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Explosive E-Commerce and Technology-Driven Fulfillment: B2B Brilliance from CEO and Founder of ShipMonk, Jan Bednar

March 23, 2021

Explosive E-Commerce and Technology-Driven Fulfillment: B2B Brilliance from CEO and Founder of ShipMonk, Jan Bednar
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Welcome to another episode on The Radcast. In this episode, host Ryan Alford talks with the CEO and founder of ShipMonk, Jan Bednar.

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Welcome to another episode on The Radcast. In this episode, host Ryan Alford talks with the CEO and founder of ShipMonk, Jan Bednar.

Jan started this company in 2014 with a mission to help small to medium-size businesses "stress less and grow more". The company has brilliant branding, an engaging mission, and an established list of satisfied customers.

Ryan and Jan discuss the following topics:

  1. Marketing ShipMonk.
  2. What makes ShipMonk radically different from its competitors.
  3. Current trends for e-commerce and technology-driven fulfillment centers.


To stay in touch with Jan and ShipMonk, follow their company on Instagram @theshipmonk | @jan_and_shipmonk | Visit their website: www.shipmonk.com

If you enjoyed this episode of The Radcast, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe and share the word if you love what we discuss, so we can keep giving you the strategies to achieve radical marketing results! You can follow us on Instagram @the.rad.cast | @radical_results | @ryanalford


Railey Clark[00:00:04]You're listening to the latest Rad cast news update. Here's Ryan and Railey. 

Ryan Alford[00:00:10]Hey, guys, what's up? Welcome to the latest edition of the Rad Cast News. It's Friday, March 26, Twenty twenty-one. And we're here with the latest and greatest in marketing advertising news. For all you ad junkies out there, I'm always joined by my lovely co-host, Robert Clark. He's also the producer of the Rad Cast and Content Extraordinaire. 

Railey Clark[00:00:41]It's fun. How was your week? So you went to Mexico and how was your trip? 

Ryan Alford[00:00:48]It was great. We had a really good time, calling it the boy’s first international trip with the boys. Lots of safety protocols were in place, but we sped through. We went through Charlotte and we sped through customs on both ends. So there was a lot of safety stuff, but it was a good getaway. It was four nights. The boys loved it. Who wouldn't want to be in Mexico? It was with all you can drink, like slushies and everything else and lots of water slides and, eighty degrees and get a taste of summer here early. And so we had a great time. It was a very good family getaway. 

Railey Clark[00:01:34]Oh my. So happy to hear that. 

Ryan Alford[00:01:37]Gearing up for the spring. We've been seeing a little warmer weather, but it took another step for me. I'm ready for that. 

Railey Clark[00:01:48] I am justso ready. I miss the Sun. It's been so rainy here in Greenville. If you're in the Greenville area then you know, most of the East Coast is kind of dreary weather.  

Ryan Alford[00:02:03]Rain rain. Go away. 

Railey Clark[00:02:07]Ready for the sun. Very, very excited. 

Ryan Alford[00:02:09]It's been a short work week for us, but it's been good. We've got a lot of new projects gearing up and, pretty excited about that. We've got several new clients and lots of exciting things happening on the Rad cast and are excited for our release next week. And if you didn't listen, we had Jan Bednar on Tuesday. Listen to that. The hardest part of e-commerce is actually getting the product in your customer’s hands. And Shipmonk and Jan's team are really focused on that and growing and doing near turnkey fulfillment. Being a kind of e-commerce junkie, it was just fascinating talking to that side of it. I really enjoyed that episode. Go, give it a gander. 

Railey Clark[00:02:58]It was a really good episode. I liked your conversation. And you all said a lot of things about the entrepreneurship journey. And you all talked about the risk of entrepreneurship and understanding what that means for the business you're building and general entrepreneur characteristics. That was a really cool part of the episode. The conversation was great. So definitely I would recommend that episode to anyone, especially if you're trying to get into the eCom space or if you're an entrepreneur yourself. There's definitely a lot to take away from that one. 

Ryan Alford[00:03:30]Yeah, it was. We definitely drove down that entrepreneur path and some of the pivots they had and talked about the gene or what it takes to have that entrepreneurial mindset. It is pretty fascinating on multiple levels. Looking forward to next week's release. We had a really good talk. If you haven't been in a cave somewhere, you've seen the growth of Tiktok, the video platform. The vortex that you go down while watching the Tiktok video. 

Railey Clark[00:04:09]You've been on Tiktok too long. You should take a nap, you should go drink some water. Thank you for calling me up right now. 

