Articles

Case Study: Fête du Café—Europe’s First Coffee Marketplace Built with CS-Cart

2,500
products in a few months

5,000
euros to launch MVP

100,000
orders planned for 2025

Fête du Café is a unique marketplace focused on coffee and tea. The idea for this platform came from its founder, Jeroen van der Geest, who noticed the huge coffee market in the Netherlands, valued at about 5 billion euros.

Jeroen van der Geest
The Founder of Fête du Café

Coffee is a very large market in the Netherlands, worth about 5 billion. It’s huge, immensely huge. I never knew that. I only started a year ago with zero knowledge of coffee. I just knew that coffee was a big market and figured it would be exciting to sell coffee. As I explored the idea, I initially wanted to start with a webshop to sell products online.

During my investigation, I found that there were already numerous coffee workshops. Then I wondered, why is there no marketplace for coffee?

Why does every webshop have to sell their coffee through either Amazon or similar platforms? Webshops have to advertise on Google, but there’s no other marketplace for them. That’s how I came up with the idea.

From Idea to Launch

Launching a marketplace for coffee that unites coffee workshops was something new in the local market. There was no such platform yet, so the niche was unoccupied. Therefore, Jeroen decided to act fast.

With a background in software development and experience running a software company, Jeroen chose CS-Cart for its built-in multi-vendor features, which were essential for creating a marketplace. Instead of building from scratch, which would have cost around €100,000, he opted for CS-Cart, which provided a comprehensive solution for €5,000.

Fête du Café, Europe’s 1st coffee marketplace

Development and Customization

Development started in 2023 and took about six months. The team began onboarding sellers in November-December, and now the marketplace has around 2,500 coffee products, making it the largest coffee web shop in the Netherlands.

The design is based on UniTheme, customized to meet specific needs. Jeroen appreciated the flexibility of CS-Cart, allowing for significant customization and control over the platform’s functionality.

“I thought a lot about Shopify and Magento, and they had plugins and layers you can put on top of them. CS-Cart was the first stop that actually had a built-in multi-vendor solution. I found it very appealing. The price was OK. If you build it from scratch, it would cost around €100,000. This could get me started with €5,000. So I think it was well worth it,” says Jeroen.
Modified Unitheme

Expansion and Challenges

Currently operating in the Netherlands and Belgium, Fête du Café plans to expand into France and Germany in 2025. However, challenges such as complex tax regulations in Germany need to be addressed first.

Finding the right multi-vendor platform was also a significant challenge. After evaluating options like Shopify and Magento, Jeroen chose CS-Cart for its integrated multi-vendor solution, which simplified the development process.

“The challenge was to find a multi-vendor platform that was kind of like an all-in-one solution. I didn’t want to go for the headless solution. I know headless is very popular, but it makes things much more complicated and time-consuming, or more likely, more expensive. So, I looked at different platforms and companies. It took me 2 or 3 weeks to decide; it didn’t take a lot of time. We just wanted to get started, and this was a good option to help us do that. So the MVP idea evolved into the current marketplace,” says Jeroen.

Key Features and Support

Jeroen needed a platform where multiple vendors could log in, upload products, and maintain a unified catalog. CS-Cart’s ability to handle different shipping rates for various vendors and manage a single master product with multiple vendor listings was crucial. Although vendor administration could be improved, the overall functionality met the marketplace’s needs.

“I think your support team is very good. They respond very quickly and are very clear with their answers, so there’s no second-guessing. You get good answers, and even if it’s not the answer I’m looking for, it’s still helpful because I then know what’s going on. And that was fine,” says Jeroen.

Feature Explainer: Jeroen says it was crucial for his marketplace to have a single master product with multiple vendor listings. This is a built-in CS-Cart feature called “Common Products for Vendors.”

This feature allows the marketplace owner to create a product catalog and share it with the vendors so that they can sell only those products that are in the catalog. It’s a great way to eliminate duplicate listings and bad product descriptions that don’t align with the marketplace’s rules, keeping the catalog nice, clean, and unified.

Common Products for Vendors Explainer

Achievements and Future Plans

Since its launch, Fête du Café has grown from zero to 2,500 products in a few months, with continuous vendor onboarding. Jeroen finds CS-Cart’s category and feature management impressive, highlighting the platform’s well-thought-out processes that facilitate onboarding and operations.

Looking ahead, Fête du Café aims to improve its design, rebrand, enhance email marketing campaigns, and significantly increase sales. The goal is to reach around 100,000 orders next year, with ongoing discussions with investors to support marketing efforts.

Fête du Café has grown from zero to 2,500 products in just a few months

Advice for New Entrepreneurs

Jeroen advises those starting with CS-Cart or any new business to focus on their own goals and customers rather than competitors. Inspired by Jeff Bezos, he emphasizes delivering the best service to customers and being the best employer. By concentrating on these aspects, businesses can thrive in their own space, regardless of the competition:

I saw a very interesting and inspiring clip of Jeff Bezos last night. A couple of years after he started with Amazon, he was asked how he felt about competitors. He was still very small, and they were talking about Walmart and other big marketplaces or webshops.

He was asked how he could keep up with those competitors and how he could be better when they were also so good. His answer was, “I’m not focusing on competitors. I’m focusing on us and on our customers. If we can deliver the best service to our customers and be the best employer to the people we work with, we are going to be the best at what we do. There’s no winners or losers. There’s room for us. The market is so big. So we’re not gonna win against Walmart, but we’re gonna win for ourselves.” I thought that was very inspiring.

It’s very common to look at competitors and think, “Well, they’re so good; I’m never gonna be that good.” But he didn’t do that. He said he may not be as good, or they may not be as good as him. He was just focusing on what he was doing. I’m going to write it on a wall somewhere in my house,” Jeroen shares.

Conclusion

Fête du Café’s journey shows the potential of using CS-Cart’s multi-vendor platform to create a successful vertical marketplace. With the right mix of passion, strategic planning, and focus on customer service, Fête du Café is set to make a significant impact in the coffee industry in Europe.


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Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart | Website

Yan Anderson is the Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart with over 10 years of experience in the eCommerce industry. He's passionate about explaining complicated things in simple terms. Yan has expertise in building, running and growing eCommerce marketplaces. He loves to educate people about best practices, new technologies, and trends in the global eCommerce industry.