With the right partner anything is possible: wnDirect further expands its international team and eyes Australia and Asia Pacific as its next key targets
Feb 09, 2015
Launched a little over two years ago wnDirect very quickly made a significant impact in the UK supporting retailers realise their international aspirations. The business has since broadened its focus and now also works with international retailers helping them take advantage of the significant eCommerce opportunities that exist. In order to support its continued growth in Europe wnDirect has recruited Ruben Meulenhoff as Head of EU Sales.
Retailers are, understandably, excited by the ongoing opportunities Europe brings. For those based in Europe it has significantly less red tape than many of the regions further afield. For those in the rest of world it is difficult to ignore the opportunities which exist there. According to Forrester eCommerce sales in Europe are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 12 per cent from 2013 - 2018 resulting in a market worth €233.9 billion by 2018.
Ruben joins the wnDirect team with significant logistics and customer services experience, having worked in the industry since he left the Dutch paratroopers in 2001.
Discussing his new role and the opportunities Ruben said: "I am really excited to be joining wnDirect. They are a young and ambitious company which have shaken up the eCommerce market. They have launched some truly innovative offerings since launch enabling online retailers to attract many new international audiences.
"eCommerce has undergone significant change in recent years. Whilst it has enabled retailers to attract far wider audiences the downside of the internet is that it has made the consumer very disloyal. It is very easy to flip from one screen to the next comparing prices. There is fierce competition amongst retailers which will only heighten as the consumer grows ever more demanding. In order to out-sell their competitors retailers are actively looking for ways in which they can differentiate themselves. By offering choice, flexibility and low cost, often free, delivery options retailers have been able to do this. The reality is the consumer now expects their goods to be delivered quickly and efficiently in a time window that suits them; all for little or no charge. This trend is also being seen outside of the UK with international consumers expecting the same level of choice, service and cost effectiveness when it comes to delivery even though that parcel is traveling thousands of miles. The trade-off has been that 'cheap' delivery, in many cases, has meant a 'cheap' service for consumers. The increasingly demanding consumer simply won't stand for this. They aren't willing to accept poor service; even if it is for a service they have paid nothing for. Realisation of this has enabled retailers to see that delivery is actually an important part of the overall brand experience and not just a necessary expense. It isn't a separate element but an extension of the experience the consumer associates with the retailer. This is where wnDirect has been able to motivate real traction. We work in partnership with our retailers offering them unrivalled local knowledge and experience whilst still recognising that cost, efficiency and innovation is just as important."
Ruben will be focussing on developing all of the key markets across Europe. Whilst Europe as a whole is priority for wnDirect Germany, France and Denmark, in particular, are high on the agenda. This will be further supported by wnDirect's relationship with GeoPost which has significant presence in Europe.
Despite being a relatively mature market Germany still offers significant opportunity for retailers. In terms of its maturity it is second only to the UK with eCommerce turnover of €63.4bn (eCommerce Europe). However, in order to succeed there retailers need to understand that trust is vitally important. Consumers need to feel reassured that there are a range of good delivery options as well as highly secure payment options.
Denmark has a very high internet penetration, around 95 per cent and a high average spend per shopper. They are also very open to international shopping with 3 out of 10 online purchases made with retailers based outside of Denmark. This has motivated Danish retailers to look further afield for its customers and so are very interested in expanding their reach. In 2013 online sales across Northern Europe grew by 13.7 per cent; €8.3bn of those were in Denmark.
Discussing these targets Ruben said: "Regardless of where retailers target, one thing is vital; the recognition that 'global' doesn't equal a single market. In fact, Europe, doesn't even represent a single group of consumers but a collection of individual countries that must be treated as such. Therefore personalisation is key. This is how wnDirect has really been able to differentiate ourselves as we become the experts of a destination. We can then transfer this knowledge to the retailer, which means they don't have to worry about becoming experts. For example, key to success in Denmark is the knowledge that high levels of customer service is vital. And Danish people expect to be treated as such - they are not Nordic, they are Danish. In terms of delivery consumers want quick and reliable options and to feel secure in the knowledge that should they need to return the purchase there is an easy and efficient way to do so.
Our innovative solutions, such as wnDuty can also take the headache out of international transactions. Our smart and efficient solution automatically calculates any customs or ID upload requirements and automatically communicates these to the end customer in their local language. "
The time and effort wnDirect invests in developing such solutions as well as understanding each destination paid dividends in 2014 when legislative changes in Russia made it incredibly difficult for retailers to be able to send deliveries there. At the time of the changes wnDirect was the only carrier that was already complying with the new requirements and, therefore, the only carrier that was able to process and clear Russia customs. Whilst many people had to simply halt activity, for wnDirect it was business as usual.