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IRX 2018 INTERVIEW Julien Callede of on the challenges retailers face when expanding into international markets

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Ahead of this year’s InternetRetailing Expo (IRX 2018) and Delivery Expo (EDX 2018), Julien Callede co-founder of spoke to InternetRetailing on the biggest hurdles retailers’ face when entering international markets, and shared an imperative checklist to smooth this period including a how-to guide of HR policies in a new market.

IR: At IRX 2018, you will be considering the most challenging territories for international expansion and whether those, worth the risk, in your keynote address: What are the biggest challenges retailers face when expanding internationally and how can you best overcome them? What is one challenge that is particularly important in this area? And one major benefit?

JC: Each market has its own dynamics, its own competitive landscape, its own tastes and trends. However, the biggest challenge is usually to adapt to the local customer experience: last mile delivery, local payment methods, local staff able to answer customer queries and anticipate issues. This often means a lot of preparation work, a good timing, launching markets one by one and generating decent volumes of business in each of them.

IR: What would one piece of advice you give to retailers looking adopt HR policies that will go intact with international retailing?

JC: You need to be willing to embrace other local HR policies and labor laws, and adapt your local policies, incentives and management methods to very international staff.

The difference in labor laws is definitely one of the challenges in expanding internationally. This should never be a deal breaker. However, it will often make expansion more complex and slow you down. The first piece of advice: get the right information from the right advisors early in the process. The second one: be willing to adapt your local HR policies, incentives and management methods to match each market. Also, don’t forget that your HQ staff will also often be very international. Therefore, you need to take this into account too in your central HR policies.

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

JC: People are more and more looking to invest in products, involving quality as the main driver, rather than consumer products, which involved quantity and price as the previous main driver. This pushes retailers to change the way they market their offer and structure their supply chain and customer journey. Multichannel is not a trend, it’s been there for a while now and is the norm.

IR: What are you most looking forward to at IRX 2018?

JC: Sharing best practices is a great way of improving every retailer level of service, and therefore customer experience. That’d be my priority for this event.

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