Going Global With Your eCommerce Business? Three Important Factors To Consider
Traditionally, the U.S. has been the longtime leader in B2C eCommerce sales. However, this is all set to change. Year 2014 will be the fulcrum point wherein the balance of favor will tip towards the Asia-Pacific region. This marks the first time when North America will no longer lead the world in eCommerce sales. Leading Digital Media and Internet Market Research Agency eMarketer has predicted that the Asia-Pacific region will surpass North America’s share by an estimated $ 42.6 Billion in 2014. Further, this gap is predicted to widen to around $142.9 Billion in 2015.
Various factors such as increasing access to technology and emerging middle class in nations like China, certainly have led to such a growth. However, this does not spell doom for US retailers entirely. According to another market research and consulting company OC&C strategy consultants, international sales from U.S. Online retailers are expected to bounce from $ 11 billion to almost $ 50 billion by 2020. This will account for around 16% of the overall U.S, online retail market.
OC&C has also discovered that international consumers are using online search tools to do research before they are making purchases online. This often leads to the discovery of American brands such as those in the entertainment, electronics, and fashion industries. From this discovery, we can now understand the key trends and other factors that affect global eCommerce.
1. Develop a country-specific or regional site
It is essential to develop a country specific or a regional site that will be found by your international target market. By doing this, you get an opportunity to focus your eCommerce website towards a variety of products in your portfolio that have the capability to resonate better with your target audience. Hence, it is absolutely critical to have a separate SEO strategy for each regional market as tastes and preferences differ. For example, all coffee in China is typically labeled Nescafe, while in Chile, Nescafe products are preferred over whole bean or ground coffee.
Thus, buyer behavior can vastly differ even if they continue searching for more product varieties. Often, the way people abroad perceive a product comes through search terms that are first discovered on search engines such as Google. Thus, if you miss the mark at this initial stage, this means that you are missing your sales. The right way forward is to build a set of buyer persona in each country or even in a group of countries that you wish to target and then make their behavior and language the point of focus of your eCommerce marketing efforts.
2. Evaluate your sales strategy before going international
The next factor that you need to understand is that it is not necessary that sales will begin from the point that you set up your online store abroad. It is not essential that sales will start flowing right from the day one. This can only be true if you open your store in the right place and the right time. Also, verify and evaluate your domestic eCommerce strategy first and check it for smoothness or for the existence of any weaknesses, which may become amplified the moment you add an international destination as part of the mix.
Also, consider factors such as brand loyalty and distribution. With the former, you can encounter entrenched competitors which you may not have considered. With the latter, you may find out that your competition has already figured out the best answer to the problem.
3. Mobile is a Priority
Around the world, people are shifting to mobiles and smart phones to fulfill transactions on the Internet. Mobile payments have shown an upward swing, which means that emerging markets are vigorously transiting to mobile devices from desktops. Hence, if you want your eCommerce business to succeed, mobile must be top priority. However, the trend of making larger purchases over desktops or larger screens till exists, but buyers have opted for other mobile devices over desktops.
Hence, if you are going global, you need to consider these factors before you finally take the plunge. There are many other considerations to make, but this forms the crucial foundation on which other considerations rest.