Leveraging Data to Acquire FBA Private Label Brands

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Gabi Bar 7:39

Um, you have to as far as TCM goes, TCM is a tech-first company. So we’ve built a tech around the businesses, not the other way around. So we have applied a big we understand what this is, this is a game of big data. And a game of big data has to apply machine learning and deep learning. You know, and most aggregators out there are relying on Amazon, which is a pack business by itself. But when it comes to branching, now, it becomes a little bit more difficult. So really understanding this, this business. And when we understood that there’s so much data on one hand, when we first build a business, put so much data and so, so little utilization of the data, that’s what really drove us to this business. Okay, you don’t have to compete, you can have a lot of data, but you know, it could stick and stain the servers and you know, we won’t be able to do anything, you won’t be able to mitigate any risks, or change the basis to sorption without applying machine learning. So we saw that as an opportunity to drobeta apply machine learning, able to really optimize businesses. And that’s what really drove to that. And then, you know, on top of it, take the private label sector, which, you know, and four or five years ago, we were dealing with brands as well, super brands, not only private label, we realized that we private label, these the scalability, the option to really scale up very quickly, as a suppose to brands, which you just, you know, you’re just a mediator, you just, you’re working on a tight margin, yes, when you build a brand, and you really can take use data for that you can really leverage the data for, for for the brands, and that’s what really got us so enthusiastic about it. And you know, we were able to use machine learning, you know, to apply it to the most exciting space.

James Thomson 9:39

As you started to acquire brands, you’re interacting with these entrepreneurs that have started these businesses for various reasons. What are some of the biggest surprises you’ve had in terms of the types of motivations or the types of ways that these entrepreneurs think about this opportunity?

Gabi Bar 9:56

I think that as far as far as I know, Standing what this business is all about, and the fact that this I’ve, I’ve come across businesses that have sold that primarily build a business for exit. But most businesses, most entrepreneurs are build this business for value based on their good, they really realize that they really want to bring value to consumers. And that was really, I was a bit surprised when I when I was approached by businesses that we have find some metrics that really enable us to scale the business and look at it, like 10 years from that knowledge, you know, not just on a, on a short term basis, that’s really kind of puzzled me, because these are mainly intrapreneurs, that usually within the 30s, maybe 40s, something like that, you know, we had a business that we bought in Australia was ran by 250 year old to a couple, mostly it was like 3026 25 year old entrepreneur, and having this notion that this business is really a lot more than just exit out. That really surprised me. And I mean, I have to hand out the these intrapreneurs. But nowadays, I feel that it’s kind of it’s kind of going the wrong way. Because I do speak to a lot of internet entrepreneurs, we see, we have about 150 to 200 businesses running to a machine on a given day. Yes. And a lot of them are just looking for exit, and then are looking to bring out the value of the customer base of automation.

James Thomson 11:35

So let me ask you with with the software and the insights that you derive from your software, how do you think about the process of evaluating all these companies that are out there, I’m sure you’ve got your secret sauce, but there’s lots of data that one can look at, you can filter through a lot of products quickly. There are both companies coming to you and companies that haven’t yet come to you because you’re going to have to go to them. How do you think about this whole process of being able to boil the ocean down to a handful of specific metrics or KPIs that you think are going to drive identifying successful brands,

