Topic: Strategies for going global and avoiding mistakes
Host: Tawnee Steinke
Guest: Perry Preson, CEO, Retail Reinvented
Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining our webinar. Today. We’re going to go ahead and get started right on time. I know you have a busy schedule. So strategies for going global and avoiding mistakes. My name is tawny Steinke. I am a channel sales manager here at Sonos to day. My plan is we have a guest today.
It’s Perry Preston from retail reinvent. We’ve asked him to jump on here. We’ve been able to partner with him here at Sonos and he’s the CEO. He has over 19 years of experience as a consultant helping retailers all across the u.s. With different types of marketing techniques and Technologies to help grow.
He usually works in the fashion and apparel and Retail sector. So we’re going to spend a few minutes talking to him today. We would like to keep the webinar about 30 minutes. We’re going to leave time at the end for QA. We do have if you have any questions, you can go ahead and add them into the question box and we’ll go over and like I say at the end, so to go ahead and get started.
Like I said, my name is Tony and I work with Sonos. I don’t know a lot about so knows. We are a software company that we helped online retailers who want to take their products cross-border. When I have the opportunity to talk to Merchants really all across the world. I usually am hearing the same things from them, which is Internationals a smaller percentage of their business, but 80% of their headaches.
They want to grow their business there. They know that there’s opportunity out there, but they don’t know they don’t have the right processes put in place and they really don’t know where to start. This is a great site that can show you what’s happening with us retailers. When choosing to go International.
Now, we know that each year International e-commerce continues to grow but unfortunately the US continues to get a smaller percentage of that business and it’s because we think that you know, we can do the same thing for our International customers as we do for the US customers, which is really not the case.
And so we want to talk about ways that. You can internationalize your company so that you can grow that business and get a bigger piece of the pie. So I wanted to introduce Perry Perry. Can you hear me? Make sure we got the volume working? Yes, I can hear you. Great. Thank you so much for jumping on I just wanted to start out with if you could give a little background on yourself and a little bit about who retell reinvent it is and what you guys do to help businesses.
I’ve been in the e-commerce space since 1997 been the beginning where we were developing our own you Cam software and. And photographing products in the back and the back of a parking lot. I mean, it’s very very Antiquated back then but it’s been along the way it’s evolved and grown as you know, any case retail reinvented is a e-commerce management agency.
We manage or partnered with Brands to handle older or their back office e-commerce processes their marketing their technology and their General operations workouts for like Sanctuary clothing or Mac Studio, and we also have experience dealing with the international Logistics requirements.
All right, perfect. Well, we’re really excited to have you here today. I know that you work with companies Who Do U s– shipping but also International so if. To get started. Let’s say that I am a business who I want to start going International. What are some of the top things that I should be looking at or what are the first steps that I should take when making that jump I really depending on what platform you’re on the most simple first step is just to enable.
And offer your international shipping options to your customers, each are each region is going to have a preference for their shipping method. For example, Canada will have preference for USPS. Other regions may prefer FedEx and so on. So enabling them all at least give your customers the opportunity to purchase from those regions and you can start gauging interests and those things just by enabling International doesn’t mean that you’re going to be getting orders from every country in the world automatically.
Your product is if it’s successful in the US as it is will not translate directly to other countries or regions. So it’s important to manage your expectations and slowly and learn. You know, what What markets will work for you and then focus on those markets in your next step. What are your thoughts about starting with a certain amount of countries or you know, are there certain countries that you’ve seen to be successful for each business to look at and maybe focus on to help, you know, I don’t know if it’s get their feet wet or learn the process.
Is there certain countries that you’ve seen be successful the top three countries are always like Australia Great Britain. Canada but then that’s dependent on category. It depends on friends. I mean like the the athleisure out of Ori.
Pull off as you know, like beyond what other no one knew what leggings were in here. So reproachfully wants it. So determining which Market to go to next is really its product dependent and it requires marketing. So not only are you having to deal with? Okay. How do we take what’s working for me in the US market and apply it to New region that may or not have any Demand yet?
And then you gotta spend the time to do the research and then develop your marketing plans for those areas as well. I would think a good way to start would be to look at maybe your Google analytics to see where you actually are having visitors from to kind of know what countries May are going to be a fit for your product or your website or things like that.
Well go. Yeah, Google analytics is definitely will go to for all of your data, but your your analytics hasta Los to be configured. To make sure you get that granularity. Let me out of the box muscle tone. You have it such if you’re on Shopify or one of those mainstream platforms, but other you could also use Facebook ads to to Jigger Geographic Target and determine interest you can do lead ads for example to try to Target different different demographic and Geographic interests to determine interest and you can go from there as well.
