Disrupting eCommerce Drop Shipping With Greg Writer

TLEP 52 | eCommerce Drop Shipping

 

Special guest Greg Writer has over 35 years of experience in corporate finance, capital formation, executive-level management, mergers & acquisitions, software development, licensing & distribution, and sales & marketing. He is often referred to as “The Entrepreneur’s Best Friend” because he helps them raise capital, market their businesses, and ring the cash register.

Learn how Greg navigates the complexities of the legal side of eCommerce. Get a perspective on product sourcing and fulfillment when working with creators. Hear about the “middle class” of influencers and how they can become more successful. Find out what Greg learned from working with celebrities on their online stores and drop-shipping. Gain an understanding of what prevents creators from doing more in the eCommerce space and how to build a better, optimized model.

 

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This episode is brought to you by CreatorsLegal.com.

Disrupting eCommerce Drop Shipping With Greg Writer

Our special guest is Greg Writer, who has many years of experience in corporate finance, capital formation, executive-level management, mergers and acquisitions, software development, licensing and distribution, and sales and marketing. He has often referred to as the entrepreneur’s best friend because he helps them raise capital, market their businesses, and ring the cash register, which sounds incredibly appealing. Who doesn’t want help with that? We’re thrilled to have you on the show. We’re going to get into a great conversation, but before we do, we have a brief word from Nicolas.

First of all, I’m super excited to have you, Greg. This episode is made in partnership with Creators Legal. We had Eric Farber coming to our show and he made a very special offer for the community. It’s an opportunity for you to get a 25% discount on your annual subscription. Creators Legal is the first and only fully integrated legal contract and technology solution for content creators. With over 200 contracts for creative, all written by real media and entertainment lawyers.

Only 14% of creators are legally compliant. Don’t leave yourself exposed. Get the right legal now and check out CreatorsLegal.com. It’s not a paid sponsorship, so I want to make sure you hear that. It’s just that him, loving the work we are doing and wanting to give back to the community by offering that special coupon. The coupon is Daily Creator. Enjoy it if that can help you out.

It’s a nice pivot from there. Where does the legal side of things fit into the work that you do, Greg, if at all? When you’re thinking things through marketing, launching, and building funnels, how do you navigate the legal side of those things?

With eCommerce, legal is a big issue because you’ve got the CAN-SPAM law. You’ve got the laws in Europe and different things as far as what data you can capture and then, all the different compliance with your merchant processing from Stripe to PayPal, whatever merchant processor you use. We recommend people get advice. There are tons of companies out there that do it well. They should do it right if they’re going to do it at all. I don’t give legal advice and don’t want to step into that world. We’ll leave it up to people like you talked about because there are professionals.

That’s what they do and they can provide you with all those terms of service and all those things you need to do. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that I hate because it’s different everywhere. It’s like collecting taxes in eCommerce. It’s different for me in Escondido, California than it is for you in Sacramento, California, Los Angeles, California, or in Atlanta, Georgia, and then around the world. Taxes is one of the most complicated things with eCommerce. There are taxes and collecting taxes. I stay out of that stuff.

It’s interesting, especially when you start to bring on the tax and eCommerce because it is a very complex system. Please tell me if you think I’m not in the right direction, but in our audience, we have a great number of creators and streamers that are tuning in to this show. When they’re thinking about eCommerce, they are thinking about this complexity. eCommerce is not just getting orders online and then shipping them out. There are all those compliance things that you need to do the taxes and all those things.

Having the right platform to help you out is something that is super important more than you can anticipate. Unfortunately, in this world, you can’t take an order from a spreadsheet and say to your client, “Buy from me there.” There are so many different touchpoints that you need to comply with. To that comment, I’d love for you to tell us, Greg, from your perspective and the work that you have been doing so far, what do you think are the unique challenges that creators have when it comes to monetization and eCommerce?

From my perspective, I’m trying to solve two issues with that. One is product sourcing and fulfillment. Now you have creators and people that have an audience and a fan base, whether that’s an existing brand, a TikTok influencer, YouTuber, or whatever is helping them source products and get products fulfilled on an efficient basis.

