It’s a jungle out there. Today we invite you to reflect on the state of the internet world we live in as entrepreneurs and the impact e-commerce can have on hundreds of thousands of people. One of the most interesting trends we are seeing in the arena is the service companies popping up to support the thousands of Amazon merchants out there.
Today’s guest, who quickly turned his back on a career in engineering in his twenties, started dabbling in Amazon sales until he came up with the idea for Jungle Scout just before taking off on a three-year world tour. He talks to us about how he spent those years living the true entrepreneur experience while actually building his now 100 person company. Jungle Scout searches, captures, analyzes and refines billions of data points from Amazon to deliver the most accurate data in the industry. His 200,000 plus customers were all clearly in need of his merchant scaling tools. Jungle Scout also offers numerous free educational resources to give young entrepreneurs everything they need to succeed.
- How Greg convinced his wife to give everything up to travel the world.
- The hesitation, the results, and the payoff of that path.
- The employee structure of Jungle Scout.
- The company’s original design and what it has evolved to today.
- Stories that stand out as models of success for Jungle Scout.
- The Five Minute Pitch – what it is and how it’s helping entrepreneurs succeed.
- How the Jungle Scout scholarship program is motivating young entrepreneurs.
- What’s coming up for Jungle Scout.
- The company’s new initiatives for bringing ease into scouting suppliers and merchandise.
- How his products have created friction with people in the business but also brought them in as clients.
Mark: Alright allow me to relax philosophically here for just a minute and I invite you to reflect on just how impactful our current era is with the Internet. Back at Traffic & Conversion in February, I actually hear Richard Branson talk about what they would do to get attention and PR; crazy stunts, parachuting into places and doing these incredible things just to be able to impact large volumes of people. Well as online entrepreneurs we have that at our fingertips and can do that often from our bedrooms just by putting up a good marketing campaign online. But we have the ability to impact thousands of lives and have this network effect as well of these thousands of lives impacting other people’s lives. And I looked at where we’re at with the Internet today and I think one of the most influential areas are all the service companies that are popping up and SaaS companies popping up to service the Amazon merchants that are out there. And I’d say by far one of the leaders of the pack is Jungle Scout. They—most of everybody that is in the Amazon world, you know who Jungle Scout is. They’re kind of ubiquitous with this idea of product research. Joe, you got to talk to Jungle Scout in this week’s podcast.
Joe: Yeah. Greg Mercer founded Jungle Scout just a few years ago; 4 ½, 5 years ago, an interesting story. Look we talked all about how he came up with a concept, even where he met his wife Lisa, how we started the business, travelled with his wife Lisa for 3 years overseas while growing Jungle Scout. He has only settled back in Austin for the last year and a half, and the size of the company. And then really it was about his entrepreneurial journey. And then we touched on some of the key features in Jungle Scout and some of the other things that Greg has done with his good fortune like scholarships that you can find on the Jungle Scout website and in the show notes here. You know being entrepreneurs and having an easier time impacting people one on one or directly is something that we know here at Quiet Light because we’re fortunate enough to be in a situation where we do work one on one with most people. And we know what it means when they sell their business or buy a business and get to stay home and see their kids more. We talked about that a little bit with Greg and like most entrepreneurs he started Jungle Scout to make money. But now that he makes great money that relieves the stress, right? We all want to have money in our bank account to relieve the financial stress but the big thing that fills his cup is the impact that he’s having on individual lives. And he gets to hear about that impact when he goes out to conferences and they have a booth like out at Prosper and people come up to him and say listen this is my story, this is how Jungle Scout changed my life. And Greg says quite honestly look it wasn’t Jungle Scout; it was you, it was your effort, it was your risk, your reward. Jungle Scout was just a tool that you used. So he’s very humble about that but a great guy. Just a good human and I think that there are 2 or 3 things that come out of this podcast. First and foremost you get to hear a great entrepreneur story. He didn’t go to school for business yet here he is running a business with 100 the least. What it’s like to travel all over the world with your wife? It’s right for some people, it’s wrong for others. And then just the good things that he’s doing with Jungle Scout Scholars and then all the features that Jungle Scout has, and the scariest one. And folks you’ve got to listen all the way through because we talk more about it at the very end. This is not a pitch for Jungle Scout. It’s more of a story of entrepreneurial success. But you can literally find—can I give this away Mark? Can we give it out, too much information; what do you think?
