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The Secret to a Successful Business Acquisitions - Fight Gear Direct | Ep. #003

October 20, 2021 | Author: Andrew Maff





On this 3rd episode of The E-Comm Show, our host Andrew Maff is with Brendan Gillen of Fight Gear Direct. Fight Gear Direct sells all professional-level boxing gear, UFC, MMA, and home gym equipment. Apart from Fight Gear Direct, Brendan is also the founder of The Ecommerce Factory where they help retailers to navigate the e-commerce landscape and employ the right marketing strategies to grow their e-commerce stores. 

In today’s interview with Brendan, he shares his best tips on finding brands you can acquire,  analyzing the e-commerce funnel (brand awareness, customer acquisition, increasing conversions, AOV, and repeat purchases), leveraging email marketing, and building the right teams for your e-commerce business. He also walks us through the process of acquisition and how to find opportunities to scale. 


Tune in and enjoy today's E-comm Show!

If you enjoyed the show, please be sure to rate, review, and of course, SUBSCRIBE! 

Have an e-commerce marketing question you'd like Andrew to cover in an upcoming episode? Email: hello@theecommshow.com





The Secret to a Successful Business Acquisition


Andrew Maff & Brendan Gillen


CONNECT WITH OUR HOST: AndrewMaff.com  |  Twitter: @AndrewMaff | LinkedIn: @AndrewMaff

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About Brendan Gillen





Brendan Gillen is the Chief E-commerce Officer at The Ecommerce Factory, a company that acquires and nurtures e-commerce stores for rapid growth.


Brendan has been in E-commerce for over 10 years working with numerous global 8 figure brands and has now moved into acquiring and growing his own portfolio of online stores.


Highly awarded within the Asia Pacific region, Brendan was recently awarded as being one of the Top 50 in E-commerce as well as winning many awards for his work in both the retail and fashion e-commerce world.


With an approach of keeping things simple, Brendan has been able to replicate his success with many e-commerce brands by looking at all aspects of the e-commerce business for scale, using core fundamentals for growth.



You know, stick to your guns, have your goals and you know just aim towards your goals and what you want to get. This is Brendan Gillen from Fight Gear Direct. This is Andrew Tjernlund with Tjernlund products. This is Dan Kaplan of The Game Stuart and you're listening to and you're listening to then you're listening to The Ecomm Show



Welcome to The Ecomm Show, presented by BlueTuskr. The number one place to hear the inside scoop from other e-commerce experts share their secrets on how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew Maff.



Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Ecomm Show. I'm your host Andrew Maff. Today, I am graced with being getting to getting to interview Brendan Gillen of the e-commerce factory chief e-commerce officer, they'll set you ready for a good show. Good. Awesome. So super excited for this one. So just to give everyone a little bit of insight into kind of how we run the show, I sent over a couple of things about what it is they want to talk about. And Brandon mentioned some of my favorite stuff in terms of following data and not just kind of guessing, which we're totally going to get into. But let's kick it off. Why don't you tell us a little bit about the e-commerce factory? And you know what it is you guys do there? And then we'll kind of you know, we'll just let this go.



Yeah, too easy. Um, thanks for having me. To the e-commerce factory, we have a mission. And our mission is to make e-commerce simple. So I've been in e-commerce for around 10 years. And it was so complicated everything which is really, really hard. Lots of technology and lots of systems and pulling all together was always really complicated. And so what we did is we started the e-commerce factory so that we could grow brands really easily by just using technology that works and using data to make decisions to grow brands and e-commerce stores. Nice, beautiful.



So I know you obviously are Chief Ecommerce Officer at The E-commerce Factory. You also have Fight Gear Direct, which was I believe one of the first acquisitions you made with e-commerce factory, correct?



Yes. But um, yeah. So, we try and find brands that are underperforming, and we acquire them and use, I guess, expertise to try and grow them into, you know, large, more profitable brands over time.



So what was it about Fight Gear Direct stood out to you that made you guys want to start there?



Yeah, cool. So when we looked at it with the numbers, and we're sort of seeing what were the areas that we think we could work on, and what we found was that the person that was running it beforehand, while they were doing an amazing job, there was just some opportunities that they weren't looking at. So we just looked at where the traffic was coming from, where the sales were coming from, and look to see whether there were areas that they hadn't sort of grabbed Yep,



cool. flakier direct is mostly products based on MMA stuff and boxing and almost like any really anything fighting that's kind of gym-related, right?



Yes, but on so we sell all professional-level boxing gear, and professional-level UFC and MMA. And we're starting to move into sort of that home gym and boxing bags and things like that, as well as, as the world starts to train more



at home. Okay, so did you is this like a passion of yours in any way? Or did you guys solely go after numbers only? And like you have? Do you have zero interest in fighting sports of any kind? Or did you just say like, oh, I love this? And let's buy this?



