eMmerced is back with the latest in our discussion series! In this episode, mediated by Andy Mulcahy of IMRG, we’re debunking international expansion with our panel of experts. Gary Hammond, Head of Product here in Kooomo, Daniel Viniegra, (standing in for Simone De Ruosi) Head of Growth from ZeroGrey and Go Global Ecommerce and finally Jordi Badia, Chief Information Officer from VENCA head up our panel, providing insights into overcoming the pain points that come with international expansion.
Andy kicks off this webinar with a look into how the retail market performed in 2020 compared to the previous year. As you can see from the graph below, there was exponential growth across 2020, with an expected spike over Black Friday and the cyber weekend – however with a much bigger leap this year. Diving into the topic of cross border trade, Andy asks;
How would retailers go about breaking into new markets given the complexity of multiple languages, currency, customs etc?
Gary Hammond believes that when it comes to eCommerce, it usually requires an entire replication of your commerce configuration for different countries – supporting different tax rates and credit card payments, you might ship from different warehouses etc. These are the blockers to unlocking new territories. This might typically involve multiple storefronts and licenses or the unified approach which Kooomo takes.
“There’s a lot to figure out when it comes to bringing new storefronts, taxes and warehouses together – and even with Brexit, there’s a whole new layer of complexity and configuration where you have restraints on shipping to and from Nothern Ireland. “
Daniel Viniegra goes on to describe the relationship between Kooomo, ZeroGrey, Go Global eCommerce and Venca – a partnership between retail, eCommerce technology and eCommerce management. “We have been helping Venca grow its cross-border eCommerce and they are one of the leaders in the Spanish market. We’re deploying the Go Global side of the business to help them bring Magic Outlet part of their business to the international market.”
Introducing Venca, Jordi Badia describes its origins from being created in a garage in 1984 to introducing catalogue shopping in Spain. Venca is a fashion retailer for women, men and kids as well as home textile and accessories. They have their own collection as well distributing other brands such as bestseller group, Jack&Jones, Vero Moda, Vila, ONLY and many more.
“7 years ago, 70% of turnover came from offline activities and 30% from online. Nowadays it’s 80% online and 20% offline. Since 2020, we’re available on marketplaces, allowing more than 150 sellers to commercialise their thousands of SKU’s.
Our goal is to successfully compete in the digital environment in a way that fits our customers both in Spain and internationally.”
“We still have a small portion of the business dedicated to the physical catalogues as there are those who still enjoy shopping in this way, but our plans for the future are primarily focused on digital – especially in terms of international growth. Slowly over the next few years, we can expect the catalogue side to disappear with eCommerce continuing to grow. At the minute we use the catalogue to drive people online too and implement all we can from the lessons learned using paper.”
Gary, how has working with international retailers been going since the new year?
“If the organization already has the ability to open its legal entities in all different territories that somewhat simplifies the process for them. If they have their distribution, if their payment methods and/or logistics are going to be relatively the same. What we’ve seen is a lot of experimentation around the D2C channel in particular, which all have an international focus on them. We’re seeing a lot of brands who are either looking to liquidate stock or try and sell direct to consumer for the first time. Often, especially with bigger D2C brands, they often want to offload the entire process. They have their ducks in a row but want someone else to take over and look after Vat positions or legal requirements so they can be sure it’s all being done right.”
Daniel, If a retailer is looking to expand globally, what should their focus be?
“There are many points to consider when you want to expand globally. It’s expected by 2021, 21% of online business will be cross-border eCommerce. So it’s a huge challenge for companies. Being connected to all points of sale is vital – you want to be connected to all of your customers and it’s important to put yourself in their shoes. At the end of the day, they just want to buy the product with minimal hassle. So you might try to find your right partner and the right technology for that and if we look to Venca, they’ve adapted to the market very well and they have been flexible and quick to market. The sooner you go to the market and start testing and learning the better. Try to find where your customers are. Try to convert them better and give them the best possible experience.”
Jordi, did you follow this approach when you decided to go international?
We have definitely learned a lot but for us being international was like being online – you don’t just throw up a website for the sake of having one. You perfect it. Going international was much the same. We believe very much in tropicalization, which means going beyond translate to conversing, ensuring the SEO is accurate in the right country, ensuring the default payment methods match those of local preference etc. Customisation is essential – in our case, this is something we’ve learned a lot about by simply doing. And this can be assisted heavily if you have a cross-border solution out of the box such as Kooomo.
From this discussion we’ve gotten a sense of the importance of localisation when it comes to going international. It’s not enough to create a “one-size fits all” website that’s fit with translations – local customs, payment methods and taxes are vital considerations for successful expansion. While it may seem that multiple storefronts are necessary, Gary Hammond talks about the simplicity in having a unified approach such as Kooomo. Many retailers might want to outsource this to an out-of-the-box solution to ensure the process is done correctly and is legally accurate.
The above only begins to scratch the surface of this eMmerced episode, as we deliver more into logistics, how retailers can prepare for international expansion and much more. Watch the full webinar on-demand below!