First off, I want to say thank you to Chad for sitting down with us. For those out there who are not familiar with Skubana, can you give us a brief description of what you do and what you help merchants with?
Skubana is an operations platform designed for high volume sellers to run and automate their entire business. By unifying point solutions in one place, sellers can now diagnose what used to take weeks in a matter of seconds.
We manage all back-end eCommerce operations in one place, from order processing, shipping, and inventory management, to fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), vendor management, and cross-channel analytics. It’s a tool you can use, whether you’re selling on one channel or several, to help eliminate human error and oversight.
How do you compile and analyze all the data from the different sources?
We have APIs that integrate directly with major marketplaces and shopping carts, such as Shopify Plus, Magento, Amazon, and more.
We also have an API that connects to other tools to help you scale and extend the functionality of our software. Since everything is on one platform, you don’t have to stitch together various solutions before you can see your profit per channel, per SKU.
It’s important that we’re able to see shipping and overhead costs in one convenient dashboard so that we understand where we stand at a glance.
Are there any specific metrics that online sellers should pay attention to?
Conversion is probably the biggest metric that online sellers should pay attention to. It dictates your revenue and success rate. On Amazon, it’s a huge ranking factor as well. You should really pay attention to any metric that relates to your conversion rates.
If your conversion rate falls, take a look at your shipping stats and successful order rate, and whether your items were delivered on time. Troubleshoot for the cause of your fall in conversions and remedy it. If your conversion rate rises, pay attention to your listing and offerings, and what you are doing right so that you can continue to do so.
You should also pay attention to true profits in real time. For example, if a seller is selling their product on Amazon and utilizing Fulfillment by Amazon, there is a pick fee, pack fee, storage fee, long-term storage fee, and a return fee per product. Skubana ties it all together and ranks your SKUs like a stock index to see the worst performers in your portfolio. We do this for every channel.
What if sellers have proprietary or smaller tools and systems? Is it possible to integrate with you or consolidate these tools or software?
Using point solutions creates inefficiency, which prevents you from scaling, as it becomes unnecessarily overcomplicated and insanely inflexible. We built Skubana to address this need. We wanted a single platform capable of running and automating an eCommerce empire.
I feel as though a lot of sellers are stuck in their ways or have such complicated processes it is hard to change. Do you have any advice for the online seller who wants to change but cannot because of the difficulties?
The biggest mistake you can make in business is saying “Let’s do things the way we have always done them.” That is not the way to win in eCommerce, which is rapidly evolving.
It may cost more upfront to optimize your processes or migrate everything into a tool that streamlines everything for you, but it will enable growth, and reduce time and money costs in the long run. Don’t be afraid of change.
What do you need to know once you hit the 1,000 orders a month mark?
Once you hit 1,000 orders a month, you need to take a good look at your processes. It’s like building a house; you need to build it on the proper foundation. Make sure everything is in order at 1,000 a month to avoid bigger headaches when you discover problems at 10,000 orders a month.
Here’s what I’d want to tell my past self if I were back in the saddle trying to pick the right operation system:
- Pick the solution with the best support, and that leaves your business the most room to grow.
- Don’t pick a solution that promises to build features for you; those features are no one’s priority but yours, and the solution will take four times as long to deliver as they promised.
- Spend a bit more now so you don’t have to migrate to something new down the road.
If online sellers are below 1,000 orders a month, do you have any advice for them on how to manage all the different types of software and technology?
Try to streamline everything now before you get too big. This is the perfect time to fine-tune your operations, so that when you do grow you are ready for it.
There is no quick fix or silver bullet to get you to the top 1% of eCommerce. Continue to work hard and make your business your passion.
What if a seller is above 5,000 or 10,000 orders a month? Is it harder for them to look for tools for consolidation if they are too large?
Too many sellers who start to get into the 5,000 orders a month range get comfortable and don’t optimize. They start to think that what they have been doing is working, so they stick with it. However, eCommerce is constantly changing. If they do their research correctly, then they will understand adopting a new tool may take more time to set up, but it will save time in the long run.
What tools do you suggest sellers use to audit their own site?
Is there anything they should be looking for when auditing their site?
There are tons of big players out there. Use their success as an example. Look at other websites and see what they are doing. Do a case study and have a few people who have never been on your website navigate through it. If they struggle, fix it.
What is the easiest, lowest hanging fruit tactic that you recommend all sellers should be aware of?
Do an audit of your competitors. Identify your top competition and purchase items from them, then observe what they do better than you. You should also purchase from eCommerce merchants that have had huge success and take a look at what they’re doing for their customers.
What do you see as the biggest trends in your industry?
I predict single-channel sellers taking their processes and assets to new marketplaces. eCommerce growth rate is at approximately 15%, so, if sellers want to beat that, they need to create a sustainable and diversified business.
What are the big items online sellers need to be aware of in 2017 and beyond?
You need a real brand to successfully sell on (and to) Amazon. I got started selling vacuums, and built an empire on that. Once it got so big that I realized I needed an all-in-one solution to maintain it, I built Skubana. Whatever you choose to sell, build up a brand around it and establish yourself online. Then, make sure it’s scalable, automate everything you can, and keep things efficient while remaining high quality.
About Chad Rubin
Crucial Vacuum and Skubana Founder Chad Rubin grew his e-commerce business to an 8-figure business in 7 years. He is a Top 250 Amazon Seller, and co-founded Skubana as an all-in-one ERP system and operations platform designed for high volume sellers to run and automate their business. It integrates with most e-commerce marketplaces, 3PLs, and warehouses, provides profitability and multi-channel inventory management, and compiles all of your marketplaces on a single convenient dashboard. Learn more at email@example.com or sign up here.