A Creative Cross-Border Launch

A Case Study with Haus Laboratories by Lady Gaga and Flow Commerce

Nov 4, 2021 1:00 pm2:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Is it possible to deliver excellent service and customer experience globally? How can you evolve your business for your product to be equally accessible across the globe?

Consumers want effortless access to international products. So, how do you create a simple shopping solution for global access? The foundation for accelerating your brand globally starts with understanding conversion rates, ensuring logistics work seamlessly, using a single platform for international customers, and utilizing revenue optimization tools.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Rob Keve, Co-founder and CEO of Flow Commerce, and Molly Rosenman, Vice President of Digital at Haus Laboratories, to discuss expanding your horizon to encompass the global market. They discuss understanding the consumer demand and delivering great service, how to tailor and streamline the shopping process, and the importance of testing variables for scalable outcomes.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • Rob Keve and Molly Rosenman introduce how their brands expand global business
  • How to gain traction for a successful international product launch
  • Rob details key elements that signal your brand is ready for a global market
  • The importance of a single platform to cater to international consumers
  • How to create a tailored consumer experience to optimize sales
  • An in-depth look at data and correlated brand growth
  • The difference a payment method can make across the international marketplace
  • Molly discusses how launching a global brand can increase ROI and conversion rates
  • Why continuously testing methods can scale a brand
  • Setting a shipping threshold to maximize conversion
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Event Partners

Guest Speakers

Rob Keve

Co-founder & CEO at Flow Commerce

Rob Keve is the Co-founder and CEO of Flow Commerce, a cross-border eCommerce platform to accelerate growth. Previously, Rob was the Founder and CEO for The Fizzback Group, Managing Partner for 3K Digital, Investment Manager for Tufton Capital, and Consultant for Booz Allen and Hamilton. He graduated with a BA in Philosophy from the University of Bristol and received his MBA in Finance, Strategy, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, and Operations from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Molly Rosenman

Vice President of Digital at HAUS LABORATORIES

Molly Rosenman is the Vice President of Digital at Haus Laboratories, a beauty brand spreading creativity and kindness with vegan and cruelty-free products. Molly has previously worked in leadership roles as the Director of Marketing and Planning for Swanson Health Products, Manager of CRM for The Honest Company, and Senior Marketing Specialist in Channel Optimization for Vistaprint. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Arts from Boston University.

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Event Moderator

Rob Keve

Co-founder & CEO at Flow Commerce

Rob Keve is the Co-founder and CEO of Flow Commerce, a cross-border eCommerce platform to accelerate growth. Previously, Rob was the Founder and CEO for The Fizzback Group, Managing Partner for 3K Digital, Investment Manager for Tufton Capital, and Consultant for Booz Allen and Hamilton. He graduated with a BA in Philosophy from the University of Bristol and received his MBA in Finance, Strategy, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, and Operations from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Molly Rosenman

Vice President of Digital at HAUS LABORATORIES

Molly Rosenman is the Vice President of Digital at Haus Laboratories, a beauty brand spreading creativity and kindness with vegan and cruelty-free products. Molly has previously worked in leadership roles as the Director of Marketing and Planning for Swanson Health Products, Manager of CRM for The Honest Company, and Senior Marketing Specialist in Channel Optimization for Vistaprint. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Arts from Boston University.

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Thursday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the co founder and managing director here at BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group of 1000s of brands who do exactly that we network and knowledge here together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, even partners. That are they're shaping the digital landscape and growth in it, connect with 30 Plus brands a week to stay on top of the newest trends. And when the same topics come up over and over again, we host an event like this will do close to 240 events in the digital space like this, this year. And we're just now getting back to in person events, we're going to do probably close to 100, small format dinners across tier one cities and next year. So if you're in a large near one of the tier one cities, she doesn't know, we'll put you on the invite list, we great to get back to seeing people in person again. Um, a couple of housekeeping items as we kick this off here. Number one, we're starting three to four minutes after the hour. And just so you know, we're gonna wrap up with three to four minutes to go in the hour as well, we're gonna give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. The other thing is we want this to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time you have any questions, drop them in the q&a, you can even drop them into the chat or you can always email them to me, Aaron aaron@BWGconnect.com we're going to field questions as many ways as we can and ask them in real time, we want to make sure we get as many of those answered as possible. So that is it kind of like kick off this conversation. The the idea of cross border has come up over and over again, a ton of conversations I'm having, you know, as people have gotten over indexed on Amazon, Walmart hasn't quite figured it out. You know, target is very selective in who they work with a lot of brands a digital front looking to grow, have launched direct consumer. And as a direct response to that is also you know, when they when they find out, hey, wait, we can we can really perform in this digital space. They jumped across border, you know, larger, overall addressable market, huge opportunity for growth. And so we got some great friends, great partners of the network, with Flow, but also with Haus Labs. So they agreed to jump on the line today and kind of give us an overview of what it looks like some of the key things that they that they see taking place in this in this cross border world, but also answer as many questions as we can throw at them. So Molly, I'll kind of kick it off with you. If you want to do a brief intro on yourself, or company. That'd be awesome. Do we kick it over to Rob and then jump into some of the data

Molly Rosenman  2:51

here? So I'm good? Yeah, definitely. So nice to meet you guys. Thank you for having me. I'm Molly Rosenman. And I'm the VP of Digital at Haus Labs by Lady Gaga joined Haus Labs in 2019, and was part of the team that launched the brand of Haus I'm responsible for our direct consumer and our Amazon businesses. And prior to joining Haus, I've spent my career in econ and direct to consumer across a number of industries at brands like Vistaprint, the Honest Company and science and health. Wonderful.

