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Full Transcript

Sari 0:04
I'm Sari Kimbell and I've done just about everything in the food industry. I have helped hundreds of packaged food business entrepreneurs. And now I want to help you make your delicious dream a reality. Whether you want to be successful at farmers' markets, online, or wholesale on the store shelves, Food Business Success is your secret ingredient. I will show you how to avoid an expensive hobby, and instead run a profitable food business. Now let's jump. All right, everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. I am excited to welcome back our guest today, Shannon Roddy. And Shannon is the founder of Marketplace Sellers Courses and the Amazon Brand Success Academy. He's been on this podcast before, we've talked a lot about Amazon. He is one of my go to Amazon folks specially he knows CPG. So welcome, Shannon, first of all,

Shannon Roddy 1:06
Awesome, thanks for having me. Super excited to be back on the podcast.

Sari 1:10
So Shannon and I connected again recently just checking in as we do every few months and he's like, what are you talking about, what's going on with the podcast? And I said, well, I'm doing this Sales Series, and a lot of it's been focused on wholesale or farmers' markets. And I was like, what do you think? I'm sure you have some things to offer around Amazon and ecommerce in general. So you're the perfect person to come and help us with this sales channel when we talk about increasing sales. So I'm very excited to have this conversation and we're just gonna launch right in unless you want to tell the people a little bit more about you.

Shannon Roddy 1:53
Yeah, let's rock and roll. I mean, I've been doing this a long time, I love the space. And I'm so passionate about helping brand owners. And you know, for me, especially the emerging brand owner, sort of struggling in that startup phase, like, I work with some really big companies, and those are fun, too. But I think what really ignites my passion, is helping those businesses in their first few years of startup, getting it off the ground. And so, you know, people are like, well, you could just work with these bigger giant companies and just make tons of money, really solid salary and stuff, but I'm like, but who's gonna help the little guy, who's gonna help people who are struggling and like, who's gonna help them. And I'm like, that's where I feel most alive. That's where I feel most passionate about. And certainly the strategies, the coaching that I do, the courses, the consulting, it applies to the bigger brands as well. And that's actually something that's really neat is everything that I teach you today will apply to you for years into the future. It's literally the same thing, because it's all principle based. But that's just where my passion is. That's where my heart lies. And I am, you know, a small business owner, I've been an emerging brand owner on several different occasions and fronts. And that's just where my passion lies. That's what ignites me, that's what gets me excited when I wake up in the morning is how can I help you build a bigger, better brand.

Sari 3:22
I love it. And that's why I think you and I dovetail so nicely because we both have a heart and a passion for those early early stage folks, right, with just a dream and going out and trying to figure it out. We want to help them be more successful. And earlier on, right?

Shannon Roddy 3:39
Absolutely. Look, there's so many mistakes, and especially Amazon, it's an all-in platform. I was talking to a food brand owner, and she literally put her birthday on her driver's license into the Amazon platform wrong, and they suspended her account. And after multiple appeals, they just shut her down. I mean, you talk about getting shut down out of the gate, she made one minor mistake, you can't make mistakes on Amazon, you can't afford to make mistakes on Amazon. And that's why it's such a critical platform, it sets the standard and the stage for everything else. But again, as I talked about, just before we started, these principles will apply to every ecommerce channel, including your website, so you're gonna be able to take away even if you're like, I hate Amazon, I don't like Amazon and ever want to sell on Amazon, that's fine. Principles are totally going to apply to you on any ecommerce channel. And even in the wholesale, in the b2b space as well.

Sari 4:38
Yeah, I love that. Well, I know you're going to talk about four ways to increase sales. But I wanted to start first, we were chatting about the Sales Series, and I threw out the equation that I've talked about already, but sales equals connection plus certainty. So you had a little different take on it, which I love so I'd love for you to share that with the folks.

Shannon Roddy 4:59
Yeah, so one of the things we talked about that's so important and so vital is telling your brand story. Because your brand story is what differentiates you from other brands. And I was talking to Tasha Pennington, who created Real Phat Foods out of Boise, Idaho. Amazing crackers. We had such a fun chat on Zoom, like, just reached out to her, and we just connected for about 20 minutes. But she told me her brand story and why she created and how she created it. And it's one of those things that 99% of what you do, or 95% of what you do can be easily replicated. Except your brand story. That's the only thing that's unique. That's the only thing that's different. It's like your thumbprint. It's your DNA. So tell your brand story on your detail page. You know, again, it could be on your website, but specifically talking about Amazon, we usually focus on that in your A plus content, it's just the location on the page that gives you the most options, you have the most space, the most opportunity to show a picture of yourself, you know, it's you, if it's a couple, if it's a partnership, talk about how the brand was created, how it was started, and why it was started? What's the fuel behind it? Working with companies like Yes Bar, that's like everything, you know, my kid, you know, tried to eat, he couldn't have, he was allergic to everything. So I wanted to give him something that he could say yes to, so this mom created Yes Bar.

Shannon Roddy 5:32
no bar? No, no.

