Evolution instead of Disruption
There is likely to be potential in the local advertising market, which to date has been a blank canvas in the e-commerce landscape. The market for promotional products in Germany alone is worth around 3.6 billion euros, in the D/A/CH segment over 4.5 billion euros and in Europe over 15.0 billion euros. One should assume, however, that there would have been a suitable platform on the Internet for this long ago. But this has not been the case so far. Jürgen Geiger, executive director of Geiger Notes AG and member of the board of the Gesamtverband der Werbeartikelwirtschaft (GWW), saw the opportunity to close this gap by setting up a suitable marketplace and to link the traditionally offline market with online business models. Finally, in the advertising novelty economy of Germany 3,500 advisors and dealers as well as 500 manufacturers and importers are on the way.
The promotional products marketplace “mypromo”, which will go live in the second quarter of 2019, will now connect customers, retailers and manufacturers and lift the players in the market from the analogue to the digital world without replacing their business models. The exciting thing about “mypromo” is that a digital network is spanned across the entire industry – with a platform that does not sell anything itself but makes white label shops available and offers curated promotional items and lifestyle pages with relevant content.
How mypromo works: The customer generates his print data in the dealer shop – via upload or editor. The data is checked in real time, optimized and visually prepared in 3D so that the customer may directly approve the print. He fills the shopping basket and triggers his order with the retailer. This opens at mypromo and is immediately forwarded to the manufacturer together with the print data. Both partners import the generated commercial data into their own IT systems via interfaces. The manufacturer produces, delivers to the customer via drop shipping and invoices to the dealer. mypromo is merely the platform operator and does not appear optically or as a contractual partner at any point.
“The contract suppliers place their articles in the system, mypromo takes over the templating for the print data: It should be simple for the user and achieve good results for the manufacturer. And all of this can be done in digital printing, offset, flexo, inkjet, screen printing, pad printing, embossing, engraving, etching, to name only the most important. And this happens on tens of different surfaces. A very unique challenge for every data engine,” explains Jürgen Geiger.
But probably the biggest challenge in setting up mypromo for him was the legally compliant definition of the general terms and conditions, the contracts between trading partners and suppliers and the guidelines between those involved in the marketplace. “For several years now, I have been driven by the conviction that an impulse, an entrepreneurial initiative, is needed to bring the urgently needed digitalization to our market,” explained Geiger. “One and a half years ago, I outlined the business model of mypromo.com for the first time and we immediately started to implement it”.
mypromo is a kind of start-up with a team of five people that should double by the end of the year. The financing model consists of a manageable monthly fee for providing the system and a sales commission in the cash discount area paid by the trading partner and supplier. This means that the platform is financed on a partnership basis.”
With his presentation Jürgen Geiger showed not only exemplary strategic procedure, but also the dimensions, which are connected with the structure of the platform. One does not make such a platform simply so casually. 18 months of planning, realization and fine-tuning speak for themselves.