EP300 - GoodwillFinds CEO Matt Kaness In this interview, we cover the sale of ModCloth to Walmart, Matts's subsequent work at Lucky Brand and Afterpay, and his new role as CEO at Goodwillfinds. Goodwillfinds.com is an e-commerce site, which sells previously owned merchandise, which has been donated to Goodwill. We cover many of the tactical challenges (onboarding SKUs, product content, fulfillment, and curation), as well as the opportunities of this new "CircularCommerce" space. We also get some of Matt's predictions about what's coming next in digital commerce. Episode 300 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Wednesday January 4th, 2023. http://jasonandscot.com Join your hosts Jason "Retailgeek" Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis, and Scot Wingo, CEO of GetSpiffy and Co-Founder of ChannelAdvisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing. Episode 300 is an interview with Matt Kaness, CEO of Goodwillfinds.com. Matt was formerly on episode 79, when he was CEO of Modcloth, which later sold to Walmart. Transcript Jason: [0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is the much-anticipated episode number 300 being recorded on Wednesday January 4th, 20:23 I'm your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I'm here with your co-host Scot Wingo. Scot: [0:41] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason and Scot show listeners Jason not only is this the first show of 20:23 it's a big milestone for us with episode what better way to celebrate than having one of our oldest friends for both you and I personally but also to the show back for an update Matt kaness he was last on the show back in episode 79 I think many listeners will remember that one and certainly your mom who's one of our biggest fans and back then he was CEO of ModCloth, a lot has changed since then so we're looking forward to getting an update some of the highlights Matt help sell ModCloth to Walmart he was exact chair and interim CEO at Lucky Brand he's on several boards yeah I've been advisory to several companies and since September of 2022 he has been CEO of goodwillfinds.com Matt welcome back to the show. Matt: [1:35] Great to be here guys thanks for having me. Jason: [1:38] Oh my gosh Matt we are really excited to catch up it seems like if you factor in the pandemic your last episode was about 15 years ago if I'm and so happy I'm happy to report we've added a bunch of listeners since then so before we jump into it can you kind of remind the listeners about your background and how you got in e-commerce. Matt: [2:02] Yeah have you too I like to think about my career or having two careers to date the first one was, very foundational for what I'm doing now but very quantitative, process-oriented mechanical engineering patent law Manufacturing, Ops Consulting things that had nothing to do with retail or fashion or e-commerce and then I. [2:32] Fell into the category when I was a full-time consultant at Burton Snowboards about 16 17 years ago, and fell in love with lifestyle Brands and have, try to stay in that lane for the majority of that time period since, from Burton Snowboards I went onto Urban Outfitters was there for close to eight years up sensibly and I had a growth roll my last title there was Chief strategy officer and then from there I went to ModCloth, where I was the CEO for three years and was running the company when we sold it to Walmart I will say that, I've been in hindsight found myself attracted to these amazing consumer lifestyle brands, that are experiencing inflection points either in their business or in the industry when I was at Burton snowboarding was really for the first time finding a mass audience crossing over into, the Olympics the next games and, when I was at Urban it was the rise of Web 2.0 and I got to ride that wave my entire time there and really, I'll be on the Forefront of pioneering you know what everybody know of calls omni-channel. [3:59] ModCloth the founder of their Susan Koger was one of the pioneers of inclusive fashion and so I felt personally accountable to try to scale that and I think we, if once the industry specifically plus size women's fashion and you know today you look around and it's become pretty normative, for Brands to design into extra extra small to 4X and I'm really proud of the work we did at ModCloth being on the front end of that and then. I do some Consulting work at after pay where buy now pay later was really just becoming a thing, we're younger consumers were focused more on debit versus credit products so with really fortunate to get connected with that team and enjoyed, partnering with them and being an advisor and then you know what I'm doing now at Goodwill where secondhand is really having a moment, in the culture and getting a chance to come in and lead a ground-up startup for the Goodwill Network and helping them to. It's a digitized so to speak and you bring this new Marketplace into the world, it's just for me it's like the next chapter in that really fortunate career second career that I've had. Jason: [5:23] Very cool and I know some of those roles were Bay Area based but you are a Philly guy correct. Matt: [5:29] Philly guy born and raised I'm probably on the short list of people who have moved back to Philly twice. I was in Boston the first time when my wife became. Preggers with our oldest and we wanted to be closer to family and then the second time was when we were in the Bay Area after I left Walmart, we had a break in the action and our oldest was about to start high school and we decide we want to be back here. For the high school years but we've lived all around and I'd obviously travel a lot for work so I have an affinity for the bay area as well as some other places around the country but but Phillies the hometown. Jason: [6:14] Yeah but I'm assuming it's Philly sports teams most importantly. Matt: [6:18] I have been an eagle season ticket holders 2000 yes. Jason: [6:23] Awesome and for people that don't know Philadelphia and Pennsylvania as a whole is a is is a weird e-commerce concentration Point like there's a lot of e-commerce kind of was born or gravitated in the area so I think of like Mark Rubin and Dick's Sporting Good and in Pittsburgh and urban obviously was a huge player there was Urban your first like hardcore e-commerce experience or were you doing a lot of e-commerce at Burton. Matt: [6:56] I was not at Burton Urban is really where I started to cut my teeth on e-commerce. Direct to Consumer more than e-commerce it was really about this when I got there this billion dollar Consolidated Enterprise across there are three main brands, Urban Outfitters anthropology and Free People and the business had started as a catalog, division of what was you know let's call it 95 percent of the sales came through their store Channel. For retail versus direct to Consumer and so when I got there or there was a there was a. [7:43] 100 million Consolidated direct-to-consumer business which was split between catalog and e-commerce, but it was nascent it was not a strategic focus and then you know the founder of their dick ain't really had. This put a natural understanding of consumer behavior and where the industry was going and he had a vision for how to scale the business multi-channel and so we were all, trying to make that that future reality every day for the eight years I was there and we had a lot of success going back to your point about Pennsylvania and Philly first round capital, one of their there I believe their original headquarters and then one of their major offices, is in Philly and so I think I think a lot of it stems from their presence as well not just decaying and Reuben and some others, but also Philly from a talent perspective is kind of like a six suburb or borough of New York, where you get a lot of folks in New York and then they realize that. It's just the standard of living the cost of living is so much better in Philadelphia and so you get a lot of transplants to come down to Philly as well working in e-commerce. Jason: [9:11] Yeah and I want to say I met you I think we all met on the shop dot-org board when you were at Urban later in your your tenure Urban and some of my Fondest Memories another good friend of the show Billy met who at the time was at Abercrombie is the two of you like heckling each other about like your two brands. Matt: [9:34] Yeah like that was that was really fun for me because you know Urban. Um was pretty insular you meaning that we were so obsessively focused on the customer, and on the fashion trends and on what we were doing internally, that we never really thought about competition so we didn't spend a ton of time looking around the industry, so for me that was that was kind of a an introduction to what else was happening across the industry and then Billy occasionally would call me and say. Hey you guys make me look bad because you just had another great quarter ecomp rowing and you know your your results are now The Benchmark that I have to deliver against. But you know what I what I found in that shop or Community which is now part of NRF, is that it was not very competitive it was very collaborative I couldn't believe. [10:46] How much everybody support each other and wanted to share strategies and ideas and Etc and I think that's one of the things that really drew me into this career path on the digital Commerce side, versus pursuing merchandising or. We're kind of the brick-and-mortar offline space is it's just how, how great that the digital Community has been in the US that I've experienced so that's one of the one of the things that I try to do now is to make sure that. Making myself available I'm kind of giving back and spending time with folks and helping them along and sharing ideas because I know that you guys and others certainly do that for me way back in the day. Jason: [11:32] Yeah I feel like we all have done that for each other and I feel like we've all obviously benefited greatly from that community, and so then you leave the Eagles behind and you go join what at the time was a Founder led a venture back pure-d to see is that, a fair characterization for Vermont cough if when you. Matt: [11:58] Yes my father my father is a pure pointy Taylor yeah. Like 10,000 uniques on the site all third party. The company was vertically integrated so homegrown Ruby on Rails codebase e-commerce. Order management system warehouse management system all the way down to the call center and the warehouse it was, um pretty pioneering on the web services side as far as. [12:35] Look it was an early social commerce player as far as leveraging Pinterest and things that you could do with. Facebook and some of the other platforms Tumblr to engage customers and get them to participate in the shopping experience we were one of the first to integrate, ugc from customers into the shopping experience into the carousels on the website, um we had personalization that was driven by customer reviews that were captured in the website versus outsourced to a bizarre Voice or the like so it was the technology is pretty pioneering, the business was was very underdeveloped and the brand I felt was. Had a lot of opportunity to broaden its appeal when I got there so it was a little bit of a turnaround, financially what I'm joined which having now done this a few times there's always a reason they bring in an outside CEO. Jason: [13:44] It's not because things are just going awesome and they just want to share the awesomeness. Matt: [13:47] Yeah I can't I can't think of a single time that CEO in a business that's humming and doing great he says you know what let's bring in somebody else to do this so I. Jason: [13:57] I think Andy jassy is saying that about Amazon right now by the way. Matt: [14:02] Yeah yeah yeah what I mean there's there's a there's a lot of chatter about looking at. It was on the Facebook and Tesla and what those Founders were doing the last couple years selling stock so I think they kind of all knew what was about to happen. But you know just quickly on ModCloth I'll say that you know we were able to quickly come in. [14:32] Turn around the business financially but more importantly we pivoted it to what then was called a DM BB model, a digitally native vertical brand model which was just meant that the vertical piece that you were procuring designing selling your own product or exclusive product versus, third party which you know in the world of Amazon it's really hard to scale a business that you know what you're selling you can find on Amazon or other larger marketplaces, so we build out a design studio and sourcing operation weary platform the entire Tech stack we developed, a showroom concept similar to what we're being bonobos had developed and tested that and rolled that out and had a really aggressive growth plan against that we went out to raise money and her wound up, getting an offer from the team at jet.com that 6-month previous had, I've been sold to Walmart and they came in and made an offer and the board accepted it and so we sold it. And and I stayed on at Walmart for a year and oversaw our integration into that that ecosystem. Scot: [15:51] Cool the that was kind of a chain reaction right where you guys several companies they Acquired and did you play a role in kind of that roll up. Matt: [16:01] We were like the third or fourth of six or seven Acquisitions and they did within a year and a half two year period. And then as part of my year there I did get involved in some of their business development MMA, conversations and and I did spend a little bit of time helping them, on one of the further Acquisitions but you know they what I learned about Walmart when I was there is. They have such a strong culture they have a real clear view of who their customer is and why they're serving them and you know I would tell you that. The Acquisitions that spray that they went on those two years was really a catalyst for. Something that W Mellon said at a meeting that I attended where he talked about convenience. [17:03] Being valued as much as low-cost in the kind of the online or multi-channel retail environment versus pre-internet, and so they had to find a catalyst under Mark Lori to accelerate their the cultural change, to understand how customers writ large were valuing convenience as much as low-cost when their Heritage had been, Yoda Point technology to make improvements in supply chain and sourcing and Merchandising so that they could always win on price now they had a win on price and convenience, and so though the individual Acquisitions You could argue whether there was an Roi on them or not against the purchase price. I would say that. Internally it was a massive success in creating that kind of cultural change that Doug. Mandated from. Mark and and then you know I was only there a year and I left but just watching what progressed and if you look at the moldable on Walmart stock I think it's hard to argue that it wasn't a success. Scot: [18:18] Yes tricky with Acquisitions you can't just look at the you know the interior ModCloth business you have to look at the whole halo effect and the stock price yeah there's a multi-faceted way to look at these things that's kind of complicated. Matt: [18:32] Yeah I think any business that they could grow if you could grow organically in definitely I think most businesses would do that there's a reason why companies you know use MMA to your point. Scot: [18:46] Did some point I think I saw a ModCloth working to the stores where you there for that. Matt: [18:53] No no that I left before any of those kind of process integration initiatives occurred. Scot: [19:03] Yeah and then didn't they do they sell it back out do they spin it. Matt: [19:08] Yeah they sold it back out there were some after I left there were some further leadership changes that occurred and and they wound up the best thing it and selling it to I want to say it was a fermented New York. Scot: [19:23] Like a private Equity Firm or another. Matt: [19:24] Yeah I think so yeah. Scot: [19:28] Did you didn't want to jump in there and take it over again usually they call the previous CEO I bet there's an 80% chance you got a call. Matt: [19:37] No comment. Scot: [19:41] All right we found something you don't want to talk about good it's part of my goal on this show is to see if we can we can find that you have any family safe Mark Lori stories I've spent a fair amount of time with him he's a he's a pretty wacky dude. Matt: [19:56] I mean I didn't spend that much time working for him but I mean man like talk about somebody who just has total belief in himself and the team and what's possible, and so much energy for. For Commerce for startups for Innovation so I mean it's it was contagious working for him, um working for his team's I wanted to takeaways I had for my time at Walmart and my time working with. [20:32] With Mark and his jet team is I just didn't have that kind of passion for the mass-market the way that, you had to have to be successful working at a Walmart or working at a jet before the acquisition, yeah I love the specialty space I love you know the Branded premium space I love, Yoda kind of the Middle Market where it's not based on price and it's not luxury it's somewhere in between. I just find that that it's super creative there's lots of opportunities for differentiation. There's always new things that you get to learn but you know Walmart I got there was a camera don't quote me on the exact number but. [21:27] Like there was a conversation about like how many millions of American flags are they going to sell between Memorial Day and and. And Fourth of July. [21:38] On one of their promos and I was just like I couldn't even fathom the scale of having to move that many units and so, yep so for me it was kind of a validation of the lane that I've been in and and enjoyed being in and so when I left. Eventually wind up going to Lucky that was kind of part of the calculus on my part was to get back into the into that that category that Wayne of specialty. Scot: [22:07] My one of my first Mark Laurie experiences I was at Jet and he was telling us how the Company motto was billions or body bags and I was like that's kind of a weird way to motivate, and then I talked to several employees I was like how do you like it here and there like billions of body bags that like they were just like it was a mantra like you know that they were just so focused on it was either going to be 0 or this huge outcome and sure enough it was billions. Matt: [22:31] Yeah there's there's definitely I mean I think think he was a successful High School athlete so there's definitely a lot of rah-rah with with him in the team it's that's not my personality I. ModCloth one of the investors accused me of being two column in the boardroom. They said you know Matt if you had slammed on the table a little bit more you know and I'm sitting there like like. That's the that never crossed my mind trying to make an argument to do something required me slamming my hand on the table. Scot: [23:14] A tantrum yeah. Matt: [23:15] My voice yeah but maybe that's Versa tween you know a founder and yeah an operator. Jason: [23:23] Scot was definitely a table Slammer. Matt: [23:25] I don't believe you. Scot: [23:26] Like man I have an engineering background and they drummed that out of us in those four years. Matt: [23:33] Totally yeah I think you're right I think the scientific method does not allow for that that level of emotion that come into into the argument. Jason: [23:44] Yeah but I will say a lot of mechanical things can be fixed by hitting them with a hammer I will, the so I'm super grateful that you guys didn't throw Mark Glory under the table because I at the moment have to totally pandor to him because his new business he has Starbucks trucks that will drive to your house and deliver coffee to your house, so I like I feel like I need to stay in his good graces, but so so the sale happens you transition out of ModCloth you've you've got kids in college and or in school and no source of free clothing so I'm guessing that's what drove the, you're interesting lucky brands. Matt: [24:28] Yeah well I got to say. When I worked at Urban my wife definitely took advantage of the anthropology discount. [24:43] And I act funny funny and true story, when I was considering the opportunity at ModCloth I was having a couple other conversations in the in the fashion space. And I showed my daughter who at the time was probably about seven or eight I showed her the apps for the shopping apps for, the three businesses that I was talking to and I won't say who but there was one in particular based in La that she was like Dad no way she was like you cannot work selling that fashion. But she approved of ModCloth and so so I got her endorsement so yeah when I went to Lucky it's really I wasn't necessarily looking. You're back into fashion as much as I really thought that there was this route there's a unique opportunity with lucky they were. Over a billion in gmv which is to say the direct to Consumer wholesale and the value of their licensing business in the market was over a billion dollars. So brand revenues and net revenue is like call it 650 million and it was independent. [26:08] And there were not a lot of businesses at that scale. In the u.s. that still were independent versus part of a conglomerate. [26:21] And we're had already gone public and so I had been friendly with one of the partners at Wintergreen. Who called me about the opportunity and after spending some time with them talking about it I said. You really need somebody in LA full time in the arts district where they were headquartered and I'm not moving to LA and moving actually back east and they said. Hey would you come in and manage the company to get us through holiday while we won for somebody. And also give us a strategy like a like a financial model a business case three-year strategy. And so that's how I initially got involved there was more as like a board advisor interim manager and then. By January of twenty I'd really seen this amazing Lane. For an older Millennial younger Gen-X. That we could reposition Lucky Brand to be a cause marketer the company did a tremendous amount of good work in Downtown LA taking. Old Denim and. [27:50] Giving it. Nonprofits that work with the homeless population there for clothing to for installation. And then other other efforts to help that population, and so I felt like we could reposition lucky to not mean like going to the casino getting lucky but meaning gratitude. Like I feel lucky I made it I have the ability to spend a hundred dollars in a pair of jeans and I want to support. [28:27] This this amazing company that does all this good work and so. That I had this vision for how you could reposition the brand the business was running like it was 2005 as far as. Go to market so there was a lot of heavy lifting that had to be done around digital transformation around merchandising around. Rationalizing the stores there was way too much discount so there's a lot of work to do, but I got really excited about the opportunity and wound up agreeing to stay on as exact chair in January 2020. And part of my remit would have been to hire a CEO and partner with that individual and I had to kill people in my network that I thought would be great for it who be willing to move to LA. But two months later the covid walk down start. And then it turned into something you know completely different than we were just trying to survive we lost ninety percent of our revenue and that April. And we wound up. [29:43] Making it through to July August that summer but at that point yeah the damage had been done and the private Equity Firm decided to. Sell it to a party that had been interested in the business for a number of years which was authentic Brands group out of New York so I stayed on to oversee that process and then once the deal is done I. Said that was a lot of work I'm exhausted and wound up turning down the opportunity to stay on with a b g and left but, I got to say I'm really grateful thankful for the team that I had there because they were amazing, to work with during such a difficult period that that Q2. And early summer of 2020 it was it was really really challenging to be in the market and I learned a lot about myself as a leader from it. Jason: [30:46] Oh my gosh I I am sure you did I'm laughing though because you think about all the work involved there and so you decided to do something easier in your next gig like oh I don't know like starting from scratch business in the middle of a really old non-profit. Matt: [31:08] Well I gotta say you know after after the lucky experience. Um I really felt drained I didn't have. The passion for retail for e-commerce digital for. Brands for fashion like I had for the previous you know well 15 years and. I was fortunate that I have the ability to do this but I basically gave myself 2021 off. I've been sitting on a few boards I did some Consulting work I had been Angel Investing for a few years so I had a number of startup Founders and CEOs that I was mentoring and Advising, and I just said to myself I really need to get re-inspired I need to like, get back out in the market broadly see what's happening see where the Innovation is occurring and and, get excited but also get lucky because a lot of these things from a career perspective is based on timing I was really fortunate that. [32:27] I went to Urban when I did I was really fortunate to be part of, ModCloth the journey during the years that was there the year that I was at Walmart was a really critical year in the Amazon the Walmart Battle. Um amazing timing too. Be available to do Consulting work with the after pay the exact summer that the founder moved from Australia to San Francisco. So you know I'm acutely aware that you can't control timing and, and yet the kind of put yourself out there so that was my plan last year and in doing so what I realized was I'm like I get the most energy and I do my best work when, back in the phase of a company where it's. [33:22] Focused on growth and Innovation and so no more turnarounds the end of Lucky business was a turnaround. ModCloth was a pseudo turn around, so I just said you know I want to get back to you know that stage where it's really about solving for customer needs and Market positioning and Prague service Innovation and deploying technology, and then a couple that with also wanted to get in a part of retail where I can learn. And you know secondhand what's happening right now the this whole cultural phenomenon around thrifting, and you're the pioneering work of a thread up and a real real Poshmark deep op-ed see ya the last decade, that was the that was the heavy lifting you know those Founders you know basically creating the category, but now there's a critical mass now there's a consumer acceptance so I don't see it as it as a, as hard as maybe it looks like from the outside it's I think it's the timing is great for the Goodwill Network to Rally around this new platform for us. As a separate entity to stand up this new company to launch this new Marketplace. [34:48] There's definitely engineering challenges to figuring out how do you successfully profitably scale. Um second-hand and vintage when you know every item is unique and we have a distributed model where our sellers are. Various. Goodwill members across the u.s. so we're not centralized so there's definitely some some challenges but to me that's part of the fun that's part of the learning. Jason: [35:18] I can imagine I want to take just half a step backwards to make sure the listeners are tracking with exactly what you're doing now because I think it's super interesting so, formal title is CEO of goodwillfinds and goodwillfinds is a new offering from Goodwill that is selling Goodwill Merchant previously owned Goodwill merchandise via a website is that the in my clothes. Matt: [35:44] Yeah yeah so I think it's worth kind of spelling out the context a little bit because it took me a little bit honestly to fully understand it and grasp it. Goodwill has been around for over 100 Years everybody knows Goodwill it's an amazing nonprofit franchise. There is a I call it a holding company I don't know that that's the right. Firm but there is a parent company that owns the Goodwill Master license in Metro DC and they have. License out the brand to I believe the numbers 155, individual territories across the u.s. and each of those territories have, Goodwill organization with their own leadership team their own operations around treasury their own board of directors obviously they vary in. Size and location and specification and you know mix the revenue and all those things but they all share the same Mission and the mission a Goodwill is. [36:57] To enhance lives for the Dignity of work, and it's my older brother was born with a disability and I've watched him go on and off disability a few times in his life and I tell you, that he's his best self when he's working. So when I first got connected with the folks at Goodwill earlier last year it really touched my heart like I really. I wanted this to be successful for them because I know how important their mission is but as I got to learn more about the network. [37:37] Of 155 Goodwill's and more about the opportunity and there are six founding. Good we'll see EOS that came together to organize this new separate entity called goodwillfinds where a virtual Delaware company. And those six are the ones that are the board that I report to and they've been working on this for years they were, ready to watch this last year and decided that they needed to hire a CEO, to come in build a team set up the company oversee the launch so I joined pre-revenue and we're now in our fourth month of selling, the consumer response has been. Unbelievable sales are more than doubling month-over-month it's it's really. A unique opportunity to build something that is not only. [38:39] In a part of retail that is innovating and growing and scaling rapidly but it's also doing it for this amazing Mission and you know really trying to redefine what does. Nonprofit in the circular economy look like to deliver social impact at scale so I feel like that's the Mandate that I signed up for and the team that I'm building. And the business model that we're designing right now to go with the marketplace are the is the execution of that but the bigger Vision here is to create this platform that not only. [39:24] Overtime all 155 Goodwill members will have access to be on as sellers but that. For the first time we'll have decentralized marketing funnel brands. Strategy content messaging 1p data and then. [39:48] But technical roadmap that were able to deploy that will integrate with the store operations and the back of house operations that will allow for scared investments in technology that all the good wolf can take advantage of. On the consumer side I think all the players and secondhand have the same goal which is to make the. [40:10] The option to buy second-hand versus new so compelling and so convenient and so exciting and cool. That more and more consumption dollars go towards second hand and move away from New and by, doing that, it has this incredibly measurable impact on the environment in creating sustainable. Impact and then in our case you add to it. The fact that every net dollar that we collect from our sales go back to the location where the Goodwill was the item was donated to fund the Goodwill programs I mean it's I feel like we're pioneering, this new this new kind of business model for circularity and so all that to me is like super compelling super interesting, and I'm really fortunate that this opportunity found me. Scot: [41:19] Cool hearing you talk about it I can tell you like to build stuff the channel visor we had a lot of customers that were kind of in this General space the challenge with this use Consignment World Is You Gotta you know I'm sure these Goodwills are getting, they're only going to sell online a fraction of what comes in so you got to figure out what what things do you want to sell in the store versus online you gotta create digital assets which are the descriptions and the pictures and then you gotta you know imagine you're not going to send them to a central location so then you've got to create a shipping method that works down at the store level how are you guys solving all those problems at scale. Matt: [42:00] Yeah well I'll tell you a couple of things and you're exactly right there's a ton of operational challenges we have a couple things going for us one. These Goodwills already have the physical infrastructure they already have, donation centers they already have Micro warehouses that are already selling online as a three-piece seller through Amazon and eBay and some other Regional marketplaces, so they have a lot of these physical operations setup, so we're leveraging that and we're not having to deploy Capital to do it. That's 12 there's a there's a maturity in the technology vendor Market you'd be surprised at how many. Providers are in the space to automate. We have a partner that we work with that leverages Google Lens technology and Leverage is the Einstein a I was Salesforce that allows us to, take a lot of the heavy lifting out of item creation we have vendors that we work with that. [43:15] Take images of items three-dimensional scans that send it to and Outsource in India where descriptions are being written for these items you know so there's, and I'm learning this right but you'd be shocked at how much software deployment automation deployment already exists. [43:38] So we're managing that to deploy in a way that integrates into these existing operations at and. The other thing that we have an advantage of is because we are nonprofit. [43:53] We're selling primarily me exclusively right now but overtime will be primarily selling donated items which have. Is this not a zero cost of goods but it's a near zero cost of goods. So we have room in the margin line to play with value-added services on each item, if we feel like there's a lift that we can justify with that you know with respect to photography with respect to. Metadata on each of