Eric Melchor – Growing an e-commerce business to 30000 users.
Do you have an e-commerce business and want to learn how to increase leads and convert more leads into paying customers? My next guest is the Partnerships & Personalization Ambassador at OptiMonk, a SaaS platform for e-commerce entrepreneurs. In today’s episode, we talk about how the company was built, the problems it solves, the number of customers they have, how much they charge, and key actions e-commerce entrepreneurs can do today to grow their brand. Please welcome Eric Melchor.
Payback Time Podcast
Payback Time is a podcast for investors. The goal of this podcast is to help make investing approachable and easy to understand. We will interview beginner and experienced investors and ask them to share stories on how they got started, what challenges they faced, what mistakes they made, and what strategy works for them today. The overall objective is to provide you with a roadmap that helps you become a better investor.
- (00:49) – Show intro and background history
- (01:48) – Deeper into his background and business path
- (02:08) – Understanding his SaaS business model
- (05:27) – The interaction of his SaaS business with other platforms
- (06:26) – How OptiMonk can help other business
- (08:25) – A bit about the personalization options of the platform
- (10:06) – What is the unique thing that makes the platform stand out from the others?
- (11:44) – Deeper into his path, building that business
- (13:02) – Does the business have some profit-sharing model with the early employees?
- (14:03) – Deeper into the numbers
- (16:58) – One key takeaway for the listeners
- (18:40) – A lesson learned or mistake made during the transition between the corporate and entrepreneurship world
- (22:15) – A message from the guest
- (23:34) – The worst advice he ever received
- (24:12) – The best advice he ever received
- (25:30) – Guest contacts
[00:00:01.900] – Intro
Hey, this is Sean Tepper, the host of Payback Time, an approachable and transparent podcast on business investing in finance. I like to bring our guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go. Do you have any commerce business and want to learn how to increase leads and convert more leads into paying customers? My next guest is the Partnerships and Personalization Ambassador at Optimunk, a software as a service platform for e-commerce entrepreneurs. In today’s episode, we talk about how the company was built, the problems it solves, the number of customers they have, how much they charge, and key actions e-commerce entrepreneurs can do today to grow their brand. Please welcome Eric Melchor. Eric, welcome to the show.
[00:00:51.120] – Eric
Hey, thanks for.Having me, Sean.
[00:00:52.490] – Sean
Good to have you here. So why don’t you kick us off and tell us about your background?
[00:00:56.490] – Eric
Yeah, my background is in digital marketing. Having been a digital marketing director for Fortune 500 companies and publicly traded companies, but I gave that up to be a handsome billionaire, Sean. Actually, I’m not quite there yet, but I gave it all up to go work for startups about three years ago. I moved to Europe with my wife, and I started in the startup scene in working for a few different startups, mostly as a consultant, but now primarily as a partnership director. But then also I lead personalization boot camps. But then I’m also an entrepreneur and then I’m also a social entrepreneur. Having launched a nonprofit a few years ago, that was one of a kind. And that was probably that gave me the most fulfillment, even though I love what I do. So I love marketing, I love what I do, but I’m always looking for something on the side that’s going to give me that fulfillment that I just can’t get in my job.
[00:01:48.450] – Sean
Sure. Well, good for you. Leaving the corporate grind to going full time in the tech space. I really want to dive into your company. Optite? Is it Opti Monk?
[00:01:58.590] – Eric
Yeah, Opti Monk.
[00:01:59.960] – Sean
Opti Monk. Got it. So tell us about this business. What does it do?
[00:02:03.850] – Eric
Yeah. So Opti Monk, they’ve got over 30,000 customers and over 505 star reviews, like on Shopify and G2. We help brands deliver a remarkable customer journey in real time online to their visitors. And so we help brands basically decrease their cart abandonment, improve or increase their email subscribers, increase their conversions. And we do that by being able to deliver targeted messages to specific segments based on data or based on their behavior on the website in real time. So maybe they clicked on something and we know, okay, this person is interested in this and so maybe we should serve up this content next. Or we ask this person a question on a website, which we call zero party data. And they responded that they’re interested in product A. And we’re saying, Fantastic. Let us hold your hand and take you to the part of the website that’s most valuable to you. And so we give marketers and brands the tools to be able to add personalization to their website at scale. And it’s also a no code platform. Any marker can use it. It’s basically a drag and drop interface.
