I’m excited to announce that Kaspien has raised $13.5MM in equity funding from the public markets through Aegis Capital. This fundraising round comes at a pivotal point in our journey as Kaspien transitions from our “Growth” phase into our “Scale” phase. 

As CEO of a missiondriven company, I like to start my conversations with our mission statement, which is to optimize and grow brands on today’s leading online marketplaces, such as Amazon and WalmartThis funding takes us one step closer to that mission.  

Here is how Kaspien intends to deploy the newly raised funds to fuel our growth:  

1. Continue to Invest in Kaspien’s Marketplace Growth Technology Platform  

Omnichannel Distribution Infrastructure 

The future of eCommerce is digitally native brands managed through an omnichannel approach across multiple distribution channels – marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc., online shops through platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce, and brick and mortar. I look forward to the day where brands are managed in a centralized manner across various distribution channels, as opposed to the manual aggregation of performance from multiple channels.  

Although there are advantages to be gained simply by diversifying, there are even greater performance gains found in holistically managing inventory across multiple ecommerce sales channels. Why keep inventory at Walmart that’s not selling when you might run out of stock on Amazon? 

Global eCommerce Expansion 

Secondly, the future of eCommerce is global. More international brands are seeing demand for their products in the US and vice versa. The distribution problem extends beyond multiple marketplaces. Instead, it should really be called “Global Distribution Channels Online and Offline.” This is true omnichannel.   

Supply Chain Diversification 

Finally, this diversification extends beyond demand generation channels. The future of eCommerce is supply chain diversification through multiple warehousing and logistics solutions. COVID reminded the world of eCommerce that putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. Amazon might restrict you, your carrier might be backlogged, a manufacturing facility might close due to a COVID case, etc. You need to be able to seamlessly shift between Amazon’s warehouses, to 3PLs, to potentially your own warehouse to keep up with the pace of demand. The future of eCommerce is managing supply demand in as real-time as possible, across distribution channels, and on a global scale 

Kaspien’s Technology Platform 

All that I’ve mentioned above is almost impossible to do (especially at scale), without the backbone of a strong technology infrastructure that utilizes the power of data, prescriptive insightsautomation, and artificial intelligence to efficiently manage the entire value chainDeciding which products to sell, managing demand through ad management tools, managing a diversified supply chain, recovering lost dollars from Amazon, managing pricing and unauthorized sellers – all of it requires a strong technology infrastructure that fuels growth and efficient operations, thereby giving you an edge in a fragmented and competitive market.  

That’s where Kaspien comes in. Kaspien’s Marketplace Growth Platform of software and techenabled services is built to help brands scale. Our platform  powered by data, insights, artificial intelligence, and automation – provides all the applications needed to run a marketplace business in a onestop shop. More importantly, it is vertically integrated across the entire value chain and fully extensible to multiple service providers, providing the only solution needed to build a global omnichannel business.  

Our platform also lends itself to network effects. The more brands we have on the platform, the more data and insights we collect; the more data and insights we collect, the more services, marketplaces, and service providers we can onboard; the more we do that, the more brands come onto the platform, and the flywheel continues, benefiting all our customers.

big part of our investment will be continuing to fuel this growth platform, making it more automated, more intelligent, and utilizing data and insights to both optimize and grow our customers’ presence on multiple marketplaces globally.  

2. Expand to a New Business Model: Brand Acquisition 

The beauty of running Kaspien’s various businesses on top of our Marketplace Growth Platform is that it gives us the economies of scale required to build next generation brands on marketplaces. Our strategy of diversification across various business models empowers us to capture more GMV and better leverage our assets for profitable and efficient growth. In 2020, we introduced three business models that sit on top of our marketplace growth platform. 

Retail as a Service: In this model, Kaspien buys inventory and sells it on marketplaces, such as Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, as a third-party seller. Additionally, we support dropship integrations with various suppliers and distributors, as well as incubate our own brands. At the end of fiscal year 2019, Kaspien had a total of 6 incubated brands: JumpOff Jo, Brilliant Bee, Big Betty, Domestic Corner, Coy Beauty, and Keto the Great 

Agency as a Service: In this model, Kaspien serves as an extension of a partner’s eCommerce team, providing full service and managed services for inventory management, marketing management, creative services, brand control, tax, compliance, and other marketplace growth services. Kaspien charges a subscription fee and receives a percentage of the revenue generated. 