Shannon Roddy 6:31
The no candy bar. But there's just elements, it cannot be replicated. And, you know, that's what helps create engagement. So I say personality creates engagement where quality and character create trust. And so, you know, I feel like even with Marketplace Seller Courses, when I started the company, I tried to be very official and legitimate and authentic sounding, which means everything came across as very sterile. And if I was going to do it all again, I would just scrap all of that and come up with a really zany name that was much shorter than Marketplace Seller Courses. And I would just infuse my personality into it. And the personality of the people who were working with me much earlier on. In fact, I'm launching an apparel brand in the next couple of weeks. And it's just taking all of this learning in everything fun that I wanted to do, and felt sort of handicapped before, and just putting it all out there. And so, you know, personality creates engagement, and the personality comes into how you talk, the language that you use, having a little bit of a sense of humor, like MailChimp is, you know, has one of my favorite examples, when you're accepting sort of their end user license agreement or like, okay, you've got accept our conditions and terms. And they put in parentheses, our lawyers made it do us do it, you know, and it's just kind of this funny thing of like, they have a personality and that creates engagement. It also creates memorability, you know, what makes this brand unique. And so, there's an element where it's great to tell your brand story and to have personality. But that alone is not enough to get people to buy your product. And so we talk also a lot about things like credibility enhancers. And this could be your, especially for food brands, your credibility enhancers like non GMO, if it's certified organic, if it's all natural. And there's, you know, Paleo friendly, gluten free, keto friendly, those kinds of things. So, there are credibility enhancers that you can add as well, where you talk about the quality of the ingredients, how you source the product, how its manufactured, small batch, et cetera. There's so much effort, I think, that we put into trying to look like a bigger company. And yet, I think we've seen a shift in the last 10 years of people saying, I would really rather purchase from a smaller company, where this is made small batch where it's closer to the farm to table model. And that quality, you know, that you create that, you know, you relate that perception of the quality of brand. That plus the personality and the brand story is what creates the sale. So, you know, from my standpoint, sales equals engagement plus trust. And, you know, if you're looking for the listing optimization side of things, how do I do this? Well, I don't have the ability to do it on my own. It's sometimes easier to tell somebody else's story than tell your own story. I think all of us could probably agree with that on some level, but Daniela Bolzmann and Mindful Goods, they specialize in do nothing but Amazon listings done for you. So what's great about that is if you feel like lost and overwhelmed as we're kind of going through all this, there are resources out there that can take this off of your plate, and you just spend time filling out their questionnaire and giving them have all the information. And then it's just beautiful collaborative effort, where they create the content, they base it on the look and feel of your website and the product and the packaging, you know, and you get a couple revisions, and then you're good to go. But the important thing is knowing that you need to do it. Not that you necessarily know how to do it, and you've got some great resources to help you along the way.

Shannon Roddy 10:23
Yeah, it's so good to remember, like, sometimes it gets overwhelming for brands, like I have to do this, I do this, it's like, now you know, you need to do it. Now let's pick and choose, we give you the resources, I'll put the link in the show notes for Mindful Goods, but there are things you don't have to do yourself. So pick and choose what's in your wheelhouse, and then get help. Because yes, it's gonna cost a little bit, but it's gonna save you so much time and money in the long run.

Shannon Roddy 10:53
It's gonna generate better conversion rate, which is our first principle of increasing sales is higher conversion rate. And, you know, I talked about the three levels of execution. The first level of execution is knowing what to do. The second level of execution is knowing how to do it. And the third level of execution is being good at doing it. As a business owner, you don't have to be good at doing it. In some cases, you don't even have to know how to do it. But you do know, have to know that you need to do it. What needs to be done, it needs to be a checklist on your agenda and go, I don't know how to do this, let's find somebody else. I mean, there's resources, like Free Up, there's resources like Fiverr, you know, for this new apparel brand I'm launching, I'm just doing everything on Fiverr and a couple people that I know. You do a search for 30 seconds. And it doesn't have to be perfect, you got to start somewhere. And if you're in that space, I just want to encourage you, start somewhere. Start at a baseline threshold of quality. You can always improve later but you can't improve upon nothing. So you got to start somewhere, I will say if you're not good at graphic design, don't do graphic design yourself, there's some great, in fact, I'll give you a link in the show notes. If you're not at the place where you can afford Mindful Goods yet, there's a Fiverr graphic designer for literally like 10 bucks an image, you can get the images that you need for your product listing. So like I said, knowing what to do, knowing how to do it and being good at doing it. But really the whole sales funnel, the first and most important thing that any brand should focus on is what's called their product detail page. That's your title, your product features, your product images, and then your A plus content, which you should get and you should put up. You have to have brand registry, which means a registered trademark. Those are sort of all fundamental things at this point. But you have to optimize for conversion rate. Now on your website, you're typically looking at a 1 1/2 to 1/2, maybe 3% conversion rate, some people are able to generate a much higher conversion rate if they have sort of a core following of really diehard consumers on Amazon because it's such a trusted platform. And Amazon already has a Prime Member, right? Amazon already has my address and my phone number and credit card and all that information there. I literally can click to Buy and Add to Cart in two seconds and get it on my doorstep in a couple of days. The conversion rate tends to be between 5 or 7 to 10%. That's like baseline. If you really optimize, you can get a 15% conversion rate to a 20% conversion rate. Now we're talking about, you've got really great credibility enhancers, you've got a dynamite content page, maybe you've got some great brand awareness of Amazon, all that kind of plays together, you know, product reviews we'll talk about, but all of these things can help increase your conversion rate. And that's the most important thing to focus on. Because if I have 100 people coming to my Amazon listing, and only five of them buying, the last thing I want to do is skip ahead to the next step, which is driving 200 people to my listing. First, the first thing I want to do is get in there and say let's optimize the listing to change that conversion rate from 5% to 10%. Now, the same exact 100 people go to that detail page, but 10 of them buy. I just doubled my sales overnight by increasing my conversion rate through listing optimization.

