E-commerce: AR, VR, Voice, Video and More
Today we take a look into the future of
Violet.io has built an
A real life example would be a developer making a VR app to watch a live concert where a concert
While that example seems a bit far out, there are a ton of people working on new applications of all kinds and in order to be included, they need to know about your products. The easy part for merchants is that you can have your products be considered for free using Violet.io.
Jesse: Richie, happy Friday.
Richard: Happy Friday, game on. Here we go again.
Jesse: Yeah, podcast day. All right, so, a little context here for the listeners. I think this is going to be an awesome show, but I do want to let people know, hey, if you’re expecting a tip that you can apply today and be making more money on Monday, this probably isn’t it. This is going to be a little more of the dreaming. You know, sit back, relax, have a cocktail because we’re going to talk a lot about where
Richard: Oh yeah. Especially voice. That’s what made me smile right there. I mean, you heard it on the prediction a couple episodes back. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take til that comes in, but I think the biggest part when it comes to voice is, people don’t know what to say yet to the voice, right? You know, that like parlor tricks, what’s the weather, set the timer, all that stuff. But, I know it’s around the corner, and I look forward to it. It’s the way our brains work, you know? So I’m excited about today’s guest.
Jesse: All right, well with that, let’s bring in on our guest. This is Brandon Schultes. Brandon, how are you?
Brandon: Doing great, guys. How are you?
Jesse: Excellent. So are you the founder of Violet.io?
Jesse: Awesome. So give us a little background, what brought you into the
Brandon: Yeah, that’s a great question. Kind of got my start back in the day actually building different types of apps, whether it be in the social networking space, or… Then got into
Jesse: All right, so we’re doing the real entrepreneurial journey here, so you’re creating something completely from scratch that’s going to change the world. All right. Yup. Yup. The
Brandon: Yeah, I think that’s good. I think we should, it’s been a lot of ado here about the future of
Jesse: And for, I’ll help the people that are like, what’s an API? In the Ecwid world, in the
Richard: Yeah. And to stack on that, it’s to your point in there, Jessie. Most merchants don’t ever have to worry about that. You’re specifically talking about these APIs are… Now the developer, they don’t go start an Ecwid store, they can start something on their own and that connects a video game to Ecwid that wants to sell something in the video game or whatever. The merchants aren’t having to think anything about this. This is the developers that are using this to talk to these applications and software.
Brandon: Yup. Correct. Exactly.
Richard: Sorry for interrupting. Go ahead.
Brandon: No worries. You guys are great. So that’s kind of where we started and what we built and what we have today, which I think is pretty interesting, is a single API for any developer that wants to create an app that sells products. Right. If you’re a developer out there, and there were more people than ever learning how to code. And so you have essentially just a different type of entrepreneur. You have someone who wants to go to business, they’re probably intrigued by
Jesse: That’s awesome. So as a merchant myself, I love it when other people sell my products and I don’t have to do much for it. So, please, please help. And I think I also want to put a little more context to
Richard: And also their real passion to your point, they might really just want to code and that’s what they love doing. And I mean I had an old friend. I’m like, What do you do when… We’re still friends but it was a long time ago. I asked them: What do you like to do when you’re done coding, at the end of the code? So I know, but when you’re in, you did happy hour, your home, you code, code, you know, every, they could just code, code, code. So this person, they might not even want to talk to customers, do fulfillment, do any of that stuff. But as entrepreneurs, we don’t mind that, especially if someone’s selling our products for us.
Brandon: Exactly. That guy that said code, code, code, that’s my customer. (laughing)
Jesse: And maybe we don’t want to talk to them. So we talked to them via an API, which is their language. Even better.
Brandon: And that API is also commonly referred to as a Violet.
Richard: I love it.
Brandon: Yes. That’s a really good description, guys. Thank you for kind of illuminating on that. I think one of the things that we attempt to do based upon this, as again any entrepreneur would do, is to really focus on the value in the chain here. And for us, the value that we’re able to provide to these developers. You could call them channels, you can call them kind of a number of different things. But the value for these guys is we want to of course not only open up a new type of business model for them, which we do, they can now create an
Jesse: Got It. So, again, more of a context setting. 20% is really, I mean that’s sort of almost a standard rate for affiliates. It’s about what you pay Amazon when they sell your products. So it’s really not, you’re not asking for, I would say much more than other people would ask for, for a similar type of service. Like I’m going to sell your stuff. You give me 20% or maybe there’s a sliding scale. There is a little bit, but that’s pretty standard numbers. That’s good.
