We spoke to Arif Akimov, Export Manager at Royal Forest, healthy food products producers.
Please tell us about the history of your company, what factors have contributed to your success?
Royal Forest was established 10 years ago with the introduction of a brand new product that didn’t exist before - the carob milk bar. A healthy alternative to chocolate with no added sugar. We started with a line of vegan products (containing no added milk) and a regular bar product. These food lines were a great success and made the company popular. Today we have about 200 products and we are still growing. In 10 years we have achieved to be represented in all the Russian retail chains and the brand is easily recognizable.
We started our exports from the CIS countries and today we are actively operating in Europe and beyond this is where Visable helped us extensively.
What products do you offer on the international market?
There are over 200 products in our catalogue. The most popular ones are carob chocolate, vegan chocolate, coconut chocolate, as well as natural pastes and syrups without additives or sugar.
Who are your main customers and what do they appreciate about working with you?
Our clients are in the nutrition business, for example distributors and retail chains for vegan products, etc. We also have offers on Private Label for various Russian retail chains. Royal Forest is not only a manufacturer, we also import raw materials too, so Visable helps our export activities and our raw material sourcing needs.
How successful is your campaign on the Visable (Europages/wlw) platforms? What was the result of your investment?
All our current export contracts are with clients who found us on Europages. The value of which is more than €55 000. We have even found investors which of course is very helpful. Our Purchasing Department is using the platform to find raw material suppliers.
Prior to working with Europages, we created a website in English and promoting it was quite easy for the Russian market, however it was not the same story on an international level. Each language has its own specifics and translations are very expensive. Once we registered on Europages, site visits have literally exploded and accounts for about 80% of all traffic. I am convinced that there is simply no better way for us to promote our products and brand.
Do you have any particularly big or memorable deals that you have made thanks to Europages?
Topinambour syrup is an ecological and sugar-free product that is becoming increasingly popular and for which we have enquiries and leads from several countries: Poland, Great Britain, Uzbekistan, Austria and Azerbaijan. This business is now regular so thanks to Europages we are building long-term business partnerships. The value of these deals ranges from €6,000 to €55,000.
What role do global and European markets play in the international development and business growth of your company?
Entering new markets plays a key role in our company's strategy. Export sales have been set aside as a separate unit and is actively developing
What is your strategy for further growth?
Our development strategy includes increasing our presence on marketplaces, especially on a European level. 80% of the traffic to our Website is thanks to this visibility. More intensive work on the Visable platforms (for example testing the Email marketing solution to target several European countries) will definitely help us expand the European and Asian markets through resellers and distributors.
Why did you register your company on the Visable marketplaces (Europages and wlw)?
The goal is to find new European distributors. We had the opportunity to participate in the Visable Solution Digital Academy with the support of the Moscow Export Center. We learned the essential basics of the digital marketing as well as the best techniques in use of Europages. This proved to be very useful for our internationalization strategy.
What exactly do you like about Visable ?
Connecting to the platform is like being home! And home is cosy, familiar and comfortable!
The possibilities of the platform are very broad, and we realize that even though we are active, we don't use the platform to its full potential.
When we started working with the platform, our focus was on manual search and contact with potential clients. However, after a while a regular stream of live enquiries started to come in. Then we won a Display Advertising campaign with the Visable Solution Digital Academy and that helped us enormously in building our brand and increasing its visibility in Europe!
We are now planning to launch a Europages Email newsletter to actively generate leads. For those who respond to the newsletter, we will send some Carob chocolate to try! Negotiations that start with a taste rather than words, are always more effective! 😊
What advice would you give to companies entering the global market?
- Be patient.
- Don't expect results from one particular sales channel, look in all directions.
- Use the help of professionals for your strategic actions. For us, that professional partner is Grand Gector, who supports us in all aspects of working with the platform. Human support is extremely important.
- It is also very important to process a lead quickly! One should handle and process a lead in no longer than 2 hours, taking into account checking authenticity of the company that sent the request.