Rob Keve 3:24

Molly, thanks so much for joining us today. And the fearless leader or the digital side of Haus, and look forward to talking to you a lot about your international success over the next hour. My name is Rob Keve for everyone on the line. I am the co founder and CEO of Flow. And Flow for those who don't know, was founded about six years ago by myself and my co founder Mike brezec. Mike was one of the co founders of Gilt Groupe, one of the early big eCommerce successes here in the US and struggle with this very challenge. How do we sell globally in a consumer first way, so that it's a easy, efficient, simple experience for consumers. And brands can find a global audience out there amongst the 9 billion consumers outside of the US. So we're six years into our journey. We're doing wonderful things and partnering with brands, Lighthouse labs, helping them scale globally. And we look forward to telling you more about all of the opportunities and challenges over the next 55 minutes. Yeah,

Aaron Conant 4:29

awesome. So just a quick reminder before we jump into it, drop any questions along the way in real time in the chat the q&a or email them to me Aaron Aaron@bwgconnect.com But yeah, let's kind of let's jump into to the slideshow here. That'd be awesome.

Rob Keve  4:45

Great. So, Molly, I know you seem to have worked for a few mission driven brands and honest company, but they don't come much more mission driven and successful than Haus Labs. Would you be kind enough To introduce Haus to the audience.

Molly Rosenman  5:02

Sure, yes, absolutely. So Haus Labs launched in 2019. On hauslabs.com, and Amazon were a color cosmetics brand co founded by Lady Gaga. And for Lady Gaga, beauty has always been a pivotal part of her story. Growing up, she'll tell you, she never felt beautiful. And it was really through beauty, discovery and an expert experimentation with makeup that she was able to find her own beauty and a bravery that she didn't know she had. So our mission is really rooted. And Gaga has experience with beauty, and to spread creativity and bravery and kindness with vegan and cruelty free tools, really, for self expression and reinvention.

Rob Keve  5:49

Amazing, and in doing all of that, creating a hugely successful global business.

Molly Rosenman 5:55

Yes, that's the goal.

Rob Keve 6:00

Flow, we partner with Haus Labs. And that's why we're both here talking to you today. Flow as mission is, I'm afraid, slightly less glamorous, but it's around unlocking the potential for global revenue for brands, and helping them accelerate their cross border opportunities to find global audiences. We do this through four areas for areas where there's an ROI for brands, and there may be some on the line today who are thinking about it. So these four areas typically get pushed, one, localizing the shopping experience, making sure your consumer experience outside of your domestic market is as compelling as strong as frictionless internationally, as it is domestically, to ensuring that your logistics works seamlessly, which is notoriously a challenge with many different hand offs. Three, to make sure that the revenue side of your international offering competes favorably relative to your domestic market, many brands when they look at their international conversion rate, and compare that to the domestic, it's, you know, a poor cousin, certainly not in the same family. So we give them the tools and the insights and their hand holding through car success to really drive the revenue and conversion rates for international. And finally, we bring that expertise how to consumers in different countries, what are the expectations? How do they think, how do they buy? What do we need to do to make sure we can improve conversion rates by Mark

Aaron Conant 7:28

in that revenue piece? Do you think that's because they traditionally do expand? They just had to outsource it to maybe a distributor or partner who doesn't own the brand? I mean, yeah, yeah, it's

Rob Keve  7:39

good point. I think it's Yeah, for sure. Some do some focus on channels or distributors or outsource it. Certainly the early days, and more traditional brands did a lot of that they gave franchise agreements to regional players, and thought we'll give them econ rights. what's that worth, and lo and behold, that's the jewel in the crown that they gave away. And many of them have been buying that back over the last few years. But I think the other side of it is consumers expectations vary by region. And by demographic, as you'd expect, it's not one homogenous group, global. And so how consumers buy in France is different from the US is different from Brazil. And so you really need a nuanced approach the right horse for the right course, if you want to have a local experience in 20 different countries. Awesome. We'll talk about this later. But Flow is a SaaS platform that sits on top of existing econ platforms, we don't displace it, we augment it. And we do these six things, six modules behind the Flow platform, localizing the experience, the shopping experience, providing the landed cost, duty and taxes, shipping for international and returns, managing the checkout, all the local payment methods, tools to help optimize conversion rate. And at the top of the final product indication, making sure your product feeds for international markets are localized. So if that's the introductions, let's start with the first few questions. And I guess the right starting point is why do it in the first place? What's so great about global? Would you like to take that one first Molly?

Molly Rosenman  9:15

Yeah, so I think for us, I mean, from our inception, we intended to be unlike any other beauty brands and break some of the established rules like Gaga does. And I think going global is just one of those, one of those things. So, you know, our objective was really to be as accessible as possible and spread our mission as broadly as we could. And while we were building out the brand, one of the things that was the most important to Gaga was that we make our product as accessible as possible to her that meant no matter where you live, you can experience house labs product. So with that in mind, launching globally was actually a necessity of our brand to launch and with you know, over 100 million social followers across the globe, we had a potential consumer base that was far beyond the bounds of just the US or North America. And some of God's most passionate fans are actually in her international community, they travel from all over the world to see her shows. So it was incredibly important to us to activate and serve that audience. And then finally, we also knew that in order for our message and our mission, to have the biggest impact, we needed to have a broad reach. So going global really would allow us to have that.

