exporto, based in Konstanz on the German border and in Kreuzlingen in Switzerland, is a full service provider of Customs clearance and export of goods from Germany to Switzerland. And, where necessary, they regulates the re-import of returns from Switzerland to Germany. Online shops particularly appreciate this service because it allows them to fully concentrate on store management and the care and acquisition of their customers. The bureaucratic process of Customs clearance and cross-border transport to the end customer is handled by exporto with the – in the best sense of the word – unlimited know-how of the two founders Julius Komp and Pascal von Briel. Knowledge that they both acquired the hard way. Because it all began quite differently.
Two friends, one thought
Julius and Pascal know each other from their school days. And because both had little desire for a future as employees in any organization, the pair kept thinking about business ideas that would enable them not only to achieve economic success, but also maximum independence and individual freedom. In the end, they decided on what was actually an obvious idea: exploiting the price differences between Germany and Switzerland, especially for high-end consumer electronics, computer hardware and high-quality household appliances. The online shop preis1.ch was born.
Raising this baby was one thing. Building up their own organization and structure to raise the baby was another. The establishment of a branch in Switzerland proved to be a quite a complicated dance with Swiss officialdom, but this turned out to be a good thing as this was where the partners gained their first experience of dealing with authorities and bureaucracies. What the two friends had clearly underestimated, however, was the demand for Customs clearance of cross-border goods.
While the shop developed well, Customs clearance turned out to be more complex and laborious than expected. The German ATLAS and the e-dec and eVV procedures of the Swiss Customs Administration were still largely unknown territory. Julius and Pascal soon realized that they had created a dual system consisting of a shop and a Customs business. Both areas required separate know-how and both needed to be maintained, updated and professionalized.
Customs really great
The two friends succeeded in generating more traffic and increasing the sales rate for their shop by applying sustained effort and standard optimization of procedures in e-commerce. The application of the correct Customs procedures as well as the creation and provision of the mandatory documents for a wide range of product groups proved to be a challenge that originally they would not have dared to take. But here the credit belongs to the Customs authorities themselves on both sides of the border. No matter what mistakes, no matter what questions, Julius and Pascal have come to know the people at Customs as understanding, helpful and cooperative. Correcting mistakes, no problem. Completing documents, no problem. Giving information, explaining issues – clear, understandable, patient.
Julius and Pascal explain their excellent relationship with Customs thanks to some almost forgotten virtues: respect, willingness to learn, gratitude. An appreciation, which customs officers have rarely experienced since biblical times.
From e-commerce to e-customs
The equally surprising and decisive turnaround came in 2019: the shop went well, the financial basis was secure, but all of a sudden professional Customs clearance became the focus of demand. First from the private sector, then increasingly from other operators of online shops.
So the young entrepreneurs decided to found a second company: exporto. Although, from their point of view, not all was smooth sailing. The system they used for exports was a one-way street in terms of Customs. In order to use the Swiss procedures, they had to access the official websites of Swiss Customs and then do laborious manual entry work time and again. The company grew, and so did the unnecessary workload. A solution was needed – of course, they wanted the best one. Customs clearance had to be digitized throughout and thus fully automated.
Julius and Pascal reviewed the marketplace of customs systems. Their requirements profile was clearly defined and formulated. Which provider would give the right answer?
Support from the beginning and without end
One of the companies approached was Riege. Damir Galijasevic, Senior Sales Manager at Riege Software, took over the mandate and acted not as a salesman but as a supporter and problem solver. He understood exporto's pain. Damir presented Scope as a seamless integration into the ERP developed by exporto itself, which imports all data from the exporto customers' merchandise management system and makes it available for further processing. Then Scope comes into play. After uploading a single CSV file containing the data for multiple Customs declarations, Scope automatically generates all declarations in e-dec.
In this alliance, the smooth flow of data from the customers' systems via the exporto ERP and Scope directly to customs and back is guaranteed. Without manual intervention, without changing systems. A customized solution. Fast, secure, reliable. And above all, very simple – and convincing. As Julius and Pascal knew from their own experience which complex processes were taking place in Scope in the background and invisible to the user, they were as impressed as they were enthusiastic. exporto selected Scope without hesitation.
Subsequently, a full service team at Riege ensured that everything went as desired: Pascal Weiss from Riege Software Switzerland as well as Patrick Hörsken, Stefanie Hoster, Christoph Knolle and Sandra Stütz in Meerbusch. According to exporto at a very high level, with a sound understanding of problems, the friendliness typical of Riege and – very important – always as equals. Riege makes no distinction between established companies and young start-ups.
exporto regards Scope as a high-level solution that can be easily adapted to internal processes, streamlining all procedures, accelerating them rapidly, thus creating the opportunity to handle significantly higher order volumes. This makes Scope an engine of growth. Not the only one, but a powerful one with almost no need for maintenance. The developers at exporto happily confirm this.
In particular, the Swiss eVV processing, for which two external websites had to be called up in the past, has improved by 100% according to exporto. Julius and Pascal are convinced that the interaction of their ERP with Scope, transports data and therefore also goods faster than any other system. The entrepreneurs see no problem with moving even the largest volumes. They and their systems are optimally prepared for this. The only thing that they expect will remain less lean in the future is the company itself. In contrast to their ERP and Scope, the four current permanent employees have reached their limit.
The preis1– Question
Julius and Pascal have realized that they cannot serve two masters. In the beginning, they didn't even want to serve one. But now the question became: What should become of their own online shop? As much heart and soul was and still is in preis1.ch, an economic revitalization driven by manpower was hardly justifiable after the Corona-related lockdown and the success of exporto.
But the shop will live on as a test platform for Customs procedures. For two to three weeks, measures to further streamline processes, new products and product groups are subjected to merciless test procedures in which even Scope has to prove itself and prove its worth. Only after successful completion is there a roll-out to customers. So preis1.ch still has its raison d'être and Julius and Pascal still enjoy their baby. With mixed feelings though.
Of course, exporto's recipe for success does not lie exclusively in the software. As always, it is a means to an end, but indispensable. The unique selling point of exporto is a sophisticated full service concept. After Swiss customers place their orders in Germany, the shops send their goods to Konstanz at domestic costs. There they are automatically declared to Customs, then transported to Switzerland and delivered to customers by Swiss Post without additional payment or detours.
The exporto returns management system ensures with the same reliability that returned goods reach the sender again without bureaucracy. Because here too, Scope ensures that everything is handled cleanly within Customs. In the few months since the end of 2019, the concept has already converted numerous online shop operators into satisfied customers. The first key customer was acquired in spring 2020.
More are just around the corner and may expect further services. The fulfillment warehouse, which has been in operation since August 2020, helps customers to save effort, resources, time and money. Goods are stored until they are sold, ordered items are packed in original shipping cartons, Customs cleared and shipped from Switzerland to end customers. There are no limits to product categories or merchandise groups. exporto and Scope are able to handle all of them. They are primed for growth.