74: *SPECIAL EDITION* #2: How Brands and Specialty Retailers Can Outplay Amazon at It’s Own Game…Really

“For legacy brands to be competitive today, you’ve got to completely shift your business. You have to be doing business in the way that direct-to-consumer, digitally-native brands are doing business today.”

– Peter Kearns


Okay, full disclosure: I’m hesitant to even summarize this episode in these notes because I want you to listen to it so much! Multiple times even. … You’re about to get a 40-minute interview that’s part pep talk, part priceless tips and part cheerleader. 

You, specialty business owner, CAN compete with Amazon. You can close the digital divide! Just listen to this episode and you’ll understand what I mean.

Peter Kearns is my guest on this episode and also a panelist at the SIA/ORWM 2019 panel I’m moderating on “Managing the Digital Divide.” He’s been in e-commerce for a decade, both in and out of Amazon. If you’ll be at the show on January 29, please listen to this episode and send me your questions to answer live at the panel. 

Whether you run a specialty brand or are a specialty retailer, Amazon IS your competition. It is a competition for attention, first and foremost, and let’s face it: Amazon is winning. The tech company and retailer also is your competition because it is the most dominant force in molding customer expectations today. It’s the purveyor of the the digital divide.

But here’s the thing: Both Peter and I are bullish on brick and mortar and specialty brands. 

That’s what you’ll get from this episode:

  1.  Don’t compete with Amazon; learn what the company is doing in order to successfully bring your customized version of that service to your consumers. We discuss consistency of the consumer experience across platforms, catalog, content, messaging, the consumer journey, price, and a frictionless, pain free experience.
  2.  There’s a really good chance that if you have an idea of how to provide better service to your customers, the technology exists to implement it. (If it doesn’t, you may have just stumbled on the next million-dollar idea!) Peter brings up some of the best tech ideas out there for legacy brands, direct-first brands, and specialty retailers. 

There’s a lot happening in Episode 74, from predictions and analysis of Amazon’s own business development to a million (give or take) ideas on how you can grab the attention for your brand or shop….and keep it. 


Peter Kearns

Peter Kearns is an Amazon brand expert spending nearly four years on Amazon’s Seller Services team working in the sports & outdoors and consumables categories. He’s helped hundreds of brands ranging from global IR-100s to small DTC start-ups make $500+ million in gross merchant sales. He’s now the Vice President of Business Development for 180Commerce a brand management and advising agency specializing in helping brands succeed on Amazon.    


Amazon, amazon strategy, channel conflict and management, advertising on Amazon, evolution of legacy brands and direct-first brands, navigating Amazon via its practices and technology


[On the digital divide] “From the consumer’s perspective, there is no divide. Everyone goes everywhere with their mobile device, and shopping behavior continues to show that consumers love their smartphone.”

“For legacy brands to be competitive today, you’ve got to completely shift your business. You have to be doing business in the way that direct-to-consumer, digitally-native brands are doing business today.”

[Regardless of your distribution model and variety of channels] “There has to be consistency across the board. …The experience for the consumer should be the same. The journey should be the same.”

“This is retail shopping today, being able to adjust to consumers’ needs instantly, based on what they need.” 

“Figure out ways to really use technology to connect with the consumer so that you’re always … I don’t want to say pushing your agenda, but you’re always reassuring that you’re the right brand for them.”




Connect with Peter on LinkedIn

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Industry + Intelligence Day Panel: “Managing the Gap: How Successful Retailers Can Bridge the Digital Divide, Capture Attention and Build Trust with the Omnichannel Consumer in 2019.”

January 29, 2019: Denver Convention Center, Room 401; 2:15 p.m.


72: Panel Preview: How Specialty Brands and Retailers can Close the Digital Divide

73: *SPECIAL EDITION* Bridging The Digital Divide, 2019, with Paul Paradis

27: Christian Gennerman: Fighting Channel Conflict

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