Look, when I was young? I did do I did Taekwondo. So I do understand martial arts a little bit. But no, I didn't buy it. Because I love the industry. I guess I have a little bit of knowledge in there but definitely bought it based on the numbers. We looked at that first and every time we look at a store, so we probably looked at five to 10 stores a week now for potential acquisitions. And, and the niche plays a small part in why we buy it. But it's not the primary part. If we see an opportunity based on the data, we'll just go for it. And that's what we did with that was fine. Yeah.



Okay, so are they all the bad brands that you guys are acquiring? Are they all different categories and different product lines? Or are they all kind of relatively similar?



No, is different? Yeah. 100%. So we were interesting, looked at one the other day, which were potential purchasing, and it is, it's like nails to get your nails done, which is I have no interest in. Yeah, but it's a growing market. And it's really good profit margins, and there are huge opportunities in that space. So that was another one we're looking at.



But so what made you go in this direction. So like, my thought process here is like I know, a lot of sellers that you know, kind of hit, you know, they'll start creeping up over like 5 million a year, but then they start to like kind of wonder like, how do I get this to go a little bit faster, and then they start thinking about the whole acquisition approach. And it's interesting how you went about a whole different route you're like, I'm just gonna acquire from the beginning and start and start buying brands and do it that way. So what gave you this idea of kinda, you know, acquiring all these different brands? Yeah, so



prior to the e-commerce factory, I worked in the brand. So I've always worked for a company where we've really started a store from scratch. So I've always come in and become head of e-commerce for those brands. So, my role has always been to grow existing brands. So it was a really easy transition to say, Well, now if I was to do this myself, could I go out and build a store? Yeah, I could. But where my skill set is, is grabbing an existing brand and sort of really leveraging it and amplifying it. So that was where we thought it was. And it's also a much quicker way to do things. Because if you build a brand from scratch, you've got a couple of areas you need to think about, you need to do brand awareness. So there's a lot of this element of trying to build a brand up, as well, as you know, you build the store up and get the products and all that sort of software if you acquire a business, all that's already done for you, and all you need to do is just sort of put a bit more fuel on the fire to make it grow. So it's definitely a quicker way to get to the numbers that you're after.



Nice. Yeah, I mean, it totally makes sense. Let the original guy hash out all the problems. And then once it's done, then buy it from him. I love it. Exactly. Yeah, yeah, that's it. So what is it you look for in these brands? When did you start digging into their numbers and stuff? Are there certain profit margins or certain website traffic or an email list? Like what is it that you guys are kind of look for? That's like your sweet spot? Yeah, spot on. So we look at



whether they're operating in demand generation, demand capture channels. So demand capture channels is where usually Google Shopping, or whether it's a large email list, and whether they're, that's tapped or untapped. So the big one we look at is, Google Shopping is probably the biggest one because we know there is a huge opportunity there that people aren't leveraging. If we're not using Google Shopping, we jumped in that one. an email list is another big one, if they don't have an email list, we know we can really grow the business from there. But in terms of key metrics that we look for, we look for something that has a high average order value. So we never really go at stores that are sort of under the $50 average order value. And the reason for that is, is it's very hard to buy traffic if you don't have a high average order value. So really, I guess, if you're hearing through, what I'm saying is we look for areas that we can buy traffic in, that we know we can make performed is really what it is. Yeah. Yeah.



So with that being your kind of tear, do you ever look at it? Or do you ever even bother looking at stuff that's below a $50, average order value, but maybe has a longer lifetime value? So if they're a subscriber or something like that, do you even bother with those? Or is that still like Not a fan?



Yeah, look, it is a really good one. It is a lot harder because it's harder to guarantee that there's a longer lifetime value with a subscription model. But yeah, we have looked at that. And actually, this nail store that we're looking at has that because it's reusable. It's a reusable product that you can continue to buy and put a subscription on. And they don't have that yet. So that is an opportunity for that store. But to start with, we're just talking about high average order value with larger profit margins that have an untapped demand capture resource. Yeah.



Okay. How many brands have you guys acquired? so far?



We've only got two, we're only been running for eight months. So we're not out to buy stores. Yeah, so we're not out to buy lots of stores, we want to make sure that the ones we do buy grow. And finally, directors being we've already grown sort of I What do we do last month, so we're about 800% upon when we first bought it. So the scale we've seen out of that's been immense. So we want to just try and replicate that with the next one we buy. So we're not going to just grab any store and waste our resources on those stores. But just getting by ones that we say, Well, you know, what if we bought this today, and we spent one or two months on the areas that we think would be exposed? Would we see our return investments, we want to try and pay our money back within the last six to 12 months? And we can usually forecast whether we're going to do that or not. There you go.



Are you solely focused on e-commerce only? or do some of these brands also have a retail presence or anything like that?



e-commerce only? Yeah, yeah.



