Nathan Resnick: Hi, this is Nathan Resnick. Welcome to another episode of e-commerce on Tap brought to you by Sourcify. Today we have a very innovative guest, Tommaso from Easyship. Easyship is the fastest growing way to handle your logistics around the world. They give you full transparency into how much it costs to ship products.
Nathan Resnick: Really, Tommaso, thank you so much for joining us today on E-commerce on Tap. I would love to really just get started and hear about your background. How did you get started in the e-commerce world? How did you grow into one of the fastest growing logistics and shipping tools in the world? Really, let’s start maybe five, ten years ago, what were you doing? Were you working on Easyship, or how’d you get started?
Tommaso T.: Hi Nathan. It’s great to be here. Thanks a lot to you and Sourcify to inviting us. We’re a big fan of the product. Congrats. So starting when I was working for Easyship once I graduated and moved to London to do some investment banking for very short time, then I realized that it was not the right thing for me.
Tommaso T.: I was in London. So I wanted to get my hands a little bit more into practical things, so I decided to leave the banking, go to an e-commerce company in Malaysia, in Singapore called Lazada. So Lazada is the main e-commerce government office in East Asia. It’s kind of like a similar business model to Amazon, if you want.
Tommaso T.: So I worked there for a year in Malaysia, being in the marketplace team. So our job was to go into retailers in the region and convince them to sign up for our platform. After a year I go moved to Hong Kong to take over the regional marketplace, so a very similar scope but different kind of merchants we were dealing with.
Tommaso T.: In Malaysia and Singapore we were more traditional retailers that were going from offline to online. So you can imagine the whole story was assuring them why e-commerce was the future and why it was important to jump onboard. While we’re in Hong Kong, it was completely different story because we were dealing with merchants that had been doing cross border e-commerce on Amazon for the past 15 years, so they know really well how does the global commerce work, and we were basically telling them, “Hey, you sell on ebay, why don’t you sell on Lazada? You know, we can grow your revenues.”
Tommaso T.: And basically the second year of Lazada we started from zero and by the end of the first year we were doing, I think the first year we did 50 million dollars in revenue. So it’s been an impressive growth. I think that’s when I, together with my cofounders, I have seen and realized the need for a tool like Easyship, because basically when we were working in Lazada we … our work was trying to convince merchants to sell on Lazada, they were asking us: Okay, that’s great. We can start tomorrow, but how will we manage shipping.
Nathan Resnick: Right.
Tommaso T.: Other countries. We didn’t have any solutions, so at the beginning we were looking for a tool like Easyship, and we could partner up with, and make use from our merchants, but we couldn’t find anyone. It was … that was good. So, we started building our first list of couriers and prices and of course it was something very specific for our program or trends for the region. But, then of course, what we realized is that it would have been amazing if there would have been a product like an AP, like a proper tool API, easy to use, that every merchant can use and not just merchants in our operations.
Tommaso T.: So, basically we decided to resign. This was four years ago, and we started Easyship here in Hongkong, because we already had access to lots of merchants and here in Hong Kong is the best place in the world where you can imagine too across the board, and I’m sure you already know that. So, we started four years ago, and now Easyship has around forty people. We have our main office in New York, in Hong Kong. We have an office in Singapore, Australia, and we launched in. And then We’ll be in UK maybe next year.
Nathan Resnick: Wow. I’ve gotta ask, you know, one of the questions that comes to mind that I know a lot of people always have top of mind is: How did you meet your cofounders, how did you guys sync up?
Tommaso T.: We were colleagues. We were working together in Lazada. We had been working together for like more than two years. And we’d been through a lot. In general, I was taking care of the commercial side, and was taking care of the relations and logistics and technology side.
Tommaso T.: So, I’ve been very fortunate because there were people that already knew what it means to work with. We’ve been through very high pressure environments where basically we had to grow 20 to 30 percent month to month for working in Lazada even in you know.
Tommaso T.: The company had been bought by Alibaba for around 9 billion dollars. Otherwise, it’s been like a very good school for us. And then we wanted to replicate its success on the shipping side.
