E-commerce offers many unique retail opportunities - not the least of which is being location independent. You can, at least in theory, sell to customers anywhere in the world.
However as the e-commerce market becomes increasingly competitive, even power brands are having to devote more resources to drive growth.
That leaves small to medium sized brands increasingly frustrated as they struggle to increase sales - and more importantly - to make a profit.
Today Lesley Hensell, co-founder of Riverbend Consulting, a small business e-commerce consultant with over two decades helping companies solve issues in their online retail businesses, joins us on A Seat at The Table.
Lesley has personally helped hundreds of third-party sellers get their suspended Amazon accounts and ASINs back up and running, learn which KPI’s actually matter, and how to improve their operations and profitability.
In this episode she discusses
- Strategies small to medium sized sellers can implement to compete with even giant players.
- Key mistakes she sees companies make when they get started in e-commcerce.
- How sellers can minimise risk - while also growing their revenue.
… and a lot more.
Riverbend Consuting’s website: https://riverbendconsulting.com
Connect with Lesley Hensell: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lesleyhensell/
Learn about The Current Situation in Sourcing: https://thecurrentsituation.net
Visit A Seat at The Table's website at https://seat.fm
[00:00:00] Leslie I'm really thrilled to have you on the show. I mean, e-commerce has been such a big part of everybody's existence, particularly in the last few years. So having someone like yourself who has expertise to weigh in, I think is really gonna be very meaningful. Thank you. I'm excited to be here.
[00:00:17] Well, thanks for joining us. When you look at eCommerce. Certainly there was a surge during the pandemic. I mean, Amazon was our lifeline, certainly my lifeline and now things have sort of moved into the direction of being a little more, I would say diversified amongst physical retail and online, but Amazon still plays a key role.
[00:00:40] How can independent sellers and vendors survive? Let alone thrive when they're competing against eCommerce giants. Oh, that's such a great question. And you know, I think there's some misconceptions out there in the marketplace right now about how big [00:01:00] Amazon really is, for example, in terms of the number of products that are sold on amazon.com.
[00:01:06] So during the pandemic about 65% of the goods, Sold on amazon.com in the us were actually sold by third party marketplace sellers. So these were everything from small businesses operating out of their garage all the way up to somewhat large businesses and mom and pops everything in between. That we're just using Amazon as a platform and a marketplace.
[00:01:35] So there is a lot to be said for some of these giants, allowing all of these small businesses to sell on their marketplace, it would be impossible for an Amazon to actually stock on and sell all of the diverse number of products that are currently on its quote unquote shelves in its, in its warehouses.
[00:01:58] It's not like Walmart where. [00:02:00] Have a limited shelf space and there's many fewer products available. Yeah. That's a really good point. And I think we often overlook that, right. We think of Amazon as being the everything store with, you know, sort of, inventory that goes clear to infinity. So I think it's, I think you make a very good point on that now.
[00:02:19] How can. These smaller companies, or maybe as you said, they're not necessarily that small, but they're also not the, the heavy weights. Right? How can they position themselves? What are, what should they be looking to do in order to maximize their success? So right now, what we are seeing is that specialty goods are really doing well in online marketplaces.
[00:02:46] And by that, I mean, if you look at, for example coffee, right, let's take something easy engineer, like. Coffee. Um, you're not gonna compete against folders and Starbucks. If you're selling your own brand of coffee, they have [00:03:00] advertising budgets that are massive. They have name recognition. So what can you do?
[00:03:04] So you can have special flavored coffees. You can have coffees with MCT oil. There are all of these specialty coffees that you can find out on Amazon and on Shopify stores and other marketplaces where people are doing really well. You don't have to compete with the big boys. Head on, you have to have an offering that is not a big enough market segment for them to invest in.
[00:03:28] So where I'm seeing my clients that are private label sellers doing really well is in finding these niches and in kind of inventing new niches themselves by looking at demand. That's really such a great insight. And I think we often overlook that. We forget that you don't have to necessarily slam your head into a brick wall.
