Proper knowledge is the key

Proper knowledge is the key

According to a Swedish saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes”.

According to a swedish saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes”. There is definitely some wisdom to that sentiment, and we can add to it “there are no bad conditions when on vacation, just missing gear”. Certainly travel lovers and anyone with an adventurous spirit will know what i am talking about.

And I can admit it because it wasn’t so long ago when I found myself climbing up steep vertical rocks without any protection equipment and it felt a lot less fun or secure than if I’d have brought at least a helmet… I survived, but it only served to make me think of how better a time I would have had if I had come prepared.

Slovenia, Julian Alps

Shortly after this I was lucky to have an opportunity to interview Jeroen Klaassen, founder and provider of one of the most popular e-shops specializing in outdoor and survival equipment. He is also a big fan and active user of MonkeyData, so we hit it off immediately and had some common ground. But in our discussion, what came up was the constant question of what makes up the essence of a successful business and how using numbers and statistics were useful in increasing confidence about business decisions.

Prepshop — all you need for safe and comfortable adventure.

1. Jeroen, what led you to start your online business? Why outdoor survival items? Is it a love brand?

“ is the biggest forum for preparedness in the Netherlands and Belgium. There I met the founders and together we started Prepshop as a place to sell all the survival and preparedness gear you would ever need for hiking or traveling. The products have all been handpicked and tested by me and survival experts.

I believe the only way to truly be successful in anything is to be in love with what you do! I think it’s vital to be prepared in our modern world. We rely on our technology and tend to forget the basics of life. Being mindful of our surroundings and planning ahead will make us more resilient and more in touch with the world that sustains us.”

2. Based on your customers reviews (9.6/10) it seems that you’re the top merchant within your business area in the netherlands. What’s the secret recipe for making your customers so happy?

“In the Netherlands we have a saying : “de klant is koning“, which basically means the customer is king. And in a way this is what a customer deserves. If a customer has a question, it could be anything, from specific inquiries about products, or it might simply be a worry they want to voice.”

“Information is always key, and you are only able to make the best choice if you have all the information you need to weigh your options.” — Jeroen Klaassen, Prespshop

“So if there is a question I ask more about the context of the question to really get to the essence of the request for knowledge. This takes time, it takes effort, and it might lead to advice which leads them to another buyer, but it also builds the only kind of relation I would like to have with my customers: one based on honesty!”

3. Is there any specific product in your portfolio that you’d buy — even repeatedly? Do you use your own products? :)

“I own all of the products on our website and use most of them when the opportunity arises. Most of our products are really durable and you would only need to buy them once. The product, however, I would recommend for anyone in the world is invest in a simple water filter.

Even in our day and age, with all our achievements and technology, millions of people still have no access to clean drinking water. And for all of us that do have the luxury of having the water running out of our tap, having a water filter is an essential backup. If you ask me it’s not so much a luxury; it’s just smart thinking!”

Enjoy pure water anywhere you are — thanks to water filter.

4. There are some interesting stats claiming that 55% of online shoppers would prefer to buy from a merchant with a physical store presence over an online-only retailer. And two thirds of customers have made a purchase in the last 6 months that involved multiple channels. This means that people like to check out the products they want in a physical store first and then order it online. What is your opinion on this multi-channel sales trend? Do you have (or plan to open) a physical store?

“Having a physical place for my customers to come and meet is an idea I’ve been cultivating for a while now. Not necessarily a store but more of an experience and learning centre. A place to visit, learn, try and experience what you need to be prepared!”

That could be the reason why Jeroen spends his vacation camping in the wilderness for a couple of weeks every year with his family :)

5. Analysing data is very time-consuming and often requires tech skills and analytics knowledge. It usually means merchants need an extra staffer to help them do it in order to make data-driven decisions, which costs a lot of money. Is this the reason why you started looking for an app to do this for you?

“The reason I started with MonkeyData is because of the need to get a better idea of the amount of products I was selling in a given period, to see which performed well and which needed attention. Basically I was looking for a smart way to work on storage optimisation. After starting with MonkeyData I ended up finding a lot more uses for the app than merely storage optimisation.”

Define your top selling and top refunded products to optimize your product portfolio.

6. Where have you heard about monkeydata and what convinced you it’s the right app for you?

“I joined MonkeyData in its early days in the lightspeed store, looking for a way to optimize my inventory and was sold by its simplicity yet completeness, as well as the great customer service from the support staff!”

7. Which dashboards / metrics do you use the most and how often? What does it bring you?

“I use MonkeyData as my main window into my store! For revenue insights, analytics, Adwords, Twitter, Facebook and of course my product flow. It gives me an easy window into my store without having to go to all the different channels to get the information I need, and this saves me a lot of time.”

8. To a what extent are your business decisions (e.g.: logistics, customer service, marketing campaigns, loyalty programs etc.) Driven by data from the monkeydata app?

“I’ve actually been able to optimize the flow around the buying of my products by 40% since I switched to the app. Using the product dashboard I am able to decide which products can use a little push from marketing!”

Coffee, tea, warm food…keep the comfort even in the wilderness.

9. Do you act on the statistics that claims that 74% of customers would rather buy more items from one merchant in order to get cheaper / free delivery? Do you provide your customers with such advantages?

“We do. We offer free shipping from orders over 100 Euros and have a number of promotions that make it easier to access free shipping options.”

10. What are your plans for the future — would you like to e.g.: expand to more countries / sell via marketplaces / open a showroom / climb everest? :)

“Because I believe proper knowledge is key, the Prepshop will be focussing more and more on informational blogs, videos, and webinars in the future. We will be THE PLACE TO BE if you need any information about preparedness!”

From a personal standpoint, my impression of Jeroen was that he had came up with many interesting business ideas, and while many might seem a bit clichéd at first glance, upon browsing his e-shop there was a huge amount of evidence of his passion for work.

And I think this dedication and love of what he’s doing has helped steer him toward some more innovative approaches. As a result, all of us on the MonkeyData team are happy that we can contribute to such amazing project as Prepshop.

Helping merchants to save time and money and providing useful analytics is what we are good at, so we hope we do as good job as Jeroen and his team, and are always eager to get feedback from our clients.

What are your plans for vacation? Are you like Jeroen and love to experience what Nature has to offer? Have you ever fallen in love with the spirit of adventure in movies like Into The Wild? If so, don’t forget that preparation is everything!