Alex Knight catches up with Will and Andrew Tjernlund, two years after their business was first profiled here. Everything has changed.
When Web Retailer first spoke to Will Tjernlund back in April 2015, he was working with his brother Andrew, running a business selling private label products alongside established brands, mainly through Amazon.
Their Lean Startup approach saw profits grow dramatically, and they were at the stage of looking to hire more employees. Meanwhile, Will’s aim was to become location independent – so he could work from anywhere in the world.
Then the situation changed, almost immediately after the interview was published.
From a tiny cube office in Manhattan to exclusive deals with huge brands, this company has come a long way
Quantum Networks has achieved a huge amount since they launched their ecommerce business in 2010.
The company, which started out selling niche electronics like cell phone signal boosters, has featured multiple times in the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., reaching $23 million in sales in 2013. They’ve continued to grow since then, selling on five global marketplaces while maintaining a 99% feedback average and shipping 14,000 orders per month.
Which business model have they followed to grow to that size? Well, most of them! Reselling, drop shipping, exclusive brand relationships, managed services, private labeling – they aren’t wedded to any one way of selling online.
But if there is one key to the way Quantum does ecommerce, it’s their focus on finding great brands to work with. They aren’t flipping quick deals or throwing out me-too private label products, Quantum is building long-term relationships with innovative, high-quality manufacturers. They now work with over 200 brands, and the emphasis on quality shows in an average order value of $157.
I caught up with Quantum Networks’ Co-Founder and COO Eytan Wiener, to find out more about this impressive company. He was very open about the business, and generous with his advice for new sellers.
When marketplace sellers get together, the conversation often turns to multichannel management software. Many sellers will talk knowledgeably about different vendors, but others will look on blankly.
After a while, when there is a break in the conversation, one of the sellers “in the know” will notice the vacant stares. How can they explain what they’re talking about? Maybe by saying how this kind of software synchronizes stock levels across marketplaces, creates listings and manages orders? Well they could, but normally they don’t. They just say, “Oh you know, like ChannelAdvisor!” And the blank looks fade instantly.
ChannelAdvisor is pretty much synonymous with “marketplace management software”. They’ve been in this business since 2001, longer than almost anyone else. They have over 2,800 customers globally, and in 2015 managed $6.8 billion in GMV (gross merchandise volume – total sales). ChannelAdvisor supports over sixty sales channels around the world, and the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013. There’s no-one else like them among the many multichannel software vendors.
I caught up recently with Mike Shapaker, ChannelAdvisor’s Managing Director for the EMEA region (covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa). We talked about how this industry giant came to exist, the features they have been working on recently, and the company’s plans for the future.
Think of an entrepreneur, and it’s likely your image will be of someone who is extremely busy: taking calls, responding to emails, and dealing with dozens of problems that come up every day. It’s a manic life, or so we’re led to believe.
One entrepreneur who takes a more relaxed approach, but still manages to be extremely successful, is private label Amazon seller Adam Hudson.
In this interview, Adam talks about how he built a business with annual sales of one million dollars and a really high profit margin. He puts about 15 minutes a day into the business. This is how private labeling is supposed to work, but very rarely does.
Adam also bucks the private label trend for low cost, low quality products. He doesn’t try to screw his Chinese suppliers on price either. In fact, when he receives a quote, he asks them to charge him 20% more. Why would anyone do that? Read on to find out.
The first time I heard about ShipStation was back in 2011. I received an email from Jason Hodges, one of the founders, who at that time I knew as the developer of eBay shipping tool Auctane Pro.
Jason told me that he was launching a new multi-channel shipping application called ShipStation. I’ve been running the Web Retailer directory for 13 years now, and I’ve seen a lot of tools come and go, so it’s not easy to get excited about new products. I just thought, “OK, that sounds interesting. I’ll keep an eye on them.”
Now, most new tools launch loudly and then go quiet while they wrestle with the messy demands of customer support, staffing, technology bugs and all the rest. But not ShipStation. They just got louder and louder, as they released one new integration after another. There was none of the usual post-launch bunker mentality from these guys.
In just a little time ShipStation had support not only for the top marketplaces (eBay and Amazon), but other sales channels including Magento, Volusion, 3DCart, Storenvy, Prestashop, OpenSky and many more. A new integration seemed to come out every week, covering parcel carriers, marketplaces, shopping carts, fulfillment services and mail consolidators. That’s a breakneck speed of development, and it continues today.