Luke Peters is the CEO of NewAir, according to Inc magazine one of the fastest growing privately held eCommerce businesses in America. Selling all sorts of heating and cooling appliances to consumers they’ve recently shifted their sales focus to encompass selling via Walmart, Amazon, Home Depot, Wayfair and more. Luke’s grown Newair from a side hustle run from his garage to an 8 figure turnover employing over 50 people – we’re going to have plenty to talk about!
How Luke got Started in eCommerce
Luke says he has been starting and running businesses since he was a kid. From a paper route to a pool cleaning business that paid his way through college, Luke has always been into the hustle. After college, Luke started working as a hazardous waste scientist.
The job was stable, but a little boring. Luke was inspired by his little brother who was running a successful online business that was quickly outpacing Luke’s salary. He decided to dive in and got into selling heating and cooling equipment from simply noticing that there was a huge volume of people looking online for air conditioners. on Yahoo search.
Luke was also attracted to heating and cooling equipment partly because they are contractor related products and he says that in those types of businesses, the competition is fairly non-digital savvy.
New Air is based in Cypress, California in the United States and sells primarily in the US market. The company is beginning to move into Europe and Canada, but Luke says they are continuing to focus on growing the business.
Most of the companies stock are located in their warehouses in Cypress, but some of that is outsourced as well to third party logistic. Their product, he points out is physically big and is vulnerable to breaking and having everything in house has a lot of advantages.
All the products are under 150lbs and they are compact enough to ship FedEx. The company sells on the Shopify platform but most of their business is through larger, online marketplaces.
From DTC to Wholesale and Back Again
New Air has moved from being 100% direct to consumer and is now 95% selling through larger businesses. Luke says the difference is that they sell via relationships within each of the marketplaces they sell to.
Having a relationship within each of the marketplace platforms helps the business leverage the nuances and individual character of all the different retailers. Luke recognizes that customers are going to marketplaces first for these kinds of products.
Not having to focus on customer acquisition and trying to outbid competitors frees the business up to focus on other things. Selling to other brands helps build your brand equity—Luke points out that your brand will begin showing up on those marketplace websites, on google and will continue to enlarge your digital footprint.
Luke says they brought the DTC sales down almost to zero while they focused on building wholesale. When they relaunched, Luke says they focused on creating best in class content and have seen sales continue to grow.
Regardless of what happens, Luke recognizes that the game will keep changing and you really just can’t set it and forget it. Avoiding channels is like swimming upstream.
Even though the difficult parts, Luke says that being part of the current moment momentum is critical and not to be avoided.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham
- Thick Face, Black Heart: The Warrior Philosophy for Conquering the Challenges of Business and Life by Chin Ning Chu
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Influencer Marketing: Video is the blog of the future. Getting third parties to create video about your product is a great traffic hack.
Tool Top Tip
- OKRs Planning
- When wholesale becomes marketplaces and B2B eCommerce with Ken Kline of VHC Brands
- Taking control of your products and your brand on Amazon with Steve Honight from Pukka Teas
- Running 5 niche DIY sector eCommerce sites with ex Phones4u Andy Lockley of LoveShoppingDirect
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Chloe’s New Book:
Probably my favourite Amazon review so far for my new book eCommerce Marketing: How to get Traffic that BUYS to your Website:
“I finally decided to take the Friday off and read a book. This book. I have now read it once and will use it many times in the following weeks. A great reference and I’m full of ideas – can’t wait to get back to work next week!.”
Thanks Mr K Helle!
It’s a Kindle bestseller in the UK, USA, and Australia – and as past podcast guest Chantal put it “If you run an eCommerce business, buy this book!”
Grab the Kindle or Paperback on your local Amazon store now, OR check out the Crash Course before you buy