EP 09: Building an eCommerce Brand From Scratch

Meet our guest:
Alex Grieco
Alex Grieco is an agency owner and partner at Wildfire Marketing LLC. He works with medical clinics that treat patients with ED. His agency is currently doing $40,000-$50,000/mo and it is 100% performance based. He lives in Argentina with his girlfriend and soon to be born son. Yuliana is the owner of Bruna Calzados, a clothing eCommerce company. She has scaled her company from just a few sales a month to over $15,000/mo with less than $1000/mo in advertising spend.
Meet our hosts:
Dave Pancham
Dave has spent over 12 years in the industry where he has managed an e-commerce supplement shop for 8 years where they grew from 6 figures in yearly revenue to over 8 figures, managed millions in ad spend on Facebook, and founded a 7-figure fitness franchise marketing agency specializing in paid advertising, lead nurturing, and membership growth coaching which currently has over 100 clients.
Alex Ivanoff
Alex's specialty lies in psychology, paid advertising, funnel building, technology, and finance. He has managed millions of dollars in ad spend on various social platforms, and solved complex problems with thousands of businesses.

Transcript

Building an eCommerce Brand From Scratch + How to Design a Premium Offer!

Alex Ivanoff  

Alright, welcome to the next episode of Mission Control. I am your host, Alex Ivanoff, with my co-host and partner, Dave pancham. Today we have one of my best friends in the world, Alex Grieco on here as a guest. I'm very happy to have you on, other Alex. How are you doing, man?

Alex Grieco  

I'm doing good, man. Nice to touch base again. Dave, how are you doing, brother?

Dave Pancham  

Good, man. Why don't you remind us where you're podcasting in from?

Alex Grieco  

I'm podcasting in from Argentina. I mean, San Miguel de Tucumán which is maybe like four hour south of the border from Chile and Bolivia. So yeah, down in South America.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, so you're originally from Chico, California, right?

Alex Grieco  

Well, I'm originally from Italy. And then I did business. I guess my business life did begin in California, in Chico.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, so for full context, Alex and I have known each other around 4 years, I think 2018 is when we met. And since then, because when I met you, you were in Puerto Rico, just moved from California, then you went to Australia, lived there for a few months, then you were in Austin, where I got to meet up with you. And you were there for a year or two. And now you're in Argentina. So tell us, we were talking about this last time we talked, you've done a lot of traveling, and now you're happy to finally settle down. You're living with your girlfriend, she's from Argentina, Yuliana, how did all that come about, all that traveling? Because that kind of makes me sick to my stomach thinking about how many times you have to move.

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, actually it's not as glamorous as most people make it seem to be, like, working and traveling at the same time, especially if you want to build a solid business foundation, it's really, really helpful to have your home base, get locked into your routine. For me. I did my first year in business in Chico, and then I never really thought of traveling or anything like that. But then there was the Puerto Rico tax advantage Act 20, Act 22, where you become a Puerto Rican resident. And you pay very low capital gains taxes, very low income taxes. And so I was like, okay, yeah, let me try that. And I pretty much said, you know, with Kyle, the business partner I had with Blue Fox, who decided to just move to Puerto Rico. And then that created the spark for us to really understand that you could travel and work at the same time, you don't need that proximity with a client to actually make it work as long as you're delivering results. And then after that, we went to Australia, we worked inside a wellness center, because we were working with wellness centers. And we did that for about three months, came back, and that's how we actually developed our product right after Puerto Rico. Traveling was part of how we were going to develop our offer and product. After that, now in Argentina, it's more like, I'm doing consulting and helping various businesses that way.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, that's awesome. So taking it back to you mentioned Blue Fox Media. That's how we met. What was like the coming about story for Blue Fox Media. You know, I think your past life in finance, which I honestly don't even know too much about, because we haven't talked about your past career in finance a whole lot. But obviously, you were very talented. And I think you ran a hedge fund as well. But how did you go from that into starting up Blue Fox Media, taking on Kyle, our mutual friend Kyle as a partner, and then getting to where we were a couple of months ago, or a couple years ago when we started working together?

Alex Grieco  

Yeah. So how it developed? Yeah, to make it simple, it was really like out of necessity, I needed a source of income. And I didn't want to get a job or, let's restart there. So it came out of necessity. I didn't really want to get a job. I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur and have my own business. And I needed to pay rent, right? And so I needed to find a way to do it. What I did, I created a local Instagram page called Chico I Love You, where I would go and promote businesses for free. And the page started growing organically really, really fast. Right? Like we got to a point where we had 2000 locals on our story on a daily basis and the town only had like, you know, 100,000 people residents. So it's like a good percentage. If you think about it, it was a lot of value that we brought to the business. And that was how I got started, you know in the digital marketing space. The transition from finance was actually really simple, started consuming content in finance and somehow that spiraled into Gary Vee. And Gary Vee kind of moved me into the digital marketing space with the Chico I Love You account. And then Chico I Love You became my acquisition channel for local businesses. So I would pretty much reach out to a business and let them know that I have 6000 followers, 2000 that're watching on a daily basis, if they want to partner together to do a free video. And they say, Yes, we do the video, and then I schedule a follow up meeting. And that's when I sell the services. So that's kind of how I got into the digital marketing space.

