Managing and optimizing tens of thousands of SKUs while while maintaining agility is hard “af” as they say. We manage high-SKU stores mostly on Shopify these days — and we do it with the help of these three app. These apps allow merchants to bulk optimize your Google shopping feeds, optimize shipping options, and the ability to edit just about any product or subset in bulk.
Google Shopping Feed by Simprosys InfoMedia
Integrating your Shopify store with Google Merchant Center is a critical channel to optimize for sales. Having a properly optimized Google Shopping Feed makes your ad spend efficient. This app offers some one-of-a-kind features like being able to bulk set Custom Labels or Google Product Categories.
Shopify has great shipping functionality until you want to start mixing and matching calculated rates with weight-based rates — then throw in conditional rules and free shipping and you quickly find yourself searching for a tool… This tool allows you to build a decision tree based on rules you define to show what shipping options you want to show. This app is very powerful and MZL Solutions provides awesome support. There really is no more powerful way to handle all the shipping scenarios tens of thousands of SKUs from multiple suppliers bring to your desk to manage.
Bulk Product Edit is Walnut St Labs’ go-to tool for making bulk changes to products in Shopify. Need to tag 4K SKUs with a vendor name? Done. Need to add disclaimer to the bottom of every product or just a sub set? Done. Need to changes prices on a vendor by a percentage? Done. This app provides so much utility and value that managing a store without it would be truly daunting, because 50K of anything is not fast.
Brandywine Valley College Specialists was featured in the Daily Local News this week for the recent launch of their online program which makes college admissions a breeze. Founded by two experts in the field of admissions, we were approached in the Summer of 2017 to help transform their previously face-to-face consultative approach into a digital experience for increased accessibility. Fast forward to Summer 2018 and we launched a fully produced platform experience with video and downloadable supplemental materials!
Joshua David began his foray into his new company as a relentless, problem-solving intern. His entrepreneurial spirit emerged early. “I was an eBay power seller while in high school,” Joshua relates. “I bought cell phones overseas, unlocked them, and re-sold them. I was learning about profit and loss in high school, and making good money.” As a student at Drexel, Joshua took an internship at a Malvern-based medical device company, and that paved the way for his next entrepreneurial endeavor. “They didn’t treat me as an intern, but as a part-time employee. I got to know the CEO and CFO. They even paid for my 21st birthday party.” “As an intern, I just focused on helping anyone I could. If I couldn’t solve a problem, I’d come up with some other options.” The SETVI Spark One of the problems he saw early on was that the sales people weren’t using the marketing portal, and that the marketing people were complaining their marketing tools weren’t working. Joshua decided to jump on his idea, and he knew his friend Stephan was just the person he needed. “Stephan knew I was serious about my idea when I showed up with my iPad and a bunch of documents. We met at noon at our usual diner spot and didn’t finish until 1 a.m.” “We quickly identified what we lacked, and started going to other startups. One of the hardest things about starting a company is having people believe in you. To work for you without any salary.” Eventually, they found the right team members and built the content management system, creating a minimum viable product from a series of screen captures. “With SETVI, salespeople can tailor their presentations for whomever they are meeting. They can see what their clients are doing with the presentation once they send it to them. Are they opening it? Which slides do they look at or forward to someone else?” On Charging for your Beta Version Joshua found that clients were willing to pay for SETVI right away. “We started selling SETVI in beta, because they saw value in it. I think you should always charge for your product, because if they’re not buying it, you can identify the problem and fix it.” Logitec was their very first client. “The rep was more interested in the analytics, but we didn’t have the analytics built yet. He was going to buy a product from another vendor, but he liked ours. So he paid for it and we agreed to have the analytics in 2-3 months.” Coming Full Circle “I reached out to the people I’d helped as an intern. I said, ‘remember that problem you were having? I solved it.’” Those connections paid off. “Now, they are clients. I emailed the CFO of the company I interned at, and sent him a video of what I was doing. He loved it. It’s hard to believe that 3 years ago I was moving printers around, and today I was sitting in a meeting with the CFO. On Determination “There are going to be really high highs, and really low lows. It’s a lot of hard work. There were a few times I worked 40 hours in less than 2 days. One time we landed an investor after doing that, so it was a nice payoff.”
Lucinda Duncalfe finds that training in the martial arts is a lot like running a company. “You have to be willing to be vulnerable, the same way as when you come to full speed in an attack in martial arts. Women in particular are terrible at this. We ask for less money, we worry about what people will think. Just GO.”
With a tenure that includes a string of successful CEO gigs in the tech industry as well as a vegan meal delivery service, this Wharton Business School grad has always enjoyed a good match. Starting out at SEI and Infonautics, she formed relationships that would follow her throughout her career.
A consulting gig with Elverson-based online banking software company Destiny Software led to her first CEO-ship, which was a surprise. “Destiny founder Skip Shuda called me on a Saturday to talk about doing marketing for them, and I told him what he really needed was a CEO. On Monday, he called me back and said, ‘we think you’re right–we do need a CEO–and we’d like you to do it.”
Lucinda advises wanna-be entrepreneurs to keep their lifestyles in check so they can be fearless. “At SEI, I was making a lot of money. When I went to Infonautics, I took a 50% pay cut, and when I moved to Destiny, I took another 50+ percent cut. I’ve always lived well below my means, so I could do that without it being a problem.”
