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Author Ditsa Keren
Ditsa Keren
Created on Nov 22nd, 2022
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Yevhen Netreba is the commercial director of Zakaz.ua

Zakaz.ua is a Ukrainian delivery product service. In this interview, commercial director Yevhen Netreba shares some of the business strategies he applied to expand Zakaz.ua, despite the odds and the crisis faced by his country”.

 Yevhen Netreba is the commercial director of Zakaz.ua, chairman of the board of the "Association of Online Delivery Services" and a partner of the Chernovetskyi Investment Group.

Please introduce yourself…

I live in the city of Kyiv. I joined the Zakaz.ua team as a business development manager some four years ago. Soon after, I was promoted to Zakaz.ua commercial director.

Our full-fledged team in the commercial department grew from zero to 35 people.The growth of Zakaz transpired on different levels: building processes and interactions between colleagues, digitizing the company's business metrics and developing and approving motivational plans for all departments.

In the area of investment direction in CIG, we analyzed several thousand projects with the team, oversaw more than 10 investment deals and a number of successful exits from investments since 2020. I head the NGO "Association of Online Delivery Services", which coalesces a number of companies, such as Liki24, Glovo, Doc.ua and Zakaz.ua.

How did Zakaz start? How has it evolved? And what motivated you to create this company? Can you give us some company background?

Zakaz.ua - is a Ukrainian delivery service of products, which is part of an international group of companies Zakaz Global. Clients place orders via the online app Zakaz.ua on iOS and Android or through the website.

This service has been operating in the Ukrainian market for the last 12 years, providing food orders and delivery services from the largest food retail chains and markets in 13 large Ukrainian cities.

The project started in 2010, when a group of enthusiastic programmers created an IT product for the online sale of goods by retail chains. At the time, e-commerce in Ukraine was limited to the niche of household appliances, cosmetics, and books. 

We can safely affirm that Zakaz.ua became a pioneer in the e-grocery market in Ukraine and launched the culture of online grocery shopping among Ukrainians. 

Large international giants, such as Glovo and BoltFood, appeared on the country's market much later, around 2018. The promising project caught the eye of investors, thus attracting funds for further development. 

In September 2014, Zakaz.ua raised a $2.5 million round from the Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG), which later became the company’s major shareholder. To date, CIG has invested more than $10 million in Zakaz.ua.

We gathered a cohesive team of super cool professionals and specialists to scale business across the country with a vision to enter the international market. 

 Zakaz.ua office team at the charity marathon

In September 2019, Zakaz entered the Moldova market, making food product delivery accessible in Chisinau. By June 2021 delivery services became accessible in the city of Balti. 

By January 2020, the mobile application was launched on two platforms simultaneously on iOS and Android. 

Prior to that, products could only be ordered through our website. By late November 2020, the company began cooperating with the large logistics company "Nova Poshta" and launched the delivery of long-term shelf products through post offices in all regions of Ukraine.

We simultaneously  expanded our international scope and entered the market of Uzbekistan, launching delivery in Tashkent.

By August 2021, we started operating a new and unique business format, by delivering

 products from markets.

How did the Russian invasion affect your business? 

In pre-war times, Zakaz.ua worked in 3 countries, 18 major cities and 16 retail partners. 

However, at the start of the Russian aggression and the war in Ukraine, the situation changed somewhat. 

We had to promptly review and change the strategy of the company's business plan and adapt it to new conditions. 

We had to make difficult decisions,such as leaving the market of Uzbekistan to concentrate our efforts on preserving and developing business in Ukraine and Moldova. We had to say goodbye to several retail partners. 

Despite the crisis, we continued negotiating with new partners and launched delivery services in completely new locations. We continue to work, develop and connect with new and potential partners. Today, we work in 13 large cities in Ukraine and deliver goods from 12 food retail chains. 

It should be noted that Zakaz.ua is one of the few domestic food delivery services in Ukraine that has managed to keep its business and continue working during the war. Many other domestic players couldn’t weather the crisis and left the market,except for 

large international giants such as Glovo and BoltFood. I believe that for Zakaz.ua this is a win that demonstrates the courage, stability, and professionalism of our team.