Nathan Resnick: Got it. Got it. That’s incredible. And so walk me through the early days of Easyship. You’re starting to get different ecommerce companies onboard your guys’ tool to have more transparency and visibility into their shipments, and you’re starting to probably negotiate rates with couriers as well to say: We want to make sure that there is transparency in regards to how much a ecommerce company should be paying to ship their product anywhere in the world, and giving them a 100 plus shipping options when shipping goods all over the world.
Nathan Resnick: Walk me through the early days. How did you guys get started. Was it more so getting companies onboard to ship products, or was it getting the couriers. It seems like it’s kind of a bit of a marketplace almost where you have to get three sides of the table involved.
Tommaso T.: Yeah, exactly. So you can imagine it’s like a chicken. So at the beginning we were really working on two sides, so half of a team was working on getting couriers on board and the other half of the team was working to get volume because of course if you get couriers on board but you cannot give them volume then it doesn’t really … it isn’t very practical.
Tommaso T.: But, of course, the beginning is really tough because our business is a very … is a risk zero kind of business. So the idea is nobody will use your product until they are 100% sure that it is right. This is not true for other kinds of products. For example, if you do consumer business, just give them vouchers and and people will just try to use your product because worse case there is very little damage involved. You know, if you order food from We get there late. It’s not the end of the world. But, when you work with business, when you work in logistics, and you’re shipping expensive products, everything has to be great, and in order to build great things it takes time. So, even if you go really fast, the first two years is really hard because you always miss something, right? Either you don’t have the right courier, or you don’t have the right product, or the interface is not clear, or you don’t provide analytics, or you don’t provide with marketplaces.
Tommaso T.: In the beginning it’s extremely hard, and you get rejected so many times, but I think in general every merchant that gives you something or give you a direction about what you need to have in order to get them as a client. In general, you need to offset your lack of feature with your personal relationship, you know like getting your back. So, we were telling them: You know, we are just new. Four years ago we didn’t have these features, but I’ll do it for you. I can update your package on a daily. You need to scalable things, but it’s really hard at the beginning.
Nathan Resnick: Right. That makes sense. In terms of … with shipping and logistics, diving deeper into that industry, I feel like that there’s very little visibility and transparency most of the time with these shipping couriers. If you’re shipping a thousand units from California to Texas, and I’m shipping a thousand units from California to Texas, and there the exact same units, you might have a different shipping rate than I do, and that could be because of our negotiations with that shipping courier, and I’m kind of wondering, you know, is that what you guys see on the international scale as well?
Nathan Resnick: And then also, how do you make sure, is there a way to make sure that you’re getting the best shipping rate?
Tommaso T.: Yeah. That’s a very good point. I think that in general to get the best rates, of course one lever is to try to negotiate as hard as you can with couriers, but this will only get you that far. I think that the real lever to get great rates is to have an assortment of couriers. It’s like when you buy an airplane ticket, right? You can be a frequent flyer of a certain airways company, but the real power for the customer you have is when you use the platform that give you access to hundreds of different airways so you can always find the best.
Tommaso T.: And you know, logistics is … is a very fragmented industry. There are more than 500 couriers in the world, and each on of those are very focused on certain lanes and certain kinds of products. Sometimes, even when we compare the UPS, we see that to some destinations UPS is like 30% cheaper and to others Fedex is 30% cheaper. So, to save money, you need to be able to use as many couriers as possible.
Tommaso T.: But then of course from a company’s standpoint, it’s really hard to have accounts with more than three couriers let’s say, right, because you need to have the paperwork. You need to have a financial accounting team that invoice. You map all the extra costs and extra fees they have. It brings a lot of complexity. I think that is where the value of Easyship is. You can sign up for free and have access to more than … Now we have more than 200 different shipping solutions from anywhere in the world.
Tommaso T.: The idea is you don’t need to open an account with any courier. You can use our agreements, and still if you want to use your accounts that’s also fine. You can link your … You can link your account, and use these in our platform, basically.
