(Part 2) LIVE Product Brainstorming and Website Tear Downs with Ecommerce Experts

You are in for another special TAS edition! On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear part two of a two-part series with key e-commerce entrepreneurs as they pick apart three websites, give their suggestions for improvement, their thoughts on the future of e-commerce and much more! These guys come ready to put their knowledge and experience on full display.  You are going to need a pen and some paper for this episode to catch all the helpful insight that these leaders bring. Also, make sure you check out part one of this series if you missed it the first time around!

What’s the Story behind the Brand?

In the e-commerce space, it’s important to have a top quality product. But what often gets buried is the reason behind the product. What is the motivation behind the brand? If you want to build a following and create fans of your product and brand, you’ve got to leverage the power of storytelling. On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott and a few e-commerce experts break down how important it is to tell a compelling story about your product and why you are selling it. They go over how they’ve seen this strategy play out in the marketplace and why they are convinced it's effective. Make sure you listen to this episode!

Who is the target audience for your product?

Next, to finding your niche product, you have to have a full-orbed understanding of the demographic breakdown of your target audience. There are a couple of methods to achieve these results. On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear Scott and key e-commerce leaders go over tactics they’ve used to identify their target audience, build upon that information, and how to reach new customers. If you are ready to launch a product or if you just want to know how to increase your reach – don’t miss this episode!

The Future of E-commerce

Is it too late to get started and see success in the e-commerce industry? It’s no secret that the industry is growing and evolving but does that mean that there isn’t room for new sellers like you to get in and make an impact? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from e-commerce experts and their take on the state of the industry. They sketch out what they can foresee as the future of e-commerce and how leaders like you can take advantage of the marketplace. If you are wondering if now is the right time to jump in, don’t miss the insight that these experts bring!

Don’t get overwhelmed, get started TODAY!

When you get the chance to hear from experts and guys who have made a successful run in the e-commerce industry it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t let that happen to you! Learn from what the guys share about how to optimize websites and tighten up messaging but also get out there and make mistakes! An old adage says, “To get what you’ve never had, you’ve got to do what you’ve never done.” So take as much advice and insights as you can about the e-commerce industry but don’t let the volume of information paralyze you with inaction. Get out there and make an impact!

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
  • [4:00] The guys start breaking down a website.
  • [10:20] The story behind the brand. What’s the “Why?”
  • [15:00] How do you spread the word?
  • [19:50] Finding a target audience.
  • [23:00] The guys break down a coffee website.
  • [36:00] The power of a product’s story.
  • [39:00] What is the future of ecommerce?
  • [43:30] Closing thoughts from the guys.

 

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 354

(Part 2) LIVE Product Brainstorming and Website Tear Downs with Ecommerce Experts

[00:00:02] Scott: Well, hey, hey. What's up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 354 and part two of the Live Product Brainstorming and Website Teardowns with ecommerce experts that I did with Noah Kagan, Ian Schoen and Steve Chou. And if you guys have not listened to episode 353, you’re probably going to want to because that one there was all about…

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randomly just picking a product and brainstorming about it and actually Noah came up with a product that was a garbage can and we talked about if this was even something to consider and if it was, how would you it make it different? How would you get it to selling $1,000 per month in ecommerce and what platforms and how to make it better?

And like all of those things and it was a really good deep dive into live product brainstorming and how to validate and test and all of that good stuff. So that was on episode 353 and that’s part one of this part one/part two session that we did together. And the second part which you’re going to listen to today, is the website teardowns. It’s three different websites that we teardown and these websites were submitted by Noah’s audience. They submitted a whole bunch of different websites, he picked three and then he brought them on to our session and then we all kind of dug into each one.

We looked at each one, we gave our thoughts, our opinions, how we would improve it and all of that good stuff. And I think you guys will find a ton, a ton of value from this. There’s a lot of really good points brought up and also I think for you to understand and then start to listen to how you can better serve a market and also like what that market will want once they land there. It’s not always about what you think. It’s what the audience wants as the end result. The end game.

[00:01:57] Scott: And then from you having these different things on your website to get them to move through that journey or that path and the branding and we mentioned some other websites that are doing it really, really well. And again, I’ll link everything up in the show notes of this episode and this episode is 354. So you are going to want to head over to theamazingseller.com/354. I’ll also link up the part one of this if you haven’t listened to that. So that will be there for you as well.

But again, a great episode and we had no idea where it was going to go and it went in a really good direction and I think you’ll hear after you listen to this from all of us that we really thought that it went well and that there was a lot of great value here that I think once you listen to this stuff over and over again you start to understand it better and also look at things a little bit differently with just a different eye. And I think it’s really important when you’re building a business or a brand. Alright, so guys let's go ahead and jump into the second part of this roundtable discussion I did with my good friends Noah, Steve and Ian. Enjoy.

[DISCUSSION]

[00:03:10] Noah: So, let's go into some of the actual like sites that other people… So finishing up the garbage can. So we have a garbage can, we do these things, we see if people want it. Let's go to some sites that have actually done it and they're past that part and they’re actually selling a few the things, they have their own websites. I sent you guys a few, three links. learntosolderkit.com, realhamn.com and Cuvee Coffee. Why don't we start at learntosolderkit.com? I guess I was just curious because you guys have seen so many websites. Like what would you guys recommend you know that you guys have done ecommerce sites that like here are the best practices that we'd recommend for these guys. So the first one is learntosolderkit.com.

[00:03:44] Steve: Yeah I'll take this first one since I was an electrical engineer. So first of all, this site sells kits that teach you how to solder and for everyone who's listening out there like as an electrical engineer I used to do board design. I used to start a lot of stuff but when I went on this site, I realized you know I never really wanted to learn how to solder. I wanted to learn how to build these cool kits that required soldering. So for example when I was a kid, I like built my own walkie-talkies from these kits and soldering was a prerequisite but I built it and I learned how to solder because I wanted to build that walkie-talkie.

So I feel like for this site and if you go and you land on it like the first tagline is learn how to solder, I almost feel like that approach was a little bit wrong. You want to have cool kits and you want to demonstrate the kits that require soldering, instead of targeting the people who actually want to learn how to solder because in my opinion at least, no one wants to learn how to solder. They want to learn how to build stuff.

