Welcome to the Process, to e eCom Profit podcast, where we know top line sales just isn’t enough to have the business of your dreams learn to run a profitable business online that doesn’t run you.
Hi, and welcome to the Process, to e eCom Profits podcast. We’re, delighted to have you with us today. I’m, actually without my partner Robin today. And, she’s off, doing a, doing a little project and, but the good news is I get her other half. I get to talk to Nate today and one of her team members, Hector Quero. So thank I thank you guys both for joining and, I figured this was a great time to kind of dive into the details of what you all do at Marketplace Blueprint. Robin always keeps us, informed kind of at the high level of what’s going on, but I thought this would be a great time to kind of dive in and learn some of the processes that you do and, and how you make it all work. So Nate, first of all, could you just tell us a little bit about the, the, the business marketplace blueprint and how you guys work? How, how big your team is, that kind of thing?
Sure, yeah. so we’re a full service, agency. we’re focused on primarily Amazon. and we do also, the Walmart marketplace as well. So we, we do, pretty much everything, with the exception of we don’t have a, a warehouse or we’re not a three pl but we’re, we’re managing the app. We’re the, the platform side of things. So, which includes the, optimization of the detail pages, monitoring of the account, managing of the ads, and the advertising and things like that, as well as strategy as, along with that and all the things that, that go along with that. And, and troubleshooting, can be surprised how much troubleshooting there is on Amazon and Walmart. But, but yeah, so we do, we do kind of all of it there. we have been doing, we’ve started out as sellers, but eight, 10 years ago I think it was, and then kind of moved into the agency space and, Hector’s on our team. I think our team is now 10 people. I ire 10 to 12, to kind of keep track of, of everything. It’s been kind of a wild by
And, and you guys are all remote too. I know. Our accounting practice is all remote. You guys are remote too. I mean, except for you and Robin, you guys kind of hang out together,
Okay, cool. So when you, when you get a client that comes into the agency, what’s, what, what do you do to determine if that, if that listing that they already have needs new creative work?
Yeah. so a lot of times, we’ll, well first of all, we’ll look at kind of the, well, we, we should look at the data first, but, it’s hard to not look at the product detail page, but, just cuz we like to see what’s happening and everything and kind of the product and all that stuff. But usually we’ll go to the, the, the, the data. And we, we could look at as the unit session percentage, which is basically the conversion rate. So it’s looking at, sessions, which is the traffic that’s going to the detail page, and how many, units are sold. so once that happens, when we kinda look at that and we see you determine if it’s low or high, and then what, you know, what can we do to, to raise that up? And then, then we’ll start looking at the detail page a little bit more and closely. And then, that’s kind of how we identify ones that may or may not be, converting very well.
And so if, if you’ve got an issue with the creative work, then I think that’s where Hector comes in. If I, if I understand his role and he starts working on, the two of you have a process for, for improving the creative work. Hector, can you talk a little bit about what you do, to, to get that new creative work underway?
Sure. Basically, after Nate analyzes the data and then our team goes into the listing, we wanna look at, first the copy, the title and the bullets very important that they have the correct keywords, that they’re correctly structured, that the language reads, easy to to the potential customer. And then it features all the, all the product details and all the product highlights. And then that it’s a selling, it, it, it emphasizes on the selling points while including all those keywords. So first part would be keyword research where we, where we study the data and see what, relevant keywords, are ranking high for that specific product line. And we try to incorporate as many of them into the copy while making it easy to read. So that’s, that’s the first part. It’s just copy. And then we also look at the images that are very important, especially in mobile because when you open Amazon on mobile, the first thing you see is the title and the images.
You really don’t get to see the bullets until you scroll past the images. So those images have to be, they have to convey why the, the, the customer needs that product or wants that product, what features or what problems it solves for them. So that’s basically the, the two part approach content on one side based on data and keyword research, and then the images where we highlight, product features, the problems it solves, case uses. We add a lot of infographic images as well to, to convey graphically why, that product is good, is a good fit for the customer.
