Yoni Mazor of GETIDA On The Future Of Retail In The Post Pandemic World
Focus deeply on fulfilling your missions and do not let any distractions get in your way. The modern world is super noisy — it is a real art form to be able to block out the constant noise and focus on what matters. This is a skill I believe that great leaders must develop and master over time.
As a part of our series about ‘The Future Of Retail In The Post Pandemic World’, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Yoni Mazor. He is the CGO and co-founder of GETIDA.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. GETIDA, the company I co-founded and work for full-time today, was born as a necessity that I had when I was an online retailer. The retail company that I established was growing rapidly on the Amazon third-party marketplace and needed a reliable solution that would constantly reconcile all the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) transactions. This led our team to build a dedicated software that audits a large volume of data daily, and alongside the technology, we built a dedicated service team that utilizes the reconciled data to settle all of these transactions and secures financial recoveries for discovered discrepancies. The combination of innovative technology, along with a dedicated team, created the perfect solution for us. We told a few of our friends from the industry about our capabilities and they pleaded — help us, we will pay you. This was the moment GETIDA, my company, was effectively born as a business, and this started a whole new career path for me.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
The year 2020 was fully booked with planned tradeshows and physical events all over the world to continue fueling our growth. When Covid-19 hit, suddenly, all of the planned and scheduled events melted away. As the pandemic transpired globally, we were extremely worried about how we could continue to reach prospective clients and engage with them. Fear among the entire team was prevalent regarding how our company would be able to pivot quickly and reinvent itself. I must say, the collaborative team effort, courage, dedication, and great positivity helped us pass through this storm safely. It also actually allowed us to find even greater success in finding our target audience in many online channels that made us a much better and stronger company today. As an organization, we began to appreciate the unique opportunities that can be found when great challenges arise.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?
A small story about a small mistake we made early on involves an innocent typo. One of our early clients decided to drop our service due to a typo they had found in a thread of email exchanges with our support team. The word “sign” was incorrectly typed as “sing”. I guess music and singing were not a strong interest of this client. Thus, the client had communicated to us that not catching such a typo might indicate that we do not pay attention to details and he, therefore, wished to disengage. We took this feedback to heart, and from that point on, we had everyone on the team use a spelling and grammar correction tool to ensure that we would minimize any future chance of this type of error. I must say that since this incident occurred, our attention to detail and appreciation for our client feedback became a religious theme that we keep on nourishing. It brought about the great outcome of increased client satisfaction over the years, and we began to learn and preach how negative experiences can be used to seize the opportunity of creating positive outcomes.
Are you working on any new exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
We are working on expanding our industry support by investing in establishing a supportive platform for online sellers called The Ecom Cooperative. The e-commerce industry is a young and growing industry, and many of its participants are relying on constantly keeping up with frequent updates and developments of the available tools and solutions for marketplace challenges. Without an encouraging and supportive environment, it can be very hard for sellers to keep up with what can be done to solve the challenges that keep arising. GETIDA, along with its’ partners within The Ecom Cooperative, are working on developing more industry awareness of available solutions, promoting educational content, creating special events, and cultivating a healthy e-commerce culture that enhances the long-term success of sellers.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Here is a 3-step structure that I find to be helpful:
- Set up and recognize exactly what your missions are at work and in life. Short-term and long-term missions are both to be considered and constantly fulfilled.
- Focus deeply on fulfilling your missions and do not let any distractions get in your way. The modern world is super noisy — it is a real art form to be able to block out the constant noise and focus on what matters. This is a skill I believe that great leaders must develop and master over time.
- Once your missions are fulfilled, repeat and go back to step number 1.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful, who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I feel truly blessed to have had many great people help make my success possible over the years. I am especially grateful to my co-founder and partner Max Borin who is our COO. We both founded GETIDA in 2015 and we endured many challenges together along the way, though we relied on each other to prevail. In my opinion, a unique balance in a good partnership is when partners can appreciate the opportunity that is often discovered when another partner puts you outside of your comfort zone.
One story that I remember as an example of this is when Max volunteered me to go and make a live presentation for an industry event, which happened to be the first public speaking event for me on behalf of the company. I felt pretty uncomfortable and nervous, and this pushed me to prepare like a madman!