[00:04:40] Scott: It’s a great point. Just to kind of go exactly with what you're saying Steve. I had on my notes here just, the message was kind of like how to solder but really what's the end game? Like what's the thing that you're trying to achieve and for them to be able to teach like how to use these kits and then the tools or the soldering is just a by-product of the actual thing. So I would personally lead with the content which I didn't see any way for them to get like a free tutorial or a free lesson or free download of any kind to build this thing to get them engaged and then from there I can introduce the tools that we're using that make the job even easier and faster and then it could lead to a sale and then we can you know maybe upsell an order bump them or whatever. On that end of it so I just see them leading with content would be the first thing in my…

[00:05:31] Noah: That’s great. I definitely see it like sites into optimization, Ian what’s your thought.

[00:05:37] Ian: So yeah, I think that you guys are like spot-on in terms of the messaging. I'll come at it from a little bit of a different angle which is like what they're selling. So when I go to the store, I think like okay this is fine. I would expect there to be like probably a little bit more robust product offering but maybe they're just starting out and then I go to tools and I see that they're actually selling products on the tools page. Well if I was them, I’d probably be selling these products in the store because store is where I got to buy things and then even worse in my mind when I get to tools it's a link to get to Amazon.

So you know I think what they're doing here is they're getting Amazon affiliate sales but in my mind if you're going to go through all the trouble and all the headache and all the money and all the hassle to build your own site to drive traffic to your own site and then to deliver people to Amazon where you don't actually own the customers, that's a problem. So I would be keeping inventory in my apartment of these soldering irons. Also, the last thing that'll say about the tools is I want to know why these are the best soldering irons for me. I want to know what the best tools are to solder. It looks like they've kind of like picked a couple but tell me why those are the best tools.

[00:06:46] Scott: Hey Noah, I just want to add something there and Ian you had a great point. But what I think, here also to think about and like for them driving sales to Amazon, I totally get what you're saying, but here's another thing. I've been actually seeing this especially like with people that are buying like associate sites that they're building these sites and then they're going after the affiliate sale. Like that's also another way to validate a product will sell before you actually create it.

So for example, let's say that he all of a sudden gets a whole bunch of sales through that site and he doesn't have the product and he's making 6% on Amazon for the associates. Well now I know that this product is going to sell. Now I can make that product and then just replace it with my own product at my own store. So that's another angle to do that. But again you're creating all that work, getting the site if you're doing SEO, if you're not driving paid. I'm usually about paid traffic because I can do it a lot faster and I could test it quicker. So just another angle, just another thought there.

[00:07:38] Noah: I mean I think that's really great feedback. So Scott awesome point. You don't even have to go get the products. Just now start a site, sell the affiliate, get the affiliate and if they were actually buying it from you, they’ll be like, well instead of 6% I can get 90% or whatever the margins are.

[00:07:53] Ian: Yeah Scott, spot on. That's a great way to validate and maybe that's what they're doing.

[00:07:58] Noah: Possibly in terms of the feedback that I have for these guys on their website, I think some of the things that are confusing is that actually when it was at Facebook it was one of things that they’re sticklers about, is that the links should be the same and like right now above the fold you should have your main call to action. I just feel like I always talk about this with them because no one does it right. But every major site in the world has their main call to action very clearly on their prime real estate. These guys don't have anything. They actually have a blue box that is the same as their buttons at the bottom but these aren't buttons. These are just overlays.

So put a call to action on your top of your page everyone and remove a lot of the options besides what you want them to do and just do that up at the beginning. I think that's probably the easiest thing that they could do. Second thing that a lot of people, you guys are in ecommerce you know this. They don't collect any emails or any way of communicating with their customers. Like a great ecommerce, you guys know this too, it's like a great ecommerce store at best is 5% sales. Meaning out of 100 people who visit five buy and that’s like exciting.

Meaning that 95 aren’t ready. So get the rest of people. Use sumo.com or use free WordPress plugins, Sumo is free too. Whatever it is, just go click emails so you guys can let them know when you have new products or you’re new like because you guys are talking about. Steve, I thought it was a great point. It was like have stories, like here's how your kid can build in you I don't walkie-talkie or whatever it is that you want them to be building.

[00:09:11] Steve: Along those same lines, they should probably have the retargeting stuff set up too. I was just kind of looking at the source code now. I didn't really see that. Along the same lines you want to bring people back over and over and over again until they're ready to buy.

[00:09:23] Noah: Yep exactly. I mean it sounds like they have you know a few easy things. Do more content marketing, consolidate the store so they can buy stuff and then optimize the site to collect emails and make the purchases easier right from the get-go. Let's jump into the next site which I thought was really interesting. This guy like invented his own tong like his new like advanced tong called Real Hamn, realhamn.com. You guys want to jump into that?

[00:09:51] Scott: Yeah just before we do, is the about page or did you just link to that page or are we supposed to be critiquing that page or the whole site?

[00:09:58] Noah: No I meant the whole site. That was my bad.

[00:10:00] Scott: Okay, I'll just start real quick. I mean the very first thing was like why sign up for the newsletter, like they had that at the very bottom, like you were just saying so. Number one like newsletter, eeeh. Again if you're trying to do something like, we want to get them engaging with that or teaching them a recipe or something like that and then it just happens to be that the tongs are the things or the whatever you're selling is the thing that you're using it with. So having recipes would be an easy thing for that and then the other thing is like who's behind the brand. Like I didn't see who was behind the brand.

There's no real story there and I think a lot of times and I think I don’t know maybe you'll agree, maybe you want Steve but I mean I think having a story about why you created that brand, it just makes it that much more compelling and then people buy into it a little bit more. Probably the person that created them maybe because they were a chef and they hated the tongs that were in the market, so they created their own and they were a better version. Like just something like that or kind of how it all happened I think is a thing that this this site was missing for me.

[00:10:58] Steve: Yeah when I first landed on that site in the first five seconds like I had no idea what was special about these tongs at all and I feel like you need to know that like within the first five seconds and then there's one page on this site that's the product page which actually gives all the value propositions of this product. So I would actually rip apart the entire site and turn it into one long-form sales page which includes the story, which includes all the value proposition stuff. But everything about what makes it special should be above the fold right away.