And you were mentioning the, the mobile versus the desktop use. do you all know off the top of your head what the percentage is? I mean, how many people are looking at Amazon on their phones versus, versus the desktop? I’m just curious if, if, if that’s a statistic that, that you guys know.
off the top of my head, I think it’s about 50%. and they’ve just released some of that data, at the, at a account level or at the, at the, well at the account level, where you, they’ll show mobile versus, browser data. that’s, we’re not clear. And if, or I can’t remember if it’s, if it’s Amazon app data or if it’s, mobile browser data that that is, is displaying this given us, it was recently kind of released or a couple months ago. but, and it’s, but it’s significant. There, there was, there was a significant jump in, in what was, Cause initially they were just showing the browser data in that, in that feed for us. And then when they added the mobile data, it totally, it threw off that unit session percentage that I, that I mentioned in terms of figuring out the, conversion rate that, because you gave so much of a larger denominator to the enumerator. Yeah. It was like, oh, well how did these numbers all of a sudden go down? Oh, because right now I added the mobile sessions and it’s like,
. So the metrics that you’ve been paying attention to all of a sudden don’t mean anything. And I guess if, if you’re, if you’re not working with an agency, you’re like, what the heck just happened here? But you guys keep up with that kind of
Change. It was a, it was a kind of a shock to the community as well as far as the Amazon, like, what, what just happened? Why I, I went from 15% to 3%, what just happened? . Oh, okay. They, they slowly kind of slipped this in here, so.
Cool. Well, so obviously, part of what you’re, you’re, doing for your clients is, is, trying to improve what they’ve had before. So what kind of metrics do you monitor to make sure that you’re, you’re able to get, get the results and demonstrate the results for, for your clients?
Yeah, so like, like I mentioned the unit session percentage, so we’ll monitor that to see if, you know, the changes that we’ve made, for the optimization have impacted it positively. the other data points that we kind of look at is advertising, advertising data. So if we’re seeing that, you know, we’re targeting this particular, you know, hair product and, and just kind of pulling the product outta my head that I can, and hopefully the example follows along, but, a particular hair product and then we’re using, you know, this targeting method or these targeting keywords, and then they’re not converting when it’s very relevant to the product, then we have to, then that’s kind of where I get with Hector and go, Hey look, you know, we’re showing, we’re driving traffic for these keywords to the detail page and the conversions not happening.
We really think it should, you know what’s missing on the detail page so we can add, you know, that that can help this conversion. and that is there’s, you know, science and a little bit of art to that, as well just to kind of understand and go, Oh, well, you know, that particular keyword, it’s a relevancy thing if they’re highly relevant and if they put in this particular keyword phrase and it succinctly describes that particular product, then it should convert. and that’s kind of the, what we look at, as far as the data and then going back to Hector or creative to say, Hey, what, how can we cannot massage this to help with the conversion rate?
Do you do any kind of ab testing to see, if one thing performs better than another? and does that happen at the same time or, or sequentially? how, how do you incorporate that kind of testing in your, in, in your, listings and
Yeah, I mean, we’ll, when we do an AB test, we’ll usually do it for like a couple weeks at a time and we’ll, we try to use that, Amazon, manage my experiments, platform or tool, to test these particular, to test images and things like that, to see what’s, what’s working and then take that data to see what, what’s happened or what, what is improved or not improved and look at the keyword that, that kind of thing is what we would look at. But yes, with, managing the experiments is, is important.
And now, do you all, we’ve been talking about listings, but do you all do the, advertising as well as the listings? So, so you do the, the, the PPC stuff?
Yep, we do, all, all of the ppc, we’re not, we’re not set up for DSP right now. We just display site, demand sign platform, but we do all of the other, side of that advertising on the, on the seller account sign.
