Amazon Case Study:
Sheffield Pharmaceuticals and eAccountable
Using Sellozo To Grow Your Business
Kris Gramlich and Dustin Kane talk with Nick Menicucci from eAccountable and Michael Clark from Sheffield Pharmaceuticals. Learn how they took Sheffield Pharmaceuticals, with the help of Sellozo, to the next level on Amazon!
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How eAccountable Took Sheffield Pharmaceuticals To The Next Level
– Hello everyone, and welcome to episode 75 of, “Two Amazon Sellers and a Microphone,” brought to you by Sellozo. Today’s episode is gonna be really fun, it’s a little bit different, little more unique than what we normally do. We’ve got a couple of great guests on here. We’ve got Nick Menicucci from eAccountable. What’s up Nick, how are you?
– Hey Dustin, Kris, how we doing guys?
– Good to see you again.
– Good to see you again. And we have also Michael Clark from Sheffield Pharmaceuticals on as well. And so we’re really excited about, because this is sort of everything coming full circle. eAccountable is an agency, Sheffield Pharmaceuticals works with eAccountable and eAccountable uses Sellozo to help automate advertising for their clients. So we’re really excited about talking about just the different stories, how we kinda all came together and, and how we work together. So, this is gonna be really, really fun. So, and Nick, thanks for putting this together. I appreciate that.
– Absolutely. Yeah, happy to do it.
– The first thing that we noticed, we were talking a little before we went live is, you know, we’re here in Kansas city home of the, the greatest football team in the world the chiefs. And Michael diehard, Tom Brady fan up there, he’s up there in Rhode Island and it’s just. And then we got Nick, you’re a Raiders fan so you’re gonna be a bottom dweller of the AFC West for the next quarter century.
– That’s actually very accurate.
– They’re all fine, they got Vegas.
– Oh man, so it’s always, always fun to talk football but let’s, let’s get in and let’s, let’s talk shop. Michael, love to start with you. We’d love to sort of, we were talking beforehand, just sort of giving us a story of your company, what you guys do and then sort of how you realized you needed to transition to e-commerce and Amazon.
– Yeah, well, I’ve been with Sheffield now for about five years. I am the vice president of marketing and product development. Prior to that, I spent 14 years at CVS pharmacy in a like, in a like job where I, we launched, we launched brands. And sometimes you knew that they were still a brand and sometimes you didn’t. So you had to do some really good branding, really good product positioning. And we, I had a luxury unlike any other, I, I would go through monthly walk-throughs of what every, what, what the leading CPGs were doing and learning why they were doing it. And, and, you know, retail, you know, we launched over a thousand items a year. In a stretch of four years we, we clocked in easily over 4,000 items in every category that’s in a drug store. So, you learned a lot. And when I left CVS and got to Sheffield, I, you know, started to help them understand how to get more unique products into retail, potentially higher price points and become more of a strategic partner with the retailer, find more white space. And so since though, and I know my title says vice president of marketing. I am not a traditional marketing person because I was born and bred inside a retailer. So my marketing background is more revolved around marketing where there’s already existing foot traffic. So swaying those consumer decisions while they’re already in a purchasing mode. So, what scared me is when I got out there in the, in outside of the retailers, how much money people spend on marketing that they really couldn’t see, a lift or they couldn’t see a good direct correlation to the spend for the lift. So, I was getting some pressure, not, well some, you know, people were saying inside, you know, we really wanna, maybe we should go e-commerce. so maybe we should uh-oh, open up our own, our own e-commerce site. And, and after I did all the research of how much a heavy investment that is, I said, well why would I want it, to me, going to Amazon was like a no brainer. Because the customers are, the customer when they find you, like in retail they’re already motivated to purchase. They’re there for a reason. They’re not on Google looking for, you know, someone on Google who types in acne, they could be looking to get educated about acne. Not purchase acne.
– Someone who typed acne into Amazon they’re gonna buy, they’re gonna wanna buy. So that makes complete sense that you’re spending your money in a tighter circle where the foot traffic already is. And to me, it was like going to Amazon was like, well why would I wanna open up a mom and pap drug store down the street from like a CVS pharmacy? That’s what it felt like to me when I said, “I’m gonna do my own e-commerce outside of Amazon.” The foot traffic is already going to Amazon. So, I thought it was a smart play to get involved in. I thought Amazon was a retailer just like anything. So I came in with my cocky retailer experience saying, this is what’s gonna work, this is what’s not gonna work, blah, blah, blah. And I quickly learned they’re not a retailer. And I don’t even know if I’m gonna use the, my description of this correctly, but I always felt that there were a computer program, essentially. So, the analogy I give my friends, when they say, “Well, you don’t really do a lot of retail now.” I, “No, no, no, no, we do.” But my focus is on Amazon and when I try to explain to my old time retailers or manufacturer friends, ’cause I had many, many connections in the manufacturing world. I explain to them that imagine you’re looking at a shelf. Like you would in a retail store, let’s say you’re looking at first aid, okay? Well, that’s just a keyword in Amazon. But now, retail, retail is super hard in some areas but it’s also easier in others. And it’s easier in the sense that, you ship 30,000 units or a hundred units and it’s all up to the retailer at that point. You know, it’s all up to product placement, the shelf, the place, all of this, you know. But with Amazon what started to scare me, was depending on what you’re doing that moment, depending on what you’re doing that day. Imagine now that shelf is like a page or a page listing and that product, which was, was on your which was the coveted front eye level shelf, now has disappeared and it’s now down to the third shelf. Now it’s down the bottom shelf, now it’s gone. And now it’s in the back room, now it’s not in the store, now there’s no way for someone to quickly find it. And that’s when I started to realize the value of an eAccountable and the knowledge that they carry. Because that’s when I knew I was out of my depth. And, and I needed, not to insult anyone, I needed a bunch of really good nerds to help me fix this up please. We had really good product, we had a really good system to develop new items. We had a really good, Sheffield is much more flexible than an average manufacturer. I know this, I know all of them. They’re willing to do new and innovative different stuff, white space opportunities, We call it. But we didn’t, you know but if you can’t be, again, let’s just go back. If you can’t be discoverable, then you know, you’re done. So that’s why, and we, we had early on some different people working with us. And, and Nick, Nick in eAccountable actually came on. What was it, 30 days before COVID shutdown?
– Yeah, right before. It was right before.
– ‘Cause I remember I took my family on a vacation and I, I went on a family vacation in 2020 which a lot of people can’t say but we went to Disney in January. And by the time I got back, the whole world went nuts. And when we were leaving, we were starting to see signs that they thought it was, you know, like that, that cruise ship flew, you know?
– Oh yeah.
– Started to see signs but like we literally got out at the tail end of it or else obviously my wife would have never allowed us to go, to Disney. But you know, that’s when we started to communicate with eAccountable and initially we, we, we needed someone to help clean us up. Our campaigns were kind of, and I needed to get more involved too. So to, to give credit, you know, to not give, put blame. I needed to get more involved in how the campaigns were being set up. And by that time I had a year underneath of my belt with Amazon and I knew how, wow, unique it was. You know, you wake up one day your listing’s down. Okay, what? Well, your listing’s down, it’s an acne item and it’s being given a pesticide warning. And I’m like, what? And I don’t know, it doesn’t matter if you’re a hundred percent right. It’s gonna take 48 hours to figure this out. So you’re gonna lose 48 hours of sales ’cause someone hit a button. So that’s what I mean about how scary I need, you need guidance. You 100% need the proper guidance. Or, and I still meet lots of people, ’cause I also was a consultant for about four years prior to coming to Sheffield. I still meet lots of people who go, “Well, what would you recommend?” And I have that consultant mindset of like, me, I’ll help them. I’m like, well you gotta get someone like an eAccountable. You gotta get someone who knows, who’s the Pathfinder for you. Who’s also the administrator for you. Who, who’s gonna, you know, where, I mean, Nick how many things we’ve got going on now? We’ve got shipping issues, you know, Amazon said, “We prefer you to use our preferred shipper.” And, and, and they point us to a shipper that then no longer is shipping the Amazon, you know? So, and without someone there to help and say, “Well this is what you do. You do this, you open this case, you do this, you do this, do this.” And then matt which is really crazy about Amazon, all that frustration and then it’s magically gone, you know? It’s populating. And you wanna say, “Well, what, how did it happen? What, wait, so we, no, it doesn’t matter, shut up, just keep it going? Okay, all right, all right good.” And that’s the craziness of it. And that’s a very unfamiliar world with me even though I spent close to 20 years at developing health and beauty products for retailers.
– Well that is, it’s a great story just the way that you, ’cause I feel like there’s a ton of manufacturers and businesses and brands out there that are, that were in the same boat as you. And haven’t made this shift yet, they’re trying to figure out, especially with the pandemic, what, how do they transition to e-commerce. You made some really good decisions that you’re ahead of the curve for most manufacturers in terms of your decision to get on Amazon and focus on Amazon. And then you made a great decision working with eAccountable to help you. I mean, you need someone to, that’s been there, that’s doing all of this stuff ’cause it is complicated. There’s so many things they don’t tell you about, Oh, your images have to be perfect and your listings and your descriptions to be great. And where are you focusing your ads. but there’s so much to it. But I wanna talk, I want to transition to talk about, your partnership with eAccountable. But first I’ve got a question for you because when this is, I think this’s something that a lot of manufacturers don’t realize, is before you came on Amazon were people selling your products? I mean, were, ’cause people will, if you’re not, if you don’t own your space people will buy your products in the shelves and sell them on Amazon and misrepresent your brand.
– Well, we have a, a brand, called Dr. Sheffield natural toothpaste. And Sheffield Pharmaceutical when I got there, the basic idea for it came up between our head of sales, Todd and our CEO, Jeff. And it’s absolutely in the same building as Dr. Sheffield started his practice in 1850. So he’s the inventor of toothpaste. This came out after we did, literally all we had to do is go up in the attic to even find the original copyright. So there’s, it was a wonderful story. But at that time, Sheffield was also doing a lot of private label, comparable items and it had the name Dr. Sheffield on it. So when we did this premium toothpaste and put it on Amazon, you can also search Dr. Sheffield and, 499 acne cream would show up comparable to Clearasil. And, and then there was a ton of it. So that was also guidance we needed. So, we also had to shut down, we had a lot of third-party people selling our stuff even at retail. And we had to, we had to send out letters officially saying, you know, our agreement, you know, it’s it’s within our agreement to shut this down, we’re shutting it down you’re no longer gonna be allowed to sell, you know? But that took a while to turn to, to get, you know with proper brand registry, you know. Brand registry back in the day was kind of a joke in my opinion. Because I still remember being on the phone with Amazon saying, “Yeah, this is what you need to do, you need to take a photo of the product in your hand. The front of it and the back of it and email it to this.” And I said, “And that’s gonna prove I own it?” I’m like, then I’ve got a Tylenol in my hand and I’m gonna, shut them down. And it was very early days in my opinion trying to make sense of it. And, and I, now it’s, now I luckily, it’s a joke because they’re very due diligent about it now. You know, they’re, they’re contacting your, your lawyer who helped you with the trademark and that links up. And now, I can block other people from selling my item. Because I can prove within their own guidelines. ‘Cause again, it’s, Amazon’s like a sovereign country, it’s their rules.
