Digital commerce enables traditional brick-and-mortar businesses to grow and reach customers across the country or even across the ocean. EMarketer Inc. projects global e-commerce sales to top $4 trillion by 2020. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing region with a 25% year-over-year increase in online sales. Much of the growth is coming from consumers in rural areas purchasing via mobile phone, a market that “seems to be spurring a lot of the retail e-commerce growth”, according to Monica Peart, forecasting director for eMarketer.
How can your business most effectively tap into this global trend? Adapt your global marketing strategy to target each local market.
Thinking Globally & Locally
1. Marketing — Selling internationally is about more than implementing a multi-language feature on your website and translating your marketing messages. A marketing strategy that works in the US won’t necessarily be successful in Mexico, Asia, or Europe. You need to study cultural differences from country to country; marketers will need to define the marketing strategy and shopping experience for each local market.
2. Customer Service — During the IRCE 2016 session on expanding to international markets, Jim Ramsey, global head of technology at U.K.-based Maclaren, emphasized the importance of thinking locally when it comes to customer service and local payments. Among the considerations:
- 24/7 customer support
- Multi-language operators
- Local phone numbers
- Local payment options
- Business vs customer responsibility for foreign transaction fees
3. Fulfillment — One of the biggest challenges associated with doing business in other countries is order fulfillment. Figure out the most cost-effective and customer-oriented methods to: a) get products to your customers and b) handle returns. This may mean:
- building a network to handle logistics on the local level with local warehouses,
- outsourcing to a logistics provider, or
- using global fulfillment contractors.
Going global? Think local and make the experience mobile friendly.