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: 05/16/2018

    Amazon plans to become the fresh food safety leader

    Fascinating, given that Amazon avoided registering some of their fulfillment centers with the FDA for more than 10 years. According to a recent Marketwatch article, "Amazon has told FDA investigators over the years that it believes it doesn’t need to register, the reports show — prompting, in essence, a nearly decade-long stalemate." I guess now that Amazon has so much at stake with grocery, they have decided to not simply comply, but go all-in in typical Amazon fashion.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2018

    Is $119 too much to pay for an Amazon Prime membership?

    It would be a stretch to assume that the price increase will make the Prime program profitable for Amazon. There are massive costs associated with offering free 1 or 2 day shipping nationwide, which few consumers appreciate. But with a higher price point, Amazon will be able to offset the increasing operating costs of the service as they build up their fulfillment infrastructure in the US and abroad.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2018

    Will Prime members give Amazon the key to their cars?

    This new program is part of Amazon’s mission to target new customer segments and roll out features to attract and retain Prime members. Following the launch of the in-home Key secure delivery product, Amazon is looking for more ways to make online shopping convenient for customers. With package theft rates rising, and some employers banning online shopping deliveries to their offices, Amazon needs new ways to get products into the hands of consumers.
  • Posted on: 03/12/2018

    Amazon shifts to a subscription model for Prime Pantry

    Great move on Amazon's part. It takes mental energy to optimize the box contents to ensure one is getting good value from the shipping fee. Though let's be real, Amazon was certainly taking a hit on a meager $5.99 shipping fee for a four cubic foot, 45 pound box. With a subscription service, consumers will be more likely to place orders more frequently so they can make the most out of the subscription. Amazon already has a successful subscription model across many services now, not all of which you'd immediately liken to online shopping. Counting my own individual Amazon subscriptions:
    • Amazon Prime, $99/year;
    • Amazon Music, which makes my Alexa/Echo experience so much better: $7.99/month;
    • Audible, $14.95/month;
    • Amazon Professional Seller Plan, $39.95.
    I'm already spending over $70/month to access various services that I now feel I can't live without. Adding another $5/month to avoid a trip to a big box store or similar makes sense to me as a consumer, and is in keeping with their other subscription services.
  • Posted on: 02/21/2018

    Is influencer marketing just getting started?

    There's no doubt in my mind that influencer marketing will become a bigger components of the marketing mix. It has already proven itself effective at cutting through the noise of advertising to reach the elusive Millennial consumer, or frankly any consumer group that has there wherewithal to install an ad blocker! The challenge for retail brands will be tracking the results from influencer campaigns. One expects a "halo effect" across all sales channels when engaging high-level influencers or even micro-influencers. Still, proving a return on investment is difficult, especially since many brands and retailers have become accustomed to the deep analytics that digital advertising has provided in the past. This is especially the case for brands selling on Amazon, where there is no way to directly track or attribute sales to specific influencer campaigns.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2018

    Rule #1 of location analytics in retail – don’t be creepy

    This technology has the potential to genuinely create a better experience around tasks like grocery shopping. But they key, as mentioned in the article, is clear and constant disclosure. Just because a consumer enabled geolocation tracking one time in a store in order to find the widget they were looking for, does not give the retailer carte blanche for ongoing tracking and targeting indefinitely. Limiting the tracking, so it enables consumers to only allow tracking and personalization for a defined period of time (1 hour, 1 day, etc), location, or other behavioral circumstances, could be a solution here. I'm sure we'll also see the advent of location-blockers for the privacy conscious, just like we've seen the proliferation of online ad-blockers over the past decade or so.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2018

    Amazon moves closer to FedEx and UPS’s turf

    When asked if he intends to take out UPS with their own logistics capabilities, Bezos said years ago that he plans on supplementing UPS "heavily." We're seeing heavy supplementation coming to fruition now. Amazon wants a bigger piece of the shipping pie, or at least to not have to rely so much on the incumbent carriers. A positive effect of this will be more competition, more choice and lower prices on shipping. As we have seen with this development, Amazon will reach scale faster by expanding this service to more potential customers, not just limiting its fulfillment capabilities to merchants and Amazon customers. Further in the future, I see Amazon potentially replacing the incumbent carriers, and selling excess capacity to other companies. Think AWS, but for shipping. Given its strength in automating manual processes, shipping could become a major competitive strength and profit center for Amazon.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2018

    Amazon rolls out Prime Now deliveries from Whole Foods

    While most would agree that this current development is no surprise, Landry hints at much more collaboration between Amazon and Whole Foods. Amazon will certainly roll out the service as aggressively as possible within the current Whole Foods footprint. It will have an immediate effect on the adoption and repeat usage of the Prime Now program, which will boost the average customer order value of Prime Members and make them stickier.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2018