When I say efficient, everything from payment and customer support for those services and goods if there’s an issue with that. We will be creating the whole tax business side of things and then tying them into and recommending them great resources to create their legal entity. As a former investment banker, I’m constantly coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs on corporate governance and things of that nature to protect the assets that they’re creating.

It’s amazing to me how many celebrities and influencers I’ve worked with that are doing hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars worth of business. Yet, they haven’t set up their limited liability company. They haven’t filed the trademark on their name or certain things like that. For a guy that’s a former investment banker, you’re going, “What? How can that be?” You’re always trying to give them the best-in-class advice, or the best-in-class referrals to get what they need to be done.

It's amazing how many celebrities and influencers are doing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars’ worth of business. Click To Tweet

It’s interesting. We had on our show a few people talking about the multi-channel network. Those organization takes some of the highest, most successful creators and build infrastructure around them from a legal perspective, a business perspective, training, and thinking about their career. There was an article that was commissioned by Meta that was talking about the creator and middle class.

All those creators that are doing a living creating content are making a decent amount of money to be able to sustain themselves. They certainly can’t have the money and resources to get into those MCM and all that infrastructure. From my understanding, this is where you come in with your solution where you’re trying to give those as a tool for those creators to be successful from the monetization standpoint to an eCommerce perspective. Am I right to say that with Launch Cart?

To give you a quick little one-minute version of the Launch Cart, I started doing eCommerce for celebrities. We were helping celebrities monetize their eCommerce and launch their brands. In doing that, I found a lot of things with Shopify because we were using Shopify. I had to install an app for this and that. Next thing, I got thirteen apps, and the page load speed is now crawling and herding conversion. I had to hire some guys to hack into their code and optimize the themes and optimize this. This plugin breaks or this plugin breaks another plugin. It was like, “This is incredible. I want my own platform.”

I thought it was going to be easy but I’m like, “I got the crystal ball. I know what eCommerce is and how it works. I do millions of dollars every month. This product and title description are easy.” There are so many use cases. That’s what started this. During that process, I said, “I’m going to do this dropshipping thing and I’m going to figure out dropshipping. If I’m building a platform, I might as well solve some of the problems for dropshipping.”

I did $17 million in revenues in 9 months. I collected $400,000 in credit cards of a $7 million ad spent in 9 months. I was blown away. I blew away myself. I couldn’t believe that anybody could sit behind a computer and generate $400,000 in sales in 9 months. It blew my mind but then all the pain points with that. We were sourcing products from hundreds of different vendors. I sold 50 of these, 400 of these, 2,000 of those, and 10,000 of these.

I’m having to route the money to all these different vendors and keep track of it. It was a counting nightmare. I’m like, “We got to solve these issues.” I’m taking this product sourcing issue. I also wanted to bring dropshipping into the real world or legitimate brands. Why isn’t Louis Vuitton doing dropshipping? Why isn’t Michael Kors handbags doing dropshipping? Why isn’t Nike doing dropshipping?

TLEP 52 | eCommerce Drop Shipping
eCommerce Drop Shipping: Why aren’t the big brands doing drop shipping? It’s because they’re more concerned about their brand and protecting it.

One is because they’re more concerned about their brand and protecting their brand. They’re concerned that some blown eCommerce guy can go spend money, sell 1,000 Louis Vuitton bags, take the money, and then not send the money to Louis Vuitton, send the bags out, and now their brand is hurt. We’re saying, “Let’s take this eCommerce issues of apps.” Now we build a platform, you don’t need any apps. All this stuff is built-in. Revenue optimization tools like funnels, pages, upsells, down sales, live streaming, etc., and incorporate it with a very efficient what I call on-demand product sourcing. We have a banking-as-a-service system that we’re building.

At the point of purchase for every Launch Cart seller, if you’re dropshipping or selling somebody else’s product, that money is going to get taken away from your merchant account and paid to the brand or manufacturer automatically. One, you don’t have to deal with it. There are no vendor agreements or sourcing. It’s one place with millions of products, click a button out to your store, sell it, and it automatically gets paid for it. When you sell it, you get your commission for selling it. I’m trying to solve some massive problems and be a disruptor in the eCommerce dropshipping space.

