Minnesota Ecommerce Captains: Matt Johnson, Omnia Fishing



Thanks you Irish Titan for underwriting our Minnesota Ecommerce Captains series focused on local leadership in the ecommerce industry.

Matt Johnson is a repeat Minnesota tech entrepreneur. He started, scaled and sold his prior company Contour Innovations in 2014 before launching Omnia Fishing last year.

Omnia is an ecommerce company for the fishing industry with “unique ways of associating data, content, and products with specific bodies of water using machine learning.

In short order, Omnia has raised $1m, gone to market, and started selling.

He’s speaking at the next Wednesday at the Twin Cities Ecommerce meetup hosted by Apruve.

What do you sell online?

Omnia Fishing sells top branded fishing tackle and other fishing gear and apparel to help anglers with success on the water

When, why and how did you get started?

We launched in November 2018 with the plan to be live in the fishing off season so we’d have some time to iterate and grow awareness before the season kicked off. We want to offer a custom shopping experience for anglers that is largely driven by the lakes they fish. This is the key driver in product needs and it’s a complex problem. This is a $5B market in the US that isn’t be served well enough online.

Is the customer primarily B2C, B2B, or both?

B2C today

How many unique products/SKUs do you sell?

We currently have about 3,500 unique skus with plans to be closer to 5,000 before the full spring launch.

What do you attribute your early success to?

Knowledge of the industry and its unique challenges, a strong team that’s constantly applying successes and failures in previous ventures and roles, and our advisor board

What are you doing in ecommerce to differentiate?

We’ve introduced a shop-by-lake concept that is largely driven by a custom algorithm we developed to match product specifications that we’ve normalized with lake features like depth and water clarity and other fishing preferences like species and techniques. This offers a unique product sorting that is relevant to each customer. We’re also introducing a real-time, community hot bait concept that supports a discussion online on what’s working and rewards for those that participate.

What is the biggest business risk you’ve taken w/ Omnia?

It feels like it’s all been relatively safe in the early phase of our business. The big ones should be right around the corner.

What is the best and hardest part about being in ecommerce today?

Best: The number of tools available to optimize the experience and communications with our members.
Hardest: Coming up with unique ways to build our own audience and getting people excited about what we’re doing. Best feedback we ever got on this topic was that “whatever is working no longer works.” The strategy has to change quickly and we have to be quick to adapt. We’re looking for the right combination creativity, risk taking, optimization, and result analytics. It was very slow to gain preliminary momentum but we’re seeing great results now.

Where do you see your business one year from now?

Closing in on our first $1m in sales with final implementation of lake specific algorithm changes based on customer purchase feedback looks

What do you plan to speak about at the Ecommerce Meetup?

  • The intersection of Saas and Ecom metrics to establish early traction in our industry
  • Hyper specific spatial shopping, the use of feedback loops, and algorithm pattern adjustments for improved relevance.
  • What we’ve learned so far in the fishing ecommerce space and how we’re using the data to prioritize our effort