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Streamline your entire wholesale channel with EnvoyB2B- part 2 [EP 267]

Brought to you by EnvoyB2B


Envoy B2B is a wholesale content and eCommerce platform for your entire team. Their tools and services are designed to help you create dynamic content, increase your speed of sale, and bring you closer to your retailers. The technology you need to empower your sales reps and support your retail channel.

Locally helps thousands of stores present their selection to nearby shoppers using eCommerce tactics and we provide users with novel last-mile fulfillment options like in-store pickup and same-day delivery.

This is our second episode with John and Mike, and they tell us how Envoy and locally help brands and retailers get smart with local consumer product trends and locally popular products. You can find the first part of our conversation HERE.

Show Notes

Contact Envoy

Contact Locally

Jon on Linkedin

Mike on Linekin

Episode 264 (part 1 of this conversation)

 

So let's go back to January 2020. What was going on in your world back then? I'm sure we were all ready for a kick-ass year and had big plans, right?

Jon: Yeah, let's see I think in terms of Envoy and myself, we had a team including myself, at OR. I think it was right in January. And I remember that being quite a good show for us, actually. I think we came back with a ton of opportunities in terms of new brands we were talking to. One of the things that's kind of interesting is I think there was a prevalence around this conversation of what is this show good at anymore? What should this show be? What is its purpose? Is this a marketing event? Is it replaceable? Is anybody writing business here? Those kinds of things. I remember being in a lot of those kinds of conversations and I think there was even a bunch of op-eds like almost immediately after it, that was one of the big industry conversations going on. And along with that, I think there were a lot of climate action initiatives at that OR as well. We were in a very positive place for 2020 for sure.

Mike:  Same thing. We had just come back from the ISPO. We had a ton of meetings. Like Jon, we walked out of the show optimistic that we were gonna crush our budget, even though it was the first of the year.

I was thinking, Oh man, this is great, we got so many people who are talking about our mission and it was very exciting and the team was excited. Then I remember by the end of the month I remember spending time at home. My wife works from home and she's in the medical field and by the end of January, I remember being in her office, jumping up and down and going, this is really bad. This is really bad. And her trying to talk me off the walls and she was like, you don't know anything about medicine, just shut up. And I'm like, you watch, this is the bad one. And while I did think it was gonna be a lot worse than it is. I mean, in hindsight it was bad. It was terrible, but my sense at the end of January was that this was going to be a run and cover event, it was going to be bad.

Jon: It was until probably Aprilish or around there where it became pretty understood that the market was going to change. Everything was going to change. We started thinking again about, okay, well, what are the things that we need to do to Envoy to become more helpful to our clients? I think fortunately in the B2B space and I would imagine you too Mike, a lot of what we had just became more relevant and more useful. We didn't really have to invent a lot of new things. It was more, okay, well now there's this gap, right? In terms of, we're not going to be meeting in person. So how do we connect? And a lot of brands woke up to the idea. And the messaging that we have been throwing out for years now, which is, well, there's this destination for that. It doesn't replace it, but it is a useful tool to rally connections with your retailers around. So there wasn't this, okay we've got to build a bunch of stuff real quick to be helpful to our brands and retailers. It was more shining a light on here are some ways to use what we've got that will really help you guys out.

Mike: we had been working on solutions that, fortunately, applied to the situation, rather nicely. Between sorting out opportunities with potential partners, onboarding retailers, and brands. And things like that, we were excited to be able to bridge the gap between COVID shopping behavior. And what's really curious now is that we're a year, almost a year past this thing getting started. And a lot of those shopping behaviors have kind of stuck and a lot of the optimizations that Jon's worked on, that we worked on at Locally, other ones that our partners have worked on, those would become kind of the norm for consumers.

Jon: I think the other thing that I think around what's kind of happened. There was this kind of question, these questions circulating around the show in January about what is it good for? And what's the purpose of this? And I think come March. I guess the next OR, when it just got canceled, I guess it was April we all got an opportunity to try that out and answer that question and be like, well, what is it good for? And I think that's where we're at, which is okay, well, it certainly has its place, and I can get into some of the things we're hearing from retailers that suggest that.

But I think we're at this point of well, what do we bring back that we've learned from our time away from trade shows and what do we want them to be and what are they not going to be good at? And what are we going to do with these relationships that have actually gotten stronger upon being more direct and more personal? Between brands and retailers rather than rallying around something that is fun and very community-driven, but maybe actually isn't the most personal experience. I think we've got retailers through surveying is they want personal experiences and that's very easily confused with, well, then we need to go to a trade show. But that's not what it is really. Those aren't personal experiences, the personal experiences they're talking about are the ones that the rep offers by walking in the front door you don't get that at a trade show.

So a lot of the travel is not coming back. And I think this is kind of one of those really interesting nexuses of like things happening right now. And I think as a digital B2B company and Mike, I honestly don't know where you sit on this. I expect that we're in a similar spot, but people expect us to embrace this idea of everything's going digital. We all have to go digital right now. And that really isn't what the research is showing us. They're saying, what I want is personal contact from sales reps. You look at a word cloud of what they want or what they miss right now, based on the market changes and things going virtual, they want. It looks like touch, It looks like see, it looks like feel, it looks like rep. Those are the things that they're interested in. What didn't come up was virtual.