the items with respect to Howard thinking about tagging, there's a lot there's a lot of players out there that we're evaluating right now and we watched with. [44:42] Over 100,000 unique items back in the first week of October. Mid-December we were at nearly 200,000 items. And our roadmap is to have a million unique items in our active. Catalog by October of this year so this entire endeavor. Has been from the start designed for scale. So we feel like that's giving us an advantage because we're able to do some things that, other startups that are venture-backed that are having to start from scratch with a lot of that infrastructure that have a cost of sourcing and and Supply acquisition that we don't, it would be financially prohibitive for them to make some of the Investments that we're making right now. Scot: [45:43] Yeah it's interesting to hear you say you're using some of the AI Jason's not a believer in AI but I'm a big proponent. Jason: [45:50] Haha I haven't said a word on this whole podcast I've just been using my AI Avatar. Scot: [45:57] Ugh. Matt: [45:58] For the record this isn't Matt talking this is Matt's chat TPT talking. Jason: [46:04] Yeah we tested both in the shed she'd Beatty was much more Salient so we went with that. [46:17] Yeah so it's interesting to me mad because, you mentioned a lot of the early Pioneers in our e-commerce and by the way just from buzzword Bingo like are you re Commerce person or you like do you have a favorite label for what you're doing now. Matt: [46:34] Yeah I'm. I'm back in the the interview circuit right now trying to get the word out about what we're doing and promoting the Goodwill Mission so I'm still trying some phrases on I mean yeah RI Commerce is definitely. [46:50] What. The buzzword but I think what we're doing at goodwillfinds and and in partnership with the Goodwill network is really about circularity you know in my mind's eye. Getting a Marketplace standing up a new Marketplace from the zero. You know it's the old Beezus flywheel the back of the napkin that I think about every day and in my version of it their supply demand admission and without the mission we don't get supply. And the better job we do partnering with our members sellers in acquiring the right Supply and and listing it. In a high-quality way, you know then that allows us to be able to meet demand in the market which the proceeds from those sales go right back to the Goodwill where we got the donation and there's the kind of the flywheels complete, and one of the stories around that and this is what we have to do a better job. [47:52] This year versus last year's to get these stories these amazing stories about the Goodwill Network out into the world, the more successful we are Google finds meaning the more that we're able to sell and scale demand. The more people each of the Goodwill sellers have to hire in their e-commerce operations. Because they're doing the listings they're doing the pick pack and ship on the on the outbound but those jobs are higher skill and they and they pay better. And so it actually accelerates the local mission. [48:27] The more successful we are because they have to hire more people and bring more people and train them into these higher value jobs that then they go get placed somewhere else they can go work within. The digital economy you know the digital retail industry and so we really I really think about what we're doing as pioneering circularity. We also are talking to some retailers and Brands you want to partner with us on they're both on the demand and supply side and part of it is because we're a nonprofit that there's a tax, right up Advantage for them but it's there's also this, PSG component to the large corporates that they have to think about especially in, in apparel where they had to think about you know what is their end to end environmental impact and. [49:27] It's it's really I can't believe the timing of this but it's really a moment right now not just with consumers but in the industry and so that's another aspect of circularity where you have. Yeah it's not Nike so but I'll just use them as an example to speak of Austria of Lee imagine Nike telling their full price customers. That they can buy second-hand Nike at goodwillfinds.com. Or imagine a Chanel it's not Chanel so I'll just use them electrically but imagine them. [50:04] Wanting to use us as their authentication partner so that when you find second-hand should now at goodwillfinds.com versus a real real or somewhere else, you can you can you know that you have this objective third-party authenticator that you can partner with to control, the the brand experience in the second hand market so it's, I'm really excited about the possibilities and and we have a really big vision for what we're doing I don't I think we Commerce to me feels, like a term that soap a little bit Limited. Jason: [50:41] Totally fair so maybe circular Commerce its, it's interesting to me though like so we've had a bunch of those Founders from the circular Commerce. Brands on and like their fundamental problem is not your fundamental like their biggest problem is sourcing, the goods by getting people to send them stuff and then when they curate it they're mostly interested in, luxury designer so they end up with a relatively poor yield and they don't have. [51:13] Any monetization or you know frankly like a ecologically redeeming way to deal with, all the goods they get that aren't they don't meet their criteria so it's like you you seem like they're like through the Goodwill Network you've got all these stores to put Goods in you've got a bunch of you do have luxury consumers that are searching for vintage and value but you also have more pure value consumers you it just seems like it's a really interesting fit because you saw some of the, problems that are endemic to the re Commerce guys you've got the first gen, Val you guys like the you know the fast fashion guys who are you know of course making stuff cheap but it's a psychological disaster and they only sell like half of it and the other half ends up in a landfill and all that and then you've got the, discount guys who I think is the funniest of all I don't know if you follow this but Burlington Coat Factory, right before the pandemic shut down their e-commerce and they shut it down because they fundamentally couldn't solve what you're doing like they couldn't figure out how to cost effectively make, product detail pages for all the super thin inventory that they had and so it just interesting like, because you built this business on top of the Google Network it feels like you got a nice sort of Head Start in the in all three corners of that problem if you will. Matt: [52:36] Yeah Jason so first off I know a lot of the players the founders execs at those other places and, again I want them all to be successful because the more successful the category is it's a tide that will lift all boats and I think we're all being led by the consumer who is voting yes yes yes, I also think that the consumer, um is not just the the deal Seeker the value Seeker but it really is a trend ribbon, style driven younger consumer who if you think about you know the. [53:19] Tick Tock and Instagram and this this viral social world that we live in where you nobody wants to look the same, wearing the same things that shopping vintage and second-hand is actually a way to differentiate yourself and show your, your individual style so it's there's a really interesting marriage there between second hand and kind of social morality, and what's happening there and then there's also a tell you a more affluent customer or aspirational customer who could Shop full price and does Shop full price but they really care about, about the impact in the narrative and they want to talk about the story, where they bought it not just what they bought and so there's it feels like there's this really. [54:15] Great timing of all three customer segments and then the last thing I tell you is compared to the Discounters. Do I have read about some of them struggling, with figuring out e-commerce and I think I've read the rational rationalization was that it's hard to do Discovery online versus in the store. What I would tell you is that what we're doing augments the in-store thrifting experience at goodwillfinds, now if you're shopping Goodwill at your local store. The assortment is very limited it's what just showed up that week or that month as far as donations go but, you can do that because there are certain categories of people like to touch and feel or try on because fit matters or Texture and finish and, and material matter you know how home goods and furniture and the like one of those big bulky items that you know are easier to buy and store but to be able to couple that with. [55:29] Now shopping you know I don't want to say the best but the that e-commerce. Assortment of other Goodwills across the country. We're now you're getting access to donations from New York to LA Seattle to Miami, Chicago to Austin and I mean wow like what a treasure Trove to be able to shop your Goodwill store and go online and get access to all these thrift stores in one place, in our case I think it's a massive value add and. Given the fact that the Goodwill brand has been around for 100 years and already has tens of millions of customers shopping their stores you know our primary focus to start is how do we, how do we complement the in-store shopping experience to those tens of millions of customers to convert them to be multi-channel customers with the brand, and at the same time how do we compete in the market too. [56:38] Solicit this this these other two audiences that I mentioned the style and Trend driven younger consumer that's looking for vintage that's looking for. For differentiated as well as this this aspirational and more affluent customer who loves the loves the purpose loves the mission loves the story of circularity and wants to participate. Scot: [57:03] Cool sounds like your you're fired up and it's going to be exciting to watch the progress we're running up against time but while we have you you've been that this over 15 years the whole e-commerce retail thing what are some of the other Trends you're watching other than this circular kind of recycling element anything anything interesting on your radar for example do you think the digitally native vertical brand thing has played out or is that still got legs any other trends that are interesting to you. Matt: [57:36] Yeah well on DM BB which just a an iteration of DTC. Did you see to me was always a go to market strategy was never a business model. Scot: [57:47] Yeah. Matt: [57:49] The the early players the first movers in that space who did the, you know go to the source and sell an item at the wholesale price versus the retail price because you're cutting out the middleman Zappos is kind of one of the one of the pioneers of that, um That was a momentum thing I've always viewed and again kind of sticking to my knitting here in this specialty premium you know Market space. I've always viewed, yeah the brand equity which is what we're all striving to create and grow and maintain. It gets generated by picking an attractive customer, that you want to obsess about and I don't and attractive I mean somebody that you think is a viable there's enough of them and they're viable to have a long-term relationship with. [58:56] And obsessing about them to the point where you understand their needs better than they and you can create differentiated product and service, where, they fall in love with your Solutions with your customer experience and they want to tell their friends and then you couple that with the right distribution, so that you can find more people like them which allows you to scale in an efficient manner and direct-to-consumer now going back 15 years, was just the new go to market to find more like-minded customers to ones that you already had so urban urban already had amazingly strong brands with a lot of brand equity, so what we did writing the Web 2.0 wave was really just figuring out you know how do we, how do we reach the same or similar customers and give them a better experience a different experience online than what they experience in store, and then Mark what was the opposite I got there and we had no physical experience and so the exercise was how do we take this brand love that exists. [1:00:07] At this website and and translate it into a three-dimensional experience that, the existing customers would love but would allow us to expand our market and introduce the brand and more people so I yeah so I don't I never saw DM BB by itself as a sustainable business model. [1:00:27] As far as other Trends in the market today I when I left Walmart I did a talk. [1:00:37] Where I said I felt like it was an amazing time, to start a brand and I really meant it and I really believe that the market was was so like there's so much sameness in the market that. That there's a huge opportunity for four new brands coming to the market Leverage The technologies that have matured and and really differentiate against the incumbents I tell you sitting here right now after. I feel like consumers. [1:01:12] Have now accepted the fact that their multi-line store is where they shop for everything. The whole idea of this retailers essential and that one's not and those shutdowns for a year plus I think really changed consumer. Perception of where's viable to shop the where it's not and I and so I think the bigger players, have a massive advantage in this market especially this year with inflation continuing going into a recession I think it's I think this year is going to be really hard, for smaller players to differentiate and survive so that's more from a consumer lens. From a technology lens I'm sorry to say Jason but I'm a big believer in AI, and I think it's early days and what I counseled a lot of folks who are earlier in their career is find a mega technology trend, in the market that you can get passionate about learning that you think is early Innings and ride it. [1:02:17] I certainly did that with e-commerce I was. They're early with the that whole Social Mobile Local, moment you know that was existing after the iPhone and Facebook launched, I'm I feel like marketplaces are like halfway up the s-curve I feel like there's still a lot more room to grow and so I'm working on that technology curve right now with goodwillfinds. But I would say that I don't I'm not a Believer it in web 3.0 today it feels like, the.com in the late 90s where it was five years too early, there just weren't enough participants to make it viable I think web 3.0 in whatever form it takes is five years out before becomes something that you could commercially work on. And then you know I'd say I think the subscription in. In a lot of categories is having a lot of success right now which is less about technology and more about, business model but that's that's that's an area as well that I think is worth exploring for a lot of businesses that are trying to figure out ways to monetize Their audience. Jason: [1:03:40] Matt that is awesome, basically we're mostly aligned I'm 100% with you on a I I'm also with you on web 3 / metaverse being too early the one thing I'm gonna just for the record disagree on is I I can't public admit that marketplaces are thing because that'll that'll go to Scott said too much if we admit that. But, it's going to surprise no one mat that has happened again we've used slightly more than our allotted time so we're gonna leave it with those words of wisdom from you as always if listeners found value from this show we sure would love it if you'd jump on iTunes and leave us that five star review but Matt, so awesome to reconnecting and congrats on everything you're doing it's it's fun to watch and and put your point like it's also adding a heck of a lot of value to the world. Matt: [1:04:33] Guys I really appreciate the time always great to reconnect congrats on the pot I'm a huge fan and let's do it again at number five hundred. Scot: [1:04:44] Sounds good Matt if folks want to find you online or you on the on MySpace where do you hang out. Matt: [1:04:52] Yeah have you heard of Tumblr no. Um yeah I would just say if anybody needs to get ahold of me reach out through Linkedin and my contact information is there. Scot: [1:05:06] Sounds good we really appreciate taking time and good luck with the new Venture sounds really exciting. Matt: [1:05:11] Thanks guys. Jason: [1:05:12] And until next time happy commercing.
The numbers don't lie! Today we're talking about the holiday shopping season and how retailers are doing. We'll discuss what's happening in stores, what's happening online and what are the trends. To help us make sense we're joined by Rob Garf, VP and GM of retail at Salesforce, Scot Wingo, CEO of Spiffy and Co-founder of ChannelAdvisor and Jason 'Retailgeek' Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis. Tune in to find out how you retailers can better connect with customers.
EP299 - Thanksgiving Week 2022 with Rob Garf of Salesforce A discussion of Thanksgiving Week 2022 from a retail perspective with Rob Garf, Vice President and General Manager, Retail at Salesforce. This is Robs' fourth time on the show, having previously been on episodes 110, 248, and 282. Thanksgiving week 2022 will go down as one of the most complicated holiday weeks on record. With covid impacts still in place, a global economic crisis, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, new retailer discounting practices, and new consumer behaviors we have a lot to unpack. This episodes covers a wide range of topics around the most important shopping week of the year. We make liberal use of real-time data from Salesforce Shopping Insights HQ, which tracks how 1.5+ billion consumers are shaping shopping trends. You can see a real-time holiday dashboard, powered by Tableau so you can interact with the data yourself on the Salesforce Holiday Insights page. Episode 299 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Tuesday November 29th, 2022. http://jasonandscot.com Join your hosts Jason "Retailgeek" Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis, and Scot Wingo, CEO of GetSpiffy and Co-Founder of ChannelAdvisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing. Transcript Jason: [0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 299 being recorded on Tuesday November 29th 2022 the day after Cyber Monday I'm your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I'm here with your co-host Scot Wingo. Scot: [0:41] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason and Scot show listeners Jason it wouldn't be a delicious turkey five if we didn't have our regular holiday guests robbed our van Rob is the vice president and general manager I think it's total maybe longer than yours a retail at Salesforce let's see those two forces that's like eight words so you need to get to work this is Rob's fourth appearance on the Jason Scott show he was here for episode 1 10 to 40 9282 and back for number four here and episode 299 Rob welcome back. Rob: [1:15] Gentlemen it is such a pleasure to join you today I can't wait to talk about cyber week. Jason: [1:21] It wouldn't be a several week if we weren't talking to you Rob and as a I feel like a special bonus for me two of the three people on this podcast have received a 10 out of 10 rating from room Raider. Rob: [1:33] Hmm who Could That Be Well I know you did it because you have a sweet pillow that shows it off. Jason: [1:39] And I think I feel like you got up before me. Rob: [1:42] I think so you know I gotta tell a really funny story quickly if I can I was doing early on in the pandemic a webinar I think it was probably with. Business Insider and they brought like a staging expert online and I thought I had the best background I had like a. Something like my wife got me for my 40th birthday long time ago by the way I like 1910 or 1920 National Cash Register in the background I felt all good about that and she totally. Blew up my room and thankfully she did cuz I turned out on top with a 10/10. [2:18] I know I probably shouldn't have given that away but I felt pretty cool about it. Scot: [2:21] Jason had a team of 10 people at publicist set his up so don't don't don't listen to him. Rob: [2:26] Either and he probably gets like product placement dollars as well as a influencer for all the cool things he has in the. Scot: [2:33] And they came in from France. Jason: [2:34] And side note on that the jury is out on whether giant marketing holding companies can actually help your sales but they can for sure help you win Awards. Rob: [2:43] Congratulations. Scot: [2:46] Well Rob weird. Rob: [2:47] Scot the trifecta anyways we digress. Scot: [2:49] Well yes some of us I guess my day job I'm like I don't know not really working on my room. Rob: [2:55] Actually you are about to say you're actually working or aren't ya. Scot: [2:59] Well yeah the so in case even though this is your fourth time around let's there's definitely we always pick up millions of new listeners so let's if you could recap the data that you guys have at Salesforce where it comes from and then you know we're recording this the day after Cyber Monday you've got some hot delicious fresh data will jump in after you kind of give the high-level overview in case people aren't aware. Rob: [3:25] I can't wait I'm loving it we've been swimming through this data for a better part of the we can't wait to share it with your crowd your audience yeah so by way of introduction again Rob Garf here. With Salesforce I came to Salesforce by way of the demandware acquisition which is about. Six years ago I spent five years prior at demandware on the GM for retail what that means is I oversee our product. And solution strategy along with our industry insights team and that's what gives me the great pleasure of talking cyber week and actually providing insights and intelligence for our customers all year long and the way we do that is all the data that flows through the platform we bubble that up we obviously strip out all pii data. And in its aggregate form billions of billions Shoppers it gives us an amazing read and pulse on the industry and we publish at throughout cyber week on our shopping insights HQ it's an interactive dashboard, built on Tableau and it really allows our customers the broader industry to understand what's going on in digital and be able to Benchmark themselves. Scot: [4:32] Frequent thanks for that summary so let's start with the kind of the elephant in the room I get this question and Jason does a lot as well you know I'm a CNBC junkie and all they talk about is inflation and recession so so anything kind of in the macroeconomics showing up in the data that you've seen. Rob: [4:51] Yeah absolutely and I think it's important to understand this holiday while the global numbers look really promising much of that if not all of that growth was concentrated. In the u.s. there's a bunch of headwinds happening for various reasons across Europe and UK along with Australian and Zealand but the US consumer who was really happy this. Cyber week and we'll talk about the data but yeah in terms of inflation are shopping index which the shopping insights ahq is built off of, has been showing an average selling price increase for the last seven quarters and that's been pretty steady and so, that's definitely played a key role in this holiday season in that much if not all of the growth that we're seeing, is driven by increased pricing not necessarily people buying more, product and I think that's a really important distinction now what I will say and I'm happy to say this in the first time we're seeing a leveling off of that inflation globally over cyber week it was only I say only a three percent increase which is promising as we're looking forward to the new year. Scot: [6:02] Yeah I think it's Cressida at least the macroeconomic around 10% so so 3 is 3 is a pretty good. Rob: [6:09] Yeah exactly it's promising. Scot: [6:12] And then that ASP increase is, does that account for mix shift so like you know if people buy more luxury goods than our and then another segment goes value could that factor into that ASP or you normalize for that in some way. Rob: [6:27] We normalize for that because to your point obviously average order value for luxury versus value segments are going to be different but we really normalize that look at it across the board, and so it's taking into account of the various factors based on segments. Jason: [6:44] Yeah and as the resident Debbie Downer it's. We always want to have simple sound bites to describe this weekend like all of these Trends to me are super complicated because you just highlighted the, conflicting Trend that like we have inflation goods are costing more / we're probably going to talk about discounting later to help Goose holiday sales which of course brings prices down and when people are nervous about the economy they shift to more needs which have higher inflation than the wants and it seems when you really dive into it it's really complicated kind of inflation seems different on online versus offline and category by category. Rob: [7:25] Yeah it is complex you're right there's not a single kind of soundbite answer although if we stay on long enough I'm sure I'll come up with one or two. But you know you're right in terms of the discount right so if I dive into that for a sec Jason to put a little color around it we saw for the week in the US there was a 30%. Average discount rate globally it was twenty-seven percent and we can talk about how that looks your rear and how it looked, compared to 2019 but even with those large discounts and by the way those are large discounts compared to any normal day. During the year we're looking at 15 16 percent discount rate so it's you know in the double of what we typically see, the reality is the reality is people are still paying more for a particular product than they were two years ago so people are feeling really good obviously that average is 30 in the us but we all saw over the last couple days, 40% 50% even yesterday 60% in the massive amount of emails that I got trying to push and really. Incentivize people to actually click the buy button so my point here though is even with these high discount rates people are still spending more for a particular product than they did a couple of years ago. Jason: [8:42] Yeah I like to say 40% off is the new 30% off for this holiday. Rob: [8:48] Yeah I mean my father was in retail growing up so we would get discounts at the various apparel and Footwear companies he worked for and he always would joke that my mother would save us so much money we're going to go broke. Jason: [8:58] I love that we might come back to this counting but I do want to zoom out for just a second. Traditionally Black Friday is the official heart start of the holiday shopping season here in the u.s. is that even true anymore. Rob: [9:15] Well certainly retailers don't want that to be true they want it obviously to be pulled earlier and earlier in the season and that's another story line that we've seen here you know we actually saw a little bit. Of holiday happen over the summer don't forget and I know you two wouldn't of Amazon Prime day or the first Amazon Prime day and for those retailers not named, Amazon we saw a 21% year over year increase looking at the second week of July compared to the second week of July two thousand twenty one so there was a little bit, very little pull forward and then of course people getting retailers Brad's wanted to take advantage of the halo effect of the second. [9:56] Prime day that happened in October and once again we saw a little bit of a bump interestingly enough some of the larger retailers front ended that with Weekend sales and that pulled a lot of growth during that time you know the weekend before Prime day in October, but the reality Jason after a couple years of spreading out of that demand earlier earlier for various reasons which we can talk about, there was so much of a concentration that happened, over cyber week meaning and based on our data the pulling forward of the couple of percentage points to earlier, in November really we're taking back, this year and were put back in cyber week and it all came down to discounts it all came down to Consumers being really patient. Not seeing what they liked in terms of the lackluster deals and waiting for. Cyber week which really contributed some very positive growth particularly in the US. Jason: [10:57] Yeah it's super interesting because as you pointed out Amazon added a second sale day which I think they technically don't call Prime day right is like Prime Early Access today. Rob: [11:05] Right right right get behind the Velvet Rope and be able to get some early deals. Jason: [11:09] Exactly and Walmart Target and others all counter programmed against that with big sales but it cut it kind of feels like all that got defeated by the fact that consumers are well aware that the discounts are going to be deep this year and it almost seems like they may have decided to wait for deeper discounts. Rob: [11:29] Yeah yeah we call this and I've said it before on the show but I gotta do it right it's an annual tradition, discount chicken right the idea that retailers go into the holiday season with a really well thought out. Plan for the promotional calendar and by the first weekend they typically rip it up and call inaudible. And really try to chase the deals and you know that's what happened this year contrary or in contrast to last year if you remember I know you do gentlemen. Because you track this closer than anyone you know their inventory inventory scarcity issues there was high demand so retailers didn't feel compelled to Discount they didn't we saw the lowest discount rates. In recent history last year and so retailers thought that the consumer was reprogrammed reconditioned and they would buy earlier the problem was, the Retailer's didn't come to the table with the biggest discounts again discount chicken the consumers are going to wait it out and wait for that. [12:29] Best deal and finally the retailers came to the table during cyber week and the consumers answered, in kind you know again last year was probably the first year that retailers won the game of discount chicken this year consumers you know, fought with their leverage and wait and they ended up winning and got some really good deals again 30 percent discount rate in the US over the course of. Thanksgiving it really peaked at Black Friday with 31 percent in the US so they really finally came to the table. Scot: [13:04] Wow, you know we were reading all about last year all those cargo ships were sending off the coast of Long Beach where it is and then you know I've heard a lot of retailers in their commentary talk about being overstocked, do you think do you think that played a role in these big discounts is just retailers or just kind of we got a really clear the shelves out kind of thing. Rob: [13:27] Absolutely absolutely both in the store and in warehouse space they got spooked a little bit right in terms of, them waiting it out didn't quite work and so the Retailer's really had to step up Scott to your point they don't want to go into the new year with too much inventory they really needed a free up both inventory and cash now of course they did that. At the feet of margin right because you see I don't care how great your margin is alright some probably are that great particularly in the luxury segment but 50 60 70 percent discount or you know I saw some it was 50% oh and by the way we'll give you an extra ten percent just to make it sound like they weren't really giving away everything but the reality is. Really margin took a hit because of the deeper discounts that retailers just had to do and to your point they have to free up both the inventory the Shelf space and the cash. Jason: [14:26] Yeah I think even Makin where's I've had a number of clients come to me and say hey we've got too much inventory but even worse it's the wrong inventory that like a lot of that stuff that we ordered for mid-year all the Home Improvement and outdoor furniture stuff that they were trying to get four last year is all in stock now and so what even further incentive fising retailers to discount. Rob: [14:52] Yeah yeah and I give credit to some of the big box players who took a hit over the summer recognizing they tear Point Jason had the wrong inventory and they did something about it they tried to clear it out earlier they were public about it and they took a hit but I think they're going to come back strong you know it's interesting I was a, analysts back in the day and one of our Focus was on supply chain and Mr research was known for supply chain got acquired by Gartner for their supply chain and industries practice, and you know always tracked the gentleman how Lee who came up with the bullwhip effect the idea that, you know any shock in the supply chain will just have this ripple effect that could last, quite some time I got it conceptually heard some examples of it but we've been living that over the last couple of years you know going from inventory scarcity buyers getting really excited thinking of the demand would really. [15:47] Keep steady and then when finally dear points got it came through the port of LA got through the domestic supply chain it was the wrong product or enough people had bought, you know a new monitor or TV or a desk or some cool background to get you know 10 out of 10 on rumerator and the demand wasn't there anymore so you're right I mean some of the things, in terms of replenishable products sure they have a long shelf life they have a long turn but some don't they have an expiration date and retailers are struggling with that and certainly, coming back around it is driving the discount strategy it's not over either will continue to see probably not the same heightened levels but now that we have an extended holiday season because, of create a fulfillment options will see some more discounts it's not the end of it. Scot: [16:34] Yeah that that's a good segue into kind of talking about the shape of the holiday