Welcome to our first episode! Sippin’ & Shippin’ helps brands, rising entrepreneurs, and future industry leaders by sharing valuable information about the industry and their peers as told by industry insiders and their peers themselves.
Brian Weinstein: Welcome everybody to Sippin’ and Shippin’. I’m your host, Brian Weinstein. We’ll be kicking it here every third Thursday, quenching your thirsts for an insider’s take at trending ways to enhance your customer’s experience. So grab your drink of choice and kick back, it’s Sippin’ and Shippin’ time.
All right. Welcome everybody to our first ever episode of Sippin’ and Shippin’. I’m your host, Brian Weinstein, and I’m really excited to be here today. This has been a passion project for us for, for a while. And we’re excited to be able to offer this out to a lot of people in the industry. Just to give you a little bit of background on myself, I’ve been in the 3PL industry my entire career. I will tell you, this is not a podcast about fulfillment. As a 3PL we are exposed to so many different aspects of what works and what doesn’t. So that’s really the stories that we want to share with you about entrepreneurs and brands and their successes. And I’m here today with my sometimes sidekick, my always partner in crime Caitlin Postel.
Caitlin Postel: Hey, Brian, how are you?
Brian Weinstein: I’m doing well today. I am doing well. I’m excited that we finally have gotten to this point, right? I mean, we’ve been kind of working on this for quite a while to get here.
Caitlin Postel: We sure have. Excited to be here and get underway.
Brian Weinstein: Yeah. So Caitlin and I have been talking about different things that we can do. And we just really want to outline in today’s episode, what the reason is for putting this podcast together, and I touched on it before, we work with all these entrepreneurs and brands that are rising, especially in this e-com space. And as a 3PL we are a barometer, right? We get to see what’s going on, not only in the economy, but with the new economy and the brands that are coming up.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah. And not only do we see it, but we’re right there in the front row with our popcorn, ready to refill.
Brian Weinstein: Exactly. And, and by the way, in case you’re wandering the whole Sippin’ and Shippin’ is, love a good cup of coffee live for a good happy hour, so part of this is grab your bevy of choice, right? It could be coffee if you’re listening to it in the morning, but also feel free to drop some of those ice cubes into the tumbler and pour yourself a nice cocktail as well.
Caitlin Postel: Or some tea or some who knows.
Brian Weinstein: I’m not a tea guy. So that’s it for me. I’ve never been that tea person, but to each their own.
Caitlin Postel: Brian, I hope you’re not breaking one of our rules.
Brian Weinstein: Which is?
Caitlin Postel: Don’t yuck anyone’s yum.
Brian Weinstein: I will not do that.
Caitlin Postel: So whether our guest likes tea, a mimosa, maybe some coffee, maybe they’re a Shopify platform. Maybe they’re Magento. Let’s not yuck anyone’s yum.
Brian Weinstein: No, you are a thousand percent correct as you always are, and thank you for keeping me in line. I still don’t like tea, but that’s okay. You can enjoy it yourselves.
Caitlin Postel: All right. So maybe we move on to another one of the rules of our podcast.
Brian Weinstein: Yes. So let’s just stick to that for a second. So I will promise you on this podcast, you will get no shameless promotion by us or any of the subject matter experts, hosts that we have on. So those guests are not here to promote themselves, but they are here to talk about their particular area of expertise and really kind of provide to you some insight, not going to be fluffy.
Caitlin Postel: At all.
Brian Weinstein: We don’t like fluffy.
Caitlin Postel: No fluff.
Brian Weinstein: We don’t want stuff that everybody knows, right? So those subject matter experts are here to come and talk about specific insights, to things that most people don’t know, but could be pivotal to the success of their business.
Caitlin Postel: Totally. And then of course last, and what I think is most important, let’s have some fun. Let’s not make this stiff, even though our drink may be, let’s keep it conversational, let’s keep it light. Not fluffy, Brian, don’t worry. We’ll keep it light. We’ll keep it conversational. And we’re going to really just, it’s a happy hour. We’re kicking it with our friends here and we’re sharing knowledge and really diving into these dos and don’ts here.
