The trials and tribulations of international commerce aren’t lost on manufacturers and retailers. Coping with the dizzying array of languages, currencies, tariffs, taxes, price points, shipping fees and shipping regulations can be daunting.
For Gameday Merchandising, global commerce is at the center of the business. The firm sells jerseys, T-shirts, caps and other items for teams including the Golden State Warriors, New York Cosmos, International Motor Sports Association and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, as well as for events such as the NBA All-Star Game.
“Sports merchandising is a global phenomenon,” points out Victor Rubio, director of e-commerce for Gameday Merchandising. “It’s imperative to have a business framework, including shipping, that is convenient, safe and secure.”
In the past, the company struggled to manage the often byzantine rules and regulations of international commerce and to handle orders to different countries manually. “There were a lot of steps, and there was a lot of hand-holding,” he recalls.
What’s more, the company couldn’t operate in some countries because it was impossible to validate orders, and the risk of credit card or shipping fraud was too high. “The time, training and effort to manage everything were staggering,” he adds.
SaaS Revolutionized Company Operations
To deal with these challenges, Gameday Merchandising began working with Bongo International, which is now FedEx CrossBorder. He reports that the transition process went smoothly. After validating that Gameday Merchandising’s database was set up properly, the system went live without any significant hiccups.
More importantly, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach has revolutionized the way the company operates and allows it to ship merchandise to 54 counties.
The e-commerce engine connects to Gameday’s product database and ERP system via an API. It verifies product availability and then processes the customer’s shopping cart in the appropriate language and currency. The company, which receives an immediate confirmation, sends the shipments to FedEx, which handles delivery of the items.
“The approach has greatly reduced the headaches of international business,” Rubio reports. Its benefits include the fact that it has virtually eliminated international phone calls—which often took place at odd hours of the night—and greatly reduced the need for internal staff to increase their language skills. “As a company, we had the ability to speak only three languages, so issues could easily snowball and escalate,” he explains.
That problem—along with the need to validate credit cards and avoid fraud—has been virtually eliminated. The CrossBorder system handles all of this behind the scenes, as well as sending shipment notifications to customers and handling returns. “We no longer deal with international paperwork or shipping,” Rubio says.
The system also has helped Gameday Merchandising ensure that fans in all parts of the world have an opportunity to land high-demand products. “If a team wins a conference championship and there are only 1,200 caps available, we can make sure a certain number are allocated to specific markets,” he explains.
Finally, Rubio says that the cloud-based approach has helped reduce the pressures of internal IT processes, including the need to manage and update the software. “The technology has helped Gameday Merchandising introduce a localized shopping experience around the world,” he concludes.