Ryan Alford[00:04:18]Samrat and I talked about all the growth. They did a really interesting study on what it takes to be successful on the platform. Why their platform has been successful, the ingredients of it. So really great, good information for any marketers or any business out there, for what and how to leverage the Tiktok platform. 

Railey Clark[00:04:43]It was a really good episode. He works at Neuro-Insight where Tyler Lewis worked. If you remember the Super Bowl episode, Tyler Lewis was the analytics expert who was walking us through the Tiktok, NFL, halftime, and advertisement stats and how those advertisements performed. Ryan is from that same company and he'll be talking with us about Tiktok looking at it again. It will be a two-part episode. We'll have one really good conversation with him and then we'll have another one where we dissect a little bit more on what brands and ads can look like on Tiktok, that can live appropriately on that platform. Because you can't look at Tiktok like every other platform and you are going to talk about that in a good amount. 

Ryan Alford[00:05:39]Yeah. Hopefully, everyone's been keeping up with the NCAA tournament and your bracket hasn't been busted. I think Railey and us, both our teams, my team went out even earlier, so I can't say much. Clemson knocked in the first round and you had their issues as well. No love for the home teams here. But it's been fun. It's been a little weird though, because the schedule's been different, because you usually have that on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. But the games didn't start till Friday. It threw me off a little bit. Even being in Mexico is watching the games but it hadn't even started. 

Railey Clark[00:06:22]It's been good, but they're all happening and they're all in the same place, aren't they? 

Ryan Alford[00:06:26]Michelle in Indianapolis. 

Railey Clark[00:06:28]That's normally not the case, right?  

Ryan Alford[00:06:31]They're spread out all over the country. So they've had them in their little bubble, trying to be a little more safe and keep it a little more controlled. So it has been interesting how that plays out in future years. But it's been fun to watch and, I guess that's it. And here's Railey with the news. Here is the Rad Cast News. 

Railey Clark[00:06:53]Topic for today on the news episode is NFL. The NFL used to feel like you won the lottery when you bought a spot in the NFL. Whether it's the Super Bowl or an advertisement. To be able to put your ad in a Super Bowl or football game, was a big, big deal. But obviously, we've talked a lot about this on the Rad cast. TV is not really what it once was. And so there is this question of streaming platforms. What that's going to look like in the future years. The NFL is looking at transitioning into streaming platforms. I know you have a lot of thoughts on this, so I'll let you take that. 

Ryan Alford[00:07:43]It's interesting in some ways, these little changes, even though viewership and different things, a lot of cord-cutters are out there. But the same players that have always been there have won the rights again for the NFL and ABC, CBS, ESPN, and others. And you had this growth of streaming platforms happening between Netflix and Amazon and Disney. While one thing that's held paid TV subscriptions together has been sports. Thus you saw in the most recent bids, a lot of the same entities have held onto their rights to the games, just to keep alive their legacy products of TV subscriptions. While they're also trying to grow their streaming platforms. I don't think this is great for consumers because I think people understand you have to pay for content. Netflix is not free. Amazon is not free, but it gives you on-demand. You get what you want when you want it. And TV subscriptions have remained the same. You have to buy 400 channels for the three that you really want to watch. A lot of people have maintained those TV subscriptions for sports. It's like what's old is still new. There's going to be a little bit more streaming within these platforms. But, I think this is why we take a step further. There's been a decline in overall sports viewership. You can actually point to this because consumers want to digest content differently than they have. There are changes and that's why you've seen the growth of these streaming platforms. Fewer people are watching live sports because there was a great affinity to overcome that. But what you're observing is that consumers are like, I'm going to cut TV. Yeah, I love the NFL. I love my teams, but they're getting to the point where they're just not going to tolerate the format and pay for stuff that they don't want. I don't know that they're helping themselves in the long run and they're trying to maintain these legacy dollars. You got to pay for all this content. All the stuff works in a cyclical manner where the reason that you can pay what you pay is because you have the volume of people watching, and the advertising dollars coming in that offset their cost. I understand that it all works together, but the reality is that the behaviors of people are changing, have changed, will pass this. So you're going to continue to see a decline in people paying for TV because he works hard and you're going to see a decline in sports viewership. They're on a real slippery slope. If people get used to not seeing something, not doing something, then they might lose that affinity altogether. I even have relatives that, I swear, would have never stopped watching Pittsburgh Steelers football. They just said I'm not paying for cable TV anymore. I don't mind paying seventeen dollars for the content that I want on Netflix, but I'm not going to spend ninety-five dollars a month for 80 percent of the content I don't want. It is a real problem. These are multibillion-dollar decisions. It's not an easy decision. But I don't think it's consumer beneficial that these same large media entities have maintained these rights and bought them. Today, it's a free world, free-market like they paid for. They bid for it and they want it, but I think it's a real slippery slope. The reason they can charge the money they can is because people love their teams, they love the NFL. If they decide that my behavior is such that I'm not going to pay for it and you stop, you lose that affinity, they may never come back. And then they won't pay for it when you do move to stream in seven years. 