Mark: Oh no it’s a great tease so get to the end.
Joe: You can find your favorite product on Amazon and then use the Jungle Scout tool to find out who the manufacturer is in China. It is scary. But like Greg said it doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful. We know that all great ideas don’t achieve success. There’s lots of motes around these great listings on Amazon so it’s no guarantee of success even though you find them in [inaudible 00:05:10.9]. But, great podcast, great guy, looking for to get to know him over the years as well.
Mark: So he’s down in Austin, right?
Joe: Yes he is.
Mark: Is he going to come to our meet-up coming up at the end of May?
Joe: Yes he is.
Mark: And when and where is that meet-up? For anyone in the Austin area or who has always wanted to go to Austin area, this might be an awesome opportunity to meet Joe. I probably won’t be there. Amanda will be there as well and some really, really good people are showing up to this as well.
Joe: Yeah everybody that we’ve worked with over the years that’s down in Austin are getting an invite and hopefully [inaudible 00:05:44.1] groups is going to go. Actually, one person replied today and said thanks for inviting all my friends. It’s like you’re throwing a party for my friends. I appreciate it. It was pretty funny. And that was RJ at 101. It’s going to be May 29th at Oasis at Lake Travis from 6 to 9 pm and it’s just drinks nor dares and coming out with friends.
Mark: Awesome, and we’re going to have a page up on the Quiet Light Brokerage website. We’re going to make sure it’s included in the e-mails that get sent out. And also on the show notes for this podcast so that you can RSVP if you do want to attend. We would love to see, we’d love to host it for the night; bring a friend, bring lots of friends. It should be a few hours of just really good networking and getting to know some really key players in the space. So please do show up. But now let’s get to the good stuff [inaudible 00:06:27.7]
Joe: Let’s do it.
Joe: Hey folks it’s Joe here at Quiet Light Brokerage and today we’ve got another great guest on the Quiet Light Podcast. His name is Greg Mercer. Greg, how are you doing today?
Greg: Joe I’m doing fantastic. Thank you very much for having me on and it’s going to be fun to talk to you.
Joe: Founder of Jungle Scout and many other things; a very impressive guy at a very young age. I just looked at your LinkedIn profile, listened to a couple of things on YouTube, and I saw your wife talking about you as well which was all positive by the way.
Greg: Oh, that’s good to hear.
Joe: Well you know the drill, we don’t have a whole lot of fancy introductions. So for those that don’t know you and don’t know the Jungle Scouts can you give a little bit of background on yourself and the business itself?
Greg: I’d be happy to. So it’s probably most relevant to rewind back to my college days real quick. I went to school to be a civil engineer and graduated. I got a job working as a civil engineer and I just didn’t like it at all. I want to become an entrepreneur so I tried a number of different things. But the 1st thing I had a little bit of success with was selling physical products on Amazon. And that’s ultimately what led me to quit my job. I was able to kind of replace my income by doing that. My wife and I actually at that point sold all our belongings and started traveling around the world and living out at Air B&B’s and running our business from there. And one thing led to another and I—the biggest problem that I had with scaling my Amazon business was finding new products to sell. So I had a number of products up, some of them are doing really well, some weren’t doing really well. I didn’t really know why some were doing well and some weren’t. And what it came down to was the amount of demand there was on Amazon for these products. So being kind of an engineer by background and a very data driven person, I was able to create some algorithms to estimate how well all products on Amazon sell. And that was ultimately how Jungle Scout got started. So I’d never started a software company before but I 1st built a simple extension. I was like no one will probably ever buy this thing but if nothing else I can just use it for myself. And it turns out we were able to get people to buy it because if you fast forward all the way today there’s about roughly 100 people that work in Jungle Scout. We have over 200,000 customers so it’s grown quite a bit since the 1st day when I didn’t think anyone would buy it.
Joe: That is absolutely crazy; 100 employees and did you say, 200,000 customers?
Greg: Yup over 200,000.
