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The TikTok-ification of E-Commerce – Return on Podcast Ep. 28 with Liran Hirschkorn

The TikTok-ification of E-Commerce - Return on Podcast Ep. 28 with Liran Hirschkorn

The following is a transcript of Episode 28 of Return on Podcast, the show where we help e-commerce sellers improve their ROI in business and in life. For more episodes, subscribe to our YouTube channel or listen on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon/Audible.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Welcome back to Return on Podcast, where we talk about the experiences, the obsessions, and the habits of the most successful e-commerce entrepreneurs. I’m your host, Tyler Jefcoat, and I wanna welcome you to this episode of ROP.

2022 continues to be kind of a weird sideways year for a lot of our customers here at Seller Accountant. And that same can be, I had somebody ask me this morning, by the way, I was on a, I was on a CFO call with one of my clients, and he is like, wait a minute, has this been a weird year for Seller Accountant also? And the answer is, yes, it has. When things are weird for sellers, then it means they’re weird for companies that serve sellers like Seller Accountant.

And yet where my mindset is and where I hope yours continues to be here in 2022 is weird ecosystems create opportunities for change agents, for entrepreneurs that wanna do things right, that wanna invest in their businesses. And so that’s what I wanna talk about today. I wanna continue this thread, this conversation that’s really been happening here for a few months around, okay, yes, we get it. Supply chains are still weird. We get it. Advertising is still having some pressure on it. Margins are down. But let’s stop folks in that. What do we do about it? How do we improve our brands? And to have that discussion today, I wanna bring my friend Liran Hirschkorn into the feed. Liran, how you doing today, buddy?

Liran Hirschkorn:
I’m doing great. Thank you. Thanks for having me on.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah, you’re, Yeah, absolutely. Glad to have you. So, Liran and I have a, have a longer history than most actually of my guests here. I’ve known you, man, since 2018, and you and I have been trying, you’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have, but you and I have been trying to scratch out a living in this Amazon space for a minute here, man. I don’t know, just here’s the broad question. I was looking at your LinkedIn page ’cause I always do. You and I have some things in common. I think we flirted with banking. It’s kind of like alcoholism. Once a banker, always a banker, you’re always a recovering banker. And you and I both ended up pivoting into being entrepreneurs. Like what was, other than the fact that banking sucks, what was going on in your life where you were like, let’s go start a business?

Liran Hirschkorn:
Yeah. So I think probably like many it was one, it was a certain frustration with the way things were. And hopefully if you get frustrated enough it causes you to take some action. I had, i, I was in the, in banking and insurance, and internet marketing was always a like hobby. I was learning and trying to figure out how can I make money online. I think it’s also that desire for freedom and being your own boss, and in the insurance field at the time I was basically, I would say chasing customers, right?

I would do things the traditional way you’re taught in insurance, which is go to networking events, form relationships, get referrals, and I knew that there was a better way to do it through the internet of actually getting people to come to you. Yet the insurance companies at the time were not friendly from a compliance and other standpoints towards allowing you to do that. Hey, can I put out a blog post? Can I do this kind of stuff? It’s regulated. And sure, you can put out a blog post, you can write something, and maybe in a month we’ll approve it. And by the time they do that, it’s already not as relevant.

So that frustration caused me to go look online for how agents were doing it online, and then I ended up starting an online life insurance agency. But I would say even prior to that I tasted a little bit of entrepreneurship in 2008 when I got involved in a network marketing company and saw the potential of taking your destiny in a sense into your own hands and what the opportunities were. It was the first time I built a website, hired somebody. And while I wouldn’t necessarily do another network marketing, it was one of the best entrepreneurial experiences of my life because when you look at network marketing, essentially, you and the thousands of other people that are in a company all have the exact same opportunity and level playing field. And the only difference between somebody that is successful and somebody that isn’t successful is the person looking in the mirror. You have the same products, you have the same exact opportunity.

And why are there some people that are extremely successful and others that are not. And it’s mostly around your mindset and your attitude and your desire. And so that gave me the initial sort of taste for having more control in your own hands. And then once I was in the insurance industry, eventually I saw a course about selling physical products actually on Shopify in 2014. And that’s how I got into eventually selling on Amazon. But yeah, I guess it’s that ultimate desire for, it’s interesting. It’s ultimate desire for freedom and security. You can make the argument you have one working for giant corporation or that you have none of it working for a corporation, right? Depending on how you look at it, versus working for yourself.

Tyler Jefcoat:
I completely agree. That was the, I’ve mentioned before in the show, but the moment that changed my life, and I was a banker also selling life insurance. It’s weird we kind of have that in common. And I had a, an MBA professor. I was kind of going to night school for grad school, and he made that exact argument. That you think it’s safer having a corporate paycheck? He’s like, that’s bologna. It’s much safer to be an entrepreneur and have 50 paychecks instead of having one. And I was like, what? That’s right. This bank doesn’t really care about me. Oh my gosh.

But it wasn’t too far after that moment where I decided to start my first company and sold it in 2017. And you’ve had a pretty interesting journey here, Liran, where you’ve built a couple of brands. I remember specific, actually, this is something I need to thank you for. You were actually one of my first clients. So I sold my healthcare company and right at the beginning of 2018 started this one. And then a few months later met a mutual friend that you and I have in Chicago, Kellianne. Shout out, Kellianne. And you needed help splintering off a brand so that you could sell it. And we’ve kind of been friends ever since then.

