Welcome everyone to the e-commerce marketing podcast. I am your host Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest Chad Rubin (Ecommerce Renegade) who builds e-commerce businesses. Fresh out of college and Wall Street, he took his family vacuum business online and built his own direct to consumer e-commerce business called Crucial Vacuum. He grew it from 0 to a $20 million dollar valuation in just 7 years. He happens to be a top 250 Amazon seller. He co-founded Skubana with DJ Kunovac and built one of e-commerce’s hottest operational softwares.

Welcome to the Podcast Chad. Yeah. Not a problem. Yeah. So, you got a pretty diverse background, And today a lot of what we’re going to be talking about to enlighten everybody is going to be about selling on Amazon and selling across multi channels, which is an area I know we haven’t covered too much on this podcast. But before we get into all of that, why don’t you enlighten our audience a little bit about your background a little bit how you got started and how you get into what you’re doing today?

Yeah, that’s me again. Just so we had graduate. University of Massachusetts Amherst I graduated early I paid my way through school growing up. My parents owned a vacuum store. Now if I asked your audience, when was the last time they went to a vacuum store they probably did. All right, right. So I grew up in this struggle really and so I was like first generation college grad and I was like, I never want to be an entrepreneur.

Okay. So I went on to Wall Street after college covering internet stocks specifically until I don’t let go after the Great Recession. So a lot of growth happen Amazon started helping my parents. Amazon and then I actually started directing consumer business where we manufactured and sold home appliance parts and accessories direct-to-consumer called crucial vacuum and think crucial fast forward.

We had all these problems of running the business you had to use all these side load applications to manage inventory order management purchase orders. You wouldn’t have any unified intelligence to run your business. It’s like you’re operating this massive Boeing 747 blind. So I couldn’t find a software out there that did what I needed to do.

And so we started building stew with the intention with DJ una Vaca to with the intention of making a commercially viable and I’ve been really 99.9% time has been focused on that. Ok, and I systemized the whole e-commerce business. I have one employee. I’m grinding. Okay, that’s awesome. One other quick question is your family business still up and running the crucial vacuum.

So there’s actually that’s my business. Okay, my parents actually had one atom businessman father passed. Way the whole launch story behind that. Yeah. It’s just been me solo focusing on 20 different channels right now. Wow, just got on to Home Depot. Okay, and we’re still scaling and still with one employee because we’ve automated everything with technology and Outsource resources.

Gotcha. Yeah. That’s awesome. We had. One of the recent podcasts we talked a lot about virtual hiring and how powerful that is. I actually interviewed the the gentleman that runs the virtual hiring site online jobs pH where they get up all um, virtual assistants over in the Philippines and he ruined that company and really discussed the really the real value.

Um, that virtual hiring can can do for business. I’m very familiar with online jobs that PH2. Okay great great. So, you know, You what you talked about in which you mentioned as far as how you got started. It’s very interesting because you’re probably I would say at least the third guest in a row that’s told me that their current business came out of a necessity that they had.

You know, you mentioned that there really wasn’t much out there as far as inventory Magic. Across multiple platforms for the vacuum business and you saw that there was a need and you jump right into it, but you know, I could say this there’s so many others that I’ve talked to you that told me the same thing and it’s it’s always good to you know to be in there because you know, you’re building something out of your own needs.

So the passion is definitely there now, you know, we’ve on this podcast we’ve talked a lot about selling on various platforms. We’ve talked to others about selling on Amazon and I know there’s other platforms that people can sell. Of course and a lot of our podcast listeners that are out there have their own online store.

They may have just gotten started and they’re wondering you know, really? What is the best way that you see the ad and Amazon and Amazon sales Channel because from the outside in it can seem kind of daunting and overwhelming for business look at. What do you think? Yes, when I look at building a business or an Empire got to have the right foundation.

So is your foundation intact and did you have you systemized what you have today? And I think that’s the real key is like when I had my own warehouse now, everything’s outsourced even my warehouse will mince Outsource. Okay in a scalable model that’s plugged in play and systemized so that I can actually scale and focus double down on marketing and growth.