Alex Ivanoff  

And then from there it took off, right? Because you started doing the, I remember the Chico I Love You and you kind of did a couple other markets, I believe. And then you started doing a retainer model in different niches. And I think you guys were very general at the beginning, you took on a couple of chiropractors, a couple wellness centers, and then you niched into flow therapy, which a lot of people don't even know what that is or how that works. I didn't for sure, I had no idea how flow therapy worked back then. Super happy I discovered it from you. But you know, talk about that transition as well going into maximum flows.

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, so running a general agency, at least in my experience, was very challenging from the results side of things. From the acquisition side, it was fairly simple, because you can just go to any business and you know, trying to sell your service. But when it came to the fulfillment and the delivery of the service, you weren't able to kind of build on past experiences. Your expertise only was much of the time very surface level because if you work with the restaurant, and then you went to the chiropractor, unless you really are Jay Abraham that you have this depth of knowledge that you understand acquisition and marketing to the very root. If you're surface level, there's always going to be somebody that is specialized, that it's gonna deliver better results than you. And so that was the philosophy on why we niched, was let's become an expert or experts on something specific. And then we're going to be able to deliver a better service, because that was one of the reasons had pretty high churn as well, right?

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, and then Maximum Flows. So that's really, once you guys got into the flow therapy centers, and really niching down. Obviously, it was a smaller market, but you guys were probably the only if not, you know, the biggest for sure. Agency and you know, provider of different services to the flow therapy industry. And that's essentially, once you guys found your success and started teaching other agency owners, and started getting into other business ventures, you were very successful for a couple years. That's eventually how I got to meet you and started working with you guys a year or two later. Dave, have I ever told you the story of how I actually linked up with Alex and Kyle and got into their world and their community?

Dave Pancham  

The only story that I think I know of is did you meet him through like a Tai Lopez program or something like that?

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, exactly. So anyone that's listening to the show, you've probably heard me say before, Tai Lopez is like my entry into the agency space in the whole marketing world. And that's kind of why I'm here today, was the same for Alex who was lucky enough to meet Tai a couple times after being one of his most successful students. Alex is just a killer in terms of taking action. So you were like, once you started, I think you just really took action catapulted your business really quickly, above all the other students that were doing whatever they were doing in that program. And so, I remember to this day, I was at my internship in college, I was 21 years old. And I was running my agency for over a year at that point, not knowing absolutely, anything that I was doing. I was just like a chicken with its head cut off, running around trying to find business or trying to learn marketing, really, five times less of an entrepreneur than I am today. And so I see Alex's post in a Facebook group, I think it was Tai Lopez's Facebook group, where he's looking to give away some of his advice to other agency owners at the time. And I still remember vividly I saw this post and said book a call with me and Alex was just, what I thought was just giving away all of his secrets for free and I was like, This is perfect, it sounds like that glorified value add that I was looking for and someone that could really help me. And then I get on a call with Alex and he runs me through exactly his background with Maximum Flows and everything they've done successfully in the agency space and I'm just thinking, This is exactly what I need. I need a community, I need someone to help me get going because I felt like I didn't really know how to take this from a one-person project to an actual business. And at the end, he pitched me on this program that they were developing, which was called the Agency Mentorship Elite, which ended up being, I think 200 or 150 different entrepreneurs in this program or something like that. And I still remember to this day, man, the hardest decision I've ever made in my life to this day, it was an $1,800 program to join. And I sat there talking to Alex, I was like, Hey, I want to do this. I don't know how I can come up with the money. I probably had $3,000 in my bank account not even kidding you. I was junior in college, I had no idea how I was going to make up this money if I didn't turn it into something with the business, right? I remember, I even asked my parents and I don't ever really asked my parents for financial advice. I asked all my friends, What should I do? Should I sign up? Alex put me on a payment plan all this stuff. I was sweating over this decision. Eventually, I made the decision, I joined the program, I got to meet Alex, I got to meet his partner, Kyle, eventually met my future partner in this program. And within a year, grew to be one of the bigger agencies in the niche that I had at the time. And I still kind of attribute a lot of my success and my path from that one call I had with Alex Grieco, was probably exactly around four years ago now. So just want to say thanks, Alex. And I don't know if you know how crazy and difficult of a decision that was for me at the time but I'm super happy that I made it and it put me on a great path.

Dave Pancham  

Crazy story.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, I'm just super happy about it.

Alex Grieco  

Yeah man, I remember, I remember the AMEX card that I would bill every month manually. I had a book on this card. It was like Alex Ivanoff, I think it was $200 a month for 9 months.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah I remember we came up with a deal because you just wanted to get me in. And I was like, I don't know if I can pay the 1800 upfront. I was I had this new AMEX card I just opened. Pretty sure I put it on a zero interest new AMEX card, and we just came up with a $200 month payment for 9 months or something, or whatever it was. And you were like, Yeah, I'm gonna bill it manually. You were texting me, I remember, I still had your phone number saved. You're sending me all these testimonials, because he really wanted me to get in. And I felt like I was being really a hard sell, right? But I'm happy at the end of the day, looking back four years ago that I actually enrolled and got to meet everybody and learn so much from you guys. It was a great program. Anyways, fast forward to, I think 2, 2.5 years later, 2 years later, I was on my own post-COVID, I was figuring out what I want to do next. And you and Kyle hit me up and you're like, Hey, we need some help with some stuff on Maximum Flows for growing. I helped out part time ended up being full time. We grew the agency to a really crazy level pretty quickly with the new program you guys came out with. And yeah, Maximum flows was a lot of fun. And then we kind of all went and did our own thing after we reaped the rewards of that success. But now, I think right after that success started to happen, you moved to Argentina, you met Yuliana, your girlfriend, she runs Bruna. And that is a shoe brand, boutique shoe brand in Argentina. So I want to hear a little bit more about that, because it's really why we have you here for today is the success of Bruna and also with what you're doing right now in Wildfire Marketing, but hearing about a brand from South America is obviously very rare, a successful one nonetheless, so tell us about that. And how Yuliana got into this and how you got into being the marketer of the brand.

