Interview with Matt Rogers from Aroxo

If you have met Matt Rogers, you will know that he is a driven and dedicated individual with big ambitions for his start-up, Aroxo.  He is going to need all his determination to take on the big boys, Amazon and eBay in the marketplace business.  I was skeptical to begin with, but having met him, I think he might just do it.  Over to you Matt.

Please tell us about Aroxo – how did you get the idea

Aroxo is a totally new and unique marketplace that helps buyers and sellers for products and services negotiate with each other. Aroxo’s model is buyer-driven.

The buyer creates what we call a Want-it Note, this tells Aroxo sellers what they want and they price they want to pay. They then receive offers from sellers and can either buy straight away, or negotiate with the seller.

For sellers we’re an entirely new channel to market enabling them to sell stock in volume, whilst allowing differential pricing to be achieved and managed on mass. We’re finding that a lot of our negotiations are affectively price matches, enabling a seller who would otherwise have lost a sale to a competitor to ship some stock and take a margin.

The potential market for the platform is huge. We are currently deliberately restricting it to consumer electronics whilst we build scale and users. Aroxo will be rolled out to wider markets once we have built traction and brand recognition.

Taking on eBay and Amazon is something between difficult and impossible – discuss!

eBay and Amazon are locked in a battle at the moment. eBay is fighting more and more for the fixed price business, and Amazon is trying to grow its business by bringing more sellers onto their platform through their Marketplace.

In the meantime they are ignoring their users.

Both Amazon and eBay are riddled with knock-off grey products from overseas. Their search basically doesn’t work (green ipod on eBay returns no Ipods, let alone anything green, and MP3 Players on Amazon returns no iPods and a large proportion of Chinese knock-offs).

These are both amazing businesses, but Amazon’s product catalogue is a mess and eBay’s user experience is very poor.

This is fertile ground for start-ups who can really focus on solving the needs of the customer:

  1. Product discovery
  2. Amazing prices
  3. Easy to use
  4. Ease of integration

We’re laser-like focused on these to deliver value to buyers and sellers by focussing on nothing but these.

I see integration as the key here, how do merchants upload their inventory to Aroxo

We’ve done a lot of work in this space to make it really easy for merchants to sell through us.

We do three things to make the merchant’s life easier. Firstly they can import their entire stock feed using our live feed import. We process everything in real-time and the entire catalogue is usually live within a few minutes of upload. We also support a wide range of different feed formats.

Secondly, we handle a lot of work-flow for them. We help them track payments, print address labels (if needed!), manage pre-sales and post-sale customer enquiries, feedback and manage their account. We do this using an easy-to-use “task list” that brings everything together in a clear list. Do the job on the top, and then come straight back to the list.

Finally, we’re very flexible with the payment systems which the seller can support. Any seller who accepts either Sagepay/Protx, Paypal, Google Checkout and telephone orders and take payments through Aroxo. We’re adding Worldpay support in soon too. The money goes direct into the seller’s account, and so can be passed through their own preferred fraud prevention tools.

An entirely new seller can be up and selling on Aroxo within 30 mins.

How has the service been doing so far?

Great! Since we’ve launched we’ve already won a number of awards for our technology, including:

  • Winner: Techcrunch Pitch! 2009 sponsored by UKTI
  • Winner: UK’s Hottest Start-up 2009, London Business School, Technology Summit
  • Nominee: Techcrunch Europas. Best start-up 2009
  • Finalist: The Next Web, Europe’s Most Promising Start-Up

At Aroxo we’re building out our seller base. We’ve already got tens of millions of pounds worth of stock on the site and handling plenty of sales, but we’re always on the look-out for more and more sellers.

If you drop us an email to not only can we help you get integrated, but we can throw in enough Aroxo credit for free to last you for a few months of selling on Aroxo.

Plans for the future?

We’ve got a lot of new features – for buyers and sellers – in the pipeline. The main areas we’re focused on are detailed above. The next major release you’ll see will be around making Aroxo’s product discovering stand out from the crowd, really help buyers find the right product for them.

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