by: Jan Loyola
What would you do if you learned that your internet business, which is only just starting to get a steady flow of sales leads, has developed a clone in another country? How would you make sure that your company can successfully expand in another country in the future and still generate sales leads? This is the problem faced by a lot of successful online companies because of the business model of one German startup incubator. The Samwer brothers are the serial copycat creators of online businesses in the US. In fact, they have already been recognized as the best copycat factory in the world. The Samwer brothers’ Rocket Internet startup incubator has successfully made clones of every successful online business in the US—Airbnb, Zappos, EBay, Amazon, Pinterest, and Groupon—some of these internet retail giants have even bought their copycats just to maintain their market share in other countries.
While Ebay and Groupon have famously succumbed to the power of their Rocket Internet clones, one online business is being recognized as having trumped its own copycat. Fab.com, the internet retailer for unusually designed accessories and everyday appliance, has famously out-shined its copycat “Bamarang” in Europe. Though the battle to get the most leads was certainly not easy, Fab’s Chief Executive Officer Jason Goldberg said their strategy to get a stronger foothold on European countries as fast as they could definitely paid off.
Now, if you were faced with a similar situation with your business, would you be able to win as well? Why not follow the strategy of Fab.com? Here’s how they did it:
To get a secure foothold on their target market, Fab acquired Casacanda, a European version of Fab.com (but not necessarily a clone). By buying a company with a similar business model and one that already has its own sales leads, the US company was able to establish a significant presence in a number of European countries. Also, by staying true to what they promised their customers and providing appliances and knick knacks in unusual yet quality designs, they have proven themselves as the more reliable retailers. Also, if you really want to secure your market, you have to be ready and willing to act quickly; even if it is not in your original plans to expand globally, you have to be able to take the risk.
According to Goldberg: “This is about emotions, not just about running as fast as you can and hiring as many people as you can and trying to spend as much money as you can—this is about getting it right with the customers.”