When looking for very specific produce, like IQF-frozen produce for example, it can be difficult to find a steady, reliable supplier. This has resulted in an IQF equipment supplier, OctoFrost Group, to set up as a middle-man, connecting buyers with IQF suppliers. They have now launched an online platform to serve that need and to create a convenient way of networking for both parts.
OctoFrost Link is an online platform where OctoFrost customers can find business partners. The platform is not meant for trading, but for networking and connecting purposes. It allows OctoFrost customers to be connected directly with potential buyers: “Before we launched OctoFrost Link, traders would contact us on a regular basis, trying to get in touch with reliable suppliers of IQF produce. They knew the OctoFrost name and wanted to connect with our customers to have the assurance of good quality IQF frozen products. We would act as a middle-man and connect the two parties as a service to our customers.” Svetlana Plotean, marketing manager for OctoFrost, explains. “Big companies would need large quantities. OctoFrost Link filled that need to connect, making it more convenient and without the need of our direct assistance. Both our customers and traders can filter while searching to only see the products, locations, and companies of a certain size they are interested in, and ultimately contact them directly.”
Not having to be the middle man obviously saves time, but the platform does add value for its users as well: “The OctoFrost Link definitely brings its advantages. It’s much more convenient this way for everyone involved. Before we launched the platform it would take dozens of emails back and forth. This takes time and requires everyone to be at their desk at the same time if you want a quick answer. OctoFrost Link eliminated that need, it can just be launched on any browser, whenever it’s most convenient. It also works both ways, in that suppliers can let people know they have a certain product available in large quantities and traders will be notified.” Plotean says.
The application is free for both customers of OctoFrost and traders from around the world. According to Plotean one important aspect is the balance between those two parties: “OctoFrost Link has about 200 users. We only allow one user per company, meaning 200 users is equal to 200 companies. The ratio of our customers and traders is about 50/50 right now, so there is a healthy balance right now. Signing up is easy, just head to link.octofrost.com, click on ‘Sign Up’ and fill out the form. All applications are reviewed and screened as we want to make sure only legitimate traders are connected with our customers. So we don’t accept anyone unless we’re sure they are a good potential partner.”
Although the app has been available for two years, OctoFrost still wants to enhance the experience where it can: “We could gain some more ground by educating the users of our platform a little more. Not everyone is currently aware of all the functions of the application, simply because they haven’t had the time to play around with the system. As an example; there is a function that allows traders and OctoFrost customers to post an announcement, which would then appear on the newsfeed of the other party. This function is hardly used right now, but if we can find a way to educate the users on how to use it, this could actually be a big asset to the platform. We also want to grow our database of users and convince all of our clients to start using it. As the application grows in size, it automatically becomes an even better way of networking.”
Technology plays a big role in the mission that OctoFrost has set out for itself. “At OctoFrost we’re proud to say we’re kind of tech-savy. We want to step-in when new technology arises, if this certain tech adds value or convenience to our customers. We live in a digital world, so as a company we have to meet this need for digitalization where we can. We would have fallen behind long ago if we hadn’t innovated and instead kept the same mindset for the past twenty years. A good example of this is how we use 3D technology to build apps of our equipment, where the user can see all the key-functions of the OctoFrost machine. Our 3D OctoFrost Freezer app, for instance, can be used on any phone, tablet or laptop, which is in line with our desire to have a convenient, interactive solution which brings value to our prospects and customers.” Plotean concludes. For a short explanatory video about the platform check out the video below.