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How Apotheke found international success with cross-border technology

By Britney Wells

Cross Border, Industry, International Ecommerce, Shipping,

A Zonos graphic that says "How Apotheke found international success with cross-border technology".

15 July 2022 / 0 min read

I know we sound like a broken record at this point, but while cross-border selling as a retailer can seem daunting, the solution doesn’t have to involve hiring a new team to handle your cross-border shipments and compliance; it’s simply finding the right technology and partners to do the heavy lifting and help you expand your business into foreign markets.

Find out how Apotheke utilized Zonos‘ technology with UPS as their carrier to easily transition their company to a worldwide powerhouse and get a seamless international selling and shipping experience. Read about Apotheke’s journey and how they tackled international selling bringing their cross-border dreams to fruition.

This blog will discuss the following:

  • Who is Apotheke?
  • How did Apotheke begin selling internationally?
  • What were Apotheke’s cross-border struggles and needs?
  • How did Zonos fulfill Apotheke’s international selling needs?

Who is Apotheke?

Apotheke is a United States-based candle and body care company that believes scent can transform a house into a home, elevate our mood, and keep memories alive. Started by their CEO and Founder, Chrissy Fichtl, Apotheke began as a hobby for soap-making, which grew into a passion that extended to candles and other body care, which then flourished into a business with international demand. They wanted to be able to show the world that fragrance can be simple and captivating and that products should be beautiful, meaningful, and attainable. To do this, Apotheke had to figure out how to sell internationally and do it well.

How did Apotheke begin selling cross-border?

In 2020, Apotheke was growing so quickly that they were receiving international orders but felt their limited time and resources could not accommodate the difficulty of cross-border selling, so they turned them away. When Samantha Moyal, UPS international account manager, found out about the interest they were getting worldwide, and that they were turning them away, she was confounded.

She encouraged Fichtl to begin selling internationally because of the market potential. The fact that Apotheke was receiving international interest without even marketing for it meant that their cross-border sales potential was massive. They “started small” by only selling to Canada, but despite this, their lack of resources and know-how meant they started experiencing issues with their international orders right away.

What were Apotheke’s cross-border struggles and needs?

Struggles

Harmonized System (HS) codes were a major pain point for Apotheke, according to Fichtl. They would do a Google search for “tariff codes for candles” to try to get answers. But if you know anything about HS/tariff codes, then you know how confusing and tricky it can be to apply the correct code to each SKU. In addition to practically guessing HS codes, Fichtl was confused about international duty, tax, and fee calculations, and paperwork requirements.

This confusion quickly turned to a mixture of panic and excitement when Apotheke sparked the interest of a Grammy award-winning singer that wanted to sponsor a signature scent through Apotheke. Exciting, right? The only problem was that the singer wanted to sell it in 20 different countries.

Needs

With only a few weeks before the celebrity signature candle launch, Fichtl knew she needed a better way to handle her international orders and had an emergency call with UPS. After speaking, they decided that Zonos was the answer. UPS then connected her with—you guessed it—Zonos.

How did Zonos fulfill Apotheke’s cross-border selling needs?

When Fichtl connected with Sr. Account Executive, Jim Zierse, at Zonos and expressed that she needed to be able to sell to 20 specific countries almost immediately, Zonos did not disappoint. Apotheke was quickly up and running with Zonos Landed Cost, which allowed them to not only sell cross-border, but also pre-calculate and collect country-specific duties, taxes, and fees—the full landed cost—at checkout. Sending the orders with the full landed cost prepaid (DDP/Delivered Duties Paid) made for the most seamless shipping and importing process possible and consequently happy customers.

It wouldn’t be a proper real-life example without a plot twist, now would it? Though Apotheke was successfully selling to those 20 countries, they were receiving shopper inquiries for even more countries. Fichtl hopped on an emergency call with her Zonos rep, who was able to help Apotheke adjust their account to add the ability to sell to the additional countries that same afternoon.

Apotheke has been successfully selling internationally ever since!

Don’t just take our word for it; listen to UPS’ video case study about it below.

 

Britney Wells
Britney Wells

A love of bringing words together to create clear, simple messages about complex topics has driven me to pursue a career in professional writing. As the Technical Writer at Zonos, I find excitement and purpose in decoding the complex details of cross-border ecommerce.