But this idea of building a seven figure brand, picking the right moment in the market, and selling it, kind of harvesting your gains. And for you, you’ve now and you’re still selling some, but you’ve pivoted into this agency model where you help other brands, Incrementum Digital. And just a quick shout out to your guys. You guys are the full service solution for growing your brand on Amazon. I think that kind of means you do everything related to helping a brand manage their Amazon presence. Is there anything you don’t do related to Amazon for brands?

Liran Hirschkorn:
We do pretty much most of what people need. I would say for pro video and pro lifestyle photography, we don’t really do that. But we do help you with advertising, listing optimization, graphics, storefronts, all of those things. And when we need images, we send it out basically to to a photographer that we use. But yeah, I would say pro video is not our expertise. But most things around Amazon, we help you do, including some of the operational work that you need as well. But we don’t do, we don’t do accounting.

Tyler Jefcoat:
I mean, it’s good like for something like product photography or even you guys may still do some sourcing, but there’s some specialties within the universe that I don’t want to do. You don’t wanna do, you wanna have the guy that does that. That’s all he does. It’s kinda, the brain surgery, you want that guy to be the guy that just does brain surgery.

Liran Hirschkorn:
Yeah. So sourcing, freight, right? Those kind of. We don’t, we don’t handle that.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. Makes sense, man. And the reason I say that is, is I know that, I wanna make sure the audience knows that you have a ton of credibility in the space in terms of really – and this has always been my impression by the way, just to give you some kudos, is I think you, you do a great job of staying really on the cutting edge of what is working, what isn’t working on Amazon. And so let me just, I’m gonna kind of open up that question for you today. It’s 2022. We still have headwinds in the form of logistics, Apple, Facebook, attribution issues, aggregators that had been overspending on ads or kind of sobering up, the capital markets are softer, blah, blah, blah. It’s all hard stuff. What is working right now that should be front and center for a brand builder on Amazon?

Liran Hirschkorn:
It’s a great question. I would say that still launching products that are differentiated where demand around the key words but you’ve come up with something a little bit different or better value is still working really well. I have a friend who sold her Amazon business a couple years ago now. Recently started another brand, went into a very competitive niche in the pet space, but did something different and better than what’s out there, launched product, no crazy hacks or anything, and it’s selling well. So that’s still working, right?

Like coming up with, understanding the market, reading the reviews of the competition, understanding the sales of the competition and the niche, learning what people like, what people don’t like. All the basics of how to launch a product the right way are still working. What’s more difficult is to launch into a competitive market where you’re kind of launching very similar thing to everybody else and you don’t have any advantages, including, let’s say, capital as an event. Because ultimately I can break into any product as long as I’m willing to lose money for long enough, and that long enough kind of depends on the niche. And you may not have that long enough money.

Perhaps if I had $2 or $3 million I could break into the fish oil market. I’m gonna lose money for the next, year or two of sales. I’m gonna price at half price. I’m gonna build up 20,000 reviews, and then I’ll be relevant and maybe I’ll be able to be profitable. But that’s not how most people should do it, but that’s kind of the bottom line. You could break into any product.

What you wanna do is you want to compete not just on those factors anymore because it’s very difficult. And I would say, 5, 6, 7 years ago, it was much easier to do that. But what eventually happens when you do enter those markets is the margins get eroded and you have to keep launching new products. You know, I think differentiating – the more difficult it is to create a product, the more of a moat you’re building around that particular product, right? The easier it is to launch a product, the easier it is for other people to launch that exact same product and come into your market.

In fact there’s a lawsuit right now that I’ve been reading up about between an aggregator and a seller who sold to that aggregator, and the seller is suing for his earnout, which he didn’t get because the brand didn’t reach the sales that they were supposed to reach in order to pay the earnout. And one of the things that happened is a competitor came in and basically took a lot of market share. And what the seller was claiming is that the aggregator didn’t keep their end of the deal because they were supposed to stay in stock. They were supposed to keep the advertising spend going. And instead of the aggregator sort of getting aggressive and how the seller in the past did when somebody new came in, they got aggressive on the price and they boxed that competitor outta the market, the aggregator focused on keeping the same margins and didn’t do that and lost a lot of market share.

And the reason I bring that up is because it’s a me too product. It’s chalk. It’s sidewalk chalk, right? And it’s when you have a commodity product like that, that’s the kind of things you’re going to encounter in your Amazon journey of the things you’ll need to do in order to keep your market share. And when you create something that’s somewhat unique or has a differentiation, then it’s much easier to at least get a head start against your potential future competitors that are gonna come in.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yep. And you just said two things that are recurring themes I wanna mention. One of ’em is feel good about yourself if you’re a, if you’re a real seven figure brand, because I think we were convinced by the press a year ago that the aggregators as a population were gonna be able to out execute us on all fronts.

And a win for common sense is that you have to be good at stuff to be good at stuff. And I think, you even, the instance that you just described, where an aggregator buys a brand and doesn’t put the foot on the pedal to keep the brand as relevant, that’s not great, but that’s not the worst that I’ve heard. The population in general in terms of, I’ve heard the same situation, but they’re tripling the, still tripling TACOS. So at least in the, at least in the scenario you described, they’re not growing, but they’re maintaining margin. I think what we’ve seen across the board is some fails. Now some of them are figuring it out, and it’s, you know, but for those of you out there who are like, man, am I smarter than the average aggregator? You are if you have a million dollar brand. And it’s just because it’s harder than they thought it was gonna be. It’s hard.