Software as a Service: In this model, Kaspien provides partners access to software through its platform of proprietary technology to empower partners to self-manage their marketplace channel. Kaspien charges a subscription fee and receives a percentage of the transaction. 

Today, we’re excited to announce the fourth pillar of our strategy – brand acquisitions, once again utilizing our platform of software and techenabled services. As part of brand acquisitions, Kaspien will deploy capital to buy brands and grow them via the Kaspien platform. 

Brand Acquisition FAQs 

What’s in it for brands? 

  • We work with brands throughout their lifecycle, including helping founders exit via our brand acquisition arm. 
  • Founders/employees get to participate in the upside of a liquid stock through a public company.  
  • Employees get a new home with a company that is partner-obsessed 

What’s in it for Kaspien?

  • We make better margins when we work directly with manufacturers.  
  • We expand our selection through more SKUs and exclusivity.  
  • We acquire capabilities that we currently don’t have (e.g., new marketplaces). 

 Why is Kaspien well-positioned to acquire brands?  

  • We are Operations First. We have the tech. We have the services. We know how to optimize and grow brands on marketplaces.  
  • We are Already Working with 1,000+ Brands. We already have a pipeline. We can look into our own portfolio and bring them inhouse, thereby controlling the entire supply chain. Brands would prefer to work with someone already managing their operations. 
  • We are a Public Company with a Liquid Stock. Brand owners/employees can get access to a liquid stock and share in the upside of the business. 

3. Grow Our Subscriptions Business Even Faster, Organically and Inorganically   

In 2020, we operationalized our Subscriptions business, which includes our Agency, Managed Services, and Software segments. 2021 is about fueling that business. We’ll be adding more resources to grow the topline of the business, increasing the lifetime value of our customers while also continuing to reduce the cost to acquire new ones. In addition, we’ll acquire other service providers that complement our value proposition to brand partners.  

We’re excited about this new phase of Kaspien’s growth, and we look forward to sharing our results as we continue down this journey of optimizing and growing brands on today’s leading online marketplaces. Welcome to “Scale. 

Sincerely,  

Kunal 
CEO, Kaspien

EPISODE 31

Amazon Brand Acquirers, featuring Ryan Gnesin, CEO of Elevate Brands

Ryan Gnesin is the founder and CEO of Elevate Brands, a company that buys and grows brands selling primarily or exclusively on Amazon. As of March 2021, over $3 billion have been invested in the Amazon brand aggregators space. In this episode, Gnesin shares his perspective on how the Amazon marketplace has evolved over time, becoming an incubator for successful brands. This has paved the way for companies like Elevate, and some sellers are taking advantage of the model to repeatedly build and sell Amazon-exclusive brands. Gnesin also discusses how brand aggregators are managing the brands they buy and the professionalization of the third-party ecosystem on Amazon.

 

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Originally published on Forbes.

At the end of 2020, Amazon boasted a $1.6 trillion valuation and employed more than 1.1 million people. In a blog post by Jeff WilkeAmazon’s former CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, Amazon reported that they delivered over 1.5 billion products worldwide during their biggest holiday season ever. According to Marketplace Pulse, nearly 200,000 new third-party sellers hopped onto the Amazon bandwagon in 2020. In 2020, investors sunk over $1 billion into companies focused on acquiring Amazon-centric brandssuch as Thrasio, Heyday, and Perch 

With Amazon’s scale and the shift toward consolidation within the marketplacebrands not yet on Amazon may be wondering if they’ve missed the boat. Is 2021 too late to enter the Amazon game?  

No. But, the boat is very crowdedGone are the days when you could build the plane on the way down.” In 2021, you have to enter Amazon ready to hit the ground running.  

My company has served over 4,000 brands and helped launch thousands of products on Amazon. Drawing on that experience, here are 5 critical steps that I would suggest your brand take before you’re ready to start selling on Amazon in 2021. 

