E-commerce Unfiltered: The Jonathan Parent Perspective
Meeting with Jonathan Parent, owner of BeCoffee
I admit it, I love coffee. For the last few years I’ve been discovering new products and trying to develop my knowledge of coffee, a world as complex as the world of wine tasting.
Today, I introduce you to BeCoffee, a business that sells all you need to make good coffee, and to drink it in style.
The World for A Coffee
In 2016, Jonathan Parent and his spouse, Karine Lesage, acquired the business founded by Christian Bond in 2009.
As mentioned on their website, their mission is democratizing, supporting and enhancing the experience for coffee lovers everywhere with extraordinary products. BeCoffee specializes in the sale of high-end products and accessories from partners located around the world.
That’s exactly what I like about this business: discovering products from Croatia, like the renowned Inker cups, or from Holland or even England.
It’s as though the whole world is at our fingertips to help us make our coffee ritual perfect.
Jonathan and Karine aim to offer nothing less than the best in each product category, products which they offer to online customers, in their Quebec City showroom, or directly to businesses, coffee shops, and hotels.
Truly Discovering E-Commerce
Before embarking on this adventure, Jonathan worked a long time in the digital world as responsible for customer service, project management director, product development director in web marketing and communication companies. He is also one of the founders of the event Web à Québec, which is now in its 10th year.
His in-business experience made him want to start one of his own.
I’ve been in the web business for a while too… I know that when you get into e-commerce, despite one’s experience, there is still quite a bit of learning to do.
Creating websites for others, or giving them advice is one thing… Managing your own business is another. That is my experience anyway, so I asked him if he felt the same way. I knew he would agree:
“There’s plenty of things that came up that I didn’t know about despite my skills in digital technology, like for example, everything about ordering and shipping.”
“The best advice I could give to someone who wants to launch his business is to go into the field he wants to invest in, go meet with the businesses that are established and review all aspects of the work, from manufacturing to shipping.”
“There are so many aspects which you don’t think of when you start: of course, selling online, but also generating traffic, managing sales and inventory, for example.”
Believe me though, Karine and Jonathan have done very well for themselves! BeCoffee is in constant growth.
Both entrepreneurs keep testing as many products as possible, and recently they’ve taken a green turn with reusable cups and bottles, among other things.
Now they sell everywhere in Canada, and particularly on the West Coast (Canada and US), where the buzz for a quality coffee is very strong, where people want to know more about the origin and the production process of their coffee.
Over time, the objective has become clear for Jonathan: “Obviously, we’d like to have a significant presence in Western Canada and better manage our partnership, or even establish a physical presence there.”
For the time being, the couple strives to consolidate its position as a key importer in America, keeping their objective clear in mind.
To achieve this, they know how to use today’s marketing tools, such as social media, and they take a human, personalized approach with their customers. It’s important for them to really understand their customers.
People Before Products
I asked Jonathan what he thought was his greatest quality. Loyalty is what he said.
I like it! That is also what I think.
Publishing good content, being present on social media and so on, that’s all good. One must not forget though that we are dealing with people first, people who believe in us and want to trust us.
Doing business is working with human, relations, not just with products.
I think a good entrepreneur has to understand who he is working for, and as Jonathan puts it, be proactive in communicating with his customers.
Same goes with suppliers. Doing business internationally, Jonathan and Karine have learned to adapt to different ways of working, depending on the region of the world they are dealing with. Based on culture, trust is not demonstrated the same way. That too was a learning curve in e-commerce!
Buster Fetcher: A Tangible Asset
So as to not lose their skills and stay atop an ever-changing market, Jonathan and Karine regularly participate in seminars, conferences and shows dealing with industry innovations and trends.
“We also stay connected to other entrepreneurs, otherwise we’d never make any progress,'' says Jonathan.
Indeed, it’s on a Facebook group of entrepreneurs in electronic communication that he first heard about Buster Fetcher. He’s been recommending the service to everyone since.
For BeCoffee, Buster Fetcher is a tangible asset. The money recovered and saved on shipping is used as funds to generate marketing.
Jonathan and Karine appreciate the various services we offer: refunds of packages delivered late, labels, but also our tracking software and analysis tools.
What they value most of all is that our team understands e-commerce. It was like a guarantee for them, and that is what got them on board.
Plus, setting up the application was seamless and the support received was up to par. Our human and down to earth approach is what Jonathan and Karine were really able to relate to!
We are certainly honored to contribute to the progression of such a gem of a business and we wish BeCoffee to conquer America and Europe, one cup at a time.
In the meantime, Jonathan is also working on an e-book that sounds fascinating: La face cachée du commerce électronique (The Other Side of E-Commerce).
Stayed tuned, to be continued!
Use the money recovered and saved on shipping thanks to Buster Fetcher as funds to generate marketing.