– Absolutely right.
– We’ve been actually hurt by their rules.
– Because they were too broad, you know? You know, I’m trying to remember the one where, Oh, it got, it got so anal before. It was like, we have this wonderful brand called, “Tanner’s Tasty Toothpaste.” It’s a wonderful kids toothpaste with all these great flavors. And, because someone who was, we allowed to sell it as a third party didn’t have the apostrophe on the word Tanner’s, they considered it a different trademark.
– So, you know, it’s, it’s hours and hours and hours of being on the phone to address that type of stuff to get to the right person. And then normally when you do get to the right person, it gets fixed. ‘Cause that’s that weird miracle thing of like, you don’t think you’ve made progress and then you wake up the following day and it’s live and you’re the full owner and what do you wanna do now? And I’m like, wow. But to, to an earlier observation you made, most manufacturers out there. I’m very happy with the, the aggressive nature behind how we’ve pushed on Amazon from the CEO, Jeff Davis down to our production team making sure we have everything stickered. I just, it’s a group effort. And, and, you know, ’cause if if we don’t have anything to give Nick to do then Nick’s report is, we’re out of stock, you know? That’s as simple as it is, like you wanna help me out here? So, that’s all great but the average manufacturer, in my opinion is woefully ignorant as, as someone who owns an insurance company on how to sell products on Amazon. Because, ’cause I’m a, I come from a retail background and now I’ve worked on the manufacturing side, which is fine. Just very, by the way, I just need to educate you. Coming from a retailer to being on the manufacturing side is a painfully different side of the world. Even though they seem linked, it’s painfully different. And the average manufacturer is like, well, like, like if you, I still remember the day, and I, and everyone internally at Sheffield had to be educated too. So this was like a much, again, every step of the way had to be an education. So yeah, I opened up an account on Amazon and, and I just got okayed to ship my first shipment. “Oh, so how many units?” “10.” “10,000?” “10.” “10 cases?” “10.” “Wait, what?” But that’s how you start. And then I started to really see a world where no one communicated to a manufacturer correctly. No one did. And, and what I mean by that is they didn’t communicate how, from a deadlift spot, how long it’s gonna take and what, what’s the steady pressure and for how long before you get to a gravy spot, a sweet spot. And ’cause, ’cause if they didn’t, people like eAccountable would, and I, I guarantee they could tell you story after story of people come in and say, “Oh okay, so what do we got, about like 50,000 a month?” “So, okay you received it on Tuesday so what, by Friday?” You know? And when they hit that world of naiveness, these are very smart people in the manufacturing world. They know how to get move a lot of product and sell it in a lot of big retailers. When they hit that ignorant, that, that naive wall, I can’t imagine how many people then just head South. Say, “This is a massive waste of time, I’m not doing it.”
– And we’ve seen that on our end. I mean, we’ve seen brands that we work with or, or really manufacturers who are trying to build brands, who immediately shy away once they realize the difficulties it’s gonna take and what’s gonna actually be required here. And how it’s not a quick, you know, from zero to 50,000 in sales. It’s just, you know, there are ways to get there. And if you’ve got the right product and you’ve got the branding and there’s things that, you know, everything’s working in your favor, it’s possible, sure. But most, you know, most companies that’s not happening. And I do see that a lot, especially from the manufacturer side where there is that naiveness to coming on Amazon and thinking it will be the same.
– And let alone any poor, small brand company or that convinced, you know, their financial backers.
– On how quickly something will go because I don’t know one, I always forget the term for these guys, like investment companies. They’re gonna wanna double it in a year. They’re gonna wanna triple it in a year and they’re going in the wrong direction. You need to have a longterm. ‘Cause the one thing I, I am happy to report to anyone in this, that wants to know, I’m happy to report. We, as long as we stayed steady pressure on spend, we’ve grown.
– So, a huge company may see. And, but this is also why I think it’s, it’s perfect for a smaller company because a huge company. So in retail, I saw this all the time. So let’s say Advil. Advil’s moneymaker was like capsules and, and pills. So if they tried to do something different, it wasn’t worth it for them. It just wasn’t. Like it was in most brands, even if they have five or six items there’s really one hero item. It’s the reason that they’re even there and that’s their moneymaker. So they, they, they shy away from doing really different stuff. Even though it would be nice because it will only make them a couple hundred thousand a year. Instead of the million that their hero does. Well, for a smaller guy that couple of hundred thousand looks really good. So that’s why Amazon is a better fit for the products that technically don’t fit in retail, you know?
