eCommerceFuel

If you've been listening for the past few weeks, you already know I'm stepping away from the podcast in 2017 to focus on some new projects. Today I'm filling you in on those plans, which include getting back to writing fresh blog content for you all.

The last three years of podcasting have been an awesome experience, and I'll still be recording new episodes every month or so. And, the eCommerceFuel community will still be just as active as ever and now is an excellent time to join us. 

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2hoXfdk 

Direct download: EP182ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

X and I dig into some specifics about email deliverability best practices, including what makes up your email reputation. We talk about how to come back from being put on a blacklist and if it's possible to make it past Google's "Updates" tab into your customer's main inbox. X also shares several tools for managing email lists and avoiding spam traps that can immobilize your business email.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2hCiwPG 

Direct download: EP181ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Drew Sanocki of Nerd Marketing shares an episode of his podcast with us, all about how to utilize discount ladders in your business. Drew then answers some of my questions, including how to know a customer's average time to purchase and how to develop an even more nuanced approach to discounts.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2hqIxBT 

Direct download: EP180ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this episode, Taylor Pearson and I talk about knowing where to invest your time, and how to choose the right area of expertise for your skillset. Taylor also shares his thoughts on the popular publishing platform Medium, as well as his top 3 must-read books for entrepreneurs. 

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2fwOpYj 

Direct download: EP179ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Stephan Jacob is the co-founder of Cotopaxi, a high-end outdoor apparel manufacturer. Backed by ventured capital, he's creating a larger operation that genuinely incorporates social initiatives into all aspects of their business operation.

Stephan shares the challenges he's faced managing a company that has experienced rapid growth. We also discuss how to cultivate fierce brand loyalty, locate and hire top talent, and foster a company culture that empowers team members and supports sustainable growth.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2fLOwxa

Direct download: EP178ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We've got a quick but extensive accounting lesson for you today from Catching Clouds co-founder Scott Scharf. 

As an eCommerce accounting expert, Scott gets to see the inner workings of dozens of eCommerce businesses -- and he's here to tell us what separates the good from the great.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2fLg7BN 

Direct download: EP177ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Building a brand through a proprietary product may very well be the future of eCommerce for small businesses. Dave Bayless, of Human Scale Business, knows firsthand what it takes to grow and scale early-stage companies or inventions. He has a wealth of experience both on the private equity side and as a consultant helping entrepreneurs build their brands.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2frg8HL

Direct download: EP176ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

On this episode, Bill and I talk about the keynote speakers, panel discussions, and overall takeaways from this year's excellent eCommerceFuel Live in Savannah, GA.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2einpg6 

Direct download: EP175ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this episode, Chad talks about how he got into selling gun parts, as well as some of the things he's learned about business and marketing over the years as an entrepreneurial jack-of-all-trades.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2fbomYs 

Direct download: EP174ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this final episode from our beach mastermind group, Andrew moderates a discussion between Bill D'Alessandro and Zack Kanter about how Amazon will change in the coming years.

Will they consider buying out either UPS or FedEx? Will they simply drive them out of business? We attempt to answer these questions, but we also talk drone-delivery and discuss the future of eCommerce as a whole.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2enQ6cy 

Direct download: EP173ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

It seems like every über-successful entrepreneur has a special daily routine that sets them up to dominate the day. In this episode, we talk frankly about our own positive and negative habits and how they impact our work and personal lives.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2e9XtUJ 

Direct download: EP172ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Mastermind groups are a familiar topic in the eCommerce community. In the kickoff episode of this three-part series, we take a peek inside the recent entrepreneurs' retreat I attended, hosted by our frequent guest and good friend Bill D'Alessandro.

Together with Will Nathan of Homepolish, Zack Kanter of Proforged, and Marshall Hayes and Alex Herndon of Amplio Digital, we discuss many benefits of spending time with like-minded and highly motivated fellow entrepreneurs.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2e9TGFz 

Direct download: EP171ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Eric Bandholz  returns to eCommerceFuel to take about the benefits and challenges of scaling your team in a way that leads to productivity, why he decided against selling on Amazon, and how launching another company, UrbanBeardsman.com, is taking his business in a new direction.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2dvhVKc

Direct download: EP170ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Virtual reality is the talk of the town right now, and not just in tech circles. Today we're chatting with Daniel Beauchamp, head of VR at Shopify, to understand how virtual reality might change the face of eCommerce in the not-so-distant future.

We start with a basic overview of VR and headsets. We then dive into the fascinating potential of virtual reality as it could benefit eCommerce merchants and customers, and what it will take to generate a virtual store with 3D depictions of your products.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2cXLOI7 

Direct download: EP169ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

There's a lot to keep track of when you have a growing small business, and managing cash flow can be tricky.

Bill and Andrew have had their own encounters with cash flow issues in the past, so today they share those lessons. They talk about why you might be strapped for cash even if your revenue is booming, legitimate reasons for having cash flow issues, and the best ways for small businesses to raise more funds.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/2bZF0GR 

Direct download: EP168ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

You've probably heard that 2016 is the year messaging apps and bots really take off. We're joined this week by Paul Gray of Kik, who enlightens us about the popularity of messaging apps, the possibilities of bots, and how he would respond to naysayers of these up and coming technologies.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2ceJo6j 

Direct download: EP167ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Recently, we did a roundup of the eCommerce conferences you should have on your radar. This week, we're talking about getting the most out of whichever conferences you do attend. We discuss why networking should be your primary objective, and how to absorb as much as possible from each conference.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2ccyIpY 

Direct download: EP166ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Earlier this year, we kicked off a series with Kyle Goguen of PawStruck.com and began by looking at his goals. We wanted to follow Kyle throughout the year to see how things went – what were some of his successes and challenges on his eCommerce journey.

On this episode, we have an update on Kyle's story, specifically, in the area of warehousing and how he’s managing that aspect of his business from over a 1,000 miles away.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/2bmHwUi

Direct download: EP165ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Running a brick and mortar store has its challenges. Today's guest has figured out how to create both an open and warm store environment with an innovative and successful online presence. For this episode, Andrew heads down the street from his office to sit down with Paul Decker of Musicvilla who's at the helm of a musical institution here in Bozeman, MT. He shares how he navigates the challenges of keeping a brick and mortar business running, his approach to managing an effective team, and how Musicvilla leverages an eCommerce site to generate additional income. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Paul Decker of Musicvilla.com) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. I'm Andrew Youderian. Today on the show, I wanna bring you a company that's been on my radar for a long time. I live in Bozeman, Montana as you may know, and actually went to college here, and in college when I was playing a lot more guitar, I was a frequent visitor of the store called Music Villa right on Main Street. I spent way more than I probably should have on guitar equipment, and over the years, I've just kind of followed them and they've really impressed me, especially as I kinda get more into e-commerce, because they've built out, not just a great eCommerce presence online, which they have done well but, the way in which they've built the business. Paul specifically the owner, who I'll be chatting with, created such a interesting, fun, dynamic, open culture for his company. A lot of people talk about building company culture, but most of the time, it's just that, just talk. But what he's been able to do in Music Villa, both in the brick and mortar store, the feeling you get when you go in there, as well as the presence online with their videos that are funny, they're interesting, they've got a lot of uniqueness and character to them, it's just really...It's really impressive. So, I wanted to sit down with Paul, and understand how he was able to do that. So, left my office, walked down the street a block or two, and had a chance to sit down with Paul over a beer, and find out exactly how he did it. In our bed fast asleep. Andrew: Paul, thanks for coming on. Paul: Any time. No problem. Thank you. Andrew: We got the 87 mic, the beer that you graciously offered me. Paul: We're doing good. Paul's Background in Music Andrew: You've had the store since '97, right? Paul: Yes, '97 is when I came back. I was living out in Seattle, and I kind of moved back. My dad had the store, and so I kind of came back and started there. He was done and I walked in and took it from there. Andrew: Perfect. And so were you doing the music thing in Seattle or what were you doing there? Paul: I was, yes, I was playing in bands, and just left high school in '89. Right after high school, traveled with some bands for a while, ended up in Seattle. And one day, I'm like, "I think I'm ready to go home." So, I came back to Bozeman. Andrew: And what was the name of the band that you were playing at when you were in Seattle? Paul: Oh, gosh. Many bands, who knows. I got to play with the Jimi Hendrix cover band, and, you know, all kinds of stuff, but yeah. Andrew: And did you...You didn't have a business background coming in to run the store, did you? Paul: No, I didn't. I had... After high school and I never went to college and I didn't have any business background necessarily, but I did work for a corporate company, Musicland Group which was CD's and, you know, and that definitely taught me a lot about some business stuff. And then I just remember before I left Seattle, I went to a guitar center grand opening, and it was pretty eye opening too. I was like, "Wow." So, you know, I always kind of was in this marketing, you know, that... I enjoyed that aspect of it,