Brandon: Yeah. Well, and actually maybe even say it differently. We don’t ask for anything on that number. A number is chosen by the seller. So you can just put it at five if you want, or you can put it at 50. What we do is we allow these things to exist within a market and so if you have the margin and you want to continue to incentivize and begin to optimize these things, you can turn it up as high or as low as you like. We think that’s great. Our business model, which is just slightly different, it’s basically just on a small transaction. We only take like a couple of points at the bottom, but we’re not in there to try and elbow our way in and take as much revenue as possible and squeeze people out, maximize our margins. That’s not our business. And quite frankly, that’s just not who we are. And so what we want to do is let the market be the market developers working hard, if they can get paid a good cut of the transaction, they’ll take it and the merchants are getting the same thing. If they can figure out how to maximize the amount that they’re able to give to someone else, they should also do that. But we’re not going to set it. We’re not going to try and interfere. We’ll let that work itself out.
Richard: Well, especially if these developers can get them in front of a set of eyeballs or ear buds that no other markets are going to get them in front of it. Like there’s a lot of competition to get to page one of Google. There’s a lot of competition to get to two, three, four pages down on Amazon. Right. But if you could get into a video game and you have a unique energy drink, that would cost you a lot of money to get in Vans or some sort of store, good luck competing with those big beverage companies. But there could be some really unique use cases here.
Brandon: Yeah, I’m curious, as you guys said, these cases come to mind for you.
Jesse: Yeah, I was going to get into that cuz I think that right now we’re talking APIs and markets and such. But like as people are listening and like I don’t really understand what you’re talking about. So you know, maybe an example, and I am looking at your website so I have the advantage of looking at it, but you had some examples here of what is possible I believe. And you know, our customers are Ecwid listeners and people in
Richard: That’s for the top video, or video or voice, would be the two, Jesse and I would love to cover the most.
Jesse: Yeah. Rich, what would be your example for, I know you’re a voice guy. So what would be, how do you see it?
Richard: Yeah, I’m trying to think of how to ask the question and not go too deep. But right now, kind of like to my comment earlier, most voice applications, people are, you ask and there’s not enough data or they don’t know how to ask the question, right? So Siri or Alexa. Google, in my opinion, seems to be the best because they actually have a database to pull from, right? You can, Hey, how can I be happy? You know, making something up and it can be like According to this or according to this and it can pull from its big database. Whereas you ask that to Siri and it’s like I don’t know. I would love either video or voice things that you would see potentially could be out there or just something you see is a good use case now or any way you want to carry it on either of those two.
Brandon: Yeah, I hear this every day. I feel like I see really, really interesting things that both are in the works and things that will happen maybe in the long term as well. But if we drill in on video for a second, imagine like a Vine with shopping, right? 15 second videos where someone can talk about a product, they can talk about their life, whatever it is, but there are now either tags or some other type of gesture, where the product pops in and that developer is able to pull in that product from someone on Ecwid and someone can buy natively without ever leaving that app. Well, I have as a qualified audience, right? Someone who’s able to curate their audience. They can now sell on your behalf. They’re generating eyeballs and that is a highly, highly engaged audience that’s willing to purchase. And if we can kind of compress that conversion funnel where they can purchase at that point, I think that’s great.
Jesse: Awesome. I had actually mentioned this to Rich the other day about, so I saw you had VR on here as well. And I had, my vision was, I was actually playing over the holidays a VR fishing game where the little, whatever the handheld thing there was the fishing pole and you’d cast and then you’re catching fish. And it was really, it was a lot of fun and I wasn’t getting bit by mosquitoes or anything. And I was like, well, what if somebody could buy the fish from this, from this game right now? So I was thinking like, you know, is that a possible use case? What are the possibilities for this application?