Liran Hirschkorn:
Right. Because it requires, success on Amazon requires experience, and the aggregators came in with experience on M and A, but not experience on running the brand on Amazon, and they didn’t keep on the original founders, and they hired I think people that maybe were out of college and smart, but not necessarily also with experience on Amazon and as a result dealt with a lot of problems and not knowing, not knowing a lot of things, including how to launch new products, which is also part of the lifeline and lifeblood of successful brands that continue to do well on Amazon.

I think that a lot of issues even just managing the existing products, and it’s a very complex game to try to manage a hundred brands, 10 brands, 20 brands, 50 brands. Very complex and very, very challenging and yeah, probably a lot more challenging than they thought that it would be. And on top of that, then they had a lot of the supply chain Covid type bumps and highs and lows that came along with it. So very interesting time for all of it to happen.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yep. And you made another good point a minute ago where unless you have $2 million to sink and you don’t have anything better to do with your $2 million, ’cause there are other investments out there. The competitive advantage equals, I’m just gonna outspend my competitor is not a great business model right now. And so the other two, in my mind, potential competitive advantages for an Amazon business are design better products that better meet my customer’s needs or out execute my competition. And I think it’s still possible to out execute. We’ll talk about EOS in a minute, but execution still matters.

But the, just using the algorithm and tightening down my spreadsheet and twisting the bolt on, like that stuff’s really important. You gotta have a good team. My opinion right now is that probably focusing on great products and understanding your customer may be a bluer ocean, a little bit more – it’s kind of funny, a lot of the sellers have, because there’s such an opportunity, have been very left brain about it. I’m an accountant, right? We live in the left brain world. I get that. But it may be that the, like this is kind of the moment for the right brain product developer out there to say, I wonder like kind of intuitively, what pisses me off? What problems am I struggling with? How can I understand my customer enough to really meet her needs better? Like that kind of thing. Would you agree?

Liran Hirschkorn:
It’s very, yeah, it’s very interesting, also. I just came back from Helium at a conference, and Gary Vee spoke, and he said that this business has a lot of art and science to it, and too many people focus in our space on the science part, the algorithm and the data, and not enough on the art part of it. And you can say that when it comes to product development. You can also say when it comes to creating content and, right, and how to get attention.

And one of the things that he said is that the platforms will continue to squeeze margin from you, and whenever they want, they will make an algorithmic change to get more margin, and the way that you get ahead of that is by bringing your own traffic into the platforms, right? So creating your own following, creating your own content, doing it across multiple channels so you’re not relying on just one particular social media channel, et cetera, and you need to be responsible to bring your own traffic into the networks. And that’s how people are going to have success going forward. And yeah, he talked about Facebook and Amazon, right? And these platforms, making it, and Instagram, less organic reach, et cetera, and basically spoke about putting out a lot of organic content and then taking the content that works organically and amplifying it with ads, and then bringing that into whatever platform you’re selling on.

And that’s, again, in terms of what’s working, I think for some it might be easier to build a following, get traction off Amazon than maybe on Amazon. I was talking recently to a woman who developed her own product line, and it was related to postpartum products for women, certain like mixes of essential oils to make you feel better, et cetera. And she was pretty adamant about – I said to her, look, you just launched this on Amazon. You have like four reviews from some family and friends. In order to get traction here, my recommendation is you have to drop your price, you’re higher than the market, and then you have to really get aggressive with advertising, getting people in, getting reviews, because you may have a great product that you developed, but nobody knows that until you get to X number of reviews where people believe there’s enough social proof.

She’s like, I don’t really want to do that. I put a lot into this product and I think it’s, I don’t wanna lower the value my product. And my answer to her was, then your only other route is to go build this on social media. Go basically talk about the product, be the face of the product, do other collaborations with other influencers. Send the product to other people, have them share the results, and the only other way to build this is to build it there. If you don’t have – and I kind of said to her, you’re gonna need to burn through a certain amount of money on Amazon to build this product up because yeah, it’s $24 bucks. You might need to sell it for $14 or $13 in order to get people to be willing to try the product when it has four reviews and build up until you get to 500 reviews where people comparing you to the competitors, which have a lot of reviews, see enough social proof that they actually believe that the product’s the quality that you say it is on the listing.

And if you’re not willing to do it that way, then I think the only other way is to build it through social media, and it could be a cheaper way to build a product. And I think that’s also working, but it requires a different kind of effort. And it’s slower growth than what most, I think, sellers kind of want, which is like getting those immediate sales.

But I think the way Amazon is going you’ll have to think about how do I build, how do I build brand off of Amazon as well. And eventually, as PPC gets more expensive, it’ll kind of make more sense to, to think about building and creating more content off Amazon, and you can leverage that content that you build off Amazon with user generated content into Amazon as well, right? So I believe that Amazon posts will eventually allow you, right now it’s just images that you can post with captions on Amazon. You’ll be able to post videos and Reels type content on Amazon. There’s more video placements now. So now there’s the new video ad type. At the top of search there’s video now instead of what was a sponsored brand headline spot. I’ve seen in the last couple weeks two video spots on page one. Sponsored display ads are adding video, too. So there’s gonna be a lot more sort of content that you can add, and getting those creatives from off Amazon and working with influencers I think is becoming more and more important, and that’s where I see things going.