I’m personally fascinated by that because one of the things that I’ve seen talking to creators when it comes to eCommerce is daunting for a lot of creators. They have the audience. They know how to engage with the audience. The challenge is that selling one product or brand is I won’t say it’s not difficult because they can build a partnership, but it comes down to they don’t want to sell the same product and the same brand over and over again. They want to do a talk show where they invite the CEO of this company and they sell this product, and then the next day, they invite another CEO of another company and they sell the other product.

Making this happen is a true challenge because first of all, there’s the notion of, “Where do I get that massive product library, which is the number one problem?” The second problem becomes, “If I make the sales, how do I get compensated for those sales?” Those creators can massively move the needle when it comes to sales.

It sounds to me that what you’re trying to do is an interesting thing for creators that are trying to monetize their video content because now they can have access to a valued product catalog and don’t have to think about how to distribute that money. I’d love for you to reflect and Whitney because she’s a creator, what do you think are the other pain point that prevents creators to do eCommerce altogether?

It’s a technology. Again, they’re good at what they’re good at. I always have these little sayings as a personal development junkie, “If it’s not your genius, it’s not your job.” They’re good at creating content. They’re good at engaging content and they’re charismatic. They got all that stuff, but technology is a whole another world, from email marketing to name acquisitions, optimizations, pixels, and business managers.

All that stuff that is required to do it profitably and do it correctly can be very overwhelming. We’re trying to figure out how you make that easy for people. Let me take one step back too because the other thing is they’re doing a promotion for a brand or something, and they give out a coupon code and they send their traffic somewhere else.

Technology is a whole other world. From email marketing to name acquisitions, optimizations, pixels, and business managers, all that stuff that is required to do it profitably and correctly can be very overwhelming. Click To Tweet

Now somebody else has that name, email address, and information, and they’re going to start marketing it. Two days later, they send their traffic to somebody else. They go by 5 months and they’ve sent it to 50 different people. Fifty different people have their audience, their product, marketing, and service to their audience. It becomes very daunting on the audience side.

I’m saying, “No. Better model. Create your eCommerce store, your brand, your database, your email marketing, and you get paid a commission for selling other people’s products.” You’re always driving the traffic back to your site. Getting people off of Instagram, YouTube, your email list, and your SMS list because how many people do you know?

I had a call that my Facebook account got shut down. It disappeared. I don’t know why. I don’t know what I did. I don’t have it anymore. We hear that all the time. It’s about them building a brand and a business, but it comes back to having the team or the trusted people that they can either partner with or they can hire. They’re going to get the job done right. I know there are so many what I call posers out there that say they know what they’re doing. They say they’re good at what they’re doing, and they really don’t. They haven’t worked with celebrities. They haven’t worked with brands. They don’t know what they’re doing. We’re trying to create that option for people.

It’s something that we hear more and more. For the creator and the audience that follows on the tilts, they talk quite a bit about don’t build on rented land. That’s the big thing. You don’t know what you don’t know. What’s the next thing if they shut your account or if they do things? It is true when you send your audience to some other places. Let’s be honest. If that audience buys the product that you recommended for the first time and they buy it in another place, you don’t get any commission for that. Every time they buy the product and if they come to your eCom, you profit from that.

It’s a little bit of what the whole NFT space is about. It’s your audience and transaction. It’s your product. Every time someone transacts with it, you get to benefit from it. I like this idea of transferring people to your personal eCommerce. From what I’m hearing, you’re trying to make this easy. It is the unspoken thing.

A lot of people are running eCommerce. It is very complicated. As you say, there are a lot of apps, different things, and a lot of people. How can you make this simple? Where’s the magic there? Is removing the production piece and solving for dropshipping the most of the lifting in your point of view, or is it other magic that makes that viable for one person to operate it in your point of view?

It depends on whom you’re helping. Going back to the creator side of things, imagine you could go to Launch Cart and say, “Create a free story.” You put in your email, give it a name, and now your storefront is created. You then say, “I am a skateboarder and I’m an influencer in the skateboard world. I want to sell products around the skateboarding stuff.” I go into the marketplace and I type in Billabong, Roxy, SPY, Body Glove, or whatever those brands are that create decks, wheels, and skateboard stuff. I click a button and I go, “I want to have the SPY catalog.” Now 50 or 10 products come into my store, or whatever.