So you need to find the right platform that can systemize it and find a platform that can scale not just a one-trick. That’s just Amazon specific or just Shopify specific. Right? But you need something that’s multi-dimensional so that you can actually scale as you grow. And in fact that the glass ceiling, okay, gotcha so you can’t just wake up one day and say okay.

I want to sell them. I want to sell on Amazon and then just jump right into it. Well you put where you could just if you’re just want to throw it on Amazon sure. You can jump right on Amazon. But if you already have a business, how do you integrate a new channel into your current business? Right?

Right. Exactly and you want to make sure like, you said you have those system. Please to be able to to manage that I know you deal with of course a lot of businesses that utilize your platform across multiple channels and everybody of course talks about Amazon, but what do you see as some of the other?

Top channels that businesses are really making an impact on and really selling selling well on so I can speak from a personal share. I would say you want to focus depends on your product. So Amazon is for every dollar that’s spent online fifty fifty cents of it goes down as on okay, so you can’t ignore Amazon we talk about e-commerce, right but should also have your own website as well where you can actually own the customer and honestly, I think you should be on every platform you can because it’s the real estate play.

So I love Monopoly video. And in order to win a monopoly you need to actually own every piece of real estate on that board to win. Okay. Is there someone lands on it you get paid right? Same thing in e-commerce. Okay, there’s no if you have the right system in place, there’s no reason why you can scale across the major channels as possible.

It’s just another Avenue another sale, but for me when I think about where to sell most importantly is where are people spending time? And if you actually focus on where people are spending time you’re going to win right exactly exactly now aside from Amazon, which is of course the Behemoth in the retail online industry, of course, we have Walmart.

I know there was a big a lot of hype and there was kind of a big push with jet when they launched I don’t hear too much more about them these days, where do they stand and is that something that you deal with and you sell on as well? I think they’re fully. Consumed by Walmart now, really? Okay. So when I think about Jedi thing about Walmart, we do really really well in Walmart, but like not every product to do well in Walmart.

So we make commodity products but I don’t think like a very Innovative product. That’s say let’s just say all birds, right? I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good fit to sell in Walmart. You have to really pick and choose your channel because not all the channels are equal. Right exactly. That’s that’s for sure.

So, you know, I know there’s of course some other smaller ones that people can think about participating on and you know, the main thing like you said, it’s like Monopoly you have to make sure you get out there in as many Avenues as possible and you know in that channels that really actually make sense for your business, of course if it’s a channel.

People frequent that are purchasing your your specific type of product. Now as far as considering selling across multi multi channels, are there really any special tools out there for managing Multi Sales multi-channel sales or Inventory management tools order fulfillment. What are some specific items that somebody but there’s tons of tools out there.

Obviously, I have to mention stupid but I’m not here to sell she is not really for everybody. Really for advanced seller. So there’s a lot of entry-level tools out there. You have to pick and choose the tools that you use is not all of them attitude on their promise. And that’s really what got me started was that I had all these issues whether it’s a percentage of Revenue that one’s would take over whether you get under the hood you signed a one-year contract and then you realize that there’s no engine in the car can drive right you gotta and there’s no nothing protecting you Commerce business owners like the industry is still so new.

So there’s a lot of mistakes to be had in the. But you have to really really do a lot of research. Yeah. Yeah, that’s that is for sure. It’s like you said one of the things that is a true asset to businesses these days especially eCommerce businesses these days and I did a presentation on this a couple weeks ago is just the explosion of all of these Solutions out there, you know, like you said, there’s so many of these tools out there for ordered management to inventory management.

And these are you know online Solutions where you can pay monthly fees for them. And you know, I’ve been around for a little while as far as on the internet and and dealing with e-commerce businesses and I recall the days where there was none of that. You know, there were SAS software as a service didn’t really exist anytime you wanted a solution you either had to, you know, pay a very large Enterprise license for that software get it installed on your server.

