Why FBA Aggregators Are Investing In Private Label Businesses
March 1, 2021
Chris Bell is the CEO of Perch, a technology-enabled consumer products company that acquires and operates Amazon FBA businesses at scale. Chris and his team help winning consumer products and brands maximize their reach and value by creating an unparalleled customer advocacy.
Prior to Perch, Chris was the former Head of Custom Supply Chain at Wayfair where he designed, built, and ran Wayfair’s in-house supply chain solutions which allowed them to deliver exceptional customer experience at industry-leading cost.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Why investors are paying close attention to FBA private labels
- Chris Bell shares what the next two years may have in store for private label buyers and sellers in the e-commerce industry
- Chris shares why he decided to go into the FBA private label industry and the most common issues he’s encountered in the process of acquiring products and brands
- What makes a “winning product?”
- How aggressive should aggregators be at finding brands that are ready to sell?
- The brand acquisition opportunities that are available for companies like Perch and the factors they consider before acquiring a brand
- What makes Perch different from other FBA aggregators?
- What value does FBA investors get out of their portfolio brands?
- Chris shares how he became a fundraiser raising capital and how utilizing software tools can help build better brands
In this episode…
The landscape of FBA businesses is changing quickly, and what used to be a limited market has become a hotspot for investors. Smaller brands are looking for that much needed edge over the competition and FBA aggregators are always on the lookout for that brand that offers an award-winning product.
Chris Bell specializes in acquiring and growing these businesses to realize their untapped potential. He shares that while private label brands are a hot commodity these days, FBA aggregators and investors are still meticulous about which brands to acquire and invest in. It’s not enough for a consumer brand to be doing good now, it has to have potential for continued growth.
Join James Thomson in this episode of the Buy Box Experts Podcast as he interviews Perch CEO, Chris Bell, about private label business acquisition. Tune in as he discusses the common issues they face in the acquisition process, what makes a product worth investing in, how FBA investors can get value out of their portfolio brands, and what makes Perch different from other FBA aggregators.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Buy Box Experts
- Chris Bell on LinkedIn
- Disruptive Advertising
- Fulfillment by Amazon
Sponsor for this episode…
Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage their clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of their clients’ business fundamentals and their in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.
The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity in the marketplace–not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.
Buy Box Experts prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.
Learn more about Buy Box Experts at BuyBoxExperts.com.
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast we bring to light the unique opportunities brands face in today’s e commerce world.
James Thomson 0:18
Hi, I’m James Thomson one of the hosts of theBuy Box Experts podcast. I’m a partner at Buy Box Experts and the former business head of the selling on Amazon team at Amazon, as well as the first account manager for the Fulfillment by Amazon program. I’m the co author of a couple of books on Amazon including the recent book controlling your brand in the age of Amazon. Today’s episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. When you hire Buy Box Experts, you receive the strategy optimization and marketing performance to succeed on Amazon. We also support investors on due diligence services. Go to buyboxexperts.com to learn more. Before I introduce our guests today, I’d like to send a big shout out to the team at Disruptive Advertising. For off Amazon advertising. disruptive advertising offers the highest level of service in the digital marketing industry, focusing on driving traffic, converting traffic and enterprise analytics. disruptive helps its clients increase their bottom line month after month. Check out disruptiveadvertising.com to learn more. Today, I am pleased to welcome our guest Chris Bell CEO of Perch, a company that acquires and operates Amazon FBA businesses. Previously, Chris spent three and a half years at Wayfair, leading multiple supply chain teams. Chris has also been a management consultant for Bain & Co. Chris, welcome. And thank you for joining us today on the Buy Box Experts podcast.
Chris Bell 1:45
Thanks, James, nice to be here.
James Thomson 1:47
Want to start by asking the obvious, FBA private label businesses are a hot commodity today. But they’ve been around for 20 plus years? What’s going on in the last year to two years that all of a sudden investors are paying attention to these types of organizations?