Railey Clark[00:12:12]That is kind of a danger if you think about it. I don't even have cable. We've talked about that before. I'm streaming games like the Syracuse game. The other day I streamed the game from the ESPN app, on my Roku, the free trial because I also don't want to pay for this whole subscription just for one game. But, if you need to watch another game, that's when you go out to a sports bar or you go to a Buffalo Wild Wings where they're going to have the game on because those would be the places that would stream or would keep the TV. It's not benefiting everyone the same way it used to just because of how things are moving. They make a point. It is very ironic how this is transitioning. 

Ryan Alford[00:13:14]Everything that we're doing is just becoming more consumer-friendly. And then this seems to push against that. It'll be interesting because if you looked at some of the details of the contracts, they can stream one percent, only a percentage of this, like Disney, can do it. Amazon bought the rights to Thursday, which is, one inkling of hope towards this type of streaming. But it's not enough because NBC and CBS and Fox are going to maintain this. 95 percent of it is going to only be through paid traditional TV service. I think it is what it is. It's a dangerous slope they go on with. If you ignore consumers long enough, they don't always come back. And so we'll see how it plays out. 

Railey Clark[00:14:16]It leads us to our second topic. A lot of companies like Pepsi and Anheuser-Busch have been looking towards creating TV shows as another way to promote their brands, which is really interesting because it does create a different engagement level with their consumers for how their brands live and breathe on a TV platform. But this will be done on streaming platforms as well, which leads us to the point you were just talking about. But as far as a brand play, we can talk about the TV part of this and we can talk about the brand play part of this, but I like this a lot because this is something that you see these kinds of brands living. I don't think they're changing their brand perspective or their brand narrative as much as just trying to interact on a larger level with more people. How do you do that? What's in front of them with their phones or with the screen?

Ryan Alford[00:15:13]It goes hand-in-hand with the first one in a way, because this is the opposite. This is going and changing as consumers are changing because all these streaming platforms are bringing around ad-free content. So as a brand, how do you get and keep your brand in front of consumers and stay relevant and this is how you do it. You build content around your brand and you build it in a way with which consumers are consuming. And they’ve said, consumers are quietly telling us, “I don't want seventeen commercials in my one-hour TV slot that I'm watching”, but I understand that there has to be a give and take. Thus brands like Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch are building show content that still gives brand attribution. I haven't seen the content itself, but I imagine it will be entertaining, engaging and it makes sense. You're going to see more and more of this. We talked about the Old Spice barbershop. You're going to just see more of these experiential and overall brand plays that live outside of the norm of the 30 second TV spot. At the end of the day, this is all about the death of the 30 second TV spot. There are a lot of people in our industry who don't want to hear that. When they hear that they roll their eyes and they go, we're out of our store. Well, this bus is moving fast. 

Railey Clark[00:16:56]Generations are changing. if you're not going to keep up with the change, you're going to get left behind. It's not like a narc on what you've done or what TV has done for us in today’s sense. If we can’t move on this train forward, it's not going to be a great look for you.


Ryan Alford[00:17:17]It's no different than Anzu Daddio, in morbidity, in-game. You're going to see more unique ways for brands to get out there. They're doing programmatic in-game advertising, literally. I'm racing the car and there's a billboard up on the side of the road, that's programmatic. That's an auction in real-time, that changes. Now, this is where the consumer is in a digestible way, in an interesting way. This is no different from the TV and long-form format. You're going to see more and more product placement from Amazon being in the room on some iteration of, say, by the bell or whatever the TV shows are now. 