Um, How many seats you needed and then you know and then of course there comes along desktop applications where you know, if you needed stuff for your local staff, you know, that’s that’s a whole other story these days, you know, that’s that stuff is definitely gone by the wayside. And so there are so many solutions out there very affordable.

Most of them have free trials. You can check them out demo them and you know, see if they make sense for for you. So it’s a really a great opportunity for someone that you know. And have a lot of cash upfront to try to get started into to really kind of dive right into it. Yep and see what type of it I mean with with shobana.

There is no extra Plumbing that’s required. There’s no massive deployment cycle. No intricate customizations that are needed. So we have out of the box functionality all the Integrations to Amazon every International Channel and one of the babies with sellers on Amazon. They really are caught up in what they’re making but they’re not caught up in what they’re keeping its we have like these incredible stupid ability reports include every single.

You can actually see exactly precisely every order I never stood that’s contributed to that order what your actual true profitability is pursed you. Okay? Gotcha pretty cool. Yeah that definitely is now when a business is out there and they’re actually selling across all of these different channels and platforms.

What’s the main thing that you really have to pay attention to, you know to really be successful. Well, there’s so many things to pay attention to because like when you’re a business owner. You’re wearing you’re taking out the garbage, right? You’re doing the dishes you’re doing everything right?

And so I really think that the thing that you should be focusing on is how you can double down and what you’re really good at and Outsourcing weaknesses and finding technology to automate a lot of the low value Monday and processes. Right, right. That’s on the operational side. Right? But then if you don’t have a business with some people listening to this podcast may not is really thinking about how do you develop a product?

How do you Source it? How do you make sure make sure that you’re making the right move and Shores either first-mover advantage or that you’re going to actually succeed with that product. If its competitive space, right? That is definitely for sure. And you know one of the things these days because of the connectedness of everything with social media with all of these review sites, you know, as I mentioned it’s a because of the ability to really get out there and to get your products sold across the multiple platforms.

It’s it actually is almost a double-edged sword because you can get really some quick exposure. But if you if your do the wrong thing or you know, Have some holes in your processes as far as limited fulfillment, you’ve got people waiting on their orders things like that. Unfortunately word spreads and if people have a complaint and have an issue, you know these days people do not hesitate to put, you know, bad reviews out there whether it’s Google whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s you know, the Better Business Bureau what have you, you know, you can someone can really if you do the wrong thing and you’re not fulfilling your customers expectations, You know that will be shown all over the Internet pretty quickly and you it can be hard to recover from that.

I’ve seen a lot of businesses that have failed early on and tried to recover but you know, they were their reputation too early and weren’t able to recover from that. Yeah. I mean you want to definitely Delight. I mean the model that I followed especially something on Amazon Amazon forces you to achieve their performance metrics, so it’s a great incubator.

And they like track you and track kpi’s so I that’s one thing. I really enjoy about selling Amazon. They forced me to level up to their expectations and their customer expectations and then actually add those give those to our clients. Okay? That’s that’s good. Yeah that actually can help a business because you’re you’re adhering to their requirements their expectations and you can actually take that apply to your business apply it to even your direct selling because you know, you can see what it takes to have a success.

President presence on Amazon and then you can turn around and do those same things on your own e-commerce website. So yeah, that’s that’s awesome another benefit that you know, not a lot of people realize but you know, the thing with Amazon is they’ve got you know more money than just pretty much any business in the world almost and so they’ve got the brightest Minds from marketing to user interface to.

Customer psychology, you know the list goes on and on and so they have the top people constantly analyzing how people purchase and how to to really be successful selling online. So, yeah, it’s something you definitely don’t want to take for granted now, you know a business that does jump out there or is considering jumping out there across all of these different Channel platforms.

Is there certain types of infrastructures with regards to their e-commerce back end. They should have in place that they can be successful with. Well, you want to make sure that so one of the reasons why SAS models like ours I get worse ass model. We have an app integration ecosystem that are just plug and play.