Rob Keve 10:35

That's amazing. I think there's a few takeaways for all of us. One, that if you are truly mission driven, why would that stop at the border, it's anyone out there who's interested in your mission. And if you're evangelizing you've got an opportunity to reach 9 billion families, to if you have a social following, whether you're celebrity driven or not, social media also recognizes no boundaries. And so why wouldn't you be servicing them, if you're trying to make a virtual cycle in the same way you do domestically, you need to then be able to deliver and service and have a great customer experience to those consumers everywhere. And three, having a brands like Haus Labs, who went from a standing start to big internationally, is amazing. And we want more of those. But in our experience isn't typical. It's a typical success story. Many brands launch International and slowly evolve to a bigger and bigger business, and we help them get there. This was no worthy, because it was one that went from a standing start to enormous traction overnight, thanks to the mission and the fan base, and and all the things you just mentioned.

Molly Rosenman 11:51

Yeah, so as you mentioned, we did not so late build an international business, we essentially was not a full fledged business overnight, for international customers. So the impact of launching globally for us was huge. On our very first day of business, we had 1000s and 1000s of international customers shopping in house labs. And our products were very quickly all over the world. So we've shipped to over 100 countries and territories. So reaching customers across the globe and delivering on our goal and accessibility. And our international response really drastically exceeded our expectations. We see anywhere from 10 to 35% of our total GMV coming from our international customers that's really dependent on our activations. For example, we have a major product launch or promotion, our international audiences activated in a huge way for us. UK, amazing,

Aaron Conant 12:49

a question that comes in is around the timing. So you'd mentioned, you know, this was the overnight experience, what is that? Is that like a year? And then, you know, Rob, what's the typical? I mean, people are pure trying to understand like, they see the total overall opportunity, but they also need to have realistic, you know, goals and expectations set within, you know, executive leadership teams. Right. And so, you know, you know, Molly I would love to hear like was that like a year when you say overnight, was it? Was it Munsters a week? Was it a year? And I think you kind of mentioned that a little bit? It was like in a week yet 1000s of people but then yeah, I'd love to hear the typical.

Molly Rosenman 13:29

Yeah, I mean, I think you know, we're unique in some ways, right? Because because we are sort of celebrity driven brand. So when I talked about it, I actually mean overnight, right? We literally launched with 1000s of people waiting to buy product. And so you know, that is that is certainly unique. I think one thing I'll just say about it, though, is, you know, while we were able to have a very large business overnight, we did not have a large team, right? We were a small and scrappy startup with, you know, not enough time and huge goals and not enough people and resources. And so I think a point that I think is very important is that well, you know, we had this, you know, international business overnight, and we exceeded our expectations. It wasn't that we weren't able to handle that, right, because we had the platform and the flow of support, to run the business and, you know, essentially supplement our team. So Well, I think, you know, the expectation and Rob probably talked about what a more traditional trajectory looks like maybe might not be overnight for everyone. I think the idea that you could go global with a small scrappy team is probably the most important thing I say in terms of, you know, and we'll talk about the challenges but, you know, when I first thought about this, I'm like, I'm gonna have to have a team of 20 people to manage global and that certainly ended is not the case. Rob do you have anything to add there? Yeah.

Rob Keve 15:05

So I think your point is well made, we built Flow to make it easy for brands to go global. If you are trying to do all the things, we're going to come on to talk about local currency, rounding, duty tax classification, cheap shipping, fast shipping returns customer service payments forward, it would take a brand's measured in years, I don't know how long. And the purpose of us as a SaaS business is, of course, to build it once and to build the grade for everyone to leverage. So then the integration rounds is how quickly do what it takes to integrate. And the answer to that is it varies, but it's measured in weeks, two weeks, four weeks, six weeks, maybe certainly not a multi month project. And then when you go live, you may not have the enormous GMV that Haus had in the first week. But brands build over time, they've usually got a significant portion of their site traffic coming from overseas. And you can easily look at that what's the split of my traffic from comparing domestic to international. And it's not uncommon to see 10% 20%, even 30%, and yet very little international sales. And so the idea behind Flow is it makes it a local a shopping experience for consumers into into different countries. As soon as you've done the implementation overnight, and each country will be configured to its own experience. And then they too can start capitalizing on the traffic that's already hitting their site.

Aaron Conant 16:29

Now it's awesome. I mean, it's it's solving for so many of the issues that hold people back, right, and I'm glad to address the team size, which is the other one How many people do I need to hire? Right? It's Yes. So another question that comes in. How did you manage compliance related to product registrations language packaging? There's so many different countries.

Molly Rosenman 16:49

Yeah, so I think that was a big one we had, you know, our product development team regulatory team, really worked to make sure we weren't clients with everything we needed. That was that was a major lift up front, but obviously important. Awesome. Wonderful.

