Episode 149

2021 Predictions Show

Andrew Youderian - Ecommerce Fuel
January 27, 2021
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Andrew Youderian is a bit of a legend. Podcaster, investor, former eCommerce store operator, and now founder of the premier online community for 7 and 8 figure eCommerce store owners - Ecommerce Fuel. That’s why I’m super pumped to have him on the show this week to talk predictions for the rest of 2021!

In this episode, we put on our Nostradamus hats and try to predict what we might see more of this year. I focus a little more on the ad and marketing space as it relates to eCommerce. Andrew focuses his predictions more on eCommerce as a whole, plus a few macroeconomic predictions.  

Hopefully, you find this fun and entertaining, and helpful. Even if we end up being dead wrong about our predictions, I think you’ll find some interesting nuggets here.

Mentioned in this interview:

HEY eMail

Basecamp

“Tested Advertising Methods” by John Caples

2PM

Bill D’Alessandro

eCommerceFuel with Bill D’Alessandro - 2021 Predictions

SEMRush

Klaviyo

Ezra Firestone

Blue Ribbon Mastermind

Andrew Youderian - Founder at eCommerceFuel.

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eCommerceFuel - Content, Community & Capital for Store Owners

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The eCommerceFuel Podcast

Episode Transcript:

Brett:

Hello, and welcome to another addition to the eCommerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce, and today we have a legend, a true bonafide legend on the podcast.

Brett:

Needs no introduction, but I'll give one anyway, just because it's what I'm supposed to do. But today I'm delighted to welcome my friend, fellow podcast host, the founder of eCommerceFuel, Mr. Andrew Youderian. What's up, Andrew? How are you doing? And welcome to the show, man. Thanks for coming on.

Andrew:

Thanks for having me. Like I was telling you before we got on, I was doing a lot better until I saw the contrast in our office, quality of recording studios here. Just like a dead squirrel in the corner of mine and you're like here at the Ritz. It's amazing.

Brett:

Dude, I love the art. Kid art is the best. You got to hang onto it. It is really, I think, inspiring. Although, and hopefully you're probably a better dad than me, so you haven't done this, but you can also never get caught throwing away your kids' art. I have done that before. Like crafts kids create at church. We used to have a bucket of it. I'm like, "Yeah, this can probably be thrown away," and the kid catches you throwing away the art and it's like you're suddenly a monster.

Andrew:

Oh, you cannot. If you keep everything your kids produce, especially when you have as many as you do, Brett, you'll quickly have to buy a semi truck to store it. So what I do is, there's three things that happen to art. There's the stuff that just gets scribbled on and then you take that, the non-Picassos, you put those at least four or five sheets down the recycling bin to reduce the chances of getting caught. The second thing you do, if it's pretty good, if it's on the like, "This is pretty good, but I don't know if I want to keep this for the rest of my life," but you want to eliminate the guilt and anxiety, you take a picture of it in Evernote so you have a picture of it.

Brett:

I've not used that strategy. That is brilliant.

Andrew:

Then the third one is, for the really good ones, you put those in a shoebox and you keep those. But that's ..

Brett:

Shoebox. But you could also do the temporary refrigerator, it takes a little stint on the refrigerator. Then it can go into a more permanent home, like the trashcan. But I love the digital version. I think if your kid sees you taking a picture of it, that earns you some points as well.

Andrew:

Then you get to keep it. 97% of hoarders started their problem and really just snowballed out of control with kid art. It's a fact. That's just true.

Brett:

It's a fact. Totally a fact. You heard it here first, 97%. So that's awesome. But thank you for the kudos on the space. Shout out to Trenton Bodenbach on our team and Melissa, our office manager. So I came to them, and we had this podcast room. It used to just have sound panels, very boring. I said, "Hey, what if we do something kind of cool?" So Trenton's one of our Amazon specialists. He's wicked smart with Amazon. But he also builds stuff. So he built these walls, then we had a sign company do the OMG logo, and we had a lot of fun with it. So it's like a real talk show or something. I don't know.

Andrew:

It's super cool. Well done.