– ‘Cause I’ve been through hundreds of walkthroughs at retail and I was just literally talking to a friend about this. Where, I know it’s gonna be an odd, odd topic product but it’s like it was, breastfeeding cream for moms. And there was an argument at retail that while it doesn’t fit in baby because it’s for mom. And where does it go? Well, I know where they’re gonna attempt to do this. This is a skin condition. So they’re gonna attempt to put it in first aid where it would die. So that’s where, okay, there’s plenty of those little pockets in a category, where people have find it very tough to put it in. And that’s where Amazon is perfect for it because people aren’t looking for a brand, they’re looking for a solution.
– And they’re searching, solution-based. And, you know, all of that stuff comes into play. So, that’s why that type of stuff, Amazon again becomes perfect for it. And, you know, that is the type of thing where I can’t find it at retail, let me look on Amazon, you know?
– And, yeah, and I think that’s the perfect mesh point with like bringing on agency like eAccountable and working with Nick because, they know, they understand that world of targeting keywords. You know, integrating and getting your product in front of the right audience. So, Nick when, tell us, tell us a little about, how they came on. So Sheffield came on with you guys and just sort of what has that looked like? Where is that taking them on Amazon? What have you been able to do for them?
– Yeah, absolutely I mean, you know, Sheffield was a client that was referred by another client of ours. We got on the phone with this, Mike mentioned their CEO and Mike, and started, you know, kinda started having that conversation about, well what do you guys wanna do? What’s the goal here? Discussing strategies and, and how we make this work. And so, you know, we, we kinda kicked off and within a few weeks COVID hit, right? And that was a huge shift to everything we were looking to do. But our, our philosophy stayed the same of, we have a goal to grow and we wanna grow profitably and we wanna grow effectively. So the first few months there, you know, things were, you know, we were seeing, call it small to medium growth. Growth month over month, right? But you know, you’re talking, you know, 20%. Which is, you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. But as we were moving towards the late end of the summer, we started to see some bigger volume. Started to see our bestseller rank starting to improve, right? And we’re in, you know, our top product was in the toothpaste category. We’re moving from 90 to closer to 80 or 70. We then made a decision and actually this was through the recommendation of Brock who’s on your team and who’s our direct contact at Sellozo. We were talking about ranking campaigns. So top of search, you know, high focused keyword campaigns. One keyword, one product, push it up the page strategies. We started to notice that, you know, the keywords that we would go after are keywords that, you know what, like a Tom’s toothpaste would go after as well, right? fluoride-free toothpaste, natural toothpaste, organic toothpaste, right? Terms that are really a great fit for a product like Dr. Sheffield’s, but also that have competition but also have high volume. So these are high volume keywords that get searched well and that we’ve proven that we’ve converted on. So we made an executive decision, I believe it was in August, as a team to say, We’re gonna commit to aggressive paid search through ranking campaigns. We’re gonna Sellozo to support us on the, on the advertising efforts. Ensuring that we’re getting the, you know, the daily bid updates, the negative keyword mining. All the important things that while we’re focused on the big strategy, the Sellozo tool is able to knock out, I guess I won’t call it the grunt work of it. But the, the things that are incredibly important that take someone like me a lot of time to do, right? So, incredibly valuable to have that as we’re, as we’re starting to grow this. And, you know as you’d kind of expect the first two months when you’re running these high aggressive ranking campaigns with again, high spend, the ROAS didn’t look good. It didn’t look good, right? The ROAS was below a one to one. We were, our net profit was about breakeven because we were just being so aggressive. I said though, right? And you guys know this better than anyone. We have to stay the course. Once you commit to this kind of strategy, you stay the course and you watch your organic rankings improve. Because for those out there who aren’t aware, these ranking campaigns are designed to move you up the page organically. Amazon has a flywheel effect where when you spend paid advertising dollars, you can see a direct effect on your organic rankings. Which subsequently affects your organic sales which affects total sales. What we started to see was, sales were really after that two month mark. It was right around 60 days I’d say, we started to see a big jump in sales. We were moving much closer to 80, 90, 100% growth. We were seeing our bestseller rank jump up from 70 to 50 to into the forties. This all happened over the end, we’re still doing it today. We’re, you know, that campaign is still at about a one to one. Probably less, I think it’s close to a 0.9 ROAS. It’s never been profitable when you look at just paid search or paid span excuse me, to paid sales. However, right, the total sales have improved so dramatically that net profit has gone up, their ranking has gone up, their, their total sales have greatly improved and it’s become much more, again profitable. So, that was a strategy that we use specifically for a brand like Sheffield. That again comes from that manufacturing world of how do we focus on our shelf space? Where do we, how do we get in front of the most important audiences? And it was a perfect fit and we’ve continued to do it today. And, you know, I think now we’re, we’re in the high twenties for our bestseller rank and we’re number two on Amazon behind Tom’s for natural toothpaste. And when we started we were at, you know, maybe 10th or 11th in that category
– I like how you got aggressive with the ranking category or the ranking campaign. Because you’re selling a product that people are gonna rebuy and repurchase. And, and not focusing notice on a one-off purchase. And that’s where I think some sellers get kinda stuck on and especially if their product is a consumable. And I know I’ve talked about it before in the podcast but when you’re trying to rank a product especially consumable, you know, you’ve got a little bit more wiggle room there. Because you are trying to get that customer first, to get those sales in, to continue to rank with the, with the category. So, anybody out there ranking campaigns, you know, make tests on a single keyword, high spend, high budgets, you know, you’ll move up the rank faster by doing that
– Yeah, I mean, and having, listen, I did everything that I think a logical person would have done. I, I YouTubed the hell out of every 18 year old strategy on how to sell on Amazon and that got to a certain truth. And then, you know, when you really start being competitive, I mean the, the space we’re in. Well, again we, we, I started out with like $400 the first month, you know? And we’re at a pace now, if I, if I took this month’s sales and time, times them over the next 12 months it’d be 2.8 million in business, okay? So, but then that’s over a three year stretch. So, if you wanna be up, ’cause I always heard, you know, do you wanna make money on Amazon? Or do you want to really rapidly grow sales? Because the spend.