[00:03:50] You can try to see if there's a way to go around it. And I, I think you're right that doing a little bit of research and identifying in niche that you can [00:04:00] specialize in, but that as you're pointing out, isn't really worth a big player to develop because they can't scale it to the level they'd need to, for it to be profitable for them.
[00:04:09] Um, that that leaves an awful lot of turf for everybody else. It absolutely does. And if you, if you do some product research, it's really fascinating. You can take any category around your house that you can think of and go to an Amazon or search out there on the web. And you're gonna find these specialty goods.
[00:04:29] It never would've occurred to you before this summer. I wanted some new pool toys. So I went and on Amazon and I was looking up pool toys and there are well known brands and things that you would find in a big chain store, like Leslie's pool supplies. But then there are all of these little products from these mom and pop sellers.
[00:04:48] Who've developed relationships with manufacturers. There are so many products. It's absolutely amazing. Yeah, it really is. You know, when you think about it, that is one of [00:05:00] the joys, right. Of shopping on these various marketplaces, or even just in online in general, you're able to find these unique things that you just never, you never would find elsewhere simply because the constraints of having to have anyone retailer hold that much physical inventory and, and you're right.
[00:05:18] People do like that. I mean, people, people need basics, but people also want the joy of something that's a bit more special and. Absolutely they do. And you know, another interesting part of shopping on Amazon is looking for there's all these specialty groups you can look for. They're starting to have badges for black owned business and women owned business.
[00:05:43] You can tell if someone is a small business there's made in America, there's all these other badges. So if you have a particular desire to support a certain type of business or a certain country, that some things you manufactured in, you can literally find anything that you want. [00:06:00] Yeah, absolutely. Now what are some of the, I mean, you've been doing this for a long time and you have a tremendous amount of expertise.
[00:06:07] What are some of the typical mistakes that you see companies making when they're trying to establish themselves in eCommerce? So right now is the greatest time in the history of the world to launch a new product online. And I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. There are all of these online marketplaces that are almost like business incubators.
[00:06:28] So you or I can take a few thousand dollars, go have a product manufactured, put it up on Amazon, on eBay and other sites and see if it sells. See if it's. Selling, but too many people take. And if you build it, they will come attitude toward e-commerce they think just because the potential, number of consumers is enormous in whatever country or marketplace you're selling on that.
[00:06:56] It automatically means people are gonna go, come and buy the thing [00:07:00] that is not true. So you still have to invest in. , great listings, great customer service, excellent photography. And remember that you are competing against the biggest boys. everyone is the same. You're competing against large companies that have big marketing budgets, but you can still make your stuff look as good as theirs.
[00:07:23] You just have to do the work. So this set it and forget it. Or if you build it, they will come of eCommerce. That's just not true. I think a lot of folks out there have sold that dream that, you know, you just throw the product up there and woo. Everything goes great. It takes ongoing. Work and improvement.
[00:07:42] And that doesn't matter if you are a small business person, operating on your own, or if you are a, a mid-size to large company, you've gotta invest the time. If you look out on some of these marketplaces, you'll even see large brands that have not invested the time in their listings to make the [00:08:00] products look great.
[00:08:00] And they do not sell. I'm so glad you brought that up, Leslie. Cuz it really is something that needed to be said. I think you're right. People have been sold the dream that, online, it has no costs to it. And like you said, you just said it and forget it. Plug and play where it is competitive. You can win, but you have to, as you're pointing out.
[00:08:21] Do the work. And if you're willing to spend a little bit of time, as you're pointing out to find a niche product and really focus on how do you present it properly, you can succeed. But I think you're right. There's such a myth about, uh, online is just this, um, you know, sort of unlimitless, um, fountain of customers that'll buy anything you put up.
[00:08:46] Right. That, that it never, the demand never ends. There are so many sellers that I know of all sizes. Who've ended up with a warehouse full of goods or a garage full of goods that either there just wasn't enough market demand or [00:09:00] they didn't do a great job. Rolling it out. There's also, um, specifically on Amazon, there's something called a honeymoon period.
