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Isn't e-commerce a little too exotic for our trade?
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Isn't e-commerce a little too exotic for our trade?

Yexpert Stories: E-Commerce Manager Melvin

We are proud of all our Yexperts! That is why we would like to tell you exactly what they do in our series "Yexpert Stories". This time we talk with Melvin van der Zeyden, E-Commerce Manager. He likes to talk about his work:

Had I completely lost my mind? Perhaps I'd had eaten too many overripe mangoes? (When ripe fruit starts fermenting, alcohol is created!) Did I know anything about the fruit and vegetable trade? And a few more honest answers to that effect. I received these answers to my question of what buyers of Yex customers would think of an online shop. You would think that would have been the end of that idea after so much reluctance. But that is exactly what did not happen at Yex.

I still go to shops to buy things, although if I'm honest: the shop must offer some sort of experience and good service. Otherwise I will buy it online. Just like a lot of my peers. And future generations will know no better than to buy everything online. So you could say that online also has a future in our industry. But very few buyers were interested. Seeing is believing was a frequently heard response.

No, perhaps not on an online shop, but e-commerce is much more than just an online shop, even though initially one would only think of digital orders. The goal is to ultimately reduce the customer's workload and create a win-win situation. It's a case of learning together with that customer and giving them time to get used to it. Don't say: here's your online shop, good luck with it. No, sit down with the customer. Place an order together. Place another order together. Until that customer trusts that whole online thing that they weren't so keen on (but turns out to be very practical). The goal is absolutely not to make personal customer contacts disappear. It gives our sales people time to help our customers find suitable solutions and to really be able to add value.

It is still pioneering every day. True pioneering, because we did not really have an outlined digital strategy. All we had was a visionary board and one salesperson - me - who could see opportunities and had the time to set up everything from scratch. We still learn every day. E-commerce is so big and complex, you never stop learning. But digitisation continues to grow in our business. You can see it from colleagues who are also experimenting, and are also discovering that they still have a lot to learn.

And if you can sell exotic fruits and vegetables to the trade, why not to the consumer? That is why we have set up an online shop where consumers can order various packages. The idea had been there for quite a while, the corona pandemic has given us a push. Getting rich from those packages is not our first goal (although we wouldn't mind.) We would like all consumers in the Netherlands to enjoy our wide range of exotic fruit and vegetables. In addition, we now consider contact with consumers mainly as real-time market research. Who are the buyers of our products? Which products are popular? What do they find important? What do we need to improve?

And here again, it is pioneering. And that is exactly what I like about a company like Yex. Every other company would have probably put those online ideas on hold to let someone else reinvent the wheel. At any other company, I would have been just that seller with wild ideas about e-commerce. But not here. You’re free to follow your ideas. You're even allowed to make a mistake from time to time.

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