#148 – How LEGO Puts Helium 10’s Tools to Use in Scaling Up on Amazon
I love LEGO.
Like most of you, I’ve spent a big chunk of my life either creating amazing LEGO constructions or trying not to step on these little bricks in the middle of the night.
For all of us in e-commerce, we often hear about what it’s like to scale up. As a company, LEGO takes scaling up to another level all together. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton welcomes Silas from LEGO to talk about how LEGO uses Helium 10’s tools as well as the finer points of using a Vendor Central account.
Even though LEGO operates at a level that very few of us will ever reach, Silas will surprise you with a large number of e-commerce tips that are directly applicable to all Amazon sellers.
In episode 148 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Silas discuss:
- 01:40 – It’s Not LEGOs It’s LEGO
- 05:00 – How Did Silas Get His Foot in LEGO’s Door?
- 06:30 – Becoming Aware of Digital Marketing and Amazon
- 08:00 – The AM/PM Podcast Was an Early Influence
- 08:50 – Vendor Central 101
- 11:00 – What Are the Advantages of a Vendor Central Account?
- 13:20 – At LEGO, It’s All a Question of Scale
- 16:00 – Seeing the Amazon Experience from Another Angle
- 18:00 – The “Substitution Effect” and Brand Recognition
- 20:30 – Keywords as Audiences of Real People
- 24:15 – “Igniting the Courage to Pursue”
- 26:30 – LEGO Masters Help Create a Perfect Storm
- 29:30 – Not Letting Your Own Perceptions Blind You
- 33:00 – What’s It Like to Make the Switch to Seller Central?
- 37:00 – Bradley’s Search Volume Game at LEGO Scale
- 39:25 – Silas’ 30 Second Tip
- 41:00 – How LEGO Uses Helium 10’s Tools
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Today, we’ve got my good friend and Helium 10 User, Silas, who will bring us some insights into the pros and cons of an Amazon vendor central account, as well as killer nuggets on how to expand your brand reach. Oh, by the way, he works for a company you might have heard about, LEGO. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS free, unscripted, and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the eCommerce world. And we’ve got a big time serious seller, one of the biggest we’ve had on the show. What’s up, Silas? How’s it going?
Silas: It’s going well, man. It’s going well today. It’s almost a serious vendor podcast, huh?
Bradley Sutton: Yeah.
Silas: Super excited to be here.
Bradley Sutton: Love it. Love it. I’ve been hoping to get you on. We met a little over a year ago now at the Prosper Show, and I remember you coming up to me and basically saying that, Oh yeah, Helium 10 has helped us to increase our sales by nine figures, or just something little small, or something like that. I was like, “Oh, really? That’s nice to know.” You come from a company that is one of the most well-known companies in the world. Something that I grew up with, LEGO, and my whole life I’ve been saying it wrong. I’ve always said, “Oh, I want to play with LEGOs, let’s go buy some LEGOs. But as the last TV show came out, they were very specific to really point out that it is never correct to use it in the plural form. Right?
Silas: That is a hundred percent sure on our vehicle teams, they’ll come after us internally if we get that wrong. So absolutely. We have that ourselves. So now I work for LEGO and I sell LEGO.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, exactly. All right. No matter how many you sell, it’s still just LEGO.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So I wanted to bring you on the show just because I think it’s very interesting. Sometimes people might just think that Hey, Amazon is great for private label and smaller companies, but really Amazon is a very powerful force for corporations of any size, including some of the biggest in the world like LEGO. But before we get into how LEGO’s using Helium 10 and how just selling on Amazon has affected LEGO, I’d like to just get back into the Silas story first of all, right. So obviously detect a little bit of an accent there. So I’m assuming you were not born and raised in America, so where do you come from?
Silas: So I’m actually– I am born in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is also the Homeland of LEGO, which a lot of people don’t know. A lot of people that I talk with, they initially think that LEGO is an American company, which is super interesting. So I’ve been working in the old office space in Denmark where the company was actually founded when we were doing a wooden ties back in the day. So there’s actually an office space where you were sitting in the old founders old office, and you can actually book that meeting room.
Bradley Sutton: Wow. That’s super cool.
Silas: But I’ve been here for a few years.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now growing up in Denmark, did you always– since that’s a kind of the pride of Denmark there, LEGO, did you actually grow up thinking, Hey, maybe I one day I’ll work for LEGO or what was your aspirations as an eight, nine, 10, and year old?
