How Knox Labs Validated Their Market With a Splash Page and Made $2.9 Million in 2015
by Felix Thea Podcasts Apr 21, 2016 24 minute read Leave a comment Email Pinterest Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
The early bird gets the worm—or in the entrepreneur’s case, any lucrative opportunities that exist in an emerging market.
Taron Lizagub was at home watching a conference where Google unveiled their cardboard VR headsets. His gut told him this was going to be a hot trend and he knew he had to act fast.
But before he went all in, he tested the market with a scrappy splash page. To his surprise, he very quickly pre-sold 500 of these items and went on to make $2.9 million in 2015.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
How to use a splash page to validate the market.What to do when you are not able to fulfill preorders in time.How to handle cash flow issues them when you’re scaling up.
Listen to Shopify Masters below…
Rate and Review Shopify Masters on iTunes!
Store: Knox LabsSocial Profiles: Facebook | Instagram | TwitterRecommended Apps: Webflow, Blue Vine, Asana, Olark (Shopify app), ShipStation (Shopify app), Getcardboard.com
Felix: Today I’m joined by Taron Lizagub from Knoxlabs.com. That’s K-N-O-X-L-A-B-S, dot com. Knoxlabs sells virtual reality viewers to turn your smartphone into an immersive virtual reality engine. It was started in 2014 and based out of Los Angeles California. Welcome.
Taron: Hey Felix, how’s it going?
Felix: Good. I’m excited to have you on. So tell me a little bit more about. What is your story. What is the product that you sell?
Taron: We manufacture mobile headsets that work with your smartphone, mobile virtual reality headsets, coupled with an app that essentially turns your phone into a 360 degree immersive machine. So we all had these markets all this time. Now with the right app and with the right lenses, it’s possible to be more immersed into the stories. It’s a new medium of these stories.
Felix: Yeah, I definitely see a lot more companies kind of investing in this technology, like Facebook and YouTube, start introducing all those kind of 360 views. I think it’s a very fast moving industry. So how did you get into it? Were you always working in VR? What was your background?
Taron: I graduated with electrical engineering and math, but never really did any work in any of those fields. Afterwards it took me a year to fail a previous startup. It was more of a Craig’s List and project management tool for filmmakers. My friend was a filmmaker and he did a tool like that to find other filmmakers around him and collaborate, so built that. That failed very awesomely. I was watching the Google IO in 2014. They gave out these cardboard headsets to all the developers at IO. I thought that was pretty cool. I just took a screen shot of [inaudible 03:19]. Quickly made just a simple splash page saying, “Hey, you can pre-order yours from here.” Then I was just banking on the days of traffic. Some didn’t really do much at SEO or anything. It was just a fun experiment. Then ended up having five hundred pre-orders. I was like, “Okay.”
Felix: Wow. I want to talk about this for a second. You launched a startup previously, it failed, and then you were at this Google basically conference that unveiled their new, I guess, technology with VR and they had these literally made out of cardboard headsets that you can buy. Can you describe how it works? How does the cardboard work with your phone to create an immersive VR experience?
Taron: What happens is, your eyes see the world in different angles. An app on the phone splits the environment, it tries to mimic how your eyes see the world. You get a stereoscopic vision in a sense. You get the same image on opposites sides of the screen. One is a bit off by the certain angle that your eyes are off. What the glasses does is at a certain pupil length with specifically engineered lenses, you can get these images to superimpose on top of each other. That’s how you get the immersive experience. For 3D content already existing, you can take for example games that already exist that are already built in a 3D environment, and push this to be stereoscopic. For content like real life content, like pictures and videos, this has to be shot again with multiple cameras. For example, a regularly used rig is a Go Pro, six Go Pros in a [inaudible 05:31] form. Each one filming for each of the angles.
