37: Serving Today’s Connected Consumer with Nick Kolobutin, Shipearly.com

“[Consumers] just look at [purchasing channels] and say, ‘I want to buy the product as easy as I possibly can on my terms.’ And that could mean physical retail, it could mean online, or more than likely what we’re seeing is it’s the combination of both.”

– Nick Kolobutin


This episode pours a HUGE bucket of ice cold water over the talking heads with their hair on fire. That was kind of awkward, but you know what I mean, right? People have been squawking about the retail apocalypse and the death of retail. You’d have to be in a coma to not acknowledge that retail is changing, but the bottom line numbers still show that 90% of retail sales occur IN-STORE. Brick and mortar stores, in case that’s not clear.

My guest today, Nick Kolobutin of ShipEarly.com, is reshaping the discussion around how manufacturers and retailers work together. The ShipEarly.com platform allows customers to research brands globally and buy the products locally, all while providing a mountain of data. His message is that the opportunity to sell more product grows when we all work together.

Hallelujah, right? Listen also to the background notes of ShipEarly.com operates and has evolved. It’s organizationally nimble and willing to take calculated risks. With its North Star to unwaveringly make it easier for consumers to shop, the company is able to pivot and tweak its own path in service to that goal. There’s lot to absorb, so don’t delay!


Nick Kolobutin

Nick Kolobutin is the founder and CEO of ShipEarly, an omnichannel eCommerce platform that helps integrate online and offline sales channels. Having begun his career in product and channel marketing, with Stanley Black & Decker, he moved into commercialization strategies for start-ups and high growth potential companies at the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre. Nick is passionate about the retail industry and, specifically, the intersection of channel marketing, digital and the evolution of consumer behavior to help retail brands capture more mind share, market share, and floor space with retailers.


consumer journey, path to purchase, online to offline, last mile, organizational evolution, managing risk, being nimble, data as a sales and purchasing tool, networking effects, store within a store, franchise model, showrooming, DTC vs wholesale margins, the future for sales reps, retailer brand profiles


“[Consumers] just look at [purchasing channels] and say, ‘I want to buy the product as easy as I possibly can on my terms.’ And that could mean physical retail, it could mean online, or more than likely what we’re seeing is it’s the combination of both.”

“And it’s almost as if dealers are becoming franchisees, so to speak, in their respective trade areas. Where if they commit to a certain amount, i.e., like a franchise fee, there’s the opportunity for manufacturers to direct or filter sales through their location, because ultimately nine out of 10 sales is still happening at physical retail.”

“Working together, there’s the opportunity to sell more product, right?”

“Things are swinging back to brick and mortar, as people are understanding its importance for both customer acquisition as well as the convenience factor of that instant gratification that consumers want.”

“We could potentially be moving into negative lifetime customer values if we don’t find a way to acquire customers cheaper.”

“By the time you look at the margin costs of customer acquisition, free shipping both ways, discounts to get sales, and all the other things that happen with an online sale, physical retail margins are starting to look fairly attractive.”

“We’re finding more and more that [sales reps] are still a valued part of the network out there, and [they are] required to implement specific programs or initiatives, or educate people on the showroom floor who will then carry that message and be able to sell onto their consumers.”


ShipEarly.com: http://shipearly.com/

Connect with Nick on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickkolobutin/

ShipEarly Preview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvLxD6PQzoA

Top Reasons to Combine Retail Channels:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa8jalu51mU&feature=youtu.be

Download ShipEarly’s Guide to Omni-Channel Commerce: http://shipearly.com/multi-channel-commerce-guide/


Scott Galloway links:

Deloitte Study (re: luxury goods and varied price points): http://bit.ly/2Gaz6Uc

Have questions or ideas for Kristin and the Channel Mastery podcast? Email: [email protected]

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