“Hey, thanks for tuning in to another Partner Interview at EcomBalance. At EcomBalance, we’re all about creating win-win partnerships where we are able to grow with other companies in the eCommerce space.
In this exclusive interview, we interview Matt Kostan from ProductPinion. ProductPinion provides more testing options than other testing platforms and results come in pretty quick.
Matt Kostan is a serial entrepreneur and brand creator. He’s the CEO and Co Founder of ProductPinion Inc. which helps ecommerce brands grow their sales through user experience testing. His work and brands have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.
We hope that you enjoy the interview and that it brings value to you as an eCommerce business owner.”
Connor: Hey Matt, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here. We love getting to know our partners better so that our community can benefit from what our partners are offering and doing in the industry. To get started, can you give us a high level overview of ProductPinion and how it got started?
Matt: Totally! In a nutshell, ProductPinion gives you access to tens of thousands of Amazon shoppers so you can test and get feedback on almost any aspect of your product idea, listings or even competitors.
I’ve been selling on Amazon and Kickstarter for over 8 years and one underlying principle that has always worked is letting the data make the decisions. With Kickstarter, for example, you’re basically creating the product alongside the community. I wanted the ability to do that on Amazon too. The trouble was other platforms were designed for software user testing and not geared towards amazon at all. Or some didn’t even allow for qualified feedback which made them not as useful. So, we created ProductPinion to make it easier for sellers to optimize their products and listings based on real Amazon shopper feedback. It’s crazy how much easier sales can be when you actually take the time to figure out what makes your ideal customer tick.
Connor: That’s awesome! Can you dive a bit more into the products and services that you offer to increase Amazon sales and save money? I’m sure our audience would love to know exactly what problems you could solve for them.
Matt: There’s two main types of tests with ProductPinion to be able to test both qualitative and quantitatively any aspect of your products or listings. Pinion Videos™ and Pinion Polls™. With Pinion Videos™ you’ll be able to watch screencast recordings of shoppers interacting with your listing as they answer questions out loud. Just imagine how powerful it is to basically read the minds of your customers. These Pinon Videos™ let you uncover buying objections, listing & product improvements, split testing ideas and more. The second type of test are Pinion Poll™ split tests. You’ll be able to get instant feedback on which images, headlines or text will increase your sales. These aren’t ordinary split tests though! Instead of just testing in isolation, ProductPinion can even emulate an Amazon search page, so your results are more accurate.
Yep, we can emulate an Amazon search page. Shoppers get much better context when it comes to choosing options. Not to mention, you’re also able to poll your own customers, making them more loyal and involved with your brand. Plus, you can instantly boost sales by offering a promo for participating.
Connor: Jumping off of that…if there was one problem, you’d say that ProductPinion solves best for your clients, what would it be? Why?
Matt: People dive into Amazon thinking “product first” which only takes them so far. They forget about the aspects of actually building a brand and listening to what shoppers actually want. ProductPinion helps Amazon sellers build and actual brand. You’ll be doing the same kind of customer research that Fortune 500 companies do, just without spending a fortune.
You’ll also never be stuck. Don’t know the answer? Test it! To be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to make decisions quickly on a regular basis. Don’t let analysis paralysis stand in your way. Even if you’re wrong, just making the decision is better since you’re actually moving things forward. Now with ProductPinoin, you can make the correct decisions, faster based on data.
Connor: As the company continues to grow over the next year, what are your plans for expansion? Any new products or offerings or enhancements to your current products?
Matt: Of course! We have a few more industry firsts planned in the pipeline. To be the first to know what we’re cooking, sign up for a trial via www.productpinoin.com 🙂
Connor: And how specifically would you say that ProductPinion and your team is different from other similar businesses in the industry?
Matt: The biggest difference is my partner and I are both Amazon sellers (with one exit under our belt). We know what it takes to build a seven figure brand and what tests and customer research are important for sales.
All of years of trial and error and learning are baked into the software. For example, you’ll get access to Pinion playbooks which are pre-designed test templates that we’ve used in our own business. Of course, you’re able to change them as you see fit – but it makes hitting the ground running with testing super simple.
Connor: What made you decide to get involved in the testing platform space? What’s your starting eCommerce story? From what we’ve found, a lot of business owners in the space have fun stories of how they first started…
Matt: I started my sales journey selling electronics at a big box retailer (sort of like a Best Buy except they paid commission only). It was the ultimate learning experience and test ground for figuring out sales.
Turns out (as you might have guessed), doing more listening than talking wins you more sales. I ended up ranking in the top 10% in the country in terms of sales and was making more money than district managers even though I was only Part Time. The challenge I had was that if I didn’t show up to work, I couldn’t make money so it wasn’t scalable. That’s when I decided to get involved with selling physical products – didn’t have to be there to sell them! And, my secret sauce of selling online was applying what I learned from in person sales. Do the research of figuring out what’s important to your shoppers, and overcome their buying objections in your copy and images.
15 years later and I’m still selling physical products. My main category of products are in the travel space. Naturally, during the pandemic I had some significant downtime so I decided to work on ProductPinion. It’s my goal to show other sellers just how easy sales can be when you actually give shoppers what it is that they want.
Connor: Love it! Talking more about the eCommerce industry, where do you see it going in the next 1-2 years? Any unique predictions that you could share?
Matt: You’re either a brand or you’re dead. There’s no such thing as private labelling any more – you can’t just slap a logo on a product and hope for the best. You need to create a brand, create a belief system that your ideal customer will want to believe in.
Most sellers today are selling what I call “tug boat” products. Those that may give you constant revenue and keep you afloat. But, they’re basically just “me too” products that anyone could come in and copy. Successful sellers need to think about creating “vessel” products that are differentiated, patentable and have potential to rock an industry. These are the products you create after knowing your customer well enough through doing qualitative testing.
Essentially, the future of ecommerce belongs to those that innovate.
Connor: Giving you an open mic for a minute, what is something you’d want the EcomBalance audience to hear?
Matt: There’s a concept of “locus of control” that I like to keep in the back of my mind. It refers to an individual’s perception about the underlying main causes of events in his/her life. If you have an external locus of control, it means you blame external circumstances for your situation. I failed a test because the professor was terrible. If you have an internal locus of control, you believe you control your own destiny. You’re solely responsible for your outcomes.
The most successful people typically have an internal locus of control. They believe that no matter what’s thrown their way, they can pivot or overcome it. Yes, it’s easier to blame Amazon, the algorithm, the pandemic, etc. but actually coming up with ways to overcome the hardships is what drives you forward. For example, my main category of products are in the travel space. Sales were annihilated during the pandemic (literally down to zero). I could have just sat back, blamed it on covid and given up on the brand. Instead, I pivoted with a new type of product that did almost $100k on Kickstarter in 30 days. And, started ProductPinion too.
Sorry for going all philosophical with that one 🙂
Connor: Changing gears a little bit…When it comes to bookkeeping and accounting, what do you think the biggest pain points for business owners are? Feel free to speak from personal experience as well.
Matt: Don’t try to be a jack of all trades. Lean into what you’re good at and outsource / delegate the rest. Let the experts at EcomBalance take care of your books! Not to mention if you ever plan on exiting your company, it’s mission critical to ensure your booking keeping and records are in order.
Connor: As we close this out, I just have one more question. Where is the best place to find and follow you and the company online? Also, if you have one, is there any special offer that you’ll be offering to the community today?
Matt: Get a free trial of ProductPinion at https://productpinion.com/ You’ll be able to do two Pinion Videos and get 20 Pinion Poll credits for free. Email us at [email protected]m and we’ll double your first months credits when you mention you saw us in EcomBalance.