[00:03:09.780] – Sean
Got it. So I want to dive into the nuts and bolts a little bit to really understand how this works. It’s a software as a service platform, correct? People are paying a monthly or yearly price, right? Correct. Before we jump into nuts and bolts, what are they paying for the product?
[00:03:24.680] – Eric
Well, we have a free product. It’s good for up to 30,000 page views. And one of once you go more than 30… Actually, that may be incorrect. I think it’s maybe 20,000. But once you go above that, then you pay basically $39 a month. And that’s good up to, I think, 50,000 page views. If you exceed that, then the next plan is $69 a month. And I think that’s good up to 100,000 page views and maybe three different domains.
[00:03:50.810] – Sean
Nice. So what I would classify as a low touch B2B SaaS. There’s not any or maybe very minimal onboarding required from a person on your team, correct? People can just join the platform, start using it?
[00:04:04.930] – Eric
Yes, that’s correct. But what we highly recommend, it’s like Google Analytics. Everybody has Google Analytics, they turn it on, they get it set up, but you really can’t pull valuable information from there unless you’re going inside there doing some research, diving into some of the reports. Same thing with personalization. To really get the best out of it, we recommend that you attend one of our free personalization workshops where basically over the course of 90 minutes, I teach you our process. I show you examples of what other brands how they’re using personalization, and so that gives you some ideas. We also provide you a personalization checklist. It’s basically you go through the checklist, answer yes or no, and depending on your answers at the end of the checklist, you’ll get a prioritized list of the lowest hanging fruit. Based on your answers and then based on what we call a RISE score, which is Reach and impact and effort, then we tell you, hey, here’s the top three things that you should probably tackle first in order to get the biggest return. And so that’s what I highly recommend is if you’re going to use this, definitely attend either our personalization workshop or maybe another company’s personalization workshop.
[00:05:17.060] – Eric
So that way you have a better idea and just get better insights, get better education, and get the guide and the know-how and the next steps on actually how to take advantage of this.
[00:05:26.500] – Sean
Got it. All right, so now let’s dive into the nuts and bolts. Does this tool bolt on to other e-commerce platforms like Shopify?
[00:05:35.240] – Eric
Absolutely. That’s our tightest integration. A lot of our customers use Shopify. We’re also at Magneto, WooCommerce, BigCommerce. We have over 100 integrations, and our biggest are with Shopify and Clavier.
[00:05:47.980] – Sean
Got it. Okay. I’m assuming a lot of your traffic or leads is coming from Shopify app store. Is that right?
[00:05:56.980] – Eric
It used to be. Now that drives probably less than 20 % of percent. We’ve been around now for about seven years, seven or eight years. And so we’ve got a good brand. We get a lot of leads through organic. We get a lot of leads through comarketing opportunities. So if a person is on, let’s say, active campaign and they go in their app ecosystem and they’re looking for different things that we provide, whether it’s pop ups, personalization, abandoned carts, they’ll usually see Opti Monk pop up. And so we get a lot of leads from there as well.
[00:06:24.960] – Sean
Got you. That’s wonderful. And let’s walk me through the use case here. If I’m a let’s say I’ve got my own Shopify store, I’m selling some widget for what’s jumping out at me is the snowboarding space. I’m not a snowboarder, but let’s just say that’s my deal. That’s where I sell products. And I’m like, okay, so now I want to optimize my funnel. I want to generate more leads, maybe create more upsells. Somebody can join Opti Monk, connect it to my Shopify store. And then what? Does it give you? Like little triggers or notifications saying, hey, you can do this better, or how does it work?