Tommaso T.: We got some very regional and very specific couriers that maybe could … Maybe a lot of people don’t even hear about but these actually have amazing deals and these can help you save up to 20 thousand dollars a month just in shipping.
Nathan Resnick: Right. And all these couriers, you know, let’s say, I’m on Easyship and I see a courier comparison that one of the couriers just has an extremely good rate. I mean, can I trust that courier, or should I be a little nervous that their rate is a lot lower than maybe a DHL or FED EX. I feel like that’s one thing that comes into question with a lot of shipping companies. Can I trust this company to handle my products in an effective manner to get my units shipped to the end customer.
Tommaso T.: Yeah. We give reviews and we … and ratings to all the couriers that are available on our platform. So, more specifically we rate their trucking service because some couriers will provide updates every two hours. Others will update every two days. We give visibility to this.
Tommaso T.: We share reviews from our other users so you can see their experiences, and then we give visibility on the other services they provide and the delivery time that they take to deliver a package, so all in all you can have a full visibility, and then you can choose the one that most suits you.
Tommaso T.: There are clients that maybe they say: UPS will deliver in two days, another courier will deliver in four days or three days but make you save 20%, you know why not, right? Maybe I have to save that amount of money just to wait one or two days more. But, again, we leave the choice completely to our clients. Our job is to provide them visibility, so that they can make informed decisions.
Nathan Resnick: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. So, let’s say I’m at an ecommerce company. I’m scaling up on doing, let’s say 100 thousand dollars in sales a year, what’s the best way that I can use Easy ship to improve my shipping and logistics. It seems like … let’s say I’m running on Shopify or Big Commerce and I know you can connect to a lot of different store fronts across multiple ecommerce platforms, but walk me through how I can really utilize Easyship to improve my shipping and logistics.
Tommaso T.: Yeah platform, I mean the market provide a great solution. First, they can create an account on Easyship. As I mentioned before, it’s completely free and gives you access to other couriers. Second, you can sync your store. Further, you can decide to show dynamic shipping rates and taxes at checkout to your store.
Tommaso T.: You won’t have to worry anymore about couriers and shipping costs for customer and then receive a bill from the courier that basically bill you for another cost and make you lose money. In just one click you can show all of these dynamic at your checkout, and you can start opening your store to the world because I think a lot of businesses don’t send internationally and this is a huge opportunity.
Tommaso T.: I was basically looking at some data a couple of months ago. 80% of the ecommerce transactions happen in the States. So, basically if you don’t send internationally, you’re missing out on 80% of the market. But then, at the same time only 21 to 22% of the companies in the States actively sell internationally. So, it’s a very big market but very few markets seem …
Nathan Resnick: Got it.
Tommaso T.: With our product you can go all access at check out, so your customers can have visibility about that and you can decide if they have prepaid access or not, and basically remove the obstacle of shipping worldwide. And then when customer places an order you can just go to Easyship and Easyship will automatically generate all the documents that you need for this order.
Tommaso T.: And so, for domestic, of course we generate a shipping label. We generate package invoice if needed. But then, also for international, we take care of it all. We generate commercial invoice, declaration. We prefer the MSDS if it’s needed. So basically, without knowing anything about taxes or why, you can actively send anywhere in the world as easy as you would domestically.
Nathan Resnick: Got it. That makes sense. I mean this is an incredible solution here. One of the things I just noticed to was you enable companies to have basically fulfillment options as well through Easyship. You partnered with warehouses in … all over the world. It seems like it’s in Australia, Hong Kong, two or three locations in America, The Netherlands, and Singapore as well, so you can really integrate your fulfillment with Easyship then.
Tommaso T.: Yeah. Correct. We don’t do fulfillment directly because I think that’s a very complex business and you need to leave it to professionals that only do that. For us, we are technologists so we only work on the … fifty hours for You can get access to this method of fulfillment and be able to place your stock to your customer and save money on shipping and secure delivery time.