[00:09:07] Okay. And it's the first 30. That you're up. And sometimes it goes maybe 90 days. Um, but there's this honeymoon period where Amazon treats, every time you come up and search results is magic. Yeah. And every time someone clicks on your product, it's like magic. It's almost like you get extra points in the SEO that you wouldn't get six months down the road.
[00:09:28] Um, you've gotta treat that period of time. Like the magic. It is. It's, it's just like a physical roll out of a product in a store. No one messes around with that. No, one's like, oh, we'll just put this stuff in a Walmart. It's just gonna suck. No one does that. Right. You have an advertising campaign, social media campaign, you do all the things.
[00:09:48]You've gotta treat it the same way on Amazon. It's a rollout. Treat it like it is take advantage of the honeymoon period. Right. Yeah. I think it's important that you pointed that out, cuz you don't really think about it and, [00:10:00] and you're right. People get caught up in that early success that, oh, I put something up there.
[00:10:05] I got a sale. Oh, I got another sale. This is easy. And, and then suddenly, right. Everything dies and you wonder what happened. Continually work it because there are new competitors all the time. Um, it's interesting that online is the great equalizer and that you can compete against large businesses, but you're competing against all businesses, everyone, even businesses in other countries that are directly shipping to people in your country.
[00:10:33] There's, there's so much competition that you just have to continually stoke the fire on your own listing and your own advertis. Yeah, that's very true. I mean, you don't realize it on the one hand that low barrier to entry enables anyone to get in, but at the same time it enables everyone to get in.
[00:10:51] So I think what you're pointing out right is very, it's something you don't think about that. Yeah, you could get in easily, but so can everybody else. [00:11:00] yes, but at the same time, we all know this. We've all seen it. There are so many people who do approach online as a get rich quick, even in the, in the business space.
[00:11:13] Right. It's not just entrepreneurs. So entrepreneurs, small businesses, it's large businesses who are like, oh, we'll just add this other channel and things will magically happen. Right. So the people who work it are the ones who are gonna survive. So it's true. There's so much competition. A lot of that competition naturally falls away because they don't put the head down and do the hard work and they did once set it and forget it.
[00:11:38] And really quickly they find out that's not gonna happen. I think you're right. A lot of very experienced retailers found that out the hard way when everybody jumped into eCommerce, even before the pandemic, but certainly as the. Pushed a lot more business online and a lot of very experienced retailers as well.
[00:11:56] Didn't really sit down and think about [00:12:00] the different environment as you're pointing out the different costs that they may, they might face. So a lot of people really were, were caught out and, um, you know, found it to be not very profitable now. It's oh, I'm sorry. No, go ahead. Go. Oh, I was gonna say, it's great that you brought up the cost too, because, um, I think people get really excited by the idea of not having rent right.
[00:12:24] And not having some of the expensive parts of retail and they don't realize you've still gotta have bodies to pack. Right. All of the items that go out, uh, you, you got postage for all those items, even if you've got a great deal with FedEx or ups, it's still gonna cost you for every single one of those items.
[00:12:44] There's still a lot of expenses and, you know, there's. There's an old, I know every industry says no your numbers, right? But in eCommerce, people say it almost with a laugh, right? Because there are so many businesses that do not bother to calculate. [00:13:00] They just assume they assume it's gonna be cheaper.
[00:13:02] And so they wait till the month is over or the quarter's over or the year is over. And they're like, oh my goodness, that actually cost a lot more. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that was the whole sort of myth surrounding eCommerce was that it didn't have any of the costs. If you were to store, as you said, you have to pay rent, you have to pay staff.
[00:13:22] You, you know, you have whatever other costs are, you'll fit out for the store. Whereas online, wow. You just have a website. Right. $19 a month for web hosting and, and that's it. And, and people who should have known better actually looked at it that way and then found out as you're pointing out, you need people, just people in different in job, different job functions, you have expenses.
[00:13:45] They're just different expenses. But at the end of the month, they're certainly there. Oh, absolutely. They are. And also like for, for example, so many businesses I work with that sell on Amazon, [00:14:00] realize how, how much the fulfillment costs set up to there's the magic, there's this magic of doing FBA, which is fulfilled by Amazon, which even very large, um, sellers and brands, do they either use FBA or they use a three PL and either one of those seems like.
