Eric Tong is coFounder of Tech Armor, a leading manufacturer of mobile device accessories like phone Chargers, Glass Screen Protectors, and protective cases. Eric cut his teeth in business rising to VP of the Asia Pacific region of Belkin over the course of 15 years, and cofounded 2 previous companies. Tech Armor has sold over 7 million products through leading e-commerce partners like Amazon, ebay , Newegg, and many more.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [0:42] Dr. Jeremy’s introduction of Eric Tong, co-founder of Tech Armor.
- [1:10] Why is the Tech Armor lifetime guarantee so much a part of what you do?
- [3:00] Where did the idea come from in the first place?
- [4:38] How did you manage the risks and concerns regarding the lifetime guarantee?
- [6:33] The process for ensuring product quality at Tech Armor.
- [9:14] How Tech Armor found the right suppliers who could provide the quality they needed.
- [11:18] What is discovered during the product testing phase?
- [13:16] Keeping track of customer feedback and reviews is vital to the company ethos.
- [15:17] Tools and software used for customer service.
- [16:39] The “people” side of the customer service experience (⅔ of the staff).
- [17:36] The hiring process for customer service and outsourcing.
- [19:30] The “martini” story.
- [21:29] Tips for boosting sales.
- [24:29] Mistakes to avoid in ecommerce businesses.
- [26:25] The explanation of Tech Armor’s massive and fast growth.
- [29:04] Customer service mistakes to avoid.
- [30:20] Eric’s upbringing and early life, including the influence of team sports.
- [34:46] What Eric learned from earning his MBA degree.
- [36:42] How Eric wound up working at Belkin.
- [37:30] The plus and minus of working for a large company like Belkin.
- [39:38] The product design process and lessons learned from it.
- [42:06] Lessons learned from launching products at Belkin.
- [43:47] Leadership challenges and lessons learned at Belkin.
- [45:09] The things learned at Belkin that helped launch Tech Armor successfully.
- [46:12] How Tech Armor’s culture is built around everyone having a voice.
- [48:10] The moment of leaving Belkin: What it was like and the risks involved.
- [55:09] How Joe (Eric’s partner) and Eric connected to start Tech Armor.
- [56:40] A TED talk that impacted Eric and Joe early on.
- [59:02] How Joe and Eric worked through all the options to launch a first product.
- [1:01:23] Constant iterations in the screen protector market and the addition of accessories.
- [1:02:20] How decisions were made to add new product lines.
- [1:05:01] Experiments that worked and experiments that didn’t.
- [1:06:20] Geographical challenges of product distribution and sales.
- [1:07:35] E-commerce challenges of international product sales.
- [1:10:02] Packaging challenges for international sales.
- [1:10:50] Milestones Tech Armor has experienced.
- [1:12:20] Good advice from their Amazon representative.
- [1:14:02] What Eric has learned most from working with a partner (Joe).
- [1:15:35] Launching new products every month (at least).
- [1:16:20] The most stressful parts of the business.
- [1:18:05] Tech Armor’s top sellers.
- [1:18:50] Eric Tong’s speaking opportunities and the things he speaks about.
- [1:19:48] Mistakes e-commerce businesses make often.
- [1:20:33] The one question survey that helps dial in their customer service and product development.
- [1:21:50] Software solutions Tech Armor uses.
- [1:24:42] Eric’s mentors and the advice he’s received from them.
- [1:26:05] How to navigate the financing of physical products – crawl, walk, then run.
- [1:28:32] How to get connected with Eric.
- [1:29:23] Eric’s biggest tips for e-commerce businesses.
In this episode…
Tech Armor is one of the hottest brands in the mobile device accessories niche. They have worked hard to become the foremost brand and offer a lifetime guarantee on all of their products. But they didn’t start there. Tech Armor is the brainchild of Eric Tong and Joe Jaconi, long time friends who had worked together at Belkin and had always talked about creating a company together. When each of them resigned from Belkin right around the same time, the time was right and they began working toward what has become the Tech Armor of today.
In this conversation, Dr. Jeremy Weisz chats with Eric Tong about the Tech Armor journey, his own background, and what it took to build such a rapidly successful company in a very competitive niche market. These guys are e-commerce experts, learning many of their lessons the hard way and constantly refining their approaches and processes.
What makes Tech Armor such a special company?
As you listen to this conversation you’ll hear a couple of themes repeated over and over, and those are the things that have made Tech Armor stand out among many quality competitors. What are those themes? Excellent customer service, outstanding product quality, and building a team of quality people who care about the end user. Eric has so much valuable information to share, you’ll want to hear this one.
But you’re also going to get a load of practical advice in this conversation. Jeremy asks Eric about the day to day challenges of behind-the-scenes issues that go into making a successful e-commerce company: international sales, product development, packaging and user experience, customer feedback, supplier and distribution chains, and much more.
Grab your paper and pen (or your tablet) and get ready to take some great notes. Eric shares a generous amount of hard learned lessons that can help you make the adjustments needed in your e-commerce business. And if you like what you learn, be sure to share this episode with others you know who could benefit.
Resources Mentioned on this episode
- Skubana Ecommerce Platform
- Fresh Desk
- The Tech Armor “Martini Story”
- Huffington Post
- Business Insider
- “Show Me A Hero” new TV show.
- TED talk: “The Anthropology of Mobile Phones”
- Warby Parker eyeware
- Channel Advisor
- Google Product Suite
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