Have you seen it be successful with social media when it goes to International? I mean, I know that’s a easy way to be able to touch people from other countries, but I don’t know if there’s certain ones that tend to be a little bit more successful.
The Australia has always been consistently strong less. So in the last couple of years, but. Overall as Australia and Great Britain again are always talk reformers and the international. Yeah, absolutely. So to kind of switch gears just a little bit what you brought up Logistics and shipping to the different countries.
How do you change your Logistics depending on going International or making it work for you and your product? Yeah. The religion been so much volume you’re doing and what you’re what you’re selling. I mean if you’re selling T-shirts and yours in your doing, you know, 30 40 orders a day. I mean this may sound silly but I mean you could run that out of your closet just you shipstation and integrate with her with International Logistics infrastructure, not that complicated, but you know, if you’re if you’re growing and you’re growing fast.
And you need to get on the ground to your customers. You need to find a logistics partner that can work with you the last Mile with your International with your with your target International regions. For example, if you’re doing business account does a lot of business coming in from Canada. maybe you need to find a either a partner that’s based in Canada, or you can use something like.
Amazon Fulfillment by Amazon and if you’re on marketplaces as well that also helps because then you can use the same infrastructure to sell through them and through your jewelry your direct to Consumer website. Yeah, definitely and like you mentioned earlier with going to Canada a lot of them like USPS.
It’s good to know what shipping carriers are stronger in other areas because that could definitely help with your conversions and being able to increase those orders. Yes it did. All right. So when going International I know here in the US we have some legal issues that maybe you can touch on as well, but are there certain things that people should look out for when building their business the legal issue seem to be increasing daily.
I mean most recently the ADA compliance has become a problem here in the US and last year gdpr for European countries. It’s become mandatory to follow not only in your marketing and your email marketing, but also your technical infrastructure. And those rules and guidelines are quite extensive that may in some cases.
They a lot of small businesses basically said I don’t they don’t want to deal with it and they don’t even sell the Europe that’s their way of just solving the problem, but that it’s not us not us who share for everybody. It is also experts that specialize in GDP GDP are that can that can audit your operations and determine what needs to be done to be compliant?
The penalties are severe. So it’s recommended to do something. If you do have a strong business in the. Reason, yeah, I think that was gdpr we’ve heard some big names like Facebook or Google who are getting in trouble with it. But for the little guys, it’s definitely something that we want them to be aware of and something that you should try to stay on top of when you’re going into other countries as to what that looks like.
You kind of mentioned 88 for the u.s. Do you want to give just a little bit more info on that of what that is and what are some of the issues that have come in with? It’s yeah is American Disabilities Act which the guidelines simply state that is to make your website accessible by those who may not be able to access it.
So people that are blind or have hearing issues or the elderly. So these these guidelines help them use your website using tools that are designed to read it. And then helps them access if that’s what it means so it’s not set as law right now, but that doesn’t mean that attorneys are going after websites and to basically suing them for not being coming out following the clients.
So it’s been in KRON. It’s been an increasing issue for many sites. Yeah, I can imagine that it would be and I’m sure you know people aren’t aware of what they need to do. So staying on top of that as always difficult. Yes. Alright, perfect. So let’s say that you’ve gotten started and you’re doing International you talked about those companies that have increased what are the types of things if you find yourself increasing in international and you’re growing what are the types of processes that you can Implement to help continue to grow but also handle that growth as you’re as you’re going along are there certain software’s that you use or things like that?
I’m a big fan of shipstation mission for handling orders returns shipping international shipping everything in the Linda back and Logistics. It’s a very out-of-the-box simple solution. But you know again it’s like if you in a few if you’re expanding internationally and you’re not going to get it, you’re not going to expand and get growth and every Market you’re going to.
You’re going to find growth in some markets and not in others. So it’s a good I think it’s important to pick the region that you that you think is that is most consistent with your customer base. And then you can serve the best. I think a good example of growth or not growth. Is that a customer of mine had a warehouse in the UK and they they thought okay.
We’re just going to close our house. We’re going to Sugar the everything from the states and and then they did that and all the. Customers that their prior UK customers said we’re not going to buy from you anymore. It’s too expensive. He’s like one of the benefits for us to purchase from you from your UK website was that it didn’t there was a duties and that would I would get it the same day.
Now. I have to pay all this money and duties and I get it two weeks later. So it mean that’s as an example of how International could work in the opposite direction. But again, not every company can afford to have a warehouse in every country. So to grow a full scale and grow effectively. Without the baking without breaking the bank, you know, you need to find Logistics partners and soon and solutions that can help you do that at a low cost again as a fulfillment by Amazon is a great tool because they have that Global warehouse and they are more but they are more expensive than the Fulfillment side, but they do satisfy your ability to see if you need to shit have a corner presence in the UK.
