eCommerce Podcast

Our podcast is raw, honest and damn right insightful, as we chat to some of the best minds in eCommerce

Hosted by Richard Hill

Ep 91:
Dan Saunders:
Running an Effective Marketplace Strategy With Stanley Black & Decker

One mistake a lot of eCommerce businesses make is solely relying on their website to get customers to convert.

But the key to driving more sales is by having a strong presence across a multitude of platforms. 

Dan’s on this week to talk to us all about how he manages the eCommerce strategy for Stanley Black & Decker across platforms like Amazon and Google to create multinational success. 

eCom@One Presents:

Dan Saunders

Dan has spent the past 5 years on the front line with some of the UK’s largest agencies, and now he’s moved his role in-house as the Retail eCommerce Manager at Stanley Black & Decker. His main focus lies in growing new and existing customer online sales by developing winning strategies across a range of online channels. 

In this episode, we discuss Dan’s transition from agency to in-house and the main differences between the two. We also dive into Dan’s role at Stanley Black and Decker and how as a business they’ve effectively adapted to the pandemic and how they’ve had to re-shape customer expectations with the supply chain issues that followed.

Dan talks us through his strategy when it comes to successfully marketing Stanley Black & Decker products across a variety of marketplaces including Google, Amazon and eBay. He shares his favourite tools for discovering the best keywords on all these platforms, as well as some great tips on optimising your site to get those sales across the line.

Topics Covered:

01:22 – How Dan moved from agency to in-house with Stanley Black & Decker

07:30 – The biggest differences between working in an agency and in-house

11:06 – How Stanley Black & Decker adapted during the pandemic

13:35 – Dealing with supply chain challenges

18:32 – Developing your marketplace strategy

23:27 – Top tools for keyword research

25:41 – The pros and cons of running a B2B or B2C only store

29:50 – Overcoming the pain points of marketing internationally

36:00 – Why your checkout process could be a massive turn off for customers

40:47 – Up and coming changes for Stanley Black & Decker, and eCom as a whole

46:56 – Book recommendation 

 

Richard Hill:
Hi there. I'm Richard Hill, the host of eComOne. Welcome to our 91st episode. In this episode, I speak with Dan Saunders with over five years on the front line at some of the largest agencies in the UK, Dan is now the retail eCommerce manager at Stanley Black & Decker. It's a cracking episode where Dan's no nonsense style dives straight in. We discuss the switch from agency side to in-house and how Dan found that transition, Dan's marketplace strategy for Stanley Black & Decker, and how Stanley Black & Decker think when it comes to global eCommerce. If you enjoy this episode, please make sure you subscribe so you're always the first to know when a new episode is released. Now, let's head over to this fantastic episode.

Richard Hill:
This episode is brought to you by eComOne, eCommerce marketing agency. eComONe works purely with eCommerce stores, scaling their Google shopping, SEO, Google search and Facebook ads through our proven performance driven approach. Go to eComeOne.com/resources for a host of amazing resources to grow your paid and organic channels.

Richard Hill:
How you doing, Dan?

Dan Saunders:
I'm good, Richard. Thank you very much for having me.

Richard Hill:
Great. Well, it's been a long time coming. We've been trying to get Dan on the show for some time and I really, really appreciate it, Dan. Really, really appreciate you giving us the time today to step through what you're doing at Black & Decker. Thanks for coming on the show.

Dan Saunders:
Oh, no worries. Pleasure to be here.

Richard Hill:
Brilliant. So I think it'd be good to kick off, tell us about Black & Decker and how you manage to secure that position from an agency background. I think we have a lot of people that listen to the show that are eCommerce, but they're also agency. And I think there's quite a lot of sort of chatter at the moment, agency staff moving to in-house positions and things like that. So, I think it'd be good to... We'll start there if that's all right.

Dan Saunders:
Yeah. The whole idea of changing from agency to in-house was more to do with my little boy being born. Previous to this, my agency life was to generate the new business side of thing. So, you were either on the phone or you were out in meetings all the time. And because I spent so much time researching different SEO, PPCs, CROs, and things, I used to get sent of quite a lot of conferences to speak out as well. I won't lie, it's it was a really glamorous lifestyle, but it's just not conducive to when you've got a family.

Dan Saunders:
So, I got really lucky. One of the VPs at Black & Decker, Dean McElwee, he saw this role, the role that I'm in now. And he said, "You know what? You should apply for that." Because I pitched him so many times, he knew I knew what I was doing. But trying to get through some of the processes was just a bit of a nightmare for him. So he was like, "You know what? You should come on. You should do this as well." So, met the team that I'm working with now and I haven't looked back since. It was an interesting change. It was definitely interesting.

Richard Hill:
You actually pitched them many times and then obviously built that relationship with that potential client. And then he's like, "Hey, we've got a role that we think or [crosstalk 00:02:57]-"

Dan Saunders:
Well, it was when-

Richard Hill:
He did a reverse pitch on you and pitched you.

Dan Saunders:
Basically, yeah. It was when he was working at Kellogg's. So yeah, it was through there and he had just started here. He was like, "You know what? Our UK team needs someone like you to help, especially with the Amazon side of things." And it was like, yeah, it seemed to fall into place just really well for me.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. So, how long were your agency tied for then?

Dan Saunders:
My entire digital career actually. So, I'd say what so about three, four years. Yeah, it was interesting from Branded3 to Ingenuity Digital, really, really good brands to work with. And if I can, I'd still [inaudible 00:03:38] Ingenuity Digital, but you see where all the Branded3 lot are now. Obviously you had Steve over a little while ago from Rise at Seven.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, yeah. That was a brilliant episode actually. A real good, real standout episode actually. But yeah, it's an interesting chat because I think obviously I've been agency for... Well, we've just celebrated our 12th birthday with one of our agencies and obviously-

Dan Saunders:
Oh wow.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, we've seen quite a lot of things come and go [crosstalk 00:04:03].