Chris Bell 2:03
Yeah, I think a few things are going on. The first is that you I’d say about five years ago, Amazon was not quite as mature or trusted as a marketplace where you could buy a private label business and have confidence that you were buying, staying power. You know, five years ago, it was a lot easier to buy fake reviews than it is today. Five years ago, Amazon didn’t have Brand Registry to Dotto and so they weren’t seeing brand rights the way they are today. Yep. And so the good news is Amazon’s fixed many of these problems. So we can now buy a brand that has 12,005 star reviews and feel confident that tomorrow, somebody else will have 20,000 plus five star reviews that they just purchased somebody else. And we can have confidence that the brand that we purchased, Amazon will help us protect our brand rights protect the IP. And so those reasons have made it more of a stable marketplace where you can make a transaction. And then I think part of why there’s been so much excitement around the space over the last year especially, it’s been interesting to see. So we I started this journey about a year and a half ago, just poking around and then raise money about a year ago to start and back then, you know, throughout co was around and it was asked but that was about it. And most investors I talked to never heard of this space, right? Us announcing our fundraising, some of the bigger announcements by grassier cause and that coupled with COVID, and a whole bunch of people wondering where to put their money and seeing how Amazon was taking off made. made. I think a lot of investors look at this space and a lot of other entrepreneurs look, well.
James Thomson 3:42
What do you think’s going to happen in the next two years as a number of these aggregators start investing in these firms? You know, historically, companies like rasio basically had their pick of whatever a broker put out on the website. Obviously, there’s a lot more people poking around. Where do we go in the next two years, both as buyers and sellers?
Chris Bell 4:03
Yeah, I think a few things are gonna happen. One, yeah, there’s a lot of money coming into the space. As you’ve heard, I think that many of these entrepreneurs will find out what I found out over the last 14 months. This is really hard, right? These are hard businesses to run. There’s a lot of complexity. I remember the first conference I went to in New York, and I was talking to some of the sellers over lunch. And one of them described this as the most complex, simplest business you’ll ever run. It may seem simple, because you have maybe only five products, five agents to manage, but massively complex because you’re dealing with Chinese suppliers, freight forwarders customs brokers, dealing with Amazon who’s its own its own animal in many ways. You might have blackhat tactics against you. There’s a whole bunch of things that can happen. And so I expect that once COVID dies down and once a few of these aggregators. I expect some A lot of them will be successful. But I also think several of them will buy a few brands and then probably stop right there, you’ll get overwhelmed by the complexity of that decide they don’t want to do it anymore. And maybe they’ll sell to someone like us. I think there will be a little bit today. It’s very frothy and very exciting. I think there’ll be on the buyer side, a little bit of a settling in the in the coming months and years, and a few leaders will emerge from that. And then on the seller side on the people creating these brands, I really hope and one of the things is we thought about our mission and vision as we created Perch was that we want to be not only a liquidity event for these sellers, but a resource for them, we want them to be successful. One of the things I love about this business, and part of why I got into this thinking back to that first conference I went to I was still at wayfarer, actually when I went to that conference, so I was just thinking about getting into this. And these sellers are just such true entrepreneurs, they’re bootstrapped, they have really created a business out of nothing. And so I’m excited to be able to help build that community and give them an exit. And I hope many of them go back and do it again. And again. And so I think that we will get continuing high quality entrepreneurs coming into this space thing in this space, making really, really good products, hopefully selling them to somebody like Perch, and then doing it again. And then people like Perch, we can create real scale machines where we can take what somebody built, you know, the way I talk about with my team, these entrepreneurs take it from zero to two, right, they launch a great product, they get it maybe on.com. In the US, sometimes they go to Europe, usually they don’t. But then they oftentimes don’t have the working capital, or the you know, honestly just the size to build a team, kind of a world class team to go right opportunities and supply chain opportunities and things like that. So then we can take it and we can take it from two to 10. We can make these brands, consumer brands, we can, you know, make it so that the random people know when their houses and talk about with their friends. And so I’m really excited to continue to accelerate this trend that has been going on. And I think over time, many of these micro brands will be replacing major CPG brands in the minds of consumers, it will be a real powerhouse within within the US and globally.
