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If you sell anything, we can ship it for you;” that’s the essential promise Easyship makes to its customers and one reason it’s so popular with all kinds of shippers. The company provides solutions for borderless commerce through automation software and a global network of couriers and ecommerce partners. And its clients range from living room operations to companies shipping thousands of packages around the world each week. 

If you sell anything, we can ship it for you”

To continually expand its global customer base, Easyship has developed a diverse and growing network of partners and multifaceted commissioning structures to reward them. It relies on Impact partnership automation to maintain transparency with its partners across many different kinds of contracts and to ensure those contracts are tracked and paid out correctly — and that includes fraud protection.

During our Impact Growth virtual event earlier this year, we interviewed Jackie Ostrov, Head of Growth at Easyship, about the tools they use to protect their business from fraud and many other aspects of their very successful growth strategy.

Partner contracts encourage leads and engagement

Easyship has designed its partner commissions to reward for both the initial lead and the value of the lead over time, typically paying the partner commissions on the merchant’s shipping expenditures for the first full year. Impact technology not only lets them provide transparency to partners, it can also handle reversals when necessary if fraud is discovered. Locking periods tied to backend data help ensure Easyship can reverse fraudulent commissions before they are paid out. 

Learn more about Easyship’s smart partnership tactics by watching Special delivery: How Easyship reached new markets by diversifying its partnerships. Or you can read a transcript of the conversation below. 

And to discover more about how Impact makes partnerships more profitable, reach out to an Impact growth technologist at grow@impact.com.

Here’s the full interview transcript:

Adam Furness:

Welcome everybody. My name is Adam Furness. I’m the Managing Director of Impact across Asia Pacific. And it’s my pleasure to be here today with Jackie from Easyship. So Jackie, why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about what you do at Easyship.

Jacqueline Ostrov:

Sure. Thanks Adam. Hi, I’m Jacqueline Ostrov. I’m head of growth at Easyship. What that means is I manage both our marketing and partnerships team really owning all of our inbound lead generation for the company globally.

Adam: 

Let’s start with Easyship. So tell me a little bit about Easyship.

Jacqueline:

So Easyship is a global shipping software built to enable borderless commerce. I realized those are all the buzz words in one sentence. So, what that means is we work with merchants and the entrepreneurs all over the world to help deliver their goods. Our merchant types vary. It could be hardware to luggage, to e-bikes to regular apparel. You can access our career network of about 250 solutions and find the right one to send to your customer worldwide. Next, how that works is like the complexity of logistics and how we support it as we partner with eCommerce brands all over the world. So whether they’re large brands like Shopify or big commerce, or more localized like resellers or brands like shop MADEC, in Europe,  we integrate with their app stores to offer merchants a seamless sync. So whether they’re selling to domestic buyers that are in their hometowns or it’s unique traffic from, I dunno, Papua New Guinea, or like Myanmar, we can help them ship their parcels there.

Jacqueline: 

Next we offer them like flexibility and integrating all their channels. So typically you’ll see merchants also test things like crowdfunding campaigns or maybe social media buying and selling  through new mediums like Instagram or Facebook. And with that, we also allow them like an Omni channel view. So then how that becomes a bit more interesting and why I got into the details of logistics is from a technical point of view, shipping can be quite complex. So when you’re building a platform focused around global sellers and borderless commerce, it’s also important to offer premiums like automated taxes and duties, documentation, and fully landed costs. So products don’t get stuck at customs and that’s kind of what differentiates our product from local shipping software is we’re built global first and then really optimize on domestic channels. And that kind of feeds into why we’ve really focused on a global partnership program even to start.

Adam: 

Wow, there’s a lot going on in your world. So what were you doing beforehand? 

Jacqueline: 

So I was lucky enough to work with industry leaders from WeWork and then Shutterstock and most recently Google before coming over to Easyship and that kind of helped provide some basis and foundations to also help me build programs from the ground up after working at scalable programs for the last couple of years.

Adam: 

So what, what was happening at Easyship in this kind of space? The affiliate, the partnership space before you arrived?

Jacqueline:

So Easyship is a relatively young company. It’s only about five years old. To understand the partnership channel at Easyship, it’s important to kind of step back and look at how we fit in the eCommerce mix. So as we previously addressed, Easyship but its core is a connector. We connect SMBs with couriers. We connect couriers directly to marketplaces for in store checkout and we connect buyers with business owners. So when you look at the ecosystem that our platform connects, partnerships have always been at our core. So from the start, eCommerce platform has always been a strong acquisition channel for us and also fundamental in building proof of concept and also our fundamental client base. But next, when we look at our broader marketing mix and how it’s evolved in the last couple of years, although it’s always driven, very qualified leads it’s in the last couple of years, become simply a smaller channel to larger initiatives that are more around brand awareness.

