Developing Amazon’s #1 Best Selling Product
In 2012, Joseph Jaconi and Eric Tong founded Tech Armor, a leading manufacturer of mobile device accessories including Tech Armor Certified Cables, Wall and Car Chargers, Ballistic Glass Screen Protectors and the new Relax Series of next generation iPhone cases.
Within 2 years of their launch – Tech Armor was the #1 searched and ranked brand for screen protectors across Amazon, eBay, and Best Buy.
Tech Armor products are built around the need to protect and connect mobile devices at an affordable price.
Based in Redondo Beach, Tech Armor was conceived as an alternative to the overpriced mobile device accessories available from retail brands today.
Engaging directly with its customers, Tech Armor provides higher-quality, better-performing accessories at a fraction of big retail prices, all backed by their industry leading Lifetime Product Replacement Warranty.
Tech Armor is sold through leading e-commerce partners such as Amazon.com (Platinum Level Merchant), Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de and Amazon.co.jp, Rakuten, EBay (Top Rated Powerseller), Sears.com, Newegg.com, as well as its own website, techarmor.com, and other specialized retailers.
So how did this two man team, completely self-funded reach such a high level of success?
We spoke with Jaconi, who shares how Tech Armor become a major player in the Amazon Marketplace.
Brand Leadership on the Amazon Marketplace
“Prior to Tech Armor I worked in ecommerce, selling to online retailers and marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Rakuten. I managed sales teams internationally in Canada, Latin America and Europe as well.”
“My business partner Eric and I founded Tech Armor with the idea that we could bring high quality mobile accessories to consumers directly all backed by industry leading warranties and best in class support.”
“We quickly became a leading brand on marketplaces in the U.S. – designing our products here in California and sourcing them globally with a keen eye on quality control,” he said.
From USB chargers to phone cases and cabling, one of the most appealing aspects of TechArmor’s gear is the lifetime replacement warranty – an element of their brand that quickly gained the attention of online shoppers across the marketplace.
“The initial response for Tech Armor was very exciting. As we experienced our first holiday period we were amazed at the volumes we sold and the positive feedback from our customers. They love our quick response times and our lifetime product replacement warranty.”
Business developed quickly, both Jaconi and Tong chose to leave their full time jobs to devote themselves to their new company. Avoiding the hassle of brick and mortar – they specifically targeted the ecommerce realm.
The first nine months were grueling – with little to no profit and endless hours on the phone – feeding individual customer calls and answering emails at all hours of the day. The two were known for personally handling each and every customer call- alternating shifts in an effort to stay awake late into the evening.
Tech Armor did not necessarily re-invent the wheel, but what they did introduce was a product in demand at a competitive price. They knew they could live up to the expectations of their customers, simultaneously cut costs and as their company grew – they did not abandon their foundation of quality customer service. By 2013, Tech Armor sold 2.5 million units. (In 3 years, they sold almost 8 million units).
“Keeping the business lean has always been a competitive advantage for us, but I think that over investing in service and support has had tremendous impact. We don’t look at our customers as a single transaction, we hope to earn their trust and their business for life and we will continue to invest there.”
Just shy of their 3 year anniversary, it’s not uncommon for Tech Armor’s customers to repeat purchases – returning to the brand for new covers and equipment 3 to 14 times a year.
Today, they distribute products in 20+ countries including Canada, Asia, and South America. As with any successful company, increase in growth was not without it’s own obstacles.
“Our biggest challenges had to do with managing our data and keeping product in stock.”
“We feel we have improved greatly with our holiday inventory planning but early on had to invest a lot of money in air freight to keep products in stock and our customers happy. We do work with resellers for non-ecommerce business. We have e-commerce covered but have great partners domestic and international that help spread the word about Tech Armor.”
Today, Tech Armor has a total of 21 employees in several countries globally, but is still based in Southern California.
Amazon Seller Tips:
“By managing data we mainly look at historical sales figures from the previous holiday period and our current YOY trend data. That is simply a starting point and we then layer on variables that touch on new device launches and platform changes, such as the launch of the new iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy Note 5.”
“We try our best to look at a variety of factors and again go back to the historical data to sanity check our projections,” he said.
Jaconi’s recommendations for Amazon sellers planning their holiday inventories:
- Have a plan – You will only do as good as your plan allows you to be, so leave room for error and be prepared for the unexpected.
- Be early – You never know if there will be delays due to weather, inbound traffic to fulfillment centers, or others.
- Talk to others – You would be surprised at how willing to help your fellow merchants and sellers are (more so when you don’t compete).
- Look at the data often – We review forecasts and consumption weekly if not more often throughout the holiday period.
So what’s next on the bucket list for Tech Armor?
“That’s always a tough question, especially since we have only been in business for 3 years. I would like to think that we would not only continue to dominate the ecommerce space in screen protection in the U.S. and at the same time continue to expand globally wherever we can deliver on our promise to our customers.”
“Ecommerce will continue to outpace brick and mortar retail, a trend that won’t reverse itself any time soon as we continue to invest there. We will continue to scale in ecommerce with great partners like Amazon as well as on our own property techarmor.com.”
“Beyond our traditional business to consumer business we feel there is great opportunity in B2B and education and are also investing in those channels.”