Direct download: EP164ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Entrepreneur Profiles -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Could there be benefits to going old school and connecting with people out of a physical store? Tony Rodono of City Prints Map Art and, more recently, MapShop.com did just that. Tony transitioned to working out of a brick-and-mortar shop, and shares his ups and downs of the shift, including interacting face to face with customers and managing a brand new team. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Tony Rodono of MapShop.com and City Prints Map Art) The Full Transcript Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey, hey, guys, Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today on the show, bringing you a discussion with community member, Tony Rodono, who is the longtime owner of City Maps, an online site selling beautiful map art, and who recently purchased a brick and mortar store in Charlotte, North Carolina with 8 to 10 employees, a pretty big acquisition for him. And I think in our space, we definitely have people that have those storefronts, but I'd say the majority of myself, the majority of our members in our community are probably online only. And so just a fascinating acquisition from my perspective. I wanted to talk to Tony about how it went, what was the rationale behind doing that, how's it been going, what are some of the challenges and some of the benefits of getting that brick and mortar business. Interesting discussion, so I hope you'll enjoy it and we'll go ahead and dive right in. Tony, so congratulations on closing your first brick-and-mortar purchase. April 1st, right? Tony You got it. Now, thanks so much, Andrew. Andrew: Yeah, that's fantastic. And the name of the brick and mortar that you purchased was mapshop.com, or at least that's the website, but it also has a corresponding physical building, correct? Tony: Correct. Yeah, everyone in town just refers to it as "The Map Shop". Andrew: The Map Shop, that's so cool. But before that, you were running a business called City Prints, right? Tony: That's correct. Andrew: Okay. And can you give us just a real...obviously both deal with...or The Map Shop deals with maps, but can you give just a quick overview of what both of those businesses kinda do? Background of Tony's Businesses Tony: Yeah, so City Prints, we launched that about four years ago and we make map art. So our pieces kinda look like modern, abstract art, but represent the places that you're most passionate about. The Map Shop is more on the traditional map space, so wall maps, folded maps and then we do, you know, a lotta custom maps too for businesses. Andrew: Got you. And you've been running it for four years and that was a lot of print-on-demand, you didn't necessarily have a storefront, it sounded like it was a pretty lean operation, right? Tony: Absolutely. That was kinda, you know, what my mentality was at the time, you know, really lean staff, mostly outsourced, no people problems, you know, work from home, no commute and hang out with the fam whenever I want. You know, complete freedom, low overhead, t-shirts and jeans everyday, you know, like you said, print-on-demand 100%, carried no inventory. So yeah, The Map Shop is none of those things. So it's definitely been a transition, but I'm having a ball with it. Andrew: So it begs the question for a lot of people, it sounds like their ideal situation. And it's not like you did...I mean, it's not like, you know, the reason I got into drop shipping was because it's not proprietary. It's got some great benefits of a lot of the things that you had where you don't have to deal with inventory, these kinda things,

Direct download: EP163ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Lifestyle & Growth -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Bill and Andrew resume last week's conversation to finish looking at how current trends in technology will have an impact on the future of our economy. Although these shifts may be a few years away, understanding the how these change can impact your business will help you prepare and not be caught off guard. This week, we speculate on what will disappear and just how these shifts impact the economy and thus your livelihood. The predictions we propose have the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with the economy. Tune into this final segment of our two-part conversation to find out how you can get prepared. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Bill D'Alessandro of Rebel CEO.) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey, guys. It's Andrew here. Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. And today, we're going to be continuing our discussion that Bill D'Alessandro and I...that we started last week, specifically talking about the massive world-shifting changes that are going to be headed your way in the coming years. And last week, specifically, we talked about robots and artificial intelligence. We talked about widespread virtual reality. We talked about negative interest rates and an extremely low-interest-rate environment for the coming future. And that's where we left it off. So what to dive in today is particularly about things that are going to be disappearing in the future that are going to have a big change on your life. So I'll go ahead and we'll pick it up right from where we left off last week. Enjoy! The Two Party System So moving into things that will be disappearing, the first one on here, and this is something that's really interesting, Bill, because we have different opinions on this. The two-party system. You and I were prepping, and we were like, "We've got to make sure that we do not turn this into just a political mock-fest," because I think you and I could go off for hours about what a nightmare elections... And apologies to people outside the U.S. This will be U.S.-centric. But most people would agree it's been a very unorthodox election campaign season. And I think this could be the final straw to break the two-party system, but you don't. And I'll let you maybe make the argument first. Bill: I would like you to make the argument first, and then I will rebut because I think... Andrew: Oh. Bill: Well, because I have not heard your angle on this, so I would like to hear it. Andrew: I think the two-party system in the U.S., of course, Democrats and Republicans, I feel like has been... It's kind of anachronism. And you have, I think, a lot of people our age, Bill. Not just like, you know, late 20s or early 30s. But going out 10 plus years in both sides, you have a very large portion of the population that is far more centrist, people that are maybe economically conservative but socially liberal, people that don't identify with the very extreme fringes of the Democratic and the Republican Parties. And for a long time, I think, traditionally, the two-party systems, they weren't quite as extreme, and so maybe that larger or kind of social norms were a little bit more divided. But I think that the parties historically weren't as extreme, and so people were able to relate to them more. But I think in the last 10 to 15 years, they've gotten so extreme on both sides. You have a lot of people that don't feel like they don't belong to any party at all. And I think this is the first election where you have just open rebellion in the Republican Party, and to a much lesser degree, in the Democratic Party.

Direct download: EP162ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Lifestyle & Growth -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Bill and Andrew pull out their crystal balls to peer into the future and predict how technology will usher in massive shifts in the economy. These shifts may be 5 - 20 or more years away, but they can potentially have a huge impact on your business. From self-driving cars to negative interest rates, large pools of employment sectors could face the chopping block as our society embraces the next generation of technological advances. Tune in to join the conversation so you can prepare your business for a future that may already be upon us in this two part series. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Bill D'Alessandro of Rebel CEO.) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow ecommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey guys, it's Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today's episode. Today on the show, gonna be...do something a little bit different. Obviously, we focus on ecommerce and business here but from time to time, like to mix things up, and want to talk about massive world shifting changes headed your way from kind of a macrolevel, both because it's an interesting to talk about and also potentially because, you know, could have an impact on your business. So here to kinda peer into the crystal ball with me, mister Bill D'Alessandro. Bill, how you doing buddy? Bill: I'm doing very well and I did bring my crystal ball today. I'm excited. Andrew: Oh yeah, you got one of those crystal ball, or are we talking, like, the magic eight ball you shake and look into it? Bill: Yup, yup, exactly. After every question you ask me, I'm just gonna tell you what the eight ball says. Andrew: It's interesting, the original notes that we put together here, we had to par down because we had so many different things that we're like, "This is gonna be, like, an hour and a half discussion." Not that that necessarily means that we'd be any more accurate. I don't know, I think it's pretty safe to say, maybe everyone throughout history's already said this, but I feel like there's like a lotta change on the horizon. Bill: I think there is too and the topics you have picked for us today are all topics upon which I have very strong opinions. So this should be a good, good episode. Andrew: And there's a couple that I thought we'd be in agreement on and was not the case. So hopefully we can keep it civil for people, what do you think? Bill: I think we can try, yes. We're just screaming at each other by the end. Robots Will Run the World Andrew: Yeah. All right, let's dive into it. So Bill, the first prediction that we have, thing that's coming, and I'm gonna break these down into things that are coming and things that are disappearing in terms of massive shifts and kinda the world in general. And the first one is a pretty broad category and it encompassed a lot things that I thought about, that you thought about, and we kinda talked about it. It's really what I'm gonna call it, the robot in AI revolution in terms of just robots, but smart computers, so much automation. Automation has been a big part of the last, you know, 100 years one way or another, but just the rate at which it's gonna accelerate, the rate at which it's going to really make a lot of jobs and occupations that we have now completely unfeasible. It's got some really huge implications on in terms of just the convenience side of things, the efficiency side, but also in terms of social aspects of what do you do in a world where, you know, a good percentage of people, they don't have the skills to be meaningfully employed. So that's kind of a high level thing, a lot that we can unpack about that,

Direct download: EP161ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Lifestyle & Growth -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Continuing with our series on Amazon, this week we're talking about research tools available to help those selling in niche markets. Greg Mercer, the founder of Jungle Scout, a popular Amazon market research tool for sellers, discusses how sellers can weed out saturated segments to find profits.  Jungle Scout uses Amazon's Best Sellers rankings to help you make educated decisions on what to buy and sell on Amazon. Greg dives in about the pros and cons of developing products vs reselling on the Amazon platform. He also provides an in-depth review of the tools he uses to conduct market research, which helps him to identify products that are in demand. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Greg Mercer of Jungle Scout.) Andrew: Hey guys, it's Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. And today we're continuing on with our podcast series about Amazon. Specifically, we're gonna be talking about niche research today in 2016. A lot has changed over the last couple of years, but we wanna find out what's working, what you should be thinking about if you're gonna be launching a product or products on the platform today. And joining me to talk about this is Greg Mercer who is the founder of Jungle Scout which is extremely popular market analysis and research tool for Amazon. It lets you go in and you can see, you know, really it gives you like a sense how much revenue certain products are making on Amazon as well as a slew of other information. And Greg's got a lot of experience working with Amazon, running his own Amazon business, and understands the analytics and the market research side extremely well. So hope you enjoy it. I had a lot of fun chatting with Greg about this as I'm a bit of a Amazon newbie myself, and hope you find it useful as well. We'll get right into it. Greg, great to have you on. Thanks for coming. Greg: Absolutely, I appreciate you having me on, Andrew. What is Jungle Scout? Andrew: For those that may not be familiar with you, can you give us a quick overview of what Jungle Scout, which is kind of your primary product, what it is and how it works? Greg: Yeah, absolutely. So it's before that you know, like just a few years ago, I used to work in a corporate job. I wasn't really happy with it. I escaped that by starting to sell on Amazon. That kind of led into Jungle Scout which is a product research tool for Amazon sellers, so it's a software product. And what we've done with this, we've gathered a whole bunch of data, analyzed different data points, and so forth to help sellers make educated purchasing decisions, and I help them find good products to sell on Amazon. Andrew: And the data, so you can actually go to a product, press the button and then it will give you a bunch of data, but included in that is the number that are sold per month as a well as the revenue generated by that product for the seller, correct? Greg: Yes, that's correct. So that's a little bit of like our secret sauce is the sales estimate. And a lot of your listeners probably know Amazon doesn't personally release that data. What they do release is something they call a Best Sellers Rank, and from that we've developed algorithms by tracking a few hundred thousand different products on how that Best Sellers Rank correlates to the unit sales on a monthly basis, We've developed those algorithms, we update them each month, and from there, you can get pretty darn accurate estimates of how much any product sells on Amazon. Using Spitly and Review Kick Andrew: And you also have a couple of other things as well, Splitly and Review Kick. Can you just touch briefly on what both of those are? Greg: Yeah. Sure thing. So Review Kick is a review acquisition management platform. So if you're looking to get reviews on your Amazon produc...