Tyler Jefcoat:
You’re talking about, think about these two marketing strategies that Liran just articulated. On the one hand, I feel like there is a pretty established playbook right now for building a quality listing on Amazon, using a loss leader, grabbing reviews, making sure the product’s good, responding to customer feedback, and over time becoming relevant in a category. There’s a playbook that works there.

The one that’s less known, you even made the comment that building a social following may be cheaper. It may be if it’s slower, but you’re probably gonna spend money either way. What’s really interesting, Liran, we’re seeing this kind of across the board is in years, think about like maybe 2017 or 2018, in years where running that playbook for launching a new product on Amazon was relatively straightforward and you could keep margin for upwards of a year, maybe two years, and that kind of an ecosystem, it never made sense to go slog along, trying to get a social media following or grabbing a hundred thousand email addresses or whatever it is.

But as the margins compress on Amazon, and people are kind of waking up being like, oh gosh, that may take me two years to build this audience. But then I get to own that audience and use it to harvest when I have other products. I think there is a bit of a renaissance of the – and for you and me, this is like kind of a win for common sense. There’s a bit of a renaissance in wow, I wonder what it would look like to actually get to know my customer. And then I’m gonna have to put some energy, ’cause again, a lot of these sellers that have been successful in the last five years have been very left-brained.

You talked about Gary Vee’s science and as the need for the art, this is the day of the influencer. This is the day of the TikTok winner. This is the day of, you and I thought it might have been Clubhouse two years ago. May still be, but probably not. Yeah, I don’t know. What else do you have to say about that?

Liran Hirschkorn:
Yeah, one interesting thing that Gary spoke about is the sort of TikTok-ification of all social media. So where TikTok is different than, let’s say, Instagram is you don’t need a following for one of your videos to take off. And actually I’m a perfect example. I post all kinds of random content on my TikTok, some of my Amazon stuff, some personal stuff, whatever. And I have 2000 followers. Not a lot. And I got a lot of them from one video. I had this one video. I was at a conference in Miami. We were going from one place to another and we, this guy had a Tesla. And we’re driving from one place to another and we get into the Tesla, and then we realize, we’re not driving the car yet, but we realize like a few seconds in that we got into the wrong Tesla. And I immediately took on my camera and like the guy’s freaking out. He is like, how did the door open, all this stuff.

I put it on TikTok and has 4.7 million views, and it’s gone to the world of Tesla, right? But at the time I had probably only several hundred followers on there, but the video took off. And that’s kind of what you’re seeing more and more is that the algorithm’s placing more value on the content than on the fact that you have a following, which means anybody can just continue to put out content until you have something that hits. Right? And that this is actually better because it could take you much longer time to build up a following on social media. But if you continue to put out content, then you might have that right piece of creative that takes off and gets your product going viral.

And we’ve seen this for our clients over and over again. Suddenly they’ll have a day where there’s, their product sells out, and some influencer happened to speak about, the product. I have one client that sells a, some kind of aloe vera juice, and it was an influencer who like spoke about how their skin cleared up like crazy drinking this aloe vera juice.

And they’re not even, they’re like, yeah, I think I got this in Whole Foods, but I think you can also get it on Amazon. And the client – and it’s actually a brand and our client is the wholesale kind of relationship. And sold out and there’s multiple listings on Amazon, one pack, two packs, different listings. Everything, like their BSR went to five, and everything just sold out. And it was a very authentic video. It wasn’t a paid promotion, it wasn’t anything like that, and the product just sold. But the more you do that and work with influencers, the more chances you have for something like that to, to take place.

And then what we’re doing with that is then we’re taking all that content and we’re repurposing it for Amazon as well. So we’ll take a horizontal Reel type, TikTok type video. We’ll then take it, we’ll edit it, we’ll add on the side some text because you can’t post, on Amazon, as a sponsored brand video ad, a video with like black on the sides. So we edit it a little bit and then we add it, and then now you can also use that for sponsor brand video ads, and you can put it on your storefront, and you can put it on your listing, and you can really repurpose it. I don’t think enough people are doing that. I would say the one caveat is that It has to be the right product. And maybe as you’re thinking about your future product launches and products that you’re gonna bring out to market, think about what would, what does have a social media appeal and what does have a mass market type appeal that I could do well with.

Another product that we did very well with, we have a client that tells the teeth whitening pen. Okay. Did very well through influencer marketing, and the reason is everybody wants whiter teeth, it’s a $20 product, and it’s a good like impulse type buy. And that can work really well. Where we’re finding it work the best is products that do have reviews on Amazon though, right? A good amount of reviews. So a little bit of a catch 22, but it’s that combination of, I think, the combination of strategies, right? Doing the original steps to build up reviews, get sales, be willing to discount your product, differentiate, do all those things to build up sales and reviews and get aggressive in the beginning.

And then once you get to a certain amount of reviews and you have some social proof, then leveraging social media to bring that traffic into, to Amazon is also going to help you overcome these algorithmic things that are happening, Amazon putting more ads in the search results, pushing down the organic. It’s something they’ve done a lot over the last several years. Cost per click going up as more competition comes into Amazon, right? These are all algorithmic things that you can try to counter by utilizing, and if you go to TikTok and search a hashtag like TikTok made me buy it, right?