Dan Saunders:
Yeah.

Richard Hill:
And people from agency to in-house and then people going from in-house to agency. We've had people come here, they've then gone, "Oh, well, we want to work. I want to move on and want to work in-house." And absolutely, fantastic. But then some of them come knocking on the door a couple of years later, "Got any positions? I'd like to come back." And obviously I think it's great that people try the different sides because ultimately it's very, very different, isn't it? Agency life is usually you've got X amount... Depending on what you're doing in your agency. But if you've gone front facing and your account manager, for example, or sitting in sales, you're dealing with a lot of different businesse, a lot of things in flow. Whereas I'm working for one company, obviously it's very focused. But you're still doing a lot of things, but it's very much focused on that one company. So, how did you find the transition? And how have you found it?

Dan Saunders:
Yeah. Like you say, it's very, very different. I think one of the things that you have to get used to is the priority sort of change. From outside looking in, I sort of said, actually, we should be doing this, this, this, this, and this. But then when you've got this, the thing with the global companies, everyone's got a different list of priorities. So, it doesn't matter if you're quite new to the business or you've been with them 15, 20 years. I've actually found out there's some people in our sales team that have been with the company over 50 years-

Richard Hill:
50.

Dan Saunders:
50, yeah. Five zero. And I was sort of just in awe.

Richard Hill:
Wow.

Dan Saunders:
They were still out on the road and I was just like, you know what, I don't think I could take it. I like being on the road, but do I want to do that in the next 50 years time? I don't think I've got the stamina for it, mental or physical.

Richard Hill:
It's a generation thing as well, isn't it? Our type of business, digital, I was refer it as very transient. You can obviously, with a laptop, work for anybody and even more so now than just two years ago. Obviously COVID and all that's changed a lot of things, competing to get staff within your business. It was more of a locality thing, wasn't it?

Dan Saunders:
Exactly.

Richard Hill:
[crosstalk 00:06:02] lead chef Lincoln, New York, whatever you'd work within, 5, 10 miles of that office. And then you'd... Well actually, it's the best place to work for in Sheffield or wherever it may be, London, wherever it be. Whereas now it's everyone's getting DM left, right, and centre from San Francisco, from New York, whatever it may be. So, that the world has changed massively hasn't it? And obviously the opportunity.

Dan Saunders:
Dean's in Ireland, but I'm in Doncaster. And I don't think either of us would've been able to get these jobs if it wasn't for the fully remote option that they offer as well. As you see, you are in a clean office, which I do miss having that. I do miss having free tea as opposed having to go downstairs to make it every so often. But yeah, coming from you live from my son's room because that's currently the office until I get [crosstalk 00:06:51].

Richard Hill:
Well, just like this podcast. When we launched, the idea, it was very much that everyone would come here to the office. We've got a bit of a podcast studio here. We did have. We've sort of disbanded that now rarely in the way that it was geared up for a nice physical space to come into. We did probably eight episodes here right at the beginning. And then COVID sort of happening, kicking in, started and it's like, whoa. So, obviously then it's like, right, I'm in my kitchen with my laptop with no kit, basically, really. And then it opened up the world of any guests, which it would've done anyway obviously, but that really wasn't the focus then. So, what would you say has been the biggest differences you've noticed then working in an agency and now working in-house? What's some of those sort of day to day things that you've noticed?

Dan Saunders:
So yeah, in terms of the day to day things, it's quite similar because obviously I work with all our retail clients. So, it is kind of similar to the agency side though you have to make sure you dedicate a certain amount of times. But there's no system to log it into. There's no line manager or lead to say, "Oh, you've not spent an hour on this account," or anything like that. It's about the benefits and the similarities are that you're still having to deal with different people, different priorities, with different agencies. Interesting thing is that I'm actually speaking to other digital agencies that work for some of our clients and I'm trying to liaise with them and they're trying to get back to me and I empathize with them. But yeah, it's more around on the priority.

Dan Saunders:
So, I came in and said, "Right, we need to change this, this, this, this, and this." It was more around the SEO content, what we do with PPC, how can we improve CRO. How can we improve this on our websites, but then not cannibalize what we put on our clients? So, that to me was the biggest priority. But then when you actually step into it there's a system... Stanley Black & Decker have grown to what they are because they've got the strong processes in place. And they know the business a lot better than I do. I'll be honest with you when I first started the role, I couldn't have told you the difference between a hammer drill, an impact drill, or just your typical drill. I didn't know any of those things. These people know this stuff inside out.

Dan Saunders:
It was interesting going from a side where agency side I was the case of, in my agency job it's, right, I'm going to do this, this, this, this, and this. As long as I hit my target, everyone's fine. But in this case, it was the case of, right, what have I got from our global team, our central team, our northern team? And then what have I got from the actual client to sort of liaise between that as well? So, things that I initially... If I'd gone back six months ago and you had told me about this role, I would've said, "No, these things, they aren't priorities." But the things that I'm working on now are massively important for our customers. So, it's the case, well actually, if it's important for our customers, it's important for us. And yeah, it's interesting sort of that shift in perspective.

Dan Saunders:
Whereas it's agency, I had to account for every minute of every day, what are you doing, what's [crosstalk 00:09:45].

Richard Hill:
Yeah.

Dan Saunders:
You've got to log your time against something. But here it's a case of as long as you get it done. There's actually a part of my email that actually says I can work remotely. I choose to work inside these hours, but I don't expect you to reply outside of your normal work hours as well because what I tend to do is start at half past 8:00, log off about 5:00, have a bit of time with the family. And then if there's anything in depth that I need to get done, I can then do it after that. And as long as I'm keeping timeframes set and everything, everyone's happy as long it's on that side as well.

