Sangeetha Narasimhan, Marketing Director, SMB Online, Europe, Ingenico ePayments, explains why smaller merchants should look to emulate fancy dress shop Funidelia and its cross-border strategy to thrive during peak sales periods.

Sangeetha Narasimhan

Since the UK narrowly voted to leave the European Union (EU) in June 2016, the perceived barriers to entry for the nation’s merchants looking to expand into other European markets have grown more onerous. 

However, it doesn’t have to be this way, especially if your business has an existing online presence.

At Ingenico ePayments, we’re seeing more and more small and medium-sized eCommerce businesses taking the leap to the continent.

This is thanks to the power of globally popular peak sales events – such as Black Friday – combined with well-placed expert support; doing so, they can grow into multiple lucrative markets and thrive. 

Cross-border peak sales in action

Take European fancy-dress, costume and merchandise shop Funidelia as an example. 

The company was founded in Spain in 2011, when co-founders Carlos Larraz (CEO) and Toño Escartin (chief business development officer) spotted a gap in the market for a Europe-based fancy dress supplier. 

The two had seen friends import costumes from the US, paying costly customs taxes and shipping costs.

Seeing an opportunity, Larraz and Escartin put plans in action to become a high-volume transaction company – a prerequisite for success in a niche market like fancy dress. 

They focused on expanding into other European markets online along with harnessing the power of key holidays and peak sales events, like Halloween, and the carnival seasons across Europe to bolster sales. 

As a result of this model, transaction volumes on the company’s online sales channels can fluctuate wildly.

In an average month, Funidelia sees 9,000 transactions but, during a peak sales event like Halloween, purchases can soar by 344% and in carnival season they can spike 789%. 

Handling the volume

To operate successfully across so many different markets, Funidelia needed support from an international payments partner that was capable of managing sporadic transaction influxes – such as those that happen on peak sales events – all while maintaining optimum data security. 

With the support of Ingenico as a key growth partner, Funidelia was able to overcome these challenges.

We were able to provide the flexibility and capacity it needed to meet the most demanding times, handle all customer traffic during normal sales periods, and deliver a responsive mobile checkout to support the 70% of Funidelia’s sales that now take place on mobile.

In addition, Funidelia opts to offer 14 local payment methods in a range of currencies, ensuring that it can easily sell across borders throughout the year. 

With payment methods matching each market, Funidelia, with the support of Ingenico, simply needed to make sure that it could deal with the various regulations that stem from accepting cross-border payments.

Growth strategy results

Funidelia has been able to harness the power of peak sales events to expand quickly across Europe – it now operates in 32 European markets and is looking to expand further across the globe after exceeding 20 million euros in 2018. 

Other SMBs can easily do the same, with the right strategy, guidance and technical support.

Working closely with their PSP, merchants of any size can receive the advice and help they need to take on the eCommerce giants like Amazon and beat them at their own peak sales game. 

In doing so, they can throw off any geopolitical uncertainty and drive their business growth well into the future.