– Two different things.
– It is, it is tremendously two different things. And, and that’s, that’s what, again I just always focus on, you know, the naive manufacturer out there who just doesn’t know this. I’ll be honest there’s a whole business just in that, educating them with their language. Telling them that it’s gonna be a deadlift start. Meaning you may or may not have product that people are aware of. That this is how long it’s gonna take. And this is how, this is how long you may be upside down. But at the end of it, here’s the prize. So what do you wanna do? And then Oh, by the way, you’re gonna be able to monitor this every second of every day. Unlike anything you can do at retail, unlike anything close. And sales always, all of those stuff are available to us to make sure that, you know, Nick gets calls from us all the time. Well, why, why have we been upside down on this for seven days? Well, you know, there’s lots of manufacturers out there. Listen, they’re willing to spend the money. They just don’t have the education, you know? And, and the, and there are no classes for this, you know?
– And a, and a tool like Sellozo, I mean, I have, I have several clients not just Sheffield that will literally use Sellozo daily to see the skew level and account level profitability. As you guys know, there is, I mean, to do that on your own within Amazon it’s not, first of all it’s not even possible. Because you can’t add those costs of goods and the inbound shipping fees, right? And even if you had a tool, it’d be, it’s not gonna display as well as, as a tool like Sellozo. So I have clients who tell me all the, I was literally on a call the other day with a client, not Sheffield. And they were mentioning, I showed them the tool.
– No one cares Nick, no one cares. If it’s not Sheffield.
– Not as important, not as important. A lesser important client was telling me.
– There you go. That’s better. I showed them the tool, ’cause their CEO was on and he was curious about what was going on in Amazon. Show me the tool and I mean, he was stunned. I mean, he was stunned by how cool it was and what it could do.
– That’s awesome, I don’t, I think Michael just left us there for a second but he’ll be, he’ll be back on I’m sure. But just to continue and to go on this and, and we’ll get Michael’s opinion when he comes back in. But I think it’s really fascinating just talking about this how, and, and I think for people like you Nick and me and Chris, we’re, we’re in the Sellozo world every day. So I mean, we, we, we, these, these are conversations we have every single day. But for a lot of businesses they don’t realize. They would be scared to death if you said, “Hey, do you wanna do a ranking campaign where you’re gonna be unprofitable on your ad brand for a while?” They’ll be like, “Why on earth we do that? They don’t, they don’t understand that flywheel effect of how, you know, once you’ve ranked high for a keyword that’s, I mean the sales could be 10 times what you’ve ever imagined, what, by getting up there. And it’s just growing and growing. So I think it’s really cool that, that the relationship that you’ve had now with this company, what you’ve been able to do. I mean, it’s cool listening to Michael talk. I mean, he’s obviously passionate, he’s obviously done a lot of, of the dirty work trying to really learn Amazon. And I mean, he’s forward thinking. But bringing you on, I think it’s just, I mean, to get someone to design that strategy is so, it’s so effective.
– And, and not every strategy is the same, right? Not every client, you know, a ranking campaign makes sense. Or, you know, I’d say, you know with the ranking campaigns specifically, there’s two pieces to it. It’s, it’s one is, you know, the client needs to be willing to hear us out on why this approach works, right? Just like you said, it’s very, it’s very difficult for, especially someone who comes from the manufacturing world to see, okay, I need to spend this much upfront to, to get the volume long-term. And this is how it kinda plays out, right? So they have to be willing to, and open to hear that. And the other piece is, and you know, I, I think you guys would probably agree. I mean, a lot of what we do is education. Teaching, teaching clients, teaching people about these strategies and why it’s important. Not just how it works, but why we do it, you know? And again there’s, you know, there’s tons of other strategies a team like eAccountable, we, you know, that we utilize for clients and it depends on what they wanna do, right? I mean, are you brand focused or are you looking to build awareness? Are you looking to protect? Is it, are you the market leader? Are you a challenger brand? Are you a startup? I mean, we’ll work with brands across the board, ranging from, you know, no sales to, you know, millions in sales a month. And it just, every strategy is different but the concept is the same of, how do we get your products in front of as many people as possible? Which essentially means, how do we get your products onto the top of page one for your most viable searches?
– Absolutely, yeah and, and Michael, I know you popped out there a second.
– Yeah, sorry about that.