#1 Select Your Catalog 

The first step is deciding what you want to sell on Amazon. How you decide may differ depending on whether you are expanding an established brand to Amazon or launching an Amazon-exclusive line.  

If starting with an established brand, you could take your top sellers and evergreen products to Amazon. Alternatively, you could differentiate your Amazon offerings from your other sales channels, listing different colors or sizes than what’s available elsewhere, online-exclusive bundles, or new products. You could even use Amazon for liquidation, selling end-of-season products and excess stock.  

If you’re launching an Amazon-exclusive product line, then you can take the traditional route of researching consumer interest, competition, and costs to identify which products and features offer the greatest potential.  

#2 File Paperwork 

Perhaps the least glamorous step, filing the appropriate paperwork is nevertheless critical for success. As soon as you’re able, you should file for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as it takearound 6 months to complete. While you’re at it, also file for a patent, if applicable. Having a trademark will enable you to enroll in Amazon’s Brand Registry program, which provides access to additional marketing services and brand protection tools. 

You should also obtain universal product codes (UPCs or colloquially, bar codes) for every product in your catalog through GS1.  

Last but not least, you must conduct safety and product testing. Amazon’s compliance requirements are often stricter than federal requirementsIn my company’s experiencethe most restricted Amazon categories are Baby, Beauty, Health & Personal Care, and Grocery. You should have your product tested in a reputable labsuch as Intertek, UL, CTT, or Bureau Veritas. Such labs often provide a regulatory analysis that can help you determine all relevant compliance requirements for your product. 

#3 Determine Inventory Logistics 

Next, it’s time to map your supply chain. Connect with your manufacturers to discuss lead times and material accessibility so you can account for it in your demand planning.  

From the manufacturer, the product’s next stop is a warehouse, which means you need to secure a warehouse solution that can store inventory and take returns. The obvious choice here is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), but as 2020 showed us, it’s dangerous to keep all your eggs in one basket. You’d be wise to create secondary solutions that can supplement FBA in the event of Amazon-imposed shipment restrictions to FBA warehouses. This may involve creating a dropship solution or using a third-party fulfillment provider 

#4 Create an Amazon Account 

You’ve selected high opportunity products, filed the necessary paperwork, and planned your supply chain. Now, you’re ideally positioned to create an Amazon Seller account. Though they are infamously easy to ignore, you should take the time to read Amazon’s Terms of Service so you understand your rights as a seller.  

Once your account is created, you can start creating product listings on Amazon. Create these listings in advance, but don’t publish them until your first round of inventory is in stock. 

#5 Prepare a Marketing Strategy 

As you near the finish line, it’s time to focus on your marketing strategy, which is essential to your success on this crowded marketplace. Start with the basics: Research 5-15 competitors on Amazon, then perform a SWOT analysis to identify opportunities. What features do they highlight in images and copy? How many reviews do they have and what do they say? What are their prices? Are they running ads? 

Once you understand the landscape, create content that highlights your differentiating factors. Amazon is only growing more saturated, so you need highquality images, videos, and search engine optimized copy to stand outA+ Content and Amazon Stores are also helpful assets. To help generate brand awareness quicker, you should create an active social media account for audience engagement. 

You should also allocate a sizable marketing budget for Amazon advertising. Sponsored Product Ads are the highest converting ad types on Amazon, but Sponsored Brand Ads and Sponsored Display Ads are also useful for increasing brand name recognition. Using a mix provides the best results for new brands, in my experience. 

Success Takes Time 

Launching on Amazon is exhilarating, and you’re likely eager to see some immediate resultsBut still, be patient; building relevancy for SEO and advertising takes time. Amazon is a flourishing platform that has enabled tremendous growth for many brands. Starting with these five steps is a great way to become another one. 

EPISODE 30

Lessons from Amazon featuring Stefan Haney, Creator of Seller Central

Stefan Haney is the managing principal of Vantage international. Haney worked at Amazon from 2003 to 2019, witnessing firsthand the creation of Amazon Prime, Kindle, FBA, AWS, and more. Haney notably led the development of Seller Central from 2009 to 2016, where he learned what makes great sellers great.   

