Episode Summary

PJ Scott of Velocity Commerce talks about Discovering the Right Business Model for Selling on Amazon FBA.


In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – PJ Scott – Co-Founder of Velocity Commerce – an award-winning UK online consultancy and retailer, with a specialist 22-strong team that processes on average 3,000 orders per day.


About PJ Scott of Velocity Commerce – Amazon and eBay are two of the world’s leading online marketplaces, with almost a 500million active users all over the globe. Velocity Commerce helps brands take advantage of the huge opportunities these marketplaces present, increasing sales and turning brands into category leaders online.


About GETIDA -. GETIDA helps to identify potential FBA reimbursement claims. Our case managers file and follow up on all of your Amazon cases, providing a premium quality service for you and your business. You can join GETIDA for free and quickly discover the FBA reimbursements data on your Amazon account, get free consulting on how to improve your Amazon business.


Find the Full Episode Below


Yoni Mazor  0:06  

Everybody, welcome to another episode of palm talk today I have a special guest. Today I’m having PJ Scott. PJ is the co-founder of Velocity commerce, which is a leading marketplace specialist that helps develop brands on Amazon. So PJ, welcome to the show.


PJ Scott  0:22  

Thank you for having me on it. Our pleasure.


Yoni Mazor  0:24  

So today’s episode is going to be the story of PJ Scott, you’re going to share with us what’s going on? Who are you? Where are you from? Where were you born? Where’d you grow up? How did you begin your professional career all the way to where you are today with e-commerce. So I guess without further ado, let’s jump right into it.


PJ Scott 0:40  

Okay, where do you want me to start?


Yoni Mazor  0:42  

Let’s start with early life. Where were you born? Where? Where are you from this part of the world?


PJ Scott 0:47  

I was born in London. I’m now 37. And at the age of two, I moved to somewhere south of London, which is in between Brighton and London.


Yoni Mazor 0:59  

What’s the exact name? We love geography here. Crawley.


PJ Scott  1:07  

le Yeah. And le y and I think most people would know that. It is about two minutes away from Gatwick Airport.


Yoni Mazor  1:15  

Okay, so why do you guys want the parents job?


PJ Scott  1:18  

I think at that time, lots of people were moving out of London to get out of London and just have a quieter life. Not so much in the country, but sort of the suburbs, as you guys would call it in the States. 


Yoni Mazor  1:29  

So that’s the outskirts of London considered like the suburbs of the deep suburbs of London.


PJ Scott  1:33  

Yeah, it’s about Yeah. 30 miles away from London. 


Yoni Mazor 1:37  

Your parents, what kind of industries were there involved with?


PJ Scott  1:40  

So dad was a salesman, and my mom was a salesman.


Yoni Mazor 1:44  

What were they selling? What kind of products?


PJ Scott  1:46  

Where can I find my dad sold? PVC. So the best one, he explained that if you look at the plastic that was on the bottom of a ketchup packet that McDonald’s has give you, he would sell that in a ton


Yoni Mazor  1:59  

It sounds like more the raw material end?


PJ Scott 2:03  

100% Yeah, yeah. I always respected my dad in terms of customer relationships and how we got on with people and you know, to get the best out of people.


Yoni Mazor  2:12  

They work for a big firm in the UK or a global firm or anything?


PJ Scott 2:15  

Yeah, a big firm in the UK. I think they were in the top 10 of suppliers in the UK of raw materials for that product. And then my mum sold double glazing in the UK. But yeah, so double pane plastic windows. So in the UK, going back 20 years, everyone had single pane windows that allowed a lot of heat. And then the UK transformed. And then all houses now have double pane so much thicker glass, so it retains the heat. And the very first installation Yeah. 100%. And that was a cold calling, just starting with a book of 1000 people’s names ringing everyone and saying, look, here’s the benefits of the windows except so and I think you had to turn a very determined person hard working and yeah, not you know, up for a challenge and not not shy from a bit of hard work.