[00:11:25] Noah: It's like a really good point. When you get to the site, the first thing it says introducing real hamn chef tongs which I still have no idea what that means. And then it's like you want me to buy right now but I'm even sure what you're buying and then there's a video. It’s funny when I saw the video on the homepage, it has two tongs and I was like well they look the same. I don’t even want to play this video? So actually one thing that I've seen a lot as I've been growing my YouTube channel is like your thumbnail or that first overlay video is really important. So maybe put text there or like you know you can actually see in 60 seconds why this is the best tong you'll ever have or the tongs that like real professional chefs’ use.

The other thing that's kind of like a small preference of mine is I always try to put the call-to-action buttons at the top middle and bottom or at least at the top and the bottom if you have longer pages. So their homepage it has like buy now button but it doesn't really have it at the bottom. I just generally felt like that’s consistency. One of the other kind of little thing too is like, I like when people tell me what to do. It sounds like, that's why I like my agent dominatrix. I just like it, just boss me around meaning that like on your site tell me what you want me to do.

Like, hey listen to my story then buy the product. So for example on his top navigation bar it's like home, buy product about video blog. I wanted to actually put one in a colour that he wants me to prioritize which is probably buying and just put that in like a black or bold and black or green or whatever colour he likes so that I can go and buy the actual product that he wants.

[00:12:51] Ian: I think you guys hit on most of what I would say. I mean I had the same problem which I don't even know why I would need chef tongs. I'm sure as a person that doesn't really cook that much I could be convinced to buy this product. If you explain to me what it's for or why people are going to be impressed when they come to my house and they see this or you know what real chefs do with it. Those kinds of things I think would be interesting to learn.

The other thing is, it's pretty obvious that this person is just getting started. This might be their first product. I think one of the things that we've previously talked about on this call is like experimentation with other products too. So it's called real hamn chef tools. I think I would probably try and throw it a couple more products on the site just to see where people are gravitating towards.

Again like it's so expensive to get traffic to your site like let's run a couple of experiments and see where people are actually going. If 90 percent of the people are going to your knives, well then maybe you should be on the knife business not the Tong business and right now the only information you have is, do they like my tongs, are they buying my tongs?

[00:13:48] Noah: That’s great. One thing I've seen kind of if you have this product like it's almost a no-brainer, like why don't you have recipes? Like give me things I can… like Steve I thought you had a great point. Like hey no one wants a solder kit, they want that like have better relationship with their father. They want that I think that's a really great point which is just like give me recipes to go make give me like with everyone's product like I don’t want a trash can.

Like I want something that like makes my house smell better or it looks pretty actually like have a trash can that looks gorgeous and then I guess give me stories about what that would be like or activities that maybe not to do in the trash can but you could talk me out like how to save the environment if that's the angle I was going at. Scott were you going to say something or Ian?

[00:14:28] Scott: No.

[00:14:29] Ian: No.

[00:14:30] Noah: I mean one thing I’m thinking too like Real Hamn like for you guys. So let's say you guys are now in charge. Like we kill this guy and we take over his site and we create the pro, the best chef tong, Pro chef tongs. Like the best tongs you'll ever use in your kitchen ever. How would you guys actually go about getting the word out about this? So one day he needs to collect emails which he kind of did but how would you go about evaluating, getting the word out about chef tongs?

[00:14:56] Scott: I think the main thing is you gotta be you know getting your brand out there whether that's YouTube videos or Instagram or whatever. It's like how, I mean if you're in the cooking business then what better way than to just you show people how to cook certain meals and then your tongs just happened to be there. You could also do like five common things chefs that they want or top whatever. If you're a chef and you're looking for the five top tools or something like that but I think more so the use of them and then from there it's going to lead people back.

To me it's about leading to the content that they can actually consume and then the bi-product is, the actual tool that's doing the job and then you can start to explain because you have your attention now so now all of a sudden why are these, why does it make it easier and faster to use these tongs. That's probably what I would say.

[00:15:46] Noah: Ian, Steve. What will you guys do to market this?

[00:15:49] Steve: I would probably put together a really compelling video that outlines the value proposition and then I would probably run video ads on Facebook and then I would probably just retarget those people that watch the video, a certain percentage. That's probably the fastest way to do it. What Scott suggested is great. It just takes a lot longer to get information.

[00:16:14] Ian: I don't know what your guys thought is on this and I haven't actually personally experimented it so I'm interested to hear. But you know I'm on Instagram like as the rest of the world and I follow people that are like foodies so that I take pictures of the food. This is a whole phenomenon I guess but I mean some of these people have millions and millions of followers just from posting photos of their food. And so I don't know, have any of you guys experimented it with Instagram and kind of that approach you know starting with the content first like that through Instagram and then leading to the tongs?

[00:16:45] Steve: I've done some influencer marketing. Is that where you're going down with this?

[00:16:48] Ian: I think so, yeah.

[00:16:49] Steve: Okay, yeah. I mean you could give these away to chefs and see if they like it and let the product speak for itself. Right? If they like it they’ll use it in a video and maybe they'll endorse you.

[00:17:01] Noah: I think that's a great approach. Just like go find people to give your product to. I mean, I knew it when I talked to the quest bars, which is now a billion dollar company. They got their product out there just giving it away for free and then just getting people to really like it and use it. Influencer marketing is also tough. Like I literally get like one free thing a week and you can always send me free things. But there's no guarantee that they're actually going to use it, which is part of the problem. Like, hey I’ll give you tongs if you tweet us. They're like, no. It’s like pay me $10,000 and I'll tweet it.

Maybe one alternative is either hosting local parties, like there's just a bunch of different things. So like the way I approach marketing, what I would do with real tongs, it’s like who are you targeting? You’re targeting men, women. Like who’s the exact person that should be buying this? Is it for house want to be chefs? Is it for actual restaurants?

And then number two is like what's your goal around that? Like how many are you trying to sell? And then three, where are these people? Because if you're trying to target to like real chefs, you could go to like poached. Which is like a hiring site for chefs or you could hit up restaurants and be like hey, how do you guys normally find out about your products? And then actually go and work backwards from there.

[00:18:05] Scott: They could also probably even target kids that are graduating from college that are culinary. You know what I mean? They're coming out of school that are needing professional chef equipment.