so last year sounds like you saw the data we started a bit earlier and maybe maybe we kind of ended around after the turkey five or kind of came off a cliff there seems like this year consumers waited they won discount chicken and then we've had a robust turkey five maybe walk us through the days we've talked a little bit about Black Friday Cyber Monday anything else you want to hit there and then what do you think happens kind of post. Rob: [17:07] Yeah absolutely to round it out actually and just give that perspective for the entire shape as you talked about the anatomy of the Season as a bunch of my customers talk about. Um there are some kind of pretty nervous people in the industry coming out of the first two weeks of November the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks, of November you know sales kind of words Riri we saw a negative seven percent during that time again little bit of a spike the first. Week in October because of prime day and then it really leveled off quite dramatically 27 percent decline, globally and so we're really worried is this a trend is this going to continue in really what it told us is, that cyber week becomes back into Focus again people were willing to wait people are willing to be patient waiting for those deals you know what we saw for cyber week with again a higher concentration probably around 25 percent of all, digital sales will be when it's all said and done over the course of cyber week in the way we look at it sales force is, the Tuesday before American Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday so we put another two days and it just to make it a full week but we can slice and dice it anyway, you want especially on the dashboard via Tableau on our shopping insights. [18:30] HQ but for the overall cyber week for us we saw nine percent growth. [18:38] And for Global we saw two percent growth. That again as you can tell because of the global number largely buoyed By Us sales Black Friday really strong us we saw. 12% in the US and we saw. [18:57] 3.5 percent growth globally that's Black Friday Cyber Monday we saw eight percent growth in us and we saw four percent growth, globally so very strong what we also saw by the way is healthy traffic we even saw healthy traffic. Earlier in the season so what that told us is people were interested they showed intent to buy but they weren't given the right incentive to actually purchase so you know there's a demand there's. Need there's a want earlier in the season because of the traffic we saw that traffic stayed pretty steady both us and globally, throughout the week as well and obviously that turned into higher conversion rate because people are actually now buying. Scot: [19:47] Cool and then from your day to do you think Cyber Monday was the biggest day we've ever had is do you guys pontificate on them. Rob: [19:54] Yeah we do we do we actually saw a turn of the corner about 3 or 4 years ago where Black Friday. Digitally became the largest day and really what that was, primarily driven by many retailers were actually shuttering their doors both on Thanksgiving either part of or all of Black Friday and they were encouraging people to shop online that was a great altruistic message from a brand perspective but it was also great you know to actually give their Workforce some time off, as well and so n obviously Drive traffic towards digital while providing great deals, online the other piece to it that really helped drive that change was mobile. Really the huge increase in Mobile we saw a mobile traffic this year through the course of cyber week account for about seventy nine percent. [20:52] All traffic and so people were on the go it was more accessible. And they either did more of their shopping during Black Friday or actually what we started to see and it really came into Focus this year buying on the couch in the later days after Thanksgiving meal. In the u.s.a. people got sick of their family needed to digest a little watch football and they took out their phone you know they either got distracted or I don't know if you're a marketer inspired by something they saw on their phone and they started shopping so that's my long way saying we actually see Black Friday of a higher concentration a bigger, overall sales volume for online then Cyber Monday. Scot: [21:38] Interesting okay and then there used to be this big disparity between mobile traffic and sales so used to be if you had 80% traffic you could knock that in more than half or is that number closed into you guys track that. Rob: [21:50] We do we do yeah it hovers around 60% of orders and that has progressively gone up up until about. How long have we been, going through this pandemic up until a pandemic because what happened is people are actually at home they weren't visiting their friends and family they weren't as much on the go so they actually went to their computer during Thanksgiving you know for me I spent the last couple years out by my fire pit and, you know came in from the cold and went to my computer instead of my phone to check out the latest deals on Thanksgiving or. The day after two Black Friday so we did see a dip. Last couple years in Mobile because people were at home but it spiked back up this year both traffic and orders and I give you know retailers credit because, and I know Jason you spent a lot of time with your customers thinking about customer experience and design and really breaking down that friction between inspiration and purchase, you know retailers are getting much better at making it easier to actually not only find the product they want on their phone but make that purchase. Scot: [22:58] Okay so that brings us up to Cyber Monday and then you kind of hinted that you think they'll be some more discounting seems like if consumers One retail chicken you can't you can't kind of go off of it right so if you've got this inventory left you're going to have to either discount further at least keep the discounts on is that what you think is going to happen. Rob: [23:17] Yeah exactly I mean we typically see a little bit of a dip coming off of cyber week to just. Retailers take a breath analyze what they have what they did how their margin looks and then get back at it a little bit but we we are going to see perhaps not higher rates, because retailers I'm sorry consumers are getting really, crafty around price adjustments so it's not only dipping further into their margin but it's creating more operational expenses and headaches as well for the retailer and so I don't necessarily anticipate, higher discount rates but a steady drumbeat of discounts particularly those retailers that have physical stores and can extend the shipping cut off window by offering, store fulfillment options so you'll see you know a real leaning into discounts promotion. Overall just attracting people hey you haven't missed the window yet you can get that last gift for your cousin or uncle or family member and oh by the way you don't have to pay for it and you're more guaranteed to get it because you can pick it up in an around the store or will get it. To you through some sort of last mile delivery that is shipped from the store. Scot: [24:35] I think one takeaway is you know so Jason's hearing there's some concerns about revenue and stuff and then you know I'm hearing discounting could be a rough earning season as we kind of come out of the holiday if all this discounting is go on but at least I guess they'll start the year kind of having flushed out all this massive inventory. Rob: [24:54] Yeah yeah you know coming into this year we do our predictions all the way back in June and we kind of look at the data what we've seen what the storylines are and. Start craft the narrative we were big Partners in that a couple of years ago where you coin ship a get in and you know we were both early on seeing man there's some issues with this surge going on in the capacity issues with. The carriers but you know one of those storylines or the main storyline just last June was. And here's comes your soundbite so get ready are you ready to rumble. I just set way too high expectations sorry about that but you know we're really concerned that margin will be the Grinch That's deals, Christmas and to your point we don't see that until the February timeframe after the Retailer's close out their fiscal year and start reporting again some retailers got ahead of it and caution what this is going to look like but I'm. Anticipating that will be a key storyline come February Scott. Scot: [25:57] All the who's in Whoville loved prophets a lot but. Rob: [26:00] Oh nice I like it I like it and we haven't even talked about returns yet right because that's I know that's one of Jason's favorite topping that's going to certainly come into play as well as we talk about margin. Jason: [26:12] You guys are bringing me down and actually I'm afraid I might want to bring us down even more because, I would say like I came into this holiday season thinking hey top binds going to be okay because of inflation because of you know pent-up demand a variety of things but that you know the story was going to be about profits as you guys just perfectly laid out um and then you know the Cyber weekend happen and Rob's been on every news program I've watched for the for the last 12 hours and you know they're also citing these like Salesforce vanity stats right that like oh my gosh e-commerce was higher than it's ever been before which is not shocking right like. And then the internet came out with a study today more people went shopping this weekend than ever before which again. There are more people in the United States than ever before so that's not that's not shocking I have in talking with retailers, they're more guarded like they all did scenario planning for like sort of good good weekends and bad weekends and they're all like talking about being on the low end of those, scenario plantings I know you have great data for the online portion of spending but you know 74 ish percent of all this spending is in stores I know you have some signals for the in-store sales but do you. [27:38] Like are you confident that this was a really strong turkey 5 I'm I'm not clear if it was or wasn't. Rob: [27:46] Yeah I think it remains to be seen if we're defining it as Jason we should be. Retail in totality and the fact that a vast majority of sales still happen in the physical store right and we're seeing that traffic. Is up but oh by the way it was Don the last couple years so what's that comparison set right is it actually up from 2018 or 2019 I'm not, convinced it necessarily, is and so we don't track that but we look at smart people like you Jason and Scott and some other friends in the industry and the word on literally the street or the mall or whatever strip center anyways I digress, is that it was the physical traffic a bit lighter and so we can say that. [28:37] Also online sales were strong but I also to your point want to temper that by if somebody or a retailer was reading this in almost any country in Europe. They probably wouldn't believe that headline right because it just you know they've been visiting head wins, not only during cyber week for the better part of this year and so most categories saw a negative growth, throughout Europe and you can see the data specifically by each country, on our dashboard and so it to your point earlier Jason it's not a sound bite that we'll be able to tell you the entire story right and so it was positive I'm feeling pretty good about the sales and you know the retailers I'm talking to who are forecasting closer to Fat flat not fat flat, growth were pretty happy but I think it still remains to be seen in terms of stores what that looks like margin what that's going to look like and if you're a global brand how does it look in totality. Jason: [29:44] Yeah for sure, decided I'm going to make a prediction most of the good store traffic data is about three days leg so we don't have it yet but I think what I think you called it exactly right I think store traffic is going to be up from last year but still below, 2019 levels and what's confusing it is there's a few Pockets there's a few a malls that did really well this weekend as they always do and so I think journalists went to these a malls and saw a bunch of people and they you know they're talking about how it was a robust in-store holiday but I I am going to be eager to see that that store data which brings me to my next question a lot of people use your tool set for Boba so I'm imagining that you got to see. Some of the trends in both us and like did that reveal anything in terms of people that might be going to store to pick up orders. Rob: [30:37] Yeah I think that's interesting and it also talks about Jason like what are the new metrics given this new world like do. Bo piss or curbside orders count as traffic I don't know you know the consumers come in close. To the store or they're going to the pickup area within the store in many cases they buy more product so I think again if. [31:00] Weaving in those stats it helps definitely the online traffic I don't think by the way many retailers are looking at it that way just yet and I think it's an important factor to consider. But he has your question yeah I mean I think. [31:16] Bo pasts and create a fulfillment options from the store are helping Elevate traffic and driving people to brick-and-mortar based on our data what we saw is botes usage. Overthrew we'll call it cyber weekend we saw close to 10% growth compared to earlier, in the holiday season what super interesting what we typically see is the lead up to a big holiday like for instance we looked at Halloween for the two days leading up to Halloween we actually saw. Double the amount of, Opus orders because people realize they didn't get the costume or the candy or whatever other ornaments that they needed and they knew it wouldn't get shipped in time they also want to make sure it would be available if they actually purchased it. And they did both this the other really interesting thing is throughout cyber week and again we look at that for the full seven days but even no matter how we slice it it's high what we saw is and this is u.s. specifically by the way, retailers that had bo piss they offered it grew online Revenue by 38% more. [32:33] Then those without this creative fulfillment option and so it does speak to. How important the store is to your digital business right so you know another stat. [32:47] Why not I'm on a roll that I'll say is. Our research shows that 60% of digital orders are influenced by the physical store whether that's where demand is being generated or demand, is being fulfilled in this case it's being fulfilled because somebody's buying it from the comfort of their own home and it's convenient and they're able to pick it up with the confidence that the product would actually, be there so again the new rules of you know both how do you provide the incentives to the store associate how their role is changing and how you measure, Effectiveness because of such the interplay between digital and physical is super interesting to be a part of. Jason: [33:29] Yeah that to me I saw that stat about the bow purpose retards that offering boat best outperforming returns that don't and, that was super interesting and kind of tragic Rob because I don't know if you've noticed this but so both this isn't universally offered by all retailers more retailers were offering both pissed last year than this year like everybody scrambled in the pandemic to come up with some version of bow pose and a number of them turned it off either because they didn't have a robust implementation or they couldn't hire enough labor this year to support. Rob: [34:05] Yeah yeah it's less about a technology. [34:09] Project or initiative and it is to your point it's about operations and you know part of the reason people turned it off you mentioned some of them is. They couldn't get down the operational efficiency we're seeing more retailers lean into Automation and, more productivity to really refine their fulfillment operations and it's not easy it's not just about having. The right amount of labor but it's having them focused on the right tasks based on the time of day and what. The priorities are and that's not easy to do at all especially you know when consumers are standing right in front of the associate and the associate is you know tasked with having to make a call do they. Fulfill this. Bullpen disorder because they have to within 15 minutes or do they serve the consumer who explicitly came in the store because they wanted to be in a physical space and talk to a human. And get some knowledgeable service so it's my long way saying it's not easy those retailers that have been able to move from Scrappy which many did to scale really thinking about how to automate some of the processes, how to really focus on efficiency and productivity will be winners because they're not only helping with loyalty serving the consumers who want to shop that way but also thinking about the margin pressures they're feeling otherwise. Jason: [35:35] Yeah that totally agree and I can definitively answer one thing I rarely I'm almost always guessing but in terms of whether both is counts a store traffic or not I have no idea whether it should count or not or whether returns would like it to counter not but I can tell you when it does and doesn't count most retailers in America have a device on their front door that counts how many people walk in the store and it excludes employees and so two companies sell those devices sensor Matic and Retail next and they both publish Anonymous store traffic data so if you see data from either of those companies it did not include dopest but Place Rai is the third company that provides that data and they use the GPS in the consumers phone which does Campo. Rob: [36:23] Yes. Jason: [36:24] So in three days you're going to see data from all three of those companies and it's not going to agree and that is why. Rob: [36:31] That's super rich I've been that right there that is the best nugget of the last however long we've been talking that's. Jason: [36:37] Six hours. Rob: [36:38] It feels like it I could talk another six though that's the fun part but that's Jason that's super interesting and that's the type. Data you know it typically use whichever one helps tell the story you want but understanding the differences like you just dissected is so important. Scot: [36:54] Cool let's we're getting towards the end so we know you had a long day but one of my favorite things about your data is you can peel the onion on categories I have a sixteen-year-old daughter and I can vouch for the Beauty and athleisure categories but did you see those kind of pop in any other categories up or down that you want to talk about. Rob: [37:15] Yeah absolutely well again there is a correlation between performance and discounts at least from a top-line perspective and so yeah we saw some strong performance in health and beauty for sure. We also saw in consumer electronics. And we also saw it in actually General apparel and Footwear as well believe it or not particularly on the Footwear side we saw it because people are actually putting on shoes and sneakers again and getting out the. You know world again whereas I guess I can't live in my slippers or flip-flops anymore actually when we looked at the data by actual product, we saw flip-flops actually had some of the largest decline that we saw your every year because again people are getting out in the world again. The good news is two by the way again to plug the shopping insights HQ you can slice and dice by I think it's at least nine if not about 12. Categories and see what it looks like for orders and sales and the like along with traffic as well. Jason: [38:27] I did. Notice so I've been playing with the dashboard a lot and side note as you know my pandemic hobby as I learned to have well so it's super exciting for me that you you are publishing the data and Tabla, it does seem like some categories popped that like. Had been underperforming for most of the pandemic so like you know Electronics had not been a very bright spot but it does seem like they they had a pretty decent weekend like do you have a, am I seeing that data right and do you think like that that might mean they've turned the corner or do you think that that could be a holiday anomaly. Rob: [39:07] It's hard to say because again discounts drove so much of the buying there was such a correlation between discounts and sales and so it's a little hard to say and it's really interesting to understand to like some of that. Binge shopping that we all did over the pandemic and it subsided perhaps over the last 6 to 12 months, and then in gift-buying times you're seeing a pop again so I wouldn't necessarily stake the claim on this is now what's going to happen for the next 12 months in terms of demand for these categories, because a lot of it again is correlated to Discount a lot of it is correlated to what people have pot over the purchased excuse me over the last couple of years. Jason: [39:51] That's totally fair so let's pivot to how they paid for it you alluded earlier to buy now pay later traction like can you share what you saw in the data and where there any other interesting Trends in terms of payment methods. Rob: [40:06] Yeah totally this was kind of fun because we put it in there as we did each of the mornings early early early particularly those that are on the west coast thank you to the team by the way I should have done this at the beginning but it's not just me I have the fun part to have this conversation with you and speak to so many people about this including a lot of retailers not just today but we have through the rest of the holiday season we have a way to go. But it's make possible through the team that brings these data and insights to life and, the reason I say that is we are trauma through the data one morning and we got the normal like what the sales look like what does traffic look like what are the hot categories biggest discounts, and then Kayla Schwartz on my team who really is the master behind the shopping index was that. This is super interesting around buy now pay later because of the Divergence between orders. [41:04] For buy now pay later and at the average order value and what I mean by that is specifically we saw. A five percent this is throughout the course of cyber week. In the u.s. in particular where we saw in the increase of 5% year-over-year, of orders with buy now pay later and by the way this is after, a couple of years of really nice growth so five percent based on the bass is really we consider noticeable however on the other side we saw. [41:37] Average order value for the same transactions decrease by five percent so it's indicating to us. [41:46] Again you know this better than anyone buy now pay later really was hatched as a finance option for. Bigger ticket items home appliances television couches and other Home Furniture but what we're seeing is a turning of the corner. Because of the ubiquity and he is and also I think the desire to finance and spread payments over the course of a given time period rather just at once for lower price for less expensive goods and gifts, compared to 2021. Jason: [42:21] Yeah I will say you know a lot of the retailers that are like looking at the economic snapshot for next year and I really concerned about. The consumers discretionary dollar they're they're kind of concerned about this you know. Acceleration of buy now pay later and other credit means as kind of a an early indicator that the consumer might be overextending themselves. Rob: [42:47] Yeah I mean we don't look at that very closely but it is fairly intuitive to see it that way that people are leaning on. Newer creative finance options over the holiday and what does that mean for the subsequent quarters will be keeping an eye on that really closely for sure. Jason: [43:05] Yeah so we are coming up on time Rob there's one other topic I just wanted to touch on with you you know you you alluded to capacity concerns in pass holidays and of course you know we've talked a lot on the show about ship again um I'm kind of worried about a new thing this year. With the moat with this really prevalent version of discount chicken if a bunch of consumers are thinking they're going to wait till the very last minute. To get the best discount we have all the usual things in place we have like a fragile inventory that might start running out. But we also this year have lower labor levels like stores tried to hire less people and they weren't able to hire all the people they tried to hire UPS and FedEx didn't get all the people they want so I'm a little worried if consumers way too long that we you know might have another ship again in situation on our hands where there just isn't enough labor capacity to get all these orders out the last week of the year. Rob: [44:04] Yeah that's a super interesting point one that I haven't dove into very deep but I'm with you Jason that's going. Potentially be an issue I mean I'm a sample size of one but I see it any time I shop or any restaurant I go in there not taking reservations or they're not limiting reservations based on tables there. You know basically limiting it because of waitstaff and so, that's true too in the physical store when the associate is being asked to do so many things now right it's not just about scanning and bagging at the cash wrap, it's you know they're becoming social media managers that are fulfillment experts there live streamers so you're stretching them thin. Capacity gets issue by the way the other interesting thing that we didn't touch upon was returns we saw such an increase of returns heading into cyber week than we ever have in our thesis is that. People who bought product earlier in the season. Star the better discounts and we're doing price adjustments in way of returning a product and then buying it back, at the cheaper price so there may be earlier returns that are playing and usually that's not, a storyline that we talked about until you know January at NRF right but now it's actually happening more so add that to your Litany of things that will create capacity issues. Jason: [45:30] Oh my gosh know for sure and you know it's already a distant memory but with all those early sales that people tried to do one of the things that may have gone unnoticed is a lot of retailers also extended the return window because the fear was will never get people the holiday shop early if they don't think that gift recipients will be allowed to return the gifts so a bunch of these sales are on more liberal return policies, then ever before and again you know the economist are like come January we could be in stagflation and you know we don't know what returns might even look like in that kind of economic environment so it's, it's a concern for sure and that on that happy note Rob we've used up our allotted time. Because on top of everything else during this show I received about 1,000 emails from the Salesforce marketing cloud with even better deals than Cyber Monday so I'm gonna, after to go a little early so that I can get some more shopping. Rob: [46:28] Go for it please do shop on of course Salesforce Commerce Cloud websites if you may. Jason: [46:33] I didn't know there were other kinds. But in all seriousness Rob it's always a pleasure to talk to you about anything and for sure to talk about the the holiday sales loyal listeners will know the number one piece of feedback we get is they like to hear more from Kayla and from Michelle and I have to keep telling him that you always insist on coming. Rob: [46:54] Hey that will happen they are amazing I gotta say though before we go Jason Scott first of all as I mentioned before I love doing this like seriously this is. Highlight it's our Super Bowl or dare I stake a World Cup given where we are right now go us but you know. More than anything I just really appreciate your friendship it's so amazing to have friends like you and the retail industry and the amazing Community we have and I also love how humble you are in terms of you asking me these questions but the reality is you're so on top of what's Happening Now and in the future and I really value that so A big thank you all around. Scot: [47:34] Boom and you just secured yourself a fifth spot there you go Rob thanks for joining us on Twitter you are retail Rob Garf you're very active on LinkedIn I've noticed we will put a link to the hub of activity in the show notes thanks for joining us. Jason: [47:54] And until next time happy Commercing.
EP298 - Amazon Q3 Earnings Episode 298 is a recap of Amazon's Q3 2022 Earnings Report. Episode 298 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Friday October 28th, 2022. http://jasonandscot.com Join your hosts Jason "Retailgeek" Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis, and Scot Wingo, CEO of GetSpiffy and Co-Founder of ChannelAdvisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing. Transcript Jason: [0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 298 being recorded on Friday October 28 2022 I'm your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I'm here with your co-host Scot Wingo. Scot: [0:38] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason Scott show listeners Jason wouldn't be a Jason Scott show if we didn't have a Little Star Wars talk I have a confession, I'm really digging and or I think the rest of the Star Wars universe is out there hating on it but I'm really enjoying it I really I liked the character from Rogue one and it's been fun seeing kind of a slower more character-driven Star Wars so have you had a chance to watch that at all. Jason: [1:07] I have I have and I'm with you now I'm not sure I was with you at the beginning it took me a little while to warm up to it. But definitely the last three or four episodes have been a lot more engaging so now I'm eager for the next episode to come out. Scot: [1:24] Yeah and then when I haven't seen it it's getting a lot of buzz those tales of the Jedi which this is kind of from the right before A New Hope ERA with and or and then tells of the Jedi goes back to the prequels so talking about some of the characters there and then clone wars and stuff so that's on my list of things I'm going to do this weekend. Jason: [1:41] Fun I watch the first episode of that this won't be a problem for you but we're like oh cool another animated Star Wars series this would be great to watch with our seven year old and it's. A little dark it's a little it's a little adult for a seven-year-old. Scot: [1:57] Had to fast forward some places. Jason: [1:59] Yeah we had to be ready. Scot: [2:01] Well thanks for joining us everyone we wanted to talk to this is the you know we're in this critical part of the retailgeek calendar where we're barreling towards Halloween we got Q3 behind us and we're were basically into the holiday season so we wanted to update everyone on some of the releases that came out here from the big companies specifically Amazon we're going to take a deep dive into that but I always think it's interesting to kind of see the setup longtime listeners will remember that one thing I think both Jason are proud of is we identified at Apple's changed privacy called IDF a some people call it a TT I'm just going to call it I DFA to keep it simple as this huge problem that no one was willing paying attention to and we are still feeling the ripples for that. What's been Jason two years now two years later 18 months. Jason: [2:51] Yeah it's crazy. Scot: [2:52] Yes so it's gotten it's gotten really crazy so so this the lead up to Amazon started with Snapchat as if we clean does and I say this I've said this for the last three quarters. Horst the so not only do their you know they had this period of time where they felt like they had stabilized but it's very clear the management team has no idea what's going on with idea if a they don't have a solution in Wall Street has kind of lost all. All hope and then their quarterly calls are just total Bedlam like it's a nothing I've ever seen before so. [3:24] If you're an entrepreneur and want to see what a reason not to go public go to listen to one of the Snapchat Wall Street colors they do not go well. [3:33] And then so that was that was kind of a bit of a train wreck but not surprised that this kind of like the third Trainwreck so you're kind of used to it I think the one thing that started the spook Wall Street was Google came out on the 25th and they basically their results were below expectations and they YouTube specifically they have their segments we talked a lot about the Amazon segments but they have a they have a search segment a third-party search segment like a first party search didn't call this but they have the I guess they call it the network which is Google off of Google so that would be like the Apple search experience that they have the Google search experience than they have the YouTube and all these other things within the alphabet family well the YouTube one is under a lot of pressure and it's not really clear it feels like it's duly suffering from idea of a problems like advertisers are not being able to track the efficacy of those YouTube videos anymore but then also The Tick-Tock you know so you would know better than I do I only have one 16 year old and a ten-year-old nice to reference but seems like everyone under a certain age and even over, even creeping into our age group is just spending hours of looking at Tick-Tock videos so that has become a huge problem for YouTube because there's only so many hours in the day and if you're looking at Tik-Tok videos during all of them you're not watching YouTube do you have any insights into the tick tock world. Jason: [4:57] Yeah no I actually think it might be interesting to explore a Tick-Tock deep dive in an upcoming episode because it it really is the social platform that feels like it's grabbing all the oxygen right now I thought the audience engagement is way up there's you know there's been a bunch of interesting Evolutions about segments of the audience that are using Tik-Tok is their primary search