James Thomson 7:14
Well, certainly a lot of these big national brands are having their lunches eaten on Amazon, because they’re not playing the game very well. So you know, certainly opportunity for even the little guy to take on the big guy. And when it’s kind of kind of exciting. Let me ask you this, you didn’t grow up as an FBA private label seller. You talked about some aspects of this. But talk to me a little bit more about what drew you to this space? And what kinds of issues have surprised you the most as you’ve learned more and more about the subculture of entrepreneur?
Chris Bell 7:42
Yeah, absolutely. So as I started to learn about this space, it seemed like a perfect thing for me to go and do mostly based on three prior experiences in my career. The first is that the first thing I ever did in undergrad and out of undergrad was I developed software, I was a TV, I was a product manager, and I was implementing scale software systems to help General Electric run its business. The second is when I was at Bain, I did a lot of m&a advisor over 40 m&a transactions. So a lot, I saw a lot of how big private equity companies value transactions, what goes into what what you have to watch out for. And then the third was at both Bain and then at wayfair. A lot of e commerce experience, retail tech and e commerce was basically what I did for the last eight years of my career or a sort of perch. And so thinking about what what the opportunity is here of buying companies scaling them, and then using technology to drive that scale, it just seemed like the absolute most perfect thing I could do is the next step to my career building on all their experiences. And then what surprised me, I guess, you know, all the paper cuts, I guess, right? It’s easy to see the big problems. And it’s easy to anticipate the big problems but thinking about, you know, we had an Eastern shut down for 50 days, because of an administrative error. And every time we called Amazon, we just got sent in a circle, five different teams would say, Oh, I can see what it is. It’s just a simple typo or transparency code get put in the skew code number and they basically switch the skew in the transparency numbers. And that lag, this is a counterfeit seller. And for 50 days, every team was like, yeah, it shouldn’t be a problem. But this next guy will fix it for you. Um, yeah, exactly. So things like that, right. And every day, every month, there’s more and more little things that we would like to be able to capture and put a process around and put a system around and eliminate and kind of more traditional world and you just have this big Counterparty that you just can’t control right and you have to you have to manage them as a Counterparty versus if it was all within our own control. We could eliminate those defects pretty quickly.
James Thomson 9:50
There are literally 1000s of private label brands out there on Amazon. When you start looking at a brand, what are the signs the sorts of things that you look for initially? That gets you more than just excited. You say, Oh, yeah, we need to we need to spend the hours starting to dive into this one.
Chris Bell 10:07
Yeah, for sure. We what we call them internally as winning products. So we look for winning products, we like products that have, you’re in general, everybody likes to guess what’s gonna win, we can all look at a product and say, I think that looks beautiful. I think that’s going to sell well. We’re very data driven. So like to see products that have a consistent history of market share stability, or growth, great reviews by both count and rating, low return rates, good unit economics. And so we generally like winning products that are winning within their niche, and have a history of winning. And so you’re the best products that we love the most have more than just a little bit of a review mode and have a meaningful gap between them. And we love it even more when they’ve shown an ability to price consistently higher than those so they’re not getting caught in the in price, price wars, but rather, they’re using their review mode and a high quality product to actually be able to price at a premium. We look at obviously, product level economics, right. So some businesses have a bunch of products that have peaked and are declining, and they’re making money by just launching new products as quickly as they can. We generally we view it as a collection of products, right? We evaluate each product on their own. And if most of your portfolio, especially your winners are declining.
James Thomson 11:26
But with all the new interests and all these new investors looking at companies, do you think there’s enough companies out there? Where aggregators can wait for these companies to come available for sale? Or do you think that aggregators need to be more aggressive in going out and finding brands that didn’t realize they were about to sell?
