We talked to Misha Krunic, CEO at Price2Spy about price monitoring and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Misha Krunic: Thank you very much for asking! It’s been an incredibly challenging time for everyone, but we’re doing good. I must add that during these hard times, all the communication with our clients and partners has always started by asking this question. It’s nice to see that we all understand that it’s not always just about the business.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Price2Spy.
Misha Krunic: It all started back in 1996 when I got my first job as a young Software Engineering graduate where I was tasked with building one of the first websites in Serbia. I ended up absolutely loving that task – so much that I even started creating websites in my free time! Of course, as a huge football fan, I had to start with my favorite club FC Red Star Belgrade. 🙂
Over time I started getting inquiries about selling jerseys. That’s how it all started – I saw the opportunity to build my first online store. One thing led to another, and in 2005 I ended up with 5 online stores. That was the moment when the idea of price monitoring slowly began to emerge.
The idea of price monitoring is not that new anymore, we launched Price2Spy 10 years ago, and back then there were only 2 similar tools on the market, so you can say that we were one of the pioneers. Let me give you some background – Our company owned the largest online store (called TakoLako) in Serbia where we’re based. Sales were going rather well until the global financial crisis struck in 2008 – as you know, the crisis affected the whole world, including our country. The already low customer loyalty decreased even more. We noticed that people were spending a lot of time making purchasing decisions – basically, they were very carefully comparing all available stores in order to find the one with the lowest price, so our sales started to drop. Something had to be done, so we started checking our competitor prices manually. Needless to say, it was very tiring and tedious work, that was taking more and more resources, and we saw no way out of it until we figured out that we can create software that will do the hard work for us. The idea of Price2Spy was born, and we invested our development resources into an automated price monitoring solution.
Today, I can proudly say that Price2Spy works with 27 industries and has the trust of 720 clients worldwide!
How does Price2Spy innovate?
Misha Krunic: Believe it or not, but our company mostly innovates through our clients – almost 80% of all our features actually came as our clients’ ideas! Our existing clients, or the new, potential ones, often approach us with different ideas. It’s usually something that they’ve been struggling with and haven’t been able to find a solution for. Our team then tries to solve it, and often we make that solution into a new feature. In that way, we’re helping other clients who are facing the same problem.
Of course, our development team is constantly brainstorming new ideas, so it’s actually ours and clients’ work combined.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Misha Krunic: We have witnessed that there is no business or economy in general that has not been affected by the pandemic. Regarding the business itself, I must say that I’m satisfied having in mind the circumstances. During the first pandemic wave, I must admit that the fear was present – mostly due to uncertainty. As we started to get our heads around the situation, we were able to slowly get back on track. Some of our biggest clients extended their subscription – and these are long, very long-term contracts, and we were able to get some new, very important clients as well. On the other hand, we saw that some of the smaller clients expressed the need for canceling their subscriptions due to the need to cut down the expenses.
Our internal organization has gone under changes as well. As of March 12th, our whole company has been working remotely.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Misha Krunic: If a client is facing serious financial difficulties and decides to cancel the subscription, there is not much that we can do. It was not a choice actually – in some cases, we tried to find a solution that would suit both sides, but at the end of the day, everything comes back to the client’s decision.
Having that in mind, I would say that deciding that the whole company works remotely was the biggest challenge. At the same time, it was the biggest lesson. Our employees continue to show the same level of hard work and dedication. Therefore, the transition has been pretty smooth, which I’m personally very grateful for. This situation showed us that we’re a great team no matter where we are working from.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are helping you navigate the crisis?
Misha Krunic: Zoom, Skype, and Google Meets have become our new colleagues. 🙂 Even before this situation started, we were always communicating with our clients via those channels, but our personal interactions could be done face to face. Now, all the meetings are held on those platforms, and of course, we continued using Slack for our internal, more informal communication. Other than that, not much has changed. We’re doing our best so that clients don’t feel any negative changes.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Misha Krunic: When we started this business – we were #3 such companies worldwide, which gave us a great start. However, over the years, the number of competitors has been steadily growing – so right now I can safely say that we have more than 60 competitors, out of which 15 or so can be considered serious ones. Of course, the trend continues, this market is extremely competitive, and new competitors are emerging almost on a daily basis. Therefore, we need to continue with our hard work in order to stay in the game. As always, we’re giving our best to fulfil our client’s needs by improving the existing Price2Spy’s features and creating new ones. Also, the quality of customer support will continue to be one of our top priorities.
Your final thoughts?
Misha Krunic: The events of COVID-19 have changed the world’s retail and eCommerce landscape forever. Both clients and customers have finally understood the importance of eCommerce. Everyone has been affected, but those who were already opened to eCommerce have suffered less. Even though I faced many challenging periods in my career, I can say that this one has for sure been the hardest. However, I’m grateful that this situation has shown us that we, as a business, are on the right path. On the other hand, it has emphasized the importance of having a great team.
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