Richard Hill:
I would imagine that I'm just going to... That's great, but I think obviously spending many, many years in agency, big agencies in the UK working with a lot of brands to obviously win their business and then develop their strategy. To then go to Black & Decker and then work with your partners, I would imagine you're bringing some huge value. They're probably a bit like, "Oh my God, this guy really knows his stuff." Probably, I could imagine they're like, "Wow, okay. We never thought..." You mentioned cannibalization and I can imagine obviously you're bringing a huge value for that knowledge of lot of other websites that obviously you've worked on or worked with for many, many years. And then bringing a real... So, I know you've not been there that long. You've had a whirlwind few months, but how would you say Black & Decker have managed to navigate the changes of the last couple of years, last 18 months with COVID? How have they managed to do so well?

Dan Saunders:
I think, I may sound a little bit biased, they've done really well. There's some things they could have done better, but there's a lot of things that would've involved foresight. Obviously hindsight is 20/20. There's no one that could have predicted. There was issues in terms of logistics, but that's for everybody that worked eCommerce. Everyone had issues with logistics, parts not being able to be made, or components not being able to make it. There's that element of it, but everyone made those mistakes. And it's something we all learned from.

Dan Saunders:
Where they've done really well is adapted to the fully remote structure. Like I said, I wouldn't have been able to, one of my global VPs wouldn't be able to work with us because where he is based. Being fully remote, that's been really, really useful.

Dan Saunders:
And then how we've adapted with our clients a lot. So, we're still making sure that they're still getting to test the product, but it's still in a COVID safe environment as well. I was supposed to be meeting a client on next week, Tuesday next week. But they've rearranged it because of different COVID legislations for different countries. And it's like, "You know what? Let's pick something in the next couple of weeks when we see where the lines lies. So, Stanley Black & Decker have done really well. In fact, they've been reactive and programmatic with it as well. Sorry, not programmatic, progressive with it. Sorry, went straight back into [crosstalk 00:12:47].

Richard Hill:
Agency days.

Dan Saunders:
Yeah. But they've been really progressive. In fact, they've taken everything on chin and they've adapted with it. But then they've also sort of said, "Right, okay, this is what they've done." And then the final thing is, well, where I think they've done really well is that they've offered quite a lot of mental health training for a lot of staff. For the management, how they can help with the staff, how they can spot these things all the way down to on on our Teams chats, people have got tags that say I'm a mental health supporter. Please feel free to talk me. Someone that's suffered with the mental health for decades, that sort of strong support network behind it is absolutely fantastic. And it's very rarely seen, especially in the UK at the moment. It's really rarely seen there.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, no, that's amazing to hear. I think... So, let's see, the types of products you sell, I assume have been very, very popular because people are locked down and it's like, what are we going to do with my time? I seem to have a newfound love for my lawn in the last 18. I have to actually have four lawnmowers in my-

Dan Saunders:
Excellent.

Richard Hill:
I dreamt of having four BMWs, 10 years ago, 15 years ago. That didn't quite happen. It's now a 10 inch [inaudible 00:14:00], a 20 inch [inaudible 00:14:01]. So, I think similar to Black & Decker sense, obviously a lot of DIY, a lot of home improvements. Obviously that's led on to then a lot of issues with supply and demand outstripping supply. Is there anything particularly there that Black & Decker have done to try and improve that supply chain? Is there any... That's probably a bit of a tricky question, but I think that's been a... From our agency standpoint, when we first went into lockdown, obviously it's like what the hell was going to happen? And what we found was the challenges we had as an agency was that our clients, that their main challenge was supply.

Richard Hill:
So, we had examples of clients doing ridiculously well. [inaudible 00:14:44] was incredible, the number, everything was just unbelievable. And we were like, "Oh my God, this is ridiculous." And then they'd ring up, say, "Stop everything." You're like, "What? What are you talking about?" We haven't got anything to sell and there's no... The cost of freight and getting and I know that's been a real up and down this last 18 months where just costs and everything. Have you got any sort of advice or tips or anything there on that supply chain?

Dan Saunders:
For the supply chain thing, what I think Stanley Black & Decker have done really, really well with is managing customers' expectations. Everyone knows where we are with COVID, where we are with supply chains, et cetera. But instead of saying them typical sales guy is, "Yeah, come on, we're going to smash this. We'll promise you these." They've got processes in place to make sure that if there's any promised stock that it goes to that customer and that it's all distributed fairly because you don't want to send 2,000 hammer drills to one customer and then one customer have absolutely nothing for it as well. We've got all these different relationships and each customer's got their own sales guys. So it's a case of if, I'd have been in that position, they'd be like, "Yeah, I'm going to promise as much as I can to mine because it's my customer. I want it to go really well."

Richard Hill:
Everyone's got they different priorities sort of thing.

Dan Saunders:
Exactly, exactly. The managing of expectations and how they keep them in the loop of, "Right, okay. It's now been dispatched. It's where we are now. This is where it is. It should be with you at this time as well." So, the managing of the expectations is best as it can be. And then, like you said, trying to deal with it from an online perspective, if someone goes onto our customer's website and purchases, we've got to try and make sure it fits within that e-com space. And if someone pays for next day delivery, our customers are able to have it there for next day delivery because as soon as you start messing with delivery times, the conversion just goes away and then your repeat customers and lifetime values just completely [crosstalk 00:16:43].

Richard Hill:
Yeah. I've just had that with a product. I've just bought one of these fitness rings rather than a fitness watch.

Dan Saunders:
Oh yeah, yeah.

