The PickFu Podcast: building a successful e-commerce brand in 2024 with Mike Jackness of EcomCrew

In the latest episode of The PickFu Podcast, John Aspinall welcomed Mike Jackness, the co-founder of EcomCrew, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of building a successful e-commerce brand in 2024. 

With over a decade of experience in the industry, Mike shared his seasoned perspective on what it takes to thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Watch the full episode here, or you can just grab the key takeaways below.

The rise and fall of the “passive income” dream

One of the first topics tackled was the myth of passive income in e-commerce. Mike bluntly stated, “It’s not passive income, right? It’s not that dream of just sipping on Mai Tais on the beach and money’s just falling from the sky while you’re doing nothing.”

While it was once possible to build a relatively hands-off business on Amazon, those days are long gone. As Mike put it, “You have to bring your A game, no matter what – your A++ game. Really high-quality imagery, lifestyle photos, really good copy, highly optimized PPC, good relationships with influencers, probably some external traffic.”

Optimizing your Amazon click-through rate (CTR)

One of the key strategies Mike emphasized was the importance of optimizing for click-through rate (CTR) on Amazon. “Step one, click-through rate – get people on your listing page. Then you want to work on converting as many people that get to that page as possible.”

To illustrate this point, John walked through a live example using PickFu’s polling platform and Canva, a graphic design tool. By making simple tweaks to a supplement product’s main image, such as adding a “Made in the USA” label and showing the actual supplement powder in the image, the optimized version received a unanimous preference from the PickFu panelists.

Screenshot of a PickFu poll comparing two images of an organic protein supplement powder, with Option B receiving 100% of the votes

Some of the voters’ written feedback included:

  • “I like seeing what the actual powder looks like, so I would go with the image in option B.”
  • “B has a more presentable arrangement and looks very attractive. The presentation is very colorful and detailed which makes it unique and highly creative. The flavors are evidently placed on the side of the product for more credibility and easy understanding.”
  • “I would prefer option B because the packaging has the country origin indicated on it hence helps in building trust with clients. So whenever you buy the product you’ll know the manufacturing country.”
  • “I like that it shows the powder. I know what I am getting and it is useful.”

“I think PickFu is one of the best values that we’ve run across in a long time in the e-commerce space,” Mike said.

Agencies and bootstrapping

On the topic of agencies vs. bootstrapping, Mike firmly sided with the latter. “I am not a fan of agencies,” he said, citing experiences where the quality of work deteriorated as agencies grew and had to hire less skilled team members.

While acknowledging exceptions for some brands, he stressed, “If you’re going to be selling stuff on Amazon, this is your core business – you need to learn how to create listings yourself, do PPC, etc.”

Closing thoughts

With practical advice and a no-nonsense approach, Mike Jackness offered a refreshing perspective on what it takes to build a thriving e-commerce brand in today’s hyper-competitive environment. 

By prioritizing high-quality visuals, compelling copy, strategic niches, and hands-on optimization, sellers can increase their chances of standing out and succeeding on Amazon and beyond.

E-commerce sellers can check out EcomCrew for a wealth of free e-commerce content and insights. John also highlighted PickFu’s “done-for-you” services, where sellers can take advantage of the PickFu team’s expertise, data and consumer insights, and a team of graphic designers to optimize product listings for maximum CTR potential.

You can watch the full episode here for more insights from Mike. Follow our YouTube and LinkedIn pages to catch future episodes – we go live every Thursday at 12pm Eastern with a new expert guest!

Adrienne Van Niman

Adrienne Van Niman is the content marketing manager at PickFu. She has 7+ years of experience as a writer, editor, and marketer, specializing in content strategy and creation for growing B2B tech companies. Outside of work, she's living the digital nomad life and traveling in an RV with her husband and dog.