SUPPLIER - Agora CEO Emmanuel Benoit talks about teaming up AgoraPlus with Tradeplace

“I like to refer to our companies as cousins. It was a given that we work together in the after-sales market.”

Agora’s platform AgoraPlus manages the after-sales service of 6,000 qualified repair companies across Europe. In 2019, Tradeplace and AgoraPlus partnered to conglomerate their European after-sales market in order to improve service for both companies’ after-sales customers. We sat down with the CEO of Agora Emmanuel Benoit to hear about how the partnership between AgoraPlus and Tradeplace benefits their users and the market as a whole.

What were the deciding factors to partner with Tradeplace?

Tradeplace was present in both the finished goods and after-sales market primarily outside of France, and we had a strong presence in the after-sales market in France. We also specialised in the after-sales market of small household appliances, while Tradeplace was only present in the after-sales market for large household appliances. By partnering, we were able to add value to our customers and shareholders because we could both focus on what we specialise in. That being said, after working together for over a year now, I personally think the relationship between our two companies is more profound.

What do you mean?

I like to refer to our companies as cousins. It was a given that we work together in the after-sales market. Not only do we have mutual shareholders, we also share mutual values. This was definitely a contributing factor in the decision to establish a partnership. And when the basis is that solid, it inevitably benefits our users who are also our customers. We are not there for just one major or large party, but for all parties large and small in our marketplace. We treat everyone equally who works within the data we host and we strive to provide them with the most adaptable solutions available.

What tangible benefits were you able to offer users?

The actual transition was easy for our users. If you were a Tradeplace user, you automatically received an AgoraPlus account and immediate access to our support teams, just like you had on Tradeplace. So the proposition was very similar and with the least amount of disruption to our users on both sides. This was our ultimate goal and was easy to achieve since we are not trying to compete with each other, but grow to provide more service to the people we work with. And we have a lot in common like our culture and decision-making processes, which facilitated the transition for all parties involved as well.

What do you see happening in the future?

For the future, I see increasingly more integration in the solutions we provide for the after-sales market, and the solution we provide to distributors and OEMS. As the consumer opts more frequently for an increasingly interactive purchasing process online, after-sales will invariably be and actually already is a part of their customer journey and experience. I also see us as being able to benefit and service particularly the smaller players in the market such as shops. Enabling them to service and compete for customers as much as major players in a highly competitive market like we have in Europe marks the true value of a standard.

Koen van der Post, Tradeplace’s European Operations Manager, confirms Agora’s favourable experiences during the two companies’ cooperation and the decision to move forward together.

“Agora has always had an excellent name in the industry when it comes to after-sales services. Now that we have joined forces in this area, it will give Agora even more the opportunity to capture the attention of European customers and offer AgoraPlus and additional services, like their ERP service. The fact that Agora delivers additional services to our service partners was another important factor in the decision-making process to choose for Agora. After working together for more than two years now, what is noticeable is that there is a very strong customer focus and knowledge about customer and legal requirements throughout Europe. Secondly, there is a strong technical professionality about the company, highly-skilled staff that are knowledgeable and work with the customer in mind. For former Tradeplace after sales customers, the switch from a browser-based service to AgoraPlus, an app-based service, was something they had to get used to but the professional approach Agora provided after the transition period made sure that the vast majority are continuing to rely on the after-sales service now being provided by Agora. The advantage here being that Agora has a sole focus on this service which, especially going forward, will provide many benefits for after-sales customers.”