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Using Influencers to Build a Brand with Cameron Yoder

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If you’re a wholesaler, maybe you’ve never thought about branding. Perhaps you’ve left branding to those in private label or relied on big brands to handle their own image. Right? Well, it’s 2021, and e-commerce entrepreneur Cameron Yoder says branding is your ticket to winning at Amazon and beyond. So stay tuned as Cameron talks branding, product cohesion, and his influencer-backed strategy.

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Cameron’s Background

A natural-born entrepreneur, Cameron Yoder paid for college by hustling in retail arbitrage throughout high school. Wanting to combine his e-commerce interests with tech, Cameron landed a job at Viral Launch. Viral Launch specializes in Amazon seller tools. Through encouragement from colleagues, Cameron broke into private label and is now the Head of Operations at Big Black Tea.

Influencer Marketing

Big Black Tea has been an experiment to test the effectiveness of launching products outside of Amazon. Using an influencer’s existing audience to create a product for that audience has been (spoiler alert) very effective. On top of private label, Cameron also leads marketing for Viral Launch. E-commerce gets more competitive by the day. So software tools have never been more essential to success as a seller. 

The Brand Mindset

What defines the future of e-commerce? In Cameron’s eyes, the future means building a platform and launching outside of Amazon. It’s creating a cohesive collection of products. And it’s focusing on branding your product and yourself.

And when it comes to wholesale, look at brands that sell well outside of Amazon but are struggling on the platform. Because if you can spruce up bad listings, those brands are great opportunities for exclusivity.

Why You Need A Niche

In general, having a niche is a great seller tactic. If you can understand why certain brands stand out in a niche, you’ll pick the best brands for wholesale and private label every time. And of course, that insider knowledge will help you sell the product to its target market. Win-win. 

Overall

Overall, 2020 only sped-up Amazon’s growth. It also showed us a glimpse of our e-commerce future. So if you’re willing to put in the time and money, it’s not too late to create a hit business on Amazon and beyond. 

Happy selling everybody.

Resources From This Episode

Outline Of This Episode

[00:41] Todd’s introduction to this episode

[01:12] Cameron’s background

[10:54] Influencers & Amazon

[17:03] An Amazon turning point

[24:05] Why you need a niche

[35:58] The importance of branding

[44:26] Todd & Cameron’s closing thoughts

Transcript

Cameron (00:00):
So my answer to that would be, as you’re finding like still diving into private label, still going to wholesale don’t if you’re asking whether you should, or you shouldn’t, there’s no better time than now. If you wait that. Going in now will be better than going in in three months. Right? If it’s a question of whether it’s still possible, the answer is very much yes. And it’s very much still possible

Announcer (00:25):
Welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the entrepreneur adventure podcast, where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an e-commerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between. And now your host Todd Welch.

Todd (00:41):
All right. So today I have Cameron Yoder on the podcast and he is a successful e-commerce entrepreneur. He’s been the marketing lead or is the marketing lead currently for viral launch. And he also has successful Amazon businesses that he’s built. He’s the head of operations at big black tee, for example. So I really appreciate you coming on the show. Cameron, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background?

Cameron (01:12):
Yeah, thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it. And this is odd. This is odd for me because usually I’m on a I’m on the other side, usually I’m in your spot asking the question. So this is, it’s a good mix-up. So my name’s Cameron many people. I’m not sure actually, if your audience is familiar with my background viral launch and what I’ve done there, but I’ll just give you kind of a broad overview of my path to e-commerce.

Cameron (01:35):
So I started in e-commerce when I was in high school, I started flipping flipping stuff. I started doing arbitrage go to go into thrift stores. I didn’t do online arbitrage. I did just brief store shopping. I did a lot of clothes, clothes like selling Nike stuff online, got into selling used electronics. At one point in time, VCRs were really just a great flip and I had a plug to get some VCRs for really cheap people would buy, VCRs. I really don’t know why, but I started flipping my way through high school and college and actually made a decent amount of money to pay my way through college, through arbitrage and through arbitrage, kind of a class of classic e-commerce journey, I guess, as I was asking myself how I wanted to elevate my game, found private label and started diving into that path a bit.

Cameron (02:27):
And that’s kind of where my e-commerce path cross with tech. And that’s where I met Casey GOs as I was graduating. That’s how I got into Viral Launch. Try to good friends, Lindsey Todd, who was an early, early employee at viral launch, who connected me with Casey. And through that, I took a deep dive into a viral launch into the e-commerce game into private label. Specifically met a lot of Amazon sellers early on the private label journey. And through there through my time at viral launch, I learned a lot. And through that, I was encouraged to start my own private label operations partnered with Lindsey, actually in a couple of my own. And through that journey, it’s been a crazy couple of years at my time with viral launch and outside of viral launch. But since then I’ve launched a couple of brands, private label specifically. That’s been largely my focus dabbled in drop shipping and has since then focused on Amazon and Shopify as my primary levers for my own personal e-commerce operations. So that’s the broad, the broad stroke of my experience, I guess.