– Glad to have, yeah sorry, glad to be back. But what I mentioned to Nick and I love your perspective on this. Is I, I, a typical manufacturing company or you, in your shoes when you were, started working with Nick, the concept of like a ranking campaign just to get, wrap your mind around, “Hey, why don’t we spend a whole lot of money, potentially unprofitably for awhile on this ad campaign and this is the, the result you can get.” That, would that have been anything that would have, you would have done if you hadn’t have been working with like an eAccountable or would have been potentially approved?
– Well, if, if I was, we were working with eAccountable maybe the predecessor to who we were working with, also had a deal with our, our naive nature, you know? So, because we felt we were like, listen, some of the things that we just didn’t think were based in reality. Logistic, logistic common sense. We’re like, hey if you do this for this period of time, this will happen. Instinctually, it, it went against our grain.
– You know? It took us a long time, you know, we were fighting ourselves in the beginning. Because we were trying to do this in the most cost-effective way. And we were nervous about, and it was also at the early beginning of Sheffield willing to do different new stuff and test it out, you know? And then, so, and frankly we didn’t know how important a ranking campaign was.
– You know, we didn’t know how important that is. You know, I mean, like one of the most valuable things. So I think about all the things that have gone on and I look back and I look at it and I go, well I would have liked to have seen this as a case study a year ago. You know, like, like when you look at, ’cause now we’re educated enough to know, well here’s our sales, here’s our net. And it’s gonna be this for awhile and then it’s gonna do this and then it’s gonna do this. And that’s gonna take this much on average this much time. Well we wouldn’t have been obsessing every day as it went this and that, we would have understood.
– That that’s what’s gonna happen, and, you know, Paul and Nick, we were gonna be saying, saying we don’t get, we don’t believe it. We don’t believe it.
– We had those talks. I remember we.
– We had many of those talks.
– Many of those talks and those first two months that I mentioned earlier, I mean, they were the constant conversations. Where it was, you know, Nick this isn’t working, we gotta turn this off, Nick this is, you know. And, and I totally get it, right? I mean, you know, when you’re coming from that world and you’re looking at sales going, you know, sales aren’t moving and you’re spending way more and your net profit is going down. I mean, that’s not working, no doubt. I mean, the, you know, besides it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. But on Amazon specifically, it is so unique how this flywheel works that you, if you commit to it and the key word is commit, right? You have to commit to it. And the best way if anyone out there is curious about it. All you gotta do, just open up an incognito window every morning, so you don’t have your, your cookies in there and just watch your rankings. As you’re doing this just, just note where you’re ranked there on organic search. So if it’s fluoride-free toothpaste, okay I’m number 92 today. Now today, the next day, I’m number 84. Now I’m 72. Maybe I go up one day back to 83, right? And you just watch it as a trend. And if, once you move closer to that number one organic spot, you will see sales go up. So long as you picked the right keyword that you will convert well on. You can’t pick, right, if we’re selling toothpaste, we can’t pick the word iPhone. There may be a lot of volume for the term iPhone but Amazon is, well you know, clearly smart enough to know that that’s not something we’re gonna convert well on and it’s just not gonna work. So you have to be smart about the keywords you pick and you have to commit to the process.
– And it was the committing part that that just scared us ’cause, listen and probably our egos got in the away. We, we’re extremely intelligent about brand development and product development for retailers. We’ve got decades and decades and decades of experience that if someone, listen, someone who has solely sold on Amazon wants to come in into the retail world, then I can act, I could sit there and say, “Oh brother you, there’s 7,000 landmines and I, I can draw you a map. And I can, you know, I can explain to you the intricacies of every little thing.” And why, you know? Like there is a logical reason why. But I, in the beginning I always said I just wanna find that person who’s noticed that for Amazon because I know they’re out there. Now are they running their own business? or are they doing it for themselves? Because why would they wanna give this stuff away for free? I don’t know. So, it, it was hugely challenging in the beginning, you know? And we went through months of, Oh, this isn’t that valid. But one thing I kept noticing the whole trip was the only difference between us saying, “Wow, this doesn’t look right.” And, “Wow, this is doing pretty good.” Was time, time and pressure. You know, Nick applies the pressure and we gotta give it time. You know? I mean that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s it. But again, manufacturers are normally run by extremely left-brained production minded folk. And they need to be, they need to be. But when a manufacturer wants to take control of their future and start to develop their own brands and start to sell their products in more of a non retail setting, they gotta take a step back and learn, you know? And I think, you know, Sheffield has, has done that. Even if it was a bloody fight to learn it. You know? You know, listen I, I, I’m happy that I, I, I just looked at our account and I said, “Well what’s the last 30 days?” Well if I times that by 12 months, I’m like, “Oh my God, this is 2.8 million in sales.” I’m like, “That’s pretty good.” But I also know there’s so many, there’s so many even retailers out there. I mean, manufacturers out there if I said that to, they still may be naive to think, “No it’s not 2.8 million in our pocket.” This is what, this is the cost of doing business with Amazon. This is this, this is that, this is this, this is that, this is this. And then it’s like, “Oh, so you’re wondering why it’s hard to make money off of your, your ointment that’s $2.99?” There’s, there’s so much into this world of understanding you need to know to make smart decisions ’cause in the product development world, and listen we are far from a bulk of what’s on Amazon now. We are not using, you know, we’re not buying stuff and then selling frames and doubling the price and we make a buck out of it. You know what I mean? We’re not doing that. We are trying to craft our own products to fit the need of customers on Amazon and brands. And we have a bunch of older brands that do very well ’cause they have existing clients. But we’re also trying the deadlift approach, where we’re starting from scratch and that takes time. So, and all of these tools are there to, you know, that’s where the left-brainers should be excited because you’ll be able to measure this every step of the way. The problem is, I don’t think there’s enough, ‘Real Amazon experts’ out there. ‘Cause everyone’s an Amazon expert. And I found very little people who actually are because even Nick will tell you, you’re constantly learning. Anyone calls himself an Amazon expert is usually a sign that they’re not, you know?
