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Internet Retailing Expo: Interview with Mohammed Hussain, managing director of Mobile Fun

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Few retailers crack international markets, but online mobile accessories specialist Mobile Fun has done just that, and in a relatively short space of time. Having started small in the UK in 2000, is now nudging £10m annual turnover, serving growing numbers of UK and Irish customers, and many more Europeans through its dedicated country sites in Germany and France, which launched in 2009 and 2010 respectively. The Midlands-based company is poised to launch into two further European countries this year.

At the Insights Conference, on day one of the Internet Retailing Expo, Mobile Fun’s managing director Mohammed Hussain will be giving valuable insights into international expansion, in the session entitled ‘Breaking down international borders’.

Hussain will explain the tactics used by Mobile Fun, and the hurdles the company had to overcome in these new markets. “Eighteen months ago when the UK recession kicked in, our growth was slowing after several years of fantastic growth,” says Hussain. “We were already seeing 5% to 10% of sales coming from other European countries, so our first step was to make it possible for customers to buy from the UK site in Euros.”

The company then carried out detailed research into a selection of European countries, and soon discovered that Germany ticked all the right boxes as its next target for sales growth. “We looked at the GDP of Germany, stats on e-commerce spend, mobile phone sales, and we discovered that Germans were buying the same phones as our customers in the UK, and were interested in exactly the products that we sell – phone cases, chargers, bluetooth headsets, memory cards and so on.”

Hussain stresses the importance of investing in a country-specific domain, in this case and for SEO purposes, and to show full commitment to each country. There are also dedicated offices in Germany and France, where multi-lingual staff are writing unique product descriptions in the relevant style for each audience, and providing dedicated customer service, truly “localising” each site. “Social media and blog marketing is important to us, so we’ve made sure to replicate our successful UK social media strategies in these new countries.”

Payment issues, different methods to attract customers and the importance of maintaining your customer service values in new territories are all issues Hussain will touch upon, in what promises to be a must-see presentation on March 23.

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