And is it like their own website only? Or are they also available on marketplaces? what's the approach there?



Yeah, great question. What's actually one of the opportunities that we look at as well whether or not we can put this business on marketplace? Because usually, that's a really quick way in, right. So if a business wants to scale, they might have their direct-to-consumer business. But you know, if you're hitting the ceiling, like you mentioned before, for some brands, the quickest way to get past that ceiling is to plug into a marketplace, or plug into another country or something like that. So 100%, we do go into marketplaces. Yeah. Nice.



So when you and I know obviously, you're based out of Australia, if it wasn't obvious to all of our listeners. So are you solely focused on Australian brands right now? Are you looking at other places across the globe? what's the approach there?



Yeah, look Predominantly, we have been looking at Australian brands because there's not many people doing it over here in this market in in the way we look at brands. But in saying that we've had two brands that fell into our, our sort of portfolio of looking this week that one's in Romania, and one is out of the US. So we are looking now internationally, because Australia's own a very big market, we've only got 26 million people that live here. It's really small. You know, so trying to tap the pool of people here, you can hit the ceiling pretty quickly. So we are looking now at greater markets just to grow.



Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Hmm. Um, so what? And so just to kind of pivot away for a second? What's so I obviously dug in a little bit prior to getting on the call, what is the million-dollar store?



Oh, yeah, cool. So when I worked for other brands, what I found was, it was actually really all the big brands. So the ones that are sort of doing, you know, eight, nine figures that I worked with, versus the smaller stores, like, you know, buy gear direct, the model remained the same, the only difference that we have seen was the investment was more, right. So if you had a nine-figure brand, you just spent more on marketing versus the smaller brands, I spend less on marketing, but the model remained the same. So we look at three key metrics at the million-dollar store. And I'll get into this in a second. But we look at, you know, very simply, we look at traffic conversion rate and average order value. So what we do at the million-dollar store is we work with emerging brands to really capture those three metrics and grow their brands grow their business. So we might look at them and say, well, where are you getting your traffic from? What's your average order value, and what's your conversion rate. And if we move all those up, at the same time, we can get your store to a million-dollars a year. And, and so it's a program we put in place that people jump on board, it's it's a coaching program, where myself and my team work with their stores to help them grow to a million-dollars. So we don't do any marketing for them. We don't do any sort of website development, we just help them look in the right direction to grow their store. And so far, it's been really good. we've, we've been running that for the same time as a contractor they launched at the similar time. And we've probably got four stores that have now reached that million-dollar a year mark, from scratch, which has been really awesome.



Wow. Okay. So basically, you acquire all these brands and ecomm factory, you've proven out everything. And then you said, screw it. Let's teach people if we don't want to buy them, let's at least teach them how to do it themselves. All right, yeah. Yeah, yeah.



Well, we've it's a model that anyone can can do really? Like it's really straightforward. Yeah. Genius.



I love it. What's the approach? What's the exit strategy? Is there one? Alright, is your goal to one day sell off the e-commerce factory or you get to retire on it? You give it kids? Like what? What's the thought



there? Yeah, look at our goal is to buy acquire brands and sell them. So really, that's where we're at. So we're using fight gear, to test our theories. So we use that to test everything that we teach in the million-dollar store. So if someone comes up and says, Hey, we want to do TikTok ads, like oh, well, we're not really 100% sure, on TikTok ads. So we'll test it ourselves on our stores, and see if it works. And then we'll use that to grow our stores. And then we'll sell the idea is we sell them off in sort of every two to three years, and we just continue to build that portfolio of stores. So I don't see the e-commerce factory being sold anytime soon. It's just a, it's a holding, holding company that buys and grows e-commerce stores and sells them off. So that's sort of our model. So while we sell products, while e-commerce stores at the end of the day, we effectively buying and selling consoles is really the best way to put it. Okay.



So, if you're teaching all these sellers, you know, basically, how to break a million, plus you're buying all these companies and breaking a million with them. What is do you have like that, like kind of like one piece of advice or like what's the one thing that you always see tends to be that hurdle that that sellers struggle to get over that seven-figure Mark?