“I like to do what I like to do. You can do that if you make a lot of money, or you can do it if you don’t spend a lot of money.”
When the tech bubble burst in 2002, Lucinda sought out her next endeavor. She and a partner founded TurnTide, an anti-spam tech company. “We bought the technology with stock from our new company. And 6 months later we sold it to Symantec for 28 million bucks.”
“I believe that if you keep doing the right thing, then the connections will happen.”
Lucinda joined Conshohocken-based Monetate in 2008, citing her excitement about the big scale and international presence. “There is a whole new set of lessons to learn when you’re working on something that you didn’t build yourself.”
Monetate marks her fifth stint as CEO. “I believe that if you’re good, it just sort of works out. At the end of the day, it’s about results. If you’re good, just keep being good.”
Real Food Works
The film Forks Over Knives changed Lucinda’s life. Extolling the virtues of a plant-based diet and condemning big pharma and factory farming for making people sick, the 2011 documentary “made me really politically angry,” she says. “If you don’t know about the power of food on our lives, go watch that movie.”
Struggling with arthritic joints since early adulthood, the lifelong athlete was at a point she needed to do something. “I was too young for knee replacement. After seeing this movie and doing research, I changed my eating. In about 3 weeks I was pain free.”
Her dramatic results inspired an idea to make those dietary changes accessible to anyone, leading to the formation of Real Food Works, a plant-based meal delivery service partnered with Forks Over Knives. “Real Food Works uses the excess resources in the existing food infrastructure to make a healthy meal-delivery service. We make it easier to get people eating healthy food every day.”
Launching Real Food Works has had its own challenges. “Food is a cash flow business and it’s not super scalable. It was tough.”
She called in favors. “One of my contacts said, ‘you have 3 passes and you’ve used one. Is this another one?’ And I said ‘yes it is.’” But Lucinda thinks Real Food Works is ready. “We have 17,000 people on a list ready to sign up for the service.”
On Doing What You Love
“I’m 52 and I’m still passionate about doing this. When I look around at other people my age, there is a small percentage of us who are all still engaged doing what we love. There then is another small percentage doing something totally different. And then I have a whole bunch of friends who are kind of going on cruise control.”
“As my mother is fond of telling me, I gave up napping at a year old and haven’t looked back since. I’m not one to go on cruise control.”
Teaching is on the horizon. “I want to start a CEO school. There are specific things that you need to know how to do.”
Like managing risk. “One thing I always tell people who say that entrepreneurs are risk takers. Not at all. Entrepreneurs manage risk, but we don’t get emotional about it. People tend to be afraid of all the stuff around a “thing” that happens, and not the actual thing itself.”
If you’ve ever marveled at the way food slides out of your frying pan, you can thank John Bacino. The same goes for Glide dental floss, with its talent for slipping effortlessly between your tightly spaced teeth. He’s even the man behind the sinfully smooth feel of those Elixir strings on your guitar. And anyone who raced a mountain bike in the late 1990s remembers the maintenance-free magic of RideOn shift and brake cables.
“Knowing a need and filling it was an early lesson I learned,” says John. That lesson led to a long and illustrious career at W.L. Gore, and spurred him to launch a company in his retirement.
It’s Not About Mushrooms
“I grew up in Avondale on a mushroom farm,” muses John. “I knew there was one thing I didn’t want to do, and that was mushroom farming.”
Instead, he focused on inventing. “I started making Teflon-type dispersions and spraying them on an industrial scale, taking the powder and turning it into a spray.” With his method, he was able to produce a thicker coating of Teflon, perfect for applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and semiconductor industries.
He sold several of his patented ideas to W.L. Gore in 1981 and joined the team, eventually moving into developing membrane material. “All of a sudden I became a person to go to in order to develop a new material.”
The first generation of the material was intended for computers, but John—and the Gore philosophy—didn’t stop there.
The Ingenuity Team
John and his team wrapped the thin, flexible material around bicycle cables, and RideOn cables were born. The sealed braking and shifting systems virtually eliminated the traditional maintenance cycle of cleaning and lubricating. Mountain bikers loved them, but so did other people. “Somebody at a company in Florida saw the cables and asked if we could make the material for puppet strings.”
John formed the Ingenuity Team at Gore to explore new uses of the products. The durable, dirt-resistant membrane found its way onto guitar strings and even into dental floss.
John retired from Gore last April, but he’d already been plotting a retirement filled with innovation. “I was at the gym working out. I noticed that everybody who came up beside me, the first thing they’d do was to untangle their ear buds. It was minutes of wasted time.”
The relentless inventor in him decided to take a shot at designing a solution, and HOOP-IT was born. Holding up a Ziploc bag filled with early prototypes, he describes the first version. “I glued 2 magnets to a cog belt. You could open it with one hand. Other versions on the market use Velcro or a snap and need 2 hands to open.”
Size matters. “I used silicon wrist bands, but I needed a smaller size. So I found children’s wristbands.
Durability matters, too. “Every time I glued magnets on they fell off.”
He finally got a version he was happy with, made a bunch, and took them to a fitness club in Hockessin to sell them. “I sold 50 in 2 hours at $8 a piece. Another guy came back and bought 14 to give to his kids and people at work.” John new he had a hot seller.
Even today, as he thinks about scaling up for mass production, he’s still tinkering with the design. “The inventor in me is never happy.”