Brandon: Yeah, that’s it. That’s where we start to look towards the teacher. So 100%. You can be in a virtual reality experience, and a product on the surface and you’d have the chance to purchase that product. And who knows, maybe it’s actually not fish you want to buy, but bug spray, you’re out on the boat and he needs some bug spray. And again, that developer realizes, that’s a good type of product to pair with that experience. Like that’s what he is then focused on doing. Now it’s interesting because they think if you think about VR for a second, and this is where we’re sort of really focused on that value for our customers. But if you’re building that app, and someone’s looking at experience in virtual reality, and there’s been a chance to purchase a product, say it’s like recognizable and maybe there’s like a voice command or some sort of like hand gesture. When it comes time for them to buy that product, what are you going to do? Pop open a browser window. Put that in front of the screen and have them type in their name and address and all that stuff? No, that’s not going to work. What we need is a totally different set of tools for these people to facilitate that process. And so that’s why when I talk about API and all these other things, those are the tools that these guys need on top of a whole bunch of other things. Tell, make that happen. And so you have that fishing example. You can think about concerts, where you’re watching a concert in virtual reality and then you can buy merch that goes with that or other types of things. But virtual reality and augmented reality, both of those we think are actually going to be really, really interesting and enlarge spaces for us.
Jesse: Yeah, I could see that. Cause in VR or AR, you’re not necessarily using your hands, you’re not using a keyboard. So entering a credit card or entering address would be really hard. I don’t know, I’m sure there’s a way, but could you potentially say alright, you okay? Actually, a VR concert makes a lot of sense. VR obvious is like, you want to buy this
Brandon: Yup. That’s exactly it. And those are the kinds of things that we’re thinking through when working with other folks on there. Everything from your point to like how does the interface work? Like do I have to, I can draw a circle with my hand and then push it or something. Or being serious, you’re on different types of options. We think that’s really interesting. And then even back to the voice example, right? Imagine if someone were to just create a simple deal of the day app, right? Where a product that’s been discounted by color, five or ten percent, they would determine what their algorithm is. And someone wakes up in the morning and says, what’s the deal today? And they tell them what the deal is and they get the option to buy or not buy the product. But all they have to say is yes or no. And now you have a really interesting
Richard: Oh yeah. And a hybrid of what voice would be, say someone’s listening to this podcast right now and you want to, we’re talking about a pretty, well not this podcast because it’s not a product, but you have a particular product we’re talking about.
Jesse: Maybe it’s health, you got some best vitamin powder.
Richard: And then you mentioned it. Hey, so if you’re into it, just say buy it now, or whatever. Something like that would just be unreal because we know how many steps that could be driving in the car or they could be, what are they going to do? Remember that? Like you’re probably too young. Back in the day when we were listening to the radio, it was like Oh crap, they said the phone number, there was no rewind the radio to get the phone number. That’s why everyone had to turn them into jingles. So you’d remember the number.
Brandon: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly the point. It’s the idea of not just doing advertising, but allowing the interaction with the product to result in an actual conversion. Because there are all kinds of advertising in podcasts to your point, but you then have to remember it or write it down or come back later like that. There’s no action to be taken in the moment, especially in that medium. And that gets really interesting if you could hear an ad about the pair of Allbirds shoes, for example, or maybe someone else’s shoes. You hear the ad and through your voice assistant, you say Add to cart and it rewinds 30 seconds, listens through, figures out what that product was and adds it to your cart and boom, you now literally are shopping while listening.
Richard: Yeah. Or you’re a financial services company and you’re talking about finances and they say the phone number and you say Call them. And all of a sudden maybe it doesn’t make a conversion but it rewinds and it dials that number for you.
Jesse: So if there’s a developer out there making a voice app, you’re clearly competing against Amazon and they have all the products. What Violet would potentially enable is, all right, I’m making a voice app and I don’t want to play with Amazon because they’re going to crush me. But I still want to sell stuff so that that person could work with you and say, all right, I want access to all your products. There’s like product feeds coming in from all sorts of merchants. I’m going to pick them and I’m going to build the Amazon killer, potentially.
