Venturing Into the US: Story of MontiPlanet

Respondent's photo
Robert den Hollanderproduct owner for the MontiPlanet website, Netherlands

Robert talks about his new venture, which recently celebrated its first success with the launch of its website. This marks the company's entry into the US market, bringing it one step closer to its ambitious goal of global leadership in the educational toy industry.

The Kronosoft team has known Robert for over a decade. This is the second project we are developing together.

We spoke to Robert about how the idea for MontiPlanet came about, his impressions of working with developers, whether he is satisfied with the results achieved and what he expects in the future.


MontiPlanet is an e-commerce platform designed for enthusiasts of the educational system created by Italian doctor Maria Montessori.

It offers unique toys, learning materials and furniture that create a structured learning environment for children. In this space, children are given the freedom to explore and learn by following their natural interests and activities.

MontiPlanet allows you to explore and purchase any Montessori product on the market in one place.

How the Project Was Born

Can you provide the backstory of your decision to launch the MontiPlanet website?

The project began with the ambitious objective of becoming one of the worldwide leaders in the educational toy industry. That was our starting point.

My first step was to conduct complete market research. I had to understand what kind of toys are out there, which brands make them, what platforms already exist, and who the big players are in the market. This includes stores, middlemen, distributors, and the actual toy makers. I quickly found that in order to establish ourselves as a global player in the educational toy industry, we must target the major markets, notably the United States. 

Then I began conducting keyword research with my team, focusing on educational toys within the United States. I found a significant monthly search volume for Montessori products, which constitute a distinct niche within the educational toys category.

Hence, it's a good starting point to initiate the website.

What is the main idea behind MontiPlanet?

The main idea of MontiPlanet is to offer a complete overview of all Montessori toys, materials, and furniture available in the US market.

We are creating such an overview of all the existing Montessori product brands as the initial step. For now, we merely redirect our visitors to the websites of Montessori brands. However, in the future, we plan to become affiliate partners with these brands, one by one, to earn commissions for redirecting customers.

The main idea of MontiPlanet is to offer a complete overview of all Montessori toys, materials, and furniture available in the US market.

Website Development Process

How do you feel about your experience with website development?

In general, I have to admit that among all my responsibilities, being a product owner for a new website is my favorite role. I thoroughly enjoy the process of creating something new and generating ideas.

However, some of my prior experiences were not as nice. It pertains to the preparation of the specifications for a future website detailing what I want to incorporate into it. This time, I strived to have these specifications 80% ready when we started the project.

How did you manage the development process? What were your primary areas of focus?

I think it's important to hold a daily morning meeting with developers to evaluate their progress from the preceding day, address any questions they may have, and discuss their plans for the day ahead.

Throughout the development stage, I made every effort to specify each story as clearly as possible regarding how it should be built, in my opinion. Furthermore, when a feature was delivered, I aimed to thoroughly test it and provide developers with feedback that was as precise as possible.

That's because you guys can build virtually anything, but you need to have a clear understanding of your task. The better the customer knows what they want, the easier it becomes for engineers to make it happen. When this isn't the case, things often go wrong. I believe this is the biggest problem in development projects.

It's much better if you already have a clear idea of what you need to build. This not only spares developers from frequent rework but also enhances cost-efficiency for the customer.

If customers don't know what they want, developers have no choice but to make guesses. They deliver something, and only then does the customer contemplate whether it aligns with their needs and what those needs consist of. As a result, developers need to redo their work, which can be demotivating. Also, the constant need to rework the app drives up the project's costs.

Indeed, it's much better if you already have a clear idea of what you need to build. This not only spares developers from frequent rework but also enhances cost-efficiency for the customer.

What role did SEO play in the development process? 

In the case of this website, SEO is the cornerstone around which everything else is constructed.

To define the SEO strategy, we started with keyword research. Our goal was to identify keywords with the highest search volume and the strongest user intent to make a purchase.

Then we attempted to determine how to structure these keywords hierarchically in order to establish the most effective way to categorize products on the website.

The structure of our website's product catalog should be optimized for search engines, while also ensuring it makes sense to buyers. In fact, customers always come first. When determining the structure of product categories and facing a decision between two options, where the first favored customer clarity and the other favored SEO, my priority was always in favor of the customer.

What are your impressions of the development team?

What impressed me the most was a lot of commitment from both of the engineers I worked with. They wanted the website to succeed as much as I did, and I believe that's incredibly important. In the mornings, developers would start the day by saying things like, "I've been thinking over this and here's how we could tackle it."

I felt that we had a pleasant and effective cooperation. I provided the understanding of what is needed from the business side, while they handled all the technical aspects, including researching solutions. By doing so, we could work together to find the best solution for our specific situation.

I think the result is great. From both my perspective and the developers' standpoint, we have achieved something remarkable by delivering a website of this magnitude and performance within just 12 weeks.

Find out more details about MontiPlanet project in our portfolio!