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SEKO selects Hurricane as global cross-border data partner

Two of the fastest growing cross-border eCommerce brands in the world have joined forces to help their customers achieve frictionless trade and manage critical events including the US STOP Act and the launch next month of the EU’s Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS).

SEKO Logistics, the global freight forwarder, 3PL and supply chain management specialist with a growing focus on eCommerce solutions, has selected Hurricane Commerce as its global cross-border data partner.

Hurricane’s technology will be available via SEKO’s Omni-Parcel platform which provides brand owners, retailers and e-tailers with a global eCommerce solution.

The company’s solutions will also be rolled out through SEKO’s Transport Management System (TMS) and Warehouse Management System (WMS) portals.

SEKO has previously been using Hurricane’s solutions for eCommerce customers in Australia and the United States.

David Emerson, Senior Vice-President eCommerce Solutions at SEKO Logistics, said: “We are delighted to have chosen Hurricane as our global partner for the provision of cross-border data. We pride ourselves on only working with the best-in-class and Hurricane’s solutions are truly world-leading in the field of data provision.

“In today’s global eCommerce, nothing moves without the right data.

“Increasing rules and regulations mean that shipments have to have accurate data sets otherwise they are going to run into severe problems.

“For SEKO, it is an imperative that we keep our customers’ goods moving and Hurricane is a key partner in enabling us to achieve this.”

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “SEKO sets the standard in cross-border eCommerce logistics and supply chain management and we are delighted to have signed this global partnership agreement.

“The fast-moving regulatory landscape means that complete and valid data is non-negotiable in international eCommerce. Events like Brexit, the US STOP Act and, from July 1, the EU VAT Package and the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) are having a massive impact on the requirements to succeed in cross-border eCommerce.”

David Spottiswood, Co-Founder of Hurricane Commerce, said: “Failure to meet the mandatory requirement for high quality data including product descriptions, HS6 codes, 8- and 10- digit import and export codes and country of origin, is resulting in parcels increasingly being stopped by customs.

“This leads to huge additional logistical and cost challenges around returns, warehousing and transportation. But just as important is the long-term damage done to the brand reputation of retailers, marketplaces and their supply chain partners.”

Hurricane’s solutions include Aura, covering the critical cross-border areas of duty and tax calculation, prohibited and restricted goods screening and denied parties screening, and Zephyr, its blisteringly quick data bulk clearance data enhancement tool.

 

Hurricane in the media:

Parcel and Postal Technology International – Seko Logistics selects Hurricane as global cross-border data partner

Cargo Airports & Airplane Services – SEKO selects Hurricane Commerce as global eCommerce data partner

EU VAT changes and the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS): An opportunity for growth

It is now exactly a month until the EU VAT Package and the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) come into effect.

July 1 is the next major milestone for businesses committed to growing their cross-border eCommerce operations.

Events including Brexit and the US STOP Act have already highlighted this year the importance of having the highest quality product and shipment data in order to achieve the smoothest possible delivery and customer experience.

For third country online retailers and marketplaces selling into the EU, the looming EU VAT Package will further intensify this requirement. For global leaders in international eCommerce like China and the UK, these are quite simply the most significant event in their calendar in 2021.

From July 1, the EU will remove the exemption from VAT on low value goods with a value of less than EURO 22.

The EU is also making third country online retailers and marketplaces responsible for the collection and remittance of VAT.

To support retailers and marketplaces, the EU has created the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) with the intention of simplifying the declaration and payment of VAT on distance sales with an intrinsic value of less than EURO 150.

These are substantial changes and are intended to level the playing field between EU retailers and marketplaces and their counterparts in other parts of the world, most notably China.

It is also intended to have the same impact on postal operators and express carriers.

Any marketplaces uncertain about whether to opt into the IOSS should note the decision of Amazon to embrace the new system for both its retail activities and marketplace businesses. Several other major marketplaces are believed to be actively moving in the same direction.

Hurricane Commerce has produced a guide to the EU VAT Package and the IOSS to help retailers, marketplaces and their logistics partners to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the new rules.

