Cross border VAT? Without support for the Cross Border VAT my company wouldn´t exist anymore. After years and years fighting for the court in London concerning the patent on my health shoes, which were unique, while the looked like normal shoes, something you can´t say about other health shoes, I finally could start my marketing and online setup. The well-known brand Birkenstock tried to stop my market entry for health shoes, because they thought that my patent request was based on a patent of them. Just look to the difference in style, it´s a complete other world, but the tried and created a delay for my market entry of at least 2 years. But since a week I am free to produce and sell my shoes. My complete plan from A until Z was made already 2 years ago, so all I had to do check it one more time. I needed to know if something changed, like for example Cross Border VAT, during these 2 years. I needed one day to check the whole setup list and there were some gray areas for me. Tax rules, like Cross Border VAT, setup and implement the web shop and the internet marketing plan. For the rest I was 100% sure, that it still could be done as planned about 2 years ago. Concerning Cross Border VAT and some other tax issues, I hired a TAX specialist and concerning the internet issues I hired a specialized internet company able to advise and solve the web shop en internet marketing items. The rough plan was as follows: I wanted do world-wide, online, sales, final production of the shoes will be done in Bangladesh, design done in Italy, materials will come from China, beside the inner sole, these will come from the USA. So there are some borders to cross. And not only on the sales side, but also on the production side. And they all have their own tax system and VAT. So the international tax and Cross Border VAT are not the easiest part of my business. It would be a challenge for the TAX specialist. But he is one of the best and I fully relay on him. Now the internet part, I needed a web shop in all the languages of the world (it´s not really true, I only want to sell to countries with money, so Bangladesh for example is good for production, but not for sales), in their own currencies, with the applicable VAT percentages and what about marketing. After living some years in China, I am very aware that the way the market products is completely different as we do. So the internet marketing is already complicated I assume, but this part – the differentiator – is even more complex. The TAX specialist could start already the next day, it was his business and nothing new for him, but the internet part was really a bit more complex, so the company I hired for this part needed to do some research concerning the different marketing styles in the different countries. For the setup and implementation of the basics in the webs shop, the information from the TAX specialist was key. I wanted to start with 20 different lady health shoes and 10 for men. The designs and prototypes were ready and my photographer already made great pictures. I realized that I forgot something, the sizes, they also had to be presented in local figures. You have European, UK, USA and Japanese/Chinese sizes at least. I gave my production manager an order to figure this out as soon as possible. When this was figured out, we arranged a meeting with the internet company. My designer explained them everything about the shoes, the models and the pictures he made and told them how they had to be presented in the web shop. My product manager, who did a good job – he figured out all the shoe sizes world-wide, he presented the matrix he made and explained how this should be presented in the web shop. Concerning the prices, I presented the prices per model, exclusive VAT, the financial director presented a table how to apply the local VAT. All we presented was documented in a little booklet which we handed over to the internet company. They should do all the development, etc. in-house (here), because all information and people to support them was in that case immediately available. Due to the time pressure they even worked in 2 shifts and during the weekend, but after 1 week the web shop was ready in English. We did a “design” test, to check if the look and feel fully matched the ideas I had and all had to be consistent. During this session the fixed some minor issues and after all was exactly as I wanted it, the stress test started. Different people in different departments of my company had the order shoes. Of course acting if they were in different countries and interested in different types of shoes. My product manager, the financial manager and the logistics manager had to control everything. Was the model ordered the model which would be delivered exactly as ordered, was the currency and the VAT exactly as it has to be in the country from where ordered and could the ordered pair of shoes be found exactly as registered in the system and could the address to which it should be sent found too? After 2 days of stress tests, including some minor fixes, we decided that the web shop, including back-end all worked and that de translators could do their work. The web shop was 100% SEO on-page proven, so now it was time for the off-page SEO stuff, meaning for the internet company, using a great article marketing solution provided from Thailand. Hard work, writing long articles, find the right domains, with the right authorization and trust to place these articles, including links pointing to the web shop. When the first orders came all went smooth and concerning the whole VAT issue, we outsourced Cross Border VAT to a specialized company.
More information: www.rmboulanger.co.uk