The Hamburg-based start-up Channel Pilot Solutions is opening a branch in Pao Alto, California marking its launch on the U.S. market. Hamburg News reported in 2015 on its expansion. The e-commerce service provider offers clients marketing tools to post offers in all suitable online shops and marketing channels. The firm says it employs 50 staff presently. In an interview with the private initiative, Hamburg Startups, Mirko Platz, one of the co-founders of Channel Pilot Solutions GmbH in 2012, discussed the next challenges and steps.
From a free to prime product
The launch on the U.S. market should work using a free product, says Platz. The aim is to attract customers with a free basic product and later to a fee-based premium product. Platz and his partners hope to avoid high early investments with this “freemium” model. Apart from customer acquisition, another priority is setting up collaborations with local shopping and agencies.
“Don’t waste my time” mentality
Asked about timing a launch on the U.S. market, Platz said: “Do so only when you have already achieved a significant market share and turnover in Germany and have also reached Europe.” Channel Pilot Solutions has already reached this target and now 30 per cent of the 1,000 biggest web shops in Europe count among its customers. “Alternatively, a launch on the U.S. market can be worthwhile when the German and European market is too small for your own product,” he added.
Firms keen on expansion should check out the British market first. “The U.K. market is a good exercise in preparing for the U.S. market. The British market is characterised by a 'don’t waste my time’ mentality. If you cannot explain your product quickly, then your chances are slim. And Germans often do not manage that at first.”