Chris Bell 11:45
Oh, I think both. So as we’ve called down the universe of company of private label brands, we think that there is over 25,000 brands that are on our shortlist. Right. And that’s a pretty long shortlist. And as you know, there’s actually millions of sellers, this is just the kind of really tight view of the people we think that we would like to own. And not all of them, sometimes we get in touch with some of them, and some of them are quite a bit. But it’s been a pretty good heuristic. To get to most of those people. When we get into their seller account, we, it’s confirmed that we would like to own this company if we can come to terms. And so I think that with a market that big, is great. Actually, as much as it’s tough, because it’s getting more competitive for a buyer like us. It’s been great, because, you know, last February, I went to a conference in Brooklyn, and I sat over lunch, I just sat at three random tables, and I talked to introduce myself told them what I did, every single table, nobody knew that they could sell their business, it was a totally novel concept to them at a pretty good conference in New York. And so until the awareness, right, I think about our, our buying process, buying sellers as a b2b sales funnel, and the top of any sales funnel is awareness. And so that all the news all this is actually great, because it’s driving a lot of awareness. We’re getting incredible amounts of inbound interest through our website of people saying, Hey, I read about you in the news, I heard about this thing, some other sellers, or buyer reached out to me, I want to hear what you guys have to offer. And so I think, obviously, going quickly, for us is important, because we want to continue, the more we build scale, the more we can do the things we want to do with these businesses, but also, there’s going to be room for several big players in this space, big players and people like us, you with this many businesses, that we all would like your 200 billion in 2019 of gmv from the third party marketplace. And so I think also, we’re trying to be thoughtful and take our time and buy only good businesses not get caught up in some of the price craziness that’s going on for some assets. And so we’re still finding a lot of great entrepreneurs with great companies that want to do what feels like a reasonable deal and want to work with us, because they know us and trust us. And we’ve committed to a fair and transparent process with them.
James Thomson 14:00
A lot of the sales that have sold recently are companies that are, you know, one to 2 million top line, they might sell for three for multiple, you know, these are sales of under $10 million, typically. But there are mega private label sellers out there, who at some point they’re going to sell and they’re going to require at $100 million to exit. When you look at the aggregators out there right now at $200 million. That pretty much wipes out most of the portfolio assets available for for many these companies. that begs the question, Where are the where’s the next round of billion dollar portfolio companies that go in and start buying up the bigger brands? What’s going to happen there? And do you see yourself eventually getting into a space where you’re able to compete for a much larger brands?
Chris Bell 14:50
Yeah, the short answer is yes, I think that the most likely outcome is that Perch or a couple companies like Perch ended up getting to that space, I could tell you with reasonably high confidence that if an $80 million top line brand came to us today and said we want to sell, I could go to my investors and we could figure something out. Right. So there’s there’s good appetite in this space to do deals. And the capital that we raised today has been based on the opportunity we see today. And as that opportunity grows, I think capital become available. That’s the most likely outcome. Is there a world where somebody comes in and just tries to do the mega deals, maybe. But then you’d be taking kind of all that risk with unless they bought one of them as a platform and started doing more around there or something like that, to invest in a company, kind of unknown set of Amazon FBA operators, and they give them a billion dollars and say, hey, go buy 10 100 million dollar companies. Nice
James Thomson 15:52
land in Florida for you to while you’re at it. Exactly. And so I think
Chris Bell 15:55
once we kind of, you know, as we, you know, as we’ve done like, we’ll have more than 20 deals done by the end of this year, we’ll have more than 50 to 70 deals done by the end of next year, right. And as we get that proven track record, it’ll be easier and easier for us to raise that kind of money and go do those types of deals. The question I would have on the other side is, depending on the capital structure, those companies that they want to sell, if I owned 100%, of a company that was generating $80 million of revenue a year and something on the order of 20 to 30% margins. I mean, maybe I’d want to sell I guess it depends what the number is. But I think those guys are also doing quite well for themselves.