I think that Yeah, the biggest struggle is just not knowing your numbers. That is the biggest struggle really, is that we all get distracted by all the shiny objects. So we go, we need to be doing Facebook marketing, and we need to be doing, you know, TikTok ads, and we need to be doing automations in flows. And yeah, all of those are true. But the problem is everyone wants to try and do that all at once. So the biggest problem is that people don't stick to one line and really own it. They need to focus on sort of the one line and know why they're doing each of those things. So we break it up into a couple of key areas we go we think of like an e-commerce funnel, where we say, Okay, what are you doing for awareness of your brand? Then what are you doing to acquire customers? What do you do to convert them? And then what are you doing to keep them and if we can do all those things, then we can scale our business. So when we think about the million-dollar store, what we say is okay, what activities you're doing in the awareness space. So we look at that and go that's, you know, Facebook advertising. What are you doing in the acquisition phase? Well, that is Google Shopping? You know, what are you doing in their attention space, and that is email marketing. And then conversion is your website optimization. So what we do is we break up in a really simple way. And we say, Okay, guys, for you to get past that mark, you've got to make sure that you're working on all of those, and you're measuring each of those individually. So we're the problem that people do is they say, Well, I just want to do Facebook marketing, because that's fine. I'm cool. But, but really gonna be focusing on the stuff that's not always fun and cool, which is, you know, looking at how do we get our customers coming back, as opposed to just trying to get new customers and fill the bucket, because it's a lot cheaper to get existing customers to buy than it is to get new customers to buy. So, so we just want to make sure that everyone's working through the entire funnel and just keeping people coming back in.



So when you're acquiring these brands, or when you're just coaching them, Do you find that a lot of them are just spreading themselves too thin across multiple channels? Yeah, yeah, exactly. And, and because they're spreading themselves so thin, they never do anything really, right? Well, they



do everything, okay, but just not really well. So, you know, if they try Facebook ads, and it just doesn't work, they stopped doing that, and then start doing something else. That doesn't work. So I'll try and move into something else. So they can't build the email, they still say, well, email doesn't work, Facebook doesn't work and nothing's working, where it's just that they haven't given enough time for it to learn, and enough time for them to understand what the actual outcome of that activity is going to be. So a great example is Facebook, as you know, it's a great way to grow your business a great way to grow your brand. And we've seen that with a lot of e-commerce stores. But it's not necessarily a high converting channel. Unless your butt deals in there, you've got your only product, whereas people think that that's the only thing to do. So they may not be making sales out of their Facebook ads. But really, the way we look at is you need Facebook and other channels to do those conversions. So one of our strategies is use Facebook to grow the brand, and then use Google Shopping or Google ads to convert the customers because people are actually in demand for your products. That makes sense. Yeah.



So obviously, in the marketing side, obviously, Here at BlueTuskr, we get this question all the time of, you know, what should my budget be? Or how much should I be spending on this channel versus this channel? What's a good conversion rate? Like all those very standard questions that are just, you know, not you don't can't really give them a real answer for but how do you decipher when a channel is no longer working for you? And how do you also decipher that, you know, the company that you acquired, or the seller that you're helping, has spent the appropriate amount and gotten the appropriate amount of data to say that this is no longer working? Yeah, it's



a really, it's a really good question. So before we start any campaign or paid campaign, we do a return on adspend calculator. So we look at a customer's typical transaction profile and, and what that might be. So if someone spends $100, at the top line, so that's the revenue that you make, we have a look. And we say, Well, how much profit falls out from underneath that. So let's just say, after all costs of goods, and your fees, and your delivery, and all that sort of thing, they get $30, what we say is we've actually only got $30 to spend on marketing, and we need to work out return on adspend. On that $30, not on the $100. Okay, so we look at that, and we build a return on adspend, based on the $30. And if we do that, then we can look at the marketing channels and say, well, what's our return on adspend out of those marketing channels, now, different marketing channels, and you definitely know this a BlueTuskr is, is you don't always get the same return on adspend out of Facebook than you would with Google ads, what we do is we say we blend or average out the return on adspend of those two channels. We want that to equal the return on adspend of our profit return on adspend. Making Sense?



Actually, yeah, I mean, it makes sense to me. And I really, yeah, it's the same, it's the same thing we said. So usually, what what we'll do is, you know, we'll run ads, let's say we're on multiple channels. So we're running ads on Facebook, and Google and Snapchat, and Tiktok. And you're on all these different channels. And sometimes, you know, you'll look at one and your ROI might be significantly lower than what you wanted it to be. And then you look at Google, which is obviously more middle of the funnel, and it's a little bit higher than what you would expect. But at the end of the day, at least to us, you know, the the shoppers journey for most brands is so fluid, they could see your ad on Facebook, and then Google you and click your ad on Google and both take credit. And so they're both now the numbers are inflated and it looks ridiculous. So usually what we'll do is we'll take all the channels and all of the ad spend, and then just look at the total revenue for whatever time frame we're looking at and go here's what you spent, and here's what you got. Now if we want to figure out where else we should be spending budget now I'm going to look into each channel and kind of make a judgement but you really need to know that channel to make a judgement on it because your ROI target at least again, in my opinion, is on Facebook should be wildly different than what it is on Google. Just because of the way that someone shops Plus, you got to factor in your cost per click and your average order value from a Facebook ad versus a Google ad, and you know, obviously that kind of stuff can differentiate it as well. But is that is that essentially the same approach? You're taking?