Sari 14:28
So that's improving all of the pieces, the brand story, the content, the images, the how to use it, the FAQs. I mean, there's so much opportunity out there to increase your conversion through some of those enhanced pieces. But then yeah, like you said, like, it takes no more effort than what you've been doing to get 100 people there but then you've doubled from 5 to 10.

Shannon Roddy 14:58
Yeah, and we've seen those conversions rates happened when we fully optimized listing. Now, there's a couple, I don't have time to get into all of the details, right, we've got the resources if you want all the details, but things like your title, including SEO keyword research, including your unique value propositions. And a really simple way to think about this, that confuses a lot of people, is you have your primary product image. And Danielle's got some great content out there of her Buy Now method, as well as she calls eye candy, there's ways to kind of make your primary image a little more sexy, a little more alluring to increase your click through rate, like we got to get people on the page first. But once you're there, you've got for the most part, five additional images that people are going to see on your detail page and five product features, or what they call bullet points. And the way to think about this is what are the five most important things about your product that a customer needs to know to make a purchase decision. And I tell companies all the time they get so sort of caught up in this idea of I have to tell them everything about my product, I have to give them all of the information. And the misnomer is that having all of the information is actually what makes a sale, it doesn't. Sometimes having less information can increase the conversion rate. The key is, what are the five most important things that are going to actually tip the scales, that are going to actually make people say yes, I want to buy that product. And you can discover what that is, by doing product review research, either on your own listings if you're already selling on Amazon, or your competitors. Look at what customers are saying because what they're telling you in a product review is, this is why I bought this product and this is what I love about this product. They're telling you the same thing. That not only tells you what your five product features should be, it also tells you the order that they should go in. So we don't just sort of willy nilly pick five random things about your product and just throw it out there, you actually want to go in order of this is the most important thing, this is the second most important thing down the line. And the number one mistake that I see brand owners make is they just take whatever is on their website, and they copy and paste on Amazon. That will not work, I promise you, I guarantee you. You have got to be so much more diligent because Amazon is the most competitive platform in the world. So if you're think you're gonna get by, by just using your product photos that you did for your website and copying, pasting your title and the images and features to Amazon, it's not gonna work. So let's just dispel that myth right away.

Sari 17:38
There's an art and a science to it. And I don't want to figure that out on my own. That's a lot of experimenting.

Shannon Roddy 17:47
It's an insane amount. And honestly, I mean, this is one of the reasons why I offer coaching, is something that very few sort of people with my level of expertise do, because they're mostly off running agencies and consulting companies. For me, if you want to know how to do this, and just say like, can you walk me through the steps, we do coaching, right? So you can just buy like an hour of coaching? And that can help cut through the clutter and a lot of the misnomers but also bringing that expertise of how do you expertly craft a really good product title, for example, or, you know, crafting your product features. Now, the cool thing is, once you figure out your product features, that can actually inform your product images. And so Danielle and I believe in this philosophy of, you can take those five product images and all you're doing is you're visually calling out the most important part of that correlating product feature. Again, same information, we dispel the myth that we need this information or product features, and this additional information in our product images, and a more additional information in our A plus content. People are looking at your listing in 30 seconds or less. So you've got to sell, sell, sell wherever they happen to be. And this is another great quote, this is Rick Seseri, who's, you know, he did like Oxy Clean. And he did like the George Foreman grill. Like he talks about this very simple element of- features tell, benefits sell. And so I always tell people, for every product feature, you don't just want to mention, hey, it's gluten free; hey, it comes in six ounce packages; hey, it does. You know, people care about that. But that's really not why they're buying. They're buying it for the benefit. You know, it's gluten free so you can enjoy a healthy snack without sort of the extra carbs. It's in the six ounce packages, which are great, which means you can take it on the go. You can throw it in a diaper bag, you can keep it in your car, you can take it to the gym. That's what customers are actually buying. They're actually buying the benefit, not the product, right. They're buying a delicious snack that they can feel guilt free about., right. And so just remember for every feature, every product feature, every bullet point, you want to do a feature and a benefit. And then you're going to highlight that visually on the images. So that's sort of a really clear way to think about it. And then the images,