Brian Weinstein: Yeah, exactly. So the podcast for anybody listening should have that look and feel of you’re hanging out with your industry friends, having a cup of coffee or at happy hour. And I guess with that, Caitlin, if we did, we don’t. But if we did have waiter service here now, what would be your drink?
Caitlin Postel: Oh, well seeing as it’s 10:05 AM, I would probably go with a nice green tea.
Brian Weinstein: You would, okay. So right now, actually in Australia, I think it’s around… It might actually be around midnight on Friday night, so if it were then I would probably be going with a tequila on the rocks-
Caitlin Postel: Loopholed, Brian.
Brian Weinstein: Yes.
Caitlin Postel: Loopholed.
Brian Weinstein: Although I guess just right now. By the way, we’re east coast based, I’m a Dunkin’ Donuts all the way. When I go to the west coast, I really struggle with there only being Starbucks, but I’m definitely at Dunkin’ Donuts, but I do like to live by the “it’s five o’clock somewhere” credo.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, of course, which is always nice. And I think now more than ever these conversations happening, even if it is via podcast, just to keep conversations flowing, we don’t unfortunately have the opportunity to sit down. Even our leadership meeting, virtual, everything virtual. Part of this pivoting to get on, everything is cloud based now.
Brian Weinstein: Yeah. And having the ability, I think, to speak and really provide that insight was the inspiration for us doing this-
Caitlin Postel: A hundred percent.
Brian Weinstein: And I touched on it earlier, I think in the intro, it’s just, things are changing so much and so fast. And for the longest time really retail, right? Because a lot of our brands traditionally were brick and mortar, and brick and mortar was just a constant, it was static. And I say static to be kind, but it was probably really more stagnant at some point. And then over the course of time as retailers continued to buy each other and buy each other, they became behemoths. And there was really no creativity.
Caitlin Postel: Right. Once you start falling into those patterns of same, same, same, maybe bringing on e-comm, as what you I’ve heard you say before, a necessary evil. Now imagine saying that to a millennial, say that to a Gen X. Okay, e-comm is what they live and breathe every day.
Brian Weinstein: Exactly. So after retail, brick and mortar retail went stagnant. And I’m going to age myself here, but along came the worldwide web.
Caitlin Postel: Not the internets.
Brian Weinstein: The internets, where the Googles existed and all of a sudden it sparked a whole new economy, right?
Caitlin Postel: Sure.
Brian Weinstein: And now the creativity and the changes that you can have are just happening overnight. So it went from a completely stagnant industry to something that can change overnight. And with that, if you have one of those companies, if you’re an entrepreneur or a rising brand, or just somebody who works for an entrepreneur, a rising brand, you know that you need to have an edge and you need to know what’s going on all the time.
Caitlin Postel: That’s for sure. And just being able to be nimble, I think we’ve seen it firsthand. Again, talking about that front row seat. We’ve seen the successes, we’ve seen the failures, we’ve seen pivots that have worked, pivots that have not. But just what can we do on the back end? Not just about fulfillment, but as a partner, to be able to work with brands in general to enforce best practices.
Brian Weinstein: Yeah. There’s so much that… Again, because we’re just having conversations with customers and industry friends and insiders, consultants. So we’re exposed to so much just through conversation and discussion that’s way outside of our scope. Not something that necessarily even involves us as a 3PL for fulfillment, but we learn from that and we hear the stories, good and bad. I mean, no one likes to hear a story of failure. However, I mean, how valuable is hearing the story of a failure in getting stronger for the next time?
Caitlin Postel: Absolutely. And then taking those experiences and being able to distribute, pun intended. Share that knowledge, why not? That’s what we’re here for.