Or one of your one of your you’re growing International regions that you can. Plant product there and then you can optimize that that market using that facility and Amazon isn’t necessarily the go to I mean, there’s other other partners that you could sign up that can fulfill that goal. And it probably maybe maybe less expensive.
Yeah. I do think that. With the merchants that we have worked with we have seen once they start growing to a certain point. They do like to put warehouses in other countries, you know, you can do one in Canada or somewhere in Europe to be able to handle the different shipping’s depending on where you’re growing your orders and things like that.
So maybe that is a good step for people. Once they have grown to a certain amount that that is what you should be. You know, you can work towards on looking at warehouse options are getting your product over there as well. Yeah, definitely. You’ve talked a lot about Amazon, which is one that I wanted to spend a little bit of time on as well because marketplaces and other ones.
It’s usually great to be able to get your product out to multiple people by using their marketing and you know, the things that they put into place but how do you know what where to start and how to develop that strategy to be successful in orders, but not give away all of your profit on the product as well.
Marketplaces strategy and direct your direct to Consumer website or business strategy and me definitely they can work together. As you mentioned the marketplaces they do, you know, they take a chunk of your profits. But then again it’s like there are there people out there or marketers out there that they buy one product and Ice they just sell that one product on Amazon for example, and their whole goal is to achieve profitability.
But then again, they’re not a brand. They’re not they’re not creating multiple products that are not trying to do anything other than make a profit that type of strategy is different than if you’re a brand and you’re trying to Global growth globally and have a van and have equity in the customer relationship.
So Amazon, really? I don’t look at it. Look at it. Look for profits from Amazon. I look at it as a marketing channel. I look at it as a way to reach customers and to convert them into own that relationship for the long term. It’s some kind of same thing. If you did with eBay that he makes a lot easier because that you can actually get their email addresses.
Yeah. So if you’re going to be an aunt Marta Amazon business, then you focus on Amazon and. Specifically the US market and once you succeed in the US market then look at the Canadian the Canadian Marketplace version and overall though the u.s. Amazon Marketplace is the most significant and there are other International Market places that are actually doing better in those regions for example in Europe than Amazon, but in terms of integrating the two.
If you’re doing sufficient volume and you have and you can create products that are only going to be available on Amazon and they’re designed specifically for Amazon and that will allow you to to have a presence without cannibalizing your your existing inventory and online presence. Do you think it’s a good idea?
Like let’s say that I have an online business and you know, it’s not uncommon for someone to have a bunch of products. So let’s say I have. You know 3,000 different products on my own website. Should I be looking at specific products that I only push to Amazon or do you just think you put as many out there as you possibly can?
Are you saying that pushes many products as you can on the Amazon? Yeah, I like should I be putting my entire product catalog on Amazon or do I try to focus on just a handful of them or you know 50 of them compared to I mean, is it a lot more work to get all of your products out there? It’s a lot of work to maintain and have any strong position with multiple problems that that Mighty products.
Yeah, it would be more effective to do the research and figure out what products you have have an opportunity or a market position in Amazon and then attempt to own that that position. And you don’t you can tone that position with with 3,000 products. You might be able to own it, you know with by focusing your efforts and energies on say five listings by product listings that it will rank for Amazon SEO and PPC ratings rankings.
And then and then combined with your direct consumer website me if you those products or maybe those parts are only available in the marketplace. And then you have your products on your website that could expand the relationship once they learn about your product. Yeah, and you kind of talked about if you’re going to do a brand on Amazon that you want to be able to build that relationship with the customer how what are the best ways to do it is that by reaching out to them after the fact that they’ve received the product?
Maybe send a message in the Box. How do you build that relationship to keep that customer lifelong for you when it comes from Amazon? If you’re shipping the product definitely include as much welcoming print materials you can meaning if there’s you to print catalog. I thank you card something that includes your information so they make it friendly but also those programs like feedback five.
Which girl which integrates with Amazon which will send them emails to their to their Amazon accounts and says basically ask them to review is ways to use that to communicate back to the customers and there’s ways to do it and those are just two examples but I think the most effective way at that point is when they receive their shipment, it should be very pleased and they should get a response directly from when they open the package and they get the information.
Yeah, absolutely. I know that I’m a huge Shopper of Amazon. So I am a fan and I do get emails often and and little notes in my boxes, which always shows me that who goes the extra mile or who cares about their product and what they send out absolutely. Well, great. Thank you so much for being on I wanted to leave some extra time for questions.
So let’s go and see. Oh, sorry actually had one more question for you that I didn’t realize which is okay. So when it comes to setting your goals and your objections objectives for international. How do you define what’s realistic for you? Can you expect to get a hundred orders they won or what?