Hurricane is also one of Royal Mail’s partners in providing support to its customers with the IOSS – https://www.royalmail.com/business/international/guide/delivered-duties-paid

Among the key things you need to know are:

  • The retailer or marketplace (or their chosen intermediary) only needs to register on the IOSS portal of one EU member state. Registration opened on April 1, 2021;
  • IOSS makes the buying process easier for the consumer with VAT being paid at the point of purchase – thereby avoiding doorstep surprises when goods are delivered;
  • If the seller does not use the IOSS, the consumer will have to pay VAT at the point of import – with resulting delays in clearance and delivery and greater likelihood of returns;
  • The use of the IOSS will result in much greater efficiency gains;
  • Electronic customs clearance also requires only the so called Super Reduced Dataset, resulting in faster clearance, shorter transit times and reduced costs.

Online retailers or marketplaces which do not have a presence in the EU will need to appoint an intermediary in at least one EU member state.

The intermediary will be responsible for the declaration and payment of VAT to the tax authorities of the member state on the basis of a monthly IOSS VAT return.

They are also responsible for keeping records that have to be made available electronically upon request.

Of critical importance is the need for the retailer or marketplace to be able to provide complete and valid electronic data for customs clearance.

If using the IOSS, this will mean complying with the requirements of the Super Reduced Dataset, including accurate product descriptions and HS6 codes.

Various attempts to delay the introduction of the IOSS have been firmly rejected – no surprise as we emerge from the pandemic with governments around the world under huge pressure to maximise their tax revenues.

But while preparation is needed to be able to access the IOSS, it should be seen as a big opportunity to secure substantial cross-border eCommerce growth.

By registering and meeting the requirements, particularly around the provision of high-quality product and shipment data, companies will have a significant advantage over their competitors.

This will include faster customs clearance and delivery, greater efficiencies, reduced costs and enhanced customer experience.

To access a copy of Hurricane’s EU VAT and IOSS brochure, email: info@hurricanecommerce.com

https://tamebay.com/2021/06/why-eu-vat-changes-and-ioss-should-be-opportunity-for-growth.html

Video – Hurricane CEO Martyn Noble presents at Tamebay Live conference

Hurricane CEO Martyn Noble recently presented at the first ever Tamebay Live conference.

His 50-minute masterclass looked at ‘How to achieve best-in-class cross-border eCommerce in 2021 and beyond’.

During the session, Martyn explained how different regulations, ranging from Brexit to the Import One-Stop Shop, have changed the requirements for global trade forever.

And he showed how by getting the data right on every product and shipment, retailers, brands and marketplaces can put themselves in the best possible position to successfully scale their eCommerce operations.

Hurricane to be Gold Sponsor at WMX Europe

Hurricane Commerce will be a Gold Sponsor at this year’s World Mail & Express Europe Conference.

The prestigious event will be held virtually on June 16 and 17.

WMX Europe is widely recognised as the foremost international trade event for post and parcel professionals.

This year’s conference comes at a critical time for the sector with major EU VAT changes and the introduction of the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) coming into force from July 1.

Postal operators, both receiving and exporting, are busy preparing to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the IOSS, as are many of the biggest marketplaces and online retailers.

The implementation of the IOSS is set to feature prominently in presentations and delegate networking at the event.

So far, over 30 speakers have been confirmed including Hurricane CEO Martyn Noble and co-founder David Spottiswood who will take part in the ‘Optimising Cross-Border’ discussion.

Hurricane will also be a Gold Sponsor at the WMX Asia conference in November.

The events come at an exciting time for Hurricane, which was established four years ago and is increasingly regarded as the data partner of choice for postal operators, carriers, multi-carrier platforms, retailers, brands and marketplaces.

High profile customers include Royal Mail, SEKO, Australia Post, An Post and Lenton Group.

Its cutting-edge technology is also increasingly in demand in China and the wider Asia Pacific region where some of the world’s largest eCommerce players are having to adapt quickly to the onset of the changing global regulatory landscape.