[00:06:59.420] – Eric
Absolutely. I mean, once you log into our platform and have an account, we walk you through, I think it’s 12 different steps, our recommendations on where to get started. We have lots of different use cases and we build out a tactical library for personalization. We have over 40 different things that you can do when it comes to personalization. Each library or each tactic shows you step by step instructions or instructions on how you would implement that. For example, your snowboarding store, for example, and you wanted to try to decrease cart abandonments. We have five different use cases on how you would do that. Most marketers tend to do an exit pop up when a person is trying to leave their website and say, Wait a minute, here’s a 10 % off coupon. Well, you can do that within our platform, but we have four different alternatives because if it’s a low intent user, maybe it’s somebody that hasn’t even gone to the product page or put anything in their shopping cart, then that’s probably not the best thing to do. And so we recommend this alternative for that type of user. So we have different strategies and tactics for what we call low intent, medium intent, and high intent users.
[00:08:07.390] – Eric
And then obviously there’s different segments that are built in. Segments can include new visitors, returning visitors, visitors that you already have their email address, visitors that maybe have just made a purchase, visitors that have come to your website and you don’t know anything about them at all. So we have different prebuilt segments, but you can also create your own segments as well. Got it.
[00:08:26.530] – Sean
So it sounds like there’s different functionality that is in place, but do you also have templates in place such as copy? People could literally change their business name or industry.
[00:08:41.560] – Eric
That not so much. But what we are well known for, though, are templates. I f you go in G2, and I was looking at this the other day, about a third of our reviews are people raving about our templates. And so we’ve made it very easy where you can get started in less than a few minutes and pick out a template you like and just easily customize it with your brand colors. T hese templates could be different campaigns or experiments, maybe even A B testing that you’re doing and that you can use within the platform. We’re also rolling out AI functionality too. So if you wanted to test different headlines, you can now use our AI tool and it will actually suggest different headlines that you could start testing and automatically pick a winner when it’s been determined as well. So we’ve got a lot of different templates, but what I think you’re asking, Sean, is if somebody went to the website and it recognized that user and it showed their business logo and it showed their name. That’s a little bit more sophisticated. I think there’s a company called Dynamic Yield, something like that that’s more B2B.
[00:09:42.700] – Eric
We are more D2C and B2C and so we focus more on what we call zero party data. Zero party data is basically somebody comes to your website and if you don’t know anything about them, then start engaging with them in micro engagements. Say, Hey, we want you to get the best out of this visit. Can you tell us what type of industry you’re in? T hen based on their answers, then you could recommend the next step.
[00:10:06.500] – Sean
It sounds like there’s a lot of different features and tools your product offers. Is there one unique thing that seems to stand out from the rest on why people join your platform?
[00:10:17.120] – Eric
Yeah, historically, pop ups have been the one thing that has stood out from the rest because that was… Before we became a personalization platform, that’s what we did very well. Now, the other thing that stands out from the rest is our different A B experiments and A B testing compatibility. I think we offer more functionality than Google Optimsly, which is actually going to be going away in a few months. That’s something else that we do really well. And with personalization, we just got started, but we have a roadmap to actually make it more sophisticated over the next two or three years utilizing AI.
[00:10:50.640] – Sean
Got it. Let’s take a quick commercial break. Do you feel like stock investing is too confusing, too time consuming, or too risky? It doesn’t have to be. If you ever considered investing on your own but you don’t know where to start, I welcome you to check out Tykr. Tykr guides you through your investment journey by steering you towards safe investments and away from risky investments. There were two main reasons why I created Tykr. Number one, I wanted to remove emotions from investing. In other words, I wanted a software to make buying and selling decisions for me so I don’t have to. And number two, I wanted to save time. Analyzing stocks can take hours, if not days, and I didn’t want to spend all day looking at the computer. I have other hobbies in life I’d rather be enjoying. If you’re interested, you can get started with a free trial. Visit Tykr. Com. That’s TYKR. Com. Again, Tykr. Com. You really gave good context on what the platform does, which is great. What I’d like to do now is talk a little bit about building this business. We have a lot of entrepreneurs in our community that they’re looking to build, whether it’s a SaaS business or an e-commerce business of some sort.
[00:11:58.410] – Sean
There’s a lot of people who have agencies or their consultants. So they want to make that switch like you did from a service business to a product business. So you said earlier on, three years you’ve been an entrepreneur, but you’ve been working on this business seven years. Is that correct?