Silas: It’s a super good question. I think there was two stories my mom told me, first of all, I think when I was very young, I want us to be a garbage man. Yeah. Cause I felt like–
Bradley Sutton: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Did you say you wanted to be a garbage man?
Silas: I don’t know why, but I was very young and I was like, these streets super ugly. But I love the people who are going around on the trucks and they get to be on the trucks and dump off and make sure that the city looks nice because if you go to Copenhagen, it’s a really, really wonderful city that’s always clean. That was the first thing, which was really weird. I don’t know where that came from. And then secondly, I wanted to be a soccer player. So, I used to be playing a relatively the competitive level back when I was younger. So I was sometimes practicing multiple times a day and that was the goal for me when I was younger.
Bradley Sutton: Before you got to LEGO though, what was your major in university or what did you start studying? I don’t think you were majoring in garbage science or something like that.
Silas: No, and I’m not even did it to marketing. So, I think my career path in my head when I was younger was that I was going to be a consultant. I think that I was starting at business school, I was studying economics and project management. And I thought, I was going to be a consultant working for McKinsey or Boston consulting group because that was what everyone else did. So I majored in economics and project management from Copenhagen business school back in the days.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. How did you get your foot in the door and what did you start doing when you started working at LEGO?
Silas: Such a random story, but I was doing a case competition. So, we have those in Denmark where you go out and you can represent your university or you can just do it for fun. It sounds super nerdy to do that for fun. But we did that and then this was after I wrote my thesis, I didn’t know. And then LEGO ended up being the case company. And we ended up doing really well and I got some connections in HR and I’m like, “Oh, now I’m set, I’m going to get the job.” And nothing really materialized. And then a few months later, my mom told one of her friends about, and she was living in our streets back in Copenhagen. And then one of her– one of his friends, sorry, we’re starting up a new digital department in our creative agency that was focused in on measuring impact of online advertising campaigns, but also building websites and apps. So I started out as a digital enlist within our analytics and data science department.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, okay. And then that was there in Denmark still?
Silas: That was in Denmark, this was in 2016.
Bradley Sutton: So then what brought you to the US office then?
Silas: So I kind of always knew that I wanted to venture into digital marketing and I was doing all these weird things. I was actually at some point selling garbage cans for companies.
Bradley Sutton: Ah! You still kind of got to fulfill your childhood dream there.
Silas: One of my friends, he was doing a book and we sold that online. So it’s like baffling around in that space, always with my friends on the side. And I was doing all these online courses. I was doing through something called hyper Island. And then in 2018, one of my now really good friends, he came to Denmark. He’s called Nicola. And he presented some stuff about Amazon advertising. I was like, that sounds pretty cool. Definitely down for that. So went straight to my boss and I’m like, “you got to send me to the US right now because I got to figure out what this Amazon thing is. Cause it wasn’t that big in Europe and especially not in Denmark, right? Cause we didn’t have the exposure because we don’t have Amazon. I knew it was something that was growing, but I had no idea about the magnitude of it. So that was how I ended up in the US.
Bradley Sutton: And then, so when you came to the U S is when you started working more closely with the departments that deal with Amazon?
Silas: Yeah, a hundred percent. So I very quickly was asked if I wanted to stay permanently, which I said yes to. And this was when I started. So I am a big believer in front loading learning cause it becomes a lot more fun down the road. And this was when I started reading all for all my internal stuff. I started to reach out to a few of my friends who work in agencies who have had some exposure to Amazon advertising. And then honestly, I started listening to the AM/PM Podcast, front to back. I started reading blog posts. I started to kind of find people to be inspired by and that was how I stumbled upon him as part of just looking through where to find inspiration and learn more about how Amazon and Amazon advertising works.
Bradley Sutton: Super cool. Now just in general, the way that Lego deals with Amazon is LEGO is not like a third-party seller, where they’re just using FBA, but they use what’s called a vendor central. So, can you kind of explain the difference to the people out there who, most of our users or our listeners are familiar with seller central and the third party program, but how does it work? What’s the difference basically between vendor central and seller central?
Silas: So I think the short answer is that we are selling products directly to Amazon. But at the same time, and a lot of people, I don’t think they really do understand that, we still manage producing the content, setting up the product detail pages. We also manage the advertising, but we maintain a retail relationship together with Amazon. And, that’s the way the vendor set up difference in short.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So you still actually decide what images go into the listing, you decide what the title is going to be, what the content is going to be, and then you pass that to Amazon, and then they upload it to their site or you even do the uploading itself?