Direct download: EP160ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Case Studies -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

One of the most crucial factors to having a successful product on Amazon is the quality of your customer reviews. This week, Jeffrey Cohen, Director of Business Development at SellerLabs, joins us to explain how to garner better reviews for your products and the strategies to create incentivized reviews. Jeff also shares up-to-date tools that bring organic reviews to your product listings and can boost the number of reviews your products get.  Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Jeffrey Cohen of SellerLabs) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast. The show dedicated to helping high six and seven figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur Andrew Youderian. Hey guys. It's Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerce Fuel Podcast. Thanks so much for joining me on the episode. Today, we're gonna be continuing our series on Amazon, and specifically talking about reviews. You know, getting reviews, how they impact, you know, the search algorithm, how important they are, some of the implications behind incentivized reviews. All this kind of stuff we'll be tackling today. And joining me to talk about it is Jeff Cohen from Seller Labs, and you may not have heard of Seller Labs, but there's a good chance you've heard of the products that they put out. Their most popular one is called Feedback Genius, and it's a tool that allows you to affectively set up automated email campaigns to communicate with your Amazon customers. I get feedback from 'em and drive reviews to Amazon. They also run a site called Snagshout, where they help facilitate getting reviews for your products on Amazon through, a lot of times, giving away products or discounting products, things like that. So those are the two businesses that Jeff is involved with. He knows a tremendous amount about Amazon, but particularly, how reviews impact everything. So without further ado, let's go ahead and dive into my chat with Jeff about reviews on Amazon. I think its interesting understanding Vine a little bit better now. You know, there's been a lot of press about non-legitimate, like paid reviews, which is against Amazon's terms of service. I know, you know, about Snagshout totally doesn't plan those at all. But it'll be interesting knowing that Amazon is very heavily in creating reviews through free products as well. I didn't know that they were so entrenched in that, especially with only offering it to people who sold directly to them. All that being said, what are Amazon's terms of service about generating reviews in terms of payments, giveaways? What can you do, what can't you do? Generating Reviews for Payment or Giveaways Jeff: Yeah, so here's kind of the easiest way to say it. Amazon allows you to sell products at a discount. Amazon allows you to give products away for free. Amazon does not allow you to sell products at a discount, or give them away for free, and require a review. You can encourage your review, but you cannot require it. And so Snagshout does not require a review when the product is given away. But we do ask our buyers to leave reviews once the product has been received, and so it is semantics. But it does make a big difference, and so what Amazon is going after are sites. So there are some sites out there who will say, "Our reviewers understand their obligation to leave reviews." Well, your buyer cannot have an obligation to leave a review. They cannot be provided an incentive to leave a review. You cannot provide the product to a family member, and ask them for review. And you cannot sell a product, never ship a product, and then have somebody write a review. And those are the main things Amazon has been going after. So Fiverr, there were literally people on Fiverr who were running deals,

Direct download: EP159ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Lifestyle & Growth -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Fahim Naim is a former Senior Category Manager at Amazon and founder of eShopportunity. Over the course of his time at Amazon, Fahim did P&L management for a multi-hundred million dollar category, managed relationships with vendors, and negotiated terms and costs with vendors and his team. We take a deep dive into the ways to make your Amazon listings fully optimized, as well as the common mistakes sellers make using Amazon's platform. If you are an Amazon seller, you definitely don't want to miss the vendor advice that Fahim has to offer. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Fahim Naim of eShopportunity) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow ecommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey guys. It's Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today on the show I'm joined by Fahim Naim who is the cofounder of eShopportunity.com and a previous category manager at Amazon. So Fahim's got a ton of experience in this space with Amazon. We will talk about Amazon mistakes which was originally the intended focus of this discussion but we branched out a lot more. Particularly of interest to myself was the difference between FBA, Vendor Central, Vendor Express, how to negotiate with Amazon if they're buying product directly from you, which model, selling to third party or first party makes the most sense in different circumstances. So interesting discussion. I hope you enjoy it. But first, before we dive in, I want to do something I haven't done in quite a while and that is do a first sale shout out. I'm really excited to do this one for Laura Serino who...if the name sounds familiar it's because she's our community manager, she's the podcast producer here. I'm sure you've heard her or one of her episodes she's produced here on the show. So Laura, congrats on the first sale and her business is nhislandapothecary.com. Laura's been into the natural skin care space for quite a while and she's created her own proprietary line of skin care products with a little bit of island flare mixed in there. She lives on an island in Maine. So help Laura ramp up her business enough to where she can quit her job with eCommerceFuel. Check out nhislandapothecary.com. If that ever happens I'll be very sad to lose such an incredibly team member but thrilled for her and her business but yeah. So regardless, check it out, congrats to Laura and with that being said, let's go ahead and get in to today's episode with Fahim. So Fahim, before eShopportunity you actually worked at Amazon. What was your role there? Fahim's Amazon Background Fahim: I was a category manager. Managed one of the largest categories on the retail side of Amazon. Andrew: And what does that mean, to be a category manager? Fahim: Manage the first party so the direct part of the business. Anything that you would sell wholesale to Amazon. I was in the consumer electronics world under the PC components and peripherals part of Amazon. So essentially, manage all relationships with vendors, pricing, marketing, P&L ownership, forecasting, etc. Andrew: Do you miss it and why did you leave? Fahim: I do miss it although my consulting role and agency helps us stay in the game. The major reason I left was to move to San Francisco because of my wife who had to transfer for her work. At the same time, while everything was going well and could've happily stayed at Amazon, wanted to get out and do my own thing and get my skin in the game a little bit. So found a perfect balance with coming down to Bay Area, staying in the ecommerce space and still talking about going on Amazon as well as overall ecommerce. Andrew: Yeah,

Direct download: EP158ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Lifestyle & Growth -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Amazon and the eCommerce merchant. It's a Shakespearean tale where love and hate is often a blurred line. There's no doubt that for many merchants, Amazon is a huge source of revenue for their product. But there's also plenty of pitfalls when you decide to sell on Amazon. To kick off our month-long series about all things Amazon, we've got a reality check about the potential problems with selling on Amazon. While it presents many opportunities for increasing your products' reach, it's important to be aware of the company's policies that have undermined many eCommerce businesses. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Bill D'Alessandro of Rebel CEO) Andrew: Hey guys, Andrew here and a quick note before we get into that official theme music. Today is going to kick off a four part month-long series on Amazon. If you're in eCommerce, which you probably are, obviously that's a huge aspect of what we're doing these days. So over the next month we'll be covering all sorts of different topics Amazon-related, and I want to kick off this series with just an episode just to make you think a little bit more carefully about some of the things you should be considering from a downfall perspective on Amazon. Obviously a lot of opportunity there, but given when we're focusing on it and given the fact that some people make Amazon sound like, you know, just a money machine, I wanted to kind of have a reality check to launch us into this series. So hope it's useful, hope you make a bunch of money on Amazon, and hope you enjoy. Thanks. Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey guys, it's Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today, talking about the dangers of Amazon and the FBA business model. You know, Amazon is the talked-about game in eCommerce these days. Big courses coming out, you know money seemingly just falling freely from the skies, it's incredible, right? It's like the old, old days of AdWords when they were three cents a click. There's no downside! But there definitely are some pitfalls that we want to talk about today as a reality check, hat tip to David Heacock for the inspiration and some of the finer points on this episode. Thank you, David. And joining me to really dive into it, a man who knows a ton about Amazon, Mr. Bill D'Alessandro. Bill, welcome sir. Bill: Yup! Glad to be here. This is the topic I love to talk about. Andrew: Yeah, it's interesting, and you've been on, like I said, I mean you've been on Amazon for years. I have very little experience with it. It'll be interesting to kind of take the opposite approach of what I think has been a lot of ra-ra-ra cheering over the last, you know, two years or so. Bill: Yeah, and some of it well-deserved, but not without potential other sides of the coin. Beware the Hijacked Niches Andrew: Bill, I think the biggest thing that stands out as a potential danger of going onto Amazon is that building your core business on Amazon is, ultimately, is going to lead to heartbreak. A lot of people, I'm not sure if they realize, Amazon is not your friend at all. They've got a long track record of hijacking niches, of selling directly out from under merchants, and if you don't own the platform off Amazon somewhere, you're gonna get hosed eventually. Bill: Yeah, I think talk to anybody who used to sell any of the products now covered under the Amazon Basics program. You know, all the cables, all the SD cards, you know Amazon is more than willing to private-label their own stuff and compete with you directly, you know, obviously at much lower cost and with preferential algorithmic ra...

Direct download: EP157ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Lifestyle & Growth -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

It's been eight years since Right Channel Radios first opened its eCommerce doors. After a cart migration, major website overhaul and lots of lessons learned over the years, the business has officially been sold. Today we're talking about the biggest takeaways Drew and Andrew walked away with after selling eCommerce businesses. It takes more planning, strategizing and moments of doubt than one might think. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Drew Sanocki of Nerdmarketing.com) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey guys, it's Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, thanks so much for tuning in today. Joined by Mr. Drew Sanocki, the man from New York City consultant and business owner extraordinaire. Drew, how are you doing buddy? Drew: Good, how are you doing? Andrew: Good, I was looking at Nerd Marketing and things are looking sharp over there man, you've got a pretty beautiful brand and site with some awesome content. Drew: It's getting there. I read some book on design for founders, I think it's called "Design for Founders," taught me a lot about typography which I got into, you can sink a lot of time into that but I love it now, it's really interesting, I recommend it for anybody who is looking to brand a site or a blog. Andrew: Yeah, it looks super sharp, I was jotting a bunch of notes down and stuff that I'm totally going to swipe for the eCommerceFuel site, yeah it looks sharp man. Drew: Oh fun, good. Andrew: But yeah, today talking about some kind of crazy, crazy news. I sold the business. Drew: I know. Congratulations. Andrew: Yeah thank you. Sold Right Channel Radios which is the business I've had for, man, I guess where it all started back in 2008 so owned it for eight years and just this last couple of weeks ended up closing on the sale. Drew: So is this the first official announcement? Andrew: Publicly it is, I've been chatting with people in the community about it, the private community but in terms of public announcement, yeah, this is where it's getting broken. Drew: Well that's great, well congratulations, this is your second exit. Andrew: Yeah. Drew: Isn't it? Andrew: Yeah, thank you, this is my second one, sold TrollingMotors.net a couple of years ago and this is number two. Drew: That's great, got all sorts of questions for you. Andrew: Yeah, hit me man, it's kind of strange doing a podcast about selling your own business but you were kind enough to come on and help me do it so it wasn't just me talking to people. Drew: Well I'm happy to be here, I sold my first business, it seems like ancient history now, but back in 2011, 2012. Andrew: Yeah, Design Public, right? Drew: Yup and then we sold a business where I was the CMO, Karmaloop, we sold that about a month ago. Andrew: You're partnered up with a private equity group for that, right? Drew: Yes, I mean they did the deal, I did the diligence on the deal, came on board, helped return the company to profitability and we sold, they made most of the money off of the deal unfortunately, but yeah. Andrew: Probably it's safe to say they probably brought most of the money to the deal, right? Drew: Yeah, I was a mere pawn. Andrew: Yeah so I thought it would be kind of fun to just kind of talk quickly about why I sold, who I sold it to and then get into some lessons, both kind of some lessons I learned from the sale and also get your kind of thoughts on it. Drew: Sounds good. Long-Term Prepping Before Putting Up a "For Sale" Sign Andrew: So probably the biggest takeaway for me, and this is something I realized after the fact,