Todd (03:32):
All right, nice. Yeah. There’s no better way to learn than by actually doing it. Right. Because you started your e-commerce adventure while you were getting started at viral launch or after you’d been there a while. Right,

Cameron (03:45):
Right, right. Yeah. There’s, there’s definitely a clear difference between, I mean, you can get so much from talking with and learning from other people, but until you actually really get into the weeds, it’s, it’s tough to put a lot of those principles in practice.

Todd (03:59):
So for those who don’t know a viral launch is why don’t you give us an overview of what viral launch is, what it does, why people might want to use it? Yeah,

Cameron (04:08):
I mean, viral launch is. People who sell are probably pretty familiar with the fact that there are tools and software out in the Amazon space Now that basically make selling a whole lot easier. And the viral launch acts as one of those software providers that use sellers tools a much easier way to sell at the highest level. That’s what we do. And there are different tools in that that help of course, make the process easier, like finding keywords, search volume or making it easier to discover products, better products to sell on Amazon. But essentiall viral launch acts as a way to service the Amazon seller service, people who want to get in and already in to make the process a whole lot easier and to make the game just elevating, like as, as e-commerce is going on. And we’re going to talk about the future of e-commerce today. But as time goes on, things are just getting more and more competitive and tools and software just in general in the Amazon space. And e-commerce space really help people elevate their game and help separate themselves from the competition. So that’s what that’s a part of a launch is at a high level. And that’s just generally what software is used for in e-comerce

Todd (05:14):
Viral launch. From what I know about viral launch, because we were talking beforehand and I’ve been more of a jungle scout user. What I know of viral launch is back in the day, it was really good for launching a private label product. You know, they would put it out there to people who would want to get maybe a free product or deeply discounted and get those gray area reviews that we all remember that we can’t really do anymore. So what has it involved evolved into since then and what tell us a little bit about some of the specific tools that you guys have. Yeah.

Cameron (05:50):
The evolution is really interesting because I mean, just even looking at this past year, man, it’s, it’s easy to see how much it’s, how much e-commerce and Amazon has changed in a year. And since of our launches, inception so much has changed. So really the evolution over a wafer cause you’re right. We started out as kind of this launch service, right? Where when launching was, I guess, a little bit more easy to pull off than it is today that was our primary focus, but as time has gone on launching wasn’t really doesn’t really remain a very good long-term strategy, I think, for a software business. So like we asked ourselves like what, what we thought the future of someone in our shoes would be, or just a software provider of Amazon sellers. And really we found that as time went on aggregating data and outputting that data in a useful way for Amazon sellers was the answer was the key, at least was a key.

Cameron (06:44):
So moving away from launching and moving into software, using data to help make smarter, smarter sourcing decisions, but also selling decisions. That’s the broad stroke of where we’ve gone and why. And really, I would say like our honest goal is to be the sort of, so personally my personal anecdote is I’m all about automation. That’s just what I love to do. I think when you can get more tools under your belt that help automate a lot of manual tasks, it saves you a lot of time and it also saves you from even having to start a team. Cause I think there are a lot of teams that there are a lot of things that teams can do that tools will be able to do or already can do, especially with the introduction of something like machine or machine learning or AI. And so the viral launch goal is really to be this detail oriented sophisticated solution to help people automate a lot of processes in the selling in the selling process, but also just to make data really digestible and to be really complex, but in an easy to understand way. So that’s kind of the evolution away from, from launching, even though launching still works in a certain capacity, not even necessarily with cause we’ve really, we don’t really focus on launching anymore, but there are some pretty cool ways to still make launches the thing for private label products. So that’s what we’ve done. That’s the evolution of viral launch over the past couple of years, at least.

Todd (08:09):
Okay. Very good. So with viral launch I’m assuming you guys have like tools and things where I could go to a listing on Amazon and it would give me data on that listing, like how many States that gets the best keywords and maybe break down the reviews and things like that.

Cameron (08:30):
Yeah. So there are, so there are, right now we have nine tools and we have a couple more on the way really that’s one example, like we call it competitor intelligence, right? Other people have different names for different tools, but doing something like reverse ASIN look up, like we were one of the first to do reverse ACIN look ups with ACINs and evaluating competitor ASIN and seeing what keywords they’re targeting, seeing what ads they’re running for specific products. That’s an example. Other tools like your audience is primarily a wholesale, right? Correct. Yeah. So looking up like product discovery is largely what a lot of people use my relaunch for primarily in price discovery. Isn’t just private label. It’s more so analyzing and analyzing a lot of data in Amazon platform to find specific functions. And, you know, the product finder isn’t necessarily unique in the Amazon software space, but it’s how the data is interpreted and how the data is output and the different functions of these tools that kind of separate them and distinguish them from other people.