Gabi Bar 12:13

we take a different approach to the entire valuation process. And obviously, you know, there’s the old gal named brokers that did kind of the preliminary diligence on a niche business, and somebody caters, and even buyers will rely on this on this data and might compile some data, but you write so much data that that is driven from so many different sources, that you can easily get lost in the power of data. So that’s what we apply, you know, when we’re looking, we’re sending our folders and our and our API’s to really drive the data, we are able to really identify hidden gems, we are able to see or even before they’re there into understanding that they want to sell out to their rich, they’re out there, people peak into maturity. So on one hand, we’re able to get them ahead of time. And on the other side, based on the data we’re driving, we’re able to depicts certain elements that have the ability to understand the valuation based on these parameters. Now based on the financials, we don’t get carried by the financial, our machines. When we look at the business, we send out a bids automatically to Alibaba and other suppliers in order to understand the cost, the cost of the goods before we even approach the seller. Oh, we understand what’s the ROI process. Once we do have this, it’s sufficient enough, they were able to drive them back to us and say, Okay, we’re ready to explore it further, can we hook up to their system, either via API or, you know, to coders and drive data, and based on the parameters, were able to get the actual tag a price tag of the business, which is not that could be completely different than what the order or other ideas would have seen. We’ve seen major discrepancies from aggregators as opposed to valuating businesses, as opposed to the price we have given it. And we’ve seen businesses being acquired at a higher multiplier, and a much overpriced to what it is to what we were willing to what our machine was, you know, was given what the score was, was given by a machine. So it’s a data driven business. And if you don’t apply data data machine, it’s going to be very hard to progress.

James Thomson 14:37

How do you get brands to want to agree to let you as you say, hook up to your system so that you can run the data through the system. How are you able to do that? Because quite frankly, that’s that’s the inner workings of the business. And then once you once you show people that

Gabi Bar 14:54

you’re right, you’re right about that. But obviously, there’s got to be a mutual understanding and a mutual benefit from it. Time one wants to sell one wants to buy. So if you run a boat together, if there’s a mutual, mutually beneficial Avenue, then obviously we get, we get an access to via API to data of the seller. So but in most cases, in some cases, even beforehand, before we speak to centers, wherever to call, we use scrapers to get there. Yep. So even though it’s you know, it’s not 100% accuracy, but it gives us some understanding of the value before him. So but if you are a seller, and you’re interested in selling the business, there’s really no reason why you’re not going to be able to provide us with the data directly, instead of us asking for the reports and by other aggregators.

James Thomson 15:52

When I think about some of the things that we’re seeing here in the US, a lot of these investors, when they first get started, they’re going through the FDA brokers, they’re talking to brokers and saying, Show me what you’ve got available. And that’s fine for getting started and kind of understanding what might be out there if you don’t have the backend technology to go and find all these firms. But I’m curious on your take, how do you think about brokers today and where they fit into the ecosystem,

Gabi Bar 16:18

I think that they definitely have room for for continuous business we’ve seen if you’re looking at Empire Flippers, they’ve grown rapidly since 2019. On a YouTube basis, based on their multipliers, their profitable businesses, over here, we are Fortunet to think that we’re on your show. So there’s definitely room for brokers, because there’s so much traction coming in. And eventually, when you sell our business, you either do it by yourself, or you apply brokers. It’s like investment brokers, or investment bankers that you utilize for either raising capital or selling your business for name and aprons. So I definitely see, I definitely see room for that, it will, eventually will be depend on your ability to either sell a business or buy, or have them broker a deal, if you’re not going to be a not gonna be good at it, then you’re definitely not going to succeed. But that’s true for any for any other industry, not necessarily this way. But there’s this is true for the brokers, we use them quite often. Even though the fact that you know, we’re getting the data by ourself. We’re happy to get more data from the broker. So we use empires and think bi and toners, and others as well. So they definitely have attraction that will feed our system. As far as data, this is really important to us, as a data to able to get even from that data to our machine. So I do see them growing could continue

James Thomson 17:55

to talk to me a little bit about what you would like to see more of these brands do before they go to market. So you’re approaching companies that may not realize that you’re interested in them, you also have companies that are approaching looking for prospective buyers, at the end of the day companies are some are better prepared than others, when you think of the experiences you’ve had working with, with companies that you may or may not have acquired. Tell me more about what what you wish they did a better job of doing before going to market?

