ESW CEO Tommy Kelly on Building Successful Cross-Border Commerce

ESW CEO Tommy Kelly is featured on Footwear News’ Ask An Expert, speaking about how to build a successful e-commerce cross-border business.

From the article on Footwear News:

The rate of change has never been greater — or faster — for the footwear industry, with new challenges popping up every day in nearly all corners of the business, from navigating cash crunches and supply chain issues to understanding the latest technological advances. In its “Ask An Expert” series, FN asks industry leaders — all solutions-based providers — to take on some of the most timely topics.

The need for multiple revenue channels became apparent in 2020, as many footwear businesses found themselves restricted in unexpected ways. Direct-to-consumer selling was the go-to choice, but there has also been significant interest in expanding geographical reach. Selling to an international audience creates significant revenue potential – but it comes with its own challenges. In order to successfully serve global markets and unlock that exponential growth, companies must approach each location individually and strategically.

Tommy Kelly, CEO of cross-border commerce platform ESW, spoke to FN about the necessary considerations of selling internationally, the biggest market opportunities for footwear and why a global presence will be critical for future success.

FN: What are some of the variations in global markets that brands should consider if planning to expand their geographical reach?

Tommy Kelly: It’s a matter of local and cultural preferences. Simply put, people like to shop in different ways and brands can’t afford to take a one-size-fits-all approach to their global e-commerce efforts. In practice, this means adopting the services and technologies that make the online shopping experience feel local and familiar to each consumer. For example, in the US, shoppers are accustomed to having sales tax added at checkout. But in other countries, the norm is to have all charges and taxes included in the sticker price on the item. To sell effectively online, brands need to be able to calculate all applicable charges—which, of course, vary from country to country—and incorporate them into the price of a product.

Another example is payments. Shoppers in the Netherlands like to use an online payment system called iDeal; in some countries, credit cards are not widely used due to cultural imperatives. And buy now, pay later options are gaining traction, especially among younger global shoppers. Global commerce is complex and brands need a strong partner that can take on all of that complexity.