What does the future hold for fashion and beauty e-commerce?
Asendia expert, Hendrik Kummeling, shares 5 key insights on where the major opportunities lie for the sector
As the COVID-19 pandemic…
FreestyleXtreme was launched in 2003 when a small group of riders and action sports enthusiasts saw a gap in the market for a retailer specialising in motocross lifestyle clothing.
In 2004 FreestyleXtreme launched online 13 different languages and with nine currencies. Whilst the benefits of localisation are now well recognised over a decade ago this was a pioneering approach but central to the FreestyleXtreme brand.
Ben Richardson, Director at FreestyleXtreme.com said: We recognised early on that we needed to offer a completely customised international service if we were going to be able to go toe-to-toe with the local retailers. This strategy worked as we faced little or no online competition for around 5-6 years. Back then, retailers weren't really interested in the international markets. Particularly not for niche areas such as ours.
Initially FreestyleXtreme used a different international delivery service. However, they quickly realised that an untracked mail solution wasn't consistent with their desire to offer good customer service and sought alternative options.
Ben continued: From the outset we recognised that good customer service had to be a cornerstone to our brand. Generally motor cross / extreme sports enthusiasts received pretty poor customer service. We aspired to behave more like a premium retailer. If there is a problem we work hard to resolve it. However, using an untracked mail service meant we often didn't know about any issues until the customer informed us.
One of FreestyleXtreme's biggest challenges in the early days was the fact they were ahead of their time. They were aspiring to provide a high quality, customer focussed eCommerce solution long before eCommerce was as we know it today.
Ben said: We were looking for an alternative distribution solution which didn't really exist and were very restricted in terms of the logistics partners who could support us. The services they offered were quite rigid. So we were delighted when Asendia came along.
Asendia offers flexible and fully customisable solutions. The emphasis is on good customer service, transparency and flexibility from beginning to end.
Good customer service is heavily dependent upon the final mile. If carriers let us down, we let our customers down. The customer doesn't differentiate; they just remember that the experience with us was bad. We know that a good customer experience is at the very heart of the Asendia service, and are confident in their selection of local carrier partners.
Getting to know your customers and what drives them is an integral part of a long-lasting relationship. Asendia works hard from the outset to achieve this, ensuring the onboarding process is not only efficient but also valuable to both parties.
Another challenge echoed by many start-up businesses is the difficulty in finding logistics partners keen to work with them before they have significant volumes. Asendia is different offering SMEs competitive rates by utilising their total volumes.
The onboarding process was the smoothest I have ever experienced. Usually setting up with a new logistics partner can feel a bit like pulling teeth. There are usually a series of issues which are left to you to resolve. With Asendia it was easy. We quickly developed a very positive relationship with our Account Manager and, in fact, everyone we have come across at Asendia has been nothing but helpful and great! Many service providers operate a win it and worry about it later approach. The amount of effort Asendia put in at the beginning has not waned as time has gone on. The country packs they develop, for example, are a brilliant tool. These are all available on their online portal The Hub and are used regularly by our customer care team. They are the first thing I consult when I am considering a new lane.
Marie Barrance, Sales Director at wnDirect said: We are excited to work with new and emerging brands as any of them might be the next big thing in retail. That is the great thing about eCommerce anyone can sell online. This really gives smaller players a chance to be discovered. Consumers love to uncover new brands and by working with them we are able to deliver their products to forward thinking or niche customers.
Ben (FreestyleXtreme.com) said: A lot of the innovations that Asendia has developed are all things we, as a business, have been thinking about and wish we could achieve. What differentiates Asendia is that the innovations they focus on are what eCommerce businesses want and need. I have come across a lot of cool ideas but these are very often irrelevant and won't help my business. I was completely blown away by the PUDO solution Asendia - and within seconds of receiving correspondence about wnControlTower I was on the phone.