100%? The same approach? Yeah. You know, what goes, what we spend? And what comes in is exactly, you have to look at it all in one thing, because all the channels, you need all the channels, right, you need to be surrounding your customer with your brand and your products at all times because there are different parts of their buying journey. Right? So if you just looked at if you said every channel needs to have the same return on adspend, you're never going to do any? Well, any but because like you said, Facebook and Google have completely different robots numbers that we need to work on. So yeah, 100% completely agree.



So now let's flip it upside down. What are you doing on the retention side? So once they've converted, they are now a customer? What are your typical approaches on getting them to come back? Yeah, we're really big



on email automation. And we use Klaviyo for pretty much all of our stores. And we use that a whole heap of automation. So in all ones, people that don't buyable do cart abandonment, we do a lot of win-back campaigns. So, for people that haven't purchased in a certain period of time or have problems with emails, we do a lot of nurturing, with ongoing campaigns. But really, our attention side is all about email marketing and keeping in contact with the customer. So we see email marketing, a little bit like advertising on Facebook, even though they might not be ready to buy, it's important to continue to send them emails because it keeps your brand front of mind. I don't know if your inbox is anything like mine, but I just see brands, email me all day, every day. So if I'm not constantly emailing my company, my customers, they'll never see my brand in the inbox, right? Because if I email them, other brands gonna come in, and it's going to go down the inbox. So our goal is to continually put our brand in front of people, and then occasionally, you know, try and throw the hook in to pull a fish out with some sort of offer. So we use email automation with Klaviyo, most of the time to get people to come back.



Okay, how often are you emailing them,



at least twice a week from a campaign perspective, they may get a flow in as well occasionally during their so they could in any one week, get two to three emails, on minimum, if we're in a sale period, like a Black Friday, we would be we might be emailing two to three times a day. And that's purely just to get the inbox visibility during those periods. So what



are you doing to keep your spam rate or your unsubscribe rate from getting out of hand with email and that many that often? Yeah, so



personalization is key for us. So we're continually going to enrich like the first-party data, but we're doing a lot of work around getting people to fill out more preferences for them. So we run a competition every month. And it's, you know, spend $100 to win a gift card or into some more details to win a $100 gift card with our brands. And what that does is so 5g is a great example is we'll send out a competition email, or we'll do a competition on Facebook. And we'll say enter the sport you're interested in and tell us a little bit more about yourself to go into the draw to win a $100 gift card that allows us to enrich the data in Klaviyo. So that when we send emails, that's a lot more relevant to what they want, and then they're more likely to open it. But what's interesting, even though the more emails we spend send, we're not actually seeing an increase in unsub razor, I haven't actually come across that yet, especially during the Black Friday periods. It sounds like three emails a day is a lot. But we've tested it in both our brands as well as brands that I worked for. And the more emails you send during key sale periods, you just make more money, like it's really interesting and you don't lose, you actually just don't lose people because they expect to see emails during that time.



So you leverage email, a pretty good amount. So I would imagine you probably have some kind of system set up where you're trying to gather email addresses, even if they didn't purchase correctly.



Yes, exactly. So



what does that look like? Yes, we



do two strategies there. One is the on-page. So we do our normal fly auto pop-up, you know, becomes a voucher for someone to sign up in most cases. The other one is we're using Facebook quite heavily for lead generation, though, we set up a number of lead ads, and we just had them evergreen, filling up the pool there. And that is the gift card competition. So we just say you know, leave your email address here to win $100 at our store. And that's just the way that we just continue to fill up our email list and it works really well. Nice.



Yeah, on the post-purchase side. Have you tried anything on like the whole community-building aspect of things like or have you considered like let's say for Fight Gear Direct specifically, have used considered like post-purchase inviting them to join Some kind of Facebook group or slack workspace thing or, you know, LinkedIn, if it was a b2b or anything like that, have you tried or thought of anything to kind of centralize the community that you're building? Now, I



haven't been there's been a lot of talk about that currently in the e-commerce space around, you know, how do we take people out of email? Or, you know, compliment email with a community? No, we haven't. But we, in terms of the post-purchase, what do is we do personalized Thank you emails. So they come from the CEO of the company, or they come from me. So basically, if you buy from me, you'll get an email that says, hey, Andrew, thanks so much for buying, just wanted to let you know, you know, I'm the Big Cheese here at Fight Gear Direct. And I just wanted to say thanks to you all, it means a lot to us. And that's all we say. And it's a plaintext email that goes out. And the amount of replies we get to that is phenomenal. It's, it's really, really good. And I can't believe you've emailed me, you know, that you've got any day to do that. And, obviously, it's automated at a Klaviyo. And, yeah, it's been really good. And what that does is, if people reply to a marketing email, it helps put them in higher visibility in your inbox. So Klaviyo gets the signals that people are applying your emails, and you get a lot more visibility. So we're finding we get a lot cut through just by having those Thank you