Brett:

Thank you. So excited to have you on the show. If you don't listen to other podcasts, if you're not listening to Youderian over at the eCommerceFuel Podcast, you need to do it. I did hear, we were interviewing a new potential hire a couple days ago, and he did come on and say, "There are two podcasts I listen to, eCommerce Evolution, this podcast, eCommerceFuel." So I was like, "Hey, I can be mentioned in the same sentence as Andrew Youderian. I'm feeling pretty good."

Andrew:

That's awesome. Did you hire him?

Brett:

I think we're going to extend an offer. It doesn't matter how the rest of the interview went, like, "You're on, buddy. You knew the secret to getting hired." So anyway. No, it actually went really well. Awesome. So what we're going to do today, this is going to be interesting, we're going to do a prediction show. Now, I was confessing to you, Andrew, I'm not the best at predictions. I think, like most successful entrepreneurs, I've got good instincts, right? I definitely several years ago predicted, so to speak, that, "Hey, Google Shopping is likely going to be really big." This was when it was not big. So we put a lot of resources and time and kind of obsessed about it and became experts at it.

Brett:

Then three or four years ago obviously YouTube was big for organic and a variety of things, but I saw a change there and I thought, "Hey, this is going to work for direct response eCommerce, right?" And that was correct. But if you just want to pull global predictions out, I'm not sure I'm the best. So I'm really glad you're here. You're potentially better at it than me. But regardless, we've got some fun topics and some interesting things we'll talk about. Even if we're wildly off in our predictions we'll still have I think some interesting points to dive into here. So yeah, man, let's dive in. You're the guest, so I want you to go first. And you've also come up with some categories for your predictions. You want to kind of walk us through that real quick?

Andrew:

Sure. I just have four. So a couple in the eCommerce realm, digital marketing realm, and then a couple kind of more macro society after a crazy year predictions. So two of each is what I came with.

Brett:

Nice. All right, man. So two eCommerce, two kind of global macros. So let's dive in. What do you want to lead with?

Andrew:

So I think my first prediction is, are you familiar with the email platform HEY that got launched this last year?

Brett:

I am familiar with it because you use it, but I don't know much beyond that.

Andrew:

So it's a new email platform that I think Basecamp came out with, and trying to reimagine email. Some things they do really well, some things they need some work on, but the thing that I am keeping the email app for is this ability to screen your inbox. I don't know about you, Brett, but when I was on Gmail, Gmail's great, it's super powerful, but to be able to have any kind of inbox that doesn't get overwhelmed to just the nth degree if you've been online for more than three years ... Like the rules in Gmail, I probably have, when I was using it as my primary inbox, I had 150 or 200 rules on what to archive, what not to.

Brett:

Wow.

Andrew:

It was crazy, and even still I was getting a ton of email. The thing I love about the HEY platform is it lets you, anytime you get an email from someone you haven't received before you just get a thumbs up or a thumbs down. I want to screen them in and screen them out, right? People do this with their calls already. I don't know about you, and maybe I'm just admitting I'm a terrible person here, but unless I know who's calling, because I get so much just spam, I don't answer the phone.

Brett:

I never answer my phone-

Andrew:

Ever.

Brett:

... unless it's really someone I know well.

Andrew:

Exactly. I think email is such a powerful metric, or it's such a powerful channel, but it's getting so hard and so crowded. Anyway. Where I'm going with all this is I think that in this next year we're probably going to see Gmail introduce an email screening feature that makes it much easier to be able to rein in your inbox, but also makes it harder for people to be able to get in front of their customers, particularly if you don't already have an existing relationship or you don't have content that person really is seeking out. So that's my first prediction.

Brett:

Interesting. So one, I'll have to check out HEY a little closer. We used to use Basecamp back in the day. Awesome tool. Is it 37signals? Is that the name of the company, or did they rebrand? I can't remember.

Andrew:

I think they rebranded everything to Basecamp.

Brett:

Basecamp?

Andrew:

But yeah, I think it's the same company.