[00:12:15.580] – Eric
Well, it’s been around seven years. And the co founders, initially, they focused on the pop ups. They focused on one thing that solved the pain point. And they were the first to actually create the exit intent pop up. And that’s what they became known for. And because of that, that’s how they got early traction. And that’s how they got the name out there. And they became pretty reputable with that by focusing on just one pain point and solving that or focusing on something new that nobody else did really, really well. And that’s how they got credibility.
[00:12:45.740] – Sean
Got it. So you said the founder, so you’re not the founder. Is that correct?
[00:12:49.760] – Eric
Correct. Yeah, I’m not the founder. Hard to think.
[00:12:52.040] – Sean
How big is the team?
[00:12:54.580] – Eric
There’s about 50 of us.
[00:12:55.950] – Sean
[00:12:56.500] – Eric
All right. Mostly out of Hungary. I think there’s only like four or five non Hungarians on the team.
[00:13:03.600] – Sean
Okay. And you don’t have to reveal this, but I do want to ask it, do they have some profit sharing model in place for all the early employees like yourself? Yes. Oh, that’s great. That’s the way to do it because you never know what could happen to a business like this. A pretty low touch B2B SaaS can grow really fast, like I’m seeing with your numbers, and it could be acquired. I’m sure that’s been on the minds of the founders, at least.
[00:13:28.020] – Eric
Well, that’s how the founder got me. I mean, when he started pursuing me for a few different months or several different months and told me the vision of the personalization platform and the roadmap over the next few years, he really wants to take this to unicorn level. So I was sold on the vision. And then also he had a really great startup and a good exit. He actually built what was the Shopify for Hungary. And I can’t remember the number of stores, but I want to say over 200,000 stores were using it. And he had a successful exit from that. And then now optimunk is the main focus now.
[00:14:02.070] – Sean
Got it. See, there’s a big lesson learned there. And you’re a marketer and you’ve been in the Fortune 500 space. You see it. But you work, you create one product in an industry and then you see all the pain, right? Like the Shopify world. And they’re like, Well, we could solve it with another tool. So we go and create that tool to solve that problem. Sounds like Optimunk is exactly that.
[00:14:23.520] – Eric
[00:14:24.610] – Sean
Brilliant. So let’s talk about the numbers a little bit. Did you say in the beginning you have now over 30,000 customers. Did I hear that correctly?
[00:14:32.750] – Eric
Over 30,000 users and for paid customers, it’s a little less than 6,000 I believe.
[00:14:39.750] – Sean
Okay. All right. And you could take the simple math here against 39 a month or 69 or some way, shape or form in between. Looking really good with your revenue there and with 50 employees, too. You’re well on your way. That’s amazing. Can you tell us about… I talked about the channel partner. I didn’t say channel partner, but sometimes these app stores are great way to get started, get some leads pumping into your system. You mentioned your organic. When you say organic, are you getting a lot of traction from SEO or social media?
[00:15:11.080] – Eric
Yeah, a lot of traffic from SEO, blog content. And we actually started doing a lot of social media recently. And then I’ve been going on a lot of various podcasts talking about Optimunk as well. But the other great thing that we’re doing is it actually releases tomorrow is called Ecommerce Revolution. And it’s the first business reality show for e-commerce. And over the course of a few different months, we’re going to invite e-commerce brands that are doing between 1 million to 10 million dollars annually. And over three months, we’re going to work with them and implement personalization for their website. And we’re actually partnering with a lot of other CRO, our Conversion rate Optimization Specialists, as well as a few different agencies and tech partners. And so there’s going to be partners like Miller Light, Referral Candy, and then we also have some agency partners out of the UK, Canada, and the States, and then some CRO experts that are spread out across the globe as well that are partnering with us. So we’re pretty excited about that. We’ll probably take on eight to 10 different e-commerce brands, and this is going to be offer free for brands.
[00:16:17.490] – Eric
So they could submit their application. Again, it’s called Ecommerce Revolution. T hey’re basically going to get at least $20,000 worth of services over three months because they’ll have access to us, our platform, as well as these other CRO specialists who are partnering with us to do this.
[00:16:33.120] – Sean
Got it. W here can people see this? Will it be on YouTube or some other platform?