engine which is interesting and surprising I think to a lot of people Google is certainly trying to position Tik-Tok search is a viable competitor to Google which you know might have be true have be. Antitrust and then. Also true that we have been on these recent studies recently that a lot of Millennials are using Tick-Tock primary as their primary source of news so that's another. You know Factor but it's just winning a lot of entertainment minutes right now. Which also by the way means it's winning a lot of advertising dollars because the advertisers want to go where the engaged eyeballs are. That's been a big thing. Scot: [6:06] Yeah the other thing that's interesting and I didn't put this in the show notes just occurred to me both Android and Apple are seeing softness in their App Store revenues. [6:16] Specifically in the game segment so there's two schools of thought there one is there's so one of it is the idea of a his rippled into that where the games are not getting as many new customers because they're not running as much advertising because they can't measure the efficacy of it this one's interesting because this could be an indication apple shot themselves in the foot with IDF a most impact we've talked about on this show have been beneficial to Amazon where you know crushing Facebook or hurting Google that's obviously kind of you know those are the Nemesis nemus I the Nemesis of of Apple but this is one where you're starting to see it actually impact them in I think they called their services Revenue so that's one school of thought the other school of thought is in a yeah I don't give us enough data on this is that know it's Tick-Tock because people are just sitting there watching so many technical games it's replaced deployment of casual games so people aren't paying playing these addictive little Candy Crush type games and Clash of Clans there they're watching The Tick-Tock videos so so it's interesting to watch these consumer behaviors are changing very quickly in this post covid World in interesting ways and it's hard to tease out exactly what's going on but there's definitely you know some some big changes out here that I think will Ripple into our listeners in the retail e-commerce world as well. Jason: [7:38] Yeah it is I do think both of those things are factors I also think there's another interesting. Thing happening with the the game revenue from the app store's I feel like their history is repeating itself a little bit, if you're super old-school like you and I you remember all the old console-based Wars right like Nintendo vs. Sega and Atari and in television and one of the themes that played out on those platform things is. Often one of the platforms would be super open and invite a bunch of Publishers to make it really easy to publish titles and so there would. Bi huge dearth of titles but they would mostly be of low quality and then another platform would make it really hard to publish titles which would really restrict the. The amount of titles that were available but they tended to be better and over the history of video games the latter strategy has always won, that way when you have too many crappy titles eventually like the audience is get disenfranchised and they leave the platform. Does feel a little bit like that is what's like the App Store Revenue became so lucrative for these guys that they made it super easy for everyone to bring titles there's no more discovery on the platform because there's the signal-to-noise ratio is so poor that the only way you would discover a new game title would be via. A Facebook ad which no longer works right I can sew it all of this is kind of coming to roost it feels like. Scot: [9:03] Got it yeah the and then so that got everyone kind of wonky and then Facebook / meta did their release and that was just that was that went from their last Q2 was kind of concerning and then this was kind of a train wreck so there expenses are running rampant they are spending a lot of money on virtual reality and they're seeing no revenue from that that revenue is way off where it should be they are announcing they announced like did you see this the pro headset which is like twelve hundred dollars and it can track your your arms and feet and even your facial expressions or something it's super fancy but. You know they're not seeing any engagement from people buying the Oculus I guess they don't call that anymore buying the devices and. [9:52] The Medical West buying the medic West or any of that kind of stuff so then you would think they would get on there and say alright Q3 was rough we're going to we're going to moderate this going into the queue for they're like nope we're going to double down and it's got actually get worse in Q4 so that that freak people out Jim Cramer on CNBC MSNBC Junkie, he had the previously days he said that you know he predicted they would come to their senses and do a little layoff and this kind of thing and it was the opposite and he got on TV and apologize to the viewers and got kind of emotional there so that was that was interesting and you know day there they seem, totally distracted by the metaverse and not really didn't really have much commentary around ads it's off a fair amount they're due to IDF a as well and then. A bright spot was then yesterday morning so this is Thursday morning Shopify announced and they had a little bit of positive news what did you see there Jason. Jason: [10:51] Yeah yeah they actually had a meet and beat all around, the you know revenue is up 22 percent. You know there's a bunch of different metrics at Shopify these days because they have like the recurring Revenue they have the attachment sales attachment sales were are particularly interesting in this is, how many of the various Shopify Services each Merchant uses so are they using shop pay are they using Shopify fulfillment the the POS system all these things in the the attachment rate went way up which is encouraging for Shopify and the Marquee number is probably total gmv going through their system and that was up by 11% so it was 46 billion dollars for the quarter, um and you know the Shopify is really been beaten up the last few quarters in and you know had a lot of down quarters and a lot of it was like, e-commerce got overhyped and Shopify overbuilt and now that reality setting in they're getting creamed and so they're the the guidance was pretty low and Shopify had a pretty solid quarter and sailed by it so I think their stock has had a nice little boost as a result of that. Scot: [12:12] In shopify's coming out liar because they do this pre-market announcement which is kind of the new fashion because there's so many companies that do aftermarket that you don't get the analysts that you want on your call so they've moved to kind of a morning, announcement so they did Thursday morning and then that set up Amazon it wouldn't be a Jason Scott show without. Marker 01 Jason: [12:31] Amazon news your margin is there opportunity. Scot: [12:43] Well that other way the way I would characterize this one is a missing lower so from a Wall Street perspective they're always kind of thinking how did you do against our expectations for the current period and then how did you do for our forward-looking expectations so so Amazon missed current and then actually lowered kind of missed the future as well. Let's dig into it there's mostly mostly a lot of headwinds which does not bode well for an e-commerce or retail holiday here in the fourth quarter but let's dig into it and there are some there are some positives in here that will pick out so also as we record this the stock's down 10% which you know Amazon is one of the largest capitalized stocks out there at over a trillion dollars so 10% is a hundred billion dollars in so a lot of a lot of money sloshing around and it was. Jason: [13:33] It's like two Twitter's. Scot: [13:34] Yes yeah it is. [13:36] Good enough and if it's down to Twitter's today and it was down as much as 20 percent in after-hours trading so so really really kind of a tough report here the other caveat before we dig in is I don't know if most people track this because unless you went on an international trip or had some international business you would know but one theme we're going to talk a lot about is Europe so your how's the. Geopolitical issues with the Ukrainian situation there and then they have an energy problem because they get most of their energy from Russia so they're having energy, it also are suffering from similar inflation trends that we're seeing there's a worse because the energy is orders of magnitude worse than we see here in United States that has created a currency fluctuation very unusual so so it used to be that. You know dollar was worth euros worth of many dollars and now that is inverted or like parody there and the pound is these currencies are at. Multi-year multi-decade lows versus the dollars so the problem when you're like Amazon and you have a pretty big chunk of your Revenue coming from International entity like that when you compare your periods it creates a financial Exchange headwind. I will report all these numbers without that but it is created you know the absolute dollars of Revenue and whatnot are off even more due to that currency headwind that that's out there. [15:04] So let's look first it Revenue. Revenues came in at 120 7.1 billion Wall Street was expecting a hundred twenty seven point four billion so that point three billion was the myth that's three hundred million dollars that's. Into to that Ridge retailer that's pretty cataclysmic that's actually pretty small from a personal standpoint and you know I think if you looked at the financial exposure and whatnot it largely can be explained there the one of the bright spots will talk about is North America Revenue so this could actually bode well for listeners that are have almost just pure United States exposure the revenues were up 20 percent year over year which is pretty impressive in an acceleration from last Q which was 10% now they did have a this right Jason they had a prime day that that was that was an October 1. Jason: [15:54] Yeah I think that's going to be in the queue for numbers. Scot: [15:56] Yeah okay so that's without. Jason: [15:57] And and we don't call it Prime day we call it early Prime axis. Scot: [16:00] Yes the thing that we will not be called printing the artist previously known as permanent so so that was good and then you tracked e-commerce data closer than I do that that's got to be. Pretty significantly above the Census Bureau data right. Jason: [16:16] It's it slightly above that so we don't have Q3 e-commerce data yet so we only have that non store. Sales data and it's it's in line with an OnStar sales data but the e-commerce data is usually a little lower so next month will get that and I do have a feeling that. Amazon's Q3 is going to outperform the the industry's e-commerce. Scot: [16:42] Yep and then where is retail where did retail end. Jason: [16:46] Pretty high also the this I'm going to buy time while II. Pull up my number but this is kind of the so year-to-date retails up 9.1%. So I didn't I didn't do a Q3 breakout but. Overall spending in North America by consumers has remain robust which like has shown up in the Amazon earnings and shown up in the. The Shopify earnings which is you know I think somewhat surprised a lot of people because with all the the economic news people are kind of expecting that consumers would tighten their belt and it seems like they've changed what they spend on but they're continuing to spend so far. Scot: [17:34] Yeah yeah so that's that's right spot and then to kind of pair that in with a dark spot International revenues were down 12 percent and that's when you take out the impact of foreign currency so Europe is definitely in what I would call an e-commerce / retail recession you know have a lot of empathy for folks their power bills are just surging and they're having to decide you know do I do I pay my for my heat or do I buy a pair of shoes online or whatever it is so so I think we're going to have really rough q4q on here for anyone that has exposure to Europe now Amazon to their credit did manage their expenses and beat on the bottom line here so it was less they were able to kind of take this downward Trend and manage their expenses and so it wasn't a. Double A Miss Revenue Miss profit so it was a Miss on Revenue lower Revenue than expected but then also they kind of made it up Bob with efficiencies that being said you know it's a this is pretty interesting so so FedEx is one of the first companies kind of say hey we think we're heading into a global recession then everyone else said we don't see it and then so this is another data point that kind of says yeah there's something really going on and we're really starting to see it in the data here so Jason: [18:50] And you know there was a Jeff Bezos tweet like a week or two ago that was like kind of his own POV and I think it was batten down the hatches. Scot: [19:00] Yeah yeah so you'd imagine being on the board he sees the other thing that's interesting with these big companies as they get a fair amount of time to do this you know so we're. You know they've got another month of data that they're looking at so that we'll talk about the fourth quarter so there's reading the body language it feels like it's getting worse so we'll talk about that but on the bottom line so all that was the top line and kind of the interior parts of Revenue let's look at the profitability operating income came in at 2 .5 3 billion versus 2.94 billion so that's a point for billions of 400 million which again isn't isn't a massive number but percentage-wise it's about a 15 to 20 percent Miss so that. [19:42] Really big percentage Miss on the bottom line of expectations so yeah so that's the you know it was a Miss on the top line Miss on the bottom line so so overall Miss and then we'll talk about the lower I did see a couple interesting details the two I picked out that I'll kick it over to you Jason third-party unit so this is a metric that's near and dear to my heart hit a new high of 58 percent of units so one of the things I I in my mind that Amazon has a sliver that they can pull and send more dual s1p and more 3p if they want to drive profit over Revenue so that there's a trade-off there higher they have a high margin high margin low Revenue high margin business High Revenue low margin business and they can kind of like dial between those and it feels like that pulled that dial over towards the 3p side that could also be supply chain issues there's a million things that go on there the thing that was interesting is Amazon goes through these what I would call invest in Harvest cycles and during covid they invested a major amount they almost doubled their fulfillment for, and today they signaled the Wall Street in Q2 that they were going to go through kind of a harvesting phase where they were going to stop adding capacity in fact they've actually. [20:56] You know they've shut down somewhere houses they sold some so that they've actually started this this kind of, harvesting mode from all that investment where that's reflected is in the symmetric they release called shipping expenses which they measure as a percentage of online store revenues it was 37.2% and that's an improvement this quarter over last quarter's 37.9% so that's pretty impressive especially you know the sales grew through there so so to be able to grow the 20% we're talking about and reduce expenses is very impressive on the call they said that they were able to squeeze out a billion dollars in operation Improvement in the quarter and that they were pretty excited about that but they actually felt like they had missed their tear internal goal by 500 so we're going to do 1.5 billion and they came out with a billion so I suspect we'll see some of those things come in the fourth quarter they did say that that thing that we will not call Prime day cause I was a little bit of a challenge because you know they are so you're sitting there and you're like putting the screws to things and you're really figuring out and then suddenly you have this day where you have a record number of orders come through and it that makes it hard to do so they that was a speed bump in that, any other little tidbits you saw in the big picture before we dive into some of the other pieces. Jason: [22:11] Yeah mine we're probably a little more frivolous frivolous than yours but we always talk about you know how Amazon hates the profitability metric and they you know they talk about Gap profitability not being. Like that relevant and how much more that Jeff Bezos likes free cash flow well another example of that hitting home for me was in this earnings call they kind of talked about the last couple quarters of, of their profitability and what a huge impact, the value of the rivi on stock was on it and it like literally was like the most influential thing in whether you know they they were profitable or not, and so you know rivi on had a better quarter this time than last quarter and so that that materially changed Amazon's profitability. So it's just it's funny because they're they're not solely owned by Amazon but the Amazon is a major investor like that that's a. Kind of X Factor and their earnings that may have been previously obvious to you but then the way more important one. So you know the their first season of rings of power wrapped up two weeks ago and everyone in the entertainment industry has noted that they really haven't come out and bragged about any audience measure metrics from that show. And we know Amazon likes to brag about its winds so the assumption is that it was a little underwhelming from a performance standpoint and then in this earnings. [23:40] They reference that they got nearly a hundred million viewers for the show so that probably means they got less than 90 million viewers or they would have just said 100 million but well, generously say they got a hundred million views eight episodes of the show that means they averaged about 12.5 million viewers per episode and to put that in perspective HBO has said they got to north of 29 million. Views per episode of House of the Dragon so. You know compared to a normal TV show those are all good numbers but these are you know the world's most expensive TV show so it does seem in this first season that HBO is better at getting an audience for their. Their Blockbuster TV shows then then Amazon is so far. Scot: [24:29] I've heard better I haven't watched either I'm saving them for a holiday binge but I've heard more positive Buzz of from House of dragon than the rings of power but I don't know. Jason: [24:40] Yeah I mean I think both are totally watchable I enjoyed both there's this weird don't you know there's people that have such a love for the the. Both Worlds that you know the TV shows fall fall short of people's expectations and so I like I have a feeling for like huge. Um you know Cannon lovers of Lord of the Rings that like you know they might have been a little extra disappointed but if you kind of just come into it cold and say hey is this a good. Piece of of fantasy fiction and is entertaining to watch I thought it was pretty good. [25:16] And then the last thing and you alluded this little bit the early Prime access is not in the Q3 numbers but they do reference it in the earnings and. It was a a successful event like it's very clear that it did not. Come close to approaching the level of success that Prime day typically has or even that the prime day in October a couple years ago had. Um and you know so there's been a lot made a lot of media has written about oh it's a failure because it's not another huge. Spike like Prime day I'm not actually sure that was the bar or the goal you know Amazon like every other retailer has a lot of imperfect inventory at the moment and I'll and it seems like they got a chance to sell through a lot of that at this event and so like you know I think. How you judge that event has a lot to do with what you think the success criteria of the event was but that that's another sort of tidbit like they certainly didn't come at you know if it had been a home run it would have been one of the top Six Bullets at the at the beginning of their their earnings press release and it was not. Scot: [26:30] Yeah this this kind of goes to the changing consumer Behavior another thing that didn't chat with you before we prepped his again I watch a lot of CNBC. Jason: [26:40] Audience members are going to be surprised to find out that we ever prepped. Scot: [26:43] Are very light prep the both CEO of hurts United and of think it was American or Delta Airlines they'll talk about these new patterns they're seeing and travel wear and then there's not a great name for it yet but what's happening is people will go on a personal or a business trip and they're staying longer and because so many people are working working you know remote they'll go and do they'll go on like let's say you had a business trip somewhere you and your significant other could go to that and then have fun and then stay three more days into the next week so what used to be like little snack size trips like two or three-day trips both for personal and business have turned into these six eight ten day type trips. Jason: [27:29] Yeah it's work Leisure I'm naming it but yeah. Scot: [27:32] Yeah there you go so you know so then people are spending a lot more money on that which I think could be part of you know people only have so big a wallet and whatnot so yeah so it's gonna be interesting to see how this holiday sets of it's going to there's so many changing behaviors I it's going to be a lot to pick out of this one. Jason: [27:54] Yeah no for sure I do think. Again you know people are talking about all these economic headwinds you ordinarily that slows consumer spending way down so far we haven't in North America seeing, consumer spending slowdown but what they've spent on has toy changed a your point it is still more. Sort of like experiences and pent-up demand for things that people weren't able to do, during the height of the pandemic and it is you know they're spending more of their wallet on on needs instead of wants as the needs have gotten more expensive due to inflation so write to me the most common story we're hearing is. Revenue looks pretty strong but profitability really sucks because we're we're selling the wrong stuff and we don't have enough of the right stuff in stock. Scot: [28:42] Yeah nursing will you dug into the AWS and adds what did you see there. Jason: [28:49] Yeah well you you mentioned up front that the stock the Amazon stock really took a hit after the earnings and it feels like that was two things. Their guidance that we'll talk about in a minute but also. I think the street was really spooked by the kind of slowing rate of growth of AWS you know for a long time a device has been the crown jewel of Amazon. In terms of you know a big Revenue number that's growing super fast and is wildly profitable, so AWS sales for the quarter where twenty point five billion which is a big number that's up 27 percent or 20 percent of you adjust for currency which again. Like. In most cases you go to someone and say hey you've got a highly profitable twenty billion dollar quarter business in a grew by 27 percent this year from last year how do you feel about that, you feel pretty good but wall Street's expectations were that they would grow by more than 32 percent. And so it was like a significant Miss and if you know you look at the recent history of growth of AWS I mean you go back to 2021 it was. Thirty-seven percent growth 39 percent growth 40% growth 3733 and now 28 this is the first time it's dropped into the 20s and so I think there's a real fear on the part of investors that like. [30:11] Is the law of large numbers finally starting to catch up with this business and do you know do investors have to reset expectations about. What a WS can contribute to the pot going forward. Scot: [30:25] You lot of people have been predicting a slow down there because of the larger law of large numbers but it's always sad when it happens. Jason: [30:32] Yeah yeah and I don't know what the answer is because I'm on one hand it seems totally intuitive that it would slow down it's such a big business. That there is a strong argument that as much money as that generates it is shocking what a small percentage of the world's compute is. Cloud still and so it doesn't there it's easy to craft an argument. That we're still in the first inning of the world migrating to the cloud and so a hypothesis is not that like. The fast run rate for these cloud services is over but that businesses spending to move to the cloud has slowed down because of the economy right and that you know as as. The there's more economic dark clouds you know Amazon has certainly cut back and and tried to contain cost every other company in the world is doing that and often that means, that migration to the cloud project that they were planning you know has to take a backseat so so some of that could be in there as well. Scot: [31:35] Yeah and I saw. In the called excited energy cost so AWS also had some pressure on the bottom line and they cited energy cost and then I got to imagine this European recession you know the a lot of the the energy around a WS comes from startups and startup formation as always. Low during recessionary period step yes so if we do get a global recession it's going to be under pressure but I think the long-term addressable market for it's just massive so we'll see. Jason: [32:06] Exactly but the good news for Amazon is they secretly have a better business than in the US which which is the bloody ads business right and so we've talked about this for a couple quarters you know this used to be buried and other that you know a couple of quarters ago they had to disclose it for the first time. Um and you know so it was another good quarter. For the ads business it grew 25% 30% of you adjust for currency. So they sold 9.5 billion dollars worth of ads this quarter. Which is not as big as a WS but the margins for ads are way better than the margins for AWS because you mentioned you know the cost of goods for an ad is essentially zero. But there's very expensive electricity required for each unit of compute that a WS cells. So you add up the last four quarters of the ads business and it's now a 36 billion dollar business. [33:11] Which is another remarkable business I've done the math of a foreign of you kind of you know impute income from from AWS and ads ads has already surpassed AWS in terms of total. Income contribution. One slight wrinkle for our listeners in the world of retail and commerce right now like one of the top topics that keeps coming up over and over again as retail media networks every, every retailer has seen this Amazon business and they're launching their own version of it call the retail media Network and investing heavily in it. And every brand is struggling with how to deal with all these retail media networks and if they're a good investment and how to deal with them so that. It's a huge topic right now and I would just point out that well. [34:02] The bulk of Amazon's ad business is a retail media Network Amazon is bigger than a retailer right and so. The ads Revenue the Amazons talking about does include. Thursday night football and Lord of the Rings and you know at which in a lot of other things that Target does not have right so I just. Want to remind people that it's not really apples-to-apples to compare. You know Amazon's you know kind of 40 billion dollar annualized run rate against. You know and say that gosh if if they're getting you know this many dollars per. / retail gmv dollar than everyone else should be getting the same because it's not really Apples to Apples. Scot: [34:54] On the Amazon ads I saw this interesting article was titled Google's pain is Amazon's gaining which I thought was cute and it talked about how if you annualize that you know this is a 40 billion dollar line for Amazon which makes it a third the size of Facebook now and a sixth the size of Google so we've we've we've on the show we've been talking about this and I remember when it passed Snapchat and then Twitter so it's really there's a day where it could close in on Facebook because it's, the Amazon site is growing very rapidly Facebook seems kind of lost in the jungle focused on virtual reality and not fixing their core business so those lines could cross pretty quickly which would give us this new duopoly of Google and Amazon as which three years ago if we had said that people would have thought were crazy. You think we're crazy but yeah it's crazy. Jason: [35:48] It totally could I would say one caveat here there is a big difference at the moment between Amazon's ad business and like meta and Google's ad business. The Amazon still gets a lot of traffic by buying ads on Google, so you know that that the other big ad platforms are all organically earning their traffic and then they're monetizing it Amazon does kind of by eyeballs at wholesale from Google and then sell them retail to two brands on Amazon so there is a bit of Arbitrage that's happening there now as they create more, loyal Amazon Prime customers and more you know viewers of all their Entertainment Properties that you know it'll be more apples to apples but and I haven't looked this quarter but last quarter you know they you know on a or a quarter ago it on an annual basis they spent about 17 billion dollars on ads so. The the bottle out of traffic that they then result. Scot: [36:50] Cool so that that kind of wraps up our Q3 highlights so then let's zoom out and at the top I mentioned you know that Am That Wall Street looks at kind of the current quarter in the future quarter so that was Q3 so it's kind of a miss and then the whenever a public company like this updates the current quarter they also update our outlook for the future quarter which in this context would be fourth-quarter calendar fourth quarter so Amazon guided to 142 148 billion for the quarter so that would imply about it 4.8 percent year over year growth at the midpoint, now they don't give us guidance on North America international so there's imagine inside of there you would still see North America growing. [37:32] Fifteen to twenty percent and then you know the non North America they called the non-domestic business having a headwind and that's where you get this 4.8 would be the Delta there. But what's really bad about that is Wall Street prior to this report had thought they would do 155 billion so let me say those numbers clearly Wall Street thought that Amazon would do 155 billion in in fourth quarter and now they're saying basically 144 so so that was a pretty big lowering of expectations and then also on the bottom line Wall Street thought that would do five billion of operating income and Amazon said well 024 the midpoints to that's a change of three billion dollars so Wall Street didn't like that but you know if you're if you're you know jassy and you're running this thing you want to lower expectations because it makes it easier to beat them in the long run if you part of the Amazons DNA is to be a much longer thinking kind of company so you, typically if that's how you think you'll take some short-term pain for long-term gain so you know some folks feel like, maybe the kitchen sink this thing and they knew third quarter wasn't going to meet what everyone wanted say thought this is a great time to go ahead and rip the Band-Aid off and really lower into the fourth quarter other people look at that body language like I mentioned and they say wow. [38:48] You know it maybe it got worse especially in Europe in the fourth quarter and maybe that's what caused them to really kind of Ratchet this down we won't sadly we won't know until January February when they release their results but you can count on us here at the Jason Scott show we're going to be tracking the holiday we have some really great content planned for you this is when we kick into overdrive and really track things going on so we have a lot of content there but it's not a great set up heading into the holiday would you agree with that Jason. Jason: [39:15] Yeah I definitely think this is a strong warning sign for people that are bullish on the the holiday, I do you know kind of overall I looked at this whole thing and I say you know as an interesting earnings call. Not a heck of a lot in this earnings call was. A result of internal stuff going on in Amazon that like it very much reflects the macroeconomic trends that. That are happening to Amazon and those same macroeconomic trends of course. Happened to everyone else as well so it's interesting you know Amazon has become a very useful sort of. Indicator for where the economy is going and you know the economists have been arguing quite a bit about where it's going so it's interesting to see some data. [40:14] Yeah so this is where we will leave it today if this was valuable for you we certainly would love it if you jump on. To iTunes and leave us that five-star review make sure you've got your podcast player dialed in to download our new episodes because you're not going to want to miss. Some of the the play-by-play of holiday. Scot: [40:39] Thanks for joining us everyone we hope all of your holiday Q4 results exceed your expectations and. Jason: [40:46] Until next time happy Commercing.
EP297 - GroceryShop 2022 and News Episode 297 is a recap of the GroceryShop trade show in Las Vegas, and the Consumer Brands Executive Summit in Colorado Springs. We also discuss the latest news (and controversies) around Facebook and TikTok pulling back from some social commerce initiatives (and pressing forward with others). We cover the Prime Early Access sale and its potential impact on the overall holiday season. Episode 297 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Tuesday October 4, 2022. http://jasonandscot.com Join your hosts Jason "Retailgeek" Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis, and Scot Wingo, CEO of GetSpiffy and Co-Founder of ChannelAdvisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing.
