217 – How to nail online retailing with the grandfather of online retail, Paul Greenberg

217 – How to nail online retailing with the grandfather of online retail, Paul Greenberg

Whether you own a bricks and mortar retail business and wondering how to benefit from the massive growth in online retailing; or you have an online E-commerce store, and are wanting to take it to the next level, then you’re going to love this episode.

My guest today is Paul Greenberg (Tweet him here) and he is the grandfather of online retailing. Paul was the co-founder of DealsDirect, a pioneering online department store model that launched in 2004; and he is also Executive Chairman, founder and principal ambassador for NORA – National Online Retailer’s Association.

Listen in and discover:

  • The future of online retailing
  • What bricks and mortar retailers are getting wrong
  • What online retailers are getting right
  • How an offline retailer could successfully partner with an online retailer
  • The role of customer service and brand and in online retailing
  • What Paul would do if he were setting up an online business today
  • Plus so much more

Plus I share my learnings from the Great Vic Bike Ride and I tackle a question from a listener who asks:

“I have been listening to your podcasts for the last couple of months and have heard some really good ones.  I have got some obscure ideas from some of them.  My problem is working out how to implement them into my accounting business.  Accounting, and the town I live in, seems to be extremely conservative.  I am just trying to work out how to implement some of the marketing options that come from your podcasts. Hopefully I can get the courage to implement some of them soon.  I like the idea of being a disturber in the industry.”

Let’s waste no time and get stuck right into episode 217 of Australia’s #1 marketing show. Go!

Episode Timeline

  • 1.45 My learnings from participating in the Great Vic Bike Road
  • 13:00 I introduce Paul Greenberg of the National Online Retailers Association
  • 16:58 What does the modern world of online retailers mean for offline retailers (and we use Wiggle as the example)
  • 20:05 The idea of adding value or getting out of the way
  •  21:15 The idea of getting off the high street and moving in to an industrial estate!
  • 24:20 Intermediation – the removal of the middle man
  • 26:24 The future of department stores – shopping by brand
  • 29:20 Multiple touch points
  • 32:15 Customer service discussion – Give the wheel to the shopper
  • 35:00 Is Paul optimistic about the future?
  • 38:02 The importance of email in retail marketing (AKA your digital umbilical cord)
  • 40:25 What should you be offering online versus what your customers can get online
  • 48:15 Helpful marketing versus amazing marketing
  • 48:45 What would Paul do today if he were setting up an online business
  • 51:51 My top 5 learnings from my chat with Paul
  • 55:10 I tackle a listener question about how to get things done
  • 58:44 Marketing quote of the week

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode

Paul Greenberg’s Interview Transcription


I welcome you to the show as the grandfather of online retailing.


Well, I sure wish that was Godfather, but unfortunately, it is grandfather, you got that right.

Read more


My Top 5 Learnings

This week’s top five learnings from my chat with N.O.R.A.’s Paul Greenberg:

1. If you’re a retailer then don’t be the middle man – instead, add value, niche down or get out.

2. The best customer service is no customer service. Get out of the way!

3. Get big, get niche or get out!

4. Customers think by brand, not by channel.

5. Email is your digital umbilical cord! Be sure to capture your customers email address in order to develop an ongoing conversation with them.

Over to you!

Let me know YOUR #1 takeaway from this episode by leaving a comment below.
My guest and myself personally read and respond to every comment.

24 thoughts on “217 – How to nail online retailing with the grandfather of online retail, Paul Greenberg”

  1. Signature Clothing

    Hooley Dooley!
    What an episode!
    I thought #116 with Mia Freedman was your #1 show, but this one is at least a photo finish.
    So many learnings, so little time.
    Timbo, you have smashed it out of the park.
    #1 learning, ‘People buy brands, not channels’.

  2. Ah I do love your feedback, Arn. Firstly because it’s always so positive and pumps my tyres, but mostly because it’s full of character and puts a smile on my dial. Thanks buddy – I’m glad you loved it.

  3. Crackin’ interview Tim! My all-time favourite. Paul was fascinating! It’s given me motivation to reduce our lead times, sell via Amazon, build our Australia-brand (love that!), and automate more so customers can design their own products. Thanks guys!

  4. Anthony Murphy

    Just finished this episode Timbo and there were lightbulb moments everywhere!! Lots and lots of gold that was applicable to my position right now! So many great ideas and learnings to take from this one! Cheers mate, this was awesome!!

    #1 learning was to no be a middle man, get big, get niche or get out!

  5. Love the ideas you got from this chat, Jen. You have a business that is ideal for embracing Paul’s ‘Australian’ idea. Let me know if and when you do it.

  6. Thanks so much, Kate. ‘Ever’? that’s a big word! Here’s the BlackMilk episode //smallbusinessbigmarketing.com/marketing-podcast-blackmilk-cameron-parker/

  7. Diana Barnett

    an awesome episode – worth another listen! A very positive outlook on retail – off & on line.

  8. Fantastic, well done Paul & Tim. Some great insights yet I felt Paul still has soo much more to share on a number of topics, may be worth a revisit down the track. Rewally enjoyed this one Timbo, shared it with many of of staff. Hope you arm is well on the mend…

  9. Thanks, Guest. Let me know what topics you’d like covered if I were to get Paul back for a second bite. And don’t forget there’s an additional part of that interview inside my Forum where Paul answered questions specifically from Members. Thanks for sharing with your staff – please leave a review on iTunes if you’re up for it ;0)

  10. Thanks Anthony, your post made my day. If my learnings, ( and hey, my heaps of mistakes) can provide a few light bulb moments to others, well, that’s what its all about when all is said and done.

  11. Thanks for that Jenny. There is a real opportunity right now, and I can sense you are all over it. Sure its a mountain to climb, but a mountain well worth climbing.

  12. Anthony Murphy

    Your welcome Paul, thanks for sharing! I have earmarked this episode to play it over again!

  13. Anthony Murphy

    Both Timbo! Continue to chase our niche and then grow that niche big!

  14. Just listening to this one for the second time. Fantastic episode. Very hard to make notes whilst driving though! Great work Tim & Paul.

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