Ordering your everyday groceries from supermarkets online has been possible for a while. However, the so-called e-commerce in the fresh produce trade is still in its infancy. Melvin van der Zeyden, employed by importer Yex, saw the opportunities in e-commerce, and decided to fill that gap.
“Last year, I participated in the Intrapreneurship of Horti Heroes,” Melvin says. “This literally means being an entrepreneur within your own company. During this course, I was given the necessary handles, and I had already gained a lot of experience in e-commerce in the past. Combining more than five years of working experience as commercial employee for Yex and my interest in e-commerce, we started developing an online story in February 2019.”
Online Yex Store
The first step was to introduce a web shop for the wholesaler. “We’re testing this web shop with our customers, and we’re constantly improving. The input of our customers is important because in the end, they’ll be the ones who have to work with this application. The end goal is to set up an online store. A web shop is pure sales, but we want more than that, because an online store encompasses so much more. For example, we could give product information, offer marketing content, share promotions and offer more transparency. With the online store, we can also provide more insights in how we buy products and how we can perhaps do this more efficiently as an added value for our customers. This way, we’ll build a platform where customers have everything they need within reach.”
Ordering products via e-commerce is quicker, easier, less prone to mistakes and always available. “Customers no longer have to call a salesperson in the wholesaler’s to discuss prices and then draw up e-mails to confirm the order.” An often-heard argument is that e-commerce disintegrates customers' contact. “That’s not the case. By automating and digitising simple processes, the salesperson actually has more time to add value to the customer relationship, the aim being that our customer sells more. E-commerce is a proper addition, and not a replacement.”
“At first, traders felt slightly sceptical about this new development, but we’re gradually noticing more and more customers joining our web shop and noticing the advantages. A knock-on effect is starting to take place. Customers are starting to realise that this type of trade offers a lot of advantages. Traders can now only place their orders using their own accounts, but perhaps we could also serve consumers in the future. But let’s first do this properly!”