[00:18:17] Noah: Well you know it's funny. I wasn’t even thinking, I mean it really depends who you want to target. I think that's one thing that most businesses are doing incorrectly which is just like we target everyone, we target people who cook. And I’m like there’s people who cook cheaper meals and there's people who do microwave dinners. I don't think they're probably going to spend $60 on tongs. He would go build it in his garage.

[00:18:35] Steve: This is kind of like why I like the Facebook approach and then seeing who's engaging and then get more information, yeah.

[00:18:40] Scott: Because you can see the demographics just by running that ad very quickly.

[00:18:45] Steve: To your point Noah, it's like selling toothpaste. It's really tough because everybody uses it. But if you can like narrow down your market to specific people like selling toothpaste to people with dentures that are over 75 years old that have sensitive gums. Then it's a lot easier to figure out where like you said these people are hanging out and it's generally a nursing home so I would think. So maybe you need to be a traveling salesman, I don't know.

[00:19:12] Noah: But also what Steve you're saying, the Facebook thing. Personally I'm always hesitant of spending money on things until I’ve made money.

[00:19:18] Steve: You’re anti spending money in the beginning, right?

[00:19:20] Noah: Yeah, it's more of like I don't want to spend it unless I know that I'm going to make a profit on it versus like oh I'll just find data and then they’ll show interest and maybe it’ll work out. So for me like my first thought is like once I decided who it's for, I would probably look through my own network and my networks network, even if it's small people like I don't have a lot of friends. It's like you don’t have friends that cook or you don't know have friends that work at restaurants or know people like everyone does. I’m curious to your approach with Facebook. So you buy an ad and who'd you target for like these tong thing?

[00:19:46] Steve: Well assuming you have some information to start with. Let's say you have nothing. I would probably make an educated guess based on what magazines people might read. So in this case it might be some cooking magazine or whatnot and then just put together a compelling video and see who watches it and then you can take the group of people that watch let’s say 75% of this video and then you can kind of get an idea of who's even interested in this product and maybe you can try to sell it to those people. But you run this and it's actually not that expensive if you target for video views and then you can get insights on the people that are actually consuming this information from you.

[00:20:25] Noah: Okay, what kind of insights can you actually get?

[00:20:26] Steve: You can get demographic information like, are men or women, the ages. Like for example like I found out six months ago and I hadn't done this because our stores primarily caters to wedding people and it was only after looking through Facebook Insights did I realize that there were a bunch of people aged 55 and up that were buying our handkerchiefs consistently.

So what I did, was I pulled my data for people who bought handkerchiefs more than once and then I plugged all those email addresses into Facebook insights and all of a sudden there was this new demographic that I do not know about. And so that's why I've started to just use Facebook as a way to just kind of gather more data about other pockets of people that I might not even know that I target.

[00:21:10] Noah: So do you just upload your emails and go to Facebook audience insights to get better understand who your current… You basically take your customer lists uploaded it to audience insight and then see what the demographics are?

[00:21:20] Steve: Yes.

[00:21:21] Noah: That's a great idea. I’m mean, even if people don't have businesses yet, you can do it with any email lists. Like take your you know most open people or whatever it is, upload Facebook audience and they'll tell you who all these people are.

[00:21:31] Steve: Yeah and this is kind of where our philosophy is different. Noah, like the way you're doing is awesome. You're getting immediate sales but the… I've heard you talk about this in the past too like where scalability doesn't really matter. But the thing is, with Facebook, as soon as you find that right audience, you can scale it pretty easily whereas your way is better to get quick sales with, quick validation.

[00:21:55] Noah: Yeah, I think there's a separation that I recognize. Which is, part one is to make sure people want it and then part two is how do you get many, many people to want it. But I think people want to jump to part two because it seems easier and like you don’t have to actually deal with the hard part and I don't people to avoid that because I think there's a lot of learning in that. So let's go to the last one. Actually it’s funny out of our conversations, I feel like this is where we're getting a lot of really good nuggets. What you guys think?

[00:22:19] Scott: I do, yeah. I like it.

[00:22:21] Noah: I feel like this is the part where I’m like, yeah I didn’t think about the Facebook audience insight. I didn’t think about like we should think about the marketing from this angle and like how to do the messaging.

[00:22:28] Scott: Absolutely.

[00:22:30] Noah: Alright Cuvee Coffee, cuveecoffee.com. This is actually based in Austin Texas. This is Mike McKim. He's a little bit of a renegade and I like him and so I thought we'd check out his site and have the experts roast him. Get it, coffee, roast? Alright, hit it.

[00:22:49] Scott: Who wants to lead?

[00:22:50] Steve: I'll go first. I'm not a coffee drinker first of all. So I think coffee is a really tough niche because there's like just so many different brands and everything out there and when I first landed on the site, I honestly couldn't tell what was special about the coffee, so I actually interviewed someone on the podcast, Death Wish Coffee and they have the strongest coffee in the world. And so when I went on their site, I immediately knew why I would buy their coffee but with this coffee brand I wasn't sure and I actually even clicked around the site and I couldn't really get like a good value proposition out of it. So maybe some of you guys who have actually drank this coffee you can comment.

[00:23:31] Scott: I haven't had any of this coffee but I am a coffee drinker and it's funny Steve, I think I told you that. But the guys from Death Wish Coffee, there, right? That’s the name? Those guys, they were local from where I was an upstate New York. They were literally about 30 minutes from where I lived. That's where they started the brand.

[00:23:51] Steve: That’s cool.

[00:23:52] Noah: Alright, let’s go back to, thank you Steve for taking us off course.

[00:23:54] Scott: Yeah, so what I wanted to say was, I agree like when I got here I didn't know if it was like showing me that they have locations or if they actually have coffee or if they have both or if they have a roasting company or if they do wholesale. Like there was a little bit of everything and the messaging wasn't clear to me. So I wasn't sure if it's coffee shop, coffee brand and I wasn't really sure who the ideal customer was. I would say too like images of people enjoying the coffee would have been nice to see. I didn't see any on the front page that we're smiling or enjoying the coffee.

And again story, I didn't see any story or mission statement and I guess the one thing that I would like not that they have to but I think it's always a plus if you can add a cause of some kind of donations especially if it's like something that's like organic or there's something there like I just think that really ties a brand together full circle. That's just an add-on thing that I would probably look into doing if there were into causes. So that was my take.

