Interview with Richard Longhurst, Co-Founder and Director at Lovehoney

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

 

Richard Longhurst

 

 

Richard Longhurst
Co-Founder & Director
Lovehoney

 

 

 

 

Richard Longhurst is co-founder and director of Lovehoney – the leading online sex toy retailer in the UK, also growing rapidly internationally as a retailer, manufacturer and distributor.

 

Give us an overview of your business

 

We launched in 2002 in Bath, where we are still based, although we’ve since expanded and added additional fulfilment centres and customer service operations in Atlanta and Brisbane. In total we have 240 employees worldwide.

 

We manufacture around 25 of our own Lovehoney brands, using factories in China. We also have the exclusive license for an official Fifty Shades of Grey range of products, which we secured around four years ago and has been a really big deal for us.

 

How did you approach getting started with cross-border?

 

We actually shipped internationally pretty much right from the start. There are different levels of sophistication when it comes to targeting other countries, but on a basic level you can fulfil an order to someone in another country via air mail. We switched on international shipping and looked at who bit, monitored the regions where we were getting the greater share of orders. We launched our actual .com site about four years ago.

 

You learn pretty quickly too. In Nigeria for example, we found quite a high volume of people not using their own credit cards to make purchases and there are other places where the road infrastructure isn’t particularly good and deliveries go missing.

 

The general logic behind our appeal for potential customers in other markets is that the internet goes everywhere and people have sex everywhere. Seems to hold true.

 

Which countries / regions do you currently ship to?

 

We accept orders from customers worldwide, which is to say we ship anywhere sensible. Our largest market remains the UK, but we have dedicated sites for the US, Canada, Australia, Germany and France. We also have a .eu site that enables shoppers in Europe to pay in euros. Ireland is currently our largest market in the Eurozone.

 

Any plans for future cross-border expansion (new regions)?

 

Our next two big launches are sites for New Zealand, which is an obvious extension for us as we can fulfil from our Brisbane warehouse and they speak English, and Spain. Spanish is the missing major language that we don’t serve at present. This will enable us to develop this capability in our platform and potentially scale up to cover other Spanish-speaking countries around the world.

 

We find that our typical customer segment tends toward being younger, with a 50/50 split of male and female and many are in long-term relationships. We know that because we ask them on the registration form – probably not the kind of data that many other retailers have...

 

Marketing is also a slightly different prospect for us, as total discretion is important. Customers don’t want our branding emblazoned over the packaging when it arrives and retargeting is also off-limits – people don’t want items they have viewed on a Lovehoney site to follow them around the internet through display ads on other sites. So we have to find more creative ways to market to people.

 

Do you have any advice for people at early stages of cross-border?

 

You can start selling cross-border quickly, simply and cheaply. You don’t need to roll-out fancy solutions to start with, you can just send via air mail. You don’t even need to offer a range of currency options until you know demand is actually there and the investment is worthwhile.

 

Don’t try to build the best option, just suck it and see. It may seem an incredibly obvious point, but it’s also easier to go to places that speak the same language as you. The EU is often referred to as the ‘single market’ but actually it is 27 different countries, many speaking different languages. Whereas the US is a very large single market, with English as the primary language.

 

What can people learn from your session at the eCommerce Worldwide Summit?

 

They can get reassurance that they can do it themselves. There is perhaps a tendency to overthink cross-border and make it seem really complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Plus if my business partner Neil and I can do it, anyone can.

 

Register for eCommerce Worldwide Summit here (free for retailers) and listen to Richard discuss about approaching new markets and the lessons learnt.

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

Connectivity and online behaviour in Canada

Connectivity and online behaviour in Canada

With typical online behaviour similar to other western counties, the Canadian eCommerce market can be seen as very appealing to cross-border retail. Exploring its sophisticated infrastructure, this article looks at the details of Canadian shoppers’ behaviour online, and examines some of the demographic nuances in internet access, online activity, and device preferences.
Online retail payment methods in Canada

Online retail payment methods in Canada

In different markets, shoppers can have varying preferences when it comes to making payments for orders on eCommerce sites. Canada is no exception but happily, there is more of an opportunity than a challenge when it comes to online retail payment in Canada. This article looks at the online retail payment methods within the Canadian eCommerce market.
Online shopping behaviour in Canada

Online shopping behaviour in Canada

When Canadian Shoppers buy online, how do they go about it, and what do they buy? With the use of mobile growing and the use of various devices for online shopping looking similar to trends in the UK, Canadian eCommerce has been a sleeping giant, but it’s waking up. And quickly. This article looks at the online shopping behaviour of the Canadian eCommerce market.
Online Retail Logistics in Canada

Online Retail Logistics in Canada

How should you go about planning your logistics strategy for servicing the Canadian eCommerce market and what are the options available? Canada is a spectacular 9,306 km from extreme east to extreme west so for any non-Canadian retailer looking for delivery partners to ship into the country, only large players with the scale to cover such a geography are particularly relevant. This article looks at the online retail logistics within Canada and how this impacts its eCommerce market.
5 tips for breaking into online retail in France

5 tips for breaking into online retail in France

France boasts being the 5th largest eCommerce market in the world and with an expectation to exceed €80 billion turnover in 2017, for those looking to enter this thriving online market here are five tips that could help you to break into the French online retail space.
Five things we learned at the eCommerce Worldwide Cross-Border Summit 2017

Five things we learned at the eCommerce Worldwide Cross-Border Summit 2017

On the 24th May 2017, we hosted our third annual Cross-Border Summit at the ExCeL London. Delegates from retailers and solution providers across the globe came to hear and share the latest insight on cross-border trading. But what were the key takeaways from the day?
2020 Vision: Spring provides route to ‘Destination Benelux’

2020 Vision: Spring provides route to ‘Destination Benelux’

With more than 28 million citizens between them, Belgium and the Netherlands are among the fastest-growing eCommerce markets when it comes to cross-border purchases meaning that they have rocketed up the rankings for attractiveness to retailers.
Entering the Emerging Markets of Latin America: Strategy Essentials

Entering the Emerging Markets of Latin America: Strategy Essentials

Latin America is a target market region for many business looking to expand globally. Brazil and Mexico are undeniable growth markets and the rest of Latin America (LATAM) is welcoming internet, social media, and eCommerce with open arms.
Interview with Melanie Smallwood, International Buying Director at Global Fashion Group

Interview with Melanie Smallwood, International Buying Director at Global Fashion Group

eCommerce Worldwide Cross-Border Summit 2017 - Ahead of our annual event on 24th May, we interview Melanie Smallwood, International Buying Director at Global Fashion Group, to learn from her experience and knowledge in cross-border trading around the world.
Interview with Gregor McMillan, Business Development, China at The Hut Group

Interview with Gregor McMillan, Business Development, China at The Hut Group

eCommerce Worldwide Cross-Border Summit 2017 - Ahead of our annual event on 24th May, we interview Gregor McMillan, Business Development, China at The Hut Group, to learn from his experience and knowledge in cross-border trading into China.

Contact Us

eCommerce Worldwide
2 Ching Court
49-53 Monmouth St
London
WC2H 9EY

Tel: 0203 696 0980
2016© eCommerce Worldwide

Keep In Touch

powered by Affino

About eCommerce Worldwide

eCommerce Worldwide provides online retailers with all the information, and resources, they need to develop cross-border strategies for entering new markets around the world
Read More