Joe: That’s amazing. So I want to talk about a few things, I want to talk about you travelled the world with your wife while starting Jungle Scout so that’s probably the most important thing. I love the fact that you went to school for civil engineering and then took a completely different path in the sense as an entrepreneur. But then you were able to start it as an entrepreneur while traveling the world and with your wife of all things. And then I want to talk a little bit about what Jungle Scout does and a couple of the other things that you’re doing because of the good fortune you’ve had in the business through Jungle Scout. But let’s get personal for a minute. I mean you are what 30, 31 years old I’m guessing? It looks like—
Joe: Right. So you’ve been at this for a long time. Did you meet your wife in college?
Greg: I did actually so yeah we both went to school at Auburn and that’s how we met.
Joe: Amazing. And she actually was willing to sell everything and travel the world with you or was it her idea to do that?
Greg: I think it was my idea. I had read Tim Ferris’ book 4-Hour Workweek and I was like well this is pretty cool. Instead of living here we could go live in all these cool exotic places in much less money. And so I was like Elizabeth we should go and try this. And she was like yeah you’re an idiot. We’re not doing that. But I kept on bringing it up over the months and she’s always really enjoyed travel. I think her biggest hesitation at the time was she was working for Target and was on a pretty fast crew path. And I think that’s where she envisioned her career moving forward. So I think that was her biggest hesitation. It was like man I’m kind of going to give up my career a little bit, or at least put it on hold if we’re going to do this for a year or 2 or 3 years or whatever. So I think that was her biggest hesitation but she’s like you only live once let’s go for it. And yeah we both ended up loving it. We did it for 3 whole years so we both ended up loving it a lot.
Joe: And you launched Scott but just before you took off for a while you were over in Southeast Asia?
Greg: Yeah it was actually just before I took off. I like the week before we took off.
Joe: And how many years ago was that?
Greg: That was is January of 2015, so 4 ½ years ago.
Joe: So really you’ve run the business for the 1st 3 years of its existence by traveling.
Joe: That’s incredible. Now the 100 employees that you have are they mostly remote, mostly they’re in Austin, whereabouts in the world are they?
Greg: When we started the company it was fully remote. I was traveling around so I didn’t have an office to hire this people in. So we are fully remote. In January of 2018 is when I moved to Austin. That’s where I live now. Since then we’ve been doing a lot of our hiring in Austin. So I think about maybe 40 of the people are in Austin now and the rest of the team is either remote. And then we also have an office in Vancouver. And then we opened up an office in Shenzhen in China about 6 months ago. So some of the team is there now.
Joe: Amazing. So we’ll talk about what some of those offices do for Jungle Scout and the subscribers in a bit. Now that you’ve gone through college, marriage, travelled the world, entrepreneur, you worked with directly and indirectly and inspire a lot of young entrepreneurs all over the world. Is selling everything, packing up, and traveling the world something you would say you got to do to that young man or woman that has the opportunity and is not tied down to things of this nature?
Greg: You know I’d say it’s not for everyone. And for me, it’ll probably be like one of the most fond memories of my whole life. I kind of go in through a period. I think I learned a ton about myself. I met a lot of really interesting people. I learned a lot about different cultures. I think we visited roughly 30 different countries. We would spend about a month sometimes 2 months in each country. So when you spend like a month or 2 somewhere sometimes a little longer but you get like a pretty good sense of just kind of like what day to day life is and what the culture is really about much more than like on a weeklong vacation. So during that, I got to just learn a ton about all these different countries, fascinating things that a lot of countries do like very well. I was able to bring back individual things. I think certain countries do very well so that was really cool. So I’d say it’s definitely not for everyone. I think to a lot of people it’s very stressful. You’re moving all around the world and you don’t have any kind of—or we didn’t have any kind of a home base. So with all that being said it’s definitely for everyone. But if you’re interested in it and that seems like something that you’d enjoy I would definitely recommend for you to try.
Joe: Is there a particular book that you would have and go to? Is it Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Workweek or is there a great travel one?
Joe: Probably; okay.
Greg: Yeah I’ll probably just do the Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Workweek. It’s a little bit outdated now. I think it was written over a decade ago now but the spirit is still the same.
Joe: I’m reading one of his books now and I’m looking around like my office here. I don’t see it but it’s the tools to tighten switches. It is one giant book. The great stuff all from the podcast off from those he’s taken over the years and a lot of the 4-Hour Workweek stuff as well. It’s funny we’ve had Bill D’Alessandro on the podcast. Do you know who Bill is?
Greg: The name rings a bell.