Rob Keve  17:10

Let's keep going. out Flow on the answering the question, why go global? The answer is, of course, that consumers are global. If you're not reliant on bricks and mortar, why would you not? The internet is global. Most of the media channels with ritual meet them most paid marketing extends to global to 86% of the world has internet and buys online, it's a big opportunity to go out and reach them and not rely on just a few 100 million US based consumers. More than that, not only is eCommerce accelerating, but cross border demand is accelerating, outstripping even econ. So we all know that eCommerce ramping up all the way to the source of the pandemic, through the pandemic accelerated further. And interestingly, cross border even outstripped that more consumers are purchasing for the first time internationally. And those that already have are becoming more habitual buyers cross border, I really the only reason they wouldn't, is if the shopping experience didn't feel local, it begged questions was expensive, seems risky, seemed unnatural. The more it emulates a domestic experience with local currency, clean pricing, clear duties and taxes displayed on the site. Cheap shipping, easy to pay. Why wouldn't you? And why would you have any regard for where the brand is? And so that's, I think, why we're starting to see such an enormous growth in the cross border Ico market. And this is pulled from a study of hours, just comparing the pre pandemic to post pandemic percentage of cross border shoppers by market. And of course, it varies by market. But it's interesting, every single one of these is up in the last two years. And the average I think, is 76%. In these markets have purchased cross border. So this is not an early adopter market. It's not, you know, just the few millennials who purchase cross border, it's the vast majority. I finally to answer the question, What are the signs as to when you should be thinking about going global? One is the first point I mentioned before, look at your international site traffic, it's relatively high, but when you compare it to your international sales, it seems disproportionately low. That's obviously an opportunity to close that gap, too. Do depending on your category and segment is a strong international demand. Usually there are good signs that there's strong demand outside of your domestic market. Three, diversifying this came up a lot in the last few years, particularly as you went through COVID restrictions vary by market. It was really interesting to see the heat map of demands changing and if you're not dependent on just the US domestic market, you have the opportunity to benefit from other markets which are booming, when at different points in their cycle, relative to domestic and be more diversified. For consumer awareness whether you're celebrity driven or not, consumers are probably becoming aware of your brand word of mouth, advertising, other forms of social media. And it's a shame not to capitalizing if they're aware of your brand, and maybe even hitting your site. And finally, pre empting competition, obviously, the earlier you get into the markets, the less breathing space you give to competition. So with that, when we move to the second question, Molly, which talks about the pain points? And what are some of the challenges that we faced when we sell cross border,

Molly Rosenman 20:39

there were a number of challenges, I think, again, we talked about this a little bit. But first, with limited resources, the idea of potentially managing multiple websites for different countries was a tremendous undertaking, and something we just didn't have the ability to do. That said, we wanted to have control of the shopping experience at a country level. So we sort of needed a platform that would allow us to be both hands off, but also very particular about the experience, which is a tall ask. And because we plan to launch on Amazon, in some international countries, as well, it was important that we manage pricing so that our consumer experience would be consistent across our markets across our channels. So we needed to have some control over pricing. And then we knew calculating taxes and duties, and managing shipping restrictions and regulations for all the countries would be extremely complex. That was a huge, huge one for us. And if that weren't complicated enough, we also were launching with a pre order experience, which meant we needed a platform solution partner that could handle pre orders for cross border shoppers, which was not easy to find at all. And then I think, lastly, it was incredibly important to us that all of our shoppers had a consistent experience, no matter where they were shopping, we have always wanted to make sure that our international community did not feel like an afterthought. We wanted them to have all the same features, functionality and experiences that were available to the domestic consumer.

Rob Keve 22:18

Right. Apologies, I seem to have come out the presentation mode. Great. That's wonderful. Molly, thanks for being Yeah, just a few. And I love how thoughtful Haus was and you were about, we want to get this right first time, we don't want to start off in a sort of basic walking away calling, and then walk and then run, we really want from the outset, the International Consumer not to be an afterthought, but as much of a core thought as our domestic consumers. And you need to get so much right. And I think the point here is, we'll come and talk about how to solve that. And obviously, that's why we're both here today. Because it is a partnership, and we can leverage our platform to solve these things. But if you're trying to do it alone, these are just some of the checklist items you need to give thought to. Otherwise you do find it's a very disjointed experience shopping internationally. And we've probably all felt that as consumers. And you'll, as a result, see much lower international sales. And I always think that it's not just that you'll see for international sales, because the shopping experience is so clunky and maybe expensive. But you're losing a potential lifetime customer. Once they've had a bad experience. They've had a carrier on the doorstep asking for duties and taxes and amount they didn't even know it was Are they really going to order from you again? Or have you just lost someone who was going to become an avid fan of your brand?

Aaron Conant 23:48

Give me the managing multiple websites has come up a few times now, where that's the most daunting thing I know, probably taxes and duties, right? shipping restrictions. Usually you can find somebody to solve for but the management of multiple websites,

Molly Rosenman 24:06

like right now was just that's that's a tough one. Right? I mean, yeah, with a small team. It's essentially impossible. Right?

Aaron Conant 24:15

I mean, yeah, nearly impossible. Yeah. Just a quick reminder, as we get kind of like halfway, oh, not quite halfway through. But halfway past the hour here. You have any questions along the way, keep dropping them into the chat the q&a, or email them to me, Aaron Aaron@bwgconnect.com. We'll keep get them answered.