An interesting thing that I heard from a retailer recently was basically brands are over-correcting, they're over-correcting and putting all of this emphasis into, ‘well, we have to make our entire sell in digital. And part of that is bringing our buyers into this immersive digital experience. And some are going really much further into this augmented space. Essentially this retailer was saying, well, you're putting me inside of a video game. So this person actually got kind of disenfranchised for the brand, it's actually working against the brand. So I think the premise of our research and what we're saying is actually the brands that are going to do well in this next phase of wholesale are the ones that double down on their rep relationships and personalization. To use that as the bridge to continue, what I think has been reinforced through COVID, is retailers want personal contact. And that's the secret ingredient. And then you look into what ongoing Locally are doing in terms of the level of personalization that we can help a rep provide and that's the angle. It's not a replacement. It's an augmentation and really staying tuned to what retailers want, not what you think you need to do as a brand to connect with them in terms of digital investments.

Mike: we didn't have to take any dramatic steps, but, we were also dealing with lots of existing clients and potentially, incoming new clients that that had a lot of needs coming out of the gate. And it was really cool to watch. And along the lines of, what John was saying, it's really cool to watch the brands that saw the opportunity or the retailers saw the opportunity as being every man for themselves. Versus the ones that reached out and said, okay, well we're all in this together. Brands and retailers have to work together more than ever to ensure that everybody remains healthy or this won't really work. The ones who really just grasped this as an opportunity for me, and I'm gonna do all these things actually, it was counterintuitive. They were the ones that had the hardest time gaining traction. Whereas a lot of the brands, especially the ones that John and I collaborate with those brands were really reaching out and making sure that they weren't siloing the opportunity and keeping it all to themselves. They were making sure that handoffs were occurring to local stores and keeping those healthy. And suddenly we looked up at the end of six months and we're like, Oh, my God, we were expecting half of the retail base to go away. And it was exactly that there was like no one went away. So I think that was really great. And relationships were strengthened and I think that's something we hit on in the last podcast was those that doubled down on their existing partnerships and specifically talking about brand retail or retail and a partner. That's what got everybody through. And now we have a decision to make, what parts of that are we going to augment and keep, or rather cause the converse, what parts of what wasn't working and what we weren't doing do we actually just want to let die on the vine, and what parts of it do we want to reincorporate back into our new model, which is working. And those are tough questions. And inside of all of that, there's this thing happening out there with trade shows, which is, 80% of their revenue of that evaporated and they're looking for ways to exist still. And are they the ones that are going to invent the future? Those that didn't have the model to get through what occurred? I just don't think so. I think they've got a great product and offering, but I don't count on them to make the next big step for us all.

Let's dig a little deeper into that, the current state of trade shows. It's definitely in flux. Everybody seems to think that there are some timing issues and, travel issues and all kinds of things. What are your guys' thoughts on those?

Mike: I still think that the larger format trade shows will add value in the sense of bringing the community together of an industry. The broader community. I don't know that the big format trade shows are going to be able to put themselves back into the box of actually taking orders on the floor of trade shows. I just don't see that being a thing anymore. But I do think that there's a reason for community. And then the other thing that is occurring that I think is really powerful is this micro trade show format, whether it's the Grassroots show or whether it's Trek holding like a Trek only trade show or regional rep shows. Or The Big Gear Show like Kenji's offering. I think all of those will gain relevance because they're better curated. They're going to be kind of like microbrewery of trade shows. Whereas very large format, you just get lost in those. And it's very difficult to make personal connections.

Jon: What I hear you saying is a continuation of what we were talking about a little bit earlier. Which is the larger format trade shows, and I think everyone was arriving at the point in January. What's important about this as a community is getting together and doing something as a community. But I don't think that is personal. Those aren't personal experiences. And if what we're saying is what retailers want moving forward is largely personal experiences to help them do their buying, what I love about what you said, Mike is, basically that's happening at these smaller shows. That's the personal experience. That's where that personal buying experience is happening.

Mike: What I spend my day talking about is really simple. About a year ago throughout this whole process, it really dawned on me. What we do as a company, we operate in this B to C space, where you've got business to consumer, but where really the only thing that matters in this space is the consumer. We can all talk about how we do things and how we love the consumer and if the consumer walked away from that . . . it's over. What matters and what's coming from Locally and what's coming with Envoy is, how do we keep the consumer engaged in a way that delights them? And how do we do that in an environment where it's hard to get to us. How do we get people in the store? How do we make sure that when that person walks in the store, they walk out with a product? That they walk out with the product that they happen to be looking at live. What we're looking at is how do we deliver, personalized marketing that drives the consumer to the local retail store. And why is that a win to the brand and the retailer instead of just a win to the brand or the retailer. It's only a win if the consumer is delighted by the overall experience.

And when you look out there and you look at the most admired brands and retailers in the world today, you think of Apple or maybe a Lulu lemon or something like that. They have completely hybridized the notion of what a brand and retailer want in return. Both brands and retailers need to look at that and say, consumers, are delighted by this experience.

There are opportunities here, that having the right thing in stock, just in time inventory, auto-replenishment all these kinds of things are going to bring in the next decade to retailers. And I think it's going to be a paradigm shift from, the big model e-commerce merchants that basically have unlimited investor money.

Jon: Yeah, I think you're right. I mean, every boardroom, every entrepreneur that started a brand, every CEO at a mid-market brand, every boardroom at the enterprise brand needs to hear that last minute of Mike right there. And now post COVID, retailers even get it more than they did before. They're like, Oh man. Yes. This idea of shop-online, pickup in-store, same day pickup, or any of that? Yes. I'm open to it. Everybody's open to it. Brands just need to step into this place and say, we're going to be your partner on it.

Transcript

[00:00:40] [00:00:40] Welcome to episode 267 of the outdoor business podcast with John Favre from Envoy, B2B, and Mike Massie from locally brought to you by Envoy. This is our [00:00:50] second episode with John and Mike, and they tell us how Envoy and locally help brands and retailers get smart with local consumer product trends and locally popular products.