Ryan Alford[00:18:25]What's forcing innovation in how the product placement and how brands pivot into getting those impressions in a different way. And I think the winners and losers will pan out by the ones that are most innovative, like any other thing, and it's just forcing the media changes and the way people are consuming media. The way people are using their time is forcing these changes at a rate that's never been seen before. Because forever in a day, there were just limited ways with which to consume media but now it is endless. Now there are 100 ways you could do it on your phone. Much less to how you do it at home, on your Roku or your Xbox, or insert video platform here. There are only limited screens, but there's a lot of different channels within those screens that don't live within the framework of a TV box. 

Railey Clark[00:19:30]It's true. You see it in collaboration with influencers on apps and similar things like that. You're seeing this breathing in a different way as well. It's just a different way to show the social proof of what the brand and the product should do and what it can’t do.  

Ryan Alford[00:19:50]How many times will they say Pepsi in the Pepsi spot during the 30-minute show or however long it is? It's like these boardroom discussions, I'm behind it, but how many impressions are we getting in this one-hour video. 

Railey Clark[00:20:07]This is a very interesting way. Pepsi is also using this kind of platform as a way to even showcase new flavors like the Pepsi mango flavor, which I'm very curious to try about, you narc on Coke. Let’s see what you say about this. 

Ryan Alford[00:20:21]Of all the ancillary flavors, I get behind cherry, grape, all that mangos, not-so-favorite flavor, but it might be really, really good. I'll try anything we have, like a Pepsi mango Zyra. I'll try it. I just refuse to have calories in my soda now. Ever since the invention of Coke Zero, I never liked Diet Coke. It has a kind of weird taste, the Coke Zero is like a hit spot for me. Pepsi is close. It's not quite as good as Coke, but standing on Coke all the time comes here is like the bomb. I'm not calm here. 

Railey Clark[00:21:00]That's awesome. Coke, we love you. I think that will be an interesting way for them to show new products. That's part of a take away from this kind of a move from them. 

Ryan Alford[00:21:17]Yeah. 

Railey Clark[00:21:18]Next topic is Sour Patch Kids. 

Ryan Alford[00:21:22]Oh, yeah. As soon as you had this topic up on the board, I was like, yes,!  Always my favorite movie candy is sour patch kids. I don't eat much candy anymore. And it's around me all the time with my kids. But if I go to the movies, I like to get some Sour Patch Kids. 

Railey Clark[00:21:39]You're like the airhead extremes are. 

Ryan Alford[00:21:41]Oh! my kids love those, Sour Patch Kids give me a box of those. And so let me get it down. 

Railey Clark[00:21:46]And bite your tongue. Feel horrible. 

Ryan Alford[00:21:48]Yeah. All it does is an hour later, I regret it. 

Railey Clark[00:21:52]But this is really a cool move. So they're doing an April Fool’s Tiktok. They're calling it a prank fund and essentially they're trying to get people to prank on Tiktok. It's a big trend on Tiktok anyways to create these pranks. So they're doing it, which is smart because we got to be thinking about these things. April 1st is coming up. So if it makes it with your brand, obviously, hopefully, you've already been brainstorming that kind of day. But this is a really cool way. Again, to interact with the Tiktok community, create natural and organic user-generated content. And then, essentially you have to include a hashtag. The Sarpanch kids will essentially comment on the video, tell you that you were one of the winners and they're giving out a thousand dollars and a couple of other things. One of your 25 people gets this fund. 

Ryan Alford[00:22:45]Yeah, It feels like a good organic play playing off Tiktok. Playing off the brand of Sour Patch Kids. It did make you pretty young to remember this big garbage pail. Kids used to use these cars. I don't know what it is about. You're too young. They were kind of corrosives, like these mixed characters of Semin. It was like a weird town, the early 90s, maybe. 

Railey Clark[00:23:11]Yeah. What a weird time. 

Ryan Alford[00:23:13] Justway back yonder anyway. It feels smart to me. The only thing I was thinking was planning ahead for April Fools. I guess you have to have the best pranks. But it's giving it away if people are planning and you're promoting April Fools, is it you are going to fool people. 

Railey Clark[00:23:36]I hear you on that. But I think it's an interesting way to throw other people off because, at that moment, you're not going to be expected to be pranked. Video is the way you see pranks are done on Tiktok, but there is a phone hidden. I think some of them are still going to be scripted because if you look at any of the content creators on Tiktok they've scripted their stuff, but it's going to be interesting. 

Ryan Alford[00:24:01]Well, it plays naturally on the platform because I do feel like every other video on Tiktok is someone's prank. Like some guy cutting his finger off in his mom's kitchen and blood throwing everywhere. And she's like, oh! It's kind of natural play. But if you could get in on that borrowed interest, I think it makes sense and it's cool. And, hey, you could tell me that our kids were doing something completely stupid and I'd still like them because they're delicious. Yes. Guilty pleasure. 