EP296 - Guardian Baseball Co-Founder Matt Kubancik Episode 296 is an interview with Matt Kubancik (@mattkubancik), CEO and Co-Founder of Guardian Baseball. Matt is a serial e-commerce entrepreneur who was the founder of Street Moda, Co-Founder of SKU Vault, and most recently Co-Founder and CEO of Guardian Baseball. Mark is an experienced Marketplace seller, and his current business Guardian Baseball is a hybrid seller selling both wholesale and owned brands direct to consumer from a Shopify site, and via multiple marketplaces including Amazon. Guardian Baseball is an early adaptor of Buy with Prime, and shares in the interview, that they would migrate off Shopify if necessarily to keep using Buy with Prime. He also discusses a number of the current limitations with the Buy With Prime offering. Episode 296 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Friday September 23, 2022. http://jasonandscot.com Join your hosts Jason "Retailgeek" Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis, and Scot Wingo, CEO of GetSpiffy and Co-Founder of ChannelAdvisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing. Transcript Jason: [0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 296 being recorded on Friday August 23rd 2022 I'm your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I'm here with your co-host Scot Wingo. Scot: [0:38] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason Scott showed listeners today we have a fun interview this is kind of a both a TBT a throwback for me and then also modern discussion around by with Prime but to set it up we are very excited to welcome mat kubancik to the show welcome mat. Matt: [1:00] Thanks Scott and Jason have my own. Scot: [1:02] Matt what's your what's your current title you have you have 50 things you're always doing so I never know what to say other than. Matt: [1:08] Always doing but Maine. Scot: [1:10] Entrepreneur genius. Matt: [1:11] Yeah sometimes sometimes a genius sometimes but that's the life of an entrepreneur I co-founder and CEO of Guardian baseball.com or multi-channel hybrid direct to consumer and brand partner of you know some of the biggest. Brand names and Sporting Goods retailer so predominantly in the baseball and softball market and we're on Amazon Walmart eBay and on our Shopify site. And we were named the fastest growing e-commerce retailer by ink magazine in the Inc 5000 and number 180 overall this year. Jason: [1:48] Amazing that congratulations I definitely want to jump into it but before we do you know our listeners always like to get a little bit of a gist of our guests background and so I'm imagining you you went to college and got a degree in baseball e-commerce is that how you started. Matt: [2:05] No not at all actually spent six months in in college dropped out was one of the original I started selling on eBay 1999. Um during think my first year of high school sold baseball cards ironically and then. Started selling fashion and store stock Closeouts Retail Arbitrage early days of eBay and then when I was 18 years old. I met an executive that was retired from the Footwear industry and him and I started a company called Street motor together, and we were a early on 2000s multi-channel retailer and I met Scott through signing Channel advisor when I was 19 years old I remember signing my contract, verbally over the phone like a grain to the contract and then I went into school and said hey I'm going to withdraw after six months of Indiana University so. Dropped out and did 100 million over, 10 11 years mainly thanks to the a lot of connections Channel advisor helped me create you know Market places like Amazon eBay buy.com back in the day, a lot of the shopping channels like Shopzilla and sites like that and we exited that business in 2017. And been involved in e-commerce and various other companies and degrees. Jason: [3:30] That's an amazing story for a couple of reasons first of all I love everybody that that helps helps fun they're beginning through Retail Arbitrage have you seen the latest version of we Retail Arbitrage kind of making the rounds right now. Matt: [3:46] What is the what is the latest version of I probably have but I'm wondering what it would lose. Jason: [3:50] It's dudes buying Walmart frozen pizza and then selling it as a ghost Kitchen on doordash. Matt: [3:56] I love it yes I actually posted that somebody needs to hire that guy with the tick tock video yeah. Jason: [4:01] Yeah that that was amazing and then one thing that's that I found peculiar about your background is most people tell me they even back then Scott was too fancy to actually talk to customer so it's kind of impressive that you were able to meet Scott in person back then. Matt: [4:16] Yeah the I would think I was like 18 and I was a channel advisor conference and I had a beer in my hand and he walked up to me and I remember he was like are you are you 21 I was like I don't think so. Jason: [4:26] So it was mostly a liability concerns. Scot: [4:30] Yeah yeah Matt Matt's a brilliant marketer and he would bring these t-shirts to the shows he did he did Wingo as my homeboy and then was a twingo made Millions so those are some of the best best marketing gimmicks, and I will show up at the show and I was wearing this this t-shirt with a picture of Miss really weird. Jason: [4:49] I feel like it's even it's gotten increasingly true and more much more true in the last month that you could sell more of those t-shirts the Wingo made me Millions. Matt: [4:59] Yeah it was a it was a lot of fun so. Scot: [5:04] And then so then that was your primary thing so then you did you guys realize that you needed to build you look at all the software for shipping and inventory management and build your own and then you, tell the story of that. Matt: [5:19] Oh yeah so it was like 2012 or 2011 and kind of the only inventory platform out there other than like something on the level like sap Oracle custom build for like larger retailers or Manhattan, a red Prairie was what was it called Scott like Stone Edge or something what was it was on Old access bit database yeah and I remember, they actually got bought out by a former competitor of Channel advisor so and there were so many Channel advisor clients on there so we tried to launch that in our warehouse and my childhood friend and he says who got an engineering degree and eventually became the CEO of skew vault, tried to implement that and then him and a programmer who was programming a bunch of stuff Slava who's the co-founder skew vault try to implement that system and it just didn't work properly for us so they came back to me a few months later and they were like hey we're just going to build it and I was kind of like okay if you guys can really do that and you know it worked we built a skew Vault version 1 out of Street Motors warehouse and then eventually I help those guys kind of get the business off the ground. [6:25] Was original co-founder Andy just exited the business lat ironically a week before Channel advisor so, to a company out of the UK and you know still work with Andy on a daily basis and good friends so really proud of those guys and yeah it was it was a great thing we did up having, thousands of customers and help them with their fulfillment needs and help a lot of the big direct to Consumer and Shabba fine Amazon retailers on a SAS, like platform manage their inventory and cycle counts and you know all that kind of stuff. Jason: [7:00] And so was q v predominantly like a order management system or I guess I always thought of it as kind of like a almost like a dim and a CMS and a way am I thinking of it wrong. Matt: [7:12] Predominately a warehouse management system you know we never we had a really good partnership with people like Channel advisor and, and other channel listing tools so Andy was always very adamant on not disrupting those Partnerships I think you saw a lot of, a lot of our competition would eventually move into the channel management and then disrupt those Partnerships so we always relied on and Scott was a huge part of that, and driving force and then Channel advisor folks were always a huge you know big partner of skew vaulting especially in the early days of really driving that home so we never really got into the listing. Pain management we really tried to rely on our. Excellent capability of functioning in the warehouse so providing quality control integrating with the shipping carriers like ship work shipstation. Companies like that and and then integrating with the channel Partners like a channel buzzer. And providing all the quality control Pick Pack you know scan in audits inventory sinking buffers all that type of normal WMS type of functions. Scot: [8:17] Cool so you you were a e-commerce entrepreneur so you've done that then you did software-as-a-service so you get the check that off the box and then I saw on LinkedIn you've also been working with a turbo host so that's actually getting into my world of cars now tell me tell me how you got into that one. Matt: [8:34] I just really like nice cars and you know I started renting them on Taro and I was down in Florida which is like a second home for me and I had one of my best friends move down there and from Louisville, and we just started buying cars it started with one so I didn't have to like rent Ontario anymore and then you know the turo market got really flooded so what I started to concentrate on was more mid-tier Exotics, so we bought cars like Porsches and Ferraris and then Terro raised there, they used to have a lower like coverage they would do like 150,000 and it was something that I was used to you know Scott on very well versed in the marketplaces I think if somebody looks at my. You know in between companies I've always consulted and I've always been brought in by big Brands to be on marketplaces Amazon eBay and how to really run and function those within a larger organization, so I really adapted well to the turo marketplace because I felt it was much like an eBay or an Amazon type of, mentality where they provide the customers you provide the inventory and then provide the service, and then you don't have to worry about all the legal jargon and a lot of the compliance and you know worrying about marketing spend, and Roi so you know we had three or four cars and and still working with my partner on that. Scot: [9:57] Cool it's a as I got into this Mobility space myself I was poking around it's like otter oh and then I saw the CEOs name is Andre Haddad and he's actually an eBay guy and it rang a bell and I had met him a couple times in eBay meetings so it's funny you've already kind of made that correlation there's a lot of, e-commerce people in the mobility world that I run across and then so my big question is if a Ferrari is a mid exotic for you what what's up there about already like Bugattis here like. Matt: [10:29] Like it in your old Ferrari California so it's something like a hundred and thirty thousand dollars and then we drop you know 20,000 into it to fix it up and it's running. You know we run it at like 750 to 1,000 a day where I would consider a more like. If you look at a competition like in Miami or Vegas they're generally running in the you know the Uris has or the Bugattis of the world so that would I would consider kind of the luxury like Newark here. Scot: [10:57] Got it where's and Lambo is kind of in the middle. Matt: [11:00] I would say Leo Lambo Huracan would be kind of be in the middle mid-tier luxury. Scot: [11:05] What's your daily driver their ass. Matt: [11:07] I have five kids now so it's a Ford Expedition in Louisville Kentucky but I have to I have two choices in Suburban or yeah there's no. Scot: [11:15] Low exotic low exotic yeah a lot of gold fish floating around in the car there I'm a that's our bread and butter here at spiffy is the five kids think you guys are Jim. Give them and give them lots of food to throw around back there. Matt: [11:33] Applesauce back and everything yeah I'm the Costco dead. Jason: [11:37] Spiffy spiffy charges extra for apple sauce stains just so you know. Side note I just got back from Vegas from grocery shop a grocery e-commerce show in the big news in Vegas is they just announced that formula one is coming to Las Vegas. Scot: [11:54] Yeah yeah that's gonna be awesome. Jason: [11:56] They're doing a track that's going to be on the Strip their clothes in the strip for a week it's going to that could be pretty cool. Matt: [12:03] Who's at that shop talk conference that they're involved in. Jason: [12:06] It's put on by the same people that started shop talk yes but it's more focused specifically on the like Grocery and Food Industries. So you've got all this Marketplace experience you got your fashion experience through shoot Street Mota. How'd you get there. Matt: [12:39] So I started the business with a friend of mine he owns the largest travel baseball organization in the state of Kentucky it's called The Wolves baseball organization he's around my age, Jewish kid from l.a. got recruited to play baseball in Kentucky so moved here were both only children both the same age both outside of Kentucky so we got along real well, he started training my kids he's really good with people really good people skills, really good with developing children and just teamwork and a lot of stuff and so we just started Guardian as a as honestly. It was supposed to be a lifestyle based business he was paying full retail from a local sporting goods store, for all his equipment and uniforms and I was this is when I was Consulting for the company that had bought Street mode and I was like hey, you know why don't we just go direct to the brands will sell some stuff on Amazon you know we'll have a little half a million dollar business. [13:35] And so we started working with like the wrongs and the Wilsons of the world and the Maru cheese and when I got into this business you know coming from the fashion business and when I consulted I consulted a lot of direct-to-consumer apparel Brands and launching them on. Amazon and helping with them their Logistics and health and beauty and those are very. Competitive Industries in the direct-to-consumer world right and they're very Advanced and a lot of their metrics and there's just heavy competition and there's a new direct-to-consumer player subscription boxes which is very competitive market and there's always something new. But in the Sporting Goods industry and you know Jason if you play baseball growing up is the same Brands like the same Louisville Sluggers Easton's. Of the world and you are having some direct-to-consumer. Brands that are kind of infiltrating the baseball and softball world but it's very much like an accessories like they might be a Brandon sunglasses or a bad brain and batting gloves but there's not really a big brand kind of doing it all, and there's almost no direct-to-consumer penetration so it's something that. [14:34] As we started evolving the business we started by buying just equipment then we would go to the brands and we started making our own equipment with them so we go to them and say hey. [14:44] You guys do black pink bags for girls that's really cool but like a lot of the girls are sick of black pink so we're going to make black Tiffany we're going to make black rose gold. How about we do these like new colorways kind of relating into the fashion business so you know I was still active in fashion and Consulting for and working with a lot of Brands like Puma, Steve Madden and Brands like that so I know kind of the colorways that are clicking and women's heels or Footwear and sneakers so I would and apparel and I would kind of put those over, and say okay maybe baseball and softball is a year or two behind so we kind of started doing that and that worked really well. And then we started producing our own cleats which are an Amazon bestseller so we're you know we out sell some of the biggest brands on the market came from Footwear so we started making kids cleats, our Guardian one of our Guardian kids please says over 6 700 reviews on Amazon it's one of the top sellers, we had inventory we have more inventory coming in so we just started started with cleats and then we started making sliding Nets bat bags. Um and then we released a baseball bat with a huge kind of direct-to-consumer startup brand that's taking over a lot of the market in the BB core which is high school and college is called stinger, bad company and we did a collab with them and it was called The Guardian bat by stainer and standards whole thing is basically the traditional direct to consumer. [16:07] Where they're you know the normal high school and college bats are costing three to five hundred dollars and they come in around 250 price point, 260 price point it's the same quality most of their sales are direct they do have a few retailers, and we came in and did a brand collaboration and we we had over 120,000 views 130,000 reviews on bat Bros which is the independent bat testing and they rated as a top five bat, and then when it came out for three or four months it was a top five bad on Amazon in terms of sales so. You know that's kind of what we're doing now and kind of evolving the business into more of a direct-to-consumer and making our own equipment and then working on with brand collaborations like a supreme would in the fashion business where, putting a guardian and going to a traditional brand and saying hey instead of just doing black and navy and red catching equipment let's do a kid's shark-tooth let's do a camouflage but like blue and green camo or something so we're kind of making it fun. And it's been good you know it's been a fun ride we're growing rapidly we, closing investment with Matt Joyce this year he came on as an owner so my business partners Evan I own the business along with a 14-year major Leaguer who just retired, and he was kind of a good Target for us we didn't want somebody that was just just going to sign a check like a really really big guy that was a Hall of Famer something and wasn't want to be active we wanted somebody that. [17:36] Was very entrepreneurial and Matt owns a line of gyms and Florida he does a bunch of real estate Investments and he's had kind of a blue-collar dad you know family raised him type of hard-working mentality and we wanted somebody like that. So he came on this year and we're really glad to have him and he's kind of helped line out a hole. Roster of athletes with us so we're very early on in The Cutting Edge of Ni El marketing and yeah so we're just kind of a cutting-edge retailer. Jason: [18:06] Interesting so a couple of quick questions jump to mind when you first got in the the baseball business, I would call that the sporting goods in general and I'm kind of assuming you'll correct me if I'm wrong baseball in particular is a little bit of a digital lagger right so, like you don't think of like Rowling and Wilson as kind of digital first companies. Matt: [18:31] No I would say the industry overall is is very traditional and they don't like a lot of change in the industry I think that's the baseball and softball equipment baseball in all I mean you see baseballs really losing out to Big sports like football and basketball and they're trying to figure out how do we become more engaged with the fan so I don't just think it's. Just necessary the equipment Brands I think it's overall as a sport but we definitely do see that in the baseball and softball equipment you know I think they don't really. They get they hand me these 500-page catalogs and there's 498 pages that are literally dedicated to male athlete ages 14 and above. And what they really forget and they do make equipment for him but it's not a focal point of their business and that's what Guardian kind of focuses on, is the softball Market is very underserved and then the youth market and if you think about the under 8 years old that's the most kids Everybody Plays little league right ever played buddy place, t-ball and coach pitch and then as you kind of Rise through the ranks then maybe you get more involved in swimming or maybe you get more involved in Lacrosse and that's your sport, or basketball or football and then you stop playing baseball so we are our cleats actually really Market to a 12 and under, and that's where really really kind of honing in the market and then the softball markets been huge you know two of our biggest influencers are Bella Dayton and Jasmine Perez chica they play for Arizona and Texas. [19:56] Their videos on Tik-Tok and Instagram we've done on marketing as and IL marketing have. Gotten hundreds of thousands of views and actually get more views than Major Leaguers we work with, and softball NCAA softball I think it was last 2021 surpassed college or viewership, for college men's baseball in the world series for the first time ever so college softball and softball in general is a very underserved Market by these Brands and it's something that, we're working with them on to develop more items and we're also working on ourselves of really kind of dressing that market and putting women at the Forefront. Jason: [20:33] Yeah that's super interesting I want to come back to the influencers but I'm just trying to make sure I understand so you started Guardian. In a lot of categories like a bunch of the aspirational Legacy Brands it's really hard to get a license to sell them right so you know. You do you want to start new footwear company you're not getting a Nike license you know it's really hard to get get a wholesale agreement with Oakley folks like that was it easy to get like Wilson in drawing to sell to you. Matt: [21:02] Yes it because of my business partners. The 14 travel teams he has the largest so those companies were already knocking down the door to be his uniform. Facility and and that sort of thing and at that time we started the business 45 years ago and like you said they're kind of behind the times of e-commerce so they hadn't started to clean up the marketplaces like a lot of the fashion brands or Electronics Brands had, on the Amazon and eBay world yet now they're starting to make a lot of those and they've kind of grandfathers as they in and putting those in those contracts. Where we've been able to do some special stuff like a lot of Brands we have you know brand registry with are able to come and do viral videos on the Amazon Marketplace and do a lot of things like that. Jason: [21:43] Yeah well you you anticipated my next question which is like it's often for those Brands controversial if they want to be on marketplaces and particularly on Amazon so with do I was that part of the discussion where they already on Amazon was it a foregone conclusion that they were okay with their products being a marketplaces or is that something you had to kind of evolve into. Matt: [22:03] Some of the brands are receptive to it you know I think there's three buckets there's you know brands that are like hey you can sew on your own.com but you can't sell in marketplaces then we've had brands that are like, hey you can be an authorized retailer but you have to kind of like follow these guidelines and fall in line you can't change product items we're not going to make smu's for us, and then we have a third brand the third option where a lot of and these are I would say these are more of your up-and-coming Brands and more of your brands that are, maybe number two that are really trying to take the market share of number one, you know like what's the car rental company that always said we're number two were working going to work harder so those type of brands are the brands that we really have the best relationships with like a stainer that's, kind of said hey go ahead and take not only can you be on Amazon but we're going to give you the keys to the kingdom here's brand registry go run with it, and you know do video ads do all type of editorial marketing handle all that for you so we're kind of acting like an agency in that type of a relationship, more were handling that and following all their guidelines working when it with ownership working with the executives, and then carrying their core merchandise and also making exclusive merchandise for the Amazon Walmart type of marketplaces. Jason: [23:16] Gotcha so not only are you doing it but you're helping them get better at it and is that controversial at all like are you potentially enabling them to go direct and not need you as much. Matt: [23:27] I think yeah I think we you know that is controversial right I think you know I spent. Six figures on an event in Florida last year hosting all the top equipment Brands and was very adamant on here's our vision you know I think we're going to be like a Target or a Costco where. This industry is a little unique because you're always going to have. The traditional brands on the Major League field and in the college's so this is not a. An industry where people are just going to say okay now I'm going to wear all birds instead of Cole Haans right where so there's always going to be elements of the industry like people are always going to want to use a Rawlings glove or you know a little Slugger bat right. Or a Marucci bat so. Working with those vendors and carrying that type of merchandise that the people demand kind of creates the ability for us to make our. Merchandise that we make. You know advertised more and have more effect in the market because we're carrying both so and we kind of have always said that that we're going to be like a Costco or a Target and carry our own private label but we always want the Best Brands and the best equipment in there. Jason: [24:38] Yeah so then that brings me back to the influencers because in my mind the world is slightly changed a little bit like hey. But influencers have become a much more effective comment marketing tactic in almost every category but but in Sporting Goods particularly like, Sporting Goods that have a significant College element like baseball historically the influencer wasn't the player it was the University because the players we're not allowed to be in for answers but the the team's I'll sign contract so you so if you were super rich you could go buy a bunch of colleges they are would use your gear and then you were the de facto market leader but you know for the last couple years it's been legal for those individual players, to be their own brand and in some sports a lot of those players had then. Opted out of using the team sanctioned equipment is like and I was curious is that happening in baseball at all and is that going to open the door for more brands or have they figured out how to keep it locked down pretty well. Matt: [25:41] Yeah so not so much on the latter part of the equipment I'll kind of get into that in a minute but the obviously we were very. Early on as soon as that IL law came out we were one of the first, people to start signing College athletes and we've kind of been at the Forefront as a retailer and especially even outpacing a lot of Brands a lot of brands are asking actually asking us for advice and how we run the program so we have it, about 15 College athletes now between baseball and softball signed to our roster and we utilize them and. Not so much in a sales standpoint you're seeing a lot of traditional retailers out there big box stores are signing these college athletes and they're having them like take a picture in a shopping cart, like in their store and it just looks very like hey use my code at the checkout for 10% off. And what we really try to do if you check out our Instagram or Tik-Tok as we do a little a lot of viral like videos of Just interviewing them, we fly them in or will fly out and do a lot of photo shoots with the video team and will do videos of them using different equipment Guardian Brandon also non Guardian Brandon some of our brand partners, which they're really appreciative of and will leverage that content not only on social media but on our website email marketing but also on the marketplaces, and it's you know, I think the new wave of Amazon you've had this wave of Scott seen the different cycles of e-commerce retailers out there and I think direct to Consumer brands are really going hard. [27:06] Are really coming hard on the Amazon Marketplace so I think really the private label companies you know that are strictly just trying to create a commodity product on Amazon, are really going to be forced out by brands that are really bringing really good content and really good marketing on the Amazon platform much like the direct to Consumer brands of the last five years did on social media. Scot: [27:28] Got it so one way of reframing Guardian is you know there's some percentage of your stuff that you sell that the bread and butter its existing Brands but then you're also inside of their building a DTC brand to fill in the holes that by selling other people's stuff you realize hey maybe there needs to be a bat that's kind of like you know it's BBCOR this and we'll all that jazz but it needs to be at a lower price point is that a is that a fair. Matt: [27:51] That's exactly that's a yeah. Scot: [27:54] Cool so you're like a delicious d2c doughnut or a yeah with a with a good feeling so, so one of the reasons I wanted to get you on the podcast is you've been out there pretty vocal talking about by with prime so maybe explain for listeners who don't know what that is what it is from your perspective and then then how you guys got looped in on that. Matt: [28:18] Yeah so by with prime is a new offering from Amazon and it integrates into. Platforms like Shopify and Bigcommerce. And it allows a e-commerce retailer to pool their FBA inventory if they're on Amazon or they can send in inventory into Amazon. And there's a button on the Shopify site or the Bigcommerce site that bypasses the normal checkout process and it's just a one click buy now with Prime and then that item is fulfilled by Amazon, and that can choose and what type of box or whatever and you can actually deliver it in very competitive pricing compared to UPS FedEx you know a lot of the mail consolidators in one to two business days. Scot: [29:06] Got it and then if I. Matt: [29:08] It's a lot like it's a dressed-up it's like a gastropub version of their original like multi what was it called mer multi-channel fulfillment service. Scot: [29:17] Yeah yeah but with a consumer front end to it. Matt: [29:20] Yes with the consumer and actually some of the people in that department are like. Hey we had this originally for like five or ten years but they just dress it up and gave it a good logo so and some more front-end technology but you know it's a very compelling offer. Scot: [29:35] Yeah so the user consumer is I go to your website and I see I'm in the checkout process and it says hey you're a prime user you can just you've already got your payment and everything with Amazon and you know you're familiar with the prime promise which is the fast free shipping and then I just essentially press a button in her my Amazon credentials and I'm good to go is that. Matt: [29:56] Yeah and it's actually before the checkout process so if you it actually supports variation so, if you were selling red dresses and you had extra small and small and FBA but you were sold out and medium and you I'd meet him in your Warehouse then, it would actually if you chose the extra small or small would populate that button on the checkout before you click or on the item page before you added it to check out. Scot: [30:17] So you need you need to make it an inventory aware that it's in a FB a kind of thing okay interesting yeah alright but then the you know so, so this has been another reason this was topical is you know if we kind of rewind I like five years I think there's been this kind of started this got on my radar well first of all shopify's Mantra is arming the rebels right and so that folks being a Star Wars fan that invokes a Star Wars kind of thing and then you're kind of like well who's the Death Star and it turns out Amazon's the Death Star and their arm the rebels so then they've been poking Amazon. Jason: [30:52] Oddly Kylie Jenner is Luke Skywalker in that metaphor but yeah. Scot: [30:56] Sure yeah and and then and then the Shopify social media started to really poke around Amazon it made fun of Jeff Bezos was in some tabloids for some pictures that surfaced and they were making fun of that and then his divorce and all that and then I was sitting there watching that you and I have seen other companies kind of poke the Amazon Baron it hasn't gone very well for him sitting there watching as like this is not gonna go well for these guys and then sure enough you know flash word to hear Shopify has hit some issues with growth rates they over-invested in the post covid world and then famously Toby the CEO was talking about he got asked on a conference call a Wall Street conference call what he thought about by with Prime and he's like oh we love Innovation and we would we would love to adopt it well then they had to backtrack that so are you guys caught up in that like are you know because they basically are now telling Merchants that if you use it, it's pretty hard language they're saying you're probably going to be open to fraud and we can't protect you and so they're definitely heading down this path I think of, trying to make it very hard for you to use this feature. Matt: [32:13] In terms of like are you asking what would I do as a business or in terms of where do you think the industry will kind of go. Scot: [32:19] We'll have has you know I'm assuming you're tracking this pretty closely because you're all you always are yeah. Jason: [32:25] Did you get the threatening letter from from Shopify. Matt: [32:27] Yeah it's we didn't get a threatening letter but we've seen all the pop-up of the terms of service and are account that popped up. Scot: [32:33] Yeah yeah it reminds me of the early days of eBay where they were like there's this thing PayPal we think it's very suspicious and we're not really sure you should use you should use our crappy payment thing that takes 50 clicks and rarely works but it's so super secure, yes so that that's interesting do you where do you think that you know as a merchant, you are on this platform and you want the flexibility to do everything how does it make you feel as from a business perspective to. Matt: [33:00] From a business for so personal and then where the industry is heading I mean where the industry is heading I think you have to look. Amazon is going to rule the world of logistics you know you've seen FedEx come out with the reports where they've had one of their biggest messes ever and I think. You're seeing Amazon trunks more and more and it's the more reliable you know delivery than a lot of the common carrier so. And I've seen you know Scott we've seen what GSI and eBay and Walmart I mean Rockies Han launched of a competitor try to take out FBI I mean these are huge companies that really tried to take on Amazon and Logistics front. And I can tell you I've used what is now I guess Shopify Logistics or whatever they're going to rename it but deliver and, it it did not really work for our business you know I can't speak for other people but it had a lot of bugs in the integration it's there's a lot of flaws with the delivery process and I don't know if that was the best egg acquisition for deliver and I don't know if it'll really work out. For a merchants and so I think there's a lot of there's a lot of progress that Amazon has made to really out do a lot of everyone in the logistics world. [34:14] And I just don't know if other people are going to be able to keep up and I think Innovation is always going to you know fee if Amazon is able to deliver things in one to two days for a Shopify, at prices than most Shopify Merchants can negotiate directly with UPS or FedEx or USPS for standard shipping then you know. [34:35] I understand what's good for Shopify and they want him to go through the checkout but what's good for their merchants on their platform than somebody might actually start to. Take that business platform because I know as as a business owner and as a CEO I would I would make the Assumption if Shopify came in and said that. And we saw by with prime become successful as we've seen in some initial few weeks of launching it, then we would probably consider re-platforming maybe to a Bigcommerce or maybe somebody that Amazon had a really good relationship with. And maybe that's not you know the smartest move at this point but in the future when you know we can deliver Goods because part of our selling feature to people to outdo the box stores, is not you know because people can go to a dicks or Academy, and they can have the much better selection they VIP programs and everything so something we instituted on Guardian baseball.com is when I set out to start the business is I wanted to offer a free 6-month extended warranty, on all bats and equipment. [35:35] Because the Brand's only offer a year so we're a year and a half and I said if we compete with these brands in a world of price monitoring and price mapping and the price is the same everywhere if we're going to have a pair of cleats listed on Amazon and F ba and then we're selling them with standard shipping on our website then the only thing we really have to do is play with price and discounting, and enduring a world of price parity that's impossible so for a d2c Merchants that plays on the Amazon space you have to able to offer that same offering, of that one to two day shipping like Amazon does on your own D2 seeing if you. [36:06] Then you can't really