Skroutz’s journey to e-commerce dominance in Greece and Cyprus — interview with CFO Kostas Kontogiannis

Skroutz’s journey to e-commerce dominance in Greece and Cyprus — interview with CFO Kostas Kontogiannis

The Cyprus Mail recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kostas Kontogiannis, the Chief Financial Officer of e-commerce platform and online marketplace Skroutz, in the context of the company’s participation and sponsorship of the Reflect Festival in Limassol.

Kontogiannis’ professional journey includes notable tenures at PwC Greece and Mazars Greece, where he specialised in financial due diligence, transaction services, and financial auditing across various sectors such as retail, hospitality, energy, and telecommunications.

At Reflect Festival, Kontogiannis delivered an insightful speech titled “From Insight to Impact: A User-Centric Scaling in Action”.

He shared Skroutz’s remarkable journey as Greece’s leading e-commerce platform and marketplace, emphasising the importance of a user-centric approach to business growth.

His address provided valuable strategies for business leaders, innovators, and aspiring entrepreneurs on how to achieve sustainable growth by prioritising user needs and anticipating future demands.

Through this engaging discussion, attendees gained a deeper understanding of how Skroutz successfully expanded its offerings and integrated diverse products and services to enhance user satisfaction and drive business success.

CM: Skroutz has seen impressive growth and success as the leading e-commerce platform in Greece and Cyprus. Could you share key strategies or decisions that have significantly contributed to this achievement, especially in such a competitive market?

KK: Since we changed our business model to a marketplace, we have had one clear goal: to create an extraordinary shopping experience for our customers and a powerful sales platform for our partners.

Every decision we make is driven by a single consideration: how we can meet the needs of our users and offer solutions, even to needs they don’t yet know they have.

With that in mind, we began developing essential services to ensure a seamless shopping experience, such as express delivery, our automated delivery system via lockers, Skroutz Points, all while addressing one undeniable user need: secure electronic payments.

In 2021, we acquired a courier company and launched Skroutz Last Mile, which quickly rose to the third position among courier companies in Greece based on user satisfaction.

CM: What are some of the major challenges Skroutz has faced in the e-commerce industry, and how has the company overcome these obstacles to maintain its position as the market leader?

KK: Navigating global supply chain issues is a difficult task these days. Disruptions from events like the Covid-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions and natural disasters make it nearly impossible to plan ahead, whether it’s for the next two to three years or even the next six to 12 months.

On top of that, consumers now demand faster delivery and seamless shopping experience, pushing businesses to invest heavily in logistics and technology.

The new e-commerce landscape, that we are all part of, with trends like social shopping and emerging competitors outside of traditional platforms requires constant adjustments in strategy. The new era of e-commerce requires evolution.

Not to forget to add to the mix, the growing consumer demand for sustainability and ethical shopping options, making it clear that businesses should prioritise environmental concerns in order to stay relevant.  
Staying agile, making fast decisions, embracing a trial-and-error culture, and maintaining an open stream of communication and feedback with our users have kept us grounded and focused on our strategy.

Building a marketplace centred around consumer needs is not an easy task. Constant communication with our users and building a community have helped us overcome every obstacle that has appeared in our way.

CM: As CFO, you have a unique perspective on Skroutz’s financial health and strategies. How do you ensure financial stability and growth while managing the complexities of an expanding e-commerce platform?

KK: Operating in Cyprus shapes our financial strategies by presenting unique advantages and challenges.

The consumer behaviour in Cyprus mirrors that of Greece, allowing us to apply proven strategies with reduced risk and initial investment for market entry.

Logistical challenges, such as fulfilling orders by plane or ship, require careful cost management and contingency planning to maintain efficiency and reliability.

Despite these hurdles, the minimal language barrier and cultural similarities enable us to execute marketing and customer service strategies more effectively and affordably.

Overall, Cyprus serves as a strategic testing ground where we can refine our financial strategies, optimise operational efficiencies, and gather invaluable insights for future expansions into other regions.

This approach ensures sustainable growth while maximising our return on investment.

CM: Looking ahead, what new features or services can users and merchants expect from Skroutz? How does the company plan to continue innovating and staying ahead in the fast-evolving e-commerce landscape?

KK: For the last few months, we have been working hard so as to be able to introduce Skroutz Points in the near future for our Cypriot consumers, enhancing the pick-up and drop-off options for our customers.

The lockers will be installed to serve all online shoppers, who prefer locker deliveries at their convenience over home delivery.

Additionally, we will launch a version of our loyalty programme Skroutz Plus, to reward our loyal customers with exclusive deals.

Skroutz Plus has been a significant growth driver in Greece and we want to replicate this success in Cyprus.

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