How the Berlin startup YouFlake wins the BuyBox with the help of SnapTrade
Last year we spoke to Philipp Roeser, he is the managing director of a very special startup with a great message. Together with his co-founder David Niermann, he started YouFlake in 2018. The basic idea behind YouFlake? With minimal effort, make your own oat flakes from whole grains at home with the help of a flake crusher, completely without additives, sweeteners and industrial sugar, but with an extra portion of vitamins and nutrients. In this exciting interview, you will find out how YouFlake is making the marketplaces insecure in the B2C business and which decisive role SnapTrade takes on for young entrepreneurs.
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“At brunch you get a freshly squeezed orange juice, in the evening for cooking the pepper is freshly ground, why not freshly flaked the oat flakes at the most important meal of the day?”
Please tell us something about YouFlake!
Philipp Roeser: A few years ago I met David when I was moving into a Berlin flat share, and he introduced me to these self-made flakes. In this shared apartment there was a grain crusher in the kitchen, whereupon I asked David what kind of device it was. Then he explained to me what it was and said in the next breath: “Did you know that normal oat flakes that are offered in the supermarket are heated during production?” Of course I didn’t know that at the time, let alone how an oatmeal was made in the first place. In fact, we both got deeper and deeper into this matter and found it exciting to create an alternative and a business model for this small niche. The problem: There were grain crushers on the market, but a muesli made from grain and seeds for consumers who already have such a device, but not yet. This is how our idea came about, which we started part-time in 2018. In 2019 we even decided to do it full-time.
Why make muesli yourself?
Philipp Roeser: It’s actually quite simple, even though we have a product that requires a lot of explanation. When you order a coffee, you will always receive a freshly ground coffee made from whole beans. During brunch you will be offered a freshly squeezed orange juice, at home when cooking we use whole peppercorns to let the taste unfold freshly when grinding at the perfect moment. What I mean by that is: We already know the principle of the fresh meal, but not in connection with oat flakes.
Many people ask themselves at this moment, why should I flake my oatmeal myself, what would be the advantage of this? In the industry, the oat flakes are treated with heat after they have been peeled (this process describes the removal of the peel from the grain) in order to make them durable. We are not talking about a short process here, but rather a process lasting several hours with the action of water vapor at up to 90 degrees. Many important vitamins and fiber are lost in the process. We want to prevent this with YouFlake and draw the attention of the nutrition-conscious consumer to it. The self-flaking concept has been around for over 30 years now, but we learned at trade fairs that rarely anyone knows this concept. So we have a big task ahead of us.
In addition to your own muesli, you also sell crushed grains with your brandy. How did that happen?
Philipp Roeser: We thought about how we could position our YouFlake brand much more present on the market. We thought that asking doesn’t cost any money and so we started to ask all manufacturers from whom we buy devices whether this is a possibility. Most of them have already said “yes” and since then we have been with our logo in many different households across Europe and abroad.
Which target group do you serve with your products?
Philipp Roeser: It took some time to find out exactly who was our target audience. Especially at the beginning it is difficult to find out with little data why of all people the type of customer bought from us. However, after almost four years, we can already say very precisely that the target group in the B2C market is someone with: an academic background, better earners and nutrition-conscious. Most of the customers on our website are female and are in the 30+ age group. Especially the entry-level model of the Kornquetsche costs EUR 130.00 in order to even start with our muesli. Therefore, the flake crushers are rarely bought by younger audiences. However, we have already seen a downward trend.
Which channel is the strongest player for your business in the B2B area?
Philipp Roeser: 100% direct sales in the B2B area. There is actually not much to talk about. We are already available in some hotels and companies for guest and employee catering, but this is all handled through direct sales.
The price war is always a big issue in e-commerce. What was the initial problem that led you to deal with repricing at all?
Philipp Roeser: The biggest problems founders have are time and money – we were looking for something that would save us time and money. When we first started at Amazon, there were only 10 products online and we adjusted the prices manually. After a while we noticed that Amazon offers a repricing tool, which looked good at first glance, but at second glance it preferred Amazon and customers. The tool changed the prices downwards very quickly, but corrects them upwards much more slowly if the competitors had already raised the prices again. The more products are posted on Amazon or Ebay, the less time the processor has to constantly adjust the prices. In addition, the prices are adjusted on Amazon in seconds.
Reading tip: Everything you need to know about the art of correct pricing strategy read here.
How did you hear about SnapTrade and what convinced you in the end?
Philipp Roeser: Third-party providers can be displayed in various categories via the Amazon App Store. SnapTrade was one of the few. I took a closer look at SnapTrade on the website and set up a trial period. In the end, I was won over by the simplicity. With just a few clicks, prices can be set in many different strategies. Furthermore, the customer service – I was contacted by phone several times to draw my attention to a pricing strategy that I did not set correctly. The product was not just sold here, but SnapTrade also wanted the customer to use the software correctly in order to be able to demonstrate long-term success. After a while, I was able to express requests that I lacked with the software, this was recorded as with many other third-party providers, but with the difference that SnapTrade really worked on it and contacted me by phone again and said – Mr. Roeser, we have yours Your request has now been imported into the system, you can now test this at no extra charge, as this has been integrated with our existing subscription.
Have there been any measurable results to talk about since using SnapTrade?
Philipp Roeser: We can understand relatively well and quickly which new dealers have come onto the market who sell the same products as we do. Furthermore, we can see which products are selling pretty well at which price, as well as slow-moving goods, so that we can make adjustments here. We are relatively new with the FBA controller. Here in particular, Amazon would like to give the retailer a very poor overview in the event that products break or disappear, so that this does not immediately catch the eye. This is different with SnapTrade. The inventory comparison is always checked here and a notification is displayed as soon as something is wrong. Definitely a good tool when selling through FBA.
How did you adjust prices before using SnapSoft’s automated solution?
Philipp Roeser: For the most part, of course, we relied on Amazon’s automated price adjustment. As already mentioned, Amazon and the customer are preferred with the Amazon price adjustment, the retailer often sells products without a competitor at significantly lower prices than necessary.
Do you already have plans for where YouFlake should go in the long term?
Philipp Roeser: In the next twelve months we will continue to focus on the B2B market. That means more telephone acquisition with a focus on hotels and companies, since the purchase quantities here are significantly larger than in the B2C area. Nevertheless, the B2C market remains an important component and it is growing steadily. As of July 2021, we already have over 160 products that are actively price-controlled by SnapTrade, and there will be even more in the long term.
Can you give our founders and young startups valuable tips on how to perform successfully online?
Philipp Roeser: Just do it!
It sounds banal, but unfortunately it is. The first 5 years will definitely be super tough with little time for private things. However, it will be worth it in the end.
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