you to have an experience unlike anything else. Well, yeah, I was just, uh, I'll just, I'll just, I'll just, I should just say thank you. And I should've just left it at that. One of the things that come from my perspective is that as I talk to people, there is this big picture of E-commerce. I'm seeing the ecosystem like a [00:58:00] massive puzzle. And what you've done today is, uh, you've probably given me like a couple of pieces that I can, that I can add into this because I haven't talked to anybody else about Amazon and it's going to be interesting the next Amazon person that I talked to down the line.

[00:58:14] Not that I know if we have one book that just yet, but, it's a big company there's more than one person working on it. So I'm curious about when I get to that point as well and how the next person's going to fit in to this big puzzle that I'm building in my head. So, Steven, thanks again. And, uh, we'll, we'll check in with you guys next week.

[00:58:33] Steven Pope: [00:58:33] I appreciate it Joseph thanks so much. 

[00:58:35] Joseph: [00:58:35] You might've found this show on any number of platforms, Apple Podcasts. Spotify, Google Play Stitcher or right here on Debutify. Whatever the case, if you enjoyed this content and want to help us thrive, please take a few moments to leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you think is best.

[00:58:55] We also want to hear from you. So whether you think you'd be a good guest or want to weigh in on [00:59:00] anything related to our show, you can email podcast@debutify.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok. Finally, this podcast is created by the passionate  team at Debutify. If you're ready to take the plunge into e-commerce or are looking to up your game, head over to debutify.com and see how you can change your life and the lives of many through what you do next. .


Written by

Joseph Ianni

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