Felix: You got to shoot the content a specific way or create the content a specific way for you to be able to I guess be able to be used in a virtual reality headset. That makes a lot of sense. Just to describe the product a little bit more, it’s a cardboard headset. You obviously put it over your eyes, and you put your phone into a slot, open up the app or I guess maybe open up YouTube or whatever other apps are out there, and basically through the lenses and the setup of the headgear and the placement of the smart phone, you’re basically able to experience being in that actual room or wherever the video is being shot. You can turn around and it’ll basically look like you’re turning around in that video as well. Is that a good way of describing it?
Taron: Yeah, that’s pretty awesome. A few more improvements upon is adding a conductive button so you can interact with the screen while the phone is inside the unit, so you don’t have to stick your finger inside and tap the screen.
Felix: It’s one of those products where you have to really try to really understand it because I heard about this kind of technology before, but shrugged it off because I heard about all the VR stuff in the past, and even when I was a kid, many years ago VR, quote/unquote “virtual reality” stuff existed already, so I thought this was something like that as well. Once I tried it for the first time, it’s not exactly your product, maybe it was specifically or it came from Google or somebody, a friend basically had me try it on. It was an amazing experience I think. Still has some ways to go, but I think just where it’s at today I think it’s worth trying out or maybe even buying one of these things cardboard devices that you have. You said that you saw this at a conference. It was almost like a right time, right place for you.
Taron: I was at home, yeah.
Felix: You were at home. You saw the video, the announcement. You set up a splash page that just had your own mock-up or your own designs of the cardboard headgear? What did you put on the splash page?
Taron: No, it was just a screenshot of Google’s.
Taron: Since they weren’t selling that and it was a few hours after the IO, it was a hot trending topic. It was just exactly Google’s products until I started making my own until I could learn how to make cardboards.
Felix: You set up a splash page, and you said that you didn’t even invest any time into driving traffic to it. Obviously it was just brand new splash page so there wasn’t any SEO I guess benefits or any of that, any way you can invest in SEO anyway because it takes some time. How did you get actual traffic to get five hundred pre-orders on a splash page that just had a screenshot?
Taron: I think it was besides the IO page, it was the only other page that mentioned Google IO. I probably beat the blogs to it as well or went right at the same time as the blogs were mentioning Google Cardboard. Luckily just got stuck in the medium. I think about forty to fifty percent of anything you do is time based, is you can call it luck. It’s just being in the right place. I think most of it has to do with that, at least the main part of it.
Felix: That makes a lot of sense. I think a big part of being a successful entrepreneur is, like you were saying, timing and timing comes into play when you’re able to quickly recognize opportunities, because you’re able to see this is an opportunity, let me just do some low effort thing by creating a splash page and then seeing what happened. I’m assuming at that time before you put the splash page, before the five hundred pre-orders, you didn’t think that it was going to take off, but you were just going to test the market. I like this approach of putting up a splash page and then seeing how people are ready to pay you for it. Talk to us a little bit about setting this up, because I think other listeners might want to do something similar if they’re just thinking about starting a store for the first time or maybe they have a store but are thinking about launching another product or product line and are thinking about testing the market using a splash page. Maybe we’ll start off did you use a specific app or service to create this splash page?
Taron: I actually used Shopify. I used Shopify but I knew a big of HTML, so I customized it a little using another, Webflow.com. That helped in customizing. I used a template on Shopify but modified it using Webflow to give it more of the look that I wanted. Without those it would have been impossible to do it within a few hours. The great, great online tools that made it possible, and then the second part was coming up with the name. I felt that it was going to work, and I wanted a name that did not have to be specific to the product. I’ve always felt myself as not hyper, but just someone always messing around, curious. I’ve always liked the main labs.
Felix: Like a mad scientist working on little projects here and there.
Taron: Yeah, just having fun. Always. It always boils down to that, you got to have fun whatever you’re doing. The name came from that. I wanted for it to grow and it had to be branded in the name as well so it’s not limited to a specific product.