Brian Weinstein: Exactly. And that, we find with consultants, they’re coming to us obviously for the fulfillment side, but we get into those conversations and we learn more about the scope. We have clients that ask us, “Can you introduce us to someone that’s handling? We’re struggling with our overseas fulfillment. We’re struggling with our overseas logistics and getting the product here.” We have others that are coming to us and saying, “Hey, on the marketing side, what can we do?”
Caitlin Postel: Yeah. And I think what’s super interesting is all of that, how all of those facets, all of those different points that you’re touching on in people and sectors, ultimately lend to a customer experience, which is so huge right now, unboxing posting on social, just creating this buzz for your brand to enhance customer experience and keep consumers coming back.
Brian Weinstein: Right. And to that end, brand loyalty wins the race, right? Having that ability to land a customer, because everything from one end of, from concept to doorstep is successful. That’s how you build brand loyalty. And I’m sure changing that because sometimes it’s to doorstep, but especially if you are in eTail fashion, that sometimes goes from doorstep back to the DC. So there’s a whole returns process.
Caitlin Postel: All right 3PL boy, take it easy.
Brian Weinstein: But no, but I mean, listen, it’s true. Because at the end of the day, all those factors become what drives success, right?
Caitlin Postel: Yeah. I think it’s something like a consumer, if they have a unfavorable experience ordering something online, they have an 85% chance of never returning to that site or ordering from that same brand again, which is huge, 85% chance. I mean, you might as well… you’re dead where you’re standing, unfortunately. So definitely can attest to that customer loyalty kind of trumping everything.
Brian Weinstein: Right, because at the end of the day, there’s a cost of acquisition. That cost of client acquisition is high and you don’t want to make a sale, you want to win that customer’s loyalty. Because again, the cost of acquisition is there, so having that where you just have somebody that’s a no brainer default. And look, obviously Amazon is there. Everybody knows that, but the Amazon to me, I don’t know, maybe you have a different experience with it, but for me, that’s the place where you go to buy some sort of household item that maybe is not something that’s sexy and you just need it, you can get your pack of toilet paper. You can get something like that, and you go there quick.
Caitlin Postel: I mean, Amazon, isn’t that where I get my books? And then isn’t that where I get my toilet paper? And isn’t that where I get that obscure item? And now my friends we’re out to… Well, we’re not out at all, but when you do get that lovely opportunity of seeing someone six feet apart with the mask, you’re like “cute outfit,” and then my friend says, “well, I got it on Amazon.” And I’m like, “oh my goodness,” I just start freaking out. I’m like, “Ugh,” I don’t know, it’s something about that going in and buying something, but when you talk about an evolution of a brand, hello, Amazon.
Brian Weinstein: Right, yeah. But you know what? What I love about the… I keep calling it to the new economy because I was around for the old economy, but it lacks that individualistic aspect of the brand online selling, right?
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, absolutely. And not to mention, stop sending one dress in a 12 by 12 by 12 box, please.
Brian Weinstein: Right. Exactly. But I will tell you, where we have focused almost exclusively for the last couple of minutes, as we’ve talked about, what works and what doesn’t work on eCommerce, but our roots, my roots anyway, are on brick and mortar. And the rumors of brick and mortars demise are premature clearly. And I do think there’s going to be a return to brick and mortar, but in a healthier way.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, I think so as well. And I think it’s something that we’ve been saying throughout this whole change, is we don’t think brick and mortar is dead.
Brian Weinstein: No.
Caitlin Postel: It’s going through an evolution that’s so imperative to stay alive.
Brian Weinstein: Right. Well, and here, unintended consequences of COVID, which there’s been quite a few of them. I was speaking to, and I won’t mention the retailer, but it’s a major one, and I’m sure many of the people that are listening to this are buying from them, whether it was in the store, but even more so now, online.
Caitlin Postel: Sticking to the rules.
Brian Weinstein: Sticking to the rules, no shameless plugged. So I will tell you, and this was really not only enlightening, but exciting to hear for them. They had to break the shackles of bureaucracy last year in 2020 because of COVID, and be nimble and quick. And this is a major retailer, so this is not a small player. And she was so excited that they were able to do this and really do something that retailers haven’t done for a long time, which is just break out, find solutions to what was now in front of them and just be better.