Hurricane’s AI-driven, real-time solutions include Aura, which covers the three key areas of duty and tax calculation, prohibited and restricted goods screening and denied parties screening, and Zephyr, the data enhancement service which ensures product and shipment data is of the quality needed to speed up customs clearance and onward delivery.

Hurricane’s Zephyr Bulk Upload solution goes live on Royal Mail website

Royal Mail’s online retailer customers can now access Hurricane’s innovative Zephyr Bulk Upload Portal to enhance their data.

The portal is simple to use allowing merchants to upload their product list file and receive back in lightning quick time accurate HS6 codes and 10-digit import and export codes as required.

The solution has been developed by Hurricane to meet the growing compliance pressures facing online retailers and marketplaces.

Regulatory challenges so far this year have included Brexit and the US STOP Act.

The introduction of the EU VAT Package on July 1 – including the launch of the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) – means that complete and valid product shipment data has never been more essential.

Using the Zephyr portal means:

  • Ensuring your products have complete and accurate data;
  • A cost-effective solution to process thousands of lines of product data;
  • Peace of mind on every cross-border eCommerce shipment;
  • High levels of customer experience.

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Royal Mail to provide their retailer customers with our best-in-class bulk upload data enhancement service.”

Royal Mail’s website states: “Zephyr enables established and newer e-retailers to capitalise on the huge opportunities for successful international eCommerce, while also staying compliant.

“It’s currently the only data enhancing solution of its kind available to e-retailers – designed to provide peace of mind for sellers and keep customers happy too – by ensuring they receive their goods without unnecessary delay.”

 

Hurricane in the media:

Tamebay – Hurricane Commerce Zephyr Bulk Upload goes live with Royal Mail

The path to successful cross-border eCommerce – Why compliance is crucial and how you can protect your business.

Compliance has always been a requirement for any business, but in recent years the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) have started actively monitoring the compliance of businesses trading in the US.

Businesses that have been found to have compliancy violations have their cases made public, to deter others from falling foul of the rules. In fact, recent statistics showed that Denied Parties violations accounted for 66% of fines given out.

No business is too big for compliance

Denied Party screening must be done by every business, regardless of your size, location or which process of the transaction you are involved in.

Most recently, Apple fell foul of the rules and were found to have violated the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions regulations by entering an applications development agreement with a Slovenian company whose director and majority owner were designated under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

They were ordered to pay US$476,000 for this infringement, in which their screening systems failed to match ‘SIS DOO’ and ‘Sis d.o.o’(D.o.o is a standard corporate suffix in Slovenia identifying a limited liability company), showing that even the top companies struggle with screenings.

Marketplaces at fault

Also guilty of Denied Party failures were Amazon, who admitted to selling goods to individuals in Crimea, Iran and Syria between 2011 and 2018. Although the violations were viewed as ‘non-egregious’ by OFAC, they were still fined $134,523 which amounted to half the value of the transactions.

Small failings in the ability of the screening process to identify spelling mistakes such as ‘Krimea’ in place of Crimea led to further violations and low-value goods being sent to Cuba, North Korea, and Sudan. By admitting to these failings, Amazon were subject to lighter penalties than would normally be given for such large violations.

Individuals are just as responsible as businesses

Although Denied Party screening can be considered more important as the penalties are more severe, a lady attempting to import a crocodile skin handbag into Australia found out the hard way that certain restrictions apply to goods being imported when her handbag was destroyed.

Worth $19,000 the owner did not pay a $70 licence to import it, and although not illegal, crocodile products are controlled under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to ensure they are not linked to the illegal wildlife trade.

The above examples show that compliance is not an option, and even the biggest companies in the world can fall foul of the rules.

Having an effective screening process in place can minimise the risks associated with cross-border eCommerce.

Hurricane’s Denied Party and Prohibited and Restricted Goods screenings ensure businesses know what they are selling to who and where maintaining compliance and reducing the risk of fines and severe penalties.

Hurricane is quickly becoming the go to data partner for cross-border eCommerce by providing cost-effective solutions that have been built to provide the ultimate customer browse, checkout cost transparency and cross-border delivery experience.

