InternetRetailing: Can you tell us about a little about Global Fashion Group and your approach to international commerce?
Daniele Perotti, global director of marketplace, Global Fashion Group: We are focused on building market-leading sustainable fashion ecommerce businesses in emerging markets. We operate through five platforms – Dafiti, Lamoda, Namshi, The Iconic and Zalora – in 24 countries and employ more then 9,000 people.
Working closely with our partners and offering brands the chance to enter the fashion ecommerce sector in highly promising economies, we have crafted a best-in-class shopping experience for our customers, to whom we offer more than 3,000 international and local brands for fast and convenient delivery.
IR: At the IR Summit you’re chairing a round table discussion on delivering consistent customer experience when operating internationally through different order fulfillment models. What do you see as being the primary one or two challenges in delivering that experience – and what solutions have you found in your business?
DP: I am in charge of the marketplace business model, which is one of the three models that we operate, where fulfilment methods include drop shipment and outright consignment. But no matter how different the operational models are, customer expectations are always the same. Customers expect, no matter who they buy from, the full range of payment methods and a reliable nationwide delivery service. They expect free shipping, free returns and great customer service. These are the five critical expectations of the customer.
For me, the key challenge is to make sure that basically we always keep control of the process even when we don’t deliver direct. We always need to know where the items are and we need to make sure we engage with our partners to ensure the customer experience stays the same, is directly managed, and that we match the customer’s expectations. If we promise delivery in three days, it’s of course better if we do it in two days than three days. What matters is to be sure we don’t say we’ll do it in two days and then do it in four. Keeping in control of the value chain, and then meeting customer expectations is vital. That means knowing customer expectations, meeting them and measuring them.
IR: How do expectations around delivery/order fulfilment vary in the different parts of the world that you serve?
DP: The aspects that I just mentioned don’t vary at all. What changes is the expectation of the customer on delivery, fulfilment and on payment methods. In countries, cash on delivery is a must, and if you don’t do cash on delivery you cut off 60% of your potential market. Cash on delivery has a strong effect on fulfilment – it implies that you have your own fleet or your third party logistics service that takes full control of the cash with a strong reconciliation process. There is no way to do this without a third party that is your direct partner.
There are also a few markets, such as Russia, where customers are not only used to cash on delivery, but also have some additional specific expectations. While in other countries the customers receives their order, tries it on and returns it within 30 days if they don’t want it, in Russia, the delivery driver stands there at the door while you try on your things.
IR: What one or two pieces of advice would you have for other retailers who are considering how best to organise their order fulfilment models?
DP: It’s important to be able to offer the full range of payment methods. You must be clear and reliable on the delivery promise to the customer, and keep control of the fulfilment process even when it’s given to a third party. If you use this model you have to make sure you operate through fully integrated systems so that the data flows right through.
You must also train your sellers because even if you explain to the customer that the seller is a third party, they will always associate them with the customer experience on your site and with your brand.
For us it’s a pretty complicated model because we have different business models, including marketplace and web-enabled, but at the end of the day the customer doesn’t care if we produce in China, ship to Singapore and so on. They just want to be able to trust us.
Daniele Perotti will be chairing a roundtable discussion on how to deliver consistent customer experience when operating internationally through different order fulfilment models at next week’s InternetRetailing Summit, which runs from July 3 to July 5 in Berlin.
The InternetRetailing Summit is held in Berlin and runs from July 3 to July 5 2017. It brings together senior figures from leading retailers from across the European Economic Area (EEA), plus Switzerland, for an immersive three-day event spent focusing on the way that multichannel retailers are innovating to improve the customer experience. It is held in partnership with our IREU Top500 research project, and aims to give Europe’s Top500 retailers the opportunity to spend three days learning from, sharing with and simply talking to other leaders in the ecommerce and multichannel industry.
To find out more about the event click here.