This week on Traub’s The Safari podcast, Flow’s co-founder and CEO Rob Keve discusses how brands can increase their business by a third overnight. The Safari is a podcast launched by Traub, a global management consulting firm focusing on the consumer and retail industries. The podcast features forward-thinking industry leaders, who present their perspectives and visions for transforming the e-commerce and retail landscape.
Here are three takeaways from the conversation:
1. Brands realize the benefits of taking back control from marketplaces.
Brands enjoy the extra revenue and exposure that marketplaces sometimes bring, but it can also mean that they lose control over their brand experience, distribution, customer relationships and margins. Brands are increasingly realizing the importance of taking back control from marketplaces where there is a risk for brand commoditization. E-commerce businesses want to own the customer experience, creating a consistently branded buyer journey. More and more they are in favor of selling direct through their own websites where they can build brand equity.
2. As digital expands their global reach, brands focused on conversion can capture cross-border demand.
International customers represent one of the largest opportunities for many brands. In the past decade, digital proliferation and social media have enabled brands to reach consumers around the world more easily and efficiently. But challenges inherent to cross-border trade can prevent brands from fully converting these shoppers into paying customers.
Flow analyzed several hundred American brands and found that one-third of their traffic comes from outside the country. However, these international visitors have one-fifth to one-tenth of the conversion rate of domestic customers. Most brands are acquiring these customers but failing to convert them, and this hurdle needs to be solved.
3. Brands localizing their websites can boost conversion rates and expand revenue.
Brands of all sizes face many of the same challenges around international e-commerce. Flow works with brands to solve these problems and make it frictionless to reach consumers wherever they are.
The first challenge is the product page. Many international customers are turned off by product pages that are not in their local currency, contain prices that are not rounded, or have products that cannot be shipped to their country. Flow fixes these issues by making sure the product page displays rounded prices in local currency and by hiding products that cannot be shipped to the country.
The second challenge relates to duties and taxes. When a brand doesn’t properly calculate and include duties and taxes, there’s a risk that international customers will be slapped with a surprise tax bill upon arrival of their order. This creates a negative customer experience and even refusal to accept the parcel upon delivery. Flow fixes these issues by accurately calculating duties and taxes for each experience, clearly communicating these fees on the site, and giving brands the control to offer their customers the option to pay them at checkout.
The third challenge is shipping. Many international customers are faced with expensive, slow and untrackable shipping options. According to our latest research, this costly shipping and unclear delivery windows are the greatest barriers to cross-border shopping. Flow partners offers direct international shipment so that consumers can get their orders, optimizing for speed and cost.
The fourth challenge is around payments. Not everyone worldwide has a credit card that works on American platforms. If people can’t pay with a local payment method or their credit card is declined, they can’t purchase. Flow offers the ability for end customers to use multiple forms of payment, which helps to increase conversion rates so that brands can achieve greater value from international customers.
While there are additional challenges as well, Rob ends off by reassuring online brands that there is an easier way to overcome the barriers of cross-border shopping and deliver delightful, localized experiences to global consumers:
“There are lots of challenges of going international but there are one-stop solutions to addressing all of those. And so it really is as simple as: integrate and flip a switch. And now you have 7 billion consumers out there, ready to purchase.”