Direct download: EP156ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Buying & Selling Stores -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

A team of 40 virtual employees across multiple brands. Sounds like a dream team, but a lot goes into managing a large virtual team. Ezra Firestone of Smart Marketer shows us how he currently manages his businesses and builds his teams virtually, including how he determines who he needs to hire and how he keeps his employees productive and organized. Ezra weighs in with the current tools and strategies he uses to keep his team efficient and highly-successful.   Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Ezra Firestone of Smart Marketer)  Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey guys, Andrew here and welcome to eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. And today, I have a returning guest on the show. He sort of hasn't been on for a while. I've been just relentlessly going after his PR man. I keep getting turned down over and over and over again. And finally got through, and have the pleasure of introducing Mr. Ezra Firestone back as a guest. Ezra, how you doing man? Ezra: I'm doing great man, happy to be here. I can be difficult to get a hold of. I'm kind of a hermit. But no, I'm super excited to be back on your show. I think you've got the best show in the game so, happy to be here. eCommerce All-Stars Andrew: Thanks, man. Your gate keepers are brutal, dude, you know. I'm just kidding. You've got an event coming up which I want to talk about off the bat, eCommerce All-Stars? Ezra: Right off the bat, all right. Thanks, man. Andrew: Yeah. Ezra: Yeah. So you know, obviously, we do eCommerce and we love to share what works for us. And so our community has been asking for a long time for us to put together an event where everyone could kind of get together, get to know each other, and we could go in-depth over the course of a couple of days. And my experience has been that there's really no better way to experience, sort of, a jolt, a boost. What's that stuff in when they put in cars, like in the movies, and you press the button and you go really fast? Andrew: Nitro. Ezra: Yeah. There's no better way to have that experience in your business, to nitro it, I don't know if that's what you call it, but then to kind of let... Andrew: Maybe that's probably not nitro. That's actually probably not the right term. Ezra: Okay, whatever it is. It's like... Andrew: But yeah, all right. Ezra: We're internet nerds. We're not, you know, pop-culturally literate. But to sort of let go of the rest of your world for a little bit, step out of your routine in life and step into a couple of days where you just really focus on your business and the connections that you make and the people that you meet. And it's just been really beneficial to me over the years. And so we've always kind of done events. This is our first one in a while. We're going to make it a yearly thing. We're really excited about it. Andrew: Yeah, and in eCommerce All Stars, you're doing it in San Diego, I think, and it's in August. I actually...kind of ironic we're talking about it because it is already sold out, but you're doing a live stream of it for people who are interested in just catching the information, right? Ezra: Yeah. You know, if you want to have that same experience but from home, you can join the live stream which I think is cool. You know, I always love when I can't make it out to an event or an event sells out, to be able to get the live stream and get access to the content. So we will be doing that. You can check that out at smartmarketer.com/allstars and we'll do it every year, in San Diego at this time. So hopefully, I'll catch you at next year's, live.

Direct download: EP155ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Entrepreneur Profiles -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

You can buy anything online, but that doesn't mean every niche is a profitable one. Today we spoke to three different pioneering niche merchants from our community to talk about their seemingly impossible niches and how they've managed to turn them into full-time enterprises. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your hosts Andrew Youderian and Laura Serino of eCommerceFuel.com, Chris Bosdal of TastyWorms.com, Josh Manley of IronFenceShop.com, and Will Samuels of EveryNappy.co.uk) The Full Transcript Will: I was worried about putting myself out there. You know, being the nappy guy. I actually have that on my business card for Every Nappy. It says, "Will, nappy guru." And that's fine. I think you can just sort of own it. Laura: Dried meal worms. It's a niche within a niche within a very popular niche online, the pet industry. Chris Bosdal is the owner of TastyWorms.com where he sells dried mealworms. Here's Chris. Meal Worms as a Viable Niche Chris: I started to grow these meal worms myself in our garage basically. And we quickly ended up with more than we could possibly use. So at that point in time, I kind of realized, hey, you know, this could be a business. These things grow pretty darn fast and we were spending hundreds of dollars on them, and now we have hundreds of dollars' worth of worms. So let's try to sell them to some people. Laura: Tasty Worms originally went after animal rehabbers for potential clients, but they quickly found out that despite having the need, they didn't have the money to purchase from them. Dried meal worms aren't cheap. A 10-pound bag costs around $90, so around the same per pound price you'd pay for a really good steak. Chris: We didn't really know who the customers would be, I guess is the problem. So yeah, we started up an eCommerce site with a product called Drupal and we started buying some Google AdWords and yeah, we quickly learned that that was also bad. We were basically, you know, paying money to not get any customers. Laura: eBay helped them find customers. They started to build their base simply by slipping in paper into orders that reminded them to visit their website instead of just their eBay store. Chris: I remember saying that when we got started, if we could make one sale per day, I would be happy, right? Because, you know, it's an extra $5 or $10 in my pocket or what have you, right, that $150 a month, I'd be happy with that. Now if we got one sale a day, it would be a complete disaster. Laura: After two years, Chris was able to quit his full-time job to work on the business. Chris: The problem with insects, even if they're dead, they have or had eggs. And insect eggs are notoriously hard to destroy. So there's always that possibility that there's something alive in there, you know. And sometimes you'll even find that with like if you purchase flour, or wheat bran, or oatmeal at the store, sometimes it will develop moths or beetles. And that's the same type of problems that we could run into. So yes and no. They're not considered alive but they are, you know, you can't just ship them to any old country you feel like. You Really Can Find Anything on Amazon Laura: There are definitely restrictions when you're dealing with selling insects online. For instance, their model can only ship to the US, but not overseas where customs are strict. One place they can ship to, an Amazon warehouse. Chris: I would say that they restrict dried insects less than they restrict chocolate. Laura: Their original commitment to welfare and rehabilitation for animals sets them apart from other sites in their niche. Setting Themselves Apart From Other Sites Chris: What makes us stand out is that first of all, we offer discounts to anybody who's like an AZA accredited member. That's the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If you're a licensed animal rehabber,

Direct download: EP154ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Wondering what it's like to sell your business? Or how much you can actually make through passive investments? Both are more complex than you might think, and it pays to hear from someone who knows both. Ian Schoen of TropicalMBA.com and the Dynamite Circle answers questions about recently selling his own small business, the idea that passive investments can build substantial wealth, and building entrepreneurship communities. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Ian Schoen of TropicalMBA.com) Andrew: Hey guys, Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerce Fuel Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in. Today on the show, I’m joined by Ian Schoen from the TropicalMBA blog and podcast. He’s also one of the men behind the Dynamite Circle, which is a private community for location-independent entrepreneurs. I really always enjoy talking with Ian, and our conversation today covers a lot of different topics. We talk about his recent business sale, we talk about how to invest money. Both of those topics are a couple of episodes that I really enjoyed from his podcast recently, and we can get into those. And then finally, we talk about running private communities. We both run private communities for entrepreneurs and talk about some of the challenges, some of the things we really enjoy, get a little bit inside baseball on that. It’s not eCommerce specific per se, but if you're in the community or it’s something you’re interested in, hopefully it’s something that you enjoy. Ian, you and your partner Dan recently sold the business, congratulations sir! Ian: Thank you. Yeah. Andrew: Are you sick of talking about it yet? Ian: No, I’m not, I’m not actually. Andrew: What caused you guys to sell? Ian: Oh man. Well, I think essentially what happened was we started the business in 2008 – at the time I think I was about twenty-five, twenty-six years old, and you know that was a long time ago. I feel like I’m a different person than I was then. You know, I felt like I wanted different things out of my business and my life, and we just kind of reached an interesting point. I think one of the feelings, one of the emotions that I had at the time when we decided to sell was that it’s all been like high-fives and good times, essentially. I mean, there was some growing pains and whatnot, but we never missed payroll, there was always plenty of cashflow, it was just really good times. And I thought, "let’s just leave this on a high note, ‘cause I’m not super passionate about the business anymore, and I don’t wanna fake it to my employees anymore that I’m not into this business, so let’s just leave it on a high note." Ian's Insight Into Selling His Business Andrew: And you said you wanted different things out of your life and your business – what specifically were you looking for in terms of change, things that the business wasn’t fulfilling, apart from the passion aspect and selling at the top – which makes a lot of sense – what was that underlying thing you kind of alluded to? Ian: I think just change in general, you know? Like I said, I started the business when I was in like my mid-twenties and quite some time had gone by, so I just wanted to see kind of what other options were out there, you know? I felt like I had conquered that business in a way, or at least the skill set, and for me and I think a lot of small business owners, that’s kind of what you do, right? I mean we were selling like hospitality equipment and although I was passionate about that in the beginning, it became more about the process of doing business. So through the process learned SEO, learned ad words, learned how to manufacture products in China, learned how to build a team of fifteen. So kind of all these things that I wanted to learn in that business I learned; I just didn’t feel like there was much...

