Inventory Tips from an eCommerce Aggregator Perspective with Allan Marshall (episode 438)

Today’s guest is Allan Marshall, the CEO at Upexi – a creator, acquirer, and scaler of DTC and Amazon brands, which include Vitametica, Qubes vitamin gummies, and Tytan Tiles. Allan invested in and took control of Upexi in March 2019. They generated $44m in the year to June 2022 and are on track for over $100m in calendar year 2023.

Allan Marshall Upexi on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Getting Started in eCommerce

Allan began his journey when he launched a logistics company in Canada, which he eventually sold when he moved to the US. He then started another logistics company, XPO Logistics, which is now one of the largest logistics companies in America.

He eventually went into private equity and helped build other businesses before joining the Upexi team.

About Upexi

Upexi is an innovator in aggregation, accelerating Amazon and eCommerce businesses by combining consumer data and vertical integration to scale brands in multiple industries while lowering costs with a growing distribution network.

Allan says their focus is on non-discretionary, recession-proof businesses that he himself understands. Their brands currently include health and wellness products, pet care products, and educational products.

Owning Their Back-end Process

When Allan took over Upexi, one of the biggest problems they had was working with copackers that did not meet their quality standards and their timeline.

They went ahead and solved the problem by working with a UK company and buying their own manufacturing line for their gummy and vitamin products.

Allan says this has really helped grow their business and control their inventory.

Managing Inventory

For Allan, one of the biggest mistakes a business can make is ordering too much of a product to get it at the lowest possible cost and thinking of all the margin they’ll make, but without considering having to write off a big part of that. He says scaling incrementally is a more prudent way to go for small businesses.

Allan also shares that another part of their business is inventory liquidation. They own Cygnet Online, an Amazon liquidator that liquidates overstocked inventory. Their distribution has gotten big enough that they’re able to do significant liquidations for different businesses, and Allan hopes this area of their business also works out.

The Upexi Team

Different teams make up Upexi. There’s a development team that handles the technology behind all the brands. There’s a copywriting team that takes care of their sales copy and emails. There’s also an ad team for each brand, and they collaborate by sharing ideas, opportunities, and networks.

Upexi also has an overall growth team that looks at each of their projects and their percentages and numbers.

Allan adds that while they understand and enjoy remote work, regular collaborations are so much better for gathering ideas from everyone on the team and getting more out of the people you work with.

What’s Next for Upexi

There are a lot of opportunities for the different brands under Upexi, and Allan is looking forward to launching new verticals and new products.

He’s also excited about talking to different companies and finding a way to bring them on board and help them grow their businesses while also growing Upexi.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Don’t lose a customer and make sure you focus on your customer service.

Tool Top Tip

  • Slack instant messaging program

Carbon Top Tip

  • Be a more responsible vendor, and this includes thinking about your carbon footprint and your packaging.

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