[00:16:39.010] – Eric
Yes, it will be on our channel on YouTube. And the episodes will go live. I think there’s going to be one every week that’s going to be going live. And we’ll actually start the show in April. But I believe the first episode really won’t come out until Metter late April.
[00:16:54.260] – Sean
Brilliant marketing play.
[00:16:55.770] – Eric
That’s amazing. Yeah, it’s pretty exciting.
[00:16:58.480] – Sean
So I’m hearing a lot of it. And this is good for the entrepreneurs out there. You’ve really got an omnichannel presence, sounds like 20 % or less is based on the app store connections. You’ve got SEO, you’ve got social media, now you’ve got this TV show. This will be fun to hear how this performs. But is there one thing that really stands out, like a key take away somebody can use in their business to start gaining exposure?
[00:17:23.880] – Eric
Yeah. Even if they didn’t use our platform, I would ask them just to take a step back and try to imagine what it’s like going through their website experience as a new visitor for the first time. And so what I would recommend is get rid of the things that are creating a bad experience. Some of those things could be click bait. Maybe you have some ads that when a person clicks on them, they go to a landing page and the headline and the value proposition doesn’t really match what was on the ad. So that’s a bad experience. Another one is those pop ups that come on immediately. You get to a website, you’ve been there for five seconds and there’s a pop up, get rid of that. We don’t recommend that at all. Thank you. Yeah. And then there’s also the deadlines, like, oh, 10 minutes. If you buy this, you get like 50 % off in the next 10 minutes. And that’s just a bad experience, too.
[00:18:14.110] – Sean
Interesting. I do see those every once in a while that creates emergency, but it’s a little spammy.
[00:18:20.880] – Eric
Yeah, because all you’re doing is just basically creating a person or a customer that’s never going to pay full price. They’re going to know, oh, I got this at a huge discount the first time I purchased from them. Now I’m going to go online and either look for a coupon code or maybe try a different browser and come back again so I can get that same discount.
[00:18:39.300] – Sean
Right on. Great. What I’d like to know next is through your experience either working in the corporate space and then making the transition to working for set ups, do you have any lessons learned or could you share with us a mistake you made in your journey?
[00:18:55.020] – Eric
Yeah. I think one of the mistakes I made is that not everybody works at the pace or at the level that you do. When I first had my biggest team, I think it was five people, and every morning I’d have them come to a whiteboard and I had three columns to do, doing, and done. I had little Post it notes within each column. Everybody would go one by one and talk about their projects, where they are, where there’s any obstacles. I had this little meeting set up every morning and most of the team hated it. It just wasn’t how they worked. I came in there thinking, Okay, I’m going to get everybody up to speed and moving the way I do. It backfired. Now I realized that when you work with a different team, it’s really good to get an understanding of their communication style and how is it that they work. I mean, a lot of people are really good with just working through Slack and never getting on a phone call. Other people just want to get on a Zoom call and not really too much through email or Slack. I think it’s just having a good understanding of that.
[00:20:01.500] – Sean
Did you feel like it’s… I have to laugh a little bit because I’m the same way. I want visibility. I want to see some progress. Things moving from that column left to do to the right column and you’re right, not everybody works that way. So Slack seems to be it. Do you feel like you had to maybe meet with people one on one to hear this isn’t working, or was it a collective like, Yeah, Eric, this just isn’t working?
[00:20:30.180] – Eric
It was just reading body language, Sean, and just reading behavior. I just can tell from their eyes and their behavior that this just wasn’t working. I think one person on the team appreciated it, and she was probably my best employee, I would say. I had my hardest working employee, but for everybody else, it just wasn’t the pace that they were used to or the structure because they had a manager who worked totally different than I did previously.
[00:20:55.280] – Sean
Yes, got you. Management. There’s a lot of people out there, they may be a good performer, but transitioning to management, being a leader is a totally different animal. Absolutely. It’s things you can’t be taught. You got to dive in and learn as you go.
[00:21:12.500] – Eric
Yeah. You got to be really good. I think coaches, I God, who was the great UCLA basketball coach? I forgot his name. But he said that I treat every one of my players differently because they react differently. His tone of voice, everything he says, it was all different and catered to each basketball player and his team.