Richard Hill:
It should of arrived 25th of November. It was arriving 25th of November and it still isn't here and I've found out it's been delayed because of supply and this, that, and the other. But they didn't tell me. So it's like my initial experience now is not great and this is a huge, huge brand, probably the largest brand in the world with this type of product. But it's just now my brand opinion is very tarnished unfortunately already. But hopefully I've had a ping to say it's been delivered while I've been sat here, actually. So yeah.

Dan Saunders:
Excellent. That's always going to hear.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, for the guys that are listening in, obviously as store owners or managing the marketing of or running those stores, there's expectations of the site. If you're saying next day delivery and you know damn well that you haven't even got it in stock, we obviously know there's instances of that out there and people trying to get the orders through. But really that long term reputation is more important than that quick win of a X amount of thousands in sales, which goes without saying. But I do see I think certain products particularly that are known to be hard to get, like Xboxes, PlayStations, that type. I know instances of people that are sort of taking orders for stock that they know they're not going to get for weeks. It's just like, whoa, what are you doing?

Richard Hill:
So I think really managing that better and those delivery times. Black Friday, for example, that's sort of been and gone obviously. But quite often people know they're not going to get all their orders out because it's 10 times the normal demand. But they're still saying, "Yeah, next day," when they know they can't. Just having those extra delivery options around busy seasonal times, especially if you know you've not got it. But even more so if you know, all right, we can't actually get the orders out at the moment. So yeah, just managing those expectations, that's great one, Dan. Yeah. Brilliant. So marketplace. So, you want to step us through your marketplace strategy?

Dan Saunders:
Yeah. So, my specialty is within the Amazon sort of thing is that I've been selling on Amazon since circa 2012. So, it made sense for me to come in and help with the marketing element for Stanley Black & Decker's Amazon within the UK. That again, obviously we've got supply issues because Amazon wants a ton of products. And there's very little negotiating with Amazon because it is Amazon. But it's the case of, again, we can't send 20,000 drills to Amazon, but then not send them to one of our regular suppliers because it's just not [crosstalk 00:19:12].

Richard Hill:
Yeah, yeah.

Dan Saunders:
Trying to manage that relationship has been interesting. Luckily, that's not my job. That's our commercial team's job. But then the marketing element of it is more a case of making sure that we get the content right because one thing that you tend to find is there's quite a few different tools that'll tell you keywords search volumes for the Amazon product. But what people then think is, oh, you know what, I'm going to focus on this keyword because there's 3,000 searches a month for it on Amazon. But what they don't see is the keyword next to it. There's 50,000 searches on Google. And at the moment, Google still provides 40%-plus of Amazon sales.

Richard Hill:
Wow.

Dan Saunders:
So, it's about trying to optimize for both and trying to find that balance.

Richard Hill:
Oh, so you said a search on Google and then end up on Amazon.

Dan Saunders:
Exactly. And it's because Amazon's, Google's biggest supplier at the moment. It spends the most in terms of shopping ads. Because it's such a beast in itself, it tends to rank quite highly anyway. The content scores aren't always great because you've given very low character fields. But it's about trying to find that balance between the two and that's where the real art of Amazon SEOs start to come in as well.

Dan Saunders:
And then working with the PPC side of it as well. Making sure that it's optimized in a specific way because what I found, I still see with a lot of DIY brands, not just with ours, is that when the DIY brand is trying to talk about the product, they'll talk about the product and they'll talk from it from a trade standpoint. Like I said, I knew nothing about drills before, but now I spent so much time researching them hopefully I've got a good idea of it. It's the case of say for Black & Decker, their customer base is someone like me. Someone that owns their own home, doesn't really know a lot about trade. What would I be looking at in terms of search within Amazon and then [crosstalk 00:21:04]-

Richard Hill:
And a builder. Yeah, yeah.

Dan Saunders:
Exactly. Whereas DeWalt's more trade professionals. So they're going to... In some cases what they're actually searching directly for the SKU code. So, it gives you that sort of balance to work with those brands as well. In terms of other the marketplaces, we're currently selling refurbished stock on eBay. Amy, who heads the team there, actually doing a fantastic job. She only started in January. She's been there longer than I have, but she only started in January last year. And she's already absolutely smashing it out the park. The things that she's been able to deliver, the expertise that she's got is absolutely insane.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. That's brilliant. So, just going back to the Amazon piece then. So obviously huge traffic. Well, it's a revenue generator. So just to clarify then, so optimizing those pages for more around, those product pages on Amazon, around the things that your customer, your typical customer. So in this case, we're not trying to target the builder, the craftsmen, the professional. We're trying to target the predominantly male. Not always male, I'm sure. Obviously not. But UK, well obviously depending on where you are. Home owner that's doing the odd jobs. So, very much looking at those Q&A, the type of things that they're looking for, real probably it'd be a lot more basic understanding.

Dan Saunders:
Exactly that. And also you have to take into consideration, I know we're talking about Amazon, but the recent Google E-A-T update as well. I try and include that E-A-T content within the very fine limits that you get with Amazon because if someone puts in hammer drill into Google, you want it to be one of your products that comes up on Amazon as well. Because it's still the search metric, the search volumes behind the two are absolutely astounding because more people will put it into Google, then click the link, then go straight into Amazon. Than will come onto Amazon, put it in, and go that way as well.

Dan Saunders:
So trying to find that balance is the key element to it as well. But like I said, trying to pull in everything that I learned from Google SEO, and Google Pay, and Google Display as well because Amazon's starting to take share within the displayed marketing, advertising as well. People spent less in 2020 with Google and spent more with Amazon. So, that just gives you an idea of how the market shifted.

