An increasing number of Europeans is shopping on the internet. They are specifically looking for international offers in their online shopping tours. Thus, US retailers can strongly benefit from the dynamics of the European e-commerce market – and they do receive support from a traditional German company. The logistics experts of Hermes International, a division of Hermes Germany, know what is important for a successful market entry. They have a nationwide supply network and, on request, organize cross-border full-service-solutions.
In Western Europe alone, 48 percent of consumers visit domestic and foreign web shops to order their products online. This was concluded by a recent PayPal study on cross-border shopping in Europe 2018. A large proportion of cross-border e-commerce uses numerous online marketplaces – especially Amazon and eBay. Therefore being present on the respective platforms is quite attractive for US dealers, yet many companies are rather reluctant. Partly because successful strategies in the US can not be transcribed one-to-one to another continent. Europe is characterised by a multitude of languages and cultures. Despite the fact that 19 of the 28 EU countries use the euro as their official currency, the customers’ consumption and delivery habits vary from country to country. For companies that do not have the necessary market knowledge and the appropriate local networks themselves, it can therefore make sense to get an external partner on board. Hermes International can help overcome all challenges – and open the door to the European e-commerce market.
One partner for all relevant services
As an international trading and logistics service provider with more than 40 years of experience, today Hermes is the leading specialist for retail-related services and partner of numerous distance traders, multi-channel retailers and online retailers in Germany and abroad. The range of services of the companies operating under the Hermes brand covers the entire value chain of trade. Thus, the logistics expert in global e-commerce offers individual solutions and all relevant services from a single source using their worldwide network – from sourcing to transport and customs handling to delivery to the front door. For the delivery of shipments, specific options are available in more than 20 European countries. In Germany alone, with more than 15,000 ParcelShops, the company has a nationwide network of points of sale for private parcel shipping. These can also be used by mail order businesses as an alternative delivery address. There are a total of 37,000 ParcelShops in Europe.
Step by step to a successful market entry
Of course, every business case is different, but there are a few steps on the road to a successful market presence in Europe which are relevant for all companies. Getting involved at an early stage and checking where external support might be useful pays off in any case. The aim should be to offer international customers an uncomplicated, positive shopping experience – and thus to strengthen ones own competitive position.
Reaching out to new, international customers
Anyone who wants to sell to international customers must hit the nerve of the relevant target groups. When it comes to the supply of goods, it is therefore important to take consumer trends into account as they exist in the United Kingdom, Germany or France (the largest e-commerce markets in Europe). Hermes offers an innovative, easy-to-integrate solution that allows US providers to handle distribution directly through their existing online store or one of the marketplaces without the need for a costly redesign of processes. Hence, the customers receive all the necessary information about shipping costs, taxes and customs fees already at the time of ordering.
Smooth logistics process
How do the goods reach the shopper in Europe? Companies that do not have storage capacities of their own can rely on the services of the Hamburg-based logistics expert: Hermes provides local warehouses that are thoroughly set up for e-commerce. The online retailers can deliver their goods there or have them picked up from their location of choice. In the warehouses the consignments are commissioned and prepared for airfreight. Frequently, orders from different companies can be bundled – thus efficiency and price advantages can be realized.
Export and import customs clearance
A hurdle for many newcomers to global e-commerce is a correct and speedy customs clearance process. Smaller companies often lack the specialized know-how to navigate the jungle of international customs regulations and procedures. Experienced logistics service providers such as Hermes International have the necessary technical and industry knowledge to support these companies. They take care of the export declaration and transport the ordered goods by air freight. Even in the destination country, all formalities of import customs clearance are regulated in accordance with the applicable legal requirements.
Delivery to customers throughout Europe
After the import customs clearance, the ordered goods are delivered. Via Hermes‘ specialized B2C network, delivery to the end customer takes place in the local means that the recipients are accustomed to. For example, delivery to the front door – or delivery to one of the numerous ParcelShops are both possible. The latter solution offers particularly high flexibility: Customers receive a short message or e-mail upon arrival of the shipment. Then they have ten days to pick up their package in the shop.
Full transparency for sender and receiver
The sender in the US benefits from full transparency – just as the online shopper in Europe: Thanks to integrated track & trace, both can track the shipment status from leaving the warehouse to the final delivery. Further, in 37,000 ParcelShops in Europe returns can easily be handled.