[00:00:58] Get more on trend with consumer [00:01:00] insights, keep stores replenish and more easily and quickly discover inventory holes. Be sure to listen to episode two 64, our first conversation at Joplin, February 23rd. Welcome to [00:01:10] the show guys. Hey, Rick. Thanks for having us back. Yeah. Excited to be here. Excited to  continue this conversation.

[00:01:18] Thank you for [00:01:20] hosting. Yeah. Glad to do it. It was the last conversation was fun. We got a lot of good feedback, , from the episode, if you guys miss that as part one, we'll link to that in the show notes.  So let's [00:01:30] go back to January, 2020. What was going on in your worlds back then? I'm sure we were all ready for a kick ass year and.

[00:01:38] Big plans, right? [00:01:40] Yeah. , let's see. ,  , I think in terms of Envoy and myself, we had a team including myself, , at Orr. I think it was right in January. And I remember that [00:01:50] being quite a good show for us, actually. , , I think we came back with a ton of opportunities in terms of, , new brands we were talking to.

[00:01:56] One of the things that's kind of interesting is I think there was a prevalence around this [00:02:00] conversation of. , what is this show good at anymore? What should this show, what should this show be? What is its purpose? Is this a marketing event? Is it replaceable? [00:02:10] Is anybody writing business here?

[00:02:11]Those kinds of things. I remember being in a lot of those kinds of conversations and I think there was even a bunch of op-eds like almost immediately after it, that was  one of the big industry conversations [00:02:20] going on. And along with, I think there was a lot of  climate action initiatives at that Orr as well.

[00:02:25]Yeah. And then you're right. COVID hit and , everything kind of changed right. Or canned [00:02:30] or canceled in April. And but yeah, I think in January,  , we weren't really privy to what was coming quite yet, honestly. I think we sell it offshore, but we didn't see the impact quite yet.

[00:02:39][00:02:40] But we were in a very positive place for 2020 for sure. Same thing. We were we had just come back from the Ispo  , we have to, or we had [00:02:50] a ton of meetings like John we walked out of the show  , optimistic that we were gonna crush our budget, even though it was like the first of the year.

[00:02:58] Oh man, this is great.  , we got [00:03:00] so many people who are talking about our mission and it was very exciting and the team was excited and  , and then I remember by the end of the month I remember [00:03:10] spending time, my wife works from home and she's in the medical field and the most by the end of January being in her office, jumping up and down and going, this is really bad.

[00:03:16] This is really bad. And her trying to talk me off the walls [00:03:20] and she was like, you don't know anything about medicine, just shut up. And I'm like, you walk, this is the bad one. And and Well, I did think [00:03:30] it was gonna be a lot worse than it is. I mean, in hindsight it was bad. It was terrible, but I,  ,  my sense in the, at the end of January was that ,  , this was going to be a run cup recover event,  , it was going to be dead.

[00:03:40] [00:03:40] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that was definitely the feeling inside of Envoy. As well  , we went totally virtual. What, like the beginning of February, almost immediately, I just   made this call [00:03:50] and we said, we're fortunate enough to be able to do our work from somewhere else.

[00:03:52] Let's do that. And we tried to rally the company around   this new this new way to work with each other. And that was   [00:04:00] February was figuring out, well, of course, keeping an eye on how crazy things were getting, which was really hard to do. Everyone was in that spot. But I don't know that it was until probably [00:04:10] Aprilish or around there where,   it became pretty understood that the market was going to change.

[00:04:15]Everything was going to change that. We started thinking again about, okay, well, what's our [00:04:20] really, are there things that we need to do to Envoy to become more helpful to our clients? Yeah, I think fortunately in the B2B space and I would imagine you too Mike,  a lot of what we had [00:04:30] just became more relevant and more useful.

[00:04:32]We didn't really have to invent a lot of new things. It was more , okay, well now there's this gap, right? In terms of, we're not going to be meeting in person. So [00:04:40] how do we connect? And a lot of brands woke up to the idea. And the messaging that we have been throwing out for years now, which is, well, there's this destination for that.

[00:04:49] It doesn't [00:04:50] replace it, but it is a useful tool to rally connections with your retailers around. So there wasn't  this,  , okay. We've got to build a bunch of stuff real quick to to be helpful to our to our [00:05:00] brands and retailers. It was more a shining, a light on here's some ways to use what we've got that will really help you guys out.

[00:05:05]Yeah. Do you feel the same about that? I do.  , , like John  , we had [00:05:10] been working on solutions that  , fortunately applied to the situation,  , rather nicely  , between sorting out opportunities with potential partners  , onboarding [00:05:20] retailers and brands.

[00:05:21] And things like that,  , we were excited to be able to like, bridge the gap between COVID shopping behavior. And what's really curious now is that, [00:05:30] we're a year, almost a year past this thing getting started. And a lot of those shopping behaviors have kind of stuck and a lot of the optimizations that that John's worked on, that we worked on it [00:05:40] locally.

[00:05:40] That other ones of our partners have worked on, those would become kind of norm for consumers. Exactly. Yeah. We're going to pick up and delivery stuff is here to stay. That's not [00:05:50] going away. I think we got it last time. Yeah. Mike I'm thinking back to January now, again, that was actually the release that we put our first integration out and I think was in January or the end of January, something [00:06:00] like that.

[00:06:00] And it kind of almost was like this thing of how do you guys plan that? Right? Like it had to be this, it had to be this reaction to the market, but it really wasn't. It was an extension of a lot of like almost six to [00:06:10] eight months of work prior to that, it just ended at the time. But yeah.