[00:24:58] Steve: I want to know what's special about the coffee as soon as I land on it. Because there's so many different brands out there.

[00:25:34] Ian: I had the same problem that Steve had, which is that I came to the site and I couldn't tell what they do best or where they're making money. So I think that that would be my advice. Is like, where do you guys make money? Is it selling coffee? It's probably not selling coffee cups and selling coffee cups is like taking a third of the real estate above the fold, whatever small wares is. I don't know these people but like it falls into the category of like small business syndrome. Like local small business syndrome.

They're like, hey we have a space, like you can run our space. Hey we have a parking lot, it's close to the racetrack, you can park there when you go to the racetrack. It's like they're trying to sell me everything that they think is an asset, they're trying to sell to me. Coffee cups, coffee, shirts whatever it is. So figure it out what your number one value proposition is because you have my attention now and try and sell that to me. Don't try and sell me you know five different things.

[00:26:00] Noah: Well you know it's interesting. Ian and I were talking about this before we got the show started is that, look at some of the competitors that are like at the top of your industry or look at people that are the top of another industry to learn what they're doing differently. So like when you guys think of coffee, like Blue Bottle Coffee is one that comes to mind for a lot of people or Intelligentsia.

You guys don't really drink a lot of coffee but it's like let's kind of see what they're doing and then look at it like alternate fields. So a lot of times like look at makeup companies, look at honest whatever Jessica's company and see what they're doing, so that you can actually, yeah it's interesting so Intelligentsia it's all about stories. They’ve got pictures of Brazil and pictures of families and all the people who are getting it and they try to sell you actually coffee and subscriptions right away.

At Blue Bottle actually the first thing they try is to get you an email and it's photos again of great experiences. So I would probably learn from others in your industry or like the top in your industry or others in the top that I would look at Cuvee. The other thing that was strange for was like, I get to the site and it has this like perfectly roasted page and I can't do anything. It's like it shows me a cup, a coffee and then the nitro coffee but I can't do anything. I'd have to actually scroll down and that just seems like a waste. And then it has like featured items of random stuff. And in future I actually think so to kind of coming back to Steve what you said earlier again I’m going to say for Cuvee is like they should just have like videos and articles about how you can have like the best coffee in the world at home.

It seems like they do a lot of like labs like hey come learn how we do it at our coffee shop, they should probably just give me a taste of that number one to kind of get more people to come to their side and I trust them more. Number two seems like a subscription is a great way for coffee businesses to grow and three, what's your angle of your coffee. Hey like, we’re the premium coffee that's the cheapest, we are like coffee from the South, we're coffee from a certain country. Like yeah, I think it's a great point. Like what differentiates their coffee than others. Yeah so Ian, your point is they just have too much stuff going on?

[00:27:52] Ian: Yeah, I just can't understand what they want me to do. Like you know, what is your number one value proposition that you provide your customers and how can I opt into that? So you know I see a lot of times like people have this like, oh we offer this, we offer that, we offer this and a lot of times the reason for that is because they're trying to monetize everything to the sun and their business and I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad idea but it definitely takes away a lot of your resources from what could be your most valuable proposition.

And so when I look at the site I wonder if they actually know what the most valuable proposition or what the most valuable product is that they sell. Because if it's coffee then my site is all about coffee. If I'm making the most amount of money on renting out my coffee shop, then that's what's on my front page. So I question whether or not they really understand what their business model is or if they're just trying to over monetize it, if that makes sense.

[00:28:48] Steve: Yeah in fact I just noticed now that they're featured items are all classes, right?

[00:25:53] Ian: Yeah, it’s kind of confusing. Yeah.

[00:28:56] Steve: So they're selling a lot of classes. It's kind of like pick one thing that you guys you kind of want to specialize in and get them and like own that space.

[00:29:02] Noah: Well, I think I’m on the front page I think I mean what it could be and they're kind of alluding to this which is like small wares coffee black and blue but it could be you know coffee courses event space. So I like land on their page, I'm like, “Okay well I've heard of Cuvee before and because I've drank their coffee, I’m going to go buy their coffee. I've heard of Cuvee before because I went to an event here, I’m going to click on the event.” You know if they must offer three different options for people to do make it, make it distinct, so I know where I should be going.

[00:29:30] Steve: Yeah, I like Noah's point. Like maybe the call line should be, “Learn how to brew the perfect cup of coffee at home,” and then sell the classes but then of course if people aren’t your classes you can sell your coffee there once you get them in the door pretty easily.

[00:29:44] Noah: It's funny how much I buy from people that I trust. A story that someone told me is like Ryan Gosling and whether you think he’s good looking or not like yeah whatever I’m guessing. But if you actually know his upbringing, he's very… He looks like me. So the thing with Ryan Gosling is that he's actually, I think he was adopted and abused and like he had a crazy upbringing to actually become successful.

And once I actually read more of his background, I was like man, I want to support this guy more. And then that kind of message is really stuck with me with a lot of the companies that and people I support. I'm like, “Oh yeah I really like who they are. I like that message that they have. I like their story.” So if I can learn more about Cuvee Coffee like they actually have a pretty new story. Like the government's been trying to kick them out and ban them for a lot of reasons and it actually is like, “Hey where is the coffee for rebels.’

[00:30:29] Scott: I like that. It’s a good angle.

[00:30:31] Noah: There's just something for them to like… Black and Blue is one of the coffee names. Obviously they're kind of rebels to some extent.

[00:30:38] Scott: But I didn’t get any of that though when I landed on that page.

[00:30:41] Steve: Yeah it just needs to be tightened up. Like give me like more of an experience on the site. You drop me on like an espresso random page.

[00:30:47] Noah: One other thing I think you guys probably know this too, is like when you're doing your ecommerce store, sort your products from the most popular ones to the least. So I'm guessing when people come to Cuvee Coffee, the first thing they're not going to do is buy a basic espresso lab, right? So they should probably say like, “Hey these are our most two popular coffees or this is the coffee that we’re known for and really focus on selling the most popular ones instead of distracting with a bunch of other options that may not be as popular.

