"We are in the middle of a rethinking phase, to be the 'marketplace' of Spanish companies, which sell more in the digital ecosystem and in much fairer conditions". Iván Maroto, director of Digital Business and Correos Market, explains to elDiario.es the moment of transformation in which one of the youngest businesses in the Correos group is undergoing. An e-commerce platform looking to achieve profitability in three years.
"The project was born before the pandemic to help producers in rural Spain to take their products to the entire territory. Back then it was a project very focused on the primary sector in food producers; and in artisans," he argues. "And it made special sense in the pandemic, because online went from being just another sales channel to being the main channel."
Now, two years after confinement, that project broadens the focus. "We are in the repositioning phase, we seek to expand the portfolio of companies, to make it larger and more powerful, but always from Spanish companies and where all, whether large or small, have fair conditions," says Maroto, who joined Correos to early this year.
To achieve this, "the first decision is to eliminate sales commissions for sellers. Other 'marketplaces' are devouring, they have commissions of between 15% and 18%", says the person in charge of the project. In this case, there are no commissions for the seller, although the buyer does pay the shipping costs. "We have to be economically sustainable; the 'core' of our business is logistics, which is what generates income."
That is to say, the project does not entail commissions for those who sell in the 'marketplace', except if they opt for the option that entails that Correos is in charge of the entire process. "There we do everything, we store, manage the stock and logistics," he lists.
In this way, one of the axes with which Correos Market seeks to differentiate itself from other competitors is the absence of commissions and, also, an offer focused exclusively on Spanish companies.
"The purpose is for it to be a fair 'marketplace' for everyone. Sustainability from the point of view of consumption, because we guarantee that the money, when you buy, goes to a company that is listed in Spain; and sustainability understood by the ecological impact, because We are talking about proximity products that generate less of a footprint".
And, once the project expands its offer of vendors, which currently exceeds 1,300, it will seek to increase its customer base. "When we have a greater profile of companies, we will go out for the final consumer: 'buy here because you are going to buy from Spanish companies, with fair and sustainable conditions and the guaranteed minimum online price".
That minimum price, indicates Iván Maroto, does not mean that it is lower than the one that the companies that are on the platform propose in their own online sales channels. "We are never going to ask for it to be less, but it will not be higher than that of other 'marketplaces' that, at times, have conditions that are suffocating for sellers."
With these wickers, the Correos project expects to speed up its operations in the coming months. Looking ahead to the final stretch of the year or in the early stages of 2023, it plans to start selling outside of Spain, in its first international steps and in certain markets, which it does not reveal. Looking ahead to the next financial year, it plans to increase its operations by between 20% and 30%, which today reach 50,000. And in 2025, multiply these by five, up to 250,000 annual operations. Also that year, it expects to achieve profitability.
In fact, these new businesses – which also include Correos Cargo, an international air transport service – are key for the group controlled by the State through the State Society of Industrial Participations (SEPI) leave behind the losses of recent years.
"We have to be profitable and also maintain the essence of the Correos group. We are a public company committed to society, with brand values such as closeness and trust, and we also have financial sustainability as a priority, and open new businesses like this, that allow the company to be profitable. The whole group is transforming", indicates the head of Digital Business and Correos Market.
"We can take advantage of the capillarity that Correos has, because in all the offices you can make purchases and deliveries from the 'marketplace'. We don't have to think only of urban Spain, but also of rural Spain. 90 million people pass through our offices every year Our expectations are very high", summarizes Maroto.