[00:06:13] Yeah. I think the other thing that I think around what's kind of happened. I was mentioning, There was this kind of question, these questions circulating around [00:06:20] the show in January about what is it good for? And should we use, what's the purpose of this? And I think come March.

[00:06:26]And really, I guess the next Orr, when it just got cans, I guess it was [00:06:30] April we all got an opportunity to try that out and kind of answer that question and be like, well, what is it good for? And I think that's kind of where we're at, which is okay, well, it certainly has its place. And And [00:06:40] I can get into some of the things we're hearing from retailers that suggest that.

[00:06:42]But I think we're at this point of well, what do we bring back that we've learned from our time away from trade shows and what do we [00:06:50] want them to be and what do they not going to be good at? And what are we going to do with these relationships that have actually gotten stronger upon being more direct and more personal.

[00:06:58]Between brands and retailers rather than [00:07:00] rallying around something that is fun and very community driven, but maybe actually isn't the most personal experience. And that would be the more overwhelming response. I think we've got to retailers through [00:07:10] surveying is they want personal experiences and that's very easily confused with, well, then we need to go to a trade show.

[00:07:15] Yeah, but that's not what it is really. That those aren't personal experiences, the personal experiences they're [00:07:20] talking about are the ones that the rep offers by walking in the front door and yeah. Yep. Yeah. And you don't get that at a trade show. You're right. I mean, a lot of times [00:07:30] it's just so busy and I think it's interesting too.

[00:07:32] A lot of the things that we. Just in general, business-wise not only specifically some of the things you did, but a lot of things that the [00:07:40] business world had talked about, zoom and meetings on online and whatnot, this forced that issue to take place and everybody's embraced it. I'm not sure that the internet was ready [00:07:50] for it, but you know, we haul depth into zoom and we're having meetings and, it's just a way of doing business now.

[00:07:55] So a lot of the travelers not come back. Yeah. And I [00:08:00] think this is kind of one of those really interesting nexuses of like things happening right now. And I think as a digital B2B company and Mike, I honestly don't know where you sit on this. I expect that we're in a similar [00:08:10] spot, but  people expect  us to embrace this idea of everything's going digital.

[00:08:14] We all have to go digital right now. Right. And that really isn't what the research is showing us. And honestly, where [00:08:20] envoys, the thread that we're trying to weave is either When you look at like where retailers want in terms of our latest research, which you can get off to our website. They've, re-upped [00:08:30] on research that we did two years ago and there are loud and clear.

[00:08:33] They're saying, what I want is Personal contact from sales reps. You look at a word cloud of what they want or what [00:08:40] they miss right now, based on the market changes and things going virtual, they want, it looks like touch. It looks like, see, it looks like, feel, it looks like rep.

[00:08:47]Those are the things that they're interested in. What they're [00:08:50] not is, what didn't come up was virtual. It didn't come up augmented reality, but it didn't come up is those are almost like, I guess, an interesting thing that I heard from a retailer [00:09:00] recently Basically brands are over-correcting they're over-correcting and putting all of this emphasis into, well, we have to make our entire digital cell in, our entire cell in digital.

[00:09:10] [00:09:09] And part of that is bringing our buyers into this immersive digital experience. And some are going really much further into this augmented space and all of this. And you [00:09:20] think about a premium buyer. Essentially this retailer was saying, well, you're putting me inside of a video game. What do you think I'm going to, what do you think I'm gonna react with a premium [00:09:30] buyer that makes decisions on touching and feeling and working with a rep.

[00:09:33]This is not a replacement for and this is not in fact where, the slant of this conversation was . Where I think we should be going. [00:09:40] So this person actually got kind of disenfranchised for the brand it's actually working against the brand. So I think the premise of our research that we're saying is actually the brands that are going to do well in this next phase [00:09:50] of wholesale are the ones that double down on their rep relationships and the personalization.

[00:09:54] And. Use that as the bridge to continue, what I think has been reinforced through COVID, [00:10:00] which is retailers want personal contact. And that's the that's the secret ingredient. And then you look into what ongoing locally are doing in terms of the level of personalization that we can help [00:10:10] a rep provide.

[00:10:11] And that's the angle it's It's not a replacement. It's an augmentation and really stay tuned to what retailers want, not what you think you need [00:10:20] to do as a brand to connect with them in terms of digital investments. As we talked last time, you guys provide those digital tools. They are looking [00:10:30] for a certain amount of digital tools.

[00:10:31] And you guys provide those tools, right? There are ways that they can tap in. And as we talked about optimize their inventory and keep the pegs full, [00:10:40] and those are the tools that they're looking for. They still want the old fashioned that's personalization. That's what I would qualify as personalization, providing them with the best assortment for their store.

[00:10:49] That's going to [00:10:50] sell through. It's definitely. Definitely. Yep. But doing that, isn't done. And this is what I mean in terms of overcorrection doing that. Isn't, over-correcting all the way to, we're going to do that [00:11:00] inside of this experience that loses the core principles of what a buyer wants, which is touch feel, see, and rep.

[00:11:07] So we need to maintain [00:11:10] those values as we try to personalize. Yeah. Mike, did you guys do anything to adapt to this changing environment, locally in your offices and stuff? We, we were fortunate in the [00:11:20] sense that we already all work remotely. I mean, basically the entire company works from our leader, scaffold scattered all over the United States.

[00:11:25] I mean, the expertise that was required for us to get started and, and recruit people, it's [00:11:30] just kind of spread out among a lot. So it was pretty easy. It just kind of a rolling curve for us. Gotcha. Yeah, we didn't have to take any dramatic steps, but, we were also dealing with with lots [00:11:40] of existing clients and potentially, incoming new clients that that had a lot of needs coming out of the gate.