Brandon: Yeah. I wouldn’t even call it an Amazon killer. If we look at some of the larger trajectory of the
Jesse: Yeah, that might’ve been a little overreach that hopped out there. (laughing)
Brandon: Sure, but I think it’s worth thinking about. Even for folks listening out there today, again, that’s how much more these transactions are going to shift to the Internet. That’s why we care so much about companies like Ecwid that are helping folks get online to sell their products. Because this thing’s happening, this wave is going this direction, no matter what happens. And so the people that choose to participate in it will get a share of that revenue and those that don’t are going to miss out on that revenue. That’s just how it works. And so our mission is, we’ve talked about is sort of focus. Of course I’m with developers, but not just that. We’re huge on specialization. We as a company, we always talked about the two words — partner up. And often you can partner up with someone else that does something much better than you do. Ecwid does a lot of things better than we do, but we get the chance to work with you guys because it feels in some ways almost like a relay. And to be totally honest, where there’s an entrepreneur sitting at home listening to this podcast and either you’re selling products today or you’re about to come up with the next really, really great product, you need to find a way to get that thing on the Internet. You’re going to work super hard, you’re gonna pick your ad platform and you’re going to in some ways sign up with Ecwid. You then hand the baton to Ecwid and Ecwid does everything that they do really, really well and runs in the second part of that relay. From there we then grabbed the baton from Ecwid because of their commitment to people like us and how they care about the developer community and where the Internet is going. We then grab at the time and we take it our distance to the final leg and I handed off to a different developer and I let him do what he does best and he then takes it and puts it at the feet of the shopper and creates a beautiful surprising and delightful experience. And then it creates a transaction. And that for us is essentially the new value chain for how we think
Richard: Yeah, I mean you said so many things that I could talk like five different directions, but I’m going to totally agree with you. People should even partner with Amazon. I mean if you’ve got an Ecwid store, you should have an Amazon store too, as much distribution as you can get. Great. But just keep in mind also to your point there, a little bit of this is people who don’t have a chance or the money to rank in the same way, but you have to focus on what you can do that Amazon can’t do. They can’t be human. Like you can be human. They can’t be your brand. Like you can be your brand. If you’re trying to sell the same product as other people are selling on Amazon, good luck. It’s a race to the bottom. It’s commodity based selling and it’s just the race to the end. But a brand is really the only thing that where you can control a margin because if you do a unique product in a unique way and deliver an experience that no one else can deliver, you can, I won’t say priceless cause there’s a price on some things, but it’s as close to priceless as you can get.
Jesse: I was to mirror that thought. For people listening, if you’re on Ecwid, if you’re on other platforms, your platform is going to provide the website and you can sell on the web and you can connect to advertising. You could connect to Amazon, you can be on Facebook and Instagram. But that’s why at Ecwid, we have an app market, that’s why we partner as well. Because there are people working on AR and VR, and a voice, and things like that. And once you build a store and you work with other partners, you now have access to that through Violet. I think it’s an awesome way to extend. And as a merchant, you’re probably not thinking: What am I doing for VR? Probably not doing that much. (laughing) You’re not doing anything for VR, but maybe you could say I’m going to download Violet app and let connect. And maybe somebody is working on the perfect VR project that they want to sell my product on it. And that’s, that’s basically what you’re talking about here.
Brandon: Yeah, that’s exactly it. And to use your language, we hope that you’re not trying to think about what you’re doing in VR. Yeah. That’s actually the whole purpose of the company. But to maybe drill in there for just one second. I’m sure the questions pops: Okay, cool, maybe I do want to think through this distribution thing through Violet and what does that actually look like? How do I use this thing? And how much the costs, what’s all entailed. And we want to make this as easy and as frictionless as possible for merchants out there that, that are on Ecwid. And all it really is, and of course going first to the Ecwid App Market, which is awesome. And once you there you can of course just download the app. I’m connected to your store and I think there’s two more steps, but all in it probably takes you about five minutes total. At the end of those five minutes, you’re able to set your rate and flip a switch. And that switch is, it basically just says enabled. And once it’s enabled, that means that armies of developers can start grabbing that product and building new experiences to sell your products. That’s, it takes five minutes, costs $0, and you have total control over the pricing and when it’ll cost you in your business. And so, yeah, you’re not having to go build a VR app, or even think about it, but it, it’s very much kind of a set it and forget it model, at least for today.
Jesse: Awesome. So everybody, there’s a call to action, go to the Ecwid App Market, connect with Violet. You don’t have to do anything right away. And probably nothing’s going to happen over the weekend. This is a long play. You’re thinking for the future. There’s a bunch of developers out there that are working on projects that may need your products, but if you’re not connected to Violet, you’re not even on their radar, there somebody else will be. This is a long play and think about, it’s a very easy thing. It’s, it’s free. You connect and potentially someone’s going out there is going to make the perfect app for you depending on your product.