Brett:

So I'll have to check that out. Love the concept, and it does make sense, right? Gmail's always looking to innovate and shift gears and improve. So I like that prediction. We shall see. It could be profitable or useful for users, maybe not so much for email marketers. Awesome. My first prediction, we're seeing this trend, and there're some fears, some anxieties, some trepidations, some animosity maybe, about privacy issues, right? So a few of mine are going to take more of an ad perspective, because that's what I do, I'm more of an ad guy, right? Love eCommerce in general, but focus on ads. So we're seeing these trends in privacy, and specifically iOS 14 and the ability for users to opt-out, opt-in to varying levels of tracking. I think from a consumer standpoint and from just a personal liberties standpoint, moving away from some tracking is probably good, right?

Brett:

As a marketer though, I really like the idea of being able to hyper-target and hyper-focus, and there is something to be said about seeing ads that are relevant for you rather than ads that are not relevant for you. But here is a prediction that I have, is that we're going to see a renaissance of sorts in terms of the way people approach ad campaigns, right? So we look at the core of marketing. The core of marketing being the right message to the right audience at the right time. That is going to be the focus, and there's going to be less dependence on algorithms and smart bidding and things like that. Not going to go away, still going to be a big part of what we do, but there's going to be potentially a renaissance in, "Hey, we have to be creative in the way we track and we have to think like maybe even old school marketers and not just be too dependent on the machine to do the thinking for us."

Brett:

And reference on another interview I did not too long ago about a guy named John Caples and a book called Tested Advertising Methods, and how they used to collect coupons and they would have different ad variations and each new variation you would reply to a different physical mailing address, right? So if I responded to this ad I would mail my coupon to this address, or if I responded to this other ad I would send my coupon to another address. So I wasn't thinking I'd have to go back to coupons and stuff like that, but there's going to be a renaissance of sorts in thinking through how we track ads and how we build audiences and things like that. So I think it'll be interesting to watch. We'll see. We'll see if iOS 14 is a true killer or if it just is a small hurdle to overcome.

Andrew:

I'm sure you know more about this than I do. With iOS 14, are they removing any kind of Facebook Pixel or tracking ability from that on Facebook just alone, or what's the extent to which they're pretty much dropping the atom bomb on being able to track what people are doing on Facebook?

Brett:

Great question. So some of it is still a little bit unclear. Most first party data is going to be protected. So from what we've heard, Google Analytics, you'll still have all of that data, all of those views will be there. That will be unchanged. What someone does in the Facebook platform, as you're clicking around, liking and watching videos and stuff like that, Facebook's going to still see that. That's in their platform. That won't change at all. What seems to be going to be impacted the most is things like the Facebook Audience Network where Facebook's using their Pixel and they know you're logged into Facebook here and now you're cruising the web and shopping and doing other things, some of that data is going to be at risk. To what level? I'm not the biggest expert on that. So I don't want to speak out of turn too much. But the Facebook Audience Network seems to be a bit of a danger zone. Then potentially the ability for that Pixel to track behavior on a website will also likely be at least limited in some capacity.

Andrew:

Interesting. There's still going to be a decent amount of data.

Brett:

For sure.

Andrew:

Obviously you're losing some valuable stuff, but it's not like you're going back to the days of 1999 when you were just bidding at gunk. You still have something to work with.

Brett:

You still have something to work with, but my thought is, it's going to hopefully cause people to think through the message a little more. It'd be a little tighter and less dependent on the machine and more thinking independently, so to speak. Awesome. All right. Prediction number two. What you got, Andrew?

Andrew:

Prediction number two is, and this one, some people may not think this is super controversial, but I've heard opinions on both sides, we had COVID come, there was two weeks of panic, nobody knew what was going to happen, and then it emerged slowly over the course of two or three months that, "Wow, this probably is going to be a really good thing for eCommerce," given everyone's shopping from home and not going out. Some people think the eCommerce bump is going to drop once the world goes back to normal. Other people think it's going to stick around in a more significant way. I think probably at least 90% of the eCommerce adoption that we've seen, and I've seen different stats on this all over the board, 2PM reported that eCommerce went from like 16% to 27% pretty much overnight, in eight weeks more or less.

Brett:

I saw some reports that were as high as like 35% there for a little bit in March and April. So it depends on how you slice the data I think.

