How Digital Ad Veteran Sarah Hofstetter is Trying to Help Legacy Retailers Become E-commerce Juggernauts in the Age of Stay-at-Home Shopping
July 8, 2020
Profitero’s President Sarah Hofstetter discusses how marketers view customer acquisition, advertising and brand loyalty has been upended by the Covid-19 crisis, and how her company is helping unlock data to accelerate the growth of E-commerce.
Hey guys, this is Mike Shields and this week on next thing marketing, I got to talk to Sara Hofstetter president of the e-commerce tech company, Profitero. We discussed how big marketers are grappling with sudden growth in their eCommerce business, thanks to the COVID 19 lockdowns. What advice she’d give to CMOs grappling with the realities of a pandemic and how to market toilet paper on Amazon. Let’s get started. Alright. Hi everybody. My guest today is an old friend and industry veteran legend, Sarah Hofstetter, someone I know for a long time, fellow strong Islander.
Hey Sarah, how are you doing? Thanks for joining us.
Strong islander, I like that. It doesn’t make the accent sound so bad..
No, we don’t. I don’t know if our accents are really great for podcasts, but let’s see how this goes.
Sarah (1m 1s):
Jewish girl from Long Island, probably bad.
Mike (1m 4s):
I think it’s better than mine at this point. We’ll see, but thank you for being here.
Sarah (1m 8s): It’s my pleasure.
Mike (1m 9s):
So I’ve known you for a long time. I know you most for most of your career at 360i, but you’ve got a big new job, you’re president at Profitero, tell us what that is.
Sarah (1m 19s):
I feel like the first thing I have to do always is fix the pronunciation. It’s profit-eh-ro. People say Profitero because we’re like a dessert. It’s delicious, but, but really it’s Profitero, it’s more tied to profits.
Mike (1m 37s):
My grandpa used to get preferos every Christmas from the bakery.
Sarah (1m 39s):
That sounds, that also sounds delicious. And now I’m hungry, but yes, so Profitero is enterprise software that helps brands grow profitable sales on third party eCommerce retailers. So think you know, Amazon Walmart target, et cetera. So not your B2C, but everything else. So it’s a diagnostic measurement and optimization tool.
Mike (2m 2s):
So I want to get into that, cause this is an interesting time for you to be at, to joining this company for a number of reasons. But so are there your clients, your clients are not the eCommerce marketplaces themselves. They’re the vendors to sellers, is that correct?
Sarah (2m 19s):
Correct. That’s the either suppliers, merchants, or as I used to call them in my old brands. Yes. Yep.
Mike (2m 28s):
Typically, are they mostly brands who’ve been well into the e-commerce game for awhile or are they brands that are trying to accelerate things?
Sarah (2m 36s):
Well, I mean, most of our clients are already interested parties if they’ve been already investing in e-commerce data and analytics, but it’s incumbents, it’s insurgence it’s as long as they’re selling products across multiple retailers, they will need us.
Mike (2m 52s):
And so let’s and describe for people what they need you for. Cause if people hear analytics and that means a lot of things,
Sarah (2m 59s):
It might put people to sleep so let me simplify it. Why don’t we talk about toilet paper? Just cause it’s not as timely as it used to be. Thankfully, or we can talk about yeast or flour or anything else, disinfectant wipes. But if there’s something that you’re looking for, that you’re trying to buy, our software will help the manufacturers figure out if you have it. Like if it’s in stock, if you can find it. So how you’re showing up from a placement perspective, how does it look like what does a product content look like?
Sarah (3m 35s):
Is the price rate? Like if you set a minimum price and said, I don’t want to charge more than $2 for this cookie, are they charging $2 or are they charging a buck 99? How can it be delivered? Do customers like it? On Amazon we can tell you how you did it from a sales and a market share perspective. You know, are you growing share, not just growing sales.
Mike (3m 59s):
So prior to working with you guys, I imagine if a toilet paper brand is selling on Amazon, and they had a certain amount of information, but they couldn’t be as strategic. And they had to be very manual. How does it change from what they were doing to how they, the advanced level that you bring them?
Sarah (4m 15s):
Well, I think, you know, in some cases they were getting the data directly from the vendors that they were working with and then they’d have to synthesize it all together, but couldn’t necessarily compare. Sometimes data is lagging. There’s also just the complexity of number of SKUs and number of retailers. So most people sell on more than one retail site, in which case, just being able to have that diagnostic tool across multiple retailers is important. Now this, this used to be not that important to manufacturers or brands because e-commerce was such a tiny percentage of overall sales.
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