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Putting your customers first: An interview with Marianna Chillau, CEO & Co-Founder of resilient eCommerce business Transactionale

The lockdown in Italy had a huge impact on the country’s eCommerce sector and led to a major shift in consumer buying habits.

Despite the disruption, one of Kooomo’s Italian partners, Transactionale, reported an exponential growth of its customer network as a result of its innovative approach to customer engagement.   

Jennifer Puzzo, Head of Client Services at Kooomo spoke with Marianna Chillau, the CEO & Co-Founder of Transactionale, to learn how the company overcame the challenges of lockdown by listening to their customers and finding creative new ways to support their eCommerce businesses.  

Transactionale is a first affiliation network that allows eCommerce retailers to acquire new in-target customers with exclusive offers from other partner shops. This means two or more non-competing eCommerce sites can activate co-marketing campaigns and reward customers at checkout time, creating new revenue streams. As a consultant to various entrepreneurs in the Transactionale network, Marianna was able to observe the changes and trends of its customers’ different business models.

Marianna explained: “During the lockdown period we supported our customers in two key areas. Firstly, we provided free content training through webinars which helped them to share ideas and useful strategies and respond to the new needs of the market. We also reinvested part of our earnings to promote our customers’ eCommerce sites on the Transactionale network by creating a dedicated space where they could share their offers at no extra cost.

“The new channel has two clear objectives; to reward the customers and to promote the relaunch of Made in Italy and Italian eCommerce. To support this, a dedicated Facebook page for offers was created, allowing consumers to access the best offers across pharmaceutical, electronics, fashion and other sectors.”

During the webinars, Marianna discovered many trends, technologies and habits across the Asian markets that could contribute to the acceleration of the Made in Italy campaign. The union between eCommerce and entertainment is a distinct characteristic of the Chinese market and many European companies are starting to develop new sales methods based on this strategy. 

Marianna clarified: “I personally encouraged the idea of live streaming as it makes up more than 10% of the total online turnover in China and this will soon be an established trend across Europe. We talked about it in some of our webinars involving experts who explained that live sales have become a real entertainment channel for the Chinese and this is comparable to watching Netflix for Westerners.” 

Live Streaming accounted for nearly 9% of total sales in China, worth about $63 billion in 2019, and many platforms, including Taobao, host over 4,000 daily live stream sellers who present and test products for consumers. The audience is then able to interact with the presenter and buy directly, during the broadcast. 

Marianna believes adopting similar digital personal assistant strategies for the sale of Made in Italy products can create a performing touchpoint, capable of accelerating not only the economic recovery but also the internalisation of companies. She went on to discuss how her customers reacted to the changes in consumer buying habits: 

"Firstly, consumers who had never purchased online decided to take their first step into eCommerce. Secondly, eCommerce was divided into two categories; retailers that sold without marketing such as the food & pharmaceutical sectors and those that struggled to survive, including fashion, clothing, and accessories.”

Transactionale’s customers’ action plans reflected the different types of products sold and the adaptability of each company's production processes. Those who saw increased orders during the quarantine had to organise themselves to cope with a long-term Black Friday effect. They did this by increasing the number of sales staff and trying to make the order fulfilment process more efficient by increasing the minimum cart threshold for purchases.

The less fortunate eCommerce sites operating in sectors not connected to basic necessities organised themselves to limit their losses by increasing the points of contact with the consumer and adding a presence in certain marketplaces. They also changed their tone of voice on social networks by including more emotional content. Some even expanded their catalogue with high demand products such as hand sanitiser and PPE.

Kooomo strongly believes that if you listen closely to your customers, it is possible to learn valuable insights that can be used to improve your own business processes, and this is clearly seen through the efforts shown by Transactionale. Putting its customers first helped Transactionale develop better support frameworks for all the eCommerce sites on its network and it will no doubt continue to improve its offering and help those who have lost revenues as a result of the lockdown.


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