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What To Know About Ecom as We Enter 2022 with Caulen Foster

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Caulen Foster is an e-commerce marketing expert. He is the Co-founder and President of BrainPower and is an expert in bringing Amazon sellers over to the Shopify platform. His firm helps Amazon brand owners leverage the power of paid media, email, direct response copywriting, conversion rate optimization, and digital infrastructure to create effective omnichannel marketing strategies.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Caulen Foster explains what people need to know about e-commerce in 2022
  • Changes in marketing and driving traffic for e-commerce brands
  • How to build good relationships with customers
  • Caulen explains how e-commerce sellers can leverage digital data to drive omnichannel sales
  • The value of being creative and thinking outside the box
  • Caulen’s plans for his business in 2022

In this episode…

E-commerce is an excellent channel for bringing in more customers and driving sales. In addition to retail sales, it can help sellers build their businesses on different channels like Shopify, Amazon, or Facebook. 

To grow a top-notch e-commerce brand, businesses need to understand their customers, use the right marketing strategies, and build engaging relationships with customers. They have to provide them with valuable content without just focusing on pushing sales. 

In this episode of the Innovations and Breakthroughs Podcast, Rich Goldstein is joined by Caulen Foster, the Co-founder and President of BrainPower, to talk about the evolution of e-commerce and what people need to know going into 2022. They also discuss the increased cost of customer acquisition over time, how Amazon limits communication with customers, and the importance of building good relationships with customers. Stay tuned.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Goldstein Patent Law, a firm that helps protect inventors’ ideas and products. They have advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 25 years. So if you’re a company that has a software, product, or design you want protected, you can go to https://goldsteinpatentlaw.com/. They have amazing free resources for learning more about the patent process. 

You can email their team at [email protected] to explore if it’s a match to work together. Rich Goldstein has also written a book for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work, which is called ‘The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.’

View Transcript

Intro (00:09):
Welcome to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, Rich Goldstein, talking about the evolutionary, the revolutionary, the inspiration and the perspiration and those aha that change everything. And now here’s your host Rich Goldstein.

Rich (00:32):
Welcome to innovations and breakthroughs where I featured top leaders in the path they took to create change. Past guests include Rolin Frazier, Joe Polish, and, uh, Colin Forster. Who’s my, uh, current guest. And we will circle back around to that in a moment, doing a special episode here from Miami. Um, this episode is brought to you by my company, Goldstein Patau, where, where we help you to protect your ideas and products. If you have an idea that you’d like to protect, then, uh, go to GoldsteinPatentLaw.com to find out more about, uh, how the process works and you can contact my team to see if it’s a match to work together. Uh, and so once again, I have with me, Colin foster, and we’ve done an episode in the past. Colin is an expert on, um, on e-commerce marketing in particular, his specialty is bringing e-commerce, uh, companies from Shopify onto the Amazon platform or no, the other way around <laugh>. He is, he’s not an expert on that. He’s an expert on bringing, uh, Amazon sellers over to the Shopify platform. Uh, and, uh, and so we’re just gonna have a, a conversation here where we’re up on 4 25 of this, um, lovely hotel overlooking Biscane Bay. And, uh, it’s really gorgeous out there really, and inspired us to just have a conversation about e-commerce in 2022. Let’s do it.

Caulen (01:53):
I’m uper pumped. That was awesome. Thanks again for having

Rich (01:55):
Me. Yeah, no, my pleasure. Um, thanks for picking me up at the airport. Yeah, yeah. <laugh> yeah, yeah. Right. It’s one of my favorite things is I, I, I travel a lot, but when I can, uh, and I’m always taking cabs and Ubers and whatever, but like when I fly in and a friend says like, Hey, I’m gonna come pick you up. That just, I just love that. It’s just, um, awesome. So thank you. Yeah. Um, and, um, and great that we can have this conversation.

Caulen (02:17):
Yeah. I agree. One thing that I want to tell people is your nickname that I have for you. Oh yeah. It’s my favorite thing about our friend is I have a nickname for rich. Everybody calls him the rich Goldstein and my, my business partner. And I call him, uh, rich the plug, because he has always, uh, the person that has just supported our, our business and, and has helped us tremendously, uh, in the growth of everything that we do. So it’s, we’re super grateful and anytime you’re in Miami, you know, I always, uh, you always got somebody to look out for you.