Shannon Roddy 20:14
Sort of the three biggest mistakes that I'll call out, because that will kind of inform what you should do, as I sort of delineate what you shouldn't do. The three biggest mistakes are, number one: too much text, right, your text goes into product features in the description. So keep the text in the text, images are for visuals. So too much text. The second one is if they put text on images, the font is too small. And number three is there's not enough contrast between the font and the background. So go look at other listings on Amazon and get inspired. But don't mimic and copy, you've got to discover your own value propositions. Because mimicking and imitation doesn't work. If you don't unearth and discover what's unique about your brand, you're never going to try to be able to sell what's unique about your product by imitating somebody else's. So creating visual graphics that highlight your product features and benefits visually, anything from lifestyle photos, to the ingredients, don't take a picture of the back of your product, create it in visual graphic format, you have a graphic, you know, a PDF that you sent to the label printer to print it. Use that as the basis and design it into an image that people can look at and actually read, you know how hard it is to read supplement information and ingredients on the back of a crinkled package, back of a rounded can, it doesn't work. And everybody does this. So just following these basic principles out of the gate, I can get you ahead of the crowd. But those are sort of the core fundamentals of increasing the conversion rate. And the last thing I'll mention before we go on to the next step, which is traffic, is I have a three step process that I call optimize, launch and analyze. So your goal is to do the research, do the keyword research, figure out what's unique about your product, what people love about it. They've told you at the farmers' market, you know, friends and family who try it, different customers reviews on the website, you figure out what people like about it, you put those things out first. You launch by driving targeted traffic, which is what we're going to talk about next. And the third step in the flywheel process is analyze. So you take the product reviews, you take the customer comments and product returns, you look at seller feedback, and you look at any other messaging communication that's come through the Amazon platform. And you figure out, what are they not getting? What are they not liking? What are they missing? How can I better convey or describe this product. And honestly, with food products is one of the hardest because it's nearly impossible to describe a flavor. But if you're trying to convey how hot something is, have a little chili pepper, you know diagram and say look on a scale of 1 to 10 chili peppers. This isn't an 8, it's pretty hot. You know, if you want something milder, here's our other flavor. That's a two. And so you've got to figure out how to take those learnings and put them back into your listing so that you can drive more traffic, and then analyze those results. And hopefully see that improvement because you've taken your learnings, and you've injected into listening to do what I call customer pre-service, you're giving customers the information they need before they ask or have a question.

Sari 23:29
I love that pre-service. That's great. Love it. All right, so we have covered the four ways to increase sales, we did conversion, and you told me the beginning, these are in order, these are in a specific order. I'm sure we'll reinforce that. But conversion being number one. So let's talk about the second one,

Shannon Roddy 23:53
Traffic. So once you have your listing optimized, and again, your goal is to get an 85% of the way there and then drive traffic for six months and then analyze, okay. Now driving traffic is super important. There's several different ways you can do it. The number one and probably the most important on Amazon is advertising. You know, Amazon has quickly become a pay to play platform. In fact, if you search a keyword on Amazon, like gluten free muffins for example, chances are that everything you see on that detail page above the fold, the search results page. It's all advertising. So the goal is, how do you get in front of your target customer? And the way I look at this is traffic. So you sort of visualize it as a four or five lane highway. All these customers are coming down the freeway. And the way you get in front of them is through a combination of SEO keyword research and advertising. So I do the SEO keyword research. There's great tools out there like Helium 10. You can sign up for a couple months, do all of your keyword research. And then you're going to incorporate those keywords into your listing, and then you're going to advertise on them. So again, we'll stick with gluten free muffins for now because it's a simple analogy or a simple example. But gluten free muffins, we do the keyword research and, you know, people are looking for gluten free muffins are looking for gluten free pastries, they're looking for gluten free muffins for breakfast, they're looking for gluten free, you know, snacks on the go, or gluten free meal replacements. Some of those things, you know, may apply more than others. And what we have to do is, we have to determine the relevance of each keyword phrase. And so you go well, I think that gluten free meal replacement is a great search term. So I'm going to use it. Not so fast. What you want to do is to validate a keyword term, is to take that search term and plug it back into Amazon and look at the organic products that show up first. Meaning, do the products that organically show up match my product? You're asking yourself the question, does my product belong here? And the trainer who teaches all the Helium 10 videos, he says, when customers are searching a term they have a mental picture in their mind. And the question is, does your product match what they have in their mental picture? And if you look at all the products that are competitors, and you go, okay, clearly, this is not what customers were thinking when they searched this term, my product does not belong here, you scratch it off the list and you look at other terms. So there's an element of always validating that keyword research. Once you find keywords that are relevant, you're looking for the most highly searched relevant keywords, you're going to then advertise on them. And one of my favorite new tools that I've recently been exposed to, and I'm signing all my clients up for is called PPC Ninja. And what I love is they're the perfect fit for what I do with my courses and coaching to startup brand owners. Because one, it's super affordable. But two, they also offer mastermind groups that you can join so you can learn. If you feel totally overwhelmed by advertising, you can learn on their weekly mastermind calls, they've got great articles and content, you can also pay them to help set up your initial campaigns, and then you can use their tool to run it. But they do such a good job of providing the structure of your campaigns. And again, there's a lot more technical, you know, issues and details that we don't have time to get into on the podcast. But you want to basically, if I'm going after a search term like gluten free muffins, I basically want to do a handful of things. I want to take my brand, which we'll call it Acme, you know, brand gluten free muffins. And I'm going to create a branded campaign. And that's going to include the exact match terms for Acme brand gluten free muffins. And I'm also going to probably create a phrase match campaign. If you're not, you know, familiar with match types, all that information is going to be available on PPC Ninjas website, you could check them out. I'll give it to Sari so she puts it in the show notes as well. But but the idea is the match types indicate how closely a customer search term matches the keyword that you're advertising on. So basically, you have exact match, you have phrase match and then broad, and it's just sort of what it sounds like. Exact match means, yep, they searched exactly that term. Phrase match means they searched that term but could have added additional keywords on at the beginning or the end of that term, right. So maybe I'm looking for gluten free muffins for kids. Okay, well, that that would fall under phrase match, but it wouldn't show up on my exact match. Broad match is exactly what it sounds like. It could be any sort of synonym related to gluten free, they could be looking for pastries instead of muffins, it could be looking for cookies.

