Fruugo is preparing to come out tomorrow afternoon in a keynote (titled maybe a bit exaggeratedly “Meet the most ambitious start up on the planet”) at SIME in Stockholm. Fruugo will explain where the company is coming from, what markets and product categories they will go after, and what are they’re next steps.
Prior to the keynote, Fruugo’s VP Marketing Janne Waltonen today disclosed a few things to ArcticStartup regarding Fruugo’s positioning and go to market strategy.
First of all, the company will focus on physical products in the beginning, concentrating on the favorite products of online shopping like books, records, games, clothing, electronics, etc. Fruugo is running a closed Beta at the moment with a few tens of retailers and consumers, and they are starting an invitation beta in January targeted to consumers.
The first three online shopping segments they’re targeting will be a) early adapters of social media and online shopping, b) pregnant women and mothers with babies, and c) outdoor sports enthusiasts (say diving, hunting, fishing etc.). The first is pretty self evident, the second two have been selected because of the unique characteristics in their online shopping behavior, based on extensive amount of research and focus groups. Waltonen explained pregnant women and recent mothers value, and are very active with, social relationships, product recommendations, comparisons, and have a huge need for detailed product information on the web. In the outdoor segment there are likewise very active communities formed around certain sports, with the habit of using web extensively for information and purchases.
Fruugo will start from the Finnish and Swedish markets, then expanding to key markets elsewhere in the Central and Western Europe. Waltonen commented Fruugo doesn’t t have direct competitors as such, and most of the players concerned with Fruugo entering their space could actually rather be quite interesting partners (like Kelkoo and other product comparison sites for example).
Regarding the recent rumors, Janne Waltonen set straight they’ve indeed done some adjusting on the cost structure, somewhat due to the economical environment, but much due they being done with heaviest R&D and are moving more into more operational structure now, which has eliminated a few roles. Anyway, Waltonen told Fruugo’s own workforce has been reduced less than 10%, in addition to terminating some consulting and outsourcing contracts. Some of the rumors out there are quite off the scale from their point of view (like their rumored private jet), but they haven’t wanted to spend time commenting all of that before their phase of more active PR starting from tomorrow.
Apparently Fruugo’s got something working already, as Waltonen told he’s actually already bought and received all his Christmas presents using the company’s service. We (and Santa) look forward to hearing more tomorrow.