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[00:00:01] spk_1: Welcome to the seller roundtable e commerce coaching and business strategies with and er not [00:00:07] spk_2: and amy Wiis, [00:00:10] spk_0: let's get back to the main thing, what would you say is the biggest line of defense. So we all know there's different ways and we first have to identify that we're being attacked right? We have to look and we have to realize that being attacked is a very real possibility and it's happening all the time and that's what we talked about a little bit right, but what is for sellers that are out there that are wondering like I wonder if my competitors attacking what is their biggest line of defense? What are some things that they can do day to day to protect themselves from these types of attacks? So using the back end keyword abuse those loopholes as an example, um be very adept and agile with your flat files and reload every what few hours to make sure that no one's overriding your flat files and adding a stand contributions that don't belong there and maybe that's just one tip, but that's just a way of thinking to beyond your toes all the time, understand, here's the second one, understand that you can't take weekends off, you can't take weekends off on amazon anyway. Um, if you're not around, make sure somebody's watching things because when do competitors love to hit you friday night, saturday morning, when they think you're not paying attention. I mean Amazon is a 24/7 thing anyway for most people, but if you're not working seven days a week, make sure you've got a weekend group, make sure you've got somebody's forwarding these notifications to you another way by text or by phone or some way they can reach you on a weekend no matter how many events that your kids have that you're going to throughout the day on saturday or sunday, how many people contact me on a weekend because they got attacked friday night a lot, it's become standard prepare for that. No that now before it happens, have a friday night plan, have a saturday night plan, have a black friday plan in a cyber monday plan, it's not going to be the same as when you're all, I mean these days not a lot of people are working out of an office anymore anyway, right, whatever that money was used to spend on an office, stop paying for the office, keep working remotely, that's fine, but be creative and juggle work hours and work schedules a little bit so that some people, I mean when I worked at amazon, I worked sunday through thursday, you know that was a schedule that was great for me and for some members of my team have that agility, don't be married to these concepts of like well we're going to do most of what we do on this business, this account, monday through friday and that's one thing we are talking about the seller velocity conferences, business structure and operations, not just like how do you sell more in amazon or how do you, you know deal with this or that on amazon, know how do you function as a good running business? How do you communicate with each other? Better write a lot of the speakers we have this year. It's for selling anywhere any channel, not just on amazon, it's for running creating S. O PS for yourself as a business. Sure. S. O. P. Is related to specific amazon problems. Sure, of course why not subdivide them on that level and you being a consultant for amazon sellers? I love that you are focused on this conference on how can they do bigger things off of amazon as well as on amazon. So let's talk about this conference. Um it's going to be on the 23rd which is a thursday in boston massachusetts and who should attend and why? So growing brands um the content will not be beginner based or beginner level. Um if you're a new brand and you've grown quite a bit in the last 12 to 18 months then this could be for you if you're medium size or of course larger brands will be there as well, but it's it's higher level strategy for brands that want to manage things better that want to be more effective in terms of cost management in terms of not wasting time communicating with amazon teams in terms of identifying off amazon marketing that works other channels for selling, but it's also teaching survival skills survival on amazon and survival in general because brands that are competitors of yours are going to figure this out if they haven't already and they're going to be great selling brands with great word of mouth on amazon but also overseas in other marketplaces. Some countries don't have. Amazon is a giant player right yet maybe but europe asia you know think of some other growing marketplace is out there. Um How to manage inventory better, how to manage your presence as a brand better but just how to survive in terms of also you know managing your ads. I mean ads have become such a big deal on amazon. They weren't such a big deal a few years ago how to manage your defense if somebody does attack you you've you've got contacts, you've made allies, let's just say within amazon for starters maybe allies elsewhere in you know the the ecosystem as well. Maybe you've got um an attorney who understands your I. P. And how to protect it and defend it. Maybe they helped you set up the I. P. Um But also you have a better understanding of how you could be attacked illicitly from somebody claiming to have your I. P. Or registering your trademark in another country. For example those are all survival skills to me and I think brands they're really doing well. I mean it's great to have youtube videos about killing it and crushing it and all that stuff. Take it to the next level. Don't be content to stay there because you can have success on amazon without really knowing what you're