Welcome to Denmark's largest wardrobe
”Hi Maria, you are now logged in. Welcome back to Trendsales. Great to see you again so soon :)”
This is the message that greets you, when you log into trendsales.dk – Denmark’s largest online fashion bazaar, where you can buy, sell and swap brand name clothes and designer items. A picture of Kasper also pops up on the site. He works in support and just wants to say hello and ask you if there’s something he can help you with. You feel welcome immediately, and that’s no coincidence. This personal approach is very important to Martin Falslev Andersen and Bo Eriksen, who founded Trendsales back in 2002.
“The internet – and business in particular – can easily get very cold. Take a stroll at Bilka for instance. It might as well be robots working there. We missed the old fashioned way of running a business where there was lots of personality and interaction. Back in those days, you knew who stood behind the counter, and they knew who walked in the door. That is why we tried to make Trendsales personal from the very beginning. It isn’t measurable, but I know deep down that it makes a difference to the user”, Martin Falslev Andersen explains.
Do people really want to buy used clothes?
Regardless of the answer, they have got something right at Trendsales. What started out as a small webshop selling clothes from unknown designers on consignment, is today Denmark’s largest online fashion bazaar with almost 700,000 users. Every day, they set up 15,000 new ads for everything from dresses, shoes and bags to coffee tables and cell phones.
“The idea of a bazaar originated from a friend who had just sold some of her brand name clothes that she didn’t use anymore herself. ‘Do people really want to buy used clothes?’, I wondered. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so we created a little bazaar feature as an add-on to our webshop. Suddenly, no one was buying our items anymore, they would rather do business with each other.”
So Trendsales evolved and became exclusively a bazaar. Most of the items on sale are second-hand, but many individuals, and even companies, also sell new and unused items. The two founders have been listening to users since the very beginning. In fact, more than half of the functionalities on Trendsales were created in response to their customers’ input.
“The users mean everything to us. We have always listened carefully to them, because we want to make things better where we can and they are the ones who know best. When two women are trading items with each other, things can easily get complicated, “the sweater was black in the picture, and then more greyish when it arrived”. Or, “it wasn’t true to the size written in the ad”. Therefore, we have allocated a lot of our resources to customer service, which is our largest department with the most employees.”
A social media – before social media even existed
We are all familiar with the possibility of commenting on things online today, but Trendsales was actually already operating as a social media long before ‘social media’ became a catch phrase. In contrast to many other online bazaars, Trendsales has had a reply space beneath every ad.
“The reply space encourages communication, creates relationships between seller and buyer, and offers peace of mind by enabling questions to be posed directly to the seller. Users write lots of comments. Before Facebook, users were able to get some of their social needs online covered at Trendsales. Many of them have even become girlfriends.”
But how did you get the idea to go social back then?
“Truthfully, we got lucky. Our technical skills weren’t good enough to build an auction platform at the time, so we had to do something else. Fortunately. I spent a lot of time on different online forums, so it just made sense to us to make it possible for users to communicate with each other.”
As easy as possible
The guiding principles of Trendsales are to maintain open communication on all fronts and constantly make things as easy as possible for users. In light of these commitments, they have created a fully integrated payment system, which allows users to run the payment through Trendsales for a nominal fee.
“The payment system is a huge source of comfort for users. If anything goes wrong during a transaction, we give them their money back. In this way, we don’t hear any bad stories about people feeling deceived, because it always ends up as a positive experience. We are doing everything we can to keep up with new digital opportunities, but not everything is possible. For instance, our site is too complex to make responsive, so instead we just relaunched our app which enables users to upload ads while on the go.”
Users are also able to upload ads in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany as Trendsales has begun to expand across borders.
“We have always wanted to go international, and we’re doing pretty well in Scandinavia, but it is hard work to start up in a new country such as Germany. If there are no sellers, there are no buyers – and vice versa. We have a dream of making our marketplace available in as many languages as possible and we just want to let things run their course and see what happens”, Martin Falslev Andersen explains.
For the time being, Trendsales’s founders are keeping their main focus on Denmark, creating a faster, better and more user-friendly site.
|Martin Falslev Andersen|
Martin Falslev Andersen is co-founder and CEO at Trendsales – Denmark’s largest online fashion bazaar. Trendsales is also in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany.