Learn from Fast Growing 7-8 Figure Online Retailers and eCommerce Experts

EPISODE 433 96 mins

“8-D Method” that has generated over $1 billion in eCommerce sales → Sabir Semerkant

About the guests

Sabir Semerkant

Kunle Campbell

Sabir Semerkant is an e-commerce veteran, celebrated for his groundbreaking "8-D Method" that has generated over $1 billion in eCommerce sales. As the Founder of Growth by Sabir™, he transforms digital marketing and sales on platforms like Amazon and Shopify. He is host of the acclaimed #ThisWeekWithSabir business podcast, featuring over 100 eminent figures in eCommerce and business, including Gary Vaynerchuk, Matt Higgins, Kevin King, and Neil Patel, and is a sought-after speaker at top institutions like Harvard Business School.

On today’s episode, Kunle is joined by Sabir Semerkant, CEO and Founder of Growth by Sabir, a program designed to maximize the growth potential of a business.

The power of yes. Sabir has lived by saying yes throughout his life. His high school guidance counselor’s advice to take his second career option which is to become a computer scientist when he got discouraged by the long wait to do surgery as a neurosurgeon. When Jeff Horrowitz offered him to run his channel for Vitamin Shoppe, instead of just coding a website. Accepting the guesting in Vaynermedia, the startup that Gary Vaynerchuk started and had grown to become VaynerCommerce.  These experiences and meetings with people that will eventually serve as Sabir’s stepping stones in his career would not have happened had he said no.

From his passion, he built an approach called 8-D Method. It’s a tested way of combing down every dimension of the business, addressing issues and challenges until growth comes naturally. His craft is backed by years of experience and case studies that have catapulted businesses to their potential. Countless companies have grown 2x and more and faster.

It’s an insightful episode as you’d hear Kunle and Sabir talk more about the dimensions and their importance, stories from Sabir’s years of experience in building businesses, and tips for budding entrepreneurs.

Here is a summary of some of the most important points made:

  • Sabir’s career in commerce started when he was 6 years old and was gifted a Commodore 64.
  • Sabir knew Gary Vaynerchuk from when Gary only had six people in his team working in a shared office in Tribeca.
  • Sabir and Gary co-founded Vaynermedia. When Sabir left after 4 years, he started Growth by Sabir and employed the 8-D Method with his clients.
  • Communication is critical from the leader to every department and team member.
  • “You have to look at the whole picture and the 8-D Method looks at that whole picture in a twelve-week period. It is a very intense twelve-week boot camp.”


Covered Topics:

In this episode, Kunle and Sabir discuss:

  • Sabir’s Backstory
  • Books That Shaped Sabir’s Life and Career
  • Working with Gary Vaynerchuk
  • The 8-D Method: Site Optimization Dimension
  • Customer UX Dimension And the Brand’s Storytelling Dimension
  • Sabir’s Preferred Metric
  • Product Positioning Dimension
  • The Team Dimension
  • Pricing Dimension
  • Tech Stack Dimension
  • Logistics Dimension
  • On Preorders and Backorders


  • 04:28 – Sabir’s Backstory
    • Sabir recalls that his interest in his career started when he was 6 years old and was gifted a Commodore 64.
    • He and his brother wrote their first application and their own game a year after receiving their Commodore 64.
    • He primarily wanted to become a neurosurgeon but backed out after learning that it would take a long time before he could do surgery so his high school guidance counselor recommended his other interest, computer programming.
    • He was able to write millions of code for Macys, TheStreet dot com, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis, Vitamin Shoppe and others.
    • Jeff Horrowitz, the founder of Vitamin Shoppe hired and invested his time in Sabir so he could learn about marketing. Sabir was able to grow the revenue from $12 million to $52 million in four years.
  • 18:52 – How Books Shaped Sabir’s Life and Career
    • “There was no magic bullet.”
    • Sabir published an article on Medium about the books that shaped his career and his life.
    • He usually doesn’t read books but he listens to audiobooks while working.
    • “Marketing changes but the fundamentals don’t change.”
  • 20:59 – Working with Gary Vaynerchuk
    • Sabir didn’t want to work from home a few years into his career so he went to a shared office called Sunshine Suites in Tribeca.
    • He met the founder of Sunshine Suites who told him that he could be part of the community of hundreds of entrepreneurs who were also in Sunshine Suites.
    • He was a one-person team so he was sharing the space with Gary Vaynerchuk who at the time had a startup called VaynerMedia. Sabir and Gary and his team would go to lunch together at the time.
    • Gary and his team were trying to do a web-based live discussion, like a podcast, and Sabir would also engage as a guest as a favor.
    • Five years after leaving Sunshine Suites, Sabir was contacted by an agency looking into bringing on eCommerce as a service. The founder of the agency is Gary. Sabir and Gary co-founded VaynerCommerce.
  • 30:31 – The 8-D Method: Site Optimization Dimension
    • The 8-D Method is comprised of 8 dimensions that a business founder should look at to grow their business profitably.
    • The consumer in 2024 has an attention of 1.7 seconds and the business site should be able to cater to it first and foremost.
    • “If your site is not optimized at that level so you keep making your point within 1.7 seconds of attention, you’re losing revenue.”
    • There are a lot of tools that people could use to test their site’s performance. Sabir takes GTmetrix as an example of a tool that will tell people what needs to be fixed on the site.
    • “Most commerce gets done on mobile.”
  • 37:37 – Customer UX Dimension and the Brand’s Storytelling Dimension
    • “When different types of people come to your site, first of all, you have to identify who they are.”
    • Sabir emphasizes that people show up to your site with different tastes and the site should be able to accommodate them.
    • “The customer UX needs to be not to boast your brand’s ego or your ego because you’re the CMO, the co-founder, the founder, or whatever, it’s more to do with the consumer at the end of the day.”
    • The storytelling dimension is a marketing dimension. Your site, social media channels, and/or email marketing should be able to relay your brand’s story or the founder’s story.
    • Make storytelling a foundation on these dimensions.
  • 43:04 – Sabir’s Preferred Metric
    • “Conversion rate is such a garbage KPI because it doesn’t tell you anything.”
    • Sabir prefers session value rather than conversion rate.
    • “Revenue divided by number of sessions gives me the session value.”
    • Sabir explains why session value is more meaningful and you can do it by looking at the revenue that the ad spend in relation to CPC gives you.
    • When looking at organic channels, session value is tracked by channel.
  • 51:17 – Product Positioning and Brand Positioning Dimension
    • Pay attention to product position as it is associated with brand positioning.
    • What makes your product different from all its competition?
    • Today’s consumer wants to know how the product is made, the source of the ingredients of the product, if it’s ethical, etc.
    • Consider product journey as well aside from the customer journey, site journey, storytelling journey, and marketing.
    • Check the contents of your product reviews and not so much with the ratings and how many reviews were given.
  • 57:33 – The Team Dimension
    • The team is not only comprised of employees but everyone from your agency, freelancers hired if any, and family or friends who help out any way they can.
    • “When you have the team, it’s under your leadership.”
    • Fighting fraud stems from a lack of communication among eCommerce companies.
    • Issues in corporate politics is also something that a leader/owner of a company should look into as it is bound to create serious and tremendous issues.
    • Do training. Make time for analog face-to-face dialogue with your team to discuss challenges and address issues.
  • 01:08:09 – Pricing Dimension
    • “Pricing, in my book, is further out in a dimension. If you can identify all the things that need to be fixed in the prior dimensions, then you can dictate your price.”
    • Sabir notes that if a business owner has invested on other dimensions of the business and they’re optimized, aside from having a great product, you can adjust your pricing higher compared to the same product from the competition but doesn’t have the same level of business optimization.
    • Sabir takes Prime as an example of a branded experience.
  • 01:13:54 – Tech Stack Dimension
    • “Your tech could be a detriment to your business.”
    • Sabir shares that 90% of businesses built their codes from the ground up on Magento using C++ or Python, etc. so when they do promotions or sales, the site breaks.
    • “It sounds cheap to have a bunch of engineers working for you at a hugely discounted price, what sounds like a bargain is not a bargain and is detrimental to the company.”
    • Shopify is a platform where you don’t have to worry about hosting.
  • 01:19:24 – Logistics Dimension
    • Logistics is more than order fulfillment or 3PL. It could also be your warehouse.
    • “Part of that logistics is, also, can your manufacturing plant generate twice the volume now or three times the volume?”
    • Logistics and customer service should be at par.
    • Lots of business owners fail with their business because of logistics.
  • 01:26:10 – On Preorders and Backorders
    • “At the end of the day, it’s managing expectations, managing customer expectations, communication, and setting up the expectation ahead of time.”
    • Kickstarter program is an idea whose model is based on preorder.
    • Sabir shares that he is a Kickstarter fan.
    • When taking a preorder, make sure to set the right expectations and communicate it well.
    • “It’s a matter of how are you generating and building up and managing that expectation for the pre-order.”


