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 we’ve added other products. John Jantsch: So since you kind of alluded to this and you’ve been at Yahoo for a while so you’ve seen some of these changes, how would you describe … you know I always tell people that yeah, we’ve got all these new marketing platforms and all these things that come along, but I think what’s 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 I’m 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, they’re able to kind of … imitate. Instead it’s people that have touched the product, they have product knowledge, they may use the product themselves, and you’re more involved in that purchase, right. John Jantsch: Yeah and I think a lot of times … I know what makes me … connects me is maybe not even technology that’s involved but it’s the branding, it’s the story about the product, it’s the story about the company, those … so I think a lot of times personalization can come from knowing your audience so well that you’re able to tell a story that really connects with them. Dan Breeden: Sure, so a lot of the technology that you’re going to find in the marketplaces can also be added to stores. So it’s 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. You’ve got to run some tests, you’ve got to see what’s working, what’s not working, certainly if you’re going to do something like that though there’s 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 we’ll 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, we’ve got a number of products that are available, we’ve 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 … 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 don’t 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 we’ve 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. We’ve 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 we’ve seen that change, our customers have seen that change, and of course we’ve had a lot of small businesses come and go as they rise and fall with market changes.

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

John Jantsch: So since you kind of alluded to this and you’ve been at Yahoo for a while so you’ve seen some of these changes, how would you describe … you know I always tell people that yeah, we’ve got all these new marketing platforms and all these things that come along, but I think what’s 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 we’re talking about e-commerce, it’s been … it’s been a revolution, right. In fact I have been around for a while and I’ve met with a number of our merchants as well as people who sell on other platforms and the story is the same, we’ll meet with successful merchants and they will marvel at … they worked really hard but they’ll marvel at how they were able to launch a successful store 10, 15 years ago, that they wouldn’t be able to launch in the same way that they would have to do now. It’s a much more crowded marketplace, we have some massive marketplaces that are competing against individual stores, right. We’ve got Amazon, we’ve got eBay, you’ve 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.

They’ve 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 it’s not that easy and you won’t find success that way.

John Jantsch: Well and since you mentioned Amazon and you know, I buy a thing or two from them so I’m 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, they’re able to kind of … imitate. I just noticed the other day, maybe this has been around for a while, but this whole buy … you have a designer help you pick out clothes, they send it to you, if you like them great you keep them, if you don’t 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 you’ve 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. You’re not going to beat them at their game though, so Amazon [inaudible] and this is no way disparaging, but Amazon’s game is they are super convenient, you log in, you have a single check out, you may be buying from multiple merchants, you … you often get incentives around shipping, et cetera. So if you’re playing in that marketplace and you’re trying to differentiate yourself, it’s going to be extremely difficult unless you’ve got a line on a product that you’re able to offer a lower price than anybody else. That can happen if you’re 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 we’re 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 don’t care if those merchants don’t have the ability brand themselves, and so it’s not the same in depth high touch field, it’s really in the super convenient. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something very specific around something you love, a hobby, a pursuit, maybe a gift for someone, you’re more likely to be looking for something that is not one of thousands that’s offered on a marketplace, right. You might be looking for something very specific that’s not like everybody else’s or you may be looking for a store where you know that it’s not just kind of almost a nameless retailer. Instead it’s people that have touched the product, they have product knowledge, they may use the product themselves, and you’re more involved in that purchase, right. You’re more invested in that purchase and in the company.

John Jantsch: Well I know I personally like … I’m kind of almost a Cheers model, I like going to stores where they know my name. That to me and my wife laughs because it’s like okay, you’re going to be a customer there forever now because they just called you John, and she’s right. I get an emotional attachment there, but some would suggest that the Amazon’s of the world actually created personal experience in some ways … 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, you’re going to like these, I mean isn’t 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 they’ll do that artificial intelligence kind of following the pack and that can work but I think when we’re talking about personalization, it’s more than just throwing more products into … 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 … their site is called Pro Tuning Lab, and these guys sell import automobile parts for people that customize their cars. It’s a family run business, these guys are super in touch with the marketplace, they know what is gonna be hot on the street before it’s even on the street and they are very intuitive.

They’re 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 it’s not only going to be one of the first time seen on the streets but you know, it’s cool. It’s trending or it will be trending, right. Amazon can’t do that because they’re 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 they’re able to lead that buying purchase by getting the products ahead of time.

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

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