TRS 010: Liz Fickenscher eCommerce Specialist at eComEngine
When shopping online, what convinces you to ultimately hit that “buy now” button? For most consumers, it’s those highly-rated product reviews, and Amazon knows this. That’s why their algorithm rewards ASINs that have more positive ratings. But how are businesses earning those quality reviews in the first place? After all, less than 1% of shoppers return to leave any feedback.
Today on The Revenue Stream, we’re joined by Liz Fickenscher of eComEngine. She’s an eCommerce specialist and helps both growing and established sellers on Amazon earn the most reviews with their software solution FeedbackFive. From compliance to SEO, we dive into all the details surrounding Amazon reviews for sellers. Get caught up!
FeedbackFive review management software
WTM’s blog article How to Get Better Reviews on Amazon (Legitimately)
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Marcus: Hello, marketers and business leaders! I’m Marcus Grimm, and welcome to The Revenue Stream, the podcast from Web Talent Marketing. Here we discuss everything you need to know to build brands, generate leads, and convert sales from some of the brightest minds in marketing.
Marcus: Hey, marketers and business leaders. This is Marcus Grimm, and welcome to The Revenue Stream from Web Talent Marketing. You know, if we want to, we can kind of distill success on Amazon down to three simple things. Number one: obviously you need a product that people are interested in that they’re looking for. No demand; no sales. Number two: obviously you need to be priced competitively. After all, every other product remotely close to yours is going to show up in those exact same results. And three: you gotta be able to demonstrate quality to a customer who often has no basis on which to trust you. Now, the most important way to build trust when you don’t have any on Amazon is through those third party reviews that we’re all familiar with. And that’s the subject of today’s podcast as we welcome Liz Fickenscher to the program. Liz, thank you for joining us.
Liz: Hey, thank you. I’m so glad to be here.
Marcus: All right. Now Liz, technically speaking, you don’t work for– we’re going to be talking about the software today that a lot of people are familiar with. It’s called FeedbackFive, and Liz doesn’t specifically work for FeedbackFive. Rather, FeedbackFive is one of three awesome products for Amazon sellers specifically offered by eComEngine, which is Liz’s employer. So before we dig deeply into FeedbackFive let’s take a step back. Liz, tell us about the history of eComEngine, and how does this portfolio of three products came to be?
Liz: Awesome. Thanks, Marcus. Well so FeedbackFive is a software tool that helps sellers on the Amazon marketplace actively managed their seller reputations. It was the first tool in the eComEngine suite, and the way it came about the owner of our company saw a need for automation when requesting feedback on your Amazon orders. And this was like way back in the mid 2000s so feedback was like the big thing, whereas right now product reviews are. At that time no solution existed. So being the type of guy Jay is, he decided to build one. So he and Derek, who is now the director of our IT department, created FeedbackFive and sort of invented automated reputation management then. And people really wanted it. So it really took off. So since 2009 we’ve grown from just a few employees to over 50 full time employees. And along the way we developed Restock Pro, which is a super inventory management tool for FBA sellers on amazon.com, .co, .uk, and .ca. And we have a sourcing tool that’s geared toward wholesale type sellers, but I’m really here to talk about FeedbackFive today.
Marcus: Yes, let’s talk about FeedbackFive today. And one of the things that I think find really interesting about eComEngine as a company is you guys are strictly an Amazon Platform, right?
Marcus: Everything that you do is on Amazon. Now if we go all the way back to when FeedbackFive started up and even now, I think there are some people who would say, “Well, are reviews, even that important? How important are they in the grand scheme of things?” So obviously Jay thought it was important enough to start the software and then start the company, but when you’re talking to people who aren’t familiar with how important reviews are, what do you tell them? How big of a deal is it?
Liz: Well, it’s a huge deal. I mean, there are all kinds of news stories in the media even today about reviews and how people are trying to manipulate reviews because reviews are so important to your success on the Amazon marketplace. So like I said, in the early days of FeedbackFive it was all about seller feedback, which is important metric even today, but reviews became so vitally important, we added that functionality to FeedbackFive so that you could proactively manage your reviews– ask your orders for reviews with FeedbackFive. Because they’re pivotal to a product success on Amazon.