  • During the early days of the internet, Sabir was hired as a coder and was known as the guy you hire to launch your dot-coms.
  • The current attention span of a customer in 2024 is 1.7 seconds which was perfected by TikTok, Instagram Reels, and the Amazon app.
  • As a brand just starting, storytelling is more important than discounts.
  • Corporate politics creates issues that if not handled properly by the leader will turn into serious issues for the business in general, no matter how great your product is.
  • Sabir is a fan of Kickstarter programs. With preorders, expectations should be communicated and managed well.

Links & Resources:


🔔 Book Announcement:

📈 ‘E-Commerce Growth Strategy’ by Kunle Campbell

Exciting news for our listeners! Kunle Campbell, your host and e-commerce expert, has just released his new book: ‘E-Commercer Growth Strategy.’ This essential guide is packed with strategies for attracting shoppers, building community, and retaining customers in the e-comerce space. Drawing on insights from the 2X eCommerce podcast and Kunle’s extensive experience, this book is a must-read for anyone in the e-commerce industry. Elevate your e-commerce game today!

Available now on Amazon.

Our Sponsors:

This episode is brought to you by:

Treyd Podcast – Treyd Secrets

Discover the operational secrets behind successful e-commerce with ‘Treyd Secrets’. Hosted by Peter Beckman, CEO of Treyd, this podcast is a goldmine of expert insights covering everything from inventory management to sales strategies. Perfect for e-commerce trailblazers seeking to thrive in this dynamic industry. Tune in to ‘Treyd Secrets’ on your favorite podcast app or visit treyd.io/podcast.


Sabir, welcome to the 2X eCommerce podcast. 

It’s a pleasure being here. Thank you for inviting me to be on the show.

I’m super excited about this one because having reviewed the amount of work and contribution you’ve put into eCommerce, it would be a disservice to the audience not to give you a platform to tell your story. With that in mind, your story spans well beyond twenty years in eCommerce and probably before. Could you give us how it all started? How did you get into this industry? Go for it, please.

I would say that it’s the power of yes and saying the right yes throughout my life. It started out when I was 6 years old, my elder brother was 9 years old, and the two of us were gifted a Commodore 64. Nowadays, you get Nintendo, you cannot do computing on it. Back then, when you wanted to play a game, you had to buy an Atari, Commodore 64, or something like that and you would load up the game and you would play with it.

After a while, playing with it, you get bored, we got bored, and then we went through the box and we found the basic programming book. We said, “Let’s see what it does.” We were playing around with it, whatever it told us to do, we did. POKE 53280, 15 changes the foreground. If you did 8, 1, it would change the background. We started writing all this test code that was given to us in that programmer’s guide.

At that time, whenever you bought a computer, it came with a book that taught you how to code. We started coding and then the first thing I remember at the age of 6 that we created was learning to play piano on a computer. Mind you, I had no idea how to play piano at that time. We learned what piano was, what the notes were, and stuff like that. We took that and we put it into Commodore 64 program. We created a piano program that when you use the keyboard on Commodore 64, it was acting like a piano for you. That was the first application that we wrote.

Later on, fast forward through that year, by the time we figured out how to move things around, we ended up writing a game together at that age. This went on for a while. We kept on growing up and our dad used to tell his friends that his kids know how to use computers. We would be asked to go and help these businesses to help them with their computer needs and stuff like that and the reward was some sort of a toy or something that we were getting at that time. We were young kids and we had not figured out how to monetize our skillset at that time, there was no such word at that time, and you just helped out your dad’s friends.

Fast forward to college, I wanted to become a neurosurgeon, in the medical field. I had no intention of getting into computers or anything. My passion was neurosurgery because that was the highest and the hardest thing to achieve. Going to college, I find out that it’s going to take me 12 to 16 years before I can do any surgery so I decided that I don’t want to do that and then I speak to a guidance counselor who tells me, “What’s your interest?”

I said, “I’ve been coding and programming since I was a child. I know how to do that.” They said, “That’s interesting. Our college university offers a computer science degree but you have to major in physics, mathematics, and computer science in order to get your computer science degree,” at that time. I go through it, pass with flying colors, and do well. Now, I get into the job market. In my sophomore year, I got hired as an intern and then that internship, within two weeks, turned into a part time job because the owner of the company realized that I was not a regular intern and they would lose me if they don’t change me over to this paid position.

I became a computer scientist from the sophomore year in my college. I continued writing a ton of code. In the early part of my life, I was a computer scientist who have written millions and millions of lines of code, Macys.com, TheStreet.com, Tommy.com, PerryEllis.com, VitaminShoppe.com. There are so many of these sites, including mutual fund companies, the first of its kind that offered mutual fund access through a website in the early days of the internet. I built a lot of that.

As a coder, that’s what I did, I engineered all those sites and stuff like that. Fast forward to the dot-com era, that’s what I was doing. I was launching 2 or 3 businesses every 6 to 12 weeks. I was known as the guy you hire to launch your dot-com. From there, an opportunity came up in my history and that was the Vitamin Shoppe. To me, that was my pivotal point. At that time, I was an engineer and a hacker. I was Scotty on Star Trek. That’s who people knew me as in that part of my life.

At Vitamin Shoppe, Jeff Horowitz, the founder, through his network, came in access to me and said, “You got to hire this guy. He can help.” At that time, at Vitamin Shoppe, what had happened was Vitamin Shoppe, the parent company, had spun off VitaminShoppe.com into Nasdaq and it had gone public. After going public, like a lot of other dot-coms in the dot-com era, it went bust so it went bankrupt. The parent company went into the bankruptcy court, bought all the assets, and then once they bought the assets back, they needed somebody to now revive this channel and run it.

The networks came to know me and stuff like that so I got involved. He had bought the assets and put it on the shelf. When I say shelf, I mean warehouse shelf. At that time, I didn’t have any team because I was the first one. I started moving these servers and a part of my finger was cut. These servers were heavy and as I was lifting it, it cut through the bone. I bled moving these servers and putting them together and starting the stuff up while building the different types of engineers, web designers, and stuff like that that I needed on the team to build it up. I do this and now the site is up and we’re ready to go.

I talked to Jeff, “Jeff, who do I need to talk to, to get this going from a revenue standpoint like bring traffic and stuff like that?” He goes, “What do you mean? I thought it was you.” I said, “No, I’m an engineer.” I sounded like Scotty talking to Kirk, “I’m an engineer. I’m not a doctor.” That’s what I say to him and he goes, “No. I’ve seen you do a lot of things. I can help you but I want you to be the one running this channel.” I said, “Let me remind you, I have taken a lot of physics, math, and computer science. The only business course I took was economics 101 and accounting 101. I don’t know anything about marketing.”

