CARBON6: Inventory, Optimism, And Slaying The Holiday Season

LAS VEGAS – Attendees at Prosper 2023 earlier this year in Las Vegas likely saw the CARBON6 name and logo throughout the show. Behind the heavy presence is a company that is confident in its ability to help online sellers succeed through innovative software tools and resources.

In a relatively short time, the Toronto-based company has made an impact and momentum remains strong. We sat down with Justin Cobb, CEO and co-founder of CARBON6, to learn more about the state of the industry, prospects for the future, and concrete ways that sellers can prepare for the remainder of the year.

Prosper: What should sellers be doing now to prepare for the holiday season or the next Prime Day?

Cobb: Sellers are focused on improving their organic rank before the holiday season. By doing so, they will be able to take advantage of the increased traffic. We built to do just that. It helps sellers cut the line, so to speak, by improving their organic ranking while taking advantage of the over 3 billion google searches per day.

With, you’re able to run Google ads directly to your listing, and have each one of those sales for different keywords that you’re trying to rank for. You can move up in the organic rankings in a way that you wouldn’t be able to do without utilizing external traffic. Amazon disproportionately rewards sales that come from external traffic through organic ranking juice. Additionally they reward you for each sale driven through external ads with the Brand Referral Bonus, which lowers the fee that you would normally pay to Amazon by 10% of the total value of that sale.

Prosper: What’s your opinion of Amazon (for the sellers) as opposed to other platforms?

Cobb: Amazon is simply essential. It is responsible for creating thousands of millionaires and is a total behemoth. In fact, we are seeing a huge trend of native D2C brands coming onto the platform. What’s so nice about Amazon, as opposed to Shopify, is Amazon brings the traffic to the platform. Now it’s your job, through Amazon SEO and pay-per clicks, to boost your listing. Analyze all of the key words, even long-tailed keywords which are searched terms that don’t have as high of a search volume. In Q4, long-tailed keywords become more important because the search volumes go up so much.

Prosper: What hurts a seller’s ability to make money?

Cobb: There’s nothing that hurts your ability to make money more than running out of stock. We’ve all gone on Amazon, tried to buy something, and it’s been out of stock—or delayed until March 21 when we need it for Valentine’s Day. Not only do you lose the potential sale but, due to the poor customer experience, Amazon penalizes you by lowering your organic rank., the top management and forecasting software for Amazon sellers, was developed to help sellers avoid stockouts.

Prosper: How does Amazon treat such sellers?

Cobb: As I said, Amazon knows it’s a terrible customer experience and they penalize your organic rank. Nothing will punish you more than going out of stock. Make sure your inventory situation and forecasting are correct.

Prosper: Is there a “seasonal” mindset that sellers should cultivate?

Cobb: In Q4 you’re going to be asking more of your team than in Q3, Q2, or Q1. How are you incentivizing your team? How are you getting them excited to work longer hours and extra days so you can really capitalize on that wave? The gains you can make going into Q4 don’t stop at the end of Q4. Gains include: the organic rank that you’re able to attain; the buying power that you’re able to attain for future expansions (whether it’s new product opportunity or doubling down on your current product); and brand recognition. A lot of that is won in Q4. A lot of your sales next summer will be determined by what happens in Q4.

Prosper: What’s the current situation with Amazon and the software ecosystem serving them?

Cobb: We’re in a situation where the top 15,000 sellers control over 50% of the market and that number has been steadily climbing. We saw the gigantic market—$600 billion in sales through Amazon every year. And we saw a really new, and therefore unsophisticated set of service providers servicing them. And that’s where we saw the opportunity to build the ecosystem for professional sellers. We could provide more and better solutions for large professional sellers.

Prosper: What types of post Prime Day trends and analytics should sellers be dissecting?

Cobb: Different sellers are going to have different goals. What is the business plan? What is the exit plan? Depending on what path you’re looking for, you are going to need to analyze different metrics. What always remains the same are two things: 1) How good are you at driving traffic? Driving traffic comes through a combination of paid and organic growth. 2) What percentage of those convert? No matter what your goal in terms of profitability, two things that everyone can always be optimizing for is maximizing traffic with the money they are willing to invest, and then maximizing conversion. Maximizing traffic to your listing and maximizing the percentage of that traffic that converts are worthy goals. Marketing comes down to traffic and conversion.

Prosper: What are some of the tools that provide those solutions?

Cobb: I’ve mentioned, which is the leading inventory management software for Amazon sellers; Also, with its patent-pending technology. It is the only ad tech platform where you can run Google, Meta, and Tiktok ads directly to your Amazon listing. This is a big thing for sellers now where external traffic is being disproportionately rewarded by Amazon. They love to see that you’re pulling traffic from their competitors and bringing it to their platform. Also, is a profit recovery platform that allows you to recover the money that Amazon owes you due to mistakes made during shipping and in their warehouse. Over 99% of sellers are owed money and many don’t even know it.

Prosper: What do you love about this industry?

Cobb: This is my life. There’s nothing I love more than working with entrepreneurs.

Prosper: Why do you support the Prosper Show?

Cobb: We love the Prosper show in particular because it is the show for Amazon sellers. It’s the crown jewel. It’s been amazing to see the development of the Prosper show for the last three or four years. There’s has been a good mix of new sellers and professional sellers and this past year it really seemed to move upstream. We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it. It’s one of the best events that we do every year. Like I said, it’s the crown jewel. There’s so many people who only go to one event a year, and if they go to one, chances are, it’s the Prosper Show.

Prosper: What is your level of optimism for the remainder of the year?

Cobb: Amazon recently exceeded their earnings target by a lot. We’re seeing many signals that indicate that Amazon is becoming a better and better partner to the successful third party sellers. They’re having more summits, they’re having more involvement in the seller community. They’re launching new programs aimed at helping third-party sellers. Consumer sentiment is not as bad as predicted. It’s actually much better, which could make for an incredible Q4 for people who set the right priorities with the right tools and the right teams.