Rich (02:44):
Yes. Thank you. I appreciate it. And just to, to translate a little bit into the vernacular, so yeah. It’s like, and by the plug, you mean like the connection? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Caulen (02:52):
Not the drug dealer

Rich (02:53):
<laugh> right, exactly right. Is like that. I, I connect you with lots of different people,

Caulen (02:58):
Peoples of, of people, lots of different people. We’ve done a lot of great things yeah. Uh, through you. And it’s been, it’s been

Rich (03:02):
Instrumental in helping us build the reputation we’ve built thus far. So it’s my very grateful. Absolutely. My pleasure. And, uh, so, so yeah, so let’s talk about e-commerce and the way that it’s evolving and like sure. Like this episode comes out, we’re gonna be right on the cusp of preventing 20, 22. Yep. So what’s kinda like what’s the, the thing that people need to know about e-commerce going into 20, 22?

Caulen (03:26):
Well, I think that, I think there’s gonna be a big shift, um, in the way that people perceive e-commerce as a sales channel where, um, it’s, it’s not so much just a, a single channel way to build your business anymore. It’s compliment complimentary to an ecosystem mm-hmm <affirmative> right. So, uh, you know, a couple years ago, it, it would be a little bit easier to build a business that was relying on the single channel, what we call single channel CPA of Facebook, you know, you’re relying on Facebook to bring you customers, and then you play the, the, you back then you could even play the front end retention, um, profitability game. Yeah. Those days are, uh, they’re, they’re not, they’re not gone, but they’re, they’re much more difficult to, to, to achieve. Um, there’s a lot more metrics involved, you know, how much the product that you’re selling is and all that good stuff.

Caulen (04:09):
But I think that what really needs to happen is people need to understand that this is not the end all be all of your business. It’s not the only channel, just the same way that we would advocate for somebody to not only be on Amazon. I would advocate for somebody to not only be on Shopify, if you’re selling, if you’re just a Shopify seller watching this video, I would advocate that if your product, uh, is, is, is, um, great is good for the, uh, Amazon platform to explore that or to explore retail or explore something else besides just driving your entire business through having all your eggs in one basket. So I think that’s the, that’s the main thing that I know is very, uh, uh, very prominent throughout the industry right now. Okay. So multichannel,

Rich (04:44):
Multichannel. Yeah. Yeah. Which is interesting. It’s like you think back, uh, on the kind of the early days of say Google Edwards. Yeah. Yeah. And like you would say, like, if I have a, a sporting goods store, I would just like, I bid on like broad terms, like sporting goods. Yep, yep. Yep. And then over time that became competitive and you couldn’t quite, um, get the ROI that you did, like back in the beginning. And so then people start talking about the long tail, right? Yes. Yep. They start talking about like, well, okay. So it’s not about like the, just like all of your eggs in one big, broad direction. It’s about finding these little niches, niches and

Caulen (05:20):
Places, segments, and, and yeah. You know, understanding your customers, right. The things that were once, you know, just tying right back into what you were saying about what’s going on, you know, this year is the things that were once kind of like the, not the cutting edge, but they gave you an edge. They’re the standard, right? Like fast shipping, it’s the standard good customer service. It’s the standard good ads. It’s the standard good customer acquisition. It’s becoming the standard, right? Like where, like when I say good customer acquisition, I mean like a detailed customer acquisition strategy, not just running Facebook traffic to some, you know, product display page, you know, it’s becoming much more, it not only is becoming much more, it’s becoming much more popular because it’s becoming much more necessary, especially with the nature of everything that’s going on with, uh, you know, Facebook mm-hmm <affirmative> and, you know, apple, and there’s gonna be a lot of things that we see that are probably gonna be, we could get into a whole nother discussion about, you know, NFTs and the metaverse and all the things that are probably going there. Right. That might be for that’s definitely for another time. Yeah. I know you and I could have that talk, but, um, yeah, I think it’s, it’s definitely more along the lines of just everything we were just talking about before

Rich (06:17):
That mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah, no, uh, absolutely. And so like that’s one way in which it’s, it’s evolving. Uh, what else, like, what else do you think is, is changing drastically that, that people should be aware of with regard to marketing in e-commerce? Well,