In this episode, he joins fellow ex-Amazonian Kunal Chopra to discuss mental models for running successful businesses. They also review the rise of Amazon-only brands, which are now being bought up by brand aggregators, like Thrasio, Heyday, and Perch. They briefly explore how Amazon is responding to Walmart’s and Shopify’s success in 2020, before returning to their shared roots at Amazon, sharing their most important leadership lessons and how to successfully apply Amazon’s models to new businesses.  

Learn more about Vantage International at https://vantageleader.com/

 

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EPISODE 29

2020’s Impact on the Future of Ecommerce

2020 accelerated the adoption of online shopping by as much as 10 years, according to experts. In this episode of Master the Marketplace, Kaspien’s CEO, General Manager of Retail, and Vice President of Business Development discuss how 2020 changed the Amazon landscape and the future of ecommerce. They discuss the surge in Chinese-based Amazon sellers, shifts in consumer shopping behavior, the importance of brand building for omnichannel, lessons for fulfillment strategy, the rise of BOPIS, and more.

 

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EPISODE 28

The State and Future of Payment Processing, Featuring Adi Ekshtain of Amaryllis

Adi Ekshtain was part of the dotcom boom that created the precursor to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Over his career, he has created numerous award-winning payment systems, before eventually co-founding Amaryllis, a company that provides a modular, scalable, and feature-rich payment engine to enable business growth for companies in all sectors. In this episode, Adi joins Kunal to discuss the complexities of payment processing as companies adopt omnichannel strategies, including the importance of data synchronization for multiple methods for purchasing, returns, and chargebacks. Their conversation delves into how payment processing solutions can accelerate merchant onboarding, the use of blockchain and AI in the payment ecosystem, Amazon’s progress toward a global marketplace and the implications thereof, and much more.

 

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EPISODE 27

Fulfillment Methods for Ecommerce, Featuring Waleed Shahzad of ShipHype

Waleed Shahzad is the founder of ShipHype, a third-party logistics provider for ecommerce that offers product prep, fulfillment, and storage. In this episode, he joins Kunal to pull back the curtain into the world of logistics built around ecommerce. Amazon FBA has long led the way, but third-party providers are finding innovative ways to add new value. Shazhad also shares how the coronavirus impacted fulfillment methods for ecommerce, including the emergence of smaller logistics providers to service local areas as national networks struggle to meet the sudden rise in online shopping.

 

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EPISODE 26

Starting an Amazon Business

Mark Lewyn, author of “The $500 Start-Up on Amazon,” joins Kunal to discuss his own experience with selling on Amazon. Lewyn worked as a journalist for USA Today and Business Week in the ’80s and ’90s before venturing into digital spaces, eventually discovering the rich potential of an Amazon FBA business. In this episode, Lewyn recounts how he started selling on Amazon with a humble budget, then used a data-driven approach to eventually create a seven-figure Amazon business. You can find a copy of Lewyn’s book. “The $500 Amazon Start-Up on Amazon,” on Amazon.

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5 Steps to Creating an Aligned Company

Originally published on Forbes.

In today’s global and fast-paced world, information flows at the speed of light. It’s also widely available, so new competitors appear very quickly. To survive in this landscape, companies must be able to react to new information quickly and strategically. In short, they need to be “agile.”

Agility is a social process. It comes from how individual employees and teams operate on a day-to-day basis. However, fast responses put a company at risk of internal teams becoming siloed and falling out of alignment. When teams fall out of alignment, the company loses its agility.

In the tech industry, one of the most critical yet common disconnects in alignment is between developers and external-facing teams. In this article, I’d like to share five steps that company leaders can take to keep their teams aligned and company agile.

1. Regularly Remind Employees About Your Value Chain

Creating and maintaining clarity on the value chain is the first step toward alignment. The value chain is how a company delivers products and services to customers. Each employee should understand, at a basic level, the components, how the company delivers value and their role in that.

For example, a software company may break the value chain into four main components: build, sell, onboard and operate. Of course, this is a simplified view, but what matters is that each employee understands the overarching premise of the company’s value chain because they can then think about how others affect their work and how their work affects others.