Yoni Mazor  3:01  

Nice. Nice. Are you absorbed in all that in early childhood? And growing up? Were you involved with entrepreneurship? 


PJ Scott  3:08  

I would say the best things that I did were setting up a car cleaning company. We only did it. I was probably 15 – 16 at that time, but you’re going to office buildings, people in the street and just you know, just cash in hand. I didn’t mind spending two hours of my time cleaning you know loads of


Yoni Mazor 3:25  

what compelled you to want to do something or why you needed money for something? What was the mission? The purpose back then?


PJ Scott  3:31  

I guess yeah, just a bit of I got a buzzer for doing that. Just doing something and getting paid for it was a great thing. 100% and hustling, you know, you know, different from when I had a day job my first day job, but yeah, I think just the fact that you’ve made it happen. It’s not you know, you’re not guaranteed that you have to make something out of nothing. I think it’s always sparked my interest.


Yoni Mazor  3:52  

I call it the one year you know, when it’s purely performance based, right? So it’s based purely on your performance. If you got that cash in your hand, you performed all the way yourself deviation together.


PJ Scott 4:02  

Yeah 100%.  It was fantastic.


Yoni Mazor 4:05  

Great I love that Okay, so so you graduate in Crawley?


PJ Sctoor  4:10  

I did my a levels. So I stayed on after doing my high school. So I’m trying to relate everything to the US. But after high school, I stayed on college for two years. And if I’m honest, I absolutely hated college. I knew I’d made a mistake going God Well, let’s pause that for a moment. Far too structured. And I didn’t really respect the teachers and what they were trying to teach me I just I didn’t get


Yoni Mazor 4:35  

This was general Studies at that phase or something you were more specific?


PJ Scott  4:39  

Business drama, and it you’re computing.


Yoni Mazor  4:42  

What  was that? Business drama, what was drama?


PJ Scott 4:47  

Theatrical studies so theater.


Yoni Mazor  4:49  

You actually studied in university or uni as you guys probably call it?


PJ Scott  4:53  

This is sort of in between uni so you get you have like school and then you stay on and do it sort of halfway in between uni. And then depending on what you get when you’re called a levels.


Yoni Mazor 5:04  

Alright let’s slap some years into this. So what years did you do those two years where you’re studying business drama?


PJ Scott  5:09  

Between 16 and 18? So…


Yoni Mazr  5:13  

Yeah, Got it. Got it. So yes, as it’s almost like a high school era here in the United States. Alright, so. So that is when you started, basically figure out that’s not really a position for you, or that happened later on. And when did you went to university?


PJ Scott  5:25  

I didn’t go to university, because I just decided that I’d had enough higher learning and people were telling me what I should know. And I just wanted to get into the real world. So I decided not to go to university and I took a year out just to take a day job. So at this point I worked as a salesman.


Yoni Mazor 5:42  

What year was that, when you started basically, you know, you’re 18 already, I guess, right around that age 18. We’ll go to the world the heart in and what year was that?


PJ Scoytt  5:49  

That was roughly in 2002, I think, sorry, going back home, just in my memory around 2002.


Yoni Mazor  5:56  

  1. Let’s say you’re on your own, you’re gonna figure this out. So what was your first position?


PJ Scott  6:02  

So I was a salesman for an electronics company. And I’d worked there since I was sort of 16  – 17. And I love that because trying to understand who you’re selling tea, I thought I learned very quickly. So. And I worked in a number of different stores and I also worked in the company that had so many stores in Harrods in the UK, which is probably the most famous department store high end device. You know, it’s for you guys, I would say maybe like


Yoni Mazor  6:28  

Its like Saks 5th Avenue, Neiman Marcus ran its departments, the Macy’s level, but they have a little bit more upscale. That’s where the Harrods is.


PJ Scott  6:35  

It was the upscale and I think what I love most about that is you know, Crawley is not the most affluent place in the UK. And I was probably selling to the lower demographic in the Crawley customers. Sorry, sorry, anyone from Crawley, but it’s not.