Direct download: EP153ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

The dynamic duo returns to help answer listener questions. Today we tackle a wide range of topics from how to structure your business joint ventures to what the best sources are for buying and selling eCommerce sites. If you've got questions, Andrew and Drew have the answers. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Drew Sanocki of Nerdmarketing.com) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six- and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow e-commerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey guys, it's Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in to the show. Today on the show, going back and doing a round of your questions, reader questions from the blog and online, just doing a random grab bag of questions we thought were interesting to tackle. And joining me to really answer all these... Drew: The tough ones. Andrew: The tough ones. I'm going to take all the softballs, Drew, and hand you off all the really, the ones I have been stressing out about. The men, all the hard answers, Mr. Sanocki, how are you doing, sir? Drew: Good. How are you? Andrew: Good, good. Drew, things in New York well? Drew: Things in New York are great. It's getting warmer and spring is just around the corner. Andrew: And you recently sold Karmaloop, correct? Drew: We did. I did not, we did, but yeah, that was a quick turnaround. We bought it out of bankruptcy last summer and just sold it a week ago to a sneaker retailer on the West Coast. Andrew: That's fantastic. Congratulations, sir. Drew: Thanks. It was a great chance to really try out a lot of the things that I preach on my blog, and they work so it was a good case study. Andrew: Yeah, well, you mentioned that a lot of the tactics and things you talked about at your talk at ECF Live which we'll link, well, it's available to all eCommerceFuel members in the community, but a lot of the things from that talk are the things you used to really turn that retailer around. Drew: Yeah, that's right. One of the first things I did was I talk a lot about figuring out who your best customers are and then building the business around that group of customers. And I spent about a month doing that at Karmaloop, and once I figured out who that group was, the next step was really developing the marketing campaigns that kept those customers around, acquired more of them and kept them buying. So that took about a year to implement and it worked. We brought it from a money-losing company, month-over-month losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, to about break even and that's when we sold it. Andrew: That's awesome. Well, congratulations, sir. That's a pretty big accomplishment. Nice little cap in the feather, that's really cool. Drew: Thanks. Andrew: All right, sir. Should we get into some questions? Drew: Let's do it. "In skincare, do you start in-house and small or go straight to China?" Andrew: So the first question we've got is from Matt, and Matt says, "Hey guys, listen to the podcast and love it. I'm looking at starting a store with beauty and face care products similar to Nurture My Body which is Bill's store, but in a different vertical. If you were starting a business like this, would you immediately try to set things up with a Chinese supplier and have them develop formulas for you, or would you do everything small in-house to perfect the formulas first? A little stuck on which avenue is the best to try and pursue." Drew, what are your thoughts? Drew: I don't really know a lot about this kind of production, but it seems like you'd want to do something like this domestically just to figure out the formulation before you deal with sourcing anything from overseas.

Direct download: EP152ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

User experience. This phrase has been tossed around a lot in the last few years, but few have actually mastered applying it in all aspects of their business. Most businesses focus on the wire-framing and usability testing, but there are some even easier ways to reel in customers and keep them coming back. Jason Broughton, head of UX for Zappos, weighs in on how to make your website useful, usable, and an experience that will ensure customers will keep coming back for more.   Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Jason Broughton of Zappos.com) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey, you guys, it's Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today on the show, talking about UX, otherwise known as user experience, and joined by Jason Broughton, who's the head of UX at Zappos. Zappos, of course, is the very well-known shoe and apparel retailer. Jason's got an incredible depth of experience doing this both at Zappos and a number of other companies. And we dive into what UX is. UX is one of those issues that is a little bit ambiguous, sometimes. What it is, the process at Zappos for improving UX, how data-driven they are, some of his favorite tools. We talk about the future of site usability and what's coming down the pipe in terms of changes, things that are coming down the road, a lot of different ground. So I came away with a pretty substantial to-do list for my own site, and I hope it's something that you find applicable as well. We'll go ahead and dive right in. Jason, UX is a term that gets thrown around a lot online, and I think people are very familiar with what paid advertising is, what web design is, what programming is. But UX is a little fuzzier for a lot of people in terms of what it actually means. Can you give us a sense of what it means to you and what it encompasses? What Exactly Is UX? Jason: Yeah, it's a good question. To me, UX is a lot of the things that you just mentioned, plus it has a lot to do with the usability of your site, the accessibility of the site, and the overall pleasure a customer has interacting with your site. It needs to be both useful, usable, and delightful, and not necessarily in that order, but we try to encapsulate all three of those. If your site isn't useful, no one is going to come to it. If it's not usable, people have a hard time interacting with it. And lastly, if it's not delightful, the loyalty of your product is not going to be what it could be. Andrew: That puts a lot of weight on your shoulders, it sounds like. Jason: It can. Yeah, it does. But we have a great team. And it is a lot of stress at some times. The Most Important Thing to the Zappos Customer Andrew: What is most important to the Zappos customer in terms of user experience? Obviously, Zappos is a brand, is immensely focused on customer service, that's what you guys have built your brand on. But how does that translate into the actual user experience of the web experience, of the website? Jason: Yeah. I think that customer experiences encapsulates all of your customers' touch-points, whether it's over the phone or on the website, or when they un-box to package. User experience is more about the interaction touch-point on the website. So it's when someone's interacting with the website, specifically. And so a lot of the things that we have to worry about, and our users care a lot about, is accurate information from pricing, to being sure that there's trust when they're going through the checkout process, so the usefulness, the usability is quick. And then also,

Direct download: EP151ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Trying to drum up some press for your brand or business can be a full-time job. And with all the effort that goes into trying to get media coverage, how worth it does it end up being for your brand? Today, we're looking at three success stories of landing major press and how each business was affected differently. Join us as we dive into how you can get press for your business and your eCommerce store and what you need to do in order to woo reporters. Even more importantly, we uncover whether expensive PR firms are worth the price and whether you can build a business with one big press mention. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian and Laura Serino of eCommerceFuel.com, Kirby Allison of HangerProject.com, Mac Bishop of WoolAndPrince.com, Allen Walton of SpyGuySecurity.com) and Elaine Pofeldt of ElainePofeldt.com Andrew: Hey guys, Andrew here with a quick message before we get started. If you remember from last week we are running an experiment with one of our community members David Heacock to help him decide if he should advertise on the podcast for the Tim Ferriss Show. So we gave him a couple spots on the eCommerceFuel podcast and we're going to follow up and let you know how this pans out, what the response was, what it a success or a flop. Stay tuned for that. David owns FilterBuy.com where he sells high-quality air filters for your home or office furnace that he manufactures and here's three reasons why you should pick one up. First, the air quality in your home or office is probably pretty terrible. Think about it. When was the last time you changed your filter? I know I can't remember either. It's probably been years and years and you've got filthy air floating around giving everyone you love asthma, like I mentioned last time, potentially allergies. Get a new filter. The second reason you should is that David makes this incredibly easy. Go to FilterBuy.com, sign up for a subscription, you get a new filter on a regular basis right to your door. And finally, it keeps away these crazy expensive HVAC repair guys. I had one come to my house, it's astronomical what they charge. He left $500 later and it's money well spent to invest in the longevity of your heating system. So check them out at filterbuy.com/ecommercefuel. You'll get 15%-20% off everything he offers. We'll be following up with the results of this experiment in the coming weeks so stay tuned on how it all turns out. Mac: He said he hadn't washed his suit for an entire year. That got worldwide media attention. So something about not washing your clothes freaks people out, and people want to read it. Andrew: Earlier this year I was starting my morning with a cup of coffee and a copy of the Wall Street Journal when a familiar name jumped out at me. One of our community members Kirby Allison and his business The Hanger Project were profiled in a page one story, right on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. My first reaction was excitement as it's so cool to see someone you're rooting for get major press like this. And my second reaction was one of immediate curiosity. How in the world had Kirby managed to pull off press of this magnitude? Well thats what we're gong to talk about today. How to get press for your business? How do you woo reporters? Are expensive PR firms worth the price and can you really build a business with one big piece of press? Our podcast producer and community manager Laura Serino talks with three of our community members about how they did it and how you can too. Laura: Kirby Allison runs the Hanger Project, a luxury clothing and shoe care line. Kirby has always taken a traditional approach to getting press. He started out by mailing Hanger samples to fashion reporters, and it landed him his very first big break in a column in the Wall Street Journal called "The Catalog Critic,

Direct download: EP150ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

The art of sorting out your customers, weeding out the qualified from the non-qualified, is one of the most important skills you can develop in business. There are hundreds of tools out there that claim to help you to weed out these customers, but none as effective as the 80/20 rule. This week AdWords guru Perry Marshall is here to discuss the 80/20 rule of marketing strategies. We discuss everything you need to know about predicting what your market will be spending, getting those higher-ticket sales, and making your mark in your industry. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Perry Marshall of PerryMarshall.com) Andrew: Before we dive into the episode, I want to tell you about an experiment we're going to run over the next couple of weeks. One of our private community members David Heacock posted a discussion about asking for advice about if he should advertise his eCommerce store on the Tim Ferriss podcast. And its really expensive to do that given Tim's reach and before he made the plunge and made a huge investment we said well hey, tell you what, what if we use the eCommerceFuel podcast as a little experiment to gauge if potentially it would be a good idea based on the reaction of our podcast listeners, the percentage that listen to the episode and take action and compare to Tim Ferriss' rates and get an idea if this is a good investment. So thats what we're going to do. And we're going to follow up on this after they run to let you know if they worked. Did you guys actually respond? Was it useful? If you have an eCommerce store, should this be something that you consider? Should be kinda interesting. At this point you're wondering what does David sell. David is the owner of Filterbuy.com where he manufactures high efficiency quality air filters for your home furnace. And if you're listening I could tell you to buy one of these filters because it's going to increase the life of your furnace and keep away the $500/hour HVAC guys. I could try to scare you with that. I could also try to scare you by saying hey you've probably got a nasty filter in your home right now, the air quality in your home is terrible and more than likely it's giving all of your family, everyone you love, your young children, chronic asthma and allergies. I have asthma and I'm fairly certain it's because my parents didn't change their furnace filter as much as they should. I could try to scare you about all these things and those things are all true. But I think the most compelling reason for me is that you don't have to make those terrible trips to the home hardware store, where you waste an entire morning or afternoon, you drive across town, you wander around a store, you run into a couple of acquaintances and before you know it, it's been a few hours and $200 later you're finally home. You don't have to do that. David will ship these filters right to your door. And if you sign up with one of his really convenient subscriptions services ever year, or however often you need them, a filter magically appears on your doorstep. No home depot run required. So check him out at filterbuy.com/ecommercefuel. David is going to give you 15% off all his stuff or 20% off all his filters if you sign up for a subscription. That's filterbuy.com/ecommercefuel. Check them out, grab a filter for your home and make it a better environment and be a part of the experiment. We're going to follow up in upcoming episodes and let you know how it worked out. Alright. On with the show. Today on the podcast joined by Perry Marshall who is a fairly familiar name online, and in the eCommerce world, most notably for AdWords. He quite literally wrote the book on AdWords, "The Ultimate Guide to AdWords," which has been one of, if not the definitive guide in the space, and so we do, we definitely talk about AdWords.