James Thomson 16:34
Let’s talk for a minute about if you could give a masterclass to private label brands, as they start to think about the possibility of selling you know, you go back to your discussion last February with companies that didn’t realize they could sell. There are some basics that every brand needs to look at before they prepare themselves for sale. What are some of the nuanced issues that you’re now realizing a lot of these companies don’t have the basics down pat, and you’d like to see them get themselves organized before wasting anyone’s time to start possibly looking for sale?
Chris Bell 17:07
Yeah, so I think there’s a couple of pieces in there. One is that we actually, we don’t mind. If you don’t have all your ducks in a row, we rebuild the PnL anyway. And so in general, you know, if folks are worried about getting their ducks in a row before calling us, they don’t have to, we wouldn’t be happy to work with you. We need you obviously need to be able to track down documents around all your expenses and things like that. But as long as you can find the invoices and send them our way and share credit card statements and bank statements and stuff like that, we’d be happy to build a p&l. But as you think about maximizing the value that you might get on exit, which is I assume what most of these folks in this theoretical masterclass will be asking about? We find it’s actually been funny because a lot of investors ask the same question, right? Where do you find the most value post acquisition, and is that it varies a lot, we find some sellers who are great at marketing and have tacos, that’s a few percent and they’re still bestseller badge on all these high volume keywords. But they’re paying out the nose on supply chain. And they’re airfreight and things and everyone weeks and and we’re just there’s just money sitting on the table and supply chain side. And then we see the other side, right, where people have this amazing super lean supply chain and great cost of goods sold. And you know, their tacos is 17%. And it’s a whole bunch of wasted spend, and they’re cannibalizing a bunch of their organic sales. And so I don’t know if there’s a single silver bullet, but it’s I guess you could outline, you know, think about optimizing your top line, where are you ranking I see maybe a lot of people overly focus on top line growth, kind of sometimes at the expense of a margin. And and think about how you balance those things in a thoughtful way so that there’s times to invest and it’s okay to lose money when you’re trying to launch a product you’re trying to gain ranking in a business is about making money. So if you never pull back, and you never actually gonna capture some margin from that position that you built in your you just like you’re paying Amazon, right? All those ad dollars go straight in Amazon, Amazon’s pocket. And so there’s no there’s no silver bullet. But in general, building a good business with good products and great customer views and great customer advocacy is what we look for. And the rest of it is, you know, we can help do that.
James Thomson 19:22
Where do you typically look at prospects, businesses and say, there’s future growth opportunity. There’s future growth opportunity. You talked about some of these costs issues where you can wrangle out inefficiencies in supply chain or in advertising. But But are there inherent market conditions that you’re also looking for that help you to say, we see that if we invest more heavily in this brand, we can definitely grow this substantially? Get a five bagger or a 10 bagger right there?
Chris Bell 19:48
Yep. Yeah, for sure. I think those revolve around. Typically the way we look at it is leveraging the existing assets. And so if you have a really strong review position, But you’re only ranking on a few keywords, we look at kind of where your competitors ranking, right? And can can we also rank on those other keywords, anything globally, we find a lot of sellers usually for capital constraint reasons, right, they don’t have the working capital to put inventory in the US and in Europe. And this was an amazing change Amazon made about a year ago, I forgot when before then your reviews one port internationally. Now, when you when you sell a product in in other other markets, you keep all your reviews, and the US is the largest and most mature market, which means we have the most reviews. So we oftentimes when we launched, we launched products in in Europe of UK, that will have many more reviews than our competition. So again, taking that same asset base and the product with great reviews, and pushing it to more keywords and more geographies. On the top line is usually one of the most Surefire ways to drive growth. And then like I said, on the bottom line. Yeah, it’s not rocket science. It’s just doing some good inventory planning, staying away from airfreight when you can trying to ship in bulk whenever you can, right instead of doing 1d teams all over the place. They pay for somebody to move a lot of things at once. Have you had any luck with
Unknown Speaker 21:15
Chris Bell 21:17
We have not been going after one few brands today. So it’s not an area we’ve been we’ve invested much.
