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Small brand e-commerce

Katelyn Glass on Bringing the Big E-com Vision to Life

Katelyn talks about small brand e-com strategies, launching global, and more…

This time on E-Commerce with Coffee?!, host Nate Svoboda is joined by Katelyn Glass, Founder of Fifty Six Advertising and a veteran of the e-com industry with quite an impressive track record. She was the first female C-suite executive at Rowing Blazers and scaled the lifestyle brand to a top DTC growth position, laying the foundation for an impressive and successful career and what would become an unparalleled thirst for all things marketing and behavioral.

With Fifty Six, Katelyn now brings all of that expertise and experience to small brands, helping them grow rapidly and efficiently and helping them compete with the big fish, all while being an accessible partner that is comfortable to work with. Especially on the smaller scale of the industry, every brand needs its own unique approach, and Katelyn is an expert at pinpointing the appropriate strategies.

As is tradition, the interview begins with an important question: how does Katelyn take her coffee? Like the true pro that she is, Katelyn actually makes her own cappuccinos at home — steamed milk and all! She doesn’t miss a beat in plugging her favorite “tiny” New York coffee joint, either, sharing that it’s a must-visit spot for great coffee if you’re ever in the big city.

From there on, Katelyn and Nate walk us through the big topics of the conversation, namely what small brands want and need in the industry, what strategies Katelyn uses for growing small brands, and when brands should launch into e-com.

Small brand wants and needs

First thing’s first, Katelyn has a bit of a nerdy side. She gets really excited about certain buzzwords and might just be going off the deep-end in behavioral marketing research in the near future — but small brands often aren’t on the same page. Unlike Katelyn, small and growing brands don’t really care too much about the nitty-gritty details of marketing and growth. This is often why big and robust agencies are simultaneously too intimidating and too expensive to warrant a significant investment from a small brand.

Instead, small brands are looking for a partner that they can trust to get them through the rough parts of growth, and to accompany them through this confusing industry — and that’s exactly what Fifty Six is.

Strategies for growing small brands

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to e-commerce and growth, and that’s especially true for smaller brands. That’s one thing that bigger agencies might not be able to navigate as well with smaller brands, and it’s certainly something that “industry gurus” usually aren’t going to get right or mention.

Fortunately, agencies like Fifty Six exist to give smaller brands the specific attention and flexibility needed for their particular growth arc. Identifying the brand’s specific point in its lifecycle and its specific point in the market is the starting point, and a careful trajectory and plan are charted out from there.

That being said, Katelyn is a sucker for email marketing, and for good reason. She says that, 9 times out of 10, brands are simply not taking full advantage of their organic channels, especially email, and that vamping up email marketing and campaigns is almost always an important and necessary factor in promoting small-brand growth.

Launching into e-com

Finally, one of the last topics that Katelyn covers is the classic question: when is the right time to launch into e-commerce? Her answer is straightforward: now.

With more nuance, there might be more expensive ways to launch into e-com, and there might be more efficient ways, but it is always the right time to launch. We’re at a weird point in time right now, Katelyn explains, where borders don’t really exist for the customer. You can be sitting on your couch in one country while browsing a brand’s store based in another country without even knowing it. This alone makes the scale of ROI for launching into e-com massive for small brands — quite literally a world of difference.

That being said, going global is far from trivial. While the customer might not notice borders, the brand certainly has to. The legality of international commerce is a huge topic in and of itself, dealing with import and tax laws and such, but the technology and strategy side of things is a different ballpark as well.

Off the top of your head, do you know the main search engine used in Korea? If you guessed Google, you’d be wrong (and so would be your SEO strategy for that demographic). Especially for a small brand, launching into that global market is incredibly important, but navigating the nuances might be a bit much to handle. Katelyn’s advice? Give Fifty Six a call!

Watch or listen to the full interview to get the full insights Katelyn has to offer on all of these topics and more on this episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!



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Alex Borzo

Alex Borzo

A content contributor at Amber Engine, a software company passionate about eCommerce