Liz: So in direct answer to your question, reviews matter for a number of reasons. One: your star rating impacts your product’s visibility. Two: negative reviews can hurt you in so many ways, including ASIN suspension and worse. And three: social proof. So since Amazon is a virtual marketplace and you can’t pick up an item and way it, smell it, and see it in person before you buy it, customer reviews are your only clue as to a product’s quality functionality, attractiveness, and more. So people really, really rely on those third party reviews when they’re shopping on the Amazon marketplace and therefore they’re important to a seller because those reviews can, like I said, increase visibility and they can prove to more potential customers that the product is worth buying.
Marcus: And that’s one of the things that we talk about a lot on the program is the reality is Amazon’s A9 algorithm is designed to drive sales. So obviously, if I have more reviews and more positive reviews, that algorithm is going to be favorable to me, correct?
Marcus: So, you know, one of the things that people always talk about is, is there a magic number of reviews? And we see it all the time. Somebody launches on Amazon. They don’t have any reviews, and then one or two reviews trickles in. Then finally it gets to a point where suddenly you look at a product and there might be 50 or a hundred. Do you have any data on that that? Once you get to five… what do you call liftoff if there is a number as it relates to reviews,
Liz: I wouldn’t say that there’s like a critical mass numbers since every review is different and more reviews mean more keywords, which is another reason why reviews are important. If we can back up for just a second?
Liz: So reviews factor into Amazon’s bestseller rank… maybe? I’m not entirely sure that’s the case, but reviews do help sellers rank organically. The number of four and five star reviews you have can impact your rank as well as your reviewers’ use of keywords. So Amazon’s SEO also factors in the keywords that people are using and reviews.
Marcus: Oh, well that’s huge!
Liz: So it’s not really the amount of reviews you have, but it’s also the content of those reviews. So it could be different for every seller. Now there are people that say that the magic number is 20 reviews, and then there are others that say that it’s just five or six.
Liz: Amazon’s Early Reviewer program helps you get started, sometimes. And the way that Earlier Reviewer program works is that you pay per ASIN, and Amazon helps you get reviews on that ASIN. They’ll get you up to five. So you would think that you could make the logical leap that five is your magic number. But I really think that until you’ve got a combination of four and five star reviews that have the right keywords and contain the right information for your social proof, that’s when it really starts going. And there’s not really a number associated with that. It’s more about the quality than the quantity, I think.
Marcus: Right, so you kind of put that flag out there as 20, but to your point, if one of your competitors has 200, 20 might not be enough for somebody to say, “Well I’m going to go for that one than I was 20.”
Liz: Well, and it certainly depends on your competition too.
Marcus: So when Amazon is deciding what products to show or which products get top billing– I want to be clear, I said something, that sounds like I might have misspoke– if I’ve got the exact same product as somebody else, I’ve got the same price, the same product, but I have more reviews or higher rated reviews… What can you tell us about the algorithm? Will they give me preferential treatment or not necessarily?
Liz: From what I’ve seen in a scenario where you and another seller have the same product at the same price, the seller with a better feedback score will win the buy box. In a situation where the two products with the same price but different ASIN are competing, the ASIN with more positive reviews will show up first. That’s in my experience, and I can’t speak to Amazon’s algorithm because it is a constantly changing animal that is fascinating to me. But from what I’ve seen with our customers and with the the industry thought leadership that I follow, with that scenario (same product, same price, but obviously different ASINs– because otherwise you’re sharing the product reviews) the one with more product reviews is going to show up first.
Marcus: And look intuitively it makes sense because we know Amazon is going to give prime real estate to the product that’s more likely to sell. That’s what the platform is designed to do.
Liz: Right, and Amazon’s a customer-first company, so if more customers said, “Hey, I like this product,” they’re going to show that product first because they trust their customers.
Marcus: Exactly. Exactly. So clearly reviews matter. Reviews are the reason FeedbackFive was created as a company. Reviews are the reason we go to Amazon, and we pay attention to them. How does FeedbackFive actually help us get those reviews?