Silas: We do everything. So, in that way it’s very similar to being a seller. The only difference is we are running ads through a different advertising platform, but they don’t even like the transitioning into being more or less the same. Often we get access to beta programs before the seller doesn’t. So often I will see my friends that are sellers have access to features roughly half a year later or something like that. So that’s normally, that’s one of the perks of being a vendor. We’re working very closely together with the Amazon advertising team based out of Seattle. And we have monthly meetings with them and yearly meetings where we actually meet in New York or in Seattle. It’s a talk for the roadmap and give feedback on some of the beta programs that they are the baffling around with.
Bradley Sutton: So then what don’t you have control over then as a vendor as opposed to a seller? Are you able to just change the retail price whenever you want or change a listing whenever you want? Or–
Silas: No, that’s the thing we don’t have access. For the listing itself, we have full control. The price, we don’t.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay. Good to know. Now what else as far as in your experience since we’ll talk about a little bit later, you actually do have experience on the third party seller side, seller central. But what are the pros and cons because you don’t have to be a LEGO, a billion dollar company in order to make vendor central work. There are third party sellers who go through the vendor program. But in your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantage of why somebody would want vendor central over seller central or vice versa?
Silas: I think of course the set up program cause you’re filling in inventory yourself. You can have a little bit more flexibility there. We have to maintain relationship with Amazon. Well there’s both pros and cons to that. So, in that way. I think that’s the only aspect that truly differs. Besides that, yes, everything is getting a lot more self-serve. And also on the vendor front. We have all the same things available as you have as a seller, right? The only differences would just have that you have a vendor relationship. Yes. We have with Walmart and Target and so on with Amazon. So, in that way it doesn’t differ a lot.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then PPC as far as bids and things like that, that’s something that you have complete control over then?
Silas: Yeah. So, if you take a step back on how it all started was the first thing that I realized when I got over here was of course, you’re looking at the foundations, right? You’re looking at what are the keywords you’re targeting, what are the ASINs you’re targeting, listings you’re targeting. How’s your campaign structure built? Are you tracking paid and organic search? And this was when I stumbled upon Helium 10, the tool in itself, right? Cause it was actually the first tool where we started to track organic rankings, right? And so that was a huge, when for us, I would say starting to look into the relationship between paid and organic. And it’s one of the things that I find super fascinating and I was listening to one of your podcasts actually yesterday when I was out surfing and on my way back about the figure– it was a hemp roll on, you were doing.
Bradley Sutton: Yes.
Silas: So that in a smaller scale, right. But it’s the exact same questions we were posting internally, right? In a bigger company, we’re just doing it at a massively different scale. Right? So, in that way, a lot of the things that we are working towards are very similar, right? So the same comes with PPC. Everything is managed internally, right? So in that way it doesn’t differ as much. Yes, maybe we get access to a sponsor to play that videos are offsite advertising, or other features like ASIN targeting for sponsor quicker than you do. But a lot of the things that we have access to are similar, right? So the only difference is how we scale up strategies that sellers are doing. Right? Yeah, and often we have of course a lot more data and we’re spending a lot more dollars at advertising, right. Just due to the simple size of our company versus being a seller, right.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Okay. Now speaking about that, obviously, Lego is one of the most known four letter words in the entire English language and everybody, even if they’ve never bought any before, knows what it is. Now, how do you feel the strategy of a company selling on Amazon is different when it’s a company with such a huge brand awareness as opposed to maybe a private label seller who’s just starting out?
