Borderfree is widening its boundaries.
The global e-commerce platform has signed up 11 U.K. retailers seeking to expand their online international sales. For the seven-year-old Borderfree, which went public in 2014 and in June was purchased by Pitney Bowes, it’s the first time working with retailers outside the U.S.
Lila Snyder, president of global e-commerce at Pitney Bowes Inc., has been put in charge of Borderfree and has been leading its integration into Pitney Bowes. She took over from Michael DeSimone, formerly Borderfree’s chief executive officer, and reports to Marc B. Lautenbach, president and ceo of Pitney Bowes.
“We’ve brought together the two teams and kept a lot of the talent on both sides,” Snyder told WWD.
Snyder will be developing expansion strategies for Borderfree, though she said the U.K. strategy was in the works prior to the acquisition.
Borderfree’s U.K. retail clients are Harrods, Browns, Space NK, The Dune Group, Aspinal of London, Trunki, Brand Outlet, Austin Reed, Viyella, CC and Soletrader.
“The U.K. e-commerce sector is already quite mature, and the vast majority of major retailers have been offering international sales and shipping for some time,” Snyder said. “We will help them get into additional markets like China and Russia. Borderfree simplifies the experience, saves money and saves time.”
Borderfree generated $125 million in revenue in 2014 and gets paid by their clients based on the volume of goods sold through the platform. Additional revenue is generated from fulfillment services, foreign exchange and other transaction-related fees.
The acquisition of Borderfree introduces Pitney Bowes to the e-commerce businesses of brick-and-mortar retailers, though it has been facilitating international e-commerce for some online marketplaces, like eBay.
Asked if Borderfree will seek clients in additional countries other than the U.K. and the U.S., Lila said, “It’s still early in the strategy. We do think geographic expansion will play a role.” She noted Borderfree will have a broader set of offerings for clients to “really help them grow their international businesses.”
Borderfree currently helps 175 U.S. retailers — Neiman Marcus, Lands’ End and Ann Taylor among them — conduct cross-border online sales to more than 220 countries and in 74 currencies.
Sometimes e-commerce is a prelude for opening stores in certain markets.
According to research from Google and OC&C Strategy Consultants, the U.K. is the world’s largest online exporter, with export sales expected to reach 28 billion pounds, or $43.5 billion, by 2020.
Neil Borer, Harrods’ e-commerce director, said, “We were drawn to Borderfree’s ability to further enhance our capacity to serve our customers seamlessly across geographies. We also were particularly interested in partnering with Borderfree to extend our reach into China and Russia, two markets that hold great consumer promise for us.”
And Kate Smyth, director of e-commerce at The Dune Group, said the fashion footwear and accessories company has over 300 stores and concessions in 24 countries, but Borderfree provides “potential growth opportunities in markets such as South America, Africa and Asia.”
“We look forward to using Borderfree’s platform to further our growth into India, Japan, Ireland, Mexico, Pakistan, South America and South Korea,” said Philip Bagnall, head of digital at Trunki, which sells kids travel accessories.
Borderfree provides targeted marketing campaigns, data analysis and insight into prospective markets, Web site localization, duty and tax compliance, pricing in different currencies, customs clearance, landed cost calculations, payment processing, customer care, fraud management and logistic services.
Borderfree cited two emerging luxury markets that it’s just entered — Nigeria and Kazakhstan. Citing statistics from McKinsey, Borderfree said Nigeria’s economy could more than triple in size to $1.6 trillion by 2030, becoming a top 20 economy. Kazakhstan is forecast to reach $5 billion in e-commerce activity by the end of 2017, according to the country’s Ministry for Transport and Communications. Growth in those two countries is being fueled by increasing use of smartphones, strengthening consumer disposable income and interest in global brands.