Transcript of How Small Businesses Can Compete in the Online Marketplace

Transcript of How Small Businesses Can Compete in the Online Marketplace

So Yahoo Small Business has been around for a while, we were started a little over 20 years ago when Yahoo bought one of the original e-commerce platforms and then since then weíve added other products. John Jantsch: So since you kind of alluded to this and youíve been at Yahoo for a while so youíve seen some of these changes, how would you describe Ö you know I always tell people that yeah, weíve got all these new marketing platforms and all these things that come along, but I think whatís changed the most is how people buy. John Jantsch: Well and since you mentioned Amazon and you know, I buy a thing or two from them so Iím not going to pick on them, but they literally are the everything store it seems, including any innovation that seems to be out there in the market, theyíre able to kind of Ö imitate. Instead itís people that have touched the product, they have product knowledge, they may use the product themselves, and youíre more involved in that purchase, right. John Jantsch: Yeah and I think a lot of times Ö I know what makes me Ö connects me is maybe not even technology thatís involved but itís the branding, itís the story about the product, itís the story about the company, those Ö so I think a lot of times personalization can come from knowing your audience so well that youíre able to tell a story that really connects with them. Dan Breeden: Sure, so a lot of the technology that youíre going to find in the marketplaces can also be added to stores. So itís putting things into categories that might not otherwise be apparent but because they know their customers, because they touch their customers so often, they know that people shop for certain things in certain ways. Youíve got to run some tests, youíve got to see whatís working, whatís not working, certainly if youíre going to do something like that though thereís a lot of ways that you can incent repeat customers to come back to your site, loyal customers to come back to your site, then you can often do it through news letters, email, et cetera. John Jantsch: So Dan, where would you like to send people and of course weíll have any of this in the show notes too, to find out more about Yahoo Small Business? Dan Breeden: Well check out our site at Yahoo Small Business, weíve got a number of products that are available, weíve also got an advisor site as well.

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Transcript

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth focused e-commerce brands drive more sales with super targeted highly relevant email, Facebook, and Instagram marketing.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, this is John Jantsch, my guest today is Dan Breeden. He is a senior manager of strategic alliances for Yahoo Small Business, so Dan, thanks for joining us.

Dan Breeden: Yeah, thanks for having me.

John Jantsch: I think that Yahoo has been around forever, one of the early players certainly in online and in search, I think it probably would bear Ö I think there would be some value in just kind of talking about the state of Yahoo small business right now and actually what it offers, because I think a lot of people still probably donít differentiate it from the search unit.

Dan Breeden: Sure, no, thanks for that. So Yahoo Small Business has been around for a while, we were started a little over 20 years ago when Yahoo bought one of the original e-commerce platforms and then since then weíve added other products. Our web hosting product was once Geocities, which was a wildly popular platform. We do domain registration, we do direct relistings management, we have a product called local works, and then we also have some advertising products. Weíve got some merchants that have been with us the entire 20 years, very few that have been around longer than that, of course over those years e-commerce and local marketing has changed a lot, so weíve seen that change, our customers have seen that change, and of course weíve had a lot of small businesses come and go as they rise and fall with market changes.

So weíre not part of Verizon, we were once part of the broader Yahoo, but weíre in a team that works with alongside Verizonís small business teams, which has been a great fit for us.

John Jantsch: So since you kind of alluded to this and youíve been at Yahoo for a while so youíve seen some of these changes, how would you describe Ö you know I always tell people that yeah, weíve got all these new marketing platforms and all these things that come along, but I think whatís changed the most is how people buy. So how would you describe how customer behavior has evolved over the last decade?

Dan Breeden: Sure, if weíre talking about e-commerce, itís been Ö itís been a revolution, right. In fact I have been around for a while and Iíve met with a number of our merchants as well as people who sell on other platforms and the story is the same, weíll meet with successful merchants and they will marvel at Ö they worked really hard but theyíll marvel at how they were able to launch a successful store 10, 15 years ago, that they wouldnít be able to launch in the same way that they would have to do now. Itís a much more crowded marketplace, we have some massive marketplaces that are competing against individual stores, right. Weíve got Amazon, weíve got eBay, youíve got kind of the niche marketplaces like Etsy as well. So someone that wants to launch a successful e-commerce venture now has to really be smart.