[00:11:46] And it was really, it was really cool to watch. And along the lines of, what John was saying, [00:11:50] it's really cool to watch the brands that saw the opportunity or the retailers or the opportunity as being every man for themselves. [00:12:00] Versus the, the ones that reached out and said, okay, well we're all in this together.

[00:12:04]Brands and retailers have to work together more than ever to ensure that to know that everybody remains healthy or this won't really [00:12:10] work. The ones who really just grasped after, this is just an opportunity for me. And I'm gonna, I'm going to do all these things to like, make sure they actually, it was counterintuitive.

[00:12:19] They [00:12:20] were the ones that had the hardest time gaining traction. Whereas a lot of the brands, especially the ones that John and I collaborate with those brands were like really reaching out and making sure that they weren't siloing the [00:12:30] opportunity and keeping it all to themselves.

[00:12:31] They were making sure that handoffs were occurring to local stores and keeping those first healthy. And so like suddenly look up at the end of six months and we're like, Oh, my God, [00:12:40] like we were expecting half of the retail base to go away. And it was exactly that there was like no one went away.

[00:12:46] Right. So, so I think that was really great. [00:12:50] Yeah. And relationships were strengthened and I think that's something we hit on in the last podcast was those that doubled down on their existing partnerships and specifically talking about brand retail or retail at a [00:13:00] partner. And didn't that's what got everybody through and now we have a decision to kind of, well, what parts of that are we going to augment and keep, or rather cause the converse, what [00:13:10] parts of what wasn't working and what we weren't doing.

[00:13:12] Do we actually just want to let die on the vine and what parts of it do we want to reincorporate back into our new model, which is working. And that those are tough questions. And inside of all of [00:13:20] that, there's this thing happening out there with trade shows, which is, 80% of their revenue of that.

[00:13:25] Curated and they're looking for ways to exist still. And are they the ones that are [00:13:30] going to invent the future? Those that didn't have the model to get through what occurred? I guess, I just don't think so. I think that's, I think they're, they've got a great a great product and offering, [00:13:40] but I don't count on them to make the next big step for us all.

[00:13:44] Well, in terms of where this is going. Yeah. Let's dig a little deeper into that because we were going to talk about that near the end.

[00:13:49] We're going [00:13:50] to take a little break and give some love to our sponsor. Envoy. B2B is a wholesale content and e-commerce platform for your entire team. Their tools and services are designed to help you create dynamic [00:14:00] content, increase your speed of sale and bring you closer to your retailers.

[00:14:03] Envoy B2B provides the technology. You need to empower your sales reps and support your retail channel. That way you'll [00:14:10] maximize local consumer product trends and locally popular products. Get more on trend with consumer insights. Keep shelves, replenished more easily, and quickly. Discover inventory holes.

[00:14:19] Visit Envoy [00:14:20] B2B today and get those sales moving North that's E N V O Y. b2b.com. Now, back to the show.

[00:14:28] The current state of trade shows. I think [00:14:30] it's definitely in flux. I mean, everybody, seems to think that there's some timing issues and, travel issues and all kinds of things. What are you guys' thoughts on those?

[00:14:39] Yeah. [00:14:40] Mike, you want to go first? Right?  I still think that likes the larger format trade shows will add value in the sense of bringing the community together of an [00:14:50] industry. The broader community. I don't know that That's the big format trade shows are going to be able to put themselves back into the box of like actually taking orders on the floor of [00:15:00] trade shows.

[00:15:00] I just don't see that like being a thing anymore. But I do think that there's a reason for community. And then the other thing that , is kind of occurring that I think is really powerful is  this [00:15:10] micro trade show format, whether it's the grassroot show or whether it's. Crack holding like a track only trade show or regional rep shows.

[00:15:19] Yeah. We're the big gear [00:15:20] show like Kenji's offering. I think all of those will gain relevance because they're  better curated. They're going to be kind of like microbrewery of  trade shows, whereas [00:15:30] very large format. Those of you just get lost in those. And it's very difficult to make personal connections.

[00:15:38] I'm just wandering around [00:15:40] trade show, like going to one, one brand's keg hour and then sitting in the chairs as powerful. So right, Mike, I mean, what I hear you saying is a [00:15:50] continuation of. Kind of what we were talking about a little bit earlier, which is the larger format trade shows. I think everyone was arriving at the point in January.

[00:15:57]What's important about this as community is us [00:16:00] getting together and doing something as a community. But what I don't think that you don't lump into that is personal. That those aren't personal experiences. And if what we're saying is what [00:16:10] retailers want moving forward is largely personal experiences to help them do their buying and do great vine.

[00:16:16] You know what I love about what you said, Mike is, basically that's happening at these [00:16:20] smaller shows. That's the personal experience like that's where that. Personal buying experiences happening. And those are the places that are going to have some success and the brands that get that and [00:16:30] go towards that and acknowledge, okay.

[00:16:31] These larger format trade shows. What they're for is, X, Y, and Z community marketing and new product launches. But what we need are tools that help us do [00:16:40] our buying and actually my experience over the past six months suggests that I could do that really well directly with my retailer with the right tools that there's a path there that is really easily accessible, less [00:16:50] costly, honestly.

[00:16:51] And and it aligns more closely with what, we see retailers want. So yeah, I think And there's a lot of opportunity there. It's really interesting what's happening [00:17:00] in the trade show space with all  the buy-in for this new thing that potentially exists. That's going to help them be relevant again.

[00:17:08] But I think everyone's just asking, well, [00:17:10] what is that thing? I think it's still, yeah. Yeah. Nobody has the answers. What do you think about the concept? Some people have come on the show and talked about. This concept of a a bigger [00:17:20] event, right? Like a South by Southwest, where it's a gigantic gathering of the tribe.

