E-shop 24time.cz: Communication with external teams has improved significantly

Jan Kulda asks for Freelo
For 24TIME.cz answers David Hriech and Michal Novak

Could you introduce 24TIME.cz, tell us a little bit of history, your vision and future plans?

24TIME.cz is an online store with designer watches. The first launch of our e-shop was on July 1, 2013 and at first we offered the same watch brands as competing e-shops. However, we soon realized that without a complete change of strategy in such a competitive environment, we would not succeed.

At the time, I liked two non-traditional brands, namely the wooden watch Wewood and the Italian brand of designer watches NAVA. After agreeing to work together, we decided to change our focus to offer unconventional, unobtrusive watches. In the following years, we also adapted the design of our website and the overall corporate identity.

In the future, we'd definitely like to open a smaller showroom with a design where customers can view these – some really unique – watches. We would also like to expand to the Polish market.

What makes 24TIME.cz unique compared to other e-shops?

It is definitely an approach to the customer, which we always approach individually and personally. Not only in the sales themselves, but also in the aftercare. This includes various strap modifications, warranty and post-warranty repairs and more.

We pay attention to thorough packaging and, of course, to check the watch before shipping. We simply want the customer to enjoy the packages themselves, which will be delivered by a courier.

We are also exceptional with a portfolio of non-traditional design brands. You can find more than 35 % of brands in the Czech Republic and Slovakia only with us. These include: 22 Design Studio concrete watches, The Horse, MVMT, and more.

Photo: 24TIME.cz

The era of Internet and Freelo is now great because we can choose the best colleagues in the industry no matter where they are physically.

What projects do you plan in the future except from 24TIME.cz?

We are constantly striving to move further and bring more and more comfort to our customers. We already have a nice list of modifications we are working on in Freelo. In addition to 24TIME.cz, we are preparing several new e-shops, such as 24WOOD.cz (wooden watches) and 24TOYS.cz (design toys).

However, our biggest project is still in its infancy, and it is our own design watch brand with a global ambition. We cooperate with the two best designers in the Czech Republic on the design of the first model line, so it will be worth it. However, I don't want to reveal anything else.

Read also How they organize hundreds of workshops in FotoSkoda through Freelo, manage marketing and communicate with externalists

How many people is currently in your team and how do you divide your work?

There are currently 18 members in the team, from programmers to photographers and copywriters to SEO and marketing people. The vast majority are external colleagues who are "scattered" throughout the Czech and Slovak Republics.

The time of the internet and Freelo is now great in that we can choose the best colleagues in the industry no matter where they are physically.

What techniques do you use in your teamwork?

We are still a "punk" company where many things are solved in the run. However, we have set up regular Skype meetings in each micro-team such as the team responsible for marketing, the web and others.

What is the hardest part of running a watch e-shop?

There is a lot of things. I don't think a commodity, like a watch, has any particular specifics.

The problems I see in the fashion industry in general, including watch, are various imitations from China, which many e-shops pretend to be the original. We have always been very careful about this. Otherwise it is a complex and long-term work in building the brand itself, position, trust and especially in relation to the customer.

Have you experienced a real “fuck up” or critical situation and what helped you solve it?

I have to knock, but "fuck up" hasn't happened to us yet. From time to time there is a major snag, but so far nothing serious that would endanger our business. We try to keep all internal things in order and under control, but of course there are external problems that cannot be controlled. Then you need to react quickly, flexibly and most importantly, as a team.

Thanks to Freelo, we no longer span all team members with e-mails. A huge amount of information was lost in the copies.

What system did you use to manage  the team communication before Freelo?

Before Freelo, we were constantly exchanging emails where everyone got lost over time. We used to write down individual tasks into several shared files with zero visibility about their fulfillment. As the number of team members increased, communication became pretty unclear and time-consuming.

Read also Thanks to Freelo, Simplia is better and faster to realize large e-commerce projects

How has the workflow and efficiency changed after implementation of Freelo?

Both went up immediately after the introduction of Freelo. Everyone had to-do lists, deadlines, budgets. The fact that other members of the team, who were not directly involved in the task, also saw it had a huge impact on our workflow. It often happened to us that one of the members brought an important comment or opinion to this task.

Thanks to Freelo, we no longer practice spamming emails for all team members. Copies lost a huge amount of information, tasks, and most importantly, it was not clear who was responsible and for what.

Why did you choose Freelo and how did its implementation in your team go?

We've been in Freelo since the very beginning, when an external supplier invited us there. We dealt with all the graphics and programming modifications of the e-shop.

As our team grew, we needed to change internal communication. We did an internal benchmark of similar communication programs, but for some reason, everyone was unsuitable for us. That's why we have decided to continue with approved Freelo.

How many projects are you currently working on?

Nowadays we have 5 major projects in Freelo. There will be more short term projects soon ;-) All projects are long-term nature with many sub-tasks. Every time we complete one, there are three new ones already.

Photo: 24TIME.cz

In most cases, there is no need to train colleagues specially in Freelo. If people don't know Freelo, they get used to it quickly, thanks to the simplicity and intuitiveness.

How does Freelo help manage the entire company?

We already handle all activities in the company in Freelo. From marketing to e-shop development and design to the strategy itself. Individual activities are divided into individual projects and tasks and have resources assigned to them – team members. Some activities, such as marketing, also have activity-specific budgets.

When it comes to customer care, we need to respond very flexibly and "online". However, we definitely want to look at the possibility of using Freelo in this direction as well. Your new mobile app will surely help a lot in the future.

How do you teach new team members with Freelo and the entire workflow?

We cooperate with a lot of external suppliers. They have many experience with similar communication applications, so there is usually no need to teach them specifically. If they don't know Freelo, they'll quickly learn to use it because of it's simplicity and intuitiveness.

Which Freelo's features are the most useful to you and why?

I don't think we can pinpoint only few Freelo's functions that we would consider the most useful. Freelo is simply a well-mixed cocktail of functions for team communication.

Photo: 24TIME.cz

Freelo is simply a well-mixed cocktail of functions for team communication.

Do you miss anything in Freelo?

Until recently, we missed mobile app. It exists now, so communication has been simplified and speeded up again. It would be good to see which team members are currently online in Freelo and the option to have online chat.

When you say Freelo, which words do you think of?

Team, efficiency and communication.

What brand of watches do real captains wear? :-)

Each captain has several favorite brands and there is no saying that the shoemaker's children walk barefoot. Personally, I have Triwa and Mondaine watches and Michael (second captain) also has Triwa and MVMT watches.

Field Sales of watches
Team Retail
Business size 11-50
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