Kiri Masters

Founder and CEO, Bobsled Marketing
Kiri is the founder and CEO of Bobsled Marketing, an agency that helps brands to grow and protect their brands on Amazon.

Launched in 2015, Bobsled Marketing has worked with over 100 brands to launch on Amazon, optimize their product presence, PPC (advertising) campaigns, as well as manage operational aspects around fulfillment, fees, and unauthorized sellers.

Kiri grew Bobsled as a solo consultant in 2015 to a team of 15 Amazon specialists today, who manage millions of dollars in monthly sales for Amazon Vendor and Seller accounts.

Prior to Bobsled, Kiri started a small e-commerce brand in the crafts category, I Like That Lamp. Launching this brand on Amazon provided the idea and foundation for the launch and optimization process that Bobsled would use later on with its clients.

Before her career in e-commerce however, Kiri was in the commercial banking world in New York at JP Morgan Chase. Working with small businesses on their cash management and lending needs as a commercial banker has given Kiri a sound understanding of the pain points and opportunities that small businesses face when looking to grow.

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  • Posted on: 11/21/2017

    Do retailers need a new approach to store brand marketing?

    To add an online perspective to the mix, this is a business model that Amazon is pursuing on a massive scale.The vast quantities of data that Amazon holds can be mined to identify assortment gaps as well as emerging product types. In some categories (batteries, baby wipes), Amazon's private labels dominate. However, Amazon aren't overly promotional about their own private labels, and for some brands consumers wouldn't know they are an Amazon brand.The placement of Amazon's private labels within the wider ecosystem seems almost democratic -- the most popular product wins whether it's an Amazon brand or a national brand. Products which don't succeed are quickly and quietly killed.What can other retailers learn from this? Let consumer purchase data do the talking.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    Who will be left standing after the next retail shakeout?

    I like the breakdown, it seems like most value differentiators can be argued to fit in one of these categories.Considering the first two categories, the take-away is that retail is becoming more about logistics and fulfillment capability than marketing capability.Target and Walmart are upping their logistics game to improve convenience and value for shoppers.And as for the Third Wave, Nordstrom has been experimenting with pop-ups, and Barney's with "drops." These give consumers the IRL experiences that they crave.Department stores and other chains can still conceivably compete in any of these three areas if they make it a strategic priority.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2017

    Amazon Go still plans to transform convenience in retail stores

    Amazon has much to lose from a poorly implemented version of this technology. In profits (shrinkage as others mentioned), poor customer experience (incorrect receipts if the tech is wonky) and all the backlash that follows those outcomes from the press or investors.So the fact that they've taken some time to work further on the Just Walk Out technology signals that it may come to market as fairly mature and less prone to errors.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Walmart’s online prices drive customers to its supercenters

    While there is a large segment of Amazon's customer in particular who are focused on convenience and not price, I'd wager that Walmart's customers are skewed in the opposite direction.I see this pricing comparison engine helping consumers to realize that some products are cost-prohibitive to ship. Unlike Amazon, Walmart is not prepared to lose their shirt by shipping a $4 tube of toothpaste to a customer. The real deal-seekers will discover that Walmart's in-store prices are cheaper than Amazon in some cases. I do see this pricing comparison engine helping consumers to realize that some products are cost-prohibitive to ship, and start to re-shape their buying behaviors accordingly.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2017

    Retailers need supply chain urgency – now

    Supply chain urgency is a great response to retailers' hand-wringing over Amazon. Many analysts and retail industry commentators (fellow BrainTrust panelists included) would conclude that Amazon is less a retail company, and more a fulfillment company. Supply chain urgency couldn't be more urgent right now. As others have noted, marketing is just half the problem that retailers are facing today. Having the right products available at the right time seems to be the most fundamental thing for retailers to focus on.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Are these the best or worst of times for consumer brands?