[00:17:24] And, we get together and do , our outdoor business for a few days. And then there's a split, maybe there's a big concert [00:17:30] day and the consumers come in and then there's an opportunity for brands to stick around and sell if they want. Is that almost too big? Do you think.

[00:17:36]I think that there is a calculus involved that takes you from, [00:17:40] one-to-one relationship where you have a rep standing in a store, talking to an owner of a business. And the other end of the spectrum is the population of the RF attending one truck [00:17:50] giant trade show where literally there's no personal connections at all.

[00:17:53] Right? There's some type of calculus that connects those two with a hundred percent. 10 and 0%. And [00:18:00] it might sense the bigger you make, the bigger you make it, the less you're able to create a cohesive message for why you're here. So it might be called to have, an enormous trade show with a [00:18:10] million people at 10, but the diminishment is going to occur along that line, right.

[00:18:16] Less of a standard across to all right. So, which is fine. If you're hoping to [00:18:20] do business at a trade show, the hardest part is everybody's in all their own systems. Right. And there's plays happening currently in terms of, well, what if we could get them all on this system or on this, it's just [00:18:30] That, that place always leads to a closed community, a closed door.

[00:18:33] A you're only going to participate at this level until you adopt this platform and this platform, or subscribe to [00:18:40] these, these things. That's just too much of a barrier for for getting a really very big with the community. So you've got to, you've got to decide what the [00:18:50] trade show's going to be good at.

[00:18:51] And And I think the smartest path forward is, there's, this has happened in other industries is an open way and a way for everybody to be involved if we [00:19:00] really want everybody to be involved. , and  secondarily wanting to show it to be valuable in terms of buying, which I'm honestly in agreement with Mike, I just don't think that's a value of a large community [00:19:10] event.

[00:19:10]But if that is what's going to happen, then there needs to be an open way for brands to bring their own, bring your own platform, become integrated. It'd be a part of this world that is going to [00:19:20] allow for frictionless commerce, no matter what you're on, but man, that is a big idea. And it would take a lot of Coordination amongst competitors and partners that it remains very [00:19:30] elusive.

[00:19:30] And I think even more elusive now that we see trade shows, trade show companies purchasing B2B companies  it's becoming a, a B2B war out there [00:19:40] essentially. And nobody wants that.  That's not good for brands and retailers. It's not good for them still.

[00:19:46] We're still not through the pandemic. I mean, I don't, we're still, we don't know what the other [00:19:50] side of this looked like. Although we have glimmers of hope, but this these gigantic gatherings may not ever happen again. It might just be too big, right? Yeah, totally. [00:20:00] And, but I think what we have going for us is at least,  one of the big things that came through in our research was, you asked retailers what they thought of these kinds of virtual standard events and totally these [00:20:10] events, maybe, tear it out, throw it away, never going to happen again, type thing.

[00:20:13]But maybe they were a gap solution, I guess is what I'm saying, but they weren't impressed with them. They weren't excited about them. They weren't, what they [00:20:20] did is reinforce the need for what. Retailers had, they're like, Oh man, you're right now. I really know there is nothing to replace standing side by side.

[00:20:30] [00:20:30] I wrapped on working through the line. It didn't show it didn't show them the future. It showed them it confirmed what they'd been saying, which is okay. My best selling [00:20:40] experience is when I work really closely with a rep and when I can touch and feel the product. And so, I mean, 75% of them, essentially in our survey said, now  these virtual standing [00:20:50] events, not for me, so I think were there any online events that you heard about that were kind of closer than others? I mean, a lot of them were like you say the video game thing was not a good thing, but there were some [00:21:00] that I think were, they weren't as bad as that. Did you guys hear about any of those?

[00:21:06] Online. Yeah, that's closed. Not quite [00:21:10] there. Some of the comments in our survey from retailers that were positive, I guess I could go there would be there was a handful around it was great to see everybody. [00:21:20]  It was great to talk about some issues and of course it was all COVID information sharing and what are you doing to get through and all of that kind of stuff.

[00:21:27]But those are, I think largely you got to put these things in just a different [00:21:30] bucket. They were standing events. They weren't they might not need to be compared, but I do think that they Cigna. All towards a direction that the retailer cares [00:21:40] about and smart brands are going to pick up on that and be like, okay, what the retailer, what I can do to stand out right now is figuring out a way to work really closely with my retailer and forge this conversation.

[00:21:50] [00:21:50] Patient with them that isn't, here's the future. We're going this way with our selling. What you can expect is less contact with our reps in your stores, because we're going to be doing X, Y, and Z to [00:22:00] our path is it's kind of like the same thing a lot of companies are doing right now. Probably what's the path to get back to work or not get back to work, to use your office again, we need, I think smart [00:22:10] brands are engaging with that right now saying, okay.

[00:22:12] Working with my retailers, talking to them about the ways that the next season's going to go in terms of Kind of friction in a [00:22:20] very frictionless way, working with them while being personal and remaining open to the idea of things. Kind of going back to normal and that's okay. Right. It's a [00:22:30] big part of what that's a big part of the success.

[00:22:33] We were all. Yeah. Yeah. It really wasn't broken, it was working fine. I don't dunno. It's an interesting place right now for [00:22:40] sure is. I'm sure there's going to be a bunch of conversations that are going to continue to go on about that thing. Let's shift gears a little bit and talk about how retailers and brands can work with [00:22:50] you guys.

