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. Learn more at:
  • Posted on: 05/29/2019

    Amazon to set small suppliers adrift

    I don't buy that Amazon will reduce their assortment. Part of their whole value proposition is the endless aisle. Amazon is able to manage this, at near-zero cost, because of their marketplace system (Seller Central). This is why there's a rumored "purge" of merchants from Amazon's legacy wholesale system, to push these smaller merchants to the self-serve marketplace. Amazon placed a high value on selection. They'll achieve that goal through any means necessary: inventory sourced directly from brands, partnerships with retailers, and a bottomless supply of third-party merchants who essentially sell inventory on consignment.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Target turns to advertising opportunities as its core retail business thrives

    As performance marketing on the Facebook/Google oligopoly gets increasingly expensive, brands should be welcoming the competition brought by Amazon, Walmart and Target. These platforms offer something unique - targeting capabilities based on real shopper behavior data. Something that Google and Facebook can't compete with. The competition that Target will bring to established players should be welcomed. At the same time, brands now have more options that ever for their performance marketing and media. Each platform also wants to maintain a walled garden. So some benefits in cost efficiency may be dampened by the complexity of dealing with and measuring results from several retailer ad platforms.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2019

    Retailers and brands become best of frenemies with Amazon

    Fellow panelist Mark Ryski pointed out that brands are increasingly viewing Amazon as a distribution channel. I'd take that one step further and say that brands are viewing Amazon as both a distribution and marketing channel that actually drives results in other channels too. Here's why:
    1. Showrooming. Shoppers are using their cell phones in-store to check out product information, pricing, and reviews as part of their consideration stage. Guess which website they're using to do this research? Amazon. If a brand's products are poorly represented there, they might lose sales in stores as well as online.
    2. 89 percent of shoppers prefer to shop on Amazon rather than other e-commerce sites, according to a recent Feedvisor study in March. Most shoppers simply trust Amazon more, or find it more convenient to shop there for many reasons (Prime, A-to-Z guarantee, saved payment and shipping details, etc).
  • Posted on: 04/08/2019

    Will Alexa earbuds advance Amazon’s virtual assistant ambitions?

    The challenge for Alexa will certainly be acting as a third-party app on mobile platforms which openly compete with Alexa: Siri and Google Home. Of course iOS and Android are going to favor their own assistant technology. That said, third-party integrations often work just fine. My Bose headphones integrated with the Google Assistant by default, for example. Mobile platforms might have an existential problem with offering an Alexa integration, but if Alexa is what customers prefer, they'll have to tow the line.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2019

    Will Marie Kondo de-clutter retail?

    Who really believed that fast fashion was a sustainable trend? The havoc that the industry is wreaking on our environment both with manufacturing waste and landfill from unwanted product, we also have the often-dire working conditions of human beings involved in manufacturing ... all of this is becoming more obvious to customers. Now there is an even more ego-centric reason to abandon fast fashion: the concept of joy and whether any of your $5 blouses from Forever 21 spark it. We all may be in retail and love to see certain numbers keep going up and up, but you wonder when the party is going to stop when consumers can keep getting more and more stuff for lower and lower prices.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2019

    Are apps and voice assistants the keys to e-grocery adoption?

    The adoption of e-grocery does not rest solely at the feet of voice assistants. As other commenters have pointed out, Voice could assist in making the online grocery shopping experience better, but there is a ways to go. As an avid online grocery shopper, there are still gaping customer experience holes, and it mostly relates to platforms not "talking" to each other in an intuitive way. For example, my Alexa device is always going to steer me to shopping on Amazon, which may not be ideal for the product I'm looking for.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    E-commerce forces CPG brands to think differently

    There are a few problems these brands are solving with their move to lighter, smaller packaging:
    1. Reducing risk of Amazon "CRaP": Amazon drops products from their website which cost too much to ship ("can't realize a profit");
    2. Improving margins: lighter, smaller products have lower shipping expenses. Tide's box can actually ship in its own container, reducing cost even further for online retailers. The packaging may also cost the company less to produce.;
    3. Responding to consumer demand for less waste: Tide's new packaging has 60 percent less plastic and uses 30 percent less water in its soap.
    As more household shopping moves online, particularly on replenishable items, it's great to see CPG companies are now responding to the unique demands of the channel.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2018

    Kroger Ship to take on Amazon’s Prime Pantry

    Given the success of their Vitacost division which they've held for four years now, I think Kroger can make this work. Replenishable center-aisle items are the best candidates for an in-home delivery, and that's exactly what Kroger is leading with. They also revealed an ace up their sleeves: launching 4,500 of their private label "Our Brands" products, which are not available anywhere else online. Customers who are loyal to those products will be pleased to be able to stock up between store visits.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Urban Outfitters buys into installment payment plan

    I believe that Afterpay does run the applicant through an approval process online before allowing them to sign up.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Urban Outfitters buys into installment payment plan

    Not new, just new to Millennials!
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Urban Outfitters buys into installment payment plan

    As an Australian myself, I know that Afterpay has become wildly successful in Australia, especially among Millennials, and I'm sure it will gain traction in the U.S. as well. I'm not so bullish on the idea that consumers will prefer Afterpay over free shipping, though. Today, free shipping is almost a pre-requisite for online retailers. E-commerce adoption down under still lags the U.S. quite significantly, and I'm not sure we'll see that U.S. consumers will be willing to give up their "right" to free shipping -- even in exchange for flexible financing.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    Amazon to start new Christmas tradition with its own toy catalog

    As other experts have pointed out, I'm curious to see how the prices will be advertised in the catalog given Amazon's marketplace model. This is yet another channel that incumbent retailers thought Amazon couldn't or wouldn't enter. Amazon didn't do brick-and-mortar retail -- until they started opening bookstores. Amazon wouldn't spend big bucks on media campaigns -- until they took out a Super Bowl ad. Now they are dipping into the direct mail channel and giving catalog retailers a run for their money. Any retailer that resists the idea that Amazon will disrupt their channel or category should take heed (again).
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    Amazon to start new Christmas tradition with its own toy catalog

    Great point about dynamic pricing. I wonder if they will take a cue from the dynamic pricing in Amazon bookstores and include something like a QR code.
  • Posted on: 07/03/2018

    Amazon announces Prime Day-and-a-half

    Prime Day 2018 will be the biggest yet, as Amazon has significantly increased their media advertising budget over 2017 and will be leveraging every possible channel to drum up attention. Amazon now has a larger presence in international markets, giving them significant revenue potential outside the U.S. Other retailers need to take advantage of the increased shopper attention over these days, even if it looks like they are conceding to Amazon. Black Friday was once a brick-and-mortar play -- now online retailers embrace the event as much as the alternative of Cyber Monday. If you can't beat them, join them.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2018

    Are podcasts the next big ad opportunity for brands?

    Another podcaster here! It's my most beloved content medium and I agree that dedicated fans never skip an episode. But as others have said, this is a medium that brands and retailers need to curate very closely in order to find their tribe. A scattergun media strategy would not work here. As for podcast series that brands produce themselves, they can work quite well, provided the brand doesn't feel compelled to make it an hour-long advertorial for their product or service. My podcast, for example (Ecommerce Brain Trust for those playing at home) is a marketing channel for my agency, Bobsled Marketing. We very rarely mention the agency at all. And other brands, Slack for example, produce very engaging shows that don't "push" the brand -- simply serving their audience of knowledge workers and building goodwill amongst this group. Three cheers for podcasts. I'm truly glad that they are attracting advertising dollars from brands.

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