Martinus’ story is that of a traditional offline retail bookshop that took advantage of the digital opportunity to become the number 1 online shop for books and cultural goods in Slovakia.
|Date of creation||1990|
|Number of employees in Europe||150|
|Active in||Slovakia and the Czech Republic|
|Founders||Miroslav Santus, Jozef Santus and Michal Meško|
|Websites||www.martinus.sk / www.martinus.cz|
Established in 1990 as a brick-and-mortar bookstore, Martinus launched in 2001 its online counterpart Martinus.sk, which has since then become the largest Slovak book and cultural goods store on the Internet.
A success story based on innovation
Since 1990 the company has grown from one to 150 employees with revenues exceeding 14 million euros. In 2011, Martinus was declared one of the fastest growing technology companies in Slovakia and 161-st fastest growing company in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Deloitte, Technology Fast500).
In 2014, Martinus.sk was elected best merchant/retailer in Slovakia by Mastercard and won the first place in the retailer of books, CDs and DVDs category.
The e-shop’s success lies in the introduction of several innovative e-commerce services in Slovakia such as personalisation of profile and e-mails, reviews ratings or unique marketing and CSR campaigns. Some of those services are still unique in the territory.
Martinus.sk has a spill-over effect for Slovakia’s e-commerce landscape as many companies are willing to launch their services in cooperation with the e-store.
Data is essential for a successful e-commerce website
Martin Strba, COO at Martinus.sk explains that user data are very important for online shopping companies to develop and preserve basic business-to-consumer relationships as well as to raise their marketing potential.
“Knowing our consumers and offering services that are either personalised or more convenient is key to our success. Convenience and precise information are the main reasons why customers choose e-shops.”
Martin Strba is concerned by the current discussion on the EU data protection legislation:
“The proposed EU data protection rules do not contribute to higher security or comfort for customers or businesses. Instead, they increase bureaucracy on the merchant’s side and decrease sales as customers get more and more confused by dozens of different warnings and agreements.
Recent e-commerce rules that were applied in Slovakia in mid June 2014 are sufficient and if there’s any problem or breach, it’s a breach of recent regulations and should be punished according to recent laws.
There is no reason to add more security rules when there is no legal enforcement. It would only affect the responsible companies in a negative way.”
Fostering innovation through a European innovators’ platform
In Martin Strba’ view, exchange of best-practices at European level would help to foster innovation.
“Europe should develop more communication platforms for innovative companies. One way this could be done is by creating an international platform for successful and responsible innovators to share experience and information.
This would be useful because most innovative projects are still currently run at national level. As organisations’ success remains somehow considered to be internal know-how, the EU could support companies that are willing to share their innovation and expertise.”