Okay. And so if, if you’ve had to overhaul a listing, does that automatically mean that their PPC assets have to also be changed typically?
no, not necessarily. In fact, a lot of times it will, improve the performance, of the, of the advertising. unless there’s some sort of significant change in the, in the detail page or the optimization that we’re completely changing the audience or the objective or, well the, who the audience is or we’re targeting. Like, if we’re trying to go from this particular market segment and changing it to convert for this other particular segment, then you know, we, on the advertising side, we need to change, you know, who , what kind of traffic we’re trying to go after, you know, if it’s this particular segment versus this particular segment. Does that, does that make sense? Or that might, does that answer your question?
Yeah, it, it does, It made me think though, Hector, when, when you’re working on images, or content on the creative side, is there a difference in what you look at for the, the listing piece versus how you would go after pulling together those assets for the, for the ppc?
It, it, it’s kind of hand in hand, like Nate mentioned. It depends on the target audience. We usually do market research and we work with the seller to kind of capture what their target audience is or what their desired final customer is. So we can adjust our con our creative part to that so we can target that, segment specifically. So it’s it’s hand in hand. It’s, it’s like Nate said, it’s a little bit of art with a little bit of data, and in the end it, it just simplifies down to showing the product and displaying as many features of the product for that specific target audience. So if we’re doing a garlic press for lefthanded people, we want to have that, you know, that’s a very specific, example, but I will, I will not show a right-handed person, holding that garlic press. So the images will go towards highlighting that specific feature. Cuz that’s the big selling point that it’s for lefthand the people.
Okay. All right. That makes sense. And you guys talked a little bit about working with the, with your customer to learn more about their final customer. in general, do you find that, that your customer has a pretty good feel for their end customer? Or do, or do you have to do market research to, to educate them that maybe the market’s a little bit different than what they, they thought? How, how in touch are they with who their final customer is?
Initially, I would say they, they’re the main point or they’re the baseline. they know their brand and their product better than we do. we usually work with brands that have been selling for, for a certain period of time or for a long period of time. So they, they have pretty dialed down what their target audience is. And we, or on, in my case, our team tries to get in the mindset of what they’re telling us their final customer is at, at least at the beginning. If then with data and AB testing, we veered away from that, that’s, that, that comes, further down to the road. But initially, it’s more of us, getting that information from the client, from their website, from their social media or, or even from their current Amazon listings reviews, questions that people ask on their listings. that’s where we pull the information from to create that content.
Okay. And so when somebody comes to you, what, what, what do you like to have, what, what do they need to have to kind of get started in the relationship? What’s, what’s a, if, if they’re sitting there thinking, I don’t know if I’m a good, good fit for, Marketplace Blueprint, what are some checkpoints you’d say, Well, if you’re doing this or doing that, or have these assets, where do you like to to have a client, kind of be when you bring them into to, to the business?
we typically take on, clients that, that, you know, have existing sales or have that aren’t quite at a product launch, brand new, brand new to e-commerce space at all. just because it’s a difficult, it’s a difficult, it’s difficult to launch . That’s like the hardest part. I mean, we can, you know, case by case or we have, but those are definitely the hardest ones to, to kind of get started. especially if it’s like a new to mar a new to category type of thing where people are not really searching for it or they don’t know about it, that it exists. Like a, you know, I, I can’t think of anything now at the point
, well, when the iPhone came out, people didn’t even know what that was, you
Know? Exactly. Yeah. So those, those types of those types of products are, don’t do well on Amazon. well, they’re difficult, you know, any to launch that anywhere because there’s, you know, that education piece to have awareness piece rather, actually, it’s the other way. It’s both of those, it’s awareness and then you gotta educate them. and then in Amazon it’s very search based. So, you know, if if someone didn’t know that, you know, something exists, they’re not gonna put it in search. And Amazon’s very like, they, they don’t search for how, in the search, in the search bar, they don’t put, people don’t put in how, like they do Google or, you know, looking for an answer to something. So they, it’s very like, this is what I want, and say put it in. so it’s difficult to kind of try and get, you know, your product in that particular problem solving, thing. Cause that’s kind of what, new, new products end up, you know, trying to do this. They’re solving a problem, right?