He says, “Don’t worry about it. You can catch up on that stuff and I can help you learn how to sell vitamins and that would be it.” He was investing time with me and what I would do on the weekends is I would go to Barnes & Noble. At that time, Amazon was a young company. I would go to a Barnes & Noble physical store on the weekends, pick up marketing books, read it, make notes, and keep on absorbing like The Matrix, Keanu Reeves. I was consuming all this knowledge.

During the week, I would bring it and I would experiment with what I had learned in the book. What I realized was, at that time, there were no books on eCommerce marketing and it was all classical marketing, direct marketing, catalog marketing, TV marketing, infomercials, and stuff like that. I consumed all this and said, “I need to build this thing because it doesn’t exist.”

From a timeframe standpoint, Google.com as a search engine was being beta tested so that’s the reference point for that. I learned quickly that in case of eCommerce, everything is numbers. I’m a mathematician so that’s great. I can understand that and I can turn that into marketing things that I learned traditionally and classically that all these platforms are teaching me. What I did was I would learn it on the weekends, bring it, and apply it.

Whatever I learned, I would go and relearn whatever I needed to relearn or learn more things and continued building it out. This is how that business, in four years, while I was learning, went from $12 million to $52 million. I was fully responsible for all revenue from there. That was my first time doing it. Jeff was the reason I was there and then when he sold Vitamin Shoppe, I had been there for four years, I said, “It’s time to go.” After he left, I left. I tried my luck a 2nd and 3rd time.

At that time, I didn’t call it 8-D Method. What I realized was what I was doing was I was being methodical and looking at every dimension of the business. I was not just looking at marketing, I was not just looking at operations, the tech side of things, or my team. I was looking at every aspect of it. All the successes I was gaining over the past years, every one of those things had to do with not just this one magic bullet that gave you ridiculous growth. I have had ridiculous growth with a lot of brands. Vitamin Shoppe being my first one was $12 million to $52 million. Later on, the road map for Canon was $100 million to $1 billion.

On the smaller end of it, a case study that is on my website, GrowthBySabir.com, is our current client, a $1.5 million men’s jewelry brand that has gone from $1.5 million stagnant for several years now and spending a ton of money to now growing. They’re six weeks into our program. Our program is about twelve weeks with our partners. In the twelve-week program, they’re in the middle point right now, six weeks, and the business is trending over 112%. This methodology that has been crafted and refined over 25 years generates ridiculous growth and profitable growth at that.

First of all, thanks for telling your back story, going deep in that, and I see why you had to go deep. What I gathered is you’re an intelligent mathematician. You’re a polymath in a sense. In a way, you’re a self-taught polymath. Whether you had university, college, or not, you still made enormous strides with what you’re doing. Out of curiosity, what does your brother do now? You used to code with your brother.

He’s a computer scientist still. He did not change. He does an incredible job of being a technical project manager for a pretty large financial firm. Bank of New York Mellon is the one of the largest banks in the world. He implements AI, machine learning, and stuff like that in the banking sector for the financial industry. He went hardcore into technical and he leads these multi-billion-dollar projects. My mind went towards this B2C and B2B eCommerce industry.

What key books do you think in marketing were very pivotal to you and to anybody reading over that period you were trying to turn around the vitamin company?

There was no magic bullet. Everybody would like to get that magical book that worked for me. I can give you a list of them. I even published an article on Medium saying how certain books shaped my career and my life. I consume anywhere from 1 to 2 books per week and that’s my behavior, that’s what I do. I devour these books. The way I do it, it’s not like I read the paperback, sometimes I do, I like reading fiction that way right on paper. Most of the time, while I’m working, I’m listening to an audio book and usually, I keep it on 2X because I hear a lot faster and I consume a lot faster. This way, I can finish 1 to 2 books a week.

The thing is marketing does change and the fundamentals don’t change because at the end of the day, you are marketing to humans so it’s all about human behavior and human psychology and understanding that at the fundamental level and then the strategies related to the mechanism changes. For example, Facebook and Instagram didn’t exist when Google existed at that time.

When Google existed and was burgeoning, it was not the number one player, it was Yahoo and Alta Vista at that time. The platforms change. Affiliate programs, for example, has changed into influencer marketing. The mechanism changes. However, the fundamentals of the strategies that you need to implement in your business doesn’t change.

That’s what your 8-D Method covers. One of the things that caught my attention was your work with Gary Vaynerchuk. How did you meet him and what did you guys work on?

Do you know what I said about the power of yes? At one of my junctures, I finished up a project. At that time, I didn’t want to work from home so I was trying to figure out where there was any kind of an office space that I can get so that I can go and work on my startup. At that time, I was starting up an eCommerce company. I look around and in Tribeca, there is a shared office called Sunshine Suites. I don’t know if they are still around but, back then, it was a very popular place in Tribeca.

I go and meet with the founder of Sunshine Suites and they go, “There are hundreds of entrepreneurs here. This is the environment. You could be part of the community. You pay for a desk and we can give you internet connection and everything. You have access to all these snacks and stuff.” This was way before WeWork. This was a while before WeWork was founded. I said, “Sounds good.” I signed the thing. I get in there.

At that time, I was just starting out so I was a one-person startup at that time. The desk I get, Gary Vaynerchuk, I did not know who he was at that time, he was also renting space but his startup had gone a little bit further up with his VaynerMedia and he had six people, him, his brother, and 3 or 4 of his brother’s friends, six people roughly. They may have hired one extra person from outside but it was just them. They had started this up. I learned about Gary Vaynerchuk from the founder of this company and other people I met.

It's the power of yes and saying the right yes throughout my life. Click to Tweet

Mind you, at that time, when I joined that community, I was one of the most seasoned entrepreneurs because of what I had done in my career with Internet with eCommerce and stuff like that. What people did was they were gravitating towards me to ask questions about their business and things that I could help them with. We would have lunch and stuff with that first six crew of VaynerMedia and Gary Vee at that time.

At that time, they were trying this thing out. It was a novel idea to do a web-based live discussion like a podcast. They were doing this over Twitter and some other platforms and they wanted to have guests on the show. They asked me, “Would you like to be a guest on the show and talk about eCommerce and where do you see this going?” I said, “Yes.” As I said, the power of yes. I said, “Yes, no problem.” I would do that and then I would also engage with that crew, throwing it out there as a favor, and I would do it for no reason, not necessarily for any reason.

What happened was his agency grew, he left, I sold my company so I left that location, and then we parted ways for five years or something like that. I was doing my stint at Canon. One day, I got a call from someone who said, “There’s an agency that’s looking into bringing on eCommerce as a service and you have an interesting background and the founder is interesting and he wants to get into this.” Mind you, there weren’t any eCommerce agencies at that time. To me, it sounded very odd.

I said, “Do you mind telling me who the founder is?” He said, “Gary Vee. You may not know him.” I said, “I shared an office with him. I know who he is. How’s Gary Vee?” I named some some of the other people at that time, the veterans, the OGs from VaynerMedia. I said, “I knew him when it was a six-people company.” He goes, “It’s 400 people now.” I said, “That’s interesting. Why does he want to do eCommerce?” He then explained the thing.

I said, “Sounds good. Mention my name and say that Sabir is interested in this opportunity and let’s see if we have the next series of conversations.” That’s when I went and got reacquainted with Gary Vee and we co-founded VaynerCommerce. That’s what I did for about 3 or 4 years with him, turned it into a global eCommerce agency. Anyone who knows me knows that I like working directly on the businesses myself, whether I own them or I work as an advisor to businesses.

