UnderMyPants was always established on the premises that we would one day go global. We’re dreamers and bloody ambitious and we believe our model can work anywhere in the world. So, like many Aussies before us, we started our journey to take our business to the world. Excitingly, UnderMyPants is expanding into the New Zealand market in the coming days and in the new year we have further destinations we want to settle into it.
I am going to preface this blog post with the fact that a lot of our accumulated knowledge in going global had come from our networks. We would like to thank everyone in our network who introduced, spoke with and guided us through the unknown.
Choosing where to expand to
We started our journey to become a global company almost three months ago. We did our research on many different countries and markets. It didn’t take long to realise that moving a business to another country wasn’t going to be as easy as we thought. It quickly became apparent that we would needed to consider a lot of new aspects to our business. Some of these specifically were;
How do we store and send our products in a new country? We’re a startup from Melbourne with limited resources, we can’t afford to send products overseas. Or can we? If we did send our products overseas, do we use a postal service or a third party to store and send the goods for us?
Logistic was the first issue we tackled and I’m so grateful we did. Thinking about logistics early allowed us to narrow our country choice to two. Ultimately, we had a choice surrounding the use of a consignment company in one country or building slow and steadily in another. It’s obvious which choice we made.
But when you’re starting this journey make sure you look at all options. Speaking to courier, consignment and freight companies helped shape our thinking and overall knowledge. Being prepared with questions and taking the time (I spent up hours on skype) to speak with different providers and experts really helped our future decisions.
After speaking to a Jewish New York Tax Account who bills in 15-minute blocks it became evident that tax is going to be a major issue. Tackling tax early shaped our decision making on which markets we should enter. For example, we quickly found out that in the US there is a state applied tax on goods sold. This meant for us to consider the US we now had to consider which states we could afford to sell in versus which states we had to be in. Understanding the various tax implications in expanding to new markets will allow you to narrow your thinking and make decisions regarding your final destination.
Only six weeks in did we involve our developer into our conversations about going global. Boy was that an error. Turns out we had many decisions to make regarding our website. Did we need new local domains? Would users buy from the one website? How was our website going to convert different currencies? Um…. Developer?
Our advice is to think about your digital infrastructure early, so you can include any upgrades in your overall investment costs. Further, undertaking your development side by side with your research and implementation will reduce any delay’s in launching in the new country.
Getting ready to launch
Registering your business.
Understanding our logistics, tax and digital infrastructure problems allowed us to business case and decide that New Zealand was the market for us. But making that decision was only half of the problem. Now we knew where we wanted to go the question was how do you get there?
You need to do your research and decide upon which bank is the best for your business. You need to register your business in the country and register for tax. These are simple administrative tasks but guess what they have in common? They require a physical location. Again, thanks to the people in our network who helped us find and set up an office in New Zealand!
Honestly, it wasn’t until we had everything else settled that we discussed our strategy for executing and building UnderMyPants in New Zealand. For those wondering, we’re starting off by maximising the biggest online market place in New Zealand – Trade Me. We’re going to use this market place as a vehicle to build our local knowledge and give us the interactions with customers we need to better understand the market for the launch our subscription side of the business in 2018.
It takes time to get things going in any business. Any good idea, new venture or business expansion is always delayed by life. Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations and take the time to understand your market and the implications that expansion will have on your business. Taking the time to work through the above has allowed us to make decisions that we’re comfortable will lead to future growth that should (*fingers crossed*) double our weekly sales.
Do it once
Everything we did in setting up in New Zealand was done properly with an eye to a long future in the market. Although it was more expensive this way, we always thought if we do it properly then we want have to worry about it later.
Speak to people in the market already
We spoke to as many other online retailers and suppliers who had market knowledge of New Zealand as we could. Asking for advice and market insights helped us to formulate our strategy for what products we would launch with. It also allowed us to understand some of the different challenges we were likely to face over there.
Business is a journey and this November, UnderMyPants is lucky enough to start a new chapter in our journey. It wont be a big splash but it will be a real one. We really will be in New Zealand. We really will be a global business and soon enough we will have customers in both Australia and New Zealand. It’s an exciting step on our long and winding road and one milestone which we’ve enjoyed reaching.
Mark W November 7, 2017
Posted In: business
business, going global, global expansion, New Zealand, Australian business, startup, Australian startup, expanding business, new markets, socks and jocks, subscription, underwear