Buying groceries at a supermarket is probably one of the things that is done at least once a week by an average Dutch consumer. Supermarkets spend quite a lot of money on marketing and advertising, and basically every supermarket claims to offer fair prices and the best products. Being a supermarket, how can you find out which supermarket is really the cheapest option? In order to find the answer to this question, RTL Nieuws (2014) executed a research experiment in which they bought the exact same grocery list at the 13 biggest supermarket chains in the Netherlands. Surprisingly, they found out that the bills varied quite a lot for a rather small grocery list, ranging from €11,17 for the cheapest supermarket to €23,35 for the most expensive one.
As shown in the experiment above, Dutch households can potentially save a lot of money on their grocery expenses by going to the cheapest supermarket. Gaspard Jaspers saw an opportunity for this problem, so he started with the development of Sjoprz, an app that enables users to compare 80.000 different products (Libbenga, 2015). After scanning a product at home or in the supermarket, this app directly displays which ingredients the particular product contains, what it costs in several supermarkets and where the product is currently on sale (Eindhovens Dagblad, 2015). Additionally, the app also shows the nutritional value of a product, allowing customers to shop for a healthy lifestyle.
Why has this app more potential than ‘Boodschapp’?
In 2012, Boodschapp was launched with a similar idea as Sjoprz. However, the app went bankrupt 4 weeks ago, since they were not able to create a sustainable business model that generated enough revenue to cover the costs (Adformatie, 2015). According to the founder of Sjoprz, Gaspard Jaspers, Boodschapp failed because of limited information, where they particularly focused on health, while the customer values the price as a very important aspect as well.
Sjoprz, on the contrary, gives their users a push notification when their favorite products are on sale. Moreover, you just scan the barcode of products to find out where it is offered for the lowest price. This information about prices in particular, can be very valuable for a customer (Libbenga, 2015).
How did Sjoprz manage to obtain all this data?
Without any doubt, it can be stated that uploading all information about all products available in the Dutch supermarkets requires a lot of work. In addition to that, the founder explained that no single supermarket in the Netherlands was willing to share their data about products with Sjoprz or to help with the development of the app. Looking at it from the perspective of the supermarket, this makes sense, because the app actually makes the supermarket industry fully transparent. When this app is completely developed, customers can see in a glance which supermarket is the best option. Supermarkets will probably see this as a threat, since they might become less popular once this app is used by a big percentage of supermarket customers. Consequently, their shopping behaviour is likely to change due to this app, resulting in the fact that customers will buy different products and brands, since they are better informed (Eindhovens Dagblad, 2015).
To conclude, it can be stated that this app improves customer informedness a lot, resulting in the fact that the supermarket industry becomes more transparent than it ever was. This shifts the power to the consumer, and according to the founder of the app, that is where the power should be.
Adformatie. (2015, September 15). Boodschapp en Goodso failliet verklaard. Retrieved from http://www.adformatie.nl/nieuws/boodschapp-en-goodso-failliet-verklaard
Eindhovens Dagblad. (2015, April 25). Nieuwe app voor goedkopere en gezondere boodschappen. Retrieved from http://www.ed.nl/economie/nieuwe-app-voor-goedkopere-en-gezondere-boodschappen-1.4879856
Libbenga, J. (2015, October 15). ‘Een boodschappenapp die wel werkt’. Retrieved from http://www.emerce.nl/nieuws/een-boodschappenapp-die-wel-werkt
RTL Nieuws. (2014, November 05). Aldi, Lidl en Spar duurste supermarkten. Retrieved from http://www.rtlnieuws.nl/editienl/aldi-lidl-en-spar-duurste-supermarkten
Author: Ruud Schippers
Student number: 441698
Fastned: building the world’s first network of fast charging stations where all electric cars can charge
The auto industry is rapidly changing. Electric Vehicles are the future. At this moment 62,287 registered electric vehicles are driving on the road, but the development of the growth is exponential (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, 2015).
According to the strategy firm Roland Berger (2015) 50% of the cars will be using traditional engines with gasoline or diesel in 2025. The other 50% will be either electric (EV) or hybrid vehicles. AON (2010), a financial service provider, reported that there are 8 million registered cars in the Netherlands, an easy calculation states that there will be at least 4 million registered electric or hybrid vehicles by 2025 driving on the Dutch road.
Fastned is trying to respond to this rapid change in the automobile industry by building a network of fast charging stations along the Dutch highway with national coverage. They are building the infrastructure that is necessary to fast charge all the electric vehicles.
They state that: only when this infrastructure is in place, the driver of an electric car will experience true freedom. This will start the electric revolution.
Currently they are building one new fast charging station per week and they already have a basic national network of stations in place. Ultimately, they will open 201 charging stations through the Netherlands. They designed their stations in a way that is compatible with frequent hardware and software updates. By doing this they can ensure that their stations will be usable in the future.
With an app it is possible to not only charge your car but also pay for it. Besides that you can check your charging history and change your plan and payment method.
As from yesterday (September 22, 2015) Fastned is cooperating with Nissan by giving buyers of the Nissan Leaf two years of free supercharging. With this cooperation drivers can easily charge their vehicles unlimited in a fast way. According to Michiel Langezaal (CEO, Fastned) this cooperation is a very logic step, and is actually the same as with mobile phones. When you buy a mobile phone you will also subscribe to a telecom provider in order to actually call. Will this be the future for buyers of electric vehicles? And will these kind of stimulations encourage consumers to buy an electric vehicle more faster than a regular vehicle?