Caulen (06:32):
I think, I, I think it’s understanding the flow of traffic and how important it is to any, it goes back to omnichannel, but not, not from the purpose of like, just getting a customer from a very, from a very specific channel. It’s understanding that, um, traffic is, is very nonlinear, right? Like, it’s, you, you want to understand where your customers are gonna be at, um, in, in a way that’s, that’s a little bit less centered around just sales, right? Like how can you be your customer to provide them value added content? How can you build a relationship with them across platforms using, you know, multiple, uh, media channels? Like, what do you have a full funnel approach is, is, is it’s more important now than ever. It’s always been important. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, but it’s the amplification of that is very, it’s, it’s much more polarized now as everything that we, that we’re seeing in the e-commerce space,

Rich (07:20):
Is it because it’s just getting more expensive, it’s getting more expensive per click. And so it’s kinda like in the, in the past, it’s like, if you don’t retarget people. Yeah. Uh, and um, you leave some money on the table. It’s okay. Yeah. But, but now it’s become more critical to capture as much as you can, because your cost for acquisition is so much more. Yeah.

Caulen (07:40):
And, and it’s, it’s, it’s about really efficiency, right? Because if you, if you’re getting you, what, what, not only what, you’re not only what you’re doing with to get more traffic for maybe the same amount by increasing, increasing your clickthrough rates, investing in content so that you have higher, higher engagement on your ads. So it’s not costing you so much to get a click. So that’s an investment in and of itself then from there, how are you capturing that information at, at, at the highest level possible? So, you know, obviously full funnel. I, I think that at the end of the day, customers now, because of how much they cost to acquire, they, you have to make the most out of that relationship to obviously extend the lifetime value of that, of that relationship. Because with, with, with, with the model and when we’re seeing it time and time again, it’s like, if you, if you’re just pushing sales and you’re not building a relationship with your customer, it just there’s that’s, that was the standard back then. Now the standard is building a relationship. Yeah. Right. Because gen Z there’s, there’s a lot more influence in the way that brands are behaving, because there there’s such a change in dynamic be between the way the consumer and the brands interact with one another.

Rich (08:39):
Right. Got it. And so, so it’s interesting though, there too, because like you mentioned relationship, and it’s kind of almost a little antithetical to most marketing funnel systems. It’s like, it’s not like you don’t look at relationships, you look at graphs. Yeah. Right. How many people click, how many of those people move to the next page? How many of those people, whatever. Yep. So it’s very cold statistical analysis normally. Yep. You’re talking about relationship now, you’re talking about like ways in, of creating touchpoints. You’re talking about like customer service. Yes. And like the stuff that happens with individual old customers. Yep.

Caulen (09:15):
Right. So yeah, calling them, you know, like, like picking up the phone and calling your customers. I, it works. I’ve done it with my brands and it’s not, it not only do people really, they love it. They really do is so there’s really not even a reason to be scared to do it because when you realize that your customers are like, oh, wow, it’s so great to hear from you. Like, thanks for we’re calling. In addition to that, you get a lot of valuable information. Like you get a lot of valuable information about how people are using the product when they use it. Is there a triggering event in their life that is causing them to use your product that you didn’t even know of? Right. There’s a lot of people that probably use your product in a way that you haven’t even thought of it if you just called them and invested the time and speaking to your customer and, and engaging with that building, you know, not just building a relationship to like sell them something. Yeah. That’s great. We do want to, this is a business, right. We wanna sell people things, but like connect with them, you know, giveaways, things that are really outside the box, um, that aren’t just cold emails, you know, letting people know you have a sale, right. Like giving PE, giving people value in ways that can be reciprocated from them, uh, in the form of supporting your business, but give, yeah. Give more

Rich (10:23):
Than you ask. Well, now that’s an interesting thing here too, because like, um, and correct me if I’m wrong, but on the Amazon side of things, it’s way more difficult to do this stuff than on the Shopify side, because Amazon, um, they don’t readily, I contact information for the people who have bought products for you. Right, right. Um, I think there might be some things that you can do now. Yeah. There’s some, some email

Caulen (10:46):
Together, some emailing that they’re allowing,

Rich (10:48):
You can send a message, but then they, they’re kind of watching the content, make sure it doesn’t violate any rules. Yeah. Whereas like, if you have someone on your side or on the Shopify site, then you, you have all of their info. Sure. You can do all of this stuff. Sure. You can send them a promo deal. You could kind of, um, send them a, you know, a happy birthday announcement or whatever.