Liz: Well that’s a great question, Marcus! FeedbackFive allows you to request product reviews via Amazon’s buyer/seller messaging, which is the only way you’re actually allowed to do that. You’re not allowed to have a buyer’s real email address and email them and ask for a review. You have to do it through Amazon’s buyer/seller messaging. We are in the app store. We’re verified to get reviews for you this way. You set up custom messaging and custom campaigns within FeedbackFive, and we recommend that you really established and reinforce your brand. There’s a lot of flexibility in terms of design elements like images, shortcut tags, SKU tags that allow SKU-specific messages. I mean you can really get down in the nitty gritty with how you design your templates and campaigns to ask for reviews. And then we give you helpful analytics to let you know how your open rate is going. And obviously, my contact information will be available if you want a demo, but it’s TOS compliant and I will stand on a soapbox all day and talk about TOS compliance. So if you want to get me started on that and let me know, but it’s a TOS-compliant way to not only ask for reviews, but also offer a way to provide exemplary customer service as a customer-first seller– which you should be because that’s what Amazon wants you to be.
Marcus: Now you said a couple things that I want to talk about there. The first is the customization. So for instance– and I’m just, and I’m just guessing here– sometimes I might be prepared to give feedback on a product the moment I unbox it. Sometimes I might not be prepared to give feedback until three or four months of use. So is that just an example of one of the things that you would customize? Timing? When is the appropriate time to ask for the review?
Liz: Absolutely. Timing is one of the campaign rules that you’ll set to go along with your template. So your templates, which is your email content, with your subject line that needs to be awesome, obviously, that’s all triggered on campaign. So one of the campaign rules is timing after delivery date or after order date. And obviously some products people take them out of the box and they’re ready to write review right then because it smells great, or it looks great, or it’s so fun their dog loves playing with it, or their kid loves playing with it. And then other times– it’s luggage or it’s a treadmill. Matt, who works with us, always likes to use treadmill as an example. Or it’s a supplement, right, that you have to take for a while before you see the results. So you really have to think about your product and who’s using your product before you can actually think about how you’re going to ask them what they think of your product.
Marcus: Right. And then typically– and I’m just curious– best practices: would you ask them two or three times? Do you recommend a once and done, or what’s kind of best practices in your world?
Liz: In the old days, everybody recommended email sequences. So thank you. A feedback request. A product review request. I am at the point now where I feel like Amazon would rather you… Lessons more. So what I recommend is that you send one email per order. So you choose what you want that customer to do. Do you want them to leave you feedback, or do you want them to leave a review? And luckily FeedbackFive has customization options where you can segment your orders so you can send feedback requests to some of your orders, and you can send product review requests to other orders. And that way you can still check all those boxes in terms of your seller reputation and your seller health, but you’re still not bugging your customers. I know that, for my orders on the Amazon marketplace, I don’t want to get more than one email. And there’s the whole opt out thing. There’s some people who’ve chosen not to get any sorts of emails from Amazon that aren’t order critical, and obviously asking for feedback or asking for a product review isn’t an order critical message. So some people have opted out of that altogether, and that’s been a big hullabaloo in our space. But it’s really a good thing because you’re not sending an email to a person who doesn’t want to receive an email, and that could result in a bad review just because you’ve made them grumpy.
Marcus: Right. It’s so funny you mention that. I was just on a call with a client earlier today, and they talked about how they had experimented with some of the software and they felt like, in their particular market, they thought the opt outs were making it not necessarily a great, effective solution for them. Are you seeing opt out to those types of messages increasing at this point in your industry?
Liz: Oh no, not increasing now. I mean, when it first happened, sure. But eventually Amazon had to include an opt out. I mean, there’s a law about it. They had to do it. And luckily FeedbackFive has been around long enough that even before Amazon’s opt out, if anybody ever opted out of a FeedbackFive email, we added them to our global opt out list so that none of our other sellers that were using our tool would inadvertently send an email to that same shopper because it’s possible that one Amazon shopper could buy from several of our customers. So our global opt out list was already pretty big when the opt out happened. So we saw and we set up a way that you could forward those opt out notification status so that you don’t end up sending an email to that person again. But we’ve really seen it slow down a whole lot, and we still think probably about 75-80% haven’t opted out. So we’re only thing about a 20% opt out rate. So it’s still completely worth it to email the people that still want to get emails.
Marcus: Right. So that’s a negative side of the business. I’m curious, let’s talk about the positive side of the business. Is there even data out there that says, in general, if you don’t ask for feedback, one out of 50 people, will give a review–
Liz: Oh! That’s not even… They say that you’re lucky as a seller to get one review per 100 orders.