Richard Hill:
So, when you're researching the hammer drill, for example, what's your go to sort of right. You sat there now. I'm just thinking of our listeners. They're listening now thinking, okay, I've got my products on Amazon. I'm going to look a the content side. But what's your sort of... Have you got a go to tool set that you write hammer drill or you're trying to find topics, or you're using certain... We've had Rand on from SparkToro talking about-

Dan Saunders:
Oh right. Yeah, yeah.

Richard Hill:
We've had people from SEMrush on and so forth. Have you got a right? You sat there now. You've got a new drill come out or coming out. What's your... Step us through that process.

Dan Saunders:
Yeah. Well, we actually have got a new drill coming out and I can talk about the range a little bit later. The keyword research behind it, for me, I always like to go very, very basic with these things. Typical, like I said, at SEMrushes, [inaudible 00:24:14], Ahrefs. I tend to heavily use a Google keyword planner a lot more. I use it for my own account as well because, like I said, from the consulting side, I've got a nice variety within it. So, it's got a healthy search on it as well.

Dan Saunders:
More specifically around Amazon, I tend to use a tool called Sellzone, which is actually powered by SEMrush. I'm one of the beta testers.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. I don't know that one. Yeah.

Dan Saunders:
Yeah. It's really, really useful because it gives me everything from how well is your PPC campaign running. You can do split testing on it as well, which is you can do split testing on a regular Amazon account, but Amazon picks the products that you can use it on. Whereas with the Sellzone tool, you can actually select the product you want to do and you can have tests running side by side. You can do traffic analysis. So, where I've just said actually quite a lot of our traffic comes through Google to Amazon. I could then say to you actually, this product doesn't have a lot of traffic coming to it from Google. It doesn't have a lot of traffic coming from Amazon. What it's got is referrals. So, where someone's written a blog about this product and then put the link to it, and pulled it across that way. And you can even see what the paid advertising with it.

Dan Saunders:
The full tool set to me is absolutely invaluable. Like I said, I've got quite a few more tools than some on the standard market at the moment. But the ones that I'm beta testing at the moment with them, it's a really exciting time to be getting into Amazon. And the support they do is absolutely fantastic.

Richard Hill:
We're hearing that more and more to be fair. Yeah. We've had a couple of FBA guys on recently, last episode, couple of weeks ago. And great. Okay. So, obviously you are selling B2B and not B2C on your site. Do you think that'll ever change or is there any plans for that to change? And if not, why not?

Dan Saunders:
Yeah. I can imagine it will. It's more of a case, again with it being a global operation, things don't tend to work as quickly as we would with an agency. If I said at Ingenuity Digital, "This company needs a new website," we'd say, "Right. Okay. Let's get onto it." Here it's the case it doesn't go just through the northern team. It has to go through the EMA NZ team. And then it again goes to the global and goes through the sign off there.

Dan Saunders:
Because they've got such a strong history with B2B, the DTC project isn't going to be a priority just because, again, we don't want to be competing with our own clients. I don't want to be running SEO on our site and thinking, oh, I can't use this [crosstalk 00:26:33].

Richard Hill:
Yeah, yeah.

Dan Saunders:
Or I can't use this photo, which is going to cannibalize it. I imagine they will be doing in the not too distant future. The DC projects at the moment, I think the closest thing we've got is with Amazon. But again, we're a vendor with Amazon, still gives us that flavor. And what we're doing with eBay gives us good insights to what our customer's wanting and because our customers at the moment are quite happy with what they've got. If they weren't happy with an aspect, I think that would speed the project up. As it stands, our customers are happy with what they've got and it just doesn't make sense.

Dan Saunders:
Whereas people like Dyson or Shark Hoovers, they could see a gap in their market for where they needed it. We've just not seen that gap. And we got to go where the data sells you. I know that sounds very much like a government briefing there, but there's no point in doing anything without the data. You could just jump on this because everyone, I could see a lot of people in development that said, "Oh, we've got to jump on DTC. DTC's the next big thing." DTC is a big thing, but it's got to be the right time for the right people as well.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. I see it a lot. A lot of our clients in our agency, they have brands. And we're representing the brand and they have obviously a network of whether that's distributors or retailers in eCommerce stores. And then they're sort of tempted by the shiny lights of having their own store. But then obviously you've got a whole network of whether that's 10 or 10,000 retailers obviously upsetting that channel. And then it becomes right about a pricing thing, but that's very challenging. There's a whole conversation there about what you can and can't do with pricing.

Dan Saunders:
Exactly.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. So, your stance at the moment is very much, well, your B2C is Amazon and it will kind of potentially stay at that for some time because it's not straightforward to just overnight in an international company to flip that out.

Dan Saunders:
Exactly. And you think of how many brands we've got. So within Stanley Black & Decker it's Stanley, Stanley FatMax, Black & Decker obviously, DeWalt, Irwin. You've got all those. And then if you did one for one, you've got to do with everybody else's. And just looking at some of the analytics on our own websites at the moment, we're not seeing people bounce off our website because they can't purchase it. They're going to the sites where they've got familiarity. So whether it's your Argoses, your Amazons, they're then going into the dropdown box that we built to say, right, okay. Actually, this product is in stock in this, this, this, this location. They go to that and they'll use a more familiar payment platform.

Dan Saunders:
This is why I see a lot of people adopting Amazon Pay because everyone's so used to the Amazon format. They're like, oh actually, yeah, I see this. This is fine, done, done. [inaudible 00:29:24] the next day or in some cases, you've got it five minutes later. Like I said, looking at the analytics and how people act on our website to me, I couldn't go to my managing direction and say, "Yeah, I can fully justify spending X amount on a website," or just migrating them over to being DTC at the moment just because of where things are.