Rob Keve 24:32

Awesome. We'll come back to the multiple website challenge. But many of the more traditional brands who didn't have the benefit of starting Greenfield or weren't as forward thinking, as many digital native brands, historically have set up many country level sites. And it sounds sounded appealing 10 years ago. Why wouldn't we just set up a UK site? We're so focused on the UK, but you have many challenges there one, that's a never ending argument and how many of you go To set up and to managing, particularly things like Merchandising, and inventory when you're managing different sites, as well as things like promotions and coordinating them across them. As Molly said, the complexity just becomes exponential and becomes unmanageable very quickly. The more general case of what are the challenges of cross border, and this is pulled from a study we did, please feel free to reach out if you want the full study. This shows what consumers report as pain points, barriers to shopping internationally. And as largely the same as what Molly was describing from the merchant side, shipping to expensive deliveries to slow the duty and taxes that either not displayed or seem high, the exchange rate seems off. And so I'm going to delay my purchase. And while they check that out, and maybe not purchase as a result, the slide particularly check out isn't translated. So I'm nervous. The price isn't listed in my local currency, I can't pay with the payment method they want. I've got all the way to check out with the cards but can't pay because they don't have a card, for instance, or the local currency challenge. So if we move into more constructive mode, if that's the challenge is how do we create really good local shopping experiences so that consumers feel comfortable and comforted in transacting? Molly what are your thoughts?

Molly Rosenman  26:34

Yeah, so I think the first thing is tailoring experiences to match consumer preferences in certain markets. And I think this is, most importantly, in an automated way. Right. So the first thing I call out is localizing pricing. So localizing pricing based on IP address, so customers can shop in their own currency. So rather than, you know, having multiple sites to show all of these different prices, that's changing based on recognizing the user and showing them the right currency. Also offering the right preferred payment types like Karna, or other popular payment methods, and certain markets, again, like without having to know anything about what payment types are popular in each market. Because what's a tool like Flow that's automatically going to be presented to consumers based on what market they're in. And pricing displays, right, whether duties and taxes should be included or excluded in prices. It differs by market and country and is just another thing that, you know, is a very tricky thing to manage across markets if you don't have an automated way to do this. And then on the pricing side of things, we use price books to set pricing and key markets. So we're one aligning with the competitive landscape versus just letting currency conversion, decide the fate of our prices, and also to create consistency across our selling channels. So consumers don't pay different prices and different channels from the same products and have a pretty poor brand experience. And then managing shipping restrictions and shipping methods and updating us as Flow makes us aware of changes, right instead of having to stay on top of all of these things. We have a partner who does that for us. We've also leveraged Flows, custom messaging by market and form shoppers have any critical information like delays, which was incredibly important during the pandemic, especially the early days, when there were many carrier delays that we needed to let our customers know about, again, like this is all without development work, and automatically based on your IP and experience that you're in. And then I think finally just a be testing key touch points of the customer journey. So our customers can tell us what experience works best for them. And it's going to make them the most likely to convert and spend more. But that's, you know, another functionality that for a lot of data driven brands is super important. Setting up a B tests with like an Optimizely or another tool at the country level. And managing that would be extremely difficult, but it's it's built into the flow platform. Yeah,

Aaron Conant 29:31

we got a question that comes into Can you guys have a discussion on paid media strategy and channel so one of your testing and marketing there? You know, Taylor messaging different than, than the US?

Molly Rosenman 29:42

Yeah. So. So we were kind of a little bit of a unique story here where we've actually just started testing international marketing this year. And testing in Canada first, so we definitely tailor marketing differently in Canada. But really, we've driven our international business very organically until this year. So we're sort of in a pilot mode, but our early results are showing really strong performance in the Canada market. So we're seeing triple digit year over year growth in Canada with a start just, you know, really just taking our first steps into advertising in Canada. So definitely a growth opportunity and definitely a difference maker. But again, you know, a lot about prioritization. And you know, that sort of one, I feel like you get to okay, what are the key markets? And where do I want to be really intentional? versus, you know, how can I? How can I take the demand that exists and serve the customer better? So I think that's sort of the the next path and opportunity for us. Yeah, we,

Rob Keve  30:54

we deeply integrate into the Facebook and Google portfolio. And because we help localize catalogs, we localize the product feeds. And that becomes important if you want to do any paid marketing on either platform, because they need to, to to be in sync at all times. And when you're dealing with different currencies, and duty and taxes, it's very easy to get out of sync. And we've seen some great results across brands, I think we've got some case studies at the end. But we've seen row asses in the three 400 percents, not all the time, not in every market. But the beauty of internationalist is 200 different markets of different sizes behaving differently. And so you can pick up on inefficiencies and really find some deep, rich

Molly Rosenman  31:39

seams out there. Yeah, and the product, I think, especially for Google is pretty great, right? That the feed is in the proper currency with all of that is just automatic, right? So you can test markets, turn them on and office, as you see strong or not strong performance.

Rob Keve 31:57

I'm gonna Can I ask if you wouldn't mind just talking about the last point of business on your page? Flow? We're very proud of the DeepStack A B testing facility that we have to test all kinds of different things from pricing to should we include duty and tax or not? Should we test different shipping? Flat level shipping rates? Shall we test different promotions? So we'd have to do payment methods? What's been your experience? Have you had a chance to do some A B testing? And if so what what kind of results? Have you seen?

Molly Rosenman 32:25

Yeah, we have I think the the biggest things we've focused on testing are things like including and excluding duties and taxes, because that's one where we know what makes a big difference. And, and I think one of the great things is we rely a lot on your team to help guide our AV test roadmap, versus having to kind of come up with insights across markets, we have, you know, the Flow team say, Hey, here's what's been working with other merchants in certain markets, and then we sort of use that to guide our roadmap. So I'd say like, the duties and taxes piece has been probably the most impactful for us where we've seen strong results and, and then end up with some differentiated experiences and creating new experiences that we might not have before based on, you know, learnings. But that's probably the biggest area that we've seen an impact in.