emails, there. Um, I'm a huge fan of those that like-new customer email, email from the CEO kind of thing and know, make it look like he wrote it, and he or she, and then obviously, like, those things work so well. I imagine you probably do the same on like a repeat customer, because I know Klaviyo pre-prep, like, prepares that stuff for you. So it's if you don't have it, but you have clay vo I'm always like, how did you not set that up? Like they prepared it for you to choose? But I know we skipped it like, Okay. What about so what about on the social side? Like, do you guys do anything for you know, user-generated content, getting them to submit pictures of them, like wearing their fight gear or anything like that? We don't and



you know, it's an opportunity that I think we could expose. And that's probably one of the drawbacks of being in an industry that you're not, you don't understand nature really well. So as much as I understand boxing and fighting, and I don't go to the boxing gym, and I don't do things like that. So I can't, I've got nowhere I can take photos of myself boxing. And yeah, we could encourage but we just haven't really leveraged that, you know. But yeah, I can see there's an opportunity there. And it's something we could do. But because we don't physically hold the product or do anything with the product, it makes it really hard to go and do stuff like that. That was actually a



good segue. That was my next question was how does that work on an acquisition side? So the person that you acquired the company from? Are they still working there and then be on like a fulfillment side? Do you just leave it as it is? Or do you bring everything into one warehouse? what's the approach there?



Yeah, so no, the person that we've acquired it from, they're no longer in the business, we use a team of virtual assistants predominantly, we actually it's, it's sort of like a, it's a semi dropship model that we use. So we do ship directly from our suppliers. But we also do hold stock in our warehouse as well. So because we have such a wide variety of equipment, we have large boxing bags, and it's all boxing gloves. The shipping profile of that is really vast. So it can cost a lot and shipping it around Australia is really expensive. So if you think about Australia, we have an East Coast and West Coast like you guys do. But in between, it's just a big desert. So if we live on the East Coast, and we want to ship to the west coast, and it's a, I'm going to use kilos, now you guys use pounds, but it's a 60-kilo bag, that's going to cost us a lot of money to get it from one side of Australia to the other. So we need to leverage. We don't have warehouses all over the country, we're not that fortunate. So we need to use the warehousing of the company that makes the product. So we shipped directly from our suppliers for large products. But we keep the other products in our warehouse. But most of our businesses run from virtual assistants, which has been really, really powerful. So we leverage those for customer service, some fulfillment, with the fulfillment from the suppliers. We use them for advertising. So a lot of our business is virtual. And it's a team that we can just plug another brand into and the model remains the same.



So let's touch on that virtual assistant thing for a second here. So yeah, years ago, I was in the house somewhere. And this guy was so proud of himself because he would he didn't even he was the CEO of the company. It was a $10 million-dollar a year company. And it was just him who was actually he was busy running a different company. And then it was me and one other person full time and then everyone else was virtual. And he was a big fan of being able to have a $10 million company with only two actual employees. What is your approach on VA is a is that your goal? And then B How are you finding them and vetting them? What's your approach there?



Yeah, so my view on VA is, it has really shifted so a couple of years ago would be like, I'm never doing that. Because how do you maintain quality and consistency. But now let's change. So we use VA is for repetitive, easily teachable tasks. So things like where we have to ship items from our suppliers. That's, that's a really easy one, right? So we've automated, a lot of those orders that if you buy a certain product, it just sends an email off to that supplier to ship it. And what the VA does is they just monitor that from shipment to fulfillment to make sure it goes through. From a customer service perspective, we using gorgeous, which is a customer service platform that plugs nicely into Shopify. And we have a whole heap of predefined templates and processes that our VA is used there. So that's, that's a really easy way to do it. And then the third one is the way we hire the VA is all different from the way we might have done it in the past. So in the past, we might have used places like your Freelancer or Upwork, or a few of those sort of crowdsourcing communities. But what we found was that the VA is there, we're spread across multiple brands, and you never really got a dedicated VA for your brand. So we're now hiring off onlinejobs.ph. So predominantly a VA is or in, in the Philippines, for some of those tasks we find there, the quality is really good. And they've got a lot of experience now because they've been doing it for so long. And e-commerce is a really strong suit of theirs. So for customer service and fulfillment, we use Filipino VA s. But in terms of other parts, we use some Australian virtual assistance as well, for sort of more that, you know, face to face, phone calls and things like that. But we find them really good. So using online jobs, it treats, it's like hiring an earned staff member, we treat them now like staff members, you know, I get photos from my VA that they're on the beach with their kids, you know, and they're having a great time, and they just want to say thanks. You know, because you really, you really are helping these guys change their lives. So for us, it might feel like it's, you know, really cost-effective stuff. But at the end of the day, you're actually providing them a really good lifestyle and a really good job and they love it. And they're really loyal. And they learn really well as well. And they're just part of the team now. It's just, it's just like we have an office in the Philippines. That's really how we think about it.