Felix: Right, you wanted to create a brand that you could launch this product successfully but then not be pigeonholed into creating this particular product. You wanted to be able to open the doors. I think that’s a great, great point to keep in mind is that if you have a vision for, envision your brand, what it will be like in five years or maybe ten years, and set yourself up so you don’t get pigeonholed into that. I’ve talked to other entrepreneurs on this podcast just recently actually about how they had to re-brand, and it’s definitely not an easy process to go through, especially if you built up a lot of success, built up a lot of customers already that are used to seeing you a certain way. When you start a new brand and re-brand, you’re not only starting to build something new from scratch, but then you might also alienate or confuse your existing customers. I think that’s a great point that you want to be prepared for what you want to be doing next, and not just thinking about what’s right in front of you. I just want to talk about the splash page a little bit more. You created this on Shopify, you had some HTML changes to it just to change the flow that you for it. Did you say, “Hey, this is a pre-order and click here to pre-order,” because obviously you didn’t have any products at the time? Tell us about that.
Taron: Yeah, it was pre-order. I estimated it would take about five to six weeks to learn about how to manufacture this. I just randomly put that you’ll get your product within five to six weeks. The pre-orders that came in got me the money needed to invest in this. I literally went from print shop to print shop learning the process. Never worked with cardboard. Never knew how [inaudible 13:54]. Then started calling lens manufacturers to see if I could get those specific lenses that could mimic what Google had done. Went to a bunch of print shops in L.A. Some of them were very helpful. Learned and then started cutting and then had my uncle assemble them at his apartment.
Felix: Were you able to do it in five to six weeks? Were you able to deliver the products in time?
Taron: It was a bit delayed, no. It was delayed. Within that time a few other companies and people started doing the same thing too. There’s all this hype, and after the event Google posted where you could find some of the materials, so all of a sudden these materials were not available anywhere. You couldn’t by them online. You couldn’t by them on Amazon. The first model that they made was used magnets and had some tricks for phone recognition, rubber bands and Velcro. Specific things just got bought out. I had to go and start looking into actually buying it from non-traditional sources, like the Velcro stuff going to manufacturers and having them cut to a specific magnet. I went all the way in to just to get it done however it took.
Felix: This issue of not having the supply required, this was happening during those five to six weeks or right after you had a successful pre-sale?
Taron: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Felix: You were just hustling trying to find all the things that you needed to put it together.
Taron: Yeah, it was an all-out hustle.
Felix: What kind of emotions were I guess going through your head? I can imagine if I was in your situation, I would be like semi super happy that, “Wow, I can’t believe five hundred people put money into this,” and then quickly be panicking like, “Oh my god, how am I going to fulfill all this,” and then knowing that, but then you ran into a bunch of issues with manufacturing. What were you thinking about as you were going into this one or two or three month phase of starting this business from almost out of nowhere?
Taron: Looking back, you always remember the happy stuff. It was a fun run. Most of it was. Obviously those setbacks were emotionally straining, but just the curiosity and just getting it done just made all those negative feelings go away. Just making a tangible product out of an idea or someone else’s idea in the beginning was what was driving it. I do remember stressful times. I called this German company about the lenses, and they said they were exclusively selling to someone else, but that was a very bad downtime. Just the passion of it. Coming back to your point on what you should do and how you should do it, I think it has to come from within. You have to feel one with whatever you’re doing. It’s not necessarily a specific product, but line of work. It’s just you have to have fun. That’s all it comes down to. You have to have fun.
Felix: I know what you’re saying. I was just talking to the entrepreneur about this, about how important is it to be passionate about the product that you’re selling. He was saying something that I totally agree with, which is that what’s more important about being passionate about the product is being passionate about the process, about going through the process, starting a company. You could be selling socks or cars or VR goggles; whatever it is, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that fall in love with going through the hustle and the struggle and that’s the good times, but the bad times being a part of that process, because there is no end destination. A lot of people think, “I’m going to work really hard to get to this final destination, and I’ll be happy.” That never happens. There is no end destination. You really have to enjoy the process; otherwise you won’t last. You won’t be able to stick it out because someone else is ready to do the work.
Taron: Not at all. Like there’s no end destination, there’s literally no beginning either. It’s just so awesome. You get a single neuron firing that turns into other neurons, that turns into an idea, turns into something tangible and you cause that momentum forward. That’s the most awesome part.