Yoni Mazor  6:51  

Its okat. It’s an economical layer is not an intelligent layer.


PJ Scott  6:52  

Absolutely intelligent. I guess the levels in Harrods where the expectations are unbelievably high, you know, they want best class service, but they’re paying for that. And I love the fact that it didn’t matter who you were selling to, I loved adapting my sales pitch to those different people. And that might go from the way I speak, the words I use. And you know, any phrases I use by just, I love that challenge of trying to understand who your customer is, and pitching, selling something in a different way that maybe resonates with that customer. And I found that incredibly engaging and challenging.


Yoni Mazor  7:23  

So you will basically start to polish or discover and develop your dynamic where you have to fine-tune yourself to the profiles of each type of client that you’re dealing with. Yeah. 100%. So once again, you’re selling electronics, and you know, you’re getting to the upper echelon of retail apparel, right. And you started in 2002. And how many years did you stay in that position?


PJ Scott  7:44  

So in that instance, probably for two years I actually worked there whilst I was going through high school as well. So ideally, two years in that role, but then I moved up to the head office. 


Yoni Mazor  7:57  

But by working there, the dad gave me the confidence saying, you know, I can actually detach from the high school, you know, structure and focus more on that?


Pj Scott  8:04  

Yeah, absolutely. I kind of fell into it because when I decided I didn’t want to go to uni, I just said, instead of doing this part-time, just at weekends, where I’m not studying anymore, I’m just going to work full time for one year. And advice had a great time and went out a lot, midweek. Lots of parties, lots of drinking, and you know, doing what 18-year-olds do. And realistically, I, I kind of got a bit bored of that. And I said, if I’m going to succeed in life, I need to pick a career. And that’s what I really struggled with is what I enjoyed. And I knew I didn’t want to be a salesman forever. And so I really started pitching with those guys. Okay, how do I move up in the company? How do I succeed in other roles in the company? I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. So just said, Look, I’ll do anything, just move me up to the head office. And I don’t mind what I get paid. But I just want some experience at a different level. And so I started doing customer way when Rick was selling on the telephone at that time. Because if you go back to sort of 2002 the internet, people didn’t really feel comfortable at that time buying off the internet. So although you had a website customers used to call in because they didn’t know who you were. They wanted advice on which TV to buy if they were spending the money online. As I said, it’s a relatively new concept.


Yoni Mazor  9:15  

Just a small technical question. So the electronics you guys are selling share with us what kind of electronics and what kind of brands was your own brand or reselling?


PJ Scott  9:21  

No no, it’s all again, own brand didn’t really exist in those days. So it was Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, LG, which in many cases a case you’ve taken LG and Samsung, they’re established brand names that they are now back then these were brands that people would not touch at all.


Yoni Mazor 9:37  

Yeah, they’re up and coming back then it’s hard to believe right.


PJ Scott  9:42  

So, um, yeah, so I was sort of there. I was put there because of my store background and I sold the product in Harrods, etc. I was putting the telesales team to sort of sell that product and if any technical questions so you know, somebody asked how many lumens the projector had and what I should look for an IP. They would pass them over to me and I would sell them and add value on that. And I felt like a complete Smooth Criminal. Just being able to do that, because I was best in class at about anywhere, you


Yoni Mazor 10:08  

So you knew the specifics. That was you find that to be the polishing edge that you can really close a deal


PJ Scott 10:13  

100%. And it wasn’t just closing the deal, it was once the customer had received the television and maybe didn’t know how to connect it to their DVD player or Blu-ray player at that time. I’d had all that experience because I’d set up the products in Harrods, I delivered them to, you know, the upper echelons, as you said of the customer times I’d set them all up. So I had the technical advice. But that was for me very much a stepping stone. Okay. And I was always pushing the management team of the owner of the company, how do I move into buying? How do I progress in this company because I don’t want to be doing this for 12 months? And after about 12 months of doing that job. They gave me a shot of being a junior buyer at the age of 20.


