THE GROWTH OF BUTLON
FROM ORDERING FOOD ONLINE TO ONLINE SUPERMARKET
Butlon originally started as a software project. Butlon derived from the English word Butler. “In addition to making appointments, I wanted to make a kind of shop store with which you could buy something from local entrepreneurs. Initially Butlon had nothing to do with food. That idea only came after my uncle started a Pizzeria and had to have a website on which customers could order food online. Then I converted the Butlon platform from a webshop in combination with appointments to a platform where you could also order food”.
When local entrepreneurs join Butlon, they are supported in many ways. Butlon helps entrepreneurs from purchasing to delivering to the consumer. “Entrepreneurs get a website, folder material, an ordering system, cash register system, bicycles and they can also do their shopping with us. We facilitate the entire chain. Where we are up to 50% cheaper than other major players on the market”.
The idea of an online supermarket was actually scheduled for the end of 2020. Through their own wholesaler they delivered to the hospitality industry. When COVID-19 emerged, Alessio felt the duty to help consumers. He put the supermarket online within an hour. When it turned out that people kept ordering, he took it as a Business Case. “I then discussed it with my partners and demonstrated the results. That’s when we decided to make our hospitality assortment available to consumers. For the hospitality industry we have a range with over 2500 products, this we have reduced to 1000 products available in smaller quantities”.
“BUTLON WAS AN INSTANT SUCCES”
ALESSIO PINNA | OWNER BUTLON
At Alessio Pinna, entrepreneurship is deeply rooted. At the end of 2013 Alessio started developing his first SaaS solution during his study Commercial Economics at the Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Enschede. He developed an app called ‘My Daily Planner’. This application made it possible for consumers to schedule appointments with various entrepreneurs within different industries. Think of hairdressers, beauty salons etcetera.
For this promising idea, his vision and business plan, Alessio won the Saxion Entrepreneurs Award in 2014, a prize to stimulate and reward entrepreneurship among students. With his entrepreneurial drive he managed to convince the jury and therefore he won 5000 euros and a year of coaching from business professionals. With his promising idea he also attracted the attention of investors who were able to grow his business.
In the end, Alessio left his company, because of the lack of visions between him and his partner. He sold all his shares and then started a new project called: Butlon. Butlon is an online platform where food can be ordered from local restaurants and an online supermarket in one.
“Without all this experience I wouldn’t have been able to do this”.
“IDEAS ARE FUN, BUT IMPLEMENTATION IS KEY. YOU CAN COME UP WITH A LOT OF IDEAS, BUT IF YOU DON’T EXECUTE THEM PROPERLY, YOU’D BETTER STOP. AT MANY COMPANIES, IT OFTEN GOES WRONG IN THE EXECUTION. MY STRENGTH LIES IN INVENTING AND DEPLOYING COMPANIES AND HOW SOMETHING SHOULD WORK, HOW SOMETHING SHOULD BE SET UP TO ACHIEVE WHAT YOU WANT”.
Butlon is in reality a software multiplatform. Through this platform people can order food from local restaurants and since recently also order groceries online. This means that many different types of advertisements need to be made for both the affiliated restaurants and product advertisements for groceries themselves.
“We zijn bij GMU terecht gekomen, omdat jullie automatisch adverteren. We hebben veel bedrijven en producten waarvoor we advertenties moeten maken.”
Butlon was still in its early stages when the cooperation with GMU started. It was GMU’s task to give Butlon and its local entrepreneurs brand awareness by applying the right online marketing tools.
A complex and time-consuming challenge would you say? Not for our software and specialists! GMU’s data driven software automatically generates advertisements at product level for different companies.
“WE HAVE A TEN MONTH PLAN NOW, WITH WHICH WE INTEND TO REACH, TOGETHER WITH GMU AND OTHERS, BETWEEN 50,000 AND 100,000 ORDERS IN 2021”.
GMU manages different marketing channels for Butlon. By using these channels correctly, the marketing formula for success is complete.
What have we done to raise Butlon’s brand awareness? Because of our unique software we can quickly use Google Ads. Google Ads have been very important in the start-up period to give Butlon visibility. With another online marketing channel we make sure that Butlon gets a solid and powerful basis among other search results.
In the meantime we are already working on the next innovation: Social Media Video Ads. Every entrepreneur and dish gets a separate Advertising Set and Video Ad. This automatically targets the location of the company and the delivery radius. The target group is targeted with the video of that company, which leads them directly to the right landing page.
“We hebben een hele lange opstartperiode gehad en we zien nu pas de echte vruchten waarin we geïnvesteerd hebben. Dat wordt alleen maar meer.”
MARKETING RESULTS ACHIEVED WITHIN 6 MONTHS
Views a year
Clicks a year
Conversions a year
Views a year
Clicks a year
“THE INITIAL IDEA BEHIND BUTLON WAS THAT ONLINE FOOD ORDERING AND ONLINE GROCERY SHOPPING WOULD REINFORCE EACH OTHER. ORDERING FOOD ONLINE ALONE WOULD HAVE GIVEN US A MUCH LONGER START-UP TIME. BECAUSE OF THE SUPERMARKET WE HAVE A PRODUCT THAT WE CAN PUT AWAY NATIONWIDE AND REACH A TIPPING POINT MUCH MORE QUICKLY. MORE THAN EIGHTY PERCENT OF THE CURRENT TURNOVER OF BUTLON NOW COMES FROM THE SUPERMARKET. WE ALSO NOTICED DURING THE CORONA VIRUS THAT EVERYTHING CAN BE CLOSED DOWN, BUT THE GROCERIES JUST KEEP ON GOING.”
“Butlon struck incredibly well. We made the refrigeration and freezer cells up to four times the size, modified racks for order picking and automated all processes internally as far as possible. There is no one who can sell these products to the consumer and still make money from it”.
Meanwhile, Butlon is already two investment rounds ahead. June 2019 was the first round of investments and August 2020 this year the second round of investments took place. “In the meantime, our partners are so powerful and extensive that we probably choose to finance the next investment rounds ourselves. We have developed a ten-month plan with which we, together with GMU and others, want to reach between 50,000 and 100,000 orders in 2021.”.
Where Butlon started delivering on a regional basis, they started delivering nationwide at the end of July. “The Netherlands are big enough for us. We haven’t outgrown here by a long shot. Our wholesale is already in Germany and Belgium, so for the supermarket the next step will be Germany and Belgium. But for the supermarket, we will focus on the Netherlands first.”