Rob Keve  33:21

That's great. And for those who aren't aware, Molly's referring to the simple opportunity to just test both rounding and whether you should include duty and tax in your local product price, or display a separately or display the checkout. All of those are configuration options with us Flow. And so you can test even though we may be used to seeing sales tax included in the product price. In the UK, for instance, does it perform better? Would you get better conversion rate to show a lower product price and sales tax as a separate item? What about duties when you're selling into Australia that you have de minimis thresholds? Do you show it or do you not show it? So you can test all of those and see what works best and some brands will say we saw 30% uplift by testing it. And we're now going to change your pricing to the alternative. And similar you can do different price points and rounding. But it's always fascinating to me that different countries have quite different conversion rates, depending on whether you're rounding to dot nine 9.00, you know, don't lie need. And so all of these things are testable. And the client success team, Molly was trying to have playbooks. So they put their arms around clients and talk to them about what they suggest. I'm glad to hear that Jerry is doing a good job for you.

Aaron Conant 34:36

Yes, he is wonderful. I can't say enough good things about showing you the reality. I mean, that's what people should be doing even on their own DTC site as well, right. It's something that's been lost. You know, you get the real time data on your site. Right, you get it, which is you know, something that's lost when you're selling through brick and mortar or Amazon, right, you do this real time across multiple different aspects and, you know, carve out, you know, any me search or doing and actually collect the data. Right? Or what your team thinks they is going to work best you actually get the data. Yeah, I agree with Rob, it's always interesting to see what comes back. When you see afterwards.

Rob Keve 35:15

Yeah, we got money. No. I was gonna say you mentioned analytical, and they know how slabs, it's very analytical. And we love that Flow. We're analytical when people ask us what's, what's going to happen to French consumers, when we finish this price? Our answer is always let's test we can tell you what's worked in the past, we'll look at the data. But we're not going to have an uninformed decision. We've got rich data, and we can test it in minutes. So why wouldn't we see what the data says?

Aaron Conant 35:45

It's not like the old days of printing a catalog where you, you know, you print it, it's gone, right? It's literally like you're saying minutes, it's an hour, it's a day and flip it back and collect the data, love it.

Molly Rosenman  35:56

Love Illinois, it's easier to test in our international markets than it is on our US site, just because so much is built into the Flow platform, which is kind of a funny thing. But I was just gonna say, you know, like, of course, managing an A B testing program is so important for an eCommerce brand. Managing it across, you know, many, many markets is where it gets extremely complicated. If you don't have a tool, right? That's automated. And you can just say, you know, I want this around to dot five or 00. And seven, you know, or somebody on the customer success team says it live for you, you know, so we have a lot of tools that are

Aaron Conant 36:39

it's, it's also quick question. So it's all customizable by country or region.

Molly Rosenman  36:46

Right? Okay, awesome. Awesome.

Rob Keve 36:49

And as Molly said, A that's important for international because there's 200 different markets. And if you were to make a change across all of them, some would benefit from the change, and some would lose. So instead, get the right setting for the right market. And there's always opportunity to improve. And to to your point, Aaron, it is strange, as Molly said, how for domestic markets, many brands, either aren't able to or haven't got the ability to test these basic things. What was the price elasticity of your price points? Why should you round to should you include sales tax or not? What performance better flat rate shipping or funding duties as a duty free promotion, even the order of different payment methods can make a big difference to conversion rates. And when we proudly boast about brands having grown in the hundreds of percents, it's usually not because they make they will get the lift initially from turning Flow on. But they're really big increases happen over time you test different things, and we grow into the perfect experience, we won't be able to find a day one. Awesome, love it. More data, on terms of what's important to the consumer, for their consumer experience, nearly three quarters talk about their preferred payment methods to hear they're often talking about, buy now pay later, or digital wallets, or local payment method like a Dale or Clarno. SEPA. And so it's important to us that we can help our clients with surfacing, surfacing the right payment methods and check out by Country Returns. Very important for international historically, they weren't able to do returns internationally. If you want to have a good easy consumer purchase, you need to be able to offer returns. And of course, we do pricing components, and shipping methods, many shipping methods. And just avoid on shipping methods. It's always powerful to be able to offer a fast and cheap international usually as only had the Express which tends to be expensive. And I think if you're really democratizing this to the world, you want to be able to offer a cheap or even free shipping method, just like when we do domestically. I think I don't want to spend our time selling Flow. So I'm not going to focus on this slide. But Flow is divided into six modules, which together form the Flow platform that deliver everything but money was kind enough to refer to I will spend just a quick word on how quickly can you be live? And what is the tech platform? How quickly or how long did it take you to get live? Why did you remember?

Molly Rosenman  39:37

I think it was four weeks, four weeks. Great.

Rob Keve  39:41

And you remember what that experience was like?

Molly Rosenman  39:45

Yeah, I mean, I think it was it was pretty straightforward. In terms of the integration. I think, you know, where the real work starts is once you're alive and start to optimize the experiences I think at the beginning, right we as we you know So we want to launch globally, I think we start our heads were spinning, like what are the right default settings. And I think your team really took the lead in helping us kind of based on what has been done in the past what's worked in the past. So I'd say like, that was a moment of being very overwhelmed to to, you know, to set up all of the settings. But really, the end of the day, we didn't have to do both. So I think that was that was really great and helpful. And then again, like the the optimization really comes as you start to see data and start to test, because, as you said, we didn't get everything right at the beginning. And we we changed things as we learned.