You’ll just see tons and tons of products and you’ll be able to find a lot of people, potential people that you can reach out to that their videos get traction, to reach out to and say, hey, I’d love to send you my product. And you’ll see, like for us, on average, we pay $50 to two, $300 bucks for a post, right? You’re not talking about tons of money. So if you have a product on Amazon and you wanna try to amplify it, go reach out to 50 to a hundred people and you’ll end up maybe with 20 and send them product. And it might cost you a couple thousand dollars for this like campaign.

And you’re gonna start to build up traction, negotiate to get the content as part of it, the video from the influencer. Maybe they can even shoot a couple videos for you, right? You’ll get a ton of content. You can then post that content to your own social media. When people look up your brand, you have a little bit more credibility and social proof. When you have content and you have social media, you repurpose it to great video ads, and it’s a much cheaper way. I just posted on my Facebook the other day a video we had done. It was for a company called Chef’s Path, and they sell these holders for, these containers, right? For different things like putting your cereal and things like that. And it was a woman who did the video, super authentic. We took, again, we added the sides, and now they have a great video ad they can run on Amazon and content, and you could pay two, $3,000 for pro video. But I think when you, today, like the authenticity of a user is just as good or better. And you can really leverage this user generated content for a lot of things. And it’s a great way to amplify all the traditional things that you’re doing on Amazon that I still think you need to do: PPC, great listings, creative, all of that. But I think you now need to move over to, doing more on social and TikTok and Instagram.

And yesterday I put out an article that says “TikTok to sort of launch fulfillment centers in the US,” right? That can be the next channel where you can potentially sell. If you already have content there, you’re already working with influencers there, you potentially are setting yourselves up to be able to take advantage of those, of TikTok commerce when that comes out, which seems like eventually will come out as another channel to buy.

And if I start thinking about what’s coming, Amazon launched Buy With Prime this year, which allows you to put a piece of code on your Shopify site and people can check out with their Prime account. You get fulfilled from Amazon, one to two day shipping. Your returns are handled there. Conversions, we’re already seeing it for some clients that have it, will increase on your site. You can use Amazon audiences to run ads to your website. And if you’re thinking ahead, I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon and TikTok do a deal where you can have a buy with Prime, right on TikTok. Forget about a website or Amazon. You can literally check out right there, and Amazon charges 3%, they give 1% to TikTok, and they’re both happy. And now you have commerce. People call this headless commerce, right? It can happen anywhere the consumer is, and I think that’s where things are going. And so building these things now might put you in, in a good position to be in one to three years out for your brand.

Tyler Jefcoat:
That’s a good, by the way, the Shopify, Amazon thing is some ongoing drama there because Shopify’s board is not happy with that Prime Now cause it is. So it’s funny you think about, I love what you said there because this is a vision casting that you and I are doing here of what are the existential crises that could destroy the models that we’re working in right now? And Shopify’s realizing that Amazon is not as pleasant a roommate as they thought, that’s one existential crisis. But I think TikTok represents the existential crisis for Amazon that is best solved by partnering with them. And so I do think that the investment – we had a client here about a month ago where same kind of thing: wake up and they sold out and were like, oh my gosh, what happened?

It turned out the very authentic video from cat lady on the video is a cat product, and this cat was a cute video, she did great, and they went to great lengths to chase this woman down and send her the money as if she had been an affiliate. And they actually, now that they have this relationship, are combing through their catalog saying, hey, what else are you interested in?

And I just wonder, you described what could be the reverse engineering of that to say, I already have a catalog. Let’s go look through TikTok and say, who has traction? Let’s burn a hundred units, trying to reach out to these people and develop the relationships and view it as a real business relationship. And I will say this just as a tactical thing: the way you and I might negotiate with, say, like a Chinese supplier is a very different, crucial conversation than the way I’m gonna negotiate with the cat lady on TikTok. Just be aware, like honestly, my client, this is one of the clients that I really love working with as a CFO. We actually were very intentional to find one of the marketing directors who was a woman who also loved cats to be the one that was front and center on that call. Because we didn’t wanna scare her off and be like this is a big, bad eight figure business that’s trying to squeeze us. No. no. We wanna partner with you and we wanna say it right.

So just be sensitive to who your audience is and know that the kind of person who’s really good as an influencer is a different kind of cat, just to keep using that analogy, than your factory owner or I don’t know. Any other comments before we pivot on this? This is a great discussion.

Liran Hirschkorn:
Yeah. I think one of the best opportunities of the next decade will be to partner with creators who have the audience that you want, but they don’t necessarily have the, one, the desire to kind of be on Amazon or build out a whole store, and two, the sourcing, operational bandwidth or again, desire to do that. But they have the audience. And if partnering with them, I’ve seen seen brands that do a collab with a, with an influencer and then they do a revenue share on that. I think those partnership opportunities with creators are amazing. You just have to look at some who have done it themselves, but look at Mr. Beast, right? He opens like, suddenly he’s got the number one burger company in the country and like all these amazing businesses developed off, off a following.

I mean, I spent 50 bucks buying a stuffed animal for my daughter because it comes with a code for Roblox and it’s sold by Preston Play who’s on Minecraft, and it’s 50 bucks for something I know it cost two bucks to, to make in China. But she wants it because it’s the YouTuber that she follows and loves that is behind it and whatever. So there’s huge power in partnering with influencers and again, it’s not the easy route of, of going and creating a product, but there’s massive opportunity to go do that and collaborate. But I do know a seller who’s in clothing niche and she will go and partner with influencers and do a collab, design something kind of together and do a revenue share on it and does very well with it. And that’s all on her website, nothing on Amazon.

