Insights Into E-commerce: Visdeal Scales up for Success

Willem Bontrup, Founder and CEO of Visdeal, Netherlands

Although William is not an angler, he chose the fishing market, and he did not miss a beat. He managed to grow his e-commerce project from a start-up to a large-scale company and market leader in the EU fishing tackle market.

As the company grew, it moved to a new warehouse and decided to make technical improvements to effectively handle the growing volume of orders. The Cyfrania team was excited to take on a new challenge and develop the software needed to keep the warehouse running smoothly.

In our interview with Willem, we looked at building a successful e-commerce business from the ground up, touching on various aspects such as overcoming challenges, implementing technical improvements, strategic planning and entrepreneurship considerations.


Visdeal is an online store for real angling and fishing enthusiasts. It offers a wide range of products and services tailored to the needs and preferences of individuals passionate about fishing.

As an e-commerce platform, Visdeal provides its customers with a convenient and comprehensive shopping experience, offering a variety of fishing equipment, gear, and accessories to support and engage its target audience of fishing enthusiasts.

Building a Thriving Business from Scratch

When you were starting your business, you lacked data about the industry’s workings. But you still managed to create a very successful company. What’s your secret?

I always become very enthusiastic when we create something and build something. I focus on that and never give up. So it was like eagerness to build. To get things done and to be able to make mistakes. Mistakes are not a problem. You say, “Okay, we made a mistake.” Then we try something else. So, it is not a magic trick. Never stop and improve every day a little bit. Then it works.

Do you agree with the saying “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it matters how many times you get back up”?

Exactly. I think in the end, what’s most important is that you go very open into this world. Even if we didn’t know something, our main goal was to find out: Is it a good price? Is it a good product? Can we sell it? We really wanted to play with this stuff. And, of course, initially, it was more like simply “Don’t give up!”

Technical Upgrades

You have a successful e-commerce project. Why did you decide to add technical improvements to your warehouse?

We wanted to make ourselves future-proof. Because we believe that it can all become much bigger in the future. With this, we are not dependent on many different people; we have a warehouse that allows us to move fast-forward.

Also, it’s kind of a financial issue because we calculated that we would have fewer costs than adding more and more employees in the warehouse. And we believe that with this warehouse we can really go fast forward in the next five years. So that’s the main idea.

Previously, you mentioned that Mondays used to be very busy days. But this Monday, we observed that people weren’t in a hurry. Still, they placed approximately 2,000 orders, which is impressive.

Yeah. Normally Monday was a very big issue. Everybody was trying to get the orders out. But now it is very easy. That’s the good news.

Why Mondays?

Because on Sunday we send a newsletter to half a million anglers. On Sunday, we always have the biggest discounts for customers. So they all know on Sunday that they can get the best discount. As a result, we always have much more sales on Sunday than on the other days.

Are you satisfied with the result of what you did?

Yes, absolutely. Now it’s going very smoothly. In the beginning, we had some little issues, but we fixed them quite fast. And we still can improve stuff, but what we now see is already a very good result. So I’m very happy with that.

Plans for Improvement and Growth

Do you have some plans to improve the automatic line?

We already have some ideas on how we can improve the packing of orders. For example, we will buy a system that will automatically lift containers and place them on the line, eliminating all manual handling of containers.

Developers have done a huge amount of work. What are your impressions of them?

It’s fantastic. The cooperation with the guys is very good. We, along with our CTO in charge of the entire project, are really happy with them. We consider these guys as soldiers of Visdeal.

What’s your future strategy for business improvement? How will you scale?

We want the business to be more professional. Now we have a managing director who’s more like getting things clear for everybody and the company in general.

And a very important thing for the future is data. There’s a lot of data to bring together so we can make better decisions. We believe this will be the next step.

What are your plans in terms of geography?

France is a country which we are focused on. We could speed up deliveries by using our own trucks there and incorporating them into the network’s carriers. Faster deliveries are an important step in expanding to other countries. And we always have a lot of focus on customer service. So people tell other folks, “Hey, you can trust this company.”

You decided to create your own brand called “Ultimate.” Why?

In the beginning, it was very simple, we said, “Okay, that’s better margins.” But during the pandemic, we found out that we relied a lot on the suppliers and other brands. And they were not able to deliver the products.

We want to make sure that we always have products to sell. And that was an extra reason to focus on our own brand. Thereby, we have some really good product developers who create the best Ultimate products. Our brand is compelling because, from its origin in the factory until we sell it to the customer, it’s wholly ours.

Bumpy Road to Success

Now Visdeal is a large-scale e-commerce company. But creating any project, any website, or a company is always a bumpy road. What challenges did you face while creating your e-commerce project?

In the beginning, it was very difficult to find suppliers who wanted to work with us because we were only e-commerce. We had no physical shops. So it was very difficult to get them in to be able to sell the products.

The other thing was the software that we used. In the beginning, it was mainly built on the basic system. Then things became customized; they started improving significantly. And our willingness to invest in development also changed. Initially, we said, “This is too expensive”, but now we know that you must incur that cost to greatly benefit the future.

Are you happy with your own brand?

I’m very happy with our own brand. But I think we should have done this in the beginning and invested more in that. Now it’s a completely different game. We sell and produce our own brand products.

What we learned is we had a lot of focus on becoming bigger and bigger, but there was not that much focus on making money. So we changed that to make it a more healthy company which also gives a lot of rest. Another key point is to base decisions on data instead of gut feeling. In the beginning, it was okay, but now it’s not possible anymore.

Advice to Other Entrepreneurs

If you were starting from scratch now, what would you do differently?

I would hire the best people I can find. Because this changes everything. At first, everyone who wanted to work with us, we were like, “Sure, come on in!” We did not have a strong selection process. Meanwhile, a skilled marketer, for instance, can achieve more than 10 individuals of lower capability.

I found out that investing in people and trying to find the best staff is the greatest action we’ve ever taken. Plus, when you see someone’s not good enough, or he’s not a kind of Visdeal member, we have to put him out. So I changed my philosophy of how to win a company. You need to have the guts to put people away.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are at the beginning of their journey?

I would say, focus on margin. Try to earn some money. It’s not just about growth; it’s about earnings too, because having a beer on a Friday night feels better debt-free, allowing you to operate the business with the revenue. I believe it’s a good idea, given the current high interest.

And I would say, have a grand goal even if everybody says that’s not possible. I always ask, ‘Why not?’ I believe we could do three, four times the revenue we do now. It’s a bold ambition, but attainable. Aim high, that’s it.

Read more details about the Visdeal Warehouse project in our portfolio.