Growth team backs next-generation e-commerce player
01 July 2021
Stefano Chinello: My brother Omar and I set up ProduceShop in 2015, selling home furnishings, outdoor furniture and DIY equipment. We have grown at 60 - 70% a year over the past few years, all of it self-funded, but we reached the point where we needed a partner to help with the next phase of growth.
When we met Ardian we quickly saw that they understood the company and we had a positive feeling about the relationship from the start. That was the reason we chose Ardian – the people.
Romain Chiudini: The growth rate of the company is amazing, but more importantly for us, Omar and Stefano have a compelling strategic vision for ProduceShop. They sell specific product categories across most of Europe with strong customer service and support, and they have developed proprietary software that leverages all the data they gather to present the right products to the customer at the right moment. We see this model as the next generation of e-commerce business. ProduceShop. They sell specific product categories across most of Europe with strong customer service and support, and they have developed proprietary software that leverages all the data they gather to present the right products to the customer at the right moment. We see this model as the next generation of e-commerce business.
60 - 70%
average yearly growth rate
daily shipments throughout Europe
Omar Chinello: We have tried from the beginning to make everything as strong and scalable as possible and to invest as efficiently as we can. In every category we have our own brand as well as thirdparty brands and after a time, customers search for our private-label brands, which means we don’t have to spend money on advertising. E-commerce businesses often burn cash on advertising and marketing, but we are different. This allows us to grow and to protect our margins. We use an algorithm to forecast the potential sales and pricing of each product and we insist on our target margin on every sale. This is our unbreakable rule.
RC: This approach is the key, for us. E-commerce companies often want to invest in their brand, like traditional retailers. But today, with new ways to consume like social networks and Google Shopping, customers aren’t concerned with the retailer’s overall brand. They want to invest in a quality product at a good price and they want service and information about the product. ProduceShop has understood that faster than most e-commerce companies and this is what makes them so profitable.
Obviously, it is in their DNA to protect their margins, but the model itself is designed to produce better margins in any case.
SC: Our major project now is to build all the knowledge that Omar and I have about the company into our enterprise resource planning software so that we can automate as many processes as possible. This is essential to prepare the company to grow a lot bigger.
Ardian Growth’s objective is to finance Europe’s leading digital companies and it’s clear that ProduceShop can be a major European player.
RC: When we talk to digital entrepreneurs everywhere in Europe, the conversation is the same. We don’t see Europe as a series of local markets but as one e-commerce market that gives companies like ProduceShop a huge opportunity to scale.