Online MRO startup Zamro selects e-commerce platform of Intershop

29 December 2016 5 min. read
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Zamro, an online platform that provides tools and technical supplies, has implemented Intershop’s Commerce Suite solution to serve as its B2B omni-channel commerce hub. With the technology platform, the Netherlands-based digital startup aims at rapidly expanding its footprint across the European scene.

Launched in October 2016, Zamro is an e-commerce platform that sells a wide range of technical products, such as tools, machines, rubbers, hydraulics, bathroom and kitchen spare parts, and a range of office supplies. According to the firm’s website, it boasts a portfolio of over 550,000 products, making the startup, in terms of supply, one of the largest players in the Benelux, where it currently operates.

Zamro was founded by Floris Jan Cuypers and Eric Croon, and is backed financially by ERIKS Group, a Dutch conglomerate with more than 65 group companies and branches in 28 countries, providing business-to-business products and solutions to around 200.000 industrial customers. By leveraging the firm’s mechanical engineering and technical expertise, as well as its financial muscle, Cuypers and Croon believe they can build Zamro into a pan-European online player in the maintenance return & operations (MRO) space, a wider market estimated to be worth more than $560 billion globally, with Westen European holding a share of around $115 billion.

Although still in its infancy, the online segment is the fastest growing area. According to an estimate by analysts, up to 10% of the total MRO market could be captured by online players in the coming five to six years.

Online MRO landscape

The Dutch startup is not the first player to jump onto MRO’s e-commerce bandwagon – the online European MRO market hosts several ventures from established players (such as Zoro in mainland Europe and Cromwell in the UK; both part of US-giant Grainger) and startups that have grown to serious players, such as Brammer and Contorion in the DACH countries. Across the board the European players however trail the more mature operations of larger rivals in the US and Japan – Zoro’s US operations for instance draws sales of close to $400 million, while in comparison, Zoro Europe still has to break through the income barrier of $20 million. MonotaRO, a Japanese player that enjoys a significant head start (founded in 2000) and is ragrded as one of the online frontrunners in the landscape, saw its sales reach $600 million last year.

Online MRO startup Zamro selects e-commerce platform of Intershop

In a bid to differentiate Zamro from the rest, Cuypers and Croon have earmarked a number of strategic pillars the startup wants to excel on, including deep technical knowledge, a broad assortment across categories (in tools, but also in machine parts and technical supplies), an excellent customer service (e.g. the firm has a Watsapp functionality for direct contact) and an open and transparent pricing model. The Dutch startup also differs from the incumbents in its go-to-market focus – Zamro serves mainly companies in the small and mid-market segment, as well as companies that do not have dedicated purchasing departments. “Large customers have a structured and defined buying process. We focus on companies with an unstructured buying process and tend to use the internet in terms of finding their products”, explains Cuypers, who started his career as a consultant at Monitor Group (now Monitor Deloitte). 

B2B e-commerce platform

As part of their international ambitions, Cuypers and Croon decided to build their e-commerce platform to be flexible and suitable for multiple countries. Following a vendor selection process the founders selected to implement Intershop Commerce Suite, the B2B e-commerce platform of German omni-channel specialist Intershop. The company is an e-commerce partner for dozens of large multinationals, including HP, BMW and Deutsche Telekom, but also serves the smaller slice of the market with a tailored solution for SME’s. “We are delighted that Zamro selected Intershop. This success mirrors Intershop’s B2B focus and confirms once again that our B2B omni-channel commerce solution is very appealing for ambitious medium-sized companies geared toward cross border growth”, says Axel Köhler, an executive at the Jena-based corporate.

“The platform meets our demands for an innovative yet economical solution that is flexible and scalable enough to push our plans for growth ahead”, remarks Cuypers on the technology backbone. The solution was implemented by consultants from Intershop and went live along with the launch of in the Netherlands three months ago. 

In December Zamro also launched in Belgium and looking ahead, Cuypers highlights that the firm’s roadmap includes market entry into several new countries in 2017 and the coming years. “Our ambition is to become a strong player in Europe. If you look at the market you see that there is a huge potential. We want to build a large company, so in five years Zamro will certainly be present in a couple of more countries.”

According to a recent study, digital models are accelerating major business model change in the B2B landscape.