[00:22:50] Get connected with you guys, John, you wanna go first? Yeah, sure. So, well we primarily work with the brand and then the brand brings in the retailers. So really we're talking about [00:23:00] brands here. Brands for us, I would say, of course we've got A sales team at ongoing that is really well versed on helping brands make a good decision on [00:23:10] not just the platform, but you know, how are you going to use the platform that's ultimately where you arrive is okay, I've got this platform, how am I going to put it into use?

[00:23:16] And I would say one of the best things that Envoy is great at [00:23:20] is that is just asking, well, how do you want to use it? But showing you the ways you could use it and some strategies that go along with using it that are going to be impactful. Given the conditions of [00:23:30] today. So I think in terms of, how brand gets going with us it's a simple call and an email.

[00:23:34] And and then from there, typically it takes a while it can, we can run or we can walk, but [00:23:40] often we walk and and that can take a week or two of just working out a solution in terms of how we're going to prescribe Envoy, essentially based on how their business runs [00:23:50] and what their team looks like.

[00:23:51]And then it can take anywhere from. A week or less to set up our core platform and get you going into what would be an onboarding [00:24:00] strategy of a way to, that we work on together to actually invite your retailers, your partners into the platform. That's a big part of it or in our turnkey connector.

[00:24:09] If you've [00:24:10] got like a backend inventory management system or something like net suite or trade gecko, or Or something that can connect with SFTP or something. Those solutions [00:24:20] can take a little bit longer to implement, but still weeks, I think that's a big, competitive advantage of ours is we can do that sophisticated.

[00:24:26] Yeah. These really sophisticated integrated solutions in a matter of [00:24:30] weeks versus, what used to be standard. Even just as little as a year and a half ago, it really is telling a brand, Hey, it's going to take a few months to get you up, up on the platform brands.

[00:24:39] We're okay with [00:24:40] that. And they're not anymore. That's just not, that's not acceptable. Like with the experiences they've been having on the DTC side and with other platforms in terms of being able to easily launch a platform, they [00:24:50] expect that now on the whole side, and that is what wholesale providers.

[00:24:53] Need to provide, and that's what we have. So even in our turn key connectors, it's weeks to get live. It's not until we get to, an [00:25:00] enterprise level client, brands doing billions or having  a multi global footprint and several different reps all over, seven different rep groups [00:25:10] globally.

[00:25:10]Maybe several brands under oath. All of that. When we get into that space, certainly our onboarding time can take. Two to three months to really do this well, but that's often because [00:25:20] we're ripping out a platform and putting in ours. So, , in terms of getting started with us, it's a phone call.

[00:25:26] It's a, it can, it's a matter of weeks to really in [00:25:30] most cases to getting going. And that's really important because we can make an impact that kind of first season, if you choose to do that significant yeah. You can get going right away. That's good. [00:25:40] Mike, how about you guys?  I think we're probably very similar and in every aspect that John's covered, but we have teams that work specifically only with retailers.

[00:25:49]Right now I [00:25:50] think we work with about 50,000 retailers. And then we have teams that work with, primarily the brands. And so we work with maybe four or 500 brands and and there's teams that specialize in each one of those things. So whether, [00:26:00] if you're a retailer and you want to get involved in locally, there's, it's easy to get to that from locally.com.

[00:26:05]And then vice versa for the brand. But. Our team has spends all day long, reaching out and talking to [00:26:10] people. And then we've got a lot, like what John just described. We've got a client success team that  can get a plain vanilla application of our platform up and running with a brand.

[00:26:18]In a matter of [00:26:20] days we've had brands go live in 24 hours. More sophisticated applications. Perhaps we've got we've got a solution that like overlaps Envoy [00:26:30] and locally, and is, does data, consumer behavior, data, sharing, things like that. Inventory sharing, those are obviously much more sophisticated [00:26:40] types of integrations.

[00:26:40]And we have little. Check boxes along the way to make sure that we're preserving, everybody's right. To own their own data critical about do [00:26:50] together. We draw a hard line of what data is shareable so that we're not creating competition. We, between retailers or brands and retailers are, the hybrid of those various things.

[00:26:59]But [00:27:00] anyway it's relatively easy to get to get live. Within the outdoor space where John and I primarily operate we're pretty prevalent. We work with almost all of the retailers there. Ideally we want to get to the [00:27:10] spot where we're serving the Envoy locally solution as a hybrid solution across a variety of different channels.

[00:27:17] Right, right, right. That's the opportunity. Yeah. Just expand out. Yeah. [00:27:20] And so what's next for you guys without giving away any state secrets, or any, I think it's a theme. I think the theme here is personalization. Like that's the [00:27:30] thing that really I think in a number of ways is the nexus for how brands and retailers weathered a lot of the challenges was both, I guess it comes out in a number of ways, the personalization that a [00:27:40] rep continued to give and support a retailer with help to retailers in a number of ways, but also.

[00:27:45] The personalization of the assortment that they gave them based on what their local [00:27:50] market needed at the time. And then helping that retailer actually be personal still in providing a personal contact to their consumer. So it's this [00:28:00] personal, this chain of personalization that I think Mike and I and locally and Envoy, there are that's our path.

[00:28:05] So expect more, more help in personalizing brand supports [00:28:10] reach. And also from the retailers perspective, how the retailer gets engaged with the brand and says, well, here's, what's good. Here's, what's working. And so I would say personalization is just [00:28:20] a really big thing. Moving forward for us from  a data driven perspective and not in a way that it replaces the rep, but that it gives the rep a lot of purpose and insights into being  that kind of, [00:28:30] and the human touch, and all of that on top of it.

[00:28:34]So. Yeah, that's good. Yeah. I mean, it's funny. I'm just thinking real quick, what was it? It was probably what five, even more [00:28:40] years ago was the death of the B2B salesman report came out by Gardner. Right. And you know what I mean? Let's pick about that.  That didn't happen.

