Unpacking Cross-Border E-Commerce with IPC
Cross-border e-commerce has changed tremendously in recent years and keeping up with market variations has never been easy.
Founded in 1989, the International Post Corporation (IPC) is dedicated to “helping postal operators achieve profitable growth through market knowledge and innovation.” As part of their efforts to continuously improve their postal services, the team has launched a series of Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper surveys to provide insight into consumer preferences and experiences around the world.
In the latest episode of the “Unpacking E-commerce Logistics'' series, we sat down with Holger Winklbauer, Chief Executive Officer of the IPC. Being a senior executive of experience in strategy development and having held several executive positions within the HR for more than a decade prior to IPC, he answered all our queries regarding cross-border e-commerce as well as the IPC's latest survey.
What Is IPC Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper Survey?
According to Holger, IPC has long been doing market research for members in several countries. The Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper survey, in particular, involves asking consumers who utilize cross-border shipping services about their past experiences. They did it in a cost efficient way, starting small with a few countries, subsequently piloting it and finally getting the final results.
Holger said that in the 2016 edition, they launched the survey in 26 countries and there were approximately 24 thousand consumers who participated in it. The survey as a whole focuses on questions around sustainability, dispute, resolution, and also the timing of the various postal services. This offers IPC an overview of their service quality as well as the customer satisfaction levels. In the 2020 survey, they also investigated the influences of the COVID-19 on the shipping experience.
The Evolution of the Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper Survey
Domestic Retailers Expansion
In Holger’s view, there are two prominent trends in the e-commerce market nowadays. First and foremost, the share of e-commerce shopping has increased significantly in comparison to the entire commerce. More and more consumers have been choosing to purchase online instead of the traditional way, which has been shown clearly in many reports. Holger also mentioned the complexity when delivering products from China. Based on his observations, it would take a long time to ship a product from China to other areas, even several weeks, especially during the peak-COVID period. Tax burden and capital capacity going down are also the reasons facilitating the growth of domestic retailers.
Moreover, according to the survey, customers nowadays do not pay much attention to the origin of products anymore. Instead, they just want to know when their order will be delivered and they would be happy if it is as fast as possible.
Variations in Customer Behavior
Germany, China, UK and US have been the four biggest e-commerce exporters in the world but now, 3 of them lost their share (China, UK and US). Meanwhile, Germany has seen a slight increase in recent years. In fact, in Europe, Germany has many neighboring countries which enables them to reach and connect with other nations better. Besides, as Holger mentioned above, duties and taxes changes also made it more complicated for the US and China to deliver goods on time.
Advice for Cross-Border E-Commerce Retailers
The first thing Holger highlighted when a company wants to sell internationally is that they need to have quality delivery service. Companies need to develop various ways to facilitate the shipping experience of customers, such as delivering goods to your home or delivering it to neighbors, lock house or a pickup point in case receiver is absent. Secondly, companies need to ensure the delivery speed as consumers always hope to receive their products as soon as possible.
For the full discussion, check out the video interview here. You wouldn’t want to miss it!
About Holger Winklbauer
Holger Winklbauer has been the CEO of IPC since the summer of 2016. He is a senior executive with experience in strategy development, change management and consulting in logistics and the postal industry.
His mission at IPC is to enhance existing solutions and develop new ones to allow posts to fully benefit from the growth of cross-border e-commerce and increase their competitiveness.
Before joining IPC, Holger Winklbauer held several high-level positions within the Deutsche Post DHL Group, having served as CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Netherlands from 2010 until 2014 and as Executive Vice President First Choice from 2007 until 2010. Between 2014 and 2016, he held the position of Head of Process and Financial Efficiency at DHL Global Forwarding, where he was responsible for the cross-country roll-out of the new SAP software.
Prior to his functions at Deutsche Post DHL Group, Holger Winklbauer worked as Managing Director at DHL Consulting. He also worked in logistics management at Metro MGL Logistik GmbH, in consulting at Research Institute for Operations Management (FIR) and in procurement at Mannesmann Anlagenbau AG.
About Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics Series
Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics brings together some of the best experts in the e-commerce logistics and supply chain space to unpack key concepts from a variety of trending topics, ranging the use of Artificial Intelligence in the industry to embracing hyperlocal delivery in the e-commerce world. An integral part of this series are our 30-minute long Fireside Chats where we ask our thought leaders questions about not just the topic at hand, but also their career paths, challenges they have faced, and even their future plans.
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