Caitlin Postel: Right. And that’s the kind of excitement that we’re trying to bring to this podcast.
Brian Weinstein: Right. Exactly.
Caitlin Postel: So who are these people, right? You touched on a person I don’t know, was this woman you’re referring to, is she part of supply chain? Is she part of…? What was her role?
Brian Weinstein: Yeah, so she’s more focused on the e-commerce side for the retailer. So obviously there with, again, unintended consequences of COVID brick and mortar slows or stops, and eCommerce explodes, but it was really on the eCommerce operation side. But what they did, the pivots that they made are… And again, this is, I don’t want to call this a new economy retailer, but there are newer economy, their focus is on a younger demographics. So they became very nimble, and again, that was not a word that’s in the vernacular of a lot of the traditional brick and mortar.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah. Set in stone.
Brian Weinstein: Exactly.
Caitlin Postel: All brick.
Brian Weinstein: Exactly, all brick. But couple that with the successes that you hear now around the e-tailers putting up either pop-up stores.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, that’s huge.
Brian Weinstein: Or these showroom esque stores, these flagship stores that they have in different markets. I was at a conference and they were talking about, I think it’s 30, they were finding a 33, 35% bump in online sales, in a region that is around that flagship or pop-up store. So it’s actually showcasing the brand and then driving traffic to their website.
Caitlin Postel: Right. So maybe folks are passing by seeing it, maybe not necessarily going in, but going home and directing that traffic towards online.
Brian Weinstein: Right. And I know some of the brands have done things like where they only put up a limited amount of skews on, in the brick and mortar or the pop-up store. So that gets people, gives people a taste, and then they run home and they go online to the website and they can order. Or they can order right there at the store and have it within a day or two.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, not to mention returns management, right? I know that’s another topic we’re going to be discussing a few weeks down the line, returns management, huge. Having options, you can send it back, you can go to the store, you can do essentially anything, don’t even go to the store that you bought it from, you’re in a different store completely.
Brian Weinstein: Exactly. And I’m glad you mentioned, so just to kind of focus on some of the things that we’re thinking about, right? We’re talking, obviously this brick and mortar, what to do with it? We’re going to bring on some guests that are going to talk about what it looks like to actually enter into the world of brick and mortar, and there’s both the pop-up and company owned brick and mortar stores, but also if you want to get into bed with major retailers.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, that’s really cool that you brought that up because this whole time, or at least a majority of the time we’re talking about transitioning from retail wholesale to e-com, when I talk to so many startup brands on a daily, weekly basis, their sites are to eventually go retail wholesale. So even though they’re digitally native and their roots are so ingrained in this, I mean, big picture is they want to penetrate those markets, so kind of going back the way as well.
Brian Weinstein: Right. Actually makes you wonder which retailers are going to win in that regard, because I don’t think all of these e-tailers want to be an every major retailer, right? I think there’s going to be specific ones that maybe are forward thinking like them.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah. And then also now to this marketplace model, where it’s not just on the floor, now you’re hosting an array of brands under your umbrella in a separate marketplace. You go to one particular retailer wholesaler, well retailer is what I really should focus on. And then as you’re scrolling through the products at the bottom, you see they’re highlighting other brands, which I think is a great thing. Why not?
Brian Weinstein: Yeah, absolutely. You know what? If you’re getting the traffic, so if it’s on your marketplace website or it’s on your website and you can cross pollinate with some other brands.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah. And there’s enough out there for everybody. We know that.
Brian Weinstein: Yep. Absolutely. So that’s one area we’re going to focus on. We are going to have some parcel solution experts that are talking both about domestic parcel and international. But again, it’s not… Not fluffy, Caitlin.
Caitlin Postel: Never fluffy.