expand in the Amazon because you're just going to cannibalize your own sales on on your own d2c site so I think you have to offer it both so I think Innovation will always continue to succeed, in the market and I think Brands will start to partner with people that are going to partner with Amazon. Scot: [36:23] Yeah often kind of war game did this Jason I'm pretty sure we've said this on the podcast a couple times if I was personally Amazon and I got the job of disrupting Shopify, you know what I would do is I would leverage FBA and I would go and I get as many Shopify people using FBA and then then that would give me the hook to then say well let's say they came out with a competing platform or or they just. They wanted you to go to a, friendly third party platform like let's say it's Bigcommerce or something then then you just kind of proved to me that that is enough hook for the merchants to to make a front-end switch because that that, that fast relatively inexpensive shipping is so important to most companies and because customers expect. Matt: [37:09] And I think Amazon has the war chest to say if Java does come out with that I mean. And I go to the by with prom team and say hey look I have to lever I have to change the Bigcommerce it's going to cost me X you know if you want me to continue using by with prime what can you guys do for me I mean you know. Scot: [37:26] Yeah so you hinted that it's going really well are there any stats you can share with us so like I guess there's one thing would be you know you can only show it so many times because there's going to only be a surface area of inventory that's an FBA but then when it's shown is that got higher conversion than other things anything you can share there would be interesting. Matt: [37:46] So it does have some cons there's a lot of things that are on the road map with by with prime but I mean the obvious obviously the successes are, we're seeing a slight Improvement do the familiar with the prime badge and also the estimated shipping dates the Fulfillment costs are generally 25 to 30 percent less than we can currently negotiate and I'm with a lot of mail consolidators, you know resellers a post office obviously you know I've been in this world so I know that different ways to negotiate with FedEx ups and a lot of the mail consolidators. In the quicker delivery times are generally seen 24 to 48 hours max we're seeing is 72 hours and the a big con of that as you can keep the customer data unlike regular FBA sales. Um and they're also offering you know obviously I was doubted accelerate I spoke at by with Braun conference prior to accelerated Amazon HQ, last week and it accelerate they announced that they're you know offering a bunch of different initiatives that are kind of new for Amazon where they're offering. Brands are participating by with prime the ability to actually mark it on the Amazon platform but back to their d2c site. [38:53] So there's a lot of compelling offers out there that they're kind of opening up the amazon Universe to which is kind of unique and I was actually surprised about. But one of the big issues that they're working on is the conversion tracking so our marketing pixels don't record purchases made from the by with prime button which is something that they're working on. And the akan that they're working on other are releasing this is you can purchase you can only purchase one bearing at a time so it's not like a checkout experience, where you can group a bunch of different items you actually have to like physically buy one item go back to the site so we have a lot of multicart, on our website unlike Amazon which is a lot of single item you pts and so we're seeing you know on a lot of those bulk they're still going to do the traditional checkout process because I don't think it's like it's hard to really explain that to the customer we're like hey if you want to buy the single item go with by with Prime. So we're seeing at limited success with a lot of 10 items. [39:53] If we don't currently with the current integration with Shopify it doesn't have the inventory transparency so we have to double up with an mcf integration. So it's something. You know it's kind of a unique situation with our business model because we have a separate FB a skew so there's some you know quarks in there, and there's some different things that they're really kind of coming out so with but it's I call them cons but it's really things that are calling the roadmap and right as they kind of said at the conference to me and a large group of you know. Agencies and sellers is we wanted to get it out there in the marketplace and I said that's smart and then we want to work on these as opposed to having a perfect program and releasing it a year later. Jason: [40:38] Yeah so I actually just realized we didn't. We didn't articulate a couple things for visitors to just make sure everybody is tracking Guardian baseball is running on Shopify. And you are an early adopter by with prime so and you even you promoted on the homepage right so you've got like very distinctive branding by with prime which is Amazon's program that you know if you're already a Prime member gives you that, that Prime service level of fulfillment and the prime wallet even when you buy it on Guardian baseball so. A couple of things kind of jump out at me there. You hit one that is a big problem for me is the multi skew problem but I think of the by with prime checkout flow is being very similar to the traditional shot PayPal flow. In that the checkout button shows up on as a separate button on the pdps but PayPal also let you. Like use PayPal as the payment method in the cart for the multi skew purchase so you Amazon doesn't have a solution for that today but you could imagine that they would enable by with prime both on the product level and at the cart levels. Matt: [41:54] Yes and that's what they're working towards. Jason: [41:56] Yeah so so that's always one big problem because you know side note most e-commerce sites are not very profitable if the if the, if the average items per order is 1 so so we definitely we need to sell more stuff in most cases to make this profitable the threatening letter I would add to is not Shopify saying hey you're not allowed to accept by with, it's simply them saying in our opinion their security flaws in, doing this kind of thing and we might not be able to indemnify you if there's a fraud problem as a result of that right like that's that's the kind of passive-aggressive, approach shopify's taken to date on it and it is funny to me because all of those same security holes would also be true of PayPal by the way and Shopify has never really complained about PayPal before. Um so that gets me to the other big problem I see for both Prime and I'm curious if I'm wrong or if you're seeing it by with prime only works for existing Prime members there's no onboarding experience so if I'm not a Prime member and I go to Guardian baseball.com I see this huge well go on the homes thing that says by with prime which I don't have Prime and then when I'm looking at an individual skew I want to buy there's a by with prime checkout button, and I could click that button but I won't be allowed to check out because I don't I don't have Prime and so if the only. Scot: [43:21] Who doesn't have Prime. Matt: [43:23] I'm glad it's got Evans. Jason: [43:27] Nobody listening to this podcast but there's 100 million Prime members in the world so even if we assume, 70 million of them are in North America 80 million if you want to be really aggressive are in North America there's 240 million households in North America so two-thirds of the households in the United States of America would be the answer like can't click that button right and so I guess I went like you've got this fragmented inventory you have some of your inventory you can you can fulfill through the the Shopify check out some you can only fulfill through by with prime but then like you have no way to give the non-prime members access to that is that a am I making up a problem and that hasn't been a problem for you or do you think you have, have non-prime members that are kind of in the whole right now on that. Matt: [44:16] I think that's something to Amazon can better communicate we are obviously limited to what they can do on the side but a normal customer can still do the normal checkout process of adding the cart. But I think yeah that's obviously something Amazon can do and then also doesn't support discounts which is a big not only the conversion tracking but discount so obviously a lot of direct to Consumer sites. Like us are offering discounts or first-time customers or email you know pay 25% off with this code or Black Friday Cyber Monday so the currently does not support so it's very limited, but we really feel it's kind of right now in its use and this is going to change in the next three to six months but right now it's kind of like a fast lane, you know where you're paying like at Disney World for the fast ticket or whatever the top-of-the-line and we really feel that hey you can go through your normal checkout process. But we also have this ability we're going to a fast pass you know if you want it now you don't want to Discount you know you want it quicker and you want that problem delivery. Jason: [45:13] Yeah so it's weird like here's how I like I totally agree with how you're thinking about by with prime you also take shop pay on the site and I would argue there's a different set of pros and cons to shop pay for different customers in different circumstances it seems like the solution to all these that none of these companies are willing to do is you ought to be able to just expose the by with prime button to known Prime members and you ought to be able to just expose the shop pay check out to known shop pay holders. Matt: [45:46] I love that idea. Jason: [45:47] Yeah trust me when you suggested to Amazon they're not going to like you because they, because they want that logo everywhere but yeah so that that seems like the, the state of by with prime right now it's super interesting and it's super interesting you're saying like man if Shopify ever said we it's a it's a hard know then that would make you reconsider the platform like that you know like that speaks volumes that's interesting. Matt: [46:14] I think you know I think Amazon's coming out with this program in there. [46:19] I think everyone say okay is is a lot of these direct-to-consumer Shopify Brands going to adapt Amazon FBA and I think a number of them are but I think what also this is going to help. A lot of Amazon Brands a lot of Amazon DTC brands that are really executing well like a guardian on marketing, on creating good content in there not just these Dropship Private Label Amazon sellers, that are out there and you know let's go Source one or two products on Alibaba and sell them under some name and compete with the Chinese but really people that are building a brand you know the brands that are getting acquired by the aggregators and those type of brands. And those brands that may be. Our and expanded into Walmart expanded into other categories but are scared to kind of make that big investment into a Shopify site and hire the marketing team and really become like a full-fledged direct-to-consumer I think. What Amazon's doing on the marketing front. And the Fulfillment front is going to help these Amazon d2c Brands and I think what's going to happen is going to create a rise of the next wave of d2c or the next kind of. Trendy type of companies that come out there so you've seen obviously a lot of trends like 2010's as flash sales and then you saw direct to Consumer Brands and subscription boxes, and the direct to Consumer Brands predominantly grew on social media Instagram Facebook when the iOS changes you know weren't adapted and traffic was still cheap so. [47:44] I think you're going to see a lot of these the next wave of cool direct to Consumer Brands will come from Amazon and they will adapt on the data see sites with the help of Amazon. Scot: [47:54] Prick. Matt: [47:55] And I don't think you're going to see as much D to see big brands that are adapting the Amazon by with Prime at least initially and I think eventually that you'll see a lot more adoption once a lot of these quirks are worked out. Scot: [48:09] Yeah a lot of d2c Brands got born off Facebook but apple and the atti DFA of kind of crushed that so now Amazon used is kind of the way to go so I think what you're saying right. Matt: [48:20] Yeah I think so and I think that's going to create a next wave of either the brands are going to adapt from a t2c over to Amazon or you're going to see these kind of Amazon native people that have kind of running this world like I have for the last two decades that really know how to master the marketplace know how to assemble the teams of marketing customer service and everything and use the right technology stocks, for those businesses and really adopt and really grow really Innovative brands. Scot: [48:47] I know you need to go and like four minutes so we could wrap it a fire this. Matt: [48:50] You're good you can tell Ron few months if you. Scot: [48:52] About dying dying to know what do you think about all the FBA Roll-Ups they were all quite the fashion and now they seem to be hitting some hard times did you ever buy into that trend. Matt: [49:03] I think anyone in this market I mean you look at a lot of our outspoken people on social media of those, you know it's tough to acquire that many Brands and I think there are some people that are successful with it that are more going in The Tortoise and the Hare that you know we all I'm hearing some successful people where there's let you know. By maybe they own 15 brands or they own 10 brands but obviously the big big aggregators that everyone talks about are obviously struggling you're seeing layoffs so. I wasn't really you know how to directly opinion on it I thought it was there's no way they could acquire that many Brands and with it with the market model of not keeping the entrepreneurial on because I think there's always an art form to e-commerce you can have all the analytics you want you can have all the data scientists and, and all the formula but you know when you hire College grads and to run these businesses that don't have experience you it's always a touch and feel there's always 20-30 percent art right, that somebody needs to know and the older I get I realize that I have that on the marketplace of how to really build the brands and how to adapt Brands to that, and that's why I've been successful and I'm realizing that's my strength so I think some of those aggregators really didn't have that kind of DNA of the entrepreneur and keep that intact and that might have been a downfall of some of those. Jason: [50:21] Yeah it's it is interesting I can certainly see companies kind of being born direct-to-consumer on Amazon having their first customers come from Amazon and then outgrow Amazon over time where you want your own URLs or move to other things which like I mean I think, anchor is kind of the Prototype. Matt: [50:42] That yeah that was that's a really good. Jason: [50:45] But I do think I think it's really risky whether you're a rollup or an individual brand or whatever it's really risky to think I'm Amazon is always going to be my exclusive, acquisition Channel because the problem is Amazon Super efficient at getting the maximum, fee for each customer you acquire and so yeah you can buy some of those you know customers at first to get started but you're always going to be paying the highest price and you know the big news that came out this month is I forget what their new name was but Pharma packs which has been a top five, seller on Amazon for like 10 years, and exclusively sell through Amazon they just they declared bankruptcy and they're like one of the biggest most successful Amazon sellers of all time and to me that's a cautionary tale for, like at some point you need to diversify your customer acquisition you can't solely rely on Amazon as that is that source for you. Matt: [51:42] I think yes I think it's a part of a Playbook and you have to adhere to other channels and grow in other channels but you know obviously. Amazon's one of the biggest places to acquire customers one of the most successful so I think it's always going to be in a portfolio but it needs to be part of a whole portfolio. Jason: [51:58] Hundred percent that's why they robbed the money from the banks right because that's what, that's where the money is but man I think that's going to be a good place to wrap it because we have used up our lot of time as per usual if you got value out of this episode we sure would appreciate that five star review on iTunes. Scot: [52:16] Matt we really appreciate taking time to tell your arterial story and share with us your thoughts about both Prime if lister's want to look you up online other than going in and buying some stuff that Guardian baseball what should they do. Matt: [52:29] I'm on LinkedIn Instagram and it's (2) Matt Kubancik
Episode 295 is a breakdown of Walmart and Target Q2 earnings, as well as the US Department of Commerce retail sales data for July. Episode 295 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Thursday August 18, 2022. Transcript Jason: [0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show, this is episode 295 being recorded on Thursday August 18th 2022 I'm your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I'm here with your co-host Scot Wingo. Scot: [0:38] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason Scott showed listeners Jason how you doing how you been traveling a lot lately. Jason: [0:46] I have I have it's been interesting to spend so much time at the airport's they've been quite busy lately. Scot: [0:54] Yeah yep the there's cancellations it's total chaos at airports so hopefully now that we're in back-to-school season that'll slow down a little bit. Jason: [1:03] Knock on Woods October is a busy Commerce trade show month so I'll be on the road almost of October hopefully visiting some listeners but hopefully yeah travels a little smoother hopefully I can get some better seats on the airplane I'm a little bitter at the. Scot: [1:19] Yeah you have like 20 million miles and they're putting your life back in steerage. Jason: [1:24] That's a slightly milder version of that is true. Scot: [1:29] Cool and then I guess the big question is we've got two new series kicking off are you going to do Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings or both. Jason: [1:39] I'm super excited about both I'm actually some people know I had knee surgery earlier in the year I'm actually contemplating getting the surgery on my other knee so I have an excuse just stay at home for a while a month and watch them both. Scot: [1:55] Yeah and then let's see the well ready to jump into some news. Jason: [2:02] I'm super excited to. Scot: [2:03] Cool well it wouldn't be a Jason Scott show without. Jason: [2:08] Amazon news new your margin is there opportunity. Scot: [2:21] Yes there is some Amazon news I wanted to just chat about with youth the 16th of August Amazon surprised both Wall Street and a bit and third-party sellers a lot with their first-ever peak season surge pricing for fulfillment by Amazon are commonly known as FBA so the way this is going to work is they've put out the dates October 15th through January 14th of 23 third-party sellers that you use fbar going to have a new fee and I hope you're sitting down it is 35 cents per item. [2:57] Now you may be saying to yourself Scott that's pretty small is that going to really move the needle and one of our friends of the show Colin Sebastian he actually did the math on this. So it turns out that last holiday if you look at the third party sell units sold during that period you had two point seven two two point eight billion you have a midpoint of 2.75 billion. He took that approximated in 34 so that went through yeah if ba you multiply that out and you get about 700 million dollars just drops right out of that 35 cents. So that is the power of an Amazon scale is a seemingly tiny little. Surcharge can be a big number so it's going to be interesting and you know that will be pure profit because the Amazon is not doing anything differently really. And then in the press release they basically said our expenses are reaching New Heights and it's making it harder for the company to absorb cost and they have to pass some of those on. But we still love our third-party sellers did you would you think about this video. Jason: [4:01] Yeah well I'm guessing third-party Sellers and investors didn't react exactly the same to that news. Scot: [4:07] Yes investors were happy third-party sellers it's kind of one of those things it's kind of tricky because you can't complain too much because it feels like 35 cents but you know if you're a seller selling couple of thousand items a day through F be a it's going to be material and I think, at the end of the day all this gets passed on to the consumers and that causes inflation which we're going to talk about a good bit on Today Show. Jason: [4:30] Yeah it's a, it's interesting it's kind of a mixed bag because well I feel like it is true that Amazon hasn't charged a true surge charge before the you know they change their terms and conditions all the time and that you know they'll like they'll narrow the window under which you can keep stuff in, in the warehouse before you start getting extra fees they'll make you take more stuff back they'll take less stuff and those all kind of. Have the effect of making F be a more expensive for some sellers. Well the 35 cents probably isn't a deal-breaker it is a good reminder to all these third-party sellers that your your kind of a digital sharecropper in the Amazon Echo System and what you know the two things that I think are most interesting are this kicks in in October, strong rumors that Amazon's going to try a second prime day in October so this could be insult to injury. They could be asking third-party sellers to like, load up the inventory and get ready for a second prime day and be charging them more so this actually could end up being even a little bigger than, was forecasted than Colin forecasted have. [5:44] Prime day ends up being a meaningful thing and then if you also remember earlier in the year Amazon launched check out with prime which was kind of a. First move to making fulfillment by Amazon available to non Amazon sellers or at least sellers off of the Amazon platform and so it's kind of interesting. You know shortly after they they're trying to make F be a more available there they're making it more expensive. Scot: [6:14] Yeah yeah the they've struggled with that because every time they've opened it up to people not selling on Amazon they have a surge of some kind and they have to kind of like pair that program back it's happened like four or five times it's crazy. Jason: [6:28] And the flip side is of course the other carriers you'd be shipping through the other common carriers the holiday search these are quite common so this is not not going to feel like a typical or out of line when you compare it to UPS or FedEx. Scot: [6:43] Yin haven't most of them put on a fuel surcharge already like an even though fuel is going down there. Jason: [6:47] There are there are surcharges on top of surcharges and you know some people feel like they haven't turned off the surge charges for two years. Scot: [6:55] Yeah yeah so it's hard out there in e-commerce land from a cost perspective that's for sure was there any Amazon news you found interesting. Jason: [7:03] Yeah yeah I would actually bundle two pieces of news and column two sides of the coin, the interesting Amazon test was revealed this company that monitors the Amazon App found a new feature, it appears like it's only been deployed to Amazon employees at this point, but it's basically a picture and video stream in the app so this is like the way that this is described as sort of like a tick tock like feature. Inside of the Amazon app which is interesting. Obviously in China a lot of people shop in the Chinese version of Tik-Tok which is called do Hyun. A lot of people get interested in buying products through tick-tocking us they haven't necessarily like. Checked out on Tick Tock in huge quantities yet but it's super interesting the Amazons kind of approach to social commerce, is get content creators and influencers and sellers. To create social content on Amazon's platform so I'm twitch on Amazon live and now this new Tick-Tock feature it's like Amazon's not partnering with Tick-Tock Amazon's trying to be tick-tock. [8:20] And I said two sides of the same coin because I mentioned in earlier tests Amazon did was Amazon live where they tried to take really popular, content creators that are calmer sea and entice them to create content on the Amazon platform and they're they're paying anywhere from like two to nine thousand dollars a month plus the. The affiliate commissions to get people to produce content on Amazon live and it didn't seem like content creators were super happy with those results, they weren't making a lot of money they were there was a lot of churn and now a bunch of this content creators that have moved off the platform are now organizing a boycott of Amazon, because they feel like Amazon's not treating their employees the way they would like so it just reminds everyone that like man there's this really interesting opportunity and you know side of the business around social commerce and kind of you know letting influencers and content creators into your Echo System but then the flip side is they don't always behave in the ways you you like and even more so when they're they're not on the payroll. Scot: [9:30] Yeah yeah the influencers live by the influencer die by the influencer The Tick-Tock things interesting I don't know, I think it is reading a lot into it to call it Tick Tock but you know they're definitely trying to figure out live streaming one thing we haven't talked about on the show in my world of Collectibles this Marketplace is really splashed onto the scene called whatnot and it's a whole live stream for Collectibles and you know the I think they've raised money around a three to four billion dollar valuation which would imply there gmv is pretty substantial I haven't seen any reports but it's pretty pretty interesting it's kind of an entertainment livestream like we see out of China but applied to Collectibles and I feel like that's a pretty good category for for this format because you can do these Pack openings and all these kinds of things and I've experimented with it and it's pretty neat you can, the streamers that can run auctions right in there and they can have kind of a three formats going at once they can kind of have a claim show an auction and then like a little e-commerce slider store over on the side it's a pretty interesting platform that if you're interested in Collectibles go check it out get started with collectible toys like these little Funko pops and then it's moved into it's got a vibrant sports card non-sports card and then and I've seen a lot of activity around the comics category so that's kind of an interesting new approach ahead and seen out there. Jason: [10:59] Yeah you know the whole live streaming thing is super interesting and complicated the quick Reader's Digest version. In China live streaming is super popular and it was born on the e-commerce platform so taobao live which is like kind of the equivalent of Amazon or Ebay. [11:18] Like launched a livestream video platform and they built a huge Commerce business and these influencers, the Alibaba paid like we're starting to sell like huge quantities there's this dude Austin Lee who sells lipstick Who Sold over a billion dollars in a single day, and over time in China the live streaming has moved off of the Retailer's platforms onto the social media platforms like Dao Yuan and WeChat, and so you look at China and you go oh my God live streams huge it's the future it's how all this stuff is getting sold I want to say it's like 15 or 16 percent of all e-commerce sales in China, but then here in the US has been a mixed bag there's a bunch of use cases like you just described where it works really well there's a bunch of Ed C lies streamers there's a bunch of like small retail boutiques that live stream during the pandemic to great effect. They're doing really well you know Tick-Tock which is the same companies do you know. Announced that they were delaying their live streaming feature in the US so they. You know it's not they're not rushing it to Market Instagram had a live streaming Commerce feature which they just retired last week. We've seen Walmart do some experiments in live-streaming we've seen Nordstrom do some experiments in live streaming it's not clear. The. [12:39] There's a a mass-market huge opportunity for live streaming that the Amazon live streaming Pilots haven't worked very well and so they're both like there's a bunch of niches and use cases where consumers really like it and you could see it working. But it doesn't seem like a slam dunk for any of the really big Commerce players that they just need to turn on this feature in the customers will come running so the. Lot of debate amongst my clients at the moment you know is China just ahead of the US and does everybody have to get ready for live streaming or is the u.s. going to evolve differently than China as it often does. Scot: [13:16] Yeah or like is it going to be one of those things where like we call talked about chat Commerce forever and it never really jumped jumped over you know it even though Facebook tried really hard to put Commerce and messenger and they hired the PayPal dude it just never really really translated to the US who next. Jason: [13:34] I know exactly so I yeah I'm not convinced the main way us consumers are shopping is ever likely to be live streaming but I do think it is. An important solution to particular Discovery problems in the US so I think it's part of the mix but I don't think it's that like, magic Panacea that's going to replace traditional e-commerce for example. Scot: [13:55] Yeah well I know you are tingly all over and super excited because the US Department of Commerce data came out and you have done your number crunching and I know I'm eager to hear what you learned. Jason: [14:08] Oh my God this week is like my leap year because you know US Department of Commerce data comes out every month so we always get excited about that but every three months, the e-commerce data comes out so yesterday the the retail data came out and tomorrow the e-commerce data came out and you were like a should we wait till tomorrow and do one show and I might know there's too much goodness here we need to shows one, to talk about the retail data today and then we'll do another one to talk about the e-commerce data after after that comes out. Scot: [14:38] Yeah on Wall Street I think they have a double and a triple jinx this is kind of a triple witching I don't know why they call it with you. Jason: [14:45] I do yeah so July retail sales were up 8.2% versus 2021. So that's very healthy robust growth. We've been talking about such big growth and with all these anomalies going on that like we've gone kind of used to it but just a reminder normal retail growth year over year, for the last 30 years the median growth is 4.5% so 8.2% is almost twice as good as you'd. And even more to the point year-to-date growth so January through June growth retail is up 8.9% so wit early twice what you would normally expect. So that is super exciting the. Wrinkle here is our friend inflation like every time I talk about this huge growth. A bunch of people chime in and go yeah but it's all inflation and for the last two years that we've had this enormous growth because of the pandemic and changes in purchase patterns all the economic stimulus all that stuff. I keep looking at inflation and inflation is a small part of the growth but not a meaningful part and so I have to keep telling people yeah information is in there but it's not a huge deal well that changes this year, so I mentioned year-to-date growth for this year's 8.9% if you adjust for inflation your today growth is 0.5%. [16:13] So that basically means all the growth we're getting in 2022 so far is directly a result of inflation and that's super interesting because, 20:21 was like the biggest year of retail growth in my lifetime and I jokingly told a lot of my friends and clients you know they should think about retiring because comping against that. 20:21 is gonna suck and then so far this year we've been comping quite well but it turns out the reason we're comping well is not because, consumer spending is like super robust and continuing but rather inflation has kind of filled in where that, that consumer momentum is starting to wane so that is a big story that we need to watch for the rest of the year. Again the actual. [17:04] Hyper actor e-commerce. Broad version of e-commerce called non store sales so for July they were up 18 percent versus last year. The year-to-date there up about 12%, I'll be really interested to see what the quarterly number is tomorrow you know in kind of Q4 of last year there was all this exuberant some for spending in retail stores and e-commerce continued to grow, but it's rate of growth slowed down a lot so for one of the you know only times in my lifetime. Brick-and-mortar retail grew faster than e-commerce and I have a feeling that we're going to see Q2 of next year that's Q 2 of this year tomorrow that that's not going to be the case that we're gonna returning to the normal trend of e-commerce growing. Meaningfully faster than brick and mortar. Scot: [18:01] We're not going to no till tomorrow I can't wait all-nighter. Jason: [18:05] I will give you one other thing to tease based on the q1 data which came out three months ago we've seen that q1 data show up in a bunch of earnings calls and the most famous one is Shopify right so Shopify, right before their earnings call they laid off like 10% of their Workforce and they said like. Man you know there was all this e-commerce growth during the pandemic we hired all these people we got ready for all this stuff and then the e-commerce growth regressed to the mean. Which toy surprised us we thought it would be more persistent and so we've got to lay off a bunch of people and cut a bunch of cops and they show this, this famous graph of the quarterly e-commerce data showing this big spike the last couple months and it kind of Dipping back down to the trendline. And I see that graph everywhere and the one thing I like to remind people about is regressing to the mean doesn't mean e-commerce. Didn't grow it meant e-commerce grew as fast as it used to be growing which is quite fast so, well Shopify weight off 10% of their people like I was screaming in the background e-commerce has grown 61% from 2022 2022 and it added four hundred and twelve billion dollars a year in space it's not like it's not like there's not a ton of growth there it's just the growth that we're used to seeing. So it'll be interesting to see what tomorrow brings. Scot: [19:33] Yeah seems like a lot of the the inflation is really starting to Ripple through at this point and we've seen that show up at some retailers but it's interesting to see it can work into the day-to-day with your. Jason: [19:45] I know that that brings up a good point like we have several omni-channel retailers that reported earnings this this week and it's a really mixed bag about. The the. Inflation indicators in their earnings calls and you know probably the biggest one is Walmart reported earnings two days ago and people economists watch Walmart's earnings reports really closely in a challenging economic time because. They're kind of the Bellwether for the American Consumer right like that they have the biggest chunk of consumer spending and they kind of as Walmart goes like the American economy goes so. The as a reminder about a week before their earnings they low they significantly lowered their their earnings guidance for the rest of the year, they said that they expect that that they expected their profitability to be considerably lower than they had previously. [20:40] Giving guidance there earlier guidance was like zero to one percent growth. And they reduced it to they think earnings are going to be 11 to 13 percent lower this year than they were last year. Um so fast forward a week, to their earnings and everyone was kind of braced for it being kind of a brutal quarter and it was a beat beat reiterate like, they beat their earnings Target they beat the revenue Target and they stuck with their guidance that earnings are going to be a lot lower the second half of the year but. Investors actually took that as good news they actually expected that that Walmart might have a miss and so the fact that. Q2 sales and Q2 earnings were reasonably robust at Walmart was kind of positive news and to kind of put that in perspective. U.s. comp retail sales for Walmart last quarter grew 6.5 percent so again normal retail growth is 4.5% so 6.5 is good e-commerce grew 12% and you can compare that with, Amazon e-commerce grew seven percent the same quarter so obviously Walmart's a lot smaller than Amazon but they're the second largest e-commerce site, in the US and they're they're drilling meaningfully faster than Amazon which is impressive they did. You know we made a big deal about Amazon is breaking out