After nearly three years from its birth, Gourmant.com – the startup that connects food and wine lovers with local Italian producers – is now a competitive reality in the world of high quality food and wine e-commerce, with its 100 thousand subscribers, 1500 products and a brand-new store in Germany. Here are the five lessons that guide Daniele Biffoli, founder of Gourmant, and his team.
When founding a start-up, it is very important that you pay great attention to employee selection. Between office and warehouse, at Gourmant we are 21 young workers in our twenties and thirties, all of us are good food lovers and convey a lot of energy into our work. The fact that we are all peers has helped create a cool and easygoing atmosphere, so much so that we often go out and have a drink together after work. Many different professions are growing within our startup: the commitment that we show for our job is due to the fact that we all believe in the project, we know that Gourmant.com will continue to grow and become a big company.
A key element of any business is customer care. In the case of e-commerce, this is probably even more important than in other industries, as you need to follow and facilitate the customer step by step. Our clients’ first approach to our service is Gourmant website, for this reason we made sure that it allows an easy, smooth and fast shopping experience. We also have a quick and responsive customer service, and a few weeks ago we opened a hotline. In addition to this, we have learnt the importance of feedback: to let subscribers know that we are “human” and willing to listen is the best way to establish a good relationship with them. Today, this is one of our points of strength. Besides, we try to build loyalty by taking care of every single member, from her/his landing on Gourmant.com to the post-purchase phase, whether we are dealing with complaint or appreciation.
Obviously, to become a synonym for quality, at Gourmant we must always have high-quality products. We cannot make any mistake about this, as we would lose the credibility and trust we have earned over the years. This is why Gourmant Buyers have a big responsibility. We cannot afford to select unreliable producers: no cheap raw materials, no tricks that save you money, each company has to guarantee for the excellence of its products. For each product, we require tasting samples, data sheets and detailed information, so as to guarantee that we are selling the best Italian food and wine.
Obsessive attention to detail
One of the problems of e-commerce is that customers cannot touch the products: they cannot see them live, grab them with their hands. This may lead potential buyers to give up, since they are not sure about what they are buying. We have solved this problem by dedicating a truly obsessive attention to the creation of showcases in which we describe and show everything! Of course, first of all there are the photos: we have invested a lot in terms of time and energy, and today our professional photographer knows how to make the most of each product. For instance, if you are buying a jar of marmalade, you will see the product in a spoon, in order to get a precise idea of its texture and colour. Or beer – you will see it in glasses; and salami, cut into slices. Every single detail is designed so that customers can understand exactly what they are buying. As for the texts, our products are described in detail, from taste to processing method, from looks to flavour. Producers are often willing to send us a photograph of themselves and think of a sentence that represents their company. Customer feedback is great – no one ever complains about receiving a different product from the one they saw on the website. This means that we are doing a good job!
One important thing we have learned is that in this work we cannot stand still. It is essential that we always have new ideas, implement them and try to renew our company every day. In the last year, we have opened a store in Germany, started a magazine in which we publish many articles, recipes and video recipes, and soon we’ll have the English version of our website. In an industry like online sales, that is, one which is always changing, standing still can be dangerous even for a company that is doing well. For this reason, Gourmant.com will always be looking towards the next, brand new goal.