Cameron (09:32):
And so for wholesalers, for example, we’ve had a wholesaler groups coming to our platform solely for the purpose of utilizing product discovery to find potential full sale products, not just private labeled. So that’s something that’s an example. And you know, there are a lot of resources I can, I can talk, I can go through each tool. I don’t won’t do that though. I won’t go through each tool individually, but I’ll, I’ll give you some resources that you can point people to, if you want to to just walk through what each of the tools do and walk through with the data, how the data is different, what separates us from other people as well. But I also, I don’t just want this to be like a viral launch pitch as well. I’m here to just spread it, who I am also and my own personal e-commerce knowledge too,

Todd (10:12):
For sure. I just want to give people an idea on what viral launches, so they can always get you over to check out viral launch.com and I’ll get more information about that because I think it’s in my world and Amazon wholesale world pretty much everybody knows jungle scout, not necessarily everybody knows viral launch. So it’s always good to know that there’s multiple competing companies out there, so you can try different tools, see what works for you. So definitely check out viral launch. If anybody’s interested in that kind of stuff, your e-commerce companies that you have I believe you have multiple e-commerce companies, right?

Cameron (10:54):
I do. So the one that you mentioned at the beginning, big black tea, that is a sort of I describe that as a sort of experiment that I’m running with my business partner Lindsey. So we, we have a couple private label operations, right? Private label products that, that we started to learn about, learn the system. And just to honestly dive into the private label world ourselves, that’s just out of their personal business asset, but big black tee. We had the idea of bringing our e-commerce knowledge and partnering with influencers to the idea, our concept with big black tea is that it’s not just ours. We actually partnered with an influencer. His name is Tim [inaudible] and we’re working with him. The idea, the concept behind big black tee is to create a product for an influencer and to have that product instantly plugged into an influencers community.

Cameron (11:45):
So the idea is instead of having to go out and scour the internet through ads, to bring customers into byproducts, why not tap into an influencers market and instantly create a product for an influencer that the audience responds well to? So that products will sell as a result of this natural organic products that the influencer wants to push, rather than creating something like emerge, just emerge like t-shirts or something that people will buy. So that’s a, that’s the concept behind the black tea. So it’s not just a private label product. It’s not just a CPG brand. It’s a sort of a co-brand with an influencer to test out what it looks like to tap into that sort of influencer marketing.

Todd (12:30):
For sure. I think that’s huge in marketing nowadays, getting influencers to u-se your product and almost more of in an organic way, but you know, you’re doing it intentionally going out there and trying to find those influencers. Do you mind sharing a few of the influencers that you guys are working with?

Cameron (12:50):
Yeah. Well, so this, this one, so the concept is not, it’s not just influencer marketing, right? So it’s not like Lindsay and I are selling a product and we’re reaching out to influencers to feature our product, big black tea with big black tea, the, the tea itself, Lindsay and I are working with one influencer can push to his audience. So he’s like LinkedIn influencers. So he has like a hundred thousand people. So the concept was we focus on building, we partner with this influencer, not a bunch, but we partner with this one guy and we had him push this one product. And that’s the concept that we’re moving with rather than trying to create one product and have a pull a bunch of influencers in for oneman when sort of push hard into his audience, create a product that really resonates well. And then from there, I mean, what we’re actually seeing is because we’re putting a lot of energy into one influencer with a lot of influence.

Cameron (13:46):
We’re finding that other influencers are actually asking to be a part of the ecosystem. They’re actually asking to feature the product, just one product themselves. So we’re, I said it was an experiment for a reason because this is, it’s not something that a lot of people are doing and we’re, we don’t even know if it’s going to work longterm. We really believe that it will. But it’s in a, in a way it’s just another form of, of influencer advertising, but it’s, it’s sort of a meshing of private label and influencer marketing. That’s the best way to describe it.

Todd (14:18):
Very good. So as far as how it’s working your scales, are you driving those to Amazon or are you driving a new Shopify store or

Cameron (14:29):
We’re solely doing Shopify right now? Partly because we wanted to control the inventory a bit more. We wanted to, because this is the sort of experiment we wanted to see. We wanted, we just want to have more control right now, Amazon of course has to platform, right. But every, I mean, most people know you, you kind of lose the control more and more control when you, when you tap into Amazon’s platform. So for the sake of control and for the sake of the experiment itself, we are solely focusing on Shopify where you actually even handling, we’re not even doing we’re not doing like a three PL like deliver. We are actually, we’re handling the logistics ourselves right now for that pure sense of control. And we’ve seen enough to know that you’re going to scale faster than we thought originally with this experiment.