Yeah, it's amazing, like so I started in e-commerce and marketing almost 15 years ago now. And about eight years ago is when I started hearing about people outsourcing overseas, and like really just repetitive admin work. And it was amazing, even then, all the way up to now. Almost everyone either hires someone in the Philippines or in the country that they're working out of I never I rarely hear any other country. Obviously, we have a handful of days we work with all of our clients, I know that whenever I have to speak with their VA, most of them are in the Philippines. At this point. It's almost like they might even know each other because of how many of them are all working out of there. It's just amazing how great it is. And I completely agree because to me like there are very few cultural differences. But the benefit obviously, working out of the states working out of Australia or any really any country is that working in the Philippines the to me that there's no cultural difference, however, I can pay them well. And they can live amazing there to the point where even I'm kind of like maybe I should relocate and go live in the Philippines because I could live that'd be great. I'm sorry, I know. We're off on a rant that. I love it. I was thinking though, so I wanted after I went through the concept of how you were kind of approaching the funnel, everything you're doing big on email and a lot of emailing and trying to show up obviously, during Black Friday, which is always a nightmare. Do you do anything on the SMS? Are you doing anything with text messaging or Facebook Messenger, anything like that? Yeah, we're



doing a lot around text messaging now. So we were fortunate enough in Australia to have SMS through Klaviyo. They don't have it here. Some other tools, but that's okay. So we're using SMS now for our cart abandonment flows, which has been really powerful. So that's a nice little kicker for people is, you know, if someone abandons the cart, but they're opening other emails, we do send them an SMS saying, you know, we've still got this item in your cart that's working really well. We only send texts out now for promotions, though. So we'll we won't be doing texts. Like if we're doing two emails a week, we're not gonna be sending two texts a week, we'll only send a text out when it's something that we know the person's interested in because we know their information. And we know that it's a good deal. We'd never just go and send in the text a week because yeah, it's very personal. You know you don't want to be invading people's phones too often. So you want to make sure that when they do get the text, that it's something that they want and something they're gonna, you know, take advantage of.



Yeah, I agree. I know, like sellers who have apps or something like that, like push notifications, text messages, you got to be really careful with them because you can get a really bad reputation fast. Don't know the rules actually behind it because I've never, I've never sent that many text messages to the point where I got spammed or something, but I'd be really worried about just getting kicked off of whatever platform I'm on from abusing the hell out of that. But, uh, so all these brands you're acquiring? Do you end up kind of looking into other brands? And like, obviously, I'm sure you're doing some competitive analysis, but do you actually look at certain brands that you kind of aspire to turn your brands into?



No, and we don't, because we don't want to compare ourselves to others, you know, we just want to run our own race. Because I think if you try and compare yourself to other people, you don't know why they made that decision of what they did. And whether or not it works, right? Because you can't see underneath the hood what's on what's happening. So no, we don't we look to see how we're competing against them. So you know, we might say, in our niche, we might have two or three businesses that you know, might be ranking better. And it might look like they're doing better than us. We just have a few goals, we go okay, well, let's we're right, if we're looking for keyword rankings, as an example, we want to rank for these keywords about this brand, might be the only type of comparison we do that, but we don't look at them and say, well, they're doing this on their store, or they're doing this or email. So we have to do it too. We might take inspiration from them. But really, we just run around race because we don't similar to what I said, we don't want to get distracted by the shiny objects distracted by what competitors are doing. And I know from working in global brands that sometimes the decisions that are made of changes in marketing and strategy have not always been for a reason that we think is positive, right? Sometimes it might be a board come along and say, you know, we need this widget on the website because my friend owns the company, to please put it on the website, even though it makes no money. So you just don't know why brands doing the things they're doing and whether they work. So my view is, yeah, keep an eye on them. But don't have that make that be your decision making of what you do with your business, you know, stick to your guns, have your goals, and you know, just aim towards your goals and what you want to get.



It's so nice to hear someone say that. Because usually, you think like, oh, like, okay, you're, let's use like your direct as an example. You're in the fighting category we're watching so and so like, they're like living next to me, like, I want to know exactly what they're doing at all times, and blah, blah. But I have the same feeling where I've seen, you know, we'll work with someone, and then we'll ask them like, you know, who do you keep an eye on, they'll give us like, we want to beat these guys. And then we'll look at what they're doing. Like, okay, and they might have more sales, maybe because they are been around longer, maybe you know, they're specifically like Google ads and stuff. They're pretty honed in on it. But when you look at social and things like that, it's like, are you sure this is what you want to copy? Because they're so adamant in wanting to be where that person is? That they're not thinking about? What can they do to get past them? And by just copying all the time, I feel like you're not going to do you're not differentiating yourself, you're not standing out. So it's great to hear someone say I don't really care.



