Cross-border commerce is ramping up at a rapid pace, and brands that want to take advantage of international markets are investing in tech tools to help them compete.
One such solution, Flow, which offers automated services like multi-currency pricing and international payment options, well-defined taxes and duties, and cost efficient shipping and returns, received a sizable investment this week. Flow raised $37 million in a Series B funding round, announced Wednesday with participation from New Enterprise Associates, American Express Ventures and Latitude Ventures.
With its newfound capital, Flow plans to augment existing products and expand development, while also investing in staffing, customer acquisition and expansion throughout the U.S. and Europe.
According to data from market research firm Statista, global e-commerce sales are on track to reach $6.5 trillion by 2023—and cross-border purchases will account for 22 percent of worldwide purchases. Still, brands and retailers are grappling with the logistics of creating seamless shopping experiences for consumers in each of the international markets they’re trying to reach. Platforms like Flow are attempting to streamline the processes for sales, compliance and fulfillment, providing localized, country-specific experiences for e-commerce shoppers.
“We have seen strong growth in consumers wanting to purchase from brands outside their domestic market and yet cross-border shopping remains as difficult and complex as ever,” Rob Keve, CEO and co-founder of Flow, said.
“Flow is able to simply solve both brands’ and consumers’ challenges for cross-border e-commerce with our innovative AI-driven SaaS platform and a flexible microservices approach,” he added.
The company reported 200 percent client growth year over year as brands have adopted the tool to accelerate international sales. Flow’s current roster includes direct-to-consumer brands like MVMT watches, M. Gemi footwear, Carbon38 active apparel and omnichannel retailers like Stadium Goods and Goop.
Sustainable lifestyle brand Outerknown, the brainchild of pro surfer Kelly Slater, adopted Flow’s toolbox of cross-border solutions in 2018. Outerknown has been able to reduce its shipping costs by 60 percent since then, chief financial officer and chief operating officer Travis Heard said. “Before we partnered with Flow, our visibility into and tools to impact the cross-border landscape was limited,” he said in a statement. “Now, 15 percent of our total sales are international.”
Throughout 2019, Flow has expanded its range of payment methods and enhanced its logistics module with the aim of providing global fulfillment across multiple distribution centers—efforts that stand to continue in the year ahead.
“Cross-border shopping is a rapidly growing area of e-commerce, and more companies are investing in their cross-border strategy to capture that international demand,” Liza Landsman, venture partner at New Enterprise Associates and former President of Jet.com, said.
“Flow is a premier vendor in this space, and their platform delivers strategic advantages for brands and retailers entering or expanding into international markets,” she added.