Gabi Bar 18:26

I think that that’s the million dollar question. It’s really, we see so many businesses and that they are not ready for, for acquisition. And either their, their main focus was, you know, just getting something that so they can exit out, you know, try to, you know, get the cash quickly, or are selling early stages, or even a little later. So, I think that every business, first and foremost have to look at the business and the products that he’s presenting and the products that is is selling from a customer point of view, if you build your business, from a wide perspective, why is it Why is it product? What is it comes to serve? Look at it from not from the average money I wants to make, what is the value that I’m able to drive to my customer and look at my customers being the first and foremost before I’m looking at the capital to to drive the business that way. I think that’s the golden rule of building an e-commerce business. Then look at the look at the inventory prospects. I mean, we’ve seen businesses that ran out of inventory so many times throughout the year. So and even during planning that goes into the third issue of a cash flow, and even doing planning is a major major issue when it comes to running the business because not only you’ll you’ll run out of inventory not only out of inventory to sell, you’ve been effectively negatively affected negatively on the Amazon scores So you’re going down twice still on your inventory controller cache, save your expenditure run a very, very tight ship. Even if you have to forecast overhead, write a tight ship, and get the business to where have a business plan ready in tact. And so apply the apply as many taxes tactics as you can. And then when you reach a certain maturity, then start you know, start scoring. When you start scouting the the aggregators down you know, you’ll you’ll get the reciprocation from the market, you’ll see what an aggregate is, is why you’re not ready there, here’s what you need to do. And there’s some, we just opened an incubator process, an incubator, in TCM, where we really open up a free service to startups and e-commerce startups that are able to apply and will help them really grow to pace where there could be either ready for acquisition or even broader business. But we understood that there is a there is a certain, I guess, the sensor, so many intrapreneurs in this business, and that there’s not there’s a lack of expertise, lack of technology, the lack of capital, there’s that there’s a lot of lacking in this running the business. So we offer the service that help them come in, apply, and if they fit into our incubator will help them grow the business, obviously, they want to sell we’ll be there, you know, to catch them if they want. But yeah, this is not a mandate, where to come in, join our incubator process. And we’ve talked to your headline and clearbank, about providing capital for these businesses, because we’ve seen that most of these businesses lacked really the guidance, they really have to drive to succeed, but lacked the guidance to get to a maturity process where they can really get into an education. That’s why there’s so many, so little of good businesses that everyone, all the ideas will fight over them. But there’s a lot of them that you know, one or two will pick, but you know, you have to be you have to find the eat in Germany.

James Thomson 22:19

So let me ask you, Gabi, when you look at brands to buy, what kinds of indicators do you look for, to help give you a sense of the future growth opportunities within this brand? You talked about the financials are not necessarily as important. You’ve got your data, what can you share with us around? What you look at that that gets you excited about future growth?

Gabi Bar 22:44

We look at the trajectory is basically the growth trajectories. But obviously, if it’s a, let’s say, to one platforms or one marketplace, one region, US Amazon alone, obviously, doesn’t major growth trajectories. But if it’s a business that is, you know, spanned over the world, we need to look at a product from a product point of view is this product already, scalability, obviously, the options of taking one product and scale it out. So there’s a lot of variance, there’s a lot of variables that we need to apply. But in most cases, we look at the first and foremost we look at the organic, are we able to produce the images? Are we able to put the tags to, you know, to set up a certain listing options, maybe a video is this by itself will grow the business? Once we’re done with that, then we’ll look at the advertising. The paid advertising isn’t just Amazon, the offline wasn’t traffic. Yes. What’s the ratio? and so forth? They never look at the products. I mean, how many? How many SKUs? I mean, is do these skills are suitable for Europe, Australia, Singapore, Japan. I mean, okay, what’s the level of what’s level of proficiency of these of these skills. And then we’ll look at geographical. And obviously marketplace and our data, really, we drive most of the data from Shopify, or the brand, what we call the brand owner, website. If you have a brand order, then we’re able to do data mining, which we’re unable to do on Amazon, Amazon is really, you know, there’s a certain there’s a certain limitation to Amazon by itself, as far as data driven. So data mining is where we get the most data from off Amazon. So if there’s a there’s a brand that is selling a certain degree off Amazon, then we apply a lot of our data driven data mining from that from Nepal, which they were able to learn a lot more about the former customer point of view. So these are the many five years and about 120 different parameters. I’m not going to Sure, of course, that has about two hours just to go down by one. But these are the five main things that we’re looking at.