Hurricane Commerce selected as partner for ETrak delivery management system

Hurricane Commerce has been chosen as the landed cost engine partner for ETrak, the delivery management system powered by Parcel Monkey in partnership with The Delivery Group.

ETrak provides cost-effective, tracked delivery solutions for sending packets and parcels worldwide, enabling eCommerce merchants to scale while keeping costs to a minimum.

The recently launched platform has access to a global network of postal and commercial carriers in over 220 countries.

By partnering with Hurricane Commerce, ETrak is able to provide its retailer customers with a Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) solution.

ETrak has integrated Hurricane’s Aura API which allows merchants to calculate duties and taxes on shipments via a landed cost engine. Aura can also screen for prohibited and restricted goods and denied parties.

Providing a DDP solution is becoming increasingly important as retailers, marketplaces, postal operators and carriers face multiple regulatory challenges including Brexit, the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) and the US STOP Act.

The ETrak landed cost engine enables retailers to be fully transparent with consumers at checkout about duties and taxes that are payable – avoiding any doorstep surprises.

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the landed cost engine partner for the ETrak delivery management system.

“Parcel Monkey in partnership with The Delivery Group are committed to providing their customers with the best possible experience which, in turn, will enable their customers to achieve substantial growth in their cross-border eCommerce trade.

“The fast-moving regulatory landscape is providing retailers, marketplaces and carriers with significant challenges, but the international growth opportunities are vast for those who put in place the best possible processes and systems.

“Pivotal to this is the need to ensure that packets and parcels have complete and valid electronic data and that online retailers are able to be transparent with their customers about the duties and taxes that are payable.”

Chris Tayler, Head of ETrak, said: “Our mission at ETrak is to provide simplified international parcel delivery solutions for eCommerce businesses and being able to offer a DDP solution to our customers is essential to this mission.

DDP delivery gives retailers greater flexibility for handling customs duties and taxes and provides a better shopping experience for the end customer, therefore improving customer loyalty and retention.

We selected Hurricane Commerce as our partner because their Aura solution provides a best-in-class landed cost engine to calculate duties and taxes, enabling us to accurately calculate the customs fees on any shipment, regardless of the importing country.”

 

Hurricane in the media:

Post and Parcel Technology International – ETrak partners with Hurricane Commerce to deliver Parcel Monkey solution

CEP Research – ETrak selects Hurricane Commerce solution

Tamebay – ETrak select Hurricane Commerce to power Delivered Duty Paid solution

Apex Insight – ETrak to use Hurricane Commerce for DDP solution

The path to successful cross-border eCommerce – How Hurricane’s solutions can help you successfully trade cross-border.

Cross-border eCommerce can provide any business with the opportunity to expand and open their business up to more markets and customers. Whilst this sounds like a fantastic proposition, there are many issues to contend with when first starting out.

There has recently been a large increase in the amount of regulations and compliance rules that are being introduced and monitored, which are often missed by smaller businesses who may not have any previous experience with customs.

There is a sharp focus on knowing what you are sending, and who you are sending it to.

Unknowingly sending an item into a country that requires a licence or sending goods to a blacklisted customer will end up with a business facing fines, and goods being destroyed.

Hurricane has developed 3 main solutions to help businesses stay compliant, and successfully expand their business into cross-border eCommerce.

They are Import Duty and Tax calculations, Prohibited and Restricted Goods Screening and Denied Party Screening. Below we show what these solutions do, and how they can help your business navigate cross-border eCommerce.

Duty and Tax

Every product has a duty and tax rate applied by individual customs upon importation. Individual countries also have their own deminimis levels, which are the values under which products do not have any duty or taxes applied to them.

It can therefore be difficult to calculate the duty and tax rates applicable in checkout. Hurricane’s duty and tax calculator allows businesses to show their customers the total cost of any purchase, drastically reducing negative customer experiences and customer churn.