Felix: I said this on a past podcast, which is when you are an entrepreneur and you’re selling products, physical or digital, you’re basically performing a magic trick that takes many months and maybe many years to play out because you’re literally taking something in your mind, something that doesn’t exist yet, and then turning it into something that does exist. That’s a legit magic trick. It takes a long time for it to pan out.
Taron: Yeah, I agree. That’s a good way of putting it.
Felix: I try to think of it that way now because you have to stop and appreciate that you are doing something that most people aren’t going to think is possible, because it doesn’t seem like it’s possible, but once you put in the work day in day out, it starts coming together, and I think, again, that’s why you have to fall in love with it because it’s a slow process, but as long as you put in the work, I think you can make strides. You said that you weren’t able to hit that five or six week deadline. How long did it take you and how did customers react to that?
Taron: Customers, some were supportive. In an age where we get instant gratification from anything, even buying from Amazon, it’s going to be there in two days. There’s notion created that everything is going to be like that. Initially it was pretty conflict not meeting that. It was very negative. People that did understand it were very supportive, that did understand the process, that it’s just one percent from nothing. Most of the customers didn’t. They’re very, very like hurling out, “Where’s my product? Where’s my product?” It comes from the current way the ecosystem is set up. Always keeping them in constant communication, just letting them know what’s going on. “Hey, I got this part, now I got this part, now I’m working on this part. This is the process. This is like sending videos or it being cut.” Just constant, constant updates.
Felix: That transparency is definitely important.
Taron: It ravels a long way. It goes a long way. It doesn’t matter what the difficult is, even if you woke up late. Just being transparent about it, all human beings appreciate true emotion. That helped it through.
Felix: That’s what I’ve heard to with Kickstarter campaigns where probably ninety percent of them don’t get delivered on time, but the ones that have happy customers are the ones that are super transparent. Tell them about what goes into it, the struggles and why things are delayed or the small wins like you’re talking about how I got this part or I got that part. As long as people recognize that not only are you being transparent, but that you’re an actual person. I think that goes a long way because a lot of us are now very wary of big corporations, and if you’re faceless and they don’t realize that you’re a person, then they start thinking that this is another company that’s trying to take my money and run with it. I think that’s important to just come out, be honest and be vulnerable, just saying, “Look, this is what’s going on.” I think people really appreciate that. Cool. Five hundred pre-orders, you were eventually able to get them out on time. What’s next? When did you decide to say, “Okay, let’s turn this into an actual storefront, and rather than do pre-sales be able to actually sell these outright”?
Taron: What happened is, again, chance. A company from San Francisco contacted saying, “Hey, can we get our name printed on these?” Obviously say yes and then try to get out under it afterwards. I said sure, I can do it, and then started learning how that could be done. That was what drove most of it. Then I started reaching out to some brands afterwards saying, “Hey, you can do this, use this as a marketing tool.” A lot of agencies and brands, mostly from overseas, started saying, “We want to brand this, we want to brand this.” A lot of what made me more confident to sell it to a consumer was the business push. The B2B interest.
Felix: Initially you were selling it to businesses directly that wanted to put their own brand on the devices that you were selling?
Taron: Yeah, I was doing both. After pre-orders, after I had a certain supply already in set, I opened it to orders. It was attacking at both channels; one B2C, the other two businesses. The problem was any other medium is it’s a very tricky problem. You had these viewers but you had no content. In order to drive people to make more content, you need more viewers to be on the market. Someone had to take the bait in ensuring both directions are covered. Those were these advertising agencies. I remembered I was watching Mad Men, and it was just reminiscing of those times. It felt like although I wasn’t born in the 60s, I was born in the late 80s, it felt like it was just that advertising era. It was pretty cool. What they did is they went and they put a lot of money into producing content for their brands, which is as a brand you want something cool, something innovative to always be on the cutting edge. Google presenting this avenue, it turned out to be a new avenue for marketing. No one knew it at the time, but it random started growing that direction. Momentum just took it that way.