– Oh, yeah.
– Well said.
– I consider myself a retail expert, that only occupies about 70% of my knowledge. Retail is changing rapidly right now, you know, so, you know, it’s funny I had a, and, and this is how everyone is. The pandemic has probably pointed people more towards Amazon than ever before. I had, I was trying to get a quote on a paving project. And the paving guy said, “What do you do for a living?” And I said, “Well, I do this. I mainly focus on product, health and beauty products on Amazon, yada, yada, yada.” “You know, my son’s doing that. Yeah, he’s giving this Amazon expert $35,000 on the West coast.”
– Oh no.
– And, and he has to sign something where he opens a line of credit with them. And I’m sitting there looking at him going, “Holy shit.” I’m like, and then, and then because I have a business side to me I’m like, “Maybe I can give this guy enough knowledge where he does my paving for free.” You know? Like, maybe can work something out. But it was the, he was like, “Well, there’s a risk involved in everything.” I said, “Well yeah, but there’s also something called calculated risk.” And that’s why I know like, there’s gonna be tons of people that find really bad advice. There’s gonna be tons of people. That’s why going to an agency that focuses on it, paying them it, and, and in the beginning paying them may, may seem like you’re in the hole. I don’t, like they don’t know what they don’t know. That’s a favorite term of mine, term of mine. You don’t know what you don’t know. Even the smartest people, I don’t care if you are freaking Einstein. If there’s something you’re unaware of, nothing can help you unless you’re aware of it. So you gotta go to the right people. You gotta do the legwork to understand what can help, the tools that can help. Sellozo, eAccountable. And you gotta be willing to do your own work. I mean, I’ve watched way too many videos and participated in way too many seminars. And yeah, some of them I, halfway through it I’m like, “Yeah, this is nothing, this is nothing new.” You know, they’re trying to reach the, the retirees who are selling frames and can make a, I’m like, “All right I’m out.” But you, you gotta try, you gotta lift up all the rocks. Because what is wonderful, can’t look at it negatively that, while you can’t take a class in this to perfect it, that’s awesome. Because that means you have an edge. This isn’t a canned thing that, that anyone can do, you know? And someone like Sheffield who’s perfectly situated in, in, in, in medium enough to be able to do the small enough runs necessary to get started on, on a deadlift program and then support it. You know, listen, if I didn’t get commitment from the CEO all the way down, this would have been a wasted venture. You know, this would have been wasted. But, you know, Jeff made it a priority and we put a lot of effort behind it. But we also knew it, it just took time. You know, we’re excited to see where it goes from here.
– I really like a lot of those things that you, you said. I mean, and this is something we, Kris and I we talk to people in the Amazon space all the time. I know Nick does as well. And it’s always changing. There in like, I love how you said there is no experts, there aren’t. And there’s so many things to be an expert in. There is images, there’s listings and optimizing those. Optimizing your logistics, optimizing inventory. I mean, there’s a billion things that you gotta do.
– But just what you said. So I, I was out there. So I have an ear for this. When I hear someone just saying some modern, trendy, catchy thing when they’re selling their services. I have an ear for it. Because I used to have to do it. So I know when I’m, and I made sure ethically, I said I’m only gonna be selling my services that I relevantly believe I’m an expert in. I’m not gonna sell it on this. But there’s so many people who are billing themselves as like you said, those experts. I really do feel bad because sometimes when I ran a consultancy and I did branding and, and product development for you know, get people, I used to call it, get them ready for prime time, get them ready for retailers. What scared me was, a lot of these guys would come to me and they already have blown $300,000 in all of the wrong places. They were sold a bill of goods. And, and, and they’re already trying to talk my price down, in the old days. And I went, “Well, if you can’t afford me there’s no way you’re gonna afford the retailers. So I kinda think you should just stop now.” You know? Why don’t you start saving some money? But I was just shocked with the amount of people out there that were spending all the money in the wrong places. ‘Cause unfortunately they were listening to uneducated people that were just trying to make a buck off of them, you know? And I, and Amazon, like I, I don’t know how many shows I’ve been to where someone comes up and says, “I got an Amazon guy. Oh, he’s my nephew.” Really? Okay, all right, well good. Unless he’s Savan, then I want his number. You know, well if he isn’t Savan I want his number on Amazon, you know? ‘Cause I’m not, I’m also, I’m also not gonna say that that couldn’t come from there. So if someone has cracked the code, I wanna know. But there’s also people in the early days, you know, I knew they were doing black hat stuff. You know, their products were rising very rapidly on Amazon. And you know, you would see that they launched 12 months ago. They got 10,000 reviews. Really, really? All right, okay. That makes complete sense. And I, I wanted Amazon to catch up which I think they they did, to some extent. You know, for you to be approved for certain categories and like this ho how did, how did, how, how, how, since we’re a legit pharmaceutical company that’s been around for 170 years, how are we still in a delay to get approved for a category when this guy who does it out of his garage just got approved.