their ad sales. [22:04] Walmart didn't quite go that far they said that their ad sales which is called Walmart connect grew 30% which is. [22:12] I'm not faster rate of growth and Amazon's ad sales are growing Amazon's growing about 18% Walmart is growing at 30 but they didn't tell us what the base was and and you know it's certainly a way smaller base than Amazon so I'm not sure. That growth on the much smaller base is huge news but it was interesting to see them talking about it Doug mcmillon and the CFO both John rainy both made. You know a big deal about Walmart connecting being a big part the CFO joked about not being used to businesses with this kind of crazy margins before and. Doug actually talked a lot about how Walmart connect is gaining huge traction internationally so they're they're able to sell the ads in in India and China and some of the other other markets that they plan. Scot: [23:00] They were getting a lot of like why surface it now I don't understand the so Amazon started revealing it because they've had to like the SEC said this has become a material part of your business you have to unpack it a bit but this seems like they, decided to do any Mini. Jason: [23:17] Yeah I think just because it's a good number 30 percent growth sounds like a good number. And it's a yeah when when most of your news is about your earnings really being challenged talking about a super high margin part of your business. Growing really fast I feel like just reflects well right like I'm not I'm not confident we're going to see them report that number every quarter by the way. Yeah so we'll have to see how that goes but like to kind of, summarize why they're saying profits are likely to be much lower for the full 2022 essentially what Walmart is saying is they are seeing consumers change Behavior because of the recession, and one of the big ways is they're seeing consumers still spend a lot with Walmart but they're shifting from. [24:06] Wants to needs so they're buying a lot less clothes and consumer electronics and a lot more food, and the food in the essentials that Walmart sells are much lower margin, then the home and apparel categories that they're selling less of so the mix it Walmart is changing. Um which is hurting their profitability but not necessarily their income, and in fact they called out 11 funny anomaly of the income is in this High inflationary time, a lot more High income consumer start shopping at Walmart so people that make over a hundred thousand dollars a year spend more at Walmart in a tough economy than they do in a, really bullish economy and so they feel like they captured extra customers because of that that would have shop somewhere else but they're buying this alone margin stuff, and John rainy the CFO he specifically talked about how they're seeing consumers make different purchase decisions that there. [25:12] He called it a pronounced customer shift that people are trading down and he gave the specific example that we're selling a lot less deli meats were selling a lot less beef and instead we're selling a lot more hot dogs chicken and tuna, and that you know even vegetable based proteins like beans are starting to sell a lot better in those are all signs of, you know distress consumer that's trying to make their food budget go further every week. [25:39] So I would call that a mixed bag I feel like investors were thrilled that their earnings call wasn't worse but you know. I don't I don't feel like people saw Walmart's earnings and said oh my gosh we're out of the woods on the economy and things are going to be great for the second half of the year. Scot: [25:57] Yeah. Jason: [25:58] So then we move to Target and and Target was kind of a Miss meat, maintain right they miss their earnings pretty meaningfully so they the guy their expectation when 72 cents a share they came in at 39 cents a share so that's a big, drop it's actually 90% less profit than they made this quarter last year, so a huge drop in profitability they exactly hit the revenue Target which was 26 billion and their guidance kind of stayed the same that they're expecting to grow. Kind of in there two to four percent, um growth rate which would be a typical year and they're expecting six percent margins which would be significantly up from the 1.2 percent margins they got this quarter. [26:50] Digital for them was up nine percent which is a lot slower growth rate than than Walmart and slower even than Amazon even though targets a lot smaller than then Amazon. But what is interesting is. Target basically talked about not seeing any inflationary changes to consumer spending they did not talk about their mixed changing dramatically they did not talk about like seeing their customer change a lot, what they talked about is. They had too much of the wrong inventory because of the supply chain disruptions last year and then being forced to deeply discount a lot of product and they took like a 1.5 billion dollar haircut on their inventory. Um which they had warned us they were going to do but so what they're saying is man we're just having to sell a lot of this stuff cheaper and that's it's not necessarily because of inflation but more because. We have the wrong stuff. Scot: [27:51] That yeah got you think they had this supply chain problem and ended up with the stuff they ordered a year ago gosh when I open this door is. Jason: [28:00] That for sure is true like they all ordered like Walmart you know said similar things that Walmart's I think said if we had a magic wand we would make 1.5 billion dollars worth of our inventory just disappear. Um and you know they all like. Beefed up their orders around holiday and they you know they all went to these extraordinary expenses to get inventory they got inventory much more via much more expensive means you know from more expensive suppliers with more expensive Freight. Um a lot of those costs are coming down right now freight costs are coming down shipping costs are coming down, but you know a lot of that inventory rolled in and it you know it was the clothes they hope to sell for Christmas that you know is less appealing now. I would argue people are also just buying less clothes right now like and I do think that's partly because of the economy and inflation. You know Target saying it's not Walmart saying it is it's possible they're both right it's you know Walmart has a lower income customer than Target and so it is possible that the. The typical Walmart customers more affected by inflation and their behavior is changing more dramatically in the more affluent customer that shops at Target and Amazon, um that their behavior is changing less as a result of inflation so I you know it's not outside the realm of possibility that they're both they're both right from their. Scot: [29:26] Nursing did in their warnings they both talked about apparel any more color on that. Jason: [29:33] I mean again the the they're seeing home slow down a lot which is interesting because you know people were overspending on home when they couldn't travel you you've seen this in your business but like. A lot of people are back to travel there's a lot of Revenge travel people are also restaurants are having a moment restaurants are crushing grocery stores at the moment, as you know everybody I'm not sure covid zup officially over but like everybody's mentally of it over covid rushing back to restaurants and fun fact. Inflation for restaurant food is much lower than inflation for grocery store food so it's actually a better deal right. So the food thing is weird the apparel thing is weird consumer electronics are really soft sales right now and they're they're actually. They have this weird counter effect like that's the one category that's having deflation TVs or less expensive this year than they were last year. And yet sales are still really soft I think Best Buy reports earnings tomorrow so that'll probably be a challenge for them. In the discretionary spending categories the one category that everyone has called out as an out performer is beauty. And I think that's this thing that we call affordable luxury that like you know when you're not feeling great about your finances but you want to treat yourself like what you do is you buy the premium whip. Instead of an expensive outfit or something like. Scot: [30:57] Nursing yeah kind of a can still feel good about yourself but you spent a lot less than a whole new. Jason: [31:03] Exactly I would argue that a better affordable luxuries to have someone do an amazing job detailing your car but that's just me. Scot: [31:09] Or a iced vanilla latte at Starbucks or 10. Jason: [31:15] Yeah yeah absolutely that's not that's not an affordable luxury Scott that's a necessity. Scot: [31:22] Were there any other omni-channel you want to cover because I had a. Jason: [31:26] Yeah yeah I think we probably spend enough time the Home Improvement guys did report it was kind of a in between Home Depot is decent their up 5.4% in their their comp sales which is kind of in between what we saw at Target and Walmart they talked about seeing their consumer business has slowed down and seeing their Pro businesses which is the contractors pick up so I do think consumer spending on their homes is slowing down I don't know where that pro-business is coming from at first glance so we'll have to dive into that deeper but the housing market is all topsy-turvy right now. Scot: [32:04] Yes I think that this kind of ties into the, bifurcation of the convenience already consumer in the more affluent and then the value of learning consumer that the pros being busy it was more Renovations are still going on at larger homes. Jason: [32:21] Yep that makes sense. Scot: [32:22] You know that that weird that like segment and maybe what's happening is you maybe you've outgrown your house you thought you get a new one interest rates went up are like well if I put that money into a expansion or something, you know that this may be a better use of proceeds than putting it towards paying the bank larger percentage I think that's probably what's going on there. Jason: [32:44] No that makes total sense I'll buy that yeah so then what's the last tranche of earnings we want to talk about Scott. Scot: [32:52] This was interesting because I was reading a couple articles and I saw you know Casper has a new CEO and and he came in and was basically saying, hey it's time to start stop losing money we need to be a profitable company, so then I started wondering you know he had that cluster of sa cluster in a positive way we had a grouping of companies go public that we talk a lot about that we're kind of in this, some of them were not 100% digitally native vertical Brands but in this kind of cohort over the last 18 months of IPOs, not 18 months calendar but with IPO windows open we had if you remember we had wish thread up Casper glossy a all birds. Warby and purple and a couple others go public. [33:39] So then I started poking around and it's basically a bloodbath out there for that cohort of companies so you know Casper's not doing very well. I'm thredup which you would think would do really well in recession because people would look at more Consignment type type of peril they had to do a pretty big layoff the 15% probably the most hit hard is wished which I've never 100% understood wished but you know far be it for me too to figure that out but you would think they would be doing well because they always had this super inexpensive stuff the trade-off was it took a while to get to you but if you needed like a phone little drone or I think one of their biggest sellers is hair extensions bridal gowns all kinds of stuff you wouldn't really expect for that value or to Consumer you think during recession that would do really well, their revenue is down 80 percent year over year so they are just basically coming unglued they did a Rebrand and their new brand is. Bargains made fund discovery made easy which to be hence that maybe Discovery was a problem and now they're trying to say hey we kind of. [34:47] You came to us before and you couldn't find what you're looking for but now we fix that kind of has that that kind of vibe to the new branding. One that's popular with the ladies in my house is glossy a they had to do a 33% layoffs and I can understand this because we went on a New York trip and that's one of the, places we make a trach tube and the store was closed and this is just like. [35:10] Four weeks ago so definitely post coded so that wasn't good and I think I know what's going on there, Albert's didn't 8% layoffs were be they had a weird mixed message they were doing some layoffs and talking about their losses mounting but then they announced their opening 40 stores and that they think it makes economic sense it's kind of like. Yeah I didn't feel like the best time to be doing that and they didn't really say anything other than we think that this is a good use of capital. We'll see and then you know so Casper is doing pretty poorly and then purple who's kind of a Casper clone if you will need to actually predate Casper's they wouldn't like that being called a butt yet another online mattress company their revenues down over 20% year-over-year I think during covid-19 we got new mattresses and now there's kind of a like a pull forward for that that that's a huge problem so that whole cohort is not doing well and kind of indexing much worse than kind of like what you saw in the data I want to ask you what if you think there's do you have a theory of what's going on with those guys. Jason: [36:14] I do like I think the whole direct-to-consumer model, I'm not saying it can't work but it's way more challenging than a lot of people. Um gave it credit for right like the fundamental problem with the direct-to-consumer model is customer acquisition right like there's 240 million households in the US and getting them to know about you and be aware of you and want to buy your product is, really hard right and if you're a direct-to-consumer company with no organic awareness and no reason for people to discover you the way you get people to find out about you is you buy ads right you buy that awareness and and all these d2c companies were. Using digital ads you know mainly on Facebook 22 by audiences and so one thing we know is customer acquisition costs have gone up because of, the Privacy changes in the less the lower efficacy of a lot of those those digital things. [37:17] You know even on the old pricing every subsequent customer gets more expensive than the last one like the first customers you can buy are the cheapest, but you know increasingly you have to bid higher and higher for an audience that's slightly a lower propensity to buy your stuff and so as you grow as you scale, it gets harder and harder to keep growing and so we've seen a ton of these d2c companies. Grow really fast from zero to something and then hit a plateau and slow way down and we were seeing that before the pandemic we were seeing it during the pandemic, some of these companies like we're partly aided by the pandemic and so maybe it gave them a little extra Runway some of these companies like. A way we're probably hurt by the pandemic and had less less Runway but I think what we're seeing is that. That the pure direct-to-consumer model without some other way of cup of consumers, cheaply making consumers aware of your products, is really challenging so you're seeing a bunch of these dtc's open their own stores that's the war be model you're seeing a bunch of these dtc's pivot to wholesale so glossy is moving into Ulta I think it is or it may be Sephora I apologize if I have it wrong, um but they're a bunch of these guys have moved into wholesale to get awareness. [38:43] And you know that changes the whole margin structure and does all these things I think there's a Warren Buffett quote, they're only when the tide goes out can you find out who's not wearing a bathing suit and I feel like that's that's kind of the situation we're in with these D disease is you know once we've come into a, challenging economic model Market the. The high cost of customer acquisition and the challenges with continuing the scale are really starting to be a parent for all these data see companies you buy that. Scot: [39:15] I do and a lot of them in our you know in our world we think about cackle TV and you kind of get in your head yeah it's you know I'm growing X percent macaque LTD is three or four and you feel like that's going to stay around forever right and then you hit recessionary period which apparently this isn't and hit some headwinds or some chop and suddenly you know that no one's buying that second mattress for that second pair of glasses or you know whatever it is and then, you know your whole economic model is built on this ratio of cacti LTD of three and suddenly it's one and a half and if you don't react quickly to that and if you don't have if all you have is paid mechanisms that are built on that that will ratio then you're in the horns of a dilemma where you're kind of like well I turn that off, the the acquisition spigot I can't grow Revenue but if I keep it on my my earnings are going to, go to heck in a hand basket because I'm effectively my cup my kak My overall economic side business have changed very dramatically and there's no way for me to. To deal with that and because these guys have such a big chunk of their you know their their revenue from Paid media it doesn't they don't have a lot of degrees to Pivot on so another way of saying what you said but I agree is the short route. Jason: [40:38] You know you reminded me one funny thing I think one of both of our favorite guests on the show Dan McCarthy. You know he talks about like every time he gets to look at the finances for one of these d2c companies that they they wildly underestimate their CAC and overestimate their LTV that like the math is also just flawed that like you know most most of these d2c companies feel like they're going to have like incredible retention and keep the these customers re spending every year for a long time that their data doesn't necessarily support so they they overestimate their ltvs because they don't account for enough turn and then you know they all just treat their ad costs as their total kak and you know it's customer acquisition cost it's all the costs to find that customer and get them to buy them and onboard it so all the customer service costs all the onboarding cost there's a lot of extra cost that should be in that cack number that a lot of first-time d2c CFOs don't don't tend to put in there so. I thought that was a funny observation as well. Scot: [41:44] Yeah and then a lot of times you know you'll be like let's say 20 million and you're just driving the business itself Google and you're like well this is amazing and but then Google Google searches are a pretty finite resource and at some point you kind of can get them all right so there's only so many people that are typing in mattress everything and then then you're like okay well I'll do you know I'll do Facebook I'll do this I'll do what not and then as you do you Whittle away Google is always one of the most effective advertising venues because the consumers given you their intent so they're at the bottom of the funnel, so then as you walk up the top of the funnel your cat goes way up and then you can have infinite spin there at the top of the funnel but. It doesn't really change the metrics Downstream so then that's that scaling problem so all these guys get to 100 million and then and it really Falls over because because they can't really get that incremental next dollar and if they do they're kak LTV ratio goes way up because they're spending so much more on, paid media LTD is stable so yeah it's a tough slog so I think reading between the lines when when were be says we want to open up stores that I think they're trying to you know cough ironically go from a pure online to being in foot traffic and getting people there which is you know what they're basically saying I think is that that may be cheaper than that next in Criminal online add-on. Jason: [43:11] 100% I wonder I when we're all retired and we look back on this market like I do think there's going to be a lot more d2c activity than we have today but I actually think most of it is going to look more like Nike it's going to look more like someone that was born as a wholesaler that created huge awareness affinity and love and eventually hit escape velocity where they didn't need that that wholesale model anymore and they were able to then go direct to Consumer and have a low customer acquisition cost and kind of growth hack and I'll bet you a lot more of the d2c brands that are dominant you know sort of 10 to 15 years down the road got there by starting wholesale and transitioning to d2c rather than being born D to C which is just I think a tough value. Scot that's a lot for one show and you know we've already teased people about a subsequent show on e-commerce so I feel like we should try to wrap up is there anything else we didn't cover that you were excited to talk about. Scot: [44:19] Not just want to give you good luck tomorrow I hope all your data flows or columns line up your Tableau is humming and I look forward to hearing your analysis on what comes out of the day tomorrow. Jason: [44:33] Awesome well my in-laws are visiting and they're commuting home tomorrow so they promised they're going to listen to Tonight Show in the car so I just want to give a shout-out sit to and Papa. Um and with that it's happen again we've used up our allotted time as always if this show for you some value if you're going to be a little smarter around the virtual water cooler tomorrow, the way you can repay us for this free show is you can jump on iTunes and leave us that five-star review that we so warmly deserve. [45:08] Happy commercing!
EP294 - Amazon Q2 Earnings . Episode 294 is a breakdown of Amazon's Q2 2022 earnings. Episode 294 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Sunday July 31, 2022. http://jasonandscot.com Join your hosts Jason "Retailgeek" Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis, and Scot Wingo, CEO of GetSpiffy and Co-Founder of ChannelAdvisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing Transcript Jason: [0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 294 being recorded on Sunday July 31st 2022 I'm your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I'm here with your co-host Scot Wingo. Scot: [0:38] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason and Scott strip show listeners well we have had a plethora of vacations Jason did a business trip he's going to report on over it in our F and then I had a little covid situation so it's been The Universe has been trying to keep us from podcast so it's great to be back in the saddle tonight Jason. Jason: [0:59] I am thrilled to be chatting with you on a rare Sunday night this is unusual for us. Scot: [1:04] It is it is usually we watch our Disney movies have a little popcorn in called an evening but tonight we're going to throw down a podcast. Jason: [1:11] We I feel like we need to get ahead a little bit because you know there's a new Game of Thrones series coming soon. Scot: [1:16] I know and Lord of the Rings we got a lot a lot of geekdom kind of happening all at once here. Jason: [1:23] Exciting stuff and even more exciting than all of that Scott I'm super grateful that you're feeling well and recovered but mental picture for our listeners I have a mild version of what Jason considers a tan for the show which is super rare. Scot: [1:40] Wow and that is because you went to a that summer in RF show that's out in a ranch somewhere tell us about that. Jason: [1:48] Yeah I doubled down so I had a week of vacation in Upper Lake Michigan and then I went straight from there as one does when you work hard to a quote-unquote work trip which is in Ranchos Palos Verdes at The Tiara new resort on the beach in southern California. Scot: [2:07] Cool and then so I've been turning our F of n this time of year that was called the merchandise or the merch conference is that what you want to. Jason: [2:16] You are old school so originally when shoppbs.org and NRF were two separate entities shoppbs.org had a, fall summer event at this Resort that was exclusively focused on like digital merchandising and you're exactly right it was a great event called the merch Summit. And so this is kind of the spiritual successor to that than in a ref also had a event at the same time of year that was called the CIO Summit where all the cios got together and so they've kind of mashed those two events together change them a little bit try to make it even more inclusive and they now call it an RF Nexus and so it's focused on, really forward-looking Trends and technologies that are relevant to e-commerce professionals to digital leaders to cios and to see a Moe's so there was a you know kind of like senior execs across it marketing and. Digital all in attendance. Scot: [3:17] Nice nicer than what was the was there a topic to the event or what. Jason: [3:24] So there are a range of forward-looking topics. Like probably the trend that topic that got brought up most were various aspects of the metaverse and some of those conversations came very close to getting me kicked out of the. Scot: [3:43] Because you are. Jason: [3:45] Because I've become. Scot: [3:46] VR headsets. Jason: [3:47] I become a huge cremation. I know that's shocking to listeners who find me like wildly optimistic but you know we had a lot of outside speakers talking about the metaverse and. Spoiler alert I think the metaverse is super interesting it absolutely could be an important part of the future and when people say metaverse they're mostly talking about three things that don't necessarily go together but can which is. In ftes and blockchain stuff they're talking about the actual metaverse which is kind of like you know virtual reality and they're also talking about web 3.0. [4:24] And so they brought in a bunch of authors and subject matter experts, that are super bullish and are like it's a foregone conclusion that the future is with three and everyone's going to abandon web 2 and if you haven't already gone your, wheezes and secured your property in the metaverse then you're stupid and you're going to lose huge sums of money. And I disagree with most of that like I feel like it's. Wildly more up in the air than that and like at the moment first-movers that have tried to do Commerce things in the meadow verse have made more mistakes than not and so I spent a fair amount of time. Like debunking some of those claims and highlighting some of the catastrophic mistakes that people have been making when they when they try to make a splash in the metaverse Without Really knowing what they're doing and, I choose to believe that the attendees appreciated that counter perspective but I don't think some of the speakers appreciated being challenged. Scot: [5:20] What to do a deep dive where you essentially just dumped on the metaverse Jason dumps on the metaverse. Jason: [5:27] Well or. Scot: [5:28] Be part of our curmudgeon series. Jason: [5:29] Yeah a dose of reality about them again it could be a big thing I'm not saying it's not I'm just saying it's not a guaranteed big. And then a close cousin of that that I spoke was, the future of artificial intelligence for Commerce and I'm kind of and we've talked about this before but I'm kind of a curmudgeon on that as well only because. I think focusing on artificial intelligence is kind of silly like to me artificial intelligence is a tactic not an outcome and there are a bunch of super exciting outcomes that are, made much better by using artificial intelligence and so I talked about some use cases that I'm super excited about. But but I you know caveat that with they're not super exciting just because of the math that causes them to be artificial intelligence their super exciting because they help people find more stuff to buy and have more successful shopping trips. Scot: [6:26] Cool well that's that's definitely out there and we have history on the show of given our listeners more of the hot truth of what's going on right now so it was a it was a really interesting second quarter reporting period so we wanted to spend the bulk of our time today reporting on that I want you to lay the scene for us mr. US Department of Commerce what what's what are the things feeling like there and then you know I think we're all pretty red in on the macro that consumer confidence is like what 10 20 year lows inflation's at 40 year highs we had two quarters of negative growth that used to be called recession but no longer is called a recession. So yeah so. So that's kind of the macro backdrop and then then I saw you had done your normal really great analysis of the US Department of Commerce what's that looking like. Jason: [7:18] Yeah and there's not a lot like super game-changing in the in the monthly data from the US Department of Commerce I like is you just kind of called out I feel like we've just made this transition from. Overheated economy due to stimulus and extra covid demand and certainly a greater level of uncertainty and fluctuation but like in general, really robust retail sales to now we're having really robust retail sales because of inflation and so you know, looking at the numbers they're pretty consistent with the last couple months of numbers we've seen and so in general like July retail sales were up 8.3% from July of last year, and year-to-date all retail sales from from January through July of this year are up 8.8%, from July of last year so ordinarily we would expect retail to be up. [8:11] I'll call it you know three to four and a half points so being up 8.8 is a. Significantly higher growth obviously a chunk of that growth is. Fairly attributed to inflation and people having to spend more. But you know inflation is kind of I feel like is misunderstood and people talk about about it being one number consumers spend a bunch of money on a big basket of goods and the amount of inflation on each item in that basket of goods. Varies wildly right so the amount of inflation we're seeing in gasoline. And certain food items is really high consumer electronics are actually deflating it's a you'll get a cheaper TV this year than you did last year right so. So you know if you break down in a segments. Segments that have high inflation and you know we're negatively affected by the pandemic the last couple of years are killing it right now so it's a great time to own a gas station like that. Gas stations are up 50% year-over-year. Scot: [9:10] Yes cool and then it's too early to get the online number from the US Department of Commerce right that that's got it. Jason: [9:17] Yeah we don't have the quarterly number but the proxy that we do get is this like non-store sales and that's a nine point six percent from last year so we're where the brick-and-mortar number is up more than you would usually expect the. The non-star sales are e-commerce is up even higher but, probably a little lower than you would ordinarily expect we're kind of used to that kind of twelve to fifteen percent growth in the so you know 10% growth is a is a little bit lower. Scot: [9:50] That's because we're that they've got a comp problem because last year was such a surgery or with covid. Jason: [9:54] Exactly exactly. Scot: [9:56] Okay so that's one set up and then the other one was for some reason we've entered this interesting period where Snapchat is one of the first companies to report and. Jason: [10:06] They need to change that by the way. Scot: [10:07] Yeah I don't think that's her they like it. Because in our Recaps they've been kind of the first one to take it on the nose and it wasn't any different this quarter so July 21st they came out. And it was just a total mess and lower and a poop show because last quarter they basically said we got a handle on this we know what's going on with ID fa. You know I'm going to another Victory lap on this because I feel like you and I were like super early on I DFA and it's really coming home to roost and interesting ways and Snapchat continues to be a, non beneficiary of those changes but then addition to that, you're more in that business that I am but I've got to imagine that when you see recessionary head winds and and everyone's tucking in their expenses one of the first things that you look at is your ad spend right and you know maybe it's not a great place to be if you're Snapchat basically saying hey you know we're not really good anymore and measuring what's going on with your ads because it feels like I guess people would cut that they've also become you know one of the smaller platforms so I imagined. They're probably out on experimental ring of AD spend and maybe they get cut from that too so they had a double whammy of both kind of micro meaning I DFA and then macro softness so that was just a total total nightmare quarter for them. Jason: [11:33] No do it wasn't pretty 100% agree like I do think we call the that I DFA was going to be pretty substantial to some of these businesses but I do think. Some of there's like there they were mostly trying to blame it all on IDF a and I do think there's some softness in. Digital marketing spend right now right I guess you go into recession it's not the right thing to do but you know a lot of people that are nervous about their economic future are you know slow down their marketing spend right and it's kind of like when when you start to Skid on the ice. You know it's not very smart to hit the brakes but it's human nature to hit the brakes and and you know some people people are doing that right now and I think some of their their softness and then you know some of the softness in the other AD platforms we're going to talk about, is is related to that recessionary fear and the ongoing impact of the various privacy initiatives. Scot: [12:30] Yes so then we were all like okay that's that's Snapchat maybe it's isolated and then we had five days till Google was going to announce, or / alphabet there called a whole I will always call them Google and then there was a surprise announcement on July 24th Walmart basically came out and said hey we need to update our guidance that they had already lowered, for the quarter and they basically said sales are decent but profits are going to be way below kind of what we were talking about and they specifically called out some inventory problems so the CEO they now have everyone has a there's like 16 CEOs at Walmart or something but the CEO of us said, there's probably 20 percent of inventory if you could just wish it away and make it disappear you would, and then around that same time Target also came out and I think there's was even more severe, and then Walmart called out apparel as a problem area where basically I guess when you look at kind of your your wallet where you're spending money there's always, can't live without groceries but you can live without like that 10th pair of socks or, or a new outfit or something like that so it seems like consumers are definitely slowing down dramatically on the apparel side did you parse anything else out of the Walmart announced. Jason: [13:51] Yeah I mean I feel like those are the main two takeaways I Walmart in particular like they're got they reduce their guidance from like eleven percent profit 21 percent profit right so pretty meaningful and essentially what they said is a we're starting to see significant changes in consumer Behavior as a result of the recession and or as a result of the inflation I should say and the the specific behavior we're seeing is people are spending more on Essentials and less on non-essentials and the non-essentials are more profitable for us so our mix is getting less profitable which is why we're adjusting our guidance and it also means that we have too much of these non essentials we were already you know heavy on them because we over ordered, during all the supply chain crisis and now we're having trouble moving them so Walmart didn't say this but a lot of other pundits have said this like you can expect to see all these Goods at Walmart and Target start to really get discounted and in one weird way, that's potentially good news for the economy because that that could actually help counter some of the inflation that everyone's talking about. Scot: [14:56] Yeah yeah 10% profit change at Walmart's like a 40 billion dollar number. Jason: [15:02] Yeah I will say and you you're the stock market guy I'm not right so not shocking you come out and you revise your guidance in significantly down like that and not tracking your stock takes a pretty big haircut right so everyone wrote articles talking about the dipping the stock I happen to pick the stock right before we went on the show and its back it's completely rebuilt. Scot: [15:23] Yeah it's always better to take your medicine and then if you're going to do it kitchen sink it and throw in some stuff because it's an expectation machine not necessarily an absolute. Machine okay so then everyone was like well that's not good but maybe it's isolated to stores let's see what Shopify does well then well then Google came out and Google was mixed probably less bad than people thought so their Core Business which is people going to google.com and typing in stuff it exceeded expectations but their ad business and then their YouTube business were under pressure and they basically kind of counteract that each other where they did talk about you're more macro head runs around the