Brian Weinstein: Never fluffy. So we’re going to talk about specific things and trends that are going on in the industry that you may not even be aware of yet, that can help bring value to your organization.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, and of course always is open to any topics that you may like to discuss as well. Like we said in the beginning, very conversational. So as move our way through this podcast and get some episodes under our belt, we are more than open to having topics that are interesting to all the entrepreneurs and brands out there.
Brian Weinstein: Yeah, absolutely. And other areas of focus is, personally, I’m all about sustainability. I mean, I grew up… Again dating myself, but I don’t even know if recycling was just starting when I was growing up. And so it has taken on a whole other… Really it’s just taken on a whole other life rightfully so. We have to think about the impacts of everything that comes out of the new economy, whether it’s from the packaging itself, the recyclability, the sustainability aspect of the packaging. It also has to do with where are you positioning your product because that’s going to have a carbon footprint as it travels.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, the terrible carbon footprint. We’re always looking to reduce that. And I’ve seen that also from anything existing brands to just startups, just putting this huge push and being innovative in forward thinking about how to keep our environment good and healthy and safe.
Brian Weinstein: A hundred percent. And we’ve talked about, for us as a 3PL with a lot of buildings, what can we do to encourage our… We don’t own any of our buildings, we lease all of our buildings, how do we encourage our landlords to maybe get into the solar fields? I mean, with these huge buildings, why not be collecting any of that energy we can. And I think we’re going to see more and more of that is commonplace, especially in areas like Southern California and the Southwest where you got a lot of sunlight to harvest. And I say that as I’m looking out of at the window here in New Jersey at our 20 some odd inches of snow on the ground.
Caitlin Postel: The beautiful middle ends.
Brian Weinstein: Beautiful middle ends. And that’s something that’s near and dear to us as an organization and me personally. And some of the other guests that we’re talking to is we want to have some in to talk about marketing and what you can do, where you can target audiences. And we’ll come up with specific topics, and we’re asking our subject matter experts to do is provide us with some ideas, again, of insightful stuff that we can convey and share with you as well.
Caitlin Postel: That’s what I’m most looking forward to, is getting down to the nitty gritty, finding these secret secrets, and maybe not even secrets, but successes or further insights into what’s making e-com retail wholesale run the way that it’s running today.
Brian Weinstein: Yep. So we’re really excited to get this podcast up and running and get our guests in on a weekly basis. We hope you’ll join us. We hope this intro episode was enough to compel you to come back and listen for more, even if you just need an excuse to say to your spouse and maybe your kids, “Hey, I’ve got to duck in this room over here.” They don’t need to know that you’re having a drink and listening to the podcast, but maybe that’ll just give you an excuse that it’s a work thing, and you got to meet with some work people.
Caitlin Postel: So maybe don’t lead with it, Sippin’ and Shippin’ time.
Brian Weinstein: Yeah, you might not want to lead with that, that could be our little secret. But still, we hope you can join us every third Thursday, where we’re looking forward to a new guest and we will speak with you all soon, looking forward to it. And we will have some information about the podcast, and if you have any comments or emails that you want to send to us, we’ll have that contact information as well. Looking forward to it. Thanks for joining. And we’ll speak you in three weeks. Take care.
Caitlin Postel: Thanks everyone, bye.
Brian Weinstein: Bye.
Caitlin Postel: Thanks for tuning in everybody. Make sure that you check us out on sippinandshippin.com, or any of your favorite podcast platforms. Give us a thumbs up. Go ahead and subscribe to meet us here every third Thursday.
Brian Weinstein: Wait, where?
Caitlin Postel: sippinandshippin.com. You can go to Apple Podcast, maybe you want to listen to us on Spotify. We’re everywhere.
Brian Weinstein: Is there any G’s at the end of the Sippin’ and Shippin’?
Caitlin Postel: Leave your G’s at home. No G’s, no G’s here.
Brian Weinstein: No G’s, just old G’s. Thanks for tuning in everybody. Take care.