Yoni Mazor  10:53  

Nice. This is why this was what you’re already 2003 2004 Yeah. All right. So what’s your next station inside the company? So what was that?


PJ Scott  11:03  

That was great. And I got paid absolute peanuts, I think I was earning 15 15,000 pounds a year. But I didn’t care. I just wanted the experience. So at that point, to give you some context, I was given brands like Samsung Panasonic to look after I was buying for Harrods, I was buying for six stores in the UK, I was buying for the online, online website. And, it was fantastic. I was 20 years old, I was still a kid at that time. Given all that responsibility. I could buy whatever I wanted. 


Yoni Mazor 11:35  

There are big-ticket purchase orders like in the 10s of millions of pounds?


PJ Scott 11:39  

At that time, I’d probably say 50. 50 to 250k purchase orders. And but this is growing..


Yoni Mazor11:46  

Daily but every day like?


PJ Scott  11:50  

100% And so the fact that I was buying for Harrods was fantastic because brands like Samsung and LG used to pay hundreds of 1000s of pounds just to have their products displayed in that. So I had the you know, you had a lot of these brands that you were in control because they would do anything to get into Harrods. So they weren’t bossing me around. I had I had so much ownership and control and unfortunately, that went on for, I would say a year and a half, two years. And unfortunately, the company wasn’t making enough money and they went bankrupt.


Yoni Mazor  12:20  

Next is super slim margins, you have to be ultra efficient and brutal to stay alive. Well, so it’s you know, we had here. I don’t know if you ever heard of this, but Circuit City was a major player, you know, in the billions and you know, it went belly up. And we’re still Best Buy also used to be like Best Buy versus Circuit City. Circuit City has faded away but Best Buy so that you know staying alive. So kudos to them. But okay, so the company went bankrupt. And what year was that? And what was the next station?


PJ Scott  12:49  

I think that was 2004-2005. It was actually there. So all of the retail stores they had that was the bit that dragged them down the online bit was fantastic. And then I moved to I got a job working for a stationery supply company. So I’ve just been made redundant. I had a mortgage to pay at that time. And I got made redundant. And my friend just got me a job at a purchasing company for stationery supplies and office furniture. I hated it. I absolutely hated it. I was getting bizarrely on it. I was getting paid. You know, although it should have been a celebration, though, you know, just got a new job. I could pay my mortgage. I was getting paid two 3000 pounds more so about $5,000 more than I was previously annually mean right? Annually. Sorry, but what I realized is I didn’t care about the money. I cared about responsibility and having ownership. And now I was doing much more menial tasks. I didn’t have the ownership that I had previously. And actually, I just wanted that backup at any cost.


Yoni Mazor  13:48  

So you’re saying the fact that it was too easy for you, and they even paid you more for this to be so easy for you. It wasn’t gratifying, it wasn’t satisfying.


PJ Scott  13:56  

I didn’t have any challenges. It was so frustrating. So I was typing up notes. I was ordering pens, I would order supplies and raw materials. And I just didn’t get that buzz and what I realized, you know, from my side everything from the sales went up, I love the thrill of buying something for 10 pounds and selling it for 20 making a profit knowing that you’ve added that valley you’ve you’ve done. I think it was the event I used to love. It was going to a supplier and hassle of hustling them and say, right, what have you got that you need to clear this month? And what can I offer you and try to flip stop by that I found that so exhilarating.


Yoni Mazor  14:30  

You’re basically an agent of change and transactions, you know, so you’re cooking all these years, all these transactions, but you initiated it. And hopefully if all goes well, you’re on the winning side, but sometimes you take a hit or you’re losing stuff but want to tweak it, you want to learn from it. You want to grow from it. But yeah, that’s kind of the usual dynamics of hardcore entrepreneurs. So I say How long did you take that position?