James Thomson 21:25
Talk to me a little about how your firm is differentiated from other FBA aggregators today, what would you like? people listening today to say, when perk says this, this and this, it’s not the same thing I’ve heard from every other aggregator?
Chris Bell 21:39
Yeah, I can tell you, I can tell you what we say the sad, unfortunate part is, it feels like people have copied our website. And so they might all say the same thing. But we mean it and but generally, selling your business is the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Right? It’s bigger than selling your house. It’s, this is your livelihood. And so you want to work with people you trust, you want to work with people that you think will be fast, fair, transparent, and will take your brand to the next level and will continue to grow your brand. And so you’ll the the main thing that I can say to that is we have a whole big list of referrals, and we’d be happy to connect you to sellers who have worked with us be obviously pay are all of our commitments. But also, we’re very transparent. And we walk through our process with you, we share back the PnL that we’ve created, and work with you to understand how your business is going. And we move quickly. And we know what we’re doing. And we we haven’t had any failed transactions. And then post acquisition where her portfolio is growing really, really strongly post acquisition, we’ve paid we paid almost all of our earnouts that have come due today, I can’t think of a single one we haven’t paid for. So the brands are doing well, the products are doing well. And we know what we’re doing. And obviously, we have big financial backing, and so don’t have to worry about about that. So you’ve chosen
James Thomson 23:06
to keep a lot of the management teams of these companies around, keep the founders on the team to talk to me about how that works. You know, for some companies they want to sell so they can go golfing for other other teams, you know, if they’re expected to stick around for a period of time, how do they do that while somebody else is managing the baby?
Chris Bell 23:25
Yeah, so um, so we don’t typically keep the founders around for longer than a transition period. So usually, we have you called a three to four month transition period where the founders work with us to make sure we don’t lose, right, there’s a lot of nuance that goes into these categories and products, we want to make sure we don’t lose any of that. Usually, it’s not a full time job during that period, it’s usually a pretty steeply declining curve of effort. And then because of the earnouts, we, we stay in touch with the founders, we obviously share information with them about how their business is doing. They can also see that right, anybody who uses helium 10, or Jungle Scout or anything like that, you can pretty they can know how the brand is doing without even having to call us. And the good news is because we typically end these transactions on basically, as friends with the sellers haven’t gotten to know them so deeply. We have a lot of sellers who text us call us Skype us and say, Hey, I saw this thing and you notice its competitor do this thing. And so it’s actually really nice to have these brand advocates out there who are looking at the brand and thinking about it and sending us ideas. And then generally, you know, as, as any of our prior sellers will probably tell you, they pretty quickly get used to not having to run their own business. I don’t think any of them have really gone on to play golf or fish full time. Most of them. They’re entrepreneurs, right. And they love building things and a lot of starting things. And so most commonly, we’ve heard that people put half of the money away as a question then take the other half and they go and they launch the next day but it’s been a variety. We had one seller who bought an avocado farm Another seller who’d gotten their commercial real estate? And so it’s been actually really neat staying in touch with the sellers and seeing what they do is the next adventure.
James Thomson 25:11
All these different types of companies getting into Amazon businesses, how do you see these FBA investors getting their value out of all the growth efforts they put into their portfolio brands? How do you take 40 5070 brands? And actually turn it into cash? Is it an IPO? Do you sell it to the next level of private equity company?
How does this work? You know, you look at you look at a company like thrash to the press says they have a billion dollar valuation. Okay, show me the actual billion dollars, they’re going to get out of it. How does this work? Because there’s an awful lot of stickiness there.