[00:30:11] Scott: That’s good. Yep

[00:31:14] Noah: And again, collect emails like only 5% at best are going to buy, 95% aren't. That's why we have sumo.com, this message was sponsored by sumo.com.

[00:31:22] Scott: Hey Noah, though real quick. What would you say would be a good offer? I've got an idea. I mean why not give away some like free coffee like once a month. You pick a couple of random winners or something you enter here to win free coffee or maybe it's like you said maybe it's like some type of how to make the best coffee at home without having to attend one of our classes. Like I don't know, like let's maybe shoot an idea there real quick.

[00:31:44] Steve: Or a giveaway is in kingsumo.com. What do you think Scott?

[00:31:48] Noah:  Actually this episode is sponsored by AARP, the Association of American Retired People because when you're about to die, drink some coffee. No so, I’ve been thinking about that. I actually don't sweat the opt-ins like what Scott was bringing up which I think is a solid point which is like you know try different messaging to get people to want to give you their email, so that you can educate them and then they trust you and then they want to make purchases from you. But the bigger point is just to get it started and I think until you actually see results that like oh man if I send an email I’ll make some money which is what we found out through AppSumo.

Once you start seeing it then you can get more advanced giveaways or you can test like doing like a free coffee of the month or a discount or just like hey find out about our news flavours or the opt-in to me is less interesting. I also think about like how did they get more people coming to their site. I think Ian, you know the beard brand guys. Which they've taken beard brand and then just made a bunch of videos in Instagram and that's actually really how they've grown their business if I'm correct.  

[00:32:44] Steve: Yeah, primarily through YouTube actually, right?

00:32:48] Ian: Yeah, so Eric is like a master YouTuber and he just happens to be channelling people to beard products. I mean that he could be selling anything now.

[00:32:57] Noah: And I think it's a point. So what do you think he's doing that they could learn from?

[00:33:01] Ian: Eric that beard brand?

[00:33:03] Noah: Yeah, what do you think that the coffee brand could be doing that you know that's working for him?

[00:33:07] Ian: Well I mean basically what Eric's doing is, the interesting thing about Eric I guess from beard brand is like he lives out life like through and through. Like I just helped him buy a Volvo station wagon because he wants to be even more of a hipster. Like he is just like the most bearded hipster there is. So, it's a very genuine process for him and so it makes it really easy for him to turn on the microphone or to turn on the video recorder and talk about things that he's interested in.

So I think that that's important too and having that kind of consistency through your life and I don't know about this coffee brand or whatever but my guess is that they're passionate about coffee. Can they speak about it in an intelligent way? I would hope so if they've been in the business for a long time. So yeah, sure. Share with people your story, share with people why you're doing what you're doing.

[00:33:56] Noah: That's actually so surprising back in the day with AppSumo, this blew my mind. Our number one bestseller for two years was how we built AppSumo. We created this, we've literally recorded a video me and Andrew and it was like just us talking about how we built it and how we got it to a seven figure company and grew it and that alone people wanted to pay a lot of money for.

It’s not that I think people should just sell their stories but it made me realize like how much people want to connect and learn more about the companies they like. Like that's why we buy like Nikes, like biography shoedog. I haven’t even bought Nikes in a few years but I bought that because I like the product, I like the brand and I want to learn more about it.

[00:34:33] Steve: That’s interesting. I didn't know. I thought it was Nevel’s course that sold the most. At least that's what he told me.

[00:34:37] Noah: Navel sells everything, he sells the most. So important being, I think just in connecting with the story, optimizing your ecommerce a lot better in terms of like driving them to a specific sale and having more of an experience. I had seen this, I’m curious. Scott or Steve, what do you guys think of like top ecommerce sites or ones that you're like, hey I should you know go replicate from them. You know, what do you guys think of, what are the first ones that come to mind?

[00:34:59] Scott: Oh man, there's a lot but I mean it's funny that you bring up you know beard brand. I mean if you go to their site I mean they're doing a really good job. They've got everything in place, so I would say that’d be a good one to look at and kind of like model what they're doing in your market for me personally. Like again, I just went there as you guys mentioned. I’ve seen him on shark tank, so I'm familiar with him and I thought it was great then but I mean the brand is totally represented by the website. It's built exactly what you would want. I think that's a great example.

[00:35:35] Steve: I think it's all that story for me so I'll give you a quick story. A long time ago, when we first had kids, we were looking for slings, baby slings. You guys probably don’t know what that is. Scott you might.

[00:35:45] Scott: Yeah I know.

[00:35:46] Steve: But we were looking at different brands and they all looked the same. They all look the same but there was this one brand and the saleslady pitched it as this like 90 year old guy, he had a kid late in life and he decided to devote his entire life creating the perfect baby sling. This is Japanese guy and like she presented that story to us and then we tried that sling on and all of a sudden that sling felt so much more valuable than the other ones we were trying on. So that story really made a huge difference.

[00:36:19] Noah: So they told a story about it, that's it?

[00:36:22] Steve: They did. Yes, they told us a story about the guy who developed that sling. This 90 year old guy who spent like the last decade of his life developing this sling.

[00:36:32] Noah: And then he died in it or what?

[00:36:34] Steve: I think he was still living but we did not buy it because it was 200 bucks…

[00:36:47] Noah: No but I think a story is a great thing that's undervalued and people want to like people buy from who they like and so if it's like with Cuvee Coffee be like hey you know even make a video of yourself like I think a lot of us make it too fancy. Where the first one can literally use your phone, record it yourself at your home. You’re like hey, here’s where I got started and that's what you can put on Facebook or your website or whatever. I don’t think people are like you know assuming they need to do something a lot fancier and you could do that after you get something just started.

[00:37:08] Steve: Yeah and that's so part of your initial autoresponder sequences too. Your story?.

[00:37:14] Noah: Yeah, that's a great point. Actually I could do that for my own autoresponder. One thing I think Steve is, two things actually. I have two thoughts. Like I think we assume that everyone knows everything about us from the beginning and that's like we're like oh of course they know our story, when they don't know when you don't put it out there. And two, I realized today that when I put out content or I put out a product, you really have to, if you really think it's a great content or a  product or service you have to go make an effort to let people know about it. You can't just assume they're going to hear about it.