Rob Keve 40:40

Great, perfect, and I love that you're leaning into the testing and changing and improving continuously. Yeah. So Flow is pre built into most eCommerce platforms to make the onboarding quick and easy. We do weekly releases, we technically do dozens of releases a day, but the big feature ones are weekly, we have a continuous improvement cycle built into our organization, airflow is very focused on growth. So we talked about AV testing, there's, you can control your site experience with over 100 different controls. So it's all configuration option, if you want to change the look and feel of some of your pricing, or check out ordering or payment methods, that's all controllable just by going onto console and moving things around or asking your client success person to do that. And of course, it's extremely scalable and enterprise ready. So we do all of this address all the challenges not just to maintain a large fan base, but to turn them into paying customers. So let's spend a few minutes just on the results and the ROI behind going global.

Molly Rosenman  41:52

Definitely. So the first thing I'll just say is, especially going global with slow, right, we found an awesome partner, I think, for us, one of the key differentiators when we selected our cross border partner was the type of partnership we'd get the team. And that was a huge differentiator for Flow we knew that their team would be there to support us and supplement our small but mighty team. And I don't think I said this, but there were two people on the digital team when he launched. So very small but mighty. And they definitely were we launched our brand at midnight Pacific Time. And on a on a Monday morning. So the Flow team spent the entire day Sunday with till midnight Pacific Time launching, you know preparing and launching the brand. So truly have been great partners. And then again, like being able to leverage the expertise on AV test ideas, settings for markets that, you know, frankly, we don't know much about right but want to know we want to serve was very helpful at launch. And I think, you know, we've truly been able to create an international experience that I'd say is in near parity to the US experience, which was really what we set out to do. So things that we didn't think might be possible, like when we decided we wanted to create a build your own bundle, build your own set, Flow helped us create that functionality for international, as well. So that's resulted in a happy international customer. But definitely, you know, something unique that we couldn't get from every partner. And most importantly, are international sales have exceeded our expectations. So we've seen almost 40% increase in conversion rate, year over year, which is typically a very hard metric to move. And we saw some pretty incredible performance, especially during holiday last year. So during the holiday timeframe, our international audience was converting at like a 4% conversion rate and peaking like 7% which, if you told me that I would have thought that was impossible, especially for beauty. The average is like two and a half for a mostly domestic business, right? So we've been able to actually provide an experience that you know, has given off hurdles that an international customer would convert like a domestic customer more better than and you know, even with a very big brand launch in 2019. We still saw a 45% increase in international GMV year over year, in a pandemic year while the color cosmetics category was down in hurting year over year. So definitely, you know, had a very great and exciting launch but have been able to continue to grow. With Flow It was a partner.

Rob Keve 44:52

That's amazing. It doesn't get much stronger economically than that. So very fun to watch I mean, 40% or 70% conversion rate that feels like it's almost unheard of.

Molly Rosenman  45:04

Yeah, I mean, I truly could not believe my eyes.

Aaron Conant 45:09

It's really quick, the question comes in around, you know, testing the platform, is it a test and learn? Or is it an all in?

Rob Keve  45:17

So I guess that's for you, Rob? I'm not sure I understand the question of and all in. So,

Aaron Conant 45:27

I'll try to pull it out just how I read it is he launched with a single, you know, cross border, you know, one country to time, or is it the this case, 33, by the

Rob Keve  45:37

Oh I see

Aaron Conant 45:39

your entire product catalog, like, what is.

Rob Keve 45:43

So close that up to once you've done the integration, 200 countries are there and available for you to turn on at your heart's content. So you can toggle 200 On day one, or you could do a wave of the top 30 markets, see how they perform, optimize them, and then a wave two of the rest of world. I mean, those are the most two common models, either turn on the world and make sure everyone can produce in a localized way on the outside, or do an 8020 Pick up the biggest markets first and then roll out the rest of all.

Aaron Conant 46:19

The one other question that's around are there the top product categories that you see it working the

Rob Keve  46:23

best for? It's Yes, so apparel, accessories, health, beauty, specialty items, sports goods, Homewares. Typically anything which isn't perishable, or at least we don't focus on perishable, I'm not sure it lends itself perfectly to cross border, and anything which isn't too heavy, both of which have their own shipping challenges. So I would say if your average order value is, you know, north of $30, with no upper limit, shipping should be a low percentage of the total landed cost. And it should be very shippable. And so it should lend itself to cross border. And I think the more your product is special or unique, or has a space specific position in the market, the more you find that international demand is natural, and they're waiting for you.

Aaron Conant 47:23

Awesome, just reminder, if others have questions, you know, TP emailing them to me, Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com, or dropping the q&a or the the chat there, we'll keep getting an answer.

Rob Keve  47:34

Right. I think we've got a few case study slides here. Being British, I are not too comfortable boasting about all the successes. It's about. I'll flick through them. And let's pretend I presented them. We've had great successes with other clients. That's for a different day today. I'd much rather talk about the success that house here we go. Great. What's next? It's an amazing first chapter. But as they say, that was before lunch, what are you going to do for the rest of the day? What's the next chapter look like? Molly?