Silas: Yeah, this one is a fun one, right? Because it’s kind of you’re playing counter strike and you have tea coats on or stuff like that, and no matter where you aim it’s going to work. That’s of course not entirely true, right. But yeah, there’s definitely something about when you have the brand recognition that you have as legal right, you can scale your advertising to a much larger degree. Because, even if you’re going off the things where that would be a little bit more obscure, you still have the brain recognition, right? Which means that you naturally have the tendency to have higher conversion rates, right? And we all know that the way you are bidding when you’re running PPC as a function of your value, your CPC and then your conversion rates, right? So in that way, working for a brand that’s well known as legal right? It’s paramount that there’s also of course the keywords that I don’t want to go for, right. Because it’s simply doesn’t resonate with the brand, right? So we also got to stick through to the brand and protect the brand. Because by the end of the day, it’s the brand and the products that are on the gold, right– of LEGO. It really is, right. But it also does on some other complexities that you don’t have necessarily. You have the rotating product line, which means that we don’t have a product that just sticks around for 20 years, right? Well, 10 years even. So that means that you’re constantly changing out, which means that you also constantly have to change out the products that you advertising, right? So, that’s one of the complexities of being a vendor. And then it’s also of course there’s a total upside to having a strong as a brand of Lego, right. And it’s sometimes it annoys me a little bit cause I also want to figure out how hard it is to be a seller, right. Cause I acknowledge that there’s a big difference there, right. So that’s also why sometimes help some friends out running ads, or seller central. Cause I want to see it from their perspective too, right. So of course it’s a huge upside and it’s also, in my opinion, one of the best brands in the world to sell, right. It’s been a lot of– it’s been super cool to see that the search volume that has been for Lego part, for example, during the coronavirus situation we’re finding ourselves in right now. Cause it’s– you’re fulfilling a real need, right? People at home, they’re stuck. The kids, well, they need toys. That educational take where the play experience is more a little bit more immersive, right? Yeah. I know you’re a big Lego nerd yourself, right? But, it’s nice to be able to sell a product that you really could even, right. And I think you get that with LEGO.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, absolutely. Now, I think there might be the perception out there. At least for me, this is how I always figured when it’s big brand names, like yourself or let’s just say Nike or Yeezy, or something like that. Almost all sales in my layman’s opinion, come from branded searches, LEGO keywords or something. I’m sure you have better insight into that where– are you making sales off of keywords that don’t have LEGO in it?
Silas: I totally disagree with that.
Bradley Sutton: I know that’s why I figured you would. That’s just what I would assume. But I have a feeling that it’s not that, that’s why I’m asking.
Silas: A hundred percent. I think if you look at my LinkedIn and stuff like that, I’ll be pretty vocal about the incrementality of buying up your own brand terms. I think LEGO is also a– we’re in a different level, right? We have so much brand recognition. The straight up competitors are not as strong. Let’s say you’re selling like iPhone or something like that, or yoga mat. There might be some really good substitutes, right. I call that like it’s an internal thing that I’ve just named it, but the substitution effect light. So based on how likely the shopper is to substitute to another brand. That’s when you should do brand protection. Coming back to your question, the majority of our sales coming from branding terms, Nope.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, it’s not even the majority? I almost would’ve thought it would’ve been almost all, but so you were saying that you obviously see then some things were puzzles, or things to do at home with kids or something like that where you could see sales from words that have nothing to do necessarily to Lego.
Silas: Yeah. That’s across the thing, right? That’s targeting right. It’s trying to go for an audience that doesn’t necessarily know you, right. You don’t want your new two brands metric and your sponsor print ads to be 1% right. And it could ties into the corporate growth goals to LEGO, right. We want to reach kids and also adults that are not necessarily thinking about Lego, right. That’s what you want to do. You want to push that brand awareness. Because I think we have some really, really cool products and we have some really awesome product lines also for adults that people are not necessarily aware of, to be honest. So some of the cool stuff we’re doing that’s really pushing that awareness right, for the brand. So, then I think that’s my answer to that question is I guess I don’t agree with that.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I think that’s great. I had a feeling that that would be the answer, but I thought that maybe still was the majority, but it kind of leads me into my next question, which is, for a private label seller or even a big company, let’s say you were some big vacuum company, dirt devil or something like that, right? There are probably a good 20 companies that make similar vacuums as, so it’s easier to kind of identify the competitors and see what keywords are they ranking for. And, what are they advertising for? But how does it work for such a unique company like LEGO? It’s not like there is 10 other companies who all make collectable bricks. There’s like that one, I don’t even know the name of it, that I use for my Star Trek enterprise. But there’s such a no name company that I literally don’t even know the name of it, but you guys are kind of the only show for your niche. So, how do you determine who are your competitors that you’re competing for some of these generic keywords for?
Silas: I figure it’s such an interesting one. I don’t see necessarily keywords as keywords. I see them as audiences and real people to be honest, sitting out there. Meaning that if you have a portfolio where you have big eye piece. We’re launching Super Mario right now. We have Harry Potter, we have star wars, right? That means that you don’t necessarily need to just go for the audience. We’re interested in bricks, right? So, the perception that I have when I’m thinking about, search is that I don’t see it necessarily as being keywords, as being humans sitting out there with a need that I feel all products can fulfill. Right? So that’s the whole– that’s the methodology. And that’s kind of the mindset about how to run ads.