Thankfully, it went very well, and my partner told me afterward that he was always confident that I would do a good job. Now, public speaking is something that I have learned to appreciate and feel comfortable with as I continue to build my experience in speaking. Max recognized this skill early on and pushed me to use it, and it brought positive advancement for me professionally and personally.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe that the simple things in life can create goodness in the world. My success enabled me to establish a family that I cherish, along with being a contributing member in the small warm community where I live. In the community, we try to assist and help others who need financial and communal support, and we come together in times of challenge to support each other. Good people create a good world. Be good to yourself, your colleagues, friends, family, and community. I reckon these should be the values of any successful person if further goodness is to continue to be bestowed upon the world. We are all in it together.
Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that large retail outlets are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?
Large retail outlets, such as Walmart for example, have begun to deeply understand that online shopping is a major component of their business success. Walmart stores are known to be spread out all over the United States and, to be up to one hour away from about ninety percent of the population. So instead of consumers coming to Walmart stores to shop, Walmart is focusing on enhancing the online shopping experience of its website and using its incredible nationwide spread of stores as fulfillment centers that can ship products to consumers very quickly.
Just for people to understand this level of scale a bit further, Amazon has just over 100 fulfillment centers in the US, while Walmart has close to 5,000 stores across the US. It will be thrilling to see how Walmart will be pushing its’ stores to act more as fulfillment centers along with being conventional retail stores to expand its share of online retail over Amazon’s. It is the battle of the titans of e-commerce from which everyone has the opportunity to benefit. More products, more competitively priced and delivered faster than ever before to consumers.
In your opinion, will retail stores or malls continue to exist? How would you articulate the role of physical retail spaces at a time when online commerce platforms like Amazon Prime or Instacart can deliver the same day or the next day?
I believe that much like the movie theater industry survived the evolution of movies being distributed on TV, videotape, DVDs, online streaming platforms, and even survived the harsh consequences of the pandemic as well, retail stores and malls will similarly survive. The main reason for this survival phenomenon is that humans are physical and social creatures by nature. There is a constant urge for people to go out, meet, and share experiences. This is hard to replicate with online shopping.
It is very similar to trying to replicate tourism where it’s practically impossible to remove the physical pleasure component from it. The utility of online shopping is far more superior than physical retail, but the joy of human interaction with the physical experiences that malls and stores provide is still more superior than online shopping. Both formats will eventually find the right balance, as online shopping matures and settles to its’ rightful place in the retail market share equilibrium.
The so-called “Retail Apocalypse” has been going on for about a decade. While many retailers are struggling, some retailers, like Lululemon, Kroger, and Costco are quite profitable. Can you share a few lessons that other retailers can learn from the success of profitable retailers?
A few good lessons can be learned if we take Costco as an example. It has a good online presence, to begin with, and it is striking a good balance between physical and digital retailing to generate significant revenue (over $100 billion in annual revenue) while staying profitable. It has a unique paid club membership business model, offering products at wholesale prices for budget-conscious consumers. Costco is usually very thoughtful about the selection and quality of the products it offers, along with calibrating and customizing the perceived value to consumers with its’ suppliers. There is often a sense of feeling when shopping in Costco of, “wow, such a crazy good price, for such a great wholesome product”, that is hard to find anywhere else in retail.
Costco was very effective over the years in creating a very loyal customer base that is appreciative of the constant value that they are getting from shopping at its stores. Costco customers recognize the significant cost savings, along with great customer service, and smart product selection that Costco constantly can source to indulge its customers. To package the Costco success story in a short formula: good business model + good online presence + good focus on value + good customer care = Succeeding during the “Retail apocalypse” of the e-commerce rise.
Amazon is going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and e-commerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?
Consumer products have entered into an era where any company can produce almost any type of product and offer it on the free market at lightning speed. This means that the overwhelming amount of consumer products have been commoditized, and the market is saturated with products. So, this leaves retailers and e-commerce companies with the question, how can we compete effectively in such conditions where anyone can compete on selection and price?
