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Getting to Global has been spending some time with Revolve, the online clothing retailer, to get a sense of how the company deals with specific concerns related to non-U.S. customers. Since international sales have spurred the company’s rapid growth in recent years, the company’s ability to attract and retain non-U.S. customers has been a crucial part of its development.

Revolve’s VP of International, Kai Li, was generous enough to speak with us and explain some aspects of how the company approaches customers inside and outside the U.S., and how those customers differ. In the second video from our interview series with Revolve, Li says the company takes two different views of traditional sales funnel — the process of leading potential customers through several steps, from awareness to purchase of a product. Watch him explain, and literally illustrate the difference:

For a U.S.-based retailer, the conversion process from prospective buyer to customer might take a few steps, perhaps across a couple of days, Li says. The customer may already be familiar with the seller, and aspects of the transaction are relatively straightforward. But a non-U.S. shopper is likely to have many more questions about taxes and duties, shipping costs, or even the retailer’s very legitimacy. In the extreme case of an Asian consumer mulling a purchase from a U.S. seller, the process of going through the funnel could take more than a month, Li says.

While not so pretty, here is a spreadsheet Kai showed us a typical Revolve Asian consumer. It shows each touchpoint she had with Revolve and highlights what she did at each step. Clearly, there are a lot of steps in her conversion cycle. Our take-aways here are (A) It is amazing how much you can track about your customers using the right online analytics tools (B) Industry thought-leaders like Kai are taking full advantage of this data to target their audience, settle their concerns and build massive global brands like Revolve and FWRD.com

Above we see how he boosts engagement with the customer. Create a series of “touchpoints” that continue to provoke the customer’s interest and educate her about the retailer. By keeping the customer engaged, Revolve can steer her gradually toward a sale.

We’ll be back with more from Revolve soon. In the meantime, here’s our first post from the interview series, which gives an overview of the company on its path to explosive growth.

Thank you to Reach Global (Formerly GoInterpay) for your support on producing these videos.


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This video and audio interview series and all content provided on this site are intended to provide a resource to U.S. exporters. Our content is continuing to grow, expand and adjust based on the changing and evolving market dynamics. It is not comprehensive. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service or the International Trade Administration. The Commercial Service and its collaborators have performed limited due diligence research; but we strongly recommend that you perform your own due diligence investigation and background research on any company or service we profile in this series. We assume no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the information and concepts described throughout our content.

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