09 Oct 2017 | 10.03 am
Kooomo Helps Retailers To Make Online Impact
Online retail platform operates between Turin and Dublin
09 Oct 2017 | 10.03 am
With online retailing only going in an upward direction, established brands and new players have to pick their e-commerce platform carefully. Italian company Kooomo was early into this space, with Giovanni Veda founding the venture in Turin in 2000. Though Kooomo has established firm roots on the continent, now Ciaran Bollard (pictured) is tasked with winning over more customers in Ireland, the UK and America.
Bollard has been around the entrepreneurial block. He founded online music video platform Muzu in 2008 and raised over €10m to fund the enterprise. Muzu was never profitable and in October 2015 the company was liquidated. “There was and continues to be too many mouths at the table in the music industry,” he remarks.
Bollard joined Kooomo a year ago as managing director of the Dublin office, reasoning that its potential market is huge and the platform has an edge over rivals in terms of cost and convenience. The business has around 90 staff and most are based in Dublin, after Veda decided to set up a base in Ireland in 2010.
“Giovanni had acquired a lot of Italian customers, especially fashion brands like Dolce & Gabbana, but he realised that to internationalise the platform and source the required software talent he had to look outside Italy,” Bollard explains.
“He decided that Dublin was the best location due to the number of digital commerce companies located in the city. Proximity to the UK and the Dublin’s transatlantic were other deciding factors.”
Kooomo started out as a managed service. “We partnered with fashion brands that wanted to sell their goods online but didn’t know how to do it. We provided the warehouses, the logistics and then an actual e-commerce manager within the business, who would oversee the online store. We still do that for many customers, such as footwear retailer Havaianas.”
Kooomo was an early adopter of cloud technology, using a software as a service business model. Rivals include Demandware, owned by Salesforce, and Magento. According to Bollard: “Magento is an open source platform that’s not in the cloud and these days most brands and retailers don’t want to worry managing their own IT infrastructure.
“Demandware is a reasonably comprehensive solution but it’s very expensive. Our USP comes down to our experience, our ease of access without major upfront costs and the fact that we are in the cloud. We have everything a business needs to complete the whole digital commerce journey.”
So what is the actual cost involved? “Depending on the complexity, it would be between €20,000 and €40,000. We also take a revenue share, which tends to be around 3%, depending on the size of the business. If the business is doing €20m online our cut is less than 3%, but under €1m our share is 3%. So it in our interest to help the client sell more because we then make more too.”
Earlier this year, Kooomo became the only Ireland-based company to gain entry into Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce research report. Gartner lauded Kooomo’s feature set and its 90-day turnaround capability from commissioning to online store.
“Kooomo offers considerable savings over equivalent feature-rich products from other vendors,” Gartner stated. “All of its reference customers were very satisfied with the platform’s overall value proposition.”
Kooomo’s immediate priority is to gain more traction in the UK. “We come from a European DNA and we want to grow our European footprint,” says Bollard. “The Americans just don’t understand the complexities of VAT rates, never mind the different languages and currencies, when you’re trying to sell in 44 countries across Europe.”