doing sometimes. And that means you've also failed to build defenses when somebody else figures out where you're vulnerable and decides that can make some inroads, not just taking sales away from you, but to weaken your standing at amazon because they understand how amazon investigates accounts and how they could pick you apart. If you start getting complaints on nations, it doesn't take a lot for a competitor to buy the services of some black hat, uh, service provider to have them use their buyer accounts to buy from you. All of this will be completely unseen by amazon teams by the way and have them start making allegations that your products aren't safe, aren't useful, aren't in good condition aren't whatever aren't even, we're getting people who are getting hit with expired complaints for items that aren't consumable right? Like you know, this shoulder scratcher is expired. Um, you know, these, uh, I've heard about that too. So it sounds like color velocity. It sounds like seller velocity and I'm excited. I'm going to be there at cellar velocity is going to be, it's a one day conference and it's focused on resilience, really resilience and strengthening your business overall and meeting with other business owners, getting that networking in where we are building up our resilience and looking at how can we have a strong brand, both on and off of the amazon. What strategies can we employ to really strengthen our business over all. Right. And I can talk a bit about format to just really quick. It is one day of the event, It's going to be a mixture of lightning talks of 15-20 minutes by your speakers and also breakout sessions, smaller groups where there's more interaction with the speakers, we're not really doing the power point slides, you know, you're being talked at for several hours approach. We've had different formats for each of the years that we've done seller velocity. We think this is going to be an effective Way of getting people to interact with speakers. We also have a networking happy hour works pretty well. The prosperous show works well for our event, our conference as well. Um, and then for certain ticket buyers, there will be a dinner event after the conference is over. So you mentioned September 24 the events on september 23rd, but feel free to fly home in the 24th after you've been with us into the evening and been able to rub shoulders with us a bit more. So for the first time we're doing boston, by the way, we're excited to be doing it on my home turf, which is my native town boston. So [00:08:07] spk_1: chris at the event after, you know, when you guys go out on the town. Um, are you guys gonna, is there like a, we're gonna go beat up the smart kids event, you know [00:08:15] spk_0: right, you might hear some boston accent, it's going to be in the seaport, which is the seaports an interesting part of boston that's kind of morphing into something that might exist in a lot of american cities. Um, but amazon's in the seaport were co hosting the Tikka metrics, their offices are in the seaport and there's just a lot of kind of Nightlife and excitement in the seaport. There's a lot of great um, open air outdoor decks and things like that where you can get the late night drink. Hopefully at the end of September it will still be pretty warm. You never know around here with the year. I can guarantee there will not be any snow. Okay? There will be no snow on September 23, the earliest we've had snow in this area. The last, I don't know, 10 or 20 years has been Like October 27 or something like that. I will never do a conference here in October [00:09:03] spk_1: your testing faith there chris you know that they also said, you know Idaho, never, never get over 100 for more than a few days, you know, we like 20 100 plus days here. So [00:09:15] spk_0: carefully Seattle heatwave, I just got back from Seattle, I wasn't here when it was 104 but in 2000 and nine, I was living there working at amazon and it got, I think at the airport I got 203° that was the record, they just broke so anything could happen but Put me on record and personally guaranteeing no snow on September 23. If there's a little early morning ice that does not count. We're talking about snow and snow here means like multiple inches of snow. We're not using Washington D. C. Or Virginia rules for snow where there's a couple of flakes and all the schools are closed or where you are in san Antonio right? Yes. Well I'm so excited to I think it's going to be my first time in boston if I'm not mistaken. So I'm excited about that and I'm excited to be there with other business owners and learn all the things there are to learn there as well as share some stuff. So yeah we we really love to on the podcast also just talk to you as a business owner and so we love to hear from you from a business owner perspective. Um And the toughest barrier. This is a hard question, the toughest barrier that you've had to overcome as a business owner and how did you do it? It's tough dealing, we understand the frustration that that sellers have when they're dealing with amazon and amazon won't cooperate or won't communicate back with them. It's tough keeping emotion out of that equation um we know there's a lot of people that say I want you to put this in the appeal. I want you to say that and it's like they want to get something off their chest. It's not necessarily the best way of getting things done. Unfortunately. Um, if you have to do an escalation, we have to talk about how much revenue you've lost over how many days and how many teams you've been to have refused to help. That's the right kind of emotion. Were struggling. You know, as consultants sometimes with the wrong kind of emotion that