So when you pick a system need to make sure you’re picking one that has an ecosystem that developed into it, right so that you can stand and scale and add strength to the platform without having to do custom Integrations. Sure. So I think that’s just a big. They had people should focus on when they’re making their when they’re making a decision.

If you’re building a shopping cart, you’re looking at the same thing. And what is the ecosystem look like? Why is one better than the other doing an apples-to-apples comparison understanding how extensible and how you can extend the reach of the platform because of course the plan is that you’re here at at the ground level.

But in the year in two years and three years, you don’t want to have to read platform constantly. Right? Right. That’s for sure, you know here at uh, At Omni star with our affiliate software. We we get approached by a lot of different types of businesses that are selling on various platforms. And what you said is definitely correct.

We we often get people that come to us with platforms that are new that I’ve never, you know, we nobody’s really heard of too much and are are very limited. And as far as the integration a lot of times they come to us. Okay, you know, you’re the fifth company. I’ve come to uh, we’re trying. If you’re compatible with you know with XYZ card, can you do it and then you know, like, you know, I’m sorry.

The only thing we usually do in that situation is, you know, we recommend them to some of our other partners that like you said have a larger ecosystem have those apis and things in those hooks and play. Where you know they can talk to, you know, a lot of different other Solutions and integration is a lot more seamless.

So it really does make sense. I’ve talked to some businesses that have have gone down that unfortunately Rabbit Hole where they’re dealing with some of these smaller providers. And they get to a point where there where the kind of into deep where they’re like, you know, if we suggest them looking at another option, they’re like, you know, I can’t redo this entire site.

I’ve got too many products out here. I’ve spent too much time it just you know, it doesn’t make sense for me financially to try to switch. So definitely want to think about that upfront before selecting your your infrastructure and your and your platform. Now, you’ve given us some you know, some great advice.

What do you think is the number one best piece? Advice that you can give any Commerce business that has you know, just started multi-channel sales. That’s just started selling or just started selling across many channels just started selling across many channels. Best piece of advice for them is probably focusing on optimizing content per Channel.

Okay, so that a place your product and increases the placement of that product on that channel. Okay. It doesn’t listening is very different from an Amazon most thing. Right people have different shopping behavior on both platforms. Actually. It’s a different customer that shopping on each of those platforms.

So I think that’s that’s probably the what I would focus on if you’re just starting to be multi Channel right now. Okay, and that makes sense because. You know, it’s like one shoe definitely doesn’t fit all with regards to these different channels because there’s you know, there’s a lot of different requirements.

There’s different types of of users across the different channels. So you can’t just say okay I’m going to use this blanket product description across everything and then just expect to be successful that makes total sense. You need to make sure you know, you’re hearing the different guidelines or the different platforms and and you do the things that you have to do to optimize.

Ross each one, you know individually, so that’s yeah, that’s that’s definitely a a great great piece of advice. So, you know all of the businesses that are listening that are thinking of doing it. I think it’s definitely a great time to do multi Channel sales. Like you said, there’s a number of different platforms.

There’s a number of different solutions that businesses can can get assistance with and managing their their whole back in. Well Well Chad we definitely appreciate you joining us here on eCommerce. Marketing podcast he’s giving a great wealth of information for for any businesses that’s exploring multi-channel sales.

Now if anyone wants to get in touch with you, how do they do it? Well, you can check out my book on Amazon cheaper easier to wrecked. It’s really the game plan of how I grew my Amazon business. Okay, lots of gold nuggets in there for you to check out you can always email me at chat at stew if you ever need anything.

Yeah, you can reach out to me on Instagram Facebook LinkedIn any which way I’m I’m reachable. Okay that that sounds awesome. Thanks a lot Chad, and we appreciate you joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast Anthony. Thank you for listening to the Commerce marketing podcast to access the e-commerce videos and other resources to help your business.

Grow. Please visit get forward slash videos subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for e-commerce marketing podcast. Leave a rating and a review. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

Podcast Guest Info

Chad Rubin