[00:28:46] And it didn't even happen in the vacuum of COVID you think that there'll be okay. [00:28:50] Reps are gone now, everybody's stepping in with this platform, that's going to take their position that did that. Didn't even do it. So, and actually what we're hearing is it's the one thing that retailers want.

[00:29:00] [00:29:00] So it's someone needs to rewrite that report in the context of all the way back to, I think what's the name of that movie, the Willy Loman movie or whatever, where that guy was, the shoe salesman, a fuller [00:29:10] brush salesman or something. And it was eventually going to fade away and go.

[00:29:14] He gone. And over the years it just adapted. It just changed. It got more personal. And I think that's what you [00:29:20] guys are saying here is going to continue to get more and more personal because at the end of the day, the reps have the knowledge of the brand and the retailer. They can help, like you guys do blend that [00:29:30] and make it more successful.

[00:29:31] And what's fundamental is what locally is working on. I mean, that they the personalization down to being able to put the product. In the store that a [00:29:40] consumer in that market once can help the brand. And the retailer out in the process is just gold right now. And that's what needs that needs to stick and explode.

[00:29:49]Because if [00:29:50] anything we've seen from COVID  it's that right? That's the magic to keeping products going locally. Right. Mike anything, man. Well, I want to add to what John just said and and what [00:30:00] I spend my day is talking about is is really simple.

[00:30:02]About a year ago throughout this whole process, it really dawned on me. What we do as a company, we operate in [00:30:10] this B to C space, where you've got business to consumer, but we're really the only thing that matters in this space is the consumer.

[00:30:17] Okay. We can all talk about like [00:30:20] how we do things and how we, who we love and to the consumer walked away from that it's over what matters and what's coming from locally and what's coming [00:30:30] with envoys, man, how do we keep the consumer engaged in a way that delights them? And like, how do we do that in an environment where where [00:30:40] it's hard to get, football to us.

[00:30:42] Store, how do we get people in the store? How do we make sure that like when that person walks in the store, they walk out with a product that they walk out with the product that they happen to be looking at [00:30:50] alive. What we're looking at is how do we deliver, personalized marketing that  drives the consumer to the local retail store.

[00:30:58] And , why is that a win to the [00:31:00] brand and the retailer instead of a wind to the brand? Or the retailer, it really does. It's only a win if the consumer is delighted by the overall [00:31:10] experience. And when you look out there and you look at the most admired brands and retailers in the world today, you think of Apple or maybe a Lulu lemon or something like that.

[00:31:18] And they have [00:31:20] completely hybridized the notion of what a brand and want to return. There are. Yep. And both brands and retailers need to look at that and say, consumers are delighted by this experience. When you go to [00:31:30] Apple, they've got what you're looking for. It's, I mean, the stores are packed blue lemon, they their brand value is through the roof.

[00:31:35]There is opportunities here  , that having the right thing in stock, just in time [00:31:40] inventory, auto-replenishment all these kind of things are going to bring over the next decade to retailers. And and I think it's going to be a paradigm shift from, the big model e-commerce [00:31:50] merchants that basically have unlimited investor money.

[00:31:52] Yeah, I think you're right. Yeah. I think, I mean, every boardroom every entrepreneur that started a brand, every CEO at a mid [00:32:00] market brand, every boardroom at the enterprise brand needs to hear that last minute of Mike right there, like that. It's not easier. [00:32:10] It's not an, or it's in your hands and it's an and of course it is.

[00:32:15] And now post COVID retailers even get it more than they did too. They're like, Oh man.  [00:32:20] Yes. This idea of shop online pickup in store, same day pickup or any of that? Yes. I'm open to it. Everybody's open to it. Brand brands. Yes. Brands just need to step [00:32:30] into this place and say, we're going to be your partner on it.

[00:32:33] Yeah, no that's it. We'll cut that clip out and [00:32:40] make a t-shirt

[00:32:44] and yeah. Anything else you guys want to add to those thoughts or? I think I got everything out, Rick. I think that's [00:32:50] went really well and excited to be having an Avenue to share all of it and appreciate you opening up your mic. For Mike and I to come on board and happy to do it. I love these [00:33:00] conversations.

[00:33:00] It's core to sharing this all around. Yeah. Cool. Well, we'll we'll get this out. It's going to drop next Tuesday. So it'll drop. What does that March? 14, 13. I don't have my dates in [00:33:10] front of me, but we'll share it out. And we'll also reference episode two 64, which is part one of this conversation.

[00:33:16] So we'll make sure you guys listen to both. And how can they follow up with you guys [00:33:20] again? Where's the best way to reach you, Mike? All of the contact information for us is locally.com. It's branded locally.com and retailers, and luckily.com.

[00:33:27] Both of those will be handled in short order. [00:33:30] Perfect. Cool. And for us, just Envoy, b2b.com is great. Just go right through our contact form. There's it's something that we reach out to almost, immediately. So I mean the [00:33:40] quickest way. But if there's other thought leaders out there, of course, that I think want to engage with us and these kinds of things.

[00:33:44] I think both Mike and I are open to of course hit me up on LinkedIn. And it'd be, [00:33:50] yeah, maybe we should put together a session at the show too. It's the coordinator. Grab a beer and sit around. Yeah, that'd be cool. I'll see if I can make that happen. Yeah. [00:34:00] Thanks guys. Oh my gosh.

[00:34:03] That'd be beautiful. It's looking like it. It's looking if we can see everybody that's for sure. That'd be great. Well, thanks guys. Appreciate [00:34:10] it. Right. Have a good one. Yep. Thanks guys. All right.

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