Amazon has arrived strongly to the online market of fresh products, but there were others before Amazon. In this context, fresh fish is one of the secret weapons of groups such as Ulabox or Comprea to face the giant of the e-commerce in Spain with a differentiated offer in the online supermarket sector that Amazon cannot match.
I found an article which contains a really interesting interview to Jaume Gomà, founder and CEO of Ulabox, who talks about the way of facing Amazon in the online purchase. According to him, the fish is a key product in this segment that Amazon is trying to conquer; it has a weight of 16% in the average purchase ticket of a consumer. “In the online sale of fresh fish, our group has a penetration of 15%,” he says. Amazon, however, still does not offer it for “logistical problems”, he explains.
Comprea, another of the online supermarkets featured in our country, also sells fresh fish, but for the moment, only in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. It does so through its agreements with various supermarket chains, like those that Amazon has with “Dia” or “El Mercado de la Paz” in Madrid.
And what about the logistic part?
Ulabox and Comprea recognize that supplying the supermarket by the screen of a computer or a mobile phone is a logistics nightmare. Ulabox makes more than 10.000 deliveries per month and requires three temperatures for their products: frozen, fresh and dry.
They have three warehouses: two in Barcelona and one in Madrid. Three types of product categories are also offered based on prices. In total, more than 12.500 references of products.
To make this viable with fresh products it is imperative to close deals. Sometimes with groups like Danone, for dairy products, sometimes with gourmet grocery stores such as Escofet Oliver or Antolin, integrated on the web for products of higher range, as a formula to offer diversity before the uniformity of Amazon or others.
Regarding the distribution of these fresh and frozen products, it must be taken into account that they must meet very high standards to ensure that the cold chain never breaks. For this reason it is very necessary to have a nearby warehouse that has areas with different temperatures.
In the case of packaging, they also need to define certain transport packaging that can keep food at an adequate temperature.
Of course, they also need a distribution fleet designed to enable efficient home delivery of B2C (business to consumer) orders that combine products of all three types.
Repetition is important
Gomà emphasizes that the importance is on repetition and not so much on the volume or the size of the players in the sector. “The key is in the people who repeat an online purchase in your webpage. In the case of Ulabox seven of every ten people repeat purchase, one of the best repetition indexes of the sector”.
Future of the sector?
Finally, Gomà is convinced that the existence of competence like the Amazon one is necessary for the sector. He states that what they need is that another Spanish big player like Mercadona or El Corte Inglés enter the market, thus increasing sales. Nowadays only 1% of what the sector invoices is done through the network so if the weight increases it would be place for all the players. The CEO of the group is optimistic for the high level of growth; an increase of 64% in a year.