Andrew:

I don't think we're going to see a meaningful drop in that. It's so funny, I work at this office, you can see, there's construction going on right outside, and there's two ways to get into my office with the construction. One of the ways is this super roundabout way that I go, that I was forced to go for weeks because of the construction. The construction has been done for the most part for probably a week and a half now, and there's a much shorter way to be able to get home that goes right to the road where I need to go. But in my lizard brain I leave and two out of three days this week I have noticed I still go the super long out-of-the-way way, and even when I remember it. So point being, so much of what we do is behavioral and is formed by habit.

Brett:

I love that analogy, Andrew. Imagine if that was flipped though. Imagine if you were conditioned to go the long way, that's the way you had always gone. Then that was closed off for a while and the short way was the one that was opened up. Then you're like, "Oh, I've never done this and it seems faster, it's better." Then when the old way opened up you'd be like, "Dude, I don't need that."

Andrew:

Yeah, good point. That's a great point. Anyway. I think 99.5% of the gains we've seen in the eCommerce world are not going away. Maybe if you sell rice and beans or prepper kits you might see a little bit more of a hit, but everyone else, it's going to be a very sticky adoption curve on the backend of this pandemic.

Brett:

I totally agree. I think we are creatures of habit. Once we try something new, it's always that first time that's the most difficult. After that, if there was a decent experience, it's going to become easier and stickier as well. So my next prediction certainly is somewhat similar. I heard you and Bill D'Alessandro talking, and I do recommend, if you haven't heard it, go listen to the prediction episode with Bill and Andrew on eCommerceFuel, it's awesome. Bill is a super smart guy, and of course Andrew brings the goods every time. So one of the things that Bill talked about was how Amazon is just a huge benefactor of the pandemic, and it's true. I know paying attention to my in-laws who are in their 60s, their Amazon purchases have gone up. Amazon is a big, big winner in the course of the pandemic.

Brett:

But there was definitely a period in time, and in some ways there may be a little bit of a hangover from this, where it was hard to get some things on Amazon, right? Either they were out of stock, or Amazon wasn't delivering, or they weren't delivering on time. One thing that's interesting, we run a lot of search campaigns and Google Shopping campaigns and things like that, we were on search on Google and on Amazon, but one thing we noticed when Amazon slowed down the delivery of non-essential goods, we found for a lot of clients who are on both their own dotcom and on Amazon, the search behavior that we saw on Google was like their brand name plus two-day shipping went through the roof. So now someone, they're maybe used to buying the brand on Amazon, they go there, they see it won't ship for a while, now they're going to Google, typing in that brand and two-day shipping, right?

Brett:

So we actually had some people where maybe they were 80%, 90% Amazon, they started to get a little more adoption on their dotcom during that time period. So that's kind of the setup here. So I think there was a lot of people for the very first time bought from a Shopify store, and maybe they saw how well they shop app worked, or that they bought maybe three or four Shopify sites and they thought, "This isn't that bad. Maybe Amazon is a little less scary, but this isn't bad either." So here's what I think is going to happen. I think you're going to see more marketplaces, and specifically curated marketplaces like homedepot.com and others really take off. Not to rival Amazon or anything like that, but they're going to really succeed I think and grow.

Brett:

Part of my theme behind this, I was looking at SEMrush earlier today, just looking at it. We all know that Lowe's and Home Depot exploded because they stayed open during the pandemic and everybody's remodeling their house instead of going on vacation and stuff like that. But the traffic to homedepot.com doubled this year over last year, according to SEMrush, which is cool. Then they kind of played this interesting role where they have a marketplace, but it's a little more curated. It's a little harder to get onto the Home Depot marketplace. Full confession, I have not shopped it. I've got a really big good client that is there and they're singing it's praises. But I think we'll see some other sites like that. I think people will also branch out from Amazon as well. Amazon's not slowing down, but I think some of these other marketplaces will really take off as well.

Andrew:

Makes total sense. Lovely.

Brett:

All right. So prediction number three for you, Mr. Youderian.

Andrew:

So I'll transition a little bit into more macro-type predictions. My third prediction is I think we're going to see asset bubbles continue to inflate in 2021 and beyond, and there's a lot of talk out there, especially with a lot of the stimulus and the deficit stuff, like is inflation actually coming? Is it actually finally here, or is it going to be here very soon?