2. Structure Your Company To Support Alignment

The next key to alignment is organizational structure. The divisions, departments and teams within a company should be arranged vertically and horizontally in a way that promotes strong communication between employees who should be influencing each other.

This may not map one-to-one to the value chain — and in many cases, it shouldn’t. Take our previous example of four components. If one division is mapped directly to one component in the value chain, it becomes siloed, and that can impede alignment and agility.

Instead, I recommend companies map out their organization in a matrix, placing the teams in charge of creating products or services on the y-axis and the teams in charge of delivering value to customers on the x-axis. Place teams with intention so that each intersection identifies two units that should be regularly communicating. This structure can enable economies of scale and scope.

3. Promote Consistent And Predictable Company-Wide Operations

Creating a matrix also helps visualize and facilitate the third step: predictable company-wide operations that balance between strategy and operations horizontally and constant communication vertically. Divisions, departments and teams should work collaboratively and in unison. Employees, managers, directors and executives should communicate frequently both up and down the chain. That could mean anything from daily standups to monthly business reviews to biannual planning sessions. Keeping teams aligned and productive is a balancing act between too few and too many meetings, so workshop it until you find what works for each team.

By keeping operations predictable and consistent, the company can maintain alignment and confidently plan its future strategy, progressing toward even greater achievements.

4. Everyone Operates In Teams

So far, I’ve discussed from a top-down perspective how to assemble a value chain, organization structure and operating procedures with the aim of aligning back to a company’s mission and objectives. While a top-down perspective is useful for discussion, at the end of the day, it’s the employees who execute and make the vision into reality. How does one ensure that every person in the organization stays aligned as they perform their day-to-day job, make decisions and so on?

That’s where the team framework comes in. Teams are the foundational unit of how companies operate, not individuals. Everyone operates as part of one or multiple teams, no matter their seniority or role. They may work largely independently, but their work still contributes to a larger vision and is therefore part of the team. Effective teams communicate openly and regularly about objectives, plans to reach them, obstacles and timelines.

For example, you may have a team focused on delivering a software product. Members of that team would include representatives from the development, product, marketing and sales teams all coming together with the common goal of producing, optimizing and selling the product. Where there was once misalignment between siloed teams, there is now a unified team aligned in its understanding of what’s needed to drive success.

5. Teams Have Communication Networks

As I touched on in my last Forbes article, working well together within a team is not enough. Leaders should guide their companies a step further and ensure that teams are also working in unison with other teams.

Teams have stakeholders that care very deeply about the outcome of the team (because their goals could be dependent on the team’s results), even if the stakeholders aren’t part of the daily execution. It’s critical that teams maintain a constant two-way flow of information with their stakeholders so they avoid siloes or bottlenecks.

It sounds great in theory, but the reality is never so simple. To accelerate the adoption of this framework, each team should:

  • Identify stakeholders. Which other teams depend on them? Which other teams do they rely on?
  • Identify the best way to communicate consistently and predictably with those teams.

In short, go deep with your team and wide with other teams.

Live It Every Day

Creating an aligned organization is a daily effort. When you work on a project, ask yourself: Are you part of a team? Are you following the team framework? Who are your stakeholders? Are you communicating with them and how? Adopting these five frameworks can be key to creating and maintaining alignment throughout your company. Their success starts with you. 

EPISODE 25

How to Identify & Address Unauthorized Sellers

Kunal is joined by Richard Taylor, one of Kaspien’s Account Managers for SaaS products. Since 2017, Richard has overseen Perispect, Kaspien’s price & seller tracking software. As a result, he’s grown into an industry expert at identifying and resolving issues with unauthorized sellers. In this episode, Richard defines what rogue sellers are and the problems that can come from them. He then delves into both reactive and proactive strategies for keeping unauthorized sellers out of your Amazon listings, before broadening the scope to discuss how unauthorized sellers differ in other domestic and foreign marketplaces. 

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Kaspien 2020 in Review

2020 has been a year like none other. As we approach its end, I want to take a moment to review all that we’ve achieved in this remarkable year. None of it would have been possible without our partners, who trusted us to get through this year together. Thank you for your partnership. Here’s to growing together in the new year! 

