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New live international auction goes global

"In a couple of weeks, we will supply buyers in Europe and the Middle East with fresh Kenyan and Colombian flowers", says Kashany M, the founder and co/owner of FreshBids, a live international auctioning platform. Since its launch in September last year, this Sydney based company has supplied flowers to wholesalers and florists in Australia and is now ready to spread its wings internationally. "It always has been part of our business plan; the goal is to become a global company in three to five years time."

What is it?
FreshBids runs live auctions on the internet for perishable products globally. These auctions are worldwide and international buyers can buy fresh produce direct from FreshBids' local and global growers. "The auctions are live Dutch auctions, which means that they have a starting price and the price reduces until the whole batch is sold or the grower’s reserve is reached. It’s a live auction and they typically take only 30 to 45 minutes," says Kashany. Currently we have major Kenyan growers and about the same amount of Colombian growers active on this platform. Credibility is highly important. "We work with professional and well-known companies and when necessary, we do extra checks before allowing the company to participate in the auction," he says.

To Europe and Middle East
Since it's launch FreshBids has chosen to capitalize on supplying the Australian wholesales and florists first and go international afterwards. "Logistically speaking, shipping from Kenya and Colombia to Australia entails more challenges than shipping to Europe or the Middle East. These routes are already explored", says Kashany. These same markets are the next markets they will be entering.

"Panalpina Airflo will facilitate the freight services from Kenya and Colombia to Europe and the Middle East- we are currently in the process of finalizing a logistical agreement with IP Handlers. They will be responsible for the local distribution within the Netherlands and the rest of Europe."

In a couple of weeks, they can ship their first flowers to these markets. "We will run live auctions three times a week- the flowers will be shipped straight from the farm to Europe and the Middle East.

Why sell or buy through FreshBids?
But why do growers want to sell and buyers want to buy through FreshBids' platform? According to Kashany one of the most important advantages for both, the buyer and seller are: fresh flowers at the final destination. "Unlike the physical auction, minimum handling is being done in between service- the flowers come directly from their respective farms", he says. "Besides that, the platform is especially transparent and all parties can see precisely how the FreshBids reserve (our commission + growers reserve), all the costs and so on are built up." But there are several further individual advantages for participating growers and buyers.

According to Kashany, selling through the FreshBids auction offers growers surety of receiving payments. "The growers will only ship or even harvest when the flowers are sold." In addition growers can also set a reserve price, which enables them to receive proper prices for their products. "The flowers will not be sold when the price is below this reserve." Growers do not have to think about the logistical aspect of the service either. "The large freight forwarders, as mentioned above, directly ship the flowers to the buyer's premises."

An important advantage for the buyers is the big assortment on offer and the flexibility regarding the quantity of the order. "The 'smaller' buyers often need a large variety of flowers in small volumes. As most growers specialize in one flower variety, the quantity produced by one grower is too large. However, if they buy together, the flowers can be shipped. And with this international platform, FreshBids encourages wholesalers and florists to do this," says Kashany. Other advantages include the fact that buyers can bid in their landed cost in their own (or preferred) currency. They will also receive fresher flowers as the flowers are often being harvested after they have been sold.

Next step: Asia
Entering the Asian market will be their next goal. "In the past, there were no direct flights from Kenya to China, but there are now. So in another six months, we are planning to ship fresh flowers not only to China but to all countries in the continent of Asia."

For more information
Kashany M
Email: [email protected]