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, so I met Yuliana, she didn't really have a business, we met in the US, right? So the business was pretty much on pause, she started before going to the US. So it was a kind of a long pause. It was like a year and a half. But she was able to grow her business organically never really done ads, she would post, interact with followers, that sort of stuff was able to get the business going. When I moved back to Argentina, we actually, Alex we had, we developed the ads together, we actually sat down for two hours and we built out the ads. And I told her, Look, the way to build the business and scale it here rapidly is going to be paid media. That's what's going to get us the best results. And she was all on board for it. And then she asked, Well, how much is it? And I was like, Well, we can start low, we can start with like $50 a day and get started there and then $50 a day just so you guys get things into perspective. In Argentina, the average salary is like $500 a month, some of the dollars a month. So it's kind of a big ask, so she was definitely on edge. But I guess we were able to build enough credibility that it's like, Okay, we know what we're doing. And so we got started and the cost per acquisition were fairly ridiculous. I don't know if it's because there's not a lot of competition in Argentina or whatnot. But we started with $2 CPAs. Then it started like going to $3 CPAs. We started playing around with the ads to going from like localized ads to nationwide and focusing on dynamic creative. And on the higher sellers of the inventory that she had. That's kind of how the how the business started scaling, right? She was still doing the the organic side of things. But on top of that, she was getting like 100 or something followers every day just from the ads.

Dave Pancham  

So right off the bat when you started doing paid ads, you guys are getting like 20 sales a day?

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, around 20 sales a day. Yeah, that's accurate.

Alex Ivanoff  

What was she averaging before that before coming in? And just doing it organically?

Alex Grieco  

Well, before the business was on pause, she's been on pause for like a year and a half because she was in the US, but she was selling maybe like 20, 30 pairs on the weekend, like just on the weekend. She had people coming to her house and she would sell it, have them try it on, very old fashion.

Alex Ivanoff  

She wasn't digital at all, basically.

Alex Grieco  

No. Not on the, she didn't have a website or anything like that, no.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah. And you you mentioned, when we got started, we were getting, I remember, it was like $2 cost for purchase on our ad campaign, the CPMs. I remember, were probably like 70 cents, you know, in American currency. And, yeah, it was just really nuts. The click through rate was really high. And the cost per click, I think was like one or two cents. Like these are numbers that even like early days of Facebook in the US, you would never see like, I bet you when Facebook started, you probably weren't even getting like five cent clicks. And we were getting like a fifth of that. So the numbers were just absolutely bonkers. And I remember we actually started like $10 a day for like four days. And then we saw the metrics and we were like, Alright, we got to put 50 bucks a day into this at least. And we started doing a lot of retargeting because she had an email list built up over the years. And then because the CPMs were so low, like you said, Alex, in the Argentinian market, she was getting so many impressions, right? Probably like, I don't know, I don't even know what the math is. But it's like 40,000 impressions a day or something like that off of like 50 bucks. It was something nuts, right. And so that was helping her not only get followers, but get emails, which we did retargeting based on people that were viewing the page and retargeting based on the emails. So a lot of the audience even though there was low competition, and I don't know how many people live in our cheap able to probably like, I think we were targeting like a 6 million person audience. A lot of the targeting that we're doing was also warm and you know, hot audiences as well based on the traffic that she was getting. So that was like one of the main things that stood out to me. I'm a numbers guy, I'm looking at the CPM first as the top of the funnel metric. And so the CPM was so low, it allowed us to leverage our budget in many different ways and continue just like that, that money cycle of basically printing money. So it was pretty, pretty awesome feeling to get started on that.

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, and a lot of the sales here in South America. I think like, I don't think they do it in the US and much come through WhatsApp. A lot of the sales come through WhatsApp, like girls would go on WhatsApp and make sure like, they're able to get the shoes that they wanted. They receive the money like that when they're going to receive the shoes and that sort of stuff. So a ton of business gets done through WhatsApp conversation starts on Facebook with a Facebook ad. And then a ton of sales moved into WhatsApp.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yep. And so when you say a $2 cost per acquisition, what was in US currency? What was like the average order value, or just an average shoe pair price in US dollars? That just to just understand what the margins were

Alex Grieco  

25 to $30.

Alex Ivanoff  

So she was selling a 25 $30 pair of shoes and paying $2 to get a customer and what was the average like? Or what is the average margin on the shoes themselves? Gross Margin.