The agency model is a little different than that. Even though it sounds like it’s similar, it’s different. It’s just that it came up at fork in the road where it was time for me to move on. We acquired another agency and rebranded it as VaynerCommerce. We utilized some of the services that we had perfected over time and added on other services like Shopify development and stuff like that. The time was right for me to step out and go my own way in which where I started Growth by Sabir, which is focused on taking on select clients and utilizing the 8-D Method to do profitable growth in a short period of time. Historically, that’s what I’ve done over the past 25 years.

Anywhere from the clients I’ve experienced through the 8-D Method, they have experienced 2X to 10X growth in a short period of time. I’m talking about twelve weeks. If you think about twelve weeks, it’s one quarter, it’s three months. What can you do in twelve weeks? You can grow your business 2X to 10X. A lot of agencies and a lot of other people who run eCommerce channels, what they tend to do in the business is they focus on one dimension of the business and it tends to be something like Facebook, Pinterest, Tiktok, influencer marketing, or something like that.

They don’t look at all the eight dimensions. When you’re not looking at eight dimensions of your business, then you cannot grow the business profitably. You’re looking at one dimension and then when you grow it, what ends up happening is your business goes in the red. You didn’t fix your operating issues. You didn’t fix your team. You didn’t fix your content. Your storytelling is not up to par. Your brand positioning is not great. Your product pricing, you keep on couponing and promoting and thinking, “If I keep on promoting, it’s a race to the bottom line.” The bottom line is red, unfortunately.

First of all, a great precursor to the 8-D Method. In eight sentences, could you describe the 8-D Method? What are the key components in the in the 8-D Method? 

There are eight dimensions so let’s start with the first one. The first one that I tackle is site optimization, performance optimization, that’s the first dimension. In that dimension, I look and see from the consumer’s perspective, “If I were to engage with this site, would I buy?” It’s an eye-opening statement. Most people believe in the mantra of the creative director. The creative director says, “Because of on branding, we need to do this, that, and whatever.”

The consumer doesn’t really care about that. The consumer wants to engage with your brand to buy. These consumers have their wallets in their hand with their credit card out, they want to buy from you, and the team members that you have are working against the plan of purchase and they end up isolating those people so that your bounce rate increases, your conversion rate is sub 1%. That’s the first thing that needs to be done. That’s your store.

If the consumer doesn’t get it, and when I say get it, the attention span of the current consumer in 2024 is 1.7 seconds. It’s swipe to the left and swipe to the right or swipe up, 1.7 seconds. That behavior has been perfected by Instagram Reels, TikTok, and Amazon app. That’s the reference point you need to implement. If the performance of your site and your experience does not convey your messaging and your value, within 1.7 seconds, any number above that 1.7 second, for every second, you’re losing 30% conversion rate.

When you think about looking at that dimension and if it’s fixed and cleaned up, you can get tremendous growth from fixing that first dimension to start with. Everything you do, whether you’re asking influencers to come to your site, you’re asking Google ads to send traffic to you, Meta ads, Facebook, TikTok, and whatever social media, whatever you’re doing, at the end of the day, they show up on your site to make that purchase.

If your site is not optimized at that level so you keep on making your point within 1.7 seconds of attention, you’re losing revenue. If you’re showing a gigantic logo and it takes a minute to download because you want the highest res logo, your bounce rate is 99% on that site.  It misses the mark. The first dimension is performance optimization and it has to do with your website.

There are a lot of great tools you could use and some of them are freely available. GTmetrix is a great tool. You can pass your site through that and then it will give you a grade and it will tell you exactly what’s wrong that you need to fix. That’s just the technical side of it. You have to also think about dimension number two, which has to do with customer UX.

With step one, what role does mobile play?

Huge. That’s why it’s 1.7 seconds.

Particularly giving them web access speeds. Not everybody has a decent speed. Good stuff. 

Most commerce gets done on mobile. If your web designer has a beautiful Mac, a gigantic screen Mac on their desktop and they’re designing a beautiful desktop website, it’s completely irrelevant to eCommerce sites. For a lot of eCommerce sites, a number like 70% of their revenue is coming from mobile. 30% comes from desktop.

In some other ones, it’s even higher mobile commerce. Especially in the US, if you are in the United States, the number one platform you need to design your mobile commerce site for is iPhone, not just mobile phone, iPhone specifically in the US. If you’re in Europe, you have to think about Android and Samsung as your platform. In some other markets, it’s probably more Android because of access to cheaper phones, more access to Google, Google Android ecosystem, and stuff like that.

You have to understand where your consumers are coming from and you need to design primarily for that device first and optimize it for that experience first. It’s not that your site looks amazing on desktop. You’re looking at 30% of your revenue coming from your desktop, why are you designing it for the desktop? It should be mobile-first and desktop responsive, the opposite terms, not like mobile responsive like a lot of people design these days. That’s the wrong thing to do.

You need to also use multi-browse testing so you could see it in multiple browsers.

For the mobile in the US market, I would say, first, make sure that your site works flawlessly for Safari because it’s iPhone because that’s the web browser that’s pre-installed on your phone. Secondarily, you can test it for other popular browsers like Chrome, Brave, and other flavors of Chrome-based, Firefox, and stuff like that on the mobile phone. Primarily, if it’s coming from an iPhone, highly likely, it’s a Safari browser. If your site is not compliant with Safari, it breaks, it doesn’t pop up correctly, and things are too small and too big. You’re expecting people to zoom in to look at things. Consumers get turned off of that and they move on. The more of those things you solve, the better that dimension is going to be.

You’re moving to point two now in the 8-D Method.

In the 8-D Method, the second one is customer UX. Customer UX is customer user experience. When different types of people come to your site, first of all, you have to identify who they are. Why are they coming to your site? Are you giving them the user experience that is going to be conducive to them engaging with your brand. One KPI that I dislike in eCommerce is called conversion rate. You’re going to get a very low conversion rate. I believe in a different KPI than conversion rate. Your business is better optimized using this other KPI and not conversion rate. Customer UX has to be right.

In this example, you’re a jewelry store. If you’re an online jewelry store for men, what kind of products do you sell? You sell bracelets, rings, and sell necklaces let’s say. The necklace buyer, a man who wears necklace, is a different kind of customer than a customer who buys a ring from you. It’s possible the person who buys a men’s ring may not wear a bracelet or a necklace, even though it’s all jewelry and that’s what you make.

You have to think about when people show up with different tastes and why they are there, are you giving them that experience that’s going to give them that experience that’s siloed within your site? If you do, you’re giving them the greatest experience possible. If you think about that customer UX, if you’re running ads or email marketing, you could send men who like bracelets to the men’s bracelet page and experience. Men who like men’s necklaces, you’re going to send them to the men’s necklaces. Men who like rings and genuine stone, you’re going to send them to that customer UX.

The customer UX needs to be not to boast your brand’s ego or your ego because you’re the CMO, the co-founder, the founder, or whatever, it’s more to do with the consumer at the end of the day. Are you giving them the experience that they care about? If you make it about their experience, you can get conversion rates. This is where you have to look at your product pages. Are you showing them a generic template for all of your products?

For me, a ring could be presented differently to the ring buyer than a necklace would be or than a bracelet would be. If you’re selling pet food or pet products, a toy is different than a pet food. It sounds obvious but if you go to these sites, you don’t see the difference between them. It’s treated like everything, “Why are you doing it?” “Because Amazon does it.” Amazon has had a 25-plus a year head start on you and you are just starting out. You need to tell your story differently. Are you giving them that customer UX that’s very unique?

Sundays for Dogs, for example, does a fabulous job of storytelling. That brings me to the third dimension, which has to do with storytelling as a marketing dimension. What is your story? How is your product different? How is the founder’s story different? You have to utilize storytelling in the third dimension. When you’re using that, you’re doing it on your ads, you’re doing it on your email marketing, and you’re doing it on your social media channels. Anywhere that you can tell your story, you have to tell your story to make it unique and your own.