And I think a lot of businesses like that might have worked in the beginning they’re like well it’s not work anymore. It's like what are you telling me about it, because I put out a blog post I thought it was really great and I was like how are people actually going to hear about it. And so you think you have to go like if it's a great product don't be bashful about communicating with email or communicating with ads or whatever it is if you think it's a great product and having to actually remind people of it. People need to be seeing things multiple times before they’re ready to make a decision on stuff.

[00:38:04] Steve: I actually think you do a really good job there Noah. I remember when Sumome first came out like you know you kept bringing it up and it works actually. Like I wasn't aware of the product or I might have forgotten about it but you would remind me and then I will go try it and I finally used it.

[00:38:21] Noah: I was telling someone about this two days ago, like you just gotta let people know and I think if you don't have a product that you're proud of, there's two things. Well you can do this well, “I'm never going to be proud of it, I'm always going to be ashamed. Like oh Jewish guilt.” It's like you know one thing is that like find like you have to get it out there, but when you've gotten to a point where you’re like, hey I'm actually really proud of this, I think what you can do is actually go harder than you're comfortable with and then figure out like where that pendulum lies for you but for me I'm like, I'm proud of this. Like I think I'm doing a disservice to myself if I don't let more people know and I think more people if they have things they are proud of, like you need to go a little bit harder in getting the word out.

So in wrapping up, it's been about an hour, so I want to respect our times and obviously we'll head this down to 30ish minutes give or take. What is the future of ecommerce? Like what are the things you guys are like, “Here's what I'm really going to take advantage of?” So Ian put out an article today, where he said, “I see a lot of people like buying products on Alibaba trying to arbitrage on Amazon.” And Ian actually put an article saying like, hey go do that on Etsy. So Ian, maybe talk about that. I'm curious Scott and Steve, what do you guys think a lot of ecommerce is going to be going to given that you guys are so immersed in it?

[00:39:27] Ian: Yeah, I mean what I talked about today was how to validate a product for less than $100, so and I think that that's totally possible through Etsy. So a lot of these platforms like Amazon, eBay there are professional tools and we've talked about them, some on this show where you'll get professional sellers. Essentially people are very good at finding a market, exploiting that market and flooding it with products.

Etsy is one of these places that hasn't quite happened too yet although it's starting to happen too. Meaning like they're still makers producing unique products on Etsy and so there's still room to kind of get in when you don't have all this expertise like SEO, content marketing et cetera et cetera and part of that is just because the search algorithm I think is a little bit less developed at Etsy.

But what I found through my research just buying things on Etsy experimenting is that there are a lot of sleeping giants on Etsy. There are a lot of companies that are doing over a million dollars on Etsy with real teams. And they're selling products that they're making most of them and so I think that there's a real opportunity to get on Etsy to figure out what's working and to bring it either to Etsy or to other markets. It's not to say that you can't do the same thing on Amazon or Google or anything like that but one of the points that I made in the article is that I really feel like the internet is getting smaller.

When you like Google barstools which is the example I made like it's all the people that you’d expect. Like it's Wayfair, it’s Amazon, it’s Pure One, you know, it's all these sites. But there there's a lot of products out there that aren't on that front page and so it's just getting increasingly hard on Amazon and Google to market your products and to be in front of people if you're not a professional marketer. And I think Etsy is one of the places where people can still do that.

[00:41:14] Scott: I mean I’ll just, I’ll echo that. I think Etsy's a great place. I think a lot of people don't think of that. But I would also say that Amazon is still a platform where people can do this, Again if you're going to go into those certain markets, especially the bigger markets then I can definitely see that happening. Where someone's just going to, they're going to take over that whole market. But I think for people just getting started it’s kind of what we talked about at the very beginning. It's just about getting started. It doesn't mean that you're necessarily going to hit a homerun.

Like I'm about hitting base hits and then you know just keep capitalizing on those. And then it can bring that awareness to myself or a partner and say all right let's go all in on this now or let's go deeper into this and let's start doing content marketing. Let's start doing Facebook ads. Let's start doing all of this other external stuff but I agree with you, whether it’s eBay, Etsy, Amazon or any other platform that has buyers to validate it there first I think it's just an easy thing to do and I think everyone should be doing that. With that being said, I don't think that's it’s always going to work and I wouldn't necessarily say that if you just did one marketplace and it didn't work then you would just give up. You might say let me try it on two of them and then see what happens.

But yeah, I still think there's a ton of opportunity out there and I understand a lot of people say well Amazon's getting saturated. Well it is but there's a lot more buyers coming into. You know there's a lot more products coming in and they're just, they're taking over the freaking world. So it's just, it's a matter of I think in the beginning just establishing a market and then from there seeing that you can get some sales and then from there building upon that outside of just that one channel.

[00:42:48] Steve: Yeah, I mean I think branding is becoming more important than ever. Like if you got me two years ago I would say that you could almost throw anything up on Amazon and it would sell. Now it's becoming a little more saturated, so you actually have to sell something that actually has a value proposition. And as soon as you get some traction, it doesn't matter what the marketplace is, whether it be Amazon or Etsy or eBay then you got to start building your own audience because that's the best way to future improve your business.

Gathering emails, having these autoresponder sequences in place, talking about your story and your brand and basically humanizing your business. That's how you're going to last in the long run. Otherwise someone could just copy your exact same product on a marketplace like Amazon and overtake you, if you don't have that strong foundation.

[00:43:32] Noah: Alright guys, any other final words of wisdom? Any last tips of things you're like hey here's stuff I'm excited about or things I'm thinking about?

[00:43:40] Scott: I would just say I mean the biggest thing for a lot of people is they're going to listen to this and they may be like overwhelmed with like everything that you can do. But I think you've also said that Noah that, it's just about getting something out there to the market and let them raise their hand with their wallet and then from there you can decide on that next move. But don't think about figuring it all out right now, right today. Just get started that's the biggest thing.

[00:44:05] Steve: Get started and make sure you have a strong value proposition. Like don't just throw out something that's already out there.

[00:44:11] Ian: I'd say to that point you know it's you know we're talking about markets being saturated, get into this, don't get into that, don't be on this platform, be on that platform. Number one get started. Number two it has never been easier to build a business that satisfies your needs as it is today. So that means that you want to be a professional rock climber and work two hours a week, it's totally possible with all the things that we're talking about. I truly believe that all your dreams can be achieved through these businesses. So yeah, get out there and start today.