Joe: He’s from South Charlotte and he runs a consumer products group down at Charlotte. He does a lot of speaking, very close friends with Andrew Youderian from eCommerceFuel and Bill had that same 4-Hour Workweek life at one point and do the same thing working from a beach in Southeast Asia or somewhere. And we talked about this on the podcast now he has staff, an office, a warehouse; in many ways just like you. And he finds that he actually has more freedom now than before because he’s got people that can actually do everything for him instead of having virtual assistants that he has to check in with every day.
Joe: So it is not for everyone like you say but certainly something to explore. It’s not for me and my wife. I was in your shoes once upon a time when I was living in the frigid cold of Portland Maine for those folks that are listening out from Portland Maine. And this is back in the day when I heard a commercial for GoToMeeting.com I’m like what? What is that? And I went across the hall—I signed up for a free trial. I went across the hall to my other office and log in get the free thing and then go to my PC is what it was. It was a derivative of that. And I log into my PC from across the hall, this is 2nd nature now but I was amazed. I was like this is incredible. I went home and I told Christiana and said hey we’re going to Florida for the winter. And she said we are not, you’re an idiot. [inaudible 00:15:35.1] we did it for 5 years and then we got the hell out of Maine because it was too cold. Sorry for those folks that are still there. Were in North Carolina now and do love it. But this isn’t about me it’s about Greg Mercer and Jungle Scout. So let’s talk about Jungle Scout and what it does. I know what it does. I’ve used it a little bit in the past. I know a lot of clients that bought and sold business with Quiet Light have used it. So can you just touch on what it does—let’s talk about the progression of it; what it originally did and what it’s evolved to today.
Greg: Yeah. That’s a good way to frame it. So it started out as just a Chrome extension. So most of the listeners are probably familiar with Chrome extensions which is a little add on that you install into your Chrome browser. And what it did is when you were visiting Amazon and you were on the listing or on a search page, you’d click this little Chrome extension and you’d see a little pop up. And on that pop up there was a number of different pieces of data. But the one that people care about the most is the estimated sales data. So that’s what I was talking earlier; developing these algorithms that can estimate how well any product on Amazon is selling. Back then it was pretty poor accuracy, today a pretty high degree of accuracy. So that’s how it started. Shortly thereafter we launched a web application and the primary functionality in there was again to find good opportunities on Amazon or find out how well things were selling. And that’s kind of been transitioning over the years. We now have keyword research functionality. We now have functionality to help you find high quality suppliers or factories. Actually launching in 2 weeks is functionality to help you launch your product on Amazon. And then by the end of the year, it’s going to be everything to help you kind of like manage and optimize your Amazon business as well. So the way we like or our mission here at Jungle Scout is to really empower and inspire Amazon entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to be successful. So we’re building all that into our software but then we also have just tons of free resources in education and a whole bunch of other stuff just to help people be more successful on Amazon.
Joe: Yeah I’ve looked at some of that both on your website on LinkedIn on YouTube. You are all over the place. It’s pretty impressive the reach that you’ve got and the folks that saying you are praising Scott Voelker is somebody we know in common does that well and does it all the time. I love the empower people approach and to fulfill their dreams not only the staff that you have but the people that used to program, the 200,000 or so subscribers that you have. A lot of people in your—let’s call your world, I want to call you an influencer because I think that’s what you are Greg. So in your world, a lot of folks say I’ve made X many millionaires. You’ve heard a lot of stories over the years of the way that the tools that Jungle Scout has and provides to people how it’s changed their lives, can you think of anything or anyone that stands out and what an impact it had in terms of with their Amazon business and how it changed their lives?
Greg: I can think of a whole bunch of stories. And actually, I was—I think the last time we saw each other was at Prosper Show. And going to conferences and stuff like that it’s always a great chance that I talk to all these customers in real life. So like probably a dozen times throughout that 2 or 3 day conference whatever it is like someone came up to me very emotional a few different times in tears but like just telling me this life story about how they found Jungle Scout and how it helped them create this business. And that’s like a really, really special thing to be a part of. I never would’ve thought that in a million years like starting this business that people would come up to me in tears being like—just telling a story about how they were at a really low spot or they hated their job or whatever else and especially starting the business is what changed their life. A lot of them kind of attribute or say like Jungle Scout is kind of what caused that or encouraged them to do so or empowered them with the tools to have the confidence to do so. So yeah I mean there are tons of stories but I think most of them have like a ton of things in common, at least the ones that are most memorable are impactful to me.
