28 minutes | Apr 21st 2020

TAS 091 : PickFu Co-Founder John Li – Validation strategies for Amazon Sellers

So much has been going on since the last, well, slightly sombre episode… Sorry about that and sorry that I’ve missed a few weeks in terms of getting podcasts out.  As a family we have recently moved house which has taken a long time to settle into with some renovations and lots of other DIY projects. It’s amazing what you can do when you watch a Youtube Video and own a hammer! In the world of Amazon, it’s been booming for many sellers and has been a disaster for many others (myself included) so lessons learned there. I am making sure this won’t happen again by diversifying… and am in the process of working through that. I hope your Amazon business is doing ok! There is so much content being produced at the moment for Amazon Sellers, Meghla from India Sourcing Trip is running the Global Sources Smart Sourcing Virtual Summit Sessions on Facebook with some amazing guests. Of course, Danny McMillan is running daily Seller Sessions updates with a galaxy of Amazon stars. So today’s episode is an interview with one of the Co-founders of Pickfu.com, John Li who created Pickfu as a way to run public polling for feedback on designs for some software projects he was working on a few years ago. For Amazon sellers its almost an indispensable tool and a quick and cheap way to validate your product listings, design, packaging, you name it… To Save 50% off your first Pickfu Test, use the promocode – AUSELLER MACHINE TRANSCRIPT: Chris Thomas 0:00Today, I am totally thrilled to welcome John Li from Pickfu. John, how are you?! John Li – Pickfu 0:04I’m good, Chris. Thanks for having me on. Chris Thomas 0:07Great to chat with you again. Hey, would you want to give us a bit of an intro and a bit of your background? What got you to ecommerce and Pickfu? More specifically? John Li – Pickfu 0:15Yeah, sure thing. So my background is in software development, used to work for a big tech company. And actually, Pickfu was created as a side project, a tool that my co founder Justin and myself built for ourselves many years ago, when we are running a completely separate startup. One of the things one of the issues we had was that both being software developers we were in we were always at odds with each other in terms of trying to decide on design and making design decisions, product decisions and so on. And our friends and family what got really tired of, you know, us asking for their feedback. So at some point, you know what What do engineers do when they’re when they’re when they’re always trying to break a tie? They, you know, they build a feedback system for for, for getting unbiased feedback, right? Yeah, so we built that. We built a quick sort of MVP prototype many, many years ago for Pickfu, to help us get crowdsource feedback. And we left it alone for many years. Over the years, people kept using it, we still left it alone, people kept using it. And so at some point when our original business wasn’t doing as well, and we were looking to do something new, we realized, hey, people are still using foo and recommending it without us really pushing it. So we figured there was something here. Now in terms of e commerce, we ecommerce was not really a vertical that we targeted specifically, we were already we were focused on some other verticals at first and then there were a couple influencers I think in the e commerce and Particularly the Amazon FBA side of things who had discovered big foo and realized that it was really good for optimizing their Amazon listings and so on. And so that’s where that’s where Pickfu kind of grew really quickly for any commerce from that point onwards. And ever since then, which was maybe about two years ago, we’ve been pretty heavily focused on e commerce, helping sellers improve their listings and make better decisions. Awesome. Chris Thomas 2:27Yeah. Because I was actually first introduced, I think, to Pickfu by Kevin king in Hong Kong about two years ago. And he was basically, you know, running a poll of tests in front of us, like actual Pickfu tests and saying which one, you know, was the most popular choice in terms of a product image or whatever. So we had a lot of fun with him. And that particular day, MVP, for those that are not quite sure what that means. It actually means Minimum Viable Product, I think yes. John Li – Pickfu 2:55Yes. Sorry. So started Yes. Sorry. That’s lingo. Chris Thomas 2:58Yep. That’s a good book. The Lean Startup by Eric Riess. Yes, awesome, awesome book. He talks a lot about MVP and pivoting and persevering. All right, the Coronavirus, obviously is hot on everybody’s lips and tongues at the moment. Can you give us a quick update for the United States? What’s what are you seeing on the ground there? John Li – Pickfu 3:15Sure thing. So I’m based in California near San Francisco. For us, you know, I think this situation is different in its different state by state in the United States, and I think even though we were one of the first states to get it in the United States, I think we’re fortunate that our government kind of shut things down pretty early. So everything shut down here. Everyone’s staying at home, got the kids running around and so on. But thankfully, you know, our caseload isn’t too bad. Knock on wood in California, and so we’re having right currently we are having their discussions about what what it’s going to take to open up now. I don’t know what That’s going to happen. But you know, people people are getting kind of antsy being at home. Yeah. But yeah, sure. Yeah, I don’t mind if they take their time. I think it’s a, it’s a pretty serious issue. So, you know, I’m fine. I’m fine sheltering in place. Yep. Chris Thomas 4:20All right, then thank you for that. Let’s Well, let’s actually talk about Pickfu because we haven’t really told anybody exactly what it actually is. So can you maybe give us a elevator pitch or go in as much detail as you like, what what is Pickfu? How does it work? John Li – Pickfu 4:34Sure thing. So Pickfu is a it’s a digital focus group where sellers get feedback on their products and listings. We have a panel pick through as a panel of over 10,000 US based consumers who, who basically answer polls from sellers who are let’s say split testing their made images trying to figure out what products to sell working on their packaging and so on. So sellers will come on to Pickfu ask a question, or provide a couple options, and the big food panelists will answer the question, choose the preferred option and also give a written explanation why. Over the years, we’ve also developed the ability to do targeting based on demographics and various audience attributes. So if you’re selling, let’s say you’re targeting Amazon Prime members who are females who meet who like to exercise, like that’s your target market for your product, you can come on to Pickfu and target that specific segment, that audience segment so that the feedback you get is going to be from your target market, which is perfect, Chris Thomas 5:49isn’t it? And then, I mean, the price goes up a little bit as you start to segment down into the various groups, right, but it’s well worth it. I think, because you really sort of shortcut you just get a lot more certainty around there. To the test, don’t you? Yeah, John Li – Pickfu 6:02yeah. And generally, most of our polls, you’re right, Pricing starts at $1 for general audience, and then it’ll go up based on complexity of your poll or complexity of your targeting. But generally, most sellers do do some kind of targeting. And the feedback we get from sellers is that they really like the written feedback, and then also the speed at which polls, you know, polls and responses come back. Chris Thomas 6:28It’s pretty crazy. I mean, I get polls back in, say, 20 minutes, sometimes even less. But the whole thing’s done in the 50 respondents have got back with all of their comments, and there’s usually quite a clear winner. Yeah, it’s very quick in terms of MVP, you can quickly get a result without having to sort of wait days and days like you normally would with a typical split test you know, if you’re using say split Lee or, or I guess, you know, any other split testing software, this just seems a lot faster, because you’re not waiting anywhere near as long. For people to visit and actually, you know, convert or do whatever the desired outcome is. So yeah, it’s a great, really, really useful tool. Just us based at the moment, though, any plans to expand overseas? John Li – Pickfu 7:11no immediate plans, but we definitely get that request. So it’s potentially future down in the horizon, but nothing immediate. Okay, cool. Yeah. Chris Thomas 7:22I’ve often had a few issues actually crafting a really good question for Pickford. Let’s imagine that. I’ve got a main image that I might want to test. Yeah, dude, I mean, it just really just have to be as simple as you know, which main image which image Do you prefer if you’re browsing on Amazon? Or how do you create non leading questions for Pickfu pals? John Li – Pickfu 7:43Yeah, you know, over the years, and as we’ve seen a lot of users use big food. We’ve realized that part of the key to getting success from running a poll on pig foo is asking the right question and sort of coming up with a question is an art form in another itself, like you mentioned, you don’t want to, you don’t want your question to be too biased and pushed your audience towards one, one up one option or another. And at the same time, you want to provide a li
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