Bradley Sutton: I love that. So it’s what you’re doing is you’re focusing more on the customer avatar and then you’re thinking about the needs of that customer avatar. And then where it goes back to the keywords is, well, maybe what kind of keywords is this customer avatar searching for that Lego actually feels the need such as things to do at home during coronavirus or something like that where– but you kind of reverse engineering the process.
Silas: Yeah, exactly. That’s how I think about it when just in general, when I worked with advertising, another example is I’m helping the company that’s selling like dive cameras, right? I’m huge fan of diving. I love diving. I just– the best thing is being underwater, and then I just put myself into the mindset of me as a diver. Right? One of the things that I would potentially would buy an Amazon, right? I will buy a new compressor. I might buy a new fins, a mask or something like that. And that means that all of a sudden my– when I call it the keyword space, it just expands exponentially. Right? I’m not thinking about my product first. I’m thinking about the people out there. They don’t want to sell a product to, right? So, that’s just a, that’s just a methodology of how I think about it to be honest.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. Now going back to when you first started discovering Helium 10, I remember you had said it was a video or something, a random video that we had done. I don’t remember if it was ASIN Grabber or something, but you basically said this one video kind of revolutionized something that you did at LEGO and because of it, you were able to generate ridiculous amounts of sales just by using some kind of strategy. What was that video? Obviously, you’re not giving away your company secrets here, but what was– how did it change the way you guys did your research or implement it?
Silas: It was about targeting. You guys when you’re working as a seller, right? You’re super granular. You go in and you look for, let’s say you’re looking for products that have less than x reviews push to know that it’s less than the average of the reviews that you have and potentially they are out of stock. And there was a lot of different parameters for how you were choosing products side to appetize on. And I was like, wow, that’s super nerdy and super granular. Now I want to do the same, right? But if I have to sit and do that across it rotating portfolio of 500 products, right? I was like, how the hell do I take the strategy here, which is super cool. And then find a way to take that and then scale it, right? So, literally what did there was, we used a lot of the same principles and then we just found a way to mass up the scale and replicate that in an automated manner across all our products, right? So I was thinking a lot about this and I was listening the other day to an internal like leadership podcast with our CEO and he says that his purpose is to discover winning algorithms and then ignite the courage to pursue, and I love that quote because it’s literally, that’s what I enjoy doing with advertising. It’s find something that works. In this case there was entirely an ASIN grabbing and then you got to just go for it and figure out how to scale it, right? Because we can’t sit and do that for every single product. I do enjoy it. Getting in there, looking at one product can really get surgical. It’s super cool. It’s just that you can’t necessarily do that when you’re working with a big brand. So you’ve got to learn from other people and then modify it to your circumstances, right. If that makes sense. But that video was, they’re just– there was something about the way you were thinking about it.
Bradley Sutton: I think that’s an important point too because sometimes we’re just– we have of course so many Helium 10 users out there, but they all– many have the similar favorite tool as me, which is, Cerebro or Black Box or Magnet or things like that. But we’ve got over 25 tools, and I would venture to say that maybe more than 95% of our users don’t use some of the lesser known tools as much like ASIN Grabber. But there is something that guys, if you guys are Helium 10 users, there’s a reason we made every single one of our tools and that’s because customers wanted this kind of functionality. But if billion dollar company can find use of ASIN grabber. I’m pretty sure you guys can too. So, make sure to go check out that video when you can, to see what inspired Silas there to do stuff. Now, let’s switch gears a little bit outside of just like Helium 10 in your actual Amazon strategy, but I think something that you guys probably scaled a lot more but it’s still very applicable to the random Amazon seller is how off Amazon campaigns can directly impact your sales and in this case I’m thinking specifically of the show Lego Masters, which was in my household must see TV every– I believe it was Wednesday night when it was on. That was the greatest new TV show in a while. But yeah, I have a strong feeling that you guys could see a direct correlation to increases in sales from when that show started getting popular. Would that be an accurate assessment?
