Turning the Obstacles in Online Marketplaces into Opportunities

Jun 20, 2019

When e-commerce marketplaces initially took off, brands worldwide couldn’t stop riding the wave of success that the digital economy presented. After all, it meant access to millions of potential customers, a shot at significant revenue, and brand exposure like never before. While the same holds true today, behind the rosy picture is a more complicated truth that most brands are battling.

Currently, there are over five million sellers (and growing) on Amazon alone, making it next to impossible for brands to constantly monitor every merchant or keep track of the quality of the products being sold. While the majority of 3rd party sellers are legitimate, bad actors can compromise consumer confidence and brand integrity. Most e-commerce platforms have a liberal seller enlisting process, which can enable unvetted suppliers to game the system, dodge supply chain regulations, and chase the extra dollar by promoting unqualified products. As cases surrounding counterfeit items, outdated goods, and price violations become the order of the day, more than ever, brands are threatened by the reputational and financial damage that these malpractices foreshadow. Although large marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have stringent policies in place around fraudulent sellers, it’s up to the brands to control their own distribution channels, legal agreements, and competitive stance.

For organizations looking to protect and uplift their online presence, look no further than Potoo.

Founded in 2014 in Norwalk, Potoo has managed to garner the interest of over 500 brands in a short span for their proprietary data analytics and technology that empowers enterprises to run their online marketplace presence, effectively and efficiently. The brainchild of long time friends and business experts Fred Dimyan and David Veber, the CEO and COO of Potoo respectively, the company is leading the race in the retail analytics space, having witnessed a 2,800 percent growth in the last three years.

Specialists in Defensive Marketing

The story of Potoo goes back to a time when Veber, who was then part of the management team at a consumer electronics goods company, was looking to improve their sales on Amazon. Well-versed with the nuances of the marketplace, Dimyan helped Veber and his company increase their Amazon sales business by over 400 percent in three months. Soon the duo started receiving similar projects from elsewhere, and the rest, as they say, is history. “We realized there was a massive need in the industry for a technology that could help organizations regain control of their brand image as well as fight the bad actors online. In a way we didn’t find the business, but the business found us,” remarks Veber. Today, Potoo tracks and manages millions of different items across all product categories, from many of the world’s most valued brands.

Most of their clients are established brands that are adept at brick and mortar distribution channels but caught off guard by the frenzied e-commerce environment. “What makes Potoo a head-turner is our ability to provide granular data, which allows organizations to achieve actionable insights on how they can protect and optimize their brands online, stand out from the competition, and improve their growth opportunities,” remarks Dimyan.

So what exactly does this granular data entail? Potoo is the recognized leader in marketplace data. After closely studying a client’s catalog and distribution system, Potoo equips them with cutting-edge insights and best practices, based on their business objectives. In addition to data around a brand’s current market position, the company also applies predictive analytics to give clients an overview of the future behavior in the marketplace. For example, if a particular supplier has a high amount of inventory, the brand is forewarned as it may lead to sudden price declines. Inversely, if there is too little inventory build, Potoo’s early warning system alerts clients as it may disrupt sales.

Whether the need at hand is to gain more visibility into supplier inventory, leaks in the supply chain, manipulated pricing, market trends, or where a company stands in the marketplace, and how they fare against their competitors, Potoo covers it all. It goes without saying that in several instances, clients leverage the information provided by Potoo around illegitimate products and questionable supplier activity to solidify their strategy.

There are many examples that bear this out. Recently, a large consumer electronics company had a trailer load of items stolen while the consignment was in transit. Around the same time, Potoo tracked an unusually high level of inventory build for the client’s product, worth hundreds and thousands of dollars, on Amazon. The client was able to link the stolen goods with the high stock up, detect the supplier, and take immediate legal action.

 

Another interesting anecdote where Potoo proved its mettle is when a client approached them disgruntled by the fact that the low price of their goods on Amazon had a negative effect on all other distribution channels. Consumers visiting brick and mortar stores were demanding the store owners for a similar price drop, resulting in a loss in business for the retail outlets. When Potoo stepped in, they uncovered that the sellers on Amazon were trading counterfeit items causing the price mismatch. Armed with the right information, the client pulled away those products from Amazon, which ultimately helped them normalize the prices as well as put an end to nefarious supplier activities.

Upholding Brand Value

Eponymous to the potoo bird found in the Amazonian rainforest, the founders couldn’t have come with a more befitting name for the company. “Potoos are integral to the survival of the Amazonian ecosystem, but they are virtually invisible to the naked eye,” explains Veber. “Similarly, at Potoo we work from behind the scenes to uplift our clients’ brand image and transform their e-commerce presence into a positive growth strategy,” he adds.

Potoo’s endeavors may be camouflaged from modern day consumers, but the business world is abuzz with the significant stir that the company is creating when it comes to online marketplace insights. Today Potoo’s services are matchless in the industry as the company tracks millions of items] on marketplaces and $37 billion worth of inventory. “We are currently on track to be one of the fastest growing companies in Connecticut and a leading solutions provider,” says Dimyan with a hint of pride. One of the main reasons for the company’s staggering success is their ability to stay ahead of client needs as well as pivot with changing market requirements.

Veber and Dimyan credit a large part of their success to the team at Potoo that holds the show together. In house, they follow an open culture while maintaining a flexible work environment. “Happy employees lead to happy customers. If we want our team to over-deliver for our clients we have to ensure we over-deliver to them,” notes Veber.

Cracking the Code of Digital Marketplaces

At present, the company is rolling up its sleeves to improve its product portfolio and bring an additional level of insight to clients. They are specifically gearing to work with financial services organizations, where Potoo’s data can help improve the health of their business greatly. Another channel which can benefit from Potoo’s deep data insights are brick and mortar stores and plans to partner with physical businesses in order to help them improve their competitive edge. In addition to service expansion, Potoo is also looking at further extending their geographical footprint. The company set up a branch in Europe, and has more than doubled its Connecticut office space and staff.

“We provide in-depth data, which allows organizations to achieve actionable insights on how they can protect and optimize their brands online, to stand out from the competition and improve their growth opportunities”

A sum total of all of Potoo’s roaring success, combined with their distinctive technology, only points at one conclusion—this is just the beginning for Potoo. With hundreds of thousands of brands that are being misrepresented in marketplaces, Potoo is their knight in shining armor. It may sound ironic, but the current e-commerce revolution is only in its nascent stages. Statistics reveal that by 2020, online marketplaces will drive the “fourth wave of e-commerce” where projected global sales will double from $18 billion to $4 trillion. In the light of the expected growth curve, it’s time to set the chaos in online marketplaces straight and for enterprises to take back control of their brands. Making all this and more possible is Potoo—the go-to expert for marketplace insights.

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