Businesses should embrace cross-border e-commerce, according to DHL
Businesses in Africa should adopt cross-border e-commerce, says Steve Burd, Vice President of Sales for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to a 2017 DHL report, it is anticipated that cross-border retail volumes will grew at an average annual rate of 25% between 2015 and 2020.
This will see the volumes’ value rise from US$300bn to $900bn, growing twice as fast as domestic e-commerce.
Mr Burd highlights five daunting aspects of international trading for domestic e-commerce customers.
The first being the cost of express shipping, which Burd argues has no risk when offering it as a delivery option.
“Customers want choice, not only in their product selection, but also when and how they receive it. In our experience, customers are willing to pay a fair price for a faster, more efficient service.”
Burd also addresses the issue of return rates: “We’ve found that the return rates are actually much lower on international shipping.”
“Businesses could always do it on a trial basis and measure the benefits over losses and adjust their strategies accordingly,” he adds.
Basket values also appears to be a common concern with domestic e-commerce customers, however Burd claims that his firm notices basket values often rise when express shipping is introduced – as a means to justify the cost of delivery.
The DHL Vice President also argues that with the cost of shipping influencing shoppers, international customers often spend more than local ones.
“So even if international traffic to your website is small, it can be worth a lot for limited effort.”
“There are free online tools available which will give you an indication of your international traffic on your website – this will provide an idea of which countries to focus your efforts on.”
“There is no risk in opening doors to the international market – only the risk of getting left behind.”
Burd’s final point suggests that a firm’s choice of delivery partner can influence ease with procedures and processes.
“If your paperwork has been done correctly, there shouldn’t be any customs delays or worries.”
“Collaborating with an experienced partner that has extensive knowledge and know-how of customs procedures on the African continent will assist the business’ e-commerce offering to evolve.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.