Aurélien CANOT, Media365, published on Monday, April 4, 2022 at 19:08.
Faced with the difficulties amateur clubs and their licensees have with equipment, Grinta has developed a solution to enable them to set up their online business for free. All in less than a minute. An innovation that quickly turned into a revolution. Co-creator Mikael Bardes, CEO of Grinta, explains everything to us.
Mikael, how did you come up with the idea for this e-commerce solution?
The observation comes from amateur clubs that we have been working with for several years. In order to earn some money or just to raise the club’s image, amateur club volunteers buy equipment in the club’s colors, which they then resell to their licensees on preferential terms. In fact, contrary to themselves, they play the role of a small sports equipment store. The problem is that they don’t have the tools to just do it and get the most out of their efforts. There was no e-commerce solution designed for the very specific use of amateur clubs. Suddenly, volunteers find themselves collecting on a separate sheet, or at best in an Excel file, the orders of children, as well as sizes. They then have to put everything together with the treasurer, place orders with the distributor, manage last-minute sizing changes, track orders, and report recurring late delivery or out-of-stock issues. In short, it’s boring and all the clubs have shared with us their concerns about really developing this store, which could often cause tension due to this bad experience experienced by the licensees or their parents. We recognized this amateur sports market from the first solution we created four years ago. Faced with this recurring problem, we set out to create an e-commerce solution entirely dedicated to making life easier for volunteers and better serving amateur club licensees.
To test and discover Grinta, click here
Specifically, how to translate it?
It’s very easy to set up. You don’t have to be an e-commerce or digital manager to take full advantage of Grinta. It takes less than a minute for a hardware volunteer to set up a club e-commerce site with no skills required, with a catalog of customizable products already integrated and a dedicated stock ready to be delivered to club members in less than seven. days. For the first time, licensees and fans benefit from products worthy of professional clubs through the club’s online store. For their part, club leaders are exempt from all restrictions, and especially from the usual friction that may arise due to delays or subsequent problems with licensees or their parents. In addition, clubs receive a 10% commission from equipment manufacturers each time they purchase equipment.
Did the mayonnaise set quickly?
After launching on October 15, 2020, we found our first user clubs very quickly. And from a few clubs, we have grown to more than 2,000 online stores that carry official club products, regardless of brand. For example, in March, more than 300 new stores were created, including 45 that have already placed their first orders.
“Mini Amazon for Clubs”
Can we talk about a revolution for amateur clubs?
We did not create the concept of club shops. Volunteers, whatever means they use, have already done it for the benefit of their club and their licensees. On the other hand, we have automated the entire process, from fundraising to catalog management, including online store hosting, automated order tracking, and a dedicated customer service that frees the volunteer from any conflict management with their members. Online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the club has become a mini-Amazon, ultra-local, public and responsible for the mechanics of the sports association commission. It is this user experience that changes the life of the clubs, and this is the revolution. In terms of usage (for licensees) and experience (for clubs) we have clearly made a difference. Solutions existed, but none of them focused on the specific operation of the club and its use.
What are you most proud of?
We receive hundreds of positive reviews from our users. Our entire team is passionate about the amateur world and our mission to these thousands of clubs is truly a motivating element in building our product. We have created “Lovewall”, a space where we celebrate all the love messages we receive from our users. The word “love” may seem strong, but it is in our DNA, we love this amateur sport and are very proud and happy when our users return it to us. As well as being proud of us, it inspires us even more to continue allowing clubs to take advantage of this great e-commerce opportunity with a solution that suits them and makes them shine!
How was this project born and what was the most difficult thing to make it what it is today?
It was born from the voice of thousands of volunteers. It was their difficulty in setting up and running a store for their club that gave life to Grinta. Moreover, most of the time, even before writing the code and developing the platform, took the exchange and collection of hundreds of discussions with volunteers in charge of the equipment. Our first internal principle is to start with a problem. We are passionate about how our users work and the challenges they face every day. This is a real effort that we are making and will continue to make. Understanding these challenges and transforming them into innovative solutions using technology and design is our daily job. And we’re just getting started… The second topic that required a lot of effort was developing our own full-screen viewing and personalization solution. This means that we have a platform dedicated to storing, personalizing and shipping all orders placed in our user club stores. But it’s not just the physical flow of products that we rely on the experience of a partner specializing in e-logistics. Rather unique is the technology that accompanies it. Today, this allows us to deliver personalized product orders in less than 7 days with an error rate of less than 0.5% for personalization. It was a really big job, but it was worth it, because today it is one of the three pillars that make us unique in the eyes of the clubs and their licensees.
This is a term that speaks to us and that we often use with our partners. It is more than a name, it is a state of mind that is often found in football and highlights the team’s drive to win, that extra soul that pushes them to incredible feats. For us, sport comes from territories. It was created by volunteers from 170,000 French sports associations with over 17 million practitioners. In Europe, one million clubs train 250 million athletes. In our opinion, this is the real sport. In creating the practice of sports, clubs are in many ways at the origin of the dynamism of the market for the consumption of sports goods, but they absolutely do not benefit from it. We are building this community e-commerce model where the club is at the center of the value chain. It is a global market with a turnover of over $500 billion. We want a part to return to the amateur clubs that create the practice. In short, we want to bring the grind back into the amateur sport.
“Clubs are hallucinating”
You must have a lot of positive feedback from clubs and users?
Just take a look at our Facebook… No, really, the feedback we’ve received is incredible. Clubs tend to experience hallucinations when they discover that they can create real e-commerce sites on their own in no time. We have worked a lot on the product as such: that is, on the interface, usage, simplicity… Now the goal is to make it a little more known, so that as many clubs as possible hear that we exist and make it easier to use.
Now is the goal to constantly work on improving the product?
We will always improve it. We have a team that listens to our users’ feedback on a daily basis. We deal with issues and prioritize the product development plan. We want to be one step ahead and even enrich it by constantly improving the product experience and its many features; for example, we enable an automatic shop login feature on the club’s Facebook pages. With a few clicks, the Grinta catalog becomes available to the entire club community on social media, helping to increase the efficiency of their store with less effort. Going forward, one of our goals will be to let as many people as possible know that a Grinta solution exists for their club.
How do you plan to do it?
First of all, we have our own acquisition channels, mostly organic, as well as regular email and social media channels that we are starting to use. In addition, we have partnerships with specialized distributors. They are often freelancers who do an excellent job servicing the purchases of sports clubs. Today, they increasingly want to integrate Grinta as a store solution for their clubs and thus bring the Grinta experience to their entire network of clubs. For them, this is a great opportunity to develop without all the restrictions, human or financial, associated with the development of such a solution. With the ease of setting up a Grinta store, a distributor supporting 500 clubs in France can overnight have as many active stores with their product catalog available to more than 100,000 licensees 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The games of 2024 are coming, we hear a lot about the legacy… Wouldn’t it be the greatest legacy that a large consumer goods market could participate in the financing of 15,000 football clubs and 170,000 French sports associations? This is Grinta’s goal.