And those are the kind of opportunities that you should be thinking about for Buy with Prime because for Amazon, the listing on Amazon that you want is the Evergreen listing, right? Something that can build up reviews over 5, 6, 7 years, right? And you end up with, 15, 20,000 reviews. But for Buy With Prime, you can think about those products on your website that are limited edition drops, and special collaborations with influencers that are set for a limited time.

And then Amazon will allow you to put those products in your Amazon storefront with a Buy with Prime linking out to your store. And it only makes sense to have something that’s showing on Amazon with Buy With Prime if it’s not also sold on Amazon. And that kind of limited edition stuff that doesn’t make sense for you to build, that’s limited edition doesn’t make sense to put on Amazon because you want to build reviews over the long term is the kind of stuff you should be thinking about for certain products to add to your niche and to your store that are only gonna live on your website and not on Amazon. And Amazon’s really making a pivot to focus on taking a piece of not just Amazon, but taking a piece of the entire D2C commerce, but I think will also make it easier for you to sell on D2C with improved traffic and conversion opportunities and we’re starting to see it.

So again, this is if you’re listening or watching this and thinking about your future vision for your brand, think about how you can partner with influencers to create products. How you can work with influencers, how you can create your own content on social media and from the product side, which products can work well on social and which products can perhaps be limited time opportunities to be featured just on your website that you can leverage Buy with Prime and still get all the customer information but improve your conversions.

That’s been the biggest issue with Shopify, right? You don’t have the inherent traffic or the conversion rate and trust and Amazon is starting to solve some of that. And yeah, Shopify doesn’t like it so far. They’re just showing you a message that it’s against terms to have the code, but they’re not really enforcing anything. I think at some point Amazon will make a deal with them also, like I think with TikTok, where they’ll say, okay, Shopify. For every, you know, we’re gonna give you half a percent on the 3% fee that we charge, and we’re both happy. Because it’ll be, I think, a massive mistake for Shopify to try to stop that from happening ’cause it’s not in the best interest of their customer to not be able to add that code. So yeah should be really interesting to see how all this plays out.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Love it. Liran and I have been talking about the art and science of kind of, I think this has kind of morphed into a, what’s the next frontier of product development. I just, I think guys, if I had a hundred thousand dollars to invest right now, I would probably do exactly what Liran just described. I’m gonna go try to find something I’m interested in. I’m gonna try to identify 20 influencers. I’m gonna try to find the best three to make a collab to develop a product. They already know the customer, and they already have access to selling the product to that customer. And I’m gonna use that as my, that’s just me, if that’s where I’m – because the blocking and tackling, which again guys, we’re gonna launch evergreen products, and you need to hire Liran and his team to do it. Hire me to do the bookkeeping. We wanna help you. Trust me, Liran and I are both in the business of the, like blocking and tackling meets vision for the future. And so the need is there for Amazon management.

But boy, if I had a $100k right now to invest in this, I would be very all in with kind of a longer life cycle. At least for the process of how do I accumulate those relationships, find ways to monetize them and be more responsible. ‘Cause I think that’s what this is really all about. The TikTok-ification of this is customers helping the market know what they give a shit about and buying that stuff really quickly is that’s where it’s at right now. And so finding ways to be closer to the polls is –

Liran Hirschkorn:
And you can even, as you’re getting samples and more kind of product, right? You can reach out to a group of influencers and say, hey, I’d love, you know this kind of space. I’d love to get your input. What do you think about this? What would you add? Or whatever. Maybe they’re willing to respond and give you feedback for what their audience would like. “I’d love to send this to you when it’s ready. What else would you like to have in this product?” And you’re potentially getting them invested in the product, even if it’s not necessarily a collaboration on it. And then you see a lot of brands basically when they do launch, they kind of seed the product out to, they’ll just send it. They ask influencers for their address, wanna send you a product. They don’t even ask for anything in return. And if they really like the product, people will post about it. Even if you didn’t even ask about it. Just say, hey, I’d love to send you my product. And I have, if somebody messaged me and say, “hey, I’d love to send you my product, get you what you think,” I’m like, Oh that’s cool. Here’s my address. And again, if I like the product, just show it on your social media. Especially if it’s a cool product because it also elevates you, right, to kind of show that you got this unboxing experience, right? And it’s content for the influencer as well.

Tyler Jefcoat:
And the influencer is, if you think about it, the influencer’s core business is to know what his or her customer cares about, and they have such, think about like a Twitch streamer. They have such real time access to the comments, thoughts, feelings, emotions of their audience. It is again, it’s just exciting to me to think about engaging that person who is, their full-time job is to know what Sally cares about. Let’s work with that person to design Sally’s perfect product. They get a cut. We get a cut, Sally gets the perfect product. And all along that value journey, I could see this being really big.

Liran, we talked about I mentioned this earlier, so I just wanna bring it up. Liran and I have both hired kind of Traction EOS coaches over the last few months and I wanna maybe save that for another show, Liran, but I just wanna, I didn’t wanna leave you guys hanging there. Just the quick anecdote is if you are trying to improve the execution of your company, all the richest people in the world pay for coaches to help them in the areas of their genius. Liran and I as CEOs are aligned in that belief. Any quick comment about the power of that coaching relationship, Liran, before we pivot for the day?

