You want to get into e-commerce, but have doubts, questions? I offer you an interview with the two founders of Achatmat.com who started out without webmarketing knowledge to create a pure player B2B e-commerce site …
Yannick, Frédéric, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
We are both from specialized distribution at Point P and the Building Platform where we made our debut with B to B customers in the field of public works and construction.
How did you come up with the idea of creating an e-commerce site for construction equipment?
It was from this experience and from the customer’s need that we came up with the idea of a B to B site, referencing products that they did not find in specialized pros. Overall, these points of sale operate with rigid referencing. It is therefore complicated to find a contact there who masters other less known, but more effective products. When we know that Point P (Saint-Gobain group) only highlights brands of the group, it is complicated to have a speech on a non-biased technical solution.
In terms of implementation, have you received any training or assistance?
It is essential when one comes from a point of sale culture to be supported. Marketing and the Internet distribution business have nothing to do with point of sale methods. The central axis is no longer necessarily the marketing implemented by suppliers. Rather, it is the transcription in Google language of the description of this product, while allowing the customer without seeing, touching or knowing the product, to view it and him make you want to buy it. We are always supported by SEA, SEO specialists, self-employed graphic designers, with a custom ERP developed by our partner in-house. It perfectly meets our needs for responsiveness to the specific requests of our customers and allows us to manage from order to invoicing, accounting, product ranges in real time. At the same time, it allows us to free up time to manage our product ranges.
How long did it take between the creation of the company and the start of online sales? (site design, choice of a solution …)
We needed 1 year and a half of development and uploading to display 33,000 references online. We also continue to improve our SEO, functionality and ergonomics every month to meet the needs of professional customers who, in England, are not used to buying online, contrary to popular belief. (see Fevad study)
If it is not intrusive, what is the cost of your e-commerce project?
This is a project to date which borders on 130,000 euros HT (back + front).
What are your priority targets and how do you sell online?
Our site is designed for professionals in the construction, industry, agriculture and also communities. But he remains open to individuals eager to acquire professional equipment to which they do not have access.
Have you encountered any obstacles or doubts about your activity that may have called into question the sustainability of your project?
Entrepreneurship is a succession of moments of doubt, euphoria, storm, calm: that’s what keeps us going. You have to keep faith in your project every day and take enough time to take the necessary steps. good decisions strategic in the marketing mix.
It is clear that some suppliers do not look favorably on the reference of their products, for fear of breaking prices or because of their image. However, this is not our vocation and the partnerships that we have set up are win-win. We have to convince them every day of the real opportunity and the obligation they have to turn to the web as well.
We also made choices on the first 6 months, range, positioning, which earned us a good correction and a significant loss in the first year. The main thing is to correct the situation quickly. Then come the cash hassle (many suppliers asked for a cash payment) or customers “forgot” to pay us (and it hurts a lot). But all of that is behind us now. The key is to learn from mistakes.
If you had to change something in the past 2 years, what would you do more or less?
Our strength today is “Multispecialization” and the so-called 80/20 products, so if we had to start again we would start there. To distinguish oneself allows us today not to fight with the same weapons as our competitors (the price, the price and the price …): provide relevant information on the products that it will not have at the competitor copiers- gluers.
What advice would you give to people who want to get into e-commerce?
Surround yourself with people who master the codes of distribution on the net and not try to do what the other has already done very well for years …
Enhance its product sheets and pay particular attention to usage information, feedback, talking arguments, rather than listing technical characteristics for example.
What do you prefer to do in a day?
We have each our “tasks” or our affinities, which makes us Additional with a central focus: the daily search for new partners based on product affinities and ranges. Fred is more commercial and client, and I have more eyes on the administrative, the financial and the implementation of procedures to always go faster and not waste time on points that do not relate to ‘money. But both of us like to find solutions for our 10,000 regular customers.
On the other hand, what do you like least?
Waste time and lack efficiency!
Do you need to use external providers to develop your business? If yes, how many and for which missions?
We only use auto-entrepreneurs who know our business, our way of working and above all our requirements. They work independently directly on our ERP.
We work with 3 freelancers : a web designer, a traffic manager (Google certified, mainly for adwords and SEO), a web editor, animator of social networks for natural referencing and product marketing (which acts as product manager). So reactive, self-starter and top self-entrepreneurs !
What are your acquisition levers and how are they developing?
We focus a lot on natural referencing with news, choice guides for professional buyers, newsletters, social networks, and contests to promote our site. But above all, we offer new ranges, products and technical solutions every day to our customers, at the right price!
Where is your activity today?
Our Turnover is + 100% compared to the previous financial year, the margin allows us to be more than balanced after the third financial year.
What are your short and long term ambitions?
Our ambition is to continue to progress proportionately, to master our development and to reach 3 million turnover in 2 years. In the long term, we would like to create specialized sites with our best ranges to increase our visibility and become national references on very technical products which require a close relationship with our customers.
Contact remains the key to our profession. We often tell our customers that there are men behind the screens and that everything is not dematerialized as with the big names on the web that everyone has in mind.
Finally, a little tip for the road 🙂?
Know how to challenge yourself every day so as not to suffer, step back every day, analyze your “defeats”, and transform them into “victories” the next time. And don’t forget to make mistakes, but learn from them risque Risk is an integral part of our business.
Thanks to the two founders of Purchamat for their answers. I hope this will help people who also want to start an e-commerce site. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments!
> Discover the site www.achatmat.com