isklad: Clients can manage their e-shops
Rapidly growing e-shops that aim to keep a healthy profit margin have to start automating their processes at some point, running everything as efficiently as possible. From stocking to completing orders, sending confirmations to clients and managing exchanges and returns. Martin Mitošinka used to run an e-shop himself, so it was easy for him to relate to the needs of his current clients – e-shop owners. The main goal behind coming up with his own software-based solution for stocking and logistics was to make his shop more efficient and automate its operations. “At one point, I realized that it would be a shame if this system could not be used by other e-shops, and so I began transforming my business from the ground up”, says the founder of isklad, looking back on the company’s early days.
Development and perspective
The transformation of the e-shop into a logistics center started in 2015. At that point, the software had already been revamped several times. One year later, isklad began providing its services to e-shops for the first time. „Our start was really quick. I took two of my most competent employees from the e-shop into the main team and hired two very talented programmers. In our warehouse, we had to regularly help out our two stock-keepers because demand was so huge“, says Martin Mitošinka. Within the first month of the website being up and running, isklad took on its first important client from Germany. A few weeks later, orders grew from the dozens to hundreds, sometimes even thousands – with clients from four different countries! “The goal was to keep our expenses to a minimum, so that as few people as possible could pack as many orders as possible – in as little time as possible. And we managed to do that – by constantly updating our application, which the stock-keeper downloads on their phone and which navigates them by voice and visuals through all tasks”, says the CEO.
Since then, isklad has completed and shipped over 1.5 million orders. Each day, some 20 stock-keepers work in the company’s warehouse. isklad serves 95 e-shops and exports orders internationally. Within the EU, the company is able to ship orders within one to two business days to a number of countries, thanks to its courier partners, with prices comparable to those of local providers. Rates are kept low thanks to the company’s own transport lines, which take orders to their destination countries daily, where they are then shipped to the client via local courier services.
According to Mitošinka, one of the big advantages of isklad is that it unites a number of e-shops in one logistics system, enabling the company to negotiate competitive conditions with suppliers. The result: Services that not only automate the operations of e-shops but also help lower expenses. “A company that manages to integrate as many e-shops as possible, regardless of their size, becomes a meaningful player in the providing of fulfillment and logistics. Our software will play a key role, because it allows clients to steer their e-shops with nearly no interference on our part”, says Mitošinka.
The current system can handle thousands of e-shops, especially start-ups, newly founded or medium-sized e-shops that need to quickly expand into new markets. Competitors tend to avoid serving these clients, because without special software, they simply would not be able to handle a big amount of individual requirements.
Successfully managing the crisis
During the months of the pandemic, the logistics sector had to demonstrate a high level of flexibility. isklad managed to do so and has even seen the demand for its services grow. “Some clients experienced a drop in sales, others saw their sales grow. Overall, our number of clients and our volume of orders has definitely increased”, says Martin Mitošinka. He describes the situation as follows: “Our business model makes it possible to work with a bigger number of small and medium clients. The rapid onboarding of new clients, which we can do within 30 minutes (and which can take other fulfillment centers a few days or even weeks) has proven extraordinarily efficient. When one of our important clients saw their sales drop by 50 percent, we were able to make up for that loss within three weeks by taking on 25 smaller clients. Our system, as well as our newly acquired clients, who we were able to quickly set up with our services, helped us navigate the crisis.”
"E-shops could opt to take a break during the crisis and lower the rates they pay us to as low as 35 euros monthly (the only fixed rate we require). And similarly, if an e-shop receives 3000 more orders than expected on any given day, the client can count on isklad to take care of these orders.”
We asked Martin Mitošinka what makes the company isklad so valuable. “It is our software, which today has 5,6 million lines of codes and has required more than 12 000 hours of programmers working on it. The software automates the activities of e-shops and makes it possible to manage all settings and decisions instantly through an online-interface. It can process orders for shipment to different countries and currencies – without clients needing to open a new account abroad. The software also manages the final recipients’ returns and exchanges of orders and makes it possible to export products to marketplaces such as mall.sk/cz.”
Crowd investors enter the business
"The only factors that could currently slow our expansion are physical space and the absence of robotic technology that would automate our warehouse operations. We have already found both a new warehouse with 9700 square meters – and have come up with a fitting technical solution for our warehouse, which we will connect directly to our software”, says Martin Mitošinka. He learned about Crowdberry from one of his partners. “I was impressed that whoever is interested in our project can invest in our company, with minimal investments starting at 10 000 Euro. I can see this approach bringing together an interesting group of people, who will not only support the company financially, but will also help push it forward with their observations, ideas, and their connections to potential partners and clients”, adds the CEO of the company isklad. The company will use the investment to purchase new technology, which will gradually enable it to process up to 30 000 orders a day. The unique combination of original software and technology can help create the most modern fulfillment center in Central Europe. The investment target is three million euros.
"Imagine that a new e-shop, which only launched yesterday, can immediately take advantage of a tool for global expansion and a logistics structure which would normally take years to build“, says Martin Mitošinka, who considers designing a service that can serve a large number of e-shops on a global scale his biggest success. „I am extremely grateful that I had such luck, I am grateful for my team and the great people I am surrounded by – and of course, to be a part of this.“
The article was written for an investment and business series of the economic daily paper Hospodárske noviny.