Felix: I want to pause here. You’re basically saying that the advertisers were the first ones to jump onto this I guess train where you have to not only create the content but also create content that will attract viewers. How did you know to work with these advertisers, because it sounds like the advertisers are going to be the first movers on pushing this virtual reality I guess technology? How did you know to reach out to them or they reached out to you to sell these goggles?
Taron: Most came out to me because, again, it was the only one online at the time that seemed legit. The website made it look like it was a company, not just a single person. In the beginning it was a monopoly in a sense of where they could find someone that could brand these or have the supplies to make these. Because after the initial [inaudible 27:25], Google didn’t know what was going to happen. It was just some fun project that they did. They weren’t going to open it. They weren’t interested in doing branding or anything like that related to it. Mostly it was just the due diligence of agencies staying on top of new innovative technologies coming out.
Felix: What is it like working with other businesses like this to personalize or customize your product? What are I guess some of the pros and cons going that route versus selling directly to consumers?
Taron: A lot more tiresome, a lot more back and forth emails, but it’s much more rewarding because you see innovation firsthand working with the creatives, the ideas they have, even what kind of content. You see firsthand being formed, which I would always see the end product and say, “Wow, that’s a freaking cool ad. That’s a pretty awesome campaign they did.” The rewarding part was actually being part of the campaign. Also since it’s still in the beginning, it’s total chaos. The virtual reality medium, even though it’s much more formed, but it’s still just totally chaotic. No one knows what they’re doing. I don’t either. That itself allows for you to be creative, and I think with brands that’s what resonated well, since they didn’t know what they’re doing, anything was for grabs so you could exert your own creativity into the process as well.
Felix: I think is an important point to talk about. A lot of stores are probably selling into industries that don’t change, but there’s definitely a lot of industries that you can get into that are quickly changing, that just came out into the marketplace and are rapidly changing and no industry leader really knows what’s going on the way that you’re describing virtual reality, what’s happening with virtual reality technology. In those situations, because so much change is going on and so much chaos, how do you keep it all under control for your own business and know what you should be doing for your business?
Taron: A lot of it has to do with intuition. I don’t think we’re taught much about it in school. We were more taught about not specific aspects, more about logic, logic, logic, getting the specific solution to a specific problem. At the end of the day, the decisions you make, most of them are very emotional. You have all the senses that processes all this information, that then it comes within you, it’s very emotional, yes, no, this is the right way. I think a lot of it is listening to yourself, just because there is no right or wrong. The voice within, at least for me, it’s always been pretty right when I’ve listened to it. So listen to yourself.
Felix: I think entrepreneurial intuition is definitely underrated. A lot of times we talk about how can we look at the analytics, how can we look at the data, and that stuff is all really important, but don’t discount your intuition, the way you’re saying. I think another point you made is really important too, not just for entrepreneurs but also when you market to people, what you’re saying about how we make decisions emotionally, and that’s so true. We, and obviously all of your own customers out there, people that are listening, they make the decisions emotionally first to buy something or not, and then logically they justify that decision. Always think about that first. Which is why you always want to lead with emotions, sell people on their emotional side first, and then their logic side will turn on and try to justify their emotional decision. Not just important for entrepreneurs, but also when you sit down and write your copy or put together your videos for your marketing and all that. Speaking of intuition, I want to make sure this is actionable for the listeners, is there a way to improve your intuition? Is this just getting more experience? Is it even possible to improve your entrepreneurial gut?
Taron: Yeah, I think it’s self-gravitating. The more you use it, the better you get at using it. Just like logic. Not to disregard one with the other. You use them in balance I think. A lot of it is also surrounding yourself with a team that is appreciative and understanding of your actions or intuition, your feelings and they’re more or less on the same line of sight. That helps a lot. Learning from others that are appreciative but not similar to it.
Felix: Let’s talk about the business. You’ve been in business for coming up on two years now, had to really get traction early on. How successful is the business today, and share whatever numbers you’re comfortable sharing.
