RBTE 2016: Retailers must develop local websites with care and consideration

Child mobility specialist, Bugaboo, takes a localised approach to international expansion and ensures on-the-ground support for key business operations.

Ronald Van Drunen, director of eCommerce at Bugaboo, talked about the firm’s borderless ambitions at RBTE 2016. Bugaboo began business 20 years ago and now has linkages with 2,500 retailers around the globe, including China and Russia. The firm is currently exploring potential opportunities in South American and India.

Bugaboo opened its first eCommerce site five years ago. The firm’s move online started in the US in 2011, before pushing into Europe, China and an Australian launch last year. Bugaboo is now looking towards further international expansion.

“We look at the market opportunity and take a central lead approach from our headquarters in Amsterdam,” said Van Drunen. “When we consider a new country, we look at the potential support from the channel and infrastructure elements, such as factories and support services.”

He said the firm tries to open each country-based website in the local language. Legal concerns are an issue, such as regional laws and VAT registration. “The best way is to work with a third party specialist and to let them do the work, particularly in China,” said Van Drunen.

The firm also prefers to employ local experts on the ground. “We look for people with all round eCommerce expertise in areas such as marketing, payments and fraud prevention,” he said. “That expert works as a linking pin to other people around the country and back to head office.”

Logistics remains an issue, such as shipping and finding the right warehouse partner. “Once you’ve made a decision, it’s very difficult to make a change,” said Van Drunen.

He said the firm also pays careful attention to localised marketing techniques, payment systems and customer services. 

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