Well, the question itself kind of hides two main components of the answer. To compete effectively in current market conditions, it is important to create a unique variety of product selections that resonates with consumers. It can be in all kinds of niches and categories. For example, if a retailer is selling in the beauty category, offering a variety of products that are bio sustainable, do not hurt the planet, and have some of the proceeds donated to charity, can compel consumers to be less price-sensitive about shopping with that certain retailer, as they feel a sense of purpose and connection with the product variety being offered.
This means that retailers and e-commerce sellers will have to focus heavily on nourishing a unique consuming identity for their prospective customers. Consumers today, more than ever before, expect to get a unique experience when shopping and have a strong identity and connection to the products and brands that they buy.
Another obvious way to compete is to create and innovate by offering completely new types of products, and preferably patented ones that are hard to replicate.
Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know to create a fantastic retail experience that keeps bringing customers back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.
Here are the 5 most important things to create a fantastic retail experience that keeps bringing customers back for more:
- Know your customers — By knowing the profile of their target customers, retailers can keep catering to their desires and needs. Amazon is the undisputed world champion when it comes to knowing their customers. Major evidence of their success in this area is the Amazon yearly Prime membership program that has over 100 million members. Amazon shoppers pay money upfront so they can get faster shipping, while also getting access to Amazon’s entertainment catalog. Thus, Amazon has recognized that online shoppers want to get their products ASAP and to have access to a massive amount of online entertainment and that enabling this keeps bringing customers back to the Amazon platform.
- Keep surprising them — I will take Costco again as an example. Costco is known to keep surprising its shoppers with a variety of new things they offer at stores and online. Did you know that you can also buy a vehicle from Costco, or a very expensive and high-quality wedding ring? I purchased my wife’s wedding ring at Costco online. It was an amazing quality ring, at a really great, and it was delivered very quickly.
- Focusing on value and gaining the trust and loyalty of consumers can be really challenging. Almost any decision a retailer has to make, can, and should be influenced by how valuable it is to its’ customers? This kind of question and mindset should act as an organizational compass that always makes sure that the company is heading north when it comes to staying valuable for its customers. Amazon has rocked the retail world by offering free 2-day shipping to its’ Prime members. This was not enough for Amazon, and just a few short years later, they have cranked it up a notch to offer one-day free shipping for Prime members on a huge selection of products. I am fairly sure that Amazon is now putting a sharp focus on the next imminent value on the supply chain, same-day shipping for most of its’ catalog.
- Find ways to show customers how much you appreciate them — I love chocolate, and at some point, I found out that Godiva did a very smart and brilliant thing to keep its’ customers coming back to its’ retail stores by making them super delighted at each visit. If you provide your contact information and become a free member of Godiva’s email list, you get two things. The first is emails with updates and special offers from Godiva (pretty standard for many retailers at this point), but the second thing you get is a free piece of chocolate of your choice once a month when physically visiting the store. I cannot stress how much I love the idea and the execution of this appreciation plan by Godiva.
- Be polished at every touchpoint — I take inspiration from Target stores and its’ online website on this matter. Target has done an amazing job, at least as far as my consumer side is concerned, at making their store design, ambiance, and feel, look very polished and appealing. It has a certain finesse and style that just makes the shopping experience pleasant, and not overwhelming for a change. Many stores and websites I visits have me overwhelmed very early on by their vast selection, and layout of the offered products. With Target for some reason, the experience feels much smoother and refined, and that keeps on bringing me and many others back.
Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. Here is our final ‘meaty’ question. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Humility is what I believe would bring the most amount of good, to the most amount of people. There is a contradicting battle between consumerism and staying humble. Having the sense of urgency to constantly consume is good and healthy for the modern global economy, but it can be damaging to the mindset and happiness of people. It is good and healthy to want more, it is just the question of how much more is enough for us to be happy? People can consume as much as they desire, but if they keep a state of mind of humility and appreciation for the privileges of modern life that they are able to enjoy, they will probably find a tremendous amount of satisfaction with what they already have.
How can our readers further follow your work?
I am very active on Linkedin and Facebook. You can follow my content there: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yoni-mazor-b204a274/
Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!