[00:14:18] I'm gonna shift pallets of goods to these people. And then the orders come and they automatically get filled and I don't have to touch them. And it's amazing. And, and they don't figure in the per item cost. And the, shortages and all of the stuff that gets lost and damaged in the warehouse that you have to fight to get your money.
[00:14:40] There's it, there's always the devils in the details and there's always details. Absolutely. Now you talked about that honeymoon period when companies first get started, right? Particularly on Amazon and everything looks like it's going swimmingly. Well, what do they have to do next in order? To scale, a lot of people [00:15:00] or a lot of businesses really struggle when they get out of that honeymoon phase.
[00:15:04] And now they need to really scale up and, and start to make some serious money. So the painful thing online right now is the, ad cost. And you really have to be willing to spend on. Right, whatever you thought your ad budget was going to be multiply it by three, because it's gonna be that or more ad cost on Amazon.
[00:15:27] And I keep mentioning Amazon, not just cuz that's what I do most of the time, but it's also the industry standard right now. It is what it is. Right. Ad costs on Amazon have more than doubled in the last couple of years. For most keyword, uh, they really went up during, of course the pandemic, as, demand for ads went up on Amazon.
[00:15:48] So if you wanna be successful and really launch a successful brand, you've got to do, paper, click advertising on Amazon and invest in that to, because during the honeymoon period, You're trying to rank for [00:16:00] some keywords because Amazon is being receptive to you and saying, oh honey, everything you do is great.
[00:16:06] So they're over indexing. Anything that you do, right? Just like a real honeymoon. And then as soon as that ends, you're gonna have to prop that up and keep it going, uh, with pay per click ads. And another thing I strongly recommend, , There are seven images available on any listing. And this is true across all marketplaces.
[00:16:28] There's multiple images available on Amazon at seven. Right? You've gotta use all the image. The search engine loves you for it. They reward you for it. People think it's not a big deal. They throw a product up with two images, even large companies. You've gotta have babies, hot women and dogs in your images.
[00:16:47] because those three things sell products. And I'm sorry, but it's. True. So, and you've gotta have explanatory images that make you wanna use the product. And then another thing that is being heavily [00:17:00] rewarded by Amazon and by Google is video. You can get a great product video for not that much money, less than $2,000.
[00:17:08] You can have a gorgeous or, , $2,500. You can get a gorgeous branded, looking like a TV, commercial video to put on your product. Google, Amazon. Everything out there is rewarding. A video on mobile mobile purchases are now like half of purchases. If you put video up on your listing, it's gonna keep that honeymoon period smoothing out, going forward a little bit longer.
[00:17:33] So in other words, have someone make a video of your product in use sort of showing people how to use it or showing it in action? Is, is that what you're referring? you can do that. Or you can use a brand video that almost looks more like a commercial, , with a lot of color and motion. It needs to be something that will capture attention and people will actually watch it all the way through.
[00:17:57] It's just like, um, search [00:18:00] engine optimization, right? Someone only watches the video for one second. You're not really rewarded by the Amazon algorithm, but if someone watches 15, 20 seconds all the way through, you're gonna be rewarded by that algorithm. Right. Right. Yeah. I think that's a really interesting point that you don't think of.
[00:18:18] I mean, When I look on Amazon, I do see that now almost every listing has some kind of a video and oftentimes it shows you how to use the product. But I think that, uh, if people have a product that doesn't need someone to show them how to use it, they probably don't think, oh, I don't really need that.
[00:18:36] Right. That's that's just for someone who, who needs a how-to video. So it's good that you brought that up well, and you know, don't, it also don't underestimate how much people don't. Right. , that's the great thing about the howto videos, also the brand videos and the photos. Because even compared to two years ago, y'all people don't read.