Taron: Now it’s a decent sized team. We have seven guys here in our Los Angeles office. We have about twenty-five, thirty workers using the tool for assembling, again, in Los Angeles. We have seven developers in Armenia. That’s where I come from, so I have a lot of friends there. It’s grown substantially. Last year we did about $2.9 million in sales. We get about eighty thousand views a month on the webpage. The direction has changed a little too on the business.
Felix: That’s amazing. $2.9 million in sales, all from a pre-order page that you saw sitting at home watching some kind of event and putting it up. That’s amazing. I think that speaks volumes about making sure hat you’re able to seize opportunities, but then really keep on executing on them over and over again, which is how you’re able to almost hit $3 million within your first full year of business. I guess just being first on the market was how you got traction early on. Is that still how you, how do you generate I guess traffic today? What are some of the main channels of traffic for you?
Taron: Now Google, they formed a unit within the company called a cardboard unit, and so they contacted me at the time and saying, “We love the [inaudible 35:11] cardboard, we would love for you to be part of this experiment.” Because they didn’t even know where it was going. That helped a lot in getting a certification from them in a sense that Knoxlabs is a certified Google partner. A lot of traction came from that. Obviously immediately you had already at that time having a lot of these products being produced in China, much cheaper, not as good quality. Getting that certification in a sense locked it down to where any agency, any brand wanting to get into using this automatically come to us because of the association. That tremendously helped a lot. Now it’s more of we’re trying to push where mobile VR is heading. The cardboards we produce, some of it are our own creation, some of it are modifications of the Google product. We’ve taken more as a hybrid agency where backgrounds, development, we develop apps for brands as well. Since it’s such a new market, that’s the thing, you can just put out and test anything you want. The client would come saying they want to brand these cardboards, but they were also looking for someone to do an app for them. Since it’s a VR app, it’s such new stuff. No one knows how to do it. It’s capitalizing on those, saying [inaudible 37:23], “Hey, okay we can develop that for you too.” Now it’s more of an agency model where our core is pushing the mobile hardware making it much, much, much more literally mobile, something you can put in your pocket instead of carrying with you. Concentrating on that as the core, and looking out for newer branches within the medium as well.
Felix: You’re basically trying to just do what you did previously by being first on the market, now trying to see where all this technology’s going to go and try to be there first again.
Taron: Yeah, just always staying ahead of the curve is both fun and besides that, it’s very rewarding. What happens is you only end up listening to your own creativity and not following any other competition, and I think that’s very important on how unique ideas, unique things always come from places where they have not been tainted in a sense or not been exposed to things that are similar. It’s very important to do that, I think to stay ahead, to always try to redefine it.
Felix: That’s why first mover advantage is a real thing, which is you’re the first one out there that’s going to capture a lot of the market, or at least early on and give it a traction you need to come out onto the marketplace and for [inaudible 39:18] to get their awareness, but of course from there on you have to actually execute and deliver, but being first mover will definitely get you the kind of attention a lot easier early on. I want to talk about a couple things I think you have a unique perspective on. The first one was about scaling, because you went from not much to $2.9 million in sales in 2015, seven employees in L.A., twenty-five to thirty that are assembling your products, seven developers in Armenia. What was painful about this experience, and I’m assuming it was painful because you scaled up so quickly? What was that like?
Taron: The cash flow. Since it’s something that has a tangible product at the end, what will happen. Working with bigger brands is always net thirty, net forty-five. You have to do the work and then get paid. Cash flow was the main, main issue and always is. Now we’re still bootstrapped, but it’s just one day you’re good and the next week you’re almost hitting zero in the bank account.
Felix: I heard this situation about, “Oh that’s a good problem to have,” but it’s still a problem, right?
Taron: Again, it’s stressful.
Felix: It’s still a stressful problem to have, so you can’t really discount it. What do you do to solve this? I’m assuming other people listening out there might not be scaling as quickly as you are, but also run into this cash flow issue. What are some ways other than I guess the most obvious way, which is to raise funding? Are there other ways to work around or manage the cash flow issue?
