5 minutes with Fruugo managing director Tony Preedy

The rise of online marketplaces is fundamentally altering the way shoppers search, browse and buy as they begin to dominate the ecommerce sector, both locally and across the world.

According to a recent study, the unstoppable rise of the online marketplace model – most famously operated by the likes of Amazon, Expedia and eBay – is driving the largest fundamental shift in consumer spending since the 1990s.

As a genuinely global marketplace Fruugo stocks millions of products from hundreds of retailers worldwide, automatically calculating the often-complicated and confusing exchange rates and overseas shipping costs for consumers.

A range of recognisable and trusted payment methods including AliPay, Klarna and Clearpay also make the checkout process as simple and frictionless as possible.

Charged spoke to the company’s managing director Tony Preedy – who has spent the last 30 years specialising in ecommerce, digital and direct marketing for some of the the largest home shopping organisations in the UK and Europe, including Lakeland and the Very Group – to find out more about how the company is navigating today’s changing ecommerce sector.

Tell us a little bit about Fruugo

“Fruugo is a highly diversified global online marketplace currently helping over 1,800 online retailers sell products to over 3 million shoppers a year in 42 countries, 31 currencies and 28 languages.

Our mission is to enable online retailers everywhere to sell to shoppers anywhere. We do this by using proprietary technology to reduce the complexities of cross-border trade by offering a fully integrated, localised offer for retailers and shoppers around the world.”

How is Fruugo different to other marketplaces like Amazon or Ebay?

“In some respects, Fruugo is similar – we provide retailers access to very large volumes of potential shoppers. But where we differ is our specialism in cross-border ecommerce.

Retailers provide data in one language and currency, and we do all the translation, currency conversion, sales tax management and local marketing necessary to generate sales from shoppers located all over the world.

Retailers only incur a fee when we generate sales for them, and they receive funds in their own currency regardless of which currency the shopper used.”

What consumer challenges does Fruugo address?

“Consumers are increasingly searching online for the items they need. By shopping from retailers located in other countries they often find items that are unavailable locally and at lower prices.

Research shows that shoppers will only buy from websites presented in their own language and currency, and they prefer to use the local payment methods that they are familiar with.

Our technology addresses these barriers and makes it possible for retailers and shoppers all over the world to find and buy from each other in this fully localised way, without retailers having to deal with the complexities of doing so.”

How do retailers benefit from using Fruugo’s platform?

“We’re an additional channel to market for retailers, providing access to a global pool of shoppers that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.

Our platform takes on the heavy lifting needed for retailers seeking international growth. Once retailers are integrated with Fruugo, they receive an ongoing source of incremental revenue.

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They simply apply the appropriate label to the parcel and send it on its way. Fruugo is a really great way to generate additional revenue from a prior investment in ecommerce fulfilment capability.

To support this, we also leverage our sophisticated digital marketing, bidding and advertising strategies across multiple e-commerce shopping channels, search engines, countries and product categories to drive traffic to the retailers’ products. We are their marketing machine in up to 42 countries.”

How does Fruugo plan for the future in the rapidly-changing ecommerce sector?

“We are at heart a data-driven technology business, making commercial decisions grounded in factual analysis and scientific evidence.

We apply these skills to focus on helping the retailers that use our services to sell their products internationally, find new customers, and achieve profitable growth.

The team at Fruugo are highly innovative, developing our technology to create a better experience for retailers and shoppers, and to further leverage our data science and international marketing expertise.”

How does Fruugo expect to handle the slowdown in global ecommerce growth?

“At Fruugo, we are actually seeing the opposite – our growth continues to be driven by accelerating global shifts towards online shopping.

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In fact, cross-border ecommerce is expanding rapidly as country-specific retailers with an online footprint can now cost-effectively reach an international audience via marketplaces like ours.

Globally, there are over millions of online retailers that would benefit from use of our technology, and we are operationally leveraged to further accelerate our scale by multiplying the number of retailers we list on our platform.”

Do you think marketplaces are a critical part of the future of retail?

“Absolutely! The shift towards ecommerce is only getting more prominent, and as shoppers look for more unique, differentiated products, cross-border ecommerce is the natural evolution of retail.

Thanks to our proprietary technology, data-driven marketing capabilities, and highly experienced team, we believe we are well placed to accelerate our scale.

This will see Fruugo multiply the number of retailers and products available for global shoppers, while expanding the number of currencies and languages offered.”

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