Jacqueline:

So when you look at us investing in the content space or even paid with display and STM, partnerships were always stable, it was never really a lever that we saw for growth. So in 2019, we tried to kind of revisit that model and look at how we position ourselves and also better integrate with partners in the eCommerce space to build the symbiotic relationship that we know would drive qualified leads and really position us in new markets. So for 2020, it’s projected from growing from about 10% of our acquisition mix from our growth targets to accounting to 20 to 23%, which is over a hundred and hundred, 115% growth. We’re really excited to kind of diversify our marketing mix and we see that new partnerships will be a key channel.

Adam:

Now I think you were with another technology prior to Impact for a period of time. Would I be correct in saying that?

Jacqueline:

In the last year, we’ve re-orged our small work and initially partnerships that under the tech team and with that, they used another provider, similar to Impact, but it A, it didn’t make sense to have two solutions and B, it didn’t have the trackability and also the transparency needed to really scale our partnership program. So when I say trackability, there were issues around like cookies and us sending back correct GMV. Our business is super complex, right? So when we look at our insertion orders and the way that Easyship decides to build IOs and like essentially partner contracts, we do it through, making sure that we pay out not only on a CPL basis. So matched to maybe subscription costs like typical affiliates. But we also look to drive ongoing and like engaged retention with our partners.

Jacqueline:

And we do that through commissionable income over any of their referred shipping costs for merchants. First year, it helps kind of build trust and Easyship beyond being like we’re the best shipping platform in the world. They see merchants like growing and selling with us. But in addition to that, we offer transparency as to what type of services they use, where they’re shipping. And that was really complex for the other tool to send back very specific GMV data, as well as also reversals. Like sometimes we have fraud and the Impact’s been a really strong partner and having efficient locking periods and feeding our backend data so that we can reverse frauds before, these types of payouts become issues.

Adam: 

Yeah. That’s good. Good to hear. So you started to talk about some of the metrics there. Why don’t we dive into that a little bit deeper? So when you were looking at your program, what are the positive kind of business outcomes that you’re driving to and how are you measuring success?

Jacqueline:

When we try to look at metrics and goals, we look at it from like a revenue generating and margin generating capacity, but also in qualified leads. Since we’re still private, we can’t clearly share what those revenue targets are. But what we can say is how we qualify a lot of the programs and also partnerships and looking at lead quality. So what percentage of leads generated from partnerships drive quality leads, and then how do we focus on that to not only build out our program, but provide resources that are effective for them and basically becoming promoters of our product.

Adam: 

So Jackie, tell me a little bit about the partner mix and the type of partners that you currently got in the program. And then maybe if you were to broaden that out at the top of partners that you are thinking about bringing on as well.

Jacqueline:

Our marketing mix is always initially focused on e-commerce partnerships. So when you look at that, those are traditional players like big commerce, Shopify, eBay, Amazon. Even new partners.  This year, we closed the next inclusivity with Indiegogo, but we also work with Kickstarter. So those are really traditional partnerships, logistics platform like ourselves work with just because all of those merchants need shipping. And through those partnerships, they were very tech heavy. This year when we’re looking at diversifying our marketing mix, it’s focusing a little bit less on tech integrations, but instead on thought leadership and just probably quality and like value for their businesses.

Jacqueline: 

So to dive into that, we’re looking at agencies, we’re looking at web domain companies that, you know, brands even just build their first store on. We’re looking at traditional affiliates like bloggers and coupon sites, as well as review sites and video is a new medium for us, but there’s a lot of value and a lot of confusion, which is a lot of value for us there on how to ship and how logistics works. So we’re really positioning ourselves and our partners with the tools and resources necessary to educate their consumers. And I think at the end of the day, that’s kind of what all brands are, whether they’re an advisory firm or they’re a review site with very niche focus, they’re always trying to provide value. And the gift of being in logistics is very few people have this type of insight. So being able to build that network, build trust, and also just build more content resources without the requirements of tech, it’s able to position us in a really scalable way.