Richard: I love it. Especially, even just the way he worded there, Jess, it’s almost like springs come in, you’re going to go plant, you have no chance of flowers coming into backyard if you don’t plant some seeds. But just connecting that app is literally your seed planting that maybe one developer in six months does something. Maybe who knows. But over time, if you didn’t at least do that piece, you are going to get access to none of this. But if it you do that piece, you don’t have to even think about it and then you eventually could have more money coming in literally to your point, Brandon. Set it and forget it.
Brandon: Yep. That’s exactly it.
Jesse: That’s awesome. To me, and I mentioned this before, it’s basically like a product feed. So people are essentially given a product feed and I know it’s not exactly like that, but you’re sending a product feed that can now be accessed by other people. That’s the first step. Everybody, it’s a nice, you don’t have to, you can dream. But there is a nice, easy, easy takeaway from this.
Richard: Yeah, you got people working to potentially build your business that you don’t even have to communicate with and or pay out of your pocket until a sale takes place.
Brandon: Yup. I might add just a quick comment near the end because we didn’t talk about this part, but we also get the question, what happens after the transaction takes place. Someone out there bought the product in one of these cool apps? That’s great. What’s next? Do your point on the products being piece? Product features are great, but for this to really be truly set it and forget it when that transaction happens and has to get back into Ecwid and needs to look exactly like an order that came through the website because fulfillment matters. We can’t have separate fulfillment systems. It all needs to still be the system of record. Again, this is us being dedicated to our partnership with Ecwid and when you guys do so well and it’s that system and so we help facilitate that back in. And so if there is a transaction, it’ll just show up in your habit. You’ll be able to log in and you’ll see and you can probably get a notification. If you have some of that set up, you’ll know that the order has been placed and you can just do the exact same thing you do as if it were a purchase on your website. And that part’s really fun.
Jesse: Got It. So the order just pops into your control panel. When you get your notifications like you normally would, and Brandon, now what about, what about actual payment? Now we’ll get a little technical here I guess. Who processes the payment?
Brandon: Yeah, we actually use Stripe. We’re huge fans of Stripe. They’re kind of in a very similar business model to us, just in a different industry. It’s all through Stripe. All totally secure. We of course do have to ask for bank account for example. But we do not touch that. We don’t save it, we don’t see it. That all goes through Stripe. And then those payment terms, basically, but the money is available for you with the fact that we of course have to be able to facilitate a return or exchange. So there’s a 30 day rolling basis on those funds. Cuz shoppers need that. And of course you want shoppers to have the chance to return a product because that’s big, big deal for them. You have access to those funds and we do all the split. There was no additional accounting, we take care of everything.
Jesse: Got It. So it’s Violet Stripe accounts. You guys are in a way the, the merchant of record for again, getting a little technical and then you send over a completed sale and the funding flows or follows I guess. Got It. All right. For the payment processing nerds out there, I answered your question. Awesome. I got a lot of different ideas and maybe I want to become a VR developer now, but I might be, I don’t know. I don’t know. My time might have passed for that, but awesome. Rich, any last questions here?
Richard: Oh man. I would just say, pretty much just reiterate your, or ask you, you’re saying people should just go to the app store, attach Violet and wait. Correct?
Brandon: That’s step number one. Just get it started and there’s going to be a whole bunch of new things that we’re testing right now and kind of optimizing. They’re going to roll out in the future where you’ll have the ability and access to communicate with different folks and facilitate an exchange and changed the rates and all and then all the rest of that. But you are spot on in the sense that you need to get into the system now. Because these products are going to surface on the other side and there are people in a conference room staring at a whiteboard looking at the products. Okay, so what do we have to play with? How do we go spend our money and time and resources to build things based on the products that are available to us? And so that’s absolutely the time component here. You got to get in now for them to plan around that.
Richard: Yeah, so unlike the conditioning and we’ve heard in the past of build it and they will come and everyone’s like, no, that won’t happen. What should probably be stated now is just build a really damn good product because if you build a good product and you connect these things, it’s actually going to benefit you because to your point, they’re all staring at the whiteboard, figuring out which one to go with. You got a cool, unique product. They’re going to probably pick that one.
Brandon: That’s exactly it. Go out there and make or build the product the world needs and they will now be a whole team of people out there trying to sell that product for you.
Jesse: Wow. That’s awesome. All right. I’m thinking about it. Everybody, you got a quick call to action. Get after it. Brandon, we’re going to keep watching. Really appreciate you being on the show.
Richard: Thanks for your time.
Brandon: Yeah, thanks guys.
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