[00:18:58] And [00:19:00] I about five, 10 years ago, when you looked at listings on eBay and on Amazon, you'd see these big, the bullet points were actually each a paragraph telling you about the product. Oh my goodness. Those are a waste of time. Now. No one will read them. It will intimidate them. They'll click away. Uh, you want the bullet points to be a.
[00:19:18] And then you need these beautiful images and video showing how to use things or showing why they should want it. Um, because we're really turning into more of a visually motivated society instead of a read and comprehended society. Right. Right. Yeah. I think that makes a lot of sense. And certainly having that multimedia approach to presenting your product.
[00:19:42] Touches people in different ways, depending upon, as you said, what their preference is and, and how they like to consume information. So it makes a lot of sense to do that. Now, you, you talk about, you know, minimizing risk in today's retail environment, which is so important because certainly [00:20:00] the glory days of everyone just sitting there shopping online all day during the pandemic, cuz there wasn't really much else to do now has given way to not.
[00:20:09] Multiple channels where people can buy products. A lot of people heading back to physical stores, but also we see inflation coming in. So consumers are, are pulling back a bit. How do you advise clients to maximize their revenues? But at the same time, keep an eye on risk. so risk is like the dirty secret of online selling and people don't understand it until it happens to them.
[00:20:35] it's gosh. Oh, so true. Right, right. It's kind of like, it's kinda like those rare diseases and disorders that you hear of that someone says, oh, I found out I have this terrible thing and you're like, I've never heard of that. Right. Right. It's kinda like. So every platform out there, including payment processors, like PayPal, not just platforms like Amazon and eBay have an [00:21:00] enforcement division and the enforcement division is all based on minimizing risk to that platform.
[00:21:07] And to consumers, they don't care about you as a seller. You are the source of risk. You, you are the potential bad dude. And so what everyone needs to understand is that all these platforms have. Massive divisions with thousands of people working for them who are looking out for fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, inauthentic products, and bad customer experiences.
[00:21:35] And so when you're fulfilling orders on any of these platforms, you have to remember your job. Isn't just to make the customer happy. Your job is to make sure that you do not do anything to trigger. A some kind of an enforcement against your company and that enforcement could be, um, suspending your account, uh, blocking your account, which means it's never coming back or [00:22:00] they say it's never coming back.
[00:22:01] Um, my job is to get it back if it gets blocked and, , or taking down a particular product, sometimes they'll just take down one individual product. So product quality is so important. You have to remember this. Isn't like a store in a brick and mortar store, the store manager, the store staff, they're kind of that backstop.
[00:22:20] They're making sure that the customer is getting what, what the product says right. When it comes in that car and they're unloading it on the shelf, they make sure that it's really a blue. Not a green shirt. Right. But with eCommerce, there's no stop gap. So this enforcement arm is like a post transaction stop gap, making sure that the, the seller's really doing what they're doing.
[00:22:43] So for large companies, Sometimes they don't have good SOPs and they're not really supervising their eCommerce employees the way they need to. So they'll end up losing their Amazon presence, eBay presence, Walmart presence, whatever it is [00:23:00] because they have unsupervised employees without written SOPs, running these businesses and making mistakes.
[00:23:07] Wow. You know, it's interesting you point that out because you're right. Um, in eCommerce, the onus really is very heavily on the seller and I have heard tales of whoa, really horrific tales of, of people being shut down for the exact reasons that you're mentioning. So it is. Very difficult on the seller side to, to be on top of that.
[00:23:31] Well, and a lot of larger companies think it can't happen to them. I have a seller. That's a client that does a billion dollars a year on Amazon that has been suspended twice, , once for one week. And once for two weeks, it was very painful. Yes. At, at, at one point they didn't know if they were ever going to come back.
[00:23:51] You can imagine how many employees they have and the infrastructure they have. , I have worked for major brands that you have all heard. [00:24:00] that, , have had their seller accounts blocked or, uh, more often with those larger companies, larger brands, it's individual products that are blocked from selling on Amazon.
[00:24:11] And some of these are things that sell hundreds or thousands of units per day, that suddenly that revenue stream is cut off. Now, there are times when it was innocent mistakes or bad data because of sellers that complained. And it really wasn't as bad as it sounded. But like, you know, for these bigger companies, two thirds of the time, it was them.
