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IRX 2018 INTERVIEW Daniel Infanger of Conrad on expanding into international markets

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Daniel Infanger, a vice president international b2c at Conrad Electronic International is speaking at InternetRetailing Expo (IRX 2018). Ahead of the event, he spoke to InternetRetailing on the complications that come along with an expansion of business internationally, and challenges retailers need to watch out for, as well as upcoming trends that will help retailers to turbocharge their businesses onto a next level.

Daniel Infanger at IRX 2018 will be considering how retailers can build a flexible organisation to keep up with the pace of other global retail behemoths’, in his presentation Understanding what successful marketing looks like when expanding ecommerce across borders.

IR: What one piece of advice would you give to retailers looking to build a flexible organisation that will keep up with international markets?

DI: In this case, I would certainly recommend having a dual structure, which means you’re relying on a line organisation. At the same time, use 30-50% of the resources that you have for flexible teams that will engage in the more agile way of working, and sharing these resources that you have between two organisational forms.

This particular structure, on the one hand, would give you stability which is certainly the must. As I said before it will help maintain the corporate strategy and it would be flexible enough to implement things fast or work on specific projects. However, I advice using the knowledge that you already have from your line organisation.

IR: What logistics, delivery and returns challenges do retailers need to watch out for when expanding internationally and how can they avoid them?

DI: Obviously, this depends on your previous logistics strategy, and how your distribution worked previously. Naturally, it is a big investment because when you’re talking about a warehouse, you’re talking about a multi-million pound investment: how do you compete with the local competitors regarding delivery conditions, price points and time?

If you want to expand into a market that Amazon currently dominates, with assets such as Amazon Prime you would need to deliver the same degree of service, no matter where your warehouse is. The local competitors set the standard and, therefore, that’s your benchmark. Typically, you can’t build warehouses in every possible market you enter. At least not in the first couple of years, I wouldn’t recommend doing that as the capital investment will be too high. When we talk about entering small markets, it is still a big investment and I wouldn’t do it when a retailer is just starting to expand into an international market. That said, I would adjust the logistics strategy based on the actual developments in the market, and then, start working on building a warehouse.

IR: In your view, what’s the most important upcoming trend in multichannel/ecommerce industry that is set to change the way we shop – and sell? Why do you think this is so important?

DI: I think mobile is already out there, and therefore not a new trend anymore. I believe that when it comes to a marketing trend, automation is big thing omnichannel retailers will need to take care of.

When you try to build a one-to-one relationship with a customer manually, it is something that you can’t do anymore and to integrate all channels on a personal level is a difficult task. You can have personalised websites, emails and newsletters but the challenge will certainly be the integration of them all into one personal experience for a customer. It is a challenge and a future trend all in one.

IR: What are you most looking forward to at IRX (beyond your own presentation)?

DI: [laughs] I am most looking forward to how other [retailers] solve these issues I’ve just mentioned such as logistics and personalisation. We ponder on the digital side all the time, but it can be too much of it, especially in certain services. And the questions arise; does it deliver the results all the time? Do we do something because we think it’s important?

I am also looking forward to what benefits business and otherwise stands as an obstacle.

eDelivery Expo (EDX) 2018 is Europe’s only dedicated fulfilment event covering (S.O.L.D) – Supply Chain, Operations, Logistics and Delivery for multichannel retail takes place on 21-22 March in in Birmingham.

To find out more and to register free for InternetRetailing Expo and eDelivery Expo, visit Get involved on Twitter by following @etailexpo and with the hashtags #IRX18 #EDX18.

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