June 4, 2024

A $6.4M Van Life E-Commerce Deal that Bill Loved! - Acquisitions Anonymous 303

June 4, 2024
34
 MIN
A $6.4M Van Life E-Commerce Deal that Bill Loved! - Acquisitions Anonymous 303
Ecommerce
June 4, 2024
34
 MIN

A $6.4M Van Life E-Commerce Deal that Bill Loved! - Acquisitions Anonymous 303

In this episode, Mills and Bill discuss an interesting e-commerce deal for sale involving an automotive and travel brand that focuses on camper vans.

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Exploring a Unique E-Commerce Opportunity: A Van-Life Brand

Recently, we looked into an interesting business listed on Quiet Light Brokerage that focuses on van-life products. This brand has a lot of potential for growth and shows how modern e-commerce works. Here's a closer look at what we found.

The business is doing well, with lots of traffic to its website and a high average order value with impressive figures like $6.4 million in revenue and $1.2 million in net income. Here are some more details about it:

The Business Model: More Than Just a Marketplace

At first, you might think this business is like a marketplace, such as Amazon, where many brands sell their products. But it's actually much more focused. This brand specializes in its own van-life products, offering a specific range rather than a wide variety of items from different sellers.

How They Operate: Using a Warehouse and Drop Shipping

A big part of this business’s operations is how they fulfill orders. Bill D'Alessandro mentioned that 70% of orders are fulfilled through the brand's own warehouse, while 30% are drop shipped. This means they have a good system for managing inventory and working with partners for drop shipping. With an average order value (AOV) of $800, it's likely that many products are bulky and need special handling, showing that this brand is specialized rather than a general marketplace.

Product Focus: Key Items vs. Many Products

We also discussed the brand’s focus on key products. The top product accounts for 12% of sales, and the top five products make up 45%. This focus can be both good and bad. Having key products makes operations simpler and helps in scaling, but it also means there’s risk if one of these main products fails.

Growth Potential: Improving the Website and Starting Paid Ads

The brand’s website, running on WooCommerce since 2016, offers a big chance for growth. As Bill pointed out, an old website is like a house that needs a new kitchen—it has a lot of potential. Improving the website’s user experience and conversion rate could significantly boost sales. For example, increasing the conversion rate from 2% to 3% could grow the business by 50% without changing traffic.

The brand hasn’t yet used paid marketing, even though it could have a 10x return on ad spend (ROAS). By carefully starting paid advertising, the business could see significant growth. Even achieving a 3x to 5x ROAS could bring big benefits, pushing revenue from $6.4 million to closer to $10 million.

Managing Risks: SEO and Dependence on the Owner

These growth strategies do come with risks. The brand relies heavily on organic traffic from search engines (SEO). Any big changes to the website could hurt its Google rankings, which would reduce traffic. So, updating the website needs to be done very carefully.

Another risk is depending on the original owner for new product ideas. Bill stressed the importance of understanding the customer base—living the van-life experience to truly know what customers need and want. This approach can help reduce the risk of relying too much on the founder for new ideas.

Who Will Buy It: Individuals vs. Companies

In today’s market, with many changes in how Amazon FBA businesses are viewed, the likely buyers for this van-life brand are individual investors rather than large e-commerce companies. The business’s size and specific operations make it a good fit for someone with an SBA loan. Large companies usually avoid businesses with complexities that make operations harder, and this brand’s unique way of handling orders might be too complex for them.

Untapped Potential on Amazon

Interestingly, the brand hasn’t tried selling on Amazon, which could be another way to grow. While high fees for bulky items make Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) less attractive, using other methods to fulfill orders could still capture a lot of Amazon’s customers. Many business owners avoid Amazon due to fees, but the extra sales could outweigh the costs.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Specialized Market: Focus on van-life products with a clear target audience.
  • Growth Potential: Opportunities to improve the website and start paid marketing to boost sales.
  • High Average Order Value: With an AOV of $800, the business has a significant revenue stream from fewer sales.
  • Established Operations: A mix of warehouse fulfillment and drop shipping provides flexibility and efficiency.
  • Strong Content: Organic content driving traffic shows effective SEO and content marketing.

Cons:

  • SEO Risks: Major changes to the website could impact Google rankings and reduce traffic.
  • Dependence on Owner: Relying on the founder for new product ideas poses a risk if they leave.
  • Complex Operations: Handling bulky items and maintaining a warehouse can complicate operations.
  • Amazon Challenges: High fees for bulky items make it tough to leverage Amazon’s FBA service.
  • Product Concentration: High sales concentration in a few products can be risky if demand shifts.

Is this a great investment opportunity?

In summary, this van-life brand is a great investment opportunity. By improving the website, starting paid marketing, and carefully managing SEO, an investor can unlock a lot of value. Living the van-life experience can also provide valuable insights for new product ideas.

This brand shows how strategic thinking and good operations are key to success in e-commerce. For the right buyer, it offers not just financial returns but also a chance to connect with a passionate community of van-life enthusiasts.

If you found this article interesting, follow us for more insights and updates on exciting business opportunities in e-commerce. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and check out our YouTube shorts for quick, easy-to-understand insights.

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Episode Transcript