Shannon Roddy 28:54
So your goal is to separate those keywords into the different match types. So that you can correctly bid on in budget form how closely and how relevant the customer search term is to your bids. What you don't want to do is kind of throw everything together because you can wind up spending a lot of money on, you know, people looking for, you know, flour free pastries, when that's really not the search term you're going after, and is going to convert for you. So that's kind of like a crash course 101 lesson on advertising.

Sari 29:28
I get all those random things where I'm like, that's not what I'm searching.

Shannon Roddy 29:32
Yeah, so the whole idea is you're going to set up a branded campaign, you're going to set up a generic campaign or what they call a category campaign. So those gluten free muffins, and then you can also set up auto campaigns, which is meant for discovery, like Amazon's gonna test my product, getting it out there front of customers, advertising for different search terms and on different products. But again, the advertising isn't worth doing if you haven't done the listing optimization first. You're going to be wasting your money because every dollar that you spend on advertising is going to be exponentially more impactful once you've optimized to increase your conversion rate.

Sari 30:11
Yeah. And it's worth noting that, you know, I know some people get scared, like, oh, my gosh, this is a big commitment and investment for sure. But it's worth noting that like, I mean, you know, the numbers, but like, that traffic to Amazon is so much greater. I mean, you have to do so much more heavy lifting for your own website, potentially, than you do, you know, for Amazon. So, either way, I know we're talking about both. And obviously, you're specialized in Amazon. But you know, when we think about converting 100 people, getting 100 people to your own website, it's a different kind of investment, it can be monetary, but it also is, you know, influencers are, lots and lots of posts, and lots of emails, and just a lot of time.

Shannon Roddy 31:05
Google, SEO, content. Yeah, I mean, there's all those different things that it takes to get people, you know, eyeballs, you know, to your website. With Amazon, it's a search engine first. Sixty five percent of all product searches are starting on Amazon. And this is kind of a caveat, but that's really super important to know, is that I believe success on Amazon, true success on Amazon is organically ranking for your products top keywords. That's where your money is, you know, it's gonna take time, money and energy to build this whole infrastructure and optimize listings and advertising those keywords. But can you imagine what happens when after doing the hard work, if somebody searches for gluten free muffins on Amazon, and you come up number two, or number three, now you're getting the equivalent of free traffic, even though you had to pay to get there. And you're probably still going to be advertising on that term to stay there, right? Because you actually want to just dominate that top of the page, you want to have a brand ad for, you want to have a sponsored product ad for it, and then you want to show up organically. And that's kind of like the ideal scenario is if somebody searches a term, organically 65% of those clicks go to the top three listings, nobody even goes to page two. I mean, just the number of purchases from page two are like next to nothing.

Sari 32:29
Um, page 10.

Shannon Roddy 32:31
I mean, it's an Everest to climb. And we get companies all the time. They're like, I just launched my product on Amazon yesterday, and I'm searching for gluten free muffins and it's not showing up. Surprise, surprise, okay. There are people who have been selling gluten free muffins on Amazon for over a decade, you're not likely to trump or surpass them in one day because Amazon hasn't even finished indexing your listing first. Right? So think about it from the Amazon algorithm standpoint. A9 is Amazon's algorithm. And its goal is to serve up the product that is most likely to convert for a keyword. And this is where you see the Amazon choice badge. So you might see an Amazon choice badge for gluten free muffins. It's not even the best seller. It's just an Amazon choice badge. And what Amazon means when it designates that badge is when customers search for gluten free muffins, a lot of people buy this product, they leave it high high star ratings and good reviews and the return rate is very low. Okay, so that's what that badge indicates. But from Amazon standpoint, if you have a better product than your customers, and you're able to optimize your listing, so that it actually conveys a better product, and you can get it in front of customers to the top of page one with advertising, then you're going to be able to give customers the option of buying your product. And this is how the algorithm works. If you search for gluten free muffins, and my ad shows up, my product organically is still on page 10, right. I just launched a couple weeks ago. But if I'm running ads for gluten free muffins, and you click the ad and go, this looks interesting, I'll buy this. This brand is pretty quirky, it's fun, you know, created by a couple that wanted to create muffins for their kids to take to the zoo, whatever. And the whole idea is that if somebody searches a term, clicks on your product, and then buys your product, over time your product will increase in organic ranking for that term. That's it. That's how simple the algorithm is. And people try to make it so complex and so complicated. But really when it comes down to it, I mean, yes, there's different factors that you know, can impact your ranking, the number of views, the quality of the reviews, the conversion rate, sales, velocity, all those things. It really comes down to how many people search a term, and then buy your product for that term. That's what that's what's gonna determine your products organic rank for that search term. So it may take several months to even get up on page one. But if you can get into the top 3 spots for any keyword, regardless of how long till it is, that's going to generate organic sales. And typically, that's where the money comes from.

Sari 35:12
Okay. So these two things are all like, I just, I might, you are the, Shan, I just turned it over to you, like. I mean, I know a little bit about conversion for sure for ecommerce. But this is like Shannon's territory, I will give all the links like I do not pretend to be an expert on these things. But the next two, I think you and I definitely can share space in so I'm excited to talk about these.