Marcus: One review per 100, and that’s without me trying that. That would be a–
Liz: That’s just no matter what you do; you’re lucky to get one per 100 orders, and probably less than that if you’re not asking for them. That’s the party line throughout the industry. We find that our sellers who really focus on great subject lines and awesome, TOS-compliant email copy, and they’re smart about the timing of their emails see way more frequent reviews than the standard. And it really runs the gamut because FeedbackFive is a great tool that can be useful to any type of seller. So depending on your volume, depending on the types of products that you sell, depending on how you craft your email, how you craft your subject line, because that’s the most important part of it, open rates are going to vary and the amount of reviews are going to vary, but we see a lot of our users are getting lots and lots of verified purchase reviews.
Marcus: Interesting. Generally speaking though, I am curious, obviously it’s a tough question to ask you because I think it always comes down to the content and it always comes down to how and when you ask for reviews, but I am curious: anecdotally, are people more interested in giving reviews for expensive products or more complex products. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Liz: I don’t have any official thoughts on that, but I do have unofficial thoughts…
Marcus: Haha, we’ll take those!
Liz: I see, just based on the people that I talked to, I see beauty products get reviews, and I think that a lot of times that has to do with the amount of influencers in that space. I see electronic products get reviews, but I even see just regular old things like baby products– which is actually a hard category to get into. It just really, really depends, but beauty products I see it’s not all that difficult to get reviews on beauty products for some reason.
Marcus: So you’ve talked about a couple things that obviously really, really matter: which is how you ask for the review, what exactly you’re asking for because it can relate to SEO, when you ask for the review. So what does deployment look like when somebody listens to this podcast and they say, “That’s it, I’ve got to have FeedbackFive tomorrow.” What does deployment look like? What does training look like? How do I get this up and running?
Liz: Well, once you sign up, it’s super easy. We’ve got something called Pipeline Registration where you hook FeedbackFive up to your Amazon seller account so that we work within your buyer/seller messaging. FeedbackFive imports up to 90 days worth of your orders; you can choose less than that if you want. And once your account is provisioned, then you can set up and turn on your campaigns and templates and set your rules and all that kind of stuff. And we have an expert staff on hand that can help you get set up and help you optimize your account for better conversion. So we’ve got a really, really great onboarding process and a really great, like, “Hey, how you doing? Do you want to talk about your subject lines?” kind of thing going on that I think is really cool.
Marcus: So that’s kind of where you’re sharing best practices: making sure that somebody thinks through the timing, the messaging, etc.
Liz: Absolutely. I mean, FeedbackFive can be a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. As long as your email is terms of service compliant, or you can get really into A/B testing subject lines, A/B testing email copy. Does it look better with a button, or does it look better with stars that need to be filled in, or do I want to use this word or that word? I mean we have people that fiddle around in it all day long trying to get their conversion rate even higher and higher and higher. And we have people who say, “Yep, I’m cool with that one. Let it roll.” So it just depends on how involved you want to be in the process. And we find that a lot of sellers, because they’re busy and this is an automation tool, they want to just come up with a good email, come up with a good subject line, and just let it go.
Liz: So it just depends on how involved you want to be once you’re to the point where you have your campaigns turned on, but we try to make it as easy as possible for you to get it right the first time. Turn it on and then go about winning the day in other ways with your Amazon store.
Marcus: Now, I think that’s the second time that you’ve mentioned that the TOS policy–
Liz: It might’ve been like the fifth or sixth!
Marcus: Well let’s talk about that. Why is it a big deal, what are some of your soapbox lines about it?
Liz: Well, Amazon has terms of service about how you can communicate with your buyers, how you can ask very views, and how you can ask for feedback. They’re all in different places in Amazon Seller Central terms of service. Amazon expects you as a seller to be completely conversant in their terms of service, to know in terms of service changes and to be compliant at all times. That’s just your job as a seller… And Amazon, sometimes we’ll change terms of service and not announce it right away. So you’ve got to keep an eye on that kind of thing.
