This time, we're chatting with someone who is not just a marketer in his own right but someone who offers a truly valuable service to marketers big and small. When it comes to the world of physical products and fulfilment of those products, Bret Ridgway is the go-to guy. Now, if you've never thought of making a physical product available, then you could be missing out on a huge opportunity and that's why I'm so excited this time to welcome Bret.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today.
Well, it is such a pleasure to be with you folks today and I look forward to our chat.
Great. Well, we need to talk about your business, I guess, don't we Bret, SpeakerFulfillmentServices.com and how you set that up and what the company does.?
Well, it's actually a very interesting story. Way back in the mid-1990s, and I'm going back a while obviously, I actually put up the first portal website in the plant engineering and maintenance industry. It was called MaintenanceResources.com and back in those days, we were selling VHS tapes and books and manuals aimed at that particular niche: maintenance guys, mechanics, electricians, et cetera.
And so, we were selling quite a bit of product online via that site and about the same time, I met a guy at an event, and it was back in like 1992 or 1993, a guy named Carl Galletti at a conference down in Florida and that led to a joint venture with Carl a few years later. Then he decided to put on his first internet marketing super conference in 1999 in Las Vegas.
So he actually called me up and asked me if I would come out and handle the back sales table for him. Well, I didn't even know what back room sales was honestly but I hadn't been to Las Vegas before so it sounded good to me. So I went out there and handled the sales table for Carl and that's where I started to meet some of these guys who were involved in the internet and information marketing spaces and a lot of speakers were obviously promoters in their own right.
And so, we started doing the back of the room where we would provide the crew and the big merchant account that could handle a lot of volume in a short period of time to various info and internet marketing events. And at one of those events a couple years after that initial conference, one of the speakers, Jim Edwards, cornered me and said hey, I know you're doing product fulfilment for your own sites. Will you take over some fulfilment for me? And it was kind of a natural outgrowth of all the contacts I had made in the industry.
So in, I think it's 2002 or 2003, we formally put Speaker Fulfilment Services together and the rest, as they say, is history. In fact, we're in the middle of a rebranding because most of our clients initially were speakers, we chose the name Speaker Fulfilment Services. We're now in the process of rebranding that as GetShipDone.com because we work with a lot more than speakers.
I see what you've done there as well with the name. Get Ship Done. Great. And where can we find that? Is that online? Do you have a website for that now?
Yeah. Get Ship Done is online now and that's just kind of the overriding brand. We have various sub-brands aimed at particular niches so we have sites such as ShipYourBooks.com or BookletsDeliver.com or DiscDeliver.com, ShipYourSupplements.com because we work in markets outside of the information marketing industry. But all of those are kind of sub-brands to the Get Ship Done overall brand now.
Excellent. And for anybody that's never really thought about fulfilment before, I imagine maybe we could explain what fulfilment is?
Sure. So if you're selling a product online, you have to have some way to get that product into hand of your customers and many people decided to do it themselves, which is fine. But if you've been marketing for very long, you realise your time is most valuably spent doing the sales and the marketing and the product creation and those things that only you can do.
So it becomes apparent to most, fairly soon, that fulfilment is a process they should outsource. So when you outsource your fulfilment, you basically connect with a company such as Get Ship Done and you develop an integration between whatever Ecommerce platform you're using that then talks with our system. And so when you get an order for a book or a supplement or a home study course or whatever it may be, then that order automatically pops over to our system and then we ship it out from there on your behalf.
Excellent and you've become an expert in this area of taking those fulfilment headaches away from people. So you've mentioned already books and discs and so on. Are you seeing a resurgence now in the physical products world?
We are starting to see it turnaround some. Obviously, there's been big changes in the industry over the last couple of decades. When we first began the process, it was all about the big box package. So they talked about [thump?] value and when somebody spent a $1,000 or $2,000 on a product, they expected to receive a big box of stuff, so 16 CDs or DVDs, two big manuals, et cetera. And to be honest, the day of the big box package is primarily come and gone.
You don't see very much of those anymore because obviously, the world switched over to primarily digital delivery and while that's great in some aspects, it's also fraught with other problems that people need to think about if they're considering doing digital-only delivery of their products. But in fact, the turnaround is starting to come because people are recognising that some people still want touch and feel. They want something in their hands. I mean how many of us have bought a product online, downloaded it, and then forgot where it was sitting on a computer and never looked at it? Where if you have a physical product that's sitting on the shelf, it's kind of a reminder that I need to read this or watch this video or whatever it may be. And in fact, the book industry had the almost biggest year ever last year and lead time on getting books printed with most book printers these days is running four to five months. They are so busy.
If you're spending your time doing $5 or $10 an hour tasks ... then you're not spending time on things that really only you could do, or you should do.
For anybody that's thinking of using your services, what are the benefits of using a fulfilment house such as yours, Bret?
Well, the biggest thing that people need to consider is what is their time worth and that's a hard question for a lot of people to answer. I mean if you're spending your time doing $5 or $10 an hour tasks such as fulfilling orders, running down to the post office every day, then you're not spending time on things like sales, marketing, product creation and again, those things that really only you could do or you should do.
And so, if order fulfilment is a distraction to your day and more of an impediment to growing your business, then it's something that you should look at getting off your plate and into the hands of somebody that specialises in that particular activity such as Get Ship Done.