Direct download: EP149ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Knowing how to read a financial statement and a few other basics of accounting is vital in an eCommerce business. Without basic knowledge of accounting, you may think you're raking in the cash when you're actually in the red. We're covering everything from the basics of reading an income statement to the ins and outs of your store revenue. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (Wth your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Bill D'Alessandro of RebelCEO.com) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur Andrew Youderian. Hey guys, it's Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast, thanks so much for tuning in today. Today on the show, extremely gripping topic we've been wanting to cover for a long time. The absolute bare minimum you need to know about accounting. And joining me, an ex-finance guy who is the perfect man to geek out about this. Bill, I'm sorry we don't have whiskey this time to chat but hopefully you'll still stick around until the end of the episode. Bill: I really should have put that in my contract, shouldn't I have? Andrew: Top shelf, $400 a bottle whiskey otherwise I'm not coming back to the show. Bill: That's right, I need whiskey or we'll not record this stuff. I won't hang out with you if we don't have any whiskey. Andrew: To keep things interesting without the whiskey and also, let's be honest, accounting unless you're Bill may not be the world's sexiest topic, we've inserted a couple fun little secondary scenes shall we say throughout the episode. You'll have to listen real carefully to hear them but yeah, just keep your ears perked for those. And Bill, should we get into it? Bill: Yeah, we should get into it. We should call this episode "Front Lines Accounting." The Function of Your Income Statement Andrew: "Front Lines Accounting," I love it, I love it. So Bill there's really three crucial financial statements that you need to know. The income statement, the balance sheet and the cash flow statement. And we're going to tackle each of those individually and we'll go ahead and start with the income statement. So Bill, how do you describe the income statement in a nutshell? What is its function and how do you look at it? Bill: The easy way to think about an income statement really is, this is the amount of money that your business made over a certain period. Most income statements you'll see are kind of yearly or monthly. And you in theory could do a daily income statement but I don't think it would be very instructive. So most people will do monthly, will do an income statement and it will show a total for the year and then broken down by month. At the top you'll see revenue and then you will subtract from revenue your cost of goods sold, which is basically the amount of money it cost you to make that revenue. Then you'll have a gross margin, and that's basically the amount of money you have after selling your stuff, the amount of money you have available to use to pay overhead. And then you'll have a section called expenses or sometimes you'll see it called SGNA or selling general and administrative expenses and those are all the overhead expenses of your business, salaries, rent, your subscription to the eCommerce Fuel private members forum, all sorts of things like that go in the SGNA expenses section and then at the bottom you have a number called net income, also or hopefully known as profit and not loss. Andrew: Yeah and it's kind of important to clarify that revenue is equal to sales, revenue is at the very top. It's not how much you make, it's just the gross amount of money you collect from your customers before you pay any expenses. Sometimes you might hear that called top line,

Direct download: EP148ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

There are tons of conferences being offered in the world of eCommerce and marketing today, so it can be difficult to choose which one is the best fit for your individual situation. We're a bit biased when it comes to talking up our favorite conference (eCommerceFuelLive of course), but there are a lot of other great options out there as well. Whether you are a big store or looking into selling on Amazon, we break down the biggest and best conferences to help you make the best choice for your business and growth. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your hosts Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Drew Sanocki of NerdMarketing.com) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow e-commerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Andrew: Hey guys, it's Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today on the show, we want to talk specifically about events, conferences. There's a ton of different conferences in e-commerce and also just in the online space in general that you can go to. Which ones should be on your radar? Which ones make sense to attend? We want to do a round-up for you and talk about our personal experiences. Joining me to talk about it is a man who's become quite the hot commodity on the conference ticket recently, Mr. Drew Sanocki. Drew, welcome, sir. Drew: Hello, Andrew. How are you doing? Andrew: Good, thanks. You've got all sorts of conference talks coming up. You spoke of course at ECF Live. You're talking at Sellers Summits. You're talking at WooConf. We'll get into all these... Drew: All the big ones. All the big ones. Andrew: Yeah, man. What's the secret to becoming a much-desired name out there? Drew: There's no secret, Andrew. It really is just...it started when I was a kid and just, this was the goal. To speak at ECF Live. Andrew: Are you going to be putting out a course, in addition to your fantastic analytics work, on.... Drew: How to get an amazing speaking gigs? Andrew: Or just how to generate raw charisma, how to develop that. That could be useful. Drew: The great thing about all these is that they make me a ton of money. Speaking fees. A speaking gig can give you, what? Like 10, 20K per gig. Andrew: It can. Is that where you landed on these? Drew: That's what I plan to ask for, for the next ECF Live. Andrew: Nice, nice. Well, we'll see what we can do there. We'll negotiate offline. Drew: Or a free dinner. Andrew: Or free dinner. Free dinner, yeah. We'll land on one of those two, I promise. How are things over at nerdmarketing.com? Drew: We are doing great over at nerdmarketing.com. We're holding down the fort. Keeping the site up. We're in month three now of operation, so it's been a good three months. Andrew: Nice and the podcast has been great so far. I know I've mentioned it, but nerdmarketing.com, the podcast that you've been putting out every week, some really good stuff. Drew: Thanks. Yeah, being on this podcast really helped me get used to talking into a mic. So thank you, Andrew. I owe my podcast to you and I love it. The podcast approach has been great for me, because back when I was trying to write long-form blog posts, they were just killing me. They would take me down for a week and I usually was happy with the final result, but I just couldn't do it because I'd have to make it my full-time job and it wasn't paying me any money. So it was a labor of love and the podcast has just enabled me to get stuff out there easier. Andrew: We'll have to...we were talking about this...hopefully we can bring maybe one of your episodes onto this show in the future. But if you're not listening, really good stuff.

Direct download: EP147ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Crowdfunding is a popular topic and it's one that continues to pick up steam as bigger companies and cooler products get launched on platforms like Kickstarter. And we've finally discovered the secret sauce of crafting a killer Kickstarter marketing plan from start to finish. Jason Feinberg, founder of FCTRY, is here to talk about the Kickstarter Holy Grail: getting funded in under a day. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (Wth your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Jason Feinberg of FCTRY.com) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six- and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey guys, it's Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today on the show I'm joined by Jason Feinberg, a friend of mine and the founder of FCTRY.com, which is a brand that sells a bunch of really unique toys, interesting products, like Unicorn Snot, and is really well known for their line of political action figures. Jason and the team has released, I think, a McCain action figure, an Obama action figure, Hillary Clinton, and most recently the Bernie Sanders action figure which was funded incredibly quickly, in like eight hours. It has raised more than $200,000 on Kickstarter. It's done really well and Jason knows this stuff, having done three campaigns, seeing a lot of success with Kickstarter. He actually built a custom template cheat sheet for our private forum members on how to do this stuff. He's an expert, and that's what we're going to be talking about today, how to build a Kickstarter marketing plan that gets you funded quickly. Without further ado, here's my conversation with Jason. I hope you enjoy. Jason, so what's the quick and dirty about how FCTRY came to be? Jason: FCTRY started in 2006. Actually Jailbreak Toys was the original name. At the time I was working as an English teacher and trying to figure out what I could do with my life, and I had studied sculpture in college, and I came up with this idea where I was like, I don't want to try to sell sculptures to people, but instead of trying to sell one sculpture for $5,000, I was like, what if I could sell $5,000 sculptures for $1? That was sort of the epiphany moment that led me to starting the company. Andrew: So it's like the Costco model for sculptures. Just sculptures in bulk. Jason: More or less, yeah. It was this different idea. Everyone thinks art has to be expensive and inaccessible, and I was like, I think I can do this differently. That was just sort of a jumping off point for making cheap art. Creating Action Figures for Adults Andrew: FCTRY sells a ton of really cool stuff, very interesting, fun, creative items, but what you've had a lot of success with as well is the action figures, the Obama action figure, the Clinton, Bernie Sanders. Was that what it started with? Or did you start doing other toys and then kind of the action figure thing came out of that? Jason: It started with a line that preceded the Obama action figures. I'll take you back through it. It's a fun story. I had the idea for the company in about 2003 or 2004 initially. That was when I started, "Hey, I'm going to do this," but then as I'm sure plenty of people can relate to, it took me about four years until I actually got to the doing part. So I knew I wanted to make an action figure for sort of a niche market, and that I couldn't afford to pay any licenses, and those were sort of my criteria. I had to find something that people would be into that I didn't have to pay for. Andrew: One of the things I really want to do a deep dive on is Kickstarter marketing, because it's something you've had a lot of success with, but last question before we get into the core topic,