[00:24:35] They made mistakes, they had bad product quality. They weren't watching, , on what they were doing in their own operations. And then it, it creates this huge fire drill because you're not, , you're losing money every single day. You've built the infrastructure. You've got the employees you've gotta pay and all of a sudden your products aren't moving.
[00:24:54] It's very stress. Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think it's good. You brought that up [00:25:00] that people really need to in advance have systems in place that will prevent that. Not you never can a hundred percent prevent, but you can certainly mitigate this from happening. . Yeah. So my very favorite strategy, , and it's, it's Amazon specific, but in my, in my language, but you could use it anywhere, right?
[00:25:20] I call it always be improving your worst ASIN. Cuz an ASIN is a product on Amazon, like a, a up Z. It's an ASIN, right? Amazon standard identification number. Okay. So always be improving your worst. A in means you look at your catalog and how big it. You decide how many ASINs you need to be improving at any given time.
[00:25:41] So let's say you've got a hundred ASINs, then that means you need to, you need to improve two a week. Um, so go through the whole catalog in a year. You look at your return rates. And then you look for the products like the legit returns. You discard reasons like bad address, but you look at the real return rates and see the [00:26:00] ones that are out of line.
[00:26:01] Anything over 2%, you need to pay attention, cuz you're losing money on those products. When people return those. Products, you don't just lose the sale. You eat the fees, right? You eat most of the fees, not the, not the referral fee, but everything else, the pick and pack and all that, you eat it. The postage, if you're shipping yourself, you eat it.
[00:26:19] And so your losses on the individual sales can actually make you lose money on the entire ASIN. Right, right. If your return rate is too high, even if it's just seven, 8%, all of a sudden margin's gone. So you look at your return rates and then you look through all the other data that you have on that platform.
[00:26:39] And the reasons people are giving and you have to be open minded. Yes. So many people don't wanna believe buyers, but if someone says I didn't get a shampoo conditioner combo, I got two shampoos and you see that over and over again. Obviously someone has prepped that product wrong, right? So you look through the data and find the [00:27:00] reasons if you're always improving your worst, a.
[00:27:04] By improving the packaging or changing the listing or changing the prep or, you know, changing how it's actually being shipped out of your facility. , your profitability goes up without doing anything except selling the same stuff. , and also if you make the tough decision, I'm not gonna sell product X anymore, cuz it's not appropriate for eCommerce.
[00:27:25] It's breaking too much in transit. , we have a manufacturing problem. We need to fix whatever it is, , killing off that bad product can actually help you tremendously in the short term while you fix it. Yeah. That's really a good point that we don't think. I think most of us, at least in the last, I'd say probably two decades have been so focused on the cell side, on the top line that nobody's really paid a tremendous amount attention to the bottom line.
[00:27:53] Um, and then that ends up, you know, biting you in the back, so to speak because sooner or later [00:28:00] that creeps up on you. So I think it's really, it's good that you're pointing out how to analyze that and where to look for these sort of holes in your profit. well, and it seems like a minor point. It seems like, oh, that's way too much detail, way too much effort.
[00:28:19] But the, the clients that I've had, who've invested the time to do this have come back to me and said, wow, that was shocking. like, they didn't even, they didn't even realize they weren't even running their return rates. To figure out. I only have two products that have a lot of returns. Everything else it's under 1%, right?
[00:28:41] I've gotta fix those two. I had one guy who sells Nike clothing. And when he did this, he figured out there was one single line of clothing that was responsible for this way. Outsized number of his. Because that particular line of clothing ran too [00:29:00] small under the Nike brand. So people weren't getting the expected fit.
[00:29:04] It was like runner's clothing, right? So obviously people knew what size they were for the Nike runner's clothing. It was all too small. And he was like, oh my goodness, this is terrible. And he returned it all to Nike. He like got it, sent it all back for credit on his account and stopped selling it. Turned everything around for him.
