Ensuring you deliver both customer satisfaction and achieve cost-effectiveness in global markets are two of the biggest challenges that retailers face.
How to achieve both is therefore the million-dollar question.
Speaking at The Final Mile conference on the first day of eDelivery Expo on April 5 at Birmingham’s NEC Nick Fox, chief operating officer of The Snugg, will be sharing his experiences in trying to do both with his business.
Currently around 70% of The Snugg’s business is international with its main markets being the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the US, Canada and Japan. The US is the retailer’s largest market.
The business was launched in 2010 with one of the first iPad cases after one of the directors had trouble finding a case he liked for his own iPad. The Snugg launched on Amazon at first but now sells through its own website too.
Goods ordered were sent via a distribution centre in Bolton originally but Fox says this ultimately proved to not be cost effective. “We were shipping from China where the goods are manufactured to the warehouse in Bolton and then sending globally from there. We were double paying duties and air freight costs,” says Fox.
As a result the retailer began the hunt for a warehouse facility in Hong Kong instead. “You have to be confident about what you are doing to open a warehouse in Hong Kong and have to spend a lot of time on details. You’ve got to be very precise about what you are doing,” says Fox.
“We did a lot of due diligence and looked at different providers. Everyone will say they can do it but you need to find someone that is doing it and that has a decent track record,” he says.
Now the Hong Kong warehouse is up and running Fox says the company is currently working on the back-end work that will allow it to broaden its fulfilment reach, with plans to widen distribution beyond Amazon to include other international marketplaces and more orders fulfilled from the Hong Kong warehouse than currently.
“To do that we’ve had to rebuild all of our IT systems. You have to have a good database of products before you do any international expansion properly and need to have a sustainable back-end so we are working on that at the moment. Once we have done that we will connect up to where we want to connect up in terms of fulfilment and marketplaces,” he says.
The company is also looking at its final mile carriers, something where Fox says quality of service is vital. “It isn’t just about collecting the parcel and sending it – that’s just assumed. What you need to look at in a carrier is what else can they do. You look for lots of different ideas and added value. The basic ‘I can deliver it well’ is in the past now,” he says.
Nick Fox, COO of The Snugg, will be speaking at 10.30 on day one of the eDelivery Expo within the Final Mile Conference on April 5 with a speech on ‘Delivering customer satisfaction and achieving cost-effectiveness in the global markets. To learn more about the InternetRetailing and eDelivery Expo and to register for free, visit www.edeliveryexpo.com.
Image credits: The Snugg