It’s not always about the product. It’s not always about, “Our product has ten more ounces of food.” “That’s a technical detail. That means that I’m saving some money. It doesn’t tell me what makes it special. Why buy from you? I could buy anything from Amazon, why should I buy it from you? What makes your product so special?”

Focused on this third dimension after customer UX is marketing but specifically, storytelling as your foundation. A lot of people miss this aspect of it and they don’t think it’s important because they start doing price optimization, “Buy 1 and get 1 free. 30% off. Free shipping.” They give the store away by couponing to debt. Instead, if you spend time storytelling, maybe you don’t have to do any of those things. You could only use it when you need to or when you have to do a price promotion.

I often say storytelling is your ability to tell your why and why you’re doing what you’re doing. When people understand that why, they can justify any price points, and they can sacrifice or do anything you ask them to do because they believe in that why and it’s so important. Back to point two, you said you preferred another metric over conversion rates. What is that metric you prefer?

I completely do not use conversion rate at all. Coming from a 25 years eComm veteran, hearing that sounds odd because every other eComm person says conversion rate. Conversion rate is such a garbage KPI because it doesn’t really tell you anything. I have replaced conversion rate with session value. For an eCommerce site, I don’t care about the conversion rate, I care about how many sessions did I get or how much traffic? How many visitors come to my site? How much revenue did I utilize if I divide those two numbers? Revenue divided by number of sessions gives me the session value.

I’ll tell you why that KPI is a meaningful KPI. Let’s say you do that math, you get a certain revenue and you divide it by a number of sessions you have on your site, you get a session value of, let’s say, $2.50. That means that when you bring a session to the site, it generates $2.50. That means that if that $2.50 goes down to $2 that means that you’re bringing unqualified traffic to your site.

Let’s move that along further. If you take a look at all of your paid channels, your paid channels generate certain amount of clicks to your site, clicks, visitors, or whichever one you like to use. You know your spend. Even though the platform might charge you like a Meta Ads charges you by impression, it doesn’t charge you by CPC. However, Google Ads charges you by CPC, depending on the ad units that you buy.

If you normalize that to cost per click, regardless of the channel, your cost per click is, let’s say, $0.50. If you know that every click is going to cost you $0.50 but every qualified session that you bring to the site is $2.50 in revenue, what is your ROAS? It’s 5X. $0.50 times five is $2.50. Knowing that number, you don’t need to know any other numbers. If you know that number, you’re going to keep on working towards that number.

At the earlier part of this podcast, I said, our clients, whether they run Amazon ads, which one of them is experiencing 10X ROAS, that’s an Amazon platform, less control. Still, doing the right fundamentals of the 8-D Method, they’re experiencing 10X ROAS. This jewelry brand that has a Shopify store has grown 112%. Here’s the catch, we reduced our Facebook ad spend. Everybody thinks, “Sabir went in there. You doubled your Facebook ads.” That would be very lazy of me and stupid. I don’t do stupid and lazy things. We need to do the right things by the business.

In their case, specifically, during these six weeks, we reduced our ad spend on Facebook. Why spend money if your site optimization, your customer UX, your marketing and storytelling is not set up properly? We spent time on these first three dimensions first, increased our conversion rate, and we said, “While we’re working on this, we don’t want to pay attention to our Facebook ads. Let’s knock it down a little bit. Let’s do retargeting and do bare minimum for bringing some traffic in. We can even shut it off if we don’t need to.”

In these next six weeks, we will be talking about Google ads, optimizing Meta Ads properly, Pinterest ads, TikTok Ads, and looking at influencer marketing as a channel, and getting better at email marketing, which we have done already in the first six weeks and optimizing it even further moving forward. Session value is a much better metric for eCommerce businesses and it’s not conversion rate. There’s nothing practical you could do with conversion rates.

On what dimension do you track it? Is it time based or is it channel based?

As we go through each dimension, are we looking at organic or are we looking at paid? When we’re looking at organic channels, we have to look at the session value by the channel to see what kind of return are you getting on the session value. For example, affiliate marketing has phenomenal session value but then when you get into the holiday period, all those numbers tank because now you’re paying the affiliates to throw more traffic at you. You’re paying for placement during the holiday seasons, for example. You have to be mindful of those kinds of things.

I would go and relearn whatever I needed to relearn or learn more things and continued building it out. Click to Tweet

Organic SEO stays pretty stable, profitable, and it’s session value is pretty consistent throughout the year unless there are drastic Google SEO algorithm changes that affects the entire product category. Other than that massive change like that, it’s pretty stable. You’re getting your session value pretty consistently so you have to keep on investing in those back links, doing more content, blog articles, better optimized SEO content on your site, better structure, technical SEO, and stuff like that. You’re getting a pretty consistent return on the time you spend doing that SEO optimization. That’s where you’re not spending money on, maybe sometimes you are but mostly you’re spending time on SEO.

The cost of time, you should take into consideration when you’re considering your ROAS on that. Your session value is going to be the same. How much time did you spend on doing the SEO? If you had to do backlinks to where you pay for some placements or guest posts or you paid a third-party agency to do SEO for you and stuff like that, that’s your cost for that channel, even though it’s technically free. Email marketing, the same thing. You have to look at organic channels first and then you look at your ad spend by channel. There is no generic number you should be looking at for your business.

This is one of the reasons I hate conversion rate because everybody says, “My site’s conversion rate is less than 1%.” When we do this 8-D Method, are we going to improve the conversion rate? That’s such a generic number and it has no meaning. I would rather look at every channel and see how we can improve the session value of that channel. Conversion rate is a derivative number. You can look at your Google Analytics or Shopify Analytics or whatever to see how it improved but it’s a derivative number, it’s meaningless.

We talked about site performance, optimization, customer research or creating unique product UX, and storytelling. What is the number four? What’s number 4-D in the 8-D method?

Number four is product positioning and your brand positioning. Now, we looked at the customer, we looked at your site, we looked at your marketing and storytelling, and we have to look at your product and we looked at your customer. The next place that you need to pay attention to is your product positioning, which also is associated with your brand positioning. For the same product, there are a thousand variations in the market.

If you doubt my statement, go on Amazon, put in your product category search term, and you’ll see thousands and thousands of competitors. It’s not like you have three competitors, you have thousands of competitors at the product level. What are you doing for your product that is positioned differently for your product specifically? Part of it could be technicals. Your vitamin has better ingredients, it’s organic, it has X, Y, Z ingredient, and the packaging is sustainable. All of those things count.

Today’s consumer doesn’t want to just take the pill and put it in their mouth or they don’t want to take a lotion and put it on their face. They want to know how it was made, where it came from, and who made it. What are the ingredients? Is it ethical? All of those things matter. From your product positioning perspective, when we get to this fifth dimension, you have to position every product for success. What are you doing to position it correctly?

Are you doing things to ask those customers that you acquire? When they bought this product, are you asking them to do things for this product on your behalf? What are those things? Reviews, testimonials, video testimonials, pictorial testimonials, textual testimonials, and reviews. Whether you’re selling on Amazon or on your Shopify site or WooCommerce or whatever, is that part of your product journey? As we talked about site journey, customer journey, and marketing and storytelling journey, we have to talk about the product journey.

In the product’s life, what things are you doing? Are you setting it up for success so that you can get the right reviews? Is everybody happy? Are you listening also? That’s important with reviews and questions and answers and complaints that customers tell you. Are you paying attention to that? Are you making the changes that they’re telling you that there is a fault?

