Discount or Give Back?

Discounts work, but social giving is creating interesting phenomenons in the marketplace. Who knows how to generate the greatest social good with a donation? Is it a company with a 10% donation policy or is it the customer who can put the money to use in other ways? Which plan generates the largest profits for a company? That’s a big question these days. It won’t take you long to find a Tom’s poser who is donating profits or giving units away in the hopes of pulling at a customer’s heart strings. I sound cynical, but unfortunately this has become a marketing tactic for some brands who have run the math and understand that even with lower margins, the higher volumes linked to social giving create a more profitable business.

National Parks Service

So what do we do with our Amazon store? Jordan is leaning toward donating a portion of profits to the National Parks Service. He immediately took the high ground in the argument because he knows we both feel passionately about that organization. I have a backpack full of patches to prove it. If you need more evidence, Enterprise has a Ford Expedition with the smell of me and my dog burned into the upholstery (We drove cross country visiting as many parks as we could.)

How Do You Amazon?

I don’t believe Amazon customers shop in a way that promotes social giving. My mother pointed out the Amazon Smile program, but I’m still convinced Amazon shoppers follow this hierarchy when evaluating products after a search.

  • Price (Is it a good deal?)
  • Prime (Is shipping fast and free?)
  • Reviews (Is it going to work?)

Early Adopter Bias

I buy A LOT of things on Amazon. I was one of the early adopters of Amazon Fresh. They have done a great job of listening to feedback and improving that part of their business (The new bags are very well built.) I also know that as an early adopter I am not in the majority. If you feel inclined to offer your opinion on the matter I would love to hear your feedback. Please email me here with your opinion. Should we offer customers the best discount, or charge a premium and donate profits to the National Parks Service?

Next Steps: It turns out a domain name isn’t necessary and we can funnel customer relations through Amazon with our current email addresses. We still need to agree on a username for Instagram and are leaning towards @AmericanProductsNow. I know it’s long, but…so what. Jordan will setup the Amazon store and I’ll get started on IG ads and posts for our stickers. Here we go!

Amazon Stickers

I’m very excited that the first project I’ll be starting this year will be with my Brother! I love when we get to work together.

We are starting an Amazon store and our first product is a custom sticker.

I know this sounds incredibly exciting to you, but this first product was chosen on a whim as a cheap and dirty way to setup our Amazon store and distribution system as well as test a marketing plan for the product. Stickers are cheap and offer a quick turnaround from suppliers. They are also tiny easy to store and ship. These attributes were on the top of our list when selecting a lower risk product to start with.

Jordan has already finished designing the sticker and I’m rocking that amazing design as my iPhone wallpaper. If you see me out and about feel free to ask for a sneak-peak.

Product Selection

Our system for finding more products to sell will start with a visit to major retailers such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. We will see which products are out of stock at these retailers. Jordan is in Boulder, CO and I am in Shawnee, KS so we can visit at least two stores for each retailer. We will see which products overlap on our lists to rank order the products. This is only our first filter, but should allow us to build a significant, yet insightful, first stab at this.

Build a Model

To filter further we will build a model to estimate (guess) revenues for each product. We have not started on this portion of the process, but it will likely include Google search data, sell-thru estimates from retailers, and margins. This piece of the process will be helpful, but it’s very much a guess at the outcome. Luckily, my brother and I are pretty cautious of each other’s brilliant ideas. While we are extremely supportive of one another we also know how to ask focused questions about why or how an outcome will occur. This will not only help us filter our list even more, but also help to build a stronger model to evaluate future products.

Instagram Marketing

Most, if not all of our marketing efforts will be conducted through Instagram. This channel will allow us a simple delivery method at a relatively low cost. Since we are starting with one product we can link directly to that Amazon page in our Instagram bio. We can also link directly to the Amazon store when we run advertisements on this network. I’m not very keen on influencer marketing, but if Jordan can talk me into it we may go in that direction as well.

Next Steps

The most urgent next steps are to agree on a name for our store, purchase the domain name, and sign-up for an Instagram account and secure the matching username. We will also create a generic email account for the domain to handle customer service issues as well as communication with Amazon. Here we go!