Prohibited and Restricted Goods

Each country’s customs have their own rules on what can and can’t be imported, and whether special licences or permissions are required. Having carried out deep analysis of restrictions and requirements for importing, exporting and transporting goods in 154 countries, covering 97% of global GDP, Hurricane provides feedback on prohibited and restricted codes. Hurricane’s screening prevents goods from being wrongly transported or imported, ensuring there are no compliance slip ups.

Denied Party Screening

Denied Party Screening is becoming crucial for any business trading cross-border as punishments become more severe. Hurricane’s screening allows businesses to see if their customers and partners are on any of the global denied parties lists, allowing you to control who you sell your products to.

Compliance is key

Transparency is key to providing a positive customer experience. It is incredibly cost-effective and affordable compared to fines that can be given due to non-compliance.

Hurricane can also be a key selling point for your customers, as they will know that all costs will be paid upfront and transit times will be reduced.

Contact us to find out how Hurricane can help your business navigate the uncertainties of cross-border eCommerce.

Hurricane Tamebay Webinar

Hurricane Commerce signs up for Tamebay Live Show

We are delighted to be a main sponsor and speaker at the first ever Tamebay Live.

The 5-day virtual event in May is set to be a great new addition to the calendar for retailers, brands, marketplaces and anyone else involved in the fast growing world of eCommerce.

More than 30 workshops and a host of masterclasses have been lined up from May 17-21 with each day having its own theme.

Hurricane is the headline sponsor and co-host for Day 1, called ‘Back to Basics’, and will then be a speaker on Day 4, which is all about Cross-Border selling.

Martyn Noble, Hurricane’s CEO, said: “Tamebay have come up with an innovative and hugely timely event that will give retailers, brands and others involved in eCommerce plenty of food for thought and inspiration.

“We are thrilled to be playing a leading part and, particularly, look forward to sharing knowledge and ideas that will help anyone looking to grow their sales internationally.

For more information about Tamebay Live and to register to attend visit https://tamebaylive.com/

Please also keep an eye on the Hurricane website and LinkedIn for further details as we run up to this hugely exciting conference.

The path to successful cross-border eCommerce – What’s the opportunity and how can you get a piece of it?

Cross-border eCommerce is becoming more accessible to businesses, ranging from small scale independent stores to multinational giants.

Facilitating this surge in cross-border eCommerce are platforms like Magento® an Adobe company, which accounts for 16% of all eCommerce websites. They include some big names like Coca-Cola and Christian Louboutin.

Platforms like this offer a huge opportunity for a business to create a site and get trading quickly, especially with a host of extensions that allow businesses to manage their stock, create labels and provide a better customer experience. Magento alone has over 250,000 sites and saw an increase of 7,500 in 2019, covering a total of $155 billion in total merchant sales.

Risk and reward

With 57% of all online shoppers buying cross-border, the prize associated with using an eCommerce platform is large. This does however also expose your business to the risks associated with cross-border eCommerce, such as parcels being seized by customs due to poor data, or customers being charged extra upon delivery due to import duties and taxes not being paid.

These situations can lead to a negative customer experience which can result in customers making a one-time purchase then shopping elsewhere. With businesses able to earn 50% more revenue if 40% of their customers are returning, it is important to understand the issues surrounding cross-border eCommerce and ensure your business is prepared.

The Hurricane solution

Hurricane has developed a suite of solutions that allows businesses to show their customers the total cost of any purchase inclusive of shipping, import fees and any extra costs, as well as screening for denied parties and prohibited and restricted goods to ensure total compliance.

Hurricane has become a Technology Partner with Magento, one of the leading eCommerce platforms and will give their customer base the cost-effective and user-friendly tools needed to successfully trade cross-border and reduce the risk of fines and negative customer experiences.

With customer experience becoming the main differentiator between brands, surpassing pricing and the products, providing a positive experience is crucial.

Hurricane’s cross-border solutions will provide businesses with an engine for growth by improving the customer experience from the first site visit, all the way to the delivery, thus increasing the likelihood of them making repeat purchases, and making businesses fully compliant with customs and import regulations.