Direct download: EP146ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Today's episode comes to you from the road. As eCommerce entrepreneurs, flexibility is one of the biggest perks of the job. But how easy is it to pack up the family into an RV and head south while trying to stay on top of your business? Hop into the passenger seat as we dive into what it takes to hit the road, spend time with family and turn an RV into a mobile office. Today, I share my personal experience on the road, away from Montana, while trying to get meaningful work done, as well as the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this incredible experience. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com) Andrew: When I sat down in January to plan out my year, one of the first things to make the list was not to be in Montana on March 15th. It's a great state but the springs can be a little cold and miserable, and so our family decided to get out of town and spend a month in Morro Bay, California. Today on the eCommerceFuel podcast, I want to take you along on that road trip for a number of reasons. I want to take you down to our eCommerceFuel meet-up that we had in southern California, take you inside the recently Shopify Unite conference that I went to and give you some of the takeaways from there and some of the please I met, but ultimately I want to answer the question: can you get real meaningful work done on your business from the road, even if you have a family in tow? Let's find out. Hitting the Road in the VW Van Andrew: We decided to drive down and the vehicle for the trip is my 1990 VW van. You may have heard me mention it before. It's a little house on wheels I bought probably for like a quarter-life crisis when we had our second daughter and I was convinced that we'd never leave home again. But a vehicle I've always loved. It's a little van that seats four people. It sleeps four people with a couple of beds. It's got a fridge, stove, sink, a couple tables, a heater to stay warm at night, and a sliding door that sounds like a guillotine from the French Revolution. The drive from Bozeman to Morro Bay was almost 1,300 miles, which is really equivalent to 10,000 miles if you're traveling with kids, as anyone with kids will know. You've got bathroom breaks and other miscellaneous stop required every 20 miles. And in a van, you try to stick to the side roads because the interstate just isn't that fun. The van's already noisy. You usually max out at about 65 miles per hour or 50 miles per hour if you're going up hills. So on the interstate when people are screaming by you, it's not that fun. So we slated five days to travel down. We stayed with friends the first night and camped in Utah, Nevada, and California the next three nights. And I think my first lesson takeaway from being on the road is that you've got to have a core team in place for the times that you aren't going to be able to work operationally. I can't imagine trying to get away. We were camping, which is a little bit tougher, no cell service, but even just in transit, driving and airports, it's really hard to meaningfully run the operations of your business. So lesson number one, if you want to do this kind of thing, you've got to have a core team in place, which I've been blessed to be able to have some great people come on board that I can trust. Getting close to California, we of course had to go through Nevada which beautiful but incredibly lonely place. We went hundreds of miles sometimes without seeing really any other meaningful signs of civilization. Fortunately, we had DJ Claire to get us through some of those lonely stretches of road. Claire: [club music] Andrew: What do you think about the desert out here? Claire: I love the desert. Andrew: Should we camp out here like gypsies forever? Or should we go to the beach? Claire: Go see the beach. Andrew: All right.

Direct download: EP145ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

eCommerce entrepreneurs can be a misunderstood bunch. Sometimes it's the people that know us better than anyone else who can't figure us out – our parents. Today on the show, we talk to a few eCommerce entrepreneurs and their mothers to really dig into how well their parents really know their kid's business. What they say might surprise you! Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher With your hosts Andrew Youderian and Laura Serino of eCommerceFuel.com, Freddy Lanksy of iChess.net, Nathan Rothstein of ProjectRepat.com, Kevin Stecko of 80sTees.com (and their Mothers) Lucy: My technical knowledge is, let's say making a graph, is still below zero, but is going higher. Freddy: I think it's better than some of our customers. She can figure out how to open applications or send an email. It's not that bad. Lucy: Hey, come on, I'm far more advanced than that. At least partly. Freddy: Okay. Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast, I'm Andrew Youderian. We e-commerce entrepreneurs can be a misunderstood bunch and sometimes most so surprisingly among a few of the people that know us best in the whole world, our parents. If you asked your parents to describe what you do, how close or perhaps comically off the mark would their answer be? Some of them would have no problem describing what you do fairly accurately while others probably couldn't find your store's website online if they had to. So today on the show, how well do parents of e-commerce entrepreneurs really know their kid's business? And it's brought to you by our podcast producer here, Laura Serino. One quick note, despite my handing the reins to Laura much more frequently over the last two to three weeks, not planning an early retirement on my side. You will definitely be hearing more from Laura in the future. But I've been on the road the last couple of weeks and we'll be back in full force next week and hopefully with an upcoming episode about I've been up to on the trail. Here's Laura with today's episode. Freddy Lansky of iChess.net and his Mom Lucy Lucy: This is Lucy Lansky. I'm Freddy's mom, I'm originally from Argentina after 36 years I'm still talking...I sound like a newcomer. Laura: Freddy Lansky is the co-founder of iChess.net, a chess enthusiast website that specializes in digital chess products and videos. His mom Lucy is not surprised that he ended up running an online business. Laura: Does he ever talk to you about work and what he's doing? And when he does, do you understand what he's talking about? Lucy: Well, the first question as far as sharing with me what he's doing, the answer is not too much. And as far as understanding what he's doing, the answer is again partially. I used to know more about or understand more what he was doing. Right now, I know very little as far as what he actually does. Freddy: I think as business grows, there's more aspects and elements and things that I'm doing that, if you're not a marketer or an online business owner, it's kind of hard to explain. So I'll have to just say it in general terms like, "Business is good," "Business is not so good this month." I don't get into marketing nerd talk with my mom because I don't think she'd really know what I'm talking about. Lucy: Why don't you try? Freddy: Okay, I can try. Lucy: Just to see how stupid I can be. Freddy: Okay. Laura: I have a feeling you'd catch on quickly, Lucy. Freddy: Yeah, maybe we'll train her. [laughter] Lucy: I still hope that eventually he'll settle somewhere. That's all I have to say about that. Nathan Rothstein of Project Repat & His Mom Ana Ana: When he started Project Repat, he told us he starting to help this guy he met at graduate school. It was, "Oh, okay, fine." We just listened and learned pretty quickly that we needed to just listen. And now yes, of course, we ask questions,

Direct download: EP144ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

After almost 150 episodes of the eCommerceFuel podcast, our topics have run the gamut. But one very obvious topic we've yet to tackle? The story behind why Andrew Youderian and frequent co-host Bill D'Alessandro got into eCommerce in the first place. The path to success in eCommerce can be a long and bumpy one. Sadly, many people give up before they bring their visions of starting an eCommerce business to reality. Hopefully, this episode will inspire any of you with thoughts of giving up, to understand that starting an eCommerce business doesn't happen overnight. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Bill D'Alessandro of RebelCEO.com) Andrew: Hey guys. A quick note before we get started about one of our private community members. Jason Feinberg from FCTRY is releasing a follow-up to his highly successful Bernie Sanders action figure over at TrumpVader.us. I think the domain pretty much says it all but if you enjoy creative, interesting eCommerce projects or the media spectacle about the U.S. election so far I think you'll get a kick out of it. Again, check it out at TrumpVader.us and stay tuned for more from Jason in a future episode. Alright, onto the show! Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hello and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. I'm your host Andrew Youderian, and a special edition of the podcast today. Normally I do this with a guest, and very frequently one of my favorites guests, Mr. Bill D'Alessandro, but normally he is across the entire country from me, not sitting right across the table from me sipping some whiskey here in Bozeman, Montana. Bill: Yup. So I made a flight out and we are doing eCommerceFuel podcast live from Bozeman, Montana from eCommerceFuel headquarters. Andrew: And we were both commenting just before we started how we both look like 70s-style talk-show hosts with the super cool microphones and the headphones. We do not look very cool in this. Bill: I don't know, we'll leave that up to the listeners to decide. So we just took some stupid pictures, so we'll post them in the show notes for everybody to laugh at us. Andrew: But hey, cheers! Bill: Cheers, man! Thanks for having me. Andrew: Yeah, good to have you here in Bozeman, and you're in town...we hit up Big Sky to do some skiing over the weekend. Bill: Yeah, it was awesome! Came out for some skiing at Big Sky. I've not only never been to Big Sky, but never been to Montana. So this is my first time in Montana. I'd heard awesome things, so flew in on Friday and then we headed up to Big Sky to talk business, ski, it was awesome. Had a hell of a day skiing on Saturday. I hung out at the house on Sunday, talked some business, and now we're back in Bozeman to do our podcast, and Andrew has provided me with some delicious 100 proof whiskey that I hear we have his brother to thank for. Andrew: Yeah, thank you, Chris. This is good stuff. Man, you're a great skier yourself, man. Bill: Six years in Colorado helps. Andrew: Yeah, helps a lot. So we were thinking it'd be fun in our first in-person podcast...we've never really talked about how we got into business. Like how did we end up here? The paths and the stories that brought us to eCommerce, to where we are today. And thought it'd be kind of fun to explore those, and want to try and be a little bit tactful and considerate of people not wanting to hear our entire life story over the course of six hours, but it'd be kind of cool to share because I don't know if we've ever done it on the show. Bill: Yeah, we've been talking about all kinds of specific things but we never really talked about how you can go from...

Direct download: EP143ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

We were inspired by one of our favorite podcasts, Start-Up, to kick off a new series this week. Over the course of the next year, we'll be following Kyle Goguen, founder of Pawstruck, to see what it's like for a successful business to try and take their company to the next level. We'll be checking in with Kyle every few months to see if he's ticking all the boxes off his 2016 "to do" list. Today Kyle lays out his key goals for 2016 along with his worries about the coming year. Join us as we chronicle both the highs (and hopefully very little lows) over the next twelve months. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your hosts Andrew Youderian and Laura Serino of eCommerceFuel.com and guest, Kyle Goguen of Pawstruck) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, I'm Andrew Youderian. A lot of time on this show, and in the business world in general, we tend to look at businesses in the rear view mirror, at their past and their successes. But there's something really interesting and exciting about following a business in real-time when you're not sure what's going to happen. Take for example Start-Up by Alex Blumberg, one of my favorite podcasts. There's something I really respect about someone who's willing to put their goals on the line publicly as they chase them. I think that's really admirable. In today's episode brought to you by Laura Serino, our producer here, we've got something that combines a little bit of both of those, so I hope you enjoy. Kyle: Hi, everyone. My name is Kyle Goguen, and I own Pawstruck.com. Pawstruck.com sells healthy, natural dog treats and chews and food online direct to consumers. We've been in business about a year and a half now, started in June 2014. Laura: Kyle's a member of our eCommerceFuel community, and I first met him last year at our live event in Nashville. Kyle's motivated, successful, driven, and he's only 25 years old. He first got his start selling online where lots of people from his generation did, on eBay. When he was 16, he responded to an ad on Craigslist from a guy looking to hire someone to help him list items from his garage. Kyle's Story Kyle: So I found the job, I responded to the guy, we set up an interview, and then I told my parents. And as you might imagine, my parents were questioning exactly what I would be doing and where this was and who this person was that was hiring me to basically sell stuff on the internet. So my dad in a very parental, embarrassing way, kind of forced me to let him come with me to the interview, and he forced his way there, I guess, and he made me let him meet my boss, I guess. So it was a very awkward interview, having my dad there asking questions as well. But once we got through all of that, yeah, basically I would go out this guy's...he kind of had a warehouse, and we would just look through all the electronics, and I would pick and choose what I wanted to list for that day, and I would take out a camera which happened to be a camera that we pulled from the inventory, take photos, upload them, and list anything I wanted, and whatever I sold, I would make commission on it. It was definitely an interesting first job, very different than anything any of my friends were going through, but it was really nice kind of learning this skill, and also it was very flexible. As much as I listed was as much as I was going to make, and if I didn't want to work I didn't have to, or if I wanted to work more, I could. So it was really up to me as to how much I was listing and selling. Laura: Kyle continued to sell on eBay into college to make money. In his graduate program, he was taking an entrepreneurship course, and for his project, he decided to use the pet industry as a model. As a dog owner, he was hearing more and more backlash about products that were making animals sick, and he saw the need for more U.S.