I click buttons and my vision is within an hour or so, you have a complete store with hundreds of products of the brands that are going to fit your niche of what you are a creator, an influencer for, or the brand that you want to create. When those orders come in, the orders get routed back to the brands, you get your commission for selling them, and you can swap stuff out. It goes back to speed up the market, ease for product sourcing, and eliminate the pains of having to pay all the vendors. Think about it. If you want to do what I said, you’d have to go to Roxy and negotiate with Roxy. You’d have to go to Billabong and negotiate with Billabong.

You negotiate with all these people. They may or may not allow you to sell their stuff. It’s about the product sourcing and the speed to create an eCommerce-enabled website that’s mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized. Now when I drive traffic to it from whatever platform I’m on, I can drive traffic to it, I can capture their name and email address, and I can capture a customer, and I can capture a credit card, and I can get paid for doing that.

In some way, that’s what the major social media platform is trying to do in some way. To some extent, they are trying to drive and become eCommerce. We see the move with TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook to some extent. On the Metaverse, they’re trying to make that more of an eCommerce play. If I’m a creator and I want to be in the eCommerce space, what do you think that I should not be using social media as my place for selling as opposed to trying to drive an audience which maybe sounds a little more daunting and a little bit more challenging?

My biggest argument for that is it’s no different from Amazon. You are sending your traffic to buy from somebody else, and it’s their customer. The point is when they buy on their platform or if they buy from Amazon, it’s Amazon’s customer, not yours, legally and technically. That’s part A. Part B is that in this world of big tech, cancellation culture, and all that stuff, we’re moving more and more towards people wanting to support individuals and creators. Let’s say you’re a creator and Nike sponsors you. I can go to your website and I can buy Nike gifts from your website. I can go to Nike’s website and buy it from Nike right now, but I want to support you, Nicolas, so I’m going to come to buy it from you.

TLEP 52 | eCommerce Drop Shipping
eCommerce Drop Shipping: In this world of big tech, cancellation culture, and all that stuff, we’re moving more and more towards people wanting to support individuals and creators.

It’s going to be the same price and the same product shipped from the same place. Now I’m giving you my business because I want to support you because of what you do for me in my life, whether that’s entertainment, education, or whatever that is. That’s the two-sided thing. 1) You want to own that customer, build your brand, build your database, and get your audience off the social media platforms, and then 2) You want to let them support you whether that’s a small business like the coffee shop down the road, the yoga studio, the Dojo, or the weightlifting.

There’s a weightlifting place across the street that we’re building a store for. It’s like, “Why not? I want to support that guy. I don’t want to support the big tech guys.” More and more, we’re seeing this decentralization with Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, the tracking of all this stuff, and Web 3.0. It’s going to be more and more fractionalized. Everyone has the opportunity to build their audience and brand.

I love that. It goes so much into that narrative that professional creators should not build on rented land. What you’re giving is this tool to enable that. Now, I’d love to go into the livestream element of it because part of the show is about the livestream element. Right from the get-go with Launch Cart, you have implemented some livestream solutions. How do you see that going? When you looked at this from the perspective of Launch Cart, do you think that the livestream is going to be a big element of eCommerce, or it’s something that you are considering more as a nice to have as a feature?

I’d love to have your perspective on that because there’s been a lot of conversation about what’s the future of livestream shopping. Is it going to realize the manner that people are talking about, or is it more a Clubhouse-type thing that people have talked about and it’s now starting to die off? From your perspective being on the tech side, seeing the numbers, seeing how people behave with eCommerce, do you feel that livestream has a big place or not so much?

Let me tell you a quick little story. Back in 1984, I owned a brokerage firm. I was the youngest investment banker in the history of the United States. I was 21 years old. A guy walked into my office and he goes, “I’m looking to raise $600,000.” I said, “What do you do?” He says, “I’m launching the world’s first home shopping network. People are going to be able to buy on television. They’re going to put their credit card over the phone and we’re going to ship stuff directly to their house.” At that time, Cablevision was coming out. There were three major televisions, ABC, NBC, and CBS. No one had ever given their credit card over the phone. I can’t say I was smart, but I’m like, “That’s the coolest idea ever.”