Liran Hirschkorn:
Yeah. One, it’s a bad mindset to think, and I think as soon as you start thinking this is when your decline starts, is I know everything. I can’t improve in any areas. And I think for most entrepreneurs, that’s not the mindset, I think for most entrepreneurs. Especially if you’re listening to a podcast, right? You’re wanting to improve, you’re wanting to grow, you know that they’re, that you have certain blind spots, that you need to hire, that you wanna build teams, that in order to scale you can’t do it all yourself. And EOS for us has been very impactful. We started implementing it in January of this year. We hired an EOS coach. And it’s totally changed the way we do meetings in the company. Not just meetings myself and let’s say the kind of the key leadership of the company, but meetings at every level in the company. It helps us set our quarterly goals or in EOS are called Rocks, set milestones on what it takes to get there.

And it’s a very, it’s basically a system for how to run any company. And the benefit is you’re taking thousands of hours of other people’s work to figure it out. So you don’t have to figure it out yourself through trial and error of what it takes to be, to be efficient and how to run meetings and how not to waste a lot of time. And I think for a lot of people meetings can be a big waste of time where kind of nothing happens after, and EOS helps you change that, helps you focus on the key areas in your company that you need to focus on to get that traction and to get growth and how to solve problems. And we all have blind spots. And one of the things that helps you with, and what a coach helps you with, is kind of see those blind spots.

I’ll give you, give you an example. When we first started EOS, we were thinking, we were thinking of a particular direction or some, or service to, to launch. And we had this three year goal for the company. And the coach asked us one question that solved the problem. And the question was, you have this three year goal. Do you need to add this additional complexity into your business to get to that goal? Do you need to add the service to hit that revenue goal that you want for the company, or can you hit it with what you’re doing now? And our immediate answer was, we could do it with what we’re doing now. Okay, problem solved. We don’t need to lose focus. And that’s one question that just solves a problem for you and helps make sure that you, for us, that we stood focused on what we’re trying to do.

And it’s that kind of feedback and coaching from somebody that can help you really stay on track and figure out where to kind of go in the business in order to get to the goals that you want to, you want to go. And again for me also in the company, it helps elevate other people, and you’re also adding value to a lot of people in your company if you’re adding this because you’re growing them as leaders. And that’s added value for your team, and everyone’s becoming better on your team as well. And if somebody has a choice to stay with your company or to go elsewhere, and they’re getting this massive education on how to grow a company, hopefully they’re gonna stay longer with your company while they’re getting that great education and growth than going somewhere where those kind of things are not implemented.

Tyler Jefcoat:
No, and I’ve been a fan of – so by the way, in case you guys haven’t read the book, Traction EOS, Gino Wickman, it’s been around a while. It’s a good book. I’ll make sure we post it in the show notes. So we, we are not influencers capturing value from that one. We just, it has really helped us, and the benefit you just mentioned as one that I was surprised to find also recently where, because I had been the one that read Traction a few times, was kind of geeking out in groups with guys like with Liran and I was doing my best to implement it in my company, before I hired a coach, I underestimated how much of a limiting factor I was in a couple ways. One is I don’t understand EOS like someone who’s been through a lot of the training, and two, my integrator and the other leaders on my team were only ever gonna be as good as my blind spots. Me as the visionary, me as the CEO.

And I want to highlight that benefit again of bringing in some outside objective help. Not only did we have the same experience, ’cause we finally hired someone to facilitate our quarterly meeting last week. And he asked three questions that clarified our, they call it a VTO. Our one page business plan was a mess, and I’d been doing the same thing for four years and I’m like, oh yeah, that doesn’t make any sense. Let’s fix it.

And then the second thing is now my integrator, who’s a much better leader and manager than I am honestly, now leads our L10 meetings and has now been empowered ’cause she’s been trained by someone not named Tyler Jefcoat. Like my, my skewed one slice of the pie picture of how do it right, she’s now received training and empowerment, and we are so much better as a company because they’re not dependent on my weaknesses to kind of carry us. And yeah, just wanna, could not highly recommend enough. Of course, read the book, but spend the 12 bucks, buy Wickman’s book, and read it. If you hate it, don’t, you know, disregard what we’re saying here, but it’s been a game changer in both of the companies I’ve started, and for the first time, I feel like I’m running it like an adult now. And it’s even more exciting, honestly, to see that.

Liran Hirschkorn:
Yeah it’s amazing. Very much same, same thing I, I experienced. I think especially for the – I’m also not the integrator, more of, let’s say, operations in your company. I think it’s huge help to your operations team in terms of how to better operate the company and as the visionary also in, in my company definitely not the one that wants to help the team kind of implement EOS because that’s not your strongest point as a visionary, right, in the company. So, I think getting your team the right coaching and the right help from somebody who can help implement EOS is, will be a great help to your team. And I don’t know of anyone that has implemented EOS that has not benefited from doing, if you actually implement it. And that’s where having a coach is good because they help make it easier to actually implement.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. Again, something for you guys to check out. So we always end these shows with the hacks. I just wanna say that’s hack number one right there is spend 12 bucks and listen to them read Traction to you while you’re on your Peloton or whatever over the next week. Just listen to the book and if you do nothing but implement like 10% of it, you’ll be happy. You’ll thank Liran and I for that. You’re gonna, some of, you’re gonna wanna take it a step further. Obviously there’s websites, EOS Worldwide. There’s all sorts of implementers that you can find. I’m sure if you email Liran or myself, we’re happy to share our guys with you. We’ve got good relationships in the space.