Cameron (15:17):
So we’re really, after this initial experiment phase, we’re really going to work on expanding, tapping into Amazon. We’re going to put it in on Amazon. Because now we’ve seen it enough to know that this working in, instead of trying to pull people in, focusing on a pre-existing group of like, with this influencer is enough now that we see to actually push a private label product up. So the idea is to just instantly tap, like people, Amazon sellers work on building an audience, right? Like Amazon seller work on building a list of people to push products to the idea of this is to tap into a preexisting audience. And we’ve seen enough to know that that works. And so we’re going to create an Amazon listing to push those people, to, to funnel into the Amazon listing and which will then of course, possibly affect its growth and other organic customers will then come in from Amazon side and push it up. So to answer your question we’re on Shopify. That’s a very, long-winded answer to your question, but that’s, that’s the plan right now.

Todd (16:20):
Yeah. And that’s a really cool idea using an influencer like that, just to build a brand. And we were talking about launching viral launch. You, you have your own launch built in, right? When you go on Amazon, all you do is you have that influencer run, some kind of discount direct that traffic over to Amazon and boom, you’ve got your, your launch. And I think that’s the way of the future. Not necessarily having to use an influencer, although that’s awesome. But building your platform, your email list and your audience outside of Amazon taking advantage of that to launch on Amazon, just, it gives you a leg up from anybody else out there.

Cameron (17:03):
No, I, I think you’re, you’re so right. I mean, this kind of starts diving into the feature a bit, which it’s applicable at this point, but really the, I think the perspective over the past, I think we’re at a turning point or they were at a turning point right now in the Amazon ecosystem. I think that largely Amazon for the past little while has, has been very singular focused, meaning that as people come into Amazon’s platform and I’m speaking to wholesalers, I’m speaking to private label, I’m speaking to arbitrage, it’s been very segmented and siloed, meaning that I think that the, the thought wasn’t necessarily for me as a seller, me as an Amazon person to build a connected ecosystem of products, but just the future, talking about the future of branding, thinking about the future of itself, even talking about the future of Amazon with bigger sellers coming into the space with big money coming into the space, the interviews that I’ve done over the past, I mean, five months, the common theme is that there’s been, there will be big money coming into the Amazon space in 2021 and 2022.

Cameron (18:10):
You look at like thrash CEO, you look at other, other companies that are buying up Amazon businesses and operations. And that being a factor, what’s the, what’s the combatant against as a small seller or as an individual. What’s the combatant against that largely. And this is a broad answer, but largely it’s building one cohesive ecosystem for you to help create this, this interconnected group of customers that are loyal to you, not as a person, but as a brand, that’s a little bit more private legally, but that’s the idea. That’s the direction that I largely see Amazon going.

Todd (18:51):
Yeah, I definitely agree. It’s, it’s moving that way pretty rapidly. And you know, that’s, that’s gonna make a lot of people think, well, how can I even get started if these big people are coming into it? So how would you answer someone who’s asking you that

Cameron (19:09):
Someone who is not even on Amazon? Yeah.

Todd (19:11):
It was just like, okay, I heard about this private label thing, or I heard about this wholesale thing and I want to do it. What are your thoughts on getting started now if you’re just starting?

Cameron (19:21):
No, that’s a great question. Honestly. I think, I think the answer is still somewhat similar to what I would give before, but there’s just like a little tag on the end. It’s like you can still start a private label business or a wholesale business like you did before, but there are a couple, a couple of things that are going to go with it. And it’s the recognition that it’s probably going to be a little bit more involved and a little bit more difficult than it was before. There’s gonna be more competition in the space. So it was going a little, it’s gonna involve a little bit more time from your end. So my answer to that would be, as you’re finding, like still dive into private label, still going to wholesale don’t if you’re asking whether you should or you shouldn’t, there’s no better time than now.

Cameron (20:07):
If you wait that going in now will be better than going in in three months. Right. If it’s a question of whether it’s still possible, the answer is very much yes. And it’s very much still possible. My encouragement to people right now, as they’re, as they’re considering getting in for like the first time is to really consider a more long-term approach to your selling on Amazon than a short-term one. What does that look like? That looks like, like we were just, we’re talking about creating a more cohesive brand. What does that look like? That looks like if you’re looking at a product and you’re like, okay, well I’m going to sell, I think I should sell like this pet sweater or, and, or a coffee mug in my store. My encouragement for people coming in to Amazon is to consider picking one sort of area to focus on meaning one type of product and to start building a brand based around that product.

Cameron (21:05):
And I’m speaking from the private label perspective. So you’ll have to forgive me because that’s largely my focus, but from a private label perspective, what people have historically done is done something like pick individual products that don’t align or don’t match based on pure metrics and sell those and do well. And I still think that that is possible right now in the Amazon space. But I think if you’re betting on the grow on the future growth, if you’re bidding on, on you still being around, if you’re saying that you’re in this for a longterm and not just for a quick buck, even for a quick buck, I think that the best way to go the best way to start is to find a product that matches core metrics and to expand on that, into, to pick products that flow together more cohesively. So it’s still to begin with, I’d say it’s still possible.