You’re going to sell stuff 7/24, 365 on the television. I’m like, “This is amazing.” Think about that and now you fast forward. This is the real Home Shopping Network. You then had a QVC spinoff and there’s been a whole bunch of other spinoffs. That went from an idea where a guy walked into my office looking for $600,000 and he turned it into a multi-billion-dollar company.

You say, “What happened then?” I call it trenched downpour economics because that guy was successful. Think of all the shipping companies, manufacturing companies, brands, inventors, and all the people that have made tens of millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars, or billions of dollars because that entrepreneur walked into my office and we helped him get funded to launch the Home Shopping Network.

I might be a little biased. I think streaming is the future. It’s not necessarily for everyone, but streaming to me and the ability to get on and build a relationship with you and show you the texture of the box, “I’ve got these shoes right here and these socks and they come in this beautiful little box. They’re Happy Socks by Keith. You’re going to open them up and you’re going to give them as a gift.” You’re describing it. It’s the future. Again, it’s not for everybody, but here’s who it is for. Everyone who wants to make more money.

Streaming is the future. It's not necessarily for everyone, but it’s for everyone who wants to make more money. Click To Tweet

Seriously, if you want to make more money, you better get into livestreaming, hire some person, get some talent, have some scheduled livecasts, and get your product in front of them because you’re going to make more money. If you don’t want to make more money, it’s not necessarily for you, but if you want to make more money, either do it yourself or hire somebody to do it. That’s my opinion on livestreaming. I don’t know if I can give you any stronger endorsement than that, but it’s the future.

It’s been a blessing to have you, Greg. It’s been interesting talking about all the different aspects of what you are building with your company and how you are approaching the different challenges that the creators have. Not only that but also your breadth of encouragement for every livestreamers out there and brand that are looking at this space and trying to make their way. I do believe that the future is with live shopping. We can see that. Building that relationship where people can engage with you and have a dialogue from person to person. That’s what livestream is. That interaction enabled you to do it.

It’s community building and brand building and it’s making sales. That’s the key to this. Since we got these things, our little smartphones, there’s no excuse because you can stream right from your phone to whatever you’re doing. It’s got to be part of your long-term strategy if you want to build a brand.

TLEP 52 | eCommerce Drop Shipping
eCommerce Drop Shipping: Live streaming needs to be part of your long-term strategy if you want to build a brand.

Before we wrap up, where can people reach out to you, Greg?

You can track me down at LaunchCart.com. It is our business. The other thing we didn’t mention is we do have a freemium model. You can go to LaunchCart.com, get started for free, and then we have some payment plans. Would it be okay to offer your audience a coupon as well?

Absolutely. We love that.

I created a 50% off coupon for any lifetime plan. It’s just eStreamly. Type the word eStreamly when you go to upgrade your account, and you’re going to get 50% off any lifetime plan that we have.

That’s amazing. I love that. Thank you.

You guys can check me out at GregWriter.com. My last name is easy to remember and everyone usually calls me Writer. It’s like, “Writer, what’s going on? Let’s go, Writer. Come on, Writer.” I’m about helping entrepreneurs. Since I was an investment banker, I’ve helped people and I’ve done top marketing and eCommerce. I’ll tell you another quick little story and then we can wrap up. I bought the very first eCommerce mall in 1997 called 1stNetMall.com.

That was before any search engine indexed. Back then, the search engine used to index alphabetically because it was 1stNetMall, it came up first and it was making money. I bought it in 1997, and within six months of me buying it, search engines started optimizing algorithms or whatever. We disappeared and I lost all my money. I was a big believer in eCommerce in 1997. I’m a big believer in eCommerce right now.

I love the fact that you are humble about it and you say it didn’t work. That’s part of it also. Being an entrepreneur, not everything is beautiful as everyone could say. It was a fantastic conversation. Thank you, Greg, for joining us. For the audience, we will be back with another episode. Until then, have a great day.

 

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