#21 : Meeting with Freepry

written by
Clara Cros

But what is Freepry?

During this 20th meeting NoCode Series we were able to visit the premises of Freepry, located in the 10th district of Paris. For those who have never heard this name, we explain in a few words what it is about: Freepry offers technical support to all physical stores that want to take on the subject of second hand, and this since 2020. And there are already two applications that have been created by the Freepry teams in order to achieve this...

1. A Freepry platform for freelancers:

An in-store second-hand offer - directly in physical stores - that allows you to take back clothes in exchange for vouchers. How does it work? The customer enters the characteristics of his product in the application and an automatic estimation of the price is made. If his product is resold, he receives a voucher or a credit on a new or second-hand product that he can use in store.

This solution helps independent stores that were already losing growth before the COVID crisis by allowing them to retain their current customers but also to attract new ones thanks to second hand.

The Freepry app also allows stores to:

  • build up a customer base because a customer file is created for each product deposit
  • to have a follow-up of the various products (sold, not sold, expired products)
  • automate the sending of notifications to customers so that they can track the life of their products and receive their vouchers through automation

2. A white label platform:

A white label application, dedicated to the Key Account, with a different trade-in path depending on the brand (this can be a voucher from the brand in exchange for the trade-in of a garment). For each new brand, the application is duplicated and the features are adapted to the needs of the brand.

During our meeting, the Tech and Product teams told us that they are working on new features, such as the presentation of the ecological impact of the deposit on the deposit summary page. The objective of integrating such features is that the user no longer has to ask himself any questions along his journey; that he can be totally autonomous. All this with the objective of making the application as intuitive as possible and that it can be deployed to the largest number.

Different paths

During our visit to Freepry's offices, we had the chance to talk with 3 of the company's 18 employees. Among them, François-Emeric, one of the 4 co-founders of the brand and its CTO; Jean-Paul, Bubble developer and Delphine, Product Designer.

Jean-Paul has always been interested in the world of programming and discovered Bubble through a friend, 5 years ago now, as part of an end-of-year project for the baccalaureate. He then decided, as soon as he finished his studies, to start freelancing as a Bubble developer. He saw in this tool a real career opportunity. After 4 years of freelancing, Jean-Paul opted to work for an American company called ACSS Companies, which is a NoCode development company. After this experience, he decided to return to France and started his adventure with Freepry in May 2022.

François-Emeric, co-founder and CTO of Freepry, started in finance in London. Not being stimulated anymore by this sector, he decided to turn to the tech field and to join the 42 school. It is thanks to this that he was able to join the Freepry adventure, the two other co-founders being at that time looking for a CTO.

François-Emeric joined the ship when only the idea existed. The solution, an ERP/CRM dedicated to second-hand stores, was still to be created. The objective entrusted to him? To develop this famous solution in only two months! A goal that seemed difficult to achieve until he discovered Bubble. And 3 years later, François-Emeric confides to us that the objective was reached thanks to this discovery.

Today Freepry is still working on Bubble and has no desire to switch to classic code.

Delphine, Product Designer, is the result of a professional reconversion: she used to work in the medical-social field, especially in the reintegration of people in precarious situations. At the age of 28, she decided to turn over a new leaf and to go into tech, a field that she believes is more open to change. She then resumed her studies at the HETIC web school and specialized in design. After graduation she joined the Freepry team in May 2022.

His role at Freepry is essentially about the product. His main mission is to rework the user experience of each page in order to arrive at the most optimal and intuitive solution possible. For this, a lot of A/B testing is proposed.

Training and skills development

The Tech team has generally been self-taught in NoCode.

Concerning Jean-Paul, he actually trained himself after discovering Bubble through a friend. Indeed, you have to know that very few (if any) trainings were proposed on Bubble 5 years ago. Only the forums allowed the community to exchange tips and help each other to progress. Jean-Paul confides to us that he didn't have any difficulties to get used to Bubble but it's later, with the evolutions of the tool, that he had more difficulties to adapt to some new features - especially to the code integration because he didn't have a pure developer's background.

François-Emeric confides to us that NoCode applications like Bubble are very attractive and seem very easy to use: that's why he was alone on the construction of the Freepry MVP while he didn't know Bubble at all. So where Bubble was a trap is that the UI/UX side was left out at that time.

Jean-Paul and Delphine were recruited to take a step back on this UI/UX aspect but also on the technical part. François-Emeric was thus able to free up his time in order to have a global vision on all NoCode topics (data, optimization, security). He went from 90% to 50% of his time on Bubble.

Following the expansion of the teams, a major UI/UX redesign of the application pages is underway as well as a major refactoring work (in order to clean up the data and improve the existing), without starting from scratch but remaining on the existing Freepry application. In parallel, other Freepry services are being developed to complete the current webapp.

A separate front and back

Bubble is no longer the only NoCode tool used internally at Freepry:

  • Bubble: they aim to use this tool only for the front-end, for customer workflows
  • Xano: the tool they now use for the backend - especially to have separate databases

According to François-Emeric, Xano is a NoCode tool with a code logic closer to that of classic code and allowing more advanced and optimized things on the backend. This second tool allows them to go even further on their different applications and to guarantee more security to their customers.

According to François-Emeric, Bubble's weakness is that it is too accessible on front and back issues to satisfy mainly people who want to create MVPs. The tool will therefore constantly encounter limits and will lose optimization as long as they don't choose to specialize in front or back issues.

Freepry teams are constantly monitoring NoCode tools and firmly plan to stay on a stack NoCode in the future. The development of Freepry products that are incompatible with NoCode is not on the agenda!

For the CRM part, they work with Hubspot but would like to be able to automate their subjects more and with more flexibility, especially with a tool like Airtable. The latter would allow them to create their own CRM internally: a future goal that can only be achieved when the Product team has more bandwidth.

What about documentation? Before Jean-Paul's arrival, François-Emeric didn't document anything at the stack technical level. Now they document everything on Gitbook. A lot of iterations were necessary before finding the right format and it remains today an in-depth work.

Key figures in relation to the NoCode

Today it's about 100 users per day on the main Freepry application (for freelancers). On the side of the Key Account applications (KAM) it is also an average of a hundred users per day, including 120 for the brand Petit Bateau!

Concerning statistics, it was very important for Freepry teams to be able to provide precise and advanced figures to their customers in order to further convince freelancers and companies to opt for second hand. It is therefore possible to track the number of depositors over the day/week/month. A dashboard is also made available to the stores, directly in the application, so that they can have a constant follow-up of the number of depositors, products deposited or vouchers generated each day/week/month.

Among their customers: Petit Bateau (+100 stores), Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and many independents. For the independents, it's 150 000 products on the counter of Freepry!

The future of Freepry

Objectives for the next few months:

  • Conquer more and more freelancers and deploy the Freepry solution as much as possible
  • Have an even more intuitive and efficient V2
  • The implementation of a 100% automated onboarding on the application so that customers no longer need to be trained on the tool, and thus reduce customer support to zero
  • Accompany more Key Accounts and ultimately find a solution that could work for everyone
  • The creation of a community thanks to a B2B2C application allowing the geolocation of products sought by consumers

Many ideas and beautiful projects are to come for Freepry, and all with the will to stay on a stack NoCode.