Shannon Roddy 35:43
Yeah, so number three is increasing the price or the average order value. And, again, it's not like, you know, you can sell a product that's $11.99 and just sell it for $25. You're probably going to lose money at that. With that play, as opposed to, hey, I just doubled my sales or, you know, double my revenue. If you can show that you have a better product, you can increase the price. And so we talked about this. And in fact, I'll let you, once you actually highlight, you know, what we put together because I think that's gonna, you know, be a great resource for people want to go more into depth on this because we've already sort of created this whole little mini masterclass on that, why don't you talk about that real quick?

Sari 36:27
So gosh, I guess it was in 2020. But we put together an awesome pricing for profit workshops. So co-hosted Shannon and myself, it's a 90 minute workshop. Super inexpensive. I'll put the link for that in the show notes. But it is, I mean, I've had people go through it. And they're just like, oh my gosh, like, this changed everything for me. And so in the first 45 minutes, I go through your pricing, your cost of goods sold, margins that you need to be aware of, what you should be looking for, how to do cost of goods sold correctly. All those things and then you pick up the latter half of that 45 minutes all about Amazon and those pieces. So it's definitely well worth the price of admission, and it will give you and you get my pricing tool and all sorts of resources from you.

Shannon Roddy 37:24
Yeah, so one of the things that I covered more in depth in that is the idea of building brand equity. And so building brand equity simply means it's a customer's perceived value of your brand. You can have an awesome product. But let's be honest, if you have crappy packaging or crappy listing, you're not creating any perceived value. Now price also plays into perceived value. But there's a limit, right. So if you have a product that's 8.99, you might be able to test it out and bump it up to 9.95, or 12.99, or even 15.99. And the nice thing on Amazon is, you can play around with the price a little bit, you can go up and you can go down and see what actually impacts conversion. Now, you have to have a number, a certain amount of sales, threshold of sales to actually determine the conversion rate. You have to have a certain amount of sales to you know, threshold of sales to determine the conversion rate. If you have five sales a month, one sale is gonna throw up your conversion rate by, you know, a huge percentage. So the idea is if you can get 100 or so sales or even 50 sales a month, you've got a pretty good baseline conversion rate. You can then play with the price and see if I increase the price, what does it do? I was working with a client a couple months ago, she had a product that she sold on Amazon for years. And it was, you know, a fairly quality product, but it was listed at 44.99. And I said, there is not a soul on earth who would pay 44.99 that wouldn't be willing to pay 47.99. And we increase the price. And we increase the conversion rate. Now, there's some really unique terms in the marketing world for this. I forget what they're all MacGuffin or something. But it's the whole idea is like, I think it's called a Giffen. But the whole idea is you can actually increase the status or the perceived value of your product by increasing the price. Now that is true to a point. You know, you increase it to $99, you've probably just lost all of your customers, but you have a little flexibility to play around with price. And one of the biggest mistakes that I think we mentioned in the workshop is people charge shipping on their website so their products is 12.95. They charge shipping on their website ranges from $5 to $7. And they list a product on Amazon with free shipping for 12.95. Well, you're probably just gonna lose money, right? Increase your price on Amazon include the shipping, right? So now you can list your product for, you know, 17.95, you know, 18.95 or 19.95. And know that Amazon customers are getting that free shipping with Amazon Prime. So you don't have to match your product price on your website, you match the product price on the website plus the average cost of shipping. So that's number one.

Sari 40:22
I want to pause, like, Finn Francis is behind me, and she's been in Food Business Success, so shout out to Nicole, but we had that exact conversation, it's a high end product, she was like, I'm gonna put it at 62 for these three sprays, and her shops open. Now, once this goes live, but I was like, there's no budget, like, we can bump that up to 67 or 69. Like, if they're already paying 62, like an extra $5 that you can do on the back end with had to offer better shipping or better pack, like you're creating a whole experience, like $5 is not going to stop somebody who's going to pay 62.

Shannon Roddy 41:06
And that's exactly it is. It's knowing your customer and knowing their, you know, the size of the wallet. I have a client who launched a product on Amazon, and it's listed at 34.95. High quality ingredients. I mean, really well, you know, research data backed company. And he said, do you think 34.95 is too high? Or should I cut it down? He was gonna try to sell it for 29.95. And I said, people were just looking for the baseline product, you know, the supplement, they're just gonna buy the cheapest thing on the market, 9.95. That's all there. The only people who care about buying your product, the people who actually care about the intense data that in science that went into this, the quality of ingredients, the ratio of the ingredients, the high absorption rate, the bioavailability of the ingredients, and they're not gonna care one iota between 29.95 and 34.95. And like I said, in some cases, you price it too low and you actually lose people because they go, what am I going to get for? So one nugget I'll drop is that again, Amazon isn't an ecommerce company. They're data company. And they don't sell products, they sell convenience. At the end of the day, Amazon customers are buying convenience. And there's a company I worked with called Montebello, they've got a great Italian blood orange juice. It's beautiful, beautiful and delicious. It's also super pricey, but it's not available everywhere, cost 7.95 to get it in grocery stores but the people who want it, it's not available in most of their local grocery stores. So they pay $75 for a three pack on Amazon, what should be 21.99 and they pay him to ship it overnight with dry ice to get it on their doorstep. And you would not believe the amount of sales that company does on Amazon on a monthly basis. You go, that's nuts, but that's their customer. People who buy Italian blood orange juice ddon't mind paying $75.