Silas: Yeah, it is, but it’s like a perfect storm, right? You have the coronavirus where a lot of people are staying at home. Then you have Lego Masters too, right? And in all kind of jumbles in together in this perfect storm where you of course sales are increasing, your conversion rates are going up. It’s kind of the tricky part and sometimes the frustrating part about being in a big company. I used to work with data science for a few years at LEGO. I was like, I hated it and I love it now, but it’s cause it’s just so fundamentally important for the way that we look at things. But yeah, the frustrating thing sometimes in big companies is to isolate impact when there’s so many things going on. Because LEGO have brand campaigns. We have theme campaigns, we’re doing things out of home. You have LEGO Masters; you have now coronavirus. It just changes the dynamics, right, of everything, right? In isolating that it was this episode of LEGO Masters. So this was the tipping point. There’s no doubt about it. Having something like that going on, just lifting off the overall propensity to buy. It’s awesome, right? And that’s also, that’s the fun part, right? You’re going to do pattern recognition. You’ve got to realize all the things that are happening outside of your advertising account. Right. That’s why I think I really enjoy being in a– that’s a nice thing about being in a corporate environment is that you got to do a lot of pattern recognition and connecting the dots between all the advertising you’re doing as a brand, right? To look only in your Amazon advertising company. Really, you’re going to elevate yourself, which sometimes can be difficult when you’re just in your PPC account and you’re just doing the thing, right. But you got up acknowledged that for big companies you’re part of a bigger puzzle, right?
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Then now one of the things, I’m not sure if you even know this or if this is true now, but one of the things I imagine you guys kind of ideating, obviously it’s not your department, but whoever decided to make that show was– well, what’s a way that we can expand to show people that, Hey, it’s cool for adults to be able to use LEGO. And I think that might be one of the side effects is that for a lot of people it’s like, Oh no, once you get to be 15, 16, well you don’t need to do LEGO. But I think that show really, really helped transform people’s perception of this is not just a toy, but people of all ages can do it. And yeah, if that was your strategy, great. But even if it wasn’t your strategy, right, I think you’re going to probably see that as a side effect of more adults because of this using Lego, and in turn, I think that this is something that’s important for sure for sellers out there, Amazon sellers don’t get so niche down where you’re limiting your target audience for your product. If you notice that maybe only women use your product, well maybe you should do some kind of marketing campaign to show, Hey, it’s okay for guys to use this product. Look how much fun guys have with this product. Do you agree with that kind of strategy?
Silas: A hundred percent. I think this is honestly a critical insight, is that you can’t lift your own perceptions the way that you run. And just in general, how you position your product. That’s simply not, it’s not you got to have an open mindset and be open to test things. You’re sitting with the best testing machine with millions of users that go on Amazon every day. You have the data that you need. So I think, and honesty, PPC is great for that. It’s super easy to test. Of course, if you’re going for another segment and your creatives are not a hundred percent aligned with it, it might not lead to the results that you were expecting. But if you see something interesting, you can test it in a matter of days, right? And if you then get, okay, there’s something interesting here, then you should hunt it down, right? And then you can start fooling around with your creative, maybe changing your videos a little bit if you have videos. It’s the same for us, right? And that’s the complex things about having such a wide portfolio is that you’ve got to treat your products differently, right. And that’s one of the things that we’re learning a lot about, especially now. It’s simply how strong LEGO can be with adults. And I think we are– we could fulfill an important, I wouldn’t call it a niche because a niche is pretty big. But there is an important need I would say in fulfill in terms of honestly spending time on– know you’re building with your family and with your son. Like that father, son, mother, daughter relationship. We can kind of ignite that by bringing the passion back with adults. And it’s just awesome to watch them how out of the sudden it all ends up becoming replicates, right. And that could be because they are the gatekeeper often, right. For making a decision. What’s a buy, right. So igniting that passion there that has impact on other parts of our portfolio. Right? Which is exactly also what you’re seeing with the LEGO Master show, right. So it comes back to don’t limit yourself, be open, and then really just test things out in the data guide your decisions. I think that one is super important. Don’t figure no at all.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I love that. For many people, regardless of how big or small of an Amazon seller or just in eCommerce in general is to take what Silas said and what Lego has been doing to really the heart. Because when you limit yourself and your audience in your own mind, you’re limiting your scalability of your business. So, think bigger and see how you can solve problems outside of who you thought your regular customer avatar is. Because I would say that before that show, most people who grew up with LEGO, maybe have had the perception, Oh yeah, this is only for kids. But now the perception has completely changed for anybody who watched that show. And I think that’s super important. Now, speaking of the show, if I ever visit you there at LEGO headquarters, will you be able to introduce me to Brick Master Amy and Jamie?
Silas: We would have to go to Bill on then, but if we ever doing something and Bill and I will make sure that you can go up and we will see if we can get through that batch so you can actually go in where the designers work, which is the coolest place ever, have like unlimited access to bricks and Minifigures. Then you can just see them hang out by these creative spaces and then just building all day.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. Is Amy’s accent as cool as it is on the TV show in real life?