Joe: And it’s the impactfulness I think that is most interesting. I think that with success and some of the things that we do, and you do, and Scott does and Mike Jackness another friend in common it’s A. being a good human and helping people. There’s peace of mind that you get with money in your bank account but there’s pure joy, satisfaction, and other things that are so intangible by helping others and having people come up to you like that and say what you’ve created has changed my life, what you did changed my life, what you said, the way you helped me change my life and very impactful stuff.
Greg: Yeah very much so and if you would have kind of—if I would really listen to this podcast not that long ago, just like 4 or 5 years ago, I would’ve been able to really like understand that at all. I don’t think—at the time this seems like super shallow. But if I’m just being honest with myself, my only goal was just to make money. And the reason that was my goal at the time is like that’s how I kind of like saw freedom. It’s like okay I can quit my job or I have the security so I don’t have to worry about it or I was always like—my 1st few years being an entrepreneur I was always so scared. [inaudible 00:20:59.8] like go back and get a job. Now it’s like the most terrifying thing to me. So honestly—when I’m being honest with myself all I cared about was like the money at the time. And then kind of like as I felt like I was financially secure and kind of like no longer have those worries. That’s when you’re going to start asking yourself those questions like man what really does bring me the most happiness or like the most joy? And for me helping entrepreneurs is like very, very high on the list if not the top thing. So I would do these different case studies or free educational piece of content or whatever else. And people often say to me why are you giving all this away for free or why are you doing this it’s only creating more competition for you or whatever else. And when I hear that it would just remind me of like yeah okay 5 years ago I would have said the same thing. I wouldn’t have understood it but then I talk to these other people who are like successful entrepreneurs or whoever else and they’re the ones who kind of like can understand that a lot better. It’s like okay once you get to a certain point it’s about okay what really brings you a lot of joy in your life, a lot of happiness and you want to optimize for doing those things.
Joe: Yeah and that free content and everything you’re giving it away for free but you’re helping people and if you’re in this for the long term it’s going to come back around. And I think you’re in this for a long term. Absolutely, yeah. Some of the things that you’ve done over the past are overflowing into other things that you have ventured into. And I want to talk about a couple of them. You and a group of friends have started something called the 5 Minute Pitch. I took a look at an episode or 2 of that. I’ve talked to Mike about it. I saw the one with Andrew from ECF on it. Do you want to talk about what 5 Minute Pitch is and how you’re helping entrepreneurs?
Greg: Yeah. So this kind of goes back to what brings me joy. And helping entrepreneurs is definitely one of them. It’s also fun to hang out with other people I enjoy being around. So this was like a nice mixture of the 2. 5 Minute Pitch is shark tank style pitch competition where anyone with a small internet business who hasn’t raised institutional money is eligible to pitch; so different people with all different types of businesses. Everything from a small software business to an e-commerce store to just developing a product and selling it through Instagram ads or whatever else. They pitch their business to myself and 4 other judges. And at the end of the season, the season actually ends in just a few weeks; we’re giving the winner a $50,000 prize. They don’t have to give up any equity in their business or anything. It’s just prize money to help grow. So yeah it was a—we’ve only done one season of it. It was really fun and we’ll probably do a few more seasons in the future.
Joe: That’s great now everybody that listens to the podcast knows that we don’t pitch products and services. But I think that they all should look closely at Jungle Scout and 5 Minute Pitch. Take a look at it if you’ve got a product that’s just taking off and you want to get more into the e-commerce world. Take a look maybe you could be on season 2. Who is Kevin O’Leary in the 5 Minute Pitch? Who’s—and have you said you’re dead to me to anybody?
Greg: You know I’ve been watching some Shark Tank before thinking about these different lines and me and most of the other judges I think most of us are all just a little too nice to be Kevin O’Leary; which in results probably makes it a bit worse for television. But we’re kind of just ourselves on the show.
Joe: We had the founder of Happy Feet on the podcast a few weeks ago and he said that—and he did a deal with Robert on Shark Tank.
