Crisp

“We know all of our suppliers really well.”

Interview with Michiel Roodenburg and Emiel Mols — CFO and CTO at Crisp.

Crisp

Crisp is a supermarket app that has really fresh food. Or, as they put it, “Better food, right to your doorstep”. The company was built by four people who each bring their own relevant experience to the table. This experience is part-and-parcel to making the company a success, because in this day and age you have to offer clients a complete experience. “You can’t do something like this one piece at a time,” says CTO Emiel Mols, “you have to build everything in one go: the product offering, the warehouse, and the app.” And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

“You can’t do something like this one piece at a time, you have to build everything in one go.”

Emiel Mols CTO at Crisp

A Crisp banner and their delivery box

The client’s needs

Just a half year after Crisp was founded, it went live on 14 November 2018, just in time for Christmas and for what they had promised investors. But do they also deliver when it comes to customers’ needs? They certainly think so. And this is what Emile has to say about it: “More and more people want better food, but they don’t have a lot of time and if they do, it isn’t easy for them to discern the quality of products and where they come from.”

“Personally,” Michiel Roodenburg, CFO, says, “I really enjoy taking a trip on a Saturday to the butcher or the person who sells fish with my family, even if it’s only to keep the centre of the city alive, but I don’t have time to do that every day.” But that’s not all: “I also want to set a good example for my kids when it comes to food that tastes good and is also good for you,” he explains. “And next to this,” he adds, “it can be hard to figure out what places in the world products come from.” Difficulty for the consumer doesn’t end there: “In a big supermarket you can choose from 20 different types of eggs, and you don’t really know what the difference is between them and the store doesn’t make a choice for you,” he says. “Even if you go to a speciality store, you still can’t be assured of a product’s quality. You don’t have a clue how long that piece of fish has been sitting there on display,” he concludes.

Crisp CFO Michiel Roodenburg and one of his colleagues laughing in their office

Convenience is super important

Crisp brings together quality and convenience. Michiel explains: “It’s not feasible for supermarkets to give specific information on all of their products, but this is very easy to do in an app. And we know all of our suppliers really well. (shows the Crisp app.) This is our asparagus farmer, he has the best ones in the entire country.”

Convenience is also important. But it’s not only about convenience in terms of easy ordering and easy delivery: Crisp chooses the product assortment for you. So, there aren’t 20 different kinds of eggs to sort through. “Our clients understand that if we make the choice for them, that choice will be an informed one. Moreover, consumers in our industry are very critical, and that means we only have one shot to get it right.”

“Consumers in our industry are very critical, and that means we only have one shot to get it right.”

Michiel Roodenburg CFO at Crisp

Two of Crisp’s employees presenting their strawberries

Groundbreaking

To be groundbreaking in this industry, you don’t only have to possess lots of knowledge about quality food products, you need to master technology. Products need to be safely delivered, without any drop-off in quality. Michiel explains what’s going on here: “We keep track of the state of the box our products are shipped in on its journey to people’s homes, we put temperature sensors in the boxes,” he says, “Because of our company’s size, it’s easy to experiment. It took us about an afternoon to decide on the sensors.”

Crisp also catches on quickly. “Our clients wanted us to have a search function, so we put one in our app,” Michiel says, “It’s not groundbreaking, but makes a big difference in the app.” So, where does the innovation come in? “What is groundbreaking is that you can change your order after you’ve placed it,” he says. “Say,” he adds, “you just ordered but then you notice you’ve run out of cereal. At other stores, you’re just out of luck, either that or you have to place yet another order. With us, all you have to do is add it to what you’ve already ordered. This contributes to the convenience factor.”

“It’s groundbreaking that you can change your order after you’ve placed it.”

Michiel Roodenburg CFO at Crisp

A few payment options

Customers can add items after ordering because it’s easy to pay. The overwhelming majority of people pay via direct debit and the payment amount varies per transaction, which allows customers to add items after they’ve already ordered. “This is a real gamechanger,” Michiel says, “And in the unlikely event that something’s not in stock, for example that a pallet fell apart upon receipt, which literally happened, then we’ll send you an alternative product, free of charge. At other online shops, you’d just get nothing.”

Crisp also only offers a few payment options. You can only choose iDEAL and direct debit, and they did this on purpose. “That also contributes to convenience, and it’s the same case as with the eggs,” Michiel says, “The more choice you have, the harder making a decision becomes. And that’s not only inconvenient for customers: it doesn’t help conversion either. We’ve considered all of this in developing our product.”

3 phones showing various shots of the Crisp app

A seriously good platform

Crisp didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about whether to choose Mollie. “We already had some experience with Mollie in the past, and we knew it was easy to integrate,” says Michiel, with Emiel adding, “I think Mollie has a seriously good platform. When we needed some adjustments, they were taken care of right away. I think Mollie makes things as easy as possible.” Michiel chimes in: “So, Emiel, you’re saying with your technical background that Mollie is a best-in-class product?” With Emiel replying: “It is. It’s really easy to integrate and that fits well with our company. Besides, a lot of smart people work here and we think they should be able to make decisions if they think it’ll help the company. That’s why it’s convenient that with Mollie things can be easily adjusted.” Emiel continues on the ease of integrating Mollie: “You don’t have to go through a weeks-long implementation with everything that goes along with it, like having a trusted consultancy partner to get you through it all, which is the case with some other payments providers.”

Crisp has made itself into a serious business, and the challenges they face are mostly on the marketing front. “Now that everything is up and running well, we want to reach as many homes as we can,” Michiel says. “We don’t want to do that by taking on money at the expense of profitability, kind of like what’s going on with Uber, because within two or three we want to be profitable,” he declares.

“Mollie makes things as easy as possible.”

Emiel Mols CTO at Crisp

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