Silas: A hundred percent.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Now let’s just switch gears a little bit. I alluded to it earlier but you actually do have some experience with seller central helping friends sell things, and I believe you’re starting your own company on there. How’s that journey been? Is it difficult making that switch to see how things work on the seller central side when you’re so used to the vendor central side or has it been a pretty easy transition for you or what?
Silas: So that’s definitely an interesting one. I think I’ve always had this eagerness to do things on the side. It’s not this is going to be a compromise on my regular job, but it’s honestly I see it as hobbies to be honest and it keeps me sharp. So working with, for example, smaller brands and sell us, it kind of teaches me some of the hurdles that they have to go through. often don’t, I wouldn’t say it don’t appreciate or you don’t understand, for example, all the effort that goes into the creative process of creating the images, shooting video, making A+ content and all that stuff. I have I would say, because I’ve used to do websites and apps, I kind of understand it, but the reason why I want it to be more into the seller side was honestly you understand the hurdles that are the seller goes for, Right. So it’s honestly been a lot of fun. And I’m continuing to do it on the side and it’s kind of to understand how people are doing it at a smaller scale. You really appreciate in some instances how easy, sometimes difficult it could be to work for big brand. Right? Yeah. So it’s definitely something I’ll continue to do because I find a lot of fun in it. Right now I’m with one of my friends. we’re launching a swimwear brand and honestly it’s a little bit scary. I was thinking about the day, like now you’re putting yourself on the line. Right. And I failed multiple times of my life, and I think when I was younger I saw that as failure, but it’s also the reason why I’m now sitting at the age of 28 and I get to do search across all of Americas and get to work with how we build out an advertising campaigns in Europe and how we do it in Mexico and stuff like that. So it’s been part of the journey. So for me, selling on Amazon is, it’s just another– it’s just a means of doing education. So it’s– instead of doing online courses, I just want to do it in real life because that’s where I see the most value. You might fail, you might not, but it’s the best form of education you can get. Right? Very similar to what you’re doing with Project X. Right. Put yourself out there and then have fun with it and just realize it. It’s a lot. It’s a long time, long life journey. Right, okay. Always just hungry to learn new things. So, to me it’s just another thing that I’m doing on the side and then maybe some weekends going to work instead of going on and getting super hammered. Right? But I’m having fun while doing it and as I got older I realized I’m running a marathon. Right. I’m not running a sprint. I think when I was younger I was like, everything just has to be 24/7 work all the time. And you sometimes make jokes that it looks like I’m on vacation all the time, but I’m trying to balance it out and just have fun with it. And then once I work, I do it very efficiently instead of being always on, right. I just, once I go in and do it, I just find the time to do it and then I have a lot of fun with it, right. Because then it doesn’t feel like work. To me it’s just like having hobbies to be honest.
Bradley Sutton: That’s cool. Now I’m excited to see maybe– we usually have guests on once per year, so maybe by next year we’ll be able to talk about how you’re swimwear brand is doing. That’d be pretty cool. Now before we get into your 30-second tip for us with some kind of strategy, let’s go ahead and play the search volume game, right?
Silas: I tried to listen to a few podcasts so that when this came up, yeah.
Bradley Sutton: Then you probably could figure out what I was going to do. But of course as always, sometimes I put tricks in this, but let’s see. You’re going to be on the spot here. I’m going to give you three LEGO related keywords and three search volumes. Now I know you use a Helium 10 so don’t be having it open right there, but here we go. The three keywords are, let me see, what should I give it to? I’m going to give it to you from shortest to longest. The first one is LEGO friends. All right. The second one is LEGO architecture, and the longest keyword here is Star Wars LEGO sets. Now the three search volumes from least to most, the one that is searched for the lease is about 44,000 times a month. The one that is searched for in the middle is about 80,000 times a month, and the one of these three keywords that is searched for the most is searched for about 160,000 times a month. So which one is which? LEGO friends. LEGO architecture. Star Wars LEGO sets.
Silas: Okay. Most popular, Star Wars LEGO sets. Number two, is LEGO friends and number three is LEGO architecture.