people want to put in there where they want to inject these little phrases like, oh and say I never did anything wrong. You know, say I've been victimized here, say Jeff Bezos wouldn't appreciate what we've had to go through. It's like wrong kind of emotion, right? Kind of emotion is I could be selling more. I've given you everything you asked for already that you keep asking for, but you haven't read it and resolved it. This issue could have been done with and dealt with a long time ago, but it hasn't been handled properly. Then you're going to them with a valid and legitimate complaint about something they should have done as opposed to the venting, right? We all love to event. Sometimes you have to take a step back count to 10. I mean, I understand it too. I'm dealing with the same stuff sometimes amazon should just listen to what you're what you're telling them understand it, take the right action and that's it. Right. We go through this just as much as their clients do. It's frustrating to us too. Unfortunately, that's just part of the ball game when you're dealing with this sort of monolithic communication that they've decided to adopt. So that's our biggest struggle these days is keeping the emotion out of out of what will be considered effective communication. Keeping the emotion at bay. [00:12:21] spk_1: Yeah, absolutely chris so what we like to um end the podcast with is uh, you know, normally, especially as a business owner, you know, there's that, you know, personal development and kind of staying up on, on events and and information, especially on the economist world is, is, you know, fairly important. But are you really into anything in terms of personal development or anything you're reading listening to that, that it's made a big impact in either your personal life or your business life? [00:12:50] spk_0: You know, everything I've been reading lately has been about amazon's inability to track bad behavior and do something about it as if it was an afterthought or they never anticipated it. Um, and I was sort of a fraud investigator when I first got to amazon, I did front investigation before I ever worked at amazon. So I've been reading a lot of books about things like white collar crime and I'm also trying to figure out all these black hat consultants that keep jumping in and out of the amazon space. I'm trying to figure out why sellers are so willing to pay the money and then come come back and say well we didn't know what they were doing with our money. So I'm trying to understand better, you know people think of white collar crime like Wall Street, you know they think about like us government employees being bribed or something like that, but all these stories are trickling out about amazon employees doing things they shouldn't be doing on behalf of a brand or an account or black hat consultants that you would look at their website and think why haven't these guys been like sued or arrested or kicked out of the sphere? The you know the world of amazon a long time ago, I'm trying to figure out why people aren't fact checking more before they hand their money over and why. And also not just sellers, why is amazon tolerating this abuse in this bad behavior without addressing it and trying to clean it up more aggressively? Is it just because agencies of the U. S. Government don't understand it and haven't pushed them enough. Is it just because the media hasn't really pulled on the threat of that sweater to figure out what's going on inside that mess? You occasionally see these stories, you occasionally hear about lawsuits and that type of thing. But um that's what I'm reading a lot about. Um I've read book after book about business fraud about people deceiving investors and about amazon, you know, not understanding that white collar crime also involves how they manage the marketplace and how ineffective they are, reducing bad behavior to, and those are the books they need to be reading if it's happening under their noses and if they're not detecting it soon enough, otherwise they're discouraging brands from launching new products. We're discouraging businesses from investing more in amazon. And they're encouraging people from their encouraging people to explore all these other channels off amazon to sell their stuff. And if you talk to Jeff Bezos, that's the opposite of what he wants, right? He wants more people investing more and selling more, more selection, better prices on amazon, not so discouraged that they can't defend themselves on amazon that they have to explore these other avenues. [00:15:20] spk_1: I completely agree. It's funny my dad and I were having this discussion recently, you know, it's like, I feel like there's a lot of missing moral compass just in modern business in general, right? Um, when you have people like, like Bill Gates and, and um, uh, and steve jobs as these put up on these pedestals, not to say neither one of those, those guys are, are brilliant businessmen. Um, but you know, the whole, you know, you know, if I like lie, cheat and steal, it doesn't hurt too many people. It's okay, you know, um, that was a discussion my dad and I were kind of chatting about and it is interesting these days that I think that um a lot of people are justifying, you know, kind of, you know, people might be having greedy or greedy, well greed is definitely part of it, but [00:16:10] spk_0: no one stops them from being greedy. They get more greedy, right? And that, that [00:16:14] spk_1: internal voice, you know, they're quieting that internal voice that says like, hey, this might not be the right thing to do and not to say that, you know, nobody can be perfect for their entire life, right? But [00:16:24] spk_0: I feel like