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“Life is short. Live your dream”: the quote Franco Denari shared with us is more than a way to approach life. It is what led him to success and has also helped become both the Founder and the CEO of Eataly Net.
Born in Casale Monferrato in Piedmont, he was working in Italy as a digital expert when, in 2012, he realized that nobody had ever sold high-quality food and wine online. That’s how a random idea soon became the goal of a small business that let Franco travel around Italy looking for companies interested in his project. After 73 presentations, he eventually met Oscar Farinetti from Eataly and, after the second meeting, they decided to become partners: Eataly Net, the company which is now part of Eataly, started focusing on the online sale of wine and food and on the management of the online presence of Eataly brand.
Your team is completely made of Italians. How is that important in making the project successful?
I believe that, in order to sell Italian food, it is also important to have a great knowledge of the products. In Italy, the food culture is widespread and our products are usually presented by those who have been using them for long time and know all the little differences. All people working at Eataly Net share the same passion and have one single mission: to transfer this love through their everyday’s work, which can go from making a nice gift bag or replying to questions coming from our customers in a friendly way. We try to bring our spirit as foodies and connoisseurs of healthy eating to the world, because eating well also means living better.
Statistics behind this project say that in the first half of 2015 the website had 3 million users connected. How do you explain it?
When you sell high-quality products and keep users engaged by telling great stories of Italian producers who are behind the success of Eataly, you will always have a great response. We do our best in order to offer more and more personalized experiences and a unique value proposition, designed to satisfy lovers of good food, who are interested in a new approach to the world of Italian food and wine. We are happy when our users reward us with their loyalty every single day.
The website is more than an online platform hosting retailers. It's a place where users learn about food, traditions, and so. This online experience turns to be just unique... do you agree?
Absolutely yes. Our website offers a unique experience for the users, taking them on a wonderful journey through Italy and the italianità, from the story-telling that can be found in our magazine to thousands of products available online. Traditions are very important to us and talking about them is a crucial part of our mission: we are Italian, we love high-quality food and we want to bring our passion to the world. On the other hand, we totally embraced the idea that life is too short to eat and drink bad.
Which was the toughest challenge you had to face when you started?
Eataly’s mission is to tell about Italian food and its different features: from the selection of the ingredients to the description of the production process. When you walk into our stores, you will find a very special atmosphere where everything relates to our stories: customers come to buy, but also to taste our products and understand them through an extensive calendar of courses and events. The hardest challenge was to have that same experience transferred in our website, by creating a place that combined the e-commerce experience with information about the products, the producers, and the chefs. Today, with thousands of people choosing our products every day, together with a lot of hard work, we can certainly claim to be closer to our goal.
How does mobile technology help increase the number of customers?
Nowadays, mobile has become an important medium and we cannot disregard it. In the US, more than in Europe, a huge amount of traffic comes from mobile devices. Recent studies show that the decision-making process starts from there. For this reason, we are there for tablet and mobile users with a full responsive website: our goal is to provide the best experience possible to our customers, wherever they are and for whatever device they are using.
Any special project coming up?
I have new ideas coming in my mind every day and sometimes I realize how hard is for other people to keep up with them. In 2016, we will work hard to boost our offer of fresh products. We are already selling fresh truffles and meat and, a few days ago, we also introduced caviar. These are high quality products that find a very high demand in the US. We are also planning to have new ways of subscription to deliver selected products at home, such as soft drinks or wine, as well as packages that will allow users to taste products before buying them.
What's the next milestone?
After a marathon you start to get ready for the next one: this is what we are doing. We like to innovate and introduce something which is recognized as unique. This is why we are working on major projects for the near future and we look forward to showing them on www.eataly.com. Come and visit us!