[00:44:43] Steve: And one last thing. Consider thinking more B2B. One thing that Amazon is generally catering to the consumer, like they just released Amazon Business but there's a lot of businesses out there. They want better customer service and once a business starts buying from you, they'll tend to buy from you over and over again. Like the business customer’s a lot more loyal. So if you can establish a business that caters to businesses that will be a much easier path to recurring revenue than to a consumer per se.

[00:45:16] Noah: Yeah I mean there's definitely trade-offs. Like B2B, these people have money and they run a business so it's easier for them to justify expenses. There’s just trade-offs to all this stuff. So it sounds like a few things to summarize some of the lessons learned from this episode. It's like number one get started today. Number two share more of the story and not just about your product but what is like the benefit, why does that get better with your product? Number three like look at other marketplaces to accelerate your growth. So eBay is great way to validate or accelerate. Etsy, Amazon you know, there's letgo.com, there's all these kind of new services so like try them out.

Number four, Scott you mentioned this is and this is how you have been going, just go sell something today. If you're like, I don't have a great idea, fine. Then just go sell your junk and that might actually give you an idea. Like maybe it's in tennis, maybe it's in services maybe it's in products, maybe it's selling other people's junk, but those are kind of some of the things that I've taken away. I don't know, what have you guys taken away?

[00:46:05] Scott: Noah, I think you said a lot.

[00:46:17] Steve: Yeah, exactly.

[00:46:09] Ian: You know, Noah, on your point of like just selling junk, I mean it's like when you start thinking like an entrepreneur or business owner, like the whole world kind of like changes around you. Like there's all these opportunities. If you're going through life like a consumer, like it's very hard to see these opportunities, it's very easy to miss these opportunities. So if you start looking at everything as more you know transactional way like well how did this get into my house, well I bought it. Well somebody gave it to me. It's like out figure out how these items got into your life and figure out how you can get those items into other people's lives.

[00:46:37] Scott: Yeah I think basically be aware. You know, be aware of your surroundings, be aware of what you're touching on a daily basis and what you're using what other people are using and you just never know but like you said I mean Noah, like when you sell that one thing, it's going to trigger like wow this thing can work and then you start looking around even a little bit like with a different set of lenses on. So I like it. I like it.

[00:46:59] Ian: I was going to say final point from me over here too is that, the wealthiest people I know are in the most unsexy niches.

[00:47:10] Noah: Ian, drop that knowledge on. So what kind of niches are they just to get people an idea?

[00:47:14] Ian: Oh man, it could be like swimming pool construction, there's a number of different things. But none of it is things that you would think would make necessarily a lot of money and a lot of it's not even on the internet. So I mean components are on the internet but a lot of these like big time transactions and this big time money, comes from people actually talking to other people and cutting deals. And part of that is like my bias. Like I'm not, I'm just not good at selling a million products for $15. Like I'm much better selling a million dollar product 15 times and I do that through personal relationships and actually meeting people and shaking people's hands.

[00:47:50] Noah: Dude you just dropped like too much knowledge right at the end. We are going to have to like rejigger that and then start over. So number one I think it's like if everyone's online probably consider offline farmers markets. Like look at Square. They’re a public company that started with farmers markets. That was their big kind of in road. Number two don't go for the sexy. That's a great point as well. Like everyone is like, I want to have like more like a digital product or something that… It’s just like no, do something that maybe that is not as appealing to everybody else in it. You'll have less competition. I love those kind of businesses.

[00:48:22] Ian: Yeah, I mean Steve, I don't know if you think your product’s sexy or not but…

[00:48:26] Steve: It's not. It’s not. Yeah.

[00:48:29] Noah: And you have to go tell people at dinner parties and they're laughing at you and you get in whatever car you drive and drive home and feel good about yourself. So I think that that’s all that’s important. Is that you feel good about what you’re selling.

[00:48:40] Steve: You know it’s funny you bring that up. Because I remember in the beginning a lot of my friends they used to make fun of me for selling those things and I still haven't really told them how much it generates but I still keep that to myself but yeah I was down in the beginning because I didn't feel like the product was sexy. But I guess it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

[00:48:59] Noah: Well how did you get over that? That’s actually an interesting point.

[00:49:02] Steve: How did I get over that? Good question. I mean for a while I actually wasn't even going out. Just because we were working on the business and just as it grew and it took a year to get it to a respectable revenue level. After that it was just the money justified itself.

[00:49:21] Scott: Okay, so that's going to wrap it up. I wasn't kidding. Right? I mean that went on for a long time but a lot of great back and forth discussion on these three websites and the teardowns and I hope that you got value from that. I know I did and I always love sitting around a round table even if I’m just listening in at other experts and what they've done in the past and what they're doing moving forward and what they've learned through their process and then how they would adapt it to a business that's already up and running and that's kind of what we did right here.

So again listen to what everyone was saying here and then take what you want away and apply it to your current business or maybe product research because you know moving forward you may want to move in this direction of building a brand, creating that unique proposition as Steve had said. But I think whenever you're able to kind of look at a website that's already up and running with products for sale and you have other people coming in that have been through this process and then listening to how they pick it apart, that's how you really learn and at least that's how I learn and I really got a lot of value from this as well.

So hopefully you did and I may even do more of these in the future because I had a really good time doing it. And I just want to remind you guys on the show notes. If you want to download the show notes to this episode and to part one which was episode 354 by the way, but you can head over to the show notes page to this episode, which is theamazingseller.com/354. All the links will be there. I’ll even include the links to the websites that we broke down so that's this way here if you wanted to go over to them check them out, see exactly what they looked like and then maybe we can even see some of those changes if the site owners decide to use this advice.

[00:51:07] Scott: So again guys, that is pretty much going to wrap it up. Hopefully you got a ton of value. Like I said and look forward to doing more of these in the future. If you want me to definitely shoot me an email or a message on Facebook and let me know that you enjoyed this episode because I genuinely enjoyed it and I would love to do more. So let me know. Alright, so guys, that's it, that's going to wrap it up. Remember as always, I'm here for you, I believe in you and I'm rooting for you but you have to, you have to… Come on, say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, “Take action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I'll see you right back here on the next episode.

[END]

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