Richard Hill:
Brilliant. So, obviously we're not just talking about the UK. You probably can't go to many countries and not find a Black & Decker drill about 300 yards from where you are probably in reality or obviously and other products. So, what's been some of the biggest headaches that you've already seen within the market and promote brands internationally? I think I know a lot of our listeners are obviously in multiple countries or very much thinking they're either, right, they're US based, UK based. They're like, "Right. We want to open up in to X, Y, Z?" What are some of the biggest things that you've seen as maybe potential problems and challenges and advice that you would give to people looking at that international piece?

Dan Saunders:
The advice that I would give is make sure you've got key stakeholders. You've got them, you've got their ear. What I tend to do is I share a lot of knowledge that I know is not within the company at the moment. So when it comes to SEO, PPC, CRO, I get messages from all over the world. Well, mostly from the US or mostly from Europe, just asking, "Oh Dan, can you look this over? What's your advice on that?" So, people know, if it comes to that, Dan is the go to guy for it at the moment. So, as long as you can keep the ear of these decision makers, whether you're in a big multinational corporation or if it's just a half a dozen of you, making sure you've got the ear of the key decision makers and you're backing it with data.

Dan Saunders:
Now, the best way to do this I found is people... And this goes from right from C suite down to people like me. Not that I'm saying I'm an underling, but [inaudible 00:31:26]. People are motivated by one of three things, time, money, and resource. If you can see what the stakeholder wants out of those three, it's always going to be one of those three. If you can put your presentation with the data that supports that element, they'll be absolutely fine. At the moment when I've tried to get things done, that's all I've done and it worked for me at the moment.

Richard Hill:
I think that's brilliant advice, Dan. I really do. We had a very similar conversation yesterday with our SEO team. Not so much about international, but very much obviously you've got to make sure that the people that the team above are aware of the value of what you are looking at is bringing. And what it's going to cost, what the returns are going to be, the impact, and that education piece.

Richard Hill:
Whereas quite often, they're just hear there's this thing going on called SEO or this thing that this is still... We've had meetings over the years where I remember going into a meeting with a owner of a business who'd been paying for SEO for 10 year years. And then I went into a meeting with the owner 10 years later, if you like, after he'd been paying other agencies and whatnot. And he goes, "So, what is this SEO thing then?" And it's like, wow. And I knew he'd spent probably half a million pounds on it. He didn't know what it stood for, let alone what it did.

Dan Saunders:
I've got to admit before Steven Kenwright introduced me to it, I had to Google what it meant. That was what my life was. I was an estate agent before Steve brought me into Branded3. And he says to me, "Dan, have you ever thought about selling something other houses?" And I kind of thought I'd fallen into a state agent agency because fell through being a doctor and a politician. But I was just being an estate agent just to earn some money at the time. It's like, "Yes, every day for the last 12 years I've thought about selling something other than houses."

Dan Saunders:
And for my interview, I had to Google. [inaudible 00:33:16]. He's a digital guy. It won't be that difficult. I'm looking through it and I'm just like, I've got myself into for a lot more. But yeah, like you said, having that buy-in... I tended to, when I was in the new business side, always go for people like Dean who were senior vice presidents who wouldn't have heard of SEO. Dean was because he's on top of it. He's been doing eCommerce for almost longer than I've been alive. So, not a shot at your age if you're watching this.

Dan Saunders:
But from my perspective, it was a case of just going out to them and then talking to them and saying, "Look, I've noticed this. Is this a big problem for you? If it is, let's talk. If not, sorry to have wasted your time." And I got very good at finding emails and numbers, going out that way as well. But the higher you go...

Dan Saunders:
The big thing I would always say as well for any anyone trying to get to these people is try and speak their language. Because as soon as you start talking about SEO or PPC or anything along those sort lines, they just send you to who you sound like. So, they'd send you to do a PPC person that they want to call with that might not be relevant at all. But then they'll just say to you, "Oh, we've got an agency," or "you're actually trying to take my job." Or something like that. It's a fine balancing act. And even this day, I say I've never got that balance match right. I pissed enough people off in my life. I got sent to people that had no relevancy to conversations whatsoever as well. But it's-

Richard Hill:
I guess you've cut your teeth in the agency, world selling, ultimately BDMing for some big agencies in the UK. You've had a hell of a grounding into translating the lingo to the business man to obviously sell retainers in the space. You've definitely, probably got some serious skills there to... I can only imagine because obviously I've been doing this 12 years as well and explaining. I had a chap in the office the other week and it's similar. We've been working for a long, long time, but we worked with his team. And we really had to reign back the terminology. It was clear just his body language. We were talking about audits and things. He's like, "Audit?" He just didn't... It's like, okay.

Richard Hill:
So, we sort of had to reign right back to sort of, "Right. So 18 months ago we did this, this, this, and built that, did that, did that, did that. And local SEO audit does that. Just not on the ground with it. He's running a super, uber sized business that's doing extremely, extremely well. And he's got a different team that we're talking to. But in that instance, we're talking to the owner and it was just, yeah, whole different language has got to be used. And I think quite often that gets missed. And then those owners stakeholders walk out that meeting and think, I still have no clue. And you just got to reign it back haven't you? And just make sure that terminology is either cut out or it's relating to, whether the time, money, scenario sort of thing.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. Yeah. Brilliant. Right. So obviously Black & Decker, a lot of other sites you've worked on, e-com stores, or worked with should I say. What would you say sort of reoccurring theme of mistakes or a biggest mistake that you see a lot of stores making? I think obviously this episode is going to go live soon and after Christmas. So, I think a lot of people will be listening to this thinking, oh yeah, we made that. We did. We just lost a load of cash, but we obviously did really well hopefully as well. Also is there a reoccurring theme that you see that's sort of grates you, gets you back up that you see?