[00:21:32.960] – Sean
Right on. Let’s take a quick commercial break. Hey, this is Sean. I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to listen to this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for taking the time to listen to this one. I have a quick request. If you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple podcasts and leave a five star review? The reason is the more ratings we get and the higher those ratings are, the more Apple will share us with the world. So thanks in advance for doing that. And then I have a quick comment. If there are any questions you want me to ask the guests, please head over to our Tykr Facebook group. You could drop a question right there. I’ll go ahead and make a note and I’ll do my best to ask that question on the podcast. All right, back to the show. Well, is there anything else you’d like to share with the audience before we jump into the rapid fire round?
[00:22:22.560] – Eric
No, we cover the personalization boot camp. So if you’re interested, I highly recommend you check that out. If you know any commerce brand that you think could benefit, from personalization. And once $20,000 of free services, e-commerce revolution is where you should go.
[00:22:38.030] – Sean
Nice. Yeah, sounds perfect for anybody starting an e-commerce business. That’s huge value. All right, let’s dive into the rapid fire round. This is the part of the episode where we get to find out who Eric really is. If you can, try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less. You ready? Let’s go. All right. What is your favorite podcast?
[00:22:57.960] – Eric
Probably My First Million.
[00:22:59.330] – Sean
Okay, nice. What is the recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:23:05.240] – Eric
Naval. I’m actually rereading it, but there’s just so many good nuggets of wisdom in that book. I think it’s called the memoirs of Naval or something.
[00:23:15.210] – Sean
Okay, nice. What is your favorite movie?
[00:23:20.200] – Eric
A movie I can watch over and over again is Snatch. It’s a film by Guy Ritchie, Brad Pitt’s in there, but I just think the dialog is so funny and hilarious. I love that movie.
[00:23:29.860] – Sean
Guy Ritchie really stands out in a class of his own. I love his films. Good call.
[00:23:35.460] – Sean
All right, we got a few business questions here. What is the worst business advice you ever received?
[00:23:42.000] – Eric
Worst business advice would be to tough it out. I was in a position where it was very stressful. I was just anxiety. I couldn’t sleep at night. It was just very stressful. But because I was making good money, some advice that I got was just stick it out. You’re going to make even more money next year. And I was like, no, that was really bad advice. And luckily, I didn’t take their advice to heart and I left. And it worked out in the end. Long term, it really worked out. But that was bad advice.
[00:24:11.960] – Sean
Nice. All right, let’s flip that equation. What is the best advice you ever received?
[00:24:17.300] – Eric
Best advice. Well, I don’t know if it was ever advice, but there’s a quote that has always stuck with me and it’s called your life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. I always think about that quote whenever I’m thinking about… Whenever I may be a little hesitant or afraid to try to pursue something new or do something new, that quote always comes back to me.
[00:24:42.700] – Sean
That is profound advice. I love that. All right, and last question here, the time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?
[00:24:54.740] – Eric
Oh God, any age between 18 and 27. I would probably say quit messing around and start reading more books on personal development, on how to gain wealth and leadership and things like that, because I didn’t really start doing those things until probably close to 30. I feel like I got a really late start in life because of that.
[00:25:20.660] – Sean
My journey was similar. My 20s were, I would say, some trial and error, you could say, but I wasn’t as focused.
[00:25:28.760] – Eric
Yeah, definitely me either.
[00:25:30.820] – Sean
All right, well, last question here. Where’s the best place the audience can reach you?
[00:25:35.260] – Eric
Yeah, LinkedIn, Eric. Mail. C o r would be the best place. I’m pretty active on there. And then, of course, if they want to learn more about personalization, just go to optimunk. Com and you can learn more about the platform and personalization as well.
[00:25:47.830] – Sean
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time, Eric.
[00:25:49.920] – Eric
Thank you, Sean.
[00:25:50.890] – Sean
We’ll see you. Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. Also, if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple podcast and leave a review? The more reviews we get, the more Apple will share this podcast with the world. So thanks for doing that. And last thing, if you do hear any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. Please do not make a buy or sell decision based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks for your time. Talk to you later. See you.