Just as though lines are being blurred between online and in store e-commerce, there is now a blurring of borders as many retailers and brands look to international integration in 2014 in order to boost sales and increase brand/name recognition. While e-commerce is still an emerging business model in most parts of the world, globalization is a must for merchants and brands as they begin to fully embrace new channels, approaches and an overall global economy. However, success in global commerce will require retailers and brands to have a strong understanding of the markets and shoppers that they’re trying to reach.
As such, it’s important to begin with a well-planned strategy that addresses things such as language, customs, taxes and other online selling requirements. Local consumers’ needs must also be a top priority, bearing in mind something called “Glocal,” which is the adaptation of one’s global marketing strategy into each local market. So, which areas of the world have already begun the process of globalization? According to an eMarketer report, the United States was king of e-commerce in 2013, followed by China, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.
According to an eMarketer report, the United States was king of e-commerce in 2013, followed by China, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.
According to the New York Times, Chinese consumers shop online more than those in any other country with 58 percent of consumers shopping online at least once a week, compared to 42 percent in the U.S. This can likely explain why the Asia-Pacific is expected to surpass the United States in e-commerce status by 2016. With e-commerce players around the globe continuing to build out their global footprint, and with 2014 well underway, what are some of the things retailers and brands should keep in mind when strategizing around globalization?
Firstly, mobile commerce will become an important trend – everywhere. Forrester found that in no country is mobile shrinking as a percentage of total e-commerce revenues. In addition, online retailers will need to plan for key e-commerce shopping dates in every market. For example, Black Friday is usually tied to a U.S. day of splurging, but retailers in Canada, the United Kingdom and Latin America have recently adopted the day as an international shopping date. And lastly, brands can be expected to turn to global marketplaces to increase conversion since these sites reach large audiences and align with local needs.
As 2014 progresses, what else can we expect to see from the globalization of e-commerce and the ever-evolving need to understand the habits and preferences of always on (the go) consumers?