Sari 43:04
And like you said, it's convenience. I can't even find in my grocery store. I don't even have to go to the grocery.

Shannon Roddy 43:09
The whole point. You know, and it's grown in the, you know, in the ashes of, you know, this volcano. And so it's got all these minerals and properties. So those are important pieces. So increasing and playing around with the price is one, but the other is just the average order value. We talked about bundles and multipacks. So the difference between a bundle and a multi pack is a multi pack is multiples of the same item. A bundle is a combination of different products. So if you've got, you know, and I'll just use Real Phat Foods for an example, you know, they've got these three different flavors of really delicious crackers. Well, a multipack would be a one pack or a three pack of their pepper, crack pepper flavor crackers, and a bundle would be a variety pack of all three. And so those are great ways. And typically what we do with food brands, we'll see, there's a couple different ways to play. You can test it out to some extent and see what works for you. But you're probably going to need to be in the $15 to $17 range to even be profitable. Selling a product for 9.95 or 7.95 on Amazon, with the inbound shipping, with the advertising fees, with the pick and pack fees, the long term storage fees, Amazon's 15% referral fee, plus your cost of goods and time to get it all prepped and shipped in there. You're paying Amazon to sell your product. And some people are. There's a great tool called Seller Scale. And you sign up for sellerscale.com, it integrates with your Amazon account, you put in your cost of goods which Sari tell you how to calculate and it will pull in all the data and it will give you your SKU level profitability. It takes all the work out of trying to calculate all that stuff, you know, and just does it for you. So definitely look at multi packs and bundles. And again, I'm working with a company, a natural. It's a, it's a female health care product. And they were just listing one pack, I said, you know, we really got to get those three packs. And even there's a seven pack that is a reseller had listed. Well, the seven pack was doing like $1,500 a month, and has like 50 reviews, like, customers are telling us something, if people want to buy it in seven pack, like they want to buy bulk and save, like, hey, I can just buy this, I don't have to buy it again for several months. That's great. And the way it works is you polybag and you ship them to Amazon and the customer buys, the customer gets a discount, they save money, you actually make more money, and Amazon as a whole from a one off order makes a higher, you know, referral fee, but use the same product. It's one product, you save on the pick and pack fee, right? Typically you sell one product 5.95 for pick and pack fee for example, but you sell 3 pack, it may only go up to a 7.95 pick and pack fee, as opposed to a $15 pick and pack fee. So increasing average order value can be a great way to give your customers a discount, you make more money, Amazon wins, everybody's happy. But in some cases, for lesser known brands and newer products, you're going to offer those single products simply as a way to get customers in the door. Meaning if you sell one pack, it's a breakeven, you just want them to try the product, maybe you can include a sample of the second product, you know, with that shipment. But once they go, oh my God these are great, they're gonna come back, they're gonna buy the three pack, or the variety pack. And, you know, get those on Subscribe and Save, for example. So those are some different ways but once you have optimized the listing for conversion, once you have figured out a way to drive targeted traffic, whether it's again, it can be social media, Amazon advertising, influencers, there's tons of different ways to get traffic these days, then you can focus on price and average order value, which then leads us to our fourth and last, you know, tip to increase their

Sari 47:15
Drumroll. I love it.

Shannon Roddy 47:19
So once you've done all that, the last way to increase sales is increase your product line. And certainly there's companies that love R&D, and are always innovating and creating new recipes and new products. I would discourage companies from going all out, just creating more and more and more products, when you haven't nailed at least the first two, if not the first three,

Sari 47:43
I was gonna say, these are in order people. I talked with so many of you that have like, a million products and million flavors, and you want to do this. And it's like, that's so great but let's start with like, three.

Shannon Roddy 48:03
Yeah, I mean, it's like it's like an author, it's like, why do you want to write another book when the first, you know, 10 books that you wrote, haven't been selling. And that's always a challenge. And I'm more of an engineer, I'm more of a creator, than you know, the entrepreneur of selling. What I love doing is teaching, I love educating. So the key is, if you're not great at that other sales aspect of it, you got to find somebody else who is and partner with them. Bring them in your organization.

Sari 48:27
You just want to create products and hire some people.