Cameron (21:59):
And in that after knowing it’s still possible, you got to have your mind set on building a brand, think away like, do you know what a way is? No brands, it’s a luggage. It’s like a travel luggage brand. So away took a model. Their branding is fantastic. By the way, if you look them up, just go to Google and type in a way they did. These are really, it’s a really good example because they focus on one core area which is luggage and it’s travel. And they built an entire product line around that, that idea, I think is what I, what I think what I encourage people to start moving towards. It’s like, you have to be there right now, but it’s like at the very least start putting yourself in that brand oriented mindset. There’s a lot to learn there, but at the very least orienting yourself in that way and saying, my path is the path of the brands at the very least, then that will get you started on a good path.

Todd (22:58):
Yep. I agree. A hundred percent. If you’re doing the private label route, you know, gone are the days of just going through Ali express and being like, yeah, that’s right. I’ll throw that up there because you don’t have a thousand people competing with you and tanking the price, but to bring it into kind of the wholesale world, that’s kind of what I look for when I’m looking for products to sell are brands that are good brands outside of Amazon, but maybe their Amazon presence is, is lacking. And so I can start selling their products, do some improvements on the listings and because of their brand that they built outside of Amazon, it’s a lot easier to just get that ball rolling. Really good on Amazon. Maybe turn that into an exclusive agreement where I can help the brand and things like that. So building that out,

Cameron (23:48):
I’m curious, I’m curious. What, so what elements, what, when you talk about branding wanting to recognize like a brand that’s been built out a bit, what, what are some of the key elements that you actually like really look for when you’re, when you, when you see a brand that’s like, yes, that is one that I want to reach out to. What are some of the factors that stand out.

Todd (24:05):
And it’ll be a known brand, at least in the niche that they’re in. Right. I can tell you the brand or some of the products that I sell and you probably wouldn’t know them because you might, if you’re in the niche, but odds are that you’re not going to know them, but I’m familiar with that niche. And so I know that they’re a good brand, they’ve built their name up, they’ve got a selection of products that all kind of relate to each other and go along with each other. Maybe they’re in a lot of retail stores and things like that. And so they’ve just built their name up more than anything.

Cameron (24:40):
Yeah, no, that’s good. I think that you bring up a good point that have you ever read Russell Brunson, Russell Brunson’s books? Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. he he’s, and this is, this is general marketing and still, I think the future of e-commerce and business, but we’re getting into a point of niching down, right? Like niching down is, is largely I think a really good tactic to have as an e-commerce silk. And you said yourself and sort of pull out what you said, which was you’re very familiar with your niches, right? I think that’s something that both wholesalers and private label sellers can really benefit from is being is picking a niche at least to dive into, or a couple, you probably have multiple issues that you’re very familiar with and diving into those issues becoming not to become a master overnight, but starting to dive into what those industries are about what brands in those niches really stick out and why, and the why is important. And that will teach you things about the wholesale and give you starting points for wholesaling. And it’ll give you starting points for private label as well, because if you recognize what makes it brand great in that niche, I mean, that’s what point you to the right brands to wholesale. That’s what I’ll point you to the right brands to emulate in your own private label products as well.

Todd (26:06):
Yeah, a hundred percent. And you know I’m almost to the point where I can just be looking at products on Amazon and be like right there, that one I can do something with. And it’s really nice too, because, you know, I can translate into that private label world as well, because I see all these products from these brands that are relatively known in their niche, but their products are not doing really anything on Amazon. I’m thinking to myself, I could create that product, improve it a little bit, put it up on Amazon and dominate that space pretty easy. So I see these opportunities all over the place, you know, it’s just that taking advantage of them is the hard part sometimes. But you know, when you get familiar with a niche, it’s just, it’s really helpful to be able to speak the language and be able to pick up on little things.

Cameron (26:59):
It’s, it’s just interesting. Like I think a lot of Amazon sellers just aren’t aware of the knowledge that they gained through the process of selling, whether it be wholesaler or prevalent label. I mean, just even from the business oriented side of things, like you are a product marketer, you’re a product developer, you are developing a business, you’re developing a brand and Amazon business businesses, the encompassment of all of those things. And as you go, you develop broader skillsets. I think then people are familiar with that. People think that they are actually developing and I think it’s important to point those things out. Those are important skills that you will develop going through the process of selling. And I’m actually curious, is your audience largely, are they largely beginning? Like, are they just starting out or are they already selling, is it kind of a mixture?

Todd (27:45):
It probably, it’s going to skew more towards the beginners. It’s going to be all across the spectrum.

Cameron (27:53):
Okay. I love the beginner segment. That’s where my heart’s at. That is where my heart’s at.

Todd (28:00):
Absolutely. So aside from the big black tea, what other e-commerce brands do you have going? Yeah,

Cameron (28:08):
So without diving into the names of the brands specifically, it’s largely in the office niche. So it’s, it’s that office paper that is kind of the niche that I stumbled into, I think stumbling into niche’s is probably a more common theme among Amazon sellers than not. But largely those are the products that I’ve focused on and I dove into also initially, but drop pet after the after seeing how involved the customers were in, in the product life cycle, I kind of dropped that and focused on office. And then now a CPD.

