The digital trade platform Marketbuy has undergone a transformation under the hood. Although the platform will feel the same to its users, a new addition to the team has changed the way the founders approach the system. Tapping into James Mash and his strengths as a 6th generation grocer, will help, as he knows the market inside out.
James Mash, founder of digital marketplace Marketbuy, explains why they took a step back to reinvent the way they do business: “We kind of took a step back from the market, so that we can better understand the market and the changing demands. This was heavily driven by the global pandemic. We could see that the market was going to take another leap forward and we wanted to be in a position to listen, learn and then take action. You could say we slowed down to speed up. We’re already feeling the benefits of that mindset and the way our business strategy is evolving and the effect that is having on our digital experience for growers and buyers.”
During this time, Mash decided to bring Ryan Hall on board who has taken the role of Chief Growth Officer. “Taking that time has also meant we can build a team, which has included bringing Ryan Hall on as Co-Founder. We’re industrialising our business, so whilst we’re still a start-up, we’re operating like scale-up in the way we manage our business. That all flows through to the most important people; our customers. This time looking at our business strategy has also led us into some interesting opportunities to scale the business, not only in obvious ways, like entering new markets across the globe to onboard growers, but also the way we innovate services that are adjacent to our offering and that when combined with our marketplace, will add move value to our customers. We’re really excited. More to come on that in the coming weeks and months as we roll our roadmap out.”
“Ryan’s an interesting guy. He comes with a huge pedigree in building digital businesses, cresting market leading customer experiences for the likes of Channel 4, Deutsche Bank and first direct. Plus he’s been on the entrepreneurial journey himself, eventually ending up in a senior role in Accenture. So he knows what it takes to build a business with customers at the heart of it. Most importantly he’s passionate about Marketbuy and what we’re aiming to achieve. And we get on too, but who doesn't love a Geordie?” Mash explains.
“Aside from being Co-Founder, he’s our Chief Growth Officer. Which means our customer experience, sales and marketing falls under him. It’s what he’s done his whole career, he gets it. And he can talk my language and make things human despite how technical things get. Which is important. I’m a grocer, not a tech whizz, nor are our customers. We’re here for the world's best produce, bought and sold in the most effective and efficient way. We don’t need to be talking code, or whatever it is.”
According to Ryan Hall, they went back to basics and worked up their new strategy from there: “The time for the Marketbuy rework was right. We’d done as much research as we could and wired that all into the business and the platform, which we went back to basics with, including re-building over half of it too. It was a big job and an investment, but it will pay off. It’s something we’ll do periodically to make sure we’re staying fresh and keeping out thinking sharp. We’re an ambitious business and we don’t want to ever let anything get stale, so we’ve built that into our culture. Knock it down, tear it apart and make the next version of ourselves better every time.”
Although a lot has changed, Hall emphasizes that Marketbuy still feels the same as the platform did before. Their approach however, has evolved. “At its heart, Marketbuy will feel the same as it did at launch. What’s changed is our ability to respond to the needs of our customers better and faster. And the market has changed as well. The pandemic isn't going away anytime soon and we’d be foolish to think the market isn't going to change again because of it. In fact, it’s going to change more frequently and faster than it ever has. James is a 6th generation grocer, he knows his onions and he knows the market inside out. But change is happening faster than ever. We’ve leaned up to stay ahead of that change and make sure our customers benefit from that.”
Hall has done his best to enhance the platform: “We’ve added a few exciting partnerships and features into the platform. We’ve really looked at shipping, the way payments are handled and secured, how we can build financing into the experience and how we tackle traceability. They’re just some of the changes we’re making. We’re focused on the future now. We’ve proved the concept, we have some great customers onboard that have been part of the journey this last year. But now it’s time to go, and time to grow.” He says.
There will be busy times in the weeks ahead for Marketbuy, as Mash and Hall bring their platform to each and every continent: “We’re ramping up our mass market launch and bringing on new growers to satisfy the heavy demands from our buyers and likewise, we’re establishing new relationships with buyers to give them access to some truly wonderful product that we’ve sourced globally. Our trajectory is to be in every continent very soon and establish and realize our legacy as 6th generation grocers as the future model for how business is done in this sector.” Mash concludes.