Brett:

Just to preface this, for those who don't know, before you were running eCommerce stores, running eCommerceFuel, you were a finance guy, right?

Andrew:

I was, which gives me no real credence on making good predictions, because there're all sorts of finance people who probably get it wrong 75% of the time. But yeah, a little bit of a finance background. But if you look at the environment now we have unprecedented low rates in terms of borrowing rates. There's so much existing money out there. I was reading something on Twitter again. I haven't verified this or independently checked it, but they said that the amount of cash in American bank accounts has more than doubled in the last 12 months. Just sitting there.

Brett:

Whoa.

Andrew:

Which you think about once everyone feels totally safe to go out on vacation and go on cruises. Well, cruises might be a while. But whatever it is.

Brett:

Cruises, that may be a stretch. But vacations, I think fairly quick.

Andrew:

Vacations, spending, trips, restaurants, all this stuff, and the general public has twice as much cash, a lot of people are going to go out and spend that money. If you look at eCommerce multiples, it's very frothy right now. Those multiples have been going up. It used to be maybe two and 2.5 to below threes for an eCommerce business. Now they're maybe three to three and a half to even four for some really compelling businesses. I just think we are going to see a lot of inflation on most major asset classes. Housing. I talk to very few people that say, "Oh, housing in my city is really mellow." It seems like almost all housing markets, that's not true, but so many of them are just on fire.

Brett:

We'll edit it out.

Andrew:

And either inflation's going up and more money is chasing those houses, or we have an insane amount of immigration coming in, which I don't think it's the latter. Anyway. I think on stocks, Bitcoin, SMP, housing, I think we're going to see the price of businesses to buy, I think all of that's going to continue to go up significantly and we're going to see asset bubbles, asset prices continue to climb noticeably in the next year.

Brett:

And you just mentioned bubble and asset bubble. Do you think then some of those are in danger of popping? Any other thoughts there? I know that maybe you're really stretching the limits of predictions here, but any thoughts on what that does longterm?

Andrew:

I don't, no. I think at some point you pay the price. I don't know. It could end up where asset bubbles pop. It could end up where just the deficit and by the U.S. government and all this stuff gets deflated away and savers get ... It's a rough time to be a saver. If you're trying to live on a pension, not a pension, but if you're trying to live off your bonds or you're a retiree, it would be a really hard time to be a retiree right now. I don't think we as a country have, and this is a apolitical statement, but I just don't think large groups of people historically have been very good at enduring short-term pain for longterm progress, right? Just not a great track record of that. Anyway.

Brett:

That's great.

Andrew:

There's a lot of ways it could play out, and I have no idea how it is, but I think at least in the interim we're going to see asset bubbles keep going up.

Brett:

All right. I like it. Very good. So my prediction number three, this is also not really going out on a limb, but eCommerce will continue to grow. No, I'm just kidding. A little too obvious. I am an ad guy, but primarily Google, YouTube, Amazon, I think, and you mentioned something about email marketing which is interesting, so that's why I get that there could be some headwinds, some speed bumps, some issues here, but I think we're going to see even more value placed on email lists. The ability to build lists and segment lists and use lists, even thought that's not new to eCommerce at all. You talk about Klaviyo.

Brett:

I actually remember it wasn't that long ago when people were first talking about Klaviyo, and all the ways you can segment stuff, but email marketing is not new. The death of email marketing has been predicted on more than one occasion. But I believe because there are the privacy concerns, and iOS 14 is kind of at the forefront, and because most people think that's probably going to continue, email marketing, owning those lists and building those lists, and then to your point, managing those lists properly so you do get a thumbs up if someone's using HEY or whatever the version of Gmail is, but email lists are going to continue to grow in importance, and that's going to be a renewed focus I think for smart eCommerce companies moving forward.

Andrew:

Interesting. Well, one thing that just pops into my brain, slightly related to both of our predictions on email, I wonder if we'll see any kind of bump up. Email newsletters have gotten bigger, but I noticed the ones that ... I don't have a lot of time to read email newsletters, partially because I don't have a lot of time, I have a lot of stuff to get through, partially because email newsletters are so long, and we just did a big conversion kind of process on our site, and the biggest thing by far that we found with testing was that we had way too much text on our website.