What We Planned 

In December 2019, I shared a blog post recapping my first 90 days at Kaspien and our vision for 2020. In that post, I outlined six goals: 

  1. Scale our platform 
  2. Grow our retail division 
  3. Grow our agency and software divisions 
  4. Increase automation and operational efficiency 
  5. Improve our customer experience 
  6. Revitalize our focus on our employees 

 

What Actually Happened 

While 2020 went in directions that we could not predict, I’m proud to say we delivered on all six fronts.  

We’ve brought more services into our platform, grown our net revenue, grown our subscriptions business, improved operational efficiencies (in large part through automation), invested in our customer experience lifecycle, and added more programs and benefits for our employees. 

In fact, even as turbulent as the year has been, we saw many successes in 2020: 

We Raised $30.2 Million 

We started our 2020 fiscal year with a bang. On February 21, 2020, we secured $25 million in new financing to expand and enhance our offerings. In April, we raised another $5.2 million in funding as our parent company, Kaspien Holdings, shifted its entire focus to ecommerce. 

  Kaspien Raises 25 million dollars

Kaspien Raises 30 million dollars

We Successfully Adapted to Remote Work 

On March 16, 2020, our corporate office shifted to working from home. Many of our employees took desktops and monitors home, but left belongings on their office desks with the expectation of being back in a few weeks. Oh, how little we knew then.  

Kaspien Office March 2020

But we adapted, quickly and efficiently. We left the office on a Friday, and by end of day Monday, we had 150 employees working from home while maintaining their duties and delivering results for our partners.  

Kaspien Work From Home

We had our share of bumps along the road, and remote work certainly came with a learning curve for us as an organization, but I am very proud of how well and how quickly our employees adapted.  

We Launched our Amazon Ad Management Software 

In late 2019, we launched our Amazon campaign management software, AdManager, in beta. In April 2020, we launched our full release.  

AdManager originated from internal needs – over our history, Kaspien has served over 4,000 brands as their ecommerce partner, which means that our advertising portfolio quickly grew. To successfully scale, we had to automate that process without sacrificing performance.  

We spent over 4 years and over 5,000 manhours developing AdManager, refining and enhancing it to better meet our internal teams needs. We built AdManager into something truly remarkable, and eventually, we realized that others might like this software too.  

We Defined a New Leadership Principle 

Even faced with a pandemic, this year saw protests across the nation drawing attention to violence and racism that still haunts our country. In late June, we added a seventh “leadership principle” to guide our company culture and vision:  

We believe in the power of diversity and teamwork. 

While Kaspien has always welcomed diversity, it was done too passively. With the addition of this leadership principle, we made attention to diversity part of our company DNA. It is shifting from a passive welcome to a conscious consideration that permeates our culture and work.   

We Rebranded from “etailz” to “Kaspien” 

On September 3, 2020, we announced our rebrand from “etailz” to “Kaspien.” Rebranding was exhilarating, full of opportunities and potential risks. We had built our reputation as etailz, but we had also outgrown the name as our company evolved to offer so many more services than just online retail. It was a risk, but one we believed worth taking.  

Three months later, I’m proud to report that our team didn’t miss a beat. Operations and business expansion continued uninterrupted, and our marketing department did a phenomenal job implementing the rebrand across all our assets in one fell swoop.  

We were Named One of the Best Places to Work 

In October 2020, we had the honor of being named as one of the best places to work in the Inland Northwest by the Journal of Business and Best Companies Group. 

This award recognizes our progress toward the sixth goal I designated at the end of 2019: renew focus on our people.  

Kaspien Work From Home

In the past year, Kaspien has instituted many new employee engagement programs, such as a Charitable Contribution and Giving Committee. This committee is focused on giving back to our Spokane community, and recently organized a diaper drive for the local Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery after the committee became aware that the nursery was unable to host the annual diaper drive themselves due to COVID-19. 

We Beat Financial Targets 3 Quarters in a Row 

The fourth quarter of our fiscal year is still underway at the time of this post’s publication, but we’ve published our earnings for the first three quarters of FY20. In each quarter, Kaspien exceeded our target EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization), testifying to our strong operating performance. 

