Building a global technical commerce ecosystem requires looking at how each and every aspect of your retail business operates, both independently and as a cohesive ecosystem; across each channel in one market, and then across all of your markets around the world. With worldwide retail ecommerce sales projected to rise to nearly $2.5 trillion by 2018, now is the time.
Before you can integrate new systems and start operating in new markets, however, you need to determine your commerce strategy. This should be built off of your commerce business goals, and refined by larger organizational goals, specifically brand and marketing. As you expand across borders, here are the most important strategic considerations.
Selling in Marketplaces
China is a buzzing market right now. According to Forrester, online retail spending in China reached $307 billion in 2013, and is projected to exceed $1 trillion by 2019. As a result, many retailers are flocking to the Tmall marketplace to establish a more personalized, Amazon-style online shop. It’s an easy entry point into the Chinese market, where brands can get to know the Chinese consumer and the retail environment through an established channel. In a market where 90 percent of ecommerce happens through marketplaces, this is a huge opportunity.
But Tmall is not the only marketplace exploding, and China is not the only market that holds promise. According to eMarketer, 40.5 percent of US-based retailers sold to international customers through marketplaces like Tmall (China), Flipkart (India), Amazon (global), Ozon (Russia), Snapdeal (India), MercadoLibre (Mexico), and Rakuten (Japan) in 2014.
So why are marketplaces effective? Well according to Forrester, they offer brands an easy point of entry to global markets, with the benefit of offering a sizable audience up front, streamlining market entry, and providing localized offerings. There’s less inherent risk, and the potential for great reward.
Foreign markets are exactly that to brands seeking expansion: foreign. If you’ve never operated in them, then you have no idea what to expect, and while you can and should do the research and legwork to learn about the new market - trends, consumer behaviors, etc. - it’s often wise to consider leveraging the help of a partner who knows that landscape inside and out. Forrester published a report on Identifying Partners To Help Streamline Global Expansion, where they go into great detail about this idea of globalization partners. To them, the three main advantages of utilizing a partner agency are to:
- Build and launch digital commerce operations in new countries quickly and easily
- Reach global consumers through different business models
- Ensure their websites address differing consumer preferences
Agencies specializing in a particular market can give your business valuable insights and information that would be far harder to come by on your own, plus the expertise and know-how to accurately and efficiently get your business up and running. The below graphic walks you through the various questions your business must consider when entering a new market, and how a partner can help you answer them.