Dan Saunders:
So, this is a difficult one now actually because there's quite a few things that I look at and it should actually just put me off the entire journey whatsoever. I was buying, I won't mention the brand, but I was buying a new basketball jersey the other day. And the checkout process was just so long. I couldn't sign out, I couldn't sign in as a guest. The delivery options were just an absolute nightmare. I paid extra for next day delivery because I just started playing basketball again. And I thought, you know what? I can't just turn up in my old jersey. People that I know, they expect me to have made something of myself, wear something nice. But yeah, very similar to what you were talking about with the ring earlier, it just didn't turn up.

Dan Saunders:
I paid extra for it and it's a massive, massive global brand and you just think what's gone wrong for them to not say check out as guest. And I get, obviously everyone's wanting to push for first party data. What I've seen people do really well is sign in and get an extra 15 pounds off or 15% off if you sign in with it on your next order. That was absolutely because we all know how big first party data is at the moment and we've got to make sure we get it. But if I want to sign out as a guest because I'm never going to shop with this place again, mostly because I wouldn't have shopped there to start off with. Funny enough, I tend to do most of my shopping on Amazon surprise, surprise.

Dan Saunders:
But it was because my little sister had got me a gift voucher for them and for my birthday. And I'd said, "You know what? Actually, I wanting to get back into basketball." She said, "Oh, you know what? I don't know what sizes you are. Here's a gift voucher for X brand. I know they do really good basketball tops." And after that I was just like, I just couldn't get my head around it. And then even with the checkout process, it came to just a little bit more than the gift card was worth. I think it was only one pound 47 or something like that. So, trying to add my card to it was just an absolute nightmare. It wouldn't accept the... People not accepting Google Pay, Apple Pay, or even Amazon Pay at the moment and driving people through those.

Richard Hill:
It just puts you off. That can obviously put you just then to then go to Amazon, don't you? If you can. Whereas obviously you want to support the independents and obviously there's very specific products that are on independent sites and whatnot. But yeah, that is I'm with you there completely. Those checkout processes that are they either they get clunky on mobile or they're just asking you for so much information and then you get there and they don't take various payment methods. It's just credit card. You're like, oh man, come on, it's not 1987 anymore.

Dan Saunders:
No, exactly. I had to put my number in this site as well because... Which was okay because they were going to give me text updates, everything like that. It's like, oh we've already got a number associated on our account with you. And I was like, I've had, I'm very old, I've had this same mobile number since I was 12 or something stupid like that. I've just had it continue on.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. I know.

Dan Saunders:
Or maybe I bought from them ages ago. And I thought, okay, well, this is my only number. I'm not going to give you my work number. How am I supposed to proceed without that? And you just think... Anyone in eCommerce will tell you, and you'll know this Richard, that cart abandonment is the biggest killer in eCommerce. You just see... What was it? 2020. What was it? I remember I'm sure the stat that I read was somewhere between two and three billion was lost within cart abandonment.

Dan Saunders:
And you just think that's money you can't afford to leave on the table. You've done the hard part. You've brought someone to your brand. You've got them in your product. You've got it in the basket. And it is just... Yeah. To me, it's just it's worse than their own goal. You've gone from you're just about to put it in yourself, but then you've just sent it the other way up the pitch.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, no. I think the guys that are with us, you all know how good that checkout is. And if you're honest with yourselves, I think there are a lot of you that could improve things. And especially that abandoned checkout piece, the follow ups, the things you can do with your remarketing, the things you can do with your email marketing. That's if you have lost the cart. But obviously just making sure that the different payment options are there and the mobile options work and things like that.

Richard Hill:
So. Okay. Well it's been an absolute blast, Dan. I've got a couple of questions left at the end for you. So crystal ball time, we sat here in 18 months time. What do you thinks the net sort of biggest thing for e-comm. And is there anything coming down the pipe. Sort of a double edged question really. Next biggest thing in the space that you think's coming and is there any sort of insider info you can give us that's coming also down the pipeline for Black & Decker? So, the industry and Black & Decker or is it the same thing?

Dan Saunders:
Yeah. There's two separate answers for you there. I can tell you this. I was just double checking actually, if I could tell you this. But I think I saw an article on it in Forbes a couple of weeks ago, but I'll have to double shape. But no, I'm confident I can tell you because I'm having a lot of conversations about it at the moment.

Dan Saunders:
So for Stanley Black & Decker, we are just about to release our fully recycled range. So, it's a product called Reviva. It's made from fully recycled products and it can be recycled at the end of its use as well. We come with the instructions and the packaging's all fully recyclable as well.

Richard Hill:
Wow.

Dan Saunders:
It's not lost the power of your standard Black & Decker product as well. So, it's still just as powerful, but it's still doing the job, but it's fully recyclable.

Richard Hill:
That's amazing.

Dan Saunders:
That to me is the biggest thing. It surprised me when I found out that no one else in the market is doing this, especially with the big boom that we had before you got... Everyone is looking into DIY at the moment. I can't see that wanting to go away because I've kind of got into it, even though I was very much the guy who was like, "Right. It'll cost me this much to do it myself, plus this much time, plus the amount I have to get my mom to come and fix it for me." Because she's the one-

Richard Hill:
Yeah, I know what your about. Yeah.

Dan Saunders:
Well, funny enough, she's our DeWalt target because she's been doing... She's a single mom, raised three of us by herself. She has been doing DIY for decades and she's a massive DeWalt user because she's got the... She's borderline professional. Bless her, she's 65 years old. I hope she's 65 years old. That's going to be awkward if I can't remember.

Dan Saunders:
But she replastered her house. She built walls. She's built gates and stuff. She, to me, is the epitome. If I could record her for a DeWalt session, I'd just say, "Right. That's that's the full training I need." Whereas I'm the standard someone bought me a hammer drill and I put it into a bit of plaster wall and thinking that, oh, I need much power. I ended up ripping half my wall.