Todd (28:49):
Yeah. I feel like in pet, it’s going to be, there’s going to be a lot more competition in pet than probably office space or office paper. Okay.

Cameron (28:58):
Yeah. Competition. And of course, more flexibility, I think, with what a product does and looks like. But one thing that I learned just going into something like pet and I’ve had friends go into baby as well and see a similar thing. The, the customers are just very involved in what they want the product to be. And you’re dealing with people’s pets who deal with people’s babies and baby not pets. And in that, you’re going to find a lot of difficulty in more difficulty in the types of customers that you’re bringing in, as opposed to something like office. And that’s just something that, as you dive into speaking to the beginner segment, as you dive into niches and you start selling pivoting is important to key elements in, in selling as well. But as you dive into certain niches, you’ll certain things that you don’t like or certain things that you just don’t want to, they aren’t preferential for you. And it’s important to be able to ask yourself what you want after living, what some of those things are. That was an example, not something that I personally want to want to dive into and be part of. So I just pivoted accepted my, took my losses and I was like, all right, this isn’t for me. I want something else.

Todd (30:03):
Yeah, for sure. Sometimes that’s important if things aren’t working, so you got to make a change, so you just gotta go with the flow. And then when you find something that’s working go full steam ahead in it. So how are those brands working or going for you overall? Do you mind sharing numbers?

Cameron (30:23):
Yeah. so I would say I’ve actually stopped focusing on private label as much. So right now my, my sphere of influence largely full-time in viral launch combined with the CPG of the Big black tea. And, but more so the concept and experiment behind that as well as private label in that I started to actually pull some of my time away from private label from the automation on that side to focus on the other things. But so largely just focusing on numbers like around half a mil a year, like that’s, so it’s nothing crazy, but it’s, it’s enough from this one, at least one brand in that side to keep on going and to keep it moving.

Todd (31:04):
Yep. Very good. I think a lot of people would be very happy selling a half a million a year, so

Cameron (31:08):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s not a bad thing. Right. And that’s, that’s a top line revenue. I think that’s for people who are listening, who aren’t selling it, or just starting out like Amazon sellers toss out numbers often, like I just did and I feel the needs. I honestly feel the need to correct myself in saying like, that’s top line revenue. That’s not my money that I’m pocketing. Yeah. Maybe, maybe I’m pocketing like a small portion of that. But a large portion of that is I’m choosing to put back into the business. So it’s not like when I say half a mill, it’s like, wow, camera’s making half a million a year now. It’s like, it’s a very small portion of that, that I’m actually pulling in. And I’m putting the rest back into the business to grow.

Todd (31:47):
Yep. Yeah. A hundred percent of the super important, a lot of people like to throw around the flashy numbers, which is fun. It can get people excited, but you gotta know, you know, you can, I could sell $10 million this year and lose 11. You know, it sounds really cool.

Cameron (32:05):
Exactly. That’s what, that’s the kind of thing, because you’re, I mean, because you’re in the game, you know, like you understand what people say, and I think it’s easy to also get, like, if you’re in it, it’s easy to get lost and just saying those numbers. Right. Because we throw around so much. So it’s not like I’m going to try to mess up. It’s not like everyone’s trying to deceive everybody by throwing around top-line revenue, but it’s just for people who aren’t in the game quite yet is an important thing to keep in mind as you hear someone’s numbers.

Todd (32:31):
Yeah. Yeah. You got to know the margins and the bottom line numbers are super important. Definitely keep in mind when people are throwing around numbers that for sure.

Cameron (32:42):
Yeah, I, yeah, it’s, it’s important. And you know, current present success does not determine future success as well, or future failure and vice versa. So who knows what will happen in 2021 with, with my own operations, like I said, I am pulling away focus for private label and it’s not because it’s not a good business it’s because I personally, I’m more interested in this other experiment that I have going on with big black tea. And that’s just where I’m choosing to put some of my extra time outside of the full-time things that are going on in viral launch as well.

Todd (33:18):
For sure. Yeah. And the big black tea sounds like a lot of fun building that out and just running that experiment. It’s always fun to try different things for sure. Yeah,

Cameron (33:27):
Yeah. Yeah. I got lost in, in Amazon for awhile. I think I got lost largely in numbers. We were talking about numbers, but it’s easy to get lost in, in profit, I think. And perhaps this is a little bit, perhaps this is a little bit of a privileged thing to say from what I would larger contribute to. Honestly, I feel like I got pretty lucky with some of the Amazon private label stuff. And I think that a lot of private label sellers would say something similar. Like they almost feel like they got lucky. And I would say that same thing for myself. Like I feel really fortunat`e that I stumbled into the beef that it did. It did in the products that I did. And in that, honestly, I started asking myself like why I was in what I was in and the answer was largely for the money, not necessarily for anything else.