Theyíve got to do more than just come up with a set of products and descriptions, you know, and post it and hope that customers will find them because itís not that easy and you wonít find success that way.

John Jantsch: Well and since you mentioned Amazon and you know, I buy a thing or two from them so Iím not going to pick on them, but they literally are the everything store it seems, including any innovation that seems to be out there in the market, theyíre able to kind of Ö imitate. I just noticed the other day, maybe this has been around for a while, but this whole buy Ö you have a designer help you pick out clothes, they send it to you, if you like them great you keep them, if you donít you send them back. Companies like Stitch Fix, you know, is one that I know is kicking up a lot of dust lately. Well Amazon just basically copied that, I mean so how do you fight or play in that environment where youíve got an organization, a company with that kind of distribution and that kind of buying leverage?

Dan Breeden: Sure, so I totally agree, Amazon is the gorilla in the room and I buy from them as well for some items. Youíre not going to beat them at their game though, so Amazon [inaudible] and this is no way disparaging, but Amazonís game is they are super convenient, you log in, you have a single check out, you may be buying from multiple merchants, you Ö you often get incentives around shipping, et cetera. So if youíre playing in that marketplace and youíre trying to differentiate yourself, itís going to be extremely difficult unless youíve got a line on a product that youíre able to offer a lower price than anybody else. That can happen if youíre sourcing your products directly from the manufacturer, it typically is a fairly short window before somebody else starts finding your source and undercutting you by nickels and dimes. Instead, where weíre seeing merchants have success is by providing a different shopping experience.

A more customized, more personal shopping experience. When you go to Amazon, you may be buying from multiple merchants. Often you donít care if those merchants donít have the ability brand themselves, and so itís not the same in depth high touch field, itís really in the super convenient. On the other hand, if youíre looking for something very specific around something you love, a hobby, a pursuit, maybe a gift for someone, youíre more likely to be looking for something that is not one of thousands thatís offered on a marketplace, right. You might be looking for something very specific thatís not like everybody elseís or you may be looking for a store where you know that itís not just kind of almost a nameless retailer. Instead itís people that have touched the product, they have product knowledge, they may use the product themselves, and youíre more involved in that purchase, right. Youíre more invested in that purchase and in the company.

John Jantsch: Well I know I personally like Ö Iím kind of almost a Cheers model, I like going to stores where they know my name. That to me and my wife laughs because itís like okay, youíre going to be a customer there forever now because they just called you John, and sheís right. I get an emotional attachment there, but some would suggest that the Amazonís of the world actually created personal experience in some ways Ö in the online world because they were the first ones to know what you bought before. They were the first ones to suggest oh if you like this, youíre going to like these, I mean isnít that the basis of personalization?

Dan Breeden: It has a personalization feel, it also has an artificial intelligence field right, everybody that came before me that bought brown socks, 75 percent came back for blue socks, so the next thing I see is blue socks, right. So theyíll do that artificial intelligence kind of following the pack and that can work but I think when weíre talking about personalization, itís more than just throwing more products into Ö in front of a consumer. It often is getting in front of that and knowing what the consumer is going to want even before they have seen the product, right. One of our merchants is Ö their site is called Pro Tuning Lab, and these guys sell import automobile parts for people that customize their cars. Itís a family run business, these guys are super in touch with the marketplace, they know what is gonna be hot on the street before itís even on the street and they are very intuitive.

Theyíre very much in touch with the different clubs and their promoting products and they are putting products out there so when their followers, their customers see that, they know that itís not only going to be one of the first time seen on the streets but you know, itís cool. Itís trending or it will be trending, right. Amazon canít do that because theyíre going to have to wait until the buying trends show that this is a popular product, you know, but this merchant knows because they are themselves an aficionado, right. They are themselves a thought leader in that area and so theyíre able to lead that buying purchase by getting the products ahead of time.

John Jantsch: Yeah and I think a lot of times Ö I know what makes me Ö connects me is maybe not even technology thatís involved but itís the branding, itís the story about the product, itís the story about the company, those Ö so I think a lot…

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