One of our esteemed partners is Oro Inc., a software company that develops leading software for B2B Commerce – OroCommerce and OroMarketplace. For this interview, we’ve spoken with Oro’s VP Sales DACH Thomas Fleck (LinkedIn). Thomas is a professional in eCommerce, well known for his engagement in the growth of the eCommerce platform Magento and other projects.
Thomas, welcome, it’s a pleasure to talk to you! For those who do not know yet, would you give us a short introduction to what Oro is?
Thank you for having me! At Oro, we want to connect people through commerce. We want to enable people to be more efficient and digitize their sales and procurement processes. Therefore, we’ve been developing OroCommerce and OroMarketplace – now seen as the leading products for B2B commerce. We believe in open source as the best way to provide software as it allows our customers and partners to build solutions tailored to their actual needs. Speaking of partners, we aim for substantial partnerships as we have had with Marello for many years.
You’ve mentioned open source. And we know the benefits of your partnerships from our own experience. What else makes Oro special in the segment of eCommerce software?
One of the most precious things we provide in all Oro products is 10 years of B2B eCommerce experience. We know what businesses need in order to conduct a powerful eCommerce experience in their markets. One of the main keys to that is communication. Therefore, Oro comes with a CRM-Tool as a basis. If necessary, you can build up your platform completely from that starting point. (“If necessary” that’s why because all of Oro’s features are voluntary. You can choose freely.)
With the CRM you can talk to your customers on every occasion. All involved employees can follow that conversation throughout the process. The Oro B2B software is a bunch of bottom-line abilities, empowering companies to sell in their market much more efficiently. It gives them a scalable tool to grow without the artificial brakes of their eCommerce software. These core capabilities are the basic software OroPlatform, to have an organized software source, OroCRM for keeping track of your customers and to find out who is the most valuable, OroCommerce as an evolutionary entity, enabling companies to do eCommerce and create a B2B2X-Ecosystem of their own, and finally OroMarketplace as a furthermore extension with a special toolkit for those, who want to thrive on a specific market as a leader for both, products and services.
Oro is based in the USA but is expanding more and more in the EU market. You are responsible for marketing activities throughout the German-speaking parts of Europe. How do you approach that market?
The US and the Mid Europe market are somewhat different. In Germany, you see a wide range of what we call hidden champions. Mid-tier businesses, but with a worldwide impact in their segment of the market, and a leading role in their business. Sales work differently in those companies. It’s often personal, orders come in every imaginable way. But a change rises in eCommerce especially in these markets, because older employees are retiring and both, in the companies themself, but also with their customers, a new generation gets more used to up-to-date eCommerce technology.
A second push in that direction comes from the more international structures, eCommerce evolves in every part of the business. That makes a chance in the market and companies must keep up with that change. But their problem: There is no in-house IT department and a solution exclusively programmed is a financial nightmare. We step into that situation and enable them to change and adopt the necessities of a changing economic world.
How do you plan to achieve that?
Firstly, we strengthen the cooperation with our partners, like Marello. Because of our open-source model, customers can use already-developed solutions with the support of our partners. That accelerates the implementation process but also reduces the total cost. So step by step we grow into more niches of every market and widen up the Oro ecosystem. From its basic idea, Oro is not a stand-alone solution with compromises around specific needs, but an engine to an IT solution of a modern company-wide eCommerce landscape.
That being said, your latest product is the OroMarketplace. When to use that instead of OroCommerce?
If OroCommerce is already a powerful tool that enables you to provide a customer portal, an online catalog, or eCommerce capabilities to your customers, OroMarketplace opens up new opportunities on a more strategic level. Imagine you could become the leading platform – Amazon – of your industry. That’s the power of OroCommerce. It comes with all essential functionalities like vendor onboarding, shared catalog, order splitting, and split payments – already out of the box. With OroMarketplace you get the tools to outcompete your competition in the land grab situation that’s happening before our eyes.