For example, let’s say you sell tomato sauce. You’re selling it, you’re getting mixed reviews, you’re getting people who got it and they used it for their pasta and they love it. This is their choice. Your tomato sauce is the best. They will go out of their way and pay for shipping and handling to buy your tomato sauce than to go to Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, or whatever market. They would rather buy yours because it tastes amazing because everything is made out of organic tomatoes and every tomato was kissed by a fairy right or whatever those selling points are.

However, now you get a mix of people that are telling you, “The tomato sauce is good but I bought three bottles and one of them, the lid came off and it was all over the box.” They’re going out of their way to tell you what you need to fix with your product. For a lot of businesses, this sounds obvious. It’s not a tomato sauce, it could be a piece of jewelry, it could be a shoe, it could be your size six woman’s dress is not size six. They’re telling you these things.

A lot of people are like, “Do I have four and a half stars on my ratings? How many reviews? We need to get the number of reviews up.” They’re not paying attention to the content of those reviews where customers are working for you and they’re not only buying the product, they’re telling you what’s wrong. A lot of businesses are not listening, unfortunately. That’s the product journey.

The reason for this is two pronged. One, operations or product, products and operations are one in the same, in my opinion, do not listen. They’ve not put a feedback loop to customer service and marketing that gives them that feedback, “This is what our customers are saying.” You’re communicating that customer cry towards improving the product.

Every feedback is good feedback and you could always put that to iterate. The other thing is the nature of eCommerce, it’s the physicality of eCommerce. Let’s say for instance you’d had your consignment for the quarter, you brought in 50,000 units of the product, or you brought in X amount of products into your warehouse or your fulfillment center, the objective of eCommerce sell through.

If those products or some of those products have some fundamental issues that are going to cause issues with customers, they still have to sell through commercially because that’s what’s going to fund the next inventory turnaround that could potentially lead to those changes. The question is, what are you seeing? How are you seeing good companies close that loop and take on feedback? How do you handle stock that you know may have some fundamental issues? Do you destroy it? What do you do in that scenario?

Kunle, what you did is jump to dimension number eight, which is team. I know that we’re jumping and it’s fine because you asked the question so I’ll answer it. The eighth dimension is your team. When I say team, I don’t mean your full-time employees. Your team is your agency, the people you hired on Fiverr, Upwork, and LinkedIn, freelancers that work for you, people who come in, your cousin, your wife, or your husband that comes and helps you over the weekend, that’s your team.

Whether you pay them, don’t pay them, or pay them on a W-2 or you pay them on a 1099 as an independent contractor, it doesn’t matter to me. You may have hired an agency to work for you. When you have the team, it’s under your leadership. You’re the owner of the company. When I say owner, it doesn’t mean that your name is on the equity thing. You could be the CMO. You could be the CEO, meaning that you don’t own the company, you are hired as a CEO. At the end of the day, it’s building the right communications.

An online blog had interviewed me several years ago about fighting fraud online, which fighting fraud is a huge issue with ecommerce sites. One of the directions that I had given there is communication. The number one thing fraud happens is lack of communication in eCommerce companies. That’s a real practical issue in eCommerce. Fraud is the number one issue in e commerce. You could be selling to fraudulent credit cards or shipping and rerouting and there are so many things. I could write a book on fraud on eCommerce. The reason that happens has to do with lack of communication.

In your company, let’s say this issue is not a big issue when you are a 1-to-2-person company and then you have a bunch of freelancers working for you because you’re controlling the communication. All the buck stops at you. When that group grows to 15 to 20 people, it’s no longer that. You have several chiefs in there, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, or Chief Technology Officer, and each one of them have their own kingdoms. The person who runs marketing doesn’t have some issue with the person who’s running customer service. They don’t want to talk to each other. They want to throw each other under the bus. That’s just corporate politics.

As a leader, as the owner of the company, it’s your job to make sure that you weed out those issues first because that’s cancer for your company. If you don’t weed that out, no matter how great your product is, you are bound to have serious issues and pockets of issues or tremendous issues in your business. That eighth dimension being team and communication being at its core, you need to pay attention to that.

I’ll give you a gigantic example. This example comes from Vitamin Shoppe.  The marketing team was told by merchandising that an amazing book has come out and the publisher has given us this book to be included with every order and it’s a popular book. Mind you, the book was not a small paperback, it was one of those gigantic physician’s guide whatever to natural alternative or whatever, a gigantic book. Most of our orders at Vitamin Shoppe were 3 to 5 bottles of different types of vitamins.

Merchandising made the deal with the publisher to get the book. They told marketing, “Marketing, go ahead and promote the hell out of it because we have thousands of books we can give away and we can increase our orders.” Merchandising did its job, amazing. Marketing did its job, amazing. The two people that were not told were customer service that this promotion was going on. The other person that should have been at the forefront before marketing would have been operations. We didn’t even have the boxes to put the book in there and then put the vitamins in there. The book was a gigantic book. What do you think happened to the shipping cost that month?

It blew up.

It was a huge cost because it’s an additional shipment for every order that qualified. From a KPI standpoint, we had tremendous wins on merchandising and marketing. When it came to, “Where’s my book?” Some packages were lost. That increased customer service cost and shipping costs went up and double the labor in the order fulfillment area. Even though you have successes in parts of your team, that communication is critical.

Nowadays, you have tools like Slack where people are supposed to talk to each other because there are so many remote teams now. Leadership still is needed in managing those teams so that it’s not siloed kingdoms that are running within your company. There are free-flowing conversations that are happening in that eight dimension.

I often likened Slack as a baseline conversation layer, a communication layer. As you said with critical decisions at a leadership level, you require another level above Slack to make those decisions and effect what actions need to be taken so leaders can absorb it and use Slack as the medium to alert the rest of the team. Slack can be overstretched as a channel if every single decision is passed through it. When there’s no decision hierarchy, it’s tougher to run a company.

You cannot shirk your responsibility as a leader by pointing to the tool. You still need to do your huddles with Zoom, Slack Huddle, Microsoft Teams, Webex, or whatever flavor off in-person like this that you could do that doesn’t go away even if you have remote teams. If it’s in-person, what are the meaningful 1 meeting of the week or 2 meetings of the week that you should do in person? What are the follow ups you could do through Slack so that things get done faster and better? “I finished this thing. Can some of you guys go and test it to see if it works?” You could do that in Slack.

Making critical decisions, you still need to do that face to face. You can have that dialogue. It’s not a transactional chat in a in Slack. It’s an analog human-to-human discussion about the challenges and stuff like that so that you can all be in the know. As the owner of the company, you’re setting the tone and you’re setting that pace for your team. Even if you have lieutenants, majors, all the C level executives that report to you, directors, VPs, or whatever title you give them, they need to do the same thing to lead their teams also. If you have this unified conversation on a weekly basis, that’s how you win.

When there’s a lack of that communication or if a leader doesn’t carry through that communication, that’s when you start running into issues, “This company is making amazing products but why is their marketing so horrible? This product does these amazing things but they never tell me that these things could be done with the product as a consumer.” When you have those questions about a business when you’re evaluating it and you’re doing your case study, learning, or auditing it, when you see those gaps, it has to do with a communication gap in that organization.

The faster you could find those communication gaps and you find out what’s causing it, you need to address it. You can do training and you could do things like that but sometimes, maybe the person just doesn’t have the DNA to make that happen. In that case, you have to make the critical decision of releasing them to the community of the world and finding another superstar to add to your team.

Sometimes it might be a talent problem. Let’s jump right back into the list, site performance optimization, customer research, and storytelling. We had brand and products positioning. We’ve covered eight, which is team. What is number five?

We covered five dimensions so number six has to do with pricing. As you can see, pricing, in my book, is further out in a dimension. If you can identify all the things that need to be fixed in the prior dimensions, then you can dictate your price. When it has to do with price, you have to take into account promotion also because that’s your ultimate price that the market will bear. Whatever the market will bear based on all the other optimizations that you have done and they’re willing to pay you for it, that’s great.