What challenges did you meet in creating this business?

At the beginning of Zakaz.ua's operation, food chains didn't show much interest and enthusiasm for cooperation with the service, because they were used to working in a traditional offline format. Trading products on the Internet was something new and unusual for them. Therefore, in 2014-2015, in addition to creating an IT product, Zakaz.ua began to assert itself, in particular, as an operating company. 

We started picking shelf products in retailers' stores and delivering them to the end consumer by courier. The company's high-quality, convenient service and the advantages of cooperation with us made it possible to quickly win trust and loyalty among customers and partners.

Who are your typical customers and what challenges have you solved for them?  

We work with b2c and b2b clients.

Our b2c clients include many different users, from students to retirees.

According to our observations,a majority of women order products online from supermarkets. But the percentage of men is not much lower. The general age category of a typical client is from 18 to 45 years old.

Zakaz.ua services allow our customers to save time on shopping, and in a few clicks order the necessary products from a wide range of Zakaz.ua online storefronts in their supermarket of choice, saving them the burden of going to the store, standing in line and carrying heavy packages home. 

Another advantage relates to prices. Unlike many other delivery services, we do not create a markup. The prices of goods on the website and in the mobile application are identical to the ones on supermarket shelves. The customer only pays for delivery service.

Our B2B clients include businesses, offices, HoReCa, and the social segment. In 2019, the company laid down a sustainable development strategy, one of the goals of which was to actively develop sales to business customers. 

We decided to focus on three main groups: company offices, hotels and restaurant business operators, as well as traditional trade in the form of retail grocery stores.

We first studied the needs of each customer group in detail to create individual offers. For example, offices pay more attention to fast delivery and easy document processing. HoReCa - favor access to a wide range of products, quality and competitive prices. 

Private customers value customer loyalty bonuses and discounts. 

Business clients appreciate adequate communications, customer loyalty perks and prompt quality service.

In the last few years, online shopping has become mainstream. One successful area of e-commerce is the food industry. We’ve associated with food retail chains and cultivated a reliable win-win partnership. Our services have been fundamental to maintain the retail’s clientele under the present circumstances. Not only they haven’t lost customers, but have provided them with the added choice of purchasing online or offline. In fact, cooperation between retailers and Zakaz.ua opens an additional channel to sell their goods, increasing sales and profits accordingly.

The largest retail players and hypermarket chains in the country work with us include Auchan, METRO, NOVUS, MegaMarket, VARUS and others. 

What is your view of the future for your business?

Successful and profitable. Online shopping has become an everyday phenomenon in our society and will increase to 100% in the future. 

Nonetheless,it is pertinent to note that the e-grocery market in Ukraine is not a competitive niche yet.There are few players in the market, with plenty of room to grow. 

However, any business needs to build and implement a competitive strategy from day one to stay ahead of the game when serious players start to emerge. As part of the scaling strategy, we plan to continue to actively develop a new direction of delivery from markets, connect new retail partners and continue international expansion. Our goal is to build a "unicorn company" from Ukraine with a capitalization of more than a billion dollars. We believe in a positive scenario of events and hope that soon we will have the opportunity to fulfill our vision..

Note that Zakaz.ua delivers products and goods only from supermarket chains. We don't deliver food from restaurants and catering establishments.

How does Zakaz.ua work? 

To place an order, it is necessary to select a city, type the desired address on the website or the service application, fill the basket with the necessary goods, indicate the payment method and a convenient delivery window. After the application is processed and the order is confirmed, the list of products goes to a professional picker, who promptly fills a basket in the store. As various orders are collected simultaneously, we maintain the products in proximity and under optimal temperatures. Thereafter, the order goes to the courier, who promptly delivers the goods to the buyer.

In general, the service can deliver orders of any weight and volume, including catering to

offices, hotels and restaurants. All products in the order lists are packed in special thermal boxes to maintain optimal temperature. 

I think that sums up our growing and expanding business and how we have been tackling the challenges our country has come up against.

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