Cameron (34:14):
And I’m not really someone who’s just eating something for the money. That’s not what really drives me, even though it’s really nice. And that’s why I am willing to take focus a bit away from private label and focus on the big black tea. And that’s what I’ve come to learn myself and my own operations is I think I’m more willing to focus on things that interest me a bit more and that I feel just a little bit more passion as a kind of a trigger word, but passionate about as opposed to just finding that most data specific oriented products that work the best, according to any software, I’m more about the brand, the cohesive behavior. And that’s not going to be everybody that, but that’s me.

Todd (35:01):
Yeah. And, and one thing to keep in mind now on the Luck topic there’s a lot of people I think, look at someone successful and say, well, he got lucky, you know, they got in at the right time or just stumbled on the right product. But I really liked to look at it. And you know, you put yourself in a position for luck to find you, if you’re on your couch, watching Netflix, you would have never been able to have the chance to get lucky. So that’s one thing to really keep in mind when you’re looking at people that maybe got lucky, but they put themselves there for luck. No, that’s, that’s so good.

Cameron (35:38):
You make room for the luck, right? You gotta make room for the luck to happen. Now that’s, that’s so good. It’s a, it’s a good, a good mindset to put people in, I think

Todd (35:47):
For sure. So where do you see the future going? Let’s shift gears into the future. Where are we headed with Amazon? Dive into that a little bit more.

Cameron (35:58):
No, we already talked about, I think the biggest thing, one of the biggest things, which is branding, I mean, branding, branding is not top of mind already, then it should be by now. If it’s not in top of mind already, then it will be. But branding, what does branding mean? That means creating a cohesive product experience for your customers. It means being able to grab attention, the attention of your buyers, it means just having a visually pleasing branded, it means figuring out ways to grow your personal brand. Like you, yourself, you as a human being your, your social media presence. I think branding is going to be huge in business. It’s going to be huge. It is huge in business. It’s huge in e-commerce we’re already seeing the importance of it right now. And I think we’ll see the elevation of that in 2021 specifically.

Cameron (36:50):
I think that’s largely in Amazon and e-commerce shipping is a big question in a lot of people’s minds. Want to talk a lot? I wouldn’t say that. I mean like Amazon handling shipping logistics versus something like deliver ending shipping logistics. So like a three PL meaning for people who aren’t familiar with, what a three PL is. An organization outside of Amazon that handles all the shipping of your products. We saw some kind of break down when COVID hit in March. We saw Amazon breakdown in fulfillment. If you’re an Amazon shopper and you tried to buy a product, you saw shipping go from like a two day prime to something like a seven to 10 day prime, which is outrageous. That’s not actually that bad, but for those of us who are conditioned for like a two day prime shipping, the 10 day was rough for customers.

Cameron (37:40):
And that got a lot of sellers to think about if Amazon was right for them to use shipping for products or whether they want to go over something like deliver. So I think delivery is going to be a huge thing. PPC is a large, large focus for Amazon sellers in 2021 and beyond. And the focus is on advertising in general is only going to get more and more important off Amazon advertising using influencer marketing, using things like Facebook and Instagram, shopping to elevate your product, marketing, affiliate, marketing, things like that. Those are the biggest things. At least they come to instant mind for what I’m focused on and what I know a lot of other sellers are focusing on.

Todd (38:23):
Yeah, yeah. For sure. Lots of fun things coming up in the future. The future looks to me really bright on Amazon for sure. And it was interesting to see Amazon is because they were using deliverer, but now they’re building out their own services to really compete head to head with Amazon.

Cameron (38:43):
Right. Right. And I’ll be curious, I’ll be curious to see where that goes. I mean, Shopify also has built out their own shipping infrastructure for products. I think that shipping will be an interesting game in 2021 and 2022. I think we’ll see delivered come out. I think we’ll see other competitors come out as well, especially since the customers, especially since sellers are starting to really think about putting products into other platforms like eBay, wish, I mean, Shopify, other things, especially since deliver is integrated into all of them and Amazon doesn’t really want to play as kindly with other platforms. We’re going to start to see a lot of people make some decisions to break. I think, I think break a little bit further outside of just the Amazon ecosystem. That’s my, that’s my personal thought

Todd (39:35):
For sure. I’m really hoping. So because to see a big competitor to Amazon would just be beneficial for everything, you know, free market competition is key for sure. So that’ll help customers, it’ll help us sellers and just help to keep everybody honest.

Cameron (39:55):
Are you, are you primarily on Amazon? Are you off Amazon?

Todd (40:00):
Primarily Amazon, a little bit of eBay, some will commerce. I run a, one of the brands that I have an exclusive agreement with. I run their website and we sell on there. I want to get more into Walmart because that is becoming more and more of a platform that you can be successful on.