Alex Grieco  

Like she's, we've put a fixed margin where she would make $15 per pair.

Alex Ivanoff  

And that was an agreement manufacturer. Yeah, so

Alex Grieco  

it would be like the $15 would be like the margin that we get to work with. So say she bought the shoes for 15, we sell for 30 and then on that profit, that operational profit he has we will need to take off the ads and like her pay and like this sort of stuff. But yeah, she pretty much double what she would pay for it to resell.

Alex Ivanoff  

So on a per unit basis Just sort of breaking down the math. Basically any cost per acquisition under $15. was profitable.

Alex Grieco  

Any cost per acquisition under $15? Yeah, I was profiting a few. Maybe you'd say like, a little bit more, if you include like software's like Zapier and that sort of stuff around that.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah. So yeah, I mean, that's. And so just to give context, because as we started those ads, probably 18 months ago, how much is the cost per acquisition gone up? Since we started?

Alex Grieco  

We're about $4 now.

Alex Ivanoff  

$4, you still got $12 of wiggle room per unit. So yeah, very profitable sale. That's really awesome.

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, and the ads are the exact same. So the campaign, oh wait the ads are not the same. The campaign is the same. The creative assets get changed when the new season comes out, new shoes come out. But we just ran the same campaign that we set up together over a year ago. And we just let it keep acquiring data and doing whatever. Facebook is doing best, right? It's just making sure we let it run and collect data and optimize, so she goes in, she has a new pictures, the pictures, the creative that she gets, that you guys might have seen are really good, really high quality. If some of your listeners want to go to it, it's @brunacalcados, not the URL, the..

Alex Ivanoff  

Handle.

Alex Grieco  

The handle, yeah. And she just gets the  pictures from the manufacturers. So the manufacturer, they only work with retailers, they don't work with. They only work with resellers, they don't work with B2C, they weren't B2B only. So they create the creative they give, they create the pictures and everything. So when she goes in, buy the shoes, she gets the shoes. And she also gets this library of content that she can use to market the shoes.

Dave Pancham  

So question here, and let me know if I'm assuming something here, but is it right that since it's Argentina, I'm assuming people don't have IPhones over there? So I'm assuming you probably don't have all the attribution problems that people have in the US with like, IOS 14, IOS 15, is that accurate?

Alex Grieco  

People have IPhones, but probably not the same amount that they have it here in the US. Yeah, maybe like in the US. 50%, Here is like 20%. So yeah, but we, with the attribution. We just, when we did the setup with Alex, we just did everything the proper way, verify the domain added, like all like the events in the pixel, like everything we needed to do to make the attribution as accurate as it can possibly be. So yeah, always have some problems, attribution, as you guys I'm sure have experienced as well. But so far, it's manageable for sure.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, I wanted to talk about the photography. That's something you just mentioned. Because we're talking to this campaign, right? It's extremely successful. You guys are scaling the budget up, your cost per acquisition has barely gone up over over the past year and a half. Would you say that the photography and the content and the product itself is super important to the marketing of the of the product and the brand, because, you know, Bruna, in my opinion, has some of the best product photos of any brand that I've seen the shoes for me, I look like, I get excited when I see it, I feel like I want to go and buy a pair for my girlfriend, you know, I mean, it's like, I'm not even a woman's shoe guy, obviously. So what is it that makes the campaign so successful?

Alex Grieco  

Well, in my opinion, there's the creative, it's really important to get your attention, everything boils down to the offer. So how can you make an interesting offer for eCommerce? Right? How can you distinguish yourself from everybody else out there? A woman that is trying to buy shoes and sees the same picture or very, very nice pictures, Why is she going to buy your shoes against some other shoes. And so that was pretty much my role is understanding how can we craft a message and an offer that is going to make us much more relevant, I guess the competition and what we did is. Well there's always the main point when you have a commodity product like shoes, right? It's like you can always compare to something else. So one of the biggest factors that you complete with his price. So if you have a shoe and you'd like to make it very expensive, you probably need a lot of branding behind it to reason why it's so expensive. So what I did is like Okay, how can we lower the barrier to pricing as much as possible. And here what they do, which I'm pretty sure they have it in the US as well with Afterpay. And all this sort of like, payment plans on smaller items is we create a zero-interest, six-month payment plan and say, Hey, this is what the part of the offer is get the shoes, six rates of 1000 pesos, so six rates of $5 or something like that. So then, at the approach, it's already lower. So you're comparing like, you know, the $30 to five rate of $5, you're kind of like lowering that barrier to getting the sale done. So that has been really helpful to have a kind of a financing partner, I'd say, for for eCommerce, that you're lowering that barrier to entry, people can kind of like stretch their payment plans over a couple of months. And then another one was to get a discount if they pay the other way. Right? So you can pay in quotas, and you get a certain price. But then if you can pay with a bank transfer that they do here, you get 20% off. So that's another way like they the way that they have their tax system set out here from as much as they can understand. I'm not an accountant in the US so you can imagine how much I understand tax systems in like other countries. So I'm not an expert by any ways in this. But from what I understand is, there is some tax benefits from getting paid from the to the bank directly instead of going through a third party merchant, tax wise. And so I said, we say Hey, pay six months, like six months of fixed rates, or get 20% off if you've payed this way, and all products get free shipping. So that was another thing we didn't see a lot of products was the shipping being charged. But to me, it's like dude, why are you going to charge, Amazon is going to outbid you every day of the week, like the way they structure their offer, right? That was kind of my go-to was let's look at the best eCommerce place in the world. What is the customer experience like? And so yeah, it's free shipping. So it's free shipping, 20% off if you purchase like this way, and then or you can get it in six month, six rates without interest over this period of time. So I crafted that offer. And I put that in the copy, and also on the website so that it remains consistent. And I think that's really what helped is the fact that not only the shoe is good quality, creative is good. You have this offer that makes it a bit more appeal, right? And we just ran with the offer first in our in our copy. So you will see the creative, you see the offer, it's a really good offer. And then they go through the website, website built on WordPress, really simple.