Joe: He said that when you’re on shark—and I’ve talked to 5 or 6 people over the years that have been on, when you’re on Shark Tank when you finish up they make you go sit with a psychiatrist for an hour. You can’t leave 10 minutes n. It’s at least for an hour because they want to make sure that you’re not going to kill yourself because of some of the things that some people have said about your business; so pretty rough. Alright so let’s talk about something else I looked at before we jumped on the podcast here and that is the Jungle Scout scholar; JS scholar. What are you doing there man?
Greg: Yeah. So it’s just a scholarship program that we started just over the years I’m thinking of different ways and kind of like give back to the communities especially things I’m kind of passionate about. So that’s one that we’re doing. Each semester we’re giving a scholarship to someone who’s kind of like in business school or maybe computer sciences or something in that area who also has kind of like an entrepreneurial spirit. So it’s pretty easy. Just create a little short video and submit it. Each semester we choose someone to give the scholarship to. And then with that also comes some mentorship for me to help them get their business off the ground.
Joe: That’s awesome. I mean it really is. A lot of people talk about giving back and helping others, young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs themselves but you’re actually doing it. How long have you been doing that program?
Greg: I think we’ve given away 5 scholarships now so that would be about 2 ½ years I’ve been doing it. So it’s cool.
Joe: That’s impressive. Now I’m going to talk to my 17 year old when we’re off. He’s applying to college next year and—
Greg: Tell him to apply.
Joe: He is not going to business school. He’ll probably be an engineer or maybe an art student, who knows we’re still working that stuff out. They change their minds a lot. They really do.
Greg: Yeah I do too.
Joe: I did as well. And we’ve actually had people that have put their kids through college and then bought them a business when they graduated which is very interesting. It’s almost like they shouldn’t have spent that’s $200,000 on college [inaudible 00:26:30.4] part of the business but kids get to grow up a little bit. What’s down the road, what’s in the future for Jungle Scout? What things are you going to add that are going to help those 200,000 plus subscribers and fend off some of the competition down the road?
Greg: Yeah we have quite a few product initiatives going on right now. We’ve really grown our product team a lot over the past 6, 12 months. We’re going to really build out a lot of this stuff but most of it is around kind of what I spoke about earlier about right now the Jungle has got a tool at least that gets you up to until you launched your product on Amazon. We have a few other businesses that we have acquired or built over the years but we’re kind of combining those into a singular tool. So by the end of the year, the additional functionality you can expect is like the stuff from those other tools. So helping you manage your business in our PPC and optimize it; all these different areas is kind of like what we’re building in this year in 2019.
Joe: That’s great I know that finding a great PPC company is often hard for folks, managing products we’ve got folks that buy businesses and just—I am looking for a great company that managed the entire thing for me so that’s fantastic. One of the biggest issues people have Greg as you probably know is sourcing great products. Is that down the road or is that part of Jungle Scout at all now?
Greg: Yeah so we actually just released—so our newest feature is actually probably the one I’m most proud of called supplier database. And we actually just released this like a month ago. So it’s pretty cool Joe. So we—I guess you’ve seen this too that a lot of people have a lot of problems finding high quality suppliers. And I did too. And I also found like this was one of the biggest pain points of our audience. And when I really started to get into this, it’s like okay what’s the problem here because there are tons of factories on Alibaba. That’s how I used to find all my factories, just on Alibaba. There’s tons of them and what it really comes down to is it wasn’t like a shortage of factories or finding the factories or being able to communicate with them what it really came down to was finding a quality factory and vetting the factory before you did a production run. So like most of the horror stories that you hear are that the quality didn’t come out as expected or every once in a while you hear a horror story about someone who a factory just ran off with someone’s money or whatever else. And so there’s a few ways I used to try to combat this; one was ordering a sample at a time. However, the problem is that when you’re only ordering one unit, of course, they’re going to give you the nicest one. They’re going to like polish that one up extra but it’s like oh can I do that on a production run of a 1,000 or 2,000 units and that’s oftentimes not the case. So that was one way I tried to combat it. The other way was to get an inspection once the production run was finished. The problem there is when it didn’t meet the quality sometimes you weren’t able to get them to really fix what you wanted or is like sometimes a little bit too late at that point. So anyway the ways to try to combat it, the list was long but [inaudible 00:29:30.6] that effective. So what we did is we collected all of the US import trade data. So when you import something in the US you file some paperwork, yo give it to the government, and through this law called the Freedom of Information Act in the US, we’re able to get access to that data. We put it into a database. We made it easy to filter and search through. And the way that it’s able to solve this quality problem is you’re able to find factories on there, you’re able to see who their customers are, how often they import into the US, and how long they’ve been importing to US, the quantities; a number of different factors like that. So that’s really cool but we kind of took it one step further by being able to essentially search for any Amazon product or any brand on Amazon in here and you could find out who are their factories.