Andrew:

So I wonder if newsletters are going to start adopting a much more punchier shorter like, "Hey, here's the five things, five stints. This is the five most important things you need to know this week. If you really want to geek out about them, go here," but you can scan the email in 20 seconds as opposed to having to dedicate three or four minutes. Because I don't know about you, Brett, but the number of emails I read that take me three or four minutes to read as I'm trying to clean out my mountain of inbox email is either from my mom, good business partners, good friends. If somebody randomly emails that, there's no way I'm getting through that.

Brett:

You're going to be apologizing to your mom. Yeah, the TLDR thing is totally relevant with email especially. There are a few email newsletters that I read pretty regularly. I do enjoy the Morning Brew as an example. I think that's a great newsletter, very curated. It's fun. It's kind of short and punchy. It's organized well. But there are even some other email newsletters that I subscribe that I like that I still don't get to, because I'm running a company and I've got a ton of kids and all these things going on. So I think you're right. The other thing I think, and actually I just interviewed a guy, eCommerce merchant, and they really connect with their customers. So he was talking about they send emails after each order, kind of a higher EOV business, but he has a VA record a personalized video and send it to each customer.

Brett:

Now, it's designed like most of the video's scripted, there's a few parts that are customized, and it's mainly designed to getting someone back into like a Facebook group and continue the relationship, but it's like, "Hey, it's an email," but then it's connecting on a really human level. It's a quick video too. But it's got the person's name in it, references what they bought. It's very much personal. So I think we're going to probably see trends like that, using email to do something very personal and very creative, something that really kind of builds that relationship. But it is an interesting thing. Inboxes are pretty full and we are, to your point, getting more control over what we do with the inbox, but man, it's still an important place, for sure.

Andrew:

I just realized, this could be the set for like Brett Curry, Between Two Ferns with Brett Curry. It just hit me, the whole-

Brett:

Two ferns. These are like between two medium-sized green plants.

Andrew:

You've seen that show, right?

Brett:

Zach Galifianakis, isn't it?

Andrew:

Yeah.

Brett:

He's so funny.

Andrew:

It's pretty good.

Brett:

I love that guy. Between Two Ferns. Thank you. Now, hey, if you're just listening to the podcast, go to the YouTube channel, check it out, or go to omgcommerce.com, watch the video. You can see me between two fern-like plants.

Andrew:

Brett is jealous of Zach and I am jealous of Brett's studio. So it's just this jealousy .. we've got going on here.

Brett:

.. Zach started it. Exactly. All right, man. Awesome. So four is the finale, right? So number four for you?

Andrew:

Yeah. So the fourth one is, so we are recording this second half of January and the vaccine is slowly rolling out. We've got probably at least six months minimum of this, best case scenario, before we get it out to everyone. But I think in that six months period, if not longer, we're going to have all sorts of weird crazy social dynamics that we don't anticipate based on some people having the vaccine and other people not having the vaccine, and people working together and maybe, because I don't think you can mandate people taking the vaccine, that people in the workplaces, there's going to be all sorts of uncomfortableness, or some people are going to be morally opposed to the vaccine, or maybe people who have it, they feel comfortable mingling at close quarters with other people, but those other people may not realize it.

Andrew:

So there's some kind of social signaling to be able to say you've gotten it, but can you really trust that the person has it? So I'm not sure how it's all going to play out, but I've started to see a few issues with this already. I think there's going to be some really awkward moments, not even just nationally in terms of the discussion, but in all of our lives where you don't know how to navigate these kind of weird murky waters, because when no one has it, there's these very clear rules and guidelines that you can abide by, but when some people have it and others don't, how does that look? So I think it's going to make for some very strange times both in the workplace and just with friends, family and your personal network.

Brett:

To that point, I think anytime something like that happens, that creates another issue for businesses to navigate, right? So something else for us to navigate with our warehouses, or our office staff, or elsewhere, and what exactly is that going to look like? We don't know, but if you think about it, even just take the mask thing, right? All of us can probably think of, "Hey, we have some friends who really freak out if not everyone is wearing a mask at all times, by themselves, with a group, it doesn't matter. We know other people that think masks are a conspiracy, right? Just no masks, it's all about control, whatever. That's such a polarizing thing, and that has created issues.

