Nati’s No Bullshit Guide to Retail | #128

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Nati talks TradeSquare, the importance of integrity and why retail is like being in the army.

ep 128
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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.


A business leader with a high level of focus on people and talent as the main driver for business excellence. Nati is highly focused on achieving results by not compromising on one thing: PEOPLE! The ability to recruit and retain high-quality human resources who possess the right traits and attitudes towards achieving results and working in a constructive environment is at the heart of every successful organisation. Defining a clear strategy is important for an organisation to be able to focus all of its resources, attention and value proposition, which is why Nati is also focused on defining the strategy and constantly asking whether each decision and action taken by an organisation is in line with the business strategy.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by self-confessed ‘crazy ideas guy’, Nati Harpaz. Many of you who have been in eCommerce for a while will know Nati from his time as Managing Director of Catch and the Director, CEO and Chairman of Octomedia which publishes Inside Retail. Today, Nati joins me as the Co Founder and Executive Director of TradeSquare – Australia’s wholesale one-stop shop for business – with over 150,000 products all in one place and 8,000+ buyers. Recently TradeSquare announced TradeSquare Connect which allows retailers to turn into wholesalers.  

I like working with people who I have fun being around.  If you’re not willing to have a beer with this guy, don’t work with him.

Nati Harpaz

Questions answered in this episode include
  • Why did you decide to go all in on TradeSquare?
  • From your experience, what are the most crucial elements of online B2B to get right?
  • What’s the most important thing when building a business team?

Military-style teamwork in business

“It’s kind of a funny story, but I was in primary school, and the teacher was asking us the question, “When you’re in the army and you’re being shot at, and you run forward against the bullets flying against you, and you fight back, what is it that keeps you going?  What is it that makes you run and fight back? What do you think, is it your mom, is it your parents, is it your … What is it that makes you?” It’s something that always resonated with me, and I’m thinking about it, I was like 12 years old.

And the answer she gave us was, “You’re doing it for your mate who’s next to you. You’re not doing it for your parents, not for your children, no, for the one running next to you. Because you know he’s doing it for you and you’re doing it together as a team. He’s protecting you, you’re protecting him, you’re fighting together. It’s the same in the business. And by the way, I spent three years in the army, so I know exactly what she was talking about when I was actually there.”

Execute and pivot…with integrity

“When you believe in something and you know something, it’s about execution. And it’s about the daily decision you have to make, the way you interact with your team, and it’s about the culture you build.  Because if you build a culture of execution, of getting things done, then things will be done. And yeah, things might be wrong, you might make some mistakes, you might even fix it. But if you’ve got the right culture and everyone’s aligned around it and everyone wants to make things happen, then eventually, you’ll get there.

You pivot along the way, because we can’t guarantee everything’s going to work. We can’t guarantee everything’s going to be successful. What we’re going to guarantee is that we’re going to keep trying. And that we’re going to do it with integrity.  And when I say integrity, I mean, if something’s not working, I’m not going to keep doing it because I made a presentation two months ago to the CEO and I said I’m going to do it, so now I’ve got to prove that it’s working. That’s the bullshit in corporate. No, it’s not working. You just stop and then you move to something else. You pivot.”

Opportunities in wholesale

“The first question is why. Why do you want to open for B2B? And there are a few reasons. Actually, I think it’s very good for the brand. So think about it. I don’t know, you sell candles, or you sell cosmetics or you sell home care or you sell TVs. And then all of a sudden, your product appears in hotels. 

If you have a beautiful hand wash in a nice packaging with great smell and great quality, but you’re the only one selling it, it’s going to be very difficult to turn it into a real brand.  If you can sell it to a hospitality business and have it sitting in 20 hotels, then actually, that elevates the brand. Because people also get to experience it. It’s essentially also a marketing tool.  So marketing and branding is one reason to go wholesale. 

The other thing is economies of scale. B2C is great, but wholesale, you might sell at a lower margin, but you sell a lot more volume, which gives you buying power, which gives you scale, which gives you a lot of power. So there’s definitely a big opportunity with wholesale.”

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