That’s a wish that Niko Ioannidis and Emanuele Bettuzzi of Greek Flavours are making come true by bringing authentic flavors straight from the Greek islands to the dinner table at home. The two entrepreneurs have set up a successful business selling artisan Greek products to customers all across Europe.

Delivered. talks to the duo about their journey building an e-commerce business, from Greece to the world.

What makes Greek Flavours appealing to your customers across Europe?

Our customers range from lovers of Greece to Greek expats. We believe almost everybody who spends their holidays in Greece ends up loving the beautiful country and wanting to continue to eat like Greeks at home.

How did you decide to open up your business to international customers? What were the challenges?

Since the beginning, we focused on an export business model. After conducting vast market research, we realized that it’s not easy to find traditional Greek products outside of Greece. It may be fairly common to go out to eat in a Greek restaurant, but it is hard to find places to buy authentic Greek products if you want to organize a Greek dinner party at home, for example.

The most difficult part of starting the export business to single customers has been the logistical aspect: we are selling heavy and fragile goods at reasonable prices. In order to succeed, we had to find the correct balance in the value chain, and we did it together with DHL.

 

How would you describe doing e-commerce in the EU? What differences between countries have you noticed?

E-commerce in the EU is fascinating and we are strong believers in the benefits European Union legislation provides: having open borders and the opportunity to approach clients living a thousand kilometers away is invaluable.

What we see is that, apart from the obvious differences between countries, every customer really is an expert, or at least they behave this way. They pay close attention to each product’s information: the origin, the usage (and we see this by the hits on our recipes area!)

The first year was really important for us in order to understand what people were looking for in our website. Every European culture holds its own behavior and seasons which affect how and when we need to market ourselves. The key to our success has been analyzing all the single requests and data coming from the different countries and continuously redefining and adapting our strategies.

 

What are the greatest challenges right now that you face operating an international e-commerce business?

We tested the business in Europe and we have seen that the market is doing well and growing every year, alongside the growing number of tourists that visit Greece. The other huge challenge is to go global: there is a vast market outside Europe - if we only think of the huge market in the US and Canada, as well as how present Greek culture is over there, is easy to understand the opportunity. But, there you’re faced with the huge issue of Customs and Regulations.

What are the future plans of Greek Flavours?

We have tons of plans for Greek Flavours. Maybe the best way to summarize all of them is by saying that our aim is to build the digital worldwide reference for lovers of Greek products. And this is not only related to food business – recently, we opened a Beauty and Well-being department and we are in contact with several Greek designers. We strongly believe that diversifying our products and categories will help us to succeed.

We are not only re-sellers; we are also developing a new brand line called Lucius. Lucius is a very tasty and healthy extra virgin olive oil which we directly produce in Peloponnese from 100% Koroneiki olives. With this, we are already planning to produce more products.

 

In the wake of the upcoming European Parliament elections, and fragile times in general, how would you like to see the EU in the future?

We believe that the EU is the only and safe way. We are strong in our diversity. Yes, some things have to be negotiated in order to understand and support the needs of each country, but we feel there is no space for a U-turn or alternative solutions. If we think back to the time before the economic unification of Europe, a project like ours would never have been possible to even imagine. —  Giorgia Rose

 

The European Parliament election takes place on the 23rd to the 26th of May, 2019. To find out more information on how to vote, click here.

Published: March 2019

Photo credits: iStock; Greek Flavours