that's, [00:16:25] spk_1: that's really something that um I've been noticing and you know, in my, in what I've been doing a lot more trying to be um you know, I have the utmost integrity um in dealing with with you know, clients and and everything else. So, um that's an interesting point and I think that if you don't have integrity, which I feel like amazon definitely is lacking a lot of integrity in terms of not having these things in place in order to, you know, to help those issues. Um you know, that, that the trust in the platform is going to be lost. And I've been saying this for years is I feel like amazon is the Myspace of E commerce and you know, people laugh at me for that just like [00:17:06] spk_0: you did, just like I just chuckled. Yeah, right? Just like the reference to my space that, you [00:17:11] spk_1: know, but, but I mean if you, if you really look at it, my personal belief and opinion is, is that if this continues, that's why people left Ebay, right? Is the, the loss of trust in the platform. And I feel like if amazon doesn't get their act together, I think that is definitely going to happen now who takes them over? That's a whole nother discussion. But anyway, you, sorry, kind of went off on a [00:17:35] spk_0: tangent, but that's okay. I mean, I think amazon, you know, could be facing a roman empire type moment, some, some years in the future where it's going to, it takes a long time for, you know, took hundreds of years for the roman empire to decline. But you know, if enough years go by and they feel like they can act like a monopoly. They feel like no one's going to catch up. They feel like sellers are never going to go to another marketplace eventually they will cause their own decline. Um, I mean, they're investigating how they can compete with private label brands with their own brands. So if they got to the point where they saturated the market with their own brands, to the point that no other brand mattered, that's a different story. I mean, that's just kind of, that's more like world domination than a monopoly, but they are going to eat their way slowly through retail. But they have to just keep in mind that if they discourage people and burn people out on their way of doing business eventually, somebody will come with another alternative. And if that alternative is attractive. And if it's done right, if a company does what amazon did when it really was day one at amazon and it is possible for somebody to a competitor like that. They might slowly start losing business and then siphon off larger bits of business because they don't adapt and change quickly enough to how that other competitors doing it right? [00:18:59] spk_1: Yeah, absolutely. [00:19:00] spk_0: Very enticing. If somebody was like, we're going to charge your fewer fees, we're still going to give you access to a wide. I mean, look at like if somebody just made a deal with, let's say Tiktok, hey, we're doing a marketplace just based on Tiktok and all these, you know, competitive videos with Youtube, we're going to have everything is in the marketplace based based on sales, content, married to sales and opportunity for sellers to create a new marketplace and get in on the ground floor. Really, no one would be interested in that they would just keep doing the same old thing at amazon. Right? That's the way I do it. [00:19:34] spk_1: Yeah, absolutely. I've been saying for years that, you know, uh, that if facebook, you know either partnered with Fedex or somebody like that with the distribution network, it would be game over for amazon. Not immediately, but they would, they would take a huge chunk out of that market, I think personally. Um, but all right chris last but not least how can people get a hold of you. [00:19:54] spk_0: Right. And so I know I mentioned the conference seller velocity conference dot com. We talked about it being september 23rd here in boston. There's also virtual tickets available for it. So I'll give give you guys some information to share with listeners on that e commerce chris dot com. We've got a contact form. If you've got problems with obviously an account suspension or any listing takedowns or any abuse related issues or listings that went down, you're not even sure if it's abuse or not just run a bias there. Um, you know, feel free to mention that that you listened in on this podcast and will definitely show you some worthwhile attention. So happy to help. [00:20:30] spk_1: Awesome chris, thank you so much for being on. Really appreciate it. Some great info. If you guys haven't joined us live before, please do so sell a round table dot com forward slash live. We have been uh, live streaming this, but we don't always do that. So you might miss some stuff as we end the broadcast and the recording here. I'm gonna ask chris a few uh selfish questions which you would probably want to know about two, but that's the teaser to get you to come into the meeting because we love when you guys ask questions, I'm gonna ask him about search find by and if he's seen any suspensions about that don't answer chris I'm gonna ask him about that as soon as I am this. So next time join us live cell a round table dot com and you'll get some of the super secret double super secret behind the secret door information if you join us live. Thank you so much for joining us on the seller round table. I have a good day. [00:21:17] spk_0: Thank you. [00:21:18] spk_1: Thanks guys. Thanks for tuning in, join us every Tuesday at one PM pacific standard time for live Q and A and bonus content after the recording at cellar round table dot com, sponsored by the ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller. S c o dot com and amazing at home dot com.