Dave Pancham  

Question also in your offer, did you do anything in terms of risk reversal? Like free returns as well or anything like that?

Alex Grieco  

Yeah. So part of our guarantee is, we have free returns. So if there's any problem with the shoes, or if the size is too big or too small, we will pay for the shipping back and forth to make sure the client gets what they want.

Alex Ivanoff  

Did you see a high return rate at all?

Alex Grieco  

No, not at all. I mean, kind of surprising. There is some because as you can imagine, like with a tire, you have to try it on before you know if you like it right, you might get a pair of shoes from Adidas and it says it's an eight for men, but then you are nine with Nike and each brand wears different sizes. So I was expecting it to get to, get more, she gets some but not a lot, and now she's managing it all remotely. So she's just managing the delivery guys that are delivering the shoes and everything. And no, not not, a big, another big issue, of course, a percentage is always there, but not enough to cause concern or anything like that.

Dave Pancham  

I love what you did there though, like you just looked at Amazon, the eCommerce giant of the world and it's like what are the things that they do? Amazon just greases the wheels to a purchase right? Like buy now like immediately by looking at free shipping, free returns, all that stuff. I think it's awesome.

Alex Grieco  

Definitely. They do something similar here with a payment process is going Mercado Pago where you actually have your, it's linked to your bank account where you can purchase in like two or three clicks. Right? So the Amazon of Argentina is called the Mercado Libre, which is like I don't get products on Amazon here. I get one Mercado Libre. So you guys can also Like if you're interested, go on Mercado Libre and look how similar they build their software, close to Amazon, right? It's like, I think here is the number two or the number three most visited website in all of Argentina. So it's pretty much the Amazon of Argentina. And then that's, they link it to a payment method called Mercado Pago, which they do the two-click purchase, and it has an integration that you can do as an eCommerce store. So, what we did is we have that integration. So when people do and pay, they can literally pay in two clicks by using the payment system that is developed by Mercado Libre, right? It's like if Amazon pay you can put Amazon pay on your website. It's paid with Amazon pay. They know your address. They know everything.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, 1-Click Checkout almost basically. So one thing I want to go back to that you mentioned with the offer that I think is super important to make note of, you know, we talked about the the price of the shoes, you mentioned earlier, the average income of someone who's in Argentina is like 500 bucks, prices shoes is like equivalent of 25, 30 bucks. So it's almost like what 10% of someone's monthly income. So is it fair to say that the Bruna shoes are very premium, high-end shoes that relative to Argentinian economy and currency? It's a very expensive brand.

Alex Grieco  

It's, it's not a cheap brand. Yeah, it's not a cheap brand. Yeah, 100%. It's not like a Gucci or Louis Vuitton or anything like that. Not even close. But it's a premium brand, for sure.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, equivalent to like the US, it's almost like someone paying 300 bucks for a pair of shoes, right? So it's, it's not, it's not cheap, and so back to the offer, those two things that you mentioned, where you're doing 20% off, if you pay in full, or six months payments, no interest. You don't, you don't see that applied to a very cheap low-ticket item, typically, that's not something that brands and merchants do. But what you're doing in a very high-ticket premium brand item is very helpful, because it allows the consumer to see this very expensive product and think, Okay, wow, I can afford that even though, it's very, they're still like moving mountains to try and afford it, it's just, they're either taking the discount on paying full, or they're making payments on it for six months. So I'm sure that's not something that's done very often in Argentina, because I think I'm just starting to see it a lot now in the kind of like the "buy now, pay later" space of like the Klarna, and Afterpay and Affirm and all those other payment providers that are starting to pop up here in the US. So I think it's very brilliant, what you did, and it's only really applicable to a high-ticket premium brand. So it makes a lot of sense.

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, it's worth testing. Like if I had another eCommerce brand, I would probably run a similar model, because it's like the American culture on "buy now, pay later" with credit cards and everything took a little bit longer to spill out into different cultures. Anyway, I'm just starting to see it here in Argentina more and more. So yeah, I encourage people to play around with the pricing, doesn't mean to just like, you have to do it exactly how he did it, because it might not work. But play around with the pricing, try to get creative on how you can structure payments in a way that makes it much easier. It's an easier sales process in the fact that it's not as big of a, doesn't seem like as big of a hit, right? Like you got, you can massage the price with incentives and stretching payment plans.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, we're all of us here are students of Alex Hormozi, and  we've seen him obviously play a lot with different guarantees and offers and one of the big things from his book and just overall his practice is he tries to sell something for 10 times what it costs. So he's always looking to raise prices rather than lower prices. And, you know, if you can establish, establish yourself as a premium brand, All you got to do is just find that right offer, find the right creative, and you're gonna have a very profitable business at scale. So I think that's good advice.