In the third quarter, we reported a 36% in net revenue year-over-year and our Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) increased 127% year-over-year. Before that, in the second quarter, our total revenue increased 23.5% year-over-year and our GMV increased 46% year-over-year.  

We have been continually improving, and it’s showing. 

We Expanded our Offerings 

Over the course of the year, we continually expanded our offerings to include more self-service and managed service software solutionsUS Tax compliance for online sellers, and an unauthorized seller removal service. We also expanded our FBA warehouse network to include 7 facilities across the US and were among the first approved users for Walmart’s new FBA-like service, Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS). 

What Lies Ahead in 2021 

As we’ve alluded to in our quarterly earnings reports, 2020 was all about building a strong foundation by centralizing our services into a platform. We’ve made tremendous progress on that initiative.  

As we look ahead to 2021, our focus shifts to scaling everything we’ve developed. We will expand to new markets and marketplaces, upgrade our existing software and services and release new offerings, and serve new clients. Kaspien is becoming the industry leader in Marketplace Seller Services.  

11 Strategic Themes 

Like last year, we’ve outlined our goals as a list of strategic themes we will focus on throughout the year: 

1. Centralize our Platform 
We will continue creating a centralized location for brands to access everything they need to flourish in online marketplaces, including reporting and management for sales, inventory, marketing, and more. 

2. Expand Our Platform 
We will increase the number and quality of features, products, and services in our platform, making Kaspien truly a one-stop shop. 

3. Continue Improving Tailored Offerings 
Each brand has different circumstances and different goals, so a “one size fits all” approach is simply a disservice. To be the ultimate online growth partner, we must continue to enhance our ability to tailor strategy and services for each brand.  

4. Build Upon Our Category Expertise 
As part of offering tailored solutions, we will focus on deepening our expertise in key categories so we can deliver ever greater results for our partners. Kaspien has and will continue to serve brands of every product category. We are not diminishing our breadth; we are deepening our knowledge. 

5. Expand to New Marketplaces 
Amazon is the dominant marketplace in the US, but other marketplaces offer immense potential that should not be ignored. We will continue expanding our offerings on other major marketplaces, including Walmart, Target, and many more. 

6. Expand Globally 
New marketplaces are springing up around the globe. To better meet the needs of current and future partners, we will expand our operations into additional markets to become the global leader in marketplace services. 

7. Expand through Inorganic Growth 
As we continue to scale, we will seek opportunities to grow Kaspien organically and inorganically. We will consider strategic partnerships and acquisitions that enable us to improve our existing offerings, add new offerings, and serve new audiences. 

8. Create and Enhance Automations 
We seek to empower brands through automation. By offboarding repetitive, manual tasks, we free brands to focus on more ambitious projects and strategy, without sacrificing quality. 

9. Optimize Our Value Chain 
We will continue to refine our internal structure and processes with the end goal of accelerating progress and improving outcomes for initiatives that add the greatest value for our partners.  

10. Diversify Our Value Chain 
We intend to support multiple corporate partners and tool providers on our platform, cultivating a robust ecosystem of brand services that delivers even greater value to our partners. 

11. Continue Operational Control Focus 
We’ve been EBITDA positive for the last three-quarters, which means we’re maintaining profitability and sustainability. We will continue increasing operational efficiencies across our business. 

Our goals are built around adding value for our partners. You’re the reason we come to work every day. We have seven leadership principles, and two of the most important are being partner obsessed and delivering results. 2021 will be all about continuing to uphold those principles. 

EPISODE 24

Laying the Foundation for Sustainable Success on Amazon

Kunal is joined by George Reid, founder of Launchpod Academy (formerly The Listing People), an educational platform focused on the Amazon marketplace. They help sellers navigate through the Amazon jungle by providing training and a community. In this episode, Reid talks about the three fundamental pillars to achieve sustainable success on Amazon: operations, branding, and advertising. Reid discusses in detail why you need a wide and deep “brand moat,” why communicating with end consumers is paramount, and the inverted pyramid theory of advertising.

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