Caulen (11:07):
Yeah. And, and one of the things that, that, like we’re seeing it just goes back, you know, not so much on the Omni channel side, but supporting Omni channel is like leveraging all, all of the digital, uh, data. They, you have to maybe fuel other sales channels like with, with, with Amazon. It’s really great because you, you can push retention, you can incentivize retention a little bit better now that you can communicate with your customers to some extent. Right. Um, I don’t know how much value right. You can create in that space cuz you don’t have that personalization. Right. Right. But you can also leverage using, you know, email data and things like that. You can also a few other areas. Like if you have a retail channel, if somebody is in, you know, we’re in the south Florida area and you’re a natural foods product and you’ve got a very hefty database of customers and they are in south Florida, you segment those people and you tell ’em, Hey, did you know that we’re, we’re launching in 25 whole foods here in south Florida or, you know, in the Florida. Right. So there there’s other ways that, you know, obviously when you’re using direct to consumer, um, platforms and emails and things like that, you can do cool stuff like that. But for the most part it’s, it’s really about just bringing around that, that full, full, full centered ecosystem, you know? Yeah.

Rich (12:11):
Okay. Uh, uh, anything else you think for 2022, um,

Caulen (12:15):
Be creative. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> be outside the box. You, you got you, you know, Amazon sellers. Um, if, if you’re watching, you know, you’re, we tend to see, uh, Amazon you’re, you’re, you’re competing at the keyword level. I always say that, you know, Amazon you’re competing for keywords on direct consumer and like external traffic sources, like Facebook and in Instagram be really competing for attention. Right. So be creative, get people’s attention because that’s gonna drive the efficiency of your online business. It’s it’s, especially if you’re running paid media and paid traffic. So, um, be creative, um, think outside the box, think bigger than just direct to consumer e-commerce even, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s part of our business this right. And that’s what we do. But a lot of our clients they’re in retail, they’re on Amazon. They’re it’s, it’s never, uh, we’re not doing platform first platform. We’re meeting the customer where they are and uh, expanding their, their journey with the brand across the board. So yeah. Okay. Think big, think big for 2022, you know,

Rich (13:09):
Think big for 20, 22. So then, which brings me to, um, my second to last question go, which is, um, so what about for you for 2022? What about you and your business? Yeah. Like what what’s that gonna look like?

Caulen (13:22):
Well, um, so we’re watching some portfolio products, uh, directly from the agency that are, that are ours, some in the health food space, some in the, uh, the body wash and body care space, uh, and skin care space. Um, so we have some, we have some cool things in the work, in that regard, which is cool because we have to do it for other businesses and we’ve been doing it, you know, uh, and it’s cool because we have to do it for ourselves now and we get to do it, um, at a level that we think is pretty high, you know, pretty high level stuff. So I’m excited for that. And, uh, just continuing to grow the agency, you know, continuing to keep and maintain awesome relationships with our clients. And, um, it should be another great year for brain power and our team and uh, growing the team, you know, we, it was a team of two, we’re up to a team of you our 16 now. So, um, it’s been really cool, but yeah, we’re, we’re, you know, growth personally and, and, uh, obviously with our own brands and hopefully growth with all of our clients as well. Awesome.

Rich (14:13):
Um, and if people want to learn more about you again, in touch with you, how

Caulen (14:16):
They go about doing so. Yeah, for sure they can, uh, they can reach out to me directly on LinkedIn. Um, very active on LinkedIn. Um, you can just search me up, uh, spell my, my first name is C a U L E N. That’s how you spoke Colin and last name is foster. I’ll probably be the first one that pops up cause nobody really spells their name like me. And, uh, if you’d like to E send me an email directly, uh, it’s Colin, C a L E N brain power.agency. Awesome.

Rich (14:41):
Uh, and just point a correction. It’s not that people don’t spell the name. Like you, they don’t spell the names like your parents. Yeah,

Caulen (14:47):
Yeah. Right, exactly. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Rich (14:49):
Exactly. You can take full credit. Yeah. Yeah. I really can. I really can’t awesome. Awesome. Cool, man. Well, thanks so much for, for doing this and, and having this interview and, uh, and you know, I guess let’s keep the conversation going. Let’s do it, man. All right. Cool.

Outro (15:08):
Thanks for listening to innovations throughs with your host, rich Goldstein. Be sure to click, subscribe, check us out on the web at innovationsandbreakthroughs.com and we’ll see you next time.

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