Chris Bell 25:45
Yep, for sure. So I think all I can speak about is for Perch, and and what our plan is, as I talked about earlier in this discussion, I think there’s an opportunity for us to build an amazing consumer products company with brands that are household names, we’re starting on Amazon, and will continue to stay disproportionately focused on Amazon, because it’s so big. And it’s growing so fast, I created this chart for my team, Amazon versus every other CPG company in the world using Amazon third party, third party, Amazon is more than twice as big as any other CPG company in the world. And it’s growing more than twice as fast as any other CPG company in the world. And so we’re just not going to get away from it. But we will be selling our products through walmart.com, selling our products in bricks and mortar, you know, wish Etsy, eBay, whatever, you will find the right map for the right products and sell them through the channels. But assuming that thesis comes true that these micro brands really are high quality products that are made for e commerce, and therefore going to end as the world goes online will continue to win. I think this is an IPO company, I think we become a large Consumer Products Company. And you look at the market cap of you know, Unilever, Procter and Gamble, Nestle, these are 10s and hundreds of billions of dollars of market cap. So there’s a really big opportunity out there to create a generation Consumer Products Company and make this a real company that stands the test of time.
James Thomson 27:13
Chris, how did you learn how to become a fundraiser raising capital? It’s a very specialized skill and not something specifically tied to say being a supply chain guy.
Chris Bell 27:25
Yeah, I’m just like everything else in my career, I decided I wanted to do it. And I went out and I just started calling people I, I got really fortunate in my fundraising, and that spark capital, who’s our backer ended up being also the first institutional backer of wayfair. And so near is the CEO and founder of wayfarer and James, the CEO of wayfair. introduced me and so I did have a bit of a warm intro there. But before that meeting, I probably have 40 or 50. Other meetings. So this isn’t like a you know, I just had the right intro. And I had one conversation and somebody gave me $100 million. A lot of hard work. I went out I had a pitch I after every meeting when they said no. I said, Well tell me what I could have said differently. And I took notes, and I updated my pitch. And I went to the next one. And I actually I left this out earlier. But my second job after I was developing software was actually sold copiers. So I was a door to door copier salesperson, I would go to a business park with a pocketful of business cards and try to sell you a copier. And it’s not like that, right? You just you get a you get 100 nose and you wake up the next morning and you keep going and you keep going until you get it. Yes.
James Thomson 28:36
Let me ask you with the path of managing all these companies, there are tools, they’re SAS equipment, you know, tell me a little bit about your favorite software tools or consultants or companies that you’re seeing in this space that you believe are going to ultimately end up helping you build a better business?
Chris Bell 28:55
Yeah, there is a lot You’re right. There’s a lot of software and a lot of consultants out there, we are still very much in kind of explore and Tinker phase. And so we’re working with a couple of different providers and several different places, and kind of trying to learn what works for us what works best for us, we’re finding that there’s a lot of people that are very good at one specific thing, and are always good at tying together across those things. Like for example, you know this, right, because you do this, I think you guys are one of the ones that have a more holistic strategy. But in general, as you think about adspend versus pricing, right, both can be an important lever for driving volume within a category. And typically anybody who does adspend doesn’t think about pricing, anybody who does pricing doesn’t think about ad spend. And so you know, we’re kind of constantly in the middle of trying to figure those things out. And so we’re still very much in an explorer mode. But I don’t mean that to say we’re internally focused, I actually thing one of the amazing things about this ecosystem is there’s so many people who knows so much, or trying to run around and pick up all the all the jewels that we see out there. And the other fortunate thing we have is all the sellers. So every seller that we buy from has been massively successful. And so we always really listen to them and talk to them and understand what made them successful. What made the next person successful? How do we take these lessons and take the best of them and apply them across our entire board.
James Thomson 30:28
Chris, I want to thank you for joining us today on the Buy Box Experts podcast. For those of you who are interested in learning more about Perch, please visit perchhq.com. And now to finish today’s podcast, I’d like to share some final thoughts. For third party sellers to be successful on Amazon. A critical lever will be soliciting feedback from customers. We had Buy Box Experts are really big fans of the team at eComEngine, and its tools that help Amazon sellers to simplify the process of messaging customers of Amazon orders. To learn more, go to econengine.com And with that, I want to thank you for listening today and I look forward to joining you next time on the Buy Box Experts podcast.
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