Podcast: Practical ideas to tackle cross-border e-commerce challenges

Priyanka talks to Roman Sobieri, Head of Shipping & Orders at Etsy, on how to run a multinational logistics operation

Priyanka talks to Roman Sobieri - Head of Shipping & Orders at Etsy. Etsy is a global e-commerce marketplace for handmade or vintage items and craft supplies. Etsy has about 54 million registered buyers and sellers across the world.

Etsy operates in virtually every single country and so naturally with sellers and buyers in multiple countries, there are a lot of cross-border challenges involved – including customs, excise, customer expectations, dealing with multiple carriers and above all, maintaining profitability and margins for each individual seller as well as the company. This podcast aims to uncover ways to tackle the cross-border challenge in retail.


Questions Roman answered

  • What are the biggest cross-border challenges in the market – what is absolutely top of mind?
  • How do you remove friction in moving packages across borders – and how do you make it seamless for the sender and receiver?
  • How do you keep up with varying customer expectations as I’m sure they differ from region to region? Can you share some examples of what you’ve learnt and where you’ve changed your strategy to align better?
  • How many different carriers do you have to work with across the world and how do you manage so many different relationships?
  • How do external factors like Brexit or new policies in the US or perhaps change in the tax system in India affect your operations?
  • For a retailer that only functions in one region and is looking to go cross-border, where should they start?


About Roman

Roman began his career in aerospace engineering at Pratt & Whitney, but followed his interests in the growing e-commerce industry to Fujifilm. As the first product leader in the new digital image printing technology, he transformed a traditional film printing company into the top US online and in-store retail digital image printing fulfilment business.

After a successful IPO and later Borderfree acquisition by Pitney Bowes, Roman became responsible for global cross border delivery for the new combined retailers and marketplaces business at Pitney Bowes as Vice President of Global Shipping Operations. During those years he has worked passionately to reduce customer friction around cross-border e-commerce and shipping, building tools, systems and partnering with the US Customs and Border Protection. While, in his spare time he studied to get a US custom broker licence. He also worked with legislators and industry groups for four years to draft and finally pass the US Customs Reauthorization Bill, including presenting to both US Senate Finance Committee and the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee in Washington DC, as an industry international e-commerce expert to promote this favourable this e-commerce regulation. In the final legislation, he was able to add language that eliminated double taxation on US returns for customers in cross border sales and increased the US de minimis to $800 for low value e-commerce imports. Roman has been the Head of Shipping at Etsy for the past year and has recently added Head of Payments and Listing Management to his growing responsibilities.

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