But before we close the show here, I just wanna ask you the question I would ask my guests. And that’s kind of along that same line, what are the habits and practices that really generate ROI beyond EOS kinda being a boom, game changer at Incrementum Digital? What else is really working for you right now?

Liran Hirschkorn:
I think for the last several years actually consistently working on my mindset has been the biggest hack. And certain things that I do that, certain things that I’ve learned to get better with every day are definitely helpful. So number one I’ll name two things.

One is gratitude. So I think, every day being thankful. I think for all of us, no matter how bad it gets, there’s always something you could be grateful for. And taking that approach of having gratitude. And I don’t think that, I don’t think that the universe will give you more until you actually are happy with what you have, right? It’s just like dichotomy of being happy with what you have while wanting more at the same time. But if you kind of hate your current state, then I think it’s, I think it’s a red flag for the universe to give you more. So I think it’s being grateful while at the same time having a desire for more. It’s living in that sort of paradox.

And the other thing that I’ve found to be very helpful is avoiding being reactionary to things, whether it’s an email that’s upsetting that’s like very easy to just fire back something, or somebody’s saying something to you that’s very easy to, to be reactionary about is trying to take that one or two second pause before responding, before reacting, will make a huge difference in your relationships and how you respond to things, whether in business or in your personal life.

And I had this experience, I just had, we hired somebody new recently, and we were in Vegas and they were drinking and they sent some texts. They sent me some texts that I would consider not appropriate to anyone in the company, but definitely not to the CEO of the company. And I could tell you that it would’ve given me a lot of pleasure at midnight to respond back to their texts.

But I’m like, held back. I’m like, you know what? Not responding, not dealing with this right now. It’s not the right time. Tomorrow I’m gonna take care of it. I probably put a much better version of myself not reacting emotionally to that text. The person’s no longer with us. It was a quick hire. We brought him to Vegas, wasn’t the right fit, but I was very proud of myself for being able, for knowing that two, three years back, I would’ve just been like, what the hell? Responded back and again, not the best look for me and not any outcome that I would’ve wanted as a result. And being able to just take that pause and think a little bit before responding, reacting to something.

And again, this will be in your personal life. It’s very easy for us to make comments to our spouses, to our kids. They’re the ones that probably trigger us the most. And it’s those things that will get you into trouble with your spouse, right? Like those kind of comments that we’re used to, to making to each other. So for me, that’s been a big life hack and focusing on not being reactive.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Beautiful. Gratitude and being slow to react. Could not possibly say that better, Liran. This has been a great episode, man. I’m gonna have to have you back so we can talk more about some of these elements here in the future. I’m gonna make sure that Incrementum Digital, I think it’s dot com, is that right? Incrementumdigital.com. Yeah. I wanna make sure the website is in the show notes so that people wanna find you. Just a quick kind of pitch question here. What’s the pain or what’s the state of mind that a Amazon seller is in right now where they. Need to, to go ahead and reach out to you and get Incrementum involved?

Liran Hirschkorn:
Influencer marketing is one of the things we’ve been doing. If you wanna start building outside traffic and getting that user generated content, that’s something that, that we help with. And really advertising has been a major pain and one of our biggest strength in how we help brands, whether it’s performance not being as good as it was, not getting the traction that you want. Typically, we work with brands that are, I would say, a million and above. They’re spending $10,000 plus a month on ads. And maybe you haven’t dedicated the time or using a software tool, but software tools also need to be managed and they need to have the right strategy implemented, and your TACOS has been creeping up. It has for a lot of people.

And you want to take advantage of a lot of these things that are coming out, the multiple video placements, and making sure you have sponsored brand ads, driving traffic to your storefront and segmenting keywords the right way. And it takes not just knowledge, but it takes a lot of time to, to actually implement. And it’s one of the biggest areas that we help solve for people.

And, we’re at the very, very beginning of Q4. But there’s still time to be able to transition your ads and be in good shape before Black Friday where you really wanna make sure you’re taking advantage of all the traffic that there’s potential for you to get during this time.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Beautiful. Love it. Love it. And Liran, you’ve been a, an influence in my life, and you really are an influencer who understands how to work Amazon and work with influencers. Friends, if you’re listening to this and you’ve made it 55 minutes into the show here, first of all, Liran and I just wanna thank you. It’s a gift to us that you would give us your time. Hope you’ll reach out to Liran. I love that hack about mindset. Guys, there’s so many things we can give our lives to that are not gonna give us the kind of ROI that focusing on that inner talk, our reactions, our gratitude. So love it.

Liran, listen man, we’re gonna close the show here today. Just been an absolute thrill having you, buddy. I just wanna say I’m grateful for you as a friend. And yeah, man. Thanks for being here.

Liran Hirschkorn:
Thank you so much for having me on. Really enjoyed it, and always if somebody’s asking me about CFO, bookkeeping help Tyler is the one I send people to. So hopefully the people listening are also utilizing your services and expertise in the space.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. Thank you for that. I appreciate it. All right, guys. Have a great week. Kill it. We’ll be back next week with the next show from Return on Podcast. Cheers.

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