Yeah. So if, if, if, so, you’d like people that’s been in the space a little while already, is there a certain, level of conversions that they, that you like them to have? Or does that matter or, do you look at like a percentage and go, Okay, if you’re at this level, we think we can move you up? H how do you evaluate when a client is a good fit,
Kind of look at, you know, their product, product, your product mix, and then we’ll look and see, through our tools, look at the Amazon data as to see their potential, for sales on Amazon, like keyword, keyword volume, search volume rather, and see, you know, if it has, you know, what kind of potential it has. so like we said about new to category, it’s, you know, there’s not a lot of people searching for it. It’s probably not a, not a negative fit or a very, you know, steep uphill climb versus something that we can see clearly. Like, this is, you know, people are searching for this here, this is the volume and this is the com, the competitive landscape. Those are the things that we would look at, to, to evaluate if there’s a, there’s a good fit or not.
Okay. And, so, so once they come on board and do you set targets with them, initially as to this is what, what our objectives are, this is where we’re gonna try to get to? Or do you prefer to have a little bit of time to get to know the account before you can, can really start to determine where, where you think the potential is?
Yeah, it’s, it kind of varies by client. like, like as far as where that product is in the life, product life cycle and, and, how new it is or how new to Amazon or how well they’ve done on their own e-commerce store. And one
Of the things, this is one of my pet peeves, and Robin knows every time we talk to anybody about advertising, this is my topic I have to bring up from a financial side of things. What I see happening is advertising costs going up all the time. I, I don’t know if, if, if that’s true in what you see, but from our clients, I, it feels to me like there’s just been a leap from a few years ago to now. And so, so much of a higher percentage. And what really aggravates me is when clients don’t work with their agencies or manage it themselves to kind of coincide their inventory stock levels with the advertising. because if you’re constantly running outta stock on something, why aren’t you pouring lots of dollars into, you know, advertising? And I’m curious if, is that a conversation that people are bringing to you or that you guys talk with them about? because it, it seems like it would take a lot of collaboration to ensure that you, you are on the same page with the client and understanding inventory and supply chain issues and whatever else they’re dealing with and how that might impact how you’re promoting the, their product.
yes. yes, yes and yes. so all of that, especially with all the supply chain issues, you know, over the last two years, right. we, from an advertising, and that’s okay. So I don’t know where we to start on this. There’s so many different ways I wanna go with this. so, we work with our clients to say, Hey, and in fact, proactively, we will say, Hey, if there’s, you know, anytime we feel that you’re not going to, there’s an inventory or supply chain issue, please let us know on the advertising side so we can scale back the ads. because, just in the wasted ad spend that can lead up to that. and a lot of times some, Amazon will continue to show ads even though you have like one, one left and you’ll have one left, and you have the buy box, and that is, you know, is in a warehouse in Maine and the guy shopping in California is seeing the ad, but it’s not gonna get, you know, all of this stuff.
And sometimes it will show one left and the shipping speed is like two months. but you’re still paying for that ad or still showing the ads, and then they’ll click on it and then they’ll see that, Well, I don’t wanna wait two months for my product, so they’ll just paid for an ad on that. And then that it rounds up the ad spend and the throws everything off. and then the other side of that is when you do run out of stock, it impacts the ad performance as well as it impacts the organic, search engine results. And depending on how long you go out of stock for, you know, you basically, it’s hard to push the ball back up the hill again or the rock back up the hill, and try to recover that ad position in organic position again.
And that costs money, I think, right? I mean, as soon as you’re outta stock, and if you’ve lost that position, then more money has to go.