Direct download: EP142ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

It's everyone's new favorite social media platform and for some business owners, it's a gold mine. Lily Jade is a multi-million dollar diaper bag business and they've generated seven figures alone through Instagram. eCommerceFuel community members and founders of Lily Jade, Landon and Meggan Wood, along  with their Instagram manager, Ashley McGleary, share the secrets behind using influencers and creating engagement to create buzz (and lots of sales) using Instagram. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and guests, Landon & Meggan Wood and Ashley McGleary of Lily Jade ) Andrew: Hey, hey, guys, it's Andrew here. And welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in to the show today. And on the show, we're talking Instagram today, and specifically, how do you generate seven figures in sales from Instagram? And my guests have done that. Not only do that they have a multi-million dollar business, and have done well with Instagram, but they've generated seven figures in sales just from the Instagram channel itself, by their own estimates. A really impressive story. And the owners, who are eCommerceFuel community members, I had the chance to meet them at ECF Live last year in Nashville, Landon and Meggan Wood, and they've got a really incredible story. And we're...we have them on, and we're also joined by their, kind of a Instagram manager. She heads up their Instagram team at the company, Ashley McClearyan. And talk tactics. How do you make this work? We talk about the early days, how they got going, how they got their 1,000 followers. We talk how much you should expect to spend when you paying for influencers to share your things, based on how many followers and how much engagement we have. We talk about how you should put together an engagement letter when you have people that you're paying sponsored posts for, to make sure they present your brand in a way that actually gets engagement and represents you the way that you want to be seen. And we talk about that, and a lot of other things in today's interview. So, I'm going to go ahead and get the intros brief as possible, and let's go ahead and jump right in to discussion with Landon, Meggan, and Ashley from Lily Jade. In Search of a Great Diaper Bag Andrew: So, Meggan, you were mentioning that you've only been doing this for a couple years. I think like, October of 2013, you and Landon and the team there, and...which, really surprised me, given the quality of the business of your line of products, and what you've been able to accomplish since then. So, was LilyJade born out of just, your need for a good diaper bag? Meggan: Yeah, actually it was. I'm a mom of two little girls, and when I had my second daughter, I looked at my husband and said that one day I wanted to design a diaper bag line that did not look anything like a diaper bag, and that had multiple functions, just as a great coat, and that had an organizational component that would help keep moms and women and business women just organized. Help their lives run a little bit more efficiently. So, yeah. Andrew: I think this is the kind of thing where you don't really realize how valuable that is until you have kids. Because we have a couple girls now, and when we had our first, my wife got a...she got something...not a...she didn't know about Lily Jade, but she kind of got a nicer, higher end designer bag, because she uses it so much. Meggan and Landon, of course, you guys are married, for people who may not be aware of that, just listening. But, have you been working together since the beginning of the company, and what are your different, respective roles within Lily Jade? Landon: Yes, we have been working since the beginning of the company. I think that we work well together as a team.

Direct download: EP141ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

If you can't beat them, join them. Amazon FBA is a natural next step to help you grow your business. But sending out your first shipment can be ripe with potential problems. On today's episode, we've got a novice and a pro weighing in on the intricacies behind FBA, including the differences between a UPC, FNSKU, and an ASIN, along with expert tips for optimizing your FBA experience and nailing it right from the get go. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Bill D'Alessandro of RebelCEO.com) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey, hey, guys, Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. And today on the show, talking about how to not screw up your first inbound shipment to FBA, something I don't have any experience with. I've got a shipment of goods coming in that I'm going to be sending to FBA for the first time and figured who better else to grow with questions about this, for my own benefit and hopefully yours as well, other than Mr. Bill Dalessandro, the man behind Rebelceo.com and Elements Brands. Bill, how's it going? Bill: It's going well, man. It's great to be back on the show, as always. Andrew: Yeah. I feel like it's been...I don't know if it was just the holidays or the New Year, but I feel like it's been a while. Bill: Yeah, the ECF Live and holiday hangover. It kind of all ran together. Big Goals for 2016 Andrew: Quickly before we jump into this one, any big plans for 2016? Or did you like sit down and have a big kind of pow wow with yourself to really plan out the year? Are you big on the New Year's resolutions things? I know we're talking about this much after the New Year, but... Bill: So I'm not big on the New Year's resolution thing, but I am big on planning for the year and setting goals. So I sat down with all my employees. We're trying something new this year, and we're doing bonus programs. So we sat down with all the employees, and I set six goals for each of them for the year. I set up a bonus pool of 12% of each of their salaries, and each goal was worth 2% of their salary as a bonus. So everybody has sort of six goals for the year for 2016 hanging above their desk, and if they hit all six goals they get a 12% bonus at the end of the year. So as a way, something new I'm trying this year to...and I made some of the goals were monetary. They were hit a certain number. For my salesperson like a certain number in wholesale sales, or for my eCommerce marketing manager a certain amount of website sales or a certain number of new accounts, new products in stores, or getting a new website launched. So some were monetary, some were more kind of projects that needed to be done. Like we're implementing a new shipping and inventory system. Things like that. So like getting that launched was a goal for my warehouse manager. I basically looked at this list of all these things and said, "Man, if all like 20-something of these things are done by the end of the year, I'll feel really good, and it'll be easily worth me paying everybody a 12% bonus." Andrew: Nice, very cool. One thing we did this year, at least on the eCommerceFuel site was tried to focus more. I mean, we've got kind of this dashboard across all of our businesses with a myriad of different metrics. You could come up with 100 probably metrics you could track for a business, if not more. We tried to focus in on three metrics this year. One that was like the overall king metric, and two other kind of secondary ones, but be able to... Bill: What are they? Andrew: For eCommerceFuel, they are the biggest one that we're focusing on is new mem...

Direct download: EP140ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

The Affordable Care Act has been in effect for five years now. We decided to check in with small business owners to see how well it's worked for their families and employees. Today we're hoping to answer this question: is it possible to find affordable heath insurance for your small business under ObamaCare?

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1LIzKjr

Direct download: EP139ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this wide-ranging conversation, we talk about Kickstarter, Amazon, creating proprietary products, as well as a plethora of other eCommerce-related topics. We wrap up the show with some trivia to see how well Lars can remember some of the things that he may or may not have shed light on in terms of funny stories and comments in the forum.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1QdUNLL

Direct download: EP138COMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Jason brings a unique perspective to our tribe of independent 6 and 7-figure merchants and shares some takeaways that we can glean from some of those bigger organizations. He shares a lot of great insights on the future of eCommerce and talks about some of the innovative things that retailers are doing today. Jason also shares some predictions about what may happen with mobile, messaging commerce, and Amazon.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1SxkugX

Direct download: EP137COMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This episode is a prime run of all things storytelling for your business from a guy who has the background and authority to speak on the topic. Michael and I chat about how you can use storytelling to grow your business, build your brand, and connect with customers. Don’t miss Michael’s gems about what goes into building a good story and the exact formula for writing compelling stories to help you promote your brand and your products.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1ny7ha8

Direct download: EP136COMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Jeff is here today to talk about how he created Ugmonk and infused it with his personality and style.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1KwEKqG

Direct download: EP135COMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Today, we take a slightly opposite approach to an often-discussed topic - instead of talking about how to find a mentor we dig into the ins and outs of being a good mentor in business. Tune in to check out our reflection on our experiences with mentorship as well as our best tips for being a great mentor.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1SWJxbW

Direct download: EP134COMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

The author of the New York Times bestselling book, Essentialism (one of my top book picks for 2015), Gregory McKeown, joins me on this episode to help answer those questions. Greg shares some key concepts outlined in his book and imparts some game-changing advice that you can start applying today to become more productive and efficient in your life and business.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1OjdlKv

Direct download: EP133COMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

If you’re in the eCommerce field, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Peep Laja from ConversionXL.com, one of the most respected conversion blogs online. I invited Peep to join us on the eCommerce Fuel podcast to discuss some of the best practices for increasing your eCommerce conversion.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1RheCGh

Direct download: EP132COMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

On this follow-up, Clayton and I chat about how things panned out – did everything go well, did things fall apart and so on. We dive into what it’s like to buy your first eCommerce business, as well as how TrollingMotors.net is doing now, what has changed since Clay’s purchase of the store and the biggest “a-ha” moments of the process.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1QSOJh8

Direct download: EP131COMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Apart from being a great eCommerce writer on Medium.com, Andy is the founder of Bonobos.com, a menswear clothing online store that he’s grown into a highly-respected company over the past few years. We chat about how Andy got started and his experience in men’s clothing space. And, he also shares some stories from his own experience.

Get full show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/1mtA4MV

Direct download: EP130COMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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