Cross-border commerce is cumbersome. Rob explains why, and how he is addressing the issues.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to Flow Commerce and to yourself.
Rob Keve: I am the Co-Founder and CEO of Flow Commerce here in Hoboken, New Jersey. Flow Commerce is a turnkey solution to help any online merchant sell beyond their domestic market.
Sramana Mitra: What does that mean? Double-click down a little bit and tell me more.
Rob Keve: Online merchants from anywhere in the world are finding that a huge portion of their site traffic is coming from outside of their domestic markets.
The challenge is they’re not usually buying in large numbers. You see products in the wrong currency. You don’t know how much you’re going to have to pay in duties and taxes. Shipping can be very expensive and slow. Oftentimes, there are challenges with payments, let alone, questions around customer service and returns.
Flow exists as a platform that merchants can integrate into, and magically, their site addresses all of these challenges. It presents all of their prices in the right currency around the world. It displays duties and taxes for any type of product to anywhere in the world. It offers e-commerce brands fast and cost-effective shipping options, and allows them to offer local payment methods to customers everywhere.
As a result of this, traffic goes up significantly. The merchant is now global and the consumer is able to purchase what they want.
Sramana Mitra: In a slightly more synthesized way, what is the core value proposition? Is it the payment? Is it the shipping? Where is the maximum leverage that merchants get out of your platform?
Rob Keve: The merchant isn’t really solving any one of these. The merchant is saying, “We simply need to have more international consumers purchasing on our site. How can we do that?” The answer is, you need all of these things. You need shipping to be cheap and quick. You need the right payment methods. You need to know what duties and taxes are going to be.
It’s fairly even across each of these. If you only do two of them, you won’t get as much lift as you would with four. The value proposition is a turnkey solution to solve everything.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s talk about it from a customer point of view. How many customers do you have? What segment are you seeing this traction in within e-commerce?
Rob Keve: We see this traction across the board. We have many customers of all shapes and sizes. Many of them are large enterprise brands who may already have a global audience but are not converting at the rate they want or haven’t got a good international offering.
Other types of merchants are smaller, fast-growing merchants who are thinking of going ballistic. They want their international fanbase to be able to purchase. Category-wise, it’s quite broad, particularly ones that you may not get locally. These are categories such as apparel, luxury goods, jewelry, health & beauty, but many others as well.
The categories that we don’t really focus on are ones where shipping is going to be expensive and perishables. The ones that are exceptional are the ones where the brand has a really strong value proposition and consumers around the world can identify with it.