    It's neither the best or worst time for brands. The direct-to-consumer model is simply the new reality. With many traditional retailers going out of business, manufacturers don't have much choice but to build their own brand and consider how to transact directly with the end-consumer. This requires investment in marketing and distribution at the very least, but the benefit is that these companies are building a defensible and scalable asset instead of relying on third parties to merchandise their inventory. It's a brave new world and there will be some casualties. But the industry is moving in this direction for the simple fact that consumers favor this model over the past model.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    Big Data is done, put a fork in it

    I look to arguably the best example of a company who obtains, compiles, and uses data to its full advantage: Amazon. As a core leadership principle, Amazon uses data to take huge bets and lead decisions. And when the data doesn't support an idea, the venture is quickly killed and moves on. It seems so much part of the DNA of the company that giving it a special title is pointless. It's just the way Amazon does business.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Amazon undercuts rivals by adding discounts to marketplace seller prices

    Many brands choose to sell on the marketplace rather than through a wholesale "vendor" relationship with Amazon precisely because being a marketplace seller provides more control over brand elements, including product pricing. With this action, Amazon has just demonstrated that they can and will change the dynamics of their platform. And these changes will always serve to benefit the end customer, sometimes at the expense of the brand.A customer shopping on Amazon's marketplace is their customer, not yours. Despite the illusion of control on the Amazon marketplace, brands must recognize that complete control is an illusion.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    Johnson & Johnson takes aim at digital disruption

    These are the key words: "New companies can now sell directly to consumers profitably in most markets," but I disagree that it's all about access to capital.New companies are not beholden to entrenched bureaucracy or a need to satisfy the short-term needs of shareholders. They can innovate because they choose to collect and act quickly on the data that their direct-to-consumer channels provide. They are creating products that are built for an e-commerce environment, acting quickly to respond to consumer trends and iterating fast on variations.CPG firms have tremendous advantages over new companies. The industry relationships, advocacy and other resources give them an incredible upper hand over new upstarts. But they have not responded quickly enough to the changing landscape where data is readily available and requires fast action.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Nike turns its back on ‘undifferentiated, mediocre’ retailers

    I do think that Nike's consumer direct plan is a solid one. By making a full third of their products only available through their direct channel, they can make this a more "exclusive" feeling channel while attracting a higher margin and ability to directly retarget those customers later, offering personalization options.Nike has recognized the pitfalls of being everywhere. In a world when one can find almost everything on Amazon, exclusive products become even more appealing.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Will Amazon conquer digital advertising platforms next?

    Great points, Phil!
  • Posted on: 10/25/2017

    Amazon to begin making in-home deliveries in 37 cities

    Well played, Amazon.This solves a major consumer pain point of missed deliveries, theft, and damage. Again, Amazon innovates with the customer in mind.Sure, it is mostly attractive to a certain segment of customers who are plagued by issues with mail carriers. But you can bet that those customers will be ordering from Amazon with heightened frequency using this new program and bypassing competitors. The Amazon flywheel just started spinning a bit faster for that demographic.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2017

    Can Barneys tap into ‘drop’ culture?

    I hope this event succeeds. It will provide a much-needed response to the hand-wringing from traditional retailers about how to deal with the threat of Amazon to their business model. The experience that this type of event offers is an innovation in the retail landscape, and how retailers can really differentiate and attract shoppers. Notwithstanding that these will be shoppers willing to pay full price for the exclusive products, not discount shoppers lured in through flash sales.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2017

    Amazon’s Prime membership grows to 90 million in U.S.

    Prime is a significant driver in Amazon's flywheel. The psychological lock-in effect of Prime has led Amazon to where it is today. Members want to make their membership worth it, so turn to Amazon first when shopping. That's not the only element though: extreme product selection, fast delivery and customer service are just two other factors that drive loyalty to Amazon. It is still incredible to me how the Prime membership numbers continue to creep up, way past half of all U.S. households. Even after Amazon reaches technical saturation, they will start extending their flywheel reach elsewhere: international markets, currently underserved demographics (teens, elderly).
  • Posted on: 10/17/2017

    What is the online marketplace opportunity for retailers?

    Online marketplaces will continue to expand. Retailers are constrained by capital, but marketplaces can provide infinite selection. Marketplaces can acquire brands and products from all corners of the globe and develop their own private label brands.Retailers should participate in marketplaces with their eyes wide open. There are still many opportunities for retailers to sell brands who don't want to directly engage with marketplaces themselves. Those opportunities won't last forever, though. Retailers need to identify on which dimension they will compete: service, curation and experience being some of those dimensions that marketplaces are weak in.

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