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, and I, I think as an entrepreneur, we kind of have that negative trait that a lot of us lack patience. When you have an offer, you're like, you want to put your hands in it, like once it starts working, it's like, oh, I can add this, I can add this, where if you could just let her run, it just works for like a very long time. That's another thing that has been helpful with Bruna is you just got to find one winner once and that winner can run like for a longer time that you might expect. Right like the Hormozi offer, the six-week body transformation one, they're still running it. I think it's been running for like six years and they still works. And so it's like, as a marketer, you really kind of know, we need to come up with something new, because you know, like, the market wants something new. It's like, I don't know, like, how true is that? Usually like, we tend to, underestimate, like how much how long we can stretch an offer. And so when we do find a winner, I'd say like, just run with it for for as long as you can, you know, what's your CPA goes a wires, instead of changing the offer, change the creative change, you know, change the copy the messaging, if that offer has worked for a considerable amount of time, the problem is, it's very likely not the offer, it's very likely, like your messaging and your creative and just like, you know, playing with that will, will revive the offer. And you know, we'll have another lead.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, yes, for sure. So we got a lot of gold here. So we got you know, play with your pricing and be able to find a good offer, make yourself a premium brand. Once you have it, stick with it, don't abandon it, if things start to go down south and you play with your creative and the wrapping of the offer. What other advice do you give, particularly to brands that are, let's say, a North American brand, that we see how lucrative the international market can be based on whatever it is the CPMs are low, right? Let's say they're trying to go into international markets like Argentina, what advice do you have for them, as they're looking to kind of expand and go global?

Alex Grieco  

Well, I think like, if I were to come into Argentina, the first thing that I would do is find a local partner, or find somebody that already knows the market, so that it can kind of cut your, your mistakes, and the time that it's gonna take to set everything up. So that would be like, the first thing I do find somebody already understands the market so they can kind of like, like, guide you through all the mistakes that you're going to do and all the money that you're gonna, like, lose. And then yeah, I think like, when you're starting to do international stuff, look at the taxes on both places, because it might be not profitable when you start running, like, you know, international tariffs and taxes. And then I think the next step is logistics and becomes a logistics game much more than a marketing game, I think like the marketing game will get you started, but what will allow you to scale for to a very, like high degree is going to be your operational skills, and like logistics and understanding, like how to play like that, that game, because you know, the marketing is fun and everything in all, but you know, if you don't have the actual operations down, like, you know, Amazon does, like with the, with the warehouse and the partnerships and everything to get packages in front of you in two days for free, then yeah, then he's just, I think the marketing can only take you so far before, like, really need to get your ops dialed in.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, at the end of the day, no matter how good your marketing is, if you can't get the product in the hands of the customer, it doesn't matter, right? Which I think there's, there's somewhat of like a culture aspect to that too, because like you said, a lot of the Argentinian market is a good example, because I've seen this in other markets to where they're not used to just clicking a button online and the product showing up in the mail there. And like paying online right there, they're used to like delivering or, you know, communicating with the merchant through WhatsApp, or you know, through text or Facebook Messenger, whatever we seem in the Philippines to where a lot of merchants literally, like by message customer support agent will process a transaction on Facebook Messenger based off of whatever the customer saw, you know, the product the customer saw in the ad. And so obviously, that's very different. Like we very rarely deal with that in North America. So that is also a factor in learning an international market and then being able to deliver your product to the customer in the international market to

Alex Grieco  

100%. Yeah, yeah.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah. Cool. So what would you say is like with Bruna now? You know, we're scaling like crazy, you know, the numbers are really nuts. What's the biggest challenge for the brand right now?

Alex Grieco  

I think is is the ops at this point, right? is making sure that you can scale with the supplier, you can cut that we can sure you can scale with the supplier. Bruna is becoming one of the main partners for all these all these suppliers. So I think like that's also like, one of the risks that needs to be evaluated as you scale is a can your supplier keep up with the rate in which you're growing? Because if you have a supplier bottleneck, that's going to be quite a big issue, right? Like what you're going to find a whole new supplier that is going to be able to get you like exactly what you're selling your customers or what have worked in the past. So yeah, for Bruna right now. We're not really going to scale that much. I got a baby on the way so I'm super excited about and so Yuliana is pregnant. She's actually Finishing up university right now and running a six-figure ecom. So her hands are 100% full. So what we're gonna do now, she's crushing it, like super proud of her that the wishes doing. So what we're gonna do right now is we're going to maintain the business as is making sure like the clients are happy continue like to get the same sales that, you know, we're getting consistently. And perhaps like, once we have like, more clarity, like on the family situation like making sure like, you know, our attention is really focused on that at the moment, then it's like, okay, what do we want to do here? I think one of the things that I've learned to understand over the years is that growing up for the sake of growth is not, at least in my experience, is not that helpful. Like, there's there should be a reason why you want to grow, right? It's like, I want to grow because then I have XYZ goal for me to be achieved. And it's like, okay, like, let's make sure like your business aligns with like other goals you might have. But if the goal for example for Yuliana is to build an eComm business that allows us to live like happy lifestyles doing something that she loves. It's counterintuitive to like, you know, to go and do something like add more work, add more support tickets, hiring, firing, logistical issues, to get to where like to get to a goal that it's just like growth for growth, it because she already is getting like what she really wants to get out of the business. So right now, like the business is doing well, in the future, if she really wants to scale this into like a huge brand, then I'll help her but I think like, she's happy, like, how it's growing or the size that it is, and she's gonna she's gonna keep it that way.

