31 Oct Interview with Johan Bengtsson Of JamesEdition.com
We are pleased to present this interview we recently conducted with Johan Bengtsson, the Chief Executive Officer of JamesEdition – a site which is best known for being the world’s largest luxury marketplace. From private jets to sports cars and waterfront villas, JamesEdition is the go-to online marketplace for securely buying and selling high-end goods.
Over the past year we’ve moved a lot of our clients onto their marketplace and the results have always been impeccable. There’s no other place online that has such an affluent user base on a day to day basis, and I couldn’t be more happy to speak with Johan about how their site has evolved and where it’s going.
So what’s their secret, and how do they do it all so well? Read on to find out…
Luxury Branded: Congrats on being appointed CEO of JamesEdition and thanks for your time. Before we get into the details, could you explain the concept of JamesEdition to our readers?
Johan: Thank you, I am always happy to talk to LB! The concept of JamesEdition is simple. We connect buyers and sellers of super high-end goods through an online platform with a global focus. It used to be a hassle to search for luxury items for sale. One had to buy magazines and search local and country-specific websites individually in order to find the best things out there.
Now, we simplify the process drastically and thereby help buyers to make faster and better purchases. Through our extensive network and personal contacts we of course also help people scout and locate what they need should they not find it online with us. Very often, extremely unique pieces are not officially for sale and you would need a trusted person to refer you as a potential buyer.
LB: You were already on the JamesEdition team before stepping up to CEO, what was your prior role in the company? And what led to you joining the team?
J: I joined as Director of Sales a few years back to strengthen our sales team and outline our future strategy to sustain growth. Another major focus point was to solidify our position as the world’s largest luxury marketplace. When approached about joining I had little doubt. Given the opportunity to help transform a great product into a fantastic product is something you cannot pass on. The founders’ previous track records and the extensive responsibility of the role I was given made the choice easy.
LB: With you now in charge, what is founder and former CEO Noam Perski’s role today?
J: Noam continues to be a great resource for us as Chairman of the Board.
LB: Luxury is naturally a global marketplace. Has dealing with international transactions been a challenge or advantage
when dealing with high-value sales? Or both?
J: In every transaction, global or local, big or small, trust is a large part of the agreement. You need to know and trust the party you are dealing with, and we help to establish this trust. The stakes rise with the value of the items so, naturally, challenges are present at all times. But none of these challenges are greater than the drive people have to acquire the things they really want, from all over the world.
We are very observant in our communication with both buyer and seller in order to avoid potential threats and make all contacts between the parties smooth and correct.
LB: Buying and selling luxury high-value items and services online is still relatively young, and JamesEdition has grown up fast in five years. How did you entice buyers and sellers to connect through you to start, and to keep it going strong?
J: For wealthy consumers, researching and locating unique, exceptional or rare items discreetly can be a significant challenge. JamesEdition provides the ideal platform to search, browse and purchase in luxury categories, no matter where in the world they are located. It is still to some a very nontraditional way of handling the luxury market, but our success lies in proving that long-term relations between buyers and sellers can actually start online, and then be continued offline. Both our users and dealers are in the forefront of development within this sector and enjoy the successes of being first movers.
LB: Can you share some of the most memorable sales over the years or recently?
J: The first thing reported sold after I joined was a private island, and that was in my second week. As you can imagine, this convinced me that I had done the right thing joining the company. This truly showed me the power of JamesEdition – both for buyers and sellers of the extraordinary. It continued from there; only yesterday, I spoke to one of our dealers who has a very famous athlete as a new client thanks to us.
LB: We’ve noticed JamesList has updated to JamesEdition, along with a new website since you started your new position. Can you share your objectives behind these updates and other changes you’ve made in your short time as CEO?
J: This is correct; we changed both our design and the name of the site during the first 6 months of 2013. Although on the surface these are large changes, the reasons behind them are simpler. We constantly update and develop our product to strengthen our position in the industry and improve results for users and dealers, and the upgrade in design is a part of that. We had also discussed a development of our brand, to better highlight and exemplify what we do. JamesEdition is no longer ‘’just’’ a classified listing platform, but a luxury brand of its own with the site spanning several categories – or “Editions” if you’d like – as well as an important source to find and advertise luxury items.
LB: As a completely online marketplace, your long-time CTO and lead programmer Sebastian Oblom must have had his hands full with the new website design. Can you share his challenges and successes running and then redesigning your site?
J: Sebastian is doing a remarkable job and is a fantastic CTO. Both him and the whole tech team have made great results in making the transfer smooth and painless for both our users and dealers. Naturally, I am always cautious when implementing large changes to a well-functioning product, but I trust Sebastian one hundred percent in these matters and in his testing before launching something live on site. Given this, we have actually experienced only success this time, seeing the time on site rising heavily as well as the number of pages visited by our users. This of course pleases not only us, but also our users and dealers who enjoy a better site and better results.
LB: Where is JamesEdition headed in the future? Do you have any upcoming projects or new plans for expansion?
J: As always, we have many exciting projects ahead of us, both on- and offline. I like cliffhangers, and think it is appropriate to end this interview with one! So people simply have to stay tuned and regularly go to JamesEdition.com and LuxuryBranded.com for the news and updates.