nReach is a consultancy that connects Amazon sellers with vetted marketplace resources across 45 categories, including business consulting, marketing, accounting, advertising and other services. Here, CEO and founder Chris Fryburger speaks with Seller Investigators about how to go about finding the talented third party service provides that can help you boost your business, and why he’s like the character Winston Wolf from Pulp Fiction.
Q: Hi Chris. Thank you for speaking with us. Can you explain what nReach is and how you assist Amazon sellers?
Chris: what nReach does is introduce sellers to resources. I’m typically free to the seller, and I charge a success fee to the provider for the introduction. But that can cover any aspect of Amazon. Not just the marketing front end, get my listings up, optimise. The thing that go into brand protection, financial issues, legal issues, and other issues around human resources and hiring talent in this space.
Q: It sounds like you’re the engine room of a company in a box!
Chris: [Laughs] Some people call me Winston Wolf from Pulp Fiction, if you remember that movie. Because when they come to me, they’re usually on fire. Something’s gone wrong, or something needs to go right, and then they call me and I help them put out the fire. And then our relationship goes from there.
The world right now is very complicated, and that’s certainly true for the Amazon world. There are all these connections. Everybody’s just trying to figure it out. I can go into some of the things I see out there, but I am in a unique position to see, because I’m either talking to agencies or brands that are trying to figure this stuff out.
Q: What do you find are the big challenges that businesses are encountering these days, Chris?
Chris: Anything Amazon. Honestly. Even just the act of getting your listings up properly is a challenge. And just optimising your sales, and getting your reporting set up, and getting your data in such a way that you can actually make some intelligent decisions. And with no help from Amazon. I would say maybe the answer to your question is the biggest challenge of working with Amazon is Amazon themselves.
Q: You say people tend to find you when their hair is on fire and everything’s burning down. Obviously, you can help people out with emergencies. But what should people think about before they get to that point? And can some of these things be solved earlier in the process?
Chris: Absolutely. And what I mean by that also, there’s different contexts for hair on fire. One might be like, “Hey, our retail environment just dried up because of COVID.” We were number one on the shelf in Macy’s, and that’s an issue now. So, the brands are now, if they were ignorant of Amazon, they’re desperately trying to catch up now and at least figure out like, “Okay, is this a channel now for me?”
Q: What sort of marketing questions are you coming across?
Chris: I’ll preface this in to say that I really do not have a same conversation twice with any given seller. And so, none of the conversations are the same in the sense that the resources, and the knowledge, and their path down the Amazon way may be in different stages. Most of the time I’m getting people that just say, “I don’t know what I don’t know about Amazon.” Which is the best thing that anybody could ever admit in the world? It’s a humble thing to say, “I just don’t know, and I’m willing to listen.”
If we’re talking about marketing, what do I do in the case of marketing on Amazon? Well, the critical thing is that you had to get your listings optimised. That means a whole bunch of things by people that know what doing with the available stuff today because it changes tomorrow. And so, there’s a lot to learn just in that little bucket. Paid advertising, SEO, organic.
Q: How about business consulting? That seems that that’s foundational to everything you do, the way you’re talking about approaching a problem with your clients.
Chris: It is. The number one question, again, is do I need to get on Amazon? It used to be do I need to get on Amazon now? That question’s not even really asked much. And/or do I need to protect myself from Amazon? Because if you don’t ignore Amazon with your products in most cases, guess what? Somebody’s still selling your products on Amazon. You can either control that or not, but I suggest controlling it.
Q: Your services in finding people to help with order management jumped out at me. What are some of the challenges that are going on there?
Chris: This involves customer support. And the lines of grey, right? But in there you might put review management also and maintain it, which a huge issue on Amazon. Not only can think of your own experience as far as buying and selling, I rely personally on reviews quite a bit. But did you know that half of reviews on Amazon are fake?
Another thing to keep in mind about order management is keeping an eye on your reviews- how often do you go back and answer a question about your product? You don’t necessarily want your customer answering it for other customers, you want to be answering it being part of that conversation as well. But order management also gets into obviously the management of it, the behind the scenes aspects, and that requires bodies to be savvy on how to do those things.
It also gets into things like reimbursements, which is another dark corner of Amazon that Amazon does not make it easy for you to get your return products back to you. And there are services now that just that do that in an automated fashion for you. But people aren’t really aware of that. It’s free money. It’s your money that they’re sitting on. They’re sitting on literally billions, and billions, and billions of returns. And unless you ask for them, they won’t give it to you.
Q: How about advertising – I feel this is an area that people where people have concerns?
Chris: Typically when we’re talking about advertising, we’re talking about paid advertising. The point behind paid advertising or the typical use of advertising is the paid side of things, which is people don’t realise that in order for you to sell on Amazon, you need to advertise on Amazon. It’s not an option.
The art of an ad campaign, just like it was with Google AdWords on Amazon, Amazon PPC is an art in and of itself. You want the nerdiest guy, the data-driven nerd-nerd that run your nerdy-nerd campaign because it’s squeaking everything out. There’s incredible work being done there. And so, and it all means money. It’s all involving lots of money kind of thing.
Q: What are your top three tips for sellers on Amazon?
Chris: Let’s say you’re a mom and pop business and let’s say you have a product existing. Because sourcing that product also on Amazon is a possibility also. But the first thing to do is obviously just suggest reading as much as possible on Amazon. And just you’re going to have questions. I would not recommend researching for a year, but I would strongly suggest picking up books or online things, attending forums, virtual seminars.
It’s not like selling to Target. It’s not like selling in a boutique. It’s completely different, and it’s infinitely harder I would say as well to do well. So my first tip is, inform yourself and plan.
The second thing I would say in this space is I would definitely build your posse. And what I mean by that is the analogy is Oregon Trail. It is the Wild West. There is no sheriff in town, and you’re only as good as your posse. Get a guy that is really good at either teaching you stuff, or if you have the money I would recommend hiring for it at least.
My third tip is just get going. You’re not going to learn anything until you’re up and running. Get up there, get the data flowing, play with your pricing, try some AB testing. The wonderful thing about Amazon is you can just throw up 1,000 products and just see. You can even white label them. If you don’t want to touch your brand or anything like that, just do people like the ingredients, or whatever the case may be.
You can ease into it, but you will not learn until you’re up. And you also then learn quickly
Q: Thank you so much for your time and insights.