James Thomson 25:09

So let me ask you, Gabi with so many different investors in the space right now, talk to me about how you see your firm TCM digital, being differentiated from everyone else. You’ve obviously talked about technology. But are there other aspects that you see yourself as being able to tell a brand very quickly, we do these things this way. And that makes us different.

Gabi Bar 25:34

I think that the key element is our super brain tech. This is where we have a suite of technology, both on the post acquisition, as well as the pre acquisition that we apply, we have a big data influencer system that actually drives the traffic from an influencer point of view. So I would have to say tech is really the main differentiator. But there’s also the Sherm, the DNA of the company that’s built over the years, is there a belief system that we’ve built here, it’s got to do with ethics, it’s got to do with, you know, looking at the customers and force first and foremost, we want by businesses that is not, doesn’t provide poor doesn’t improve quality of life, it has to improve quality of life, every products that we sell, we’re looking at in a point where our this product is improving quality of life for our customers. So we view the customers as really as our main objective, not necessarily to products, and we do take some businesses down really underperforming, understanding that is really growth potential, but they have a great products, we just recently bought a business with a sustainable, sustainable products, that really was a small business, we don’t we usually don’t engage with less than a million dollar business. But it’s like 500,000. So we loved the product, we fell in love with the products and, and the customers love it. Like we were willing to pay the premium, even for this business. So I guess the belief system with the ethics, really understanding what this business is all about? What are the what is this industry? Never lose touch with your customers? That’s where we apply other than detect that that is, is there. Yeah, maybe we can avoid it. But there’s really a lot more than you know that the staff we haven’t been on under 70, staff members, they’re all working within a belief system that we have applied. And we have built over the years now we teach it to disabilities and you the risk, we do a lot of this, solicit them and reply to some of our outside the company, even our staff will

James Thomson 27:48

go to your stated mission on your website is our company’s mission is to share the digital wealth. Tell me more what you mean by that.

Gabi Bar 27:57

I think that that really applied from an investor point of view is really, when we first started, we operated as as a some sort of a FinTech company, identify these businesses, we invite anyone to come in, invest in his businesses, we run his business and share that with digital wealth. As we grow, as we evolved, we understood that genuine digital wealth is really allowed more than just for an asset to asset basis. So we started getting investors in and started getting, we look at the client, we’re still working on that, to be completely honest with you on the web, that was really on the FinTech side. And right now, that’s a driven, we’re driven by the quality of life and really looking to prove the quality of life. So I would have to say, we combine them both together on one end, we are looking at obviously, do to really share them so well, because most most investors talk about the small investor, not only what they hedge funds or the equity funds that you know, that’s their business, but talk about the small, full time investors that have seen that growth trajectories and is in the in the comments and never had the chance to tap in. You know, either they buy a business or they need to rely on someone else. So they come to us and they put 100,000 $200,000 and you know, it’s an investment, and we we get their money work for them. So that’s this share digital wealth. But nowadays, we really focus on what products we’re selling, not just sharing the wealth there will be

James Thomson 29:36

so Gabi, let me ask you should should private label brands be exiting now? Or should they be thinking about waiting longer before they sell? Obviously, there’s a lot of Well, it depends but for a lot of these private label brands, there’s a pot of gold waiting for them right now they see it all these people calling on them saying I want to buy your business. So how do you help brands think through when the right time is to sell I