Shannon Roddy 48:29
You create, and you find. I mean, it's really more of like, I'll just create my product and sell you the recipe, you know, or license, right. But not that I'm making a recommendation. But the idea is, you've got to figure out what you're good at. But in terms of priority, you've got to figure out a way to, you've got to figure out how to sell the product first. And once you start selling, the nice thing is once you get the conversions down, you increase the traffic, that's going to provide the product reviews, to provide the social proof that customers need to try and buy your product. So from that element of things, you know, it's really hard to get that flywheel going, which is why social media can be such a powerful way to launch on Amazon, because you're sending a segment of your fans, your audience. Customers go, wow, I love your product, I can get on Amazon, now great. Don't feel like you're losing customers to your website. Feel like you're gaining early adopters on Amazon who are already in love with your product that's going to help with the conversion rate. You can't ask for incentivize product, positive product reviews. So don't do that. But if you've got a feedback, five email that says hey, thanks for purchasing, would you take 30 seconds to leave a product review on Amazon, any customer will get that email and can leave a review. So you know it's the whole idea of you throw a small pebble in a pond, you get a little splash. You throw a big boulder in a pond, you're going to get a big splash so if you can drive some targeted, warm, like a warm audience to your Amazon listing first, either from social or from a trusted ambassador, influencer, affiliate, that's going to definitely help increase the capacity for future sales. But yeah, beyond that, it's like, once you kind of nail those first three, then you can just expand your product line, then you can just add it. And at that point, you kind of have a formula, it's not an exact formula. But even with Amazon listings, I mean, I look at like, yes, bar, for example. And mindful goods did all of their listings, you can take a look at that as a good example. But you know, 90% of their listings are exactly the same. You know, they switch out the ingredients, and some of the, you know, highlights but the value propositions, the why people buy is actually the same. All they're offering them is different flavors. And you may be creating completely different products, but you can still reuse your graphics, you're just swapping out the lifestyle photo, maybe you're, you know, swapping out some of the product features and benefits. But you don't have to rewrite everything from scratch and that's an important piece. So you know, one of the companies that I worked with, several months ago called Steel Roots Decor, we did their A plus content, telling the brand story, the high level features and benefits of how the product is made, you know, who the founder is, talking about the different colors and sizes they manufacture the product in, we applied that to just all of our listings, the same exact content. Because you know, at that point, it was the same metal object, it was just different shapes and different, you know, different things. So, there's some replicability that you can put into place once you've discovered that, but, you know, I just kind of want to end as we wrap things up, in this sort of high level element of, it is a brand's journey. Every brand has to go through the brand's journey, no two journeys are the same. Some companies can figure it out very quickly and some really strugglin it takes longer. So that said, there's no perfect formula, you're not going to immediately know who your customers are, exactly what customer search terms they're going to use. But if you're willing to go in in the long haul and invest and you know, remembering that Amazon is an all in platform, you can take that journey. Me, Daniela, and certainly others in the field are here to assist you. To guide you as your Sir Obi Wan, if you will, to help you avoid some of the obvious missteps but you're gonna at some point have to pay to discover what works for your brand, because it's not going to be exactly like anybody else's out there.

Sari 52:35
Yep. I mean, hopefully you got into this event. You know, if you're starting a food product that you got into this to create a business, and it is an entrepreneurial journey, it is about you as an entrepreneur, discovering and making investment and betting on yourself. But yes, there is investment involved to take it to the next level. But whether that's just your own ecommerce or Amazon, wherever you want to go with it, you definitely have guides in this journey to help you and I have a discount code to for Mindful Goods, that'll be in the show notes as well. But Shannon stuff will be in there. And we're fun, right? I love it. I love that you talked about your own journey. And I thought about mine too. Like if I go back three years, when I started Food Business Success, and the branding was different. And how I showed up was different. And now we've evolved to and we're super fun.

Shannon Roddy 53:35
Would've done everything different. But it's true. But you wouldn't have known that, you wouldn't have known that if you

Sari 53:42
Wouldn't have known. You had to start to your point like we have to start somewhere, put it out there, then we can perfect it. But it's got to get out there, the 80% rule is my rule.

Shannon Roddy 53:53
It is interesting, Sari, like one of my other favorite business podcasts is How I Built This with Guy Raz on NPR. And it's so interesting because if you listen, every single product that got launched or service had one of two very similar stories. They're like the first day we launched a website and it was either total crickets and nobody showed up. Or we had a line out the door and you know, it didn't stop till midnight. I mean, it's like crazy. Some people get lucky and figure it out, right? It's like, holy cow, Right Place Right Time, you know, Warby Parker, they launched their, you know, eyeglasses website. And it's like, the first day it's like, the orders are pouring on. They're going, oh my gosh, and other companies you launch. You launch Airbnb and people are like, what is this and why in the world would I let a stranger in my house. But they both went through the brand journey and figured it out at some point, at some level. So to those you listening, I wish you the best of luck in your brand's story journey and can't wait to hear from you. I'm most active on LinkedIn, reach out, follow , ask any questions that you want, happy to engage. You want to set up a quick call, I've got like a little 10 minute countly that I throw out to people if they want to just chat for a few minutes happen engage on that level.

Sari 55:18
Well, I hope you're feeling inspired everyone. And I think this was super helpful, great way as we're wrapping up the Sales Series, so thanks for coming on and working through all of our scheduling ups and downs, but we did it and we're putting it out. Perfect timing. So thanks Shannon for being here.

Shannon Roddy 55:36
Perfect time. Thanks for having me, Sari.

Sari 55:37
So freaking good. I love having Shannon on the podcast. He's just a wealth of knowledge. And it's so fun. It's fun to see how we've grown and evolved as well as business owners. So I will leave it there all the resources are in the show notes and until next time, have an amazing week. Are you ready to start that delicious idea that you make in your home kitchen, or grow your existing packaged food business and take it to the next level? The most successful food business entrepreneurs have support, guidance, focus and accountability to help them make it happen quickly without wasting time or money. Plus, I think starting your package food business should actually be fun. Food Business Success is your secret ingredient to creating your food business dream. Please don't go this alone. Check out the private free Food Business Success Facebook group to connect with other foodpreneurs. Get your questions answered quickly. Share your wins and receive special training and tools I only share inside the private community. Just search for Food Business Success on Facebook, or get the link in the show notes. Curious about how Food Business Success can help you? Head over to foodbizsuccess.com and fill out the application to see if you're a great fit for the program. Together let's make your food business dream a reality.



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