Alex Ivanoff  

Dave, what are your thoughts on that? Because I know, we've talked about this a lot, where it's like, you don't want to just grow for the sake of growing and you want to have a purpose and a very well-intentioned vision for not only yourself, but the business that you're building.

Dave Pancham  

It's such an interesting thing that he said they're like, growth for growth. I think there's so many factors that go into that, because, you know, someone as a founder, you know, if your business successful, I think most people in the what do they say like in America, it's like, you know, beyond like 70,000 a year, the incremental happiness that you get is just like, almost negligible, right? So a decently successful business, you don't really need much to like, for the person that's in charge, like to be okay. But then the next level of that is like, you know, empowering others to allow this to be their vehicle to create something amazing for themselves. And then I think that the next level ends up happening, it's like, it was growth for growth at one point to hit your own goal, but then it becomes growth so other people can hit their goals, and you can create, almost like learning how to take the business and it's like, it's no longer you, it's us, right? And allowing this to be this cool vehicle for everybody else and try to create something amazing. And that involves, you know, transformation of many individuals, including the founder. But yeah, it's it's just interesting to hear those words come out of your mouth and hear where she's at. But I mean, six-figure eComm business, especially with the kind of margins you guys are ripping over there. It sounds pretty amazing.

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, she, she's happy. And I agree, I agree with you, man. It's like, if you have the vision of like, you know, build also like having a team and the team is pushing you to like, making this something bigger. And then it's like, you have other factors as well. So I guess, like, there are a lot of variables in play, and everybody like builds a business for different reasons. I've been into like, growth for growth for a very long time. And I'm at a point where I'm like, also like, evaluating aspects of my personal life and trying to understand like, you know, business, I've done 18-hour work like workdays like back to back like for a few years. And it was great. Like, don't get me wrong, I love it, I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I'm at a point right now where it's like, okay, I want to structure my life in a way where it's like, not only I'm working, I want to do something that  I'm really passionate about. And I want to be able to have additional time to like, say, like, learn a third language, like, you know, develop like additional skills that are outside of like, just work for work, maybe like communication skills, and that sort of stuff. So it's much I think, like it's much more like laser-focused, like the role of the business and how it fits into your actual life, instead of just like being just the business for the business itself.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, and you know what, man, baby Greco is gonna really appreciate that mindset growing up

Alex Grieco  

Yeah, and I mean, I didn't have my both of my parents around me for when I was like, you know, growing up, so I just want to make sure that doesn't happen again. So trying to structure everything in a way that allows that to happen.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, totally, really, that's awesome. Cool. So, on that note, you know, we talked a lot about different things that I think relate to self awareness here. What would you say is the most important personality trait or just characteristic of someone to be successful in eComm? Or just kind of like building a business around eComm?

Alex Grieco  

I'd say, I see you like, you just got to know your numbers to really like make it work. It would be, that would be like, your cost per acquisition on the marketing side, you know, cost per acquisition, CPM stuff with the funnel metrics, bottom of the funnel metrics, like how much does it cost, you know, to do like, resells and like keeping people around for a long time. And then on the operational side, the logistics, like how much does it cost to ship your product and, and kind of like making sure you have those numbers dialed that way, when you're actually making a decision or taking action on your business, you're not doing it blindfolded, you're actually doing it with metrics that allow you to make your decision and be here, like, as accurate as you possibly can. And, and grow the business that way. So my advice would be like, figure out your numbers, what is your cost per acquisition needs to be for you to be profitable. And sometimes you do that process and you say, oh, like, it's, I need to have a $3 cost per acquisition to be profitable, it's like, probably your model is off, right? Then like how, like, knowing your numbers might give you like, some feedback on like, some of the past decisions that you've made as well, and make you like, you know, regulate the business. So that would be my advice. Just know your numbers, marketing, operationals, all around.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, it's very true. And it's super on brand for you too, because I remember, like, you know, a couple years ago, we've been, we were working together. And there was so many times where like a client or a colleague or partner, whatever it is, someone will come up and like, object to something and you knew the numbers worked out in your mind. And I remember, I can still hear you saying it to this day. Like it's literally just math, like, do the numbers, right? And if the math works out, then you know, you're good to go with it. Right? And, you know, a lot of times people try and make decisions not based on numbers, which I agree there's a time for that. But most of the time, or at least a lot of the time it's a it's a data-driven decision, or it should be and people aren't doing it that way. It's like literally just math. Do the math.

Alex Grieco  

Do the math. Yeah, the math. The beautiful thing about math is that it just doesn't lie. It can be deceiving, yes! Like you can see, like numbers that mean one thing and you got to interpret the numbers, but it just doesn't lie. Like that's numbers. And it is what it is. So yeah, 100% agree with you, man.

