Qempo.com: goodbye barriers to online purchases

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Peruvian entrepreneur Anson Tou has created Qempo.com, a platform connecting travelers and online shoppers to make e-commerce cheaper and easier.

The Internet has created a world without borders. However, some barriers remain to total connection between countries, especially when it comes to marketing products on an international scale. Entrepreneur Anson Tou, who hails from Peru and is the son of Chinese immigrants, has created Qempo.com.

This platform connects Peruvian shoppers with travelers who are visiting the Andean country in order to make online shopping cheaper and easier, something not achieved by firms such as Fedex and DHL. Latin American countries in particular are among those that face the most hurdles in these transactions, due to high tariffs and red tape. This prevents further initiatives moving forward, such as e-commerce.

During his time in the United States, where he studied Business Administration and Management and International Studies at Florida International University, Tou designed a system for imports so he could send products to friends and family in Peru. He did it as a favor, since they did not have access to many items from the US. Alongside his knowledge of customer service, what he learned from this experience helped him create Qempo.com.

The philosophy behind this website is collaborative economics. Users interested in making an international purchase contact someone travelling to Peru with enough space in their suitcase. The travelers carry the product the shopper ordered in their luggage and, in return, receive commission. It specifically connects people leaving the United States and heading to Latin America.

Tou, who has been recognized as an Innovator under 35 Latin America 2017 by MIT Technology Review in Spanish, has managed to reduce shipping rates by 50% and delivery times by 80%. This means cost savings for the shopper, as well as being a way for travelers to earn money through commissions. Qempo.com was also chosen as one of the five most innovative start-ups in Peru in the Innovation Awards, organized by the National Innovation Program for Competitiveness and Productivity 2016 (Innovate Peru). Not only does the company benefit shoppers and travelers, it also creates new opportunities for small business owners as suppliers.

As he is from a family of entrepreneurs, Tou launched the company without any initial investment. After two years, it has reached a turnover of more than half a million dollars, allowing the business to be profitable before its first year on the market. To achieve this growth, it did not only have to overcome hurdles related to customs and high shipping costs.

Tou is aware that in the age of the Internet, the most important thing is offering a good user experience: creating trust between travelers and shoppers, as well as putting various payment methods in place (cash and bank deposits) have been crucial.

In order to keep breaking down barriers, Tou is working with the Peruvian government so taxes can be paid prior to the trip and so speed up shipping times. The current focus is Peru, but the plan is to take Qempo.com to China, where its origins lie. Then, his goal is to make the jump onto the global stage and so contribute to creating global e-commerce, without connection failures between shoppers, travelers and companies.

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