Nathan Resnick: Got it. That’s amazing. One of the things I kind of want to transition into here is a lot of companies ship via e-packets if they’re drop shipping products out of China. You probably saw the recent news with the current government administration here in America saying that they might cut out the deal that the United States Postal Service has with China Postal Service to make e-package shipments just so affordable like they are right now. How do you think that’s gonna affect the ecommerce world? What are your thoughts right now especially with the current political climate electing the China trade tariffs and really affecting ecommerce entrepreneurs around the world?
Tommaso T.: I think we’ll probably … I think the next couple of months will be critical to see what is gonna happen. I think that in general when a … when you’re still talking to a UPU, that is a union postal organization, basically, it takes years to get things actually happening. I mean, it’s very long and disagreements have been around for more than a hundred years.
Tommaso T.: I don’t expect like an immediate change regarding to the the shipping cost. Then the second part is about succession I was reading about the business of … I think there has been some attempts to bypass this by making products transit through other countries. Basically, if you want to, in China, a couple of companies have immediately illegal move these goods somewhere else like in Malaysia or Australia, these countries, and they’re making ship from there to avoid tariffs. But, I think eventually people will be caught. I think in general the other solution probably one would be to do domestic fulfillment, so in the States and of course this will maintain higher tariffs and the customer will pay more. Or, making things transit through other places in Asia like Hong Kong, for example, that is basically a where there are no duties, no taxes.
Tommaso T.: Most of the products ship from here already. Yeah, I think in general in the next two to three years, we’re gonna see is, in general, illegal companies probably adding more domestic fulfillment in the States and then using that international hub like for example Hong Kong, where they can enjoy a affordable tax in the region and have very few issues. So look for both in general. We are seeing also kinds of things, like clients prefer the States. Clients that prefer to ship from Hong Kong. It really depends in general I think on your market outlook. How do you think you’re gonna go international and what you sell.
Nathan Resnick: Yeah. That’s great. I think that’s a great answer. In terms of where you see the ecommerce world growing, what sectors are you most excited by. Obviously your focus on the fulfillment and shipping side of the business, but in terms of in general do you see the ecommerce world growing more internationally. I know that at Sourcify we see a lot of companies now trying to sell products into China or other Asian countries to really try to diversify their sales channels outside of America, especially in Europe too. That’s been a really active market for some of the biggest ecommerce brands that originated in America. I’m curios, from where you sit, what kind of trends are you seeing in the ecommerce world that you’re most excited by?
Tommaso T.: Yeah. I totally agree. I think that the future will be about diversifying channels and selling to other countries. So, we just passed Seven Eleven I think in China. Alibaba is like 30 billion dollars and then JD is 450 billion RNB. It’s clear how now the focus of consumers is growing really fastest out of the States. And I think the future belongs to companies that regardless of their size, start opening their eyes to this.
Tommaso T.: So I think in general most of the kinds that we meet in the early stage, they were spending so much time trying to optimize their whatever like website to check out to get that additional 0.4% conversion rate, and then crazy things to use hundred tools to do that while I think they’re missing out on bigger opportunities. It’s just like … start selling world wide. Why do you want to spend the six months doing basically user behavior response website that is super complex while your business is already coming from outside of the States and you’re not allowing them to buy. Why you’re not doing ads in Southeast Asia.
Tommaso T.: I guess, for example, looking at Facebook, the in Southeast Asia is six to eight times cheaper than in the States. And most of these countries, they speak good English, and they would be okay to send apps in English, so they don’t even need to translate anything.
Tommaso T.: I think there are a lot of good opportunities out there, and they’re just there for the first one who can go and get it.
Nathan Resnick: Yeah, that’s a great point. That’s amazing. Tommaso, thank you so much for coming on Ecommerce on Tap. If people want to learn more about you or Easyship, how can they find you.
Nathan Resnick: Amazing. That’s fantastic. Well, there you have it all. That’s another episode of Ecommerce on Tap brought to you by Sourcify. Really appreciate you tuning in, and go check out Easyship. If you’re looking to improve your logistics, your shipping costs, Easyship is a great solution. Thank you again for your time and really excited for the next episode.