More than two decades ago, Diana Muratova’s father, Vladimir, saw a unique opportunity in the niche fish feed industry and founded Artemiadirect which produces artemia (brine shrimp) cysts and other related fish feed products. Artemia cysts are one of the most valuable nutrition products in global aquaculture and are widely known for their high protein content.
To ensure the best possible start in life for fish and shrimp larvae, Artemia feed is used by millions of fish breeding and industrial fish farming professionals around the world.
“Although this industry is specialized, it is very competitive,” Diana says. “In my region only, there are five or six suppliers of similar products. It really comes down to the quality of the product; standards are very high. Our products are essentially eggs which require a high hatching percentage, such as 90%.”
“We have made it a priority to take a scientific approach and solve the problem of shells entering the aquarium by removing them completely. The long-term cooperation of biologists and aquaculture specialists resulted in Embryo - a revolutionary product that changes the habitual way of obtaining nutritious live food for both hobby fish keeping and professional fish breeding. This product is a 100% edible biomass consisting of live Artemia nauplii and decapsulated Artemia cysts, and contains no pathogenic bacteria or cyst shells that are harmful to fish.”
While the company’s commitment to progress led to high-quality innovative products and a trusted reputation among established customers during 20 years of operation, there was a drive for more. As the company’s development manager, Diana started to explore different channels to support Artemiadirect’s growth. This is where Alibaba.com entered the picture.
“We were offering a new and innovative product, so we needed to make it stand out in the market, spread the word, and increase brand awareness and trustworthiness. That was made possible through the privileges offered by the Global Gold Supplier program.” Features of the GGS program have enabled clients to Artemiadirect and learn about its new products, taking much of the customer acquisition burden off Diana’s shoulders. This allowed her to allocate more time to cultivating deeper customer relationships.
“Almost all the clients who found us through Alibaba.com have stayed with us, as everyone wants to provide the best nutrition possible. This has allowed us to considerably expand our customer base.”
Now mainly working from Austria, Diana points out Artemiadirect’s focus on Europe is because of the market’s higher profit margin, but that it is also smaller in size. As the demand for fish feed in Asia has skyrocketed due to the increase of shrimp and fish hatcheries, Alibaba.com provided her ways to tap into an unfamiliar market with massive untapped potential. Currently, half of Artemiadirect’s B2B clients are from Alibaba.com.
“Many of our contracts through Alibaba.com are with Vietnamese and Indonesian buyers in the last year. Latin America is also an emerging market for us. We have several ongoing negotiations with buyers in Ecuador and we hope to fulfill our contract in the next few months.” In just the last 6 months, orders through Alibaba.com have generated mid-six figures for the company - this accounts for approximately 45% of total revenue. “This is actually a rather significant number when compared with how much we invested to become a GGS member on the platform.”
Star Ratings and Keyword Advertising (KWA) are just some of the features Alibaba.com makes available to its Global Gold Suppliers. “Improving your Star Ratings is challenging but worth the work, it greatly raises visibility for potential clients. Quick response time to inquiries is also key. If you delay responding, the customer may have found another supplier. It is crucial to seize chances and react fast. I have also noticed more impressions and clicks through smart tools such as KWA.”
Diana credits a lot of Artemiadirect’s success on the platform to the guidance of Eugenia, her account manager as a certified partner.
“She was great. She provided me with a lot of support and would answer any questions I had about the platform. For example, I asked her how to deal with responding to inquiries from spammers because it would lower my response rate. Through a combination of Diana’s diligence and assistance from her account manager, Artemiadirect was able to raise their Alibaba.com minisite rating by two stars within a few short months.
Before the company became a supplier on Alibaba.com, obtaining customer leads was an arduous chore for Diana. “This was something I spent a lot of time Googling. I would use a wide combination of product keywords and geographic locations. Since we focus on wholesale, I would also look through government directories of fish suppliers or farmers. I also used Instagram to search for aquaculture influencers in order to collaborate with them. Word of mouth, especially among smaller fish farmers, is another method we rely on. But it’s so much easier to find new customers through a platform like Alibaba.com.”
As the world and trading evolves, Diana sees e-commerce as the future. “E-commerce has helped to maintain and develop growth during the pandemic. It offers different ways for both a seller and a buyer to find what they need, and it underlines how important it is to accurately position yourself. I have noticed that the younger generation is much more in tune with the e-commerce landscape, they know the brands, the turnovers, and the opportunities. I believe e-commerce is an inevitable trend for the future, and this has been accelerated by the pandemic, there is no going back.”
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