We talked to Nico Berlusconi on how Nebulosa automates the wholesale purchase process with an online store for your B2B customers, and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nico Berlusconi: Unfortunately, some members of my family and I got infected with Covid-19. It was 15 days of feeling completely strange. I had lost the sense of smell and taste and experienced a lack of air and tiredness. It was bizarre not to smell or taste anything; I could only taste salt, sugar, sweet, and sour on my meals. These symptoms lasted more than 20 days. After recovering, the taste and smell started to come back slowly. Luckily, now I’m fully recovered and my family members too. This world crisis caught us as a startup and made us think about the possibility of conceiving it fully remote, and we’re doing so. We’re designing a company based on the great knowledge of the Jason Fried book “Remote” “The new luxury is the luxury of freedom and time.”
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Nebulosa?
Nico Berlusconi: I have been really into computers since I was a kid. When I grew up, I fell in love with the skills the internet provides to do business. I’ve studied Industrial Design specializing in plastic engineering. I got bored quickly with technical engineering work, so I started as an entrepreneur as soon as I finished college.
In 2013 I co-Founded Quo Products, a B2B International houseware brand. I was the CEO until 2020. In those eight years of hard work, I expanded the company from zero to all over Argentina, the USA, Spain, Chile, Israel, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Mexico, and more. One of the most exciting parts of my job was focusing on developing a digital B2B sales channel. So I hired programmers and started to build its eCommerce.
From this experience, I learned everything about wholesaling worldwide and how to digitize a company. A few years later, I noticed other companies’ need for an efficient B2B eCommerce technology. In LatAm, medium and small manufacturers or wholesalers are being left behind with the advancements in technologies. They’re still taking orders by phone or email. Most of them have a very low online visibility or none at all. Some of them were excited by the eCommerce we were using on the plastic product company; that’s why in 2018, I decided to go further.
I co-founded Nebulosa INC with Gali Dolber, an innovative and experienced programmer and also a close friend. With his expertise in digital infrastructures, we’re going to be able to scale worldwide platforms. We never stop innovating and looking for new ways to solve problems with tech. We’re now a tech company focused on developing B2B, B2C, and D2C eCommerce platforms. VentasxMayor.com (2018) is a next-generation B2B eCommerce SAAS for wholesalers, manufacturers, importers, and brands, which allows them to receive, purchase orders, automate sales and improve the shopping experience of their customers online. We also invested heavily in building efficient infrastructure
How does Nebulosa innovate?
Nico Berlusconi: Since we started this company, our primary focus has been to cover the basic needs adapted to companies without online payment or automated shipping calculations. B2B in LatAm is different; it still has a lot of manual processes needing to upgrade.
The first thing was to consider their lack of resources to start and grow a digital channel, so we focused on giving them pricing they could afford. Offering a robust system is not cheap. That’s why we invested heavily in building very efficient infrastructure, allowing our customers to access technology with the same resources as the biggest B2B companies. In doing so, it made us highly competitive anywhere in the world. B2B is a fantastic business model. If your company gains a new customer, you have more than 60% possibilities that he returns to restock. You build a long-term relationship, which results in companies marketing efforts being much more profitable than B2C eCommerce, where returning customers are less than 20%. Of course, if you are a supplier, offering good products & prices to your customers is critical. But in these challenging times of Covid-19, giving them an easy way to shopping, accurate communication, answering their questions faster, being shipping efficient, and having good customer support, could make a big difference in your sales growth.
We’re focused on covering wholesalers online sales needs with less human resources, helping our customers save time and money, and maintaining high engagement with their customers. For that, we’ve created automated sales tools, leading to more returning customers. We’ve also created an efficient communication system between providers and customers, allowing companies to automate their customers’ purchase preferences so they can be repeated, providing a solution where handling a B2B sale is much more complicated. Over time using our system, wholesalers build an extensive client portfolio, allowing them to gain new clients and keep old ones engaged. This action leads companies to sell more and extend their stocks.
Selling more volume as a B2B brand leads to becoming a more robust negotiator with your providers, buying stocks at lower prices, and then offering better deals to your customers too. Finally, we knew that creating web traffic to their new digital business wasn’t going to be easy; that’s why our support and training goes beyond how to use our product; we teach them how to advertise, position, and sell online in 2020. We built a transition pipeline to help with every step to digitize companies.
“OUR AUTOMATED SALES TOOLS, FREE IMPLEMENTATION, CUSTOMIZED ASSISTANCE, PRICING, AND PRODUCTIVE WORKFLOW, ALLOW SMALL & MEDIUM COMPANIES TO REACH NEW MARKETS THEY COULDN’T REACH BEFORE SUCCESSFULLY.”
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Nico Berlusconi: It’s incredible how fast our customers adapted and evolved during the pandemic. They’re upgrading their resources, growing more quickly on their eCommerce with ERP integrations, complete stock control, changes in the design of their warehouses, hiring more sales, marketing, and social media services or employees, or in some cases even closing their physical stores to go online entirely. It created a massive opportunity for our markets.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nico Berlusconi: Personally, 2020 was the year of making big decisions. Leaving the warehouse company to dedicate to eCommerce entirely was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Markets in this field are growing at excessive levels, and we’re building a solution for very overdue companies. The hardest lesson learned was to follow the steve jobs quote, “It’s only by saying no, that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”
To choose and develop wisely new features without twisting the company’s core, maintaining simplicity and functionality is always challenging (mostly when you are pushed by your customers’ needs), but it’s where innovation is born.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Nico Berlusconi: Yoga is my medicine!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nico Berlusconi: No strong competitors are leading B2B eCommerce in latAm, including all the tools, pricing, and service we provide. So it’s a massive opportunity for us. We include the design of our customer’s websites, migration of all their products, a free corporate email service, configuration of their business preferences, and delivering their shops ready-to-sale. We do all this for free (zero implementation cost) to make them access our tech without any investment, removing any obstacles in their digital transition to succeed and become long-time customers.
Your final thoughts?
Nico Berlusconi: It Is no news Covid-19 generated a revolution in eCommerce.
Given the inability businesses had during this time to travel to visit their suppliers or go to fairs to seek new products, our customers had to find everything they needed to run their business online.
In the B2B field, wholesalers who worked old school ways were pushed forward to optimize their sales channels because most of their physical stores were closed for a long time. The ones who already had implemented B2B eCommerce felt a considerable increase of online purchase orders pushing them to optimize stocks control, move more employees to their online channel, review their ERP quality, integrate their eCommerce with their ERP to maximize time, review their marketing strategies and expenses, and more… leading to an evolution in their structures, creating a better environment to grow. All this led them to look for services as we offer. So, maybe the right side of all this Covid-19 crisis could be a worldwide evolution of eCommerce. And we’re proud to be part of it!