Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Finally a retailer that gets global logistics



For some reason retailers in the US haven't figured out that they can build up their consumer base simply by allowing consumers to order products online and have them shipped globally. You would be surprised, by the number of leading clothing retailers like JCrew and Banana Republic that won't ship outside of the US. Why? I have no idea. They could easily let UPS and/or FedEx handle all of the complicated customs and logistics issues. But they choose not too. Well Apple has finally figured this out. While they have an online store in dozens of countries and languages, if you want something shipped to Austria, you need to order from the Austrian Apple store online and if you don't speak German or if you don't live in Austria, well then tough. Until today...

Apple announced Cross Borders, which allows US customers to ship to over 20 countries, including Switzerland and Austria, where I happen to spend my days and nights. This makes me very happy. The other benefit is that expats and others that don't speak the language can order from the US online Apple store and have it shipped to them locally. Brilliance? No, just solid logistics outsourcing 101.

5 comments:

Jake said...

Complexities in landed cost valuation is the main reason US companies don't sell internationally from their web sites. Try and get duty and VAT rulings on thoustands of products in dozens of countries and you will soon see why it is more of an effort than it is worth.

Christopher Sciacca said...

Jake,thanks for your comment and for reading my blog. You make my point. The retailers can't and don't need to do it. They should outsource it to those that can like UPS, FedEx and/or Geodis. This is what they do, it's their core competence. Access to the 4.5 billion people outside of the USA I think it worth it.

Vivek Rana said...

International shipping has many inherited challenges. Jake rightly mentioned few of them and I have expanded further on it on my blog. http://viveksview.blogspot.com/

imalls said...

Complexity in landed cost management is the niche that imallsglobal is focused on. their initial Latin America test are expanding soon.
the new index page will be in 17 languages and they will push hard in the coming months.

Jake and Vivek are correct, there is a ton more to just hooking up with UPS. That is why they all shy away from DTP services like the plague.

Christopher is correct as to where the business should go, i bet my career on it, we shall see...

Jena Leary said...

There are so many online sources now available to help companies gain access to global logistics. i.e. Alibaba I predict the future holds an online resource that automates processes for every detail involved in import/export for the company without the need to hire a customs broker.