PJ Scott  14:52  

So there I lasted about six months. Definitely didn’t have the time of my life and I just thought this is where I thought I was. Quite driven, okay, so I went out to recruitment consultants in the UK and said, I want a job. And I don’t care where it is or what it’s doing. I just want to get that thrill back. And I’m trying to put this in context for you. So the job was near Sheffield, which was 320 miles away. Is the North I believe is north of a word. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. 100%. So it’s close to Manchester, Liverpool, that that region that  but I used to drive up every Monday morning, about four o’clock in the morning, drive 320 miles, live up up north for the week and then travel back down south, but I think…


Yoni Mazor 15:36  

What we’re doing family or you’re still single? 


PJ Scott 15:40  

I didn’t have a wife and kids. But I had, you know, had all my friends and family had all my money.


Yoni Mazor  15:46  

Okay, but what was the deal? 


PJ Scott  15:48  

It was a massive online retailer called ebuyer.com. And they specialized in it. So you buy not eBay? Correct? No, he buyer? 


PJ Scott  16:02  

Yep. And they specialized in IT products. So they’re still massive, I think at the time, they were turning around 500 million. And, and that was laptops, that was monitors, hard drives, printers, that kind of thing. But what that really made me realize I didn’t give it two thoughts to just up sticks. And just moving up north. I just wanted that job. And I was really driven about how I was going to get it. And, I worked there, which was really interesting for the fact that it was different products. And it made me realize okay, so I was buying printer cartridges and printers. I hated printers and printer cartridges wouldn’t be interested in them whatsoever. Previously, I’d always been interested in high tech. So TVs, plasmas and LCD screens. Were coming through. I thought it was that product, but I realized I didn’t care how I got the buzz, it was just flipping something for more than I bought it for. So I actually had loads of fun going printers. Such a boring product, but you are still flipping it, which is great. And I think you know, living away from home that far did take its toll. I think it was quite a bureaucratic company, which didn’t really sit well with me. So at one point, I knew I had to beat it. And so again, go on to the recruitment consultants after a year and a half. 


Yoni Mazor  17:18  

So let me get this through. So the first decision in the company, the stationery company was 2004. Already glitching to 2005. Or are you already switched in 2005 to Sheffield?


PJ Scott  17:29  

I think it was 2006 at this point,


Yoni Mazor  17:33  

So when you finished with the ebuyer that was ready 2006. 


PJ Scott 17:36  

I think so. I think so. Something on gang. I’m 37 now and I’m remembering a gentle walk through memory lane.


Yoni Mazor 17:42  

It’s all good. If you make a wrong turn, it’s okay. We’ll probably get to the point of this.


PJ Scott  17:48  

Yeah. And yeah, I just knew I wasn’t happy in that role. You know, I always felt like I wanted some red wine. It just wasn’t a good place to work. I don’t think everyone there had a lovely team dynamic. It wasn’t a Yeah, culturally, it wasn’t probably the best place to work and quite cutthroat. So I ended up moving to a company in Leicester, which is sort of again, maybe an hour south of Sheffield. Again, still quite happy to live away from home and work. And you move


Yoni Mazor  18:18  

You move away you go to a hotel for the week or Yeah, they set up an apartment for you or a flat?


PJ Scott 18:22  

A house with random people, which was fantastic. Fun. Got to know. So your needs are like seven. I love seven being in the south of England, but the people in the north are much more friendly. Much more fun has to be shared. So sharing a house with everyone.


Yoni Mazor  18:37  

So let me take note of that. Northern England, England, good hospitality. Southern England I should probably get a hotel.


Pj Scott  18:43  

Absolutely, absolutely. So lots of funny people go out every night and just interact and just get still early, you know, early 20s. It Was really good fun. Sort of mixing with those guys went to a place called Leicester Leicester to work with a company called Jessops. Now, Jessops has been around forever in the UK. It was a high street brand of high street stores that specializes in selling Canon and Nick on you know high end cameras. 


PJ Scott  19:22  

And after two weeks of working there, and they announced I think they’ve lost 40 million pounds.

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