Adam:

Excellent. How are you using the Partnership Cloud part of the Impact technology suite? How are you using the partnership cloud to discover or contract with these, these partners as well?

Jacqueline:

Good question. So the Partnership Cloud has been really effective in helping us test new partners that we ideally wouldn’t have been our initial scope. Through the Partnership Cloud, we’ve had a lot of like mom bloggers, which has never been a medium for us, but an interest in looking at maybe not traditional B2B, but how do you really position yourselves to entrepreneurs. 

Jacqueline:

And being able to kind of approach potential customers at any stage of their life cycle of becoming an entrepreneur has been really effective and Impact has allowed us to kind of unlock new initiatives and new approaches to doing this. Traditionally, it’s very easy to be in a company and think these are our target personas, and these are ideal approaches to get them. And with Impact, we’ve been able to unlock maybe new personas that were never identified or new angles. On the larger scale, the Partnership Cloud and the partnership team has also helped us with the introductions in the B2B space. So they’ve introduced us to enterprises that are also newly exploring what it is to have B2B partnerships in this affiliate space and understand that model and how we can really support one another’s businesses. 

Adam: 

Have you seen anything come out of the insights, the consumer journey insights that you’ve thought, “Oh, that’s a good wording, or I didn’t expect that.” So where you’ve been able to track kind of the movement, was there anything that you’ve seen that’s come out of that at all?

Jacqueline:

Impact’s brought a lot of new markets that we didn’t really see initial interest in. So we’ve opened in 26 new markets to show proof of concept and like validity. And Impact’s been able to serve as kind of an initial enabler and distribution channel in these new markets. So it’s been exciting to see validation and markets we’re not doing other marketing spend in. 

Adam:

What could, what could a partner expect from a partnership with Easyship?

Jacqueline:

So when we look at partners and what they can expect in regards to the partnership for Easyship, it depends on the type of partner. So when we talk to major publications like Verizon media or Yahoo or Huffington post, we’re in a really unique position to provide very insightful buyer behavior data. We ship millions of all over the world at different verticals, so we understand buyer behavior. And luckily we’re in an industry and in a time where e-commerce is really booming and data is king. So we kind of positioned ourselves in a way that provides resources and value that’s authentic to their audience. So as opposed to only going onto their, you know, websites and providing very native content, that’s more sales focused, we can provide native content that’s actually served as a resource for their audience and positions us as a thought leader to then position ourselves in the future, potentially as a resource for them, or another referral.

Jacqueline:

So that’s one aspect to what we provide our partners. From an agency perspective, it’s really one on one consultation. So we can offer customized hand holding of their clients to make sure that they have the logistics strategy that they need, whether it’s just simple, like career relationships or fulfillment, we can kind of support them at any scale. When you look at traditional affiliates like deal sites or coupons or things like that, we also offer like unique coupons with trackability, etc. , that are specific to their deal sites. So it really depends on the partner and providing authentic value to what would be valuable to their audience.

Adam: 

Excellent. And as far as the next market or the next frontier, how are you thinking about that? Or what’s, what’s kind of next? 

Jacqueline: 

I think Go Global  is very much in our plan for 2020, so we tend to start small and plan big. So in addition to launching 26 to 27 new markets in Q1 and Q2, throughout Q4, we hope to service all markets. So with that we’re really excited to kind of scale what these partnerships look like with affiliates that maybe aren’t always like the premier providers, because it’s not always in line with most business target markets. So I think that’s pretty exciting. 

Adam: 

So have you had a view on which markets kind of valued relationships, either doing a deal so they’re kind of the commercial side versus the actual connection with who you’re doing business with side?

Jacqueline:

Sure. I mean, I think at the end of the day, partnerships are always about connections, right? You work with people you like and trust, and if they deliver value, you’re more likely to drive them more business. But in starting these types of conversations and building a program like ours, which is relatively new in some aspects of it. It’s been interesting that in the US, it tends to be very process and hierarchical, right? Like it’s like similar case studies, similar merchants, who do you work with? And APAC, it’s very much a trust thing. So typically I’ve had partners that will say, “Hey, we’ll just refer you to leads. And like, don’t worry about it.” So educating them about that’s great, but we’d also like to position you to be successful, as kind of an extension of our business and through doing like a more official partnership approach, they’re able to access things like, internal collateral, consultations that are unique to their business, resources that we only provide for partners. It’s formalized a lot of our partnerships in a way that’s beyond like a one off referral. They really feel as though they’re an extension of our marketing team.

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