Liz: Some highlights, and this is by no means the exhaustive list, but you can never ask for a positive review. People used to do that. They used to say, “Hey, please leave me a positive review on Amazon,” and you can’t do that anymore. You can’t ask for a review from somebody that you know– just people that you know are happy. So you can’t use an if/then statement. Like, “If you like the product, please leave us a review. If you didn’t, please email us first before you leave a review because we want to talk to you and make you happy.” That’s considered manipulation. And, of course incentivizing reviews is a complete no no. That was what I liked to call “Review Gate.”
Liz: I think that was October of 2016 or something like that where you used to be able to send a discounted or free item in exchange for somebody’s honest review on the Amazon marketplace, and people just so abused it. It was crazy! Some people were doing it on the up and up and there were really great companies that helped you do it, but Amazon said, “Nope, no more.” And there’s still people out there trying to do it. There’s still Facebook groups that are quietly doing the incentivize review thing, and Amazon’s cracking down hard. I just got an article from my friend Chris McCabe who helps you not get suspended all day long, and the FTC has opened its first case against Amazon review manipulation: fake reviews. They’re looking at every single review that comes in to make sure it’s real. So it’s really important that not only you follow terms of service when you’re requesting for a review, but you don’t even walk that gray line.
Marcus: I want to ask a question here without heading down into the murky weeds of liability and law, but in that scenario, does FeedbackFive have any liability or does it all go back to the seller?
Liz: Well, we’re very careful about telling you that you need to maintain and be to keeping within Amazon’s TOS at all times. If we have a rogue that– We’ve put some things in place where you just can’t, if it’s an obvious thing, like when the opt out first started, you used to be able to put “important” in brackets in your subject line and your email would go through even if the person had opted out. But we found that people were trying to do that for review and feedback solicitation so we disabled that in our subject line. So you couldn’t do that. So if there’s something straight forward like that that we can save you from yourself, we do it, but we can’t monitor every single email template that goes out. We can coach you and tell you these are the rules, this is what you can say, this is what you can say. If somebody sends it and it’s got a bunch of non-TOS compliant language in it that’s on them. But we do routinely look around and try to spot check and make sure everybody’s following the rules, and if they’re not, we’ll call them and say, “Hey, let’s talk about your template language.”
Marcus: And it sounds to me like that’s one of the areas that both your company and you are personally passionate about because it really matters. I mean, as we all know, Amazon is Amazon. So if I get suspended or if I get in trouble, unringing that bell is not always easy.
Liz: Oh no, it’s not. And the thing is, and this is what I talk about with my focus group (we’re a bunch of really passionate people, and I would call this kind of like industry nerds), but what we talk about is, Amazon has tried and succeeded to create this amazing marketplace, right? And it’s a great opportunity for third party sellers. Sometimes it’s really tough for third party sellers. There’s no reason to make it tougher by knowingly breaking terms of service. This is not a place to be a cowboy at all. It’s a great marketplace. It’s a great opportunity, but there are rules and you’ve got to follow the rules. You absolutely to. And we’ve been talking about that for a long time, and I ended up talking about it even if I’m supposed to talk about something else because it’s so important and. I think that it’s good that there are rules, and it’s good to follow the rules. If there were no rules, then this would just be chaos, and there’s already enough going on that Amazon is trying to police and they’re trying to weed out the bad actors with their machine learning and their algorithms. But there are still people breaking the rules, and there are people ruining it for a lot of people who just have good intention. So at all times, if you just think about Amazon’s intention of being a customer centric place, and you as the seller are customer centric, and you keep yourself in spirit of being customer centric and following Amazon’s TOS, then I think that you’re in a safe place. Pay attention to the yellow– That’s what Chris, who I mentioned earlier, does. He keeps an eye on your seller central account. So if you’re getting alerts about ASINs that you need to look at or letters you’ve gotten about, “Uh-oh, you might be manipulating reviews, or you might be manipulating backend keywords, or something like that.” He helps you fix all of that before you get suspended. But nowadays, if you do get suspended, it’s harder to get reinstated.
Marcus: Right. Speaking of being customer centric, my opinion is the pricing of your product is relatively affordable. I find it to be pretty shockingly inexpensive. Why don’t you break down the tiers that you have on your website?
