The future of e-Commerce:
interview with Giulio Mario Limongelli, co-Founder of Groupon Italy and Founder of ilcaffeitaliano.com.
(From the left: Michele Contrini, our CFO and Giulio Limongelli)
There is no question that e-commerce has grown rapidly since the first users started to browse the worldwide web in search of goods and services.
Giulio Limongelli: What about the future of e-Commerce?
Today, we should consider the growth of e-Commerce in two directions.
Firstly, we are experiencing a big expansion of e-commerce in developing countries. Nowadays, e-commerce is a huge opportunity for Continental Europe, such as Italy, as well as Eastern Europe, the fastest growing region on Europe when it comes to ecommerce – with opportunities for those prepared to make the first move. Similarly, Asia and Oceania achieved a double-digit growth rate of the e-commerce turnover, which represents almost the 30% of the global transactions. That said, I think the impact of e-Commerce on developing countries could be even stronger than that on developed countries.
The second point is about the role of the online marketplace, a type of e-commerce site where products are provided by multiple third parties. The seller does not own any goods, but it serves as “enabler” between the producer/distributor and the final customer.
A very interesting case history is FashionUp.ro, which combines both of the above aspects: from one hand, the geographical expansion of a developing country, such as the Rumanian market, and from the other hand, a business model focused on a vertical fashion marketplace.
What did you get out of the Groupon experience?
One of the most important challenges in Groupon has been the ability to create an organized and constantly growing system, as against the unstructured working style that I have faced at the beginning of my career.
I really appreciated the dynamic environment of a Company that has been – and remains – the leader in the online deal space, despite detractors and media.
Last but not least, the opportunity in my early 30s of managing a multinational company, with more than 800 employees and a turnover of almost 1 billion euros each year.
In your opinion what is the evolution of couponing websites?
Couponing is alive and well and still remains a great way to save money for the customer.
It is just turning into new forms and riding new opportunities, especially on mobile app (like Checkbonus and Shopkick) or new social phenomena like PokemonGo, which are definitely going to change the way of couponing and boosting traffic into the stores.
What are your projects for the future?
I’m working on a coffee’s online brand www.ilcaffeitaliano.com selling mainly coffee pods and capsules through a multiple approach: besides the conventional direct sale on the website, we are using some of the best performing indirect sales channels, such as big online marketplaces like Amazon and private sale websites.
The statistics speak for themselves: more and more consumers are oriented to the consumption of coffee in pods and capsules. And more and more people are turning to online shopping
for all their needs, including groceries and food.
So, Coffee + e-Commerce: this is the big challenge!