Does that look like? A lot of a lot of other questions that come out. What is your existing traffic or you know about traffic? How much is international is that organic? How much budget do you have for acquiring International traffic? But these days it’s like your organic traffic generation, you know, you take six months to a year to generate some reasonable volume, but paid paid methods will generate traffic right away.
So again, let’s just say that you have you have traffic will say Lexi a thousand sessions a day. And let’s say 20% is coming from been irrational. I think what’s really a reasonable expectation is that if you’re getting that 20% and of that you’re able to convert this a 1% of it. I think that’s a reasonable goal to start with.
More or less depending on what category you’re in but I think it’s an important point is is don’t set your expectations High because International is not something that’s just going to immediately turn on your business and or double your business overnight. It’s it’s another it’s another opportunity to grow your business.
Yes, but it doesn’t just happen magically by just enabling it to the world. I think that with some of the margins we’ve seen that their conversion is usually less than what they’re seeing domestically. So maybe to have that in mind when you are planning out what your goals and objectives are going to be for that.
Yes. Alright, so going to questions looks like we had one come in. So Perry, do you have any recommendations for someone just getting started as an e-commerce manager?
very broad question. I would say if you are just getting started as e-commerce manager the best way to. To learn and become a professional added is to is to have a full-time job at a brand either an e-commerce manager or as a director of e-commerce and work there for you know to three years and build up your your skill set and your network and then grow to the next level at that point.
And I know that you talked about platforms you think picking the right platform has you know, it’s such a big decision that you want to grow with as well. Are there certain platforms that you’ve seen two people be more successful or ones that are popular right now. Are you saying that you Commerce platforms?
Yeah, the e-commerce platforms the scene. There’s a very strong movement for Shopify the. Yeah, and then there’s also big Commerce and the other and things like that, but I’m a big Magento fan retail reinvented has a managed Magento to solution, which is solving some of our clients challenges with.
But migrating from Magento one to Magento to without having to like deal with all the additional costs. I don’t rely on complicating the answer but in case I like Magento to from from my own professional reasons, but I think for small businesses, I think Shopify is a great solution. It’s affordable.
It’s easy to use you can manage yourself. You can be launched International very easily. I think that’s the way to go. Now that I’m sorry this answer your question. Yeah, absolutely because I think a lot of people don’t know where to start Shopify can be one if you’re not a developer, they make it so that you have easy ways to be able to integrate that site.
But when it comes to Magento kind of like you mentioned you probably have more control over how you present things to your customers and how you use the website as well. So I think we typically see businesses on Magento who. Are able to you know have a developer or be able to or have a certain way that they want to present it to customers.
Yes. Thank you for clarifying. All right, perfect. Let’s see if we have will give just a couple more minutes or 3 minutes away from 12:30. So, let’s see if we have any more questions come out.
Why were you waiting Perry? I know that you’ve mentioned a couple of the clients that we work with. But do you want to kind of give a little shout out to what you’re doing and maybe who would be a great client for you or if they have any specific questions to reach out to you on.
We are marketing stack has been doing very well. It’s a fully managed marketing stack. Which includes the traffic acquisition process which we usually use Google ads Facebook lead ads and Facebook traffic generation combined with re-engagement, which is usually like retargeting ads browse bannermen abandoned cart.
It’s the whole marketing stack that goes into base to acquiring engaging traffic. So we have a fully managed solution for that and it’s designed for small businesses specifically great. So we just had another question come in. And do you have do you ever worry about HS codes and how to manage them?
Oh, that’s a great question. HS codes are often times a big block or two young boy live International. And depending on who your International vendor is. They have the assemble have a more automated method which solves a problem and other will was will have a more manual process what you have to update it manually, which was just takes too much time.
So I think if you start forming from the initial creation of your product stream it HS codes could be included in that process that it will save time for all the requirements that is needed for HS codes Downstream. That is the bigger longer-term perspective. But there are solutions like evenso nose has an HS code modifier which will help you resolve that blocker and get catch a pass HS code.
So there’s also a third parties out there that provide software for automating those mappings. Does that answer the question? I think yeah, absolutely and HS codes can be, you know a blocker for a lot of. Retailers who are just thinking about International because I know it seems overwhelming to them and they don’t know where to start.
So knowing that there are companies out there to help them I think is really great.
All right, perfect. Well, thank you so much again Perry for jumping on and answering some of our questions by the way for everyone we did record the session so we will be posting that out. And if you put your email in then we’ll also email it out to you so that you guys have access and can go back on the screen though is Perry’s information.
So if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to him and learn a little bit more about his business. So again, Everyone and have a great day.