Liz: Well, we don’t see any reason to charge too much for automation tools that are supposed to make a seller’s life easier. I’ve talked a lot about how Amazon’s customer centric, and a long time ago for our webinars, I used to say, “Amazon, they’re customer obsessed. You can say we’re seller obsessed,” because we are! We’re here to make sure third party sellers on the Amazon marketplace succeed. That’s what we’re here for. So we do have a Free Plan; I don’t recommend it. We do have a Basic Plan; it’s only $10 a month. I also don’t recommend that, and I’ll tell you why. The Pro Plan, which handles 1500 emails per month, is only $29.99, and it includes a lot more features and options than the lower two plans do. So even if you’re not going to send 1500 emails a month, it’s worth it for the Pro Plan to have all the features and functionality that the Pro Plan offers.
Marcus: So what are some of your favorite features that I’d be missing out on in the lower plans?
Liz: You have more flexible campaign timing and a larger amount of triggers. You have more campaign customization options with the Pro Plan and above, because we also have Enterprise Plans because we’ve got some really, really big sellers that need to send a lot more emails per month even though they’re only sending one per order, if they need to send a couple…
Marcus: So that’s kind of interesting because I’ve talked to a few clients about deploying your software, and some of them are startup sellers so they’re like, “Well, I’m not going to make that many sales.” But if you go back to what you and I discussed before, you really want to get those reviews as quickly as possible. And it seems to me that if I want to get reviews as quickly as possible, I would want some of those features that are in your more expensive plans, which again, at the end of the day, we’re talking $29.99 a month. So it’s interesting to me, you guys were one of… were you the first in the space or one of the first? How do you describe yourselves?
Liz: We were the first the first reputation management automation tool around, yeah.
Marcus: Okay. So those were the good old days. It’s 2019 now. And you’ve got a few competitors.
Liz: We’re not the only!
Marcus: You were the first, but you’re not the only! So as we sit here in 2019, what are some things that you guys have done or will be doing to maintain that edge?
Liz: Well, we’ve always been foced on seller account health in terms of reputation. So, yes, it’s important to get the feedback. Yes, it’s important to get the reviews, but it’s also important to keep track of your seller health in Seller Central. Both reviews and feedback factor into your overall seller health. And we’ve wanted people to be TSO-compliant. We’ve been shouting about that for a really long time, and I’m very encouraged. Other providers in the industry are focusing on the rules because there’s no reason for a seller to get suspended for trying to improve their seller reputation. So in addition to educating our sellers about TOS-compliant email practices, we’re also trying to add features to introduce more customization and personalization into your messages. And we’re always thinking about how to make FeedbackFive more useful to sellers. So for instance, we recently made a couple of updates that I think will help sellers get a more holistic view of their seller health.
Liz: Our orders page now shows you trends in data about your sales performance that would be pretty hard to hunt down manually, and it’s not necessarily related to feedback but it is related to your seller health and your reputation, and it’s really cool. If you are a FeedbackFive user and you haven’t seen this yet, go to the orders page and you can drill down by date and really dig into your sales history. Our users are loving it.
Marcus: Oh, very cool.
Liz: And it was just an idea Louis, our product manager, had. He’s like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if this had some data?” and I was like, “Yeah, it would!” And he made it so.
Marcus: That is excellent. You know, we’ve talked about a couple of things, and I love your attitude about Amazon because I feel like you’re kind of at peace with the fact that they are Amazon, and they’re going to do things their way, and you need to work within the system and not outside of it or around it. But I got to ask you, as someone who is this close to Amazon, there’s got to be things that you believe that if Amazon were ever to change “this” in their terms of service, it could really help the feedback world. I’m just curious. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Liz: Putting all the TOS in one place would be super helpful because I wouldn’t need to maintain so many bookmarks. That would be cool. I’m interested to see what’s going to happen. I know that Amazon is looking more closely at reviews, and they’re not just looking at reviews in the “let’s catch the bad actors kind of way.” They’re trying to enable sellers to understand the reviews. I know that at Boost they talked about voice of the customer. People are going to be able to see their return reasons and the return remarks, which has been a really elusive thing. So I’m excited to see what’s next. I can’t think of anything offhand that would just flip the industry on its end because the industry gets flipped on its end all the time anyway. But yeah, the TOS thing would be nice.
Marcus: I feel like that’s a simple request. I think they’ll probably appreciate that. Well, I know as an agency, we at Web Talent Marketing love FeedbackFive. We often recommended to our customers. I am curious if there, do you have formal partnerships with agencies, and what does that look like?
