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Marija Popović, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Ananas e-commerce

The First Marketplace At The Right Time

The crisis that emerged as a consequence of the pandemic brought new perspectives in many areas of business, and e-commerce was certainly no exception. It was thus only natural for online sales to experience a boom during this period, and for that to spawn the first marketplace in Serbia

Our plans extend beyond the mere word ‘ambitious’, but we are also more than ready to realise them. Of course, none of this would even be possible if we didn’t have the backing of one of the largest companies in Serbia: Delta Holding ~ Ananas’s Marija Popović.

The pandemic accelerated the development of e-commerce in Serbia, and did it similarly influence the development of the country’s marketplace?

One good thing from the side of e-commerce is that this trend didn’t experience a decline in popularity even after the lifting of pandemic measures.

On the contrary, it is continuing to grow. In recognising the population’s growing trust in this form of trade, it was concluded that sufficient space and interest existed on our market for the first, genuine, unique marketplace: Ananas. If we’d launched a year earlier, it would have been too soon; and if we’d started a year later, it would have been too late. Ananas’s development happened at the right time, and the crisis triggered by the pandemic only served as an incentive for us to emerge from it as winners.

Our plans extend beyond the mere word ‘ambitious’, but we are also more than ready to realise them. Of course, none of this would even be possible if we didn’t have the backing of one of the largest companies in Serbia: Delta Holding, which is prepared to turn Ananas, as a company, into the Amazon of the Balkan region.

Ananas’s development happened at the right time, and the crisis triggered by the pandemic only served as an incentive for us to emerge from it as winners

With the launching of Ananas, Delta Holding signalled the creation of a regional giant of online commerce. How much time and money is required to achieve that goal?

Ananas isn’t just yet another in a long line of online shopping sites, as we’re developing an entire ecosystem that comprises various different operational areas. In addition to the marketplace, there are also logistics, retail, “adtech” and “fintech”. Online sales are just the end product, what we see as customers, while Ananas has its own logistics alongside that. Packages are collected in three ways: from parcel delivery lockers at NIS filling stations; from “Paket Zone” locations (at cafés and shops with which we cooperate); through delivery to the customer’s address.

Ananas has its own internal IT team and retail section, in order for every customer to be able, when clicking on ananas.rs, to quickly and easily check out all available products; in order for us to be able to implement promotional events and apply discount sales within deadlines of just a few hours; in order for every order marked “A direkt” on the platform to reach the customer in less than 24 hours; in order for us to be able to enable each of our partners to quickly list their products on the platform, as well as offering storage and handling services and marketing support.

You’ve already entered North Macedonia. What’s next? Is expansion eased by the CEFTA agreement and existing legal regulations?

Ananas is currently the largest regional project. Also testifying to this is the fact that, by October 2022, we’d already taken the first step in that process with the acquisitions of North Macedonian websites PaoPao and Grouper. Our regional expansion isn’t stopping there. Expansion to at least two more neighbouring markets is already planned for 2023. Considering that our goal is to be present in the countries of the Balkans, a major obstacle to the expansion of e-commerce across the region is represented by customs and administrative procedures. They impede and prevent cross-border movement of goods intended for consumers between countries in the region, and in our view the solution is in the implementation of the CEFTA agreement, or the Open Balkan initiative in the domain of the free movement of goods.

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