Exactly. You gotta spend more money. The, you’re basically just, you came starting back from, from square one again or back where we started from and trying to, you know, depending on how long it, what has been, you know, that road may not be as long, you know, if it’s just a, like a week or so, and depending on the category and, and all sorts of different factors, you can, we can recover it pretty quickly, but if it’s outta stock for a couple months, it’s like, I don’t, you know, it’s, it’s a lot more spent to, to recover that. some of the things that Amazon looks at in ads is, is at performance and, you know, if it hasn’t been performing or out of stock for a while, it, it may not deliver the ads as quickly as it as it used to before we ran out stock. So, that was the one point. And then the other point I wanted to say was, we’ll try to mitigate that and say, All right, let’s cut the span, or let’s cut the ads, or, you know, please don’t run outta stock or, you know, and do some things to slow it down so you don’t run out of stock,
Go to China and put it on a, a plane, come back with you .
Sometimes it’s not even’s like it’s, they just like, Oh, I never got to it. And like, okay, well we need to get, we need to put some measures in place so that, or some process in place so that, you know, you have alerts set up and you have, you’re aware you increase your lead time for, for shipping it to Amazon. But stuff from China is another thing that’s, that’s pretty long we’re drawn out to, you know, plan ahead every day, but sometimes it’ll just be at the three PL and they, they just didn’t, you know, tell ’em to send more in or something.
Oh, goodness. Yeah. And that’s an easy fix, But even shipping in country is, is delayed now, in some situations. So, you, you know, you, you would, you would think that as much money as inventory cost and then then that additional, you know, 12 to 30% sometimes that people then pay for ads. You’d, you’d think that those would be two of the biggest drivers financially in the business that those would be like where you pay attention. But it, it, it blows my mind how, how, how they’re disconnected. And, and, and I really do find that most of our clients would rich much rather talk about ads than they would inventory. And I’m like, Well, you gotta have the inventory. What else are you doing these ads? You know? But, you know, that’s from the financial side of things. But, . So it, is there a, has there been a difference in how you position things as a result of the pandemic? has it changed how, how, how your marketing at all did? or is, or is it pretty much still the same?
as far as how we’re like targeting, people and stuff like that for, for advertising?
Yeah. Are, are the keywords different? Are the images different? I mean, do, did you try to go with pictures of people with mask or, or were people tired of that and you don’t wanna do that? I’m just curious.
No, I, we didn’t really change a lot as far as the advertising side and even the optimization side, we didn’t really, you know, change what we’re doing, along that or try to change images to lifestyle images to people with masks or, or things like that. we didn’t have a lot of any clients that were, what would you say, what were they called? Ppe. Ppe, Yeah. Yeah.
It, it, it depends also on the product. We, we, our clients like that had said we, we didn’t have clients that had a product mix that needed for us to adjust on the creative side. we might have had one, and, but Amazon restricts you a lot with certain, words and certain imagery that you cannot show. you can’t say prevents covid unless you have a study that proves that it prevents covid. So, on that side, we really haven’t changed a lot because of the pandemic.
Okay. Interesting. All right. Well, we’re about at time here just, to kind of wrap up, are there any trends that you, you see coming? I, I’ve noticed in our, business, looking at financials for people, the things have slowed down a bit this year and, I don’t, I don’t think that’s a surprise to most sellers that things are, are slower than they were in 2020 and 20, 21. are you guys seeing that, Do you, do you see any other trends that are, are in happening in the, in the business now?
well, as far as comparing it to 20 and 20, 20 20, 20 21, definitely, I kind of like thought that was gonna happen. I kind of thought, I thought everyone thought that was gonna happen, but that the 2020 pandemic craziness was not going to continue the weight at that rate. so I was surprised to see all of these other companies that, in larger companies that were like, we were totally expected this to, I mean, there, we, we got a, everyone got a lift, you know, like it bumped up and then it, you know, plateau, the plateau is here now, but we are not, we’re not gonna continue to go like this. . Yeah. So, yeah, and I think we had, we had a client that actually had that, thought that that was, had a great 2020 and then wanted it to repeat it in 2021 with our forecast.
