Curious about how to best do business with Amazon and what to do if something goes wrong?
In this episode, Stan Friedlander digs deep into the culture inside Amazon, how Amazon is growing its own categories, and how Amazon really looks at large private-label sellers. He also discloses the acquisition between Zappos and Amazon and how that really reflected in the internal culture. Stan points out why Amazon is still the dominant player in e-commerce and encourages sellers to diversify their interests by selling on more than one platform. Listen and enjoy!
Stan Friedlander was chief merchant/gm of multiple categories for Amazon in both US and Japan for 10+ years, including all apparel, footwear, jewelry, watches, handbags, sunglasses, luggage, and costumes. He had full p&l responsibility over first and third-party marketplace sales and expenses for these categories, including all customer experience, marketing, shipping, and personnel expenses. His teams ranged in size from 100+ and oversaw revenues of $3.5B+, and he was responsible for launching luggage, kids apparel, and costume categories for Amazon in the US. My first role at Amazon was leading a team of six with revenues under $25M, so I was responsible for leading teams through colossal growth and innovation expansions.
[00:01 – 08:01] Tips for Building a Successful E-Commerce Business
• Stan shares his background at Amazon, most notably as the chief merchant officer for multiple categories.
- His experience moving to Japan and his expertise in Amazon culture
- Working with Zappos, and his current work as an independent consultant
• Stan’s insights about Amazon and its growth
[08:02 – 30:48] How Zappos and Amazon Stay Separate
• The cultural differences and similarities between Zappos and Amazon
• How Zappos still does a significant amount of business on Amazon as a third-party seller
• Sellers should be careful not to overbuild their businesses
- How could this lead to them being undercut by Amazon?
• Stan’s outlook on Amazon’s announcement of cutting back on its private label operations
[30:49 – 52:40] Is it Time to Diversify Your Interests?
• How Amazon will still be the dominant player in ecommerce for the next few years
- Increasing their chances of success
• Businesses should diversify their interests by selling on more than one marketplace
• How to build a brand on Amazon
- Differentiating your product on Amazon can be difficult, but it is important
[52:41 – 59:37] Wrapping Up!
• What to do if you have issues with an Amazon listing
• Amazon has become more automated in its responses, and it may be quicker to respond if you file a case.
• Stan on the rapid-four questions
Connect with Stan
“You can build something on product-based search, but at some point, you better start recognizing when the customer starts recognizing this brand.” – Stan Friedlander