Cameron (40:21):
Right. I think Walmart is a good mention. And I think I was talking to another high, another high level seller about this just the other week. I think that a big determining will be whether Amazon allows people a little bit more control over what customers see when they go to the product. So for example, like if branding is true as a key factor in customer’s purchasing, being, let, let’s take Shopify as an example, if Shopify is like one of the key examples of, of branding, meaning like you go, a customer goes to a webpage and they have a full brand experience when you go in video pleasing aesthetic, et cetera. I think that the question in my mind is whether Amazon will adapt to some of that and allow sellers to have a little bit more control and that side of things compared to what it is now, which is pretty standard, what Amazon listings have been for the past, like eight years.

Cameron (41:22):
And I think we’re starting to see a little bit of that with the storefront pages, with some of the live selling things that Amazon has going on, I think is starting to go in that direction. I I’m curious to see whether they’ll go all in or whether they will largely stay the same. And I mean, let’s be real. Amazon does have a majority of the chips here. Like Amazon has a lot of the control, so it’s not like they need to change, but I’ll just be curious to see whether customers respond better to the branding side of things with like e-commerce Shopify, Walmart, or whether they stick. Time will tell.

Todd (41:59):
Yeah, the, the customer attention, that’s going to be the hard part because Amazon has, for the most part, their trust and, you know, people start their shopping on Amazon yet. Even if I’m going to buy something from somewhere else, like Walmart or some other platform, I searched for that product on Amazon to look at reviews and stuff like that. So absolutely hard to break that once you have that whole, it’s really hard, it’s kind of like Google as a search engine. Right, right, right. Have that whole, when, what, somebody wants you to go look something up, they just say, you know, go Google. You know, it’s not hard to break through that kind of stuff, but Walmart has the huge presence. People know and trust Walmart a lot as well. You know, they might have a little bit of a reputation for being cheap and things like that. But you know, they have that trust for a lot of people. So if anybody can do it, I think Walmart can

Cameron (42:55):
During in March or April through the peak of the pandemic, when everything was going on, I live in LA. So everything was shut down here for a will, has been shut down still. But I bought the first thing I’d ever bought off of walmart.com. And during that time, because Amazon, like everything was sold out. I wanted to buy a set of weights because I didn’t have gym are closed. So I wanted weights. And so I went on Walmart, I bought a set of weights and it was a great process. It was really affordable. And I had a good experience. And that’s what got me thinking for the first time, like, Oh, okay. If Walmart takes this, it could actually turn into something, but we’ll see.

Todd (43:33):
Yeah. And I’m trying to do that more intentionally, you know, I became really used to just buying everything on Amazon. And so I’m intentionally trying to make myself go outside of Amazon to see those other experiences, but also try to help those, that competition along a little bit.

Cameron (43:51):
Right. Right. Absolutely. The bright, the future is bright for e-commerce sellers, 2021 Excel. We were talking about before the show like COVID has accelerated so much. And I think we saw e-commerce was inevitable to turn into, but I think it just got pushed back and pushed up. And that’s what I mean, the question to beginners of like, well, should I get started or not? It’s a great question to ask yourself. The answer is now is always a better time than later if you really want to get started. And also you’ve got to ask yourself how much you’re willing to give, to get involved because it will take time and it will take money.

Todd (44:26):
Great. A hundred percent. All right, Cameron. So if people want to reach to you, what’s the

Cameron (44:32):
Best way for them to get a hold of ya. Yeah. So if you want to reach out to me specifically. On Instagram, a feature search, my name, Cameron Yoder, and connect with me, always willing to talk through my perspective on e-commerce. So should be getting questions. Connect with me on Facebook. I’m active there also, Andy, you wanna connect with viral launch Todd, I’ll give you, I’ll give you a link that you can send people to. We also have a coupon code for your audience specifically, if they want to sign up again, I think it’s 15% off for life, the monthly packages. So I’ll shoot you that info. I’ll show you that coupon code as well, and seriously, anyone’s listening Feel free to reach out and I’d love to talk e-commerce business life, whatever I’m available. All right. Awesome. We’ll put that.

Todd (45:18):
We can put that promo code on the screen up here and we’ll throw it in the show notes as well. So people can pick that up and try out viral launch if they want to. You guys also have a podcast called follow the data podcasts. So if people want to look that up they can dive into more information on probably viral launch and other things. I’m sure you guys talk about .

Cameron (45:41):
yeah. The, the show. I appreciate you, you pointed the show out, so follow the data. Largely private label focus. But yeah, I, I, I run that show and I title have to have you on the show actually. So I’ll call you, I’ll rope you into the show, but yeah, just interviewing high level sellers, talking through strategy, beginner, advanced everything, all the above. Todd, thank you so much for having me on the show and thank you for asking some great questions. I had a great time for sure. Appreciate the time Cameron, you have a great one.

Announcer (46:12):
This has been another episode of the entrepreneur adventure podcast. Thanks for listening fellow entrepreneur and always remember success is yours. If you take it.

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