The wholesale purchasing season has started again, time for a reflection. In this three-part blog series, our CEO and co-founder Joost Brugmans takes you into the vision of Orderchamp. We are on our way to something big and we would like to tell you more about it. This is part 1: our story.
Entrepreneurship and retail is in our DNA; that is why we set out to build this product for our customers. Many of our team members were since 2008 responsible for the success of SaaS ecommerce platform, SEOshop, which was acquired in 2015 by Lightspeed before recently going public (TSX:LSPD).
At the end of 2018, however, we had a new idea.
As digital retail pioneers at SEOshop, we have experienced the change in the retail landscape from a very close eye. We saw an explosion of new and successful webshops and read in the news that physical retail was not doing well. "Omnichannel" soon became the buzz word within the retail community to break this downward trend and we responded to that by merging with Lightspeed. During that period, we have helped a lot of physical entrepreneurs with their online channels, and vice versa successful e-tailers with their stores. This cross-pollination has rejuvenated the industry and we believe it is the basis for contemporary success.
Protect against online B2C marketplaces
We also saw that the larger e-commerce players such as Amazon & Zalando manifested themselves as trading platforms. Their online growth seems to be unstoppable. A considerable number of retailers have difficulties in protecting themselves against these big players. Some cut their losses; they join the marketplaces and advertise on these channels. There is, however, a snag with adverse long-term effects for those retailers: the giants mainly steer on price, are only getting bigger and include successful products in their own collection, pushing the smaller players into a corner. Many retailers have realised this now and a movement has emerged that emphasises the importance of the "local retailer" again. And we are on that train too.
Successful as a retailer
However, the headlines still show a negative image of the "physical retailer," but when you zoom in, you see that it is mainly about the larger dime a dozen chains. These stores and department stores add little value because the products they offer can also be found online, mostly at the aforementioned ecommerce giants, often at a better price. If you zoom out, you see that successful local retailers have an advantage because they select unique products and present exceptional service to the consumer. They stood their ground at a time when the chains dominated and the online industry tried to throw a spanner in the works. Shouldn’t therefore every contemporary retailer hyperfocus on a unique range of products? Is that perhaps the key to success? We think so.
With new types of stores, such as the concept stores and lifestyle boutiques, where it comes down to experience and selection, local retail will win the market again. These stores carry combinations of different categories - for example apparel with home decoration - so that a consumer is constantly surprised and keeps coming back. These stores are an essential part of the character of our future local communities. Orderchamp wants to help these independent retailers to make an even bigger difference and thereby support the store of the future.
Unique merchandise in every store
The retail landscape is rapidly changing. We believe that independent stores can differentiate themselves from the masses by creating a curated product offering. Think of handmade creations, products with a social story or sustainable background. Reinforced by the ‘maker revolution’, there are more brands than ever before. However, there remains many inefficiencies with the current wholesale model, making it difficult for brands to find the right sales channels, and for retailers to discover unique products. We want to enable creators and shop owners from around the world to come together and build upon one another's success.
“Orderchamp is reimagining wholesale by bringing independent retailers and brands together in a digital marketplace to empower local communities across the globe.”
On a daily basis, we find unique brands and use machine learning to connect them with the right retailers. We take the guesswork out of the equation by unlocking the power of data for all. Leveraging our social platform to create interactions between both parties, our mission translates two-fold: 1) retailers can easily discover and purchase distinctive and high quality products in smaller quantities and; 2) brands can quickly do business with new buyers in new regions. With our vision to provide unique merchandise for every store, we seek to help both retailers and brands grow their business.
We continue to build our product to support the retail community. The confidence that our first users gave us and the growth that we have experienced in the first months give the team a lot of energy. Thanks! We are launching a number of new features in the coming months and I would like to tell you more about this in part 2: “A brief retrospect and a bright international perspective for retailers and brands”.
Visit us live
Can you not wait for this announcement and do you want to know what is coming? Then visit us in person. We will be present at some of the largest international trade fairs in the coming weeks, such as Maison et Object in Paris, showUP in Haarlem, and Ambiente in Frankfurt.