Brett:

I would tend to agree with you on the vaccine thing, and if you think about it there's really nothing else to compare to this vaccine, because when did you ever in previous years wonder, "Did this person have the flu vaccine or did they not have the flu vaccine?" You don't think about it, right? Some people get it, some people don't, everybody just lives with it, but this is something people are going to be afraid of and they're going to maybe want to ask you like, "Hey, have you had the vaccine?" And that's kind of a personal question in some people's minds, maybe. So it could be kind of a sticky issue for sure. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out, no doubt. No doubt.

Andrew:

That's all I got.

Brett:

Sweet.

Andrew:

I almost guarantee you three or four of those will be wrong, but they're fun to talk about.

Brett:

So here's the thing with predictions, you either make them so guaranteed, obvious, that they're going to come true, that they're not really fun to talk about and not a prediction, or then you're just probably wrong. And I think on my last one I'm going to be wrong. But I'm going to throw it out there. Why not? Why not go out and why not go crazy? Why not end on a somewhat crazy note? I think Jeff Bezos breaks ground on an SC in Mars. It combines multiple goals. He wants to get people to Mars, he's going to need an SC ... I'm just kidding. Totally kidding on that. But it is interesting, there is an SC being built about three or four miles from my house right now. So that's kind of ..

Andrew:

Oh, cool. In Springfield Missouri, is that right?

Brett:

Springfield Missouri, yup. Home of Missouri State. Home of Bass Pro. So right in the middle of the U.S. basically, and yeah, it is a 23 acre Amazon SCC.

Andrew:

Holy cow. 23 acres?

Brett:

23 acres under one roof. It's mind-boggling to see, and they're working around the clock. So you drive past that thing late at night and lights are on, people are cranking away working. So it's going to be interesting to see what that does. We'll have Next-Day Prime, Same-Day Prime, I'm not sure. So we'll see. But in all seriousness, and I want to go back, I know a lot of my producers have kind of had a theme, and hey, I'm an ad guy, I think about this stuff a lot, but again, in going back to the privacy thing, I believe even though we're looking at, and this will go a little bit beyond privacy just a touch and look at some of the antitrust things that are going on, Google's under fire right now, DOJ is attacking Google. A lot of people believe, and Bill D'Alessandro even mentioned it, some of the other big tech giants, they're going to be facing some heat soon, I believe very soon.

Brett:

I really think though some of the privacy issues and even like iOS 14, I think it ends up hurting the little guy more than it ends up hurting the big guys. I think Facebook, Google, I think they pivot. I think their machine learning and their AI is so much more advanced than anybody else, and they have so much more data than anybody else right now, that they're able to pivot and adapt and make things work, where maybe the real fallout and the real companies that are harmed from some of these privacy issues are the little guy, right? Like the new up-and-coming platforms, or maybe even the new social media platform that's trying to get their ad platform off the ground, I think they could maybe potentially be harmed worse than the big guy. So that's kind of what I'm going to wrap it up with.

Andrew:

Interesting. I feel like on that front, I think those big companies will probably stay fine for a while, but I think the biggest opportunity to help smaller businesses overcome the iron grip of these three or four companies is just letting more innovations foster and probably shooting down ... Like you said, I've got a finance background. I support a lot of parts of the free market, but I do think when you have three or four big companies that can buy any potential threat, because they're so valuable, and work them into their ecosystem to keep this monopoly or duopoly intact, that kills innovation.

Andrew:

It doesn't kill innovation, but it kills the competition. So if it were harder for these companies to buy these upstarts, like TikTok, or like Instagram. Instagram got purchased. TikTok I don't believe has yet. That I feel like would be something that would be a lot better for younger companies, because then you could potentially have more platforms that came up that were alternatives, and I think that's the thing I'd love to see. As opposed to breaking the companies up, just make it harder for them to acquire some of the new exciting technology.