Are the Dutch ready for the exponential growth in electric vehicles by incorporating the Fastned charging stations throughout the country or need they start to think of other ways to cope with this growth? What do you think should these ‘other ways’ be?
This spring, I attended a workshop hosted by a very inspiring person: Jarno Vanhatapio, founder of Nelly.com, the largest online fashion retailer in the Nordics. This is his story:
Back in 2003, Jarno Vanhatapio was getting tired of his job as a construction worker in Norway. For three years, he had dreamed of putting up his own business. He had some experience as an organizer of school discos and knew basic html programming, but other than that, he had no experience of importing, e-commerce or business (and he was not that interested in fashion, either).
Jarno thought long about his options, and finally decided to start selling underwear through a web site, which he dubbed Nelly.com. The rationale was simple: a small underwear parcel would fit in the mailbox, making delivery easier. He found cheap underwear suppliers in China, and started running the business from his small studio, which was soon crammed up with cardboard boxes containing bikinis and boxers.
When Christmas was approaching, Jarno saw his sales starting to grow exponentially. After that, it never really stopped. Running the business was a constant struggle to keep up to demand, to have enough products in stock and to convince suppliers that they would eventually get paid.
After three years, the company had a turnover of around 20 million Swedish krona (approx. 2.5 million EUR) and had become the largest online underwear retailer in the Nordics. The difficulties with the supply chain were however putting a big burden on Jarno’s nerves, and when the large Swedish media group MTG made an offer to buy 90% the company, Jarno couldn’t refuse.
After securing the supply chain and getting new financial backing, Nelly.com could start expanding its business even more. Today, Nelly.com has 11 million monthly page views, 850 different clothes brands and a yearly turnover of 816 million SEK (approx. 100 million EUR).
The story shows how new, emerging technologies have made it possible to succeed for anyone with a fairly good idea, and more importantly, the will to implement it.
Here are some of the observations on e-commerce Jarno Vanhatapio wanted to share with his listeners:
- Co-creation is great. Modern technology and social networking makes it a cheap and efficient marketing tool. For example, you can put up a design on your Facebook page, and simply ask people if it should be produced or not. It is also easy to let people submit their own designs.
- The business is going to consolidate. Only a few big actors will be able to serve the variety-seeking mass markets, having both the logistical capabilities to handle high inventory turnover, and the analytical expertise to make the most out of big data.
- Payment and ordering processes are getting easier. You won’t be asked to type in your credit card details over and over again. Also, companies will be able to evaluate whether you are creditworthy or not.
- Classical advertising is slowly dying. As of today, 25% of Nelly’s traffic comes from fashion bloggers/affiliates. An advice he gives to fashion retailers in particular to have at least 50% of your marketing and sales department working with social media.
I’m a big fan of TechCrunch for several reasons. Not only does TechCrunch provide me with the latest information on anything happening in the tech world, it also gives me lots of ideas for tools that I could use for my own startup that I am planning to launch in the near future. Over the past months, I’ve discovered some tools via TechCrunch that facilitate various aspects of setting up your company. Here are the coolest ones:
– Shopify ( www.shopify.com ) / e-commerce solution
This company helps people turn their website into a webshop. Merchants can select a template for the layout and all they need to do next is upload photos of their products. What I like about it is the fact that anyone who wants to sell something online, can. They offer a two-week trial period and then you pay on a monthly basis.
– Wix (www.wix.com) / website creation
Wix is a do-it-yourself web publishing platform which enables users to create and host websites without having to learn to design or code. It is completely free. A cool and easy way for anyone who needs a webpage to make one quickly.
– Longstride (http://wearelongstride.com/) / webdesign
This startup makes really cool webdesigns, videos, logo redesigns, trailers etc. My personal favourite is http://www.jifiti.com/. Even if you don’t want to pay for their services, it is a good way to get inspired. Check it out!
– Startup-giraffe (http://startupgiraffe.com/) / all-inclusive startup solution
This startup helps entrepreneurs develop an idea into a product and launch the accompanying website. The thought behind it is that many entrepreneurs don’t know where to start or get lost in the amount of work to be done. Startup-giraffe delivers a product within 7 weeks. It’s a pricy option though: 50 000 dollars and 5% equity. I’d recommend this for anyone who has money but no clue on what to do 😉
– Zendesk (www.zendesk.com) / customer care solution
Zendesk is an on-demand customer care solution that deals with email, phone, chat and social media. Effortless Housing uses Zendesk and even though I have to admit that I wasn’t that impressed with their interface, from a startup’s perspective, Zendesk is an easy tool that deals with the entire customer care-part of a business.
– MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com) / CRM solution
This startup provides easy templates to set up an email campaign. You can select from a number of templates and then add text, columns and pictures as you like. If you have less than 2000 subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails for free.
– Xobni (www.xobni.com) / inbox solution
This company (the word Inbox spelled backwards) makes your inbox and address book smarter. The application creates profiles of all your contacts and provides additional information about job title, company details, email history and updates from social media. It was acquired by Yahoo in July 2013. Personally, I think it is a cool app, but if you use it for work, I wouldn’t want to see social media updates from my partners.
Should you know of other handy tools for startups, I’d be happy to hear about them!