– I don’t get that, you know? It isn’t, it isn’t. So, but it’s what we’re dealing with. This, this massive other algorithm, software storm called Amazon. And you know what? When it works, it’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. It’s, it’s not nothing unlike, it’s awesome. Nothing like that.
– You’re, you’re absolutely right about that. Real quick, just, just, I know we’ve taken a lot of your guys’ time and we really appreciate all this, but Nick I wanna just real quick just touch on, if you could just real briefly.
– How did, how does, how do you utilize Sellozo to help manage? ‘Cause I know they, you’re managing a lot for Sheffield and PPC and automating is just a little part of it. But how does, how does utilizing Sellozo, help you manage their company better?
– Well as a full service Amazon agency, you know, it, our hand is in a lot of places. And kinda like we’ve been just talking about. I mean, it’s hard for us to be experts in everything and, and be able to tackle everything perfectly. When you’ve got products getting blocked, when you’ve got, you know, pricing changes that need to be get made, content updates, store page revamps. You know, doing the, the busy work that’s required and keyword, required, to succeed in Amazon advertising. It just takes too much time. So having a tool like Sellozo that has AI learning, that can automate the keyword transfers from automatic campaigns to manual campaigns. Same thing with acens, so that automatic acen transfer. Utilizing their target ROAS goals that they can set. Setting those cost per click bids, you know, creating all those pieces of it. The negative keywords, the daily bid adjustment. It’s critical. I mean, I can’t emphasize it enough, it’s critical to use a tool like that for an agency like ours. While we’re focused so much on strategy, a tool like Sellozo can come in and be incredibly tactical for us. And really, I mean, you know, it does move the needle significantly. I mean, there’s no doubt about, I mean, I’ve had campaigns that we’ll set up, we’ll turn on the Sellozo optimizer, set our target cost per click, set that target a cost goal. And just kinda let it run for a bit. And I mean, the results are incredible. Because that AI learning knows exactly what it’s doing, it gets smarter, it ups bids where they need to get up, it downs beds where they need to get down. And it just maximizes the opportunity. So our clients, every client we have, we use Sellozo for, from a paid search perspective. And for those that wanna share the admin login which most do, we love showing them the product view and the account dashboard that can highlight your profitability, your, and your margins on Amazon with everything coming into it. So when you bring in, because the Sellozo tool allows you to add those costs of goods and the inbound shipping fees. We can see, okay this is actually what you’re getting out of Amazon. $20,000 in profit, your margin’s 22%, right? Healthy. I mean, I have clients who just are in love with that piece of it.
– Or, or the ladder, well this is actually what I like.
– Or the ladder.
– The ladder is, ’cause here’s the interesting thing about Amazon to me. You can do your data research. So, okay, again, you, you look at a category like acne and maybe there’s three or four items in there that aren’t national brands. And that’s what a small guy gets excited, right? ‘Cause it’s like, well there’s an opportunity for smaller brands to get in. But if you launched and you realize the real truth and you can only launch it do it like three months in when you realize the cost of breaking into the top four is going to be too expensive for me. So you can analyze very quickly. Then I miscalculated on this category and then you can stop. Like that’s what I’m getting at is the ladder is, you can quickly get the data to say, I’m not gonna have the stomach for this for the next six months if this goes this way. and then you have like eAccountable’s guidance, well, Mike, we’re at a down thing now but ’cause we’re spending a lot, but let’s wait 30 days to figure it out. And if at that 30 day mark, then we can decide to, to throttle back and, and see if that works. Or, this, this is not gonna be our item.
– This isn’t working.
– We, we look at it both ways. I mean, our team will look at when the margins are low or they’re ineffective, right? We’ll, we’ll make adjustments to our paid search strategy, based on what Sellozo provides us. So, we love how the account piece of it with the profitability. We can then utilize that for how we.
– Uh-oh, I think we lost Nick.
– And a very flattering freeze.
– Yeah, freeze. Well, it’s, it’s all right anyway. I think this has been just a really fun conversation. A really nice sort of case study and just the collaboration and the partnerships between a manufacturer and an agency and the software they use. And that’s, that’s what it’s all about. And so, I really can’t thank you guys enough for coming on. Michael was great to talk with you, learn your story.
– Yeah, very fun.
– Way to be forward-thinking. I mean, you’re, you’re out there and you’re forward thinking on, on how to take your company to the next level and utilize, you know, going on Amazon. So, it’s real, this has been really, really good conversation.
– And I appreciate it. We’ll have to maybe we’ll do this again and then down the road we’ll just keep updated on the progress.
– Yeah, it’d be great. I’m, I’m up for it so, yeah.
– Thanks guys.
– Well thanks again. Thank you for joining on and thanks everyone for listening. If you’d like more content like this, please subscribe to the “Two Amazon Sellers and a Microphone,” podcast. Leave us a review, you can comment, you can follow us live stream on Sellozo’s Facebook channel and YouTube channel. So subscribe to those pages and turn on your notifications so you can see when we go live. It’s a blast. Michael, Nick, thanks so much. And we’ll be back at this again.