Dan Saunders:
But with the big boom in DIY at the moment, sustainability needs to be on everyone... I know it sounds like I'm very preachy, very political. Sustainability needs to be on everyone's mind and it needs to be pushed. I'm just shocked that, I'm thankful that I'm part of a company that's jumped first, but I'm just shocked that we have jumped first in that. It's [crosstalk 00:43:31].

Richard Hill:
Yeah. Brilliant.

Dan Saunders:
The last thing for the entirety of the industry, this was something that we were working on back at Branded3 with one of our sister brands. I've completely forgotten what their name is. I've got Reviva stuck in my head, but working in terms of augmented reality. Now, whether this is at home, will it impact the DIY space? Probably not, but in terms of furniture versus clothing.

Dan Saunders:
Now the clothing aspect of it, I think it should be biggest in because with augmented reality, the plan was to try and show someone what it was like, what they were on. Now, this plan was pre-COVID. So, this is when people were in shops. So, what does this dress look like on? Can I have it in different colours? What would it look like in a different size? If I couldn't have it, could I order it to be delivered or click and collect on those sort of lines? Just having AR inspired mirrors.

Dan Saunders:
Even with that phone technology at the moment, it could be done along there. I imagine in terms of trying to get people down that funnel, people don't really know. One thing that I know from my other half is that she's always really worried about what the fit will look like on her. And this is what has really stopped her from buying from anyone because she doesn't know what the fit's going to be. So, looking at that is a case of, right, okay. what sort of fit is, would it look better in this colour? You can wear the full outfit that you want to wear.

Richard Hill:
So, you walk in a store potentially as well. So, I'm get getting that multi channel. You walk in a store, you scan a QR code, and bang, you see that dress on you because you're preset in that account potentially for that company in the app, know your size, know your own quirks of your body or whatever it may be.

Dan Saunders:
Definitely.

Richard Hill:
I'm a big guy. I'm exactly the same as your wife I think in terms of sizing. I can't walk in a shop and buy my standard size because I'm a six foot seven rather muscular, not really, but guy. So, it's tricky. It's tricky to walk in. But if those apps and the tech have got your sizing, you can get a lot more accurate and as you're walking around the store, potentially you are seeing certain ads based on your activity, a bit like that onsite experience based on your activity on the site and sort of the two coming together. Yeah. I love it.

Dan Saunders:
Exactly. And then using shadow profiles to sort of mix the in-store retail experience with your online as well. A bit more difficult with GDPR coming through, but creating a shadow file that then disappears when you walk out the store, measuring your reactions to different clothes as you go through. So when you're going through actually say, looking at people's reactions was part of the plan to see how they reacted with a piece of clothing. If it was a positive reaction or if it was negative. To then say, "Go to this Amazon. Would you also be interested in this? Look how this looks like with this as well." [crosstalk 00:46:22].

Richard Hill:
Yeah, yeah.

Dan Saunders:
That to me is what retail really needs at the moment to keep it alive because it's had the worst two years I've seen, I can remember and definitely in my lifetime to work with it. But it's trying to mix the two because, for me, I don't know what a sofa's going to look like in my room. If it's obviously going to fit, you can do the measuring tape thing. But you don't actually know what it looks like. So, it's there and that's where the augmented reality [crosstalk 00:46:51].

Richard Hill:
Augmented and that true omnichannel. Yeah. Brilliant. So, we are at that time. I like to always ask for a book recommendation. Any book, if you were to recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be?

Dan Saunders:
There's two. One's a very, very pretentious one, but I basically lived my life from it from when I was 18. And that was Sun Tzu's The Art of War. But in terms of a leisurely read and a non-pretentious, Einstein. Just let me double check who the author was, was The Historian. A really, really good book by Elizabeth Kostcov. Oh, I'm going to mess up her name. Sorry, Elizabeth, if you do watch this, but K-O-S-T-O-V-A, Kostova. I think it is. When I'm doing my [crosstalk 00:47:37] webinars-

Richard Hill:
Yeah.

Dan Saunders:
I always mangle people's names for shoutouts. I try my absolute best, but typical British is just can't read anything that's not standard. And you think being half Arabic, I'd be all right with difficult names. My name, I changed it before I became Dan, I had a lot of Rs and I had a lot of rolls to it. But no ask anyone's name that I don't come across every day, I just lose it. But really brilliant book. Really, really brought me into it. It really sucked me into it because a lot of time, and you'll appreciate it, we very rarely get time to sort of sit with a good book and go through it. But this really caught my attention all the way through. And even to the end, I was like, there's got to be a sequel out for it. But there just wasn't and [crosstalk 00:48:25].

Richard Hill:
Brilliant, brilliant. We'll link that up. Thank you very much for being on the show. That has been a whirlwind, an absolute blast. Lots of brilliant takeaways there from the front line, obviously loving the sort of agency background into working at Black & Decker. Brilliant. Now for the guys that are listening that want to find out more about you and maybe reach out to you, what's the best way to do that.

Dan Saunders:
Yeah. Best way for me is on LinkedIn at the moment. Dan Saunders. It's me and my dog are there or @DanSaunders86 on Twitter. Alternatively, if you want to email me, it's Daniel.Saunders@SBDinc.com

Richard Hill:
SPDinc.com. Well, thank you for being on the show. Have a brilliant day. I'll see you later.

Dan Saunders:
See you later. Thank you very much for having me.

Richard Hill:
Bye-bye.

Richard Hill:
Thank you for listening to the e-ComOne eCommerce podcast. If you enjoyed today's show, please hit subscribe and don't forget to sign up to our eCommerce newsletter and leave us a review on iTunes. This podcast has been brought to you by our team here at eComOne, the eCommerce marketing agency.

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