I’ll give you an example. Let’s say we are selling the same exact product. It’s not that it’s from two different brands, it’s the exact copy. One sells it for $10 and that’s the cheapest price but you get it in six weeks. There are a lot of complaints about, even in six weeks, you got the smaller size so they’re being dishonest versus Somebody who sells the same product for $15, $5 more, which is expensive, $10 versus $15, but they send it to you within 2 to 3 days across the US, you receive it, and they have fabulous reviews about how great they are, how great their customer services, and stuff like that.

One has invested in customer service, it has invested in truth and storytelling on their branding, and people are willing to pay for the same product, they’re willing to pay $5 more. The one that was $10, the customers who fell for it are sorry that they did because they lost their $10. One, they didn’t get the right product and they lost their $10.

You can see that it could be the same product but if you optimize the other dimensions of the business, you could ask for more money and consumers are willing to pay for that. If you’re in a commodity business, that’s what also sets you apart, it’s your experience. Does Amazon sell anything different than anything that Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, or anybody else sells? The answer is no. It’s the same commodity products. Why is Amazon the number one eCommerce company in the world?

Marketing does change but the fundamentals don’t change. Click to Tweet

It’s customer-centric. It does what it says faster.

They’re marketing it as a label too. Do you know what that label is?


When you hear Prime and 72% of US households know what Prime is because that’s how many have it, they know that when I place an order, I’ll either get it overnight or, worst-case scenario, within 1 or 2 days. It gives me music, movies, and all these other ancillary benefits that were added on over the years. It’s a branded experience. Prime is a branded experience. What are you doing to your brand to build that stuff out?

When the question off pricing comes in, can you price it in a way that it’s not always race to the bottom line, which is tends to be very red? A lot of companies, during the holiday season, show amazing numbers. Black Friday was great, Cyber Monday was great, Cyber Week was great, and our Christmas holiday season was amazing. Come January, US retail bankruptcy skyrocket. That’s a real indicator how horrible those companies were being run.

The unit’s economics was not right.

That’s why you have to do those other things. Does it require time? Yes. Can you do it fast? Yes. I have been doing it for twelve weeks at a time and turning these companies around. Some of them were turned around. Ashley Stewart, for example, in my history, was a bankrupt company. When I inherited it, it was a $3 million company as an ecommerce company. They had retail stores too, $3 million. Within two years of continuous improvement on a daily basis, that $3 million channel went to $30 million. $3 million was at 30% gross margin to $30 million at 65% margin. It’s not just top line growth, overall, profitable growth in two years. Now, this model has been perfected and we do this every twelve weeks.

What’s number seven after prize and promotion?

Number seven, because we are in eCommerce and the world runs on tech and computers, it has to do with your tech stack. Number seven has to do with your tech stack. We have one more dimension besides team. Your tech could be a detriment to your business. There are businesses that ask for my advice and when I go through the evaluation and audit of their business, I find out that all the other dimensions are fabulous and are working fine. Can we improve it? The answer is absolutely yes. You can always improve a business.

What I find out is its mishmash spaghetti of connections and integrations over time because different people touch the tech stack over time. There are eCommerce businesses today still that have a staff of twenty people in tech working on coding everything. Why are you doing that? Does Shopify not do for you what you want to do? Believe it or not, more than 90% of the answer there, there are some odd examples, I would give it 5% to 10%, there are odd examples no Shopify cannot do certain things, meaning extreme customization and personalization, maybe.

For the other 90% of the businesses where they have coded everything from the ground up on a Magento using C++, Python, or whatever flavor that tech people like, they build it based on that so that every time they try to do a promo, the site breaks, and the performance is horrible. It takes forever to launch features on the site so that the marketing is crippled basically because of it. It’s touching so many other dimensions.

If that tech is negatively affecting all these other dimensions, then you need to swallow the hard pill and say, “We need to move off of this thing because the tech stack is killing our company.” In some cases, unfortunately, what I see is that the person who’s running tech has ulterior motive, meaning that they have a company they invested in or whatever overseas. Because it sounds cheap to have a bunch of engineers working for you at a hugely discounted price, what sounds like a bargain is not a bargain and is detrimental to the company.

I would rather hire a Shopify agency to rebuild that entire site and the budget for that would be cheaper than my expenses related to operating that tech and managing that tech and paying all this payroll and all of these other things that also touches team in that scenario, your tech team also. All of those things, the cost of it would be a fraction when you move it to a platform where you don’t have to worry about hosting, Shopify does that. You don’t have to worry about all these payment connections and stuff like that.

There are connections pre built and if you are being affected, that means that thousands of other merchant sites are being affected and everybody is screaming at Shopify, Authorize.net, Stripe, and all of these platforms. There are things that may have made sense and I built a lot of it back in the ‘90s. In 2024, it doesn’t make sense for you to do that. If you’re a tech stack, once a year or twice a year, you have to evaluate and see, “Even the decision I made in 2023, is it still relevant from a tech standpoint? Did a startup get funded that has a magical solution for me that’s going to solve time, cost, operations, or whatever? Is it better?”

The thing that you keep on investing, you’re going to keep on doing that over the next 5 to 10 years but if you bite the bullet and make the change right now, you may not need to. Tech is a huge dimension there. When I come in and ask you to make site optimizations in the first dimension and you’re going to give me a timeline, like, “That’s going to take two and a half weeks and we can only work on five things.”

The answer is, in Shopify, you could have done it in the next hour and we could start getting data and see how this change is going to positively affect our business and collect revenue at the same time. When I say Shopify, Shopify is one of the most popular platforms but you could be on other platforms that give you a similar type of features that are pre-built that you don’t have to engineer yourself.

Focus on the other aspects of the 8-D Method. You said we missed one. What’s the one more?

The seventh dimension is logistics. Your logistics, you got everything right, you have your team, you have your marketing, your product, customers, pricing, and brand positioning, everything is fine. Everybody’s holding hands and everybody’s celebrating. Now, it comes to logistics. When I say logistics, it’s a lot of different functions, it’s not just order fulfillment or 3PL, which is third party logistics that handles your orders after you sell on Shopify or if your inventory runs out and you send it to Amazon FBA.

If your partner or you’re doing it yourself, if your logistics is not optimized, it doesn’t matter that marketing hired Sabir to go in and do his 8-D Method and now you’re getting double the orders. Your logistics partner could be your own warehouse. They didn’t increase their people on the ground to pick back and ship. If it’s robotics, their robotics cannot handle double the capacity. Logistics is critical from an order fulfillment side when all of these things are optimized.

Part of that logistics is, also, can your manufacturing plant generate twice the volume now or three times the volume? Some of our clients, in twelve weeks, got 6.5X growth. Can they generate so much more clothing, so much more shoes, whatever widgets that you’re selling? The logistics part of it needs to be done. Especially if you’re in the custom business, do you have enough people to put that custom thing together if you’re getting more custom orders because now you’re getting double the volume? Your logistics need to be optimized also.

As we optimize these businesses across each one of these dimensions, we are very mindful of logistics and customer service as part of it too. We’re making sure that they are up to par, meaning that your manufacturing can generate more products, your inventory could be checked in on time. If you’re running out of inventory and in order to have savings, you have to keep 90 days of inventory in order to get different levels of Prime even with Amazon FBA. You have to be mindful of those things.

Can you send over 90 days volume while you’re selling on your own website because you have to manage the different channels? Logistics is critical and then you have to go all the way back to your supply chain. Do they have double the capacity? For example, if you’re in the supplements business, you can grow only so many trees that you can cultivate the ingredients you need from those trees. There are so many fishes in this ocean and you cannot over fish. There are legal restrictions against that.

