E-commerce specialist Tomáš Vrtík from Expandeco has already helped more than 200 e-shops to successfully find business opportunities abroad and thus expand their business to new markets. Tomas is always a positive-minded expert on expansion that knows no boundaries. Thanks to his rich international experience, he brings entrepreneurs effective cost optimization for reverse logistics, thorough market analysis, quality localization, and professional and reliable customer support.
| 1. You have established a really progressive company, Expandeco, which is helping companies to expand abroad. Please, tell us a bit about yourself and walk us through your experiences. We’d love to hear more about your journey.
I have been active in e-commerce since about 2014. I went from regular e-commerce positions – I was a driver, warehouse clerk, helped with packing and customer support, and then I went into sales. Thanks to my experience, I gained the necessary insight into the inner workings of an online shop. This later helped me to design Expandeco’s services well. In the beginning, however, nothing was as rosy as it might have seemed. There was no interest in our services at first, this changed when we started to scale our services abroad.
2. Today, you are helping people to expand their business. How does it work? What support do you give to eCommerce business owners aiming to expand into CEE?
Imagine you have a locally successful online shop and you want to expand abroad. Online shops often don’t know where to start, facing various barriers. Taking the right steps from the start is very important – it will save you a lot of money and time. Expandeco helps online shops with complex expansion, especially in the CEE region. We consult, analyze the market and competition, localize and translate websites, provide customer support in 10 languages, handle reverse logistics in 16 European countries. In addition to our services, we also share valuable know-how and contacts for online shops.
3. Looking at how the economy has been doing in recent months, what kind of changes/adaptation in your strategy did you have to undertake at Expandeco?
We closed 2020 with 58% growth, this year we estimate a slowdown in growth to around 50%. For any company, such growth is a challenge. We are gradually strengthening our team, improving our processes and the quality of our services. We are transforming from a smaller to a medium-sized company. This requires a much more rigorous view, e.g. on finances and cashflow. If I had to single out one thing, it would probably be that these months we are finalizing the integration of Microsoft’s Power BI. We have the size and the data we need for better analysis.
4. Which CEE countries are the local champions when it comes to eCommerce market growth?
The whole CEE region is very interesting, but if I were to single out just a few, it would be Romania and Hungary. These are also the most sought-after countries for expansion from the point of view of our online shops. For the last 5 years, these markets have been growing at an average of 25-30% annually. Of the non-EU countries that can still be considered part of CEE, it’s Ukraine – but expansion into this country is still quite challenging. Especially because of the complicated logistics, customs, etc.
5. What is the outlook for the eCommerce market in CEE in the coming year?
E-commerce is the future of shopping. I’m convinced that in the CEE the proportion of online retail purchases will continue to grow and follow the trend of Western Europe. In the most developed countries such as the UK, online shopping takes up 20% of total retail, the CEE average is somewhere around 8-9%. The influence of marketplaces such as Emag, Allegro, and Mall will also grow in the CEE region. I think we will see some interesting acquisitions and market consolidation.
6. We are very excited to officially confirm your participation at the WOF Expo and introduce you as an official partner of the WOF Expo Startup Zone. Please, tell us what advice would you as an experienced entrepreneur give to a young person who would like to start his/her own business?
The pleasure is mine. I’m not a fan of one-size-fits-all advice; I consider each entrepreneurial journey to be unique. I’m 34 years old, so compared to entrepreneurs 20 years older than me, I’m basically wet behind the ears :). From my experience at Expandeco, I think it’s important to surround yourself with the right people, educate yourself and always work on something that you believe in and in which you see the added value. At the same time, I recommend young people to get their product/service to the MVP stage as soon as possible. Quickly testing demand and obtaining relevant feedback from customers is key for any new business.
|Expandeco is a leader in providing comprehensive expansion services for e-commerce mainly in the CEE region. Hard work, fast growth and more than 150 online shops successfully established abroad speak for Expandeco.com, looking forward to the success of its clients as if they were its own. Thanks to this, too, Expandeco is able to build strong partnerships based on trust and mutually beneficial cooperation.