Joe: Holy cow, that’s amazing and almost offensive in some ways. I would think if you’re an Amazon seller and you’re able to scrape through their manufacturers. That’s pretty incredible.
Greg: Yeah it’s really incredible. It’s like the old way for me of finding factories was when I found product idea I went to Alibaba, order a bunch of samples, whatever else. My new way of finding factories is like when I find something that I want to sell, and like sitting next to me right here is a little espresso. So if I want to sell espresso cups, I would just go to Amazon, I would search for espresso cups, I would see who gets the highest ratings.
So who has like 5 out of 5 stars with a whole bunch of reviews and I just find their factory. Because then like right away then you know that there’s a high quality factory.
Joe: And you did that through sheer tenacity and hard work. What you’re doing at the Jungle Scout is you’re giving a tool to do it for them.
Greg: And that’s what I do now; I just who the factory is of the highest quality product on Amazon and I just contact them and I buy from them. So it’s a much easier way to do it.
Joe: Wow that’s amazing; that’s scary and amazing. Still, though I think for those that are going oh my God I’m never going to sell on Amazon because of that; it’s that moat that you build around with thousands of reviews. I did a valuation today for something that is a fairly competitive it’s in a very competitive niche but they’ve guy 17,000 reviews and the closest one has maybe like 1,100. That’s an enormous gap in reviews. So there’s a pretty big moat there.
Greg: Right, and you know this Joe it’s—when we launched this there was definitely—we probably got a dozen emails of like really pissed off people because now everyone can find out who their factory is. But you realize this because you deal with people who are buying business all the time but it takes a lot more than just knowing a factory to create a successful business, right? [inaudible 00:32:09.4] like a lot of other steps.
Joe: A ton of a lot.
Greg: So just because people can find out who your factory is that doesn’t mean that they can just copy your whole business. There’s a lot more steps to it than that so I wouldn’t be too worried about it. We actually saw this exact same thing when I originally launched Jungle Scout because prior to Jungle Scout no one knew how well products on Amazon were selling. And now all of a sudden you could see how well every product on Amazon sold. So same thing I got like dozens of people emailing me pissed off because I was telling the whole world about how well their products were selling on Amazon.
Joe: That was—they were pissed off shortly before they subscribed probably though, right?
Greg: Right. So we’ve kind of seen a little bit of a similar thing with the supplier database. And then to your exact most people are like wow, well I’d rather have all this data and the whole world be able to know who my factory was than this type of thing not exist out there.
Joe: Yeah I hate you but I’m going to give you my money every month because you created a great product. That’s awesome; fantastic. I didn’t know that it went to that depth and level where you can find the products manufacturer. That’s incredible. Alright, Greg, we’re running out of time, obviously, Jungle Scout is how do they find it? JungleScout.com?
Greg: Yeah JungleScout.com if you’re not familiar with it you can read up all about it on the website. If you’re interested in just selling on Amazon too, I might be a little bit biased but I think we have like the best educational content out there and it’s all for free. You can find all of it under the free resources section of the website. So any format you like learning in whether that’s on audio or video or written it’s all on there. There’s a lot of—a bunch of end up guides. We do this thing called the Million Dollar Case Study where we launched 4 products from start to finish. You get to see the products and everything along the journey. So yeah that’s tons of stuff on there if you just [inaudible 00:33:52.5] on Amazon too.
Joe: Fantastic; a great educational tool and a great product. And for those out there with kids that are going to college in the next couple of years how do they get to the JS Scholarship or scholar site?
Greg: JungleScout.com/jungle-scholar and you can find in the footer of the website too.
Joe: I got it. I found it on LinkedIn. And then there’s the 5 Minute Pitches well we’ll put all this in the show notes as well. Greg Mercer, thank you very much for spending time with us. I know you’re a very busy guy. I appreciate it.
Greg: Thanks again. I’m glad I’m here. Take care.
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