Online shopping is already a large part of the everyday life of people worldwide. Ananas was launched with the idea of transferring this practice to our part of the world
Online commerce has experienced expansion during the coronavirus pandemic. The Ananas platform started developing before the pandemic- induced crisis when people in Serbia had very little trust in online shopping. We talked with Rajko Mandić, director of ANANAS E-COMMERCE, about the platform’s plans, the online store, as well as the motives that prompted the launch of this platform.
“We believe that the ability to recognize and predict trends is one of the important prerequisites for success. With the latest technology, innovations and experts from various fields, we want to provide our customers with an outstanding user experience and to take the online shopping process to a whole new level. We are confident that, during this journey, our partners will develop together with us, which means that we have the opportunity to initiate a significant improvement and make a big step forward for the domestic and regional economy,“ Mr. Mandić says.
The Ananas e-commerce platform is supposed to be launched in the summer of 2021. How are the preparations going and what development are you at now?
All our efforts are focused on ensuring that our users can enjoy the benefits of the Ananas platform come this summer. At the same time, we are negotiating with vendors, creating an attractive offer and developing technical solutions. Initially, we will launch the Ananas platform as a functional and secure version, and then over time we will further refine it and add functionality. The goal of all these activities is to offer the Ananas customer the same experience as the biggest global online stores. A large investment, combined with the know-how, experience, energy and top partners, with Delta Holding as the main investor in the Ananas project, give us strong reasons to believe that we will soon establish ourselves as the absolute leader in this segment.
Tell us a bit more about what the Ananas platform will look like and who is working on its development?
We started to prepare for the launch of an online store almost a year ago. During its development, we hired consultants from the Boston Consulting Group, with whom we collaborated in creating business models, as well as experienced managers from major global online stores. To achieve everything we set out to do and start an e-commerce revolution in our region, ready-made solutions were not an option for us. We have partnered with HTEC, a global consulting and development company based in San Francisco and one of the best in the IT industry which also operates in this region, to develop a platform specifically tailored to the needs of our customers, while applying the latest global solutions. When we talk about a “completely new user experience”, we are referring to various factors that make Ananas unique, such as being an intuitive platform, easy to navigate and completely secure for transactions.
“Various factors make Ananas unique, such as being an intuitive platform, easy to navigate and completely secure for transactions”
What were your main challenges during the project development and how did you overcome them?
Putting together a project of this size certainly brings various challenges with it. We had to define and develop functionalities for the initial phase, all in a short period. We are aware that people have high expectations from us and that all eyes are on us but we are confident that we have chosen partners whom we can completely trust, as well as an internal team who has experience working in the biggest national and international companies. This allows us to overcome any challenge we have identified so far.
What is going to be sold on Ananas and in which countries will the platform be available?
With over twenty categories, the Ananas platform will provide shoppers with everything they need – from electronics, clothing and footwear to tools and small home appliances. We will be selling everything apart from food. Also, we are going to offer only new products from various producers and retailers. Ananas will first be available to people in Serbia, after which we will launch in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia, followed by Croatia and Slovenia. In the end, we think that our concept of modern commerce will come to life in Bulgaria and Albania as well.
In the last year, e-commerce has become a very competitive market in our part of the world. How will you overcome the competition and how will you motivate producers, who already have their online stores, to sell on Ananas?
Although the market has become quite competitive, we believe that there is always room for quality competitors. Our sales team is already negotiating with vendors from all segments, and we often receive inquiries from vendors themselves who are interested in cooperating with us. The size and attractiveness of the project, Ananas Fulfillment Centre, as well as the fact that Delta Holding is the majority owner of the platform, are very strong motives for many vendors and producers.
“We have been giving a lot of thought to how to achieve the best combination of elements like speed, comfort, flexibility and price, which will guarantee shoppers a superior experience”
Many people single out logistics as one of the biggest problems of online commerce. How will you resolve potential logistics issues? Will the Ananas Fulfillment Service contribute to that? In which way is it going to be useful to shoppers and vendors alike?
We believe logistics is not a problematic issue for shoppers, but rather it is bad delivery experiences they have had. To change that, we assembled a team of experts in this field, including the former director of logistics at Mercado Libre, the largest online store in South America. Our team is working hard on developing a warehousing facility that will ensure a world-class delivery standard. Thanks to this type of service, we provide benefits for both vendors and shoppers. As far as vendors are concerned, thanks to this service, we take over the entire process of storing and sending packages, thus greatly facilitating their operations. On the other hand, our delivery times are shorter and our delivery is simplified and more efficient, the result of which is the best user experience for our customers.
New technologies and digitalization are advancing every day. Can we expect some technological innovations when it comes to the Ananas platform?
As I mentioned earlier, we have been developing the Ananas platform for months with the end goal to offer something unprecedented in our part of the world. Sophisticated design, an intuitive way of using the platform and easy search of the desired products are just a part of the functionality that will make Ananas stand out from other e-commerce platforms. We are planning to implement other novelties regarding the delivery of goods, but we cannot talk about the details yet. However, we can say that we have been giving a lot of thought to how to achieve the best combination of elements like speed, comfort, flexibility and price, which will guarantee shoppers a superior experience. Keep your eyes on us and see for yourself that we will do exactly what we have promised.