Molly Rosenman  48:14

Oh, there's still so much to do. I think you know, continuing to test, especially things like there's a whole number of things in the playbook that we haven't touched on testing, right? Like, one of the ones I'm most excited about is merchandising payment types on PDPs, which payment types, especially for certain markets are just such a huge driver for international. So that's one that's on our roadmap, upcoming expanding localized marketing, I think we talked about this a little bit, but we have really just tipped our toes into international marketing. And again, it's it's relatively easy to set up and get up and running. So that's one that is just a huge opportunity for us optimizing shipping thresholds and methods, I think we've done a little bit of this, but still have a you know, a long way to go and making sure we have the right thresholds and shipping methods by each market. Again, I feel like we could test duties and taxes all day every day on all the markets. So we still have work to do there. And then you know, most importantly is activating our international consumers during the upcoming holiday which we are you know, well underway with that. Amazing,

Rob Keve  49:29

I can't wait to see what the result is. And a few points just picking up on what you were saying Molly one bear in mind if you're selling internationally the international consumers holidays may be different from the US. Yeah. And targeting them for their their holidays is always a good idea.

Molly Rosenman  49:43

Definitely. Yeah. Shipping right takes a little bit longer. So when you think about holidays, shipping deadlines and things like that super important to consider the international timelines and I think that's just One of the things that we've always just made sure we do is for everything we're doing, ask the question, What about international because you know where it comes, you know, shipping timelines, delivery deadlines, holidays, even like thinking about our holiday offers. You know, you create deals that only work for your domestic customer base, then you can't talk about in our, you know, the deals for your international customer base, which is difficult to then see success without a customer.

Rob Keve  50:28

That's a great point. So even things like promotions, before you do any of them, you'll think about its global applicability. Otherwise, the tweet may be wasted on all the international consumers.

Molly Rosenman  50:39

Yeah, exactly. Fantastic. And

Rob Keve 50:42

just picking up on what you're saying things like the payment methods on the PDP. So there's a big opportunity to put well known payment methods in line on the product pages. And we mentioned some of them before Klarna plays well in Sweden off to a place well in Australia, and a data and holiday. And these drives consumers forward, they means it's familiar payment method, they know they'll be able to transact, even if they haven't yet put it in card.

Molly Rosenman 51:07

Yeah, and I think many brands have tested that for after paying Karna in the US and has a similar impact, right. And the other countries that have either those payment methods that are popular or others that you might not have heard of. Exactly.

Rob Keve 51:23

And shipping threshold was the last one was going to pick up on very important some consumers expectations on shipping, both timeline and cost vary by market, often driven by the size of their market. So a large market like Australia, may be less sensitive to paying shipping and more sensitive to other aspects, product price and duties. And also looking at your shipping thresholds relative to de minimis thresholds. Were de minimis. Molly knows, but anyone who is not familiar, some countries have a level below which you won't pay duties or sometimes tax. And above it, you do. So if you add enough items to your cart, you may go from not paying duties to paying for them. And so bearing that in mind, when you're setting your shipping threshold to free shipping is sometimes a good idea for maximizing conversion.

Aaron Conant 52:10

Awesome, I can see we're almost at time here. You know, we're just you know, as we think about like key takeaways, and I don't know if there's another slide here, but, you know, we'd love to kind of hear those is Oh, perfect. You know, you know, you guys are great friends, partners, supporters of the network, really appreciate you and the help you're giving to a ton of brands in it. But as we go to kind of like key takeaways, you know, Molly, I'll kick it over to you first, and then kick it over to Rob and we can we can wrap up here. Sounds

Molly Rosenman 52:44

good? Yeah, I think the biggest one for me is going global. Sounds very overwhelming at first blush. And, and there's a lot to consider. But I would say is you leverage a partner like Flow that can relate that has the technology and a team to support your your goals, it is much easier than you might think, a little upfront work. And again, obviously like lots to consider, but it has been much easier of a process than I thought and I you know, I worked at many brands have had international businesses that we build custom sites and proprietary software and all of that. And this has been by far the simplest and least complex way to do it. And so I would just say, you know, don't be concerned at you know, at the very initial reaction you might have to going global before you kind of learn a little bit more.

Aaron Conant 53:43

Yeah, awesome. And more than happy to connect anybody with Molly after the call as well for a conversation, you know, networking, knowledge sharing, you know, you know, encourage everybody to have a follow up conversation with the team at Flow as well. Great friends, partners, supporters, the network and a ton of brands in it all round resident experts in this space and worth putting 30 minutes at least on the on the calendar to kind of hear what they're doing because they've simplified this incredibly complicated space as a whole. Rob key takeaways here. And, you know, you said people can get a copy of the study you did?

Rob Keve  54:16

Yeah, absolutely. Please reach out, we'll send that and plenty of other white papers that you may find interesting for how to do international, with us or yourself. I think, I think driving off of Molly's points that it need not be painful and overwhelming. We can partner you through it and the technology is ready for it is just to remind yourself about how big the opportunity is. We saw from Molly's experienced that they went from zero to 100 miles an hour in no time at all, and then grew another 50%. beyond that. And there are huge opportunities out there looking at your site traffic, see how much demand you've already attracted to your site. Those could all be paying customers. There's no reason I shouldn't be that percentage of your revenue coming from overseas. So look at it. You're never too young or too small to think about global. And if you're not doing it as well as Haus Labs are, we'd love to speak to you and see if we can help you as well. Yeah.

Aaron Conant 55:11

Awesome. Thanks again, Molly. Thanks, Rob for your time today, all the information you're open to sharing as well as answering all the questions we threw at you over the past hour. And with that, we're gonna wrap it up. Hope everybody has a fantastic Thursday everybody take care. Stay safe. Look forward to having you at a future event. Look for a follow up email from us. We'll put you in touch with Molly and Rob and the team over at Well, everybody take care afford having a future event already. Thanks, can everybody bye bye.

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BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
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