Taron: What we did is we used this service called, I think it was Blue Vine. They loan you out the money based on a contract that you have with whoever you’re working with. Let’s say we’re doing a project for Google. We would show the contract or the PO that we have with Google, and so they would loan you money out for the amount of the PO up to I think $150k. Basically you get paid before, and they took a very small percentage, so it was very helpful actually instead of taking a loan from a bank.
Felix: You’re basically paying a little bit of money to change [crosstalk 41:58] net zero or whatever immediate payment is.
Felix: That makes a lot of sense. I didn’t know that existed. BlueVine.com, it looks like the website that you or the other listeners can check out if you are running into this issue. I know that you are also on Amazon. Tell us a little bit about that experience? How has it been selling on Amazon?
Taron: Amazon has been interesting. Here’s the thing: people usually, when they find a product, they end up searching for it on Amazon as well because of the ease of buying it. It could either hurt you or help you because of the percentage that Amazon takes. You’re in this sense competing with yourself through it. For us, it’s been okay. It’s been an awesome side income as well, but mainly it’s been through Shopify’s site. Again, people buy it from Amazon just because of the ease of just the Prime delivery. It’s not the same price, but I guarantee that I will get it in two days.
Felix: That’s interesting about how it could cannibalize your sales. Have you been able to see that in the numbers?
Taron: It did. At one point it did, because the price that we were giving it to them was at a bulk discounted price. When we were selling that, essentially whatever profit Amazon made in selling those didn’t make sense. We were coming out almost at cost just selling this to Amazon for them to sell it to us at bulk. At that point, it did bite into the business a bit. What you can do is renegotiate with Amazon. What we did is luckily at the point we started a new manufacturing process so we could lower costs a bit. We lowered it on our site, which brought business back to it. It was competing with ourselves. Amazon can be good or bad. It gives a credibility being on Amazon from that delivery factor.
Felix: Overall though, it has been beneficial for the business, just because of, like you were saying, credibility, being on Amazon. You guys have the reviews on there as well?
Taron: Yeah, people trust reviews on Amazon because it’s honest. It gives that transparency, what we were talking about before. [Inaudible 45:12] people trust reviews on Amazon, so definitely helps from the review factor as well. I would suggest being on Amazon as well.
Felix: Makes sense. Cool. In terms of running the store itself, do you have any favorite tools or apps that you as a company use or any specific Shopify apps that you use to help run the business?
Taron: The Shopify reports are very helpful. Apps, let’s see what apps we use. We use Asana app for coordinating. That one’s pretty helpful. Olark for chat. You get the little popup button at the bottom of the page. Quickly it brings a lot of confidence when someone can contact site quickly without having to click in the email link, email. Olark helps a lot. Then Ship Station for shipping. That makes it super good. It links in with the [inaudible 46:24] site, which makes shipping much, much easier. We use those. We’ve use some here and there to modify products, custom order, order entry management apps. I think those are the main ones we’ve used.
Felix: Awesome. Cool. Thanks so much for coming on Taron. Knoxlabs.com, K-N-O-X-L-A-B-S dot com, is the website. Anywhere else you recommend the listeners check out if they want to follow along more with what you’re up to, what the company’s up to?
Taron: If you search Get Cardboard, that’s a pretty cool place on the Google website that tells a lot about how the mobile VR industry. I think that’d be pretty interesting.
Felix: Awesome. Knoxlabs.com, again, is a store if you guys want to check it out or potentially buy one of these products. Again, thanks so much for coming on.
Taron: Thank you so much Felix.
Felix: Thanks for listening to Shopify Masters, the e-commerce marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs. To start your store today, visit Shopify.com for a free fourteen day trial.
Ready to build a business of your own?
Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify today!
About The Author
Felix Thea is the host of the Shopify Masters podcast, the ecommerce marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs, and founder of TrafficAndSales.com where you can get actionable tips to grow your store’s traffic and sales.
About the author
Felix Thea is the host of the Shopify Masters podcast, the ecommerce marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs. Got something to share with Shopify Masters listeners? You can submit your story for consideration.