Interesting Business-model: Marqt ~ Sounds + Food 'n' Retail

Interesting Business-model: Marqt

Marqt.jpgMarqt is a market for farmers, recently launched in Amsterdam by Quirijn Bolle en Meike Beeren (both ex-Ahold). Can't really sum it up much more than that.

It focusses on two opportunities: from the supply-side, many farmers want to sell their products, but are unable to because of the power-play from regular retailers and/or at relatively low profit-margins. Last year, when I briefly looked at the organic boom, I already thought that there is an opportunity here, for farmers to become retailers themselves.

This is made possible by the other part of this equation, an elevated demand by customers for natural and ethical produce, and, to a lesser degree, local produce.

Bolle and Beeren rightly identified an absence of identity in food-retailers, an absence of accountability for the product-decisions they make. But they also identified a need by consumers for quality-guarantees.

Because you have to wonder, how is Marqt different from the regular outdoor-market that exists in every city? Well, here's one difference, and I'll try to give an example. 'Tis the season of mangoes, and I'm hooked. I've been buying these babies at €1 a piece at my supermarket, but stumbled across some great deals at the local market: €2.50 for a box of 8! The only problem: about 6 of these were either unripe or overripe. And who do I complain to? One of the 100s of vendors on the market, whose name or brand I don't even remember?

From my understanding (I don't live in Amsterdam), Marqt-products are more expensive than those of local markets, about on par with regular supermarket-foods. They work with partners that are able to supply in greater numbers, offer a quality-guarantee, and, very interesting, train Marqt's staff to understand and explain how products work.

Their added value is that they can offer suppliers higher margins, and consumers a richer shopping-experience. And from what I hear, though I have no numbers, the store is doing reasonably well.

Two other interesting facets: Marqt houses individual suppliers' stores. So you have Store X for dairy, store Y for meat, and store Z for bread. Marqt provides the space, the staff, the marketing, and collects a percentage of the profits.

Also interesting: the store doesn't accept cash. It's progressive, I agree, but also great marketing-value, sure to raise an eyebrow or 1000. And it saves money on the back-end, though I hope they get rid of the €0.50 transaction-fee.

I think it's a great idea, and hope the store continues to do well. Gives me hope, both in terms of opportunities for retail-entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship in the Netherlands in general, which (in my opinion) could use a boost.


 

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