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Going Global: Cross Continental Commerce in the Digital Age

Foreign markets present a massive opportunity for brands to expand their reach and category dominance. And with 1.8 billion people entering the consuming class by 2025, spending $30 trillion annually, this opportunity is only growing.

However, expansion is not without risk. Successful international business ventures require strong leadership with expert advice to navigate the unknown. Below we shine a light on the key considerations of international commerce to assist you in your global business expansion.

Market Selection for Success

Not all markets were created equal. Selecting the right market for your business is perhaps the most important consideration of global expansion, and one that could potentially make or break any new venture.

Firstly, what is the opportunity? How does your service offering compare to the local competition? Do your research and enlist the help of an agency to assist you. There really is no substitute for experience.

Further, regulations can differ from one country to another. For example, some countries such as China present significant opportunities for business, but regulations can be restrictive to foreigners. Research, research, research, and you’ll be best prepared.

Another important consideration is digital maturity. Local infrastructure and technological adoption must be in a state to allow you to provide your services. While both in highly developed Western Europe, The Netherlands has 96% internet penetration compared to Italy’s 62%.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider expanding to Italy. Instead, you’ll need to more carefully plan your operations. This case could mean that your company could partner with a telecommunication provider to create a campaign to increase digital uptake and take ownership of the market. Opportunity is always there if you know how to use it to your advantage.

Understanding and Exceeding Local Expectations

Every market has very particular needs based on their shopping behaviour. Design your business as customer-first, and seek to provide the best service experience possible. This will allow you to define the must win moments that will separate your business from the competition.

For example, in India, 75% of consumers use mobile as their primary shopping device, but this drops to 35% in Europe. Design a brand commerce experience across all platforms and channels, and map the user journey. This will assist you in planning the stages of international expansion.

Fulfillment is also vital. For example, 40% of UK shoppers are willing to pay for next day delivery, compared to 20% in France. Understand your customers’ fulfillment wants and work to delight them at every step. It’ll pay huge dividends.

Identification of payment preferences is another important consideration. Studies have shown that 60% of paymentsin the Netherlands are made by direct debit, compared with Germany where 46% of payments are made by online bank transfer. Work with a high performing payment provider that offers multiple options in the currency and method customers like to pay to supercharge your conversion rate at the checkout.

Want to understand more about international commerce operations? Speak to a global business expert from eWave today.

Rachael Minto is an expert in technology and commerce strategy for global brands and retailers. She is the Strategic Operations Manager at eWave. Follow her work here or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Fatima Said
Managing Director & Co-founder

Sep 19, 2017