Brett:

That's really interesting. And I in a lot of ways love the big tech companies. Like Amazon's doing a lot of cool things for consumers. Obviously a big Google guy. I love the book called In the Plex. It's kind of about the founding of Google. It's fascinating. It's inspiring. The Way Google Works is also a great book, kind of looking at the management principles of Google. There's actually a great newer book that I don't think I mentioned on the podcast that's called Always Day One. I'll link to it. I can't remember the author's name right now. But they kind of outline what the big tech companies are planning to do to stay ahead, to keep their lead. So I think there's a lot of good things they're doing, but to your point, I also 100% agree, when you've got some big players that can buy up any competitor at anytime at will, that's potentially dangerous, right?

Brett:

We do want to let the little guy flourish a little bit and let new innovation come. So I think it'll be interesting to watch some of the antitrust measures that are coming out and/or any other regulations that tie into that. I also agree with you, I'm more of a free market guy, but there probably needs to be some intervention in some way with some of these tech giants. Awesome. All right, man. Well, hey, this has been a lot of fun. We'll see if any of these are accurate or wildly inaccurate. Time will tell. But, Andrew, as we wrap up let's talk a little bit about eCommerceFuel. So I want you to share about it a little bit and then I want to talk about it too, because so many of my friends in eCommerce, clients in eCommerce, love eCommerceFuel. So I'll talk about that in a second.

Andrew:

Thanks, Brett. eCommerceFuel is a community I founded, and getting close to a decade ago, in 2012 and it's a community that's evolved, kind of grown into a community for seven and eight figure store owners. So we have over 1000 experienced store owners in there.

Brett:

I remember when it was just for six and seven figure store owners. That used to be the intro to your show. Now everybody's grown up, everybody's getting bigger.

Andrew:

It's crazy to watch some of these people that started with a 200K business that are at the eight figure mark, and it's wild. But it's 1000 members. Average store size is about three or four million dollars. 15% of our members have an eight figure store. I think collectively the group generates about three or four billon dollars in aggregate sales. So it's a really meaningful group. It's a thriving discussion forum. It's just a place where you can go, connect with people that are in the trenches that know this stuff, practitioners versus people that are just kind of thinking about stuff. So it's a great way to connect with true peers. So if you're a store owner or you have really deep operational eCommerce experience, we'd love to have you check it out and apply. So you can learn more about that at ecommercefuel.com, and then you also mentioned the podcast. So every week, every Friday, I have a new episode that comes out. Oftentimes talk with our community members, talk with industry experts like yourself, Brett, and just geek out about eCommerce for 30 or 40 minutes. And you can find that anywhere you get podcasts.

Brett:

It's good stuff. I think it's a must listen to if you're in the eCommerce space. And one thing I'll mention, I think if you're an eCommerce store and you're really trying to level up and grow you've got two things you should really consider. One is Smart Marketer eCommerce, or Ezra Firestone's Blue Ribbon Mastermind. It's a little bit different, and often that's kind of closed, because pre-pandemic that did involve like in-person meetings and it'll involve in-person meetings again at some point and some calls. So that's kind of limited in number a little bit. Then eCommerceFuel. That forum is so active.

Brett:

You have any questions, questions about software, questions about Amazon issues, questions about whatever, you post in the forum, you get all kinds of amazing responses from people that really know what they're doing that are not afraid to just share their experiences. So I'm not as good as my business partner is about getting on the forum, but I'll occasionally get in and answer questions about Google Shopping feeds or other things. It's this community where it's fun and cool to help each other. So that forum is just a wealth of information and experience and a lot of people that generally want to help. So it's pretty fantastic.

Andrew:

Well, thanks for being a part of it, you and Chris and well. It's been good having you guys in there.

Brett:

So, Andrew, this has been fun, man. I know you're a busy guy. Thank you for taking the time and talking about some crazy predictions over here on the show, and I greatly appreciate it. We'll have to do it again sometime.

Andrew:

Happy 2021.

Brett:

Absolutely. And as always, thank you for tuning in. I greatly appreciate it. Would love your feedback. What would you like to hear more of? What would you like to hear less of? Maybe you'd like to hear less of my predictions, I don't know. But we'd love your feedback. Shoot us a note. Leave us a review on iTunes. And with that, until next time, thank you for listening.


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