iTepee is the first online site specializing in advertisements for the sale of showroom and stock clearance products. Launched last spring by Alexandre and Philippe, the site already features nearly 400 items from 20 professional retailers in Luxembourg, Belgium and France. With discounts ranging from 25 to 70 percent, customers are already queuing up outside the stores!
(Featured Image. iTepee’s team / Image Credit: Anna Katina)
iTepee.com targets vendors who specialize in home-related items: furniture dealers, floor and wall covering distributors, hi-fi retailers, home appliance vendors and kitchen manufacturers, for example. They all have the same problems: How can they sell unsold stock when new collections arrive? And how can they speed up the rotation of products to generate sales? “There are many options,” says Alexandre. Display prices in-store? Not visible enough. Sell stock on other sites? Ditto. Putting items into storage and storing cash? Not very cost-effective.” To reach an audience of enthusiasts, iTepee.com proposes a hyper-specialized site that gives greater visibility to the discounts available and increases store traffic.
“Our goal is to bring more customers to our retail partners. Our site is not transactional; it is simply a platform to showcase the products. If you want to buy the lamp or the sofa you’ve just seen on iTepee.com you have to go to the store.”
Online to store
When users are interested in a product, they must contact the vendor directly. “iTepee.com does not sell anything – it’s an ad site. The vendor can therefore be in direct contact with the customer, do his job as a salesman and the customer feels reassured as a result,” explains Alexandre. iTepee’s founders prefer to position themselves as “sales facilitators” and generate as much business as possible for their partner brands. The site also offers a “Take care of yourself” section, allowing users to make specific requests about a brand or product they are looking for. iTepee.com then redirects these requests to its partners who can contact the buyer directly.
To raise awareness amongst the general public, the founders of iTepee.com have a substantial monthly budget for SEO and SEA – “without ruining us, of course!” – in order to build a community and attract a broad range of potential customers. They decided to implement a Google AdWords strategy and create a strong presence on social networks. “We post on Facebook at least three times a day, promoting our partners or their products in order to create traffic. We also have a team of sales representatives who approach the retailers on the ground.”
Following its first round of fundraising of €100,000 in March 2017 and the launch of the site in mid-April, the iTepee.com team has been busy working on the development of an application with exciting new features. At the same time, they are working on visibility in the Luxembourg, Belgian and French markets. Over the next three years, they plan to expand into six other countries. With seven employees on board so far, iTepee.com is actively seeking new talent to grow its IT and sales teams.
This article was first published in the Summer 2017 issue of SILICON magazine. Be the first to read SILICON articles on paper before they’re posted online, plus read exclusive features and interviews that only appear in the print edition, by subscribing online.