Even if you are doubling, tripling, or 10X-ing your business, are the capabilities there behind the scenes or are you selling vapor on this side and 10X-ing the business and you didn’t think about the fact that you needed to have finished inventory to fulfill those orders? In fact, you needed to have more people, more robotics, or whatever in order to fulfill those orders for it to go out even if your warehouse is full of products.

You have to be mindful of the seventh dimension being logistics. You have to be lock and step from every one of these things. When you think about your business, a lot of business owners, this is where they fail. They look at, “My issue is a Facebook issue. I’m getting the traffic. I don’t know if my ad is right. Let me go get an agency, somebody who’s a guru at that.” They do that and then they don’t get the results because they’re not looking at the full picture.

That’s why I don’t call myself an agency and I don’t call myself a consultant, I’m an advisor. I take a step back and I look at the entire business and I look at exactly what’s wrong with the entire business and not just looking one element of a dimension, and say, “We need to improve our ROAS on Facebook.” It’s not even Facebook, it’s ROAS on Facebook. That’s looking at a drop of water from an ocean and deciding what the ocean is made up off.

You’re missing the whole point and you have to look at the whole picture and the 8-D Method looks at that whole picture in a twelve-week period. It is a very intense twelve-week boot camp. Every week, there is deliverables related to the dimension that need to be implemented ASAP. I become in charge of that company for twelve weeks.  Every week, those things are being given and the owner takes it and gets it done.

If my clients don’t have the right resources, and most of them don’t know everybody, the typical question is, “Sabir, do you have a guy that can do XYZ?” The answer is always yes because I have a network of amazing experts that I have personally vetted who are incredible at executing that part of the 8-D method, that specific part that they excel at. I make the introductions and they get it done. During those twelve weeks, they typically work with the client.

After twelve weeks, if they like each other, they can continue their contract and agreement until they reach a certain goal or they keep going. I become the advisor to that business for those twelve weeks. I have had many clients that stick with the plan because they see the value not only in the strategy but the execution is so on point. It’s laser surgery, not butchery. It’s much laser surgery that they see it and they continue on. I’ve had clients for 3 or 4 years that have continued on. They started as an 8-D Method client, the program is called Rapid 2X. They started there but they continued on for 3 or 4 years.

Speaking of logistics, what are your thoughts and experience with pre order and backorder experiences, particularly when you’re scaling and, really and truly, you’re not able to meet up with the demand that the other aspects of the 8-D Method have delivered?

At the end of the day, it’s managing expectations, managing customer expectations, communication, and setting up the expectation ahead of time. For example, if you think about it, do know what’s a pre order? The entire model is based on pre order, Kickstarter programs. With a Kickstarter, the idea is a figment of their imagination and they recruit people to realize and make this figment of their imagination into reality. They share their journey through Kickstarter and then you get a product. That’s managing and communicating that journey. People are willing to pay three months ahead of time.

I’m a Kickstarter fan. I have bought cameras and stuff like that and audio headsets and all sorts of things like that through Kickstarter programs because that’s what I liked doing. When you take a lesson from that for your business, when you’re doing pre order, are you setting the right expectations or you did not communicate that well? It’s not a first-time communication, it’s ongoing communication of why they’re on this journey of pre order with you. I’m not talking about a 30-day pre order, I’m talking about a 3-month pre order.

It’s a matter of how are you generating that? How are you building that up and managing that expectation for the pre order? The same applies to back order. If you say that you have limited quantity, do you have 1,000 that’s available? If it runs out, then you’re going to go on a back order. A lot of sites and businesses don’t communicate that well. What happens? Your chargebacks go up, your refund rate goes up, and your reviews and ratings tank. All those things are connected. At the end of the day, you could have saved all of those things by communicating it on the product page, communicating it with a follow up email, SMS, or through your social media.

It goes back and touches the dimension of storytelling and marketing. You have to storytell. It’s not just that before you try to get them to buy your product, you have to do it also after they bought your product because they’re on a pre order or a back order. That needs to be there. The more you communicate, the more you manage the expectations there and make it convenient for them to be like, “If you want to bail out, that’s fine. There are other people who want to take your spot.” There are some events like Comic-Con. I don’t know if you are a Comic-Con fan, Kunle.

I’ve heard of it but I’ve only attended one mini-Comic-Con in Oxford here but nothing not a fan.

One of the great things that they do is they send you an email. You bought a ticket, which is very hard to find for Comic-Con, especially in New York and San Diego. These are very popular destinations for Comic-Con. You buy your ticket, you bought it, and you have it on you. They send you an email telling you, “There are some people that want that. We already sold out. If you want a refund, if you cannot make it to the event, we can give you a refund so we can give it to other people.” Your money is already in the bank. They’re telling you, “We’ll give you a refund to get out if you’re not committed to coming so that somebody else who is a bigger fan than you will come.” They are willing to pay for it. You already bought it.

With or without your mentality. It’s like, “We’ll do it anyway.” Every single aspect of this interview surpassed my expectations. I had high expectations for this and it surpassed my expectations. I want to express my gratitude for you coming in to share the methodology and for you sharing your back story, 25 years’ worth of experience in eCommerce. With what you’re doing in Growth by Sabir and the program, you have a Rapid 2X program, which is a twelve-week program, and then you have a Hyper 10X program, how can people find out more? Your website is GrowthBySabir.com. What should they expect when they reach out to you?

First of all, thank you for having me. I had a fabulous time on your show. What I would recommend for your audience members is if they’re interested in learning more about it, I’m doing a workshop that they can register for, for free. If they go to GrowthBySabir.com/workshop, they will be sent over to the workshop registration, it’s free. I am running a free workshop where I’ll go through this in more detail. They could find out more, they can learn more about the case studies, and I take a deeper dive into the case studies also so that they can see that if this is for them.

Because I don’t run an agency, it is limited to highly qualified businesses that I work with. I personally work with them. This Rapid 2X program is a mastermind that we are launching very soon that will bring in a group of like-minded entrepreneurs who are like type A players, highly motivated to grow their business, and they have the right product market fit. If they attend the workshop, they will learn more about it and then they could contact and apply for the program to see if they’re a good fit.

If they are, they can start in the workshop and spend the next twelve weeks. I have a fabulous time during those twelve weeks but people are a little bit in a shock in the first few weeks until they get used to my pace because they’ve never worked on their business at this pace. It’s exciting. What I can tell you is our clients consistently say that, in the first 2 to 3 weeks was an adjustment period for them to get used to the pace. Once they got the pace, they’re on it.

What makes it exciting is they see results, they see it directly on their Shopify or Amazon seller account.How do they see it? They’re seeing the business grow 30%, 40%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. They surpassed 100%. They see their average orders going up. they’re seeing their return on advertising spend on Google and Facebook and Amazon ads going up.

That’s exciting, as a business owner, when you see those metrics go up and you see your business growing and it’s not stagnant like it has been for years now or a year or two or five. We have had some clients that their business has been stagnant for ten years and they come to us and they start growing. When they see that, that excitement is revived. GrowthBySabir.com/workshop, attend the free workshop, see if it’s for you, and then we’ll take it from there.

Marketplace merchants and D2C merchants, it doesn’t matter.

If they’re in the eCommerce business, it doesn’t matter. I’ve helped launch several of the categories for Amazon so I’ve been an OG on Amazon also. It doesn’t matter. We have multiple clients that are native to Amazon selling only so they don’t even have a Shopify site. We have clients that are Shopify only and we have clients that are multi-channel, they sell on multiple channels and not just Amazon.

Sabir, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the podcast. Thank you for turning up.

I had a great time. I appreciate you having me as a guest on your show. I’m looking forward to hearing the feedback from your audience.


About the host:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

Learn from eCommerce Entrepreneurs & Marketing Experts

Get Free Email Updates by Signing Up Below:

Podcasts you might like