[00:29:21] So if it's it's the, the torture of going through the data, I get it. And people think they don't have time. They're so busy filling orders, right? Filling orders, filling orders, filling orders. but if you, if you run the data, you'll find out, wow. Maybe I shouldn't even be filling all these orders. well, that's just it right.
[00:29:39] You know, sometimes we have to figure out, as you're saying, what's the weakest link and, and make the tough decision to get out of that product if we're not making any money on it. And it's just dragging everything down well, and continuous improvement has been a mantra in manufacturing since the early 1980s.
[00:29:57] Right. And why [00:30:00] shouldn't it apply to eCommerce? It absolutely should. And sometimes when you find a problem, it's as simple as, oh, my listing detail page is confusing, right? People think they're getting a three pack and they're getting a two pack or, , people don't understand the size. We need to add a sizing chart.
[00:30:18] Sometimes it is literally when you put all the labor in it's a $50 improvement. That will last you for years and will reduce your return rate. So it's, it's not always like I've gotta redesign the world sometimes it's just super, super simple. Why wouldn't we have continuous improvement in eCommerce? Um, I think it again goes back to the set and forget it mindset and the hustle.
[00:30:43] Okay. Everything eCommerce, even in big companies, it's crazy to me, even with big brands when it comes to the eCommerce part, they're all about the hustle, right? And the hustle ISN, the, the isn't, the boring stuff I do like continuous improvement and risk management. But [00:31:00] while you can make more money doing continuous improvement, risk management yeah.
[00:31:05] Well, I think that what you're pointing out, the timing couldn't have been better because we're seeing a huge mindset. I don't wanna say it's a shift, cuz that almost sounds like it's happening really fast, but certainly a. A evolution, shall we say, in the focus being shifted from a hundred percent on the top line to starting to realize that the bottom line is, is critical as well.
[00:31:26] And if we don't take care of the bottom line, we might not have a top line at some point. So I, I really, you know, I think what you've shared is really important right now. well, thanks. I, I agree. And I think the coming months there's gonna be, there's already started to be a shakeout in eCommerce. You know, there were these large aggregators out there, right.
[00:31:47] That were buying up all of these private label brands and some of them have folded now. There's consolidation going on. And it's like with any newer industry that has dramatic growth [00:32:00] and there's consolidation. Um, but also there was so much hyper growth during the pandemic. There's always a correction, even when the growth was real, right.
[00:32:10] The growth was real because people were all online. But as you said earlier, you're absolutely correct. People are going back to brick and mortar. They're worried about inflation in the economy. They're pulling back. Buying essentials. This is time is ripe for a correction. So when there's going to be a correction, the people who survive are the ones who focus on old school fundamentals, I guess, I guess Jane, this is a product of my age that, you know, when you , when you're older and you look at big picture, you're like old school fundamentals.
[00:32:43] Are we making a profit on this product? Do we have quality issues? , let's look at our numbers every day. It's going back to. ABCs of business instead of, oh, I'm just gonna hustle and throw it on more market. Exactly right. I, I think everything that you've pointed out are [00:33:00] things that experienced people know, but need to be reminded of and newbies into the market need to learn in order for anybody to be able to basically survive, , in this economic shift where the money might not be flowing quite so fast.
[00:33:17] You've shared so many interesting things. Leslie, where can people connect with you? Where, where can we find you? so our website is river bend consulting.com. And we do this crazy thing where we have a phone number there and you can call and talk to a human , which I know is rare these days, but very.
[00:33:39] Yes, it is, , cuz our clients are facing really complex problems. Right. A lot of times they're in a panic mode, they're in an emergency and so they need to be able to talk to a human right away. Then also if you head on over to LinkedIn and put in Leslie Hensel I post comment, I post content about eCommerce and Amazon [00:34:00] almost every day.
[00:34:01] I love to connect with people there. And that way, if you ever do have a problem down the line, You can search and find me there. Excellent. I'm gonna put all of those links in the show notes as well, so that people can definitely be able to connect with you. And I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show and, and for sharing so many great insights.
[00:34:20] I've learned a tremendous amount. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me.