Online brands can reach consumers and ship products all over the world. But if overseas shoppers see an English-only site, with prices denominated only in U.S. dollars, they might be reluctant to buy.
Vincero Watches, an online-only watch brand, solved that problem by launching country-specific versions of its website using technology from global ecommerce vendor Global-e Online Ltd.
The retailer already shipped to most countries globally and got 20% or 25% of its sales from non-U.S. markets, , says Aaron Hallerman, co-founder of Vincero. But the brand felt it could do better if it could make things easier for its foreign customers, he says.
In addition to men’s and women’s watches, Vincero sells sunglasses, watch straps, bracelets, wallets and travel cases. The brand sells about 150 to 200 kinds of watches, mostly in the $100 to $500 range.
“Selling internationally can be challenging,” Hallerman says. “And to assure you provide your customers with the best experience, you need to overcome many logistical barriers.”
He says that it’s also essential to reduce the friction points that can discourage shoppers from making purchases. Doing that includes greeting them in their own languages, allowing them to check out in their local currencies and using locally available payment methods.
Four months after the country-specific pages went live in the spring of 2020, Hallerman says international conversion rates jumped 31%, along with a big jump in foreign orders in its leading non-U.S. markets. Orders from the U.K. shot up 120%, while those in the Netherlands grew 87% and Australian orders grew 44%. In the United Arab Emirates and Japan, the number of orders increased by 111% and 44%, respectively. And foreign sales now represent 35% of the brand’s revenue, he says.
Shoppers on the Vincero website can now buy using more than 100 currencies, 150 payment options and multiple shipping choices. The checkout process supports 26 languages. The site also calculates prices, including taxes and duties, and offers a pre-payment option, providing customers with a guaranteed all-inclusive price. The website improvements are paying off, Hallerman says.
“We pay Global-e a small percentage of the sales we generate through their platform, which covers the services they provide us with. It’s a pay-as-you-go model, with no upfront fees.” Hallerman says.
Beyond the language barrier, customs have been a key source of friction for foreign consumers, Hallerman says. Before its relationship with Global-e, the brand had to educate customers about customs charges, which could be the equivalent of about $30 in countries like the United Kingdom. Depending on how items are shipped, customers might have to pay those fees upon receipt of their orders. Using Global-e, he says, allows the brand to mail orders directly to a customer’s home for a set price, on the local currency, with customs charges included.
Beyond that, Hallerman says, the new capabilities from Global-e allow Vincero to easily accept foreign payment methods—such as Japan’s JCB credit and debit cards, which are widely used across Asia. Non-U.S. consumers also use a variety of digital wallets and locally available “buy now, pay later” financing options.
Launched about six years ago, Vincero gets about 92% of its sales come from its website at VinceroWatches.com, while most of the rest comes from Amazon.com, Hallerman says. The brand also has a wholesale business that represents a small percentage of its sales, he says.
Matthew Merrilees, North America CEO of Global-e, says this is a good time for e-retailers to reach out to global customers because ecommerce demand is surging everywhere, not just in the U.S. Reaching out to foreign buyers is a good option for vertically integrated “disruptive” brands like Vincero, which are more nimble than established brands.
“COVID-19 has sharply impacted global ecommerce, shifting consumer spending from travel and leisure to online purchases and it is vital for brands, now more than ever, to step up to the challenges of advanced global operations,” Merrilees says.
Vincero planned to open pop-up shops to increase the brand’s visibility in 2020, Hallerman says. The COVID-19 pandemic scuttled those plans, but it’s something the retailer wants to do later, once it’s safe to do so. He also says Vincero was fortunate to be a digital brand in 2020. “A lot of watch brands are the opposite of us,” he says, in that the retailer relies heavily on wholesale and in-store revenue.
It also wants to boost its wholesale business, which could further raise the visibility of its products. Other plans include possibly launching more expensive watches, such as limited-edition watches or watches developed in partnership with influencers or other brands.
Eventually, he says, Vincero would like to break into the Chinese market. China is one of the few countries Vincero still does not ship to, he says, because of the complexity of selling there. One way to do that could be to sell on a marketplace, such as TMall (No. 2 in the ranking of Digital Commerce 360 Top 100 Online Marketplaces, but the brand hasn’t made specific plans, he says.Favorite