Railey Clark[00:24:36]And then our last topic for today, I love this because first of all, I love Pinterest for the reason I'm a very visual person. And so Pinterest is just my go-to when I'm trying to look up something when I'm trying to do anything about a trip. My first go-to, actually, is Pinterest. And then I go to Instagram and see the location. I try to find the spots from Instagram. But Pinterest is doing a really cool thing, or I should say anthropology is doing a cool thing with Pinterest and they're creating a digital-only catalog. It's the first time anthropology has done this. But they're putting it on Pinterest, which will be a really cool place for this kind of thing to live. It's perfect with the Anthropologie brand. What are your thoughts? 

Ryan Alford[00:25:23]I think it's great. It is this convergence. You've normally thought of catalogs as these printed things that come in the mail. You've seen this shift to digital. You started with a very rudimentary PDF that turned the page. You swiped and it goes to the next page. And now you're seeing the integration of shopping tools and things like that. I did play around with this a little bit before our episode, and it's really pretty cool. Though half the products are already sold out, so it seems to be working. The only thing that I didn't love was, if you go within the catalog and you tap on the lamp and you hit the lamp, it brings up all the lamps that were for sale by a lot of different brands. That seemed a little weird, like Anthropology. Why would I want to bring up that car? I think it's just the way that's interesting. I'm not on that platform. 

Railey Clark[00:26:22]If you need to, you can hit the magnifier or you can click, or if there's a tag on a lamp. If you need to look up something particularly, you can basically create a crop of what you're wanting to focus on, and it will generate the exact same image from other vendors or other people selling. It's very interesting in there and there were tons of links to anthropology, 

Ryan Alford[00:26:44]It wasn't like they were missing out completely. But I just clicked on the categories like tables, lamps, lampshades, whatever it was, and then on the right populated all these other stores. I don't know if that's the execution I would want from a brand perspective, but you could definitely get there from the other links on the page, but that was one option. This is not a completely new thing, but you're going to see more and more of these visual catalogs like this playing out. A lot of people are pretty hot on Pinterest here this year and next. This travel and other things start to come back into play. Pinterest owns the visual search category. Instagram could definitely fall in this category as well. But Pinterest has got to be the leader with this kind of visual catalog. It's definitely grown their capability. I used to buy ads there three years ago. It was like a nightmare, but they've gotten better with their ad-buying platform. They're getting the whole system and integrations into play, which is better. So I think you're going to see a lot of growth potential for Pinterest if they can continue to improve their UI and some of their ad tools. You're going to see more and more of this integration. And if you have a catalog, it's a natural extension, especially with their audience and skewing female and younger anthologies. I think, Crate and Barrel, someone else had done their catalog here as well and half the products, at least the ones I clicked on once, had sold out when you went to the website. Yes, it's clearly working. Its roots are in the pudding. One more thing is a less printed piece of paper, 

Railey Clark[00:28:43]Obviously save the trees. No, just kidding. But honestly, it's a good thing. I think it'll be a fun space for Pinterest to keep developing and growing. People are saying it's funny when I was looking this up and then like every other article that followed up was to put your stocks on Pinterest. 

Ryan Alford[00:28:59]I think that ads note. I think there's a lot of potential growth, but if they keep refining their ad tools and things like that. 

Railey Clark[00:29:08]Exactly. But now that's it for the broadcast. 

Ryan Alford[00:29:10]Cool. It's been a good week. We appreciate everyone following along. You know where to find us for the Rad cast on Instagram. You can find this on the Web, the Rad cast dot com and I'm always @Ryan offered on Instagram. And as always, I appreciate you, Railey. Absolutely. Yeah. Appreciate it. We'll see you next time. See you. 

Yo Guys, what's up, Ryan Alford here? Thanks so much for listening, really appreciate it, but do us a favor. If you've been enjoying the RAD cast, you need to share the word with a friend or anyone else, we really appreciate it. And give us a review at Apple or Spotify. It was solid. Tell more people, leave us some reviews. And hey, here's the best news of all. If you want to work with me to check with you, to get your business kicking ass and you want radical or myself involved, you can text me directly at eight six four seven nine three six eight zero. Don't wait another minute. Let's get your business going. Eight six four seven nine thirty-six eighty. We'll see you next time.

Jan Bednar

CEO and founder of ShipMonk