Originally German, Mister Spex sells only online and is in the process of European expansion. The eyewear retailer's Dutch site was launched last year with a sizable budget. Sarah Hennecke is country manager for the Netherlands and Great Britain. During the Cross Border E-commerce Event on September 7 in Utrecht, she will give a presentation on the challenges of crossborder selling. Twinkle asked her some questions in advance.
Mister Spex is a German company rolling out to other European countries. What are the biggest challenges in doing so?
'The competitive landscape and online buying behavior differs from country to country; intensive market research is needed before a new market can be conquered. In addition, there are two ways to internationalize: acquire a local company and then rebrand using crm activities or open a new domain and localize the offer and content. In any case, important for success is to change the home market-oriented mindset into an international mindset beforehand.'
You are responsible for the Netherlands and Great Britain. What are for you the main differences between these countries?
'In Britain the competition is much greater than in the Netherlands. It is Europe's largest online market and consumers have more experience when it comes to buying online. Especially our business model is still fairly unknown in the Netherlands. So we need to pay more attention to informative content and explain how the process works to buy glasses online.'
You recently connected twenty "partner opticians" in the Netherlands. Can you tell us something more about that?
'The launch of a partner optician program fits with our training approach and we have had good experiences with it in other countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The partner opticians will perform eye measurements and spectacle adjustments. In the coming weeks, we will be highlighting the new service to our customers and doing our best to connect more partners.'
What are your plans for (further) conquering the Netherlands?
'This year we are going to focus on the basics just mentioned, i.e. providing information adapted to the needs of the Dutch consumer. In the future we also want to do television advertising again to support our online marketing activities.'
What tips do you have for entrepreneurs who want to sell (online) abroad?
'Do your homework: first make a business plan with the results from market research. Don't expect the same results as in your home market and be patient. In the first months it is interesting to do a lot of testing and online research to get to know the visitors.
It is possible to conquer a new market with a small team at first but if you want to grow, you definitely need someone in charge of the land and content of the new website.
Sarah Hennecke speaks at the Cross Border E-commerce Event on Sept. 7 in Utrecht. Other speakers include Paul Geraeds, ceo of Bakker Hillegom and Kijo Oudshoorn, head of sales at VidaXL.
This article previously appeared on twinklemagazine.com