ad world and that advertisers were pulling back so they kind of, added on to that Snapchat message of some softness with ad spend. Jason: [16:11] Yeah and just for Google followers I would add you know they're interested in comments Commerce particularly interesting just remember like the president of Google Commerce recently left, Bill ready to go to Pinterest right so they haven't announced a new head yet like I'm expecting them to call me any day so we'll see where that goes but previously one of the things they'd really been leaning into was YouTube for Commerce and they've added a ton of Commerce capability to YouTube and it it varies it doesn't seem like that paying off quite yet in the Google world. Scot: [16:47] Yeah and then everyone's like well let's see what Shopify does in so let's see after market close 26 was Google and then everyone was expecting Shopify to do something the next morning well then that evening Toby put out a Blog post saying hey we're laying off 10% of folks and then I was like oh boy that's not good the quarter must be really really bad. And it was really interesting to his credit I think Toby did a really good job in his blog post it's never easy to do these types of layoffs and I thought he did an exceptional job of laying out, why and essentially taking the blame for it basically saying he made a bet that this would be a pull forward it was you know. [17:32] And then when you're in the thick of it you do that was our logical, thing to think could happen and instead now we're reverting to the mean and they've gotten way out of their skis what did you think about and then the next morning because he had taken their medicine, it wasn't quite as bad and then Wall Street actually likes it when Shopify gets rid of expenses because they've added there, that's like a thousand people to them that they laid off our 10% so they've grown their head count up to this kind of astronomical 10,000 folks and then they, is one of those little quizzical because then they said you know it's not going to change our ability to innovate or do anything basically so then you're kind of like wow I wonder wonder hey how's it feel to be one of those thousand people here in that part of the message and then be you know what did they do that you didn't really need them and they were in the sales they have all these content management people so kind of not developers not product and so part of their message was they were going to double triple down on on product development and adding features. Jason: [18:33] Yeah I'll be interested to see how it plays out I got a ton of pings after that announcement because everybody did a Victory lap on my corpse right like everybody's calling and going ha ha mr. e-commerce guy e-commerce was an anomaly like it was it was big during the the pandemic but but now it's all gone see even Toby like over-invested in e-commerce and then he had to come out and say that he Comer sucks now. And so a I got a bunch of those kind of troll tweets that I had to respond to. And you know I have my own kind of issues / concerns with Shopify so a I would say. That shopify's actually been slower than I would like to see in product development leading up to this and in particular they have a product that's aimed at more Enterprises and less. Tiny businesses that's called the Shopify plus and most of the folks I talked to that have. Invest in Shopify plus I've been pretty disappointed with the rate of innovation and product development on that platform and a bunch of the people that got laid off. [19:38] Where the teams associated with Shopify plus so that seems. Interesting to me and I will tell you that like in Toby's announcement he published this this US Department of Commerce Economic Development. Which of course you and I are super familiar with and we talked about all the time but eat accurately represented it right like that there's, e-commerce has been at the certain rate and during the you know from 2022 2022 we had this crazy Spike and you know if you look at where it is now and you draw a dotted line to the growth you would have expected before the the pandemic like the. The line is barely above where you would have expected so they called that regressing to the mean and you know gosh we exuberantly over-invested in now that it's come back to the mean we have to right-size. And so the only thing that's wrong with that graph is it's kind of a it visually doesn't represent, the huge amount of growth that's in the mean like the mean is very high so, from 2022 2022 we added four hundred and twelve billion dollars a year of e-commerce sales so e-commerce in United States of America Grew 61% From 2022 2022, so when when Shopify another say oh man we covid dim boost e-commerce as much as we thought we only grew 61 percent over the last two years. [21:06] Um like how many people did you hire right like you did you you didn't add 61 percent to their their staff commensurate with that growth. So yeah I just I take exception with people that think. That this data in some way shows some some significant softness and the other thing I would say is all of these graphs that these people are talking about they all like to show the percentage of e-commerce to Total retail and. It's easy to overlook and forget the fact that the denominator in that that ratio has been fluctuating wildly because of covid-19. Scot: [21:42] Yeah yeah and then you know the other thing that mrs. is the it's like almost like a pie chart where you don't see the absolute dollars so so percentages are a tricky thing it's gonna be a better way to visualize it. One scary thing is maybe we don't revert to the mean like a week the you know the lines we haven't had enough time to know until that start sticking up you know we won't know if we're back on the mean or not who knows. Google. Jason: [22:11] I know for sure but I get you know like I will do it maybe a Shopify deep dive at some point but like to me Shopify does is. Great product for small businesses it caters to this long tail in my biggest gripe with Shopify as an investor is always that they never tell you what they're stainless or sales are like they never tell you how well last year's customers did this year they just tell you the gmv of all the customers they currently have and so as far as We Know, more than 50% of their customers go out of business every year and then you know 50% of new mom and pop start a smart start a business and sign up with Shopify so the unlike a lot of other retail platforms that report their their data and when they grow we can kind of assume e-commerce grew shopify's growth can be 100% attributed to turn we just don't know. Scot: [23:00] Yeah so then it was Thursday morning the 27th and meta formerly known as Facebook announced and that was a poop show so they had a myths of top and bottom and their second quarter of declining growth they threw the kitchen sink in there IDF a they're seeing macro issues Sheryl Sandberg is leaving and this has been announced for a while and then all the Talking Heads were like oh my God you know she when out of the top this is kind of the end of Facebook so that was that was pretty pretty negative sentiment there and then that brings us to the main topic we want to talk about which is after hours on Thursday Amazon announced. Jason: [23:41] And Scott one thing before you jump in the Amazon like you forgot the most important thing about meta. Scot: [23:46] What. Jason: [23:48] The Kardashians are mad at them. Scot: [23:50] Oh yes they changed Instagram in Kim's I don't I haven't tracked this you know it better than I do. Jason: [23:56] Yeah I'm just well it is an interesting thing will do another show about this at some point but like Instagram is has probably been the crown jewel of men of for a while and you know Instagram is getting a lot of competition from Tick Tock that the news feed and Tick-Tock is a lot more our rhythmic so the content you see is less related to who you particularly follow and more what the robots think they want to show you and the you know can monetize and so Facebook to try to follow suit is changing Instagram to be more algorithmic and less based on your followers and so if you're a mega influencer with 30 million followers you don't like that right like if you're Kim Kardashian you want everyone to see all of your content because they followed you you don't want them to see some unknown person that did something viral. And so the change that Instagram made is to be more like Tick-Tock and you know some of these big big influencers that benefited from the old model understandably don't like it in are criticizing it. Scot: [25:01] Got it yeah we should definitely do a Kardashian deep dive how fun will that be. Jason: [25:06] Yeah yeah finally be able to let Kylie on the show and so she'll stop bugging us. Scot: [25:12] Good. Okay so if you've been listening this recap there's two words I haven't said and those are beat and raised so then Thursday night Amazon came out and everyone was like oh boy this is gonna be bad and there was a CNBC person who actually like a lot of names Josh and. He was basically he they do this little lunch time. They have this investment committee they call it and he's had a short on Amazon because he kept thinking they were going to miss Q2 he basically said look with Walmart and Target basically reporting the way they have. To think Amazon would do differently means they have some totally different customer base I just don't think that's the case so Amazon surprised everyone with a beat and raised quarter. So how did they do that with all this you know we've got Walmart Surprise Miss Shopify surprise Miss Google. Less worse meta terrible Snapchat total disaster in an Amazon just kind of came out and surprised everyone. [26:16] So so one way to think about Amazon is this very unique business and there's not a lot of. That you know another company like this that they have this portfolio of businesses they have built and they're all intertwined but. They have I imagine they have this is my mental model is they have dials where they can turn up and down this portfolio of businesses because they're all intertwined and that's one of the benefits of keeping this stuff together like when PayPal and eBay were together there are some operational Dynamics there that you could use to you know if you hit a certain speed bump or something you could navigate that better, so Amazon has these things so they've got the core retail business which is lower margin it's a retail business still profitable on its own but. [27:02] Not a great business but a good business and but like a massive scale you know hundreds you know what three hundred million dollars plus annualized then you've got a third party Marketplace business that we talk a lot about. Very profitable, doing really well you've got a smaller ad business super profitable doing really well growing rapidly AWS the cloud component now merchant services which is essentially the monetization of the, Center asset you had to build for the first piece. And my mental model is what they basically said was well we're heading into this period where we've got all these recessionary things consumers Under Pressure let's dial back on first party and dial-up third party. And that really won the day so so what they did is the third party as a percent they don't really give us. The gmv of each of these things that the total sales in each bucket they give you a unit mix so the unit mix was at an all-time high I need a fact check on this I'm 99% sure this is right. Five 57% third party versus first party the highest previous that was last quarter at 55%. They may say let's 2% how could that really make that big a difference well. [28:18] That's actually big because when a hundred dollars moves from the first party bucket and you and I have talked about this a million times but just to recap for listeners in the first party bucket the accounting is a dollar is a dollar of Revenue. The third party Amazon doesn't get to recognize the hundred dollar widget that sold they only get to recognize their commission or take rate which is about 10%. So they lose 90 dollars if a doubt if a widget moves between those things and Revenue. But that ten dollars that's left is pure profit it's almost like 99% profit so so if you really want to you know juice profits you move things from the 1p bucket the 3p buck. So and then also tell us about Prime. Jason: [29:06] Yeah so Prime is a little confusing this year because it was in July and historically that's when Prime day has always been except this weird covid era that we've had so you know if you if you go back to 2020 they canceled Prime day in July and instead had it in October and then the following year in 2021 they went back to Summer but instead of having it in July I like they always have they had it earlier in June which is a big deal because it's a quarter earlier it's Q2 instead of Q3 so we're looking at Q2 this year we're competing against a cue to that had prime day in it and this year Prime day is in Q3 so this year Brenda is back to Mid July which July 12th and 13th so a lot of extra work and verbal gymnastics for the poor cf0 on the earnings calls. Scot: [30:03] Yes there was no benefit from Prime in the quarter so that didn't really it neither hurt or helped. So even though third-party carried the day and I kind of theoretically so let's say. Yeah let's say you're running one of these really large retail businesses and you're either a store based or a e-commerce base I feel like Amazon because they have their products in a central location they can be much more dynamic because you know think of the store networks that Target and Walmart have almost like an edge Network. [30:37] And that product gets pushed out to the edge and then if you need to Pivot for some reason well you've got a tough decision you can you can pull the product back it's not really desistance not really designed for that it's mostly returns comes back not like let me yank all the sweatshirts out of a you know store number 292 or something. Or you have to liquidate them and then you end up with this problem that you call so if your Edge is full of stuff that's not really moving right now, you can't really. Change that rapidly you know you've got like a 60 90 day cycle to flush that out clear room for the stuff that's going to work so I think that even even though they did turn up these higher-margin pieces to win the day I think being an e-commerce oriented retailer gives them a lot more flexibility in a world where inventory and consumer behaviors are changing rapidly do you agree or disagree with that. Jason: [31:34] Yeah no I I mean I feel like they're their breath of offerings and monetization make them much safer than most other retailers they have more levers to pull in more knobs to dial. Scot: [31:49] And then the other thing and you know here one of the reasons I started spiffy is because we had talked so much on this show about the bifurcation where K seal Obama has come on and. Talked about the value and the consumer and the convenience or any consumer and a lot of that data came from 08-09 the quote-unquote Great Recession and you know what we learned during that recession is there is a consumer that is largely immune from recessionary and in that point time we didn't have inflation but I think I think that's kind of the same. Same kind of Stew if you will of macroeconomic stuff that the consumer has to face whereas the value are going to Consumer was really impacted by it. So I will also another argument I have is that that guy Josh on CNBC was wrong there is a separate customer now surely there's overlap and what not. But Amazon has captured all if not you know. 98% of that convenience or any consumer and you know that is a great place to be when you have a lot of these recessionary wins because they're not as impacted as the value or any consumer. Jason: [32:57] Yeah no I do I think you're 100% right like this gets complicated because these are such large numbers but the way I think of it there's 240 million households in the United States of America there is more than 100 million. Prime households right so the you know a significant chunk of America shop Amazon and have Prime, 190 million households shop Walmart so basically all you know the vast majority of America except for rich people in New York and California shop Walmart so you can't talk about oh, there's a Walmart customer and there's an Amazon Customer because the vast majority of customers go to both places but. [33:38] There's a core customer that spends most of their money at these two places that is likely very different right so there's these these higher net worth individuals that spend the bulk of their discretionary money Amazon that are way more insulated from inflation than the average Walmart consumer that spends the bulk of their money there and then. A big difference in this inflationary period is if you're a cord customer that shops at Walmart or Target. You have more economic instability so you're spending more of your dollars on Essentials versus nice to haves right and guess where you get your Essentials Walmart and Target like that's still where you get your food. And so at Walmart the mix shifts right instead of buying a cool outfit you're buying more proteins for your family. But that that Amazon customer is both more affluent and therefore less impacted by by inflation and they probably don't get their protein from Amazon. Right so like we Amazon doesn't see their quote-unquote essential spending they only see their discretionary spending so they don't have the same. Dynamics like causing their mix to shift to less profitable mixes in a recession so I do think in that way. The economic headwinds facing Walmart and Target are very different than the ones facing Amazon. Scot: [35:05] You know if you are getting your protein from Amazon it's probably at a Whole Foods where I have a feeling that consumers pretty resilient based on. Jason: [35:13] Yeah which and again people do but like a see a statistically insignificant period of like whole food is less than 4% of the grocery market so yeah. Scot: [35:23] Well our are like Kroger and those folks feeling I don't track them as. Jason: [35:27] Yeah the so again they have less discretionary right so yeah they're they're doing pretty well like they're benefiting like a lot of the items in Kroger are impacted by inflation so there's their sales are up um the you know. They're like the discretionary retailers are losing more dollars to the grocer so it's I'm not saying that that the grocer particularly love the current circumstances they're in but but they are like if you navigate them right there economically favorable. Scot: [36:03] But then because it's not Walmart where interest or you're making the toys there's there's a loser somewhere and it's pie like a Macy's and JC Penney you're probably going to get hammered I would imagine because there's you know if Walmarts telling us people aren't buying much apparel than this kind of start Rippling through all these other places. Jason: [36:18] Yeah or I'll give you an even more painful example Bed Bath & Beyond. Scot: [36:22] Yeah yes Father they're not doing well. Okay let's peel the onion on this a little bit so Revenue grew 7.2 percent year-over-year to 120 1.2 billion and that exceeded the expectations of 119 billion by about 2 billion. So not a huge huge beat but again it was such a bad setup that that it seemed like. You know what a miracle in somewhere North America this is really interesting when you kind of look inside of Revenue North America came in at 74 billion and then expectation was sixty seven billion so that was a really that was almost like a 10% Len. But then International was a miss it was 27 verses 32 billion. Everything I forgot to say that the top and everything we do is outside of the impact of financial currency moves so it's called X FX and Wall Street parlance which which is important because the, currency moves are gyrating around like crazy right now so you swirl that together and that's where you get your North America was up seven, International is all five so that's how you get your two billion dollar win but it's really interesting because if you look at Amazon's North America they were up 14 percent year-over-year which Compares very favorably to your US Department of Commerce data. Jason: [37:44] Yeah yeah no that's a and again like, I look at this all in Aggregate and say this is a solid quarter in a challenging climate for Amazon and yeah they have performed the the industry average despite being one of the largest players. Scot: [38:04] Yeah and then you know a mere like less than a week after Walmart said they were going from kind of ten percent to one percent profit margin Amazon's gross margins improved 45 percent year over year versus the consensus 43 percent so that, that was the one that really yeah I think people are like well if they make revenues surely they're going to go out and readjust their profits and it's going to be really hard so they came in with an operating income of 3.3 billion and this was in our Sunday called out an incremental for billion of increased cost but that was offset from improved fulfillment center Ops so I think what's going on is they built out the Fulfillment center capacity so crazily and they'll since the pandemic they were basically just standing them up and just you know getting stuff out as quickly as possible. [38:51] And then this quarter they kind of came back and where they use this phraseology invest in Harvest so they go in these different modes so they're able to come out of invest mode and look around and say well. You know in 2020 we sure we're setting up fulfillment centers kind of crazily lets you know we need to tweak, this this and this and then I want to have billion dollars of operational efficiency came out of that they called out some areas that are increasing and expense are. Ews expenses so those sit there and use a lot of electricity which a lot of electricity is off fossil fuels and then I think I think computers are getting more expensive I guess that must be a chip related thing you said Electronics but that's probably like big screen TVs anyway. Then obviously they called out fuel as an area and then they have a particularly large amount of money going into digital. With the funding with digital content with the funding of The Lord of the Rings series coming out and then they also bought Thursday Night Football so they called those out is as expense items. And as I mentioned at the top third-party one today. And then looking inside of there we talked about that seller Services grew nine point one percent year over year to twenty seven point four billion and I think whenever any of these things, grow faster than the Baseline of 7% and they're higher-margin they're going to drop that much more dollars to the bottom line. [40:20] So there was that and then I don't know anything about ads so I'll kick that one over to you. Jason: [40:27] Yeah speaking of things that drop Towers to the bottom line so that the ad units is a reminder is a. This business Amazon has had for a while but only broke out as a separate segment recently and so now it's fun to see it every quarter so it Q2 of 2022 was up 21% versus, the second quarter last year, um if you add up the last four quarters of Ed Revenue its thirty four billion dollars in ads than Amazon selling and Amazon doesn't tell us the profitability of these individual segments but most people estimate that like. [41:06] Worst the advertising business is probably a 75% gross margin business so, 75% gross margins on thirty four billion dollars makes the ad business more profitable than AWS for Amazon so, um Healthy Growth again you think about all the other people selling ads Google Facebook snap, um you know really struggling but Amazon you know continues to grow and they're already the third largest advertising Network in the US so, that's pretty impressive, side note you know every other retailer in the world is trying to replicate this this new ad business than Amazon has invented and they're all doing it you know with great success at a much smaller scale. Um so that you know the ad dollars are shifting from these, kind of top of funnel content providers to these bottom of the funnel retail networks that have first-party data and don't have all these idea of a. Problems that the others are facing so that's. [42:10] The ad business you know separately Amazon Amazon has this subscription business which is mostly Prime but a few other things mixed in there and, you would expect that to be slowing down because they've you know hit they've saturated they probably have half of us households have Prime accounts but that's still growing at 14% which again. [42:31] Is pretty impressive and I think that's a picking up the rate of growth from last quarter so it's super interesting impressive to me that these, these plati sticky Echo systems are particularly strong and Amazon and then of course everyone always talks about AWS, you know I get and we'll talk about this later but we get all these annoying tweets that like oh the only profitable part of Amazon is a WS and it's great it is great right and revenue there was almost 20 billion dollars in nineteen point seven billion, which is well ahead of the confessed consensus estimates it's a decent margin business so I think there is a lot of hardware and electronic electricity, behind that business but it's still pretty high margins and you know a lot of the world hasn't moved to the crowd yet so it WS has a lot of, Headroom in its Tam but a lot of folks were worried that in these economic uncertainty times that I see shops would be slowing down their migration in the cloud and therefore AWS would, would take a hit and I want to say Microsoft announced a slower rate of growth before Amazon so there was an expectation there that might not be an awesome number and and again it was pretty solid solid beat for for AWS. Scot: [43:52] Yeah so that's kind of the different operating units and then, you know again wall Street's kind of a what have you done for me lately so then everyone's like well this is an anomaly surely surely you're not going to be able to repeat this and everyone said number one stop calling me Shirley and then number two Amazon put out Q3 guidance and basically both the revenue of that guidance and the prophet were well ahead of what Wall Street had been thinking. The the revenue guidance was 125 to 130 billion which at the midpoint is 15 percent growth so are one was was quite pleased by that it basically made it feel like they were feeling very strong because remember this is all 727 so Amazon's got 27 date they got about a third of the quarter already in the books and it basically was a signal Amazon saying yeah we feel pretty good about the quarter right now and Amazon had prime day in the books as well so that was good and then. [44:54] Do anything Wall Street loves more than a beat and then raised so the beat is current quarter and then the Rays was the going forward quarter is Abby trays in a buyback so then they also said oh and by the way we bought 3.3 billion dollars worth of stock in the quarter because we felt like the price the stock was was kind of left so so that was all very very well received and and really made Amazon stand out from from me up substantially from the other both retailers and add companies that had previously reported. Jason: [45:27] Yeah so. Scot: [45:28] And then you got Mean Tweets go. Jason: [45:30] Yeah so here's what's annoying so I would say that that's a terrific quarter for Amazon given the economic climate and you know frankly exceeded my expectations and in a number of areas. But you do know there's room for lots of different interpretation and a bunch of folks on Twitter like zoomed in on the profitability of the US retail sector was down and you know they jump on this whole like see this is what we've always been saying retails unprofitable it's a loss leader for Amazon, you know really Amazon is just about a WS and this like you know Silly retail thing is just a sideshow and there's no way to make money on it. How do they get away with a lot sweeter thing Jason don't I have that right like I got a bunch of tweets like that and I didn't respond because. I'm not articulate enough to answer in a short tweet so hopefully it will make everyone listen to this this whole podcast, but I would say you guys are all wow like it was a terrific quarter for Amazon retail like and there's two things you're missing Gap profit is not the same thing as how many dollars flow to your bank account right like, um you know how much money Amazon decides to invest in new warehouses that are going to pay off in the future dramatically affects their. [46:51] And so it's almost silly to look at Gap profit to say whether Amazon retailers a good business or not but more importantly. Um all these profitable businesses that everyone's talking about exist only because of retail right so that ad business I just talked about. [47:10] People aren't coming to Amazon to consume ads they're coming to Amazon to buy stuff in the ad show up right, um and the other business that's impossible for Amazon to lose money on that's growing wildly is merchant services that you hit on, um the merchant services are because Merchants want to sell stuff on Amazon on the retail platform and so it's a little when people are talking about oh gosh the retail business and Amazon's a loser but the ad business is profitable, that's a little bit like saying. The content creation business in b.c. is a total loser but the ad business at MBC is a winner right like know that they're only able to sell ads because they create that content and in the same way. Amazon is only able to make money on Merchant Services and ads and to some extent on subscriptions because of this, vibrant strong retail business um that you know has more favorable characteristics than a lot of other big retailers in this current inflationary potentially recessionary environment so I'm sorry guys I just I think you're wrong and wildly oversimplifying Amazon's business model and economic circumstances. Scot: [48:22] Yet another framing that's kind of fun is after retails been around for what like I guess even longer but I get I was here Sears like 150 years or something. And you have all that history and it took Jeff Bezos to figure out hey you can actually glom on these really profitable high margin businesses and make the whole thing better and there's a synergy synergy inside of there that enables you to like they did this quarter where they can dial things up and down don't you think Walmart had more of that right now or Target or you know Macy's or any of these other retailers so so in a way I think they're missing the point there to just pick out this one piece that can't be unintegrated and say that it's doing bad because you have to take the whole enchilada because they designed you know retail 2.0, by mixing all these things together in a unique way no one figured out till they did. Jason: [49:21] Yeah no hundred percent so so Props to Amazon and keep on keeping on. I did want to I think we're over on time but I just wanted to just like briefly hit on a couple non earnings related topics just to wet people's whistle so. Hey we talked about prime day there's a pretty significant week that there's going to be a second prime Day this year so a lot so a number of journalists have seen internal documents. That talked about a thing called Prime Early Access sale which is scheduled to happen this fall. And so most of us interpret that as likely going to be October which again is when they accidentally had Prime in 2020 because of covid-19. So look for more there but like potentially Amazon will have a second prime day to me that's really interesting because. I feel like the first Prime day at this point is mostly about comps and people turn to match last year's Prime day and it's I'm not sure it's necessarily totally additive but adding a new sail if it. [50:26] Works and capture sales in October that could be interesting so. I found that super interesting Amazon launched a new product that maybe is only cool to me but it's called retail store analytics and this is they're taking all the data from all the cameras and all the just walk out stores and they're selling it back to the brands. So you know just like a you know a cpg can go to Amazon and find out how many glances they got on their their product detail page and how many add to carts they got, they can now find out in a Whole Foods how many people looked at their package on the Shelf versus how many people bought it so there, they're monetizing all the customer insights they're getting from these brick-and-mortar stores using all those cameras which I thought was pretty cool. And then the last thing I'll leave people with is there were some significant articles talking about internal week memos about Amazon trimming its private label and its private label largely being. Unsuccessful and Amazon potentially moving away from private label and. Like I don't think those articles are wrong but I would just throw 11 piece of caution when you interpret those articles. [51:35] I've seen no evidence that Amazon's moving away from any of its successful private-label initiatives, so so what's happening Amazon has a huge amount of private labels they have a ton of Brands they invented a bunch of them never got traction never caught on never had significant sales and I do think they're doing a rationalization of all of those, but there still are Amazon private label brands, they're doing quite well and it appears the Amazon is doubling down on those so I guess what I would say is that they're really focused on the head tail private labeled it's doing well in there, they're kind of rationalizing the long tail that was not doing well so that is all of the Amazon news, and it's a good thing because we've blown through our lot of time once again as always if you found this episode valuable we sure would appreciate that five star review on iTunes. Scot: [52:33] Thanks everyone and until next time. Jason: [52:37] Happy commercing!
EP293 - E-commerce leadership changes and news Episode 293 previews Amazon no good, dirty, rotten, Q2. Including why Amazon's much hailed SCOT software may have led them astray (not a surprise given the name). We also discuss the recent leadership changes at Amazon, Google, Pinterest, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Episode 293 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Thursday June 30, 2022. http://jasonandscot.com Join your hosts Jason "Retailgeek" Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis, and Scot Wingo, CEO of GetSpiffy and Co-Founder of ChannelAdvisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing. Transcript Jason: [0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 293 being recorded on Thursday June 30th 2022 I'm your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I'm here with your co-host Scot Wingo. Scot: [0:38] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason Scott show listeners Jason this is a start-up land it's like a triple witching we have the end of the month the end of the quarter and the end of the first half so too it's a big day to be making sure you're hitting your opening so that's what I've been doing today how is your summer been. Jason: [0:59] Less XLE than yours it sounds like. Scot: [1:02] Oh I've seen you in that department of Commerce data comes out so. Jason: [1:13] I don't know maybe I feel like we should move it to like python or are something more more hip for the geeky kids. But I am I'm having a great summer there's been plenty of New Avengers and Star Wars content on in it's fun to see some people in person there have been a few more in person events, I'm a little stressed tonight though there's a big day for listeners is being recorded on on June 30th, and Twitter is sun setting my Twitter clients that I use numerous times a day tonight so it's, it's possible that a lot of people that are used to getting spammed all day by me on Twitter are going to go into withdrawal tomorrow. Scot: [1:56] No you're gonna have to use the app like the rest of us mere citizens. Jason: [2:01] Yeah yeah the neophytes I have to jump in with the unwashed masses and the vanilla Twitter client or some other third-party client if any listeners have a personal favorite I'm open to suggestions. Scot: [2:15] Yeah they're not a lot of good ones whatever you do don't sign up for that paid service because it just makes your tweets take 10 times longer to go out it's like the opposite of a feature. Jason: [2:25] Yeah doesn't sound that appealing. Scot: [2:27] It's supposed to keep you from drunk Tweeting or something but then like you just kind of forget that they're all cued up out there waiting. Jason: [2:34] My best Tweets are the advised ones. Scot: [2:37] Yeah yeah your best ones are grumpy grumpy old Jason once where you're like all right digital on the get the most interaction. Cool well we wouldn't be a Jason and Scot show without some Amazon news. Jason: [3:00] News new your margin is there opportunity. Scot: [3:07] Yeah there's a lot going on at Amazon one of the. If you kind of remember back in our queue to 2022 recap from their earnings they talked a lot about how they had over built their capacity for warehouses so that's the first time they've done that since, oh I don't know