Interviews Trends

A few things about e-tailers’ challenges

Rolando Casanova, Managing Director at Internel, is going to tell us a few things about e-tailers’ challenges, during E-commerce Berlin Expo on the 20th of February. Before we meet in Germany (a month to go!), we decided to get a little sneak peek not only of his presentation but also an overview of his job.

You are Managing Director at Internel, and as your website states, it is “Next Generation E-fulfilment”. What exactly do you guys do (if you had just 10 words to describe it!)?

We’re ensuring e-tailers can focus on (more) sales and shoulder all their logistical challenges – everybody does what they can do best. Sorry, > 20 words…

What belongs to your responsibilities on a daily basis?

Well, I apart from the regular fire-fighting that I wish would be less – same as everybody in this world, I guess – I am focused on Internel’s strategic aspects, such as which countries to connect to our e-fulfilment centre in Poland, where to open hubs, invest and why, how to absorb our usual annual double-digit growth by setting the right priorities for our teams and me.

My job is also to motivate our service teams and ensure the right climate for constant innovation – e-commerce never sleeps, and e-tailers and consumers demand new, better and transparent services alike.

To conclude: none of my days is equal to the other and although this is sometimes tiring, 90% of the time I truly LOVE my job and responsibilities, Monday mornings included.

Tell us a bit more about Internel. How does it help with logistics? When is the key moment where a particular business should consider using your services?

Our clients store their products with us in Poland, we receive them directly from their world-wide suppliers, then process and ship all their online orders for/to their customers, cash in funds for them, if needed. Businesses with

  • high-end products (thus where quality counts more than just a cheap price, > € 20.-/order)
  • those with more than 20 orders per day, and
  • overall those that want to sell with good shipping rates throughout Europe and the World,

should definitely consider partnering with Internel and freeing their resources for sales & online marketing. Accumulating ten thousands of monthly orders and servicing many different e-businesses gives us the expertise in packaging, fast order processing and the purchase power for great courier and postal tariffs.

All this gives e-tailers working with us a great competitive advantage as to have a sell directly or additionally to platforms like Amazon, AliExpress, etc.

What, in your opinion, is the biggest challenge that e-tailers need to face nowadays?

I believe a real online sales killer are expensive fright charges when it comes to cross-border sales. Billons of € sales in online shopping carts are abandoned every year due to the shipping options and costs at the end of an online purchase process.

At Internel, we’re looking constantly to get better freight charges for our e-commerce clients, as to reach from Warsaw, consumers in Europe and worldwide as economical and fast as possible.

With success, through our hub in Germany and by opening new local hubs in Spain and Greece this year, but quite a way to still go…

I can see you worked for the world’s largest global coffee trader in Uganda. If you had to choose, what is the one lesson you took from it?

I’d say spontaneously: “Be straight forward, don’t hide, don’t play, be honest, like people (customers & colleagues alike) have fun at work, and finally, if you make a mistake, apologise sincerely and fix it immediately without discussion.”

Internel’s website says that “85% of the e-tailers we have quoted left a competitor and began working with us”. This is super impressive – how did you achieve that? There’s gotta be more than your offer, surely 😉

Well, the recipe is simple and has also to do with the question before: when an e-shop contacts us, they get an answer within 1 working day (this is our promise).

If we cannot serve them for specific reasons, we’ll tell them immediately and if we happily can, our offer is transparent, clear and tailor-made for their e-business needs.

So the usual key is the first impression we make to a prospect who very often is frustrated as promises made by the current fulfiller of theirs have not been kept. And normally, they have fun already as of our first e-mail or call with a very professional team behind.

It also says that you are based in Poland for a reason. What is that reason? 🙂 Is Poland heaven for logistics?

Yes, it is indeed. Poland developed rapidly over the last 2 decades, mostly in services and infrastructure (thanks EU!). What was a remote and underdeveloped Eastern area is now the heart of Europe.

As part of the EU we reach all major consumer markets within 1-2 days, have over national 38 Mio. inhabitants, which makes us the perfect location for continental European e-tailers but also for Brexit refugees and non-European businesses.

Finally, we surely have a great cost benefit vs. Western markets such as Germany, the Netherlands or Belgium and are perceived more “flexible” and “stable” than other fulfiller locations in France, Spain and Italy.

What would change for e-fulfilment after Brexit?

Our clients are most afraid of delays in sending online orders to their customers.

Delays due to possible introduction of customs controls, a logical increase of freight charges to and from the UK, will make thousands of e-shops unhappy, those trying to ship outside Great Britain and those trying to sell from the mainland to the UK alike.

Having customers and friends in the UK, I personally am very sorry for this unfortunate situation, even though I must say that as true European fulfillers we at Internel have solutions at hand and are happy to discuss with the concerned e-businesses.

Internel celebrated 20 years in 2018 (congrats!). What is your plan for the next 20 years?

Thanks a lot. Well, we’ve been doing a lot during 20 years and still do. We entered the e-commerce from the pharmaceutical/optical industry and with all excitement, I have to say that e-commerce never bored us and definitely more innovative, as the business involves us directly with individual persons shopping online and all over the world.

It is a fascinating business sector, so I’d like us to grow further with happy clients, get more innovative year by year and establish a network of fast, clever and innovative parcel distribution ways and return points for our clients. And continue to having fun.

Your presentation “Cross-border expansion for more e-sales – the game, the players, the success.” is to uncover some practical tips on how to succeed. Can you share one of them with us now?

The most important is to trust your intuition, not necessarily a great website or pics – applies to e-shops and fulfillers alike. Transparency and trust right from the start, is the is the basis of a beneficial partnership to expand rapidly and internationally. My presentation includes tips for e-businesses how to distinguish the right partners from a “fake” right from the start, as going internationally is a serious thing, better done with the right partners.


Rolando is one of the speakers during E-commerce Berlin Expo 2019. If you want to see his presentation live, register here for free

Rolando Casanova

Rolando is a dynamic change leader with 25 years experience in international logistics. He is the founder of the Internel group present in 3 countries, managing Internel Poland, a truly “non-conventional” and fast growing e-fulfiller. Rolando’s career began when he left the safety and comfort of Switzerland for Uganda, to work for the world’s largest global coffee trader. Overnight, he was responsible for thousands of tons of coffee as stock controller & factory manager. This was a game-changer: He very quickly adapted by scrapping logistics as theory in favour of a more practical, hands-on approach. Since then, Rolando has worked with and for 200+ organisations, multinationals and SME alike, across multiple industries to turn their supply chains into a competitive advantage. For the last 5 years, his passion is to helping e-tailers to increase their sales performance by providing a real, truly-devoted, effective and efficient fulfilment service – national & cross-border.