Bradley Sutton: All right. I was able to trick you. Okay, so you actually got one of these right, but I knew I was going to trick you because I was like, this is going to be too easy if I just give you the easy ones. But the number one LEGO related keyword actually is Star Wars related, but it’s different than the way I said it. So, the number one LEGO related keyword I believe is LEGO Star Wars, which is searched for 350,000 times a month. But the people who use Star Wars, LEGO sets and type it out that way is almost one 10th so this is why I do these things because I’m like, Hey, no matter how much of an expert we are, we don’t rely on our own knowledge. We always try and let the data show what to do. The one that surprised me, was LEGO architecture actually, that was lower, but it’s actually 80,000. That’s kind of a side effect of your television show because LEGO architecture, I don’t think is really that much for kids. It’s probably a lot of adults into that. And then LEGO friends was 166,000 so yeah, there we go. Let’s move on to our TST, which is the TST, 30-second tip. So this could be about– something about advertising. It could be about something you’ve discovered as you’re helping your friends with seller central. It could be about how you use Helium 10, it could be about marketing, it could be about garbage science. I mean, whatever you want. What is your 30-second tip for our sellers out there today?
Silas: Yeah, so I know if you’re an entrepreneur, which sellers are, it can be super complicated and you probably have a thousand different ideas that you’re baffling around with in your head. I think my number one recommendation or tip related to that is honestly find a few things that work and do them really well. So you might have this notion that you need to test out a hundred things every month. Don’t do that. Find a few things whatever if it’s through PPC or through you’re creative or something you’re doing offsite for social, something like that. If you see something that’s working, double down on that and then make that the key part of your toolbox and just go for it and just really refine that and figure out how you can use that and scale that in creative ways. I think it comes back. It can be complicated but you got to simplify them, find a few things that work and then those become growth engines, right? Cause that’s by the end of the day, that’s what you’re looking for. Right? Something that consistently delivers.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. Thank you very much for that. Now, just really quickly before you go, one last question is sometimes, I haven’t visited your offices yet. I know, hopefully, once coronavirus ends, I could do that. But sometimes I just try and think in my mind how people are using Helium 10 over there at LEGO headquarters. That’s just baffles my mind. Now, is it just you who’s using it or do you actually have a team of people who are using the Helium 10 and watching the videos and stuff like that?
Silas: Yeah, so I’d say we were using it a lot here in America, especially now that I have to manage Amazon across all of America and we also managing Walmart and Target, right? So, and for a lot of those retailers, but don’t have the same level of data, right? So we can use a tool like Helium 10 to project out what potentially those volumes would be if the behavior was the same and the volume was the same on all the retailers. And then of course, I’m also using it with some of the teams in Europe too, because you know, 10 there too. So, this summer I’ll be going to Europe, uh, to work a little bit on how we run out substructure campaigns and accounts. And of course, Helium 10 is going to be a tool that we use there too. I’ve also been using Helium 10 in internal PPC competitions, that we’ve been doing in on some of our global e-com gatherings and what do you call that, where we actually use Helium 10 to find keywords and ASIN and targets and so on. And then the teams were divided and then we’re competing against each other to see who could build the best convenience.
Bradley Sutton: That’s so cool. I remember it’s just kind of surreal to me now. I remember just as you were saying that you had even told me the ones, there was maybe a higher level meeting at LEGO even outside of your department, and Helium 10 was mentioned that it just is this kind of surreal, being such a LEGO nerd. And then now knowing that somehow LEGO is using our trainings and different things. It’s just that’s the coolest feeling in the world. So Silas, thank you so much for joining us on the program today and taking your time out. I really appreciate it and so cool to have you share your experiences and your knowledge with us and I definitely took away some golden nuggets there. So, we’ll definitely be in touch and look forward to maybe next year having you back on the show, seeing what Lego has done since now, and also maybe some of your other side projects too.
Silas: A hundred percent. I’m just glad that I could finally provide some hopefully value back. And I just want to say like big thank you to you and all the guys who have kind of honestly taught me in a very short amount of time all the things that I’ve learned over the past two or three years related to Amazon and PPC.
Bradley Sutton: Thank you so much, Silas. We’ll see you later. Quick note, guys, don’t forget that regardless where you’re listening to this podcast, whether it’s on your iPhone or on Stitcher, on Spotify, that you hit the subscribe button so that you can be notified every time we drop a new episode.
- Weekly News 9/19 – Email Communication, Rule Changes, Amazon Stores and Amazon Warehouse Expansion - September 21, 2020
- #178 – How to Sell on Amazon Japan – Nick Katz - September 19, 2020
- #177 – An Amazon UK Blueprint to Help Create Success for European Sellers - September 15, 2020