Liz: Well, I love that there are agencies out there that are working with sellers. I think that that’s so valuable. I think sellers are busy sourcing or they’re busy creating new products, they’re innovating, they’re busy entrepreneurs. I have the utmost respect for them. And the fact that there are agencies that recognize these folks and and want to help them succeed on the Amazon marketplace is awesome. But just as every seller is singular, so is every agency I’ve encountered. At the end of the day, it’s about the sellers. So we love working with those agencies that represent them, but in terms of formal arrangements, not really. We approach everybody on a case by case basis, and we want to be as flexible as we can so that we can provide the most value. We just recently read the HubSpot book about inbound marketing, and it’s about being helpful first and that resonated with us so much because that’s always how we felt. So when it comes to agencies and partners, I don’t feel like shoehorning them into official preset agreements allows for the flexibility and customized service that we want to provide to the industry. So I guess the short answer is: no, nothing formal but yes, we have lots of partnerships.
Marcus: Yep, makes sense. And the product’s really great. You know, Web Talent Marketing customers don’t necessarily need 5% off when it’s $29.99 a month. It’s pretty affordable. You mentioned a little bit, and we’re heading down towards my final question now, that Amazon is very, very concerned with being customer centric, but I am curious as someone who basically spends their entire day with Amazon sellers, thinking Amazon, seeing what Amazon’s doing– sometimes somebody like you can have a little bit of a clearer vision as to what the near term future for Amazon might look like. Are there any big systemic things happening on the platform that you’re keeping your eye on here in the next several months?
Liz: Well, it’s my job to keep an eye on all of it. It’s actually really hard to say because there is so much that changes; the landscape changes so often. I am seeing stronger adherence to terms of service on Amazon’s part, which means that now is an even worse time to be, as I said, a cowboy and try to bend the rules. Like I said, at Boost, they talked about the machine learning and developing algorithms to catch the bad actors. Also just streamline the review process, make sure they read reviews are legit and more. And we see these news articles popping up about how a hard look is being given to each review, and it’s taking longer for reviews to post, which can impact your sales. I see Amazon growing and developing best practices for sellers like they always have to protect shoppers in the marketplace because that is their priority. They are a customer first organization. I think they’ve got customer first intentions. So do we, but we’re seller– we’re focused on the sellers. So I just think that things are going to grow and change, and we have to be alert to keep up, but there’s not one thing in particular that I’m keeping my eye on because I’m trying to keep all the eyes, on all the things, at all times!
Marcus: Alright, well that brings us very close to the end of the program! We’re going to get Liz’s contact details in a minute, but, Liz, we’ve now reached my favorite part of the program which is the Marketing Minute. Are you ready to play?
Liz: Ready to play!
Marcus: Okay. Here we go. First question: Apple or Android?
Marcus: Alright. Second question: when you’re surfing on the internet, ad blocker or no?
Liz: Depends on if they let me keep it or not.
Marcus: That’s a good answer. Alright, you’ve got the ear buds in. Is it music, an audio book, or podcasts?
Marcus: Alright. Now Don Draper, Elon Musk, or Steve jobs.
Liz: That’s hard. Let’s go with Steve Jobs, but I will say that I’m watching Mad Men all the way through and I’m on the seventh season. So it was really funny that you asked!
Marcus: Well great, I’m glad! And for our final– Oh, wait! I’m actually going to add another one for you. You Ready? Alright. Google Home or Alexa?
Liz: Neither! Neither; it’s bad enough my cell phone listens to me.
Marcus: And finally, television viewing habits: are you in fact a cord cutter or a cable-holic?
Liz: I’m making the transition right now. I’m cutting the cord.
Marcus: You’re cutting the cord! Outstanding. Hey Liz, this has been a lot of fun. We’ve been with Liz Fickenscher from eComEngine who represents the outstanding FeedbackFive product. What’s the best way for people to learn about you or FeedbackFive?
Liz: Well, they can go to eComEngine.com. They can email me at [email protected] They can visit us on Facebook, or they can request a demo either by emailing me or going to our website.
Marcus: Outstanding. Well, hey, I appreciate it, Liz, for joining us today. This has been The Revenue Stream with Web Talent Marketing; I’m Marcus Grimm. Everyone, have a great day and an even better week!