Yeah, I guess the question is for those guys, for you, Andrew is how do you know that you aren't beating them already? the point you don't know. Right? You don't know you might be how do you know where they are? And how do you know they're not looking at you and saying the same thing. So it's because you can't see what they're doing? Or you can see what they're doing socially in marketing. But is that working for them? And are they actually winning? Are they unprofitable for losing money? You know, so I think it's it's so hard to find out whether or not you are building a brand, I guess.



Yeah. And, you know, we'll find people all the time, who will say like, Oh, I have this software that tells me what they're spending in Facebook ads like, No, you don't. Like you don't like I promise you, you don't? Like do you have an example? So like, we're sem rush partners, we use sem rush all the time, for a lot of stuff, great for SEO, they have some reporting on a paid ad side. But they'll tell you like what they think that someone is spending. And you know, as an agency, we have the benefit of having access to that stuff. And I'll just look at our own sites and be like, what do you think we're spending? And then I'll be like, that's not even close, like? So the people who think that you know, they have these numbers of I know what so and so does every year and blah, blah, like, you don't you absolutely don't unless you ask them and they actually tell you the truth, which is unlikely.



Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Right.



So what is what so you obviously are acquiring brands, but you're also running a couple of them right now. So you personally What is your day today? Like? Do you spend most of your time looking at brands to acquire or do you spend most of your time currently working on the brands that you have acquired?



Yeah, that's a good question. I often ask myself every day like, Am I doing the right thing to get the outcome that I want? You know, to be honest, my brand, the brands that we buy, we try I try and be relatively hands-off and both I think of myself a little bit like a conductor and I just want to make sure that all the people In the orchestra doing the right job, so they were working in harmony. So I just make sure that I open a report every morning, that has all the key metrics that I want to look at. And I just want to make sure that that's moving in the right direction. So my goal, my goal is to basically just have every month better than the last. So I want to make sure that we're growing month on month for each of the brands. So I just look at the numbers. And if there's anything that needs to be done, I'll reach out to the respective person to say, you know, what are we doing this week to move the needle on that number. So my day looks like that, I look at reporting, talk to the brands and say, you know, we work on this. And then the other side of it is building the million-dollar store. And I can show that you know, the people in that group getting supported with coaches, that's probably the part of it. And then I look at future-proofing. So I say, Well, what strategies are out there that we could test? You know, so I mentioned, TikTok advertising, that's a space that I'm not familiar with that I think is, is going to be really interesting moving forward. So that's something we're investigating this month. But yeah, we're always looking at brands each day as well. So it's basically it's, the more my morning is setting up to making sure that we're on track. And then I look to make sure that their coaching business is going well. And then I look at you know, what are new opportunities, and whether that be marketing strategies or brands is sort of how my day looks?



Interesting. That's pretty cool. Hey, you got a different day, every day? It sounds



like, yeah, and then sometimes when I open the report, it's not looking very good, right. So good, my day gets thrown out really quickly, because it's like, okay, yeah, we're now going into crisis mode. And what do we need to do and, and, you know, I do look at reporting every day, but it's probably a good insight for listeners is, don't, don't react every day? If we have a bad day, we only react if we have a bad week, or we see a trend that's not changing. But if I look at my numbers from today, versus yesterday, and there's some lower, I'm not going to lose, lose it, I'm just going to just make sure that we've got the right plan in place for the rest of the week to sort of bringing my numbers back. So the key is don't overanalyze your data. Just look at it regularly, and know that it's moving in the right direction. And if you need to make changes, you know, make them after, you know, seeing a trend decline.



I completely agree I always preach one could be an anomaly two could be a coincidence. Three is a trend. So whether it's one day, or two days or three weeks, or however you're looking at it, that's I usually try to do that approach of like, Don't jump the gun and just assume that Oh, no, it broke as it could just be a bad day. But I obviously really appreciate having your show. I don't want to take up too much of your time. So I would love it if you can kind of just let everyone know where they can find more information about really everything that you're doing right now.



Yeah, cool, man. Yeah, so you can find me on Facebook, just look for me, Brendan Gillan, I'm on LinkedIn, same name. I have the same name across all platforms because I am the same person and the e-commerce factory.com that are you for those playing overseas. And then the milliondollarstore.co is our coaching business. So that's where you can find me. Always happy to have a chat with people if they have any questions. Just DM me and I'm happy to help.



Oh, of course, appreciate having you on the show Brendan again thank you to all listeners who tuned in make sure you head over to theecommshow.com and subscribe to the podcast really wherever you want any podcast platform on our YouTube channel, anything like that. But as usual, until next time, keep selling, and good luck out there. 



Thank you for tuning in to The Ecomm Show. So head over to theecommshow.com to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or on the BlueTuskr YouTube channel. The Ecomm Show is brought to you by BlueTuskr a full-service digital marketing company specifically for e-commerce sellers looking to accelerate their growth. Go to BlueTuskr.com now for more information. Make sure to tune in next week for another amazing episode of The Ecomm Show.

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