    Amazon launches “$10 or Less” store

    Looking at the assortment, the requirement is a price point below $10 and free shipping. That doesn't necessarily mean Prime eligibility. This means that it will be a place where direct manufacturers from China can get their products displayed prominently, and use the very cheap USPS e-Packet delivery service to get their product from China to the U.S. for the same price as it costs a merchant in Pennsylvania to get a product to Connecticut. What does this mean? Bargain basement products available to whatever demographic Amazon is pitching this microsite at. As mentioned, this presumably includes lower-income households, but rich people still need phone cases too. This will certainly have some effect on dollar stores. Will it drive them out of business? No. Even when using e-Packet for delivery there is still a floor to what is profitable to sell on Amazon, and even Amazon has its limits with its own inventory.
  • Posted on: 02/02/2018

    How addictive are smart speakers?

    Smart speakers will be as ubiquitous as cell phones in the next couple of years. In the car, in the home, at the office and on your cell phone too. It will bring an entirely new search and discover interface, and therefore retailers and brands need to be thinking about the voice equivalent of SEO, producing content that is voice-friendly (for brands) and interfaces that make voice enabled shopping easy and enjoyable. This is yet another way that Amazon is ahead of the curve, by not only developing the hardware and ecosystem but having the best voice-enabled commerce experience. I'm not sure how many "wake-up" moments the incumbent retailers can handle after a good percentage of consumer spending moves to voice and they are left behind.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2018

    Are marketers ignoring female Baby Boomers?

    To be fair, I think every generation believes that they ignore advertising and it is largely not relevant to them. I find it hard to believe that advertisers are not interested in this demographic or have not made an effort to understand their interests. A few bad advertising apples (irrelevant, not compelling) spoil the bunch.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2018

    Co-opetition with Amazon works for The Children’s Place

    Let the wolf into the hen house, or potentially lose out on revenue from customers who prefer to shop on Amazon? As The Children's Place has found, retailers with a strong value proposition can benefit greatly by using Amazon as an additional marketing and distribution channel. The Children's Place have their own unique branded products, which makes their assortment on Amazon defensible. Retailers who only sell products manufactured by other brands have little to gain by competing with other sellers who are all selling the same products. The other approach that brands and retailers can take is to sell a specific assortment on Amazon, and retain some unique portion of their assortment to carry in stores or on their ecommerce platform. This addresses concerns about cannibalization across channels. The CEO of The Children's Place has been forward-thinking on this front. Amazon produces much hand-wringing from other retailers who haven't been willing to address the changing market head-on; but Jane Elfers has taken a firm viewpoint and it has paid off.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2018

    Will retailers go on the road with self-driving mobile stores?

    I can think of a few scenarios where this retail delivery system makes sense.
    1. Vending essential items at special events. Items that people either forget or plan not to bring to an event like a marathon, festival or other event. Towels, water, a paid phone charging station, etc.
    2. Merch. Similarly, branded merchandise for bands and artists could be made available in a just-in-time fashion, before and after these events.
    3. Convenience items. As the article states, a mobile convenience store could roam to areas of cities or towns where there are no such stores.
    4. Food items. Rapid service restaurants and convenience stores do most of their business in a few hours of each day. What if the store could only be open and pay "rent" during those money-making hours?
    The biggest advantage is that the "store" doesn't have to pay rent during idle hours. The biggest hurdle will be for cities and towns to monetize parking and update zoning requirements, similar to the food truck movement of a few years ago.
  • Posted on: 12/18/2017

    Are smart homes smart enough to foil package thieves?

    Yes, stolen packages are a major pain point for e-commerce. Merchants and brands spend untold amounts on replacing items, not just the consumer, because of customer-centric retailers like Amazon which will refund almost any transaction at the drop of a hat. I agree the smart cameras and locks are a great deterrent and, as another BrainTrust expert commented, perhaps even for "regular" burglaries. But I'm going to be more excited about secure delivery chutes that can be installed in buildings for drone delivery.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2017

    Which off-price retailers will withstand the test of time?

    The question in my mind is how well off-price can or will translate to an online environment. Beyond daily deal-type sites and online consignment stores, there doesn't seem to be a lot of traction in this category. Does the limited inventory and thrill-of-the-hunt experience of off-price shopping mean that its destined to be offline forever? That would be good news for incumbent off-price retailers who will be able to scoop up low rents in vacant retail spaces left by beleaguered department stores.

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