Alex Ivanoff  

Love it. Cool. So as we begin to wrap up here, Alex, one of the things we like to do with all of our guests towards the end is asked the same question. So when I asked you if you could sit in a room with a bunch of mentors once every morning, and you know, they help guide you and advise you throughout your day and your journey. They can be alive or dead. Who would be in that room?

Alex Grieco  

That's a that's a really interesting question. Well, Alex Hormozi would definitely be there. Huge positive influence in my life. I worked closely with him and it's been probably like I can attribute a lot of what I know about business and where I am today to following his teaching and everything. So definitely Alex Hormozi. I would have Leila is there because I think like she's another amazing human being. So Alex and Leila Hormozi if you're listening to this, you don't know who they are, like, definitely, like check them out. I wouldn't have, I will probably have Marcus Aurelius, as well.

Alex Ivanoff  

 Who's that?

Alex Grieco  

Marcus Aurelius. He is one of the Roman emperors. He was a stoic and had a really good like life philosophy on you know, focusing your mind on the things that you can control not the things that you can't control, planning your day, like kind of like structuring your life in a way that that you like. And then I guess like the fourth and last one would be Yogi Sadhguru. I don't know if you guys have seen him on Instagram, like lately, it was like the Same Soil movement. Like just really, really awesome guy when it comes to spirituality and like kind of making sure your life is well-aligned. So that would be it. Yeah. Alex or Mozilla later Mozi Marcus Aurelius and Sadhguru.

Alex Ivanoff  

Now with your, with your background in finance, I was curious if you have anybody that you would throw it in that room, that's, you know, like a historically super successful investor like a macro economist. Like I know used to be big in macroeconomics, like is there anything anybody in the finance world that you throw in there?

Alex Grieco  

I didn't even think of that. Yeah. On the finance side of things probably like Paul Tudor Jones, Ray Dalio. George Soros, kind of like you know, Stanley Druckenmiller, probably Paul Volcker in there, probably like the most savage Fed Chairman ever been. Andrew Jackson, the guy that wanted to kill the banks, and like, you know, hated banks and just wanted like a gold back system and no credit systems at all. So there's a lot of people that yeah, that will be really, really interesting on the finance side as well. I think the answer to your question will probably be like Paul Tudor Jones, market timing and trading. And then Ray Dalio on micro economic cycles.

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah. Yeah. Great guys..

Dave Pancham  

Alex, just curious, because, you know, you've definitely traveled all over the place. And you've, you've done business in the US, you've also lived internationally doing business in the US, and now you're living internationally doing business internationally? How has your perspective changed in any way in business due to like, those that that journey? Has it?

Alex Grieco  

Yeah. business wise, how is the traveling term? I think, like, what it does is it helped me like really understand, like, different cultures and communication and what people value. And I think one of the things that it reaffirmed the whole traveling is that human psychology is fairly simple. And it works across cultures. You know, like a good offer. On the business side, when I think of business, I just think on like, the offer side and marketing and business and, you know, client acquisition, and that sort of stuff. And persuasion and influence is like how you get people to take an action that you want them to take that it's in their best interest. It comes down to like, yeah, human psychology is actually like, very similar across the board, right? It's like, scarcity works for a person in the US. And it works for somebody in Argentina, right? Like, like working like that sort of, like psychological influence. And so does urgency and like, all the basics framework that we use to actually like, like, attracts people, to an offer to a business. They're International. So if there's one thing that like traveling helped me like, business wise, is probably understanding that human psychology is like, the really the foundations either as like, you know, like, different things, like on second, third, fourth levels, wherever they're like can change, or the other foundational level, human psychology is very similar across the board.

Alex Ivanoff  

Cool, yeah. fascinating thing about right, if you're, if you can speak every language, right, that means you can apply the same principles to every every culture that you come across. Doesn't matter, right?

Dave Pancham  

it's just fascinating, because it's like, humans, no matter what are still very predictable.

Alex Grieco  

Very much so man. Yeah, it's like, and once you've been in the space, like the all three of us, you know, we're not vets. But we're not, this isn't our first rodeo. So when you've been in the space long enough, you kind of like, you know, you get what we're saying is that, like, there's a pattern, there's a path where you can like, you can replicate and the results, you know, within a degree of error. They're usually the same, right?

Alex Ivanoff  

Yeah, definitely.Totally agree. Awesome, man. Well, it's been a pleasure having you for the audience listening, there can they you know, learn from you can check you out, learn about Bruna and all the other stuff you got going on?

Alex Grieco  

They can hit me up next to Instagram is @Alexfoxgrieco. Yeah, and that's if you want to like hit me up. That's a good place. If you want to have a chat. Hit me up and there's there's alignment. I'm happy to like, you know, have a chat. Yeah.

Alex Ivanoff  

Cool. All right, Alex, appreciate it. And, you know, good luck on everything. Congrats again on Yuliana being pregnant and future dad. Super excited for you, man. And I'm excited for this episode to go live.

Alex Grieco  

Awesome, guys. Well, thank you for having this chat together and best of luck.

Alex Ivanoff  

Awesome. Thanks, Alex.

Dave Pancham  

Thanks, Alex.

Victoria Petersen
Helping businesses navigate their growth to the upper echelons of eCommerce domination.
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