The current geopolitical uncertainty caused by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union is naturally changing the state of play for growing European businesses when it comes to growing their overseas channels.
However, the current climate need not flummox small merchants looking to make a splash on the global scene, as Spanish fancy-dress supplier, Funidelia shows.
The rise of an SMB superstar
Carlos Larraz (CEO) and Toño Escartin (chief business development officer) founded Funidelia in 2011, after they had seen friends paying costly custom fees and shipping costs to import costumes from the US. Seeing an intriguing gap in the market, Larraz and Escartin came up with an idea for a high-volume transaction company committed to providing these fancy-dress outfits at a lower price point.
In eight years, the company has grown exponentially, expanding into 32 countries across Europe via eCommerce channels, and achieving a turnover of €20 million in 2018. It is already challenging existing US competitor’s dominance of the European costume dress market.
This success wasn’t set in stone, however. Key to the company’s achievements has been a carefully prepared growth plan, designed not just to harness the cost-saving benefits of eCommerce, but the marketing and promotional potential of international peak sales events.
Piggybacking on peak sales
From international sales events, like Black Friday or Singles’ Day, to major holidays, like Christmas or Easter, and international festivities, like Valentine’s Day, peaks sales are the busiest shopping days in the European retail calendar and are on the increase across the continent. They even include local celebrations, like Bastille Day in France, or Bank Holiday weekends in the UK.
With the growing popularity of such events, the shape of sales charts is changing dramatically. Ten years ago, sales were reasonably flat with only a few peaks around big holidays. Today, there are more spikes than ever before, and their size compared with figures preceding and following the events is increasing all the time.
As a result, there are more opportunities than ever before for merchants of all shapes and sizes to engage with customers not just in their home market, but in new territories too, provided they have the infrastructure in place to appeal and hold their attention.
Making a success of sales
Funidelia is a prime example of a company taking advantage of the peak sales opportunity to expand overseas. Nevertheless, such a business model does present challenges for any business, regardless of its size.
Transaction volumes on Funidelia’s eCommerce channels, for example, can fluctuate wildly from month to month. During Halloween or a similar sales event, transaction volumes can easily spike 344% over its monthly average of 9,000. During carnival time, they can soar by more than 789%.
To overcome these issues, Funidelia needed expert support. The company approached Ingenico to benefit from our international payments expertise.
As a result, Funidelia has been able to resolve issues associated with sporadic transaction influxes effectively. Ingenico’s payment solution provides the flexibility and capacity that Funidelia needed to handle the heaviest payment traffic, all while delivering a responsive checkout experience.
In addition, the payments portal is optimised for mobile transactions – a vital feature for Funidelia, as 70% of its sales are through mCommerce channels. Moreover, Ingenico offers 14 local payment methods in a range of currencies, enabling Funidelia to trade across borders easily, as well as expert insight and support in complying with regional payment regulations.
Seeking a helping hand
It is more important than ever to strategise carefully to ensure a successful future for any enterprise. Whatever is agreed between the UK and its largest trading partner, SMB merchants have every chance to serve customers in other European markets. They can expand overseas and thrive, providing they have the infrastructure in place both to operate in the eCommerce environment, and to harness the power of peak sales events.
Working closely with a supportive PSP, even the smallest merchants can ensure they have the help and the infrastructure they need to take on the eCommerce giants like Amazon and beat them at their own peak sales games. In doing so, they overcome any obstacles, laying the foundations for the businesses to thrive across the continent.
For more information on Ingenico ePayments and its support for businesses targeting peak sales to expand cross-border growth, visit: https://ingenico.co.uk/peaksales.
About the Author
Sangeetha Narasimhan, Marketing Director, SMB Online, Europe at Ingenico ePayments, asks what UK small businesses can learn from the rapid European expansion of Spanish fancy-dress firm, Funidelia, when it comes to boosting their own cross-border sales.