Gabi Bar 30:00

think that that goes to what I said earlier that, you know, it’s the maturity process, you know, you’ll have you have to, as a business owner, there’s a lot of opportunities that sometimes will be good sometimes will be not as good is really understanding Where’s your people? If you reach your peak, obviously, you might be on a downslope. If you are on the way, then you might be not as ready as you should. So knowing what to pick is really the million dollar question. But I think that it all boils down to when you reach as a as an intrapreneur, your which your capacity. As far as scalability, you know, you need more capital to scale, you need more inventory to scale, you need more staff members to scale. So when it comes to really bumping up your resources, and now you start piling up some loans, some sb isbm, loans and so forth. Now, you’re getting into a point where you’re now instead of running the business, you know, thinking how you can get the finance in order to run a business, that’s where you need to stop and say, Okay, I think it’s time for me to look at exit out, because I’ve ever been businesses to profitable, but I’m scaling up to a point where I need to really scale my resources and, and really branch out and to the point where I might needed a bigger office, that’s where you need to stop and look, and getting ready for us to celebrate. I’ve seen both ends, sometimes it was too late, sometimes too early. Those who are too early, we give them the pointers to really continue doing something that will work for them. We, you know, we obviously consult them. And you know, we opened the door, we keep door open for them if they want to come back. But obviously, it’s never easy to sell a baby. Now you have to sell over that can market, but sometimes it’s a necessity. And if you don’t do it, then you might lose your business impact. So let me ask you what,

James Thomson 32:10

what do you think you’re going to need to do with your business to continue to be successful in the long run.

Gabi Bar 32:17

This is the for for aggregators. The final thing is that it’s all about capital, the more capital, the more business you’re able to acquire, because we have the tech and we obviously have the esops system in place. So more capital we raise the more business away we do require. But if you if you look at it, if I’m looking at it really having the foresight to see where the market is heading, there will be some consolidation as far as we might get an offer, we already did get an offer to either be acquired or partner with an aggregator we will we will see some consolidation and we will see some dropout. That will happen because the capital will dry out to a certain point, because this is a capital hungry business. This businesses where I have one of my board members called me a deal junkie. I keep on piling on the deals, we you know, we just recently acquired three new businesses. So so it’s always about capital, until you flip it around, were you able to really acquire based on your, your workflow capital that they will take some time. So obviously for us is continuing growing is definitely within our within our yearly plan. But you know, offers might come in and we might say, as a business, there’s another entrepreneurs might say, you know, it’s time for me to either sell or pawn.

James Thomson 33:52

Let me wrap up our conversation today, I want to I want to ask you about some of the favorite software tools or companies that you’ve worked with that have helped you build your business to where it’s at today.

Gabi Bar 34:06

I think that I’ll be shooting myself in the foot by saying that we did use some third party sellers, because we were obviously using our own AI and big data systems. We have our own dashboards and we’ve developed and actually, some of them will be offered as a SaaS service throughout the year. But you know, like any other aggregators or any other e-commerce business, and we’ve used Jungle Scout, and we’ve used seller lead gen and others, yes. You know, it’s like these players are been out there and I think Jungle Scout was three years, I think three or four years, depending the business and you know, they have a good product. They’ve just acquired a PPC software as well. Even though we have all teams, we have all PPC team or logistics. We have our own software, the proprietary software we’ve put together. But again, any any good software software that that is out there. We usually give it a try. If it’s good, we apply.

James Thomson 35:13

That’s great. Well, Gabi, I want to thank you for joining us today on the Buy Box Experts Podcast. For those of you interested in learning more about the technology commerce management company, please visit TCMdigital.com. Join us again next time on the Buy Box Experts Podcast. Today’s episode is brought to you by GETIDA. GETIDA is a global leader in Amazon FBA, auditing and reimbursements continue to analyze, analyzes your Amazon data, reconciles your FBA inventory, and files claims reimbursements on your behalf. No obligations, no hidden fees, just GETIDA recovering your money. GETIDA helps you get your money back into your pockets so you can focus on investing in more inventory and growing your business. To learn more, check out getida.com.

Outro 36:03

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Meet the Speakers

Gabi Bar

Gabi Bar

Co-founder and Executive Vice President of Technology Commerce Management (TCM)

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