And I was like, I don’t, I don’t think that’s gonna, And so, and didn’t like my forecast. so, and they were surprised that, oh, they didn’t match their thing, but, but as far as comparing to, you know, I think we’re not, you know, we’re not, we’re not there obviously yet, but I think we’re not, we’re still on the right pace. Think people are still, you know, going, more and more people are going to e-commerce and purchasing online. as far as what our clients have kind of a different, we have quite a mix of clients. so it’s difficult for us to really see a trend like that because we have some that are seasonal in the summertime and some that are seasonal, you know, in the wintertime or during q4 and some inner seasonal, you know, in the springtime. So it’s, it, we don’t, it’s hard for us to really identify those types of trends. but yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what in the current landscape as far as like in inflation or whatever, to see how that impacts, impacts things. We we’re just not able to see it with our data set, our client client mix right now.
Okay. And, for people getting ready for q4, I, I think now’s the time they need to be thinking about any kind of, any kind of, targets and, and, how they wanna market for q4. is there, I’ll just ask each of you individually, Hector, is there anything that should be top of mind for people coming up for Q4 right now?
I would say optimized now from the creative side. don’t wait until October just because depending on the optimization that you’re doing, sometimes changes take a little longer to stick, or to show on the live version, just because of volume. Sometimes it’s Amazon policies, sometimes you’re using certain keywords or certain phrases or certain imagery that is not task compliant. so it can take, it usually takes about, two hours for something to show on the front end once you’ve optimized it. But we’ve seen even 15 days, 20 days, because especially if you have retail contribution on your listing, and you’re not the brand owner, those changes can take a long time to show. So plan ahead, optimize now, and then have every set, everything set up in September rather than waiting till October to come around.
That makes sense. Yeah. Good, good planning. Nate, what about you? Anything you could suggest to people for getting ready for q4?
yeah, a couple things. as far as the advertising side, don’t wait until, don’t wait to run ads until the q4. you want to run ads now so that you are optimized and you have your ads dialed in for q4 and you know, the keywords that are converting in the, the keywords, the campaigns are performing best. And so they can, they can be shown, you know, at the best, possible placement for the lowest possible cost, as well. And then on top of that would be, q4. It looks like Q4 might become little early this year. Amazon’s got some promotions. They gotta, they gotta a fall, prime day coming up, which they’ve kind of teased out, so they haven’t really dialed in the date, but it might, they could be October, it could be November. they still, they haven’t really, finalized that. And then of course they’re, there’s cyber week and all that. So, yeah, all of these are giving me earlier and earlier, Amazon wanted to, cuz they had a prime day in, what was it, 20 21 20 20 20 when they had it in October or something like that. And, you know, it did really well. So they’re like, Hey, let’s do that again. So
Yeah, so that moves everything up. a whole nother selling opportunity to, like Hector said, if, if you’ve got stuff and you get it organized and optimized now, then, then when that opportunity comes along, you’re ready to go. That makes
Sense. Right. And then on top of that, having said that, wanna make sure your inventory is in, in before that. and then also that it shipping an inventory during Q4 is slower than it is now. and it doesn’t seem to be as much, inventory restrictions anymore as much as there was two years ago. So Amazon has an abundant the warehouse space, so they both kinda all rebuilt or over released.
Yeah. Did your inventory in before all this promotion. That happens early. So yeah, that’s all good advice. All right. Awesome. Well, thank you guys for being with me today. I appreciate you, helping to demystify some of the, the things that happened inside an agency. for me. It, it was very educational and I appreciate that. So thank you for joining us today on the process to e-Comm Profits podcast. See you next time.
Thank you for listening to the Process to e-Comm Profits podcast. Make sure you subscribe to get updates for new episodes, Leave a review and one lucky winner. Each month we’ll win a one hour call with your choice of our hosts, a value of over $300. Keep listening to Hear the Winner Announce on the first show of the month. You can contact our hosts by using the Contact us form at process to e-com profits.com. You can also find the contact information of our hosts and show guests in the show notes for each episode.